Live Train Perform

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"Success almost drove me over the edge"

by Shaun Kober
December 20th 2021
01:35:58
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Alexander De Fina is a serial fitness entrepreneur, leading fitness industry consultant, keynote speaker, and multiple award-winning coach and business owner.

Having built three hugely suc... More

just jumping in here quickly to let you guys know that I have recently created a facebook group for listeners of the lift train performed podcast. So this private forum is the place to connect with other podcast listeners and guests as well as to interact with myself and other coaches who have provided content for the coach's corner episodes. So in this forum you can ask questions which I can then answer in the group or I can use them for episodes, former Q and A sessions, post relevant articles you can share memes. The goal is to create a network of like minded people um so that everyone can interact with each other. Um you guys are listeners, the audience members can interact with the network of professionals in the fitness industry that have provided good quality content for the podcast. To gain access to this private group. All you need to do is leave me a rating and review what this does is allows me to bump up the ratings, draw bigger names and bigger guest to the podcast for your listening pleasure. Um once you've left a rating and review, take a screenshot of that, send that through to my instagram at coach underscore codes ko bes once you've done that, go onto facebook type in live train perform that group will come up request access, answer the three questions and I will grant you access, I am in the process of building out my online business.

One of the income streams is going to be from the facebook forum, so I'm going to be allowing 50 people into that forum for free after that, it will be paid access only, so get in early, be one of the O. G. S. Thanks guys, much appreciated. Hey guys, welcome to this episode of the live transform podcast, I'm your host, Sean Cobra and joining me is Alex Fiona, who is a fitness entrepreneur who has been based out of based out of Asia for the last 10 years, Alex, how are you know? Very well, how are you? Very good, very good mate, I've recently returned from 3.5 months away, Good to get back to Thailand, I saw you post something recently on facebook, talking about mental health, talking about the journey that you're going through um and I've seen you post a number of those things over the last couple of months and that's the reason why I'm sitting here today is because I want to have a conversation with you about that and I think there's gonna be a lot of takeaways for my audience, so for my audience, can you give them a brief introduction to yourself?

Sure, so yeah right now I'm taking a bit of a sort of career sort of pause, but formally I guess the best tag for me would be a fixed entrepreneurs, so he was in Hong kong for seven years prior to living here in, had some businesses in Hong kong, one was a large boot camp called bikini fit, female only boot camp which was huge. We basically had outdoor gyms with trained up to 400 women every single morning Across across four different locations. So it was, it was done with military precision. Um so we would set up outdoor gyms. Um it was quite a sight. So, um that was a really successful enterprise, moved on to setting up a sort of more scalable model called perform. Um and so performing again with a female only strength and conditioning with a female specific training system. So I guess if we audience who have served in the health and fitness sort of landscape, understanding that obviously a female's body responds quite differently to to a male's body.

Um and if you're trying to have a training system which ticks the boxes of developing strength, developing endurance, creating some kind of aesthetic in the body and so on. We have a training system which is sort of a done for your training systems throughout the working week, appealing to busy professionals who understand that sports science is more complicated than just doing something exercise related. Yeah. And so really, really um, awesome training system. And I've recently sold that to the lady I had managing that. So I was running that remotely from who kept for the last three or four years, I currently consult to a group in Singapore. I've been doing that for about a year. And so apart from my consultancy stuff now I'm just kind of hitting the brakes and sort of deciding my next move. So that's the last five years in a nutshell. Mm hmm. Cool man, we're gonna circle back around to the reason why you're taking a break from business, which would probably tie into the next question, which is one of the first things that I asked most of my guests and it relates to a charity that I'm an ambassador for, which is Swiss Eight, which is an Australian based organization, which was originally created to provide some tools, techniques, structure for veterans.

Initially, um, that has been pushed out to the wider community since the pandemic kicked off to help people structure in and schedule their eight pillars of health and wellness, which is sleep, nutrition, time management, discipline, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism. Any of those pillars stand out for you right now. Personal growth. Yeah, why so. So I mean, personal growth is an area that I've always been fascinated by. I'm an avid reader and I've read probably three fiction books in my life. So I've spent a long time with a sort of in word lens at myself, um, and going through my own personal motivation and driving forces and some sort of training I'm doing at the moment. Um Personal growth is my absolute primary motivation or driver. And the reason I'm so focused on that right now is I'm aggressively trying to play devil's advocate to every belief system the night that I have.

And so to be fortunate enough to be in the position, so you know, financially and location of the rest to not need to be doing something, why are you doing that? Because that's a very difficult skill to cultivate that Not many people actually take on is to challenge their own belief systems. Why are you going through this process yourself? Ah So this is where I probably got a very pop by pole sort of answer for you. On one hand, I've always had a very non absolute view on everything. So, you know, at some point have been quite successful as an amateur athlete as a strength and conditioning coach and sports nutritionist. And I've had some pretty rigid beliefs over those times, but I've always been open to dropping that belief in an instant in light of new and better information. Um, and so whilst I've always believed, always had a healthy approach with being okay with like losing the old paradigm in replacement of a new one, I've realized that in my current situation, career wise, what I was looking at doing, what am I end up doing was on momentum and feeling like I need to be doing something.

And so now it opens up Pandora's box of identity and and considering like how you identify yourself of, you know, I'm the guy that gets shipped done, I must be moving at a million miles an hour. And so I reached a point of sort of anxiety of how do I perfect. Um, you know, maybe maybe for, for your background in the military, once you reach a certain acumen in a certain discipline, you develop a bit of, you know, an ability to sort of see the future instead of mitigate risks and sort of, no, no, probably what sort of coming down the track in business I'm at that stage now where I'm not necessarily have a fear of failure, like I'm going to launch something and it's going to be a disaster. I've done that more enough times to not worry about that. My biggest fear is being financially successful, but being burnt out, miserable, sick, lonely, unhealthy unhappy.

And so I had a lot of anxiety and analysis about which working models for a particular business opportunities that I want to pursue of how do I make the right choice today rather than just work out as you go, which most entrepreneurs do of how do I essentially trying to mitigate risks ahead of time? But do you find that that was also creating some anxiety, there's things that you can't control totally. And there's probably, there's probably some opportunities which would be very advantageous from a monetary point of view, but not necessarily something that I'm passionate about. And so for me, loving what I do, feeling a sense of ownership, creativity, all those kinds of things is paramount if I don't have that, there's no money in the world that can really motivate me to actually to do it. Is this one of the reasons why you're taking a pause from business at the moment just to kind of take a step away from that subjective view where you're in it too, then, you know, take a bird's eye view an objective view and have a look at exactly what's happening in your entire life, but you have been quite successful at business, but I'm also assuming that that's you know, put stress on you in terms of relationships and um you know, other areas of life, maybe your health has taken a little bit of a hit and stress levels really higher sleep has taken a hit etcetera etcetera, which then obviously has a flow on effect to energy levels and your productivity and your hormones and libido everything man.

Is that the case man? I've had everything you mentioned and more so yeah, there's this sort of like little chronological point, so I can sort of recall where um you can almost look at yourself from an outsider's perspective and think, you know, this guy's got it all and then internally it's like why do I feel so bad. Um So yeah, I've had remember a particular situation, you want some examples of this. So one situation was uh Late 2015, so I was I was going to Vietnam to buy this property and with Hsbc in Hong kong there's like these different levels of the bank, you kind of got the standard bank and then you got a bit more money, there's like this level bank. Yeah and so when I first arrived in Hong kong in 2012 I was like wow this this sort of started banking systems like one down and being a rich person's bank um whenever a driver know the monetary thing isn't a driver, it was just like it was more of an achievement of Yeah and so I was going to Vietnam was getting a bunch of cash just for a deposit on this on this place in Hong kong whilst I was there, you know you actually qualify for HTC premieres.

Yes, here I am, I'm flying to Vietnam to buy my first property um so I'm really happy that I'm buying my first property in the rich person's bank and uh and it was, this auction was very sort of exclusive sort of development and like hundreds of properties, I wanted one of one of them and I managed to sort of pull the right lottery number out to have my option on the right place and I got the place, I wanted to understand that this hotel that night like I just had a couple of things but you know financially and business wise and personally which I was really happy about at that time that the sort of the pain sacrifice had been worth it. I remember sitting there at this hotel like when to call someone to, like, hey man, we've got this amazing penthouse, I literally couldn't think of anyone that I felt comfortable enough calling, where I was like, man, I've just ostracized everyone. There's just been one focus in my life, which is business and now that I've actually been able to use that vehicle to have a little personal win, I'm like, I can't share this with anyone, it's no good having something if you can't share it with someone man.

