A good friend of mine used this phrase (find the joy) as his IM tag. He is a brilliant marketer. I think I now understand what he meant, but it took one other person and two other experiences to help me get there.
I recently attended a lecture by Tony Wagner who talked about, among other things, his seven survival skills for teens today (as expressed in his book The Global Achievement Gap).
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Collaboration across Networks and Leading by Influence
- Agility and Adaptability
- Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
- Effective Oral and Written Communication
- Accessing and Analyzing Information
- Curiosity and Imagination
During the lecture, he asserted that these are the necessary ingredients to assure the success of a school in the 21st century. I was sitting next to a good friend Marja Brandon, who raised her hand to say that there was a missing ingredient - joy. She is the head of Seattle Girls School, and her school absolutely embraces these seven, but the ingredient that makes her school successful is #8 - Joy. The hallways, classrooms, the very fabric of the school must be steeped in joy, for this must the stuff of any place where our children spend time.
The second experience came today as I read Martin Lindstrom's article in Advertising Age entitled How Apple, Others Have Cultivated Religious Followings. In it, he talks about the nine ingredients required to create brand following: A Clear Vision, A Sense of Belonging, An Enemy, Sensory Appeal, Storytelling, Grandeur, Evangelism, Symbols, and Rituals.
Like Wagner, I think Lindstrom forgets that final ingredient of Joy. I own a lot of Apple gear, and I know that feeling of making my purchase at the Apple Store, or receiving a package at home, and further that feeling you get when you share the newest, coolest app that you just downloaded for your iPhone with a fellow-iPhoner. (It is enhanced when you sense the rest of the group's envy at not having that particular toy!)
Joy makes me return to the store, it is also what makes Marja's students run to school everyday.
My good friend was right with his IM tag - "find the joy" is fundamental, and Marja was right about her school. If you can find, capture, and sustain this feeling, you get to be successful. And what's more, to the outside world, it looks incredibly easy and natural; and your peers/competitors all look with envy because it is that ineffable thing that they simply don't know how to name or capture.
There is no doubt in my mind that finding and holding on to the joy is one of the most difficult things any person or organization will do.
It takes hard, hard work, a truly authentic commitment, and the integrity and savvy to recognize and respect it.