The Beauty of Grief — Emotion Series #9

Anthropologist and coach Alexa Anderson joins the podcast again for a deep dive with Joe into the emotional and practical value of grieving fully.

They examine several forms in which grief can arise, the relationship between grief and identity, various mysteries of the way grief moves, and how unfelt grief underlies interpersonal and societal conflict.

Alexa and Joe discuss the tools they’ve used to help them move their grief in the wake of painful losses and to pre-grieve losses that haven’t yet occurred. They share examples of deep transformation that followed the processing of grief all the way through.

Tune in to deepen your relationship with grief as an intimate experience of love and care, and a doorway to the freedom available on the other side.

“Without the grief, we recreate the cycle.
Without the grief, we relive the trauma.
Without the grief, we don’t find the freedom on the other side of the limited identity.”


Aaron Taylor — Feel Your Way to Freedom: Growing Up Fatherless, Becoming a Father, and Winning a Super Bowl Along the Way

“Never rob a man of his pain or his gold because both will serve him equally well.”

Super Bowl champion Aaron Taylor reflects on a journey to emotional freedom that continues far beyond his accomplished career in the NFL. For every feeling he'd been pushing away, Aaron came to find that “on the other side is infinite possibility.”

Join Aaron, Brett, and Joe as they talk about performance anxiety, feelings in the locker room, and how faith affects decision-making. They touch on the nature of accomplishment, how to raise children who hear their own voices of approval, and the value of having our identity shattered to pieces. Aaron shares a tearful moment with his absent father that produced an unexpected gem of gratitude. The episode closes with the story of a critical choice Aaron made at age 15 that changed his life.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what we do, it’s about who and what we become in that process.”

Links and references from the episode:

  2. Check back in 16 years for a follow-up interview with feedback from Aaron on the referenced conversation with his son.

About Aaron:

CBS Sports Analyst and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Aaron Taylor, has a "larger than life" personality, but its roots may surprise you: the former Super Bowl Champion credits his success to the principles of Gratitude, Service, and Teamwork.

Instilled from an early age, these principles became the inspiring foundation for the creation of college football’s only non-individual award, the Joe Moore Award, annually recognizing the Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit in College Football. Through the Joe Moore Award, Aaron set out to not only preserve the legacy of his coach but also to shift the focus from a “Hey, look at me!” mentality to a culture of teamwork, of putting the greater good above ourselves in society at large.

Aaron was a decorated offensive lineman at the University of Notre Dame from 1990-1993, earning unanimous All-American honors both his junior and senior years. In his final season in South Bend, he won the prestigious Lombardi Award, annually given to the best interior lineman in the country.

In an incredible culmination of his childhood dream, Aaron was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft and was a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI championship team. After a two-year stint with the San Diego Chargers, Aaron was forced to retire due to injuries after the 1999 season.

Off the field, Aaron is a moving and inspirational speaker. His candid approach and sense of humor make him an effective storyteller who is able to weave a powerful message of resilience, perseverance, and the importance of having a championship mindset.

Behind the winning smile and accolades, Aaron finds meaning and feels “most alive” when being of service or bringing value to others. Shortly after retiring from the NFL, Aaron established the Aaron Taylor Impact Fund and recently co-founded The Foundation for Teamwork, dedicated to fostering the most essential aspect of all societal endeavors: Teamwork.

Aaron currently resides in Southern California and New York with his wife and three children.

The Anatomy of Shame - Emotion Series #8

Shame is nature’s way of training us to fit into our culture and society. Like an electric fence, it outlines the contours of the identity we’ve grown into and discourages us from straying outside the lines.

This boundary around our comfort zone is often a poor match for ourselves and the world we live in. When we feel shame, our emotional experience stagnates, dampening our evolution and our enjoyment. People often find themselves stuck in the same shame cycles for years.

In this episode, Joe and Brett examine the structure of shame and how to melt it on an intellectual, emotional, and somatic level.

Transformed through awareness and love, our shame becomes a natural set of guide rails that help us live our life in alignment with our deepest values.

"All we're doing here is freeing the blocking of emotions by feeling into our body and creating love where there was abandonment."

