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Ep. 58 – Julie Fischer – Thriving Mindsets

Mich Bondesio chats to Julie Fischer about thriving mindsets, morning routines, and how creating cadence and intentional productivity are both rooted in positive psychology principles.

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Creating Cadence Podcast Transcript – Episode 58

Published 11th March 2024

Mich Bondesio:

[00:00:00] Hi, and welcome to Creating Cadence, a podcast for life and work in motion. I’m your host Mich Bondesio, a writer, speaker, coach, and solo entrepreneur. I’m also the author of The Cadence Effect. My purpose with my work is to be a provoker of thought, change, and learning. And my aim is to help high-achievers stuck on the toxic treadmill of overwork to transform your approach to life, work, relationships and business.

So we can all activate more of our potential. And perform better in every part of our life. At a cadence that’s more suitable to us. Despite this fast paced world we live in.

This is episode 58, the fourth of Season Nine.

Today, I’m chatting with Julie Fischer.

And you are in for a treat as she goes deep on the importance of mindset and positive emotion and how they connect with this need to create cadence.

But first, a quick update about the Cadence Coaching Programme.

The programme is going live in mid April, 2024. And the doors open from next week, 18th of March, to book your place. Spaces are limited for the full programme, but there will also be another option to engage with this learning and transformation opportunity. So, if you want to be the first to hear about the launch, drop me an email at hello@creatingcadence.co.

Now, I know I’ve been a bit late in getting the programme out. My calendar has been so full with project work over the last month, which is a nice thing to have, but it’s meant I’ve had to adjust my expectations on what was actually possible for me, in the time I had. So to those of you, who’ve been eagerly and patiently waiting, you know who you are, thanks so much for bearing with me. All will be revealed soon.

And now onto my interview with Julie Fischer.

Julie Fischer is an ICF Professional Certified Coach. And Applied Positive Psychology Practitioner, wellbeing facilitator, and advocate. She’s also the host of The Nine to Thrive Wellbeing Podcast.

With over 25 years of sales and marketing, fundraising, and special event experience, combined with her love of cultivating meaningful connections, asking powerful questions, and digging deep, Julie helps create awareness, uncover and shift mindsets, inspire action, and helps individuals and teams to thrive and flourish at work and in life. She creates innovative workshops, retreats, and one-to-one coaching experiences that are designed to increase wellbeing, and help people set and meet their most audacious goals.

This is an amazing episode.

Julie is so generous in sharing both her learnings in the field of positive psychology, and her experience of how these things have played out in her own life, too.

We talk about lots of interesting aspects of self-leadership. From the challenges we can face as solo entrepreneurs. To the role of positive emotions in helping us to thrive. To how strong mindsets support our creative problem solving skills. And the importance of having daily rituals and routines that fill our cup. And the good news is there’s heaps of science out there to back all of this up.

At the end of the episode, I highlight and explore a few of the many pertinent points that Julie raises, so stick around for those, too. I’ve also shared lots of links in the show notes to things that are discussed and referenced in the course of the episode. I know you’re going to get so much goodness out of this one. So let’s dive in.

Welcome Julie. I’m so pleased to have you on the show.

Julie Fischer:

[00:03:24] I’m so happy to be here and so excited for our conversation, Mish.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:03:29] That’s awesome. So Julie, some context for my audience. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Danielle Hughes, of More Than Words Marketing, who has also been on the podcast. And you then kindly invited me to have a fantastic conversation with you about how balance is bullshit and cadence is the way to go on your recently launched podcast, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And I will share a link to that in our show notes.

Now, because of that podcast conversation, I wanted to get you onto my show because the work that we do overlaps to an extent. And I was particularly interested to talk more about your focus on positive psychology, because mindset plays a really important role in our ability to create cadence in our days and to build more momentum in our life.

So we’re going to chat about that today. But before we get there, let’s set the scene. For the benefit of my audience, tell us a bit more about your current life and work context. Where are you based? And what do you do for work and play, fun and financial freedom?

