This week, we asked Florida based Speaker and Avid Traveller, Maura Sweeney also known as "Ambassador of Happiness", a few questions. She shared her perspective on what it means to SHINE.
We continue our Special Series featuring the amazing global influencers who are speaking and sharing their brilliance at the LEAP AND SHINE CONFERENCE 2020 coming up in London, UK on February 21-22.
1. When you think of the word SHINE what first comes to mind? And what does “Shining” look like from your Point of View (POV)?
When I think of SHINE, I imagine “brilliance.” In my case, my POV, I have always been an “inside-out” person, and the idea is reflected in the “Living Happy – Inside Out” subtitle of my podcast.
"I have always sought to build and develop my inner life first, with the belief that what was within would ultimately SHINE without." - Maura Sweeney
When we have the right thoughts and healthy, uplifting and unifying beliefs about ourselves and others, those inner thoughts become part of our physicality, our energetic aura that shines on the outside and emanates powerfully everywhere we are and in everything we do.
2. What would you say in your Shine Factor?
Transparency. Whether I’m speaking on a stage, chatting on a media interview, creating a podcast or meeting one-on-one, I am consistently transparent – from the inside out. People intrinsically “know,” relate and trust me for that transparency, and it adds a potently discernable element to both my reputation and my brand.
3. What are your thoughts about Mentorship and Influence? Do you think there is a connection?
I believe there is a very significant connection between mentorship and influence, especially in best cases. As mentors generously extend their skills, wisdom and life experience to mentees, powerful bonds can develop that eclipse the ordinary. Mentees who grasp what is being delivered receive the benefits of not just 3D teachable moments; they can catch and absorb the more ethereal and energetic streams that reflect the true essence of influence.
4. Mentorship is a two-way relationship between the Mentor and Mentee. Can you share two qualities you think mentees should exhibit to get the best out of their mentors?
The first quality I think of it gratitude! As a child, I longed for quality mentorship but finding no willing guides in my own life circle, I had to seek them out vicariously. I immersed myself in countless biographies to discover the challenging backstories and discern for myself some life lessons of luminaries, pioneers and leaders. I was grateful for the personages I learned about through books, but I would have been overwhelmingly appreciative if I enjoyed the time and conveyances of a living human being.
The second quality I think of is receptiveness.
"A mentee who fully listens, engages, interacts, critically tests and is willing to absorb their mentor’s finest deliverables will likely derive some of the greatest benefits from a mentor."
- Maura Sweeney
They will recognize and capitalize on opportunities to listen directly, observe in the flesh, and query about some issues that matter deeply to them in the learning process.
5. Can you think of one specific moment in which you dulled your shine and how you got your lustre/sparkle back?
I was in my mid-twenties, a fledgling new manager of a branch office filled with active, upwardly mobile and impressionable sales people. I was working long hours, acquiring new skills, extending myself to an entire staff and spending about 3 hours a day commuting to and from work.
One morning, a fire bell forced us out of our high-rise tower. As we waited en masse on the street below, several staff members started to murmur about how tired they were–and I joined them. I chimed in by remarking how exhausted I felt with 5:30 am wake-ups and a three-hour daily commute. But as the words came from my mouth, I could “see” the way they were affecting my team in a negative rather than a positively charged fashion. I became instantly embarrassed at my self-centeredness and lack of leadership awareness. This may sound like a minor response to the question of the dulled shine, but it proved highly revealing and instructive for me.
"That morning marked a defining moment where I recognized the importance of my influence. If I wanted a successful team of winners with others shining brightly around me, I’d first have to shine brightly myself, setting and modeling the right example as a leader." - Maura Sweeney
From that time forward, I became vigilant and consistent in the careful conveyance of my thoughts, words, intentions and deeds. That shift resulted in higher and more brilliant outcomes for both myself and those around me. We all SHINED more brightly as a result.
6. If you could BRAG about one particular Shine Moment in your career or business, what would it be?
I transformed an inner vision for becoming a positive global influence for human harmony, unity and uplift and turned it into a reality. Despite some naysayers who snickered at my early initiatives, including bloggers who believed the only way to success was by crafting drama, strife and division, I found myself honored as a guest speaker at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Day celebration hosted by the UNESCO Center for Peace. My crowning moment was being introduced as the Ambassador of Happiness, a title I eventually trademarked. Several international news outlets have also referenced that same appellation when featuring me on TV and in print.
7. You are one of the Global Speakers at the February 2020 Leap and SHINE Conference in London. What should attendees expect from you at the conference?
I am always gratified to receive feedback from diverse audiences, one of which I’ll share here. It came from a retired diplomat who served under four U.S. Presidents and invited me to speak to his group of aspiring federal officers. He summarized my presentation by remarking, “Maura combines compassion with good-humored provocation to achieve that most desirable of outcomes: critical thinking. You leave the room feeling better about yourself, but also challenged and fulfilled.”
Deeply passionate about conveying ideas on a multitude of levels, I design every lecture and interactive workshop for maximum relate-ability and individual impact. Expect to be challenged with powerful principles and practical nuggets that speak to your heart, soul, mind and character. Plan to leave with a renewed sense of identity, vision, purpose and belief that will bolster your self-image, increase your influence and strengthen your personal power at home, at work and in the greater world.
About Maura Sweeney
Maura Sweeney is an Author, Podcaster, and International Speaker, Maura Sweeney has transformed her own mantra of “Living Happy – Inside Out” to become a global influencer. A former corporate manager and HuffPost columnist who has travelled to 60 countries, Maura was first called the Ambassador of Happiness by the UNESCO Center for Peace when invited to speak at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Day celebration. Since then, she’s trademarked her title and become a popular media guest featured on hundreds of media outlets in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Australia. Maura has lectured on Influence and Leadership at universities, leadership conferences, women’s organizations, Model UN’s and several American Embassy outposts. In 2018, she was named Women of the Decade at the Women Economic Forum (WEF) held in The Hague. Maura Sweeney's genuine and first-hand approach empowers others of every background to become their finest version of self and helps us see what’s best in us all.
About The Event
The Leap and Shine Conference which started in 2016 as a Virtual Summit is an initiative founded by Clara Rufai, The Shine Strategist offering Creative, Interactive and Transformational opportunities by bringing together global Thought-leaders and Influencers for paradigm-shifting, life-defining discussions with the aim to inspire, equip and empower individuals to break free from their prisons of limitation and take a ‘LEAP’ into their ‘SHINE ZONE’.
The two-day event promises enlightenment, education, entertainment, and networking with a line-up of successful global achievers. The theme for the conference is “Ready to Shine” and targeted at individuals and business leaders seeking to grow momentum and build a network of fruitful collaborations.