The joy of work


February 9th, 2012

Reader warning: self reflection

In the last couple of weeks my extraversion muscle has been stretched to its limit. It’s interesting to notice our own limits. I am now revelling in complete isolation. My partner is off cycling and I’m alone, completely alone and with few demands on my time and energy. It’s rejuvenating. It won’t last either. Soon I will crave the company of others, the warmth of real human bodies and people I can touch and relate to in a different way to how I reach out here on the internet.

I’m conscious of this rythym, this ebb and flow of being with, and being away from, people. A friend said to me recently that, given my need to be alone to recuperate, it’s an odd choice to be a facilitator, to put myself in front of groups of people. The thing is, I love it. I love being with groups, in front of groups, performing, being challenged, meeting people, seeing their delight, their anxiety turn to engagement, and sometimes, even joy. My personal aim is to bring more joy to my work, for myself and others.

It takes a long time to know yourself well, to know your limits, your strengths, the buttons that ¬†activate sometimes outrageous responses. We’re all still learning this together, right? In moments of doubt, I tell myself I know how to do this. It helps.

It also helps to have perspective. To know what really matters and what’s really important. In the build up to a big event, in the moment of standing in front of a hundred or so people, it can appear that this is what’s really important, that the world might actually stop if I stuff this up. It won’t. The world will hardly notice. In fact, many of the people in the room will hardly notice. That’s humbling. That’s perspective.

Like you, I’ll do my best. Sometimes my best is better than even I imagined. Sometimes it’s just good enough. Sometimes it’s not good at all. Surprise! We’re human. We’re vulnerable, we’re fallible, we’re inconsistent, we have emotions.

And then there are friends. When the work fades away to just a memory of just another event, the friends we’ve made along the journey remain. Now that’s joy.

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