6 Steps to Bring Back Joy

If you have lost the joy of running your business – here’s how to get it back!

  1. Be Present.
  2. Be grateful
  3. Listen to your stories
  4. Your connection – Your why – your purpose
  5. Give yourself permission to feel – it’s ok!
  6. F.A.R.C. 

Be present. Focus on what you can control right here – right NOW! 
The moment you allow your focus to drift the past or the future which includes ‘the next minute’ or ‘the next thing’, you lose the peace, creativity, innovation and experience of this now moment. Not only do we lose a lot of energy by worrying about the past or fearing the uncertainty of the future, but we also lose access to the joy in the moment, or what is really going on around us and capacity to accurately tune into people and read them! And all that takes away from our success and enjoyment at work and at home. It interferes without mental health and it stops people enjoying us! Being present with another person or a task leads to improved productivity and dramatically enhanced satisfaction at work. And BTW, multitasking is the enemy of fulfilment and joy! No…you are not more productive and no…you cannot get more done while focusing on 3 things at once – even if you are a woman! LOL 😉

Be grateful. For everything. Consciously look for things for which to be grateful and choose to focus on them. No matter what happens, find something for which to be grateful. Ask at the beginning of every staff meeting (and every dinner) – ‘what’s the thing you are most grateful for today?’ or ‘what’s the thing you are most grateful for since we last met?’ Gratitude rewires your brain for joy – literally. It is impossible to have a heart full of misery and a heart full of gratitude and joy. I had an experience recently where I was extremely distressed – this COVID stuff has dramatically changed my life! I have slept in my own bed longer than I have at any other time in the last 35 years! I am grateful for that as I love my bed – and at the same time I could choose to focus on the dramatic changes I have had to make in my career. I am choosing to focus on the benefits and be grateful – and be present. It has not been easy but I consciously forced myself to stay present and find things for which to be grateful right now – and as my Mentor David Martin told me – ‘look to nature and see what shows up’. It helped!

Listen to your stories. Your stories, which are the thoughts you tell yourself about yourself and everything and everyone else– determine how you – and others – feel. If your stories are realistically optimistic and truthful; if you are honest about yourself and stop internally belittling yourself; if you stop telling yourself how stressed you are and how overwhelmed you feel and that things are all too hard and difficult and just get on and do what you can control, then your sense of control will return and that leads you to feel happier. Change your stories, change how you feel and change your life – and work! See F.A.R.C. below!

Your connection to your heart and keeping it open is critical for any joy anywhere, let alone at work.  And that is closely followed by your heart to heart connection with others at work. We are humans. 

COVID has highlighted for us how important it is that we stay connected – we need to have our hearts connected to ourselves, others and a purpose. That’s where passion comes from! So, ask yourself, ‘what and who am I connecting to – or connected to – right now?’ Who are the people in your environment? Are they uplifting? And are you uplifting? Do you support each other and truly care about each other’s success? Do you help each other? If you are the leader, do you let your team know you care, and make an effort to grow and develop them? (It’s one of the ways you become the best leader people experience in their careers – when they feel cared for, seen and worthy of being developed). When the culture you create or environment in which you work, is caring, compassionate, fun, and one where everyone feels like they fit and belong, you will find joy.

Life is not all just about feeling good – life is about being good at feeling!
Giving yourself permission to feel – something I discovered I had not done for most of my life – can also make this time feel easier. About 3 months into COVID, I hit rock bottom. A relationship seemed to have ended; my career seemed to have ended and there seemed to be no visible return to events! It was in retrospect the greatest opportunity of my life. It was horrible and difficult and challenging. I felt such anguish and pain and learned that it was an accumulation of a lifetime of suppressed feelings and closing my heart down after a childhood experience. It wasn’t fun but it was astonishingly important for me. I am and feel very different now I am coming out the other side. Learning to actually open my heart and allow myself to feel – was hard to do initially but as I gave myself the time and permission to do it…the feelings flowed. Along with the tears. And in part COVID gave me the time – without this I can confidently say I would never have done this hard work. I am grateful that I had the courage to feel and process all that emotion. I want to keep my heart open and learn to be much better at actually feeling so I can recognize when I need to pay attention and address issues that come up instead of becoming numb again. Life force is now too important to me! It’s OK to feel all sorts of emotions during this never experienced before time and ask for help and support. I went away for a week to begin the actual work by myself but I had massive support before and after from my extraordinarily good friends. Without them it would not have happened.

This is the secret to change! And it stands for Focus, Awareness, Repetition, Celebration.  If you want to change anything, to re-wire your brain to joy, eradicate fear or create a new pattern, use this formula! 

Firstly, focus on what it is that you want to change. Most of the time we are 100% unconscious of our patterns of behaviors, let alone the thinking that causes our feelings or behaviors. Until you know what you are doing and how often, how do you know what to change? So observe your thinking. Choose consciously what story you will tell yourself. 

To re-program anything, we have to be aware of when we are thinking the same way or behaving in a particular way or doing the thing we want to stop. 

Once we are aware of what it is we want to change, and catch ourselves when we are doing it or about to do it, we can repeat the new or preferred behavior, or alternative thinking. The more we repeat the new pattern, the more embedded – and automatic – it becomes.

Each time we perform the new action/pattern the brain loves to celebrate! Celebrating cements in the new wiring. How good is that?! We have a real reason to do TA DA’s or celebrate in some way. Even small changes need some kind of recognition and celebration to embed the new wiring.

How does this tie into joy? Well, your old habits – of behavior and the thinking that causes those habits, will be contributing to your lack of joy! So if you F.A.R.C. , give yourself permission to feel and process those feelings and then consciously choose how you want to think, feel and behave – you can create as much joy as you want and restore your vital and fabulous life force and energy!

Acknowledgement: Thank you David Martin (www.davidmartin.world) for your mentoring and guidance over the last 4 years.

Download these steps and share with your teams.

*Amended article first published in Business Blueprint magazine.