Personal Development

8 Ways to Live a Powerful and Joyous Life

Written by Tess Marshall

When I don’t take 100% responsibility for my life I block my own progress and happiness. Sometimes it’s easier to play in someone else’s business or back yard instead of changing what needs to be changed in my own. Using my creative power to be a proactive participant in my life allows me to transcend my limitations and live in joy.

The following tips will allow you to shatter both internal and external barriers as well.


8 Ways to Live a Powerful and Joyous Life

1. Honor and love yourself.

It’s impossible to love anyone more than you love yourself. It’s easy to love yourself when you feel good, look great and everyone cooperates. The real test comes with accepting your flaws, working with your shadow side and loving your humanness. I’ve learned to have compassion for the part of me that is greedy, inconsiderate and judgmental. Self-love allows me to heal these parts and move forward into a brighter light and deeper love for myself and others.

2. Become your own priority.

Pamper your body, mind and spirit. Take baby steps and begin to eat right and be impeccably groomed. Take scheduled breaks through out your day. Feed your mind with spiritual and inspirational information. You add beautiful, loving energy to our world as you learn to respect yourself.

I’ve recently decided to improve my exercise habits. Evita from Evolving Wellness has convinced me to eat healthier. I eliminated red meant from my diet 30 years ago. I’m now only eating fish, chicken and turkey (anything with a face) on weekends.

3. Stop comparing, competing, and criticizing.

As you eliminate draining little habits from your daily life your energy can flow freely into your dreams and happiness. Your role in life is like a puzzle piece that fits into the jigsaw puzzle of the universe, the world is incomplete without your unique self.

When I find myself stuck in the three “C’s” I know I’m off track. It only takes minutes to own my projections and move forward. I choose to live in the flow of life trusting myself with an open mind and heart.

4. Anchor your being in appreciation.

It’s a privilege to be alive at this time. I am grateful for the difficult lessons I’m learning from our economy, the oil spill, and the war. As I make inner changes, I see my exterior world change. In stead of focusing on the media and negativity I focus on the difference I can make.

Answers to our problems lie in each of us. Each morning I decide to “wake up and smell the day.” Life is precious, I won’t waste it wishing things were different. I choose to live more consciously. The individual changes we make will change the world.

5. Activate forgiveness.

Perfection in life is not required. We all do and say things we regret. I choose to learn from my mistakes. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and others. Resentment and bitterness poison our mind, body and spirit. Forgiving others will take you out of the dark and into the light, that’s available always.

6. Record loving moments.

Keep a journal of the happiness, love and goodness you experience everyday.  Focusing on love and good times increases love and good times. A journal of “good stuff” can be used as a great pick-me-up in difficult times. You’ll find there are infinite experiences to record. Be a part of seeing the best in every thing and every one. I’ve kept gratitude journals for eight years. I’m flooded with appreciation for my ordinary existence each time I reread one.

7. Set your intention.

Each morning set your intention for your day. “I intend to be patient today. I intend to be kind. I intend to live in the moment.” You choose your attitude, energy and direction. Consciously create the incredible and amazing life you desperately want. Resolve to choose the best for yourself. You’ll learn to brighten your own day!

8.  Serve others.

There is a story about heaven and hell…In one room a pot of delicious stew sits in the middle of a big round table. The people at the table are holding unusually long handled spoons which made reaching their mouths impossible. They are thin, sick and weak. This room represents hell.

The next room also has a large table and a delicious pot of stew as well… The people around this table also hold long-handled spoons. However these people are plump, healthy and happy because they’ve learned to feed each other. This room represents heaven. Find someone to serve everyday. Expect nothing in return.

It’s easy to lose hope, blame others and feel victimized in our world. Yet, our power lies in establishing thoughts and habits of goodness and love. Imagine throwing your pebble of good thoughts and habits in the water. Yours connect to other like-minded good thoughts and habits. Soon you begin to notice and take part in a whole new world. And everyone will ask you, “How did you get so lucky?”

Some Amazing Comments


About the author

Tess Marshall

Tess Marshall is the mover and shaker, at, where she’ll hold you accountable for being the boldest you’ve ever been in every area of your life! What would you do if you were 10 times bolder? You can sign up for her RSS feed and receive her updates or follow her on  Twitter


  • I love the points you’ve made but I’ll also add another one, call it the 9th point if you wish, and thats to have a relationship with God and spend time in his presence (which some call meditation) for me this is a great source of joy and power. As you draw close to him God will fill you with peace and love both for yourself and those around you and when you realise that you are created in the image of God you will recognise the limitless potential that lies within you.

  • Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. I love reading them over and over again but the one that hit me most is no 3. Stop comparing, competing, and criticizing. I have been dealing with this for some time now and i have learnt to control that but it keeps on coming back to me but i will follow your tips here to work on..
    keep up the great work!

