Key Point: Laughter and a sense of humor are like oxygen for the spirit. I love to make people laugh and work with people who do the same. Over my career, practical jokes and just plain finding the humor in daily stuff has made such a difference in my life. Getting results at work is serious, but it doesn’t mean that it requires everyone to be head down, humorless and somehow thinking fun is for “after work.” These days, particularly with the advancement of mobile technology, work and after work are blending into what is clearly just life. I am not going to reserve humor for “after 5:00 p.m. and weekends.” I don’t expect everyone to be a comedian or prankster but if you’re a sour puss, please go work somewhere else. The Mayo Clinic and countless other scientific organizations have underlined the important health benefits of laughter. You and I deserve to laugh and have fun with each other for no other reason than it is physically and emotionally good for us. In fact, I believe we owe it to ourselves to laugh out loud daily, as many times as we can. It also impacts our P.Q. (Positive Quotient).
This week my CEO took a few of us to a world class Comedy Festival. Belly laughing for a couple of hours reminded me of how sometimes we under value humor in the office. By the way, this CEO is a guy who laughs everyday. I love working with him. (Trust me… This does not diminish his toughness). During my career I have prided myself in practical jokes, including but not limited to putting a colleagues sailing boat up for sale at 25 percent of its value, hiding a CEO’s top secret plan after he threatened to fire anyone who misplaced it, and an unimaginable number of infantile, but hopefully well intentioned pranks. More importantly, finding the daily humor in most things is what I really believe puts a smile on each other’s souls.
Even serious subjects are fair game. As an example, we are getting ready to up our game by advancing the company diversity/inclusion strategy and that’s causing some angst regarding implementation. So I sent the following picture out and added the caption as a precursor to our planning discussion on the next steps:
“Ok raise your hand if you want to talk about our inclusion strategy?”
Ok… Humor is personal but at least I’m trying to see comedy in this subject… Haha.
Character Moves to Improve Our Sense of Humor (Adapted from the Mayo Clinic research):
- Put humor on your daily horizon. Consciously look for things that make you and others laugh. This could include proactively looking for photos or comic strips that make you chuckle. Keep funny movies or comedy podcasts on hand for when you need an added boost. (I love CBC’s “This is That.” Everytime I listen to those guys, I burst out laughing).
- Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. (Remember my scrotum blog)? 🙂
- Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with funny friends and teammates. And then return the favor by sharing comedic stories or jokes with those around you. Occasionally a great, and still tasteful practical joke makes a wonderful contribution.
- Knock-knock. Look for the humor in situations around you. Connect the wonderful attributes of your teammates to what is naturally funny about themselves and their situations. This is NOT making fun of people, but finding wonderful humor in what is unique and glorious about them.
- Know what isn’t funny. Don’t laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor aren’t appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad, or hurtful one. Anything involving the bathroom and related body parts is usually out of line… Certainly with workmates. (This is where there is a difference between “work” and “non-work.”
Havin’ a laugh in The Triangle,