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066. The Power of Being Prepared with Jay Gabrani

By on September 17, 2019


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After his first child was born in 2005, Jay jumped into the world of real estate investing. Despite several challenges along the way, he built a multiple seven-figure real estate portfolio. That portfolio helped him take a multi-year sabbatical to deal with the heartbreaking personal tragedy when his wife passed away in 2014.

The experience lead Jay to reevaluate the purpose of his life during that sabbatical. Before his wife passed away, Jay thought he was financially prepared. After going through the experience of being the executor of his wife’s estate, he realized he wasn’t.

Today, Jay makes an impact raising his three children and empowering Fathers to secure their Family’s Financial Future as the founder of Prepared Fathers.

“How hard you work has very little to do with how well you retire. You are either Financially Prepared or Financially Negligent.”

-Jay Gabrani

He achieves this through his one-on-one and group coaching programs and his daily podcast, A Minute with Jay. He is also a frequent podcast guests on other shows and does a limited number of speaking engagements.

Key Points from the Episode with Jay Gabrani:

  • Jay Gabrani is the founder of a company called Prepared Fathers, to help fathers be ready financially for major, unexpected situations life can throw at us. This was, of course, borne of Jay’s experience as a husband and father.
  • Jay grew up in Canada, and took a trip to India to spend time with his grandfather, who instilled in him a desire to build his own business. He didn’t start that way, but built a path to be able to be an entrepreneur, working for himself since 1997.
  • In the early 2000s, Jay got married, bought a house and started a family. All at ‘hyper speed’, as he puts it.
  • His first business was a restaurant franchise, which he ran successfully for 13 years. He’s gone on to other ventures, including investing in real estate.
  • The biggest benefit of being an entrepreneur is the freedom and choice to design your life. He decides what time is for business versus family versus exercise, etc.
  • With three young children at home, Jay worked and his wife stayed home with the kids. In 2011, his wife slipped and fell, leading to getting prescribed Oxycontin to deal with the pain, which she soon became addicted to.
  • Along with the addiction, his wife was battling depression and pain, while Jay’s style was to snap out of it and do what you have to do (similar to my approach when my wife went through her worst in 2011, too).
  • His wife decided she didn’t want to live, and took her own life in 2014, leaving Jay and the kids behind.
  • Overnight, Jay became a single father of a a 5, 7 and 9 year old kids. He used his real estate investments to fund taking a sabbatical from working so he could focus on his kids. He expected that to last a year, but ended up being a four year period.
  • The devastation is not something he feels you can ever fathom until you’re going through it.
  • Being a professional accountant, Jay expected he would handle being the executor of his wife’s estate to be easy. He quickly realized how mistaken he was. From not knowing her passwords, where the key was to her safe deposit box and more.
  • And he realized how much worse it would be for his wife if he was the one who had died since she knew even less about the things an executor needs to know than he did.
  • That woke him up to the need for a little bit of planning, a little bit of preparation. He says his company’s mission is to help fathers plan for life’s little curve balls.
  • My reaction was that this is all right, but easier said than done. Having these conversations is hard. People don’t like to talk about, “What would happen if I/you died?”
  • Through his tragedy, he realized he could help other fathers avoid that. There are a lot of fathers in trouble for various reasons, and he can help solve that.
  • It’s not about money, it’s about skills. If you lack the skills you need for what you’re facing, go and acquire them. Look at how you’re spending the resources you have (time and money) and see if you can spend those resources in a way that moves you forward.
  • There are some basics to be sure you have in place that don’t have to cost much, like wills and basic life insurance. A $250-500K life insurance policy would have made a tremendous difference for him and his three young kids when his wife died, and not having it put his family at risk.
  • The most important step, and likely the hardest, is the conversations. Not just between the two parents, but key others like parents, siblings, step-siblings or step-parents, etc. Doing that work up front will make things smoother and better and give you a sense of release.
  • We got into how you can have these conversations as it can be really hard. I shared my own struggle with my wife to have this talk, especially since there was a scare around her survival. Jay enlightened me with another approach.
  • Rather than making it about doom and gloom and the fear of being stranded, appeal to the family or the children. For the sake of the children, let’s talk about this. And once it’s done, we don’t have to do it again.
  • He suggests getting all the papers in order and together in one place, and then having the conversation focused on “here is where you find everything, in place.”
  • Jay put together a checklist for the key things you want to have in place to be prepared that you can get for free at preparedfathers.com/day
  • As fathers, we often feel a need to be a provider and protector, If we don’t have these things in place, we aren’t really providing or protecting our family.
  • And this transcends gender-stereotypical-roles. For any parent, this is a truism. We are leaving our family unprotected and unprepared.
  • Jay shared a brilliant thought that feels like it’s at the heart of this entire show – in order to impact the world, you have to take the worst moment of your life and convert it.
  • For him, that message is even more important because his kids are watching, and he owes him this.

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065. Find Your Voice Through Mindfulness with Bruce Langford

By on September 10, 2019


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Bruce Langford is a Mindfulness consultant who is hired by companies to improve employee work-life balance by replacing stress and anxiety with team spirit and self-respect. Happy, committed team players result in a climate where ROI is increased, sick days decline and general wellness improves. Bruce’s extensive background in bullying prevention equips him, through mindfulness, to inspire employees to replace self-bullying and judgmental behaviors, with a strong desire for cooperation and respect.

When people want to become focused winners at what they do, whether in their business or in their personal life, they seek out proven winning partners who will give them focus. That’s what Bruce does in his coaching practice and with his top-ranked podcast, Mindfulness Mode. Bruce shows you how to get grounded and centered so you can do what you do best, moving forward with confidence. He helps you make the impact you desire and enjoy the freedom you deserve in your life.

He knows from his own personal experience with exactly this. How he grew up defined his sense of self, which included being stifled and type-cast. It literally caused him to not be able to find his voice. Through mindfulness and confidence work, he was able to do just that, and turned outward with his message to help others do the same.

Bruce is a great person, cares deeply about others, and shares his story and his values in this episode.

