This morning I was listening to Lewis Howes’ interview with success coach Chris Lee. He was talking about how to live a bulletproof life. I love listening to the wisdom of success coaches on podcasts. I feel like I get the benefit of receiving the teaching and intelligence of all of these world renowned success coaches, whom many already successful people pay tens of thousands of dollars to get it. And I get to access it for free. What’s more is that I get to take it in first thing in the morning, on my bike ride to work, enjoying the sunshine, breathing in the fresh morning air. Few other things in life make me feel better than that.
Why Do we even Care about Living a Bulletproof life?
We spend most of our lives giving away our power. When we get frustrated in traffic, when things don’t go our way in a meeting, or when we lose the negotiation with whomever we are in a relationship… these are all situations where we relinquish our power. We actually feel that way! We react. With instinct. We take things personally. That’s ego.
But to live a bulletproof life is to make the choice to keep your power. To respond, instead of react. When you give your power away, it’s a choice that you make. Whenever we get stressed out about something, or frustrated, or angry with something, we give our power away. Life is energy. When you have energy, you are alive. When you don’t have energy, you look dead. This applies to everyone, regardless of their age. You can be in your twenties and look like a zombie. Or you can in your 70’s and do pullups like this bad-ass.
The good news is that all of this is trainable. Just like our if first instinct is to get mad and give away our power, we can train ourselves to stay calm, let the bullet ricochet, keep our power. We can train ourselves to stay empowered by responding to the situation, instead of reacting with heat. This is what Chris calls the ‘bulletproof’ life. When we are bulletproof, no matter what we encounter in life, we would have the know-how to navigate it. We’re Titanium.
What Makes Life Bullet Proof?
Ultimately what we’re talking about here is to stop giving away your power so easily. You might be saying, “yea, sure…. Most people do it, but I don’t. I’m powerful.” No. What you are is in denial. You’ll be surprised at how often we give away our power. We give our power away by getting pissed off at little things. We get stuck in traffic; we get pissed. A team member becomes tedious; we get frustrated. I get it. We are emotion human beings. But if we don’t learn to master our emotions, our emotions master us. It doesn’t take much to piss some of us off. Someone looks at us a certain way, and we want to punch them in the face. But when we take charge of our emotions, we have the option to live a bullet proof life, and not give power away. We become unstoppable. Nothing gets in our way.
Living Life with Purpose
It stands to reason, that if we know our why, we can handle anything. Recently I posted a challenge in our Art of Consulting members. “What’s your Why?” In any new endeavour that we begin, be it a new exercise regimen, to making that leap of faith to leave your 9-5, we need to be crystal clear in why we’re doing it. Otherwise, we’ll fold like a pack of cards at the first taste of defeat.
But if you know without doubt your reason for leaving your job, for getting into shape, for starting a new educational program, whatever it may be… You will have the mental resolve to dig down and carry on, when you are face to face with adversity. Your why becomes bigger than your, bigger than the current circumstance. I remember talking to one of our members and she told us that her why is for her future children. She wants to be able to create a life where she can have the time to raise her children herself. The vast majority of us send our kids to daycare after parental leave is up. With heavy hearts we drop off our babies who cling desperately to us as we pull them off our leg, steel our hearts and head off to the office. As we walk away, we still hear a tearful, heart wrenching, ‘Mama! don’t go!’
Without this why we crumble. Chris Lee brought up Victor Frankl, who, as you probably know, was a medical doctor in Nazi Germany. He wrote a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He illustrated that the one thing that kept people alive in the inhumane atrocities of the concentration camps was that they had a purpose for living. That purpose might have been to push on because they needed to find their children, or spouse. Or that they needed to care for their ailing parents. This made the difference between the people who lived and died. Those who did not have purpose perished first. Purpose fortifies us. Where purpose is love, makes us strongest of all.
What’s your why? This is your purpose.
As I wrote in my post “Make your 2017 Fierce with Purpose,” your purpose is the reason that you’re put on this earth. It’s your contribution. Chris further illustrates that your purpose is like the rain forest. It’s the environment, that contains your vision. Your vision could be an orchid in that rain forest. The orchid is the result of the rain forest. Your vision could be to have, do or be a specific thing. But your purpose is the environment in which you can create that vision. Orchids cannot grow in a desert because the environment of a desert won’t allow the orchid to grow. So as in the environment of the rainforest, your purpose could be an environment of joy, of love, of success. When you have defined the environment, it’s vastly larger than circumstance in which you might find yourself. When you have the why, all the little stuff doesn’t matter as much because you’re committed to creating the environment for which your vision will come alive.
We already know that we are the source. We are the cause. But what we don’t know is that responsibility is also interpretation. We are free to choose how to interpret an otherwise meaningless physical event. Everything is meaningless. When we think of responsibility, we often think of what we have to do. We think of all the things we should and ought to do. Then we sigh. (Tell me you didn’t just sigh! I did.) That’s a normal response. It’s draining on our energy to think of all of the things for which we are responsible, and that we are obligated to do…. that we have to do.
