How to Manage the Emotional Roller Coaster of Entrepreneurship with Jerry Colonna – TCE 023

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Jerry Colonna

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Entrepreneurship is fricken hard.

Sure actually building a business has its challenges, but managing the emotional roller coaster during that process is where I think most people face the greatest demons.

Today I have the honor of having Jerry Colonna on the show who after being a wildly successful investor has graduated to coaching entrepreneurs and CEOs through their trials and tribulations both in their professional and personal lives.

In this discussion, Jerry unpacks how we can manage the “insanity” that comes with the pursuit of entrepreneurship and specific actions we must strive to take in order to make the ride a bit smoother and more enjoyable.

If you’re a current or aspiring entrepreneur, this is a must listen. Sit tight and enjoy the ride…


What You’ll Learn By Listening

  • Where emotional fitness comes into play as an entrepreneur
  • An empowering mindset we can take at the beginning of our entrepreneurial journeys to mitigate the roller coaster of emotions and be happier in the journey
  • How to embrace uncertainty and enjoy the insanity as an entrepreneur
  • Some very important ideas around mapping our expectations with our realities and how to cultivate that muscle
  • Ways to cope with the fear of not doing enough and the feeling like we “always have to be doing something”
  • Jerry’s equation for enhanced leadership and greater resiliency
  • Why “doing more work” isn’t always the answer
  • How we can divorce our self worth from the results of whatever we’re working on and why that is critical for your life
  • Ways to develop radical self-awareness and inquiry
  • Why speed  and busyness can kill

Listen to the episode here:

Subscribe on Itunes for more interviews or Listen on Stitcher

Thank Jerry for dropping knowledge on us (tweet Jerry here)

Mindshare segment at the end:

How to build your vulnerability muscle with some concretes examples from my life.

Links & Resources Mentioned:

For more on Jerry check him out on his blog The Monster In Your Head, Twitter @Jerrycolonna and CEO Bootcamp

*You’ll find a full searchable transcript below

Music Credit: Carousel Games & Stay Awake

Searchable Transcript of This Jerry Colonna Interview:

Scott:    Jerry, what’s up man?

Jerry Colonna:  How’re you doing? I’m great!

Scott:   I’m doing awesome. So today, I want to talk about a topic that has been on my mind ever since I got into this whole entrepreneurship game because as you know man, it is an emotional rollercoaster and most recently I was listening to your interview with John Fields, I brushed up on the Jason-one that I absolutely love and so many things are just incredibly present to me when I listen to these. The feeling of constantly having to be doing something, the entrepreneurial FOMO that we often get, just the challenges of being present and attentive and I guess we can really start off just by talking a little bit about the role that emotional fitness plays in the entrepreneurial journey.

Jerry Colonna:       Okay.

Scott:   So in your experience, I mean you’ve worked with a ton of successful entrepreneurs, been a successful venture capitalist, where does emotional fitness come into play? How important is that?

Jerry Colonna:       I think what occurs to me and I can’t help but being a coach so I’m going to turn the tables; what does it feel like Scott, when you as an entrepreneur are not operating in an emotionally fit place? And then there is the — within that response, will be your answer.

Scott:      So I guess we can start by talking — I’ll talk about the specific emotions that I often feel and then when I feel those emotions, what happens.

Jerry Colonna:       Yup.

Scott:   So, specifically, I mean a big one for me is just this feeling of being lost, of waiting in uncertainty and when I have uncertainty, a lot of times what happens is I’m less productive, I’m less enjoying the process and you know, I want to curl up and do a ball in my bed and not do anything. And that’s completely counter to the inspired state that I operate at the highest levels at.

Jerry Colonna:       Right. I love the fact that you went right to this notion of uncertainty. I did a talk around the notion of failure called ‘crash and burn’ and in the talk, I make the point that we fear failure for a host of reasons which creates that kind of energy that energizes that rollercoaster. We’re afraid of failure but a corollary to that is the deep and profound sense of fear of uncertainty. It’s as if there’s a voice in our head that says — and I just wrote about this in a blog-post, that the path is supposed to be straight, unrelenting and up into the right. And that any time we experience the feeling of lost, confusion, that we are backtracking, that somehow it’s evidence of our unique failure, our unique screwed up-ness.