Key Points from the Episode with Bruce Langford:

  • Bruce was a very stressed-out teen, with a lot of anxiety and anger. Oddly, he didn’t know why.
  • As he got older, it got worse yet his voice didn’t change, so he wouldn’t speak up or out. This only made it worse as those feelings were brewing and bubbling with no outlet.
  • He looked for his voice in music so he could express himself without exposing his high-pitched voice.
  • While he wanted to go to school, he was afraid to try or try what he wanted because he was so afraid to speak.
  • He found an ENT doctor who knew immediately what to do to help him, and it worked. It was all stress- and anxiety-based rather than physical.
  • His anger and stress came from his home life as a child.
  • Growing up, his father was angry and upset most of the time, and his mother was stressed and upset as a result.
  • Bruce has pneumonia as an infant that nearly killed him, and lead to him being defined as fragile. That meant he couldn’t go outdoors in the tough Canadian winters. And, living on a farm, it meant he tended to help his mother in the house rather than the tough work outside on the farm.
  • Adding his voice issues, that reinforced the corner he was being painted into in terms of the kind of person he was.
  • He found himself looking to escape, so when he turned 18, he left, while his siblings stayed around.
  • When he found his voice, it was like a huge rebirth for him where he could be any of the things he wanted to be.
  • The metaphor of “finding your voice” was playing out literally for him, as well, and it was empowering and freeing.
  • Despite that freedom, he also had waves of being stifled and held back.
  • Today, he is an expert on mindfulness, so his back story is so interesting given how much pain and internal strife he faced.
  • After becoming a music teacher in the school system, Bruce saw bullying at play too often. He thought about how mindfulness can help work against it.
  • He took on a persona and a strategy to fight bullying and had a whole show he would share with students in assemblies and other performances to share the message. He became DJ Benny DL (taking on the name of his then 1-2 year old son).
  • Bruce sees music and creativity as such a powerful way to express yourself, work through difficult issues, and feel freedom.
  • Today, Bruce does not struggle with anxiety like he used to. This is because he is very proactive with applying the tools he’s learned before it becomes an issue.
  • He has learned to recognize that things are the way they are supposed to be, and let go of the idea that he needs to change them or that he needs to be someone else.
  • Bruce wrote a book with mindfulness expert Brian Tracy, Cracking The Success Code, which he made available to you for free at mindfulnessmode.com/cracking.
  • He wants people to really embrace the idea that having some form of meditation in your life is really a necessity. Even sitting down for 15 minutes of quiet time with yourself is highly valuable.
  • Book mentioned: John Marshall Roberts, The Voice Code.

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064. To Be Safe, Loved & Worthy with Terah Harrison

By on September 3, 2019


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Terah Harrison is a Licensed Professional Counselor and hosts the podcast Make More Love Not War which has a clear mission of helping people have more sex and less fighting.  She discovered the need for her podcast as she saw male clients at her private practice in Fort Worth Texas, who were struggling to understand their female partners.  Most of these men were striving to be better partners but their strategies to achieve this only made things worse.  Many times a simple change would improve their relationships dramatically.

With this amazing information that would benefit men and the women they love in hand Terah wanted to reach more men but how without bending space time?  In her personal life she wanted her husband, Jeff, to go to couples therapy but alas, he would not. If a therapist’s husband won’t go to therapy how many other men are missing out on the knowledge that would get them more sex?  She noticed Jeff listening to podcasts every day and talking about what he learned from them.   The solution hit her like a bolt of lightning – create a podcast that will bring therapy to the men who for whatever reason don’t go. 

Since Terah started the podcast she has been able to interview some amazing experts in love and relationships- authors, professors, therapists, and coaches.  She has also created a series that gives men a back stage pass into a woman’s mind called Whine With Wine and another series that highlights power couples as well as couples in conflict.

Terah’s podcast may be directed towards men but her Evil Plan is really to help women have more connected relationships with men where they feel heard and understood in a way that leads to MORE SEX and LESS FIGHTING for all!!!

One word of caution before you listen. This episode is very real, raw and honest about abuse Terah suffered, both physical and emotional. If that is more than you are ready to handle right now, or you have a sensitive audience, please make the best choice for you.

Key Points from the Episode with Terah Harrison:

  • Terah is a relationship therapist working with individuals and couples, and also hosts a podcast called “Make More Love, Not War” that includes a recurring segment with her friends where they talk shamelessly about sex. That shamelessness part is the key, and takes work to get to.
  • She started the podcast with her husband as a way for them to work through relationship issues together in a way that therapy seemed too daunting for her husband. Through that process, which includes bringing other therapists on the show, listeners benefit, as well.
  • A common issue with couples therapy is that one of the partners thinks the therapist will just side with the other person, so the show helps remove the chance for that dynamic.
  • Terah’s work as a couples therapist started with her own parents, where she was often thrown into the mix of their relationship issues, as many kids end up doing.
  • Her goal is to bust through shame, whether it’s about sex (often for women), our emotions (often for men), and how disconnecting it is to feel shame.
  • I asked if she prefers working with men or women, and she shared why she generally prefers working with men. A key reason is that she is benefiting the woman at home who needs her partner to be a better partner to her.
  • It’s also been very healing for her to work with men and see their good hearts and ability to improve. That comes from her own story.
  • Terah’s story started with sexual abuse at age 4. It happened so long ago that some people might say you should just be over it by now. She shared why that doesn’t “just” happen. When we are that young, our neural network is being built, so the wiring is being set to tell us that we aren’t safe and aren’t worth the protection.
  • The man who abused her was the father of a neighborhood friend, who would abuse Terah and her friend together. It was more than just physical, but also what she referred to as “grooming” them to be abusable. He made her feel special, and that this was something she was lucky to have going on.
  • She felt that she couldn’t tell her parents, so she told them it was just her friend. She was afraid of being labelled a ‘dirty little girl’ who wasn’t worthy of protection. Once her parents found out it was her, they decided not to prosecute him because of what they thought it would do to her to go through that process.
  • Her parents would justify why he did this given his own back story, and they seemed to have sympathy and acceptance for him. They even allowed him to send Christmas cards and presents to Terah.
  • This made her feel like other people are more important than she is, and she doesn’t deserve protecting.
  • Others seemed to sense this, and would target her, whether with bullying, sexual abuse (she was raped at age 13), and mental abuse.
  • She asked her parents if she could talk to a therapist in her teens, and they refused, preferring to “keep it in the family”.
  • Her parents were just doing the best they could. They were young parents who made a lot of mistakes.
  • It left her with feelings that her dad not protecting her meant she couldn’t trust any man since the one who should have been there to protect her and be trustworthy above anyone else didn’t and wasn’t.
  • She ended up in another abuse and controlling relationship. She understood why he was the way he was, but that does not make what he did ok. It’s important to separate the two.
  • He was almost like a cult leader, trying to control her mind and life.
  • Finally leaving that relationship is what allowed her to start healing from all the abuse she had suffered.
  • Her relationships with women were also not good, and that was part of her healing process. Girls had bullied her from a young age, and that was a recurring theme, so that was a piece of the work she had to do which might not have seemed obvious relative to the work around trusting men.
  • The first step she found through her therapy journey is to tell your story. The second step is to build relationships you trust and tell your story to them.
  • Her sense of safe was initially just around sex, but she learned it’s bigger than that, and needs to include emotional safety. Whether that means not being emotionally and mentally abusive, or also behaviorally. That means acting truthfully and not cheating, for example.
  • Through getting her masters in therapy, she worked with men who had done some pretty bad things, whose families had to call the police on given their behavior. Seeing that extreme level perpetrator actually want to do the work to get better opened her eyes to being able to trust.
  • She does warn people to just cut and run if it isn’t safe. Her abusive ex-boyfriend, Scott, broke into her apartment after she left him, and assaulted her physically, injuring her in the process.
  • She talked about finding Amago Therapy, and finding the book Receiving Love, written by the developers of Amago. It went into seeing what you think about love, what your primary caregivers teach you about it, and more. That became the basis for a lot of growth personally and showing her a focal area for her therapy practice to help people.
  • She then found EMDR, a type of therapy focused on reprogramming your neural networks around traumatic events to take away the messaging in your brain around traumatic events and their emotional impact.
  • The third step in her therapy is Somato Emotional Release using Cranio-Sacral Therapy. This process involved visualizing and talking to her four-year-old self, and telling her she is safe, loved and worthy. She tells her own daughter that every day, and she did it for herself, which finally let her feel protected.
  • Doing that for herself allowed her to feel strength and stability in her own protection because it comes from the one constant we all have – ourselves.

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063. The Therapeutic Power of Running with William Pullen

By on August 27, 2019


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William is a London-based psychotherapist, author and app developer. He is the founder of Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT), a psychotherapeutic approach which incorporates running. H is book “Running with Mindfulness” published by Penguin, is in 11 countries. The Dynamic Running Therapy app is available on iOS.

From his own struggle after a long-term relationship ended, leaving him depressed and withdrawn from life, William learned something. He started running with a friend, and found that these runs helped him work through what he was facing and processing (or not processing). He came to learn why running was so helpful, and created an approach, he calls Dynamic Running Therapy, through that. He shares his story and what he learned with us in this episode of the show.

Key Points from the Episode with William Pullen:

  • William is a psychotherapist in London who, about a decade ago, was going through a tough time and turned to therapy himself.
  • At the same time, he started running with a friend, and realized that he was getting such emotional benefit from the running, too.
  • That lead to creating a program that combines the two into his book and methodology, Dynamic Running Therapy.
  • In his situation, he was in a failing relationship too long. He notes how hanging on can drag you down and hurt you further. Then the relationship ends when you’re at your weakest, and it crushes more than if you had acted sooner.
  • He found himself in the throes of depression, and had the presence of mind to recognize that he needed help.
  • We got into why running seems to be so helpful. William had a couple of key reasons.
  • First, running is rhythmic, which has a calming and almost hypnotic effect.
  • Second, because it absorbs so much of your energy, it quiets the distractive power of the mind, making it easier to focus on what matters that you are trying to work through.
  • Dynamic Running Therapy is about running with a set of questions to work through.
  • He tends to start with a 5-10 minute grounding process, which has four steps. First is to take in what’s happening in your body. Then, what’s happening around you (smells, sounds, etc). Third, scan how you’re feeling. Finally, ask yourself what you want from the session.
  • Often we aren’t focused enough when we try to work on things, so this helps bring us to a place of focus.
  • William believes we live in an age of disembodiment. We are focusing our energy in things like social media and work that no longer fits into 9-5 hours. Running helps bring us back.
  • When we run, our body registers us as going from passive to active, which shifts our brain’s processing. This allows us to work on problems differently.
  • William sees this as one of the reasons we go into a run with lots of questions or problems in our head, and miraculously, we seem to have them resolved when we’re done running.
  • I had to ask if treadmills count since the experience is so different from running outdoors. While it may be different, or not as good, something is better than nothing, so treadmills can still work.
  • The key is for making that treadmill experience as open and clear as possible. For example, not having closed in walls around you, or a screen staring you in the face, distracting you.
  • We get stuck in the world through repetition and rigidity. Breaking through this comes from getting moving. The more free we are with that, the better. So William prefers getting outdoors, exposing yourself to something different and interesting (he threw out African drumming, which I’ve used myself to great effect).
  • He posed a great challenge to people. Do you have too much order in your life or not enough? Having too much can be as problematic as not enough as it can hold us back. Find balance.

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062. Shifting Your Choices to Shift Your Life with Michael O’Brien

By on August 20, 2019


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Michael O’Brien is the Chief Shift Officer at Peloton Coaching and Consulting. He elevates successful corporate leaders by preventing bad moments from turning into bad days. His award-winning, best-selling memoir Shift: Creating Better Tomorrows chronicles his Last Bad Day and near-death cycling accident recovery journey. He has shared his inspirational story and transformation from human DOer to human BEing and work and at home on the TEDx stage, with multiple Fortune 500 companies, ABC, Real Simple Fast Company, and many wonderful podcasts like Do a Day.

