Some Practical Thoughts On Mental Health

Fall of 2016, I’m working as full-time employee in sales and part time as an entrepreneur. Naturally, as a salesman and speaker, my voice became my livelihood. Fortunately for me, I started to get the hang of it! At work, I was making a significant contribution to my team. As a speaker, I was being recognized as one of Toronto’s up-and-coming talents. Unfortunately, however, any threat to your livelihood, can be debilitating. And for me, the threat was real.

In October of 2016, I developed severe pain in my throat. Not being one to complain, I worked through an entire week of sales paying the throbbing in my throat little attention.

Huge mistake.

I woke up Saturday morning, my throat was raw and my voice, gone. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem at all if I was sick! But I wasn’t. I felt normal, except an excruciating pain whenever I spoke.

Days went by, nothing changed. I called in sick to work, my recovery didn’t progress. Finally, I’m sitting in the emergency room at Sunnybrook hospital. The doctor walks and checks my paperwork.

“Your throat?”

I nodded yes.

“Does it hurt?”

I nodded as a tear rolled down my cheek.

“Okay, let’s take a look.”

As the doctor walked away to get the long tube she would soon be pushing up my nose and down my throat, the tears flowed. I couldn’t control myself. All of the hard work that I’d been putting in to progress as a speaker, all of the hours I had been rehearsing, the career that I was building and the dreams I was dreaming, was it all for nothing?

I was devastated.

I felt defeated and wondered if I was going down the wrong path. I asked myself all the questions we ask ourselves when hit with obstacles… Is this even worth it? Was I making a difference? Why me?

Just when I felt that I had found my calling, my voice abandoned me…

The diagnosis was simple, I had extreme inflammation and irritation in my throat. The doctors order was a minimum of a week with no speaking, although it should be closer to 2-3. The following months felt like high school all over again. I felt the cloud of negativity slowly moving in and weighing down on me. One of my greatest assets was at risk. Moreover, some of the simplest of tasks, those we take for granted everyday, became a chore. I no longer wanted to talk to my parents or girlfriend and I started hating my job.

My focus shifted from my goals, dreams, and hopes only a few weeks prior, to everything that was wrong, unfair, and challenging about my life. I felt depressed, but this time, I knew how to handle it. 

Even though It’s been over a year since my throat injury and I still experience irritation every time I speak, I credit the successful rebound of my mental health, from Crisis mode to healthy, because of the lessons I’ve learn in the last four years living depression free. With that, I want to share some practical thoughts on mental health. It may not be the most popular, but it’s effective, and I’d like you to consider sharing this with someone who may need it.

Mental health, like physical health, has a spectrum 

Personally, my first step to identifying whether or not I, or someone I know, needs support and it’s urgency is to see where we fall on this spectrum. As much as it would be nice to think that everyone could be healthy all the time, it’s important to consider that stress does not discriminate. Regardless of your background, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic conditions, everyone experiences stress, and therefore it would be naive to believe that you or I, would never have challenges with our mental health.

Mental Health Spectrum.png

This is where it’s practical to distinguish the difference between mental illness and mental health. Does everyone have a mental illness? No. Does everyone have mental health? Yes.

Where you, your friends, or family, are currently positioned on this spectrum depends on the stress (not all is created equal), the duration of those stressors, and the strategies you’re using to cope and what you choose to focus on. For example, small stressors, that happen over a week, tackled with the right strategies, will result in your ability to remain within yellow if not green. Comparatively, overwhelming stressors, over a long period of time, left unchecked without the proper strategies will have you struggling if not experiencing a crisis.

I’d like to challenge you to do an inventory of where you’re currently positioned on the spectrum. Our minds, emotions, and behaviours vary over time and even though you were feeling great yesterday doesn’t guarantee exuberant happiness next week. Use this spectrum as a tool. Check in with yourself frequently, as I do, to measure every few weeks or months (at the least) how you’re feeling and if there is any need to reach out for help.

The law of impermanence

Although I still feel irritation in my throat when I speak, it’s nothing compared to the original pain I experienced in October of 2016. As I began to cope with the idea of speaking through pain and what an incredible injustice I’d received, I took a tip right out of the Buddhist playbook.

Buddhist philosophy states,

“Fluctuations are an inherent fabric of life. Because nothing is permanent, attachment to the ups leads to inevitable suffering. Conversely, aversion to the downs is illogical because those too shall pass.”

