Episode 191 | October 22, 2019

Rethink Performance by Asking the Right Why with Jeanette Bronée

A Personal Note From Orion

Life happens for you, not to you. When things are not going your way, it can be comforting to take the easy way out and blame everything and everyone else for your problems and stress. And while there are people who will hurt you, or things that happen that are beyond your control, that just plainly seem so unfair, or cruel, these facts of life are always going to be there – it’s what you do about them that matters. 

You owe it to yourself to have the self-confidence and self-love to make sure your needs are getting met. Regardless of the ups and downs of life, it really is up to you to roll with the punches and make the best out of your life as possible. It’s up to you to have the foresight to realize that there is a lesson in every hardship – it’s the gift with the bow on the bottom. You can’t see it yet, but if you are open to receiving the message, you’ll get it soon enough. 

With all that being said, I know it’s not easy to develop mindfulness and self-awareness, which are the pathways to forgiving, and healing your life. Life will continue to happen, and the good news is, you are totally in control of how you handle what comes your way, the good and the bad. All it takes is a little training on how to do this. My guest today actually trains and coaches others on how to develop their personal well-being through mindfulness. She has an incredible life story of her own that you’ll surely find inspiration and might just be the key to start your own healing journey.


About Today’s Show

Hello and welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. This is your host, Orion. Welcome back to the show. And if you’re new to the show, welcome. My guest is Jeanette Bronée. And I got the privilege and honor of meeting her at HPS where I did my speaker training. We had dinner together. Somehow we started this deep conversation around the table where I heard her life story, which was extraordinary. This lady is smart and very courageous. And I think she accomplished more in one lifetime than many other people. She’s a really fascinating person. 

Jeanette helps leaders and companies rethink performance by asking the Right Why. She teaches them how to create a culture of care by unlocking what truly drives performance, engagement, and motivation from the inside out. For more than 15 years, she has coached clients and delivered speeches about how physical health and emotional-mental wellbeing affect performance and prevent stress and burnout. She is a performance strategist, international TEDx and keynote speaker, author, CEO, and founder of Path for Life. It is my honor and pleasure to introduce you to Jeanette Bronée. And now without further ado, on to the show.

Hello, Jeanette. Welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. It’s wonderful having you here.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to have this chat with you today.

I’m excited to have this chat with you. We met at a training at Heroic Public Speaking. You were one of the mentors there. I had the pleasure of having dinner with you, hearing a little bit about you, your story, and what you do because I didn’t get to work with you one-on-one. I was so mesmerized and fascinated by you. I think this whole episode can be about your life story, for sure. People can learn all the lessons just by listening to that. 

I guess because we don’t have time, because you’re a fascinating human being, let’s start with what are some of the craziest things you did in your life?

I think one of the crazy things was I uprooted my career at 26 years old. I moved to America to follow a man that I was in love with without knowing how and what I was going to do when I came here. The confidence that I had that everything was going to be fine, that I was going to find a fantastic career, and so on, and so forth. Things were quite different once I got here. That was crazy and other crazy things that happened to me but not necessarily my doing.

Okay. What happened?

Both of my parents got cancer at the same time. I ended up having both of my parents in cancer therapy in two different countries at the same time.

That’s hard.

Yeah. That was crazy, too. In the process of that, they also ended up dying, just about a year apart. I was told it was only a matter of time when I was going to get cancer too. I decided to completely change my life once again. That was another crazy thing I did.

How did you change your life? What was it before?

I left the fashion industry. I was an executive in the fashion industry. I left. I had, originally, a design business. I had gone to work with a client who asked me to come onboard. I was working with them, when my mother suddenly died and my father still had cancer. They fired me because now I have to take care of my dad.

I started another company but after my father died, I decided that I wanted to help people in the world, in general. I want to help people learn how to take better care of themselves. I basically quit my career completely, went back to school, and started over at the age of 40.

Change must start from within. You can't keep expecting better results if you keep doing the same thing over and over again. Click To Tweet

Nice. You do a lot of adventurous things, right?

I guess I do. I guess I don’t think of them so much as adventures but I’m a curious person. I’m a curious person, I love to learn. I believe that we should always learn and grow until the day we are done. I learned that when I was sitting with my dad for five months. We knew he was dying but we didn’t know when. It took five months because it was so much for us to talk about. You would think that in the end, there’s not that much more to talk about in the sense of new things. You talk about memories and things like that.

We ended up having these amazing conversations about life and philosophy. It opened my mind in a completely different way to have these conversations. As he said, I don’t have the boundaries of fear anymore. I can think, expand, be courageous, creative, and curious in a completely different way in my mind. There are no parameters anymore. Of course, there is for all of us in real life, but at the same time, what I really learned is that it’s not so much that we can’t do whatever it is that we want to do, it is that we’re not willing to take the consequences if it doesn’t work out.

