Overwork causes stress and burnout, which ultimately hurts both your physical and mental health. In today’s modern world, taking care of yourself is as important as ever. Adam Markel sits down for a conversation with author, public speaker, wellness expert, and CEO of SanaView, Janet McKee. Janet talks about almost dying from massive work-related burnout, the challenges she faced in her professional and personal life, and what she did to turn things around and get her health and well-being back. Learn the secrets Janet found on her road back to recovery and well-being. Remember the importance of self-care – listen to the episode and consider it time for yourself.
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Overcoming Corporate Burnout: The Art Of Taking Care Of Yourself With Janet McKee
I feel very lucky at this moment to be here, doing what I’m doing, alive and breathing. I’m grateful to be surrounded by great people. I don’t know that is always something that we give enough credit to, the people that you are in proximity to. I believe that being in close range to people who think about things a little bit may be different from how the media thinks about them or how the majority thinks about them sometimes but open-minded people are how I would express that.
It’s important because it’s through that open-mindedness that I can question my own beliefs and see things differently. Whenever there is something of a problem that I might think of as a problem, it’s only a problem because I haven’t yet been able to look at it in a certain way that reveals its importance, the opportunity or the beauty in it. Until I find those things, I call it a problem. To be open-minded and surrounded by people that reflect that and encourage it is important.
I have a great guest, somebody that I have not met before. This is a new meeting for the two of us, which is great but we have some friends in common. She has done work with an old friend of mine, Brian Tracy and Jack Canfield, who I get to see a couple of times a year. People that fit that mold of what it means to be open. What I mean by that, without divulging personal things, I spent a fair amount of time with both of those gentlemen but more Jack Canfield.
Many people love him and how brilliant he is and his fatherly air about him but in person as a friend or somebody that you are in colleague settings with him, he is as open. He is the guy who always sits in the front row right in the middle. Anytime we are together for a retreat or something, he and his beautiful wife sitting right there in the center in the first row. That’s because they are eternal students, so they are taking nights to watch him. Everybody always marvels at that. What has he got to learn? He is in the space of personal development. He is near the top, if not at the top of the heap. For him, that is a wonderful thing to see, somebody that has done well. He has been a teacher to so many but is still a lifelong learner himself. I value that about my friend Jack and I value that about any of the people I spend time with.
That person is Janet McKee. She is a former Fortune 500 Corporate Executive where she nearly died from a massive case of burnout. After making an enormous career leap, she now helps people achieve success on their terms without being insanely stressed. She co-authored a best-selling book with success legend Brian Tracy. She also wrote Stressless Success. Janet, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being a guest.
Thank you, Adam. I am honored to be here. I am thrilled to meet you.
What’s one thing that is not a part of your introduction and you would love for people to know about you?
As a result of everything I had been through, one of the things I developed as part of my business, which is SanaView is a farm. People are usually surprised to hear that I’m a farmer. I’m proud to say that. We developed a small 52-acre historic landmark organic farm as an offshoot of our health and wellness business that I run. It is fabulous. You want to talk about more work than I ever thought imagined but it provides a richness to my life that nothing else could offer. I don’t mean rich in terms of monetary riches. The depth of what it has brought to me in my life and what it has brought out of me through hard work has been incredible. I invite anyone who wants to come and visit the Laurel Mountains of Pennsylvania. Come to SanaView Farms.Solutions you would never think of for your life come with ease when we learn to break down those walls of stress and struggle. Click To Tweet
I haven’t heard too many farmers telling the story of their riches. I’m sure they are wealthy farmers. I had Mitzi Perdue on our show. Her late husband was Frank Perdue and then they were farmers. Frank Perdue grew up on a poor farm. His parents weren’t wealthy but Purdue turns that around. There are cases where you could be a wealthy farmer but that’s not typically the case.
Part of the story in Stressless Success, in my book, a whole chapter about is my farm was losing money growing organic produce because it costs more growing produce than we would make selling it. I applied some of these principles that I was discovering and learning to the farm. It’s now my biggest money-producing property that I own by far.
We would never want to see anything other than the successful farmer because we need farms to succeed in our world.
We need food.
