What are the pivotal markers in your life? In this episode, Jim Gardiner, a performance coach at LeapZone Strategies, joins Tanya Memme as they talk about helping and guiding others in life on their path to growth. Jim is a business and life performance coach, a brand strategist, and a speaker who helps entrepreneurs and high performers get in touch with their authentic selves and, by design, maximize their business and personal brands to achieve a state of optimum congruence. Get to know Jim a little deeper as he shares his journey and how he discovered his passion. Discover the importance of courage and believing in yourself when defining moments arise. Tune in and discover how to open your eyes to the pivotal markers that life is throwing at you so you can start your journey of overcoming.
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Helping And Guiding Others In Life: A Journey of Overcoming With Jim Gardiner
This is my first Zoom Life Masters interview and I’m going to be bringing most of my interviews now to Zoom so I can interview people like Jim who is all the way in Vancouver, Canada. We wanted you to come into the studio, but we are all dealing with our quarantine situation because the Coronavirus is in full swing. Jim Gardiner has been a friend of mine for how many years, Jim?
It will be 24 this summer of 2020.
We met at Jim’s best friend’s wedding and he married a friend of mine that I’m still in touch with. She used to be Miss USA and people out there know that I was Miss Canada. I met her at the Miss World pageant. Technically, I met you because I was Miss Canada at one point. It’s interesting. You’ve been through quite the journey and now you’re a business and life performance coach with LeapZone Strategies. You’re a brand strategist and a speaker. You’re speaking all over the place. Your speaking schedule, unfortunately, got canceled like all of our schedules did. I did too. Where were you about to go? I know you were going to a few different places.
I was en route going back to the East Coast back to New England where I’m from and Calgary. I was coming to LA. I was planning a big trip to LA and Toronto.
You’re coming to Toronto. That’s my neck of the woods.
It will happen. It will be shifted.
It’s an interesting time, we’re going to get into that too. I want to talk to you about how that’s changed your life and your perspective on that now. I wanted to start off by asking you, what has made you become a person that wants to help others and guide others in life?
I’ll speak for myself because everybody probably has their unique answer to that. For me, it was because I was a helpless child. That’s the answer.
This started way back from when you were a child. Did you know one day or you woke up one day?
I grew up with asthma, so I struggled with it much as a child. I was weak and timid. I had a lot of health-related concerns with that. I was needy and felt helpless many times. I would find strength and resolve by turning to and a lot of that time getting inspiration from athletes and from people that overcame situations whether they were asthma, not necessarily that but something that was applicable to my story and that journey of overcoming.
What was that day like when you woke up and you’re like, “This is what I want to do?” Did you know exactly how you were going to do it?
We all have pivotal markers in our life that become catalysts for us to continue our path of growth. For me, it was my senior year in high school. I was never quite athletic. I was okay but I could never compete at a high level. I always had my inhaler, medicine, and I had to give myself adrenaline shots in the arm when I was a kid and things like that.
You always wanted to be athletic. I know you are. That was a drive for you for something you felt maybe you couldn’t achieve.
That’s correct. There was that intrinsic ability to I want to, but I felt I couldn’t, or something was blocking me. That night, in the spring of my senior year, I woke up during the middle of the night having an asthma attack like I did many times before. For some reason that night, I stopped breathing and all I remember was I was in the bathroom and next thing I know I woke up and there were paramedics all around me. I didn’t know what was going.
Has that happened before? You’ve stopped breathing before or not to that extent?Mindset is everything. Click To Tweet
Not to this extent. I never had an episode like this. What I found out after the fact is, my dad gave me mouth to mouth. He had to pry my mouth open with a spoon. He ran to the kitchen and did his thing.
How old were you at this time? Were you in your twenties?
I was seventeen.
You were living at home with your mom and your dad.
I was still in high school and that day defined me. When I woke up, I honestly felt fine. It was one of those things. It wasn’t this illness. It was like my dad gave me mouth to mouth and I started breathing again. I woke up and I was like, “What the F are you doing in my house?” Because I woke up and I saw these paramedics around. I didn’t know what the heck was going on. I remember this because this is the day when you asked me the question. The next day, I went to school and I had a tennis match that afternoon. My mom was like, “You’re not playing tennis.” I’m like, “I feel fine,” which I did.
