FYS 45 | Living Happy Inside Out

045: Maura Sweeney: “Living Happy Inside Out”, The Mantra for an Authentic Life

FYS 45 | Living Happy Inside Out

To live an authentic life, you need to choose happiness that comes from within. When you are free from the outside circumstances that defines who you are, you then start living happy inside out. But this choice in itself takes a lot of courage, which Maura Sweeney didn’t have a lot of because her path to becoming a lawyer was laid out for her. She knew it wasn’t what she wanted to do, but at the same time she didn’t know what she really wanted. Maura shares how she conquered her fear of willingly stepping out to her freedom and paving her own path of happiness and authenticity.

We have Maura Sweeney on the podcast. She has a whole mantra in life called living happy inside out. The long and short of her story is she was living somebody else’s life, not hers. She grew up on the East Coast, New Jersey, and she was always groomed to become a lawyer. She went to Boston College, went on to law school, was well on her way towards becoming that, but completely empty and completely at a loss for what she wanted to do in life. It was not purposeful for her and she was miserable. We talk about how she got unstuck and went on to what she does today, which is go all over the world. She has been to more than 60 countries, and involved in speaking to women’s group and other people about empowerment, about breaking out, about doing things that you were meant to do, and living happy inside out.

Listen to the podcast here:

Maura Sweeney: “Living Happy Inside Out”, The Mantra for an Authentic Life

We have Maura Sweeney. Maura, how are you doing?

I am great, Mark. Thanks so much for having me.

I’m excited because we’re talking about trying to achieve happiness, contentment, and purpose. You’ve got this great tagline called ‘living happy inside out’. How did you come across that? Where does that come from?

It comes from a lifetime of belief and executing it on a regular basis. The whole idea behind it is this: Will you allow an outside world or outside circumstances that you either don’t agree with or that works against who you are dictate to you, or will you instead from the inside, choose to be happy, choose to be free, and choose to live an authentic life? If you go with the first mode of thinking, you will always be a victim and you will always live that out. If you choose instead from within to be happy, to be authentic, to be your real self and to find ways to express yourself, then you will find yourself as a beneficiary in a benevolent universe. It sounds high-minded, but I’ve lifted.

It’s also easy to say and hard to do from this standpoint. Circumstance sometimes dictates that you’re on the job, that you get paid a certain amount maybe really well, but you hate it. I’ve got a number of buddies who are in this situation because you’ve got kids going into college, you’ve got a wife to support in some cases, and the mortgage and all these other responsibilities you have. To flip that around and say, “I know that there are outside pressures, but I just want to abandon that and go on my own direction and do what I feel like I was meant to do,” takes a game plan. It takes a lot of gumption and it takes a lot of courage to go do that. At the end of the day, you have to go find that path otherwise you’re going to sink.

FYS 45 | Living Happy Inside Out

Living Happy Inside Out: It’s not always about the stuff that’s out there, but it’s the way in which we view ourselves internally.

I’m so glad you’re giving the caveats to that because what I do today as a speaker, podcaster, and writer has been in the making for over half a century, so it’s not like I just decided to pop out of the box one day and say, “Let me tell you how you can be happy and live an authentic life.” Mine has been incremental. Every time we make a decision, there’s always going to be a certain number of consequences, whether it means we have to give up something that we thought was our financial stability, or sometimes you might give up a peer group of people. Sometimes we might give up all those things we were always told were important. There’s always a trade off, but the bottom line is it’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and it does take courage. People here talk about happiness and they’re waiting for fairy dust. It takes a lot of courage and it takes a willingness to step out and be yourself sometimes when it’s not an easy thing to do and sometimes when the outcomes, at least at the outset, do not make you feel happy, but instead maybe make you feel very challenged as a result.

People who know my story from the background of being out there and going through a very difficult time when I was separating from my now ex-wife and I wasn’t living in my place, I was living in Seattle, I moved down to California, very lonely, and it was like, “How do I get out of this and how do I get to a better ground?” It’s not always about career. It’s many times about purpose, happiness, being joyful and surrounding yourself with positive influence. I had reached my rock-bottom and so for me, gravitating towards the mountains and finding that joy there and getting the clarity to execute a plan going forth. I’m blown away at where I’m at today compared to where I was five, six years ago.

