WARNING & DISCLAIMER:
I eff’n hate how egotistical typical “ABOUT US” pages are… Just a bunch of self-serving, happy horseshit:
“Look at me. Me. ME. ME! We’re the
best. Everyone else sucks.”
Crap, typing that just made me throw up in my mouth. Gotta go gargle. Be right back.
Ok, back. Sorry.
That took longer than I expected. Gargling wasn’t enough to get rid of the yuck. I had to grab a shower too (and it’s hard to wash when you’re curled up in the fetal position, crying on the shower floor).
Where was I?
Oh, yeah, right: My deep love of “About Us” pages.
You get the point, though. Yes? I’m just not into touting my accomplishments or bragging about myself.
As if my results (no matter how great or terrible) has anything to do with you, your results or your specific situation. Look, contrary to what these self-aggrandizing egomaniacs shout at us like carnival barkers…
…anybody else’s success (even if 100% legit), is simply NOT predictive of your future success.
Even the most astounding breakthroughs can’t tell what you will (or won’t) accomplish. It can’t do it for you, can it?
And, you know what?
This universal truth applies to true Expert Authorities AND also to those with suspect credibility like the naked Emperor…
Gravity applies to everyone, everywhere.
Besides, how can anybody who isn’t you (who hasn’t had your experiences, doesn’t face your unique problems, hasn’t lived your life) how could they ever know specifically what you want…
…or what “success” means (and looks like) to you?
Even your closest friend can’t know exactly how it feels living in your skin.
That’s why since 1997, when I first started sharing and publishing online, I’ve rarely included an About Us page. It just seemed pointless. And, frankly, it’s also why I was tempted to skip it all together for iUnstuck.
However, today, in 2021, online is a completely different animal.
(Yikes! Has it already been 24 years online for me? That’s like 2,023 years in Internet years…Daammn! Crap, time to add Metamucil to my monthly Amazon subscriptions?)
Here’s the point: You’re understandably more protective of your time than you ever been. You should be. We all are. It’s harder today than even a year ago.
You have to wade through mountains confusion, chaos and overwhelming bullshit online, right?
And, it’s gonna get worse.
Navigating in this online environment depends on getting (and staying) clear about the difference between good shit in general, and good shit for you, specifically.
Maybe you don’t struggle with this, but it’s a battle for me:
See, it’s hard to say, “no” to advice I know is valuable and trust your inner guidance instead. And…
…it’s easy to get stuck on a road that’s wrong for you, yet not notice because you’re surrounded by people it’s right for.
What about you?
Odds are you clicked to this page because your time is precious. And, you want to know if iUnstuck (and this Joshua Shafran guy, whoever the hell he is)…
…is worth a deeper look?
Because, after all, you’re probably protective and selective about what (and where) you invest your attention, are you not?
Fact is, what you focus on is more important than what and where you invest your money!
So, you’re here because you’re shrewd.
You probably don’t mind investing in yourself if —and only if— it serves your needs. Because altho you may have fallen under the “one-size-fits-all” spell before, I’m guessing why you’re here (at…
…least in part) is because you want to know if iUnstuck holds any value for you personally.
Thus, this page. It’s mandatory. A necessity for us both. However, as you can already see:
This ain’t yo momma’s
“About Us” page.
It’s completely different (as is the iUnstuck framework). You won’t find any cheesy pictures of me in some 1990s “power pose” — sorry to disappoint if that’s what you’re into.
So if adult language, straight shooting and loving kicks in the ass offend you… you needn’t waste another second here.
You won’t hurt my feelings (much ;-) if our time together ends here. Better that than either of us pretending to be something we’re not.
On the other hand, if the tone and style here so far feels refreshing to you…
…like coming home because it’s a welcome relief in a sea of bullshit hacks, lies and cookie cutter short-cuts, well then:
Chances are you’ll find value, clarity, and more than a few true breakthroughs here.
You ready find to out?
A Bigger Vision?
