Follow along with the transcript below for episode: Discover Joy with the Unicorn Challenge from Andrea Goeglein, PhD
[00:00:02] PF: Thank you for joining us for episode 403 of Live Happy Now. Would your life be better if you are a unicorn? This week’s guest invites you to find out. I’m your host, Paula Felps. And this week, I’m sitting down with Andrea Goeglein to talk about her 60-day Unicorn Challenge.
Andrea, who is also known as Dr. Success, holds a PhD in organizational psychology and hosts the Hey, Boss Lady! Podcast. She created the 60-day Unicorn Challenge to offer small daily tasks that will help you take steps toward reaching your goals while making yourself a priority. In this episode, she tells us how the challenge came about, why she picked the unicorn, and how you can get started on this free challenge. Let’s have a listen.
[00:00:48] PF: Andrea, thank you for coming back on to Live Happy Now.
[00:00:52] AG: It is me being allowed to live happy. The amount of information that your podcast enriches my life with, even though this is my field, you’re one of the podcasts I personally come to to learn from. So anytime I’m asked to share what new inventions I’ve come up with, it’s an absolute joy for me. Thank you.
[00:01:14] PF: Well, thank you so much for saying that. Because, obviously, we at Live Happy, all of us respect who you are and your opinion, and it means so much. I so appreciate your support. You have something so fun, so unique that you’re doing. I was on LinkedIn and saw it, and I immediately reached out and said please come on the show and talk about. So tell us about your unicorn challenge.
[00:01:40] AG: Yes. My 60-day Unicorn Challenge is as much an expression of how I work with my clients and in turn work in my own life, how this came to be. But I will just start with one of the opening quotes, and I have to read it. If you want to change your life, do it flamboyantly and start immediately, William James.
Now, William James was a psychologist whose work grounded a lot of the work that I was first introduced to in psychology and how the unicorn challenge came to be. I want our audience to really think about this in their own lives. They’re going about their daily life, doing their jobs, doing the same things that they always do. Then one thing happens that inspires another. So I’ll just start with that one thing to pay attention to the average things you’re doing.
Here was mine. Every year on Halloween, I have some sort of a costume. I actually generally go and give out candy downtown. I would dress up and all these different things. It was just a way that I loved being in my community because I live in a condo. People don’t come to my door, yada, yada. Well, on this particular Halloween and for the last few years, I’ve been a unicorn. I have this fabulous unicorn head that I bought at some party city or something like that a few years back.
I had a business lunch. A very high-powered Hollywood executive and I were going to be having a conversation, a check-in conversation, and they were planning out some fairly big moves. I showed up perfectly dressed for the restaurant, however, with my huge unicorn head in tow.
[00:03:36] PF: Of course, you did.
[00:03:38] AG: Of course, I did. It sat down right next to me. What I realized in that moment was that I was feeling joy, the person I was with was feeling joy, and we had some pretty heavy business things and life things to discuss. So I went home. I did my post. That was the beginning. I didn’t have in that moment the idea to create the 60-day challenge nor the e-book that people can get for free. That was the next thing I want people to pay attention to. You don’t have to know everything at once. Be inspired by something, flow with it, take a step, and then see what else happens.
[00:04:24] PF: Oh, that’s so well put. So tell us what a unicorn challenge is. Yeah. Let’s just start with that. What is it?
[00:04:34] AG: So what it is, one of the many positive emotions. Well, the top positive emotion that I work in in order to help people achieve their next level of success is the overarching emotion of love with the 10 most research attributes of that. One of which is joy. Now, I am a really – My image meant a lot to me, especially businesses. I’ve owned businesses. I work with people that own really big businesses. My image has always meant a lot to me. So joy and being joyous and being silly may not have been in the criteria.
But like the rest of the world, the last 36 months has allowed a shift in my thinking, bigger than any other shift before. So it was me taking the one emotion, positive emotion, joy. I went from remembering the feeling of this one little lunch to the next day setting a personal challenge. There’s things within my work and many people that are listening may need to use social media as – I’m not a social media expert. I am an expert in the application of positive psychology. But social media is very critical. So there are things I am challenging myself with to learn. Of course, I don’t like learning them. Not what I do for a living. I’m cranky as anybody else.
So joy, how do you add joy to the work and the tasks specifically that you have to do so that, in fact, even those mundane things, even those things that you don’t want to do, you can move forward? So I focused on that, and I’m going to be straight. I was doing it for me. I was setting me a challenge. I went to lunch with someone. I did a post for my work, I. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Every second of our days, we are informing ourselves of what new opportunities may lie ahead for the things we do, and I made a choice to focus on the emotion of joy. Unicorns happen to be – The legend around unicorns happens to be about joy. William James told me to start immediately and be flamboyant. I succeeded. So then I became thoughtful about it. I started doing one of the sets of tests.