Given the practical nature of this post, it’s only too fitting to realize that it would have been illogical for me to expect that the excruciating pain would last forever. Life, like nature, is cyclical. After day we get night. After fall we experience winter. If life is like nature, why would I have expected anything less than the occasional struggle? And in that struggle, why would I expect anything other than for it to soon pass?

When I first hurt my throat, I thought that was the end. I’d never be able to speak again, I’ll never make a difference, it was completely disempowering. But the truth is, it’s not our circumstances that are disempowering, it’s our mindsets. Every time we’re hit with obstacles and challenge, we focus immediately on the permanence of that problem.

It’s so easy for us to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story we tell ourselves, and to think that our entire life hinges on one thing we’ll barely remember 5-10 years later. That seemingly all-important thing could be anything causing you stress from a bad grade, getting into college, a relationship, divorce, even getting fired.

What matters is not trying to avoid the stress, or avoid the obstacles, what matters is how we perceive the struggle.  Can we really be that attached to comfort and constant progression that every regression and difficulty will knock us me course?

Well it shouldn’t, and it no longer does for me.

If you’re currently experiencing the summer, where everything is going right, and you’re feeling incredible mental health, congratulations! Keep it up and squeeze every last drop out of it. Just know…

Winter is coming

And guess what, when the winter comes and the stress follows, it’s okay, that too shall pass. If you never experienced the down’s of life, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the ups.

Just ensure, that when the winter does come, you’re prepared.

The only practical approach is a proactive approach

The tools and strategies we need to use in order to move ourselves from right to left, from crisis to healthy on the mental health spectrum, are often well known. Therefore in order for us to ensure our mental health we need to focus on making common sense, common practice. Intentionality, or proactivity, is often the difference between health and crisis.

Below is a brief list of practices that can be used in order to be proactive about mental health and resiliency under stress:

  1. Exercise 3-4x per week (yoga, sports, weight training, cycling, running, martial arts, etc)
  2. Express yourself through your art (dance, painting, music, etc)
  3. Reduce or eliminate refined and processed foods
  4. Eat real foods, mostly plants, not too much 
  5. Practice Sleep hygiene and create a consistent sleep schedule  (7-9 hours of sleep a night)
  6. A daily practice of mindfulness – Gratitude journal, meditation, deep breathing, etc
  7. Having clear goals and priorities resulting in a sense of direction
  8. Develop relationships and communities that you can be open and transparent with your emotions
  9. Work with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist, for professional support (if necessary)
  10. Have regular self-check in’s to determine where you stand on the mental health spectrum

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Everyone is an individual, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for the next. Now, I have highlighted numbers 1, 4, 5, and 7. This is intentional because they are the big levers you can pull in order to establish long-term and reliable mental health. 

When I’m slipping on the spectrum, or simply getting stressed, this is the first place I look. I’ll ask myself, am I moving enough? Am I eating and sleeping right? Are my goals giving me a clear sense of direction and clarity about my life? If any of those four are off, I’ll likely be moving in the wrong direction.

As an example, in 2011 when I experienced a crisis in my own mental health, none of these four levers were in place. I had quit all my sports and wasn’t exercising. I was craving and demanded sugar daily (multiple chocolate chip pancakes and a dozen chocolate granola bars, in fact). I stayed up past midnight for weeks and wondered why I couldn’t wake up in time for school. And I had no goals or sense of direction.

Furthermore, I spend a lot of time today thinking about and working with teen mental health through my public speaking. When parents come to me asking for advice for their teens, I virtually always start with these four levers. Are they exercising and how often? How much sugar do they consume and what does their overall diet look like? How many hours a night do they sleep and is it consistent? And finally, do they have a sense of direction? Do they have goals? Are they inspired?

This approach is not only extremely effective for working with teens, they can also be used effectively with individuals of all ages. What I hope you’re saying to yourself at this point is that this is all very common sense. Because, than you’d be right. If that’s the case, congratulations. Now it’s your responsibility to ensure that what is common sense to you, becomes a proactive common practice for you, your family, and your community.

I strongly believe that in the vast majority of cases, your mental health is in your hands. How you deal with stress, your philosophy on obstacles, setbacks, and roadblocks, and finally your daily habits, are at your control.

This is practical and rational.

And as much as mental health is an extremely sensitive topic, these are my beliefs. These are the beliefs that were developed out of necessity, through my own struggles with depression, anxiety, and crisis. My hope, is that they serve you as they have for me in sickness and in health.

