ONE ON ONE w/ Patrice Tanaka, Founder of Joyful Planet

Originally written and posted on

by Cyrus Webb

My friend Patrice Tanaka is an amazing individual who has been spreading joy and positivity for years. She is also one of Conversations’ 25 Women Changing the World and for good reason. Through social media and her work as Founder of Joyful Planet she is reminding people of what is possible. 

In this conversation she talks about finding joy in the face of a pandemic, how she is continuing to spread her message and what’s to come. 

Patrice, it is so good to catch back up with you again. The last time I spoke to you was in New York during my visit for the show Cyrus Webb Presents. So much has happened to us and the world since then. How have you been finding joy in the middle of everything?

Things have certainly changed dramatically in the U.S. and the world since I last saw you! Covid-19 has become the unwanted focus of all our lives and, for many, it has been a high-stress and even crippling time. Although I live in New York City, which has been hardest hit by Covid-19, I am grateful that I can work from home and self-isolate in the comfort of my apartment. I am in a pretty good place because my focus before and, still, during Covid-19 is simply to live my purpose: “To choose joy in my life every day, to be mindful of that joy, and to share that joy with others.” My life purpose serves to focus me on joy and drives me to create more joy.

Living my purpose has kept me sane and centered during Covid-19. “Choosing joy” for me means focusing on gratitude, helping others discover and actively live their purpose, and creating opportunities to share my joy with others. To that end, I’ve created a ZOOM Meetup series called, “Joy in a Time of Coronavirus,” to showcase artists and healers – the people who can provide us with comfort, community and joy during this challenging time.

I’ve also been busy supporting nonprofits that are near and dear to my heart. As you know, nonprofits have been hit especially hard because of Covid-19 and trustees like me must do even more to support these organizations, including strategizing innovative ways to help them survive and thrive during and beyond this pandemic. The work I do with Dancing Classrooms and the Girls Scouts of Greater New York is bringing me immense fulfillment and joy at this time.

You have achieved so much in your life, including being a published author and speaker. Where does the courage come from to follow your goals and dreams?

I’ve learned that I’m happiest when living my purpose and pursuing my goals and dreams so this is the mode I try to remain in always. I think it takes less courage to pursue what you love because you’re being self-propelled by your own passion and energy rather than forcing yourself to do something you don’t love. That’s a much harder slog.

My preference always is to go through life with as much grace as I can and to do so as easily and as effortlessly as possible. Of course, everything I choose to do may not be easy and effortless, but if it’s what I dearly want to do, I’ll do it with a joyful heart.

The Joyful Planet is a big part of your work today. Tell our readers about it.

Joyful Planet is both the name of my consultancy and my “vision” of 7.7 billion people living their life purpose and leveraging their talents, expertise and passion in service of others. This is how, together, we can create a more joyful life for ourselves and a more joyful planet for all.

My work, which is my joy, is to help individuals and organizations discover and actively live their purpose so they can contribute to creating a more joyful planet for all.

Fear is something all of us have to confront and fight back. What helps you keep from giving in to it? With us almost halfway through 2020 there is still so many possibilities ahead. What should we be on the lookout for from you?

The wonderful thing about discovering and living our life purpose is that it can focus and drive us to accomplish what matters most. I’m focused so strongly on living my purpose that it is very “centering” and “calming” for me. If we’re focused on something that is life affirming and brings us joy, it crowds out the fear. We don’t have the time or energy to focus much on fear.

This is why I am trying to help as many people as I can now to discover and live their purpose because I know it is the best way to avoid tuning in to the Covid-19 news channel 24/7 and feeding our fears and anxiety.

What message do you have for our readers about the importance and power of joy?

It’s really about the “power of purpose” and how actively living our purpose can UNLEASH the joy that is within all of us. We can experience “moments of joy” by taking a walk in nature or having soul-satisfying conversations with loved ones, but I think the best way to create “sustainable joy” for ourselves involves leveraging our talents, our expertise and our passion in service of others.


Thanks for the time, Patrice. How can we stay connected with you?

Thank you Cyrus!  It’s always a pleasure connecting with you even virtually.  People can visit my website or connect with me on social media:

Twitter:  @sambagal

Facebook:  Patrice Tanaka

Instagram:  patricetanaka

LinkedIn:  Patrice Tanaka

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