Michael was a successful sales professional and Marketing Director. The same stress that you and your team feel every day burdened him. There were many days when he just wanted to survive. He knew he could be better, but didn’t know how to consistently find the energy to thrive and get closer to being his best.

The sad thing is that he didn’t need to be chasing back then. He already had many wonderful reasons to be happy. He was a proud, new dad of two wonderful daughters, had a loving wife who was and still is his best friend, he was healthy, and he had a career filled with promise. But he rationalized his chase and, in hindsight, made up ego-based reasons why he had to keep living that way.

Many times, he caught happiness, but like a dog chasing its tail, he didn’t know what to do when he caught it. He was happy for a moment. It validated his pursuit, but then it floated away. So, he got back to stressfully chasing. He was exhausted but couldn’t tell anyone because he was the leader at work and the provider to his family.

He knew there was a better way, but he couldn’t see it.

Then, on Monday, July 11, 2001, while at a corporate meeting in New Mexico, Michael went out for an early morning bike ride that changed his life permanently. An SUV crossed the center line in the road and hit him head-on, going close to 40 miles per hour (plus Michael’s speed). As he laid waiting for the medical trauma helicopter, he told himself that life would be different if he lived.

His recovery was the catalyst to the seminal shift that changed his perspective, mindset, and actions. It put him on a path to create better tomorrows at work and in life, and sparked his executive career progression, which was instrumental to finding happiness and passion for business leadership development and creating his business, Peloton Coaching and Consulting. It also lead to his amazing book, My Last Bad Day Shift: How to Prevent Bad Moments from Turning into Bad Days.

Michael shares the story of his accident, and the shift that came as a result. His experience is the inspiration for many to shift their situation, so listen to this episode and find how you, too, can shift your life from whatever Last Bad Day you may have.

Key Points from the Episode with Michael O’Brien:

  • Michael is a husband and father of two girls, which is how he frames himself first and foremost
  • Secondly, he is a leadership coach, focused on sales and marketing leaders to help them change how they work as a portal to how we behave as a society. He described it as helping people be wealthy from the inside out
  • We got into the idea that we are a complete person, and can’t show up in one part of our life differently from how we do in another. If that’s what’s happening, we are acting in at least one part of our life. We are spending all our energy in one area, and left with nothing for another.
  • Michael talked about the idea so many of us live with around having just meh or vanilla days where “it is what it is.” To him, that’s not acceptance so much as settling and coasting.
  • He uses the brilliant cycling analogy around coasting – if you coast for too long, sooner or later, you’re going to stop.
  • Michael shared the story of his biking accident on July 11th, 2001 while in New Mexico at a work offsite meeting. He was hit head-on by a white, Ford Explorer that had drifted into his lane with a distracted driver behind the wheel. He suffered tremendous and life-threatening injuries, and had to be medi-vaced to the nearest Level 1 Trauma center. When this happened, his wife and two daughters (then 3 and 7-months old) were across the country at home in New Jersey.
  • His injuries were extensive, with it unclear whether he would lose his leg once his life was stabilized. After several operations, and months of grueling recovery work, Michael regained the ability to walk, and eventually to ride a bike again. Pinning a number on at a biking event today is the sweetest symbol to him of what he came through.
  • This event and the process that ensued created the basis for his book, Shift, which brings the reader up to and through this moment where his life shifted. He had been white-knuckling his life before, just working to get through. In losing almost everything forced Michael to step back and find a new way to define himself as he faced the idea of depending on others for the rest of his days, losing control of so much of his life, and more.
  • He realized the need to let go, trust in others, and trust in himself.
  • That included a journey of forgiveness. That included people who he thought would come to see him, but never did. He found himself focusing on those people, and as a result, he lost sight of those who were there. Bitterness and pain around who did not come out to support him consumed Michael. For them, he realized how difficult it was for those people to show up. In situations like that, we often don’t even know what to say. We get scared and overwhelmed, and they deal with and experience the situation through their lens. It helped him feel compassion and understanding for them rather than anger that consumed him.
  • He also found forgiveness for the driver of that car. It wasn’t about the driver, but rather about letting go of the energy toward the driver that was getting in the way of Michael’s recovery and his ability to appreciate what he did have rather than what he didn’t have.
  • His shift came in a specific moment during a physical therapy session. Michael wondered why some people were making progress and others weren’t. He wasn’t happy with the progress he was making, so he was curious. Michael realized how his mind was standing in the way of his progress. He needed to find alignment between his outward thoughts, words and actions and those within him, which were less positive.
  • Michael started a morning ritual of calm, breathing and reflection that framed his days in rehab, which he’s also used to frame his days since then. His goal is to show up with intention, purpose and drive, respecting the day that he has since he nearly lost all of it.
  • I had to call out this great line from his “20 Ways of Being” at the end of Shift. He says that you can never let someone out-hustle you on what really matters. It sparked thoughts about how hard it is to say, “No,” to things, but if those things aren’t what truly matters, then you leave the door open to be out-hustled on those things. He reminds us that every No is a Yes. When you say, “No,” to one thing, it allows you to say, “Yes,” to something else, which matters more. Looking at it that way helps with feeling ok saying, “No.”
  • We also talked about the word Peloton, which Michael uses as the name of his coaching and consulting business. It is the name for a group of cyclists, who must work together as a group to protect each other, share the burden of breaking the wind to ease the effort for the group and stay synchronized so no one throws the group off or creates a disruption that can lead to the group crashing. He uses the metaphor a lot in the idea of finding your peloton, and being mindful of who you bring into it to ride with you.

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061. Redirecting Your Life by Realizing You Matter with Fernando Flores

By on August 13, 2019


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Fernando has been a trial and appellate attorney for over 10 years and has worked and excelled in very high-stress, fast-paced work environments. He has handled cases in state and federal trial courts, the Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court.

Fernando handled large case dockets and represented clients in some of the most vulnerable life circumstances, including victims of human trafficking.

