Jodi Wellman – Getting Rid of Coulda’s, Woulda’s, and Shoulda’s in Your Life (396)

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It’s not every day that you have a chance to contemplate your mortality in a manner that’s as eye-opening as it is empowering. When Mike sat down with Jodi Wellman, creator of 4000 Mondays, the conversation naturally gravitated toward the concept of temporal scarcity – a stark reminder of how precious our time truly is. Jodi’s philosophy centers around the transformative power of Mondays, the day we often dread, turning it into a potent symbol of the time we have left. She opened up about her journey from a secure corporate job to the unpredictable realm of keynote speaking and coaching, a testament to her belief in seizing life by the horns.

Jodi Wellman created a company called Four Thousand Mondays after 10 years coaching executives and 17 years in Corporate America. It’s designed around the fact that if we’re lucky, we get about 4,000 Mondays in our lives. Jodi always wanted to be an entrepreneur but ignored the pull she felt since childhood and went after the paychecks and being responsible. Finally, she gave herself permission and allowed herself to shake things up, take a risk, and be okay with not following a linear path. In the last two years, she has said yes to opportunities, learned, failed, brushed herself off, and kept on going. Her TEDx talk from 2022 is on this topic and it’s the 14th most-watched TEDx talk from 2022. 

In this episode of the How’d It Happen Podcast, Mike and Jodi didn’t shy away from the hard stuff. The conversation got candid about the psychology behind our avoidance of contemplating our mortality, the ‘free fantasy’ we often indulge in, and the common fears of rejection and failure. They challenged some deeply ingrained notions, pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones. Jodi’s story is a beacon of inspiration, showing us that the fulfillment we seek often lies just beyond the risks we dare to take. Buckle up for this enlightening exchange, and let’s start heading towards a regret-free existence, one Monday at a time.

Key highlights:

  • Embracing the Limited Time We Have
  • Activation for Achieving Dreams 
  • The Psychology of Fear and Epiphany 
  • Embracing Mortality to Seize Opportunities 
  • The Different Types of Regret and How to Avoid Regrets of Omission
  • The Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship 

Episode resources:

Watch Jodi’s TEDx Talk: How Death Can Bring You Back to Life

Take Jodi’s short quiz to estimate how many Mondays you have left:

Connect with Jodi Wellman:


LinkedIn: Jodi Wellman

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:


Jodi Wellman, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:00

Hi everyone, Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the HOW’D IT HAPPEN podcast on this podcast. I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success to discover not just how it happened but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. On today’s episode, I’m talking with Jody Wellman, the creator of 4000, Mondays, which is the number of Mondays the average person experiences in a lifetime, we talk about living a squander free life, the beautiful gray journal that changed her thinking, making the career change from a corporate executive to coach and keynote speaker and the fulfillment that comes by being intentional with each and every Monday you have, there’s this concept that really I latched on to called temporal scarcity. And it is that when we tune in to the scarcity of our lives, the limiting factor of it being roughly 4000, Mondays, like anything in life, like any kind of scarcity heuristic, when we know wow, something is limited or rare, it tends to heighten the value or perceived value of it, right? So same concept with our lives. And when you overlay that together, and I was able to sort of stitch all these different psychological constructs together, it swept me away. God is high energy, funny, and deadly serious about inspiring everyone to live a full life. I think you’re gonna love this conversation. So let’s get to it. Hi, Jodi, welcome to the podcast.

Jodi Wellman  01:34

Oh, thank you for having me here. Mike. I’m excited to chat with you.

Mike Malatesta  01:37

I am excited to chat with you too. And we were chatting a little bit before we got started about some things that I think we’ll get into now that we have started later. But first off, I gave you a little taste of what this podcast is about in the intro. And now I want to give you a little bit more information about Jodi so you can get as excited as I am about what’s coming at you. So Jodi Wellman is a corporate executive who smartened up and became an executive coach and then really smartened up and became a stop squandering your life keynote speaker and coach created a company called 4000, Mondays designed around the fact that if we’re lucky, we get about 4000. Mondays in our lives, that’s probably something you’ve never thought about before. God always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but she ignored the poll she felt since childhood and went after the paychecks and being responsible. That’s a story that resonates. Finally, she gave herself permission and allowed herself to shake things up to take a risk to be okay with not filing with not following a linear path. Because let’s face it, no life worth living is linear. In the last few years, Jodi has said yes to opportunities. She’s learned, she’s failed. She’s brush yourself off, and she’s kept on going, like you and I have sounds familiar. Her TEDx talk from 2022 is on this topic. And it’s the 14th. Most watched TEDx talk from 2022. And I just checked today, when I watched it, it’s got 1.3 million, that’s million plus views, as I said, as of today, and you will want to check that out right after you get done listening to this podcast. You can also go to Jodi’s website, and you can take a calculator exercise and find out your remaining Monday’s to do that you go to 4000. Mondays, that’s the words all spelled forward slash resources. And just as a point of reference I took I took it today, because I thought, Well, why not? And I’ve got 13 106, Monday’s left, provided I don’t, you know, really do some stupid, and live a halfway decent health life the rest of my life. So 13 106, that’s 25 years, I’ll do the math for you. And so I was kind of excited about that, because I’m 57 now, so that takes me to like 92, which would be great. And longer would be even better than that. So thanks for putting that together and offering that it’s a fun way to drive home the story of 4000 Mondays that we’ll learn more about. So God I start every podcast with the same simple question. And that is how did happen for you.

