The Year of Joy community – A safe space in which to find and cultivate joy

By Andrew Cannon and Debby Schlesinger-Hellman, Creators of the Year of Joy

By Andrew Cannon and Debby Schlesinger-Hellman, Creators of the Year of Joy

We are now well over halfway through the Year of Joy and what an exciting 8 months it has been!

Each week we have had the pleasure of introducing our community members to experts on a wide variety of Joy Superpowers. Each week members have had the opportunity to grow their joy muscles, by integrating into their lives, tools and tips recommended by our experts and to increase their feeling of belonging in the community by sharing their thoughts and feelings in the community forums.

Year of Joy community members have had the opportunity to participate in numerous livestream events throughout the year and this week we are thrilled to have four of our community members on a panel talking about their joy and how the community helps them bring more joy not only to their own lives, but also to the lives of others.

Tracking your feeling of joy

One of the key benefits of being a Year of Joy community member is the possibility to take the Joy Barometer survey and receive a personalised Joy Scorecard. Here is an example of how the Joy Scorecard looks:

The Joy Scorecard shows a person a snapshot how they see their life at the time of taking the Joy Barometer. It gives a view on the 12 Joy ingredients, shown in the image above, which are related to the core Joy Ingredients of wellbeing, belonging, positive impact and fun.

The top bars in the chart show how important each Joy Ingredient is considered to be by that person, that is to say, which things they should be focusing time and effort on if they wish to increase their feeling of Joy. The second bars shine a light on how much time and effort the person is actually putting into each area. Of course, it is important to focus the time and effort on those areas which the person finds important, and the chart highlights clearly where this is not the case. The bottom bars in the Joy Scorecard in turn remind a person of how satisfied they are with their lives at the moment on each of the 12 Joy ingredients.

So, in this example Joy Scorecard, we can see that the person considers hobbies, physical wellbeing and positive impact on the planet to be important, but at the same time is not satisfied with these areas in their life nor satisfied with the time and effort they are putting into these areas. This person now has a clear path to improving their feeling of joy by focusing on these three areas and improving their mastery of them.

The Joy Barometer is a great self-analysis and self-reflection tool. To get the most out of the tool requires that the person taking the Joy Barometer survey is totally honest with themselves. It serves no purpose to hide or sugar-coat things whilst taking the survey, but you’d be surprised how many people do that, even though the Joy Scorecard is meant for their eyes only! Those who answer truthfully have a clear insight on their path to more joy.

As the name Joy Barometer suggests a person’s feeling of Joy can change over time, like the weather, and therefore there is value in checking in now and again on one’s feeling of joy and to use the Joy Scorecard to reflect on whether a refocus of one’s time, effort and energy is needed. Are some areas of life being neglected? Are some getting too much attention? Undertaking this self-reflection on a regular basis will help keep you on tracking to building your joy muscles.

Feedback from our members

The Year of Joy community is all about our wonderful members and providing them with the inspiration and empowerment to build their joy muscles. We have had the pleasure to work with fantastic researchers at Scoot Insights on collecting feedback from our members on their experience of being a community member.

Through the research we learnt that participants appreciate the idea of a space to cultivate joy to combat negativity, with members finding the experience uplifting, calming and inspiring. The Year of Joy community provides a protective layer of positivity, especially for those who tend towards worry and anxiety about life’s challenges, especially those that are largely out of their control.

We learnt that members appreciated the amount and quality of the content provided, even if sometimes it feels that there is too much going on in the community, which can be overwhelming.

I really do believe that you have to cultivate joy in your life. Otherwise outside circumstances take over and you get swept away.” – Year of Joy community member

We learnt that members appreciate the focus on wellbeing as they agree that this is foundational to living joyfully:

If you have wellbeing, it’s easier to have joy– they’re hand in hand.” – Year of Joy community member

Participants in the research did point out, however, that they can have feelings of guilt and failure as many struggle with their wellbeing. This is an important reminder for us to focus on helping members understand that joy is a journey and acceptance of the past is an important part in moving forward towards a more joy-filled future by focusing time and energy on making positive changes in the present, even if these are only babystep changes. Movement in the right direction, rather than dwelling on the past, or indeed on negativity in the present, is the key.

We appreciate that makíng changes in oneä’s life is not easy, which is why we have recently launched the Max My Joy challenge, which doubles down on inspiring and empowering people to make changes in their everyday lives and to integrate regular practices, which help make one’s joy muscles even stronger. You can read more about the challenge below.

Making change alone is doubly tough, which is why community, a support network, is so important and it is heart-warming to learn that our members find that the Year of Joy community does provide that support, especially through the forums:

That’s one of the foundations of joy – do you belong? Are you part of a community? That’s what I’m looking for.” – Year of Joy community member

We learnt from the research, however, that members desire even more opportunity to connect and engage with other members, which is something we are working to improve further. Part of the improvements we have made to the community experience in this regard so far include the opening up of the member-to-member chat functionality and the launch of the Joy Buddy system in connection with the Max My Joy Challenge (read more about that below).

Ultimately, the Year of Joy is about changing people’s lives for the better, so it is wonderful to hear feedback such as this:

It’s really been changing my life, literally. Out of everything I’ve done in the last five years, being in the Year of Joy has had the most consistent, practical, everyday impact on my thinking and my experience of life. I’m very grateful for that.” – Year of Joy community member

It is great to hear that all the hard work the Art and Science of Joy team, as well as are partners, put in is have such an impact! I’d like to take this opportunity to in particular thank the folks at Echo MR for helping us manage the community and ensure that our members get the best experience possible.

Max My Joy Challenge

We are thrilled to be running the Max My Joy Challenge in August through November. Those members lucky enough to be participating in the challenge are receiving extra personalised inspiration and empowerment to build their joy muscles.

August is all about ways of finding and spreading joy, and in September through November we will help members improve their sense of wellbeing and belonging as well as the positive impact they are having on the world around them. Hopefully, we’ll also help them have more fun along the way! 

An integral part of the Max My Joy challenge is the Joy Buddy system. We will be using the Joy Barometer data to suggest Joy Buddies to those participating in the challenge. Members, if they want to, will be able then to interact with their Joy Buddy, whilst they undertake the challenge with the aim to share their experience with their Joy Buddy, to help each other keep up with the activities in the challenge and to act as an accountability partner. We look forward to seeing the results of both the Max My Joy Challenge and the Joy Buddy System!

Thanking our members

We would like to wrap up this thought-piece by thanking our members. We are so very grateful for each and every one of our members and the contribution they make to the community. Without our members the community has no value or purpose. So, thank you dear members for being with us on this journey to add more joy to our own lives as well as to the lives of others. You are very much appreciated.

With joy,

Debby and Andrew

Creators of the Year of Joy


Further reading

The Joy of Work

When you think of your work, what words come to mind? Fulfillment? Exhaustion? Stress? Challenge? Overwhelm? As you mentally tick a few words off...