Encouraging more women to become CEOs, teaching women how to invest their money... Own It by Sallie Krawcheck examines many important topics. But to me, the most gripping sentence in her book was this one:
Research indeed shows that one of the most important relationships in determining a woman's success in the workplace is the one with her father; his support gives her confidence." - Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest
(I've personally loved having all sisters because I think it erased any boy/girl division in our house. We were side-by-side with dad taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, building houses for Bryan Building Corporation... Plus, who can forget dad declaring we had to catch the softball 1,000 times in a row before we went in for supper?)
My parents built in us a "can do" attitude, regardless of whether you're male or female, especially when it comes to our careers. They instilled in both my sister, Andrea, and me the courage to move to new cities and chase our dreams.
That might not sound impressive unless you know the hours I've worked in the news business. In Kentucky, those calls were after midnight - he still answered. In Texas and now D.C., those calls are around noon - he still picks up the phone.
I realize this post is more appropriate for Father's Day, but an email at work today reminded me of this quote from Sallie Krawcheck, and suddenly this blog started writing itself in my mind.
Yes, my father's belief in me has been instrumental in life.
Then mix that fact with one of my many favorite lines from Tim Russert's book Big Russ and Me:
There's nothing worse than disappointing your parents, and nothing better than making them proud."
So now you have child who wants to make her/his parents proud, plus parents who fully support her...? That's a recipe for success.
Three years ago during the Winter Olympics, NBC ran a story on Alex Bilodeau, a Canadian freestyle skier. From the beginning of the piece, Alex talks about his brother, Frédéric.
My brother, he’s my ground. His everyday life brings me to reality.” Alex Bilodeau
Ten thousand tear drops later, I finished the clip. And then replayed it. Again and again. For the first time, someone put into words what I had been trying to say for years. Alex shared that same source of motivation that fires me every single day.
That source? Our siblings.
Frédéric's spirit and happiness in life reminded me of my oldest sister, Christina.
Last year, my co-worker asked if I would be willing to share Christina's story with our viewers. Before we shot a frame of video, I sent her Alex and Frédéric's story. (If you haven't seen my sister's story, here's the link.)
Everyone goes towards Frédéric and says how Frédéric inspired them. The story inspired them way more than the performance of the medal.” - Alex Bilodeau
For those of us who grew up with siblings with disabilities, we are a direct result of their influence on us. At our most influential ages, our brothers and sisters wove life's most important lessons straight into our DNA.
I believe in the end everything we accomplish becomes a tribute to them. Our stories start with their story.
Nothing causes me more discomfort than having the following conversation.
Why do I hope a conversation like this never comes up between you and me? A: After six years, I'm still in denial that I'm a vegetarian. And B: If I think it's strange I don't eat meat, then I just assume you do too.
Plus, this conversation always happens at the worst time. Like when you've made dinner for me and then suddenly learn I'm only going to eat the bread and pickle off the sandwich.
In fact, I keep this fact about me so quiet that my uncle only realized this fall that I don't eat meat. Meanwhile, we've eaten dozens of meals together over the last six years.
Well, that was all I needed to hear. I pushed my kid's basket of shrimp to the middle of the table and was done with popcorn shrimp for the rest of my life.
Secondly, I blame my Grandma Rose (whom I love dearly).
Grandma Rose grew up on a farm and saw how the sausage was made. Literally. Growing up, I ate dinner at my grandparents house almost every Wednesday from first grade until I graduated high school. Every meal included a story from grandma about how that chicken/turkey/bacon/etc came to sit on our plates. Every bloody detail.
Do I wish I ate meat? Sure do. My goodness, I'm from a small farming community in Ohio. My friends and their parents need you to eat meat for their livelihood.
But where you see a perfectly grilled steak, my mind pictures the raw insides of a cow. Where you see BBQ chicken wings, I see the chickens on my grandma's farm frantically running around after losing their heads.
Ok, good. We've made it to the end of this post. Now maybe I will never have the dreaded "Yes, I Don't like Meat" conversation again. Ok, fine. The "Yes, I'm a Vegetarian" conversation.
Book of the Week: The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee
"Ellen, I love how you're always singing and so happy," our studio camera technician told me last week as we did our live cut-in for CBS This Morning.
While I'll take that compliment, it's not completely accurate. I'm not always happy. I definitely have bad days when I can't kick my own grumpiness. Come on! Life is messy and I'm a perfectionist - those two factors don't mix so well.
But I can see why my co-workers believe I'm harboring some secret to happiness because I admit - I'm a glass half full kind of gal. An eternal optimist who believes in happily ever afters.
And you know why? Because I choose to be happy.
You are as happy as you make up your mind to be." - Abraham Lincoln
So why would someone who seems genetically programed to be happy read a book about achieving additional happiness? Because I'm a perfectionist. Did you miss that part up above?
And here's the thing, reading The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee helped me understand that what makes me happy might not be what makes you happy.
But I'm not you. And what makes me happy might not make you happy.
Yes, some general practices apply like choosing happiness and being grateful for even the smallest joys in your life (i.e. blasting country music on your drive to work or eating a Kit-Kat in the middle of a newscast).
But you might not get the same thrill from organizing your bathroom cabinets that I do.
So find your own happiness. Don't settle for a mundane life. Figure out your happiness style and embrace it. (Here's a link to the author's happiness style assessment.)
You have passions, you have talents, and you have something to contribute to this world. We need your contributions. Don't let your discontentment with life today stop you from finding your happily ever after.
Hello, my name is Ellen Bryan.
You might call me that girl on TV in the morning.
Some people still call me Miss Ohio.
My mom calls me Ellen Marie.
But for as long as I can remember, my sisters have called me Elle. Just Elle.
So I've learned to cherish the fact that only two of the most important people in my life call me Elle. And they both know me at my core.
They know I don't just sing in the shower but all. day. long.
They know I consider sugar a primary food group.
They know I wish I could wear a baseball cap all day instead of doing my hair.
They know I prefer to spend Friday nights on the couch with a biography.
They know I cry when I'm happy.