Episode 99: Your Life Needs a Plan

Do you ever feel your life is spinning out of control? Are you in control of your day or does the day run you? You can and should take control of your life! In this episode, Jimmy interviews Andrea Millar, CPA/PFS, CFLA,RLP® to discover the tools and strategies you can use to gain focus, control and direction in your busy life.

Episode Keys

  • A five-step process Andrea utilizes to help you create and maintain your life plan.
  • How to overcome the five regrets of dying that most people experience (they are easy to defeat once you focus and identify them)!
  • Why your minutes and days matter and should be designed in a way that you experience the best of the day.
  • When to seek a life planning coach and the benefits of engaging with this type of coach to achieve greatness in your life.
  • Avoiding “mid-life” crisis and experiencing a positive paradigm shift through mid-life awakening!
Andrea Millar
Andrea Millar

You will find more exciting and helpful information on Andrea Millar’s website. Her five-step process is unique and gives you empowerment to achieve your dreams and not simply exist in this world. Additional free information and planning aids can be found on her website.

Podcast Transcription

JW: Good morning! This is Jimmy Williams with Live A Life By Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation, helping you to realize that full potential you have within yourself to be a bigger, better and bolder you. These past few weeks of 2021 have been, shall we say, almost a repeat of 2020 in terms of change. In our last episode we talked about how there are only a few constants in life that we can rely. We talked about Ben Franklin’s quote that there’s only two certainties of life, death and taxes, right? Well I got another certainty for you, it’s called change. And that change is something of which you and I have no control, but we do have the control of how we respond.

JW: And in that regard, I have today the wonderful fortune of having one of my dearest friends I’ve known for 20 plus years is joining us today as our guest. And this individual, similar to my background, has been a CPA. She’s been in financial planning and she had a very good 25-year career in the same background as me and then she did something in life that has just been awesome. She is now following another passion and she has a great story to share with us today. And I don’t want to take too long introducing here, but the reason we asked her to come on as our guest was one reason only. At Live A Life By Design we believe that you, the individual, should design how you define your happiness, how you define how you wish to live, how you can reach your potential on terms you design. And guess what, if you look at her website it exactly lines up that that’s what she helps you do. She’s now a life coach, a registered life coach and she basically is working with you to help you find your better self, or as we like to say on Live A Life By Design, how you can be bigger, better, and bolder on your own terms. So, with that said, I am excited to have with me today one of my dearest friends, Andrea Millar, that’s M-I-L-L-A-R. She’s always unique, that’s what I love about this lady. She doesn’t do things the old way. Everybody puts Miller with an E, no she puts an A in there. She’s just a unique individual. So welcome today, Andrea, thank you for joining me.

AM: Thank you Jimmy, I’m very excited for the conversation we’re going to have and I feel so honored that you invited me to be here and thank you so much. Love to be with your audience today.

JW: Got to tell you folks, we don’t just go out and seek these easy to find, easy to book type of guests. I’ll tell you, Andrea is so busy. It took us about six months of pleading to get her attention. That’s the kind of relationship we have. Whatever she asked me to do in our previous iteration of careers I did just because it was her. And she said, “Hey, you know I don’t owe you anything, but I’ll give you a chance to talk.” Is that what you said?

AM: Yeah, that’s it.

JW: No. On a serious note, Andrea, gosh it’s just been a long time. You haven’t aged a bit. Folks can’t see you, but I can tell you folks, she looks as vivacious as always, very energetic as always, and a smile on your face. And got to be honest with you Andrea, that’s what we subscribe to here at Live A Life By Design.

AM: Yeah. I love your motto, Live A Life By Design because so many of us just live along, busy, not knowing what we’re doing. But Live A Life By Design, you can create what you want in this life. So, I love that. By the way, there’s a touch up feature on Zoom so you can make yourself look pretty good on Zoom.

JW: Hey, I need to learn that touch up feature. I’m going to ask my marketing manager what you do for that. Will it make me look 25 again? That’s what I need.

AM: I think so, but you look pretty young yourself, Jimmy. You look the same as when I first met you.

JW: Yeah. Well you’re going to get a free gift of some unknown token from me, I can assure you about that. Well then let’s start back a little bit further than when you and I met. So you and I had worked together literally for roughly 21, 22 years, I’m guessing, something like that maybe?

AM: Well you’re trying to age me now because I think I’ve been at AICPA 14 years.

JW: Okay, well so maybe time flies when you’re having fun, Andrea, that’s what I think.

AM: Yeah.

JW: So tell me a little bit about your background though as a child, for example. What makes Andrea tick from the childhood days of?

