Ep151: 20 Questions to Ask Your Mom on Mother’s Day Pt2 | with Jane Arnold

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For a long time now I’ve wanted to sit down and do an interview with my mother to ask her the big questions about life that we seldom (if ever) really discuss. So for this Mother’s Day, I decided it was time to prioritize this conversation, even if it meant having to suffer through the perils of recording on Zoom as opposed to chatting face-to-face.

This episode is a very special and personal one that I recorded for me, not for social media shares, not for search engine optimization, and not to grow an email list. This one is for me. But my hope is that listening to today’s conversation inspires you to reach out to your parents (if you’re fortunate enough they are still alive), or your siblings, or those who helped shape the person you are today so you can have an honest conversation just like this one.

This is the second of a 2 part interview where I’ve created a series of 20 specific questions I’m calling “20 Questions to Ask Your Mom On Mother’s Day” (which can of course be repurposed to suit your needs). These questions were inspired by a similar exercise from high performance coach Brendon Burchard in his Facebook post. Here is Part 1 of the interview if you haven’t listened to it yet.

If you’d like to use the same 10 questions I asked in the first part of this interview, here they are:


  • How did you meet your spouse, when, and how did you know they were the one?
  • Were you scared to become a parent?
  • What is your proudest memory of being a parent?
  • What three words would best describe your approach to being a parent?
  • In regards to both their careers and life choices, what is the most important thing my children should focus on?


  • What three words would you say best describe who you tried to be in life and how you want to be remembered?
  • What were the three best decisions you’ve ever made?
  • What are you most proud of in life?
  • What message do you have for your spouse that you want her/him to always keep in mind about you and your relationship together?
  • What are you most thankful for?

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Ep150: 20 Questions to Ask Your Mom on Mother’s Day Pt1 | with Jane Arnold

Ep108: 20 Questions to Ask Your Father on Father’s Day Pt1 | with Al Arnold

Ep109: 20 Questions to Ask Your Father on Father’s Day Pt2 | with Al Arnold

Parenting Resources for Creative Professionals

Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you.

Hello, and welcome to the Optimize Yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you're inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love? And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G. welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vets, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you clicked the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show. And thus the more people that you and I can inspire, to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show. For a long time. Now, I have wanted to sit down and do an interview with my mom to ask her the big questions about life that we sell them if ever really discuss. So for this Mother's Day, I decided that it was time to prioritize this conversation that I've wanted to do for so long, even if it meant that I had to suffer through the perils of recording on zoom, as opposed to honestly chatting face to face. This episode is a very special and personal one. Frankly, I recorded for me. This one's not for social media sharing. It's not for search engine optimization. And it's certainly not to grow an email list. This one is for me. But my hope is that listening to today's conversation with my mom inspires you to reach out to your parents. If Of course you are still fortunate enough to have them alive. Or instead, maybe your siblings or those who helped shape the person that you are today, so you can have an honest conversation with them just like this one. This is the second of my two part interview where I have created a series of 20 specific questions that I'm calling 20 questions to ask your mom on Mother's Day, which can of course be repurposed to suit your own needs. These questions were inspired by a similar exercise that was created by a high performance coach Brendon Burchard, and I linked to the Facebook post where he provided these questions several years ago. So on that note, without further ado, here's the second of my two part conversation with my mom made possible today by our amazing sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven, who are going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview, to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview, please visit optimizeryourself.me/podcast. So the next of the four sections that we're going to transition to is going to be more about family. So in our first couple of sections, we talked more about your background and growing up. And then we went a little bit more into your career trajectory lessons that you've learned and whatnot. And now we're going to go to what I think is going to be a very important topic of conversation, which is specifically family and kids and everything else. So the first question on the list is How did you meet your spouse? When? And how did you know that they were the one?

Jane Arnold 3:38

Well, it was very simple in a way. I had been married before. And my tool children are the product that marriage but I was divorced, and following my interest in gifts to children. And being part of a group is that I had mentioned, I was at a conference about gifted children at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. And I happened to look off to the side when I left I was standing talking to people and happened to look and saw a group of my friends four of them. I'll never forget it, so long as I live walk in. And it was a large group of people by them getting ready to go to breakout sessions. And at the end of the line, the far left side was this man. And it was the strangest thing and I don't understand it. Maybe somebody will. It was like colored prisms started crashing around in my head. And he was they were because they saw me. And they were three of the group were friends of mine. They walked over towards me and they all got lined to say hello. And when he got kind of to the front of the line with the other people. I looked at him and I said you're the handsomest man I've ever seen and he turned around to look See who I was talking to? And I think I touched his arm. And I said, No, no, I'm talking to you. And that was it. That was your father. And that's how we met. And he introduced himself and I thought, al al Arnold's oh my gosh, that could be Albert. It could be Alvin. I hope it's Alan. I like that name. And I hope it's spelled A l am. Instead, I just, you know, then I thought, Why do you care? And I thought, because that that's going to be your husband. Well, one of my good friends and I were rooming together at that. And she said, change, you can't do that. So you're the president of the screws, should what you know kind of exam I said, I said, I'm gonna marry him. She said, No, you're not. I said, you just sit there and watch you just What? He's the one. Well, what if he doesn't think so? I said, Well, I'll have to figure that out. If the time comes, well, thank heavens, there was no figuring out. And within I think about a year we were married, in fact, and about a year after that, guess who came along? That would be you. And that was that was how we met. And I still feel the same way about him only 1000 times more, because we've now been married for about 44 years. And I am hoping for at least 10 or 15 more. In fact, I told him last night, I said, you have to stop working so hard. I said, I am terrified, terrified of losing you. I said that just can't happen. I said you're going to have to hire people or just forget about having the brush picked up or you know, we have more. He wants 100 lambs. I was fine. I said, Well, we'll see. Yeah, of

Zack Arnold 6:46

course he does. That doesn't surprise me at all.

