Revisiting The Divine Mother: Me & Ayahuasca

On August 8th, 2012 I participated in my second Ayahuasca Ceremony. Ayahuasca is a plant medicine or “entheogen” containing the psychedelic compound DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) which is currently considered a Class A drug and illegal in the UK.  By sharing my experiences I hope to expedite the process of making this medicine legal so that everyone can reap the benefits of this sacred healer.

The Diet

It’s Wednesday night and for the past nine days my diet has been strictly controlled by eliminating sugar, salt, spices, caffeine, red meat, dairy, alcohol, drugs, gluten, and cooking oils.  What’s left you ask?  Tuna surprise.  I steam up fish with rice and broccoli and, if I’ve been good that day, I add an egg.  I miss protein shakes, decaf coffee, curry powder and salt the most.  Forget about lunch with friends.  “Dressing on the side please.” Call me Gisele.

 

The shamans or maestros as they are called in Peru say three things are important for a good Ayahuasca ceremony, “Dieta, dieta, dieta.”  But in the Go-Go energy-drink consumer-society of today even I’m guilty of spending too much time contemplating the next thing to shove into my pie hole.  If we’re not chewing on something or smoking something, we’re about to drink something or eat something or suck on something. The only solace I find on my nine day journey is the fact that it’s Ramadan now and my Muslim brothers and sisters get to have absolutely nothing pass through their lips from 4am – 9pm (if you’re a strict Shia).  I agree to stop being a pussy.

My theory is that while the diet is important to prepare the body to consume something as completely foreign as Ayahuasca, there is more happening here.  I believe the goal of the maestros is to force you to acknowledge your pending ceremony with every item you consider placing in your aforementioned hole, causing you to think about it no fewer than 50 times per day.  Smart mofos those maestros in using the diet, you couldn’t set your iPhone to remind you so regularly or profoundly.

Anticipation

For me August 8th approaches with the same pending gloom as a date with the gallows.  It’s booked, it’s going to happen, so I don’t cry over the soon-to-be spilled milk.  I think about the many emotional issues brewing beneath the surface of my consciousness.  Who am I angry with, who have I let down, what have I failed to do as a person.  I try to resolve as many of these conflicts as possible pre-ceremony but deep down inside I know my attempts to diffuse anything are in vain.

There are many descriptions of what Ayahuasca does to your brain and I could quote a myriad of sources.  But my one-minute elevator pitch is that it holds up a mirror to your soul and shows you how you have been treating the most important people in your life.  For most of us this is a terrifying prospect, as it should be.  Others describe Ayahuasca as 20 years of heavy psychotherapy boiled down (like the brew) into one night.

It’s been five months since my first Ayahuasca ceremony which culminated in 18 months of research after first hearing Aubrey Marcus discuss it on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.  Thankfully my co-host Nic Gabriel kept after me and we drank together on March 19th, 2012.  I find myself remembering these dates like a born-again Christian would.

Why Go Back

Why on earth would you return to a ceremony that involved drinking an extremely nasty, rotten brew, succumbing to a rollercoaster of emotions, and topped off with purging uncontrollably in front of strangers?  Easy.  Ayahuasca gives you very strong, compounded, emotional life lessons that really stick.  A wise man once told me that most people’s problems are obvious immediately to another person observing them.  Mother Ayahuasca makes those same personal problems painfully evident to oneself in rapid time.

Yeah, but really, why Go Back?

People have asked me and my only answer is this:  You know when you have a near death experience like a heart attack or car crash and you make it home to your wife and kids and hold them close and vow that everything will be different and that each day in life is now special and then three months later you’re back down at the pub?  Well, Ayahuasca is similar.  If you don’t act on those lessons then you quickly return back to what in Physics we call your “steady state.”  Unfortunately I’ve arrived back there, and then some.

My first session was profound and uncomfortable and amazing but that was 5 months ago and as I love telling myself in the mirror every morning when I get up, “What have you done for me lately?”

Suzy the Shaman

Suzy shows up at my flat with all of the goods.  I can just imagine her getting stopped by the Tube police and frisked.  “Agua de Florida”, Polo Santo (Holy Wood), funny-looking Inca clothes, bottle of brownish-orange looking “shampoo”.  “You going to a kinky costume party?”

I don’t know Suzy well but at the same time she is a sister to me.  I guess that’s what happens after you purge and cry like a little girl in front of someone all night.  She has the deep, grounded, all-knowing aura of my 94-year-old Grandma Rose embodied in a Generation Y 30-something.  When she looks into your eyes you can’t hide anything so don’t bother.  Suzy announces that Mother Ayahuasca told her I need a very large dose tonight.  I cheerfully agree, holding onto my poker face like some relic from the City.  Seriously, what is wrong with me.

 

Suzy asks me to summon my warrior spirit and promises that if I give 50% then Mother Ayahuasca will return 100%.  She tells me not to resist and to be open and brave and I promise that I will.  Of course this is easy to say before you drink.

Go Time

It’s time to walk the walk so we change into something more comfortable (Inca outfit for her, flu clothing for me) and she draws the shades. “Anyone watching would not understand what we’re doing here.”  You think?  I can only imagine.

After some ceremony and declarations it’s time to get our drink on (yes both of us).  Suzy pours out a huge cup of the brew and at first I think she’s joking and then realise there are no jokes during Ayahuasca ceremony.  My first time I drank about a shot glass of the stuff and this easily looks like three.  But I know I need it for my sins.  I know I have work to do.  I know I’ve been a bastard and it’s time to pay the piper.  I also know these are horrible analogies.  Forgive me.

And I knock it back, one drink.  I even comment that it doesn’t really taste that bad.  Always the tough guy right until the end.  Just to show me who’s boss Suzy puts some water in the cup and makes me finish the dregs.  Touché.