AM: Well I was the third child of my family, the youngest child, and my parents decided to let fate take over. So they didn’t know were they going to have another child or were they going to not have another child. So they just decided… So that was pretty cool to know that I just came along and it was meant to be. And what I loved most when I asked, “What did I contribute to the family?” They said it was lightheartedness and joy and fun and funny. So that’s always been a theme. I need to have enjoyment and light. I think you can make everything light even the happy stuff and that’s the joy of life. And, you know, I grew up doing lots of activities, piano, gymnastics, soccer. We did all that sort of stuff. And probably the thing that helped give me the most discipline, that kind of has aligned throughout my life was swimming. Swimming is where I had the most natural talent, I think. But what I loved about it was you had to have your individual responsibility. I had to go out there and swim well myself, I had to practice a lot, it was pretty intense what I had to do, but also it was a team event. So, you came together with a team if it was relay or you’re in team competition and you’re swimming against another team. So I just loved… I felt like that gave me a lot of discipline and probably the most poignant thing of my childhood was my dad worked for IBM, which we call I’ve Been Moved. But we lived in France. We lived in France when I was five, six and seven years old and that was so cool. We got to be so much closer as a family because we were just thrown over here, we didn’t know anyone, but we were in the South of France, like near Nice and Cannes, which you’ve ever been there that’s like… When we visited again in 2017 I asked why did we leave here? It’s like everywhere you go you just want to snap a picture. But it was just so cool because being another culture, being with… Learning a different way of life and just the family connection when we were there. And I just remember school was so much different. The principal kicking this guy in the buttocks on the school yard because he’d done something. It was crazy how serious they were. And then I was doing seventh grade math in second grade.

JW: Wow.

AM: Yeah.

JW: Doesn’t shock me folks. For our listeners, we are in 41 countries now, and I will tell you this lazy is a savant. That’s all I can tell you. She just absorbs all this material, all this technology, and all this knowledge. So, that doesn’t surprise me you being in the second grade doing seventh grade algebra. That doesn’t shock me at all. So France, wow. We only went for a 10-day vacation, I could have stayed a year over there. That is… Of course, we stayed around Paris, the metropolitan area. But man I wanted to go to Monaco, I wanted to go visit some of those nicer areas like you said. Nice is a great place to go visit.

AM: Yeah.

JW: So as a child you got some good exposure to different cultures, different ethnicities. Did that help you when you wanted to become a professional registered life coach?

AM: Yeah. I think it’s hard to know what exactly in life shapes you. But I’ve always felt like a person I just accept people as they are, and I’m open to everyone and they are… A lot of people they get in their box and they have these certain views and that’s the way… Recently that’s been a big deal with even division in our own country. But I think that it shaped me to just be very accepting of anyone. I know some people say, “Gosh, you can see every point of view.” And it can kind of be sometimes I’m like it feels like I shift and I can easily go there and then, “Oh I understand that point of view.” But I think maybe that’s what made me be so open to different view points and opinions and just accept people as they are and we all can be together even with our different views but underlying we’re very similar.

JW: That’s a great comment, underlying… If you look at all these, under our skin we’re all the same.

AM: Yeah.

JW: Same blood, tissue, muscles, cartilage, whatever. But let’s talk a little bit about what you were seeing. You’ve listened to all these different view points and perhaps I can agree with this person or this one may have a different opinion but I can see that person’s opinion. So at the end of the day life planning, as you so eloquently placed on your website, is about living true to yourself. Not trying to fit other’s needs, other’s wants, other’s goals for your life, but true to yourself. That’s really what we espouse on this podcast. So tell me a little bit more about how can we help people find their best life and be true to themselves?

AM: Yeah that’s huge because one book that really impacted me… I’ve been on this life planning journey for years now but one book that really resonated a lot with me recently was called The Five Regrets of Dying. And it was this woman who’s worked with people who are close to death, that they have an illness that they’re not going to recover from. So, she spent hours and hours in conversation with these people just learning. And so the five regrets that this woman found after working a decade where that’s all she does, the number one was I didn’t live true to myself. Another one was I didn’t allow myself to be happy enough. Another one was I worked too hard. Another one was I lost touch with my friends. And then finally the last one in this particular book was I didn’t express my feelings because a lot of times we’re so busy doing whatever that we don’t let the people important to us know even what it is they mean to us in our lives or your mentors, the people who have meant something, like expressing your feelings. But getting back to your question, how do you live true to yourself? I think a lot of times we just get taken away with expectations, whatever was expected of us in life, whatever something in childhood was put on us that we were expected that we needed to take this path in life. And a lot of times I feel like people live this ladder approach. Like okay, you got to get these perfect grades in school, and then you go on to the next part of school where you got to get perfect grades again. And then you get into your career but then you’re… It’s like what’s next? You’re supposed to get a promotion. And then after that, no you’re supposed to get another promotion. And then you have your house and now you’re supposed to get the bigger house now because you’re expected to keep moving up. Or if you have a kid, well when’s the next kid coming? So, it just seems like you get kind of carried away in busyness and all of the expectations put on you or even what you think of yourself. So, I think the way that you get to your true yourself is giving your time to step back and reflect. I personally… Do you want me to tell the story of how I got in life planning or we’ll do that…?

