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Transforming Trauma into Triumph | Jake Kauffman

Today’s Guest Jake Kauffman

Jake Kauffman is an International Transformation Coach & Spiritual Mentor to purpose driven, visionary men & entrepreneurs who are seeking to grow in their life and leadership. He has supported hundreds of men to thrive and reach the next-level in all areas of life, business & relationship. His mission is to help men radically heal & transform so that they can achieve their full potential & fulfill their purpose.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Embracing Inner Transformation: Jake Kauffman's recovery from a traumatic brain injury serves as a powerful testament to confronting and healing inner pain. His story emphasizes that true transformation and reaching our full potential often stem from life's most challenging experiences, urging us to reevaluate our lives and identities.
  2. The Journey of 'Unbecoming': Kauffman's philosophy revolves around the concept of 'unbecoming' - shedding societal expectations and false identities to return to our authentic selves. This process, as discussed in his book "Let Love In," highlights the importance of authenticity and vulnerability in achieving personal success and fulfillment.
  3. Redefining Success in the Social Media Era: The episode also delves into the impact of social media on our self-perception and the cultural pressure for constant productivity. Jake and Matt explore how embracing our true, vulnerable selves can lead to a more authentic and fulfilling life, countering the often misleading portrayals of success on social platforms.

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At Aurion Media, we're committed to helping you set up and run your own successful podcast to grow your business and impact.

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Matt: [00:00:00] Well, hello and welcome back to Push To Be More. I'm your host Matt Edmundson and we are going to have a great time chatting about what really makes life tick, what really makes it work. And to help us do just that today, we're talking to Jake Kauffman. Oh yes, we're going to be talking about Jake's unique life experiences.

The hurdles he's had to push through and the way he practically recharges his batteries and what he's doing to be more We're gonna get into all of that now Don't forget before we get into the conversation that you can find the detailed show notes and a complete transcript of our conversation Over at push to be more dot com and whilst you're there if you haven't done so already Make [00:01:00] sure you sign up to the newsletter Why?

Well, each week we'll send all of the insights, the links, everything. It just comes straight to your inbox. You don't even have to go to the website. How cool is that? It just comes to you. So make sure you sign up to the newsletter. Now, this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media, champions of meaningful conversations.

I don't know if you've ever thought about how your own voice could ignite a movement or even how your story could inspire a community. Well, hosting a podcast isn't just about talking, it's about creating, it's about connecting, and it's about resonating. It's about owning your narrative. Strategically reaching the right people and fostering meaningful connections with people all over the world.

It's incredible really. Now, running my own podcast, I've seen first hand what the impact of this has been. But let's be real, the behind the scenes isn't always a walk in the park, I can tell [00:02:00] you. Uh, you get tech hitches. Uh, distribution problems, strategizing issues, I mean it's all a bit of a handful really and now the music stops.

Uh, that's why Aurion Media exists, they're the expert hands guiding your podcast journey, ensuring you're never alone in the process. So from setup to growth, they've got your back. They strip away the technicalities, leaving you to do what you do best, connecting deeply and authentically with your audience.

Now if you're wondering how a podcast could supercharge your business growth. Why not get in touch? Have a chat with them at aurionmedia. com, a u r i o n media. com. That's the show sponsor. Let's talk about the guest. Jake Kauffman is an international transformation coach and spiritual mentor to purpose driven, Visionary men and entrepreneurs who are seeking to grow in their life and leadership.

He has supported hundreds of men to thrive and reach the next [00:03:00] level in all areas of life, business, and relationships. He's or his mission is to heal men radically, uh, or to help men heal. I don't, you're not the healer, are you Jake? No, no, no. You help men radically heal, uh, and transform so that they can achieve their full potential.

and Fulfill Their Purpose, which just sounds wonderful. He's also the author of the brand new book, Let Love In. Jake, welcome to the show, man. I've been looking forward to this one. Great to have you. Thanks for joining me. And how are we doing today?

Jake: Matt, I'm doing great. Thanks again for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

Matt: Oh, no, it's great. It's great. It's, uh, we're going to get into your book, but before we do, let's start with the standard opening question because, uh, I'm always, I'm always intrigued actually by people's answer to this question. That's why I keep asking it now. The show, as I said, is sponsored by Aurion Media, the podcast making champions.

If you did have your own podcast and you could have [00:04:00] any guest on the show, past or present, the only, only thing is they've had to have had a big impact on your life. Who would it be and why?

Jake: You know, it didn't take me long to figure this one out. And the answer to that question is Father Richard Rohr, who is a Franciscan friar, author, and Christian mystic who has written an incredible amount of, of books. He was the founder of the Center of Action and Contemplation, which is based in New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, but he is most certainly the first person I would have on my podcast.

Matt: So, so why Richard, if you don't mind me asking? I mean, it's a, I'm intrigued just by what you, you know, I, you said about, um, that he was a monk and, and all that sort of good stuff. But I'm kind of curious, why him? What, what kind of impact has he had on your life?

Jake: So he wrote a book called Falling Upward. , which in many [00:05:00] ways was a a survival guide for me a couple of years ago when. I suffered from a traumatic brain injury and nearly experienced what Carl Jung refers to as necessary suffering, which is an event, a circumstance, a situation that must happen to us in order for us to transition from the first half of life to the second half of life, where we die to our false self, which we all unconsciously construct.

When we're very young children and we carry over into adulthood where we die to this persona that is not genuinely who we are, but a mere representation of who we think we need to be in order to be loved, accepted, and successful so that we can return back to our true self. So that book became a survival guide for me as I was navigating all of [00:06:00] the. Implications that came with a traumatic brain injury, depression, severe anxiety, a loss of passion, motivation, all of these things that are very typical when it comes to losing one's wits.

Matt: okay. So, I mean, there's a lot there, uh, Jake, which we

Jake: A lot there.

Matt: Yeah, there's a lot there. So he wrote a book called Falling Upward, which you You came across at a time when you'd suffered this brain injury, which I want to get into in just a second. The, how did you come across the book? Was it something that you just discovered on Amazon?

