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Pink Headphones: Watch for Children w/ Jay Jawitz

unsplash-logoMay Lawrence

Hey folks! In today’s Dreamers Succeed Podcast, we’re going to be talking about what it truly takes to live a life of fulfillment. We’re going to be speaking with addiction preventionist, keynote speaker, author, and awakening coach Jay Jawitz. Jay is going to share his experience by taking us through the journey of his recovery, his awakening, and what it took for him to step into his power and into that space where he’s bringing tremendous transformation to his coaching clients and audiences around the globe. We hope you enjoy!

Berta: So, hola! Welcome, folks, to one of our first epic-sodes for the Dreamers Succeed Podcast. I want to welcome everyone here. We have a great guest today: Jay Jawitz. He is an awakening coach, he is a keynote speaker, an author, and a kick-ass addiction preventionist. Hi, Jay!

Jay

Hi, Berta!

Berta

How’s it going?

Jay

 It’s going great. I’m very excited to be here.

Berta

I’m so happy you’re here. It’s going to be a great episode for you all. Those of you who do not know Jay yet… you will. And I know you’re going to fall in love with him after this episode. I just want to get right into it because a lot of times – as I talk about Jay… Jay and I do a lot of coaching together, he’s a coach as well and we do a lot of speaking engagements together. It’s a trip for me to be even sharing a stage with him sometimes. A lot of people ask me, “What’s an addiction preventionist?” So can we start there, Jay?

Jay

Sure! It’s actually a fabulous question. There’s an addiction crisis going on in this country and for the last several years I’ve been observing the solutions that come up. I see that the problem is going to get a lot worse before it gets better unless there’s a drastic change. Currently the people that are doing most of the work when it comes to the word “addiction” as far as drug rehabilitation centers (they play their part), but we’re talking about prevention. I’ve been observing people in recovery and listening to people for over 18 years sharing their vulnerability, sharing honestly, and discussing the reasons why they picked up substances to begin with and became addicted. And listening over years and years and years… after a while, the stories are the same. They look a little bit different, but the patterns are the same. The limiting beliefs are the same.

The problems in their household were the same. And there’s a common pattern among parents that I’ve seen; especially with my experience on the things that my parents could have done differently. And I no longer come from a place of victimization because I know victims always stay stuck. But I know that there are things that my parents could have done differently. Every person I’ve been in an intimate relationship with and dug into the deepness of their life (going through their life history) and revisiting their past and getting to the core of discovering who they are – the reality is that (in a world today) I’ve become more conscious and awake to what kept me from discovering who I really am. I believe that if parents could know that the actions they take today are taking care of not only their future self but the future well-being of their children…

So… addiction prevention starts with parenting. And it can start as early as the womb because one of the factors of addiction is trauma. It was for me. And I believe that – knowing a little bit about my mother… the way she carried herself when she was having me – she must have been filled up with fear inside knowing her as a person. And that trauma… if there’s fighting or arguing in a household or tension or fear… I don’t understand the medical profession a whole lot, but I can understand how that trauma can affect a baby before it’s even exposed to this world.

I do know, starting at the age of two, of things that happened. It started shaping my life in a big way. And if you told any mother that if you take this certain action with your two-year-old, that it can possibly cause addiction down the road, I think parents – mothers especially – would become more awake to the actions that they take. They could recreate their plan for parenting and the little actions moment-to-moment, they could plan a different outcome for their child by becoming awake to the information that me and people that have been in recovery for a lot of years… it’s such valuable information.

I think it’s the information from someone who has been down the dark road of addiction who has done that work, rediscovered themselves, and discovered a whole new way of life, has the answers. Nobody is looking, necessarily, to people who have been down a dark road. The reason is as soon as somebody – I don’t want to say everybody – most people when they hear the word ‘addiction,’ immediately there’s a judgement in their mind; an association or stigma.

If society starts to understand for what it is… it paves the way for a consciousness change.

Berta

So, Jay. Let me ask you… because I know you’ve done so much work and you’ve helped thousands of people through the recovery process in your years as someone who is mentoring people into recovery and into getting out of an addictive situation… do you feel that what is happening now or what is being done now is just not effective? I’m on the outside and I can tell you I just don’t think it’s working.

Jay

Well there’s two parts to that. When we look at recovery and we can look at prevention. And just real quick to talk about recovery: I personally never went to a drug rehabilitation center. I went down a very dark road and happened to start my journey with the twelve-step program. And I think that is the most effective solution. At least it’s the one that I know of. I’m not saying that there’s no other ways out there because there are. In the recovery community… it is a business. And there’s a whole lot of bad rehab centers out there. I just facilitated groups at one recently for the  last two years and it was spectacular. They had an incredible culture. They really made a difference because they set people up to win for ongoing recovery.