Please share this with someone who needs it. One idea could be all they need to unlock a new mindset and point them in a new, empowering direction. The power of change is in your hands!

Mental health pic

Ps. If supporting mental health is important to you, I’m currently raising money for Canada’s largest youth led summit on mental health. We need your support! Please donate here or share this link with someone that would like to support mental health in Canada.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight but you can change the direction.”




The Profile Of A Champion: Doing More Than Expected

One of the most important rules of personal economics I ever learned was from Jim Rohn. Jim’s unique philosophy is this,

“we get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time to bring value marketplace, but we get paid for the value, not the time.”

My whole life I learned about hourly wages. About punching a clock and getting paid x dollars for the time I put in. I quickly learned that thinking was wrong. Jim challenged me and in this post I want to do the same for you.

Why is it that one person can make only $20 an hour, when another person can make $100 an hour? Why is it that with the same background, the same ethnicity, living in the same country and with everything the same, one person can make two times, three times or five times the money that someone else makes? The answer, value. Value makes the difference in economic results. And when I observe the champions of our world, they’re focused on providing more value than their being paid for. They go above and beyond their peers through work ethic, thoughtfulness and generosity. They do more than is expected. 

At Venture for Canada training camp I met a lot of champions. One in particular, caught my eye quite literally. Camp was a casual setting with most people dressed relaxed. We wore jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Ryan however, was always dressed professionally. He wore a clean button down with dress pants and shoes. He was sharp, respectful, and walked with an air of confidence. He immediately stood out as someone who respected himself and how he was perceived by others. I knew I wanted to get to know him.

Ryan Cobb headshot

As I got to know Ryan better, I quickly understood that dressing professionally was only one of many ways he did more than expected. From being the first member of his family to go to University, all the way to running for Fredericton City Council in a municipal election, Ryan consistently goes above and beyond what is expected. Born and raised in Riverview New Brunswick, Ryan’s first exposure to the profile of a champion was through his father. Owner of a local funeral home, Ryan’s father instilled in him the importance of giving time, energy and respect to others no matter their background.

Clearly those early lessons paid off. Today, Ryan’s willingness to do more than expected has shown up in his value to the marketplace.

In my opinion there are three reasons to do more than expected.

Your Example Empowers Others

In both his social and professional life, Ryan has become a servant leader. He believes the first responsibility he has as a leader is to those surrounding him. Anyone reading this that aspires towards getting promoted, making more money, and feeling more joy and fulfillment can benefit from embodying this thought,

You can be a champion in your own life, but you can always be a champion in someone else’s life.” – Ryan Cobb

It wasn’t until Ryan became a servant leader that his true value was realized. In his second year of University, he decided to become a residence assistant. An RA is tasked to facilitate the social, academic, and personal adjustments of first year students coming into University. A role that already presented a myriad of responsibilities, Ryan became a pillar for his students to lean on. He took it upon himself to be the best role model possible.

Ryan intentionally dressed sharp. Was always smiling. Was respectful with every student. He Showed up early for class. And was cheerful and enthusiastic everyday. He believes that no matter the personable stresses and troubles we’re dealing with, we can always choose to have the right mindset. Ryan shared a story with me about a young man in his first year who was skipping classes and had a poor attitude. After a few months of watching Ryan’s example, greeting people in the halls, attending every class, and being excited about his time as a student, the young man approached him. He said, he had been skipping class all semester. But after seeing Ryan’s example, hadn’t missed a class since the Christmas holidays a few months before.

What type of example are you setting for the people around you?

Are you giving your best self today?

Do you showing up with a contagious enthusiasm that will empower others to feel the same way? 

The champion does. The champion leads from the front. They set the tone. They’re always willing to sacrifice whats easy for whats right. The champion does not forget the “small things” like thanking those around them, working for others, and always lending a hand. They know there’s great impact in the small things.

You Will Be Valued

If you want to quickly add more value (making you more money), get promoted into a leadership role. Leaders with the habit of doing more than expected virtually always cultivate the most respect, admiration, and work ethic from their teams.

Completely unqualified, Ryan told me about his job working for a truck driving company. Put in charge of a team of twenty truck drivers double his age, most people would expect to be discounted for being young and inexperienced. Not Ryan. His habit of doing more than expected meant that he took time and energy to get to know each and every driver personally. He had empathy for them. He knew how hard it must have been for them to put in ridiculous hours on the road. To live in their trucks and be away from their family for weeks.

