Plan tomorrow today. If you want to set yourself up for a great day, take time the night before to reflect on the day that just passed and prepare yourself for tomorrow. Reflect on the times you felt great and the times you felt unrest. Think of just one way you can improve tomorrow. Then, list out your priorities and schedule tomorrow. List what you’re grateful for, and one thing that you’re looking forward to. When you do this, your brain goes to work while you sleep figuring out the best plan of attack to ensure that you get your priorities done. This activity takes 10 minutes, but it sets you up for a great day filled with exuberance and a joie de vivre.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie McIntyre, the campaign manager at the Monk Manual. Katie joined the Monk Manual team after meeting the founder, Steven Lawson, who went from “running on all cylinders” to creating a practical daily system for living a fulfilled life. After following Steven’s monk-inspired daily system, Katie realized her true purpose is helping others, especially military veterans, focus on the important things, so they too can live with a joie de vivre as they find their own purpose in life.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path
Of course, thank YOU for having me!
A few years ago, I found out 22 military veterans commit suicide every day. 22.
After hearing that, I thought of their friends and families, the people who must feel like their joy had been unjustly stolen from them.
I knew I wanted to help veterans. I just needed to figure out how.
Easier said than done.
While I was trying to figure it out, I met Steven Lawson, the founder of the Monk Manual. Steven had created a practical daily system for peaceful being and purposeful doing.
I tested the Monk Manual, and I knew right away it would change lives.
Today, the Monk Manual 90-Day Planner is being used by everyday people — parents, working professionals, entrepreneurs, and even students who want to live with greater peace, purpose, and productivity.
Soon, I hope to use the wisdom I’ve learned from Steven and implement the Monk Manual as a tool to help military personnel integrate into the civilian world after combat.
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
For me, living “on purpose” means designing the life you want and having the courage to pursue that life.
You see, there is a big difference between focusing on what you do not want versus focusing on what you do want.
Someone who says, “I don’t want to be sad. I don’t want to have bills, heartache, and feel bad about my fitness level,” will most likely continue to feel sad, have bills, experience heartache, and do activities that further jeopardize their physical health.
Those who live “on purpose” often look at the flip side of the same scenario. They’ll focus on the life they want to live (rather than the life they do not want).
Someone who lives “on purpose” is more likely to say, “I want to live joyfully. I am grateful for my car/house, the experiences I shared with “so-and-so,” and I am grateful for my health. I’m willing to work hard and find a way to pursue my purpose and produce an income that covers my bills. I want to love and respect myself and my body, so I can fully love someone else and create healthy relationships with those around me.”
To live “on purpose” simply means you’re calling attention to the things you want and focusing your time, attention, and energy on the activities that bring you closer to your goals.
Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?
Most definitely. Before I met the founder of the Monk Manual, I was working 6 days each week, 14+ hours each day. It was painful. I was working every minute I could, and I was exhausted. I felt like I was in a boat that was taking on water.
If I hadn’t experienced that pain, I may not have seen the value of the Monk Manual.
That pain helped me empathize with people from different corners of the world — people who have worked hard for years and come up short time and time again.
That pain helped me connect with everyday people, parents, CEOs, and top performers who have all felt the pain that comes from feeling unfulfilled and joyless.
That pain helped me find my life’s purpose — to help people, especially veterans, experience the quiet peace that comes from living intentionally with joie de vivre.
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
I think we all have natural tendencies to move away from pain and toward pleasure. As a country, this tendency seems to be celebrated rather than managed. People celebrate pleasure and try to minimize pain not realizing the true success stories are born out of pain, failure, and determination to stand back up no matter how many times you’ve fallen down.
Additionally, I think there’s a misconception that pleasure is synonymous with happiness. The large majority seek things that bring pleasure rather than seeking true happiness. Unhealthy food, social media, even toxic people can bring momentary pleasure, but pleasure is fleeting. The dopamine spikes deceive people into thinking their body is truly craving the foods, activities, and people that only bring momentary pleasure.
Those who are truly happy minimize the activities that bring fleeting pleasure. Instead, they focus on activities that bring them closer to their clearly defined goals. They sacrifice the things that bring momentary pleasure, so they can accomplish greater achievements.
When you’re able to sacrifice for something greater than yourself, you can remain joyful even in the face of adversity, heartache, and overwhelming defeat.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Being a part of the Monk Manual team has given me the opportunity to help everyday people live joyfully with greater peace, purpose, and productivity.
— Working professionals who value personal growth and want to become their best selves
— Parents looking for balance and a system to structure the frenzy of parenthood and their careers
– Entrepreneurs who work 14 hour days and want to enjoy the freedom of running their own business
– Students who want to discover their purpose in life
— Top performers who want to squeeze that extra .1% and get an edge
The Monk Manual allows us to meet people where they are in life and help them grow as human beings who are mindful of their true purpose and present to life’s moments.
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Plan tomorrow today. If you want to set yourself up for a great day, take time the night before to reflect on the day that just passed and prepare yourself for tomorrow. Reflect on the times you felt great and the times you felt unrest. Think of just one way you can improve tomorrow. Then, list out your priorities and schedule tomorrow. List what you’re grateful for, and one thing that you’re looking forward to. When you do this, your brain goes to work while you sleep figuring out the best plan of attack to ensure that you get your priorities done. This activity takes 10 minutes, but it sets you up for a great day filled with exuberance and a joie de vivre.
2. Put the phone down. Set your alarm and put your phone away from your bed an hour before bedtime. Ideally, you should put all of your devices away an hour before bed. This means no scrolling through social media to put yourself to sleep. Just cutting out social media during the late night and early morning hours will help you face your day with exuberance and a joie de vivre.
3. Wake up with alarm #1. If you followed strategy number 2, your phone should be across the room. That means you have to get up to turn the alarm off… No snooze buttons… As soon as it’s off, it’s time to do a 3 minute workout. If you’re already in great shape, do a 2-minute plank with 30 pushups. If it’s been a while since your last workout, start small — do a 10 second plank with 1 pushup (or something comparable). Each day add 1 second to your plank and 1 pushup.
4. Keep the phone away. Keep your phone put away until you’ve finished your top priority for the day.
5. Remember the important things. The important is almost never urgent. When you plan out your day, remember to prioritize the important things that bring you true joy. That may be carefree time with the family, time to relax with friends, or maybe even time alone with a good book. It’s important to prioritize the activities that rejuvenate you.
6. Be kind to yourself. Remember the goal is progress, not perfection. It’s great to get in a rhythm where your habits do the heavy lifting for you, but there will be hiccups and there will be hard days, so be kind to yourself and keep track of your progress. When we are kind to ourselves and reflect on our progress, we set ourselves up to see solutions rather than problems throughout the day, and it becomes just a bit easier to face the day with exuberance and a joie de vivre.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
The Monk Manual 90-Day Planner is certainly a driving force behind the inspiration.
Books that have inspired me to live with a thirst for life include American Sniper by Chris Kyle, The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly, and The One Thing by Gary Keller.
Other resources: Sam Ovens put together top-notch mindset training for those who want to serve others and live for a greater purpose.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle
In highschool, I had coaches and teachers who took the time to show us that life isn’t about some great hoorah speech or one big effort that leads to success and joy.
It’s about establishing daily habits that make it easy to do the right thing every single day. It’s about doing the little things day in and day out. Doing them every single day, so they become automatic.
Aristotle’s quote reminds me that a joie de vivre does not come from heroic acts or unwavering motivation. Rather, joy comes from loving the process and realizing you just need to do the small tasks each day. A joie de vivre comes from celebrating this process and favoring progress over perfection.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
After the recent success of the Monk Manual’s Kickstarter Campaign, Steven will continue with the Monk Manual full time, while I move to a part-time position that will allow me to pursue my personal mission: Operation Civilian Integration (OCI).
With OCI, our mission is to use the daily system of the Monk Manual to aid veterans as they return home and integrate into the civilian world.
You see, most programs refer to veteran homecomings as “military reintegration.” During this time, many veterans try to overcome their combat experiences as they strive to reintegrate into the life they once knew.
After speaking with veterans, it became clear that they are not reintegrating.
The civilian world changes during the military personnel’s absence, and the veterans’ combat experiences shape how they perceive the civilian world. The military personnel who successfully transition are not reintegrating. Instead, they are integrating their experiences, and they are adapting to the changes that occured during their deployment.
To help military veterans accomplish this integration, I’ve partnered with a few mentors who are generating business opportunities across various industries for military personnel and their families.
Our next step is to work with psychologists who can provide treatments such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) to help veterans with post traumatic stress disorder find relational homes for the trauma they endure.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be a movement of rest.
After working with Steven and the Monk Manual team, I’ve realized people need time to rest and experience being. Right now, there’s such a large emphasis on “doing,” which is certainly important, but I believe it needs to be balanced with “being.”
There are so many people who are “human doings,” and I think we need a movement that celebrates us as “human beings.”
Thank you for joining us.