JW: That’s just exactly right. Yeah, that’s where I’m headed next, go ahead.

AM: Okay. So, I’ll do that and then I’ll tell you kind of the approach I take to help people get there. But in my own life I was one of those people, just doing the next thing expected and just kind of going along on that trajectory, letting life kind of take me over. I was reacting to life, I would say. I had a great family. I had my dog I loved. I loved my house. I had a fulfilling career because that’s when this all happened to me, was working at AICPA and I’ve never had a job I loved more where I felt like I could make a big difference. In terms of jobs there couldn’t be a better job for me. If I was just working for somebody else. But then I tended to work a lot because I was passionate about our work and I’d work so much during the week. But then on the weekend I was just knocked out and I would find that in my relationships with the important people I wasn’t fully present and there because I was worried about the next thing on my to-do list at work or looking at my phone. And so I wasn’t even present with the people important to me. But what finally got me to, I call it… some people call it a midlife crisis, I call it a midlife awakening. Awakening to what’s important in life. And unfortunately for me it took three major events and on the third one I finally woke up and what I hope is to help people not have to have these major events. To wake up and design their life, live a life by design as you say to me. So I had my, in November 2014, my dad got Alzheimer’s. He was diagnosed. Not got it, he probably had it for a while, but he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Then in early March 2015, someone very close to me tried to commit suicide. And by the end of March 2015 the person closest to me in life died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism. I finally woke up and I was like, “Wait a second, what is this life?” It’s like I was just kind of riding along in the busyness but not really having meaning, intention, purpose, the life by design.

AM: So then I started seeking out courses, books, teachers. I was like, “How do I do this?” And then that’s when I found how passionate… I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so passionate about what this is.” And that’s why I decided… And I saw the difference it made for my life and I was like, “This is what I want to do and contribute to the world, is helping others do the same.” So my approach for life planning and helping someone discover their true self, I personally couldn’t have done it by just somebody saying, “Well what’s important to you in life?” I needed to go through a process or an approach and have something that helped me reflect because if you just asked me the question, I’ll be like… I might have had an answer but it wouldn’t have been very deep. So, I kind of have a blend of I did the George Kinder Registered Life Planning Program and then I’ve also done coaching programs because the George Kinder Life Planning is great for figuring out what you want in your life but I found that what often held people back from going towards what they want, most often what I found was it was they themselves. It wasn’t money, it wasn’t time. People always give money and time as the reasons. But what I felt was their own, whatever you want to call it, limiting beliefs, fears, making up stories in their mind of how something would be if they went in that direction, but it wasn’t even true. It was just fear playing with them. So, I kind of have a five-step approach to help people figure out their true selves so that they can live their life. And do you want me to go through that now?

JW: Not yet. We’re going to go through that in just a little bit.

AM: Okay, okay.

JW: You’re fine, you’re fine. You’re doing great. So let’s talk a little bit about a couple of those points you’ve just mentioned. So, what we found in our own podcast and the responses we get from the thousands of downloads every month is that people don’t find happiness because they’re seeking it in the wrong place. Now let’s go back to this thing called money. Now, I’m going to tell you, money to me is an amplifier not a definer. Let me explain what I mean. If you’ve got poor habits of saving or poor habits of investing or you’ve got some social issues that are not acceptable in society that you participate in, money doesn’t help you with that, money magnifies those problems even worse. They amplify those problems. So, as a life coach, a life planner, help me understand how you would go through your five-step process with an individual that says, “Hey, I just cannot get there and I make a great living and I’ve got a great family, but I’m just not happy.” How do we look at ourselves and work with a life coach to define and resolve those limiting beliefs so that we can truly be true to ourselves?

