Personal Values

Everyone has a set of values that guide their actions and give their life meaning. Even if you are unaware of what they are they are there helping you make decisions and be who you are. When we are aware of what they are and how they impact us, we can use our values to reaffirm ourselves and what we stand for. In this post I will be explaining what my personal values are and how you find yours.

I have identified my top ten values that help me show up as the best version of each and every day. The first three are what I see as my core values. The rest are still an important part of the recipe for who I am. The list is as follows:

  • Love: Love to me is the willingness to share your energy with others. The act of sharing this energy give me more energy and makes me want to keep offering it to others. Love keeps me ready and willing to serve those that need my help.
  • Kindness: Because I have the energy and will to help people, I strive to find ways spend that energy. You have no idea what battles people are fighting, what they hide from view. giving them kindness is the least you can do but will have immeasurable effects on them.
  • Patience: This is not the ability to sit and wait for things to happens. Patience is a level of trust that you express to yourself that you are on the right path. That you no matter what the world throws at you, you are on the path and you will reach your goals.
  • Creativity: Being creative is one of the most impactful things our species has ever done. While we used to create campfire stories to tell others how to avoid danger, with time we learned and grew into creating more. We create and share art to invoke thought and emotion. We create machines to defy the laws of physics so that we can reach farther, faster, and easier than ever before.
  • Balance: Balance is not a fine line to tread easy on. Balance is a sturdy foundation that you build consistently on top of. It is strengthened by expressing where your boundaries are and who they include.
  • Gratitude: This one is a force multiplier. The more you express gratitude, the more you will find things to be grateful for. Gratitude breeds positivity inside of us and helps us show up as a more powerful version of ourselves.
  • Service: When done from a place of selflessness, service is powerful. The experience of helping another person on their journey is humbling and impactful. It helps open your eyes to the many possible paths that your life could have been on. There may be people in this world that only help others as a means to an end, but that manipulation will never bring the same transformation to either party.
  • Empathy: Being able to sit back and experience another’s truth without judgment creates a certain curiosity. I love seeing how others experience life, because it gives me a larger picture of what life is. That helps me deliver stronger transformation. If we can help increase another person’s joy and ease their difficulties without affecting our own, shouldn’t we do everything in our power to help them?
  • Integrity: This is the one that blends them all together. Doing the right thing, even when no one is watching, even when it isn’t the easy way. The way you do anything is the way that you everything. You can’t hide from yourself, so do it ALL the way that makes you proud to be you.
  • Playfulness: I am a father of three wonderful little humans Holden, Alphonse, and Amara. my days are full of play. Taking the weight of stress off your mind and letting yourself be free from time to time boost your creativity and helps you find new paths foreword. We love games because of that. Part of how I manage to be my best self is because I make my challenges into games. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you even have to start over. Just play, and you will find your way.

All of these values mix together and create lenses for how I see the world. They show me how I can best interact with my surroundings and the people in them. They also create a lens for the world to view me. When I act within these values, I am expressing my best self. It is the standard of which those that know me expect to get from me. When I do things that don’t align with them it confuses everyone. We communicate who we are by living in alignment with them.

What about these values speaks to you? Do you have a different view on any of the values I expressed? That’s the beauty of being human. We all have different experiences and different things resonate with us differently. So where did I get these? and how do you start down the path to find yours?

Evercoach by Mindvalley Value List

I want you to look over these words and pick out ten of them like I did. Think of which one’s matter most to you and what they mean to you. Then take that down to five and from that five pick your top three, or your core values. This is not an easy exercise, and it will require some time and introspection. If you give yourself the space and listen to what comes up, you will begin to hear your inner voice and you will see what your values are.

As a bonus you can show this list, or even your list to a loved one or friend and ask them which ones best describe you and see how in alignment your actions are with what you feel you express them to be.

I love this exercise because it helped me learn how I fit into the world. How I can help. I am grateful for where this knowledge is taking me, and I know that it will help you on your journey as well.

Becoming Coach Justin

Many years ago, I unknowly started down the path of becoming a coach. To be honest I didn’t really know what path I was on. I was looking at the future with determination that I would figure it out eventually. I had recently dropped out of college and was working as a breakfast cook at a restaurant with some friends and had been doing well enough to be promoted to a training position. My boss saw me as someone who had what it takes to help develop the staff around me to adhere to the standard operating process that were needed to create a consistent product for the guests that ate there. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Helping people become better at what they do.

Today I am writing about how I became a coach. This is a story that I have not wanted to share because of the response that you get from stating that you work or have worked in a restaurant. I am going to share it anyway because I feel that it has been a worthwhile part of my journey. It starts with my twelve-year trek through the restaurant industry. That is how I gained my leadership experience and found out that I enjoy having impactful conversations.