There’s a wonderful line in Trainspotting when Mark Renton says, “I don’t feel the sickness yet, but it’s in the post. That’s for sure.”  And while I must strenuously deny any experience with opiates I know EXACTLY what he means. Bud Fox in Wall Street barks, “Now you own it.  Give it back to who?”  And the storm is on the horizon and approaching fast.  Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.”

The Tricky Part

And here’s where it gets interesting: I know I’m embarking on what will soon become a traumatic, wild ride and yet my attitude is key.  If I resist it will be an even longer night.  I try to remember everything I’ve read.  “Breathe through it.”  “Don’t fight it.”  But all I can hear is Simon G. Powell from London Real yelling, “Just be with it.  BE with it.  BE WITH IT!”

At first there is nothing.  Nothing except telling myself, “Please don’t purge within 45 minutes.”  You see it takes time for the harmala alkaloids in the Ayahuasca to inhibit the monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) in your stomach thereby allowing the DMT to be preserved and then transferred across the blood-brain barrier into your head.  If you purge before that then you’re pretty much wasting a perfectly good Wednesday night.  I didn’t learn all of this at MIT, I Googled it.

Visions

After 35 minutes dynamic swirls enter my vision with my eyes still closed.  Very faint geometric formations move swiftly across my field of vision and then amplify to colored shapes and patterns.  My frontal cortex feels pain and pressure and I smile knowing that she’s here to overhaul the monkey brain, the part that was added to the lizard brain so we could cope with these horribly complex social structures.  Time to defrag the hard drive.

Now comes the nausea that will be with me for the next 20 hours.  Suzy says nausea is the medicine “healing” my insides but I think it’s a healthy human reaction to the poison I’ve just ingested but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.  I’m forced now to lie back on the sofa as the visions and sickness are becoming overbearing.

Body Language

I’m a big believer in body language and the idea that forcing your own positive language can have a retroactive effect on your brain.  So I put my palms up and place my arms behind my head to open my entire body to the experience regardless of what comes.  It’s not a “Bring It” attitude but more of a submissive energy to Mother Ayahuasca and wherever she chooses to take me.

And within minutes I’m crying uncontrollably.  Tears are streaming down my eyes so violently they are forming droplets of water coming off my ears.  I haven’t cried properly in years, maybe longer.  Tough guys don’t cry, everyone knows that.  I cry for the insensitive and uncaring way I’ve been treating people I love and it feels pretty damn good to surrender myself to this so basic of human emotions.  I remind myself to cry more often when I get back to the real world.

The Lessons

There were 3 or 4 issues I thought Mother Ayahuasca and I might discuss in a civil way at tonight’s ceremony.  She’s having none of that.  In about 10 seconds she’s knocked all of those off the table with one hand and effectively said, “Stop doing that dumb shit and do what you know is right.  I’m not even going to bother discussing it because you know what to do, stupid, so just fix it.  If you want someone to listen to your problems stop wasting my time and go to a therapist, I’m here for spiritual healing.  Now let’s go deeper and talk about your REAL problems…”

During this time I notice I’m making the facial expressions of a small boy when he’s being scolded by his mother.  Trippy.

The Ayahuasca is ramping harder now, damn that was big dose.  I’m shown human emotions: the entire range of love, fear, loneliness, sorrow, pain….things I never allow myself to experience in the real world.  I feel the sadness of people around me who need me and I am shown the raw emotions that life is built upon.  I see people I want to be closer to in my life, I see the list of many people who need my guidance, who I may or may not like but still seek me out.  I envision my own dojo where students come to learn things at different parts of their lives and then move on.  I see students who don’t want a teacher who knows all but want a teacher that never stops learning.

I see this super-tough guy.  A guy who has built up these big strong walls around him so he doesn’t have to ever engage emotionally with anyone.  For 34 years he’s constructed these walls and now they are suffocating and killing him.  I see the frustration in my loved one’s eyes as they try and try and try again and again and again to get close to me unsuccessfully.

I’m shown that true love is putting yourself in such a vulnerable position that your emotions truly depend on someone else and that is a terrifying prospect.  I’m show the love of a mother for her child, how her own emotions are completely intertwined with those of another human being.  I get it for the first time.

I’m shown that London Real needs to be bigger, to give back more to people on a larger scale.  It’s not here to entertain but needs to really help people resolve their problems and guide them on to a positive path forward.  I’m told that I need to focus on 10 people, to make solving their problems my priority, to give all I can to help those people find their way in life.

I get a faint vision of a seven year old boy isolated and alone and it’s me.  I see a picture of myself and I try to force my brain into his and I’m crying violently as I try to feel his pain and isolation.  When my parents divorced this kid was told that there was nothing he could count on and he was forced to dig a moat around his castle and never stopped digging.

Next an army of mischievous serpents and demons appears and moves about anxiously with an evil agenda.  They pause to contemplate and then swarm in to devour my body as I lay back with open arms and think, “Yeah, go ahead, devour it all, it’s rotten anyways.  Enjoy it bitches.”  Sensing no resistance, they soon grow bored and leave.

And the cycle of nausea and crying and pain and elation and profound positive visions of the future continues to hit me over and over all while Suzy is mentally guiding me and singing these beautiful Spanish icaros.  At times I’m completely submerged in this alternate world of emotional visions and then I’m snapped back into a room in Central London.

Purging

At what I think is the two hour mark I can’t control the nausea anymore and make quick haste to the bathroom.  I personally love the bathroom during an Ayahuasca ceremony and tonight it might as well be the Presidential Suite at the Waldorf because it’s fucking BEAUTIFUL!  Cold tiles, pristine toilet, running water making crazy buzzing and humming sounds, mild hallucinations, I’m definitely getting one of these!  And then the purge comes and I’m retching every last drop of that nasty black substance out of my body.  Purge until dry heave.  Purge again.  Dry heave.  I stare into the toilet and see demons and they force me to purge the black evilness from my soul, all of my malevolent sin is sucked from my insides.  Again and again and again.  I’ve heard of Ayahuasca ceremonies in the Amazon compared to death.  Now I understand.