I know. I just had a conversation with somebody, this person in my life, I keep giving her golden advice. She keeps coming to me and she’s almost like a victim of her situation. I feel sad for her. At the same time, I feel very frustrated because it’s almost like I’m running the same conversation where I’ll give her tips and I’ll give her things that I know can change her life. Or even some links to some of these podcast episodes. Some of them are so freaking incredible. I know that some of these episodes change someone’s life. 

I’m like, “Okay. Just listen to this. This is good information. Take action and do that.” It’s almost like it’s coming in from one ear and goes out the other. I was like, “Yes, she’s not ready to take the consequences.” People want to change and they want to have what they want to have. But they are so stuck in the status quo. They do not want to change because there’s so much fear around change. 

You and I, I guess we are more courageous. I did something similar where I left to Japan when I was 21 with $700 in my pocket without even knowing where I’m going to be. I went there for three weeks and stayed for three and a half years. I think there’s some gene that we have that is maybe a little bit more like, “Okay, I’m going to do it.” I also think it’s a part of being young. When you’re younger, it’s easier. I feel like the older I get, I’m more conservative with taking chances. 

How can we get over this? If we are stuck at this place of, “I want to do it.” But it’s easier to complain, it’s easier to feel sorry for myself. It’s easier to just learn about things, gain knowledge, but take zero action. What would you tell somebody who’s experienced this right now?

There’s a couple of things I wanted to say. One is that I actually think I’m in the process of another not crazy change. I’m recently divorced. Once again, I’m rethinking my life. At 56, that’s a bigger task. As you were saying, “The older we get, the less we are willing to take risk.” I’m actually looking at the opposite right now. I’m saying, “What am I willing to risk to see what the next phase of my life is going to be like?” 

I know that if I want to live my life differently, I’m the only one who can make it different. I have to engage with my life in a different way for my life to change. Because if we engage real life the same way we always have, then, we’re waiting for something in our environment to change. That’s much harder. A divorce, for example, can be something in your environment change. It can also be that you made this decision. 

Live a life that is constantly elevated by embracing every moment.

The disease, for example, a lot of times or most of the time, that’s something that comes and changes our lives in big ways. We’re all forced to change rather than us making the choice to change. I think the idea that we make the choice to change, the fear around doing that is because we’re so loss-adverse. We cannot imagine what might be good that can come from it and believe that we either are allowed to have it or that it might happen that way. It gets much harder to imagine something good can happen than it is to imagine something bad can happen.

Especially when someone experienced some trauma or if someone, they’re dating and there’s so many failed relationships. They’re like, “I really want it. I really feel sad for myself but I want to give up. I don’t want to date. I don’t want to do the internal work that needs to be done.”

Right. It is about pushing that boundary that says, “This is how I’ve always seen myself.” Our relationships with ourselves is formed very early in our lives. Are we willing to challenge how we see ourselves? What we believe about ourselves? If we can change how we engage with ourselves, we can change how we engage with other people. We can change how we engage with the possibilities in our lives if we look for what’s possible rather than looking for what might happen to us from a negative perspective or from a fearful perspective. There’s a good chance we’re going to stay stuck.

There’s a good chance we’re going to stay stuck because we’re always scared of what will happen rather than saying, “What is possible? Am I willing to take the consequences if it doesn’t work?”

Right. When you looked at your life right now and the major shift that is happening, what did you decide? What are you willing to risk?

I’m still in the process of deciding that, to be honest with you, because I had made some choices that I thought were choices that I was going to stick with. One of them having built a house upstate that I thought was going to be my place and my so-called retirement when I get there. Granted, I’m not sure I will retire. You know what I mean. This idea that you’re not actively running around the world all the time but you actually have a place that you’re settling down into. 

I thought this was it. Now, I’m wondering if it is. Divorce makes you think those things. That’s one of them and saying, “What does it look like for me from 56 to 65? How do I want to live my life now?” The way I thought I was going to live my life has just changed. Now I can build on that. Am I trying to replicate the life that I thought I was going to live and recreate that with someone else? Or am I really taking everything, shaking that up, and saying, “Wait a minute, who am I as a woman, 56, and the next couple of years? What are some of the things that I actually would look back on and be happy that I did? Be proud that I did?” Or what is something that I would look at and be like, “Wow, I actually did do that even though I never thought it was possible.”

I learned this from when I was sitting with my dad because of some of the things that I had to do after he passed away—my mother had already passed the year before—the questions to myself were those questions. What are some things I would look back at when I’m 75 years old? Look back at and say, what will have made me proud? What will have made me excited? What would have made me feel like I’ve done something worthwhile? What are some things that really make my life matter to me?

