Joy in the Journey

Jun 06, 2024

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in Sunday service at CrossPoint Church (Kansas) when my pastor, Andy Addis, dropped this quote: "Joy makes us advance when others retreat." It struck me enough to write it down when I got home and set it in front of the keyboard on my desk. As I’ve thought more about the quote, it’s become more apparent that joy in your mission may be the most important ingredient to success. That’s what I’d like to explore in this week’s thoughts.

We all face moments of difficulty and setbacks, whether in our personal lives or professional journeys. It’s easy to get discouraged and to pull back when things get tough. But joy has the unique ability to propel us forward, even when everything else suggests we should retreat.

Joy is what helps us tackle the hard things in life. It’s the fuel that keeps us going when the road gets rough. When we approach challenges with a joyful heart, we’re more likely to either succeed or, if we fail, to embrace that we learned a valuable lesson that can help us grow. When we’re joyful, we’re more likely to see opportunities rather than obstacles. We’re more creative, more willing to take risks, and more capable of inspiring those around us.

Making a change to improve, whether in our personal lives or in business, is often challenging because the first step is acknowledging that something needs improvement. This realization can be both inspiring and daunting. I’ve just begun reading John C. Maxwell’s book “How Successful People Grow: 15 Ways to Get Ahead in Life” and found this great quote: “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” It can be hard to admit that the current state isn't optimal, but choosing to get comfortable being uncomfortable opens the door to new possibilities and growth.

Change requires a commitment to continuous improvement. It’s about setting goals, developing new habits, and staying dedicated even when the initial excitement fades. The process is rarely a straight line; it involves setbacks and moments of doubt. However, maintaining joy throughout this journey can make all the difference. Joy keeps us motivated and focused on the positive outcomes we’re striving for, rather than getting bogged down by the difficulties. Another quote from Maxwell addressed this well: “Every time you make a mistake, don’t bring up everything that’s wrong with yourself; tell yourself that you’re paying the price for growth and that you will learn to do better next time.”

In my experience, whenever you try to implement change, negative forces appear. Resistance to change is a common human reaction. People might be comfortable with the status quo and fear the unknown. This resistance can come in many forms, such as skepticism, criticism, or even active pushback from those around you. These reactions can be discouraging and make it harder to stay committed to your goals.

Those are in addition to the internal negative forces I’ve touched on. Self-doubt, fear of failure, and the stress of stepping out of your comfort zone can be powerful obstacles. These internal battles are just as significant as any external resistance. That’s why it’s critical to recognize these negative forces and address them head-on. Remind yourself why the change is necessary and the benefits it will bring. Surround yourself with supportive people who encourage you and help maintain your focus on the positive aspects.

Now let’s transition this to our daily interactions and responsibilities at work. What if we set personal goals to improve our area of responsibility? Instead of seeing our work as a series of tasks to be completed, let’s find joy in the process and drive improvement. Let’s celebrate small victories. Kristina Sudbeck called me out recently for not celebrating those wins. We push hard and my general thought is that when we win at a project, that’s what we’re expected to do, so I just move on. As a result of her feedback, our team is now scheduling time every couple of weeks to celebrate wins. We did that yesterday, and it was amazing how much it relieved the stress at the end of a tough meeting. Kristina was right and now I believe those celebrations will bring a spirit of joy and lighten the challenges that lie ahead.

That leads me to this week’s challenge… take some time to count your blessings. Use those blessings to feed your joy. Don’t hold that joy in, instead share it. Let your family, friends, and coworkers see your joy and participate in it. I believe joy is contagious. The joy you share with them may turn out to be one of the blessings they choose to count.

I’m thankful that you went to work today, that you took time to read this, and that you’re a part of what makes this world amazing.