Turning Sadness Into Strength
Justin Thomas, a board-certified health and wellness coach, shares his personal story of loss and how he overcame tragedy to become a stronger provider who is able to serve without burning out.
Don’t miss Justin’s expertise on becoming a provider who thrives with practical strategies to invest in yourself so that you can better provide for those around you.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- Justin’s personal story of loss
- What Justin learned about grieving
- Helpful resources to cope with grief
- Why Justin became a health coach
- How to redefine what it means to be a provider
- Practical strategies to become a better provider and leader
- Click on this link https://courses.justinthomascoaching.com/the-matter-ladder-challenge for a free course on the Matter Ladder Challenge
- Become A Provider| Paperback: https://bit.ly/3E3sWQb
- The 5 Minute Journal: https://bit.ly/3Kzuns2
- CL Thomas Fellowship: https://www.clthomasfellowship.org/
- Duke Integrative Medicine: https://dhwprograms.dukehealth.org/
ABOUT JUSTIN THOMAS
Justin Thomas is a National Board-Certified health and wellness coach trained in integrative medicine as well as a successful entrepreneur having started and operated multiple 7 figure businesses across various industries. He is the co-founder of the C.L. Thomas Fellowship – a nonprofit mentoring organization in America and Ireland.
CONNECT WITH JUSTIN THOMAS
- Website: www.justinthomascoaching.com
- Podcast: Become a Provider Podcast: https://www.justinthomascoaching.com/podcast
- Twitter: @justinthomasnc: https://twitter.com/justinthomasnc
- Instagram: @justinthomascoaching: https://www.instagram.com/justinthomascoaching/
- Facebook: Justin Thomas Coaching: https://www.facebook.com/JustinThomasCoaching/?ref=page_internal
- LinkedIn: Justin Thomas: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasjustin/
Welcome to the perfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on a Fullmer where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation. One imperfect day at a time. Hi, and welcome to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I’m your host. Wilmer today on the podcast we have Justin Thomas. Justin is a national board, certified health and wellness coach trained in integrative medicine, as well as a successful entrepreneur. Having started and operated multiple seven figure businesses across various industries. He is the co-founder of the cl Thomas fellowship, a nonprofit mentoring organization, currently serving people in America and Ireland. Featured in Forbes box faith-driven entrepreneur in JAMA, internal medicine, welcome podcast, host and author, Justin Thomas, Justin. Welcome to the podcast. It’s so great to be here. Thanks. It’s great to have you. I read your book. So for everyone, listening in watching book is right here. Like so many people in your journey, you know what I love hearing about people’s stories where you are today. Um, some people, it starts with loss. Some people it starts with, maybe it’s not personal loss, maybe such a job loss or some sort of significant challenge that kind of forces you to pivot and reevaluate your life. And this was true of your story and it started with a loss. So tell us a little bit about pop. Yeah, well, once again, they should have me on here. And so I appreciate you diving into the book here and the story is very personal one. And, um, so my story really started as a typical day. Like many of us, we start our work week out and I was in the office. I was a, um, at the time CEO of a small tech company and kind of in traditional stereotypical fashion, we’re in this hip coworking space and, uh, you know, really cool and modern and. I go into the office. First one there trying to plan out the day and I get this text message. And this text message was a CHP, which my dad would use to, uh, to say call house phone, because he was just getting into texting at the time. And that was about as far as he could go listen, some acronyms and to him, it was like, Hey, call the hospital. That’s not unusual. You don’t on a Monday morning getting that text message from him. So I’m like, gosh, you know, like I had, you have my to do list and kind of like frame of mind, like what you have on your day. And some of the Garland we call hospital. So I call the house phone and, uh, someone answers, but it’s not my father’s voice. And it was one of his best friends actually. And he said, Justin, your father’s passed away. Uh, he just died of a heart attack. And as you can imagine, it’s just such hard news to, you know, ever hear of. Um, and it was sudden, right, this was very unexpected. It’s not like you were expecting. Yeah. And it’s so, so sad too. Yeah, it’s so sad because you have, you know, cardiovascular disease is one of the top killers in America, but at the same time, this system unexpected, when someone dies of a heart attack. Yeah, just out of the blue, you know, I was starting my day, just like everyone else on a Monday morning thinking like, Hey, you know what I have on my to-do list today. Right. And I get that text message. And once again, I’m not expecting anything other than to hear my father’s voice and I get the exact opposite and find out that it’s just passed away. Yeah. Yeah. A whole process that many people are familiar with maybe more than ever thanks to COVID in the last two years. And this having to pivot very quickly, not only just in your own personal life, but just the practical nature of what it means to suddenly lose somebody. If you haven’t experienced. There’s