March 2023 Recap
This show provides a recap of the last two episodes from March 2023, including “The Journey Back to Self with Philip McKernan” and “Designing Your Lifestyle with Justin Donald.”
Welcome back folks. I've got another new recap show for you from March. This recap covers two episodes with Philip McKernan and Justin Donald. Lots of amazing content with these two guests. Excited to share with you today.
So let's start with episode 33, The Journey Back to Self with Philip McKernan. I have the distinct privilege of sharing this episode with my friend and mentor, Philip McKernan.
He is the type of human who's actually very hard to describe in words. As I've said before, you simply have to experience him. This episode gives you a glimpse into his world and speaks to why he's had such a profound impact in my life and countless others. We cover a range of topics that all map back to finding your true self.
This includes realizing our gifts, leading with mind verse soul, the power of crying, creating space for transitions. Philip is a master at the art of knowing ourselves and getting back to who we really are at our core. And so this episode has a ton of content catered around that and more.
Phillip's courage is also unlike anyone else I've encountered. So I'm deeply grateful for that and the experiences I've shared with him, including this episode.
Some of the key highlights.
Phillips started with just humility and it's expressing that he's just a regular guy trying to do his best, when in reality a lot of people, including myself, see him as, as an extraordinary guy who's sharing and impacting the world through his coaching, his stories, his movies. He's a creator at heart. He's got all this awesome stuff. If you wanna go research him, Google him.
He also talked about how he does have a gift, and he honors that now. He didn't always honor that. So as a shift for him in, in just coming in tune with his gift and then being able to embrace that to fully express himself.
We talked a little bit about performing and how energy can often dictate how we show up. So some people like to perform and put on a show because it's what people expect, whereas other people like Philip and myself, we lean into energy. And so it's easy to show up as ourselves if we feel into the same energy that people bring into our world and we're aligned around that energy.
Some pretty profound quotes during this conversation, "and yet when we are ourselves, our brilliant, beautiful, dysfunctional selves, we just create an environment for everyone else to be the same." So I thought that was a really cool way to distill all that. Just how we can show up authentically and not feel the need to perform or be influenced by other people.
We talked about fear and ego. Philip said, I don't trust my brain at all. I don't trust my mind. That's not to say that he doesn't leverage it or listen to it, but from his experience, people stay in their minds. And staying in our heads often is a way to avoid pain. When we get out of our head and connect with our soul, it feels like a, a more fully connected experience, a more intuitive place. And from Phillip's perspective, when he gets to that state, there's not a decision that he can make that goes wrong. I really love that.
We talked about, gave some examples there like getting into business with people and other really helpful scenarios where it can, can really, give you context to the whole mind versed heart and soul led actions.
We talked about childhood and the journey of getting back to some of those experiences from our memories, our, our early programming.
From Phillip's experience, his journey, he tried a lot of things. He had some success, some failures, and it took him a while to really land where he is today. Which is, you know, his, his true calling and, and really expressing his gifts. And he gave some awesome context to his story he had, which is funny, but powerful in terms of his first experience with a therapist.
And we talked a little bit about rage and what that can evoke, the emotions behind that. Then we talked about crying, as Phillips says, crying is a physical demonstration of truth. I love that. It's an expression of how we're actually feeling, you know? So when we cry, we allow ourselves, allow our body to just to be and express what it means to express without holding back, without suppressing emotions.
Some of the things he mentioned is that like if you're tired, sometimes the origin of your tiredness is actually blocking who you are at your core. Talked about how people often want to soothe people who are crying instead of allow them to cry and be in their presence.
I thought that was a really powerful thing that I've also experienced in my life, is that when we allow someone to cry and hold space for them, it's so much healthier for them to express themselves instead of trying to calm them and, and hug them and say it's gonna be okay.
He also mentioned that like in the world today, it's actually more acceptable to be angry than to cry, which is quite wild when you think about it.
And that maps back to some discussion we had around anger. Anger is very easy to evoke. It's one of the, the strongest emotions. I've talked a lot about anger on the show and it's as, as we are holding space for anger versus crying. It's interesting that humans are so much more comfortable with anger than they are with crying.
Then we talked about SPACE. You know, the brand behind this podcast. My passion project that I'm pursuing now more holistically, it's coaching and holding space for people, creating content. And I had to give Philip a lot gratitude that he was a big part of why I started SPACE and and committed to this podcast, committed to this work.