Jodi Wellman  04:18

Yeah, I love the way you asked that. And for me, I look at it like I got bitten by the bug of death, which doesn’t sound appealing does it now that I say it a lot. I got bit by the bug of death early on. And I denied it this idea of toying with our mortality as a motivator. And for me, the it happened that Mike had happened question for me was more when I gave myself permission to indulge it. And so so often we have to do that right, right. a permission slip says I get to so I was in the Master of Applied positive psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. Yeah. And I didn’t even want to talk about that while I was applying. So I just applied under the auspice of I’m going to use this to be a better corporate leadership coach and leadership development expert. Yeah, except I still have this burgeoning inside of me to study this topic. And I did give myself permission to do my thesis on it, my capstone. And that cracks the doors wide open for me, because I realized, it’s almost like I needed to see it was legit. You know, there was empirical evidence to prove that this is actually a thing in Psychological Science. And I needed that behind me to say, well, if this has been documented before, and it’s been studied, I get to now do this. And I then changed my life around it. So I changed my career path, essentially, into starting 4000. Mondays, which was, which was a big deal, especially at the beginning of COVID. But I I, I mean, one of my mottos these days is living a squander free life or regret free life. And this would be an example to me, if I didn’t take this move, if I didn’t make take this step, that I would deeply regret it on my deathbed. So for me, it was making it legit by studying it and realizing, Oh, this is credible. I can talk about this. I’m allowed. Yeah. What is it? Can you what is the bug of death? Like? You say your goodbye, but what but what the heck is it? Right, right. And I hope that you get hit by it too, by the time we’re done talking. And so the notion is called memento mori. And it’s an old Latin term. And it does translate to this notion of remember that we must die. And so many of you I know, your listeners are still thinking scratching their heads like, well, that’s morbid. What are we doing listening to this for but wait, hold on, because this idea of tuning into the fact that our time is limited, this is no surprise to anybody. We all know this. But we do a really bang up job of denying it and avoiding it. But if we do stop and get really intentional, and focus on the fact that our time is limited, and quantify the way that you did, the way that I do the way, you know, you have 1306, Monday’s left, if you play your cards, right, that is the thing that can help us to live with a greater sense of urgency, and intention and meaning, quite frankly, I call it like living like we mean it. We need a deadline to get on with things, don’t we?

Mike Malatesta  07:23

Yeah, well, without a without a target and a deadline, you should you sort of miss every time. Right? It’s essential. I heard people say that before.

Jodi Wellman  07:30

Yeah. Yeah. So we do take our lives for granted, we do slip into autopilot. It’s just a natural part of being human. And we do these things for good reasons. I don’t have judgment. I’m an autopilot, daily. I’m just trying to consistently get out of it. And that’s the spirit of this is to say, Well, now that I’m really cognizant that my time is limited. How do I want to make it special and how I want to make the most of it? Because we may not get the 1000? We had written six, or in my case, 1880. We may not get that might get more, let’s be optimistic here. What do we want to fit in? Because there’s a ton of stuff. I mean, man, we want to fit a ton of stuff in, don’t we? So timeframe wise, this work that you did at University of Pennsylvania? Where were you in the arc of your journey when that happened? Yeah. So this was 2019 to 2020. And I was full tilt, working with a fabulous partner running a leadership development firm, and working with great clients and doing a lot of great work with teams and individuals. And it was a, it was a, it was a great time, you know, I had made a switch from my corporate career. But now it’s 10 years ago. So at that point, things were humming along really wonderfully. But I always had this notion behind me of this idea of Memento Mori, and I just didn’t have the courage to find a way to bring it up and really build it into my day to day, the time. I had this limiting belief that who wants to hear about this and even though I position it in a way that I think is super riveting, and and I try not to make it intimidating, I scared myself out of it. And also really, it was just because I was chicken I was afraid of rejection and failure if I’m being honest. And and so yeah, at that time, it was the eye opening thing for me of I am now so called by this, that I can’t not do it like it did. I mean, it was a true gripping. And that caused me to shift my direction. And I, I still do some leadership development work for fabulous clients that I have from the past. But my work now is in helping to get up and encourage groups to get on with the business of living. Well, you’re not the only one on this zoom call who’s who can admit to being scared about doing things that maybe are outside what not only outside the comfort zone but kind of like Will anybody care about this the way I care about it or what I’m doing great. Yeah, right. We’re a hey, I see you we see each other right I again, yeah. So you go into this

Mike Malatesta  10:00

What was it about the the education or the coursework or whatever that kind of, I guess narrowed you in on this sort of interesting little death bug niche? Yeah. Yeah. Well, other than it being, I’ve got to tell you a story about it that now just struck me, you know, I, a friend of mine, a former employee turned friend, tennis is her name, she gave me this beautiful gray journal that I inadvertently ended up using as my my space to hold all these special notes and quotes around death, and little musings, and clippings. And I would cut stuff out and put it in, and I would write stuff out. And this was my journal that held my very special stuff. And in the spirit of also being intimidated by the dream you have, because it holds so much potential that holds so much fear. But what if it doesn’t take off? Yeah, I have this great journal that I would keep off to the side. And I would look at it sometimes almost with scorn, because that’s the thing I want to do, but I don’t know how to do it yet. And that created a lot of feelings around it. So I have this really beautiful gray journal. But man, I had a lot of feelings. And for me, the indulgence of studying it created this opening. So not only was the gray journal then fair game and open it was that I was knee deep in 300 Page thesis of all of this, that allowed me to swim in the waters get intoxicated, whatever metaphor works for you. It created a sense of validity. And it got me even more excited, I think is really it. So I look at this as like stoking the fires of passion, really, you know, there are things that we might be interested in, but they do they do scare us, but we need to go and I think like light that flame, see how bright it can burn. And for me, it was research. And there’s this concept that really I latched on to called temporal scarcity. And it is that when we tune in to the scarcity of our lives, the limiting factor of it being roughly 4000, Mondays,

