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Reader's Note: The following article is written by Robin Shear, an international keynote speaker and TEDxDetroit featured thought leader. Robin brings a unique perspective on how to find joy in the little things through thought-provoking insights and practical tips that ignite curiosity. We would like to thank Robin for her tag/talk contribution!
With the busyness of everyday life, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work, errands, chores, and more, all while finding the time to pursue big ambitions and aspirations. It's no wonder why many of us struggle with managing mental overload and implementing wellness practices.
According to Robin Shear, the key to managing stress is recognizing bite-sized moments of joy. Read on to find a personal story from Robin on appreciating the simplicity of the small, yet often overlooked, things in life.
- Are you an event planner? 👉 Download Robin's keynote speaker one-sheet here.
- Connect with Robin! 👉 Follow her on her social media channels to stay in touch.
Meet the Guest Author:
Robin shares fun, relevant, and engaging messages that teach audiences to identify and cultivate joy. She is the author of Messy Joy: How Joy Can Begin Before Your Difficulties End.
Full Circle: The Joy of Relationships
Robin Shear: "When our two kids were young (and before I was ever a joy coach or a keynote speaker on how to have joy despite the circumstances of life), infusing life with joy was our unofficial focus. It was just what we did. We knew that time would fly, and experiencing shared moments of meaning needed to be our priority as parents.
Since the kids wouldn’t stay young forever, we chose to be intentional. One of the best decisions we made was splitting the kids up for yearly overnight trips, where each child got 100% of that parent’s time and attention. The experiences were simple, but fun and meaningful, which helped us focus on the joy of connection and making memories.
A Day Out: Our First Trip Together
The first trip I took our daughter, Missy, on was to a winter wonderland of a town, just a couple of hours from home. I surprised her with a playlist of her favorite songs, and we played them non-stop, singing at the tops of our lungs and acting out the lyrics. Our car was like a mother-daughter concert on wheels. 🎤🎵
We didn’t have a plan for the day, and because being spontaneous is a huge source of joy for us, we went into the gift shops and restaurants, doing whatever sounded fun in the moment. We had a ball! In one shop, we tried on a bunch of fur coats and fancy hats. In another, we sampled every possible kind of cheese. And chocolate. And chocolate cheese.
In the final gift shop, exhausted and happy after a day of being girls, we plopped in a chair for a photo. We got back to our hotel in time to order pizza, which we ate in bed while we watched a chick flick. Thankful for the time together – “just us” – we slept in the next day before heading home.
Finding Joy in the Journey
The investment we made was more time-based than financial, but it paid off in dividends. That simple girls’ trip springboarded many years of weekend getaways. While they weren’t elaborate, they were always tailored around us and whatever we were into.
We could do whatever we wanted – going to movies, eating junk food, staying up late, sleeping in, swimming right before bed, eating dessert first… and always, always talking.
We talked about everything that was going on in our lives. We discussed the difficult situations we were in and brainstormed possible solutions. We explored deeper topics like faith and how to see the amazing hand of God in the ordinary. We laughed until we cried, bent over, and snorted so hard that other people stopped to see what was so funny and laughed along without knowing, just because joy is so contagious. 🙌
Robin and Missy's Bed and Breakfast
These were the weekends we looked forward to all year, often researching ideas in advance, and packing in as much as possible. Other times, we winged it, spontaneously enjoying whatever popped up along the way.
In the meantime, while living out the day-to-day as a family, we learned how much joy was found in cultivating shared interests with our kids. Missy and I got hooked on Food Network baking shows and imagining new uses for old spaces.
We took walks and drives around historic neighborhoods, wondering what life was like when grand houses and gigantic industrial buildings were built, what they looked like on the inside then and now, and how they could be made into bed & breakfasts or event spaces… where others could make memories of meaning. This became “our thing.”
The Growth of Tradition
After years of nurturing our relationships and filling our joy buckets, the kids graduated from college and found the love of their lives. Last year, they both got married. Within two months, we toasted both of the happy couples, danced at their weddings, and made new memories as our family of four grew into an official 6-pack. ❤️
I wondered if the weekend trips had come to an end. I prayed for help with accepting the possibility, grateful for the times we had and the joy we shared, asking for God’s guidance in this new unchartered territory of family life.
And that’s when Missy started planning this year’s girls’ trip. I was overjoyed!
