“My vision is a joyful planet created by 7.6 billion people all coming from a place of joy, engaging joyfully with one another and making joy-filled contributions to the world.”
— Patrice Tanaka, Chief Joy Officer, Joyful Planet LLC
I felt compelled to retire recently from the last of three award-winning, PR & Marketing agencies I co-founded to focus on my vision of a more joyful planet. My life, and this vision, began in February 2002, five months after 9/11 when an executive coach I sought out asked me to “rethink” my purpose in life. I was annoyed because I had come to her, seeking help. At the time, I was depressed and in a malaise like many New Yorkers who lived through the tragic events of 9/11, and I was exhausted from building a business with 12 other partners while caring for a sick husband who later died of a brain tumor after a long and valiant fight. I had no energy to envision a grand purpose for the rest of my life. Usually, I love doing visioning exercises, but not when I had barely the energy to get out of bed each morning.
Two weeks later, after giving this assignment much thought and still haunted by the idea that nearly 3,000 people went to work at the Twin Towers on 9/11 and didn’t return home for dinner, I told my coach, Suzanne Levy, that “My purpose in life is to choose joy in my life every single day, to be mindful of that joy, and to share that joy with others.” I told her that if I could live my life this way every day that I would be “good to go” if ever I was caught short like those nearly 3,000 people on 9/11 when they became aware that they had only moments left to live.
I had barely finished sharing my life purpose with Suzanne when she asked, “so what brings you joy?” I thought to myself, “nothing right now.” Suzanne kept prodding me until I finally blurted out, “dancing.” When she discovered that my childhood dream had been to dance like Ginger Rogers, but that I’d never taken a dance lesson and couldn’t remember the last time I went dancing, she gave me homework: Book yourself a dance lesson before our next coaching session. And, that’s how I started ballroom dancing, which became one of the great joys of my life. From my very first dance lesson I could feel joy flooding back into my life. Some years later, I wrote a book entitled, Becoming Ginger Rogers…How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO.
I have been on a journey of joy since February 2002 when my coach Suzanne forced me to “rethink” my purpose in life. Since then, so many amazing things have happened as a result of discovering and living my life purpose from taking up ballroom dancing, becoming a ballroom champion, writing Becoming Ginger Rogers, selling my agency and co-founding two others (made possible because of lessons I learned from ballroom dancing!), becoming a trustee of a wonderful, non-profit, Dancing Classrooms, which brings ballroom dance to elementary schools as part of an effective social and emotional learning (SEL) program, contributing the chapter, “Live Your Life’s Purpose and Unleash Your Joy” to management consultant Brian Tracy’s best-selling new book, Beat the Curve, and, most recently, starting Joyful Planet.
The mission of Joyful Planet is to help individuals discover and actively live their life’s purpose and, in so doing, unleash their greatest success, fulfillment and joy. Our mission also includes working with organizations, helping them to create more purposeful, productive and joyful workplaces and also coming up with inspired solutions to business challenges designed to create a bigger, brighter, better future for all.
Significant research exists, proving that “purpose-driven” organizations outperform “profit-only” focused organizations. Extending the idea of being “purpose-driven” to individuals, especially leaders of organizations, it seems, would result in even more successful professional and personal lives. Fewer than 20 percent of leaders have a strong sense of their individual purpose and even fewer can distill it into a concrete statement, according to the authors of “From Purpose to Impact” in the May 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review. The authors go on to say that “the process of articulating your purpose and finding the courage to live it”—what we call purpose to impact—is the single most important developmental task you can undertake as a leader.”
I believe if everyone is living their life’s purpose – and by that, I mean, leveraging their expertise, talent and passion in service of people and planet – we could, together, create a more joyful planet.
We would love to work with you and/or your organization and, together, create a more joyful planet!
Vision, Mission, Values, and Purpose
A joyful planet created by 7.7 billion people all coming from a place of joy, engaging joyfully with one another, and making joy-filled contributions to the world.
• Help individuals and organizations discover and actively live their purpose to unleash greater success, fulfillment and joy in their personal lives, their businesses and their communities.
• Work with organizations to “operationalize” their business purpose to create more productive and joy-filled workplaces.
Create a more joyful planet
• Choose joy
• Share joy
About the Founder
Chief Joy Officer, Joyful Planet LLC
Patrice Tanaka is a serial entrepreneur, having co-founded three award-winning, PR & marketing firms and, most recently, Joyful Planet, a Business & Life Strategy Consultancy to help people discover and live their life’s purpose and, in so doing, unleash their greatest success, fulfillment and joy. This is the subject of Patrice’s best-selling new book, Beat the Curve (2016), co-authored with renowned management consultant and coach, Brian Tracy, and other business leaders. Her chapter is entitled, “Live Your Life’s Purpose and Unleash Your Joy.”
This new book and her consultancy, Joyful Planet, is the culmination of Patrice’s personal and professional journey of finding her way to joy in the wake of 9/11 when she was depressed, in a malaise and exhausted from building a business with 12 other partners and caring for a sick husband who died of a brain tumor after a long and valiant fight. An executive coach Patrice sought out during that time challenged her to rethink her purpose in life, which after some reflection led Patrice to say: “My purpose in life is to choose joy in my life every single day; to be mindful of that joy, and to share that joy with others.” Pursuing her joy led her to take up ballroom dancing, which resulted in Patrice’s first book, Becoming Ginger Rogers…How Ballroom Dancing Made Me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO (2011).
Apart from chronicling how Patrice pursued her joy of ballroom dancing, taking her first dance lesson ever at age 50, Becoming Ginger Rogers tells the story of her award-winning track record in creative problem solving for some of the most successful global brands. The only reason I started my first PR agency, PT&Co., was that it was the best solution I could come up with to avoid having to fire four talented colleagues when we lost our biggest account, explains Patrice. She led 12 colleagues, including the four who were in danger of being fired, in a management buyback from advertising agency, Chiat/Day, to co-found an employee-owned PR agency in 1990. Within eight years, PT&Co. was recognized as the “#1 Most Creative” and the “#2 Best Workplace” among all PR agencies in the U.S.
Prior to starting Joyful Planet, Patrice was Co-Founder, Chief Counselor & Creative Strategist for PadillaCRT, the largest, employee-owned PR agency in America. Previously, she was Co-Chair, Chief Creative Officer and whatcanbe Ambassador for CRT/tanaka, an entity she helped co-found in 2005 with Richmond, Va.-based Carter Ryley Thomas.
Patrice has been honored by many PR, marketing, business and civic organizations, including the PRWeek Hall of Fame 2016, PRSA Foundation (“Paladin” Award), Public Relations Society of America (“Paul M. Lund Award for Public Service”), The Holmes Report (“Creativity All-Star” Award), New York Women in Communications (“Matrix” Award), Association for Women in Communications (“Headliner” Award), Girl Scouts of Greater New York (“Woman of Distinction” Award), Working Mother Magazine (“Mothering That Works” Award), Asian Women in Business (“Entrepreneurial Leadership Award”), University of Hawaii (“Distinguished Alumni” Award), among others.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Patrice graduated from the University of Hawaii and moved to New York City, where she resides, realizing a childhood dream of living in Manhattan. In 1979, she joined Jessica Dee Communications, a PR agency she helped to build, which was acquired by Chiat/Day Advertising in 1987.
Patrice devotes much of her free time to serving on the boards of non-profit organizations dedicated to helping women and children, including the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Dancing Classrooms, and the American Friends of The Phelophepa Train of Hope (South Africa). She is also an avid ballroom dancer, tennis player, traveler and lover of soulful conversations over good food and wine, preferably a Reserva from Rioja.