Scott:    Is that an accurate reality? Is that —

Jerry Colonna:       Of course not, I mean just look at any trailblazing that occurs; let’s play with the ‘path’ metaphor for a moment. Anybody who is walking a path that someone else has walked, generally experiences less uncertainty. You walk in the woods and you follow the path and you don’t even actually have to think; but anybody who has actually blazed a trail in a forest knows that you take a step and you pause and you look around and you decide where you can make the next step and then all of a sudden you are on your path. And if you encounter a boulder that you can’t go around, so you actually have to double back and you have to carve a new path and that is the process of trailblazing. Entrepreneurs are trailblazers.

Scott:   So, this is an interesting thing for me because it seems like the way that you just lay that out is very obvious in a simple metaphor like that but for some reason, we still experience and endure these emotions.

Jerry Colonna:       Yeah and so what you are identifying right now is the difference between what our logical, adult mind feels or observes and what our heart feels, right; or what the Amygdala feels if you want to be technical about it, what the prefrontal Cortex, post-evolutionary illusionary brain feels and what the pre-evolutionary brain feels. And the prerevolutionary brain feels fear. Everything is a threat, everything is either a threat or a potential threat and so then we encounter uncertainty and it must be threat. We encounter a feeling of lost and not being sure what path to go on. Every wisdom tradition I have ever encountered says the same thing, when you are lost you stand still; when you’re lost, you take your bearings. I mean I learnt this as a boy-scout, learning — navigating the woods but it’s the fear that causes us to go crashing forward.

Scott:                     Yeah, you also — you posed a question in one of your most recent blog-posts that made me realize that maybe it’s a part of it too or just minimizing this fear and then does the downfalls of what comes when you are living like this and trying to pursue your mission like this is what if being lost is part of it? What if we entered in the journey with that expectation instead of being blind-sighted by it and then curling up in a ball like I said that I do sometimes?


Jerry Colonna Interview:       Right. What if we — when we decided to be an entrepreneur, we didn’t merely fall prey to the propaganda that says, ‘everything is up into the right and we’re going to end up in this place of wealth and happiness and sex and love and it’s all going to be great! It’s going to be fucking great man! Fucking great!’ What if we said, ‘it’s going to be hard and I’m going to be confused and I’m not sure it’s the right path for me, and I’m going to be challenged’ and if I can bear that, regardless of the financial success that may or may not come for me, I will be a better person for that.


Scott:                     There is a formula that comes to mind right now that Tony Robbins taught me, that I really like and basically it calls it the Happiness Equation and it’s LC=BP; happiness is when your life conditions equal your life blueprints. When there’s an imbalance of that, is when you’re unhappy. So perhaps, what you just described, if we can align our blueprint and expectations of what we think is going to happen, I mean we’re going to be much happier in the journey which is — what the hell is this all about? Like it’s always the sex, the love, the money, the fame, the power, I mean screw it; it’s all about the journey, right? So like, perhaps we should be best preparing ourselves for the journey instead of worrying about all these other things that we hope to eventually get to, but who know if we’ll ever even get to them.


Jerry Colonna Interview:       Yeah, and this reminds me of what His Holiness The Dalai Lama wrote in the Art of Happiness, what he basically advices is that the art of being happy is a question of accepting things as they are and one of the first teachings I do in my boot-camps is, this being so, so what? Which is a Zen saying, which is, ‘this is your reality; now what are you going to do about it?’ Instead of getting yourself up into a frenzy, because the reality is not mapping against your expectations, to use Tony’s expression. The reality is the reality, now what are you going to do about it? How are you going to respond to that and the degree to which you can enhance your capacity to deal with that, with a reality for an entrepreneur, that changes every single moment; we’re up, we’re down, we’re up, we’re down — the degree to which you’re going to enhance your ability to handle that is going to determine, to use your earlier term, your emotional fitness.


Scott:                     So how can cultivate that muscle?


