If success is a by-product of failure, what’s the best way to “profit” from it? This episode’s guest, Brenda Neckvatal, an award-winning HR expert and the President of Best Practices, believes the secret recipe is learning to reframe and reset. Adam Markel sits down for a lively and informative conversation with Brenda as they discuss many HR challenges, including a common disconnect between HR and CEOs. To learn more about how to build resilience in business, tune in for more of Adam and Brenda’s tips and strategies.
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Reframe And Reset: Building Resilience In Business With Brenda Neckvatal
I’ve got a great guest. Somebody that I came to know. We have some mutual friends now It’s been a total love fest. I’m glad that I get to introduce all of you to Brenda Neckvatal. I’m going to read a little bit of her bio and then we’ll dive right in. Brenda is an award-winning HR Professional and is often referred to as “the HR force of nature.” I was an attorney and I practice employment law for a lot of years, so an HR force of nature. I got chills from that.
She didn’t give herself that name. That comes directly from her clients. Not only does she help businesses and their leaders solve the most difficult people issues, but she is also a specialist in crisis management, government contracting, HR compliance, and a mentor to women in HR working situations. There’s a lot to that so I want to dive into that. First, I want to say, Brenda is also a devoted volunteer in the Navy SEAL community and is constantly finding new ways of supporting veterans of Naval Special Warfare. She dedicates 32 weeks a year working with The Honor Foundation to support the career transition of special forces personnel by providing them with her knowledge, insight and creativity. Brenda, it’s such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks for being here.Let go of what you think you know. What you know and what you think are two totally different things. Click To Tweet
Thanks. It’s great to see you again.
What is not written or let’s say one thing that’s not a part of the written bio I just read that you would love for people to know about you?
The bio is pretty impressive but I’m just a normal, average, goofy human being that still is out there figuring it out just like everybody else. I’ve got areas where I’m good at things, and I’ve got areas where, “Ooh.”
You and I were talking about that right before we started. You were saying to me that you were not born necessarily with the marketing gene, but you are a perpetual student, so you’re learning marketing and getting better at it, and the results are showing.
My influential language as a professional for the last number of years is in HR. I didn’t know that you were an employment attorney, so you understand it.
I don’t think it came up the last time we talked.
If you did, I totally forgot. I won’t now. That’s a different kind of language than marketing. It’s a different type of persuasion and influence conversation. You then have to flip over to marketing. You had a guest, Will Branum. We were talking about this because Will and I are friends. I was explaining to him and I said, “It’s totally out of my comfort zone because I think that you need to believe that I’m worth spending your money on me,” and that’s a weird feeling. He goes, “I know exactly what you mean.” I said, “You’re a few years out of your retirement and look how long it took you to be able to say, ‘Hi, I’m Will Branum and I’m in the Navy SEAL,’” because they don’t do that.
He’s 26 years in the Navy SEALs and he left. It was an amazing, wonderful show we had because he got so vulnerable about the fact that you leave a family, a team, and a support system like that, and the transition support that exists outside of that tight-knit group isn’t so great or at least it seems like that’s the case. Will has made his own adjustments into being able to introduce himself not only as a former Navy SEAL but as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, and as somebody who’s now selling himself. As you said, it’s a different kind of influence.
It’s like speaking Spanish your whole life and then trying to figure out how to speak Japanese or vice versa. It’s hard. Two things are not the same, not even remotely close. Spanish and Italian, they’re both Latin based. Japanese and Spanish? That’s what it feels like.Resetting is taking the necessary time to allow the reframing process to happen. Click To Tweet
You’ve been able to pick it up. What’s been your process of learning this new language?
The first piece of the process is to let go of what you think you know. That’s the hardest thing there.
You don’t understand. My whole self-image, everything that the world thinks of me is based on what I know and what I’ve learned over this time. Are you telling me right out of the gate that I should let go of what I think I know?
What you know and what you think are two totally different things. This is across the board when it comes to people. This aligns with my number one live and die rule in life, and that is in the absence of information people make stuff up. Here’s a good example. I come out and I say, “I got this really great thing that I want you to come and buy. It’s $20. It’ll help you out. It’ll do all sorts of good stuff for you. I’m making it available to you.” You say it, you write it, you email it, you post it on social. It’s all over the place but what’s going on in here? You don’t get any reciprocal feedback that comes in.
