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Blossom Your Awesome Episode #16 - Not F*ing Around With Jeff Leisawitz

by Sue Dhillon
October 12th 2021

On episode # 16 of the Blossom Your Awesome Podcast I am chopping it up with author and coach for creatives Jeff Leisawitz.


So great to have you. It's so great to be here. Thank you! Awesome! So, I am gonna say we jump right in, we are going to be talking about your book, not effing around and um let's just get started, give me a little of your background and how this all came up for you. Sure, well, my background starts when I was a kid believe it or not, I was a weird friendless kid. I don't know if you or any of your listeners can relate to that, but you know, just big imagination, stuff like that. When I was just a young young man in the late 70s, I was at Sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania. And uh every night after dinner There was about an hour called free play where the kids could run amok in this one particular summer. There was an empty cabin where a counselor, a guy who was like 20 or something brought his drum kit and a seventies stereo and a couple of boxes of records.

And every night he would play that, you play to the stereo. And as a little kid, I'd sit there under this tree and listen to him sort of from afar, you know, the sun was going down, the fireflies were coming out. It was kind of mesmerized by what's going on in there. And then one day this guy comes out and he's like, hey kid, come here. I'm like, what? Yes. He says, um, you want to come in and check this out. I'm like, yeah, you know, I'm like an eight year old kid or something. I go in there and he puts on the, whose song won't get fooled again. And if you know that one, that's a major rocker. So this guy just bangs the hell out of the drums and my little heart explodes and I'm like, okay, I wanna rock from there. You know, it was just, you know, learning guitar and I want to be a rock star when I'm a teenager, parents weren't thrilled with that as you might imagine. Um, so anyway, I've done all kinds of stuff in music film, making photography, writing, I could give you the whole bio but would take an hour. Um and then on the other side, you know, I'm always into empowering people, healing and moving forward and getting out of our own way.

So I have studied and practiced something called NLP neuro linguistic re patterning and I can tell you more about that later if you like. Um and then as a coach for creatives, so songwriters for sure, But I mean, I've got abstract painters and dancers and um you know, writers, novelists, memoirists, it's just like, it's crazy, cool, how many awesome people there are in the world, and I just, you know, try to help them um you know, get out of their own way, both in terms of their internal experience, you know, our beliefs and identities that might be holding us back and then are sort of outer world, like, hey, let's get up, let's get a priority list, let's make a schedule, let's have some goals like that kind of stuff, wow, that is awesome. And now, you know what, I was so drawn to your book and you because you are you do work with creatives, your creative, So tell me what has been the discovery for you with, you know, kind of, I mean, just in life dealing with creative people versus non creative people, how are we different?

Well, I think everyone is creative, the what it comes down to is how much do we shut that down and how much do we choose to pursue it both with the skills and perhaps the career or anything else? I mean when you're a kid, you look at every kid, they're creative, they're curious, and by the way, curiosity is a huge part of creativity. You kind of have to be curious to be creative in a way. Um so how are creatives different? Well, you know, a definition of of creativity is simply putting together ideas that are not commonly put together. It's like literally all it is and then expressing that in some way. So I think that's a big part of what creatives do. They see the world, This is the same world that everybody else sees, but they kind of take little pieces and they're like, oh wow, how about that? And that goes together. That's weird. That's kind of cool, that's interesting and it's expressing something within themselves.

So one of the things that I think creatives do that maybe other people don't do is they feel in need or drive to express themselves. That's that's part of what creativity really is about. That's a really beautiful um explanation there of that. And I love that you shared that everyone is creative, right? We all have this inside of us, but then there's some of us who are more compelled to kind of, we feel called to create. And so do you find with those of us who have that kind of deeper calling, we we get stuck more often, like, there's something that tends to kind of hold us back when we're really just here and meant to be creating. Yes, I don't think that's uh, you know, a typical typically for creatives, I mean, I think everybody's stuck in some ways, right? Um there's a lot of ways to get stuck in the world and in the modern culture, there's, you know, basically the world does everything it possibly can to distract you from being true to yourself as much as I hate to say that, I think it's true.