Let’s start with a quick reframe.
The “Us” in this “About Us” page includes you. The “Us” means you, me, as well as the iUnstuck body of work.
Just to be crystal clear.
This is about your iUnstuck journey. Not mine. Yours.
Yes, all the iUnstuck technology was developed because I was stuck in a hole I couldn’t break free from. It was born of personal necessity. Years of struggles that almost ended tragically.
It evolves continuously in incredible ways, but what you’ll discover here is the result of 11 years of work bordering on obsession (yet in reality, I was stuck in an unconscious “Snap Back Loop” reliving the same problems for most of my life — and I turn 53 this year).
What’s the point? It’s twofold:
First, everything we’ll cover has been field-tested in the real world. If I haven’t proven it worked in my situation you won’t see it here (except as an example of what didn’t work for me).
Secondly, sure, we’ll leverage my experiences as a starting point so you don’t have to go through the mud, the blood, and flood for decades like I did.
(Because trying to figure it out for yourself —and by yourself— through trial ’n error really sucks…at least it did for me. The school of hard knocks can be very unforgiving.)
However, make no mistake about it:
You’re the hero
of this story
Which means iUnstuck has been painstakingly designed to provide guidance and, more importantly, a framework for you to personalize it to fit your needs.
Just because something was a breakthrough for me, doesn’t guarantee it will be the same for you.
And, even if it is a breakthrough for you, you still won’t be able to reap the rewards of the breakthrough until you can adopt and adapt it for your specific situation.
Again, it’s your story.
You can’t have my ending. Only yours, right?
Just a friendly common sense reminder that is often forgotten when you’re neck-deep in it.
iUnstuck, Phase One:
“Where Wooie-Wooie Meets
the Real world!”
I know being a “Creator” is all the buzz we creative types are embracing at the moment.
Nutt’n wrong with that, per se.
I love tapping my inner innovator, creator and artist. Can’t get enough of it, actually. And yet, calling myself a “Creator?” Well, it just feels incomplete.
Plus, if I’m being honest, when my creative side isn’t grounded, I spiral down to some dark places. Unchecked, it leads me deeper into fear, doubt and isolation. Then all sorts of “stuckness” attacks, like:
…stuck in procrastination… in perfectionism… in overwhelm, confusion & frustration… stuck in anger, resentment & judgement…
…in self-sabotage, guilt & shame…
…in depression, anxiety & panic…
…in withholding, hermit (hibernation) & selfishness from distrust…
…in insecurities of not being enough (good enough, deserving enough, worthy enough, etc.)…
…in loneliness (disguised as “independence”)…
…in scarcity and trying to prove myself…
…in needing approval, permission & validation…
…and the list goes on and on and on. Again and again and again. Which basically boils down to:
Stuck in being
Who knows, maybe it’s the “Starving Artist” stereotype; or maybe it’s because my first 30 years was full of endless ideas, grandiose plans and broken promises…
…what I *do* know is that I conditioned myself to associate being stuck with my creative side.
Since I felt trapped, freedom was my only focus.
And for me that meant getting rich. So I bought all the books. Listened to all the audio programs. Went to all those seminars and bootcamps. Tried every MLM, Network Marketing Company.
(and, that was the very tip of my personal development and success education iceberg…I’ll spare you the gory details, except to say that I’ve invested six figure multiples, cash, to find answers and build this iUnstuck technology)
You know the routine, right?
Unknowingly, I became a program collector; a personal development connoisseur; a New Age cliche; a BizOpp junkie; and true believer of The Law of Attraction (when it was still called The Power of Thought and The Science of Mind).
Damn, I wish Derek Sivers (and his brilliant 13 word warning below) was sharing his wisdom in the 1980s:
“If more information were the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”— Derek Sivers
Now, by the time I turned 30, I was ready to put some of that learning into action.
It was time for me to put up or shut up. Had to retire Captain Cliche because 15 years reciting, “I manifest money easily… All areas of my life are abundant… Prosperity floods to me… Blah, blah, blah, and whatnot,” just wasn’t cutting it.
