I have a confession. I feel happy to shut the door on 2010. I am eager to move on from this year. It was twelve months of rough and tumble stuff. After a challenging twelve months, asking for an upgraded experience next year feels a little like stepping up to a Craps table in Vegas… C’mon, 2011!
I was thinking about this and I realized that I turn 50 next year. I had to ask my (mildly?) vain self how I could tackle 50 and stay away from the grumpiness and angst that sometimes accompanies a milestone birthday. How can I make next year a truly great year? So I came up with a plan. Happiness studies show that people who give back are much more content than those who don’t. I am a pretty helpful sort, but there has never been any real structure around it. So here’s my pledge: In the year 2011 I will do 50 things to help someone else. At my advanced age, that averages out to almost one good deed a week, but I am up for the challenge. It might be as simple as buying the guy behind me in line at Starbucks a cup of coffee. It might be an all-day park clean up. I don’t know exactly how this will take shape. It’s exciting and I feel a little peppy just thinking about it. I will report my progress on this fabulous blog. Being very intentional with this year long adventure may prove to be quite fun. I invite any and all to join me on this journey.
It feels like less of gamble already.
This scenic message on how to raise your Joy Factor is brought to you by Wendy and the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Take a few minutes to savor the beauty and be reminded of how to create a life that you love!
Have you heard the story about the woman who makes a roast for dinner twice a month? Every time she cooks this dish, she cuts the ends of the roast off before putting it in the pan. After watching his wife do this for many years, her husband asks, “why do you cut the ends off and throw them away? ” Her response, ”my mom did it that way, so I do it that way. ” He asked, “Why did your mom do it that way?” She asked her mom that very same question and discovered that she cut the ends off because the roast did not fit in the pan that she used!
How many times do you do the same thing, because you have always done it that way – even when it is a waste of time, energy or roast?
Is it time to change your recipe? Here at the Joy Factor, we offer four delightful ingredients that will support you in not having to “cut the ends off of your roast” . Try this new recipe and see what it tastes like:
1 part Connection to Purpose – When you know what is most important to you and you line your life up with that, joy happens!
1 part Authentic Expression – My friend Laura Biering has a wonderful tag on her car, it says, B U Now. You are perfect as you are, share that with the world and your Joy Factor will increase.
1 part Self – Care – Fill your personal fountain with things that will allow you to be the best you can be for yourself and others. What can you do for your self today, that will fill your fountain and spirit?
1 part Strategic Optimism - Having a plan that supports you in choosing joy each day is a powerful structure that empowers you on days that you are less than joyful.
You get to choose how much of these ingredients to use in your recipe to live your best life. A dash of this, a pinch of that, a cup and a half of this. If you want different results, make different choices!
What will your new recipe be?
I love food! When I am not eating, I am thinking about eating. If I did not exercise, I could easily weigh twice the amount I do now. Eating brings me joy. I am a lucky girl - my husband Matt does most of the cooking for us. We are a perfect match, because cooking brings him joy. When I do cook something, I use a recipe so I am assured to get the results I am looking for.
Strategic Optimism is the next ingredient to raise your Joy Factor. It is a strategy; a plan that will make sure that if you want to be optimistic, you will be. Being optimistic is easier said than done. With all of the negativity out there, you have to be confident in your belief that things will turn out well. Are you seeing the world through rose colored glasses or really dark sunglasses?
It begins with choosing to be optimistic. Each day you wake up with a clean slate. You determine what kind of day you are going to have. Life will give you rotten tomatoes at times, yet when you have a plan for your optimism, you have something to fall back on.
Kahlil Gibran says, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens to you.”
Choosing joy is a practice. The first time you make a soufflé, it may fall. The second time it will get a little easier. As you continue to practice being optimistic, it will get easier and you will start to reap the benefits of putting your attention on something positive. Which is more appealing to you, thinking about the best thing that can happen or the worst thing that can happen? Try both ways and see which leaves a better taste in your mouth. You can then decide which you want seconds of. Let the tasting begin……
That label has always given me a rise. How can that be true? I can see if it said, one size fits most or one size fits some. The only place that I see where one size fits all is around choosing to be joyful. Read more
Last week I was driving past a bunch of kids playing in a playground. They were having so much fun! As I was passing them, I watched a little boy, about 4 or 5 years old, crash his tricycle into the fence. It was hard to tell if he couldn’t stop, or if he was intentionally looking to bounce off of the fence. When I looked back, from the red light that stopped me, I saw that he got up, dusted himself off and got right back on his tricycle.
That kid inspired me and reminded me that there are times in our lives that we are going to “crash”. At that point, we have a choice. Do we get up, dust our knees off and keep going? Or, do we stop a minute, access the damage and make choices accordingly?
The key to raising your Joy Factor, so that you are living a life that you are madly in love with, is to be conscious about your choices. There is no right or wrong-only what is. If you can bounce back up like one of those weebles, remember them? Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down. Take what you can from the experience and move on.
Everytime we are stopped on our paths, it is for a reason. Opportunities to make sure we are going in the right direction are presented to us again and again. When these choices arise, I invite you to use the components of the Joy Factor to support you in deciding what your next steps are. Is it in alignment with your Passions and Purpose, your Authentic Self? Does it support your commitment to Self Care and Strategic Optimism? Look there and then choose what your next steps are. In the meantime, look out for fences and remember to use your brakes-sometimes slowing down will prevent that crash! That is a another conversation for another day.
With conscious joyful awareness,
Last week I asked Julian how he was doing, and he said “Great!’ I said, “What makes you great?” and he said, “Because I choose to be!” What a concept! Today I will be joyful, happy, in a good mood . . . however you want to say it.
Think about how much time you spend getting ready to go to work, or plan a vacation. Do you take nearly as much time to consciously choose joy? Simple, yes. Always easy? Depends. It is like starting to work out at the gym, flexing new muscles. You are starting to flex your ability to choose joy. It feels awkward at first, yet the more that you do it, the easier it will be. Now I am not saying that you can move from depression to joy just because you choose to. However, I am saying that you can always choose to feel a bit better that you did a minute ago.
Abraham talks about the “emotional guidance system” we all have and shows us how we can use our thoughts to consciously move us up the scale, noticing where we are putting our attention. Put your attention on where you want to be, not where you are. That is where we keep getting more of what we already have!
When you have some clarity around where you are going and consciously choose joy, you are on a special journey. This is when all of the lights are green and the parking spot right in front opens up for you. I love when my parking goddess is with me, which is always—ask my friends—they will tell you. Why? Because I expect it! What are you expecting? What are you choosing? Be conscious, be joyful, be fabulous. You are!