There was something about that moment when I went and played the best tennis match in my life. It was epic. I was diving around. I was pulling shit out of my ass. I was so caught up in the moment of being present and it was a defining moment for me because it went to five sets. I lost but it wasn’t about that and I went to tiebreakers. It became so long that the entire other two teams, my team and the other team all stood around the cage watching the two of us go at it. It was the moment that I’ve always envisioned I could achieve. You have that moment.
When you had this attack the first time, was it because you were physically doing a lot at school, and you had this attack? You were saying that it came out of nowhere.
We know more about it now and there are a lot of environmental factors. There are allergies, food, and all these things that can play into being a catalyst for an attack and to trigger something. For me, that was it. I remember that I always had bad allergies and it was a cough that triggered this spasm, which triggered the asthma attack.
The next day, you’re like, “I’m going to go do this full out.” You weren’t physically an athletic person though.
I was never gifted and even to this day. I know there are a lot of people that know me that will call a BS card on that because of what I achieved in rowing after this event.
This is what I want to talk about next.
I worked for every scrap of physical attributes that I have for sure.
On that day, you’re feeling like, “This is the feeling that I’ve wanted deep down inside.” What did that do for you moving forward? What did that solidify in your mind?
It pushed me over that edge of, “I can do this.” Before it was like, “I want to do it, but I can’t. I’m helpless. I have limitations.” This pushed me to say, “You can do this.” That was the first moment that I felt, and I can say this in retrospect, the power of the mind saying, “If you want to do something, you can do it.”
It’s a mindset, don’t you think?
It is. Mindset is everything. When you’re seventeen you don’t have a bearing on what that means per se but as the years progressed, you start to learn that mindset is everything.
What happens after that? You have this amazing moment and you’re like, “I know I can do this.” How did you overcome the whole idea that you had asthma? You go to college and into rowing bigtime, which is hugely athletic. What was it that kept you going? What was that thing inside?
There was a fire. I’ve always been a natural leader. People seem to gravitate towards me and join whatever I’m doing and feed off that. I feed off them and it inspires me. I wanted to do something at college. When I went to university, I wanted to do something. I don’t want to go there to just study. When you go to college for sports, you have to do something. It’s like if you want to play baseball, you’ve got to have played baseball at a certain level. Rowing, ironically, is one of the few sports that you could walk on as a freshman with no experience because most people don’t have the experience in rowing.
Also, you can still go to the Olympics. You can still achieve high athletic benchmarks. I said, “Let me try rowing.” It was a movie. We’re cut from the same ‘80s cloth and I say this all the time. Rob Lowe was in a movie called Oxford Blues. It’s all about rowing. I saw that movie and this was in the senior year of high school and I was like, “There’s something about this team dynamic of getting in a boat with other guys and being bound by this loyalty and this code.”
What do you think gives somebody the confidence that you had to be able to try something new so competitive, especially in college? Rowers are big guys. It’s no joke and here you are.
I have a frail body.
A little bit. That must have been playing on your mind. What do you think gives somebody the confidence that they need to do something like that?
I believe everyone has that voice inside. That asthma attack for me, opened up my hearing to that voice to say, “Why not?” When we’re kids, we look at the world every day with wonder, possibility, and imagination. As we get older, we start to lose that creative imagination mindset and it’s a shame. It’s like, “Why can’t I do anything?” That’s why I, to this day, the biggest thing in my life is courage. It runs through my veins with my clients when I speak about courage. It’s not one defining moment, but it’s all these small little moments that add up to saying, “I can do anything I want to do. Truly, I can.”
Did your parents instill that in you?
What was that like? How did you get that?
We joke about this all the time with my folks because they’re like, “Where did you get your artistic, creative, love of music and all that drive and leadership?” They’re both not like that. It’s funny. I grew up as an only child and during that time being alone a lot, you’re forced to, and I feel especially back in that day and age to be in touch with your emotions and imagination, to be creative. That was the beginning point of me to want to have that certain drive that intrinsic, make stuff happen, I can carve out my own path.
You got that on your own. Talk about nature versus nurture. It’s something that you worked on and you developed. You also have had these milestones in your life to also say, “Yes, you can.”
