#309 – Passion Struck With John Miles

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today we have John Miles. John, welcome. Thomas, thank you so much for having me. It’s such an honor to be here. It is very much my pleasure.

Would you like to take a moment and tell the audience a bit about yourself and what you do? So, I self describe myself as a recovering senior executive. Um, I spent, uh, over two decades in the corporate world, uh, working for both big four consulting firms and then companies such as ones people would recognize in England would be Bovis. I was part of, uh, Len Lace, the parent company Lowe’s Home Improvement, which is a big retailer in the United States Dell Computers, which everyone knows. And I guess towards the end of my tenure as a senior executive, I reached a point of going myself from being completely consumed and passionate about what I was doing to the direct opposite and became apathetic about uh the situation that I was in and went on a journey, then of trying to figure out what my inner voice had been telling me for a while.

Um which led me to what I’m doing tone today. I started a company called Passions Struck, uh which is really aimed at trying to help people understand their significance and how to deploy it in service of others. Um And I do that through various means um through coaching programs, online education programs, challenges, uh the podcast and books. Thank you for the introduction. Uh There’s a lot to follow up on there. Um The first thing that I was gonna ask you about was apathy. Um It’s not a good place to be and obviously that’s inspired your, your work. Uh If, if you did, if you were able to give someone advice, who was in the same place, apathetic with their work, uh what would you tell them first? Thomas? I think I’d take a step back. Uh One of my favorite quotes is by Henry David Thoreau. And he says, the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.

And as I started to, to analyze that quote, I wanted to understand how prevalent is this quiet desperation. Well, if you just look at a study that Cornell University did in 2018 where they examined thousands of individuals who are nearing the end of their life, they ended up asking them what was the biggest regret that they had in life? And 76% of them came back with the same response that they did not fulfill their ideal self, the regret of an unlived life. And I think so many people today feel that same way. They’re living in quiet desperation, the way I like in it. If you want to use a metaphor is, is if they go out in the, into their day every single day as if it’s a masquerade and they’re putting on a mask pretending to be someone that they’re not projecting to be someone to the world that they’re not while inside they have this inner turmoil of feeling insignificant and I think it perpetuates and it gets worse over time.

That’s certainly what happened for me because I found myself by societal standards having everything that the world tells you to have. I had the money, I had the possessions. I had the accolades and fame and magazine articles written about me and promotions and everything else. Uh But none of that was filling me inside And I guess I came to the realization that for me, none of that really mattered. And what really mattered was happiness, contentment and the relationships that I could forge. So I guess the question becomes, why do so many people fall into this trap? And whether you’re a follower of Robin Sharma Marshall Goldsmith, Hal Al Rod, whoever it may be, there’s a sobering fact that only 5% of society will ever create and live the life that they want. Why is that? Well, it’s because of the lure of safety, oftentimes the career choice or path that we take is dictated by the allure of stability and safety.

It certainly was for me and research here in the States shows that I’m not alone. Um I examined a ton of data from our congressional budget office that showed that the number of entrepreneurs, the share of entrepreneurs in us households declined by half over the past four decades. And the biggest decline is in people who are either college educated or high achievers. And the biggest reason why is because they found out that it’s safer to take well paying jobs than it is to start their own businesses and pursue the life that they’ve always wanted. So what ends up happening is you end up taking this alternate path than the one you probably feel in your heart you wanna do. And then over time you get stuck there and we get stuck there because of all the things that accumulate. Um And it puts this pressure on us that now we have the wife and the family and the house and the social standing and everything else.

And then you’ve got to maintain it and you find yourself in this position where you’re in a place where you absolutely hate what you’re doing. You don’t fulfill, feel fulfilled with it. You go in to work to perform an unfulfilling job to go to meetings that don’t lift your spirits and you’re in this endless cycle. And I think what people don’t realize is this happens similar to how someone would experience burnout or severe depression. It’s not as if one day you’re at point A and you flip a light switch and you’re at point B, this is a gradual thing. So you end up when you’re young, starting to make these choices that are leading you farther and farther away for who you desire to be. And over time, this undercurrent of burnout or apathy starts to grow and it and you don’t even realize it’s happening because it’s coming at such a low level. But over time, it’s building this foundation and building upon itself and it’s in the background and your life continues to go.

