Your Best Summer Ever! w/ Courtney Warren
Speaker 1: (singing)
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hello. This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of The Badass Women's Council podcast. Super glad that you're here. Today we have on the show one of my bestest friends, Mrs. Courtney Warren, otherwise known as Courtney Simpkiss for those of you Indianapolis peeps. And Courtney and I discuss living with intention, living with the chaos that comes with growth, and my new summer experience that Courtney jumped into called Your Best Summer Ever! And it's just a fun little chat, and I think you're going to love it too. Here we go. Courtney Warren, how are you?
Courtney Warren: I'm so good. So good.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You always are so good.
Courtney Warren: How are you?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm so good as well. And friend of the show, been a guest before, but you have a new last name now.
Courtney Warren: I do. I do.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: For our longtime listeners, Courtney, previously known as Simpkiss.
Courtney Warren: The artist formerly known as Simpkiss.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Now Mrs. Warren, if you're following along on TikTok or somebody else. It's always fun to hang out with you. I mean, we're friends. We hang out a lot, which is why this podcast has come to be, because of a conversation we were having over some cocktails the other night.
Courtney Warren: As we do.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: As we do. We were celebrating. We were celebrating. You've got a lot of amazing things in your life, but because you have a lot of amazing things in your life, including a ton of changes and transitions, you could, in fact, be overwhelmed by all the goodness in your life.
Courtney Warren: Yes. It's been a bit of a busy year, 15 months, and it's not slowing down, so absolutely.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, that's what growth is, not slowing down.
Courtney Warren: That's right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: We don't do that well. But for those who maybe are just joining in to your life story, tell us about the last year. Tell us about some of the changes. I mean, these aren't little changes. What's been going on for the last year?
Courtney Warren: Yeah. So it's been a bit of a whirlwind. Well, I met the man of my dreams in 2020, so while COVID was... That whole year was really, really awful for so many and continues to be awful, and the ramifications of it. There absolutely were some silver lining moments, and I was blessed to have found one of those in finding my person. And we got engaged in April of 2021, and from there, the wheels have just not stopped moving. We both sold our homes. We moved into a house together. All of that occurred in May and June of last year. Oh, and not just the real estate aspect of it. Managing to pull together-
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: There he is. There he is, the man of your dreams.
Courtney Warren: There he is, yes. Not just managing the real estate aspect of it, but merging houses includes merging four children, three dogs, and two cats. So it was a lot. And we still planned-
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: inaudible.
Courtney Warren: ...our wedding on top of it. We all settled into the house last year. I'm pretty sure the summer last year, I'm not even sure what was happening. It really was a blur in every way. And we ended up planning our wedding and getting married in October. So by the time I got to the end of October, exhaustion was like the norm, the state of the world and everything I was used to, but all just for such great reasons, and so much happiness and joy, and all of that continues, so yeah. So that's a little bit of the personal side of what's been going on in the world of-
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Let me pause as a friend and a spectator participant of that time of your life. When you got married to Ryan, you had been living with your mom and your daughter, three generations living inaudible, which was always beautiful, and I loved being a part of that chapter over your story. But I remember a day last summer as the move was starting to get real, and it went from this," Oh my gosh, he's the man of my dreams. I'm so excited." And all of us were just like," Oh my gosh, we love him." I don't care if how old you are. You're still a seventh grade girl when your girl's happy and you're excited and you're all doing the sleepover and jumping up on the bed kind of feeling, right?
Courtney Warren: Yeah.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And then your mom and I are standing at the old house and we're looking around, and there is shit everywhere. And you're trying to think about how to merge even... I enjoyed being the benefactor of an additional power sprayer that was no longer necessary as you merged three households, because there were three power sprayers.
