LM 2 | Building Resilience

 

Are you prepared to survive a mass disruption? In this episode, Adam Markel joins Tanya Memme as they dig deep into building resilience and its role in helping you meet any challenge head-on and come out on top, especially during a mass disruption. When everyone is forced to face challenges, discover what it means to be resilient in times of prolific change. Adam is a bestselling author, international keynote speaker, and business mentor who helps organizations discover the power of resilience. Get to know how Adam inspires and helps his clients build resilient systems that can withstand any situation.

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Building Resilience: Meeting The Challenges Of Mass Disruptions With Adam Markel

For the second time, I have Adam Markel with me. Adam, I’ve gotten to know you over the years.

That’s true and you still talk to me, which is amazing.

You have to know what kind of person Adam is. I feel like everything that your elbows rub turns to gold. I feel like you’re one of those people. You are a best-selling author, a keynote speaker and a resilience expert. We’re going to be talking a lot about resilience. You inspire leaders and organizations to build resilience into their lives and systems to meet the challenges of mass disruption, which is why I wanted to have you on the show because we are all dealing with mass disruption in our lives with the COVID-19. We’re all in quarantine. You work a lot with people, talking to them about resilience. Let’s dive right in. How does someone become resilient at a time like this?

I was going to make a little joke and I can’t help myself. When you said mass disruption, I was like, “I went to UMass. I met my wife at UMass. Disruption and Massachusetts.” I’ll regret that I said this. We are living in times of prolific change. Disruption is a funny word. In fact, interestingly enough, I have a book on my desk that I’ve finished reading. It’s by a friend of mine named Terry Jones, who is the Founder of Travelocity and Kayak. A couple of multi-billion dollar exits for him. This is a great book about disruption, which I’ve finished.

I love learning about new books to read. From you, referring them, it’s fantastic.

Thank you. This is the way a book looks like. In fact, I wish I had my Atomic Habits book. My books are always twice the size that they start out, meaning in width because I read them in the sauna or in the hot tub. The moisture, it’s like a Jersey Girls’ hair. I can say that because I married a Jersey Girl who has hair similar to yours, Tanya. When it gets humid outside, it gets big. The funny thing about disruption, to circle back to that, it’s only a disruption because it’s something that we didn’t plan or create ourselves or think out. If you think about disruptive business, it’s only disruptive because we didn’t have the idea for it. That’s why we find it disruptive.

It’s humorous because there’s a connotation around it that is a bit negative. It’s the most creative thing that could be and not just be a part of our lives but it’s the creative way of the universe. It’s the law of the universe that things must change. There are seasons. Everything is constantly changing. When things change in our insular world, it rocks us hard. I want to start out by maybe reframing because we’re going to talk about what resilience is all about. One aspect of resilience is how you’re able to take in something, some idea, some experience and see it differently than the way you default to see it. By that, we all have a way of thinking about things and giving meaning to things that are based on the way we were programmed to experience.

The meaning that we would give to those things is based on our upbringing, based on our early childhood, life experiences, including trauma. We look at stuff and we make meaning of it. We’re great meaning-making machines. Often, the meaning we make is, “What’s going to happen? I don’t like the unknown. Uncertainty is driving me crazy,” or worse, “My life is going down the tubes. My business is going down the tubes. When will I ever be able to go out in public again and even grab a handle?” How many people are going to hesitate to put their hand on a doorknob again?

It has changed us in many ways, psychologically, emotionally and physically. People are going through a tough time. I know people, it sounds like they’re giving up. It does have to do with resilience and reframing. How do you work with clients that are in that situation to teach them about reframing?

I know you’ve had many business leaders on the show. A lot of your personal networks are highly successful, highly accomplished people and all the like. If you ask them what their definition of resilience is and what the recipe, so to speak, for that is, for as many people as you ask, you’ll get that many different answers. There will be overlap. Our research has given us that overlap, the Venn diagram where things overlap with each other. The common denominator in all of our research as well as other people’s research that we’ve been fascinated by come down to three specific traits. The first is this reframing trait. For me, what reframing is it’s getting ourselves to neutral. Imagine you’re right in the middle of a major storm. We love shitstorm, don’t we? What other storms do we like?

Right now, I feel like we’re in one.

