Episode 5 – Success, Fear and Mindset with author Mandy Schaniel

Show Notes:

Discover the transformative power of mindset as Mandy Schaniel, author of “Faith Over Fear: How to Adopt a Success Mindset,” joins me for a deep dive into the psychology of success. Together, we uncover the dangers of a negative mindset and the liberating potential of a growth mindset, emphasizing the significance of mindfulness in our response to life’s hurdles. Mandy and I dissect the intricate relationship between fear and achievement, revealing how fear can evolve from an impediment to a driving force with the right perspective.

Our candid discussion goes on to cover the unexpected joys of meditation and the pivotal role of emotional intelligence in leadership and personal growth. We also spotlight the essential nature of self-awareness and empathy, drawing insights from Gabby Bernstein’s “The Universe Has Your Back,” for those seeking to actively craft their life’s path. Hear about the neuroscience behind the satisfaction of ticking off small tasks, and how these minute triumphs can culminate in substantial achievements. This episode is filled with practical strategies and inspirational stories that could be the catalyst you need to reshape your journey.

Mandy Schaniel is the founder and CEO of Schaniel Consulting Inc., providing leadership and business coaching to startups looking to build a culture of inclusivity, progress, and success for both the business and its employees. She is an accomplished author with a storied career that began as the 19th employee at ZipRecruiter and evolved into a remarkable journey of personal and professional growth. Mandy is a devoted wife and mother of three, whose expertise shines in her book “Faith Over Fear: How to Adopt a Success Mindset.”

In this episode:

  • Intro and background – Mandy Schaniel, author of “Faith Over Fear”
  • What is a “mindset”?
  • A growth mindset – viewing failures as learning opportunities
  • Negative mindsets often go unrecognized
  • Mandy’s personal story of success in the recruitment advertising industry and the realization of the importance of work-life balance
  • Fear as a significant influence on success and the importance of redefining it as a motivational force
  • Faith and how it can influence your mindset
  • The transformative power of meditation, overcoming skepticism
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) – a critical component of personal and professional development
  • Micro-goals, releasing positive brain chemicals, and building discipline
  • Action – a crucial element in seizing opportunities
  • Loyalty as a potential barrier to success, “sunk costs”
  • The Luck Factor – its really just taking chances
  • Playing “You Know You’re Old When…”

ThirtyFiveSixtyFour is your weekly dose of inspiration for navigating the exciting, unpredictable, and undeniably transformative journey of midlife. Hosted by Karen Stones, founder of 13 Jacks Marketing Agency, avoids the tired cliches of crisis and stagnation. This podcast celebrates the power of play, discovery, and possibility that comes with this unique chapter in life. Join us every week as we delve into the real stories, challenges, and triumphs of midlife. We’ll explore fresh perspectives, practical tips, and inspiring experiences that will help you thrive, not just survive, during this pivotal time. Ready to rewrite your midlife narrative? Head over to www.thirtyfivesixtyfour.com and be a part of the adventure!

Resources:

Book: Faith Over Fear
Book: The Universe Has Your Back
Book: Mindset Psychology
Book: Luck Factor
Naming and Taming Fears That Control Us
thirtyfivesixtyfour.com

Some of Karen’s favorite free Positive Affirmations:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo1pJ_D-H3M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT6ASPy2Dbs

Show Transcript:

[00:00:00] Mandy Schaniel: You can either succumb to fear and let it convince you that you’re in this little box. Fixed mindset.
[00:00:06] Mandy Schaniel: You can’t get out of this place. Oh, no. It’s too scary. It’s too big. I can’t do it. Or you can use it to fuel your power and your faith in yourself and hopefully things outside of yourself as well, to move past it.
Close you.
[00:00:28] Karen Stones: Welcome to episode number five. Today we will be interviewing Mandy Schaniel. She is the author of Faith over Fear: How to Adopt a Success Mindset. Mandy’s career growth started very early. She was zip recruiter number 19 employee, and today she is the founder and CEO of Schaniel Consulting. She has been married for 15 years and has three children.
Welcome to the show, Mandy.
[00:01:04] Mandy Schaniel: Thank you for having me.
[00:01:05] Karen Stones: I recently finished the book. Mandy and I have a bunch of questions, and can we just dive right into those?
[00:01:13] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely. Bring them on.
[00:01:14] Karen Stones: Okay, so, first off, what is a mindset?
[00:01:18] Mandy Schaniel: A mindset is really taking the time to slow down and observe and process and mindfully respond or choose a response or choose how you perceive something. In our hustle bustle world where everyone’s so busy and stressed out, we forget to do that, and we wind up spiraling into these negative mindsets that we don’t even pay attention to because we’re so busy, we haven’t even given it any thought. So it’s really just taking the time to be mindful about how we’re responding to things. How are we reacting to failure or doubt or even excitement or concern or anything that we encounter in our day to day lives? How are we thinking about it? Are we really paying attention to the thoughts that we have, what we’re thinking of ourselves, of the situation, how we’re processing it. Does that make sense?
[00:02:14] Karen Stones: It does. You hear a lot of talk. that person has a negative mindset, or that person has an energetic mindset or a positive mindset. I think most of us would hope to fall into the positive category or at least strive to get there.
[00:02:33] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely.
[00:02:33] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:02:36] Mandy Schaniel: And maybe I’m being too kind, and I choose to see the positive. That’s who I am. But people that have a negative mindset, I think more often than not, they’re not even aware of it. And it’s just that symptom of never slowing down to mindfully process what’s going on in our lives and how we respond. You could set two different people on the same exact path for a day. Same exact things could happen to them. Getting cut off in traffic, and they might respond entirely differently depending on the mindset they’re bringing to the situation. Right.
[00:03:10] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:03:11] Mandy Schaniel: And so that’s the key, is really taking stock. And I know a lot of people think of it as, like, it’s a very soft skill.
[00:03:18] Karen Stones: Right.
[00:03:18] Mandy Schaniel: It’s fluffy. But it’s so important because if you don’t manage your mindset, you could easily be that person who turns into road rage when you get cut off and, oops, maybe it’s the person you’re interviewing for a job with, or it’s a fellow parent going to the same baseball game or whatever the case may be. And those situations happen more often than we’d like to think. Right?
[00:03:43] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:03:43] Mandy Schaniel: But if we’re just mindful of how we’re thinking, how we’re processing, how we’re reacting in the moment, it can make a huge difference.
[00:03:51] Karen Stones: That’s really an interesting point, actually. I’m going to go back to that. Most people who have a negative mindset don’t even realize that that is their approach. That’s sort of impactful. So, listeners, as you’re driving, as you’re doing whatever it is, exercise, hanging out at home, listening to this episode, actually dig deep there for a moment. Do you have a negative mindset? What are some signs that might show someone that they have a negative mindset?
[00:04:23] Mandy Schaniel: Mandy, one of the biggest symptoms is having that feeling of things are happening to you in a way. And I don’t want to victim shame in any way, shape or form, because there are horrible things that happen, and people have a right to not feel great about things that happen. But it’s the difference in taking that control of saying, yes, this thing happened and it wasn’t great, maybe it was terrible, maybe it was a tragedy, whatever it is, right in any area of your life. But instead of looking at it from the perspective of that happened to me, I have no control. What am I going to do with it? What can I take out of that situation? How can I become better from having gone through that? And I know that’s really difficult in the middle of certain situations, but that’s the power that you have. If you only think of it as it happening to you, you’re giving away all of your power to whatever lies on the other side of that. And who wants to do that, right?
[00:05:21] Karen Stones: No, that feels powerless. It feels like there’s nothing that you can do to improve or get to a different level. There’s a lot of trendy stuff around growth mindset. You hear that all over the place. What does that mean?
[00:05:39] Mandy Schaniel: A growth mindset is basically seeing everything in your life as an opportunity to learn. So a fixed mindset is kind of the opposite of a growth mindset where you’re kind of operating in this box. If you fail at x and you fail at y or whatever, it puts you in this box. Okay, that’s my limit. I can’t go further than that. I’m going to stay within these boundaries of where I’ve had success, whatever that means to you, and I’m not going to move beyond it. I can’t grow from it. A growth mindset says, okay, I failed at this. What can I learn to surpass this challenge? How can I push myself to get over that obstacle and keep learning and growing? So we see it a lot. We both have school age kids. They’re teaching it a lot in our schools, which, oh, my goodness, that was the happiest day of my life, when one of my elementary kids teachers were talking about it, and I was like, yes, hallelujah. Okay, you didn’t do great on that test. What can we do to learn and be able to pass next time or get a better grade next time? That’s how we should approach everything. That’s a growth mindset.
[00:06:51] Karen Stones: Okay.
[00:06:52] Mandy Schaniel: It really prevents you from going down the negative path because a lot of times a negative mindset, a fixed mindset, when you get into a negative spiral in your mindset, you’re really unkind to yourself. And that doesn’t help you get out of it any faster because your subconscious, you’re training your subconscious with your thoughts.
[00:07:13] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:07:13] Mandy Schaniel: And we’re unaware of probably 90% of our subconscious thoughts. And when you let it spiral negative and you are hard on yourself, you’re criticizing yourself. You’re talking to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t let anyone else talk to yourself, it’s going to make it that much more difficult to get out of it.
[00:07:32] Karen Stones: Well, now that we’ve explored mindset, I want to talk about success.
And right away in your book, you talk about success being different for different people.
[00:07:45] Mandy Schaniel: What do you mean by that? So, for me, in a lot of ways, success is raising children who are good human beings. They treat others with kindness and compassion. They’re driven. But I mean, success means many, many different things to me as well. But success for someone else could mean finding a healthy relationship that moves into some sort of commitment. It could mean achieving a health goal. It could mean a dollar amount that they want to earn or a title that they want to get promoted to. So there’s so many different things that mean success to different people that come from different value sets and different purposes in our lives, which I’m sure we’re going to touch on as well.
