Transcripts: How To Live A Fully Charged Life with Editor-In-Chief of Woman’s Day Magazine, Meaghan B Murphy
Welcome to the Holistic Wealth podcast. I’m your host Keisha Blair, wife, mother of three, author of holistic wealth, and Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth. The show will showcase varus experts in the key pillars of holistic wealth. Each week, we deliver the best information on how to become holistically wealthy and live your best life. Today we have a wonderful guest with us, our guest is Meaghan B Murphy. Meagan is the Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Day Magazine which is the number one selling magazine on newsstands now. Meaghan was previously the Executive Editor at Good Housekeeping magazine, and she is the author of the new book, Your Fully Charged Life.
KEISHA BLAIR: Meaghan, we’re so happy to have you here. Thank you for joining us!
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Yay! thank you for having me.
KEISHA BLAIR: We’re excited and so Meagan I just wanted to start with your journey first in terms of your career which has been fabulous, and just wanted to give viewers a sense of how you got that start and you know your journey on becoming Editor-in-Chief.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Sure, well my career kind of happened serendipitously. Frankly, I had some angsty teen years, went through some tough times, and suffered from severe adversity and after coming through that, I wrote an essay about it when I was about 19 years old and that essay earned me a ten thousand dollar college scholarship as well as a spot on a national TV show spotlighting these Horatio Aldrich scholars around the country. That got the attention of some national media, YM magazine at the time approached me and wanted to tell my story and I said no problem but I’m going to tell it myself.
I’d love to write it and I’d love to be an intern. Can I start on Monday? Sure, yay! And so I was already in magazines when i was 19 years old, I was going to mason gross school of the arts at Rutgers and studying acting but also interning at YM magazine and then ultimately was one of the founding editors of teen people magazine and went on from there to Cosmo and did some time as on the creative team of Victoria’s Secret and you know really started my career very young and now at the age of 45, I’ve been in the magazine industry over 25 years, which seems crazy to me. That’s sort of the beginnings of my career was through overcoming adversity, writing an essay about it and then getting this magazine gig because of it.
KEISHA BLAIR: That’s such an amazing story and as you’re talking, I’m just remembering you know just so many things because my story has been like a tragedy to triumph story too so I just wanted to ask you if you could share with our viewers what were some of those challenges that you went through?
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Sure, so I was an inherently a negative kid right. Very sulky, sullen, pessimistic miserable kid and for no reason right it, was just how I was hardwired. I mean I had a loving family you know middle-class upbringing but I was hardwired for negativity. Those negative swirling emotions that I really couldn’t control led me to an eating disorder and I was a raging anorexic, starving myself in tandem with my best friend, and we were 15, 16 years old, eating nothing, working out for hours and hours and hours a day, and ultimately I passed out on the soccer field and had to be rushed to the hospital. I had to be admitted to an eating disorder program and our parents were friends and her parents and my parents kind of pow wowed and she was going to join me in this eating disorder program. I had talked to her on the pay phone because this was the 90s on the pay phone from the hospital lounge and the eating disorder program I’m like it’s not that bad just get here we’re gonna be okay and tragically on the way to the program she jumped out of the car and subsequently died because her body was just so weak. I mean I was a 16-year old kid so not only am i dealing with this raging eating disorder but now my best friend is dead and I feel guilty for having caused her death.
I felt a responsibility, that was hard you know that was hard as I worked through my own eating disorder and sort of recovering from that and processing that with therapy and whatnot. I begin to heal in the sense that I was a functioning human. I was no longer had practicing in active eating disorder but I wasn’t really okay. I was now functioning in the world, and I did write about it. I wrote this essay it was a very powerful essay on adversity and making your mess your message and overcoming and from this terrible horrible thing something really good did come, because that essay helped pay for college and number two, really gave me a national platform at a very young age and I really enjoyed at YM magazine. I did a body positivity column and really connected it with other women helping them to live their best lives and understand that food was fuel and exercise was medicine and that the body shame and the self-hatred was waste of energy but I still was a negative kind of person. I still was very pessimistic I still wasn’t a joyful happy person and it wasn’t really until later in my 20s when I was working at Cosmopolitan magazine and I was given an assignment. I was supposed to write the story called the Seven Secrets of Happiness. In trying to research that and you write that story I discovered the field of Positive Psychology.
