When Joy Meets Happy

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“You can’t sustainably achieve that outside joy unless there is also inside joy” – 

Richard Sheridan, CEO Menlo Innovations 

When joy meets happy…eyes become clearer and brighter and they see a life of what is possible.  It is the intersection where we can objectively self-reflect with positivity and compassion.  From here, we become open and aware. We can explore new thinking. We are primed with the curiosity needed to explore differences and continuously expand our circle of opportunities.  

I recently visited an amazing place where people are thriving.  Menlo Innovations is an organization that puts its people first as they push forward with their stated mission “to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology.”  Menlo Innovations is a unique workplace where a diverse team of people, called Menlonians, find joy in and gain knowledge from, the many experiments they run each day. Menlonians are constantly evolving and trying new things as a way to learn and grow. They believe continuous growth is an essential piece to their team’s success in achieving their mission. Even this group that seems to have it right with a culture led by joy, invited in a different perspective. Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, Author of Joy, Inc. and Chief Joy Officer recently invited Ignite Happy to lead a talk, at an internal learning event at Menlo Innovations. The purpose was to spark his team in new ways to joyfully explore taking steps that open doors to new possibilities that further innovation and creativity. 

Ignite Happy happily encouraged Menlonians to begin taking daily actions with the level of commitment needed to forge a better future for each of them individually, and as a team.   They were encouraged to take purposeful steps to connect their inner happiness with external possibilities; to invite different perspectives where child-like curiosity collides with creativity.  The irony for me is that this organization is a constant reminder and inspiration to me. Menlo reminds me that joy and happiness can coexist with work. Menlo Innovations has a culture that encourages employees to continuously seek joy and thrive in it.  Through constant practice and exploration along this path helps Menlonians land in unimaginable places. As the Founder and Chief of Possibilities at Ignite Happy, I shared vulnerable stories and experiences to help awaken a new way of looking at happiness as a means to greater inclusiveness and compassion.  I also introduced a path to follow, the Ignite Happy Path, which is a six-step prescriptive path, uniquely created for people looking for practical solutions to see a life of what is possible.  The path aligns a set of human fundamentals and dozens of prescriptive solutions in a purposeful way. It helps to tee up the spark of excitement and wonder within.  By taking intentional steps, we can change habits and rewire our thinking to look forward, not back. We can overcome inertia and connect our inner self with the abundance of opportunities available all around us.

Open doors to new possibilities that once felt out of reach

Richard Sheridan graciously extended his joy to me with this invitation to help me live out my personal purpose; to bring out the best in people, help them ignite happy from within and to live and see a life of what is possible.  Rich has been an inspiration and a mentor to me with his uplifting guidance and encouragement. In a recent workshop at Menlo Innovations, Leading with Joy, I found my “highest goal” which is a concept from Michael Ray’s book of the same name.  Through an experiment Rich facilitated in the workshop, it helped me clearly understand and boil my life’s mission down to one word. Just one word. A word that emotionally filled me up, and simultaneously fired me up when I spoke about it. This word is “possibilities.”  I believe anything is possible. I feel deeply that my purpose in life is showing the world what can be overcome on a path to true inner happiness. No matter where we are or where we have been, nothing is out of reach. I am living proof of that. Rich Sheridan and Menlo Innovations have been instrumental in my inner epiphany that the world is eager for more good, love, and joy.  Each of us can help make a difference.

Ever hear of Shawn Achor, author of Happiness Advantage?  Mr. Achor is one of the world’s leading experts on human potential. In his motivational talks and writings, he opened my mind to the realization that we can change and the quest for true inner happiness can be a powerful catalyst for that change.  When I first heard him speak, my heart skipped a beat. I am wired to be positive and happy, yet the daily grind had worn me down over time. Life just happened.

I really do believe life reveals itself and at almost the same time I met another author, Frans Johansson Author of The Medici Effect. Frans’s writings and speeches showed me the next best action to take on my journey and to keep it simple.  He said, “Darrin, that is great you have 100 potential ideas, pick one… one that you have real passion behind.”  Yes! Pick one, so profound -). Then I began to “run the experiment” and simply intersect my passion with my newfound “highest goal”,  using happiness as my platform to seek what is possible. Frans is an expert in seeing the intersection of two unrelated things as the basis for innovation.  I marvel at the approach and it directly correlates to our human ability to find the connection in things all around us. Menlo Innovations showed me we can actually have joy and actually achieve this at work.  Finding that we can intersect happiness and joy at the workplace has me believing anything is possible (joy meets happy). The collection of these learnings has taught me to be me, in the most genuine way. I started to come alive!  I have allowed my full self to connect to people in ways that come from the bottom of my heart. 

One small step you can consider starting today is to begin understanding what beliefs are within you, just below the surface waiting to spring free.  Begin jotting them down and observe what type of energy comes from these musings. Do these create positive energy or conflict around you? I encourage you to reinforce the ones out loud that create positivity or more joy.  Live and see your possible. 

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