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What is mindfulness and how is it linked to thriving communities?

What role should mindfulness play in property management, and how can you get started? Listen in to Donna Lee, Professional Speaker, Author and Consultant as we dig into why bringing mindfulness to property management is a win-win for you and your residents.

Listen to the episode below and subscribe to The Resident Experience Podcast for more episodes.

The art of mindful property management

What does it mean to bring mindfulness to work? How does this connect with property management? And what can you do to get started?  Listen now to Donna Lee, Professional Speaker, Author, and Consultant - plus her active role at Brookfield Properties in Chicago - as we dig into why bringing mindfulness to property management is a win-win for you and your residents.

On work and finding inspiration. [5:54]

  • If you really want to change and transform who you are, it's going to be uncomfortable.  
  • Recommended reading: Dr. Joe Dispenza. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
  • Coming out at the end of the year (2022): Donna Lee (co-author), To the Brink and Back: How Changing my Thoughts Changed my Life

How has the concept of Resident Experience changed over the years? [11:25]

  • Resident experience has changed both for residents themselves and property management companies
  •  The early '80s:
    • It was more organic. The people that worked on the property typically lived there so there was a shared commonality.
    • Workers made their lives in these communities with events happening all the time.
  • Today:
    • Nobody lives rent-free anymore. Even if they live on-site because they get a discount, they don’t necessarily want to.
    • They don't want to integrate their personal lives with their jobs. They want to have their separate time and their separate families and kids and school, etc.

Resident experience management through COVID and 2022 expectations. [13:37]

  • People are frustrated. People have been working from home. People want everything immediately. Then we have this news that keeps pumping fear and scarcity and war.
  •  We're managing people's emotions now. They come in and we have to calm people down. Constant emotional management takes its toll on the
  • People just want to know that people are kind and they're compassionate and they're patient.

How does mindfulness connect with day-to-day work? [18:56]

  • The best thing that a leader can do is create safety and security and trust with the people that work for them.
  • Be consistent with behavior (mindfulness) which builds trust
  • Allow everybody to make mistakes. And don't answer all the questions for them. Allow them to find solutions.

Advice on how to identify an unhealthy environment and how to turn it around? [22:29]

  • Self-awareness is critical. Just because you have a thought, doesn't make it right.
  • Get back to the authenticity of whom you are and connect with your intuition.
  • To improve yourself, go to self-improvement anything once or twice a year.
  • As you become more aware of who you are as a human being, then you can start understanding what type of work environment you want to be in.

What are small steps to take immediately to start bringing in mindfulness and intention? [34:10]

  • Two immediate steps: calm yourself and start constantly learning.
  • Stop reacting, to stop allowing, people to push your buttons and react. Other people's emotions or craziness or bad behavior, dysfunctionality is their own stuff. How you react to it is everything.


Donna Lee

Donna Believes that when you bring your very best self to work every day, then leasing apartments and management becomes so much easier.  Her success comes with constant pursuit of self-development, self-awareness, and the passion of change.  The hallmark to her career has been about packaging programs that clear away the clutter and focuses on performance.

Donna is in the trenches … Speaker, Author, Coach and Consultant.  She is a constant in demand workshop facilitator that brings humor, fun and transformation to her programs.  

In 2022 she is publishing her next new book titled: To the Brink and Back, How Changing my Thoughts, Changed my Life. 

Episode Transcript

Yolanda Muchnik:
Welcome home, multifamily pros to The Resident Experience Podcast, episode 18, where we're talking with Donna Lee, professional speaker, author consultant, and all around multifamily rockstar. Today we're chatting about how to create a thriving community by bringing mindfulness to property management. What does mindfulness mean, and how does it apply to property management? How can you incorporate more mindful behaviors into your daily life to fuel personal and professional growth? Well, today we answer these questions and more. I'm Yolanda Muchnik, your podcast host, and I'm excited to chat with Donna Lee, professional speaker, author and consultant. Not only has Donna written eight books, but she's also run workshops and spoken at numerous property management companies to help them improve operations and leasing. Today we're digging into mindfulness and how to connect that with what you do to create a thriving community. All right. All right, so Donna, welcome to the show.