For the first time, I really understood that happiness was a choice. It was like this active state of doing versus a passive state of being and in order to be happy you have to do happy and there are things each of us can do on a daily basis to inch forward and move the happiness needle. That was interesting to me, it wasn’t like I had this aha moment and I woke up the next day like farting rainbows but it planted a seed. It planted the seeds of the Fully Charged Life, and then when I went on to work at Self magazine. I was the Fitness Director there and the Deputy Editor for nine years. I really began to change and I was coaching women, hundreds of thousands of women, through the Self Challenge program to reach their exercise and diet and motivation goals and to live their best lives and watching these women transform and take charge and feel good was really empowering to me and I loved it.
It was at that time where I really became a happy fulfilled person and I wound up marrying my husband having three kids and eventually when I was about to move to the suburbs that’s when I landed a job at Good Housekeeping magazine. I was in a really good place at that point and then unfortunately my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he was gone in five months and that was tough. It was during that time and I tell a story about sitting with my dad in chemo. I will always say to people that there’s adversity is a gift in many ways. There are gifts in all adversity and sometimes those gifts can be hard to unwrap but sitting with him in chemo one day and really just saying that I haven’t give up and I’ll never give up and I love you but how do you want to be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be like (without saying hey this isn’t going very well), how do you want to be remembered? And he was very clear he was super clear about how he wanted to be remembered and it gave me the opportunity to ask myself that same question without having to have a stage four cancer diagnosis.
So it was in that moment where I realized I certainly wanted to be remembered for leaving a legacy of positive energy right and I felt very confident that the biggest way and the most impactful way I could do that would be to write a book and to write a book sharing the strategies and the tips and tricks that I had tried on myself to transform because ultimately now as a 45 year old mother of three I am no longer that negative, miserable, angsty kid, whose nickname was grumpy. I’m a very different person but I trained to live this way and I worked to live this way. I make active choices to live this way every day even when I wake up tired and miserable and angsty and sad and I watch the news and I spiral into despair.
I understand that I have this fully charged tool kit and I use these tools on a regular basis to operate at full battery and to pick myself back up and I wanted to be able to give that gift to others i mean at my core I’m a service journalist right so like if I discover a good idea all I want to do is share it yeah you know that’s what you do exactly and
KEISHA BLAIR: It’s so amazing your story Megan and so many similarities with mine for good or for bad because my husband and best friend died too just eight weeks after I gave birth, and it was horrible. He had a rare disease that most doctors never see in their lifetime, only in textbooks. Most people don’t know it once you tell them what it is, they’re like Oh I’ve never heard of that! So, it’s was Pheochromocytoma. A very rare illness, only one in one million get it, most doctors will only see it in textbooks. It’s very rare but it wasn’t genetic. So, we did genetic testing and they actually saved his blood for research because it was so rare.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: That is fascinating.
KEISHA BLAIR: isn’t it? And I didn’t even find out until after a year when they’re like oh we still have his blood so let’s test your kids it was just like insane.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: how many kids do you have?
KEISHA BLAIR: I have three kids now. I’m remarried I had my two boys because when he died one was eight weeks old the other was three years old yeah exactly and you know that’s it was brutal and to wait one year to get the autopsy results which I wrote about in my book Holistic Wealth because it was so rare, they had to formulate a team of experts across two countries Canada and the United States. It took them one year just to figure it out so during that time I had no answers just wondering what had happened like lightning bolt struck my life and it’s so funny when you talk about going around in circles like i went through all of that too and realized it was mindset in terms of happiness which we share so much in common because as you’re talking I’m like wow with me it was the same thing.
I wrote this article that went viral about my experience and it’s so funny people really gravitate toward stories and stories that are vulnerable where we share almost you know vulnerable parts of ourselves and that’s what I did I’m sure that’s what you did in yours and we’ll highlight that for listeners that can go back to that article and as you were speaking i was like wow so many similarities and so many people have gone through grief with COVID-19 Meaghan and they’re like how do I come out of this so I wanted to get just some hacks and tips from you in terms of your book so that people can you know just pick up some ways of even just on a daily basis because you’re so right some days we get up and it’s just like uh you know?
