Alyssa’s Greatest Hits

IT HAPPENED! Freddie and Alyssa hosted the Zoom chat with the 3 winners – including me! It was a blast! Alyssa and Freddie are genuine, sweet people. We talked about DAYS of course, but also theater, public health, hometowns, pets…a wide range! It was so nice to have conversations with new people. Like we were strangers chatting each other up in line. I long for those pre-COVID moments, the chance encounters with strangers that could go either way – a friendly conversation that makes your night or a dude shouting at you to suck their d!ck. (Do I look like I’m into baby food? F*ck you!)

You know what’s weird? Now that I’ve met Freddie and Alyssa (and we are legit following each other on Instagram!) it feels like it’s time to end this chapter of my journey.

It’s like I see them at a distance and I’m not sure but they look familiar so I start towards them. As I get closer the anticipation builds because I know them! I finally reach them and HUGS! I release my embrace and we laugh and chat, but I’m headed somewhere and I’ve got to go. And we part. I leave happy, taking the warmth of their hugs with me.

I didn’t thank them during the chat like I’d planned. It felt weird with others on the Zoom – they were there just as DAYS fans, not The Pivot Principle. Instead, I sent a brief DM after:

Thank you Alyssa and Freddie! If you wondered if something good would come of posting The Pivot Principle on YouTube, IT DID. It gave me the push to change my life. From unused potential to being kinetic. From frozen with fear to giving-no-sh*ts if I fail because there is value in trying. From C activity to A activity – wow, it’s the best way to learn. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for writing it and sharing it!

So, as I pivot (see what I did there?) from effusively blogging about my millennial gurus, I give you a gift: Alyssa’s best quotes. May she upend your world like she did mine. Drop some knowledge, Alyssa!

The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.
Introduction

Any time you catch yourself about to say, “I don’t have the time for _____,” stop and say, “_____ is not a priority.”
Ch. 5, Pivot on Purpose

To reach new heights, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Ch. 1, Pivot from Fear

Only use positive words when speaking, especially to yourself.
Ch. 3, Pivot your Mindset

If all you do is try and speak your life into existence without action, you will see zero progress. But the moment you align your actions with your beliefs, and make your intentions clear to the world, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Positive reinforcement not only to yourself but to the world will leave you ready to rock it. Revive your sparkle, manifest your dreams, realize your worth.
Ch. 7, Pivot your Routine

There is no perfect moment. “Being ready” is an excuse.
-Ch. 1, Pivot from Fear

The Zoom chat!
OF COURSE I ADDED IT TO MY STORY

Sprinkling Fairy Dust

I won a Zoom chat with Alyssa and Freddie! I’m thrilled for the chance to thank them for their audiobook, which I’ve blogged about quite a bitmaybe too much. My newfound social media bad-assery paid off!

Being grateful and thankful is an important part of positivity. What a wonderful exercise to think of three things you’re thankful for each morning. It opens your heart and mind to good things that come your way. But it seems the act of actually thanking people gets a bit lost.

When I worked at a law firm in Atlanta, a second-year associate hid in my office. He’d submitted a document to the Delaware Secretary of State, but found a calculation error after it was posted. He was miserable because the last time he’d worked for this client, he made a similar error and had to submit a Certificate of Correction, which wasn’t good. “I can’t go back to them with the same mistake a second time,” he groaned.

“Let me see what I can do.” I picked up the phone and called DSOS. After speaking with a few people, it turned out that they could do a page swap within 12 hours of filing! We quickly submitted the corrected page and the document was fixed. What a relief!

At the end of the day, I called DSOS again. I left a voice message profusely thanking the rep who’d helped us, hung up and moved on to the next thing.

The next morning I had a message from DSOS. Uh-oh.

“Nothing’s wrong,” the rep’s message began. “I just had to tell you that we never, ever get thanked. All of the overnight voice mails are complaints. I forwarded your message to my supervisor, who forwarded it to the Secretary himself, and he sent it to the whole office. You don’t know what it means to us to hear we actually helped.”

Ever since, I make sure I thank and compliment people who help, or try to help as best as they can, especially in crummy situations like when a flight gets canceled. “Can you transfer me to your supervisor? I’d love to give them a compliment about you.” It’s so easy. You could help someone get a bump in pay at their annual review just by giving a compliment about them to their boss. My husband and I call it “sprinkling fairy dust.”

You see why I’m super excited to thank Alyssa and Freddie. They helped me so much and they have no idea! If it were me who put something out into the world like The Pivot Principle, I’d be so happy to hear I helped someone. But we are strangers so I don’t know how Alyssa and Freddie might feel. I will think carefully about what to say and a succinct way to say it. I’d die if their reaction was, “Anywaaaayyy…”

Pivoting My Mindset

Chapter 3 of The Pivot Principle, Pivot Your Mindset, is about the aftermath of the car accident. Alyssa takes us through the extent of her injuries and her depression during her long road of recovery. After playing with the hospital’s therapy dogs one afternoon, the pure joy they gave her made her realize it was up to her to reclaim her life in her “new normal.” She and Freddie decided to surround themselves with positive thoughts, words and actions. She credits this approach with being able to walk again in 3 months instead of 8, regaining close to 100% use of her injured eye, and running long distances again after 18 months of recovery.