Jodi Wellman  12:05

like anything in life, like any kind of scarcity heuristic, when we know wow, something is limited or rare, it tends to heighten the value or perceived value of a right so same concept with our lives. And when you overlay that together, and I was able to sort of stitch all these different psychological constructs together it it swept me away. So I do think that it was part legit science, it was also part passion. And it made that scary gray journal feel like oh, that’s just going to become my business and then therefore my life because, you know, we happily can work in life meld into one if it’s the right fit. So yeah, it for me, it was it was about probably passion and legitimacy together. And from what I read God, some of this or maybe all of this precipitated or was influenced by your mom. Is that right? You’re right. Yeah. So she she passed away in her late 50s of a heart attack. She had a pacemaker pacemaker put in. And then that only lasted a few weeks. And, and the clincher, I would say, was less about losing her. The clincher as far as the impetus to make a move in this direction for me, was more about my belief that she had a lot of regrets when she died. And she was a real dreamer, but not so much a doer. You know, she had as I was cleaning up her place, drawers and cabinets and notions and ideas of businesses that she wanted to start and she share them with me over the years. And I was always gung ho Yeah, that sounds great. But I knew that it wouldn’t get lift off because she didn’t have true she didn’t have a lot of the resources. She didn’t have a lot of money, but a lot of it was the confidence and the courage. So, you know, I’ve already given you enough cues and clues about my own fear about my grade book and all these things. And so to know that, while I was in this space of mourning, but part cleaning up replace, and realizing, oh my goodness, this is a graveyard of hopes and dreams. I’m sorry, that sounds dramatic. But I saw myself in it. And I saw that I do not want to get to the end prematurely or not. And have what I call it just a book of Crusher to witness. And I think at that time I was in a job that was starting to feel itchy, you know, the feelings of I don’t know if I want to be doing this for long, but I don’t know what to do. So you feel stuck. But for me, it was this. It was a wake up call for me of oh honey bunny, you’re gonna want to get on with it. So that’s what you said. They’re just really interested in me because you said your mom was a dreamer, not a doer. And it feels like one of the things that we do as parents and as a community is we. We encourage people to dream dream big, you know, follow your dream.

Mike Malatesta  15:00

gyms, all of that kind of thing. And yeah, without an activation mechanism inside of us at doing mechanism inside of us. You don’t really, you can dream all you want, but you won’t really achieve your dreams because you need that activation.

Jodi Wellman  15:19

Execution button to do it. And yeah, you you’re flagging for me something that I remember in studying positive psychology blew me away, because we write the encouragement is dream big. And I mean, I’ll probably even be accused of saying that again, after this conversation. I like the notion of it, like, let’s not sell ourselves. Yeah, there are various ways to say it mean it. And yet, this is the thing I found, just mind blowing, that happens to us in the deep within the little portals of our brain. It’s this notion called free fantasy, where we have a dream. And we start to think a little bit about it. And we indulge in those little fun feelings about all this is how it’s gonna go. And this is how it’s going to feel. And what’s happening psychologically, is we are experiencing emotions that feel good in that moment. And it actually feels just good enough for many of us, that that little freeform fantasy that we had in that moment, is adequate enough for us to then sit back and change the channel on the TV, or go back and scroll through social media, or go do nothing. And we don’t take action because it’s, it’s just sort of satisfying enough to give us that a little bit of a feel good. And so in many ways, I don’t want to be the one ever quoting, you know, the power of positive thinking is a dangerous thing. But I will just say it, you know, we need to be very cognizant that sometimes indulging in that amazing feeling of what it’d be like to launch that business or what that, wow, that new program is going to do. Or all the things that we longed to do if we’re not stopping, and then also imagining, quite frankly, the pitfalls and obstacles that might show up. And then what would the first step be? And then what would the second step be? And then what would the second step be if the second step didn’t work? We need to do that just as much as we do the dream? And so I do. I do we issue that sort of cautionary warning of we can trick ourselves into dreaming, and then not doing maybe for the rest of our lives? And that sounds like a shame. Yeah. And you frame that up really well, because as you were saying it, it reminded me of the secret. You know, there if you put thoughts out into the universe and just wait, they’ll, you know, I’m I’m I’m simplifying the process and probably don’t have 100%, right. But that whole notion of, you know, if you think good thoughts, and you think, put your dreams and aspirations out into the world, I’m not even sure how you do that. But then you can just, they’ll come and find you. And that hasn’t been my experience. They don’t come and find me. They, they, they are searched out by me. I searched them out. Because I know what I have some idea about what I want, and you go searching for that. I said, yeah, yeah, there’s more intention behind it. And I think that part of what it looks like is taking this step to actually have a wish. And there’s even a construct in psychology where some people are not even daring enough to get to the point where they have a wish and a want and a dream or a goal, however you want to put it. And let’s presume, though, that we got we got there, you know, hey, here’s the thing I want. It sounds like you are far more action oriented. And I think that’s the difference between those of us that

Mike Malatesta  18:29

that will let some things languish, right is I’m going to do it, I’m gonna do it. Even if I am afraid to do it anyway. We wait for confidence to show up. And that ain’t never come in. Like we got to do the thing. And then maybe competence gets built from that rather than waiting for it to show up on a platter. Yeah, you’ve this my one of my mentors, Dan Sullivan, says that you have to have courage before you have any chance of confidence. Because courage gets you started on something you don’t have any confidence about. And then ultimately, if you’re successful, having had the courage will create the capability that then brings confidence comes way later down the road. It doesn’t. Because if you wait for the confidence, it ain’t coming. Right? Without we’re not gonna press the go button on anything. Right. So the way you ended your TED talk was with this sense that this question, how can death bring you back to life? And again, I’m reminding everyone to watch. Jodi’s TED talk, but what does that mean? Because I, you ended with that, and I thought to myself, How can death bring you back to life? Yeah. So how how, how do you see that? And what do you what do you want us to do with that sentence? Yeah, thanks for asking. I can get very specific so this is it.