The buzzing and humming sounds are amplifying and now coming from everywhere, like dragonflies dive-bombing all around the room.  My hands are leaving an image trail behind when I move and lights are colored and flashing and my fingers are numb and I’M NOT ENJOYING ANY OF THIS!  I keep thinking, “I had my visions, this trip should be slowing down but the audio and visuals are RAMPING UP!  Oh shit Mama Aya, just make it stop.  I understood the lessons, I will make these changes, I promise, please don’t take me to the woodshed again!

 

But she’s just getting warmed up.  We’ll be going back to the woodshed about 10 more times tonight so strap in and get comfy.  The next two hours I spend in that wonderful Presidential Suite, all by myself, purging every possible liquid from both ends of my body.  I must have used that toilet 25 times God bless it.  And the waves of visions repeat and keep hammering the same lessons in my head over and over and over again.  I see equations and information and symbols and faces and heads and demons and when that gets old it’s time to purge again.

Rejoining the Group

What makes Suzy a professional is that she lets you experience and deal with these emotions alone.  She never consoled me once, never held my hand, never checked on me in the bathroom.  She sang icaros and played chimes and channeled spiritual guidance.  And thank God, I needed to experience this all on my own and would have had it no other way.

I get back to Suzy and applaud her for the Olympic dose she administered.  She praises my violent purges and is duly impressed with her handiwork.  Now is a calm, wonderful, quiet time and briefly she is no longer my shaman and we talk about personal things and my visions like we were very close friends.  We take turns blowing strong snuff made from boa constrictor skin up each other’s nostrils (as you do).  I get very self-conscious about what I say:  “I saw the love of a mother for her child” – Stupid!  “I saw how much I need to guide people.” – Lame!  I opt to shut up and go back to my beloved bathroom for more purging.

Bedtime

I exit the bathroom after Round 2 and find Suzy on my sofa crashed out.  It’s probably 4am now, about six hours after drinking.  I get into my bed and focus on trying to control the ever-present nausea knowing that I will not be sleeping.  These are some of the harder times for me with Ayahuasca because I’m too wired to sleep but the visions have disappeared and the lessons are just ticking away in the background.  I spend hours in a horizontal vigil.

Terence McKenna

I remember Graham Hancock saying that he liked to listen to old Terence McKenna tapes when he was ramping down after Aya so I sneak out my iPhone and play his audio lectures on psychedelics and consciousness as I drift in and out of reality.  Divine!

Closing Ceremony

Suzy wakes at 9:30am and conducts a closing ceremony and we talk about everything from the night before.  I feel enlightened and wonderful like a warrior back from a hard and heavy battle who can now be praised and adored by the tribe.  We talk about my next ceremony but I can’t begin to conceive of ingesting that brew again anytime soon.  I give Suzy a huge hug, probably one of my best ever and she’s off.  What a wonderful spirit, she spent 13 hours of her life giving so much so one person could chase his demons.

The Aftermath

For the past week I’ve wandered around London in a post-Ayahuasca glow.  I find it impossible to engage with ANY type of negative energy around me.  I’ve made some big life changes with the ones I love and I seem to cherish them more than ever.  I have reached out to estranged friends in efforts to help or improve their lives or just connect.  Hell, I even Skyped Grandma Rose.

Part of me deep down wonders how long this party can last, how long will it take for me to settle back into my nihilist, self-defeating steady state where angst rises up and dwarfs compassion.  But the other part believes that I’ve raised the empathy and tolerance bar higher, to a new standard of personal character.  Only time will tell.

Either way I will be back to drink again Mother Ayahuasca, so keep the light on for me.

And I didn’t even tell you the half of it…

Find Your Inner Hipster: How One Academy Member Beat Depression To Start A Juice Business

If you put pen to paper and drew a column with the number of people currently in your inner circle that would improve it versus the number of people that may drag you down, how many people would fall in one category compared to the other?

When we set our goals in the Academy, Brian shows us that it is your Peer Group that will determine the way we think, the way we act, and the way we approach life and our goals. As the saying goes, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

As Academy member and Hypnotist Paul Hurley says, if you surround yourself with people who use their skills and resources to help you, you can achieve your personal or professional goals with less resistance and more ease.

When you join the Academy, one of the key points we ask you to take action on is your short video introduction. It is important not to underestimate the power this introduction has in helping us build a success network! Here is Paul’s introduction:The introduction video you make for the Tribe is the one key step that will allow others to see who you are and what your specific interests, skills, and goals are.

Since joining the Academy just 3 weeks ago, Paul is loving the Skype calls he’s having with members across the globe. Recently, he had a Skype call with an Academy member and Maori Tribe Leader Kepa Maika, and joked, “I don’t meet Tribal Leaders every day in Dublin!”

By following the philosophy of giving, Paul is making meaningful friendships, forming connections and links, and establishing joint business ventures with members from countries such as London, Las Vegas, Connecticut and New Zealand!

Finding business links and partnerships is a common theme in the Academy.

Just a couple of days ago, Academy members Inggrid Wardani and David DuByne shared their experiences after joining the community!By using the member search here, Inggrid and David met each other based on their shared location, Taiwan.

When they met in person to talk about their goals, vision, affirmations, and life, they kept each other accountable!

By looking for a dream board or a journal that would aid their creative process, they decided what they wanted wasn’t available on the market so they decided to create it!!

By setting specific goals, Inggrid and David are on the path to bringing their product to the market this year. As the first draft of their journal is printed next week, they are set to start a kickstarter campaign next month to apply for the funding they require to release their product to the market in April. Keep your eye here next week for exact details and photos of their new product!

In Tribe Talk this week, the focus has been on forming friendships. Here is a powerful story of want happens when Academy members form at least 5 connections with each other.

Member Interview with Dan Lemmon

Can you share some of the experiences that have had immense impact on your life?