And he gave me some kind words and response in saying that, you know, he'll take some of that, but give me a little bit of gratitude back and, and allow me to own that I took action.
You know, we talked a little about courage and bravery and this is Phillips said, it's harder to lean into something when you don't have a clear picture. Is that scares us as humans. But to him it's the precipice, the marriage of creativity and brilliance and bravery all coming together at one time. That's where we started to do extraordinary things.
You know, he shared some cool stuff too that I'm not gonna spoil for you around his work in the world and, and being okay creating space to perhaps let something go that he's been doing for years with a high degree of impact and art. So that was pretty cool to, to have him share that on the show. Mm-hmm.
You know, some of the things that stuck out in that, on that thread are that he's realizing as he really checks in and tunes in to his soul, is that he's ready for a different conversation.
He's ready to have a different conversation. Doesn't mean he's changing the work he does in the world. Just perhaps changing how he does it, who he does it with, where he does it, et cetera. So as he's surrendered to that, a lot of big opportunities have presented themselves, which is so awesome to hear, you know.
Speaking tours, things that he can do and integrate his children into. And other just combination type experiences where there's more than just fulfilling the ego or helping people. But he's actually finding these amazing ways to blend things where a lot of people get value and end up winning or realizing transformation.
Then we talk about transition. So the transitions have been big for Philip recently. He's given a lot of talks around them. He has a lot of insight and wisdom in this area. Some of the things that popped up in, in that part of the combo is like we should be asking ourselves better questions earlier on in the process. This can make transitions easier.
A lot of times we hit these scenarios in life, midlife crisis or big transitions that are challenging and they're scary. And to Phillip's point, you'll know when it's time to transition and if you kind of prepare and you start asking questions earlier on, you're gonna have a better time or an easier time handling that and moving through transitions cuz they're tough.
He also talked about like verse love and he thinks that humans tend to overuse the word love, which I agree with. You know, and they're very different things like and love. These are, these are not to be synonymous. And he gave some examples how a lot of the entrepreneurs he works with say, oh yeah, I, I love my job.
And then when he really gets into the work with them, he's like, well, yeah, I guess I like parts of my job. And so, as you can see, these words we use have very different meanings. Kind of liking your job is very different than loving your job. You know, so what else is in here?
We, we segued into transformation. Philip has a lot of experience seeing transformation. Being with transformation. Like I said, he's worked with countless entrepreneurs with groups. He's led retreats, including Brave Soul that I participated in, which is a life-changing experience for me. So, you know, he had a lot of sort of insight here.
One of the things he mentioned, to summarize it, "transformation to me is creating space for people to come home to themselves." So that's a really powerful thing. We talked about how a common phrase is "we're all just walking each other home," which there's truth to or can be truth to for you, but we also have to be careful that there's tons of people out there with prescriptions and ideas of how you could walk yourself home, when in reality you have to figure that out, right?
You need to come home to yourself and find your true self. And so transformation can require the space to do that, and sometimes it's removing things. It's not adding things. It's like really just being able to be with yourself and get back to who you are so that you can find yourself again.
You know, the last thing we kind of talked about is mortality and something he said.
"I think if we think about ourselves a little closer to our own mortality, It can be an impetus and a little bit of a healthy urgency towards making changes in our life and truly realizing transformation." I thought that was very powerful. You know, humans avoid this topic of mortality. It scares us. We don't talk about it a lot, at least in a lot of cultures we don't.
And, the topic of mortality can really wake you up. It can really inspire you to spark that change, to spark that transformation.
There is so much gold in this episode from my perspective, so I would encourage you to go back and listen to this as an hour long episode. I had a lot of fun listening and participating and interviewing Philip.
It's arguably one of my top episodes, at least my favorite episodes to date, simply because I had the opportunity to hold space and and create content with someone who's changed my life in profound ways. Like I said before, SPACE, the new brand, the container that I'm doing this podcast and my new coaching work wouldn't be possible without Philip.
At least that's my truth, is that he's been a big part of my journey, and so being able to have him on the show, was a beautiful honor. And I'm deeply grateful for the energy that he's brought to my world.
Next we have episode 34, Designing Your Lifestyle with Justin Donald. So Justin, also known as JD's, a buddy of mine, he's a fellow Front Row Dad.