What happens up here and what you think you know is, “There’s no way in hell anyone is going to buy this. What am I thinking to put something like that out? What the hell was I thinking? Do I really need to be an independent contractor? Should I go and get a 9:00 to 5:00 because I’m not worthy? I’m not worth this. Why would anybody believe me? Something is driving me to do it.” It’s what you think you know you have to get away from, and that’s hard. Paddling that conversation of why would anybody want to do this? You just have to reframe it in a way that it can work for you and it’s a process.
I don’t think we could have planned this any better. The best part is that we didn’t even plan it. We’ve studied resilient organizations and individuals. Resilience is the thing that’s most on our minds. It’s the most part of the development of our business. I wrote a book called Pivot, and a chapter in that book is about resilience. Fast forward years later, the book is resilience and the chapter is pivot. It’s both as well but you’ve got to develop your own resilience in this world that we’re living in, and in the business environment that we all find ourselves in.
That’s tricky because first of all, there’s no resilience courses that are taught when we’re 3, 5 and 10 years old. We only have the models of people around us, the family and friends, and maybe even people in school. This is something that’s been thought of as a soft skill, then it’s been dismissed in ways because people think it’s not something you can actually teach or learn, but maybe something you’re just born with.
What you’re describing, at least the way you started in terms of learning a new language like the language of marketing, you said, “You’ve got to learn to reframe.” When we’ve studied it as our researches has revealed, the first theme of resilient individuals and organizations is the ability or the capacity to reframe. I’d love to get your beat on what reframing means.Success is a by-product of failure. Click To Tweet
I want to take a quick step back because there’s something I just got. We’re growing up with our parents, our family and our friends, and they’re the ones that are teaching us resilience. They’re teaching us their resilience and what works for them, not what works for you. As a kid, I was very sensitive. I’m a dyslexic and it was misdiagnosed many years ago. My one parent would say, “Don’t worry about it.” That’s easier said than done. That’s not my level of resilience. The other one is just like, “Turn to the other cheek.”
Do you know what happened to me every time I turn the other cheek? The other one got smacked. I was good at turning the cheek, but what happened was I got railroaded. It wasn’t until later in life that I became resilient. I was surviving growing up. That’s basically what it was. That wasn’t resilience. That’s just pure instinctual survival to make it into the next day.
Take the reframe question. Reframing for me was I know I can survive. There’s a better life out there. I think when you reframe something in life, you have to re-establish and re-identify what boundaries make sense at the moment and at your stage of life. If you’re not putting boundaries up, then you’re going to get walked all over and you’ll never be able to be resilient, reframe and move forward.
You’re always going to be stuck underneath somebody else’s feet, and that’s no place for anybody to live. My definition of resilience is right along with the Navy SEALs’ “Just embrace the suck,” because you learn stuff from it. It’s your personal challenge but reframing is different. That is taking an intellectual look at how you’re feeling and then coming up with a new formula. That way, you don’t feel as bad, suppressed or stuck. Once you do that, you find yourself in forward motion. When you’re in motion, you won’t feel those things.
That’s interesting because reframing is that it was in the context of relearning. What I was feeling when you said it was such a strong hit for me. It was this idea that relearning is what reframing is. You’re relearning something. You framed it a certain way. It may have been framed that way for you when you were a kid. It may be framed through your own life experiences or the programming, or whatever it might be.
At a certain point, you’re faced with a challenge and a situation, and you’re giving it meaning. As you’re saying, “I’m not a marketer. I’m not a salesperson. I don’t speak that language. That’s Japanese to me. I only speak ten other languages.” Will you ever be able to market or succeed in that space if the frame that you’re looking through is a frame of, “I suck at this, I could not learn this?”
No. The narrative has to change.
You have to change the narrative. You’ve got to have to relearn or even, I suppose in some way, unlearn. That’s a part of the reframe, which is so powerful. I might as well go through the three themes. When we’re either presenting this material to an organization, we’re writing about it, or we’re sharing information, we talk about these three themes. One is the reframe which you covered so nicely. The second one is the reset. Without even telling you what we think or what we found about resetting, what’s your beat on reset?