Some might say we need food but that’s maybe a conversation for a different day. Let’s go back to when you were a corporate executive working in a Fortune 500 company. Why don’t you paint the average day for us for a moment? When you said that you ended up nearly dying from massive burnout, bring us into that moment or that world for a bit here.
I was always a high achiever. Ever since I was little, I won first place in Junior Olympics. I went on to the graduate top of my class in high school, undergrad and graduate school. I worked for two Fortune 500 companies and climbed the corporate ladder very rapidly. Every day meant getting up before everyone else, getting myself ready. Back then, it was put on your suit, stockings, pumps, pearl earrings. Every day drive to the office, work incredibly long, high-pressure hours until 8:00 or 9:00 at night, from early in the morning and then drive home. I remember I would eat dinner at 9:00 or 10:00 at night and then go back to work on my computer until I would crash in bed, wake up early and do it all over again every day.
That’s what I was told growing up brilliantly by my father that you need hard work and dedication to get ahead. That’s what I did. That’s what we are all taught. We are taught that stress, struggle and striving are how to get your life to the next level personally and professionally. You have to stress and struggle to get to that next level. I don’t mean to criticize anybody but you hear things like you have to have grit. You do need to have clarity, confidence and courage. It’s not stress and struggle that get you to success. That is what I discovered.
When we learn that stress and struggle build walls of resistance and those walls, not only when you are working against these walls, it wears you out and you become burned out. Those walls block solutions, opportunities and possibilities from flowing to you, coming to you, that you would never have thought of no matter how many hours you had focused concentration. Solutions you would never think of for your life come with ease when we learn to break down those walls of stress and struggle. That is the discovery that we are going to talk about.
You painted a picture that many of us can relate to, what it’s like to get up early in the morning and get yourself all put together. For a guy, it’s a bit different. For me, I didn’t have so much to work on with my hair, at least at a certain point, but still, there is getting yourself physically ready, getting into the office. Until now, that was a requirement. Going forward, I don’t know. I don’t think so. Not as much. I don’t think we will ever go back to the way it was. Pre-COVID, you have to be in the office. We didn’t need FaceTime. People have to see you, whether you are an executive or you are getting started. Being there for that period, for some people that want to achieve it, it means getting there being the early bird, before other people get there and stay until after they leave if you are going to get ahead.
I would imagine as a woman that you felt even that much greater pressure. If you wanted to succeed, not only did you have to be smarter, diligent and motivated but you had to shine that much brighter for that much longer. There is tremendous pressure on top of what is ordinarily there. What did burnout feel like to you? What were the signs of it? The old classic, the writing was on the wall. Did you see it away or were you like me and ignored it for a long time?
You said a lot of things there, which I appreciate. Let me mention. I’m not a feminist at all. I always felt and knew that if I dedicated myself, worked hard and focused. I’ve got ahead. There was no question. I worked in very male-dominated organizations. I was fine because I knew that the industries were male-dominated but that didn’t concern me. I was focused. I was going to do the best I could. I understand that, at one point, I started a family and became pregnant with my son. I decided to stay home with my son. There are differences between being a man, a woman in the world and the people that fight against that. That’s resistance. You are fighting against. You have to give it your best.
I’m not saying you don’t make an effort, strive forward. The difference is if you strive forward with stress and struggle versus striving forward with excitement and possibilities. It’s how you feel as you strive forward and take action to achieve success. I’m not against taking action. Taking action is very important but you get a different result if you take action from stress and struggle versus the hope of possibilities. You notice how those two things feel differently.
Let me tell you all about burnout and what it felt like. What happened to me was all of the stress and pressure from this very high-pressure job I had at Oracle Corporation, which is the second of the Fortune 500 companies that I worked at, brought me down. I developed an auto-immune disease. My immune system had become so inflamed because of all the stress and pressure and how I treated my body because I thought staying up late and getting up early and going was the secret to success. What I understand now is that it is the opposite. The world’s most accomplished people understand that and we researched them for several years. What I experienced was the auto-immune disease was destroying the organs inside my body. I landed in the hospital, completely debilitated by this illness that I couldn’t understand and control. Before this, I was a young, athletic, aggressive career woman but I’m landing in the hospital. I couldn’t eat. It was too painful. I hadn’t eaten much for about two months. My liver was failing.