a lot of practical things that have to happen that you don’t process. If you’ve never done it before, just arranging a funeral, figuring out, especially when it’s sudden, and it maybe hasn’t been planned out, but I casket the service, the who’s doing what putting together. Something as simple as collecting photos and putting together a slide show for a service when you’re not expecting it. And it’s sudden there’s so much that happens all at one time and something that you highlighted in the book that I think a lot of people can resonate with is there’s almost this you’re on survival mode. You’re suddenly like having to pound out all of these things to get it done. Initially, you enter this leadership position where you just need to get it done. And then the water settles a little bit and suddenly it’s like, Oh, wait. Now it’s time to grieve. What does that look like? And you, you pointed out two things and I just want to talk about the grieving process a little bit. You mentioned that one, the importance of active reflection to heal in that grieving process. And you also mentioned that the grieving process is like the seasons. So talk to us a little bit about. What active reflection looks like and how you use that to heal. And then the concept of grieving, like seasons grieving and seasons. And I’m so glad you brought that up because, you know, unfortunately we don’t think about it, but we’re all going to lose your parents. Right? I mean, hopefully most of us have great relationships with our parents and that at some time, You were going to lose them. I mean, that’s just the nature of license. For some reason, we don’t acknowledge this. Right. And it’s such a surprise and it’s, it’s odd that we don’t prepare ourselves for the moment. As I think back it was something that I had never actually prepared for or thought about. And it’s not as if you want to necessarily, you don’t want to walk around with this weight on your shoulders at the same time you think? Well, why wasn’t I more prepared for this? Fortunately for me, At a very wise mother. And so here she is grieving her loss, love of her life, and then she’s able to help me out. So I’m the oldest of three and she probably could sense that I was, uh, as I said, uh, reflect, you know, had a mask on of, I was, I was so in the mindset of just completing the to-do items, as you mentioned, just like this avalanche of activities that happens after a loved one dies you need to do. And. One of the moments I remember is that we were actually at the bank just trying to get access to all my father’s accounts. And they thought I was the lawyer. Like I think, you know, it was because I was so just maybe stoic and, um, you know, trying to just businesslike. And so my mother being wise and probably seeing this firsthand, she actually sent me a book and it was really helpful. One on the grieving process that describes. And grief like the seasons. And what is the name of that book? We’ll include it in the show notes on my blog. What is the name of the book? Uh, let me send you a link afterwards. I think it’s, I’ve got it. I’ve got it. Um, uh, in my notes, in the book as well. It’s okay. I will put a link on the show notes. It was such a Jessa thoughtful gift that she provided for me. And what it did was it just, it helped me appreciate the fact that you can’t rush through the seasons. Right? So here we are having this conversation January it’s winter for most of us. And you know, you don’t like the cold, like you still have to go through winter to then get to spring. And it’s up to us with how. Go about that journey. And, and so the book helped me appreciate like, Hey, this is a season I’m in and just acknowledge it and then learn from it. And it’s the season and it’s not going to last forever. Uh, but at the same time, it, we don’t know exactly like when the snow is going to come, when the ice rooms become and, and you just have to be prepared for it and acknowledge it, make the best of it. And so, and learn from it. And so that was a very helpful resource, uh, at the time. Uh, being a young father, myself and being in a leadership role in this tech company, I thought I had a lot on my plate and at the same time, I really wasn’t emotionally prepared for that process. And the book helped me. So I hope that’s a helpful resource for those would be going through that process. And I, and I would like to say too, so we’re coming up on the. Uh, the five-year anniversary of my father passing away. And it’s not as if you just go through grief in one winter cycle, right. You know, the seasons come and go. And, and I think, you know, people give yourself some grace, if they feel like I’m still in the fog, you know, that may be the, the seasons again. Right. And it could be triggered by the holidays and MTC at the table. And so, you know, it’s a complicated process of living through grief. And so I’m so thankful for my mom to give me that resource. And also I’m thankful for a friend that helped me process it, as you mentioned through this active, um, reflection. And so for me, what that looked like was I had family and friends supporting me during the, especially that first couple of weeks, uh, saying, you know, Justin, I’m so sorry. I heard about your father and one friend actually said, You know, you should write this down. Like you need to journal this Justin, because I was sharing some of the lessons learned and the activities I was doing, you know, kind of the first born son taken on some of the responsibilities of the planning. And he’s suggesting, you know, you need to write