While Fernando excelled as an attorney, Fernando did not adequately nurture all 6 dimensions of his well-being.  Today, Fernando does not allow a single day to pass without taking time to nurture all 6 areas of his health.

According to the American Bar Association, “well-being” is “a continuous process toward thriving across all life dimensions.”  The 6 spheres of well-being are Social, Physical, Occupational, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional.

Fernando established iMATER NOW to support and coach other attorneys and professionals in their journey to excel in all 6 areas of well-being.

Whether individually, or for your entire law firm, working with iMATER NOW will assist you by inculcating positive values that will promote the well-being of yourself and your legal teams.

Key Points from the Episode with Fernando Flores:

  • Fernando has been an attorney for over 11 years, living in the fast-paced/high-stress world of trial law.
  • From living in that world, he found how much attorneys need support dealing with the stress and finding ways to pull wellness and empathy into their lives.
  • He started coaching attorneys and doing things like starting a podcast and speaking to help them build coping skills to make life and work more sustainable.
  • He started lecturing at Berkeley Law School on emotional intelligence.
  • What he found so prevalent was self-judgment, blaming and shaming ourselves, and it isn’t serving us.
  • He also found that people who were more resilient have outlets where they can explore, create, escape the grind and connect with a different part of their mind. Many use exercise as that outlet, but there’s variety across different people.
  • Fernando was born in Chicago, raised in Mexico until he was 12, and then moved to San Diego.
  • When he was 12, he was also hit by a car and suffered a broken femur. It landed him in a hospital bed for weeks, and greatly impacted his life and his family.
  • In that experience, they got an attorney, and that showed him how attorneys can help the underdog, as his family was, and he had a strong desire to do that for others.
  • As he went through law school and the bar exam, he started to experience the extreme stress of that professional world.
  • In law school, Fernando also developed a pattern of drinking. Not abusing it, but alcohol was a very standard part of the lifestyle in school and then in the legal profession. It is the most common outlet in that world.
  • Alcohol is really a form of escape to avoid having to process or work through any pain you may be facing, past or present. It’s about numbing.
  • For the first several years, like most lawyers, Fernando wasn’t caring for himself.
  • The death of an uncle and one of his closest friends forced Fernando to step back and look at his life. He took inventory.
  • He decided to commit himself to himself, starting with exercise, which just lead down a path of doing more things that were better for him no matter what else was going on.
  • From exercising, he stopped drinking without even realizing it (he chose not to go out to drink so he could get his workout done). The more he started to exercise, the less time he had to go drink, and better won out.
  • He moved to setting a goal of exercising 35 minutes a day every day in celebration of his life before his 36th birthday.
  • What he found is that caring for himself lead to thriving professionally because he was a better version of himself. He could show up better for his clients and peers because he was showing up better for himself.
  • He also started reading for his own personal development and growing his understanding of personal development.
  • For Fernando, he found that it starts with changing your thoughts. For example, if your alarm clock gets up, if you feel like going back to sleep instead of getting up and working up, try to change your thought and get up.
  • Then he worked on thinking about gratitude. Wake up and go over things you are thankful for from yesterday, and several that you will be thankful for today.
  • There are other key practices he’s employed that he shared, but it boils down to living from a place of self-love.
  • When you don’t work on these things, it is not only hard to succeed in life, but it’s hard to succeed in relationships. Fernando talked about how we end up “Emotionally Constipated”. It’s something he especially sees in men, though women suffer from this, too.
  • Being a man and having masculinity can be strong and courageous, but also be sensitive. Recognizing this has helped him to be a better person and attorney.
  • When you make these changes, over time when you look back, you see a huge change in who you are. For the better.
  • Often, this can all stem from trying to fit the mold someone else has defined for us. Until we set our own mold, we may stay disconnected with who we really should be.
  • Fernando recently spent six weeks in India, and a way to live for the better became clear from how he saw people living there. The four ideas he saw in practice were:
    1. Suspend the ego,
    2. Live from your spirit,
    3. Quiet the mind, and 
    4. Nourish the body
  • He mentioned the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, which is all about what EQ is, self-awareness, inner-peace and what emotional patterns you are having inside.
  • Fernando shared a key question (or set of questions) that he uses with people to try to figure out what’s really gong on – Why do I feel what I feel when I feel it?

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060. The Power of Worthiness from Within with Dr. James Kelley

By on August 6, 2019


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Who is James Kelley? Well, his path is still being built brick by brick and the current brick is a book Crucible’s Gift: 5 Lessons from Authentic Leaders Who Thrive in Adversity. But what about all the previous bricks?

He was the youngest of 3 1/2  kids (long story – we get into it) in a traditional Irish Catholic family, which means loud, sarcastic, passive aggressive and a touch of physical discipline, minus the obligation of Mass. His parents did the best they could with what they knew. In the middle of his time at university when he took a break from school, one afternoon his life took a turn. After walking into his job selling used cars, two colleagues were lining up a white substance and rolling a dollar bill and asked him if he wanted to try. That sparked something in him, and four months later he was back at university full-time.

After completing his undergraduate degree, his life was a series of twists and turns, ups and downs and a few zigs and zags. The death of his father, an MBA, a year teaching English in Japan, a DUI, and three jobs later, he was a rudderless vessel at sea. However, one night on Portland State University’s campus, while attending an event for potential Peace Corps recruits, his life took an unsuspected turn. In one brief conversation with four Ph.D. students, James realized that I wasn’t the dumbest person in the room, and thought a Ph.D. was possible.

He got his Ph.D. in International Marketing at the University of Western Australia and ascended to higher education. His family moved to Philadelphia for a seven-year stint. Now, he lives just outside Dubai with his wife Mary and four kids. He teaches, runs a small consultancy, and works on writing and a new startup, called Q-Change.

It is James’ belief that his story is unique and one filled with failure, and consistent no’s. What he maintained through life is a sunny disposition that if you just work hard and be a good person you will end up on top. You won’t be able to help but feel James’ energy coming through as we get into the interview.