“I am 43 years old. I am a single father to an amazing daughter. I was born and raised in Ontario. It was my mom’s desire to have her “hockey player” as she had quoted it. From an early age I was conditioned to play hockey. I excelled in hockey until I was 12. I had many great “coaches,” so I learnt hard work and discipline quickly.  My parents divorced when I was 11 and it wasn’t a pleasant separation. My dad quickly re-married after the divorce and I didn’t take to the new environment quite well. This was a really tough time for me and I really couldn’t understand the “depression” I was going through. Running helped me cope with the immense darkness I was feeling from the disconnection of my parents. They used to call me Forrest Gump at school because I was running everywhere! I went to McMaster University where I ran on the cross country team. It was my dream to be a chiropractor but as I was finishing my 2nd year of university, my mom passed away from cancer. My grief was overwhelming and I struggled again with depression. My grades went down and I was expelled from university. Lost for direction, my aunt’s husband asked me if I wanted to sign up to be an electrician. I took the call and I have been in the electrical trade now for over 13 years now. I felt at the time I was at a point in my life where I needed to find a career. I always knew that it was a plan B.”

When did you start to gain clarity about your experiences?

“Well, I left the Academy in August of 2015 because I was feeling the “dark night of the soul.” After my eviction from apartment I fell into a really dark time and I felt extremely lost. I also was experiencing neck pain which is still a mystery to this day. I was seeking answers as to why my life was falling apart. I prayed for direction and at many times it felt like I was “dying.”  I was looking for answers to my depression and my friend told me about a shaman that does ayahuasca. With the greatest expectation, I immediately signed up for a ceremony.  I felt the layers of the onion peel away again. I was unlocking something, but it also unlocked a lot of the sadness from my childhood.  The experience left me looking for more answers. I thought I was going to be cured of my depression, but it seemed to push me further into the darkness. I felt the need to return to the Academy because I was still connected to the Facebook Group and I could see the activity everyone was portraying.  I felt lost but I also felt found at the same time. I knew that I was gaining new perspectives from other people in the Academy and I felt like I had found my Tribe. I resonated with Jon Waterlow because he was expressing his struggles with depression and this helped me feel that I wasn’t alone in my battle. I also gained a great friendship with you because you kept checking in on me to see how I was doing even after I wasn’t a member. Your talks really helped me to gain clarity with my direction and it was you that ultimately pushed me back into the Academy. From that point on, I felt I was on a new path. I came back to the Academy with a better understanding of myself, as well as a greater understanding of the need for connection and support.”

How did you seek out the connection and support?

“From seeing and observing what people were posting, being supportive to others, and from being vulnerable. I would often ask for help from the Tribe with my on-going health problems and my struggles with depression. For example, I posted a call for help with an inflammation issue I was experiencing. I was then contacted by Chris Albert and Savitree Surjoopersad, to give me some immediate one-on-one advice. From the original message with Savi, we connected on Whatsapp. She has helped me so much with my mental growth, it is amazing! Kevin McNamara has been a pivotal role in my desire to start a juice business. My health felt like it was going downhill, so after watching Tone Floreal interview Kevin, I approached Kevin as to what juices he was using that cured him of his health problems. We swapped resources and then I started juicing everyday while following up with Kevin as I was explaining my amazing success from juicing on a regular basis. On our first Skype call,  I spoke to Kevin about a juicing business and the business has blossomed from there.”

What was the creative process behind your new startup?

“The idea of the startup came about about when I had built the float in my apartment. When I was growing up, we had these ice cream bikes that would cycle around the neighbourhood ringing their bells. They were everywhere and for some reason that memory linked juicing to these bikes. And that sparked the idea to get these bikes back on the road and sell fresh cold pressed juices from them. From this idea, I brainstormed on my whiteboard and I started sketching and “brain dumping.” I kept asking to myself, how can I make a new spin on these retro bikes and re-brand them to sell really healthy juices out of them. The inner hipster came out of me and I had the idea to re-mould the shape of the bike to look like a juice bottle, ultimately re-branding them into “The Juice Cycle.”

How did you approach goals before the Academy?

“I was pretty lost when it came down to goals. I knew I had a creative vision, but I seemed to lack the clarity with the direction. After watching one of Brian’s first Webinars on how to set goals, I was curious as to how these people were able to crush their goals?  I listened a lot, and I took a lot of notes. I immediately went out and bought a whiteboard and I started brain dumping my ideas. It was a start. After that I listened to Daniel Priestley and his KPI Webinar and he really made a lot of sense. So, I started writing down my goals on my whiteboard. They were small details at first, which ranged from books to read, to dreams and desires I wanted to accomplish. This blossomed into affirmations my daughter and I started doing and we came up with 5 affirmations each and we posted them in our rooms.”

Have you found some business links through the community?

“I have found some business links. Marie-Judith Jean-Louis posted an event for Toronto Entrepreneurs of Passion and Purpose. At this event I made an amazing connection with Peter Assentoft, who is also a member of the Academy, as well as Jayson Gaignard, Giovanni Marsico, Mike Brcic, and Gillian Mandich. It was an amazing experience and I was so grateful to now be a part of this networking group. About 2 weeks ago, I started attending a holistic wellness business networking group which has helped me tremendously. I met an amazing women at this event, and we just had our first business mentoring call and tomorrow we are doing a creative vision board project. I have also scheduled my first meeting with the guys that started the group in Toronto called “The Man Kind Project.”

What should every new member know about the Academy?

“From my experience, every member should know it is OK to be yourself. The more you hesitate to interact or post great content, the more you are not taking advantage of the many people that can help you. Be supportive and comment on what interests you. You don’t necessarily have to comment or like everything on the Academy. Your user experience depends on you. What you give out comes back. Also, be interactive with Brian Rose and his many RealTALKs and interviews. Ask questions. Then team up with others on the Academy and chat about your experience from the content. From there you gain a better experience of the Tribe you are a part of.”

