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May 26, 2022 21 mins

Meaghan Murphy is the Editor in Chief of Woman’s Day Magazine and the author of Your Fully Charged Life: A Radically Simple Approach to Having Endless Energy and Filling Every Day with YAY.

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
What's Her Story with Sam and Amy presents our author
Snack series, where we share the story of one author
and one book in less time than it takes to
finish your snack. Megan Murphy is an editor in chief
of Woman's Day magazine and the author of Your Fully
Charged Life, a radically simple approach to having endless energy

and filling every day with you. What made you write
this book? It's like a culmination, probably of twenty five
years of using myself as a guinea pig and road
testing happiness strategies on myself to ultimately live in a
way that's fully charged, but would actually lit the fire

to put pen to paper and actually physically write the book.
Was was my dad's pancreatic cancer dice. He was diagnosed
with stagewar pancreatic cancer, wasn't looking good and I had
gone to chemo with him one day um And in
that moment I was like, Dad, I'm not giving up.
I love you, but how do you want to remember

be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be?
And in asking him that, it also gave me pause
to ask myself the same question. And when I did,
I realized that I wanted to be remembered for a
legacy of positive energy, because I'm somebody who started out
nicknamed Neggie, had really tumultuous teen years, was hospitalized for

needing disorder, my best friend committed suicide. I struggled, and
I have trained very hard to live with optimism and
joy and grit and grace. And I knew the tools
that work for me would work for other people, and
I wanted to share those things. Going back to earlier
in your life, when you struggled with interexty, when you
lost your best friend when you were a teenager, you've

also said that you started life out as a ground. Well,
I'm I'm inherently negative. My negative tivity bias and all
of our negative civity biases is strong. But I was
programmed for negativity. I mean I was glass half empty.
Now I realized the glasses refillable, but that took years,
and it was just my disposition. I had a loving home,

a loving middle class home, a really nice life, but
everything was doom and gloom. It was just how I
was wired. And it took work. It took a lot
of work to actually retrain my brain and to learn
to live differently. But I didn't have to work hard,
and I don't have to work hard to be negative now, right.
I mean it's easy to slip into those habits because

I am privately programmed for negativity, as are most of us.
Right now, we hear so much about toxic positivity. Is
that something you've been accused of? How do you manage
those kind of naysayers? I actually love the naysayers, right,
I high five the haters. It's part of my m oh.
But I do laugh about this because, like, if you

want to ask my neighbor from Ascot Lane Haul of
Crouse about little Megan beu Can, I used to sit
on the corner and stick my tongue out at people
like That's that was the pastime. I would sit on
the corner and stick my tongue out at anybody who
drove by. So Paula Krauss has delighted in my transformation.

What is the first person to be like, Oh, no, no, no, no,
she was a pain in the past. She was a negative,
nasty little kid. And so I laugh about it. But
I think the real distinction is, and it's so important
for people to understand, is toxic positivity only looks on
the bright side. It's those bs platitudes like don't worry,

be happy, you know, good vibes only. The truth is
it's good vibes mostly, and it's having a tool kit
to be able to rise the stuff that sucks, because
there's a lot of stuff that sucks. Absolutely recognize it,
process it, but have fully charged toolkit to handle it

and then move onward. That's the difference. There are mornings
when I wake up and I don't want to get
out of bed. I'm really struggling, right, there's so much
negativity being blasted at me. The difference now is I
understand there are things I can do to move the
happiness needle, and I use those tools on a daily basis.

I am absolutely not somebody who will ever like those
platitudes kill me. Good vibes only is like the most
disgusting phrase on the universe. Do not ignore those bad feelings,
express them, share them, get them out. But the key
is onward. What is the most important tool to you?
So it's interesting and I love this because the tools