I know that there’s a lot of drug rehab centers that are just about making money. They don’t care about people’s wellbeing and they will keep people stuck in a cycle. Nobody is winning. Every situation in life – in my opinion… and I believe you’ll agree – should always be win-win. Every transaction should always be win-win. When it comes to prevention I’m not finding anything being done. I don’t see any results. I see our problems in our middle schools – especially now in our high schools and especially with our young twenty-year-olds. Especially with what we’ve seen with the opioid crisis in the last few years. It’s gotten a little quieter and we can get into that but that’s not really that important. The results are not getting any better; they’re getting worse.

Something needs to change. I believe – I actually should say with a state of certainty that I have the answer.

Berta

And we talked a little bit yesterday, Jay, about your empowerment program. I think it just plays to your heart because you have a great program, you know what’s going to work, for people you know you can get into the schools, you can get to the parents… you just want to get it out there. Where everyone else might be looking for a way to monetize that, you’re just like, “I just want to get it into people’s hands.” And it’s free and I know that resource is going to be available on your website as a free resource for parents and kids and schools. I think it’s going to be something that’s going to take off. But tell me a little bit about how that was born; that empowerment program.

Jay

Addiction prevention, like I said, starts at home. It starts at parenting. And I believe the educational system has its part to play and it’s not been playing the part. An education about the dangers of various drugs or substance abuse – it’s critical information. It’s important. And kids should know that information. And when I was younger they had those films. I believe we were both – I believe you went to school in Dade County, so we were probably exposed to some of the same films on those film projectors. They would show us these films and I remember the 1980s and Nancy Reagan. She meant very well. She started her campaign with ‘Say No to Drugs.’ The information is not so simple as just to say ‘no.’

There’s a missing piece. If you asked me what the opposite of addiction is, the answer would be fulfillment. I believe what’s missing in our education system and with parenting is leading our children to discovering who they really are, what their purpose is, what their dreams are, and what they’re meant to do. That is where they are going to find happiness. That is where they’re going to have a fulfilled life. Looking back again to the public school system – and I might just bring something nostalgic back for you, I don’t know – but there were two things that I remember watching on those film projectors.

I remember it was a great hour that we didn’t have to do our studies and we got to watch a film, right? So it was great, whatever it was. Because we weren’t having to do whatever we were having to do in the classroom. But I remember the ‘say no to drugs’ kind of things that were dangerous. Back then the drugs were different. I remember they showed that if you do drugs you’ll jump off a building. I remember something else that they played every single year. It was ‘free to be you and me.’ I really don’t want to start singing right now, because I will destroy our interview right now, but the words to that song – I believe it was Marlo Thomas that created that and created those films we watched. That was more of addiction prevention than what they were actually showing.

My vision for the world is that if every child – every young person – discovered who they really are and lived a fulfilled life and asked themselves the questions like ‘why am I in this world,’ ‘who am I,’ and ‘what is my contribution to this world…’ those questions are answered. Children are given empowerment and a focus on what their dreams are, what their goals are, what they really want. Not necessarily what their parents really want. Because I know that my parents controlled my life. And because my parents controlled my life I didn’t know that I had a voice in my own life and I had to go down the dark road of addiction to then find recovery to then find my voice; find out who I really am; find out what I’m meant to do in this world.

I believe that if children are given the freedom to discover what makes them happy – where their passion lies – to know that they have a voice in their life, and they can put a focus on their dreams and goals and what they really want and then they can have an understanding that there’s a monster out there called addiction… that is the quickest way to give away your freedom and everything that’s good in your life... they will start to make better decisions.

I believe that no one has given our young people the tools to live life on life’s terms. I learned some simple principles in recovery that – if I had those principles and was focused on what I really wanted and not what my parents wanted for me – if I had those tools I would have made completely different decisions. Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful that I got to experience what it’s like to live in hell. I am forever grateful. Because some people have to go on the hero’s journey to discover who they are. And because I went through hell, I got to have this great spiritual experience of discovering myself on the other side.

If you ask me if I’d do it again, the answer would be no. The reason: I believe I was blessed and there’s many people that go to hell and they’re not with us anymore. There are thousands of people dying. 130 people a day in this country from opioid drug overdose alone. That’s not even talking about all the other reasons when we start getting into alcoholism and distracted driving and sugar and social media. Whatever it is, addiction can be in so many ways. I think society doesn’t understand how addiction plays a role in every single one of our lives every single day – addiction is playing a role. Things can change. And I believe the change starts at home… changing the parents. And there’s responsibility that parents – when they have this information – are going to just jump on.