As this went on, I had an opportunity to develop into higher roles and I gained the experience needed to enter into management. I also started a family at this time as my oldest child was born a few months shy of a year into this process. This is where I found the first problem that I would continue to experience as a manager. How to balance the responsibility of running a business and having quality time with my family. I kept a focus on my skills of developing others as a way to achieve my goals and gain more freedom with my family. This turned to be a double edge sword because as I developed more effective teams, I would be handed more challenging problems to create solutions for. I knew the rewards would eventually lead to better pay. Which I told myself would lead to a better life.

BUT I was missing something, Boundaries. I ran so fast in every direction that I was never truly in one place or the other. My work suffered; my family suffered. I couldn’t even enjoy the time that I could spare for myself because I felt that there was something better to do. So, like everyone else who faces this problem, I became a burnt-out zombie and sat idly by as my life fell apart. You think of it, and it happened to me. I didn’t know what to do. I went through a divorce and found many vices to comfort myself. I gave in to what my life had become and thought that someday I’ll find a better version of everything I had and then I could be happy again. I wanted to fix everything but the problem because I was the problem. I would rather suffer and struggle through life than fix me.

I had times where I was doing well. Even on autopilot I was more focused on helping those that worked for me to become better, become more. That lead to me finding my current fiancée, who worked with me. You could say that we literally fell into love, because it was not something that either of us had planned. our relationship grew and grew. She saw me differently than other people did. She saw me at my worst, and she did something that no one else had done until then. She made me see how uncomfortable I was and then she motivated me to be better. Then she helped me change. She held me accountable. So, I started getting curious as to who the better Justin was. I restarted my growth journey and found a person inside of myself that I felt to be this new me. I found books, podcasts, YouTube videos, masterclasses, and eventually I found Mindvalley.

This is where I found out that coaching is something that can actually be a career! It made so much sense! A name for what I had been doing all along. I developed a habit routine, then I redeveloped it, and tweaked it. I made it into something that game me energy and purpose. I saw my life changing before my eyes. Then I found out that Mindvalley had a certification course for coaches. How to fine tune and perfect my desired trade. I started coaching for practice with other classmates, then I started coaching for free. It was a step into who I wanted to be. Now I charge for coaching. I am a coach, I made myself into who I wanted to be. It was a process that’s for sure and it was a process that could have been so much easier if I only knew of coaching beforehand. Now I take all that I have learned and do just what I have been doing for all these years. I coach people so that when they have these problems, they can get through them in the most powerful way. I help them, so that they can hit their goals, solve their problems, and create the boundaries that they need so that they are there for their families.

Because if they are the most important part of your life, they should be the most important part of your life.

-Justin

Self-talk

There is one place that we will always be. One person that we will always be with. That person that we will always compare ourselves to. The one that we will judge endlessly. That person is you, and that place is your mind. You can try every trick in the book, but those two things will always be true. That leaves one question, do you like the way you talk to yourself?

Let us begin by defining what negative self-talk is, and what it does to us. Any time you tell yourself that you can’t do something you have never done before, that you will never be something you aspire to be. Anytime that you impose a limit on yourself that is not based on fact. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”. Believing in a limit that you created without trying is a great way to never try new things and it keeps you safe. Our Subconscious mind has the job of keeping us alive and if you never do anything new or risky it rings as a job complete. This can be multiplied by any anxiety that you may have.

Comparison is another way to create a limitation in yourself. If you look at someone else’s success and it triggers longing and jealousy that occupies your thought process with why you don’t have what you want. “I could if” is a statement that probably comes up a lot in your mind when you live in a negative state of comparison. You could even go as far as creating negative labels for those successful people. “They lie, cheat, and steal their way to the top.” “Having that much is because they give so little.” But just like your self-talk being negative and your labeling of others in comparison can be negative, you can flip it and compare in a positive light. You can look at those that have the things you want and work for as a source of inspiration. Their actions show you the path if you look closely. Study and practice can bring you the same success.

Odds are you have heard someone talk in a way that belittles themselves, and if they are someone you care about, you probably corrected them or maybe even told them they shouldn’t talk like that about themselves. It’s easy to see it when it’s not you speaking the negative words. We live in a world that almost glorifies self-deprecating humor and it is a plague on our minds. A statement that I used to regurgitate regularly when I asked if I was a morning or night person would be to say “I am barely a person so let’s get that straight” does that exactly scream self-esteem? When you joke about what you are or what you are not, your mind is listening. It doesn’t have a sense of humor though and misses the joke every time. It takes it as a statement of truth coming from itself and then builds decisions and stories that support that.

What if you hack that meaning making machine that is your brain and you start treating yourself like your best friend. Talk yourself up instead of down, break down what you know as a limit and make something more from yourself. All it takes is a little bit of time and practice and eventually your positive self-talk can recreate who you are. You believed that you could not so strongly that you did not, so I believe that you could, if you did. The limits that you used to cling to may have been strong, so strong in fact that they will make a great foundation of what you can do. When you look back at them and see how far that you have come by believing you could. That belief becomes you can, and you will.