Yeah, dude, that is fucking powerful man, that is powerful, you know, and I'm sure there's people listening that can relate to that as well, because it's something I always talk about is like the seasons of Life, right? Like There's gonna be times where we need to put our head down, focus on business to make sure that we get ourselves to a financially stable position so we can deal with the pandemic, for example, or, you know, take the holidays that we want to throughout the year, or, you know, I used to go traveling for 3-4 months every year. But the, you know, 78 or nine months that I was living in Tasmania running my own pt business was just making enough money so that I could go and spend that over 33 to 4 months without dipping into my savings, right? So, you know, I was making enough money to be able to live the life that I wanted and I was totally cool with that. Um But there's gonna be times where you know, you need to get to a certain bank account level where you're paying off your bills and you're in a position where you don't have to stress about money, but then once you get to that point, you know, most people live on this hedonic adaptation is hedonic treadmill, where they adapt to having X amount of money and then they think, oh well when I get to the next level then I'll be happier when I get to the next level, I'll be happier when I have this car, I'll be happier when I get a bigger house, I'll be happier.

But the thing is like you adapt to that and that becomes your new normal and then the thing that makes you happy again is getting to the next level, getting to the next level and all you're doing when you're on that hedonic treadmill is you're cutting away and as you said, ostracized yourself from and your friends and you're segregating yourself from all of your friends. And like those relationships start falling apartment and you know when you get to a place where you're happy, you've got no one to share it with now. So something I always talk about is like sometimes businesses needs to be the number one priority, but it can't be like that forever. Sometimes relationships need to be the number one priority. Sometimes training needs to be number one priority, nutrition and health, um etcetera, etcetera, sleep. So um tying back into the very first question, personal growth has been a big focus for you recently, Has there been a time in the past where you know, maybe one of those pillars have slipped or something else has been more of a priority, Like your fitness might have been more a priority or your sleep might have been more of a priority or there was a time in your life where you know, you got kicked in the teeth and you're like, oh man, my sleep hasn't been enough of a priority.

I need to now make this my number one value, pretty much all of those were sacrificed for the better part of the last decade plus. Um you know when I moved to Hong kong, I've been relatively successful in Australia. I've always been entrepreneurial, so I've had businesses in other industries and so on. Um and I was running pretty hot, Remember the message from everyone in Australia. Okay, when you get to Hong kong, just, just cool the jets a little bit. I did the complete opposite because you were on a roll man, you had momentum, you were on fire and you want to continue with that and just the challenges, my personality. I'm not a offensively aggressive personality, I'm a counterpuncher and so I need to put myself into situations and so being successful in Australia, leaving everything behind, moving to Hong kong where I don't know anyone with some suitcases and some sort of half fleshed out ideas And I turned 30 when I, when I landed there um and to have you back against the woman, Hong kong is not, it's like new york, it's like you don't go there to for an easy sort of way of life.

Um so I've put myself into plenty of situations and I've realized that from a business point of view, maybe, you know, there is a life as well, um I've experienced the most growth by putting myself into the hottest furnace, you know, when I first got into into strength training, the first thing I did was go up to the biggest baddest dudes and go, hey, you know, if you see me doing something wrong, just give me a clip over the years and tell me before you know it, you're training with, you know, the biggest baddest dudes. Um so I've had a pretty fast learning curve by being willing to subject myself to those difficult situations, but I think at some point that went from being a growth process that I was comfortable with to an identity where it turned into, I'm only going to look at business opportunities which are the most risky, less chance of working out, require the most pain and sacrifice.

And so, you know, in a sort of Emma terms if, if, if you approach business like vandalize silver used to approach fighting just because you wanna have a slugfest, um then you're gonna end up looking and talking like Mandalay Silver. And so a great analogy, I realized that I was maybe unconsciously picking the hardest fights because an easy binary process, I've left plenty of money on the table, plenty business opportunities, simply because it didn't ignite anything like some form of intrinsic challenge within me, but realizing that when your back is against the wall and there's no way that email can make an analogy as serious as what you have seen. Um but when your back's against the wall in a business situation, then yeah, your happiness and your relationships and your own health has to take a back seat. I mean there's a situation there in 2014 and I'll try to dial it down for the listeners, but I was I was passing blood, every bowel movement um and not like a little bit of blood, like a murder scene um five months every single time.

And I reached out to a doctor, it was a very good friend of mine was doing some work with my business at the time initially and she sort of thought it was one thing, but I just went quiet and so my treatment was denial and that didn't work very well and it's not a good strategy eventually this lady found out and freaked out. It was a seeing a specialist at the hospital the next day and sort of getting choose putting me from it at either end and diagnosed with the autoimmune and a bunch of ulcers cut out of me and so on. But looking back at it now I was like what the fucking caveman to be like that unwell for that long and just think I don't have time to be sick. Um and I think a lot of people fall into that trap of your so tunnel focused on what you're doing, that you're willing to martyr yourself and all these other areas and eventually those other areas will bite you. And I had that I had that happen in 2016 where um I went through a very, very stressful period with a business partner and one of these companies and there's some fraud and corruption.

A lot of, a lot of sort of really ugly stuff there. But you know, I went from sort of the penthouse to the gutter overnight. Um And I woke up one morning with a feeling the only way I've explained like I've been shot and the pain was incredible. No matter of medication would fix it. And it's a rare condition called brachial plexus new artists. I think it's inoculating your artist as well. So your immune system is attacking your nerves. My arm was paralyzed about two months. I was seeing every doctor down to a shaman with burning sage or see anyone. Eventually the pain subsided. Eventually I started to get some function back. I've still got no rear delt on that side at all and a lot of things, I just can't do anymore just because of the nerve damage, because of the nerve damage and the neurologist was such a recognition. All I know is it's triggered by stress. Well, that's exactly where you're leading then man. And that was, that was going to be my next question. Before I go into stress though, I'm assuming that's why you know, you've decided to take a little bit of a step back from the business now is because you can see yourself going down that same path again before I go into that though, something that piqued my interest was, you know, said numerous times now that you seem to operate well with your back against the wall counterpunching because you know, you are essentially being cornered and you have no option but to push forward and operate.

There's definitely gonna be times in your life when using that operating system is going to work in your favor. But if you fall into that pattern where you use that all the time that can then again lead to that stress and anxiety and affect your health etcetera. Now, was there something that happened throughout your life that made you realize that you did perform well with your back against the wall or was it like a number of things where you found yourself in those situations and then you thrived in that situation? Yeah, and I didn't have the greatest childhood. So, you know, a particular story, alcoholic, very abusive father with mental health problems and stuff like that. So home life wasn't fantastic, especially after my mom and the rest of the kids after the divorce, and I was just with my old man, so um I probably sort of built this sort of victims sort of underdog mentality at that point in time, and if I look back at my adolescent years, um you know, in some situations it was pretty wild.

So, you know, I was the guy, you know, if you think about the sort of an Australian sort of house party, was an Australian house party and you know, there's a bunch of guys from some other schools outside with metal sticks, whatever, like I'm the guys, let's go rounding the boys up. So yeah, like I had this, I was quite angsty um uh and sort of quite aggressive and a lot of the times I thought that it works for you to have been a crazy person, um and I was never one of the boys, um you know, I was never sort of part of the sort of football crowd and so on, so it's probably a combination of, you know, dealing with some level of childhood trauma, maybe feeling like a bit of an outsider, um you always felt like your back was up against the wall, so that became somewhat of the defense mechanism and then you started seeking out those. Once you kind of started creating your own waves in life and creating your own journey, then you started seeking out those situations because you knew that you could get out of that position, You could thrive in this position.