AM: Yeah. I think getting really clear on what you want first. You have to… The first step in my process is just even discovering your aspirations, like wide open what is it that’s important to you and the different areas of life. I have something where I have people write their different areas of life, like their spirituality, their family relationships, their intimate relationship, their career, all of that. How do they rate that. Now what was the best rating ever they’ve had in that area and what was the worst just to start getting them thinking, and then help them just give them… To me the best you can do for someone is just give them the space, listen. Give them that space where you believe in them, you know they can be their true selves, you were just giving them this wonderful space to be in because a lot of times in life we have you’ll share something and then that will make the other person you’re talking to think of something. So then they start telling their story. But you’re giving people a space to really have time to reflect. So, I always give these exercises before I meet with them so that people have their time, get alone, do whatever you need to do to get… If it’s nature, if it’s do some meditation and then reflect on these things so that you can truly get in your true self and I say don’t even think about what can get in the way of this. If you could have anything, possibilities are endless in this life and if you could have anything, what would it be? So that’s kind of where I start and I call it discover aspirations. And then the next place I go is prioritize your vision. Again, I give exercises between those two sessions so that you can get really clear on what’s most important. And unfortunately you kind of need to ask the question of, if you were found out you had, this is one of George Kinder’s question, if you found out you had 24 hours to live and you were looking back on your life, what would you regret that you didn’t do? Who would you regret that you didn’t get to be because we all live life as if life is… We’ve got all the time in the world. How many times have you talked to somebody and they’re like, “Well yes, I really want to do this thing but let me just get through this project that’s going to take me three years first and then I’ll do that.” I’m like, “Well none of us know when our last day on this earth is.” And so-

JW: Yeah, one thing I like what you’re bringing out is George Kinder’s question. Steve Jobs took a little bit of a shift of that question and he always asks himself every day, “If this were the last day of my life, would I be wanting to work on what I’m about to work on in my day?” So I use that question, very similar to what you’re talking about Mr. Kinder. And I’ve met Mr. Kinder at a conference once, very, very sharp man. But I will say to you that too many of us, and I’m going to use this term incorrectly, you’re the professional here, but too many of us settle for the known instead of exploring the potential. How would you say you agree or disagree with that?

AM: No, I love that because… And I think it’s settling for the known because as humans we naturally want certainty because that’s what makes us feel comfortable. We know what that is and so it’s like you’re just going along. We like to be comfortable. But if you think about possibilities and what you could have in your life that you haven’t had, that means you probably need to learn something new or you have to step into something you’ve never done and a lot of us, one of the programs, a coaching program it’s called The Academy for Coaching Excellence. She talks about going from visionary reality to physical reality. The vision is all wonderful because you make this vision for what you want for your life, and there’s nothing going wrong in your vision because that’s just want you want. But then when you take it to physical reality, that’s where impermanence is, that’s where uncertainty is. And then we start having all sorts of things happen. But the key is to be, as we’ve learned in this pandemic, resilient. And you find another way. It’s even figuring out something that you truly want. How does that thing make you feel and how can you bring that into your daily life because also once people get their visions, they think, “Oh, it’s way over…” Something might be five years out because it’s some big thing they want. But you can see what is it that’s important to you about that and how does it make you feel and what can you do today to get that feeling today because that’s what I’m all about. You’ve got to get the big picture for our north star, your guiding light so that you know the stuff to take but also don’t wait till that thing is reality out here, live your day, bring that as much as you can into your day. That’s how we all know that we make big things happen. It’s the daily small steps. It’s amazing if you just take one tiny step each day, the massive change overtime. Yeah, so that’s my…

JW: Yeah. So let me tell you Andrea, I’m an early riser, I get up at 5:00, 5:30. I don’t ever use alarm clock. I get up, my body is used to it now. I get up and I do my planning, my Bible study, my prayer time, I get my day founded in that secure area where you said people want to be comfortable. Well that’s kind of my comfort. But I also put on this a sense of having my armor now, I’m ready to go take on the world, right, because the world is not kind to a lot of us and we interact with people that are having a very difficult time in life. So, what few pointers, maybe give me one or two items that we could share today with our listeners, our subscribers that says, here’s something you might be able to do to help those you meet realizing it’s not always about you. Let me give you a quick story.

AM: Okay.

JW: There is a friend of mine that had a very, very difficult time in life that I wasn’t even aware in his background, so further back than when our friendship had started. And he always had this negative attitude about everything, so the glass is always “half empty”. The sun’s out, yes, but it will go back down again tonight at 6:00. This is that guy. So, I finally sat down with him and I said, “You know I’m a relationship person, so let me explain to you what I’m seeing from you and tell me if I’m misreading you because I want to be a friend to you and I want to support you.” But I said, “You don’t have any happiness whatsoever come out of your mouth any time I’m around you.” And I said, “I got to be honest with you, Jimmy is a 99% of the time happy guy. This isn’t working for me.” And I said, “I want to put you in that relationship column where I’d love to spend more time with you, not less.” See where I’m going?

AM: Yeah.

JW: And he started relating to me this story of how he’s felt jilted in life, and it goes back to a relationship he had with a woman and she left him for another person and he just cannot get over that. And I just said to him, I said, “But the allowance of that to take your life and ruin it is on you.”

AM: Yeah.

