Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life

Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life

by Lisa Sugar

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Lisa Sugar has an amazing job. She spends her days at POPSUGAR creating content about pop culture, must-have handbags and makeup, healthy recipes, and Instagram-worthy sweets. She manages an enormously successful, growing company with employees who love what they do. And her life is just as great at home. She and her husband have three daughters and she’s the number one soccer mom who loves reading bedtime stories every night. 
How did she do it? By figuring out what her dream job was, taking risks, and believing in herself. And now she wants to motivate others to do the same. She wants to show them how to live colorful, interesting lives where every second counts.
She'll do so by sharing her personal and business story. Lisa knows that creating your dream job requires hard work, patience, and experience. She'll give advice, in big and small ways, about exactly how to do that, from starting a company to ditching a relationship that isn't working to becoming a fabulous boss. And with the great, accessible writing style that has made PopSugar such a hit, she'll make it fun!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101985076
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 957,047
File size: 12 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Lisa Sugar founded PopSugar in 2006. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three daughters.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Find Your Passion

The phrase "find your passion" is so overused these days, I almost hate to use it here. But when it comes to deciding what you want to do with your life, it's just so damn obvious: You have to find what it is that makes you happy and energized, and it has to be something you want to do every day for hours upon hours. And you might figure that out at the most unexpected moments.

When people find out I started POPSUGAR, I often get asked, "How did you do it?" or "How can I get a cool job like that?" Finding your passion takes time-sometimes a decade or two-and your dream job might not even exist yet. Though I found success at a relatively young age, I could never have done at age twenty-two what I did at twenty-nine. But I want you to be able to find it. I want to help you find your perfect intersection of passion and talent.

I'm not saying I have all the answers. In fact, twenty years ago-even ten years ago-I pretty much had zero answers. People came to me for life advice; I was a good listener, so friends would share their relationship issues or vent about work, and I would do my best to take it all in and come up with sound advice. Based on my long-lasting friendships, I'd say I didn't steer anyone majorly in the wrong direction. But what did I really know then? Of course at the time, I thought I knew a lot, but in reality, I was never the smartest kid in school or the biggest overachiever. I was a slower learner with low reading comprehension and was even tested for learning disabilities. I definitely wasn't a straight-A student, and I didn't go to an Ivy League college. But I worked really hard, at least hard enough to get into George Washington University, which I am still very proud of as a life accomplishment. Yet I didn't know what I wanted "to be when I grew up" until-well, until I was twenty-nine.

And I'm here to tell you, it's totally OK if you don't know yet either.

In high school and college, I was a total night owl-but not because I was pulling all-nighters to study or staying out all night partying. I much preferred sacrificing sleep to watch late-night talk shows or see a double feature. Back then, I felt like I wasn't good at anything except knowing lots of useless information, like who was going to be in what new TV show or which designer worked at which fashion house. I was the friend everyone turned to when they wanted to know what a celebrity was wearing or doing. People would ask me for advice on beauty products, because I always had something new in my purse. And, of course, I killed it in that game Celebrity-everyone wanted me on their team.

But trusted product recommender and professional celebrity-trivia-game player aren't really viable career options, right?

Turns out I was wrong.

I firmly believe that what you find yourself doing in your spare time is the passion you should pursue. Don't decide what you want to do with your life; let your life tell you what your path is. That may sound flippant or too easy. And, frankly, it may take years to even figure out your path, much less get your dream job. The key is knowing how to find the clues.

When I look back on my college years, my early career, and even all the way back to my childhood, I realize there were clues all along the way telling me what to do with my life.

The Unlikely Epiphany

One night in 1997, my boyfriend, Brian (now my husband), came home with a TV pilot he knew I would love. This new show was going to be the next Beverly Hills, 90210, he said. I was a junior in college and I'd never gotten early access to a TV pilot before! But college-dropout Brian had moved to New York to work as "the web guy" at J.Crew's corporate headquarters, and his new employer was dressing the show's cast.