That’s one of the many things I want to share. This did not all come together like in one big thought and all of a sudden – Honestly, it was this. First, I did one thing and did a few steps towards it. Then I did another thing. Then by the time enough pieces came into being, I said to myself, “Well, wait a minute. If I’m investing all of this energy doing this, in what I was doing –”
One of my challenges was to put a one minute short on YouTube, on my YouTube channel, every day because I think that’s a silly way to spend my life. Not silly in a good way. I think it is a time suck. The only way something can’t be a time suck is if I’m helping someone else. That gets me personally over the hurdle. All of us have that thing, where not my choice. I always categorize certain things like cleaning toilets are not my choice, but I do like a clean house. So maybe I’ll clean the toilet.
[00:08:18] PF: Cause and Effect. Yeah.
[00:08:20] AG: Yes, yes, yes, yes. That’s what the unicorn challenge is about, taking time in the smallest bites to shift a habit in a joyful way that adds to your success.
[00:08:36] PF: How did – At what point did you realize this was not just a set of tasks you were doing for yourself, that you saw this is something that will generate real good for other people?
[00:08:48] AG: Yeah. Feedback. I had my little list of why I was doing it. But then all of a sudden, I started getting feedback because people who have worked with me or who are working with me knew that this was the same exact work. All of it grounded. All of the tips in this free e-book are the exact tips you find in every reputable resource on how you do habits and how you take care of yourself, all those things.
However, it was done in a different way, especially for me. So it caught their attention. Once I realized – What they were saying was, “That was so fun. I love seeing you do that.” They were telling me that that little one minute showed up at the right time for them. So as I said, for me, in my work, the impact on another is my return on investment. Always has been, always will be. So it was the feedback that others were feeling joy. Others were being moved in a way. That’s what hooked me, and all of us have those things. I would say know your thing and start looking for it.
[00:10:07] PF: So it’s for anything that we want to improve, want to change in our life. It’s not a I’m going to lose weight. It’s not a I’m going to exercise. It’s a whatever you need it to be for you. Is that correct?
[00:10:20] AG: Yes. First and foremost, it’s a commitment. So in one of the many things that I put out online for years, I have said, “If you don’t do the free stuff, my fee is not the problem.”
[00:10:36] PF: There you go.
[00:10:37] AG: Okay. So what I will challenge everyone, hey, it’s free, if you don’t start there. What is free? It is a systematic thing that is helping you nudge you each day in one minute to see. Is this an action I want to take, will take? Is it one that eats at your brain after you hear it? Because what we know in human development is you don’t have to do all 60 days. You may do one day and spend the next six months working on that one task. Just the one step get you closer to what it is you’re trying to achieve in whatever area of the life you’re focusing on.
[00:11:23] PF: Yeah. You say something very interesting about why you chose 60 days. I wanted you to really explain that to us because we see all the time all this 21-day challenge a 30 day challenge. We don’t see 60 day challenges, and I think that’s because we’re like, okay, we’re lazy people, and who’s going to last for 60 days. Like imagine if you had to do dry January and February.
[00:11:47] AG: Thank you. Thank you –
[00:11:48] PF: Why 60 days?
[00:11:50] AG: Therein lies the reason. I want to get you out of the conversation that there’s really a time limit on it. I actually somewhere in the last week or so put up another video out in the playlist on my YouTube channel, but it’s not linked in this, where I basically say, “So you think 60 days is too long, eh?”
This is about 60,000 days of your life. This is about you, taking the moment to make you most important. I start with a 60-day challenge. But when you really look at it, I’m saying take 60 seconds. The same way that my fee is not the problem if you’re not doing the free stuff, if you’re not taking 60 seconds to pause back and say, “Is there something I can do to make my situation better at this moment,” if you aren’t willing to give yourself 60 seconds, I could have put 60,000 days up there, it would not matter.
[00:12:54] PF: Absolutely. So really, you’re just resetting the way that we think and the way that we’re looking at things.
[00:13:01] AG: It’s all an illusion. At the spiritual level, I work in the concept that we make everything up. Now, 21 days has been researched. So we have good solid research about 28 day things and 30 day things and 21 day things. What we don’t accept is that’s the beginning of these processes, not the end. This unicorn – Like joy should be in your life forever. It is not a 60-day challenge.
