The Glittery Wheel of Happiness | Precision Nutrition

The Glittery Wheel of Happiness

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

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The PN coaches have been busy lately. We’ve been thinking about our goals. Digging deep into our capital-P Purpose. Then breaking those objectives down into the tasks that match the actualization of those goals.

It’s all part of pushing ourselves to our edge and then taking a peek over that edge. And it’s much like what our clients do in Lean Eating and Scrawny to Brawny:

  1. figure out what truly matters;
  2. figure out who we truly want to be; then
  3. figure out how to get there.

How can we be better coaches for our clients – yes – but also, how can this coaching bring us into better alignment with our own values and Purpose?

It’s a simple question but not an easy answer.

Game-ifying my goals

Big Coach Krista Scott-Dixon recently passed the PN coaching team the ball, asking us:

“Just for a day, how can you make your job more like a game or a sport? How can you manifest the perfect coaching day by bringing your own unique awesomeness out to play?”

As a new coach, this seemed like a sizable request. I spend a lot of time checking off all the boxes on my to-do list, asking myself if I’m doing everything right, attempting to strike a balance between being enough and doing too much.

I absolutely love my job, but let’s face it, being a Lean Eating coach can seem like a lot of work sometimes. What more could I possibly do that I am not already doing? I thought.

And therein lies the answer:

“Make sure my job is not always hard work. Make it fun!”

I had just viewed a TedTalk by Shawn Achor. Big Boss Dr. Berardi had recommended this video on his Facebook page.

I was blown away by Shawn’s talk. With joy and humour, he presented a host of research showing that our brains perform at their best not when they’re negative or even neutral, but when they’re positive.

He demonstrated how happiness doesn’t follow hard work and success…that happiness is actually the fuel for hard work and success.

All the lights in my head came on. How could I use my humour, optimism, and craftiness to create something that helps me shift toward “happiness first’?

The first thing that came to mind, oddly enough… glitter. It has to have glitter.

The Glittery Wheel of Happiness (thanks to LE client Amanda Wolf for the photo editing)

Glitterizing my goals

I spent an entire Sunday afternoon crafting what I call The Glittery Wheel of Happiness (or GWH) out of a file-box top, some paints and, of course, magic glitter.

I scanned the web to find instructions for engineering the spinner, and downloaded some fancy numbers and a cool pointer graphic.

It’s not perfect, but I sure had fun making it and thinking about how it would help me with my mission.

Fast forward to Monday morning – Game Day. This was the day I would field-test the GWH and find out if it would help me have the best coaching day ever.

The plan? Whenever I began to feel tense, tired or my forehead scrunching in the way it does when I’m trying to save the world, I would simply stop and spin the wheel.

Each number on the GWH represents a set of fun, awesome tasks – tasks that I made up myself – to put me into a more positive frame of mind.

Some tasks are a little serious — for example, #6 is “Stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself something very important without speaking.”

Some are quasi-educational — for example, #1 is “Go to www.translate.google.com and learn how to say ‘I am awesome’ in another language. Say this to yourself in each morning.”

Others are a little crazy — for example, #5 is “Practice your movie laugh; watch this for inspiration.”

Where did all the possible tasks come from? Again, I made them up –- which was a really great way to spend my Sunday night. I made up three tasks for each number, so that means I came up with 36 funny, provocative, mind-shifting ways to be instantly happier.

I worked really hard on it. But it didn’t feel like work at all. And the bonus is, someone’s paying me to do this so-called work – to play with glitter, jumble together a make-shift spinner and to connive dozens of ways to feel and be awesome!!

I had definitely found the flow. Seems the GWH was working its magic on me before I even made my first spin.

And Game Day was a huge success, by the way.

I seemed to get all my boxes checked as usual, but I also seemed to communicate more openly, relate to others more compassionately and just feel more successful as a coach and as a human being.

I shared my happy experiment with my peers at a coaching meeting that same week, establishing a new level of goofiness they had not seen in me before. I think this task definitely demonstrates that I am officially “out of my shell”.

Putting joy to work for you

Are you an intense worker? Find yourself feeling spent, wanting to “check-out” or needing to “shift gears”? Want to make work more fun, engaging and alluring? Or just want some ideas for how to lure yourself away from the “forever frustrated” stuckness?

Well, the GWH may be just the thing you need. And it’s free! (Well, OK, $1.99 for some glitter.)  Come up with your own happiness-making tasks, assign them numbers, and give the wheel a spin.

Too often, we get serious and scrunchy-faced in the service of our goals. We lose the fun. The simple joy. The play. And as a result, we lose the brain mojo too.  By working harder, we actually end up working less effectively.

But by harnessing happiness, fun, and our brain’s natural creative  and playful energy, we actually end up doing great things.  And here’s the cool part – you already have this energy within you. You’re wired for it, right down into your brain cells. Thanks, evolution!

The GWH taught me that putting joy first can actually fuel greater success, even — and perhaps especially — when it comes to body transformations. I’ve seen this effect first-hand in my own clients. If they get happy first, body transformation is sure to follow.  And, in future blog posts, I’ll share more GWH-inspired secrets from PN clients.

As for me, I’ve got a new job now. Yes, I’m still a devoted Lean Eating coach. But I’ve just hired myself as Director of Happiness. And I like the office view.

We know you want to spin it

Does the glittery allure of the wheel have you curious?  If so, tune in to our Precision Nutrition Facebook page this Friday, April 13th.  You’ll get the chance to take it for a spin yourself.

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