We sat down to watch it that night, and I was not only glued to the screen, I was in tears by the final scene. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for good drama and often shed tears when the writing is intense and the music plays with my emotions. But this time it was different: I was emotional for a whole other reason. At that moment, I had an epiphany. I realized I wanted to work in entertainment. I thought "I want to do that!" I wanted to create content, to decide what would be on TV and when. I didn't know exactly what that job was, I just knew I wanted it.

The show was called Dawson's Creek, and I've been an avid fan of that cast, specifically Joshua Jackson, ever since. Basically, Dawson's Creek changed my life. Sometimes, the most random and unexpected triggers can lead to huge epiphanies, so if you find yourself getting super emotional about something, pay attention.

Personal Passions + Talent = Winning

One thing that's very important-now more than ever-is to remember that it's totally OK not to know. That's the most valuable piece of advice I wish I could give my younger self, especially in my twenties in that after-college uncertainty. It's OK if you don't know what you want to do for a living, or what you want next from your career. It's OK if you aren't sure whether or not you want kids, or even if you don't know what TV show to binge-watch next. It's also OK to change your mind. It's OK if you get accepted into law school and realize after a year that you'd rather work at a nonprofit.

I interview a lot of twentysomethings, and, yes, there are women in their twenties who know exactly what they want to do and are incredibly driven to do it. But they are the minority. Just like those people you hear about who knew at three years old that they wanted to be on a stage or winning gold medals. You think, should I feel like a failure if I don't know this, or if I don't have some incredible talent?

Definitely not. In fact, sometimes people who "know" at an early age still change their minds. So do people who have worked in the same career for twenty years. What matters in your life and what brings you satisfaction can change dramatically over time as your lifestyle evolves, as you master new skills, or as new opportunities present themselves. Especially with the way technology is constantly altering how we live and work, your future dream job might not even be invented yet. As a mother of three girls, I look at my kids and already I'm like, what is their calling? Will they be the star athlete or maybe a musician? A girl who codes or a scientist? Or something entirely new that I can't predict?

Again, it's OK not to know. Your entire life is about figuring that out and you may have many different successful careers. Whether you are fifteen, twenty-five, or thirty-five, don't stress. As long as you are trying new things and adapting to the world at large, there is a place for you. Some people just find their place earlier than others.

As a mom, I try not to drive myself nuts figuring out my kids' talents at such a young age. We overschedule our kids these days to expose them to all sorts of activities and help them to figure out what they are interested in. We're helping develop their brains and bodies, but we are also looking for signs. Are they gifted? Do they have a calling? You know what? Most kids don't have a calling. Like you, they are just trying to figure it out. For most of us, these answers come over time.

It's important to play around and discover what turns you on and what gets you excited, because you should probably learn more about whatever it is. Think about what's on the agenda of your best day ever and let that list govern your decisions. Consider both the topics you are passionate about and the activities and tasks that get you excited-like how I love TV and movies but I also enjoy giving advice. The end goal shouldn't be the job your parents want you to have or the job where you think you'll make the most money. Sure, more money makes life easier, but it isn't the only measure of success. There are plenty of uber-rich people who are absolutely miserable. Your goal should be to create the life that's the most satisfying and rewarding to you. If you focus on working hard and following your passion, you will be a more successful and happier person.

Those Aha Moments

While I was lucky to have a great childhood and a loving family, my parents also taught me at an early age that nothing comes easy, nor should it. My dad made me get a job every summer throughout high school and college, and my parents always stressed the value of hard work, whether at school, in sports, or at a job.

As a kid, I always tried my hardest, and my teachers saw the effort. What came naturally to me was writing, and I was lucky to have teachers who challenged me to be an even better writer, to be more creative. I can still remember stories and papers I wrote, all the way back to grade school and into high school and college. In elementary school, it was a made-up fish universe where I learned that my talent for making up names for new things made my teachers happy. My mind was completely free. The high school story I got the highest grade on was titled-I kid you not-"I Don't Know Yet!" When I finished my neatly typed paper, it was missing only the title. The fact that I didn't overthink it and just handwrote those words at the top made my teacher like it even more! My best college paper? When I compared an episode of The Simpsons to Faust. See what I mean about clues?