Yeah, the gray area of conflict was always sort of a challenge for me. So the nuclear option was just like my only go to. So um um that's what we're trying to learn right now because I've had this approach with a lot of things. You know, if I was a coach and you were a client, you're obese and like how do I lose weight? And I'm like, well look, but nothing else in this world matters apart from this primary objective. So trying one of the things I'm trying to learn right now is differentiating efficiency and effectiveness, which is a challenging one, assuming someone like you would heavily leans towards efficiency. However, if your most efficient path between point A to point B, no, it's also some of the most effective path. Yeah, but if if it's done in a way that other people are, so if your communication methods aren't resonating with other people, then it's not effective, it might be efficient, but it's not effective because it doesn't result in the ideal outcome.

Um my sort of high cadence of work output has pretty much burnt out every business partner or employee that I've had along the way and realizing that they didn't have the same driving force is the same emotional buy in as I did has been something which came after the fact, which I'm sure also created stress and anxiety and you know, this kind of personality conflicts where you're like, why are they not putting in the work that I'm putting in like, they clearly don't care about this project as much as I do and blah, blah, blah, I'm sure that's created some conflict in your life as well, massive, massive. Um, it's very difficult as well too have a common language of intention. And so to make a fitness example, let's say I'm the coach, you're the client, you're obese life is a train wreck and you're saying like I'm depressed, I'm borderline suicidal, blah, blah, blah in my mind.

I embody that emotion. And again, it's like we need to burn the boats. Nothing else matters. We need to get you to this outcome. If your actions don't marry what I think is required in terms of actually turning this thing around. Eventually that turned to some kind of resentment and conflict because like, you know, you told me that this is this important. Um, but we're using like languages clunky. And so if someone says, I'm all in like, what does that mean? This is a, this is a, that's a great I love that you bring this up because you know, I struggled with that as well when I first started coaching people, it was, you know, it was all about the training nutrition program and then when 10% of my clients were getting the results that they wanted and then 90% weren't, I was like, it's your fault and I was blaming them, but then I was like, well what, hang on, I'm the professional, they're paying me what can I do about this? And I started taking ownership of that. And then I started, you know, doing my NLP courses and CBT and looking at psychological and behavioral change.

And then gradually I started getting more clients to come on board to create these behavioral changes and you know, how they're talking to themselves and create these psychological changes that then carried over to getting the results by focusing on the process rather than the outcome. Um I think that's really important as well, is understanding that because as you said, like, there's an optimal way of doing something which is going to be super effective, but with the average person that may not be ideal for them, it doesn't suit their lifestyle, it doesn't suit their individual circumstances. So as a coach, we need to meet our clients exactly where they are instead of, you know, using the most effective way of getting somewhere, we need to maybe take a step back and pull some things out and alright, that's what's the most efficient way to get there, it's gonna take us a little bit longer, but it's going to work in with where you're at and you know, as soon as I realized that the way that I realized that was I started asking that question, I'd ask my clients like how committed are you to achieving this goal of losing whatever 10 kg in the next six months and let's say on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm 10.

Alright, cool. Are you willing to track your food every day for the next six months? No, now you're nine, you're willing to get eight hours sleep every night for the next six months? No, now you're an eight, are you willing to drink three legs water? Now you're seven even like qualifying? What is it? Is a 10? Like I've had a friend in refers to as the Alexa on a pain scale. I remember a client I had a long, long time ago and we did like one session together and it was literally just doing basic movement screen and I got a message the next day like I'm broken, you know, I can't move my head about my arm, sorry about my head and my shoulders on fire. I called him up, I said, hey there increases to injuries, how how bad is his shoulder pain is? Like, it's pretty bad, Just kind of 1 to 10. Um I said 1-10, 1 being you stubbed your toe and 10 that have been set on fire and he goes seven, that's pretty bad. But we need to, we need to check this out, it might just be carrying my bag on my shoulder for the day.

So like even even being that ridiculous, not granular of like I can't think of a more painful ways to go than burning to death, but if there is one, replace that with that, but trying to understand when you say I'm an eight out of 10 buy in for this business project, what does that mean? So like what I'm trying to learn now is the patience and how much does bias creeping because when you want someone to want the same thing as you, let's say you and I are going to start a supplement company man, nothing else matters. You know, this is what I'm doing, I'm happy to live on four hours sleep at night, seven days a week. It's like you need to literally go through everything and say look how many hours per day at what cadence can operate that day. Are you willing to miss all these things and take a lot more time in the qualification of other people's expectations, expectations and it's literally like measuring your expectation levels versus your commitment levels.

It's looking at that ratio and then coming on board and finding that, finding that level ground where you know the client and the coach or the business partners or whatever you can find that even ground. Alright cool. This is what the expectations are, this is what the commitments are that are going to achieve those outcomes, but if there's an imbalance there, then those relationships, whether it's a, you know, whether it's a a friendship or whether it's a romantic relationship, whether it's a business relationship or client coach relationship, like you need to find that balance, you need to find that even ground, otherwise that relationship is not going to work out ultimately. And the only way that I found of having slightly more better outcomes and avoiding some of the pain is you have to sort of take the 100 0 approach. And so at the end of the day it's 100% on me, zero excuses and that means across the board, like I've literally had people the criminal conduct and cheered me up, lost millions of dollars, I've had people betray me, I've had I've had a lot of negative things happen in the business world, but at the end of the day, you know, I chose those people to be involved with me, I chose those business opportunities.

I and there's no amount of blame or victimhood or whatever else even, it doesn't matter how bad the situation is because you then Disempower yourself of actually moving forward with new sort of change and so you know what I'm focusing on right now is trying to learn different gears, I'm trying to, you know, there's some approaches to business to train to everything else in life that um doesn't, doesn't mean full throttle, you know? Um It's the same thing when it comes to training, I fully understand that, you know, 39 years old, spent a lot of time under the bar, got more injuries now than ever before and so on. Your warm ups are lasting almost as long as you were. Yeah. And um you know, I've had people sort of, you know, preacher sort of more balanced as I get that. Unfortunately, I don't like, you know, some people don't like training, I love training, I love the sadistic element of like I really enjoyed the most difficult aspect of it, so because the challenge, you're conditioning yourself to, you know, that hardship, that adversity, but training for me is it's it's controlling the stress that you put your body under, you know, and this is the thing, man like stresses stresses essential for adaptation, right?

Like we need to find ourselves in challenging situations so that we can grow, we can adapt. If we never challenge ourselves, then we never grow. We never adapt in saying that like if we don't have any stress in our life, then, you know, we don't have any drive, we don't have any motivation, we get lethargic, we're tired, like we kind of sit there and then we don't feel good about ourselves by finding the right level of stress that's going to give you that motivation that drive, but not too much that it pushes you over the edge and then starts taking away from other areas of your life. Finding that balance, man. That's a really difficult position to find now, is there anything you would add to that? Well, I think that like one of one of the things I'm trying to learn right now is if you imagine a sort of sort of happiness line and below the happiness line is sort of unhappiness and at the lowest point of another sort of strata, which is depression and then you've got the happiness to the section above that is apathy, mm hmm.

And so, you know, if you sort of took the sort of life criteria of finance career, romantic relationships, friendships, whatever if you were to be the genie of the universe because he copes here's everything, you've got $100 million in the bank, your, you know, your top of your field and everything you want to be doing, everyone in the world loves you. You'd be miserable because you've lost the sort of the pursuit of something bigger than yourself and the process. So, you know, training is a way to keep I guess what I'm trying to do at this point in my life is to look at other areas outside of your career because it's easy to identify yourself as, you know, I'm the hedge fund manager on this guy and that girl, it's much harder to look at yourself more comprehensively and say well you know yeah as a hedge fund manager. Do you know how to hunt a pig and you know how to drive a car off road, you know how to, there's other life skills. You just got absolutely no ability to do so yeah, I'm learning chinese.

I'm spending more time sort of reading philosophical books and stuff like that. I'm just opening up more of my bandwidth to other areas of life for personal growth rather than pigeonholing myself and saying I'm an entrepreneur. Therefore my only value is grind is the grind and you know sort of what I can create. It's in business. Mm hmm. Yeah. That's that's really thought provoking man. Um you mentioned earlier that you kind of had a little bit of a victim mentality but what I'm hearing is you are taking more accountability and responsibility and ownership for your own thoughts and your own life and finding that balance was there like a moment that you realized that you were creating this victim mentality and you had to change that or has it been something that you've been working on for many, many years? Um great question there. The victim mentality. Okay. It's it's it's hard.