The following is the “wall of shame” referenced at the end of the episode, compiled from Brett’s journal and submissions from our listeners:

  • Shame of being amateur/inexperienced
  • ...of missing opportunities
  • ...of being incompetent
  • ...of backing down or giving up
  • ...of not creating value
  • ...of being wrong, and then being hard-headed about it
  • ...of being an outsider who doesn't speak the lingo
  • ...of asking for help
  • ...of being 'transactional'
  • ...of not being present enough
  • ...of hovering anxiously
  • ...of having shame and hiding it
  • ...of being a 'hypocrite'
  • ...of being a know-it-all
  • ...of being helpless or clueless
  • ...of not 'deserving it'
  • ...of failing as a result of either over- or under-control
  • ...of upsetting people or scaring them with the truth
  • ...of showing hurt or disappointment
  • ...of not following my intuition
  • ...of not being clever, determined, or forthright
  • ...of not being ambitious, or of being too ambitious
  •  ...of disagreeing
  • ...of telling people they are wrong
  • ...of being withdrawn
  • ...of needing people to change their behavior
  • ...of needing time
  • ...of thinking slowly
  • ...of not knowing how
  • ...of not feeling good when others are socializing
  • …of not being enough (strong, present, resourceful, smart)
  • …of freezing when action is required
  • …of hurting the people I love

Send yours with the feedback form on our website to add to this list. Submissions will, of course, be anonymized.

How Do I Trust Myself? (Coaching Session)

Joe coaches a course participant through an exploration of self-trust. Beginning with an intellectual question about conflicted inner parts, our guest embraces the underlying emotional experience and touches the essence of who she is.

"What's the ultimate thing that you're running from?" 
"Some sort of spiral effect -- I've seen people I love spiral into depression or spiral into madness."
"There's an abyss in you that you're avoiding, and your fear is that if you go into that, you won't come out. So let's go."

The Upright Apology: A Tool for Transformation

Apologies are commonly associated with shame, power games, or beliefs about who’s right and who’s wrong. In this episode, we talk about the freedom to be had in making apologies without shame and in full ownership of our experience.

“When you make an apology that's upright, that's empowered, it feels fantastic. You feel strength in it. You feel responsible. You feel empowered."


What We Discuss in Episode 54:

3:52   Why apologies are sometimes used to appease our own guilt.

11:05   How to apologize in a shameless, empowered way.

17:20   The notion of power struggles in apologies — how to recognize when it’s happening and what to do about it.

20:07   Why forgiveness is more for you than the person you’re forgiving.

26:54   Tools and practices for becoming more aware of the relationship you have with apologizing.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Emile DeWeaver — Life After Murder: On Fear, Freedom, and Identity

At the age of eighteen — just before the birth of his child — Emile began serving a life sentence for murder. In this episode, Emile tells us how he came to face the fear that drove him to kill a man, and which followed him into prison. He shares how he learned to love himself and see through an identity that might have otherwise imprisoned him in yet another manner. After finding inner freedom, Emile eventually wrote his way out from behind bars as well: his sentence was commuted in 2017 after serving twenty-one years, a testament to his journey and transformation.

"I am under no illusions, right? I cannot make amends to the man I killed. I cannot make amends to his family. I still need to be a north star, right? In my world, in my life. So I can spend my time hating myself, [or] I could spend my time helping to create a world where little kids don't kill other little kids."

About Emile:

Emile is a queer, African-American activist whose life sentence in prison was commuted by California’s Governor Brown after 21 years for his accomplishments while in prison. While in prison, he was a culture writer for Easy Street Magazine; he co-founded Prison Renaissance, and despite the criminalization of organizing in California prisons, he covertly organized in prison to pass legislation that changed the way California treats juveniles in its criminal legal system. Emile is a widely published journalist, essayist, and literary writer. His credits include pieces in San Francisco Chronicle, TruthOut, Colorlines, and the Brennan Center. Emile is available for talks, panels, and workshops on the following topics:

• Power in the Criminal Legal System
• Media in the Criminal Legal System
• Three Principles of Creating Miracles

What We Discuss in Episode 53:

03:51   Emile’s relationship to fear — rooted in a culture of hyper-masculinity and violence — throughout his childhood and early adolescence.

14:53   How Emile came to the decision to write his way out of prison.

19:13   Finding self-forgiveness after murder and redirecting energy to make a positive impact.

25:51  The psychological experience of solitary confinement and how what happens in prison is mirrored in society at large.

31:00  The freedom and power of choice in the face of fear.