I worked back from that and said, okay, looking back at my life, what would that look like? I said to myself, what do I need so I can get there? That’s some of the things I actually teach people who are stuck. It’s to really look at what is it that you really want. What is it that really matters to you? We keep asking ourselves, “Why is this not happening? Why is this not working?” I call it the wrong why. Because we’re asking ourselves why something is not working. The way your unconscious mind works is then, you will focus on what’s not working, and you’ll get stuck. 

Be compassionate. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult, yet one of the best things you can do for yourself. Click To Tweet

Whatever question you’re going to ask your brain is going to answer it. “Why am I so miserable? Why can I not have the love of my life? Why can I not make the money?” Your brain is an answer-making machine. It will come with all kinds of answers. If you do shift and ask the right question of, “Where do I want to be?” Like you said, “What will make me proud when I’m 75? What do I need to do right now to shift?” Then, your brain will come up with answers that will benefit you and move you forward.

That’s what I called the right why. It’s looking at it from how do we ask questions of ourselves so that we can move forward and really discover things. That comes from not feeling like we have to protect ourselves, that we are able to be open-minded and curious. We can do that with each other as well. That’s the way we can establish better relationships not only with ourselves but also with other people.

I know a lot of people that have done the process that is similar. They still have a disconnect between this and taking consistent daily actions that relates to the vision.

That comes back again to asking yourself everyday, “What do I need today so I can…” Whatever that is. It’s this idea that we keep coaching ourselves forward. 

A lot of times we get stuck in the inner critic. I encourage people to start looking at what would the inner coach say. The inner coach would be like, “Hey, girl. I want this for you. I don’t know how you can get it but right now, how about we look for how that’s possible?” 

I think we need to be honest with ourselves. A lot of times, we’re trying to beat ourselves up. I don’t have anything against affirmations but they have to resonate because if not, our unconscious minds knows that we’re lying. We can shift them so that they become, “Hey, look. This is difficult. However, this is what I really want.” Then, we can ask constructive questions around, “How can I achieve that? What do I need so that I can?” 

Then, we’re starting to actually be in action around things. That is one of the small little ways we can become unstuck. It may just be about how we feel everyday. When I worked with people around their relationship with food, it also becomes like, okay, you’re trying to fix something. You’re trying to fix what you don’t want to feel like instead of focusing on what you want to feel like instead.

Say, we’re tired. “Oh, I’m so tired. I need to fix my tiredness.” I do that by having sugar and coffee. If we turn it around to if we don’t want to be tired, what is it that we want instead? Oh, we want to have more energy. We want to be more focused. We want to have more clarity. Our choices will change. We wouldn’t have sugar and coffee because we know that sugar and coffee is going to make a crash or make us anxious or make us all of those things. Now, the way we ask questions help us change our choices. 

You talked about the inner critic. I think we all have one. I think dealing with our inner critic is a lifelong process. We just get better and better in dealing with it. For me, it would help me deal with my inner critic. Like you said, affirmations that resonates. 

Let’s say I’m a billionaire and you make $200 a week, then, this is a disconnect. You can say, “I’m getting better and better with managing money. Everyday, more money flows into my life.” Something that is easier to work with. There is not a critical factor that will block your subconscious mind from believing it because it’s so farfetched and untrue.

Mirror Work by Louise Hay

Another thing that I did was Mirror Work by Louise Hay. I had a time in my life where I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I hate it. I hated myself. I went to the mirror and I said, “I love you.” In the beginning, I would cry every time I do that. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t do it. But by being persistent and doing it everyday, maybe after the 20th time, I started to be like, “Okay, I love you.” Now, I can say it without crying. Then, “I love you.” Now, I can say it with maybe a little smile. “I love you.” Now, I can actually feel it.

Whatever we say to our subconscious mind, we can’t change by saying it one day. We have to say it again and again and again because our subconscious mind needs repetition in order to create those neural pathways of thinking—the way of thinking about ourselves. The way we see our identity, the way we see ourselves. It’s really, really important.

What are some of your suggestions with dealing with the inner critic?

One of the things I always ask for is to say, “What would you like to hear from someone else? What is something you would love for someone else to tell you?” That is what your inner coach can tell yourself. 

It maybe that you want somebody else to say, “You are so loving and adorable. I just love the way XYZ.” Then, we can say that to ourselves.

That just made me feel all yummy inside.

This idea that what we’re longing to hear from someone else, if we can start saying that to ourselves, and acknowledge it because we would like for somebody else to say it. Then, we bypass the critical inside that says, “Yeah, right.” We would love for someone else to tell it to us. Then, little by little, we get used to hearing it. Then, we start agreeing with it. Little by little, we get used to hearing it in a way that we can accept it, take it in, and listen to it.

The other thing too is when somebody says, “Oh my god, what you did was great.” Don’t deny it. Practice saying yes or saying thank you. We want to come to a place where we can say yes. When somebody says, “Oh my god, I love what you’re doing. It’s great.” We can say yes to that. That is so empowering and so difficult in the beginning. Really difficult.