You tell a mother that something is going to hurt her child down the road, she’s going to do everything in her heart (if she’s a good mother) to take some action and to make some changes. I think, up until now, the problem with addiction prevention is that there hasn’t been that proper information and that clarity and that understanding. I believe there’s a whole deeper message underlying all of this.

Berta

Jay, what it sounds like is – which I find really interesting – is that we’ve become a society that loves to put band-aids on shit. We’re watching some program the other day and I think three of four commercials in between were pharmaceuticals. They give you all these labels but they just want to put a name on a condition so that they can sell you a pill and then you’re a consumer for life. God forbid they should try to holistically cure what’s making you sick. Let’s put a band-aid on it because there’s more money in the band-aid. I think what I’m hearing is that whatever they’re doing is still that band-aid. You can find other band-aids because, remember, you’re talking about addiction prevention. I’ve never heard that. What I hear is drug prevention, drug abuse prevention, and alcohol prevention.

The root cause of why all those things happen and get abused is not being addressed. So what it sounds like to me is that with your program and the way that you’re seeing it – and I’m sure this came to be because you were chosen to bring the message, and I know what a powerful messenger you are – what you’re trying to do is fix the underlying so we don’t need the band-aid.

Jay

You’re right on the money. Think about Star Wars and think about how the end of some of those episodes… I know in the first one that there’s always ‘how do they hit the monster vehicle… they have to hit it at the core. If you’re going to slay a monster and the monster is big, it’s dangerous, it’s monstrous… you have to hit it at the core. The symptoms get addressed and then you can start even getting into conversations that behind every symptom, there’s lobbying. There’s people making money. But no one’s really addressing truly making a change in society. We have to see the problem for what it is before we can hit it at the core. We see the symptoms, we see the epidemics. Now we’re seeing vaping with our young kids. Really it’s all different facets of the same monster. We could say addiction is a pattern in the brain. It’s an obsessive, compulsive thing that we do over and over again. But really what addiction is… it’s an escape. It’s an escape from ourselves. And if we’re changing as people – as a society – if we’re changing, if we’re becoming fulfilled, the experience we get to have one moment to the next when we’re present; when we’re connected; when we’re fulfilled.

There is no band-aid, there is no outside fix. There’s nothing that we can be preoccupied with at all that will replace the experience when we connect to ourselves on that level. That is the goal. That is the hit. That is the treasure… when we really connect and start to awaken to a higher experience. Because all we see are the band-aids. And our society has become the context for it. Let’s go off subject for a brief moment and talk about the vaping epidemic. I believe whoever created the idea of electronic cigarettes had a great intention. If that’s the truth I don’t know but that’s what I hear – that their intention was to stop people smoking. And then there’s this undercurrent and I have to say it the way it is: it’s an evil undercurrent. I don’t know if people have problems around the word evil. But I understand that addiction is a force of evil. And that evil undercurrent understand that people want to escape themselves; understands that we escape ourselves with sugar or social media or whatever it is that people do to escape themselves. We could get into those conversation all day long. But we don’t need to escape ourselves, right? We know that the solution is to be fulfilled.

Berta

So, Jay. I know you speak to PTAs and you’re out there all the time. I know you’re doing a lot of coaching with parents around awakening them to what’s really happening in the world and how they can not only avoid it for their kids, but when they see certain signs what they can do to remediate what the path seems to be. How do you feel that the coaching – and I know it just comes from the speaking because you’re out there, you’re a natural coach, you naturally want to help people and equip them with the right tools… how do you feel that that is not only being received but energizing the clients that you serve to empower them with what they need to be able to help their kids?

Jay

When it comes to parents… I’ve coached parents that have children with addiction. When it comes to parents, part of what I do as a coach is help them not to be the problem. And there’s a lot of what they do – they will love their child to death but they’ll love them into a coffin. When it comes to coaching parents for the sake of changing their life so they can create the context for their children it’s “be that power of example.” For you to teach your children to have a fulfilled life. And two parts of that is… there’s always two parts to fulfillment. They’re two emotional needs that every human being has. And it’s the needs of our spirit. We have to grow spiritually or personally develop and be a contribution or service to others. We have those two things. Parents can’t teach that if they’re not being the source for that. What I lead parents towards is being that source. Once they start there they can be the source for addiction prevention. And it works in the same way that parents are powers of example. I know that most kids of good parents – their parents are their heroes.

