Finding Your Joy

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5 Steps to a Joy Filled Life

1. Start with a gratitude journal. Write in your journal every day. Choose one to three things that you are grateful for, things that bring you joy. They don’t have to be big things. I had wanted to start a gratitude journal for years. And probably did many times, but I doubt it got farther than that…just having the journal. I thought I needed major things to write down every day and was overwhelmed at the sheer pressure of it all. If today, you are happy for straws because you can drink without messing up your lipstick too badly, then be thankful for that. If you are thankful for cappuccinos this particular day at this particular moment, then be thankful for those. There are so many little things that we take for granted. Joy begins with appreciating the little things, too.

2. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy and peace. I love art. I love photographs. I love warm colors. I love music. I love candles. I love warm lighting. I love books. Surround yourself with things that move you. This is a great habit for two reasons. It feels really good, plus it helps you to know what doesn’t mean so much to you. Find out what is important and simplify your life. It makes decluttering a lot easier.

3.  Have a vision. For the same reason that exercise number two is good, so is this one. It is simply taking #2 to the next level. What moves you and inspires you for your life, not just your home. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years, your ideal life? It can be a place or even a lifestyle or the type of person you want to be. Think about it in detail and write it all out and then create a vision board.  Look through a magazine and find images that move you. Tear those out and use them. Like exercise #2, it will not only help us know what we want, it will help us know what to eliminate.

4. Stop, think, and refocus. When you feel a situation stealing your joy, you and only you have the power to turn that around, but you must have a battle plan, so here it is: Stop, think, and refocus. Joy will always come from within, but you have to do things differently, though, if you want change. So the first step is to stop what you are doing. You must catch yourself and stop yourself from doing what you have always done. The next step is to think. Think to yourself, “Am I going to let this steal my joy?” That’s right…you have the power. At this point you are at a crossroad, and you are consciously present in the moment of choice. This is a good place. This is a place where change can happen. Make good choices. And lastly, refocus. Is there any good at all that you can see in this situation. Even something small. In a big picture, there are many small pictures. Don’t be committed to being right. Be open to seeing situations from different perspectives. Your joy depends on it. Find something good on which you can refocus your thinking and energy. You may still not be happy about the situation, but it may no longer have the power to still your joy.

5. Feel. Feel the joy. Feel the gratitude. Just as anger can be a powerful and palpable emotion, so can joy. Feel it. Let yourself go and be happy. Immerse yourself in it no matter what your situation. When you are grateful for something, feel that completely. Take a few minutes and feel that joy. When you are imagining the life you want, feel what it would feel like to have that, to be that. Feel it. This is where we begin to make it a reality in our lives.

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Leading ladies have joy in their lives. I mean how can they not, they’re leading ladies. Wouldn’t you be happy if you were a leading lady? Of course! Well, my friend, you are!  You are a strong, beautiful, brave woman, so smile away!

Many people think we need a reason for joy. That doesn’t hurt, and many times we have more reasons that we realize. We are just not focused on them. Other times, our lives can be quite the train wreck. Either way it doesn’t matter. You can still choose joy. Beautiful, heart palpitating joy! We don’t realize how much of our power we give away when we make bad choices and take a victim mentality. Leading ladies choose to be survivors, thrivers but never victims.

I love to be happy. I love how it feels. I love how it looks on me. I love how other people look at me when my joy is just spontaneously spilling over!

I saw Goldie Hawn’s daughter, Kate Hudson, on the Oprah Show a couple of years ago and could not get something she said out of my head. It became one of my goals to find out more.

Dancing isn’t the only passion Goldie passed along to her daughter. Kate says her mother also taught her to live joyfully. “That’s a big word in our family. My mom dedicates her life to understanding what that is,” she says. “To understand your happiness or what makes you happy in your life is something that we grew up around.”

Every time I see Goldie Hawn or her daughter, Kate Hudson, they have a smile on their faces. What a great thing to pass on to your child. Joy.

“When Kate Hudson was asked about her relationship with Alex Rodriguez, she was hush but stated that she was happy and full of joy….with a smile on her face.”

You know what? I believe she really is. You can practically feel it radiate from both Kate and her mom. They make me happy just to look at the expression of joy on their faces. I hope that others can see that on me, too. It wasn’t always that way, though.

Not that long ago I realized I was missing that from my life. I came to realize that I was the unhappiest, happy person that I knew. That is hard to wrap your head around. And I think it is even harder to explain. Imagine a really happy person trapped in a dark place. A place with a dark cloud. A place where it just makes you sad. It caused me to make some changes in my life or more accurately inside myself. I wanted to have joy in my life.

The most important lesson that I learned is that joy does not come externally. It is internal.

Life is not a perfect. Things will happen. Bad things happen, but it is how we view these that determine our joy level. We can give all of our attention and focus to the bad, and joy will slowly just get up and walk right out of the room. Or you can choose to acknowledge a situation, but perhaps look at it from a different point of view, essentially create a different story.  There is always more than one side to a story or one perspective.  In your mind, stand up and walk around the situation.  Seeing it in a different light can sometimes make all the difference.  When we put all of our focus on a the bad things and get wrapped up in them, then we are not seeing the good, we are not walking in peace, joy or love. It is all negative energy.  And it’s a cycle, a bad cycle. Think about it. Have you ever walked into a room all happy and in a great mood and encountered a really big grump? You can instantly feel it. Chances are that you can only take so much of that before you are grumpy, too, at least with that person. Whatever you are will attract more of the same. People will respond to you accordingly. And on and on it goes. Now, why is it that the grumpy people tend to influence the joyful people more, I have no idea. Maybe it depends on how well you have mastered making your joy an internal thing versus an external thing. Something to think about.