As I’ve grown, absolutely. Looking back, I failed. As a child, I failed a lot in sports, yet I always choose to fail forward. Even at a younger age, I wasn’t going to settle for that. In middle school, I didn’t get picked. I was the last guy to be cut from the middle school basketball team. I can remember it to this day, it was between me and Pat Riley. The coach basically said to me that he could have flipped a coin and he went with Pat and I was devastated. I went to my grandparents’ house. I was in the kitchen and I was bawling my eyes out because all I ever wanted to do was be part of a team. You pick yourself up.
I don’t know what it is because I’m a fighter too, and no matter what, if someone knocks me down, I get back up and I keep going. In the face of humility and in the face of all different kinds of things, I will keep going. I see my daughter and she’s struggling with feeling like she can’t do this or can’t do that. She was upset for 45 minutes one day because she feels defeated sometimes. What would you say to kids, teens, or whatever that are struggling with thinking they can’t do it?
That’s where the coach in me comes into play. I have two young daughters myself and they both are into dancing. I’ve had these discussions with them, specifically my older one. I break it down. First, I ask them why they feel that way. What makes them feel that way? What would they need to hear? What would they see as an outcome? What is the vision that they want?Ego is the enemy. Click To Tweet
Let’s say that they say, “I want to win the race tomorrow.”
I take them through it and say, “What does that mean to you?” Shaylee, my daughter for her dance competition, which we’ve had this conversation, “If you want to win so badly, why do you want to win? What does it mean for you?” Through our talking, she’d realize that she wanted to win more for status than for personal achievement. We broke down the hero’s journey. I would bring in context to my rowing background. For me, I’ve achieved a lot of amazing things but it’s still the journey in rowing. My greatest moments are the ones that got to the medals. It’s not about that. It’s a story to get there.
Tell me a little bit about that. Rowing is when you first and these are stories that I’m sure you can draw upon when you’re talking to your daughters too. You try out for the rowing, you’re doing your thing, and then what happens?
I tried out for rowing. I went to the meeting, they told us to meet up the next afternoon at 3:30 behind the gym, and we’re going to go for a 3-mile run and I don’t think I’ve ever run more than a quarter-mile in my life without stopping. I remember I was the second to last male to finish the 3-mile run.
How did that feel? You’re like, “I’m here.”
What I remember most, and it lights me up because it was for the first time all these other guys were standing at the finish line waiting for me and the other guy behind me to finish. That’s when I knew that I had a team. That’s what I needed. It’s what drew me to rowing. Ultimately, what I’m all about now is that partnership and forged bond that happens that’s unbreakable. That was it. From there, I was hooked. That bond is created and I was fortunate enough to have five of those guys that were cheering me on that first day became my best friends. They became my boat mates the entire journey in my collegiate year. We came in second in the nation one year. It was amazing. I built and through the support of others, and my own will and help from others, I built my body and my mind.
How did that affect you after college? You’re out in the real world.
That’s how I met you. Going from collegiate rowing to a stint on the US team to the development camps of the US and performing at a high level, I had the courage to do anything. It didn’t matter what.
Did you have any more bouts of asthma?
Even to this day, I have my inhaler. It’s here and I have to use it from time to time but what has happened is through physical fitness, my heart, my cardiovascular system became stronger. The asthma attacks themselves had less impact on me.
Do you think it’s more mind over matter or do you think that it’s what you’re saying that it’s more of a physical strengthening from within?
I do feel that it’s strengthening for sure. A lot of people grow out of asthma. There are a few people that grow into it later in life, but a lot of people grow out of it. A lot of kids, when they become adults, they grow out of it. I never will. However, it’s never what it was.
You’re out of college and you’re working and doing your thing. Tell me about how you end up doing what you’re doing. I know that you’ve only been doing this for a couple of years and you feel you found your place. I want people out there that are struggling with where they’re at in life to be inspired by your story and know that you don’t always figure it out off the bat. Sometimes you have to wait until you’re in your 50s to figure it out and sometimes you don’t.
I’ve been fortunate, as you have, to live in some amazing cities like New York, LA, and Vancouver to experience different paths. For me, to end up where I am now, I had the courage to go to New York at 23 at that time and not know a soul. I got into the entertainment business and had the courage enough to put myself out there with dealing with rejection and doing all that stuff. Also, the mind games in that whole industry are about.
How long did you do that?
