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Passionate Pursuits, Brag Queens and What Puts Bill Gates to Sleep

Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge with 1 quote, 3 ideas, and a 5-minute challenge to supercharge your wellness.


1 QUOTE: He Took a Pill in Ibiza then took a long walk  


“Unplugging made the journey a lot deeper, because I went to places in my mind that I didn’t know were there. I tapped into my superpowers, as I call them. The trip is supposed to be hard, so you’re just riding these up-and-down waves. At some point, I figured out how to get through a low to the next high with only myself.” 

― Grammy nominee Mike Posner took a walk a cross America and found himself


3 IDEAS 


THE BOOK THAT PUT BILL GATES TO SLEEP  In his early Microsoft days, Bill Gates believed that sleep was lazy, and would routinely pull all-nighters, sometimes back-to-back. After reading Matthew Walker's Why We Sleep, Gates realized that his lack of sleep took a big toll, and has added Walker's book (that we recommend in The 5-Minute Recharge) to his holiday reading list. Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist better known as the “Sleep Doctor,” advises us to: 1) MOST IMPORTANT! If you forget everything else in this newsletter remember this: Wake up at the same time every single day (even when you go to bed later than usual); 2) Stop caffeine by 2pm (caffeine has a half-life of 6-8 hours meaning that when you stop at 2pm you will still have roughly half a cup of coffee in your system at 8pm); 3) Stop drinking alcohol at least three hours before bed; 4) Don't exercise three to four hours before bed; 5) When you wake up, drink a bottle of water and get fifteen minutes of sunlight.


“Sleep is healing. That's how I think of sleep. It heals on every single level, physical, emotional and spiritual, you name it. Everything you do, you do better with a good night's sleep, It affects every organ system, and every disease state. It's impressive how infiltrative sleep is in our lives.” ― Dr. Sleep (Dr. Michael Breus)

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION (AFTER HOURS) Follow your passion and you'll never have to work another day in your life. So goes the advice that has taken hold among young people who in a recent study ranked achieving their career passion as their highest goal, above making money or having a family. But not every job kindles passion, and passion for work can be a painful path that leads to burnout. Harvard Business Review encourages us to rethink the pursuit of passion and consider pursuing an interest outside work that can provide all the stress-reducing, creativity-enhancing, and energy-boosting benefits of passion without the risk of it defining us and determining our self-worth. From crafting your job to include elements of your passions to volunteer work, there are many ways that following your passion can lead you to your best life, and managers play a critical role in helping employees get the benefits of passionate pursuits. Lynne is forever grateful to her boss, Suzanne Villeneuve, who allowed her to take Wednesday afternoons off to take a creative-writing course taught by Governor General Award-winning author Rosemary Sullivan. Suzanne became the CEO of a biotech company, but is now pursuing her passion as a visual artist... 




When Everything Seems Possible (Suzanne Villeneuve)


 “If you feel like there is something out there that you are supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” – Wanda Sykes


BECOME A BRAG QUEEN! Two famous women who were mostly unknown and unappreciated during their lifetimes--Ada Lovelace, believed to be the world's first programmer, and Emily Dickinson, the canonical poet--were born on December 10th, a day we would like to turn into Brag Queen Day to honour each other's accomplishments. As the year (and a decade) comes to a close, get together with friends and become Brag Queens (or Kings). Share three successes from the past year, no matter how big or small, and don't hold your applause: clap and cheer for each other with gusto.


 “If I cannot brag of knowing something, then I brag of not knowing it; at any rate, brag.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

1 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE

What Do You Do? 


“I wanted to be a shoe designer, but I never thought it could be a profession. But what was the alternative? Doctor? Too dirty! Air-hostess? Maybe not! Then someone gave me a book on Roger Vivier, and, cheri, instantly I knew that was it!” 

― Christian Louboutin 


Connection is a key element of wellness and a great de-stressor, but connecting with strangers can be a challenge. “What do you do?" is a terrible conversation opener that in the UK and Europe (especially France) is considered to be a rude form of interpersonal inquisition. According to NPR’s Terry Gross, “Tell me about yourself?” is the world’s best ice breaker. Addie’s favourite cocktail party opener is "What do you enjoy doing?” which gives her conversation partner the freedom to talk about almost anything, and assures the response to her question will be upbeat.


But let’s face it. In North America “What do you do?” is a conversational inevitability. So what do you do about “What do you do?" so that you can increase the odds of a long, enjoyable conversation? This week's 5-Minute Recharge challenge is here to help with an exercise designed to enable you to better connect with strangers. Simply take a blank page and write What Do You Do? at the top. Now brainstorm ways you can answer that question to provoke a follow-up question. Think about what you do beyond your job title (if you have one). Include volunteer work, or your role as a family member. Consider the broader purpose of what you do or narrow your perspective to consider a project you’re currently working on and frame it in a way so that you can ask your conversation partner for help. 


Here’s Lynne’s response to What Do You Do?:


I’m a writer. My current focus is on promoting a simple five-part wellness formula: sleep, step, sweat, reflect, and connect. 

(Generally the cocktail party follow-up question is: what’s most important of the five?)

Sleep’s the most important part of the wellness formula. Did you know that alcohol knocks out stages three and four of sleep? Stages three and four are physical restoration. Half of a hangover is due to poor sleep, and the other half to dehydration. Why are you putting your drink down?


Kidding! Lynne wouldn’t mention alcohol’s effect on sleep at a cocktail party, but she could briefly explain each wellness pillar and ask her conversation partner which pillar they feel is their strongest and why.The goal is to keep the conversation going. 


Your turn. How will you respond to the dreaded “What do you do?” in a way that will increase the odds of making a meaningful connection?


“I walk on the wire; it’s my profession, and there are no two high-wire walks alike.” 

Philippe Petit 


Wishing you success in all that you do,

Lynne & Addie

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