Alyssa and Freddie certainly aren’t the first to tout the power of positivity. The Mayo Clinic, psychologists and scientists have proven that positive thinking reduces stress, build skills and improves your health. It’s nice to say you want to be more positive, but how do you gain, and keep, a positive mindset? Alyssa and Freddie built a strategy:

  1. Only use positive words when speaking, especially to yourself. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t,” say, “Of course I can!”
  2. Create your dream environment. Build your personal space with podcasts, music, articles and clips that have positive, uplifting messages.
  3. Gratitude. Every day, acknowledge three things you are thankful for.
  4. Visualize your life as if you’ve already achieved your dreams and goals. What does it look like? Use your imagination. What will it take to achieve those goals? Write it out, step by step, and see yourself conquering each one.

Does this seem hokey to you? Make you uncomfortable? As Alyssa said in Chapter 1, to reach new heights, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pivoting your mindset isn’t easy. You don’t just decide to be a positive person and BAM! you’re positive. If you’re like me, you’re undoing a lot of deeply embedded mental habits.

As for their strategy, I’ll say right off the bat that only using positive words when speaking is the hardest, especially when talking to myself. But, I’ve been practicing it for a few months and it makes a difference. I used to apologize for anything and everything – I’m not the only one – and I do it much, much less since I started speaking to myself with kindness.

The biggest shift I made to create my dream environment was to stop working for a news organization. This was incredibly difficult because I loved it there – my team, the work, and the mission: To Inform the World. But, being in an environment of relentless Breaking News took its toll on me last year. I was joyless, disillusioned, depressed. I felt myself slipping away. Yet the positive talk started to work even then. I was worth leaving News. I was worth waiting for the right opportunity. It took several months but I found it.

I have a gratitude journal. I write in it most mornings. I list three things I’m thankful for. When I started it, one goal was to be a successful enough writer so I could quit my day job. But now, I don’t resent having to have a day job at all. I pivoted my mindset. My day job is the patron of my art. Writing is a pleasure, a hobby. I can write whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t depend on writing for a living. I’m thankful for my day job because it gives me the freedom to explore who I am as a writer. If someday I actually sell something, it’s a bonus.

Willing to give it a try? Or are you still skeptical? Leave me a comment, or get in touch!

A-B-C Easy As 1-2-3

I am definitely not Coronavirus-ing today. Instead, let’s do Chapter 8 Pivot Your Activity. Drop some knowledge, Alyssa and Freddie!

There are 3 kinds of activity that make your plans come to life. C activity, B activity and A activity.

C activity is research. Immersing yourself and learning as much as you can. Freddie uses baseball to illustrate: learning the rules, reading books, studying statistics, watching baseball on TV.

B activity is preparation. Buying a glove and bat, getting a group together to play at a park on the weekend.

A activity is action. Showing up at the park and playing baseball.

Freddie’s point is you can research and prepare ’til the cows come home, but you won’t know how to play baseball until you play baseball. His illustrates this further with his web series Addicts Anonymous.

He and his friends wrote the scripts, raised money, hired actors, got cameras, sweet-talked their way onto a college campus to film it and just did it, learning about marketing, fundraising, acting and directing along the way. Sure, they could have helped themselves a bit if they’d researched and prepared for some things in advance but the point is, the best teacher is experience.

My parents used to make elaborate plans to renovate our house. They would draw floor plans, argue over sofa styles, and have serious discussions about whether or not to add a bay window to the south side of the house. They made these sort of plans through their entire marriage. Once in high school I went to a friend’s house and was astounded to find his mother peeling wallpaper off the walls of their dining room. Mrs. Hymowitz was sick of it and was changing it. Right then and there. I was stunned. People actually made changes to their houses without months or years of design plans?

Mrs. H was all about A activity. Renovation plans were basically foreplay for my parents.

So, it’s no surprise that I hang out a lot in B and C activity. Especially when it comes to writing. I make schedules, I google stuff, I spend time following writers on twitter (#writingcommunity), I strategize how to query an agent… all before I have any completed writing to share, much less sell. For me, B and C activity help mask fear, which must be pivoted from!

So how do you get yourself to do A activity? Researching how won’t help – hey, that’s B activity (or maybe C activity?) Whatever, it’s not A activity!

Do your thing. Write a page. Submit your resume. Pick up the guitar. Run the Couch-to-5K app.

The only way to do A activity is to do it.

Millennials Will Kill Us All

I can’t deny it. Pivoting my mindset to live like a millennial has really turned my life around. Since November 16, 2019, I’ve lost over 20 pounds, upgraded my employment, seriously improved my social media, and faced some of my worst bullsh*t.