this down and I’m so thankful he did, because it helped me learn this, this practice of active reflection of taking time to consider. And just a little bit of like a mindfulness practice of how’s my body feeling like, what are the thoughts going through my mind here? What are the things that have stood out or the last week in this experience? And that helped lead to the book and some of the stories there that I’m so grateful for it, because it’s hard to capture the emotions unless you actually capture the emotions in the present time. Yeah. I love that concept. You know, you mentioned journaling and I think what I appreciated about that idea of active reflection. For right or for wrong. I think it’s more often geared toward women. Women tend to be more inclined to journal or to write things. Just the whole concept of journaling is very much geared toward women. I think for whatever reason and. I love how you highlight the importance of it just from a healing standpoint. So you mentioned a couple of things, but just to recap, especially speaking to male listeners or for the women listening, maybe, you know, their husbands, their spouse, their brother, their father, or somebody is going through a process, whether it be job loss or personal loss, and they’re grieving, speak to them for a second. You mentioned a couple things, but tell them what they can write down. You don’t have to have this eloquent. You know, it’s a little equate, like just tell them what are simple things that they can be writing in a journal that will help them with this process of active reflection. Yeah. Another great resource. If you are just new to journaling and you want some guidance, you know, resource that that I’ve used and currently do is the five minutes. It’s something very simple and easy. And how it’s designed is in the morning and asked you a couple of questions to start your day off and allows you to say, you know, what would make today? And, uh, it has a prompting question of affirmation about yourself. And then at the end of the day, it just has a couple of other questions too. And to say what was great about today, and then there’s something that you want to learn from today. What’s that? And so that’s a nice journal that prompts you with some questions that you don’t have to think about. Just a blank piece of paper that can be very intimidating, very intimate. Like, I don’t know what the heck to write. I don’t know what I’m feeling. Yeah. So the five minute journal is what Justin just said. The five minute journal, very helpful resource, if you want to do that. And, and you know, and if you are the type of person that journalists. Uh, a little bit easier than you may. You may notice that, uh, give yourself of a time limit to say, Hey, I’ll do this for five minutes just, and it takes the pressure off a little bit. Even maybe put some constraints in case you go too long. And so sometimes just having that time goal is nice to say, I’m just gonna let it flow. Like, you know, give me five minutes and let’s see what happens. I’ve got a cup of coffee and, and journal with it because the practice of checking in research self is one that I didn’t appreciate for going through this grieving process. Getting into health coaching is this idea of just really being self-aware is really powerful one. Yeah. And I would throw in there too from. Listening. And again, for women who are referring men to listen to, this is two very, very simple questions and write these down simple questions to just ask yourself everyday, especially if you are going through a grieving process and just don’t even know where to start. The simple answer one. How do I feel right now? Just simply write down. You can write one word angry. Frustrated hopeful, whatever it is. Just answer that one word because that’s what Justin just said. That is going to be a simple, straightforward, get to the point in touch with how do you actually feel right now? And then number two would be, what am I grateful for? Right. Just those two, those two questions I think will help in a very simple way, five minutes, like you said, you can answer both those questions in five minutes, lots of ideas here, guys, for you to be able to journal simply without feeling the intimidation of a blank page. So the five minute journal, and then certainly the advice that Justin just gave, what would you say. Initially. So your father, your father passed away, you mentioned you were in and the business world in this entrepreneur world. And then. You made this move into health coaching, and many people might be like, why does a really strange, I mean, people have done that with me too. They look at my resume and they’re like what? It’s like hard to reconcile all of these really random things that I have expertise in. So tell us a little bit about that transition for you and what moved you from the entrepreneur world and the business world to. Yeah. That’s my version of hammers and hugs it’s coaching. Right. So, yeah, there’s, there’s a great saying in business, you don’t want to let a good crisis go to waste and meaning that you need to learn from these moments. And so for me, I’m very fortunate that here I am. Thinking that I’m on a plan and a trajectory in my career. And then my father passes away and it gives me the opportunity to reflect not only on his life, but on my own. And it gave me just this sense that maybe this isn’t the right path for me, that I’m on professionally. And what if I made a change? And so. Yeah, there, there are some wise counselors that will say don’t make any large