Julie Fischer:

[00:04:27] I am in Chicago, Illinois in the United States and professionally, I am a coach. I am a Positive Psychology practitioner. I bring that to my coaching, and then I also bring that to facilitating workplace wellbeing programmes. I would identify myself as a wellbeing advocate, almost warrior, and I am the host of Nine to Thrive, The Well-being Podcast, as you mentioned, which you’ve been a guest on earlier this year.

I am a mother of three grown daughters who are launched, which feels, I’m going to be honest, strange, to be really, you know, at a stage where one is engaged and the two other are really well on their way to living really independent lives. I have a husband of 33 years. I love pickleball, I love gardening, I love cooking, and I love connecting with friends.

Probably connection with people is one of my biggest tools for wellbeing.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:05:37] Aw, that’s so lovely to hear. And it sounds like although you are now technically an empty nester, you have managed to fill your life with lots of amazing activities that support you in lots of different ways. So based on where you’re at in life and work, how does this context support you or challenge you?

What are the upsides and what are the learning moments you’re experiencing where you’re at right now?

Julie Fischer:

[00:06:02] There has been so much learning for me in becoming an entrepreneur and specifically a solopreneur. I, like you, definitely was part of a hustle culture for a long time and I’ve done a lot of reflection around why I was sort of on a workaholic hustle track for a long time. And I think it began because I never identified myself as a student in school. And yet I was always a really hard worker.

I had a regular after school job when I was 14 years old, and I really identified my worthiness through what I was doing. And so it was really easy for me to get swept up, especially when I was working for other people, really easy to get swept up. And I was in sales and marketing. So there was always like a financial goal, you know, you’re chasing that number. And then I was in nonprofit raising money and you’re chasing that number.

And, it’s really interesting. I see the ways that so much of that was running from perhaps really hard emotions that were happening in my life. And once I stopped, and it was really brought upon by a family crisis, once I stopped and paused and allowed myself to really sink into the things that were really hard in my life and the great joys in my life, something shifted for me.

And so moving into entrepreneurship and solopreneurship has had this really interesting effect on my cadence. There are times that I can feel that sense of myself, that old self kicking into gear and feeling like I want to hustle, hustle, hustle. And then, there are times being a solopreneur that I struggle with because I’m all by myself and I don’t have that external accountability.

I struggle with getting motivated and that’s when I can really get off course and look for all sorts of distractions that keep me away from what I really want to be doing. So it’s been an interesting road for me.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:08:25] Such important points that you raise there about embarking on that solopreneur journey because it does require a different set of skills that you might gain when you’re working in a corporate environment or in that hustle culture working for somebody else.

The wonderful thing is that we get to redesign how we want to work, but it also requires a lot more discipline to help us stay on track with that and also create those spaces for reflection and to support ourselves. You know, that traditional programming that’s built in around what we think we have to do. Yeah, it’s hard to let go of that sometimes. So I really appreciate you making that point.

Julie Fischer:

[00:08:58] It’s hard to let go. And the other thing I want to say here is that one of the things that’s been really hard for me is creating space for creation. So when you come out of a corporate world and you have a to do list, right? You, there are, there are things that need to get done all the time. And a lot of times though, those are pre-prescribed, those tasks, because the goal is pre-prescribed. When you’re a solopreneur and an entrepreneur, you need time to actually create. And that probably has been the most fun for me and also the most challenging.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:09:40] Correct. Just an aside related to that, I was having a conversation with somebody earlier this week about an article that was written many years ago by Paul Graham, who’s head of Y Combinator. And he spoke about maker time and manager time and how they’re very, very different things.

And that ties in very clearly with what you’re saying as well, is very often creatives need time and space to be able to think, and develop, and synthesise, and come up with the solutions. But when we’re on manager time, that’s hustle, that’s meetings, that’s cutting up your time into tiny little pieces.

Creatives can’t think that way. And so it’s about how do we create the space for that within our day. So super point. And I will link to that article as well.

