Finding, Living & Sharing Your Purpose with Patrice Tanaka of Joyful Planet
In this episode of On Record PR, we’re going on record with Patrice Tanaka, chief joy officer at Joyful Planet. Patrice Tanaka is a bestselling author, public speaker on business and life purpose, serial entrepreneur, and cofounder of three award-winning PR marketing agencies and the consultancy Joyful Planet.
More about Patrice
Today, Patrice is focused on helping individuals and organizations discover and actively live their purpose to unleash greater success, fulfillment, and joy in their personal lives, workplaces and communities. She has authored many books that you can find on her website, and she is the author of “Becoming Ginger Rogers: How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner, and Smarter CEO.” She has been honored by many organizations including PRWeek, the Public Relations Society of America, New York Women in Communications, Asian Women in Business, Working Mother magazine and by one of her passions, Girl Scouts of Greater New York. Patrice is with us from her home in New York, but her spirit is always in Hawaii. She was born and raised there, and she lives her life with the Aloha spirit.
This episode was recorded on June 22, 2020. Patrice and Gina are both working from home. We are several months into the coronavirus pandemic.
What is Joyful Planet and why did you create it?
Joyful Planet is both the name of my consultancy and my vision for the planet. If more of our 7.7 billion people were actively living their purpose and leveraging their talent, expertise and passion in service of other people and our planet together, we could create a more joyful planet. I’m always holding that vision in my head because of the name of the company. My company is focused on helping individuals and organizations discover and live their purpose. I then help organizations to operationalize its purpose so that it can unleash its full potential and greater success, fulfillment and joy – not just in your personal life – but in your workplaces and in your communities. Joy has a ripple effect, so you want to be a joy generator versus a non-joy generator.
The reason I created Joyful Planet to focus on purpose is that 18 years ago, I was forced by an executive coach to discover my old life purpose. At the time I went to see her five months after 9/11, I was really depressed. I could barely get out of bed. I was hoping that she could help, and she said, “Yes, I can help you, but first I need you to rethink your purpose of life.” When I heard that I was annoyed because I just finished telling her I could barely get out of bed. I can’t come up with a grand purpose for the rest of my life. But she was pretty adamant.
Over the next two weeks, I considered and rejected many life purpose statements. I finally shared with her one life purpose that didn’t sound like B.S. I told her that my purpose was informed by the nearly 3000 people who died on 9/11. They went to work that morning. They didn’t come home that evening. I knew that many, if not all of them, were caught short, probably not having done what was most important for them to accomplish in life. I didn’t want to be caught short like that. I told her my life purpose was simply to choose joy in my life every day. To be mindful of that joy and to share that joy with others. I said to her, “If I can live my life with joy every day, even up to the moments before I die, I think I could be good to go.” I think that’s what I would want to feel if I were dying, that I was good to go, having done what was most important to me.
That’s how I came up with purpose. Over the next 18 years, many unexpected and exciting things happened to me that produced a lot of joy in my life. That is why, 13 years later, I created a consultancy called Joyful Planet. I decided I’m going to focus on helping other people discover and articulate their purpose so they can unleash their full potential, and whatever it is that’s going to be most fulfilling and satisfying your joy-filled life.
That’s why I think about times of crisis. They create a grand reset in our lives. It’s a good thing to rethink our lives, but we usually only make time to do so in times of crisis.
How do you maintain joy in difficult times and what advice would you give to our listeners?
Like I said, all I’m doing is simply living my life purpose, which is to choose joy in my life every day, and to be mindful of that joy and to share that joy with others. By choosing joy, I’m choosing to do things that bring me joy. The work that I do with Joyful Planet is one of those things that I’m doing.
I’m also supporting the three nonprofits that I’m very involved with, which brings me a lot of joy. All nonprofits these days are being hit hard during COVID-19. We’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming and work to try to deliver our mission even in a time of COVID-19.
What was it like to be interviewed by Jack Canfield, the author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books?
He is very lovely. He said something during our interview where I responded, “Yes, we shouldn’t afford joy,” and he said, “That’s a good name for books.” I said, “Okay, let’s write it!” It was a fun interview that only lasted about 15 minutes, but it was a joy.
