Episode 202 | January 7, 2020

Break Through Your BS with Derek Doepker

A Personal Note From Orion

Today, we’re going to talk about how to feel more empowered, inspired, and secure in who you are because even when you’re successful, even when things are going well, sometimes there is this little voice in your head that can bring you down. I invited Derek Doepker, he’s a best-selling author of Break Through Your BS. He loves sharing practical strategies to overcome self-doubt, fears, and limiting beliefs.


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About Today’s Show

Break Through Your BS by Derek Doepker

Hey, Derek. Welcome to Stellar Life podcast.

Hey, Orion. How’s it going?

It’s going well. I went to Mommy and Me class this morning for the first time and it was awesome.

What do you do there?

You take your newborn, you gather around with other moms, and you do baby yoga exercises. It’s really fun, loud, and colorful. It was really awesome. Made my morning.


How was your morning?

My morning was good. Nothing that exciting. Just getting some work done, getting some writing done, that sort of thing.

Cool. Before we dive in, can you share a little bit about yourself and how did you discover your passion?

My background, what I thought was my passion, and I guess it is to a degree, was music. My whole life plan was to grow up and become a rock star.

Me, too. I wanted to be a rockstar.

I still do, you could say. But at this point now, I’m an author in personal development, as well as business and marketing, and also health and fitness. I was really into health and fitness. Where that all my journey took a turn was playing music, went and got a degree in music from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. But then, I also got really into working out in health and fitness. I went from being a guy who was eating fast food every single night in high school to doing a total 180 transformation, being a complete health nut, and into working out into nutrition.

To make a long story short, after I got out of college, I was playing in a band. I was a typical broke musician, sleeping on an air mattress, and I wanted to create a business out of what I loved. In addition to music, I loved health and fitness, helping my friends who came to me for advice and stuff like that. I got into blogging, wrote several books, spent a couple of years not making much of any money from that. Eventually, I had a breakthrough. I published my third book, that became a number-one bestseller in weight loss or health and fitness. That was back in 2012.

Ever since then, I’ve been passionate about, not just writing and not just health and fitness, but also really helping other authors, helping entrepreneurs when it comes to publishing and marketing. Also, the underlying thing behind all of it, whether it was the fitness coaching or entrepreneur coaching. It boils down to somewhat of a cliche thing to say, but really it is the mindset, a person’s beliefs.

Everything you gain for yourself dies with you. Everything you give to others lives beyond you. The only lasting treasure is your impact. Click To Tweet

I noticed that I could give all the best nutrition and exercise advice to people but only five percent actually did anything with it. It was so frustrating trying to figure out how is it that I can give people the same information, but only a small fraction of people actually do anything with this. I found the same thing was true with business and it really came down to a lot of these underlying beliefs, attitudes, and things that are going on inside a person. That has led me to this obsession I’ve had with personal development, with psychology, and with habit change and creation. That’s at the core of a lot of what I do now.

I guess you could say my passion is really born out of frustration with myself as well as with others of, you have a list of what you know you need to do but then not do it, like this self-sabotage. What causes that? Why do I even still procrastinate on doing things that I know would benefit me? That’s been my journey of self-discovery as well as being able to take that and help others through their challenges.

That’s cool. We have some parallels in our stories where I used to be a fitness trainer and had my own private business. For me, I see that the conversations with people are what actually change their behaviors and then I got into NLP. I used to stretch my clients at the end of the session using hypnotic scripts to put some embedded commands in their minds and positive affirmations. That created a huge change.

Eventually, I was more into the psychology of people, how to make them move, and like you said, how do I make myself move? I know what I need to do, but why am I not doing it? Similarly, I went and I studied with all the great minds of our times and really tried to learn so I can have that impact in the world. Who were your greatest mentors?

There’s a lot. Off the top of my head, I remember, not someone I know personally and he’s no longer with us, but Jim Rohn. Jim Rohn, I listen to hours and hours, I made the trip from Nashville, eventually moved out to Los Angeles—this is back in 2011—and basically, the whole trip was a Jim Rohn trip, embedding these positive ideas in my head.

For hours and hours on end.

Jim Rohn and a lot of great motivational speakers. I’m a fan of Jack Canfield. Tony Robbins has an influence. More personally, I would say people that I’ve met and that I’ve learned from, at least, somewhat live and in-person or coaches, they’ve probably had more of an effect. Brandon Broadwater was a great mentor who taught me a lot about influence and relationships. When it comes to marketing and in business, Joe Bower, I’ve learned a lot from it. In a nutshell, there’s no one particular mentor.

I think I’ve learned from a lot of different people through books, seminars, and audios. What I love is that you can learn even from people who have passed away or people who have lived many years ago through their writings, their biographies, and their stories. There are still so many lessons that you can gain from them. I’m constantly learning.