Donna Lee:
Thank you. Excited to be here. I want to know if there's anybody that can come up with a more exciting like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so glad to be here." Something different.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Everyone's pretty much like you. Well, one of our previous podcast guest, Elaine Simpson recommended you as a guest for our podcast.

Donna Lee:
Love her.

Yolanda Muchnik:
And she said, you're not only an incredible person, but that you also have written some really great books, and that you'd be a joy to have on. So I'm excited that you're here.

Donna Lee:
Thank you.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Normally I'd share a short bio with our audience to kick this off, but your background is so varied and extensive, I'm wondering if you can tell our listeners a little bit about yourself, the work you do and your background in multifamily?

Donna Lee:
I sure can. And thank you, and Elaine is amazing. So thank you to her as well. I've been in property management this year 42 years, and so it's definitely been the core of my business. 20 years ago I started speaking, training, workshops, coaching and consulting. And so I had a company Donna Hickey Presents, and thrived, and we just did all sorts of great property management specialty housing. I worked on the Indian Reservation, restructured their housing, built a building in Tempe, Arizona, specifically for the deaf community. We also did one for the blind community and one for the veterans community. And so I love specialty housing. For seven years I worked for a Chicago-based company and we did all renovations. And so we called them Rapid Renovations, so they were done in one day.

And so we started off with one property in Madison, Wisconsin. We grew five states and we had 18 properties. And so I did that for, gosh, about seven years and then ... But always jumping out, doing speaking and training. And when I started my speaking business, I started internationally first. My mom worked for Singapore Airlines and the National Speakers Association had their very first global speaker summit in Singapore. And I'm like, "Well, I'm going to go there, because if I'm going to go anywhere cool, I might as well start it in Asia." So I started speaking on the international global platform back in 2000 and really, gosh, I mean, I've been to almost every continent, except the south pole. Speaking and training really about, I always work with how to make yourself better. So, I tell people there's four different types of speakers. There's educational speakers, there's education, there's transformation, there's inspiration and there's one other.

And so you kind of have to pick your genre. And I go between transformation and inspiration. And with those two things, because inspirational is really a feel good, it's letting people know that they too can conquer the world, so to speak. And then you have transformational, which makes you feel a little edgy. Because usually we're really reaching into your soul going, "Hmm, if you really want to change and transform who you are, it's going to be uncomfortable." And so I go back and forth between those two. So I try to incorporate all of this into the day-to-day multifamily business. And so to create a healthier work environments, it's really important to me, because I think if you have healthy working environments, you no longer focus on people, you focus on the principle of what you're doing. And that is really what I'm after.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Awesome. Wow, well what a diverse background, so many interesting things. And I hope I've counted correctly. It looks like you've written somewhere around seven books in addition to creating a number of workshops and trainings on property management. And so I'm just curious, what inspires you? You talked about inspiration earlier. What inspires you to create all of this content?

Donna Lee:
Well, I think all of us, and everybody's probably heard this a million times, but we all have a story within us. And people talk about these stories as being chapters. And I look at life as we're living all these different shorts stories. And all of them can be different, maybe linked in some way. And as I've gotten older and I've had all these different life's experiences, it's like, "Hey, can we kick the stones out of the road for the next generation to make it easier, and have a more fulfilling life?" Because I look at life and I see so many people that are living in a lack or limited situation or they think they can't do something. I'm like, "Oh yeah, you can, there's more to life than just existing."

And we have so many people that are in survival mode. Living paycheck to paycheck, they don't know what's going to happen next, or they want to have this roadmap and life just isn't like that. But if you're in a survival mode, we want you to thrive. And so how can you get past that survival mode? And so there's a gentleman, he's an author, he's a doctor, Dr. Joe Dispenza. And he wrote a book called Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. Because we all want change, but we don't know how to do that. And we know that it's difficult because it's a habit. And so, in my private business, when I'm doing coaching and consulting, that's what we focus on. And so a lot of these things kind of bubble up and then these books are being written as kind of the byproduct of some of these talks and things like that. So more towards the end of this year we have a new book coming out called To the Brink and Back: How Changing my Thoughts Changed my Life. And so that's kind of the culmination of all these little short stories.