The way you talk to, and about yourself will either limit or build who you are. Either way your mind will give it a story and a meaning. Over and over it will make your reality from what your past was and what your future will be. Knowing how the past affected you can be inspiring and lead you to a life you never knew was possible. Now I will ask again. Do you like the way that you talk to yourself?

Peak Performance and Finding Flow

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that a few of my coachees have been coming to me for challenges that target similar issues. No matter what they do, there is always more work. Their team can’t make the deadlines that they set. They took time off and now they have a mountain of work to approve or fix. They feel disconnected and disorganized. The list goes on.

While I worked with them to find the solutions for each coachee and each challenge, the theme that we circled around was finding the most efficient way to get their work done and get it done on schedule. This way their teams and themselves as individuals could return to their home lives undistracted. In this post I will cover some of my favorite tools to help reign in those problems on the surface, and then diving deep into the puzzles underneath of them so that they don’t pop up again.

One of the simplest solutions would be to make sure that you have your day planned. I have a morning routine that helps me achieve personal balance before I begin working and frees up a lot of worry and downtime so that I can focus on what I am aiming to accomplish. Part of this is Timeboxing. Take your schedule for your day, or just what you want to accomplish at work and break it into chunks. I suggest breaking blocks that are one to two hours, with a ten to fifteen minute break in between. Then assign each block one task or project to focus on. Now the point of Timeboxing is that when the time runs out you stop the task you were doing. This helps you become more mindful of how you spend your time, how effective you are during that time, and how much overall time that you need to complete a task or project. I suggest picking the most important item to go in your first box and then trickle down into the rest of your day.

If you aren’t sure how to prioritize your new time-boxed schedule, there are few ways we can filter your to-do list down into this system. Warren Buffet uses a Two List Method where he would write down everything that needed to be accomplished for the time period he was optimizing and then he would take the five most important tasks on the list and write them down on to the second list. From the new list of important tasks, he would start with the most important and work on that task until it was done. This way you would only be using your time on what matters. You don’t have to give brain processing power to any other ideas because you work on them one at a time. This idea clashes with Timeboxing slightly, but with a little modification you can make them work together perfectly. Instead of focusing all of you time into one task, simply work until your timebox is done take a break and move on. This way your workday can be spread out into five chunks where you are attending to a few projects.

If that doesn’t quite mesh with how you do things another method that I like is the Eisenhower Square. Make a box and then make it into four boxes by drawing a line down the middle going across and from top to bottom. The top row is going to be labeled Important and the bottom row will be not important. The left column will be urgent, and the right will be not urgent. This gives the four squares their importance value: Important/ urgent, not important/ urgent, important/ not urgent, and not important/ not urgent. Now you sort each task buy how they fit into your day or week.

2/22/22Urgent Not Urgent
ImportantDo it now!Schedule it
Not ImportantDelegate itDelete it

Next you would have to eliminate distraction from your workspace. This can be challenging because distractions come in many shapes and sizes. Pesky notifications can be muted or disabled by any variety of focus apps or native blocker turned on. I suggest for your most important time blocks you let those around you know that you wish to be undisturbed for a certain amount of time. As for those internal distractions though, those are tricky. The internal dialog of am I hungry? I should do this other task first before I finish this. Anything that is not the task that you are doing. Let’s address that now with the power of the Five Second Rule. Count backwards from five. Is the source of the distraction what you want to be doing? No? Return to you task for the rest of the time you have allocated to it. Now it may sound like that’s too easy. That it can’t work for you. It’s a mindfulness tool to help you stay where you want to be.

Staying mindful is a challenging task though. It takes time to build that willpower muscle. If you find that the Five Second Rule isn’t working for you. Tell yourself that you’ll be able to do the distraction in 10 minutes. Set that timer and then get back to work until it runs out. When it goes off, ask yourself if the urge to give in is still there. When that urge outweighs your interest in your project let it happen. Consider that task done for the day. If you don’t have the energy or interest to complete your time block reevaluate how you can tackle it when you try again on your next scheduled block for it.

Now we have the ways to find the work that we need to accomplish and the order to accomplish them. After a few weeks of Timeboxing, and you have prioritized your schedule, you should have a good idea of how long you have to delegate to certain types of tasks. Let’s go a step further. Let’s introduce Flow. Flow is an altered state where your focus is so intense you lose track of time, Ideas pour out of you, it’s incredibly exciting, and it feels effortless. It sounds magical right? So how do we enter this state by choice?

The first thing that is necessary to cultivate Flow would be to find a balance between challenge and skill. A task that is too challenging would be too stressful, while if it were too easy you would be bored. Consequently, if you are working on a task that you are highly skilled in it becomes easier. The need to artificially create a challenge during your task can help. You can do this by moving up the deadline. Seeing how fast you can complete your task while staying in the same realm of quality.

