Momentum Podcast: 441

Entrepreneurial Trauma

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

This is not your standard talk therapy, I don’t think that ever works well for EPT’s, this is a tool to offload trauma and so much more. I use EMDR therapy. I recommend it to my clients, to my friends, and to my family. I recommend it to the people I love and care about because it is so consistently successful. 

Admittedly, it might be risky as a business coach to advise people to get therapy, a lot of the people in my industry get up on a stage, present themselves as perfect and don’t want to talk about any flaws. That's not me. I've always said on this podcast that I would be transparent and share the bad along with the good. 

Building a company is incredible but you must prepare for the pressure and noise that comes along with it.If you’re struggling right now, please consider doing this. There’s no shame in admitting that you need some help. There’s only strength in reaching out and trying to make things better. If you want help to create the business you know that you’re capable of running, reach out to us

Full Audio Transcript

I'm at Funnel Hacking Live 2019 they're over 4,500 entrepreneurs here. The feeling is absolutely incredible. Russell Brunson puts on an event like no one else, and yesterday he was speaking and he brought up the topic of entrepreneurial scars, the trauma that we go through being entrepreneurs and I want to revive a topic that I've talked about several times before and has come up a ton at this event.

A way that you can offload entrepreneurial trauma and gain the momentum that that gives you.

Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen and this is the momentum podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers 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 we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose 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 there could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.

Alex Charfen: We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.

Alex Charfen: I absolutely love being at this event because I get to have conversations with entrepreneurs that I'm connected with online that I've exchanged messages with, that I do business with, that I coach, that I work with and it is just such an amazing event to be out with so many people that feel like family. I love this event and a topic that's come up over and over again today and Russel talked about yesterday is entrepreneurial trauma, the scars that are created for us just by being entrepreneurs. The trauma we go through just by having the entrepreneurial personality type. Now, if you're listening to me and you're thinking, what is he talking about? Entrepreneurial trauma, I'm not traumatized. Well, I want you to know I used to feel that way as well. Alex Charfen: When I was younger. When I would think about something that bothered me, I would automatically think, well, there's someone who has it worse. I have friends who are in wheelchairs, I have friends who are really sick. I have friends who don't have families. I have friends who don't have both their parents, who've rented, who don't have any parents. And I would always think there's someone worse like, I'm not traumatized that person is, I don't have any real issues around this, that person should. And what I didn't realize was that I was going through so many of the same things.

Alex Charfen: And when I was 26 years old, I had a really challenging relationship, and I went and saw an EMDR therapist. I actually tried talk therapy for a few things in my life prior to that and I couldn't stand it. In fact, I feel like talk therapy is damaging for people like us. And here's why. I don't think we're good at rehashing and we living trauma and then letting go of it. When I went to talk therapy, I used to leave more angry than when I went in. I used to be more frustrated when I was leaving than when I first got there and that didn't change. There was no release of pressure from talk therapy. And that's why I recommend for most of my clients, I recommend to a lot of my friends, I recommend to my family, I myself use EMDR as a tool to offload trauma but also as a tool for so much more.

Alex Charfen: So first, let me tell you what entrepreneurial trauma can come from for the entrepreneurial personality type. If you're listening to my podcast and you are one of us, then you know, you have higher sensitivities than the rest of the world. You make unique connections, you see things that other people don't see. You are one of those people that is aware of what's really happening and what's going on around you, and all of that awareness, that sensitivity, that ability to see what other people aren't seeing, that creates massive sensitivity to trauma and to exposure and to things that happen to you when you're younger. And the dealing of constraint. And we are momentum based beings. When we are held in place, we experienced trauma. Alex Charfen: When our outcome is unclear, we feel traumatized. There was a time in history where people like us would be up every day walking and moving and using our bodies and offloading that trauma in a very physiological way. But today we carry it around with us and we experience this mental and emotional trauma that has nothing to do with physiology in the world, that is what affects us, is what slows us down, it's what holds us back. It's what makes us reactive. It's what makes ... and if you have experienced any of the following you probably have some trauma in your life.

Alex Charfen: If you feel reactive sometimes more than you should be in the moment and you realize it later. If you act in a way sometimes around your kid, around your wife, around people that you love in a way where you later think, man, I probably shouldn't have done that. If you get to places where you feel blocked or stuck or you just can't figure out how to move forward, if you have moments of indecision where he you just can't figure out what to do next. If those are things that reoccur in your life, you probably are dealing with some trauma and by offloading it it would help a ton.