“If you want to be valued, value other people first” – Ryan Cobb

The personal relationships that he built payed huge dividends. It meant that his team felt comfortable with his leadership. They were able to have difficult conversations. And ultimately, when Ryan left the company, eight of the drivers came into the office to wish him well on his next journey. Completely unheard of in that line of work.

Do you want to be truly valuable to your company? To your family? To your friends? 

Than take heed on Ryan’s advice as I am, value others more than expected. The champion gives people they care about their time, energy, and patience. At the end of the day you will be valued and respected.

You’ll Begin To Think Big

Just like a young child, the champion is a big thinker. They believe in possibilities for themselves and society most people can’t imagine.But, if you’re not a big thinker today, it’s okay. Neither was Ryan.

Ryan shared that he didn’t always do more than expected. He didn’t always believe in himself. As he was growing up, he learned to be afraid of being wrong. That fear crippled his thinking.

He had thought for a long time about running for the Municipal Government. Yet, like most people, he was afraid of what people would think of him. Afraid of embarrassing himself. Afraid of rejection and a potential loss that would crush his confidence. He wasn’t thinking big. He was focused on the obstacles instead of the possibilities. 

I asked Ryan what had changed. Why did he finally decide to run for office, despite the feelings he had recently experienced? Here’s what Ryan said,

The accumulation of my experiences from my Undergraduate degree, being an RA, living alone, and managing many teams made me realize that I’d be better off losing, than living with the regret of never trying.”

All of Ryan’s experiences of doing more than expected lead to a clear boost in his confidence. When you empower others, you empower yourself. When you value others, you value yourself. As Ryan developed as a leader, he built the belief necessary to think big. Without big thoughts, you will never be willing to venture out, take action and execute on your ideas. 

I know that Ryan has an incredible future ahead of him. He’s demonstrated the willingness to be and do more than expected. He’s dedicated to adding value to his peers, community, and his companies. I know without a shadow of a doubt, this young man is a champion.

Do This. 

The purpose of this series is to help you recognize some of the traits necessary to become a champion. It’s important to remember that each trait of the champion is a learnable skill. As an example, right now I’m focused on doing more than expected by being hyper diligent with my follow up with people. I’m adding new people I meet on LinkedIn. I’m sending them an email. I’m thanking them for the opportunity to connect. I’m asking them if there’s anything I can do to help them. And I’m going out of my way to make sure that I add more value in the relationship than I’m taking in return.

Ask yourself what one area of your life can you do more than expected. Is it in your homework? Is it taking out the garbage for your partner? Is it by dressing sharply by Ryan? What’s it going to be?

Choose right now what one thing you will do to add more value to your peers, community, and company that you weren’t doing prior to reading this. Even the slightest shift in value, can give you tremendous upside in return. 

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change the direction”.

– J



The Profile Of A Champion: Burning Desire

When you study people who are up to something, the first attitude necessary before anything is achieved is desire.

But, if that’s all it took, we’d have a whole lot more successful people in this world. Most people live with an illusion that they have a desire to achieve something. These people talk a big game, but their actions never reflect their word.

They say they want to make extra money, but instead of starting their part time business, they watch Netflix every night.

They say they want to get better grades, but instead of studying in the library, they go out for lunch everyday.

They say they want to lose ten pounds, but instead of working out in the gym, they’ve got Cheetos dust on their fingers.

I observe this false illusion of desire everyday. And I can quickly recognize it because I was once in those same shoes. So the question is, how is desire held for the champion vs those that are runner up?

Desire for the champion is an imperative of purpose. Their vision, their purpose, their goal is larger than you and I as individuals. From afar, I had observed this level of desire time and time again through the examples of athletes and business leaders. Yet, I had never seen it so pronounced until I spent two full weeks with the top Canadian graduates at Venture for Canada.

I remember on one of the first weekends of training camp we kayaked, canoed, and paddle boarded on lake Ontario. The sun was shinning, our skin slowly burning, and everyone was smiling looking forward to the day on the water. Other than myself, one of the only other people paddle boarding was a new friend I had made, Tyler Sellars. We had made small talk previous to the day on the water, but we had never really connected about what brought us to Venture for Canada and what our future plans were. In only thirty minutes, it was clear to me that Tyler obviously embodied the first attitude of the champion, desire.

Tyler Sellar Pic for blog

Born in Moncton New Brunswick, Tyler grew up in a family who built their careers in the financial industry. He told me about how privileged he was growing up. At a young age, he understood the opportunities that having money could provide for him and his family. Being accustomed to this life of prosperity, he was unprepared for what happened next.

