Interview with Dani DiPirro
I recently came across the blog Positively Present and immediately loved it. Dani’s writing really spoke to me. I instantly knew that I wanted to interview her for the weekly segment Inspiring Woman of the Week.
1. Please share a little about yourself.
I’m an author, blogger, and designer living in a suburb of Washington, DC. In 2009, when I was at a particularly low point in my life — I didn’t love my job, my relationship status wasn’t ideal, and I was struggling a lot to feel happy — I launched PositivelyPresent.com with the intention of documenting my journey toward a more positive and present life.
In 2012, I left my full-time job in Marketing to pursue a career as a blogger and writer. While working trying to create a beautiful online space for my readers, I discovered how much I loved illustrating and graphic design. Last year, I launched my design studio, Twenty3, where I work with individuals and business to create modern, uplifting design. My love of design and my desire to help myself and others live more positive, present lives comes together in my latest book, The Positively Present Guide to Life, which pairs inspiring illustrations with action-oriented advice for living a more positive, more present life.
2. What do you feel has been your most valuable lesson?
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is discovering how important it is to focus on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong. For so many years, I was focused on everything that wasn’t working in my life and I believe that negativity held me back in a lot of ways. Learning to stay positive — even in the most difficult situations — has been a life-changing experience for me.
There’s often a big misconception around the notion of positive thinking — that “being positive” means “never feeling bad.” It’s for this reason, in fact, that I focus on positivity rather than happiness. When you are happy, you are in a state where you don’t feel bad and when even the not-so-great things seem bearable. Positivity, on the other hand, is not about putting on rose-colored glasses and pretending that everything is okay. It’s about accepting whatever’s happening in your current situation and trying to make the most of it. No matter how difficult the situation, it’s possible to find something of value — even if the value is only that you’re growing stronger by going through difficulties.
3. What do you feel is the secret to success?
I don’t think there’s necessarily a secret to success, but I believe one of the key aspects of living a positive, present life is cultivating gratitude. No matter how difficult a situation, there is always something to be grateful for and the more you focus on what you have (rather than what you lack), the more positive and present you become. It’s very difficult to be negative or distracted from the moment when you’re focusing what you have to be thankful for, and the more you practice staying present and focusing on the good, the easier it becomes to be successful because you’re not weighed down by negativity.
4. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be and why?
At the moment, it would be Dan Harris. I just finished his book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works. I could really relate to his journey of trying to improve his life without changing the essence of himself. I’d love an opportunity to meet him and chat about his experiences.
5. What inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many things — art, books, people I know, readers of the blog, my dog (who is amazingly skilled at staying present!). I try to seek inspiration in every experience I encounter. There’s always a lesson to be learned (even during the worst of times) so I try to look for that. I love learning more about the world and myself so every person, place, or thing offers me an opportunity to do that in some way.
6. What is your favorite quote?
This is a very tough question for me. Quotes are one of my favorite things and one of my biggest sources of inspiration. My favorite quote changes frequently, but right now I’m really loving this one: “Interrupt anxiety with gratitude” (by Danielle LaPorte).
7. If you were asked to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Creative. I’m always trying to draw or write or illustrate something into existence. I love any opportunity I have to bring something from my mind into the world and share it with others.
8. What books have influenced you the most?
I read a lot and almost everything read influences me in some way. Some books that have had a powerful impact on my life are: Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, Dan Harris’s 10% Happier, Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, and Byron Katie’s Loving What Is.
9. Any final thoughts?
Thank you for featuring me as Inspiring Woman of the Week! It’s an honor to have been chosen. If you’d like more information about my work, please visit DaniDiPirro.com. To check out the blog and find some positive inspiration, stop by PositivelyPresent.com. And be sure to check out my latest book The Positively Present Guide to Life!
First, thank you, Dani, for taking the time to share your thoughts with my readers.
Second, if you or anyone you know would like to be featured as an Inspiring Woman of the Week, please contact me.