It’s funny. I was thinking about this and I heard some guy complaining about something. He was watching a training. It wasn’t my training and he was complaining like, “Oh, it’s like a big sales pitch,” or whatever. I can appreciate sometimes there are these things that are big sales pitches, but I actually listening to sales pitches because I’m an entrepreneur, I want to hear what they’re doing, I want to hear what do I like, what do I not like, and what can I learn from that.

In every moment, believe that you have nothing but an overabundance of gifts constantly being showered upon you.

It’s just funny that mentality, that difference where if I go, I sit through something, and it’s a big long sales pitch, I’m still enjoying it because I’m learning something from this. I’m going to see what their approach is, what I liked, what got me excited, what turned me on, what turned me off. That’s the way I approach a lot of things, if I’m conscious of it, at least, is to mentally tell myself, “Okay, there’s a lesson in here.”

I remember years ago standing in line at the grocery store is like, “Uh, I’m wasting time. I’m in line. Come on, hurry up. Can I just get out of here so I can get back home?” I just reframed it for myself like, “Okay, wait a second. There’s probably some lesson I can get or some benefit I can get from being here.” I just started looking at the different magazines that are there in the checkout aisle and I started looking at the headlines. Now the marketer and writer in me starts looking at these headlines and going, “Okay, but what can I model from these? What can I be inspired by?”

Why You’re Stuck by Derek Doepker

There’s some headline there that was something like why you can’t sleep or why you can’t fall asleep and I go, “Okay, that’s an interesting idea, why you insert problem.” I played with it and later on, I wrote a book called Why You’re Stuck. I think the inspiration from that, and it’s just like where is their inspiration? Where are their lessons? We talked about mentors but almost anything could be a source of lessons and can form a type of mentorship, if you’re opening your eyes to seeing it.

As long as you have the presence and the awareness to look for it. Let’s talk about that book, Why You’re Stuck. I guess you had to be stuck to write that book.

Yes, which is actually a profound notice to catch that because I wrote the book shortly after I had the first successful book of mine called 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew, became a best-seller. Several months later, I thought I had my life figured out. Okay, I’m going to do music. Okay, maybe not music. I’ll go in this direction of entrepreneurship. A little bit through that, then I hit this point where I’m not really sure what I want to do or if anything I do is going to make all that much of a difference.

50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew by Derek Doepker

I hit this existential crisis, like why do I even exist? My life is meaningless. Sure, I could write some books, but there are other authors, speakers, and people doing this whole personal development thing. My life doesn’t really matter that much. What I do doesn’t make that much of a difference. That’s what I was telling myself. That would have been one level of depression or feeling lost, but what actually took it to a downward spiral is then going, “I’ve studied personal development. I should know better. I should have this figured out.” I was beating myself up for not having the answers. I was beating myself up because I know better than this. I know I should be grateful and I should be happy that I have what I have in my life.

But I’m not happy right now.

But I’m not.

Like Tony Robbins says, “Don’t shoot all over yourself.”

Exactly, which was what I was doing at the time and not really aware of it. Looking back, it just felt like I should have some clarity and I don’t but then it felt hopeless because I don’t think there’s any answer to this. What ended up happening, a long story short, was the turning point came. I remember someone reached out to me for coaching for help and I felt pretty good about that. I go, “It’s funny, I can help other people. I can help them get unstuck but I’m still going through this myself.” I have total confidence that I can help someone else that came to me.

It started to hit me like, “Wait a second. I love helping people, whether it’s with their fitness, their business, or life challenges.” I realized that if I’m feeling stuck and I don’t have a sense of my purpose, what if I’m going through this so that I could help others? Because how could I help others overcome this unless I go through it myself? How can I help other people find their purpose or find what they’re meant to do with their life? It’s not even with how I position myself, it’s not even when I say I do, but that’s part of it.

I got this appreciation for what I was going through. I go, “Wait a second, I didn’t screw something up to get myself in this situation, what if this is exactly what I need to go through in order for me to take a step back and go, ‘how did I get myself stuck? What is going on here? How am I going to get myself out of it?’”

Once I have made this journey through this stuckness, if you will, then I’ll be able to turn around and help others if they’re going through that. Just as soon as I had that recognition, now it was no longer a problem, it was an opportunity. That wasn’t the first time I heard that concept, Again, I had said the personal development at this point, but it’s one thing for it to be intellectual and think logically that way. It’s another thing to actually have a visceral sense. That’s when I actually felt it inside like, “Ah, this is my opportunity. I see it now.”

All of a sudden, I was grateful for the experience to then be able to go, “Okay, let me take a deep dive into what I have been doing these last few months, how I got myself in this downward spiral, how I got myself stuck in this position, how am I going to pull myself out, and then, what are the lessons that I’m going to be able to share with others.” That was the backstory of that.

Looking back, I’m grateful for all of that experience on all that time that I was going through because a lot of the lessons then have stuck with me ended up in things that I’ve been able to pass on and share with others.

