Oct. 17, 2022

Chris K. Jones - How to Let Go of Not Feeling Like You Are Enough | Mental Healing Coach

Are you Feeling Unworthy? In this episode, I am joined by my guest Chris K. Jones who is a former...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/chris-k-jones-how-to-let-go-of-not-feeling-like-you-are-enough-mental-healing-coach/#show-notes

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Are you Feeling Unworthy?

In this episode, I am joined by my guest Chris K. Jones who is a former competitive athlete and coach. His experiences in his youth with professional athletes shaped his interest in understanding the minds of athletes. Chris turned to Judo, translated as the “gentle way,” Buddhism, meditation, and intensive self-reflection to begin his journey to healing.

Today, Chris and I will talk about how to push yourself to the next level and turn failure into success.

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, serial entrepreneur and author, Chris K. Jones. Chris, my friend, how are you? What is happening in your world today?

Chris: Hey, Michael, thank you for having me on. Really excited to be here, we definitely resonate on so many different levels, and what's happening for me in my life is, I just launched my first novel after a 30-year career in being a serial entrepreneur and CFO, you know, maybe it was always my dream to write and being able to do that and I'm looking forward to talking to you about the journey.

Michael: Yeah, very much excited. You and I share many, many alignments and so I know this is gonna be a really interesting conversation if not for anyone but us. So that said, before we jump into things, tell us how you got to where you are today.

Chris: Yeah. It started in childhood where I have a very, very vivid imagination and always have, but I couldn't draw and I just didn't have that ability but I found out that I could write and describe these things in my head, and it was the only way to get 'em out and then take 'em to my friends and we'd act out all the things that I wanted to do in our worlds, and make believe that we would create and that kind of started me on the journey. Then in high school, my creative writing teacher, Mr. Botanic, who I dedicated my book to. He really saw something in me and encouraged me to continue writing. But I also have that left brain side, I'm left brain and right brain and I have logic and I enjoyed business in learning about small business entrepreneurship, accounting, and when it came time to decide between creative writing or accounting, the logical side, one out, and I chose accounting. And then even in college Sophomore English professor said, Chris, you're really talented, you should pursue your writing. And I said, you know what? I grew up so poor, I just don't want to be a poor starving artist. So, a lot of that came to me and said, I'm gonna go out, I'll make some money, and then I'll write. And it took 30 years of up and downs, I started my first business, right outta college I was 23 years old and in the freelance economy when it really didn't exist, but there weren't any jobs and I could not, I would not fit in a corporate environment, it just wasn't gonna be me. I tried it. I was the youngest accountant hired by this environmental firm and I worked seven days a week of 12, 14, 16 hours and during the summers in those breaks but it was a very corporate environment and I just didn't fit in. So, I decided I was gonna open up my own, just there wasn't a job, I'll make my own. And there's this really wonderful part about being in your early twenties and not knowing better and I didn't know better until people, I had an uncle who sold planes to the Japanese and he said, you're too young, you can't open up a consultant company. You're too young. I was like, too late, I already have a client. And it started from there and it was a struggle, you know, it was absolutely a struggle. And the days of deciding between do I put gas in my car or do I eat, it was a hard, hard road, and I know you had had those same experiences of just living that tough life. And I don't regret it, but it definitely sucked and I didn't like it and that drove me and it really drove me hard and always, you know, even in sports, I was an athlete my entire my entire life I was a competitive athlete, but I wasn't a super star, I was, you know, the grinder and that's always, you know, I had an older brother who was just great at everything he did, and I wasn't. And I just said, all right, I'll be the guy who works hard. I'll come to practice early, I'll leave late, I'll do extra and that was always my mo to how I was gonna get it to the point where in high school I ran so much to, because I wanted to make sure I made the soccer team, that I broke both my tibia and I just ran until I broke it; wrestling starved myself to the point I wound up breaking my collarbone. You know, so many unhealthy experiences because of that desire to fit in and want to be in. It's all good fodder for fiction, you know, but really these traumas sit in, and I like to use my writing to get that. So, back to the career, it was going okay, then I got involved with tech and did start to do pretty well, I did well with one Texas Speech company, in 99 I helped raise $2 million for them, sold their software to Microsoft, it was great. Finally, I made a bunch of money. I thought, this is great. Never gonna have to worry about money again. Put all the money into another startup a mobile gaming, so we're really early on in that. And I raised money August 31st, 2001 just to get us through September. We had contracts with all the major phone companies ready to go 11 days later, the universe changed. And they didn't return our phone calls till November, nothing happened and we couldn't fund the company anymore I lost everything I had and then some. So, I was deep in debt and I remember just really feeling, ‘cuz I think there's nothing worse.  being poor, making money, and then losing it all, it destroyed my car. You know, it really destroyed my confidence, you know, when we start talking about trauma, mine is always a not good enough button, which is why I was always willing to push myself ‘cuz you know, I always had that whatever I do wasn't gonna be good enough. I had to work harder, harder, harder, do more than anyone else could do ‘cuz that was the only way I was gonna measure up. And getting to that point and feeling I finally made it and then having it all taken away for an, it wasn't, I didn't make a strategic mistake. I didn't make a financial mistake. A bunch of terrorists drove a plane into a building and killed a bunch of people and drove us to a war in recession, but it still played on me and that really had a hard time recovering from that until a friend of mine was, I'm Buddhist and buddy called me and I'm doing feeling sorry for myself. And he said, Chris, don't worry about it. You're a survivor. I said, what? Cause you're a survivor? I said, God damnit, I am a survivor. Then after that I made a goal in 90-days, I will get a new contract, I was gonna just restart my consulting 89, I got a new contract. So, it just shows, I really do believe in that power of setting a goal, really going for it. And I called everyone, email, did everything, everyone I met and nothing in my life is, I don't know about you, Michael, but I'm sure nothing in my life is direct, it's like I contact this person and I guess, no, it's like this person and this person talked to that person and that person and I get a call out of the blue. It just went like that, but that helped me recover. And then, 2009 I partnered with two other friends of mine and we started a construction equipment rental company, I didn't know anything about the business, but picked it. And in 10 years we grew it to 11 locations, 125 employees and then I sold it in 2019. I started writing again, like in early 2014. I wrote a play about two Marines in their PTSD and how they dealt that and started just writing whenever I can. So, logic CFO, brain during the day and then go home and then right at night and that's what I did for years, until we sold the company. And then my last day as CFO of the company I co-founded was January 31st, of 2020. And so, then I'm trying to like, okay, what's my life gonna be like? And then we go right into pandemic. And the funny thing is, in January, you know, I'm a big goal setter, like I said, and in January I set my goal and I said, you know what I want? I want to spend more time in my house and have isolated time to write. I was like, wish is granted, be careful what you wish for. And then, you know, after I started writing and really started going through and putting head case together, I got an email from my lawyer who's originally from Barbados, and he said they're doing this welcome stamp program down in Barbados and I was number 514 on the application list. And in September packed up everything, you know, I had someone watching over my house and I went down to Barbados and the background that you see, that's my backyard at my home in Barbados and I wrote my novel there. So, it was a pretty amazing experience and then come back here to do the marketing.

