There’s absolutely no denying it. The holidays are upon us. The Christmas music has slowly crept its way into rotation on my favorite radio station. The traffic in and around major shopping areas near my home has picked up. And some of my favorite holiday commercials have returned to primetime (the Folgers commercial where the brother comes home from West Africa and the M&Ms commercial where Santa exclaims, “They do exist!”).
The countdown to Santa’s arrival is inevitable. And for many, the holidays represent a time for rest and renewal, family and friends, indulgence and unstructured waistbands. It’s also the time that many of us reflect on the ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments and setbacks of the current year, while at the same time look ahead with hope and excitement to the possibilities for the New Year.
This year an important chapter of my life closed, giving way to one filled with energy, passion and enthusiasm. An entrepreneurial spirit that once bubbled just beneath the surface has now been harnessed and channeled into what I can only hope is the next important chapter of my life. As I prepare to launch my new consultation and event management firm, I’m reminded of the phrase we use each and every season to ring in the New Year: “Happy New Year!” (Cue the horns and confetti.)
Here, happy is the operative word. In my opinion, each of us must find some semblance of happiness in the work that we do to remain connected, productive and innovative. The same can be said for our members, volunteers and leaders. For me, happiness is demonstrated by an individual’s actions (rather than their words). This can sometimes make identifying a disconnect with true happiness difficult to diagnose, but an important exercise nonetheless.
By no means am I advocating that everyone up and quit their jobs (or volunteer commitments). Quite the contrary; I’m recommending a New Year “check-in.” I think many of us do this each year in the form of a resolution. Something more or less we know we should do for our own benefit (lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more), but don’t necessarily see it through for one reason or another (it doesn’t make us happy—at least in the short-run).
This holiday season I’m not asking you to give something up or to pledge to do something that is sure to make you miserable (though for purposes of full disclosure, I’m resolving to lose 30 pounds). In fact, I’m asking you to do the complete opposite: Be good to yourself and do something this coming year that makes you happy. In my opinion, it’s more or less that simple.
Once you’ve done that (once you’ve identified a particular activity that makes you happy and you start doing more of it), creating opportunities for your family, friends, members, volunteers and leaders that make them happy will become that much easier (the phrase “pay it forward,” and all that implies, immediately comes to mind).
So, my question to you is this: What will you do for you in 2012? How can you support the happiness of those around you, both personally and professionally? What, specifically, can you do for those in your office that—through their actions—appear unhappy with their work?