Episode 108: The Secret to (Re)Gaining Normal After Life is Disrupted

Do you ever feel that you are simply spinning your wheels and your new address is located in the state of confusion? In this episode Lori and Jimmy share 5 strategies to help you regain “normal” in your life.

Episode Keys

  • Why it is vital that you take proactive steps to control your future.
  • The five most important domains of life and how you can own your destiny with a few simple strategies.
  • Defining “normal” as you wish for your life, and maintain balance despite the impact of disruptions.
  • Learning when your mindset and emotions are telling you it’s time for a change.
  • How you can command the environment of your life to give you the edge needed to reach, or exceed, your Big Hairy Audacious Goals!

Podcast Transcription

JW: Good morning! This is Live a Life By Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation, and man, I am excited to talk with you today because I have someone with me that just brings out the sunshine on a cloudy day. I’m telling you, this lady can walk down a street filled with smoke and you could spot her with the beam of her smile, shining bright through the clouds. You know who I’m talking about. My favorite co-host with the most. Hi, Lori Few!

LF: Good morning! How is everybody this morning? Isn’t it a great morning?

JW: I love spring. I got to tell you, I do. I know it’s allergy season for me. It’s okay. I can take some things and get rid of those, but man, the birds are singing. The clouds are floating by like cotton candy. And I look out at that beautiful sunshine and I just love this time of year.

LF: Oh, it’s amazing what a couple of months difference in the weather will be. I mean, just a couple short weeks ago, it seems like we were talking about Snowmageddon 2021. And now here we are. It’s bright. It’s beautiful. It’s spring. And yes, I do have to digress. Allergy season is upon us. I saw a sign the other day that says, “Allergies, because mother nature kind of hates us.”

JW: Can I get a t-shirt with that made on that? I love that. I love that.

LF: For sure. For sure. I thought, “Wow, that’s so accurate right now.”

JW: Keep in mind, there was a saying when I was a child that said, “She who laughs last, laughs longest.” I bet mother nature adheres to that as well.

LF: Yes. And her favorite color evidently is a powder yellow.

JW: Hey, according to my car, when I go out of the office and looking there at the… yeah, I’ve got a yellow car by the end of the day. But hey, you know what? We can’t beat things that we can’t beat, and it is a season. We’ve had this discussion on the podcast, Lori. The seasons come in the same order every year. Is that not crazy?

LF: It is. It’s hard to think, and we sometimes forget that those seasons come in the same order, because in Oklahoma, I mean wait five minutes, the weather will change.

JW: That is correct. Been here for 56 years and I love it. I can swim in the afternoon and then I can build a snowman the next morning. I mean, it just works out great. So hey, Lori, I got some exciting news today.

LF: Exciting news?

JW: Exciting news. My exciting news is I have regained my focus. I am back to what’s called normal lifestyle, believe it or not.

LF: Amazing! That is the best news I’ve heard all week.

JW: I want to share today with your help the five strategies of gaining normalcy back in your life after a disruptive period of time. Would you think that would be something that would be helpful?

LF: I think it would be very helpful. And I think our listeners would love to have some insight into that brain of yours, because after everything that we’ve all been through in the last year, I’m curious to know, how does Jimmy get refocused? So let’s talk about it. All right. Are you ready?

JW: I’m ready.

LF: The first one I want to pick your brain about, goals. How do you refocus your goals after such a tumultuous time?

JW: I’m telling you, Lori, this is the one bright, shining star in a dark period of time, goals. Everybody laughs. Well, what’s so big about goals? It’s just getting things done, and that is not true. So your goals have to be that strong, vivid pulling of improving your life day to day that gives you some reason to want to grow as a person. So my secret was this: it’s called goal refocus. What I did is I took my planner out, and everyone does have goals written down, I’m hoping. But if they don’t, get out a piece of paper, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Lori uses an adult coloring book. So I mean I’ll go there.

LF: I do, I do. It’s very true, it’s motivating.

