About five years ago, I read, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In this book, Gretchen (I am fairly certain she would be fine with me calling her by her first name!) takes a different habit each month in an area she strives to change to improve her happiness.
As I prepared for my trip to NYC and knowing I would have the chance to meet her, I thought about a variety of mindsets that I gained from this book and how much they have changed my life. From the first chapter alone, I busted some of my clutter (still difficult with young boys) and learned to do a one minute tidy-up, act energetically – especially when I don’t feel like it, and to go to sleep earlier. I know these are small habits, but small habits can really impact your happiness.
Try it this weekend. If you have a messy cabinet or island countertop, set a timer for just 1 minute (5 if it looks like mine!) and get all the clutter put in its place or in the trashcan. It is amazing how great you can feel with cleaned off counters!
Back to my encounter. So Gretchen was our keynote speaker. She spoke about the Four Tendencies, which is a book I brought with me for the plane ride home. It was a fantastic presentation. When we better understand ourselves and our tendencies and better understand others’ tendencies, we can communicate much better and be much more efficient in our work together. These are ideas for our work and personal lives. And Gretchen is funny!
Later in the day, it was time for the meet and greet book signing. As I waited in line, I thought about what I should say. Should I tell her I know we would be friends if we lived closer together? Should I invite her to the Lake the next time she was visiting her parents in Kansas City? Should I tell her that I love the book group of women/authors that she is a part of (Brene Brown, Rachel Hollis, Laura Vanderkam, Daniel Pink, Heath Brothers, Seth Godin) of which I know I will fit with incredibly, WHEN I write my best seller?
As I cumbersomely, pull out all five, yes it was FIVE, books for her to sign, I realized that she might call for security if I started down the crazy train of what I really wanted to say. Instead we chatted about how much the Happiness Project changed my daily habits. Then I asked about her talk and about the questioner tendency (that’s me) and how irritating it can be when I have done the research (a questioner tendency) but then the group still needs ‘something more’ or ‘buy-in’ to make their decision or to come to a consensus. It was a great conversation. Then I walked away, but remembered I wanted to ask about the page-a-day calendar. In 2018, I had the 2018 Happiness Project Page-a-Day calendar. I had to go back.
I was glad I did. I learned that the page-a-day calendar was something her family did, each having something different and often sharing – something my family does as well (Mom saves us the best Maxine jokes). She said it was a lot of work and not a lot of income, but that it was really popular. I don’t know if it is for sure on for 2020, but here’s hoping. And she was glad for the feedback.
From this experience I learned:
- I need to be careful not to seem like a crazy person! Most people at this conference had not even heard of Gretchen Rubin, let alone read her books and had a page-a-day calendar. Did I mention I am a fan?
- Reading about someone’s life makes us feel connected to them, but that connection is only one way.
- I may need to read more fiction.
- I am not sure exactly what my book will be about, but I will certainly quote Gretchen Rubin somewhere in it and strive to have her provide an endorsement
I would love to read in your comments who you would nerd out with? In other words, who is an author you would pack your suitcase with their books to get them all signed?