Wendy Hanson 0:24
Welcome, everyone. It's so delightful to have you with us today. I know many of us are feeling out of control because it has been a tumultuous year, even more than a year. And many of our colleagues in India are still struggling today. And I was just on the phone with some this morning. So we send them our thoughts and prayers and, and it's bad all over the world. But that really is bad right now. And we have a wonderful team over in India. So we send them our best. They're the things that we cannot control. But one thing we can control is our mindset. We can choose to see what's possible and we could get vaccinated take precautions, we can be grateful for the support we get from family and friends. And I'm very excited because today's guest is going to help us think through what we can control and share some tools to keep us on track. Because mindset is really something that is very important at this time and all the time. So I'm pleased to introduce you to another Wendy Wendy Thomas. Wendy Thomas is the founder of Wendy Thomas coaching, which helps individuals and teams excel in work and life by learning to harness the power of mindset. Prior to launching Wendy Thomas coaching, Wendy spent 18 years in financial services working at Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and FactSet. Most recently, Wendy led FactSet, Canada in developing effective strategies for growth, talent acquisition, team building and operational effectiveness. Wendy's corporate experience demanded a strong focus on personal development, as well as the sense of vulnerability in the face of the pressure in a high performing environment. As a coach Wendy not only helps clients cultivate the tools to define and achieve far reaching goals, but also teaches the imperative skill of seeing life's check inevitable challenges as opportunities to excel rather than setbacks. Wendy is a passionate mom of two young boys and cares deeply about helping people create a healthy work life balance. Wendy holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Marketing from Duke University. Welcome, Wendy. I'm so delighted to have you on the podcast.
Wendy Thomas 2:38
Thank you so much, Wendy, another Wendy, it's so wonderful to be here today. It's an honor to be your guest. Oh,
Wendy Hanson 2:44
well, you have such an important message for people that we really need to hear and listen to. And we need some tools right now. And I think you are an expert at this. So I'm so glad you're gonna get to share some of that with our group today. So you're a mindset coach, and you spent two decades in the corporate world with very big firms. Tell us a little bit more about what led you down this path when you got out of corporate and this seems to be your calling right now.
Wendy Thomas 3:13
Oh, thank you, Wendy. So I'll give you a bit of a background as to, you know, how I got to where I am today. And I think that really takes me down, you know, my corporate journey. And what really led me to make a decision to become a mindset coach. So I started my career out of university at Bloomberg in New York. I worked there for 11 years. And after that I married my now Canadian husband. We live in Toronto. I worked at Thomson Reuters after that for four years, and most recently, I headed up FactSet in Canada, I was there for three years. And I always say you know, how do you marry a professional Hi, with an all time personal love, because I felt that my career was going so well. I spent almost 20 years in financial services. I loved what I did. And I've connected to people. And it was two days before my 40th birthday. And I thought, wow, life doesn't get better than this. Like I feel like I'm firing on all cylinders. Like I've got executive sponsorship, everything is going so well until it wasn't until my life completely crashed. And two days before my 40th birthday on an otherwise very eventful morning, Friday, January 26 2018. To be exact. I found myself sitting face to face with a radiologist in a mammogram appointment. I fathered a deep intuition that something wasn't right in my body here in Canada, you don't get mammograms until you're 50. But for some reason I was sitting in front of this radiologist who came out and said, You have an angel that's looking out for you. Because you came in here for something on your right hand side. But the reality is, there's absolutely nothing there. We've found cancer on your left hand side. And Wendy with that my world just completely crashed everything that was relevance the day before, suddenly fell away and became irrelevant. And the only important is in my life was my health, because I'm a mom to two young boys and I needed to be on this earth for as long as humanly possible. So I'm a big believer in intuition, and that I followed my intuition to discover this cancer and my breast. And I believe that my late father had sent me this intuition. And his words will always you turn adversity into an opportunity, I sat there, and I felt there's got to be an opportunity here. So the days and the weeks and the months were really challenging, you know, going in and out of the cancer hospital was extremely, extremely scary. And I had to like dig deep in terms of finding a positive mindset and thinking about the outcome. And the outcome.