But, I am starting to question this decision. Because even though my millennial gurus are self-quarantining in LA (omg they are so cute, check out their podcast), the rest of you millennials are freaking selfish, or crazy, or oblivious! Look at you with no sh*ts to give about spreading the coronavirus:

Um, you’re like, not practicing social distancing?

Dr. Deborah Brix continues to appeal to the millennial ego. “I’m going to call on that group…we need them to be healthy,” she coyly told America during today’s Presidential coronavirus press conference, “We cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus.”

Get it together, millennials! Even Hilary Duff is yelling at you!

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

Chapter 5, Pivot on Purpose, is a spiritual kick in the stomach. With stilettos.

At 8:12, Alyssa says:

Any time you catch yourself about to say, “I don’t have the time for _____,” stop and say “_____ is not a priority.”

I don’t have the time to work out. My health isn’t a priority.
I don’t have the time to write. My art isn’t a priority.
I don’t have the time to meal prep. Nutrition isn’t a priority.

Oh, Alyssa. I adore you. But today I kind of hate you.

At 9:00, she says, “It stings to hear, but it’s a necessary lesson.”

Devastating!

Pivoting from Excuses

Chapter 2 is incredibly personal.

Most DAYS fans know about Alyssa’s and Freddie’s car accident in October 2014. Freddie takes us through the accident and the aftermath, and Alyssa shares the mental and emotional steps she took to heal her whole self while in recovery.

I swear, these two. How they saved themselves and each other is truly awe inspiring. The car accident wasn’t their only tragedy, either. When they were down, life kicked them in the collective nuts a few more times. (I won’t get into detail here because seriously, you should listen to this chapter right now.) They faced all of it with the mutual decision to learn from the events and to not make excuses when life was sh*tty. They each could have crumbled under the weight of these incidents, but they showed up to life every day with a positive attitude. They pushed themselves and pulled each other along.

I now understand why these two millennials are wise beyond their years. I’m so grateful I found their audiobook. Who would have ever thought that indulging in a sudsy soap opera when I was so sad would lead to so much positive change in my life. I hope I can thank them someday.

At the end, they present questions to help you pivot from your most-used excuses. I was like, I don’t make excuses. I have real-life reasons why I don’t write or exercise, which you celebrities don’t understand! I don’t get up early to work out because I need to sleep. I have a demanding job. Sometimes I’m up too late the night before – it’s my only time to catch up on my binge shows, or I get sucked into social media. I could hit the gym after work, except I’m usually too tired, or we have plans. I don’t write in the mornings because that’s my time to work out. My brain is too fried at night to be creative.

Oh my god, do you see this? I’m not only full of excuses, they are LAME.

What do these excuses actually do for me? They must serve some purpose because I make them all the time.

I think excuses help me placate my ego. If I have an excuse for not trying, I’m not exactly failing because I plan to try. Excuses enable me to fantasize that I’ll succeed without putting in any of the work. I keep my hopes and dreams alive because of the illusion that I’m working on it.

Oh, man. I am my own worst enemy. I’ve got to break this self-sabotaging behavior.

“Don’t wait until tomorrow,” Freddie says. “Please don’t give us that excuse.”

Pivoting from Fear

January 16, 2020. It took me exactly two months to get back to The Pivot Principle.  I’d been on a serious roll just from the Intro and Chapter 10, and I was eager to see what else Freddie and Alyssa had to teach me. I dove right in to Chapter 1: Pivot from Fear.

There is a lot of valuable material in this chapter. You should listen for yourself. Here are the top things that spoke to me:

Freddie: I’ve been on 500 auditions. I was told “no“ for 485 of them. The other 15 made my career. That’s a 97% rejection rate. 97%!!

Freddie: Ask yourself, “Why do I care if someone rejects me?” I’ve never asked myself why I care about rejection, especially from strangers. In my late 20s, I quit my entire life to break into television and it was a disaster. I was rejected from loads of jobs, and when I finally got a job, I was told “no” every single day in one way or another. It was a demoralizing experience but it didn’t break me. It’s like I worked my rejection muscle really hard during that time, but now it’s soft as I’ve become comfortable.

Freddie: Rejection is inevitable so you may as well go for it. If you don’t try, you definitely fail. If I could withstand a 97% rejection rate like Freddie, then I go into it knowing that most strangers won’t like my writing. OMG! I get it: It’s not personalThat’s how Freddie lets the rejections roll off! That’s how he stays true to himself! MIND BLOWN.

Alyssa: To reach new heights, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m more comfortable eating whatever I want and complaining about my weight than denying myself junk food. I’m more comfortable living a life where writing comes last than I am with doing whatever it takes to write every day. Change takes effort. I’m not making any effort. I’m very much into instant gratification. I’m not stuck. I’m…lazy. I’m very uncomfortable learning this about myself. Darn you, Alyssa.

Alyssa: There is no perfect moment. “Being ready” is an excuse. Seriously, how is she this wise at 30?

Alyssa: How are you going to put yourself out there and work on your fear and rejection muscles? I don’t know. What do unpublished writers do to put themselves out there? It’s got to be more than send query letters to agents. Looks like I just gave myself a research project.