In 2008, at fourteen years old, his entire family’s lives were flipped upside down by the greatest financial crisis since the depression. In less than a year they went from comfortable living, to working pay-check to pay-check. With all the same bills to pay, no one was hiring his dad. They lived for years with little income. Becoming increasingly more difficult to pay for their competitive soccer fees anymore, Tyler remembers standing outside local businesses begging for money to keep him on the field.

Imagine how disempowering that would feel.

The contrast between rich and poor weighed so heavily on him that it drove him to make a decision. 

Tyler shared with me that he made a decision that he would never live like that again. He made a decision that he would take ownership of his income, his freedom, and his life.

In those decisions, Tyler developed the first attitude of the profile of the champion, a burning desire. Following are the three reasons why we all need to cultivate a burning desire to achieve, and how to go about doing it.

1. Without desire there is no work ethic

I now understand why most people don’t have a burning desire. Most people’s goals are logical. For example people say , “Oh, if I could only scrape together enough money to pay my lousy bills.” If you’re only inspired to meet your needs, you’ll never cultivate the desire that will compel you to do great things. Needs are logical, but logical things don’t compel us to reach beyond our comfortable grasp. They won’t have you up early and working hard late into the night. Tyler on the other hand, set goals for complete financial freedom. He never wanted himself or his future family to ever experience what he went through. His goals were emotional, and they were lofty.

With those goals, in 2010, Tyler started his first business. He was going to school, playing competitive soccer like it was his full time job, and still making the time to build one of the early e-commerce drop -shipping businesses. At the end of a long day while most people would make an excuse as to why they were tired, or deserved to relax and watch TV, Tyler’s desire pushed him into action. He developed relationships with Japanese clothing manufacturers and sold both soccer equipment and men’s fashion. Around an already exhausting schedule, Tyler worked his ass off building a  profitable company.

The vast majority of us need an immediate gut check when it comes to our work ethic. Ask yourself, are you matching your work ethic with your level ambition? If not, why not? For most, it’s because they’ve yet to cultivate the level of desire of the champion.

2. Without desire there is no persistence

Achieving lofty goals is hard. Creating something from nothing is difficult. Do you think what you want is going to be easy to accomplish? Far more often than not, our goals will require more energy, more time and more money than expected.

The path you will travel down requires a desire that is nothing other than white hot. It’s about getting to a place in your life where you say this is it! Anything less than that, is tentative. And anytime you’re tentative, there is no power. Tyler on the other hand, surrendered to his purpose.

When eBay learned that he was selling on their platform underage, he was on the brink of being shutdown or forced to pay hefty fees for each transaction. Either way, the business was going to take a big hit. Like with any great achievement, he was confronted with a lot of problems. However, Tyler wasn’t engaged with his obstacles the same way as most. By surrendering to his purpose of providing financial security for his future, he was able to use his mind for him and not against him. Instead of quitting business forever, he looked for other avenues where he could make money. Tyler went on to create three more businesses over the next three years. Each business came with it’s opportunities as well as it’s own unique set of challenges. But because of Tyler’s burning desire, his perseverance lead to many new skills, profitability, and thicker skin.

“The reason success alludes so many people is that the road to our alter of riches is laden with obstacles.”

When you’re on the path to accomplish your goals, do you find yourself starting and stopping frequently? When there’s a roadblock, a challenge, or your goal required more resources than you expected, do you persist despite the obstacles? Or do you fold like a cheap suit? If you fold, check your desire. If it’s hot enough, you will persist past all obstacles on your road to riches.

3. Without desire you cannot prioritize

This week I’ve been asked to attend two different networking events, three coffee meetings, a speaking event and to go out for drinks and a trivia night. If you think about your schedule, I’m sure your time has been elicited just as much if not more! If you don’t have desire, a clear purpose, or a goal that moves you, when people ask for your time, you won’t have the gut to tell people no. Warren Buffet is famous for saying,

“the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

The ability to prioritize is necessary in order to accomplish your goals. If you’re constantly being pulled in different directions, you’ll never direct enough energy into one thing to accomplish it. In order to build his businesses, Tyler needed a ridiculous work ethic, he needed to persist past his obstacles, but he also needed to say no to a lot of other things. There was so much power in his declaration to provide financial abundance for his future he was able to say no to leisure and yes to his goals. His desire had him in alignment with what was important. His desire kept him focused and in the end, his prioritization paid huge dividends in the success of the business.