Julie Fischer:

[00:10:22] Yes, I love that. Yes, I’d like to read that. Yes.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:10:25] Definitely. So let’s talk a little bit about habits, routines and rituals and how they may have changed based on what you’re doing now.

What do you do on a daily basis to support yourself so that you can show up as your best self in your work and life? Do you have any particular regular activities aside from the pickleball and gardening that you spoke about that you engage in to support your well being, creativity and productivity?

Julie Fischer:

[00:10:48] I do. Like you, Mish, I am a big morning routine person. I get up, I drink hot water with lemon, to start my day. I start my day in quiet. I meditate. I journal. And then I move my body. That’s me. I’m a big early morning exerciser. I try to do yoga twice a week. I will go out for a walk. I have a dog. I get out early in the morning and walk my dog.

So my morning routine is sacred for me. It’s become a huge part of my, I’ve ritualised it. So I notice when I even skip part of it. I notice that I feel a little off.

Movement of my body and being out in nature is huge for me. I, even though I live in Chicago, I get out every day.

I have a dog, so I have to get out every day. But even beyond that, I, probably in the last five years, really, really have honed my idea of savouring the outdoors, even when it’s cold, even when it’s gray, I can’t change that. And I know that I get a dopamine hit every time I go outside.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:12:10] Yeah, same. I was just reading an article yesterday about the power of walking on our brain health and on memory and how actually walking at least 30 minutes every day outdoors is really essential for our mental health. So thank you for raising that. It is important and I love how you have ritualised these habits.

They are inbred basically into what you do every day now. And I talk about rituals in my book, The Cadence Effect, and how you can employ them, not just before and after your work day, but actually throughout your work day too. I think they’re a really important way to help us create cadence.

So thank you for speaking to that.

Julie Fischer:

[00:12:47] I agree.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:12:49] So, talking about cadence, this is a show about the ways that we can create better cadence and how we live and work so that we can keep moving forwards at a meaningful and manageable pace that supports us better.

But how we see and approach creating cadence is also a personal thing. So, first from a personal perspective, what does that concept of creating cadence mean for you in your life?

Julie Fischer:

[00:13:12] I love that word. You know, you and I have talked about this. I use the word harmony a lot because I do believe balance is bullshit. And that’s not what we’re striving for. I think because we are constantly moving, hopefully forward, right? You know, cadence, finding that right cadence and the ebb and flow of that, um, you know, for me, that’s been interesting.

Transitioning to empty nest life has been interesting for me because I do have more space and it’s also challenged me, Mish, to fill that space with things that are filling me up. So I have pretty, I have pretty good boundaries now around the times that I want to work and, you know, how much I want to work.

And I also want to make sure that when I’m not working, I am doing things that are creating joy for me, that are creating more connection for me. The things that I know that I need to do to to thrive and flourish in this really complex world we’re living in. So for me, I’ve made a lot of conscious choices.

For instance, I try to have coffee with a friend at least once every other week, you know, and it’s on my calendar. So, I’ve, I’ve become much more intentional about the things that I do that create my sense of harmony, my sense of cadence, the right cadence for me. When work is busy, am I making sure that I’m also tending to my wellbeing?

When work slows down, can I just grab a couple extra moments? So that’s how I, in this season of my life, that’s how I’m creating the cadence that’s right for me.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:15:09] That’s lovely. And it’s interesting that you referred to it as an ebb and flow as well, because I have had a few other people on the podcast who see it in a similar way. It’s not static in terms of it’s one thing and it remains the same at all times. It alters based on the needs of your days and your weeks and your months and knowing what things you need to support you and fill you up and keep you going in times of high stress Or when you have more space and you and time to add more of the things that fill you up.

Julie Fischer:

[00:15:38] Exactly, I think of it, when I think of cadence, you and I have talked about this, I think of cycling, and I think of it as you know, you’re in a different gear when you’re climbing a hill and, you know, the cadence of your pedal is different than when you’re going downhill and you feel like woo-ooo, you know, and I really do think of it that way.