That’s what the path to success offered me. The doctors came to me and said, “Janet, we understand why you can’t walk because your liver is failing because you are allergic to the medications we are giving you for this auto-immune disease. We have two options. One, we are going to try this other medication, but it has a 15% chance of causing cancer or we can start removing your organs.” Adam, I didn’t know anything about health and wellness, natural healing, nothing. I was an MBA Corporate Executive and something came over me. Something went into my head that said, “No, I’m not doing either of those.” I’ve got myself out of the hospital. I will never forget that day. I couldn’t even walk up and down the steps in my own home. I started on my journey of learning how to heal my body naturally.
I felt I had no choice but it was a brilliant choice that I did take not knowing back then. Almost dying in the hospital and not getting out of there alive led me down a path of an incredible discovery, where I learned how to heal my body naturally. From that, I left the corporate world and became passionate about helping others. I went to Columbia University to study Holistic Health and Wellness. If it weren’t for almost dying in the hospital, I would have never made that shift in my life and not only healed my body but helped so many other people, not only prevent but reverse very serious health challenges, even life-threatening health challenges. This is the beginning of Stressless Success.
When we look at our challenges and instead of saying, “This is horrible. This is dreadful. What am I going to do?” You pause, accept it and say, “I know my challenges always teach me something. They make me stronger and wiser. This challenge that I’m facing, I wonder what good may come out of it. I wonder what I may learn from this that will benefit me.” I’m grateful for almost dying in the hospital because now I’m healthier than I ever could have been. I’m in my mid-50s, with no illness whatsoever, no medication whatsoever. The doctors back then told me it was impossible. It’s not their fault. They didn’t know what to do for me.The world’s most accomplished people know that wellness is the foundation for success. Click To Tweet
In some respects, it saved your life. Had your body not shut down, put up a little flag, white flag or otherwise or smoke signals, you would have kept going down the path. You get rewarded on some level with money, promotions or other things that lead you to think that stress, struggle, is the prerequisite to the success that everybody wants.
I achieved success with stress and struggle but I almost died in the process. I understand now that I would have achieved even greater success than I had achieved if I were to understand what I understand now. That is what is incredible. It came as a result of more challenges in my life if you don’t mind me mentioning.
You don’t typically revisit those moments. Let’s say for argument’s sake that you are back working as an Executive for a Fortune 500 company now, but you are equipped with what you know. You have your wisdom now. What would you be doing differently?
It loves every day. Every day, its challenges are almost exciting, like rolling up your sleeve and knowing that you can accomplish anything. Going through my day with excitement and desire for creating success, as opposed to that fear and nervousness of waking up every day and dreading the day because you knew it would be stressful. That is what is different. The world’s most accomplished people know that wellness is the foundation for success.
We think that staying up late, getting up early and grabbing a cup of coffee and Danish while you rush to work is leading to success. What we have discovered is those people know that getting a lot of rest, drinking fresh water, eating real food, moving your body, breathing fresh air, getting in Mother Nature is the foundation of success. How can you have the clarity and energy of confidence, courage, desire and passion for what you want to create in the world if you are exhausted, hyped up on sugar and caffeine and then feeling awful? That is what I understand now but it’s much more than that.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who looks like you then and they look like you now. This is a person who’s fulfilling the demands of this person’s bosses. Everybody has bosses unless you are the CEO, in which case you still have bosses because you have your stakeholders, your owners. You have your bosses who expect things of you and this never-ending avalanche of work, etc. How do you change the way you approach that?
Your mindset is different. You are looking for enthusiasm and passion for what you do but wellness is the unsung hero in the whole system. Without wellness, we all know the wheels fall off the bus. The wheels fell off your bus. It’s the same thing with me. A person who is in your shoes back then, whatever age that might be, they are going, “Yeah, what I’m doing is working. I may not like it. It may not feel good. I may not feel like I used to feel but I’m getting ahead.” You are telling me I’ve got to include all that other stuff along with all this stuff I’ve already got to do. Tell me how to juggle all of that.
