The Pursuit of Joy

View from an airplane window at the wings and flying over a scenic landscape of green hills and rivers

I have a new acquaintance (quickly becoming a friend) who is a talented, educated, experienced, skilled professional in her non-profit field. She is fantastic. And she has been stuck in a rut professionally. I know she is a success–meets her goals, contributes positively to the cause and culture, leads–but she would describe her existence as joy-less. Something is missing.

It took some time. Then the shift happened.

Perhaps you can relate: There are those moments in our lives when we have had enough of our circumstances being the way they are and we make a change…a deliberate, conscious, intentional shift in the dynamic in order to create a new dynamic. We stop waiting for something to change and we go out (or inward) and make the change! My friend did this. She stopped waiting and she started making. It did not take long before the new job, the new home in a new state, the new challenge was created. She stopped living from the place of managing circumstances she did not like and began vigorously shaping her desired life and circumstance. Re-frame!

It wasn’t easy, I’m quite sure. Big results require big effort.

And in this case, she chose to shift away from “what can I do to make this situation more tolerable?” to taking a big risk in today’s unstable economic climate and pursue a job where she can make a real impact and feel real passion and joy. Big, scary, “what the hell am I doing” kind of effort! To be fair, I am all for the need to sit still and examine our current states of being in order to mindfully shift energy, resources, time into more fruitful areas. But quiet exploration must yield to real work, to sincere effort, to doing something!

Name your rut, your stuck place right now. What is holding you back (for you in the non-profit world, the answer is not “money”)? What do you really know about this place? Now imagine the shift to something else, a different place, a different perspective. What will it take to get there? Name some action you can take to get closer to this new place. What are you willing to “spend” in order to get there? What will it “cost” you to stay where you are? what are you willing to do in order to be who you want to be?

My friend wanted to find joy. Pretty simple conceptually, yet achieving the goal (finding joy) is loaded with practical and emotional weight. Finding joy requires various levels of risk, perseverance, and a sense of humor. What else?
What do you want?


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Gary M. Groth, MS, PCC, CPCC

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