I’ve been obsessed with one thing lately: finding somewhere to feel joy throughout my day.
I’m fortunate to have amazing family, friends, and colleagues in my life.
Despite this, I can’t say I’ve always allowed myself to feel joy. In fact, I never used to think much about it.
Joy was a nice-to-have.
Because I’m a type-A person and have always wanted to accomplish big things, I spent my pre-teen years to my early thirties working from a place of stress. I felt that since I’d chosen ambition and success, I had to make sacrifices, and the process should be painful.
Does that speak to you?
I know a lot of high-achievers in Work Bigger feel this way. I think a lot of it is connected to the hustle-hard culture we live in.
As I’ve grown both personally and professionally, I’ve actually learned that joy is not a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have.
It sounds cliché, but life is short. We get a few precious years on this planet, and we should enjoy them.
And joy actually drives success. I’ve learned it’s possible and preferable to enjoy the process of building a business and building a career you love.
No matter where you are with your work — maybe you don’t know what you want to do next or you’re feeling like what you want isn’t possible for you — it’s important to prioritize finding joy somewhere in your day.
Here are three reasons to do it and why you should.
1) Joy drives high performance.
Joy — and the absence of it — has an impact on our work.
My most successful friends aren’t people who sit at a desk all day, grinding and miserable.
Instead, they find alignment in their life and they’re happy. They work from a place of flow and strive to find their zone.
Positive psychology expert and bestselling author Shawn Achor says there is a misconception about happiness and productivity: we believe our hard work leads to success and that success leads to happiness. Through his extensive research, Achor has found that happiness fuels all the things we need for success, like creativity, resiliency, motivation, and energy.
Joy keeps our brains engaged.
So if you’re job searching and it’s taking a toll, what can you focus on to make your day better? And if you don’t know what you want to do, what are the things you do have clarity on in your life?
Tune into and focus on those experiences as they will help cut the negative loop we spiral into when we’re under stress and exhausted.
(2) Feeling joy is a “toward” emotion.
The brain operates in two ways — in an away state and a toward state.
To put it briefly, when you’re in the away state, you’re in a place of fight or flight. You’re feeling scared, anxious, or nervous.
When you’re in the toward state, you’re energized. You’re moving toward an outcome and a reward.
Feeling joy is a “toward” emotion.
And when you’re in the toward state, you have more energy.
As a result, you show up differently. You put out more positive energy into the world, and those actions lead to more fruitful results.
For example, consider a time that you felt confident and excited about an opportunity. Or think about a time you felt in flow with your work or with your life? How did you show up? What actions did you take?
You likely took empowering actions.
(3) It keeps you connected to your body.
The concept of joy is wonderful, but to really experience it, you have to feel it in your body.
Take a moment and think about something that makes you happy. Maybe it’s an event you’re proud of, or perhaps it’s someone you love and care about. Maybe it’s the beach.
Take some time to be with that thought, then check in with your body. Where do you feel it? Sit with that for a bit.
To really experience joy, you have to get out of your head and get present with the emotion. Check-in with yourself and give yourself the space to feel it.
Now here’s a challenge.
I’ll do this with you because I could always use more practice in living from a place of joy.
What experiences give you the most joy?
For me, it can be simple: stepping outside to get some air, hugging my kids, or treating myself to a delicious meal. What is it for you?
Take a few minutes to brainstorm, then write down your thoughts. What comes up for you?