[00:08:29] Karen Stones: Yeah, well, as we’re talking about success, as I was reading your book, one of the things that I loved is you noticed that you were quote unquote successful and very focused on climbing the corporate ladder. And then you reexamined your approach, and that did not align with your success standards in the end, which was your goal of being a mother and a wife and having a fulfilling family at home. Why don’t you tell me about that?
[00:09:04] Mandy Schaniel: Yeah, I mean, growing up, I was one of those kids. I really never had a dream job. I mean, aside, my dad has a video somewhere when I was five and was like, I want to be a famous actress and model.
Aside from that, I never really had a dream job. I always would just say, well, I want to be a wife and a mom, whatever else comes, and we’ll see where it takes me. And I studied journalism in college and kind of had a lot of different opportunities presented to me, and I just wound up going down this path that I was really successful at. I found my place in the recruitment advertising industry. It was a great group of people. I’m still connected to most of them and was blessed to be pulled into an amazing startup that was incredibly successful and put me on a rocket ship in terms of growth in my career. And so that’s like addicting, right? When you have those successes and you’re going through those growth spurts, which are not always the most pleasant experiences, like with kids, growth spurts hurt, right? Yeah, but you’re going through them at such a rapid pace, it’s like addicting. You’re like, oh, I want more of that. But then I realized it’s taking time away from my kids. And everyone that I’ve ever worked with would always say, like, oh, my gosh, your face just lights up whenever you talk about your kids and your husband, I’m like, well, yeah, those are the most important things in my life. And so it kind of created a new goal, a new meaning of success for me, which was to be in a place where I could control my time commitments. I could put them first and not always be rushing out the door and not be the one to prepare dinner or put them to bed or whatever the case may be. So having that success showed me, like, one that was really fun. I learned a lot, it helped me a lot and enabled me to put a lot of advice in the book. But it also allowed me to get to a point where I could put my family first and have that balance that I really wanted at the end of the day.
[00:11:15] Karen Stones: Yeah. I heard this saying from one of my mentors. He said, you will never be on your deathbed wishing you worked more. And that hit hard. I have been an overworker. The person who came in early, stayed in late, was answering emails all weekend. Now that I’ve aged, I have a lot different boundaries than I did when I was younger, but definitely something that I’ve had to take a look at as well as a professional.
[00:11:47] Mandy Schaniel: Yeah.
[00:11:48] Karen Stones: One of the things that you also talk about really quickly in the book is the f word, and that is fear.
And a lot of the research and writing that I’ve seen there comes down to, like, five core fears. I don’t remember all of them, but one of them is not being good enough. Fear of failure. Another is fear of rejection. I don’t remember what all those are. I’ll put them in the show notes and link some articles there. But you talk about fear as the biggest barrier to success.
[00:12:29] Mandy Schaniel: Tell me about that. I want your listeners to understand it’s not that I’m saying we should never feel fear. Right. We should banish fear. No, that’s not the case. It’s how we use it. So again, talking about taking that power back, you can either succumb to fear and let it convince you that you’re in this little box, fixed mindset. Right. You can’t get out of this place. Oh, no. It’s too scary. It’s too big. I can’t do it. Or you can use it to fuel your power and your faith in yourself and hopefully things outside of yourself as well to move past it. So it’s funny that we’re talking about this because, and I talk about this in the book, we classify or we, not me, a very famous psychologist.
I talk about it in the book.
[00:13:16] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:13:16] Mandy Schaniel: But all emotions can be classified under either the category of love or fear. And so all positive emotions are bucketed under love, all negative under fear. I was actually thinking about this last night. When it comes to doubt, I tend to harp on myself when I’m doubting something because I feel so strongly and I’m so proud of the faith that I have. And so when I doubt or have some sort of fear, pretty much interchangeable things there, I’m like, oh, what am I doing? I have all this faith. What’s happening? And the mindset hack that I’ve learned is it’s not that having doubt or having fear erases that commitment you have to that faith. It is actually an opportunity to reaffirm that faith and to experience it again by pushing it aside and saying, no, this isn’t true. This is what I believe. This is what I know to be true, and I’m going to keep working harder. So it’s actually a wonderful opportunity to re experience the faith that you have. But again, at the end of the day in the book, we talk a lot about just not backing down to fear. Use fear as a tool to be invigorating, to push you that much further, to getting to whatever your goal is, instead of sitting in a corner rocking gently and crying about it. Right?
[00:14:39] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:14:40] Mandy Schaniel: There’s only so many ways we can respond to it, but don’t let it take your power away.
[00:14:44] Karen Stones: Yeah. I thought it was interesting because you mentioned fear shows up at different times, and it could be the start of your effort, project vision, the middle or the completion portion. And for my experience, it has been the start. It has been just moving forward in the right direction and overcoming that first step.
[00:15:08] Mandy Schaniel: What about you?
[00:15:09] Karen Stones: Where do you experience your fear mostly?
[00:15:11] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, I get tested all the time.
Honestly, writing this book has opened up the door to be tested that much more. This is a brand new industry, a brand new effort for me. This is my first book. Right. There’s so much I don’t know about publishing or being a new author. And so I think in a lot of ways, for me, a lot of this stuff has bubbled up and tested me because I’ve written it down and because I’m like, well, I have to practice what I preach. So I’m like, here’s another opportunity to reaffirm the faith that you have and this being part of your purpose. But, yeah, I would say a lot of times it’s at the start, and a lot of times, once you get that momentum and you build the discipline, you’re getting all the happy brain chemicals going. You’re kind of like a ninja. You can bat off the, you’ve got your shields, and you can avoid a lot of those downfalls that are harder before you’ve begun and before you get any reward system from moving forward in that process.
[00:16:16] Karen Stones: Yeah. Well, one of the biggest differences in your book about a success mindset that I haven’t seen elsewhere is the incorporation of faith in that process. And to clarify, when you’re mentioning faith, you are not particularly honing in on a certain belief system, a certain religion. You are really honing in on what it means for the specific reader. Right. And that could mean a traditional God. That could be universe, that could be many different things. What do you have to say to our listeners of many different faiths about what you mean when you talk about faith in your book?
