Optimize Reality

Optimize Reality - 12 Practical Tips to Boost Your Performance, Outcomes and Life!

Dr. Bradford Cooper - Catalyst Coaching Podcast
Catalyst Coaching Podcast

Full Transcript

Dr. Cooper

Welcome to the latest episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast. I’m your host, Dr Bradford Cooper, and today it’s just you and me as we talk about how to optimize reality. If you’ve ever received an email from me, you know it doesn’t end with respectfully or sincerely. It ends with optimizing reality and then my name. I came to the conclusion years ago that that’s why I’m here, to help people optimize their reality. Life’s hard life’s a struggle, there are difficulties, there are challenges. But in the midst of those challenges, we can still optimize the reality that we’re facing. No matter what we’re going through. The highs, the lows and all the stuff in the middle, we can optimize whatever reality it is that we’re facing today. So that’s the goal of this episode is to talk you through a few strategies, a few ideas of how to do that in practical ways, and I’d love your feedback on whether this is helpful or not. This is the first time we’ve done it. If you like it, shoot me an email Results@CatalystCoachingInstitute.com and frankly, if you have some ideas you’d like me to share in a future similar episode, if we repeat this. I’d love to hear those as well.

Dr. Cooper

If you’re not yet signed up for the Rocky Mountain Coaching Retreat and Symposium, you may want to look into it. At least get it on your radar screen. It’s September 18th through the 20th in Estes Park, Colorado. Beautiful time of year. Probably the most beautiful time in Colorado to come visit. And for those of you who already live in Colorado, you know how nice it is to get up in the mountains at that time. It will include CEUs. It will also include downtime, a chance to reflect, to recapture that passion for what we do, and a chance to integrate with coaches who are doing a number of different things around the country and even the globe. You do not have to be a Catalyst Coaching Institute graduate to attend. This is open to coaches of any training. You do need to be a health and wellness coach, but regardless of your training, and you also do not have to be national board certified to attend. You simply need to be a health and wellness coach. So if you’re interested in that, you can pull up details at CatalystCoachingInstitute.com under the retreat tab. With that, let’s jump into this discussion on optimizing reality on the latest episode of The Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching podcast.

Dr. Cooper

Let’s jump in. The concept here is we’re optimizing our reality. We’re not making life perfect. That’s not gonna happen. Regardless of where you are today, whether you’re flying high, you just got some great news or you’re really struggling with something or somewhere in between. That’s your reality, and it doesn’t matter where you are today, we can still optimize that reality. So that’s what we’re trying to do over the next 25 minutes or so is provide you some concepts, some ideas, some approaches to optimizing your reality regardless of where you are today. Now the 1st one I wanna introduce you to is to look for leakage. If you’ve listened this podcast very long, you know all about the F5. These are the five key aspects of life. Faith, family, which includes friends, foundation and well being, finances and fields of play. Fields of play is your profession, your hobbies, the things that you focus your time on outside of those 1st four. Now, this may not be the season of life for you to optimize all those five areas. That’s very rare. We’re not looking for balance. We’re looking to make sure we’re not creating leakage. I see this all the time. People wonder, why am I struggling so much overall? How’s your F5? If we go back and look for that leakage if we go back and see, is there one of these areas that, again, you’re not trying to perfect these five. You’re not trying to become, you know, amazing at these five, or make all five of these a focus your life. You want to make sure that you’re not getting leakage in one or two that is then, causing issues in the other three. For example, let’s say that you’re focused over here in one area and you’ve let your finances go. You’re borrowing money. You’re working off credit cards. That is significant leakage that is gonna influence all other aspects of your life. Maybe not this month. But over time it’s really gonna have a negative, very negative effect on you. So that would be an example as you analyze your life and you look for leakage. Go through each of these five, faith family, including friends, foundational well being, finances and fields of play and see, is there any leakage in any of those that would be affecting other aspects of my life?