Reset to me is taking the necessary time to allow the reframing process to happen. In Summer 2021, in six weeks, five people that I knew passed away, including my business partner. None of them was related to COVID. I flew out to Utah for the funeral. That’s where I hooked up with Will and another SEAL that came out with us. The funeral was on my birthday and I couldn’t think of a better place to be, but on the way back, I felt like a square peg in a round hole. I knew that my whole life had been shifted. Not whole, but I was really counting on this project that we were doing. We were four days away from launching it.
I got home. I’m trying to figure out like, “How am I going to keep this thing alive? I thought business was moving in this direction.” I just felt the walls are closing in. I got done healing from a dislocated elbow in March 2021, and the whole time, between March and April 2021, I had presented what to do with the arrival of the Coronavirus and the new laws that came out to 3,500 employers. I was pretty cooked at that point. I was ready for a sexual harassment case, just give me something different and unique but nothing shifted.CEOs look at a return on investment, but HR people make the mistake of gauging everything. Click To Tweet
With all these people that I knew that were passing away, literally one right after the other. I was like, “These things come in 3s and then it was 4, then 5. You got to be kidding me.” I just felt the walls were closing in and I’m like, “I got to get out of here.” That’s exactly what I did. I catered my life and built it in a way that I could be on the road, and I could work wherever I am. It didn’t matter. I can be anywhere in the world and do what I do. I got in the car, grabbed my puppy, drove from Virginia to California, and we had business trips all along the way.
While I did it, I was listening to this one particular entrepreneur. It’s 50 hours of his podcast and his audiobook. Twenty-five days is what it took for me to get the reset process done. I went through all of the mourning and everything emotion. By the time I came back, I felt good because I was looking at different things and seeing different people. I was engaging in business in a different way. I was looking at it and myself from a different mindset. I didn’t feel stuck because I was in motion for 25 days.
I stayed in Utah for about five days and doing business. Some things fell through, some things started moving forward, and I was like, “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’ll take what comes my way and build it to the best of my ability.” It was great because I allowed the process to be. When I came back, I got to hit the ground running and then I got into a learning mindset again. Now it’s crushing it.
The reset for you involved staying in motion. It’s so individualized that the way a reset looked for you might look different for someone else. When we look at reset, we typically think in terms of your car is driven off the road, you’re in the weeds, and you’ve made a wrong turn or what have you. The question arises in your mind that, “I can’t get there. I can’t get there from here.” It’s like that old commercial. I think it was a cranberry commercial and some guy from Maine who says, “You can’t get there from here.”
Is it the two guys standing in the cranberry pods?
Standing in a bug. I’m always reminded that our GPS will tell us the truth. The GPS does not judge us for having driven off the road, got stopped and stuck in the weeds. It simply tells us the truth every time.
Your navigators are the ones that do. That’s where when you’re in this reset, there are a couple of things that have to happen. For me, it was about being in motion. The other thing that took place first and foremost is that I had to figure out that I was going to be okay no matter what happened. I know that, but then there’s a deeper conversation that you have to buy into it. I just got done doing these marketing courses. This is a sign of good marketing. Everybody tells you that if you do A, B, C and D you’re going to be a phenomenal success. I’m doing A, B, C and D, and I’m failing horribly.
Suck in wind, lick in the curb, you can come up with any cliche and that’s been me. At least I think so, but along the way, I’m learning about what comes out of failure. I’ve always had this quote that, “Success is a byproduct of failure.” I’ve been very proud of that, but here’s the thing that I never included in my own personal mindset, even when I tell people this and I believe it. It’s that you have to forgive yourself for failing. Once you do that, your aperture opens.
It was amazing. In four days, I’m doing all these things. I’m having somebody telling me that you’re not going to get it right the first time. As a matter of fact, you’re not going to get right on the tenth time but if you keep at it, you’re going to get it and it’s going to happen. I’ve seen those little successes start to happen. Out of all of this marketing that’s out there telling you that you should do A, B, C, D and you’re going to be an outrageous success, that’s the one thing that they’re not telling you.
They’re not telling you, “You’re going to need to be tenacious. You’re going to have many down days.” I know some successful marketers that have some pretty crappy days, and I don’t mean normal everyday crappy days. The business wheels are coming off of the thing that they themselves were doing successfully has changed because the algorithm has changed. Pick an algorithm. Pick a thing.
The formula that happens in the journey is that you put something out there. The thing is that when I got that they’re comfortable with their marketing efforts not working because they know something is going to click, it allowed me to get away from that pressure that I put on myself without realizing it. That’s going after that sale every time somebody looks at what it is that you’re putting out.
