The Joy of Sex and Blogging

I was in my favorite used book store this week and saw “The Joy of Sex.” You know, I’ve always been too embarrassed to even pick that thing up in public but I did start thinking about this element of “joy.”  That’s a word that has been a big part of my life but it hasn’t always been that way.  With the fresh start of a new year upon us, I thought this story might give you some energy and inspiration …

About 14 years ago, I was fortunate to attend a masters degree program for applied behavioral sciences led by a wonderful man named Robert Crosby. He is the closest thing to a human Yoda I have known.

Although I loved the program, it was just one more thing piled onto an overwhelming schedule.  I was raising two active kids, surviving an intense career overseeing global brand initiatives, and was being consumed by a charity project that had under-delivered on the resources I had been promised.  Now I had to deal with classwork and a thesis too. The stress and anxiety were taking a toll mentally and physically. Even getting away didn’t seem to help. It would take me at least two days to start to wind down.

Somehow this situation came up in a lunch conversation with Bob.  He just shook his head and looked disappointed in me. I felt a little defensive. “Well,” I said,, “Isn’t being stressed part of life these days? If you aren’t feeling anxiety all of the time, then what DO you feel?”  He looked at me with his wise blue eyes and without hesitation replied, “joy.”

This really knocked me off center.  I didn’t know how to respond because I had never even considered this as a possibility before. What would it be like to live a life where your predominant feeling is joy? From that moment on, I wanted to find out.

This one conversation inspired me to re-evaluate what I was doing — and why I was doing it — on a daily basis. To live in joy.  Isn’t that a wonderful possibility?

As I approached new decisions in my life, I would filter options based on whether they would create more joy or less joy.  I discovered that many of my decisions had been toxic. Something had to change.

The biggest challenge was learning how to say “no,” even if it hurt my career or was politically unpopular. You can probably relate! How much stress in your life is caused by getting into responsibilities you really don’t have the time or passion to achieve?

I reflected that my life was dominated by sucking up to unethical people I didn’t respect, spending time in endless meetings, and squeezing into the middle seat of one more delayed cross-country flight.  I had a hard time approaching these activities with a joyful attitude. I wanted to have more balance with activities that brought real meaning — not just status — to my life.

So I made some changes. By trying to live in a way that enables joy, over time I have created a much simpler, centered, and probably healthier lifestyle. I’m a work in progress and still have my irritable days like everyone else (even Bob!) but at least I’m self-aware and mindfully self-correcting.

Here is something that creates an incredible amount of joy: blogging.  If you have been a regular reader here you probably already sense that.

Sometimes I KNOW something I write is going to make you think and delight you. I can’t wait to publish, can’t wait to see what you have to say about it. Writing for you, tending your comments and really getting to know you is the best job I have ever had. Even when you disagree — maybe even take me on — I just smile and think, “Yeah, you tell ’em. Way to be strong.”

We’re all in this together. Yes, we want to {grow} but maybe we can also do it in a way that leans toward joy. Thank you for being a very, very big part of the joy in my life!

Now … maybe I should go back and buy that book when nobody’s looking : )

Tell me now … how are focusing on joy in your life?

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  • Gemuh

    Thanks Randy

  • AskAaronLee


    You know, you’re like a father figure to me. You always inspire me to be better and improve myself. I would have to agree that sometimes we have to say NO. I love to share, that is why social media fit so well with me. However, since my finals which took out a lot of me, I stop blogging and quit twitter for a while because I was exhauted. I was also freelancing parttime, It sucked the joy of blogging and tweeting from me.

    Today I quit freelancing (only took 1 client at this time) to find myself again, to get back the joy of connecting with people such as yourself. I had to say NO and gave up a lot of stuff, but its worth it.

    Reading this blog post always reminds me, that you’re like US. If you can, we can too.


  • marcinator

    Don’t leave us hanging! What happened with the master’s program? Inquiring minds…

  • SocialSteve

    A sorta meditation called “conscious breathing” keeps me grounded and in joy. Helps to provide balance in my life. Learned it from someone that blogs at

    Social Steve

  • markwschaefer

    @Gemuh Huh? : )

  • markwschaefer

    @AskAaronLee Great wisdom Aaron. I’m glad I could be a positive role model by sharing my mistakes! : ) Learning through pain and disappoint might be the strongest lessosn of all. Glad to see you back! Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • markwschaefer

    @marcinator Oh, well I completed the program, finished my thesis on family of origin behaviors in the workplace and got my degree on time : ) It was one of the best decsions I ever made. It has really helped me in business and as a consultant because it not only helps me provide ideas and strategies, it helps me provide them EFFECTIVELY as i consider the organizational realities and capabilities of my client. Hope that helps. Thanks for asking.