[00:17:02] Mandy Schaniel: Yeah, absolutely. I think you covered it pretty well. For me, I’m very open in the book. For me, it’s God. But it’s not my job to prescribe any belief system to anybody. I truly enjoy learning about other people’s beliefs. I actually talk about it in the book. Comparative religions course I took in college was my absolute favorite course I ever took because it’s just so fascinating.
At the end of the day, I want people to get what they need to get out of the book. And so speaking to them in a way that is very open for you, this could be God, this could be universe, this could be the end of the day, the bare minimum in yourself. I want you to have faith in yourself. Right. And I do encourage people to have faith in something outside of themselves, whatever that may be. Faith in humanity, whatever is important to them, have an open mind. But when you can attach your faith to something outside of yourself, it’s a lot easier to tap into a feeling of purpose, which when we talk about a success mindset, it’s about moving forward, not just for the sake of achieving some goal. It’s about fulfillment, and it’s about this greater fulfillment and purpose in what you’re doing with your life. You could check goals off all day long, kind of like my career climbing example. It can be addicting. But what is the point? What is the purpose of it? What is the fulfillment you’re getting out of it? Staying focused on things that are going to give you fulfillment is really what it’s all about.
[00:18:39] Karen Stones: Yeah, well, you actually go as far to say that faith is a prerequisite to success. I thought that was really interesting. And then we started getting into some practical examples of how to rely on your faith for success. And you mentioned quite a lot of spiritual ways that people can do that. You go through perhaps starting a practice of yoga or perhaps starting an affirmation process. We can put some links in the show notes of some of our favorites, because I know Mandy and I both like to do that. And then you also go into meditation very deeply, and you describe some ways that you meditate. Can you tell us a bit about that?
[00:19:29] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely. So for me, meditation, there’s so many ways you can do it. And you don’t have to be spiritual to meditate. It can simply be time to sit with your own thoughts, but open your mind, right? If you pray, whether it’s to God, universe, angels, whatever it is for you, it’s time that is incredibly valuable to quiet your mind process and just kind of see what your mind wants to bring to the forefront and how you can clear things out, because a calm mind allows you to think a lot clearer. And I do say it in the book as well, but I’ve learned through meditation that it really is true that whether you call it spirit universe, it whispers. When you take the time to just quiet your mind, be in a relaxing environment, there’s nothing to do but relax and try to be calm and centered, it’s incredible the answers that can come to you. In fact, quite honestly, that is how I wrote the book. Every time I had no more words, I literally would be sitting at my laptop going, I have zero more words. They’re all done. I don’t know how I’m going to get this book finished. I would go and do yoga, and part of my yoga practice is to meditate and to pray for me. And every single time, I would finish up and run to my laptop and have just an explosion of ideas and.
[00:20:56] Karen Stones: Words that would, wow.
[00:20:57] Mandy Schaniel: Because I took the time to quiet everything else down around me.
[00:21:01] Karen Stones: Yeah. Well, you specifically use these three words. Pause, breathe, think. And I’ve had my own journey with meditation. I will admit, straight away, I thought it was a waste of time. I’m a doer. I’m a goer. I’m not a relaxer, which is something that I’m actually trying to work on. But meditation seemed, like, terrible. Like, why would you just sit there and do nothing? And I actually have a funny story around this. I started meditating, and I started very basic. I actually didn’t close my eyes. I would sit down next to my fireplace with a cup of coffee or tea and play some audio on my mobile device, and I’d try to get into a meditative state with some audio or a guided meditation. And I was very skeptical about the value of that. And so I was sitting next to my fireplace, right next to it, and I started feeling kind of altered state ish. And I thought, wow, this is really working. And for the next couple of days, I was starting to get into this. This is making me feel different. Well, it turns out that the flu was not closed on the fireplace, and I was breathing in fumes. I think that would be carbon monoxide.
[00:22:39] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, no.
[00:22:39] Karen Stones: And so I was literally in an altered state.
And I. So embarrassed to even say that. But nonetheless, I continued the journey with the flu closed and I am a huge believer in meditation. And I actually do meditation sometimes differently than the traditional quiet. I do like walking and meditating and even just using a guided meditation when I’m sort of still like maybe just chilling somewhere in the afternoon in the backyard or something.
[00:23:18] Mandy Schaniel: I think that’s the thing, is there are no, I mean, you might read certain resources and it feels like there’s these hard and fast rules to what it means to meditate. But I’ve found you have to find what works for you. For me, like yin yoga stretching style is that’s how I start my practice and that’s when I meditate. So it’s semi active but slow. Yeah, but I’ve done things where I go out in the backyard in the sunshine. It’s whatever feels good to you. What is going to put you in a calm state, and I will say minus the carbon monoxide meditation can put you in this kind of altered state. And it’s nothing scary.
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[00:26:06] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely.
[00:26:07] Karen Stones: Tell me more about that.
[00:26:09] Mandy Schaniel: Well, again, like we talked about, with any sort of mindset work, you have to be aware right. And we’re talking about EQ or emotional intelligence. It’s really the art of being able to identify the emotions that you’re feeling. What did they stem from? What were they? I hate the word triggered. It’s overused today. But what were they triggered by? And is it going to be fruitful if I act on these emotions? I would take it a step further, especially if you’re in a leadership position that emotional intelligence is. Then once you’ve mastered that with yourself, it’s being able to identify accurately the emotions of others, how they respond to the way that you communicate. How can you adjust how you communicate to get the best response out of them or coach them? Right, but when we’re talking about success and achieving anything, if you’re not aware of your feelings going into it again, you could be one of those people who, without choosing actively to do so, slips into a negative mindset or is overcome by fear, and you never even get the project off the ground. You’ve always wanted to make $100,000 a year or whatever the goal is, but you’re so scared to raise your hand or to ask for help or to figure out what path is going to get you there that you never make steps forward. You have to be self aware, and you have to learn the tricks to moving forward, even if it’s slow, even if the pace seems so ridiculously slow that you’ll never get there. You will. If you’re making progress, it will snowball. But it starts with that self awareness and emotional intelligence, because that’s what you’re doing with mindset. You’re regulating your own emotions and thought patterns, and you’re adjusting them to help move you forward.
