50 Transcript: Join the Kindness Challenge (with Shaunti Feldhahn)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 50.

S: And it turns out that whether you thrive, you know, in your life, whether you're thriving in your relationships, it is far more correlated to how you treat other people than how you yourself are treated.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey there, Jen Riday here, and welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm so glad you're here. And on our last episode, I spoke with Sophie Sabbage about her cancer story and I love how Sophie shared that she has cancer, but cancer doesn't have her; it was really empowering. And no matter what difficulty you face, there are choices to be made based on, you know, how you're going to behave, what your attitudes going to be, whether you're going to allow that difficulty to transform you or sink you and Sophie is a beautiful example of allowing a hard time to transform her and make her better. Today, I'll be talking with Shaunti Feldhahn all about kindness, and she tells us about the 30 day kindness challenge. Now, this was a big one for me, it's something I really needed to do with one of my kids and probably with a lot of people. I think we can fall in the habits where we forget or don't really notice these things were doing, but I've been doing the kindness challenge since I recorded the interview a couple of weeks ago and it is really eye-opening; I would highly encourage you to do it. So listen to this episode and hear what it's about. And if you're planning to start, join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group where I think we can do this together. I think I'll start again; I did have a relapse the other day, but let's start again. So Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group and we can spur each other on and be kinder; why not? Because the world needs love; love, sweet love. Alright, let's go ahead and jump into this amazing interview.

I'm talking with Shaunti Feldhahn today and Shaunti received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher and best-selling author. Today, she investigates eye-opening life-changing truths about relationships. Her groundbreaking books have sold more than 2 million copies in 23 languages. Her newest book, ‘The Kindness Challenge’, is sparking an international movement of intentional kindness called ‘The 30-day Kindness Challenge’. Shaunti and her family live in Atlanta. Welcome to the show, Shaunti.

S: Great to be with you.

J: So let's hear your favorite quote and then we'll jump into your low point.

S: Oh gosh, you know, my favorite quote is actually from the Bible, it's… there's a passage that the Apostle Paul, you know, 2000 years ago wrote to this ancient church in the city of Philippi and he was talking about there's a lot of controversy, there was a lot of persecution of people of faith at that time and he was actually in prison while he was writing it, and he was telling them to rejoice in all things. And you could find this in Philippians 4 in the Bible, and he was saying, you know, “Rejoice in everything.” And of course, I look at that I'm like, “Dude, you're in prison.”


S: “How do you rejoice when you're in a prison?” or, “How do you rejoice when you're, you know, in a difficult marriage or in a difficult situation at work? Like, what does it look like?” And the answer, the prescription (and I love this verse) it's out of Philippians 4 verse 8 where it says, “Okay, here's what you do.” Basically it says one final sort of, “Here’s the prescription; you fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable, and you think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” And I just love that because that's really the prescription, right? It's all about what we allow ourselves to focus on.

J: Hmm, I really love that. And I love how you said, “Dude, you're in prison.”


S: Exactly. We think we got trouble. (Laughs)

J: Yeah.

S: You know, yeah.

J: Well, Shaunti, take us to your low point and share how you've applied this way of thinking in your own life and it will kind of paint a picture for us so we know how to do it ourselves.

S: Yeah, actually, you know, interesting, the low point of my life came as a child. I actually was the kid that nobody liked. And I grew up in a, you know, wonderful loving home, but there were some issues that our family was dealing with; we had had a big family tragedy and my parents were, you know, pretty kind of engrossed dealing with that and I'm not sure just… you know, didn't know how to guide me through, “What do you… how do you get out of it?” And I didn't know how to make friends. I was an extroverted kid, I didn't know how to make friends.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And it's interesting, that process as a child was something that's so shaped me over the years. I had to learn how to become that sort of extroverted happy friendly person that I really wanted to be.

J: So before you learned this, you were extroverted, but what do you think was holding your back? You weren't happy enough or…?

S: Well, it's honestly it's kind of funny, it's sort of, of course, totally embarrassing and mortifying to talk about.