JW: Yeah, I want you to know. Lori, this is real easy. It’s goal refocusing. So pull out those big, hairy, audacious goals you set a year ago, maybe. Perhaps you had one that said I want to travel to Europe. Well guess what? We couldn’t travel to Europe. Do you just forget about the goal? No, man. That was your dream. Right, Lori?

LF: That’s right. You never give up on a dream.

JW: No! So what I do, double down. So this year we’re not quite going to get to Europe the way it looks so far. Now this is just April, but let me say it this way. Refocus, pull those goals out. Might have to change your timeline. Do not give up on the ultimate achievement, but we might change our timeline a little bit. Lori, I’ll tell you what I did. 2022 is the year for us. We’re going to Europe in 2022. I know everything will be cleared up. It’ll be great.

LF: We are?

JW: Yep. We are.

LF: We’re going to Europe. I’m going too?

JW: Yes. You’re going by virtual means. So you’ll see us over there.

LF: I thought this was going to be the best morning of my life. I thought, “Oh my goodness! I’ve just been invited to Europe! This is fantastic!”

JW: Lori, I’ll cover all expenses virtually to get you there, so.

LF: Okay. I’ll take it. I’ve got to start somewhere.

JW: Absolutely. So, the key here is, it’s just refocus on those goals. Redefine maybe the due date that you set for yourself, give yourself a little break, but don’t get too much of a break and let’s dig back in. If it was important then, guess what? Lori, it’s important still. So go in, get those goals started, refine them and let’s refocus our goals as the first of my five steps to regaining normalcy.

LF: Okay, so number one: refocus our goals. I think that’s a great start. But in refocusing those goals, Jimmy, I’m going to be really honest. There have been times in the last six months to a year that even coffee doesn’t get me as motivated and as excited about things. So how can we focus if we don’t have the energy to do anything?

JW: It’s amazing you brought that up, and you think folks that we had this written down, but listen, Lori-

LF: Yeah. I’m just saying, it’s been tough. I mean, and I’ve always considered myself a pretty positive person, but I’m not going to lie, there were days, and there are still days I just feel like the energy is being drained out of me for one reason or another, being pulled into a personal direction, a financial direction, a work direction. It’s so hard to kind of feel re-energized, to be excited about things.

JW: You’re absolutely right. Let me give you an idea that may be helpful for you and many of our listeners. To me, energy refocus is nothing more than starting the process of, don’t laugh, movement. Now, I did not say you go out here and run a 26.2 miles. I did not say a marathon. I just said movement. So what we found during this time of the pandemic, and a lot of us couldn’t go to our normal gym or a CrossFit box or whatever, but we could do some things outdoors that were safe and we could run, or we could just do our exercises on the back patio, whatever. So what I did is refocus my energy by setting up a pretty challenging exercise regiment on my own. Now, nobody’s ever alone on your own. So what I did, I did what a lot of us do. I got, guess what? An accountability partner, Lori.

LF: Oh, I need one of those.

JW: You know what they do. This is that person, this guy is younger than me. And there’s the key, I think to a lot of this. Course, when Lori is only 29, it’s hard to find anyone younger, but try to.

LF: I’ll take it.

JW: Absolutely. Find someone younger than you and sit down and explain to them what your goal would be. Now here’s my theory on goals when it comes to exercise. If you have a weight loss goal, whereas you’re giving up something, you might want to tell everybody. I mean, that’d be your partner that says, “Hey, well wait a minute. We can’t go to Braum’s. Right? Because, we can’t go there and eat that banana split.” You’re giving up some things, tell everyone. But if you have a go up goal, don’t tell anyone. Let me explain a little more, Lori.

LF: I was going to say, I need an explanation here.

JW: So if I’m going to give up something, I want everyone to know that so they can hold me accountable for that giving up, whatever it might be. The go up goal would be, okay, I want to increase my living this year by 200%. I want to go out there and just kill it and increase my income for my family by 200%. If that’s the case and you are working in your company with your friend John, and John says, “Hey, wait a minute, pal. If you’re going up 200%, it could cost me going down 200%, because we’re in the same sales territory,” or whatever. So I never tell my go up goal to anyone. It’s in my goal planner. I keep track of it, but I don’t share it. But man, I tell everyone on social media, Lori, everywhere, I’m going to lose X pounds or I’m going to quit cake. We know that’s not going to happen, but I’m going to lose X pounds. That kind of stuff. Does that make sense?

