Momentum Podcast: 29

Transitioning From Running Away To Running Towards

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

In my experience successful entrepreneurs begin their career running away from something. It is different for all of us, a challenging childhood, past traumas, being without money or food, not being accepted and feeling like an outcast. 

Running away is an incredible motivator that can drive us to create extraordinary outcomes and build incredible lives.

Running away can drive us to create security, stability, wealth, and a feeling of safety and security. 

Ironically, this transition from running away to the safety and security we feel like we have always wanted can be derailing. 

When we lose the motivation of running away from something, we have to create motivation by running toward what we want.

Full Audio Transcript

I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum podcast for entrepreneurial personality types. This was created exclusively for empire builders, game changers, world makers, shot takers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and obsess about creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy, and make our greatest contribution.

We don't accept our destiny, we define. We don't understand defeat, because the only way you lose is if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average, and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate that there could be a better future. Instead of just day dreaming about what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only consistent source of positive human evolution, and we always will be.

This is episode 29, the transition from running away, to running towards. This is an interesting episode, because this transition that entrepreneurs go through is a dramatic one. In fact, it can be one of the most derailing. But, in order to explain it, I have to set it up. Because, not every entrepreneur gets there in their lifetime. In fact, many entrepreneurs, many of us continue to run on a daily basis without transitioning, without running towards.

Here's what I mean by this. Entrepreneurs, especially the successful ones that I have worked with, typically spend the early part of our careers running away from something. We were in systems where we had to game the system, or survive the system. We might have had a challenging childhood. We might of had difficulties growing up, not enough money, not enough resources, not enough of what we needed. We get into this place where we drive away from what we don't want. That motivation, for an evolutionary hunter, is natural. In fact, it is incredibly natural for us to feel driven, to feel pushed, to feel compelled, to feel like something is motivating us from behind.

In fact, you can hear it in the way entrepreneurs talk. They say, I've been running all day, I'm killing it, I'm going out, I'm making things happen. It's usually in the sense of getting away from what we don't want. Now, here's one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs experience. After typically having a lifetime, where we were kids that don't get supported, we might have had a family where we didn't get support, or an environment where we didn't get support. We go out, we create our success. We create wealth, we create an organization, a business that supports us. Then what happens is, we get to this place in our lives, where we no longer have to run.

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine, John Morrow, who is one of the most talented writers on the planet. John had a lot to run away from in his life. In fact, John has a consistent reminder of what he's overcoming, what he's running away from on a day to day basis. I just talked to him this morning. He's one of the most compelling, and inspirational human beings I've ever met. John owns a multimillion dollar company, he recently started dating in an aggressive way. He's been on a ton of dates, and he met somebody he really likes. He recently started bio hacking, and he lost 20 pounds.

Now, none of that may seem significant compared to other entrepreneurs, except for John can only move his face. You heard me right. He does all of that, he navigates the entire world, travels, goes around, inspires people, shows people how to grow businesses, shows people how to grow a following, shows people how to grow movements online, become bloggers, create wealth for themselves, and he does all of that navigating the world through a straw. Here's the conversation I recently had with John, is that all of his life the single foundational motivating factor for him was, I will not end up in a nursing home.

Well, here's what happens. When your single motivating factor is, I will not end up in a nursing home, and you get to the point where you have multimillion dollar company, a team that supports you, a massive following around the world of hundreds of thousands of people that wait for your next blog, that wait for you next post. You no longer have that threat of a nursing home, or at least the threat isn't anywhere near as dramatic. This can cause people like us, evolutionary hunters, to completely lose our motivation, lose our momentum. Because, this thing that has always been chasing us slowly, but consistently gets smaller, less significant, less threatening, and then may all together simply disappear.

What do we do then? What do we do to shift from running away from what's been chasing us all of our lives, to running towards where we want to go? I'll give you one more example of how this can present in a entrepreneurs life, and I'll share a dramatic example with you. I remember being in a seminar, and getting seated at a table across from a guy who just looked frustrated and irritated. I remember he sat down in a way where he looked frustrated. He looked irritated. He was definitely dealing with some massive pressure and noise. I remember thinking, did he have a tough call with his wife, is there something going on with his team? I wonder what's happening with this person.

As the seminar went on, we got to share a little bit about ourselves at the table. I remember him starting off and he said, "I recently sold my video production company for over $100 million, and now I'm trying to figure out, what the f I'm gonna do next." I chuckled, and he looked at me funny. I said, how long ago did you sell? He said, "Four weeks." I said, "The silence is deafening, isn't it?" He looked at me, because he knew that I knew what was going on. Let me share it with you.

I've watched dozen of my friends have massive exits from companies. I've watched some walk away with tens of millions of dollars, some walk away with hundreds of millions of dollars, and some created wealth in the billions. But, one of the most derailing events in an entrepreneurs life, one of the most momentum robbing events in an entrepreneurs life can be a "successful exit." Here's the equation I've watched for years. The more successful the exit, the more derailing an event it can be. Here's why, and I remember sharing this with the person we were sitting with.

I said, "It's crazy how one day your phone's ringing off the hook, and you're incredibly important to so many people, and the day after you sell, nobody calls anymore." He looked at me and said, "You're exactly right. Tell me what you know about this." I remember thinking, I felt so fortunate that I was sitting with him, because I've watched so many entrepreneurs through this massive transition. I'll share with you what I told him. I'll share with you what I told John. Once an entrepreneur like us has all this safety, all this security, the foundation, that backstop that we feel like we need. Here's how we make the transition of being motivated by what we are running away from, to being motivated by running towards, or what we are running towards.

It's by starting our movement. It's by figuring out who matters to us, and serving those people. It's by coming to the realization of who we can help, and who we can have a dramatic effect on, and how we can create an organization, and a system, and a process in a way to go out and have that effect on people. Because, here's a fact about people like us. Evolutionary hunters are meant to be on the hunt, achieving, accomplishing, contributing, and having an effect on the world. When we lose that infrastructure of a business that allows us to do that, it can be incredibly derailing, and take us from massive momentum, to a standstill, and the feeling of constraint.

In my experience, my friends who have had massive exits from companies. In the weeks and months after those exits, physically, their bodies breakdown. They often get sick, they end up not feeling well. Cognitively, they complain of brain fog, not being able to make decisions, being frustrated, being irritated. Chemically, I have seen more than one suffer from chemical depression, frustration, acceleration, hyperactivity. Any of the symptoms that people like us experience when we are in full constraint. Here's how we, as entrepreneurs, make the transition successfully of running from, to running towards.

We make our movement, and the people we serve, more important to us. My EMDR therapist recently shared a thought with me, that I think is so profound. He said, love is putting someone else's self interests before your own. That is so profound for us, for the people around us, for he way that we think. Because, if we fall in love with our movement, if we are motivated by helping those people, if we wake up in the morning wanting to contribute to them, and then go to sleep thinking about how we can make their lives better, how we can give them more, how we can help them into momentum. We start running towards the outcomes we want in our lives. We have this motivation that is entirely and totally different than in any other point in time in our lives. We no longer have to run away from the woolly mammoth. We can pursue the outcomes, the impact, and the contribution that we want to have in the world.

For anyone who's listening, for you, here's what I want you to know. When you lock in on who you want to help, when you realize that tribe, that movement, that group of people out there that needs you more than they need anyone else. The people that you can impact, that you can change their lives. That you can show them how to create momentum like you have. That you can show them to get into the same transition you have, where they no longer have to run away from. That will replace the motivation of being chased. Because, the alternative is not a good one, but we see it play out in the lives of entrepreneurs all the time.

We see entrepreneurs who have massive exits, self sabotage, and destroy, and lose all the money so that they can build it back again, and get back into momentum. We see entrepreneurs who have tons of wealth, end up using drugs, or prescriptions, or alcohol, or something to numb the fact that the motivation, the momentum is no longer there. I don't want to see you fall into one of these loops, or spirals when this happens to you. Because, I will tell you with 100% confidence, the day you no longer have to run away, if you're not prepared for it, it will shock you, catch you off guard. It will feel like somebody didn't just take the wind out of your sails, it will feel like they sliced them in half.

But, what keeps as alive, as entrepreneurs, and what keeps us alive as evolutionary hunters, is our evolutionary instinct. Our hardwired capacity to go out and contribute to the tribe, to make things better for the people around us. To find that movement, that group of people that we can help, more than anyone else can, and contribute on a daily basis, and make their lives better. This creates the momentum that we are drawn towards, rather than running away from. Everyone of us is capable of doing this, and here's the secret. If you figure this out early enough, and you find your tribe, and you create that movement around your business, around the effect that you have in the world, you many never experience the loss of momentum that comes from no longer running away.

You may just seamlessly transition to make it an even greater, more dramatic, more profound impact on the people you serve, and the people you lead. Everyone of us has this opportunity, and every successful business in history has been a social movement, and there's a reason. We are evolutionary hunters, and we are hard wired to give back to the human tribe, and to share and contribute to our tribe. If we remember that, our momentum will continue, and propel us forward.

Please join me for episode 30, where I'm going to share my letter that I wrote to every entrepreneur, who will someday become a CEO. The pitfalls, the positives, and how it really is, and why I wouldn't trade it for anything. If you'd like some more information about the entrepreneurial personality type, and how you can create momentum, go to, and let me share with you a system I've created to create momentum in all areas of your life, so that it never leaves you. Thanks for being here with me today.

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With gratitude,


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