So it just kind of, it gets a life of its own. And then all of a sudden you're writing at two o'clock in the morning until two days later two o'clock in the morning. It's like, "Ah." So much of it has to come out.
Yolanda Muchnik:
Got it. And I know that in addition to all that, you've also been working with Brookfield Properties, which is a global management company. And so, how does the work you do as a speaker, as a consultant and a trainer, how does all of that translate to the work you're doing at Brookfield?

Donna Lee:
Yeah. Again, I love specialty housing, so I always like these great opportunities that other people bypass or they're just like, "Oh my gosh, I could never, there's too much." So a couple of years ago I had left this position for seven years with this local property management company. And I just needed to take some time off, did some things. And then, Brookfield came to me and said, "Hey, do you want to be a general manager here in Chicago?" And I'm like, "Oh." Because being on a payroll, I hadn't done that since late 1990. So I'm like, "Oh my God, I have to be an employee. I'm not used to that."

So then I took a position here in Chicago as a VP of training and marketing. And after a little while we just weren't on the same page. And I said, "Geez, good luck. I got to go. This isn't for me." And then Brookfield called me again. And I'm like, "Well, okay." We have the conversation. And lo and behold, I went through this arduous studying process and I talked to the senior executive VP whom I love and adore. And I was like, there was another gentleman, CJ, who's now in our London office who I'm like, "Oh my God, these people are fantastic, amazing. I'm used to working with these big property management companies." So they said, "Well, what we really need for you to do is take on this big behemoth."

And The Pavilion here in Chicago is 1,115 apartments built in 1968, finished in 1973, 5 towers. We have about 3,000 residents here and I have a staff of 40, and that includes security detail. We have a whole security office here. We have indoor pools, outdoor pools, racquet ball courts, full fitness facility, half a million dollars, totally renovated that. We've got grocery stores. We have UPS stores, parcel penny business centers. It's just a city onto its own. And of course I was like, "Aargh, I'll put my teeth into that." And so, here I am two and a half years later and love the company, love the people, and just started marrying together the mindfulness and the multifamily industry. And so taking these two things and bridging them, and I hope that was the answer to your question, but it's all about bridging these two things together.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Of course. And this is The Resident Experience Podcast. And I love asking this next question to everyone, but I'm especially curious to hear your answer because the scope of what you do day-to-day really is so vast. So I'm curious to hear, what does resident experience mean to you? What's that term mean to you?

Donna Lee:
Yes. Yes, do I start from 1979 or do I come up to 2022? Well, first of all, I think it's changed of course, over the last 40 years. And we're property management back in 1979 and early '80s, the resident experience was, hey, we made our lives at these communities, we came to the clubhouses, there were events that were happening all the time. And the people that worked on the property typically lived there so that there was this kind of shared commonality of, "Hey, what are you doing tonight? Let's go swimming." And you made friends with the people that you were leasing to. And so you had this kind of built-in social life, because you were down at the clubhouse or the pool or whatever, events that you were programming.

We had social directors on site, social directors, where they were creating this resident experience. And of course you would kind of jumping in on it and today, I think it's different, nobody lives rent free anymore. So there's no benefit to that because everybody's paying rent. And even if it's at a discount, yeah they live on site, but they don't want to, and I think the audience can probably agree with me. They don't want to integrate their personal lives with their jobs anymore. They want to have their separate time and their separate families and kids and school or whatever they're doing. And then, if they are required to do resident functions, then they want to get paid for it. So there's, I don't want to do it for free, but back in the '70, '90s or '80 and early '90, you never got paid for it, you just, it was part of your job. So, there's this kind of transfer.

Donna Lee:
But the resident experience to me is, let's go forward to this kind of COVID, post-COVID thing. The hallmark to my business is I'm in the trenches. And so, I'm one of the few speakers that actually works in the trenches shoulder to shoulder with these people on staff. So I know the complexity of the problems. And here I have 3,000 people. So, what has been the resident experience, and people are frustrated. People have been working from home. People want everything immediate. Those are people that are driving to and from work, it's like the Indy 500, it's crazy scary on the highways. And then we have this news that keeps pumping fear and scarcity and war. And so, what is this filling up your brain?