LF: Makes sense. So in terms of weight loss, I get that kind of a goal, but couldn’t you also use that in terms of, if you want to stop having as much negativity in your mind or in your bubble, you could have an accountability partner to help you maintain more positivity. Right?

JW: Oh, I love that. You know what? I’d love to be your accountability partner, man. I will keep you so positive that batteries would look to you to be charged. You know what I’m saying?

LF: Yes. I will take you up on that, my friend. I need all this.

JW: Yeah. It works in every field, right? I mean, it just depends on what you want to do. The only thing I want you to do is, I always want you to refocus your energy toward those things that are pure, positive, powerful things that will help you be a better, bigger, bolder you. And that’s the key to that.

LF: So talking about accountability, and now that you’re my positivity accountability partner – that needs to be on a t-shirt as well. That’s like, that’s like a really strong, powerful commitment there. Let’s talk about how to refocus our mindset, because we do talk a lot about mindset and positivity and thought provoking thinking patterns on this podcast. And it’s important for our listeners to remember that even in this process, our mindset tends to be something that can really hold us back.

JW: Yeah, that’s a great one. I will tell you, mindset to me is the most critical of accepting these changes you wish to make in life that were thrust on you to none of your fault. So for example, no one asked for what’s happened the last 12 months, 13 months, no one asked for that to disrupt their lifestyle, their family, their travel, their work, but their mindset was taken back by such a force of change. Again, not at their choosing. And the way to refocus your mindset is start doing something I love to do every day. What would that be, Lori?

LF: Journaling.

JW: You got it. Now, listen, folks. I know you hear from me all the time on this, journaling and reading good books. Now I’m not talking about 50 Shades of Purple or whatever that book is. It’s not very nice to read. I’m not sure of the title, but they made movies of it, and whatever it was. But I do know this much, is if I can get it out of my mind, Lori, and get it on that page, I have less pressure and less dealing with that negative impact. Know what I’m saying?

LF: I completely agree. And having this conversation reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. You journal a lot, which I’ve told you now recently that I have too started picking up from the, what is it? The sensei, the grasshopper and the sensei. So I am learning through this process, but one of the… I try to find a quote when I journal, it’s just my throw off topic. I find a quote and I think, “Okay, I’m going to expand on that.” And so as we’re having this conversation about mindset, it reminds me that your life is only as good as your mindset.

JW: That’s powerful. I like that.

LF: I think it’s a great sentiment along this topic.

JW: I want to pose a question right quick to our listeners all across this globe. I think we’re up to like 52 or 53 countries now, and we are just so thankful that everyone listens and is looking for kindness and positivity in our world. What better should they find it than right here on this podcast? But I will say to you, Lori, that one thing that is so, I don’t know, just… magnanimous is the term I want to use, in the world right now is this refreshing, this renewal that people are starting to get out. Restaurants are starting to open in our area. Just the places of entertainment are opening. So that mindset is easier to – if you will – start anew, start refocusing on these things that are opening up the positive. Now, would you ask yourself, Lori, why did they make automobile windshields much larger than rear view mirrors? Would you know?

LF: Oh, I don’t know because windshields are always a problem for me because of bugs. It’s a lot of surface area to cover and I don’t understand why they just have to all hit the front. They can’t like bounce off and go away? I mean, they just stick. Explain that to me.

JW: You have a way of bringing out a great point with your bugs on the windshield story. So I will say to this point, life is like your windshield. The rear view mirror only can show you what you’ve done, where you’ve been, but it can never take you where you wish to go, because it’s always focused on your past. The windshield, much bigger, much broader, and without bugs, much more clear that you can see out of. But, Lori, you’re right. Life has some bugs in it. No one promised you you’d be walking through bricks of gold and roses that are always in bloom. It just doesn’t happen. But the one thing you can focus on is, by looking forward, by focusing on your future while living in your present, you will have the opportunity to change your mindset for that bigger, better, bolder you. I say it all the time, but I want to make sure that people understand, you are in control of you.