Um, and unless you're conscious about that and have intention surround yourself with good people and have a mission and, you know, all these kinds of things, chances are that somewhere between family peers, government, marketing, education, you are going to start walking and potentially keep walking, you know, I don't want to call it the dark path, but maybe not the true path. So I think that's what a lot of people do. And then, you know, typically the sort of middle age thing, you know, the midlife crisis kind of wake up somewhere in your forties and you're like, oh shit, right, like the top of the clock is kind of ticking and what am I doing and why am I doing it, which is a huge thing, but, you know, we asked as as life coaches, if you don't know what drives you, you will never be fully energized and aligned with your truth and now for you as a coach for someone?

You know, so many of us and so many people are don't, you know, they struggle to find that purpose. So how can creativity help us with that? Or what is your advice for kind of, really tapping into our authentic true self? Okay, so here's Jeff's theory number 847. Um uh so our, you know what, it could interpret what you're saying as our work in the world, but I don't want to confuse that necessarily with our paid work, like our job, okay, although it certainly can be, and often times it is, but it's not always, so I just want to kind of put that up front. So here is uh here's the theory, I believe that to want to be aligned with your truth. It is, it generally comes from something in our past that is either inspirational or traumatizing, we have gotten through or working through.

I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. So let's say I was in second grade and I couldn't learn to read, I couldn't do it, you know, Gosh, and then I had this amazing teacher and she stayed after school with me and she helped me and she talked to me in a different way and blah blah blah and bam I learned to read, I turned into a great reader great writer or whatever, all this kind of stuff I grow up, what are you gonna do with your life? I'm going to help kids learn to read, right? So that was an inspirational thing based on my trauma of, you know, being, you know, having a learning disability or something like that. And then you see like, oh, you know what I want to help these other kids, right? So that's one way another way is you have some kind of experience which is difficult for you, you know, some some kind of trauma that, you know, wasn't worked out, right? There wasn't a teacher there to help you, like something like that. So as you grow up, you'll, you know, you work through that yourself, hopefully right, that's the first thing you need to, you need to understand who you are and what's going on with you and what might be holding you back and then from there you learn more and more, you get the tools you as you heal yourself, then you turn it around and be like, wow, I want to help the people who need help if you can find those either of those two things, you're going to have a much better idea of what you're doing and why?

So, you know, for me, like why am I doing this life coach stuff among the other kinds of creativity that I do, It's because I had to bang my head against the wall as a creative for decades to get where I was going and no one. I mean, I got a little bit of help here and there, but basically nobody helped, Right? So, I'm here with through the book and through the, you know, my classes and all this kind of stuff, um to, to help people who need help, who just don't know that this is an easier, faster, better way. So that's what I'm doing. That was awesome. I love that. I really love that. Okay, I want to talk about the book. Let's do it. Let's do it. Okay. And you know what, for anyone with sensitive ares we might be dropping some f bombs hair. So have you guys, Okay, not fucking around. I said it tell us about the book and um, all of that.

Well, um, I wrote this book, you know, just like I said, I wrote it to help people in ways that I felt like I needed, Right? This is essentially the book that I wish I read when I was 20, I wrote this book As a book that I wish that I read when I was 20 years old, right to give back to, you know, the world and and that's, you know, that's why I did it. Okay. And now one of the chapters, declare your dream, talk to us about that. How how do we just, you know, a little synopsis of that. How do we do that? Okay, Well, first of all, you got to know what your dream is because declaring something that is not really your dream is probably not the best idea. How do you do that? Well, again, tapping into your history to understand where you come from is generally a very good start.

There are things that light us up in the world and it could be, you know, like things like work or creativity type stuff, but it could also be, you know, family stuff, wow, I had a great childhood. I want to be the best dad ever, or I had a crappy childhood, I want to be the best dad ever. Alright. Hopefully it's not had a crappy childhood. I want to continue the, you know, the bathroom. Alright, So once you, once, you know what the dream is and why that dream is true for you, then it is important to declare it to the world because when you say something, when you exclaim it, when there are witnesses to your thing, whatever that is, it gives a certain amount of um solidity to it, It kind of makes it more real. So, you know, that's why people take oaths in the courtroom, it's why you get married in front of a crowd or you know, your people, it's why, you know in a a stand up in front of the group and say the thing, right?

