One book every week. That was the challenge I set for myself on this day last year for my 28th birthday.
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.
Last week, a student raised his hand after my lightning safety presentation to his class and asked, "Do you get nervous being on TV?"
It was the beginning of the school year and our assignment in Mrs. Darras' English class was to introduce ourselves. I had a white 8x11 sheet of paper with my notes on it, and when my teacher called my named, I walked to the front of the classroom and started to speak.
As my voice quivered, so did my hands. That white paper shook so violently, I swear students in the classrooms across the hall could see it flying uncontrollably. I sat down at my desk extremely embarrassed and already dreading the next presentation.
Today, I can finish all 29 live shots every morning and feel only a few butterflies, if anything at all. But every now and then, my breath will escape me as my heart beats wildly. Yep, I'm still human.
A few years ago, I bought a magnet for the front of my refrigerator that says:
Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher
I'm not fashionable. Really. If you make me put together an outfit that involves more than yoga pants or a dress, I will use all my brain power and still come up with nothing.
One day last year, I was over it. I was tired of feeling overwhelmed in my own closet. So I threw my clothes out. Ok, not all of them, but more than half. Gone. And boy did it help me get a grip on my style.
One memorable day as Miss Ohio, I was meeting with some of my advisers for breakfast before an appearance. I thought I looked awesome. I was wearing this new faux snake skin printed dress. Very fashion forward. Vogue would be calling me any moment. Ummm... that dress never saw the outside of the hotel. I was told I should change.
Talk about quickly developing a thick skin for constructive criticism on how I looked. Truth is, that advisor was right.
When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good." - Ami Boley
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.
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.