I was an avid reader, and I loved escaping into novels. Some days, I wanted to be the next J. D. Salinger or hoped I could write the next big coming-of-age novel. Yet I felt that was a dreamer's paradise. I never thought writing could be a real career. Plus, I was surrounded by people who seemed to have it all figured out: lawyers, doctors, and my super-smart brother. He excelled at math and science, and I knew I wasn't even going to come close there. My BFF is an artist and was even sent to a special school early on to harness that skill. (She's now a talented creative director.)

Me, I just felt lost. I struggled with reading comprehension and was unable to grasp a foreign language (despite really wanting to, even to this day). Once I became interested in psychology, I finally felt like I'd found something that could lead to a career.

Enlightening Yourself

I can't tell you what the perfect intersection of your strengths and passions is. But I can tell you what to look for to find it.

An obvious but incredibly helpful place to start is by taking a personality test, like Myers-Briggs or DISC or one of hundreds of others that are super easy to find and take online. Even if you think you know everything about yourself, the results will help you think about your talents and interests in new ways. These tests are a great way to expand your thinking and uncover not just the topics that interest you but also the tasks, skills, and activities that make you feel energized.

Also, learn how to take a compliment. When people are saying "thank you" or pointing out how awesome you are at something, take note. It could be that you're good at listening, giving advice, prepping a friend for a job interview, or even being an awesome shopping buddy. Maybe you're persuasive or super organized or good at solving problems. Whatever it is, if you enjoyed spending your time doing this thing someone thinks you are good at, you might be able to turn that strength into a career. Find inspiration in yourself by taking cues from your daily conversations and actions.

Remember your reasons for getting out of bed. Combine your motivation for getting up in the morning with those compliments you're getting to make the blueprint for creating your ultimate dream job. You probably won't get that exact job right away, but you can start by taking baby steps and by getting experience in the industry you want to pursue.

Also, experiment and try new things. As I've said before, I believe that what you find yourself doing in your spare time can help you find your passion. But that might mean experimenting more with how you spend your spare time and pushing yourself to try something outside your comfort zone. Volunteering can be a great way to discover new skills that you enjoy, as can taking classes. Attend talks and panels by business leaders and see what and who gets you most excited and inspired. Read articles about people and companies, take photos of things that inspire you, and file them away in one spot you can return to.

Keep a journal. Every day (or week or at least month), jot down what made you happy, what you didn't like, or what you got complimented on. Think about what made you happy at work, at school, or outside of work. (You never know who is going to drop out of corporate law to be your next SoulCycle instructor.) Sometimes, it takes a while to acknowledge or recognize what truly makes us happy, but by writing this stuff down, you can read back on it later, notice the patterns, and try to draw conclusions.

Think back to your childhood and try to remember the moments that brought you joy, the things you were obsessed with, and try to figure out what it was about those things that made you so happy. For me, it was soccer, entertainment, and writing. But it could be anything for you!

Then find a way to test out those passions in the real world. Internships and entry-level jobs are valuable for so many reasons. The most obvious benefit is having experience to add to your rŽsumŽ, but equally important is getting a sense of what it's actually like to work in that industry. You may have your heart set on working in a certain field, only to discover that the work culture doesn't suit you at all or that it doesn't allow for the lifestyle you ultimately want to live. A friend of mine from college was so excited about breaking into the fashion industry, she was willing to do pretty much any task required of her: taking notes for the CEO, fetching coffee, even getting on her knees to clean out a fridge. But in her second gig, after being hit on several times and feeling super uncomfortable, she was strong enough to GTF out. The experience made her realize that as much as she loved fashion, this was not the world she wanted to give her all to, and she found other jobs where she was more appreciated for her mind and her hard work.

Table of Contents

Timeline ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Find Your Passion 11

Chapter 2 Embarking on Adulthood 31

Chapter 3 Just Do It 57

Chapter 4 Work Hard, Play Nice 75

Chapter 5 Major in Your Health 95

Chapter 6 Moving Past the Crappy Stuff 113

Chapter 7 Don't Go It Alone 133

Chapter 8 Your Personal All-Star Team 153

Chapter 9 A Word on Looks 173

Chapter 10 The Work/Life Blend 197

Epilogue 227

Acknowledgments 233

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