I don't think it's necessarily corrupted um relationships or situations overtly like I haven't hopefully approached situations like this has been some situations for my past. Therefore I got the sense of entitlement or you know my actions are excusable under this sort of context. But I think the the victim is probably manifested myself much more of um never being worthy. Mm hmm. My comparisons ridiculous. I've seen, I've seen three counselors slash therapist whatever in my life at random situations. Never for more than one or two sessions at the time. But I literally had to, people say almost the exact same thing verbatim which was in their career, They've never met someone who is as irrationally ruthless on themselves as as I am. And so what do you think that comes from?

Um, definitely from my childhood, I think. Um, and whether it's nature versus nurture. I don't know, I've spent so long trying to attack my own ego. I was, I was aware of um sort of more much more bigger issues than a child should be. So my father was very intellectual but obviously had a lot of his own problems. So I remember grade to selling what you're fully like seven years old, um going to school and I'm getting these kind of incoherent drunken lectures about what's going on in Rwanda between the hutu and the tutsi ease. And so I put like nothing but genocide in my mind. I'm going to school these kids, teenage mutant ninja turtles. And so this was kind of like weird disconnect of like the rest of the world. There's people dodging bullets and die from hunger and all the rest in masculine streets and yeah. And here we are. And so it it created this sense of feeling unworthy for a long period of time.

And one of the very few times that, that was I've had like a sliding doors moment in life. One of those conversations that decades later you can look back and remember everything about that situation. It was when I just moved to Hong kong, I was on the phone to a former client and um I launched a couple of things in Hong kong. She's asking how things were going and she kind of for some reason we always kept on a pretty deep level and she said, why do you always hold yourself back from success has been a bunch of different situations where I've done all the grind to get the thing to a certain point and then put it off to somebody else that they can actually take the trophy or whatever and I probably told five or six people in my life is going to sound crazy but I don't feel worthy of success. Like there's so much injustice in the world, why do I deserve a holiday? Why do I deserve nice things? Why do I deserve to be wealthy? And she said, so you want to help people? I said more than anything. She said, well how can you help anyone by being poor?

I was like fun. It was like a switch went off in my head and like just that one comment was almost like it just undid this terrible belief system that being financially successful was somehow being greedy or taking away from people wasn't impacting the world in a positive way within a year, you know, many million dollars in a year and being able to use that money to affect people in positive ways of we built properties in the Philippines paper surgeries and donate to charities and I've done things with that money that massively filled my cup way more than buying a Lamborghini or something like that would have. But just it's interesting that that one comment can just flick a switch in your mind that completely flips the script man. Yeah, it just because maybe because I reserved, you know, being forthcoming with what I probably knew at some conscious, some subconscious level was a dumb belief system, but but it has served you well. Yeah, like like how do you articulate like, oh yeah, there's, you know, there's parts of the world where they don't have all these things, therefore I'm just not going to allow myself to reach my full potential, it sounds crazy, but I think because it was instilled at such a young age, the gravity of that belief system was so strong and I was just like an unlocked code.

And so that's kind of similar, not going through right now is just, you know, I know that when I've had plenty of business pursuits where it's just nothing but grind and pain and it's like, wow and other things you've done like spur of the moment, no effort at all has been a roaring success. Why do you think that is? I mean, assuming the spur of the moment, things are like something you're actually passionate about. So you have a lot of drive into it. I think what is it traps a lot of us can fall into is this sort of analysis process. But over analysis. And the problem with that is I'll communicate as much as I can with what I try to think visually is like now it's like a decision making is like a flow chart up and so, you know, if you decided that Sean should create his own fitness brand with the values, the methodology and stuff that you believe in. You start thinking, well maybe I can get investors behind me and I can create this like Franchising model and I can just now you start building up the building blocks.

But the initial point of inception of the idea was here and the more and more you go through this, the more the bias creeps in and you start to become very protective and you start believing in what you're doing. I have these conversations painfully with a lot of business owners and they're clinging to like they got a struggling business, I don't want to change anything about it. But if you were to reverse engineer to turn back the hands of time, they shouldn't have been in this game in the first place, they shouldn't have created this model in the first place, instead of going left at this crossroads, you should have gone right because they committed to that. It's the, what's the, what's the fallacy called? The, not the investment fallacy that I remember off the top of my head, but basically because you've invested so much time, energy and effort into something, you just keep grinding man, you keep pushing forward rather than going, hang on a second, I need to take a step back. This is not working. So I'm assuming that a lot of the business owners that you're working with are in that position where they have invested so much time, energy effort money into where they're at and then for you to be like, hey, this system is not working like that's a hit to the ego, right?

Especially if your identity, like mine was slashes global Professor or second to be fixed or cured. You know, if you, you know, I, if I was to list my flaws, I need a lot of paper, um, if I was to list my sort of positive attributes, not many, that's, you know, that's something I'm working on as well to not downplay myself so much, but the one thing I'm 100% confident in his, his work ethic and tenacity. It's like you were trying to kill me before, I'll stop, um to a fault sometimes to a fault. And so, you know, the analogy I was playing at the moment is like if I'm banging my head against the wall and you're like bro, there's like a door there and the door, there's a door there, I'm like, man, I need to keep banging hard drives through bang hard, like it's not gonna work, man, it's like I can't stop banging, it's like at some point, and I think because we live in an age where whether we want to admit it or not, we're so influenced by factors that we can't control through social media that, you know, we've got these different voices affecting our world views, so you can kind of take this sort of, you know, gary v approaches like live on coffee and a coffee and adrenaline just hustle, hustle, hustle, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind and then you've got, you know, some spiritual sort of person you follow who's this sort of ocean of calm and balance of yin and yang of life and so on.

And then, you know, you're a spider with this athlete and so if you sort of break it down, I would definitely suffer from this, It's like I want to be this superstar amateur athlete, but I also want to be Elon mask and I also want to be some enlightened Ramdas spiritual guru, but I also want to be this and it's it's impossible standard we set for ourselves and unless we take a moment to stop and to sort of do a self audit, then all we're going to do is keep repeating the same mistakes and be back in the same situation. And so that's how I sort of come to terms with my my um because it was really hard to hit the brakes. Really, really hard, you know, when I made the decision two months ago, I came in Day one, I'm just saying like, yeah, what do I do? Let's talk about that decision. Um why did that decision come up? Was there some telltale signs that you were going down that same path that you walked earlier where you did have some health implications?

I'm assuming there was not only health implications like physical health, but mental health implications as well. Yeah, the mental health, luckily there's no physical health issues, The mental health was just for the mental health was a sense of anxiety, which again, is a bit of a clunky word, like as long as, I mean, fear doesn't mean maybe unease would be a better word to describe it is, I felt like I I need to be doing something immediately and I think that's a combination of momentum from the past and just, you know, my identity is mr work, work, work, work, work, you know, being in a place like that is very healthy for me because the landscape doesn't allow for me to be the most neurotic version of myself. Like that's a big part of my rationale for being here is 100% man, 100%. This is such a great environment to find that balance. Like yeah man, I can grind when I need to, but then I'm like I haven't been to the beach for two weeks, like fucking Stop working at 3:00 and go to the beach and hang out for the afternoon and get the sand in between your toes and some wind in your hair the moment.

Like the sense of unease was just kind of like, it went from like a dull hum to kind of like this roaring sense of discomfort in my sleep and building up, building up, building up and I think it was two fold. One was I'm trying to reverse engineer my dream outcome and trying to like my ability as an entrepreneur as I can think laterally very quickly and I can manage businesses with that. I'm aware of all the different divisions that's going on, but if you lock me into like one domain or one division independent, like then that's like toxic for me. Um and so because I'm trying to sort of like a roadmap okay, my launching business consultants in this path and my launching marketing agencies in this path and my starting another fitness brand and I'm getting concerned with these products so I want to get behind, I'm trying to like run these like sort of swat analysis pros and cons kind of like road mapping in terms of business strategies for all these Concurrently, which is like in your head trying to build out 12 businesses at once and I had an epiphany moment one night where If I look at the last five years, the last 15 years before that was a grind.