You’re continuing to, to do things every single day. The, the, the same as you do yesterday until you hit a point where it goes from moderate levels of feeling indifferent to all of a sudden the hockey stick moment happens and then you’re faced in, in a crisis and that’s certainly, I believe what happened to me and you reach a state when you get there. Um At least for me where I felt so numb inside. Um There were days I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Um And it’s something I wouldn’t wish on on anyone. Thank you for sharing that. Uh I think is a great answer. Um There was lots of, lots of things to pick up on, but for whatever reason, uh I’d like to follow up on the fact that most people, I mean, at least in employment anyway. Um My perception is that most people are aspiring to be the person at the top, the CEO of the big company rather than the business owner who’s gone out on their own.

So what was it specifically that was also to premise this question, my interpretation of someone who is CEO of a big company over, let’s say a, a small business owner is that they are somewhat similar. So what was it specifically, which was so bad about being the person at the top of a big corporate. For me, it was all the things that I was passionate about. I was no longer performing, meaning the more senior I got, the more that my days were filled up with either office politics or hr issues and it wasn’t filled up with the things that brought me alive inside such as innovation and creativity and working on projects, problem solving these sorts of things. And um I, in addition to that, uh once I became a CEO, you, you think you have it uh so great, but you really have no one you can talk about, talk to because you, you don’t want it to show any vulnerability to the board.

You don’t wanna show vulnerability to um your subordinates, you can talk to people, but they must be in different industries than yours because you don’t want to share any of the, the feelings that you have inside about not doing the job that you need to, et cetera. So it really uh I found became one of the loneliest positions I’ve, I’ve ever experienced. Whereas I think if you’re a small business owner, the difference is between the two is you have more ownership over what you have created. Typically, this is something that you’ve built from scratch. Um It’s part of your inherent DNA and there’s an emotional tie between you and the business. And I think what ends up becoming is you and that business become one. I mean, your, your identity is so tied to it that it’s just AAA different situation when I was in these fortune 50 companies.

The other thing I, I realized was that I was spending countless hours making profits and money and other people’s dreams come true, but I wasn’t making my own dreams come true. And I think when you’re a small business owner, you have much more control over that and that destiny, thank you for the answer. I think that um I think people have heard the, it’s lonely at the top uh quote, but I don’t think um I think from your answer, there is a misconception about what it means, what that day to day activity is as like the right at the top of the corporate structure. Um So I think it’s, it’s a valuable answer in terms. Do you think it’s fair to say that people just have a misconception about what it means to do that role? I think there is a misconception. Um I think that they, they misunderstand how much power the CEO has versus um how much influence the board ends up playing on, depending on the situation you’re in, on the company you’re in, I was in a private equity owned software company.

And so the private equity owners, one were micromanaging everything that we were doing, but had a lot of input on what they wanted to see the business become, which in many ways was far different than my vision for where I thought long term it should be because we were looking at two different things they were looking at in the short term, what can we do to bring profits up so they could sell it? I was looking at it long term about what would be the viability of the company, the things that we could do to stay relevant in the future. And it was a pretty big discourse. But the other thing I walked into was a previous, I walked into a situation where the previous CEO in this one company and CFO had colluded to misrepresent what was happening in the company and they had misrepresented top line revenue by about 25%. They were using expenses to fuel their personal lives, pay for their cars, et cetera.