The second step would be to remove all those distractions that you have already been working on with the ten minute and five second rules so that you can stay focused during your time blocked day. Coincidentally the next part of triggering Flow is having a clear goal set for the task. Easy enough so far right? Now is the hard part, actually being in a Flow state. If you have used this process you’ll find that it just happens. You’ll know that you are in flow when your sense of time disappears and you are completely zoned in to your task. It may be fleeting as you train yourself to be in this new peak performance state. There is a chance that you have been able to enter this state before, just without a name and unintentionally. With all the flow blockers out of the way you should be able to do it on-demand with practice.

  1. Plan your day with Timeblocking.
  2. Assign the blocks of time based off of priority.
  3. Remove internal and external distractions.
  4. Begin your work and let it Flow!

Now all of that will help you focus and be more productive, but where did the issues come from? While I can’t speak for my coachees I will say that a lot of those issues can be avoided by making sure that you allow a culture of candid communication with yourself and your team. When you’re assigning new projects be sure to create clear instructions and expectations. Confirm that they are realistic and fit into the already existing projects. Then be consistent with your follow-up. If you get the feedback on what you expect it is much more likely to be completed even if you won’t be present for the duration of the project. Then teach them how to organize and optimize their performance to reach a new level of organizational success.

Benefits of Meditation

I have been meditating on and off for sixteen years. While my teenage self may have seen it as a way to replicate the thought processes of the Jedi order or manifest some form of secret power. While those things are outside of the realm of possibility for us here in this galaxy, there are still quite a few benefits from adding meditation to your daily routine.

There are quite a few benefits to the way meditation can change the way that your mind works. There are countless studies about how it rewires you to be able to think faster, create more fluidly, sleep better, contribute more to conversations, become more kind, find activities more enjoyable, and relieve stress. Who wouldn’t want this ability in their life? It does sound like a secret power idealized by my younger self.

Now, where do we begin? How do we start? How long do we have to sit down on the floor with our eyes closed, legs crossed, and hand on our knees? Well that is the best part. You don’t. The style of meditation that most people think of when they think of meditation is a style suited to a dedicated monk that is pursuing total enlightenment. If you are not someone that has subscribed to that lifestyle but still wants to add the benefits to your life you need to start somewhere smaller. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most beneficial and easiest to get into. Studies on the subject show that you can receive benefits from as little as 7-13 minutes a day, as long as you are consistent with the practice.

Knowing that you don’t need to dedicate yourself to an hour or more to tame your mind, you should also know that you can also sit in whatever way you find the most comfortable. The good news doesn’t stop there either. All you have to do is breathe in. A long deep breath through the nose completely expands your lungs down into your diaphragm. Then let it out the mouth slowly. You can count if you want to. Next you just repeat the breathing. That’s simple right? You are a master of breathing! I would say you have probably been doing it your whole life, so you’ve got this under control. Now as for those distracting thoughts that keep popping in. It’s okay. Asking your brain to stop thinking is like asking your heart to stop beating. It doesn’t happen. Just focus back on the breath and repeat for however long you want to meditate. Refocus as you need to and just be at peace with your breath.

If you want to continue to explore the world of meditation, there are countless styles and forms that you can look into. Breathwork, Zen meditation, Bliss meditation, Guided meditation, Creative visualization, Binaural beats, Hermetic meditation, and many many more. If you want to try them all I’m sure your brain will thank you from the break of constantly having to give you thoughts and reactions to what is going on around you. Which will bring us back to the benefits of having a meditation practice.

One of the biggest and most sought-after effects of meditating is stress reduction. This one is quite easy to explain. The long slow breathing has a calming effect on us. It activates our vagus nerve which tells the body that we have escaped the danger we were in and can begin calming down. The longer we stay in this state of elongated and controlled breathing the calmer we can obtain. We bring our thoughts, not to a stop and complete silence but focus them in on our breath. This break from our stressors lets us collect our bearings. The workday, The news, the noise from the world around us. It all becomes less involved which lets us take back more control over what we feel and when we feel it.

Another great benefit of slowing down the breath and reigning in wayward thoughts is that it becomes much easier to fall and stay asleep. Stress is one of the biggest causes of sleep difficulties as it raises your heart rate and tells you that you are in danger. Remove the stress and your heartbeat slows and your respirations become even. Your body relaxes and sometimes if you are meditating in bed laying down you might just fall asleep while doing the exercise. This could lead to the interesting side effect of a lucid dream or a dream that you are aware that you are dreaming. The important part of that is you need to be asleep to dream!