Courtney Warren: Please take it. Please take it all.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: So you got one, Rita got one, I got one. It was great. But I remember just Rita and I, your mom, standing there looking at it thinking," This is the juxtaposition of joy and happiness. Also needs an execution of something." And that's just part of life and reality. But what I love about you and the way that you live so intentionally is, you knew you just had to get through it. It literally was a," We're not going to get too overwhelmed. We're just going to keep making one step forward every single day." But then you got to the point you were like," Okay, I can't let myself normalize this level of stress and busy."
Courtney Warren: No.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You had a moment where you're," Hold up."
Courtney Warren: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think there had been other times in my life where I had those moments, too. And I think back to a time when I had moved into a new role at my company I'd been with for years, moved into a new role. And I kept hearing everybody in the organization... We were going into a really, really busy time of year, and it was where for two months, it was going to be absolute hell, just getting through the day to day, the volume of work that had to be done. And the spirit and the resolve of the team I was leading at the time was just extraordinary. But I just kept hearing people talk about dread of like," When this is over two months from now, when this is over three months from now, when we get to the end of it, then life can start up again." And I had around that same time found this article. It was a Harvard Business Review, and it was talking about nectar lists. And it just hit me like a ton of bricks, because everybody knows about bucket lists and things you want to do before you die, but we don't really talk about nectar lists, the things that bring you a ton of joy that you're really grateful for, and it's the day to day stuff. It's in the morning when I get to sit outside. I know you and I share this. Sitting outside drinking coffee in the morning and listening to birds chirp and being able to absorb nature, it is one of those-
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Heart, be still.
Courtney Warren: Right? And that's a nectar list moment. And just being really able to, no matter how bad the suck is of whatever it is you're going through and however long that's going to last, being able to just acknowledge the things that bring you joy in those moments and the things that you're really grateful for. And so going through a lot of that transition last year, there certainly were days where, while there was much joy to be had and much gratitude to be had, but there were also a lot of moments of like," Can this just be over?" And I'm glad that I think more about those nectar moments in that time than I do about the moments where I wanted to wring my husband's neck because the box would move from here to here and not get emptied, and more things would pile... Things that really don't matter. In the time, they matter, but-
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But when you're living here, where you're just barely keeping up, then yeah. Here meaning hand signals, drowning hand signals.
Courtney Warren: Right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And that is the way growth works. Right?
Courtney Warren: Mm- hmm.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You very rarely have growth and enjoy a next level of, this is so great, without some pain and suck and discomfort, whether it's nature or us, whatever, goes through that discomfort. So I love the nectar list idea. What are other things on your nectar list as examples for people to think about," Ooh, I might want a nectar list"? What is it?
Courtney Warren: Yeah. Yeah. So some of the things that have shown up for us, this summer, a couple of our boys have lacrosse tournaments. And I'm not super outdoorsy. I'm also not a super sportsy kind of chick, for those of you that don't know me. Those of you that do completely understand that. But I'm just not. Outdoorsy for me is sitting on a patio at three o'clock on a Friday having a cocktail. That's outdoorsy for me.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Amen.
Courtney Warren: But something that I really started cherishing and I'm really looking forward to this summer is sitting on the lacrosse fields and watching these boys play. The just absolute passion that they feel for the game, the fact that all of the... I mean, just the way that people hype around it. I loved it last summer. I am so looking forward to that this summer. So those kinds of things can be nectar moments. Daily, we take our dogs for a walk around this big pond that we have in our neighborhood, and I cherish just the time, just the serenity of that quiet time, just walking three crazy dogs around the neighborhood, trying to keep them from meeting other dogs. But it's stuff like that. It's in the daily moment where you can... I had friends in that former role. We shared a lot of the nectar list moments across our teams, and I remember people saying," Just getting to take your kid outside when the sun was shining and push him on a swing, that can be a nectar moment." Going your favorite summer concert this summer can be a nectar moment. So they happen daily. They happen weekly. You can get to the end of a week and think back and go," Gosh, what were some of those moments that I really just felt in my jam?" And you can have them in work, too. And I think it's just being really intentional about looking for them, because otherwise, the franticness of... We have four kids, and managing all of their calendars and schedules this summer, and making sure we get people to where they need to be on time and picked up on time. Oh, and we both work full- time. So you could get obsessed about, how are we logistically going to do that, or where can we find the joy in it?