But the last five years, you know the sort of cliff notes of challenge has been um losing a business to sort of unfortunate circumstances, losing a stack of money spent a year and a half working with, which is like the FBI and the commission against corruption. Um I had a prolonged media attack on me as being the perpetrator of something when the reality was the complete opposite. So it's kind of like imagine you were framed for a crime for a year and a half as being the perpetrator actually you're the victim but because you're working with this company and everything sort of working with the law enforcement, you can't say anything about it. So I lost plenty of good friendships, really, really suffered. Um you know I'm walking into my other businesses and people like you know it's sort of fun to work here anymore, like my life is such a fun show right now. Um then I spent a year and a half out of chinese banks pushed through a bankruptcy petition on me so I found out that I was bankrupt um and remotely from here fought them through court and got it overturned, had that wind, just like sort of like this kind of constant sort of like your head underwater, you get half a breath and It's back under.

Then, you know, I had like six or 12 months, then we had the Hong Kong protests which was gave me a civil war going on for a year, The only thing which ended the Hong kong protest was covid. So I feel like I've run these ultra marathons one after another after another, you feel like you're finally coming around the corner to the finish line is like an angry mob with sticks. And what I've been saying to myself over this period of time is when this is done because for me there was no plan B, you know, I don't have, you know, anyone to sort of bail me out and I just would refuse to go out on my shield. So that tenacity and grit certainly well during that period of time, so I think that I had my brain stuck in that sort of fight or flight zone, which I'm sure you can, you can um but the epiphany moment came, you know that saying, be careful what you wish for, you might just get it, I've been saving myself for five years man, if anyone knew what I'm juggling right now, I'm running several companies technically bankrupted, but companies still operating and I'm trying to fight these guys in court because other litigation going on for a lot of money and it was like just a, all I wanted to do was to have some time off and I thought when all this is over, however it plays out, I would love to have six months or 12 months where I can just lose myself.

Like my plan would have been, you know, literally go and spend a month in some Ashram in India, go and do something else, Open myself up to new experiences, new people and to see if that novelty opened up something in me. It's like, hey man, I just love painting and I'll spend the rest of my day being some broke painter, like whatever it is, if that means happiness because for the last 56 years it's been constant chaos and drama and putting out fires and having no one really to sort of share and, and in the school, the challenge with and now that I'm in that position, all I'm trying to do is what's the next thing, What's the next thing and I thought you mad bastard like you, you've been hoping for this moment where you don't have to do anything to sit still and to let the dust settle and now that you're in that position, all you want to do is launch next thing and let's go again because you get stuck in that cycle and you know, that's a great point that I want to dive into a little bit deeper is like, you know, you create these circumstances where you can put yourself back in that fight or flight response where you're creating stress for yourself, so you can produce cortisol and adrenaline because that makes you feel good, That makes you, you know, motivated, that gives you drive to work towards something and then when that's when you're not in that state, you're like, what do I do?

Yeah, Yeah. So so much of my behaviors and habits were where based around being that guy, so not having those time pressures anymore and the responsibility's something very, very new. Yeah, and I think this is across the board, why do people stay in toxic relationships? It's you know, they feel safer in the bad environment than the opportunity of of something new. Mhm. Um that's a that's a great point, man. That was one of the first things that I wrote down is like you mentioned that you don't have any problems like stepping into the unknown and you know, challenging yourself through new opportunities and you know, it's just simply using the word opportunity creates a completely different mindset and a completely different physiological state than saying obligation. They're essentially the same thing, right? One person says opportunity, one person says obligation, which person you think is going to go out and achieve that thing, put themselves in a good position to be able to achieve their outcomes, right?

So how do you put yourself in that mindset or how has have you created that mindset where you are comfortable walking into the unknown and you did mention, you know, you're cool with failure. Understanding that failure is going to be part of the process and without failure you can't have success. Maybe in my primitive sort of caveman brain, what I've been able to do is to look at a period of stillness as being very, very difficult, not being lazy, apathetic, you know, unmotivated, which is definitely how it otherwise sort of view that. So it was in that sort of vote that build up period where I was so frenetic of like, what am I going to do next recognizing? Hey, I've got every reason, I don't know. I don't want to work for the next decade. I'm good. Why am I making it look like to solve these issues? Because I finished litigation and solve my company a bunch of things all happened within a very short period of time. So it's almost like you've had like this huge chapter of your book and then all these problems get solved on the last page.

It's like blank pages. Um, and so I think that those reverting back to how I've done everything, just point and shoot and work as you go because that became part of your identity felt that if that was taken away from you then who am I, what am I doing? Why am I getting out of bed now? And I've always tried to look at anything which frustrates me and other people, like I do really subscribe to that idea that when you see character traits and other people that frustrate you, you're casting a mirror on two parts of yourself. And so I'm definitely my personality, I'm the guy, I didn't have a drop of alcohol for eight or nine years, you know, my food was super religious, super diligence on, but I've also been the fat guy that will be attended milo before going to bed every single night. So I look at a lot of these things, it's like they're like, like habits of like train tracks and when you're on it, you can sort of stay there, but if you get shunted across another train track, if you're stubborn and sort of pick at it and all the rest.

And so I think a lot of people in fitness, when you look at a lot of, you know, from a general population perspective, when you look at most fitness coaches, they probably think, oh, this coach just loves reading about biology and physiology, anatomy, and they must have come out of the womb, it's like, how many coaches come from a background of addiction abuse trauma stack and poor relationship with food. Poor body image. Exactly. And so they found a way that they can take that energy and put it into something more positive. They have a transcendence of themselves and they want to Evangelicals share with other people, which is amazing, but there's still a victim of potentially falling back into those same traps because they're just running on running on momentum. And so I recognize that that's what I was doing. I was running momentum like I need to launch my next thing. It doesn't really matter what the next thing is. And that's when all the over analysis sort of came into play. And I recognize that the monster under my bed that I don't want to look at is stillness.

Mm mm mm mm mm And when I was able to look at it in that way, I was like, oh, okay. If I've built up stillness as being the most difficult thing that I can do for myself right now and it's okay to do it because it's like a challenge and that's simply reframing, yeah, you're still approaching the exact same thing, right? But before you're looking at it goes back to what I said before, before you're looking at is an obligation. I can't sit in silence. I've got to be doing something, I would be writing stuff down, I've got to be emailing, I've got to be, you know, mind mapping things. Whereas you can, you know that man, I can't remember who said this is a famous philosopher that said something along the lines of a lot of the world's problems would be solved if people could learn to sit in silence by themselves, you know, we are constantly looking for distraction, we're constantly on our phone, we constantly have things in our ears, were constantly doing things man, but how many people actually take the time to create and cultivate that stillness, It's such an important element man and it's a skill that needs to be practiced, you need to condition yourself to doing that and this is where you know the mindfulness stuff comes in for me, it's like you know I have a mindfulness practice every single morning and I do it some nights as well when I feel like I need to kind of create a little bit of gratitude and empty my mind and create that stillness so I can recharge my batteries knowing that I'm setting myself up for sleep, how many people go from looking at their phone or watching netflix or something and then you know they just turn everything off and they put their head on the pillow and expect to get to sleep man, you know, we've got these routines that we go through all throughout our life, but people just think they can just put their head on the pillow and go to sleep, it's like man, you need to set yourself up for that, like if we go into the gym, you know, you probably have a routine that you go through to go to the gym, maybe you take a pre workout workout, maybe put on some um some music maybe have a stretch, you get yourself in the right mindset and then you drive to the gym knowing exactly what you're gonna be doing.

People don't have the same thing with some form of meditative practice where they focus on their breath work, people don't have a practice where they unwind leading into sleep. How has your, has your mindset changed over the last couple of months since you have put a brake on the business? Like what are some of the challenges that you face going from being go go go all the time to now, trying to cultivate that stillness in your life? Uh definitely ongoing process. I'm very fortunate that a friend of mine who used to work for Tony Robbins has been doing sort of Tony Robbins training, which I'm sure has, you know, it's, there's nothing revolutionary comes in many shapes and forms, but um you know, looking at my belief systems, um looking at what motivates me and what propels me and so the more time that I spend doing that, I'm just, the layers of the onion are just going to sort of emerge.