And so I walked in on not only having to clean up that mess and restate the earnings and everything else, but also active lawsuits against these two individuals which became a vendetta for the board, which almost took on more priority, having to chase those things and be involved with them than it was running the company. And there’s really no one you, you can turn to in these situations. It’s either you do what the board wants or uh you, you stop functioning in that position. I, I hope that brings more color to it. Yeah, definitely. Even when you’re the boss, you still have a boss. Absolutely. And I can, I can totally see how uh it would lead you to, should we say create a business? Which is, well, I love the name first and firstly, passion struck, I think is a great name. Um So you’ve created a, is a business as well as a podcast. Is that right? A business as well as a podcast. I mean, what I’m trying to do with the business is to create systemic change.

Um And we’re trying to approach it in various different ways, but the only way you can create systematic change is is to do it at scale. So this first podcast that we’re doing was really the entry point in an experiment to see whether the concepts that we’re talking about, whether the feelings that we think people had, we were resonating with people globally. And that is, we keep hearing, I think globally about these epidemics of loneliness, helplessness, how mental health is, issues are just increasing across all age dimensions. And when I started to go deeper into this, to me, I think it coincides completely with this feeling of un mattering, which then leads to you feeling the a apathy and then or the numbness uh that I was experiencing and based on the response we’ve had, um I think it’s showing that we’re onto something.

Yeah, I totally, totally can see how that would be the case. Um And I did also want to mention the fact that you’ve written a book, um called Passion Struck. And I would like to ask you about that. Um But the, you gave me a segue there, which is, um, I wanted to ask you about what it means to live an intentional life, which I think you were, um, you were referencing. So what, what does that mean to you? So I kind of stumbled upon this because I was doing uh an exercise. I call the one word exercise. So you try to put yourself in a position. People, often I ask, how do you find the problem that you’re trying to solve? Well, this one word exercise is a great way to do it. And it’s basically you do a ton of work trying to figure out what is that one issue that you feel so compelled to tackle? And for me, this took not just a day or something, it took really about it. 18 months of, I started out with a different word I ended up with.

And then as I thought about this, um, un mattering or being apathetic. Well, the contrary to that is living with intention. And so the way I started to think about this is, um, I am a huge fan of um, Professor Angela Duckworth’s work, um at University of Pennsylvania. She wrote a great book called Grit. And as I was, uh, rereading it, uh about seven or eight years ago. Um I was putting myself in the shoes of the cadets at West Point. And fortunately for me, I have firsthand knowledge because I went to the Naval Academy. So probably a 99% match of what they went through. I went through. And her conclusion was that it was physical abilities, passion, and perseverance that allowed the cadets to, to graduate from the academy. And I started to think about that and my life at the academy, um had some particular highlights that were probably different than anyone else had ever experienced because while I was there, I was on the honor committee and it just so happened that the class underneath me, um, decided to cheat on an electrical engineering exam, which became the largest cheating scandal in the history of the Naval Academy.

And what it taught me is that you can have all the passion and perseverance, physical abilities you want in the world. But if you’re making choices that don’t align with your core values with, don’t that don’t align with where you wanna be in life, you’re gonna end up like hundreds of those midshipmen did, which is not graduating. And to me that is the difference between being intentional and unintentional. Um, when we are unintentional, there’s always this constant voice that we hear in our head. And most of the time it’s telling us to do the same thing over and over and over again. And we fall into this pattern of making easy choices that end up not aligning with who we want to become. And most of the time don’t align with our core values. To me, being intentional is making the much harder choices, these micro choices that we don’t even think about in our daily lives, but end up culminating into a synonymy of greatness or a waterfall of despair as we move on in life.

So intentional is really understanding when your course is not going in the direction that you want it to be and taking actions that are deliberate in nature, that redirect yourself to the aspirations that you long for. You mentioned this in um your previous answer about the fact that it’s not something that happens overnight, but over a continual period, uh If you could, let’s say go back to that time frame. I know you not everyone would change things because obviously you’re in a positive place now. But if you could help someone who is, perhaps they do have that voice of this isn’t necessarily what I want to do every day. Um Rather than waiting until the point where they, you know, can’t get out of bed. Uh What would you, how would you help that person to recognize that in a voice? So I think the first thing I would do is have you think about redefining what success looks like in your life and a great way that worked for me that may work for you is uh when I was at this point and needing to get myself out of feeling this numbness, I went and sought professional health help.

