I had such fun observing an awesome example of enabling joy in work with a visit to a local volunteer fire company with a preschool group. There were 18 kids there (and us moms) to see this awesome new fire truck…it was so fun!
What struck me from a joy in work perspective was the Captain from the fire company with 42 years of service…and counting. One of his many stories was about a call for a 6 month old baby that wasn’t breathing. When responding to the call, the Lieutenant with him asked what he would do and he kept saying “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out when I get there.” When they walked in the door, his training flooded in and he was able to save this choking baby and send the baby off on the ambulance for evaluation. He mentioned how he collapsed afterward after the whole event was resolved. Meanwhile, he told the story with a smile on his face inspiring these young boys and girls.
I was really impressed with this story, aside from the heroism of it. It was a beautiful example of someone who has true joy in work.
Create. What a tremendous value was created here! The value of a little baby’s life saved because of his training embedded in him that he couldn’t even verbalize to his Lieutenant. His training and skills were vitally valuable here.
Contribute. Training and skills are only as good as the situations that need them. This is where the joy actually happens. If contribution is hindered or prohibited, discouragement and disillusionment quickly follow. The Captain used his training to contribute to saving someone’s life. That is quite the reward.
Joy. In the story, the Captain shared how exhausted he was after this call. That’s how joy works many times. It takes all we have to contribute our best. Sometimes we are left in a heap at the end, exhausted and poured out for the greater good. The difference is seeing the greater good that makes it all worth it. That’s joy.
It is easy to see in this story how joy in work is evident for this firefighter. How about your team? Are you able to see the elements of enabling joy (connect, create, contribute) evident in the work of your team?
We’ve put together a PDF guide to help you think through whether you need to build connection, bolster value creation, or break barriers to contribution. For the cost of lunch, you could have solution ideas to work on the targeted aspect of enabling joy that is holding back your team.
Are you working in a space where you have impact? Do you know your best contribution to the mission of your team? I have just revitalized the Intentionally Living your Strengths course with new videos and updated workbooks. to help you reflect and get valuable feedback. This course guides you through reflections and gathering feedback, culminating with developing a best contribution statement to help you filter out requests and be confident in where you will invest your most valuable asset…your life.