Was it a gift from a friend? I mean, what was that process?

Jake: No, my therapist actually recommended that I read it because of course I was looking for answers. I've been an entrepreneur for almost a decade at this point.

Matt: Mm

Jake: so Like yourself, um, [00:07:00] I'm, I've always been very self motivated, driven, assertive, determined, you know, I've always been mission driven, and all of a sudden, all of those mental resources, all of my strong willpower was ripped away from me after that injury occurred, and so I was I was wondering, what do I do, like how do I, how do I try and self manufacture, right?

These personality traits and characteristics that have worked for me so well, and I don't know who I am apart from them. So I was very much looking for answers as to what was going on, not just from like a interpersonal perspective, but also from a spiritual perspective because, you know, spirituality provides us with this higher force for living.

And so in speaking with my therapist, she was like, I really think you need to read this book. You know, and there's a, there's a chapter where it's entitled The Stumbling Stone. And what Richard says is that if you're ever, if you're [00:08:00] on a personal development journey or any type of classical spiritual schedule, at a certain point in time, you have to experience a relationship, a circumstance, a situation, an incident that you do not know how to deal with.

That your current mental resources, your strong willpower, your self discipline is simply not a match for. It seems to be the only thing, and Carl Jung, you know, the famous psychologist, confirms it seems to be the only thing, and it's the only way that can actually get us to let go of this performative self, this false persona.

Like I mentioned, that is not who we genuinely, authentically are, it's simply a representation of who we think we need to be. We become so attached to it, so closely attached to it, that we, we self identify with it so strongly that we think, this is who I am, but it's not actually who you am, it's who you've become.

And [00:09:00] You've become that in a direct response to pain or in order to prevent pain, pain from happening,

Matt: Wow. And do you think then, uh, I mean, I'm not a psychologist, so I'm just really intrigued by what you're saying. Um, but I, on the surface, it definitely makes sense, but I'm, I'm really intrigued then this, um, who we, who we are versus who we've become kind of thinking. Do you think that has been made worse?

Because of social media, does it, does it continue to create these masks or these personas that aren't genuine or real, that we have to feel like we're, so we're continually reinforcing who we think we should become because of social media.

Jake: 100%. The ego is constantly trying to manufacture itself. So one of the primary goals of the false self is to look good.

Matt: [00:10:00] Yeah,

Jake: is essentially, uh, you know, so pervasive on social media where everyone's trying to look good, everyone's trying to, you know, promote or posture showing all of the highlights. So yes, of course, this actually exacerbates, continues to exacerbate the issue. And we're just now starting to get a grapple on the negative side effects of Social media use and how it creates greater degrees of anxiety, depression, um, and the direct correlation of that to an increase in suicide, right?

Especially amongst, um, teenagers, adolescents, uh, young adults, the highest demographic for suicide is actually young men between the ages of 18 to 35. So of course, yeah, this is absolutely exacerbating the issue because all people are doing is Posturing and, and further positioning, [00:11:00] right, the highlights and all, all of their ideal qualities and characteristics, right?

And this is really what Rohr is getting to, because if you grow up in religion or if you grow up in a society that is bent on performance, which of course, if you live in the U S or Canada or, you know, the UK, any, any developed part of the world, right? It's all about success. Accolades and Achievement.

And the first half of life can essentially be summed up in that way, where it's all about individuation. It's all about the pursuit of power, possession, and prestige. All of that needs to fall apart if we ever hope to go on this bigger, further journey because, and I'm sure you've probably experienced this yourself, whether through your own journey or through talking with other people, all of that at the end of the day proves to be incomplete and insufficient.[00:12:00]

In terms of happiness, in terms of peace, in terms of fulfillment, right? So all of that needs to fall apart. This high performer persona that we all take on in the effort to become successful was always meant to fall apart. And that's why all of your success will be incomplete and insufficient until you've reconciled your pain.

Matt: Okay, that's very, very deep. And I'm kind of curious about this then. So just going back to the social media question, because I want to come back. I mean, there's so much here, Jake. Every sentence gives me another podcast worth of questions, if I'm honest with you.

Jake: Sure.

Matt: Let's go back to social media. I want to hit this a little bit more.

So given the social media's ability to Amplify this high performance persona. Um,

Jake: hmm.[00:13:00]

Matt: how do you, how has that impacted how you do social media? Let me ask you that question. Do you do social media? Do you do it differently? Um, what's your, what's your strategy for it?

Jake: I do social media, um, I've, I've run my business through social media, uh, ever since I started it almost six years ago. So the answer, the short answer is yes. In terms of how I choose to do social media, my core values are integrity, love, and service. Part of being in service to other people and to the collective is the willingness to be authentic.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that a man's ability to display healthy masculinity is in direct proportion to his [00:14:00] ability to be vulnerable.

Matt: Yeah.

Jake: And so I've always approached my social media through the lens of vulnerability and authenticity. Do I show the highlights? Yes, of course, but I also am not afraid to get vulnerable.

In fact, uh, the, the best. The most highly engaged post that I've ever done, and it's not even close, not even remotely close, was when I talked about struggling with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation after my head injury, and it was an Instagram reel where I'm in my car and I'm sobbing because Like I mentioned to you earlier, all of these personality traits that I've so closely identified with and have become so habituated to were just simply ripped away from me and I had no idea what to do.

Depression was a beast that I [00:15:00] had no idea. How to handle, because you know, as mentioned, you know, going back to even being a really young kid, both of my parents were collegiate athletes. So I knew the world of, of being driven and fueled by achievement and performance, especially in sports. And that just carried on over into business and into entrepreneurship and I've enjoyed an incredible amount of success.

I was. I was part of a healthcare technology startup before I ever went into the coaching and consulting space before I ever went and started my own online business. That company now has over 400 employees. I still own part of that company. And then I went into business for myself and experienced some fairly rapid success because I've had all of this business acumen that I brought into it.

