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Welcome to episode #85 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this week’s episode I spoke with Jonah Larkin, an Executive Coach. His main hobby is surfing.

Top Talking Points

  • Having good mental and physical health will prepare you for any challenge.
  • Jonah’s process for overcoming bad habits.
  • Personal growth is driven by curiosity or suffering…or a combination of both.

Connect With Jonah at jonahlarkin.com or @jonahlarkin

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Thank you for listening to this episode of The Morning Upgrade Podcast. If you enjoyed my conversation with Jonah, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and please leave a review.

Episode Transcript

Ryan  

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the Morning Upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20-minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development to upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morningupgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share and now on to the show.

Announcer  

Welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we featured casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan 

Hey, Jonah, welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast. How are you?

Jonah 

I’m doing well. Thanks for having me, Ryan. Really stoked to be here.

Ryan  

Yeah, likewise, I’m excited to speak to you and talk about personal development and habits and all that good stuff for these next 15 minutes. Does my audience of Morning Upgraders know who they’re listening to? Why don’t you just start us off by telling everyone who you are, and what you do for a living? And then give us one thing that’s going well in your life right now.

Jonah 

Yeah, great. So, Jonah Larkin, and I’m an executive coach. I work primarily with tech executives and founders. I’m here and pretty close to Silicon Valley. So those are pretty much my clients. But I do work with people all over the world. And I’m a big surfer. That’s pretty much what I dedicate most of my life to the outside of my work. And what’s going well, for me, actually, at this very moment is healing. I had a pretty serious accident about two and a half weeks ago, surfing 25-foot waves on the north shore of Hawaii, and actually injured my pelvis, which was a pretty serious injury. And so it was pretty scary. And I came back to California where I’m from, and I’m doing just about every single thing I can to heal from visualization, stem cell injections to physical therapy to get in all the right nutrition. And fortunately, the X-rays and MRIs show that I’m healing quickly. So that’s what’s going well for me, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

Ryan 

I mean, two and a half weeks doesn’t sound like a lot of time for that type of injury.

Jonah  

Well, I still got a ways to go. I’m not out of the woods yet. But so far, the progress has been really, really good.

Ryan  

And I’m assuming like drowning was a threat there, because you probably were in a lot of pain, right?

Jonah  

I was and I was about a mile out to see when it happened. My friend and I were surfing an outer reef. So basically, that’s a reef that’s, you know, breaks out in the middle of the ocean. Fortunately, there was a Cohen crew. So there were a couple of guys who were doing two NS over the Jetski. And they saw me after I got hit with a series of waves and they came in and, and actually ended up rescuing me. So I got a lot of help from a lot of people. And I’m just really, really grateful, you know, you can’t do anything alone. Really, that’s really great in terms of, you know, it’s one of my philosophies. And I was certainly helped by so many people I continue to be because I can’t do that much for myself right now. I can sort of hobble around on my crutches, but not much else.

Ryan 

So let’s talk about I’m assuming you have fear now, right? I’m guessing, like going back into the water? How are you going to handle that? From a mindset mindset perspective?

Jonah 

That’s a good question. And I thought a lot about it. I mean, I a lot of the fear actually just shows up in the healing process, you know, scared that I’m not going to heal scared that I’m going to have to have surgery scared that I’ll never be the same. And the real thing that I’ve found is that it’s really important to dive into the fear and examine what the beliefs are that drive it. So you know, the fear for me of not healing is like, oh, somehow the laws of the universe don’t apply to me and my body. Right? It’s like, it’s like, somehow I’m, I am like, so special that I’m not blessed by the world and life. And the fact is, is that, you know, the body wants to heal itself. And so in terms of surfing, yeah, I’m gonna go back there, and I’m going to be so prepared. I’m going to be in such good shape that when I go back into the water, I’ll feel very strong and very confident. And, again, that’s one of my personal philosophies is that if you want something really, really bad, don’t worry so much about the goal of getting it but spend the time preparing yourself. And that way when you get into the situation, you can receive the benefits of what’s coming to you. So the way that works for me is by getting in really good physical and mental shape, making sure I’m meditating making sure I’m taking care of my body, and making sure I’m sleeping.

Ryan 

It’s interesting, it’s a guest, this whole situation is put you in a situation to put your skill sets to use that you teach your clients, I’m guessing, right?

Jonah 

Yeah, you know, it’s like, ordeals, right? We all face ordeals within our lives. And this is certainly an ordeal for me. I’m a very physical person. And so, yeah, it’s it’s actually a trauma for me. And so this is really where we get to see what our values are, and whether we can walk our talk, and what faith is like, and all those really challenging things are when we step into really difficult situations. So, you know, I’m both grateful for it. And, you know, also wish it wasn’t the case. But at the same time, you know, I have, I do have a belief, and it’s not for everybody, but I have a belief that this is here has a lesson for me, and it will make me stronger. So that’s what works for me.

Ryan 

So what’s your goal? Like, when do you want to be out surfing again? Have you thrown anything out into the universe on that?

Jonah 

Three months, I’d like to be surfing again in three months. I think that’s realistic, I think it’s possible. And, you know, I don’t have to be surfing big waves in three months. But if I’m just like putting around and little waves, I’ll be really happy.