changes in the first year of a loss. And then what I would say to that is that that’s true. And also listen to your own story and journey because you know your story during the best. And so for me, There have been a little bit of discussion with my wife of, you know, maybe this isn’t the right career for me, long-term given the amount of stress and given the amount of uphill work that was happening and maybe it was some passions were elsewhere. And so during that brief at time and gain back into the office, What if I try to live at my father’s legacy and I had the opportunity to reflect and share a toast at his funeral, and it was more like an Irish wake and it was great. Like we have that, we rented out a bar and, uh, people came and there was that slide show. And there’s a little tables with notebooks and people could like write notes and memories about my father’s life. And he lived a pretty crazy life and had an interesting life. And so a lot different passions too. It was just, uh, almost, you know, just an Irish white, like the best way of describing it. And so you grew up in Ireland, are you first-generation or did? No, that’s a good question. I actually did my at my wife and I lived in Ireland for a year and I went to get my. Uh, in Ireland before doing that tech CEO role. And so we have, we have some Irish roots, probably like many Americans, but nothing direct like that. And so, but for me, I guess maybe, you know, the experience of being in Ireland seen that pub culture and seeing, you know, how they go about life there. It was just the right setting for him and I, the chance to just deliver toast, I’m standing on like, imagine that. Uh, an erected DJ booth. It’s a very not traditional. And I just had this one page toast and I just wanted to challenge myself. What’s the one word that I could use to describe my father and I used the word provider. And so, uh, to me, what that meant was he just did an excellent job providing for others in a variety of different ways. And so here I am getting back into the word workplace after going through his loss, the funeral, the toast, and I’m just thinking. Well, I don’t want to be here. Like this is a world of like custom software development. Just doesn’t seem to be my calling in life, you know, after you’re forced to face death and get through the grieving process, you just, you know, it’s a gift to say what I really want to do with my life. And so ironically enough, what I wanted to do was encourage others to be a provider. And I chose the path of quitting my job to explore that. Right, right. Oh, that’s really funny. Okay. So tell us a little bit about that. So you, you quit your job. You ended up going to get a certification in integrative medicine and she transitioned then into this provider, I guess the first question. And we will, we’ll dig into this provider mentality and expertise, how to serve as a provider without burning out, uh, in the second half. But when you say provider first define for us, what is a provider? What is that definition? Yeah, it’s funny. Cause you look up in the dictionary and it’s like one who provides, which doesn’t really help too much. Right. And then the, the definition that I give it, it’s it’s one who blesses and protects. So provider equals blessed plus protect. It’s straightforward and simple. And it was inspired by reflecting on the life and legacy of my father and how he did that. And so, yeah, I would encourage listeners to just redefine what it means to provide, not that kind of stereotypical financial provider and aspect of it, but yeah. Sells itself so short. And so what I’ve been doing is exploring this role and identity provider and trying to challenge myself into how do I do that? And at first it was a journey of just all right, like how do I bless and protect others? How do I bless and protect others? And then you realize, well, that’s a good strategy in life and a good heart, however, maybe not sustainable. And especially as I got into this world of health coaching, it made me appreciate, well, actually, The goal and the secret sauce here is how can you provide for yourself that allows you to serve others in a more sustainable way? And so how I got there, it was just, I think I’m, you know, an accidental health coach in one way, because here I am thinking, I don’t know what I’m going to do with my career, but what I want to do is quit my job and explore. Concept of being a provider. And so I started a, uh, I started a nonprofit and I ended up my father zeal Thomas fellowship, and the idea was to recruit a class, a small group of guys to kick off the first year. And let’s explore that. Uh, being a provider and each month we take on a new habit and try it out. And I was fortunate enough to be part of some mentoring programs in the past to model what it looks like to be intentional and community, but I wanted to do it under this umbrella and the theme of being a provider. And so I put in my notice, uh, quit the job, uh, launched the nonprofit, and then my goal was okay, well, let me just put some structure on this, not profit, but it’s not gonna be. What is going to be provided for my family. Right? If financially, I need to figure that out along the way. It’s so cool to, like, once you have this goal, you clarify your vision. People like find you. Right. And I was, I was doing a. A marketing video to promote this scholarship group and this non-profit and a mentor of mine was doing B roll. Like it was a B roll footage moment and he didn’t even know what bureau was. He felt like he was actually giving a talk. He