It’s not the only mindset. This was my big discovery. I achieved success by burning myself out. I stayed up late, got up early, did the whole thing, worked like crazy. I took in all the stress and pressure and I achieved success. I have no idea and people have no idea the level of success that can happen with these is far greater. It comes from a place of greater, more positive energy. It’s not mindset. Let me explain that because that shocks people. People hear, “It’s all about positive thinking and you have to have a positive mindset. You have to control your mindset.” What I discovered is that is not correct.
Mindset is key when things are going well. You are having a great day. You want that positive momentum to keep going. Think about it. You probably have a good night’s sleep the night before. You woke up feeling great. That is building the foundation for your day and then more good things start to happen. You are in a good mood. Everything seems to go well. It’s not an accident. You are creating it. You want to feed that positive mindset. You want to keep that momentum going because that is creating positive energy that you are giving off. What I discovered is you must be rested and drink your freshwater, the whole wellness thing. You know how when you are exhausted, everything seems difficult. Even the simplest things like going to fill up your car with gas, it’s like, “I have to go do this.” You are exhausted. You are depleted. You said it. I said it. Wellness is the foundation. You must take good care of yourself but let’s take it further.
You are taking good care of yourself and you are feeling good. You are having a decent day but then something challenging happens. Something happens that you are upset about. You are fearful, emotional. You are frustrated, angry. A lot of that has been going on in the world these days. We all have reasons. You will hear, “You just need a positive mindset.” When you try to think a positive thought about something you are upset about, you make the situation worse. Nobody out there is telling you that.
Let me explain how I discovered this and it will make perfect sense. We will talk about what to do. I was working with clients. I do a lot of speaking. I’m an author, one-on-one success coaching, high-performance consultant. I work a lot with business professionals and executives. I was working with a client of mine. She is a CEO of a $250 million company. She said, “I have a lot of stress with running my business but things are going well. The thing I’m terrified about is that I have this chronic pain in my abdomen. I’m so afraid that I have created a chronic disease or illness with all the stress and pressure from my job. I’m scared.”
She said, “Don’t worry, Janet, I understand the mind and body connection. I know all about positive thinking. I took all the seminars, read all the books, took all the webinars and they all say we need a positive mindset. I go to bed at night saying to myself these positive affirmations.” I said to her, “Monica, what are you saying to yourself?” She said, “I go to bed at night and I say to myself, ‘I’m healthy.’” That’s when I realized, Adam, she was forcing a positive thought about something she was fearful about. All she was doing was putting more fear out there in the world from her energy. It was the energy of fear that I could feel from her because she was trying to force a positive thought.
That’s when I realized, “She’s making the situation worse because she’s forcing a positive thought about something.” It’s not your mindset. It’s the energy that you give off. What you give out is what you get back. Think about you had a bad morning and you’ve got stuck in traffic. You are miserable. You are frustrated and angry. You walk into a meeting. What do you think people are going to think about you? They are going to be like, “Get away from me.” You can sense it from someone. What result are you going to get from that meeting? You can get a bad result.
You compare that to when you wake up and you are feeling great. You are having that great morning. You walk into a meeting, even if it’s a meeting that you know will be challenging, like with a client who wants to cancel the contract or something. If you come in with this positive energy, it’s an energy that you give off, this vibration that comes from you and then people are like, “Who is this person? I want to hear what they have to say. I look up to them. I feel good around them.” What you give out is what you get back. Not from a mindset but from how you feel. This is the difference. I have an entire section of Stressless Success titled Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Energy. It’s not about mindset. It’s about this feeling that you give off.
It has been proven in scientific research. This is brilliant and fascinating. Quantum mechanics is a theory within quantum physics. Scientists have begun to uncover that the focus of your thoughts creates an energy that you are giving off that can affect what is happening around you. Everything is energy even down within the atom. Within an atom are a nucleus and electron. All of these things are the smallest particles known to man. Everything that we look at, at the subatomic level, is solid. It’s not. At the subatomic level, everything is energy. Everything is fluid.
