Last spring, I was asked to give a keynote at an annual event. I planned to do what I do: Interview the stakeholders and customize my Talk to the Brain™ stories and strategies to apply to their particular vision. But, when I talked to the president, my plan cracked like the screen of an abused cellphone.

The first thing I asked her was, “What is your ultimate goal for this message?” Without hesitation she said, “Tara, I want you to inspire us. That’s what we really need. We need to be inspired.” I can still hear how she put an organic emphasis on the work inspire.

Eeeeeek. The brakes in my brain screeched. I was jolted. No one asks for that. They request blueprints for high-achieving teams. They want impact that translates to business growth. But they don’t ask to be inspired. I mean, I’m not a preacher, I’m a storyteller who backs up her lessons with science!

When I asked the president for more context, I learned that her concerns were not only deep, but quite ubiquitous. She told me that people are burned-out, operating at top speed, and lack a sense of joy in their work. She did in fact want me to share my communication expertise, but her big goal was for the audience to walk away feeling energized and empowered.

When people trust me with their time, my key challenge is to deliver on that investment. I teach how to tell impactful stories, how to communicate authentically, how to craft memorable messages and how to keep people intrigued. To do that well, I must be able to “tell how” and to “show how” at the same time. And so, to add inspiration to my challenge, or in Talk to the Brain™ terms, to give them a renewable shot of dopamine and serotonin from my microphone, it was game on for me.

I dug deep to make my stories more personal, yet still relatable. I thought about burn-out and the pressures of work and of life. I can’t eliminate stress and I can’t gift time. So how was I going to provide tenable value to this audience and inspire them?

After one review of my typical outline, the solution jumped out at me like a hungry weasel.

The big glaring answer was in the simple application of my entire Talk to the Brain™ body of work. When we apply these strategies, we make deeper bonds and more gratifying relationships.

In a Forbes article, author Steve Denning tells us that connection is the driving force of human behavior.

In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Pamela Rutledge tell us that all other biological needs are dependent on our ability to connect with one another. She writes, “Belonging provides the sense of security and agency that makes our brains happy.”

Authentic connection makes our brains happy. Being connected at work and in community is the most joyful way to experience life. Pop goes the Weasel – there’s your inspiration Madam president!

It was the challenge of this talk (that garnered a 10 for inspiration on the survey, btw) that has expanded my work over the past year. When we understand the biology of joy, we are then able to create a fulfilling work environment and significantly improve our productivity — which leaves us feeling…….. inspired!

I have been nerding-out on researching the biology of joy for a year now. My communication strategies were already developed based on which neurotransmitters make our brain happy. If one thing is clear, it’s that we must stop waiting until the work is done and the stress is alleviated to enjoy this life. We are perfectly designed with the ability to bring more energy, peace, and joy into all that we do in any given day.

You can look forward to more stories, science, and strategies that inform our relationship with joy. There are buckets of empowering and INSPIRING information I am excited to share!
If you read all the way to here, I suspect your found this message intriguing. I would be honored if you passed it on to another passionate person like you. Or hit reply and let me hear what joy means to you!

With love and cheers,

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