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June 3, 2024 15 mins
Jodi Wellman, Founder of Four Thousand Mondays, a UPenn positive psychologist, and an executive coach, is author of the new book YOU ONLY DIE ONCE: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets. Jodi Wellman is a former corporate executive turned executive coach. She has a Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is an instructor in the Master’s program and a trainer in the world-renowned Penn Resilience Program. 
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(00:02):
Welcome to Get Connected with Nina DelRio, a weekly conversation about fitness,
health and happenings in our community onone oh six point seven Light FM.
Good morning and thanks for joining uson Get Connected. Do you happen to
know that pang of regret when youleave unused vacation days on the table,
or you feel like you just sleepwalk through your days, or maybe there's

(00:24):
that recurring question about your life,when do I get to the good part?
Our guest is Jody Wellman, founderof four thousand Mondays, a youth
penn positive psychologist and executive coach,and author of the new book You Only
Die Once How to Make It tothe End with No Regrets. Jody Wellman,
thank you for being on the show. Oh, I'm so excited to
be here talking about regrets our favoritediscussion. We don't want to have.

(00:47):
We do not want to have them. Jody Wellman, let me tell people
about your first is a former corporateexecutive termed executive coach. She has a
master's in Applied positive psychology from theUniversity of Pennsylvania, where she's an instructor
in the master's program and a trainerin the world renowned pen Resilience program.
What's positive psychology anyway, Jody,Ooh, I guess one of my favorite
questions. I like to say thatit is a scientific study of what makes

(01:11):
life worth living. And then otherswould say that it's the study of well
being. Right, it's the scienceof happiness. It's what makes individuals or
groups or teams or communities flourish,because really we want to flourish, not
flounder. So it's the study ofthe good stuff. Ah okay. So
this book is a prescription for joltingus out of complacency, and I think
it's also useful to hear where yourperspective comes from. Perhaps you could talk

(01:34):
a little about your story. Maybewhat experience do you have with boredom and
what woke you up? You've seemvery awake today. Yeah, I'm always
annoyingly awake these days. Yeah.So I well, like many of us,
I found myself in a job.It's let's let's bring up the career
conversation. You know, where Iwas ostensibly successful, feeling good, accomplished
all the things that kind of thetrappings of success, let's say, but

(01:57):
inside I was dead inside. Youknow. I don't know if I,
but it can relate to that whereyou're feeling like, but surely there's more.
But I was so scared and Ididn't know what to do to go
and find it, and so thereforeI did nothing, which is like not
a recommended strategy, right. Andthe years go by, and I have
this silly stapler story where I rememberone day in my office stapling my pages
together, and I said, asI loaded a staple, you know,

(02:19):
row in, I'm like, Iwill not be here by the time this
row of staples is done, andlo and behold, I still was because
I didn't I didn't tune into whatwas going to make me feel alive and
go for it and take the risk. And someone up the courage needed sometimes
to make big life changes. Sothat was dead inside. Yeah, so
much of this book actually talks aboutdeath. You talk about it in a
funny way. And this may seemextremely morbid, but I thought this might

(02:44):
be an appropriate analogy. So,you know, for people who have a
habit of walking around with slumped shoulders, I read somewhere you could fix that
by thinking that at any moment youcould be shot in the head. It's
super dark, but it makes youstand up right if you have one second
left. It's like your chin goesup and your should go back. It's
sort of like you want that lastmoment to be, you know, standing

(03:05):
up to your full potential for asecond. And I think that's that's kind
of a chip of what this wholebook is. Thank you, That is
exactly a chip off the old blockof what the Grim Reaper has to offer,
because it is you've just illustrated howsometimes we need that a little bit
of a jolt of something that isunexpected, maybe even counterintuitive. And yes,
my most exciting thing is to usemortality as a motivator, and so

(03:29):
I get people, like you saidearlier, in my business is called four
thousand Mondays because it's roughly what weget. I get us to count how
many Mondays we have left. Andit's not because I am morbid. I
mean I am a little bit,but it's mostly to say, oh my
gosh, if I know I haveone eight hundred and forty one left,
which is true, hopefully give ortake more give than take. I want

(03:50):
to do something with that time.And I need that poke in the ribs
to wake me up and say stoptaking this life for granted, which is
what we do. We just walkaround in a bit of a slumbering existence
because we just got to get throughthe days. No more, let's wake
up and live, right, Soa life of living. It's not going
to be the same for everybody.Some people is going to be on the
beach looking at some set. Somepeople is going to be skiing downhill at

(04:12):
ninety five miles an hour. Peopledon't really know necessarily what even makes them
happy in the first place. Oh, you are touching on something that I
find so massive. This is yourso on it. Most people when I
do a workshop or a keynote,I get it interactive, like what is
the thing that makes you feel happyor alive? I mean, my favorite
question is what makes you feel alive? And I often get like the deers
and headlights look, because we're notoften tuned into ourselves, right, We're

(04:35):
just working on the next to dolist item, or we just got to
get the kids to soccer, Wejust got to you know, we got
to get to sleep. But whenwe do stop and say, wait a
sec, this is the thing thatmakes brings me even a small little bit
of joy, that's our onus togo after that and your point is huge
that there's no prescription right. Itdoesn't have to be glitzy and shiny and

(04:57):
it has to be ostentatious for peopleto look at and no approve of on
social media that your big life isamazing. It could be something small and
sweet, you know, like havinga really great night in reading a fiction
book in a bubble bath like thatdoes not take a lot of money or
a ton of time. I mean, you know, parents may make to
differ, but your version of agreat life is your version. It's relative.