J: (Laughs)

S: I was so confused by why drawing attention to myself wouldn't make people like me. (Laughs)

J: Ah, gotcha; I have a child like that. (Laughs)

S: Yes, it was… I was so confused. I'm like, “Look, center of attention!” you know, and that didn't work. And it wasn't until… actually, believe it or not, it wasn't till I was 13 years old and my grandfather (you're going to laugh) gave me a copy of Dale Carnegie's book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’.


J: Funny, I love it.


S: And I read this book and was shocked about the perception of, “Wow, if you want people to like you, you ask them about them. You don't talk about yourself, you focus, sincerely focused on the other person and try to learn all you can about them and they'll think you're a wonderful conversationalist.”

J: Oh yeah.

S: Yeah, it was a really important turning point for me; which thankfully happened to middle school so I had enough runway to be able to learn how to apply it.

J: So what advice would you give to anyone else who's struggling with something similar, but they're an adult? (Laughs)

S: You know, to be candid, that's… first of all, I would totally suggest you read that book.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Because ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, there's a reason it's a classic, right? But the perception that Carnegie had is really profound and it's something that all of us can learn from, no matter what age; which is, it's true, it's so easy in our natural tendency to focus on ourselves. I mean, I think we all have that seed of selfishness inside; I know I do.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And it's so easy to be thinking about me and what I want from this interaction. And if I'm meeting people at a cocktail party, “Okay, what can I get out of this?” and, “Ooh, I have to meet that person and that person, and while I'm talking to you, I'm kind of halfway looking over your shoulder.” (Laughs)

J: Oh yeah; guilty. (Laughs)

S: Yeah, and a lot of us are. And, yet it's astounding what happens when you stop thinking about your own advantage and you truly, sincerely focus on that other person and getting to know them and finding out, “What is special about you (not about me, what's special about you)? What's your life like?” you know, “What's your business? What's your specialty? If you're, you know… maybe it's not in business, maybe you're, you know, somebody who's still in school, you know, what… what is it at that are your dreams? Tell me about your family?” and not having to talk about yourself, they will come away feeling so special and so cared for and think, “Wow, she's really astute.”


S: Have them talk to you about themselves.

J: That's so smart because I was just talking to someone who said he likes to pretend he's interviewing the other person and they always think he's the most amazing conversationalist.


S: Exactly.

J: Well, Shaunti, tell us more about something that's exciting you today or how you're living a vibrant and happy life?

S: Well, the thing that I've been super excited about recently is, I'm a researcher, as you said at the beginning, and I do a lot of social research projects which is essentially just an excuse for me to turn to the stranger I'm sitting next to me on an airplane and ask them all sorts of questions. (Laughs)

J: Ooh.

S: (unclear) [08:40]… and I've been doing this for years. And I did a big study a number of years ago to help women understand men….

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … for my book, ‘For Women Only’. And ever since that time, which was now 12 years ago (which is crazy), I've done now these 8 big national studies. And I realized a couple years ago that there was a really, really important thread running through all of them that I wanted to follow up on. And that's what's really exciting me right now is the thread that was running through all of these which I tested in this latest study is really all about what makes us thrive in our life and relationships. And it turns out that whether you thrive, you know, in your life, whether you're thriving in your relationships, it is far more correlated to how you treat other people than how you yourself retreated.

J: Wow.

S: And when you think about that and it is so true, everybody listening to me… this knows, “That is so true,” and yet, we don't live that way, right? We tend to… you know, when we're not being treated very well, we tend to get the head wag on and we're like, “No, no, you don't!” you know? And instead, it's kind of back to what I was saying at the beginning, come to think of it, it's truly about, “No, how can I be kind to this other person?” So the project that I'm working on right now that is totally exciting me is this movement, ‘The 30 day kindness challenge’, which is what we tested on the surveys for this book; the book is called ‘The Kindness Challenge’. And we tested this on all the surveys and have really proven that it is one of the simplest, easiest, and yet most impactful ways that you can improve your life and improve your relationships; so I'm super excited about this.

J: So ‘30 day kindness challenge’, tell us more about that. Do we have a step of something to do every day or…?

S: Sort of; so here's what we… here’s what we tell people. So pick somebody that you want a better relationship with and…

J: Oh boy. (Laughs)

S: Yeah. But here's the thing, it has to be one person. Like, you can't do this broadly or it doesn't work; it has to be one person.

