When she came to Seattle about a year and a half ago, promoting Happier at Home, I missed the opportunity to see her.
When I heard she was coming to Portland to promote the paperback version of Happier at Home – I didn’t want to miss her a second time.
So I packed some snacks, checked out the audio book Wicked from the library. It is a little over three hours to drive to Portland. So this past Tuesday I drove six and a half hours for an hour to listen to Gretchen and an hour to stand in line waiting to get her signature on my book.
But it was worth it! And why not! I didn’t have anything pressing at work or at home. My husband took care of dinner and swim lessons for the night. And Wicked – well, it’s wickedly long and a tiny bit boring so far – but I’m only five CD’s into the 20 CD collection. (Maybe I should skip it and just go see the play next time it is in town).
Here’s what I got out of my experience.
I love Gretchen Rubin!
We knew that, but I still do. She is so genuine and real. I get that from her writing and her blog and the videos that she publishes. But in person – she seems the same. I love that.
She’s also classy. This part I really loved about her – when a question was asked from the audience, she repeated it so the rest of the audience could know what she was answering. I loved that!!! Don’t you hate it when the speaker doesn’t repeat the question?
One more thing – she’s a tiny little thing. And so is this picture, but she the one in the aqua sweater – facing forward.
Overall her speech wasn’t anything new. I mean – I’ve read her books and like I said I follow her blog and her Facebook page – so really, there wasn’t much I hadn’t heard. But that’s what I love about her books and her mission – it is worth repeating. Things that she says might resonate with me differently at different times. Her books are probably ones that I’ll revisit from time to time and try different things at different points in my life.
Here’s some of my takeaways from her talk:
- You can’t make anyone else happy. You can only change yourself and your perceptions and your reactions. Trying to change your family or your co-workers isn’t going to work but hopefully, they will react positively to your changes.
- If you want to change one thing, but not sure where to start – ask yourself – “what are you lying about?” Take that one thing and either own or change it. I used to feel very guilty that I took a power nap every afternoon, never admitting it to anyone other than my family. Then one day I decided – “who cares? I can do what I need to do to feel better without being ashamed.” And now I owe it! I take a power nap almost everyday!
- Some people view “being happy” and acknowledging it as being selfish. Side note – why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we live in a world where it is acceptable to be miserable and shameful to be happy? Anyway – Gretchen explains that studies show that happy people are actually more apt to volunteer and help people more than unhappy people. Probably because unhappy people are too caught up in thinking about how unhappy they are to think about anyone else. So in a sense “being happy is actually unselfish” . (that got a chuckle out of the audience)
- Just because you are happy doesn’t mean you won’t have unhappy moments. In fact, projects like her Happiness Project might teach you how to deal with challenging and stressful situations. She gave the example of how maybe you are dealing with an ailing parent. No doubt that is a stressful situation. But there is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself like going to see a movie or going for a walk to take a break and refresh yourself during that challenging time.
There was much more that she spoke about, and I would suggest reading her books or even just joining her Facebook page and maybe signing up to get her blog. She is also working on her next project – habits. I can’t wait!
The only drawback to the evening was when I turned into a boob when I finally got to her table. I froze! My mind went totally blank and I couldn’t think of one thing to say to her when I was waiting for her to sign my book. UGH!
But – in her true classiness – she asked me a question! I still fumbled it – – but I did manage to ask to get a picture with her.
Hope ya’ll have a great weekend!