Michael: Yeah. Man, like I'm sitting here listening I was like, yep, did that get that, yep, been there. Copy that. Yeah. You know, that's really interesting to me and I remember being young sports were, for me, what I thought was gonna be the escape, right? One of the greatest moments of, I don't think I've ever said this on this show, one of the greatest moments in high school sports is I got accepted to wrestling camp in at IU with Dwayne Goldman. And Dwayne Goldman at that time was the alternate coach for the US Olympic team, or it was going to be, I don't really remember what happened, and I was like, oh, this is my future. I was like, I'm gonna get out of the hood, I'm not gonna be homeless like this is my thing and then by the time I was senior, my knee got wrecked in a match the rest is history, right. And I always remember these moments of just the massive self-torture of what it takes to be involved in that sport and I would kill myself, right? Here's what's interesting you said not being good enough, and I remember that and also other experiences of my life being like, if I can get other people who are male figures in my life, mainly the adults and the coaches to see the work that I do, then I will finally be good enough. And I found that even into today and I had this conversation with my mentor not that long ago, I said, it dawned on me, man. Like there is something that just drives me for you to just go, good job. And I realize, and of course this thing we call life is iterative and we are always growing. I realize like the reality of that moment was like, man, there's just always more work to do, there's always more things to figure out. So, as you're young and you're going through these experiences, did you know that you were pushing yourself that way because you weren't good enough?

