The Secret to Lighting up a Room: Find Your Inner Glow

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~Marianne Williamson

We’ve all met that person at a party or a business function who seems to “light up a room.” People are drawn to them like moths to a flame.

Maybe it’s the way she carries herself, or the easy way he laughs, or her eyes that seem totally focused and engaged in the moment. I’ve always noticed that they have sort of a “knowing” smile—a secret that maybe, just maybe, they might tell you.

I have always wanted to know that secret.

A confession: Up until a couple of years ago, I was a total happiness-faker. Yep. Even had myself fooled there for a while.

It took a couple jobs lost, one relationship ended, and a few life crises thrown in for good measure before I woke up one morning and realized that I no longer saw “me” staring back. It was that moment of clarity where I finally saw things exactly as they were—and knew that they had to change.

I was never more afraid in my entire life. But then again, the best things that happen to us in life are usually the most terrifying, no?

As I’ve evolved in this journey, I’ve slowly inched closer towards the radiant person I want to be. For me, that means finding simplicity and a sense of flow in all aspects of my life—which has been surprisingly more difficult than I ever thought it would be.

Simplifying our lives can be hard because it forces us to own our values and shape our lives around them. To take responsibility for our lives and cut away what we’ve outgrown. To do something, anything, every day to move us one step closer. 

Most of the time, this process requires us to step outside of the norm—perhaps our “normal” persona; our “normal” relationship habits; our “normal” place in society. It’s challenging, uncomfortable (albeit extremely rewarding) work.

Navigating the process can be even harder. How can we know what’s right when we’re stepping away from what we’ve always been told is just that?

There are six actions I actively take in my life that have made all the difference. Each time I practice, I feel my inner glow burning just the tiniest bit brighter.

1. Discover your gifts.

I’m not talking Photoshop skills or anything you learned in college. I’m talking real gifts. What makes you a treasure? What do you do that lights you up inside? Not sure? Ask your closest friends. Their insight could be illuminating.

2. Inject happiness.

The biggest problem with happiness is that we often think we don’t deserve it. When we believe we don’t deserve it, we fail to see the great opportunities that are right in front of us. Sunsets. Playing tag with your kids. An ice cream cone shared with your significant other. Relaxing with a good book. You get the idea.

Need some real life inspiration? Look no further than children…and dogs. There’s no better example of pure happiness.

3. Do it your way.

You don’t need anyone’s approval but your own. There’s no one formula that will tell you how to manage your time, run a successful business, lose weight, quit your day job, etc.

While it’s helpful to use great resources and admire those who’ve done what you want to do, your path is yours to walk. Comparing yourself to other people is a waste of energy—energy that you could be spending on step #1 or #2.

4. See failure as an opportunity.

We all choose how to face adversity and challenges in life. We can either fold under the pressure or look for learning experiences. I choose the latter.

5. Step away from what doesn’t fit anymore. 

Your new-found glow may too much for some people, or not enough. You may find that certain habits no longer align with your awakened lifestyle. Make changes. You’re worth it.

6. Allow yourself to be driven by something bigger than yourself.

This can be anything from your personal “higher power” or simply gut-level intuition. Perhaps it’s a core value that shapes your actions, both professionally and personally. Dig deeper and look beyond the surface. Surrender—sometimes that’s the wisest action to take.

Once I started implementing these concepts, I started seeing subtle changes in my life and in myself. I stood up a little straighter, and felt more and more comfortable in my own skin. I stopped wasting time on things that didn’t serve me. I relaxed in situations that would’ve previously made me critical and judging.

The biggest changes happened with the people in my life. My relationships became more nurturing and fulfilling. I stopped trying to prove myself to everyone. My business evolved in a major way—once I started allowing myself to just “be me,” I started attracting clients who wanted the same level of authenticity in their evolution as creative entrepreneurs.

I realized that you really do need to love yourself first. Your radiance is directly proportionate to your level of self-love and self-expression.

So have you figured out the secret to lighting up a room? The secret is being ourselves.

Photo by CarbonNYC

About Megan Gallagher

Megan Gallagher is a multi-passionate writer and coach who helps creative entrepreneurs find authenticity and sustainability through coaching, digital programs, and live classes. Find her on Twitter here:

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  • Dochy

    How very true!!! No amount of jewellery/fashionable makeovers/imitating others would ever make you glow! The true secret to glowing like a star is to radiate from within – by just being yourself! Such a beautiful article!!! 🙂 Thanks!

  • You know, it’s usually the people that have no idea whatsoever that they are lighting up a room, that light up the room. Those that “put it on” may be showy and may grab some attention but they really don’t light up the room. They don’t glow. They’re more like the flash on the camera.

    Those that leave a lasting glow and penetrate into everyone’s souls are the ones that have no need to put any attention on themselves. They simply care, give, and shine. These people REALLY light up a room.

    Maybe it’s your number six point. They’re following their core values so fully that nothing interrupts who they are and they have no reason to put on a false front. Nice list, Megan, thanks for sharing.

  • Joice


  • You’re dead right, Carmelo!

  • Ree

    Love the flash of a camera analogy!

  • Carmelo–what a great analogy!

    And you’re so right–its always the people who have no idea how amazing they are that really, truly glow. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Dochy–thank you!

  • Sally Brown

    Great article! I believe that finding your true purpose is what makes you glow. Once you have a distinct purpose (for me, it is doing everything I can to lessen the suffering of animals), you tend to align yourself with other like minded souls. When you do this, your life gets so much more fulfilling and peaceful. I think more about my purpose and how I can accomplish more and less about what I look like. Besides, you all know those superficial people (the guy or the gal who walk in the room with classic good looks and yet they aren’t beautiful because of their actions or obsession with their looks?). I spend less time around those types of people and more time around those who are trying to help others. Those are the truly beautiful people anyway.

  • Just what I needed to read today, thank you.

  • This article spoke right to my soul. I know exactly what you are talking about and it’s what I formed my business ‘The Inner Vibrance Project’ around! It’s like magic when you light up that room. And the steps you offer are the ones I took to get it back. Thank you so much Megan!xx

  • SereneNSassy Soul

    Amazingly insightful and profoundly speaks of my personal journey during the past several months. Thank you so much for sharing. Many blessings…

  • Thank you! I’m so glad you were able to connect with it!

  • Elise! It’s so great to find a kindred spirit–a big side of my business is helping people cultivating authenticity, confidence, and self-worth as creative entrepreneurs. (Indiepreneurs, I like to call them.) It sounds like you & I are speaking the same truth–I love it! I’m so glad you liked the article–thanks for commenting & good luck with The Inner Vibrance Project!

  • I’m so glad you liked it, Rebecca! Thank YOU for reading!

  • Anzmo

    The secret is to love your-self huh..? thank you for a great article.. I’ve always tried to make everyone else happy and I very rarely look to see if those things make ME happy… I guess the way to help other be happy is to be happy your-self first.. again thank you I’ve never been to this site, but I’m so glad I found it..

  • drudgerfly

    I stumbled upon this by accident. It really resonates with me. Awesome blog, awesome purpose, awesome aid. What I needed to read and process at this exact moment.