Mindset & Self-Improvement [Notes from an Impactful Podcast]

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Self-improvement, morning rituals, and mindset are what I’ve been focused on the last few months. While I may have been absent from blogging, I haven’t been absent from working towards bettering myself and improving my overall business strategy (check out the business model canvas if you want to improve this).

One of the ways I’ve been doing that is to listen and read more self-development type podcasts/books, vs strictly tactical business and entrepreneurship concepts.

My newest addiction is the Impact Theory podcast with Tom Bilyeu, founder of Quest Nutrition. Sure, he is an entrepreneur, and a lot of the concepts relate to business, but most of the episodes are focused more on foundational and improving your mindset around many aspects of life.

I’ve been taking my dog on long walks in the morning to get some of his energy out. I usually listen to a podcast on the walk, and recently I listened to Tom Bilyeu interviewing Ed Mylett. I had no idea who this guy was, but all I have to say is, holy sh**.

This episode has so many great “knowledge bombs” that I just had to share.

I do recommend listening before watching this video because you just get more out of it in my opinion but here are both options:

Listen on iTunes: Episode 80 – What Everyone Struggling Needs to Know Right Now

Be Honest About Your Situation

One of his favorite quotes is from Malcolm X:

“That which you do not hate, you will eventually tolerate.”

He goes on to explain that most people stay average because they aren’t being honest about their situation.

We often say “oh I’m just a little pudgy” instead of “no you’re a fatass.” He says “we don’t magnify the degree at which that pain ought to be affecting you.”

So you get out of your life what you accept. What you tolerate and what you think you’re worth is exactly what you’re going to bring into your life.

Feel the Full Pain of What You’re Going Through

Ed says he lets himself feel the full pain and the difficulty of the situation and not being where you want to be. Whether it’s health, fitness, spirituality, business, etc. Because when you don’t, you’re essentially sugarcoating the situation you’re in.

At first glance, this is going to seem a little controversial as we often hear that we all tend to be too hard on ourselves and we need more self-love. But I am now all for this change in mindset once I heard the full extent of it.

I think this is such a great insight because when you minimize the feelings around the pain, you’re giving yourself an out. You’re essentially saying, I’m just a little unhappy, or I only have a little credit card debt. It’s not that big of a deal.

And then two years later you find yourself depressed and in $20k of credit card debt.

NO – we need to be honest. You’re broke. You’re unhappy. It’s not going to get better until you really get honest with yourself around where you are falling short.

This is critical for me because I’ve always been the type of person to just say “no it’s fine” or “no big deal”, “I’ll figure it out.”

But I NEVER DO. I just bury it somewhere inside of myself and move on. Which obviously is not the healthy way to approach things.

There are 2 motivators in life:

  1. The gaining of pleasure – that high you get from chasing the dream
  2. The avoidance of pain – making sure you work through something because the pain of not doing so is much worse.

He says he must leverage both of those to get himself to take action. I never thought of it this way – use your reasons and “why” around doing something and chasing that goal, but don’t let yourself slack off and not follow through by reminding yourself of what will happen if you don’t finish what you set out to.

Reward Yourself for Accomplishments

This part was really eye-opening for me, and I can tell is going to cause a huge shift in the way I go about my life.

People always think, I’ll be happy when…..

  • I make this much money
  • I marry the right person
  • Buy my dream house

The problem is the finish line always moves. When you get that dream house, next you want the kids. When you have the kids, next you want to make a million in business so you can save for their college. When you make a million, you want to make 2 million, and on and on.

And that’s the way it should be – if we stayed stagnant, life would get pretty boring really quick.

But because the finish line always moves, it’s hard to be grateful for what you’ve accomplished when you always have your eyes on the next goal.

People think (myself included) that if they stop and congratulate themselves for something they’ve accomplished, they’ll lose their drive and ambition.

What we don’t realize is that when you don’t stop to congratulate yourself on actually getting to where you wanted to be, your mind and body think you’re doing a bad job.

A State of Blissful Dissatisfaction

Being in a state of blissful dissatisfaction was a new concept for me.

Think about when you buy a great steak (or excellent meal of choice for those who don’t eat meat), you take that first bit and it tastes SO good it almost puts you in a blissful state.

That bliss causes you to want more of it. So when you do something great and you reward yourself for having accomplished that, your body wants more of the reward. So you’re going to keep accomplishing things.

Rewarding yourself for accomplishing a goal doesn’t cause you to lose your drive and motivation, if anything, it causes you to want more accomplishments and rewards.

If you constantly cheat yourself out of that dopamine hit, why is the body and mind going to want to be motivated to get anything done?

