Advice Column

How Do you Plan Your Life?

May 02, 2021 Lisa Liguori Season 1 Episode 2
Advice Column
How Do you Plan Your Life?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Hi Friend! Living the life you want will be deeply rewarding. But how do you tackle such a big question as "What kind of life do I want?"
If you're struggling with this question, you are not alone!

In this episode you'll hear from people who have wrestled with how to design various aspects of their lives. You'll learn how they chose a life-partner, designed their career, and prioritized relationships.

Their experiences will give you different ideas and perspectives you can use as you reflect on what gives your life meaning.

We're so glad you've joined the Advice Column community! To make these episodes valuable for you, we'd love your feedback. Please email us at to tell us what you liked and how we can improve.

Until then,
Lots of love,
Meet This Episode's Panelists

Andrew Zenoff
Creates and launches products, companies and brands which impact lives in a meaningful way.

June Cutter
An accomplished attorney, business owner, and mother of two.

Kevin Wexler
CEO at Reliant Parking, father, and nonprofit volunteer.

Bill Hanna
Engineer, family man, investor, and avid tennis player.

Accomplished professional, loving mother and grandmother, and believer in positivity.

Roddy Carter
Physician,  biotechnologist and developer of a system for Personal Mastery™.

Jim Matteo
Founder & CEO of Bird Rock Systems and avid supporter of budding entrepreneurs.

Rachel Cross
Accomplished marketer, career strategist, writer, speaker, and founder of a boutique marketing consulting firm.

Advice Column Podcast:

Andrew Zenoff  0:00  
I was curious,

Robin  0:02  
I had a little bit of anxiety around

Roddy Carter  0:04  
it. It was mainly the excitement. There was all these

Rachel Cross  0:07  
kind of imposter syndrome thoughts.

Lisa Liguori  0:17  
Welcome to advice column where we share with one another in order to combat isolation and accelerate our learning. I'm Lisa, and in this episode, you'll get ideas for designing your life. I'm interested in this topic because I'm at a crossroads in my life. A couple of months ago, my dad passed away. And it's a really seismic shift, not just because of how special My dad is to me, but because he was also my business partner. And for the eight months that he was sick, I was spending all of my time with him. And that was a very clear and easy priority. So there's a vacuum now in my life, where I'm not just missing his physical presence, but I suddenly don't have that clarity of purpose. And I have a chance also to rethink where I want to spend my time. Now, I'm not quite sure where to begin. But whatever I decided to do, I want to make sure that I'm really intentional about it. So I asked this episode's panelist to share their experiences with designing different aspects of their lives. Let's dive right in. Hi, I'm

Andrew Zenoff  1:28  
Andrew Zen off. I'm a dad of four. And I have always been somebody who was going 190 miles an hour, building different companies, being married, having kids doing sports and everything that I've ever done in my life, I'm usually all in fifth gear. But all of a sudden, I started having absolutely zero ability to think clearly. And my physical strength was also reduced by like 95%. So imagine having the worst hangover and the flu at the same time, but without the fever. So everything was just a massive slog. I was curious, I know that might sound a little bit trite, because it's such an extreme difference. But I was trying to figure out first of all, what was going on with my diagnosis was ultimately that I have chronic fatigue syndrome. I was like, Okay, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to live like this? You know, with all the pursuits on my plate, what am I going to do? From the moment that this started happening to me, and then I started realizing, oh, wow, you've got an illness, I decided to create a framework that whatever's happening, I wanted to be fully present for it, and see if I could drink the nectar from it. And what that means is, what can I learn from this? How can I have it be a positive? My great mentor always said, it's a gift, but it's not gift wrapped. So let me see if I can find the deliciousness of the gift. I'm going to approach this as a new opportunity for me to learn and grow, and perhaps heal some things that need healing. You can't change it in the moment. Oh, God, I don't want this. No, I want my energy back. I can't work. If I went into that mode, I'd be just suffering and resisting what is. But because I embraced it and said, No, this is what is, I can tell you that I haven't suffered for one minute. I have to be willing to meet this, if it's happening that it's meant to be happening is my belief. And by not resisting any of it, but actually meeting it, and starting to reshape my entire life around it. I've reprioritized everything. I looked at each part of my life and felt into what parts of my life feel like they're draining my energy, and what parts of my life feel like they're supportive to my energy. And so that really became the sifter in which I ran everything through family, athletics, business, travel, reading, or whatever the activities were that made up my life. If I could figure out which one was the number one most important to me, and slowly prioritize what are the most important priorities for me. And then I said, given my capacity and given my financial needs, which ones are actually sustainable, given the illness, I couldn't do all 10. That process allowed me to arrive at the top three, which worked within my capacity. I think getting a clear idea of the prioritization in order really helped me redefine and re clarify what my life is going to be about now at this chapter. And the three things that really stood out or being with my wife and kids and showing up for them the best that I could with what I've got Number two was my own healing. And then the third part was my business career, how can I simplify it in a way that allows me to continue to support my family, but do it in a way that will be supported to my healing, and I've slowed down my entire life. With that does, it allows me to actually be really, really present for everything that I'm doing. Even though it's shorter moments of ability, I'm really present, whatever I'm doing, because that's all I have to work with each day. I'm doing less, but I'm getting more. And my capacity is improving gradually, as a result of me meeting this where it is.