Jane Arnold 6:48

Well, no, it doesn't surprise me either. But it's different when you're 35, when you're going to be at your next birthday in December. So that's how I met him. And that's where we are today. And it was just and he'll say, well, soup. Well, how do you know, that was a real add thing for you to say I said it was true. I said, You're still the best looking man I've ever seen. Except, of course, my son's. But I just, it just happened. And I don't know what I would have done with my life. If he hadn't come along.

Zack Arnold 7:19

Well, going back to to what your your girlfriends had said, or your colleagues saying, Well, you know, what, what if, what if he's not interested in you, I could just see you saying, oh, he doesn't realize he doesn't have a choice. This is just the way it's going to be.

Jane Arnold 7:32

I've told him that a number of times. And he said, You think I didn't know that? I said, Well, that hasn't worked so far. So it's just one of those so far. So good thing. Yep. Yep. No, get real serious. We'll say Yep. Yep. You said that. I think so. You know, 44 years. Yeah. 44 years and thinking so

Zack Arnold 7:52

well, it all comes full circle. Speaking of going after what you want, and not waiting too long to go after it and realizing that you no longer have the time to that would be just another perfect example of what's the worst that can happen if you just put yourself out there?

Jane Arnold 8:05

Yep. Yep. Well, I mean, it was, I was no visible in the group and so forth. But I didn't care. I mean, it just all those I still, I don't understand the prisms. I wish somebody could explain that to me. But they were there. And that was it. I mean, I knew immediately from the very first second. And I just I knew I knew. And I was right. And I'm so glad I was in so glad he put up with it.

Zack Arnold 8:32

Well, the next question, I'm gonna get it a little bit of context. And you've kind of sort of painted this picture, but I want to paint it a little bit clear. So people aren't confused about where we go with the answer. But as you alluded to, you had two kids, then you were divorced. The same thing with my dad, he had two kids, he was divorced. And then you two met each other, which nowadays, blended families. That's just kind of the way things worked back in the late 70s. That's definitely not how things worked. And how I would always have to explain to people when they said you have brothers and sisters, I would say, Well, have you seen the Brady Bunch? Imagine that The Brady Bunch decided that they were going to meet and then they have one more I was the square in the center. So you both had families. And they were both I believe, between 12 and 14 or 12 and 15. right in that period, then you guys had me so I give that context. So when I asked this question, people might not wonder why you're not starting this conversation talking about being my parent, because the question is, were you scared to become a parent and this would have been many years before you had me when, as you alluded to, you're in your early 20s. And it just lost both of your parents. So were you scared to become a parent?

Jane Arnold 9:38

I felt I was uninformed. Of course. Of course I bought books. I remember one night Your brother was screaming his head off when he was very, very young, maybe three or four months old. That scared me. So I found myself walking was john in one arm, like a football. And Dr. Spock's book and the other as I was reading what to do If you're you know, that was my approach to everything you read about it. So I guess I was but I think that the experience my as I said, My mother died six weeks before he was born. And I think all of that experience taken together a pregnancy a new child. The first child, my son, john was my first child. And then my mother's long, drawn out death for about two years. I think that just I was so overwhelming. I really didn't have time to be scared. Although, on the way home from the hospital, Jan filters, diapers, and I had never cared for a baby before. Neverland a small child never babysat nothing. And I remember looking at my husband and say, Chad just pooped. What do we do now? Well, he was one of 10 children. And he said, I used to just Just be cool. And he said, I'll take care of it. We'll show you what to do. So we got home. And he did. It took her the whole thing, like, you know, he could have done it with both hands tied behind his back. And john was happy. And I was amazed. And he said, No, that's all there is to it. I said, Can you go over that safety pin park? There were no, you know, diapers right thing at that time. And he did. And after that I wasn't scared anymore. But that first moment in the car, when I realized what had happened, and I didn't have the slightest this. So that was the extent of my personal knowledge.

Zack Arnold 11:31

Well, like you said, You found a way to figure it out. Yep. Yep. The next question, again, is more towards the topic of parenting, as most of these are. And this one might be a little bit broader. Because I want to make sure that you feel the opportunity to include everyone in this equation, so you don't get yourself in trouble or get me in trouble. But what is your proudest memory, or memories of being a parent?