One thing we haven’t even talked about is our identity. It’s not always about the stuff that’s out there, but it’s the way in which we view ourselves internally. Sometimes by going through some of those shocks, we do have to say, “Is this who I am? Is this the highest version of myself? How can I be more of myself?”

Let’s go back to where you grew up in New Jersey. I want to get to the point of how you lived your life as a little girl and going into being a teenager and into college. You were put on a path that other people thought you were meant to be on, but it wasn’t necessarily the path that you wanted to be there.

This is why I probably use everything to my advantage. I grew up in Northern New Jersey, right outside of New York City. When people ask where I live, right near Giants Stadium, which at the time was the Metal Lands. I have to say this was a good thing. My family expected me to grow up to become a lawyer, which sounds wonderful. For that reason, I was always moved toward academics and toward achievement.

 

I’ve got two daughters, one’s nineteen and the other one was 21 and they’re in college now. My whole thing for all time has been, “Be the best you can be. Whatever you choose, go at it 100%, but it’s your choice, and I will support you 100%.” In your situation, how is that different?

We have a daughter and I brought her up the same way, “Go follow what you love and you’ll go far with it and you’ll be happy and free.” In my case, I have a grandfather who passed away when I was five and a half, and he was a very accomplished Georgetown-educated attorney. He passed away and everybody decided after that, “Maura is going to be a lawyer, just like her grandfather.” I went to Boston college major in political science, and after that I took out loans and started going to law school. All during that time while I enjoyed studying, that would not have been a path I would have chosen. For me, I kept imagining being in a career that required a tremendous amount of passion in a state that I didn’t want to live in because I was more drawn toward warm weather. I was more creative. I needed to be an advocate for everyone rather than just one client, let’s say to the detriment of someone else’s client.

Halfway through that time period, I literally became like the walking dead. If you ever go to my website and look up “About Maura” and see a photograph of me, it was New Year’s Day, 1982 and I was midway between law school studies. Right at the midway point and that’s when it hit me because it was like going down a path that had no end. It was going to be a 40-year track of staying in New Jersey, which is generally what you would do. Back then, if you went to law school and didn’t practice law, you are considered a flunky. “Maybe I didn’t pass the bar,” so there was no going back. I thought, “Can I make it for 40 years living in a state I don’t want to live in practicing in a career that does not speak to me, only to be old enough in my sixties to retire and say I’m moving to Florida?”

One day, with all of the effort I was putting in, I literally could not get up out of my chair to get to class. I was recently married. My husband came home from work and he said to me, “You’re not at school?” I opened up my mouth and nothing came out. I was that at the end of my rope. I will tell you what I attributed it to, fear and the need to always gain approval of other people specifically. I was a people pleaser and my body could no longer get there. It was very frightening.

Where does this pressure come from?

Mine came from my family.

When you say your family, your mom, your dad, is it just one person or the whole family?

Parents. My grandfather, the attorney, had already passed. My grandmother had passed when I was younger as well, so I would say my mother and father fully expected that there. That was the plan.

When you talk about fear, what were you fearful of?

Everything. I had never gotten any approval I was ever seeking, so I was one of those kids that was always the overachiever. No matter what you put in front of me, I would try to work hard and do well at it. I would’ve done that anyway, but I was doing it for the wrong reasons rather than the right. I had not been prepared for anything else, so here I’m thinking, “I’ve never gotten the approval I was hoping to get from my parents and now I’ll never get it.” I just recently married, had a mother-in-law who did not want to see me marry her son, I wasn’t from the same ethnic group and she figured that anybody that wanted to marry her son was going to take advantage of him and I had no intention of doing that. I always planned on taking care of myself. I would say a lot of family and social expectations and I thought, “What do I do now?” Because I was always on a path and it was literally that whole thing, where do I go? I knew what I didn’t want to do but I had no idea of what I did want to do. That was a frightening thing. There was only one thing that kept me going. I knew that whatever it was as I was growing up, and I had decided this when I was a young child. I spent a lot of time feeling very much like I had no freedom of my own. I did make a pact with myself that I was going to grow up happy and free, and to me that meant living an authentic life.