This could be the greatest shitstorm of the modern era. With that said, what do you do in the middle of one of those storms? I have been in many storms in my own life. We can talk about some of those things if you like. I know you have as well. The most important thing in the middle of a storm is that you are the calm. You are the calm. You are the eye of the storm. It’s more important than anything else. On my own show, I was interviewing a Navy SEAL, a commander, a guy that not only was a commander in the SEALs but then became a trainer in the SEALs as well. He started a couple of years. He went into service a few years before 9/11. After 9/11, the proverbial shitstorm started and kept growing. It’s still there.

LM 2 | Building Resilience

Building Resilience: More than anything else, maintaining your calm is everything.

 

More than anything else, the calm that they were trained to be able to maintain, in the midst of a firestorm, not just that other storm, bullets flying, bombs going on, massive chaos and people dying. The calm was everything. The plan, the strategy and all the stuff that was worked out in advance, more often than not do not go according to plan. It deviates. There are pivots all the time in those situations. More than anything else, maintaining your calm is everything.

The first component of the reframe is to get to neutral, to shift almost like in a car where you could put it into neutral. That means you’re not trying to accelerate. You’re not trying to break. You’re not looking in the forward direction about, “What if?” You are trying to figure out what’s going to happen ahead of you. You’re not looking in the rearview mirror or putting it in reverse and trying to relive the past or regretting things or any of the stuff where our minds go into forward or in reverse. You simply stay in the present and you’re neutral without judgment. That’s the component of it. What’s important is that we’re not saying, “This is right or wrong. This is good or bad or fair or unfair.”

It’s like, “Get your head out of that space. It is what it is and be calm.” I’m speaking on behalf of the people reading, “I lost my job. I’m trying to file for unemployment. I’m trying to get some business loans. Nothing is coming through. I feel like I’m failing. My life is falling apart because of this time.” The first thing you’re saying to do is to stay calm.

It’s to get neutral.

In your thoughts.

Be neutral because the neutralness is what produces that calm. There is no fear that can live in the present moment. You and I always get into these deep conversations, which I absolutely love. The idea that we can be safe at the moment. Ten seconds from now, the world may blow up. We don’t know. That’s scary. If we think about the past, we have a lot of things that we could criticize, recriminations, “If I had only done that. If I had only been more prepared.” You’re not safe in either of those two places. Those two places, ironically, don’t exist.

Do you think we’re ever truly safe? How’s that for a question?

It’s the best question I’ve been asked for a long time because it’s real. Think about this moment. You’ve got stuff going on your life. I’ve got stuff going on in my life and family. I found out that an old high school friend of mine lost his dad. They live on the East Coast. He lost his dad to complications due to COVID. You go, “Really?” It got a little close to home. At this moment, right where we are, we are safe. We’re always safe in the present moment. That’s the truth of it. People don’t live in the present moment, which is why they don’t feel safe.

I want to go past the Eckhart Tolle stuff of it. I love him. I read The Power of Now and A New Earth. For anybody that’s thinking, “It’s that present stuff.” Yes, and we’ve got to also be able to act. Being the eye of the storm isn’t simply about sitting and being calm while everything is blowing around us. Meanwhile, our house is getting taken away and all the rest of it. The first piece is to be neutral. In that neutral state, we are clear-eyed. Our senses are more heightened. We can be alert.

Back to our buddy, the Navy SEAL, part of what that calmness does for someone that’s in a life and death context right there, not figuratively, like, “Three months from now, they’ll take my house. I’ll be out on the street and then I’ll get something and then I’ll die.” That’s the way our mind works. It’s like, “No. In the next second, if I move wrong, if I do the wrong thing, I’m dead or my teammates are dead.” I know that environment not quite that way but from my lifeguard days. He and I had this interesting conversation about that, too. In the present, my awareness is heightened that I am alert, that I’m able to listen and be guided at the moment. That guidance has never led me wrong. It’s a trust that’s inside of us that we know exactly what to do.

We’re all built to weather almost any storm. We are incredibly resilient beings. We’re adaptable. That’s the reason the species is around. How many freaking monster mistakes have human beings made since the beginning of time? The most brutal, stupid, cruel, asinine things you could ever conceive of have been done and yet we managed to survive as a species and not just survive, thrive as a species. All of that trust is baked into our DNA, all of that ability. In his language, that Navy SEAL would be like the warrior. That’s all baked into our DNA. When we’re not able to be present, we’re not able to sit in stillness, it’s difficult to listen to the actual guidance that’s there. The question that that, Randi, my wife always asks me, and this is a question about reframing, “What’s the creative opportunity?” Think about that Tanya?