Jodi Wellman  19:47

If we take the way most of us can identify, you know, whether we’re busy, successful professionals, or we’re just living life and life takes over, we can end up in kind of what I think of as this sort of slumbering existence right? And it could be that we are in the zombie zone where we’re just kind of going through the motions and time’s passing us by. Or it could be that maybe we are plugged in a lot of days. But we do have ideas of things we want to do. Maybe it’s on a proverbial bucket list. And we think, Well, I’m gonna get to do that later. Well, the premise here, my belief, the whole foundation of 4000, Mondays is if we keep going through these motions, and taking our time and lives for granted, we could all of a sudden get to the end, and experience that phenomenon that a lot of people feel, which is that sense of life left on lift. And that’s the part that grips me, right. That’s the part that I feel like, that’s the potentially dying with regrets in the hopper of things that you wanted to do, but didn’t because you just didn’t take it seriously. This ticking time bomb of the lives we’re living, right dramatic. Whereas the idea of death can bring us back to life, literally in this in a few ways. So one is the one you’ve already hinted on, which is counting our Mondays. And yes, there’s a calculator on my website if you don’t like math, but having that sense of temporal scarcity of saying, oh, right, these this number, of course, is diminishing. And here’s the number, how am I going to fit in all these things that long to do, I’m just gonna get on with it, I’m going to book that trip to Prague, or I am going to register for that online program I’ve been thinking about or whatever the thing might be for you. So that sense of urgency that comes from the dwindling timeframe can be emotive in front of us. Another way to do it is this idea of tapping into our regrets, and I affectionately call them pre regrets because these are regrets in the making, that are based in this idea about stuff that maybe we didn’t do. And in the research around regrets the regrets of omission and regrets of omission kind of like sins. And we can tend to rationalize the regrets of comission. Like you did a dumb thing. You know, yeah. bullied, so and so on the school yard or you got fired from that job, or you did XYZ, we’re not talking about your things you did wrong. That’s water under the bridge. We’re talking about the regrets of omission, meaning the paths not taken. And the deathbed regrets exercise. We’ve all heard of it. We’ve all kind of toyed with it but I want us to get serious with it and say, if I was to go tonight, what would be the list of things, tiny things, seemingly insignificant things, big things, all the things in between, that I might be kicking myself and think, man, I just didn’t get around to it. Because I kind of just thought I had forever or I knew I was gonna gonna die at some point. But I just didn’t take it seriously. And so and I can I get nosy for a minute and just see Is there anything that would be on your list? Even if it’s seemingly trivial?

Mike Malatesta  22:51

Regrets or, or like something that you would think if you were to go tonight, which you were not that oh, man, I just wished I never got around to doing that thing I kind of wanted to do. Yes. There. So there would be a lot of things on that list. I’m not I don’t know. And I wanted to ask you this after I’m not I don’t know if I would frame them as regret regrets. But there are certainly there are relationships that I would like to improve between now and whenever that time. 13 106, Mondays from now,

Jodi Wellman  23:23

there are relationships that there are, there are achievements that I would like to see myself. And people around me achieve to get make real before then. So yeah, I mean, if I start thinking about this, there’ll be a ton of stuff. Right? Well, that’s the exercise and thank you for your your real time processing is helpful. Because once we kind of get started and you are right, they’re not regrets now, because this is the beauty of it is that you’re you’re fully functioning and living and the exercises, if you were five minutes away from expiring, then it would be regret, right? Because you’d be like, I didn’t do it. You know, I didn’t save her the time I had and mend that relationship or improve that relationship or achieve that thing. That goal I set for myself, I could have done it but I just I just let time sort of float by and I floated down the lazy river river of life in a way which I’m not calling you lazy river floater. But this is what we do. And so the exercise is designed to sit and go lazy river float or lazy river or you.

Mike Malatesta  24:26

You called me normal before.

Jodi Wellman  24:29

You’re really cutting me deep now lazy river floater. Wow. No, I think regrets in the making that you’ve identified. It makes you exceedingly normal still. And this is our chance. This is the part that I get so giddy about is Oh, but good. You know, because now of course in the exercise, like well, we’re not on our deathbeds. And so we actually have a chance today to get going on those things that we would have kicked ourselves for if have we not so it offers up a chance to take some action in otherwise I’ll do IT leader mentality. And that’s powerful. One more way to answer your question about how death can bring us back to life. So we’ve got the counter Mondays, we’ve got the Identify your progress. Another one is around how people who have come close to death, like some people call them deaf gazers, or they’ve had a brush, you know, they’ve had a, maybe a diagnosis that was super crappy health wise, or, you know, we all know people who’ve come close, and like a motorcycle accident or something. Sure, they are so typically starkly aware of the sanctity of the life that they almost lost. So they, I mean, I’m gonna be super, in some ways I’m envious. I study this stuff for a living, I talk about this stuff for a living. And unless you’re there on the precipice, it’s just not as visceral. But what I’m clamoring for every darn day is to get just a fraction of that insight that they’ve experienced those very lucky people, because they’re lucky, they’ve had the experience, but they’re also lucky that they didn’t fall over the edge into death. And that, because they typically have this newfound reorganization of the priorities in their life, they shed all those other notions of things typically, that, you know, they once sort of felt were, culturally, you know, asserted norms, like you’re supposed to do this. And guess what, they don’t care as much anymore. They don’t sweat the small stuff. They’re laser focused on more of the stuff that how they want to spend their time. That’s what I want us all to have. And so that’s the goal isn’t and it’s it, it’s a bit of a stretch to do the thought exercise, but it’s can be helpful for some people is to think about something that you want to do or in the midst of something that’s troubling for you. And to imagine, you know, hey, if I just got released from the hospital this morning, from a coma, that I was in for three weeks, and I almost died, and I made it, would this problem actually be a problem right now? Or if I am home from the hospital? And yeah, my neck is kind of kinked. But it’ll get better? Do I want to book that ticket to Prague? Because now I see how precious this time is? I think the answer is yes. And that’s the spirit of what I want us to grab. So you’ve mentioned psychology a number of times, and now you’ve got me thinking. So the examples you just gave about someone who’s sort of has a near death experience, and all of a sudden realizes how valuable life is right realizes how valuable their relationships are?