Here I was at 23 and I’m doing everything I’m told. I leave law school, but this is the one thing I knew. I knew what I didn’t want to do, which was go to law school and practice law, but the big thing for me is I knew that in my lifetime, I wanted to be able to get out of bed in the morning, put my feet on the ground, and get going doing something I felt so strongly about, so passionate about, and so energized about. Law school was not that path. It was disempowering. It was taking away all of my energy, and I literally became a walking dead person. I needed the opposite and I needed to find my way there, so I thought, “I’m going to go paving paths.”

I saw the picture from 1982. I could tell from that look that you didn’t look joyful. So much of what you’re talking about is, “I’m going down the wrong path. I’m feeling this family pressure. I’m stuck. I don’t even know what to do. How do I get unstuck?” You go through this transition period where you’re midway through law school. You’re going back to that childhood thing, which is you want to live a life of purpose and you know you’re not doing that, but breaking out of something that you’re already on this certain lane and this track that you’re on to become this corporate lawyer or whatever you’re going to be, and you know this is the wrong path. “What’s going to happen when I announce to the family that this is not for me, I’m leaving law school, and I’m going to like set sail in a whole new direction and I don’t know what that direction is yet?” Tell me what that transition period was like for you.

You sound a lot more confident than I did back in 1982. One thing was for sure, I was the one taking out the loans for one thing. They can’t say to me, “You better pay us back or we put all this money out on your behalf,” so that was one good thing. Secondly, I took a friend with me and I said, “Do you mind coming with me to the registrar’s office? I need to tell these people I’m taking a leave of absence.” I don’t have the nerve to tell everybody I’m going away forever, but I knew in my heart when I dropped in my leave of absence papers, I was never going back.” Even after I moved to Florida, I reapplied, got accepted, and I thought, “This is so not me,” so I took it as a leave of absence and I was going to do some other things.

I had already been working part time as an executive recruiter, which meant that I was able to call people all over the country in every different industry, learn about what they were doing, interview people, present people to client companies, and I love the interaction. I loved learning, I loved building people, I love presenting people, and so that was actually a help. I got my real estate license but never went to practice. I kept going out there doing different things. In the early ‘80s, after working full-time then at that recruiter firm, I lost my job. I was working with my husband, the economy went south, we were both out of work, and my husband got an opportunity to move to Florida. I thought, “Hallelujah, two lost jobs, one new opportunity in Florida, I’m out of New Jersey.” It’s funny how things happen.

That was the escape. Now that you’re dipping your toe in this other field, executive recruiting, and you’re still up in Jersey doing that and you know that’s not where you want to be, and it sounds like your husband was on the same track too. He gets this new job down in Florida and so off you go, there’s no barriers held back. “I’m going forward; we’re moving down there.” You’re happy. Florida can be a happy place, except that there are hurricanes blowing through. The bottom line is now, you land there. At what point did you start to zero in on your career path about empowering others’ happiness in a life fulfilled purpose?

FYS 45 | Living Happy Inside Out

Living Happy Inside Out: I had to overcome that whole idea of everybody else thinking they know are better than me and they are more accomplished than me.

I had to wait until I was in my 50s to do what I do today because I took a very long path, maybe it was because of the era I came out of. I was offered one job in Florida. There were hardly any jobs down here was retired at the time. I got one job offer in the telecomm industry, which was burgeoning at the time. It was one of the largest telecom companies in the country. They were competing with AT&T when AT&T had the breakup.

How old were you at this time?

Twenty-five. I thought, “I don’t want to do telemarketing sales and I can’t stand this industry,” but it was the one and only job I got. I have to tell you this funny story. After six weeks of going everywhere with my resume, responding to everything and nothing coming in, I literally had gotten down on the floor one day and I said, “My husband and I are buying a house, I need to pay a mortgage, I need to know where I’m going to get a job.” Would you believe at that very moment the phone rang and it was the manager at the telecom company said to me, “Maura, have you made your mind up?” I thought, “I guess God’s calling. I’m going to say yes.” Here I am in a place. It’s the only option I have but I started out thinking, “What am I doing here? Am I good enough in sales? I don’t want to ever push anything on anybody.” Three and a half months later, the manager was promoted to the Home Office in Chicago and left me as the manager. I got promoted several times thereafter, which meant that I had to overcome eleven other people in the office that all wanted my job, and I didn’t even want it.