LF: Well, I just want to say to all of our listeners, the next time you get in a car and a bug hits your windshield, just know if you’re having a bad day that it’s just a bug and it’s just going to get in your way. And you can wash that bug off eventually. So that’s what I take away from this, positivity. Even when it comes to bugs. I mean, what a sentiment. Now they’re all going to walk around today with that in our heads, bugs, windshields. Obstacles, positivity.

JW: You got to hear this story, true story. Now, everything Lori and I ever bring up are true stories. Now we may embellish a few of the facts, but they are true stories.

LF: Even if they’re embarrassing.

JW: Absolutely. I was a young man and my parents got us motorcycles. We lived out in rural America, and so less traveled roads, things of that nature. So my helmet had what’s called a visor on the front of it. So this visor was so you could see clearly, but it would protect your face and other things from rocks or bugs or whatever that were to hit you. Well, my visor, as you can imagine, as a young boy that would take the helmet off and just throw it down on the ground by the motorcycle when I stopped and went to go in the home or to school or whatever. So it got all scratched up. So I couldn’t see really good through this visor. And on my way home from wherever I was, it was dusk. And you know what happens at dusk in the rural parts of our country? You guessed it, activity. What kind of activity, Lori?

LF: I don’t know.

JW: Bug activity. So they’re all over the place. It’s summertime. Bugs are flying. Grasshoppers are flying, and those old dreaded death beetles. Well maybe that’s not what they’re called, but these are the beetles with those hard backs that hits you in the face. That hurts, leaves knot on your forehead. So I’m driving along on my motorcycle, seriously, about 45, 50 miles an hour. I flipped up my helmet visor cause I couldn’t see very well. And I’m just driving along and I see this little dot approximately, I don’t know, it seemed like was about 30, 40 yards in front of me, but when you’re going towards something and it’s coming toward you, if you remember your physics training, you’re going to intersect or meet at some point, you could just see that as if this bug knew exactly what he was doing. I can’t take my hands off of my motorcycles, handlebars. I mean, I’m just cruising along and I just watch it till this bug hits me right between the eyes. Now I don’t want anyone to listen to this, hopefully eat breakfast while you’re listening to this, but I had bug guts all over my face. I was getting sick to my stomach just smelling this bug. I had to pull over. And of course, whatever young man does, always carries a handkerchief. No, no you don’t. You take the shirt tail and you roll it up and wipe this bug off your face. And then I feel of my forehead, Lori, right between the eyes. And I’ve got a pop knot, that’s what we call it back on the farm. I’ve got a pop knot about size of a 50 cent piece on my forehead, and my head is killing me.

LF: Wow, that’s a monster bug.

JW: It was crazy. So I get home and my mother looks at me and she says, “Have you been fighting?” I said, “Yes. Yes.”


I thought that’s where you were going with this story. When you said, “What happens on a dirt road?” I thought, “Well, this is going to be bad boy Jimmy. We’re going to hear some really good dirt.”

JW: Well, so folks, bug one, Jimmy zero. Man, and my mother laughed so hard. She couldn’t hardly stand it. Now keep in mind, I was about 12 years of age, guys. I wasn’t that old, but this bug liked to have taken me out. So guess what Jimmy did the next time his dad went to town? We got a new clear visor I could see through. So bugs will come, folks. Lori said so. There’s proof.

LF: Bugs will come. That is so true. Everyone’s going to be talking about bugs today, just saying, but let’s try to rein it back in as they say, and let’s move on to number four. I do have other topics to cover. Because we do have to get to five this morning. So we talked about goal refocus and we talked about energy refocus and we’ve got some great strategies for mindset, but as we all know, it takes leaders to help lead others to accept these mindsets that we’re talking about, these refocusing, if you will. So let’s talk about leadership and how we refocus, because so many people have gone through extreme changes at their job, in their personal life, and taking on different roles. So let’s talk about leadership.

