Joy and passion in your work will bring satisfaction

Do you love your job? Do you get up every morning excited to get started?

If you are like me, and you love what you do from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m., you don’t need to use the four-letter word — work — when you are heading out the door.

Donald Cooper — a man whose family name is synonymous and legendary in Canada with the world of hockey and “play” — agrees. He addressed an audience of entrepreneurs and business people last month in the Sault, hosted by the Innovation Centre.

When Cooper kisses his wife goodbye in the morning he says, “I’m off to play now.” He believes that complacency never gets the best results; passion does.

So the questions is: how do you get passionate about your work?

Surely you are passionate about many things outside of your work. Surely you care about people and things outside of work. So the question really is: why can’t you bring passion and caring with you to work?

It seems that many people undergo a transformation of who they are before they get to work. They seem to change the way they dress, the way they talk, the way they deal with people.

The latter is the matter that concerns me the most, because people at work are often not as nice to people as when they meet them on the weekend. They are more abrupt, less helpful, and yes, sometimes downright rude.

So how do you inject your sense of joy and passion from your personal life into your work? How do you bring some of your “weekend self” to work? By bringing “ourselves” to work, we will be happier in even the most mundane tasks, or dealing with the most difficult people.

Never forget the value of what you do and, more importantly, how you do it. Regardless of your employer, you are helping to satisfy the needs of other people. We all have needs that we want filled, but we seem to forget the needs of others, it seems … at least, while we are at work.

As Cooper said: “what is missing in business today is passion and joy. I always reminded my staff that people come for whatever we sell, plus joy.”

Joy, pleasure, satisfaction — these are what we experience when our needs are met. Let’s find a way to bring that joy, that pleasure, that satisfaction to our customers and those around us at work. By doing so, we’ll bring that joy back to us. In business, as in life, we get what we give.

There are few of us who don’t appreciate great customer service — when people go out of their way to help us satisfy our needs.

“Can I help you?” is uttered a thousand times a day. Thinking about the essence of that question, the asker needs to be thinking about what the other person needs.

When people go “above and beyond” what they have to do in their work description, they are going beyond our expectations. When a sales associate tells us to buy a product elsewhere, whether they carry it or not, it is a form of “favour.” It goes beyond their obligation to us and, in doing so, they place our needs ahead of theirs. They are serving us.

That is the root of service — placing others’ needs ahead of our own. It’s a good thing to serve and help others; let’s remember that.

Often, long after what we bought is gone, what we remember is the service. Let’s be memorable in our dealings with others, period. Even when we interact with people that we may never see again, it doesn’t change the importance of serving others. Remember that and make it memorable for them.

Once you’ve had a great experience, your expectations change. Once you’ve had a really great tiramisu, a good one is no longer good-enough. Once you’ve been to IKEA or Disney World, your expectations change. You want that kind of experience, that kind of customer service, every day. You come to expect it.

To be successful and memorable, you can’t be average or merely “expected.” Be the one who sets the expectation; be the one who raises the bar. Be worth following and you will never have to look behind you.

Cooper showed a graphic photo of a child kissing/licking a pig’s snout through a petting-zoo fence, and explained that businesses have to genuinely love their customers . . . as much as this child loved the pig. He talked about good and bad businesses whose success was defined by their willingness to “kiss the pig.”

Work should be adult play. In finding happiness 9 a. m. to 5 p. m., it is less about loving your work and more about loving your customer. You have to want to “kiss the pig.”

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