Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
Purpose is your natural way of being and your purpose may change over your lifetime. It is not static. When we leave our careers many of us lose our sense of identity and then we lose our reason to get up in the morning.
Anna Hall worked in senior living communities, and she saw how the residents that had a sense of purpose were more resilient, they were happier, had better mental health and motivation for each day. This sparked her research and the development of The Purpose Equation.
The secret ingredient that fuels your innate purpose is tapping into your sense of joy. Anna has an experience that she takes you through called JoyFuel. We talk about what I discovered when I went through this experience with her.
We also talked about the impact of understanding our individual purpose and joy, as well as understanding that of our partners or our co-workers improves relationships, increases patience and understanding.
- Humans need a sense of meaning to thrive.
- How do you like to help people? Digging into that can help you discover joy and purpose.
- Everyone has a purpose inside. It is with you and accessible.
- Purpose is not a role or a goal
- Purpose helps improve health, wellness, outlook and mindset.
Thanks so much for listening.
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Wendy Green is a Certified Life Coach, working with people going through the
sometimes uncomfortable life transition from full-time work to “what’s next.”
Find out more about Wendy’s 6-week “What’s Next Transition” Coaching workshop
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Her website is thepurposeequation.com.
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Hello and welcome to the Hay Boomer Show, which is live every Monday on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. My name is Wendy GREENE and I am your host for Hey, Boomer. Hey, Boomer is a show for those of us who are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream. I'm on a mission to inspire and and encourage people in this next act of life to find new beginnings, to transition out of endings and to evolve to who they want to be. That mission is the fuel that keeps me going. But we're going to talk more about fuel in just a minute. And I hope you find inspiration and motivation. And Thelma, I have to tell you, I saw Thelma's post, she says watching two of my faves today, and that made me smile as I came on. So thank you, Thelma. I want to thank Road Scholar also for being a sponsor for Hey, Boomer. Road Scholar is the not for profit leader in educational travel and they offer expert led adventures to all 50 United States and to over 100 countries. Learning with road Scholar is really one of my favorite ways to travel. And you can find an amazing collection of travel adventures at their website Road Road scholar dot org slash Hey Boomer. On December 6th I am hosting a webinar with Road Scholar about the Costa Rica trip that I am sponsoring for boomer friends and followers.That's going to be in June of:
Hi, Wendy. Thank you so much for having me.lding the purpose equation in:
So thanks for being here.
I'm so glad to be here. We're talking about my favorite topic.
It is. You know, and it's an interesting topic because so many people think purpose with a capital P, right? Like, oh, my gosh, if I'm not solving world hunger, I don't have a purpose. So how do you address that?
I start off by, first of all, telling people that if you think your purpose is your job or a specific goal that you need to achieve in order to have your purpose come to life. That's not right. I'm sorry to tell you, but your purpose is inside of you. And your purpose is really what is the motivational force inside of you that you were born with that excites you about life, that helps you engage with others to find meaning. It's really an energy within you that helps you to give and get meaning every day. And you can share your purpose through your job, through roles, by achieving goals. But the Big P purpose, I don't even believe that it exists. I don't believe that purpose has a specific goal or role. Your purpose is something inside of you that wants to be every day, and the more you lean into who you are as a being and the more you're in touch with that and can share that every day, the more likely you are to have a big goal and to achieve big things. But that's really not what it's about. And I don't think that's what life is about.
I really like that because it takes a lot of the pressure off. And yeah, and, and one of the things we discovered in the Joy Fuel session we did today was, you know, where where I get my purpose or I get the fuel for my purpose is through engaging. Authentically, intimately with people and engaging in in natural settings and in my environment, in the sensory experience. And so. I love that. I love how it fuels my purpose, how it fuels me. But how does that translate into my purpose?
Okay. So your purpose for of overview type of definition is how you give and get meaning and joy every day. So you need to have some fuel inside of you so that you have the energy to give and get that meaning every day. And I believe that that energy comes from joy. Joy is deeper than happiness. Research shows that joy can improve your immune system. It can make you feel happier. It improves your overall health and wellness. And so human, natural source of joy, I mean, sense of purpose comes from joy. Joy is like putting on your own oxygen mask first so that you have the energy, the desire, the motivation to then be able to share your purpose with others. So any experience that I do, having anything to do with purpose starts with joy. And the idea is that when you get enough joy to light you up from the inside out, then it makes your purpose more tangible, so to speak. It's easier for us to examine from different perspectives, to be able to find the essence and the core of who you are naturally, so that you can then share and amplify that with others.