The most incredible thing to know about that is they discovered in scientific research that the focus of our thoughts could affect the outcome of the physical world around us. What you give off is what you get back. What are you giving off? What kind of energy are you giving off? That may come from your thoughts. If you are trying to force a positive thought about something you are fearful about, you are giving more fear.If you are trying to force a positive thought about something you are fearful about, you are giving more fear. Click To Tweet
What I hear you say is that with that client of yours, your CEO, that even though she was saying, “I’m healthy.” She is saying, “I’m afraid that I’m sick.” Even though those weren’t her words, that is the energy that she was conveying through these affirmations. By saying, “I can make myself healthy,” you are saying in some respects, “I’m already sick. There is something already wrong with me.” You leave the corporate world due to this burnout and you begin on a very different path. That must have created its challenges because being an entrepreneur is not easy on the best of days. How do you approach the stress going forward as a result of what you learned? You gave us a day in life back then. What’s a day in the life look like now?
After working as, a health holistic health and wellness expert for about fifteen years, helping people resolve their health challenges, I ran into two more walls in my life. My husband of 26 years walked out on me and our son at an hour’s notice, left me not only heartbroken and our family ripped apart but left on the brink of financial disaster. Not long before he had left, he put liens on all of these investment properties that I developed from the money I made in the corporate world for financial stability, for our family to buy a business. At the time he left, the business was failing. Not only did I feel like I was standing on thin ice, I felt like the roof above my head was a house of cards because he also put a lien on the home where we lived.
I was facing not only heartbreak and depression but bankruptcy. I did not know how I was going to support a home for our son and me. You want to about unbelievable fear and anxiety. That is when I went out around the world, literally and figuratively and studied with world masters on success, achievement, high-performance, abundance, positivity, all of those things that we all hear about and read about. That is where I came across Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield and all of these people that I ended up working with. Each one was like a delicious morsel that I would taste and savor and it would help me somewhat. You know that when you take a seminar on something, it’s like, “That helped me.” I kept finding myself stuck and frustrated.
It wasn’t until I discovered this that everything started to change for me. To answer your question, what is my life now like? I’m a student in my teaching. I am still practicing what I discovered because I’m always trying to learn how to be better at it. Here is what my day looks like. First of all, it starts with the end in mind. I end my day doing something positive. I don’t put my face in the news at the end of the day. I might check on the news throughout the day. I do something that feels good, whether it’s read a good book or listen to good music. I’m big on uplifting music. Prayer, meditation, whatever that is and I imagine that I’m going to get a good night’s sleep and tomorrow will be a beautiful day. This is what we found from the world’s most accomplished people. They do not allow their thoughts to happen. When you wake up in the morning, what’s the typical human do? It’s like, “I have to get out of bed, feed the dog, take care of the kids, pay the bills, clean the house, get to work.” Our morning thoughts are all about worry. We start our day feeling uncomfortable. We found the world’s most accomplished people deliberately reach for thoughts that feel better and notice that.
That’s the difference between mindset and energy. It’s how the thought makes you feel. I started playing around with this, Adam. I started saying like, “Now is going to be a good day. I’m going to meet some interesting people. I’m looking forward to what great things might happen.” I noticed my days were getting better and better. Do you know what I say now when I wake up in the morning? I say, “Now is going to be the best day of my life,” and then I feel what it feels like to have one of the best days of your life. I’m here on Zoom having this interview with you to share these ideas with people worldwide. What else would I want to be doing? This is brilliant. This is amazing. What does that feel like? I get the feeling before I ever get out of the bed of what it feels like to have a great day, one of the best days of my life. This shifts my energy. No matter what thoughts might be flying around in my head. Let me ask you. Have you ever been able to control your thoughts?
I have never been able to.
Nobody can so give it up. Everybody who is out there is like, “You need mind control.” Good luck. No wonder it’s not working because you can’t do it. We are humans. You are going to have a million thoughts flying around. It doesn’t matter. They are going to be there. Let them go. You don’t struggle against them. You don’t fight against negative thoughts. There is a chapter in my book. It’s titled Negative Thoughts Are a Positive Thing. You don’t struggle against them. You create positive feelings because that makes energy regardless of what’s going on up here. You don’t try to control this. You build energy that feels good.