Create resilience before you need it. Click To Tweet

At this moment, where we ask that question, “Are we safe?” If you know that you’re safe, if you know that you trust yourself, if you know that you’re going to land on your feet, that’s the nature of our species, to land on our feet. Is there genuine suffering? Are there people whose lives are being lost? Absolutely. Yet, as a species, we will stick the landing on this, as we always do. For each of us individually, that’s baked into our DNA. You go, “Which way now? Which way next?” The question to give us that movement so it’s not meditation that we’re talking about is, what’s the creative opportunity? That’s part one. That’s the trait of a resilient person. They can look at the shitstorm and go, “I get it. This is genuinely scary stuff going on out here. What’s a creative opportunity?” That’s part one.

You need to sit with that and take the time to have those answers come in. This is also a time of massive distraction as well. From the media, the news, this and that, your family, your friends, everybody pulling you in every direction to fighting and we’re in cramped quarters. It’s hard to find that time and that space but you’re saying that it’s step one and it is necessary.

In sports, it’s a great example of that too. There isn’t a time when you’re facing down 100 miles an hour pitch in the Major Leagues. There isn’t a lot of time to be thinking that you struck out last time. If you strike out now, the game is going to be over. The greatest players are the ones who are locked into the present moment. They trust their body to do what they’ve been prepared to do, which is a concept in resilience and this is important. We prepare. Preparation is an important part of this. You create resilience before you need it.

That was great when I was speaking to corporate groups a month ago, five months ago, a year ago to say that and now it has a different meaning. The preparation isn’t necessarily, “How am I preparing to be resilient now?” You’re going to be resilient. Hopefully, what we’re talking about will help people to be more resilient. It’s about preparing to be resilient for the next disruption and the next thing that’s going to happen because that’s the nature of the world.

You mean professionally and also personally because you work with corporations. You work with individuals.

The next challenge is right around the corner. We’ll clear this one. It will be 2021. We’ll look back on it, 2020 to 2023. Think about 2008 and 2009 when people were losing their homes and companies like Lehman Brothers were going bankrupt. Companies and individuals were imagining the worst and the worst was transpiring based on our imaginations. It was a rough time. You look back on that and we got past that. There were people who were not focused on those things but instead, at those times, we’re looking for the creative opportunities and found them. Many people create massively successful businesses. They started them, created them, launched them, and funded them.

That was the launch of Reality TV and my business. Remember, there used to be a reality show for everybody and everything and then it found its place. It did and it’s still apparent. We’re in a changing time as well. People are finding the creative opportunities there.

Hopefully.

Hopefully, more find that than not.

That’s where we can put our focus, which is great. Part one is this reframe principle. You anchor the reframe with that question, what’s the creative opportunity? The second thing is a little less deep, let’s say. That leads us to the mountain and the caves and the monasteries and a lot of other places. In that first piece, there’s a great deal of piece that’s baked into it. if you could do that one thing only, get to neutral and be able to be alert and aware and present at the moment the way ballplayers can do to succeed in the moment and in the way great business leaders can do and lots of others. In your life, there’s a different trajectory possible.

Step two is recognizing that we’re going to make mistakes all the time if we’re lucky. To try to lead a mistake-free life, to me, is narrow. Our existence and our experiences are narrow that we define it by having to do it right, do it perfectly, do it so that it’s approved, that I’m approved, and all that kind of thing. It’s trained us early in our lives that making mistakes has consequences and we should try to live as mistake-free as possible.

Especially in a time when you’ve lost your business and you’ve lost a lot. Family members have passed because of this whole situation, the idea of making a mistake is frightening. It’s one of those things where it’s hard to get past that whole idea of it’s okay to make a mistake when your next move and your next step forward feels like it’s important to make the right move and not make mistakes.

In many arenas, you can’t win a game playing defense only. In any sporting event, playing defense alone is a surefire way to lose the game. You can’t be assertive and seize opportunities when you’re constantly thinking about, “I can’t afford a mistake.” It’s the same in investing with money. It’s anything. I’m not a gambler. I don’t have a gamblers’ nature even when I used to go to the casino sometimes with my father-in-law because he loved to gamble. I would hang with him and be like, “I don’t like losing money. It bothers me. I don’t like it.” He had this whole other mentality that I witnessed, which was wonderful.