JW: “No one can ruin your life if you don’t allow them to get in your head.” Did I make a wrong statement there? Tell me how you feel as a life coach. Did I… I don’t want to maybe say wrong. Could I have done better for him?

AM: I love what you did with him because so may people don’t have someone willing to even share the truth like that. I’m sure because I think it’s all about planting seeds, so I’m sure you might not see some big transformation in him, but you had to have got him thinking. And what I love is… I love when you can do the comparison. So it’s like okay, do you want to spend your life feeling jilted and feeling like you’re the victim because it seems like he’s kind of taking the victim approach in life. Or would you rather spend your time finding what is really meaningful to you, that lights you up. It’s your choice because we know life is all about choices, right? We know we have death and we know we have taxes from what you talked about in the beginning. But otherwise life is pretty much about choices. Now he has a choice, does he want to spend his life in victim mentality or does he want to spend his life focusing on what he really wants for his life, and I think that’s wonderful of you because most people wouldn’t be willing. They would just probably go away from him and decide well I don’t want that in my life and you were willing to tell him straight. So, I think that’s the expressing your feelings and you want him in your life but you’re just not willing to have him there if he’s just going to be draining and focusing on all that’s wrong and the sun’s going to go right down. So, I think that that was terrific, Jimmy.

JW: Well let me say this. I am not licensed in this area at all, Andrea, so I take no pride in the fact that I know what to do. I do know one thing, and that being true to yourself to me means I want to surround my people like you Andrea that sees the hope, that sees the potential, that wants to not just see it but seize it, S-E-I-Z-E. Seize that potential in life because we only have one shot. There are no do overs, right? So what is the fourth step in your five-step process? Let’s talk about it and then I want to get after that maybe ask a question too and let’s talk about the fifth step after that. So what’s the fourth?

AM: Okay. Well the second was prioritizing. Should I say… Okay, the first was discover aspirations, the second was prioritizing your vision, and then the third once you have your vision clear, it’s, okay, well what could possibly get in the way of that? And then you start having a discussion of all the things that could get in the way and you find solutions. So, you find… And that’s where I found when I had just done Kinder, that most of what was getting in people’s way were themselves and so that’s why I wanted to do more learning and coaching programs to help people get beyond their own limits. So, my third is find solutions. The fourth is clarifying your purpose and value. So, after you’ve been through all of this, I feel like sometimes it can get overwhelming for people because they’ve talked through so much, and gotten so… They’ve just put so much out there and even though we’ve done that vision, so I do what is called a life blueprint that makes it real simple, what are your five intentions most important to you in your life at this moment in time. And for the next year, what are your three focus areas for each of those intentions as well as what are your values as a person. To me it’s very important. I’ll just give you five of mine. Being authentic, being passionate, inspiring, spiritual, courageous. Those are five. I have 12 but I look to these because I want to make sure I’m showing up as the values most important to me. So that’s the fourth step in my process.

JW: So, I got to be honest with you, those five values, very close to what I have on my top 10 base. I have a top 10 base I keep. And don’t laugh, I had more than that, and I whittled them down because I thought well I just really want to live deeply, not more broadly, so I’m going to try to live these values here, right?

AM: Yeah.

JW: So, I’m going to convey to you one traumatic event that happened in my life. My life has not been perfect. For once I had two items that happened to me in life that changed my life forever. One of them was real deep. It was the loss of my sister at the age of 35 to leukemia. Very quickly acute leukemia. Went through a bone marrow transplant, it did not take. She had three kids at home, a 12, eight, and a three year old, my nieces and nephew. You step back and you look at this and I was 35 at the time, she was 30. I’m sorry, I was 32 at the time, she was 35. And I’m just questioning all the way home from the hospital where she had undergone her surgery and I’m just trying to find 35 years, man that’s a blink of an eye, that is not very long.

AM: Yeah.

JW: And I’ve talked about it on the podcast before. And I looked at it and I said I could go two ways with this. I could sit here and question why a providential being didn’t save my sister or why the doctors didn’t save my sister or I could look at this as a learning experience and then take it and say to myself everyday I’m going to live happier, I’m going to live a more fuller, more rewarding life and I’m not only going to do it for me. If you’re around me, it’s going to be infectious. I’m going to implode myself and then I’m going to explode on you some happiness, joy, and peace. And so don’t laugh too loud as a person that does this for a living. That’s my very child-like approach to living every day. That was my first traumatic event. So, to get to your clarifying, that’s how I came up with my values. I said I just want to take control. What do you think about that?

AM: Yeah, because you’re designing your life. You decided what’s important to you. First of all, I’m so sorry for what you went through with your sister. That’s a very traumatic event and after all I’ve known you these 14 years and I never knew that. So, see I need some more one-on-one time with you Jimmy so I can get to know you more. But that’s incredible.

