Remaining Flexible Post Pandemic

Remaining Flexible Post Pandemic

Remaining Flexible Post Pandemic

The past two years have taught me a ton about remaining flexible both as a professional and as an individual.

Watching a business I'd painstakingly built succumb to a pandemic I could neither predict in my business modeling or fathom in my mind was one of those lifetime lessons I hope to never repeat, but will certainly factor in going forward. The beauty (and pain) of those lessons is they show you what you're really made of. Are you just hype? Or do you have the ability to FITFO on-the-fly and keep the bills paid? Luckily for me it was the latter.

I've had the opportunity to really take a step back and reassess my life and the things that I'm passionate about. Actually passionate about it. I found that once I took the time to do a proper life audit many of my pursuits had actually lost their luster awhile back and felt more obligatory than something I was genuinely excited about. When you've put significant amounts of time, focus, and energy into something for so long there's a tipping point at which it moves from passion to low-key drudgery. And that discovery is what can either be demoralizing or life changing. Again, luckily for me it was the latter.

Getting Unstuck

I scaled back my business, trīb, to its barest bones. While I am incredibly proud of the work I'd done in the space and the individual windfalls I helped scores of Executive Assistants around the world make in increased wages, bonuses, new roles, etc. it got to a point where it simply wasn't fun anymore. Sure, it was impactful for those whom I helped, but for me there was no true reciprocity. Only take, take, take. Despite my altruist intentions the business devolved into something that no longer resembled the original vision I had for trīb and actually depressed me for a while. That is, until I conducted a very deep and painful audit of my "why." And once I got honest with myself I was able to take action.

Getting unstuck takes quite a bit of courage. Doing the hard, internal work isn't something you schedule into your day with a calendar invite. Sadly, there's no prescription or YouTube video that can provide you a perfect blueprint or roadmap to this type of enlightenment. It's one of those things you have to revisit over and over until it clicks. And once it does it provides a level of empowerment and energy I can't quite put into words. But you have to surrender to the process. And that's where many of us get unstuck.

Set Fires

I once learned from an Anthony Robbins event I'd attended over a decade ago that true change only comes from taking big, intentional action. From that I devised a mantra based on my life experience to that point: "The Universe (God) will never give you any more than you can handle. Otherwise, you'd be dead." I'm not particularly religious, but I do believe in a Higher Power that inspires and guides us in some cosmic, inexplicable way. I've been through some shit in my 52 years on this planet including 3 near-death experiences. Yet, I'm still here. By design of a force I'll never truly understand. Which gives me, as I see it, the responsibility to set as many fires as I can in the time that I have on this planet.

To be clear, I'm not an arsonist. But I do love to burn down preconceived notions and poorly crafted/researched opinions, especially my own. Anything that doesn't bring me joy, inspires me, pushes me, or incites my childhood senses of wonder or curiosity, typically gets left by the wayside. One thing I learned and that stuck when being hooked up to an EKG with a boa of electrodes while in ICU/CCU in a backless, low-key dress I'd never pick from a clothing rack for anyone, is that life is short, precarious, and certainly for the taking. And I made a promise to myself that if I made it out alive I would "honor the Gods" and live a life that was inspired and inspiring and via the terms that I set, not what someone sets for me. And I've done just that.

So I set fires. I don't play by anyone's rulebook but my own. I'm not bound by a title or give two f*cks what anyone has to say about my approach to life, business, or anything really. I do what I want because I know it's coming from a pure place that isn't hampered by greed or hubris or a thirst to be liked. I do what feeds my soul and that's often in very unconventional if not slightly controversial ways.

Set Bigger Goals


I previously mentioned that I recently took up running track as a hobby. I had run track during grade school and my first year of High School and, essentially gave it up to become a dancer. I had an epiphany while watching the Tokyo Olympics that led me to cut my champagne and Whole Foods hot food section addiction and get back to something I used to love as a child. This month I ran in my first track meet since High School. I competed in the 100m and the 200m dashes in the Men's 50-54 division. For about 8 weeks prior to the meet I'd cobbled together a training regimen from numerous YouTube videos and whatever I could remember from my track running days of yore. It was janky but pretty effective. I ran the 100m in 14:18...which ranks me #69 in the U.S. and #431 in the world. My 31:14 in the 200m ranks me #84 in the US and #398 in the world. Truly not bad for someone who hasn't set foot on a track in over 30 years. But those of you who know me know that those rankings simply won't do. My original goal was to be the fastest 55 year old in the nation (if not the world), which means I have about 2.5 years of training and national/global competitions to get there. And I'll get there...or damned close.

Often we set goals that are really only minor extensions beyond our comfort zones because of our aversion to, well, discomfort. My track goal is pretty insane because it's forced me into a complete overhaul of my routine. I have to watch my weight because who wants to drag extra pounds down a track? I train religiously at 5:30am so that my body can get used to the increased load of sprinting and the new muscle gains I've added. I know that my legs and knees will be trashed for 2 days after a super hard sprint day at the track to the point of barely being able to walk correctly because, um, I'm 52...not 22. But what excites me is the journey that I'm on. I'll take every pain, niggle, strain, and "off day" thrown at me because I'm doing something where I'm truly all-in without even the slightest hesitation. How many things in our lives can we say that about?

Find something, anything, that allows you to go all-in. Especially FOR YOU. Not to please someone else or shine on the socials. I can say without equivocation, it will change your life. Especially coming out of the dumpster fire this pandemic set in many of our lives. And once you find that one new passion, others will suddenly catch your attention. For instance, my 4am wakeup day trading has turned into an absolute obsession spawned by consistent wins with my meager "fun money" funds even with the volatility that is crypto at the moment. I just kicked off studying for my Series 65 exam because, f*ck it, I want to start an investing group and eventually a fund. I worked in investment banking for over a decade and took really good notes. I have a number of friends/mentors in Finance whom I know will help me fill in the knowledge gaps and likely help me build something pretty great including an ex-High School alum/bandmate/friend who became a HNW financial advisor consistently with tens of millions of dollars in AUM. So that would likely make me the nation's first Black, gay, 52 year old, track running, crypto fund managing, veteran C-suite Executive Assistant on the planet. I'm cool with that.

In Conclusion


Remain flexible and open to BIG change. Get yourself unstuck. Set some fires in your life. And, most importantly, set goals so lofty and uncomfortable that you have no choice but to chase them because they're so ridiculous you want to see how far you can get out of pure, unbridled curiosity. What you'll find is those goals lead from inaction to action and a mindset shift that takes you from a watcher to an avid participant. You'll start building the (better) habits necessary to achieve them and the muscles (read: intention) to stay consistent. And once you start ticking off those little wins along the way you'll build a self-belief and momentum that can't be stopped by anyone but you.

So dig through your memories and find a sidelined passion or two. Dust them off, get on YouTube, set a goal, and get to work. Don't think, just DO. Put your head down and grind it out. What you'll find is that it's actually quite a bit easier than you thought once you've actually put your plan in motion.

See you on the podium!

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Phoenix Normand

Society Expert

Phoenix is coaching and supporting American billionaires, CEOs and executive teams in tech, retail and banking for over 25 years. He also founded and created MEGA Assistant University, a revolutionary skills and mindset “boot camp” for top Executive and Personal Assistants who want to level up quickly and begin forging a mutually successful business partnership with their executives and teams. Phoenix holds a Bachelors of Arts in European Studies/Civilisation from Trinity College Dublin.


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