Full transcript of the conversation
Caroline: Why is that some people transform their lives and other people who desire it don’t? I’ve done tons of thinking about it and started to wonder if there’s something that needs to happen before, some kind of conditions that need to be in place for people to be able to shift into a transformation gear? What your initial response to that is?
Izzy: What are my thoughts on; are there conditions, what are the conditions that lead to transformation?
Caroline: Or maybe even a step before, why do you think some people can’t do it? As a coach I’m sure you have this experience. I’ve talked to so many people who say, I want change, but it doesn’t happen for them. And I know from myself in the past, I’ve desired transformation and it came eventually, but I’ve been in that space of just not being able to breakthrough and do the things I say I desire.
[00:01:46] Do I really want what I say I want?
Izzy: I think there’s always the distinction of do I really want that? Do I really? And just because I think I desire something, does not mean I actually do desire it. Sometimes it’s our blind spot. So one of the things I’ve seen quite a bit is that one of our blind spots is that we don’t actually want it, we don’t truly want it.
We think we do, we really, really, really think that we do. I remember saying I’ll do anything; I’ll do anything to get my business of the ground. I’ll do anything; whatever is required, and an opportunity opened up in which, I would be able to get the support mentorship and coaching from an individual, from Jacob of Sensophy, to help me grow and build and do that, and then I was like “I can’t afford it”, I’ll do anything possible to help my business, I’ll get the mentorship, I’ll get whatever support I can, as soon as the opportunity arises, I’ll do it, nothing will stop me. And then something happens and I go, “I’ll do anything but this…” So that one thing was actually what I had to work through to transform myself.
[00:04:09] A story I’m telling myself
And it was my beliefs around money in that actual space. That one thing that was getting in my way at that moment in time was also, that I thought “If this didn’t exist, then I would do it” But in reality I had to work through that, and in that particular space for example, of being able to invest in myself, to be able to make that growth in this particular context, was also the area that was stopping me from going and building my business. I was struggling with “How do I do this, I can’t afford that.” It was also the exact same space in which other people were coming to me at. People wanted to come to me, and they really wanted to work with me, and to make it happen, and they were like “I would love to, but I can’t afford it” And I accepted it, I was like “I totally hear you, I get you.” In reality, just recognizing that it was a story that I was telling myself, but I was perceiving it as reality.
[00:04:47] Is it that people don’t want it enough or are they scared?
Caroline: Is it fear? Because sometimes when I’m working with a client for example, it’s hard for them and me as the coach sometimes to determine – is it that they don’t want it enough or is it that they are just scared? They are scared of what it means. And I’ve experienced that in my life and so I don’t know if you would put the money story under fear or something else?
Izzy: Yeah I think fear, it was totally fear. It was totally, totally fear. What comes up to me is so fascinating, before I’ve done what I’ve done now; travelling and training in Aikido doing martial arts, I was a middle school teacher in America, I did that, and then I was totally depressed, fell apart and said: “I can’t do this, this is a horrible way of existing, what do I really want to do with my life? I want to become a Ninja, I want to move far away, I want to train martial arts all the time and I moved to Japan and ended up doing that, and what blew my mind about is I remember at that time people would be hearing it and be like wow that’s so courageous, I can’t believe you did that. I remember just being like – It didn’t take any courage at all, no courage to do this – you know what sucked was waking up everyday and going to the shitty ass horrible job that I despised, I’ll do anything other than this. And when I recall it, that was transformation, and in that context the fear, the pain were actually existing in my present moment, and I just wanted anything I could to remove that.
So it’s interesting – what do you think the role of fear plays in transformation?
[00:06:54] The role of fear in transformation
Caroline: It’s interesting because I had similar responses when I decided to quit my job and buy my ticket to Thailand, and people would say “aren’t you scared?” and I would say “I’m more scared of staying, my soul is dying in this country and in this job.” So for me, a bit like you just described, the fear was of staying the same, not of the unknown in that scenario but I have experienced fear of the unknown. What I was thinking as you were talking is: Do you need to believe that there’s something better, that transformation is possible? For me I knew that there had to be more to life than this when I was in that situation. I just knew it in my bones. Well I wonder if some people just don’t truly believe that there is more. I don’t know, what do you think?
Izzy: You know it’s so fascinating. If I’m kind of dissecting what we are looking at here. In your context you left the UK and then you went to Thailand because you knew – it was actually the fear of staying in your present circumstance. So you moved on. And for me it was the exact same thing. It was the fear of the present circumstance right. But what is interesting about it is that in that context we were quote unquote courageous right? People would call us courageous, but in reality we don’t feel it. I wasn’t afraid at all because what I was stuck in was so horrible or painful. What is interesting though in the context that I was talking about before is that the fear – when I was looking to go to an entirely new level with my business – was I was afraid of the change.
Caroline: What it would mean? Or what it would require from you? Maybe both?
[00:09:18] How important is it to have belief that there is something better?