What are you saying yes to? Are the activities your investing your time in going to get your closer to accomplishing your greatest desires? Or are you like Tyler and I, where you need to remember to say no to others, in order to say yes to yourself?

Do This. 

Now that we understand why the champion has a burning desire, we can start to cultivate it in our own lives. Here are 2 things to remember about building desire.

  1. Desire is triggered– It often waits and sleeps until you wake it. For Tyler, it was his family’s finances. But for you, maybe it’s a book, or a song, or a seminar, a conversation with a friend, a happening or an event. Who knows which one will turn it all on! What I do know is that you need to welcome every human experience. Sometimes from the most negative experiences comes the greatest awakening.
  2. Desire can be selfish- Never feel ashamed about your motivations as long as it works for you. If you’re not hurting anyone, and your desire fires you up, use it! Just because your neighbour is excited about ending cancer doesn’t mean that your desire to stick it to your brother isn’t a good one. Whatever gets you angry enough, excited enough, passionate enough, or determined enough to start working hard and persist through your obstacles, is a worthwhile desire and you need to take full advantage of how it makes you feel.

A burning desire is the first attitude of the champion for a reason. Without it, you won’t work hard enough. You won’t persist long enough. And you won’t be willing to say no to others when it comes down to focusing on your own goals. If you want the respect, mastery, and character that comes with being a champion, cultivate your desire and never let that fire extinguish. 

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “you cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction.”



Do The Opposite

If most North Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, the majority obese or overweight and a staggering number of people feel unfulfilled, why are we funneled down the same path?

If the majority of people struggle with what is often seen as the fundamentals to a happy life, financial achievement, health and vitality and our spiritually, isn’t success in all of these areas as simple as doing the opposite of most people?

It’s practical… It’s logical… But, it has to be more complicated than that right? Let’s take a look.

  1. Do you think most people wake up inspired to take action and conquer the day? Or do most people wake up tired and groggy, only to hit snooze and fall back asleep for another 10-30 minutes?
  2. Do you think most people eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day? Or do most people consume enormous amounts of sugar, processed foods and unhealthy fats?
  3. Do you think most people do resistance workouts with high intensity 3-4x per week? Or do most people make excuses about lack of time and get into the gym with no consistency?
  4. Do you think most pay themselves 10-20% of their income first before they spend money on expenses? Or do most people struggle so much with their expenses they don’t even have the opportunity to pay themselves at all?
  5. Do you think most people invest at least 10% of their income of their own personal and professional development? Or do most people invest their money into entertainment rather than education?
  6. Do you think most people are working to consistently get out of their comfort zones? Or do most people live their life in a box afraid to venture out and grow?

I’d be more than happy to continue with more examples but I believe you get the point. If you don’t, ponder this thought from Jim Rohn,

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day”.

If most people aren’t willing to practice the simple disciplines that make up a successful life, we should have no problem separating ourselves from the masses. Read over the questions above one more time. This time I want you to place yourself inside those examples. Do you identify with the first question or the second? My guess is that if you’re taking the energy to read this blog, you’re already well on your way to creating the disciplines necessary to live your best life. Kudos to you for reading!

Perhaps you identify with the second questions, and that’s OK. Remember that today is the perfect day to begin changing the direction of your life! I strongly believe that a fulfilled life is much less complicated than we make it. Whatever most people are doing, you should probably do the opposite. It’s 9:07Pm on a Wednesday night as I’m writing this post. Most people are either watching TV or scrolling through social media right now. That’s OK… If you have no goals. But, again, if you’re reading this I know you have a burning desire like me to do something great.

Do this.

Starting today, look at how you can do the opposite of most people. If most people zig, try to zag. Starting today, forget the habits that most people have. Most people are broke, tired and uninspired. We have a real opportunity to discipline ourselves. To build the habits that will support us. To build the habits that will support our familes. And by doing so, by doing the opposite of most people, I’m convinced we’ll live an extraordinary life together.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.



Calling Out My Bullshit

As we change seasons and Spring makes it’s appearance, I’ve spend the last 24 hours reflecting on the first 90 days of 2017. Looking from the outside in, most people would say that I’ve had a pretty good start to the new year. From the outside, they’d be right.

But, that’s just bullshit. 

The truth, which is what I spend the last 24 hours reflecting on, tells a much different story.