Oc So that's beautiful. And I'm curious. In senior living facilities, you know, a lot of times society believes that as we age, we lose our sense of meaning and purpose. What have you seen in the senior living facilities that got you going on? The importance of purpose.
We could spend 5 hours on this. There's two things. One is I have witnessed residents, as they're called in, senior living, older adults. Living with such a deep sense of purpose, of of a desire to give and get meaning out of every day, that they inspired me to figure out what is going on, that you are living with dementia, you are living with multiple chronic illnesses or challenges. You know, life is different than what it was 20 years ago. When you're 80 and 90, it's different. But what is going on with this energy that these older adults were running circles around me and persevering through what I thought on the outside looked like really challenging times. What they taught me is that it was their sense of purpose, this innate desire to engage and to share in very specific ways that fueled them. And I wanted to figure out what was that. And then the other thing is I've done a lot of research. I think I have a PhD in life experience in 25 years learning from older adults. And all of the research shows that humans need to have a sense of purpose kind of to survive. Definitely to thrive. Mm hmm. And what frustrated me was that in senior living, we all talk about purpose, but what are we actually doing to, one, help individuals discover their unique purpose and to to create environments that help this individual purpose flourish and spread among the community. So that's really where I've been focused.
Yeah. So what did you do? How did you come up with this purpose equation? And what is it?
So the purpose equation is a a framework that's evidence informed. I train a purpose guide. I have a training and certification program to teach a purpose guide how to listen for and feel and hear purpose. And they follow this framework that helps an individual to discover and define and identify and celebrate their purpose from many different and perspectives. So we start with looking at joy. Then we look at values, and this is all gamified. There's all games and discussions that are built into the framework. Then we look at natural strengths from positive psychology. Then we look at personality based on the Big five, and we're all of these different evidence based perspectives intersect. That's a person's unique purpose and it is absolutely unique. Everyone I know is here for many reasons, and they are born with certain framework within their brain, their personality, their strengths, even how that experience is shaped them to have a unique way of looking at the world, of noticing the world and engaging in the world. And so where these perspectives intersect, a person through the purpose equation actually discovers their own purpose. I think I do have intuition for purpose. Maybe it's from all of the experience, but what makes the purpose equation different than, say, Strength Finder is that you don't take a survey and it says, and here's your purpose. Now go live in it. It's a completely self directed experience where a person sees their purpose revealed to them. Throughout these six experiences. And that's powerful.
Yeah. And certainly just the hour we spent today on that Joy fuel was powerful, you know, seeing, you know, sometimes, you know, some things about yourself, but you don't. You don't embrace.
Right. So, yeah, I think that we are so busy living and doing right. Staying busy and doing that we forget to take the time for self care and and the fuel that that gives us. So. So if someone goes through this purpose equation process with you and they come up with, well, here I am, this is my purpose. Now what do I do with this.
Oh, then then the real beauty and life begins. Because the purpose equation again, it's the there's a there's two parts of the equation that that a person discovers and defines for themselves through the experience. And it's an equation made of words, because I'm not good at math on my fingers and I'm okay with that, I think. But the the numerator of the equation is what I call the science of the equation. It's it's looking it's it's a way to help a person step back. And kind of look at themselves from these different angles to objectively, systematically with fun. Define what their strengths, personality traits and values are. And then the denominator of the equation is your natural ways of moving through the world, noticing what excites you, how you interact with others, how you help others. That's based on that purpose. Stack the science of the equation. So once a person creates their equation, it's a roadmap. Or somebody said to me the other day, and I love this, it was like a fingerprint, your unique fingerprint. Oh, your purpose. The equation gives you specific ways that you can interact in the world every day to give and get meaning. So it serves as a roadmap for applying your values, applying your strengths, and also noticing. When you're not able to do those things, how to get back in alignment with your purpose. So it's really like a toolkit of words that have been deeply examined and embraced throughout the experience to help people stay in alignment.