For me, here was the solution. I couldn't think about the process and what I was going through, I had to think about where I wanted to go and who I wanted to become. So this summer, I took some time off work, I had a mastectomy, I'm very open and very vulnerable about my story, because I want so many women to learn from the power of intuition to discovering cancer at an early a early stage. But I started to really evaluate what I'd been good at in the corporate world, I spent almost 20 years in financial services, and after what I did, but what I really loved about the corporate world was my ability to connect and inspire people. I loved working with teams. And I noticed that when I was happy, and I was able to spread my infectious energy, my infectious enthusiasm, people used to call it, I was able to really inspire others around me. And I thought, well, what if I could actually take this skill, and build my own coaching business. So at the end of the year, I did a lot of soul searching. And I realized that nothing would ever be as hard as this cancer experience that I went through. And I always wanted to watch my own business. And I realized there's no time like the present. So I left the corporate world, I aligned myself with one of the leaders in the mindfulness space. And I became certified to teach their content, which is all about how to use your mindset to go after really big and inspiring goals and not listen to the negativity around us. But rather, focus on driving your own happiness, as opposed to letting circumstances drive your happiness. And I feel that through the pandemic, we've really noticed that happiness has to come from within, because we can no longer look to outside circumstances, to drive our happiness, because everything in the last year has just been canceled. You know, I'm sitting here in Toronto, and we're completely locked up and my kids are at home, they're learning remotely. And we don't know if they're going to be able to go to camp this summer, we're really not sure what the future holds for us. But what we do have control over is the power of our mindset and the small things that we can do to find incremental happiness every single day. So that's a bit of a long story as to how I got to where I am. But I'm incredibly passionate about what I do. I help people realize their full potential through a change in mindset.
Wendy Hanson 8:01
And I love that you have the corporate experience. And then you realized what was really important to you in life was, you know, your health, your family? And then how do you spread that to others? How do you let people know about that journey? And for some of our listeners, who it's sometimes it's hard to differentiate, what's the difference between mindset and mindfulness?
Wendy Thomas 8:23
Absolutely. So, you know, I feel that the term mindfulness has been thrown around pretty loosely, especially in the last year. But when I was in the corporate world, I really didn't understand that too much. Because I thought mindfulness was all about yoga and meditation, and I'm not very good at yoga, I can't touch my toes. And I thought, well, it doesn't really apply to me. But you know, mindfulness is so important because it's all about understanding our mind, and how much control we have on our behavior, with our mind because everything starts in our mind. And it's all about choosing the thoughts that really serve you. While that's the process of mindfulness. It's about understanding your mind and how it works. Your mind is divided into two parts, your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind has no ability to reject thoughts that come their way. So you have to be really careful about the thoughts that you are selecting. So that's the concept of mindfulness. You know, it's really changing how we work from the inside out. And being mindful is really setting an intention for the day, it's waking up, expressing gratitude. It's knowing that feeling of when you're in the flow, and when you're in the flow, you feel happiness, you feel that you are guiding your own day, and you're no longer looking into the outside world, for your emotional happiness. And, you know, it starts with simple things like you know, setting your routine setting an intention for the day, and really being purposeful about how you live every single day. You know, I realized through my health diagnosis that every single day matters, and we cannot take for granted. The small things that I certainly did before my cancer diagnosis came along.
Wendy Hanson 10:07
I want to underline managing our lives from the inside out instead of, you know, I think that is something that sometimes we feel like we're getting managed by the outside and, and when people set goals and they look at opportunities, like what's the biggest barrier that that set people up and related to that mindset and from the inside out, because sometimes we feel like, we're a victim of the circumstance we're in. But when I hear you talk about the way that you can control that, and from the inside out, and I am a big believer in this too, and start my day very similarly, you know, what, what is it about goals and achieving our goals and using the right mindset?
