Monthly Archives: January 2017

Week #124 – Back to Basics: Smile, Wave, Say Hello, and ask “How are you doing?”

(Photo credit: Courtesy of Gina Buongiorno)

(Photo credit: Courtesy of Gina Buongiorno)

Week #124 – Back to Basics: Smile, Wave, Say Hello, and Ask “How are you doing?”

Greetings Tribe — and Happy Friday!

I’m back in New Jersey this week after six months — and almost one full year after the move to Los Angeles.

My instincts brought me home — home to the Jersey Shore.  To the place where Spread Happyness was born.  And to the smiling guy who inspired it all.

Back to basics.

And as I re-entered the atmosphere here — and greeted (and was greeted by) so many familiar faces — I was reminded of four basic and simple ways to Spread Happyness:

  1. Wave Big
  2. Smile
  3. Say Hello Like You Mean It
  4. Ask: How are you doing?

These are the things I continue to miss most about Rob.  His big wave that I could see from a mile away, his voice and unique way of saying hello, his easy smile and laugh, and his genuine interest in hearing how a person was doing (even when it wasn’t great).

And now, nearly three years after he disappeared from this beach — I still look up from the boards fully expecting to see his silhouette, followed by the wave, the smile, the hello, and the questions.  It is the most basic of things — and yet it would be heaven on earth!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: GET BACK TO BASICS!  I’ve noticed in my own interactions this week that it’s very easy to skip the basics and get right into the issues that are top of mind right now.  And while those issues are valid and important and worthy of discussion — they aren’t always the things that connect us.  (And in some cases, they might actually divide us.)  So as you encounter each other this week, remember to count to four first…smile, wave, say hello, and ask each other “How are you doing?”

Spread Happyness — Get Back to Basics and Connect!

1/27/16 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #123 – Spread Happyness: Lower the ladder!

Week #123 – Spread Happyness: Lower the ladder!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

In addition to all the personal resolutions people make in January — like losing weight, eating better, working out, and getting more sleep — did you know the first month of the year is also the MOST popular month for job searching?

With mostly cold winter weather ahead for the next two to three months, it’s natural for us to use this time to think about how we’d like to spend the year, what changes we’d like to make, or how to increase our income.

It’s also a time when college students will start inquiring about internships, first jobs, and those oh-so-awkward informational interviews.

For others it’s a time to start thinking about building their own businesses, breaking out on their own, creating a side hustle, or entering a new field.

Did you ever meet someone who has what you want, is maybe just a step ahead of you in their career, or has some experience that might be relevant to your life…so you ask them for advice or help or a conversation.  And they pull up the ladder?!

  • Oh…I just got really lucky.
  • It’s really hard.
  • I wouldn’t recommend it.
  • There are easier ways to make a living.

Great for them…since they’ve already gotten where they’re going, right?

Well here’s one easy way to Spread Happyness this week: Lower the ladder!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: LOWER THE LADDER!  Do you know someone looking for work?  A college student looking for an internship?  A graduate who is still trying to figure out what to do or where to get started?  Are you in a position to guide, advise, help, refer, or connect someone who is searching for career advice, experience, or a job?  Don’t pull up the ladder…LOWER IT!  Think of the people who helped you get where you are right now…that first contact, that first referral, that first interview or hire.  No matter what position you are in…even if you are not able to hire someone directly, you are more than likely in a position to help someone in their search, and become one of those people you remember for giving you a leg up.

Spread Happyness — LOWER THE LADDER and give someone a leg up this week!

1/20/16 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #122 – Spread Happyness: PLAN AHEAD! (Your year…at a glance!)

2017…at a glance

Week #122 – Spread Happyness: PLAN AHEAD!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Today is Friday the 13th — and you know what that means, right?

We are almost HALF WAY through the first month of the new year!

I hope by now you’ve had the chance to process and celebrate the year we just completed — and set some new goals or visions for the new year ahead.  (If not, click back to Week #120 and Week #121 for some ideas about how to do that.)

What next?

What do we do with all those goals, dreams, visions, aspirations, and insight?

We plan it!

There has been much discussion lately about the virtues of paper calendars versus digital calendars.  Digital calendars have great portability and a low profile — but rarely are they in your face.  A password, and then one, two, maybe three clicks — not to mention competition with all those other apps once you’re unlocked.  They just don’t give you much information at a glance — or much time to really plan ahead.

A paper calendar, hanging on the wall by your bathroom sink or on your refrigerator in the kitchen, may not be all that high tech — but it is certainly high-profile.  It also gives you (and whomever you are sharing it with) time to ponder, compare, contribute, discuss, and yes — even plan ahead!

