You’ve probably never heard the term ‘joyologist,’ but most likely you instinctively know what it means. Tricia Huffman, a Cincinnati native, uses the title to describe her unique concoction of coaching, yoga, motivational speaking, and nutritional help.
Her work in the field started on a tour bus, and it was a winding journey getting to that home on wheels. As a kid, she suffered from a myriad of issues, from migraines to stomachaches. Doctors dismissed her concerns and at home she felt the aches of loneliness, sadness, and confusion. When her anxiety forced her to lock herself in the bathroom, she knew she had to make a change. She vowed to live by her own rules, the start of her personal path she says.Later, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and she started to eat cleaner to take care of herself more consciously. She followed her dream of being a sound engineer at Columbia College in Chicago and eventually nabbed a job at House of Blues before joining a large touring production company. She loved creating the sound she wanted to hear, along with traveling. Yoga was taking its spot in her life too.
She soon noticed even rich and famous stars sometimes have a hard time accessing joy, meaning, and fulfillment. Then her father died. She knew she had to do more with her life and signed up for a yoga teacher training, deciding to use her talents in a new way. Read on to hear how she changed her own life—and others’ too.
SBS: How did you land on the term ‘joyologist’?
Tricia Huffman: The name was given to me! I had been working with musicians on tour, and I created the position for traveling on the road. I made healthy food, lead clients through yoga, put up affirmations and so on. I didn’t use the term ‘life coach,’ but I was the only real, grounded person there for them. Everyone else didn’t want to upset the boss or be honest. If that person was in a bad mood, nobody would ask them why. So I was that person.
The mission was joy. Live your life, love your life. When my father passed, it was so clear: We don’t know what’s going to happen, so enjoy this moment right now. You can find joy in every moment, and I wanted to help people do that. Jason Mraz was the first person I toured with as a joyologist! I started a Twitter for him, sharing quotes, affirmations and the recipe for my green smoothie. That was the start.
SBS: How did that turn into a business?
TH: I started my own Twitter account, got a following and then began a blog. Since I was finally not on tour, I was able to get a place and start offering webinars and coaching. It snowballed from there.
SBS: What are your top joyology ideas?
TH: First, don’t use the word ‘should.’ I stopped doing that immediately when my dad died. I would have to pause, and then I’d replace it with ‘want.’ It was huge.
Next, own your awesome and accept yourself for who you are. You are meant to be unique. Be proud. You are allowed to acknowledge yourself. Be proud of what you got done each day, even you were aiming for double or triple that.
Also, use affirmations, and make sure you believe them. Try saying it while looking into a mirror. It can be uncomfortable. So make a habit out of it: Every time you go to the bathroom, say your affirmation in the mirror! I also love to make any password I use an affirmation. What do you want to create with yourself?
And, I love The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to learn about journaling without any boundaries. It’s you, your pen and three pages. If something is wrong, I grab a pen and paper and just write. Your fears, worries, dreams and goals you barely pay attention to come out. Letting it all out, you release and see it.
SBS: How can we handle today’s intense, complicated world events while simultaneously finding joy?
TH: I always say, ‘Remember to see the good.’ All of these world events are upsetting, but also, all of these people are speaking up! Even if they don’t agree, they care! Remember that passion is helpful.
Then find people to connect with. Also, take a pause to reconnect with yourself…nothing in your hands, no screens!
SBS: How might others with a unique, healing business idea start, especially in such specialized arena?
TH: Reach out to those who inspire you in what they’re doing. Make connections genuinely, not in a ‘how can I do what you do’ way. Write from your heart and passion.
Also, I catch myself mixing up being inspired and then feeling I should do the same thing as someone else. Instead, I think: I could do many things, but do I want to do that? On the flipside, there is room for us all. If someone is already doing something, your thing can be different, even if similar. Don’t let it stop you from sharing.
In terms of social media, follow people, but don’t over-follow. Sometimes you have to back off and see what comes from your heart. Don’t compare yourself.
SBS: How do you foster joy in your relationships and the connected communication?
TH: My favorite quote to share when talking about relationships, whether with close loved ones, people you pass in a store or work with daily (but aren’t fans of) is: ‘The way of the miracle-worker is to see all human behavior as one of two things: either love, or a call for love (Marianne Williamson).’
Remember this when you go into any conversation with anyone. Did they say or do that out of love for you (even if you feel it wasn’t in your best interest)? Or did they say or do that because they are making a call for love?
I also recommend checking your energy when you are going into a conversation with someone. People will respond to your energy before they listen to your words. So if you come in angry, they are reacting to your energy and likely not even listening to what you are saying. They immediately go into protection mode, and then neither of you are actually listening to each other. Ground your energy and come from a place of love, and you will get a much better response and real conversation.
Tricia’s SBS Mantra: Be Proud really resonates with me and excites me. Being proud is something we are often ashamed to be, but we really need. Be proud of who you are. Be proud of what you got done today. Be proud of yourself for getting to class. We are all so hard on ourselves. If we can just find at least one thing each day to acknowledge ourselves for, we would find so much love and respect for ourselves on a daily basis.
The best, zaniest part of being Tricia:
Living by my own rules and doing things my way. It’s easy to feel like we all have rulebooks that society and our backgrounds have taught us that we must follow. But each day, when I remember I don’t have to do that or be that—that I get to be me and do things my way—I feel free and fulfilled!
Tricia’s Cali Favorites
Splurge Restaurant: Wilson Creek Winery
Healthy Restaurant: EAT Marketplace
Calming Activity: The Float Experience (sensory deprivation float tank)
Fun Activity: Going to the duck pond with my family!
Joyful Activity: Farmer’s market on a nice day
Athleticwear: Lululemon and Teeki
Fitness Studio: The Pilates Co.
Athletic Shoes: Nike