Mike Malatesta  27:28

So here’s the psychology I want you to break down. Why does it take something like that? And, and that’s one part. The other part is for the people who haven’t done that, or haven’t had that epiphany or whatever you want to call it? Why are we so afraid? Generally speaking, of thinking about something like when you’re going to die in the time between now and then, and in all kinds of ways you don’t plan for it, you know, you like wills and estates and stuff, people just put it off their health they put off because they they I feel good today, I feel that we’re just we’re just always, it seems to me, we’re always kind of putting stuff off and getting people to focus on this. The third part of the question, I’m sorry, for such a long question. But getting people do focus on the number of Mondays that they have left. feels to me like it could be overwhelming for people who fall into the camp of the other two things that I that I, that I put in front of that. So what can you make of that? Hmm, yes. Great points. keep me on track. I’ll start with the first one. And then maybe you might need a reminder. But I think I’m going to try to get it. Yeah, that’s okay. I could forget to so we were just talking about, like, go somewhere else if I totally.

Jodi Wellman  28:46

Okay, no, I think I’ve got it is tenuous. But I’ve got this. So the first one about like, why is it that we essentially do end up kind of taking things for granted. There’s a, there’s a fascinating and important adaptation we make in our lives. And we we deal with just a ton of pieces of information every day. And it’s overload and we need to simplify things. And so admittedly, it’s actually quite helpful, that we are not always super mindful of everything at every moment, or we will go berserk. And there’s this phenomenon called the hedonic treadmill, or what’s called hedonic adaptation, you know, and it’s that idea that we will naturally just get used to all the good things that we do seek out and create for ourselves all the goals that say, for example, would be on your prereq list, than you said achievements you want for yourself and for others, and so on. And let’s say you reach some of those achievements, and it feels really good and then and then it’s going to wane because that’s what it does. And so we end up adjusting Now, the good news is we also adjust to the crappy stuff in life, but we adjust to the good and then we end up with a little bit of a blending. You know, it’s a little bit of a leveling of smoothing over in accounting. sort of like, we just kind of end up with more of a beige kind of potential existence unless we’re actively trying to create something new to achieve, create a way to widen our lives with more fun and vitality or create a way to deepen our lives with more meaning. And so the tendency is just very natural for us to adapt to any of the really fabulous things that are going on around us. So we come by that honestly. And then I guess part two is you were asking about our tendency to want to push it off. Like we don’t want to think about death, like our denial. Yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah. We also come by that honestly, it is one of the well, it is the greatest fear even more so than public speaking, although some would beg to differ, some would rather die than public speak, but we’re not generally interested in and it’s a Western phenomenon more than most, right? So we’ve made death hidden from the, you know, day to day experience, we don’t want to talk about it, although we will be willing to write about it in the news. And it’s in most of the movies we watch. So we’re voyeuristic about it, but we’re very uncomfortable. And so that’s why when many of us, you know, it’s become socially awkward to talk, for example, to your kids about your will or to your spouse about it, or to your parents about what did they want for their dying wishes. And so we’re just it’s seen as uncouth. And because we don’t talk about it, it makes actually the problem worse, where we just want to plug our ears and not think or talk about it and, and that there’s a cost that we pay for that we pay dearly. A lot of psychologists will say that by not thinking and talking about it, not just because that means that what are our wishes at the end, I’m to be honest, less concerned about that than I am in the idea that we postpone our existence. Because we are unwilling to think and talk and even, you know, go on with it, we go on with the conversation, I mean, our life, we will then defer the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves. So you see this with people, you know, I’m sure I see this all the time with people I work with the idea that I’m going to get around to doing XYZ later, or when I retire, I’m going to do all these things. Where that bucket list, it’s brimming ly full of good intentions. Well, just like the frickin road to hell is paved with good intentions. I always say like the road to the grave is paved with a bucket list that is so full, because we all thought we could do it later. Because we’re not thinking and talking about death, because it’s just awkward to do so sure. And we’ve just adapted and we are not snapping to attention and counting our Mondays. And so this is this is this is the game here. You know, it’s these little cold, hard facts and reality of just being alive is that we’re not going to be alive necessarily for that long or forever. And so let’s just take it a little, let’s just use that to our advantage, use that uncomfortable feeling to our advantage to say I don’t need to dwell in it, I don’t need to get morbid and go all into detail. And I mean, for some exercises, of course, I get people to write obituaries and whatever, but you don’t need to languish in the light in the land of the Grim Reaper for long, but just use enough of a dose of it to say, Okay, I’m going to get on with that thing. I’m going to call my sister or I’m going to book that trip or fine, I’m gonna go register for that piano class. Or, or or, and there are a million fill in the blanks.

Mike Malatesta  33:27

That struck me when you use the term voyeuristic about other people’s death, because, you know, there’s a whole section in the newspapers and online, as you know, of obituaries, and people make a practice, especially I think the older you get, you start making a practice of reading obituaries of other people, right? Because you’re like, I don’t know exactly why, but there’s actually a psychology notion around it. Now, what is it? Well, some of us it’s called practicing death is one of the ways that it can be looked at. But it’s this little notion of like, just hinting with it, trying it on for size kind of being like, like, you know, when you’re like kicking the kicking the tires of a car, you might be like, you know, it’s just a little If so, it’s like, these are the little ventures in that we’re willing to look at. Yeah. It seems to me, what you’re talking about makes perfect sense. Because, at least in my life, I found and you tell me if this is true for you, but whatever


I pay attention to or have intention about almost always improves. It’s just like the nature of the way things go, if you pay attention to something or if you have an intention about something, it gets closer to what you want it to be it improves, it gets closer to what you want it to be. How do you does that resonate with you? Or what you just described is one of the summaries in all honesty of the science of positive psychology, which is the scientific study of well being and what makes life worth living. And there is an old adage I think it’s William James was the philosopher and I’m gonna bastardize the quote, but you basically said it’s like, what

