Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

joy

Catherine Chen Catherine Chen health coach. happiness rediscoverer. budding jokester.

Catherine Chen, Ph.D. is a health coach who supports busy people to achieve with ease, have time for what they love, and have self-compassion. [catherinechenwellness.com]

I was hanging out with a friend from New York City when he suddenly asked me, “What’s the one thing that gives you so much joy that you realize, this is what life is all about?”

My answers came easily: Song! Dance! Comedy! Performing, in general.

If he had asked me that question four years ago, I would have struggled to give him an answer.

All my life I’ve wanted to be successful. I worked hard, attended a good college, and pursued higher education. Though I do not regret these experiences, my successes have been largely measured by what looked good on paper at the expense of a social life and pleasurable activities. I was raised on the motto “no pain, no gain,” and that sacrifice of leisure for hard work was admirable. This long-term relationship to success left me feeling empty while I validated myself through fleeting external accomplishments.

At one point, after burning out from working late nights and weekends for years without a hobby or a social life, I felt lost, insecure and deeply unsatisfied. I was doing all the right things. Why wasn’t I happy? It took months of painful self-analysis and tearful sessions in the therapist’s office for me to realize that achievements don’t mean much when you aren’t at peace with yourself without them or you are disconnected from what gives you joy.

The introduction of song, dance, and comedy into my life opened up the part of me that I had neglected. I hadn’t felt such joy in a long time!

Some people may think, “Why spend time exploring interests when you could be more productive?” What they don’t realize is that by cultivating joy, you are more productive! People who regularly engage with joyful activities are naturally more energetic, mentally engaged, and inclined to thrive, rather than just survive, in their jobs, relationships, and general well-being. Experiencing joy also makes one attractive, fascinating, and irresistible.

Reconnecting with joy made me realize that success is living in all parts of who I am. If you are struggling, honestly reflect on how your choices affect you and adjust accordingly to what’s true to you. Commit to being at peace with yourself regardless of what you’ve done. Give priority to expressing who you are and do meaningful activities with people you care about so that you’re not just making a living, but also a life.

– Catherine Chen

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