It's all that. So it's really important to do that. Okay, and now, you know, with some of the chapters here, the way they're laid out, was this your own kind of process that you went through? I mean, is this how it kind of, this all came about in this way? Because you went through it yourself? Well, yes, I certainly have gone through everything in this book myself. Yes, that is true. Um, did I go through it all in the same order? Maybe not necessarily. I put it in an order that made sense to me for the reader, Right? Something like that. Um, but yeah, I mean, in reading the book, the concept is, you know, going through understanding where you might be coming from, how to step forward, how to understand your dream, how to declare it and then, you know, not all the obstacles, but some of the common obstacles are concepts that are likely to get in your way and then how to overcome those, right?

And now, so, tapping in here to the book a little deeper that there's so much of it, it's just um, you know, really just resonated for me. I time travel with your future self. I love that. So, that's kind of like, it's similar to kind of like a vision board or just kind of seeing yourself as that ideal, right? You've made it. And so talk to us more about that, how we can kind of really work on that hone in on that. Sure. So what you're talking about there, Sue is, you know, this concept of creating a future vision of who you are and who you want to be. But the real deal on this is not actually the details. I want to live in a Pink house and I wanna, you know, have this job and you know, that kind of thing. The real deal, the connecting thread is the emotion that you feel, right? So what do people generally want to feel?

Joy, fulfillment connection, those kinds of things? So we kind of time travel kind of vision, this thing and it's fine to have those details around you, but you really want to concentrate on, how does it feel to live in that pink house? Right? Because the truth is it doesn't matter what color your house is, what matters is how you feel in that house, right? So it's an exercise that I use, you know, in the book and also in the coaching and classes and stuff where you know, not only do we tap into that feeling, but we can also access wisdom about ourselves and about our lives by sort of dissociating from ourselves. It's like the forest through the trees kind of thing. If I, you know, if I'm coaching somebody and you're trying to get, you're trying to get to an answer, it's very difficult because you're looking at you. So if you can separate that into a future experience of you or someone like you, it's much easier to understand what is up.

It's just like how easy it is to look at your friends and you know, be able to see all their flaws or your perception of their flaws, right? But you can't see them in you. Weird. So now, and when you say disassociating yourself from you, so that's kind of like learning to kind of let go of those negative aspects or whatever is holding us in that stuck place. Is that what the disassociation bit means? Instead of Jeff looking at Jeff, I look at the representation of Jeff, which is my future self or someone who is very much like me, but it's not me, right? When we when I look at myself, it's difficult to see accurately. But when you, you know, look at a representation where it's not as personal, it's easier to see more clearly. And I'll tell you I've done this with a zillion clients and it always works, wow, I love that.

Now, tell me Jeff, like, so you creativity, why is it? And again, you know, I love that you said we're all creative and you work exclusively with creatives and why is it so important for us just in general, from your perspective to be tapping in, You know, whether we're doing it for a living or not, which is why it's so important for us to be tapping into creativity. Fantastic question. Thank you. See that's awesome. So first of all, let me just say that when I work with creatives. Yes, it's, you know, painters and this and that, but it's also what I call Solo preneurs or heart centered Solo preneurs, people who are doing work in the world, that's not, you know, you know, consider the arts, but it's it's fueled by their truth, you know, a small business that does, you know, whatever. So, um, I'm sorry there was a really loud noise there.