Mike Malatesta  35:00

You pay attention to is what flourishes. So that’s why, you know, if you’re going to have a thought in your head, might as well make it more of an optimistic one than a pessimistic one, right now, some might say, well, whoa, pot calling the kettle black over there, you’re talking about death. But wait, it’s in service of, right, it’s in service of living wide and living deep. Because we may not to give, let’s live long. And even if we do live long, we still want it to be wide and deep. And we still want to, you know, suck the marrow out of the bone, so to speak. So, yeah, I agree with you about what we choose to pay attention to. And that this, I mean, I’m sold that it can work to our advantage I, I get to see it and experience it firsthand, I need to do it for myself daily. I’m glad you’re talking about it. And in a you know, fun ish way, you know, with how many Mondays you have left when I I joined a program back in 1990, or I’m sorry, 2003 or four. And it was an entrepreneurial coaching program. And one of the first exercises we did is was called the lifetime extender. And they basically asked you what year you thought, or what age you thought you were going to die at? And that’s a weird question to ask somebody right? That you’ve never met before? Like what age do you think you’re gonna die and and you write down an age and they talk you through the basically coach you up a little bit and they say, Look, if the day before you thought you were going to die, you were healthy, happy, had lots of friends had the money, you needed to do what you needed to, you know, wanted to do, but you know, do the PROG thing, whatever. If you were all those things the day before you you thought you were going to die, how much longer would you live, and so you come back and with a higher number. I mean, it was it’s kind of a trick, and it’s kind of it’s kind of an easy trick, but it makes so much sense. It’s sort of like, like that’s about that’s about the, the way you think you are going to feel when you are at a certain age when you think you’re going to die. And that’s all based off of you know, what you’ve seen already in your life, like, yeah, your parents, for your mom or whatever. And, and because I think if you think about the Mondays, in a similar fashion you have on your thing, you know what, you have middle, low, middle, high, I think on the thing as far as your health, how you’re feeling that, or how you take care of yourself or whatever. And it makes a big difference, I think you can actually take the number of Mondays you have left or think you have left and then put yourself in that very same question and be like, Oh, I got it. I got 10 years on Mondays, right, you know, left, that’s another 520 Mondays or whatever, then the math is, right? Yes, oh, I love that I get you know, like it kind of nerdy with numbers. And there’s a thing that actually things on my website, you can download for free. It’s like 43 ways to live longer. And some of its goofy science, but most of its legit. And they’re just really neat studies about, for example, you know, having a purpose in life, you’re, you know, two and a half times likely or not to die in a 10 year period. And that’s not a quantifiable number of years. But there are many little silly examples I give around. If you do XYZ, and a lot of it has to do with, obviously, it’s health, nutrition, but a lot of it is mindset, different activities, it all kind of comes back in one way or another around the well being in the good life, positive psychology, the way you can extend your life is potentially dramatic, you know? And the presumption is that if we’re extending it by doing these good things that are good for us that it’s also that they were enjoyable years because no right. I don’t know if anybody’s really interested in living longer if we’re miserable or unhealthy. So it’s exciting. There’s huge potential. Yeah. And I think you’re right, that’s, that’s when you ask them that question how many Mondays whatever they think about the worst, like, Oh, my, you know, my aunt is 85. But man, she’s in a home and she’s in a wheelchair and she can’t get around. I don’t want to live like that. Right? So you go, I don’t want to live. I don’t want to live to 85. Because that’s what 85 is, for example, you talk yourself into. Right? Great, amazing what you can talk yourself into, or Yes, yes. Oh, yeah, I well. There’s also this notion that I am in knee deep research with right now that I am delighted by it. It’s the idea about, again, back to these choices and trade offs. So this idea of think about the life that you are living and you have you have options. So would you rather live for example, a six out of 10 life but get to 90? Or would you rather an eight out of 10 kind of life but only live to 70? What would you rather? Well, it’s um, I’m gonna ask you a clarifying question, because I don’t know what six and eight actually mean? That so I’m just going to presume that six means I can’t do everything that I want to do. And eight means that I can Yeah, reasonably satisfaction, your degree to which you’re satisfied with your life. Yeah, so I’m so and I’m also going to assume that six means boring and eight means excited. And so for those for those reason, I sound like a game show. For those reasons. I’m going to choose 70 and eight. Gotcha. Yeah, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong and there’s obviously

Jodi Wellman  40:00

like a whole, I have a whole chart with all the ages because you could it goes as high as attended attend life that you’re like, my life is amazing, it could not get better, but you die at 50. That’s one of the options. And then of course, it goes all the way down all the way to, to, you know, living in a very different way. So, research shows that most people value a happy ending. We like we like happy endings. And so the idea I mean, it’s easier to say when it’s far out, right? Sure, I’d sure I’ll die early. If I’m happier in the moment, as you get closer to that later age, you might think differently. But anyway, I’m doing more research around it. I’ll let you know how it goes. Okay. Well, I think the other thing too, that would be kind of interesting there is whether you know you’re going to die or not. If it just happens, and you don’t know it, you can’t really experience a pre grad or anything else. So if you were at 870, and you just got hit by a bus or something. Yeah, that’s, that’s a pretty good life. Yeah, yeah. But if it were me looking back, if I had something to say, I’d say yeah, that’s pretty good. That’s, that’s, that’s pretty good.


So I kind of want to get into the change from corporate to coaching, the initial change from corporate to coaching, because just briefly, because I want to know how you were feeling. You mentioned it a little bit, but I’d like to get a little more granular on God, because so many people that are listening are probably may very well be in that have been doing this for a long time. Yeah, it’s been good to me. Yeah. There’s a you know, they’re in a gravitational force. That’s keeping them where they are, yet they aspire. And maybe it’s just like the Aspire before Netflix goes on. But they aspire to do some other thing that’s going to light them up more, and they just don’t get there. Yep. I am familiar personally, and then familiar from countless clients in a similar situation. And so I I have a lot of strong thoughts and feelings on this. And I want to acknowledge the feelings that are of stuckness. Right. So there is you use the word comfort zone earlier. And I think it’s really appropriate because there is a comfort associated with, let’s say, it’s the, you know, the nuts and bolts, right? I like the money or at least it’s a reliable paycheck. I like the fact that maybe, you know, we’re talking about maybe moving into doing your own thing and may or may not mean the end of benefits. I like my title, this is my ego associated with this. Now, it’s my identity that this is what I’ve been known for. There’s the pride of, I have mastery over this thing that I’ve become pretty darn good at if I do say so myself all these years. And, and then there’s the fear of the unknown. The fear of failure, rejection, and emotional upheaval, which many of us we don’t want to make changes, because we’re just not sure how we’re going to handle it. Yeah, too. There’s, like I could you could, you know, like, Man, if I tried this, I could suck. Yeah. And I’m, and I’m actually going to suck until I get good.