And, you know, what are the tools and strategies that we’re using to climb the hills? And, you know, what are we doing to enjoy that downhill thrill?

Mich Bondesio:

[00:16:09] I love that. Yes, because we do need to make space for the joy and the fun and the delight and the adventure and excitement as well.

Julie Fischer:

[00:16:15] Absolutely.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:16:17] Absolutely. So in your bio, you talk about helping people to reach their most audacious goals, which I love. And I want to look at how cadence applies in the work that you do.

If we look at this question through the lens of your specialty and experience with positive psychology, how does this way of thinking and working help your clients to build and maintain momentum in their life and business?

Julie Fischer:

[00:16:39] Mm, so when I came to positive psychology, I learned sort of the original model, which was founded by Martin Seligman at, from the University of Pennsylvania, which was the PERMA model, which basically said there are these five pillars. And, actually who the person I trained with at the Flourishing Center, she added a sixth pillar, which is vitality.

But, the original pillars were positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement. And basically the science was saying that we need a little bit of each of these to actually really thrive in the world. And so, the body of work that I do is, it’s almost, you could look at those pillars, Mish, and say, that is about creating the cadence.

Because, first we need to know how to raise our own positive emotions. In that is mindset. In that is creativity. Like the questions you’re asking me, what do you do to bring joy into your life? Do you have a gratitude practice? And there’s so much science around this. There’s a great book by Sonja Lyubomirsky called The How of Happiness, which has 12 scientifically proven tools and strategies to increase our level of happiness.

You know, there’s mindset. I’m a huge fan of Carol Dweck’s work around mindset. So do we have the ability and the tools and strategies to raise positive emotions? Why do we need to raise positive emotions? Because another theory is by a woman named Barbara Fredrickson, which is called ‘the Broaden and Build Theory’, which basically says when we are in a negative spiral of emotions.

And you think about it, usually when we’re in negative emotion, we’re in threat mode. Our rational brain and our problem-solving brain does not come on board. So we need the ability to shift and get to a place of positive emotion, so we can become creative problem solvers. So that’s number one. The second thing is engagement flow activities.

Engagement also involves knowing our strengths. and being able to have a strengths mindset. So again, we’re wired to look at our deficits. Can we actually consciously make that shift and, and think, no, no, I’m going to actually utilise the things I’m really good at. And I’m going to keep working on strengthening those muscles, because it is like strengthening a muscle.

The next one is relationships, we are wired for connection, at both work and in our personal lives, right? There’s a loneliness epidemic out here right now. The Surgeon General in the United States talked about that in 2023. So we need connection. Again, we were born into tribes of people and and we need our people. And I would say also we need high quality connections with the work that we do. Also, we need to feel like we work with people that we trust.

Then meaning, we’re meaning makers. You know, that’s how we differ from animals. We want to make meaning. We want to make sense of our world.

Tied in with meaning is purpose. You know, people who have a strong sense of big P purpose, I would say the impact we want to make in the world, tend to be people who can achieve that cadence and that ability to thrive.

And then finally, achievement, which I think we all know what It feels like to hit the ball out of the park or reach the goal, or yeah, run the marathon, whatever, whatever that is. We all know that thrill of achieving something. And of course, in the context of cadence, it’s how do we keep that achievement in line with all of the other things that we’re doing, so that we don’t over index.

In, you know, in the U. S, there are some people who don’t talk about achievement anymore as it relates to positive psychology. And I don’t agree with that, because I do think achievement builds self efficacy. It builds our sense of self confidence. It builds our sense of hope for the future. There are so many things we get from achievement. It’s that can we keep achievement in line, that we’re not burning ourselves out, and at all costs, achieving things that are such a detriment to the other parts of our lives.

So that’s the science. And so I would say the entire body of work is really about creating cadence because I think creating cadence is what leads to thriving.

And then vitality is the piece that is the newer piece probably in the last 20 years. And, I think we need to include this, that speaks to sleep, nutrition, and movement.

