Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

The Joy of Loving Your Work

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Today was an amazing day. So amazing, I forgot to post my blog this morning because I was shooting my home for an upcoming issue of Traditional Home. Days like today are the fun days. You know, the days that it feels like you’re living in your sweet spot!

And I’ve talked about my word of the year for weeks now in my 52 Weeks of Joy series. I’ve mentioned how I’m rediscovering or creating new joys in my life. It’s a daily practice. But believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are dozens of reasons every day or at least every week that can bring you down if you aren’t vigilant.

One place where it can definitely be challenging to find joy is in our work. Most of us spend more time each day at work than doing anything else. So it’s really important to our happiness and well being to make sure that our job brings us joy many more days that not.

All of us have had times when the joy of what we do is drained right out of our workdays thanks to deadlines and stress. It can be hard to get motivated enough to get out of bed when your work isn’t inspiring you. And even though I am passionate about the work I do, I can’t tell you the number of times over my 18 years in business,  when I’ve thrown my hands up in the air and said, that’s it, I QUIT! Just shut the doors, we’re done! And when we add on top of that our responsibilities at home, it can really get overwhelming.

So if you are feeling burned out, drained or overworked, or if you can’t remember the last time you felt like you were working in your “sweet spot”, then it’s time for you to commit to finding joy in your work. Sometimes the problem is that your job or industry has changed due to factors outside of your control and you may start to ask yourself why you continue to do this job everyday. And believe it or not, that’s a good thing. When anything in your life is so painful that you are motivated to make a change, that’s exactly when something amazing is going to happen!

So what steps do we take to put that joy back or maybe find it for the first time? Well as problematic as it can be to watch all those fabulous photos, amazing destinations, and incredible projects everyone is posting on social media because it makes us envious or think that we’re doing something wrong, it can also be motivating. Yes, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, but it can also light a fire under you to make your life what you dream it can be. I do turn to Instagram often for inspiration including ideas for what I want in my life especially in the way of travel with my family.

So if you’ve lost the happiness and passion you had for your business, what can you do? I have some ideas for you:

First, stop everything for 10 minutes today. I want you to turn off your phone and your email and shut your door. Then I want you to get a piece of paper and a pen, and I want you to write down why you got into this business in the first place. And do not get up until you have a reason that isn’t “I want to make money.” Because you could do ANYTHING to make money. You could probably do a lot of things that didn’t have the amount of aggravation and stress you’re feeling right now.

What was it? You need to get back to whatever the motivation was for your business, and rediscover it so you can bring back your joy!

You may also want to remember what positives you get from your business. What 2 or 3 things do you love about your business? Maybe you like the freedom of your schedule. Maybe you like not answering to a “boss.” Or maybe you like being in charge of your destiny – whatever it is, you need to write those down and remember them, too.

You know what else is really the enemy of happiness? Being overwhelmed. That’s why I wanted you to create a moment of zen, without phones or distractions, to focus on what is important to you. I wanted you to stop the “overwhelm” for just a few minutes or better yet a few minutes every day with meditation or yoga. That is definitely working for me this year!

When your to-do list seems as long as the Great Wall of China, taking that first step on the wall can seem like an enormous and almost impossible task. But that one step is everything. If you can focus on one goal, one task, just one step, it can really help you take action. Taking action, even a small one, is really motivating. It’s an accomplishment, and that can really help you keep going.

Remind yourself of any successes you have in your business too! I’m guilty of not doing this sometimes myself. We get so caught up in grinding away at everything we have to do that we forget to stop and say “Hey, I just did a BIG thing there!” Maybe you want to make a list on a white board where you can see it all the time. Or maybe you want to even set a reminder to have a glass of champagne when you get home. However you have to do it, set a routine to celebrate all of your accomplishments, your JOYS, from small ones to really big ones!

And finally, be sure you are finding inspiration for yourself. Inspiration really does lead to joy! So if you need to go to a museum, or read a book, or take a day trip somewhere, or go to the spa when you should be working so you can relax enough to be inspired, then do it! I suspect that inspiration and creativity were one of the reasons you listed for why you got into this business in the first place, so find ways to bring them back into your work life.

Here’s to us all having more days in our “sweet spot” this year!

Joyfully yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Weeks of Joy!

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JOY. It is the word that I selected to define 2017. And I couldn’t be more excited to be on this year-long quest for joy. But let’s be honest. The journey will be a LOT harder than it seems. Its just been 2 days since I announced my word of the year and I have already had dozens of things come up that could steal my joy, increase my stress level, knock me off track and all in less than a week! I am working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. But that’s the thing about it, it takes focus and effort and lots and lots of practice to find JOY and keep our joy every day.

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I also love the idea of sharing JOY with others. And helping them find their JOY each week. I gave the book 52 Lists for Happiness to several of my clients and friends for the holidays, and there was a reason for that. I already knew that my Word of the Year would be JOY, and I wanted to start the year off right with a focus on happiness and joy for others and for myself!

