681. She Chose to Grow Up Happy and Free
“This is one of those turns in life where something bad turned out to be something good. I can remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe I was fired. I’m on unemployment. What do I do now?’ But losing my job became a gift in disguise.”
Despite being called “Waterworks” as a child for crying at the drop of a hat and being groomed for a law career she never desired, Maura made a private choice to grow up happy and free. Exiting law school mid-stream, she pioneered her own path, pulling together her earliest desires to publish ideas, focus on inclusive leadership, and travel the world to make new friends. Following a corporate management career, time as a home schooling mom and plenty of eclectic life experiences, she launched her ultimate vocation in life. Today, Maura is the trademarked Ambassador of Happiness. Author, podcaster, international speaker, she purveys paradigm-shifting ideas about influence, leadership and how to live happy. At the time of this interview, she is working on her next book, “Living Happy Inside Out.”
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“From the age of five, I was captivated by the idea of putting ideas on paper that other people would read, think and talk about, and consider. I would go to my grandfather’s law office. I wasn’t as interested in what he was doing as I was fascinated by his legal secretary’s typewriter. Even though I couldn’t read yet, I would sit next to her as she typed, mesmerized by printed words that would be in duplicate and triplicate and sent for others to read and consider as thought. Even back then, I was thinking like a change agent.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“At the mid-point of law school—I had just finished my third of six semesters—my eyes were vacuous, my body looked like it was a skeleton. And I felt like one too, a very tired one! Sometimes we find things in our path we can connect with, and that’s what I found briefly at my husband’s firm. I loved that environment because I could interview people, find talented people and discover how they developed. It was something I was doing in tandem while I was a law student, and I went into it fully when I left law school. It was a lucky thing there was an opportunity and I was able to step into it.”
The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?
“Being on a path where everything is planned is one thing. But when you get off the path, when you have not trained yourself for anything beyond, it is frightening. You ask yourself, who do I think I am? I’m going against my family. I was always a kid who was an overachiever, not a slacker. So, I had to confront fear of failure and the unknown. The first thing I did was take a course, just to learn something new.”
Steps to Success from Maura Sweeney
1. Be willing to break free from external expectations and outside pressure.
2. Be open to those turns in life where something bad can turn out to be something good.
3. When faced with fear of limitations, take affirmative steps to learn something new.
4. Explore ways to step into your own natural talents. Pay attention to how you actually feel, not how you’ve been told to feel.
On Her Bookshelf
The Art of Happiness, Volume 1 – Exiting the Comfort Zone, by Maura Sweeney
Living Happy Inside Out, by Maura Sweeney (in progress as of July 2018, coming soon)
Connecting With Maura Sweeney
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