Have you ever noticed how common it is to bond with others by complaining?

Have you ever noticed how questions like, “How ya doin’?” or “How have you been?” often come with a concerned look?  As if seeking what’s wrong. Seeking what’s not working.

Or how strangers or co-workers will complain about the weather?  Or how tired they are?  Or how busy they are?  And oddly, all in an effort to connect, relate, and bond.  This is the common ground that people often seek first.

While gossip is the quickest and easiest way to emotional intimacy, co-complaining is a close second. Both are cheap. The first is mean and ego-validating.  The second is contagious and energy-draining.

So let’s be intentional rather than taking the easy lame route.

Instead, connect by sharing something you’re grateful for, a sweet moment that made you smile, or sharing something that’s working in your world.  Ask, “What are you most looking forward to today?” or “What’s a highlight from your day today?” or just smile really big with twinkles in your eyes and watch people around you smile in response.  I promise, it will fill you up with warm fuzzy energy goodness.

What you focus on expands, so focus on the good stuff.

There are times in our lives – and in our work – in which we genuinely need empathy, compassion and comfort. And when those times come, seek those who will lift you up.

All those other times though — especially in all those momentary interactions with co-workers and strangers – consider being a source of joy.  Consider being contagious joy.

Here’s to a day chock-full of joy to the world!

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For more insightful tips on how to create joy in your workplace, check out Culture Works. Also available on Amazon.