Heidi Hauer is a coach for corporate leaders and changemakers who aim to lead with impact, live their purpose and upgrade their wellbeing.
In our fast-paced lives, joy seems like an elusive creature that flits around like a butterfly. Just like health isn’t merely the absence of diseases, joy doesn’t simply pop up once we’ve mastered stress, does it? Instead of solely focusing on becoming stress management gurus, it’s time to become joy creators in our workplace.
As a leadership coach, I’ve witnessed stress sneak into people’s lives like an uninvited party crasher. Sources of stress vary from person to person and so do the ways to bring back joy. Nonetheless, there are some common threads I’ve noticed.
The uplifting feeling of joy that accompanies achievements is expected to be just around the corner. We hustle and chase goals, but often feel unfulfilled. Joy plays hard to get! We can point fingers at the world or take a look at our own contributions to this never-ending state of overwhelm.
We seldom allow ourselves to settle and savor our successes—always reaching for the next big thing. We are so used to the dangling carrot in front of our noses that we don’t expect to eat it anymore. Some might say that finding a moment of silence in the rat race is as likely as finding a unicorn tap-dancing in Times Square.
Many people who come to me for coaching feel trapped in an endless loop of goal-setting, tail-chasing, going in circles and getting nowhere. In the system’s never-ending circus, the show must go on.
But let’s not forget, we’re not emotionless robots. We’re human beings with the power to step away from the mayhem, not just due to exhaustion but by choice. Pausing allows us to reflect and realign our actions towards what matters most—the delightful shades of joy and happiness.
Here is my Joyful Tips Extravaganza to sprinkle some joy into your busy bee life, whether you’re an entrepreneur, an executive or an employee aspiring for a promotion.
1. Manage your energy, not your time.
Time is a finite resource. Let’s face it: We cannot magically create extra hours like wizards. Energy is a different game. Instead of obsessing over time management, focus on managing your energy. Being fully present and connected to your experiences can prevent quick depletion. Nutrition, movement and sleep—that’s the magical trinity to make you feel like Wonder Woman or Superman, ready to conquer the day!
2. Don’t fight the status quo, embrace it.
Stress can arise from rigid expectations of how things should be. Find joy by accepting reality, changing what you can and focusing on your inner growth rather than obsessing over uncontrollable factors.
3. Connect consciously.
To be in a state of enjoyment is to be connected within yourself and with the world in a conscious way, and mindfully recognizing what is without judgment. This sits in conflict with being on autopilot or constant production mode. That’s not to say that you can’t get into a beautiful flow with work that you love. It’s all about the energy behind it.
Are you engrossed in a sense of ascension when you tap into your skills and creativity, or are you stressed and obsessed with meeting a deadline? Are you unaware of what you’re doing because you’ve tapped into an inner state of flow, or have you signed out due to boredom or detachment? Engage in daily practices such as meditation, journaling and self-check-ins to stay connected with yourself.
4. Decide to be happy.
Voltaire’s famous quote, “I’ve decided to be happy because it’s good for my health,” points to our ability to choose happiness. Joy isn’t an elusive treasure at the end of a rainbow. You don’t have to be the office’s hardest-working elf to deserve joy! Happiness is an active choice that you can make every single day.
5. Focus on the unexpected.
Another reason why joy is often squeezed out of everyday experiences is that many of us are stuck in routines. To what degree does the predictability of your every day provide stability and mental peace? If life feels like a never-ending rerun of Groundhog Day, it’s time to spice it up.
Break free from monotonous routines and look for the delightful surprises life has to offer. Seek out the magical and unique aspects of each day to avoid feeling trapped in the mundane.
6. Capture joyful moments.
At the end of your busy day, replay the joyful moments in your mind like a movie reel, write them down in a journal or stick post-its in a happy memory box. Now you have your very own Joy Museum, open 24/7, ready to boost your joy whenever needed!
In a world focused on handling the overall mental health crisis, prioritizing joy might seem like a fancy luxury. But trust me, joy can be your secret weapon to lasting success and endurance in this crazy roller coaster of life. Embrace joy like a dear old friend, and let it sprinkle some magic into every aspect of your busy bee life!