  • What a great list of positive things to do! Reading all of them, I see a thread of ‘put others first’ as moral compass. Nice!

  • “Anchor to appreciation.” I recently learned from a friend I deeply respect that he writes down a gratitude list of 10 things he is grateful for every day before retiring to bed. I started the practice over the last couple days, and it’s wonderful to fix your mind on your blessings. Our mind too easily can focus on negatives, and this is a way to focus on joy and appreciation.

    • Hi Steve,
      Yes it’s amazing. Gratfullness is the highest state of happiness. I’d add to list 10 things you got right in the last 24 hours and 10 things that went right. Some times we miss all of that and when we acknowledge that it’s a more gentle world.

  • This is a wonderful list and wonderful concepts. I took a few months earlier this year to find a word that would be my word for the year – I chose “Open” and have found that I am increasingly more open to people, thoughts, ideas… the world at large. I like the practice that you mention about setting an intention for each day. It is like the word of the year exercise brought into every day life.

    The story at the end is great. Working together is what it takes – and that requires an open heart and an acceptance and it starts within each of us.

    Thank you Tess for this post.

    • Open what a great word. When we are open we are cooperative. We’re in a state of learning. Amen to that. When I’m open I’m not stuck on being right. Isn’t life grand?

    • Yes setting intentions is what makes or breaks my day. Especially if I’m in a lousy mood with people I love. When I state I want to experience peace of mind I come from a loving place and all is well with my world. For me it’s about responsibiliy.

  • I especially like your advice of keeping a journal of happy experiences and achievements. I’ll add this to my daily activities from now on. Thanks!

  • Hi Tess,
    Those are 8 great steps you provided. Most importantly it all begins with taking 100% responsibility for our lives. Taking responsibility empowers us to begin thinking differently so that we may take command of our attitude and mood. Whenever we set our intention for the day we set ourselves up for a lifetime of breakthrough after breakthrough. It is all the small steps we put into action on a daily basis that have the most profound effect… because if it ain’t practical it ain’t spiritual :)

    • Rob,
      Oh yeah, it’s impossible to stay stuck for long if we take 100% responsibility for our live. We just get out of our own way and get moving forward again and yes baby steps daily add up to a great love of life.

  • Hi Tess

    Tess, so wonderful to read this piece from you, as you always have a way of putting into action ways to offer our lives and our world powerful solutions for growth and change.

    And you started with such a great reminder – us – yes, we need to first and foremost pay attention to what the self is doing, being, thinking – and how we love ourselves, before we focus on how “others” may or may not be impacting us.

    Thank you Steven for having Tess!

  • hi Tess,
    this is real good stuff. i would recomend this for anybody who wishes to live a joyfu life.

    Thanks For good job.

    • Hello Kyalo,
      Yes recommend it and also we can’t forget we need to put what we learn into action or it is just knowledge…when we do we gain wisdom.

  • Hi Tess, I’m late to my own party :)

    I thought this was a wonderful post and especially enjoyed the story about heaven and hell in your last point. I have doing a lot of thinking about this in the last few months. I would add to this that you have to authentically serve others, I think we sometimes look to serve others as a way of getting more favours, but if we serve without expecting anything in return then we own the world.

    Thanks again Tess, you’re fast becoming a regular here :)

    • Steven,
      I whole heartedly agree giving and serving without an agenda is authentic. I learned a long time ago that expecting a thank you is giving with a string attached. Thanks for having me here. I so appreciate your blog, the encouragement you give others. It’s always a surprise to see who I’ll meet here.

  • Hi Tess. That is so true. I love how you start with loving oneself, flaws and all. I also like how the key to leading a powerful life, resides within us. Setting intention, appreciating, giving; power truly begins from within. Thank you for this. God bless

    • Hi.
      Thanks so much I worked as a therapist for 15 years. If I didn’t love myself how could I possibly tell others to do the same. Oh I certainly have my days of beating myself up for mistakes or whatever but then I get back on the horse. I appreciate you coming by and appreciating my work. I’m grateful. God bless you more!

  • Tess: What a great article and message for today … and everyday for that matter. I think it really is all about clearing our way to experience the current moment and what is in front of us in the best way. This list is so great and really shows you how to get out of your own way, which is so important. I really like what you said particularly about pampering yourself and taking those moments you need to make certain you are in the right place physically, mentally and emotionally. I also appreciated that piece of advice you offered to write down the loving moments that happen throughout the day. The reality is that our life is filled with so many moments and we really should focus on appreciating those loving moments. Thank you so much for this list. I feel a little more out of my way already :) Great guest post and great to see you over at CYT.

