- Tracy Lalonde is an overachiever, author and professional public speaker based in Miami. Her book, “Joychiever: Evade Burnout, Surpass Your Goals and Out-Happy Everyone,” was released in December 2020.
- The book is primarily meant for high achievers who feel stressed and burned out by their constant quest for professional success.
- Lalonde wrote the book after leaving her job and taking her own “joy journey.” The book charts her journey while also serving as a guidebook to help fellow high achievers create their own path to happiness.
Stressed out and struggling
Tracy Lalonde felt burned out.
It was 2016. The self-described “recovering overachiever” had been working as a consultant in the legal industry for 16 years. Prior to that, she had worked as a high tech consultant. She had achieved great success as a consultant and professional speaker. She had spent her life constantly striving for excellence, first in school and then in her chosen career. Now, though, this yearslong quest for success was wearing her out.
The stress began to affect her physically–her hair started to thin, she was experiencing heart palpitations. It became clear that she needed a break, for her own health and wellbeing.“I found that all I ever did was work,” Lalonde said. “I was constantly asking myself the question ‘how do I get more happiness in my life?’”
And the joy journey begins…
With her husband’s support, she decided to take an eight-month-long “joy journey.” She had the word “joy” tattooed on her wrist. This tattoo served as a guide, a constant reminder of her new goal. Lalonde spent much of this time travelling for fun, rather than work. She spent time in Brazil, China, Italy and Thailand. She spent a summer in Canada, where she hiked and passed many lunchtimes at her favorite cafe. Lalonde engaged in deep self-reflection, reassessing what was really important in her life.
When her journey came to an end, a refreshed and recommited Lalonde started her own business development and public speaking consultancy, Xaphes, where she serves as Managing Partner. However, she “realized there was still something missing.” Her joy journey had taught her much about work, happiness and life. As a result, she wanted to help other people who were similarly struggling with stress and burnout.
The power of high achievers
The result is her book, “The Joychiever Journey: Evade Burnout, Surpass Your Goals and Out-Happy Everyone.” She began writing in March 2020 and published the book in December of the same year. The COVID-induced mental health crisis partly accelerated the publishing process.
Lalonde’s book characterizes joy as “a proactive pursuit” equally important to the act of building a fulfilling career. Though the book provides techniques for anyone to use, Lalonde believes that high achievers, in particular, should be able to use the techniques to find personal, as well as professional, fulfillment.
“High achievers have all the skill sets to be happy,” Lalonde said. “We’re just not applying them towards joy. We’re applying them all towards work. I want to show people that it is possible to continue to achieve and have more joy in their lives. If you apply those skill sets to voraciously pursuing joy, like we have for achievement in our professional lives, imagine the life you could have.”
Choose your own joy journey
Self-help books–and, specifically, books written to help people find happiness–have become quite prevalent in our culture. Perhaps the most famous is Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love,” which famously became a phenomenon upon publication in 2006. That book solidified the woman leaving her job behind and going on an adventure to find herself genre and spawned many imitators.
Lalonde’s book, though, is quite different from those personal narratives. But how so? She points to three key qualities that differentiate her book from similar titles.
For starters, “this book looks at a person holistically,” Lalonde said. “It takes into account personal elements of you.” So, in addition to discussing her own personal journey to happiness, Lalonde includes actionable steps that the reader can use to chart their own unique path.
Secondly, “it’s incredibly practical and pragmatic,” she said. “It doesn’t stay at the theoretical level. In every chapter, there’s probably five to 10 things that you could do to help bring joy into your life. So it’s very practical. It’s also meant to speak to folks from any background and really enable you to choose what’s going to work for you” as an individual.
Thirdly, the information and guidelines provided are based on scientific fact. “I tried to incorporate a fair amount of science to support the ideas, without getting too technical,” Lalonde said. “I want folks to understand it’s not just some cool idea that I came up with — it’s actually based on something real.”
More joy to come
The result, Lalonde said, is a “guidebook,” more than a personal narrative. “The book ended up resulting in this kind of roadmap for how high-achieving individuals can build, and proactively choose, to have more joy in their lives,” she said. “One of the reasons I believe that we don’t have more joy is that we don’t really have a deep or refined enough understanding of self. So even though I have been on my own journey and learned a lot, there is still a lot more to learn. Because joy is not the outcome of a moment. Joy is the accumulation of small choices that we make every day. And without knowing yourself in a holistic and deep enough way, we’re not able to make those small choices.”
Now that her book is out, Lalonde has been working on expanding the Joychiever brand. She writes a weekly newsletter, the Joy Journal, which offers a “weekly dose of inspiration for joy.” She participates in many speaking engagements and frequently appears on podcasts to discuss her work and perspective. She is also in the process of forming a six-month-long Joychiever cohort. Additionally, she has been toying with the idea of creating online learning content to help inspire people to learn new skills and pursue their goals.
“If you’re cut out for entrepreneurship, it’s amazing, because you have the opportunity to literally choose your own destiny,” Lalonde said. “I find that most entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because one: they’re full of great ideas; two: they’re excited about pursuing their future; and three: they’re also not afraid of making mistakes. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. But you learn from it and you keep pushing.”
Feeling stressed out? Read about the importance of entrepreneurs practicing self-care.