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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crap Economy Got You Down? Find Joy With Sheri Kaye Hoff

Considering current economic woes, I think it's fair to say that people are probably not feeling at their most joyful right now. After all, it's difficult to smile when you're losing your job, your home, and everything else that makes you feel secure. Thus, Keys to Living Joyfully, a new book by life coach Sheri Kaye Hoff comes at an opportune time for anyone who is not feeling exactly joyful right now.

I'm going to be honest with you - you're not going to learn anything you don't already know from Hoff's book. Her methods are familiar - she advocates prayer, meditation, reciting mantras and making gratitude lists among other practices - even cliche. You will find similar techniques in every self-help book ever written. However, as we all know, cliches become cliches because there is truth behind them. So, while the concepts Hoff discusses are not new, it's always good to review them. Hoff does that, infusing the familiar ideas with her own brand of positive, hopeful energy. Her book is especially useful if you want a quick, refresher course and don't have time to commit to big hitters like Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or John C. Maxwell's volumes on leadership.

The one thing from Hoff's book that did make an impact on me is this: "I am responsible for the level of joy that I experience in my life. My circumstances do not create joy, my approach to life and my thoughts about my life contribute to the level or lack of joy in my life" (33). Again, this is not a new concept, but it's such an important thing to remember. I can't tell you how many people I know who look to their spouses, their parents, their possessions or their friends to make them happy. Not surprisingly, these are the least happy people I know. Like Hoff, I believe a person is responsible for their own joy. If they don't have it, she suggests ways to create more "happy" - living in the now, firgiving/forgetting, visualizing a joyful life, and finding your life's passion.

Another thing I thought was really interesting is that Hoff encourages her readers to pay an honest tithe as a step toward acknowledging the abundance they have in their lives, an important key to living more joyfully. This is a concept I often hear recommended from LDS pulpits (and one I wholeheartedly believe in), but I don't think I've ever heard it mentioned in a non-LDS book. Hoff's experience with receiving blessings from paying tithes to her church will ring true for Mormons especially.

All in all, I enjoyed Keys to Living Joyfully. With the exception of tithe-paying, it doesn't really teach anything new, but it does provide a quick, hopeful reminder of ways to cope with the fear and unhappiness that can plague us all. In uncertain times, there is only one thing you can control - you. Sheri Kaye Hoff will remind you how.

Grade: C

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