top of page


Leadership & Joy

In adulthood, many of us are forced to recalibrate our relationship with joy. As responsibilities multiply and time grows limited, making time for fun can feel a bit frivolous in our hectic daily schedules.

As more and more time goes on, our concept of joy becomes more warped. In today's culture of ambition and professional growth, momentary pleasures that come from solitary authentic enjoyments are now set aside for discipline and self-control in the hope that these attributes will lead to success and, in turn, happiness. In our pursuit of a happy life, we work, plan, strategize, and chase the dream of success, and little by little, happiness becomes less of a priority, and productivity becomes our natural state of being.

Over the course of my 29-year career in leadership development, I've seen countless poor management strategies that seriously hamper a team's performance and productivity. At least 80% of those leaders share one trait: they are unhappy.

Positivity and happiness are essential components of effective leadership. When you are happy, you are aligned, balanced, and in harmony with yourself and the world around you. You feel more inspired, connected, productive, and ready and willing to pour into others.

Happy people make better leaders; I am a testament to this story. For years, I had no idea what happiness genuinely meant. Like many individuals, I believed that external elements such as money, power, and the affection of others determined my happiness. It wasn't until I discovered that happiness was an internal experience rooted in my purpose and my moments with joy that I was able to tailor my behavior and routine to include personally enriching experiences for myself and my team.

Now that we know, no amount of money, success, fame, or accomplishment can cultivate and develop that sense of well-being, joy, deep happiness, and worth, what are we to do?

1. Identify what brings you joy

First, identify what brings you joy. It's difficult to imagine what happiness looks like when we've been so disconnected from it. The mind has many channels, and we can tune into the channels of discontent and sadness, or we can tune into the channels of joy and happiness. The key to experiencing joy and achieving happiness is to first recognize that it comes from within. After being extrinsically motivated for so long, it can be tough to determine what you intrinsically enjoy. Think about the last time you had fun—what were you doing, who were you with? Rediscover the feeling of joy by listing things that make you feel relaxed, present, inspired, and just plain good.

2. Schedule time for fun

Life and its momentary pleasures should not be a burden or something we must "make time for." That said, when our defaults are work emails, zoom calls, and quarterly reports, we have to schedule time for joy until it becomes a norm. If you're still not convinced and believe you don't have enough time in your day, try keeping a daily activity log for one week. The reality is that many of us, are not productive every hour of the day. Time spent scrolling through social media or looming over an upcoming meeting—activities likely to stir up negative emotions—is time wasted.

Pro-tip: It's okay to fail a task from time to time. You are actively retraining your mind, and there will be weeks when you fail to incorporate these lifestyle changes successfully.

3. Enjoy your moments of joy

The joy that arises from momentary pleasures is essential for our happiness and well-being, but you will appreciate them less if you are motivated by extrinsic reasons. Don't schedule time for joy because you believe it will improve productivity or make you a better leader. This may sound cliché, but you must sincerely desire happiness in order to find it.

Pro-tip: You can overschedule your leisure to the point where it becomes a chore rather than a source of joy. When I organize my leisure too rigorously, I find myself becoming stressed when my schedule gets too busy. Remember, you're supposed to enjoy this time. You should be mindfully engaged and aware of your feelings during these positive events.

Everyone has their own journey to happiness. When we prioritize joy, we increase our awareness of those daily pleasurable moments, bringing more balance, resilience, and happiness into our lives and the people around us. These moments are there for you, waiting to be noticed and embraced. These moments are your birthright. It is time we give ourselves permission to indulge in joy.

To schedule a meeting with a coach and create a plan to add joy to your life, email me at



bottom of page