When you’ve got these marketers that say, “You do this and this, and you’ll be an outrageous success,” they do make you believe that you’re going to do it, which again is a sign of good marketing, but when you’re applying it and if you want to be successful, you have to remember, and you have to be okay with saying, “I’m going to try this.” When you try it, watch for what’s working and get rid of what doesn’t. Take what’s working and now apply that to the second thing.
More than likely, it will work again, then you marry it to something else and, “I just made it into a snowball.” You then go run over to it with just a dusting of snow and then you go run over here and you pack some more snow in because now it’s getting bigger. All of a sudden, stuff clicks and it’s like, “I found something.” Now, things are starting to move forward.
It’s an interesting concept in many ways. It reminds me of a book that I read a few months back by Cal Newport called So Good They Can’t Ignore You. He took that term from Steve Martin, the comedian, who was at some point being interviewed by Charlie Rose on some show. They’re saying to Steve or Charlie saying to Steve, “When you hit the scene and people knew about you, it was just lights out.” He was filling stadiums and it was the height of success and then he stopped at a certain point. He stopped doing any stand-up comedy after a few years.
He started to describe the fifteen years of struggle before that moment where people knew his name and he became “successful.” He said that he was working on his craft so methodically, vigilantly and tirelessly. Tired, exhausted, frustrated, upset, self-doubting and miserable, all the array of emotions over the course of a long period where the world was not recognizing and not rewarding the effort, and he kept going. To be too good for people to ignore you was his driving mantra that he would become so great that they would not be able to ignore him any longer.
Cal goes against follow the passion. I’m giving big props to Cal right here. I don’t know him and it’s the only book of his I read. That was valuable that the idea of developing the craftsman’s mindset to become so good at something that you develop the career capital for it. He then brings to the conversation the idea that things happen like the one you just described. When you become committed to something at that level, you find a piece of a puzzle. You find something that works.
Maybe there are two things out of ten that work, and the other eight things are maddening. They’re maddening because you’ve spent time on them, you spent money on them, you hired people, and now you have nothing other than these two little things. You don’t even know how these two things fit anything but then, all of a sudden you find that those two things fit two other things, and then they fit another thing. Before you know it, you’re packing them together in this snowball then you actually have something and then you go, “Wow.” It didn’t come in a nice and neat thing. You didn’t buy a snowball. I got to call BS on some of these companies that say, “We’ll show you A, B, C, D.” It just doesn’t work like that. At least not in my experience.People fail when they focus more on trying to get something done instead of figuring out what's the formula to make it happen. Click To Tweet
I’ve got an HR community that I lead now and we’re growing, 257 members in less than a year. These are dedicated people in the field of human resources that are coming going, “We want more. This is what we’re looking at accomplishing.” I can’t get information out there fast enough sometimes. There’s a distinct difference. This is where there’s a disconnect between a CEO and an HR person. I’m now starting to play in this area because it’s going to apply to both things.
CEOs look at a return on investment, but HR people make the mistake of gauging in everything with effort. It’s a return on effort. If you look at investment, it is a magic recipe of time, money and resources that eventually should produce something if you nurture the motion. Effort is different. Effort is like pushing on a big stone or a big boulder. You can put effort into moving that boulder, but you haven’t invested anything into it. What happens is when you let go of your effort, that kinetic energy stops but when you’ve invested something into it, those are tools and mechanisms to help you get that boulder from one spot to the desired spot. Effort is just part of it.
When you talk about Steve Martin, he was so focused on honing his craft and the effort, my question would have been, “What was his investment into it? How many people was he out circulating to try and get in?” We make the mistake and I think that’s where sometimes people fail. We focus more on the effort of trying to get something done rather than figuring out what’s the formula to make it happen.
In Steve’s case, it’s hundreds if not thousands of cheap club dates. Being in front of an audience of five people who have been drinking too much or an audience of 50 people, and practicing your craft to the point where you got it dialed in. That part of it isn’t the whole picture. What we’re saying is that it requires this ability to go the distance.
For us, the definition of resilience is the ability to leverage adversity as a catalyst for growth. Using that adversity as a way to inspire continued growth, not to inspire quitting or inspire turning to some other thing that feels like a shiny object at the moment. It’s instead honing the craft so that eventually, there are these collateral benefits that come from it whether it’s the meeting of someone, the partnering with someone that comes out of nowhere and you go, “Where did that come from?”