Jerry Colonna:       Well, first and foremost was the thing that you identified earlier on which is, ‘what’s your blueprint?’ What are your expectations? Are you starting this process — let’s presume for a moment, we’re speaking to new entrepreneurs; if you are starting the process what if — and be radically honest with yourself, are you starting with this process presuming that you are going to fail or presuming that you are going to succeed? And this is counter-intuitive because a lot of advisors will tell you, ‘you want to be positive’. And you yourself felt like that; I’m not suggesting to be negative or pessimistic, I’m suggesting to live in a very interesting gap place, the gap between recognizing that 99.9% of startups fail and you’re going to do it anyway. 99.9% fail and you’re going to do it anyway and don’t — speaking to them directly now, do not give in to the temptation to say that you are a unicorn and you are an exception because when you are not, you will feel like crap.


Scott:                     Right.


Jerry Colonna:       If you can launch a business saying yourself, ‘it probably will fail, but I’m going to learn and we’ll have an adventure and it’s going to be one heck of a ride that no business school on the planet can give me’, then now you’re ready to be an entrepreneur.


Scott:                     You know what man? I bet you that mindset too allows you to just pursue things with such a greater sense of boldness because you’re not worried about screwing up. You’re like, ‘hey it doesn’t matter, it’s probably going to screw up.’


Jerry Colonna:       And you’re not worried about ultimately what is the currency that you are worried of that guard so much, how people will think– What people think of me? What people feel about me? Am I lovable? Am I a good person? Am I going to be cast out of society as this awful human being because I had this humiliating failure? I mean I give voice to it with an extreme thing because it’s kind of silly but that’s what really at the root of that.


Scott:                     Yeah.


Jerry Colonna:       Like if you can do that, anyway, then you get to enjoy the insanity.


Scott:                     Let’s talk about some other ways to enjoy the insanity and I love this idea of just setting the expectation in the beginning. I think one thing that I certainly go through and I feel like we’re doing a live coaching session here and I’m getting lucky, this is a freebie for me I guess but —


Jerry Colonna:       No, I’m sending you a bill.


Scott:                     Okay, good [Laughter] So, I think one thing what we all feel is like this fear that we are not doing enough and fear that we should always be doing — working or achieving some sense of progress. I mean I know I sure as hell feel it and when I’m not doing anything that is not moving me forward, I feel like I’m wasting my time. And I think this weighs incredibly on our emotions and thus our abilities to be successful. And I just want to know like, I guess, A- what can we do to mitigate that in the beginning and then we find ourselves in those states; have you noticed any practices to help us get out of them?


Jerry Colonna:       Well, first and foremost, my particular equation by the way is practical skills development plus radical self-enquiry plus peer support equals enhanced leadership and greater resiliency. So practical skills, radical self-enquiry, peer support. So using radical self-enquiry, you ask yourself when you are having that feeling or when you’re even thinking about it or you are recalling your feeling you ask yourself, ‘what’s the true fear? What am I really feeling?’ What I feel — when you feel, Scott, that you are not doing enough, give more expression to it. What is it that you really feel about yourself?


Scott:                     If I don’t do more, then I’ll fail.


Jerry Colonna:       If you don’t do more, then you’ll fail. Okay.


Scott:                     I also think about perhaps, if I don’t do more and then I fail, I’ll be able to look back at this and be like, ‘I didn’t do enough and this was my own fault’.


Jerry Colonna:       I didn’t do enough, I’m not enough, I’m not good enough just as I am. If I don’t do enough, if I don’t do — so the ‘doing’ is actually an expression of a lack of confidence and care for the being. And so what we confuse is that if I run around faster or if I do more, then somehow that feeling inside of me that I’m not good enough will go away. And we use exogenous, material expression of self to cover a hole inside of our self. Now, step one is to understand that there is a co-relation that the less good we feel about ourselves inside, the more likely we are going run around like a chicken without a head. So when you find yourself running around like a chicken without a head, A- you’re probably driving your colleagues fucking insane —


Scott:                     My roommates can probably attest.


Jerry Colonna:       B- you’re probably actually not making market success. You may be doing a lot of things but you may not be making market success. So if that’s the case, then you got to sit down and you got a cause and you got to go, okay what am I trying to — I’m trying to use this work as an expression taking care of me inside and what if who I am is valuable regardless of whether or not I succeed.


Scott:                     It’s almost like we retreat towards doing more work instead of addressing this problem.