A wonderful thing that happens with more sleep and high quality of deep sleep is that your body recovers and rebuilds while you are in deep sleep. This gives you a higher level of endurance and energy threshold. You can do more mentally and physically without tiring or experiencing burnout. Imagine how much more impactful you could be in your work if you were always in a well-rested state. The time that you lose to mindless distractions from too tired to do anything besides veg out in front of Netflix or doom-scrolling through social media. What else could you now accomplish?

In today’s day and age, we have a problem with attention. I bet you didn’t expect to see your attention span increasing as a benefit on this list. You may be shocked by it but, yes indeed, your intention span does increase! A less stressed mind, powered by a well-rested body is capable of a lot more than you think. Once you add in the natural ability of mindfulness that you create with time and practice you begin to be able to do the things that you like and go even deeper into your level of understanding with them. Your friends and family will notice that you seem to be more vibrant during conversations. You change the way you react to not only distractions but emotions as well.

This is where those secret powers come back into play. Wouldn’t you say that being able to experience your emotions without going off the deep end or being drawn into yourself and inaccessible to the world around you is a power-up? Self-mastery is not something that just appears through meditation. It is a long-term outcome of dedicated practice. You can give it a boost by trying to remain mindful after your practice is over. I like to ask myself questions when I find myself drifting off. Is this what I was trying to accomplish? Am I presenting a version of myself that is in alignment with my goals? Am I actively listening to the person speaking? These questions come up less and less frequently the more I ask them, but If I do ask them the answer is usually no. That’s the point though. By catching your thoughts during meditation, you catch them during the rest of the day.

Though I am not a Jedi Master today. I am a better version of myself. I only hope that I inspire you to be a better version of yourself. If you do unlock any secret powers through your meditation practices, I would love to hear about it. Until then may the force be with you.

The Reticular Activating System: Your Friend RAS.

The part of our brain that is responsible for our transitions from sleep to being awake and vice-versa. It does so by sorting out distractions and important stimulus. This is how we wake up to loud noises and sleep through the hum of a fan or soft music. Our friend RAS takes this job very seriously, and with good reason. Sleep is incredibly important to our health and survival or else we would have evolved a way to avoid it right?

But how else does the RAS affect our day to day? Most of our sensory experiences that we have enter the brain through the RAS. Sight, touch, taste, and hearing to be specific. That is a lot of information coming through. Don’t you worry though because your friend the RAS is here to help. It’s role during the day is to focus your attention on things you have deemed to be important.

So what information does the RAS like to focus on? Well, it to focus on what you think about. Let’s say you buy a new car. You start thinking about that car more frequently. Then as you’re driving to work or what have you, you start to see the same model more frequently. Because you now view that car as valuable information and a positive attribute in your life the RAS is no longer blocking that information. Now that is a nonplanned view into how it works.

What if we could control it? Say you start purposefully thinking about something you want to change. Then you add to that by saying “I intend to…” Statements. The next step you take is repeating it throughout the day. This same technique is used in Lucid Dreaming training and Affirmations. Those practices are examples of hundreds of year’s old tradtions that today we are just starting to take seriously in the western world. There are studies of what happens when you use these practices to influence the way you think and they all point to the benefits that they offer you.

Another helpful way to boost the way your RAS interacts with your subconscious is to speak about your goals in the present tense as if you are already in alignment or currently achieving this goal. It changes the way you think about the actions you take. It gives you a new viewpoint to view your goals and the steps you take to achieve them. One of the last steps that I use to cement a goal into being is the future self exercise. You roleplay as yourself at the end of the goal period and interview yourself. Ask the questions that came up during your goal setting. What was helpful? What was hard? Did I have any help from others? What was the most impactful part that of this journey that lead to the completion of the goal?

That exercise will help you identify where your potential speed bumps are, what areas you need to reach out for help on, and what part of the process that will give you the most results. As you answer those questions you can refocus your action plan and form a goal intention list. Highlighting the plan, your actions and the identity that you created at the beginning of each work period will activate your RAS and help you focus!

B.O.S.S.M.O.D.E

Okay so this is the tool that I came up with to keep myself operating at my best. It came to me as a combination of my daily learning and the core habits that I use to start my day. In this post I’m going to break down what it means, where it came from, and most importantly, how you can use it.

Best optimized self-sequence mindful observations decisions execute. Those are the words that make up the acronym of B.o.s.s.m.o.d.e. The thing I love about Bossmode is that it is self-descriptive. Looking at the words you can get a good idea of what it means and how to use them. You’ve probably heard the phrases “Time to Boss up”, “Like a Boss”, or I am sure there have even been those who have said “Time to go Boss Mode” or some ideation of the two words. I’m not saying I am coining the phrase, but I’m adding to the meaning behind it.

