When we discuss our needs, we tend to focus on things like heat, electricity, food, home, and clothes. These are the practical things of life that bring security to our existence. These are on the bottom tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. However, if we stop here, we will miss out on the deeper and more valuable things that life can provide. 

For example, experiencing joy. I love watching children at Christmas time and seeing the expressions of joy as they encounter surprises and holiday fun. The smiles on their faces as they greet relatives and hear stories about Santa Claus. As adults we need those moments of joy – that feeling that even though there are challenges in life, we can have a deeper joy from our relationships. 

We need relationships with people we love and who love us–people we can call when we need support, who will listen to our concerns. We also need people who care enough not only to encourage us, but to also share a new perspective, or a difficult truth we might need to hear, so that we can grow.  These relationships are what give our life meaning and purpose.

We cannot take this journey of life alone. No one has all the knowledge, all the strength, and all the skill to truly make it on their own. We are meant to live and work in community with others. Doing so takes work, but the rewards are multiplied many times over as we reach out to each other.

When we tap into love and joy, our lives are enriched. Begin by identifying and remembering who or what brings joy into your life. Express gratitude to those who care for you and love you. Commit to staying in relationships with others – even those who disagree with you.

Joy and love also serve to enrich our leadership. As leaders, we can build meaningful, supportive relationships with team members. We can encourage our team to experience joy in their own lives. And as an added bonus, a joyful, relational leader will attract and retain a talented team!