I love when readers are like this work for me,
that work for me, because it's always surprising what works
for other people. And you never really know what your
secret sauce is going to be. I think one of
the most important tools in my tool kit is gratitude.
I believe having an attitude of gratitude, making a gratitude
adjustment is one of the keys to life. If you

found a truly grateful person, that person would be happy.
There's no such thing as a miserable grateful person because
when you pause and appreciate the good in your life
and the good in the world, you function differently. And
so for me, it took me a while to actually
adopt a gratitude practice because when I looked at those
traditional methods of practicing gratitude, like I can't keep a

gratitude journal, like that is homework. I have three kids,
I with math, that's like carry the one. I do
enough homework, right, Like, I don't want anything that feels homeworking.
And so I couldn't do it. And so I had
to trick myself into adopting a gratitude practice. And it
was truly transformational for me. And it goes back to

my dad's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. It was a very pivotal
transitional moment in my life where again, I was like,
I don't want to get out of bed. I know
from the work of Dr Martin Seligman and the Permit
theory of wellness that gratitude is something that if I
can harness it, it's gonna help me get out of
bed and it's gonna help me move through these really

crappy times with great and grace. And so I knew
I had to adopt a gratitude practice, but I needed
to hack it. I needed to fund filter it so
that I would actually do it. And that's when I
started something called Operation Good Grief, which was this active
and conscious thing that every day I would look for
something that didn't suck. And when I say didn't suck,

because that's how it started, like I really didn't want
to get out of bed, and I had three little kids,
and I knew I had to learn how to function.
So it would be this process of like, what doesn't
suck today? And it would be daffodils, Oh my god,
the daffodils at the end of my little walk finally bloomed,
or it'd be a really killer workout tank that said

you're stronger than you think you are, that powered me
through the day. I would take a picture of it
and capture it. I would share it on social media
because guess what, sharing that those good things makes them
even stickier. And I kept that up for two years
even after my dad passed, and I began to more
automatically see good things, not just things that didn't suck,

but good things. And what I was really doing at
my core was practicing gratitude and developing a gratitude practice.
And when I moved through the darkest parts of my grief,
I reframed it a bit. I started calling it finding
the YA and I started creating a Y list every
day and it was what makes me say yea today?

And I would find five, ten, fifteen things because I
was rewiring my brain for gratitude. And I adopted with
my kids. So when we sit at dinner every night,
what made you say ye today? Before I took them
in got any more years? Like what were your yeused today?
And it's a fun, filtered, easy way to adopt a
gratitude practice. And the scientific benefits of practicing gratitude having

a grateful art or undeniable I mean, it's everything from
managing stress um to having better health outcomes, being more
likely to exercise and eat right. I mean, gratitude is
legitimately the secret sauce. And I feel like we only
talked about it at Thanksgiving, right, But like, gratitude is important,
and I think it's the greatest tool in my tool kit,
and I'm very proud and grateful to practice it with

so much ease. Right now? What is the trick? Obviously
in your own home, Like, you have three kids, three
different personalities. I imagine when you see glimpses of Megan's
childhood personality in any of them, in terms of the
negativity or the grumpiness, how do you manage that? It's
interesting because I think my youngest son is totally a grump.

So we do the Okay, you can tell me something bad,
but you have to tell me two good things first.
And so he's still actively looking for good things to
share with me because he knows he can't complain and
he can't share the hassles until he had he gives
me two good things, and so he's he's learned. It's
funny because I've seen this transformation. So he is still

he's allowed to see the crap, but we're sandwiching it
with the good stuff. And so he's actively finding that
good stuff, you know, and listen, my daughter rolls her
eyes at me, but this has been the way they've
grown up. So as much as she rolls her eyes
at me, when I get a glimpse of her doing
something with her friends where she's she's like okay, well
that makes me say yay, or she's she's doing parodying

or echoing a little bit about what we do at home,
I'm like, uh huh. I don't point it out, but
I'm like, yes, mom, when do you do this with
your friends? You know? It's funny. My husband is like,
there doesn't always have to be a life lesson. You
don't always have to coach everybody. You don't always you know,
like have to have these deep and meaningful interactions. But
I can't always help it. And I think the funny

thing is good energy is so contagious, and so I
do approach life with so much optimism and joy that
I bring that out of people naturally. It's not that
we don't also have, you know, a cry session or
a bitch fest, but but it always comes full circle
where it's like, okay, but not everything sucks. Let's talk

about your good hair day, right, and now a quick break.
Did your husband know you before the transformation or only
post transformation? Now, so, my husband is my brother's best friend.
So we've known each other since second grade. But I'm
four years older. So growing up it was like you,

