I don’t think we’re having fun anymore. We’re rushed, stressed, harried, tense, bitter, grumpy, tired… we’re a lot of things, but happy is seldom one of them.

I think it’s time to choose to be happy; to have fun in the face of stress; and to be buoyant just when you feel like you’re sinking. I know it’s possible because I see people making it happen all the time. The most amazing people I see are the ones whose positivity seems to be inversely related to the heat of the moment. Their mood is able to rise to the level needed to keep themselves and their team afloat.

If you’re feeling like nothing is ever fun anymore, you need to change something: TODAY!

Take inspiration from those who choose to be positive, to look on the bright side, and to have fun at work. I’m pretty sure that these people don’t have jobs that are inherently easier or less stressful. I don’t think they have home lives that are simple or smooth in comparison to yours. I think they’ve just decided that life’s too short to feel like you’re toiling all the time.

Here are some examples.


Michelle was the woman working the security line at the airport Monday morning. Michelle was choosing to have fun…and that was a gutsy choice on this particular morning. It was the first snowstorm of the season and one of the major highways to the airport was closed. That meant everyone was late getting to the airport. The lineups were SO bad that people were panicking that they would miss flights. But instead of getting sucked in to the angst-ridden tone in the room, Michelle would periodically make an announcement in her almost song-like lilting voice imploring anyone getting close to their departure time to come see her to get expedited. She greeted each and every person with a “good morning love,” or a “how you doing sweetie?” An hour after passing through security, the woman next to me on the plane asked if I had seen the lovely lady in security. We both agreed that we were going to take Michelle’s attitude with us. That was a good thing because it turned out one of the people stuck on that highway was our co-pilot and our flight sat on the tarmac for two and a half hours before we finally took off!

Will you choose to make the sunniness of your disposition inversely related to the stress of the situation like Michelle did?

CICU Nurse

A couple of years ago, my mom had triple bypass surgery. When my dad and I were finally given clearance to go into her room in the cardiac ICU, mom was sedated, intubated, and being kept alive by a whole network of machines. It was late at night, the room was dark, and the beeps and whirs of machines were continuous. When we met the nurse who was caring for my mom, my dad (who is always ill at ease in hospitals) asked “how can you do this job?” She got a big smile on her face and said enthusiastically “how could I NOT do this job?” Obviously, she chose to see her stressful, high stakes job as a calling. The next morning, she said mom had been “naughty” overnight, which I learned later meant that her heart stopped twice and her lung collapsed.  I’m not sure how I would have got through that night without that fantastic nurse!

Will you choose to find your work awesome, important, and meaningful no matter what you do?

I try to take a page from these positive people, especially when I’m having a rough day. The worse the situation gets, the more I dial up my responses when someone asks “how are you today?” I like to say “great,” or “awesome,” or even occasionally, when I really need a lift “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” It’s not that things are actually going great, but I find that being “awesome by choice” is just as powerful.

Will you be awesome by choice today?

Further Reading

How do I Know When it is Time to Quit

Culture is the Cheapest to Change

Excellence is Character First, Culture Second, Competence Third

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