I start my day. I drink fresh water. I eat natural foods. I move my body. I breathe fresh air. Get hydrated. I build my foundation. I put my earbuds in. I dance around my kitchen while making myself breakfast, listening to an uplifting song because I want to build the foundation for a positive feeling day. From that, incredible things happen. They happen without me even trying. I get phone calls, text messages and emails from people wanting me to do things that I would never have thought of. My head would have never created. It’s a creation from energy. Am I perfect at this? No. I have my days that it’s like, “My energy is down in the dumps.” What am I going to do?
I want you to realize this is what I told Monica, the CEO client of mine, “Monica, imagine you are on the low rung of a ladder. Now, you are feeling fear.” She was feeling fear about her health challenge. Anybody that’s facing a challenge right now, it’s like, “I’m feeling frustration, anger, guilt, shame.” If you try to leap to a top rung of a ladder in one thought like, “I’m going to have a positive thought,” what happens if you try to leap from the low rung of a ladder to the top rung of a ladder? You are going to fall off the ladder and break your leg or worse. Instead, we are going to take it one rung at a time.
For example, I said to Monica that day, “Monica, you are feeling fear. Let’s look at it this way. You are a bright woman, right?” “Yes, I am.” “Your body is telling you that something is out of balance.” “Yes, it is.” “This pain that your body is experiencing is a good thing because it’s leading you to know that you have to find solutions.” “Yes, it is.” Doesn’t that feel better? I’m climbing the ladder one rung at a time with thoughts that feel better because she believed them. She is a bright woman. She is running a $250 million company successfully. This pain in her body is telling her that something is out of balance. She knows. She is going to start uncovering solutions to get her body back in balance. The pain is a good thing. That feels so much better than trying to leap.
Anybody that is having a challenge that is what I want you to do. I want you to start climbing the ladder with little thoughts that you can think that, “What is this challenge teaching me? What is it showing me?” You grab hold of each rung of the ladder with solid footing because it feels good. As soon as you get to that rung, that’s a little bit too far and you start to feel uncomfortable. You know then that you have a thought that feels uncomfortable. That’s negative.
I want you to get off the ladder. Walk away from the upsetting topic. Do anything and everything that helps you feel good, like prayer, meditation, dance and singing to a song you love. Get outside in Mother Nature, walk your dog, pet your cat, play with a child, call somebody you love, do anything that you love to do that makes you feel better and get your mind off the thing you are upset about for a while. You are shifting your energy. You are breaking down the walls of resistance to stress and struggle. When you do that, you get more blood flow to your brain. You have better clear thinking. You feel slightly better and then you can go back to the ladder and climb further.
I appreciate the way you walked us through that, Janet. Everything in the universe is made up of energy. Sometimes people think this is a little bit on the woo-woo side but it’s on the physics side. It’s science. It’s quantum physics, not just physics. How is it that you create an energy that has everything to do with what will be attracted to you or what will be repelled from you? One of the things that we were talking about was this statement that’s on my shirt, “Got your back.” You had a great answer for me when you saw it. You said, “I love that statement.” Go ahead and share what you were saying about people that are working with it.
The first thing I said, “Adam, it’s nice to meet you. I love your shirt. That shirt makes me feel so good when I read it.” It’s a black T-shirt with white letters, “Got your back.” It’s clear. It’s concise. It’s vibrant. When you look at it, you can’t mistake what it says. You all know I’m a farmer and I own a farm. I thought that was a romantic thing. I have this romantic idea to hold an organic farm, grow organic produce and teach people about getting back to Mother Nature. It’s a very romantic idea, but it’s a ton of work. On any given day, something can go wrong. It is an exciting, challenging endeavor. It’s one of the richest experiences of my life. There is an entire chapter of Stressless Success titled A Truly Rich Life where I talk about my farm.
What’s amazing is that no matter what challenge we are experiencing that day and because of my energy, I have attracted the most amazing people who work for me that I could not have found if I sent out a million requests. They came to me with ease. This one gentleman that works for me is the most positive, kind, hardworking, fabulous gentleman. He is the husband of a woman that works for me also. No matter what’s happening, he always says to me, “Janet, I’ve got your back.”