Jerry Colonna:       Yes. Because doing more work and even this, encountering the fears associated or the anxiety associated with not doing enough is actually more palatable then dealing with the underlying question which is, ‘oh fuck, I actually don’t really like myself’. And who the hell has time for therapy? I don’t have that, I don’t ask those questions because I’m just like, ‘I got to get stuff done, I’m too busy’.


Scott:                     Yeah. That’s a harsh reality to face.


Jerry Colonna:       Yeah and let me tell you, we in society use a lot of stuff to not face harsh reality.


Scott:                     Do you think that a lot of entrepreneurs are — maybe the ones that have the chip on their shoulder, or few that are really just — I mean I’m thinking that a lot of people that I know, I’m thinking of myself at times, we have something to prove because we are not necessarily in love with ourselves?


Jerry Colonna:       I think the lack of self-esteem is an epidemic problem in our society and I think that entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to the problem partially because the entrepreneurial mindset especially in the United States is so celebrated and then therefore the shadow side of that is a vilification-demonization. I think that it’s particularly vulnerable because the process of starting a business — as I have often said, it requires a kind of a pathological optimism and the pathology there is not just this sort of weddedness to optimism, it’s a kind of a weddedness to the belief that I will — that this thing is an expression of me. How many people do you know, use the phrase, ‘this is my baby’?


Scott:                     A lot.


Jerry Colonna:       A lot and the fact is, no, it’s not. Your babies are your babies.


Scott:                     Right.


Jerry Colonna:       This is your company, this is your idea, it’s not a baby. It’s not the flesh and blood.


Scott:                     So, is divorcing our identity from our work, part of the recipe for having an enhanced emotional fitness as an entrepreneur?


Jerry Colonna:       It’s little more subtle than that, it’s divorcing your sense of self-worth from the achievement of the outcome. So in a sense, I understand I am a coach and it is part and parcel of who I am or more specifically, I am a coach because of who I am. So identity and meaning are very much tied together but how I feel about myself isn’t dependent upon whether or not you like me as a coach. How I feel is not dependent upon whether or not I am successful as a coach. Or let’s put it this way, that’s the practice that I have to work through every single day.


Scott:                     So I want to ask you because theoretically, that sounds great, but when we are in the trenches and somebody tells us that we suck at what we do or what we failing, I mean it’s not as easy to be like ‘well, hey, I don’t tie that too much — ‘ [Cross talk]


Scott:                     Yeah, I mean dude, honestly like when I hear that and somebody tell me that I suck as a podcast host or my blog sucks or a product I created isn’t good, I mean that’s so hard —


Jerry Colonna:       Hold on just a sec; who the hell are you to give advice about happiness or any of the stuff? Who are you? Scott, like you haven’t struggled, right?


Scott:                     [Laughter] Amen, brother.


Jerry Colonna:       I just hit the big, red button on your chest, right? Who are you? So how do you deal with that? What I try to teach, what I try to do is take time throughout the day to reconnect with the true purpose; true purpose and not ego-driven purpose. Why do you do this thing that you do, Scott?


Scott:                     If you’re talking about podcasting or like this show right now?


Jerry Colonna:       Yeah, this show.


Scott:                     So honestly man, it makes me feel alive.


Jerry Colonna:       That’s a consequence, I can understand that. And so there’s a piece of you, I imagine that enjoys the ego uplift of it.


Scott:                     A hundred percent.


Jerry Colonna:       Great, I love how you just embrace that and didn’t deny it, beautiful. Okay, how about — who do you envision listens to this?


Scott:                     The same person that was myself and is myself, right?


Jerry Colonna:       Yes.


Scott:                     On the way to work every day, as I was trying to pick my ass up out of bed, go do my job which — I love my job but like the person that was on the subway craving growth, craving inspiration and dude, that was a big reason why I wanted to create this because — and I’m not saying this to be a cheese-ball like–


Jerry Colonna:       You’re not cheese-ball dude, this is —


Scott:                     So many of my days in the mornings, the most exciting part was like turning on that podcast and listening to two people have a conversation that inspired me.


Jerry Colonna:       So it inspired you, it inspired you to feel something other than what you had been feeling in the moment before. What were you feeling in the moment before? Uninspired?