Chris: Yeah, I just was willing to do anything to make the team and I would just ignore the pain. I've always been pretty disciplined but even in wrestling it turned to, I developed the eating disorder that lasted till I was in my till around 21, 22 years old of just from bulimia. My parents made me eat. I went upstairs, threw it up. And then that even folded into more body issues for me and I know it's like, you know, men don't like to talk about our body issues, but I did, I had them and just always felt, you know, I saw the posters that girls had in their college dorms, and I don't look like that. I don't have those genetics, you know, even at 98 pounds in starving, I still didn't have like ripped abs, it's just not my genetics. You know, and so realizing, okay, they're never gonna accept me I just can't, I just better get thinner at whatever and just work out more. So, go to class, work out, come back and that's all I did. To the point where you really start hurting yourself but the good thing is, like you said, life is iterative, I call it there's everything in life is reincarnation. And I got to do wrestling over by going into judo. And for me that was my competitive sport and my goal was, I'm gonna do this the correct way. I didn't cut weight; I didn't really get hurt. I did really, really well ‘cuz for me, the battle was the scale and not my opponent. And when we get distracted by the ‘cuz I thought if I just make weight, I win and to see how much I was gonna star myself and it's so unhealthy, it's such an unhealthy mindset and going to judo and it was actually even my Buddhist teacher was the one that told me, said, go take judo. And I knew it was gonna have more than just the effect of, you know, what it was gonna do for me athletic ways. I learned so much about myself and fear and just the fear of falling and falling throughout in my life, and it really helped me. I did really well. I progressed. It was something that was really helpful and really changed my whole life. So, I look at everything in ways where whenever I failed to do it again and say, well, I can reincarnate this and just do this ‘cuz now I have more wisdom. Now I have better technique, now I had gone out and sought out help and I got a coach and I got a mentor or if I didn't, I never really had any mentors. I used to call 'em my 62nd mentors where I'd just meet these people and I would always ask them questions. I was very much like, let me ask them how to be successful and just listen. And people always talk to me and they would do that and I would listen, take notes, and that's the way it went about life. So, even in college too, I had severe test anxiety, I actually got kicked out of the accounting department eventually. So, I'm a three-time CFO of the year, I don't have an accounting degree, I'm a really good accountant, but it was just that I couldn't take a test and that beat me up. I didn't understand it. It was a way until I went away to on exchange to in Newcastle Pontine, and I got straight A's well, what happened? It was all papers and presentations things I excelled that.

Michael: And so, I learned the things that actually matter in accounting too, right?

Chris: Yeah. How to present. So, I'm a visual kinesthetic, so I need to feel it, so it was really funny I like working with my editor, Ben Oler, and he was in New York, and I'm in Barbados and I said, Ben, all right, so you're gonna get frustrated with me. You're gonna teach me things over and over again, and I'm not gonna get it. And you're gonna think, what is it with this guy? And then one day it's gonna click and I'm gonna go, well, past what you taught me. And that's what happened ‘cuz I know how I learn and I think that's really, if I have one piece of advice to give out to your listeners, it's go learn how you learn ‘cuz maybe you can't do things the way the other people do, maybe reading books doesn't work, but audio does learn those modalities that work for you. For me, I gotta feel it, you know, even at judo practice I would get down on the mat and look and I had to see and be exactly and then feel it ‘cuz as soon as I can feel it in my body, then I learn it. And so, sometimes I have to read things over and over again but when I get it, I get it. And I can go back and retain all that information. So, you have to really learn how you learn and if you can do that, that's really great.

Michael: That's such a great point. I am an auditory learner like through and through that is literally the reason why the podcast has been something that I've put so much into ‘cause I'm like, if I can sit down and listen to these people who are a lot smarter than me, tell me shit that keeps me from having to learn the hard way, I'm like, I can adapt that to my life. But, you know, I think in the learning aspect, there's also like the practical side of it and the execution side of it. You know, somewhere to you, I've done martial arts for a very long time, Jujitsu and Muay Thai, and you can sit there and listen or ask questions all day long, but until you throw a hook kick, you don't know how to throw a hook kick. Right? And one of the things that I want people to think about, like, especially like listening to this podcast or listening conversations or when they step into to reading your book, it's like you have to think about what it means to actually execute, to actually do the thing that you're learning. You know, it's really funny, we're having this conversation today because of Kevin Hart just released a brand-new podcast, well, it's an interview he did with Jay-Z. Jay-Z never does interviews, he's absolutely my number one entrepreneurial hero if I could interview anybody on planet Earth, it's that dude. And he was talking about this discrepancy and the exact guys of what we're talking about of where we are versus the thing that we're trying to accomplish, and there's this narrative, I wrote a giant whiteboard on my, you can't see it's on the other side of the office, says, close the gap. Right. So many people, I think that's the difference between success and failure in life. And to me, I hear close to gap. I go, that is the action. You know, here's what I want to go back to and the reason I'm prefacing with this thing that I've listened to today is because here you are, you find yourself at 23, you go start your own business, entrepreneurship was not cool then, honestly, it's still not cool. People just think that it's cool, it's hard work and it's super fulfilling, but it's obviously kind of mundane and boring, right? Let's call it what it is. But you were like, I'm gonna set this goal, 90 days, I'm gonna get these clients, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna create this and you're struggling, you know, food or gas, like I have been there and a lot of people have been there. And it's not even necessarily in the entrepreneurship, but it's just in life like sometimes we are literally like food or gas. What have you done or what have you learned, maybe not only on from yourself, but from other people in your life about how to keep going, how to close that gap and take the action, especially when it's scary or there's a lot on the line?