And I went to a career coach who was also a psychologist. And I remember after we had had a few sessions, um I was sitting in the room and he said, I want you to close your eyes and I want you to start visualizing yourself being in a kitchen. And he goes, now, I want you to visualize yourself looking at a stool and think about the stool is being a sturdy stool, but it only has one support, one thick support underneath it. And he goes, I want you to sit on it and then I was sitting on it and he goes, now I want you to think about what happens to that stool if that support starts to weaken and that has no other legs that can help support it. And obviously, what’s going to happen is you’re ultimately gonna topple over. And so for me that con that support was the constant grind that had engulfed my life. And then he got me to think of another analogy which was think about this stool now with multiple pillars underneath it and those pillars could be whatever brings you alive, it’s whatever brings you balance in your life.

And for me, I decided that it was gonna be redefining what success looks like, and I think this is a great starting point for people. And so I started to think that redefining success for me was not the wealth and possessions and the accolades, it was the intrinsic things in life, such as growth, fulfillment and the positive impact I had on others. So in order to fulfill those things, I needed to have different elements holding up that stool. And so I made them my physical health, my mental health, my emotional health, my spiritual health and my relationship health. And I think whatever you wanna pick is those pillars underneath your stool, they can be different for each person. But the most important thing is redefine what success looks like for you and then start crafting a life differently, using different pillars to attain it a great answer.

And um I think if you are saying that you want, for example, good mental health, good physical health and good relationships, you would not necessarily choose CEO as a, as a way of attaining that, right? Cos you’ve got like no time, you gotta put all of it into that profession. So um I think that’s a, that’s a great answer. Um You did uh mention about the, well, let me, well, let me just uh jump in there because I’m still a CEO today. But the, the, the huge difference is I am the, the I control my own destiny because I am at a point now where I’m not reporting to anyone because I started this whole venture as an entrepreneur. And so far I haven’t taken any external funding. So what’s completely different is I control my direction. I control what brings me satisfaction. And to me what the metrics are for, how I want to run the company, which is a great position to be in because instead of dictating it on how much profit I’m making, I’m dictating the success of passion struck on the impact that we’re having on people’s lives.

And to me, when you wake up in the morning and you change that parameter from being so engulfed in having to make money versus the feeling that you get when you hear from a listener of the podcast or someone who’s read one of your blogs or something that said you completely changed my life. It is such a different reward system and so much more fulfilling. So I just wanted to add that to it. Yeah, I think it’s a good qualifier because um what, what I meant was the, the big Corporates rather than the um you know, AAA business owner. And um I, what, I don’t know why this, this comes to me but um knowing what, you know, now about what your priorities are, let’s say you were in that old job is there. Do you think that you could have made it um better for yourself or do you think it was just sort of like profit is all that matters and, you know, if you, if you don’t do what we say, we’ll find someone else.

Could you, do you think that you could actually make your life similar to what it is now doing that old job? Knowing what I know? Now, um, I would have never taken the job. Um, I, I guess I had fo found myself wanting to be a CEO for so long and had worked so hard to try to my position myself to get there that when the opportunity presented itself. Um I was in a, I had just started another job when this um opportunity presented itself. And this other job was the chief strategy officer over um a another private equity owned company that was closer to having their um financial windfall, so to speak. Um And I, in hindsight, I probably financially would have been much better taking that other position than this other one, especially once I found out all the issues that I uncovered uh with the previous leadership.

