Word-Of-the-Week #751: Exhilarating

December 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Exhilaratingbeyond exciting; joyful; cheerful.

How has the Holiday Season been for you? Did it make you feel cheerful and joyful? How often would you say that your life is “beyond exciting?”

This week’s a good time for reflection and making decisions that will affect the coming New Year. Today features excerpts by Tony Schwartz from The Harvard Business Review on “The Exhilarating Power of Purpose.”

“I had just woken up in a hotel in San Jose, California, last week and I was brushing my teeth when I suddenly felt a powerful wave of something I can only describe as joy. Perhaps oddly, it was about my work. I love what I do, virtually every aspect of it. That amazes me, because what I do is run a business — a consulting business — which is something I never imagined myself doing.

I became a journalist, right around the time Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate story. I wanted to break big stories, rock the establishment, expose injustice, and make a difference. 

I rarely felt my work was making much of a positive difference in the world. In several instances, I took on assignments simply to make money. I rarely loved what I was doing, and over time, I got to like it less and less. Eventually, I concluded I didn’t like writing itself, and that I’d chosen it mostly because I was better at it than anything else. 

Finally, in 1999, I switched careers entirely. I’d always been deeply interested in human behavior, and especially in how and why people grow, develop, and perform at their best. The career change was an opportunity to work with a sports psychologist named Jim Loehr, who had come up with fascinating ways to help athletes perform better under pressure. 

In 2003, I went off and founded my own company, The Energy Project, with a broader mandate to help organizations do a better job of energizing, engaging, focusing, and inspiring their employees, not just by better meeting their needs physically, but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually. 

I’ve met relatively few people in any corporation who feel passionate about their work, and only a handful of leaders who communicate a strong sense of purpose to employees — who make them believe that what they’re doing really matters. 

There are many companies whose products and services don’t add any discernible value to the greater good. But that doesn’t preclude individuals finding a purpose — a way to add value — and feeling energized by it. 

  • “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make the big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to the big differences we often cannot foresee.”              – Marian Wright Edelman

If you’re a leader, what do you and your company truly stand for and how can you more powerfully communicate that mission to those you lead? 

If you’re an employee, what can you do to invest your work with a greater sense of meaning and value?   

This week’s focus is to examine what is exhilarating for you. What things make you feel cheerful and joyful? What are you doing that gives you a sense of purpose? What would you like to do that would be beyond exciting?

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