Fourteen years. Twelve in New York and two in LA. I started to supplement income doing bartending work as a lot of people do, waiting or bartending.
Were you a good bartender?
I definitely can mix the cocktail. I started to manage places, run them, and open them. I started going back and forth by Coastal to open up high profile properties. I got to learn a lot about the business dynamic.
You were going through the doors that were opening and this and that, but did you feel like you weren’t getting fulfilled from the acting and the performing and all that? You were but you weren’t, but you were. The bartending started to open up more doors and you ended up doing well but did you feel deep down inside there was something still you wanted to do more?
Always. There was always a yearning for me. There was a calling of unsettledness. I went through that period of time fairly unsettled. I was seeking something. I didn’t know what it was and I only found out what that was a few years ago. I was never satisfied with myself. When we started this interview, we talked about the helpless Jim as a youth and the pendulum swung to this other side where now it was like, “Feed me the attention. Feed me the accolades whether in sport, relationships, positions in business or whatever it is. Feed me that.” I knew that wasn’t intrinsically what I wanted.
You needed it at the time. We all go through that. We need that attention. We need to know that we’re good enough and sometimes it doesn’t come from within. It comes from outside sources, which is, when you never get enough. You’re never ever going to get enough if you’re always seeking it from the outside.
That was my problem quite straight up. My identity was the identity that others bestowed upon me and various facets.
Do you think that affected your marriage and with your kids?
Absolutely. Number one, I wasn’t happy. Instinctively, I knew that something needed to change about me. When I had left LA in 2007 to move up here to Vancouver, I was running because I felt that that environment, that chapter was unsettled, and too much of a rocky ground so I ran. I ran under the allure of, “We’re going to come up here. We’re going to raise a family and live a normal life.”
When people are suffering, searching, looking and this and that, they make drastic changes in their lives. They’ll uproot and move thinking that’s what’s going to solve. I’ve done it too. I know what it’s like. You make these massively drastic choices, whether you quit a job, you leave a marriage, you do this, you move you and it’s a huge change. I would say that seldom does that answer it. That doesn’t give you the fulfillment that you need. You wait a few more years, and you’re stuck back to where you were before.
That cycle will inevitably repeat itself as it did for me here.
What was that day that stopped the cycle? People could spiral down when they’re constantly feeling unfulfilled and they’re running. Whether that’s drinking, drugs, relationships or whatever. This is an interesting thing because I’ve done it too where you’re running and trying to uproot your life and make changes because there’s something that’s so deeply not being fulfilled in your life. What was that thing for you? You’ve been running for probably a few years trying to figure it out trying to get that fulfillment. What was that thing that knocked you out of it?
It was a culmination of events. The day was the day I decided to leave my marriage. That was the penultimate decision, which then led to the elevator to hell, rock bottom descent that accompanies some of those life-changing decisions that a lot of us go through. Leading up to that, and I’ll talk about that, you’re spot on that people run and inevitably it does come back around. Those same dissatisfied and unhappy feelings do resurface. I ran up here to Vancouver and everything got great and rosy. Even though there was an underlying current of disconnect for me and that resurface again.
Addicts talk about that pull, that addiction. When I got back into the hospitality industry, when I moved to the island where I live now and I got back into this business that I left, I didn’t want anything to do with, all of a sudden that external attention boomed. It’s like, “Small town where I live. Here come Jim and Jen,” my wife at the time. New York, LA, this, that and I’m running this new fancy property here on the ocean. Everyone’s giving you attention. I let it overtake me.
You were doing well. You were successful.Momentum begets more momentum. Click To Tweet
I was, but I was miserable. I won’t say miserable because my kids are amazing. My family life at that time was good. I wasn’t happy. I was rowing again and I was doing well but it didn’t matter. Ultimately, I wasn’t happy.
There are a lot of people that are going through what you went through at that time. I went through it too, and I left my marriage as well. On this topic, and you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to, how do you know when to leave or when not to leave? How do you know that you’re not going to regret it? How do you know that it’s the right thing to do?
For me, my behaviors clearly indicated that I wasn’t happy in the relationship. There was some infidelity that I was involved with. I made poor choices and looking back, I own all of those choices, because I’ve stepped into who I am now and yet I knew as clear as day, that relationship wasn’t serving me and wasn’t serving her.