J: Oh my goodness.

S: Yeah.


J: I’m so scared because I know I have to do this. (Laughs)

S: Yeah. So here’s what you’re going to do. So maybe it's your significant other, right, like maybe it's house or your boyfriend, your girlfriend, and or maybe you're in a difficult season in your relationship with your spouse, or maybe you've got a good relationship, you just want to make it better, or maybe it's your child; like I'm doing this right now for my 16 year old daughter.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Because she's a great kid, but she's 16 and she can roll her eyes with the best of them.

J: (Laughs)

S: And my head wants to explode and so I'm doing ‘The 30 day kindness challenge’ for her. Maybe it's your mother-in-law right or…

J: Oh boy. (Laughs)

S: … the colleague that drives you bananas, but you really need a good relationship with them. So you pick whoever it is, just pick that one person, and for 30 days, you do 3 things. First, you say nothing negative about that person.

J: Oh my goodness. (Laughs)

S: Either… and here’s… here’s the kicker; alright, are you ready for this? You don't say anything negative either to them or about them to somebody else.

J: Oh my goodness. (Laughs)

S: I know. And if you think about it, that last little bit about not just to them, but about them…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: … that's often where we sabotage our relationships. We don't realize that that's what we’re doing, but I can be very… you know, if I'm in a difficult season with my husband and I can be very maybe polite to him, but if I go to work and I complain to my girlfriends at work…

J: Mm-hmm.

S: “Ugh, he's not helping with the chores and I have to do everything and (screams),” I don't realize it, but I am actually sabotaging how I feel about him in the relationship. Those issues are very real and they're there, but they don't need any help to be sabotaged, right?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And I also training myself without realizing it to be an unkind person. So that's the first thing is say nothing negative; and this is a… remember, this is just for 30 days.

J: Oh, whew.

S: The second thing for 30 days is to find one thing that you can sincerely praise, that you can sincerely affirm about that person and you tell them and you tell somebody else. So I can't complain to my husband that he didn't help with the chores or whatever it is, but I'm looking for things to praise now. And I notice, “You know, he did come home from work early, you know, to take the kids to soccer or whatever it is,” and so I tell him, “Thank you for doing that.” And then when I go to my girlfriend's at work, I say, “You know what he did yesterday? He came home early to take the kids to soccer.” And I… and it's back… back to that my favorite phrase, my favorite first that we talked about earlier, which is, your thinking on and focusing on those things that are lovely and excellent and worthy of praise, rather than the things that are worthy of driving you crazy.

J: Yeah.

S: Then the third thing every day for 30 days is just to do one small action of kindness or generosity. You know, maybe it's not my husband, maybe it's my stepmom and I… you know, she means 15 minutes on the phone with me about something and I really do not want to give her that 15 minutes, I don't want to take that time, but I give that to her anyway. She needs to talk about something, I give her that 15 minutes; it's just a little action of generosity. Whatever that is with whoever that person is, you do those 3 things for 30 days, we found that 89% of relationships improved.

J: Oh, wow. So you're doing those 3 things every day?

S: Yes. And let me tell you, we already think we kind of are kind, right? We already think we are kind people; you have no idea until you pick one person and you are not allowed to say anything negative to them, you would never realize how often you say something negative. (Laughs)

J: Oh my goodness.

S: It’s a model that it's crazy.

J: This is like… this is all in; I can tell, this is all in. And it's kindness training, and who would have thought you could even do that? I kind of assumed people were either born kind or they weren't.

S: Oh, no, no. Actually, you know what's interesting is… and this is one of the things that I had to really grapple with, is that all of us, I think pretty much everybody listening to this, wants to be kind, right? Like, I can't imagine you have very many listeners who are like, “Oh, no, I think I'll be a mean, cruel, awful, abusive person today,” you know?

J: (Laughs). Mm-hmm.

S: Everybody wants to be a kind person, we just don't realize how often, without realizing it, that there's this blind spot that we have that we're actually unkind a lot and we don't… wouldn't want to, we don't recognize it. And so this is basically this boot-camp to train you to be the kind person that you already kind of think you are and that you certainly want to be. And the biggest blind spot that we have to sort of, I guess, get rid of, uncover, whatever the word is that you want to use, is this idea of how often were unkind and negative without realizing it.

