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Unplugged and Joyful


How do you unplug?
A few years ago, I found myself struggling to answer that important question. I rarely took vacations and was tethered to my devices 24/7. I told myself that the time I spent with family and friends was my way of unplugging, but I never left my phone at home – so I really wasn’t unplugged.

What brings you joy?
Before I could answer this question, I needed to get clear on the definition of joy. I love my job and the diversity of initiatives I invest in that create value in our community. I’ve always been connected to purpose-driven work, so I thought that passion was my joy. But I realized, while the work is fulfilling, and the passion tied to making a meaningful difference makes me feel happy, it’s not what brings me joy.

Unplugged and Joyful
After some soul searching, I realized that I found joy in being outside and spending time with animals. So, four years ago I began to build my flock. My coop has now grown to 3000 sq. ft. and close to 70 chickens. I start every day watching the sun come up, in the fresh air, surrounded by my beautiful birds. I end every day watching the sunset, gathering eggs, and settling in my birds for the night. I never take a phone with me when I’m in the coop – I’m completely untethered to electronics. I’ve found that by starting and ending my day this way, I am more present and authentic in my connection with people that I come in contact with throughout my day. My quality of life has dramatically improved as a result,  and guess what… I am no less productive than I was five years ago. I am simply happier, calmer, and better at balancing competing priorities.

So, I invite you to ask yourself these questions.

  1. How do you unplug?
  2. What brings you joy?

Being a chicken farmer may not be your answer, but I promise you – once you’ve stepped into what brings you joy and truly unplug, you’ll ask yourself the same thing I did. Why didn’t I do this sooner?!

Gretchen Williams is IFG's Director of Business Development responsible for promoting business development to State of California and local governments. Get more of her articles, or connect with her on LinkedIn.