I’m also continuing this theme right here on my blog every single week, all year long by introducing a new blog post every Thursday for 2017 called 52 Weeks of Joy. Each week I will  highlight something that’s bringing me joy right now, in the moment. And I hope you will join me in this practice.

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So for my very first post, I want to talk about the Joy of Family! Having just had my favorite Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve in all my 44 years, it was being with my family in our new house (with our new puppy) that made it so special. There is nothing in my life that has, or ever could, bring me joy like my family. They are the center of my universe, and the reason for everything I do. Too often in our lives, we get caught up in the “busyness” of life and forget to stop and appreciate what’s most important to us. I am putting a strong emphasis on giving my family my time and attention this year. It’s one thing to tell them they are important, and it’s a completely different thing to SHOW them.

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I’ve never been more thankful for my hard-working, rockstar husband! We’re almost 15 years into our marriage and we’re happier and more in love than ever. I am making a big effort to travel less for my work, so I can travel with him for his work. Scottsdale and New Orleans are just two spots in our upcoming travels together and we’re thinking of squeezing in a trip to Chicago too. I couldn’t be more grateful for the joy he brings to me and to my daughter! She is definitely a daddy’s girl. Yes this year is going to be a great one for us–especially when we jet off to Aruba for our 15th anniversary this Spring!

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The apple of my eye is my sweet little mini-me daughter who is getting closer than I want to admit to being a teenager – eek! She’s the sweetest and happiest person I know and brings joy to everyone she knows! I want to enjoy every minute with her in 2017 and the next few years because I know that the time will fly by and she’ll be leaving the nest before I can even imagine. It’s time to really appreciate her and our special times together and believe me, there will be a lot of those this year.

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If you know me at all, you know that one major source of joy in my life is my mom! She’s so important to me and my life. She’s the heart of our family and in many ways, she’s the heart of my business, too. She’s my creative muse and sounding board, and always gives me the best advice personally and professionally! I joke that she’s really the boss because I just couldn’t do what I do without her right at the center of it all. I often say if she quits, I quit.

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I’m really lucky to have so much JOY in my life from my family, including my dad, my brother and his wife, my niece and nephew, and the best in-laws a girl could ask for. These are blessings that I’m really counting in 2017 more than ever. I want to be sure that this is a year filled with appreciation, celebration, and joyful memories with these people who mean the world to me.

So what brings YOU joy? Who is at the center of your world? Let me know in the comments section below – and then let THEM know! We only have one life, and it should be filled with happiness!

Joyfully yours,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

My Word of the Year for 2017

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(By the way, get this fab mug here…)

Oh how I love the turn of the new year! I love nothing more than a fresh start–a new opportunity to design our lives just the way we want them to be. And for a big believer in goals, this is THE best time for setting a path to the life you want. I enjoyed time with family this weekend to relax and restore and eat my black-eyed peas. But today it’s serious goal setting time. And every good goal need a plan.

For the last five years, at the beginning of the year I’ve chosen a word to represent my intentions and goals. A word to be my guide for the next 12 months. It’s an annual ritual that I love, and that I take very seriously. Over those years I have chosen the words Discipline, Inspire, Action, Significance, and last year I chose Focus. I would say of all these, Significance was maybe my favorite because it meant looking for experiences and work that were truly meaningful. My favorite that is, until now.

I really believe what one of my favorite gurus, Dr. Wayne Dyer (who we lost in 2016) said. He said that intentions create reality. In other words what we put our minds to, becomes what we are.

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In 2016, my word was Focus. My intention was to be laser-focused mentally and emotionally on things that I wanted to achieve all year long.  Many times we as humans focus on the bad in life, or gossip, or challenges. And if what we focus on is what we become, that can be a dangerous practice, right?

Last year I wanted to have a head-down approach to my life.  I planned to forgo things that were merely good in lieu of the GREAT!  To say no to things that only seemed urgent so I could focus on what really matters. I decided to dig deep with the help of a few key advisors including my husband, in order to decide what I wanted my next few years to look like. I decided to focus on laying the ground work for the future that I want to manifest.

And though I had some HUGE successes in my design and consulting businesses and especially in my product designs last year, it was my marriage and my family that became my top priority. And oh WOW, have I ever reaped the rewards in those areas! It’s been so much fun when many of you have noticed and commented (on my social media and in person) over the last few months, about the changes you can see in my happiness. You’re right!

Relationships are like flowers, they need time and attention to bloom. And though my life seemed perfect before this year of focus, I didn’t realize that some of my relationships needed more time and attention than they were getting. As so many of you know, it is so hard to balance business and life, and for years my family has been patiently supporting my endeavors while I have tried to give them everything they needed. So 2016 was their turn to get major attention from me and I am thrilled that my family and I are truly happier than we have ever been because of it! Yes, I needed to be more connected to them too, and I was often too busy to even notice.

I also focused last year on downsizing the parts of my business that weren’t bringing in big profits or big success (like getting rid of my big brick and mortar we no longer need in lieu of a fabulous studio at home) so that I could be sure that the time I do spend on my business has the biggest payoffs with regard to fulfillment and finances. It was all part of my focus to balance work and family for the biggest rewards.