JW: Should I lie down on a sofa somewhere and just start talking so you can take notes? I’m telling you.

AM: Yeah.

JW: You might need two note pads.

AM: I would love that. But that’s incredible because so many… That’s the whole thing about you could have taken the victim mentality we talked about before and then been like, “Oh, life has just sent me these awful things and it’s so hard.” But no, look what you turned it into! And then you got clear on, and I loved how you said take control of your life, because we do have our, regardless of any circumstances that happen around us, we can choose who we want to be and what we focus our time on how we are in our relationships. And to me, the values and what you’re… That explains so much about you because I would say that’s what you had from the first time I met you. You’re joy and happiness and peace and you make everybody feel all is going to be well and that’s amazing that you turn such a tragedy into something so positive. And wow, what an impact that made then on your whole life.

JW: I will tell you, I do live with one other motto and you’re free to use this when you’re talking with our clients. I live with the theory now that it is much better to calm down a fanatic than warm up a corpse. So what I say… In other words, you know what, I tell people this is all Jimmy, this is not a drug, nor caffeine-induced. I am just high on life. I wake up this way. My wife says, “I know it’s going to be a great day for you. Let me tell you what I’ve got going on.” People walk up to me on the street, I’m not talking about just me, but they walk up to me on the street that I don’t very well that may have seen me somewhere and they go, “Do you ever have a bad day?” And I said, “I’ll be honest with you, my criteria is pretty low.” And they look at me, they go, “What do you mean?” I said, “I am above ground, talking to some of the nicest people I know on the planet.” And I’ll wink at them.

AM: Yeah.

JW: And they go, “I get it.” Right? So if we’re going through the discovery process, we’re now prioritizing, we’re now finding solutions at what could be our barriers limiting beliefs, what’s getting in the way, and now we’re clarifying to do this blueprint of life, what’s the fifth step of your process?

AM: Make your vision a reality. That means because we all know you can have “aha” moments, you can have the big insight, you could have all these learnings. You could have learned, these are my values when that happened with you with your sister, but you could have not taken any action. You could have thought these are my values. Action is where it is. So making the vision a reality. You’ve got to start taking the steps forward and that’s when all the you know what happens. I could have worked with somebody right before the pandemic and who know what was on their vision. And then the pandemic happens, that could have taken a lot out of what it is they had planned to do but how do we shift that so that you’re still true to what your life intentions are and your focuses are on who you are because there’s always choices. A lot of people just stopped. They’re stopped like, “I can’t do anything because we’re in a pandemic.” But no, there’s still ways you can move forward. And so to me this is all about taking action no matter what circumstance that are happening around you. And I don’t know if this is too big of a word to use here, but the internal locus of control is so critical. Is that a word you’ve used? That’s where you’re the one within yourself, if you know yourself, true to yourself, you know your values, you know what’s important, you can keep going no matter what’s happening around you and you can keep taking steps forward and you’re not stopped from taking action just because of a circumstance.

JW: I love that. So, what you’re really saying is once we make this vision a reality, one of those steps to doing so is if we have such clarity that basically our vision will pull us into reality from the momentum of all our clarity and what we have as our goals, right? Am I pulling that down too far?

AM: Yeah.

JW: Okay.

AM: Very powerful what that… That alone, getting your vision you’ll just start seeing things happen. It’s kind of like anything in life when you decide to focus on it you just start seeing it pop up everywhere that you might not have seen before. So a lot of it just starts happening but other parts you’ve got to take action and be intentional and not let your own fear stop you. Keep going and that’s the key.

JW: So have you ever heard of this wonderful philosopher of boxing by the name of Mike Tyson?

AM: Yeah.

JW: Who hasn’t heard of Iron Mike Tyson. So I call him this famous philosopher because he came out with a quote that I’ve used many times, I’m all about planning because I don’t believe you could just jump out without knowing all of the needs, all of the inputs, all the variables, what may or may not be available to you to use to get from point A to B the way you wish. So planning to me is critical about everything from our life, to our income taxes, to our investments to whatever. I love a quote from him, Mike Tyson says, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

AM: Yeah.

JW: So let’s talk about your face punching moments though as a life coach, right? We all come in to the life coaching I’m sure thinking this is my Panacea, this is going to be my answers. Andrea has got all this knowledge she’s going to impart upon me, and my life is going to turn around 180 degrees. And I want to say to people it won’t work in a unilateral approach, it has to work with an asynchronous communication. You have to listen to what she’s doing and saying and putting to practice, right? So, life coaching is not just you giving all the answers.

AM: No.

JW: It’s about them utilizing your advice to find their answers. Is that more the description?