And he has also impacted a lot of lives, specifically as the Lifestyle Investor. So he brought this brand to life a few years ago. You know, Justin's background, he's had tremendous success with investments in all different realms, and more importantly, really learning how to design his lifestyle by buying back his time.
So he's one of the few people I know that truly owns his time and isn't just putting on a show, isn't performing, but can literally do what he wants when he wants, and still have the capacity to help people to teach, to mentor, to inspire, and then even still do some investing. So he lives a really fun and creative lifestyle.
He's also extremely humble, which we talked about immediately. You know, Justin's one of those, the types of people that even though he has a lot of financial and material wealth , you wouldn't feel that from him and just being with him. And I say that in, in the highest form of a compliment, is that being with him is like being with a friend.
He's curious about life. He's competitive. He's funny, and so I really admire that about him because I have met people with the same level or similar levels of financial material, wealth and status that do not show up like Justin. So I really wanna honor him for that.
Some of the key highlights from that show, we talked about space.
He immediately shared that he creates space for family in the calendar first. So he learned from his journey at one point, he was having a lot of professional success, and he claimed to be family first, but his schedule didn't reflect that. So now it's the opposite. His family time, his friend time, his personal time, go in the calendar first, and then work comes second.
He leaves Fridays completely open. I love that. I do the same thing. I call him Freedom Fridays. He uses that time usually to have a half day date with his wife, and then half day to hang out with friends.
We talked about travel, so he's got some cool travel coming up. He's visited 76 different countries, which is pretty awesome.
Him and his wife have a cool way of balancing their travel formula because he's in Enneagram seven, he's ready to go, go, go, wants tons of experiences where she's a little bit more reserved and wants to take a, a more paced approach. And me and my wife have the exact same situation. I'm ready to hit all the countries. Do 'em fast, absorb it. Whereas Gabrielle loves to kind of take it a little bit easier and, and really be in one space.
Then we talked about the Lifestyle Investor. So you know, Justin, like I said earlier, has a lot of insight and wisdom in this area in terms of of making investments, looking for deals, truly buying back your time.
You know, he shared the, the whole why behind this. It's like he knows a lot of rich people that work like a dog, where their work owns them, their money owns them. And he realized pretty early on in the process, he doesn't wanna have to work so hard to have more money. He'd rather have more money so he doesn't have to work so hard.
So he can work smarter and then work on things that inspire him or give him purpose. And so he shared a little bit about his career story, and then found pretty quickly on how to start buying his time back. He started to real estate, offered some insight there.
He's even written a book about Lifestyle Investor, which has a bunch of awesome content . And you know, one of the things you mentioned that's important is like, well, if we know that most people don't like what they do and they wanna buy their time back, why don't they leave? And the truth is, it's hard.
It's hard because with a job, especially a full-time salary, you have a sure thing. Just to show up, do your job, you'll make the same amount of money. And it's, it's a very certain thing. And so most people can't step out of what they're doing and pivot to something else until their expenses are covered.
So they always bring up that, well, I gotta replace my salary, my compensation. And so he acknowledges that and, and offers some ways where you can think about how much money you need to truly live your lifestyle and then living within those means, growing from there, and then having the flexibility to invest in different types of deals.
We talked about time ownership, so as I mentioned before, Justin's time is very much his own. He chooses when he wants to work, how much he wants to work. It's really why I brought him on the show besides just wanting to talk with a friend. Is that he equates true wealth to owning your time, not owning a bunch of things, which I wholeheartedly agree with.
Like if you can really own your time and not have all these requirements and demands and commitments and you truly choose the things that come into your life, then that is designing your lifestyle at its core. And time ownership is a huge part of that.
We talked about the net worth trap. So this is big in the financial world, is big in his world cuz he helps people with investments. And he explained how it's a horrible gauge. It's a false barometer. He knows a lot of people that check the box at a high level on the financial side of things, but inside they're miserable. And the problems that we live in a society that overvalues financial success and overvalues being an entrepreneur with a big business and pursuing unicorn status, et cetera.
And truly, most people think their net worth is bigger than it is because of these things. Cuz they own a business or, you know, they, they create these stories their net worth is this and that. And to Justin's point, it's not a great measurement. In fact, you should instead focus on real cash flow or things that are worth real value, that's tangible that you can use to invest.