So when considering my word for 2017, I took a look back at my previous Word of the Year posts and something interesting happened. My intention to “Focus” in 2016 naturally led to my 2017 Word of the Year. In fact, if you look back at the blog post from January 2016, you’ll see the list of things I vowed to focus on…

I will forgo the good and Focus on the GREAT.

I will say no to many things that seem urgent and Focus on what matters.

I will travel less so I can Focus on my family more.

I will Focus on what I REALLY Want.

I will Focus on change.

I will Focus on what I can control.

I will Focus on what excites me.

I will Focus on being healthy.

I will Focus on finding Joy.

And what you will see is this year’s perfect word right there in the post. Because the last thing that I said I wanted to focus on was…

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That’s right, my word for 2017 is JOY! I said last year Joy would be part of what I wanted, but it was probably more of a side note, a secondary thought or at least one of several things I intended to seek.

This year it’s THE word. So what’s the difference in Joy and Happiness you ask? One definition I found said it this way…Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness. Witnessing or achieving selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice frequently triggers this emotion. Feeling spiritually connected to a god or to people brings joy.

So my intention for this year is to let JOY shine in my life, both personally and professionally! I guess I got a taste of real happiness last year when I up-leveled my personal relationships, and now I want MORE. Joy will be the litmus test of every decision I make this year. If it doesn’t REALLY bring me JOY then it just won’t make the cut in 2017.

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But it goes deeper than that. It won’t just be the test when an opportunity arises. Joy will be the catalyst for more BIG changes this year for me and my business.

I want to make sure there is JOY in my design work. I definitely love my work but often a lot of “have tos” creep into my schedule or my projects. This year, I will go back to just taking the work that I am passionate about. And what I am most passionate about? Designing homes that support people in their goals, their intentions and their wellness. So look for some shifts in the design work I do. I am no longer willing to do work that doesn’t truly inspire me and bring me JOY. But if you want a home that makes you healthy and happy, then I may just be your designer!

I will expand on the JOY I feel when I help others through my consulting work. Many of you may not know that I don’t just work with designers, but all sorts of businesses to help with their marketing and social media, their online presence, their personal wellness and work-life balance and their overall brand. Our list of consulting clients includes all sorts of creatives types from lawyers, realtors, designers, and contractors to info product companies, telecommunication companies and financial advisors. Every type of small business can benefit from the work we do and this work brings me JOY! I will also do more personal and life consulting this year. Yes, consulting will be a big part of 2017 for me.

I find much JOY in my product designs and media partnerships and I will expand those in 2017. I can’t wait for you to see what I am up to in this area of my life. I have a few big announcements that will be coming soon.

But, most importantly, I want to focus on the JOY I have with my husband, my daughter, my family and a few close friends plus our 2 amazing pups this year. Have you seen how cute our new puppy is?!? Yes, I guess I am elated by the connection and fulfillment that my relationships brought me in 2016, so more than anything else, I want more of this in this new year.

There are turning points in all of our lives, more and more as we grow older, that cause us to stop and take stock of our lives and where we are. I’ve had some of those (a few bigs ones in 2016), and I’m sure you have, too. They remind us of what is most important to us and who we really care about in our lives. They also show us who really cares for and supports us,too. They make it clear who and what brings us JOY!

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Does that mean I’m turning my focus away from work? Not at all! Okay, well maybe some of it. I am going to travel less for work (yes, even less than last year). I am going to live less out of habit and more from intention. I plan to celebrate what I love about my job and my partnerships. I will do more of what makes me happy and less of what makes me stressed. It’s almost like I’ll be cleaning out my emotional closets and only keeping what brings me JOY. It’s sort of like Marie Kondo’s “the life-changing magic of tidying up” but for my life.

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Life is short. It really, really is. And I am so glad that JOY will be the motivator for me in 2017 to stop “thinking about what will make me happy” and start only doing the things that will. It’s going to be a BIG push out of my comfort zone, even for a person like me who spends quite a lot of time out there on a limb. It will mean pulling the trigger on a few things I have been meaning to start and on more things I have been meaning to stop. And that’s scary stuff.

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I want more time. Free time, family time, down time. And the only way to create that kind of white space in my life is say no to a lot more and yes to a lot less. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. I plan to choose wisely.

I am going to lean into to my purpose and let go of some outdated dreams and expectations that I have been hanging on to. I am going to let go of the past and enjoy my present because being in the now is really just that, a gift.

I am so blessed, and my days of rushing towards the next gigantic achievement in some effort to make me happy are over. Because what makes us happy isn’t “out there” its an inside job. And inside is where I will cultivate the most JOY this year!

So what is YOUR intention for 2017? Can you seek more joy? We all need more happiness in our lives, but maybe it’s JOY you should really go after! No matter what you plan for the next 12 months, I truly wish you a JOYous new year!

with love and gratitude,

Tobi-Signature