Create Joy in 2013

Posted by on Jan 3, 2013 in Creativity, Kaizen-Muse | 22 comments

Create Joy in 2013

Over the holidays, I visited my parents in southwest Florida. My mother and I were out the Sunday before Christmas and stopped for lunch at one of my favorite places. It was pretty busy, so we opted to sit at the bar since we could be seated there right away.

It turned out to be a great choice, and it was all because of the woman who was waiting on the folks at the bar. She had bright red hair and a personality to match. I really wouldn’t have thought that refilling a Diet Coke or taking an order could be so exciting, but it was obvious that she was having a fabulous time. There was always a big smile on her face and it was clear that she was genuinely happy to be meeting and interacting with her customers.

Eventually, I looked at my mother and said, “Do you get the feeling she is having more fun than anyone in this place?” “Yup,” she replied. And as I sat there watching this human ball of energy moving back and forth from food to drink to taking orders, a plan started to form.

When we were finishing up and settling the bill, I asked my mom if she’d caught a name. (The woman’s name tag was on her collar, so unless you were at just the right angle, you couldn’t read it.) “No,” Mom said, “but you could ask.”

I did. “I’m Jeanine. Are you gonna come back and see me again?”

I smiled and said, “We might! You’ve been having so much fun that we had more fun, too.”

“Well, I love what I do!

“We could tell,” I said. “A little elf may let someone know that.”

The look on her face was priceless. “Aww, thank you! That’s so sweet!”

When I got home I called up the restaurant’s website and filled out their comment form, pointing out that Jeanine’s personality and love for what she does made a huge difference to our experience and that she was a real asset to their staff. There was a box to check if you wanted to hear back from them, and since this is a large corporate chain (one of the few I make an exception for!), I decided that, yes, I wanted to hear from them so I’d know that they paid attention.

I could go on here about how your attitude makes a huge difference in how you see the world (and in what you get back from it), but that’s not why I’m telling you this story. We’ve all heard that many times, and I doubt that it needs to be repeated.

No, I’m telling you this story because the email was only part of my plan. Not only did I want to tell The Powers That Be what a great employee they had, I wanted to turn it into a practice. I felt fantastic after I sent my “little elf” email, like I knew I would before I ever left the restaurant, and wanted to do it again.

Now, I’m not talking about turning myself into a secret restaurant employee critic. I’m talking about looking for people in my daily life who make things better, and then saying so, to whoever is most appropriate to the occasion.

Why do I want to do this? For the same reason I checked that box on the form: it’s easy to focus on the negative feedback and ignore the positive. I imagined the person on the other end of that form getting my message and saying, “Yeah, yeah, Jeanine’s awesome. Whatever. This other guy’s complaining about Doug the waiter spilling soda on him, so now I have to fix it, which is way more important…”

Requesting a reply may not have done anything immediate or direct for Jeanine, but it did make someone think about what I’d said for at least a minute or two, which is probably a minute or two more than most of us reflect on the positive in our day.

It also feels really good to do something for someone else, especially when they don’t know about it, or who you are (which takes away any potential feeling or judgment of doing something just to impress someone). It’s a win-win for everyone. So why not turn it into a practice? I posted a while back on the benefits of seeking joy, but I am thinking now of actively creating it.

1x1.trans Create Joy in 2013Rather than setting the typical New Year’s resolution this year, I’m instead setting myself on a quest to find a person or group to celebrate each week. Hypothetical bonus points are available if I can report that awesome person or group to someone who really needs to know how much they’re appreciated—a boss, a civic leader, a parent…or directly telling the impressive, awesome person him/herself if that’s what feels right.

This kind of quest feels much more powerful to me than “I resolve to be happier this year.” Questing for the positive is a conscious choice that just might shift my outlook for good. (In fact, since I am starting to go through A Course in Miracles daily this year, too, it seems to me that this practice might just bring me closer to a miracle or two by the course’s definition.) And you know…that feels like the sort of practice that should be shared.

I would love for you to come on this quest with me. In fact, I’ve created a Facebook group where we can share the awesome, cool people and groups we come across each week. I suspect that it will grow organically in scope and structure as we see how this quest goes and discover more about ourselves and the process—and I know it will help us all remember what we’re looking for and add some awesome group mojo. You can find the group here—it’s private to prevent spam/trolling, so just send me a request to join!

Come create some joy with me in 2013. Let’s make it our best year yet!