So my audience totally resonates with this, right? Everybody that's listening is insightful. You know, they look at themselves and certainly, you know, I do this a lot, but the work with you this morning was insightful to me as well. But how do you explain this, say, to a corporate environment where you're trying to get them to understand the importance of purpose for their employees in the work that they're doing?
Well, first and foremost, humans, as I said at the beginning, humans need purpose in order to be focused, in order to be motivated, in order to have clarity on what's important and what they need to do and in order to have hope and a future outlook. So for companies, if you can help your employees, first of all, look inside and understand their unique purpose and then give them tools to activate and share that purpose at work. The results can be incredible. Your employees who are able to live in and share purpose with intention. Through their work in team meetings, through projects that they're doing, through making deeper connections with colleagues, because they have words to explain, how they communicate, how they interact. It increases productivity, it increases engagement. People who have a sense of purpose through work are 6.5 times more likely to report feeling resilient versus burned out. And the truth is that at least 70% of people and I'm quoting this from Gallup and McKinsey are wanting to have a sense of purpose at work.
Especially so much of our time there. And if people are just showing up and surviving at work, I mean, from a company perspective, if you have your employees are just surviving and getting through the day, what does their output output, innovation, growth mindset, what does that look like versus if they are fueled and motivated and they feel seen like as a human at this core level by their teammates, by their manager, it's just it lights up life in a way that's almost undescribable. And I've been doing purpose equations with with people in senior living, starting with sales and marketing directors who are under a lot of pressure. It's Q4. It's time to close the books and push through for the end of the year. How do you stay motivated when the pressure is always on a resilient? How do you keep showing up with the energy to build those meaningful relationships and discover what it is that lights up? Prospect's purpose. Well mindset tool.
Yeah and and Elizabeth just quoted that joy is the key and humans need purpose to have hope. So I love that. Thank you.
I'll just say this is me on my soapbox. Research is overwhelming that humans need purpose. I can share. I can share hundreds of stories. Of helping people discover their joy and their purpose. The reason that I do it is because, one, I see people light up afterwards and I see them make decisions and take control of their life in a way that they didn't before. Whether they are starting a career in mid-career, getting ready to retire or retiring. But look at my website. I have evidence there because I love research. I'm a lifelong learner. The evidence for humans needing purpose for health, wellness, grip, strength, maintaining mobility, reducing mortality, it's overwhelming. I'm off my soapbox now.
No, that's good. I like that. So her website that she referred to is the purpose equation dot com. There's a lot of good information there. And you know, you too can sign up for that joy fuel experience that I had this morning. One thing you said that I think was really helpful that you said just now and you said when we did, our experience was that it gives you a vocabulary to share with others about what you need to fuel yourself. It's not just like saying, Oh, I need you to be nice to me or I need my quiet time or whatever. It's I need this to fuel myself so that I can give back more, but that I can also re-energize myself. And you can be very specific about those things once you've gone through the experience.
So humans think in stories. And this was part of my research, too. For those of your listeners who are interested, Google Narrative Identity. Narrative identity. The essence of this is that we're all telling ourselves a story about who we are. And many of us are not really aware of what that story is sometimes. Actually, often that story is kind of filled with words that are not uplifting or the fears are overtaking the story. Or your story is based on I should do this for your story is based on what you aspire to do or who you aspire to be. And what the purpose equation does is it brings you back inside. And ground you in the truth of who you are naturally, and helps you write a new or updated story for yourself about all the things that are right with you. Because we all have so many things that are right with us our values, our strengths, what brings us joy, how we help others, and when we can weave our our internal narrative based on these words. It's energizing. It's it clarifies life. It clarifies how to make our next decision. And when we have the words to describe our purpose, how we give and get meaning to others, I'm telling you, it's like a relationship connection hack. If you can share with your partner or your friends or your colleagues how you get joy and they can then notice when you're in a state of joy, that's magical. It's not.
Just that you just answered my next question.
And it creates stronger relationships. I wanted.
To know about.
That. I want to get through the BS. What I have learned from older adults is that when you're 90 years old, you still feel like you're 22 inside. You still have this story that you tell yourself about who you are, but the beauty of the opportunity to grow older. And again, this is based on research is that as we grow older and eventually we have fewer years ahead of us just by doing the math than we do behind us, we naturally start focusing on what really matters. Mm hmm.
