Designing Moments of Joy for Our Inner Child

Jan 31, 2024 | 0 comments

designing moments of joy for our inner child
[Photo credit: Ketut Subiyanto]

“I just have to make it through the day.”

When the weight of our schedule feels overwhelming, or we’re in the midst of processing deeper emotions while also living life, many of us employ this one-day-at-a-time strategy.

Those in recovery from addiction utilize this tool throughout a lifetime because it’s effective. And, for those who have found themselves automated into this track of thinking and feeling, do we ever stop to question if it’s serving us well or keeping us small?

Recently, I noticed how many moving parts were composing a symphony of overwhelm as my book launch inches closer.

There are the finishing touches of approval to the book jacket and the index at the back—while the proofreader questions whether or not my brother and I are actually Irish twins since we’re closer to 13 months apart than 12 or less. I’m handling all of the social media for the launch campaign myself because the agency I hired didn’t quite grasp trauma-informed marketing—or my voice or my gender identity. There’s a launch team gathering to ensure dozens of honest reviews online within the first month of the release date. My PR firm is about to pitch hundreds of high-profile podcasts, TV shows, and national radio and news outlets. Relatedly, I have 10 articles to outline or draft for trade publications in the business leadership space. The accompanying website to the book is not yet finished and needs to go live on February 5th (because that’s when the first podcast comes out, where I’ve mentioned the web address). On top of that are my coaching clients, a new group container that I facilitate for queer leaders (and a separate training where I’m in a receiving position), plus an entire speaker’s agency to run. And taking up residence on my living room couch has been a giant pile of laundry that eagerly awaits folding.

While setting up the online form for the Heal to Lead Launch Team opt-in, I froze.

When it came time to create the notifications I would receive, my mind conjured future anticipation of anxiety for every new email that would beckon my attention. (See, I wanted to see each individually, but then there’s a manual move into a designated folder to keep my inbox manageable.) And then it hit me… I can customize the subject line and the body copy—but not with just different language; I could create an experience that would bring joy to the younger version of me.

{First Name} {Last Name} just joined {Typeform Name}! equated to subject lines like “Fereshta Ramsey just joined the Heal to Lead Launch Team!” And then, the body copy…

“Dear One, you are so loved. People like Fereshta care for you in unimaginable ways—simply for who you are. Here’s more about your newest Heal to Lead Launch Team member…”

Each time I receive a new notification, little Kelly feels delighted and the adult version of me feels nourished by building community around a movement—a movement to bring trauma out of the shadows and into conversations about leadership, raising collective consciousness. A movement aligned with my vision: to empower half of humanity to heal its childhood trauma so that we may reimagine and rebuild the world together.

What More Becomes Possible?

In crafting this simple email experience, my nervous system feels regulated, and I feel well-resourced to keep moving forward. I can remember that I have a partner who has offered to help with that accompaniment website, is tending to our dog, and invites me to investigate my defaults as often as she invites me into the hot tub that sits in the middle of our vegetable garden. (And we did fold that laundry together last night.) I have an Executive Assistant who is a magical unicorn of a human, keeping me and everything else on track. The overwhelm subsides. I come back to center.

What if, instead of relegating ourselves to the low bar of survival, we intentionally designed moments of joy in all sorts of places—to heal the younger versions of ourselves? It could be as simple as an email notification or as powerful as a 30-minute inner child meditation before we start the day. The impact of intention plus execution can be profoundly therapeutic, not to mention enlivening!

When we default to holding our breath and hoping for the best, it leaves little room for the joy, celebration, and delight that could occur—even in the mundane or historically dreaded tasks we must complete.

Over to you. If you stop to think about this, where do you default to survival mode and prepare for the absolute grind versus creating space for magic, awe, and wonder to surprise and delight you?



For leaders looking to explore the impact of childhood trauma on their leadership style and cultivate a more conscious approach, a valuable resource awaits. The anticipated book on the subject, HEAL to LEAD: Revolutionizing Leadership through Trauma Healing provides insights, tools, and the four fundamentals of high-conscious leadership—for those willing to take radical responsibility for their personal growth and professional impact.


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Kelly L. Campbell

Kelly (they/she) is a Trauma-Informed Leadership Coach to emerging and established leaders who know they are meant for more. She is a keynote speaker on the intersection of trauma, leadership, and consciousness—the new TLC—and founder of Consciousness Leaders, the world’s most diverse speaker’s agency. They are the author of HEAL to LEAD: Revolutionizing Leadership through Trauma Healing (Wiley).


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