Finding joy can seem like an elusive pursuit in a world that often feels chaotic and overwhelming. Yet, it’s the #1 thing I’m hearing lately from my clients, colleagues, and friends. We are thirsting for more joy in our day. Joy is not a distant dream reserved for special occasions or fleeting moments of happiness. It is a powerful and transformative force that resides within each and every one of us.
When I started my coaching business over 20 years ago, I was coming out of a place of burnout in my corporate marketing job. We had recently gone through 6 buyouts and mergers in 5 years. I’d lost my passion and felt disconnected from my creativity (which is deadly for a marketing person). I knew joy and business had to be connected. I intuitively knew that when I felt good (passionate, happy, joyful), I was more alive, resourceful, and creative. Then I found an article by Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D. who led a research project proving that when we were happy and joyful at work, it opened up huge reserves of confidence, creativity, innovation, and fortitude to stay the course. That’s when the name of my company was born, Joyful Business. Since then, I’ve been passionate about cultivating joy in our lives and at work, creating an ecosystem that supports our success and everyone we meet. It’s the secret sauce to success!
The thing is, experiencing joy isn’t always that easy. We often don’t allow ourselves to feel the heart expansiveness and deep peace that comes with joy. It can feel vulnerable – like we fear it’ll be taken away or squashed. We tend to keep operating in our lives with a narrow range of emotions…not letting ourselves get too high on the positive emotional scale. Most of us deeply desire to feel more alive, more in tune with possibilities, and live a creative, loving, and fully all-in life!
It is possible to break open the box of your small, protected life and say YES! to live a joy-filled life. It takes permission to open up and practice choosing joy in each moment. Living a joyful life starts from within. It asks you to cultivate a deep self-awareness and develop habits and practices that nurture your joy.
Here are a few of my favorite practices to help you embrace life with more joy:
- Create a Joy Menu When we get stressed or overwhelmed with life, it’s hard to remember what even brings us joy. Creating a list of ideas and posting it somewhere in plain site (like by the tea kettle, coffee maker, or bathroom mirror) can help. List the things that make you smile and feel more alive, like walking on your favorite path, watching for hummingbirds, putting on your favorite music, journaling, baking the perfect sourdough bread or gluten-free muffin, collaging, or painting. Keep this handy so you can get ideas for how to say yes to joy!
- Move your Body It’s so easy to get caught up in our heads with to-do lists, errands, and even with the news. Moving your body can help you shake loose the anxiety, stress, and irritability. What’s your favorite way to move your body? Dancing, running, walking in nature, getting on the floor with your grandchild, belly dancing, or yoga are a few ideas. One of my favorite ways to shake off too much sitting on Zoom is to stand up and do some figure 8’s with my hips. I can’t help but smile, and it gets all parts of my body into motion and into the flow.
- Be a Daymaker I teach this in my coaching classes. Look for how you can reach out and connect with another person in a way that lights up their life. Do something special for your partner or kids: make dinner, play a game or just listen to their day. You can do something special for your clients, customers, colleagues, or even complete strangers (like paying for the order for the person behind you at the drive-through). (See the book: Be a Daymaker by David Wagner for more ideas) And remember to be your own Daymaker!
- Embrace your Soul’s Divine Purpose A big part of why we are here on this earth is to share our gifts with others. For each of us, it looks very different. Take some time to explore your own unique gifts of your talents, strengths, gifts from challenges, expertise, and your unique creative expression. Are you a great listener? Do you have the gift of writing? Maybe you take amazing sunset photos on your iPhone? Do you make the best homemade bread ever? Get curious about how you can incorporate your gifts and purpose into your life and business. Make sure you are looking for the next job or volunteer position that has you working from your purpose or start a business based on the SoulWork you are here to share.
- Dare to bring joy into your work I’ve worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and professionals from around the world, and a pattern I’ve noticed is that when it comes to work, we habitually fall back into old habits and ways of being. We have to work hard and sacrifice. Sometimes, you must put in a lot of effort and hours, but what if you created an environment where leading from joy was a priority? That looks like doing work you love, using your passions and skills to make a difference, putting relationships first, and exploring your creativity!
- Track Your JoyFlow! It’s easy to focus on the never-ending to-do list or on what’s not working. What if you take 5 minutes daily to write down your JoyFlow Sightings? These places, people, ideas, actions, accomplishments, decisions and synchronicities show you where the joy is present and flowing in your life. The more you train yourself to look for the joy – the more you’ll see!
- Schedule time for a Passion Project Passion is a catalyst for joy. Do something just because it feels good! Just because you’ve always wanted to, or it makes you happy. Take guitar lessons. Create a coffee table book from your garden photos. Fix up antique cars. Volunteer for a beach clean up. Follow what brings you a feeling of aliveness, heart expansion, and a giddyap in your step!
I hope you’ll take these simple ideas into your life and business and experiment. See the difference it will make in your life and those around you.
When you feel good…it’s so much easier to do good!
I hope to see you at The Ranch this year. I’ll be presenting How to Live a Creative Life for the Inner Fitness Track.
Laura West knows that when you are aligned with your joy and passion, you are more innovative, creative, and confident; success is inevitable! She has helped 1000s of entrepreneurs and professionals over the last 20+ years unlock their Soul Work, personal power, creativity, and leadership presence.
Laura is the Center for Joyful Business CEO, international business success coach, speaker, and host of Joyful Business TV. She helps coaches, healers, and purpose-driven entrepreneurs discover their creative leadership inside and out. Hence, they create a wholehearted successful business. She is passionate that you can do meaningful work that makes a positive difference while making great money!
She is the author of the upcoming book, How to Create a Truly Joyful Business. She is also the author of The Joyful Business Plan, a right-brain creative planning toolkit, and the creator of the popular workshop, Script Your Wildly Successful Life and Business!
Laura loves living a life full of creative adventures, growth and wonder- from walking the beach near her home to exploring art murals and cafes to leading and attending retreats and workshops in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and up and down the Atlantic Coast!
Visit Laura’s website for more details about creating a flourishing business and life:
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