What’s next for you and what are your smart goals?

“My smart goals for this business are to create a business plan by the end of January 2016. Develop a logo and brand image for the business by February 2016. Brainstorm my target market and compile a list of events to attend in 2016 by March 2016. Attract an investor and complete the first prototype juice bike by April 2016. Launch the business by May 2016.”

Dan would love to meet Academy members who have knowledge to share about business investments, graphic design and web design. If that’s you, please get in touch!

Have you met your 5 connections today? If not, get in touch – I’d like to help!

Tribe Meetups

We are to Live Stream our Focus Group for the FIRST TIME EVER on Friday!!! To get access, please book here. Spaces are limited!Next, Academy member Chris Guerin is to host the first EVER meetup in Manchester. If you’d like to meet some Northern Realers, then book here and don’t miss out!

See if there’s a Meetup scheduled in your city here, and if there isn’t let me know what Meetup you’d like to see and if you’d like to host one!

Until next week’s Tribe Talk, have a great week, and if you’d like to get in touch with me, message me @noorahnaker – I’d love to hear from you!

Speak soon,

Noorah

Money Not Zen! How Dan Pena Changed My Life

Dan Pena’s method of coaching is pure shock and awe. People either love him or hate him, and that’s exactly the way Dan likes it.

His mission is to rattle people out of their comfort zones, make them do what they need to do in order to become the best they can be.

And you know what, as much as it pains me to admit it sometimes, the old man is always right.

He likes to do things properly, and if you ever get the chance to visit Guthrie Castle you’ll see for yourself that he runs that place like clockwork. Every lawn is mown smooth, every sheet is crisp and spotless, every meal and every drink is served at the correct time.

It goes without saying that Dan changed my life, but here are three of the key lessons I learned from the 50 Billion Dollar Man:

  1. Fulfil Your Potential
  2. Never Miss A Meeting
  3. Focus On The Few And Not The Many

Fulfill Your Potential

Dan is the first to tell you not to project any “Mother Theresa sh*t” onto him. He does what he does because he wants to be the best, and that’s all there is to it.

Frankly, I know Dan is no saint! Having said that, he does what he does for more than just pure ego too. I think it actually causes him pain to see unfulfilled potential.

It could be his military background, it could be his LAPD dad. Whatever it is, I believe Dan’s fundamental passion is seeing people reach the best of themselves. It’s not compassion, he just gets a kick out of it.

Like Dan always says, “If we were at war, we’d all be dead!” Basically, if we have to do things to the best of our abilities in battle, why not do them that way in our daily lives?

Living life at our fullest potential is inherently valuable, and being around Dan brought that home to me in a big way.Never Miss A Meeting

One of Dan’s favourite stories is flying out to meet his dad in Europe during the Korean War. His dad was head of the CID for the forces, and by all accounts a bad ass.

When Dan meets his dad he realises he is covered in blood. His dad had just had surgery to have a tumor removed, but insisted on being allowed to meet his son at the airport.

Years later, when Dan was in a doombuggy accident which shattered his shoulder, punctured his lungs and liver, and broke eight ribs, he still made it to a meeting with a top mentee and the managing partner for PWC.

The point here is commitment. Dan never misses a meeting. It’s not about politeness, or being pedantic, it is about mental discipline. If you can’t follow through on every commitment you make then how can you expect to reach your full potential?

Dan never makes an excuse, and a near death accident is no exception. If he says he’s going to do it, he’ll do it, and he has his father to thank for setting that example.Focus On The Few And Not The Many

This goes back to Dan’s no holds barred, rattle your cage approach to mentoring. Once Dan is done with you, you shed your BS, you get rid of all the excuses and defences that hold you back from achieving your potential.

This means streamlining your peer group, not being so politically correct, and most importantly you stop wasting your time and energy on people and projects that don’t pay off.

One thing I have noticed on the new Business Accelerator course we are doing on the Academy, is I am only interested in investing in the few people who are willing to go the distance.

The course is not everyone, because it’s hard, it means confronting yourself. It means being able to hear things you don’t want to hear.

The course is exclusive and difficult to get onto, and I like it that way, because I know I can’t help everyone. I can only help a select few who are willing to show commitment.

This is what the Academy is all about. This is what 2016 is all about. I’m only interested meeting and helping the elite minds who are passionate about change, who are willing to do the heard work inside and outside, to fully realise their dreams.

And everyone else? Good luck, is all I can say.So these are the top three lessons I learned from Dan. It’s rare that Dan tells someone something they don’t already know.

They just don’t want to face it, and his full on, uncompromising energy either makes you confront your limitations and push through, or makes you run and hide for cover.

In the end, it is about action and accountability. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, meeting Dan was like taking Ayahuasca. You hear what you don’t want to hear, and you are forced do what you are too scared to do.

Dan blasts through your psychic defences and opens up a sense of possibility. You realise the only thing between you and your dreams is YOU!

Good luck with whatever dream you are working on, and remember – “Just Fucking Do It!”

Creativity, Craft And Being Different

Hey guys James here, and we’re back with #ThrowbackTuesday. This week I’m going back to Chase Jarvis.

I like people who marry creative energy with analytical power. They tend to be the people that get the most done.

Without creative energy, we are doomed to repeat ourselves, the culture will never grow. But without some level of analytical or processing power, great ideas remain just that: ideas.

I imagine if you meet Chase Jarvis in person he probably gives off a vital, alpha energy. He likes extreme sports, played college football – the whole deal.

But you can’t be a world famous photographer by just being brave and in love with adrenalin, as essential as these qualities are.

You have to have a sensitivity, a vulnerability and a sense of magic.

Chase Jarvis has all of these, but they are embodied in a very practical, workmanlike attitude.

I think what I took away the most from this interview was the struggle Chase had with his own creativity, and his sense of grief at having denied that part of himself for so long. As a man, and especially a sporty personality, it can be difficult to allow yourself to access this part of your nature.