AM: Oh yeah. That’s what I say is the difference. If you’re in your financial planner role, you’re a lot of times the consultant. They’re coming to you as the expert and then you lay out the… Okay, you know what their goals are, here are the ways we could do this, and then the client chooses because you’re the expert of what this is. But to me life planning coaching, you’re giving them, you’re facilitating them to find their own answers. So I’m not even… Even in my solution process it’s like, “Okay, well what could possibly…” They’re coming up with all the answers because people will take the most action if they’re the ones that have come up with most important for their life, if they’re the ones that come up with their solutions. And we might have a little brainstorming or something like that if they’re stuck, but ultimately all of us have the answers inside us, we just need to be given the space to get it out, and have ways we can reflect and then have somebody who’s just holding that beautiful space for us where we can just talk and feel safe and feel like we’re being heard and listened to. And it’s amazing. One coaching program I was in she talked about 70% of coaching is the just the space that you give someone. You show up and you see this person, because all of us have these thoughts and feelings that really rise above that. You know that person is more than the thoughts and feelings they’re facing right now and you see them. They just want to make a… Everybody wants to make a difference in this life, really at their core. And they have the answers to how to do that. You’ve just got to give them the space. So, I think that’s the most important part of any of this, is just giving people that space.

JW: I’ve had this phrase I’ve used a lot in my career. I’ve been doing this a long, long time and I tell people your brain is like the library. You really have the answers there, the issue is you don’t know where the card X is to go find the right answer because you’re so busy running around the library instead of going to the source of going, “How can I locate and find this?”

AM: Yeah.

JW: So at the end of the day, that’s my thinking, is basically I want to see that people listening to this particular episode understand that they may hold the answers but it’s important… Matter of fact, no let me take it back, it is vital that you speak with someone that knows how to help you, not just find the answers but to apply them to change your life in the manner you wish. I’ll tell you Andrea, I’m really enjoying what you’re telling me, but let’s take a step back just for a moment if we may. I’m going to ask you a couple of hard questions here that I think only you know the answers to. Are you ready?

AM: I’ll try, I’ll give it a shot.

JW: So, if you could have any other career on the planet what would it be besides a life coach?

AM: Yeah, I know this one clear because growing up, even going back to the childhood thing, my two most loves were animals and my grandparents. And even now if you asked me what causes really are important to me, it’s animals and old people. I feel like everybody is about the kids. But old people are the ones who are so wise because they’ve lived through so much and then they end up in these care homes and is anybody even coming to visit them? So I would love to blend those two. So I would have a big farm where I saved animals and I have this big beautiful farmhouse and I save animals. And then I also have this connection where we have therapy dogs and the therapy dogs are taken to go visit the people who are living in the care homes because dogs bring… A lot of… Most people are dog people. I’m not trying to leave out the people who aren’t. Or it could be a therapy cat, whatever.

JW: Hey come on now, listen. I’m going to stop you right there. So you went too far. Therapy cat? I know my daughter has a beautiful, spoilt, I call her the diva cat. If you ever get on social media you’ve seen it. This is a beautiful, she’s a Persian… What is she called? She’s a Persian Chinchilla. So just beautiful hair flowing and she just thinks she’s the diva, about six pounds of nothing but diva, right? And I got to be honest with you folks, a dog when you call him, like when I had our little pup, I’d call him and he’d come running to me eager to see me. That little tail nub just moving as fast as he could. You can call this diva cat all day man, and she’ll just look at you and say, “Not happening, not going to help you today.” So other than therapy cat, you had me. You had me till you got to therapy cat.

AM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well I was trying to be open to people who might not like dogs. Who doesn’t like dogs? I don’t know who that is.

JW: I love your vision there. That sounds like a great future. But now let me ask you a couple other tough questions. What has been so far in your 29 years of life, because all women are 29, so that’s how I do that. But anyway, what has so far been the most fulfilling event or moment for Andrea Millar?

AM: You know, that’s a really, really tough one Jimmy and I really… I have too many fulfilling events but I couldn’t choose just one. But when I think about the most fulfilling experiences and moments are my one-on-one connections with another human and talking about the important things in life, going deep, not having these surface conversations but really what’s life all about. And I remember even one time I had to do this exercise of go back to your four happiest memories in life and then see what were you feeling in those moments because that’s kind of how you can see well what are the feelings most important to you? And now you can take control of your life and bring those feelings to you each day. This is one of those things. So I noticed all of mine were these one-on-one connections with people really important to me whether it was a significant other, my grandmother. I remember sitting with her on a rock when we lived in France and she was painting the town of Tourrettes-sur-Loup and we were just together and we were talking about life. And with my mom now I’ve spent a lot of time with her during the pandemic because she’s all by herself and I’ve learned so much about the family and what are our family values and how does that apply then to me? So having those sort of deep one-on-one connections, to me that’s what fulfills me most.