Um All that said is if I had to go back now and do it differently, I probably would have pursued a completely different career path. Um Had I really been more in tune and doing better introspection with my inner self much earlier in my career. So, um let’s say you had some terms, you had to negotiate terms with these people and in this strange hypothetical that I’m setting up, um You, you do have to take the job. But, um, you want sort of a certain number of hours and a certain amount of, shall we say, uh, something which might be uh considered a passion of yours? Do you think it’s even on the table in terms of um negotiating that, or is it just not possible for that type of company to give um some, a CEO that, that type of arrangement? Well, the issue for me was that the parameters um changed while I was going in the job, I think initially I came to it, um thinking I had a lot more freedom and openly expressing that I had a lot more freedom to innovate, have money uh being brought in to allow us to expand some of the products and services that we were doing.

However, uh once it was discovered how underwater the company was, everything kind of changed. Um due to the financial circumstances in the company not doing nearly as well as the board had thought. And then it forced them to re evaluate everything and to double down on um kind of the most mundane aspects of the business because that’s what was making money and to really stop some of the more innovative areas that I was the most passionate about and thought had the longest term value. So, um I think in that situation I was in, it would have been very difficult to, to try to renegotiate the parameters once we discovered, um, all the issues that, uh, were surrounding us that would have likely if we didn’t do what the board recommended, we, we would have probably gone bankrupt a bit of damage control then basically. But, uh, I don’t spend too long on that cos, um, you’re in a better place now which I’m happy about.

Um, and, uh, passion struck is coming out soon if you were to summarize, um, what it’s about and why you wrote it, what would you say? So, what I ended up doing is I started examining, it, started out with a handful of what I would have considered to be vanguards. Um CEO S astronauts, professional athletes, actresses, you name it and it ended up becoming a complete passion for me of really understanding um what makes these people break out? How do they become the, the 5%? And I, I ended up uh evaluating over 700 different leaders across these different dimensions globally. And what was so surprising for me is I kept finding that they all followed this set of principles in living their lives. And then as I was doing this and trying to reframe where I was in my life, I started to implement these same principles and there are actually more than 12.

But if you look at the better in the book, but if I looked at the ones that were most followed um by these luminaries consistently, it, it boiled down to these 12 principles that I have in the book. And the way I have organized the book is, I don’t want this to just be something that you read and put down. I meant it to be something that you live. So the first section are six principles which are mindset shifts that a person desiring to be passion struck must make. And I started with mindset shifts because my, your mindset is really the why and the why went very well with finding your passion. The second set of actions in your book in the book are behavior shifts. And you can think of this as the what and it kind of determines the how and the behavior shifts really align well with perseverance because you need to persevere to put these things into action as behaviors.

And then the last aspect of the book, the third section is The Psychology of Progress, which is really about how do you take intentional action to put the other two into play in your life? And so it’s really the, the combination of the model of behavior change mindset shifts, intentional action all fueled by intrinsic motivation that really brings the book to life. And so the way I, I wrote it is I wanted to make each lesson grounded in science. So people understood it wasn’t just me pontificating what I thought was the right thing to do. So every chapter uh is significantly engulfed in behavior science. And I use different people that I’ve interviewed um different behavior scientists or positive psychologist to give uh the scientific background on the life principle. I then explain the principle and then I tell stories of both myself and how I’ve used it.

But I also give examples from people I’ve interviewed or studied to help you see how other people have implemented in their lives. And so people I’ve profiled in the book range from Jeff Bezos to Jim mckelvey who started Square to Bono, the lead singer of U two to Derek Jeter um to Hillary Swank, the actress. Um So it’s, it’s a wide gamut of, of different people that I try to give different perspective. And throughout, I also include what I consider to be everyday heroes who have actually use this principles in their own life. And I show you them as well because sometimes I think we see someone like Oprah Winfrey and it’s very hard to see how do you get from point A to point B. But for instance, I have a person in the book named Na Nate Dukes who was an entrepreneur killing it. Um ended up uh having a whole bunch of anxiety turned to addiction to drugs.