LM 2 | Building Resilience

Building Resilience: There’s no fear that can live in the present moment when you’re neutral.

 

Randi’s dad, we call him Papa Lou, he goes in there and he says, “I have an entertainment expense tonight. This is my entertainment expense.” It would be whatever it be, $300 or $500. He wasn’t some big gambler or anything. He goes a lot but he was always successful. It was remarkable. I never remember or even hearing about him going to the casino and not coming out ahead. Part of that was because he went in there with a clear plan. He was going to enjoy himself. At the Craps table, which was his thing, he loved it. My mother-in-law was a roulette player. He was a Craps player. He was the loudest guy at that table. Even in a big old Las Vegas casino, you are like, “Over there. Papa Lou is there.” Follow the sound and it leads you right to his table.

He was in the moment and he was enjoying the crap out of it. The Craps table was his spot. He did not get emotionally involved. He wasn’t thinking about what it would mean to lose the money. He wouldn’t ever play with scared money, the money he couldn’t afford to lose. That’s what’s awful about gambling. When it’s a disease, when it’s an addiction, people will play with money they can’t afford to lose. That’s an issue. He would go with this entertainment money. If it was gone, it was gone. That was it. It’s freeing because if you make mistakes, they have to be things that you can learn from. That’s why we make mistakes. To make more mistakes is more beneficial to us, believe it or not, because it gives us more that we can learn from.

The problem is many people make the same mistakes over and over. They don’t learn from them because they’re not looking for the lessons in them. Even a component of that concept of why you get to neutral is that you get to neutral so that you can look at situations and say, “What is here for me to learn?” That creative opportunity is often a learning opportunity, if nothing else. The second part is about recalculating. I’ll change the analogy. We’re driving in a car and you make a wrong turn. You’re supposed to be on La Cienega and you end up on La Brea. What does your GPS say to you at that moment? Is it screaming at you and going, “You’re such a dimwit?”

It says, “Recalculating.”

It doesn’t remind you in your mother’s voice or something, “You never listen to directions since you were a kid.”

It doesn’t say that. It says, “Recalculating,” which is what you’re talking about.

It’s such a simple thing and yet we don’t allow ourselves to recalculate without the emotional baggage associated with it. With all the energetic charge around, “I screwed up. I made a mistake. Now, I’m worse off for it. This is what people think of me. I’ve lost my own self-respect.” There are many things. We make those mistakes mean a lot versus what does your GPS or your errand turn in the car mean? It means nothing.

It’s interesting because that would throw off the next decision that you have to make. You wouldn’t be able to clearly make the next decision and make the right decision the next time around. It’s not about making the right decisions. It’s making another decision because no decision is wrong. We can learn from the good and bad decisions.

The GPS will take you wherever you want to go no matter where you are. What can get away with that? Being stopped. If you pull off the side of the road, the GPS can’t help you at all. It’s like, “Here’s the route. We can go from here to there.” You can drive the flipping car.

Don’t stop yourself. You’re the one who stops yourself. What comes after that, recalculating?

Lastly, this is the part we spend a lot of time working with people, the individual folks that are leaders within organizations, and the organizations as a whole because the third part is about recovery. You’ve got reframe and then recalculate and then recover. The recovery piece is important. Looking at sports as an analogy for this. The Harvard Business Review studied the best athletes in the world, some high performing Olympians and professional athletes. They made a comparison between entrepreneurs and executives. They found that there was something in common that they all had. That thing that they each had in common was their rituals. On a regular basis, they were all creating rituals to recover.

If you think about somebody who’s in sports, they’re not practicing all day, every day, and then performing at their best because that would never lead to success. You’re practicing, not getting enough sleep and not having time to eat. You are carrying around a lot of anxiety, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion. You ask them to go deliver an Olympic performance, a gold medal performance. You would never expect that out of an athlete, yet that’s what we expect out of ourselves and that’s what we expect out of the people that work for us or work with us often. What’s happening in the world and this has been going on for a long time is there’s an exhaustion model at play versus the recovery model. The recovery model is the one that leads to sustainable high performance for people.

If you make mistakes, they have to be things that you can learn from. Click To Tweet

What does it look like to be able to go through the recovery model?

