Posted by: joannabrandi | March 20, 2009

Still All Fired Up

People keep asking me why I’m so darn happy. After all, they say, things are pretty bad out there. All the more reason to stay centered and happy I say. In fact, I’ve never felt stronger, smarter or more confident than I do now.


Five years ago when I got trained as a happiness coach (Graduate of Dr. Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness Coaching program) I had a guilty little secret – I was really a pretty unhappy gal. Sure I was a motivated, upbeat public speaker ~ I had learned how to turn that on when I worked, but deep down inside there was a little pessimist residing that stole the joy out of even the best of my accomplishments.


After my training on happiness, some of the coaches decided they wanted to form a study group, so we could continue to talk about how to create more positive workplaces. So we formed the Positive Workplace International and five years later we are still going strong. We read books, invite luminaries in the field of Positive Psychology to come and talk to us. (Even Tal Ben Shahar from Harvard has met with our little group.) We mastermind together and help each other develop courses (like my new Positive Leadership course)


Somewhere along the way, I noticed that I was happier more consistently. Somewhere along the way – book after book – talk after talk – my happiness muscle got stronger, and with it my belief that I created my own happiness.


And then the ultimate opportunity to understand how strong a belief can be came along. I was invited to participate in an empowerment seminar that included a fire walk. Now, mind you, I’d been invited before, but never attended – but this time is was different. My good friends, asked me, as a personal favor to show up because they were shooting a corporate video. The assured me all activities were optional. I had, in the past, broken boards at workshops and felt rather empowered by the experience, so I figured… well what the heck. What the heck? That day turned out to be one of those “defining moments” in my life. I did a whole lot more than break a board – I did a whole lot of things I formerly believed I could NEVER do. And I did them. Talk about shaking up your world!


As a gift for the holidays, Karen went through the footage and found all of my extraordinary feats and sent me the video – and told me to watch it every morning. If I can choose to break through boards, bricks, arrows …. yes, and all the rest, I can choose happiness in the middle of a recession.


Why am I smiling? Because no matter how tough it gets out there, I’ve discovered that we CAN change our beliefs, that we CAN create a better life for ourselves, and that the quicker we learn to do that the quicker we’ll come out of this crisis into a better world ~ one with a whole lot more integrity and truth than the one we are leaving behind.


It’s my dream that business can be an agent of positive change in the world. It’s my dream that positive leaders and positive workplaces can provide an outlet for people’s strengths and creativity and that at the end of work day, people feel so energized my the positivity that they go home with enough – more than enough – energy to play with their kids.


Why am I so happy? Because if the world as we knew it hadn’t fallen apart, this opportunity might not have presented itself. And I am so happy that finally leaders are willing to listen to this crazy talk about creating more positive capacity – more positive emotion – in the organization. Yep I’m grinning!          🙂


Oh by the way – If you are interested in breaking through some old belief systems I hear there is another fire walk on May 16 – contact Karen or Connie at and use my name and they will give you a hot $25 off your investment in yourself. Cool.



  1. Great article, I’ve enjoyed reading it.

  2. Hi Joanna,
    You got me all fired up this morning with the ” Yes, I Can! Spirit.” Great blog, fun video. Your friend Karen is a speacial woman! Thanks for spreading happiness… Liz

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