The Art of Happiness: A 5-Step Guide to Joy for Empire BuildersMar 26, 2023
Joy. We all know what it is, but do we know how to define it?
According to the dictionary, joy is a feeling of great happiness, while happiness is defined as a state of being.
Interestingly, the dictionary definition uses happiness – and the female gender – in the negative. “She struggled to find happiness in her life.”
➡️ Joy-shaming is real
Do you feel permission to pursue joy? Perhaps not.
Our culture – especially in the United States – teaches us to have a strong work ethic at all costs. Leisure time is attached to shame and guilt.
You hardly make room for even the notion of happiness in your life because you’re completely overrun by other people’s priorities.
Here’s the hard truth. We unwittingly abandon our joy to be left in the dust – and it's our responsibility to rediscover it. No one else can or will do this for us.
➡️ Reject the “suck it up” mentality
Do you find yourself blaming others for your stress? Do you beat yourself up by believing that you must “suck it up?”
One of the greatest dangers for empire-building women is failing to admit when you feel helpless.
If you can identify, then you may be harboring a victim mentality. Recognizing this is integral for developing a healthy mindset toward happiness. It’s a fundamental part of a fulfilling life.
Give yourself permission to prioritize happiness and embrace the reality that pursuing joy is a requirement for becoming the human you were made to be. Then follow the steps below to identify your treasure map.
➡️ Map out your pursuit
- Step 1: Get ready
Set aside 45 minutes or an hour to devote to this exercise.
Grab a notebook and give yourself some alone time. Find a quiet space to concentrate and put on music that helps you focus. We prefer noise-canceling headphones.
Our favorite playlists consist of movie scores. Do a quick search of “film scores for focus.” Don’t create your own playlist unless you already have one. Otherwise, this helpful tool can become a distraction.
Put your phone on airplane mode. Close your computer. Take a deep breath and get ready to do some digging.
- Step 2: Start writing
Writing is an essential part of your discovery process. Not only are you clarifying your thoughts, but you’re also recording a baseline from which you will measure your progress over time. The following prompts will get you started.
- Describe a joy-filled future self.
- Who is with you in these moments?
- What would you name this chapter of your life?
- How do you measure success other than profitability? Personally and professionally?
No one else will read what you write, so get brutally honest.
Sometimes, you’ll want to go with your first thought, even when it’s uncomfortable. When you’re drawing a blank, take your time. Resist the temptation to skip the prompt.
- Step 3: Circle or create the top 3 things that bring you joy
When you finish writing, take a look at your calendar, your most important projects, your family obligations, and your action items.
How do your commitments align with what you’ve discovered about what brings you joy?
Circle your top three things that bring you joy, both personal and work-related. If you come up short, the next step will help.
- Step 4: Say “no” to more so that you can say “yes” to more
You likely had a visceral reaction as you reviewed your commitments. Which items made you cringe? List them in your notebook.
What can you delegate, defer, or drop? Being honest with yourself will require courage. The payoff is that you will make time and space to say “Yes!” to joy.
- Step 5: Commit to the pursuit
You’re almost done.
Through this process, you have invested time, brain power, and emotional energy. Don’t squander your effort. Do commit to a process of change.
It will be easy to fall back into old habits and ways of thinking, but with commitment, determination, and action, you can find joy in your life. Tell the people close to you about your decision and ask them to help you remain accountable to yourself.
Remember, joy is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
Only you can permit yourself to protect the activities that produce joy. No one else can… or will.
Be the living definition of happiness by practicing joy in public.
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