Everyone needs a joy buddy! At least, that’s the recommendation of Amanda Gore, keynote speaker at the recent Entrata Summit held in Park City, Utah. Drawing on her background in neuroscience, positive psychology, and epigenetics, she delivered a high-energy presentation on how to ignite joy in life, relationships, and business.
It all comes down to being our best selves, which involves careful observations of our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves. According to Gore, that’s not something most of us are good at. She estimates that 95 to 99 percent of the time, we are unconscious of our own thoughts.
Our unconscious thoughts are often based on ideas we “learned” as very young children, when our perspective was necessarily limited and we weren’t capable of observing, much less interpreting, the nuances of our experiences. These thoughts become the stories and beliefs that we repeat to ourselves again and again, and they can grow to be very powerful influences in our lives.
Over time those thoughts can corrupt our “source code”, as Gore described it, shaping our actions and the way we see ourselves, and clouding the reality of our own true nature. And that’s where a joy buddy can help. Having a friend to meet with, to talk about what we observe in our own thoughts, and to parse the stories we tell ourselves, can help us recapture who we are at our essence, leading us to become our best self.
In her inimitable way, Gore explained how these principles are woven through the foundations of emotional intelligence (EQ) and can have profound impacts on our abilities to lead. She discussed how the same principles that lead us to be our BEST self help us become the BEST leaders, and shared a few tips for creating the kind of culture that builds organizations and people at the same time.
B is for Belonging. “Create an environment where people feel they belong,” suggested Gore. One of humanity’s three core fears that transcend time and place is the fear of separation. The more connected we are, the better our networks, the better we feel.
E stands for Effort. “When you praise effort rather than talent, skills, or abilities, you build a growth mindset,” said Gore. And growth and development are key things happy employees say they love about their job or their boss.
S represents Safety. Another core fear is that of being unsafe in some way. “Creating a safe workplace doesn’t just mean physically safe,” explained Gore. “It’s emotionally safe too: a fear-free environment.”
Finally, T stands for “Ta-Da!” “The number one thing people want is recognition and acknowledgment,” said Gore. She explained that, on the inside, we’re all doing silent Ta-Da, and when we create a culture that looks for the silent Ta-Da’s and celebrates them, people stick around because it’s joyful.
Throughout the presentation, Gore demonstrated each of these principles as she led over 400 people through short, engaging exercises with a liberal dose of smiles, thumbs up signs, and even hugs. She encouraged audience members to interact with the people sitting nearby and at the end of the hour nearly everyone was on their feet, singing and dancing, with two new joy buddies on either side.