Starting at age nineteen, I was an ocean lifeguard. I had worked at the pool first and then they moved me out to the beach when I was nineteen and it was a big deal because the beach there was a state public beach. People from the City of New York would come out on weekends and sometimes during the week to that beach. It was about half a mile square. We get 100,000-plus bodies on the sand in 90-plus degree weather in July. This Atlantic Ocean, which is not a lake, not a river, it is constantly changing, a dangerous body of water because of the shore break, these big waves that break right on the shore sometimes and there are rip currents.

When you’re in 2 or 3 feet of water, the riptide comes along because it moves and all of a sudden, your feet are out from under you and you’re not in 2 feet or 3 feet. You’re in 7 feet, 8 feet, 9 feet of water and you’re ten yards offshore. That combination of things, 100,000 people with twenty lifeguards. We lost someone in the middle of summer and we had to go on a search and rescue. I gave a TED Talk where I started out with the story of these three whistles. We would go out on this rescue and it turns from a rescue into a search and recovery. We lost this person. It’s a devastating event.

That afternoon, the captain of our lifeguard crew gathered us all together to say some things to us and for us to also pray for the family of this man that disappeared. The captain says to us, “We’ve got to learn something here because we got to get back up on the stand tomorrow. The people are going to be here tomorrow. The ocean is going to be here tomorrow. Everything is going to be the same tomorrow. We’ve got to do our job. In order for us to do our job and to be impeccable at our job tomorrow, we’ve got to learn something from this experience. We have to commit that no one is going to go down on our watch ever again. We’re going to make this a commitment now.” He said to us, “You’re going to commit to not only make sure no one goes down in your water, but you’re never going to go in the water and not come out with somebody.” He said something a little more colorful, he said, “You either make the save or you die trying.” He then said to us that we’ve got to have each other’s backs.

That was the mantra that in order for twenty lifeguards and typically we had ten up and ten down and we would rotate. We’re ten in the stand and then those ten would come down an hour later and the other ten that was fresh would go up in the stand for another hour. That’s the way we work for the whole day. We toggled back and forth. You’re in an eight-hour shift. You work four hours in the stand and in four hours, you were doing other things and resting and mentally and physically allowing yourself to recover because the intensity was serious. It was life and death and we had already experienced that with somebody going down. From that day forward and for seven years later, seven summers, we never lost anyone again. Nobody ever went down on our watch again. That’s a good track record. The reason is that we were absolutely taking care of ourselves and taking care of each other.

The culture about this lifeguard crew, the culture was one where we were watching each other’s backs. We were taking care of each other. What’s baked into that was this principle that you don’t sit up on the stand for three hours that you can no longer see. The sun is in your eyes and everything is going on and you’re exhausted but we wanted to make sure we don’t lose anybody. Those two things don’t live in the same pond. This is the point about resilience that people have to get. Resilience isn’t about endurance, it’s about recovery. What people have to do is take great care of themselves.

If you combine these three things, you’re looking for creative opportunities, you’re finding the meaning in the situation you’re in if that means you lost your job or your business is struggling, there’s meaning there to mine for. There are creative opportunities that you will find if you can be neutral on it. You can realize that no matter where you end up now or two weeks from now, there’s a route to go from where you are to the place that you’re wanting to be. The recalculating process is key to that. You have to take care of yourself, and that means creating rituals for recovery. Whether it’s twenty minutes to meditate or it’s to put your feet up the wall and close your eyes to take a nap in the middle of the day so you can recharge your body. It’s the things that you put in your body.

What stuck out for me when you told me the story about you being a lifeguard and I know that it is what your TED Talk is about are that moment and many other things. One thing I noticed during the recovery period of that time is you mentioned commitments. You guys made commitments. Would you say that it’s an integral part of this as well going through this COVID-19? You get still and then you do the steps that you’re saying. During the recovery phase, you used rituals but within those rituals, there are commitments. Commit yourself to those rituals and make those decisions.

There are some great rituals. I’ve interviewed a lot of people on my show, too. I’m always fascinated with the rituals that people have. It’s the same thing. You ask ten people and you’re going to get ten sets of answers.

What have you found on some of the interviews that people are doing during this time? What are some of the rituals that they’ve come up with?

Just some common ones, for sure. The idea of getting into a still place or a meditative space is across the board for high performers. They don’t want the noise. They want to have someplace where they can be free of the noise so that they can hear something deeper, whether it’s within them or if you believe that it’s a non-local mind, like a mastermind or a universe or God, however it is that you can receive guidance. How can you receive that when you’re bombarded with the noise of the media and our friends and other people? That’s a common one, for sure.