And so we have these residents, that what kind of experience can we have, because 2020 and 2021 have been struggled. Now we're into 2022 and everybody wants to get back to normal, but then we have this war going on. So I talk about all of this as we are managing emotions, we're managing people's emotions now. They come in and we have to calm people down. And when it comes to the resident experience, we have tried very hard in these last two years to bring in food trucks and at arms lengths try to create some connection with kids and coloring contests and things that we did long before 2020. But I think today people just want to know that people are kind and they're compassionate and they're patient. And now when we have people come in, we try to say, "Hey, we understand that you're frustrated, but you can't have what you have."

So to give you an example, if here at the Pavilion, we're so close to O'Hare Airport. So we have a lot of people that will take the bus, because we have a bus that comes through the property to the airport as a amenity. And so, if you don't live here, but you know about that, it's free parking. But we have towing. And so, if you don't have a sticker and you get towed, that's on you. Well, when their car is missing, of course they're going to come into our resident services and just blow a gasket. And we're like, "Look, we understand you're frustrated, but what did you think was going to happen?" You can't say that, but you're just like, "Come on now." So we're doing a lot of handholding, because we have a lot of people that are not, they want what they want and they don't care about the consequence until the consequence happens.

So, I know that it's a big question. There's lots of answers to it because there's lot of complexity to it. And the one thing I think we all can agree with is that people, they're frustrated. They want what they want when they want it. They have no patience. And so we're actually trying to retrain everybody to just, we don't want to tell you to calm down, but we can answer your questions in a more calming atmosphere. And for the two years or two and a half years, almost three years, actually that I've been here, I have three resident service coordinators that get beat up all day long and I'm constantly protecting them against this emotional management that is now new.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yeah, and this was actually going to be my next question, but you really have already covered it. And you just made this great point about how your definition and probably just the industry's definition of resident experience has really evolved and changed over time, not just for residents themselves, but also for property management companies. You'd mentioned, a long time ago this was just something that organically happened as part of the property manager's job. And now people aren't so willing to make that an organic part of their role. We are seeing actual individual roles focused on this now within property management. Where you have a resident experience manager, director of resident experience. And that's definitely not something we had seen several years ago. So, I'm so happy that you had pointed that out, and also mentioned the ways that residents themselves, their expectations and what they're looking for from a property management company has changed. So thanks so much for that.

And while you have what I call this nuts and bolts workshops and speeches on leasing, multifamily business in general, you also, and it certainly comes through so far in this interview, but you also have this focus on the more human, emotional side of property management, especially that anecdote that you had just brought up about the parking. And you discuss mindfulness and finding purpose a lot. So, I'd love for you to tell me a little bit more about your philosophy and experience as an inspirational speaker and how that ties into your day-to-day work?

Donna Lee:
Yeah. Well, if you talk to my staff, they can tell you, I'm like, I have 40 employees and they're always like ... I talk about leadership all the time and I'm like, the best thing that a leader can do is create safety and security and trust with the people that work for them. And everybody knows I'm a, really a new thought leader. I've been this way for the last 25 years. When I was in college, it was not even big yet in college, but it was a experiential track, so to speak, about mind, body and spirit. And so of course I loved it and I was married at the time and my poor now ex-husband used to say like, "Ah, are we done with this hocus-pocus yet?" I don't think that's going away.

And so I have always been drawn to mindfulness and being a better person and authentic and being honest and working in environments that are emotionally healthy. And I think all of us can say that we've worked in dysfunctional environments before. And those are hard. I mean, if you have people that you know are insecure or they have no self-esteem or they're always in a state of survival. That's very difficult to work with because they don't want to share the information. They hoard information and that's so old school. So, as a new thought practitioner, I'm also and have been a meditator for years. I teach meditation, I help people find their purpose and passion. So I kind of parlay this right into work. And people know that. I meditate every morning. I put two hours aside. So I meditate for an hour, if I can't get into it, I do it again.