Creativity is a scary business, and as a culture we tend to be suspicious of anyone who wants to start living the creative life from scratch.

Unless you show protege-like talent from an early age, you are going to find it hard to convince yourself and others that being a full time artist is a worthwhile pursuit.

Without the external validation of the thing you dream yourself of being, getting over that inner hurdle in order to live out that destiny, can be terrifying.

Chase said he spent years trying to live everyone else’s dream for himself, before he finally took up photography.

And this is coming from a confident, proactive and grounded human being. It’s not like he was suffering from neurosis.

It’s just that our culture’s relationship with creativity is so distorted and compartmentalised, it is difficult for us to embrace the dormant artist within us, no matter who we are.

But again, Chase’s idea of an artist is not someone with their head in the clouds. Who he is as a photographer and entrepreneur totally bursts that myth.

Chase insists that craft is essential. You have to know the fundamentals of your tools and your trade, you can’t just pick up an Iphone and hope for the best.This is a big question that hangs over all artists, and there’s definitely a spectrum of technical artists and expressive artists.

Without a solid foundation in your craft, your ideas will never be able to take flight. But then again, too many artists these days seem to get too easily obsessed with technique.

If all you judge your art by is technique then you lose vision, you can’t take your chosen field to new places.

Chase says a good photo must have both “raw stopping power” and offer the audience a chance to complete the narrative.

If you complete the circle for them, then the art loses its power.This is a genius way to sum up how an artist gets inside our head. If they are just driven to demonstrate technical prowess, they won’t invite us in, they won’t have the breadth of vision to allow the onlooker to play a part.

There are millions of photographers in the world, and given the advancement of modern mobile technology, we all have access to professional tools.

But as Chase says, what marks out the great artists from the amateur creatives is their unique perspective, a point of view that is dramatically new and different.

In this day and age, being a creative professional is harder than it has ever been. You have to cut through the noise of Instagram and social media.

There will always be someone with more technical skill than you. The challenge is to find your voice, and then cultivate a way of distilling that voice into works of art that stop people in their tracks.

In the age of the image, the stakes are high. But what I got from Chase is that we need to know ourselves, to have an intimate relationship with ourselves in order to know what it is that makes us different.Chase talks about his own journey around self-knowledge. Brian asks him quite a searching question about his drive, his constant need to up his game.

And Chase is surprisingly vulnerable here, even admitting that tackling this stuff is a relatively recent challenge for him.

A regular practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, Chase is no stranger to the difficult inner work we need to do to evolve.

He doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but he does provide other artists with some kind of template for how we create a life around our work.

Chase is a businessman, an artist and great conversationalist. I found this one of the most informative episodes on London Real, and if you are feeling stuck in any part of your life, this interview might just be inspiration you need.Whether you are an artist or not, are you creatively blocked? I’d be interested to know how you have put up barriers to your own creative energies, and how letting go of them might help you up your game in building the best you.

Leave me a comment below, it would be great to get a conversation going on this issue!

Marianne Williamson, Hayley Quinn, Magnus Walker And Max Chilton

The first week of 2016 is DONE and we are already crushing here at London Real. The energy here is inspiring, and I’m looking forward to great things in the next week.

Here are the links to what’s been going on in the last week:

  • New Episode featuring Marianne Williamson
  • Marianne Williamson’s fascinating Success Secrets
  • My Blog Post on the game-changing lessons I learned from “Porsche Hunter” Magnus Walker
  • The release of our trailer for next week’s Full Episode featuring race driver Max Chilton
  • An AMAZING first #RealTALK of 2016 featuring relationship expert Hayley Quinn
  • Inspiration and accountability from Noorah in this week’s Tribe Talk interview
  • AND our first week of shows on Television channel London Live! If you are in London you can catch us on Freeview 8 | Sky 117 | Virgin 159 | YouView 8 daily at 7am

The first week of a New Year is always the most important, and as you can see we are making sure we are locked in from the start!

Quit Your 9 To 5 In 2016

Welcome to the first Tribe Talk of 2016!

I’m excited to share another year with you and to meet you if you have just begun your journey with us here in the Academy!

As it’s our first January at the Academy, we kicked off January 1st by sharing our goals for 2016! Here is Brian with his New Year message to Academy members.Many of us start the new year setting big goals, and grand resolutions.

As Brian’s New Year message suggests, the Academy quickly teaches us that it’s not enough to have ideas and good intentions. Ideas need to be distilled into goals to make them actionable and achievable.

When Academy member, generator engineer and introvert Bryn Fry joined the Academy in August 2015, he set SMART goals that paved the way for him to escape the 9 to 5 grind and follow his thirst for entrepreneurialism.

Just under half a year of being an Academy member, Bryn will have reached the goal he set out to achieve by January 20th 2016! You can see the extract of the post below, but here is the full post.For Bryn, growing up in a “very low income family” and getting stuck in a job he “hates,” has been “character forging.” Instead of putting up with false values, he used the experience as the driving force to accomplish his SMART goals.

In this member interview, Bryn explains some of the things we MUST do to stay FOCUSED on our goals. He says we need to:

  • Find our purpose and set the right goals for the right reasons
  • Be smarter about how we set goals
  • Build positive habits
  • Get the support of like-minded people to stay motivated and on track

Check out the interview and get inspired to live up to our full potential this year and start something GREAT in 2016!

Member Interview with Bryn Fry

Tell us about yourself

“My name is Bryn Fry and although I was born in England and lived there for a few years, I moved to France with my parents when I was 11. After having a lot of trouble learning French, I ended up doing pretty well in school, not because I was the brightest but because having to learn another language really pushes you to work hard just to keep up with the other students! After doing some work experience with the local electrician, I think that is when I really realised that I wanted to become an entrepreneur. Unfortunately like most people, I took my parents advice and continued my studies to get an electrical engineering diploma. After I received my diploma, I went to work for someone else. As you can imagine, for someone that is an entrepreneur at heart, I am not at all fulfilled with this job, or any job come to that. Although I have been trying to escape the 9 to 5 while dabbling on and off online for the last few years, it wasn’t until I spent a whole evening and morning speaking to an entrepreneur that I realised that talking about business and entrepreneurship is something I’m passionate about! That is when I decided to start this podcast.”