How does knowing where your joy comes from, knowing your purpose, impact your relationships with others and obviously with your work?
Well, it helps you belong to yourself. You know, and I'm taking that from Brené Brown. But she's so right. You can't really truly have authentic relationships with other people until you have an authentic relationship with yourself. And a way to affirm who you are naturally, to boost your confidence, to help you get through life's inevitable ups and downs, is to have a deeper understanding of who you are and what motivates you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. When life get, life gets hard. And so when you can belong to yourself and love your purpose. You automatically have a channel to connect with others in an authentic way. That first of all, I think it accelerates knowing your purpose and sharing it. It accelerates relationship development. Because you have a way to get to and connect with other people in a way that's really meaningful. And then second of all, what I have seen over the years, especially with couples, is that knowing each other's purpose, it really increases patience. Understanding and tolerance of other people. Because when you know what someone's purpose is and you can see them giving and getting meaning, the judgment falls away. And you it's almost like you can see that person's light shining and it becomes more of a celebration of who that person actually is rather than who you wish they were. Or that one annoying habit that bothers you.
So that could be a cool Christmas gift to give a partner to have a joyful experience. And then you both get to have that opportunity to have a discussion about what fuels you and where you want to put your energy and where you get your energy from.
Yes. That's a meaningful gift, right? You can give someone a physical gift, but and that's great. But if you can give someone the gift of joy and understand their joy and then help them amplify it throughout the year, that's the gift to be corny that keeps on giving.
The gift that keeps on giving. And. And. And I want to talk about your spark start cards also, because as you said, this is kind of a way to dig in. To learn about yourself and to learn about your friends. Without this purpose guide and I did this with some friends, we thought we were going to go through a bunch of cards. We went through two in over in over an hour. We were talking about the two cards because the questions were so profound. So, for instance. This one is about bravery. There's many different topics. And it says, Do you describe bravery as speaking up or taking a risk? How do you describe it?
I think, speaking up.
Tell me more about that.
So the reason I started each card with that binary question is it's kind of like an icebreaker to start the conversation. So I'm one of those people will all probably I'll probably say, well, both and and that's perfectly okay. I think that speaking up is putting a stake in the sand. And it's a very vulnerable thing to do. And I try to speak up and sometimes I speak up and I'm wrong.
And what do you do?
I update my opinion when I have information that shows me another way.
You're so wise, you're so wise. And then on the back, she has more questions. Things like What does it mean to be brave? What does it feel like? What's something you've done that was scary but worth doing? Can you imagine pulling out these cards? Have a few girlfriends over. Or a few friends or couples over a glasses of wine and going through cards like this? The conversations are so much deeper than Can you imagine what the economy is doing or what my kids did or what this guy said.
Like so much deeper? How did you come up with these? There are so many.
And I already have the next 30 cards in my tray ready to go because purple is so rich. Well, I came up with the cards because my mission, my personal mission is to help as many people live in purpose as possible. One, because it makes life better. It gets people out of survival mode and helps them thrive. And it helps them thrive regardless of external circumstances. It gives you an inner scaffolding that helps you kind of stand up and put one foot in front of the other when let's just be honest, life is uncertain. There's actually no such thing as certainty in life. So how do you keep going with purpose? But not everyone has the 6 hours to spend with me for a purpose equation with one of the certified guides. Joy Fuel only takes an hour, but not everyone has. I mean, has time for that. And I want to I want to share purpose because it improves health and wellness. So the cards are based on different components of the purpose equation, like strengths and values and personality traits. All of these things we all have, we all have them inside. They're all innate. And so it kind of pulls apart the equation and makes it accessible for you and your friends or your colleagues to be able to play together to get right to meaning it kind of cuts through the BS and gets to questions that are meaningful. It's not therapy. You're not sharing your darkest secrets or your childhood traumas, but you are immediately. I can't think of the right word. You're you're immediately pulled into the world of purpose and it helps friends and family and even strangers. And we've also used this card for an intergenerational café. I love that 80 year olds, 20 year olds finding out that even though we are different in so many ways, we're way more alike.
I know, I know. And we need to do more intergenerational work. We really do.