41:58   Why welcoming all emotions and aspects of yourself creates the path to an overarching sense of peace and joy.

**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Connection: A State Beyond States

We talk a lot about connection in this podcast — connection with ourselves, our emotions, our relationships and with the world around us. It’s essentially what we’re pointing to in every topic we discuss. In today’s episode, we talk about why that is, and how orienting toward connection in all aspects of our lives facilitates sustained expansion, increases our capacity, and puts us in touch with something bigger than ourselves.

“And the truth is that you're being in connection with yourself and others is not dependent on anybody else because being in connection with what is doesn't require anybody else.”


What We Discuss in Episode 50:

2:13   Defining connection as a "meta state" or a state that encompasses all states.

17:31   How being connected affects productivity and effectiveness in a team.

23:39   The physical sensations in your body that let you know you're in connection.

28:45   How to be with tension and still feel deeply connected to yourself.

32:48   Why connection is all internal and completely within your own locus of control.

38:16   How to drop back into connection when things get tough.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Limiting Beliefs: The Hidden Rails That Guide Our Lives

In this episode, we talk about limiting beliefs and how they run our lives, affecting our capacity to be with ourselves and live the life we want. We discuss how to find them, see through them, and discover what happens when these beliefs are no longer running the show.

“It's about being able to integrate new knowledge. And if you can't integrate new knowledge because you think you have the whole story, you're limited. Period.”


What We Discuss in Episode 48:

2:51    Defining what limiting beliefs are and how they can impact your life.

12:27   How welcoming or resisting a situation shifts both your interpretation and experience of it.

17:15   The notion that integrating multiple perspectives creates better solutions.

22:14   The three general categories of limiting beliefs.

24:06   How to see through the limiting perspective by discovering it in reverse.

34:30   One of the most common limiting beliefs and questions to ask yourself to determine what relationship you have to it.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

What's So Scary About Boundaries?

What’s the difference between a boundary and an ultimatum? What happens when we use “boundaries” to control another person?

In today’s episode, design researcher and strategy consultant Alexa Anderson joins Joe Hudson for a discussion on boundaries. Tune in to learn how drawing better boundaries can deepen relationships in work and life by immediately increasing our capacity to love.

"It’s scary if your boundary is accepted and the person loves you in your boundary, because that means the way that you have modeled the world in the past has to now change. And that means you have to change."


What we discuss in Episode 47:

3:51   How optimal boundaries increase your capacity to love somebody.

8:25   Why walking on eggshells, caretaking and other people-pleasing behaviors are not the same thing as compassion.

9:35   The trap of trying to change the ones you love in hopes that it will make them happier.

13:46   How to hold boundaries in a work context.

20:33   The difference between a boundary and an ultimatum.

30:12   Resentment as an indicator that a boundary is not being drawn.

54:07   Why boundaries can be scary to set and difficult to hear.


**Full transcript coming soon! Check back HERE for the link.**

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Sam Altman — Leading with Crippling Anxiety, Discovering Meditation, and Building Intelligence with Self-Awareness

In this episode, Brett and Joe interview Sam Altman on how self-awareness gained through meditation can be combined with intelligence in business. Sam is an entrepreneur, investor and programmer. He is the CEO of OpenAI and the former president of Y Combinator. 

Sam discusses his experiences with meditation and how it has transformed his decision making and resulted in a much calmer, more joyous default state of being. He explains some of the most profound realizations that he has had about himself and humanity in general through his work with AI. Join us to hear more about how Sam arrived at a place of calm detachment that allowed him to respond to challenging and stressful situations with ease.

“Intelligence and awareness, to me, seem like that have to go together.”


What we discuss in Episode 39:

1:30  A realization that completely changed the way that Sam operates in business, the way he thinks about AI, and his life.

5:04  The moment Sam realized his old way of operating, from a place of stress and anxiety, needed to change.

8:00  How to really care about something while remaining detached from the outcome at the same time.

11:03  The most transformative aspect of meditation according to Sam.

14:40  The experience of non-duality — how it shifts perspective and provides clarity on self, passions and priorities.

22:22  Whether human emotions are possible for artificial intelligence to experience.

29:38  How intelligence needs self-awareness to reach its full capacity.

32:50  How meditation shifted Sam’s relationship to anger and joy.

35:55  How the work that Sam has done on himself has evolved his work culture.

**Full transcript can be found here:

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.