Ryan 

For someone that doesn’t surf at all, five-foot waves sounds amazing. 25 feet sounds very scary, very impossible. But obviously, it’s possible because you’re doing it. But I’m very impressed. So I want to talk about removing negative habits like we spoke about before we started recording. But I’ll go back to that. First, I want to talk about your morning routine. How do you start your day? How do you start your mornings?

Jonah 

Yeah, well, I start my days with red light therapy, I have some red lights above my bed. So as soon as I wake up, I turn those red lights on. And those just get my mitochondria going, they get bright light in my eyes, and I feel really good. They’re warm. So I do that for about 10 or 15 minutes, I’ve walked downstairs, and I drink some water with some vitamin C in it. And right after I drink my water, I walk over to my meditation cushion and sit down on meditation cushion and meditate for between 11 minutes and 45 minutes. And why I say 11 minutes and 45 minutes is because I have a non-negotiable 11-minute bare minimum that I do no matter what. I’m a big fan of creating lines in the sand when it comes to habits and that 11 minutes is my line in the sand. And then I get up and after I meditate I usually write at least one sentence again, that’s my non-negotiable in my journal. And that’s how my morning starts. Pretty simple. How long does it take you? Well, you know, the quickest it takes me is if I just do a minute of red light, go down drink my water that’s like two minutes and meditate for 11 minutes. I can do the whole thing in about 15 minutes.

Ryan 

So it depends on how long you’re doing the meditation. Yeah, makes sense.

Jonah  

Yeah, exactly. But that you know, having a short morning routine is great because I know I get it in no matter what. And I’ve found that it’s more important to get it in than it is to do the whole like the big long ordeal of it all. And it’s consistency that creates the benefits in my experience so that’s why I do it like that.

Ryan  

100% and my routine is 20 minutes and so now I never have an excuse back when I had like an hour and a half routine I would sometimes miss just because of my kids and just natural life stuff and now that my routines to I’ve dialed it down to 20 minutes I haven’t missed and I think I’m on 90 days straight and so there’s no reason to miss now. I have no excuse.

Jonah  

Heck yeah, dude, I love that. That’s super awesome. To really therapy.

Ryan

I haven’t. I haven’t heard that and it’s funny like I find it so fascinating that everyone has such different morning routines like the guests I was speaking to before recording an episode this morning. He bought this cold it’s almost like a tub that you fill up with water and it freezes or whatnot freezes but makes it very cold I think like 45 degrees and he’ll plunge himself into that thing every morning. And then you’re doing red light therapy is such a unique all these different things I haven’t really considered before.

Jonah 

Yeah, there are many things that I’m happy to send. Send any info to you offline after the podcast. Happy to man. It’s always fun to share that stuff.

Ryan  

Yeah, sounds good. So we talk a lot about habits and I know you I know. Just do my research. I know you’ve talked a lot about habits. But one thing and obviously that’s something we talked about on the show, but I realized one thing we don’t talk a lot about is a lot about on the show is removing bad habits. So what advice do you have on removing bad habits?

Jonah 

Yeah, it’s a great question. Because so much of the time people are focusing on building good habits. But you know, removing bad ones is one of the key things. And the number one thing that you have to do is you have to realize that you’re not in conscious control of bad habits, habits, by definition happen in an unconscious or subconscious part of our brain. So for instance, your prefrontal cortex, that’s the thinking executive functioning planning part of your brain runs at 40 bits per second. And your subconscious brain operates at 40 million bits per second. So your subconscious is a million times more powerful than your conscious mind. And so the first thing you have to realize is like, Oh, my God, I don’t have control of this habit. For me. It’s sugar. Okay. I am addicted to sugar. That’s my unconscious habit, if there’s sugar in the fridge, or in my cupboard, that’s going to get eaten. So how do you break a habit? Well, the first thing is to realize, Oh, my God, I have this habit, whatever it is, and I’m not in control of it. And you have to, you have to go and start to understand, well, when do I do it? Right? When do I do it? So the first step is to notice that you’re doing it, don’t blame yourself, don’t shame yourself, just realize, Oh, my God, I’m doing this bad habit. And do that for just a week, and see what you notice. Then, when you decide all right, I’m ready to break that bad habit. You’ve got to set up barriers for yourself. And for me, that barrier is no sugar in the house. If you want to stop watching TV, or Netflix, make sure you’re logged out of Netflix, make sure that you unplug your Roku from your TV, whatever it is, you’ve got to make it really difficult to do it. And like look, nothing is too hard, right? So you want to remove, you want to create a lot of obstacles for yourself because obstacles slow you down. So if you’re if you have like a Netflix addiction, you know, sit on the couch, turn on the TV, if you’ve got to log in with a really difficult password, that’s going to make it harder. And so that is one of the key things. And then the last thing to do is do it with somebody else, break your habit with another person. Or if they don’t have the same habit, it doesn’t necessarily matter, but you can hook up with them. And you can have some accountability with someone else because you’re 95% more likely to succeed if you do it with another person. So that’s really a three-step process is one notice to create obstacles for yourself. And three, do it with someone else. And if you follow those processes, it’s almost impossible for you not to break that habit.

