I’m a new hire at WMG. In the past I worked for two authors for long stretches of time so I wasn’t always getting to see a wider slice of the books I should be reading! When I joined WMG that changed as I became part of a larger team.
First I read The Alzheimer’s Solution by Dr. Dean and Dr. Ayesha Sherzai in preparation for my first year-long assignment at WMG. So many things they were saying hit home, and my list of things to quote was huge. They advise that lifestyle change can stop brain disease, but not just food, not just exercise. They stress a body health = brain health approach. This was meaningful to me because I was diagnosed with a less common form of Diabetes Type 2 when I was 27. Recently, I’d been hearing Alzheimer’s Disease called Diabetes Type 3, so it made me start to pay closer attention to how I was treating my body. (And man, did Team Sherzai have energy on our team calls and in all the work they could accomplish! And they had super happy crazy smart kids, so they were doing something right it seemed.)
But, at the same time, I didn’t know how to make it stick or keep up the changes they recommended. In fact, I’d previously worked for authors who recommend healthy habits, I’d read studies telling me to exercise or stop drinking diet soda (oh Coke Zero!), and it didn’t help me make long-term changes.
The Second Connection
Enter Gretchen Rubin and her Four Tendencies. I haven’t been on a project for Gretchen (yet), but I’ve been a fan since her Happiness at Home book came out. Reading her latest book, The Four Tendencies, was a breakthrough moment for me.The idea is that we all have different motivations for our actions. We can be rebels (you told me to do it? Well, nope!), questioners (but why mom?), obligers who can meet outer expectations (yes, I can make an awesome marketing plan happen for my clients, but I can’t implement one for my own business!), and upholders, as evidenced by Gretchen herself, who just do it because they want to and that’s that. She kept trying all these recommended habits to make her life happier and people kept asking her how she kept it up. “I just do it” she would think — until enough people asked her that question and she honed the four tendencies rubric.
I’m definitely an obliger/rebel: I can tweet about good habits for a client but it doesn’t help me make that yoga class when my to-do list seems more important than exercise. The rebel side of me struggles doing something I’m told to do. I also question the whys of the request. But I’d never been able to put my finger on the problem of my lack of willpower and discipline when I came to my own body/life until I read her books!
The Third Connection
Then I got to work on a small project for Courtney Carver. I listened to the audio version of her book Soulful Simplicity over a few days while working on design projects. Her message of Soulful Simplicity made so many further connections for me in this journey. Courtney was diagnosed with MS (what Gretchen would call a lightning bolt moment) and decided she wanted to change her entire lifestyle. She started capsule wardrobe-ing (not a word, I know, but look up Project 333, pretty cool) and worked with her husband to downsize all areas of her life.
My life had parallels to Courtney’s: In 2011, I separated from my children’s father. I wanted to keep our suburban home to provide stability for the kids. Then I lost a contract and suddenly I couldn’t pay the mortgage. Turns out this was an angel push to downsize and partner up full time with Mark, the amazing man I’m married to now. The kids came back from spring break at their dad’s in 2013 and announced they “wanted to sleep at Mark’s.” We took it as a sign and never slept at the old house again. But oh my…the stuff. Weekly (looking back it felt like daily) trips to Goodwill to drop off stuff. We needed a storage unit to free up the bedroom the kids would share. It was truly a farcical exercise in moving stuff around, ala George Carlin. So when our storage unit rent magically jumped after six months, we knew we had to do something.
And as Courtney writes–all the stuff around us did NOT help me, my husband, or the kids find a sense of peace. I’d also read Marie Kondo (not a WMG client, but Courtney references her) on only keeping things that bring joy in your house. I had made a sign for my front door when my penultimate husband left that said “we welcome joy”—so it clicked that by getting rid of stuff we would be making room for more calm and more joy.
Courtney ALSO told me to eat some greens at every meal shortly after she explained why I need to get rid of clutter. Her message was connecting the healthy eating habits and exercise of the Sherzai’s with the chaos and clutter of my home (and mind).
Click. It was like my brain finally put the pieces together. Rebel Alexis: you know better, stop being stubborn. Cluttered Alexis: let’s keep a counter clear for a day, you can do it. And Diabetic Alexis: what you’ve been doing isn’t working. Implement the Sherzai’s NEURO plan.
I’m thrilled to be making these connections between WMG authors and my own life. It was a no-brainer for me to join the team when asked. It’s a dream job to help hone and share worthy messages and one I hope to do for a long time to come.