June Cutter  5:47  
My name is June cutter. And my husband always says he's never met a lawyer who's just happy being a lawyer, I think most of us are stuck in the daily grind. And we don't really act on what that next thing is, and what would make us happy professionally. When I was in fifth grade, I would get in trouble for not paying attention during class because I was organizing my pencil box. And looking back on that I've been an organizer. Since I was 10 years old. I always considered it to be something that I liked to doing and that interested me. But I never really thought that it was something that I could turn into a profession or a business. And I had a moment where I decided that it was now or never, and I was going to take the risk. Working in a law office was my safe space. But I decided that I had to do something to dip my toe outside of that safe space. If I really wanted to accomplish something outside of litigation. It was a happy feeling a positive feeling for me to make the jump. When I started the organizing business, my goal was Can I make a livelihood out of a passion. So I designed my own logo, I started my own website, and I created a portfolio for myself. And as soon as I did that the following built up on Instagram and word of mouth spread throughout our neighborhood. A lot of times we want things to be perfect, and we let perfect be the enemy of the good. And if we're always waiting for perfect things that are good will pass us by. I think there would have been a big What if hanging over my head. If I had stayed just stagnant Lee practicing law, there would have always been that question. I wonder what it would have been like to do X, Y and Z. And I'm really thankful for the fact that I made those leaps. So I don't look back in my life and wonder what is

Kevin Wexler  7:57  
there. My name is Kevin Wexler, live in San Diego, I've been married for about 24 years got two kids, I love watching movies. I consider myself a fast food foodie, and love to travel. The one decision I didn't make on gut was was that I was so afraid of getting into a relationship that I felt was a lifetime commitment with the wrong person that I worked really hard on clarity. I grew up Jewish. And I always loved being a part of that culture, I felt that I had an identity around being Jewish. So when I started dating people that weren't Jewish, what happened was I started being a part of a culture that I was never a part of. And it was an uncomfortable feeling. I would close my eyes and think about my life in five years or in 10 years. And I would think about being married and raising kids, what is life like in a mixed home versus one where you are bringing up your family with the same culture. And so I was able to check that off and say, I don't want to have a mixed tone because it ends up being that you either practice a couple different things that are in conflict or you don't do anything. And I thought for self worth for self identity. Having connection to something is incredibly valuable. So I decided that I wanted to marry someone who's Jewish. I always love learning, and I love intellectuals. Even though I don't see myself as an intellectual I was always attracted to. So I decided that it was important for me to marry someone who is highly educated, and in many ways smarter than me. So that became the deal breaker. So I knew someone very smart, someone Jewish. And another one for me was I needed somebody who had a strong sense of self because I needed to respect the person and I couldn't have someone That was a yes, person. But at the same time, I needed somebody with a kind, soft heart. And the other one was just coming from a good family. Because this is, again, it's all part of visioning what my family looks like. And from that list, it guided all of my data. And I wouldn't go on a second date, if there was one item on this list that wasn't checked off. And it was because I was in pursuit of something. And they were all deal breakers, I tell the story. And I actually tell that story a lot, because it actually guides a lot of what I do now when I'm able to get to a place where I know what to do.

Bill Hanna  10:44  
Hi, my name is Bill, Hannah. And I am a husband, father and a retired engineer that continues on a lifelong pursuit of learning and personal growth. started talking about mission statements for the business and said, Well, what about ourselves individually, it was a lot of self reflection, begin with the end in mind. And another thing that made a huge difference in my way of thinking was, Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And it took quite a while to coalesce, sit down and focus on what's the most important thing in your life. And I said, family and friends. And what does it take to maintain that? while it does certainly take time and energy, which again, we have control of? I said, Well, how do I maintain my time and energy? Well, energy is lifestyle, basically, exercise, eating habits, your physical self. And the other thing was continuously learning, which keeps the mind healthy. I think it's important to write it down, and to look at it fairly frequently. And then if something major comes up, so where does this fit in?