The manager said to me “Maura, you’re either taking it or I’m firing you.” I had to overcome that whole idea of everybody else thinking they know are better than me and they are more accomplished than me, and I had to learn how to create a positive working environment. I had to create a winning culture. I had to do so much with nothing, because every day felt like I may lose my job today. Yet I’ll tell you, within a year and a half, we had the top branch office in the nation at one of the top national telecom companies. This is the environment, which was a very struggling one for me, where I discovered my passions, my talents, my loves, and everything about me that could hire and train the best people. Find all their talents, promote them, make them experts, promote them multiple times into other positions, and do exceptional things in terms of creating a culture where everyone could do well. I loved it, so I did that for about a decade. I did other things since then.

You were now working in this job, and you felt now as a manager in other positions as you’re working your way every day, if you didn’t do X amount of things, you felt like you’re going to get fired. Do you think that tied back to when you were a kid and you’re seeking approval from your parents?

Do you know people who move into their office and they just move, and it looks like their hanging out place? Even when I left nine years later at the second company I was with, I had a gift, a picture frame from one of my managers. I never even put my photograph in there. It was husband and wife that came with the photograph. Do you know what I thought? I understood corporate America, and you’re only as good as you are recently but that’s a very intuitive thought. Everybody else extends to what they were doing. Even though that might have been my backdrop, everything within me was always focused on the better model. That put me through about a decade of rubber meeting the road where people that I was working for maybe wanting to fire people sooner or mistreat people or use a management technique that would be so totally against my belief systems because I’m one who empowers. For that time period, I was constantly expressing everything off and yet getting and delivering all the results. It’s a very tough line to go through, but I’m telling you 25 years later, after I’m gone from that organization or those organizations, I’ve got people I hired, trained, develop and promoted that are still friends today, and they have learned so much and they’re better for it.

There’s this whole notion about the overachiever. By being the overachiever, and I was feeling like you’re not quite there and you’re taking more swings at bat and you’re trying to get over the hump and you learn things along the way from humility, from adversity, and from people that didn’t treat you right that were superior to the way the organization was set up. You hold onto those things versus the entitlement, the other part of it, of people who are given everything. They don’t understand about adversity and they never had to work for those different things.

I did have a point where I changed companies and I was brought into a new organization. It was the first time ever I had a terrible manager. This goes into how do we live a happy life and authentic life. After I had already given notice to the previous company I had been with for five years and was moving to launch a new market for this other international corporation, I realized the manager that hired me was not right. I can remember feeling like I was in such an ethical dilemma because this person already knew what my mindset was like as a leader and expecting me to perform differently. I remember thinking, “You could take this job and shove it,” but I wasn’t in a position financially to do that. Every move along my life where I was pressed caused me to say, “Am I going to cave or how can I use this situation to grow from it?” Because of that, I made a series of decisions that would put me in a position where I wasn’t always so exposed and that I could have that freedom to walk away or adjust when I needed to.

The name of this podcast is called Finding Your Summit, and I believe that throughout your life, there’s not just one summit. I look back on my life and I almost look at them by decade. Between my twenties, I was trying to play football. In my 30s, I got married and had kids and started businesses. The bottom line is you talked about that it wasn’t until you’re in your 50s that the light went off on how can I take all these nuggets that I’ve learned over these years and place them into trying to help and empower others. The same thing happened to me. I’m in my 50s too and I would have never understood this at the time, but this podcast that I’m doing and talking with others in my own life, my own journey, and all these little things. Playing in the NFL, climbing mountains, starting businesses, talking to people, having experience, having kids, all these things have led up to what I’m supposed to be doing today.

We all want things now and we want them to happen, but sometimes it’s not the path and the journey that you were supposed to be on at that time. I finally have the light bulb went off and like, “Mark, just slow down. It’s all good. Things will happen the way they’re supposed to happen in due time.” For you then, now we’re in our 50s, how many years ago did the light go off? You’re taking all these gifts that you’ve been experienced over all these years and now you want to apply them to the world and help others, this whole ‘living happy inside out’.