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's something that has always resonated with me. The way that you live life is, you think of intentionally about looking for those moments. You're not waiting for somebody to knock on the door and go," I have a great moment for you, Courtney." You are searching them out, and you are very in tune to your human needs. And you have even recognized from time to time where you have become so out of whack, work has just driven you so far where you'll be like," No, I got to take a break. I can't do this." And you'll just take some time off and get away. You're really good at acknowledging your humanity. And because of that, you are great at connection. When you know yourself so well, you have such greater empathy for the story of others, and so that's the thing that is so great about the way that you manage your career. You base it on connection more so than control. Of course, we need to control things in the business, but I find where people struggle, especially in the summer where there's a shift in schedules and all the things, that those that enjoy it more see it about connection and opportunity for connection, and those that struggle and are frustrated and sometimes even hate it are those that are a bias towards," I got to control all the things." And that's just not possible.
Courtney Warren: Yeah. Well, it's not only impossible, it's exhausting and the recipe for burnout and just being miserable. And one thing I've always believed is life is very short, and you just have to take it as it comes and enjoy it as you can.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Speaking of connection, how has it been merging households and the whole Brady Bunch syndrome that y'all are going through? How's that going?
Courtney Warren: So this summer, it feels... Last summer was merging personalities and people trying to figure out," Can I eat this in the refrigerator? Do I have to have permission to-"
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: "What are the rules?"
Courtney Warren: "What are the rules? What do I do? How do I function in this new environment?" Oh, and we have a new sibling, or my daughter has three new siblings. What are their personalities like? That was a lot of what we were experiencing last summer. And this summer it's like... I think, knock on wood, so far, it doesn't feel like everybody's still getting to know each other. It's kids grabbing each other and going on bike rides and enjoying each other and fighting with each other, all the normal things. Like," So- and- so ate something that I wanted to eat. It was mine in the refrigerator." So the fighting, it's proof to me that life is normalizing, and so I embrace that as well. But it's going really well.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's how you know that you're doing it right. You've got some fighting, right? People feel safe enough-
Courtney Warren: Yeah.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: ...to give somebody crap about eating their cheese or their Snickers bar or whatever it was.
Courtney Warren: Right." George ate all the watermelon again." Whatever.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And that's the other thing that's so beautiful about y'all's blended family, is that each one of those kids have very different interests and personalities and styles. And I love being in your home because it just feels like everybody's honoring those differences in a beautiful way.
Courtney Warren: Oh, I think you might be giving them a little more credit, but I think they're trying.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, you and Ryan are honoring those differences in a beautiful way. We'll go with that.
Courtney Warren: That's fair.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: So the last time we celebrated something, it was now you're adding... Okay, you got the family transitioned. Now you're adding job transition. You've done family integration. The thing that also, I think, bears conversation with you today is, you are always seeking growth. So the nectar moments are feeding you, which, from a nature perspective, we are all just energy, right? We're more like house plants-
Courtney Warren: Mm- hmm.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: ...than we are machines. I always say we're not a machine here to produce, we're a human here to be valuable and have impact. And we are more like nature than we are treating ourselves like machines and control. And you are constantly seeking opportunities for growth, for yourself, for the people around you. Talk about that. I think it's so inherent to you that I know you don't think about," Oh, I'm a very growth- oriented person," or maybe you do. I don't know. But talk about that phenomenon, and what would you want people to hear about being growth- minded and always seeking opportunities?