J: Wow, this is crazy, because I'm sitting here thinking, “But…” I'm trying to form excuses in my mind, okay? And this…


J: This is the first one that came up, “But I'm super busy and stressed,” that's an excuse, right? So what do you say about that?

S: I'm… I’m raising my hand.

J: (Laughs)

S: You know, I’m right there with you. I'm seriously like, “You know, I've got to leave in half an hour to go to another speaking engagement,” and, “Oh, by the way, a friend is going to have to pick up my kids from school.” Like I'm, you know…

J: Yeah.

S: Everybody's running around like crazy people.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: But it's not an excuse because, if we truly want to be those people of kindness, it's just like the idea that love is supposed to be unconditional, so is kindness really; is that if you are only kind when someone deserves it, well, you're not a kind person. And being stressed and busy is certainly an excuse in terms of how easy it is to forget about it, but it's not… it's no excuse to say, “Okay, well, I'm allowed to be a mean person now because I'm stressed for this half an hour.” And truly, honestly, it is a profound shift in our minds once we actually take a look at how little time this takes and how simple this is and realize… you know, I have wasted so many years of my life because I had this idea that something, you know, an initiative like this or something would take a lot of time, a lot of emotional energy, and it doesn't, it just requires resetting a few habits.

J: Hmm. So those, again, were say nothing negative about the person or to them…

S: Mm-hmm.

J: … find one thing that you can sincerely praise about them and tell them and somebody else, and then one small action of kindness or generosity; wow.

S: Yeah.

J: So do you have a place where we can learn more about the challenge or is there a place to sign up to participate?

S: Yes, thank you for asking (Laughs); there is. There's actually 2 things that I would strongly recommend. The first is to actually commit to this and to sign up for it. And when I say sign up, you don't have to; obviously, you could just take what we've talked about and do it. But if you sign up it jointhekindnesschallenge.com, it's all free, but the system is going to send you reminder emails every day.

J: Oh yeah.

S: It's kind of that help in the journey where I've had so many… as I talked to women's conferences and whatever about ‘The 30 day kindness challenge’, I always have people who've been doing it and they come up to me they're like, “Okay, I had to commit and I had to do this with a few girlfriends.”

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Because, you know, you get to day 4 and you're like, “I'm going to kill ‘em! I'm going to kill him ‘em! I’m going to kill ‘em!”


S: And you need somebody who can talk you out of your tree, right?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so that's a little bit doing it in a journey together with other people is a big deal. Getting the commitment and getting those reminder emails and the tips and the daily hints and the ‘What do you do if?’s; you know, all that kind of stuff is going to come. It's very short little emails, but it's super helpful. The other thing, by the way, that's on the same system (again, it's all free), is you can actually do online assessments where you can get a sense for where you starting, like we call it your kindness quotient; like how kind actually are you? (Laughs)

J: Wow, wow, I’m so scared; I’m so scared. (Laughs)

S: That’s the first thing; so the first tool. And the second one actually is, what I have found is that, it is not enough to be told, “Okay, don't be negative,” because you don't realize the ways you are negative; because, again it's a blind spot, right?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And so we have the whole… if you look at the book, it's called ‘The Kindness Challenge’, we have really specific… what came out of the research is real specific lists that you can check off, it's check… check lists where you can see, “Here's the stuff that I am dealing with.” And I'll (Laughs)… and I’ll give you an example if you don't mind.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And I can't believe I'm confessing this to you and all of my closest friends who are listening to this, but…

J: (Laughs)

S: … I realized as I was starting this research process, I honestly thought that I wasn't going to have to worry about the negativity piece of this.

J: Oh.

S: Like, I thought I was already very positive. I thought, “You know, I need to work on 2 and 3, but number 1 I got down. Like, I'm a glass-half-full kind of girl, you know, I'm not a pessimist.” And… and it wasn't until I started cataloging, it turns out there's 7 types of negativity. And I realized, as I looked at them coming back, I realized I'm negative every day, because one of the types of negativity is exasperation.