So it’s the body piece. And I think those also are essential pieces to the cadence that we have in our lives and our ability to thrive.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:21:47] That’s an incredible explanation. So helpful for me and definitely for my listeners too. And I will include links to all of the references that you’ve made.

A couple of things that stuck out for me.

Yes, the vitality piece ties in, in terms of my Cadence Canvas framework, I talk about building strong foundations. Those are the things that get us started.

You’ve spoken about mindset in the context of thinking from a positive perspective, you know, I talk about how our situation is our state of mind. If we are feeling negative about a situation that affects how we’re able to take action to change the situation.

As you say, when we’re in a reactive firefighting mode, we can’t respond in the same way or think as creatively or constructively as we could, if we’re thinking more expansively and more open mindedly about the possibilities and opportunities that we may have.

Fantastic. I just love what you shared there. Thank you so much.

Now, do you have any words of wisdom or key learnings you want to share based on your experience and your journey through life so far?

Julie Fischer:

[00:22:46] I would say keep learning. I think mindset is one of the most important things and tools that we have at our disposal.

Life is going to keep happening and things are going to happen that you have absolutely no control over. In fact, most things in your life you do not have control over. And recognising that you have the ability to choose the way you see something, and in choosing the way you see it, you are freeing yourself from reactivity and constantly staying open and curious to possibilities, to points of view, to ways that life works, and the way people interact and respond in this really complicated world that we’re living in.

I think for me has been probably one of the biggest benefits, transitions that I have made that has been so beneficial to me.

Can I just constantly have a possibility mindset? Can I not get stuck in binary thinking? And, because when that happens, when we can shift our mindset, then we’re allowing for all of these possibilities to unfold.

We’re allowing for creativity. We’re allowing for our ability to look at our strengths. We’re allowing to see meaning in things that can feel really hard, right? So I’m going to say mindset is probably my biggest life lesson and the biggest gift.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:24:33] That’s wonderful. And, I think tied to that as well is, with that kind of mindset you’re talking about, it’s allowing and enabling you to create the space that’s needed to see those possibilities, to think about the solutions, to deal with the challenges. Very often we don’t create enough space, whether that’s space from the perspective of time or emotional space or physical space.

We don’t in our lives so much, but if we focused on that more intentionally, and there’s lots of different ways that you could do that meditation, journaling, et cetera, I think that’s a really important point that you’ve raised. So thank you.

Julie Fischer:

[00:25:12] Yes, I’m a huge fan of future journaling. You know, I have a part of my journaling that I write, how I see myself in the future. And you know, just writing that down, you know, Henry Ford has that famous quote, whether you believe you can or you can’t, both are true. So I write things.

I think I shared this with you last year. I was writing all year: I’m a podcast host. And guess what? Now I’m a podcast host. You have to believe that things are possible in order for those things to happen.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:25:47] Absolutely. Such helpful advice. Thank you so much. So as we’re ending off now, Julie, please tell my listeners where they can find you online.

Julie Fischer:

[00:25:55] They can find me at JulieFischerCoaching.com and it’s Julie Fischer F I S C H E R coaching dot com. You can find me on LinkedIn at Julie Fischer. You can find me on Instagram at Julie Fischer underscore coaching and you can find me in Apple or Spotify at Nine to Thrive, The Wellbeing Podcast.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:26:20] That’s awesome. And we’ll share links to all of those as well. So thanks again, Julie. I really appreciate having you on the show today.

Julie Fischer:

[00:26:27] Thank you so much for having me, Mish. I’ve loved our conversation.

Mich Bondesio:

[00:26:31] Pleasure.

Big, thanks to Julie for her wonderful insights. I particularly enjoyed her considered explanation of the PERMA model of Positive Psychology. And how every element of that model can be connected to the concepts of creating cadence and intentional productivity. Isn’t it exciting that there’s science out there to prove that this stuff actually works, people!

So there’s three points that I wanted to focus on from this conversation. And those are beliefs, morning routines, and creating space.