Scott:                     I think I was feeling — so the specific emotion and the inspiration would evolve from a creative spark that came from a new insight of the conversation.


Jerry Colonna:       Okay, and so what were you feeling before that? Not alive?


Scott:                     Probably bored.


Jerry Colonna:       Bored. Tell me about boredom.


Scott:                     So I get on the subway, another 25-minute ride down to the financial district, another day in the routine, another day in the grind.


Jerry Colonna:       You’ve so interestingly just used those words because the metaphor that was in my head was never ever seeing like a blind horse tied to the wheel forced to work, walk around, that circle —


Scott:                     Yeah. My parents loved taking me to the blind horse circuses growing up.


Jerry Colonna:       Wow! Yeah — so this is like weird, mystical voodoo stuff because the blind horse popped into my head and so it’s clearly a metaphor for you, it’s a powerful, powerful metaphor for you. [Inaudible 0:23:41] forced, boredom, hell, it’s hell, isn’t it to be tethered like that in that grind?


Scott:                     Dude, that is — I think that’s the reason I wanted to become an entrepreneur is that I never wanted to be bored because I feel like I’ll be wasting my life, right?


Jerry Colonna:       Thanks a lot. It’s hell. Okay. So, there’s the ego gratifying part of you doing these podcasts and then there’s a deeper purpose here, you are releasing people from hell.


Scott:                     I’d like to think so.


Jerry Colonna:       And that’s purpose, that’s powerful.


Scott:                     So how can we answer this question of purpose as entrepreneurs that will help us divorce what we are doing from our egos?


Jerry Colonna:       Your core question around emotional fitness leads us to this place of how do I separate myself or how do I inculcate that sense of worthiness independent of the thing that I am dealing? And that led in the conversation to me suggesting that reconnecting to purpose, true purpose, deep purpose is actually the antidote to feeling so tied or having your self-worth so tied. And here’s a little bit of Buddhism for you, I apologize for slipping it in like this —


Scott:                     Bring it on, man!


Jerry Colonna:       Okay, another aspect of the Art of Happiness, is putting other people first. When you reconnect to those blind horses, when you reconnect from the kid who was bored, who was looking at a potential lifetime of boredom and you say ‘not for me’ and when you put together a podcast for that person, you’re actually thinking of other people. And when you do that, you put a little bit of air between your sense of self-worth and your achievement of the goal because if nothing else Scott, be satisfied with the notion that you tried.


Scott:                     Yeah. That’s good, that’s really good. So if we can codify that for everybody out there who maybe has a different mission, has a mission that isn’t about freeing people from the shackles of boredom or monotony; at a high level, how would you describe that?


Jerry Colonna:       Focus on other people.


Scott:                     Focus on other people.


Jerry Colonna:       Okay, the mind in its grasping nature, is always going to find its way reverting back to, ‘what about me?’ ‘What about me?’ ‘What’s in it for me?’ And that’s where our problems begin. The answer to ‘what’s in it for me?’ is ‘what’s in it for you?’


Scott:                     Is there a way — because now I’m thinking a lot about the entire motivation that people might even be setting themselves up for emotional failure as entrepreneurs because they’re starting without the realization of this in the mind and they are thinking to themselves, they are thinking about the money, sex, power, all that stuff —


Jerry Colonna:       Or proving their parents wrong, or proving their parents right or proving the voice in their head wrong or proving the voice in their head right. Yes, finish it, I interrupted you.


Scott:                     No. I mean, so the thing that you just described is like some of my friends we always just stuck around like, ‘I don’t actually want to be a Navy SEAL but I just want to see if I can do it’. Like I want to see if I have what it takes and —


Jerry Colonna:       Right, why?


Scott:                     Yeah, because I guess we don’t think we’re good enough as it is and I guess my question is like what specific questions can we ask ourselves and what do we have to prepare ourselves mentally when we ask those questions because a lot of times, we like to bullshit ourselves. What is the question and mindset that we need to take so that we don’t set ourselves up for failure?