I was interviewed on another podcast. I was a guest. We were talking about external validation. It seems like it’s a tendency to look for more external validation especially on social media with the likes and  clicks. Let’s not even talk about the new generation that is all about external validation because some of them, they don’t know better. It can really hurt them. How do you make the shift from that craving for external validation to actually building yourself from the inside?

I think it starts with what would you like somebody else to say and then start saying it to ourselves so that we actually start embracing what it is that we’re longing for in other people. For example, a lot of times, people, if you really look at it, the inner critic often comes from how we grew up with our parents.

I had a very difficult relationship with my mother. My mother was bipolar. She struggled with depression and things like that. She and I never told each other we love each other. The day she died where I called her, to hear when my dad would be arriving because she had to stay in Denmark because she wasn’t feeling well after her treatment. My dad was on his way to New York to continue his treatment. She actually died while he was on the plane coming back. In that moment, I called her and said, “When is dad coming?” She can barely breathe. I said to her, “You got to get to a hospital right away.” I thought there was a nurse that was there helping her to get out of the door. It turned out it was a neighbor’s daughter. I was just confused about all of it. I wanted to call back. 

If there is one thing you should always remember, it is that change is the only constant in this world.

There’s something in me that said, “Call back and tell her how much you love her.” Listen, I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. There was so much anger built up between my mother and I—our relationship. I had to really work with that afterwards. I had to really work with myself to not only forgive myself that I couldn’t say it but also forgive her for all the bad blood that was between us and all the things I was told by my mother which was more about, “You’re too much. Why can’t you never be this? Why can’t you never be that? You’re too much.” I had to come to terms with that was more about her and it wasn’t about me. That took a long time to learn. All those messages that I grew up thinking was about me was really about her.

It’s really hard. You can coach other people, you can learn from the best in the world. But when it comes to your life and dealing with that pain in the past, especially with somebody who has a mental illness which is the most heartbreaking thing, you can’t reason with them. Especially, as a vulnerable child getting all those conflicted messages, this is difficult. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things ever and one of the best things that you can do for yourself.

What was your process of forgiveness? Did you have a process of forgiveness?

I think a lot of it was I had studied mindfulness, Buddhism, and breath therapy. I’ve studied so many healing modalities before this all happened because I found myself so lost after I came to the States and the man I had moved here with, found someone else within nine months. I found myself lost and divorced. It was just like, “Whoa, my life just changed and my career. I had to start over.” The life I had expected was absolutely not there. I really had to work with myself from a healing perspective and forgive myself for having made the choices I had.

I’d already started this whole process of learning about myself. I think of it as learning about ourselves and what matters to us rather than fixing problems and events that have happened to us. I actually tend to think that it’s more about our experience of it more than the story of it that’s important, because if we can work more with the experience of how it made us feel, we learn more about ourselves. Then all of a sudden, it doesn’t become about the other person. In that process, we can start seeing ourselves in a different light, and to me, the forgiveness and the healing comes with that.

I did some incredible work around that. I took the 40 Years of Zen from Dave Asprey, have you heard of it?

Yes, I have.

For you, who haven’t, it’s a week-long program, you go into this beautiful place in Seattle surrounded by farms, you have a private chef that feeds you a special diet, they give you special brain supplements, and then you go on a brain marathon where you do neurofeedback for hours. In between, you have talks with a coach or a psychologist and you release past traumas. Then when you’re in the alpha or even gamma brainwaves, a lot of old memories that I haven’t thought of in 20 some years just surface. 

Then they gave us that tool of analyzing. Currently, this person is triggering me because of X. When in my life did I feel the same feeling? You go back and like, “When did I feel the same feeling?” and then maybe you go to a place where, “Okay, I was three-year-old and my dad or my mom did something and I felt really hurt and now I’m triggered.” I love what you’re saying, going back to that emotional state.

I think forgiveness and the healing comes with us taking responsibility for how we feel, not for what happened, but for how we feel. I think that’s the big shift and change that happens in that moment because we can’t change what happened. If we’re trying to forgive from that perspective of, “Oh, I have to forgive what happened,” to me, that’s something we would probably struggle with, but we can change our relationship with what happened. Some of the traumas that I had from my mother and her episodes where, to be honest, she would try to commit suicide and blame me for it, and things like that. One time I got a fax at my office and it said, “If you get this, I’m dead.”

If you can change how you engage with yourself, you can change how you engage with other people. Click To Tweet

Oh, my God. That is terrorizing.

It was. The first thought in my mind was, “Oh, my gosh, she learned how to program the fax machine,” how horrible is it that’s my first thought? I’m not actually concerned that my mother is dead, I’m wondering how she learned how to code the fax machine. That was how much trauma had been building up in our relationship.

It made you numb.