I’m thinking about the person that is listening to this right now. I know that there are two different people that will listen to this and will react differently to the information. For example, imagine two siblings living in the same house and they go through a terrible childhood. One of them ends up in jail and one of them becomes a self-development guru. They both experienced the same exact thing.

You’re the type of person that will be in depression or stuck and then will have this zest for life, the desire to ask this question and be like, “Oh, that’s clairvoyance, that’s my higher purpose, and this is why I’m experiencing that. This is getting me unstuck.”

The other person will maybe hear that concept but still feel like it’s pointless. For that person who’s listening, how can they get unstuck, where for them it’s not natural to look for the light or to even believe that the light is possible for them?

Anything can be a learning experience and anyone can be a mentor as long as you have the presence and the awareness to look for it. Click To Tweet

When I was going through this, there was that attitude of, “This is pointless.” Maybe on some level, I did have the desire to look for the light, I think that’s what kept me going and it kept me searching. I can certainly appreciate a feeling like, what difference is this going to make? I don’t see the point, there is no purpose.

I’ll say that it’s a bit paradoxical because what I advocate is actually not necessarily just positive thinking. I think there’s a place for positive thinking but it’s not just pretend everything is sunshine and rainbows and that it’s all wonderful. In a weird way, it was actually by embracing the negative, or embracing the confusion in being lost, not having a sense of purpose, and being okay. That’s the key, I was okay with not being okay.

Some people embrace that void, they embrace the lost, and they just stay there. It doesn’t go through. They’re like, “Okay, I embrace it. This is who I am. This is my character. I’m just going to stay here for years and years and years and never step out of my comfort zone. I look at other people and believe that it could be possible for them, or I’ll hear information and nod, and say, ‘Oh, that sounds nice, but I’ll never make the change.’”

What you brought up with the first example, embracing it, is different than taking it on as an identity or as a label. You could say, “I am stuck,” versus. “I’m going through a season in my life right now. That’s like wintertime or it’s like nighttime. It’s dark out and I can’t see anything. I don’t freak out that it’s nighttime, that I can’t see anything, and that I don’t have clarity. It’s night, it’s going to pass. It’s okay.”

It’s this two-dimensional part, and this is the distinction I got, where I am either okay or I’m not okay. What I realized is that I’m not okay and that’s okay. I’m not okay but I am okay. It’s a paradox. I’m not okay at this moment but ultimately on the grand scheme of things, I am okay and this is okay.

Let’s just take it on an emotional level, I am feeling anger and that’s okay. I am feeling sad and that’s okay. Which is different than, “I’m just a sad person and I’m doomed to be this way for the rest of my life.” That’s a different mentality than saying, “I am going through sadness. There’s a feeling of sadness that is passing through my body. Let me explore this. Let me see what the lesson is here within this.”

By the way, I should probably give the caveat. Someone who is clinically depressed or going through some serious trauma might need to seek some help and some counseling to actually work through and process these things. There’s no replacement for that. What I will say is that allowing the emotions to live, it’s this paradox. It’s the fighting the emotions that tend to make them, in some ways, worse or adopting it as an identity as this is just who I am. That’s different than going, “Okay, this is a season in my life. It’s going to pass. The good will pass, the bad will pass, everything changes.”

It’s probably easier said than done. Definitely, it can be easier said than done, that this acceptance that everything is passing including the stuckness but also including the clarity. You think you’re clear now, just give it time. There’ll be another point when things are confusing and lost. That’s why I look at it as a very seasonal way.

I actually remember Jim Rohn talking about this, too. When you look at it like the seasons, now it’s not good, bad, right, or wrong. It’s passing phases and letting those phases pass through and letting yourself pass through those phases without judgment of them. If that addresses it, it’s still an intellectual concept at that point when I say on an emotional level, from a practical thing is, you don’t have to believe it, if that’s the sense. I would just invite someone to go what if. Let’s pretend what if I was going through this, not just from the perspective of what’s the silver lining, what’s the good in this, how can I create something good out of this.

Be more aware of the endless opportunities and blessings around you. They’re everywhere as long as you keep looking for them.

What I had to do is actually I had to get creative. I’m going to create something good out of this experience. It’s like someone who maybe they were a drug addict for 20 years. They could sit back and they’re going to go, “Okay, what was the good that came out of that experience?” Maybe there’s not a whole lot of good, maybe they really destroyed their life and hurt a lot of people, and yet they could still go, “What can I create from this that will ultimately take that experience?”

I look at it like alchemy, take that lead and turn it into gold. Sometimes, they become motivational speakers. They go and speak to help other people going through drug rehab or to help speak to teams to avoid getting into heroin or whatever. They can take that experience and they don’t have to let those years be a waste. They can turn it into something and create a purpose out of it. Instead of going, “What’s the point?” Maybe it’s up to me to create the point. I have to do something to create a point for all of that’s happened or that is happening. If that’s the case, what if I can take this and turn it into something? Whether you believe it or not, I would invite people to just play with it and see where that takes you.

