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#009 – The Success-Energy Equation (with Special Guest Michelle Cederberg)


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Podcast Transcript


Welcome to the Working Well Podcast. I’m Tim Borys CEO of FRESH! Wellness Group. This show explores the diverse aspects of workplace health and personal performance. On the Working Well Podcast we dive into the foundations of what makes wellness work in workplaces around the world. We connect with corporate leaders, executives, and industry experts who are helping make life more awesome at work and home.

Join us to learn workplace wellness, best practices, personal performance tips, and access resources to jumpstart your personal and corporate programs.


For over 17 years certified speaking professional, Michelle Cederberg has captivated audiences across North America with her empowering and humorous messages about how to set worthwhile goals, get energized for success and live a bigger life. An in demand, speaker, author, coach, and consultant, she believes that personal and professional success is directly influenced by how well we can harness the physical, mental, and emotional capacity we each have within us. She helps people boost that capacity so they gain clarity, build confidence, and get the discipline to create the life and career they want. She holds a master’s in kinesiology, a BA in psychology, a specialization in health and exercise, is a certified exercise physiologist, a certified professional co-active life coach and an ORSC trained team coach.

She truly combines mind, body, and practicality to empower change. Michelle is the author of three books, her new book, The Success-Energy Equation debuted as a bestseller in October, 2020.

Welcome Michelle. It’s so great to connect. I’m glad I get to see you. It’s just like, I wish it could be in person right now. Soon.

We go back such a long way that meeting in person is something we’ve done pre COVID and sure would be nice to be doing this in person. But technology is on our side today.

Exactly. We’ll have to get out for distance, mountain bike. I was about that. I would have to work hard to keep up with you anyways. So then, then we’ll be distanced.

Not very much good to be here.

Well, I’m so happy to have you. And I got to say, I’ve got a copy of The Success-Energy Equation right here. Awesome. Awesome book. Even the signed copy for those of you out there who are going to be jealous. What, what I want to say is let’s start off with, before we dive in. What’s the biggest silver lining for the last year from you? Obviously you wrote a book, which is good, but what, tell me more about the last year.

That’s a great question because you know, I’ve spent the last week and a half and I’m not even exaggerating. When I say this I’ve spent the last week and a half kind of moping around going, I just want this to be over. And I had to stop and remind myself of all the good stuff. So number one. Yes, I did have unencumbered time to finish the book and get it edited with a lot more focused on, I would have opposed getting on a plane every other week. And I also have had an opportunity to learn new ways to do this work that, that we do as speakers and coaches to use technology to my advantage and to present in three different provinces and states in one day, you know, that kind of thing. So. It’s and plus I get to hang out with my new puppy that I’ve had since last June. That would have been tougher if I was traveling as much as I normally do silver linings.

Absolutely. And I think that’s particularly now, when people can see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s not there yet. And the frustration level is just rising. And so to be able to step back and say, Hey, what is the positive? What are we doing? And from a corporate level and to an a personal level, that’s really important.

It really is. And I think that so many of us, you know, hit 2021 with this hope that things are going to finally be moving towards better.

And then vaccines were delayed and variants were racing upwards and we all kind of sat and they went, ah, it’s not yet. And like, when’s the finish line going to come. And a lot of what I’ve been reminding myself and my clients about is rather than keep asking, when’s the darn finish line going to get here, we need to ask ourselves, what do I need to do for my wellness to be able to keep going, you know, what are your, what do corporations need to do for, for their employees to help everybody keep going? And rather than, you know, waiting for, you know, when wondering when it’s all going to end.

Yeah, I think people’s mindset at the end of 2020 was January 1st. Oh, it’s going to be, everything’s going to be better. And there this collective realization in January that we’ll wait a minute.

We all had to breathe the collective sigh of what’s going on here and square our shoulders and, you know, decide what to do to keep, to keep at it and keep going.

Awesome. Well, and so energy has been a big theme in the last couple books that you’ve written. Tell me why, why energy is such an important topic, particularly right now.

Well, I mean, you and I both come from the same, you know, background with kinesiology and health as our foundation for our businesses. And so, you know, a better than most, I mean, energy to me is the driver of success. And, you know, my success, energy equation talks about, you know, setting clear and exciting goals, having belief in yourself about those goals and having the discipline to do the work. We can be successful if we only went on, repeat on those three things, set the goal, have the belief, do the work, set the goal, have the belief to the work for your teams at work for yourself individually for your personal and professional goals.

