Archives: Sparks18

V51 – Generating Joy

From big surprises to small habits, this week we explore different ways of finding, cultivating and spreading Joy. When we were young, Joy was often created for and around us, but as we grow older, we realize sometimes it’s up to us to do the creating. It really doesn’t take much, and when we approach creating Joy with our Whole Heart, the return is tenfold.


Good Morning, Peyton!

Just as the sun goes down, but the sky is still light, it’s the magic time for Peyton Madden. Eleven-year-old Peyton is living with a rare skin disease, xeroderma pigmentosum, that prevents him from being in the sun. These 30 minutes or so of dusk are when Peyton can be outside just like any other kid — biking, running, and playing. In an effort to embrace his differences and bring Joy to Peyton and his family, his community and the National Organization for Rare Disorders came together one evening to celebrate his rare disorder. They turned night into day and hosted a surprise “Good Morning, Peyton” event. From a parade to a pool party and a pancake “breakfast,” hundreds of people came together to spread Joy and let Peyton enjoy social activities he is otherwise excluded from. The gigantic smile that bursts across his face as he realizes what has been created just for him will bring a huge smile to yours as well.

This town created Joy for Peyton by empathizing with his challenges and celebrating his differences. In our own organizations, how might we tailor our Experience to show empathy and turn a challenge or constraint into Joy? How might we be more tuned in to the unique circumstances our patients and guests may be facing?

Plan for Happiness

What happens when one of the largest publications nationwide focuses on Joy? In an effort to explore the many ways one can find and maintain a state of happiness, Time magazine did an entire special edition issue called “The Science of Happiness.” The article outlines fourteen different ways to reach a joyful state. It isn’t a step-by-step guide to happiness, rather a pick-and-choose of ways that you can find happiness in your day. From savoring the small things to finding purpose in pleasure, it’s a fantastic list to try. Last but not least on the list is “make Sunday future-fun day.” In other words, plan for the next weekend and allow yourself to anticipate the Joy to come. Productivity consultant Julie Morgenstern suggests that all weekends should be designed around the acronym PEP: physical, escape, people. When those three elements are at the core of your time, it’s inevitable that it will be filled with Joy.

While some of our team members and providers don’t always have the luxury of working a “traditional” schedule with free weekends and time off. How might we encourage them to take personal time and practice self care? How can we encourage and support our people in planning for happiness and designing for Joy?

Finding Joy

When was the last time you did something because it made you smile? Oprah shares with us a simple exercise that helps identify what gives us Joy and how to find time for it. In our overloaded lives, we often find ourselves thinking that there just isn’t room for much Joy or that when we do find it, Joy needs to be some gigantic, overwhelming emotion. That simply isn’t the case. It is not about the euphoria (although it can be every once in awhile), it’s about finding what makes us light up every day and making sure that we work those things into our lives. That’s the secret to finding Joy that lasts.

Print out Oprah’s finding Joy exercise and give it a try. Book time on your calendar. Tell your team what you are doing. Choose to cultivate Joy.

0-100: What Makes You Happy?

As you explore what brings you Joy, check out this charming video from SoulPancake in which 100 people of all ages and walks of life answer that big question. From gummy bears to making music, or laughing underwater, their delightful answers will remind you that true Joy comes in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and forms, and that everyone has their own special experiences.


V50: Joy in Action

As health care leaders, we are immersed in so many of life’s powerful emotions on a daily basis – from the elation of birth, recovery, and healing to the Moments of uncertainty, illness, and loss. It’s important to remember, however, that amidst the emotions we often feel in these situations, we have the power to recognize and cultivate Joy. And remember: Joy is contagious, so the more we create, the more it grows. This week, we look at discovering and rediscovering Joy within our own walls and out in the world.

Have a Joy-filled week!


Flipping the Joy Model

While we’re always on a mission to bring Joy into the lives of our patients, Colton Nordvik reminds us that our guests are in need of Joy, too. Flipping the model of the toy drive, high school senior Nordvik asked his community to make donations such as cologne, picture frames, coffee mugs, and pajamas to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Northern California. The goal was to create a store where the young patients of Shriners Hospitals could shop for a present for their parents. This allowed the patients to Experience the Joy of giving even from their hospital rooms.

How can we put the Joy of giving into the hands of our team members, providers, patients, and guests? Reflect on how the act of giving brings Joy to both people involved.

Restoring Joy

Drs. David Rosenthal and Abraham Verghese went on a journey to help physicians rediscover Joy in their work. They found that the key to reversing the trending disconnect, which came with the introduction of the electronic medical record, was challenging but simple: dedication to human Connection. To invigorate Joy in their work, physicians must not fall prey to treating what Rosenthal and Verghese call the “iPatient,” or the profiles created by the “drop-down menus, cut-and-paste text fields, and lists populated with a keystroke.” It’s critical, instead, to truly see, acknowledge, and prioritize the human Connection. Rosenthal and Verghese go on to point out that this isn’t limited to the patient-doctor in-person Connection, it’s also about doctors spending time with colleagues and designing spaces such as lounges and lunchrooms to facilitate getting out from behind a computer and connecting with each other.

The power of human Connection isn’t just the key to finding Joy in work for physicians; it’s the secret to job satisfaction for all of us. What ways can we unlock the opportunities for our team members, providers, patients, and guests to connect with and acknowledge each other?

Ode to Joy

Magical things happen when an entire nation dedicates itself to Joy. In Japan, it is an end-of-year tradition to sing the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” The song is such an essential part of the Japanese culture that it’s known just as daiku, which translates literally to “number nine.” This particular recording is of the Number Nine Chorus performing daiku after the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan in 2011. What is normally a practice of giving time and effort to Joy became a moment of Joy for the entire world. Feel your heart soar as the chorus comes in.

The power of large groups of people devoting themselves to Joy is undeniable. Luckily, our organizations are home to thousands of people who have opportunities to discover and practice Joy collectively every single day. How are we encouraging our team members, providers, patients, and guests to come together in displays of Joy?

Joy in Action at Vidant

Joy can be shared in so many different ways and our friends at Vidant Health are creating Joy across the entire system. From surprising team members with healthy farmers market treats, to tossing Joy Prompts from the Joy action kit to begin a nursing leadership meeting, to designing a new kind of Service Award Experience, team members are feeling the Joy in their work and that their Experience matters.

The Service Award Experience, in particular, was a great example of creating Joy by intentionally designing for it. Julie Kennedy-Oehlert, Vidant’s Chief Experience Officer shared, “We didn’t just stage a traditional ‘years of service’ Service Award Experience for a group of 500 team members and their spouses. We designed unique and special ways to make the Moments memorable.” Leaders greeted team members and spouses personally at the door. Team members wore badges proudly depicting the number of years they have served and as each tenured group was announced, the number one hit song from the year they started their work with Vidant was played. Joy was shining in the eyes of everyone there as the memorable Moments unfolded. “You know the energy is changing when a president who is often quite reserved gets on stage and authentically opens with ‘I love you guys.’”

How might we intentionally design for Joy at an upcoming meeting? What little touches might make a big impact?