Happiness at Work? It’s In My Toes.

gold toes

Happiness is gold toes.

My toes are gold. Why? Yes..it’s true…I was inspired by the Olympics. But why gold? Why not red, white and blue? Or silver or bronze?

Gold because it reminds me of where to go. True, only one person can win the gold medal. But everyone..EVERYONE..can run for their gold. Giving it all you’ve got every day.

Today I watched a French hurdler false start in his qualifying heat. His Olympic dream was finished in two seconds. He fell to the side of the track and wept.

He was understandably crushed. But did he run for the gold? I think the answer is “yes.” Because although we only see a few seconds of failure on TV, what we don’t see is his years of daily training pushing himself—the injuries and ups and downs that got him to that race. Did he fail when it really counted? Maybe. But just maybe the years of work was actually the biggest part of his gold medal effort.

This week at work I’m being asked to report in a meeting: What makes me happy at work? What is it that makes work a place I want to come to every day?

With transition and change at the office, there are often feelings of uncertainty, unrest, even failure. Some days we find ourselves wondering “Why?”, or worse, crumpled at the side of our desks weeping after a false start.

When I thought about this question I realized that I usually try never to focus on the word “happiness.” It is illusive. Joy is easier. But as I thought more about it, I think happiness for me IS the gold. Not always obtaining it, but the continual challenge of striving for it.

So what makes work a happy place for me? The answer can be found on my toes.

  1. Gold is the treasure I share. Happiness comes if I can answer “yes” to this question: Do I have an opportunity every day to serve others? This comes first and foremost through earning money. I work so that I can provide for others and be charitable with the fruits of my labors. It also comes from serving people at work in every way I can. Often this looks like helping get a project done right, but just as often it looks like being a mentor or friend.
  2. Gold is the mission, goals, and strategy. Do projects have a mission, goals, and strategy that I can help create solutions for AND can I measure, see, and celebrate the value of those solutions? I am happy when I can say “YES!” Strategies and goals can and should change from time to time. Sometimes from year to year…sometimes even from day to day.  My happiness at work comes from understanding the path forward and architecting how to get there.

I look forward to hearing my coworkers’ answers to this question. As for me, and my toes, it’s all about going for gold. Not judged by someone else’s race, but for the only race I can control…my own. Running hard. Running happy. Running like it matters. Because it does.

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