One of the things I do in my work as a Professional Coach is help my clients clarify and “name” what it is that makes them come alive. And sometimes it can be a little elusive to identify, or define, specifically what that is. A good way can be to take the cues from those around you.
Feel-good music and concerts
For me, one of those things is music. The deal for me was sealed when my aunt left a message on our voice mail the other day. She was returning my call about the Chicago / Earth, Wind & Fire concert—I wanted to know how she liked it. And her message said, “The best part of the show was watching you and Bill through my binoculars dancing up a storm!” At first I was a little embarrassed. But then I realized that yep, that was just me, following my joy.
Then one of my clients emailed me the next day and said how she enjoyed our “show” up front! Okay, slightly embarrassed again, but what are ya gonna do? Also reminds me of the time that Bill and I were at a Neil Diamond concert in Sioux City, IA. Afterwards, one of the local radio station DJ’s waved us over outside the arena and said, “Hey, I saw you guys up front. You two were the happiest mother f’ers in the entire building!” Funny. Okay, I think I got the message.
Really great feel-good music can give me goosebumps on a 90-degree day. And that same music can propel me into a feeling of gratefulness for being alive.
Interestingly enough, for years I have been struggling with how to start out each day on the right foot. I try meditating, but I lose interest. I try reading, but I’m anxious to get going and get on with my day. I try exercising, but I get impatient. In my quest for an easy and enjoyable ritual to begin my day, I now find a song to blast each morning to get me going, and I like my tune loud so that it fills the room. That really does it for me! This morning I chose Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” Let’s just say that after feeling that song in my blood, I knew it was going to be a good day. :)
Connecting hearts and spreading joy
Sadly, our great music legend, Michael Jackson, died recently. And I have been moved to tears on several occasions by watching the video tributes out there as well as listening to some of his amazing music. Regardless of anything else you may have heard about him—on a world level, he gave us a gift that connects hearts and souls over oceans, over continents, and over cultures and languages.
Michael gave us the gift of feel-good music that just makes you want to dance and embrace the notion that life is good. Every year when Bill and I go on a cruise, it’s our tradition to request Michael’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” in the ship disco to get the boat rockin’. And the coolest part of it all is that the dance floor becomes filled with people from all over the world who speak different languages—but who, in that moment, are all one; all there to have a good time and enjoy life. It’s a pretty incredible experience.
And so as Bill and I were dancing at the concert during Chicago’s “Make Me Smile” and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Singasong”…I reached in my pocket to touch the flat coin-like blessing ring that I always keep with me. The words inscribed on it say: “Joy: It’s What You Live For.” I felt the bass in my chest and felt the music fill me up to the top. The more I follow my joy and embrace it and honor it, the more the magic continues to unfold for me. And the joy comes back ten-fold, too! (On the flip side, when I shrink back and follow the “should’s” of life…that’s when I get into trouble).
What do others notice about you or tell you that they see you enjoy doing? What tips you off or affirms that you are following your joy?
My clients seem to love filling out this worksheet. It’s an exercise that helps you get in touch with the things that make you come alive; the things that bring you joy. Take a few minutes to print out and complete this worksheet to make sure you know the best ways to follow your joy. Talk it over with a friend or a partner, and have them do the exercise, too (of course, this will be unique and different for each person doing the exercise).
The more you can help others follow their joy, the more you indirectly give them “permission” to be who they are. And what a gift that is.
One of my favorite quotes by Harold Whitman says it perfectly: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
So, what makes YOU come alive?