Key Points from the Episode with James Kelley:

  • James lives outside of Dubai with his family. They moved out there to get his family an experience outside of the US where they can get exposure to other cultures as one of the few rather than being part of the majority.
  • He was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where he lived until he was 17. He left for college in Ohio, but decided to leave school after a year, and went home to be a used car salesman. One day in March, he went into the little office on the car lot to get out of the cold, and found two coworkers doing cocaine, who offered him some. He said, “No,” and immediately called his mother to tell her he wanted to go back to school.
  • During his third year of school, James’ father passed away. He described getting the news in detail. He remembered everything about the situation, and the words he heard, and then he couldn’t process anything. He found himself in the car going home an hour and a half later, telling jokes, which was just how his brain was processing it.
  • For the next few years, he felt cheated by the world. He was looking forward to the transition in his father-son relationship with his dad as he became an adult and could get closer to him in a different way, and that wasn’t going to happen. As a result, his behavior started to change as a result of emotional turmoil going on inside. He was drinking more, cheated on his girlfriend, and eventually got arrested for drunk driving (no one was hurt – he got caught driving recklessly, but there was no accident).
  • When the cops spotted him, he decided to try to race home before they caught up to him, which obviously failed, and he was arrested at his home with his mother watching.
  • As a result, he had to go to rehab, which he calls the single most impactful and positive impact in his life. He was able to look at this as happening for him, not to him, and put the work into himself with his counselor and group sessions. At 24 years old, that could have easily gone very differently, but he was willing to see how this could help him with the pain inside.
  • He saw that it was a choice, and whether we appreciate the optionality we have or not.
  • We started to talk about his book, The Crucibles Gift, which shares stories and lessons that inspire leadership. The drive to write it came from recognizing how adversity has given him growth moments.
  • The moment you move from “To me” to “For me” is very powerful. It’s not to say the moment of pain or sadness isn’t ok or necessary – it can help you move your life to the other side of the problem – but you can’t stay stuck in it.
  • The leaders he sees moving from the mourning process to this place of seeing how this tough situation can be an opportunity for you, it can be an instantaneous opening up.
  • We got into trust. He looks at it as needing to trust people right away and giving them opportunities to break your trust rather than waiting for them to earn it.
  • He talked about micro moments of meaning, a term he discusses in his book. In every interaction with people, no matter how long, his main goal is to leave them with a positive memory of that moment. Leaving someone with that moves them subconsciously to seek another positive moment. That can chain together and drive happiness, self-awareness and more.
  • The one must-have behind all of this is a growth mindset, which is the prerequisite to welcome the opportunity for growth in even the darkest moments.
  • No one is all growth or all fixed, we have moments of both. The idea is to recognize where we have growth thoughts and take advantage of them, and recognize where we are more fixed in our mindset, and see if we can open ourselves up to a more growth mindset in those moments.
  • One method is to see those fixed mindset moments, and see how it’s helping or harming you. For example, it may not always be bad, like a fixed mindset about not drinking, though perhaps how you’re doing that may be hurting you socially or professionally.
  • Self-awareness also seems to be a key differentiator in how people can grow. If we are more self-aware, we may see where we could do differently or recognize the opportunities for growth more readily than if we are less self-aware.
  • While he still teaches and has his show and book, James is launching a new company, called qChange, that uses bluetooth beacons and mobile phone notifications to bring mindfulness to behaviors to try to spark changes in our lives.

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059. Surrendering to the Facts to Realize Opportunity with Madeleine Black

By on July 30, 2019


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The sharing of her story of sexual assault publicly On The Forgiveness Project’s website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in.

Many women and men got in contact and explained how reading her story gave them strength, hope, and a different perspective of what’s possible in their lives.

The founder of The Forgiveness Project, Marina, often refers to the various people on her website as  “story healers” rather than “storytellers” and now she completely understood why.

She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story of being gang raped as a teenager at conferences, events and schools.

She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it.  Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet. Her memoir, Unbroken, was published on April 4th2017.

As a note, Madeleine story of her is very real, very powerful and may be difficult for some to hear. It also may not be appropriate for children to hear, so please use your discretion when listening.

Key Points from the Episode with Madeleine Black:

  • Madeleine started sharing her story a few years ago to help end the shame and stigma around sexual violence. Her message intends to inspire people to realize it isn’t what we experience that matters, it’s what we do.
  • Madeleine was raised by parents who had survived great ordeals themselves, which she says may be part of why she’s so resilient. Her father was a Holocaust survivor, and her mother survived and ultimately recovered from a traumatic neck injury that put her life on hold for years.
  • When Madeleine was 13, she and a friend got drunk for the first time and met two boys who they took back to her mother’s flat (apartment) in London. These boys ended up raping Madeleine and committing other violences against her, which was the focus of our conversation.
  • The boys were sons of US diplomats who Madeleine knew. This is quite common where the perpetrators are known to their victim.
  • Years after, a friend had pushed her to write her story down. That friend, a man, felt that her words were so important for men to see what a woman goes through in a rape.
  • Putting the whole story out there and standing in her truth helped Madeleine shatter the shame of the incident.
  • In the midst of the rape, Madeleine went through the mental shifts that took place to help her survive. She described it as if she had floated out of her body, became aware of things going on outside the flat rather than in it, focusing on things like the wall paper, etc. Ultimately, she felt that she had floated out of her body and was sitting on a wardrobe watching what was happening to her rather than experiencing it first hand in her body.
  • The memories ultimately did come back years later when she realized she was ready to face it.
  • We become very clever at wearing a mask. What we don’t speak about leaks out of us. For Madeleine, that meant using anorexia, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity and ultimately suicide attempts as ways it was trying to come out. Because of her mother’s health situation and being a teenage girl, some blew it all off as being an angsty teen.
  • As her parents became aware of all of the behaviors, they felt she should go away, and sent her to Israel for a year, where she worked on a kibbutz and met the man who would become her husband, Stephen.
  • She had issues understanding why Stephen would want to be with her or love her. Given how she felt about herself, she had such trouble accepting and comprehending him feeling the way he did.
  • As their relationship progressed, and even after they married, she felt so strongly that she did not want to be a mother given what she had experienced. She didn’t want that for her children, and also didn’t want to go through the process of birth, which felt too exposed.
  • What she came to realize over time is that these two boys were continuing to define and control her life. When that became clear to her, she realized how much she did not want them to control anything about her life, and she resolved to live the best life she could from her choices rather than the restrictions of others.
  • As her kids grew up and her oldest approached the age she was when she was raped, she realized how restrictive she was due to her fears. She also realized that this would impact her kids’ minds and development, and keep them from developing the tools they would need to make smart choices and protect themselves, so she decided she needed to step back and let them live more.
  • Madeleine was scared to be around men, but realized she could not keep trying to either keep men from interacting with her or constantly be looking for the exit in case they were to try something. She worked to force the issue – if she tried to keep avoiding her fears, they will keep controlling her. As she made herself work with men as clients and counselors, she started to see situations where she found these men to be just like women. She had a patient who was a male victim of rape, and was able to see him in exactly the same light as herself, which woke her up to gender not being the defining difference between someone who is safe and who isn’t.
  • She surrendered to the facts and let it go.
  • We touched on a sentiment I find with a lot of people who have survived great trauma – the notion that she would not wish her experience on anyone, but would never undo it for herself given how she is grateful for and enjoys her life today.
  • I asked if it was ultimately about control, but she believes control is never real. We are never really in control, so we can’t latch onto that idea. It’s about knowing your strength and resilience regardless of what you face since you can’t control it all.
  • Rape is interesting in how victims are shamed. If your home is broken into, people don’t say it brought it on or did it to yourself. But with rape, the victim is often looked at as having blame, or the rapists are looked at with understanding or perhaps doubt that they could do what they did.
  • Forgiveness was the last piece in her journey. She doesn’t insist anyone has to do it, but for her, it was critical in her ultimate ability to move forward. She didn’t seek them out to apologize, but rather let go of it for herself. She deserved forgiveness for what that could bring to her. Holding onto it wasn’t harming them at all, and only impacting her life. It really has nothing to do with them.
  • Anger had been Madeleine’s best friend, and when she let go of it, she lived so much better. Her life became defined by possibility, gratitude and happiness rather than anger and shame.
  • You don’t have to forgive in order to heal, but for her, it was the right thing.
  • She wanted to make clear that she did not get where she is overnight. She has spent several decades working on it, and it is a process of progress.
  • For anyone who is going through the aftermath of rape or violence like Madeleine did, if you imagine wanting to get to a healed place, it is never ever too late.

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058. The Gift of No Regret to Design Your Life with Kirsty Salisbury

By on July 24, 2019


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Kirsty Salisbury is a speaker, podcaster and coach who speaks straight from the heart.  Her talks explore the topics of resilience, regrets, and how we can create opportunity through effective habits. She is engaging, inspiring and filled with passion in a way that connects at a personal level.

Throughher own story of overcoming death and paralysis, Kirstyis inspiring many people to make meaningful change in their lives.

Today, Kirsty blends her experience as an established wellness professional, her private coaching business, and her research in the areas of resilience, habits, and long term happiness to help empower others with practical tools and strategies to embrace living at their best. 

Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Kirsty loves being active, traveling and spending time with her family.

Kirsty’s powerful personal story of overcoming trauma has become an inspiration to many, and I’m so excited to share this with you in this episode.

Key Points from the Episode with Kirsty Salisbury:

  • Kirsty is a speaker, has three podcasts and has written two books. All of it comes from her personal adventure and helping people live with no regrets and dying well. That last part catches people off guard as they typically think about living well, not dying well.
  • Kirsty had a first hand experience that gave her that perspective.
  • We live with so many regrets, and tend only to face them at the time of death. But throughout our lives, we hold onto it, and it guides so much of what we do and think, and we give up opportunity.
  • We don’t tend to face the things we end up regretting because it’s uncomfortable to do so. We bury it under the carpet and go about our daily lives. But those things we regret interfere with how good our lives can be.
  • Life design is a critical idea, and how choosing our present moments shapes our future moments.
  • As a child, Kirsty had a brain illness where her blood vessels hadn’t formed right in the womb. As a top gymnast, she was about to compete, and she had a brain hemorrhage at age 12, had a tremendous headache, and then couldn’t wake up.
  • She was rushed to the hospital, where she was brought right into surgery. They ended up having to abort the surgery as she died on the table twice during the process.
  • In those moments where she was clinically dead, she saw a white light, felt the brightness, and woke up with a sense of calm, peace and knowledge.
  • This was despite waking up with the realities of what had happened, including paralysis on the left side of her body.
  • She came back feeling that life is so incredible and it deserves us living it without regrets. As she looked around, she saw people at all ages living with regrets and not pursuing lives. Kirsty felt a mission to help others see their power to change things and live their lives without negativity.
  • She described the feeling and knowledge when she woke up like she had gotten a download, and her entire being was hyper alert. She had this knowledge where she just understood things.
  • Kirsty had awareness of things that were going on that weren’t even around her, like her parents getting into their car to come to the hospital as they had just gotten a call that Kirsty had woken up.
  • She describes it like a gift of going back. Like, if you’re going back, you’ll need all these things, and it was all just given to her.
  • Kirsty went through her recovery process, which was extremely slow, painful and limited given she had happened to her body, but also the remaining risks because of the fragility of the situation in her brain. She missed a lot of school, and had many restrictions when she did go back to school. She talked specifically about the seemingly minor issue of not being able to tie her own shoe laces due to the effects of her paralysis, and needing to get help with that from other kids as a teenager.
  • Someone asked her when she was laughing and happy, “Where do you get your happiness from?” Her immediate thought was, “Well, where did you lose it?” That’s her focus – what is it we are doing and thinking that robs us of our happiness, and what can we do and think differently to keep that from happening.
  • We need to look for ways to bring more satisfying things into our lives, more joy, more happiness rather than more numbing things. If we can bring more of the positive in, we won’t use as much of the numbing things.
  • These influences come from everywhere – what shows we watch, the friends we associate with, etc. So many things make up our present moments, and that is what creates our future moments, so sit down and do a bit of design on the present so you can enjoy what you have and build even more enjoyment in the future.
  • We need to find a way to let go of things and just be – with ourselves, what we have and what we think. That gives us an ability to understand ourselves and what we need to do so we can design our lives. Giving ourselves even a few moments a day allows us to start this process of living more consciously.
  • The smallest changes can create the biggest overall changes in our lives. She shares the analogy of a pilot making a 1 degree change in the plane’s course.
  • In the short term, it’s insignificant, but over the long term, that can take the plane to a totally different place.

