The Bledsoe Show

Identity, Internal Stories, Flow State, and The Strong Coach with Drew Dillon & Aaron Jannetti of The Kamiwaza Podcast

Identity, Internal Stories, Flow State, and The Strong Coach with Drew Dillon & Aaron Jannetti of The Kamiwaza Podcast

Today's show is a lot of fun because we flipped the script and I get interviewed by Drew Dillon and Aaron Jannetti of The Kamiwaza Podcast. I'm sharing this because we cover a lot of new ground in the world of coaching and development. We touched on so many important areas of identity, internal stories, journaling, psychology, flow state, trauma, and growth. Enjoy!

Table Of Contents

The Kamiwaza Podcast with Aaron Jannetti and Drew Dillon

The Kamiwaza Podcast with Aaron Jannetti and Drew Dillon - Flow State

Aaron Jannetti: Hey everybody. Welcome back to The Kamiwaza Podcast. I am Aaron Jannetti and I'm here with the wonderful and amazing Drew Dillon.

Drew Dillon: What's up guys?

Aaron Jannetti: What's up guys.

Aaron Jannetti: And we are here with a very special guest today Mr Mike Bledsoe himself. How are you today sir?

Mike Bledsoe: Excellent. Very special. I feel very special.

Aaron Jannetti: So special.

Drew Dillon: The Mike Bledsoe.

Aaron Jannetti: Oh man. Well we are hanging out outside in the side yard we established of Drew's house today and we just ate some deliciousness. We're drinking some bourbon now and catching up and just talking, which is amazing. So we've got Mike here. We just recorded a little bit. I know you're going to record a little bit with Drew and Chelsea. Most of you guys have heard Drew's been going through the strong coach program. It was four months ago when you started, right? Because you're through it. You are class seven.

Mike Bledsoe: Seven. I think we started in April-ish.

Aaron Jannetti: Oh wow. So he's been through it. Chelsea is class nine. I am class 10 into the second week. And so we're all going through this journey through The Strong Coach. So I think it's kind of fun and fascinating to have Mike here today and talk about some things. One thing that I would love to discuss, and you've touched upon it in a podcast before that I listened to you and I met the first time nine years ago and Mike Bledsoe nine years ago was not the Mike Bledsoe I'm sitting across the table from.

Mike Bledsoe: No.

Aaron Jannetti: Aaron Jannetti nine years ago is not the Aaron Jannetti.

Mike Bledsoe: Not the same guy.

Aaron Jannetti: Yeah. That nine years ago. So one of the things that I want to chat about, if I may kind of take this down the route, because I've been thinking about this-

Mike Bledsoe: Oh-oh.

Aaron Jannetti: Not in a bad way, let's go the idea of completely changing your identity. Nine years ago is a long time and yet not that long of a time.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah.

Aaron Jannetti: And I imagine from what I've been able to follow you for a long time, that there's been more than one identity change over that span.

Mike Bledsoe: Sure.

Letting Go Of Old Identities and Creating New Ones

Letting Go Of Old Identities and Creating New Ones
Letting Go Of Old Identities and Creating New OnesPhotographer: Ben Sweet | Source: Unsplash

Aaron Jannetti: So let's talk about that. The ability to legitimately change your identity and change your future and change paths and that.

Mike Bledsoe: I think it's a really the Western mind like structure and so it's really good to talk about the structure of an identity first and we like to think about identity as a noun, as a static thing. It's like I can look at it, I can put it on paper. The identity is a fact and it doesn't move. You could say your identity as a firefighter or your identity as a CEO or identity as an athlete or a weightlifter or whatever. And I started really getting into identity work where it's like, okay, I'm now going to live into this new identity. And then when I get fully into that identity, I can create multiple identities and I can let go of old identities and things like that.

So from a structured mind, how I first started approaching it was like that, and I did it without even knowing it. I just started adopting, calling myself like, okay, I am a marketer. And that was a hard one to say by the way. Someone goes, "Are you a marketer?" I was like, "Not really." He's like, "Do you do marketing?" I'm like, "Well yeah." "So you're a marketer?" Because I have like all these stories about what being a marketer meant. I was like, "It's not me." And once I really took that on then I could be really good at it.

I started realizing, oh I could have more than one identity and I started taking that on and what I've gotten to in the last couple of years is really looking at identity as a fluid experience. And instead of it being something that is fixed, it might be one of those things where I go, I'm going to take on these three identities this year. Anyone who's doing that work is moving pretty fast. If you're thinking about it at that level, you're moving fast.

And then now we're, I'm out is identity has become very fluid where I see myself as always changing all the time. Most people and the way I used to be is resisting change, resisting letting go of an old identity and resisting taking on a new identity. And the resistance causes suffering. And so it's okay. How do I reduce suffering in my life? Well, the way I reduce suffering is to allow more flow. The way I allow more flow into my life is to stop resisting and to accept the person I am becoming at all times.

So you're always becoming something, but most people are trying to create certainty in their life. And the only way you can create certainty is like I can have certainty because so I have this identity and I create this identity based on my beliefs that if I believe this, this creates my identity and that's fixed and that makes it easy to sleep at night. And so the thing that I've been talking about to myself, I'm going to talk about things I'm talking to myself about them is the next level for me has been if you can embrace certain uncertainty, if I can be in a place where I am comfortable with uncertainty, then I can do anything because people are grasping for certainty.

