155 – Recalculating

It’s Dr. Dave and welcome back to The David Madow Lifestyle Show. This is the show where I help you live stronger, thinner, healthier, and happier. I’ve got a great show for you today! Don’t go anywhere!

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I’ve got a guest here with me today. I know on most of my episodes you hear me and it’s me talking all the time. But when I find somebody really special, I invite them to be on my show. Today’s guest I will put in the extremely special category. I will go so far as to say that you’ve probably heard her voice before. I will put it this way, more people have heard her voice than Oprah and President Obama. Not only that I’m going to say she may have even been in your house. You may have heard her actually speaking in your house. Her name is Karen. Karen say hello!

That’s it! You’ve heard her. She is the voice on millions of GPS units all over the planet as well as Siri. So there’s a very good chance that Karen has been in your car, in your house, somewhere.

Dr. Dave: “Welcome Karen! How are you doing today?”

Karen: “Oh I’m doing well! I think I’m recalculating one step at a time. I think it’s over 400 million GPS and smartphone devices and elevators and different places around the world. So yeah a bazillion.”

Dr. Dave: “A bazillion! So chances are my listeners have already heard your voice. You’ve been with them in their car, in their house, in the elevator, on the iPhone. So they probably feel like they already know you. You’ve been giving them directions and telling them what to do for many years now and have been asking them to recalculate.”

Karen: “That’s right. I’ve been telling them where to go and what to do. I mean that’s a lot of fun right?!”

Dr. Dave: “I think it’s a blast. Now tell us real briefly Karen, how did you get the gig? I mean there are billions of people on this planet. How did you get the gig to be the voice of GPS, Siri, in elevators, things like that? What did you do?”

Karen: “Well I’m originally from Australia from a town called Mackay. And I moved to New York City. I had done voice overs and I’m a singer/songwriter by trade. And this client was looking for a native Australian female voice over artist that was living in the northeast of the United States. It was an audition and I went to the audition. I ended up getting the job. And I ended recording for almost 50 hours to create the voice system that’s ended up in all those devices. So it was a completely unexpected development in my singing and songwriting career.”

Dr. Dave: “Well I’ve got a million questions I could ask you about that. We don’t have enough time for all these questions that I have but I’ve always wondered, do you have to say every street name in the world? Do they give you a list of like a billion street names and you have to just go from number 1 to number 1 billion? I just have a million questions. But forget about that. I will have you on another time to talk about that. The thing I want to talk about today is actually you know when you’re in your car and you have the GPS on and it’s telling you where to turn. And you miss the turn and all of a sudden you come on and you very politely say – recalculating. [giggling] Whenever I used to hear that recalculating thing, I used to think I’m an idiot. I messed up and this woman on the GPS is being very polite and she’s just saying recalculating. And I think we all recalculate in our lives. Not only driving but many things we do in our lives right?”

Karen: “That’s the thing. I think actually we are recalculating all day every day. It’s something that I really talk a lot about; being able to do that at a moment’s notice, being able to find another way, to course correct in our daily lives and in business because things do not go as planned more of the time than does. The human reaction is often to get upset and to get stuck. So recalculating is really a way of life that you can become more and more proficient at so that you can limit the amount of time feeling stuck or negative when things don’t go well.”

Dr. Dave: “And it’s not only when you miss a turn or something goes wrong in a particular day but I’ve actually been sharing with my listeners on the show here for the past 3 years that if you’re in a job or profession you don’t love and you’ve tried everything possible to make it better and adapt and it’s just not working. If you are getting in your car every morning, or you get on the bus, or the train, or however you get to work you are just not loving what you are doing; I’ve never used the word recalculate before but I said, hey you’ve got to make a change. You cannot stay in the same thing for your life. You can’t do that. And not only that but in a relationship. I am not a proponent of divorce. It’s ugly and it’t not fun. I’ve been through one. It’s not a good thing however I tell my listeners that if you’re in a relationship and you’ve done everything and it’s just not working, you need to recalculate. You need to make a change somehow.”

Karen: “Right and I think one of the hardest things for people to come to terms with is that they are 100% responsible for the outcomes. If you are willing to become completely responsible for the way your life is. That’s when you can do something about it. And even when it’s not good news and even when it’s messy everywhere. To be able to say that I am at the source of this can give us a tremendous amount of power. Even though it doesn’t necessarily feel good in the short term. But to be able to say ok I created this and if I can create this, I can create something way better.”

Dr. Dave: “Yes, that’s right! You’re exactly right. Everything we’ve done in our lives whether it’s good or bad, we are the ones that created it. I think people, including myself, are afraid to make a change or recalculate because I was afraid to see what was on the other side. Even if we’re in a bad situation at least we know what we have. We are afraid of the unknown.”

Karen: “Right.”

Dr. Dave: “Sometimes we need to just jump into the unknown because normally the unknown is going to be a lot better than staying in something that you know you need to recalculate.”