(05:19):
I do want to talk a littlebit about the parent thing in just
a moment, but let me remindpeople who were speaking with Jody Wellman.
Her book is You Only Die Once, How to Make It to the End
with No Regrets. She's a formercorporate executive turned executive coach who has coached
and spoken with clients like American Express, Fidelity, Royal Bank of Canada,
BMW, and Moore. She runsher own business for one thousand mondays.

(05:42):
You're listening to get connected on oneoh six point seven Light FM. I'm
Nina del Rio from your bio andI say this with love because I'm in
the same situation you have a husbandand a cat. I have a husband
and a cat. Isn't this easierto do? Or can you talk about,
you know, doing this with kidsand if you don't have and all
those other things that kind of keepyou in these habits things you have to

(06:03):
do, responsibilities. Mm hmm.Yeah, there's going to be a habit
train that has to happen. Ido believe, you know, with any
clients or people I know who havekids, there's more of a need for
that. And I just say whereveryou can bust yourself and say, wait
a sec, we have a routineand we need this to you know,
help raise healthy humans. But whereis it that you can jostle sometimes even

(06:24):
the smallest little thing, like ifyou've got a Saturday morning routine that just
feels a little bit like you area robot. Where is one place you
can throw a rich you know,whether you are a parent or not.
And so again it's still going tobe relative. But maybe that means that
if you take the same route togo drop off the kids somewhere, it's
like, what if we just tooka little deviation ooh, and now we're
in this different neighborhood and I didn'tknow that there was that cute little coffee

(06:46):
shop. Maybe I'll come here nexttime. I actually have a frickin minute
away by myself, So shaking uplittle things. We underestimate the impact novelty
can have on the experience of feelingalive, and even the smallest off the
beaten track moment can provide otherwise littlejolt to our you know, otherwise maybe
ho hum kind of day. Howdo we go about diagnosing our dead zones

(07:08):
in life? You know, howdo we know where to focus first?
Mm hmmmmmmm, Well, you knowit helps. I have a free sixty
eight question assessment on my website,so you can totally go there for that.
But I think most of us haveEven if you're not the most super
self aware person on the planet,that's okay. We have a niggling,
you know, sometimes there's a partof our life that starts to maybe it's
a whisper, but then it startsto be that, you know, it

(07:30):
kind of pokes at us, andwe have that sense that maybe it's a
part of your life, like,wow, you know, my social life
really never picked up after COVID orwow, you know, I really love
to learn and grow and pick upnew things, but I haven't registered for
a course lately, or maybe itis your body, your physical health,
or maybe it is your career,the aforementioned area of life, wherever it
is. You know, sometimes Ithink it's helpful to just stop and sit

(07:53):
by yourself and have a little mentalretreat for a coffee, you know,
or a stiffer drink if that's yourIf that's your thing, like me and
be like, where is my lifeworking for me? Do more of that?
And where is my life feeling flatlined? That's your opportunity to then say,
well, if I flip the script, if I did one thing,
for example, if I'm feeling kindof bored, which most adults, according

(08:13):
to my research, are feeling thatway, there's enough meaning to get by
and feel like, Okay, I'vegot enough of a little bit of a
purpose here, but I just needmore jois de vive. Well, then
that that's your thing, and youwant more recreation, for example, then
that might be the thing to say, well, Okay, what's one thing
within the next week I could do. Does it mean that I need to
brush the dust off the tennis racketand just give it, give it a
try? In the backyard against thewall, or does it mean that I

(08:37):
need to go and open up asketchbook, you know, just try one
small thing in the direction towards feelinga little more alive. You have a
whole chapter on people who have madechanges and really woken up to life.
What are a couple of your favoritesand what have you learned from those?
Oh my gosh, I am soenvious of people who've had in your death
experiences and I should knock one becauseI might get one minue and I might

(08:58):
not come back from the edge.They know things we don't. They My
favorite thing that people who've seen theedge and come back, they learn to
brush off the bs in ways.The rest of us we're still consumed with
sweat and small stuff. You know, ooh, how fast did I answer
that email? Or ooh, Ihave to say yes to the neighbors to
go to that stupid thing. Whenpeople who have, like if they're in

(09:20):
remission from a life threatening cancer andthey've made it through, many of them
just feel like, oh, honey, bunny, I don't care about your
needs. I'm more interested in mine, and I'm not gonna be I'm not
could be rude to you necessarily,But I know how to say no to
things. I know how to valueand prioritize what matters in my life.
That's that's actually, that's fantastic,and that's what I want us to tap
into. Let's imagine for a secthat you're home from the hospital and yet