When it comes to beliefs and the power of thinking positively, Julie mentioned something profoundly important. She said,

“We have to believe that things are possible in order for them to happen.”

Developing the skills to get ourselves into a place of positive emotion has heaps of positive benefits. It helps us to see the possibilities and opportunities around us and also to find more solutions to our challenges.

One of my key mottoes is “What if I can?” It’s a question that has helped me shift my perspective in so many different situations. I’ve also talked often about how our situation is our state of mind. If we’re in a bad mood or in survival mode that colours our perception of what’s possible.

So as Julie indicates, our mindset is really everything. But the good news is that we have the power and we can learn the skills to literally change our minds.

The second point is about morning routines.

And a bit of a disclaimer here for parents of small children. What am I about to say may not apply in your case. But Julie used the word “sacred” when she described her morning routine. And based on my experience, I would wholeheartedly agree with her in terms of the benefits of creating this sacred space.

Those first one or two hours in the day are often pretty much the only time that we may have, that is ours to do the things that nurture our body, feed our soul, and prepare our minds before the busy-ness of the day takes over, and we succumb to the demands of other people. But often what we’re doing in those precious first moments is reaching for the device that takes us down the rabbit doom scroll.

Creating a morning routine is personal to you. It doesn’t have to be an early morning routine in that you’re getting up at sparrow fart. And it doesn’t have to be a lengthy routine jam packed with things either, that just defeats the object. But putting aside some morning time to do something -that could be journaling, or reading a book learning, or exercising, or meditating – is an opportunity to set you up right for the day.

This time can be a really precious sanctuary against the busy-ness of the rest of our lives. So, if you’re not already doing this, consider how you might be able to create this sacred space in your morning.

Which brings me finally to talk about space.

Julie mentioned that becoming a solopreneur made her realize a need to create space, both for creation time, and also for fulfilling activities that create joy and connection.

And I spoke about the difference between maker and manager time when scheduling our tasks and understanding the types of work we need to undertake as part of our roles.

In my book, The Cadence Effect, creating space is one of the three key components of creating cadence alongside place and momentum.

Creating space means doing less in the time we have. It means making space in your day for white space to think, to process, to craft, to create, to rest, and /or to deeply connect with our thoughts, ideas, the people in our lives who are important, and the places where we feel connected.

If you’re a creative problem solver like I am, and most people actually are, the space is essential because that’s how our brains work. For all of us in the world, it’s also essential for our mental health. Especially in this time of digital overload and overwork, which are causing havoc with our brains. And there are some recent studies which prove this, too.

And funnily enough, in Cal Newport’s new book that has just come out called Slow Productivity, he also cites “doing fewer things” and “working at a natural, varied pace” as two of the three big ideas that he’s sharing in this book.

Those right there also happen to be integral components of creating cadence and intentional productivity, as I write about in my book. And just a side note… while I’m a huge fan of Cal Newport’s work, the Amazon sales page intimates that Cal coined the term “slow productivity”, which is not entirely true. That term has actually been around for about 10 years, and I also reference it in my book.

Now, I’ve just started reading Cal’s book to see what I might be able to learn from him to help me going forward. So I might share more thoughts on this in a later episode.

But for now, what’s reassuring is to know that this concept of creating cadence isn’t something foreign, it’s needed. And even those big, important people out there, those thought leaders that people pay attention to, they’re starting to talk about this stuff too.

So that’s my 2 cents on these topics raised as part of today’s super conversation with Julie Fischer. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

I’ll be back soon with another interview, but a few things before you go.

You can find out more about my book at thecadenceeffect.com. And helpful reviews are always welcome to help the book get found by those who need it.

If you liked the show, please share the love by rating it, where you listen to it. (Apple, Spotify, Google Play, or Amazon Music.)

And you can also support the making of Creating Cadence on Patreon or Buy Me A Coffee.

So thanks for listening. Until next time, keep moving forwards with courage, curiosity, and cadence. Bye for now.

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