Speaking of which I think we should look past that surface implied meaning. There are so many opportunities to go deeper with each word of the phrase. One of the ideas that led me to this acronym was the daily intention I set with myself to live as the best version of myself that day. At one time of my journey that was live my day as a perfect version of myself. I no longer believe that there is a perfect, only that we can continually grow and progress from who I was the day before and set the groundwork for who I will be the next day. Hence why it is Best. I’m not saying that you can’t be really awesome and impressive, but if you are not making progress what are you doing?

Optimizing is something that we forget to do often. What is the plan? What are the steps? When do we do them? Set it all up. Our mind is set up to make things automatic after all. Do the things that we value and spend as little energy we can doing it. This is also where we make sure that the items that we that we do every day are the items that we do actually value. Track your time spent. Track what takes the energy you make from your food. Track what you feel and what you think? Do they all line up or are you spending that energy running mental laps trying to stay on task?

Still with me? Good because we still have 6 more words to give meaning to. Which happens to be another thing that we do automatically. We make meaning for everything. Why did this happen? How could this happen? What could make this happen to me!? We come up with an answer always and that answer becomes who we are. That’s right what you identify your Self as is based on the meanings you have made up your whole life. So what meaning do you give to life? What does it mean to be you?

To follow our established Sequence we are at the half way point. These are our daily habits. The routines and rituals that we use to make up our day. In some cases we as I said just a few sentences ago, we are not even aware of what they are. They just happen. After a long day at work how do you unwind? That is your post-work routine. Can you start your day without a trip to the coffee shop of your choice? Hello morning ritual. This sequence is automatic and a powerful force in shaping who you are and what you are becoming.

Now we come to Mindful. This one is the result of a mindfulness practice. The meter of how present you are at any given moment, how often you practice and what the goal you have for it is. This one can be tricky with all of the distractions abound both in our physical environment and our digital environment. How do you keep up with all the likes and shares? How do you spend time with those you care about? Where you invest your attention and your presence are huge indicators of what matters to you at the most personal level. Can those around you see and feel that you are there with them in the moment? Or are you somewhere else?

I’m sure that you have Observed everything that you have read so far and are internalizing the ways you can implement this tool. That is awesome and part of the power of the phrase. This is the stage where you start to see the changes. You start to see how the changes that you have made are affecting the way you see the world. You also start to see all the things that could be, and will be if you pick a certain action to take.

Now that we can see the choices that we make every day and how they affect the outcomes of our efforts it’s time to make empowered decisions. You should be an expert at this one by now because no matter where you are in your journey you still decide how that journey looks and what that journey means to you. You know how to get the best and most desirable outcome and now you do just that. You decide to be the version of yourself that you want to be. So that leaves one last stop.

Execute. You have to do it. You can want everything in the world. You can make the best plan with detailed steps. You can have a metaphorical toolbox stuffed to the brim with all of the best tools. None of that will mean anything if you do not do what you say. Take the first step. Then take that step again. Eventually, you will be on the road to progress and the rest will come as you move towards it.

If you use this tool I promise that you will be able to achieve your goals as you live in Boss mode with me. Make sure you stick around and see what we can do with this tool in the future. As I said this is just a surface-level approach to understanding what your Boss mode looks like and what it will become. I would love for you to like, leave a comment, or email me a question if you have any.

Coaching: What is it? Why should I have one?

When I tell people that I am a Life Coach I get puzzled looks. Then I get questions. Then I start the process of explaining what I do. Simply put, I help people become better versions of themselves. Who doesn’t want that right? As humans we like more, we like better, we like having a path to follow. The easier it is to get to success and wealth the better. But that is not coaching. That is a pyramid scheme. Sure Coaches have tools, tricks, and tips to help make this path easier but coaching is not do this and you’ll get that.

Coaching is a profession based on service. It takes a genuine interest in helping others work through challenges and set goals. I may not have the answers that you want to hear, or I might not have the answers at all. My job as a coach is to stay on top of the curve if not ahead of it. Coaching is as introspective as it is extrospective. A coach would try to draw out the reason behind a goal and break it down. The process of making the goal as easy to follow and getting the desired result. It doesn’t end there though.

Having action steps and a method of accountability increases your success. If you complete your steps without fail, we would check to see if we set the bar to low, or if you encounter inspiration what ways we can trigger it more frequently and amplify your progress. It works the other way as well if we missed days or ran into complications. What tools can we implement? What happened in our environment this week? How can I help you fine tune your process to hit your goals on the next week?

After seeing the results where else do you want to go with that goal? Where did it take you internally? Coaching becomes so much more, the more you use it. The title may come from sports and every team may have one, but think about what that coach is to their team. A great coach makes a great team better. They push them to their limits not only to test them but to prove that they are growing. Why wouldn’t you want one for yourself? For your business? For your health?

Yes, there is an element of leadership that is required while coaching, but a coach is not your boss. A coach helps you find the aspects of yourself that serve you at the highest level. It would be like handing you your keys to your fully tuned up properly fueled vehicle with preprogrammed destinations on the dashboard screen. Reminding you that you were the one that made those discernments and then inviting you to come back soon to share your story again next time.