J: Oh boy. (Laughs)

S: And I get exasperated with my kids all the stinking time because… and I don't realize it. But when I… like my son worked on something, you know, homework or whatever and he forgets to turn it in, and I'm like, “Buddy, come on! You know, we worked on this!” and, you know, I'm frustrated because I spent an hour on it and he's forgot to turn it in and I'm… I'm really irritated; I'm exasperated. I don't realize that when my voice rises like that and I have that tone or that look, unfortunately, what I'm saying is, “You're an idiot.” (Laughs)

J: (Gasps) Oh, wow.

S: I can’t say those words out loud to my sweet 14-year-old son, but that's what I'm saying. So I really encourage people look at the checklists, what is it… everybody has a different type of negativity. We identified 10 different things that we all want to give praise and affirmation and there's 10 different things that sometimes get in the way of that, what are the ones that tend to get in your way? Because once you know yours (everybody has at least one of them) then you can work on removing it.

J: And those lists are in your book, ‘The Kindness Challenge’?

S: The checklists are in the book. Now, you may not think that, you know, something applies to you, look at the checklist and it's basically different quotes like, “Is this me? Is this something I think? Is this something I say?”

J: Oh boy. (Laughs)

S: And you can very specifically diagnose what you need to work on, yeah.

J: Okay, well, you're changing my life; I can already tell. So, everyone, do sign up; I'm going to be signing up. You can join me vicariously or out there wherever we are on the podcast airwaves. So it's jointhekindnesschallenge.com.

S: Yep.

J: And then Shaunti’s book is called ‘The Kindness Challenge’, so I'm going to definitely do both.

S: Oh good! (Laughs)

J: Yes. So you mentioned in that first step, I just have to clarify one thing, you said you can't say anything negative about the person or to them. So if you're feeling exasperated or a negative…

S: Mm-hmm.

J: … is that okay? (Laughs)

S: Well, yeah, I mean we all have our feelings, right?

J: Yeah.

S: I mean, we're going to… don't get me wrong, the reason sometimes a relationship needs to be improved, kind of by definition, is there's something troubling going on, right?

J: Mm-hmm.

S: Like, you're feeling exasperated or frustrated for a reason; it's not like you've made it up, right, it's a very real thing. What we don't realize though is how often what we focus on changes how we feel.

J: Mm.

S: And here's the reality; just think with me for a minute. Suppose you're irritated with your husband or your irritated with your mother-in-law or that colleague, if you tell that person you're irritated and frustrated, you know, because they didn't do something right or something was frustrating or whatever, if you tell them you're irritated and you tell your girlfriend's you're irritated, are you going to be more or less irritated.

J: Hmm, oh my goodness. So… (Laughs)

S: Everybody knows the answer to that, right? But now think about it, just… just think, you know, the next step. Now, suppose you're frustrated and it's very real, you're exasperated, but you refuse to talk about that (again, remember, we're just talking 30 days here) and you don't talk about that and you don't complain about it, and instead, you find something that is also sincerely real, worth affirming, and you talk about that and you tell them that and you tell somebody else about that wonderful thing that they did or the way they are or whatever, are you going to be more or less irritated?

J: Mm-hmm, yes.

S: Everybody knows the answer.

J: Mm-hmm. And have you found any correlations between, you know, doing these things and people's happiness?

S: Very much so actually, it's really interesting. There's actually been multiple scientific studies about this. There's actually… this kind of cracked me up. There was actually a study done by a number of Plastic Surgeons a few years ago…

J: (Laughs)

S: … because they were convinced that Botox have some chemical component in it that treated depression.

J: Ah.

S: Because all these Botox patients, you know, you get a little shot in your forehead to smooth out your face.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And, you know, all these Botox patients were saying suddenly they felt positive and happy and their depression went away. And they thought, “Well, of course, you know, they just feel prettier or they feel more attractive so they… their depression goes away,” and they studied it and no, there was no correlation. So what was it? And they realized the Botox paralyzes the frown muscles.

J: Oh!

S: These people couldn't make negative facial expressions so they felt better, they felt more positive. And I'm like, “Oh my gosh, you can skip the shot to the forehead and just do this for 30 days and it'll have the same impact.”

