Enjoyment is the state of process of taking pleasure in something. It is also defined as the action of possessing and benefitting from something. Of late, I am increasingly reminded that some people in this world are very focused on and take great pride in providing enjoyment to others – they are Enjoyment Enablers. In fact, these selfless individuals defer their very own pleasure and personal benefit so others may experience enjoyment. That is not to imply that enjoyment is a zero-sum game, as that is far from true, but it is to acknowledge that it is often created by an external source.

Over the last two months, I have been able to spend more time with the two most important ladies in my life, my wife and my mother. The more time I spend with them, the more obvious it is that they both are extremely focused on enabling others to experience enjoyment. When we take stock of the people in our lives, it becomes rather evident as to who leans toward their own personal enjoyment and who embraces the role of Enjoyment Enabler. I am not knocking the act of creating our own personal enjoyment, as I have been known to execute purchases, create experiences, and make decisions for my own personal enjoyment. I am merely acknowledging that certain people in this world go above and beyond as they repeatedly forgo their own personal enjoyment to bring smiles to others. All too often, the sacrifices they make go unnoticed and are unfortunately taken for granted. And in many cases, they are so busy doing for others that they don’t take care of themselves.

I wasn’t all that aware of the sacrifices my parents made when I was a child to ensure my brother and I experienced enjoyment, and I likely never will fully appreciate what they gave up. I do recognize the sacrifices my wife continues to make to enable enjoyment across and beyond our family. In my professional life, it is very clear as to whom the givers are, and I am grateful for them. Years ago, a friend of mine jokingly told me that when he got around to writing his memoirs he would title it, “Watching Other People Have Fun.” When he said that, I laughed and thought how sad. Sitting on the sidelines watching others experience enjoyment doesn’t sound all that fulfilling and certainly speaks to a feeling of missing out. Today, I think about that book title much differently. I see the smiles of the countless givers who make delivering enjoyment to so many others a priority. I feel the sense of pride we get by doing something kind for someone else, just because. And I think what a meaningful life it would take to warrant such a book title.

Enjoyment Enablers aren’t missing out, they are the ones that make everything possible. They are the ones who truly get what life is all about. It’s not about pleasure, possessions, or self-benefit. It’s about doing for others and spreading joy as far as we can. I am grateful for the example of two most important ladies in my life. Not only do they continue to ensure we all experience enjoyment as a family (and across their respective spheres of influence), but they inspire me to do my part so that I may continue to “watch other people have fun.” Watching not as a pure spectator, but as an active enabler of joy.

  • Are you an enjoyment enabler?
  • Can you identify the true givers in your life?
  • How does “watching other people have fun” make you feel?