It ended up landing him in jail. And I tell his story of how he rebuilt his life using these principles um to now become a youth minister in a church and really a, a complete second uh pathway in his life. So I meant this to be a book that really teaches you how to create this intentional limitless life that you long to live. Thank you for that. Sounds fascinating. Um Do you have a favorite chapter? I have a, I have a few. Um one of my favorite chapters is the action creator. Another one is the conscious gr and uh why is that? So the action creator to me is one of the most important chapters in the entire book. And it’s important because nothing happens if you don’t take action. And in this chapter, I ended up profiling um one of my longest mentors uh captain uh Wendy Lawrence, um who was the first Naval Academy female astronaut.

And I have known her since I was 19 or 20. She was my physics teacher at the Naval Academy and um she has accomplished so many first in her life. She was the first female to be a helicopter on a combatant warship. She was the first, as I said, female to become an astronaut, first female to actually then naval academy astronaut to fly into space, first female distinguished graduate of the Naval Academy, et cetera. But her message is, is very simple and it’s profound and that is you have to give yourself permission to dream, your dream. And her story is a great one because she ended up seeing when she was young. I, I think she was in uh middle school, the astronauts land on the moon might have been, you know, she was younger than that. But that propelled this aspiration in her mind that she wanted to be an astronaut.

And then throughout her whole life, she took intentional actions that got her closer to it. And one of those was making the decision to go to the Naval academy. Another one was that the people that she saw at that point in time who were astronauts or pilots. So she went down the path of becoming a helicopter pilot. She saw that in order to become an astronaut that you needed to get advanced degrees. And so she went to MIT um but she also talks about how so often we’re on this path and then difficulty hits and you end up giving your dream, giving up your dream. And for her, she almost reached this point when she was at MIT, she found the coursework to be much more difficult than she had ever experienced before. And she was pursuing this engineering degree. And for the first time in her life, she was failing a class and she almost wanted to give up, but double down on it. Uh Working with the professor ended up getting through it. Um but she had a number of those situations in her life where she could have quit.

But she, she kept that aspiration in line of sight. And I think the important thing that comes out of this whole chapter is that action leads to action. So that’s one of the most fundamental things that I think people need to understand is if you want to go from where you are to where you wanna be in life, it’s gonna take deliberate action. But I think people overcomplicate it. And what I have found is that if you just do small actions every single day, it could be just one thing that’s getting you closer to your dreams. You start seeing this magnify it. It kind of does that same magnification that burnout does in your life. And you keep making these small actions and over time they start building upon each other until before you know it uh you are getting so much forward momentum and it starts becoming realization of that dream that you wanted to, to dream.

So that is one of the most important chapters I think. Yeah, I’ve heard as well that um even if it’s action, which doesn’t lead you to whatever outcome, um you still learn something and that’s better than essentially just reflecting on what might be done. So even action in the wrong direction is still positive uh which I think is a great principle. Um Can I just clarify about um is it right? You’ve got military training or military experience? Yes. II, I graduated from the naval academy and I served up as an officer in the Navy. And uh is there anything that you learned through that experience that you still use. Now, I think one of the most important things I learned was how to operate in the zone of optimal anxiety. And, and it’s another one of the principles in the book. But it’s really this concept of how do you train yourself to be on the edge without going off the edge?

And to think about this, think about yourself being on a tight rope and one side is anxiety and the other side is indifference. How do you intentionally put yourself in the equilibrium between the two where you’re keeping the tight rope taught and you’re intentionally walking down it. That’s really what being in this, you know, people call it flow state is, is really all about, but it is so profound if you can teach yourself how to get there on a regular basis. In fact, Mackenzie um studied uh tons of executives and found that those who were able to achieve this flow state or the state of optimal anxiety performed 400% higher than their peer group. And not only that they were able to do the work in two hours that the majority of us do in eight. And so this uh I learned this uh primarily while I was assigned to a ceiling unit and for people in the special operator communi community, whether it’s SAS for, for you in England or us here as a Green beret or a ranger or a seal or uh combat uh technician, whatever it may be you ha you’re gonna be faced with all kinds of anxiety stricken moments.

