J = Joy

The Coach’s Alphabet (vol. I): J = Joy
by Stacey Jill Zackin, PhD, MSW, PCC, Founder of theCoach4you

What comes to mind when you contemplate joy? Do you reflect upon personal moments where you experienced great delight? Do you fantasize about specific milestone events that are still yet to come? Are you reminded of a time when you were stopped in your tracks by a beautiful landscape, when you were captivated by a work of art or tickled upon hearing a child’s laughter?

Possibly, you think of The Joy of Cooking, Joy to the World, Joyrides, Joysticks, or one of America’s comic treasures – Joy Behar? Or maybe you’ve never contemplated it at all.

Joy is deeper than pleasure… it is a level of affect that manifests itself in a more tangible emotion than happiness. Joy is an energy that transcends the rational mind to spark the soul. It simultaneously stimulates while providing a sense of contentment and gratitude in the moment.


Jovial – the spirit of good-fellowship and hearty humor

Observant – to be perceptive, alert and attentive

Yearning – a deep, earnest, and tender longing


Joy often arises spontaneously, however I believe consciously inviting it into our lives by pondering its meaning and manifestations will make it more accessible. In the profound words of Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet, and some poor suckers are starving.

I suggest taking a few moments to answer the five reflective questions below. Don’t over think them, just respond with your initial thoughts, feelings, and images and who knows, maybe you won’t have to wait so long to enjoy the banquet.

  1. What delights you?
  2. What was a time when you felt joyful, confident and carefree? What were elements of that time and place that encouraged that feeling?
  3. What is the relationship between joy and fear, concern and loss?
  4. What are external symptoms of your internal joy?
  5. Every day this week, do something that brings you joy.

* The word jovial comes from Jove, another name for the Roman god Jupiter, King of the gods who ruled over the sky. He was the focus of more holiday celebrations than any other deity and is the source of the exclamation “By Jove!”

To read past columns on THE ABC’S OF COACHING (Accountability, Balance, Choice, Discovery, Fun, Grace, Humor, Integrity, etc.) go to: http://theCoach4you.wordpress.com.

Wishing you much joy!

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Stacey Zackin
Founder, President at The Coach 4 You
Stacey Zackin (PhD, MSW, PCC) is Founder and President of theCoach4you, a Personal Coaching and Executive Training practice. She merges her background in psychology, organizational behavior, and the entertainment industry to creatively drive positive change. Partnering with individuals and organizations, Stacey creates a structure for success that shifts perspectives, increases productivity, expands possibilities, and maximizes potential. Stacey also serves as adjunct faculty at UConn and host of The Work & Playlist on WESU 88.1fm Middletown, CT. Stacey@theCoach4you.com
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