Create Out Loud

with Jennifer Louden

9 | Grace Harry: Why Joy Is Essential For Creativity

Episode Description

In this episode:

  • How Joy Strategist, Gracy Harry, created happiness and reinvented herself after her glamorous (but unhappy) life as a top Def Jam record executive and wife to an R&B superstar fell apart 
  • Embracing joy and pleasure as a powerful vehicle to come into the present moment and live more fully
  • Unearthing the ways we lie to ourselves and the stories we tell so we can show up more authentically
  • The practice of being your own best lover
  • How she built a business around her passion
  • Play as an essential tool of transformation


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How do you create out loud when you're not happy?

When do you need to create out loud to find your joy, to find your truth, to find your meaning again? This is one of my all-time favorite questions since I was a little girl. Creating is so intertwined with truth, permission to feel, making meaning.

But how often is life not going the direction we want? Or we’re stressed out? Or we've got too much work on our plate? What do we do then, when things are falling apart?

That's why I had Grace Harry on Create Out Loud. From the outside, her former life was super glamorous. She was a top music executive at Def Jam Records, married to R&B superstar Usher, a powerful, successful, beautiful woman — the kind of person we easily look at and think, ‘Oh, of course, it's easy for you to create out loud. Look at you.’

But she wasn't happy. And then it all fell apart.

What she did next is what we dove into in this juicy conversation.

“I'm someone who loves big change. It's really important to dive into your own loops, in an inner dialogue. You'll see that sometimes behavior that seems to be negative is telling you something. For me, to quit, back off, and run away was my M.O. It was much easier for me to make a big change and address everything top down, than to get into the minutiae and really have to feel my part of things. So all of a sudden, I noticed there's a pattern here…”


Grace recognized that she had a tendency to leap to what’s next, to skip over the hard part, without taking the time to feel her feelings. This time, she decided to do something different. But first she tried the typical personal growth route and even the unconventional, before turning to joy.

“I went to joy strategy, because when you go to play and pleasure and joy, well, that's where the real information starts to come up. And you start to hear the other voices of the well meaning parents and aunts and teachers with all the language that keeps you from doing the things that are your dream….it's really just rebranding the way we think of things.”


She found that embracing joy and pleasure is a powerful vehicle to come into the present moment and live more fully. But we often can’t get there without first unearthing the ways we lie to ourselves and the stories we tell. We have to do the work to be able to show up more authentically, which is essential for experiencing joy.

Which brought me to her business. I wanted to know how she not only turned to joy but also created a business as a joy strategist.

“Anything that you love, that you're passionate about, that you feel is your magic...If you can illuminate that and be an example of your best product, your best concept of who you are, then there's very little work to do. Because then people are coming knocking at your door.”


Like any successful creative business, it didn’t start out fully formed. She gave herself space to explore, experiment, and evolve. She gathered community, played, and worked through her resistance to being seen.

Then we talked about what it takes to keep striving for your dreams once you’ve reached success and you’re no longer fired up about what’s next.

“I see this a lot with recording artists, actors, directors and other people in entertainment. People have this beginning singular dream that's outside of their reality and their world. They spend so much time manifesting that because they want it and they're hungry for it, they live it. But often we don't have a second dream or a third dream. So then you hear about the sophomore album syndrome. That's because you’ve got to always keep dreaming, you have to have the next dream….when you're living in constant creation, you're always in your joy.


We also discussed the concept of joy snacks (love this!), finding ways to facilitate joy throughout your day, how to release your addiction to caring what people think, the practice of being your own best lover, and so much more.

Join me as we discover how Grace Harry creates out loud.

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