It made me numb. Those were all the things that I had to look at, not what she did, but why I felt the way I felt about it, what was it that had happened in me because that was how I could shift the relationship with everything because I looked at me. It wasn’t about blame, it was about understanding my own actions, feelings, and reactions. That’s where the healing started happening for me because I could see that I was having that reaction, not because I was a bad person, but because I was protecting myself and my emotions. Then I could ask the question, “Why do I need to do that or how come I need to do that? What is it that I need instead?”

In my life, I did find forgiveness to be helpful because, for me, it was taking, like you said, responsibility where I had a relationship where the guy was abusive. The moment I claimed my part in it, there was always two to tango, I was willing to be there, I was willing to take it, I was the one who fell in love. It was my doing. I did not listen to the red flag. If you look at it from the outside, he was the absolute abuser and I was the absolute victim, but being in a victim mentality does not help anyone, especially not you because if you were a victim, then everybody can do things to you. You’re weak. But when you’re like, “Okay, there is a part that I took in this and I’m going to claim this part,” and then I actually went to forgiveness.

By the way, when it comes to forgiveness, everybody has their own journey. Some people, it can take 5 minutes, some people it can take 40 years. That’s okay, you do it when you’re ready. For me, it took me about two years, it took a lot of freaking courage and pushing myself to do it. But the moment I did it, there’s always going to be some resentment, but when you look back at the painful experience in your life, the way you can reframe them is by, “How did it serve me? What was the gift in it?” Because sometimes we experience trauma and pain and it’s almost like we get a gift but we can’t see it. It’s like a gift with the bow on the bottom and then years later, you open it and you’re like, “Oh, I can become that person,” “Oh, I can do what they do in the world,” “Oh, I can be stronger,” “Oh, I can actually look inside and deal with my emotions.” Dealing with emotions is hard.

Look at life from a different perspective. If you’re feeling stuck, shift your mindset to gain clarity.

It is, especially because we start criticizing ourselves for having them or blaming ourselves for having them. I had to really look at why did I have this reaction to my mother’s fax. If I can come to that with a curious mindset where I want to learn about myself, then I’m out of judgment, I’m not in the critic. I really want to understand why I have that emotion. Now we can really learn something. I think that’s really important. We cannot learn and grow for judging ourselves. That’s the curiosity also in our relationships with other people, our relationships at work. If we could just be more curious and suspend judgment, what could change? What new could we discover if we did that?

It’s so easy to judge but you never know what’s going on in the other person’s life.

No, in your own, you judge yourself as well because you’re doing something that you’ve always done, you react based on the same behavior or you feel ashamed. Listen, it has taken me a long time to not feel ashamed that I felt that way when my mother sent a fax. I had to really look at that, I thought I was a bad person for thinking so. Some people might still listen to this and judge me for it and say, “Yeah, you were a bad person for thinking so.”

Who cares? Now I’m at a place where I have no patience for criticism and judgment. If you are this judgmental and you’re not willing to see anything, you’re out of my life, I don’t need you. I’m going to be surrounding myself with people who love and care for me. If there is a judgment, they will not judge me, they will say it in a way they can help me move forward and it will resonate and not in a mean nasty troll-like way that is ego-based and not serving any purpose.

I will also add to that, but we can also investigate the judgment and be curious about why we have judgment because that’s how I learned about myself. I was judging myself for thinking that way about my mom. Obviously, I went to the phone shortly after and called home to find out if she was okay. It wasn’t like I just left her there. She was in Denmark and I was in New York, it wasn’t even like I could go to her house. I was relying on the phone call.

My dad had walked into the house just at that moment and he said, “I’ll call you right back, I’ll go check on her.” It wasn’t like I was just like, “Oh, let’s see what happens to her,” obviously, I took action, but it was that small micro-moment of that flash of that thought that because I was judging it later on really had to dig into. The doorway was to look at the judgment and looking at, “Why am I judging this? What is it about it that I can be curious about?” “Oh, wait a minute, now I understand.” That’s where the healing process because I could see that the judgment of me was, again, back to the message that she always was that you’re a bad daughter. I think that’s important that we don’t judge judgment.

We are so good at self-inflicting emotional pain and locking ourselves in a cage that is our own doing. We’re just brilliant at that and we just need to notice that like you said, analyze it and just be like, “Oh, this is a cage, who put this? Who put that thought in my mind? Oh, it was me, let me just open the door and set myself free.”

That again, I also agree with you that if people are judging me, that is for them to investigate not for me to solve, so I agree with you on that one too. It’s not my job to change your mind about me.

No, it is not. I don’t need you to take space in my mind, I don’t need you to put some bad juju on me, I have enough to deal with. I’m good, thank you. Goodbye.