Wendy Thomas 10:49
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, we, as human beings typically live our lives from the outside. And when I say, the outside, in, I'm referring to our five senses, you know, we're like animals, you know, we are guided by what people think about us, what we hear on TV, you know, what we see taste, touch and smell basically, like, we're like, animals. And you notice that, you know, animals, for example, they are very in tune with their senses, they are more in tune with their senses than we are, for example, if you open up a can of tuna fish in the kitchen, your cats come like running, or if you open up a bag of salami in the kitchen, the dogs are suddenly there before the salami bags, like even open. But we as humans shouldn't actually operate like that, because what differentiates us but active to the animals in the kingdom, basically, is this ability to tap into our higher mental faculties. And, you know, we've heard words such as, you know, intuition, memory, imagination, will perception and reason, those are higher mental faculties, this is what we call our higher mental muscles. If we don't use them, they actually don't work. So if you're not living from the inside out, you automatically default to the outside in. And I tell you, intuition is one of those mental muscles that is very much in tune with, like, if I hadn't followed my intuition and my inner guidance that something wasn't right, I wouldn't have discovered my breast cancer when I did. And I think it's really key to understand that things like imagination, and memory, you know, we use these terms a lot. But so often, we don't actually use them.
For example, Wendy, I can ask you, like, you know, when you think about like, an amazing memory in your life, you're very easily able to bring it to the forefront of your mind, right. And you think about an incredible memory. And maybe it's, you know, you got married, or your firstborn, or whatever, it is a big achievement in your life. You think about that, you're like, Oh, my gosh, I'm immediately like happy. But just as easily as you can use that mental muscle, the memory and the intuition that I mentioned, you can use your imagination. And instead of using your imagination to think about the worst case scenario, or you know, living in fear, you can actually think about like bigger goals. And like, really, where do you want to be in like, a year's time in five years time or after this pandemic. And, you know, you close your eyes, and you start to use your imagination to think big, and that's what I call living from the inside out. Because you're using these higher mental faculties, these mental muscles to your advantage. You're not just acting like you know, a cat or a dog and living according to what the outside wants from you using your home using your five senses. And it's so easy to, you know, just rely on those five senses. I mean, think about how Reliant we are on iPhones these days, you know, we go to bed at night, it's usually the last thing that people look at is their phone, and they use their phone as an alarm clock as soon as they wake up in the morning. And guess what, as soon as you're doing that, you're living your life from the outside, in, you're living your life according to what other people want of you, you're looking at emails, you're looking at social media, you're comparing yourself, you're constantly going, going going on this rat race, like you're on this treadmill, and you can't get off unless you intentionally get off and say, hold on, I'm gonna live my life from the inside out and not from the outside in.
And this is what I mean: it's waking up and setting an intention. So when you wake up, you don't suddenly invite everybody into the party in your room. You don't go to a cocktail party with your pajamas on just the same thing as you would invite people into your room and answer emails and check your calendar and look at social media. You take time for yourself to actually get your mind mentally ready for the day. You write out what you're grateful for. And when you're writing out what you're grateful for every day, your elevation lifts, your overall emotional happiness lifts and you start to really feel that energy and when you in that vibration, I tell my coaching students to write out in present tense, how happy and grateful you are to have already achieved your goal. So what you're doing is you're tapping into that imagination faculty and imagining how good it would actually feel to be in that position to have received that from Motion to imagine something really big in your life happening. And that's what I mean about living from the inside out and not from the outside in. Because I think in these crazy times of the pandemic, it's very easy to turn on the news. And it's all doom and gloom. And suddenly, you just feel in the dumps, because your subconscious mind is just pulling it all in. And guess what your body takes action according to what your subconscious mind is feeling. And you know, it's really gets getting back to basics and understanding what your higher mental faculties are, and how you can really drive your life from the inside out.
Wendy Hanson 15:37
Yes. And I think for for people listening, you know, we have an audience of managers all over the world. And, you know, people have responsibilities at work, and they often time find a problem of how do I balance this, but I love what you're saying, because it's how you start the day and what your intentions are. When I coach people, we often call it like, you set your GPS, some people have a hard time to see themselves six months from now, if you say, if life was going really well, six months from now, tell me what would be happening. Because if you get from a neuroscience standpoint, if you get your brain thinking that way, then your your intuition will pick up cues along the way to tell you, oh, this is something I should be doing, or Oh, this is something else. And that intuition is so powerful. You know, we call it gut feelings, and there really is a lot of science behind it, that we need to pay attention to that and your personal story, you know, is it really speaks volumes, because I think when we move too fast, we do not pay attention to what's happening in our body. And this is happening all the time. And we can use our intuition at work. I was doing a little intuition research because Malcolm Gladwell, you know, wrote blink The Power of Thinking without thinking, like there's a lot of literature on this, even Jonas Salk when he was working on the inventing polio vaccine. And this was back in 1983, he wrote an article on the merging of intuition and reason. So even scientific minds are looking at this and saying, Ah, you know, there is a bridge here, and we need to make sure that we use it in our personal lives, and also in our business lives.
