When Vanessa shared her first look, “sneak peek” images from last week’s girls night out, this one made my heart smile so big. That joyful soul looking up at you is Lauren, the coordinator of all the things. I’m telling you, she keeps HeartStories running smoothly like an Olympic figure skater gliding in for the gold. It’s fast and furious, hard work. Obviously, it’s a lot just working directly with me, but she’s also coordinating all of our staff, sponsors, vendors, members and attendees. She shores up the platform that makes ALL the magic happen for our community, month after month.
And she could do it in her sleep, with one arm tied behind her back.
There’s so much happening behind the scenes to create our monthly GNO and Lauren makes it all seem so effortless. You’d think this is her full time job, plus some. But in reality, it’s her side hustle. She does it on her lunch break, at night, and on weekends, because she loves it. She finds joy in supporting our team in a way that serves the greater good of this community. She sees the vision and is fully invested in bringing it into reality. I like to think it’s because we’re all so fun, and easy to work with. And we are! (Well, the rest of the team is. Not always me. . . I’m still learning!)
But it’s more than that.
The truth is, Lauren is a joy seeker. She would find joy in brick laying, chimney sweeping, or toilet scrubbing. I’m convinced, there’s not a job you could give her that would get her down. Because for Lauren, it’s not about the job.
It’s about her years of practice, but mostly, it’s about the state of her heart.
Even when I’m frazzled, stressed, and my brain feels like it might explode, Lauren is calm and cool. I’m in awe of her ability to retain clarity and remain peaceful in any kind of tumultuous situation. It appears that no matter what kind of situation presents itself, Lauren has “been there, done that”. No sweat off her back. But when I point it out to her and offer my deepest gratitude for her positive, can-do attitude, she always replies with “I’m trying!” I usually reply with something about her not having to try that hard, because it “feels” like it’s effortless. It’s just a part of who she is. But I realize that’s probably a discount of her effort.
She’s trained for this.
Just like an athlete training for a big race, who doesn’t stop training after each finish line. It’s a continual process. It’s an ongoing and intentional mindset. It has become a part of who they are. They don’t have to think about it, most of the time. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard work and joy comes easily in the training. It’s insanely hard work and the joy often doesn’t show up until it’s over. It means that, just like Lauren, they’ve decided in advance to choose to prioritize it.
It’s their joy to do the hard work, because the end goal is so much bigger than today’s challenges.
What’s the hard work that brings you joy today? What’s the goal of the work you’re doing this year? Important work is rarely easy or fun.
It’s up to you to seek joy in the middle of the hard.
Seek joy and you will find it.
to more love (& joy seeking!),
P.S. This post is not a discount of the reality of depression, or the incredibly difficult challenges of mental illness. It’s intended to be a friendly punch in the gut to those who can freely choose to seek joy in daily challenges.
Photo Cred: Vanessa Corral Photography