The Art of Living Your Best Life: Inspiring Ideas from a WSJ Best-Selling Author & Motivational Speaker – Jarastyle

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When we look for inspiration, we can find it everywhere, from books and podcasts to movies, TV shows, and even social media. That said, during a recent scroll through TikTok, an enlightening viral video popped up on my feed featuring an empowering female speaker named Laura Gassner Otting.

Without knowing much about her background then (although I later learned she’s a highly accomplished leader, best-selling author, and TEDx speaker), I was quickly entranced by her words of wisdom. In the video, she spoke about the importance of being mindful about who you surround yourself with, as it influences your entire life – from your mindset and outlook to your beliefs, behaviors, and habits. I instantly resonated with everything she was saying, so naturally, I felt compelled to reach out to her to learn more.

Because I love discovering (and of course, sharing) motivational advice from leaders in various fields (especially those who lead with authenticity and a desire to make positive changes in people’s lives), today’s Q&A dives into the motivating mind of Laura Gassner Otting. Read on to learn her inspiring ideas and practical strategies to become limitless, create a fulfilling life and career path, and live your best life.

The Art of Living Your Best Life: Inspiring Ideas from a WSJ Best-Selling Author & TED Speaker - Image courtesy of Laura Gassner Otting

About Laura Gassner Otting

Laura’s secret superpower is seeing your greatness and reflecting it back on you, so that you can get “unstuck” — and achieve extraordinary results. Her entrepreneurial edge defines her notable 30-year resume.

Laura is the Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author of three books, Wonderhell, Limitless, and Mission-Driven, as well as a frequent contributor to Good Morning America, The Today Show, Harvard Business Review, and Oprah Daily. She previously served as a Presidential Appointee in Bill Clinton’s White House, helping shape AmeriCorps. During her career, she also left a leadership role as the youngest Vice President at a nationally respected search firm when she realized that her boss’s definition of success didn’t align with hers and, instead, founded and ran one of the fastest-growing search firms in the country, partnering with the full gamut of mission-driven executives, from start-up dreamers to scaling social entrepreneurs to global philanthropists.

From coaching executives and leading businesses to writing top-ranking books (while raising a family with her husband), her passion and drive led to her becoming a modern-day Wonder Woman.

CLP: Can you share a pivotal moment in your journey where you had to overcome self-doubt or fear, and how did you navigate through it to achieve your goals?

LGO: “I dropped out of law school after just one semester because I knew in my gut that it was the wrong path. I didn’t know what the right path was, but I felt the organ failure rejection that comes along with the miserable pursuit of someone else’s goals. And, that’s usually how our first pivotal “brave” moment goes: we have no choice but to jump. It’s only after that we realize that we survived the “worst thing ever” that we recognize that we can do bigger and scarier things. All to say, I didn’t overcome self-doubt or fear, I just, through a series of failures and recoveries, fumbled my way forward to build the competence that led to greater confidence.”

CLP: Your work focuses on helping people find their “limitless possibility.” What advice do you have for those who feel stuck or limited in their current circumstances, but yearn for something greater?

LGO: “Very often we feel stuck not because we aren’t good enough to become greater but because we are chasing someone else’s goals. The fact of the matter is that you can’t be insatiably hungry for someone else’s goals. So, the first piece of advice I give people who feel stuck or limited is to think about their goals and who gave them this particular definition of success, and whether or not it’s something that is really, truly interesting enough to them to bring out their best.”

CLP: Many readers aspire to achieve success and fulfillment in both their personal and professional lives. How do you maintain balance and prioritize what truly matters amidst a busy and demanding schedule?

LGO: “The best and hardest piece of advice I ever got was: “You’re just not that important.” At the time I got it, I was busy building my business, my family, and my community, and I sure felt important to all three. I was running myself ragged, and wasn’t showing up anywhere as my best. So this advice was to figure out where I absolutely truly needed to be, and double down there. The highest and best use of your time is to do what only you can do. You’re just not that important, except where you are.

There are also four questions I get when trying to figure out whether or not to say yes to something that is going to be a strain on my time or energy.”

CLP: Your book, “Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life,” has resonated with countless individuals seeking purpose and direction. Could you share a practical strategy or mindset shift that readers can implement today to start living more intentionally?

LGO: “If we are to stop mindlessly following everyone else’s definition of success, and start living on our own, the very first step is to become super intentional about whose opinions count. We need to remember that most people see to our hopes and dreams through the lens of their own fear, anxiety, jealousy, or just plain old insecurity. And, yet, we give all of their opinions the same volume in our brains. So, the most important mindset shift we can make is to stop giving votes in our lives to people who shouldn’t even have voices.”

CLP: In a world where comparison and societal expectations often cloud our vision, how do you encourage individuals to stay true to themselves and pursue their unique passions, regardless of external pressures or opinions?

LGO: “There will always be people whose opinions you absorb, whether you want them or not as you try to “Keep Up with the Joneses.” You’ll see them on social media, these perfect people with their perfect lives, and you’ll feel badly about yourself. But, let’s remember that those perfect lives are curated highlight reels, not reality. And, if you judge your bloopers by everyone else’s highlight reel, you can’t help but feel bad about yourself… even if you don’t want what their highlight reel shows. It’s easy to say, “take a social media vacation” but frankly, I’ve never been able to do that. So, I unfollow the Joneses. Highlight the people you love, the people who inspire you, the people who make you better; comment on their stories, love their posts, interact more with the good and ignore the bad and your feed will change.

This works not just to make your life less cloudy, but to make it crystal clear as well. Did you know that people with overweight friends are 57% more likely to become overweight themselves, even if those friends live on the other side of the country? Your emotional connection, not your physical proximity, is the key factor. Studies show that the behavior of your closest intimates—wherever they are, even if you only interact with them through the social media app on your phone—influences the way you behave. So whether it is slacking on your diet or exercise plan, or deciding an unfulfilling career path, personal relationship, or hobby, what they do becomes what you do. What they think becomes what you think. What they normalize becomes what you normalize. Choose wisely, my friends! Your future is in your hands (literally).”

The Art of Living Your Best Life: Inspiring Ideas from a WSJ Best-Selling Author & TED Speaker - Image courtesy of Laura Gassner Otting

For more inspiring ideas that will help you elevate your life and become your best self, check out the Personal Growth section on Inspirations & Celebrations.


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