I have something a bit different for you today. I've been so excited to share this! I recently had the chance to interview Mo Seetubtim, the founder of my favourite daily journal, The Happiness Planner. While it's very much a work in progress with me, I'm learning more about how the thoughts you have affect your reality and how negative thinking really doesn't help anyone. This planner is a way to organise your life, make all the lists you need to (it's perfect for list addicts like myself) but focus your tasks in a way that promotes your overall happiness.
There's a page for each day which is divided into sections such as exercise, meals and schedule, so it's already a lot more structured than a regular notebook. What makes this so unique though is that there are also boxes for 'what I'm excited for today' or 'things I am grateful for today' which work to train your mindset to see the positive in what may seem like everyday, mundane tasks. You reflect on each month, noting down your mood, the good things that happened, the bad things that happened and what you learnt, before looking forward to the next month and writing down work and personal goals. I found this part particularly interesting for me because I sometimes forget how much can happen in one month so it's something that can really lift my mood if I'm feeling a bit unsure about where things are going in my life.
That's all I'm going to say about it though because if you end up ordering one, I want you to be as excited as I was when I first opened the wonderfully packaged box. It really is a treat to yourself and if it changes your whole outlook on life for the year, you can't really put a price on that, can you? So without further ado, I asked Mo some of my most burning questions about happiness and about turning her passion into a career, so read below to find out her answers.
1. I absolutely love my Happiness Planner! How did the idea come about and why should people be incorporating one into their daily lives?
I have an inspirational blog called Brandmentalist - which I started a few years ago. In 2015, it reached a point where my articles were getting published on The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Addicted2Success and I received a lot of emails from my readers everyday saying how inspirational my blog was to them. So I decided to ask my readers when they subscribed to my mailing list, "If I could write about one thing that makes your day, what should I write about?". A lot of them replied and said they wanted to learn about how they could be more positive and happier. So I thought... oh there are a lot of books out there on this topic. However, it is not something that you can magically change overnight. It's something you have to practice over and over until your mind is trained. I tried to think of an idea for something that could be integrated into people's lives and could help them train their mind and shift their focus to the positives - something that people are proud of to carry and use. So I gave birth to the idea of The Happiness Planner - a beautiful journal/planner that is inspiring and can help people change the way they look at things and the way they live their lives to be more positive and filled with passion and joy.
2. Do you have any tips for twenty-something women managing stress and planning for the future?
I remember those days when we try to figure out who we are and what we should do with our lives. I think we need to realize that everything will be okay. We can try different things, make mistakes, and move on. It's not that bad. Mistakes actually teach us a lot. If you can see mistakes and failures as valuable experiences, you can reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that you may have about the future a lot.
As for planning for the future, what I find useful is making a list of things you want to achieve from the top down - from in 20 years' time, to in 10 years' time, in 5 years' time, and to one year's time. This can help you streamline your action plans and list down your bucket list. I have to say that everything I ever dreamed of achieving - I wrote those things down - and I am slowly ticking them off one by one. It's great to re-write this list every year and re-visit it often in order to keep ourselves inspired and motivated.
3. On your website it says you grew up reading a lot of self-help books. For those who aren’t familiar with this genre, what’s a good one to start with?
I love Stephen R. Covey's book - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Andrew Matthews' Happiness books - very easy to read, thought provoking, and inspiring. I also love psychology textbooks. Please also check out Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Louise Hay, Brene Brown, and Elizabeth Gilbert's books. Mark Manson's blog and Raptitude blog are also very inspiring.
4. I love sharing new beauty products with my readers. What does your beauty routine consist of?
I am actually quite low maintenance. I use Cetaphil facial cleanser. For moisturiser/serum, I like Etude's collagen cream and Estee Lauder's night repair serum. For eye cream, I like la Prairie, the Bodyshop's vitamin C eye roll-on, and Avance roll-on. I try to wash my face before working out and right after the gym session. Eating an apple a day can also help clear your skin.
5. How did you go about turning your passion into a business and how would you recommend someone else do the same?
When I was in high school, a DJ friend said to me "If you can turn your passion into a career, you'll never have to feel like you have a work a day in your life." Since then I had been intentional about this - finding what true passions were and finding ways to turn my passion into a career. I believe that we all have several interests and passions. It can be hard to determine which passion of ours we should turn into a career. I tried all of them. I tried teaching the piano, promoting music events/festivals, working in an advertising agency, and joining a tech startup. I think the process of trials and errors is necessary for us to learn about ourselves, to gain momentum and confidence in life, and to grow as an adult. Although, I am doing something different now, I did learn a lot in those jobs and what I learned has been very helpful to me in my current venture, The Happiness Planner.
My advice is follow your intuition. I tried turning all of my passions into a career - one by one. There was a "but" in all of them until I found The Happiness Planner. All of the projects started off with excitement, energy, and passion. But then there were always obstacles which led me to trying something different. You will face this. Just go along with it. Don't force life. Follow the path that life forces you to go. At the time, it may feel like rejection and disappointment. But the truth is every rejection and disappointment points you to a different direction in life. Make sure that that different direction in life is something that you're passionate about and that it aligns with your core values. When things don't work out with one passion, you are about to get one step closer to another passion which could turn out to be your dream job and your business. You have to really listen to your heart and your intuition in this. When you've found that job, you will wake up everyday feeling inspired and that you have found the meaning of life.
Thank you so much to Mo for answering my questions. Every time I read these answers I feel so inspired! If you want to make a start on a more positive lifestyle, order your own Happiness Planner here.
So tell me. What makes you happy?