Sometimes it’s not even the other person. It’s a decision that needs to be made from within. It’s hard when you have a family. It’s hard when you have two kids.
You asked when do or why do people have that? You asked a question. Why do people have that out there? There are many people that are struggling now and the reason why we’re struggling hard is because I didn’t have my why. I didn’t know what my purpose was. I felt I was called to do something. I never quite figured out what that was. I left the big paying six-figure job at a resort here and left the family that everyone said we did have, the perfect family by all accounts. I did that and I put my little girls through hell for a while and I put myself through hell. With Ava and your situation too is hard.
How long did it go-between when you quit your job and you left the marriage? Was that all within the same timeframe?
That was a year.
That is drastic, Jim. That is huge. I went through the same thing, so I understand it. Little did we know that that’s the beginning of the spiral even more down. I know. Do you look back and regret anything, leaving the job? Is there anything that you wish you would have done differently? I’m trying to add some perspective for people out there that are in that position now.
Regret is such a powerful word. I hate to use that word because it’s hard. I know, but I like to live. On my monitor here, I have a big sticker that says, “Zero regrets.” I try to embody that every day. I would have eased the transition for my girls a little bit smoother. I ripped the Band-Aid off and I ripped it off hard. I wasn’t at the mental capacity at that time to do that and also deal with the ramifications of that. That made my rock bottom a little bit more a thud. It’s not a gradual slide down.
It’s also hard because then when you quit your job, the money is not coming in like it used to and there are a lot of transitions that that causes as well. When I ended up quitting the TV show that I was on and left my marriage within eight months of each other, I went through the same thing. There are certain things and I’d have to say, I agree with you. A friend of mine, Adam Markel, who’s a mentor of mine, wrote this book called Pivot. It’s about pivoting and making those small pivots. It’s the small pivots that you’re in a situation where you need to leave a situation, whether it’s work or marriage, I feel the same way that I would have probably done it a little differently, especially with work. I would have made smaller pivots and taken more time with that. It’s the same with marriages.
The amazing thing is everything has fallen perfectly into what I envisioned it would be once the dust settled.
What was that like? You did this, left your job, and moved out of the house. What was that transition period like?
The only thing that kept it together for me was the fact that I was coaching. I was helping people at this time.
You already started doing that.
I had a TV show here and during that whole last section, I had met somebody on the show that I ended up working for who owns LeapZone Strategies, which is the company that I work for now as their Leap coach. I had started getting integrated into that and it was brilliant, because it was now me, showcasing all these journeys, all these pathways, and roads that I’ve traveled into helping personal and business brands create them, build them and position them out into the world.
I’m trying to get the story around because there’s a point I want to make here. Did this happen before or after you had left the marriage when you met the people from LeapZone Strategies?
It was before.
It was in the tail end of it. You have met them and you’re working in the six-figure job. You started coaching after you met the LeapZone Strategies group.
I was running a resort and quit the resort. That last year of the resort, I was doing this TV show at the same time, if you will, on the side. That’s when I met them. Later on, once I left the resort, we started talking about maybe working for the company and doing things like that. Thank God, because when I left my family, the only people that I had in my corner, and when I say only, I literally mean only people were Isabelle and Margarita from LeapZone Strategies.
You needed that.
A lot of times when families separate, so do the friends. It so happened living up here that all the friends were on that side of the equation, and it went that way.
I’m a big believer that you need to do the work. Even if you screw up, make the wrong decision, hurt feelings along the way, burn bridges, which God knows I’ve done all of that too, there’s always a way to go back and do the work to try to repair or fix or find forgiveness within yourself to others. After all of that happened, you’re on your own, and you’re trying to figure out life and this and that, was that a part of the journey to then becoming what you’re doing now?
It’s exactly right. It’s no different than how I made the national team. You’ve got to do the work. You want to pick yourself up, you’ve got to do the work. It’s not only doing the work. It’s deep work.
What was that for you? What was that first step or the first thing that you did to get yourself out of this rock bottom that you’d hit?
I had support pillars. I had LeapZone. I had Margarita and Isabelle as support pillars that I can turn to help me solidify and get clarity on certain things on what I was feeling emotionally. I started to work inward always. I started to read and disassociate myself with things that weren’t serving me anymore. Whether it was connections, relationships or alcohol.