The Magic is in the Lingo
Would you agree that language is power? Here’s what I mean. The lingo we use directs how we interpret an event. Do you know what a durian is? It’s a fruit, often referred to as the ‘king of fruits’ found native to southeast Asia. I forgot where. It’s not important. What’s important is that it comes with an intense, pungent odor. Honestly there are some public places in Asia that do not even allow the consumption of durian, or even the fruit itself into the building. That’s how intense it is!
When presented a piece of durian, one person might turn his nose up, gag, and tell you how crazy stinky it is. Others might appreciate it for its intense fragrance. See what I mean? Same fruit. Two different ways to describe it. Two completely opposing interpretations. One is draining on energy; the other is a pick-me-up.
Let’s apply this to your life, be it full of durian or not. Try this out. Let’s go into that same exercise that Chris Lee did on the podcast:
- Think of all the things for which you are responsible:
- Catching the bus, or heading into traffic
- Going to the office
- Finishing all the tasks and attending all the meetings of the day
- Shuttling the kids off to soccer or even coaching it
… the list goes on.
Chances are, you would have used the words “I have to…” to illustrate all of your responsibilities.
- I have to catch the bus
- I have to go to the office
- I have to finish all the tasks and attend all the meetings of the day
- I have to shuttle the kids off to soccer
Draining, isn’t it? The fact that you ‘have to’ get all this sh*t done is literally making you tired just thinking about it.
Now revisit that same list, and instead use the phrase “I am blessed to…” And then tack on a ‘why.’
- I am blessed to catch the bus, because I can sit comfortably without getting stressed out about driving in rush hour traffic.
- I am blessed to go to the office because I have the opportunity to support comfortable life for my family.
- I am blessed to finish all the tasks and attend all the meetings of the day because I can use my strengths and skillset contribute to an organization whose mission is to serve our community in its own manner.
- I am blessed to shuttle the kids off to soccer or even coach it because I support the opportunity for them to be fit, healthy. I can support and spend quality time with them doing something that they enjoy.
See the difference? Isn’t it amazing? Same events. Two completely different ways to convey the message. Two completely different interpretations of it. The first is draining on our energy. Negative, and a complete drag. The second is energizing. It brings in gratitude and we create a feeling of contentment in which we are so fortunate to be able to do so.
This is one where there’s more than meets the eye. Usually when we think confrontation, we think negativity, aggression, and all around A-holeness. But confrontation is much more than that. In this context we are talking about confrontation v. denial. How many times are we in denial with ourselves? …possibly with our weight, our finances, our relationships? Chris Lee himself said that he had 40lbs to release (not lose, but release.) He sought Lewis’ help in keeping him accountable. And that’s the point. All by himself, he might have been ok to live with the extra 40 lbs over his ideal weight. He might have been fine to stew in the filth of his own denial. But with an accountability partner, or a coach, or a mastermind, we are forced to confront the things that we fear. And we must do so if we want something better in our lives.
Again I think of our Art of Consulting group members. Andy and I assembled a group that has one thing in common: they want to leave their jobs and branch off on their own. When you think you’re alone on your quest, it’s hard, if not impossible. It’s way easier for us to confront our fears, and overcome our personal obstacles when we have the comradery of a group, and the guidance of someone who travelled down that road successfully.
The final piece that I want to discuss in living a bulletproof life is integrity. Keeping your word is your power. Here’s how it works. Every day we have opportunities where we can practice keeping our word. Chris illustrates that we essentially have three options:
- We can keep our word. Do what we say.
- We can choose not keep our word.
- We can negotiate a new deal.
Obviously, when we keep our word at every opportunity, we keep our power. We build our integrity. In my post (..) I discussed that when you’re building trust in any relationship, be it with a new client, or with a new special person in your life, your credibility is built or broken by the words that you either keep or break. Here’s the rub. It matters not the size of the promise that you make. If you break your word for little things, it carries the same subconscious damage as when you break your word for a big thing. It all damages your credibility.
The other option is to negotiate a new deal. For example, if I was stuck in traffic and was going to be late for a meeting that would have started in 10 minutes, I could call the person and let him now that I would be another say 15 minutes. If he was ok with it, then that’s my new word. This would be fine. The caveat, however, is that re-negotiating a new deal only works so many times. If you constantly defer, it’s just as bad as not keeping your word. Plus, you end up pissing the guy off even more, seeing as you’ve wasted his time so many times before.
There are a couple more factors that he discussed in this chat. I invite you to listen to it. These are the few that stuck out in my mind. We all get shot in the field every day. We’ll continue to take those bullets as long as we are alive. Isn’t it be great to know that that those bullets could have zero effect on us? They’d just ricochet; we’d just smile, unscathed. Be bulletproof, my friends.
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