Putting some of those pieces together that you wouldn’t have known to put together, but for the fact that you’ve spent those 10,000 hours plus working on something. I want to get to this third theme when it comes to resilience because it fit so well with the theme of our conversation, which is recovery.
The research is clear that resilience is not about endurance alone. It’s not just physical. It’s mental, emotional, even spiritual. To be able to go the distance and have the longevity that Steve Martin had to be able to succeed in his craft, and the longevity that you’re having to be able to succeed in your craft, you have to be able to be around. You can’t win a race if you don’t finish. Many people get sidelined by illness and other things that happen in their lives, things that might even feel or look like self-sabotage. How is it that you continue to produce your resilience through recovery and specifically through recovery rituals?
I spoke at a Women’s Conference in New York City in November 2020. I felt like I hit a pinnacle like I hit a high spot because after my presentation that evening, I found myself without planning it at the Plaza Hotel having a $32 glass of champagne. I was like, “How did I get here?” It was awesome. I was all excited and amped up, and that’s when I started to look inward and say, “If you’re going to be successful, you got to start doing things that matter and not chase your tail.”
I was in the beginning. I didn’t have any feedback. I didn’t know what my audience wanted. It’s like I got over the first hurdle in the race. We got the first one. The next one feels like it’s 5 feet away, but it looks like it’s about five years. One of the things that I had done when I was there is that I slept and I was in New York City.
How you get around in New York City is not by a car. I was walking everywhere. I walked to church and I rode the subway, and it was great. I loved it. I felt so good. That’s when I was like, “I haven’t done anything. I’ve eaten like a pig. I’ve had champagne but I’m walking and I’m sleeping.” I started to tune into that. When I got back to Virginia where I live, I started to make sure that I got at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep versus 4 to 5. Huge difference.
Recovery is starting to be a big thing. When I lost my business partner and I met Will, all these guys had them. My business partner, the other SEAL that we went out with, and Will had one. It’s this thing called a Whoop. A Whoop is this biometric reader. I got it because they checked their Whoop and it was like this little boys’ club. It was hilarious. I’m like, “What’s so big about this Whoop?” I looked into it and it was different because it doesn’t count your steps. It tells you what your body is doing and I loved it. I ordered one. I got involved with it and I started paying attention to my sleep because I knew that I was doing better.
The Whoop tells you your recovery at the end of the day. If you’ve recovered enough or you haven’t recovered quite a bit. When I feel like crap and I look at my Whoop, it’s like, “That makes sense.” I may have gone to sleep but something happened and I’m not recovering. Will had sent a bottle of his CBD Gummies. I thought, “This is awesome.” I took one and I’m such a lightweight. I’m like, “I’m going to go take a nap now.” It was great and I had good sleep. I was like, “This is interesting.” I started taking a gummy before I went to sleep and I started getting good quality sleep. My Whoop was telling me that.
I notice that at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to disconnect. About 5:00, I’m like, “Let’s see what happens when I take two.” Not at the same time but I go take a nap. I took one at 5:00 and what I found is that I started to slow down in the evening. I wasn’t trying to jam a bunch of stuff in. I have another one before I go to bed. My recovery got better based on my Whoop. I then went ahead and I listened after what I call my “American Walkabout” for 25 days.
I listened to this one episode where this gentleman was talking about how he dedicates from 5:00 AM. He gets up at the same time every morning, he grabs his protein shake, grabs his coffee, grabs his laptop and uses the first three hours of his day to move his business forward. He talked about restructuring so I changed the structure of my day. The first part of my day is about me focusing on my business. The second half of my day after 1:00 to 5:00 is podcasting videos, interviews, meetings, anything that has nothing to do with moving my business forward but it’s all the other stuff that I have to do. Huge difference.
My Whoop told me that I was making better decisions. I realized that my personal recovery starts at 5:00 when I take that first CBD gummy because then, I start slowing my brain down. I have a father who has Alzheimer’s and I take care of him. I’m his trustee. He was a high-level executive for 23 years and his brain is burned out. That’s a study that we’ve learned. CEOs that are at high-level charged positions at bigger corporations are more likely to develop Dementia and Alzheimer’s because their brains have been so active for so long. They don’t shut it down.
