Author interview: Julia Pimsleur.
Julia Pimsleur is the author of the bestselling Million Dollar Women (Amazon, Bookshop). She is the founder of the Million Dollar Women social venture helping one million women get to $1M in revenues, and she also built the #1 language teaching company for kids, Little Pim, into a multi-million dollar business.
I couldn't wait to talk to Julia about habits, happiness, and mindfulness.
What’s a simple activity or habit that consistently makes you happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative?
I learned how to interrupt my thoughts that don’t lead to good results and replace them with ones that serve me better and lead to results I like. This took a few years of practice! Now it’s something I teach through an acronym I created called T-BEAR.
T-BEAR makes it clear exactly how thoughts become results. It stands for Thoughts becomes Beliefs, which have an Emotion attached, which lead to Actions which lead to Results. If you have a Thought over and over again, it becomes a Belief. All Beliefs have a positive or negative emotion attached to them. If your belief has a negative emotion attached to it, you will take very little Action, which is the A (Imagine someone who has belief with a negative emotion attached it about selling—like “I hate selling” and “I am bad it.” They won’t send out very many emails or make many cold calls. Very little Action will get taken). The Actions you take (or don’t take) lead to your Results. If you want to change your Results you need to go back to the Thoughts and start your changes there. (I share more on T-BEAR in my new book, Go Big Now: 8 Essential Mindset Practices to Overcome Any Obstacle and Reach Your Goals.)
You’ve done fascinating research. What has surprised or intrigued you – or your readers – most?
In researching Go Big Now, I took a deep dive into learning about the brain’s epicenter, called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). We have an astonishing amount of data coming at us through our five senses in any one moment: 11 million bits of info per second, in fact. But we can only process 110 bits of information per second. Our brains must constantly make decisions about what to filter out and what to keep. This is the job of the RAS. We get a tidal wave of information, and we can’t keep up. It’s sort of like trying to pour a gallon of milk into a glass. Most of it will end up on the floor.
The RAS saves the day. It’s a tiny filtering device located at the base of the brain, at the top of the spinal cord. It acts as the gatekeeper of information transmitted from your sensory system to your conscious mind. Without our RAS deciding what to focus on, we’d go crazy.
Once you understand that your RAS is feeding you biased information, you know that your reality does not match anyone else’s. Think about that for a minute. Everyone you know is living in their own unique version of reality. It’s kind of freeing, isn’t it? Your job is to focus on making sure your reality is as close as possible to your vision of your optimal life — and not to try to match other people’s, which would be impossible anyway.
Does anything tend to interfere with your ability to keep your healthy habits?
Lack of sleep is at the top of the list! I don’t function as well if I don’t get seven hours of sleep and I also tend to eat more when I haven’t slept well. Also, if I get off my exercise routine, everything goes wonky. I work out 3-4 times a week. If I miss a workout, I feel the difference in energy and happiness level right away.
Is there a particular motto or saying that you’ve found very helpful?
There’s a quote by Rumi I love and cite often: “What you seek is seeking you.”
Many women suffer from discomfort at putting themselves “out there.” This quote reminds me that my job is to be findable so that the women seeking me can find me. I do that by sending out newsletters, getting on social media, hosting events, etc. I coach the women I work with on this too: You are a problem solver and people are looking for you. If you don’t make yourself visible, you can’t help as many of your clients and customers.
Would you describe yourself as an Upholder, a Questioner, a Rebel, or an Obliger?
I love this framework and I use it and teach it all the time! I’m an Upholder, which means if I set a rule for myself, I observe it without any need for external motivation. For example, I workout 3-4 days a week, no matter what. And I always thought everyone was like that. Knowing about these Tendencies has helped me be a better coach because I can create accountability for people who are Obligers and have answers at the ready for Questioners!
Have you ever been hit by a lightning bolt, where you made a major change very suddenly, as a consequence of reading a book, a conversation with a friend, a milestone birthday, a health scare, etc.?
Yes! After I got divorced, everything felt so hard. Suddenly I could only see my children half the week and my identity as part of a couple was gone after being central to who I was for eleven years. It was very disorienting. My coach, Gina, gave me great advice. She said, “If you want something you haven’t had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
I put that quote up in my kitchen as a visual reminder of why I needed to make all these big changes.
Has a book ever changed your life—if so, which one and why?
Books change my life regularly! I love to reread my favorite mindset books, because different passages resonate with me each time. My top ten favorite are:
- Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Brené Brown, Daring Greatly (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Rachel Hott and Steven A. Leeds, NLP: A Changing Perspective (Amazon)
- Mike Dooley, Leveraging the Universe (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Christopher K. Germer, The Mindful Path to Self- Compassion (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Dean Burnett, Idiot Brain (Amazon, Bookshop)
- Gretchen Rubin, Better Than Before (Amazon, Bookshop) [awww, thanks Julia!]
In your field, is there a common misconception that you’d like to correct?
Yes. I think there is a misconception that mindset work has to be woo woo and involve crystals and a 10-day silent meditation retreat.
A lot of people also think of mindset work as going hand in hand with religious epiphany or faith. But anyone can do mindset work whether you're Christian, Buddhist, agnostic or anything else. There are tools anyone can use to build what I call “mindset core strength.” Just like you build muscle at the gym, you can strengthen your mindset.
I encourage anyone to at least try to learn a few things that can help you in difficult times. We know life will throw challenges at you, so why don’t we train our minds to be ready? If you decided to run a marathon, you wouldn’t sign up for one that happens in a few days and buy a pair of sneakers and start running! You would train. You would talk to other runners about their best practices. When you work on your mindset, you are training for life’s challenges in the same way.
One Last Thing
Interested in happiness, habits, and human nature?
Sign up to get my free weekly newsletter. I share ideas for being happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.
Dive into The Blog
More Posts For You
Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.
The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t act. Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.