Momentum Podcast: 890

Opportunity for Intention

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

In this week's episode, Alex reflects on his 20s and how trying to reach his goals so fast might have been his downfall. He was running so hard to reach his goals but ended up not knowing what direction he was running in. He was so stressed that it lead to him not taking care of himself in the process. Alex talks about how when you are in this space you can stop and take time for intention so you don't end up getting overwhelmed to the point he did.

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Full Audio Transcript

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This is the Momentum podcast.

I recently shared with a friend of mine that you will only hear divine guidance if you slow down long enough to hear it. I think for so many entrepreneurs in the world today, like me in my 20s, we are running so hard, trying to create success, trying to make something happen, trying to be who we want to be in the world that we are running past intuition. We are running past opportunities. And unfortunately, so many entrepreneurs are running as fast as they possibly can to a destination that they don't really want. I've done this. I've lived through this. I've had that disappointment. I want to share with you how you can not only avoid it, but create far more intentionality in your life by slowing down to go far faster.

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. 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.

Let's be honest, the entrepreneurial culture in the world today is self-destruction equals success. It's “get up every day and work as hard as you can. Drink up a cup of coffee. Strap yourself to your computer and don't move until you've created success”. And for so many of us, that feels good. I know it feels good because I did in my 20s. I followed that advice. I never took time off. I worked every day. I worked weekends, I stayed at my desk. I did one last email, one last call. I was always working on getting better, on doing better. And I created what most people would call success. I had a business that was responsible for $250 million in sales for other companies. We were a multi-million dollar company. I was making far more than my friends and the people around me. I was doing extraordinarily well. And from the outside looking in, I had a massive success. My company was award winning. I had 14 offices in the U.S. and Latin America. And the company I spent ten years building. When I turned 30 and met my wife, Cadey, I ended up selling the contracts that I had in the company and getting out of it as fast as I could, because I had built a world that was completely overwhelming, because I was running so hard. I was working so much. I was so focused on some successful outcome that I didn't recognize and realize what I really wanted. And I built a company that literally broke me. I was 300 pounds by the time I met Cadey. I was cortisol out like crazy. I was completely stressed. I was in a place where I could barely work, barely get up a flight of stairs, and so many of us as entrepreneurs are in a place where we are running so hard we don't even know the direction we're going. And I want you to know I'm not trying to tell you that you shouldn't move fast. I'm not trying to tell you that you shouldn't execute quickly. I'm not trying to tell you that you shouldn't, you know, try and get things done. But what I am saying is, if if you're running so hard that you keep yourself in a constant state of fight or flight, and you are always in a stress behavior, and you always have stress chemicals in your body, your decision making capacity and ability to see the future and make it real are going to diminish.

It's the first thing that happens to us as entrepreneurs when we overwhelm ourselves, when we are in a stressed behavior, when we are in that fight or flight, we lose the capacity to make good decisions. Now, this just isn't my opinion. This is scientific fact. When we are in fight or flight, when we are in that stress behavior, when we're pushing forward, when we're going all the time, when we never slow down, when we don't give ourselves a chance to take a breath. The chemical compounds in our body, the survival mechanism that is launched in our body, does the following: It lowers the amount of options we have. We're in survival mode. We need to look at the 2 or 3 and pick one. It actually pulls the future closer. We're in survival mode. We need to get out of this right now. We can't even really see the future. It accelerates our entire system and our entire body to the point where we are walking around in a stress behavior, and it makes us more reactive and more, more triggerable in the world. And we're walking around a lot of the time, like a loaded gun, waiting for the next trigger, waiting for the next thing that's going to throw us off. That is not a way to live your life. That is not a way to go through every day. That is not a way to create intentionality and the life that you actually want. In fact, it's a way to wake up one day like I did and say, “How fast can I get out of this? How fast can I shut this down and change what I'm doing and not be in this place of pain anymore?” And I think when we look at the entrepreneurial world, there's not enough people talking about this. There's far too many people saying, “Get up in the morning, go grab a cup of coffee, hustle, pull all nighters, do all the things”. But very few saying, “Hey, what is the life you really want?”