Jane Arnold 11:55

Oh, there have been so so many. So many, all three of you kids have just been, oh, more than anybody can hope for. True. And truly, john walked when he was nine months and four days old, which is very young. And kind of exhausting. When you have this little body toddling around. His sister was born 12 months and 13 days after him. So for all intents and purposes, I had twins for the for the rest of their growing up. But john would walk around and he put his hand up almost like a salute. And he'd say it PSA. PSA for took me quite a while. So Matter of fact, to realize what he was doing. He was saying, what is that? What is that? And that's what he wanted to know. And once I realized that when he pointed at a camp soup and said, Sir, he wasn't hungry. He wanted to know what was in that. What was the can, what was in it. And that's the way his intellect has always worked. And that's why I was involved with gifted children, I realized pretty quickly on our hands on my hands there. Same thing is true. When Kate came along, she would sit in the corner of a blanket, and she'd scream her head off yelling, he's getting me he's getting moved Well, for the first 300 times, her father and I would rush into the room expecting to see her all laid out on the floor bleeding. And the one who was laid out on the floor close to the bleeding was her brother. We realized that was her way of looking for attention. But very, very brave. Could we jump I feel she was less than three. And she taught herself to read because it didn't. It didn't dawn on me that anybody that young could passively teach themselves to read, as I realized I had to and the same thing with you. Exactly the same thing with you. But I was I was smarter, smarter. When you lay down the changing table. We had we got to play the game that you probably won't remember, but it was the old one. How big is accurate? Ah so big, so big. Well, one day, you looked up at me and said how bizarre i thought was so first broke trying to freeze and you said have a zap. I thought oh my gosh, he's saying how big is Zachary. That is exactly what you were saying. Nice, so big and you just laughter breeds to fear. So it was if the three of you were so brave and so creative, and so lively, and so much mischief that there was no time to be afraid. There really was it was just a matter. What can I do to foster this to open the worlds of them to show them all the possibilities while they're young? Where can we take them what can we buy anything? You know what, what do we do? To bring all of this to life and bring it all out, and it wasn't just me, of course, or even your dads, but it that is all that has happened with all three of you. And they're the I mean, you three are the proudest moments of my life.

Zack Arnold 15:17

So moving to the next question. This could be a difficult one because it's a very, but you're good at taking something complex and distilling it down to something simple. So you might be better at this than most but if you had to choose only three words, what three words would best describe your approach to being a parent

Jane Arnold 15:34

I love you That's it, you love you loved those children was you know that, all your heart, all your soul, and there's nothing you do, really, no matter how professional it looks, that you don't do with them in the back of your mind, or the front of your mind is, you know, they when they were little they fall down and you'd be right there on what's your mother. And that's it. I love you. I love you. And if that's not there, or not true, or for some reason blacked, that's a problem. And if it is there with you know, best looking man I've ever seen, my sister and my friends and certainly you and your wife, john and his wife know Kate and her family, her daughter, my grandchild. That's it. And when it's there, everything else is going to fall into place real money or not real jobs are not your people who grew up in these cabins in the south in the woods with no running water. No they grew up to be outstanding people but when you read about them are here little talk their parents in many, many ways sit every day. I love you.

Zack Arnold 16:55

I would say this is another area where very different conversation between two different parents. Because you I don't remember the exact words I haven't haven't recorded or listen to that interview with dad for almost a year now. But I know with him it was very much I would guess it was something like discipline, hard work, passion, intensity, probably somewhere around there are these ideas that conveyed just the way that he approaches everything, which is you know, very analytical dive into it, get it done. grit, perseverance, intensity, and with you very, very simple and emotional. So I can I can I can see where where some of the balance comes from because a very different answer.

Jane Arnold 17:31

Well, here's another big secret for you and your listeners. He's a big softy.

Zack Arnold 17:37

It took me a long time to discover that I wish he would pulled me aside and warned me about that when I was like 12. Because softy is not the word I would have used to describe my father. When I was in my teen years, it probably took me until, I don't know, mid to late 20s. Before I discovered that there was a much more emotional softer side to him because boy, I had never saw that growing up. That's too bad. Then it was, you know, in a ways I think that, you know, there were some things about that, that were a good thing because it instilled again, a lot of you know, hard work and grit and perseverance and intensity and discipline and all those other things. But always finding that the balance between the two is good as well. So

Jane Arnold 18:16

yeah, it was pretty. Yeah,

Zack Arnold 18:19

it was pretty easy. Like I said, You You answered it easier than most might. So talking about all the things that we've discussed. So far, we've talked about lessons that you learned from your parents, lessons that you've learned through adversity and hardship, your career, your life choices, in regards to everything that we've talked about as far as career and or life choices, what is the most important thing that my children should focus on as they grow up?

Jane Arnold 18:48

Finding a way to do what they love. And by that I don't just mean their career. I mean, they're their friend relationships to be as comfortable. I mean, they're entering the years that are the hardest, hardest years. You know, fourth grade through about the age of 25 was just awful. just awful. And the same thing is true is L Eliot, who's the oldest going into middle school, oh, man, I'd rather be shocked and do that again. I truly by truly, that's the truth. But finding a way to do what they love and find what they love, I think was both of them. It's getting pretty clear what kinds of things anyway, that they love and enjoy and are very, very good at but not not to take no for an answer. I think if I had tried hard enough, I could have gone to law school somehow. Maybe not University Wisconsin, but I could have found someplace that really got me where I wanted to get ultimately that was a mistake. on my part, probably cuz I was young, I would hope because I was young. But I think that's the key. I really do. I think when you hate what you do, and there were times when I did, didn't laugh didn't stay very long. But that's a very, very painful, painful experience. But if you can just gather that little piece, that little corner of the towel or whatever it is, someone's, you know, coattails that you're hanging on to, and just hang on for dear life and find the ways through the problems or is it financial? babysitters is that whatever, you know, somehow life finds a way to send the handsomest man you've ever seen through adore? Her? Who are you He upsetted my plans quite gloriously. As a matter of fact, I remember telling him. I said, You know, I was planning on going to law school and doing this doing that. He just laughed and said, we still can well, that close that conversation. it perfectly. So I think that's the secret, right? I

