(Feature from 19:02-26:10)
BECOMING A JOY STARTER
“Someone who notices joy and spreads joy” is how Rachel describes someone who’s a “joy starter.” Referring to her new book, Relentless Joy, she says, “This is not a pretty, fluffy book on joy. It’s a real-life manual.” Rachel shares not only her successes in life, but many of her struggles and failures as well, including an eight-year addiction to illegal drugs, and how she made it through them. She ends each chapter with a “joystart,” i.e. questions to ask oneself, lists to make, or journaling ideas to work through pain, unforgiveness, and foster gratitude, which, in turn, produces joy.
What gives her life meaning, purpose, and joy, Rachel says, is her faith in God, which she hopes will inspire others to consider Him. “Maybe you picked up this book and have a complicated relationship with the God of the universe. My hope is that by the end of this book, you think of Him as a pretty rad dude. By all accounts He was. He hung with sinners of all varieties: ladies of the night, thieves, murderers. He told them they were more than their pasts, more than their wrongdoings. That there was hope and a different way to live.” A DARK TIME
When Rachel’s mother, Georgia, was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, Rachel cared for her in every way possible. She put most of her speaking engagements on hold and focused solely on her mom. Sadly, Georgia died ten months later. Though Rachel thought she had prepared herself for the devastating loss, she soon found herself battling deep depression and anxiety. Instead of letting others know of her pain and need for support, she started isolating, telling others she was fine. Rachel says that made it all worse.
Some weeks later, as she tried to get to sleep one night, her thoughts turned very dark. She heard …"a singular voice, and it sounded like what I imagine a snake would sound like if it spoke. I tried to silence the voice but to no avail. It wouldn’t stop. And when the voice wouldn’t stop, a new thought entered my mind. I saw myself walking down the carpeted stairs, getting my father’s revolver off the top of my refrigerator, putting it in my mouth, and ending it all. I cried out to God in all of this. I bawled and cried out for help in my bedroom. That same dark voice told me, ‘You can’t call anyone. You will burden them at this time of night.’ What a shame that I didn’t think I could call anyone.”
Her prayers for help were answered. “But even as this evil voice hissed lies into my ear, there was another voice. A good voice. A loving voice. It was the voice of our Papa God. And He said …'My girl, you are a warrior!' Rachel felt God’s comfort and strength and was able to resist the evil taunts of the devil. She also sensed God’s encouragement to help others. “'You tell them! Tell them far and wide, tell them they aren’t defective, they aren’t broken! Tell them they aren’t alone!’ So I did,” she says. “So I do. And I will continue until I take my last breath.” #IMCHANGINGTHENARRATIVE
What’s most important to Rachel these days, after her faith, husband, and family, is her “passion project,” #ImChangingTheNarrative. Begun in 2016 following an article she penned on the sad state of many college football players, Rachel says the mission of her organization is “to promote positive mental health and GOOD love for yourself and others by inspiring students, professionals, and parents to create an individual legacy of purpose, passion, and platform.”
Rachel says she has a God-given passion to encourage others, rooted in the kind of life she witnessed in her grandmother and mom, who both lived with a great passion for people. “One of my life’s mottos is: ‘Relationships are my currency, therefore I’m a billionaire.’” Another is: “The most joy-filled life is lived with others in mind.”
To that end, Rachel launched a speaking career, and left sportscasting in 2019. “We have now worked with more than sixty colleges and counting, and with the Customs and Border Protection, partnered with the Northern Sun and Big 12 sports conferences, and consulted with the Big Ten. A movement that started with athletes in mind now also inspires CEOs, stay-at-home moms, students, and everyday folks.” Rachel says reaching the hearts of people through the movement, and seeing them respond with positive change is “the closest thing to heaven I can experience on Earth.”
While she loves to encourage everyone that life is well worth living, Rachel also emphasizes personal responsibility. She’s realistic about the effort required to overcome life’s varied and complex problems. “When we grab our shovel and do the hard work to get there – things like taking care of our mental health, learning self-care (what we commonly refer to as soul care around the movement), reconciling interpersonal relationships, and discovering our purpose, passion, and platform – we not only heal and grow ourselves but also are able to throw the rope back for someone else so they, too, can be all they were meant to be.” Purchase Rachel Baribeau's book: Relentless Joy and discover more about the work Rachel is doing with her movement: #I'm Changing the Narrative. Additional information can also be found on Rachel's website: rachelbaribeau.com.