Wendy Thomas 17:22
Yeah, absolutely. It's the same as reading room, right? If you can tap into intuition, when somebody comes into the room, you can feel their energy, you know, you can tell if somebody is not engaged, if they're not buying into the concept. And if you're able to tap into your intuition, you can change the way that you approach something, instead of doing more of the same thing. And speaking to that person in the same way, realize that they're not on board, something else is bothering them, and maybe take a bit of a timeout and say, What's going on, like, how's everything else going? Because clearly, they are not mentally there when you can really feel the energy, right. And that's, again, just tapping into your intuition. Like, we've got so many gifts as humans, but we don't use them. We aren't like animals a lot of the time. And I tell you what, I'm more than my dog of just eating a bag of salami, and I'm more of a cat than just like, you know, grabbing that can of tuna fish, because I'm hungry. Like, I have so much more to give deep down inside of me. And I'm really self aware of those mental muscles, and we don't use them. We just become like animals.
Wendy Hanson 18:21
Yeah, it is. And it's important for us to be able to stand back and figure out, how do we use them? One of the things we do at BetterManager, we have a 360. That's, that's built around Google Projects Oxygen and Aristotle and what makes a great manager and one of those questions that we have on that 360 is how often do you take time to reflect? And that question often brings up the fact that Oh, no, just like you were describing, I get up and I jump right into work. And and I would say, Good 75% of people answer that question is never. And it really, we need to stand back, we need to reflect. And I coach people about at least do it a few times a week that you get up and you take time that's not about your to do list. It's about you know, what's the difference that? What do I want to do today, that's going to be different for me and for the people that I'm with, you know, what does that look like create that scenario for yourself. We even have a piece, there's a company that did something called letter to self, if you Google it, you can see letter to self, that you write a letter to your future self and it will send it to you, you know, in whatever time period you have set, whether it's three months, six months, and that's often a fun way for people to really think about this and then get something back and it's a free service that this company has decided to do, which I thought is really speaks to what you're talking to about, you know, you have to set your intention. You have to set your intention for the day, but also for where you want to go. And how does this show up that you know when you talk about people, it's their goals like there's such a barrier that people put up when they set a goal for themselves. What? What's your perspective on that? Wendy,
Wendy Thomas 20:08
I think people just get scared when you mentioned the term goal. It's like, Whoa, like, I don't have any goals. But so many people don't actually have goals. But that's crazy, right? Because we don't get in a car. without a purpose, we don't just get in a car to drive around the block, we always get in a car with the intention of going somewhere, or maybe we go on a long drive, or we enter the destination into the GPS, or we go into the store, back in the days when things were open, and we could actually go and see people, you would go there with a purpose. But why in our lives do we just drive around the block the same old block, like go along the hamster wheel, like, you need to be purposeful and actually set goals and they could be your goals, they could be five years goals, they could be 10 year goals, like, it's really important to live with a purpose. Because if you don't have a goal, the resources won't attract themselves to you, if you don't actually know where you want to go. And in order to know where you want to go, you have to write it down, as you said, like imagine yourself, you know, living the life in the future. So like that letter to self like, that service is amazing. But write it down as well write out where you want to be and start to imagine how good it would feel to achieve that goal. And then when your mind starts to think about it, you become emotionally invested with it. And then you start to take action and those incremental steps to get you there makes you realize that it's not as hard as you think. But when you think about goals that are like really scary, we often think about the how but the how always holds us back. And it shouldn't because it's really scary.