Um and so I've I've become way more comfortable with sitting still because I know that my happiness, my clarity, my commitment to my next business endeavor will ultimately dictate the sort of the weight of that success, the speed of that success or failure um and rather than thinking about success is that sort of little success. Many people think of it like this kind of like the sort of thing like this, it's like this big Mr squiggle, I can definitely relate to that. Um And so, you know, when I'm feeling like I'm forcing something that's a bit of a universal signal that I'm on the wrong track and just sit back and to look at, you know, myself, how I can be a more sort of, comprehensive because I believe I'm happy, but I've clouded my degree of happiness with this really bad, like self sabotaging, sort of, it's like, one thing I was doing business, for example, is I'll preface everything I say with, I don't know anything about this, but I do, it's like I'm forcing I'm forcibly putting myself in underdog status, so, like, you know, I'm hiring a marketing agency to work for the company or something, I don't know anything about this stuff, You guys are the experts, and then I start building up this, because then they start talking down to me and someone I know I know way more than they did, and I'm like, okay, sit down, and so I was creating these dynamics all the time, because I felt that um so I think what it's trying to do is I'm trying to be the antithesis of what my father was, because, you know, he's 100 20 kg big guy, I was used as a punching bag for a good chunk of my life.

So I think, you know full circle, it does stem from childhood stuff, I never want to intimidate or sort of be overbearing on someone, but what has resulted in is being probably too much of a pacifist, allowing a situation to get to the point where I'm sort of the underdog or whatever and then sort of getting the kill switch and so what I'm trying to do now is to be a bit more balanced and be open with terrorism, very confident, have strong opinions on the open areas that I don't have strong opinions on and just recognized that ultimately I've tasted financial success, I've tasted failure. There's no difference in happiness based on those external sort of factors, probably the biggest change for me was getting engaged to a partner claire is Just even the engagement process for the first time in my life being a relationship with someone like this is the 1,000%, there's just no doubt in my mind that becomes the filter for everything else in my life?

And so it's like, how do you look at the war through a new lens? Yeah. How do I look at, how do I look at life? How do I be the best partner to her and the best father to our kids and I can't be that guy bouncing all over the world, doing business making should happen all the time because I'm gonna be an absent partner and father. I can't be picking the hardest fights in business because I'm going to be stressed out. Um, and so you're just using this time to sort of, you know, I heard something recently is probably where it was from was like, okay, I'm 39 There's a good chance of finding a motorbike accident, which is highly probable here in boot camp or something else where we can live 120. And so if that's the case your entire life, we're still in the first chapter of the three chapter book. So all those experiences good and bad and sort of be able to just pull the lens out and to look at your life like a broken second. What if what if anything's possible? Like what if I just want, what I want to become an artist, what if I want to become a musician, what if I want to do anything?

And yeah, I've definitely made that mistake of once they're judging people, but if I looked at someone because I was so tunnel focused on business, I couldn't understand why no one else why people might not be, but now I have much more appreciation if I see some yoga teacher who just loves teaching yoga and they've got no sort of financial aspirations. No, but they're just completely happy fulfilled and filled. Yeah. Um it's like a, you know, tim Ferriss book tools of titans, he talks about this guy probably watching this story, but some Wall Street guy who typical story work hard play hard was sort of burnt out goes to Argentina for a surf trip for a week extends for like three months, very common in place. Like how many people come here for a month and a year later, they're still here. Um, and just completely re evaluates everything in his life and recalibrated and goes back to new york, resigns as sort of a surf school in Argentina, most of his clientele from existing networks, so bankers, lawyers and so on and he said almost the exact same thing happens with all of them, they extend their trip and as they're leaving like man, if I could live your life that you can't, you can't can you know, because the kids are going to school and I'm due for promotion, but you have to be willing to let go of all those things.

Um you know, clear, like I love the idea that you know, you have to be willing to let go of good in order to be great, but that also lends itself to the hustle hustle hustle work work word, clear referring that little bit formation um in order to be happy, you have to be willing to let go of everything you think you are? Yes. So how do I attack my own identity and sense of self because if that's not as happy as I want to be, I would be willing to let go of all of it, you know, it can't come with strings attached, like I'm looking like all of these things but these things are and that's a really scary concept I think for most people of like to hit the refresh button of everything, everything you you think you are like what if you can't be, you know, S and C coach, you can't be coves to stop, but you can't be like 100% and this is, you know, the identity crisis that a lot of people have gone through with, you know, the pandemic, you know, people are, they become their identity is you know who they are, what they do and when they were no longer able to go into work, when they were no longer able to support their family, like their identity fell apart and this is where a lot of mental health implications have increased over the last year and a half or so and you know, there's a number of factors that are involved in that, but you know, a big problem that we are seeing is people losing their identity man, it's a big problem that has come up time and time again with myself as a veteran, you know, there was a period of time where I kind of lost my identity, where I was coding the sniper and I was my rank, Lance, corporal and I was this highly functioning soldier, but then once I got out the army, like I was no longer that was no longer that title.

Right? And then I had to reinvent myself and this is where, you know, sometimes we talk about leaning into the unknown and stepping into uncomfortable situations and sometimes we have a choice to do that. When we have a choice to do that, then it makes that transition easier. But when you don't have a choice to do that, that makes that transition so much harder. Because you're not the one that's saying, hey, I'm going to move from being this identity to recreating my identity. Now, it's just been stripped away from you. And I think that's where a lot of the problems come from. Yeah, I can I can relate to that in a business sense of having the rug pulled out underneath. You know, certain certain pivots weren't a decision, external circumstances created them. Um, but one of the things I try to remind myself of is it comes down to that sort of its respond to react and you know, the external circumstances are never fair.

But how each person deals with that is up to sort of personal sovereignty. Um, and the better your ability to sort of take stock of what's going on to maybe remove yourself from what's going on. And that's what I just try to look at the time perspective so much. I mean, you can look at it gives you a frame, right? It gives you a reference point. Yeah. Um okay, I took a little picture of the sunrise this morning and put on my instagram is like just sort of talk about the fact that the sun is about like five billion years old, five billion years, it's gonna like swap everything and it's like how big is that problem? You're like building up in your head and you're like um it's so easy to lose focus of the bigger picture. Like we're literally swimming in a soup of infinite possibility. Um and I think that's why a lot of people don't like going into the rabbit holes of like what is the nature of the universe? Like how big is this thing going and how long has this been around? Is there a multiverse and so on because unanswered questions unanswered questions, but I actually find a beauty in that and the fact that if you're brain is just kind of stuck in this groove of yeah, I used to be this and now I don't know what I am or I'm going through this situation right now, that's not fantastic is you can just kind of look back then none of this matters at all.

And it's like that Emerson quote, I've experienced many great tragedies in my life, some of which actually happened. And so how many, how many of the worst things that we're internalizing? Is that super critical self talk? It's what people think about, you know, fill in the blank, you know, how many times does anyone ever stopped you on the streets a cove sit down, This is why you're a piece of ship, this is why everyone doesn't like you, and this is why you're a failure, and this is why I like, they'll say that behind my back, never right. Um and for the people who say things behind people's backs, I've had stacks, that's a mirror man. Again, it's a reflection, right? Yeah, I've been guilty of it. There's definitely times in my life where I've trash talked someone behind their back, we all have and I always walk away from it feeling dirty and I tried to look at like what what was I what was I trying to do in that conversation?

Which lead me to talking badly about someone behind their back and recognizing that if I'm ever in a situation where someone is talking about about someone else to me, I think the pause button immediately, if I was sitting here trash talking someone we both know for an hour, you're not gonna walk with that man, I can't wait to hang out with Alex again. Like that was such an inspiring conversation. You know, it's a it's a net net negative, but we do it because of something within ourselves that we're trying to not even necessarily influence someone else? Maybe it's just we're trying to reaffirm something within ourselves a personal bias or belief system. Yeah, yeah, for sure man. I mean that's why I don't really, I don't hang out with too many people, man, so I just don't like drama and a lot of people do talk sh it about other people. I'm like, man, I don't want to be involved in that. I don't care about that, especially in your world because someone says something. Yeah, really, really pointed to me, which is fighters fight and you know, they've got a lot of spare time.