(09:43):
put everything in perspective that, Wow, you got to live, you didn't
in fact die in that car crash. You're here, Does that email matter
or would you rather go sit outside, sit back for a second, look
at the birds, and then comeback in and maybe do a couple of
emails. You talk about Western cultureand our sort of avoidance of death.
We don't want to think about death. What's going on in Bhutan with the

(10:07):
death meditation? Oh my goodness,Bhutan. I want to make that my
next vacation. They consistently are votedkind of the happiest culture. And there
are other world happiness studies that alsosay that Finland, Sweden that said rey
they take the cake. But Bhutan, the residents themselves sort of self say
we are self reflected the life satisfactionpeak and so much of that. Of

(10:31):
course, I'm going to connect dotswhere I see dots worth connecting. They
have a death meditation in that culturewhere five times a day they meditate on
death, and it's this reflection ofWow, it's coming, and we're going
to accept it. We're not goingto deny it, and we're going to
accept it, and we're going touse this to our advantage, which is
memento maury, which is the spiritof all that I talk about, which,
by the way, momento Mauri translatesto remember, we must die and

(10:52):
let's let that be the animating featureto say, yeah, that sucks,
but cannot be the little spark plugI need in order to get going on
some of these goals and dreams Ihave because time's ticking. You also have
some ways to take a practice runat death and absolutely healthy stuff. By
the way, none of these arecrazy. But what can you talk about
some of those and how they mightmotivate people. Yeah, there is a

(11:16):
notion that psychology called practicing death,and it's just the simple little things that
we pay attention to where we haveto be clear. Things are changing around
us all the time. So theflowers that you bought that look fantastic on
your table, yeah, you knowwhat they're going to die, watch them
die, and let that be somethingthat's a reflection for you. Of yep,
unfortunately, I too am temporary.Right, Any little thing in your

(11:37):
life that does come and go,a friendship that just moves on, a
job that unfortunately you know, lazyyou off, or a friend unfortunately around
you who passes away. These areall lessons in life that nothing is permanent.
And if we are tuned into them, and rather than resist them and
lament that the carton of milk expiredor that unfore, of course, more

(12:01):
seriously, a dear friend did die. Let's use that again to say,
all right, I'm going to acceptthis with equanimity, which is just sort
of an equal open arms to thefact that life has lots of good and
lots of bad. And I'm goingto take it, and I'm going to
use this again back to leveraging itto my advantage. According to the science
which you cite a lot in thebook, does death or thinking about death
or your own mortality make people morecharitable towards others? It does. It's

(12:26):
fascinating. And now I'm going tobe honest, there are some glitches here,
so we have to be very consciousin the way that we contemplate death.
We have to really be reflective aboutit, which is what I encourage.
Right, It's stopping and thinking abouthow many moneys you have left in,
what that means for you, andhow you want to use them.
That does tend to trigger pro socialbehavior, which in social psychology it's like
you're all like salivating. It's likegood stuff, you know, better,

(12:48):
donations, better, altruism, better, you know, care, concern towards
others, compassion, et cetera.Love it. It's when we see death
in a very abstract way. Sometimesthat doesn't do as favors. That's like
a funeral procession drives by. Wehave a mild fear triggered about death,
and that doesn't necessarily make us thebest versions of ourselves. So let's just
get even more serious with it.Where do you find personally your challenges is

(13:11):
you try to sort of keep fromgetting back into habits and really enjoying things
that are even mundane. Yeah.I love the spirit of enjoying the mundane.
My issue is that I am anintroverted homebody. Okay, so I
am most comfortable cozy with a fleeceblanket at home on the couch and I
could spend probably a lot of therest of my life there with back to

(13:33):
the husband and cat. Right However, I also know that it's not the
liveliest version of my life, notthat I'm judging that it has to be
lively again, because it's not onthe outside looking and it's inside looking out.
And I do know that when Ido get up and I go and
I do a road trip on aweekend, even though it might seem kind
of stressful or there might be somesocial anxiety, if I just say yes

(13:54):
and I maybe to put a littlebit of extra energy, I give two
craps about life. Basically, thenI come home and I never regret going
out and doing the thing. AndI think a lot of people are like
me right where it's easier not todo the thing. But that's not a
life that gets us to the end, and let's us sort of skid in
broadside feeling like I did it,I nailed it. I live this life.

(14:16):
So participating, I think, formany of us is a little bit
of a who. We have tosummon up a little bit of energy for
that. The book is you onlydie once. How to make it to
the end with no Regrets by JodyWellman. Thank you for being on Get
Connected. Thanks for having me here. I appreciated Nina. This has been
Get Connected with Nina del Rio onone o six point seven light Fm.

(14:39):
The views and opinions of our guestsdo not necessarily reflect the views of the
station. If you missed any partof our show or want to share it,
visit our website for downloads and podcastsat one oh six to seven lightfm
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