Dr. Cooper

Now, the second thing I want you to reflect on is your time budget. Let’s face it. Most common limiter of moving toward better is I’m too busy. I don’t have time. So look carefully at that. Analyze that. Is that actually true? Do you actually not have time? Or is it priorities? Is it planning? Let me just go through some examples. TV’s the low hanging fruit. Have you ever looked to see how many hours a week you spend watching TV, including all the Netflix and Hulu and YouTube and Disney Plus and all the different options. For most people, it’s a significant amount of time. Those are not bad things. I’m not saying get rid of them. I’m saying, just look at it and say, okay, I’m spending X number of hours a week. Is that really how I want to spend those hours? It doesn’t mean cut it out. It doesn’t mean TV is evil. No, it means look at it. Reflect on is that helping you become the person you wanna become at that amount of time? Similar would be your social media. I don’t know if you’ve ever used one of these app trackers. Just Google it. There are plenty of options, but it tells you how much time you’re spending on all the different social media platforms. And I’d encourage you to take a guess first before you plug one of those in, before you turn one on. And they’re generally free, very easy to set up and fascinating. But if you take a guess, if you say I bet I’m spending 30 minutes a day and then check and see what you’re really spending, you just might be stunned. So really valuable aspects with those two, pretty easy.

Dr. Cooper

The 3rd one is transition time. We have a lot of triathletes that listen to this podcast, I enjoy triathlons myself and you know well, that transitions, the transition from swim to bike and bike to run are a critical part of the race. I’ve actually been in a race where I had the fastest combined swim bike and run time overall of all the racers, and I lost because somebody else was just behind me on those other three, but he was a lot better when it came to transitions. Transitions, don’t just matter for triathlons, folks though, they matter for life, too. Now, this doesn’t mean rush through life. That’s the other extreme. That’s not what we’re looking at here. It’s looking at where you’re spending your time and saying, huh? I spend 45 minutes getting ready every morning. Now, part of that’s really valuable. I spend time reading, praying, looking at my day. Those are not things you’d want to get rid of. But if I’m reflecting back on my morning and I realized I hit that snooze button three times and then I lay there in bed for another five minutes, and then I eventually get up and I kind of waste some time. You hear what I’m saying? So you end up spending 25 minutes between those things that I mean, where’s the value there? Is that really optimizing reality? So I’m just asking you to think about it. We’re all different. We all function differently. Mornings, nights that kind of thing. And again, the goal is not to rush through life. The goal is to spend life doing the things that we value. And just consider, is hitting the snooze button something I value?

Dr. Cooper

Commuting and other downtime. One of the things that’s true, I live in Colorado and Denver’s getting quite a bit of traffic. And if I leave my house before 6:15 it’s pretty smooth sailing. It doesn’t take long to get wherever I’m going. If I leave it 6:25 it can take me twice as long. And if I leave it seven, just mark yourself down. Now one of the ways to get around that is to consider, okay, I can’t change my commute. I can’t change that meeting time or my work schedule, but I can change how I get there. Now obviously, this might be restricted by kids schedules and that kind of thing. But if not, why not find, for example, a pool nearby your work or a gym. And instead of leaving at a certain time and then sitting in an extra 40 minutes of traffic and then being bummed out because you didn’t get your time for your workout that day. Why not flip it? Why not leave before the traffic, builds in 40 extra minutes, in my case at least, and that gives you almost free workout time? Or as some of you who maybe are parents, you’ve got kids in the ages where they’re going to soccer practice or gymnastics or swim lessons or whatever. And what’s so common is, and, by the way, awesome job parents being involved your kid’s lives. So don’t take this the other extreme. But if you’re sitting there at practice, because in most cases it doesn’t make sense to drop your kid off drive home, spend four minutes at home, drive back to pick him up. So we’ll sit there with our phones, we’ll just blow the time. Why not, same idea, bring some workout clothes or at a minimum some walking shoes. Go for a walk during their practice. Look for those opportunities to utilize the time, not the time we’re spending with our kids. That’s different. But if we’re not spending it with the kids, if we’re spending it with our phone sitting in the bleachers, maybe there’s an opportunity there. So those are just some initial things, reviewing your time budget that might help move toward optimizing your reality.

Dr. Cooper

The next one I want to talk about is that clear vision. You know, it’s only been a couple months since we had the episode on this, so you might, if you didn’t catch that one it’s the December 30th, 2019 edition and we go through creating a clear vision. When I went through this process for my 2019, so this would’ve been December of 2018. Part of my vision was this concept of cultivate. I had been through a year where it just felt like nothing was happening. I was pouring a lot of time in a different things and it wasn’t getting results. And as I started to create this vision and started thinking through am I wasting my time on this? It came to me this word cultivate. And I won’t go into the whole vision for that year. But that word became a very powerful encourager as I went through 2019 in realizing it’s all about cultivating. This is preparing the ground. The farmer doesn’t get mad at their land for not growing in 20 minutes. And yet that’s what I was doing to the things I was trying to grow. And so that type of thing allows you to optimize your reality. It keeps you encouraged through the struggles, because it puts things in perspective based on the person you’re becoming.