Alex Charfen: And this is, I recommend EMDR because it is so consistently successful when you find the right type of therapist. And I have another podcast called the CEO's secret weapon where I talk about how to find the right type of EMDR therapist, if you're going to do this, listen to it. And part of the reason I'm talking about this at Funnel Hacking Live is, like I said in the intro, I've had dozens of people come up to me here, dozens. Like it's shocking how many people have come up and said, hey, I listened to your podcast on EMDR and I'm doing something and I've made an appointment or I've been to sessions or I've started trying, it's surprising how many times it's happened because I don't really walk through the crowd that much and a lot of people have gotten to me and been able to tell me that it has helped them and that's my experience.

Alex Charfen: So my experience is ever since I was willing to start sharing this with people it has made it ... I have gotten nothing but positive feedback. There've been people who've got the wrong therapist and that's why I explained how to get the right one in the CEO's secret weapon. But most of the time people come back and tell me just how life changing this has been and how much more present they feel. How much less reactive they feel. They're starting to see things more clearly and there's some important stuff here. They started saying things like, I see opportunity more clearly. I'm able to build the business better. My marriage feels more connected. I feel more grounded, more aware, more present. Those are all things that will change your life as an entrepreneur. Alex Charfen: So let me tell you what EMDR is. Because I want you to really consider doing this. Because even if you are sitting there right now thinking, I know exactly what trauma I've experienced. Even if you don't think you really have it, when you go through this protocol of even talking about where you've been uncomfortable in your life, where you've felt constraint, where you felt frustrated, where you felt like you couldn't move forward, and you go through the EMDR protocol, it's amazing what happens and here's why. Here's what it is, and this is why it's so different than other therapies.

Alex Charfen: EMDR of starts with an outcome. Most therapy you go in and the therapist says, well, tell me how are you feeling today? And my response to talk therapist on that is always I'm uncomfortable you're asking me how I'm feeling. And EMDR is different. You go through a history, the therapist sits down and talks to you about where you've been, what's going on and where you might have experienced trauma. And if you know where it is for you, if you know that there's a place in your life where you experienced trauma, if you know there's a place in your life where you don't really remember what happened, like you know you were there, but the DVR stopped recording. If there's periods of your life where you don't remember what happened, all of those are signs of trauma.

Alex Charfen: And so you go through those with the therapist and they make a list and then you go through a protocol, a process. This is why I liked EMDR. It's so much less up to the therapist and so much more reliant on the protocol and process where the therapist takes a history and then they create a process with you. They even get you to subjectively score where you are. Then they go through a process of waving their hand in front of your face or using a light to do that or some paddles that vibrate in either end or headphones that make noise and either side but bilateral stimulation of the body or visually. And that bilateral stimulation helps you start processing the trauma that you've experienced. And because it's process based because it's outcome based, it's a totally different type of therapy. It works really fast.

Alex Charfen: In most cases you can get through or process a traumatic event in just a few sessions and it is so incredibly effective. I remember the first time I ever went to EMDR, I did my intake session which was talking through where I was, which was not great. And so a couple of days later I came back and I did the EMDR session and it made up for the intake session. Because when I went in and the therapist said right now how much discomfort is what's going on causing you on a scale of one to 10, I said, it's like a 12 I'm uncomfortable all the time. I'm uncomfortable enough that I'm in therapy. Alex Charfen: I was a consultant, I lived in a world where you never let them see you sweating, you don't show weakness. I used to park around the corner from the therapist office so that nobody would ever see my car in front of it. So when he said, on a scale of one to 10 what's your level of discomfort? I told him it's like a 12 I would never be in here. And by the end of the first EMDR session, I remember Doctor Tom Bailey said, what's your level of discomfort on a scale of one to 10? And I said it's probably like a six.

Alex Charfen: It was crazy how effective it was. And then I want to two or three more sessions. And we stopped when I said, yeah, I don't feel like it's a scale of one to 10 it's like a zero I don't feel reactive about this, I don't feel emotionally about it anymore. It's not that I've forgotten it, but I've processed it in a way that now I have a different perspective about it. And here's what's so incredible about that is that when you process the things that are really frustrating you or the things that you have felt traumatized by or you know have upset you, and you know they're affecting you today and then you can change perspective about those things, well you change perspective about everything.

Alex Charfen: Because when I went in to see the doctor for the first time, I was thinking about the relationship I had been at all the time and I was having a hard time not thinking about it and I was having trouble eating. I felt like this void, this vacancy in my life that I just didn't understand what was going on. And by going and seeing him and going through EMDR, I was able to process what had happened and I saw it in a completely different perspective and I realized just how unhealthy my relationship had been and I realized how much it was holding me back and why I felt such high levels of constraint. And it was incredible. Alex Charfen: And I remember I went to the fourth session and I thought I don't need to do this anymore, and I've processed it. This is incredible. And then I thanked the doctor and felt like everything was great. And then a couple of months later I started feeling reactive and so I went back and saw him and the next time I went and saw him and we started talking about some things that had happened to me when I was a kid in school. And I don't know why they came up. They came up, and I talked to him about them and we processed them. And I remember the same feeling like there were things when I was a kid in school that when I thought about them, I'd get a pit in my stomach, I'd feel uncomfortable. I still felt the shame and the frustration of being an end of fear, of being bullied and called names and scared to go to school and scared to be in class and afraid to go to recess or lunch because something might happen.