And so, you know, success has always been easy for me, but if I'm being fully honest with you, I never really knew rest. I never really knew peace. And if you [00:16:00] talk to really successful people, that is by far and away the hardest thing that they struggle with. It's knowing, it's knowing peace. It's experiencing deep seated fulfillment.

It's relationships.

Matt: Mm-Hmm. Yeah.

Jake: so all of a sudden, I was confronted by all of this, you know, post head injury, because it forced me to slow down.

Matt: Hmm. So,

Jake: slowed down, I was confronted by all of the emotions that I had been unconsciously and historically avoiding.

Matt: and now you can't, because I mean, you're

Jake: Now you can't.

Matt: Yeah,

Jake: Now you can't.

Matt: you have to face them and you, and, um, sometimes you just have to stop running and, and let things catch up, you know? And, uh, I, I think it's so true, and I think it comes to everybody, like you say, I mean, I think my language would be slightly different, but yeah, I, I would totally agree that at some point.

It doesn't matter how fast you run stuff eventually runs faster [00:17:00] and it catches up with you, you know?

Jake: Correct. And that's why I think one of the, by far and away, the biggest misnomers, especially in the developed world, is this idea that we can somehow achieve our way to our full potential. And that couldn't be further from the truth. We don't

Matt: that.

Jake: we don't develop our way to our full potential. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you can't go into your spiritual maturity or reach your fullest potential willingly.

You have to be taken there.

Matt: In other words, it's not so much about you, it's about something else taking you there, isn't it? It?

Jake: Correct. Yep. True transformation is always predicated on dying to something. So when you think of when you think about that, transformation is significantly more about unbecoming, unlearning, undoing than it is about www. aurionmedia. [00:18:00] com We've taken on this performance persona that we so closely identify with that we think is us because we started doing it when we were really young kids unconsciously around the age of two, right?

Because what is the most important thing when we're, you know, young toddlers, it's getting the acceptance, getting the approval. The love of mom and dad, and we just, we just carry that over into, you know, our relationship with our peers and our friends. And then we just continue to carry that over. You know, when all of a sudden we, we start to get into the workforce, right?

And so, success, business, career, all of those things. So we just carry this, this, uh, this personality, right? And, and the word persona quite literally derives from the Latin word, which means mask.

Matt: Okay. I did not know that.

Jake: so when you think about that, you know, and the renowned psychotherapist Gabor Mate talks a lot about [00:19:00] this, that our personality is this amalgamation of yes, genuine traits, but also adaptive traits and characteristics that were developed specifically in order to avoid experiencing rejection, failure, or the need to confront our own fear.

And so that's why I would go so far as to say that our greatest strength is oftentimes an adaptation or an overcompensation to avoid experiencing pain.

Matt: Okay. So how, how long ago was it when you had the brain injury?

Jake: Uh, this was February 20th of 2022, so not even two years ago.

Matt: still quite fresh. Yeah. Yeah. It's not even, so this journey then that you've been on, um, for the last year and a half at the time of recording, [00:20:00] um, you have this brain injury. The world is sort of ripped out from underneath you in terms of how you know it. Um, you're seeing a therapist who recommends you read the book, uh, Falling Upward.

Um, what was, What was that journey like for you? Um, because it doesn't sound, if I'm honest with you, Joe, I mean, I've gone through my own, we've all got our own stories, haven't we? That's why we do this podcast. Um, it doesn't sound like it was a particularly, I mean, you talk about it now, you know, like, well, yeah, it was awful, it was awful I'll be honest with you, yeah.

Jake: that's, that's the only thing that seems to do the trick. Carl Jung talks about necessary suffering. It takes three forms, death, disease, divorce,

Matt: Mm,

Jake: and when you think about those things, they're all incredibly [00:21:00] traumatic. The loss of a loved one, someone close to us, a divorce, which in many ways, our nervous system metabolizes.

As if it's a death because it is, it's the death of a relationship or then, you know, disease, right? We think we're, we walk around as if, you know, we're in control of everything, when in reality we're not in

Matt: yeah,

Jake: and you know, nothing is gonna prove that to you more or wake you up to that reality faster than a cancer diagnosis or, or something, something to the effect, but.

To, to really paint this picture so that people can, you know, wrap their minds around it because everything that we're talking about right now, none of it is actually included in my book. My book was finished basically when my brain injury happened. But let's go back into the book because this will provide a really practical example of what I'm talking

Matt: sure, mm

Jake: The book literally starts off with me acknowledging an experience that I went through when I was roughly 12 or 13 years old as sexual [00:22:00] abuse. After that incident, of course, the last thing that my ego wanted was for that to happen again. So, what did I do unconsciously? I adapted. What did that look like? I started to act as if.

I started to act as if I was successful, that I had it all together, that I was fine. So from the outside looking in, You would look at me and you'd be like, Jake's got it all together. He's got it all together. He's a three sport athlete. He excels in academics. I was even a state recognized artist. All of that was just an adaptive approach, a compensating approach to ensure that no one would ever take advantage of me in that way again.

But it wasn't actually me. It wasn't my true self, it was just an overcompensation [00:23:00] in order to not experience that pain again. And that's, and that's where most people operate. Most adults are just children living in adults bodies attempting to not get hurt because of the relationship that they had with their dad or because they were sexually assaulted or sexually abused like me.

And this creates a host of interpersonal problems because now we're at odds within ourselves, right? We've taken on all of these personality traits and characteristics that aren't us, we think are us, that we become incredibly unconscious to, and of course we just seek to further reinforce through various things like social media,

Matt: mm,

Jake: the need to look good, right?

Because that's what the false self is all about, looking

Matt: mm,

Jake: right? It thrives on competition and comparison.

This is why as a society, We struggle with anxiety, depression more [00:24:00] than the vast majority of the rest of the world because we especially men we are not Initiated like most men in the Eastern world,

Matt: mm,

Jake: right? We're not initiated into this and so we continue to carry around this persona That is like I mentioned bent on the pursuit of power possession and prestige because we've got something to prove.