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057. Accept Where You Are to Move Forward with Natalie Janji

By on July 16, 2019


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Natalie Janji saw that she was headed down a path that wasn’t what she wanted. Despite the odds being stacked against her, she pushed for her dreams, and learned so much along the way about how anxiety and social pressure can hold us back, but more importantly, how we can keep them from doing so.

Natalie began her career in personal development at 22, when she became the bestselling author of her first book, The Miracle Morning for College StudentsShe is the coauthor of three books in The Miracle Morning book seriesHer books have been read from students all around the world, and have been translated into multiple languages, including Mongolian, Russian, and Kazakh.

She is a speaker and coach, teaching others how reciting powerful mantras, like Do, Not Worry(tm), can help them overcome their anxiety and take clear, focused action forward. She has spoken on stages for non-profit organizations, companies, and universities around the country. Her mission is to help others stop overthinking and start taking action so that they may design and live a life of purpose, filled with joy, success, and fulfillment.

More than any of that, she is just an inspired and inspiring woman who I got so much out of talking to, and I know you will, too. The way she went after dream, the way she sees through what binds us up in life, and just her general attitude and clarity – love it!

Key Points from the Episode with Natalie Janji:

  • At 16, Natalie heard Hal Elrod speak at her high school, which was a time she was feeling depressed by things going on in her life. He was saying things like, “Positivity is a choice,” that really stuck with her. She didn’t know you actually get to do that, and it really stuck with her.
  • As she went forward, she was on a path in school (studying chemistry) wasn’t resonating with her, and she kept coming back to the feelings and thoughts she got from Hal, and picked up his book, The Miracle Morning. She kept reading it over and over again, practicing it every day for over a year and a half.
  • She decided it was ok not to continue with her path on chemistry and becoming a doctor despite the investment she had made it throughout her college career. She wanted to help people, and thought being a doctor would be a good way to do that. She did love science, and loved how she was learning something new every day. But she never felt a natural inclination for it, and yet was struggling with this feeling that it wasn’t who she was. She described it as pushing against a wall.
  • She wanted to discover something she loved to do as much as her friends who were clearly loving what they were studying. She just had to figure out what that was.
  • So she looked back on what in college she seemed to take the most from and have the most love for. She found it centered around her work helping other students. She paired that with her studying of The Miracle Morning, and decided she needed to reach out to Hal to create a version of it focused on the life of students.
  • Hal asked for a proposal, and then invited her to an event where he turned down her proposal. Despite hearing, “No,” 24-hour laters, he decided to move forward with her on the book, which was a great reminder not to just abandon your dreams just because you hit a roadblock. She started moving forward with writing The Miracle Morning for Students and went on to write a planner tied to it that is now being adopted as the planner for all Miracle Morning books. And now her books are very successful, being translated into different languages and sold all over the world.
  • The thing that made her persistent was the feeling that people needed this book. She wrote for the love of helping people and making a new friend with the audience rather than because of any pressure or anxiety around due dates she had to complete the book.
  • She found a lot of power in ideas like those in Do a Day around taking action and not getting caught in the anxiety traps we face in any given moment.
  • For people with anxiety, you judge yourself before anyone else has a chance to. We are so quick to self-judge. She’s worked on not feeding that noise and reminding herself that they’re just false.
  • We got into the crux of what she’s working on now. Natalie asks if anyone has ever said, “Hey, don’t worry.” It is the worst advice she’s ever gotten! Things don’t just work out, or work themselves out. It’s like a passive interpretation of how to live your life (it lives itself and works itself out so you don’t need to).
  • Instead, Natalie has embraced another phrasing of that advice that turns it more action-oriented.  Instead of, “Don’t worry,” she says, “Do not worry.” “Do,” is a verb here, with the action you do is that which keeps you from worrying.
  • “Don’t worry,” suppresses and avoids problems.  That is not helpful. “Do not worry,” is about facing your fear or anxiety. It’s about reading the signal your body or mind is giving you so you can learn what to do to move forward.
  • She breaths with it, inhaling on the “Do” and exhaling on the “Not Worry.” It calms her mind, and the actions become clear. And as a result, the anxiety diminishes.
  • No matter the case, there’s always something you can Do about your worries.
  • This is so important and valuable, especially with how young anxiety is emerging today, with studies showing kids as young as 12 being overwhelmed with daily anxiety.
  • We talked about social media fueling this as it creates a lot of opportunities to compare ourselves to others and pass judgment that we aren’t good enough, and therefore won’t be loved.
  • And if we are posting on social media boastful things about us, we are still perpetuating the problem by giving a basis for someone else to feel less of themselves.
  • To go through your day without huge spikes in anxiety, you have to start by loving yourself. Living in the present moment and approving of yourself in that moment is so important.
  • We should be taking deliberate steps to move forward in our lives every day, and be grateful for where we are in this moment. If you’re not where you want to be, you can be grateful for being where you are as it is a step toward that place – even if it is the first step. Be grateful that you have begun your journey.
  • She talked about starting from the ‘motherboard’. It’s what controls everything. It is our mindset around everything – our self-love mindset, financial mindset, health mindset.
  • When you focus on that, you can work on rewriting it to support you moving forward. If you set a big goal, but don’t have the underlying thoughts around that goal in the right place, you will self-sabotage.
  • We aren’t all born where we want or need to be. Growth is a part of the human experience. We should be thankful for this, and accepting of it.

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