I'm in eighth grade and you're in fourth grade. Clearly
we're not making out. You know, I'm a senior, you're
a freshman in high school. Gross. We even went to
the same college and my brother and him lived across
the street. We didn't get together, and I had set
him up, like I would be he's the best guy.
I would try to like find him a date. It
wasn't until we were both living in Hoboken years later

and my brother would have us over for Sunday dinner
that I was like, oh, we were reading the same book.
He was reading a Little Million Little Pieces by James
Fry and I was reading the same book. And I
was like, he reads, he's like hot all kind and
he reads. It was like I was like swooning, and
I called my sister. I remember like leaving my brothers

and like pet Murphy reads and it was like, Okay,
get it together, don't you dare that's Kevin's best friend.
And then the next dinner, he also used a lot
of salt, and I did never wanted to be judged
for my salt intake and I have low blood pressure,
so suck it. But he also used a lot of salt,
and I realized I would never be judged for my
salt intake. And I was smitten. I was absolutely smitt

And ultimately we like, We're out to dinner with my
brother and a bunch of their friends, and I put
my hand on his thigh under the table and that
was it. Oh my goodness, that is super gutsy. Well, Sam,
I was a Cosmo editor for four years or you
lest you forget Helen, Curtly, Brad and Kate White, they

taught me, well, what did he do when you put
your hand on his side? Green le Go. We were
like making out in an a t M machine like
an hour later, but then we secretly date it because
we didn't want Basically, I was like, listen, I am
a former Cosmo girl, Like marriage and babies is not
really on my horizon, Like, let's just make sure we

really like each other before Kevin, my brother, like loses
his ship. So we secretly date it, which made it
even hotter, right like we would rendezvous. It was like
and it was like that early dating where you like
stay up till three o'clock in the more Like it
was I was done. I knew I was done. How
did Kevin react? It was awful. I can remember somebody

saw us making out because it was like twenty years
of build up, right, I was like, oh my god,
I love this guy. And so my brother didn't find
out from us, which made it worse. And my brother
was like, there's no good outcome to this unless you
get married and have three kids. Ultimately, he was the
best man and his speech was hilarious because it's exactly

what happened. How old were you at the time, nine
and I had been through like maybe fifteen twenty boyfriends.
I mean like, it was not it was not. I
can just remember my my father's relief, Like when he proposed,
my dad was like, okay, because my family loves Pat.

I mean like he's been a part of our family
since I was a little kid. So it was it
was pretty magic when it all kind of worked out.
I feel very lucky. So you're unusual for the authors
We interview because you have a very full time day
job as the editor in chief of Women's Day magazine.
How do you manage that? And was there ever a

conflict between Okay, this is my separate life as an
author and here's my life as editor in chief. So
that I guess the interesting part of all of it
is like, so I took over. I was the see
an executive editor of Good Housekeeping for six or seven years.
I took over a Woman's Day in March March twelve lockdown.

So I never did the job in person, like I've
never been in an office with my team. I never
did the job in person. My book was due April,
so we go on lockdown. I am revamping, re energizing
a magazine, finishing a book, and now home schooling three kids.

It's one of those moments where I look back and think,
pretty sure, I don't know how that happened, Like I
actually don't know how I did it. It was insane.
I guess I'm I'm good. I always say I'm I
must just be good in crisis because it's like, Okay,
it's go time, no stealing, just doing, it's go time.
Got it all done, and the magazine has been very

successful under my watch. So I've never really said, like
can I do both or how do you do both?
I just do it. You talk a out about in
person connection and the value of that. How have you
managed to handle your team remotely this entire time and
gain the respect necessary as the as the chief? You know?

I think we we've been very effective virtually. I think
it's going to almost be like strange to finally like
be together all the time, you know, But when we
did so, we we do go back on some Mondays
and Tuesdays, and when we have been in person, like
we've had a really fun lunch and a brainstorm and
like come up with some pretty cookie ideas that we

probably wouldn't have come up with otherwise. So I think
I have the luxury of having been very established in
my career at this point of lockdown. I feel for
young people in their career, like, I don't need to network.
I've been networking for twenty five years. I know everybody
and I and I have wonderful connections. I feel for

the young people, the young assistants, the young editors, because
I don't know how you do what I've done for
twenty five years completely virtually. How do you bring the
tools from the book into the workplace. I think a
big thing that I'm proud of is that I fun
filter life, and I think I fun filter work for

