This is the time of the year when we tend to reflect back and look forward. We reflect on the past year, what we enjoyed and what went wrong. And then we hope for the future. To get ready for the new year, everybody's going to be buying gym memberships to get in shape.
I think now is also a good time to focus on where you are today. Are you slowing down enough to enjoy the here and now? One of my favorite sayings is about today and it goes like this:
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift!
That's why they call it the present!
Hopefully, I'm going to help you open a present today. And that present is joy. What brings you joy?
Recently, I have been listening to a bunch of audiobooks on various different topics. One of them talked about how to find joy by organizing your work life. It talked about putting everything in piles and keeping the things that bring you joy, and removing the things that no longer do that for you. It's could be books, electronics, pictures, knickknacks, or whatever you have in your workspace that brings you joy.
It's the same thing when you're getting ready to move or in our case, remodeling our house. We are getting a whole bunch of work done like a fresh coat of paint on the walls, refinishing our wood floors, and installing new granite kitchen countertops (which we have wanted for years).
We had to remove a whole bunch of things and we put them in the basement while the work was being completed. At some point, we will have to go through all of those things (like vases and knickknacks) and decide if they still bring us joy? If they don't, then we have to figure out what to do with them?
I think we can do the same thing in business. One of the things we all have to examine is, what brings you joy in your work? What makes you feel good today? Once you get a handle on that, then you can start to make your history dissolve, and make your future brighter.
With that being said, I want to look at our joy in two different areas of life. First work, and then personal.
At work, think about what brings you joy. Let's start with your desk.
- What is your work environment like?
- Are there knickknacks or things that just make you smile?
- Are there things that you utilize all the time that maybe you should upgrade or maybe you should move them around?
- Does your desktop have pictures on there of your family and friends? Are work and personal, mixed together?
- What tasks do you like to do?
- When you think about the activities that you do on a daily basis, what brings you joy?
I can tell you, in my case, what I love doing is this, speaking to you and actually editing the audio. And I also like editing videos. Those are things that I have fun doing, and I feel I'm at my peak of creativity when doing them.
Turning Frustration Into Joy
One activity I don't like to do is writing. To me, writing is laborious. I've never been good at typing. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time getting the concepts and images from my mind to my fingers, to the screen, to my eyes. It is so hard to comprehend what I'm trying to get across.
Writing does not bring me joy. So I've done two things to add joy to my life. Number one, if I'm going to write something, I talk it out first, rather than trying to type it out. Then I have it transcribed and I work with it from there. The second thing that I do is I will outsource writing. I can talk about the concepts, but sometimes it's better to hand it to someone who's much better at that.
So, I enjoy audio-video. I don't necessarily enjoy writing, so I found a way to make that work for my business.
The other thing I think we should all look at is what customers bring us joy. Are there certain customers that are making you a lot of money, but you cringe every time they send you an email or a phone call? Well, then maybe it's time to let them go.
Maybe it's time to fire the customers that don't bring you joy, and actively seek out new customers that can bring you joy.
Now, I understand we all have budgets and goals… so, consider, can you find new customers and replace the old ones first? Then you could let the non-joyful ones know that you are firing them or tell them, “I'm going to turn you over to somebody else who I think can better serve you.” Can you get people that give you the opportunity to do what you love while you also like working with them?
Blending Work And Personal Joy
The last piece of this puzzle is your personal time. What brings you joy in your personal life? I'm assuming it's things like family and friends, or hobbies and sports, and even your pets. What I've learned to do is combine work with my personal.
One of the things that I do every single day (three times a day) is walk my dog. The other thing that brings me joy is learning new things, creating new concepts, coming up with ideas for this blog and my podcast. What I've learned to do is combine work with pleasure.
The way that I do it is I pull out my AirPods, I open up my phone, and open Blinkist, which serves up short 15-minute book summaries. That way I can get an entire book in when I walk the dog for 15 minutes, or two books when I walk her for a half-hour. That means every single day, I'm listening to four new books.
I'm using that time to get exercise, to have fun with my dog, and also to learn new things. How do you think you could blend something that you want to do to help make yourself better at work and enjoy it in your personal life?
Final Thoughts – Repurposing Joy
I want to leave you with this one final story and it combines music and the purge I talked about before. For years, I have been a musician. That's why I've owned recording studios and been in bands. I was in a two-man band that played everywhere. We played private parties. We played at bars. Heck, we even played just for ourselves, just to have a good time. And it was something that I loved doing. So I bought a PA system to make it easy for us to set up and do those gigs. Then my partner moved away and I said to myself, I'll use that someday.
Well, that someday for my PA never came. And so it was time to add that to the things that brought me joy, but don't bring me joy anymore.
I put it up on Facebook Marketplace and started getting messages and people would say, “Hey, would you take $500 off? Would you sell just the speakers? I want to get it for my church. And I have a limited budget.” It was just a pain. And I said to myself, “Man, this is tough, but I know it's going to bring somebody joy.”
Then this happened… I got a message from a guy who lived pretty close and said, “My kids are in a band. And when they practice at home, we can't hear the vocals. It's just a mess. Do you think this would help them?” And I said to myself, “This is the right family for this gear.”
As he was coming over to check it out, I made sure I cleaned it up. Then I got it ready to set up and show him how to put it together. After we did that, he said, “Man, this is perfect, just what my kids need for Christmas.” So we packed it up and put it in the back of his truck. And as he handed me the money and drove away, I said to myself, “Man… that is JOY.”
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you can do to add joy to your business and remove the things that do not. Are you overly focused on the past, the future, or the PRESENT? Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about using your creativity to create art from your content.
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