“I have a confession. I want to start a revolution. Before I go there, I want to talk about something that may be counter-intuitive to revolution, and that is ‘joy’. The word ‘joy’, as it’s defined, is a noun which is derived from the French word, “joie”. The definition I resonate most with proposes that joy is expressed as: the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; the rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; and, gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.”

This is how I opened my recent TEDxJIBC talk on June 5, 2019, “The Joy Revolution: Igniting Passion and Connection at Work”. This idea of joy at work has simmered in the back of my mind for years; experiencing moments of complete and utter disconnection and disengagement at work – and wondering “why?”; and, on the other side of the coin, engaging and connecting with my work in such a way that I didn’t think twice putting putting extra – or weekend – hours in to getting a task done.

As I began to prepare for the TEDx talk, I spent hours combing over research about potential reasons why work may not be joy-ful for some of us.

But, before we explore joy in or at work or the reasons why we don’t experience a lot of it in our workplaces, I’d like to reflect on what the source of joy is for our lives in general.

I experience joy from a variety of different things; holding a newborn in my arms and ‘connecting’ in a way that puts a smile on both my face and the infant’s [and knowing that I can hand the baby back to the parent whenever the moment strikes (giving me even more joy – joy of relief, perhaps, or appreciation?); music (OK, I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Olivia Newton-John and while her music has filled me with countless hours of joy over the past 40 years, it is her mindset of ‘thrive’ and her conviction to see the positive in very rough times of her life, that I have found much comfort in); food is another source of joy for me – preparing it, planning it, eating it (perhaps a bit too much joy there), and the conversations around the table when sharing it; being in nature and appreciating the wonder of the world we share; my partner of 28+ years (even when sharing frustrating moments), and; pets – I love my four-legged friends and their unconditional love fills my joy fuel-tank, to give you a few. 

I’d like to leave you with this question, “What is the source of joy in your life?”