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Yeah and that’s okay and that’s normal right and we have to treat ourselves with grace. So Your Fully Charged Life essentially looks at the different facets of your life right so the book starts with take action, and it gives you guidance on how to use the tools and explains what it means to live fully charged. Then it gets into the positive charge, which is that it really is mindset and how to reframe so that you can think your way happier and I give lots of tips and tricks and strategies for that. The work chapter is about finding meaning and purpose and bringing joy to your job even if it is just a paycheck and how to navigate work and burn out and all the things. The recharge chapter is all about resilience in the face of loss and whether that loss is the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, the loss of our freedoms. I mean right like the past year we’re all in a collective state of national grief because we’ve all lost so much. The extra chapter is really about those extras in life that have the power to bring you happiness and maybe that’s the science proven magic of buying yourself flowers or making your bed or dressing the way you want to feel. I call a dopamine dressing in the book and then there’s a health charge that you need to move your body and you need to protect your sleep and those two things are non-negotiable. I also touch on the fact that if you eat like crap you will feel like crap so what can you do in the health arena to operate a full battery.
Then there’s oh my goodness I’m almost forgetting the load charge which is incredibly important and that chapter really looks at the relationships in your life the strong ties maybe it’s your spouse or your kids or your immediate family and those that are really close to you but also the weak ties and how important it is the way you treat one person is the way you treat all people. So how are you interacting with a cashier or a service worker or people you come across on a daily basis because how you treat them matters and it has the ability to spark you or drain you and so you have a choice in all of those moments and I teach you how to choose happy.
Transcripts: How To Live A Fully Charged Life with Editor-In-Chief of Woman’s Day Magazine, Meaghan B Murphy
KEISHA BLAIR: Those are some amazing tips because you’re right you know we have to do happy. learned that too when I went through my tragedy that it was a conscious choice and that of course our mindset matters, and also deriving the good from the bad experience. I have a chapter in my book about that and creating that gift out of tragedy.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: I think the thing is we just all have to acknowledge like we can’t control our circumstances right like no one can just push pause on the pandemic we can’t bring lost loved ones back. We can’t do that so because we can’t often control our circumstances we can always control our reaction and that’s very empowering that that can save us understanding that yes things are going to happen but you are absolutely empowered to react differently. When you react differently you feel differently. I feel at this point in my life with my fully charged toolkit that I’m pretty unflappable and so when the world throws something at me like a stage four pancreatic cancer diagnosis and I lose my father who I adored or I get COVOD-19. My kids, my three kids, my husband, my 71-year old mom, and I all suffered COVID-19, that stunk but I have a fully charged tool kit so I’m going to get through that.
I’m a person who does hard things and I know that about myself and I have every strategy to get through it with grace and ease and optimism and joy it doesn’t mean shitty things don’t happen and it doesn’t mean i don’t have hard days but those hard days can be easier if you understand how to think and live differently.
KEISHA BLAIR: Yeah absolutely and so Meaghan you’re a mom and I am too and it’s hard with COVID-19 with juggling work, the kids and everything. How do you impart some of these lessons to them you know as teachable moments on a day-to-day basis?
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Yeah I mean nothing about the past year has been easy right? I mean I think everything is a teaching opportunity. Number one our behavior is everything. They’re always watching and seeing how we react. If you’re hysterical they’re going to get hysterical. I think I have teaching moments on a daily basis we were driving the kids home from school the other day and a guy in a jeep hold out in front of us like completely blatantly his fault not sure what the heck he was doing almost hit us and then he gave me the finger! He gave me in the finger with three kids in the car! And that’s just an example of one of these moments right because I have a choice. I cannot control the fact that this guy almost backed into me and gave me the finger but I can control my reaction and so what do I do? I pause and I smile and I go about my day because giving the finger back meets negativity with negativity and guess what happens when you do that? It spirals, it explodes, it multiplies now you have two angry people being angry with each other but if I smile and carry on that is the easiest reaction and it’s empowering.
It’s empowering not to spark negativity with more negativity. It feels good to walk away with a smile and you say to my kids hey listen guys no clue what was happening for him right like maybe his dog died or he got diagnosed with COVID, not sure but we didn’t deserve the finger and we did nothing wrong and so guess what we are not going to meet his negativity with negativity. We’re going to accept that he’s in a bad place and having a bad day and we’re going to move on and my kids are like let’s give him back! He gave us the finger mom! No no right that’s the easy response. It’s easy to meet negativity with negativity and allow it to spiral.