Well, what's going to happen next? Well, if I do that, then what's going to happen? And really getting to a place of being more in a place of wonderment and going, "Yeah, I have no idea what's going to happen next and thank God I don't know what's happening this or else I'd be bored. Let's do this thing and see what happens." And then really following my heart and letting my heart decide I'm being drawn to becoming this person.

I'm being drawn to be this man and as I'm drawn towards it, yeah, it's scary and exciting and I can resist where my heart is taking me or I could say, "You know what? I'm going to surrender, I'm going to surrender into this pool." That the universe is pulling me this direction, my heart's pulling me in this direction and it's causing me to become a new person. I'm becoming something different at all times.

And so coming from a place where I go, "Oh, I'm becoming this thing and I have this fixed identity." And I'm like, "Oh, I checked the box, I became this guy." And now it's more of a, I am following the energy and who I am supposed to be, who I am showing up to be in every moment it's becoming more obvious. I'm just like, "Oh, this is obvious. Oh this is obvious." And so that's where I'm at. I don't know if I answered your question. I decided it seemed, I just got into a flow state there.

The Science Behind Your Identity

Taken from the Sky Lift at the WI State Fair, August 2017
Photographer: Tom Barrett | Source: Unsplash

Drew Dillon: So one thing I want to bring up for people, what I imagine is that it's changed, allowing me to follow that flow was the new access I have gained in feelings throughout my body. And you and I were talking last night and one thing I said to you was, I feel that my space between stimulus and response has 10Xed. It almost feels like time slows down. I'll be in a conversation with someone and all of a sudden I'll feel my chest getting tight and there's this moment to be able to breathe into it.

So when you talk about identity and you talk about that discomfort, I don't think he actually said the word discomfort, but more of a resistance. You resisted so that suffering part of that resistance is to change also has that discomfort. It's like resistance causes discomfort. Yet there's discomfort to change.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. So I'll bring some science into this real quick so we can talk about your 10X experience. You're actually accurate. You're very accurate in this. And there's science to back this up and that is you've gotten more in touch with your body. So your body, Joe Dispenza talks about this, which I love, which is words are the language of the mind and feelings are the language of the body. Now the body is speaking to us and giving us data constantly. And we can also think about the body operating is closely connected as subconscious, the limbic brain.

And so the body is constantly sending data. Now the average person is so disconnected from their body because they want to avoid feelings, and we all do this. I did it for the longest time. And until you do a certain level of work, you're not going to have access to your body. Now we think about the vagus nerve. Everyone's familiar with that. It connects the brain and the body and can up regulate you, down regulate you. You can regulate and stimulate the vagus nerve with breath.

And so one things that we've learned about the vagus nerve is 90% of the information is flowing North. That means the body is telling the brain things only 10% of what the brain is using that nerve is going to the body. So the body is telling the brain a lot more than the brain is telling the body. And so there's 10 times more data coming in that most people have zero access to. And so that what you're talking about is you have a 10X space that you didn't have between stimulus and response.

And so that response that we have when someone says something, when we respond and we say something fucked up, and then 10 seconds later we go, "Ah, I shouldn't have said that thing." Because it was automatic response that's the limbic brain that kicking in and making a decision because we're in a state of survival.

So if you're living in a state of survival, you have very little time between stimulus and response. If you get out of survival and you get in this more creative state and you can down-regulate the system, you're less likely to rely on your limbic brain to make everyday decisions, which most people are in such a heightened state. That's all that's happening. So they're actually not making choices. All their behavior is dictated by previous experience. And so what you're talking about is you've likely in the program, gotten access to your breath, gotten access to the story that creates it. You've down-regulated the body, which we focus on heavily in there. And when that happens, you create space.

Every bit of space allows you to have more creativity and that space you're talking about between stimulus and response. I think that would sound scientific enough. And maybe you don't want that.

So my brain takes me to essentially I am always studying violence and how to get people through that fear perspective and how to get people to understand how to decision making process under stress and things like that. We're talking about it right now from a knee jerk reaction from maybe a comment or an event that happens and things. In your experience, what you've known. Can you speak on this higher level now? I actually find myself either currently in a violent state or trying to process something that happened to me from a personal interaction, violent, chaotic. You can even take it to like if you find yourself in a tornado earthquake, but the ability to, what people would perceive, I imagine as stay cool under pressure or make decisions under pressure, is there a correlation in your mind between those two? And then-

Drew Dillon: Absolutely.

Mike Bledsoe: So there's two things. So I'll use the word trauma, I'll define it. Trauma is a situation occurs and it creates a feeling in the body that in the future we're going to want to avoid. So it's a scary feeling. We don't want to feel it, but we're feeling it anyway. And then we associate it with a story which is tied to a belief which the belief was created before the trauma ever happened. So if we look at adult trauma, so what we'll do is something traumatic will happen. So you're 20 years old, something traumatic will happen when you're 20 and you will then tie it to a belief that was created before you were seven years old.

And this is why anytime anyone does any trauma therapy for anything post seven years old, but it hasn't covered pre seven they're just trimming the weeds. And so it's good but you're not really getting to the heart of things. You're not going to actually solve the problem. And this is why I like a lot of people with PTSD, with their dealing with the situation that they think caused the PTSD. They're not actually ever going to like get all the way there. And that's why so many people end up on medication.

