PHOTO CREDITS:  iron + lace photography

I spent 3 hours with this group of girls that I had never met. And I so often get these feelings, these things called emotions where I say “ There are NO words”. For those of you who know me, you are smiling (likely chuckling with skepticism) knowing darn well after I say this, generally an entire book or talk-show will likely follow. So as to not disappoint, here are my “no words” about walking into a room of “strangers” and then walking out feeling this…


We are social creatures. Whether we are extroverts, introverts, Type A personality, ENFJ’s (Myers-Briggs), strong D’s (DISC assessment), or #9 Enneagram type; we crave relationships. We crave different relationships to fulfill different facets of our lives. But we ALL innately desire relationships which provide that safe place to land; the place where we can be nothing short of ourselves. We deeply need relationships where you can talk openly about dreams, and dig deep into your worries without misunderstanding, judgement and fear.

Have you ever noticed or been around that person or that tribe, left an event, ended a get-together or even coffee or a lunch date; and you leave with this sense of Euphoria? Not only was your experience with them just “easy”; being around this person or these people has given you more energy and happiness than you’ve had in days, weeks, months, or more. You hop in your car, go for a jog or stroll the aisles at the grocery store and you feel like you want to take on the world. (FYI – these are PeakJoy moments!)


There is also the opposite, and negativity is difficult for me but… we’ve all been there. Have you ever left a situation with a person or people where you have never felt so insecure, disconnected, unmotivated and ready to go take a nap or even destroy something? They have simply drained you and more than once. Conversations consist of negativity and complaining and judgement and drama… and yet we keep going back…

I think sometimes we live a portion of our lives (sometimes our entire lives) surrounding ourselves with people that don’t serve us the opportunity to really live and be who we are meant to be. And so we get stuck on many occasions and we look to “solving our problems” by looking at what changes WE need to make personally. We begin to analyze our lack of fulfillment or happiness. How often are we looking at WHO we are spending our time with? Why do we feel the need to constantly make excuses for spending endless time with individuals who are burying our feet in wet concrete while dumping buckets of water on our heads? (Oh, but here is an umbrella and a sandwich, you’ll survive) Nope!

Here is what I have discovered, here is what I have come to know. I have been nudged, pushed, encouraged, challenged and inspired by a GROUP of individuals. Each individually has provided a different version, a different inner voice, a different phrase that said “Go get em’ Joy!” And I can honestly say that without each of them, I wouldn’t be flying today. And just when I don’t think it can get better, when I think I have everything and everyone that I need, I meet yet another person or GROUP OF GIRLS who feed me more, pour more fuel, or add to my wings.

PHOTO CREDITS:  iron + lace photography

To elevate ourselves and get to that PeakJoy, we must find like-minded people. The “peeps” that JUST GET US!

We NEED to know that someone is rooting for our happiness, passions and side-hustles and that someone cares about our successes. And we equally need people who hurt when we hurt and offer Band-Aids for the smallest paper cuts. We ALL require VALIDATION to just be.. just be the inner and outer versions of ourselves without any hidden agendas. I guess I have been fortunate enough to find these people in different chapters of my life story. (And trust me that there were chapters when there was no sight of any of them; that would require another book)


Now, criteria for your like-minded squad will inevitably be different from mine ( I mean, unless you value kindness, enjoy running, yoga and exercise, would hike the mountains with me, snowmobile in sub zero temps, live to spread optimism, live for deep conversations and appreciate the daily glass or two of wine. AND… if you also happen to sing and dance always like no one is watching… even better!) Others find their tribes in churches, Moms groups, specific sports, political groups, a love for animals, thrill seeking hobbies and so much more.

Not everyone will check every one of your boxes, and that is the beauty of it really. My husband will never LIVE for DEEP CONVERSATIONS – but he IS learning to dance with me and he is also the one who introduced me to the thrill of speed on a sled!

Now my big brother… I know that after I read a text, get off the phone with him or leave from meeting him for an after-work beverage that not only is my heart full but I’m in that state of euphoria and I am ready to go tackle “something.” He’s my deep convo, give it to me straight, suck it up, “the stars are yours Joy” guy. But you’ll never catch him down-ward dogging on a yoga mat – Ha! (Never say never, right?)

And the list of my tribe truly goes on and on and on as I sit and write this. I’ve discovered them buried in the roots of elementary days, to being in a specific location at a specific time, to friends of friends, to signing up for a Friday morning girls meet up!

The common denominator of them all is simple; they fill me with joy and PeakJoy moments and memories. They push me to be a better version of myself. They remind me that impossible is only a word that exists in some fragment of my imagination. They inspire me and I inspire them and we share in each other’s’ happiness, success and all the “other stuff” that sometimes can get in the way.

And so I ask you… Are you spending time with people who are watching the concrete dry around your feet? WHO is in your tribe? Do you have YOUR people? WHO fills your life with joy? Who leaves you with PeakJoy memories? WHO is pushing you to be better than you were yesterday? WHO is challenging you to dream?

Because I can always find a song or lyrics to inspire… WHO is encouraging you to show all of those TRUE colors? And WHO will stick by your side regardless of what colors end up in your rainbow? THOSE are the people you want to surround yourself with! (Oh how I wish I had video of my Dad and I singing this song together MANY YEARS AGO.)

If any of you woman reading this are looking to add some amazing girls to your tribe… check this out! I met Emma at the QC girl meet up… and trust me, you want to meet her too!