What is the ethos and grand dream behind your podcast?

“The subject of this podcast is really dear to my heart. Starting a business when you have a family to support and bills to pay whilst doing long hours at work, just isn’t easy at all! I really wanted to discover and share how other entrepreneurs had succeeded at it! In this podcast, I interview an entrepreneur every other week who has previously escaped a 9 to 5. I ask them questions about their old job, what they did to break free, and I explore how they got over the obstacles even though sometimes it felt like everything was against them. To make it even more interesting, I decided to add a bonus podcast every other week. The bonus episodes are accountability calls between my Accountability Partner Scott and I. Viewers get to hear our own progress as we both start our businesses in different industries. This offers a contrast. People not only get to hear about how other entrepreneurs have managed to escape the 9 to 5, but they also get to see it in real time what two people who are stuck in a 9 to 5 job are doing week by week to escape!”

How do you find time to build your podcast while working a 60-hour week?

“Well I can’t say that it has been easy! For a start, I’ve had to cut off two hours sleep every night, which I normally do by starting at 4am. I have also had to take time optimisation to the next level! Where I have basically split the day into different time zones. Depending on what time zone I am in during the day, I only do certain tasks. For example, when I get up at 4am, I have about two solid hours where I can concentrate 100%. There is no noise or disturbance during this time, so I do things like create content or solve website problems. During the day when I am at my 9 to 5, I spend a lot of time driving. I spend this time listening to audiobooks and podcasts when I need to learn a certain subject. If I get a small 1 to 2 min break at work, this is when I will look at my e-mails. I also set-up tasks for the next day and set a timer when I sit down to work on my business. When the timer goes off every 30 minutes, I realise how much time I’ve spent doing something valuable. It really pushes you to respect time and not to waste it!”

What is the value of accountability?

“It’s very easy to write down goals but not so easy to get them done! Even when you are passionate about what you do, there are times that you would much rather stay in bed. When you know you have set goals that are being viewed by someone else, it automatically obliges you to get them done. Therefore I would say accountability is definitely in the top three most important things that you need to reach your goals! I meet my Accountability Partner on Skype every two weeks to go over the weekly goals we’ve set ourselves. It’s not a rigid accountability call. It’s something I look forward to because we get to talk about our businesses, our projects, and exchange ideas! It’s also something that boosts me back up when I’m feeling a bit low. As recommended by Brian, I posted my S.M.A.R.T goals up on my profile page on London Real Academy and of course shared them with my Accountability Partner. When you’ve publicly said that you’re going to do something and shared it with someone who is going to hold you accountable, you haven’t got much choice but to do it!

If you’d like to hear what these accountability calls sound like, this is a Skype call Bryn recorded in November 2015!

Below is an image of Bryn and Scott’s accountability chart:How has being in the Tribe helped you grow and achieve your goals?

“I would have to say that it is just the general energy and positiveness of all the people in the Academy! If you go up to one of your co-workers or even family members and say: “Hey I’ve got a great idea…” The very common responses are: “I don’t know that might be a bit risky…,” “If it hasn’t been invented yet there is a reason,” or “That person just succeeded because they got lucky…” Usually they just look at you as if you were nuts! In the Academy, no-one judges you, and everyone is willing to help the second you have a question or problem. It’s just a completely different world! If none of your friends or family follow your mindset, sometimes you can feel like your batteries are drained. Unless you re-charge them again by talking to like-minded people, the already difficult task might just become impossible. One of the biggest problems I have had in the past is feeling alone in my ventures and not having anyone to be accountable to! Having a group of like-minded people is so critically important because as you’ve probably heard before, other people tend to rub off on you! When all you hear is negative feedback about work, politics, and the news, you can’t help but be affected by it. On the flip side, when you are around positive, creative people that want to move forward and progress, it also rubs off on you! When I posted my introduction video and said I wanted to start a podcast, everyone was supportive and helpful! I even got my first podcast interview with Stephen Tierney from mind cell who is an Academy member!” That is why London Real Academy is so great! It’s thanks to the Academy that I have also found an incredible Accountability Partner who is just an all-round great person!”

What would you say to an Academy member trying to start something?

“It’s just a question of following something you’re passionate about, then staying focused, and not giving up until you succeed! I spent years trying different things to make enough money to escape my 9 to 5 job, but I wasn’t passionate about any of them, so I never really had much success. Was it because they were bad ideas? No not at all, I’m pretty sure that a lot of them would have worked if I had followed through. The only problem was that I didn’t have the passion to push through when the going got tough! And it seemed a lot easier to jump on the next shiny object! It was only after years and years of hearing people say that you need to follow your passion that I finally accepted it. Once I had decided to find my passion, it probably took me about 3 to 4 months of turning it around in my head every single day until one day I was talking to a new acquaintance who is an entrepreneur, and I finally had the light bulb moment! As I’m writing this, I am still stuck in a job I hate so in no way am I an expert. However, I can see the finish line from where I’m standing. It’s just a case of putting one foot in front of the other. My advice is: Just start. There is no other way around it! You can think it to death all you like, but until you take that first step, all you have got are theories!”

What’s next? What are your SMART goals for 2016?

