What Delights You at Work? (And Why It Matters)

I’m always excited to begin working with a new coaching client – to experience the “dopamine hit” of an unknown journey full of possibility, and the pleasure of getting to know another human being deeply. 

In my coaching process, the purpose of the first meeting is to understand the client’s world, using a gentle interview style, collecting information which then forms the basis for the coaching plan.  Like any purposeful conversation, this “intake” benefits from a powerful opening, such as an engaging question. 

I’ve been experimenting with lead-off questions, and was intrigued to try this one:

What is your biggest delight and your biggest challenge?

Why delight? 

Delight is not captured in any KPI’s I know of, and we sure as heck didn’t learn about it in graduate school.  And yet, without needing a dictionary definition, most of us have a feeling and sense of what it is. 

Delight is free and light, while challenges are heavy.  In my opinion, delight cannot exist without emotion (while challenges certainly can).  Delight demands engagement and paying attention, even if just for a moment.  

Tall order for the workplace?  Maybe. 

Yet, consider the question for yourself:  What delights you at work?  In the rest of your life?

And here’s why knowing what delights you matters:

  • Just by naming your delight, you’ll notice and appreciate it more.
  • Maybe you’ll choose to do more – or at least not less – of what delights you.  Most of us spend our day on such a variety of tasks and responsibilities, we can try to sprinkle in the delightful parts more frequently. 
  • As I recently wrote about on LinkedIn, what we enjoy/what delights us becomes important data for our choices how we spend our time, because it is so individual. 

One person’s delight is another person’s slog.

What if nothing delights you?  A few thoughts :

  • Sit with the question for a little bit, because “delight” – even though people intuitively know it – is not something we think of often.
  • Reframe the question to: what do you enjoy? Also very revealing.
  • Ask the question for your non-work life so you feel the energy of the answer.  Be curious what that energy and emotion would be like if applied to work.

What would really delight me is to hear what delights you.

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