[00:28:07] Karen Stones: Yeah, I have found that my EQ has helped me succeed more in life than my IQ. Absolutely. And I’ve really noticed that with folks that I know are deeply intelligent, off the charts intelligent, but they don’t know how to approach somebody at the right time with the right tone and get what they need. And so I do think working on being self aware is key. My spin instructor, one of my favorite spin instructors, she has a hat that says self aware, and I always kind of laugh when she wears that, but it is something that you notice. And the people who are successful typically have a very high EQ, along with an IQ of at least average.
[00:29:04] Mandy Schaniel: Right? Right.
[00:29:05] Karen Stones: So one of the things you mentioned in the journey towards success is micro goals and the brain response to even a micro goal success. So tell me about what that looks like.
[00:29:21] Mandy Schaniel: Yes. And for anybody listening, if you take nothing else away from this conversation or my book. Please hear this. Because micro goals and micro tasks are so incredibly powerful, it’s not even funny. So the idea behind it, so I think it was actually the Navy Seals who coined the term micro task. The idea behind it is you take something ridiculously small that you’re never going to be able to come up with an excuse not to do, and you set it as a daily task. And that might sound crazy, but I learned this when I was doing 75 hard and the live hard program by Andy Frazella. It’s incredibly powerful because, number one, you’re never going to avoid doing it. So if you say, I’m going to do this for ten minutes a day or 15 minutes a day, and I’m going to write it down and I’m going to check it off each time I do it, what happens is checking that off on your paper or your laptop, however you keep track of things, releases dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. So those are the happy brain chemicals. And so it’s like a reward system within your brain. And what those do is not only do they make you feel good, because it’s this reward that you’re getting from completing something, but it actually generates motivation and helps to develop discipline. So for me, if I ever feel like I’m in a rut or I’m being hypercritical of myself, you talked about this earlier, and I know this about you. We both have a hard time distinguishing between relaxing and laziness.
[00:31:01] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:31:01] Mandy Schaniel: And so for me, if I’m like, am I being lazy or am I just taking time to relax, I’ll set some new micro tasks, because I know that it’s going to create a habit and discipline, and I can look at what have I accomplished for the day? And you develop the discipline by doing it. And what happens is you wind up spending much more time. So you start with this ridiculously small goal with my book, with writing the book. My goal was write 15 minutes a day, spend time on the book. 15 minutes a day. Wasn’t even write research, think about write. It was very open.
[00:31:36] Karen Stones: Okay.
[00:31:37] Mandy Schaniel: And I wrote my book in less than a year. Seems crazy, right? And I laughed at myself when I set the goal. But I knew from having done 75 hard that it was going to create that daily habit. More times than not, I was going to spend significantly more time doing it. But on the days I really didn’t feel like doing it. I didn’t feel like I had ideas or I was tired or whatever. I could get that 15 minutes done. It’s not going to kill you to spend 15 minutes doing something and get that reward by checking it off for the day. So micro tasks, where whatever your goal is, are incredibly powerful. Again, that’s how I even started 75 hard. So it really does add up because you’re building the discipline muscles and you’re not just relying on fleeting motivation to get something started. That was a hard lesson for me to learn throughout my life and career, is that motivation is great, but it’s never constant, it’s always fleeting. And so you have to have discipline to back it up, because inevitably your motivation tank is going to run low. And if you haven’t developed the discipline to continue doing something and working towards your goals, you’re going to wind up stopping and then you’re going to go through this whole cycle of however you respond to that likely being critical of yourself, which is not going to get you any further. Right?
[00:32:54] Karen Stones: Yeah. So give me a couple of examples of really basic micro goals. I think micro goals. I’m obsessed with checklists, actually writing them out. If you’re ever in my office, I have a paper going with things to do for the day and I love crossing them out. And I will even rewrite a checklist during the middle of the day just to get more checks to do. It’s how I stay prioritized and organized.
Obviously, I use a lot of digital tools as well, but there’s something that is really rewarding for me to do that checkbox.
[00:33:37] Mandy Schaniel: Right.
[00:33:37] Karen Stones: And even kids, I have noticed, for instance, we need to get the house clean. We have people coming over in an hour. Let’s band together and get this done. So let’s distribute tasks. I have noticed that when I write those on a piece of paper, hand those to the child and let them cross them off, it helps. It really does.
[00:34:02] Mandy Schaniel: Because even if you’re not aware of what’s happening in your brain when you’re doing that, and again, it can be different for people in terms of physically crossing it off or tapping a button on whatever works best for you. Right. But even if you’re not aware, isn’t that so cool that even with the kids, they’re like, oh, that feels so good to cross the list. It feels good to complete it. They don’t know why necessarily, but they know it feels great.
[00:34:27] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:34:28] Mandy Schaniel: Cross it off.
[00:34:29] Karen Stones: It does.
I sign my children up for all sorts of sports and activities to keep them active and off their devices, which is always a challenge. And I signed my kids up last summer for junior guard. And for those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s a program that’s very physical and you learn how to save people, be a lifeguard, and it also teaches some life skills. But it is quite intense. It’s almost a boot camp. And my daughter loved it and my son hated it. And getting him to junior guard was just a nightmare. So here’s what I did. I wrote it down. The number of days that he had to go. And every day he came home, he crossed one of those off the list and he could say, I have only got ten more, I’ve only got five more. So sort of documenting those successes as micro goals, I do think makes a big difference.
[00:35:33] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely.
And you think about it, a lot of times we aim really big with our goals, right? So using the example I said before, let’s say someone’s making $50,000 a year right now and they really want to get to $100,000 a year. Well, that’s a big delta, right? I mean, unless there are certain situations, are they in a heavy commission role? Are they at a company that’s going to have some sort of event, liquidity event of some sort that’s going to pay off? And is there a huge promotion waiting in the wings? If not, that’s going to take a series of steps. So if you can break it down into micro goals, even if it’s only ten more thousand to go or similar to your son, that’s going to make it a lot easier. Because if you’re just looking at the whole picture again, writing the book, I was terrified. I had no idea how I was going to write enough words to put a whole book together. That was the hardest piece of it for me to understand. And so I just started breaking it up. I did my outline first, and then, okay, I’m going to start filling in gaps and then fill in more gaps and kind of go where it guides me. Looking at the whole picture was terrifying. It was too much to chew on at the moment. You take smaller bites and it’s a.
[00:36:51] Karen Stones: Lot easier to process, I think.
So one of the things that you talk about in the book, and I loved this, I think it’s a topic that we don’t talk about enough, is sometimes loyalty can block success.