Karen: “Absolutely. And you know often we will wait until we hit rock bottom. Guys! Don’t hit rock bottom. If you know it’s not work and you’re really clear that there are changes to be made, have the presence of mind to start at least making small adjustments and bring in some new energy before things get so dire. I think what happens is that we start to think that life is happening to us rather than think that we have something to do with it.”

Dr. Dave: “Well Karen that’s a really good point. But don’t you think that for many people out there that life does just does happen to know? They are not proactive enough to say hey I totally have the power to change this. I can do anything I want. Now I may not know exactly what the outcome is going to be but it’s probably going to be better than it is right now. People are just afraid. They are worried. People don’t realize that they’re totally in the driver’s seat if they’re able to do the recalculating.”

Karen: “I think there are two pieces. And I think that one of those pieces is sometimes fear. Absolutely. But the other piece is that I really don’t think a lot of people know what’s possible. I didn’t. I didn’t realize what was possible. I didn’t realize that I could create and design my life as aspects of my life to be the way I wanted them to be. I would look at people who had incredible lives and I would dream of having a life like them. But I thought they got lucky. I didn’t realize that it was massive action over a period of time. There was intention. There were decisions made to create those kinds of outcomes and that kind of life. And one thing I’ve learned from all of the reading, and I am sure you read as voraciously as I do about personal and professional development, is that people who are extremely successful it’s not an accident. It’s extremely intentional. It’s been designed that way. They have had a goal, a focus, outcomes that they wanted to accomplish and they’ve taken massive action toward them. It is so easy to look from the outside in and go oh they were lucky but that isn’t how it goes.”

Dr. Dave: “I wonder if there’s also a third component and that might be that people are just really concerned about what others think.”

Karen: “Totally.”

Dr. Dave: “People are trying to live this life where they make it look like they live so good. You know it’s so easy on Facebook these days and on social media to put only your best pictures up and only your good stories and show your vacations but it’s not so easy for people to show others that, hey my life sometimes really sucks. They’re afraid to show people that. So they’re afraid to make a change because they don’t want people to know that they’re in a horrible situation to begin with. But I am going to beg my listeners, and I have been saying this for the last three years, trust me and trust Karen. You know in your heart if you need to make a change. And now we’re going to call it recalculating. If you need to recalculate please please have the guts to do it. I have been through many recalculations and I have not been through one that turned out worse.”

Karen: “Oh I love that!”

Dr. Dave: “Seriously!”

Karen: “I believe it!”

Dr. Dave: “Oh my gosh. Let’s see. I ‘ve had a change in my work, in my profession. I’ve had a change in marriage about 15 years ago. Change in my lifestyle/diet, which I want to talk to you about for a couple seconds too. But going vegan; it could have been horrible. But going vegan was the best thing I ever did in my life. I will never eat another animal product.”

Karen: “Tell me about it.”

Dr. Dave: “Karen so you recalculated how long ago when you became vegan? How long have you been vegan?”

Karen: “3 years.”

Dr. Dave: “I’ll tell you something. We are definitely siblings from another mother. [laughing] We’re so close in that regard also. What made you do that recalculation and would you ever go back?”

Karen: “I am never going back. And it’s interesting because my husband and I both went vegan at the same time and around that time we were at a march 3 years ago. We were watching documentaries. We love documentaries so we were watching food documentaries and we watched 6 food industry documentaries in a week. Like one every night. We were binge watching these amazing movies. At about the third movie, my husband turned to me and he said should we give this a go? And I said what?! Vegan?! And he said yeah what have we got to lose? And I’m like ok. The thing is I had been vegetarian for a numbers of years and my husband had actually been vegan for 14 years before we met. But at that point we were not eating very much meat. A little bit of everything you know? And when he said should we try this? I just thought wow how are we going to do this? I went back to the favorite question of people, what do you eat? [laughing] So we decided to do a challenge. We did it for ourselves. No one was asking us to do this challenge. We just decided we would try eating vegan for one week. When my husband and I do this kind of challenge in our lives, which we have for a number of different things, we go the whole way with these things. We like to really commit. It’s not about doing it perfectly of course but it’s about committing and keeping your word to yourself. So we set out to be vegan for a week. And we were. And gosh it was fascinating and eye opening. We live really close to one of the best natural supermarkets in all of Manhattan which is very fortunate. We were already eating lots of things that were whole food and plant based. So on the 7th day my husband said so honey do you want eggs for breakfast now? And I used to love eggs. I’ll never eat eggs again but that was a very useful and enjoyable part of my diet at one time. So he said do you want eggs and I said you know, I really don’t. And the second week began and we decided we’d make it a month challenge. And then we really liked a 90 day challenge and we’ve just never looked back. There have been incredible changes in how we feel. Digestion is amazing. And one of the things that amazes me is just my clarity of thinking. It’s gone off the charts in a whole new way from making that change. Did you have the same experience?”

