Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.Wess Stafford
For about 7 months in 2016, I lost my joy. It was like a light switch was turned off inside my heart and no matter what I did, I could not think or feel my way out of the darkness. All these years later, when I think about that time, I see the emptiness in my eyes when I would look into the mirror. It was such a flat, dull place to live from.
Since that time, I have guarded my joy very carefully.
For me this means paying attention to:
- my brain: the health of my neurotransmitters, the amount of sleep I get, and the peace I gain from meditation
- my environment: the people I allow in my life and the home I create for myself
- my impact: the work I do, the things I create, and the way that I show up for those I care about
Joy is a decision. Joy can be found in the small things…the purr of my cat on my lap, the beauty of a sunrise, the taste of ice cream on a hot day. But even more importantly, joy is a mindset choice. It is a foundation that runs through everything because I have arrived at a place in my life where I have peace about the person I am and the person I am becoming. Not perfection. Growth. Not settling. Hope.
Joy is also contagious. Joy has the capacity to change the energy in the room, whether that room is your living room, the boardroom*, or a classroom. Show up with the kind of joy that creates space for “Let’s figure this out”. Never ever avoid a good laugh when it is available to you.
None of this means there aren’t hard days, tears, and struggles. We are human, and humanity comes with a whole range of emotions. Joy just happens to be what reminds us that there is still beauty in the world even in the toughest times. Joy shows up as we move through grief and walk through pain, and it helps us remember that we have agency over our life.
*Note for Leaders: I recommend you read “Chief Joy Officer” by Richard Sheridan if you need an example of how to bring joy to your team and company.