We've got something to protect We're still protecting that little boy that was taken advantage of when he was 12 or 13 years old because we don't want to get hurt again. And that's what happened, and that's what happened to me. All of that came crumbling down the moment I acknowledged that experience for what it really was because the moment I did that, I was forced to confront the emotions that I had

Matt: buried inside of me.


Jake: All of the pain, the sadness, the resentment, the embarrassment, the humiliation, because, [00:25:00] you know, for context purposes, the incident didn't actually happen in secret or in silence. It happened in front of a group of people. And so, so I was incredibly humiliated as a result of the incident because it took place not just in front of anyone, it took place in front of all the friends that I grew up with at summer camp.

And so here I am feeling like completely isolated and alone, so I took on this super high performer persona in an attempt to outrun my pain, and that's what most people are doing.

Matt: Where did you, um, where do you think we learned that from, i. e. To avoid the pain when you're 12, because at 12 years old, 13 years, I'm so sorry you went through that. Genuinely, it's heartbreaking. Um, but at 12, 13 years old, how did you know? Because it's an, it's a subconscious thing, right? You're not consciously going, Oh, I'm going to become this, that.

So your unconscious brain is going right to protect myself. I'm going to do this, this and this. What, where did your [00:26:00] unconscious brain or where do our unconscious brains learn that from? Why do we default to that as a defense mechanism?

Jake: Well, to answer that question, we need to understand a little bit about how the conscious mind and the unconscious mind works. Our conscious mind is connected to what we say, and it's reflective of what we know, but our unconscious mind is connected to what we do. It's who we are. Our unconscious mind is reality.

So 90 to 95 percent of our behavior is actually dictated by our subconscious mind.

Matt: Mm,

Jake: So it just makes up the whole of our psyche. If you're familiar with, you know, Freud's work, uh, back in the early 1900s when he kind of, you know, laid the groundwork for all of this. Um, but it's our unconscious mind that dictates Who we are and who we become and most of that is Through trauma to be quite [00:27:00] honest with you because we've all experienced trauma.

It's just a matter of what is it emotional trauma? Is it physical abuse sexual abuse or otherwise? Because we now know that trauma is significantly more about what happened inside of us as a result of what happened to us Compared to what actually happened, right? What were the stories and the beliefs that we made up about ourselves that can, that we continue to carry around that then goes into shaping who we become?

Cause if I have a belief that I'm unworthy of love, What am I going to do when love presents itself as an opportunity to me, whether it's, you know, from a parent or a sibling, or whether it's in a romantic relationship or even, you know, a close connected friendship, what am I going to do if my If my internal narrative is I'm unworthy of love or love isn't safe, which is the belief that a lot of people make up after they've experienced any relative form of abuse, they're going to push it away, right?

[00:28:00] So this thing that is safe, right? That being love and affection, intimacy, connection, right? Now all of a sudden we have an incredibly Twisted perspective of, of what that is and how our nervous system internalizes the experience because now our nervous system experiences it as a threat. This thing that was safe is now no longer safe.

Matt: mm,

Jake: And that, and that creates a ripple effect in every area of our lives, because when you think about, you know, the networking that's required to have a successful business, managing employees, right? Serving customers, all of that requires connection, romantic relationships, for example, having a successful romantic relationship, um, having healthy, thriving kids and being an effective parent, all of that requires connection.

So if you've experienced any relative form of abuse, and you haven't sufficiently worked through it I guarantee [00:29:00] you, you're going to have, it might look different for everybody of course because we're all different, but I almost can guarantee you that that's just going to trickle over and it's going to show up in your present day relationships. You know, if we, if we don't reconcile the pain from the past, we will inevitably recycle it in the present moment and project it onto other people.

Matt: That's a very powerful statement, if we don't reconcile the pain from the past, we'll reimagine it in our present. How do we How do people, how did you, then in your journey, and maybe then how do we reconcile, um, the pain from our past? I mean, that just rolls off the tongue in a lot of ways, uh, but I, there's a reason why we, we keep this stuff deep down and we don't want to deal with it, right?

Because pain's pain at the end of the day. So how do we, what sort of things do we need to think about?

Jake: I think Rumi once said it incredibly well when he said, Our task is not to seek after love, [00:30:00] I think that you can insert success there as well, that our task is not to seek after success but to seek after and uncover all of the barriers within us that stand against it. You've been in business for a really long time, you know by now full well that people don't have business problems, they just have personal problems that show up in their business.

Matt: Mm.

Jake: But we've made the pursuit of love, the pursuit of success, our primary task, when in reality it needs to be the barriers within us that stand against those things, that cause us to, however consciously or unconsciously, push away those things. And we see this with lottery winners all the time, over 70 percent of lottery winners.

Either go broke or in a, or are in a worse financial position within, I think it's like two years of having won the lottery

Matt: Yeah.

Jake: because the results that they're [00:31:00] experience, it's wild

Matt: Mm.

Jake: because the results that they are experiencing far surpassed the threshold in terms of what they feel safe to receive. But this is also, this is not just true for money.

This is true for love and intimacy. This is true for success and opportunity. It's true for all of those things. And so. So, if we want to get to the next level, if we want to be able to receive more, whatever more is for you, whether it's, again, money and financial abundance or career opportunity, whether it's love and intimacy, we have to go to work within ourselves to heal.

If we ever wish to transform, right, we, we make, especially in the, in the coaching space, right, we make transformation, right, the, the first and primary goal, what habits and behaviors do I need to adopt in order to get to the next level or [00:32:00] experience a higher degree of success, but beneath every single behavior.

Is a mechanism, is a belief that we continue to maintain about ourselves, other people, or the world that dictates, that directly dictates our behavior. And of course, it's our behavior, our actions, our decisions that gets us all of our results. And so if we want to experience. A Greater Degree Of Success.

If we want to get to the next level, if we want to receive and hold more, we have to go within ourselves. We have to journey within ourselves to discover and uncover the barriers within us that stand against it.