JW: This is a big, big field of study, leadership. And I will give you a couple of ideas that I used to get, not only my household members, my two daughters, my wife, as well as our corporate team back on focus for those big goals, corporately, as well as personal goals for our family. The first thing I did is I brought them all together in a safe manner at work, or I got all the team that worked virtually on Zoom and we had a state of the organization meeting. Now, what this really means is, is I sat down with them and I pulled out those corporate goals that we had, and the ones we couldn’t tackle last year because of whatever disruption we may have felt. And I sat down and I said to them, “Let me explain our ‘why’.” Now, Lori, if you have a strong enough why, the what and how and who will take care of themselves, in my opinion. So we sat down, we went through the corporate goals that we had, and the entire team, you can just see it around the room was starting to get a little more excited. They’d sit up more straight in the conference room chairs. The people online were taking more notes and I was watching them and I finally asked them and they said, this one question, “So what part of the plan will you achieve? What can you contribute to that?” As a leader, it’s not that we always know the answers, Lori, but we know how to gain the trust of the people around us so that they feel empowered to want to find the answers. You know what I’m saying?

LF: Yeah, I do. I know exactly. And it’s almost, it’s the statement about reconnecting with your why. If you can go back to that and find that, it’s a very powerful thing. And if you can share that with other people, then I think that’s a true testament to leadership

JW: Leadership refocus also means that you must put everyone’s attention on the most important of projects. Case in point, I read a book about a gentleman that was a submarine captain. He was in the Navy. This submarine captain has to be responsible for over 130 men on a nuclear submarine. I mean, this thing is powerful, and he is running drills and they were slower, now get this, performing these emergency drills by six seconds from their target time, just six seconds, six little measly seconds. And the captain pulled his team together. He gets on the PA system and he tells them, “Congratulations.” Now, when I read that, I thought, “Did I read that correctly?” I went back and read that last couple of paragraphs, wait a minute. We missed our goal. Captain recognized that we do have what I call a negative variance on our goal. We didn’t hit the target, and he’s congratulating his team? Well, then he explains not on the PA, but through the book in his writing. And he says, “The best way to double down again, or to inspire the people on your team to go deeper, run faster, work harder toward a goal is to show them some positivity when they didn’t make the goal.” Imagine what party they had. So they hit their goal literally within the next couple of days. And they met the goal and beat their time by two seconds. Now I don’t laugh. We said a while ago they missed it by six, this time they beat it by two, you talk about jubilation on this sub. They had the biggest party on the sub when they had a few moments to have a break. And the whole point I’m making for your focus here on leadership is it’s not always the rowing of the boat, but sometimes it’s the thinking of the rower. It’s the person needing a little hand up, not a hand out. It’s the person that normally needs a pat on the back instead of a boot to the rear. You see where I’m going, Lori?

LF: I do. I think it’s interesting that story that you tell, because we oftentimes forget, even in leadership positions, we forget to celebrate the small things. We tend to nitpick. We tend to be negative. We tend to focus on all the shortcomings of what we didn’t accomplish or what we need to improve on, or what we can do to dissect a problem. And so that’s a great story. It’s refreshing to know that that mindset, it can be applied to just about any scenario in your personal life, in your professional life. It’s six seconds. I like it. Food for thought. Very good. Very good. I’ve got a lot to think about today. I’m taking notes about all these things that I just… Well, bugs especially, but we’ll get back to that. I have some things about bugs still. So with leadership comes our last segue into our fifth refocus. And I think that this might be the most important one for me personally, priority refocus. So many times we get lost in all of the things that we have to do that it’s sometimes impossible to pick or choose. And then we find ourselves stressed out, falling behind, not feeling like we’ve accomplished enough. So priority refocus. I really need some strong, strong encouragement here. What do you got for me?