prepared like a real talk and it was so nice and video this, and I’m sitting there acting like, I know what’s going on. Like I’m in B roll and I’m acting like listening to my mentor, but he’s sharing his life story. And he mentions that he did this. Um, health coaching training program at duke integrative medicine and how it was one of the most practical trainings that he’s ever had. And here’s this guy like a mentor of mine, very successful. He’s been a CFO, he’s a CPA, he’s a, um, counselor. Like he’s gotten all of these different, you know, a master’s degree in counseling. And so, but here he is talking about this health coaching certification. And I don’t know what that means or what that is, but here I am without a job and not really know what I’m going to do. And I thought, well, this might make me a better small group facilitator and leader. So. I signed up and that’s how I became an accidental hope because you’re maxed at a health coach. I love it. We’re going to take a quick break, but when we come back, we’re going to do a speed round of this or that with Justin, learn a little bit more about him. And then we’re going to dig into his expert advice on how to lead through service, being a provider, what that looks like practically without. Burning out. Right? When we come back, you have tried it all worried. He will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed, want to achieve fat loss without spending hours in a gym or eliminating entire food groups from your diet. Well, now you can, in the virtual faster way to fat loss with on a, my six week fitness nutrition program, you will learn how to pair effective 30 minute workouts with all natural evidence-based nutritional stress. To leverage what you eat. And when you eat to reset your metabolism and burn fat fast, even that stubborn belly fat, I am a dual certified nurse practitioner, passionate about teaching sustainable strategies to promote fat loss and prevent disease. I have cheered on thousands of clients who have done just that with the faster way program in my six week program, the average client currently. Seven inches of body fat, 93% report, more energy and 89% state that their mental health has improved 100% of clients report. They feel this program is sustainable. Curious to try the program, but not sure if the strategies will work for you. Try the faster way strategies for free. And head to www.hammersandhugs.com and sign up for my free seven day fat loss accelerator course today. And start your own transformation story. All right. We’re back here with Justin, Justin, you get two options, this or that. You don’t have to think about it too hard. No, no stress. Um, coffee, hot or iced hot. Do you have a favorite coffee drink? Counterculture coffee here in Durham, North Carolina. It’s just straight up black coffee. I’ve actually heard that before. Um, my brother and sister-in-law and aunt live in Asheville, North Carolina. I have heard of counterculture counterculture coffee. Um, would you rather visit Ireland or Scotland Ireland all the way. So you have, we need to chat offline about Ireland and where’s one place in Ireland that people need to go when they visit our. I would say, uh, county, uh, Donegal it’s in the, uh, Northwest kind of area of Ireland, harder to get to rustic and, uh, amazing clip use cliff views. Okay. Burger or hot dog, dog, or cat, dog. I’m not going to disagree with you there. Water skiing or stupid. Oh, let’s go, uh, water skiing. Yeah. I like to be above water. Yeah. On top of the water instead of under it. Um, all right. Last one. Would you rather camp or go to the beach camp? Do you have a favorite camping spot? You guys can’t. Uh, yeah, so, um, we’ve got some property in Floyd, Virginia that we’ll go to family property up there, which is, and then 10 of our life adventure in the COVID world was, uh, we got an RV. And so, you know, we did some, uh, some glamorous. You know what it’s still camping. It just may look a little different. Everyone’s camping is very subjective. Yes. And it’s a great adventure too. I mean, talk about, uh, learning how to work through problems and troubleshoot and learn a lot of new skills. Like a house on wheels. It’s a big responsibility, a big deal. So. Uh, that’s been one of my I’d love to put that on LinkedIn as a skill is learning how to drive an RV, learning how to drive an RV. I mean, just camping in general is kind of a skill in and of itself. Like tent camping is a whole nother, you like need a degree on how to set up a tent alone, at least my tent. Uh, so we’re talking about how to be a provider we’ve defined it. It’s this concept of blessing and protecting, and I love that con that sort of duality, if you will. I think for men, especially. We don’t necessarily think about the blessing piece of it as a provider, as opposed to the protection, I think is more classically suggested whether it be through media or even just generational concepts of what it looks like to be a provider. So tell us a little bit, one about that concept of investing in yourself in order to be a better provider, and then how that translates into. Ultimately blessing and protecting. So to kind of tell us a little bit about what that looks like from a health coaching standpoint, how you are using that to teach people, to serve themselves in order to better serve others. And then how that translates into blessing and protect. A lot of this is just a beautiful tension. Isn’t it? Between blessing a protecting of the soft skills, the hard skills, then also investing in yourself in a way that also