So the first thing is is we've got to address the trauma that happened early in our life and the beliefs that we create a base on that trauma that form our identities going back to identity. And so the trauma might be for a five-year-old that the toy was taken away from them and then they created a belief based on that. And then they created a whole personality around it. And there's a story that they live into, the world works this way.

So until we cleaned that up, then that's your baseline. So baseline for most people is a really heightened state. They're in a very sympathetic state. So any type of violence scenario that the average person's going to be presented with, they're going to flinch and they're going to freak out and they're not going to have control over what's happening because they can only make decisions based all their behaviors are going to be dictated by previous experience. And you can layer training on top of that.

And so this is what you see a lot in the military, police, a lot of self defense like you're talking about is we layer on top of that. And if we layer enough on top of that, then that can become the automatic behavior. But it's not the innate response. And this can apply to anything, not just self-defense, this can apply to just how you operate at work and stressful situations. Everyone is in stressful situations with their work, with their home life, all this stuff.

So what I like to do, the approach I like to take is yeah, I could override and just add training on top of old trauma, but what I like to do is I like to clear old trauma first. Let's go in there and just fucking clean house and that's what we do. I've got a five and a half day retreat. That's what we do. We clean fucking house and people walk out of there, they go, "Holy shit, this is what a clean slate really feels like." Then we can layer on new stuff on top of that. Now that's when the breath comes in and the story where it comes in. It's like, okay, now I have control over my breath.

So when a stressful situation happens because I'm living in a state where I'm already connected to my body, my body tells me before anything ever registered in my mind that something is amiss. And so I can be with my breath and I can stay calm and process the situation appropriately instead of going with a knee jerk reaction. Additionally, because I'm not going to tie it with a previous trauma because that previous trauma, I already cleared out. I have the power to create a story based off, so I survive whatever, say it's a violent altercation. I survived that altercation now because I have the awareness, I can create whatever empowering story I have off of that.

This actually happened to my ex wife this past spring. She was in Bali. She has done this work. She's helped facilitate this work. She's deep, deep in it. And she's in Bali, she's riding her bike and these two guys grab her purse and rip it off of her and she falls off her bike and she gets all banged up and she's afraid that they're going to come back and kill her or beat her up or whatever.

So she runs and screaming and all this stuff and she ends up not having much in her purse, which is fine. And she ends up finding some people that help her out and she goes and gets her bike and then she goes back to the place she's staying and she goes home and she was riled up understandably. She just got mugged in a foreign country. And by the way, she's there by herself. Not only that, but we're separated at the time. Like we're freshly separated, our relationship is ending and so she's not emotionally in like a fun, as far as that kind of stuff goes she's in a tough spot.

So she's in this country by herself, gets mugged and she goes home and she realizes, oh, I could create any story I want from this. And she starts journaling and writing out how blessed she is to have survived it and she talked about how she focused on the people that helped her afterwards instead of how shitty that people were that mugged her. And she was really able to paint a picture for herself and that she was able to take care of herself even though she was hit with this type of situation she survived. And she was able to take care of her own scrapes and bruises and that people were there to help her.

Mike Bledsoe: And so she was able to look through a lens that was empowering that was going to allow her to live her life fully moving forward from that point. And the only reason she had that ability is not only did she have the skills of language on her side. But she had already cleared the emotional trauma from her past, so she didn't have an automatic response to fuck, my life sucks.

And I believe that the world is bad. And she didn't have that. So she that out already. And then she got hit with a situation which she would have viewed through the previous lens, but now she has so much more awareness out and the ability to create whatever lens she wants. And she was able to make that choice. And she wrote it all out and then sent it to me and a bunch of our friends, it was really cool to watch.

Drew Dillon: That's pretty intense.

Aaron Jannetti: Well, it makes me look at, we've talked about this several times on the podcast up to this point, which is the importance of preemptively getting shit out anyway. Like having someone you can go to, whether professionally or anything to actually honestly get things out, even if you're not "depressed" or you're not quote unquote in a traumatic situation, but the idea of getting in touch with the things that may have happened in the past and kind of getting that from a overall health standpoint before it becomes a holy shit, this is a fucked up situation.

Obsession with Optimization

Para todo hay solucion
Photographer: Cesar Carlevarino Aragon | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: I've got into this work because I wanted to optimize. I've always been obsessed with human performance in all aspects. I was like, how can I be the ultimate human being? Because why else would we be here? Let's do some cool shit, and I grew up reading comic books and superheroes and all that shit. I want access to that. So, of course, I'd go do things like drink ayahuasca in the jungle and look under all these different like rocks and go to all these different types of trainings. And I'm like, man.

And what I found is I in all these different types of trainings and plant medicine experiences and all this, I get a lot more out of it then I've watched other people get. And I think it's because I've taken the approach that there's nothing to fix, I'm good where I'm at, I'm looking, I'm curious. I'm like, what's there that I haven't seen yet? What do I not know yet?

And so because of that, I'm coming from a humble place, curious place. And I get shown a lot. Like I'm working with the medicine, I'm working with the facilitators, I'm coachable. And what I see is when people come in to solve a problem, you know what they get? They get a solution to their problem. They're so narrowly focused on, I have a problem, there's something wrong with me. I got to fix something. And that's all they get. They get the solution to that one problem.

