12 ways leaders can create more joy

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    A colleague of mine, Meredith Kimbell, shared a holiday greeting with this article she wrote for her executive coaching practice. I share it with you as a way to hone your leadership and bring more peace and joy to your work. This comes from her website – http://www.corporateadventure.com

    Three themes caught my attention recently: A leader I work with told me that he loved gravity, the force. When I looked confused, he explained, “Gravity is a constant invitation to drop things rather than pick them up or carry them around for very long.” Hmmm…. Then, I was listening to NPR about ways to create a “greener” holiday season by simplifying and letting go of “stuff.” Finally, after shopping this weekend, I discovered “The 12 Days of Christmas” song recycling in my head.

    In the spirit of all three themes, I offer you 12 ways leaders can create more joy (with the help of gravity and some practice.)

    1. Drop your need to know. Increase your genuine sense of “wonder” and invite new relaxation, creativity, enthusiasm and possibilities you will never discover without it.
    2. Drop your over-exaggerated sense of importance. If you think you are the only one who “gets it” or can do “it,” you’ve mis-stepped as a leader. Stop overburdening yourself, overlooking others who want to help and stressing everyone far more than needed. Use the time you find to develop and leverage others more effectively.
    3. Let go of any hope of being perfect. Put it down. Your people won’t be perfect and neither will you. Dropping this impossible standard will release you to relax, laugh more, delegate more and use others’ input as developmental opportunities vs. “tests” of adequacy.
    4. Put down your seriousness. Laugh at yourself and your mistakes as an awesome way to keep perspective, loosen up and invite others to see you as a person they can approach with ease.
    5. Surrender your sense of being indispensible. Go home. Take breaks. Use all your vacation days, unplugged. Invest in your vitality to keep yourself at your best and set a great example for others.
    6. Drop being the first and most dominant voice. Listen more. Shrink your airtime and you will connect with others, show that you care, and learn things you’ll never discover any other way.
    7. Let go of pre-judging. Hold history like a swordsman holds a sword…not to tight and not too loose. If you hold on to history too tightly, your prejudices will only guarantee more history. If you relax and welcome a fresh start, for yourself and others, you will set the stage for creating an adventure worth living.
    8. Release self criticism. Ok, let go of criticism of others too, but start with yourself. Substitute self reflection and learning for obsessively dumping on yourself. Contrary to what you may have learned, you really will be brilliant without keeping your foot on the back on your neck.
    9. Drop the chatter. Whether the chatter is in your head, on TV, radio, or social media, turn it off. Art comes from a blank paper, music from silence and your most authentic knowing and creative ideas from a place of relaxed “flow.” Learn to relax deeply. It takes practice, but start with deep breathing during meetings and your commute.
    10. Disengage from so much “how”. Getting consumed with “how will we ….,” puts you on the hamster wheel of urgency, overwhelm and stress. Get off by focusing yourself and others first on “why” something is worth doing and “what” you can contribute. Once you are clear on why and what, the how’s will flow far more easily.
    11. Drop contracting. Anytime you feel tight, let it go. Move, exhale deeply, talk it out, and feel gravity pull down every cell. Your health, creativity and effectiveness will thank you for it.
    12. Release boredom. Let go of the disengagement that causes boredom. Wake up to reconnecting with what is most important to you and contributing what fulfills you so you show up enthusiastically, at your best.

    So, when you drop all of these, what’s left? What do you hold on to? My wish for you is that you hold on to the moment and stay attentive to the freshness of each breath, situation, and person. Hold on to hope. Like a puppy, it is an active thing that endlessly snoops around for something intriguing and delightful. Hold on to gratitude; it brings joy, fulfillment and rest from the struggle. Hold on to that which lives in your heart as your best source for what is most important and meaningful. Hold on to your amazing ability to make a positive difference. Enjoy your brilliance this season.

    May your season be abundant with joy, freedom and flow. May gravity and your spirit be well fed by your choices.

    All the best,

    Meredith Kimbell
    Executive Advisor,Strategy Consultant
    Corporate Adventure


    For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.