Don’t Create Joy, Notice It

in Inspiration

Baking Christmas CookiesThis is the season when exclamations of joy abound. But does rushing from store to store and party to party create joy? Is joy measured by how many presents we open or the number of lights we hang on our houses?

The stores and parties often generate more stress than joy. And by now, we all realize that presents and decorations, while fun, don’t result in deep feelings of contentment.

This quote from Marianne Williamson was in my local Sunday paper this week:

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”

We frequently walk through life thinking we’ll be happy as soon as something happens: we get the job, we have a child, we win the lottery. Or even something smaller: it doesn’t rain today, our partner comes home in a good mood, we have a good hair day.

Marianne suggests that we already have joy in our lives, but don’t always recognize it. We take for granted so much in our day to day lives that we don’t take the opportunity to see there is much to be joyful about in our lives right now.

This may be easier to recognize if you’re financially stable and have a loving, healthy family. But even those in more unfortunate or even tragic circumstances still have reasons for joy in their lives.

I often feel joy just seeing the beautiful colors in the trees here in the Northeastern fall, or the snow on the tree branches in winter. It’s hard not to feel joyful when you see a small child laughing. Do you have someone you love who loves you? Nothing’s much better than that.

By the way, all this is just as true for our businesses. We tend to spend a lot of time focused on what we’re not doing and the money we’re not making. Even with the most positive attitude, we’re looking forward toward achieving our next goal.

During this holiday season and heading toward a new year, take time to reflect on the clients you have right now, the expertise and experience you have to offer, and the blessed freedom you have as an entrepreneur to decide how to structure your life. Even if you’re just getting started and don’t have lots of success yet, you can savor the excitement of embarking on a new adventure with all its possibilities.

Recognizing how good things really are is closely related to be grateful, I believe. And feeling grateful leads to joy.

What are you grateful for right now?

Mary Mavis December 7, 2011 at 8:11 am


Thank you for this! I am grateful for my health and the amazing people in my life, including my family, clients and colleagues, and you!


Max Schwanekamp December 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

It sounds crazy, but I’ve been almost euphoric about dealing with my company getting sued. The lawsuit comes as an angry contractor’s response to a long-overdue termination. The fact that we’re finally free of that guy has made me joyous like the munchkins of Oz: “ding-dong the witch is dead!” But the unexpected reason for joy has been working with the attorney, which has been a great experience and is helping us build a stronger company over all.

Peggy December 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Why, thank you! Right back at you.

Peggy December 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I don’t think this has ever been my response to hearing about someone getting sued, but congratulations! The relief at not having to work with a difficult colleague anymore is understandable. It’s really powerful, though, that you’re able to see the positive outcome of the lawsuit. Good for you, and I wish your company the best.

Shawn Tuttle January 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Hi Peggy – Long time no write =) Looks like things are going well for you!

Hi Max, been a long time, too! Funny you should share this story, because I had a similar *joyful* legal experience. I was expecting a certain person to sue me and the anticipation was Dreadful. Once I received the papers from her attorney, I was overcome with such relief it was kind of hilarious. The pressure of built up tension just popped.

Then the experience with my attorney was filled with such gratitude because I finally felt that someone *heard* me in a deep, and more importantly, practical way.

The end result: I was awarded a judgment against the person who sued me! May your outcome bear similar results. XO