How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders, entrepreneurs and leaders and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Today's edition is with Solutions2Projects founder Terri Hanson Mead, who happens to be a commercially rated helicopter pilot and loves a good reality TV show with a happy ending.
Name: Terri Hanson Mead
City: Redwood City, CA
Company: Solutions2Projects, a consulting company that provides IT strategy and IT compliance services in the life sciences space in addition to expert witness consulting services.
Beyond the role: Commercially rated helicopter pilot, tennis player, mom to two teenagers (19 and 15), avid home chef and reader, author of Piloting Your Life, blogger, YouTuber, fierce advocate for women, champagne drinker.
I want to say I don't pick up my phone first thing, but I do. I check email, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) and do a quick scan of the news to find out what fell apart while I was asleep. I share the daily challenge out to Facebook since I can schedule the other social media platforms, but not Facebook for some reason.
Then I try to do a five-minute Simple Habit meditation before I get out of bed. I walk down the hall to my home office and write down at least three things I'm thankful for in my daily planner. I head to the kitchen for a cup of coffee (unless my husband brought it to me in bed) and take my daily supplements. I do 10-15 minutes of French on Duolingo and look through my daily tasks in my planner. After I spend about 30 minutes journaling, which always triggers more tasks for the planner and some emails, I update my Silk + Sonder habit tracker for my daily habits (supplements, gratitude, French, morning pages, meditation). Then it's off to the races for whatever I have scheduled in terms of calls, meetings, or work
The first thing I do after work:
I'm a consultant and investor; there is no real end to my work day. With sheltering in place I am trying to do some virtual happy hours to signal the end of my "work" day to establish some separation, but I still check emails through the evening. Since I update my planner for tasks throughout the day and make note of my daily wins throughout the day, I don't need to do any prep for the next day. I do try to make sure that all of my habits are marked off each day before I go to bed which sometimes means a quick 10 minute yoga practice before I crawl into bed with a book.
Right now things are a bit crazy with sheltering in place, but we do have dinner together as a family every night. This has always been something that's been super important to me, so we tried to do it as much as possible as we raised our kids.
Now, we sometimes eat at 7 and other times at 8:30 depending on when my 19-year-old son gets home from work (he's home from college and bagging groceries at the local market). My 15 year old (Rei) and I love to cook and started a blog to capture our cooking adventures when my son went off to college in August and my husband went back to work after staying home with the kids for 11 years. Rei and I try to cook together four times a week. We are doing takeout one night a week, and then my husband and/or son cook the other nights.
After checking to make sure I checked off all my daily habits, I brush my teeth and crawl into bed with Violet, my 50-pound brindle pitbull. I watch a few silly things on YouTube, check my email and social media, and then read until I fall asleep.
Self-care guilty pleasure:
I suppose daily gin and tonics don't count as self care but right now they are a necessity for my sanity. I watch silly things on YouTube like "Say Yes to the Dress" because I know that in the end, there will always be a happy bride. I need to know that there are happy endings right now.
Workday self-care hack:
Lately I have been doing 10-30 minutes of yoga on my back patio in the middle of the day. It gets me off the computer and my body moving. I enjoy the sound of our fountain and the birds. I do have to work around my cats and dog on the mat. I call it yoga with cats and dogs. There's nothing like a cat nibbling your toes while in downward dog or a dog licking your face at the same time.
How do you define self-care?
Self-care is anything that I do to take care of my mind or body whether there are immediate, visible results or long term benefits that may not be as visible or directly correlated to a specific activity.
Favorite childhood toy or hobby:
I loved to read as a kid and still do. I like to escape into a book and often read the last few chapters so I know what to expect. There is so much uncertainty in the world that I am comforted in knowing how a book ends; I can better enjoy the journey.
I played a lot of sports growing up and still play tennis on several teams. I love the social aspect of tennis, that I can be strong and fast on the court, and I can wear cute outfits. Tennis is a social leveler too; you can play with and against people from all walks of life. I am all about the multiple wins in every aspect of my life. I grew up in a family business where there was no separation between personal and professional. I still operate that way which is helpful as a super connector. I can connect people, ideas, and people to ideas all day and every day.
State of your (email) inbox:
I have (no joke) 10+ email accounts, and I try to keep on top of them at all times. I do use them as a task list/reminder system. I have a filing system for each email box and as I address an email or respond to it, I decide whether to file or delete. I also try to label my sent email. I even send myself emails from social media or the news to act as reminders for me to address something.
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Illustration by Megan Behrendt