I'm gonna have you repeat that. Um, so I work with, you know, when I talk about creativity, working with creative people, it's not just painters and dancers and songwriters and things like that. It's also what I call heart centered Solo preneurs, it's anyone who is doing any kind of work in the world that is heart based and by the way, that's very creative, you know, all that kind of stuff. So, your actual question was why is creativity important? Well, I believe that creativity at its core at its best is a way for us to be seen, expressed, healed and connected. So, let me just explain this the first part to be seen. Well, in general, we are as individuals, not likely to be seen or you're walking down the street in the city, you're anonymous or driving on the internet, you're basically anonymous. So there's that move in a little closer, you have all your acquaintances, you know, maybe people at work or something like that.

Somebody at the gym, they know you they might know you a little bit but they don't really you know, see you and then you have your your close people, right? Hopefully you've got you know, some families, some really good friends, maybe a partner lover, that kind of thing. Hopefully they see you deeply. But in my experience they typically see part of you. Mm hmm. Right. So there's the scene part what's expressed mean? Well, in my definition expressed simply means moving from the potential to the actual so think of a dancer on saturday night the disco ball spinning the beats thumping. But she's sitting in the corner. Okay. In that moment she is not expressed when she gets onto the dance floor. She is expressed as a dancer. The same thing is true. You know for a poet, you know when you're when you're not writing a poem, I don't care how many poems you have on your desk your expressed when you're doing the thing. Okay, so you got seen expressed what's healed?

Well, I think anyone who has created from a a deep, authentic and vulnerable, vulnerable place understands that there is some kind of healing in that creative process and you know, this can be healing the various traumas of our lives and you know difficult times, stuff like that. But it doesn't even have to be that you could say like, well what's you know what's the healing and writing a love song. Let's say if you're writing a love song that's true to you, perhaps you are healing all the loneliness that has come before. So when we are seen expressed and healed through our creativity, we then give that gift of creativity to the world and when I say the world, I'm not talking Madison Square Garden on the top of the new york times list and all that kind of stuff. It could be two people, it could be your little internet gang, it could be yourself. Okay. But when you give your gift to the world, here's where it gets really cool. You become the gift, give the gift, you become the gift because you show others that they can be seen expressed and healed.

Okay, this connects us all right, because we all have similar experiences. We don't have, you have the same experiences in life. It's all completely unique. But the themes of our lives are all quite similar, right? And the more we can understand each other, the more healed the entire world will become and that's really what this thing is about, wow, that was awesome. Oh my God, I love you know, I really do because I can see how powerful your um philosophy is and your coaching and what you're touching on here because we need that as human beings, right? We want to know that what we're putting out there is doing something somewhere like it's you know? Absolutely. And we can see this as the audience member when you listen to your favorite song or watch your favorite movie or read your favorite book or whatever your thing is you feel something, there's a reason, it's your favorite and the reason is you are resonating with theme or the idea or the concept or something within that piece of art, thus somebody else, you know, the Beatles sings, you know, saying let it be 55 years ago and you listen to it today and you're like, oh yeah, let it be, I can get it right.

Exactly. It's a, it's a miracle like what we can do with with music and really so many things and technologies, so yeah, at its best creativity is a way for us to be seen, expressed healed connected, that is beautiful. Now fail fast, what are we talking about here with failing fast? How do we do that? How is that going to help us? Well, people generally don't like to fail, I don't think anybody is particularly into it. However, it is 100% true that everyone who has succeeded in any kind of significant way has failed plenty of times before they get there. So the first thing is we don't really want to call failure failure Okay, what failure really is if looked at it in the proper way or in a better way is feedback, you have your intention, you have your goal, you do it, you fail, quote, right?

But instead of calling it a failure say oh that's the feedback I got. So what does that mean? You ask a million questions from every possible direction. What worked? What didn't work? Why didn't it work? Was the timing wrong? It was working with the wrong people. Was that a bad idea? Like anything you can think of right, you re integrate that into your plan, you do it again, you see what happens, you're either going to succeed, fail slash get some feedback or somewhere in the middle and then you do the same thing, you just keep doing the thing. So why fail fast? Because failing slow slows down your feedback loop right? And so is that also like failing slow means we're kind of holding onto the failure longer, failing slow means you are you're fearing the outcome of your endeavor. Okay so fear.