You brought up commitment and it’s important as well because people ritualize. I ritualized taking action. It’s great to be in a place where I can be still and guided. If I’m still and guided and I get some guidance and then I don’t do anything with it, it’s like the GPS saying, “We’re ready to go. I recalculated. It’s right up here.” I don’t go right and I go, “I’m going to sit here until I know for sure what I’m supposed to do next.” We’re going to all sit you. The GPS will sit there right with you. Action comes as a result of right thinking. That’s a deep pond to go into.

Building Resilience: You can’t be assertive and seize opportunities when you constantly think you can’t afford to make a mistake.

 

It is, but it’s important to put the seeds out there because people are looking for help and guidance. I like that you’re saying all of this.

We can all think rightly. I’m not a religious guy but I’m interested in spirituality and spiritual principles in the Bible, in fact, too. I love the words of some of those great texts, whatever they are and spiritual texts. They have interpretations that are still relevant. Most of the great writings, books and teachings are old and you go, “Where does that fit in my life?” That word righteousness is an example. It’s a cool word, which often people go, “The righteous are the ones who do it right. They’re the good ones.” I wish I was that way. If anybody ever knew who I was, they probably will lock me up in jail. If you knew what was going on in my head, you’d think I was psychotic. Righteousness is not about being perfect. It’s not about not making mistakes. We all live in a glasshouse. It’s not about that. It’s about being able to cultivate the right thoughts and right thinking.

In the moment that you’re asking for guidance or you’re praying or you’re saying, “I want to think rightly about things. I don’t want to go along with the herd. I don’t want to be in fear. I don’t want to think about everything that I’m going to lose. I’d much rather be planning for everything that’s going to happen that benefits me.” That’s right thinking. The shift out of fear and into something else that’s more empowering, whether it’s love or it’s thinking about what’s the creative opportunity, that’s a version of right thinking. Once we are sitting with right thinking, when our thoughts are true that way, we can be inspired to take action and those can be small actions and little things.

As the CEO of More Love Media, you are also a speaker and I know that you had tons of speaking engagements and events and stuff that you had lined up. You probably were booked out of this country to speak. You, yourself, had to make that shift where you thought your life was this and your business life was that and then this happens. I know you’re doing a lot of virtual media. How did you think to transition your entire brand and find your way through this new life that we’re all dealing with? You had to do it yourself.

We all do. We’re not always in a position where those things are transparent that other people can see them. For us, as anybody in my industry, every speaking engagement has been either put on hold or canceled. It’s a massive change in the industry that’s occurring. Fortunately, our brand is evolving. It’s constantly in evolution. We’ve talked about this before. We’re micro pivoting all the time, our content, and our website. Our core strategy around the messages that we are inspired to share with people, we’ve been talking about resilience for years. We wrote this book years ago called Pivot. That term was already used a lot but now it’s 10X-ed.

Fortunately, we’re not reevaluating our core messaging. That’s a good thing. Where we were delivering that message, all of those places have closed down. That’s a different thing. We also looked at the creative opportunities. That whole idea of being neutral, we had to go there as well. This is not happening to us or happening to our industry. It’s a global thing. There’s nothing unfair about it. It’s something that is. As much as I’d love it to be different, we all would love it to be different, it’s not. You go, “Is it useful for me to try to put any energy behind it?”

It’s true.

That’s a road I don’t need to spend any time on.

You take the emotion out of it, too, while you’re dealing with all of this because it’s certainly not going to help being a victim.

Go to neutral. What would it be like if I didn’t have any charge around this at all? From there, they go, “What’s the creative opportunity?” There are many. We’re executing on those creative opportunities and that’s new. It’s exciting. It’s making use of skills we already have. We’ve been training, teaching and facilitating for years. We’ve been doing them virtually for years. We’ve been using Zoom for many years. We’ll go, “Okay, great. This is the message.” Is this content relevant for companies and leaders?

Yes.

It is more so now than ever. Now the delivery mechanism just looks different. We pivoted that way and that was our recalculation. It is our not so little pivot, I suppose and we are taking care of ourselves in the process. My rituals to put good things in my body, use supplements and walk 20 to 30 minutes briskly every day. I can’t surf anymore. I can’t swim but I have other things that we love to do. We do yoga. We love going on Prime. I’m shouting out to Yoga with Adriene. She crushes it. She’s got 20 or 30 different yoga sessions, everything from a detox flow that’s fourteen minutes long to a before bed yoga to a more energized morning thing. We’re doing those things.

