March 4: This I believe... joy

I lead a LOT of professional learning, and even if I'm only doing a one hour session, I still take the time to share norms. Be present. Be active. Speak your truth as you seek solutions. Spread joy. I even have these norms on my resume! Today's slice is about joy.

Joy is not an option. It's not "if you have time for it." It's a necessary ingredient of every hour. It's essential, and I am committed to being a joy-maker. Smiling at people way more. Slowing down to hear the response when people answer my "How are you?" Carrying post-its (for love notes) and treats (Starburst or Tootsie Roll?) with me. Are you looking to ramp-up your joy spreading? How much time do you have?

  • If you have one minute:
    • Text someone who needs a hello.
    • Write a love note on a post-it and give it to someone you love. Or leave it out for the world to see. (At a loss for words? Just find a meaningful quote and put it on the post-it.)
    • Clean-up a shared space: pick up trash, empty the recycling, wash 3 dirty mugs.
    • Share a complement with someone that is NOT about how they look, but how they act. Try to do this face-to-face.
  • If you have five minutes:
    • Write a thank you note. Three sentences: Thank you for x. It made me feel y. I'm grateful for it because of z. Mail it.
    • Brighten up shared space: A plant or flowers. A candy dish (preferably one filled with kisses). A container of freshly sharpened Ticonderoga pencils. A new hand lotion or air freshener.
    • Call someone who needs a hello. "I only have a moment, but I wanted you to know I was thinking of you today."
    • Fund a project. Even $5 is a gift to a teacher who has a dream for his/her students.
  • If you have 30 minutes:
    • Make a simple soup for someone who is sick. Add rolls and drop it off. Don't know anyone who is sick? Drop it off with a neighbor or call any church/temple/mosque/service organization and ask them if someone in their congregation/community needs a meal. (Make cookies as an easy substitute for soup, depending your cooking talents.)
    • Clean-up your bookcase/closet/game area/shoe bin. Give away at least one grocery bags of stuff you really just don't need. Put it in your car right away, so you have it ready to drop off.
    • Read aloud to a kid for 20 minutes and then talk about what you read. Don't know a kid? Go to the children's room at a library -- there are always kids there willing to hear a good story!
    • Fill yourself up for more joy-giving. Read a book that inspires. Take a nap. Meditate or practice mindfulness. Go for a run or walk. Sit in quiet or dance to your favorite Beatles song. Add fuel to your engine, so you can commit to joy work.
Being a champion for joy is my signature. And deep commitment. What ideas do YOU have have for spreading joy?


  1. Carrying sticky notes to spread joy - fun idea. I also love the idea of having half an hour you spend 20 minutes of it reading because the conversation is also important. Keep spreading the joy!

  2. A champion for joy is a great signature. I love the way your broke down the opportunities for joy spreading by time available. I'm a cookie baker and I frequently spread joy by sharing that talent.

  3. I needed this very much today. It has been a hard couple of days, and I really like it. I like to spend time talking out in the front with friends—slow down and forget about everything I have to do inside and just give them undivided attention. Times may vary. :)

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  5. Your writing leaves a good feeling for the reader. You are indirectly spreading joy. Thanks for the different ways we can also spread joy!

  6. I can feel the good energy coming through your words. Great suggestions for being a light in the world. Thank you! I like how you broke down the time increments. Makes it more doable.


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