Matt: Super powerful. And again, so what did that look like for you? I'm curious because you struggled with the brain injury, you're in therapy, you're reading this book, you're starting to realize all of this stuff, which I think you use the word awful to describe this particular part of your life. What was that [00:33:00] process for you?

Like, so what was, um, what was a barrier that you identified that you needed to heal from? And how did you heal from that? If you don't mind just to dig into one thing, maybe.

Jake: Yeah. Well, it caused me to realize that all of these personality traits and characteristics, not all of them, but a lot of these personality traits and characteristics that I had developed since childhood. Assertiveness, determination, hard work ethic, all of these things were in direct response to my abuse,

Matt: Yeah.

Jake: right?

And I could, I could even go before that and talk about, you know, other various things of how I internalized, you know, my parenting, my upbringing, all of those things. I grew up with incredible parents, but of course how I internalized a lot of their, their parenting. Caused me to make up [00:34:00] stories about myself that weren't true, but that I acted as if they were true. And so when this head injury happened, I was forced to confront the reality that, oh, all of these personality traits were really just developed. They were masks. They were developed in order to not experience this pain. Right? And so this, this. Push, push, push mentality that had driven me to be successful in all these different facets of life going back to high school and athletics and academics, in college, in, in career and entrepreneurship, all of those things were in indirect response to pain. It was an unconscious attempt to claim victory over. The lack of self worth that my pain created and after years of having coached credibly successful people, I can [00:35:00] tell you with almost complete certainty that this is true for the vast majority of people who are, who are incredibly driven, who are growth minded, who are chasing after success, the push, push, push mentality that drives the vast majority of those people.

I would almost go so far as to say all of those people. is just an unconscious attempt to claim victory over their pain.

Matt: yeah. And you know what? Um, listening to you talk, Jake, I We, I've, I don't know how many podcasts I've done with entrepreneurs, I just, I just don't, it's probably thousands, if not thousands of interviews and conversations. And I, you can, part of the reason I love to do it is because I just love to hear people's stories, right?

You know, what, what is the, we try and dig a little bit deeper like we have today, I suppose. Um, and [00:36:00] it's why in this, why in this show, we always start off with what we call the challenge question. And it's like. Tell us about something you've had to overcome, because it's in those instances you tend to find out about people, um, and you can start to put pieces together and go, I now understand a little bit more about you because of what happened in this situation.

So if you, if you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, in some respects, I appreciate this is a rather silly question, but I'm curious to know how you would answer it. How should your 12 year old self have dealt with that situation?

Jake: Exactly the way it did.

Matt: Mm.

Jake: No child is safe to feel that they are unsafe. So I dealt with it in the absolute perfect way. Because guess what never, guess what never happened again? I was never abused

Matt: Never abused again. [00:37:00] No.

Jake: Correct. So my approach was incredibly effective for the first half of life.

Matt: Mm.

Jake: But none of that's going to do if I ever hope to return to authenticity, my true self. That's what transformation is all about.

It's not about getting anywhere out there in the distant future, you know, once I attain or achieve a certain level of success or a particular outcome, whatever that is for you. It's always a return home

Matt: Mm.

Jake: back to that's the great paradox of life. We're trying to become that which we already are. We've simply forgotten.

Matt: Yeah. There's that wonderful quote, isn't there, in the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which talks about this. Um, Uh, and you, and, and, and you're right about the sort of the returning home after all the striving we realized we've, we've actually [00:38:00] come full circle. We've come back home, uh, to, to where we once started.

I am curious based on what you now know and the depth to which you thought about this and the vulnerability to which you have in effect bared your soul. In processing this, not only, you know, inside your own mind, but also I know on, you know, the pages of the book, undoubtedly, well, you know, you'll be deeply vulnerable there, like you have been in the show. If, if you went back to 2020, before you had the brain injury, and you sat down with yourself and said, dude, let me explain a few things to you. How would you have taken this back then?

Jake: I wouldn't have listened. I must guarantee that because why, why would I, why, why would my life was going great? I had a really successful business that was rapidly trending towards. [00:39:00] Seven figures a year. I was, had several employees, had a lot of incredible clients and customers that I was working with. I had just bought a house, started heavily investing because of the success of my business.

Why would I have listened? There was no reason to there. And so that sounds great in theory. And this is why we resist it, right? This truth that I'm talking about right now,

Matt: Mm-Hmm. Mm-Hmm.

Jake: this is why we tend to resist it until it's forced upon us. That's why I said we can't go into our spiritual maturity. We can't reach our highest potential willingly.

We have to be taken there and we have to be taken there by something that is so much greater than ourselves that we can't touch it. Simply cannot deal with for mean injury, right? For other people it's a cancer diagnosis or. You know, their wife or husband leaving them, something that they do not [00:40:00] know how to deal with that forces them on this journey and that's why I said we don't achieve our way to our full potential.

That is the biggest lie that we could ever buy into. We die our way there because that's what this work forces you to do. It forces you to die to this false self, this false persona or admired identity as Richard Rohr calls it. We have to die to this if we ever hope to return to our true and authentic self, which is the only way, in my opinion, to experience the peace that surpasses all understanding.

That at the end of the day, the most successful people in the world, that's what they're really after. I know because I coach a lot of them. They have all the money, they have all the things, but they don't know peace, and they don't know how to rest. And after you reach a certain point in your success, or in your [00:41:00] career, your entrepreneurial journey, all of those things start to, to be, come empty.

They prove to be incomplete and insufficient when it comes to matters of the heart and matters of the soul. So I wouldn't have listened.

Matt: Yeah. And it's interesting. And I, I, I thank you for answering. And, and I think I, in a lot of ways that, that makes a lot of sense because sometimes. We, like you say, we're all going to experience trauma. We're all going to experience pain. We're all going to experience suffering at various points of life.