  • markwschaefer

    @SocialSteve Awesome. Thanks for the cool link Steve!

  • marcinator

    @markwschaefer Congrats and good to know! I’m in a similar position, and I’ve been considering the whole “stick with it or do what makes me happy.” Though, nothing good in life is easy…

  • @Mark, What a brilliant piece of link bait ! But that aside, I totally hear what you are saying. I think I’ve been there too.
    The hardest thing as a business owner is knowing when to avoid certain customers who will drain your energy and spirit. I’ve run into a couple of those this year but I’ve learned from the mistake.

    Many thanks for sharing.

  • markwschaefer

    @jonbuscall Yes, establishing “sex” as one of my keywords is probably a smart move huh? : )

  • AskAaronLee

    @markwschaefer Thanks! going on twitter and meeting you was the best gift 🙂

  • whoisgordonhunt

    Great observations. Perfect timing.

  • JakeLaCaze

    Awesome post!

    I think you and I are on similar paths in life. I used to be so negative and worrisome, but I decided that I wasn’t helping myself any. Over time, I’ve become more positive and I worry much less than I used to (Unfortunately, I still worry from time to time, but I’m not perfect. And progress has been made.)

    Thank you for the inspiration and assurance.

  • markwschaefer

    @whoisgordonhunt Thanks so much Gordon!

  • markwschaefer

    @JakeLaCaze Great to hear of your progress through life Jake. I’m glad we’re connected. Thanks for taking the time to share today.

  • I’ve downsized my desire to be a people pleaser [started saying NO quite frequently] and focussed my energy on myself more recently. And I don’t mean on whimsical pleasures that possess no substantial value. I’ve been amazed to find that I’m actually more endearing to others while not consciously trying to be. Because I’m happier with who I am, it has had an outward effect on those around me. Great post Mark.

  • Mark – your authenticity and transparency is awesome and inspiring.

    I struggle daily with focusing on joy in my life since my daughter left this world three years ago today. I’ve found being in the moment, and staying in the moment focusing on my breathing clears my mind and helps me relax; as well as forgiving myself (and others) of the thoughts and the actions — I’m not proud — works for me. Hope this works for you in some way?

  • Lori

    So sorry for your loss! I like the breathing idea and have tried several for grounding and calming. Did you visit the link SocialSteve mentioned below. It looks cool!

  • I enjoyed this post. (Adding the book to my Wishlist at amazon!) I get it that blogging is a joyful activity. It puts you out there (challenging) makes you think about things (stimulating) and calls on your writing skills (work-in-progress). What a fun way to connect with people, too!

  • Anonymous

    Just visited “SocialSteve’s link mentioned below” Lori; thank you for your comforting direction and your kind words 🙂

    {the question mark on my post above was to be a “heart.gif”}

  • Anonymous

    Ditto, thanks Steve! 🙂

  • So true Lori. Blogging has opened up so many wonderful doors for me! Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Wow Dr. Rae that is such a heart-breaking thing to hear about. Can’t even imagine. Finding joy under those circumstances would be nearly impossible, wouldn’t it? I do hope time and courage will help you come through and help you find peace in your heart!

  • Great wisdom James. I found this to be true for blogging too. When I tried to “aim” at a market by being a “persona” it was awkward and unsuccessful. When I decided to just let it rip, it became more fun for everybody I think. Thanks for the great comment!

  • Anonymous

    Mark my tears are flowing as I thank you for your comforting and heartfelt words.

    I manage to find joy and keep going by being and staying in the moment focusing on my breathing.

    BTW, I received your response via Disqus 🙂

  • Thanks for this wonderful post Mark. Today is the last day of my 11 month sabbatical that I so desperately needed as I experienced no joy in my work at all anymore. After considering switching to something totally different I saw the light mid november (in a split second). I love gaining knowledge and sharing it. I just needed a different way of doing that. I certainly have been experiencing more joy ever since I made that decision. And enjoying the last 10+ hours of my sabbatical….

  • Very interesting Pepita. I hope you’ll stay in touch and let us know how your journey progresses! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  • BabbleSex

    I enjoyed this post.People can also visit our cybersex chat site at to find more about the joy of sex.

  • Real Estate Web Design Delhi

    Wow! I would say! Listening to such words of wisdom are always so comforting for mind and soul! real estate web design Delhi

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