    • Sibyl,

      Life just gets better for me when I put these into practice. And as soon as I do I move forward. I have so man loving moments it’s impossible to write them all down but I certainly do a list every morning. There is a spiritual bootcamp I do and it includes writing what you are grateful for, what went right in the last 24 hrs and what I got right in the last 24 hrs. I also write my intention for the day…I have 8 years of gratitude journals. It’s made a huge difference in who I am and the appreciation I have for life. Thanks so much for commenting today. I appreciate you sharing yourtime.

  • Lance,
    It’s amazing how everyday joy is a choice. I once read on Dani’s blog, “How much cuddling, kissing fun did you have last night. How much could you have had?

    Yes and serving others never fails us. What Sean Penn is doing in Haiti, I find amazing. Daily we have the opportunity to do small acts of service and I only wnat to find them and act. Like you…I know you’re out in the world helping the people around you with kind and loving acts.

  • Hi Tess,
    A joyous life….that really sounds wonderful!!

    And – what I find most meaningful to me, as I read this – your last point – serving others. Every time that I’ve done this – it becomes a moments of joy…deep-down joy. So good to read this today, and remember just how much meaning this gives…and puts heaven within our reach today…

    • Hi Lance

      I’m happy like minded people find each other online as well as off. I appreciate you coming by and sharing how joy filled your life is (how can it not be with your wonderful family) Yes heaven is joy and joy filled moments are available to all.

  • So glad to stop over here today and see such a well-written, original, sweet article by you, Tess! Really, it’s exactly what I needed to read today – especially on setting the morning intention (oh how lax I have been about it) and “stop criticizing” (will I ever!). Thank you so much. I’ll go make up with the hubby now (yes, it was a small spat but it happens) and tell him to thank Tess Marshall for it. The best part was how I know most if not all of what you write here but I love your writing voice and your particular choice of phrase and vocabulary so it may just stay with me longer. Thank you Tess!!!!! (And thank that awesome guy Steven for having you here!)

    • Farnoosh,
      I hear you about the criticizing…it usually happens with me when I’m cranky of course I take it out on hubs cuz he’s with me, cuz I’m not perfect and don’t walk on water! However it doesn’t happen if I do my morning meditation, exercise, set my intention or what ever else my body, mind, spirit needs. We only need to recognize and get backon track again. I also write gratitude in a journal which includes writing 10 things I appreciate about hubs. So thanks for being honest and allowing me to see my own humaness in yours.

  • Hi Christopher, We do have so many opportunities don’t we. What if we got the 7 million people on the planet to do this. Robin Easton says there are no small acts of love…just love. I never really gave that any thought until she said that.

    So 7 billion people just doing “love.” How many problems do you think we’d have then? Yeah me too!

    I was raised Catholic and I think the biggest gift I took for that was caring for others and doing for others. I grew up on a produce farm and my dad would have us leave produce on doorsteps. Then we’d run to our car and take off so no one would no who did it. Then at the Farmer’s Market the street people would come to our space at the end of the day and asked for stuff…because they knew we’d always say yes.

    My dream was to work with M. Theresa in her place in Calcutta. I never made it but a friend of mine peeled carrots with her. Amazing stuff. So anyway I heard St Vincent DePauls was collecting peanut butter and jelly for families. Last night we went to Sams Club and purchased quite a bit. I know that came from my dad, mom and their Catholic beliefs. I’m not Catholic anymore or should I say I don’t practice. I don’t think you can take some of that stuff out of me. I’m still a farm girl at heart as well. I guess the point I’m making is sometimes I think New Thought or New Age is too much manifestation for me and nothing for you. So I have a balance. I’m blessed. Thanks for commenting.

  • Hi Tess,

    I think you are so right when you say to focus on yourself – love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, and appreciate yourself – because once you are able to do that, you can give more of yourself to others and accept, forgive, love and appreciate them. This is what make a person live a powerful and joyous life – serving others tirelessly and knowing that we are giving to others because we choose to.

    Thanks for sharing,

  • Your last point about serving others is such a vital one Tess.
    But how can we do this? My goodness, where do we start?
    I think life makes it all very easy. When I meet someone, or pass someone in the street — or even when I go into the superstore — I need to be genuinely interested in the people around me. I find that when I consciously open to see and appreciate their goodness, I light a little light not only in them but also myself.

    • Hi Roman,
      Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my tips. This is such a fun place to meet new blogging friends. I never know what guest or commenter I’ll find here. Kind of like a little surprise in my day when I visit.

  • Tess,

    I think all the ideas are great. They each provide a good mix to developing a healthy mind-frame where we can keep positive energy. Particularly in my life, I have started to focus on serving others. It has been difficult to do this in the past just because I had such a focus on personal success and recognition that it seemed unproductive. I realize now this was way off, and by serving others we develop such a positive frame of mind those things we desire will begin to appear more naturally.

    • Joe,
      Thanks for sharing your personal experience. You have a good heart and a beautiful spirit. We’re all blessed as you use your blessing to bless others. I appreciate your honesty!

/* ]]> */