Hello! My name is Lauren Cook, but I also go by the Sunny Girl these days. I am currently writing a book on teen happiness called The Sunny Side Up! but I also write daily on my blog, which you can find here: www.thesunnygirl.com. I have many goals compiled together on what I call The Sunny Set, but my major goal right now is to complete my book and have it become a New York Times Bestseller. Hey, one can dream!
1. What is something that motivates you & why? I am motivated by my peers. I think young adults have so many stories to share that often go unheard and untold. I am driven to write my book because I want teens to have an opportunity to answer the questions that no one seemed to be asking. Such as, “What makes YOU happy?” and “What does happiness mean to you?” Once adults can learn what these answers are, different generations will finally be able to close what I call “the connection gap.” We will be able to improve communication between adults and teens and make enormous strides in society with this knowledge.
2. What is something that inspires you & why? I try to find inspiration everyday in everything. It is what I call “The 5 Daily Gratitudes.” Everyday before I go to sleep, I write down five things that made me thankful during the day. Maybe it was the purring of my cat, a great song on the radio like “Don’t Stop Believin’”, or just having a loving family and friends. With so much to give thanks for, how can I not be inspired? “I think it is essential that we thank others.”
3. If you could recommend a movie, website, song, or book for others & their inspiration, what would it be & why? I actually made a post on my blog about this yesterday. I recently watched “Mr. Holland’s Opus” starring Richard Dreyfuss who plays a high school music teacher. The movie is especially poignant for three reasons. Mr. Holland is inspirational not only as a man who shares his passion for music, but as a mentor who teaches his love for learning and the arts. Also, his relationship with his son in this coming of age story reminded me that family is truly the most important thing in life and that we should honor those that have inspired us.
4. What’s one thing you’ve done to Pay-It-Forward? I think it is essential that we thank others. I am a huge fan of Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages and I think it is essential that we show love for others on a daily basis. This may be through physical expression like a hug, through words of affirmation like “I love you”, through quality time like going to the park with a friend, through acts of service like getting groceries when someone’s had a busy day, or through the giving of gifts like buying a cute bracelet or a great book for a best friend. No matter how you express love and gratitude, I think thinking of others and making sure they know that you care about them is the best way to Pay-It-Forward.
5. Do you have a goal list? If so, what are a few goals you would like to accomplish, small or large? I have a list of over 250 goals called The Sunny Set. It is similar to a Bucket List but instead of being of list of things to do before I die, it is a list of goals to achieve in my lifetime. I focus on one goal each week and it always makes me so happy to work toward a goal. I’ve tried everything from hatching a chick (this is surprisingly difficult!) to learning how to shoot a gun. Goals give me something to look forward to and work toward. Some goals that I’m really looking forward to completing in the near future are running in the Disneyland marathon, eating gelato in Italy, and watching a Supreme Court case in Washington D.C.
6. Who is your hero & why? My hero has always been Julie Andrews. Not only is she stunningly talented, she is also a woman of character. Her grace and poise is timeless and she is a woman that I try to exemplify on a daily basis. I may not be able to mimic the British accent, but I try to be like her in so many other ways. She reminds me to have courage through her song, “I Have Confidence” which I have sang countless times and she encourages me to look out for others as she did when she was Mary Poppins.
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 2020, I am hopeful that I will be helping others and changing lives as a professional motivational speaker. I will have a series of best-selling books and I will be traveling across the country spreading happiness. I want to help other’s live their best life. In my personal life, I want to be happily married, have one child, and have a Chocolate-Point, Applehead Siamese cat (It’s a tradition in my family!) “You can be so happy. Surround yourself by the people that you love…”
8. If you could make one wish right now, what would it be? I would wish for happiness; not just for myself but for every individual, every nation, and for every creature. This includes good health, peace, and loving relationships. As a former Miss Teen California, what did you expect me to say? It’d be a crime to say that I didn’t wish for world peace! Even though I sincerely do.
9. If you could motivate or inspire someone with one paragraph, what would it say? You can be so happy. Surround yourself by the people that you love and give just as much, if not more, love than you receive. No matter how dire or dreary the situation you may be in, there is always something to be grateful for. I always say as the Sunny Girl, “May we take pride in our lives, realize the power of our dreams, and celebrate happiness today and every day!”
Thank you Lauren!
Be sure to check out TheSunnyGirl.com.