You know there's a place for fear and I can recall about fear if you like but in general you need to get somewhere, you need to step towards it in some kind of way if you, if you sit there and you study it and you read it and you think about it and you plan and like hey those things are all great to a point but at some point it's like dude do it, you know it's like there's a reason why you know the sneaker company, you know just do it. You know that works because it's so simple but it's so true. Mhm And um so, yeah, talk to us about fear is how common is that for you? Is that one of the kind of, number one things that holds creatives back? Well, in my view, at the core of every motivation for action in in the human world is a combination of or some kind of mixture of fear or love, Fear and love.

We are driven by fear, we are driven by love. Um both of these are legit fear is certainly legit fear will keep you from, you know, investing all your money into something stupid, you know, falling off the cliff because you're dancing there while you're drunk, you know, etcetera, etcetera. There's good reasons for fear, right? The problem is fear often gets amplified in our minds in ways their disproportionate to the actual risk, right? So, let's just say, your first time songwriter and you write and record your first song, and you're so fearful about putting it out, you know, to your friends, to the internet, whatever. Okay, there's really not any, particularly, as far as I can tell, big reason, like, the downside of doing that is somebody's not gonna like it, or somebody is not going to pay attention. That's pretty much it, unless you're writing some, you know, very controversial lyrics or something like that, I suppose.

Um However, if you're stuck, and I'm like, I can't put it out, I can't put it out. I can't do it. You're you're letting fear rule your life, your experience and that's not cool because fear will keep you small love will expand you. It's basically all of us, wow. And now so Jeff, tell me talk to me. So we've got, you know, I feel you and I we talked about, okay, can we say certain, use bad language and now I'm the only one out here cousin. I was gonna say it again, okay, crap fun fact. That better. Yeah, feeling better. Okay. Yeah. You know, we've got the not F. And around and then the F. And around, right? So decipher those, how what's the difference here, right? Um Those are, you know, my two modes of, of being, you know, in in my, you know, in my world, and I wrote this is in the book, I'm just grabbing this from the book, This is N.

F. A. Not effing around, not effing around is the passion, the power, the bang bang bang that drives us to take real action to manifest a life worth living. So that's what the N. F. A. Is, that's, you know, that's the core of what I'm yapping about over here, right? But what is F. A. F. A. Is fucking around, okay? And that is simply the balance. You cannot sustainably N. F. A. You can't, you know, if you work, You know, 16 hours a day, putting all your energy into something and you do this, you know, event, it's not gonna be too long eventually you're gonna crash and burn. There's no way you can sustain that. So F. A. Simply means taking a breath turning it all off d focusing, taking a walk, staring at the tv doing whatever it is you do to reduce yourself right to find ways to love the experience of life that is not goal directed necessarily or at least get directed towards your main goal.

And so that is part of that creativity. Like it doesn't have to be goal directed. It's more about kind of tapping into an inner part of yourself to bring bring expand that love. Yes. And first of all it doesn't have to be creative. This is for anybody. I mean if you you know if you're working the corporate job and you you know, wake up at 6 30 Pablo and you're in there and you're cranking it all night and now that you're there until seven PM. You suck dinner, you know, down on the way home and then work another three hours. That's too much. Right? You need the F. A. You need time whether it's during the week or on the weekend where you just like draw the line right? That's why some so much of the culture of America pushes everyone consciously and subconsciously to do more faster better, right? You're you're never you're never enough, never rich enough, smart enough, you know, good looking enough all these things right, which wears us down.

So the FAA You know is just like let's give it a freaking break here, right? Let's just be let's just relax for real. And by the way that when we do that we will then have the energy to pursue the not effing around missions in our lives that are powerful, Right? You can't go 100% all the time when you take that that showtime you're you're much more capable to do. You know? The other thing like, you know because they say massage therapy, oh man, I have to take an hour out and pay 100 bucks you know for this thing, wow. Okay. Well guess what? They've proven that getting a massage once in awhile will increase your productivity and cognitive um you know, powers significantly. Alright. So does just exercise. Read this thing recently. Three minutes. Three okay. Of moderate exercise.