And so I have a tactic for you. Something that I've been using to help you slow down but still get a ton of stuff done to help you create some intention, but still create massive momentum and help you create connection with yourself and what you're doing in a way that actually makes you more effective. So the process of slowing down isn't an easy one, but here's an opportunity for you today, tomorrow as you go through your week. My suggestion is that you slow down at the places where you are transitioning. You bring it down to a crawl when you're transitioning, just for a few moments. When you're transitioning from one thing to another, when you're transitioning from one activity to another, when you're transitioning from being with somebody to not being with that person anymore, you slow things down and create intention. Because here's what happens for most of us, when we finish one thing, we're on to the next without even thinking about what we're doing next. And when we finish one thing, a lot of times the next thing we do is not really intentional. How many times do you finish something and find yourself scrolling social media, or wasting time, or doing something else this next week or period of time that you choose slow things down so that when you're moving from one thing to another, you ask yourself, what is the most effective use of my time right now? What is the thing that I should do next that is most important? Look at your to-do list for the day, and instead of just picking the next thing, or instead of picking the easiest thing, or instead just picking whatever you look at. Ask yourself, what is the most important thing to do right now? If you're transitioning from being with somebody to not being with somebody, like this happened to me yesterday, I was working out with my daughter Raegan, and my wife Cadey was leaving the house. That's a transition. She walked into the gym. I was distracted by working out. I gave her one of those terrible, quick kisses on the lips and she left. And within moments I was thinking, you know what? That was an opportunity. Cadey's leaving the house. I could have paused the workout. Not for five minutes, not for ten minutes for 30 seonds, and looked her in the eyes and said, “I love you. I'm going to miss you while you're gone” and giving her a real kiss. The difference in time is literally 30 seconds, the difference in connection. The difference in feeling. The difference in the chemicals in my body is so much more in 30 seconds. When we slow down and we allow for intentionality, we allow for our perspective to come through when we are switching from one activity to another. It can change everything. And here's what I mean by helping you get done more faster. Here's what I know about my life. My relationship with Cadey is the foundation for everything else that I do. The more secure my attachment with her is, the more secure I am in my relationship with her, the better everything I do is and the easier everything I do it. And so in that transition, when we have a transition, when she's leaving, when I'm leaving, if instead of taking two seconds I take 30s, I create massive connection for the two of us. And if she does the same thing, she creates massive connection for the two of us. And then we have a relationship where because we're taking seconds, not minutes, not days, seconds and being intentional, we reinforce just how important our relationship is to each other.

It's the same thing for me when I'm looking at my to-do list. Like so many entrepreneurs, I get up in the morning and I write out a to-do list I have for most of my career, and I try and bring some intention into what I'm going to do that day and why I'm going to do it. And what I used to do was run through that to-do list almost on autopilot. It was like, check off a box and go on to the next one. But now when I'm in transition from one activity to another, it only takes seconds. I take a deep breath, I create some space, and I ask myself, what is the best use of my time right now? What is the thing that I should be doing that is most important at this moment? In fact, I'm recording this podcast at 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon because I had a few minutes in between the call that I was just on on somebody else's podcast and going to an event tonight, and I knew I wanted to get this done for my team. And so when I looked at everything that I had to do, this was most important. If we slow down in transitions, we can make everything in our life easier.

If we slow down in transitions, we can create the habit of actually slowing down and creating intention in our lives. And if we slow down in transitions, we'll stop running past the opportunities we have to create connection, to create grounding, to get in our bodies, to feel more secure in the world, to feel better about the world. When I slow down and I take that time with Cadey, it grounds me and reinforces everything that it's important. That is important in the world for me. When I slow down and I do the same thing with my daughters when they're leaving, when they're in a transition and I go and I say, have a great day at school, and I give them a hug and I look them in the eyes and there's actual time spent, not minutes, seconds. They feel more secure and more grounded. And when I'm intentional with what I do every day, it's extraordinary how much I can get done in as little time as I spend. And I think you can too.

Thanks for being here listening to the podcast today, I appreciate it, and thanks for the support. You know, this podcast has been published since 2016. We've had 3 million something downloads, and I'm just always so grateful and feel so validated that you are willing to take the time to listen to it and potentially share it and make it leave a review. It means the world to me. And so thank you for being a listener. Thank you for sharing this time with me today. Thank you for being an entrepreneur and trying to make the world a better place. I hope this was helpful and I look forward to talking to you in the next episode.

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