Zack Arnold 21:11

think that again, it very much comes back full circle to some of the things we started talking about with this idea of regrets and maybe not doing the things that we want. And I know that from both of you, it has been tattooed to the inside of my forehead against my will, that you have no choice. But you must pursue something in life that you are fulfilled by and passionate about. Like it, it's almost the opposite of the value that most people I believe, are taught that you must be successful and have security and have a long term job. And you know, it's all about how other people see it. And that's not to say that people don't pursue being a lawyer or a doctor or anything else for the right reasons. But I think there's a fair majority of people that pursue professional careers, because they're supposed to not because they want to, or they're, they're driven by it. And if I had chosen to be a brain surgeon, I would have hated it, you guys would have deemed me a failure, because you would have seen how unhappy I was doing it. So the only way that I can consider something to be successful is if I'm fulfilled by it. And I've had my share of jobs that I didn't like that was either with people that I didn't respect or projects that weren't the right fit or whatever it might have been. But there was always that voice in my head saying, Why Why am I doing this? What is the point of this? Like, what am I getting out of it? And I think it for everybody at a certain point in their life. It's just survival and you need it for the paycheck or whatever it is. And there's no, there's no harm in that there's no shame in that they shouldn't feel guilty about it. But at some point, when are you doing that thing that you hate, because you're too afraid to try to do something else, as opposed to I have no other choice. And again, talking about being a teacher and all these life lessons, I don't think it's a coincidence that I've decided to pursue a new path in life, which is helping other people find something that's more fulfilling, because I just I'd spent all day every day talking to people that are miserable, hating what they do. And it just, it's amazing to me, especially when you look at the statistics, I think it's like 74% of people are dissatisfied with what they do for a living, and it's what they do all of their waking hours. And my question is, why? Why like, I mean, again, there are certain circumstances where it's difficult to get out of, but at the end of the day, it's like why why do that life is too short. So I've I've certainly learned that from both of you. And if we're looking at the the combination of the two with you, it was make sure you do what your love, and was dad who was make sure you do what your love, you better be damn good at it and put every ounce of energy that you have into being the best at it. So it was kind of like, you know, I had the the idea and then the idea was that to pursue it, you better just make sure that you're the best at it, which, again, I've had to learn how to find the balance because I've I don't think it's any stranger to my audience. And certainly no stranger to my mother, that one of the most common words people used to describe me would be intense.

Jane Arnold 24:02

Oh, yes, that started when you were in preschool when you were about three, in fact, your father got called in for conference teacher, that you were so competitive, and you were so intense. They did really, really didn't know what to do with you because nothing seemed to meet that need. Well, those were real needs that they should have found ways and I hope they did. And we were seeing the same, you know, little boy at home. Sometimes those needs are real. I mean, not that it wasn't but they're important. They're important to the person you are. And that's part that's one of the problems to step three back for a minute. Is that a bit of a commercial? That's that's a big part of being gifted. It's a telltale part of being gifted with people wonder, you know, oh my gosh, is this kid really bright? If that's part of his life or her life and approach? Yes, the answer is yes. And then you do everything you can to feed that, but, and the joy, the joy comes in that when the opportunities are there to do those things that you love and care about, to read about to go to museums about to see performances to watch on TV, whatever it is, that's when the joy comes.

Zack Arnold 25:21

And I can say that it's a it is definitely a gift. But for anybody listening, I would think that they would agree if they they deal with similar issues, it can also very much be a curse. And I spent an entire lifetime trying to figure out how to balance it being a gift, and also being a curse at the same time and finding what would be a happy middle ground. Man, it's it's a challenge. I know that there are people out there that can spend their entire lives filling out spreadsheets, and they put in their 40 hours a week, and they have no passion for their jobs whatsoever. And they go home to their families and they live their lives and they're perfectly content, more power to them, can't do it don't understand it. And there are a lot of other people that feel that same way. And again, it goes back to this idea of you got to you have to pursue something that fulfills you that you're passionate about. And if it wasn't abundantly clear before, it's now abundantly clear between you and Dad, where where that came from, because that is that has been a dinner table conversation. Many, many, many, many, many, many times in my past. And of course, going back to the original question has been a very big topic of conversation with our kids too. So if we've told both of them that, you know, whatever it is that you want to get into, we will support it. But I always add on to it. But you better commit to it. Like with I remember with with Evelyn at one time, she was starting to lose her interest in soccer. She was into for a while she's playing with her friends, and then all of a sudden, you could realize it just wasn't her thing anymore. She's very much like me, where she's much more into individual sports, which is why she's now into gymnastics. And we said that, if you want to finish out the season and never go back, that is not a problem at all. You will however finish out the season, there's no question because your teammates are counting on you, you made a commitment, you can still learn something along the way. But if you decide when you're done that you don't want to do it anymore. Not a problem at all. But you will commit and you will follow through. And both of our kids know that where they've jumped around to five or 10 different things that they've been interested in, will support any of it as long as they're passionate about it. But they better commit to it, you know, until they don't want to commit anymore. And there's a difference between losing the passion and moving on versus quitting because it gets hard. That is not that is not allowed in this household, you are not going to say oh, this got really hard. So I think I'm going to quit oh no, oh, no, that will not happen. But if you realize this just isn't my thing anymore. And I want to move on to something else. Great. We'll support it. And we'll take care of it as long as you fulfill whatever current commitment that you made, which is also how I deal with every project and film and everything else. Like if I realized this isn't for me, Well, I'm not going to work with these people again, but I at least want to do my best to finish out the existing commitment that I've had with him so. My sincerest apologies for the interruption in the middle of this interview. But if you are a content creator or you work in the entertainment industry, not only is the following promo not an interruption, but listening has the potential to change your life. Because collaborating with Evercast is that powerful. Here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Evercast co founders, Brad Thomas and award winning editor Roger Barton