  1. Hello! I just came upon your post on the Goddess Circle, and since I think “Joy” is going to be my word of the year, I knew I had to check out your post. I love the twist you are putting on this topic, by creating joy for others. Great article! Will share on my FB page.
    In joy,

    • Thanks so much, Meredith! Come play with us on Facebook—and bring friends! :)

  2. Awesome post! I love the story and your perspective — noticing and offering gratitude have a magnetic quality of attracting more of the same — thanks so much for sharing this. In telling this story and starting the group, you’ve made easier to be reminded of how powerful the lenses of appreciative eyes can be … thank you!
    Paula Farrington recently posted..Yellow Butterfly of JOY, I Salute YouMy Profile

    • Thanks, Paula. I didn’t originally intend to start a group, but when I was writing up this post it just kind of wrote itself in and felt completely right, so the group was born! I think that, as you say, it’ll be a great way for us to remind each other to keep an eye out for the good stuff, especially the things we usually miss!

  3. Great article and a lovely idea.
    I am interested in joining the facebook group
    catherine rose stevens recently posted..How Are You Ending Your Year?My Profile

    • Hi, Catherine! We’d love to have you. Just follow the link at the end of the post and click the “Join Group” button. I’ll take care of the rest. :)

  4. Nancy this made me smile and brought tears to my eyes at the same time – there seems to be so much criticism going on lately and I’ve even got to the point of looking for strategies to protect myself from negativity, so to read this was such a dose of good medicine. I will definitely join you!
    Leanne recently posted..How To Be An IntrovertMy Profile

    • Leanne, I’m so glad! There IS so much negativity out there, and dern it, it’s time we took a stand and found the good stuff. I’m thrilled that you’re joining us. Bring a friend—the more the merrier! :)

  5. Nancy, I LOVE your quest – that’s awesome. I also make a practice of sending positive comments back to managers or bosses when I encounter service that really impresses me (it’s one of those “sacred duty” things for me: I figure that if I have the right to complain about things that aren’t right, I also have a responsibility to acknowledge and praise when they are!)

    However, I’d never thought of making a “quest” out of it. I hope you can report back over the coming weeks and months and let us know how it goes!


    Tanja @ Crystal Clarity recently posted..Free gift: need a little help coming up with blog post ideas?My Profile

    • “I figure that if I have the right to complain about things that aren’t right, I also have a responsibility to acknowledge and praise when they are!”

      Yes–it’s this, exactly! I hope you’ll come join us; we have a nice little group already and I can’t wait to see how it grows, both in numbers and in approach to this quest.

  6. Great post, I loved the story about the waitress, made me smile:-).

    • Thanks, Louise! I hope you’ll join us over on Facebook!

  7. Wow, that´s fabulous. What an intention for the new year. That is really a kind of sharing blessings along your way.
    Nora Amala recently posted..4 tools to start this wonderful 2013 effectivlyMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Nora. Please come join us if you like. We’d love to have you!

  8. Hi Nancy,

    Your post on SC facilitators Circle caught my eye (and heart) this morning, so I clicked over to read the story on your blog. Its so tender and uplifting! I’d love to be a part of the Quest to spread JOY in 2013!


    • Hi, Sarah!

      Please do join us! There’s a nice group forming and we’d love to have you. :)

  9. I loved this, it was a great reminder to really embrace my word of the year “Shine” and be a Jeanine just because it feels good and it does change the world, even if it’s only a teeny tiny bit in making one person’s day better!
    Happy New Year!
    Dominee recently posted..Are you ready to embrace Self Love in 2013?My Profile

    • “Shine” is a great word of the year! And I know you’ll live up to it, too. :)

  10. Nancy –
    A great idea!! Just imagine all the positive energy this creates, and how a group can magnify that positive energy as an antidote to all the negative energy that is around today. I love it – and want to join in!!

    • Absolutely, Barbara! I am trying to get as many people as possible to join in exactly because of the way it will grow under its own momentum when we all come together to share. I think it’s going to be fabulous and am so excited that you’re coming along!

  11. Hi Nancy… Joy has come up for me as well as the direction for 2013, at least for myself. I’d like to participate with you in spreading Joy … though I am not a very active blogger. I did read your blog and love that you wrote to commend Jeannine. Join me up. Blessings Seena

    • Most happy to add you to the group, Seena! I’m so glad to see that there seems to be a small movement for joy this year, and can’t wait to see what comes of it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge