I turned 50 this year. So I took a look back to see what meaning I could make of my first 50 years and what I wanted the NEXT 50 years to look like as well.
What I found helped me get perspective, and I think it can help you too.
Tune in to hear my insights, and get some questions you could ask yourself to reflect on YOUR life thus far.
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EPISODE 169 TRANSCRIPTION
When you are up against a hostile room of people who don't want to be there, you need real strategies that get results. Welcome to From Hostage to Hero, the show that gives you practical advice you can use right now in the courtroom, boardroom, or classroom. Learn how to move your unwilling audience to one that is invested in what you're saying, eager to participate, and engaged in the process. Learn from the attorney whisperer herself, your host, Sari de la Motte.
Sari de la Motte:
Well, hello, my friends. I'm glad to be with you today. I said that we were going to go back to the video format for podcasts, but I'm at the beach this week and doing some podcasts here without my fancy equipment and just me and my voice again for the next couple podcasts. But in any case, I'm glad to be with you. We're going to start today's podcast with a reader... No, this is a listener shout out from the podcast and she titles it, "Life changing". This is I'm assuming she. It says Angelica Real. "Sari speaks to lawyers, but the messages transcend the industry. I started listening thinking that I needed to develop better trial skills, but started noticing that the themes can be applied to life. Generally, I'm not kidding when I say that I have a happier and more balanced life. There is so much authenticity, integrity, and truth in all of Sari's messages. Once you absorb the techniques, work and life is easier." Well, thank you, Angelica, for your five-star review. And if you've not reviewed the podcast yet, please do so. We're only two away, this recording at least, from a hundred reviews. We want to get there for sure. We're already over a hundred views at Trial Guides, and that continues to grow. If you've not reviewed the book yet, you can do that at Trial Guides. If you haven't gotten the book yet, go over to TrialGuides.com and you can purchase it there.
Well, I turned 50 and today's podcast is a little late. I turned 50 back in May, but I wanted to do a podcast on what I've learned so far. Again, you know I never just like to talk about myself, so there's going to be lessons here for you. So stay tuned. But you're also going to learn a little bit about your Mama Sari, your Finnish mother. Let me give you a breakdown. I was looking at the past 50 years of my life, and it just neatly kind of divided itself into these 10 year blocks. The first 10 years of my life, I lived in California. A little bit longer than that, about the first 13 years, but to follow our little 10-10-10 here. I was born in Oakland, California and I grew up in the Bay Area, grew up in Richmond, California.
My parents owned some rental properties here in the Portland, Oregon area. When my dad's job ended, he was a manager for a grocery coop, they decided to come up here without any jobs, without any prospects. They just knew they had a house they could live in, and they started a Scandinavian gift shop that went on for 25 years called Scandi Imports, you know that I'm Finnish. It had all kinds of cool things like crystal and candies and t-shirts and all the things. It was very popular, and it was very fun. That was my second 10 years is really just being in Oregon, going to Oregon high schools, graduating. My first year in college was at the University of Oregon where I went to study music.
And then I ended up getting married and transferring back home and going to community college for a while. And that's really my next 10 years is being married to my first husband, Jeff, who was a wonderful man. In fact, when we got divorced 10 years after getting married at the age of 21, and yes, what the hell do you know at the age of 21, may I ask? I now know one should not get married, but we went to the courthouse, got divorced, and had Starbucks afterwards. I mean, we wished each other well and was not acrimonious. I mean, a little. Divorce always is, and I had done some things and he had done some things, but that was really the third 10 years of my life.
And then my fourth decade, my forties, is really when things started to heat up. I started building my business. I met my now husband, Kevin. In fact, in a few days from this recording, we'll have been married for 17 years, together for 20. I started my business working with teachers on how to manage their classrooms using nonverbal techniques. And then I went on to work with lawyers, and here I am today. I'm sorry, that would have been my thirties. My fifth decade, I guess, which would end at 50, was my forties. And that's really when I believe that things got really good for me. That's when my business became a success.
That's when my daughter was born. I was 43. I had two miscarriages before her and one after. Didn't think I would ever have children because of that. Now I know having been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, that was probably happening way back when and that's why I could get pregnant, but not stay pregnant because my hormones were all off. Funny, nobody ever tested my thyroid during that time. But my beautiful daughter Elena was born. She's now seven. Kevin and I were thriving. My business was thriving. We bought our dream home, but there was also sad times during that time. I had those two miscarriages and one after.
People who were very close to me died, my favorite aunt Lina, my mom's best friend, who was a big supporter of mine and actually gave me money to start my business. Cancer happened in that last decade of my life. But isn't this how life is? As I was looking back over these 50 years and kind of seeing how they neatly divided into these 10 year increments, I was trying to come up with a word. And you might do this for yourself, regardless of where you are in your life journey, whether you're 40 or 30 or 44 or 57, is to look back and pick a word that would take you back and describe what that time was.
I was doing this when I went to Canyon Ranch for my 50th, because I went there for my 30th and I thought, well, how fun. I'll go by myself again for a week, just like I did 20 years ago. It was awesome. I think I'm going to go every year now. I looked back at the last 50 years and I thought, what word would encapsulate this time, this whole time? And the word that I found was build. That was me building my life, building my business, really figuring out what it meant to be in a marriage that made sense, what kind of family I wanted, where I wanted to live, all of the things.
If I look at my life now at 50, I recognize it's kind of weird to notice that I've done nearly all of the things that I've put on my goals list forever and ever that I'd write over and over again, because I love writing my goals over and over again. I've written a book. I've bought my dream house. I own a beach house. I have a thriving business. I am in love with my husband. I have a beautiful daughter, right? All of that was built in the last 50 years, but here's something you can also do, which is what I did when I was at Canyon Ranch. I thought, what would the word be for my next 50 years? If I'm lucky enough to live to a hundred, and I hope that I am, what would I want my word to be for the next 50 years?
And that word I came up with is live. Now, I don't actually mean I want to physically live because that goes without saying. I hope that I'm alive in the next 50 years. But what I meant was I really want to live into my life. All of this busyness, and I have a feeling that this might be true for you as well, and all this busyness of building and creating and doing all the things that we do in the first halves of our lives, we really don't stop to recognize and live into what it is that we have built. I don't want the next 50 years to go by without me actually enjoying and being in my life. I've often felt like I have circled around, noticed it from above, been so busy creating it, but not actually enjoying it, right?
Working so hard to have the beach house, but not actually being here and enjoying it. Actually coming out here and then taking the time to create more things, instead of actually just being here and walking the beach and doing the things. When I was at Canyon Ranch and they had a labyrinth, I've never walked a labyrinth. I've always wanted to, and it was kind of out on the edge of the property. You got to walk a while. In fact, there was a sign when you kind of went off the property toward the labyrinth and it was like "beware of mountain lions." I'm like, oh my God, I'm going to be alive out here by a mountain lion.
People will find my body. I beat cancer just to be eaten by a mountain lion, but I survived. No mountain lions. I got out to the labyrinth and it was made of rocks, right? Some of them are painted on the ground. This was actually out there created with rocks. I noticed right away when you enter the labyrinth that the path is really wide, but then it narrows almost immediately as you start to get deeper and deeper into the labyrinth. I thought, well, isn't this how life is, right? When we start out as children, it's just like anything's possible, right? What do you want to be? I want to be a pilot. I want to be a ballerina.
I mean, whatever it is. And then life starts to narrow down. We start to have to make some choices. As I first came around the first bend of that labyrinth, I encountered a boulder that was saying, "You can't go this way. You have to go this way." I thought, well, isn't that how life is too, right? I mean, I remember very vividly a couple years ago, Kevin and I had found a house that we wanted to purchase. It was a stretch, as all of our houses have been, right? Every time we bought something, it's been a stretch on our finances. We're like, "Can we make the payment? I don't know." It's always been a stretch.