And as it relates to that, we talked about how the goalpost moves for a lot of people. When you start talking about net worth or goals or what's your number. If you're looking to, to reach a certain target so that you can have more freedom, more financial freedom. For many high achievers, this just continues to grow.
So the more you make, the more you spend, you increase your lifestyle instead of balancing it or decreasing it. And this is a recipe for disaster if your goal is to grow wealth or grow financial resources and then get your time back.
So I thought that was pretty important for us all to hear cuz I've fallen into that high achiever demographic is like, if you know you're wired to learn and grow and constantly achieve, then you have to, to be aware of that and make sure that you don't move the goalpost, as Justin said. Otherwise, you're never gonna have enough. You're never gonna reach what you want.
We talked about self accomplishment. So he started doing his dreams list back in 2006, and so he, he learned early on to want and achieve things for himself, not others. It's a big part of why he's had such an impact on people today with what he does.
And also just to speak to his humility, he loves to get into a room where he doesn't know a lot and he can have other people teach him. It's a way that he stays grounded, a way that, that he can continue to learn and put himself in an environment where he's growing for himself.
We talked a little bit about goals. We talked a little bit about investing. Great stuff in there. I would encourage you to listen to. We also talked about competition and failure, and so Justin's very competitive by nature. He's a great athlete.
You know, he talked about how he has that internal engine of wanting to show up and the best that he can be, and just a desire to at least have a competency for things at a minimum, and not taking shortcuts and putting in the reps, which I think is awesome.
But he also recognizes that he can hack, in a healthy way, getting good at things by hiring the best people to teach him or to be in the room with. And so he can learn things there without having to go through failure. Without having to go through unnecessary failure.
Because we talked a little bit about failure and he explained that he doesn't put a lot of energy into it. In a way that he doesn't dwell on it, right. He recognizes that failure does not define who he is. But it is a part of, of understanding things and learning, and so he's more focused on his skillset, his work ethic, what he's gonna do, decisions he's gonna make, and using failures to help inform that.
Coaching. We talked about coaching. So Justin coaches many people in the Lifestyle Investor mastermind groups. He teaches them what he's learned. And he got into this cuz he feel like he had a lot of mentors in his world and he wanted to be able to give back. He wants to be able to help people get outta the rat race cuz he was in that he learned firsthand what it was like to be trading time for money and now it's the opposite. Now he has a lot of freedom.
And so, he sees coaching as an opportunity to teach what he learned. Um, talked about lifestyle investor and how one of its core missions, actually it's larger vision besides just helping people, is to fight human trafficking. So he is a, a really soft spot in his heart for human trafficking.
He has a daughter, and so he found a way to connect his emotion, his strong emotions to that, to the work he does in the world. And now that is a big part of the, the larger vision for lifestyle investors. To really combat human trafficking and create more awareness around that.
And then finally we ended with transformation. So you know, Justin's had the opportunity to watch a lot of people create financial freedom, buying back their time, which has allowed them to transform. And he's, he's deeply inspired by seeing close friends and family create these epic experiences and have the financial resources to do things they truly want to do now, whether it's vacations or, or volunteer work or charity, or even just the work they're doing in the world with the passion and the freedom to exercise their gifts.
You know, he's made it a point to invest in the smartest people and whatever their thing is, like we talked about earlier, he hires people who're great at their craft.
He's invested in coaching for years the same way that he's now coach and mentors others. And just the importance of finding people that are world class or truly best in class at what they do. So again, he's learned that this allows him to grow faster and elevate instead of having to do everything himself and learn and fail the hard way.
So lots of great stuff in there. Overall, I just, I appreciate Justin for many things. You know, I'm inspired by his humility, his leadership, his authenticity. He's impacting a lot of humans by sharing what he's learned and he does it without sacrificing who he is. I think that's one of the, the most important things I've taken from Justin.
Is that spending time with him is just like hanging out with an old friend. It's not like spending time with someone that can be so intimidating because of status and all these unhealthy things that often come with financial success. So I really honor him for the amazing life that he's created for himself, his family's, friends, and then now how he's sharing and bringing that to the world to help others.
And that's a wrap, March recap. Hope you enjoyed it. I will catch you next week.
Ali is a creator who's passionate about coaching people through desired self transformation. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people do their inner work. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.