It's not just like, oh, you, you get yours when you're 12 and that's it, you know, the rest of life's fine. It's just, it just doesn't work like that. Um, and I suppose recognizing those moments because when you're in suffering, when you're in pain, you want out, right? You want the drugs. You want to avoid the pain.

You want a different, uh, future. You want to, and you want it now. No one likes to be in [00:42:00] that. No one wants to sit in that. But actually being brave in those instances. And digging into that a little bit deeper, rather than trying to avoid it, ironically produces a greater outcome.

Jake: I would suggest it's the only place in which true transformation is actually possible.

Matt: Mmm.

Jake: Everything else, and these are not my words, these are actually Richard's words, is just bogus self help on your own terms,

Matt: Yep, no, fair enough.

Jake: It's, it's not until you experience, this is the belly of the whale,

Matt: Mmm.

Jake: liminal space. Liminal coming from the Latin word limin, which means threshold, right? It's the only thing that will get you to cross that, that threshold, right? To surrender and to say, Okay, I'll do it, right? [00:43:00] Just like Jonah did in the Bible, he was in the belly of the whale for three days, right, and he said, okay God, I'll do it, I surrender, right.

That's the only thing that seems to, to do the trick when we're completely restricted, confined, confused, limited. The truest word for that is suffering.

Matt: Mmm.

Jake: And that's why I think Carl Jung refers to it as necessary

Matt: Yeah, yeah. It's an interesting phrase, isn't it? And you, I mean, going back to the Bible, when you read The Psalms, uh, you know, this sort of exquisite poetry in, in ancient literature, you can't help but see the suffering in the language. Great moments of rejoicing and great moments of sorrow and, and the journey between the two throughout every poem.

And it, it's, you just see the, the sort of the, the humanity of the writers just on the paper, don't you? And actually not shying away from where they're at, [00:44:00] which is where

Jake: up is the way down.

Matt: okay, yeah, an interesting way of putting it, yeah,

Jake: It's a, it's a paradox. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he descended into hell.

Matt: yeah,

Jake: Everyone wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

Matt: well that's it, everyone wants a resurrection but no one wants to die, right, it's the, uh,

Jake: Correct. The crucifixion. Absolutely. Right. And so, you know, trust me when I say that a lot of people come to me and they're like, Jake, I want to be more successful. I want to get to the next level. And I'm like, okay, great. Are you actually prepared to do what that's going to require? Because Getting to the mountaintop isn't hard.

It's staying there.

Matt: mm,

Jake: know, if you've been in entrepreneurship or business for any length of time, you know that. And so what, what allows you to stay there to build the interpersonal emotional resilience within you that's needed for you to continue to operate at a high level and sustain whatever success you create, because all of these things of [00:45:00] the personality are just fleeting.

It's not true. It's not authentic, right? And this is the, this is the hero's journey that we're talking about right now. If you're familiar with the framework for storytelling, it's actually a framework for what we need to go through the journey that we need to take in order to come back home to our true selves.

There's the call and then there's the refusal of the call. If you're familiar with the framework, right? So to further reinforce your question earlier, like what would you have done if you had had a conversation with yourself back in 2020 prior to your head injury? That's how I know I wouldn't have

Matt: yeah, yeah,

Jake: I would have, I would have refused the call. And then exactly what happened happened is a guide presented itself because I had no idea what to do or what direction to go. And that's why. You know, I don't, I don't know why this is, but it may be that, you know, when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.[00:46:00]

Matt: Yeah. That's very powerful. Very powerful. It's um, like you say, it is the absolute paradox of the human race, isn't it? And sometimes, you know, that, you, the only way to grow is to go through what you're going through, uh, and you know, not, not avoid it anymore. So life now for you, um, Jake. Obviously, it looks very different, at least internally, from a few years ago. With where you're at now, what does, what does the future look like? What is the, um, how has what you've gone through changed what the next few years is going to look like for you?

Jake: Hmm. Good question.

Well, I will say right [00:47:00] now that my primary pursuit isn't, isn't profit or. Pleasure, uh, although do I, do I get wrapped up in that world? You know, of course, you know, um, I'm not immune to it whatsoever. Um, I do have my own business and so of course the business needs to make money if it wants to stick around, you know, but I will say that I'm much more focused on cultivating a higher degree of peace within myself and joy and fulfillment within myself because if not for that, all of this You know, what's it for?

Matt: Mm.

Jake: What's it for? We're all, we're all chasing a feeling at the end of the day. If you talk with anyone about their goals for long enough and why those goals are important to them, it always boils down to a feeling. I want more money so that I can buy X so that I can then feel X.

Matt: Yeah.

Jake: We're all after a [00:48:00] feeling.

The problem with that approach is by virtue, we are essentially implying that. That feeling is not available to me here in this present moment.

Matt: Mm

Jake: It's, it's somewhere off in the future, right? Um, at this milestone, at, at this level of success or accomplishment or income or whatever, you know, once I have the relationship, the problem with that is, you know, when, once you say that.

You bring time into the equation, right? And in that time is suffering because you're saying, I can't be happy. I can't be fulfilled or at peace now in this present moment. And so we're just constantly kicking the can down the road

Matt: hmm.

Jake: on what we're ultimately trying to experience in life, which is all of the things I just mentioned, joy, happiness, peace, fulfillment.

The reality is that all of those things are always available to us right here, right now, in this present moment. We just need to determine. What we need to do to [00:49:00] access those things now, what needs to be stripped away in order for us to experience a greater degree of peace, joy, happiness, and fulfillment now.

I don't work nearly as much as I used to.

Matt: Right.

Jake: I worked a few hours yesterday. I played golf with One of my best friends is starting at 930 when most people are going to work, you know, because we, we both happen to be in Florida at the same time. And I only see him once every couple of months. So of course I want to take full advantage of the opportunity.

But there's like this internal part of me that experiences this split that says I should be at work.

Matt: Yeah.

Jake: be like trying to move. I should, I should be trying to like move the business forward or generating new opportunities and et cetera, et cetera, shooting all over myself. Right. And then there's this other part of me that's just like, better than being at work.

