Wendy’s new book The Joy Factor Recipe Book, just came out in May of this year. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you.
Wendy: Thank you, Nanette. It has been an amazing journey.
Nanette: Is it possible for people to have more joy in their lives?
Wendy: Yes. If they desire it and choose it, Joy is there for the picking.
Wendy: When I became a professional coach in 2000, I knew there was a philosophy, a personal message, which I wanted to share with my clients. I was not sure what it was, so I held the intention, continued my learning journey, and supported people in living a life they loved. In 2008 I was invited to speak at a conference in New Orleans. The title of my talk was The Joy Factor. Shortly after that, it dawned on me that this was what I was supposed to share with the world.
Nanette: What kinds of doubts did you have about writing?
Wendy: I am a woman with a vision, a philosophy, and a story. Not a great writer. Being able to express myself was easy; making it grammatically correct was challenging. My weekly writing group would critique the heck out of my punctuation and sentence structure, which brought on a lot of doubt about writing a book that people could understand and enjoy. Completing it took a lot longer than I thought. But even when circumstances brought me to a screaming halt between March and August in 2010, I knew if I gave myself the time and space, I would start writing again and complete the project.
Nanette: How long did it take to finish The Joy Factor Recipe Book?
Wendy: My first files are dated in August of 2009 and it was published in April of 2012. When I was in the groove, I shuffled to my computer every morning and wrote for a few hours. I was blessed with the time and space to retreat to friends and family member’s homes to write for a few days at a time. In the last six months of the project, I did write every day, almost all day. It became like a job and it felt good to stay focused and productive.
Nanette: I’m so thrilled to be one of the contributors in your delicious book. When did you decide to ask different people to contribute recipes to the book?
Wendy: Great question. My editor, Rebecca, told me that the book was full of great information, yet I needed more stories —people love and learn so much more from stories. So I started writing stories. A couple of days later, she reminded me that I had a blog filled with posts from my Joy Posse, all about the four ingredients that I share in my book. There were the stories right under my nose. At that time, I decided to invite a few other people I respected to add their recipes for joy. I always knew I wanted some type of illustrations in the book as well, but was not sure where I would source those from. Then it hit me, ask all of your artists friends! I love the collaborative feel of the book.
Nanette: Let’s talk about having more joy. In the first chapter you list the four main ingredients to achieving joy: Authentic Expression, Connection to Your Passions, Self-Care, and Strategic Optimism. How did you come up with these ingredients?
Wendy: I spent the majority of my life looking for joy and happiness outside of myself. When I decided to give up all of the external substances I had been using and abusing for years, that I thought made me happy, I embarked on a journey to see what brought me sustainable joy. The kind that lasted after the buzz wore off, the cookie was gone, or the shoes wore out. What I noticed was when I was connected to my passions (what brought me the most fulfillment), when I expressed myself authentically, took care of myself, and had a plan for my joy and happiness, it was oh so much easier to be happy. That does not mean I did not have days that I felt emotions like sadness, anger, frustration and despair. But when I wove those ingredients into my life on a regular basis and allowed myself to
experience the full range of my emotions, it got easier and easier for me to be joyful on a consistent basis.
Nanette: Strategic Optimism is such a great phrase. What is it?
Wendy: Optimism is how we choose to see the world and strategic means to have a plan, so Strategic Optimism speaks to being conscious of how we see the world and being intentional about choosing that view each day. If you do not have a plan, you may not be living life to its fullest potential—yet only you know that. The qualities of this type of plan are going to be different for everyone. The essence of this ingredient is to first choose joy and then determine what is needed to support you in being able to see the world in a positive way. My plan includes paying attention to what I watch on television, what I read, and who I spend time with.
Nanette: You have a wonderfully creative acronym called MSU. What is MSU and how do you use it?
Wendy: This came from a coaching class I took ten years ago. MSU means Make Stuff Up. In life everything is made up and we do the making up. We choose our thoughts and from there our feelings, reactions, actions, etc. This is what all conscious creators can use to create a life they love.
Nanette: Tell me more about responsibility and the “ability to respond.” What is one simple way people can change their ability to respond that will affect a positive outcome?
Wendy: Breathing. So many times when something happens or someone says something to us, we tend to respond as we always do. When we can take a minute to breathe, to breathe in patience, understanding or compassion, we are in a much better place to choose our responses.
Part 2 will continue with more questions and answers about bringing joy into your life. For all of you who can’t wait to get more joy, The Joy Factor Recipe Book is available at The Joy Factor for $19.95 plus shipping. And don’t forget to try out my chocolate truffle recipe in Chapter 8.