It’s not only physical relationships but emotional friendships, relationships work-wise, everybody.
It’s either high vibes or the highway for me. That’s what I say. I don’t have the time to associate with anything that doesn’t serve me and I don’t serve them moving forward. Whether it’s clients that I choose to work with, whether it’s friends that I want to go out and have a beer with or whatever. It’s got to be that. It’s non-negotiable. That was a big thing, too because ultimately, you truly need to be alone. You truly need to be able to sit and wallow in your own poo-poo.
Own it and be there. When I am giving people talks and stuff, I often say it’s okay to be. If you want to lie in bed all day today, lie in bed today. Give yourself that time and feel good about it. If you’re going to do it, don’t feel guilty about it. Do it. Can you tell me some of the books that you read? What was the first book that you picked up where you’re like, “This resonates with me.”
Ironically, it is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It’s all about living as a minimalist and dissociating as we were talking with things that don’t serve you. What is it that you truly need to be happy? What is it that you truly need to get through in the day? I also was at a point where I left the nice house and the surroundings and had moved into an apartment. I was like, “I’m going to do this essentialism.” That was the first book that I read that still resonates with me. Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. That definitely spoke to me.
That was one of the things you did. You’re like, “I dug this hole. I’m going to get out of it. This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to start reading. I’m going to get rid of all the jerks in my life and those relationships, and I’m going to start building myself back up and be alone for a little while I do it.”
One of the biggest things I did, and you’ll never believe this, it’s groundbreaking. I stopped rowing because I found that rowing, which has been the biggest thing in my life, was also at that time, feeding me a false sense of identity. It’s also allowing me to escape. I couldn’t be alone in the poo-poo because I at least always had my rowing to go out and work off aggressions, feel good, get pats on the back, and things like that.Having some form of gratitude in your life is powerful. Click To Tweet
Out of the 50 people that I’ve interviewed on Life Masters, it’s interesting because I’ve never heard anybody do something that was so physically wonderful for your body, but you stopped doing it even though it’s an athletic activity.
I stopped doing and sold my boat. I stopped working out for a year. I didn’t work out for a year. You could probably count on two hands, the number of times I worked out in one year.
You needed to do that for yourself.
I’ve worked hard to be in shape and to look a certain way and to be healthy. I didn’t want to be associated with that. I wanted to be associated with this, this, and this.
What advice would you give to people that are struggling and need to find that thing that’s in their life that they need to get rid of, whether it’s something they love? How do you know that’s what you needed to do? That’s not an easy thing to figure out. You wanted to strip away anything that was giving you that outward sense of the pat on the back from others. You needed to pat yourself on the back.
Everything that’s giving me attention, pats on the back and accolades, I need to step away from because I need to reignite self-love first and have it burned from within. I elevate myself to know and recognize that I don’t need that and when someone now says, “You look great for your age.” “Thank you so much.” That’s it. Ryan Holiday, a famous author, talks about how ego is the enemy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m healthier now than I’ve been probably in a few years. I work out all the time but it’s different. I can’t explain it. I work out for me. I work out for that feeling of working out to balance my masculine-feminine, having some aggression with the work that I do or whatever it is. It serves me now to help me.
It’s different when you have that thing torn away. I know what that feels I like. I had my career totally taken away from me for six years. I didn’t work for six years and like you, I had a lot of outward as I was going through and spiraling down in my deepest and darkest. I know how that feels to have the thing that you get pat on the backmost for from outward appreciation or outward accolades be taken away. You chose it though. I don’t know if I could have chosen to say, “I’m not going to be on TV for six years.” That’s an admirable thing that you did. For me, I realized that that’s what was the key to me getting out of my hole. It was my rock bottom too because I had to rely on myself for strength. It’s like what you did. You chose to do it. That’s amazing. When you went back, you felt a whole new person. You’re coming at it from a different perspective now.
You hear a lot and self-growth talk. Stepping in and showing up. Owning your own genius. I feel like I finally arrived. It took me most of my life to get to the point that I’m at now.
What’s going on now in your life? How do you feel now after all of this? That day that you realized, “I’m ready to start working out again,” what was that day for you? There must have been something going on inside that allowed you to say, “Today’s the day. I’m going to do this.”