Am I too hard on myself? Yes. Have I made significant progress on some of my 2017 goals? Yes. Then what’s all the drama about? Last night I realized I’ve been using the wrong god-damn measuring stick! I’ve been focused on the wrong progress. I have the wrong reasons for why I’ve been working.

In a world of Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, where we obsessively check our social platforms all day long, where “entrepreneurship” and the “hustle” is romanticized, I’ve been working hard because I want more likes. I’ve been working to impress others. I’ve been trying to look good in front of people who’s opinions shouldn’t even matter to me. It’s vain.

The truth is, when I was sharing pictures of me winning awards, I was actually beating myself up for second place. When one of my mentees won his public speaking contest, I was jealous. When I was smiling on camera to show other people how great my life was, I had just spent the last 2 weeks homeless.

The truth, is that I’ve been lacking in integrity. My discipline has wavered. My zest for life diminished. Telling the truth is hard. Calling out my bullshit sucks. But it’s the only way I’ll ever grow.

It’s clear that my character needs a facelift.

Myself and the majority of people have strayed too far from what matters in life. Living a life of quality character, not quantity of likes. My focus needs to shift from what will other people think of me, to what will this make of me. When the dust settles, and I’m 6 feet under, I know no one will remember what I did, but how I made them feel! It’s my character that people will remember, end of story.

The question that’s left is: what do I do about it?

Well, if you’ve been following any of my shtick so far you know almost any question I ask myself can be answered with the late Jim Rohns philosophies. This is no different. I’ve traveled  down the wrong path and I don’t like my destination. Jim Rohn would take one look and simply say,

“You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction.”

My Declaration

The character facelift:

Gratitude- A commitment to swapping my expectations for appreciation.

Integrity- A commitment to doing all that I said I would do.

Service- A commitment to focusing on what I can give, rather than what I can get.

Discipline- A commitment to getting up with my alarm, regardless of how I feel.

Personal Development- A commitment to learning everyday.

Enthusiasm- A commitment to maintaining my positive attitude regardless of my circumstances.

I ask you two favours:

  1. Hold me accountable to this. Don’t let me get anyway with wavering on any of these virtues. I know there will be days that I forget this declaration and your accountability will ensure I don’t slip up.
  2. Be honest with yourself. Why are you doing what you do? Are you focused on what people will think of me, or what this will make of me? Does your character need a facelift and if so where can you start?

The rest of 2017 is going to be the best of 2017. 

Till next time, stay on offense. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you change change your direction”.






Accountability: How to 4x the speed to your goals

In November of 2016, I had already been a member of toastmasters for 2 months. I badly wanted to complete my first speaking manual (10 prepared speeches). Yet 2 months into my membership, as much as this was a goal of mine,  I hadn’t even started…

As the end of November approached, and the accountability partnership between Ryan and I was beginning to  blossom, I formally made the goal to complete my manual. Initially, as many do, I set a one year goal to complete the manual by November of 2017. Most people take 1-2 years to finish this manual and I felt this timeline was both rational and doable. But, I forgot to factor in one critical element into that timeline… A belief that Ryan is constantly repeating, and I know to be true,

We’re stronger together.

With that at the forefront of my mind we decided that together, by holding each other responsible for our word that we could not only set big goals, but that we could accomplish them. With Ryan’s support I decided to dramatically collapse the timeframe on my goal. Instead of 1 year, I set the goal to finish my first speaking manual by March 31st, 2017. From 1 year to 3 months, I collapsed the timeline by 4x!

What seemed unreasonable and even impossible with my busy schedule, quickly became a reality in every weekly accountability call with Ryan. With 9 speeches under my belt today and my final speech scheduled for Tuesday March 14th, I will officially have completed my goal with two weeks to spare!

Ps. Outlined below is the exact system Ryan and I use for our accountability partnership. But, if you’re not convinced that this process will make a dramatic difference in your results, whether it be in your relationships goals, business goals, or you just wanted to improve your mental health like me, read this first.

Do This. 

