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Your Brand of Joy

What’s your Brand of Joy?

My Brand of Joy is JOY. And it’s what I seek in everything I do. My work, my relationships, my clients.

From that place of joy, I created the Step into Your Starring Role program which became the Starring Role Playbook which became the Starring Role Academy.

From that place of joy, I called together experts to form the SIYSR virtual retreat (and yeah, that was pure joy).

From that place of joy, I know how to overcome obstacles. How to conquer my inbox before vacation. What to create for dinner. What to say YES to...and what to say NO to.

My inquiry is always: how can this be more joyful?

And when that's too big, I root into what underpins it for me.

How can I feel more connected? Grateful? Generous?

And then I know the way forward.

When it's not aligned with my Brand of Joy, it's not aligned with anything. (Tweet)

You have your own brand of what I call joy. Maybe it's devotion. Or freedom. Or ease. Or flow. Or expanded. Or success. Or love. Or beauty. Once you know what it is, it will inform EVERYTHING if you let it (and you should).

Time for you to see what your unique Brand of Joy is.

This video is the first of five for teaching you how to move forward to step into YOUR starring role.

Full transparency: While it’s joyful for me to share these tools, I’m also offering them to help you determine if the Starring Role Academy is for you.

Either way, may knowing your Brand of Joy serve you well. xx

Hearing crickets (or, maybe you’re not going crazy)

About two years ago, I went into a pet shop to grab cat litter and heard a cricket chirping away. Without giving it too much thought, I made up the story that the little critter snuck his way in via a bag of feed and was holed up in the ceiling rafters, singing his song ‘til his death.

(I also imagined that the cashier couldn’t wait for it to die. It’s a sound that would most certainly get annoying anywhere but in a garden on a summer’s evening with a chilled glass of sangria.)

Every time I’ve passed the pet shop since, a vision of a little cricket carcass up in the ceiling tiles has flashed before my eyes.

And then this silent question:

Did I REALLY hear that cricket?

And then this narrative:

Huh. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I imagined it, or it was part of one of those waking dreams. Odd, but not the oddest one I’ve had. I mean, it was the dead of winter. How impossible that a cricket would find it’s way into a store and survive in the rafters for like, three months? Unlikely, to be sure.

Every.single.time. And I pass that pet shop a LOT.

Passed it again yesterday.

And saw this.


Aha. I finally have my answer.

I’ve spent the last two years passing that sign, not actually SEEING it and continuing to give time and space to that nonsensical narrative. 

Sometimes we doubt what we know to be true. And we even ignore the signs that are right there.

Stop doing that. (I will too.)

Or more helpfully:

Pay attention to the divine winks that remind you what you already know, even when you’ve chosen to forget.(Tweet this)

Hold space for the possibility that you were right all along. Chances are, you were.


Okay. Now.

Maybe you think you’re hearing metaphorical crickets in your business. (See how I did that?)

No one seems to be showing up.

I’m not going to lie...You might well be.

But that doesn’t mean that your offering is wrong.

Or that your marketing it wrong.

Or that anything is wrong.

Take the time in the relative silence and root back into the why of your offering. Back to when you loved it and trusted it and it loved and trusted you. Pay attention to those divine winks who’ll lead you home. Back to that loving feeling.

In that feeling lies the truth.

And from there, show up.

And they will too.

(No more crickets…except, apparently at the pet food store.)


The “Ready for my Starring Role” list

My family and I are heading out on a 2-week Atlantic Canada road trip. There’s really no reason for us to bring our passports. But. Just in case we decide to sneak through Maine, or we act on my creepy Shining-inspired compulsion to stay a night at the Mount Washington resort in NH, we’ll bring ‘em.

And the moment I realized that we were going to pack them, an old panic set in: what if they’re not up to date?

It was a micro-moment, really, because I realized that my (our) passports are ALWAYS up to date. They live on my “Ready for my Starring Role” list.

No? Not ringing any bells?

Okay. Here’s what I share with my Step into Your Starring Role group.