Nice. What I heard was one is change it so don’t make it your identity. I am sad or am I sad person. I experience sadness, I experience anger, or I experience hardship. And to look at it as seasonal and as separate from you, so you can put that word, “I experience whatever emotion it is,” rather than, “I am that emotion, this emotion.”

The second thing that I heard is the what-if. What if I could? What if this is possible for me? What if I could take it and use it? It’s about changing that question to, “What can I do?” to “What if I was able to do that?”

It’s a make-believe process. That’s how I approach it. If I’m going to sit here and go, “I can’t see the point in this. There’s no point. There’s no good that came out of it.” It’s okay. Fine, you don’t have to believe that. What if you just pretended though there was a point? What if you pretended that there was some sort of good that you can create from this?

To me, I’m a very practical person. If you adopt that mindset and if you look for it, that’s when you can start to find it. If it’s too much to believe that, like full-on believe that as if it’s some absolute literal truth, you can just explore it and feel what would it look like if this was ultimately serving a purpose or if I could make it serve a purpose?

The ability to choose how you think and feel about your experience of life is the greatest freedom of all because it is the only freedom that no one and nothing can ever take from you. Click To Tweet

Instead of moving away from the present or the past, you’re moving toward a compelling future.

All the changes in the future start with whatever is happening right now. It’s this mindset that I had whenever I was inspired to write the book. I wasn’t unstuck and I was still feeling stuck when I decided I was ultimately going to write this book. But I had the vision for it and I go, “Okay, I can embrace whatever I’m going through right now. I still don’t have the answers. I still feel lost and confused, but I can ultimately see how this might be serving me, and not just serving me, but serving me in order to serve others.” Once I had that acceptance and appreciation of the situation, that’s actually what then helped propel me into that brighter future.

You mentioned you were into health and fitness. I think that the integration of mind and body is really the key to transformation and for getting unstuck. What aspects of the physical did you integrate into getting unstuck?

Once I was about 17, consistently then through my entire adult life, I’ve been into working out. Nutrition, to a degree, but also physical training. I believe that not only can it have positive effects in terms of mood. People who exercise have lower incidences of depression and so on. I was physically training even during that time in my life. I think that helped to just keep that up. I also find that physical exercise is a metaphor, in some sense. It can teach you on a level of these paradoxes.

Here’s what I mean. In order to get stronger, you got to get weaker. If you want to get stronger, get weaker. If you say the words, your brain goes that you’re contradicting yourself, that makes no sense, but if you have a physical experience of it, if you’ve ever done heavy squats, heavy weight lifting, or heavy resistance training, you would know that after that workout, you’re actually weaker, or at least, immediately after you do the exercise, you’re weaker. Why in the world would you go make yourself weaker if your goal is to get stronger?

It’s something I call the slingshot effect. Basically, you actually move further away from your goal. If you imagine pulling back a slingshot away from where you want the rock to go, you pull it away, then you release it, and it flies towards the target. You actually move into weakness before you get stronger. This can help appreciate that okay. If I want to be strong, I have to allow myself to be weak. If I want to be comfortable, meaning, having the comfort of certain physical vitality, I might have to go and be uncomfortable through physical training. I also do martial arts and different things.

I think athletes and people who are into physical fitness tend to get a better sense of these personal development concepts because they have a first-hand experience of it where they go, “Oh, I know what it’s like to challenge myself physically and then have that actually result in me feeling better. I know what it’s like to not want to workout but just go ahead and do it and then I feel great afterward.”

That mental discipline can transfer over to building a business or doing all kinds of other things in life that are a challenge. Having a tough conversation with someone and going, “Oh, I really don’t feel like bringing this up with my partner or whoever, but I know I’m going to feel better after.” If you exercise in training, you have enough of those experiences to relate it to.

Treat everything as a learning experience. Even struggles and difficult people can give you new perspectives and realizations.

If physical training, martial arts, or any sort of physical discipline, it can even be yoga, just look at the history, there’s so much of a history of connecting those things to personal development or spiritual practices, especially in particular things like yoga. We could dive way deeper into that. I see that as not only just a core part of a well-rounded life, having some physical activity and things like that, but it also really helps translate a lot of things that might be intellectually conceptual and paradoxical, and actually help give you a real experience of what it’s like.

On the flip side, it’s also possible to go in, train too hard, try to let too heavy of a weight, and injure yourself. Naturally, you can take that and translate that to other areas of life. It’s possible to challenge yourself too much, it’s possible to be so gung-ho about your personal development that you think, “I got to just be able to handle anything, crush it, and go, go, go.” And you realize you can’t just go try to bench press 500 pounds, if you’ve never lifted a weight in your life. That would crush you. It’s also going to be the possibility that you can do too much when it comes to other areas of life, especially with personal development if you try to go at it with too much of a gung-ho attitude.