helps others. And so that’s why it’s just this ongoing journey and process. And so how I describe it is we all tend to start in the default nature. Just kind of passive living. Like it’s just our default, nature’s not good or bad. It’s just like how we are, where you make the money, you pay the bills, try to stay out of debt, try to be a good father. And those are like, you’re trying, right? Like you’re living life. You’re trying to do that. And then, and then you realize what was some intentionality. You can change your world. And so what I found is that there’s those two kind of, um, lovers levels to pull there. You’ve got the blessing of protecting us. So if you want to, uh, start to be more intentional with blessing yourself and blessing others, that’s great. And that’s a great place to start. And depending on your personality type, like for me, that’s where I started. Like, it was just easier and more natural to say, how can I be more generous and bless others in my life? And what are some small acts of kindness, whether. Uh, making coffee from wife in the morning or buying, uh, you know, a stranger meal, you know, those are just nice fun. Examples of being more intentional with friends, birthdays. And what I found was there’s also a risk with that is that if you go too far down the blessing route, You become like Santa, like it’s like, again, figure I’d love to stay at a cost. It’s not that person’s going to give you that hard word or be with you in those hard moments. And so, so I learned that as well. Like there’s, there’s that blessing, which is part of becoming a provider. But if you just focus on that skill, then there’s a risk of just staying there and you’re not able to fully provide for yourself for others. And so I had to talk myself up to have more hard conversations, and I learned that through the health coaching training program. They just throw you in the deep end. They’re just like, you want to learn how to be a coach. All right. You and you, you’re going to pair up, you’re going to coach and we’re going to tell you what you do wrong. You know, even more friendly way. The feedback that I kept getting was, yeah, it was too. To kind of like in that Santa’s blessing and not in the protecting of a world of when someone tells you something hard, you can’t just brush it off. You can’t just say, oh well, aren’t you glad that, you know, that happened because of this. And, and it’s just, it’s really insensitive. And I never meant it to be that way. But what I realized was I was just. Staying in that blessing bubble and not being willing to go into that protecting habit, building phase of my personal development and what that could look like for some of us that, you know, that’s hard is just acknowledge a hard moment. Don’t gloss over it. And at the same time, you know, maybe ask the more difficult question with someone. To say, you know, is that true? Like, you know, do you really want to do that? Or, you know, what I’m seeing in your life right now is different. From what you’re telling me, that’s, those are hard conversations, but that’s what being a provider is all about. It’s, you know, combining those two blessing and protecting, and then it’s even more difficult. It’s like, you want to do that for others, but you gotta do that for yourself as well. How do you do that? And it’s by building healthy habits and having some, you know, try and try the best you can to have a compelling vision. And that’s what I love doing is encouraging others. Hey, we had this general definition of being a provider bless and protect. What does that mean to you? Like, you know, think about the vision of you are operating at your best, providing for yourself and others. What does that look like? And just to ask someone to reflect on that, going back to our earlier conversation about active reflecting, that could be a really good prompt to start that journaling habit. I’m a, I’m a, at my ideal best as a provider when I’m doing the falling for myself and when I’m doing the falling for others and just see what that is, and everyone’s got their different version of a provider vision. And once you have that provider vision, Then just experiment, like, you know, try get to habits around blessing, protecting and stretch yourself and just acknowledge like, Hey, based on your personality, where do you tend to default to passiveness or that Santa, or maybe like your, you know, in that soldier kind of field about protecting too much and don’t have that emotional intelligence to go along with it. So that’s part of the exploration of what does it mean to be a provider for yourself? What do you find when you work with men? Um, you know, I think one of the things that I’m hearing and that would make sense to me is in order to truly dive into, especially you mentioned emotional intelligence, and I think that’s, again by nature, nurture whatever harder sometimes for men to do, to tap into that sort of the emotional intelligence piece. And some of it just has to do with our own mental and emotional blocks in life. Or insecurities, et cetera, that kind of come to play. If you could sum up for the men that you have worked with in your experience, if you could sum up the blocks that the men experience to really being able to dig in in one word, what would it be or phrase like, what is that one challenge that you find most consistently men experience to being able to dig a little bit deeper there and reach their full potential. That’s a great question. Uh, one that reminds me of another prompting question that relates to this it’s, you