Lightheartedness grows a humble heart.
What is lightheartedness? Lightheartedness in the dictionary and lightheartedness in Eastern Philosophy are defined differently. Buddhist thought purports that cares co-exist with cheer. The dictionary suggests that lightheartedness involves the absence of concerns.
I believe lightheartedness is the act of balancing cares, worries, and cheer. An example that comes to mind is when a parent teaches their child how to ride a bike. You and your child are anxious and worried about them falling. BUT without a few laughs and an encouraging push or two from dear old dad and/or mom that child may never know the beautiful feeling of riding a bike. This concept has weighed heavily on my heart for many reasons. Mainly, I feel like when I am climbing out of a valley of life, I get very serious. So laser focused that I fail at the little things in life. Especially within my relationships with those, I love the most.
I picked up this principle working in a customer service role. At my first job working at a women’s clothing store, the focus was on making women feel happy and accepted when they shopped at that store. Today their website reads, “Our culture embraces people’s diverse styles and perspectives, creating an inviting, caring and fun environment where everyone can feel right at home.” So early on I learned how to be light-hearted to create that feeling of being home in a store.
During my day to day activity, I do my best to be inviting, caring, and most of all FUN. I consciously SMILE and greet others. And most importantly I strive to spend quality time with people. By spending quality time with a colleague, we will usually find a movie pun to fit the situation. For instance a few weeks ago we played the sweet baby Jesus scene from Talladega Nights in a meeting. The laughs we shared placed a precedent for the rest of the workday.
I think we can get too serious. Of course, we should be serious about our life and work in that we do our best; I believe everyone should strive for excellence. But we can still endeavor to do our best work while cultivating an environment of lightheartedness.
All that to say it’s easy to get so caught up in the numbers and efficiency that most people forget the culture we cultivate contributes to our outcomes. Lightheartedness doesn’t mean that we should be walking around sharing dad jokes. Instead, view ourselves in the light of humility.
What I’ve observed in great leaders especially moms is that their ability to keep things light comes from their practice of humility—the practice of not taking themselves too seriously.
I hope that I can respond with humility and lightheartedness when things are going south, and when life is all sunshine.