I added energy and as a driver for success, because this is the machine that drives the mission. If you will, and you know, the physical body and our brilliant mind in it is responsible for every piece of productivity. That we crank out every single day, every single idea, every single you know, pro productive moment is a result of how we take care of the machine.

So to me, you add the energy in physically, mentally, emotionally, cognitively. You’ll set bigger goals. You’ll have higher belief in your ability to crush those goals. You’ll have more energy to dig in and do the work, especially when it gets hard. And all of those factors for success get elevated because we’ve allowed energy to be the driver.

I mean, make sense to me, make sense to you. And I wrote the book in that way to remind everybody why energy is so darn cool.

But it still blows my mind. How many people forget that on a day-to-day basis. And they just drive themselves into the ground. They’re doing the, the belief, the hard work, the goals and they’re like, why am I burning out? Why am I getting sick? And can’t get out of bed for days. Why am I getting depressed? Because they’re not taking care of the machine, as you would say.

Well, and the interesting thing about that is, is because our physical body is amazingly resilient and it’ll put up with an awful lot of stress for it says I’m done with this. So we get this false sense of security saying I’m able to put my head down and work hard and work long hours, and I’m fine. And we can do that for a long period of time. And then at some point, the body says, hold on, productivity goes down. We’re not as aware. We’re not as focused. And you know, we’re not doing our best work.

Yeah, well, it becomes that negative spiral where you have to work harder and to get even the same amount, if not less results. And then because you work harder and longer, you get less or more fatigued, less sleep. And it just becomes a spiral

in my success energy equation, I call that counter-intuitive to the power of stupid.

I’d love it, love it. And now I, on that topic, I have to go in and say, There actually is an equation in your book. And so people that are freaking out about math, can you recap the equation? So they don’t realize you don’t need advanced calculus or anything like that. You did advanced calculus.

In fact, I don’t love math, but it’s, it’s a, it’s a qualitative equation. If you will. I say success equals setting clear and exciting goals, which are a function of having a belief in yourself regarding those goals. And the discipline to do the freaking work, all raised to the power of awesome by the energy within. So it’s goals, belief, discipline, energy, all wrapped up in a simple, but not easy equation that we need to, you know, exercise on, repeat on the daily.

Yeah. And, and people are technically already doing that equation each day. It’s just the values they’re plugging in aren’t. They’re they’re, they’re raising the, the power of energy is a pretty low power right now. So by raising that up, we can amplify the impact of that.

Well, yeah. You know, and it’s an interesting, it’s interesting you say that because the, like the energy piece is important and you think about the last 14 months that most of us have been navigating the craziness. That is the pandemic, that energy has been tested. It has been stretched. And you did just ask any, you know, parents and I’m sure you can attest to this, Tim, you know, who have kids that are home, you know, you know, doing their school at the kitchen table and trying to make sure that your parents are okay wherever they are.

And you haven’t seen your friends. I see my dog park walkers more than I see my best friend or, you know, my family. So we’ve had to balance our energy. And at some point it’s felt like I don’t have enough extra to, you know, to throw it into the success energy equation, if you will. And you know, we have to be aware of that as well and be a little kind and gentle to ourselves, but I also think we need to take care of ourselves in small steps.

Absolutely. Well in the intro to the book, you, you start off and I love the title of the heading. It says how we’re working, isn’t working, and this has been true for decades, but this pen pandemic has just sort of brought out all the warts and the issues with work productivity, corporate culture, and like thrust them into the spotlight. Speak a bit about the, how we’re working in and working in your take on that challenges, I guess.

Yeah, it’s not enough. In this day and age to put your head down and do the work, there’s too many other things that are drawing on our energy to make it possible for us to do our best work without taking care of the physical body and the brilliant mind in it. We you know, we are so distracted by technology. You know, it’s, it’s our portal to the outside world now, nowadays, you know, our devices are connected to us. We always know where they are with puppy Twitch. If we don’t. But because we are connected to the outside or trying to deal with our life here and we’re trying to get good work done.

We have to have moments of restoration throughout the day. We can’t bombard the gray matter all day long with technology, with work and technology with our devices and expect to do our best work. So that’s our challenge right now. I think that getting present you know, getting off autopilot, getting focused slowing down you know, getting rid of the, you know, moving back to basics to get rid of the noise a little bit. I think that’s where we need to spend a little of our time. These days we’re overwhelmed technologically.