know, your values when the opposite really angers you, meaning that we have all these buzzwords, like, or if, you know, back in the days, when we go to offices and you see on the walls, integrity and honesty, and you know, all these responsibility and those are all good. Yeah. You know, what’s a real, genuine value when the opposite anchors you and, and, and so for me, and then going back to your question about, you know, what helps people kind of break through with that? It’s this making sure that you’re vetting, you were actions so that they’re not selfish. So, and that’s a hard conversation, meaning that if you want to. Go on this self-improvement self-development provider journey. And you want to think about doing this in a way that’s going to truly provide for yourself and, um, serve others better. Then there’s this, there’s this kind of enemy of selfishness that just kind of lurks in the corner. It’s to say, you know, sometimes with the men I work with. It’s awakening this lion of like, oh man, I’ve had this passion to, yeah. They know that that haven’t done and I’m going to do it like that. And then fear of failure. Part of that at all. Like for women, I think there’s a lot of feelings of, I’m not sure if I’m enough to do this, like kind of a sense of insecurity and a fear of. Of, um, not being enough or worthy of being able to fulfill this, like somebody else might be. Do you find that with men or is it where’s the struggle? A little different? Well, so I would say that I’ve seen both, so certainly the idea of the guy that goes too far to the extreme of just now it’s all about him. And I’ve got to coach him back to say, all right, I love that you got this passion, but how is this serving others? Like, you know, it’s not just about blessing, protecting yourself. It’s about how is this passionate bless and protecting others in your life. And then also absolutely. I find that. And then are cut down to the core when they get a stinging word from their spouse partner or their manager, it’s hard. I mean, it tears them down in a way that they may not show it emotionally. It impacts how they relate to their family members. And so what often happens is you’ve got a guy who’s not feeling respected at work. And then he brings that disrespect home. And he’s not the father and the husband, he wants to be because he’s not being, he’s not able to process that. And, you know, I’m, I’m speaking from experience of being in that leadership role in that tech company, I would have days of feeling, gosh, you know, here I am like I’m CEO and I’m being disrespected by this person or that person. And, and hadn’t realized it. But I was holding on to that disrespect feeling, bringing that home and, uh, you know, adding that stress into my marriage. So. That’s not the goal here. Right. But the goal is to be able to be self-aware enough to know that, Hey, I’ve got this feeling of maybe insecurity disrespect, and I’m bringing that into this relationship. How can I handle that and process that more? So if you want a complicated beings and that’s, what’s been fascinating about getting into health coaching. It’s not that I know everything about the best diets. It’s it’s that I’ve been exposed to theories before. Theories and the positive psychology behind. Like, we tend not to be logical when it comes to our habits and we have these desires, but our actions don’t follow those desires. And it’s because we’re complicated beings. And we got to do a lot of work to identify an authentic vision for ourselves. That’s going to propel us forward when we want to make changes, but we don’t. Yeah. So I’m hearing this concept of, you know, initially working through words are big. I it’s so interesting. I’ve heard this very consistently. And mail guests and talking about male clients or people that they’ve worked with. And I think it’s good for us to hear as women, the importance of words, especially if you have key male figures in your life. Um, I have to be reminded of this. I’m very blunt and my husband will be the first one to say this, like. I will say what I mean. And I mean, what I say, so there’s advantages to that. There’s also disadvantages to that. Cause there’s times where it’s like, oh, that could have been said with much more grace. So I think it’s a takeaway for women too, to also be very conscious of how you are building. People up, but be aware that many, hear what you say and may take it to heart in a way that you have no idea. So use opportunities to, uh, you know, to build the men up in your life, whether it be your sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, fathers, whomever, and then to Justin, I’m hearing you say this concept that you are helping men learn how to change their day-to-day house. In order to propel them to one, get the life that they want. But specifically as a provider who blesses in protects, tell me a little bit about the practical way. That a guy can start making changes in his life today, based on your experience that the majority of men need to start doing that. Aren’t what are some practical things that you recommend, whether it be in your book or something outside of it, you talk about the provider wheel. There’s great challenges he has in this book. Um, there’s something called an eight week challenge. The matter ladder I think is awesome too. So I’m kind of giving you the floor here. What would you kind of hone in on here for people listening, practical, things that could start doing. Today to kind of enter that provider. Hmm. Yeah. You know, and maybe, you know, going back to our