Maximizing Joy

When I work with people to help them clarify their life purpose or be more authentic in their career and in their leadership, I always ask what benefits they hope to realize as a result of this work. In almost every case, one of the benefits they are seeking is more joy, more happiness in their life.

To have more joy or happiness, we first have to understand what it is that makes us truly joyful or happy. In her book, Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck provides three “remedial joy exercises” that I often use with my clients.

  1. Search your brain for any memories that make you smile spontaneously.
  2. Try to remember the last time you cried because you were happy, not sad.
  3. Search for incidents where you have felt intense yearning, and perhaps jealousy about something you have never experienced.

What about you? Is there room, maybe even a longing, for a little more joy in your life? Get a pencil and paper and do these three exercises for yourself. What have you got to lose?

Okay, you’ve determined what brings you joy. Now what?

Beck goes on to say, “Once you’ve figured out what brings you genuine joy, it goes without saying that you should immediately begin filling your life with as much of it as possible… Putting joyful activities into every nook and cranny of your day is a great way to start toward your North Star. The great thing about this strategy is that it can vastly improve the quality of life almost immediately, without requiring any massive changes.

“For example, Geraldine feels soothed and happy when she visits bookstores, so she started going to one during her lunchtime, instead of hanging out at the cafeteria in her office building.  Brent loves golf, so he decided to get up early and hit balls at the driving range twice a week… Marianne’s greatest joy comes from being around children. Since her own babies are grown and gone, Marianne volunteers as a classroom assistant in an elementary school, and she reads to children during a weekly ‘Story Hour’ at a public library.”

So what does maximizing joy have to do with you and your career?

“…Career miracles happen when you’re so in love with your life that pushing yourself is actually easier than stopping, when you ‘do without doing.’ Joyful activity adds real value to the world, and adding value is the heart and soul of a successful career.”

Wishing you grace, peace, and simple abundance…and maximum joy.

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