And many people I know are boosting their outlook by using FULL-YEAR wall calendar to track all the major events, holidays, appointments, and deadlines that are already set by the time we turn the calendar to January 1st — not to mention their personal goals and commitments.

And that makes sense, because it is well-documented that planning ahead is directly related to happiness.  And not only that — scheduling your goals and commitments increases the chances that you will actually follow through with them.

Why not try it?

There is an old proverb: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.”  (Proverbs 13:13)  Don’t allow your daily or weekly schedule to rob you of the joy of planning ahead!  Start plotting your year today!

Your Happyness Challenge for the Week Ahead: PLAN AHEAD!  Perhaps someone gave you a cutesy calendar during the holidays — or you grabbed a freebie at your bank or pizza place without really thinking about where or how you’d use it.  I challenge you this week to HANG IT UP!  If you don’t like the pictures, tear out the calendar pages and arrange them in months, quarters — or the entire year at a glance.  Then open your personal daily planners, pull together all those school and activity calendars, and queue up Google to search holiday dates — and start plotting your year.  Start with the big holidays and three-day weekends, birthdays, and major events (like weddings, graduations, important anniversaries).  I also like to mark the solstices/equinoxes, full moons, and time changes.  Then move on to some of your goals.  Are you running a marathon?  Writing a book?  Growing a business?  Saving for a house?  Planning a vacation or next year’s holiday travel?  Start plotting your desires on the calendar by asking: where and when will this take place?

This isn’t the fanciest tool — but I created a little Full Year PDF for you to play with.  It’s all on one page and won’t use much ink — so at least you can get the feel of what a full year really looks like at one glance!

Spread Happyness — PLAN AHEAD!  And share your favorite calendar tips here — but most important, share your calendars with the ones you love!

1/13/16 by Grace Church
© Grace Church

Week #121 – New Year, New View! (What are you looking toward in 2017?)

Sunrise (photo credit: Grace Church)

Week #121 – New Year, New View!  (What are you looking toward in 2017?)

Happy New Year, Tribe — and Happy First Friday of 2017!!!

As I mentioned last week, I hope you made some time over the holidays to look back at the year we just completed and CELEBRATE the things that went right.

And, I hope you have a plan in place to keep track of the good stuff that will come your way in the year ahead.  Because we are already well on our way!

January is a natural time to look ahead and set new goals, focus on new targets, and dream new dreams for the year ahead.  There are many thought leaders who say that the best time to do this is in November — before the holidays — so you can hit the ground running in January.  Well — I’m hearing from plenty of people who are just NOW turning their attention to the year ahead.  So if you’re just getting started — you are not alone!

Here is a collection of tools that might help jump start your thinking!  (And if you have a favorite tool or technique you use, please share it with me and I’ll add it to the list!)

  • YOUR “ONE WORD” — Two or three years ago I ran across a little red book called The ONE WORD That Will Change Your Life.  The gist is this: while contemplating the year ahead — and working through a few questions (in the PDF on the website: — you come up with ONE WORD that encapsulates what you want the year to mean to you.  Then, you make a plan to keep it front and center to live out daily.  What ONE WORD would you like to make your focus for 2017?
  • David Allen (author of Getting Things Done) offers a series of “Year-End Review” questions on his website that prompt you to “complete and remember” the year behind — and “create” the year ahead.  (The link is from a previous year so just modify the years to 2016/2017.)  You can move through this list quickly with first thoughts — or spend lots of time really unpacking things.  What would you like to create for yourself in 2017?
  • Another favorite is the “Clean Sweep Assessment” — a more mathematical measurement of personal satisfaction in four key areas of our lives: physical environment, personal well-being, money, and relationships.  How do you tally up?
  • And, of course, there is always traditional goal-setting — taking a dream and using the “SMART” acronym to break it down into: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound action steps.  Just remember to put a little WHY behind your WHAT — and consider and even SMART-ER approach by adding EMOTION and RESULT to the mix by asking WHY?  (“So that I can FEEL…” and “So that I can achieve/accomplish/acquire/arrive at/accept…etc.”)         .

Your Happyness Challenge for the week ahead: It is a NEW YEAR and a NEW VIEW!  What are you looking toward in 2017?  Take some time this weekend to think about the year ahead.  What are your goals, dreams, aspirations, and visions?  Where do you want to be next year this time?  What is your WHY?

And again, if you have a favorite reflection or goal-setting tool that you use, please share it with me in the comments or via email.  And if there is some way that I can help you set a goal that will Spread Happyness to you or someone you love, please let me know that too!

“Make voyages!  Attempt them!  There in nothing else!”  (Tennessee Williams)

Spread Happyness — share your dreams, goals, aspirations, or favorite tools in the comments!

1/6/16 by Grace Church
© Grace Church