You also learn about the concept of balance, the yin and the yang, that you got to stress and stimulate your muscles, but you also have to relax and recover. In productivity, for instance, as a writer and as a teacher to other writers, and really anything that you want to do that you want to be productive at, you work for a certain period of time and then you take a break. You’ll actually be more productive and more creative. There’s the neuroscience behind this of switching the brain states that supports that. You can match that. It’s just like lifting a weight. You lift it and then you take a break, and then you lift it and you take a break. You start to see the way that it crosses over into so many different areas of life.

I like the idea of taking a break, especially for people who are very driven. It’s so important. For example, I have a newborn. I just had to go through an unexpected C-section which is a major surgery to heal from. My body is completely different. I used to be super strong and athletic. I also did martial arts. I did MMA and Aikido. I did the Tough Mudder. I always saw myself as this super fit person. All of a sudden, pregnancy, surgery, a newborn, and hormonal changes. It’s so difficult. Then, a shoulder that started to act out and an old injury that came back. It is so hard for people who are very alpha to come to terms with that, and like you said, that there are seasons.

Right now, I’m in a season where this is not the right time to exercise, push it, and really push my limits. Now is the time for recovery, maybe gentle yoga, stretching, massages, mothering the mother, and taking care of myself. That is also a part of self-care because this is my way to get unstuck because right now, I am focusing on other things. I’m focusing on my baby which is the most important thing in my life. Maybe the business is taking second place. 

Right now, it’s the time to take care of my health because getting unstuck doesn’t always have to be this masculine energy, like Tony Robbins says, “How fast can you change it? Like this. Just go, go, go, left brain. Let’s just change it. Let’s think of different questions. Let’s go for it. Let’s change things.” Sometimes, getting unstuck is about just taking a break to take care of yourself, take care of your body, soothe yourself, meditate, and calm your mind down. From that, you create an opening for new things to happen.

Neurowisdom by Mark Robert Waldman & Chris Manning

That’s exactly it. Mark Waldman has a book called Neurowisdom. He’s got multiple books on it. Another area that I’ve seen this, you talk about maybe now the focus is on the baby, and maybe businesses is taking second place. What’s interesting is, I can just imagine that what if actually the time with your baby and the time that you focus on self-care and nourishing yourself, nurturing your new baby, and all of that could actually end up in helping your business. That’s the thing if you look at it long-term.

If anyone had this experience where maybe you’re trying to figure out a problem. You’re stuck, you’re trying to figure something out, you’re working at it, working at it, working at it, and then you just go take a break. A lot of times, like go take a shower. I heard a guy that I know, he goes and plays basketball or whatever. You’re just like “Oh, whatever, I’m just going to forget about it for a little bit.” Then, that’s when you get the idea. That’s when you have the breakthrough or the revelation.

What’s actually happening is you’re going from problem-solving mode in your brain to this creative mode which is starting to see just different inner connections and things. That can actually help. If you just stick on problem-solving, even though it’s the problem-solving mode, it actually keeps you from solving the problem if you’re stuck there, so to speak.

Keeping on this theme of stuck and getting unstuck, part of it’s just getting too stuck into one particular groove or pattern. There’s nothing wrong with being in problem-solving mode, but if you’re stuck there, you never switch to this creative mode that might actually be necessary to solve the problem. Likewise, if you get stuck in the creative mode, you don’t necessarily get into the action mode to implement these things.

Open your eyes to the possibility that the universe has the power to help you. Once it happens, you start to see that you are surrounded by opportunities. Click To Tweet

The point is the seasons, the cycles, the rhythms. I think about music, you have these different rhythms with a cycle of day to night or the seasons. All of this is this idea that you are going to be moving through different phases. If you can take a step back and go, “Oh, wait a second. Taking a break doesn’t mean I’m less productive. Taking a break is actually part of my productivity. Taking a break is part of my ability to accomplish things.”

Obviously, there’s a balance there, but that’s why I love the Eastern philosophy, the yin and the yang, the masculine and the feminine. There’s always this balance aspect and also the cycle between it because that’s what’s necessary for the long-term for harmony.

I’m a part of a mastermind. It’s called Strategic Coach which I just attended. Dan Sullivan created it and he’s talking about buffer days, focus days, and free days. You actually divide your week in a way where you actually take a free day. Taking a free day is taking a 24-hour break from everything, not even touching your computer for something that is not fun. Then it creates all kinds of fun days for you and your family. On focus days, it’s going to be 80% focused on getting the income and making the sales calls. Then, buffer days are the days that will be the base for all that.