Yes, it isn’t in my 50s that I did this but when I was in my 30s, I took a certain number of promotions, but I also did not take other promotions. I left what I was doing in my 30s when I had our own only child that I homeschooled or I helped my husband built a business. I’ve traveled to 60 countries. I knew, as a preschooler, watching airplanes fly back and forth to Newark Airport that I wanted to travel the world and make new friends. Even though my grandfather was an attorney and a prominent one, I used to sit in his office, but I was more taken up with the typewriter that his secretary used who was busy coming up with ideas that would be put in duplicate and triplicate and people would read. I knew it was a preschooler what I wanted to do was travel the world and share good ideas and meet new friends. In all these decades that I was going through, whether it meant leaving law school, going into business, but knowing at a certain point, “This is enough for me. I have no interest in being Ms. Big Corporate America,” taking time at home with my daughter, and learning to undo a lot of maybe some of the things on my own childhood that were not ideal. I read, I researched, I volunteered. I did so many things, and I knew when our daughter was getting ready for college that my husband and I, we could have either spent the rest of our years living what appeared to be a profitable, nice life in suburbia, very comfortable with a computer firm that we developed or we could live a purposeful life.

For me, I can remember when I graduated from high school I was chosen to give the graduation speech, and mine was from dreams to reality. What I wanted to do would somehow find a way to take those early childhood dreams of traveling the world, making new friends, writing, and being an idea person. I was totally taken up with leadership and greatness of the human condition that it wasn’t until I was in my 50s that there was nothing holding me back. I also wanted to be a good example for my daughter and I thought there’s nothing holding me back. We sold our big house, we moved someplace smaller, we wanted to live a life of purpose. Fortunately I married a guy who would say, “Maura, you go for it. Wherever you want to go you go, do it and I’ll help make it happen.”

FYS 45 | Living Happy Inside Out

Living Happy Inside Out: I’m inspiring other people to be true to themselves and to use every experience they are in to rise up and be their better selves.

For me, for many decades, in many years, I did everything. I brought up the child. I cleaned house. I had two gigantic dogs. Every time neighbors would find me, I was busy cleaning. I had exchange students living in the house. I did everything regular people and irregular people do. Now I take all of that, all of those life experiences, and when I go and I’m speaking at a university here or overseas or at a leadership gathering somewhere, I come in with all of that. The good, the bad, the ugly, the challenges, the trials, the triumphs, every single thing that I bring in makes me as a speaker more credible in terms of what I’m doing and how I’m inspiring other people to be true to themselves and to use every experience they are in to rise up and be their better selves, which is all I ever wanted to do.

You’re flying around all these countries all over the world and you are teaching people about empowerment and how to get happy, and just the path.

It’s interesting, you say teaching. You know how would I prefer to say? I ask questions and I tell stories. I invite people to make connections with what they already know to be true within them and yet may have, because of all these shiny articles or all these things that been presented within the world are all of these other ideas that are external to them, that they could actually go back and think, “What resonates with me? What sounds like who and what I am?” Even from that point, you’ve already made progress. You’ve made progress toward happiness, toward connecting with who you are, and towards following some of the things you like. What if we could even get 10% more of who we really are out in life? We’re usually the better for it and the world is better for it too.

I don’t follow the news that much because there’s so much negativity in all directions. I choose to go more towards the light, and the light to me is about one of those positive things. I’m involved in some charity, the whole thing about contribution, it makes you feel great. Surrounding yourself with positive people, and also doing the steps necessary to get you in that place to understand. Part of this is getting a lot of the junk out of your brain. In so many times there are those voices in your head of fear and anxiety and you can’t do it and they cloud the picture. Everybody does this differently but trying to understand and getting quiet in your own way of what those things are that you need to do to get you to that point that you’re talking about, of life of purpose and happiness and joy.

We all have our ways of doing it and there’s no one perfect way, but we can all go find that place and find that space.

I’ve said this a couple times now that the name of this podcast is Finding Your Summit and it’s really finding my summit. I didn’t know this at the time when I went up and flew to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro, but there’s so much clarity that came out of that. One of the things is because you can’t use your cell phone and you’re locked out from any electronics, emails and all those things because you’re so remote, that takes a couple of days to go through that entry and then the reentry of when you actually come out of it, but there is nothing more valuable to me than just not having those things. The next tool I had was my journal. There’s all this downtime in between days when you’re climbing, You’re in tents, and so you start journaling. All of a sudden these things start coming to you because it’s not all this other junk that’s coming into your life.