I’m blessed to have spent a lot of time alone. Even being married and with a family, I was still alone in terms of me. I know my voice. I know what my body says and I know what my heart tells me. I sensed myself crawling out of those trenches. Like anything else, momentum begets more momentum and you start to feel it. You’re like, “This is good.” Jen and I are co-parenting. The kids are doing well. Jen is happy. She’s got a boyfriend who’s an amazing guy. This is great. I’ve done the work and I feel great. I’m inspiring now and because of this, I have a whole new perspective that I bring to my clients and the people that I impact and it feeds it.
One day, I woke up and I was like, “I need to go throw some things around the gym.” It’s exactly what I said to myself but it’s not like an anger thing. It’s like, “I need do that.” I’ve got my music and hard rock background. I need to put some tunes on and lose myself at the gym and own that side of me. Through all of this, out of the trenches came the missing piece for me and that was grace. I always had the warriorness to me, the courage, the ability to say, “I can do anything I want and make things happen, but I never had the grace.” Adding that makes me unstoppable.
When you say grace, do you mean being humble?
Love in all things. Heart-based approach to the work I do the people that I align with and conscious business. That shift that’s happening now out there in the world there are people being more heart-led in their approach. Being in tune with that and letting that voice speak is empowering.
Tell me about the people and what you’re doing now. You’re speaking, you have clients and now you’ve become a full-on coach, you have numerous clients. There are only two of you in LeapZone Strategies that travel the nation and internationally to speak.
It’s amazing. I’m fortunate. We work with predominantly businesses, so small business owners anywhere from business startups to $10 million companies. Sometimes we work with small business owners, solopreneurs, micropreneurs, entrepreneurs, and sometimes they’re C-Suite level execs. We go in and do stuff with their teams. Rebranding, repositioning companies, and creating additional revenue streams, creating online course content, or funnel systems for marketing and things like that. Ultimately, it’s strategy, performance positioning and personality.
It’s these three pillars that we work with people. Sometimes they’re personal brands too. They’re what we call executive coaching. They’re people that want to get their life together. Maybe people like that are in a similar situation like the two of us, don’t know how to take that first step. That’s the scariest point is there are many people out there now that want to take the first step, they don’t know how to take it or don’t know what to do.
There are a lot of successful people out there that are big CEOs at whatever company and they know that they’re not living. They’re not fulfilled and they’re people that can’t even get close to that they feel and they don’t know how to take that next step. You work with all different kinds of clients whether it’s personally, professionally or both.
I’ve learned so much from my clients, which is another amazing thing with the work I do. I have four C’s that I live by, Courage, Commitment, Consistency, and Contribution. Contribution is the big thing for me. It’s all about being of service to not only my clients but to my colleagues, peers, and people. That’s my why. That is my impact and my footprint to leave on the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s not up and name in lights. It’s still an impact and now I’m at peace with those small little needle movers. If we all do our part, there’s going to be momentum and pivotal shifts.
We’re all in quarantine and there are a lot of people I’m sure that are alone that are struggling. They lost their jobs. They’ve been laid off and they don’t know when they’re going to get their next paycheck. A girlfriend of mine was kicked out of her house. The landlord wanted the house back. He gave her 30 days. Especially if people are in their house and they don’t like their home. They don’t have anywhere else to go or they’re living basically on top of 500 other people. There’s a lot of that going on. They’re saying that domestic violence and child abuse has gone up and all these things. What can you say to people that are struggling during this time with a lot of false and crazy information out there?
That’s a long discussion. I will say this, based on some of the stuff that we’ve talked about already, all my clients and people that I work with, disassociate ourselves with any negative energy. We don’t get caught up in all the news reports and we try to look at this as a gift. We’ve been given a gift in the essence of time. Time is our one unrenewable resource and yet now more people have more time than ever before. I feel that everyone has a responsibility now to take advantage of that time. For those that want to take that first step, look inward, and maximize this as a gift for self-growth, getting clear on what you want, this is the time to start creating your own story. Don’t worry about the how. The how surfaces once you begin to get clear on what you want. That’s why journaling is powerful and that’s why all the self-help people always talk about getting shipped out of here and getting it down and journaling.
Also, feeling it too.
