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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Elevate, Empower, Inspiration, Soul Food, Woman on the RISE | 0 comments

Woman on the RISE – Anne Riley

Woman on the RISE – Anne Riley

Anne head Shot

Anne Riley | Author

anneriley.author@gmail.com | AnneRileyAuthor.com  | @annerileyauthor

Your 140-character pitch: Anne Riley, author of Elusive Little Sucker. Best little book you will ever read on happiness. It IS elusive but not unattainable. Enjoy!

Your Elevateher pitch:

Anne Riley is the author of Elusive Little Sucker, a story of happiness earned the hard way. Out of fire comes strength. Out of trial comes wisdom. Out of experience comes learning. All of these things, when harvested to form your own values and actions, will lead to your own personal happiness. Your happiness will look different than that of anyone else because no one else can possibly share your precise personality and experience. That is why each person must take this task on for herself. No one can talk you into happiness. This is the story of my journey into happiness. It is my hope that it will inspire you to embark on your own unique journey.

Immediate Region: Portland, Oregon

Featured products &/or services: Book: Elusive Little Sucker, My Entirely Too Long and Totally Circuitous Search for Happiness. {Available on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, Kobo and your favorite bookstore}

What do people think you do for a living? Most people think I am retired.

What do you actually do for a living?
 I like to think of what I do as just ‘living.’  I have a business background, a degree in Accounting and an MBA. I worked in various business settings while trying to balance raising my three children and a career, only to realize that I couldn’t do either to my satisfaction.  When my children were grown, I returned to the work force and managed the operations of a private bank in suburban Portland, Oregon.

Tell us about your passions! I have so many. But they are all inspired by the five-word mantra that I have come to use as my short-cut to happiness:  Identify my values. Live them. What you call passions are what I call values.

  • Community – I volunteer in my local community.  I run the local pool. I develop the budget for the community in which I live. I have worked on several political campaigns to elect people who share my values and sense of community. I have created a website to encourage people to put balls in parks so people can play (see http://playitforward-us.com).
  • Writing – I wrote and published Elusive Little Sucker – My Entirely Too Long and Totally Circuitous Search for Happiness.  I struggled to find happiness and I just cold not believe I was the only one who faced such a challenge. The book is my contribution to the world conversation. It is my wish that others will find it useful in finding their own happiness.
  • Time – It is important to me that I control how I spend my time.
  • Minimalism – I don’t own things, they own me. Thus it is important that I live my life with as few things as possible so that they do not take my time and attention away from the really important things in my life.
  • Good Health – I eat organic and try to keep foods as close to their natural state as I can. This has the added attraction of not requiring me to cook as much! J
  • Activity – I bike, run, lift weights, do yoga, walk, swim. I have run 8 marathons, have run the Hood To Coast Relay ( a 200 mile, 12 person relay from Mt. Hood to the Pacific Coast) 13 times, have put thousands of miles on my bike, and have swam several hundred miles in the past few years. If all else fails, I will just head out to the park to play.
  • Kindness – just the everyday variety. Saying hello to a person on the street.  Helping out where you can. Saying something nice to someone. These are the little things in life that are really the big things in life.

Who|what inspires what you do? My husband, Tim. He is wise, patient, kind, loving and accepting of me with all of my idiosyncrasies and utterly human characteristics. When I was my own worst enemy, he was the one who believed in me. From early on he would say to me, “You are what you do.” And he is right.  My five-word mantra is derived from this mindset.

Was there a turning point in your life that led to your current career? In 2010, having worked for over seven years at the bank, and in the midst of the devastating recession, my boss and I had a fundamental disagreement on how the business should proceed. I could not reconcile myself to his choices, and as it was his company, it was my responsibility to leave. It was a devastating event, but it seared into me the idea that in order for me to go forward in life I must identify my values and live them. From that point on, my life, although a mosaic of different activities, is for the first time coherent and meaningful.

If money weren’t a factor, what would you be doing? As it turns out, money is a curious character in my life.  It is neither important nor unimportant in and of itself, but it is only important as a means by which I live my values.  When I was young and was raising three children, money was important. I needed money to give the children opportunities and experiences. So both my husband and I worked hard to make sure we provided for them.  But we were never enamored of physical wealth or status symbols, so we saved our money as we went along.  When the children had grown and left home, and we left our jobs so unexpectedly, we had the chance to look at our situation and choose a new path.  When we compared our values and the actions they inspired with the money we had saved, we realized that we could afford to take a few years off and explore what it would be like just to live.  This is exactly what we have been doing the past few years. We have tried new things, things we would never have done in our working lives, and it has changed our perspective profoundly.  What we will be doing tomorrow I cannot honestly tell you; but I can tell you it will probably be something new.

What’s in your Bucket List? Only one thing: living every day on my terms


Knowing all you know now, what would you tell your 20 year old self? This is such a good question.  I look back on my 20 year-old self and I can still feel the conflicts and questions and insecurity of not knowing who I was and where I was going. What is ironic is that I made pretty good decisions.  But I also made myself miserable by my inability to be happy with the decisions I made.  I would tell any 20 year-old who will listen this:

Establish your foundation.  Learn YOUR values.  Then take actions that support them.  This will bring you peace of mind and free up your energy to succeed. Don’t worry, values can and will change with time and circumstance. But if you practice this way of thinking: to ask what is important, then adjust your actions to fit, you will have a way to welcome change and bring you peace of mind as you go through life.

What’s you go-to stress reliever? Physical activity.

How do you perceive retirement? I am actually living in ‘pseudo-retirement’ right now, so I can say this with certainty.  It is a time to try new things and discover what is important in life.


Do you have a personal philosophy you’d like to share?
 Identify your values. Live them.

What would you like your legacy to be? Another really good question.  I do not want, nor do I expect to have, a legacy.  But I do want every interaction that I have today to be a positive one.  I want to be a useful member of the human family. At the minimum, this requires me to do no harm. At the maximum, it requires me to give my time and effort to others in some manner.  Every day, I want every one of my actions to fall within this range.