There’s so much static out there, so many things vying for our attention, so many institutions and ideas that are putting themselves on top of us. We can oftentimes buy into them as if that’s who we are or that’s what we believe in. That quiet space, the quiet places, those are the places we actually get to hear our own soul and when we can connect with it, we ended up so much more clear, so much more at peace. We can forward in directions that feel right for us and we can reintegrate with ourselves.

What is going on down for you in Uganda?

I only took one trip down to Uganda. The first was about nine years ago. I had heard about this pastor who was a former engineer and he was raising the dead and I thought, “I have got to go down. Actually, I’d want to send my husband.” He said, “Maura, if you want to go, you are the one going.” When you were talking about going up to Mount Kilimanjaro and that whole process of getting rid of cell phones, my going to several islands in Uganda on Lake Victoria, they were so far away from society that the people on these islands never went into the water, never heard of a continent of Europe, let alone America, didn’t even know what a car was. It was such a shocking thing, but I had one of the best times in my life connecting with these people.

You’re probably asking what I’m doing with Empowered Voices. Empowered Voices, I sit on the board of a non-profit organization that my daughter and a fellow student from hers, they were both studying at Harvard as graduate students, did as a result of a class on international relations. They went down to Uganda, and they set up this nonprofit for women. There are so many issues down there but these were moms that not only were watching their own kids, but they were caring for so many other kids because they had such a terrible age crisis. The day was involved with getting enough water to keep everybody alive, and this is a process of helping these women help themselves to become financially, economically, and socially stable.

Tell me how you did that though.

I didn’t do it. My daughter did that, and I am on the board. You said to go towards the light. With the volunteering that I do and with the things I get involved in, I’m always looking for this. What is it that I could do that could unite us and bring us together rather than divide us? What is their great and human psyche and the human experience that makes everyone feel more uplifted? It’s not too different from you. We’re looking for those things that lift us up rather than pull us down. If each one of us were to be able to take 5% or 10% of our time, our talents, and our resources, we would be able to convert this world from the one we’ve all been experiencing into one that’s so much better.

I had the good fortune of being invited with this group, Waterboys. Chris Long, who is in the NFL, and we went down to Tanzania and went out into the Serengeti Desert and we raised a bunch of money to build water wells for the people on the Maasai tribe, which we did. There were six NFL players, some Green Berets, Jim Mora, the head coach at UCLA, and we all flew down. It was amazing to me because at first you, feel great about raising all this money and what you’re going to do to help these different people, and then you go into these villages and you see firsthand what you’re doing and the gifts back to us we’re ten times. Their joy and their happiness over having nothing.

So often there are many people that get caught up, I get caught up in like, “I wish I was over here or doing this or that.” Their houses are made of sticks. They are on dirt floors. Their currency is a goat. Women have to walk miles with five gallon looking buckets on their heads to go get water to bring it back. The guys are out there with their spear, guarding the herd so lions don’t come and eat their currency. When we were to come in, the amount of things that they hand crafted for us and given us back, money aside, just the joy and the value of actually seeing that, I wish everybody could be transformed into that society and have a look at what life should be about.

FYS 45 | Living Happy Inside Out

Living Happy Inside Out: We’re looking for those things that lift us up rather than pull us down.

This is reminding me of one medical mission trips I went on and lost all my luggage along the way, which was another experience. We were bringing medical relief to coffee growers in the hills of Honduras. These people all live in stick shacks, and they make $500 a year. I remember trying to get them toothbrushes and one guy laughed at me. He said, “I only have one tooth left, I don’t need the toothbrush.” These people were so happy, so full of joy, and each time we can go into someone else’s environment, sometimes it could be literally in the same city we live in, if we’re mindful of what’s going on or literally around the world, we can find ways to connect. We can find one another’s joy, and we can become the better for it from our insides out and from our souls. It’s not always about the American way, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but there are so many other ways to have a full, meaningful life.