I’ve ALWAYS struggled with this and never even thought about stopping to give myself a reward for having accomplished something. I just keep trucking – which is probably why I hit burnout recently.

blissful dissatisfaction

It may sound basic, but when I just heard this again (I listened to this episode 3 times) I was thinking about how I get my dog to do stuff.

If he accomplishes something I ask him to do, he gets a treat. When I stop giving him that treat he may keep doing it for a little while hoping that he’ll get a treat again soon – but eventually he’s going to revert back to his old ways.

I think it’s similar to what we go through as humans and business owners. Youget your first client and you reward yourself because – well damn it’s your first client! That’s exciting; money coming in the door!

But then you slowly stop seeing that as an accomplishment, your mind stops being excited about it, and eventually you’re going to stop focusing on that thing as much. It might eventually get to the point where you might stop performing at a top level on sales calls, or focus more energy on something else.

Give yourself those rewards!

Self Confidence Comes from Self Awareness

Ed Mylett says that some of the best entrepreneurs are extremely aware of their shortcomings and want to improve those so they can get to the next version of themselves.

He was insecure and shy and introverted, so he had to work at it to build up his self-confidence. He says the most important shift that’s happened was when he started making promises to himself and….here’s the kicker….actually keeping those promises.

Sounds simple right? It is, but it’s not easy.

I’ve heard this concept of self-commitment on at least 5 other podcasts in the last few weeks and it’s just blown me away every time.

Keep the Promises You Make to Yourself

If you tell yourself you’re going to do something, go DO IT. No excuses.

If you say you’re going toget up 30 minutes earlier in the morning, you have to actually follow through. If you snooze the alarm clock that first day, you’re going to keep snoozing and you’ll never reach that goal.

The minute you begin to get external in your life, and worry about what other people think about you – you’ve lost all control and it never fills you up. People’s gratitude towards you will never fill you up inside. It’s your own.

His self confidence comes from making promises to himself AND being aware he’s doing it. Most people don’t give themselves enough credit.

But as mentioned above, you need to stop and actually congratulate yourself for the promises you did keep:

  • “I ate healthy this morning like I said I was going to.”
  • “I did go on a walk today and it made me feel better.”
  • “I woke up early this morning like I said I would.”

Instead of what we usually say to ourselves:

  • “I’m so stupid, I gave in and ate that piece of chocolate after lunch.”
  • “I didn’t walk as far as I should have.”
  • “I didn’t get as much done this morning as I should have.”

I’m super guilty of this one too. I get a lot of work done and get a lot of steps in throughout the day, but then I’ll have one beer and hate myself for it. Why?

I got through so much work that’s actually moving my business forward, maybe I should be congratulating myself with the beer.

You see how that reframe works? Then we can stop hating ourselves for the little mistakes, and loving ourselves for the big wins.

Of course, you can’t reframe every single thing in life to be a positive, but most of the time you’re really not failing or doing as bad as you’re telling yourself you are.

Rewarding yourself for keeping promises you’ve made leads to self-gratitude, and that leads to more confidence.

Self confidence comes from keeping promises self awareness, self gratitude.

When you’re at rock bottom, or at least feeling down, gratitude is something that will help pull you out of those deep, dark places. It sounds counterintuitive, but you have to start with the little things you do have that you can be grateful for.

  • Your spouse
  • Having a warm meal
  • Being able to walk
  • Being able to go outside and have the sun hit your skin

You have to find something you can be grateful for. Ed calls this “stacking gratitude” and take inventory of your life.

Ed’s Morning Routine

I’m always fascinated by other people’s morning routines, so I wanted to include this quick summary of what he was explaining his to be:

  • Something cold (like a shower or jump in the ocean – he lives waterfront, must be nice! 🙂 This shocks nervous system and gets the blood going.
  • Prayer and meditation
  • He doesn’t touch his phone for the first 30 minutes – hardest thing to do, but can change your world – I want to try to incorporate this into my routine.
  • Stretching
  • Breathing exercises
  • Working out every morning except for Sunday

Why Exercising is Important

“We do emotions. There is a correlation between the way you move your body and your emotions. You can’t be in full workout mode jumping around and running and be depressed.”

This is an interesting concept, but I don’t want this to be misconstrued as “you can fix depression by working out.” I think as a whole that’s false, but I do think working out can help ease depressive thoughts.

No I’m not a doctor and I don’t suffer from chronic depression, but knowing people who do and have this experience, combined with multiple other sources makes me think there is some meat to this theory.

Ed goes on to explain that the quickest way to change our behaviors, our emotions and our state is to move our body.

I do find that when I’m feeling frustrated or annoyed, starting to get angry, if I put on my running shoes and go on a run I feel better almost instantly.

The main thing I love about his whole rant on exercise, is the concept of “the last set.”

