The present post is a first in a new series on the power of spirit and flow. The drivers and context for this series is a quest to sustain world-class joy and happiness within global workplaces. For regular updates on this series please follow me on Twitter at @GauthierJohann, on Youtube (Click Here) and within the HRockstars Tribe (Click Here).
- “Joyful leadership agility and appreciation nurtures world-class workplace excellence and peak performance.” (Click to Tweet) from Johann Gauthier
The white blanket is large and long with sparkles of deep blue sea. Snow pixels are suspended in thin air kindly saying hello, setting me free. There is utter ecstatic silence outside. So much that I can ear the disappearing sounds of white turning orange pixels caressing warm water. There is no yearning inside. But rather a simple acceptance of being.
Hands leave water temporarily to catch earthy formations of beauty. A grandiose happening of sheer joy is starting. The energetic leader in me is fully present carried by an inner unstoppable movement of dancing heart and soul. At this precise moment I feel no urge. I experience simple and profound joy. I am now able to open my inner channels in unbelievable ways tapping into vast and deep galaxies offering endless possibilities. I totally lose myself into spirit and flow. Life is effortless.
The cuddling sand offers unprecedented comfort to some toes. Additional waves of plenitude bring my loving child in a state of pure euphoria. I start jumping with emotions enhanced quickly finding ways to more beaming light.
It is close to midnight. I am on this beach in Cancun, Mexico. Within minutes a spontaneous dance floor is created. I close my eyes and start singing and soon people unleash mojo and swagger. None of us know each other but for a brief moment existence is literally suspended. We are experiencing life and stars high in the sky holding hands forever. Acting like a bunch of peace and love children irresponsible. How lovely and exhilarating!
Workplace radiant energy
Happiness is such a hard concept to grasp. Well it can be. Perhaps many leaders make it so, choosing to hide rather than cultivate spirit and flow.
Happiness can be somewhat of an abstract notion. Appreciative learning and intense concentration gives it concrete meaning. In leadership jargon call it being in the line of your own fire, in the winter spa or on the beach in Cancun, Mexico, essentially out of your typical element in the total unknown. Guided by your own multitude of intrinsic motivational waves. Challenged to step outside of your comfort zone. Conjuring up your light and arousing yourself!
Accessing beaming light daily requires some form of deliberate practice. Achieving expert performance in any field takes up to 10 consecutive years of mastery. That is deliberate practice in constant playful harmonic configuration. Picture yourself as a cellist or a wave riding player. You can be world-class in your domain and unleash true creative power because you show up daily with yourself. But leaders do not work in isolation. Leadership is a demanding team-sport that can be fun and invigorating. As long as human systems are organized and function in such a way as to release positive radiant energy.
Clearly happiness isn’t something that can be typically ordered off-the-shelf. Many leaders trying very hard to produce outstanding widgets may simply be out of focus and flow. For one exploring the beauty of widget production awakens much business value. But how does it really measure up from an energetic spirit and flow perspective?
This isn’t about Einstein’s theory of relativity although I am very tempted to open this space right now! Perhaps later. For the purpose of the present discussion I shall focus on energy and business impact.
On my way to Cancun on the plane I did what many people do. I picked up a magazine and started reading. I gather that creative folks rarely ask their brain to stop working. Mine was pretty much racing when I saw the word swinging on paper. Inspiration never sleeps, so I found myself jumping, again! How grateful I was!
So what does this have to do with widget galore? Widgets have no life and meaning but leaders do. People in a winter spa-like atmosphere, on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, or whatever there are doing are in essence living a process of meaning making. When truly engaged, obsessed to succeed, motivated from the inside out, new life essentially breathes and takes form. Some call it a vibe or a way of being. Not fully palpable but clearly measurable through field anthropologist eyes.
World-class mojo and joy
In world-class organizations where people do it and get it right unique attributes are often used to describe who they are and what they do. That so-called delicious group synergistic melody. For the outside world this may at times appear a bit foreign, even weird. Imagine hearing these terms for the first time in your life: Googlers, Microsofties, Tweeps, Facebookers, Zyngites, etc.
I contend that these employees, or people in the broader sense, lose themselves in the night regularly, in the line of their own inner intrinsic fire. They show up daily in their workplaces energized and pumping buckets full of fire and passion. Now picture widgets being produced by fired up people. I bet that there is lots of joy and happiness flying around in these workplaces!
Time likely flies. People may in fact simply lose track of time from being immersed and totally concentrated in achieving their goals. There is also a fair amount of jumping at play. I would add an urge and very strong desire to succeed. A cultivation of joy that breathes obsession for blissful communications and resonant energizing infectious connections.
In essence, leaders open magnificent spaces from within. When they do workplace harmonic impulse and world-class mojo and joy gets totally unleashed. What can be summarized as a continuum of joyful leadership agility and performance from the inside out with a zest of appreciation.
There is no real need to reinvent any wheels. Many leaders and organizations already do it and get it right. They cultivate a sense of appreciation daily through every one of their interactions.
Viewing peak organizational performance through an appreciative lens implies the following (inspired by the book entitled “Appreciative Leaders: In the Eye of the Beholder”, Edited by Marjorie Schiller, Bea Mah Holland and Deanna Riley, Taos Institute Publication, 2002):
- Leadership as a process of meaning-making vs. old-world mechanics;
- Mobilizing people through transformational conversations;
- Cultivating infectious curiosity and a spirit of inquiry; and,
- Caring leaders nurturing context, wholeness and interconnectivity.
The reliance on technology alone will not guarantee business success in the future. For thriving teams and organizations will continuously open appreciative spaces from the inside out that “produce changes at the speed of collective imagination” (Schiller and al, page 2).
All for now.
P.s. You probably guessed it. The word I saw swinging in the magazine in the plane on my way to Cancun, Mexico, was Energy.