Over a year ago, my dear friend and co-working partner Jamie Ridler and I were talking about the BIG STUFF. You know, life purpose, legacy and manicures (as one does).

I had just had my nails done and I was telling her how much more enjoyable it was to write (and type) as I watched those varnished digits dance across the keyboard.

Very matter-of-factly, Jamie said “Oh yes, fresh manicures are on my ‘Jamie’s Ready for Anything List’”. Delighted, I leaned in to hear the rest of her list.

And, of course, I started to create my own “Ready for Anything” list.  A seemingly simple, but genius little process with deceptive potholes.

It was a sparse list at first. A valid passport and a made bed, fresh nails (uh huh), a charged iPhone and that emergency $20 tucked in my wallet that my mother impressed upon me at an early age. And that was kind of it.

And then, I got a little more granular. I stopped thinking about being ready for ANYTHING and started getting specific about what I wanted to be ready for. So I renamed it my “Ready for my Starring Role” list.

I would be ready to take Oprah’s call when… I would be ready to say YES to that eleventh hour speaking gig when… I would be ready to partner on that incredible windfall opportunity when…

This is where it started to get tricky. This is where my fall-back into the land of over-preparation began. This is where I started creating barriers.

I’d be ready when I lost 15 pounds. I’d be ready when I had an extra $__K in the bank. I’d be ready when I wrote The Book.

Turns out, I was far from ready. Hello, Impostor Complex.

Now, we can all see where I was blocking what I said I wanted. I’m not suggesting these barriers are the REASON no windfall opportunities fell in our laps, or O’s people haven’t called or, or, or. And yet…and yet...

So, back to the drawing board. This time, I reoriented my “Ready for my Starring Role" List with my Brand of Joy.

My list items became more like embodiments of my values that are in service of my life and less like items on a to-do that only discouraged me.

Today, my list looks more like:

  • A current passport.
  • A signature talk that I can whip out at the drop of a hat (but not memorized…just the highlights committed to memory).
  • A made bed.
  • Well-hydrated lips that can smile even wider.
  • Thank you’s up to date (cards, email, phone calls.)
  • A full tank of gas (literally and figuratively).
  • Something to write on and write with.
  • A charged iPhone.
  • Never missing a chance to tell my family how much I love them before I (or they) leave the house.
  • And of course, nails done.

I invite to make your own list. Your “Ready for Anything” list, or your “Ready for your Starring Role list”. (Go for resonance.)

Align it with your Brand of Joy. And notice what beliefs you still have about being ready.

  • For all the items that make you feel filled up, put a star next to them and see how many of those you can “take care of” this week.
  • For all the items that make you feel a little depleted, and come back to them in a day’s time. Are they essential or are they barriers? If they’re barriers, pull ‘em off the list.

Then notice how much more ready you are than you thought. Which is good. Really good.

But for the love of goodness, please…

Keep your passport up to date

 So. What’s on your list?

PS - I'll be taking a break from writing here for the couple of weeks, but please do join me over at FB or connect on Instagram

What do you want?

Knowing what you want is a seriously propulsive and powerful force. Desire’s like that. When we know what we want, we can set course and in most cases, make it happen, Cap’n. Dreamy.

So when Katie den Ouden invited me to take part in her truly delightful blogtour…an exploration in feeding your soul, freeing your body + loving your life, I knew I needed to write from there.

How living the life you love and loving the life you live requires you to know what you want.


Often what we think we want and what we ACTUALLY want are separated by a vast expanse of shoulds.

I should want. I should do. I should have. I should be.

Ugggggggh. And NO.

You were not created with your complex helix structures of synapses and strands of values and strengths and tastes and aptitudes to fit into someone (ANYONE) else’s protocol for happiness, health, success, love, or freedom.

No no and NO.

And I know that seems harsh…it’s easier to IMAGINE that we know what we want, right? Because NOT knowing what we want can feel, I believe the clinical term is sucky.