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Run me through what your ritual was before COVID-19 and what it has become. What is it like? I would get up at 5:00. I’m curious. I love asking my Life Masters these questions because they’re habits and things that we can cultivate into our own lives, too.

I’m a sleeper. I know a lot of these people and they go, “I get up at 4:00 AM.” I know a guy and I’m not going to name his name. He up and he’s doing things at 4:30 in the morning. I’m like, “Good on you.”

You’re like, “Good.”

If I was George Stephanopoulos and I had to be on Good Morning America live at 8:00 AM, I would be up at 4:00 or 3:00.

I would too.

Kudos to George, but I don’t and I don’t have to. My morning is important to me. It’s like a garden. I want to cultivate the garden of my thoughts, my right thoughts, and ground myself and get ready to deliver the best of me on that day. For me, that means I want to get my seven or eight hours of sleep. I’ll get up at 7:30-ish. I start the waking process around that time.

You go to bed early then. You get your sleep in and get up around 7:30.

On a good night, we’re in bed by 10:00-ish and by 11:00 we’re sleeping. That’s the way it would go. We’ve got kids out of the house. The getting up at 6:15 and 6:30 for breakfast runs and school run and all that, that’s not our thing anymore, which is good. I’m glad.

That is still my thing.

I know and it’s a lot of people’s thing. I get it. 9:00 bed, 9:30 bed is probably going to be no better for a lot of folks if you’re going to get the full sleep. The research is clear. Unless you’re one of those outliers, you’re outside the bell curve, we all need 7 or 8 hours of sleep and that’s the way we perform at best. Get the sleep in and then wake up. My waking ritual is the same, years of doing the same thing. It takes twenty seconds in total to do it. It’s fast. I wake up and I acknowledge the fact that I’m awake and that’s a blessing. I’m in gratitude for that blessing. I, out loud, say these words, “I love my life.” That’s it. That’s my waking ritual.

I like that.

It can be any words. I’m not attached to those words for other people. They work for me. I want to love my life. I want to love life. I want to love it and I want to love it now. For me, the relevance of that in COVID times is that there are a lot of reasons not to love your life, potentially. If you can love your life now, in the midst of chaos, disruption, all the rest of it, people dying and threats, you can love your life almost any time. That’s a powerful practice. I will make time to set intentions for the day and that can be 10 or 15 minutes that all it takes. If you could imagine taking a half hour to yourself where ten minutes might be you in quiet, stillness, meditation, in prayer or whatever you like. You take ten minutes where you’re perhaps reading.

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By the way, the meditation component often leads me to think about what’s most important, the priorities for the day. I know some people plan their priorities the night before. I am not one to do that. My calendar is already booked. I don’t think about my calendar for the day when I begin the day. It’s already booked ahead of time. I’m a big believer in keeping a consistent calendar. Anything that I want to happen, I put it on the calendar. If I’m going to exercise it, I put it on the calendar.

I like that.

If you don’t put them on the calendar, they don’t happen. A good example is like your girlfriend or some friend in your life that you go, “I want to see you. We haven’t seen each other in forever. Let’s go for dinner.” Tanya, have you ever had those conversations with that person?

Yes, and you go put it on the calendar. I’ve done it. I’ve even done it where I haven’t put it on the calendar and then it doesn’t happen. It’s not good. It’s a commitment.

It’s funny when you do that, the likelihood of things happening for you when you put them on the calendar.

I see that. That is a great thing. I’m glad you said that.

Ten minutes to be sitting still and then be guided to, “These are my intentions for the day.” Ten minutes that you could be reading something that might be a book you’re loving or a book that you might get inspiration from, whatever it might be. Ten minutes that you take going, “This is what I’m doing today. These are my action steps.” Tim Ferriss called it the critical inch. The critical inch is what’s the most important 1, 2 or 3 things for the day? Those are the things you do first. Ten minutes to sit in stillness and find that guidance. Ten minutes to read something to nourish your soul. Ten minutes to then go, “These are my critical inch items today. These are the things I’m acting upon.” Start with those. If you can get those done by 10:00 AM, you’re crushing it.