[00:13:30] PF: Right. Don’t check that one out the door when you’re done.
[00:13:33] AG: Exactly. And it is that kind of a thing that the more we can appreciate, the more breaking down of the illusions, these artificial barriers that we’ve put around, that success looks like this, and I’ve got to wear a suit jacket if I show up at this lunch with an important person, and I’ve got to work in an office 12 hours a day. Otherwise, I’m not productive. Illusions, illusions, illusions. So break them down, but rebuild it with habits based in joy, working towards you paying attention to what does matter in your life.
[00:14:12] PF: Love that. So we’ll talk, first of all, what it did for you before you even launched this course. What did it do for you? Because of your experience, you then knew that was going to work for other people. So talk about your experience with that first place.
[00:14:26] AG: So as a business person, as I said, I have a team of people that work with me, with social media posts and videos and things of that nature. One of them came to me. The video person came to me, and he said, “You really need to do a bunch of shorts.” The minute he said the algorithm likes it, the minute you tell me an algorithm likes it, my New Yorker comes out. You would not be able to put it on this podcast. I do not live by algorithms.
However, I do live to engage audiences because the work you and I work in and all of the people you have on the show work in works. It shifts the quality of your life, no matter who you are or what you’re doing. So he planted that seed. I got snotty. That’s why normal – I’m going to tell you something.
[00:15:17] PF: Things don’t work sometimes.
[00:15:19] AG: Know your learning pattern. When I am resistant, when I catch my resistance, when someone makes a suggestion, I am trained well enough in my own psyche to make note of that. So what this did was I started challenging myself. The challenge was get a video up. It started out with the proverbial one day at a time, and I already knew from past experience that trying to do something every day doesn’t work in my work schedule or my life. What does work for me is blocking out time and doing a few things. So that’s what it did for me, it caused me to examine my resistance about a goal and then create a system that works in the way I mentally and physically like to work.
[00:16:15] PF: That makes so much sense. So then you put this together.
[00:16:19] AG: Right. So the first thing –
[00:16:21] PF: Like how did it all come together? Because you’ve got so many parts to it.
[00:16:26] AG: Yes. So probably around the second week of me doing, working through the process of I went from every day to then one day, like I built on that. Then I thought, “Oh, gosh. It’s silly to let this all just go away after these 60 days.” I will have learned what I need to learn about putting videos on YouTube in a consistent fashion, but that means the people I care the most about in this process, those that engage with me, I know that it goes away.
The thing about habits, the thing about repetition is that it’s the most important thing for us to achieve next levels of anything. I wanted to create something that, in fact, solidified the work, and that was satisfying to me. I needed to see something because numbers on algorithms do not satisfy me.
One of the many other things that I am known for in my social media post is that I would rather have my name on your heart than my name on a building. That’s my legacy. I don’t have visions that you’re going to remember me after I’m gone, and I’m good with that. That is a very deeply grounded spiritual belief for me. It is not one that most people I work with align with. I work with a lot of people who have lots of names up on lots of buildings, and we talk about that, though.
So I wanted something that left joy, respected the work I had done, is helpful. So by about the 15th, the 20th day, I had made a commitment that I was going to do the draft.
[00:18:16] PF: So let’s talk about these tips. Let’s tell people what kind of tips they can expect to find. I think I’m just sitting here smiling as we’re talking because I’ve looked at the book. I’ve been through it. It just makes me smile, even thinking about it. So talk about the tips and what people can expect to find in there.
[00:18:35] AG: Okay. So the very first one, I love the very first one because this is the one we generally don’t do and tortures us the most. I made a dump list. One place, all of the notes and ideas, all of the things that you think you have to do, want to do. Make it in one place. Then the other tips actually start taking you through. Okay, what do you do with the stupid dump list? Like
I am a person trained in org dynamics. I was to be a consultant in companies and to build reports and have the one, two, three, four, five steps. But I was resistant to that because I knew he didn’t use it. So a lot of the other steps will call you back to the dump list because I know you really didn’t stop and do it like, “Oh, this is cute. Let me watch the video.”
[00:19:23] PF: At some point, it’s just like, “Oh, man. I better go do that.”
[00:19:26] AG: That’s exactly right. I’ll tell you very functionally how it worked today. I was having a conversation with a millennial who’s part of the tribes of people, who have decided to relocate their work and their entire lives to a geographic different location. But in the process of doing it, and they realized that they were becoming overwhelmed by all of the things from childcare to where’s the work going to come from, to where are we going to live, all of those things, who’s going to be my tribe in this location? Everything that we do that keeps interfering with our thoughts on what I want to achieve today.