But if you’re facing life or death, you need to be able to control that anxiety. So one of the most important things I learned was to see it like it’s a flame and a flame can do damage. I mean, anxiety could be thought of as negative energy, but you can also use it as an incredible power. And if you learn how to harness that power, which I did through breathwork, through imagery, through targeted focus, et cetera. Um You can then learn how to cultivate it more and more in your life and in the periods of life that that most matter. So I would say that was one of the biggest things that I learned that um propelled the rest of my career forward. I think that’s a great lesson. Um I don’t, I think there are a lot of people talking about perhaps how to reduce anxiety or make it go away or notice it, but not many people talking about how to use it. Um Is there any examples that you would share in relation to how you take anxiety and make it almost like a tool that improves you?

So I think a great example is the one I decided to pick for the book. And that is um well, II I can give two. So one person I profile in the book is this guy Jesse Luigi who himself, it is a former former naval officer who on one of his deployments started to daydream about, uh wanting to be a professional race car driver. And today he is a NASCAR driver. Um, and I was talking to him about this whole concept of optimal anxiety. And he gave me a great analogy when he first started, uh driving on the track, what he found himself doing was either being too cautious. And when he was too cautious, he would wreck because the drivers behind him would expect him to, to be more aggressive and he would almost pull back and they’d end up wrecking him or when he tried to be way too, uh, using the anxiousness way too much.

He also wrecked because he was finding that he was too much over the edge. And so for him, it was practicing. How do you get in that zone where you’re driving the car? But you have control of it to the point that while you’re in it, you feel like time to time stands still. And I think for anyone who’s ever played baseball or cricket or, uh, softball, any of these sports, it’s that moment when the ball is coming at you and the pitcher may have thrown at 100 MPH. But to you, it’s as almost, it’s coming at you in slow motion and you are so much in that zone that you’re able to hit it and that’s exactly what, uh, Jesse was able to achieve in the race car. I think another way to think about this is imagine that you wanna play volleyball and you’re on a court and maybe you’re 25 years old and the people on the other side of the court are in their seventies, obviously, for you, you’re gonna be beating them pretty bad.

Um, given the difference in age and so you’re not gonna feel very compelled to, to be in the zone to do that activity. Well, the same thing happens to you if you get on that court and you’re playing against the, the team that just won the gold medal in the Olympics and they’re kicking your butt, you’re gonna be so discouraged that you’re not gonna perform at your best either. But now imagine that you’re playing against someone who is maybe a little bit subpar you or maybe just a little bit better than you and you’re now competing with them, you’re in the zone and time to kind of stand still as you’re playing against them because you are able to focus your attention, you’re able to take that anxiety from one spectrum to, to a different spectrum, but in this one, you’ve moderated it and now you are fully immersed in the game. I, I don’t know if that helps you to understand, but that’s, there are some ways I would think about it.

My interpretation is that, um, the, that concentration level that you need in order to improve your performance can only be gotten with a bit of anxiety. So rather than looking at it as a bad thing, you look at it as something that will help you achieve that concentration. Is that fair? Yeah, I mean, it, it’s think about it is like tuning a guitar string. You want it taught enough to hit the perfect note but not so tight that it snaps under pressure. The same thing applies to peak performance where the state of alertness meets, peace of mind and the fertile ground is that middle ground that springs forth, which is when you’re performing at your best. Thank you. I appreciate that. And that will, I think that that will help me. So I appreciate it a lot. Um, congratulations on becoming an author. Uh Was it difficult to write or because I know you got, uh, some action in there? Presumably you, you’re taking action on a regular basis?

But was it particularly difficult for you? And how long did it take? Yeah. Well, I, well, first I’ll, I’ll put, I mean, it’s behind me. For those who are listening here, here’s an advanced reader copy of the book. Um, and it’s called Passion Struck the 12 powerful principles to unlock your purpose and ignite your most intentional life. Um, so I always feel that anyone who tells you they wrote a book in six weeks or seven weeks. Um, I can’t see how that would be a good product. I mean, this is the combination of seven years of, of plus of research, of writing literally hundreds of blog posts to test out the content, doing hundreds of podcast uh episodes to further test out the contents of the book. So that I knew once I put it in here um that it was gonna stand up to the quality test and I interview a ton of behavior scientists.