It has given me more hope, I think, than anything I've done this year is the intergenerational work that I've been doing.
Yeah, it's very powerful. And and and so if people wanted to get some of these spark start cards, how would they get that?
They can go to my website the purpose equation dot com And just for your show, Wendy, I added a button right at the right at the top of the home page that spark start so you can click on that and it will take you to the Spark start page on my website where you can watch videos of people who have played. There's some a video about the Intergenerational Cafe that we did with Life Planning Network and Temple University. So you can watch that and see what the results are. There's some sample cards and then I know it's a little bit low tech. I'm getting there, but there's a link you can click on to order and it will bring you to a Google form. Just give me your basic information and I'll ship you a deck.
Yeah. I'm going to offer to you. If anybody is interested in doing some spark, start conversations with me, drop me an email. We'll try and set up. I think it would be fun to set up a zoom with some of the boomer audience and let's do a Spark Start conversation because it's just it's so much fun and so interesting. A great way to learn about people. So yeah, thank you for that, Wendy.
One more example of a spark start moment, and I've done this a couple of times. We played the kindness card and I've done this in corporate environments. So we all think we know what kindness is and we think we know what it means to us. But I'm asking you, do you really know? Have you really thought about kindness? What does that look like in your life? What does it look like to you when someone else is being kind? We've played this game with between 12 and 15 employees, either on a team or within a company. Every time I do it, every single person has a different definition of kindness. For some people it means giving gifts. For some people it means being present. For some people, it means spending, spending time together. There's so many different definitions of it. And so we think we know each other.
But imagine what it would be like when you know what kindness means for your girlfriend. It's kind of like the love languages.
It's like the love language.
Like if you want to be kind to me, know what kindness means to me. It could be similar. It could be different than what it means to you. And that also enriches relationships.
So where do you see yourself taking the purpose equation and the work that you're doing?
Well, first of all, I wouldn't be where I am right now without. Amazing purpose teachers who have come into my life. I mean, I'm so brimming with gratitude. I wrote some of their names down. The first residents that I met in an assisted living community when I was volunteering in my early twenties because I was thinking, Oh, I don't know what I want to do with my life, but a friend of a friend of a friend got me this volunteer job. So I want to thank Annette, Florence Irving, Evie, Lydia Francis, my first mentor, Janet Posen, for exposing me to the power of purpose and what it looks like in daily life. And then what do I want to do with that? I want to keep sharing purpose. I want to keep spreading it. I've I've, I have all these different ways that people can engage with purpose. They can play the cards. They don't. You don't need me for that. Go play the cards. I want to partner with more senior living communities to give them programming and engagement content that helps employees and residents discover and engage and celebrate purpose. I want to do consulting with senior living communities to help them build out that purpose infrastructure.membership program. In early:
Perfect. Perfect. So a couple of comments here. Martha is shared a name of a place in Florida that you should connect with. So, Martha, if you can give us a little more contact information, that would be helpful. You can email that to us. And then Dolores has been facing a very difficult situation. Health wise feeling support's not there for her and she's feeling stuck, so she's wondering what she can do. Do you have any? Like guides for.
Her. Yes. Think about what? You could look forward to tomorrow. A little thing. That will give you a sense of joy, a little activity you can do that makes you lose track of time. And track of yourself. And put it on your calendar and do it tomorrow. And don't base it on a specific activity that you've done in the past. Think about something that's accessible for you right now and spend 10 minutes at least doing that activity. And it could be something simple, like if you have pets, spend intentional time with your pets and play with them or go outside and enjoy nature for 10 minutes. It's called a nature bath. Or listen to your favorite music and dance or tap your toe. Everything that I'm describing here is joy. And I hear you when you say that you're in a tough time right now. And it's and it's hard to feel like even the word joy for some people when they're not feeling good. The word joy sounds almost offensive, like, Anna, how can you talk to me about Joy? I just told you that I'm having a hard time. Well, I'm here to tell you is that joy, the power of joy is that it can exist in the midst of suffering and grief and pain. And if you can give your mind, body and spirit a ten minute respite and something that makes you smile, something that makes you lose track of time and self, that's going to energize you. So that you can keep putting one foot in front of the other.
A ten minute joy bath.