Being a single woman and owning a farm is not like the simplest thing in the world. It took a lot of courage and every day takes courage from me. Having someone on my team is what he says to me, and it is incredible no matter what we are facing. It makes me feel so good. The more that good feeling keeps being cultivated within me, it will allow me as the owner to feel good, supported. Guess what I give back to my employees, to my clients, to Mother Earth that is part of my farm then? I provide that good energy and amazing things happen.Wellness is the foundation. You must take good care of yourself. Click To Tweet
The whole farm is a story of this energy teaching. We were growing organic produce early on when I first bought the farm in 2012 and we were losing money growing the produce. That’s all we were doing. We were trying to grow organic produce. It costs a lot in labor and effort to grow to produce more than you can make selling it. You can only charge so much for an organic heirloom tomato. The labor and the effort that it took were so incredibly high.
I have a new respect for farmers and organic farmers. You can’t spray things to kill the weeds and the pests. You are on your hands and knees, especially on a small farm, trying to work on this. We were losing money every year. I didn’t know what I was going to do but it was during this time, after my husband had left, that I was learning these concepts of positive thinking but that is when I discovered it’s not positive thinking. It’s something deeper than that.
I started working on my energy and on myself, instead of stressing and struggling at the farm, it was me. I started shifting. Unbelievable things started to happen without me even thinking of it. I get interviewed a lot on the radio, on podcasts. I was interviewed on the radio one day locally by a medical doctor. I happened to mention I have a farm. This young man calls me on the phone and said, “Ms. McKee, I heard you have a farm. I heard you on the radio interview. I would like to come out and see your farm.” I said, “Sure, come on out and see losing all kinds of money but I’m working on myself trying to expand and elevate my energy.”
He comes out to the farm with his fiancé. He said, “We love your farm. Can we get married there?” I was like, “What? You want to get married on my farm?” The barn was filled with hay and a mess. Everybody said, “People get married in barns these days.” I didn’t know that. I wasn’t in the wedding business. I was going through a divorce. I didn’t know anything about weddings in barns. This young couple got married at my farm. It was hugely successful. It was so filled with joy and love. I would never have thought of it with any number of hours of thinking and strategizing I didn’t even know. It came to me with ease. Word of mouth got out and now everybody in town is getting married at my farm. It’s this glorious thing.
Not only is it now a large business that’s bringing in incredible amounts of financial stability and abundance of all kinds, now I’m able to hire more people and create more jobs. It’s impressive even during the pandemic. I’m creating jobs for people. It’s the most incredible thing, like this gentleman who always tells me he got my back. What happened was the chef found out about my farm. He is from France. He has worked all over the world. He was burned out from the whole restaurant business, working these incredibly ungodly hours and never having time with his two-year-old son and his wife. He approached me. We spent many times talking and interviewing. He joined my farm. We now have an on-site chef who’s from France. How does that happen?
That happens because I’m shifting me. As I shift, these things come to me. They happen for me. It’s the same with meeting Brian Tracy and contributing to that chapter in his book. I didn’t pursue that. They pursued me. Getting invited to Hollywood by Jack Canfield to be interviewed on Hollywood Live never used to happen to Janet McKee. It wasn’t something I pursued. They found me. That is what happens, Adam. It’s no longer stress and struggle and walls of resistance. It’s about working on me, opening and expanding and elevating my energy. I’m not perfect at it. I do the best I can but even slightly shifting my energy, slightly having hope and acceptance and that good feeling, success flows to you with ease. That is the idea of Stressless Success.
Janet, the one question I always ask my guests at the end has to do with their rituals to start the day but you have already answered that question. I feel like we have covered that ground and instead, I’m going to share my waking ritual because I don’t know that you know it. I don’t know that you have heard it before, but check this out. I gave a TED Talk a few years ago to share something that was very much on my heart. The TED arena, the stage and that whole scene are pretty daunting. I was a public speaker for many years before that and had spoken worldwide, the big, huge stages with lots and lots of people.
The TED thing was challenging. One of the most challenging pieces of it was, “What did I want to say? What was the message?” You have got to go deep into something in a short amount of time and I thought I have this waking ritual that when I began to turn my life around, I used to wake up in the morning and put my feet on the floor. It was very much like you described earlier. I would have this feeling of anxiety at the start of the day, this dread, this immediate, like to-do lists that are never all to do and starting the day that way was a spiral. It would begin to low and it would sometimes even go lower.