Well, and that brings us to the next question, in that sense. Is that the biggest challenge that companies facing or do you think there’s another challenge is bigger?

I mean, I think that’s a pretty big challenge that companies are facing. It’s not necessarily a mighty Hilton to have to, to get over. It’s. I just think that that employers and individuals in the workplace need to be aware of how much our technological dependence is impacting our energy. You know, before COVID, you know, when we were all working in our office spaces, technology was present then as well, but not nearly to the grade is now if you think about last March, when everybody pivoted to working from home and we all, you know, hastily threw together our home offices and refamiliarize familiarized ourselves with zoom or Skype or MS

teams, or, you know, you name it. I don’t know about you. My head hurts for quite a while during that, that period of time. That learning curve, you know, had us, you know, just overwhelmed. And then we were disconnected from our families. So we’re having zoom meetings on weekends to say hi to grandma and, you know, mom and dad or whoever zoom, cocktail parties, you know, our phones become our entry into entertainment with, you know, social media and, and you know, all the things that we’re doing with our phones.

And, you know, at the end of the day, No, we’re staring into space wondering why we’re so physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted. And a lot of that has to do with technology. You know, the workplace is, is, is feeling the brunt of that, you know, with even small,

small drops in productivity, but you know, that, that, that stands out over lot. A lot of you know, you have a bunch of different people who are having small drops in productivity. That’s gonna add up for your workforce.

Sure. And what are some of the, I guess, the positive things and best practices you’ve seen with companies that you work with or the groups that you’ve worked with? Are they dealing with that?

You know, one of the best one of the best ideas that I heard fairly early on? Well, there’s two, actually one is, is that, you know, prior to COVID, most of us had more easy entry into our Workday. Let’s just say, because we had to commute to work. And if your work, if you’re working from home now it’s get up from the kitchen table, walk to where your computer is.

Hopefully have a separate office, sit down and get to work. So there’s no real vault time. There’s no real thought time. There’s no opportunity to, for instance, do things for yourself. You know, I have a colleague who would normally walk to work, and that was your exercise that was gone. You had another colleague that would listen to podcasts on the C train on their way to the office that was gone.

And so we show up, you know, without that commute. So some really great idea was to, to have employers schedule in for their employees commute time and morning, 45 minutes. Where you’re not allowed to, to check in in a before, before the, before your workday to exercise, to walk the dog, to read a book, to do whatever it is that you need to do to kind of transition into it.

I thought that was a great idea. The second one is because initially we got into lockdown pretty quick. I know a lot of people are working outside the office again, but, you know, with variants increasing and all of that kind of stuff. We’re still working from home a lot. And by that very nature, the fact that we’re working from home, most of us, our step count is down by the thousands simply because we’re not conducting ourselves out there as much as we normally would.

So, second number second tip is to walk yourself to work every single day. Because that line between work and life is very blurred right now. You know, when you get up from your breakfast table and you’re planning on going to your desk, put your running shoes on a jacket on and walk around the block a couple of times, and then come in and use that as your transition to your Workday, and then walk yourself home at the end of the day, use that as a transition.

There’s simple little ideas, but I help. I think that that can help us kind of separate the work in life and to give ourselves a little bit of. Focus time before we dive into, you know, doing the work.

I love that. Yeah. The home office commute. Yeah. Perfect. And the, one of the challenges I know I’ve seen with, with our corporate clients and some of our private coaching clients is that people know what to do. They’re just not doing it. Even their office may give them time to do something like that. But they’re not taking advantage of it and there’s this overwhelm or this I’m just going to sit there and doom scroll because that’s all I can manage right now. Can you provide some insight into that a little bit?

Technology is, it’s kind of a blessing and a curse roll this because while our telephones in our, or, you know, our smartphones in our technology are a gateway to our family and to everything else it’s creating a sense of calm at some points, but it’s also creating a lot of stress at some points because these devices are designed to hook our neural pathways in the same way that gambling and addiction does. And so, you know, when, when we’re, when we’re feeling stressed, we will often reach for that device for a little dopamine hit.

Which is kind of fascinating because when your brain. Taps into, you know, depression knowledge or, you know, or expects the reward. It, it, it triggers a release of dopamine. And so then we get that feeling better now, but then we would keep on scrolling or if we open up the bad email or if we read some bad news, then we get a hit of cortisol which is a stress hormone. And so then we find some other way to calm ourselves with our device, licensed doom, scrolling causes cortisol. Oh, I’m just going to open up my Instagram and see how many likes I have, ah, dopamine, right? Open up an email. Oh my gosh, I’ve got a deadline cortisol. And then we go and look for some other way to get that, that dopamine hit all day long.

