Crashing Into Self Awareness

by Kenneth Rayman on June 12, 2017
My interest in self-development was born out of a rock bottom moment. A year and a half ago I hit personal rock bottom when a professional relationship took a hit because interpersonal communication issues. I knew I needed to make a change before another relationship suffered because I had moved to Seattle to start fresh and I was falling back into my age-old rut. I started small with reading articles by a well-known organizational leadership coach, Travis Bradberry, on LinkedIn and then once I felt I had read enough I took the next step and bought his book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” and read it within a month. I knew it wouldn’t be an overnight fix but I wanted to make sure I took it seriously and didn’t slack. Taking notes with each section I made it a point to write down strategies that either resonated with me or that I knew I had a problem with, that needed correcting.

The first strategy was to listen to my body’s reaction to stimuli. I took note anytime I felt my body react to something that I had an emotional response to and waited a few seconds before I responded. It felt weird but I knew I was helping myself each time and soon noticed that I could anticipate the reaction by knowing how I’d react. Frustration had a momentary stomach sink, and I quickly picked up that I needed to think before reacting; happiness, recognition, or accomplishment felt like an electrical charge and glee.

What I needed next was momentum so I took to YouTube to find inspiration. I already knew of a guy, Evan Carmichael, who had a video series “Top 10 Rules of Success” that highlighted different celebrities. I watched his video for Tony Robbins and found some starting points but I felt like, starting out, it needed to be incremental, being afraid that I might emulate and find I wasn’t making real change. I found Evan’s video for Brendon Burchard next, liking his enthusiasm and no-frills videos speaking directly to the camera, focusing on positive reactions to everything that you could imagine.

After watching all of Brendon’s videos that I could find, including a keynote speech at Superhero You and a seminar he did for business leaders shortly after the economy began to improve, I bought his books, “The Charge,” and “The Motivation Manifesto,” and did the same as I did for Travis’s book, taking notes on strategies to incorporate into my daily interactions and ways to figure out just what I wanted to do and make it happen, both personally and professionally. I could tell my mindset was shifting but I once again grounded myself, “it’s not an overnight transformation.”

Then… came the bomb buster, I clicked a motivational mashup video with a collection people giving advice and this one person stood out; I felt I connected with his advice to be concerned only with myself and my true strengths and not with everyone’s opinions. He wasn’t being motivational. He was raw, unapologetic, focused and, for a second, I thought he was the gangster I watched on History Channel’s “Gangland” series, Joe Hardcore of FSU. The video’s description said his name was Gary Vaynerchuk.

The keynote speech in 2011 to the Inc. 500/5000 Conference, was my first glimpse of Gary. I was amazed at his brash, straight forward attitude, especially given the audience of the forum. He told the crowd at one point, “I know, some of you think I’m dickhead right now,” and I thought, “no, you’re telling me exactly what I need to hear.” I loved his style and watched every video I could, his keynotes or his personally branded videos, the first were, “The Straightest Road to Success,” “Overnight Success,” and his “rants” “Monday Morning Motivation” and “A rant from the heart, hip, and head.” Suddenly I realized I cheered him for telling someone upfront to stop complaining but got defensive when anyone did that to me. I knew Gary would say, “You cheer when I do it to someone else but when it happens to you, you complain… that’s Bullshit,” right then, my mindset changed forever.

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