And when I go in to something, I get a solution to 100 problems because I'm coming in open. Two years ago I did some training with a woman who I ended up partnering with to do training camp for the soul. And she was pitching it to me. She's like, "You really need to get in here and you've got clients that have already been through this." And I'm like, "Yeah, I know, I know I'll do it one day." I'm like, "One day someday I'll do it." And she goes, "Do it now." And I go, "Well I'm good. I feel good. I just got done with some other training. I'm in a good spot." She goes, "This is the best time to do it." And I go, "You know what? You're right."

The best time approach, this type of thing to dig up the past is when I'm in a good place because I'm going to be able to take it deeper. If I thought there was something wrong, it would be a shallow experience. And now that I facilitate these types of experiences with people and I recognize that the people that are coming in are like, I'm an open book. I'm here to optimize. I'm like, "Oh, this is going to be fun, it's gonna be easy." And this person's going to have a really incredible experience.

And the person that's like, "I'm fucked up because this thing happened to me when I was 12." I'm like, "Oh God, here we go." And there's nothing wrong with that. If you have something fucked up that when you were 12 let's deal with it and get that out of the way and get you in a place where you can start approaching these experiences with a lot more openness. So there's nothing wrong with either one, but I want to point out that I noticed that people that get the most out of it are the ones that are coming out of place of, I'm good and I want to optimize.

Drew Dillon: Was there a point in the past where you felt like there was something wrong and did that change or?

Mike Bledsoe: No. I always thought I was fine. Originally that was coming from a place of, I don't know-

Aaron Jannetti: Ego?

Mike Bledsoe: Ego. Yeah, definitely. Like I always thought I was like hot shit. I always thought it was hot shit, but I also had some humility in that I knew that there I could be better. I was like, "Oh, I can be better." I used to think, oh, other people are fucked up, I got my shit together and then when I started going down the path of optimizing and I started healing from my past, I go, "Oh, I was fucked up. I just didn't know it." I got lucky. I got lucky in that my curiosity was born more from just trying to be the best possible versus thinking I was fucked up. But then once I realized there was fucked up things in my past, I go, "Okay, cool. What else? What else? What else?"

Aaron Jannetti: That's an exciting place to be because that's where we talked about when we recorded earlier you and I about one of the realizations I had last week and that idea, we've talked about this on the podcast in the past, but where there was a point where I went from all of my motivation was driven by fuck my dad, I'm going to show him up, like that type mentality. And then when I made peace with that, he asked me the one day, he was like, "Well so then what was your motivation after that?" And I had to pause and think, but I literally was like, "Well there's no reason God didn't put me on earth not to do fucking incredible things so I'm just going to go do incredible things."

And I kind of had that mentality and when we were going through that realization last week, to me that was just fascinating. It was just fun. That was like fuck me. Like this thing has been like throttling me down for 30 odd years or so. Like this is going to be fun because the next thing is just be that to that push fucking better going forward. It's like I can relate to the story you're telling and it's a fascinating place to be I imagine I wasn't there five years ago where I could have that type of realization and be like, "Oh, I was fucked up?" And be okay with it and then move forward. And I don't know it's a fascinating thought concept to me.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. A lot of people have the fear that they're going to lose whatever thing they're good at. When they get rid of that thing that was driving them, that insecurity. It's like, "Oh, if I lose my insecurity, then I won't be good at my thing." I'm like, "Well, that's insecurity driving insecurity." And I was like enjoy your life. So what I see happen, I've seen it happen myself and I see it happen with all of our clients, is when they heal from that, whatever's causing that insecurity that actually turns into a superpower. One of the things that drove me was I had this belief from when I was four or five years old that I was stupid.

And so I overcompensated. I was constantly reading. I'd turn into a nerd, I completely nerded out and it really turned into a superpower in the way that like I was extremely knowledgeable. And people can ask me questions and I have answers for almost everything and it was cool and exhausting. I was really exhausted because I was learning a lot of things. I actually didn't care about learning and I was trying to remember it versus just enjoying the process of learning.

And so when I dropped that story and I was able to take on a new belief and a new identity around it, I noticed that my mind was so much clearer. I go, "Oh shit, I'm not trying to remember everything." And I'm trusting that information will arrive when it's supposed to, and I ended up being in flow state more frequently, I became more creative. I took a break from reading for about a year and then I picked it back up and now I read about the same amount as I did before, but I'm only reading shit I'm really interested in, which is usually very like philosophical and spiritual.

Sometimes there's some business books in there. But yeah, I'm reading a lot of things that I would not have previously considered practical and I enjoy it more and I have no lack of access to information. So I feel that my access to information is higher than ever, even though I don't have the insecurity of like I'm stupid if I don't learn all this shit. So there's that.

What is Flow State

Lookout.
Photographer: Colton Duke | Source: Unsplash

Aaron Jannetti: So you've mentioned flow state twice. Talk about that.

Drew Dillon: Flow state.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, there's being in the present moment and really catching the wave. Most people experience flow state accidentally. So talk to me and they'll go, when did you experience flow state? And you're like, "Oh man that one time that I caught that wave or I jumped out of an airplane." People tend to it's some extreme experience, something that forces them into the present moment and that's a really cool thing having experienced that force you in a present moment where you experience flow.