J: Wow, that is mind-blowing.

S: Isn’t it?

J: Paralyzing the frown muscles. I've heard the study of where they put a pencil in someone's mouth which forces them to smile and they felt happier, but…

S: Yeah.

J: … this sounds easier. I don't want to walk around with a pencil.


S: It’s a lot way easier. Well, and, you know what? This is the bottom line that we found the arc that people went through when they were trying ‘The 30 day kindness challenge’. Because the beginning, the first couple of days, you know, I say it's… it's easy, I say it's simple (and it is super simple), but the first couple of days, it is very eye-opening. I mean, it is very much a, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh, I had no idea!” You know, like I would have thought that I praised my husband or my daughter at least, you know, 2 or 3 times a day, and then I realized, “Oh my word, it’s more like 2 or 3 times a week, like no wonder we're having difficulty in the relationship.” And so the first couple of days is pretty challenging because it's pretty convicting.

J: Mm-hmm.

S: And then the first couple of weeks, you're practicing this new skill you're learning, you're developing a competence at kindness. And then the next 2 weeks, the final 2 weeks, are developing that, you're good at it now, you’re just develop developing it into a habit. So, yeah, you know, the pencil thing like you mentioned or the Botox, that’s more simple; this does take… it does take that 30 days of being mindful about it. But the good news is that it's permanent.

J: Oh yeah?

S: You know, it doesn't go away.

J: Really?

S: Yeah, Botox goes away after about 6 weeks. No, this is… this is something you have permanently opened your eyes. Once you've opened your eyes to, for example, for me, how exasperated I get with my kids all too often and, oh by the way, now that I can't be exasperated to my 16-year-old daughter, I realize how exasperated I am to my staff and to my husband and to my in-laws.

J: Oh.

S: You know, and once you've had your eyes open to that, you can't go back to being blind, right? It's permanent; you know.

J: Oh goodness, this is a big one. Okay, well, everyone, join me…


J: Join me for the Join The Kindness Challenge at jointhekindnesschallenge.com. And so, one last thing. So you're not saying anything negative about them or to them, let's say in your marriage though you do need to talk something through…

S: Oh yeah.

J: … how do you do it? (Laughs)

S: Well, put it this way, best way of framing it is to say that, if there's something that absolutely has to be addressed, and when I say have to be addressed, I mean like you're a parent who has to correct a child, like you can't… they can't get away with stuff for 30 days, right?

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

S: Or you're a boss who has to correct an employee’s mistakes, that is often very different from a spouse relationship where you… one of the things your eyes may be open to is that you correct your husband or you correct your wife all the time. Like, “Honey, the dishes don't go in the dishwasher that way,” you're like, “Let me show you because, you know, they go in this way.” And you… you realize, “Oh my gosh, I do that all the time. And is it really that my way is right and his way is wrong or is it just a difference of opinion?” And so often, much of what we're saying has to be dealt with really is something that can wait for 30 days because you're retraining there habit.

J: Okay.

S: But that said, of course there's going to be issues that come up that really truly do have to be addressed. And if that's the case, whether it's a spouse or a child or colleague whatever, is to make sure that, no matter what, you're doing it in a very calm, constructive, encouraging tone, not negatively; so you're not saying anything negatively, no matter what.

J: Okay, that's great advice. Well, let's talk about your favorite things really quick and then we'll say goodbye and I'm going to head over and sign up right now. (Laughs)

S: Aww. (Laughs)

J: So I'm excited. Well, this is great. I mean, what great research you’re doing. It's actually changing people's lives; I think that's amazing. Well, okay, Shaunti, your favorite habit that contributes to your success.

S: You know, I think my favorite habit, I was thinking about this and there's probably 2 things; one of them I don't do very well, but I know it's a big deal is, I really need to make sure that I have time for myself in prayer. Because, you know, I know myself, I'm a pretty selfish person. I'm sitting here talking about all this relationship stuff, I need to be able to live what I talk about, I need to be able to walk the talk, and I know I can't do that; in my personal beliefs, I cannot do that without God.

J: Okay.