If I wanted to bridge my financial freedom gap, all that wooie-wooie had to meet in the real world.
Because based on my results (or lack of ‘em), I had to face a hard truth before I would be able to turn all that education into wealth. It’s simply that,
“Knowing without doing is
the same as not knowing
in the first place!”
For the next 12 years, that became my motto. I became a doer! Because, after all, if you want massive results, you have to (say it with me): “Take… massive… action!” And, you know what?
It “worked” (kinda).
Within 18 months of transforming myself a doer, I was a millionaire. And by 2009 (12 years of “doing business instead of playing business”) I stacked up an impressive list of accomplishments.
By most standards I had “made it.” Finally, I was sitting on top of the world. Or so I thought.
A self-made millionaire for the third time (and this time I just “knew” I learned my lessons so I wasn’t gonna go broke a fourth time). Sat on a healthy 7 figure cash reserve.
Unlike the “Creator” label, I took tremendous pride in my entrepreneur identity (and track record of successes).
Although, I still enjoy being an entrepreneur, even that doesn’t do it. It’s too small. Doesn’t encompass the essence, nor include the multifaceted aspects each of us all are (more on that in a minute).
All the stuff I dreamed of was finally mine.
You name it: The custom mansion. First class vacations. Cars. Jewelry. The best private schools for our daughter, Aimee.
Limos, private jets and the red carpet lifestyle, too…
Shit, it even went so far as to rent a private island with some friends in the British West Indies for a 5 day getaway at the cost of $50,000 per night…
Yep, my ego got away from me (I still feel ashamed to see how I let it go to my head… especially since I’m probably the only one who didn’t see my behavior was an impotent attempt to silence my inner demons and hide my deep seated insecurities).
And, now you know why I said it “worked” in quotes above.
All that focus on action… on making shit happen… on being a relentless doer… and, of course, all of it “worked” right up…
…until it didn’t.
As an old mentor drilled in me, “You can’t turn chicken shit into chicken salad.” Crap is crap.
No matter how you dress it up, it still tastes like shit. Period.
And yet, since so much of my identity was tied to my entrepreneurial successes, how could I possibly admit something was still missing?
After all, if being an entrepreneur was the living embodiment of my wooie-wooie, creative side to manifest tangible, real world results… if even that fell short, what would I do then?
Couldn’t let that happen. No. Way.
Grit and force worked up to then. Some’s good so more’s better, right? Time to double down. Follow these two rules and all else will right itself:
1. “Faster bitch! Faster!” — and…
2. “Not enough!”
Sounded good on paper.
However, unbeknownst to the entrepreneur power-player I thought myself to be, two fatal flaws kept me stuck…
. . .
First, before the rest of this story-behind-the-story will make sense to you, we need to discuss…
iUnstuck, Phase Two:
Try this on for size and see if it fits.
iUnstuck is for Builders… by Builders… and about Builders.
Stick with me. It’ll pull together into beautiful clarity.
It’s my belief that because you’re here, you are a fellow Builder. Your inner Builder may be a little sleepy but it’s unlikely you’d ever see this if you didn’t feel the call to growth… to expansion… to build.
Who, then, are these
Wait, are we talk’in hard-hats, orange vests and steal-toe boots? Like contractors and construction types? Nope. Sure, some builders are also Builders.
Yet, a Builder isn’t only a profession or career choice.
For example, many moms and dads are also Builders. We actively build our daughters and sons so they develop confidence, empathy, self-reliance, resilience, assertiveness, and so on, do we not?
You’ll find Builders like us in every profession… from all walks of life… are all shapes, sizes and colors.
We are parents, teachers, preachers, writers, managers, employees, CEOs, entrepreneurs, community leaders, instigators, contributors, creators, activators, artists, authors, aspiring authors, journalists, poets, musicians, spiritual advisors, bloggers, programmers, coaches, producers, trainers, facilitators, consultants, directors, speakers, etc., etc., etc.