That’s a morning routine or ritual. You can have those rituals for the afternoon. When I get tired in the afternoon, I’m not the most patient person when I lose my energy. You probably never noticed that about me. It’s twenty minutes feet up the wall and I close my eyes. That is the equivalent of a big-time nap. Research says that you can do that. Tush up against the wall, feet straight up, put something over your eyes and close your eyes for twenty minutes. Take the app Calm and put that on. Set your alarm and twenty minutes later, you’re getting up.

Do you fall asleep?

Sometimes I do.

With your feet up? You feel like a whole new person. I know you have your green drink every day, too. You feed yourself healthy food. Are you a vegetarian?

I’m not.

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You just eat super healthy.

I try. I do my best.

You work out every day. You do your yoga and weights, too.

I used to.

Now, you’re doing yoga.

It’s the thing they call Chaturanga. It’s good.

I love that you get all those main things in because I know you’re busy, too. You have a lot of clients. You’re inspiring many people. It’s amazing how much you get accomplished in a day. Would you say that you attribute that to those few moments in the morning that you take to focus yourself?

My grandmother used to say, “Start with your right foot. Lead with your right foot.” This is such a great metaphor. The morning and the beginning of the day and those first thoughts, the first words that come out of your mouth, the first intentions you set. You’re getting a chance to think rightly, to lead with your right foot and to plant the right seeds in the soil because whatever you plant in the morning in the soil is what you’re going to see at the end of the day growing. You go, “It’s not that complicated.”

I want to thank you so much for coming on the show again for the second time and I’m happy. In the first episode, we learned all about Adam’s life. It’s interesting, the path that you’ve gone on from a teacher to owning a multimillion-dollar law firm. You went through a midlife crisis during that time but you turned it all around. You’re doing what you feel like your soul and true purpose is. You’ve become the CEO of another highly successful company. If you haven’t read his book yet, it’s called Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life. I read that when I was on vacation and it is incredible.

You sent me a picture from Greece.

I sent you pictures of it, with this beautiful background and everything. Your book is apparent. If you are out there struggling in any way and not understanding what that next step would be in your life, career, and your job, whatever that is, pick up one of Adam’s books because it’s a great book. You wrote it years ago and it is still perfect. Also your podcast, The Conscious Pivot. I was also a guest on your podcast. I love your podcast. Where else can we learn more about you? You have to check out his TED Talks and your website.

It feels good to have you cheerleading me the way you are right now. It’s sweet.

It comes from the heart. It’s true.

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Pivot: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life

Thank you. You can go to AdamMarkel.com.

Everything is there, your podcast and your book.

We love to deliver virtual trainings to corporations that were having us come and keynote. We’ve still got gigs that are booking and we got an inquiry for a thing that’s going to happen. If not, it’ll be done virtually. That’s what they gave us. They said, “We want you to come and keynote in Washington, DC. If that doesn’t happen, what does it look like to do it virtually?” This is the way it’s going to go down. People that are prepared or are saying, “That’s what I’m open to. I’m open to doing it differently.” They’re going to have plenty of opportunities.

That must be exciting for you, too, because it’s something completely different. You don’t have to travel so much and yet you still get to inspire many people, which is good.

Think about the leverage of opportunities to reach more people. I get on a big thing about this, but polluting the sky and leaving home, leaving your family, this is such an efficient way to do it. I know we’ll get back to being in the same proximity of people when you’re delivering messages. For now, this is a wonderful alternative.

Take some time out. Take some time to breathe and do it in your own wonderful space of your home. Thank you so much, Adam. We’ll probably have you on again because you’re such a wealth of information. If you guys want to binge-watch Life Masters, you check out iTunes at LifeMastersTV and that is where you’ll see Adam’s first interview. It’s also on my YouTube channel. We are going to be on other platforms as well. If you check out my social media, you’ll know all about that. Thanks so much for your time. This was awesome. I could interview you for hours and hours. Until next time.

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About Adam Markel

LM 2 | Building ResilienceAdam’s mission is to provide individuals and organizations with the tools to become Change-Proof and leverage the power of resilience to build long-term success. His talks provide actionable insights on the relationship between Resilience and Performance, Work-Life Balance and the role of Stress Management in improving Mental Health, Employee Engagement, Productivity and even Happiness. His in-person and virtual keynote speaking events create a cultural and environmental context for effective Leadership in the face of pandemic change.