Ryan 

Like the process, you’ve got here. It makes a lot of sense. Removing the temptation make it hard to do accountability. I’m huge into accountability. I belong to a mastermind, actually several of them. And that’s a big part of it. You’re with a group of people that are holding you accountable. So it makes a lot of sense. It’s a Halloween must be torturous for you.

Jonah

Oh my god. Yeah, I was just at my mom’s house, and she came back from her party with like, tons and tons and tons of cookies. And it was just like, in the kitchen. I was like, Oh, my God, and I came so close to just like going crazy and eating them. But I had to remind myself, Hey, man, healing is more important than sugar right now. It was a close call, though, man. I’m telling ya.

Ryan

Yeah, I know that the Milky Way bars get me and the 100 Grand bars. But we only have candy in our house one time a year. And that’s that that time? So? Not perfect, but close enough? Yeah. If I went back to the if I went back and spoke to the 18-year-old Jonah, were you always into this type of like personal development and working on yourself and growth and all that?

Jonah 

I was but I wasn’t quite as aware of it when I was 18. Yeah. But if you were to go back to when I was 18, you know, I, I was very interested in meditation and learning new things and all that stuff. And part of it was just a spirit of adventure I had that was instilled in me by my parents. But I, you know, I think people are driven to personal growth by one of two things. One is curiosity, and the other is suffering. And sometimes it’s a combination of both. We experience things we don’t want to and so we look for answers and that creates one journey for personal growth. And the other is just curiosity of wanting to know what’s out there and what other people are doing, and seeing someone who inspires us. And, you know, I’m definitely driven I think a little more by curiosity, but hey, we’ve all had our own experiences of suffering and that can be a great teacher as well.

Ryan 

I really did. I’ve always thought we sort of figured out why I’m so into it. And like, I’ve taken to the point now where I have a blog and a podcast and morning routine cards and all of that. I think, for me, it’s a combination of both. So I didn’t really think about it as I thought about it, but I couldn’t ever nail it down. But hearing you say that it could be the curiosity or the suffering, I think, I think for me, it’s a little bit of both. So that’s interesting. Yeah.

Jonah 

Yeah, It is for most people as well.

Ryan  

Yeah. And for me, the suffering was just like challenges I was going through and business and stuff and just trying to figure things out. And so, you know, obviously, suffering takes different forms. But interesting. So, Jonah, I’ve got one last question for you. And then we’re gonna wrap up with you sharing your website or whatever, however, someone can reach out to you and connect with you. I’m just curious. How do you feed your fulfillment, happiness, all that some people might say happiness, some people for fulfillment, how does Jonah feed, feed that for yourself? For himself?

Jonah 

Well, yeah, that’s a good question. I’d say for me, it’s habits, hard things, and going fast. And what I mean by that is like, I think that I think that, you know, any result is a is any result in our life is a result of repeated behaviors done over and over again. So, you know, one of my favorite habits is asking for feedback from people who are close to me and then listening really hard. It’s really difficult. It’s challenging to ask for feedback, hey, how would you rate our relationship one through 10? And if it’s not a 10, what would make it better, and people will be honest with you. And I learned so much by asking for that. So habits, doing hard things, right, like doing things that I’m a little scared of stretching myself, asking for things, jumping into, you know, cold ice baths, all those things, I think, create happiness. And then finally going fast. For me, surfing, skiing, anything that’s where speed is involved helps me get into a flow state. And, you know, I wondered why I’m so into that kind of stuff. And recently, a lot of data has come out about life satisfaction and happiness, and people who are able to get into flow states on a regular basis, or something like 70% happier, than people who don’t. And so, you know, we all have our ways of getting into flow states, whether it’s sports, or you know, some people do video games, other people with creativity, there’s a lot of ways of doing it. But if you can do that, it leads to happiness. So again, I think it’s for me, it’s about preparation, not pursuing the happiness itself, but pursuing all those things that create the result that I’m looking for in the first place.

Ryan 

So, yeah. So the flow state with surfing, does that come naturally? I’d imagine I’m gonna surf like I mentioned before.

Jonah 

Yeah, it’s like anything, you know, it’s like if you know, when you if you’re playing basketball, and you’re like, playing really well, or you’re skiing or anything like that, anything where your mind can be focused on what’s happening in front of you can create that flow state, but yeah, I was surfing it. It happens pretty naturally. And yeah, and yeah, you asked where people can get a hold of me, they can. My website is Jonahlarkin.com. People can find me on Instagram as well. I also connect on LinkedIn. And then I did create a landing page for just some resources. I have some habit resources and all that it’s at Jonahlarkin.com/morningupgrade. And yeah, you can download all the free resources that I have right there.

Ryan 

Perfect. Yeah, we’ll definitely link that up. I really enjoyed our conversation today, Jonah, thanks for jumping on.

Jonah 

Likewise, Ryan. Thanks for the really thoughtful questions and love the quick format of the podcast.

Ryan 

Thanks. Appreciate that. And thanks, everyone, for listening. We’ll talk soon.

Ryan 

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe and review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com For more content.

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