  1. Find your partner– Unable to accept excuses, your accountability partner must be 100% confident being honest with you. In turn, you must be able to reciprocate the same level of candid support. Nobody wins in this process unless both of you are holding each other responsible for what you say you’re going to do.
  2. Create a shareable google doc– This document will be both passive and active.
  3. Set your own personal and professional goals (passive)– Do you want to improve your physical or mental health? Make more money? Get better grades? Have a stronger relationship with your family or partner? Here are examples of Ryan and I’s current top priorities.
  4. Choose a time for your weekly accountability calls– Ryan and I have our call every Thursday from 6:30-7pm. We often get so deep in conversation that it will run over the 30 minute cap.
  5. Set weekly goals that align with the achievement of your monthly or annual top priorities- This is critical. In order to get the most of of your time together, you will need to set and hold each other accountable for your weekly goals. Ask yourself what is the smallest next step I can take? Too many people look at their HUGE one year goal, are overwhelmed, and never start. Set actionable, bite size goals that will get the ball rolling!
  6. Structure your weekly call– This may take you a few weeks to get into a rhythm. Here’s what works well for us…
    1. Be transparent about the completion or incompletion of your prior weeks goals (5 minutes total).
    2. Discuss the blocks, or challenges you faced that week.  It’s important here to avoid excuses, or blaming circumstances for the incompletion of your goals. Instead, take ownership. Did you set unrealistic goals? Did you procrastinate? I often make the mistake of being overly ambitious and setting too many unimportant goals rather than 1 or 2 I can dive deep into (10 minutes)
    3. Discuss any wins or “aha” moments in the week. Celebrate victories and document what is working. If you find a cadence or tactic that is working, make sure you write it down and repeat it (10 minutes)!
    4. Set your goals for the next week. Make sure they’re aligned with your monthly or annual top priorities (we often come to the call with our goals already prepped and put it up on the doc during our call together- 5 minutes).
    5. Get to work!
  7. Start today– If I knew I would 4x the speed to my goals by having an accountability partner, I would have started this process years ago. If you’re like me and are often disappointed in yourself for procrastinating or feeling uninspired to to set big goals, I know this system will jumpstart your success! No excuses, just work. Please find your buddy and get started today!

I want to know if this system works for you. If you’ve decided to stay accountable for your goals and take your fulfillment to the next level, leave a comment! Let Ryan and I know what works, what your challenges are and how we can help.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.






How To Just Do It.

Too often, the biggest gap in people’s lives, is the gap between what you know you should be doing and what you take action on. 

This blog’s purpose is not about my philosophical theories. It’s not about ideas, pondering, or contemplating. The purpose isn’t for you to enjoy reading a story of my life change, once or twice a week. No.

This blog is about doing. It’s about actionable tactics I’ve tested and proved effective in my own life.

If you’re taking 3 minutes to read this, I hope you’re serious about changing the direction of your life for the better. I plead that you want to bring out the best in you. A potential that may seem distant… But in reality is only a half a dozen actions away.

The truth is, the major key to your better future is you.  No matter what I write, pontificate, or share, when the dust settles, it’s up to you to do something about it. This blog is a resource, the go to place for actionable insights. Know that when you read the words that I’ve lived and continue to practice, I’m writing with the intention of your better future.

You may be wondering… Who am I to tell you what to do? Who am I to turn the wisdom I’ve learned into directives? Well… I’m just a person like you. I’ve experienced adversity, hardship, and challenges. Suffered from drug abuse, depression and a persistent anxiety. I’m just a man who changed the direction of his life, one day at a time. 

If you’ve been following me thus far, you know that I attribute a lot of my growth to community, exercise and being like Frankenstein. But, candidly, for most people that doesn’t mean anything. If you’re struggling, with any mental health challenges, self esteem problems or any number of negative circumstances in life, you probably know what you should be doing to feel better. You didn’t have to come here to figure that out.

As you know this is exactly where our gaps manifest. The gap in what you know you should be doing and what you take action on. Fortunately, you’re here and I have an answer. One that has worked for me through thick and thin. From quitting drugs, getting out of my comfort zone, getting into business and public speaking, all the way to typing these words in this very moment. So how do you just do it? How do you take action and step into my potential? One word baby… Accountability!

Accountability bridges the gap between what you say you’re going to do, and getting shit done.

By definition, accountability is an obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. Fundamentally, I believe that accountability will be your game changer.

Do This. Write out right now, who in your community is keeping you accountable for your goals? Who is holding your ass to the fire? Asking you whether you did what you said you were going to do? If the answer is no one… Stay tuned for my next post. If you already have a process in place for accountability, email me at or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear how your structure the process and what results you’ve been getting.

In my next post I am going to walk you through the three reason’s why accountability bridges the gap between speaking and doing. AND, I will give you the step by step process for implementing an accountability partner in your own life.

Till next time, stay on the offensive. Aggressively pursue a better version of yourself. And remember what Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change your direction”.

– J