Entrepreneurs and Stress: How to Find Peace and Productivity

Picture of Chris Cooper and podcast title text.

Andrew (00:02):

Welcome to Two-Brain Radio with Chris Cooper. You probably have a notification on your phone right now. What if you don’t check it? What if something is wrong with your business? Entrepreneurs have been under great stress for months and now many are finding they can’t turn it off. In this episode, Chris will tell you why you’re still running hot and what you can do about it. If worry is wearing you down, a plan can help. Visit TwoBrainbusiness.com to book a call with a mentor. We’ll tell you how the Two-Brain Growth ToolKit can reduce stress and get you back on track. Now, sit back, relax and blow off some steam with Chris Cooper.

Chris (00:36):

Things seem to be getting better. Most gyms are opened up. I know there’s only three States in the U.S. Where gyms haven’t reopened and most countries have allowed at least a partial reopening, a scaled reopening. So we’ve kind of spent the last three months stressing about, you know, am I going to have a business three months from now? What will happen? Will I go bankrupt? Will I have any clients when they come back and I keep them online. And you know, you finally get to the point where we can at least see the light at the end of the tunnel. And then suddenly your values are challenged by a representative from your brand. And I’m speaking mostly to the CrossFit gyms in the crowd today, but you know, there’s a lot of stress around CrossFit right now, and there’s a lot of values and trust and things like that being weighed.

Chris (01:20):

And there’s a lot of noise too. You know, you’re trying to stay on top of the conversation and you’re trying to make your own decisions and you’re seeking opinions and ideas from a million different people, and it’s overwhelming. And so you’re stressed and maybe you’re more stressed than at any other time in your life, even though you’ve just come through this period of crisis and you’ve shown great leadership and you have every reason to be optimistic about the future. Well, here’s why, first of all, here’s why you’re undergoing so much stress. On my screen right now you can see this little red dot, and this is part of your brain called the amygdala. It’s about the size of a walnut usually. Now, the amygdala is really in charge of fight or flight. You know, the amygdala is what kicks in when you see something shaking the bushes and you think snake or tiger, it’s the unconscious part of your mind that reacts before the conscious thinking neocortex.

Chris (02:16):

So this is the part of the mind that all stimulus passes through. And usually we process stimulus through the amygdala before we process it anywhere else. The problem is that as our brains have evolved, the amygdala is still the first point of contact with everything that we encounter and worse, the amygdala is like a muscle. The more you use it, the bigger it gets. So as you’re in a stressful situation, you actually train your amygdala to get stronger and more powerful. And it literally takes up a bigger part of your brain. Your brain doesn’t grow. But what it does is it does this mirror neuroning to take over nearby brain cells and actually expand itself. But what happens when you remove stress, when you get home at night and you know, you don’t have to be at the gym anymore, or, you know, it’s Sunday morning, it’s father’s day, and you don’t have to be worried about following Twitter today, or looking at an Instagram or seeing what’s going on.

Chris (03:20):

Even in our private Facebook group, you don’t have to do that, but you do it anyway. And you’re constantly checking your phone and you’re constantly ruminating and thinking about work and you just can’t shut it off. And you know, maybe like me you’ve been busted by somebody who’s saying like, why aren’t you paying attention? Hello, I’m right in front of you here. So why can’t you stop stressing about your business? You know, the reason first off is the amygdala. And you know, like a muscle. If you want the amygdala to get bigger, you train it with stress. And if you want it to get smaller, you stop training it, right? You have to de-train it. You have to train it in another way. So right now, again, the amygdala’s job is fight or flight. It’s the go area and everything that you encounter, the food that you eat, the air that you breathe, the people who eyeball you in the subway, they all get processed by the amygdala first, because it’s worried about saving your life.

Chris (04:23):

It’s worried about threat. All right. Before you even think about any of that stuff, the amygdala has already made a decision about it. On the Plains of Africa, the amygdala learn to trigger that runaway response, even before your neocortex recognized that there was a lion in the bushes. Obviously we’re not there anymore, but as entrepreneurs, we’re always on the lookout for lions, there are so many ways of business can be killed, especially in the early days. And especially in times of global pandemic, that our amygdala is on constant alert. What’s that client going to write about me on Facebook? How many people are going to come through the door today? Is my assistant’s grammar getting better? Or do I need to read more of her emails? Did my lunch make my breath stinky before this no sweat intro. How am I going to get more clients?

Chris (05:10):

How am I going to pay the rent? And your amygdala loves that stuff. It’s training. It’s feeding the amygdala, this constant vigil makes your amygdala grow it recruits other neurons from nearby areas of the brain and says, I need this more than you do. And as it gathers power, our amygdala takes on an even larger role in the brain. And it evaluates all stimulus for possible threats. Do entrepreneurs sometimes overreact? Sure we do. And we blame it on fatigue or stress or distraction, but it’s our amygdala. It’s training our brain to react that way. Our amygdala is eating that stress. And it’s growing. And we scroll through Twitter and we search Instagram and we try to read everything on Facebook without missing a single post. We try to stay on top of things and our amygdala gets bigger and stronger and better.

Chris (06:02):

And then one day we try to shut it off. Now, when this is happening to a normal person under stress, the amygdala doesn’t like being shut off. So it tries to create drama for the person, right? It looks for drama. It exacerbates drama. It exaggerates the cues that it hears. It says I’m still important. Pay attention to me, prioritize me. A certain amount of positive stress, which, you know, we call you stress is natural to keep the amygdala healthy. It’s got to exercise. When things that are going really well, small problems become these really big deals. We blow everything out of proportion simply because we don’t have anything else to worry about. We have to fill that amygdala. And so these pebbles become boulders. But when as an entrepreneur with our super macho jacked up, amygdala, gets bored, we get twitchy. Our brain needs to be fed.

Chris (06:57):

So it’s constantly grazing. It’s looking for trouble for problems to solve, or just plain stimulation. Today, we’re going to talk about how to rewire your brain, how to start shrinking that amygdala back down to normal size, how to stop scrolling and looking for trouble all the time. To stop just putting out fires all the time, to actually rewire, to enjoy success, lower your blood pressure and catch up on the last three months of missed sleep. And that’s where we are today. We’re going to start by learning how to rewire your brain. Now, you guys all know that I’m into directives and more than anything else, I don’t want to just make noise. I don’t want to add overwhelm or complications to anything. And so what I want to do today is give you clear steps, but one of the most important steps, and I’m going to come to that shortly.

Chris (07:54):

One of the most important steps here is that you’re removing things instead of adding things. So here’s what you’re going to do. The first step that you’re going to take is to set up two one-hour, screen-free zones in your day. So before we take the next step, the first thing that I want you to do is block out two hours of your day. They don’t have to be back to back, when you can actually turn off your screens. If you don’t know which two hours to do start with the hour you wake up in the hour before you go to bed, if nothing else that will improve your sleep quality and let you brush aside a lot of that stress in your brain, clear out the junk. It will also help you start your day on the right foot. The worst thing that you can do first thing in the morning is go on Twitter and start scrolling through your phone.

Chris (08:45):

Because what happens is that while you’re laying down, your brain processes neurochemicals differently. And so when you look at Twitter and that’s the first thing that you see, there’s some new crisis arising in the fitness world, that frames the rest of your day. Everything else that you do that day will be held up against that context. That’s the first thing I want you to do is write down when your two one hour zones will be. The next thing I want you to do is to set check in times for emails, social media, and work texts. Now a mentor gave me some great advice about email. He said, Chris, there’s nothing in your email box, except people who are asking you for things. So yes, you have to respond to them. Yes, you have to try to help, but you don’t have to do it right now.

Chris (09:29):

You don’t have to do it immediately. Nobody expects an immediate reply to an email. So what I want you to do is say, I will check my email four times a day for now. I know what Tim Ferris said twice. I know Tim Ferriss said set up an autoresponder so that people know that you’re not coming back to them right away. You don’t need to do that. People don’t expect an auto response to your email. And frankly, when you get an auto response saying, I only check my email twice a day. It looks kind of conceited. Like you’re the least important thing in my life. So instead of responding to people right away, I want you to set a window when you’re going to respond to emails and Facebook messages. And when you set that window, I want you to set a timer because Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they are built with the knowledge of neurochemistry in mind.

Chris (10:24):

They are very, very, very good at getting you to scroll to the next thing. And when you do that, you go down the rabbit hole. And as you go further down the rabbit hole, the amygdala wakes up and it says more. Feed me, feed me, feed me. So I need you to set times, but not just say, I’m going to check my email at 11 o’clock. I need you to say, I will open my email and respond to it between 11 and 1130. And I need you to set a big clock on your desk. Like one of those old fashioned alarm clocks and turn it on, set it and stop responding to email when it goes off. In fact, an old fashioned alarm clock is a great investment because so many of us rely on our phones for our alarms in the morning.

Chris (11:06):

The first thing you do is you pick up your phone, you hit snooze. And then, you know, after the first time you hit snooze, you pick up your phone again to hit snooze and you start going through Twitter. That’s a trap, you know, pick up a different alarm clock if you can, and use that alarm clock throughout the day to set start times and end times for your social media tasks. Now you don’t have to stick to this forever, but for right now, we’re de-training that amygdala, we’re letting that muscle get smaller. All right, do LSD. Now I was going to actually put this slide up on the screen with just the words do LSD. But I was worried that this would fall into the wrong hands. And you know, we’re all in this age now where every email we send, every post that we make can be screenshotted and shared and taken out of context

Chris (11:49):

when it is. You know, I had a media interview last week with a national TV station that took all my Facebook posts out of context and shared those on the screen when I wouldn’t give them an interview. So right now what we have to do here is we have to be very careful about what we put in writing. Anyway. So do LSD. I put it on the screen with a qualifier, long, slow-duration exercise. Now I know that we’re all supposed to be the high intensity interval training, constantly varied functional movement, performed at high intensity, blah, blah, blah. But the bottom line is that when you’re trying to train your brain, you need to have low threshold exercise. You’re trying to secrete a hormone called brain derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF. John Rady from Harvard called BDNF the miracle grow for the brain. The problem is that if you’re just, you know, growing, growing, growing your stress, secreting cortisol, then exercise is actually having a negative effect on you.

Chris (12:52):

When I was about two years ago, just over two years ago, I was working with some companies who wanted to do blood testing and provide them to gyms so that we could kind of take this blood test. And then the testing company, they would give us this dashboard and coaches could look at that dashboard and make a prescription on what kind of exercise a person needed, or, you know, Hey, your triglycerides are improving, et cetera. Well, the experiment was pretty interesting. So we brought this phlebotomist into Catalyst and they took blood from, I think, 12 of us. And they came back with the results and we, you know, they sent the blood samples to this testing company. And the testing company came back with this dashboard. And the one thing that my dashboard showed that my cortisol was through the roof. Now this was two years ago, before COVID before all of this other stuff.

Chris (13:41):

And I thought my stress was bad then, but what was happening was that I would have high stress. And then I would go into a CrossFit class and I’d have high stress and cortisol would just keep going higher and higher and higher. And I would have these strong feelings of like, man, I just don’t want to do that today. And so I decided to let my cortisol levels come back down by getting back on my bike for three months. And so for three months I just rode my bike and just took it easy and recovered. And I swam with my kids. And eventually my cortisol came back down. What also happened during that time is that my amygdala shrunk, I stopped seeing everything from the fight or flight perspective. My stress went way down and today I still use the bike sometimes to help me reduce stress.

Chris (14:30):

You need long slow duration exercise to secrete brain derived neurotrophic factor, which will help your brain return to the shape that we want it faster. The fourth thing that I want you to try is do something that requires full immersion, distract yourself. Now, I was having this conversation a few years ago, there was a gym owner in the Massachusetts area who was having a lot of stress and he had trained his brain to react to that stress as we all have. And so when he went home at night, he was looking at his phone too much, and he was, I think he had a coach or two who had just left. And they were working down the road and they were trying to steal his CrossFit kids program. And he was stressed about it. He was looking for their posts nonstop and his wife and his boys were saying like, Hey, what are you doing?

Chris (15:17):

You’re here with us. The problem is that there’s a vacuum in our attention, we will fill it. And that means you have to fill up your mind with something else, do something that requires total immersion. For some of you, that’s going to be a workout. It’s a hard mental reset because you’re working too hard to think about other stuff. A lot of your clients come to you for that reason. For other people that might be swimming. It might be, you know, constantly learning and playing new sports. Because when something’s new to you, you have to focus on that. It takes your full attention. This could mean, you know, going to an amusement park, if that it will require your full attention, but it could also mean reading fiction. If that requires full investment of your focus and attention, then do that. You need that mental reset.

Chris (16:04):

Whether, you know, you’re chopping down a tree or you’re bungee jumping, you know, or you’re reading a book, entrepreneurs famously seek these distractions just so they can shut off their brain for an hour. And the distraction doesn’t require bungee jumping. It just requires full immersion in the task at hand. And the fifth thing is practice bright spots. The greatest thing I ever learned from Dan Pink’s book “Drive” was that you have to actually retrain your brain. You can’t just wait for stress to disappear. So the number one exercise I got from that book was you need to keep a mental scoreboard. So every time you have a negative thought about somebody or a condescending thought or a sarcastic thought, you have to notice, you have to pay attention and you have to say, Oh, you know, I did this negative thing. And when you start paying attention, then you have to wrestle your brain back toward positivity and stop yourself without condemning yourself.

Chris (17:07):

You know, in our daily mindfulness practice at 8:00 AM in the Two-Brain group, Colm always tells us, get back to the breath. If you screw up, don’t worry about it. Just notice. And if you’re practicing bright spots, thinking optimistically, complimenting people, thanking people, thinking about the things that you’re grateful for, that will retrain your brain away from sarcasm, hate, anger. The problem is if you’re a sarcastic person and you’re always looking for faults in other people, that reflects back on you and you actually feel worse about yourself. Every time you say something negative about somebody else, you also empathetically absorb that and you feel worse about yourself too. So these are the short term strategies. So set up two one hour, no screen zones. That’s first. Set check-in times for emails, social media, and work texts. You don’t have to let anybody know that you’re doing this, just do it.

Chris (18:03):

Nobody expects a fast response to any of these things. Do long slow duration exercise to help retrain your brain and regain its original shape after a crisis, do something that requires full immersion to give your brain a hard reset and practice bright spots daily. My secret trick, and I’m going to link to a talk that I gave earlier. My secret trick is on the days when I am most stressed, I text 10 people and just say, thank you. You know, I thank them for something that they’ve done to help others or to help me or to help my family. And that helps put me in the right state of mind of gratitude to approach the rest of my day and the rest of my problems. But there are longer term strategies that you should practice too. The first is you need to subtract things from your life.

Chris (18:52):

Instead of adding more things. I’m gonna use knowledge as an example. I am so guilty of this and you can’t quite see it, but there are bookshelves behind me full of business books. I often take in just so much information because I’m trying to learn the next new thing. And I want to learn it first. And I want to think about it. That I become consumed with consumption. Instead of actually reading one book, thinking about how to apply it and then taking action and measuring the effect, I think, Oh man, it’s been two weeks since I started this book, I need to get going on the next book, you know, or I didn’t learn anything in the first two chapters of this book, it’s gone. Instead of consuming more knowledge where we would all do way better to think about like the top five books that have helped us the most.

Chris (19:42):

And just read those again. They’ve already been proven to work. It’s a proven strategy. But this applies to all areas of our life. We think like, OK, well I’m stressed out. I need to add meditation into my daily practice. Oh, you know, people need to hear my story. I need to add writing and I need to add blog posts. I need to add more exercise. Oh, I need to add more protein. Your clients have this problem. And so do you. And so do I, we always try to add more things into our life before taking anything out. And eventually what happens is something gets removed that we don’t want to get removed. Hey, Chris, you know, you haven’t changed your oil. Your truck broke down. OK. In extreme cases, Hey, you’re getting a separation because you’re not paying enough attention to your spouse.

Chris (20:34):

So here’s what I want you to think. Before you add any daily practice, any daily work, anything new into your life, you have to ask yourself, what am I willing to remove to make us space for thing? OK. Any new book? What will I remove? Maybe it’s the current book that you’re reading. Any new practice. I’m going to start doing my morning meditation with Colm at 8:00 AM Eastern. What will I remove? What else was I doing at that time that I’m not going to do anymore? I’m not just going to shove it until later. I’m not just going to say I’ll take seven minutes and then I’ll get back to work. What will I remove to make place for this thing? Think of it as getting Christmas presents, but your toy box is full. You cannot accept more Christmas presents until you remove a toy from that toy box. What toy are you willing to remove to put the new toy in?

Chris (21:29):

The second long-term strategy is really one of perspective, and this is a great exercise that you can share. It was actually in a blog post on Two-Brain Coaching last week. And this is called your personal board of directors. You know, we teach the six Fs for a successful life and it’s like faith, family, finance, freedom, future and fitness. The fastest way to achieve, you know, excellence in fitness is to have a coach. You know that the fastest way to achieve excellence in finance is to have a coach, a financial advisor. If you’re an entrepreneur, to have a business mentor, you can skip through decades of trial and error and stress and mistakes and financial costs by having a coach. Everybody listening to this, watching this, you know that, you know the value of having a coach, the problem is that we don’t pay more attention to the coach than we do to other people.

Chris (22:27):

Let’s say, for example, I’ve done this before. I get on a call with my mentor, OK. I pay my mentor about $8,000 a year. And I spend about another 20,000 visiting him in Manhattan or Utah or wherever he is. But then I’ll see an idea online. And I’ll say, Todd, you told me this thing, but I saw this random person post this thing online. How do you feel about that? What I need to do is prioritize the things that my business mentor tells me over the ideas of everybody else. That’s what I’m really doing. I’m not really investing money in Todd. I’m investing my attention in Todd and saying, you know, what you say is the first thing that I do. That seems obvious to everybody watching this webinar, but I want you to do this in other places in your life. For example, you should not be your own fitness coach. Who is your fitness coach? They should be the one to tell you what’s healthy. What you need, you know, should you be practicing mindfulness? What your workout should be this week. Don’t program for yourself. OK?

Chris (23:31):

You need some kind of spiritual advisor. You need somebody that’s going to guide your meditation or lead you through church or lead you through worship or faith or practicing your spiritual side. You need a faith guide. I don’t care who that is. When I was interviewing James Fitzgerald OPEX, I was surprised to hear him say that he had a shaman that he turned to. Maybe he doesn’t anymore. That was two years ago. I don’t know. But whatever you call it, you need somebody who’s going to be guiding you in faith. You also need somebody who’s going to be guiding you in your family, right? Probably your spouse. It could be your kids, but it could also be your parents. And you need occasionally to say to them, how am I doing? Am I giving you enough priority? What should I be prioritizing in my life right now?

Chris (24:18):

So what I’d like you to do here is form a personal board of directors. This board of directors are the five or six people to whom you give priority. They get your focus. They make decisions for you and they hold you accountable to them. They guide you. They coach you. They support you. They love you. And in return, they get your focus. They come first. Who should be on this personal board of directors? Your fitness coach, your business, or your finance coach, whoever that is, your spouse, partner, parent, your faith leader, definitely. And then maybe your best friend, maybe your best friend says at the center of it all because they know the true you unvarnished, you know, blemished, flawed, the true, transparent you. And what you’re going to do is tell yourself I’m only going to take advice from these people, but also I’m going to share my stresses and my challenges with these people.

Chris (25:24):

So here’s an example. I’m sure that most people watching this don’t get actually attacked on social media. And I pray that that’s true. I know that some of you have. When that happens, you need to take those attacks to your personal board of directors. You need to say here’s what’s happened. OK? Take them to your financial person, take them to your business mentor, take them to your spouse. Take them to your faith leader, take them to your best friend, read them out loud. I’m sure you’ve all seen the sketches of, you know, celebrities read mean tweets. The reason the celebrities want to do this is because airing these negative things that are said online, airing these problems exposes them to light. And most of the time they wither in the sunlight. These problems that you see online on Facebook, that you stress about, that you ruminate over.

Chris (26:16):

They are attention vampires. And the only way to get rid of them is to expose them to light by saying them out loud to a person that you care about. And who cares about you. I can remember a specific example. Several years ago, Robin and I were taking two hours out of my workday to drive to a voting booth. So this would have, man, this could have been more than four years ago. And on the way to the voting booth, I was definitely distracted. I was just not listening. I was focusing and she’s like, seriously, what are you dwelling on? And so I said, Oh, this guy said this bad thing about me on Facebook. And I, you know, I quoted a line verbatim because I was so fixated on it that I could remember it word for word. And she started laughing and I looked at her and I’m like, that is kind of funny.

Chris (27:04):

I started laughing too. And as soon as I aired that problem, exposed it to light, that vampire went away and ever since then, I’ve tried really hard to do a better job of that. And that’s one thing that you can do too, is expose your problems to your personal board of directors. Now it’s very, very easy in times of crisis to ignore them. OK. To forget to call your friend, to forge, to go to church, to forget to go to the gym or ask your coach what you should be doing today. Prioritize them. Make sure that you are talking to them in person at least once per week.

Chris (27:39):

The third long-term strategy that you need to consider is breaking problems down into solvable parts. You know, Julie Johnston is one of my favorite mentors on the Two-Brain team. That’s no secret. And the thing that she’s been telling clients like lately is to answer the question, what is the next best step? It’s not, how do I solve this problem? It’s what is the first thing that I can do today that could lead to solving this problem in the future? Now, my books say that my superpower is to make mistakes really, really fast, but that’s not it. Really as a left brain thinker, my superpower is take a big problem and break it down into tiny parts and then break those problems down into tiny parts and keep breaking the problem down until I can get to well, here’s the one thing that I can do right now.

Chris (28:23):

I couldn’t solve the COVID pandemic. I still can’t. I couldn’t come up with a vaccine. I couldn’t influence governments to get gyms open in stage two instead of stage five. You know, but what I can do is tell gyms how to pivot online really, really quickly. And then what I can do is tell gym owners how to lead through a crisis, et cetera. And if you keep asking yourself, what is the smallest actionable thing that I can do right now, that will do more than solve the problem in the long term. It will also occupy your mind in the short term and give you something to do.

Chris (28:58):

Fourth is the knowledge. And I promise this is true. That the mistakes that you’re making now will help people in the future. I told you in the growth group last week, that the future mentors of Two-Brain Business are being forged in fire right now. You are going through tougher things than any gym owner should have to. And probably any gym owner ever will again. This knowledge, this experience will prepare you to help other people, but that’s just Two-Brain. Everything that you’re going through right now, your clients are also going through right now, your experience, whether you have more stress than they do, less stress than they do, whether you’re going through stress a year ahead of them, six months ahead of them, one day ahead of them, one minute ahead of them. You can use your experience to help them. You can tell them here’s how I screwed this up, which is what I like to do.

Chris (29:54):

Or you can say, here’s what I did, right? And here’s what you can do right now. They are counting on you to guide them step by step, to tell them exactly what to do, to stop them from guessing, to stop them from overwhelm, to stop them from just adding more and more and getting to the same point of stress that you are in right now. For me, when I’m going through very stressful periods, we’re getting attacked on Facebook. Somebody threw a label on me that doesn’t stick. What helps me get through it is the knowledge that every time I go through a very hard thing, I get to save a thousand other people from that same stress, because I can tell them what happened.

Chris (30:37):

Finally, if you took every single business book from every successful leader over the last, you know, years, take the top 1000 business books, open them up in a Google doc, hit command F and search for the word meditate. You will find out word in there. Meditation is the common thread to all business success books right now, and life success books too. I challenge you to find a book that doesn’t include some mention of meditation or mindfulness or stoicism, some self awareness practice, where the leader can control their emotion and bring themselves back to center. It’s usually not a logical process of like, Oh, I learned this thing and that solved it. It’s the repetitive process of doing the exercise to bring themselves back to center. I call that meditation. You can call that whatever you want. So every day at 8:00 AM Eastern, Colm Riley comes on the Two-Brain growth group and he leads a guided meditation because even as leaders, every second, every nanosecond of our attention is filled with other things, we need to be told by a coach, now it’s time. It’s 8:00 AM. And so we’re meditating and here’s exactly what you’re going to do. I tune in, I watch Colm. He says, OK, start with the breath. Within 20 seconds. I don’t hear him anymore. Right. I’m deep into meditation. And then I slowly come out again. But if I didn’t have that appointment time, I wouldn’t do it. You know, ask my cycling coach. I don’t do the stretching on off days. Right? I don’t track my food nearly as much as I should, ask my nutrition coach. But I tune into Colm at 8:00 AM because Colm is there at 8:00 AM. I have an appointment to do that. So take whatever practice you need to to start that meditative practice. Now, I didn’t want to take up your whole day talking about this stuff, but I did record a podcast about this years ago. So I want you to know that stress, you know, brain changes,

Chris (32:37):

They’re never going to go away. You have to learn how to manage them. And so in this podcast episode, which was like 300 episodes ago, I gave you strategies for doing that. And it’s called episode 48. What to do when it all goes wrong. Finally, there are some things that I’d like you to meditate on, some knowledge that I’ve picked up over the years, that when I heard it, I said, that’s interesting. But now I think about it every single day. And it helps inform my decision and my reaction and my stress. And the first thing is you are not your business. When people are attacking your rates, when people are mad because they’re fired, they are attacking your business. They are not attacking you. Your amygdala does not know the difference. Your amygdala does not know what a business is. Your amygdala says, they’re attacking us. Here comes the lion. You need to understand that you and your business are two separate things. Not only will this make it easier to do hard, hard things like raising your rates. But when you’re facing the consequences of doing those hard things or correcting your mistakes, it will help you to have some separation, OK? Like an out of body experience.

Chris (33:50):

The next thing is what I said five minutes ago, which is that your challenges will help others who have the same challenges someday. Believe that everything that you go through can be turned around to help somebody else avoid the same pain. And the more painful the thing that you’re going through, the more profoundly grateful I am when it’s all over, because you say, damn, that was hard. That was a 10 out of 10 emotional pain. And somebody else won’t have to go through it because I did. That means, and the best way to do that is to be completely transparent about your mistakes, about your struggles, to tell your audience and your personal board of directors. I went through this. It was hard. I made it out, but here’s how I screwed it up. Here’s how it almost killed me. Here’s the negative thoughts that I contemplated, because it will help them.

Chris (34:41):

And finally, I shared this with somebody who is a CEO a couple of days ago. This quote from Rinpoche is especially powerful for me because when you’re looking at social media, it can really appear that everybody else knows what they’re doing. Everybody else has their life in control except for me. When you’re reading bright spots, even in the Two-Brain Facebook group and everybody is open and getting 50 new clients, it’s easy to think everybody’s succeeding except for me, but that’s not the truth. The truth is that we’re all in freefall all of the time, we’re making educated guesses, but we can’t predict the future. We can look at the past and say, we think that will repeat. But then there are pandemics. There will always be things that we can’t control. We are always falling through the air with nothing to hang on to and no parachute. The good news is that there’s no ground. This business will not kill you. Your life will not be shattered unless you allow it to shatter itself.

Andrew (35:43):

Feel better? We hope so. This has been another episode of Two-Brain Radio with Chris Cooper. Please subscribe for more wherever you get your podcasts, and don’t stress. If you’re worried about your business, a mentor can help you feel better with a concise plan based on data research and best practices. Visit twobrainbusiness.com today to see if a mentorship is right for you.


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