What brings you joy? – Mark MacLeod

February 2, 2021 - Mark MacLeod

What brings you joy?

This might seem like a strange question to ask a hard-charging CEO of a high growth company. Perhaps…. But l recently found myself asking this of a few clients as we set goals for the coming year.

Startup success is never a straight line. And it rarely comes quickly. Great things usually take time. How do you not only survive the startup journey but actually thrive in it?

There are many possible answers to this question. I would argue that one (often overlooked) answer is to have a life that is regularly filled with joy.

As a good friend (and startup founder) recently put: Joy = anything that fills you with energy.

For me, beyond my partner and my family, very few things meet this high bar: my practice (yoga, meditation, Buddhism), CrossFit (though I often hate it in the moment) and electronic music.

Most people might look at devoting so much time to music for example as an indulgence. A luxury. I see it another way.

Think about what you can accomplish when you are truly lit up. How do others perceive you in that state?

Vey positively, right? You’re like a magnet. People are drawn to you. Things and events just seem to fall into place. Imagine how much better any of your roles would be if you came into them from this positive place.

As CEO if you show up to an important meeting full of energy and enthusiasm you will have a big impact on the meeting. This doesn’t mean being a cheerleader. It means bringing your full presence, energy and intention to the meeting.

Same for your home life. Coming home full of energy and enthusiasm vs. coming home tired, distracted and preoccupied will have a massive impact on your family life.

My belief is that regularly taking time for those activities that bring you real joy is basically fuelling yourself up so that you can be at your best.

Most adults don’t think of’ joy’ in this way. “Joy”? That’s what kids experience playing. They’re half right! There is a lot we can learn from children. They are far wiser than we think. In the same way that a child’s joy can keep them going endlessly, I believe adults can experience the same thing.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you experience.

Questions to consider

When is the last time I felt pure joy in my life?

What was I doing then? What did it feel like?

What activities/ things bring me the most joy?

How often do I schedule time for them or make them a priority?

When I did experience joy how did that impact my work? How did it impact my other roles?

How can I make more time in my life for joy?

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

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