That does not mean three minutes of pushups. That means three minutes of walking around the block is going to increase your cognitive abilities significantly For 2 to 3 hours. So tell me that's not worth it to take a five minute walk once in a while a couple of times a day. Right. Yeah, wow. Now tell me Jeff for you. What has creativity meant for you in your life like how is that? You know, brought you? What has that brought you? It has a connection to self. Right? I understand myself more and better and connect more deeply with myself through music, through photography, through writing through storytelling and through coaching, right? Um it has given me a community, right? Most of my best friends are creators of some kind, right?

So, working on projects or this or that, it's like, you know, these are my people, that kind of thing, and, you know, thirdly, and, you know, I guess lastly is, you know, it's been a job, you know, I'm getting paid for this stuff, you know, different levels and different times. I've done plenty of stuff for free, and I've had huge hits too. So that's that's what it does for me, it it connects my heart with the universe, it helps me blossom, my awesome actually, I love that. And now, what kind of feedback do you get from people when they start really getting what you're teaching? What kind of feedback? Well, you know, they're they're kind of blown away both in, you know, like I said, I work in the internal world and the external world In the external world, they're like, Oh wow, I actually wrote my book, I worked with one guy, he's working on his book for 14 years, he finished it, you know, six months, you know, within working with me, I'm like, yeah, OK, so that's a very specific goal, stuff like that, but and that's important for sure.

And then there's the inner world which is like, people are like, oh my God, I feel more myself, I feel freer, I feel like I'm communicating what is important to me, what's powerful for me, I'm healing, you know, whatever through my writing or through my songs or you know, just like all that stuff. So, you know, for me it's it's huge helping people just live better lives according to them. Like I never tell anybody what to do. I fully believe that we all have our own wisdom of our own path. The trick, however, is to get quiet enough to understand that wisdom, because if you're not, then you're hearing social media and you're hearing your parents and you're hearing, you know, your school and your hearing your friend and that, although they may be well meaning, although marketing and social media is rarely well meaning, um it will distract you from your truth, it's just so eloquently put Jeff, it really is.

I mean that's just so cool that you're able to kind of help people tap in to something that's there, you know? But they, we just, most of us don't know how to kind of go deeper with that, that's beautiful. So now what I'm gonna say in closing Jeff, I'm going to have links to all of your stuff, the book, you're coaching all of that for everyone, but leave us with something powerful, what is the most powerful thing you can leave us with right now here right now, the most powerful thing. Well, you know, for one it might be, I'm happy to talk to anyone, you know, through these links on my website. Um, just you know, as a coaching thing to see if it works for you. Um, see if we're a good match, but something powerful, a nugget of wisdom I believe is what you're looking for. Not a, you know, um, con self consciousness being conscious, the more conscious you are, the more you can make choices to benefit yourself and those around you, the less conscious you are, the, not even the more likely the more destined you are to make the same choices.

Thus have the same results in your life. There's a carl young quote, which I'm going to screw up now. But it says something about, um, you know, if you're unconscious, you will call your life destiny as opposed to being conscious and making choices to move your life in the direction that you consciously wanted to go, really should look at that. And so, and I'll just say now, you know, for the creatives out there who need a little pick me up or whatever little inspiration. Anything for those guys to just kind of send us off on our way to start doodling or painting or whatever we need to do right now to tap in. I'm sorry, I missed the question. Their hopes. Yeah, I mean just a little last little nudge for the creatives who are feeling a little stuck, a little insecure, I will default back to the sneaker company and say just do it.

That is awesome, Chef! That is awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you. It was great. It was truly great. You have been awesome. And I thank you for your time and your wisdom and your light. Thank you. Thanks for having me here and you are a fantastic interviewer. I love it. That's awesome. Thank you so much, chef. Yeah. Mhm. Mhm, mm hmm.

Blossom Your Awesome Episode #16 - Not F*ing Around With Jeff Leisawitz
Blossom Your Awesome Episode #16 - Not F*ing Around With Jeff Leisawitz
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