So we create this vicious cycle of dopamine, dopamine driven ups and cortisol fed lows. It’s you know, it’s. It’s it’s taxing and it’s, it’s, you know, taking over our brainpower bandwidth, if you will.

Absolutely. Yeah. And there’s a new term that I heard recently. Revenge, bedtime procrastination is a new one where it’s like, you’ve been so rigid all day and then you’ve got this, you get to the evening and it’s like, I’m staying up late and I’m just going to do absolutely nothing and scroll through my phone because ha I’m taking control of my life right now and meanwhile, you’re actually causing more of an issue because then you’re staying up late and more fatigued and you’ ll have to work harder the next day. And it puts you into that negative spiral. But that ability to people just want to see some aspect of control in their life. And it’s been fascinating to see, I see myself falling into it every once in a while.

Put it down.

The devices aren’t going away. I mean, they’re, they’re part of our they’re part of our lives are part of our world of work now, like never before. I mean, I can do a zoom meeting from my smartphone. You know, I can stream an entire movie on my smartphone. I can have a you know, call, you know, across the world. You know, the things that I can do with this device work or otherwise has changed us. And I, and I’m not suggesting for a second that any of us would get rid of the devices in many ways it’s simplified our lives. It’s our connection to the outside world during COVID. But every single one of us knows.

When our productivity has been impacted by too much screen time, if you will. And that can be, you know, too much time in front of your computer or too much time doing scrolling, as you said, our brains are massively energy, hungry organs. And you know, they only represent about two to 3% of our body’s weight, but they’ll suck upwards of 25 to 30% of our body’s energy for sugar, its main fuel source. And so we don’t give our brains intermittent rest, your productivity goes down. We need to take breaks. And you know, I think one of the best things that organizations can do is to make, make, you know, breaks mandatory at least, you know, three times a day. That’s a powerful one, but it’s overlooked.

Yeah. And I can’t think of how many people I talked to that are just meeting after meeting, after meeting and even the, the habit of ending meetings, five to 10 minutes early. Doing 45 or 50 or even 55 minute meetings instead of 60 or 25 minute meetings instead of 30, that that five minute break can give make a big difference. And realistically, we’re going to get the same amount of work done in the shorter time. Parkinson’s law, right?

A hundred percent.

That, that I find there are so many people that are just back to back to back all day, they work through lunch, they sit at their desk through lunch. They don’t even get sunshine on their face, their skin in the day they, they don’t leave. And I know as an outdoor person like me, it, like, I automatically feel my energy level hit the floor if I haven’t been outside and done something else.

Yeah. I feel you on that one as well. And you know there’s a little bit of a mindset in some organizations that says, if I’m not button seat eye balls to screen all day long, I’m not going to be getting the respect of my colleagues are doing the work that I know that I’m capable of, but we’ve become productivity imposters. You know, when we don’t listen to our body and the signs that our brain is giving us that I guess made a break. And I think that the moment when we realize I’m tired on distracted, I’m out of focus. That’s when we need to be getting up from our desks and taking a break and that’s exactly what most of us don’t because we sat, I’ve got too much to do. I can’t get it all done, but you know, the moment where you think you need a break and you can’t take one is exactly the moment when you should.

Yeah. Oh, there’s so much hard evidence around the improvements in productivity from just small physical activities away from a device, like getting up, moving, taking that break, increase the blood flow, like the neural connectivity creativity improves, problem solving all these different aspects. And yeah, as you said, there’s still this mindset in a lot of companies that. If you’re not bumping seat, you’re not productive.

And even though we know better, we don’t do better. And that, like, you know, for me that, like that is the number one mistake that organizations make as far as I’m concerned they don’t mandate that people take breaks and as a, as an organization or as an individual, it’s the number one thing. Like if you do nothing else, take your damn break. Like that is the thing to me that I think is the game changer in any organization, but not just take your break, take the right kind of break. Yeah, because as I said, you know, the brain is massively energy hungry, and we have a limit on our screen time. And we, you know, we give a limit of screen time to our kids, but we don’t give it to ourselves. So we’ll spend all day in front of the computer and then I’m going to take a break. I’m going to pick up my phone and I’m going to scroll and I’m going to send a text to my friend and I’m going to check my Instagram.