Roger 28:18

Living this lifestyle of a feature film editor has really had an impact on me. So I was really looking for something to push back against all of these lifestyle infringements that are imposed on us both by schedules and expectations. When you guys demo to Evercast for me that first time my jaw hit the floor, I'm like, Oh my god, this is what I've been waiting for, for a decade.

Zack Arnold 28:42

I also had the same reaction when I first saw Evercast two words came to mind game changer.

Brad 28:47

Our goal, honestly, is to become the zoom for creatives, whatever it is, you're streaming, whether it's editorial, visual effects, Pro Tools for music composition, LIVE SHOT cameras, it's consistent audio and video, lip sync, always stays in sync, whether you're in a live session where you're getting that feedback immediately, or you can't get it immediately. So you record the session and you can share those clips with people on the production team where there's no room for any confusion. It's like this is exactly what the director wants. This is exactly what the producer wants.

Roger 29:14

What matters most to me is it makes the entire process more efficient, which then translates to us as creatives who spend way too much time in front of computers. We get to shut it down and we get to go spend time with their friends and family.

Zack Arnold 29:27

The biggest complaint and I'm sure you guys have heard this many, many times. This looks amazing. I just can't afford it.

Brad 29:33

Tesla had to release the Model S before they released the model three. So by the end of the year, we are going to be releasing a sub $200 version a month of Evercast for the freelancer, indie creatives. Anyone who is a professional video creator outside of Hollywood.

Roger 29:49

I think what we've learned over the last few months is that this technology can translate to better lives for all of us that give us more flexibility and control while still maintaining the creativity, the creative momentum and the quality of work.

Zack Arnold 30:04

I cannot stress this enough Evercast is changing the way that we collaborate. If you value your craft, your well being and spending quality time with the ones you love, Evercast now makes that possible for you and me to listen to the full interview and learn about the amazing potential that Evercast has to change the way that you work and live visit optimizeyourself.me/evercast. Now back to today's interview. Anyway, we're going to move on to the last section. And this is just general kind of life, musings and kind of looking back in general, the first of the last five questions, going back to something that could be very difficult but for you maybe it's going to be simple distilling down something very complex, which is your entire life into three words. But what three words, would you say best describe who you tried to be in life? And how it is that you want to be remembered?

Jane Arnold 30:54

Oh, wow. I think in the beginning, when I was young, even though I had the two kids, there's a big age difference between my daughter and you are 12 or 13 years old, there were years and there was just the two of them. I think at that point in time, what I wanted to be was a successful career woman in nice clothes and nice shoes. And I remember saying to someone, you know, john and Katie are graduating from high school. And I hardly noticed, I said, That's bad. That's not really happened with sec, I'm gonna do everything I can to make sure that's not going to happen. And that's what that was it was that drive to be successful. had a good time was I feel very fortunate in my choice and friends and all of that. But that got to the point that it was not fulfilling the needs. And there was a little boy standing right there in front of me. And that's that's what I wanted. So I made that. That's how we ended up on the farm. We were laughing today. We walked around at all that really Your dad is accomplish. And I said you think anybody believe we found this place in a two line ad in the country today newspaper? And he says no, no, he said, anybody who'd read that two line ad would have fled for in that paper just get out of out of my eyes out of my way and everything I said we came up here to slay it, or we bought it. I said yep. And here we are 30 years later. So that's all it took for me it took you know, the best looking man then changed my whole life. Oh, yeah. Two line add, you know, 280 acres and what was the 200 acres of woods sold?

Zack Arnold 32:42

Well, just as an aside, before we get back to the question for anybody that wants to see the documentary on us moving to the farm, it's called the money pit starring Tom Hanks and Shelley long. That's basically that was my life from age 10 to 18 was living in the money pit. So anybody younger might not know the reference anybody my age and older. Oh, they know that movie. And they know the reference. But I lived in the money pit for about eight years until I graduated from high school.

Jane Arnold 33:07

Well, maybe you were out of there and eight years. We are still there. You're

Zack Arnold 33:11

still Yeah, but it's no longer the money pit. You guys are the the end of the movie. You're living in it now. But you you weren't for a long time. But what that tells me is not the answer to the question. It tells me the one of the words is not successful, because you realize that having that word to describe at least you know, career success was something you decided shouldn't be one of the three words, but we still don't know what the three words are. I might have actually gotten you with one.