And flow states can be accessed where you're pushed to the edge of like you're pushing a little bit past your comfort, but not so far that it turns into chaos. So you're performing a skill so you're just pushing just a little bit beyond comfort where you have to be extremely focused to do it right, but not so far that you fuck it up. And so most people attribute flow states and talk about flow States in regard to physical performance. It's really easy to see and demonstrate and feel in those environments. But also finding flow state when like right now on the podcast as I'm talking, dropping into a flow state. Dropping in a flow state when I'm working on my laptop and meetings and doing everyday things.

And so what I've learned is I can access flow state throughout the day. I set up intervals in my day and I can set myself up for flow States. So most people are accessing it by accident. Like you do jujitsu, you've probably experienced like what the fuck man that I just rolled and I've completely lost track of time and everything got easy and I just fucked that guy up, right?

And same with weightlifting, like almost like you don't even realize what happened on the platform. Next thing you know you've got that snatch overhead. What the fuck happened? It's the training meets that challenge. But what I've been working on is setting up my day to where I'm accessing flow state. It's a practice. Getting into flow is practice, practice, practice, practice. And there's a lot of different tools you can get to practice that but, some of them being psychedelics. So just start with a bigger dose and then dial it back [crosstalk 00:31:02]. Pretty soon I just don't even, I just need to breathe. I've gotten a point. I was like, "Oh, I'll need psychedelics. I can just breathe." I can breathe a certain way and then like pushing my energy around and like, okay, cool.

Aaron Jannetti: It's that's that video where half floating around where it's like, "We're high. Oh, no, who owns supplier." As he runs around.

Mike Bledsoe: Same shit man.

Aaron Jannetti: I doubt you're real quiet over there Drew. What's your brain doing?

Drew Dillon: Well, I'll tell you what, I'm still noodling on approaching growth from the point that there's nothing wrong. And it makes me think of thoughts I've had in the past and we've talked about it on the podcast of wanting to be better yet, not letting that want to be better or trying to look for your blind spots, create resistance in itself of now like, "Hey, you're fine, just go." But you're searching for this thing. And even I guess the thought process, there's a mantra from the strong coach program that's really stuck with me and it's, I am complete. I've actually recently-

Aaron Jannetti: By the way, that was adopted by students and created by students and it's become a thing in the culture, which I did not create that. I did not create that mantra. I love that. I love it that kind of stuff is emerging.

Drew Dillon: Well it did and so I actually picked it up recently, a few weeks back and I've been doing mantras on my morning walk and the reason I decided to use that, I'm like, yeah, I'm going to use that one today was I had woke up and I didn't sleep very well and something else was off in the morning. So I get on my walk and yesterday Mike, I was telling you like I'm getting to the point where I go bed looking forward to the walk in the morning. It's like, ", I get to walk in the morning."

So now this has happened. I get up and I'm out the door and I'm going, but I'm frustrated. I imagine these things like, oh well this time's off and I kind of feel this way and now this isn't going to be as effective and these stories are spinning. And it made me realize it's like I just heard a voice. It was like, "You don't fucking need to perfect eight hours for things to be fine." You don't need coffee. Like you are complete, like you are complete right now, you're fine. And I was like, yeah, I'm going to use that. Yeah, I'm completed. I don't need that fucking sleep. I don't need that fucking coffee. Whatever it was. And I'm going and like I felt great and then I've just stuck with it.

And it was fascinating hearing you describe that, where now looking at it's not by being okay with where you are in the moment. It doesn't mean you're not going to find opportunities and things and in fact it means you have access to more possibilities and things because you're not narrowing the focus. So I've just been thinking of that situation. And then other clients of mine, I've had conversations where I've even thrown that mantra towards them, like try say and I am complete and it looks like their body just seizes up.

But even from that fact where you use the example of this thing happened to me when I'm 12 a number of these individuals, I don't think they could point to something. There's just a story of something's wrong with me. So I'm playing with that in my mind right now.

Holding Two Paradoxes

I’ve shared photos of my son before but now we can add a story I can tell you that this is Ozzy!
Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah, there's a belief with most people that is if I accept myself completely for who I am, then I'll have no reason to do anything and I won't get better. So I'm going to paint the picture of a paradox that people have a hard time being able to hold. All right, so paradox means that there are things that are seemingly opposing and one is, so this specific paradox is I accept myself completely for who I am and I am becoming something new, a vision of the future. I'm working towards something.

And so it seems paradoxical in that you can't actually do them at the same time. Most people have a hard time. They go, I can't accept myself completely and be working towards getting better. So we can talk about micro flow state. So I was referring to micro flow state previously. Now what we're talking about is macro flow state. So macro flow state is we're zooming out big picture on your life and if you want to grow exponentially faster, you want to be able to shift identities quickly. If you want to be able to learn things really, really fast, coming from a place where you fully accept yourself for exactly where you are right now, seeing nothing wrong, nothing to fix and while also becoming obsessive about getting better at this thing and unattached.

So that's another thing, obsessed and unattached. These all work together. So unattached is accepting and obsessive would be working towards something that those are more extreme versions of what I was saying previously. And that helps in these conversations at times I would say I'm obsessed and unattached simultaneously. People go, what the fuck? So this is a paradox. And I had a coach years ago, it was about five years ago, and he was teaching me the power of holding paradox. And he goes, "You can hold paradox then you can do anything, that's a super power." And most people can't do it. And he painted the picture. I go, "You're right. I can't do that. I can't hold paradox." He goes, "If you can do that, you'll be a great leader. I go, "huh."