Lack of success is not because you are incapable of doing what you want to do, it's that you aren't willing to take the consequences if your goals don't work out. Click To Tweet

That’s a lot of what I talk about when I talk about self-care is this idea of self-commitment, self-awareness, self-responsibility, and self-expression.

That’s beautiful, let’s dive in.


Let’s go with the first one.

Self-commitment is the commitment to keep going, keep looking, and develop habits that help support us. We don’t just be, “I wish I could do this, or I should do this, or if only.” But actually really committing one at a time to just say, “Okay, this habit is something I’m going to pursue because it sets up a structure and a framework that helps support me in what I want to achieve.” That’s the self-commitment piece is really putting up a structure around yourself that becomes a framework, that becomes the habits that help you move forward in your life.

The self-awareness is to really understand what we need so that we can. It’s that in a question that we ask ourselves, “How am I right now? What do I need so that I can?” Or it’s the questioning ourselves like, “I wonder what it is that I’m trying to do when I think or feel this way.” For example like what we just talked about, that’s the self-awareness piece.

I guess you were teaching or learning mindfulness and that’s like doing a mindfulness meditation or learning the process which is super easy. If you don’t know, just go on YouTube, just click mindfulness meditation, and just do it for 10 minutes. It’s all about connecting to your body and your mind listening to the answer.

Yes. I also think that we need to remember that meditation teaches us how to listen to our own thoughts. But we can be mindful in a lot of different ways too, we don’t just have to sit down to be mindful, we can be mindful by just listening to another person, that is mindful listening. Instead of being in our own head thinking about what we’re going to say next but we’re actually paying attention and listening to a person, that’s also being mindful, or watching how we say something, it’s like really asking ourselves, “What do I need to say so that this person understands me?” That’s mindfulness as well. I believe that mindfulness is to care.

Yes, then to be intentional.

Yes, and to be intentional. But we learn to observe all of those things by sitting in meditation just watching our thoughts, run through our heads.

Run sprint. My thoughts are sprinting.

Sometimes my thoughts are bouncing off the walls of my inner skull. It’s just like ping pong, ping pong, ping pong, and being truly mindful is to not get attached to any of them and just let them ping pong around or let them gush through like a river, whatever it is, just let them be there. It’s not about controlling them. Because I think a lot of people have misunderstood meditation to being like not having thoughts. It’s really not about that, it’s actually about paying attention to the thoughts but not following the storyline of the thoughts, just letting it pass by.

It’s the attachment and the resistance to what you’re thinking, whether it’s fear-based, anger-based, stress-based, anxiety-based, all those negative emotions that are linking to the thoughts because thoughts are very linked to our emotional state. When you listen to that without feeling attachment, “Okay, I’m angry right now,” and you just feel it, “I’m angry,” let the tiger devour you, be there, feel the emotion and embrace it. When you feel it and embrace it, you’re at a place of being able to let it go, because if you run from it, it’s going to run after you, it’s going to hide underneath the carpet, it’s going to hide behind the door, it’s going to show up when you don’t want it to show up. But when you’re present and you deal with it, then you can let go.

We had a saying, one of my teachers always said, “What you resist persists.” It’s this idea that if we don’t want to feel it, it’s going to keep nagging in the background, or if you don’t want to observe something, and that’s where responsibility comes in, that’s the next letter in care, the R is responsibility.

My mom likes this black Turkish coffee that has almost like mud on the bottom and I feel like this is a great metaphor for those emotions that we’re trying to hide. The coffee looks beautiful, you drink it and it’s sweet, but there is this mud and if something stirs the coffee, everything comes to the surface.

That’s very true. I think that’s where we fester as well, we fester over things and our thoughts get stuck in it. That’s why we can then take responsibility for how we feel about something rather than making it somebody else’s fault, “If this could change, then I could,” or “If only this didn’t happen, then I would…” It’s this sense of like, “This is the situation, this is where we’re at, this is the status, this is what’s going on right now,” and acknowledging that and accepting that, then we can go into action and actually decide what we’re going to do about it. That’s what it means to take responsibility for something. I actually call it my Triple-A, acknowledge what’s going on, accept what’s going on, and then choose to ask what you need so that you can act.

I love that.

That’s the responsibility piece, it’s the, “Nobody else is going to come save me, nobody else is going to come fix it, I’m the one who needs to do this,” whether it’s somebody else’s doing, fault, or whatever, it doesn’t matter because if we can take back the responsibility for not only how we feel but also how we want to feel, then we are already unstuck.

Is that the third one? Because you said self-commitment, self-awareness, and self-responsibility?


You said there are three components, can you repeat that?

That’s the Triple-A, acknowledge what’s going on, accept that this situation is the way it is, don’t wish it was different, and then ask for what you need so that you can act accordingly.

Acknowledge, accept, and ask for what you need. I love it. What’s the fourth one?