If I'm really starting a new job or something, pardon me, I'll usually go and meditate in half of the day for half an hour. At the end of the night I'll meditate too, because I just think that when I'm about leader and then my team is really good too. And because they know that I'm consistent with my behavior, then there's a sense of trust that's built. So there's no surprise management. I don't believe in that. I don't believe that people should just show up to property and it's a gotcha management thing. So we really try to celebrate all the successes. I allow everybody to make mistakes. I don't answer all the questions for them, I want them to find solutions. So there's a lot in that question, but I really do try to help people become better shadows of themselves.

Yolanda Muchnik:
And I want to just touch on that a little bit more, dig into your answer there just a little bit more, because you really talked a lot about the importance of emotionally healthy environments. And you seem like someone who is very in tune with her emotions, but I know, not everybody has that as a trait, not everybody is gifted in that way. And so, how would you advise others to maybe identify if and when they are in an unhealthy environment, and then as a follow up to that, I mean, do you have any advice for how they can turn things around?

Donna Lee:
Yes. So, I think self-awareness is so critical. And there's a lot of people that look in the mirror every day and they believe the lies that they tell themselves. And I tell people all the time that just because you have a thought, doesn't make it right. So, to just because you think of something and you have this thought, it doesn't mean it's right. You have to dig into that and go, "Okay, what does this do? How does it feel? Who does it affect?" And I do think that I've always had the intuition of this. I've been this way my whole life. And I'm very self-aware, like I know how I'm coming off. I can tell when people, if I say something and people look at me or respond funny, I notice all those little nuances, and there's times where I just ignore them too.

I mean there's times where, you know how you can be around somebody and you have this kind of itchy, scratchy feeling, or you can meet somebody and you just want to hug them? So, these different, I call them vibrations, or these feelings. And I teach leasing people how to read this so that they can have higher and better closing ratios. And I teach leaders how to do this so that if they have mentors that they can help their mentors understand what kind of vibe they're giving off. And so, I also, when I take a look at these work environments, man, it doesn't take me but a half a second to figure out if I want to be in a certain environment or I need to kind of move off. And I teach people how to really read their own intuition, get back to the authenticity of who they are.

So several, to answer your question on the second half of this. Years ago I ran into an author. So, I wrote a book and it's a anthology. There's probably 20 of us that are in, it's called Masters Of Success. And Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield and John Christensen and all of us are in this book. And Ken Blanchard is a great writer. And he, along with myself, we belong to the American Society of Training and Development, now called ATD. And so we had the great opportunity to co-present when we were in Dallas, Texas. And was able to meet with him. And it was just a really, it was a great experience and all that. And so, where I'm going with this is that I, in all of ... So one of the things that, and I'll get back to answer the question is that I believe that in order for you to be a better person, you have to go to self-improvement anything once or twice a year. Take class, go to college, go to a convention, a conference. And so I read about 152 books a year.

Yolanda Muchnik:

Donna Lee:
And I always try to go to two different types of self-development. So it could be, I did Tony Robbins and I Walked On Fire. I did, I don't know if you're familiar with Esther Hicks, and went to her conference and got a chance to meet and talk with her. And then Lisa Nichols is a gal who was in The Secret and she was in that movie, The Secret. And she is a author and wrote a fabulous book and was in Chicago, signed up to go to her executive VIP conference, got to meet with her, actually hired her as my business coach. And so this kind of behavior of mine goes on and on and on.

And so, I don't know, maybe six or seven years ago I ran into an author Dr. Joe Dispenza. And he wrote a book called, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. And I was like, "Oh my God, this is the best book ever." Because I say to everybody, "If change were easy, we'd all be skinny, because dieting would be fun." Well, it doesn't work like that. So he wrote this book and what he does is he marries science and spirituality. Because we all take a look at metaphysics or we take a look at epigenetics or we take a look at new age thought or philosophy or whatever words you want to use. And now we actually have scientific research to back up change. And when does change take place? And so, when I'm working with my clients or if I'm doing a workshop and people want to know about change, I start them with, by this book, I have a book club it's five years old, we're on Facebook.