Jerry Colonna:       Right, so couple of questions; so what am I really up to, radical self-enquiry. What am I really up to? You said something just now and I wanted to respond quickly to it. You said, a lot of times we bullshit ourselves. I would argue that all the time, we want to bullshit ourselves all the time. So be skeptical of any thoughts that come out of the myth-making machine between your ears. The mind is always playing tricks on you because it’s always trying to reinforce this notion of separateness and — so, what’s really true? Just being so-and-so — what’s true about the world? What do I really believe? What am I up to? What’s my agenda? What feeling do I want you to have about me? And if you want to be less negative about it, you can say things like, ‘what need am I trying to meet?’ What need is Scott trying to meet?


Scott:                     Can you give an example need that somebody might be trying to meet?


Jerry Colonna:       The need to be loved. So the next time you are sitting down with a sales person and they are driving you insane because all they are telling you is all the calls that make, but they are not telling you what they closed. What need are they trying to meet? They are trying to throw away this feeling that they are unworthy, they want you to walk away going ‘boy, this is a hard-working person’, why? Because probably the truth is that they are not meeting their numbers because if they were meeting their number, they would lead with that. Right?


Scott:                     Yeah.


Jerry Colonna:       Rather than yelling at them or getting sucked into it, you just put a pause and say, ‘what’s going on with you? What’s going on? I hear about the calls you are making but I don’t hear about the numbers, the deals you are closing. Are you having problems?’ And by the way, this is not like necessarily therapy or pretend-to-be-a-therapist, this is going to be strong in holding people accountable. But it’s about really getting in touch and cutting through that delusionary mindset.


Scott:                     What are the best ways for people to start to develop greater self-enquiry, self-awareness, radicalism? Because even you and I both know man like I feel like I am actually a pretty self-aware guy but I always could be much better and I think a lot of people out there are — probably maybe self-awareness is a new thing for them.


Jerry Colonna:       It is. I think cultivating friends who will tell you the truth is really powerful. Like cutting a deal with a friend that says, ‘listen dude, the next time you see me doing that thing that I do, you know, the thing I do where I dance and I bullshit, could you call me on it?’ Even if it’s just a signal, ‘chocolate’, ‘you’re doing it again, chocolate’; call me on it because I don’t always see it myself. So little things like that; if you are building an organization, do you hire people who are going to “yes” you to death and feed your demon? Feed the ego? Or you’re hiring people who with a little care, with non-aggression but assertiveness, say, ‘hey, you know what, I’m going to call bullshit on this one. The product actually doesn’t work and our business strategy doesn’t make sense.’


Scott:                     Yeah, so I think instead of protecting ourselves, it’s actually seeking out people that are going out to fortify ourselves from not being self-aware.


Jerry Colonna:       That’s right; it’s really bad opening yourself up to be invulnerable or opening yourself up and being vulnerable because there is a risk there and you said it yourself. We try to protect ourselves from the truth and reality because it’s tough and it’s painful.


Scott:                     I heard you allude a couple of times to the practice of ‘taking a pause’ which is so counter to the culture that is honestly often celebrated in entrepreneurship and I’m curious if you could talk a little bit about that, a little bit about any other rituals that can help just manage all these emotions; keep us in check to make sure we’re not getting too deep into a rat-hole that we can’t climb out of.


Jerry Colonna:       Well remember, ‘speed kills’. I love Brad Feldand David Cohenbut I hate the title of their first book, ‘Do More Faster’. The problem is, and I understand the impulse, I’m not suggesting do nothing and I’m not suggesting don’t work hard; the problem is that we get into the state of faster, faster, faster, faster, faster, faster and we use the motion to push our way reality, to push away sensing reality. So, I often say things like “Did you go to the bathroom?” “Did you drink a glass of water?” “Did you go for a walk around the building?” Did you — it doesn’t have to be a big contemplative, sit-on-a-meditation-cushion kind of thing. I mean it’s great if you do but it doesn’t have to be. It could be something as simplistic as having a ritual, of having your meetings end five minutes earlier than you normally would and pausing.


Scott:                     Yeah.


Jerry Colonna:       I mean, I think that certain ritualized techniques — in our society, we wanted to give a spiritual practice isn’t so much a closest to God because the truth is, I don’t know if there is a God or many Gods. I really don’t know. But I like the notion of pausing once a week and using that as a day. I don’t care, go surf, every Sunday morning I’m going to go surf and I’m going to worship the Divine by actually listening to the surf before I get in. And I want to hear those waves, I want to smell them before I see them.


