Living with Joy in Challenging Times

Hi there. My name is Nanci Sherman. I am a Happiness Expert. I wasn’t always a happiness expert and I wasn’t always happy. My first career was running some of the more iconic hotels in the country. It was out of stress, demanding bosses, and adversity that I learned what it takes to live with joy and fulfillment. When I “got it,” It really came like a calling.

I mean who amongst us doesn’t want to live a life of joy, feeling good most of the time being the predominant feeling. Seeking freedom, peace, and fulfillment is the trinity of the holy grail.

I eventually left the hotel industry to impart what I discovered. I authored a book titled, “Follow Your Bliss, Not Your Blisters: How to Live Unconditionally Happy.” In the book, I teach what it takes to flex your happiness muscle and make it the dominant force in your life. If you want to get strong arms you hit the gym, pick up weights, and add resistance. However, if you want to experience more joy, you need to drop the weights in your life and eliminate resistance. Happiness is about lightening loads you were never meant to carry.

When things seem unbearable or our life is not going as planned, I want to remind you that we are adaptive creatures, and no matter what age you are you can make the changes you want to see in your life. Facing difficulties, disappointments, and challenges is part of being human. That won’t disappear completely but will occur to a lesser extent and all relationships will dramatically improve. What will change is your degree of mental fitness. You are sure to gain some clarity you currently don’t possess.

It requires learning to live from the inside out rather than the outside in where you are the master of your emotions, not other people, and conditional circumstances. There is nothing outside of you that will please you for long.

Outside of being born a Golden Retriever, I discovered the fundamental principles for living joyfully. I’d like to share one with you through one of my parables

Come with me to the Court of Happiness.

You wake up one morning thinking about how unfair life has been to you, so you decide to take life to court.

Imagine standing in front of a judge at the Ninth Happiness Court of Appeals. You present all the reasons why you are not happy. You call to the witness stand life and circumstances. No one shows up. The judge is getting impatient and you beg her for mercy. “Please don’t sentence me to a life I don’t want. I need things to change”

The judge responds: Unfortunately, we are born with a death sentence. That’s a fact, but you are the one who chooses to place yourself on probation with all the limitations implied. Each of us is the judge and jury in our own life. We can live encumbered or set ourselves free. The choice is yours alone. I sentence you to think differently. Dismissed.

You walk out of court despondent, sit down on a bench thinking that’s all good and well, but this, but that, until a guard comes by and says get off your buts. You can’t stay here forever. And inside you, a cry of realization is heard.

You recall a Doonesbury cartoon that goes: We have met the enemy and it is us. How much longer are you going to shop at Obstacles Are Us and keep going back for more. Only you can open another door. “I want to pick Door number 3 which is labeled Freedom but I know what’s behind the doors labeled drama and struggle.

I have friends who say that life is complicated. I will tell you why it’s not.

I have friends that sigh “if only…”

I have friends that think happiness is conditional and they will be happy when this or that happens.

One friend I was with the other day mentioned how she would like her life to be after the COVID19 pandemic in terms of her business, lifestyle, and love life. She is an extraordinary woman, self-made, independent, intelligent, and emotionally balanced. Yet, she fretted, “I took stock of my life and I feel like score a 5 out of 10.” I smiled at her and said “We are currently enjoying laughs, a glass of wine, and truffle cheese. Are you still a 5?” She said, “No. I’m like a 9 or 10.

What happened? What changed?  I tell you what changed. Her point of view. Taking score and comparing yourself to others is the thief of joy.

I went on to say “You see it’s never been about what work you choose, what gifts you develop, what you have accomplished – that is for your pleasure. It’s the way you think that is your purpose. It is the way we think that stands in the way of a life we adore.

We wake up to one of two Selfs. Self One is our default self based upon our past. By early adulthood, 95% of our behavior is reactive. Self One masquerades as the self we know best. We view bad moods, anger, blame, annoyance as a normal part of the adult landscape. It’s not true. It’s a mimic of our past experiences, television shows, and even high school until one day we get a wake-up call and we look around for Self Two, our  “possible self” who lives intentionally, whose true north is inner peace no matter what others may say or do or threaten.

When you can finally observe that our thoughts are the biggest source of suffering, you will have crossed the great divide. Only then will you be able to separate choice from reactivity. With that comes emotional freedom.

Save your therapy dollars. In a short time, you will create new pathways in the brain rather than deepening the already trodden ruts.

Welcome to newfound joy. The pleasure is all ‘mind.’

Thank you for your time. Please subscribe below and email me so I may send you “Aha!” A weekly update with distinctions designed to transform how you see yourself and the world. It’s easy. It costs nothing. May you live “happy” ever after. Once you set your intention to live to any true north, what you aspire to, in this case living in a state of joy, once you learn the fundamentals, you will be able to navigate there easily time after time. The book goes into greater detail in cleaning up your act and getting a whole new script.

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Nanci Sherman
Nanci Shermanhttps://www.nancisherman.com/
Known throughout her career as a game-changer, Nanci was raised in New York City and earned a B.S in Journalism and Communications at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The hotel business soon caught her attention and she caught theirs. Having created and run some of the more iconic hotels and resorts in the country, Nanci learned firsthand what it takes to be the best at what you do, consistently bringing over twenty hotels to the number one spot in their marketplace. She led her last hotel to #2 best hotel in the USA out of 50,000. Windstar Cruises brought Nanci in to rewrite their Standard Operating Procedures, and they won best luxury cruise line in the world the following year. Nanci “evolutionized” the hospitality industry. Her re-imagination of the customer journey creates distinction in any market place. She consulted on leadership and motivation on three continents. Nanci is a Self-Enrichment and Leadership Coach and a Hotel Revolutionary. Her mantra is: To be outstanding, first you must stand out. Change your thoughts, change your outcomes. “Shift” happens!