He says to always push yourself to do one more set, one more rep. You should always go the extra inch, and the quickest and easiest place to do it is in the gym.

It helps show you who you are and help you shift your identity.

 “When I see guys who are successful entrepreneurs and they’re jacked — that never surprises me.” – Tom Bilyeu

Identity Drives Behavior

If you want to change your behaviors, you have to change your identity.

Identity is the invisible force that you need to get ahold of and that can completely change your life.

You can be thinking great thoughts and doing all the other things, but if you’re not consistent with your identity, it’s not going to last very long.

5 people you spend most time with

“Identity is like a thermostat sitting on the wall.”

Once you get your identity set at a certain temperature, it will always find a way to come back to that temperature, no matter what.

“If the blizzard of life came in, the thermostat will kick on and get you back to that warmer temperature.” BUT the reverse is also true.

If you’re having a great day, awesome things are happening, but your thermostat is set for 80 degrees, it’s going to find a way to come back down over a period of time.

He says that the key is to be able to shift that identity to a higher level.

There are a few ways to change your identity:

  1. Surround yourself with people who have higher thermostat settings
    We always hear about how we are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. And this is just another reason why those people matter so much. The people around you change your thermostat by association.If you’re hanging around people who are set at 60 degrees in all aspects of life, your 80 degrees will find a way to come down and match them. But if you are hanging around people who are attacking life with a 200-degree thermostat, your thermostat is going to start shifting up towards those numbers as well, allowing you to drastically improve your mindset, identity, and confidence.
  2. Doing short bursts of something in a window of time you have not done them before and they change the thermostat temperature permanently. He says to do some activity, have some number of successes or achievements within a short window of time.
    • Getting a certain amount of appointments in a small window
    • Completing a certain amount of workouts in the gym
    • Doing a blogging challenge for 30 days

He says you’ll never be the same again. You can come back down a little bit, but not back where you were but going through experiences like that will change your thermostat permanently.

Be Willing to Take Criticism

This is how you get out from under the weight of expectations and people’s thoughts about you.

Be willing to take advice and criticism from your friends, peers, and customers. Don’t get mad when people are trying to give you advice – learn from it.

He is constantly in a crisis to get to the next version of him. He doesn’t want to be the same person next year as he is today which makes him super open to hearing criticism from others, because it will help him figure out how to get to that next level.

You are perfect as you are now, but next year you’ll be the old model if you stay the same. You have to be hungry to get to the next version of you.

listen constructive criticism

Take the feedback from people and don’t let it make you feel bad about yourself, they’re trying to help you (for the most part).

Your past can never be bigger than your future. Once you’ve done something, figure out what you need to do and become in order to get to that next thing.

Be surrounded by people who are messaging you about always going after the next thing. Don’t surround yourself with people who are comfortable with the place they’re in.

This part started to sound a little like “always get more money”, but It’s not about more money. It’s about having more experiences, more love, more joy, more growth, and most importantly – more impact.

Leverage Your Reasons, not Your Goals

Ed’s uncle died at a pretty young age and so when he heard about this new heart scan he scheduled it immediately. He went in, got the scan, and when the doctor came in he said “I can’t believe those arteries are in that young of a body.”

He had mentioned to the doctor that his wife was pregnant with a baby girl, and after seeing the results, the doctor said “do you want to walk your daughter down the aisle, or are you okay with it being another man.”

Wow. That’s the power of reasons.

That’s what drives him to be healthy, to go to the gym when he feels like crap and doesn’t want to.

No goal of wanting to lose body fat would ever get you to the gym the way a reason like that would.

Your Obsessions Become Your Possessions

You have to go out and touch your dreams. Experience it, even for a second.

If you want to live in a certain area, go visit there as often as you can.

He used to scrape money together every few months and go stay at the Ritz Carlton for a single night if he did well in business that quarter. Actually being there, even just for one night, allowed him to more vividly envision his life and being there regularly.

Visually seeing your goals over and over is powerful, but going to “touch your dreams” is extremely powerful. It becomes more familiar to your brain.

You begin to believe you belong there, and your brain will start finding ways of making that a reality.

touch your dreams

Look, some of this is a little “woo woo” but I actually like this concept. Even if it doesn’t work, what’s the problem with experiencing your dreams at a small scale? I don’t see a downside to this one at all.

You will probably not produce many things in your life that you haven’t thought about, envisioned, dreamed about or experienced thousands of times. So if you want to end up somewhere you better be visiting them. Drive by the neighborhood, experience it and you’re increasing your chances that you’ll be there again.

“Chase down the version of you that you were born to be.”