So to me and, and medical doctors and, and other professionals. So I knew that whatever I was writing was gonna have to be stuff that would undergo the mic microscope. So that put um a lot of added pressure on um how I was writing the book. So it, it took me probably from beginning to end about four years. Um And it, to my favorite part of the writing process is I generally will write a chapter and as I’m writing it, um I, I typically am rewriting as I’m, I like to write, get something on paper, give it 24 hours, come back and revisit it, put it down for a couple days, come back and, and redo it. Um And then I like to just put it away for a month or two because in that period of time, you typically see things from a completely different angle. So then I come back to it and rework it. And then through the editing process with the publisher, I probably reworked the book about 20 times.

So, um, so it’s, it’s a long drawn out process at, at least it was for me. But I think that the fact that uh we touched the book so many times and tried to refine it. Um And I remember at one point we were at a word count that the uh publisher thought was too many. And so I had to take 15,000 words out of the book and they wanted me to just cut chapters. And I’m like, I’m not gonna do that because it’s gonna ruin the, the, the way I wanted to write the book. And so having to go back in and take that many words out of the book was very challenging. But I think it made the chapters uh become more succinct and uh more impactful in a way. But then you, you get done all this. And I remember the, the publisher originally gave me these cover designs for the book and to me it, it just didn’t resonate with what I felt was the power of being passion struck.

I mean, the one that they wanted to go with was a yellow cover with a paper airplane that was flying in a zylon in a, in a path that cut through the words passion struck. And I, and I can see the metaphor that they were trying to approach. But to me, um I had always had this vision of this flame that is on the cover, that kind of uh shows that at your, at the beginning of your journey, you’re kind of at, at this place um of, you know, the, the fire is kind of smoldering and as you’re becoming more passion struck, it lights up, which um I think the book ended up conveying, but I had to go out and actually, um I hired three or four designers on my own and I worked uh the design with each one of them till I found one who kind of got the closest to what was in my head. And then had to have a battle with the publisher about actually putting it uh on the cover of the book. I think they’re very happy now with the end product.

But uh and then you get into the whole marketing phase of the book. And uh I have found that, that this is even more challenging than writing it to begin with. So it’s, it’s definitely a journey well again, well done. Um And you would have gotten my vote if there was such a thing about the uh the cover of the of the book. Um So, yeah, well done for that. Uh If people want to buy the book or get in touch, where do they go? Time is the best place for them to go is they can buy the book at any of the main places that you would consider buying books. Whether that’s Amazon Walmart Barnes and Noble, et cetera. But if they purchase this uh before February 10th, then I’ve also cultivated some free giveaways for the audience as a thank you for pre ordering the book. And these range from um getting early access to the first chapter of the book to I created a master class on five ways you could go about finding your pur purpose.

And then I created two ebooks um where I took aspects of passion struck and I blew them out. So one is um on intrinsic motivation and how to use it in your own life and, and then to lead your teams using it. And then the other one um which I think is even more impactful is I, I describe a concept in the book called The Deliberate Action Process, which I’ve been using since I was in my late twenties. And it has allowed me to 10 X every job I was ever in. And I ended up creating a 70 page ebook where I go through it in detail with exercises on how you can apply it in your life. And so you purchase the book, go back to passions, struck.com/passions, struck, book, put in your order number and you get access to those different tools. And other than that, uh you can find me at my other website, John R Miles. John R Miles on all the social platforms. And please check out the Passions Struck Podcast.

Sounds great and uh well do well done for doing the giveaway. Um John, thank you for being a great guest today. Thank you so much Thomas and uh it was such an honor to be here with you again.