I really like the Incredible Hulk. Whether it’s the old-school spray painted Hulk from the early 80’s, or the recent Avenger Series Hulk, everyone seems to be a fan of him. I sometimes wonder, why?  Why do we like this angry Jolly Green Giant? Why does my 3-year-old always choose him as his favorite super hero? I’m starting to think it is because we all want some of what he’s got. We want to be unstoppable. We want to hurdle every obstacle with purple ripped jeans like our hero, The Hulk. We want to show the world we are… strong.

            The desire to be strong is a natural part of life. We all want to be seen as strong and full of grit, but sometimes we just don’t know how to snap out of “weakness”. I’m talking about the wet-noodle kind of weakness. The kind of weakness that causes us to forget our dreams, settle for the mediocre marriage, or hide in the dugout when we are up to bat. 

But… We also have probably realized how the Hulk Hogan / Ultimate Warrior kind of strength doesn’t work out too well. Faking it ultimately kills us. And we also realized the Incredible Hulk type of strength doesn’t pan out too well either. Walking through life angry and upset has a way of sucking our strength from us and puts a strain on our most valuable relationships. Think about it. Do you like to be around people who are angry all the time? I don’t either. This is kind of my point. As much as I like The Incredible Hulk on TV, I wouldn’t want him to be my CEO or my Project Manager. That would suck. And no matter how luxurious my salary may be, it’s just not worth it.  The Hulk is the last type of boss I want. Unstable and angry. Nope. Not going to do it. 

            What’s your point then Danny? I’m glad you asked. 

My point is that we all want and need strength. Strength for our businesses to thrive, strength for our marriages to make it through, and strength to love our kids through the emotional roller coaster of puberty.  But the kind of strength I’m talking about isn’t ripping pages out of a Phone Book. I’m talking about something different and often neglected in leadership development – JOY. 

Because Joy = Strength. 

Think about it for a second. If you are working in a joy-filled environment, is your immediate inclination to quit your job or complain about your boss? Probably not. If joy is present in the workplace, do you think it may affect our employee retention? If our C-Suite executives are leading with true and contagious joy, will it be difficult to follow them and commit to the mission of the company? 

Joy strengthens our hearts. – We come to work for the right reasons, not just to pick up a paycheck. 

Joy strengthens our commitments. – When joy is present, we weather through the valley, seeing beauty on the journey itself, not just the destination. 

Joy strengthens our relationships. – Valuing one another and not holding grudges.

Joy strengthens our communication.  – Listening to one another. Isn’t it a lot easier to 

talk to someone if they are smiling?

 So, let’s allow some joy in the workplace. And not just the goofy, marshmellowy stuff. Or the ping pong tables and putt-putt golf in the breakroom. 

 But the kind of joy that gives strength to our smiles in the most trying of times. The kind of joy that stands with integrity when the fiscal year finishes outside of the black. The kind of joy that goes beyond words, marks our fingerprints, and brings life to listeners. 

 This is the joy that equals strength…