I really enjoy creating a positivity force field and diffusing those negative people. I’ve sort of gamified it. We drop off our dry cleaning at a place where the woman is absolutely miserable and she’s nasty. Every time I’ve gone in there for the past several weeks, she’s like, “I don’t know you, what’s your number, no you’ve never been here”. I’m like oh no I was here last Wednesday. How are you? Good morning and I’ll pepper her with a compliment or I’ll keep you know I’ll smile with my eyes behind my mask and I’ll help her unbutton the shirts and I’ll be pleasant as can be and every week I soften her just a little bit and I leave feeling fully charged right because I refuse to let someone’s bad mood, bad day, miserable life impact me. I can’t control them but I can absolutely control my reaction.
KEISHA BLAIR: Absolutely and those are powerful tips that we all need every day because I’m sure that resonates with every one of us. We can think of those people who are grumpy every single time and have the ability to impact our mood. It’s really empowering not to let that happen and controlling ours. So that’s amazing and so Meaghan I know that you took the quiz. So I developed this personal financial identities framework because after my husband died I found myself questioning decisions. He was a CPA, very astute with math and finances. He was a Financial Controller. I’m a trained Economist as well so I’m not too bad but still I don’t know but I found myself questioning a lot after he died and I mean, as I said earlier in the program, I had an eight-week old and a three-year-old which might have contributed to that too.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: It’s not yeah that’s not a good scenario oh my goodness
KEISHA BLAIR: exactly right and so you’re grieving you’re a new mom, I had a traumatic birth experience with the child who was eight weeks at the time and here I am figuring out everything all at the same time. I’m planning a funeral and I’m doing everything right and everything just seems like wow am I doing the right thing? So I wrote in my book Holistic Wealth that we should all identify our own personal financial identity and try to harness its strengths, and they’re all good there’s no bad financial identity. I basically developed this so that everyone, but especially women, who tend to be less confident in their money decisions feel more confident.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Well I have to be honest my husband is an MBA and so and he works in finance and I absolutely am not the one that’s got you know.. I would be lost and it’s like a joke like he’s sort of written a script for me if God forbid anything were to ever happen. I don’t even know how to log into the banking and I’m not proud of that right my joke to him has always been well you’re the one with the MBA like why am I supposed to learn that?
KEISHA BLAIR: And it’s so funny because even women who have that background in training I find I think we are responsible for so much anyway we give birth you know we breastfeed we do all these things. It just seems natural to want to delegate or to want to just have that hived off you know to someone else.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Yeah no it’s certainly for me a matter of I just don’t need any more jobs just don’t exactly and we’re super busy.
KEISHA BLAIR: It’s just hard wrapping your mind around doing all of that stuff too so women came back to me and they wanted to know what their financial identity is. So at the beginning of COVID-19 when we had the first lockdown I got busy and I came up with this quiz and I’ve been asking guests on the show to tell the audience what their personal financial identity is based on the quiz and to just share some thoughts about how it resonates and how they see it playing out you know in their daily lives which has been so you know so amazing to hear thoughts from guests on this so I just wanted to ask you to share yours with us and of course if you have any thoughts on whether in your job you know as editor-in-chief of women’s day how it’s impacted your job or your life or spending at home or with your husband like any thoughts on that would be amazing.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: I was the Maximalist and I think that’s pretty true of myself. I’d rather have like one quality item than 900 crappy ones. I would rather spend on something I really love especially if it has a lightning bolt on it versus like a lot of junky stuff that doesn’t feel special to me. I’m not a “stuff person”, so I don’t like to have too much so the things. I would rather splurge or save up or make sure it’s something that’s like meaningful that doesn’t make me feel like it’s cluttering up my life unnecessarily.
KEISHA BLAIR: Absolutely and so the Maximalist is also dear to my heart too for so many reasons because I found that they’re the ones with the biggest hearts in the room wanting to make people feel welcome if you’re hosting a party, you’re you know having friends over, it’s thinking about what everyone likes and trying to have everyone accommodated so I’m just wondering if you’ve seen that play out in in your work or at home with your kids or when you’re hosting just wondering about that?
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Yeah I would think so like “I’m the hostess with the mostest”. This not necessarily during quarantine, I do go all out for celebrations and parties, I mean at Women’s Day magazine, we’ve reimagined it as “destination celebration”, so “no holiday left behind”, from Taco Tuesday to Christmas and it really is about “holidaying hard”. I talk about in my book one of my mandates is to holiday hard and go big and the extra charge is about like treating yourself and taking care of yourself and self-care and spending on what’s important and all of those kind of things.
KEISHA BLAIR: I can see that and that’s why I wanted to particularly ask you about that especially with women’s Day magazine, you know you can see it coming through and so i wanted to get your perspective on that too and I mean even the April cover is just beautiful.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Isn’t it?