My dad would lay on the couch and watch TV on the weekends. He wasn’t watching TV. He was looking at a box with things moving in front of him that was stuck in his head. He burns himself out. I can see the repercussions of that. I don’t want that to happen to me, so I started focusing on my recovery. Now I’m turning 50 in August 2021. I’m moving into a different stage of my life. I’m already starting to see the things that he went through that I could fall victim to. I’m doing what I need to do right now to stop that progression from happening.
The time, the clock and gravity are not working in our favor. That’s not to be upset or scared about. It’s what are you doing on a consistent basis to just take care of yourself? The studies, the research, the data points, all the analysis point to one thing and that is the people that have rituals for recovery like great athletes, great successful entrepreneurs, business owners, parents. You’ve got to have specific rituals for your recovery because that’s what recharges the battery. That’s what allows you to come back and have greater capacity engulfed seemingly forever.
Your ritual is that you’ve adopted this practice of taking these CBD gummies at the end of the day to start your winding down and your period of rest. There’s a difference even between sleep and rest. Rest is so vital. It’s so important. That’s the recovery. You allow your mind and body to rest, and other things that are going on. You start it and then you have something that you take before you go to bed so that you have a nice and restful full sleep. You’re seeing the change. You’re getting up early and you’re getting at the hardest things or the most impactful things to drive your business when you’re the freshest, which is really those first 3 to 4 hours of the day.
Thanksgiving Day was the hardest day because I wanted to work. I forced myself to plant myself on the couch and watch movies. I didn’t want to. I want to go check it. I knew I was emotionally tired but that entrepreneurial drive that’s there to keep going. I’ve always been a work driver but it was like, “You need to stop.” I was bored. There was nothing else going on. I’m like, “Find something that you enjoy doing.”
Does the Whoop yell at you?
No. The Whoop is very quiet. What people don’t know about me is I’m actually building four companies. I’m like, “I’ve got this day and nobody is going to bother me. I can work on this project.” I’m like, ”Shut up. Just stop.” I force myself to do it. I can only go outside and walk so many times with the dog. He loved it but it’s hard to unplug but you have to force yourself to do it. Come Friday, I was like, “I can do this.”
I had to do a little bit of work and I got that done. I still got up at 5:00 AM and I still sat down and I still did bank business stuff but at 8:00 AM, I stop. I enjoyed the rest of my day. I did a little bit of the same thing on Sunday, and that’s okay because that’s a performance habit and you don’t want to shed that.
You have to self-evaluate. I’ll put this out there too which is very important. You’ve got to find out what your baseline is. What Whoop is helping you with is it created a bit of a baseline for you. A couple of years ago, we developed some questions to help people to find their baseline. We call it a Resilience Assessment Tool. You can go to Your.ResilienceCulture.com
Three minutes of answering these sixteen questions will get you your rank. It will give you the score. It will tell you what your baseline is, most importantly, and what you could do to make some changes. Our list is not exhaustive because I don’t even know that we cover CBD, for example, as one of those things that could help you. A new ritual that would help you to recover.
What’s cool about that assessment is it’s divided up into those four areas. Physical is important, but mental resilience, emotional resilience, and even spiritual resilience are vital. I knew we were going to have a great conversation. We did the last time too, without any planning or any of that. I love the way you communicate. We talked about your evening ritual. I’m going to end this episode by talking about my morning ritual or my waking ritual. Do you have a waking ritual? Do you have something you do every single morning?We're not wired to be positive. We have to create it for ourselves. Click To Tweet
I get up and Hugo lets me know he’s got to go out and it’s cold out there. I get Nicola outside and get him fed. I walk over, I’ll make my coffee, and then he tells me he wants to go out again, which you think I’d be smart and wait until he tells me after that he’s got to go out the second time to make my coffee.
The morning ritual that gets me going and makes me feel good is my coffee and my half and half. I get my greens together, I go sit down and I start working on, “What is the day going to look like? What do I need to do? What does the money look like? What’s most important? What do I need to pull back from?” That’s how I set my day up. I don’t take on more than I know I can accomplish in a day. The other thing that I do is that I do the hardest thing that I don’t want to do first.
That’s a key thing there.