You know, I think about when I launched my own business, the house was really scary. But I tapped into the mindset of how good it would feel to be able to impact so many people. And I wrote these life scripts of impacting so many people and giving big presentations and speaking on podcasts like I am right now. And how amazing would it feel to share my story. And that energy drove me forward. But it was very easy to stay where I was in an amazing job and feel very comfortable. And listen to people around me say, What are you doing? You shouldn't go like you're doing so well here. Like, don't leave us and it's so easy to listen to that or listen to the doubts in the bottom of your mind. Like, it's very easy to fall in that direction. But you know, there have been many inspiring people and the world and one of the most inspiring female leaders who I really look up to is Sara Blakely. Because she studied the power of mindset. She listened to audio tapes, when she was a teenager from Wayne Dyer in her car. And it was all about you know, dreaming big thinking about a goal and not listening to naysayers around your her dad always said to her dinner every night. What was the thing that you found that today and she really learned from her failures. And when she was out there, selling fax machines, you know, friends and family said she was crazy to leave a job which was doing well and to start our own business. And it was really easy for her to listen to the naysayers. But instead she tapped into that vision of the goal and how good it would feel to launch the business. I mean, I don't even know how many clothing Mills she went to that said no to her product. But she
Wendy Hanson 23:09
and for those who may not realize she is the founder of Spanx. Yes. And so that is really, you know, we did not know what Spanx were when she created them, you know, and and what an empire she has created. And I love her story. I heard that recently, too about from selling fax machines and dinner table conversations. But you have to have that vision of what you want to create and not let things get in your way.
Wendy Thomas 23:35
told me she had an imagination. She had a dream. And nothing was gonna stand in her way. And I think that's really another example of somebody living from the inside out using a high, higher mental faculties of the imagination to focus on what she wanted, not what she didn't want, but she could have easily given up, but she wasn't going to take no for an answer. So yeah, a bit of a long answer. But I'm there's so many inspiring leaders out there that really tap into this mindset work.
Wendy Hanson 24:04
Yes. And I think it's the power of your mindset. And then it's the power of being able to reach out and network you and I were talking about this earlier, because we were introduced by Danette Beverly who's from Donnelly financial solutions. She's Executive Vice President talk about a global markets for Donnelly, and she's an amazing woman. And she said to me, you know, you really need to speak to Wendy Thomas. And I think you have some big gigs coming up and speaking engagements that are come up because of people reaching out.
Wendy Thomas 24:37
Yeah. And again, you know, when I'm so thankful to be on this podcast, and I'm so thankful for doing it. But that's the power of networking, right? My old colleague, Doug Messner at fox said, you know, connected me with Don, and he's like, you ladies just have to meet each other. And this is all about the power of sharing connections. Because if we didn't do that, we wouldn't be helping other people and it feels so good to be able to help people out. You know, I can speak personally about a big gig that I have happening this afternoon, I'm actually speaking at Google in North America for their mental health awareness month. Today, there's over 100 people signed up for my event is called managing your mindset in a time of fear and uncertainty. And three years ago, I never imagined myself as a speaker, learner preferred speaker at Google. Because I was in a corporate job, but I had to use my imagination to really think big and get excited about how good it would feel to actually impact so many people. But the reason why I'm speaking at Google, and this is actually my third engagement at Google is I was introduced to an incredible woman who worked at Google, heard my story, and then introduced me to somebody at Google, who really liked my story had me speak at their women empowerment day in Canada, I met somebody else, and the word just travels. And I think that's again, being open to the opportunity, and knowing how great it is just to connect with as many people as you possibly can, because you never know where a conversation will go. And the more people you know, the more rich Your life is, like, it's so wonderful, being able to like, connect and inspire and meet so many inspiring women like yourself, why do you mean, it's so amazing to be on the call today with
Wendy Hanson 26:16
you? It is, it is I love our Google commonality. We also we talk a lot about Google at BetterManager. Because our CEO, Stefan penny a was CFO of Google Europe, I was a coach at Google in the early years with my partner Will Corley. In like 2002, when Google was very small to 2007, then Google has always been inspiring on many levels. And I love that they bring in speakers like you, you know that these are the kinds of things that people need to talk about at work. And this leads into the other piece of mindset, I think that's so important is gratitude. You know, and there's a really, I don't know, if people, I always look at it as something that is not used enough to be able to and it's and it's it's a currency gratitude, almost, it's, if we know, gratitude, gratitude for what we have in life, and then gratitude to other people, there's a there's a whole piece around that. And there's even there's a gratitude research and acute coronary event study that was going on. And people that have higher levels of gratitude and optimism had biomarkers that inflammation and, and you know, this with your attitude, you know, regarding breast cancer, improve blood function, like this is not just, I'm grateful This is really, we can change the neurology of our body by really being grateful. So tell me a little bit about the role that that plays in your life.
