I just returned from my first ever National Conference. As a consultant for Norwex, and recently promoted Team Coordinator), I felt like I should definitely go and experience a national conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect and more importantly I wasn’t sure how I would feel about being there. As an Introvert – friendly, but definitely an Introvert) – large crowds make me shrink. This was going to be four straight days of shrinking but it felt like something I had to at least try. Most consultants at the conference, at least outwardly, appeared to leave with exactly what Norwex would want for them: inspired, motivated, full of energy and excitement for their businesses. I left with something different: the reminder to always Choose Joy for myself.
My signature line on this blog has been Choose Joy since its conception. Joy is my favorite word and my favorite emotion. Even so, I have spent very little time contemplating what that actually would mean in my own life. Put another way, I’m good at skimming the surface and finding the joy there, but I have spent very little time digging deep to establish roots of Joy in my life that permeate everywhere under the surface.
What I Learned at Conference About Joy
A couple times I thought to myself, and even said out loud, “I wish I was the kind of person who loved this.” And that’s true. I wish I could just will myself to love the same things other people love and to enjoy the same things other people enjoy. When I have tried, though, it has never worked out well for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only path to Joy is the path that winds through our true self. Just as it’s true that no one should “feel bad” about loving to be in the middle of a party, I should not feel bad that I would prefer to be in the corner with a great book. (Truth be told, a mediocre book would do.) Does this mean I NEVER enjoy a party? Not at all. But I don’t often. And that’s okay. So what did I learn about Joy – in particular MY Joy – at Conference?
I’m Not Ambitious
I’m just not. I applaud the accomplishments of others with great enthusiasm. It brings me enormous pleasure to see others promote and succeed. It’s just not something that I care about as a goal. Do I enjoy it in the moment as it’s happening? Of course. It’s a fun event. But what would bring me actual Joy as I grow a team is giving great support to them and celebrating their goals and success. Watching how much pleasure it brought to so many people to achieve bigger and bigger leadership roles at conference left me feeling that there is just something missing inside of me. But ultimately I decided that nothing is missing – that is just how I am wired. And that’s okay. Making plans of things I want to implement brings me Joy and if that results in promotion, that’s awesome and fun. If it doesn’t, that’s awesome and fun too. It just is.
I Shrink in Groups
If you meet me one-on-one and we converse it will be an entirely different experience than if you meet me in a group. Every time you add another person to the group I will shrink a bit. I talk less. I make less eye contact. I can feel my insides contract. I always feel like that fifth wheel: unnecessary. I remember going away to weekend Girl Scout Camp as a young person. I would quickly become convinced that everyone disliked me and that I was completely alone and consequently I would behave that way and push everyone away. I remember a leader telling me once, after I had disappeared for hours in the woods just to be alone, that I was just seeking attention. If only she knew how completely wrong she was – I was seeking the opposite. Invisibility.
I Love One-on-One Conversation
Every bit as much as I shrink in a group, I expand during one-on-one conversation. I have never been good at the small talk thing but a chance to dive deep and get to know someone? Count me in. I probably shouldn’t count this as something I learned at Conference except that it was in counterpoint to noticing how much I shrink in groups. We are all wired so different and I choose to celebrate this part of myself and not feel shame about the other.
Music Brings Me Joy
I’m not a big squirreler – except I definitely squirreled at Conference when a lovely young man of 13 played beautiful piano music for us. The first piece he played, Chopin’s Valse Op. 64. No. 2. Waltz in C# Minor, is a piece I have played since high school. I love it so much and know it quite well. My mine was completely wrapped up in his playing, pressing the notes through my brain when he hesitated, my fingers joining with his as he played. Then he played two pieces that he had composed himself that I was really impressed by. My mind was gone on the topic of music for at least half an hour after that and I have no idea what else happened on stage!
On My Return Home
I’m back home now and my brain is slowly unpacking my experience. For the first time in a long time I feel crystal clear on what I want going forward. I want to prioritize joy in my life: reading, laughing with friends, playing with grandkids, piano and harp music, adventures and travel. Is there a place for Norwex? Absolutely. The solutions I have found in Norwex are very important in my life and I love sharing them. But don’t expect to see me being celebrated with top sales or recruiting – I will leave that for the women for whom that brings great Joy.
I hope that you are able to prioritize and choose Joy in your life and never allow outside voices to tell you what that Joy should look like. I would love to hear from you – let me know what brings Joy to your OWN life!