Jane Arnold 33:38

I think you have. I think you have do that. Do that part of the question again, three, what

Zack Arnold 33:44

three words would you say best describe who you tried to be in life and how you would like to be remembered?

Jane Arnold 33:51

successful would be word number one, younger years successful at a career. That's one of the three words but that's the reference to success successful, I would say successful in love. And that spreads way beyond just your day. To all of you to your children, even to the pets that we have and have loved over the years genuinely loved over the years successful in loving, maybe that would be better successful in love. Does that make sense? It does make sense?

Zack Arnold 34:26


Jane Arnold 34:27

I won't ask you the follow up. But yeah, it will. My my, my, my working in my I mean, in my getting there.

Zack Arnold 34:34

I would let I wouldn't say you're getting there. Let's say that you've earned it. How about that? you've you've earned those three words. Yes.

Jane Arnold 34:41

Thank you.

Zack Arnold 34:41

So the next question, what were the three best decisions that you have ever made?

Jane Arnold 34:50

Well, I'll tell you what I tell people. When this topic of the three of you comes up. Decision number one I always say I was smarter. Enough to marry two extremely intelligent, creative and loving men. And as a result, I have these extraordinary children. Number one, I was very young the first time a little bit older the second time that basically, that worked out to say, right enough to marry those men. Oh, and have children with them. That was the that was the adjunct to this. That was, I think weaving, leaving my career in banking, such as it was, I think we still ended up with a career, or with a checking account or mortgage or a car loan, that was the third that was my experience of being leaving that career, making that U turn to go all the way up to the to the farm we found was a two letter or three, a three, two sentence ad. In the country today newspaper, that was the second most important one. And having we didn't we were we had enough children, we had four children between us. And we certainly didn't need, you know, any more children. And now we're both sorry, we hadn't had more one, because I think you would have liked that. No, but now and for many years, I certainly would have liked it. And dad agrees that we should have had more children, maybe not. We have a friend that he is working with who has 14 children, we think that might be a little more than a bit much. Yeah, he does. No trouble at all. He's always friendly and funny and very, very brave, creative and successful himself. But we thought that might be a little overkill for us. But two or three more, we could have done that. And we should have done that.

Zack Arnold 36:42

Well, if it makes you feel any better. As far as my perspective is concerned, you don't have to regret not giving me siblings because I am wired to be a perfect an only child. So I never in granted, like technically, I was an only child. But I also had much older siblings. So maybe that's why I never felt like I needed a sibling. But I didn't feel like I had siblings. I felt like I had like six parents. Because when you're three, four or five years old, and your siblings are in high school or college, they don't feel like you know, buddies or pals that you can play hide and seek with. I just felt like I had an entire collection of parents. So but but I never wants remember thinking it would be great to have a little brother or little sister. And I think that I'm perfectly wired to be an only child just because of my introverted nature. Like I just kind of like doing my own thing. And I loved living alone until I got married. And that's just so if, if you have second thoughts about me having wanted siblings, you certainly don't need to worry about that. Because it worked out perfectly for my circumstances. So

Jane Arnold 37:44

well, good, because we have had four seconds. ritual. Thank God, no, we're too old to have any more children under any circumstances. So we were filling the house up with cats,

Zack Arnold 37:55

Right. Yes. So you're still being parents many times over just in a different capacity? So the next question, I think, probably you answered it in the previous but if there's anything different that comes out, then we can certainly talk about it. But the two kind of go together. The previous question being what were the three best decisions you've ever made? This question being? What are you the most proud of in life?

Jane Arnold 38:20

Oh, you three? You three? Absolutely. There's no doubt about it. Totally. lightyears ahead of anything that I might have done on my own. I think, you know, if I, if I were being put on the Supreme Court right now, my question would buy it, my answer would be exactly the same, I would hope, I would hope anybody in that spot would be able to see that that was the case, their children, their marriages, you know, their relationships with their own parents. Friends are far away from or at that kind of thing. Real life. That's in my mind. That's real life. And you are the, you're the diamonds, Illa tiara.

Zack Arnold 39:04

So I'm going to add on to that this is actually one of the questions. But just to add on to this a little bit. Let's assume the answer can't be your children. What is the legacy you're most proud of leaving? That isn't one of us?

Jane Arnold 39:18

Well, my books of course, your

Zack Arnold 39:21

boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of books that would require an 18 foot u haul to transport Well, that would be the first probably the first of many 18 foot u hauls you mean

Jane Arnold 39:32

Yeah, yes. Yeah. Yeah. It's not you guys. Well, certainly my marriage to your dad, the relationship there. Laughter everyday has been rosy and romantic. That would be impossible. But we'd be lived through that. Make it work. It's richer. The richness of that relationship would certainly be one to see how oriented to real people. This is. Oh no, you have enough or enough resources that we're, we're comfortable, we're very fortunate there. We've been involved with people with whom I still have this group of friends that most of us met and maybe fifth grade Sunday school in many cases and raised all kinds to hell at hell and maybe never seen before or since. And that I consider that a real triumph for all of us, for the whole group, that we maintain those relationships the way through real thick, and it's funny, it's just all about people as much. That's sort of that's sort of an aha for me, because the books I was studying, and I love that I love that I loved writing. I loved those speeches. Absolutely. Well, Drake in all sorts of Trump speeches. I think that's it, the three of you, and then if that's a separate category, my relationship was with your father. Our marriage. The next question, speaking

Zack Arnold 41:05

of your marriage, the question is specifically about you and your spouse. So what message do you have for your spouse that you would want him or her to always keep in mind?