Robin  12:02  
Hi, my name is Robin. And I'm about ready to end a 26 year career and start a whole new living experience. I'll never forget being divorced and dating and really not finding what I wanted. So a dear friend of mine said that I need to write a letter to myself. And she said, Don't write it as if it's a pros and cons about what you want in a partner in your life. Instead, write down exactly your intentions of what kind of person you want and your life. So I gave it a lot of thought. And I wrote this letter. And I was really happy I put it in my computer, because I probably if I wrote it on a piece of paper would have lost it by now. And every line that I wrote was a line of intention of who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And it took me a lot of thought and a lot of consideration. And I had to stop myself from saying what I don't want, because I didn't want that in the letter. I just wanted to put down what i do want. And I had a little bit of anxiety around it. But then I had a lot of joy because I thought if I could find someone like that, it would make me the happiest person on this earth. So I wrote my letter, put it in the computer. And then I would say probably about once every week, pretty much after I had a date with a man, I would come back to that letter and just see, you know, if there were things about that person that were something I was looking for. And I'm not kidding you. Within a few months, I found the love of my life. And what was interesting is after about a week or two of dating, I went back to my letter like I had done before. And he already seemed to meet a lot of these qualities. And I thought, okay, just don't jump the gun. So I stepped back and just let the relationship happen. And sure enough, after a year, we were engaged. And after another year we were married. And now we are celebrating our five year wedding anniversary, and he has made me the happiest person on earth. And I got what I wanted. So I am very happy that I wrote the letter and really blessed that I found the man on my dreams.

Roddy Carter  14:51  
I'm ready Carter and I consider myself a human sculptor. I help people produce the best possible versions of themselves. 20 years ago, I was vacationing in Australia, and we'd gone there from our home in South Africa. We were there with our young family. And I got a phone call. The phone call said, how'd you like to come and move to the United States of America and to live and work here for a three year period of time. And that started a completely new chapter in our life. That point, clearly, I had a lot to do. And I had some big decisions to make. And we had some big decisions to make. And we started to design the new future to design this brand new chapter in our life. A world of unexpected richness just opened up something I hadn't contemplated something I hadn't been ready for, just suddenly opened up in front of me. And I was excited in a sense that in a way, I just had to say yes to the future. And within three weeks of the phone call, I'd actually started my new job in the United States, the 1000s and 1000s of miles away from where we were living at the time. And I guess that speaks to the underlying methodology, which was to put a flag out there, make a big leap, and figure out how everything else was gonna work. And that's a personal style, it's probably a personal style, which I've used over and over again, when I imagine a new future. Some people I guess, will plan every step meticulously from A to Z. And I plan enough and then I put a flag out, then I leap. And somehow, we put everything else together one time one foots on the ground and the other side. And that's that's what we did here. I honestly couldn't have been happier at having accepted that invitation. The world has taken on incredible new dimensions for me and for my family, my children have been exposed deeply to different cultures to different ways of living. And that's a richness that we couldn't have imagined beforehand. Although we did very little planning, and we need very quickly, we trusted our gut, we trusted our instincts, and it worked extremely well for us.

Jim Matteo  17:06  
I'm Jim marijo. I'm a San Diego entrepreneur and my primary role being a great coach to all the people that I get to interact with on a regular basis, as I've transitioned into different roles I've looked at where do I spend my time? And what are the different lanes that I want to play in family, adventure, coach, investor, mentoring entrepreneurs, and impact in the communities, the swim lanes developed over time, I think it was helpful to be in a place where you know, had free thought, like surfing for example is where I get a lot of ideas and having those swim lanes, I keep going back and referencing it and finally got to the point where I'd written notes about it. And I go back and change it and update it. And at the beginning of the year, I do a vision board of what are the things that you know, I see it happening this year, when I'm doing that vision board, I am referring back to the life plan. am I playing in the swim lane with what I'm envisioning? I'm constantly looking at it and looking at as we're talking because it's right in front of me. Because you do get drawn in many times to things that are going to take my time and are outside the swim lanes. So having those and then knowing the priorities really helps me. I think the other big one is like being able to say no to things, you know, just had something come up recently, it was like, that sounded great. But if I did it, it would take up all my time. It relaxes me, you know, I don't have this fear of missing out. If you get into something that may go really good, it may go really bad. You might second guess it if it if something's going wrong, but by having the life plan that helps me to stay the course. This is something I plan something I want to do. I know it's going to be challenging. And I'm going to stay the course this year, for example, you know, I plan to write a book and live with mentorship and working with entrepreneurs. You know, that's gonna take some time. And as I get into that, and I'm putting time to that it's on my vision board. And I know it's one of the swimlanes and I think it's easy to get into the whirlwind of life and lose track of the priorities. You know, having more focus and staying the course leads to the kind of success that I really want.

