Since launching The Happy Planner, a brand known for happiness and positivity, Founder Stephanie Fleming has learned a thing or two about happiness and life. Throughout her amazing journey, Stephanie has used her planner as a vital tool to keep it all together, document the ups and downs, brain dump her master list of tasks, pursue overall wellness, and so much more! Although recently retired from her position at the company, Stephanie continues to embark on her pursuit to spread happiness, embrace positivity and plan a happy life. Now she is sharing that knowledge with us in her new book, Plan A Happy Life – Define Your Passion, Nurture Your Creativity And Take Hold Of Your Dreams.
The book is meant to be a guide that encourages you to take hold of your life and be an active participant in your own happiness. It releases this week everywhere books are sold and is much anticipated by the Happy Planner community (as well as the planner community overall)! There are a host of fun things planned for the launch including a collection of exclusive products, online chats and a virtual book club. All the details can be found below. But first, we wanted to share our chat with Stephanie, as this book is coming out into the world.
Here’s the Q &A, where Stephanie shares her thoughts on all things happiness and what’s next after retirement:
When did you realize that you needed to actually plan a happy life, most people seem to wait for it to happen to them?
After years of being a world-class people pleaser, I realized that by only putting importance on what others wanted, I was depriving myself of the happiness that I was so desperately seeking. In fact, I was so preoccupied with the opinions of others that I didn’t even know what made me happy. So, I started to figure it out and actively plan what I needed to do to create my version of a happy life.
Can you share your thoughts on why most people focus on the “when I have xyz.. then I will be happy” mindset? Is it more of a journey rather than a destination?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when pursuing happiness is believing the myth of “I will be happy when…” Happiness exists within you, where you are right now. It is found in gratitude, purpose, community, relationships, faith, optimism, acceptance and love. The noble pursuit of happiness, or a happy life begins AFTER you understand and embrace this. It becomes a journey that we are on for the rest of our lives. We continually walk down the path that sings to our soul and fulfills our purpose. If we embark on this journey without finding happiness within ourselves first, we may find success or relationships, but there will always be something missing like filling a bottomless glass. It will never fill you up. Trust me!
Do you think happiness goes through “seasons” or changes throughout life? If so, how has your perspective evolved since launching The Happy Planner?
Absolutely, Happiness looks and feels different to us as our lives change, and as we grow. I am a passionate advocate for “regular happiness check-ins”, both when you’re struggling and when you’re thriving. It’s a great way to ensure that you are following the path to a happy life. I don’t think my perspective has changed, bu the things that make me happy have changed in the five years since we released The Happy Planner. Change is a certainty of life. We must adapt and evolve to be fully present today.
Is there a “secret sauce” or balance to finding happiness?
I wish there were! My theory is basically this; the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And by that, I mean, sometimes a particular area of our life needs more time and attention than others, and that’s okay! Show yourself some grace and realize that you can’t do everything at one hundred percent, all the time. Imagine if you were caring for ten children at one time. On any given day, one of them will undoubtedly, need more attention than others. You instinctively tend to that child’s needs first and the continue to care for the other nine. Your time and attention are not evenly divided into tenths every day. Neither is it that way for the demands of your time today. So don’t be so hard on yourself when you can’t be the gold star standard at everything. You’re doing just fine!
Can you explain how the “Four P’s (purpose, planning, positivity and persistence) found in the book relate to happiness and are they all necessary?
The “Four P’s” is a formula I came up with based on the result of examining the times in my life when I was the happiest, and when I found the most success. There was a pattern in each of those circumstances. I had a clearly defined PURPOSE that I was working toward, a specific PLAN to carry out my purpose, a POSITIVE and optimistic attitude, and a PERSISTENCE that motivated me to get up each time I stumbled. It was a lightbulb moment! Of course, you can experience happiness and success without all four. However, in my experience, when PURPOSE, PLANNING, POSITIVITY and PERSISTENCE work together, the journey is more fulfilling and the joy, more meaningful.
What does the next chapter look like for you personally (now retired) and will there be more books coming?
Maybe! I thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing Plan A Happy Life. While I don’t have any immediate plans to do so, I would really love to write another book one day. Retirement, while a BIG change in my life, has been good for me. It’s relatively new, but I am enjoying this time to slow down and reevaluate what I want from this new chapter of my life.
Join all the fun around this release, get involved and pursue your own happiness! Here are the details:
THE HAPPY PLANNER SHOP RELEASE – August 25th
The book (autographed by Stephanie) as well as a collection of fun coordinating products will be available on The Happy Planner website. The collection features a 12-month neutral planner, a guided journal, half sheet filler paper, two value sticker books, a pouch, snap in envelopes, a signature gold disc charm and dry erase board. This is the walk through Stephanie shared on her YouTube channel recently:
MICHAEL’S RELEASE AND FIRESIDE CHATS – starting August 24th
As the exclusive retail partner for the the book release, Michael’s will be doing a three part online series of fireside chats with Stephanie. The online series will include an interview with Stephanie by Harper Collins (the publisher) a review of the bonus content and exclusive digital downloads. The in-store launch will include the collection of coordinating products and the limited edition of the book (which has eight bonus pages of happiness mapping exercises) that will be available starting August 28th.
THE BOOK CLUB – September 6th
The book club kicks off shortly and you can sign up at stephaniefleming.com. It is an online workshop format that guides you through the four main sections of the book to help you ask those hard questions about your own life, find the answers and make a plan of action. The four parts of the book club will include: Defining Happy, The Four P’s, Nurturing Happiness and Living Happy. There will be an interactive and social media component that will help you make a happiness manifesto or blueprint for your own happiness.
Thank you so much to Stephanie for always sharing her heart and creating products that bring joy to so many lives. If this is retirement, we all can’t wait to see what comes next. The book will also be available at Joann and everywhere books are sold. Be sure to keep up with Stephanie on her personal Instagram and website to see what she is up to next.