They look up to them and they follow them and they do what they do. And to kind of go off subject for a minute: when you come to creating the context for addiction prevention – what happens when (let’s just hypothetically say for example) a woman drinks a glass of wine every single night? I have no judgement of that, right? She’s not drinking alcoholically, she’s drinking one glass a night. It’s not a problem for her. Doesn’t seem like a problem at all. But young kids... let’s talk about young kids for a moment. What do young kids do? They ask lots of questions. And what’s the big response when mommy gives an answer to a question when they’re five years old? Why? So let’s just say hypothetically for example that a mother drinks a glass of wine every night. But when a five year old asks, mommy, why do you do that every night? And the response is – maybe mom just says, “it’s something that grown-ups just do.” Or the response can be, “it’s how mommy deals with stress.”

At that moment, that child is getting an education there’s a seed that’s being planted in her mind. Now let’s fast-forward seven years. Now her daughter is twelve years old and she’s accepted that mommy drinks a glass of wine every night. Let’s just say mom’s still drinking a glass of wine every night and it’s not because of any unmanageability in her life… there’s zero judgement behind that for me. Now we look at the twelve year old daughter and her friend asks her to hit a vape. And her friend says, “well what is that and why do you do that?” And her friend’s response is that it’s cool, and you know when kids at twelve years old hear the word cool they want in, right? Then she also goes, “and by the way it helps me deal with stress.”

Now the validation of watching her mom drink that glass of wine every night if that child is twelve years old and I know for me when I was twelve years old and I was in middle school I literally just got a knot in my stomach going back there and thinking about what it felt for me being twelve years old with the challenges that I had with what I was going through I dealt with a lot of stress in a lot of ways whether it’s bullying whether it was grades whether it was my image whether it was not fitting in there are so many things that I dealt with at twelve years old and so many issues that were going on in my life that if I had an outlet for stress I was going to jump all over it so now this twelve year old girl can justify and rationalize why she’s doing something that she probably heard in school in one of these say no to vaping vaping’s bad it’s dangerous but if it’s an outlet for her stress now she has a solution in her mind where it’s really not a solution.

It’s a solution but it’s not a good solution. She found a way to escape. And for me before I was twelve years old it was addiction ran rampant with myself it was chasing girls it was collecting baseball cards it was getting attention it was sports it was a lot of healthy things too but I used to escape myself but after a while where does the line get drawn on whats healthy and whats not because after a while certain things don’t work and that’s the nature of addiction. So when going back to parents I believe parents have to be source. They have to be power of example for their children and the actions that parents can take they’re not gonna take all of them but that’s quite alright because I was mentioning yesterday that if parents took four or five of the deliverables their child’s experience and their experience would be drastically different than currently what the experience that they have is and what the results will be down the road I don’t expect parents to like do absolutely everything I expect parents that when they have the information to take action on where it fits them and where they see it can take action because a lot of the actions that they take it’s not just about addiction prevention it’s creating a higher quality of life and really getting into those deeper questions of finding that ideal quality of life that ideal situation that dream life that we like to dream about that many people don’t even believe is a possibility any more.

Berta

And I agree with you, Jay. I think that a lot of times, as parents, we’re just doing the best we can do. Sometimes, we’re not even aware. If somebody is not telling us, “Listen, this could create a problem down the line.” Where we can take it out, look at it, and deal with it… we just don’t know. We just think it’s normal. We might be doing the same thing that our parents did. They’re doing the same thing that their parents did. We just don’t know any better.

I joke around about this all the time. We have nine cousins, we all got married the same year, we all had kids sort of around the same time and our kids are more or less the same age. We have these conversations all the time now that we’re on the other side of parenthood our children are adults. I say, “Man, knowing what I know now if I could go back and do it over again, I’d probably do it exactly the same way. Not because it was perfect, but because it’s still the best way that I know how.” I think that what happens is there’s not that injection from someone saying, “Listen!” And thank god our kids are all good kids. Everybody is a good kid, but they’ve sort of stayed within the value-system of the family and things like that. You’re sort of thinking what if I had known better. What if I had certain tools? What if I had a way of doing certain things differently, what would it look like now.

So that’s really where I see that there’s so much value and I know you do a lot of workshops and you have one coming up – we’ll talk about that in a minute. Just the principles, which are so basic and so foundational.

