Tune into what gives you energy: At the end of each day, I take time to reflect on where I felt happy and in flow. It’s through paying attention to what brings me Joie De Vivre that helps me to intentionally increased the activities that bring me energy, not take it away.
As a part of my series about how to live with Joie De Vivre, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Gregg, author of Choose Happy and Find Your Flow.
Sarah Gregg is a certified life coach, business coach, and certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner. The common thread that runs throughout her career is her passion for moving people closer to their goals — no matter how far away they may seem. Practicing what she preaches, she went after her own goals, and established The Power to Reinvent (thepowertoreinvent.com).
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I remember getting a journal for my tenth birthday. I wrote that I wanted to “live life fully, without regrets.” And almost thirty years later, the question of how we can make that possible is central to my work and career.
I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland towards the end of the ‘troubles’ and start of peace process. It was a time where evacuating school because of a bomb threat and tanks rolling down the street was ‘normal.’ Education was a way to open yourself up to opportunities. I attended The University of Ulster and gained my Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Post Graduate Diploma in Careers Guidance. When I graduated, Belfast was feeling the economic benefits of the peace process. My first job was to connect new investors to the city (like Ikea) with job seekers who lived in areas of high social deprivation. I went onto work for training organizations, UK Universities, innovative start-ups and the European Commission. Although the people I worked with varied, the central goal to help them realize and fulfill their potential never wavered.
Now I am an author, entrepreneur and digital nomad. I’ve used my experience as a psychologist and career to develop an evidence-based toolkit that helps people fulfill their potential and boldly live life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Oh, I’ve had so many it’s hard to pick. I have had afternoon tea in the UK House of Commons, spoken on stage alongside Google and launched my book Find Your Flow last year in New York. But perhaps the most interesting story is that in 2017 I quit my job, sold my house and all my stuff to start following my own dreams. I left on a plane with my backpack, laptop and no real plan. I went totally off script — but I needed to. I was feeling lost, had begun living life others expected of me and not that one I wanted to. It was scary but living unscripted has opened up the most beautiful adventures that I think nine-year-old me would feel proud off.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
I remember securing my first paid for workshop. I was organized, excited and nervous to work with a group using the self-improvement strategies I’d developed. I arrived to the venue early, tripped, broke my sandal and got mud all over my outfit. It was a disaster, and I was tempted to cancel. But instead used it as an ice-breaker with the group. The biggest takeaway was wear sensible footwear and only ever focus on what you can control.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My husband Chris has been amazing. He’s been so supportive and encouraging. He’s sat up late helping me check references for my book, poured drinks for guests at my events and picks me up when I feel down.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
The World Happiness Report shows that increases in economic wealth alone (measured by gross domestic product per captia) is not enough to raise happiness. There are other social factors beyond economic growth that should not be ignored. The countries that we see outrank the United States have high levels of social trust, generosity, life expectancy and freedom. If the United States wants to increase it’s ranking it needs to look at how it can improve these social factors, growing the economy is not enough when it comes to increasing happiness.
Can you share with our readers your 5 strategies to live with more Joie De Vivre? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Tune into what gives you energy: At the end of each day, I take time to reflect on where I felt happy and in flow. It’s through paying attention to what brings me Joie De Vivre that helps me to intentionally increased the activities that bring me energy, not take it away.
2. Step out of comparison: If there is anything that will pull you out of enjoying life, its comparison. Comparison brings that instant cloud that ‘you’re not enough’. It’s important we manage comparison where we can, especially in social media. If someone makes you feel bad about your life, unfollow them.
3. Step into Awe: Awe is that feeling that we’re part of something greater than ourselves. And it’s been proven to give us a boost of happiness and instantly remind us how miraculous life is. You can find awe standing under the stars, out in nature or in incredible facts — like there have been approximately 108 billion humans ever born, and not one is the same as you. Reminding ourselves of the awe of life is so important.
4. See that the ordinary is extraordinary: We can get caught up in the pursuit of happiness and fail to see that the ordinary is extraordinary. I think we’ve really realized this in the pandemic. We’ve longed for a hug with a friend, to dance at a concert, travel, to be close with loved ones. These are the ordinary moments we miss the most.
5. Grab the hand of curiosity: We can treat life as a test, feel afraid of making the wrong choice. If you really want to live the Joie De Vivre grab the hand of curiosity. One of my favorite phrases is ‘I’m curious to see what happen if…..’
It gives a more playful approach to life and encourages you to have fun with the choices you make.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
I love Elizabeth Days podcast ‘How to Fail’ — it gives a much needed reframe of failure. And Fearne Cottons Happy Place podcast that gives honest and inspiring interviews. I adore anything written by Matt Haig, Brene Brown and for a little pick me up Emily Silva’s Sunrise Gratitude always brings a smile to my face.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
‘It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting’ — I remember reading this in Paulo Coehlos ‘The Alchemist’ after I quit my job. It always brings me back to the fact that the joy is in the journey and possibilities of life. I keep dreaming because it makes life interesting, exciting, and fascinating. Whether I succeed or not is irrelevant — I’ve made the most out of life, and that’s what matters most.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Everything I create is with purposeful intention to positively impact other people’s lives. I don’t want to change who people are, I want to help them become of themselves. I’ve taken a lot of time to develop my signature strategies and it’s a real labour of love. It’s been a joy to see my success change people’s lives, step into their purpose and continue the ripple effect.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’ve just finished recording my course Find Your Flow Intensive and have other online courses planned. I’m really excited to bring my evidence based tool-kit to a wider audience. I like to think of the courses as a scientific guide for people to become more themselves, fulfill their potential and increase their happiness.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I founded The Power to Reinvent because I truly believe we need to reinvent the rules of happiness and success, not ourselves. We need to stop living by the mantra ‘once I have x then I’ll be happy’. Our constant pursuit of happiness increases the hours we work, how busy we are and our consumption. We live on a infinite planet, with infinite resources and our hunger for happiness is putting it under strain. I’d love to reinvent the rules of happiness and success, slow life down and weave happiness into the journey, after all it’s a choice — not a pursuit. We made the rules so we can change them.