You actually divide your week in a way that it will help you get unstuck because if you just keep burning the candle from both ends, then you won’t have the space to create. That leads to all those entrepreneurs who are mega-successful, everything looks really good online and in their social media, but they are breaking down, their bodies are breaking down, their mindset is breaking down. They feel depressed. Some of them can even feel suicidal and that’s because they don’t manage their lives in a way that will help them have the opening to have fun, to enjoy their families, to enjoy the moment, and then have those days where they could focus.

I think for Dan Sullivan, he’s got, I don’t know if I got the number right, 156 free days a year, yet it created an empire of coaches. He is 70-something and the number that he gave himself is 156 years old. If you have this life where you have enough buffer days, enough focus days, and enough free days to hold everything, where you take care of yourself, take care of your mindset, take care of your body, you can live a longer, healthier life.

Also for a probably more enjoyable life, where if someone is just constantly grinding it out and working, and I can appreciate that for periods of time. That can be important short-term, again, seasonally thinking short-term, fine, but long-term, especially with a health and fitness background. Seeing a person who grinds it out, they work, work, work, and they don’t have those breaks, they don’t have that self-care. All of a sudden, they lose their health and now everything that they built falls apart or they can’t even enjoy it. They created something that they don’t enjoy. They’re working so hard to create maybe freedom and yet they’re not free because of the life that they give in.

I love that approach that Dan has taken. It reminds me of something. I was talking to someone, he was talking about this. I know I can be guilty of this where he described it as someone is there at work but while they’re at work, they’re thinking about maybe their family or what they want to do when they get home. Now, I work from home, so that’s not quite the same thing, but they’re at work and they’re thinking about what they want to do when they’re at home. Then, they get home and they’re thinking about what they want to do at work. That’s partly a presence issue.

When they’re taking a break, they’re thinking, “I should be working,” and when they’re working, they’re thinking, “I wish I was taking a break.” They never quite fully get the total experience of either those things. What it sounds like Dan has done is, given space where however you divide it up, you’re saying when it’s a free day, it’s a free day. There’s no, “I’m thinking about work and I’m checking in here and there.” You have this clean break where you’re all in on the fun, it is free, it is relaxing. Then when you’re focused, you’re all in on the focus.

I think also part of the challenge—and this is where I said that I can struggle with this too at times. I’m half doing work but I’m half doing something else. Then, that’s where it’s like you’re driving with the gas and the brake pedals going at the same time constantly. It just wears it down, versus you can hit the gas or you can hit the brake, but pick one. Pick and choose one, and go back and forth, but don’t try to do it both together.

What causes self-sabotage? Let’s say people are not stuck anymore and they’re just going, going, going and starting to develop their businesses, their personal life, their intimacy, their relationship, everything’s going well and then they will do something to self-sabotage. Why is that?

The big answer is probably there could be multiple things if you were to say specifically to an individual. What I would say in a nutshell is if we boil it down and simplify it to, we want to gain pleasure and avoid pain as human beings. Now, you could say there’s more to it than that, but I’ll just keep it simple for now.

If someone is self-sabotaging, what is either the gain that they’re getting from, like secondary gain, just talked about NLP or what is the potential pain that they’re trying to avoid? This might be what is the pain of success? What does it mean if they’re successful at this? Again, maybe, success is just being used broadly.

If someone is working, let’s just say they’re building a business, and instead of working on their business, they go and surf Facebook for three hours, things like that. I’m going to look at that and I’m going to go on the most simple level, “What am I worried about, that might happen if I actually am successful?” Now, that could bring up all kinds of issues of worthiness, that could bring up issues of, can I handle this success? Can I handle the additional responsibilities? What will people think of me?

That’s why you can’t say it’s going to be one thing for everyone. There’s a handful of things, but basically it could be that there might be that fear of success, if you will, of if I actually pull this off, what will that mean? Then the flip side of that is what do I gain by not being successful? What do I gain by procrastinating or by sabotaging? That could be hard for some.

You don’t have to show up. You can be on Facebook, think about other people’s lives, and not deal with your own life. You won’t get rejected even if you don’t step up. There are so many things.

Exactly. You might think, “I’m not going to face as much criticism. If I put myself out there, people might criticize me.”

I work with authors. With authors that I work with—this applies to anyone who’s putting something out there—it’s like you’re putting a book out there. People are going to be able to review it. They’re going to be able to leave a one-star review and talk about how much this book sucked, the author is an idiot or whatever.

That might not be the most readily apparent thing that someone is thinking about if they’re choosing to not work on their business or whatever they’re working on, but that’s underneath the surface. Your unconscious mind knows or has thought about those things and has considered those things. That’s why it can be helpful to work with a coach or to go through different processes, to pull up what are these potential limiting beliefs.

How do you switch those limiting beliefs? Do you do an NLP swish pattern exercise? What are your methods to crush those limiting beliefs or transform them or transcend them?