Not only did she want to go, but she wanted to take off a day from work so we could have an entire 3-day weekend. She was bursting at the seams, so excited to surprise me with a special getaway. Without sharing the details, she made all the reservations and kept the destination a secret. She told me what to pack, and away we went, with her as the driver.
Setting Off for New Adventures
On the ride, we chatted, laughed, and played an updated playlist of her favorite songs. Many of them were songs that we had listened to again and again as we planned her wedding together, wondering what their first dance as husband and wife would be like. 👰💍
Along the drive, I tried to guess where we were going. My guesses were all over the place, and since I didn’t have much sense of direction, I had no idea where she was taking us. And I didn’t care. I kept saying, “If we’re together, we could go to a cornfield.” We drove for a couple of hours.
And that’s when she told me that we were returning to the same winter wonderland of a town where we had our very first girls’ weekend. I hollered and clapped with excitement, tears filling my eyes at the significant way it had all come full circle.
Our Destination: Revealed!
My jaw dropped as Missy pulled into the driveway of our bed and breakfast, a gorgeous mansion from the early 1920s. We explored the place from top to bottom, peeking in on many of its 17 bedrooms, admiring the sweeping staircase, and playing in the secret room that had been built during prohibition, hidden behind a panel of books. It felt like we were in a movie!
For two days, we ran around town, aimlessly going anywhere we pleased. We took a trolley ride, admiring the homes, the enormous church with the gigantic “JOY” nativity display, and the magical, twinkling lights.
We went into shops and talked about our husbands and dogs, sampling wine along the way. And we found the store where we took our original photo and reenacted the shoot… because as simple as it was, just being together brought so brought joy to us.
On the third day, Missy proudly drove us to our final destination. It was a well-known bakery, and she had signed us up for classes. For four glorious hours, we learned to make 4 different types of cookies, laughing and taking pictures all the while, eating and filling our joy buckets. We didn’t know what we were doing, and we didn’t care. It was wonderful.
The whole weekend was like a dream.
I share this with you now as encouragement. My career centers around helping people have joy through one-on-one coaching, through my book, or even through my motivational keynote speeches. However, I may never meet every one of my conference audience members. But there is a reason you read this today...and made it to the end. There’s something in this for you.
Questions to Find Your Joy:
- Who matters to you most in life?
- How are you pouring joy into your relationships?
- What effect does it have on the level of joy in your bucket?
- What simple steps can you take now that will pay off in dividends later?
Make note of what came to mind and apply your gifts to your relationships. Joy awaits! ✨
Connect with Robin Shear:
- Follow Robin on LinkedIn
- Follow Robin on Instagram
- Follow Robin on Facebook.
- Follow Robin on YouTube.
- Request a 1:1 meeting with Robin.
- Book a free breakthrough session with Robin.
Support Robin's Book: "Messy Joy"
To read stories about times when life didn’t go as planned and joy was found anyway (with step-by-step instructions so you, too, can experience joy despite your circumstances) – pick up a copy of Robin’s #1 book, Messy Joy: How Joy Can Begin Before Your Difficulties End. Ask Robin for a signed book copy!
About Robin Shear:
Robin Shear is an international keynote speaker, bestselling author & joy coach. She helps depleted givers feel good again so they can give from a place of fullness. She's spoken for TEDxDetroit, DisruptHR, Meeting Professionals International, the National Head Start Association, and the National Organization for Human Services. In the months to come, Robin plans to speak at The Purpose Summit in North Carolina and a nonprofit conference in South Africa. She’s been interviewed in TIME Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today.
Sharing joy was easy until Robin faced several hidden issues, making joy a choice. Within 4 years she coped with PTSD, incurable chronic pain, an unrelenting head injury, and more. Yet, joy was found in the mess. Her resulting book, Messy Joy: How Joy Can Begin Before Your Difficulties End, helps readers know how they can find joy in their own lives, despite their circumstances. Amazon named it a #1 New Release just weeks after it was published.
An ICF-certified life coach, Robin has served as a registered dietitian, youth pastor, and activity director for seniors with dementia. She’s a board member of the National Speakers Association of Michigan. Robin and her husband find joy in making memories with their two adult children and their spouses, who make up the 6-Pack. They live in Michigan with their attention-starved Goldendoodle.
- Download Robin's keynote speaker one-sheet here.