Jay

I think that you hit on a key word. The word was “aware.” That word is a trigger for me. It’s really that when it comes to awakening and it comes to evolving as a planet and it comes to consciousness, there’s more information out there that, over time, we are awakening. Some people are going deeper into a sleep but some people are awakening as more information becomes available. When more information becomes available, parents or people in general can just have a different experience of life because they’re getting the experience that’s passed down. I authored the life that I had. I believe I authored it. It was meant to be that way. But the reality is that there are a lot of parents (like I mentioned earlier) that don’t have their child any more. They had to bury a child and they had to ask themselves the question, “where did I go wrong?”

The only answer that I would be able to give them is to tell them that they were a good parent. Any life coach – especially if you ask Tony Robbins – part of their job is to take the standards of the person they’re working with to another level. Part of my job as a coach and as a motivator and as a speaker is to take the quality of life of the people to another level.

Part of that is that they have to have that awareness and ask themselves “What’s possible to take my life to another level?” When we know that there’s possibility out there behind hope there always has to be action. That won’t happen unless people become aware that there is information that’s out there where they can take different action to create better future results.

Berta

A lot of parents are leaving the value system up to the school system, and that I think is a huge gamble that they’re taking. But they really see it that way and it’s not the school’s responsibility so you have the parents that you speak with and you have the school system that you speak with and the PTA (which are parent organizations) but I know you speak to a lot of the schools themselves and you speak to the kids.

You love these assemblies with the kids and getting in front of the kids and empowering them and breathing life into their dreams. Tell me – of those three sectors – what would you say is the most important one to get through to?

Jay

For me, it’s the kids. It’s my empowerment program. It’s getting the information and the empowerment program out to kids. I believe if any parent – unless their beliefs are just so far out there – looks at my empowerment program, they would see nothing but value for their children. So it’s a tough question when it’s either the parents or the kids. It’s not the school system. I don’t believe the answer lies within the school system. The school system is stuck. They see a problem and, like you mentioned before, they want to put a band-aid on the problem or they want to discipline the problem. Instilling fear is not going to empower our children to change. That’s a tough question.

The reason I first mentioned the kids and not the parents is there’s a lot of controlling parents that are not giving their children the freedom to dream, to discover who they are, and to really adapt to the world that we’re living in today. Think about when we grew up and the messages that we got. You work hard, you become a doctor or a lawyer. My father decided what I was going to do.

You recently have heard that statistic. Correct me if I’m wrong. By 2030, 80% of the jobs are not going to be there. Society has changed. We’re becoming an entrepreneur society. It’s imperative that young people find their way. They’re definitely going to have challenges because the parents are going to be caught and stuck in their old beliefs. Those beliefs are going to keep their children stuck. Think of how much of this country is forced to go get a college education to put themselves in thousands of dollars of debt and to start life as a young adult in a giant hole. They haven’t even found their way yet. I’m not against a college education. But that education isn’t necessarily going to get them the result of what they want.

It’s not going to necessarily get them even a job, let alone the one that they want. So when you start thinking about getting through to the kids, they’re going to have challenges. Part of their challenges is their own parents. Let’s take the educational system and put it aside. I can go back and forth on whether it’s the children or the parents. I believe that question is like asking what comes first, the chicken or the egg? I believe there are some kids that forget what their parents want. They’re going to leave as soon as they can leave the house and they know what they want and they’re going to create freedom and the life that they want. I was not one of those children. I didn’t get out of the nest for a very long time.

I didn’t know I was able to.

Berta

Do you think if you had heard Jay Jawitz at a school assembly at 16 – 17 years old, that you would be saying that today? Even with the controlling?

Jay

I don’t know if I would have, but it would have opened my eyes to know. If I was given the information to know that I had a choice. I didn’t have a voice in my own life. The empowerment program for our youth gives them a voice. I believe that everybody is powerful. Everybody! If you tell a child with low self-esteem that they’re powerful, they’re going to be like, “What is this guy talking about?” When you tell a child or you tell anybody – any human being – that they’re powerful… if they don’t believe you, it only means that they’ve never discovered their power. I’m a firm believer. As a motivator, I know that everybody matters. Everybody is enough. Everybody is powerful. They have to discover their personal power. They have to open themselves up and discover.

Part of the empowerment program is self-discovery. I know, for me, the way that I discovered my personal power… one of the workshops that I have that’s coming up is about being powered by principles. When I got clean and entered recovery from addiction, practicing those principles (12 steps) in all my affairs and making a true commitment that I’m going to practice these principles in all my affairs like my life depends upon it. Shortly after I was no longer working them because my life depended on it. I was working them because of the results that I was getting. The change that was happening.