my team. By one of my art people said the
most amazing thing to me the other day, and it
was I've never had so much fun on the job.
And I was like, oh my god, hard exploding because
that's my goal. I feel very strongly that what we're
doing doesn't actually matter right, Like, we can do it
differently tomorrow. We can do it differently next week, we
can do it differently next month. Let's do the best

we can right here, right now and be proud of it.
But let's not stress it. Let's not angst it, let's
not overthink it. Let's just have fun. Because if we're
having fun, the audience is going to have fun with us.
How do you handle a negative coworker or colleague? Energy
begets energy. Nobody brings that to my table, and I'm

really proud of that. And the same thing like even
people always say, oh, social media so this or so that,
I don't find that nobody is bringing that negative energy
to me because they know I want I will put
up with it. I don't want it. I shut it down.
I have like this force field and I don't want
to deal with that. Now that's not to say we
can't have conflict, and we can't have discussions, and we

can't have disagreements, but you have to approach all of
those disagreements and those discussions with a positive attitude, with
optimism that we're going to find a solution that we're
all really excited about. Should we go to our speed around? Now?
Who leaves you starstruck? You know who? It would be? Like?
It would probably be like the CEO of hearst right,
it would probably be somebody in like a like a

very big executive position versus like somebody who's on television
or has like a movie. You have talked a lot
about the importance of a morning routine. Let's hear yours.
So I'm an early riser. Um, I am like the
ultimate morning person. Like I like jump out of bed,
I kind of bolt out of bed. I do a

usually a very early morning workout, whether it's like a
six am. It used to be like five. Now I
can kind of do a six am or a six fifteen.
I love dance cardio at a k T. And I
love s LT, which is like plots on crack, like
I love my morning workouts. I am a crazy person
about bed making. I really find such peace out of

having all the beds made, and I am that mom
I make my kids beds. I can't help it because
it just makes me feel like I've accomplished this one
thing first thing in the morning, and it's going to
set the tone for a really awesome day. So lots
of bed making. And now that I'm not rushing into
this city, it's then I can do. I buy myself

flowers every month Monday morning and I'm flower arranging. I'm
drinking coffee. I love putsaying around my house. Now it's like,
I just love it. I love it's when kids leave
and it's quiet. Oh my gosh, it's like a gift.
What is the next buck? You'll right? My agent is

really on me about getting the proposal done, but I
am working on a fully charged life hack almanac. What
book are you reading? I just finished? Okay, So my
friend John Searles, who I um, who I worked with
at Cosmo. He's a phenomenal writer. He's about New York

Times bestselling author, but his new book is called Her
Last Affair, and it's really good. His other those other
books have been made into movies, etcetera. Like he's amazing,
And it was one of those books, like I started
it on vacation and I got through most of it,
and then of course you come home and you come
to real life. And on Mother's Day, all I wanted

to do was be a left alone for an hour
and a half to finish my book, and I did,
and I was so happy. Amy did I ken a
slight eye roll with the word yea, so you did.
But I have to say something. There's such a positivity
around the way that Megan described it that I have

overcome my hesitation of the word ya and and like it's, well,
here's the thing. It's a really simple thing to be,
like what is your right? Like what are ya? Things
that happened to you today? And it's something that you
can use with your kids. Like it's just quick and
it's good and it's easy, and I should stop being
snobby about it. You know. What I love about Megan
is like I share a very similar philosophy with her

in the sense that like she's not pollyanni ish she's
not saying there are no bad moments. She's not saying
everything is going to always be great. She's very realistic
about it, and it's like things will mostly be good,
so like, let's focus on those things and let's have gratitude.
So I really appreciate a lot of what she said.
The way Megan and I first met was um when

Good Housekeeping hosted my book party, which was six years ago.
She was an editor there and she just stood out
to me then. She just had a spark to her.
And in reading her book, there's so much more depth
to her than I even ever understood. I could never
fathom Megan being a grumpy person. It's wild. And also,

you know, it's reading about her teen years and what
a struggle they were. It makes you realize that, like
you know, everything is changeable. You can always change the
course of your life or your mindset or your circumstances.
And I really recommend reading the book. If you enjoy

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