They said to me, “I stopped, and I decided to make a list of everything.” We had a conversation. I said, “You have just lived a dump list because that’s all it is.” Then from that point, you have a record of all of these crazy thoughts that we know through research just blocks up our minds. You’ve got a landing place for them. Then you can start to put it into procedure of, okay, what do I really have to do? Like do I really have to start buying Christmas presents in March so that I’m set up at the end of the year? No. I may need a new place to live. Or I may need new clients, that kind of thing. Yeah.
[00:20:47] PF: Then as you went through, I like that you bring in other people. Like we have to think about what other people mean in our lives and how they affect it. Can you talk about that? I really –
[00:20:56] AG: So what I did was merge the functional. How do you create a habit repetition? Have it written down, categorize, with all of the psychological skills and physiological skills that we know work through good research. So I did the daily habits that you should have, whether you ever want to achieve another goal or not, such as the reading, the writing, the meditation. Things like pick someone 10 years younger than you and go play with them for a day. Then another tip may be pick someone 10 years older than you and go play with them for a day.
All the time trying to take what the crap that’s going around in your mind and apply it to the process. Because once you step into the possibility that you can be joyful as you go through the angst of figuring out what you’re going to do next and creating a habit, that alone helps. So it is a merging of the functional tests that we know works in creating good habit, with the spiritual and psychological tasks that research has shown us as you add them into your life that helps.
[00:22:13] PF: Yeah. I could see this being applied in so many environments because I could see workplaces using it. Like if you’re a manager who wants to enact change, this is a fun way to do it. But I also could see it being really effective for families to do together and make something fun and be able to create more joy and make a real difference in their dynamic.
[00:22:38] AG: So here’s one of the things that actually cause this to come to life. In the same exact first week, when I had done the lunch with the business person and I had my unicorn, a few days later, I was asked by a classroom, a fourth grade classroom, with Teach For America school to come in and do a career day. What is a success catalyst, and what is an applied positive psychologist?
I showed up in this fourth grade class with my unicorn. I walked in, and I said to them, “Did you ever think you could have a job where, in fact, you could do this, and that job have a very serious aspect to it?” So it is your point about the spectrum. I have right now a one sheet being prepared because one of my many loves is the one-hour Zooms that I do, especially for hybrid teams now. I’ve always done it on the language of success and all the things in positive psychology, the tips that you apply to make the workday better.
This is the next iteration or an additional iteration. So one sheets being prepared for my corporate clients, where when you’re calling your people together, and they’re all on these different schedules now, they’ll have the factual stuff to do in a way that is more humorous.
[00:24:01] PF: That’s so huge. There’s just not enough levity in the workplace, and we understand business is serious. But sometimes, we take it so seriously that we suck the lives out of ourselves and others.
[00:24:12] AG: Yep.
[00:24:12] PF: We’re going to tell the listeners how they can find you and get this free book and start doing their 60-day Unicorn Challenge. I feel like this has so much potential to really put a smile on people’s faces, like it’s done with me, and really make a difference in how they live their lives every day.
[00:24:28] AG: Okay. I’ll challenge you to just pick one of the 60-day things. And when we get to talk again, let’s come back, and we’ll compare notes on what worked and what didn’t.
[00:24:37] PF: You got it. I love it. Andrea, thank you again for sitting down. It’s always a treat to talk to you, and so looking forward to sharing this with our audience.
[00:24:45] AG: Thank you, and I appreciate the opportunity as always. The more happy, joyous people succeeding in our world, the better our world is going to be.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[00:24:57] PF: That was Andrea Goeglein, talking about her 60-day Unicorn Challenge. If you’d like to download your free Unicorn Challenge e-book, learn more about Andrea and her other books, follow her on social media, or check out her Hey, Boss Lady! Podcast, visit us at livehappy.com and click on the podcast tab.
Now that the month of February is here, we’re starting to think about our annual Happy Acts campaign, and we’d love for you to do the same. Throughout March, we’re offering a full month of daily suggestions to help you make your world a happier place. It’s kind of like an advent calendar for happiness. We invite you to visit the Happy Acts section of our website, livehappy.com, to learn how you can be involved and how you can host a happiness wall in your home, office, church, or school to celebrate the International Day of Happiness on March 20th.
That is all we have time for today. We’ll meet you back here again next week for an all-new episode. Until then, this is Paula Felps, reminding you have to make every day a happy one.