So what I found myself doing is finding paradox and then switching real quick between the two. It's like, okay, I fully accept myself. Okay, vision of the future. And as I'm living in the vision of the teacher, I'm like, fuck me. I'm not good enough. And then I'm like fully setting myself. I'm like, "I ain't doing shit today. I'm just going to lay around." And then it's like swinging back and forth. And honestly I'm not really sure what really put me in a place where maybe it was the switching back and forth a lot. Definitely the stuff I did with a knot, helped me out in that realm. And I'll tell you why and I'll explain why, how this works.

So like they're accepting where you are and then having a vision of your future. So think about your parents. Your mom and your dad. So out of your parents, which parent is going, and this is just generally speaking, this isn't always true. The roles can be switched, but which parent is usually like, "I love you no matter what. You're good just the way you are." Who is that?

Drew Dillon: Mother.

Mike Bledsoe: It's your mom. It's the maternal, it's the feminine and that energy carries with it the fully accepting just the way you are. And who's the person who's always pushing you like, "Oh, you can do better." It's fucking dad. And so that's that paternal masculine energy of always getting better. And so what we learned from our parents is usually a fucked up version of mom and dad, like of the masculine and feminine. And it's like I'm never really able to fully accept myself and I'm never good enough. And the reasons I'm trying to get better are born out of insecurities. It's like all this it just riddled with all sorts of problems. And this is how most people are living their lives.

So that's why a lot of the work that we do. Well, when we do a training camp for the soul is we focus on how you relate to yourself, which is indicated by the relationship with your mother and how you viewed your mother and what you learned from her and the energy and then we get complete with mother. So we get to where we can fully accept ourselves 100% and then we go into father energy, which is more of how we relate to the world. But that energy is also the thing that creates purpose and drive forward.

And so if you get to a place where I used to talk about it, like healing from these things and I that's still slips in, but I adopted more of the language around unlearning and learning because it's really learned behavior. It's not necessarily a wound. Because wounds indicate that that really, and words are important as we've been talking about wounds indicate there's something wrong, there's something broken and it's really not even broken it's just the learning. It's like I learned to be this way. If you can learn it, you can unlearn it. And there are things that we've learned energetically that we can unlearn and we can learn things energetically.

And it's one of those things where it's almost, we do put words to them, but the words really fail what's really happening inside. And so when we get to a place where we can be whole and complete with the feminine and whole and complete with the masculine inside of ourselves, then we can approach the world from a place of, yeah, I fully accept myself and I'm getting better all the time. And then it's possible to hold paradox.

Drew Dillon: Nice.

Aaron Jannetti: Do you imagine that some of that comes back from earlier on? You were talking about identity specifically about the ability to carry two identities at once or three identities at once. Is there anything like, you know what I mean? Like can you have the identity that you're completely accepting of yourself and then also be holding the identity that you would want to move forward? Do you think those are two separate things?

Mike Bledsoe: I think those are different, for me right now, ask me in a year I might have realized that everything is connected to everything. So I just don't know what that is right now and yeah, in a year I might change my mind.

Aaron Jannetti: That's a good answer. Look at how he handled that question, the paradox of that question.

The Importance Of Breathwork In Your Stories

Breathe Amsterdam
Photographer: Fabian Møller | Source: Unsplash

Aaron Jannetti: So you've mentioned breath a couple of different times and I know that you and Mark England talked about this a lot at the time of this recording, at least on a most recent episode of The Bledsoe Show where you and him were talking about a lot of that stuff. Talk about the importance of breathing as you're making your way through some of this story work. Does that make sense?

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. So story and breath are a cycle. And so what we have is the story is as a series of words that run through our head that this is the mind, the mind speaks in words and our thoughts are made up of words. And so we're having these thoughts and then the body speaks in feelings and the feelings feed the thoughts and thoughts, feed the feelings and all this stuff. And so we can down regulate the body and we can take control of the feelings.

So we could either try to, you can take control of thoughts too. You can force your thoughts. And a lot of people, they are very terrible at that. They go, I can't stop. I meditate and I can't stop the thinking. I go, well you're not going to stop the thinking. Your awareness has to go somewhere. But most people's awareness is stuck in their head. So they're like trying to stop something. Your awareness is on it. So it's going to keep going. So the only way to stop thinking is to put your awareness in your body.

And so that's not a complete truth. But for people who are having a hard … if they're in the place where thinking, stopping their thoughts is where they're at, then that the next step is their body. So put your attention to your body and the easiest place you can put your attention is your breath, oh, I'm breathing. Because it's something that your autonomic system can do and you can take control over yourself. So control your breath first and slow it down. And when you slow down your breath, your body slows down. And then your thoughts slow down and everything slows down that you can see.

It is why journaling is important because when you write it down, it slows it down too. But when you slow down the breath and you down regulate, what you do is you stop feeding the story. So shortness of breath feeds the story or we slow down the breath, the story slows down and we can ask ourselves, is this true? And usually the answer is no, I'm full of shit. So at least the mind is full of shit. It's not who you are. The mind is just a thing.