KEISHA BLAIR: I looked at it, so it’s funny it’s something that you’d want to keep on your wall.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: We have fun with the covers and it’s like a mosaic technique we did it with the easter egg but you can kind of do that for any mosaics for such a trend during quarantine really like the chalk mosaics and just doing mosaics in general and so we wanted to do it on a cake and it was so fun!
KEISHA BLAIR: it looks so fun and for anyone who doesn’t know about Meaghan’s Instagram you should follow her because her Instagram is so fun too and you can see it which is why I love hearing from women especially about their own personal financial identities because you see it you know spill over into their work and their careers and the impacts that they have on whether it’s their own personal brand or working with their companies or their businesses and it’s always so fascinating to hear about that. So Meaghan before we wrap up, I just wanted to ask if there are any last words of wisdom that you’d want to leave with audience members who are struggling on a day-to-day basis who probably lost jobs, or lost loved ones? I mean the losses have just been piling up during COVID- 19.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: I think that’s something that’s really important for people to remember is that it’s also okay to find joy and to punctuate sorrow with happiness and that just because bad things are happening and the world is in a state of unrest and it’s crazy scary times that doesn’t mean it’s frivolous or silly or disrespectful even to also find joy and to celebrate and to understand that life also has lots of good things to offer and to prioritize fun and happiness. I think that’s really important for people to remember and I think I’ve heard a lot of people these days well like how can I how can I possibly be happy? I lost my job, I lost a loved one. The thing is that when you prioritize positivity and do the self work and begin to recharge and live fully charged those other things get easier to manage those other things get better because the spillover of positivity helps you better navigate that.
KEISHA BLAIR: Absolutely! wise words and so Meaghan where can people find you like for your website and social media where can they find the book so your fully charged life is available wherever books are sold. I always say if you have a small bookstore, shop local, support local bookstores are really struggling right now so if you can shop local please do pop in ask them to go order it for you if they don’t have it in stock. Of course it’s available on amazon and Barnes and noble if you do buy it big box write a review or rate it that’s like a report card for the author and it really helps with sales.
I’m very active on Instagram at Megan b murphy m-e-a-g-h-a-n-b murphy. I also do something called the yay list on Instagram the yay list and that’s just a positive place I call it a like a little happiness community where I share good news and good ideas and celebrate yay humans people living fully charged and making a difference in the world that’s kind of just like a nice positive escape and women’s day magazine is on newsstands and we run a fun Instagram. Every Monday we give you reasons and ideas to celebrate and really enjoy that as well.
KEISHA BLAIR: Okay that’s amazing Meaghan thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It was amazing I’m sure the audience is walking away with so many tips that they can use on a day-to-day basis to help them as they go along in this tough time so thank you so much for sharing.
MEAGHAN B MURPHY: Thanks for having me I appreciate it.
KEISHA BLAIR: You’re welcome it was great having you on the show.
Thank you for joining us this week on Holistic Wealth with Keisha Blair. Make sure to visit our website keishablair.com where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify or via RSS so you will never miss a show. While you’re at it, if you found value in this show, we’d appreciate a rating on iTunes or if you simply tell a friend about the show that would help us out too. Are you a member of the Institute on Holistic Wealth? If not, what are you waiting for? Go to Institute on Holistic Wealth/memberships to choose your membership plan and join as a member. You get so many perks, free worksheets, advice coaching, and a members workshop to design an intentionally designed life. Do you need to figure out your life purpose? Take the Build Your Life Purpose Portfolio online self-paced course. Are you struggling with all your money decisions? Take the free financial identities quiz and then take the personal financial identities course. Did you recently suffer a breakup job loss or experience the death of a loved one? Take the Holistic Healing online course. Do you need an overall plan to achieve holistic wealth? We will help you figure out your Holistic Wealth Blueprint and of course, if you want to start making money by helping others achieve holistic wealth, become a Certified Holistic WealthTM Consultant. Regardless of what career you’ve got, the Institute will show you how to increase your income and walk in your purpose. The sooner you join the sooner you start to achieve a more holistically wealthy lifestyle and you’re going to want to stay for a very long time so go to Institute on Holistic Wealth/memberships to join. If you haven’t read the book yet pick up a copy of the award-winning best-selling book Holistic Wealth: 32 life lessons to help you find purpose prosperity and happiness