I really thought this was interesting.
I was hearing a little bit about the concept of sunk cost, and that can come in the form of a relationship, an investment, a job. So tell me about how loyalty can actually be something you need to reexamine in your success journey?
[00:37:31] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely. Especially. I’ve noticed it a lot with women in particular, can happen to anybody. I do mentor a lot of women that I’ve worked with in the past and friends and whatnot. But you can use it as an anchor. Right? So maybe you’re in a job that you’ve outgrown. I’ve been in this situation before, feeling like I’d hit the ceiling on my growth potential at that company. Where is there for me to go? I’m not learning anything new. I’m not being challenged. I need more than that. But I feel so bad I want to leave them high and dry. Right. I’ve been in those positions before, and if I hadn’t taken the time to reexamine that and to look at it from a different perspective, which is my biggest loyalty needs to be to myself. And if I’m not feeling fulfilled, because for me, growth is most fulfilling and having that work life balance with my family, but in any and every way, with my kids, with my husband, growth is what fuels me. So if I’m not getting that, I’m not being loyal to myself by sticking around, doesn’t mean go in and quit your job and don’t give them any notice. Don’t help them out. No, it doesn’t mean that.
[00:38:44] Karen Stones: Right? Yeah.
[00:38:45] Mandy Schaniel: You can still leave gracefully, not burn any bridges, but do the right thing for you. And I think that’s the most important thing is a lot of times we use loyalty as an excuse, but really, fear is right there as well.
[00:39:03] Karen Stones: Right.
[00:39:04] Mandy Schaniel: You can say it’s because I feel loyal. I don’t want them to leave them high and dry. But really, you’re probably also, at the end of the day, scared to take that next step and whatever might be there. You got to face it.
[00:39:17] Karen Stones: So true. I read in the book how to know when you’re not in alignment, particularly with your job. And you mentioned if you have fallen into a cycle of dread, dissatisfaction, and constant complaining, you need to reexamine the thing, whether it’s a relationship, an approach, a job. Tell me about that.
[00:39:44] Mandy Schaniel: Yeah, I mean, those are signs that, again, we’re not taking stock of our mindset and what we’re going through. We’re just going through the motions. And you get into that habit of a lot of us joke, oh, Monday, right. And kids do it, too. I’m like, who are you to be complaining about Monday?
But I try to break my kids of that because I don’t want them to get comfortable with the idea of complaining about the things that we’re obligated or responsible for doing. Right. So you have a job, doesn’t mean you have to hate it. You’re married, doesn’t mean you have to hate it. It’s how we look at it. And when you find that you’re in that same cycle and you can’t seem to get out of it, you’re really not enjoying it. You’re not enjoying who you’re interacting with and you’re complaining about it a lot of the times. If you can look at your mindset and figure out, is it how I’m perceiving things? Is it the situation? A little bit of both. Maybe then you can take stock of what is the next right step, because who wants to live like that? We all have plenty of stress as is. There’s plenty of stress to go around. We don’t need more of it. We need less of it.
[00:40:55] Karen Stones: Right? Yeah. One of the other things that you mentioned that I haven’t really seen a lot of authors or success coaches address is this thing the luck factor? That person is successful because they’re lucky. And I really loved one of the quotes here in the book. I think it was from one of your mentors. And do you recall that section of the book here?
[00:41:22] Mandy Schaniel: I think it was a quote from the book, the luck factor, possibly, if.
[00:41:26] Karen Stones: That’s what you’re referring to, yes.
[00:41:29] Mandy Schaniel: But essentially it’s like I tell my youngest until all my kids, but most recently my youngest, who plays basketball, trying to encourage him to take more shots in games and feeling like I have dad jokes, but going, you miss 100% of the shots, you don’t.
[00:41:50] Karen Stones: So true.
[00:41:51] Mandy Schaniel: And that’s the thing is we look at luck and brush it off, but at the end of the day, it’s really someone who’s taken a chance, whatever it may be, they’ve taken a chance. And if you’re resentful of them winning or whatever success they get from taking that chance and you didn’t try, you shouldn’t be talking.
[00:42:13] Karen Stones: Yeah, you have to try.
[00:42:15] Mandy Schaniel: You’re not going to succeed at something if you don’t try.
[00:42:19] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:42:19] Mandy Schaniel: And so I think shifting our perspective on luck is important because it’s really about getting out there, throwing your hat in the ring and giving it a go however you can for the things that you want in life. And if it comes to you, easily. Fan freaking tastic. That’s amazing.
It’s going to be harder in some areas, it’ll be easier in others, but you have to go for it if you don’t. You’ll never have that quote, unquote, luck or lucky moment.
[00:42:49] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:42:50] Mandy Schaniel: You’re just sitting there doing nothing, twiddling your thumbs.
[00:42:52] Karen Stones: Yeah. I found the quote here, and it is from the luck factor. Four simple principles that will change your luck and your life by Dr. Richardson Wiseman. And we’ll link to that in the show notes.
[00:43:06] Mandy Schaniel: And here is the quote.
[00:43:08] Karen Stones: It says, the more you fear failure, the less you make attempts at whatever you’re looking to succeed at, and thus the less lucky you are.
[00:43:18] Mandy Schaniel: Right.
[00:43:19] Karen Stones: It makes so much sense when you put it that way, doesn’t it? Yeah.
[00:43:22] Mandy Schaniel: But we have been trained to see luck as this just random allotment of success or winning or whatever you want to call it to people. But it’s really about getting out there and trying.
[00:43:35] Karen Stones: Yeah. For instance, both you and I have been part of IPOS.
[00:43:41] Mandy Schaniel: Right.
[00:43:42] Karen Stones: And that’s a privilege.
[00:43:44] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely.
[00:43:45] Karen Stones: But it is also.
I don’t know if that took five years off my life. I don’t know. That was a lot of work.
[00:43:52] Mandy Schaniel: Right.
[00:43:53] Karen Stones: It was a blessing, and it was crazy. But I certainly wasn’t lucky. Those nights that I was working until midnight with deadlines and all the things.
[00:44:06] Mandy Schaniel: I forget the exact quote, but most overnight successes took a long time to happen. The idea of an overnight success or this magical, lucky situation is really a misperception. We see it as overnight success, but that’s not the real story.
Ziprecruiter, which was the IPO that I was blessed to be part of in the early days, was an insane rocket ship to be part of. I mean, there were points in time where I left before my kids woke up in the morning and got home after they went to bed.
[00:44:42] Karen Stones: Yeah, I fixed that very quickly.
[00:44:45] Mandy Schaniel: It was part of a transition and at the time, worth it, but also helped frame the balance that I wanted to have as my kids got older. And so I totally agree with you. It’s people that we look at and think, oh, they’re just lucky. It’s really not the case. We get the whole story. There’s a whole lot of hard work that goes into it.
[00:45:07] Karen Stones: Yes.
[00:45:07] Mandy Schaniel: To get those kind of results. Absolutely.
[00:45:10] Karen Stones: And I haven’t seen anyone address that before, but it sounds like I need to read Dr. Richard Wiseman’s book because I think I’d like it quite a bit. So one of the things, I loved this quote in your book. It says, when faith confronts fear, the impossible happens.