The fourth one is E, that’s self-expression and that is that we can speak up about what’s working and what’s not working for us, that we can speak up about what we need. That doesn’t mean that other people will have to take care of our needs, but my example is sometimes we will sit at the breakfast table in my house and my mother would get more and more angry. At first, I was like, “Why is she getting more and more angry? She’s like really upset,” and finally she burst out, “Can’t you see? I need the jam.” I was like, “No, I didn’t.” She’s like, “My bread is empty.” I was like, “How do I know that you want jam on it?” and she goes, “I always put jam on it.” I was like, “Okay, why don’t you just ask to pass the jam?” 

Looking from within and asking yourself the right questions will bring you the best answers. Let your inner critic guide you and not diminish you. Click To Tweet

It’s this idea that we believe that other people have to understand and know what we need rather than just saying, “Pass the jam.” We’re responsible for getting our needs met, and if we can see it that way not because we have to only take care of ourselves and not have other people help us, but we have to ask for help if we need help.

I love that, we are responsible to get our needs met, nobody else is. If you don’t speak up, if you don’t have self-confidence to take care of yourself and speak up, which is a part of self-care, self-responsibility, self-awareness, and all the good stuff that you were speaking about, if we don’t ask for what we want, we can’t get it. If we don’t communicate what we need, we can’t get it. People are not mind readers, your partner is not a mind reader, your neighbor is not a mind reader, your best friend is not a mind reader, your mentor is not a mind reader. You guys speak up.

That’s a really important piece. A lot of times, especially women have had a problem with asking for what they need and asking for help because we’re being pushed into this category of being needy and we think that it means that we can’t take care of ourselves, and that’s not what this is about at all. It’s not about asking for help because we can’t handle it, it’s about asking for help because we can get a better result.

Yes, I love that. Amazing.

That’s what leadership is really about. My dad always used to say to me, “A good leader isn’t somebody who has the answer, a good leader is the one who knows how to find the answer.

The best resource is resourcefulness. I like that. I live my life by that.

Those are some of the small things that if we can change our mind about some of these things, we get unstuck. If we can learn how to see things through a different lens, we can get unstuck. If we can challenge ourselves and our belief system and wonder if there isn’t another way to see it, then we can get unstuck, and also asking ourselves, “Is this the truth or is it just my truth?”

I love that.

Because it may be that this is just our truth because we haven’t seen that there is another version.

Somebody showed me a phone and the phone has two sides, but depends on where you see the phone, you see something completely different. There is never one truth, everybody has a different truth, it depends on your situation, your environment, the way you see things, the way you grew up, your old traumas, all that will shape your truth. Your truth is not completely the truth, there is no absolute truth.

Right. Again, I keep referring back to my dad, but I learned so many things about how to see the world differently from him, and one thing he always said was, “There’s your truth, there’s my truth, and there’s something in between.”

You got gifts from both your mom and your dad.

I got so many gifts and I keep carrying them with me and it’s a way for me to honor their lives, it’s a way for me to honor my childhood and how I grew up, and all those things that at the time I couldn’t see, but the longer I live my life, the more I can see those things. Therefore, to me that means that I have more gratitude, I have more love, and I have more things that I feel that my life is richer because of all of that.

Let’s touch a little bit about self-care as far as eating, exercising, and taking care of your body, because our mind and body are linked, they are connected. You can’t just live from the head up, you are in this physical vessel while you’re here on earth, and you got to take care of that vessel.

Yes. I think that part is back to the self-commitment, self-responsibility, self-awareness, and self-expression is really all wrapped in that as well, because what happens when we choose how to eat, it comes back to, “What is the relationship I have with myself right now? Am I frustrated or upset about something, there’s a good chance I’m not going to eat something very healthy? Or have I not planned my day very well, there’s a good chance I’m just going to do something that’s convenient instead of something that will help me feel good in my body?” I think a lot of the ways and a lot of our habits and our automatic habits are built around the relationship we have with ourselves and the messages we give ourselves all the time. That doesn’t mean that we don’t also need to know the food knowledge.

Eat to Feel Full And Nourish Yourself for Good by Jeanette Bronée

One of the things I do with both my online program and in my little book Eat to Feel Full: And Nourish Yourself for Good, I talk about the food knowledge. It’s not about what’s right and wrong, it’s about how food affects you. If we learn where we get energy from, how do we feel more clarity, how do we take care of our bodies in such a way that we can succeed, then we change our relationship with not only our own bodies, but we actually get what we want from how we take care of ourselves. A lot of times, we think of self-care as, “Oh, I need a treat because I worked hard today,” that’s my self-care, “I’m going to go and I’m going to have pizza, chocolate cake because that’s my treat, that’s my self-care. I’m just going to crash on the couch.”

I love chocolate cake.

Yes, I do too, however, for me, that may be a treat but it can also be a mistreat.

For sure.