There’s a number of different techniques. In NLP, you have different techniques and can do timeline type of work for limiting beliefs. I also even just like conversational reframing of things in stories, metaphors, and a lot of that can be helpful.

Because the subconscious mind doesn’t understand words as much as it can really understand metaphors and images. That’s really powerful for rewiring.

I also like to be practical, so I’ll give one thing that can help anyone listening to start to make a change right away. This works great for procrastination, fears, or things like that. I call it the three magic words technique. The three magic words are, “Can I just…” What you do is you follow it up with something called a micro commitment. BJ Fogg, a Stanford psychology researcher.

He was supposed to do a workshop with my husband. I just hear his name so much lately.


Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

Stephen Guise also wrote a book called, Mini Habits, which is great. The idea is that you have a micro commitment. A micro commitment is something really small that you’re going to say yes to. I’ll give an example just to clean my place. I want to clean my home and I might procrastinate. I don’t really feel like cleaning so I’ll go, can I just clean off my computer desk? I think that will take maybe two minutes, “Yeah, sure, I can do that.”

It depends on your desk.

It depends on your desk. If that’s going to take longer, can I clean off the right side of my desk? Can I clean off this little corner of my desk? You can actually make it smaller and smaller until you go sure. What happens is for me and for many others, you do that one little thing and then you go, can it just do a little more? What happens is once you get started, then a lot of times, you want to keep going.

I give exercise, this is a really common exercise. A lot of times, if someone goes, do I want to go to a 30-minute workout now? But Stephen Guise talked about he got it down to I think just doing one push up. He did one push up.

Just get in the car and go to the gym.


It’s that simple.

It is. There are people who literally, they just went to the gym and then they would leave. They wouldn’t even go workout and you go, “Derek, what’s the point? You’re not accomplishing anything.” The point is not about that one instance, the point is that momentum generates motivation. Eventually, they start to keep going to the gym and they go you know what? I’m here, I might as well work out now, one day. You do one push up and you go I might as well do a few more. I just did a set of push-ups, I might as well do a second set. You get yourself started and then you’ll want to keep going.

This is a way to just get yourself into action. It’s not working necessarily on the deeper belief level but it will help you avoid some initial self-sabotage. But here’s the thing, long-term though, your actions will influence your beliefs and your attitude. The example I give is, can I just eat one carrot a day if I want to change my diet, if I want to start eating vegetables? I do eat vegetables, but if someone wants to start eating vegetables, they go, “Can I just eat one carrot a day?” It’s going to take 20 seconds, you have to prepare it.

Once they start doing that each day, then they are now going, “I am someone who’s more conscious in my health. I am thinking about my health. I am someone who eats vegetables each day.” It starts to influence their identity, which then makes it easier for them to do a little more and a little more. Over time, it starts to take shape and shift their attitudes and their beliefs.

Awesome. This is good when it comes to moving yourself, but when you try to move others and inspire others to change, what are some tools that you’re using for that?

What works for yourself can actually work for others, takes a little translation.

Okay, listen. I have a very stubborn family. I know with my clients, yes, it’s much easier to influence them because they come, they’re willing, they are ready, and they’re able. But with my family, for example, if I want to, let’s say inspire them to change something, let’s say diet-wise, take a supplement, or I’ll buy you the supplement, just take it, please. Impossible. With stubborn people, how do you inspire them to change?

What I mean by it works for yourself is chances are, do you have a good reason why you want to take that supplement?

The 3 keys to freedom from being stuck are awareness, appreciation, and action. Click To Tweet


Do you understand the benefits?


Do they understand the benefits the same way that you understand the benefits?

Yes. I think.

You think. I would guess either they might not know it at the same level or they have a gain and not doing it. What I mean by that is like the “can I just” approach, can also be useful for others. Now here’s where it does and it doesn’t work. On a principle level, what works for you to motivate you will work for others. On a tactical level, your values are going to be potentially different than their values. Your beliefs might be different than their beliefs.

If I take a health supplement, for me, health, I remember I make these terrible smoothies that have broccoli and cauliflower. They were disgusting and they’d make me gag. They’re horrible. I don’t take them anymore, but I would drink it and I don’t care that much about the taste, I just want the health.

Broccoli and cauliflower can make you very gassy, too.

I don’t take them anymore, but at the time, my justification was, I don’t care if it doesn’t taste that good, I just want the health benefits. But not everyone has that value system. Some people are like, “It has to taste good. Otherwise, I’m not even going to touch it.” I can’t come at a person like that and argue just the pure health benefits because it’s just like I’d have to either shift their values or I’m coming at it the wrong way. In sales and marketing, it’s about what does the customer want? In this case, it’s like what are the benefits to them? The thing that might motivate you to take a supplement might be different than the thing that motivates them, the hot button if you will, the trigger, the thing that gets them excited.