Dr. Dave: “I did and our stories are amazingly similar. It’s very scary. My wife and I were watching probably some very similar documentaries, listening to podcasts, and watching videos. We also have a yoga instructor who is a very good friend of ours. My wife and I used to have these little dinners after yoga and Sandy would come hang with us. Sandy, being vegan, would be eating her veggies and we’d have chicken on the table. She would be very nice about it and never give us dirty looks but over the course of many weeks and probably many months she would share books with us. She brought us a copy of Main Street Vegan. So we got to a point where my and I were watching some documentary one evening and we looked at each other and I said we’ve had enough. Let’s give up animal products altogether and she totally agreed with me. Now I remember, we were starting a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway so we were in Northern California. We had all these restaurant reservations and we just said forget it! And we ate at our hotel room or on the deck and it was the best trip we’ve ever had. I’ll never forget that recalculation of going vegan. So our stories are pretty similar. There’s no turning back ever.”

Karen: “No and I didn’t realize what a statement it is to choose to eat that way. The first year was getting used to it and getting more of a repertoire of meals and learning what my snacks were. Over time though I have become even more educated. I really think about the materials that the different things in our house are made of. I’m not doing everything perfectly but I’m much more conscious about it. After seeing Cowspiracy not that long ago, we are on a road to ruin if the majority of the planet doesn’t drop animal products in a shorter time frame.”

Dr. Dave: “There’s no question about that. It’s very scary. What a great story that is! I was going to ask you real quickly Karen because we’re getting close to time. But, other than going vegan, are there any other real serious recalculations that you’ve made in your life that you want to share?”

Karen: “Well leaving Australia and moving to New York on my own with a suitcase and my dream of being like Olivia Newton John would definitely be a major recalculation and took me to all kinds of emotional places. But I think it’s nice to talk about right now when recalculating is happening right now. So can I share a little bit about right now?”

Dr. Dave: “Absolutely. Please.”

Karen: “So we live in a beautiful place in New York City. And there was some water damage so all of our floor boards are being replaced in our apartment. So what that actually involves is packing everything  in our apartment and moving us to a hotel while they get that done. And that’s actually happening while I am talking to you right now! You think you have things worked out in a certain way but what’s been really tremendously interesting is that this period of time my husband will be celebrating a milestone birthday. So I have been planning a party for him for a year. Because it’s an exciting time for us. Meanwhile this happens and it’s like everything is up in the air. And then my husband is a production manager for touring music artists and he has been on hold for this particular tour in China with someone fabulous and successful. But it’s been on and off since July 22nd. I mean one day it’s on and the next day it’s never gonna happen. As of this week it’s on and he’s now actually arranging visas for everybody. Right of course when the party is supposed to be. [Dave moans] And I then got a note for jury duty which starts next Monday.”

Dr. Dave: [laughing] “Oh no!”

Karen: “It’s like all of these different things at once. So we’re going to be out of our apartment, my husband isn’t even going to be here for his birthday and the party will have to be totally recalculated, I’ve got jury duty. Things are just totally up in the air. I’m not sure of our next move but we know that we have to do a reasonable amount of deep breathing. Because I’ve got to tell you that’s a lot of change.”

Dr. Dave: “I have a feeling though Karen that whatever life throws at you, you are totally able to recalculate. After all you’ve said it enough times to the GPS unit. I just have a feeling you’re probably an expert. You can do it! I’ve got full confidence in you.”

Karen: “That’s true but what is very interesting from this experience is how there are so many things that could send you off kilter at once. I’m actually realizing it is almost like a little recalculating test the universe is sending me.”

Dr. Dave: “Karen, in a minute or less, help our listeners. I’ve got a lot of people listening from all over the world. I know several in Australia off hand that are listening. In sixty seconds for those that are out there that know they need to recalculate, help them out. What can they do?”

Karen: “It takes courage to recalculate. It takes courage to take action in an uncomfortable way. I’m here to tell you that it is never too late to recalculate. If you remember nothing else from this 20 minute chat, remember it is never too late to recalculate. There is always another action you can take even when life is dire and seems dire. There is always something you can do to make yourself feel just a little bit better. So that’s my sixty second take on it. It takes courage. Ask people for help. Pick up the phone and share with a friend. It’s normal. Everybody is recalculating all the time. Most people are not out about that. And it’s never too late to recalculate.”

Dr. Dave: “Karen, that was super. The time just goes so fast. I am going to give you an open invitation if you ever want to come back on the show I would love to have you back. Because I have a feeling you and I could just talk forever on this topic.”

Karen: “Love it! I will absolutely take you up on that.”

Dr. Dave: “I really hope you do. But for now I am going to give you the last word.”

Karen: “You have reached your destination.”

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