I like having fun. To me, work is fun, and I enjoy doing things that I like to do. I don’t have a lot of constraints in my life. I don’t have a husband and I don’t have children. I have a furry child, that’s about it. He goes everywhere with me. I don’t have any constraints other than money. I think that’s everybody’s constraint but that’s why you work hard, so you build more freedom. For me to do something that I don’t like, outwardly, you would never know that I do this, but on the inside, I’m like a crying whiny baby in my head about it. When I hear that, it’s just like, “Shut up and get it done. Do it, get it over with, and then you can enjoy everything else that you need to do.”
Our oldest daughter has a way to approach that, which I love. She goes, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and then she starts. She gives herself this countdown instead of sitting in her dirty diaper.
I find that and I spend more time complaining about it than it actually took to do the damn task.
I thank you for all the wonderful insights you shared with our community. I end every episode with a reminder for me and for anybody that has either heard this and requires the reminder like I do or has never heard this before. I think that the most impactful moment of the day for me is that waking moment. I can put myself on the right track, be thinking rightly, and making the right decisions if I start the day off on the right foot. When I don’t start the day off on the right foot, it’s a different matter entirely. That first thought of the day or the first waking act of the day is super important. For me, first of all, is waking up. There are three parts to this thing. It’s very basic.
Wake up. That’s the first piece. As corny as that sounds, when I do wake up, I recognize myself having that awareness. I go, ”There’s somebody who’s not waking up right now. Somebody went to bed last night at the same time as I did that didn’t get this moment. In fact, even at the moment that I’m aware of that, there’s somebody who’s taking their last breath right there.” That’s no BS. That’s the reality of it. I go, “This is different. It makes this moment different.” For me, it makes it sacred. In that same moment, it’s so easy for me to go to gratitude and gratitude is the strongest state change that I’m aware of or that has ever worked on me.
Getting into gratitude at the beginning of the day sets me on the right foot. I then say something out loud. I want to feel grateful but I also want to express it out loud and put that into motion, that very strong intention. What I say out loud is, “I love my life.” These are the four simple words that I shared on a TED stage. These four words have rocked my world for years and it never ceases to not do its job.
I’m in the middle of fear, doubt, worried or any of those kinds of emotions, I can grab onto this one buoy, and the buoy is that statement. It‘s those words “I love my life,” no matter what time is right now for a lot of folks. I’ll ask you that question. Do you love your life?
I do because I built it into something that I appreciate. Everybody is in the funk with COVID right now but when you come out and you start feeling good, that’s when you have to tell yourself, “I’m happy.” There’s not a lot of time in people’s lives where they will recognize what that looks like. You’re probably happier more often than you realize, but we get bogged down by all the other stuff because we’re not creatures of positivity. We have to force that out. We’re not wired to be positive instantly. We have to create it for ourselves.When you reframe something, you have to re-establish and re-identify what boundaries make sense in the moment and at your stage of life. Click To Tweet
We’re wired to stay alive. That’s our ultimate wiring. Stay alive and a lot of that is just fear that drives us by instinct or otherwise to protect ourselves. Brenda, it’s such a pleasure and I love the conversations. Thank you.
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
- Brenda Neckvatal
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You
About Brenda Neckvatal
Brenda wears two hats. She is an award-winning HR professional and best-selling author. She is also a non-tactical UAV instructor for Aerial Recon Training.
Not only does she help business leaders solve their most difficult people issues, she is a specialist in crisis management, government contracting HR compliance, and a mentor to women in HR working in as HR department of one.
Brenda entered the drone industry in early 2021 providing advanced tactical and non-tactical UAV training to law enforcement, fire, and first responders through her growing team of retired US Navy SEALs.
She started as an HR sprout after fourteen years in retail management. She discovered that she really enjoyed helping people solve their unique problems and human resources offered her the ability to support her co-workers in a greater capacity. Having the benefit of working for a total of five Fortune 500 companies, she converted her experience into a series of focused best practices helping small businesses achieve their workforce goals.
In her 30 year career in human resources and business, she has consulted to nearly 500 small businesses and C-suite leaders. She has optimized employee effectiveness and helped mitigate the high costs that are associated with making hasty employment related decisions.
Brenda is a devoted volunteer in the Navy SEAL Community and finds new ways of supporting veterans of Naval Special Warfare. She dedicates 32 weeks a year working with The Honor Foundation to support the career transition of Special Forces personnel by providing them with her knowledge, insight, and creativity.
Perseverance, integrity, and relentless optimism are just of the few of the ingredients that make up what you experience in Brenda’s character.