We have such a terrible, terrible, especially in the United States, we have a terrible time when it comes to [00:50:00] enjoying life. I think the Italians have an incredible approach to this. I think it's called dolce fagliate, which is the sweetness of doing nothing. We don't know that in the U. S.

Matt: I love that. It's interesting actually because when you look at some of the best selling books in the US and the UK, I mean I throw the UK into this as well,

um, you've got books like Essentialism and John Mark Comer's The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. You know, these sort of books about rest and Sabbath and, and, you know, the, the, like.

Like they're fresh revelations that we've we've unearthed that we've not seen for 2, 000 years, you know It's that kind of it and they've become sort of New York bestsellers and everyone's sort of going around and talking about them And it's it's quite fascinating to me Because that we do live in a culture where if you're not working 80 hours a week, there's something wrong with you Do you not want to be successful?

You know, I [00:51:00] was I remember when I was told When I first started my my business Career for want of better expression, the sort of the journey. I remember somebody saying to me, um, you know, what's your plan? I said, I, I just, I dunno if I ever want to do the crazy work hours, I quite fancy working, you know, maybe part-time or half days or figuring out a way to make that work.

And I remember them saying to me, well, you can definitely work half days. It just doesn't matter which half of the day you work, the first half or the second half. And you were like, but this was the concept that has been constantly taught, isn't it? You know, you, the, the sort of, you've got to hustle, you've got to work 16 hour days a night.

And it, it's a direct conflict, I think, with the concepts and ideas of rest and Sabbath. Yeah. Yeah.

Jake: Right because we always return to what we practice. And so if you believe that you need to hustle and you need to grind in [00:52:00] order to become successful, once you are successful, you're just going to continue on with that pattern of behavior, even if you don't actually need to. Right? Cause I think we can both agree as people who have built businesses in the beginning, I think over 92 percent of businesses fail within the first couple of years.

And then of that 8 percent that proved to be successful, like 85 more percent of them fail within five years. And so it's, it's a very fragile thing when it comes to becoming successful and actually reaching some relative form of sustainable success that just enables you to pay yourself.

Matt: yeah,

Jake: You know, and then, and have a profitable business.

Matt: mmm,

Jake: But we've bought into this lie that it requires a certain amount of self sacrifice and hustle and you know, all these various things, when in reality, there's always a win win available. We just have to work hard enough to be able to find it. And that's one of the biggest things that I work with my [00:53:00] clients in terms of undoing is they become addicted to the stress that comes with like hustle culture that comes with, you know, grinding and working, you know, 12, 14, 16 hour days, because then they become successful.

They don't need to work that much anymore, but they don't know anything else because they've been practicing this for sometimes years.

Matt: mmm,

Jake: And now they're like, what do I do? And you're like, okay, well. Why don't you start by sitting in a room in an hour alone, not doing anything. It's the hardest homework. It never fails.

It's by far and away the hardest homework that I give to my clients is I want you to sit in silence in a room for an hour. That'll tell you everything that you need to know about where you're currently at with your spirit.

Matt: mmm,

Jake: And what needs attention, but we tend to, we tend to ignore things until they can no longer be ignored.

Matt: [00:54:00] yeah, that's true, very true. That's a powerful exercise though, to sit in still, sitting quiet for an hour, uh, and just seeing, seeing where, seeing what happens as a result of that. I'd love for my kids to try that. In a lot of ways, you know, it's, it's, um, it it's, I, I, the British have always been accused of being, you know, sort of fans of queuing, you know, sort of standing in queues.

But when I was a kid, you'd stand in a queue, um, like at a theme park for 40 minutes, just bored out of your face. You know, you'd go on a car journey, you were bored. Um, because. The car journey would be four hours. You couldn't do anything for those four hours other than stare out of the window. And of course now you, you've got to be entertained every, every microsecond or something's wrong, right?

Um, and this is one of the things that I, I think is one of the key differences between my childhood and my, my children's childhood when I see them is the, is the, is the lack of [00:55:00] boredom. Uh, and there's something quite Extraordinary and powerful about boredom, uh, that I, I think, is really important to, to have the discipline to, if you are in a queue, not to get the phone out and just be bored and see what happens is quite extraordinary.

Jake: yeah, because it, boredom requires kenosis, self emptying,

Matt: Mm-Hmm

Jake: because when you're bored, you're forced to be present. And when you're forced to be present, you're forced to confront how you really feel. And yeah, we have an incredibly hard time doing that when we can just. Pick up the device out of our back pocket and immediately be entertained and distracted, you know, which of course takes us out of the present moment.

And so. The less time I spend on this thing, the happier I am. It,

Matt: I'm with that. I'm with you on that and

the, the

Jake: if you've watched The Social Dilemma, [00:56:00] there's so much science coming out about this because, you know, these things cause us, looking at screens, causes us to operate in a sympathetic nervous system space, which is fight or flight, fight or flight.

The moment we get outside, we go for a walk, we start to, you know, look at the horizon. We enter into rest and relaxation, a parasympathetic nervous system state. And so, you know, and that's why I love bringing the science into this, because a lot of people hear what I, what I preach and they're like, Oh, this sounds great, but it's so esoteric.

And I'm like, no, it's actually not. And I can. You know, I can bring that into the equation as well if you want me to, you know, um, and my retreats always prove this to be true because I take men's phone phones away for, you know, 24 hours. And initially they're initially, initially, like they don't know what to do.

Their nervous system is on the fritz. And then, you know, after like All of these things, like, four to [00:57:00] eight hours, then they come down, and they enter this space of parasympathetic rest and relaxation, and they're like,

Matt: yeah, super powerful. Jake, listen, I'm aware of time, but so I'm gonna, I'm just gonna quickly do the question box because, uh, it's a shame in some respects to interrupt it, but, uh, let's do this. So you tell me where to stop. That's the question we're going to hit. Let's see what happens.

Jake: Stop.

Matt: Okay, so, oh, let me pick up the cards that I've just gone and dropped.

