It was a good day. An excellent day, even. I rode the high of accomplishment all the way home. Not even Southern California traffic could get me down.
Turns out my husband had a horrible day. It was a doozy. It was one of those days that you can’t make up, it was so difficult.
After he had shared his day, he asked about mine. The happiness at my day seemed out of place next to his difficulties.
So, I shrugged my shoulders and said something like, “It was ok.”
Turns out I made a mistake not sharing the joy of my day.
Studies (like these: https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2338 and https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201307/the-science-behind-the-joy-sharing-joy?amp) suggest that joy shared not only increases the joy of the person who originally experienced the joy, but it also boosts the joy of those who hear it.
In fact, one of these studies followed over 4700 individuals over the course of 20 years and found that sharing joy can positively affect up to three degrees of separation! That’s your friend, and their friend, and their friend’s friend all increasing their joy because you chose to share yours.
If I had chosen to share my joy, it is significantly more likely that my husband’s joy would have increased and he would have in turn affected those closest to him in a positive manner and increased their joy.
Yet, I let that power sit unused.
His day didn’t need to end on such a hard note; I took that from him.
As leaders, to avoid seeming like we’re gloating, or showing off, we don't often share our joys.
Somehow, we’ve allowed society to twist “acceptable” conversation topics to revolve around misery and trials.
Misery indeed likes company.
Leaders fall for this facade perhaps more than many because of the perception that a leader showing joy is one who maybe “doesn’t get it” and doesn’t know how to connect with the difficulties of life.
Au contraire, mon frere (or ma sœur). I submit to you that what we focus on provides a focus for others.
I’m saying the reason it is almost a faux pas to share our joy is because we don’t do it enough!
True joy, if contained, sours and becomes almost a bitterness. When it is shared, however, it not only buoys the spirits of those you tell, it also lifts you up further.
Which one of us can’t do with a good uplifting?
When the leader is joyful, everyone has the opportunity to be joyful.
We leaders set the bar in every facet, including joy. If we leave any bar low, we not only stagnant ourselves, but also suffocate those over whom we have influence.
WITH leaders understand that authenticity is to express the full spectrum of human emotion, especially joy.
It’s better for all of us.