Laura Young is is a writer, workshop leader, trainer, and speaker. She currently works as a training and quality manager at Aspire Healthcare and has published several children’s books and a book for millennials called Adulting Like a Boss.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in a small town in central Louisiana. My parents instilled in all of us kids a sense of hard work ethic, a strong moral compass, and a deep Christian faith. They believed in us and pushed us to never settle for less than what we were capable of doing. 

From the time I was very small, my mom took us to visit the elderly in nursing homes, had us knocking on her friends’ doors to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and had us involved in community and church projects. My mom started a community teen choir in our small town, which traveled to other small towns around the state, and I tagged along. My dad was a physician, and he would work all week, then drive the choir bus to concerts.

I was just a little kid at the time, but because of the way they gave, I learned that there is no higher calling than to love and invest in others. So as an adult, my husband and I have spent the majority of our time pouring into the lives of others, much of it in Mexico as Christian missionaries or in church ministry in the states.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

Although my parents instilled a “can do” attitude in us, I somehow didn’t think I could truly reach my goal to become an author until a few years ago. I still struggle with “imposter syndrome” when I succeed at something.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Most of the time, it’s a mistake to wait until you’re ready or to spend your time preparing to do something great.  Almost always, I believe, if you leap, the net will appear.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

The last few years have been pretty dark, actually, as I’ve lost several close family members in a row. In spite of the loss, I’ve tried to keep moving forward in my own life, losing myself in writing and working. 

What’s been most helpful to me during this time is the understanding that it’s never the actual event or circumstance that causes emotional pain, but rather, resistance to accepting life as it is.  Although losing loved ones has been extremely sad, I’m learning to accept these realities and move forward with my own life.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Action. No one cares what I INTEND to do. The only work that matters is work that has been produced – not what’s stuck in my head.  If I want to have written a book – then I must ACT, and actually write the darn thing.  In my day job as a corporate trainer, if I have a great idea, unless I implement it and flesh it out, it isn’t going to influence anyone. Learning to Do It – no matter how hard – has been the biggest contributor to my success.

What is your morning routine?

I usually get up around 5:30 or 6:00 – even earlier in the summer when the days are longer. I walk the dogs (exercise), then grab a mug of coffee while I have quiet meditative time, reading for inspiration, journaling, and using visualization and affirmations to get my day started. THEN I shower, dress for work, and get on with whatever is on my “to do” list for that day.  I try to keep that routine even when traveling. It keeps me grounded and starts my day off right.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Adding “affirmations” into my daily routine has both improved my confidence and strengthened my will. My affirmations are statements I have either acquired or written myself which I speak aloud during my morning routine.  Speaking these aloud each morning encourages me, motivates me, and makes me believe in myself.  

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Two things:  The first is brainstorming when I’m stuck.  I’ll use sticky notes to do a brain dump, then plaster the wall with them, putting them into categories, making lists from them, and finally gaining clarity from all the things that were swirling around in my head, but I wasn’t sure what to do next.

Secondly: Giving myself time limits – using a timer even – really helps me stay focused on my tasks. I normally have a lot of irons in the fire at one time, and it’s easy for me to flit from one thing to another without really accomplishing anything, so I will give myself ONE task to do until I finish it, and give myself an allotted amount of time in which to do it.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Throughout my life, I’ve been influenced by a number of books. In most recent years, however, it’s been Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. This little book is packed with information and motivation to start each day with practices and habits that provide me with confidence, the right attitude, and a peaceful mindset to tackle the day.

I believe starting each day with quiet time, affirmations, walking for exercise, journaling, and reading (the Bible for me, which is also the book that has influenced me most) keeps me centered and ready to take on new challenges. 

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

My kids hate this one, but it’s one I live by!  “If you just do it, then it will be done.”

Not sure if I came up with that myself or picked it up somewhere, but there are SO many times throughout the day I think of that. If there is a task or project I’m dreading or procrastinating, I think of that quote! I’ll even use a timer to make myself do it, and most often find that once it’s behind me, it wasn’t that bad.  It’s DONE.