So how do we get that? By practicing joy.

Yep. When you are learning something new, you have to practice it. It is the same with joy. I’m not a joy expert like Goldie Hawn or her daughter,  Kate Hudson.  They have had years to practice being joyful, but I am more joyful than I was two years ago.  I found that by having a system in place, a joy plan, I made way more progress than just wanting to be more joyful.  Wanting it was a start, and it gave me the motivation to find out more and make a plan.  I do these regularly.  Some of these I do every day, sometimes twice a day.  I’ve always heard it said that you it takes 21 days to make something a habit.  That is why doing things here and there are not nearly as helpful.  It’s the daily doing of something that makes it a new habit, a new way of thinking.

Remember, this isn’t about changing the external as much as it is the internal. Nothing in my life has gotten better, except me. Choose joy. You will be so glad you did!


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Get a Life

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If you want to attract amazing and interesting people into your life, then you need to be one. Ever notice how we seem to be attracted to people who always have something fun or interesting going on? We tend to think, “Oh, wow! How cool are they! They have such a fun life!” They have that life because of choices they make. We can all have that life, but it takes getting off the couch to have it. It may even require going out of your comfort zone. It will definitely require time. It will take making different choices.

I have a good friend who started working out, doing yoga and hiking. She was never taking this time for herself before and gave everything to her family. Every time we see her on facebook now, she is doing something fun and exciting and has so many people posting wanting to either join her, or asking how she lost weight. Uhm, did they not catch the part about working out, doing yoga, and hiking? She told me that there are a lot of people who want to join her, but many of them don’t. They want her life. They just don’t want to do all that it requires. But wow, how exciting is hers, huh? It is, and she’s loving it!

We have two choices in life. Either we get to be the people out there living life, or we can be the ones at home watching everyone else live their life. Some people think that they could never be the person with the fun and exciting life. But, see that is the thing, so many people might say they are just not that kind of person, but we all are on some level. Some of us are really happy with just a little bit of fun and excitement. Some of us need a lot more. But we all have some of that in us. It’s all about the daily choices we make. That is really the only difference between someone who is a leading lady and someone who is not. These are not choices that are only for certain personality types. Herein, lies the cool part, the more we make those choices, the more we find ourselves evolving into someone we did not even know was in there, but she is. She’s been there all along.

If we are not leading an exciting life, we have no one to blame but ourselves and the choices we make. It’s like when someone complains that they are bored. They are not bored. They are boring.

The possibilities are endless.

What have you always wanted to do? And what great things are you doing in your life?

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Be the Kind of Woman…

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lead-ing la-dy n. – A woman who takes care of herself, lives life to its fullest, goes after her dreams, smiles, laughs, loves herself, loves others, and is happy. She lives out loud, not afraid to be her true, authentic self.

Be the kind of woman that makes other women want to be you. -Topaz
We all want to be that woman. We look at her and admire her. She embraces life. She is so thankful for everything. She knows how to be silly and have fun, and she knows who she is and what she likes. She creates the live she wants to live. She takes every day and spends it completely.

“You know, I’ve really made something of myself. I have a career. People actually want to be me.”  -Sweet Home Alabama

Who doesn’t want to be someone who others want to be? It means we are living our life well.

I have realized a valuable secret to having the life you want and being the leading lady that you want to be.

People who know how to live and find joy in life, no matter what the circumstances, are total people magnets. People want to laugh. They want to be inspired. And they want to soar with the eagles. Leading ladies who practice laughter and joy and have a great attitude will always be the women who others want to be around and the women who they want to be like.

The opposite of this is someone who does nothing but unload their problems on other people and only see the worst in every situation. They not only bring themselves down but everyone around them.

I love this story that a friend shared with me. It illustrated it perfectly.

Two buddies are walking home together. As they get to the fork where they part ways, the one turns to the other and says “Man, life sure stinks!”  His pal grins and says “I think life is beautiful.” From a nearby park bench an old bum overhears them. With a shaky voice from years of experiences he looks up at them, “You’re both right,” he say’s as he turns to the 2nd fellow, “but I’d rather walk with you.”

Are you the leading lady who people would rather walk with?

This is something that most people in most situations have complete control over. It’s just a matter of deciding who you want to be and making positive, daily choices to make it happen. It’s a choice.

So next time, when you’re out with your friends, choose to discuss happy things, amazing things, or even things with chicken wings (does anyone else hear the Oscar Mayer song right now?), but whatever you do, don’t complain about what’s going on in your life. Everyone has problems. And there is a time for sharing, but we are taking this time to learn some new and better habits.

Think about the kind of person you are drawn to. Most of us are drawn to happy, fun, outgoing, interesting people with lives. They’re not waiting for someone to complete them. They are out there living life. And they are surely not telling everyone all of their woes and drama, unless of course they have made a funny story out of it. They are amazing people who we are drawn to, want to be around, and want to be more like.

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