On a big-picture level, if you go, “Okay, human psychology is human psychology. There are some reasons why I want to take this supplement. It’s solving some problem or giving me some benefits so therefore, if I want someone else to do it, I need to show how it solves a problem or gives a benefit.” But that problem that it solves or that benefit that it provides might be different for them than it is for you.

Lovely. I get it. I like it. We can have a whole discussion about that, but we don’t have much time, unfortunately. You might have to come back again if you like.

What are your three top tips to living a stellar life?

If I have to only give three, then I would give the three keys to freedom, that’s what I call them. The first key is awareness. Awareness is this state. There are practices like meditation but it’s really having an awareness of what’s going on in your experience, awareness of what you’re feeling, awareness of all the opportunities and solutions there are out there. It might seem vague, how does awareness lead to a stellar life.

If you’re shut down and you’re not aware, you are missing opportunities. This is the thing where, just as I was talking about standing in line at the store and looking at the magazine, that’s just awareness. That’s me just going what is here? What is in my environment right now that is here to help me? It’s just that mindset where whether it’s literally true or not, just go what if there’s something that’s showing up right now that’s here to help me or here to serve me? When you just open your eyes, you open your mental eyes to that, you now start to see that you’re surrounded by opportunities, you might be surrounded by people who are willing to help you and serve you. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is appreciation. That’s when I went and I go, I’m not feeling okay and that’s okay. I can appreciate what I’m going through. If I put my hand on a hot stove and it burns my hand, I’m not going to like it, I’m not going to like having my hand be burned, but I can appreciate that if I didn’t feel that pain, my hand might still be on the stove and I might burn all my skin off. I can appreciate pain, I can appreciate the discomfort, I can appreciate some of the hardships in life. Again, don’t like it but appreciate it because as you gain that appreciation, now you can again recognize how it’s there to serve you.

The third piece is action. Your life will change through your actions. Again, it might be a cliche idea, but then I’d call back to remind you of those three magic words, “Can I just…” Can you just get yourself to take a little action? Can you get yourself to just do one thing that will get you moving forward? If you have no idea how to move forward, if you have no idea what to do or where to go with your life in a similar situation, then I can tell you sitting there and thinking about it won’t necessarily help.

You got to get out and try things, go explore, and go on a passion quest, or do different things and take action because even if you go and say, “I’m going to just go take a cooking class. I feel inspired.” You might not become a chef, but you might learn something from that class that leads you to your next stepping stone, that leads you and so on until eventually, you do find clarity. The three keys, awareness, appreciation, and action.

Thank you. Where can people find you and learn more from you, maybe attend your workshops, take coaching with you, or get your books?

The easiest thing, we have a free book, I’m going to give you a free copy of Why You’re Stuck in the PDF version.

What? That’s amazing.

Yeah. Now you can get that at excuseproof.com/freeoffer. On there, that’ll be how you get on to the newsletter to have other books on Amazon. The newest book which came out a few years ago, Break Through Your BS, actually dives deeper into how to reframe beliefs and does it through parables, humor, little mental games, and stuff like that. You can check it out on Amazon. But the easiest way is to just get the free book and then that’ll get you into the whole system. You’re welcome to reach out, send me an email, and let me know what’s going on for you and what you thought about the interview.

Thank you, Derek, for a wonderful conversation. I appreciate it.

Yeah, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Thank you and thank you, listeners. Remember to be present, being present, awareness to your experience, appreciate yourself and where you are now at this moment and just take action, any action, any small action to move forward and have a stellar life. This is Orion. Until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Be more aware of the endless opportunities and blessings around you. They’re everywhere as long as you keep looking for them.
{✓} Treat everything as a learning experience. Even struggles and difficult people can give you new perspectives and realizations. 
{✓} Be careful with the language you use on yourself. Refrain from delimiting beliefs and always lean towards kind and encouraging words.
{✓} Keep your heart open to abundance. Believe that you deserve all the good things life has to offer and that you are strong enough to deal with whatever challenge comes your way.
{✓} Allow the emotions to flow through you. Cry or be angry if you need to, but realize that you don’t need to dwell and suffer in that state for too long.
{✓} Seek counseling if it gets difficult for you to process your emotions, and it’s disrupting your life. It’s okay to ask for professional help. 
{✓} Get creative in coping with life struggles and find something good that came with any experience. Humor always is an excellent remedy. 
{✓} Establish a mental discipline and build habits that will help you reach your life goals. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, so be patient and take small steps.
{✓} Maintain a well-rounded lifestyle and prioritize self-care before seeking out to help others. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
{✓} Relax and recover after working hard. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle can boost productivity. 
{✓} Grab a copy of Derek Doepker’s book, Break Through Your BS: Uncover Your Brain’s Blind Spots and Unleash Your Inner Greatness.

Links and Resources

About Derek Doepker

Derek Doepker is the bestselling author of Break Through Your BS. He loves sharing practical strategies to overcome self-doubt, fears, and limiting beliefs.



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