Chris: A lot of it is so in all of our trauma and even in my not good enough button that sometimes would be the driver because I wouldn't want to fail, so I would put in the extra time, I would go talk to the people. I think it was that fear of failure that drove me in so many different ways.

I remember even when in college, I would drive up the worst street in Trenton on my way to school on Calhoun Street, just ‘cuz that I would scare myself and say, if I don't graduate, this is where I'm gonna end up. So, in that case, you can kind of use, you know, your own fears to propel you. But I would use that and I constantly kept the vision of what the future would be. So, I kept that both in my head of what could be? And then if I don't get what could be, then I get this and which do I want? And if all that takes is effort, well I can put in effort, I can put in more time. I can go ask and be humble and say, hey, you really did this really wonderful thing you succeeded. Can you tell me how you did it?

Michael: And on that, I wanna stop you really quick. Do you find that people are willing to support you in that moment?

Chris: All the time. You know, some of the best lessons I got taught were at that, my very first client, the CPA’s came in and it was definitely rookie hazing week, and they definitely beat me up and it was, you know, it's what you do. But they taught me something and they said, Chris, it's not about the numbers, it's all about people. And if you wanna succeed, you have to get really good with people. So, okay, well I can do that, I can do that. Then they said, you gotta create value. I said, what do you mean? I do bank recs and general ledgers? And they said, no, you figure out a way, increase revenue, decrease costs, maximize efficiencies and that stuck with me for my entire life. So, any client that I went into, how can I increase revenue? How can I decrease costs? How can I maximize efficiencies? Any person going into any job whether it's your own company or just a position that you take, you can apply that and people will appreciate it and then if you start doing that. So, those are the types of things I did go and ask people, I was so thirsty for knowledge and understanding and humble enough to realize I don't know what the hell I'm doing. You know, and sometimes I still don't, you know, and I have no problem asking questions of people when they're the expert on something, I don't feel the need to know everything or be anything. I mean, learning to write, I had to learn a completely different skill and there's a lot of things I didn't know and it was really great working with my editor and he taught me so much and I learned, but I asked him lots of questions and I wanted to know. I think that, you know, when it comes down to it, do you have the drive that you to get better? Do you want to get better at whatever you're doing? Are you willing to perfect your craft? And I think, you know, in martial arts, it's one thing is like we realize that I'm gonna do this move 5,000 times and I'm probably still gonna suck at it but it doesn't deter you, right? Cause you just wanna do it. And I mean, I'm sure even your craft of interviewing people and questions and this and that, like it's practice, practice, practice and I think that as long as you're willing to put in the effort, I guess another way to look at it, I wasn't the most skilled, but my conditioning was always up to me.

So, I always made sure that I was not gonna gass and ‘cuz that was completely in my control, if I gassed my fault, right? Nobody else. You're gonna meet a guy, he's gonna throw me, he's going to, I'll be beaten by people. I may make a mistake that's gonna happen. You're gonna get your ass kicked, there's always someone bigger, better, faster, stronger in anything you do in life. But if you learn from it and if you, at least you go in, I went in prepared. Peyton Manning said that I love it when he was like, well, what do you owe a lot to your success? He's like, I prepare. I prepare more than any other quarterback and Tom Brady said the same thing. And I think it's how we prepare for the things that we're gonna go into. And it doesn't mean that you have to be so controlled and so wound tight, you can leave some room for creative interjection for, you know, an audible here and there and that's kind of fun too. I mean, I like, I love Q&A when I do a reading, I love Q&A, ‘cause I just don't know what questions they're gonna ask and it's a lot of fun. You know, and I think if you find that balance, and I'm always about the balance between like structure and then giving yourself some freedom.