It’s about mindfulness of being like, “Okay, how much is just enough? Is this a treat because I feel sorry for myself, I feel bad about myself, or is it because I’m rewarding myself? What is it really a treat for?” because the real treat should be that we acknowledge ourselves for a good job done or that we tell ourselves, “Wow, you worked really hard today and I’m sorry that it didn’t work out the way you were hoping for.” That’s self-care.

I love what you said, “Is it a treat or mistreat? That’s so cool. Everybody can remember that.

Yeah, it’s this idea that, “Yes, I will take a bath,” and that feels like a treat and self-care, but that is not going to fix my problems. Self-care is what sustains us through hard times. It’s not something we do so that we can self-soothe after, excuse my French, s*** hit the fan. It’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s fine, take a bath, relax, for sure.

And I really believe in those bath times because when you relax, your mind relaxes, and you soothe yourself, you open up to receive the downloads. It’s going to be a form of meditation, but you’re right, you don’t want to do it as an escape, you want to do it as a tool to move yourself forward.

Yes, and do it again. If that’s your only self-care, then you’re struggling. If that is what you think self-care is, then you’re struggling all day long, all day long you’re struggling to figure out how to take care of yourself and be who you want to be, be the most powerful you can be, and all of those things. If you are not supporting yourself all day long with the self-care we talked about—the self-awareness, self-commitment, self-responsibility, self-expression—if you’re not doing that all day, there’s a good chance you need that bath at night because you’re exhausted. It’s a whole different version of it, I totally believe in the bath, I totally believe in a good meal.

I just want to be in one right now, bubbles, with some candles.

I totally believe in all of those things, but it doesn’t replace the self-care, that’s called the self-relationship.

Oh, my God, you are amazing and there are so many amazing tools and tips that you shared. Before we say goodbye for now, what are you three top tips to living a Stellar Life?

Ask yourself better questions. Ask yourself better questions that help you spark the curiosity about what’s possible. The other one is to be utterly dedicated and committed to your own success, to your own joy, to your own happiness because that’s what self-care really is, is to be dedicated and committed to figuring out how you can support yourself every single day, not rely on other people to do it for you. Rely on yourself to figure out how to make it happen. It may mean ask other people for help, but they’re not responsible for you, you are responsible for you. The last piece is speak up. Speak up when something is not working, because if you’re just sweeping things under the rug or avoiding things, it’s going to nag, and if you don’t speak up, even if the truth hurts, even if things are difficult to discuss, it gets worse the longer you wait.

I love that. That’s beautiful. Awesome. Jeanette, where can people contact you, get your programs, coaching, your book, and get in touch with you?

My company’s called Path for Life and there’s both personal programs and corporate company wellness programs there. There is a blog that’s free, a lot of information. You can sign up for the online program through there, find my book through there, which you can find on Amazon as well. Then for corporate consulting and speaking engagements, it’s jeanettebronee.com, that’s basically my name but you can also find that through pathforlife.com.

Great. Thank you, Jeanette. That was incredible.

Thank you so much. I loved our conversation. I think we went deep, didn’t we?

We did. It was pretty awesome.

Having conversations that matter, that’s what life is about, right?

Yes. Thank you and thank you, my sweet listeners. Ask yourself better questions, be committed to your own happiness, speak up even when the truth hurts, and have a Stellar Life. This is Orion, till next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Stay curious and never stop learning. Live a life that is constantly elevated by embracing every moment. 
{✓} Find outlets that can help express your creativity. This is a great way to keep your brain healthy and active.  
{✓} Be adaptable to change. If there is one thing you should always remember, it is that change is the only constant in this world. In order for us to survive, we must be able to deal with change gracefully every time.
{✓} Look at life from a different perspective. If you’re feeling stuck, shift your mindset to gain clarity.
{✓} Continuously reflect on your life and see what can be improved or diminished. Self-evaluation can help you monitor your growth and find your path.
{✓} Listen to your inner voice. Sometimes a gut feeling is all it takes to change your life.
{✓} Acknowledge your gifts and strengths. Let these empower you into becoming the person you are meant to be.
{✓} Forgive yourself and refrain from self-criticism. Harsh words do nothing but stop you from becoming who you truly are.
{✓} Stay committed to the growth mindset. It will be challenging but the rewards are worth it. 
{✓} Check out more of Jeanette Bronee’s inspiring content on her website, Path for Life.

Links and Resources

About Jeanette Bronée

Performance Strategist, International TEDx & Keynote Speaker, Author, CEO & Founder of Path for Life Inc.

Jeanette helps leaders and companies rethink performance by asking the Right Why. She teaches them how to create a culture of care by unlocking what truly drives performance, engagement and motivation from the inside out. For more than 15 years, she has coached clients and delivered speeches about how physical health and emotional-mental wellbeing affect performance and prevent stress and burnout.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Orion Talmay, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

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