Although I had plenty of money, lots of success, an amazing relationship with my wife, I’m still married to after many years, four healthy kids. I had a lot to be grateful for, yet I would put my feet on the floor and I would feel dread at the beginning of the day. I did and think something different. I started to shift that, not realizing it was a shift at the time. I just did something new. I would not just think something different because my thoughts like yours go from one thing to the next. I would say something. It was those words that I would say at the beginning of the day that became not only a mantra or a way to begin the day but a very significant shift that had occurred in my life.
It started very small and then doing it day after day, year after year, all of a sudden, I began to receive what’s called the compounding effect. This hockey stick is where things get exponentially better quickly, simply because you have stuck to something. This incremental progress, 1%, nothing dramatic. I stood on that TEDx stage and delivered an eighteen-minute talk about one waking ritual amid chaos, having an anxiety attack, ending up in the hospital, getting fired from a job that I was so invested in after I had left the law after I had written a book called Pivot that became a big bestseller, and here I was pivoting yet again. All those things are happening, yet this one waking ritual was like a buoy that I could hold onto amid any fear, doubt or worry. Four simple words, that’s it.
“I love my life.” Those four simple words start the day. You have given us your ritual. What is remarkable and I love about it is that it’s not just the words. People will say to me, “When you started saying that, weren’t you still a lawyer? Weren’t you still practicing and doing work and things that you didn’t have your heart in?” I said, “Absolutely.” Did you love your life when you said it? I said, “No.” In the beginning, I love parts of my life. I love parts of my day, but I couldn’t say and feel it.
It became so powerful and I want to connect the dots between that and what you said. Is that I continue to do it day after day because I wanted to feel that way. My feeling at that point, “How could I wake up after being given a new day?” Meaning I’m waking up at the exact moment that someone is taking their last breath. I’m waking up when someone put their head on the pillow the night before, wanting and hoping, praying to wake up and not being given that gift. How can I start my day and not acknowledge the gift and not be grateful?
If we are thinking about what could create success in our lives, being grateful for our very life and being, for whatever the universe has in store for you that day, don’t you think would be a part of the recipe? I have yet to meet anyone that would refute that. Yet, we all habitually take that first step to use our word in different energy. My grandmother used to say, “Leave the house on the right foot.” It’s the same thing. Leave with the energy when you leave because you carry that with you everywhere you go. For me, it became a thing to start in that place.
There are two important things you were doing. First of all, you were saying, “I love my life.” Instead of allowing yourself to think all that fear and dread, you were crowding it out. If you fight against something, you give it power. Instead of fighting against the dread, you started to replace it. You crowded it out. “I love my life.” Here’s the second thing you did and this is important for everybody to understand. You call it a ritual. We call it practice. You were consistently practicing like an athlete. They know their sport. They practice every day. Musicians know their musical instrument but they practice every day. You must practice every day and you never stop practicing. That’s what you mean by ritual. What would it be like to think that I love my life? What would it be like to love my life? Little by little, what does it feel like to love my life? You kept practicing and crowding out. That is brilliant but I’m giving you a little bit of the science behind what you were doing.
Thank you, Janet. It has been a lovely conversation. I have enjoyed it. I know our folks will. Feel free to leave a comment. We would love to get your feedback. Please feel free to share this with somebody you think may need to shift their energy slightly. We would love to have you in the community, so go ahead and subscribe if you have not already done that. We will see you on the next episode.
Thank you so much, Adam.
About Janet McKee
Janet is a former Fortune 500 corporate executive, where she nearly died from a massive burnout. After making a massive career leap, she now helps people achieve success on their terms without being insanely stressed. Janet Co-Authored a Best-Selling book with success legend, Brian Tracy and she also wrote ‘Stressless Success’.
Her book “Stressless Success,” achieved #1 best-seller in at least five categories and still sits on a variety of best-selling lists today. As CEO of SanaView, she has previously been selected to contribute to a book with world-famous business legend, Brian Tracy, and was interviewed in Hollywood by Jack Canfield, another multi-million best-selling author. Because of all of this, she has been inducted into the National Association of Experts, Writers, and Speakers.