What would you call a consulting company dedicated to better teamwork? To helping people work better together? Focused on stuff like “courageous collaboration,” Team Health, and building happier, healthier organizations?
After many weeks of brainstorming, all I know for certain is: I have no freaking idea, because apparently I really suck at naming things. But here’s some words I collected in my pocket along the way. Words that stand for something or maybe make people feel something that speaks to the mission and moment.
In Sanskrit there’s “mudita,” which means “taking delight in the happiness of others, vicarious joy.” (I love that “vicarious joy.”)
In Greek there’s “meraki;” “to do something with soul, creativity, or love; when you leave a piece of yourself in your work.” A sense of craft and care. The subtle art of giving a f*ck. Leaving a piece of yourself in the work.
Japanese has great words like “ikigai” and “kaizen.”
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows has the supple and mysterious “sonder,” or “the realization that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” I love that sense of the other; of being more alive to each other. Of being a better teammate and collaborator.
Swedes have ritualized the practice of deep connection with colleagues over coffee (and pastry) through “fika,” which is much more than a “coffee break.” It’s a “social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time.” A ritual for reconnecting as humans.
The opposite of schadenfreude
I was happy to trip over these words because for years now, I’ve been scratching my brain for a term that signals the exact opposite of schadenfreude: a word that means taking pleasure in the pleasure of others. Vicarious joy. Collaborative pleasure. That “high five” feeling.
The pleasure of a chef watching her guests savor a killer meal, or a conductor hearing a great symphony start to gel, or designing a jam session for colleagues at work and feeling the energy in the room start to rise. That sense of vicarious joy. Where the group’s whole becomes greater than its parts, and suddenly 1 + 1 + 1 = 3.6.
That collaborative pleasure. That team joy.
That’s the best I’ve come up with so far, as far as company names goes. “TeamJoy.” Or “TeamJoy.org.”
It works as an umbrella for both my consulting company and the guidebook I’m writing (tentatively titled the Joy of Teamwork). So that’s good.
And I can imagine it working as a #teamjoy hashtag, and URL (teamjoy.org).
I just don’t like it that much. The word “joy” is a bit… fusty somehow. It feels like a first draft, which will open onto a better, second draft. I feel confident that with the right oxygen and bait, a brighter butterfly will eventually settle and land.
But. I. Just. Don’t. Know. What. That. Is. Yet.
Got an idea? Feedback? Are you good at naming things? Here’s the creative brief in case you want to take a look and help me out.
In the mean time I hope you’re finding much merdita and muraki in your own collaborative labors. Keep up the great work!