For those of you keeping score at home here is a list of reasons that you or anyone should have a coach.

1. Focused Goal Formation: What is your most important goal? The one you are thinking of right now. What does your life look like when you complete it? Is it a goal that completes you and has a finite end, or does it simply move you closer to a theme or value in your life? What is the first step that you need to take to realize your goal? Think of some action steps that can make this goal into a plan. Now we find a way to fit it into your daily life and make it as easy to achieve as possible.

2. How to overcome a challenge or puzzle: What is in your way? How does it complicate your progress? Do you have all the pieces? What have you tried to do to overcome this obstacle? Is there a skill you could learn to help? Do you know anyone that has overcome this issue before? There are even a few exercises that a coach could bring you through to help find new motivation or try to change the way you have worked through it until now.

3. Mindset training: How do you view the events of your life unfolding? Does it happen to you or do you make it happen? Do you live are reactively, or proactively? Can you change your circumstances or are they what they are? This is a huge area that I love to help with and I have seen leaps and bounds of improvement in my own life by increasing my mindfulness practices. Becoming self-aware, creating, finding, and exploring personal values. Having the ability to be mindfully present as you go through the day is akin to having superpowers in my opinion.

4. Experience and insight: The Coaches that I have trained with, talk to, or read about all have a few things in common. They have gone through a period of personal development that changed them so significantly that they are now inspired to do the same with others. They have taken the time to learn about why our minds work the way they work. The Coaching world is constantly evolving based on studies of neuroscience, psychology, and the integration of eastern spirituality practices. All of this information is mixed into an individual that is uniquely designed to assist anyone develop along a path of their choosing. Coaching is Coachee driven after all.

Now a lot of the confusion around what Coaching is would be that a Life Coach or Personal Development Coach sounds a lot like what we expect from a Therapist or Psychologist (yes those are two different things too). Therapists and Psychologists are degree-based occupations that require licensing to practice and are heavily regulated. They tend to be past-focused and focus on healing traumas or creating an extensive evaluation for medical reasons. Coaches are based in the present and creating a clear path to the future. While we may draw attention to an issue that may be a persistent block of progress, we only use it as an introspective tool instead of a focus.

Another confusing factor is the number of niches that a Coach could focus on. In addition to the fact that most Coaches will broaden their focus as their career and practice evolve. How do you know what kind of Coach you need? Well that one is more simple than you would think. What is your greatest need right now to make your life complete? What made you look into Coaching in the first place? If you do not know where your challenges lay, or you just want to develop all areas of life try looking toward a Life Coach that targets everything. Looking to take your business to the next level? Look towards a Business Coach or a Consultant. Want to level up your athletic capabilities? Find a Personal Trainer or a Health Coach.

For the record, I am a Life Coach that focuses on the areas of Business, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Mindset, Meditation, and Habit Formation.

So what brought you here? Did you just want to see what Coaching is? Are you looking for a coach? Whatever the reason I hope you gained some insight on how I or another Coach could help you. My goal here is to be able to help as many people as possible, even if that means that I don’t work with you directly. Any positive impact that I can bring into this world makes it just a little bit better place for those that come after us.

Making the Habits

In my first post I briefly talked about habits and how they are created. Repeating any action gives it value. That value makes a neural pathway in our brains that maps out that action. The more that action is mapped out the less energy it takes to activate. So how do we use this to our advantage to create worthwhile changes in our lives? Let’s look at the biggest factors that go into creating a habit.

  1. The first one is the reason behind the habit. Why do you do this action? Is it something you do out of necessity or because you want to do it? Is it a means of achieving a long-term goal? Do you think it will be enjoyable? This helps complete the habit even when motivation and energy are low.
  2. Identity is the second factor. Who does this habit make you? Does it make you into the version of yourself that you want to see?
  3. Convenience. When and where does this habit fit into your day? Practicing a foreign language when you have your breakfast in the morning is a great example.
  4. Habits tend to be easier to stick to when you have a trigger for it. When you finish practicing your language lesson you could write your to-do list for the day.
  5. Small steps. Break the habit down. When you are first starting a habit it can be hard to do it consistently. Like going to the gym 3 times a week. Maybe start with getting your gym bag packed and walking out to the car.
  6. The last one is the best part, the reward. How are you rewarded for completing it? Do you end up being in better shape from your new gym habit? Do you learn a new skill? Start a side hustle from a starting a habit of writing every day?

Run your desired habit through this filter and see how to best fit your new habit into your life and watch as you become a better version of yourself. You can also use these tips to stack habits on top of each other. Use one new habit to trigger the next. Then take it a step further by taking a trigger for one of your bad habits or habit that no longer serves you to trigger your new habit stack that you designed. You could completely change the way you see life and how your day fits together in less time than you would expect.