JW: So let me explain a real simple approach by using another story. The issue of priority refocus was, before this disruption in your life, whatever it may be. So let me explain it this way. There was a gentleman and his wife that had gotten in a car. He had two daughters, one was eight years old. The other one was six years of age. And this young gentleman and his wife were going to have a weekend of themselves in a major city near where they live, just to kind of get some rest. Grandparents were looking after the grandkids, their children, and they took off in this car and they weren’t even about a mile from their home when tragedy struck, killing the mother of these children, tragedy hit within a mile or two of their home. An inebriated man ran a stop sign at full speed. They said he hit the car while in town, driving in town at almost 70 miles per hour. The lady didn’t stand a chance. She was T-boned from her side of the car. The husband had multiple broken bones, was unconscious and in a coma for nearly three weeks, didn’t know if he was going to live. His wife had now passed, two little girls, eight and six. The one thing I bring this story about, cause it’s true. This friend of mine, she’s actually been a guest on this podcast. Her name’s Deirdre Van Nest. She was the eight year old little girl in this story. She tells of the time of how her father’s priorities career, trying to take care of his family’s home and focus on growing the income for the family immediately. After a two mile car ride, the loss of his bride became now refocused on two little girls. What could he do? How much time could he spend with them? How could he make their life feel as secure as possible, knowing that the children lost one of the most dear people in their life, their mother. And the reason I bring this story up is not to get us all down and depressed, but to say this, life happens. Life happens to the best of us. Life happens to some of those that have less than the best. I will tell you this, that they had the mindset – this father did – you can conquer anything. He refocused his priority as to what really is most important. Recently, my wife went to a car accident. Thank goodness she was not hurt too badly. She’s going to be recovering for about a two to three month period, some fractures and so forth, but nothing that won’t repair in time. And I spent about three days at home with her right after this accident, just to help get her settled in and so forth. Now I’m not saying that to say I’m the perfect husband. What I’m saying is, these contributions to your life that you don’t ask for are means or catalysts to help you refocus to that that’s most important. The company took care of itself with the team. I needed to be here with my wife to take care of her when she couldn’t even roll out of bed by herself. So the point I’m making is, Lori, is to make this a happy moment and bring you back to that, is the focusing of our priority simply means this. Every day, we need to look at those goals. What’s most important for us? We have different domains in life. You have a child, we have children, you have a spouse. I have a spouse. The point I’m making is, our priorities are often changed, not by our own choosing in life, but we must regain our control of them at the earliest possible moment if we are to grow as the people we wish to be.

LF: That is exactly the positive encouragement I needed to hear. Wow. What an amazing sentiment. I mean, just think about that for a minute. Just let that sink into your brain. One of the other things that I think when I think about priority refocus, and for me, especially having a child in the digital world, cutting the cord, I know that we have lived virtually for the last year. We have relied so heavily on being able to communicate through a digital or virtual means. But now that things are really trying to somewhat be normal, if you will, it’s time to really get back to hopefully spending time with those people that matter in your life and getting away from the screen a little bit more, and hopefully we’re going to see days, weeks, and months of celebrations in person, reconnecting with our loved ones, reconnecting with our coworkers, reconnecting with our business partners, and helpfully the most exciting part about that is that we’ll be able to reprioritize making new relationships with people that are going to continue to add benefit to our life. So I’m pretty excited about that, Jimmy. That outlook is really motivating for me.

JW: Well, I hope it helps you as much as it helps me. Just these stories that I have been so blessed with over the years, these are real people and they have overcome such large challenges in life. I look at myself and go, I thought it was tough, Lori, but it wasn’t nearly as tough as what they’ve faced. So at the end of the day, this priority refocus to me is a big, big point of reaching our goals, being the bigger, better, bolder person we wish to become and practice these five domains. It’s that simple.

LF: Go refocus, energy refocus, mindset refocus, leadership refocus, and priority refocus. So the challenge for this week, it’s critical that you give yourself the space, time and permission to achieve normal again in your life. Use these five refocus domains to reset yourself and move forward to capture your goals and realize your dreams. If we’ve learned anything, life can be hard. You can be better. So go ahead, go out there and live your life by design!

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