Have Fun and Be Positive

This Friday, on our company culture call, I have the opportunity to talk about parts of two of our core values; have fun and be positive.  In our careers, we all have good days and bad.  As a result, I believe we need to think about how to apply our core values in context of our everyday work.   When thinking about these two values, it reminded me of a story.

While walking down the street, a man saw three bricklayers at work. He walked up to the first bricklayer and asked, "What are you doing?" The first bricklayer replied, "I am laying bricks."

The man walked up to the second bricklayer and asked, "What are you doing?" The second bricklayer replied, "I am building a wall."

The man walked up to the third bricklayer and asked, "What are you doing?" The third bricklayer replied, "I am helping to build to most beautiful cathedral the world has ever seen, and people will come from all over the world just to gaze upon its beauty."

Which bricklayer had the best job?  Which of those bricklayers would you want as your co-worker or your employee? Which of those bricklayers would you want to be?

All three bricklayers were doing the exact same thing, working on the exact same project. The only difference was their attitude.   Some research on how to be happy at work indicates that if you follow your passion, you will be happy.   I don't completely agree with that train of thought.   I like what Mike Rowe says, "Don't follow you passion, bring it with you"

Research on employee engagement from Gallup and similar sources tells us that:

  1. 30% of people are excited about their jobs
  2. 52% are disengaged
  3. 18% of people are so ticked off about what is going on in their organization that they are actively trying to harm it.

Mark C. Crowley describes it in this way:  Imagine a crew team on the Potomac river where three people are rowing their hearts out, five are taking in the scenery, and two are trying to sink the boat.

If you want to win and have fun, be positive.   It will be contagious and make your job enjoyable.   Work hard and master a skill.   Happiness research shows that mastering a skill brings enjoyment.

There are many things in the work environment that are outside of our control.    Don’t let the things you can’t control affect the things you can control.   Sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:  "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."