There’s a McAlister’s Deli in the town where we live, and we often stop by in the afternoon for a tall, beautiful glass of iced tea for me and a lemonade for my son.
Oh, who I am kidding–we’re there almost every day, and because McAlister’s gives free refills all day long, sometimes we end up there two or three times.
It may sound goofy, but that glass of McAlister’s iced tea never fails to bring me joy, especially during the long hot summer season, but on cold winter days, too.
Because we’re often there on our iced tea pilgrimage, I make a point of trying to learn the names of the kids working behind the counter. I do my best to ask how they’re doing in their classes in school or what their big plans are for the weekend. I try to remember to say “Have a good day/night” on my way out the door.
These conversations are all very casual, but I want the people who bring me my tea to know that I see them. It just seems the decent thing to do, and I feel good about myself as a human being when I do it. In that regard, it’s a purely selfish motive.
But here’s the thing — over time, I’ve noticed a change in the way the staff at McAlister’s treats us. When we walked in the other day, Jon called out from behind the counter, “Welcome to McAlister’s to my favorite people!”
I did my “Finding Joy When You’re Just Not Feelin’ It” recently at a local venue, and during the Q & A session afterwards, someone asked me what to do to encourage the people around you to be more joyful, particularly if they’re not.
I answered, but the longer I’ve thought about it the more I’m convinced I gave the wrong answer.
What can you do to encourage people around you to be more joyful when they’re not?
Nothing. Not one blessed thing.
Because in the end, the only person I can change is me, and the only person you can change is you.
People give a lot of lip service to “be the change that you want to see in the world,” but when it comes to joy, that’s really true.
If you want to see more joy around you — then it starts with you.
- Greet the kids behind the counter with a “hey, how’s it going?”
- Say please and thank you.
- Learn and say the names of the sales people you come into regular contact with.
- Go out on a limb and hold a door open for someone, and if they’re grouchy and rude in return, that’s on them, not on you.
Be the joy you want to see in the world…even if you’re not feelin’ it. Because if you do, you might just start feelin’ it after all.