S: And so I need that time in order to get recharged and sort of sent out to be able to (Laughs)… to be able to actually do what I tell people to do.


S: But the other thing that to me is super important for any… really anybody, but especially any woman (I think today, we're all so super busy and so stretched), is we have to be willing to prioritize what is most important. So, for me, I may have a bazillion deadlines, I may have people depending on me, you know, I may have clients that are knocking down my door, and at some point, I have to be willing to say, “I'm only going to have my kids for a short period of time. I'm only going to…” you know, I don't have that many hours every week with my husband, I have to be willing to say, “No matter what, they have to come first .”

J: Mm-hmm.

S: It's… obviously we all know it's easier said than done, but it has to be done.

J: Mm-hmm. And your favorite easy meal.

S: My (Laughs)… my favorite easy meal is… you're going to laugh at this. It's actually salmon. (Laughs)

J: Mm, very good.

S: You buy…here’s… you buy a fillet of salmon from Costco for the family, you pour a cup of mayonnaise and a little bit of dill in a bowl and you mix them together, you slather the dill mayonnaise on top of the salmon and you cook it; how easy is that?

J: Yum, okay, I'll try that. And your favorite kitchen gadget.

S: My favorite kitchen gadget has to be… it has to be my nutribullet.

J: Oh. So do you make shakes in it?

S: Yes, we make a lot of shakes, we make a lot of smoothies. And for my son who needs to be growing like a weed at this point because he's a 14 year old, make a lot of protein shakes.

J: Okay.

S: And it's super easy, yep.

J: And your favorite book.

S: My favorite book. You know what? I should have thought about that one ahead of time. It's probably ‘Lord of the Rings’.

J: Oh, me too! I love that. (Laughs)

S: No kidding! Yeah! No, I like adventure stories. I think I… it's got to be ‘Lord of the Rings’.

J: Great, I love that. Okay, and your best advice you've ever received.

S: The best advice I have received was actually what I talked about at the very beginning of the show which is truly… which is to focus on others very sincerely when you're with others, rather than what you most want to say.

J: Okay, so the Dale Carnegie book from your grandpa; okay. And then finally, we always end our show with a happiness formula and a challenge to our listeners. So if you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of actions that maximize your happiness, what would that include?

S: Oh, it's going to be ‘The 30 day kind of challenge’.

J: Oh, the 3 steps of course.

S: Absolutely. I would not have known how to answer that 3 years ago, but now that I spent $50,000 on the research for this…


S: … I can tell you, that is what's going to maximize your happiness; yes.

J: Ah, that's great. And then a challenge to our listeners.

S: You know, the challenge to the listeners is, each one of you right now, you know someone you're supposed to do the 30 day kindness challenge for. Everybody listening to this has that name in their mind. And honestly, the minute that you turn off this podcast, don't delay. Go to jointhekindnesschallenge.com to sign up or if you don't want to sign up, call a girlfriend, call a friend and say, “There's this 3 part thing, I feel like I'm supposed to do it, would you do it with me?” because, you know, it's always better to do it together. But don't delay, don't wait another half an hour, make that commitment because you know what? It is not just the best gift you're going to give the relationship, it's the best gift you're going to give yourself; it's going to change your life.

J: Hmm. Well, we'll leave it right there. Thank you so much for being on the show, Shaunti. And I'll remind the listeners that we'll have links to that challenge in case you, you know, leave and can't remember what the link is, it will be on the show notes page at jenriday.com/50. We’ll also have Shaunti's book there, ‘The Kindness Challenge’; and, again, that's at jenriday.com/50. Thank you for being on the show, Shaunti.

S: Absolutely, Jen, thanks so much.

J: Take care.

S: You too!

J: I hope you're in for ‘The 30 day kindness challenge’, and you can sign up by going to jointhekindnesschallenge.com and then come on over to the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group where we're going to talk about this a little this week and where we can support each other. It's not easy to change a habit like that, but 30 days of being kind, no negativity and doing kind things for others, I think will make all the difference; and I can't wait to discuss this in Vibrant Happy Women. I will see you there and I'll also be back on Thursday with a happy bit. So until, then make it an amazing week, and don't forget to be kind. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.