Izzy: Yeah I think so. What is so interesting to me is that if we really look at it, that’s exactly what you’re saying. There’s this belief that there’s something better. I know for me people would be like “What are you going to do? You’re going to go to Japan and then how is that all going to work?” I would always be like “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out”. And the thing was that the real fear when I was looking and thinking about “Do I work with Jakob, do I not, how do I do it? Blah, blah, blah”. The real fear had nothing to do with the money, nothing to do with the money, had nothing to do with Jakob, and had nothing to do with any of that. The real fear was “What if I do this, and I go for it, and I still can’t make it happen?” Because if I knew without question that my life would be better as a result of making the decision to spend the money, it’s a no brainer. Of course I’ll do it. So that comes down to definitely. At the end of the day and the reason I chose to do it was because I believed in that I can make my life better as result of doing this. That was greater.
Caroline: And just to clarify the “it” – it is investing in your apprenticeship with Jacob?
Izzy: Yes in this context. I mean I would use it in the sense of when I recently went to Europe and I travelled there and it was like “Oh do I go there or not?” I was a little bit unsure of it, and there was a fear – and the fear when I think back on it – is the fear that my life is going to be worse as a result of that decision.
[00:11:10] Fear of success
Caroline: You just made me think, I too was on the verge of investing with my apprenticeship with you, and it was actually the fear that my life would change for the worse. I remember when we first embarked on coaching; I was like “If I’m successful then I’ll lose control over my day, over my schedule, over my time. I’m going to be stressed and all of this. I had a fear of being successful, because there was somewhere inside of me, this idea that maybe it would be worse than where I am right now, which is just kind of comfortable – well it was more than comfortable, I was living on a tropical beach in Thailand, which was really cool, but going back to the original question you asked me, what do we think the role of fear is? I think it’s strong, I think it plays a big role either way.
[00:12:11] My life is great and I still desire transformation
Izzy: So here’s what comes up for me, we’ve both been in this circumstance. So here you are, you’re on this beach on this tropical island, that’s beautiful and in a lot of ways your life is wonderful. That’s so great, so good. I’ve been in that context right; I’m in Japan, I’m training extensively in martial arts, I’m doing all this and yet – So it’s like our life is wonderful – and yet at the same time, we still have a desire to have transformation. And there is a fear related to that. So you had asked earlier “What’ the difference between the person who wants transformation and who doesn’t want it.” What I’m curious about is “What do you think causes you to go “My life is good, I have all these good things and yet I still desire this transformation”, why?
[00:13:37] Is transformation inevitable?
Caroline: Yeah it’s a good question. And it’s one I think I’ve been asking myself recently. Because this whole playing big and playing at your edge can get exhausting sometimes. And sometimes I think “Maybe I would be happy to just make a couple of thousand dollars a month, and just pay the rent and go on holiday.” It makes me think of something, because I asked this question “Why do some people transform their lives and others don’t?” to Jason and Steve on their show, and Steve was saying, which I just loved, some people would say; why do I need to change? I’m good, I am. He talks about the inevitability of it. It’s like a flower half coming out and saying well why do I need to fully bloom? Of course it’s going to fully bloom that is what we do. Transformation. Well this is a question I’m playing with; “is transformation inevitable?”
“I love being the flower that I am” ~ Izzy
Izzy: That is awesome. So it sounds like there is an underlying understanding, so for me I’m aware that I’m a half bloomed flower, right. And I love being the flower that I am, I really like it, it’s a damn good flower. But at the same time I’m half bloomed, why the fuck would I want to stay half bloomed? And so being aware of that. Because when I think about the different steps I’m doing in my life. Over the next year I want to train over 1000 hours in Aikido around the country, I’ve joined a group 4PC with Rich, that you know more about, and sometimes I’m like “Why do I do these things? Why don’t I just chill the fuck out?” And the thing is though that it’s not coming from this space of “Oh my God I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough, and I need to be better than I am”. It comes from a space of “Oh gosh I do, I like myself and really like myself and I really, really love my life” And at the same time, what if I could love it even more? And what if I could exist totally differently? After doing this aikido and showing up and meeting people, to be able to feel that sense of groundedness in my world. It just inspires me. I don’t know it sounds to me, that one of the contexts that allows for you and I – I can speak for myself – that has me desiring transformation is a sense of huge possibility.
Caroline: Yeah, I’m thinking now if I think back to who I’ve always been I guess. I almost think about pre-transformation and post-transformation in my life, because I did go through a big transformation. But one thing that I think has been a running theme throughout my life is persistence, this desire to move forward, to get on. I don’t know what it is; as you were talking I was thinking is this something you are born with? Are you born with the condition that you and I clearly have? When you talked earlier it reminded me of a friend I used to have, who said to me, when I was doing my second 10-day detox without food, because I was in this whole spiritual place and she said “Why do you always have to take everything to an extreme? You can’t just go for a run, you have to run a marathon, climb a mountain.” I remember thinking it is just part of who I am, was I born that way? I don’t know; do you have thoughts on that?
