Today I want to take a moment to talk about joy. Not just joy itself, but about finding joy when it’s not easy to see. Right now a lot of people, people both close and unrelated to me, are going through incredible challenges – loss of loved ones, health issues, financial struggles, not being able to meet basic needs – and coupled with what’s going on in the world, it sparks confusion and a sense of helplessness in me. How do I make a difference or find peace?

You might be feeling that way too. I’m certain you can identify with the feelings of not having the answers or being able to solve things. But I have realized that sometimes we have to give up control and simply accept that we don’t always get to know the why, the how, and the way to fix things. We have to give up control. How do we do that?

The advice I have for you today centers on the idea of gratitude for no reason. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going our way and we’re succeeding. But that’s not true gratitude. How can we learn to be grateful, to find happiness and joy, when things aren’t going well for us? I’ll tell you how I’ve started working on it. The things I’ve focused on day to day to make sure I’m not letting life go by without some sense of gratitude. I hope this episode can help you appreciate little things that are always there so you can find bits of joy this season.

Key Moments

02:46  When we need to look beyond ourselves

04:33  Happy for no reason

07:43  One of the things I have come to be grateful for

  • We can be happy or unhappy for a reason, but we need to cultivate happiness for no reason
  • There is power in great art and music
  • Pets spark gratitude  

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Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor: 

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Transcript:

Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be the Anchor the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life get stormy and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want, and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea, big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot, my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy, and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode, so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much!

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:10] Hello my friends. I’m so glad you’re here. I want to talk today about looking for joy and in particular looking for joy when it’s not super easy to find. What I noticed the last few weeks is that there are a lot of people going through hard stuff. I have friends who are facing challenges as their loved ones are passing and going through incredible challenges with their own health. I’ve noticed more and more people who are really struggling to meet their financial needs, their basic needs, putting food on the table, let alone planning some sort of a holiday for their families and their children. When I look at what’s going on in the world, there are times where I feel both confused and helpless and I don’t know how to make a difference. I don’t know how to let people know that I care. And as someone who’s a high performer and who really loves to solve problems, it’s really challenging to find peace in those moments where you don’t have the answer and you don’t know what the roadmap is, and you don’t know how to make things different.

Kari Lotzien: [00:02:28] Today, when I thought about my episode, I thought, you know what, maybe you’re feeling that way too. And maybe together I can share a little bit of the advice that I’ve been given over the years when things are hard, and maybe that’ll help somebody today, too. What I found is that this is a time, when things are difficult, that we need to look beyond ourselves. That sometimes the answers don’t lie between our own ears. As much as I like to think that if I just focus hard enough and think hard enough and do the work and put action behind it, that I can make a difference, sometimes we can’t. And that acceptance that sometimes it takes more than me and sometimes I don’t get to know. I don’t get to know why. I don’t get to have the answers. I don’t get to be able to know what to do next. And those things are hard for me. Giving up control, feeling like there’s a greater purpose, has not always been something that’s come easily. There are people who it does, and I am always somewhat intrigued by the people who can have that higher sense of faith and trust. Bless your hearts, but for me, it just doesn’t come easily. I want to know how to fix things. What I noticed in myself is that when I would look to a gratitude practice, which was something that I’d been told about time and time again, that one of the ways that we lead towards success is being grateful for what we currently have. And one of the things that I noticed is that I found it easy to be grateful when things were going well. When I was meeting my goals, when I was overcoming challenges, when I was helping other people, and I was seeing the impact that it had, and I was watching this unfold in a positive direction. Now I know that that’s actually not true gratitude.

Kari Lotzien: [00:04:33] I read a book years ago called Happy For No Reason, and in this book she talked about when you are happy for a reason, such as what I just described, being happy because you’re getting ahead, being happy because things are going well, being happy because the weather is great, or you’ve got money in the bank or your friends and family are moving ahead in their lives, and you’re just so proud of them. That’s being happy for a reason. Sometimes we’re unhappy for a reason as well. We’re unhappy because things are hard. We’re unhappy because we don’t have health, or we’re having financial struggles, or we’re facing something that we don’t know how to get out of. Unhappy for a reason. I think with gratitude, it’s this bigger idea that we can be happy for no reason. It’s finding even the smallest thread of joy in the midst of anything that is going on, no matter what it is, no matter if you feel like you are overwhelmed with the pressures of life, no matter if you feel like you don’t have the answers, or you don’t know how to help, or you don’t know what to do. There are moments where the light can come in, where there’s just a crack in the density of whatever we’re holding, where we can see that glimmer of gratitude.

Kari Lotzien: [00:06:01] Now, if, like me, that doesn’t come completely naturally to you, and you notice that the things you’re grateful for could also be equated with things are good, things are easy, I’m moving forward, let me talk to you a little bit more about where I’ve been finding gratitude lately. Just to show the difference. So I can be grateful, I can be thrilled when things are going well. And I want to build on those. But I also want to find these moments that feel beyond myself. They feel like something bigger than me, that my only role, the only thing I need to do is pause and notice. And that’s it. 