Jodi Wellman  43:15

Yeah. Anyway, so that’s part of the game. Yeah. Right. That is an absolute part of the sign up. And that’s where there’s got to be a belief that after trudging through that, that that does is one of the very things that makes you stronger and feeling more fulfilled and happier. So despite all the reasons why we will talk ourselves into staying in a situation that’s okay. Those to me are the red flags, by the way. So I see it now clearly, I see it and others that I work with where it’s the any semblance of that, well, it’s okay, or the settling or the tolerating, or the justifying why the real thing you want to do just isn’t right, I’ll just do this for all of that, to me is antenna up. Want to reach through zoom and grab you by the throat and shake you? Well, probably shoulders, I don’t want to choke you. I still want you to live properly. I want the belief and the confidence that there is life on the other side. There is so much more range and joy. And yeah, not without some upheaval and hardship. So for example, with me 10 years ago, making a change. I did leave very secure income to start my own business that I knew, thankfully, expectations were managed for me in advance that the first two years were going to be a build. And not everybody has the ability to do that I recognize but these are the trade offs we make. Right I spoke earlier today with a woman who just left her long term secure corporate situation Just start something as well. And these are part of what makes us stronger is because we are able to trudge through and get figured out, learn the lessons do figure out what works, what doesn’t. And one of the things, I noticed this, regardless of whether we win, or lose, or fail, or how long we fail until we win, or however the story plays out, what is undeniable and valuable, is the pride and that sense of satisfaction that comes from I gave it a go. And that is worth more than almost anything I do believe. And I say this not from my own sake, but from the people I know, clients, and so on and so on where it’s okay. You know, when I stood up for myself, I gave I gave my life a fighting chance, for joy, and for meaning. And I set an example for my kids even like, here’s the thing that a lot of people that have families are making a choice that might be short sighted, right, I want to I need to stay secure for my kids. Yes. And what about demonstrating for your kids that it’s worth it? To put in a lot of, you know, blood, sweat, and tears to go and maybe take a risk, but it’s an educated risk, you’re not just necessarily jumping out to join some multilevel marketing campaign or something? Not that there’s anything wrong with that? I don’t know. But you’re taking a risk. And that is that worth it for the shot. That’s something that has maybe more upside any and even if it doesn’t have more upside, that gives you more well being that is not worth it. Right. I recently did a podcast with a guy named Brad said Becky and I had had Brad on the, on the podcast before and he was running a, like a managed it type. Business was big, it was successful, it was got all the press for best places to work, all that stuff, he left that and started his own business. And it didn’t go well.

Mike Malatesta  46:58

And he was when we talked, he was in the process of winding it down. And it was interesting that that he wanted to talk to me about this part of it because it was just like what we were talking about, you know, you’re you’re, you’re very successful, your your mastery, like you said, and, and the other things that come with it, the pay the benefits, all that stuff. And, and, and he just felt like he had to take the risk. And he was talking about you know how much he was concerned about his kids, seeing him work through this, you know, and ultimately succeed, which he didn’t succeed the way that he imagined it would be. But as we were having the conversation, he was like, you know, what I, I did succeed, because they saw this part of me, they saw the chance they saw the struggle, they saw the the, you know, the getting back on your feet, you know, they saw all these things, anything. And he said, You know, I think that’ll really benefit them as they move forward, you know, and make the choices in their life. So it was really it was really, a lot of people aren’t willing to have that kind of conversation. So I was very happy that he was willing to have that. Yeah, yeah, you went there too. Because think about your listeners that now it’s when we normalize and celebrate that not everything is a slam dunk. We only really hear about the success stories. And that’s just a bunch of baloney. We know. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And we also hear about success stories as if they started and the next year, it was like, Oh, my God, I just crushed it. Yeah, not often, not not often. So God, the 4000. Mondays, how do you when you work with someone? How do you get them? How do you start with them? And how do you get them focused on, you know, not squandering any Mondays any longer? How do you get them on that track?