They're wired for sort of conflict and that conflict extends outside the ring and into their personal times. They're looking for that because they identify themselves as a fighter and then, you know, when they're not in that position, they're like, well, who am I? So they need to go and find that. Yeah, it's interesting, man, let's talk about some of the tools that you're using at the moment to cultivate that stillness and allow you to kind of find that peace in being able to sit and be with yourself. Um mindfulness is is one of those things and that this is a very, very new area for me. I'm not good with meditation. I've tried many, many times in the past. I could have tried harder. I will try harder. It's just been something that I've struggled to find the right methodology, which like all new habits, you know, you've got to force it until it becomes autopilot, you know, the way that you and I probably eat or train with, We're not over analyze this thing and you're on autopilot cruise control.

But I'm trying to look at to undo the way I have programmed myself over the last how many years. You know, for the most part, if I open up my emails, there's never a good news message on my WhatsApp. You know, it's never, you know, this how much money we made and everything is fantastic and it's great. It's usually like, this is today's disaster. And so I can look back and just, you know, well over a decade of just like, you know, waking up and just reaching over to that phone and like the very first thing I'm doing in the morning is just triggering cortisol and setting myself up to be reactive to whatever is happening and disempowering myself and sort of like, so for the rest of today, my brain started on, I can't control what drama's coming towards me. I gotta work. I had to deal with it and you're doing that day in day out forever. Um, so you know, I definitely limit, um, social media use. Um, I limit all inbound communications. So I try to be much more selective, which means you spend a lot of time apologize to be like, hey, sorry, didn't reply to you from like three days ago, but the biggest one is just the mindfulness of which lens do I walk into the world through.

And so my body has been doing this Tony Robbins training with me, did this experiment a couple weeks ago. Have you seen this video of people bouncing a basketball between each other and a gorilla? That was a new thing for me? And so I'm counting these kinds of basketball being bounced. He's like, what color? The gorilla gorilla? Watch your back. How could you miss that? 100%. How could you miss that? And and it was a really cool lesson for me of if I'm waking up and walking into the day thinking what bad ship is going to come my way today, then you're going to find that man and NLP talks about this lot diffusion and in terms of like what data imports am I pointing in? And so now I wake up and I would do like a guided meditation. Um why do you guard it? I got guided because maybe it's because I literally just woke up and you know, it's almost feel like that's a stepping stone to because I can meditate no by myself.

But I feel that in order for me to go from waking up and having half an eye open checking emails, two being an ocean of calm. I need, I need, I need a halfway point by having an external force control the guided meditation and allows me to do something better than Yeah, I love that. The reason I ask that is because obviously I want to take away actionable points for the audience listening. So if they want to, you know, if they find there's a lot of parallels with you and their lives, then you know they want to start creating some stillness and start some meditative practice of mindfulness practice. Then you know, there are stepping stones, you know, most people think meditation is emptying the mind and it's sitting there and not allowing thoughts come into your head. And if you think that that's what meditation is or that's what mindfulness is and you're not achieving that, then you think you're a failure. Mindfulness is not actually that mindfulness is allowing these thoughts to come into your head, not attaching meaning to them, letting them pass, letting them I mean we get like 60, thoughts in our mind every every day, man.

So you know, mindfulness for me is focusing its cultivating the ability to focus on you know what's important and discarding the rest. We got all these thoughts come into our mind. So allow them to come in and then allow them to walk back out again, allow them to come in, walk back out again and you're not attaching meaning, you're not attaching emotion to them and then afterwards you can go back and you can go all right, what was I thinking about? This? Maybe start slotting jotting things down and then you go all right, well these 20 thoughts don't really mean anything. It's just random bullshit. But these three thoughts, hey, these are things that I need to actually write that down. You look at your schedule, where can I put them in? You know, that's when you're gonna have, you're gonna create clarity, particularly first thing in the morning when you can't when you wake up, you're coming out of that R. E. M. Sleep where you're creating these neural connections between memory learning etcetera etcetera. You're creating these connections, man a lot of times, that's where people have most of their clarity around business ideas and things like that. So you know, it's about allowing these thoughts to come in and then jotting them down afterwards and then organizing them and putting them where they where they need to go.

And what that does is it allows you to just create an intention and it might just be focused on the breath. Focus on the breath. That's the one thing that I can control. These these thoughts come into your mind, let them pass back to the breath. You might only take two or three breaths before your mind starts running off. But as soon as you realize your mind runs off, you come back to the breath and that just cultivates that discipline to then focus on the things that you can control rather than things that you can't control. And as you said that guided meditation is a stepping a stepping stone because a lot of people again can't sit in a room by themselves and let their mind roam free because they don't know how to process that, they don't know how to deal with it. Whereas, you know, doing that guided meditation instead of focusing on your breath, you're focusing on the voice and you're paying attention to that, which is one of our sensors. That's all mindfulness. Mindfulness is, it's simply paying attention to your sensors a lot of times. I'll close my eyes because our visual system is so strong and we use it for the most part throughout the day, it's one of our primary feedback systems.

So I'll close my eyes and I'll just pay attention to my breath. But I'm also listening. I'm also smelling I'm feeling, you know, letting those thoughts pass and then processing them afterwards. Yeah, I definitely control my mornings. That's that's in terms of like the audience like actionable takeaways. I definitely subscribe to controlling the mornings that really sets the tone for the rest of the day. So what what have you changed from what you're doing before to what you're now doing over the last couple of months? So I think before I was much more disorganized and sort of chaotic and that was a relatively acute over the last five or six years, whereas previously I was very diligent in terms of like I wake up, I do this, this, this this this. Um so my morning routine is more focused on mental health and well being than it is physical health. So you know, I'm not one of these guys who wakes up and you know I have this many drops of lemon and Himalayan salt into this thing and then I do an ice bath for 28 seconds and then I do like 14.5 burpees to do some neural charge and um so I don't touch my phone at all apart from the alarm and setting.

So the very first thing upon waking up is a 10 minute guided meditation. Then I've got a book like even journaling was a new concept to me because you know you hear if your journaling it's like what does that mean? You just kind of like start incoherently rambling through the book, you know, turn into something like ted Kaczynski. Um um um so I've got a framework of sort of like a couple of areas, happy, happiness, excitement, um um great gratefulness. Um what about challenge? Challenge is is one of the growth and then so like for each one, I have a question that I was sort of right now to to what am I happy for today more than most, why am I happy about that? What do I hope to gain by being happy about this? And so I go through those that list very similar to have you read that book?

The lady who wrote the secret and she wrote the power and so she's got a process like this and it's a 30 day. The book is like a guide for a one-month process. And so each chapter is like one little thing. So day one is Write down 10 things that you're happy about. We're grateful for today. And then you do that every single morning, three days, then the next day you do this nighttime routine the next day you add this extra thing on. Um and so yeah, it's a my God meditation and then it's sort of a gratitude practice what I'm really trying to do by that is like that gorilla sort of videos. I'm trying to set my perception to what are all the things that I should be overwhelmingly happy about today. Um you know, I've got a list of things on my phone, which I just wrote down the truth in my notes section and I'm a big believer in affirmations. Um so I'll say, you know, I'm financially free.

I am successful. I'm loved by those who I love all these things, which deep down I know, but I, I've allowed the voices to sort of take over for a couple of times. So meditation sort of mindfulness practice of trying to my perception and some sort of affirmations. I then go for a walk first thing in the morning and watch the sunrise coming up, which for me is a beautiful moment of sort of like just it's recalibration. It's it's a blank. it's a blank canvas. It's an opportunity we all have every single day is to watch the sunrise carp and say anything is possible today. You know, I could have, I could have died in my sleeve. You know, I can choose to be the person I want to be or moving towards a person that I want to be today or I can be whatever. Um I love that. So, and I'll listen to an audiobook because I'm doing that or I'll mix it with a bit of a social sort of time, then I'll go to the gym and so what I'm trying to do is bank like personal growth, some sort of mindset stuff.

Um you know, I'll say something to my partner each morning, so I'm taking the boxes of like love, friendships, physical activity, so by about nine o'clock in the morning, even if the rest of the day, just whatever happens, I feel like I'm sort of moving the needle on those areas, which are the sort of Korea's that I should have value. And then as I got better at controlling of my morning, the diffusion start to happen to track your day and you start to realize, hey man, I'm, I'm suddenly okay not doing anything during the day, whereas before, if I had 10 minutes of downtime, I'm like, you lazy piece of sh it you're going to fail. You know, you're gonna affect everything. So I've got more comfortable being calm um and more comfortable with the unknown of like, I don't know what I'm going to do next, I've got some ideas, but until I know it was such a high degree of certainty that I'm willing to commit, fully willing to commit fully right now too, focusing on me to rebuilding myself to focusing on my health and vitality and all the rest because hey man, I've got two more chapters of life to go and so yeah, for anyone who's at a crossroads career wise, you know, whether it's career relationship, anything else and they're going through similar stuff, which is a lot of people are, you know, failing any other pearls of wisdom.