When you go to these different conferences and you’re speaking and your presentation is 30 to 45 minutes, how do you end? When you’re up there like, “We’ve talked about this journey of trying to be stuck to unstuck, now we need to go towards contribution and happiness and light and joy and stay away from sorrow and anxiety and doubt.” Do you have a parting thought to everybody? Like, “If there’s nothing else you’ve heard, I want you to remember this.”

One of the things is I always ask them is, “I want to give you at the beginning of this talk, on a scale of one to ten, what is your energy feel like and what is your hope feel like?” It’s always an invitation. It’s not that I want to tell them anything. I want to point them back to the light of who they are and what they are within. At the end of going through various stories, asking questions, showing different paradigms that they can relate to, I’ll ask them the same questions. “I want you to give yourself the same measurement scales and tell me where you stand in terms of levity or hope and happiness.” I will always say to them, “If you could take one new thing back, one new thing that registers with you and says, ‘I knew that already,’ it just lit my light up.” That happens all the time because people internally and intrinsically do know who they are, what they want and what’s important to them. Unless they’re given that opportunity and that space to start looking at it, they may not even know it exists. It’s the beginning of a process for some and then I’ll invite them to go listen to my podcast, which invites them to go within and start learning how to journal. Start asking themselves reflective questions, start taking those little action steps to connect between what’s real for them and then how they’re going to exhibit that in their natural life. It’s very empowering.

Many people, just because of my athletic background, they come to me and say, “How do you lose weight? How do I get in better shape?” Nutrition, fitness, and what I’ve seen over time, if it doesn’t come within, it’s not happening. You got to be in that space. You’ve got to be willing to want to step out and go across that threshold and say, “I need help or I want to have a better life or I want to get happier.” The action needs to create that reaction coming around.

You came full circle with that first question you asked me about my mantra, living happy from the inside out. Unless we make a decision on the inside, either “I’m not happy or this is not real for me or I’m doing something that goes against my better judgment, ethics, my true identity.” How about owning up to poor behavior or owning up to a life story you’ve always told yourself and saying, “I don’t want to live here anymore. It’s time change. It’s time to change the way I think. It’s time to take that responsibility.” Unless we’re willing to make that decision and sometimes making it over and over again until it sticks you, we’re going nowhere. That’s why I don’t call myself a motivator, but I will call myself an inspirer because what an inspirer will do is to take the candle of illumination in their world and use it to better illuminate the candle of illumination in someone else’s inner world. Once someone can see brighter from within, everything in their mind starts to shift.

Where can people find you on your podcast? My podcasts are 30 to 45 minutes and it sounds like yours are more like ten-minute daily positive bits that somebody can adjust, take it in, and go on throughout the day.

They are ten minutes and they start with a reflective question. Most people don’t realize they never even ask themselves what they think about anything. Then it goes into an anecdotal story. The reason why stories are important is because people will inject their lives into the stories and that shifts them from one reality to another. There’s a quick call to action so that they can start making those connections. The last thing I do is invite someone to come in and to share with the audience what their notion of living happy from the inside out is. It’s Maura Sweeney Living, Happy Inside Out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and then I know I’m syndicated in various places. They could also find me on my website, Maura4u.com.

I’ve done a number of these podcasts now and I always get charged when I’m talking to somebody that’s full of positivity. Most or all the people that I talked to, it’s all about overcoming different things. For you, it was a career choice. We’ve all been there and that’s why so many people can relate to your story. Now you’re in this place of spreading the happiness and the word around the world and being joyful. That’s what we all want to be and that’s where I’m still trying to go. It’s fun to talk to people like you.

Thank you and I appreciate you having me on because your space is the space I like to dwell in. None of our lives are going to be pristine and perfect at least yet, but we can take wherever we are, wherever we’ve been to say, “What am I going to do to make this better?” We can, and we are. Thanks so much, Mark. This has been great. Thanks for having me on.

Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for tuning into the podcast. We had another great guest and it is so awesome to continually have these different people on, talk about the different diversity, how they’ve overcome that, and what they’ve done to effect change in their life to become very successful. We appreciate you for tuning in. As always, we love the rating and reviews that you guys do on iTunes. If you haven’t done that, please go do that. It helps us in terms of increasing our visibility within Apple and iTunes. It’s fun to share the love and what these different stories and these different people are all about.

 

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