You move from one screen to this screen. That’s not a break. And, and, you know, so we need to take our damn breaks, number one, and we need to take them tech free. And with all of the other suggestions that you mentioned, you know, movement and fresh air and connecting with people that you like.

Yeah, absolutely. And so that, one of the things I hear from a lot of clients is motivation. Do they call, they’re just not motivated to exercise. I’m not motivated to get out and do something. I just, my body hurts. I’ve been sitting all day and. Talk to me a bit about motivation.

Yeah. In my, in my book, I I wrote about what I created called the motivation matrix and the types of different motivations that we have in us. Why is there some tasks that we just get so excited about and we’ll jump right in? Why are the, some things that we’re like, eh, I don’t want to be there. And sometimes we’re. You know, we’re knocking it out of the park. And sometimes we’re just sitting on our butts, you know, languishing to use a term that’s quite popular right now. The motivation matrix in my book talks about measuring belief in yourself and the task against your discipline to do the thing and the four different areas. The first one is the dreamer, and this is the. Somebody who has got, you know, high belief in themselves in the task, but low discipline to get that thing done.

They’re thinking about the thing that they want to do. Most of us are this person for something it’s the exercise I want to do, or I’ll get to it when it’s the, you know, website that I want to build, or the course I want to take, you know, get to it when, so the dreamer. Has that heart for the thing. The, the grinder is somebody who has low belief in themselves, but high discipline to do the work.

And I call them this one, the honorable category. And if you think about all of the frontline workers all of the essential workers during COVID, a lot of them put their their health and their family’s health at risk, you know, to be out there working. They didn’t necessarily want to, they didn’t necessarily believe that it was the right thing, but they had to, they had high discipline because they were, you know, taking care of the families or what have you. And sometimes that’s the case. The seeker is I think all of us have this in us at some point, too low belief in ourselves and the task and low discipline to do the work. Those are the moments where we’re kind of sitting and staring at the space going. I don’t want to do anything. It was me. Last week, just languishing in this whole muddy middle of, oh my God, when this is going to be over and no motivation.

And sometimes we’re there and we got to recognize when we’re there that we probably have to take care of our energy. We need to relook at our goals. Maybe they’re the wrong goals. We need to, you know, just give ourselves a little bit of a reset if you will. And the last category is the one that all of us probably, you know aspire to and Yeah. So we’ve got the, the dreamer, the grinder, the seeker, and I’ve forgotten what the fourth one is. You tell me what it is. That’s the driver, the driver. Thank you. Can you tell it I’ve been up in my head too much. So the, I was going, is it what, but the driver is high belief in self and task and high disciplined to do the fricking work. And all of us are drivers for some aspect of our lives, somewhat, you know, think about that. Your listeners could think about all the areas every single day, where they’re knocking it out of the park, it could be taking care of the kids and making sure everything’s great in the home front, getting into the job and, you know, doing what you can all day long.

So the driver is, is, you know, kind of working hard and doing well. With most of the things that they want to get to, but they might not. Let’s just put it this way. We all have those things where we’re driving high on. And, and if you’re, if there’s something you want to be spending more time on, then you want to think about how do I get my belief high and my discipline high for that thing. And it usually means working on your energy saying no to other things, prioritizing. We could, I could go on about that one. Now that I’ve remembered the name of it.

And I love that the motivation matrix, because, well, I’d never, until I read your book, I’d never actually heard it explained in that way. It’s exactly what we talk to our clients about on the mindset and the habits.


It’s, it’s identical to that. And people are like in the fitness industry, you’ve started your career in the fitness industry too, and you hear. I’m just not motivated to work out. And one of the examples that I often use is everyone’s motivated by something. You just might not have found what you’re motivated by yet. The example I use is if I gave you a million dollars for every workout that you did, would you miss one? And they’re like, hell no. And I said, well, you probably would about a year and a half in when you’ve got 500 million in the bank. And you’re like, you know what? I’m taking a day off today. Spirit screw that million. And I’m like, that would motivate you for a while, but I’m yet to find someone who’s going to pay me a million dollars a workout. That’d be nice. It would be nice, but I’m like the fact that you would be motivated by that and you would get every single workout done tells me that it’s not lack of motivation.

It’s you haven’t found what motivates you yet. So what’s the emotion behind it. What’s going to be your driver and, and that’s. That’s awesome. I’d love, love to hear about.