I'll give you a good example. So, I've always been incredibly results oriented, but writing is process oriented, especially fiction, and I can muscle a spreadsheet 12 hours in a spreadsheet, no problem. Got it. No problem. But you can't do that with writing. And there were days that I'd spend two hours on a paragraph, I'm like, these sucks. So, I go outside and luckily, I'm riding on a beach and I have that benefit and I just go stare at the clouds for a while, find some cloud animals, and then come back in and get back to work and then, you know, you'll find that groove. So, you learning how to be process oriented was very different to me. And it was very interesting ‘cuz I still have that side of my brain that's like, where's my results? What's the ROI on this? Where, when are we gonna make some money? And you know, the artist just wanted to say, go ahead have a cup of shut the fuck up. And so, what I did, you know, and this makes seem kind of silly, but I created a time sheet. So, I kept my time and I kept hours of how long took me 712 and a half hours to write head case because I kept a time sheet and that kept that side of my brain quiet because it had its metric. And I think understanding yourself, you know, in a mission to learning how you learn, it's really understanding yourself about how you approach anything and being okay with the struggle.

Michael: Yeah. My mentor, Tom Bilyeu always says, the struggle is guaranteed the success is not and it's so true, you know. And when I wrote my first book, Think Unbroken, I was sitting on a beach in Thailand, like between Muay Thai classes, right? Like sitting here, beat up, bruise, matte burns all over my legs and my feet, honestly, like in physical pain and just being like you said you were gonna write at this time, so you sit down and you write at this time. And the thing that I think is really fascinating, and look, people are like, oh, these guys wrote books on beaches, let's be clear, I sold fucking everything I own to go sit on that beach, like there was a lot of process in that. But, you know, here's what's interesting, you said something that I think is so incredibly true that preparedness is like this really interesting precursor to the most successful people on earth. What I find to be interesting, especially like coaching people and being involved in people's lives, whether it's in mental health coaching or in business coaching, or in pods of purpose or in this, it's like what I find to be fascinating is people are like, well, I gotta get prepared to get prepared and I'm like, that doesn't really work. And I think that it's the execution that terrifies people, it's the facing the fear. And they'll sit down and, you know, especially if they're analytical like you and I, they'll go, all right, I need this spreadsheet, I need the checklist and tell all the things are on that I can't possibly take that step forward. And I'm always thinking like, Dude, if I don't pull this fucking parachute while I'm falling, the parachute doesn't work. So, how have you been able to navigate like, this is a really interesting dichotomy, right? This thing about being good enough, perfectionism, trying to honor and perfect your craft while balancing that, against recognizing that failure is inevitable and you have to be willing to step into that?

Chris: I do think failure can teach you many, many things. It can really teach you what your limits are, and I think it's really good to, in your youth, in your twenties, thirties to take a whole lot of chances and fail. It's really great to see what your limits are. It's really great to see how hard putting it, I'm glad I put in those 82, a hundred-hour weeks when I was 21 and 22 because I knew then later on what my limits were and what I could do and what I couldn't do. And I knew I didn't want a life like that cuz it was horrible. I was stressed and you know, sleep deprived and it was really, really horrible but I'm glad I did it when I was young. So, I think it's okay to go through and fail and this is, you know, maybe the advice that I would be giving to my 20 something year old self is, it's okay, you're gonna fail a few times, but from that you're gonna learn and you're gonna grow and you're just gonna get more determined.

And I was that guy I've always been that guy where I got thrown, I get back up, I go at you even harder, and I get thrown again, I get back up, I go watch even harder. And you know, maybe I'm just stupid that way, I don't know but it's just that level of tenacity I always had and I did fear failure all the time. Really one quick anecdote, I had a girlfriend once who said, you're always working on your backup plan, why don't you take all that energy on your backup plan and put it in the plan that you want? And that was shocking for me.

Michael: That's powerful, man. I gotta stop you there because that is something that people do not understand. Why was that shocking for you? And then what happened?

Chris: It was shocking for me ‘cuz she was a hundred percent right. And two, it was that fear of failure. And I figured, well, if that doesn't work, I have this, and if that doesn't work, I have this. And if that doesn't work, I have this. Because that fear of going back to not being able to feed myself was always so prevalent in, you know, wearing other people's clothes and getting picked on for it, and people saying, that's mine, you know. So, I have a whole lot of stories in that and it's all we could do and I just didn't want. But at the same time, what I had to do then at that moment is say, you know what? You're right. And I'm gonna go without the safety harness for a second and put it all in that and realize I can do it and then do what you need to do. You know, for you as an auditory person, it would be having that mantra that you say that was words of affirmation that you need to hear every day about how wonderful what you're doing for the world and how you're helping people and how you're determined to make this the number one podcast in mental health and keep saying those things over and over again.

Here's a good example too.