How does living your personal purpose give you a competitive advantage?
I believe that anyone 16-years and older would be well served to spend time to discover and articulate their purpose. If you can succinctly articulate what’s most important for you to accomplish, and by that I mean how you will leverage your talents, your expertise, and your passion in service of other people in our and our planet, it will focus and drive you to accomplish what you say matters most to you.
Sharing your purpose is really powerful too because by sharing it, you make yourself more fully known to others that they know how to engage with you. Because they’re interested in what you’ve shared with them, they will probably invest more time in you and possibly consider you for opportunities that track with whatever your purpose is and possibly even do business with you.
A life purpose communicates three things. It communicates who we are and our essence, what matters most to us, and how we serve others. If you know those three things about anyone, you know a lot about them. Those three things predispose you to want to get more involved with that person.
As an example, I moved my portfolio from one financial advisor to another because I understood when we were talking that his life purpose was to help others care for and protect their loved ones. He told me his backstory. As a young boy, he and his family got evicted from two or three homes they lived in because his father was a spendthrift.
He had to seize control of the finances at a very young age. Now, he does this as a way to take care of his own and to help other people take care of their own. When I learned that, I knew that I wanted to work with him. I already knew he was savvy and had a lot of acumen as a financial advisor, but I needed to know the heart and humanity of this person in order to feel like I wanted to work with him.
That’s why I say it’s a competitive advantage because he shared with me what his life purpose was, and it wasn’t as polished as I tell you it was because I helped him to polish it up. I understood him immediately so that I could make decisions about what I wanted to do. If he did not share that life purpose with me, and all I knew was that he was a savvy financial advisor, I don’t know if that would have been enough of an argument for me to move by business from my financial advisor of 50 years to someone I didn’t really know, other than I heard about his track record
Do you find that with maturity that it’s easier to make those integrity and heartfelt decisions where you have to have an aligned purpose?
I think so. It takes a while for the realization that head and heart are equally important. If you make your decision, consumers are not only purely rational people. They make decisions based on rational and non-rational criteria. Even if we hear all the facts about why somebody is the best, but our instinctive reaction to them is we don’t like them, we’re possibly not going to engage with them.
Is it possible to have more than one life purpose?
Yes. I always use the analogy in business that people are much more rigorous about articulating their goals and objectives. Before you engage in any important assignment, you’re going to articulate your goals and objectives. You’re good at articulating what results you’re trying to deliver. You’re going to articulate what success looks like. You’re good at asking for what budget you have, because that’s going to determine what the program’s going to be. You’re going to want to know what parameters you have to operate with while you’re delivering success. You need to know all of this information, and you need to know the time frame that you have to deliver success because that’s going to also determine the program. You need all this information to start to put together a program that you can implement to help you achieve and exceed the original stated goals and objectives.
We don’t apply or employ any of that rigor in our personal life. We sometimes lurch forward hoping for the best, focused on meeting immediate needs of deadlines. More often it’s meeting other people’s immediate needs and deadlines. At the back of our minds, we have this hope that we’re going to run into our purpose at some point in our lives so we can live a meaningful and fulfilling life. That’s the way most people approach their personal life because they’re too busy being very strategic and focused in their professional lives. Hope is not a great strategy for achieving what you want to achieve in the most efficient way. I think we want to be most efficient both in our personal and professional lives so we can achieve what’s most important in a highly efficient way. Use more rigor in your personal life.
To get back to your question, when you have an assignment, you can’t have 10 goals and objectives because you’ll be all over the place. You’re going to be much more successful if you articulate the most important goal and objective that you have. That’s your life purpose. What is the one thing that’s most important for you to accomplish? It doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish more than that, but you have to at least do that.
Patrice, I’m thrilled you could join me today. I’ve enjoyed our conversation. I’m sure our listeners have. If people are interested in learning more about you, how do they find out about you? Where do they go?
Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m on social media. Look for me under Patrice Tanaka.
We’ve been talking with Patrice Tanaka, chief joy officer at Joyful Planet.
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