Ultimately, it’s anchoring it in emotions. That’s what gives it reality and legs. Now is the time for people to get clear on what they want and to start thinking about it. Write it down and get clear on what you want. How does that make you feel? How does it resonate with you? It’s setting some intentions every day. How do I want this day to go? What’s my intention today? I know you do this as well. Gratitude practice and having some form of gratitude in your life and being grateful is powerful.
It’s interesting that you brought that up, because I talked about that too especially in times like this, when you’re thinking, “I am at my rock bottom. What do I have to be grateful for?” I remember when I was there, I started off with planting the seeds. It was being grateful for the bed that I was sleeping in, or the carpet that I was going to step on in the morning because it was chilly out and the air or a cup of coffee that I was going to make myself. If you have a hard time practicing gratitude because you don’t feel like you have a lot to be grateful for, start off with the things that are tangible. It will grow more and more and it does. It’s planting the seeds. A lot of people are like, “Be grateful because of the food that you get to eat,” and this and that. It all becomes something that we’ve heard before but if you make it personal and plant those seeds, it does grow.
It does, and those small needle movers like your friend Adam, those are small wins and those baby steps still propel you forward. What can you do to inspire yourself? At LeapZone we call it a Winning Ritual. This is something that everybody can do. They need time for self-love and self-nurturing. What does that look like? I have a winning ritual. I have something that I go through every morning and it might be a little different depending on the day but it’s something like this. I get up. I take my deep breath, meditation, and mindfulness thing that I’ve got.
I come out here and get my coffee. I sit down, I either put on classical music away or I go to YouTube motivational videos, I read a chapter in a book. I don’t go on social media. I don’t answer my emails that are blowing up left, right, and center. It’s my time. That day in and day out allows me to handle the stress of normal everyday life, the workload, and the situation that we have now, the landscape of where we’re at in the world. It allows me to be in a better position to keep myself whole so I can be of contribution to others.
I’ve wanted to have you on Life Masters for the longest time. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to do this. Where can we learn more about you if somebody wants to coach with you? I know you have a book in you somewhere.
In due time. I’ll set some intentions towards that for sure. You’ll probably have a chapter in there too, I’m sure. Anybody can go on to LeapZoneStrategies.com. There is a lot of information there on the company, what we do, the people involved with the company. Isabelle and Margarita are there. They’re bestselling authors. They have two TED Talks now. They’re well-versed in the branding and self-growth world.
Their TED Talks, you had them on your social media too. Their TED Talks are on your Facebook page.
Thank you so much. I have learned a lot, I always do. My hope is that we keep inspiring you and helping you through this tough time. We will get through it and we’re going to get through it on top together. Thanks, Jim.
Thank you. Keep it up.
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About Jim Gardiner
Being a leader for momentum and growth is something that has come natural to me. As a performance coach I help entrepreneurs and high performers get in touch with their authentic selves and by design maximize their business and personal brands to achieve a state of optimum congruence. The perspective I have gained from being a high performance athlete, rowing coach, hospitality business executive, and life adventurer has allowed me the ability to help business owners understand the big picture of their vision. In addition, helping them to step outside that macro frame with objective eyes to examine the micro brush strokes and see if each is truly contributing to the overall promise and design of the Brand.
I tackle personal and business growth with a two pronged approach…thru a wellness/high performance sport background coupled with a business acumen disciplined through 14 years of living in New York City and Los Angeles. As a high performance athlete / coach in the sport of rowing and in the professional area of health and wellness I have constructed bodies and minds to perform at peak performance. This personal and guided evolution has prepared these athletes and non-athletes to wage war on the limiting beliefs and inevitable road blocks that arise in life not just in the sports arena. After all, Mindset is Everything.
Armed with the mental toughness and discipline forged thru athletics I was able to put that to use in creating, opening, and running high profile restaurants and lounges in Manhattan and Los Angeles. These adventures paved the way to running hotels and resorts as a General Manager and Director of Operations overseeing 250 employees.
The roads travelled have led to motivational speaking across the United States, a stint as the spokesperson for the American Lung Association of New York, and most recently the host of my own Shaw Television show entitled “The Inspirational 30” where I had the privilege of sitting down with inspirational guests from all walks of life to share their unique and inspiring roads to authenticity.
With well over two decades of hands-on experience in business and personal growth, I am motivated to help entrepreneurs face their challenges, uncover their secret sauce, and get their business to peak performance, so they can truly live the life of their dreams; by design.