So, it was a couple years into the company, we're doing really well and I hated my life. I was an owner of a company that was winning 5,000 growing 30, 40% and I hated my life. So, one day I woke up and I said, this is stupid. Why do I hate my life? This is great. So, every day on the ride to the Bronx, I would just say, you know, I just pick things like, and then I don't mean to make a material, cause I'm not a very material person, but it was the only thing that was going well I was like, I love my house, I love my car, I love my job, which I didn't at the time, but I said it anyway I love my life. And I said those four things for the 40, 45-minute ride to the Bronx. I love my house, I love my car, I love my job, I love my life. And then two weeks later, I was happier, everything was going well. But what changed? Really? What changed? Did my job change? No. It was still long hours and tough and difficult. And working out of an office trailer on the side of the Hutchinson River Parkway was hard. But my mindset changed and you can change your mind. I do believe this. I do believe you can change your mind in a snap ‘cuz even when I had bulimia, I got addressed by, you know, I got confronted with one of my roommates and he says, that's not good for you. I said, you know what? You're right, it's not, and I never threw up again ‘cuz I said and made that change say, this isn't good for me. And as soon as you make that really hard choice and you feel it down in your gut, in your chest, in your head, whatever resonates for you, then you can make that change and now you start going through healing these traumas by going back and then again, everything is reincarnation. You get to do everything over again. You have a trauma; you can go find that point of that trauma and try to heal it. And for me, that fear of failure was do this, what's the worst thing that can happen? The worst thing that can happen is I don't get the contract, you know, it's a little bit tougher for me, but I'm never gonna go all the way back to that where, you know, to this day, Michael, I can't eat ramen noodles ‘cuz that's all I could eat. Like I was in Japan on this really, these great places with my best friend and I travel the world and we went to these and I best ramen in the world ‘couldn't do it, just couldn't do it, too many, too many 99 cents, you know. So, I hope I answered the question, I think the really the answer is you have to really just focus on what you want and see that.

So, another real quick story, during the one of those summers working, I was trying to get the money to go to England and go on exchange. And so, every day when I was working this incredibly stressful, it's on an environmental disaster in dealing with the accounting there I pictured dollar bills across the Atlantic Ocean. And every day it was like, as much as hard as it was and being sleep deprived and stressed, I was like, all right, it's one more dollar bill across the ocean, one more dollar bill, I'm gonna make it. And I'm a firm believer of present sacrifices for future benefit. What are you willing to sacrifice? There's nothing that comes, like you said, oh, we both wrote books from beaches. Yeah, but I had 30 years of hard sacrifice to get me there, so I earned it. And then again, I also felt that I had a responsibility. I woke up, I'm living on a beach in Barbados. It was beautiful. I meditated exercise and then said, sit down and write because there were people in this world who would give their right arm for what you have and you know what that's like. So, that was motivating for me to sit down and do a good job, ‘cuz I knew there were so many people that would do anything to switch spaces with me.

Michael: Yeah, and I'm right there with you. And you know, there's one of the really interesting things that I've had to go through in my journey is reconciling like that good enough aspect and just being like, it's okay to do something that makes you feel fulfilled or happy without having to leverage someone else giving you approval. And it's like when you can get there ‘cuz look, there are people who are gonna be like, Oh man, you guys run on a beach, go fuck yourself. And I'm like, look, I get it. But I was also fucking homeless for four years as a child so that beach was like super dope. You know, you have to be willing to sacrifice present things for the future. I mean, go look at the research of the marshmallow test where they give children the option to have a marshmallow when they're, you know, in elementary school, they can either take a marshmallow or wait for an undetermined period of time to potentially get another marshmallow. And unequivocally, the kids who did not have the instant gratification of the marshmallow were vastly more successful in life because of the willingness to sacrifice the immediate pleasure for the long-term gain. And that's a hard thing to like reconcile when we live in this world of instant gratification, right? Instant hookups, instant food, instant cars, instant everything, instant life. And it's like, you know, one of the things that I found myself struggling with probably, it was probably in the fall, so October, November last year, I was like, Man, I'm on my fucking phone like all the time, like just buried in the instance of it. And then I interviewed Dr. Anna Lembke, who wrote Dopamine Nation, one of the, arguably the greatest books I've ever read in my life. And it was like, oh, now I understand why I'm on my phone all the time. And again, that's really about that knowing yourself. I wanna rewind for a minute and I want to go back to your childhood and you talked about a few things that really hit me. One is like this idea of like wearing other people's clothes. I promise you, dude, I got totally called out for wearing some kids jacket out of the lost and found at school when I was like in third grade. And I remember how painful that was, and just being like, Man, this is fucking so embarrassing. I'm so tired of being poor. What does your healing journey look like? Like what has it been for you that has brought you to the place where you are today?