Courtney Warren: Yeah. So I think you're right. I think at this point in my life, I don't necessarily have to wake up and be purposeful in like," What am I doing to grow today," because I've been doing that for so long intentionally that it's kind of like," Did I get enough water today? Am I moving things forward?" It's part of just how I function. And I would say I was really lucky early in my career and in my life, even as a child, of just having people see in me more than I ever saw in myself, and people saying," There's really nothing you can't do or that you can't accomplish," and also people that would share with me," You're never really done." And to me, being done is like being dead. So I'm glad I had people pouring that into me, because I always feel like regardless of the level of leadership I've been in or the level of size of teams and places I've worked at, whatever that is, I think the older I get and the more advanced my career gets, I find the more I crave. What can I do to be better? Because I do firmly believe that it isn't really about me. It is about the people I serve and the teams that I lead, the family I have, the friends around me. If I'm better, they're better. And it's my job to own that within me, that energy within me, that mindset within me, because if God's pointing something at me that I need to hear or need to see, it may not be for me, and to welcome and receive that information so that two weeks later, if something pops up with a friend of mine that's experiencing something, I can draw on something quickly and like," Hey, I don't know. I saw this thing, and it didn't hit me, but maybe this is what you need to see or hear right now." I'm really grateful for all the people early in my life and career that said," Just continue to seek out knowledge and seek out your own development, and the further you get... Don't ever be done. Done is dead."
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Done is dead. I love that. We'll hashtag that one. And I have had people say to me before when there have been opportunities like Rise& Thrive or something else that I'm doing," Well, either I've already done the work or my people have already done the work." And I always think," Oh, that's so sad, because that means you've just decided to stop growing, really." But again, the thing that you've just illustrated, and you don't even realize you do it a lot of times, you do. You gather information and resources and things, and it's like you always have this backpack full of connections and resources. And no matter what kind of casual conversation or work conversation, inevitably within that, you'll say," Hey, either have you read this book, or maybe you should be introduced to this person, or I saw this thing." And to me, that is when you have created the mindset of connections so deeply that control just seems fruitless and shrinking and dying, because if you're not open mind, open heart, open hands, as I like to say, then you lose the opportunity for you to grow or you to give somebody a resource where they could grow. It's just like," Here it is. Who wants some? I gathered some things up for us today." Whether it's cheese and crackers and champagne on a tray when I get to your house or a book recommendation or a connection, you are constantly gathering the things that others might need.
Courtney Warren: Yeah. Well, whether it's the Enneagram seven in me or the connector simulator from Marcus Buckingham's work, that whole side of things, it's hard to turn it off. I don't know if I can.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Don't. Please.
Courtney Warren: I'm not.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Don't. Don't. Which, I was so excited. When I started, I put out the marketing for a new program that I have, an experience I have called Your Best Summer Ever!
Courtney Warren: Me too.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You have been first jumping into things so many times in my life. I'll put out," Hey, do you want to do this?" Boom. You signed up. And what struck me when you signed up first, the minute I put out the first marketing, was, this is a woman that we talk all the time. You could easily derive whatever I'm going to put into this program just over champagne and cheese on any given Friday night. But you are so intentional that you said to me," Well, I started to share it, and then I thought,'I want it too.'" What was it about that that grabbed you?