JW: That is an awesome story. Well, can you do me a favor? I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting your mother, but would you please tell her thank you for me. She has created a wonderful human being in my opinion and I give her most of that credit. But anyway.

AM: Yeah, my dad has passed but I’ll make sure he knows that you’re giving him equal credit.

JW: Absolutely. It takes two to tango around here. So tell me real quick, Andrea, before our listeners want to sign. Hey, what’s your next phase of your career look like in life planning? What’s it look like to you?

AM: Yeah, well I think part of the beauty of life is being clear on your direction and your path and your guiding light, but also being open to what comes your way. So, I’m not one of these big, “Oh, where am I going to be in 15 years?” Because to me the magic of life is what’s going to happen? I don’t even know about or that I think of that’s not… that I don’t even know to think of right now. It’s like that being open to all possibility. But right now what I really am passionate about is making a difference in the life of people so that they can live their best life, so that they can get to the end and look back and be at peace with how they lived their life. And I really love the idea of helping individuals, couples and families because there’s this book, Courtney Pullen wrote a book called Intentional Wealth and he talked about what do the 10% of most successful families do? And the theme that ran through it all was they each have… Every person in the family has individual satisfaction, which goes back to the true self. So you have to start with each person individually. So even if I work with a couple, even if I work with a family, I’m starting with the individual because you have to honor that person and their true self before you connected into the couple, before you connected into the family. That’s just my philosophy. So, whatever I can do because I think the world changes one person at a time and if people are really clear on their values, on what’s important and that’s how they’re living their life, that’s going to be the best for the world. So any little part I can do for the world in that way, that’s my focus right now.

JW: That is awesome. Andrea I want to thank you so much for your time today. Tell me real quickly or tell our listeners as well what’s the easiest way to get information about our life planning? I’m sure you got a website and some other things, tell us how we can reach you.

AM: Yeah, you can go… probably the best way is my website, andreamillarlifeplanning.com. Hopefully that’s not too much of a mouthful.

JW: We’ve established now folks that’s Andrea Millar with an A. M-I-L-L-A-R lifeplanning.com. And you have a blog.

AM: Yeah, and that’s right on… I’m just getting started with that, but it’s something I intend to more of, but that’s on my website as well. I have my process, my approach, I have the way that you can get in touch with me. So everything that you need to learn more is on that website, andreamillarlifeplanning.com.

JW: That is awesome. Andrea you’ve been an outstanding friend as always. I just love you to pieces. But also you’ve been a tremendous guest today. Good information, great stuff. If you would leave our listeners, I always like just when I have a guest on with such great attitude and great technical skills as you, what’s the one word or piece of advice you might leave our listeners with about life in general or life planning?

AM: I probably will repeat something I’ve already said. But I would just say remember you’re mortal because we all live like we have all the time in the world and we think we can put off the dream or the things important to us or the relationships important to us. We think that has time down the road but we never know when we’re going to have our last day. So, I’d say take time to reflect. Figure out what’s really important to you, what values are most important to you because if you can live those values like you did, Jimmy, when you figured that out, what you wanted to be to people, that’s huge. And so take the time to step back, reflect and make sure you’re spending your life in the way that you want, that you’re being the person that you want to be because whether you’re a leader, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re a friend, whatever it is in life, if you can show up as your best self, that’s going to be the biggest difference that you can make, whatever role that you’re playing in life. So that would be my best piece of advice.

JW: I think that’s great stuff. And I want to say again, thank you Andrea. I know you’re very, very busy but this has been, in my opinion, one of the best episodes because that’s what we’re about here at Live A Life By Design. We don’t simply want to use this as a mantra, we want to put feet under it, we want to put emotion into it, we want to put heart into everything we talk about because I live this stuff and I will tell you it is real if you want to take the step to living your life with purpose. If you want to “Live A Life By Design,” it is not easy but it is achievable, is the term I use. So, Andrea thank you so much for your time today. You have just been outstanding. I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

AM: Thank you so much Jimmy. It’s been fun to talk with you and I appreciate being invited to your podcast.

JW: Well it’s truly our pleasure. Take care and we’ll do this again soon, I hope.

AM: Yeah, I’d love to.

JW: What a wonderful day of enjoying the insights of Andrea Millar. I hope today that you heard something that stirred you to want to be your true self, not just that façade around people that you have to appear a certain way, but to truly attract those that know you, love you, and appreciate you for you being you. That’s what it’s all about at Live A Life By Design. You are being true to yourself to be the kind of person you wish to be and attract those that are of a similar nature with honesty and candor. To be the kind of person that is truly living a life by design. Until next week, go out and change the world for good. Live your life by your own design.

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