  • I will publish a really good article every month that I will either post on my own blog or as a guest post, to get visitors and backlinks to my website (12 in total this year).
  • By June 2016 I will have 200 email subscribers, and before the 1st of December 2016 I will have 1000 email subscribers.
  • By the end of June 2016 I’ll have interviewed at least 12 guests, and by the end of 2016, 25 guests.
  • By June 2016 I will get 200 downloads of my podcast per episode, and by December 2016 I will get 2000 downloads per episode.
  • By April 2016 I will have set up affiliate links to audible, elegant themes and Bluehost to start receiving a small residual income.
  • By November 2016 I will have created my own “something” which might be a course or a membership system to earn enough money online to be able to quit my 9 to 5 job by 31 December 2016.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

“Yes. I know from first-hand experience how difficult it can be when you are stuck in a job you hate, with hardly any time left over at the end of the day to work on your goals. I would love to give as many Academy members as possible the skills necessary to escape 9 to 5!”

If you are an entrepreneur who has escaped the 9 to 5 and would like to be featured on Bryn’s podcast, please contact Bryn at bryn@escapingninetofive.com.

As Bryn sets his SMART goals for 2016, what are your SMART goals? Leave them in the comments below!

Tribe Meetups

Our first meetup of this month will be taking place in New York City. Make it a year of difference and start making those offline connections. The event takes place on 10th January. There’s still time to make your booking!Next, Academy member Kevin McNamara is to host the second Google Hangout for Aussie members. If you’re based in Australia, don’t be shy! This is an opportunity to meet other Aussie Realers on 14 January!

See if there’s a Meetup scheduled in your city here, and if there isn’t let me know what Meetup you’d like to see and if you’d like to host one!

Until next week’s Tribe Talk, have a great week, and if you’d like to get in touch with me, message me @noorahnaker – I’d love to hear from you!

Oh and by the way, the first Focus Group dates for January 2016 are getting filled, so leave your RSVP here or book onto one of our February slots!

Can You Teach Good Taste? 3 Things I Learned From Magnus Walker

I feel so lucky when I get to sit down with the numerous successful people we have on the show, and pick their brains on how they dominated their field. And that is exactly what I did when I spoke to fashion designer and entrepreneur Magnus Walker.

You probably know Magnus from his hugely popular TEDx Talk called Go With Your Gut Feeling. Magnus grew up in the tough northern UK town of Sheffield, but ended up in LA and created three incredibly successful businesses in fashion design, filmmaking and sports car design.

The theme throughout all of this success is Magnus’s commitment to listening to his instincts. In his TED Talk he calls it the “strange feeling”.

All of the lessons I’m talking about today come from this root attitude. When Magnus was a teenager in the seventies he was constantly told “cut your hair and get a real job.” He has done neither.

Instead, he lives the life of his dreams, applying his creativity and passion and setting trends that Hollywood A-Listers can’t afford to ignore.

Here are just three of the key lessons I learned from talking to Magnus:

  1. You Can’t Teach Ideas and Good Taste
  2. How Bad Can It Be?
  3. Work Ethic

1.You Can’t Teach Ideas and Good Taste

Another common theme linking all of his successes, is the fact that Magnus didn’t have a professional or educational background in any of the industries that he has dominated.

He stumbled into each of them, but what Magnus does have is an acute sense of taste, and a desire to put his own mark on whatever he creates.

This is something that a lot of people overlook when they are trying to make it. They are searching for the magic formula, trying to master the methods that have come before them.

This is what they teach you in every business and art school. There is a right way to do something, and even if you break the rules, you have to know the rules.

Magnus didn’t pay any attention to that. Magnus has an uncanny ability to believe in his own vision, and as a result everything he has created has worn the distinctive mark of his own unique style.

This is a crucial lesson for anyone trying to dominate a creative and competitive industry. You have to put yourself into it, and you either have good taste or you don’t.

Make it your own. Leave your mark on the product, and only then will it stand out. Steve Jobs was a genius at this.

Art schools and MBAs can’t teach you how to get good ideas. That has to come from you.2. How Bad Can It Be?

Magnus is effectively an immigrant in the US. As he told me in the interview, had he stayed in Sheffield, he probably wouldn’t have had the boldness and vision to take the risks that have made him so successful.

This goes back to a big theme for me on London Real. I love that immigrant mentality. It probably has something to do with being out of your comfort zone. When you are already fighting for survival, you are more willing to take risks.

Magnus himself said that with everything he does, he still feels he has nothing to lose. He also told me he thinks a lot of people are stuck on the issue of risk. They talk themselves out of a good idea because they are scared of failure.

We hear a lot of talk about overcoming fear of failure, but Magnus is proof that going to where the fear is, really works. And it has worked at least three times for him in a big way.

Magnus never rests on his laurels. I don’t think he could even if he wanted to. He told me that in the design business you always have to be reinventing the wheel.

I think what marks Magnus out is the fact that he LOVES the challenge of staying ahead of the curve. He doesn’t shy away form the risk of trying something new.

Like he said, everybody wants the next best thing, but few people are willing to risk doing something different.3. Work Ethic

Despite Magnus’s Rick Rubin beard, his dreadlocks and grungy Venice Beach style, be in no doubt about how hard this man works.

As a young man, he was basically an athlete, training in cross country running twice a day, five days a week, and he was even part of the same running club as Olympian Sebastian Coe.

In short, Magnus learned very early on the value of discipline and commitment. What marked him out was a desire to be free, and to be truly himself.

Going with your gut sounds like an easy way out. But for Magnus it is  not about taking the path of least resistance.

In fact, Magnus never shies away from the difficult choices. Going with your gut means doing what scares you the most, and being prepared to work for that vision.

The key here is passion. Magnus doesn’t have to trick himself to be motivated. He has a passion for realising his ideas.

As Magnus says, most people never find that thing that makes them passionate, and that’s what they can’t understand about his success.

If you love what you do, your work ethic comes naturally. If you are having to force your work ethic, maybe you are not following your gut.So there are my three lessons. I could have written a whole thesis on what makes Magnus Walker successful. Magnus’s message is something every entrepreneur, artist and creative visionary should listen to.

Leave a comment below and let me know what your gut is telling you TODAY, and what fear is stopping you from acting on that vision.