Chris: Slow, steady, not easy especially during that time period having ups and downs and failures as life has. I think a lot of it was really recognizing, like, what was it, you know, understanding that I had a not good enough button and what always propelled me to succeed and push myself and then just finding, I think as soon as I found healthy ways to deal with feeling good about myself and who I am and what I'm about and just really trying to be person that I can be, those were the things that I think helped the most and having little successes here and there and understanding what I really loved most outta life, which was travel. So, I really not a things person, if you walk to my house, everything's 20 years old or older, I don't care, it works, it's fine. But, you know, I like to travel and that's something that really having that goal of, okay, if I do this, I get that trip. You know, so those things were good. I mean, success definitely helps on some of that but then never forgetting where you came from. So, I'm a big believer in philanthropy and whether it's you have time or money to donate, and one of the first things I did is set up a charitable fund, one after I sold the company. And, you know, I get a chance to donate to just things that I'm passionate, it's not everybody will ask you, but I'm really very strict about the things and it has to be something that I'm really passionate about, so that helps. For me it was the same thing, it was a jacket that my mom got at the church, you know, sale, and came up to me and he goes, that's my jacket. I said, no, it's mine. My mom gave it to me. He goes, no, that's my jacket. I said, No, my mom gave it to me. She goes, no, your mom bought it from my mom. And then the whole crowded people laughing, you know, and I went home and I threw it down I'm like, don't find me other people's clothes, you know? And to this day, I can't really go into, you know, everywhere as cool as it is to a consignment shop. So, I think that the pathway to healing was, for me, was really one step at a time, finding those areas where I could have those little successes and I don't think you need big things, just little things about it and maybe saving up the money and then going, buying my own jacket for the first time. I was always willing to save money and put things aside and wait for those moments. And I think you really have to get in and get ugly with yourself, this is hard to really dig in, and when I really started understanding my not good enough button and how it can easily be pushed by the people in my life, whether they were partners or this or that, and how they used that, knowing that I would just work harder and work harder and be manipulated in that way until I took control over it and understood like, well, I am good enough. You know, wait, I've just won these awards, I must be good at what I do and not believing the messages that people tell you when they do tell you and criticize you and bring you down, what's happening is they're seeing that gold inside you and they're afraid of your own greatness of what you can do. So, when those people are pushing that button, realizing that hurt people, hurt people, and they're just seeing that greatness inside you and it scares the hell out of them.

Michael: Yeah, it does. And you can't take that personally, you know, and that's one of the really hard parts about it too, is because sometimes like it's crazy to me I got destroyed on social media last week and I'm just like, I cannot let that affect. Right. Because every day someone will find a reason to tear you down, to cut you down, to bring you down to their level. It's just the nature of humanity I speak, I think, especially where we live now, lots of people hiding behind their keyboards. And here's a little trick that I play with myself that might be helpful or beneficial to some people. I always ask myself; would they say that to my face? At a 6’4, two hundred and twenty pounds with a lot of martial arts experience? My guess is probably not. Right. And so, it's kind of, you can leverage that thing and just go like, look it, it's okay. I'm allowed to be me. Those people's opinions don't matter and run with it. One of the things I'm wondering is as you got deep into writing this book, I'm wondering if you had the same experience as me it became now writing multiple books each time is a little bit more and more cathartic, a little bit more and more healing. Two parts to this question. One, did you find that to be true for you, that this was a healing and cathartic process for you? And then two, tell us a little bit more about the book and break down the narrative?