Yeah, right. Like you could even take a bath with candle and, you know, some soft music and just be there in that. Yeah, I love.
It. Waking up every day and you don't feel like you have something to look forward to. And it can be a little thing. Start there. And if you do that for a few days in a row, you're giving yourself joy and you're building your resilience. And then you can start thinking about how do I give and get meaning? But what I love about the human spirit is we are naturally resilient. One dose of joy fuels purpose ten times more. So start with joy.
Let's start with joy. So you've shared so much and and we could probably talk for another hour or so. So I know I. I really do love you. You're amazing.
And I love your joy. I'm so happy for you, Wendy, that you have already taken action.
I did. I took my first step. Yes. Yes. I'm excited about.
It. Remember your environment because you're so inspired and fueled by by sensory engagement. Just remember that. And that's a way for you to get joy. It's not even something you're doing. It's taking time to surround yourself with an environment that activates your joy.oing to be my work to go into:
Well, I think I'll reiterate what I've already said because I'm so obsessed with it, because there's evidence for this purpose is not a nice to have. Humans need to have a sense of meaning in order to keep going. And if you want to make the best of your time in this world, because time is short, it goes fast. And the older you get, the faster it goes. Figure out what your purpose is and start by asking yourself, How do I like to help people? A lot of people will say, Oh, my purpose is to help people. And I say, that's like the broad definition of purpose. It's giving and getting meaning. But how do you like to help people? Is it through relationships? Is it through planning or organizing? Is it through the the the special way that you communicate? Is it through intuition? Like the list is endless. Dig deeper into how you help people. And then second, every single human has purpose inside innately. So please think beyond your job or your job title or your role as a mother or a spouse, and think beyond goals that you've set that you think you need to reach in order to be purposeful. Because all of those are outputs, outputs of your purpose. Purpose is with you and accessible and there for you every single day. And if you focus on that, you can then apply it to infinite jobs, infinite roles, infinite goals. So if you're thinking about retiring or you're retired. Think back to that job that you did love or that you're missing and think, Well, what about it? Did I love?
And then take the essence of that and apply it to life today. So purpose is not a goal or a role. We all have it inside and it really, really does help our health, our wellness, our outlook, our mindset, and helps us live longer and better.
Thank you, Anna. Thank you. So amazing. If you want to reach Anna directly, you can email her at Anna at the purpose equation. And Martha asked about how to get the cards. You can go to the purpose equation. It's right there on the home page. To get the spark start cards. Martha, get them. They are so cool, so much fun, so insightful. I really. I have so many more to go through because I said it took us so long.
Just to get to a few.
Of them. It was wonderful. All right. So let me suggest to our listeners that you to hear more shows like this and to hear more about what we're doing on Hey Boomer, that you ask your friends to subscribe to the email list and you can do that by going to bit b i t l y slash Hey boomer dash subscribe. I like Anna. I'm on a mission to reach as many people as possible to help them live meaningful, purposeful lives in this next act. So ask your friends. Encourage your friends to subscribe to the Hey Boomer email list. Also, check out the travel opportunities on Road Scholar. You can do that at road Scholar dot org slash. Hey Boomer. Let's engage with our sponsor so that they keep sponsoring us. It's very important that we support the sponsors of Hey Boomer. So next week is Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And well, actually, this week is Thanksgiving. But next week, you know, I expect people are traveling or whatever. So I will not.
And he's going to be joy fueling. She will not be available for her podcast next week.
That's right. I will not be doing a show next week. So I will be back on Monday, December the fifth. Thank you, my dear. And I will be working on my joy fuel. So on Monday, December 5th, I'm going to be speaking with Jeanette Leonardi. Jeanette's a social gerontologist and an aging wellness leader. You know who she is?
Oh, I know her. I follow her work. I think what she's doing is incredible. I will definitely be listening.
Yeah, she's amazing. And and with her, we're going to be talking about advocating for yourself and your loved ones around health care, which, you know, a lot of us think, well, the doctor said it, that's what we do. And yeah, we also need to advocate for ourselves and our loved ones particularly. So thank you, Anna.
Wendy, I have been following you and admiring you and thank you so much. First for making purpose a priority and for highlighting it through your work and all that you do. And second, for having me on. Thank you. On. In honor.that in in the next season in: