My coaching business was full. I was busy with clients. When not working with clients, I was actively involved in multiple business organizations, sitting on committees and boards, and filling my time with activity. After all, activity suggests a life filled with purpose, right?
So why was I miserable?
I was exhausted all the time. I didn’t love my business anymore. I didn’t seem to have the time or energy to have any fun with my husband on weekends. But I had it all, right, so what was missing?
The answer was staring me in the face, so obvious I couldn’t see it for myself. It took my Coach asking me a simple question. The question was like a slap to the back of my head. My wake-up call was this:
“Laura. Of all the things you do right now, all the committees you’re involved in, and boards you sit on, which of them brings you joy? Which makes you happy?”
I sat, stunned, for a minute or five, finally answering, “None. None of those things make me happy. In fact, if I have a meeting scheduled for the day, I usually start dreading it the day before. That starts the downward cycle going, and by the time I finished with the meeting, I’m so drained I don’t want to do anything else.”
And that was the start – the birth of the Joy Test™.
Over the next month, I made a list of everything I was involved in and was brutally honest in establishing why I was involved in the first place and if it brought me any joy at all. One by one I began resigning my board seats and leaving committees.
Over and over I’d ask myself if something was bringing me joy. If the answer was no, I extricated myself from my involvement. More and more time opened in my life (and that’s a whole other story). With that, the Joy Test™ came into being:
Whenever asked to get involved with something or participate in an activity, the first question I asked myself was, ”Does this pass the Joy Test™?” If the answer were yes, I’d jump right in. If no, I passed.
That was almost 20 years ago. Fast forward to now and I still live the Joy Test™, only more so! A lot has happened in those 20 years. Some have made living in joy that much more important to me. Because of my experiences and personal epiphanies, I make happiness and joy a foundation of all my work with my clients.
I want you to love your business. I want you to look forward to every day. I want you to be happy you started a business that lets you do work you love. And I want you to live the Joy Test™ – if something doesn’t bring you joy, it doesn’t belong in your life. Period.