This will be an interesting question. In what ways are you a difficult person to have a relationship with?

Jake: Oh, what a, I should bring my girlfriend into this room. We should just ask, we should just ask her, we should just ask her. Umm,

Matt: It's definitely a question you want to ask other people.[00:58:00]

Jake: totally. Well, I mean, from a high level perspective, here's what I'll say, you know, relationships, Outside of parenting, I don't think anything will bring you. into relationship with your own inherent selfishness faster than a romantic partnership.

Matt: Fair enough,

Jake: And so I would say that I tend to be stubborn. I can be really stubborn when it comes to conversations, when it comes to conflict and getting my way. Um, if you're familiar with the Enneagram, uh, I'm dominant in Enneagram type seven. It's a. I hate to call it a personality assessment because it's not that, but for the sake of our listeners, we'll call it a personality assessment.

Uh, the wound, the childhood wounding of the Enneagram 7 is a fundamental lack of nurturing from their primary caregiver. And so what that produces is 7s feeling like they are the only person who they can [00:59:00] count on to meet their needs. And so often times when it comes to getting their needs met, they have to like force the issue.

So, and often times this comes at the cost of other people, right? They'll like, they'll insist that their needs be met and they're the one to do it and you know, damn everyone else. And uh, I still struggle with that from time to time. I'll be honest with you. I have an incredibly hard time admitting that I need support.

This was. Brought very, uh, very into focus when I had my head injury.

Matt: No doubt. Yeah, yeah.

Jake: and so I, I tend to be incredibly stubborn. I have a very difficult time acknowledging when I need support, which then creates, you know, when my needs do need to be met, I kind of bulldoze my way or bulldoze other people in the name of getting my needs met, which just causes them, as you can probably imagine.

And so, um, I would say that those are the two big things. That caused me to be difficult, [01:00:00] difficult to deal with in a relationship.

Matt: Yeah. Well, the good news is Jake, you're aware of them, at least, uh, you know, that's, that's the first part of the journey, isn't it? And, um, I've been married this year. I've said this before in the show, I've been married this year, 25 years, we've celebrated 25 years of marriage. Um, uh, thank you. My, my wife is, The most amazing person on the planet and I'm in love with her now as much as I ever was, you know, when we were courting and when we got married, she's just an absolute legend.

Um, hopefully I am a less selfish person now than when we got married 25 years ago. But I am definitely not a selfless person. Do you know what I mean? There are definitely some, some parts of me that need ironing out. And, um, I find myself regularly apologizing to my wife as a result. Uh, so I feel your pain, brother.

I do. Uh, it's, um, it, it is fascinating, isn't it? And [01:01:00] how,

Jake: in order to return to love and purpose.

Matt: know, when I got married, there's a good friend of mine called Tim. Uh, when I got married. We were having the, this sort of the evening reception, um, uh, as we'd like to call it here in the UK. Uh, and it's this sort of, you know, the end of the day, we're all having the party before the, the bride and groom, uh, bugger off.

And so Tim came up to me at that event, and I'll never forget it, he said to me, he said, listen Matt, I'm gonna give you a piece of advice that someone gave me when I got married last year, because he'd been married like a year already, and you know, he knew everything at this point, and I

Jake: Of course.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, he said, he said, marriage Matt, it's designed to kill you, and then he just walked off, and it's only

really now that I'm starting to understand what that actually means,

Jake: Oh, totally. Well, kenosis, self emptying, self emptying, marriage will force you to practice that.

Matt: No doubt. [01:02:00] Absolutely. No doubt. Jack, listen, man, I've thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. It's been delightful, um, and heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. And I, I really appreciate you coming on. If people want to reach out to you, if they want to connect with you, maybe get ahold of your book, maybe get ahold of your coaching services, just maybe got a question they want to.

Shoot to you, what's the best way to do that?

Jake: Yeah, so the best place to interact with me is on my Instagram, which is iamjakecoffman, K A U F F M A N. My website is awakewithjake. com, and obviously you can buy my book on Amazon, uh, wherever Amazon ships books. That's Jacob Kauffman, so it's my full name, J A C O B K A U F F M A N. Let love in.

Matt: Let love in. Absolutely. And we will, of course, link to Jake's book and Instagram in the show notes as well. But Jake, once again, um, oh, I do this thing now where I do this, [01:03:00] yeah, it's great, uh, let's turn that off now, quick, uh, but yeah, genuinely, uh, brilliant, brilliant conversation. Thanks for coming on, man.

It's such a pleasure to meet you. And thanks for challenging my thinking and pushing me and, uh, lots of notes. I'm going to go away and read the Falling Upward book. I'll order yours off Amazon as well. Why not? I think it'd be a really great read. So thanks for coming on. Thanks for being an absolute legend.

Jake: Thanks, Matt.

Matt: Well, that's a wrap on another invigorating conversation. A massive round of applause for Jake for joining us, uh, and shedding light on his inspiring journey. And if you're watching on the video, I'm sorry, my camera just seems to have gone off, uh, coincidentally towards the end of the conversation, but you can still hear me.

That's the important thing. Now a huge thanks to today's show sponsor, Aurion Media, and for all you change makers out there contemplating podcasting as your new vehicle of expression. Do check them out at aurionmedia. com. [01:04:00] Now remember, keep pushing, keep going. Don't forget to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts from because we've got some more seriously compelling conversations up our sleeve and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, let me be the first to tell you. You are awesome. Yes, you are created. Awesome. It's just a burden you've got to bear. Jake's got to bear it. I've gotta bear it. You've gotta bear it as well. Now push to be more is brought to life by Aurion Media. For transcripts and show notes, head over to the website, push to be and a big kudos to the team that makes this show possible.

Sadaf Beynon Tanya Hutsuliak and a shout out to Josh Edmundson for the theme. Music. So, from Jake and from me, thank you so much for joining us. Have an awesome week wherever you are in the world. I'll catch you on the flip side. Until then, keep pushing. Bye for now. [01:05:00]