conversation about journaling is really think about it. Take some time of what does an ideal provider vision look like for you and what are you doing to bless and protect yourself and others and write that down and really test that out. And once you get that vision, I’ve got some suggestions. Uh, some habits to explore. And so there’s four blessing habits and four protecting habits. And in the blessing side of things, and going back to this idea of the power of words, like one is called the blessing speaker, and just be a blessing speaker in your own life. So give yourself some words of affirmation. It could be that five minute journal prompt or just anything. And then also, you know, understand the power that you have. Like, I think a lot of times we discount. How much of a provider we are to others. Meaning how much of an impact do you truly have as a man and other peoples. Absolutely. And, and to just the value of the words that you say, and maybe be intentional with either writing a thank, you know, or sending a message, you know, part of the challenge that matter latter challenge that eight week challenge is to do a daily. This thank you, note to someone, and it’s so powerful to do that. And it changes kind of your mindset as you begin a day that I’ve really enjoyed as well. So that’s something maybe the journaling. That clarifying your, your provider vision would be a good start. And then maybe one example of a blessing habit would be that blessing speaker. And then one habit on the protecting side that I like a lot, you know, as, as a coach is the physical fitness meaning. Like stretching yourself. You don’t do something, uh, in the day that you look back and say, you know, that was a stretch for me. And that could be a one minute plank. It could be an hour run, like anything in between. We’re more or less like, like how, like how your mindset can change by changing your physical body, doing some exercises. It’s just really powerful. So, um, I hope that’s a couple of practical things and, and, and I hope people are hearing like, This isn’t prescriptive. It’s you need to come up with a genuine vision. You need to come up with a genuine way of expressing, uh, you know, being that blessing speaker and a genuine way of doing that physical activity. So, so that’s a blessing. I protect example that, you know, maybe listeners can take hold of. And then I’d say too is while I work primarily with. On the coaching side of things. It’s I know it’s great for all of us to consider ourselves as a provider. And my wife actually in the nonprofit has started to lead a women’s version of it. And it’s been really fun cause, uh, to see how she’s taken some of these concepts, you know, particularly on the physical fitness side of things to say, Hey. We’re going to read a book about confidence. Like it has nothing to do with, uh, you know, with, with a diet. It’s just like, how do we increase our confidence? And that’s a great start to physical fitness. So, uh, I hope, you know, listeners are encouraged by the fact that we can all be providers, no matter what role we have in life. Yeah, absolutely. I just want to point out here. Uh, in your book for those of you hearing this and you’re resonating with the things that you say, and maybe there’s a guy in your life, especially that you think would really benefit from Justin’s story and his expertise. Um, this book is certainly full of his story, but there’s also a lot of practical things. And, um, you know, I just want to show you, like, in the end he has what he calls this matter ladder challenge, and there is a. Um, you know, there’s a chart here and there’s practical takeaways. You can cross stuff off. There’s very, very practical things that you can do with a I’m all about things being specific, not these generalized, you know, and it’s everything from write a daily note of encouragement to someone there’s, you know, weeks, one through eight, everything from that to joyfully sacrifice one hour this week for someone. And there’s check marks for that. And so it’s really a beautiful practical, it’s a story, you know, but there’s stuff that you can actually do and use inherit, which everyone here knows I’m all about. Let’s get some practical takeaways, things that we can actually sink our teeth into. So it’s a great book and Justin, I’m so thankful for you sharing your story. And I have absolutely no doubt that your father would be so proud of who you are today, and you’re leaving a legacy for your, your family as well, which is amazing. Thank you so much opportunity to share. And if people want to, um, have a free course, they can go to my website. Uh, Justin Thomas, coaching.com. There’s a free course about the matter ladder and I, I challenged myself to. Talk about the eight habits over the eight weeks and just eight minutes. And so that was a, it’s a quick video if people want that. And, uh, thanks so much for the time and the opportunity to reflect on lessons learned and, uh, you’re an inspiration as well on, and thank you for the opportunity to listen in on some of your other podcasts episodes and have an opportunity to share my story. Absolutely. And you guys were gonna have all these links included on the podcast. Show notes on my email@example.com. So for those of you listening, it is Justin Thomas coaching.com and also his handles for social media are the same. And we’ll make sure that all these links are on the show notes on my website, Justin, thank you so much. Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. 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