Jane Arnold 41:16

Oh, it's the same thing before so I love you. I love you. That's just the way we he goes off in the morning, his commute now is around the drive wait to this guest houses building. He takes it very seriously gets in the car starts no rolls down the window. I standing way when he waves back, or we throw kisses, but the last words he hears are I love you. Same thing was with you guys, if you've ever noticed the same thing is true with your kids. You know, that's why that's the way it goes right away. And grandma always says I wish there was a reason for that.

Zack Arnold 41:54

So the last question, and again, this might be one that we've we've covered already, and most likely we have. But I think it's a good way to wrap it up into a nice, neat little bow, taking all this information. And boiling it down to something very, very simple and short and concise is something that you're good at. But the very last question is what are you the most thankful for?

Jane Arnold 42:14

Well, these answers are getting a little bit boring. For people, I'm sure because what else could the answer possibly be to this question? The three of you, you're healthy. You're brilliant. You have built very interesting lives for yourselves, and very diverse. All three of you. Your children, I mean, my grandchildren are just, oh my goodness, you know how that goes with me. That's the end all be all your dad. Those are the things I'm definitely most proud of. I can't imagine there being I mean, your nice house is very nice, it's comfortable, we have more than we need to eat, that's for sure. We're very fortunate in those ways. We're not the zillionaires or kazillion years we never will be. But that's fine. To the lambs in the barn. Cat comes in the middle of the night. 230 in the morning, that's your calling time clump. She's on the bed. Next thing I know, she's right here. Spread spreads are so far out across my whole body. And she goes to sleep and I go, alright. I've lost more sleep over the cap than I ever did over the three of you combined.

Zack Arnold 43:34

Well, when I asked what you were the most thankful for, I assumed your answer was going to be amazon prime.

Jane Arnold 43:38

Oh, well, that's a whole different. And the ads just amazing. Now with that COVID thing. You know, we get packages literally every day. And I'm saying to myself, this has been a year. How did we live? We are we're it's written down in our Amazon friend. We've been customers since 1995. For the first two or three years, we were customers prime customers. When there was praying. We used to get little Christmas presents Would you believe from Amazon and from Jeff Bezos will card sign from Jeff Bezos or somebody and they'd send out new pads of paper or special pens or three combined. Can you believe it? We got presence from Amazon. That's how long we been there. And now I'm thinking how did we survive all those years from 1995 to 2000? You know, 20 without getting all these boxes,

Zack Arnold 44:36

but you haven't getting boxes since 1995? That's my point.

Jane Arnold 44:41

Oh, yes.

Zack Arnold 44:41

We knew about Amazon before the world knew about Amazon. You are singing Amazon's praises when all they did was sell specialty books. And we were like why are we getting books in the mail? This is very confusing. Like there were book clubs and I was a part of I think it was called Columbia house where they would mail VHS tapes, but we just kept getting These books were like, how are you ordering these in getting them? Like it was that weird of a thing? And you would say just you wait, just you wait and see what Amazon becomes, and you own Amazon stock for a long time, which might actually speak to the whole idea of now feeling comfortable. But you were talking about I think it would you kept saying, would have been in the late 90s, when I was still still at home, you would say, by Amazon and apple. And at the time again, Apple was, I don't remember the exact timeline, but not maybe a laughingstock anymore, but they were on that downward trend before it was kind of the second rebirth of apple. And people kind of laughed at you, and you're talking about Amazon. And now they literally rule the entire

Jane Arnold 45:42

planet. They do they do I add one one day, one episode, and I think I've told you this on my little tape brokerage account, I bought and I can't remember which was which, let's say Apple stock for $14 and Amazon for $16. Then that was my big I guess, I think I don't like 100 shares of each of them pretty which wiped out my entire investment account. And your dad and everybody thought I was absolutely nuts. And look at where we are now says that's the smile it says and who gets the last laugh. Now, I believed in those two guys, right from the very beginning, both of them both doesn't matter how unattractive they might be as personalities or anything. That was an important, what was important was what they were doing, and the creativity they were bringing to the effort. And the people they were bringing in around them. And they were the guys I knew that. Unfortunately, both of them were married. But No, I'm just kidding. But it was just the same feeling. I just knew it. Oh, I got treated terribly by my some more like computer students, I mean, literally laugh out well, that I was such a supporter of Apple, well, I can't even remember some of those computer companies that they used to buy computers. And then well, yeah, I mean boxes of books,

Zack Arnold 47:03

you are every single day. As a matter of fact, it all comes back full circle to this idea of number one, having that rebel tendency and not caring what other people think, and not bowing down to you know, the peer pressure or the group thing, but also recognizing the value of people. And as somebody that is very, very good at understanding how the gifted mind works. You recognize two very, very gifted people in them and put your faith in them as people not necessarily, oh, that's a pretty smart product. It was what they were building as people that you recognized. And here we are 25 years later, and you are now very much getting the last laugh.

