Enjoy your job. Be happy in everything you do. I preach those concepts here are Intentional Employee and I talk about them on a daily basis. Sometimes though, you just have to do what you don’t enjoy.
How you handle doing those tasks will show your true character. As a preacher once told me, hitting your thumb with a hammer will test your vocabulary. Having to perform undesirable tasks will also show your true self.
Today was my daughter’s fifth birthday. We celebrated with family on Friday and then had a birthday party with her friends on Saturday. But, that birthday party was at Build-a-Bear in the busiest mall in St. Louis. I’m not a frilly kind of guy and I don’t like mall crowds. Yuck!
However, I love celebrating with Cara. She’s one of the four suns (I have three daughters and an extraordinary wife) that light my world. That doesn’t mean I wanted to go to this party. Of course I was going to go…it was her birthday. But I did not want to.
Just like when I have to complete a task I don’t want to do, I typically realize it wasn’t that bad. I actually had a lot of fun at this party. The kids get to bring home a bear but the experience of making, bathing and personalizing the bear is the fun part.
Frustration is temporary – My youngest daughter could not make up her mind as to what stuffed animal she wanted to make. We walked back and forth from bin to bin. She wanted this one. Then she wanted that one. Finally, she picked one.
I could have really shown frustration and said she pick one or we were leaving (I assume that happens to several parents who forget that their kids are just kids). I got a little frustrated but that waned quickly. First, we weren’t in that big of a hurry that a delay really mattered. I also wanted her to be happy with her final selection.
When you feel frustrated about something you’re doing, take a step back. Ask yourself, “Does this really matter that much?” Likely, there is not a good reason to be frustrated. Does frustration help solve the issue? No, it does not.
Celebrate small successes – When Leeann finally picked her animal, we celebrated it. When she “washed” her puppy in the digital bath tub, we told her how great of a job she was doing. When Cara named her pony the same name as the “type” of pony it was, we encouraged her.
If you wait to celebrate only when there are big successes, you will miss out on so much joy in your life. You will also not translate that joy to someone else. This works with adults too! It might be more powerful with adults because they “think” more critically and take things more personally.
Take it to heart – For each animal getting stuffed, the child gets to put a fabric heart inside the stitching. The employees instruct the children to rub the hearts against their own hearts or to give the hearts kisses.
These hearts don’t add anything to the animal in reality. But the children remember putting the hearts in the animals and believe they help make the animals real. Why can’t we do this as adults?
Can you add a little heart to the tasks you perform? You could hand-write a thank you note instead of sending an email. You could tell the administrative staff how much you appreciate what they do instead of bossing them around. You can offer your assistance when it’s not expected instead of making someone suffer. Let’s add some heart to what we do.
Enjoy your time – The Build-a-Bear visit ended up being very enjoyable. Sometimes we need to get out of our own ways and just enjoy what we’re doing.
Enjoying a menial task may be hard. If you tell yourself to enjoy it, you actually might. I told myself I was going to have fun at this birthday party and I did. You should tell yourself the same thing. Don’t let frustration get in the way. Celebrate your small successes. Put some heart into it and you might even enjoy it.
Until next time: Be intentional. Be happy. Enjoy success.