What does digitizing old photos have to do with your workplace satisfaction? At first glance, not much.
But as I’ve delved deeper into my own home project of digitizing my photos, something unexpected has occurred to me.
I used to be so joyful.
I don’t mean that I’m unhappy now. But when I look at photos of me when I was little? That’s a whole different level of joy.
In the photos I found of myself at my fifth and sixth birthday parties, I was alive. I was silly. I was playful. I was joyful and happy. I can imagine myself being loud and literally carefree, not caring what anybody else thought about me.
And then as I progressed through the years and started finding my pre-teen photos and my teen photos, there's a noticeable shift. There’s a lot more restraint. I was learning to notice other people's reactions to me and be appropriate in how I behaved.
I learned to pull back on that joy and aliveness and make myself smaller.
Have you ever noticed this in yourself?
Where have you restrained your joy in your life and work? Imagine a world in which you could bring all of that messy, alive, fun, playful crazy self into your work, into your life.
What would be possible?
I was talking with a client recently who's an executive in her firm and she was telling me that she was unhappy in her work. As she began to think about her options and the possibility of making a change that would allow her to focus on what she was passionate about, something noticeably shifted in her...something became unlocked and she lit up - I could sense a new spark of aliveness.
She visibly shifted...and I saw that childlike spirit in her as she imagined what it would be like to do something that fully engaged her, something that sparked joy.
If you were to live in a world in which you could bring your full being into work - including all of that joy and unpredictable, messy authenticity - what would be possible for you?
What would it be like to share a full belly laugh with one of your colleagues? Or really celebrate the success of your team?
For so many of us, we've learned to numb ourselves. While we might shut down to avoid the discomfort of anxiety, stress, fear or overwhelm, the truth is, we can't selectively numb. So when we numb the hard feelings, we also numb our joy and full expression.
Today, I invite you to think about what you were like as a child. What do your photos show? Some may have to look back even further to find the truly free and expressive child. How have you pulled back in order to be appropriate, fit in, or gain approval from others?
Then ask yourself this: Where can you find a little more joy at work this week? And what would be possible if that joy spread throughout your team.
Want to talk more?
If you are inspired by bringing more joy and aliveness into your life and workplace, let’s chat! Reach out and book time to explore what’s possible: Click HERE
Joy and old photos
Katie is a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and Executive Coach.