Rachel Cross  19:41  
Hi, my name is Rachel Krause, and I am a business and marketing consultant. I call myself a snow chaser because I love snowboarding and try to go wherever the snow is even in the summer months, when I decided to leave corporate america and start my own consulting business It was a little bit forced on me and that the division of a big company I was working for closed its doors. But luckily, I had been thinking for at least a year before that happened, this question, what would I do without fear of failure, I gave myself permission to dream about it. Like, I remember sitting in the conference room, and they made the announcement. And immediately I was like, I know what I'm gonna do. I wanted to stay in marketing. But I knew I wanted to work on projects I really cared about and for companies that were doing good in the world, and I wanted more freedom and flexibility, those were the three things, it came out of realizing what I don't want, because of the business I was in, I didn't love what I was marketing. And it felt very inauthentic to me. It didn't feel good in my body to be doing that. And so I just was looking to see, well, why don't I felt feel good in my body? Okay, this is what's happening because I am marketing this thing that I don't believe in. Well, what would make me feel good about marketing something? Well, if I was marketing, something that was actually making a positive impact in the world. So that was part of it. The freedom and flexibility came after my third knee surgery. So I was on crutches for a month, and I couldn't dry for a month. And so luckily, my manager allowed me to work from home. And it made me think, gosh, I like working from home. When I decided to start my own business, I did sit down and say, why am I starting this business? What do I want out of it? What are the risks, the business goals I had, were not revenue goals, they were things like, I know, I want to take six weeks of vacation a year, which seems like a strange goal. But that's what I wanted. And I wanted to be able to go to Costco at 10am. on a Wednesday, if I want to do and not in line on Saturday or Sunday, there was all these kind of imposter syndrome thoughts to like, Who am I to do that. But I knew I wanted to do it. From a planning perspective, I had saved up about six months of expenses. So I had this runway. And I told myself, I'm going to do this for six months. If I make no money, and I have no clients, at the end of six months, I will go back and get another job. And that's okay. But I'm gonna say that I tried it. And then I'll never have that regret of not trying it. It starts with really understanding my mindset and my belief system and getting those things in a healthy place, deciding I'm going to do something but then creating a plan for it based on my experience and wisdom, but also my intuition, and maybe even asking for advice and learning from other people and what they've done before me and worked out well, really great. One of my first clients was a nonprofit I'd been volunteering with. And they were helping with some disaster relief after the hurricanes in St. Lucia, which is this beautiful Caribbean island. And they wanted help managing the content around the efforts that they were doing there. So within a month of leaving my corporate job and starting my new business, I was on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean. And I remember thinking, I think I've made a good decision. I feel like I'm winning right now. This is good. And that has continued for 10 years. And I've never looked back. I have about two hours every morning that I spent an intentional journaling, meditation, studying time, so I time block my days. And that morning time is my intentional slow checking in with myself both about my business, which is about all aspects of my life. And I think that has been immensely critical in everything in my life, my own happiness, my joy, my work, success, all of those things. I sit down every Sunday and time block plan out my week, and know exactly what's coming so that I can be really intentional about oh gosh, I really want to make time for this passion project or this person. Because otherwise, time just flies away. I don't want to miss out on any impact I could have had or experienced I could have had person whose life I could have made better person who could have made my life better. All of it. I want to play full out.

Lisa Liguori  24:30  
Friends, I got a lot of gems from the experiences our panelists shared today and I hope you did too. I heard a theme of being really disciplined to clarify criteria upfront both what I want and what I don't want. And to not just have it in my head but put it on paper or in a vision board and keep that as a kind of living document that doesn't just go in a drawer but is a guide that I keep close by and use. I also heard the importance of of planting a flag and then taking some calculated leaps when the time is right. Thank you for being on this learning journey along with me. I am brand new to podcasting and want to make this as useful as possible for you. So if you have feedback on what you liked or what you think I could improve on, I would love to hear from you. The best way to reach me is at advice column advice column I'll see you in the next episode. Until then, lots of love

Transcribed by

Illness Forced Him to Revamp His Whole Life - Andrew Zenoff
She Made a Career Leap - June Cutter
He Chose His Wife Carefully - Kevin Wexler
He Wrote a Life Mission Statement - Bill Hanna
She Envisioned Her Husband - Robin
He Made a Huge Move - Dr. Roddy Carter
He Made a Vision Board - Jim Matteo
She Left a Corporate Job - Rachel Cross