Wendy Thomas 27:42
Here it is, it's interesting, it's instrumental for me gratitude, because it's the first thing that I do every morning, because it powers my mind, it really does. You know, I open my journal in the morning, and I write out eight to 10 things that I'm grateful for. And you know, that could be a warm cup of coffee or cup of tea, or, you know, see my kids learning remotely the day before or the or my cat sitting next to me just little things, but you start to notice everything around you. And when you're in tune with that, you notice your overall vibration and energy picking up in your body. And it puts you in a very calm, and uplifted states. And you can notice it like right away. And when you're in that state, you just feel overall peace and happiness and be able to be that much more productive. So while I do that, at the beginning of the day, if you feel yourself like drifting a little bit in the day, or if there's something that's niggling in the back of your mind, or you're getting an email that just doesn't sit well and you're just in a funk. Really go back to the basics and write out eight things that you're grateful for that day, and your mind will just think about those things. And your, your vibration will be elevated. It makes such a big difference. But when you're doing it every single day, it's hard not to do it. And and I wonder how on earth I was able to function without doing this exercise every day? Because it's very empowering.
Wendy Hanson 29:06
Yes. And even when things are not good, you can still be grateful for the things that are and I think that's that that's an important piece. I'm very active in an organization called a network for grateful living. And brother David formed that organization. I'm making this up like 40 years ago, and he has written his gratitudes every single day and not written the same one twice. And that's really pretty outstanding. You know, there are so many things that we can look at. So is there anything that we talked about some tools about using your intuition, gratitude, you know, being able to set goals? Is there anything that I should have asked you about that I didn't or another tool you want to put on the table?
Wendy Thomas 29:52
Well, gosh, I feel like I've covered a lot in a short period of time, Wendy, but I think another thing to be cognizant of is how much technology we're using on a daily basis and being mindful of putting our phones away, and really giving ourselves at 45 minutes of peace and quiet before we go to sleep. You know, setting your phone to bedtime mode, 45 minutes before you go to bed, reading a novel or book to just turn your mind off. And yeah, just setting boundaries. And I always say, you know, who's driving your bus? Are you driving your bus? Are you letting the outside world drive your bus? Because you've got to park it at the end of the day. So that's my parting words is park your bus, go to bed, you know, quiet your mind. It's too busy. There's so much stuff happening out there. And I can't even imagine how life was before cell phones before we could be on social media all day. But it's not productive. It really isn't. It has its benefit for sure. But not to be used all the time. Certainly not looking at our phone on average of 150 times a day, which is what statistics say,
Wendy Hanson 30:54
right? We need to control our lives. Yes. And, and have this kind of mindset that it's going to make things that every day is a gift. And every day we get to wake up to that. So if people want to connect with you and learn more, what's the best way for them to reach you, Wendy?
Wendy Thomas 31:12
Thanks, buddy. So I would encourage people to reach out to me through my website, I'm at WendyThomasCoaching.com, follow me on Instagram at Wendy Thomas coaching, and connect with me on LinkedIn, I have a LinkedIn business page where the time is coaching, and I love to meet people. So please reach out to me schedule a call. And I run group coaching sessions three times a year. I work with really amazing people. And I love meeting wonderful people. So please don't be shy to reach out.
Wendy Hanson 31:44
Right? Well, you have a wonderful message to share with the world and, and have fun at Google today. I'm glad you're sharing it with them. That's a great thing. And we will put the information to your contact information in the show notes. And it was a pleasure to talk to you. thank thank you maybe I am very grateful. Thank you. I'm really grateful to be on the show today. Thank you, and take care of everybody. And I hope that you take away some things here that you can use right away. It's this Our show is a lot about work and being a manager and being successful. And this is fundamental, you know, if we can really look at how we present ourselves to ourselves in the world, our gratefulness, our being able to use our intuition. It's going to make such a difference. And we're going to get out of this pandemic, we're going to get to the other side. And I think one of the gifts is the gratitude that we see that ahead of us and that we're I'm going to be so grateful to be able to go out and hug people and do other things. And so we just have to hold the faith that we're gonna get through this and we're gonna get through it together. So thank you, Wendy. And thank you everyone for listening today.