That sort of summarizes your whole book in such a great way. But, Mandy, you know, our listeners are middle aged. They’re between the ages of 35 and 64. If you were to summarize the core message of this book, what would it be?
[00:45:50] Mandy Schaniel: That quote is a great start. It’s really about finding that balance, finding what gives you fulfillment. Right. Because we can talk about success, mindset all we want, but what is it that you’re going after? Right? So putting together your faith in yourself and things outside of yourself and aligning it with something that you feel called to do in terms of a purpose that’s going to give you fulfillment and finding the hacks and the strategies to confront and overcome all the little things that are going to come across your path and try to distract you or make you stumble so that you can get there. I truly believe everyone can achieve the success that they seek. It’s really about being mindful through the process and choosing faith over backing down to fear and really owning your power in.
[00:46:44] Karen Stones: Yeah. Yeah. Well, Mandy, where can people find you if they want to purchase your book?
Know, reach out to you for consulting or coaching? Absolutely.
[00:46:55] Mandy Schaniel: They can find me on my website, mandyshanielle.com or LinkedIn, Instagram, everything’s just at Mandy Shaniel. So pretty easy to find me once you know how to spell Shaniel.
[00:47:06] Karen Stones: Yeah. So we’ll drop that in the show notes. So that’s an easy link for everybody. And this book is available on Amazon.
[00:47:15] Mandy Schaniel: Kindle, ibooks, Barnes and Noble, target. There’s lots of places. If you go to my website, there’s a shop page, and we’ll show you multiple places where you can purchase, including the Amazon link.
[00:47:26] Karen Stones: Okay, fantastic. So you know that at the end of every episode, we like to play a game. And it is called, you know, your old when.
[00:47:37] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, yes.
[00:47:38] Karen Stones: So I’m going to play this game with you first, and maybe you have one for me.
[00:47:42] Mandy Schaniel: So here we go.
[00:47:44] Karen Stones: You know you’re old when you used a fax machine.
[00:47:50] Mandy Schaniel: Been there, done that.
[00:47:51] Karen Stones: Yeah. Do you think our kids even know what a fax machine is?
[00:47:55] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, that’s hilarious. I never thought about that.
[00:47:58] Karen Stones: Yeah.
Sometimes people didn’t have a fax line, like in business, so they would toggle between a fax and a phone. And you remember if you ever dialed into the line and it was like, horrible noise. Yeah.
[00:48:12] Mandy Schaniel: Horrible sound.
[00:48:13] Karen Stones: Yeah. I don’t think a lot of young people know what that is.
[00:48:17] Mandy Schaniel: No, you’re probably right.
[00:48:18] Karen Stones: Yeah, that’s funny. Okay, so you’ve got one for me.
[00:48:22] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, I’m trying to decide which one to pick first. So, you know your old win. And this is especially if you live in California. You use your heated seats in your car, like, every day. Not because it’s cold, but because it relaxes your back.
[00:48:40] Karen Stones: Okay, that’s good. Yeah. Yes and yes. It’s like, oh, my back hurts a little bit. I might turn on the heater. Not for the heat, but just to tame the sore back. That’s a yes.
[00:48:53] Mandy Schaniel: Yeah. Right?
[00:48:54] Karen Stones: That’s very accurate. I’m going to say that’s a yes.
[00:48:57] Mandy Schaniel: Yeah. How about this?
[00:48:59] Karen Stones: You know, you’re old when you had a home phone number.
[00:49:03] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. We held on to ours for way too long. Literally, the only people that would call us on it were our grandparents. And we finally were like, okay, use this number instead.
[00:49:13] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:49:13] Mandy Schaniel: Why are we paying for a home phone? Yeah, you’re right. Our kids will never have a home phone.
[00:49:18] Karen Stones: They won’t.
[00:49:18] Mandy Schaniel: It’s so bizarre to me.
[00:49:20] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:49:20] Mandy Schaniel: Because we had to have it for our parents and grandparents for the longest time, and then they all got cell phones, and we’re like, okay, yeah, we’ll figure this out.
[00:49:29] Karen Stones: Yeah. I still remember some of my best friends phone numbers.
[00:49:33] Mandy Schaniel: Do you? Probably not anymore. My brain throws some of that stuff out. I remember numbers really well. Yeah. I mean, I do remember my best friend’s, but it’s her cell phone number.
[00:49:43] Karen Stones: Yeah. I can remember friends all the way back to elementary school.
[00:49:49] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, wow.
[00:49:49] Karen Stones: Yeah. I think I loved being on the phone when I was young, so I still have all those in my mind.
[00:49:54] Mandy Schaniel: That’s awesome.
[00:49:55] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:49:56] Mandy Schaniel: All right.
[00:49:57] Karen Stones: Do you have any others for me, Mandy?
[00:49:59] Mandy Schaniel: One more and maybe this is just a me thing, and this makes me feel like a grandma.
[00:50:04] Karen Stones: Go for it.
[00:50:05] Mandy Schaniel: Go for it. You know you’re old when you carry a tissue around with you, like, all the time, just in case your nose starts running. I don’t know if that’s a me thing.
[00:50:16] Karen Stones: Like tissues in your purse and your backpack and whatever.
[00:50:20] Mandy Schaniel: Yes.
I don’t know if it’s my sinuses or what, but all of a sudden, right around my last birthday, I was like, I just have to have a tissue because what if my nose starts running?
[00:50:31] Karen Stones: I don’t know. That’s funny.
[00:50:33] Mandy Schaniel: It just reminds me of, like, a little old grandma who always has a tissue in her pocket.
[00:50:37] Karen Stones: Yes. Well, my grandma stuffed tissues in her bra because she was always sweaty.
[00:50:43] Mandy Schaniel: Oh, well, all paper machete herself.
[00:50:50] Karen Stones: I know. Oh, my gosh.
[00:50:51] Mandy Schaniel: Bless her heart.
[00:50:52] Karen Stones: Well, Mandy, thank you. Thank you for coming. You are a regular. So you’re going to be on frequently?
[00:50:58] Mandy Schaniel: Absolutely.
[00:50:59] Karen Stones: And so we do encourage you. If you have specific questions for Mandy, reach out to us. We’re on social. You can find us at www. thirtyfivesixtyfour.com and send us some questions. I’m sure Mandy would be thrilled to answer any questions you have, especially around success barriers that you’re experiencing. And even if you’ve read her book and you’d like to engage with her, I’m sure she’d love that.
[00:51:25] Mandy Schaniel: I would absolutely love that. Yes. And thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
[00:51:29] Karen Stones: Of course.
And that brings us to the end of another episode. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. Okay, so if you haven’t already, make sure to hit that subscribe button so you never miss another episode. If you’re loving what you hear, I would be incredibly grateful if you took just a moment to rate and review this show on your favorite podcast platform. It helps others discover us and it’s a great place to share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas for future episodes. For even more exclusive content and detailed show notes, check out our website at thirtyfivesixtyfour.com
[00:52:21] Karen Stones: As always, a huge, huge thank you for spending time with me today during this episode. I appreciate that you tuned in. I’m going to leave you the same way I do every episode. Remember, it’s not too late, you’re not too old, and you’re definitely not dead. Okay, until next time, friends.