What’s your motivation behind it. And you know, what, you know, what do you need to say no to? I think that, that you know, sometimes it’s just prioritizing better and differently and being aware of how distractions get in the way and how our energy feeds our desire to do the things. And that’s why energy is such an important part of my mission with the success energy equation and the book I wrote before it, which is energy now, small steps to an energetic life. It’s just the piece that people, I don’t want to say. They overlook it because everybody knows what they need to be doing to take care of them, how they’re themselves, but they take it for granted and it put it off because they, they can get by without it.

And I often say to people, if you’re already doing pretty well without taking care of your health and the way that you really want to imagine how great your success is going to be, once you do prioritize health as a driver for success.

Yeah. And then the flip side of it, it’s the boiling frog analogy, right? You, you don’t realize how down that slope you’re getting in terms of poor health and low energy until you really hit the bottom. And it’s like, you’re, you can’t ignore the health impacts and the health implications.

Yeah. I remember presenting to a group of of Construction workers of all things in Edmonton a bunch of years ago. And I was talking about stress and I remember this grouchy old guy was sitting in the audience and he was just looking at me like this, as I was explaining the, you know, the signs of stress. And went through it all. And I thought, well, I’m not going to reach that guy today. This is probably the whole time. But at the end of the presentation, he came up to me. He goes, that’s the best presentation I’ve ever. I’m stressed in a long time. I wish I had this information five years ago when I almost dropped dead from a massive heart attack. It’s one of those things, right. We, we know better, but we don’t do better until you hit that critical moment.

It’s like, okay, I guess I should start paying attention to what my body needs.

Absolutely. And In your book, you mentioned 21st and a quarter century stress.

That’s a tongue twister. You know, we, we like stress is inevitable for all of us. And we’ve got normal stress, which is stress with adequate recovery. We’ve got chronic stress, which is stress without adequate recovery, where we’re not listening to our body and getting the sleep or the right food or the exercise that we need. But this day and age, when we’re so connected to technology 21st and a quarter century stress to me is what I call a kind of. A formal fed tech driven, pervasive, unrelenting stress that comes from all of the information that we need to process from our technology the 24 hour news cycle and doom scrolling and you know, checking emails at all hours and checking in with our social channels and reading the news and not liking what we see and all of all day long, you know, the beeps and pings and things that come to us from this, we need to process it.

So, you know, we’re dealing with all the stuff that life is throwing at us. And at the same time we’re dealing with all the digital information that’s coming at us. So our body’s not gaining arrest. And now our brain is definitely not getting the recovery that it needs to do its best work. And that’s what 21st and a quarter century stress is a tech fed phone with a FOMO driven stress.

Well, and the other types of stress don’t go away either. So you have that little pop. Yes.

Well, when we recognize that stress is inevitable, but how we respond to it is the choice. That’s where, where we have control, you know, with so much that we don’t have control over right now, the things we can pay attention to is what is my body telling me that it needs? What is this? You know, I’m feeling stressed. You know, I need to do something. If even if it’s as simple as pressing yourself up against the wall and taking four or five deep breaths of air, you know, that is an instantaneous stress management tool that you can utilize at any moment in any day, as long as you listen to your body.

And that’s something that I think a lot of people forget on a day-to-day basis is that they have control over their responses. And how do you think that fits in with people being on autopilot?

Yeah, it’s a great question because you know, a lot of us will zone through our day parts of it anyways, on autopilot, even, you know, even before COVID and probably especially before COVID, you know, we’re going out into the world and, and doing so many things that half of it, you know, good portion of it gets suppressed. We, we ended up driving to work and not really paying attention. How the heck did I get here? I mean, we, all of us have done that. Our morning routine is highly automated and you know, on autopilot, you probably need to stop and think about what your morning routine is because, know, it’s, it’s probably exactly the same every morning, but you need to think of what it is because you operate on autopilot. I mean, autopilot is an interesting one because it’s our brain’s way of helping us process all the information that’s coming at us on any given day. But it’s you know, it’s something we’re meant to kind of pop into every now and then just to help us manage a moment.

It’s not something that we’re supposed to be, you know, it’s not supposed to be our go-to operating system. We’re not meant to be on autopilot all day long and then put our heads up at the end of the day and go, wow. Like I. I didn’t get anything done on any of the stuff that I needed to do. And now the day’s over and I’m exhausted and what just happened, but, you know, we’re kind of got a Groundhog day existence now, so that is happening a little bit, but you know, there’s the devil, there’s a good and the bad sides of autopilot.