Leave a comment below on a habit that you want to start but are having trouble with and let’s get it mapped out for you!

The functions of the brain

The Human brain is a fantastic piece of machinery. So much of our evolution went into some of it’s most basic and automatic functions. Think about what it does for you everyday. It takes in all of the information brought together by your senses and combines it with what you have learned in your life and then you react and bring in more stimulus. It keeps this cycle going all day long until you go back to sleep. Then it goes through a whole other process to break down your thoughts and experiences in to memories.

It truly is fantastic how it works. Many studies have shown that your brain uses 20% of your total energy that you create everday even though it’s only 2% of your body weight. Most of the energy it uses is spent on its automatic functions. The stuff that you are probably not even aware of. One of those functions are to make your organs work, which is you know incredibly important to your survival. Another is to have you try and support the three basic drives of organic life.

Basic drive number one! You need to fuel this machine, and well how you fuel it matters. I say fuel because drinking water is also important in this step. If you put in low-quality processed foods with tons of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners you will find that it fills the tank, and maybe other areas of your body as well, but it won’t supply you with enough energy to get through the day. So now you’ll need to have more of the crap food to get to the end of the day. Your brain needs the good stuff. Foods that are high in antioxidants, omega-3s, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will really keep your brain going!

Drive number two. The ability to know when to fight a threat, or flee from it. This is done in our brain by the amygdala. As you know this is something that usually is done automatically. I say usually because it takes a lot of training to override this function. While we do not have to fight in life or death situations much anymore, the amygdala likes to stay relevant in our lives today by giving us a lovely thing known as anxiety. Which can be debilitating in some cases. You can’t really fight or run from a fear that you’re creating and exists only in your thoughts.

Drive number three. Reproduction! If you want a species to do well and live on you need to make more of that species. Today in our world the natural selection has more or less gone away. Any person can mate with any person and make more people that are just like them. The big part that hasn’t gone away is the fact that we all still feel the competitive part of reproduction, even if we don’t think that we do. We all want to appear smarter, stronger, wealthier, have the best stuff. All in the hopes of attracting the best possible special someone. It’s human nature. This is the biggest driver of the feeling of unimportance. If you are not the sexiest, strongest, smartest, funniest, best-bestest bester of them all it weighs on you. It creates jealousy and loneliness. To a species that is built around making sure your tribe or family group survives this tends to feel like a warning that your dying.

Now here is where things get interesting. I will add in that I am not a psychologist or a neurologist, but I do read about them and find the study of both to be incredibly interesting and useful in the career of coaching. That being said I have a loose understanding of how all of this works, but from the courses, podcasts, books and mentors that I have learned from they all touch on the following.

The next part of our brain’s energy budget is divided into making habits or the actions that we chose to give value to, and beliefs or what we assume to be true, and believe based on our limited perception of the world around us. These both interact with the three drives that we just finished going over and provide us with the background to filter the world through.

Habits, for example are a method to conserve energy. Your brain creates these neuro pathways to build your habits. What you do everyday becomes habit. This is where “you” come in. The more energy you give to an activity the more your brain uses that pathway. As your pathways get more use the habit become solidified. You are a collection of your most frequently completed habits and this can either be really good for you or really bad for you depending on the quality of your habits. Consider what you would do if you had no interruption and nothing to do besides what you wanted to accomplish. What does that look like? Does it look the same as your normal day? If not we will talk about that later, but as I said, habits are the actions we chose to give value to.

As for our beliefs, these are our assumptions and the projections of our emotions onto any event that takes place. So it’s the “other you” trying to make a habit out of explaining why things happen. We like this part of our brain because long ago it told us that the bushes moving in front of us could be food or something that wants to make us into food. Now it has become “my friends can’t come to see me today, I guess it’s because they don’t like me”. We have a severe negativity bias built in to keep us alive. Only now it just compounds with other assumptions into more anxiety or depression.

To define the terms “you” and “other you” I mean that both of these are the thought patterns that you have built. The actual you is the one that observes them and says either “This is fine” or “This isn’t what I wanted to do today” or really however you respond to what you do. If you are just coasting by and letting things happen it might not even say anythjng. It might just watch your life unfold.

I am not here to judge anyone based on their habits, beliefs, or their response to external stimuli. I am a life coach and what we do is try to help people use their actual self as frequently as possible. When you let your actual self drive your actions and reactions this is where something I call your “Best Self” become a reality. I truly and honestly believe that if we all spent a little more time being mindful of how we allow our minds to control our automated processes we could all make more meaningful connections and create an amazing new way of life for all of us. Pretty nifty right? Over the next few posts I am going to show you little ways that we can rewrite our minds to have a clearer picture as to how we show up in the world, how to get the things that we want, and how we can be more impactful in our interactions with those we care about and interact with on a day-to-day basis.