We have a meetup group, we have lots of conversations about this. And so people are then now introduced to change. So now they're becoming more aware of who they are as a human being, what type of work environment they want to be in. And then they're looking at this change and they're like, "Okay, now I want to figure out what my purpose and passion is." And then that's when I get all involved, I'm like, "Okay, let's figure this out." And so, I changed my name in, so I turned 60 in September. And so I was Donna Lytle, which was my maiden name for 30 years. And then Donna Hickey, which is my married name. And because people don't know how to say Lytle, they love little Hickey. And I'm like, "Yeah, I think we're over that."

Yolanda Muchnik:
Oh man.

Donna Lee:
I figured, now I can be Donna Lee. And so we did that in September and then changed the company name to Donna Lee by Design. And it's all about creating your life. So being property management, there's a million roles that you can do in property management, that you want to experience and love, and then bring mindfulness into it. And what's your real purpose and passion? So in all of this, because for seven years I was traveling five different states and 18 different properties, I started Bags of Blessing, which is a non profit feeding the hungry and the homeless. And it's a backpack. So you keep it in your car, a string backpack, and it's filled with food. So if you see somebody that is panhandling, you can simply hand the bag out the door of the car, the window of the car. And so you can have multiple things going on. It doesn't have to be single focus. You can create things within things.

Yolanda Muchnik:
That's awesome. That's funny, you mentioned Joe Dispenza twice, just total aside. My dad actually recommended that book to me a long time ago and I just had lots of light bulbs go off in my head, because you mentioned it twice. Maybe you're onto something, dad.

Donna Lee:
I've been to several of his workshops and conferences. I had the opportunity to meet with him and he's really gaining a lot of speed and momentum these last few years. And I think people are at a place now where they understand science and spirituality and the research that he's doing. And it's quantified, so people are feeling more comfortable with it. Spirituality has all sorts of connotations to it. I mean, religion is one thing, spirituality is another, faith. And so, people are like, "Oh." But then when you bring in the science piece, they're like, "Oh, okay."

Yolanda Muchnik:
Exactly, exactly. So, I just loved hearing about how you're marrying what you know about mindfulness with what we do in Multifamily. And how you're kind of training your team to use some of the techniques that you've learned to better serve residents, better serve prospects, be more effective in their roles. And so, I'd love to hear any real-life stories you have from your own experience, or others or from others' experience around the benefits of bringing mindfulness to your work in property management and the impact that it can have?

Donna Lee:
Yeah. I think, it's really funny, if you were to come to my office about two months ago, I had water fountains and twinkle music and yoga magazines and how to meditate and people walk in my office like, "Ugh, this again." And so, I think that life is better through attraction versus promotion. So I think that you have to go out there, you have to promote who you are and what you're doing. But when you come down to self-development, you come down to your own behaviors, you have to model it. And then people are like, "How come you're always so happy?" And so then I get the opportunity to kind of talk about it. So really what I did and I have done over the last two and a half years here is, when it comes to a people's work anniversaries or rewards and recognition or end of the year holidays, everybody gets books.

And so I've given them Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. And then after that book, Dr. Joe Dispenza wrote, Becoming Supernatural, so now everybody has that. And then, so they'll read them and then they'll come into my office and ask me about certain chapters. And so, it's kind of very soft stepping it. And then they start to pick up on these certain techniques and then they'll ask me, "What would you do?" And then I'd be like, "Well, what would you do?" And so I kind of let them test things out. And so we have this kind of calming environment, but we also don't take on things from residents or from vendors. So if residents are upset, we've been teaching the team how not to take on the emotion of that, because we don't want them to be burdened.

So through these several different books, and we meet every week, so I have team meetings all the time. And I'm like, "What are we struggling with?" And they're like, "All these angry residents." And I'm like, "Okay, so through all these books and all these techniques that we've learned, how would you apply that?" And so we say simply, "I understand how you feel, others have felt that same way, and this is what we can do." So, I've given them this little script and they're like, "Okay, I can do that." So then they can kind of step back and go, "Yep. I understand how you feel. Others have felt that same way, and this is what I can do." And that mantra is in their head. So if somebody keeps battling with them, then they can keep saying that mantra and it kind of creates this emotional distance.

