A burst of excitement, a feeling of intense satisfaction and accomplishment followed by the afterglow of knowing I had done well.” How to hold on to this feeling?” I ask myself. In different settings, I experienced the joy of working with a new client this week. In parallel, I also was reminded of the ease and comfort of engaging with a person who I have known for a very long time.
When a new client gets a positive first experience and is happy and empowered as a result of working with me, there is no other way to describe it other than joy. It’s a bit like sharing a favourite space with someone for the first time. The joy I get when a friend comes to our home in Kerala and breathes in a beautiful orange sunset for the first time with me multiplies my enjoyment of the space. When I take someone on my favourite walk and even though I know every turn in the road and every tree, the magic of sharing it with another, who finds joy in nature is always rewarding. Working with a new client and taking them to places that I know, but that is new to them gives me the same joy. Maybe the creative tension of waiting to see how the new experience is received adds something to this experience.
Not all new is easy to navigate. Sometimes, the newness has angular edges and some surprise moments that throw in a bit of the unexpected. Meeting a new client stakeholder, with a few new colleagues whom I also did not know that well needed much more preparation than I imagined. The newness in this case caused some tension (not of the creative kind) just the old-fashioned garden variety of stress. I needed to work extra hard to prepare for the engagement and the reward of course was worth that effort. But the newness in this case made for a lot of extra effort.
On the other hand, I am reminded of the comfort and ease of the known. This was underlined when I met an ex-colleague who then became a client after a long gap. Reconnecting was wonderful. The smiles lit up our faces when we met, the hug was warm and the conversation flowed effortlessly. After we had caught up on each other’s lives when we got down to discussing work the years just fell away. We slipped back into an easy rhythm, like getting into a pair of shoes that know the shape of my feet or a favourite shirt that just fits perfectly. The ease and comfort of that engagement was a reminder of the power of the known.
Maybe what made the known more valuable was the gap in our engagement. Finding a way to keep the familiar unfamiliar is something worth exploring. Approaching the known with fresh eyes may be the key to finding the joy of new and holding on to the comfort of the know. That way joy, comfort, and ease can all dance together.
As I look back on another week that raced by, these meetings, were the moments of my work life, that add up and make my life what it is. There was hard work, long hours, new challenges, and the known and the unknown to be navigated. To have found moments of joy and comfort in the midst of all of this is the reward. For the large part, they were minutes and hours well spent. I am reminded of some Simon Sinek wisdom, he says “Do work that matters for people who care”. I am grateful that I got to do some of that in the week gone by.
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