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43: Charlie Brookins – You Are What You Think About

By February 23, 2016Podcasts
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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Note From Andy: I’m starting the podcast a little differently today, and will continue this going forward. I’m taking the first few minutes to share a few things I’m up to – what I’m doing, reading, watching, learning, understanding, practicing, or experimenting with. My intention is to share my experience (good or bad, successful or not) in an effort to inspire you to take an action that may lead to an improvement in your life.

This week, I talk about the practice I started at the beginning of the year – journaling. It’s taken on a life of it’s own and is teaching me new things every day. The most difficult part is stopping whatever I think I should be doing at the time, and sitting down to write.Though I’m not always successful at doing that, I’ve only missed a few days letely. In the process, I’ve discovered journaling has an amazing transformative capacity, both the practice and the words — even more amazing is how it only actually takes five minutes!

My guest today, Charlie Brookins, has a bunch of plates to keep spinning in the air each day – her demanding career in entertainment at Black Entertainment Television (BET), plus two kids, and a husband – she manages to keep it all together through willpower, discipline, and the lifestyle practices she’s developed over the years.

Charlie Brookins: On BET and the Oscars, Her Career, and Motherhood

Charlie Brookins, BET ExecutiveNetwork executive, proud wife, mother of two, and an advocate for cultural change, Charlie Brookins wears many hats while following her passions and sticking to key principles. As Senior Vice President of Original Programming at BET Networks, Charlie oversees the development and production of original scripted content, as well as unscripted and movie content for both the BET and Centric banners. At the core of her work is a relentless passion to impact images of diversity, since so much cultural exposure is through media content instead of social exchange.

A Chicago native, Charlie attended Northwestern University for her undergraduate education and realized her passions had to be followed with a degree in Radio-TV-Film. She went on to receive an MBA from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Under her leadership, BET successfully relaunched with new original episodes of The Game, which premiered as one of the top cable sitcoms ever. Charlie’s vision to impact the images that get circulated through the media align with BET’s motivation to reflect, respect, and elevate.

While navigating the corporate world, Charlie has daily habits and lifestyle practices that provide moments of clarity in an insane industry. Things such as a vegan diet, time-efficient workouts, morning walks, and prioritizing personal concerns have provided a foundation for the fast-paced world in which she lives. A firm believer of “you are what you think about”, she believes you must be intentional with what you want to do –  applicable advice to any field of work or personal circumstance.

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Links Mentioned:

The Tim Ferriss Experiment – The podcast website for Tim Ferriss.
The Five Minute Journal – A simple and effective daily journal.
Radical Acceptance – The website of Tara Bach, author of Radical Acceptance.
Beachbody – Home workout solutions, including Insanity and Focus T25.
Earl Nightingale – Biography of Earl Nightingale, author of The Strangest Secret.
Bento Box – Easy bento box ideas for kid’s lunches at school.
Getting Things Done – David Allen’s website, author of Getting Things Done.

Show Notes:

  • BET’s reaction to the lack of diversity in arts recognition, focusing on how the network can promote these distinguished artists.
  • Comparing the divide between the race perceptions of millennials and older generations.
  • To live in a color-blind world that ignores differences is misguided; cultural differences are great.
  • Charlie’s cultural upbringing and first feelings towards discrimination, feelings she knows her children will inevitably encounter.
  • How exactly does one properly unpack feelings toward injustice?
  • There will always be someone against you and adversity to overcome, no matter who you are.
  • The rise of cyber-anonymity has given a voice to the invisible to spread hate.
  • The content of one’s character all comes back to their upbringing.
  • Charlie’s upbringing in the idyllic setting of Oak Park, Chicago.
  • Her father’s key to a strong, lasting marriage.
  • Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable – letting the monster in.
  • “Mind like water” – Bruce Lee
  • Distinct moments and memories from her upbringing that left their mark.
  • The importance of having a firm belief you really can do what you want to do.
  • So much of one’s exposure to culture is through media content, not social exchange. Charlie’s driving motivation has always been to impact images.
  • Becoming a vegetarian at age sixteen was a departure from the rest of the family.
  • The advantages of a vegan diet, staying on a diet while traveling, and the family dynamics of nutrition.
  • How to stay healthy in a hectic executive lifestyle.
  • Make personal priorities high priority.
  • Developing a morning routine for stability, such as starting with a morning walk.
  • Cognitive studies on sleep deprivation.
  • Making small incremental steps forward to make a change.
  • Being constantly aware of the choices you make.
  • Charlie’s daily drop-off advice to her kids.
  • Be intentional with what you want to do: “You are what you think about.”
  • Constantly conforming and working toward a perceived ideal versus fighting the status quo and making choices for your beliefs.
  • “The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
  • Trying to change everything at once is a setup for failure.
  • Focus on the action and the journey, not a result-oriented goal.
  • Find personal wins to celebrate.

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Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.