Alex Charfen: And when we process those things, again, it didn't change my perspective of the things that had happened to me, it changed my perspective of everything. It made it so that I was able to really start thinking about those things and talking about them, getting out in the open and understanding what had happened. And I stopped denying it and I remembered how it really felt and it got to the place where again, I wasn't reactive about it anymore. I understood it in a different way and that was just game changing. I understood myself in a different way.

Alex Charfen: And then when, I still use EMDR, like today, I've gone back over and over and over again because when I feel blocked or I feel constrained or I feel like things aren't going right, I'll go in and I'll just, when the therapist says what are we going to go through and process? I'll tell him the first thing that comes to mind and say, maybe this is frustrating me but let's just process and if I do EMDR, here's where I am now after 20 years of doing it. And really this started early, probably after my first few sessions, I realized that when I went in and processed anything, it helped me kind of process everything. And I know that sounds nuts, but leaving EMDR sessions that day or the next day I would always have like creative strikes where I would have ideas that I'd like run to a whiteboard and write them down.

Alex Charfen: And when I've felt blocked or I felt constrained and I do EMDR within a couple of days, again, I feel like the creativity coming back. I'm driving down the road and instead of thinking about stuff that's frustrating me, I'm thinking about new ideas and things that are moving me forward and putting me back in momentum. And whenever I feel like I have messy thinking, whenever I feel like I'm not thinking the way I want to and I'm not getting where I want to and creating the momentum I want to, I go back for a few sessions of the EMDR, maybe just one or two. Alex Charfen: And every time I leave the therapist office with my shoulders feeling a little lighter, feeling usually a little more tired because processing in EMDR definitely does take some energy. Like I usually feel pretty tired and I sleep extraordinarily well the night that I do EMDR. But I always feel like there's a little more momentum and I always feel way more momentum in the subsequent days and weeks because it has this almost progressive effect where when I go in, I release whatever's been going on, I processed whatever's been happening and then it just feels like everything gets easier after that. And it's actually progressive. It gets easier over time. And then it until the next time I go in.

Alex Charfen: And the reason that I share this is because I know that there's a risk telling people to get therapy as a coach because, and admitting that I get therapy as a coach because let's be honest, in a lot of ways we live in a world where the people who stand up on stage present themselves as perfect, don't want to talk about flaws and want you just to see the good and the veneer and the stuff that fits really nicely into a sales pitch or a marketing message.

Alex Charfen: And when I cut my teeth in consulting, I was a consultant who I had to stay around the whole time that something was going on and when I found something, I was a consultant who not only help you set the goals, but help you actually achieve them. I was a person who actually was there through the entire process. And so when I found something that would work, I would share it with people and it would always make my job easier. And the reason I share this now is because I help entrepreneurs grow their businesses like crazy. And I know if you're listening to my podcast and you apply some of the principles that are in this podcast, you're going to grow your business like crazy.

Alex Charfen: And you must prepare for the pressure and noise of a growing business because regardless of what system you have, even if you work with my company and we're going to give you all the systems and all the tools and all the processes, increasing your business growth creates complexity and complication 100% of the time. And so increasing your business is going to raise the pressure and noise in your life you have to find a way to lower it. And I look for those systems, those habits, those processes every day to help entrepreneurs. And I've tested thousands of them myself and I keep the ones that work. And this is one that has worked for me consistently for my clients and for just about anyone I've recommended it to.

Alex Charfen: And I want you to be able to offload any trauma you're feeling. Be able to increase your presence and your awareness and to be able to create the momentum that you really want. And I think that this is a tool that can help you. If you are ready to start putting in systems and processes in your business. If you want to create the business that you are able to run, capable of running, excited to run, and you have a team that really supports you in running, then reach out to us. Go to We've helped entrepreneurs around the world create the systems and the structure and the processes so that they can build a team, and build a team a fast so that they can meet the opportunity they've created.

Alex Charfen: And if you're ready to build a company in the right way and become the CEO you always known you could be, and actually build a team that you lead, and that feels good to lead, reach out to us, we look forward to connecting with you.

Thank You For Listening!

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With gratitude,


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