Michael: Sure. Definitely. I call writing head case was the best form of therapy that I've ever had and it's about head cases. The story about Dr. Andrew Beck, who is the go-to sports psychologist for troubled pro athletes and there isn't a head he can't fix except his own. And when his own inner demons get the best of him, he uses his insider knowledge to athletes in a wager, which leads him down a path of blackmail, a mysterious murder and life or death bluffing and then his only way out is to go all in. And some of the themes in this story are all about if you don't discover your demons, they'll destroy you. And it doesn't matter if you're rich and famous or you're an athlete that can do things that only 0.01% of the world can do. If you don't discover these demons, they are gonna bring you down. I get to talk about all the athletes and you know, during my research there's athletes that had horrific childhood and they just suffered so much, you know, and not enough attention is really given as well. Now we're starting to see it as mental health in sports and how important it is and how brave those athletes are coming out and talking about it. Michael Phelps is the weight of gold, and you know how some Olympians have committed suicide and it's really, really important. So, you know, besides being an entertaining story that I hope that people would just enjoy, then it's also, you know, I wanna raise awareness to mental health in sports. I mean, I have a picture who's a drug addict, who his father was an enabler and he pitched his whole rookie season high on amphetamine. And, you know, lost they took away his Rookie of the year award. Basketball player with impulse control issues ‘cuz he grew up traumatic father, murdered mother, making bad decisions and bringing, you know, men into the house ‘cuz she couldn't deal with it. And a hockey player with rage issues and then, you know, even Dr. Andrew Beck, who's the son of Ted Beck, who's was a master's champion and he wanted Andrew. Andrew was a golf prodigy at five years old, and he wanted to be the first father and son, master's champion. Andrew wanted to play baseball. And so, we see his childhood traumas coming through and he can compartmentalize and a lot of this is like doctor healed itself. So, you know, as the reader goes through and people have told me this, like why can't he fix himself? Like, ‘cuz sometimes even though you have all this knowledge it you compartmentalize and it doesn't mean you can actually do the work and go into yourself and be able to do that. So, his life, you know, starts off really high and starts going down, he's a definitely a tragic hero as we see in book one, which is called Shock and Denial. And I've already started on book two and so, it's an interesting journey and I really just want people to be entertained. I hope that somebody picks up the book and for 20 minutes, they just get a break from their life and they lose themselves in the world that I created and they just enjoy themselves. And maybe, and this is why I wrote it, hopefully maybe one day there's one person and one would be enough who read it and go, you know, Chris, from what I read, I changed this in my life. To me WIN, that would be the win one person, that's all I would need. One person.

Michael: I resonate entirely, brother. This conversation's been absolutely incredible, before I ask you my last question, can you please tell everyone where they can learn more?

Chris: Yep. You can learn all about head case at my website, www.chriskjones.com you can also find me on Amazon, but if you go to the website, you can also download the first seven chapters for free. So, I like wanna give people a chance to read it and see if they get really into the store and then, you know, you can go buy the book and I kept the price pretty reasonable as well. But yeah, really excited to be here and it's been really wonderful talking with you. I knew we would, I knew, you know, based on what you were doing. I was so excited to have a chance to come and talk to you and I'm really thankful to be on your show.

Michael: Yeah. The Honor is all mine Brothers, has been an absolute pleasure. And of course, we'll put the links in the show notes for the audience. And my last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Chris: What I'm gonna say, it may be difficult for some people to accept, but for me, becoming unbroken, I use a meditation or visualization exercise of going back to those moments of trauma and if possible, forgiving my abuser. And I know for some people that is just going to be impossible and I respect that journey that they're on, and I respect that. And then the next is another part of the visualization, where me as an adult, going back to that little boy who's traumatized and saying three things, I love you. It's not your fault. I will protect you. And I say that over and over again. I love you. It's not your fault. I will protect you. Over and over again until the tears start streaming and then I feel that release in my heart or my gut. And when I do that, I know that I've made progress and then I know I'm on the way of becoming unbroken.

Michael: Brilliantly said my friend. Thank you so much for being here. Unbroken Nation. Thank you so much for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.

Chris K. JonesProfile Photo

Chris K. Jones

Author/former CFO

Chris Jones is a serial entrepreneur turned author with a story as intriguing as the fiction he writes!

From a young age, Chris loved the arts and enjoyed writing scripts for school plays. The desire to write only grew as he became a part of the Gifted and Talented Symposium for the Arts.

However, when it came time to pursue a career, the “practical” side won out, and Chris walked into the business world of accounting and entrepreneurship.

His entrepreneurial roots took hold building several start-ups. From mobile gaming, to outsourcing CFO services, Chris made it through some of the biggest ups and downs of his career. In 2009, he started a company in the construction equipment rental space to compete in the hardest market (NYC) during the middle of the “Great Recession.” Durante Rentals took off with old fashioned grit, determination, and financial savvy. Chris spent his days as the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of a hyper-growth company and then nights writing plays, screenplays, and stories.

At Durante Rentals, Chris was a 3x CFO of the year and his company was a 7x honoree on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies.

As the company grew, even with the money and notoriety, Chris’ passion was writing. In June 2019, Chris led the sale of his company to a Toronto-based private equity firm. The end was in sight, and soon he could focus his time on writing.

On January 31st, 2020, after a thirty-year career in accounting, he put his calculator down and picked up his pen and, to pursue his writing full time. Less than 45 days later, with a pandemic ravaging across the globe, Chris saw this as the perfect opportunity to focus on his writing. Chris spent the next 4 months writing the entire 1st season of Headcase. But after talking to industry people, nothing was being done due to the pandemic. Chris converted Headcase from a TV show to a novel and published the book March 2022.

Now, as he continues to pursue writing full-time, his desire is to share the knowledge he has learned in business and in the topics he covers through his characters and stories.