Well, yeah, exactly. The, the positive habits that we have, if we can put those on autopilot where we do them every day, we can create some positive outcomes, but a lot of people are in these. Counter productive or I guess negative autopilot routine that they have, they don’t even think about. And that’s what they live their life by every day not realizing that they can step out of those and create new habits it’s around, around the various positive things that they want done.

Yeah. And I think it comes, comes down to a simple question that we need to ask ourselves every day, you know, what do I need for myself today to be successful? You know a simple work hack that I do every day is I sit down at my desk and say, what are the one, two, three things that I need to accomplish today to help today be successful. And those little moments of just checking in with ourselves will immediately bring us off of autopilot because we have to get present to what’s happening right here. And ask ourselves, I’m not going to be putting out other people’s fires. I’m not going to be reacting to other people’s emergencies. I’m going to put priority on the things that I need for myself in my personal life and the things that I need to accomplish in my workspace. It’s simple, but it’s ridiculously powerful.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, one of my coaches says when the day, and he’s like, what do you need to win the day? And it can be really simple and it’s going to be different for every person. And at the beginning, if you’re trying to win your first day, it’s, I just need to get up out of bed at a certain time. That might be winning the day for you. Yeah. Would be going to bed at a certain time and complicated.

We’re so connected to our devices that, you know, high percentage of people sleep with their phones plugged in beside their bed. And this is the first entry point into the day. You know, people connect with the outside world before they connect with themselves. And what ends up happening is you open up your email or you open up the news and the outside world is now hijacked your brain, your bandwidth. And you’re thinking about what’s out there instead of what you need for yourself in here. You know, I think that that if there’s one thing that we could do every day to help get it, get it off, get the day off on the right step is to check in with ourselves before we check in with the world, don’t have your phone in your room. You know.

That’s part of a solid morning routine is being able to connect your brain, your body, your goals, your motivations, and then take on the day.

Yeah. And it doesn’t take that much time, really, you know, just to do those things for yourself. And yet we are so connected to whether it’s the dopamine hit or boredom or what have you. It’s like, oh, well, let’s see what’s happening in the world. Don’t do it.

Well and we’ve talked at various points about the technological overwhelm and how. You, you had mentioned, I love how you said it at the beginning, that how do we manage our device usage when it’s our lifeline to the outside world. And it’s so true where we’re working on zoom or teams or whatever platform we’re using, but then yeah, we connect with grandparents and friends and family over the same platforms on the, in the evenings and on the weekends. What. Let’s add. And we’ve talked about a few tips, but what are some tips that you could just summarize for us that can help us avoid that?

Like what you said earlier that, you know, we have to remind ourselves that meetings don’t have to be an hour. They can be shorter individuals don’t have to be at all meetings. In terms of our device use. There’s gotta be times where we just leave it at home. You know, when you go for a walk with your family, or if you’re meeting somebody for coffee, even if it’s a distance situation we need to listen to our bodies, you know, listen to our brains when we’re spending too much time on our devices.

I don’t know about you. I get anxious. It’s like, oh no, I’m spending too much time. I need to do something different. Set it aside. I do text free you know, in the evenings after eight o’clock. I try not to be on my screen before bedtime because that blue light impacts quality of sleep. You know, a Saturday afternoon tech brief, so you can kind of focus on fun stuff. And I, and I’ll say this from, from a, from a clearing yourself from the device overwhelm, I guess there’s, there’s a couple of things that we can do. And an activity is one of them you know, mentioned about mountain biking, right at the beginning. And you know, when I’m on my mountain bike, you know, racing down piece of single track, I can’t be holding my phone.

I’m certainly not scrolling. I’m thinking about the trail ahead of me and I’m fully present. When I’m digging in the garden or when I’m, you know, elbows deepen in making bread or, you know, my husband, when he’s out back, you know, building something in the garage or hitting golf balls, the device isn’t there. So making or baking or moving or activity helps us to get those times of freedom from screen time and freedom from that need to check in every moment.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I know there, there are ways that you can, I was going to say Strava, for example. So I have my phone with me, mountain biking, but it’s just Strava. And to take you out a picture of when you get to a summit or something, but, but yeah, you’re not on the phone all the time. I listened to music all the times. I listened to audio books when I’m out for like a more commute ride or something like that. So there are, and I think that’s what, it’s a clubhouse now that’s raging in popularity because it’s audio only. And so people are taking that videos screen time break. They can just listen to things. Some of that school comes into technological overwhelm because you’re, you’re not actually connecting internally with your, with your body and your own thoughts. You’re listening to other thoughts.