Scott:                     I think a big part of that in making that a consistent thing is recognizing the value in the pause because I know for a long time, myself, I avoided reflection in every way. I avoided looking out — like whether somebody responded to an email that I sent out that I was little nervous about, I avoid analytics, I avoided certain conversations, I avoided all of these things that just like forced me to potentially change what I was doing.


Jerry Colonna:       Is that why you were avoiding them because you didn’t want to change?


Scott:                     Well, I didn’t want to face the reality; I didn’t want to face the truth that would signal to me that I was —


Jerry Colonna:       Yeah, what was the potential truth?


Scott:                     That something I did sucked or that I wouldn’t feel good — the potential truth was that I did something that was not optimal and that I would feel bad about myself.


Jerry Colonna:       So not only were you afraid of actually — you were afraid, you didn’t just have the notion of discomfort about a particular set of feelings, you were afraid to even come close to potentially having those feelings which most people are.


Scott:                     Right and I think, that’s actually one of the reasons why these pauses a lot of times, we don’t assign value to them which really we’re just camouflaging the fact that we’re going to have to face the music.


Jerry Colonna:       Yeah, I if I sit on the meditation cushion, not only would I have to experience “a failure” because my thoughts would arise, which by the way is not failure, it’s exactly what’s supposed to happen, but I don’t really want to experience the feelings that are accompanied by those thoughts. And because I want to experience those, I’m going to be busy. Scott, let me tell you, being busy is great because it makes me feel good about myself briefly; I’m so busy, let me tell you how great I am, how important I am. I’m so busy. What’s the feeling I’m avoiding? Feeling unimportant.


Scott:                     Interesting. Is this — I mean, I want everybody to know that like these are feelings that — if you are feeling these things and by the way, I am and have in many instances —


Jerry Colonna:       Me too.


Scott:                     — that this is somewhat normal. I mean are these things, when you have your CEO boot camps, I just want to make sure that people were aware of, that you see amongst even some of the most “successful” CEOs and entrepreneurs out there?


Jerry Colonna:       I think the thing that still surprises me is the degree to which individuals whether it’s a campus, you show up at the boot camps or individual clients, the degree to which they are in fact surprised by the universality of these expressions and these feelings. It is shocking and it never fails to happen that people — their eyes go wide open; they all of a sudden realize that they are not alone. And these feelings are not evidence of their unique screwed up-ness and once they are there, then the peer support really kicks in because then somebody looks across the room and looks at the other person and says, ‘you too? But you look — on the outside, you look fine. But on the inside, you’re feeling what I’m feeling? And that’s the beginning of empathy. That’s the beginning of focusing on other.


Scott:                     This is really good stuff man and it kind of ties in the whole thing that if we have an expectation, if we can try to instill some expectation of universality amongst all of these things that we are going to feel, it’s going to be easier to handle the journey as an entrepreneur.


Jerry Colonna:       That is why compassion for self and other is such a powerful tool for leadership.


Scott:                     Jerry, this is amazing stuff, we’ve — I think we’ll just kind of leave people here with a couple of tools just to kind of bring this to a close. I know you have to get going but step one, set the expectation that this is hard and it’s okay to fail, right?


Jerry Colonna:       Uh-huh.


Scott:                     Try to divorce our performance of whatever project we are working on, whatever we’re trying to do, from our self-worth.


Jerry Colonna:       That’s right.


Scott:                     And then lastly, try to focus on others.


Jerry Colonna:       Yeah, and stay connected to others and cultivate empathy for yourself, compassion for yourself and for others.


Scott:                     Jerry, this has been amazing; thanks so much for coming on man if people want to learn more about you, read more about this stuff, learn more about the CEO boot camp, what are the best places for them to go?


Jerry Colonna:       Well, my blog is The Monster in Your Head dot com and then the website for the boot camp is Leadership Reboot dot com.


Scott:                     Awesome man! Thanks so much Jerry, have a great day dude!


Jerry Colonna:       You too, take care.


[End of interview 0:41:37]



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