Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Marc and Angel Chernoff: Getting Back to Happy (Episode 195)

Marc and Angel Chernoff: Getting Back to Happy (Episode 195)

Marc and Angel Chernoff return to the podcast today to talk with Charlie about some of the key insights they’ve learned about finding your happiness, and always coming back to the rituals that create happiness each and every day. Taking ideas from their book, Getting Back to Happy, they also talk about how letting go of self-defeating stories is a continual practice, no matter where you are on your happiness journey.

Key Takeaways:

[4:05] - Angel and Marc recently released their new book, Getting Back to Happy. One of the main themes of the book is the power of rituals. If you want to make progress, you have to practice the little things every day that take you from where you are to where you want to be. Each chapter in the book leaves you with a ritual to practice. Their book is a reflection of their journey and growth over the past 10 years.

[7:20] - Most people don’t think of rituals or habits as things that correlate to happiness. The focus of these rituals is to examine the daily actions that we do and see how they affect us. Rituals are like intentional discipline; in reality, once you embrace discipline, you also find freedom and happiness.

[9:20] - When the habits you are disciplining yourself to do are meaningful to you, you start noticing the progress. Those habits become your new normal - this takes work. In the beginning it’s hard, but it leads to meaningful change. This discipline is especially applicable to people at the start of their creative journey.

[13:40] - Everything is a process, and we often forget that. You have to take it slow with your personal and professional goals. You learn the way on the way.

[15:20] - Marc and Angel are accidental self-help authors, but it’s because they were in a hard place in their lives. As they were helping each other through their situation, they started to dive into personal development. Their blog started as a public accountability journal, and as it resonated with other people, they moved into more serious coaching, and writing books and courses. Their work is incredibly rewarding because it’s incredibly personal for them.

[19:30] - Marc, Angel, and Charlie discuss the timeline for some of these creative projects. It can take years to get to where you want to be, but each step you take in that direction is important. As long as you’re learning and hopefully making an impact, it’s okay if you’re not where you want to be right now.

[23:05] - Getting back to happy is something that is practiced consistently on a daily basis for years. This is especially true for grief. There is not a quick fix to feeling better, but journeying through it can change the whole trajectory of your life, and looking back, there is a tremendous amount of growth. Even if you’re working through hard stuff, it can be joyful along the way.

[29:05] - The hard work is always worth it. It’s important to remember this when you’re going through a personal struggle, or when you want to move a business or an idea forward. It’s about investing in the small things you have to do daily to accomplish the hard thing.

[31:10] - Removing the boundary of time can open up so many more opportunities. Charlie talks about second and third acts - your career doesn’t have to be over when you reach a certain age. How do you want to be spending your time? We have to be respectful of our time, but it’s never too late to make a small shift.

[35:15] - Marc and Angel are big proponents of daily journaling or reflection. Doing that every day brings awareness to the things you’re learning, the things you want to accomplish, and the things you’re grateful for. This is where you notice your progress, and noticing progress is what makes us happy.

[36:10] - One of the things Marc and Angel talk about in their book is motivation, in relation to our rituals. One of the big things is understanding your why: why do you want to be happier? Maybe it’s for your family, or your health. Knowing your why will keep you motivated when you’re having to do the hard things. On the flip side, you can ask yourself what’s holding you back, and what rituals you need to put in place to correct that (or what rituals you need to change).

[39:55] - Our thoughts are so powerful. Everything we are telling ourselves is a story we’re telling ourselves based on our own personal experience. Realizing and embracing the fact that the stories we are telling ourselves do affect the way we step into present situations is the key. At the end of the day, the thoughts we have affect our motivation, our emotional energy, and what we put in the world.

[42:55] - Writing down your thoughts also serves as an archive, so you can come back to these thoughts when you’re more removed from the situation. You can reflect on these thoughts and see how it’s affecting your ability to take the next step. If these thoughts are our story, we also have the ability to see a new story, or react differently to the story.

[45:03] - So often we say we are stuck because of our situation, instead of taking responsibility and recognizing that we’re better and stronger and actually able to move forward. When you’re at the point that you can indeed move forward, you have to connect yourself to that truth. In these scenarios, you may have to choose the truth that you can accept at that time. It’s about the small steps.

[49:25] - Where are Marc and Angel growing now? Over the past twelve years there has been a lot of growth for both of them, and they’ve got their book coming out, but there are still struggles they are facing. Marc has a fracture in his foot. That’s taken him back a few steps, but he keeps it in perspective by looking at the things he has to be grateful for. This is a great example that the self-evaluation piece is a constant process. Even though helping others learn self reflection is Marc and Angel’s work, they still have to practice too.

[54:52] - When we’re put in situations that challenge our thoughts, or opportunities that are outside our comfort zone, we have to take time to sort those thoughts out and take it one step at a time. Getting Back to Happy is a toolbox that has helped Marc and Angel get through these challenges, and can help us too. Our rituals may have to change, but it’s important to adapt our rituals to keep moving forward.

[1:00:10] - When you’re at the lowest of your lows, and you need something more, help somebody else. Take the focus off not feeling like enough and put it on some else who feels like they aren’t enough. When we help others, we help ourselves.

[1:01:25] - Marc and Angel’s challenge for listeners is to stick to or build a small ritual into your life that you know has meaning and will add value to you and those around you. Take a walk, journal the things you’re grateful for, and do something small like this for 60 days. Also, look at what your daily rituals currently are, and maybe remove something that’s not feeding you in a positive way.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Productive Flourishing

Productive Flourishing Podcast Episode 83: How to Be Grounded and Positive Through Life’s Challenges

Marc and Angel Chernoff

Getting Back to Happy, by Marc and Angel Chernoff the book

Getting Back to Happy Course

Results Resourcing (use code: PFPOD)


The Indicator, Podcast by Planet Money

Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing
Productive Flourishing (formerly the Creative Giant Show) explores how to do the work that matters to become your best self in the world. Host Charlie Gilkey and occasional co-host Angela Wheeler take listeners on a deep dive into the lives of leaders, changemakers, creatives, and entrepreneurs who are thriving in life and business by doing work that matters. Listen in to see how they cultivate meaning, success, and happiness as well as their approach to productivity, business, health, and the challenges (yes, even the deep, dark ones) that show up in their lives.