But I do like the idea of limiting screen time for adults as well as kids. Right. And, you know, we don’t always want to just, you know, Hey, I’m going to smile and you know, a game, but I, what I will say is I love the idea that it’s, you’re listening to, you know, audio or ha you know, listening to clubhouse because it’s audio only, you have to be present in a different way. Same thing. You know, if you can talk text or send an email, why not pick up the phone? I mean, it’s old school nowadays, but it’s more of what we need right now because we’ve got so much technology inundating. Why not pick up the phone and be able to have that conversation? Cause there’s more warmth and connectedness that happens through. A voice conversation than it ever will through text or email. You know, I think that that’s another quick little hack as well.

Yeah. And when we’re not in full lockdown mode, we can even go out and walk with friends and get together and distance gatherings and meet in person in real life. And that it’s like, it’s this novel thing now. And when things are looking forward to that, when things open up I’m just looking forward to giving people a hug.

Yeah. And, you know, you’d take those kinds of things for granted. And so one of the things that I’ve been trying to do when I’m out in the world, You know, as I said earlier, that I spend more time with strangers in the dog park than I do with my best friend or my family. But, you know, when I went grocery shopping earlier today and you know, when I’m out in the world, I try as much as I can to just make eye contact and smile with my eyes. Cause there’s a lot of people out there right now they’re struggling, you know, mentally, emotionally that, you know, I don’t want to be. You know, kind of glowering in my day, you know, having the frown as I head into my day, I want to hopefully spread a little bit of positive energy because kindness that I give kind of said, I get kindness that I view around me helps release positive endorphins. And I think all of us can have benefit from that little reminder to be out in the world with positivity. Cause yeah, a lot of grumpy people there.

Absolutely. Yeah. And your practice just. It, it takes a bit of practice to smile with your eyes. So you don’t look like you’re the creepy person staring at someone over the mask, but yeah I’ve taken to just waving and like a positive, like, Hey, how’s it going? And I’ll say hi to people as I’m walking by strangers on the street and it’s, you can just see an instant change in their, in their mood.

Which is powerful. I think we need to do that more often until we get to the end of this darn thing and have our roaring twenties parties out in the, in the world with people with life.

Well, it will be coming. You just have to look at some other places in the world right now, and you see some of that going on. And so we’re, we’re, we’re getting there.


Well, and I know we can continue chatting forever. I feel like I haven’t seen you in so long, so. In order for, for brevity let’s we’ll wrap it up a little bit pretty quick here, but I wanted to ask, what do you feel is the number one mistake that people make in their day? Or what’s the number one? If to flip that into a more positive way, what’s the number one thing people can do in their Workday to improve their positivity, health, happiness performance.

Yeah. Wow. Do you have another hour? I think that the number one thing that all of us need to do is the pause long enough at, at some point in every single day, whether it’s right at the beginning or on your lunch break to just check in, to like, how am I doing to ask ourselves? I mean, I know it sounds kind of silly, but. We’re so busy, you know, autopiloting and rushing through the day, taking care of everyone else and everything else. And there’s a lot of stress because we’re worried about our kids and we’re worried about our parents and all that to just check in and ask ourselves, what do I need for myself right now to pause, to breathe, to slow down. You know, it is part of taking your break to check in with yourself. I think we need to do that a little more often.

Awesome. Well, Michelle, thank you so much for your insight. Where, where can people find you? I see on your screen there.

Yeah. And people can also, you can check out the book at

But if you go to, you’ll find it there as well. And you’ll find me on social media and and if you do, and you were on this podcast listening and make sure you say hi.

Awesome. I will post those links on the show page. And so people will have access to them there. Thank you again so much.

Look forward to reconnecting in person soon, and I appreciate your time and insight today. Thanks a lot. Tim, talk to you soon.


Thank you for listening to the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don’t forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your experiences and how you’ve applied tips from the show to your daily life.

So please keep us posted on your progress. To stay up to date with new episode releases, make sure to subscribe to a mailing list by emailing and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, thank you everyone for tuning in. And once again, I’m Tim Borys with FRESH! Wellness Group.

We’ll see you on the next episode.

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