Happy File

happy writer

Do you have a happy file? What is in your happy file?

To me, a happy file is a collection of positive notes, emails, records, and pictures that celebrate the work I’ve done, the ways I’ve been appreciated or thanked by others, and the reasons that I am in the career I am in, with the passion that I have. Somewhere in the middle of my first year of teaching, when I was having a rough time with some student behavior, a colleague told me to start a happy file. There were times during my years of teaching that I would need to look through my happy file… just to get reconnected, reminded of my vision, and refocused on the positive despite some random negative of the day.

As a principal, my happy file grew quickly- an elementary principal is a rock star to young children, so I was never without cute thank you notes and pictures telling me how beautiful I am. 😉 There were some lonely, dark nights in my office when that happy file truly helped me be happy within the darkness.


After a recent stretch of some disheartening stress, I realized I hadn’t thought about my happy file in a LONG TIME. I love the work I do and have been blessed with an amazing experience over the last two and half years! There have literally been so many good moments and positive experiences that they have easily overshadowed a random bad meeting here and there. I work with a great team of hard-working, dedicated, smart leaders whom I admire greatly.

But every once in awhile, the negative can creep in slowly over time until it becomes a dark cloud over you that taints the overall picture you have every day. When I realize I have hit that point, I know it’s time to take out the happy file. Today, part of my happy file includes some outside leadership inspiration- quotes, articles, stories, blogs, books, pins- from other leaders who have overcome adversity or challenging times. It also includes pictures that just make me happy.

I will close with some of my happiness inspiration. I’d love to hear some from you too!

Confront Issues and Challenges – Not Each Other.
                                                                  – Suzanne Mayo Frindt

Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.                                                                                     – George S. Patton 

The difference between the impossible and possible lies in a person’s determination.


create your own sunshine Vessel quote


About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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8 Responses to Happy File

  1. I’m glad you resurfaced the happy file!

  2. Veronica says:

    Thank you for this reflection. I try and be positive and happy most of the time but there are days where I need the happy file, thanks for the tip.

    All dreams can come true,
    If we have the courage to pursue them.
    Waltz Disney

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  5. Paula Webb says:

    I have a happy file! 🙂 In 5 years it is the only thing I plan on walking out of my classroom with after 35 years of teaching. Great memories.

  6. Catherine says:

    I never though of these ever!
    This is such a great way to remind yourself how amazing you are despite those Ss that will give you trouble.
    As a current college student, I should start as of now! It be awesome to see how much I’ve grown. Thank you so much for this! I am going to make a happy file that wil stand out😃👍🏻

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