Aaron Jannetti: We're all full of shit.

Mike Bledsoe: Yeah. And so it's, oh, this is actually not true. This is my imagination. And one of the things that I do teach is that I teach people to stop using the word think, believe or I feel like, because people, usually what follows, I feel like is actually a story i.e your imagination. And so I think, I believe, I feel like those are your imagination. I like the word imagination because when we think about imagination, we think about fantasy and we think about Disney cartoons and this and that? It's imagination. It's like it's not real. It's like right. Everything happening and all those thoughts they're not real. None of them.

So you could say they're more or less accurate, but they're not the truth. And so there's another distinction I bring into the program, which is let's really find accuracy you're never going to find truth. The only truth is that there is none. And so everything else is your perception and so your imagination. And so we can get into that space only if we have breadth first. And this is why every philosophical, spiritual teacher on the planet will tell you to focus on your breath, because if you don't have that, you have nothing.

Aaron Jannetti: I just like. I dunno just that thought like it really, if you don't have that, I mean anything I've taught in the last, God knows how long in some form or fashion. I think even before I really understood the importance of breath in some form or fashion found itself back to breath. You know what I mean? And we discussed this last week when we were recording about breathing and how at some point in time we're introduced to the concept of the importance of it somewhere and it tended to be more, I think we both agreed it tended to be more from a physical standpoint.

Like this is when you take your breath, when you're about to do a back squat, this is when you take your breath or how you exhale when you throw a punch and all that types of, it was very physical power output, all that type stuff. There was importance there. However, it was more physical than anything.

Mike Bledsoe: Depending on who you ask. Breathing mechanics is also important that everything that's happening in your mental state and your emotional state is an impacting your physical state. So breath being tied to story, which stories are tied to your emotional state, yada, yada, yada. And next thing you know, if your story's fucked up, your breathing's fucked up, which means that now your back hurts. And it's like, "Oh, why is your lower back hurt?" It's like, oh, well we can tie some bands around you and we can like make it where you squat again better today, but you're going to have to tie more bands on you by the away. Here's this lacrosse ball but your breathing's fucked up. Let's fix your breathing. Okay, let's work on breathing mechanics, breathing mechanics, breathing mechanics.

Wow. I'm working on my breathing mechanics a lot and it's doesn't seem like it's getting much better, it doesn't feel like it's getting much better. It is getting better, but not like I really want. Oh, okay, so why don't we deal with that emotional shit that you're avoiding and the emotional shit is a feeling in your body that you're avoiding and you're avoiding a part of your body. Maybe you can't breathe into that part of your body. You don't have access to it. Your nervous system is shutting down around that part of your body. Oh, I'm actually, I've now dealt with the emotional thing. I have access to that part of my body. My nervous system is comfortable going to that part of my body again. I can breathe there. Oh, my back feels better. Interesting.

One of the quotes that you said when you and Mark were talking about breathing was yeah, "Man, I just got a bad shoulder." And you're like, "Nah man, you got a fucked up story." And I carried that into the very next I was on my way home. I carried that into the very next training session. I think I had like a one of our startup personal training sessions and I was like, "Bro, let's talk about your story and why you're fucked up. And I was like, "Oh, that was fucking classic."

Drew Dillon: It really was. And to go off of what you guys said in it lifted was, okay, so that story is going on if your brain's at 10 the only way to get it to be quiet is to put your body at 11 these are the same athletes that need the load. They need the exhaustion. They need to hurt at the end, because if not now the story gets even more fucked up that they didn't do enough work.

Mike Bledsoe: They find just a small moment of peace. That's what it is. I'm looking for peace and I can only find peace when I'm about to explode under the bar or I can only find peace on the 34th mile of this ultra marathon.

Drew Dillon: That's fascinating.

Mike Bledsoe: When I pushed myself so hard that nothing's left.

Aaron Jannetti: That is a fascinating, I've never.

Drew's Experience in The Strong Coach Program

Drew's Experience in The Strong Coach Program

Aaron Jannetti: So let's do this. What's the most, because he asked me this or something similar to it, but in the strong coach program, as you've been going through it and you're now in the mastermind section and what has been the most impact? Like where do you have the most clarity as Drew going through this process? Is that a fair translation of the one month question you gave me earlier?

Drew Dillon: In this moment it is that space between stimulus and response to. It's fascinating, it feels like time slows down. I'll be in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden I'll just notice my chest is getting tight and now I go to my breathing and then it's like I'm breathing into my chest and I'm still listening to what the person's saying and whatever it is. It's like, okay, they're saying this what happened there? And if it's a lot like something I want to unpack, no decisions made like, can I get back to you on this?

And then it's like, okay, now I can explore it. Or in that moment it's like, huh, I think I wanted to switch to comparison. Like okay, hold on, take a breath with some of the story work we've done. It's like, all right, that's fucking Enrique. You know what I mean? And then it gets even deeper of like, I think Mark England said it, "The light and the dark are your children, be a good parent." It's like, "Oh there's Enrique." It's like Enrique, go out back and play button. Dad's trying to do some shit here.

But like there's that and it's funny because I was telling Mike and Aaron, I mean actually you were in my mind when I was telling Mike, but how much more I've been talking about feelings and trying to translate that to words and it was your face that I was telling Mike I go, people are looking at me like, "What are you talking about?" And it's like your face that I see because it'll be on the podcast and Aaron's just staring across at me and I like in my mind I'm like, "Oh fuck, I'm trying to tell him about a feeling."

