I sat in the airport on a cold December morning about four years ago, waiting for my plane to Mexico. The work I was doing at the time was knotted in a ball in my stomach, anxieties and questions swirling about tornado-like.

I texted my new boyfriend (yes, Dan) and said something about how I couldn’t let the worries go, even as I was about to embark on a solo trip to the Mayan Riviera.

“Happy trees,” he texted back. [Watch the video here: Bob Ross: Painting an Evergreen Tree]


“The guy on the public TV show in the ’70s, painting his happy trees.”

When I was new in business, every success or failure was a personal hit or miss. I worked for myself because I had worked for myself already for years and with the change in journalism, I needed to change, too, to guarantee my income and that I could feed and house my three very young children.

I was a single mother then and feeling it right in the gut, this precipice on which I was perched, over the cliff of despair. I worked early in the morning and late at night, yes, to help people, and yes to get good work done, but mostly to earn money.

At some point, I got better at what I was doing, and more confident, and married the happy-trees boyfriend and the economy rebounded. Life wasn’t so precarious anymore. It just was as it was.

People work for two reasons, mostly: to earn a living so they can survive, and to find personal satisfaction through their talents and skills.

People work for themselves for a lot of reasons – flexibility, increase earning potential, to be in charge of their days rather than have to report to someone else about whether or not a lunchtime walk is ok.

A recent Yoga Journal article, “All in a Day’s Work: Discover ways to stay happy and healthy on the job, inspired by these innovative workplaces,” focused on deriving happiness from the work we do. What a novel concept!

One of my clients right now is branding and planning a new product launch. In the tagline brainstorming, the word happy factors highly. What a goal, what a concept – that what we do every day leads to happiness, our own and our clients’.

It’s a novel idea, isn’t it, that what we do every day should lead to happiness? I mean, we spend so many hours at work – what if, say, we weren’t doing it just to get by but rather to deepen who we are at the core and what we believe?

That brings me to the notion of having a higher purpose drive the work that you do. Looking to serve rather than to earn. Helping others as an ethos of the workplace.

Yes, even in our work, we can come from the heart and really look to improve the lives of others, at a fair price. How would the workplace be different if we all adopted that perspective?

There are two ways to go through our days: from fear or from love. Unfortunately, most people operate from a fear-based paralysis with a running soundtrack that everyone’s out to get them and there is so much competition, they can’t reveal a word.

I can’t live that way. It’s too uncomfortable. That airport seat, as I was about to take off for Mexico for God’s sake – anxiety in a ball in the pit of my stomach? No thanks. Been there, done that. It’s not all that great.

Coming from love is steeped in the belief that there is enough work to go around (there is!) and there is no such thing as competition (I really believe that).

When you work from integrity and compassion and heart-based service, the work you do is different from anyone else. You are uniquely positioned to synergize with the right customers at the right time. There will always be enough. The flow of heart-based, love-filled service is everlasting.

Tsk-tsk me or wave me away. It’s hocus-pocus new-age crap. Baloney. What I’m talking about is real.

And the sooner you join the party, the happier you’ll be. Imagine that.


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