Courtney Warren: Yeah. So the moment I saw it, I thought... You're right. I mean, there's times because we've been so deeply involved in each other's lives... I mean, you officiated my wedding. You know my husband and I very, very well, and did an amazing job by the way, PS, if you ever need an officiate. But no, there's so much of the work that you do that speaks to me. And I think, well, for example, when your book came out, I hear a lot of what you say... I mean, we talk a lot about the way that your mind works, your book development, everything about who you are and how you lead and how you serve, that I feel like, gosh, I know Rebecca almost like I know the back of my hand. And still, every moment I learn something new all the time from you, or I'm challenged to think about myself in a way that I hadn't really in the past or in a conversation. And so when you put out that program, and I experienced all of that in your book, by the way. When I was reading things, I was like," Yeah." There were certain things that I was familiar with and stories, but there were certain things I was like," Damn. Where is she holding that from? She had that on lockdown for a while." But when this program came out, I thought to myself," Listen." The one thing I've been feeling for a few months now, maybe a little bit longer than that, in the inertia of life and change that I had experienced last year, and I'm actually moving into a new opportunity back at ADP again, which I'm super excited about. All of the things of life, the one thing that I've always prided myself in being is very goal- oriented and personal mission- driven. And there have been a few moments lately in the last few months where I felt almost a little bit like, what am I really getting up and working towards every single day? And I would say that there's a good, healthy balance sometimes of being super goal- oriented and not. And as somebody that has been at an extreme level of goal focus, I'm not encouraging myself to get back to that, but for me, there's a healthy, what's coming up in the next 12 months, two years, five years. With my husband, we're establishing our personal financial long- term goals. And I saw what you are putting out with Your Best Summer Yet! as a way for me to really get honed back into, who am I? Through all those life events that have changed for me over the last 15, 18 months, and this next season of my life, how can I really dial that in to say," Okay, it's not just about me and my daughter now." It's about our lives together, our children's lives together, our future. And it's also about the immediate here and now. And if I'm not really careful, we will get to school starting in August 15th before we even blink an eye. And while I have good tools like nectar list concepts and looking for those kinds of things, I know I want some more reflection and more practical application of, how am I living my most intentional life this summer? And that's what I was looking for, so excited about it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yay. And that is the premise of the program, is that I'm going to give you the tools and the framework for you to look at you. So it's not about me teaching you something. It's not about me saying," Here's the way to live your life." It's, here's a structure and a framework that each week you'll have journal prompts that you can use for that quiet time in nature. You'll have the opportunity to learn some of the concepts around being intentional versus habitual, connection versus control, the things that we've talked about today. But just having those journal prompts and having those downloadable workbooks I think is the kind of ease that a busy, badass woman deserves in the midst of the chaos.
Courtney Warren: That's right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And I love the story about how this all came to be of The Best Summer Ever! started when my kids were probably, I don't know, five and eight. And I remember feeling that sense of overwhelm that my kids were going to get shorted a great summer because they had a working mom. And I had this belief that the kids that got to go to the pool with their moms that stayed home had a better summer than mine who went to, quote unquote, camp, known as summer daycare, and that I was getting it all wrong and I was missing out. And it was a really challenging time. Now we call it burnout. I don't know what we called it then, but I just felt it.
Courtney Warren: Survival.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Survival. And I just thought," Damn it. Again, I don't want another summer to just whiz by and me to think we missed another one." Or even worse, I didn't want to believe that I had to plan some elaborate vacation, which felt harder than anything in my job to squeeze that into the summer, to make it a great summer for these kids. And I thought," Okay." And just one day I said," Okay, what would make this the best summer ever?" And of course, I had a whiteboard in the kitchen. That's also a recommendation that I have, as you know. And we gathered around the... And we made it fun. It wasn't," Come to school. Now you're in class." It was fun. And I said," Okay, what would make this the best summer ever?" And they just started throwing out ideas. And instead of putting things like," We want to go on a Disney cruise." Praise God they didn't say that, because I've been on a Disney cruise. It's terrible. They said things like," Could we have ice cream for dinner sometimes? Could we sleep in the backyard? Could we go fishing with Dad?" And all of a sudden I looked at this list and I thought," All of these things are so doable." But if I hadn't asked the question, we never would've had the intention of, this is the best summer ever. My view of the best summer ever would've been way different. And so we left that list up for the entire summer, and every time we did one of the things, we celebrated around the whiteboard and put a star beside it. We didn't wipe it off, because some things we did multiple times. And then it built this excitement to look at the list and say," What are we going to do this week that's on our list." And every single year, we just would plan the best summer ever. And it was just a beautiful time to celebrate that nature is in full beauty and growth and longer days, and how can we maximize that time of connection versus feeling frustrated by it? And then my favorite, oh my gosh, parenting moment was when Auburn was about 13 and she had some friends stay all night the last day of school. And so they woke up the first day of summer at our house, and I'm, of course, working, I think. And I walk out into the kitchen, and she's making breakfast for her friends and all of a sudden I hear her say," You guys, let's plan the best summer ever." And she got out the whiteboard.