Jane Arnold 47:42

And I certainly am. And I enjoy every single second of it to know, I really do. Not just because I was right, I knew I was right. All the while I was worried about them. And their ups and downs and all their problems and their scandals and all the rest of it. But you know what they built? Not Alone. But what could they build? You know, the old joke about baseballs wrapping books in his drash nailing them? Well, I believe he did that. Probably not all at first, but I think he probably did it just to get a feel for how it goes, you know? How's the what's the best way to make this work? Well, I'm going to do this for a week or a month or whatever. And I just wish to heaven now. I had kept some of those little Christmas presents because nobody believes you got Christmas presents from Amazon in the early years, and we did for several years

Zack Arnold 48:37

probably be worth something to

Jane Arnold 48:38

it probably would have only been Yes. Well,

Zack Arnold 48:44

that concludes the the questions that we have on the questionnaire and wasn't terribly surprising to me. But even I learned some new things that I didn't know and heard some new stories. And I would say that my my life and who I am as a person now makes a little bit more sense than it did beforehand. And for anybody that is listening, I would highly, highly recommend if you still have parents that are alive and available to you, that you take the time to sit down and ask these questions because I think it's very important to to better understand where you came from and who your parents are as people beyond just being your parents and what you can still learn from them to this very day. So this has been a terrific conversation for me today. And one of 1000s of conversations we've had over the years from our very first days of 20 questions, driving around and I could barely speak to now. So I would say that yes, you've you've achieved all the things and more that you're proud of and then some and proud to say that you're my mom and say right back at you that I love you as well. And I hope that this was a good way to spend your mother's day.

Jane Arnold 49:51

Oh, it was absolutely wonderful. Thank you sweetheart. I have enjoyed every single minute like all of our conversations. You know, Mother's Day is now Sunday, so I'll expect the call about the time you're leaving Tony's.

Zack Arnold 50:04

Oh, yes. Well, we'll do our regular Sunday conversation after my my Sunday ninja workout for sure. As always wonderful though. All right. Well, I appreciate you. You bet. Thank you. Before closing up today's show, I would love to ask for just a couple additional minutes of your time and attention to introduce you to one of my new favorite products created by my good friend Kit Perkins, who you may recognize as creator of the Topomat, here's a brief excerpt from a recent interview that I did with Ergodriven co founder and CEO Kit Perkins, talking about his latest product, New Standard Whole Protein

Kit Perkins 50:39

I'm into health and fitness generally, but I want it to be simple and straightforward. About a year, year and a half ago, I started adding collagen into my protein shakes. And man, the benefits were like more dramatic than any supplement I've ever seen. So I thought if I can just get this down to coming out of one jar, and it's ingredients that I know I can trust, and you just put it in water. And you don't have to think about it.

Zack Arnold 50:59

When people think of protein powders they think, well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. To me this is about repair.

Kit Perkins 51:06

So big part of what we're talking about here is you are what you eat. Your body is constantly repairing and rebuilding and the only stuff it can use to repair and rebuild is what you've been eating. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by everyday getting out of bed, it's like you know, two or three creeks and pops in the first couple steps and that I thought you just sort of live with now. But yeah, when starting the collagen daily or near daily, it's just gone. So for us job 1A here was make sure it's high quality, and that's grass fed 100% pasture raised cows. And then the second thing if you're actually going to do it every day, it needs to be simple, it needs to taste good.

Zack Arnold 51:39

Well my goal is that for anybody that is a creative professional like myself that's stuck in front of a computer. Number one, they're doing it standing on a Topomat. Number two, they've got a glass of New Standard Protein next to them so they can just fuel their body fuel their brain. So you and I, my friend, one edit station at a time are going to change the world

Kit Perkins 51:57

and even better for your listeners with code optimize on either a one time purchase for that first, Subscribe and Save order 50% off. So if you do that, Subscribe and Save that's 20% off and 50% off with code optimize it's a fantastic deal.

Zack Arnold 52:11

If you're looking for a simple and affordable way to stay energetic, focused and alleviate the chronic aches and pains that come from living at your computer. I recommend New Standard Whole protein because it's sourced from high quality ingredients that I trust and it tastes great. To place your first order visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard and use the code optimize for 50% off your first order. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Optimize Yourself podcast. to access the show notes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one, please visit optimizeyourself.me/ podcast. And a special thanks to our sponsors Evercast and Ergodriven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about how to collaborate remotely without missing a frame and to get your real time demo of Evercast in action visit optimizeyourself.me/evercast. And to learn more about Ergodriven and my favorite product for standing workstations the Topomat, visit optimizeyourself.me/topo, that's t o p o and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about New Standard Whole Protein, visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Guest Bio:


Jane Arnold

From 1995 to 2015, Jane Arnold was a part-time instructor at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Viterbo University, Wisconsin Bankers Association, Northcentral Technical College and Connected University Harper Collins Publishing. She was also a Macintosh expert at Wisconsin Public Radio.

She graduated from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 1971 and finished her masters in 1976. She was the founder and president of Wisconsin Council for Gifted and Talented from 1975-1978 and was also involved in various gifted programs until 1982. She was also a part of the Project HAPPE from 1974-1978.

Aside from her career in education, Jane was also the Vice President of Bank One Wisconsin Trust Company. She was also active in the community, being involved in organizations such as the YWCA GREATER Milwaukee, Girl Scouts of Greater Milwaukee, University Lake School and Waukesha County Technical College.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

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Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”