Aaron Jannetti: I can vividly remember, I imagine it's the same one but it was the first time you said space and you were trying to define it and I literally was like I kind of did this. Like for those of you that can't obviously see I had like cockeyed turned. I was like, "Huh, tell me more. Like what the fuck is that?" And he was, "Ah, well. I'm not being a dick I'm literally trying to understand this in this moment." I get it. I imagine you've run into, well I know for a fact because we've talked about this, but when we're exploring some of these things with athletes, and you say, today was a prime example, I want to walk with one of my athletes to unpack some things that was going on there.

And I said, "Hey, this thing happened, how did you feel?" And she goes, "Well, I wanted A, B and C to do this." And I said, "Okay, let's separate the two." But just the idea of being in tune with sensations of the body and feelings-

Mike Bledsoe: Born.

Aaron Jannetti: Yeah.

Mike Bledsoe: Extremely born. And from personal experience.

Aaron Jannetti: We're talking about athletes here. The whole point is to tune the human body. You're turning your body to perform. And we're treating it like it's a machine that we're dominating, when it's really a concert, it's an orchestra and there's a going back and forth and it all has to work together.

Drew Dillon: There's that space that's been in 10Xed. But my mind right now is going, okay, I think this is the seed that's growing out in other ways. So I just recently spoke at the NSCA Ohio State Conference and it was cool. Well, heading into it, I just, yesterday, Saturday, yeah, yesterday grabbed coffee with a good friend of mine who's a strength coach up at the university of Michigan and like she'll check in like, what's going on? She's been watching me go through this. She knew I was talking at the NSCA and I go, "I was not nervous for this talk." And she's like, "really?" And I go, "It was the best talk. It's best clinic presentation I've ever done."

Like there was flow state. And was there some angst at times? Sure. It wasn't like perfect, but no, there was not the destroying myself over nervous week before, oh my … none of those things. And the thing that popped in my mind was, do I not care? It comes in like the story work, the language work, and then it hit me. It goes, why do you need to suffer to show that you care? The language has now changed it. And my friend looked at me and she goes, "That's what I was going to say like, did you not care?" And then I said, the second part, I go, "Why do we have to suffer to care?

And then I said something Mark England had said, "Think about with your parents, how often they show love by worry." I'm so worried about you. And I said that to her and she literally just was like you just see the wheels turning. So like there's moments like that where it's like, okay, this space is changing, these things are going on, but here's a seed where I just flowed and it was just so fascinating how I interacted with people in a way that I know is different.

Mike Bledsoe: That's beautiful.

Aaron Jannetti: That's amazing.

Mike Bledsoe: That's neat.

Aaron Jannetti: I'm excited for that. Again, Michelle and I had a really good conversation yesterday and this brings back to something you had mentioned earlier that I wanted to touch upon where you said it was whatever, five years ago, you pictured yourself as an adult for the first time or something like that. Or it might not have been on this pocket at some point.

Mike Bledsoe: I would I was not maybe five years ago. I feel as though my story is. It really didn't start, I was acting like a child until recently. Being an adult is taking responsibility for every part of my life.

Aaron Jannetti: As you were telling that, again, you go back to imagination and perception and stuff like that. When you were talking about that, it brought me to a story that I was just telling her yesterday which was, and it's hearing that line is different now. However, I have always pictured myself like never above the age of 18 in the eyes of others and kind of this idea where I'm not old enough, experienced enough, whatever to garner respect in some form or fashion.

And I am a very, very talented instructor. I'm very charismatic and I am a nerd about information you were talking about like being a geek and kind of like diving into books and things like that. I am and I highly, highly rely in the situations where I'm uncomfortable on my charisma in front of the group and the amount of knowledge I possess that I imagine they don't have.

And it's funny to hear you talk specifically about like, man, you know, this is the first time I wasn't nervous going into it and just the way that I was able to approach it. I know I make a positive impact every single seminar I do. However, there is a constant internal battle about I need to say this next thing or else maybe they won't believe me, I need to say this next thing or else maybe they won't believe me. And it's this constant, which we talk about even just on ramping brand new instructors, which is like the people listening need to know this much, you know this much, they need this much.

And you guys talk about the minimum effective dose people will only hear 10% of what you're saying. Yeah, if you're lucky. And it's funny because as you talk about that I'm excited going through the program because I imagined that this is going to be unpacked in some form and it's exciting to me to think that I already know that the seminars I go out, that people are leaving with value.

However, you talked about optimization, the ability for me to remove that internal struggle so that I can just get shit done and say the things that need to get done and be comfortable in that element and to do that. To me that's exciting in my own personal comfort and what I'll be able to do for other people, which we've already talked about like the overarching passion for me has always been this help people with self defense, self protection and the community and the aspects of that.

It's a fascinating thought because I have that every seminar I go into, if you watched a video of it or even a speaking engagement, people would probably be like, "Man, that was awesome. You were on your point." And they blah, blah, blah, whatever. And I'll tell you right now and until I walk up and get in front of the microphone, I'm nervous as shit and nobody's going to respect me and what am I wearing and all that kind of shit and I have all of these things going up to it. It's just a fascinating thought storyline wise.

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