Dr. Cooper

Next up, an accountability partner or maybe partners. Somebody you trust. Maybe it’s your health and wellness coach, but maybe it’s a friend. You’re looking for somebody who gets you and can hold you accountable to the things that you’re wanting to be held accountable to. That really helps optimize reality. We can rationalize so well. We can tell ourselves stuff. It sounds great when we’re saying it to ourselves, and then we say it out loud to somebody else. And we think, even if they don’t say anything, you get that feedback of huh? Well, that’s not a very good idea, or that doesn’t make sense. So accountability partner very, very valuable.

Dr. Cooper

Now’s and Wow’s is the next one. Now’s and Wow’s is something I’ve been teaching for, I don’t know 15 years, the concept is we have, basically in our to do list each day we have things that get us excited, get us energized, we enjoy doing. And we have things that, not exactly. We have to do them, but it’s just kind of like, ugh, I guess I got to do this thing. The now’s are the things that we feel like we’ve got to do. We’ve got to get through it. The Wow’s, those are the ones that energize us. Now what usually happens with most people’s schedules is they start with the Wow’s for obvious reasons. You’re excited about it, you’re energized. You’re ready to roll. So you start off, you look at your list, you go oh sweet. I’m gonna do that. Then I’m gonna do that. And you take that energy and you pour it into it. And then it gets to, you know, 2:30, 3:00 in the afternoon. And all that’s left on the list is the Now’s. The stuff you don’t really like. The secret to optimizing reality with your schedule is to flip those do the now’s first. That’s why they’re called Now’s and Wow’s. Do the now’s first jump into those right out of the gate when you have your most energy, beginning of the day and then save your Wow’s for end of the day because that’ll create some momentum as you finish up the day and it’s something to look forward to. So instead of putting off the now’s to the very end and then putting them off a little bit more and adding some more time, you want to get through because the Wow’s are waiting on the other side. Powerful process.

Dr. Cooper

Next one up is to start. And I know you know that. It’s the key element, people, they just won’t start. Exercise, if you’re saying you know what, I don’t have time to exercise. You have five minutes, though. Maybe you don’t have an hour. Maybe you don’t have a 1/2 hour yet. But let’s find five minutes. So just start. Whatever that thing is, start that process. I’ve struggled with that going into this year, I finished my PhD, and one of my goals was to spend an hour a day reading through other research papers, reflecting on them and putting them in some format that I could later use them for a podcast or an article or or a short video clip or something like that. And I pushed it back one week and then two weeks and then three weeks and then four weeks because I didn’t have the hour. I couldn’t create the hour. No matter what I did, it seemed like I got to 6 p.m. and I was trying to wrap things up and I’m like, ugh, didn’t do it again. And then I realized, Brad, there’s nothing magical about an hour. Create 30 minutes. Start, Brad. And so that’s what I’m doing now, starting with 30 minutes. I think I can gradually expand that out to invest more time in this process. But start with 30. I can find 30. So whatever your thing is that you’re trying to make time for, don’t force yourself to make it a round number. You know, it’s got to be a hour or it’s not worth doing. No, that’s not true. Start.

Dr. Cooper

Similar to that sign up. Commit. Whatever your thing is, maybe it’s a 5K race. You’ve been thinking about it, you’ve been pondering it. You want to start jogging again, or running again or whatever it is. Just sign up for the race, you’ll be amazed. That’s a runners secret. Sign up for the race, and everything else changes. But it’s not just applicable to racing. Maybe it’s a class you’ve been talking about. Sign up. Sign up, your schedule will mold to fit that thing you signed up for. Maybe it’s a volunteer opportunity. You’ve been thinking about, you’ve been thinking about it. Sign up. Jump in there. Let’s do this thing. Sign up.

Dr. Cooper

Next up, prepare in advance. You know these. You get these, we just don’t do them consistently. For example, your workout gear, have it in your car. Don’t decide in the morning, oh my Gosh, I gotta pull this stuff together. Where are my running shoes? I got to get my shorts. What did I do with those? It’s in your car. Have an extra change of clothes. Have it ready the night before. You get out of bed. You don’t even think. You just go down, get in the car, head out. If that’s when you like to work out. Your lunch, same thing. Make your lunch the night before. The benefits, I mean, the low hanging fruit is you’re going to save a ton of money, but you’re also gonna eat a lot better. And you’re also gonna save a lot of time. I mean, those are three pretty big things. Simply by spending five minutes the night before to pack a lunch. So that preparation in advance very, very valuable.

