The workspace we go to every day can be many things: a place of challenge, growth,
learning, and, ideally, fun. Most of us want to enjoy the company of our colleagues,
have a supportive boss, and, of course, earn good pay. But often, the question arises:
Do we know that we have a part in creating this ideal environment, or are we waiting
for someone else to provide it for us?

Recently, I stumbled upon a great example of how an unexpected place can be
transformed into a joyful, respectful, and collaborative environment. And where did this
happen? In a massive furniture store.

I entered this large, potentially overwhelming space filled with salespeople and an
endless array of products. Just as I began to feel the enormity of the place, a man,
whom I’ll call Johnny, approached me with a simple yet compelling question: “Would
you mind if I was your salesperson today?” His warm and approachable manner set the
tone for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Little did Johnny know, I was there to buy some furniture. What followed was a
remarkable journey through the store, not just because of the products but due to the
people I met. Johnny was genuinely interested in who I was and what my friends and I
did. He began introducing me to other salespeople with similar backgrounds. One of
them, “Cool,” was a fellow retired Air Force member and a potential future golf buddy.

As we laughed and shared stories, I paused to observe the environment. This space
could easily have been full of competition and stress, especially given these economic
times. Instead, I found a community built on mutual respect, hard work, and a sense of
fun. The staff, men, and women of a humble yet important profession, had created a
genuinely enjoyable atmosphere.

What struck me most was that this wasn’t about a top-down mandate from the store’s
founder or manager, though the founder, a 93-year-old man living thousands of miles
away, was an inspiring figure. It wasn’t just about hiring people with high emotional
intelligence, either. It was about the collective effort of everyone in that store deciding
to make their workplace the best it could be.

So, why isn’t this always the case in every workplace? It could be because many of us
are waiting for someone else to do the work. Maybe we think it’s up to our leaders to
create the perfect environment. Or perhaps we don’t realize how much power we have
to shape our spaces.

The reality is that creating a positive and fun work environment takes effort from
everyone. It’s about bringing your team along, finding the goodness in your situation,
and making the mundane exciting. The people in that furniture store weren’t just going
through the motions—they were actively crafting a space where everyone felt included
and respected.

This experience reminded me that the power to create a joyful and productive
workplace lies within each of us. It’s about deciding to have fun, respect one another,
and work to improve our environments. If your “foxhole” needs improvement, don’t
wait for someone else to fix it. Take responsibility, lead by example, and watch as your
efforts bear fruit.

In the end, it’s the people who make a place great. Bringing positivity and respect to
your workplace can create an environment where everyone thrives. As I look forward to
playing golf with Cool and using this experience as an example for my future clients and
teams, I am reminded that the answer lies within us. The power to transform our
workplaces is in our hands—let’s use it.

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