Courtney Warren: I love that so much.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And she started... It makes me cry every time.
Courtney Warren: I know. I know.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I've told that story five times. It's just such a beautiful memory. And maybe it's because she's 20 and it feels like it does slip between your fingers faster than you know. But they started making a list, and it stayed on the whiteboard in our house that whole summer, and they would mark things off. And I always am reminded that one of the girls said she wanted to kiss a boy that summer, so that created a whole different conversation.
Courtney Warren: Whole different talk show.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Again, being intentional versus just letting that happen. Oh, Lordy, Lordy.
Courtney Warren: My God. I love everything about that so much. And as a recovering... I'm never going to recover from it, but as a work in progress of a high- achieving woman who puts a bunch of guilt on herself and manages all of these unrealistic expectations of mommy of the year. And let's be real clear, though. I'm never going to be that mom that's the bake sell mom. You're getting some Costco cookies from me, and everybody's going to be happy about it. But It's so easy to fall into the comparative trap as parents of, so- and- so's family, their kids are doing all these things, and there's all these camps, and what are your kids doing? We don't realize, I think, we actually do it to each other, but just starting a conversation with somebody, it's like," Oh, what are your kids doing this summer? What vacations are you going on this summer?" And you're like," We're not going on anything, well, because we have four out of town lacrosse trip." Why do we put what we're doing compared to somebody else is doing? I'm so excited and so grateful that you shared that with me and shared that with others, because stop putting the pressure on ourselves to be the answer to our kids' joy in the summer, and teaching them how to find that and manufacture that in themselves. I don't think we're serving them if we're trying to do it at all for them. And that's the other added bonus I'm excited about for this experience, too.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh, I love that. I love that. And just being able to share your story with confidence and boldness instead of feeling comparative about it. So my kids were never big sports kids, and in the Midwest, sports is king and queen and prince and princess, right?
Courtney Warren: Holy grail.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And so sometimes people would say,"Well, what kind of sports are your kids in this summer? Well, what's Auburn..." Especially, this is my favorite one." What's Auburn doing this summer?" I'm like," Well, she's going to nap a lot, I'm pretty sure." And they would look at me like I had three heads, but she was so exhausted. There were so many things from school that were really overwhelming for a couple years for her, and she gets very anxious. And honestly, she needed the summer to just nap and decompress, and I was so okay with that, but it was so not what people were expecting to hear. But I knew that's what my kid needed, and we were totally okay with it.
Courtney Warren: Yep. 100%. we can try to control life, or we can just live it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Let them be who they are. Absolutely.
Courtney Warren: Absolutely.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, I'm excited to start the program. It starts June 21st. I'll put a link in the comments. And you're in there. Another Courtney, another friend of yours, Courtney, that lives in Denver, she's in. So you can be anywhere. It's all self- paced, all virtual. So if you want in, now's the time.
Courtney Warren: Yeah. Jump in, kids. Let's go.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Jump in. The water's warm.
Courtney Warren: That's right.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: All right, I love you. I'm sure I'll see you inaudible-
Courtney Warren: Love you back.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: ...tonight or tomorrow. Have some champagne ready for me for the porch.
Courtney Warren: You know it.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: All right. Thanks, girl.
Courtney Warren: You got it. Thanks.
Speaker 1: (singing)
Courtney Warren is back on The Badass Women's Council today for a great episode! Courtney was part of the Rise & Thrive Experience in 2020 and is a friend of Rebecca's and this show. She and Rebecca dive into discussions about living with intention, the chaos that comes with growth, and Rebecca's new summer experience. She shares some of the significant changes Courtney has experienced in the last 15 months. Listen now!