Within the last thirty days, I’ve spent time with top performers who were being recognized by their companies for producing awesome results in the prior fiscal year.

One of those individuals was Marilyn Jones. She took a call from a customer that was having challenges. She didn’t pass his call. She handled it herself. The customer called her manager to say that Marilyn went above and beyond the call of duty to resolve his issue. In fact, he said that it was one of the best experiences he ever had. 

As I was reflecting on this experience, I had to share with you five quick ideas that I learned by watching and listening to these men and women from around the world:

Take the Road Less Traveled – Men and Women who rock it take on the work that no one else wants to do. They are the first to raise their hands to take an assignment or project that would intimidate their colleagues. If everyone is doing it, walk the other way. 

Love it or Leave it – Everyone I talked to over the last 30 days said they “love what they do.” When I asked them about their work, they lit up like a Christmas tree. They couldn’t say enough nice things about their team, boss, and the difference they are making for their customers. If you don’t love what you do in business, make a date with destiny, and decide what it will take to shift in a new direction.  

Velcro Yourself to Learning Everything – Be curious about everything. Ask questions. Push the envelope. Get out of your comfort zone. Attempt to do something you’ve never done in order to become something new and different. Create a book club that meets via Google Chat or Zoom. Talk about what you are learning and the implications for your business or life. Create a daily action plan to use something that you’ve learned immediately. 

See the World – Do you have a passport? If not, why not? If you do, plan a trip overseas. I was talking with a friend of mine recently, and she is taking her entire family to China for 30 days. Yes, they are taking their kids out of school for an entire month. The school blessed it and told them they can re-enroll when they return. Can you imagine the difference between reading about The Great Wall of China and seeing The Great Wall of China? Last year I saw the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy and now my prayer to God is that He would speak through like he painted the Sistine Chapel through Michelangelo. When you see it, trust me, you will understand it. If you want to simulate seeing the world, start with Google Earth. 

Joy is more important than happiness – The Happiness Movement that is sweeping the globe is a remix of Norman Vincent Peale’s book on Positive Thinking, except today there is evidence-based research to prove this theory. Awesome! However, I believe deep in my heart and all down to the tips of my toes that JOY is more powerful than happiness. 

Happiness comes and goes. Joy is like an umbrella on a rainy day. Happiness can be dependent on circumstances. Joy is steady just like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  Happiness may come as a result of having a job. However, joy is doing fulfilling work that leaves an imprint on the canvas of history. The lifeblood of any spiritual being is joy. 

As I looked into the eyes of these top-performing men and women who excelled in their fields, I realized they had “unspeakable joy.” Which do you have: joy or happiness? And yes, you can have both. 

I am curious: what do you think is the difference between joy and happiness?