Jodi Wellman  48:53

Yeah, most of the work I do now I get to do in groups or teams. So it’s in other workshops or retreats, groups with people is a fun thing that happens. So whether you know, there are there are a few exercises that I’ve found interesting is that a couple things, one is based on the notion of I think diagnosing the dead zones is a very important first start. And it’s that old notion about you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So I think everybody does need to start and identify and I have assessment that helps people to figure this out. Like, we’re have things flatlined in my life, because sometimes we lump everything together, right? We conflate like, my life is a seven or my life as a 5.3 or whatever, but we’ll keep it What if we did just get a little more granular and said, Wait a minute. It’s actually my love life that’s lacking or it’s my friendships or what’s my hobbies? I don’t have any anymore. Really diagnosing where in life? Are you feeling like things are lacking? Because now we’ve got a little bit of a fighting chance to figure some stuff out. So I think the diagnosing is key. The next thing which is It’s amusing and it’s also sad is that as adults, we’ve often lost touch with the things that make us feel really alive and the things that make us just quite simply happy. So I asked a lot of people in groups or whether it was one on one, make a list of 30 things that you really enjoy doing. And it can’t so they can’t all be things like, Oh, I love going on cruises in the Mediterranean, okay, no, but like, don’t we all but like, pick something that’s kind of doable in your life, like within the next month or so. And sometimes we lose sight of sometimes it’s the simple things as I really need to manage the message of what I profess, because in this whole thing about essentially it’s Carpe Diem, right? Seize the day before we all croak. But that doesn’t mean live large and massive, and like, like, Whoa, I mean, we got mortgages to pay, and we’ve got to like, you know, breathe. And some of us are introverts, like, what if we just like, Hold on hold on a minute, what does it mean to live fully before we die, it’s relative for each person. And so for many people that exercise, and I encourage this for everybody, sit down and write out 30 things that do make you happy, most of which do have to be accessible to you don’t be afraid of the mundane. You know, it’s little things like one woman’s like, I just love tending to my tomatoes, on my break between zoom meetings at work, it just brings me so much joy, right? Or, you know, I just some people love one gentleman’s like, I love meeting the bread for my Friday Night Dinner that I make. And so do more of it, right? But we need a bit of a list of options so that we can then stop and say we’ll do more of those things in your life or when was the last time you did that thing that you love. A lot of us have dormant interests or hobbies or passions that we think oh, man, like, I used to love the trombone. And well, when was the last time you played? Oh, well, you know, it’s been years. That’s it? I mean, that’s like low hanging fruit, right? Yeah. So getting back in tune with the things that Once lit you up, or that you know, you do enjoy or you know, you would enjoy and starting to zero in on well, when might those things fit into your very busy life? I’m not naive, like I go, I know, we don’t we don’t count our Mondays, and then all of a sudden, the clouds part and we’ve got all this time in the world to go live the life of your dreams will I know that tires will still need changing, and you’re going to need to you know, do the laundry and but what about fitting in? Some of the things that might give you more joy in between those things? What about just and saying, Have you planned your time off for the next year? So you have something to look forward to? When’s your next vacation and winter vacation after that? Even if it’s a staycation? I don’t care about your budget. But what are you doing? Where are you are, you know, so a lot of it is about diagnosing where things are flat, and then zeroing in on those areas and refilling that bucket with things that are happiness and joy and meaning inducing to fill some of that void.

Mike Malatesta  52:57

I as you were talking about making a list, I was thinking to myself, as I’m making that list. I’m also thinking about the things that I don’t that are on my list now that I may not want on my list. Yeah. What’s an example? Or even conceptually, well, yeah, like a lot of people, I think, it seems like the reason that they don’t focus on every Monday on maximizing every Monday, let’s say is because they’re so tied up in the things they say they air quotes have to do. And it seems to me like, certainly there are things in everyone’s life that you have to do. Yeah, but there are a lot of things that we have a tendency to accept as have twos. Yeah, that really aren’t half twos, their choices. Yeah. But if you accept them as half twos, and then they become part of

Jodi Wellman  53:48

who you are the things that get in the way of you doing the things you want to do. Then it’s just like an excuse. Generator? It is. Yes. You just made me think about, you know, the Franklin Covey quadrants for time management. There’s the four quadrants and one is like a matter of some things have matter of importance. Yeah, important, not urgent. Yeah. And we all strive to be in that q2, which is, it is important, but not urgent. And it’s all the stuff that we should be doing, like prioritizing and strategizing, and really getting deep and relationships and the things that matter. But it all gets left aside because we got to go and attend the 330 Zoom meeting, and we got to go listen to someone else’s emergency and oh, yeah, we have to go check Facebook and stupid stuff, right? Yeah, but life, the best part of life that I call the astonishingly alive zone, does require a little bit of TLC. It does require us to get intentional with it. And that’s that is the very thing that we will miss if we don’t stop and say what do I want to do? And when will I do it? And yeah, it you simply need to just put a little stand little stake in the ground.

Mike Malatesta  55:00

round in your calendar and say, Okay, fine. This Saturday, we’re going to Joshua Tree to do that hike that we’ve been talking about for six months, and we’re gonna do it and you know what you do? You go and do it. And then you do the laundry after. Yeah, that you would have done had you not gone because the time would have filled Do you know this, but you need to plan for it in a very intentional way, I think is what, what it comes down to Yeah, you need to get you need to give yourself permission to be selfish about the things that that lights you up. And yes, if you can be a little selfish about those things. You can start to whittle away all the things that are, you know, getting in the way of you actually living the life you want to live 100% Do you want to get to the end and feel really proud that you did a whole lot of laundry on time? Or do you want to get to the end and feel like you fit in some things that actually made your list that you knew were going to give you a shot at more joy? I think we all know what we would choose unless laundry gives you joy, which some people and some people it does and they should be doing more of it. Exactly. Do you mind? Yes. Well, God, this has been such a fun conversation. I thank you so much for coming on. I do want to ask you, before we go, is there anything that I didn’t ask you should have asked you that you want to leave with with the audience before we go? Oh, your thanks for asking that your questions are so good and thorough that I believe we covered a lot of ground it would probably just be me putting in a last minute plug to befriend the Grim Reaper because he is the very thing we want nothing to do with that holds the most potential to live these astonishing lives before we do in fact, buy the biscuit. That’s a great way to end. Thank you, God and for everyone listening, take this to heart, take the Monday’s to heart, take the 4000 Mondays or the 1300 Monday’s of 1800 Mondays or however many Mondays you have left. Take this to heart. And like I always leave you with maximize the greatness in you today and every day. And I want you to Well, I want you to create a future. A future that is your property and something that you are very, very proud to own. Hey, everybody, thanks for listening to this show. And before you go, I just have three requests for you one if you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review, write something nice about me Give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two, I’ve got a book it’s called owner shift how getting selfish got me unstuck. It’s an Amazon bestseller, and I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes and Noble Amazon, you can get it everywhere if you’re looking for inspiration that will help you unlock your greatness and potential order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy. And if you get it please let me know what you think. Number three, my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday. And I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and the podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. You can sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name Mike You do that right now put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you

Alexi Cortopassi

Alexi Cortopassi

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