What I started to discover was the best version of myself. I was becoming fulfilled. Becoming fulfilled is better than any drug – anything that can be outside of me. I learned that the answer is always within. Practicing those principles in all my affairs and having that commitment allowed me to find that version of myself that is the best outcome that leads me to my dream-life. If you really think about anybody that you’ve watched… think about yourself. Think about any sports athlete. Think about any person that you would hold up on a pedestal in that context. You will see the principles that they’re practicing. Think about the hero’s journey. Think about what it takes. Then think about the times in your life (or anyone else’s) when you’re stuck. It’s because you’re lacking in a principle. The answer always lies within the principles that I practice.

Berta

At the beginning, you talked about two principles. The main one was being in service of others. I’m a big believer that the most beautiful way to achieve success is to be in the service of others. That’s the greatest level of success you can achieve.

When I first learned your story, you were telling me that when you got into recovery – that first time that you went to that prison and they sort of threw you in the lion’s den and said, “you’re going to speak to this group of people.” You’d never spoken to a group of people before. I remember the anxiety coming from that, but how you left that experience sort of addicted – for lack of a better word – to being in service and helping people find that inner voice and seeing them through recovery.

You were just hungry to bring that hope to people. What role did that foundation of service play in your mission?

Jay

Service is everything. Going back to my deepest, darkest hours of addiction – probably a few months before I got clean – it was one thing that I was doing right. I was suicidal and I was living like the walking dead. There was no life left in me. I was existing in hell. I was asking myself (and I don’t even know why I was asking myself), “Why am I here?”

I know that that question was just enough of a spark to keep me alive. Later, as I started to change in recovery, there’s something naturally that happens when we start to change as human beings. I believe we have a natural tendency to want to create that change for other people. To give others a chance to change or to have a shot at life or whatever it is – to live their dreams.

For me, there’s nothing more rewarding in the world than to get that level of connection. What it means when I have the ability to give to somebody else – to serve others; to serve mankind; to just practice a random act of kindness; to spread love or do something simple for somebody. It can be huge – it can be simple. It’s different one moment to the next. We get that level of connection – nothing makes me feel better. Everything feels perfect. When I give a lot, things get really good in my life. I’m not consumed in self. I’m stepping out of self, I’m not in my head, I’m in my heart, and I believe that’s the reason all of us are here on this planet. It’s to give, to connect, and to awaken to what is bigger out there. The answer is always love. It’s not fear.

Being of service, for me, is the biggest form of love that can possibly exist for me. It’s the reason that I’m here. It’s to give. When I get removed from that and I get caught up in self, the results I get are completely different than the results I get when I’m giving. It’s always about service. When you look at the twelve-step experience, if you look at the way the principles are in an order, the last one (#12) is service. There’s a reason for that. You receive and you transform and you discover who you are and you discover all those other principles because they designed you as the person that now has something to give the rest of the world. The answer is always in service.

Berta

That’s who you are. I’ve heard you speak, and I know that’s just what you breathe and what you live. Thank you for that. Jay – putting modesty and humility aside, what one word describes Jay.

Jay

Visionary.

I believe I was gifted to go to hell and have that experience. I’m sure you know many people that spend their whole life doing everything possible to not go to hell. I’ve already been there. It’s not a pretty place. Because I’ve been there, I was given the opportunity to know what’s on the other side of hell. I got to experience life in a different way. Because of my own transformation, I not only had a vision of what’s possible for me; I have a vision of what the world can look like if they have the same transformation that I do – if they awaken… If they discover god.

Not wonder, not pray, not get caught up in the dogma because they’re told they have to or out of fear. When I became spiritually awakened, I was fed by such various types of people from various backgrounds. I took a little from here and a little bit from there. I really looked at my own experience and when I came to believe, it was a knowing. It was a knowing that’s so far deep in your heart. It doesn’t matter what anyone says or does – you can’t deny certain miracles. That transformation… I believe I was called. I believe some people are called and some people don’t want to hear the calling.

I’ve gone back and forth at times, but I’ve been called to a larger purpose; to really make a difference in the world. It’s really interesting. Something has been coming up for me. I want to speak about my grandfather for a moment. My grandfather… I used to think he was silly or annoying when I was a little kid. He gave so much love. He was such a giver. He did nothing but give. And he used to send me letters at summer camp, when I was away. He’d put two dollars in the letter or a pack of baseball cards. There’d be little messages in them. It would say things like, “say no to drugs.” I obviously didn’t pay attention to that message.

But there’s something about my grandfather’s spirit that has recently come up in me. My grandfather was a safety engineer. Everything that he did was to better mankind. When he was in his 90s and he was starting to lose his marbles – I thought he was crazy. He would want to send letters to the governors all the time; to bureaucracy and government. There were so many people he didn’t know how to crack – to really get people’s attention to make a difference in the world. He did make a difference in the world. He lived for mankind to be different. He cared about people. I remember on his letterheads, it always said, “watch for children.”