  • Karen Stones

    Show host Karen Stones is the creative heart of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Born in 1979, Karen is a child of Generation X. As a podcast enthusiast, she noticed a major void in content catering to listeners her age. Karen found existing productions were either niche, evangelized negative perspectives on aging, or hosted by a well-meaning young adult who lacked the wisdom and life experience to provide meaningful insight. Thus, ThirtyFiveSixtyFour was born. The philosophy behind ThirtyFiveSixtyFour stands in stark contrast to the conventional midlife crisis narrative, advocating instead for midlife to be seen as a time of confidence, reinvention, growth, reflection, exploration and renewal.

    Karen has over twenty years of mass communication and marketing expertise. Her journey in media started early, as she interned for notable figures like Larry Morgan and Ryan Seacrest at the Los Angeles FM radio station STAR 98.7. During her university years Karen served as a disc jockey for the on-campus, student-run radio station. Following a successful career in the corporate world, she took the entrepreneurial plunge, founding 13 Jacks Marketing Agency in 2014. The agency currently oversees multimillion-dollar projects including global product launches, international events, specialized social media and advertising campaigns. Beyond her agency pursuits, Karen extends her expertise to coaching executives seeking to enhance their business strategies and personal growth. Based in Orange County, California, Karen is a dedicated mother to three and an outdoor enthusiast.

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About the Author

Show host Karen Stones is the creative heart of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Born in 1979, Karen is a child of Generation X. As a podcast enthusiast, she noticed a major void in content catering to listeners her age. Karen found existing productions were either niche, evangelized negative perspectives on aging, or hosted by a well-meaning young adult who lacked the wisdom and life experience to provide meaningful insight. Thus, ThirtyFiveSixtyFour was born. The philosophy behind ThirtyFiveSixtyFour stands in stark contrast to the conventional midlife crisis narrative, advocating instead for midlife to be seen as a time of confidence, reinvention, growth, reflection, exploration and renewal.

Karen has over twenty years of mass communication and marketing expertise. Her journey in media started early, as she interned for notable figures like Larry Morgan and Ryan Seacrest at the Los Angeles FM radio station STAR 98.7. During her university years Karen served as a disc jockey for the on-campus, student-run radio station. Following a successful career in the corporate world, she took the entrepreneurial plunge, founding 13 Jacks Marketing Agency in 2014. The agency currently oversees multimillion-dollar projects including global product launches, international events, specialized social media and advertising campaigns. Beyond her agency pursuits, Karen extends her expertise to coaching executives seeking to enhance their business strategies and personal growth. Based in Orange County, California, Karen is a dedicated mother to three and an outdoor enthusiast.