And then, of course, we've always lived into it, which is how I now talk myself out or in, I should say, to any purchase. Sorry, it always works out. If this is what's meant to be, it's meant to me. We found this house and we love this house. We were like, "This is the house. We're going to do trainings here. We're going to do all the things." At the time, I think the pandemic was just happening. My real estate agent said, "These houses in this price range, they're just sitting. You have time to think about it. We can get your house ready to sell because nobody loves a contingency offer." We kept watching it and watching it and getting our house ready to sell, and boom, somebody else came in and made an offer.
Their offer was contingent too, so we thought, well, let's put our offer in contingent and come a little above what they offered. And then they removed the contingency and then the owner went with them. We were absolutely devastated. I mean, we cried over this house. We were like, "How could this have happened? This is the worst thing ever. Our dreams are dashed." Now I look back at that and I think, oh my God, that's exactly what should have happened. The house we have now is even more perfect. It's in a better area. It's exactly what we want. The schools are better. I mean, everything is better. It took a couple years for us to get there, but we were so ready to buy this house.
We had done all the paperwork. We had preapproval that we ended up buying a beach house instead. We ended up getting a beach house instead of buying this dream house and bought our dream house a year or two later. It was exactly what needed to happen. But at the time, I couldn't see that. How often in your life do you encounter a boulder in your way and you think, oh my God, how do I get this out of my way? How do I pick it up? How do I burst through it? When sometimes the boulder is there to say, "This is not the path. This is not the way for you to go." How much energy do we spend trying to move it, move through it, climb over it, when really we just need to turn direction?
As I continued through the labyrinth, I noticed it was very discombobulating in that as you got down the path, sometimes it would take you farther away from the center. You're like, what? It just makes you feel like you're doing something wrong. As you keep going in circles, sometimes the circle will take you farther away and sometimes it take you toward. I thought, isn't this how life is too? In that as we're moving toward our goal, sometimes it feels like we're farther away than closer. When, in fact, if we keep going, we will get there. Sometimes the path doesn't make sense, but we have to trust that it is the right way. I would ask you, are you on the right path?
How do you know if it feels like sometimes you're being taken off in a different direction? Well, I really would come back to, what does it feel like for you? What do you know in your heart of hearts? Sometimes the path doesn't look right, but you know you're headed in the right direction. Keep going. When I finally got to the center, I thought I would feel something different than what I ended up feeling. I thought I would feel this sense of accomplishment. Like I made it, right? What instead I felt was that I had gotten there too quickly, that I hadn't actually enjoyed the walk. In my insistence or my anxiousness, my hurriedness to get there, I hadn't enjoyed the actual journey.
I thought, man, that is the biggest lesson of all, is it not? Oftentimes we are so invested in getting to where we're going, because we think that that place, where we are, that that is what matters, right? That making that accomplishment or are getting to the place that we're going, that's the point. I'm here to tell you that the point is the journey, my friends. It's not where we're headed. I'm sorry. Right. It's not where we're headed. It's not where we think happiness lies. Happiness lies in enjoying the journey. That is the point. I just thought the labyrinth was such a great example of that.
I just recently posted a meme in the H2H Crew Facebook page and it says, "The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later." Oh, sorry, I forgot the top. "And then there is the most dangerous risk of all, the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later." Isn't that the truth? Cancer was a big boulder in the middle of my life saying, "Pay attention now. Be in your life now. Live, Sari. Live." I didn't beat cancer to just get back in the rat race and keep trying to build things so I can enjoy them later. I need to enjoy them now, and so do you. Here's my advice.
If you're thinking you're moving in the right direction, keep going, even if it feels like the path doesn't make sense. If there's a boulder in your life, pay attention. It's trying to tell you something. It's trying to get you to go in a different direction. Something better is awaiting you. And finally, slow down. Be in your life. I just want to take this moment to thank all of you again for being in my life, for seeing me through this journey, for walking it with me.
I continue to get emails nearly every week from you saying, "You don't know me, but I listen to you, and I've been thinking about you. I've prayed for you during your cancer journey. I've cried with you." Those messages mean so much to me. Thank you, my community. Thank you, my friends. And if I can be an example, if I can be a voice in your life from what I have learned to help you learn, that is my greatest accomplishment. So live, my friends, now. Don't wait. That's my biggest lesson from the last 50 years of my life. All right, talk soon.
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