Yolanda Muchnik:
I like that. That's really neat. I can see that working on me. So, for the listener who's maybe nodding their head to this conversation right now and wants to start bringing this mindfulness and intention to what they're doing, where can they start? Are there some small steps that folks can take, start taking immediately? And related to that, what small steps can they be taking at work as well?

Donna Lee:
Yeah, I think it's a really good question. And I tell people, "Go on to YouTube." So you have to get yourself. I wrote a little book called, The Crap Factor. And you have to really take a look at how your day is. Do you get up in the morning and hit the alarm and then the snooze, and then 10 minutes later it's another snooze? Because you're going to just get a crappy attitude. How many times do you have to hit that before you're like, "Oh, okay. I'll finally get up." And then, do you turn on the TV? So what are you feeding yourself the first thing in the morning? And I tell people, "For 45 days, stop watching the news. Stop watching the news." There's nothing you can't get on opening up your computer.

I don't even watch the news anymore. It's so bad. It's so negative. And it's a program. So we watch this news and we say to ourselves, "Wow, I mean, that's terrible. And look at us, we're here in America and we have food on the table and a roof over our heads," and it makes us feel better. So then we watch it again. I'm like, "Ugh, stop with the news." And then the one thing that I do on my cell phone, first of all, I don't even look at my cell phone until I'm out of the shower. So when I get out of the shower, I turn on Gaia TV, or I turn on something on YouTube, something that I want to listen to.

I mean, I listened to Les Brown the other day for an hour and a half, getting ready for work, listen to the rest of it in my car on the way to work. And I was like, "Wow, I don't think I've ever heard this guy speak before, but what a great message he has." So now I'm filled with positivity. And I know a lot of people like, "Ah, you don't have kids and blah, blah, blah." And I'm like, "Well, we all have our things."

And you just have to make way, you have to clear out what is important and learn to meditate. And I know a lot of people roll their eyes, but Oprah Winfrey meditates, and Warren Buffett meditates, and Bill Gates meditates for God's sakes, as did Steve Jobs. There's something in it, and I'm not going to get into it here because that's a whole nother 10 hour conversation, but calming yourself and just constantly learning, just start off with these little steps.

And of course I'm going to go back to Dr. Joe Dispenza, but I probably have listened to so many books and read so many books. And I think it's all about reading this stuff on self-development and then slowly applying it. In the work world I tell people to stop reacting, to stop allowing people to push your buttons and react. And that's, other people's emotions or craziness or bad behavior, dysfunctionality is their own stuff. How you react to it is everything. And if I could tell a younger me something, I would say, "Don't worry about what other people think." You have to get beyond that, because life isn't a dress rehearsal guys, you get one shot at this and you want it to be your best shot, not a reaction to somebody else.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Really, really, really like the wisdom you've shared. So one final closing question for you. And I'd love to ask this to all our guests because great people know other great people. Who are two other guests you think we should invite on The Resident Experience Podcast?

Donna Lee:
Well, I love Kira Rice. I think that she has great wisdom. And I think that Kira is somebody who's also very passionate about workplace environment. And [Jen Picada 00:38:07]. I don't know if I said her last name correctly, but the two of these gals, they're really ... And Doug Miller who own Swift Bunny. I think all of these guys are all about that positive, emotional workplace environment. And I think that they would bring a whole nother dimension to positive work environments. And that's what they do. So I would say any one of those three I would definitely recommend.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Love it, will definitely, definitely reach out. Donna, this was such a fun discussion. And I have to say, I feel you have raised my vibrations-

Donna Lee:

Yolanda Muchnik:
... in the short time. I just can feel the positivity oozing from you, and I love that. We will make sure that all our listeners can connect with you from this episode page. Maybe even have links out to some of those really helpful resources you mentioned that have made an impact on your life. And thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

Donna Lee:
Oh my gosh. Thank you.