I’m happy and I know it … clap your hands

I giggle.

I work hard to make others giggle.

I dream…and enjoy analyzing my dreams.

I engage on social media.

I innovate (at work)

I create (at home)

I write.

I share my writing with others.

I bake cookies.

I surprise the people I love with small treats or notes.

I want to be around people.

I want to know them.

I want to learn more about them.

I want to discover what we have in common and how we can help each other.

I sing.

I kiss my husband.

I take beautiful pictures.

Or silly ones.

Mr. Sunglasses Face

This isn’t a list of the things that make me happy.

It’s a list of ways I know that I am happy.

That life is working for me.

These are ways I know I am doing what is required to care for myself so that my life is one I enjoy … or, at least, feel reasonably satisfied by.

Often times, we think  — if we think at all — about the things that make us happy.

Ice cream.

Sex.

Vacation.

Money.

Baseball.

Air conditioning.

We make mental or actual lists of all the things we need in our life in order to be happy. Or we delineate end goals or possessions we are convinced will make us happier if only we reach them or one day have them.

Better job.

Better wife.

A baby.

Older kids.

A degree.

More sleep.

More quiet.

Less stress.

And while some of us are good at being grateful for what we have– and even acknowledging the good in our life — I don’t often hear from my inner voice listing off the ways I know I am happy now.

Right now.

Or what happy looked like back when it colored my life.

What does happy look like?

Who are you when you’re happy?

If we don’t know what happy looks like, how will we ever get there?

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that my happy evidence is somewhat missing from the scene.

This was a red alert for me to DO SOMETHING.

So I started thinking about my list.

The list of things that act as evidence that I am happy.

And I started doing those things.

Even though I wasn’t yet happy.

And today, I’m happier.

(I didn’t say HAPPY.)

But

I’m writing.

I’m baking.

I’m spending time with real live human beings.

And engaging a little with the imaginary real live human beings on my screen.

What does happy look like for you?

How will you …

How do you…

recognize it?

Ideas that spread

I love TED talks.

I love the concept.

I love the execution.

TED

As a marketing professional, I think TED talks are often brilliant examples of storytelling and I often share them with my clients to show how delivery can reel a person into a topic that might be dense or unfamiliar.

I have watched TED talks that seem to have nothing to do with my life — that are by people so foreign to me or about ideas that are a million miles away from what I think or care about.

And yet, by the end, I’m crying. Or nodding. Or shaking my head in stunned disbelief.

That’s what a good story does to you.

As a human being, I think TED talks enrich my life.

I love learning about problems I never knew existed.

And being surprised by how the solutions to those problems end up applying to my own life.

I have the TED app downloaded on my smartphone and when I remember, I will often listen to a TED talk on the drive home from work.

I hardly ever spend time browsing the videos. I choose one of the top three recommended.

Today I chose “Phil Hansen: Embrace the shake.”

I had no idea who Phil Hansen was before I watched his talk, nor did I understand the reference to the word, “shake” in the title.

But I love the word “embrace.”

embrace

It’s physical.

It’s emotional.

And this word alone in the title was enough to pique my curiosity and press play.

I’m very much into embracing. (And tips on how to do it better…)

Embracing my uncertainty.

Embracing my fear.

Embracing the new and unfamiliar.

Embracing …so that you may let go.

What Hansen suggests in his talk is that embracing our limitations actually opens us up to limitless possibilities.

I agree with him.

I won’t spoil the 10 minute talk.

Enjoy it for yourself, but be prepared to be surprised.

And to let go … of your expectations.

About the speaker.

About the talk.

About everything.

“As I destroyed each project, I was learning to let go,” Hansen says. “Let go of outcomes. Let go of failures. And let go of imperfections…”

See what happened, when he did.