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Creating Unexpected Joy

In search of the perfect word…

What gets you excited?

What makes you happy? What bring you joy just by thinking about it, even if it hasn’t happened yet?

For me, I LOVE creating unexpected moments for others. It could be a present, surprise party, a practical joke, finding just the perfect gif or meme, or something truly special for a client or audience.

I enjoy all of it… the thoughtful process of creating, designing, and preparing for it and then, I especially revel in the anticipation of their reaction… thinking about how they will feel when they see it, receive it, or experience it. This can happen in a matter of minutes if it is a carefully chosen gif or it could be days, weeks or even months if it is a new part of an upcoming event or keynote.

And then… I love THE event, the actual moment that the surprise is realized and witnessing it, in-person or hearing about it after-the-fact.

I absolutely love it, so much so that I can get down-right giddy leading up to it. It is pure joy in its purest form.

This joy I experience is the reason I loathe missed opportunities to make someone smile, laugh, snort, chuckle, or guffaw SO much. Those missed opportunities might include those things you didn’t say, didn’t write, didn’t send, or didn’t plan. The person will never even know what you didn’t do or say, and they won’t comprehend how it may have made them feel IF you had done it, but that doesn’t minimize the regret of missing out on a chance to incite joy in another person.

The disappointment felt in a missed opportunity is in equal proportion to the amount of joy that could have been realized. Instant, visceral, and unrelenting.

It is so real for me that I have been in search of a word to capture that feeling so that I can accurately express my tangled emotions, and I think I may have found one – “verpasste sehnsucht,” which is a German phrase I concocted that translates roughly into “missed longing”.

Now I am not German, nor do I speak German (so Entschuldigen Sie) but, one of my favourite words is German  “schadenfreude,” which means experiencing joy over the misfortune suffered by another. What I am looking to describe here though, is quite the opposite.

During my search I came across another German word, “sehnsucht” – longing for the joy of unsatisfied desire (pause on that for a moment). “Sehnsucht” is a German noun translated as “longing”, “desire”, “yearning”, or “craving”. Some psychologists use the word to represent thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for an ideal alternative.

Yes! There is a longing involved in wanting to create joy.

 I also unearthed this quote by C.S. Lewis, commenting on the word sehnsucht:

“It is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is.”

While I love Lewis’ description, for me it does not fully capture  the regret I experience over the missed opportunity so I, of course, diligently typed into ‘Google Translate’ and found the German word for “missed” and found  “verpasste”.

For me,  verpasste sehnsucht,  represents regret over the missed opportunity to provide joy for another, and the longing that accompanies the disappointment.

Hope you weren’t disappointed.

Business moves

too fast

to be scripted.”

Jennifer Spear

Time left to make an impact this year.

New opportunities await in 2023...

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Rave Reviews

“Jennifer is a complete professional who is a joy to work with.

I now have her on speed-dial.”
Bettyanne Sherrer, CMP, CMM

Principal, ProPlan Conferences & Events Planner, VIPlane

“As our keynote, Jennifer was outstanding in connecting with our employees and inspiring them to embrace change and be ready for the unexpected.”
Joanne Lafreniere

Director, Employee Technology Experience & Communications, BMO Financial Group

“…I walked out of the session with several solutions to a problem that had kept me awake the night before. How many times does your Monday morning start out like that?”
Allan Dubyts, CEO

SafeandSecured.com Inc

“Not only does Jennifer provide memorable, informative sessions, but she has audiences laughing, standing, and participating at an unprecedented level.”
Danielle Lamothe, Director Professional Services (former)

Institute for Performance and Learning (formerly CSTD)

“Jennifer delivers not only a keynote presentation, but an experience for participants with tools they can use in their work environment.”
Irene Martin-Lindsay, Executive Director

Alberta Seniors Communities and Housing Association (ASCHA)

“Regardless of the space or time constrictions we may have placed upon her, Jennifer was able to adapt her content to our audience and our event while still managing to deliver superior results.”
Danielle Lamothe, Director Professional Services (former)

Institute for Performance and Learning (formerly CSTD)