How I’m Implementing What I’ve Learned Here

In an effort to stop consuming mass quantities of information and not acting on any of it – like I’ve done for the last 4 years – I’m creating this little section to help me work through how I’m going to implement this stuff.

I’d love to hear advice and suggestions on how you plan on using any of this too, if this was helpful for you, if you’d like to see more of these, etc.

Being Honest About My Situation

I’ve been depressed the last few months. I went through burnout because I pushed myself too hard in business to cover up the emotions I was feeling in my personal life. I ended up pulling back from getting emotionally close to people I loved because nothing was going right and self-sabotage started to kick in.

I’m still not sure I’m moving in the right direction, but by bringing these truths to the forefront, I’m slowly finding my path.

Feeling the Full Pain of the Situation

1. Health/Body

I’m unhappy with my body at the moment. Do I think I’m fat? No. I have a little extra, but nothing I’m truly unhappy with.

What does make me unhappy is that I’ve been telling myself for years that I was going to get fit, feel more confident about myself when I walk into a room, and be able to hold my own if someone attacked me on the street.

Truth: I’m lazy. I’m unmotivated. I don’t follow through.

How I’m Improving: I applied to be coached by a personal trainer who teaches strength, exercise, and nutrition.

If I don’t get in, I’m going to make my own regimen of doing cardio and lifting weights every day. I’m currently researching nutrition and figuring out my next steps.

2.  Business

I’ve been skating through and not putting my best effort forward into growing my business. Sure, I’m doing good work, sure I’m helping people. Am I helping as much as I want? No. Am I building the systems and processes I’ve said I was going to so I can hire someone and grow? No.

Truth: I’m scared of failure, I’m scared of success. And it’s pretty much kept me stagnant for the last 6-8 months.

How I’m Improving: I applied for and got into a business coaching program put on by a local community college. Damn it’s making me realize just how far behind I am in making what I do a “real business.” So many good lessons and changes coming to this site as a direct result!

C.  Self-Care

I always push myself too hard, It’s just how I operate. I never feel like I’m doing enough or getting ahead.

Truth: I’m “working” but not getting anywhere and it’s because I’m so burnt out I can’t think straight about what the right thing to do next is. I’m hiding from my life in my work.

How I’m Improving:

  • I started meditating regularly. Today marked 18 days of consecutive meditation which I’m super proud of. I’m actually following through on something! 🙂
  • I’m scheduling time into my calendar to do things I enjoy doing. Like going hiking for instance. Every Saturday I’ve blocked off time to ride the train up to the trailhead (I don’t own a car) and get to it. Being in nature makes me feel free, and pushes me to work out longer than I would otherwise because the view is so extraordinary I just keep going.
  • I started talking to a therapist. I signed up with Talkspace recently and I’m actually enjoying it. It’s been a few weeks and I’m just now starting to feel like this is actually helping. I’m going to keep going with this one at least for a few months.

Live in a State of Being Blissfully Dissatisfied

As I mentioned above, I push myself too hard. Acknowledging my wins always seemed like something for people who “needed that kind of thing.” I was tougher than that and didn’t need self-gratitude.

Boy how wrong was I.

How I’m Improving:

Celebrate the wins. Even the small ones.

Keep the Promises You Make to Yourself

This is probably one of the more impactful things I’ve been struggling with my whole life and not even realizing it.

  • “I’m going to eat healthy for 30 days” – 4 days in I have a donut
  • “I’m going to start going to the gym every day” – 5 days later, I stop going and the momentum is gone.

Lately, I’ve been doing well with this, starting with my morning routine. I’ve been meditating, and after that I read for about 45-60 minutes, which I really enjoy.

Every time I catch myself making a promise I know I won’t keep, I either stop thinking about the concept, or actually commit to doing it. It’s hard but it’s important.

Identity Drives Behavior

“Doing short bursts of something in a window of time you have not done them before.”

As soon as I heard this, I was immediately thinking I need to challenge myself to do something for 30 days. Since I’ve been the absolute worst at posting on a consistent basis, I figured, why not push myself to publish once a day for 30 days?

So that’s that – I’m going to be publishing a post every day for 30 days starting on August 6th. I would say August 1st because it sounds better, but the past few weeks have been a little hectic (I went to Podcast Movement and ended up with a concussion that’s really impacted my workflow lately). I’m trying to be realistic and not start off as a failure 🙂

So here we go, 30 days of blog posts coming at ya! The theme is going to be building a strong foundation for your business. I’ll be sharing tips I’ve learned in this business coaching program, and general insights I think many business owners skip because they aren’t sexy.

I plan to incorporate videos and audio into these posts to make them more interactive, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here 🙂

If you’re interested in getting notified when the challenge starts, or if you want to do your own challenge along with me, sign up below!

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