In a world that seems to demand you to know what you want with all the good graces of a school yard bully, your uncertainty can feel like a sign of weakness. Like, there’s something wrong with you if you don’t know what it is, with great decisiveness.

No no and NO.

It is not. As long as you are living, breathing and doing, you are in process. You are discerning what works for you, and moreover, what doesn’t work for you.

So, what DO you want?

Let’s take a look.

Discover YOUR brand of joy.

You are wholly, completely, absolutely and gorgeously unique. No one ever, ever, has walked in your shoes. Only you know what you are made of…and what brings you true joy.

Find your own brand of joy. (No really…click here.)

Look to what inspires you.

We tend to think of inspiration on the same level as “hobby”. When all the needs of life are met (like EVERYONE’S needs), THEN I can spend some time scanning my life for inspiration.

No no and NO.

Knowing what inspires you breathes life into your being and stokes the flames of desires. Essential.

Who do you admire?  What about them inspires you? What are your go-to sources to lift your spirits? What about that inspires you?

This isn’t about comparing and despairing. This is about listening to your pulse.

Give it a try…with room to change your mind.

I love yoga and I love heat. I should love Bikram yoga, right?

Oh HELL no.

The rigidity. The predictability. The 26 poses (twice). Every class scripted to precisely 90 minutes, in any studio around the world. Being told when you may sip your water (which, at 105 degrees, you’d like to do more often). Being told you may not leave the room.

No no and NO.

The first time I went, I hated it. But I knew many people who loved it. Surely there was something wrong with me. I could see what they loved…the very rigidity and predictability that I abhorred. But what a monstrously good challenge.

So I went again. Hated it. Hated it so much I sank another $250 in a 10-class pass to win myself over.

Shockingly, that didn’t work.

That was then. [Tweet "Now quitting faster has become a strategy in self-love."]

Quitting doesn’t make you a flake. Changing your mind doesn’t mean you’re a flake. You’re a complex human being learning to find your way home. We all are.

Dare to dream it.

I can count on one hand the number of vision boards I’ve done in my life. Four. Yup. Four.

In all honesty, three of those times were for the same reason I did Bikram twelve times. I thought I should love it. What’s not to love? Limitless possibilities. Expansive thinking.

In this case, I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t GET it.

Until last night.

My daughter wanted to make a “happy board” with me.  So out came the pile of magazines that have been gracing my office shelves.

Letting go and just being with the intention of heeding my heart’s call (should it be calling) revealed a startlingly clear representation of what I HAVE been wanting. In black and white and technicolour clarity. With some surprises (where did that banjo come from?)

What if “what do I want” still shuts you down?

Try this instead:: What do I want TODAY?

Slow and steady…you’re gaining on it.

Want with all you have…and do your best to remain unattached.

Tricky. To be sure.

Knowing what I want, when I do, feels euphoric. It offers context and bearings. And it also requires me to hold it loosely.

If I want impeccability, the mess of happy children will surely be too much. If I want only laughter, then loving deeply and risking sadness is unreasonable. If I want certainty, I’ll miss the honey of uncertainty.

Yes yes and YES.

Living the life I love and loving the life I live requires me to know what I want. And don’t want.

It’s clear that the vision for my perfect life allows for vast swatches of imperfection. (And apparently, a banjo.)


This post is part of Katie den Ouden’s beauteous blogtour devoted to sharing the work and words of some fantastic bloggers on the topics of feeding your soul, freeing your body + loving your life. I know and deeply love Lindsey and Meg’s work already, and have enjoyed expanding my roster of inspiration by sinking into the posts from Natalie, Robin, Erin, Audrey, Jennifer. Follow the tour…you may even decide to join Katie’s 21-Day Freedom Challenge (I will be).



Yesterday’s blogger

Juli: Facebook:  PURE Mamas Instagram: @julinovotny Twitter: @julinovotny




SDS_BlogTour_Blogger_Badges_SueAnnConsciousBitesAnd tomorrow’s

Sue Ann: Facebook:  Chocolate for Breakfast Twitter: @ConsciousBites