Dr. Cooper

Couple left, books. There is so much wisdom out there, and we miss out on it. We’ve had a number of very well known authors on this podcast, we’ve been very fortunate. We’re grateful that they were willing to join us. Maybe that’s a good place to start, is pull up some of their books. David Epstein’s “Range”, great Book. Fascinating Book. You heard him, if you didn’t, you may want to pull that one up. It’s one of our featured ones. Dr Wendy Wood, we just had on. She talks about habits. Really interesting information. Get her book. Check it out. Kelly McGonigal just had on, what, six weeks ago? So interesting. And she’s written three or four very, very valuable and intriguing books. Alex Hutchinson, I could go on and on. You’ve got a lot of options, but you don’t have to limit yourself to that. Just start somewhere. Again it’s just like what we talked about earlier with the exercise or the 30 minutes that I was trying to spend reading. Just maybe it’s five minutes a day that you read, 10 minutes a day. Maybe it’s just on weekends. But take advantage of that opportunity that will help you optimize reality.

Dr. Cooper

The last one defy gravity. Folks, gravity’s powerful. It’s a tough nut to crack. Once you’re sitting down on the couch, it’s hard to get up. So don’t pretend gravity doesn’t exist. Reflect on how it exists in your life, what places and times is it most powerful, and then plan accordingly. For example, I am a bump on a log at night. I just, I get up pretty early. I go pretty hard during the day, and when it gets to seven o’clock once I hit that couch next to Suzanna, it’s hard to get me up. I know that’s coming and she does too. It’s like if she wants anything done it’s gonna have to happen before I hit that couch. But also for other activities, you can pull in either a tweak in schedules or the support of others, the involvement of others. I’m involved with a couple of groups that we have meetings at night. One’s called FCA Endurance, and I love everyone in that group. We just have such a good time. The conversations are so powerful, literally life changing very frequently, just good people. But it’s at night, and even though I know that I’m gonna walk away from that with my life being better, I still struggle to get there. I still, when it’s that night, I’m like, oh, I kind of wish we didn’t have it tonight. But, because I’ve committed to this group, I’m going. It’s a done deal. And so the same thing for you, if you know where gravity affects you. If you know that afternoons are your tough time or evenings or first thing in morning or whatever, bring in your support crew, have other people who are counting on you, commit to them. So if it’s a workout in the morning and that’s your high gravity time, then have somebody meet you at the gym or at the cycle class or whatever it is, because you’re not gonna let them down. So when it comes to defying gravity there, two strategies. Schedule, tweak the schedule to fit when you’re most influenced by gravity. Or people, make commitments to people that matter to you. Morning, night midday, whenever it is. They’ll lift you up and help you fight that, and in the end to optimize reality.

Dr. Cooper

Was this helpful? We’d love to hear from you if it was Results@CatalystCoachingInstitute.com, it’s the first time we’ve done an episode like this. So if this is the type of stuff you’d like to hear more often, please let us know, and we’ll try to incorporate that. By the same token, if you’ve got ideas of ways that people can optimize their reality, please feel free to send it our way. And if we do end up doing another one, maybe we’ll include yours. I did want to throw out one more opportunity for you to optimize reality. And that’s a blog that Seth Godin writes on a regular basis. Just Google Seth Godin blog. It’ll pop up. The quote that I’ve got sitting on my desk comes from that blog, and I read this thing as a reminder very regularly. Let me just share it with you because it ties very closely into what we’re talking about today. The response that works is to understand the nature of the cycle and to change it from the start. You must not fight the cycle. You must transform it into a different cycle altogether. That’s what we’re talking about today, isn’t it? Transform it into a different cycle altogether. Love that, love that. As always, if you have any questions about the wellness coach certification, you can go to CatalystsCoachingInstitute.com or contact us, Results@CatalystCoachingInstitute.com. We can set up some time to talk, figure out your situation, what makes sense. The next wellness coach certification in Colorado is April 4th and 5th. If you can’t make it to that one, June 13th and 14th would be your next opportunity. Either of those will keep you on track to take the national board exam, if that’s something you’re wanting to do before the requirements change later this year. Now let’s get out there and optimize reality for ourselves and those around us. This is Dr Bradford Cooper signing off, make it a great rest your week and I’ll speak with you soon on the next episode of the Catalyst Health and Wellness Coaching Podcast.