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Discover Joy in the Ordinary with Ingrid Fetell Lee (ep. 384)

Ingrid Fetell Lee

John O’Leary welcomes designer Ingrid Fetell Lee onto the Live Inspired Podcast to share her groundbreaking work on the hidden influence our surroundings have on our emotions and wellbeing.

Design expert Ingrid Fetell Lee has spent over a decade researching the relationship between happiness + our surroundings. She’s worked with iconic brands such as Target and Kate Spade and her wildly popular TED Talk has been viewed more than 17 million times.

Today’s conversation will empower you to be more intentional on what joy means to you and dedicating yourself to finding more joy in life and at work.

Join us to hear Ingrid’s actionable tips to find joy all around you and to be reminded of the impact joy has on your health, resilience and well-being.

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  • By nurturing her creative spirit, Ingrid credits her Nana as the reason she became inquisitive of the power within the physical world.
  • “We think of joy as this light, fluffy, airy thing but joy is so integral to what it means to be a healthy, fulfilled human.”
  • Moments of joy have a positive effect on physical health, productivity, creativity and resilience.
  • What is joy? An intense momentary experience of positive emotion.
  • When happiness is pinned to life’s milestones it can feel vague and amorphous yet designing more moments of joy in every day can be life-changing.
  • Aesthetics of Joy: Identifiable sensory qualities that have a distinct + universal connection to joy. For example, color is a suggestion of energy, ripeness + nourishment.
  • A Japanese nursing home redesigned by the architect Emmanuelle Moureaux features an inviting common room with colorful balls hanging from the ceiling and bright springy green chairs. Since the redesign, families of residents spend more time visiting with their loved ones than before.
  • Create repeatable moments of joy: Paint your front door with your favorite bold color, bring nature indoors with plants, wallpaper the inside of a closet or drawer with a bright pattern for a surprise burst of joy.
  • Research shows numerous benefits to having moments of joy in our every day, including:
    • A sense of trust, intimacy and connection when shared with others
    • Better decision-making after considering more scenarios
    • Increase of productivity by up to 12%
  • “The thing about joy, in order to feel it fully, we must embrace our sadness too.”
  • “Burnout often has as much boredom in it as it does exhaustion.”
  • “The blossoming of the tree. The rising of the sun. The flow of the tides. These reoccurring events remind us of times circular nature and create an underlying cadence of joy that we can rely on.”
  • Start your day with joy: Ingrid shares 10 ways to start your day with joy including reading a poem immediately after waking up and fixing a joyful breakfast. Learn the others here.
  • Joy-spotting: Tuning your senses to joyful things in the world around you will help you reconnect + rediscover joy.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.


  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Resilience.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. A box of photos that are really precious to me.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My husband.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. From my dad: The only constant in life is change.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. You don't have to have all the answers ever.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. She made joy.