Why? Because I’ve decided to no longer minimize my joy.
Do you ever minimize your joy about things that are in process but haven’t fully happened yet? Why do you hold back? Is it fear? Humility? Superstition? Habit? Something else?
When I visited my neighbor Tamara recently, I was reminded of my former tendency to minimize joy. Her daughter and son-in-law had also stopped by. They are expecting their first child – Tamara’s first grandchild – in September.
Joe, the soon-to-be dad said, “Tamara, every time we run into someone who knows you, they say, ‘Wow! She is so excited to be a grandma.’” And as if on cue, Tamara began a wild and free happy dance while singing, “I’m going to be a grandma. I’m going to be a grandma.” Like all emotions, her joy was contagious.
My initial perspective shift on joy came several years ago when I had scheduled a tentative meeting that nearly anyone would be excited about. I very secretly and cautiously shared this info with a dear and wise friend who looked at me and said, “Beth, don’t you dare minimize your joy over this possibility!”
“But,” I responded, “I don’t know for sure if it is even happening. I don’t want to get excited and then be disappointed. Or tell people and then have to tell them it didn’t happen.”
His response shifted my view on allowing myself to feel joy as I move forward. He said that I could be excited by just the possibility that something could happen, that I could celebrate and feel joyous about the fact that this person had responded to my email with a Yes. Let’s see if we can work out a time for coffee. I will get back to you next month.
He insisted that, whether the meeting happened or not, I could be doing my own happy dance now just because it was possible!
What he was suggesting reminded me of the childhood game Hot & Cold. Imagine that you’re blindfolded and striving to locate an item while someone yells, “You are getting warmer!” when you get closer to the target and “Oh, you are getting colder!” when you move off the path to your target.
What if we all got excited about just getting warmer on our way to our targets? How would your day-to-day be different if you felt joy each and every time a possibility of what you want appears?
Now, imagine whatever you most desire right now. Think about it. Picture it in your mind. Now consider each and every decision or step you took today that got you closer to it.
Let’s say that you want to pay off credit card debt…
Reflect on what actions you may have taken today to get you closer: Did you pay cash for something instead of charging it? Did you make a payment on the balance instead of buying a new outfit? Did you negotiate a lower rate with the credit card company?
When minimizing our joy, we focus on the amount still due. Or how little we are able to pay. Or we view our choice to forgo a frivolous purchase as a punishment.
What do those minimizing thoughts do to your energy? Now instead, reflect on the actions above and proudly acknowledging each positive step taken, no matter how small. What do you feel now?
My daughter Annie has been slowly building her business assisting entrepreneurs with things like writing blog posts, managing social media, and doing their bookkeeping. In a short time, she’s had several inquiries from prospective clients. In the beginning, every time she got an inquiry, I’d get excited and she’d respond with, “I’m not going to get excited until they sign an agreement.”
I’d say, “Really? You just decided to move forward with this and you are already getting inquiries and requests for proposals? That is exciting! That is social proof that what you are offering has value. Each proposal you send is part of the getting-warmer ride.” And sure enough, after sending only 4 or 5 proposals, she has 3 clients!
Like Annie, you can choose to feel joy simply for getting warmer. That’s the truth. Joy is a choice. Maybe some things don’t go the way you planned or you change your mind about going after those particular goals; that’s fine too. But enjoying every step along the way – you change everything.
So, my question to you (and to me) is: Do you tamp down your joy the same way you tamp down a campfire that is just starting to grow?
Do you intentionally force opportunities for joy to smolder instead of allowing a rip-roaring flame of pure glee? Why not reward yourself with a happy dance for each and every action that gets you closer to what you want – whether a full-on hips-and-arms-moving dance like my friend Tamara or an internal feeling of sheer delight and pride like me?
Today is the day to choose to feel your joy. Today is the day to begin patting yourself on the back each time you make even the tiniest action or get the smallest clue that you could actually be getting warmer on the way to what you most desire! You don’t have to do a full on happy dance like Tamara, although once you start, you may actually like it!
Here’s to choosing joy!
Originally posted on BethWonson.com
Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire, but whose communication and leadership style continually makes others cringe and puts the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business expert, non-profit leader, 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change, and coaching leadership make her the go-to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets. “In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success.
Beth and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States.