Woman of Influence: Gretchen Rubin

UPDATED: May 22, 2024
PUBLISHED: August 17, 2020
Woman of Influence: Gretchen Rubin

As told to Kindra Hall

Best-selling author, podcaster, speaker and creator of the Four Tendencies framework, exploring happiness and good habits

One thing that has been true about me my whole life is that I can become very preoccupied with certain subjects. So preoccupied in fact, that I’ll throw everything else down and start doing a huge amount of research. It happens to me all the time.

One time in particular, was during my law career. I was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in Washington, D.C. (a dream job, by the way), I went outside for a walk on my lunch hour. I remember I looked up at the Capitol Dome against the bright blue sky and I asked myself a rhetorical question. “What am I interested in that everyone else in the world is interested in?” I thought, “Well, power, money, fame, and sex.” And it happened, BAM! My mind exploded. I immediately started researching these subjects. I was staying late at work to research and researching on the weekends. Hours of research on this topic. I remember thinking, “This is the kind of thing you do if you’re writing a book.” But I wasn’t writing a book about power, money, fame and sex… I was in law.

Meanwhile, I began noticing my colleagues who were top law students. And they loved law. They talked about law at lunch and at happy hour and were reading law journals on the weekend. And then I went over to a friend’s house who had a really boring looking textbook on her table and when I asked if that’s the kind of thing she had to read for her grad program, she said yes, but she’d read it on her own anyway.

That’s the day I realized I wanted a job that I loved as much as the law students loved law. Where what I was doing in my free time is what I would be doing for work. What was I doing in my free time? I was writing a book. I thought, “I could be a person who writes a book.”

I got to the point where I would rather fail as a writer than succeed as a lawyer, so I wrote a book. My first book was called Power, Money, Fame, Sex, those same topics I thought of on my lunch break that day the sky was so blue.

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This article originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by © Photography by Heath Moore

Kindra Hall is the bestselling author of Stories That Stick and a sought-after keynote speaker. She is the president of Steller Collective, a marketing agency focused on the power of storytelling to overcome communication challenges.