[00:06:50] Okay, my friends, we’re well in the season of gift giving. And if you know of someone who’s a small business owner in your life and you want to get them the perfect thing that you know will be so valued and appreciated and it’ll just make them feel cared for, click on the link in the show notes. I’ve put together a guide of my favorite gift ideas for small business owners, and there is everything from absolutely free to a lot of options that are less than the price of a gift basket with lotions and candles. But it’s really what people want. If you are a business owner, and maybe you just need some ideas of ways that people could support you, this might give you some good ideas of what to ask for. I’m sending you so much love this holiday season. Click on the link in the show notes. I’ll send you the list. Back to the show.

Kari Lotzien: [00:07:43] One of the things that brings me this feeling is watching sunrises and sunsets. And lately we’ve been having some incredible sunrises, especially here, where the whole sky just fills with this beautiful pink cotton candy sky. And in the moment I would at first notice and think, oh my gosh, that is so beautiful. And when I follow the thread of gratitude, I can follow it to a place that says I am so grateful that I’m here in this moment. That my window faces this direction and that I was able to take five minutes this morning and truly appreciate the beauty that unfolded right in front of me. Wasn’t on my schedule, wasn’t something I planned for, I have absolutely no control over it. My only role is to notice and appreciate.

Kari Lotzien: [00:08:43] And it changes how I feel in my body. It makes me feel like there is a message so much greater than myself that it is going to be okay. That even though I don’t understand it, I don’t know how a sunrise happens, I don’t know what makes the sky turn this beautiful pink hue. And I don’t think it’s for me to know. It is simply for me to appreciate. I also get this same feeling when I listen to artists, songwriters, music. I can stand in just pure appreciation for how something so complex, the lyrics, the music, the instruments, and how it all just comes together in some beautiful perfection. And my role is to just notice it. And I even hold back sometimes from thinking, ooh, I like that song, or I don’t like that song, or analyzing, oh, who is that singer? Or what is that instrument? Can I just pause and appreciate the full impact of the beauty in this creation. I think some people find that in art as well. A beautiful painting or a drawing or a sculpture. Any of those things where our role is just to hold it. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:10:09] The other little piece that I’m finding gratitude in right now is my dog smiling. Now, I don’t know how many of you have dogs that smile. But every morning I feed my dog. She eats, and as soon as she’s finished, she will come to me wherever I am in the house and lick my hand as if she’s saying, thanks for looking after me. And when I look down at her, she looks up and smiles. And I think, what a beautiful world I get to live in, where I have a dog that smiles at me and thanks me for looking after her. Again, it makes me feel like there’s something bigger than myself. I talk to the dog all day long. I take advice, I share all my thoughts and feelings and frustrations with her. But the connection, I think sometimes that we have with animals and their ability to lean in, to snuggle up, to give us that look, or to just cuddle up on our laps when things are hard, makes me feel like there is something more. It makes me feel like things are going to be okay. And it’s through nothing that I do, or nothing that I say or nothing that I create. It is beyond me. Another little gratitude moment are just conversations, small ones where I can see humor in just the smallest little thing, where I can have a giggle with a perfect stranger and see something funny in the world. It can be small thing or a big thing. Where we just share a moment.

Kari Lotzien: [00:11:51] It can be when I thank someone for their service, or I give someone a compliment by just telling them, oh my gosh, you look amazing today or you are glowing. And watching their face light up. That feels like gratitude. And although I may have had some impact on it, I also love being a bystander. I also love just watching. I love watching and consciously looking for connection. When I see it, you know, a little one running up to their parent and being so excited and jumping into their arms. I see it when I’m out and maybe a young couple in love is holding hands and just the way they look at each other lights me up. I think this holds the key that opens the door to true joy. I feel that joy and the experience of joy, it’s more than an emotion. It’s more than just creating situations that feel easy and feel abundant and are turning our lives ahead. I think these small little micro doses of joy are like a key that opens the door to so much more. And I think that our human experience is about pausing and understanding that our role is merely gratitude. It’s noticing and seeing it and appreciating it in the moment. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:13:21] Oh, it’s a short episode today. But this one was really speaking to me. I hope that no matter what is going on in your life right now, no matter how much you want to solve a problem, no matter how much you want to make a change or to move forward, if things feel hard or sticky or you just don’t know what to do, I hope that these tips and these little examples of ways to just appreciate, notice, can light something in you, can just provide that glimmer of hope that you can start looking for it in your own life and just notice. Does it compound? Does it spread to others? I bet it does. 

Kari Lotzien: [00:14:06] Thank you so much for being here. If you haven’t liked and subscribed to the podcast yet, please do. It just means the world to me. And even better, the thing that would make the most difference to me today is if you shared this podcast, this episode, with someone who might be struggling to find the joy. And just let them know that you’re thinking about them. Maybe let them know that thinking of them, their humor, their face, a story, a favorite memory, was what was a key for you today. And then pass and just see what ripple could happen. Thanks so much for being here.

Kari Lotzien: [00:14:49] Please know that this podcast is meant for entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitution for medical or professional mental health advice. If you require support, please do reach out. Thanks so much.