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Assignment for Happiness

This post was originally written in 2011, so the update at the end of the post reinforces the power of visualizing what you desire.

In rummaging through my files tonight I came upon a “heartwork” assignment given to my daughter, Stacy, when she was 17.  Admittedly, I was a most intentional parent with a desire for her to make choices for creating a happy, purposeful life. Now eight years later, and with her wedding less than three weeks away, she definitely took it all to heart, and her life has become a reflection of living in alignment with her values and very conscious choices.

Stacy probably didn’t need any nudging, and undoubtedly with me being an author, speaker and coach on living with guts, grace & gusto, those messages swirled around our home all the time. Self-reflection and intentional living was definitely in her gene pool.  However, I was likely the one who needed the assurance that she would be launched from the nest, properly outfitted to soar with all the tools and tactics to carve out a destiny in tune with her heart.

Here was her assignment:

“Spend time thinking about the life that would bring you the greatest joy–of where you want to go, of what you want to do, of who you want to be, the characteristics you want to project to others and express within yourself. Dream and imagine, “What if?” Design your life of possibilities, planned out with the greatest  intention.

Design your Most Wonderful, Awesome, Amazing, Incredible Life Adventure. To do this, you will create several DETAILED mindmaps, brainstorming everything that percolates up when you think about the life you want to experience.

  • Brainstorm what type of character you want to express. How you want to see yourself and be seen by others.

  • Brainstorm all the things you can think of relating to what you want to do, where you want to go, what adventures you want, the lives you want to impact?

  • Brainstorm what you want to have, i.e. an extraordinary loving relationship, your home, your family life, etc.

These will become your “roadmaps” so don’t take this assignment lightly. These will serve to help you make choices that lead you in the direction of your heart. Our happiness comes from realizing our lives are in tune with our hearts. People get involved in activities to fill the void, of the empty spaces in their hearts, the unfulfilled dreams they never took time to identify but they still long for.  Fill your heart with everything that makes it sing, and help others to do the same. I love you and know your mission here is to be a loving leader. Real leaders lead by example. Dream to your heart’s content and never stop!”

Love you forever,


As a proud parent, it is indeed hitting the mother lode to know that so many wonderful things have already manifested for her. Stacy is the happiest of brides-to-be, attracting into her life, Jesse, a most loving partner (mother-in-law approved!). She has paved her life with great friendships, compassion, and character and knows the power of designing a most deliberate life filled to the brim with love and joy overflowing. Well-done, dear daughter!

With a more global vision, I think this assignment has great merit for people of all ages to explore what they want to be and do in life, to make a masterpiece of their own design, leading to the vision crafted within their hearts.

Update: August 20, 2020

Seventeen years later following that "heartwork" assignment, this is what's manifested . . . a loving family committed to age-appropriate "heartwork." I'm now enjoying a week-long visit witnessing the fruits of how all those teachable moments manifested. Undoubtedly many "mindmaps" await their future, as Stacy and Jesse teach their kids about their unlimited power to create a

happy life. Pretty confident they're internalizing those power-filled messages, since this week's favorite activity is playing "super heroes" and reading a book about the kind, brave, unlimited possibilities they have within. Nothing like a family legacy of love to make many hearts sing!

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