Look, I’m getting honest here. I’m an aggressive driver a lot of the time on the highway. But if you get me in a residential neighborhood… that message resonates so deep in me when it comes to residential neighborhoods because I’m always watching for children. I realize the giver that he was and how he’s committed to making a difference in this world. That same peace is in my heart. I believe that the world can be such a different place. I have the information and the experience to show others what I’ve experienced through my addiction and through recovery. I believe I have an obligation – a responsibility. I want to make the world a better place. Like Michael Jackson says in “The Man in the Mirror.”

Just by me being a change and being source, I have an obligation to let the world know that I’ve had this incredible transformational experience. Life can be a lot better than what you probably think it is. There’s a different experience on the other side. But people have to discover that and that’s part of my job as a coach and as a communicator; it’s to get that message across to let people know what the answers are.

They get to discover what the answers are for themselves. I don’t ever want to deprive anybody of coming to believe. I’m grateful that no one told me in my experience that I needed to believe this way. Or that I needed to believe that way. I think of what is the best message that I ever received…

Right before I got clean, a family friend (someone who I trusted 100%, he was my tennis coach in high school and he was a community leader. He never judged people). I think because of his non-judgement and the love that that man gave and the hero that he was in the community… he had an ability to communicate with me and he was a positive male role-model that I trusted. Right before I was about to be dope-sick and go through the worst pain and agony ever in my life, he planted a seed.

He said, “Jay, there’s two forces in the world. There’s a force of good and there’s a force of evil. Addiction is a force of evil. For you to defeat your addiction, to get on the other side, to be clean, you need to find some force of good.”

I believe that is the seed that was planted that started to get fertilized. When the seed was fertilized then it started to sprout. Then it started to grow like jack and the beanstalk. It grew in a huge way. I believe the perfect seed was planted. In that transformation, I was given a vision. When I see the world as unified, abundant, loving, and authentic, I know that I have the ability and the power and all the tools necessary to make that possible because of the butterfly effect. The messages that I carry go out and just like the guys I’ve mentored in recovery, they’re mentoring guys who are mentoring guys who are taking a message that’s carried on over and over and over again. The beautiful thing of being a coach and being a communicator is that we connect and get that message of love across.

They’re spreading that message. They’re finding a new experience and – as human beings – we find something good and want to give it to other people. It’s like eating at a good restaurant: I want to tell my friends about it. I just don’t want to tell them about it on the night I want to be there.

Berta

So tell me a little bit about this workshop from January.

Jay

There (were) two. The first one is about addiction prevention. It’s called “Addiction Prevention Now.” Ideally, the audience that I’d like to have there is parents of young children. We talked a little bit about some of the actions that parents can take and to become awake and to have a better understanding of what the monster called addiction is and the actions that they can take.

The other workshop that I’m doing is “Transform and Awaken Your New Decade.” It’s going to be about living in principles and discovering the best version of yourself by practicing those principles. It’s really simple. The answer is always in principles. It doesn’t matter what problem you have going on in your life. There’s a spiritual solution for it, and the answer is in the principles that you practice. You will discover the best version of yourself.

On top of that, my wife just recently became a neurolinguistic programmer and practitioner. My mind is blown by the results and changes from some of the practices and some of the things that she’s done with me. I’m one oft hose people that wants results all the time and I want quick results. You know as a coach that we like the word breakthrough. Neurolinguistic programming is a way to get immediate results and immediate breakthroughs. I don’t understand it as much as she does, of course. I’m not the one who became a practitioner, but it’s really exciting. We’re tying in two game-changing things which are empowerment by principles and neurolinguistic programming. I think that the workshop is really going to be powerful. It’s really going to be a game-changer. I think it’s an eye-opener.

Twelve-step recovery works by practicing principles. You don’t have to be addicted to have gone down that dark road of recovery to take all the results in your life to a whole other level. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but the answer is always in the principles that you practice.

Berta

If you had one fear that you feel very proud to have overcome, could you pick just one?

Jay

Well think about what is the fear that most people have? Public speaking! A lot of people who hear me speak until they really hear my story and get to know me. Most people make the assumption when they hear people speak – sometimes it makes them feel like a little less than. Like, “Oh, I can’t do that. I don’t want to get vulnerable in front of anyone. I feel unsafe if I’m vulnerable.”

