What has happened to our joy? This is the question that popped into my head as I listened to a group of young women sitting at a table next to mine at a local coffee shop. As they shared what was going on in their lives, they talked about waiting for the happiness that was sure to come someday. These women, perhaps like you, need to join the joy revolution!
We have trained ourselves that joy is conditional. How many of us fall into the if…then trap? For example, we think if I can buy a bigger house or get a promotion at work, then, and only then, will I be happy. How can we find joy now?
That was me until the beginning of this year. I read a book about unshakeable hope and the author challenged his readers to be more aware of those small ways to notice joy that occur every day. Challenge accepted!
Anticipating the great day that awaits
I started noticing that my day was full of joy from the moment I woke up. I don’t use an alarm clock. My dog has always been an early riser and she makes sure I get up early with her. At one time, I may have thought that was irritating but now I had my joy glasses on. Instead of an annoying buzzing sound abruptly jolting me awake, I get to see the cutest face pop up on the side of the bed and then start turning in circles until I get up and put my shoes on.
She prances down the steps and stops only to see how far behind I am and gives me a wag of encouragement. She then positions herself on the arm of a comfy chair making it easy for me to get her leash on for our morning walk. This happens every morning! There are no bad days for her. Only the anticipation of the great day that awaits.
This article is sponsored by Neely Coaching & Training
Looking for the small moments of joy
The next experiment was lunch with friends. That should be a slam dunk, right? The friends I was meeting had been having a rough year – death of a loved one, switching jobs, a lot of change. I was pretty sure joy was not showing up. Then I reminded myself I was looking for the small moments of joy. That’s when it happened. I said something kind of funny and my friend started to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. His laugh is better than any joke and very contagious. Soon we were all laughing uncontrollably. Joy showed up.
Finding joy in the workplace
One joy challenge took a little time. Since I had changed careers, I felt a little lost. I had a group of friends at my old job who were like family, and was starting to wonder if I would ever find people that I clicked with easily. I begrudgingly went to another networking event and…had a great time. I found “my people”. What was that I was feeling? Yep – joy!
The last test was to see if I could find joy in my work. Was I expecting too much? It’s amazing what you see when you really look for it. I noticed how much I liked talking to my clients and I really loved seeing them get results. My clients were putting in the work and making a positive impact on the world. It made me happy to watch people realize the potential that I had seen in them all along. Once again, I discovered that joy had always been there, I just needed to open my eyes.
WE have the power
I remembered the words of a song from my childhood – “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart (where?), down in my heart to stay”. In my heart? I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when the Good Witch told her that she had the power all along.
What if we woke up every day anticipating what the day might bring and show our excitement? What if we took a moment to look at the people around us and really appreciate the gifts they offer? We need to let down our guard and laughed out loud instead of stifling it and it is time to discover joy in our work.
If you take this challenge, does this mean that you will never have a bad day? No, there will be bad days AND you will rebound quicker. By acknowledging those smaller joy moments, you become stronger, more resilient, and happier.
What joy will you notice in your life if you simply look for it? Remember, you have had the power all along. It’s time to use it. Let’s join the joy revolution!
Debby Neely is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation who specializes in leadership coaching and facilitation. Her business, Neely Coaching & Training, supports both formal and informal leaders in realizing their potential and in getting results. Their mission is to help you be the best you can be.