Izzy: Well the first thought that comes up for me is; one of the things that has continually happened throughout my life is – and it’s exactly the experience you are sharing. Because I’ve had it repeatedly said to me, there’s a misunderstanding of what I’m trying to do and what I’m looking to do. I remember it was about 5 years ago, I was on call with a group of people. We started the call and we would talk about how we are doing and what we were excited about and I always had a goal; I always had something I was going for. One of the women on the call said “Izzy are you, do you think you’ll ever be happy with just what you have?” and I remember sitting there and going “She has no idea where I’m coming from”, she doesn’t understand it because she thinks that I feel unhappy and that’s why I’m doing things. That I’m trying to make up for something, and it’s a misunderstanding of where I was coming from. Because I’ve heard that so many times, I have at times struggled with it. So I have at times been like “Why do I have to do all these things, and why can’t I just be happy?” But then I find it’s funny when I say things like, why can’t I just be happy with this, this and this?” and it’s like well actually I am happy with this, this and this. Right? What’s coming up for you?
Caroline: I’ll tell you what’s coming up for me is not why do some people desire transformation and other people don’t? It’s why do some people achieve transformation, and other’s who desire it don’t? And I know you said in the beginning, maybe they don’t want it enough. But I remember for example a big period of my life desiring transformation and it not happening for me. I was full of goals and ambitions and dreams, and I always fell short. I was kind of trapped with negative habits and addictions, drinking too much and smoking too much, so I always had visions of this transformed life, and I really struggled for a long time. So sometimes I found myself analyzing what was it that changed? Because it was quite dramatic, it was in the space of 5 years I gave up alcohol, I gave up smoking, I completely changed my life. Everything changed, my relationships, the people in my life, the work I did, where I lived. Everything. And so I’m kind of fascinated by the people who desire it, but don’t achieve it. Because I think what is it, what conditions could be created, what is it that is missing from you? Not in the way that they are lacking something, but what is missing in order for you to transition into transformation? I think that is what really fascinates me.
[00:21:09] Is the struggle part of the transformational journey?
Izzy: I think what pops up in my head is that in your example, you said “well for so long I was desiring transformation, I had goals and ambitions, I had these things but it wasn’t happening for me. I wasn’t transforming.” But what’s funny about it, we actually don’t know that that wasn’t part of the entire transformation, because you did transform, right? You have experienced transformation, so the thing is, what if that actually wasn’t preventing you from transforming? What if that actually was part of the transformational journey? I will say that I do think that it seems to me, that it’s almost like there’s a transformation muscle, where the beginning process of transformation can sometimes be very slow. So we don’t even see this transformation, but then all of a sudden, all that work, all those efforts, all the challenges, sometimes we just see this exponential result. And all of a sudden we’re like, what the hell was I doing the last four years? How the hell did I not have that the previous 4 years? And then in reality, what has actually happened over the last two or three months or year or six months is as a result of the foundation that we built in that previous period of time.
[00:22:39] The role of struggle
Caroline: What that brings up for me; one idea I think about struggle is the idea I need to change, like we both described when we did change our lives, it was like the reality we were in was too painful to stay in, even though I do feel that a lot of people do stay in painful situations. But I wonder what the role of struggle is; you know what the role of hitting rock bottom is? It’s like do or die, I have to change or just give up. I do wonder about that.
[00:23:25] Being willing to be in the struggle
Izzy: You know one of the interesting things about it is when I think back to say 2015, when I think about it, the feeling in my body is really good. But yet when I really think about it, there was a lot of struggle in 2015, a lot of insecurity, a lot of self-doubt, a lot of questioning myself. But what is interesting is when I think back to it, and I go through my journals in 2015, and I just think about it, I remember literally sitting outside, staring at trees going “Oh I’m feeling insecure, I’m feeling like half a man. Oh what does that feel like?” And just letting the flow of energy through my body. And what was so interesting about that experience of doing that – that’s struggle, that’s a deep struggle for me. What is so interesting though of being willing to be in that struggle is that it allowed me to grow so much. And I gained so much from that. In my life when I’ve had the least levels of growth is when I have fought the hardest to not feel struggle, anything I could to not struggle, just did anything I can to not struggle, because struggle is real, it happens – when I’ve pushed it away, unwilling to just experience it, to be with it, to grow from it, to learn from it, to reflect on it. “What is this communicating to me?”
I definitely see it in working with clients a lot of time it’s interesting, they’re like “Oh I’m really stressed out about this, but that is just that” and they want to go on to something else. Wow, wow let’s actually be in the stress, let’s exist in it, let’s find it and let’s discover what that is communicating.
“Being willing to be in that struggle allowed me to grow so much. I gained so much from that” ~ Izzy
[00:25:58] I can’t do this on my own
Caroline: I wonder how much of it is actually acknowledging that the struggle is there? I remember a real catalyst for me transformation was reaching a point where I was like “Oh holy shit I can’t do this on my own, like I need support. I’m actually not holding it together.” And for a long time I think I was in this space of denying the struggle – well I knew struggle was around but I wasn’t really acknowledging the scale of the struggle. And when I finally did, then it was like ok now I have to do something about it. I wonder if it’s the same with things like; talking about the money story – I know when I’ve had in growing my business, real growth has come after a period of really struggling with something. I guess that’s how you master it, how else do you unlock the code of making money for example, or getting fit, or losing weight if you don’t really struggle with it first? I don’t know that’s what comes up for me.
Izzy: What we are doing here – there seems to be some character qualities, right? Certain things that we are identifying here, conditions that lead to transformation. For me without question it’s a little bit paradoxical, because there is so much in the personal development space that is like “You are amazing, you have to believe that you are amazing and the best thing ever”. And I think for me, actually one of the biggest and most powerful discoveries that has helped me to grow so much grow is realizing that it’s this paradoxical relationship between “I do like myself and I can’t do this on my own. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a good person, and I got some great things going for me, but I need some support, I do need that.”
[00:28:11] The role of curiosity
It was really interesting I spoke with an individual recently that really was struggling to figure out a direction in their life, and what they wanted to do. It was a friend from many years ago and we went out an grabbed coffee, It was just very interesting to kind of hear them going off and I was sitting there…Gosh they’re fucking going off… like I’m not the world’s fucking smartest guy, but I get this stuff. People pay me a lot of fucking money to help them with these specific things and I have moved to the other side of the world, and I used to have a professional career, doing all these things. It would just make sense to me that this person should maybe ask me a couple of things. Or at least a couple of questions about my story, but they are just going off, and I’m just like “Huh?” And I didn’t think too much of it, until I recently had a conversation with this guy, who’s now a multimillionaire, he’s fucking amazing, so just fucking killing it. So inspiring so incredible. We get in a conversation and we’re talking and he’s asking me about me he’s asking about my story, about moving to Japan doing Martial Arts. He’s like “Oh my God that’s so amazing”, and he’s asking me all these questions, and is like so curious, and I’m sitting there going, why are you asking me stuff, and I sat there and I was so fascinated about him, and I’m asking him all these questions, and I walked away from those two conversations and it took some time and I realized on a walk; I bet that guy always showed up like that. And the thing that was so interesting to me is, it was so inspiring to me to just see how he showed up and it blew my mind that he doesn’t need anything from me, this guy is killing me, why the hell is he asking me questions? This other person who is drowning doesn’t even see – and I bet this person who is drowning he is probably resisting all the opportunities in his life that could actually support him.
[00:30:39] The role of vulnerability
Caroline: Do you think that vulnerability is the thing that the guy who didn’t ask questions is afraid to be, because to say listen man can you give me any advice here, or like what you recommend, that takes vulnerability.
Izzy: Yeah! I know for me, I remember before I hired, before I began working with a coach. I remember having thoughts to myself going like “What the hell is going on with me? I can’t believe I’m even thinking of hiring a coach, a coach that needs a coach! Like shouldn’t I be able to figure this shit out on my own? Why should I have to have any support?” I had shame around it. Vulnerability… yeah… I totally think that.
Ok let’s do, I’m curious about this so, ok I think vulnerability is totally character quality. What other things that we have identified… so vulnerability,
Caroline: Curiosity I took from the other guy.
Izzy: cool ok, curiosity.
Caroline: Some level of belief that transformation is possible or a better life.
Izzy: cool so ok yeah a belief in a better life.
Caroline: Would you call that optimism? Or hope?
Izzy: Maybe hope.
Izzy: Vulnerability, curiosity, hope. I would put in there humility.
Caroline: Expand on that a tiny bit.
[00:32:40] The role of humility
Izzy: So one of the things that is also so interesting to me is that I went out to lunch to my mom the other day, and she knows I go to these seminars and these events. And she was saying “You know so when you go to these events, is it pretty easy to spot people who are doing like really, really well? That they are successful because I know that you always loved having relationships with people who are really doing some cool things.” And I kind of thought about it, and you know I’m learning how to. But the thing about it is that it’s really easy to spot the people who are full of shit. But it is more difficult to identify the people who are really, really doing well. And when I say doing well I mean coming from a really great place, making a really big impact to the world. Deep integrity, they like themselves, they wake up in the morning and they feel good. And they make a meaningful impact, creating substantial financial wealth, doing cool amazing things. And my mom she asked me about it, she said well why is that? And I go the people who are full of shit, when I talk with them they spend the whole conversation trying to prove to me how incredible they are, and you feel it. You feel it in their energy; they are always kind of trying to prove something. They are just saying stuff where you are like, and sometimes it’s very subtle, and they don’t realize that they are doing it. But they feel like they have to prove something. And there was one guy I was having this conversation with at this event, and he was just so kind of calm and relaxed and really interested and he just looked like a normal guy and we had an interesting, good conversation, and then later I go on Facebook and this guy is a fucking hugely sought after intimacy relationship coach – fantastic impact on people – and I was like “I talked to him, I had no clue, and it’s because he is so humble and had no need to prove anything that even the questions I would ask him about “Oh what are you doing?” “Oh you know I got a couple of projects that I’m working on, that I feel pretty excited about, but it’s good and there are some challenges that I’m facing and all but that’s how entrepreneurism is.” I never would have known. And that was also very humbling for me to be like; oh man how am I showing up? How am I showing up if I’m not present enough and I’m making judgments on people?
– Yeah what’s coming up?
[00:35:24] The role of self-worth and self-esteem
Caroline: Well it’s interesting because this humility is part of what you’ve just described and then as you’ve described the people who are trying to prove themselves, the word that came into my mind is self-worth. And that’s on my list as well in terms of potential conditions, is to have some level of self-worth. Because if you don’t then you do things like that, you try to prove yourself. And also I think that lack of self-worth is a huge barrier for transformation.
Izzy: I totally agree, I guess the word that comes up for me is self-esteem. Because I guess at least the way that I’ve heard self-esteem being defined is how much you like yourself. So when I went to Europe it totally shocked me because the thing that came up for me, the biggest discovery I had in that time was that I realized I like myself more now. That’s weird because I thought I already did like myself, but what was interesting about it was that the more I liked myself, the more I can like other people. Because one of the things I’ve noticed being around different people is that sometimes it’s really nice to be around someone who likes you, is curious about you, is fascinated by you. It’s nice and I thought huh the more I like myself the more I can like them and also the more I like myself the less I’m affected by their responses to me. I remember back when I was at the beginning of my teaching career and it was really difficult for me, I was in my early twenties and I was really struggling with insecurities, doubts. I remember one of my friends was in his acting career and he got an amazing gig, it was phenomenal. And I remember him going to this place and sharing this with me, and inside feeling jealousy. I remember being so bothered about myself and being like why can’t I be happy for him? It bothers me that it’s like I don’t want this to happen for him. Why, why? Have I reached a point in my life where I don’t want other people to be happy, why can’t I just feel good that he feels good? I feel worse that he feels good. And at the time I didn’t understand it, but it was because I was struggling with my self-esteem, my self-worth.
[00:38:50] The role of openness
Caroline: So I’ve got more on my list in terms of conditions for transformation. We talked about openness and is that the same thing as curiosity? Or do you think there’s a difference in being open? And openness I think for me directly relates to a lot of what Michael Neill explains in terms of fresh thinking, fresh perspective, space for new insights to occur. I kind of see those of quite similar. How important do you see that is?
Izzy: One of the ways I came up with the idea to travel around the country studying Aikido, I was talking with a coach, and he was coaching me, and one of the things he was asking me is “what is your impossible goal?” And so I said some things, and he was like “that’s wonderful, but that’s not impossible” and I was like; ” oh he’s right it’s not impossible.” Then all of a sudden my thinking started to get bigger, and then before I knew it, I had shifted from “I want to share my story in front of an audience and do some Aikido to what if I travelled around the entire country and entire world, being around the best aikido teachers and not only learning from them but actually helping them to build and expand their business to be able to spread the message of aikido even further and farther?” And all of a sudden as I started to go there, I was suddenly starting to open to it. I was like “woah, I don’t know how I can do that, that sounds crazy it sounds nuts, but then all of a sudden it was just like, “woah I don’t need to know how” I just opened to the thought and then soon thereafter by having that openness, I have to credit that conversation to what I’m stepping into now, where it’s like now I am travelling and training in Aikido, travelling across all of America. Literally going I’m going to find the best teachers in the country and then sharing it on a bigger scale with the purpose of going “I know there is something bigger and richer here” and the 1000 hours to me of that it seems I would not have been open to it. I think that as I became more open, all of the sudden I started to see possibilities that I never did before.
Caroline: What’s coming up in my mind, I’m sure you’ve had this experience as a coach when you get on a call with somebody and they want your support with a specific thing, and at every point they just close it down. It’s like “I couldn’t do that because…” It’s just almost an impossible conversation because they are in no way open to a different way of being. Because one of the things I think I see a lot with people is they want the transformation – they want the results of transformation, but they don’t want to change what they are doing. And I know I’ve gone from having a life to having a completely transformed life, and I had to change everything. I mean literally I changed what I did on a day-to-day basis, I changed the people I spent my time with, I changed the books I read, I changed my job, my country. I had to change everything in order to have the scale of transformation I feel I’ve achieved. And I think a lot of people desire the end result but they are closed when it comes to looking at what they could possibly change on a day-to-day basis in order to achieve it.
Caroline: Are you remembering conversations right now?
Izzy: No I’m just thinking about myself and when I’ve made changes and things like that, but also that simple thing of individuals who say they want something. They want the desired result, but then I don’t actually think they really do want it. They think they want it – they really do think they want it. What is actually coming up for me is I’m thinking about myself in that context of saying I’m wanting something but not doing anything about it vs. a time actually doing something about it. I can share that, and then we can try to dissect it.
[00:44:02] Izzy talks about his relationships with women
So what I’m thinking about in particular, and you know it’s something I’ve worked on a lot over the 7 or 8 months is my relationships with women. When I first came across this about 8 months ago, when all of a sudden I became aware once again of the woman species. And as I first became aware again at the same time I was terrified. It was like this strange feeling inside, and it was like “ok I kind of want to start talking with women but I kind of like…I just don’t know.” What had to happen for me, it went from that to getting support from mentors and everything, I remember as I began to be aware that it was a huge challenge for me and I began to be intention and I remember I was walking – I was in Bali – I looked up it was yoga, and there was a woman and she was very attractive, I looked up – there’s a million attractive women in Bali, everywhere actually. I look up and I see her and I remember going “wow she’s attractive”, and remember having huge shame. “What are you doing? Why are you doing that? Stop looking at her, she’ll know.” And I didn’t want to, so I was literally terrified from that experience. So I go from that experience to now present day where if I’m with a woman and I feel attracted to her, regardless of the circumstance, I am able to very comfortably just go “I feel so sexually attracted to you”. Or I’m going to show it with my body. But before I couldn’t. And the question is what happened there? Why did that change occur? And I remember at first when I was exploring it I was just like ‘I don’t want anything to do with this, I don’t want to talk to her, I just don’t… I understand this is important in my life, I know I do want a girlfriend or something at some point in time in my far future whatever but I don’t want to have to do anything about it.” Sometimes I wonder like what switched inside that made me willing to take those initial steps to get the ball moving?
[00:46:59] Does it become less scary and is commitment a part of it?
Caroline: A couple of things are coming up for me. One is the role of fear again, like did it become less scary? And again I would also argue was it that there was a part of you that didn’t want it? Or there was a part of you that was terrified of it, even though you wanted it. And what is coming up as well is, what is the role of making a commitment, to doing something about it, part of it for you? I know for me for example. I have this thing where I’ve got to do some real work on my health because I have this health condition and I have to change my diet, and I want it, because I want to be healthier, but I’m terrified of what it means in terms of just enjoying life and letting go of foods that I love, and I got to a place where I thought ok I’ve got to have this in my life, so what’s missing? It just became really clear that what’s missing is commitment. Even though I want it, there’s a part of me that doesn’t. I don’t want to go on this restrictive diet that means I can’t go and eat tapas on a Friday night with my boyfriend, but I’ve made a commitment because I thought “I’ve got to get better, I got to heal this condition, so I’m committing to this even though I’m scared of it, and there is a part of me that doesn’t want it.” Did that happen to you with the women thing or was it something else?
[00:48:37] Fear of loss vs. desire for gain
Izzy: What comes up for me is the concept of fear of loss vs. desire for gain. So when I think back to it, when I remember the experience where I would see a woman and have so much tension. There was this massive fear just totally of “oh my God what if she knows that I’m looking at her, there’s no way in hell she’s feeling it back and even if she did I have no idea what to do with it.” And it’s this huge fear of rejection, pain, just all like “oh my God if she pushes me away, what does this say about me as a man?” So there is this huge fear, and yet somewhere inside I did realize there was something to be gained in the process, I knew there was something to be gained but at the same time it was just so intense. And I’d say now the experience, you know if I’m with a woman and I’m enjoying the experience it’s real easy for me to say “I want to be around you again.” And the difference is that when I think about it in that recent context, when I think about a recent incident that happened just a few days ago, was that there was no story in my head about it. There wasn’t really a fear of loss, because it’s like “this is what I feel. I just simply want to see you again, and wherever you’re coming from it’s cool. If you don’t want to see me again, that’s fine. You know yeah it would be cool to see you again.” It’s cool to have pepper jack cheese on my turkey sandwich. But if she chooses not to it doesn’t mean I’m half a man; it doesn’t mean I’m not a good person. So all of a sudden the desire for gain, I mean if I say it to her. What if I tell her I want to see her again and then we do, what if we do, that would be amazing. I had an experience, maybe a month ago whatever, I was talking with this woman, and I just had a huge desire to, I just wanted to be in nature and be in mountains with her, and so I just said: “I just want to go into the mountains with you, and hike in nature with you.” I knew what I was saying, in my head I was saying “there’s no fucking way she’s going to say yes to this, that would be crazy, why the hell would she say yes to this? That doesn’t make any sense”, but in my head I also said “what if she does? What if she does say yes?” And she ended up saying yes, she ended up being like “yeah let’s do it”, and I thought afterwards that’s so interesting because I actually didn’t expect her to say yes to it. But the reason I did it was because it’s that desire for gain vs. the fear of loss. And because there wasn’t a fear of loss. There’s no chance in hell she’s going to do this anyway, everything is still good for me, and everything is still good for her regardless – and I feel it, it doesn’t really impact our relationship, because it’s fine either which way. We’re cool either which way, I’m just telling her what I want – and that willingness, and because the thought in my head wasn’t what if it doesn’t work? It was like what if it does?
[00:52:04] Facing the fear
Caroline: So has that come with time though? Because I’m thinking this is a recent example and I know you’ve been working on it for a while, so can you think back to the first time post your declaration or your realisation that this is a thing for you back in Bali in May, do you remember the first time you faced the fear? It’s that whole thing about facing a fear and then it get’s easier and easier each time. Where were you then with the fear of loss and the idea of gain?
[00:52:40] The stories we create
Izzy: That’s such a great point. So what it was for me, I think about an experience in which I didn’t even put out any type of invitation or anything, but I was kind of talking to a woman and I sent her a message on Facebook, and I was terrified to just send her a message, to just send her that. And she didn’t respond for a few days and I remember thinking to myself I’m not checking Facebook, I’m not going to go on Facebook because I knew that if I was going to go on Facebook and see that she had not sent a message, I would just feel such anxiety and tension, so one of the things that happened was that she ended up responding maybe 4-5 days later, but I remember all the stories I had created around it. I had created an entire reality, I’ve created this entire reality around it, about who I was and my identity and then becoming aware of that. When I became aware, “like wait a second I’ve created an entire reality here as to why she has not responded and as to why she never would respond.” And then she did end up responding what I was able to do at the time was I documented it all. I ended up journaling and writing about it. And going “woah like, what did I feel was going on, what did I think was reality? Things like I’m gross, I’m ugly, I’m not likeable.” It was just so many things that I’d created but it wasn’t true! And so it started to make me go “what else am I telling myself that is preventing me from going for things?” And that actually was so incredibly powerful because then I was able start playing with that exact same thing in business. Playing with it in travelling and going to aikido dojos. You know I discovered I had a fear going to aikido dojos because I thought that people would think I had shitty aikido. Where did that come from? I don’t know but so I had this fear of going, but then I could witness it. So I guess there is this process of… do you find that for yourself? Do you witness your struggles?
[00:55:09] Do you witness your struggles?
Caroline: Yeah, yeah, more and more.
Izzy: What does that do for you?
Caroline: it’s liberating I think in a way. You know I was talking to someone today actually about how when I used to speak in public, you know if I had to give a presentation in my old life, in my old career and things like that – the anxiety that would consume me days before and up until the moment and throughout. You know it was kind of like sheer terror. But I was trying to avoid the fear. I was trying to just push it away. I wanted to do anything to avoid thinking about how stressed out I am about this, how anxious I feel about it. And know what happens is, I know you know I ran a women’s circle in our house in Valencia the other week, and now I don’t feel that level of anxiety at all because I’ve done it a number of times, well I don’t think that it’s because I’ve done it a lot of times, I think it’s that. It’s that I’m completely comfortable with being scared, and the more comfortable I am with the emotion being around in the same room, the less intense it feels. Then it’s just ok fear is hanging around and I don’t have to deal with him. I can just let him do his thing in the corner and carry on regardless. Whereas before it would grip me and at the same time as being gripped by fear I’d be denying it. I remember very much that feeling of being; don’t be so ridiculous, why are you so scared? Maybe you felt like that with the women thing, why are you freaking out about something so easy? I don’t do that now. I don’t question my fear. I kind of just accept it as inevitable, it’s like oh fear is here of course, it’s cool, I can still do this and be scared. And then I’m just so much less scared. That’s been hugely transformational for me.
Izzy: So this is interesting, so here is what is coming up for me. So let’s say we’re making a plant. You know planting a plant. We do it, we put nutrients and water and all these things and it just kind of happens and grows. It grows. If we take it and just go “wow that was incredible, just by chance, I have no idea how that even worked” and we take no time to think about it whatsoever, then we in reality we actually did this amazing job to build this plant and we so much incredible opportunity to learn from what just unfolded. And literally by just witnessing that process of that plant, we become aware of okay so what the soil conditions? Because we can create those soil conditions. What’s the water that we used? What are the nutrients? What is the amount of sunlight? What time of year was it, what was the season? And as the more we witness it, the more sustainable it becomes, and that actually becomes the foundation in which we do the next plant, and we can make it even better now. And so it seems to be that there’s this kind of underlying concept, this process of witnessing our own experience. Learning from it.
[00:58:53] Going for things you don’t think will happen
One of the craziest things that I’ve discovered in the process of my relationships with women is if I’m willing to say what I feel, maybe nothing happens from it, but maybe something does. And just because I think nothing will, what I think in these particular contexts being like ‘there’s no chance that this woman is willing to go out with me. There’s no chance in hell.’ That is not relevant to the outcome. As long as I don’t get lost in that thought, you know if I’m lost in a thought my energy changes, but the only reason I’ve been able to discover that is that I’ve intentionally done things where I’ve said explicitly to myself, I don’t think she will say yes, and that’s why I’m going to do it.
I saw a woman the other day, she’s beautiful, I’ve known her for many, many years, she’s beautiful and I think she’s just a wonderful person and I just saw her very quickly and briefly and afterwards I was like ‘I want to see her again, I really want to see her again. But I kind of blew it, I didn’t ask her out, but next time how would I make it better?’ And I started to slow down and I said ‘wait a second, why can’t you, what if I can see her again. If I were to see her again right now, how would I do it?’ I just realized I was like ‘oh I can send her a message. She’s on Facebook I can just send her a message’ and I literally was like I’m not sending this to create an outcome, I’m doing this for the sole reason that I’m sure that there’s no chance in hell of that happening and I want to be someone who goes for things that I don’t think will happen. If I do, if I make a practice of that for my entire life, I will do amazing things. So that was the intention behind it, so I did, I just sent her a message: I want to see you. I feel called to ask you for coffee and I don’t know why. But I do. Are you down? And then I just assumed whatever and then how these tend to turn out and she was like, yeah let’s do it. But it’s that, and then it’s the same thing in business. It’s the exact same thing in business. Here’s an amazing inspiring person and it would be fucking incredible to work with them and they’re so inspiring they’re so incredible and we could create some cool things. But why the fuck would they want to work with me? That’s not even a relevant thought it’s like ‘alright I’m inspired, I have a crazy idea why don’t you come be here, live with me for the next five days and it’ll be 10.000 dollars’ – and it’s showing up like that. I don’t know what they’ll say I don’t think they’ll say yes, but what if they do? How amazing could that be for them, how amazing could that be for me? – Same thing for showing up in life right? I have no idea how can I train a thousand hours over the next year of my life in aikido? I have no fucking idea how I’m going to do all that. That’s a lot. You know balance and to do everything, but I’m going for it, I’m doing it – emailing dojos, reaching out, putting up a plan, scheduling, showing up for training. And it’s like there’s an energy that starts to be created with this that creates transformation.
[01:02:27] The difference commitment brings
Caroline: Yeah in my mind I keep coming back to the word commitment, I don’t know if that’s what you are feeling, but it just there’s a difference – and Steve Chandler explains it brilliantly, I use the same example all the time with people – it’s that when you book a plane ticket for a flight to a 5000 dollar holiday in Costa Rica or something, and someone says to you “Oh can you do this thing in this week? Can we set up this meeting?” and you go “no I’m going to be in Costa Rica” and it’s like well it’s not before three months and things might change, and it’s like “No no, I’m going to be in Costa Rica” it’s like there’s no element of doubt – and with you when I hear you talking it’s like the commitment is to, well how is heard it, is to play at my edge. Do things that feel uncomfortable, that’s your commitment. And so you’re going to bring that to your work relationships, you’re going to bring it to the situation with women, it’s like this feels uncomfortable and I wonder if that’s another thing – it’s seeing the edge, feeling the discomfort and knowing that there is some gold there. There is always gold if we go to that place, you know?
[01:03:53] Making a commitment to play at your edge
Izzy: Yeah, I definitely think there is a huge commitment for me to be in my edge. And I think that just comes from discovering what I want. And maybe that’s a piece of transformation too, being aware that – sometimes people say oh I don’t know what I want, which is actually never true, because you may not know the external tangible of what you want, but you know how you want to feel. You know that. You know that you want to feel fulfilled, you want to feel excited, you want to feel engaged, you want to feel purposeful, meaningful, connected, impactful, you know that. And so I think becoming more and more aware of that, as I become more aware of what I want to feel – I just learned that I feel incredibly liberated when I’m able to be in my edge, and then all of a sudden I discover oh my God, I was walking every single day in my life, when I was seeing a beautiful woman and I would want to talk to her so badly, but I was so terrified I wouldn’t, and so I did nothing about it, and that’s how I existed. That’s what I did. And so it’s so liberating to know that I can and no matter what happens life is awesome and then to be able to show up like that with business, to be able to show up with that with my clients to be able to support them to do that, to be able to do that with what I desire with my life. And every time I do it, every time I find an edge and can be in that edge and just sit in it and then experience and witness it, it’s like growth happens. It’s like Oh my God I was so terrified to do that, I was so tense to do that, and yet I’m totally fine. Woah and it’s like a lightning, there’s a lightning every single time.
Caroline: I always think that once you do it that first time, once you’ve engaged in battle with fear you know it’s kind of like you do the thing with fear and you come out relatively unscathed. It’s kind of like you know; you have a knowing.
Now I’m aware of time, so I want to ask one final question. So what we’ve done is, I feel like maybe around the same page as me around my hypothesis that there are like certain conditions under which transformation is more likely to occur. Would you agree with that?
Caroline: So do you think that it could benefit people to look more deeply at cultivating those conditions, like rather than going for the transformation? You know it’s like trying to do the transformative thing that maybe there’s some work to be done to cultivate those conditions. I mean what do you think?
[01:07:10] The power of relationships
Izzy: Yes. And I would actually say, and we didn’t hit upon this a lot, but I think if we listen to the undertone of it, and even the nature of our relationship – one of the conditions that is the most powerful to cultivate transformation is relationships. Surrounding ourselves by people playing at higher levels and people doing crazy things that inspire us, it normalizes those things.
Caroline: I agree, I’ve got down on my list – external support – in terms of coaches, peers, groups. But I think that is really key. Spending time with people who are doing things that feel – I want to say almost like magic – you know you see some people and they seem, I mean actually I thought just before our call I thought to myself, ‘God if I was to rewind time like three or four years and I thought I was about to get on a call and have this like recorded conversation with Izzy I’d be freaking out, and now it’s like oh it’s Izzy, I can’t wait to see how he is, you know.’ So there is a thing there in terms of realizing that even people who are insanely successful are just normal people and have fears and doubts and insecurities and all of that stuff.
Izzy: And then we realize like wait if they are feeling all those things, and I’m feeling all those things then we’re not different. Then that means I can do what they are doing, and when they say I can do these things I can and yeah it’s powerful.
Caroline: yeah I love it. I don’t know if you can hear the bells, I think they are telling us, it’s time, it’s time.
So – amazing conversation as always. I feel like we could talk for like ten hours on this subject. But thank you very much for like playing with this subject with me. I feel very strongly called to go into this and so you’re the first person I have spoken to, and I couldn’t think of anyone else I would want to you know – I was like, I need to know what Izzy thinks about this subject. So thank you!
Izzy: Thank you for having me.