The phrase (the joy of clarity) starting running around in my mind this weekend, and at first, it seemed a bit like a strange conjunction of terms.
Then it didn’t. It makes perfect sense, actually.
I’ve always believed, and often told others, that clarity of purpose and direction makes us feel great. But since I so often write about business themes, the word “joy” doesn’t show up much. We tend to think of joy as part of one’s personal, not business, experience.
Now I’m thinking that’s actually a false division. Why shouldn’t our work be a source of joy?
I was talking about my consulting work (which is helping other people and companies find clarity of purpose, direction, and message) last week with someone on a Zoom call and I could feel the zeal, the gladness, the sense of fulfillment just pouring out of me. Other have seen the joy and remarked on it. When we’re in our sweet spot, doing the work we’re designed to do, driven by good purpose…should we not be filled with joy?
For years, I’ve known that one of my happiest places is maintaining woodlands – clearing trails, cutting trees, creating beauty in the wild. Recently, I was introduced to a local campground with extensive property – and a huge need for some volunteer to come in an “own” the woodland trails and improve them. I can hardly express what a joy this has been to me. That kind of work, that sort of role – right in the bullseye of my sweet spot.
My wife asked me this weekend what sort of legacy I want to leave behind. I had to give it a little thought, but only a little. I want to look out at a network of people and see individuals who have found their purpose, and who are running forward in happy productivity. Having clarity is my joy. Helping others gain clarity is my joy. Even making a clear path through the woods is my joy.
When we lead with clear purpose, and we make sure our team members all have a clear mission and roles and contributions, we can create a workplace that’s a breeding ground for joy. Vagueness and uncertainty and confusion lead to unhappiness. Individual and institutional clarity lead to joy.
I’ve been brainstorming with some of my clients lately about Leadership Clarity as an emerging and vital characteristic. Perhaps we should talk more about joyful engagement. What other kind of team culture would we want to develop?