I think that the best that they possibly can do is to control that morning because sometimes I think it's easy when you're in the heat of battle metaphorically, um when people say just wake up and I'm just, I do my journaling and so what does that mean? And you know, some of our influences, you know, there's a stack of people on social media that some of them used to work for me, people I know and you know, last year they were, you know, Smoking ice and doing whatever now they're sort of like doing Instagram stories 18 times a day, you are the universe and it's totally, and he's like Jesus because the new age sort of cop phenomenon of enlightenment has become ah so cliche or confusing, it's hard to sort of like, okay, clara, the signal from the noise clarify mindfulness clarified being present otherwise it turns into this word salad is like, I'm just turning up being very authentic today sean and just thank you for also being present, but also being so vulnerable, like eventually for a second.

Uh you know, maybe I, I need to dial down my sort of like, like why that sort of triggers me like this kind of word salad sort of stuff, but to the people who have reached out to me who are also going through similar crossroads, typically the same sort of avatars, It's high profile business people, athletes, ex military people, all the people who have been a peak performer in their chosen domain. Maybe it's time for them to sort of hang up the boots or to move on. And now it's like, hey man, I have no idea, I've got no idea what to do next. And so I think that one of the things that there's a guy who's got a Youtube channel, Sean Ryan vigilance Elite XC, he'll write that down. Um, he does this really good long form podcasts as usually with special forces guys, law enforcement and so on and he's also very vulnerable, open, transparent, authentic and he talks about the fact when he worked for the CIA after seals and then end up with a bad coke problem alcohol, typical sort of story and people ask him how he got his life back on track, he said he literally changed everything, not just his actions throughout the day, he literally moved across the other side of the country, changed, changed what music he listens to.

He changed how, what clothes he wears. Because I think for all of the sort of positive messages that are out there, if you're still in an environment where it's the same group of friends and it's in the same job, you've got all the same environmental triggers. It's very difficult to overcome that. We don't have, you know, we've got this kind of prehistoric sort of biology. And so I really do subscribe to that idea is like as much as you possibly can change as many things in your environment as you practically can if you need to, if you need to to create that growth, because my life is super simple and easy here man. I love it that way. I've literally like the last 10 years, people like obviously been back in Thailand for a week now and people like how has it been back in Thailand? And I love my life, like it's so I'm so grateful for everything that I have and all the decisions that I've made to get me up to this point because my life is super simple. It's super easy, man, it's drama free, it's stress free and I love what I do every single day and you know, I choose to do these things, I'm not being forced to do these things.

Um so you know, if I want to change something then I need to change something, but right now I don't need to change anything. So if your life is really good and you're happy with where you're at, then sweet, you don't need to change anything. Maybe tweak and adjust and add a few little things in here where you know, you're looking at that personal growth and tweaking a few things to get you moving in the right direction or learning new things to continue growing and developing. But if you're in a position where you're not happy and you're miserable and you know, you don't like where you're at and you want to move yourself in a different direction, then absolutely, you need to create those changes and make those good habits, the path of least resistance because we do have this, people do fall into their identity. And if they are in a certain environment, like I know man when I'm around my army mates, like we don't catch up very often these days, every year I go back to Australia for ANZAC Day, it's like the one day of the year that all the boys put aside their own lives, families, etcetera, hang out for a couple of days, you know, talk shit, reminisce, throw back some beers and like as soon as we get around each other man, we just fall back to the soldiers that we were just talking, there's so much like trash talk and banter and swearing and things like that and it's just like that's the environment that we came up together through and as soon as we get back together, that's the same environment that we fall back into.

But then we know that that's only going to be for a couple of days and then you know, we go back to being the person that we are again. Yeah, it's very, it's very difficult to, I've often found that people who are struggling sometimes they stay in a certain environment because they feel like they need to be sort of delaying people below them and it's like, well look, you know, if I leave this environment, I'm not going to help other people. So it takes a lot of self awareness to go hey until you've got a certain bandwidth or a certain amount of capacity to actually affect other people. Um yeah, it's just an oxygen mask analogy, right? You've got to fix you before you can help anyone and you can try to be a hero and just hold your breath and try to help everyone on the plane, but I ain't going to work out too well, I love that analogy. Yeah. And so I've worked that out the hard way because even when I hear that in the airlines like yeah, I'm asking yourself like it's like it's like yeah, and and the best way that you can actually help other people is by being the best version of yourself and it's not a selfish endeavor.

It's actually selfless because when you're at your best then you can help others be at their best. Exactly, exactly. I love that man, That's a great place to start winding up the episode. Um, what I want to finish up with is a question that I asked most of my guests, the name of the podcast is live train perform, which stands for live life to the fullest, trained to your potential, perform at your best. What does that mean to you? Live life to the fullest, trying to your potential potential perform at your best perform your best. Okay, live life to the fullest for me would be literally like a if you could live 1000 lifetimes in one, then that is a rich life to me. So um travel, explore new experiences, new people, new ideas be open to all of it, you know, we're here in such a short period of time, there's so much to take in. So they're living life to the fullest would be just being open to all and seeking new experience because I'm personally a creature of habit, I'll find two restaurants alike.

Great, I'll be there forever. And so luckily my partner is much more adventurous than I am and by default, I have a lot more new experiences through her. Um trying to your potential, I definitely resonate with, I'm at a point now where the glory days are just kind of adding plates to the bar and bending steel sort of rear vision mirror and it's just about recalibrating. What do I suck at at this? Look at this. Unfortunately we get into things later in life, you know, banged up some discipline that recent introduces. So that's our bank shoulders a contract. So now I'm doing yoga, which I'm terrible at, but it's just a new way to start something from the ground floor, which is as long as there's no ego attachment is awesome because there's only one way you can go improve. It might be slowly, but you can't get any worse than terrible. So if you're starting point is absolute zero, then by default you have to be improving some to the speed and improving in something is way more fun than going on the decline and perform your best performing.

Your best would come down I think to I would really internalize that more as a impact on the world. How do I be the happiest, most content version of myself. So that in my business, in my social relationships, my romantic relationship, interacting with someone, taking my coffee order in the morning as much as possible that I can have that interaction being something which makes their day better. It's an extra smile. It's extra thank you as being very attentive listening to someone as opposed to just waiting for my turn to speak or sort of thinking about something else in the day, um and if if that is how I can conduct myself that today, that I think that the the world has more color and things are more enjoyable, so I guess that's how I summarized my understanding of what you, I love all of that for me, live train, perform like that is a self fulfilling prophecy, right?

Like if I'm living life to the fullest then I can change my potential, and if I'm training to my potential then I can perform at my best performing the best allows me to live life to the fullest, right? So um that's what it means to me man, but I always love hearing people's perspective when I say that mantra, I want to know what they, you know, comes up for them, but this has been an incredible conversation, I've really enjoyed it and I think the audience will definitely get a lot of actionable takeaways from this, So Alex really appreciate your time man, Thanks man, This episode was brought to you by Swiss eight, which is a proactive mental health program designed by veterans initially for veterans that has been pushed out to the wider community that allows you to structure in and schedule their eight pillars of health and wellness, including nutrition, sleep, time management, discipline, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimalism. This episode was also brought to you by be spunky, which is a male hormone optimization supplement that I've been taking for about a year and a half now. Absolutely rate. It is a TJ listed nutraceutical, meaning that it's made from all organic produce to help you manage and optimize your stress levels, which in turn increases your ability to improve testosterone production levels naturally.

User code codes 10 at checkout for your 10% discount. All of those links will be in the show notes. If you've got some benefit from this episode, please make sure you pass it off to your friends and family. I'd appreciate any shares on social media platforms. If you tag me or if you share it to your stories, make sure you tag me so I can share that as well. 25 star ratings and reviews are much appreciated. Much love guys, Peace.

"Success almost drove me over the edge"
"Success almost drove me over the edge"
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