For me, my biggest fear was speaking in front of people. We know the stories behind that or how that came to be – me discovering my voice. But what I would say to the world – or to those people that have a fear of public speaking… the freedom to just be you – to be vulnerable – is one of the biggest gifts in the world. That’s because of the freedom that comes behind it. When I am on stage in front of people, being me, sharing about my past, keeping it real and sharing about the now and talking about the things that are going on with me and how I overcome them… there’s a level of vulnerability and authenticity that comes over me that gives me total freedom. I don’t have to hold back. I don’t have to worry about what people think of me – about people’s judgement on how I’m going to look.

I’m able to let go of that complete control and be free and the reason is that the message is way more important than how I look to you. It’s all about the message. When I open my mouth, there should be value coming out of my mouth. It should be nothing but value coming out of my mouth. Do I practice that perfectly all the time? Absolutely not. I’m a human being that’s still getting better with time. I hold that standard for myself that when I open my mouth, it should be a must for me. I realize in this moment right now that I’m saying the word should. Tony Robbins would say, “We don’t want to should all over ourselves.” I have a friend – I won’t mention his name – but he’s an incredible source for me. He doesn’t say many words. I talk a whole hell of a lot more than he does. But when he opens his mouth, there’s nothing but value that comes out of it. It’s laser and it’s effective.

I know, for me, that when I articulate and get up in front of people, there’s a freedom that comes behind it. Within that freedom is how someone will receive the clearest, most effective message. It’s when they’re getting Jay. They’re getting Jay’s authentic self.

Berta

That’s the beauty. I think when you can find someone who can share such a powerful story from a place of, “Listen, ego is not here. This is just me sharing. I can get as vulnerable as I want.” The connection is much more powerful. The engagement is much more powerful. The way that the message is received…

You’re coming as Jay. You’re showing up as what you see is what you get. That’s where the magic happens. I think you’re not trying to pretend to be anyone. You mentioned freedom a few times. Those of you who don’t know… I’ll share this as well.

Please go to teamfreedomcoaching.com That’s Jay’s website. He’s got a wealth of blogs and videos and he’s got a great YouTube channel. You’ll be able to connect and see more of the work that he’s doing. I just encourage you to visit his website. Team Freedom is just the perfect name for your company. That’s really what you do. You’re bringing people freedom.

So, Jay. If I looked you up in the dictionary today, what would it say?

Jay

I have a contract to myself. The contract is that I am a powerful, authentic, vulnerable visionary leader. It would be those simple five words.

Berta

That’s perfect! And, Jay, what do you want people to know about why you do what you do?

Jay

Why I do what I do…

It’s easy for me to say that I’m meant to do it. Because when I do what I do, I get to feel great. It doesn’t always necessarily feel great. The challenges to do what I do – there’s always challenges. When we want to follow a dream – when we want to make a difference in the world. I thought that when I realized I had a voice that I would just carry the message and that people would want to listen all the time. It’s not always the case. There’s always going to be resistance. There’s always going to be challenges. There’s always going to be nay-sayers. We’re not always in that environment of pure love. There’s always the resistance – there’s always that fear that we’re fighting on the other side on why certain people want to stay asleep.

To have what we want takes work. But the results and the way we get to feel on the other side is priceless. We’re motivated by eliminating pain or gaining pleasure. By doing what I do, it gives me lots of pleasure. It keeps me from experiencing pain. It’s really simple. As much as I get out of myself and I appear like I do a lot of service and I’m committed to making a monumental impact in this world… when all is said and done, I do it for me. That’s really what it is.

I get to experience my ideal life, and that’s why I do what I do. I do it for me. It’s the best-case scenario for my life.

Berta

Before we end this, I just want to thank you again for being here. I really wanted to have you because I wanted people to experience not only what I get to experience but your vision for the world. I don’t know if you noticed. Just when you finished sharing the story of your grandfather, I almost lost my shit in this chair. I’m a firm believer in the soul legacy that our grandparents inject in us. I had very powerful, loving grandparents. My grandmother and my grandfather – my mother’s parents – were just everything for me.

I feel that – on your grandfather’s letterhead – it’s almost like it became so ingrained in you, even if it was subconscious, that you almost saw it as a mandate. And you are now watching for children. You’re going to change the world, my friend, and I can’t wait to have a front-row seat to that.

Jay

I just didn’t see that until just now. Thank you!

Berta

But it’s very plain – very there – and I applaud you for taking on the challenge, even if it’s subconscious. And nobody is going to go through what you went through if you have anything to do with it is what it sounds like to me. So what a blessing for the children, what a blessing for the parents…

This is going to be fun, my friend, and thank you for being here.

Jay

Thank you, Berta. It’s been a pleasure.

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