Can I share a little known secret with you?
That endless list above are still just different hats that Builders sometimes choose to wear.
However, wearing the hat does not a Builder make. Every CEO ain’t always a Builder. Same thing applies to any role. Make sense?
See, being a Builder isn’t about playing a role because a…
…Builder is a state of mind.
It’s a way of being… an inborn natural talent that becomes the very fabric of who she is and shapes his identity (which influences all aspects of our lives as a result).
Builders like us are a unique (strange) breed.
We are agents of change… of meaningful impact… of a vision for a future bigger than our past…
Builders march to a completely different beat. Because we bang a different drum. See things differently. When the herd zags, Builders zig. We can’t help it (nor do we want to) because it’s how we’re wired.
We don’t want to, we need to build. We need to build utility. Need to grow our capabilities to build ever bigger contributions, and…
…create perpetually increasing impact in meaningful ways that matters (without sacrificing integrity).
It’s just how Builders are built. Who we are.
And yet, as Monk says,
“It’s a gift…and
It ain’t easy.
Far from it, in fact.
That’s why Builder types like us are more susceptible to depression, isolation and loneliness.
Everyone struggles when they’re blocked but it hits Builders harder than it does others. And if some well-meaning non-Builder type with the best intentions tries to help, it can make it worse.
See, it’s often devastating for a Builder when she gets stuck. That’s because we are torn apart inside like a schizophrenic we battle with our alter ego…
…the unbuilder (the destroyer, saboteur).
. . .
Ok, now that you have the Builder context, we can talk about the fatal flaws in my freedom plan…
ONE: Force only works until you run out of energy. Muscling your way through, taking action for action’s sake always ends in a crash. If, like a shark, you can’t stop moving, then eventually, no matter how strong, burnout takes it toll and leaves a ton of collateral damage in its wake, like…
…Health… Families… Marriages… Friendships… Partnerships… Drug & alcohol abuse… and so on.
TWO: All the material success not only didn’t stop the suffering, it made it much worse! Because I felt like a fraud. Like the rules of success required me to pretend I had it all figured out…
…never show vulnerability, weakness or ask for help…
…always project a strong, confident, righteous attitude because admitting to being wrong is an attack on your status, credibility and authority.
(Not to mention all the obligations and expectations I put on myself that were simply impossible to live up to)
How nucking futs is that?
Besides, what was my payoff for winning that game?
Loneliness and isolation. Sure you have lots of surface, superficial relationships. However, when you can’t authentically be, and trust, yourself… how can you establish open honesty with anybody else?
Man, did I ever hate that hamster wheel! Yet, running for the sake of running was all I knew. Had to escape.
As if I could ever run fast enough, or long enough to feel whole. Like, there was some magic threshold I’d cross eventually where I’d be “fixed,” pain-free, all my demons would commit suicide, and I’d finally get to “live happily ever after,” in bliss forever.
Now I see how flawed my logic was. Back then, tho? Not so much. The truth was a blindspot:
How can you outrun something *IN* you?
If I stopped running, wouldn’t that mean my whole life was a lie? That’s certainly what it felt like. So no, that wasn’t an option.
So get this: I couldn’t slow down or stop doing something I not only hated, it wasn’t even working! Who wants to get left behind? Not me. And that’s what it felt like would happen if I questioned the whole hamster wheel.
You can’t even take a break because starting to run again after standing still sucks! Truth.
The whole FOMO drives some insane conclusions, doesn’t it? In what sane world would the fear of being left out (of “loosing”) a race you literally hate, motivated you to win it?
And, in fact, I was motivated to win bigger and bigger races… each one sucking more than the last one. So instead of squelching my demons, I fed ‘em…
…it made them grow stronger… bigger.
After all, how could I just give up over 40 years of unconscious conditioning (my “reality”) without a fight?
Now, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining about the material success I enjoyed in my 30s and early 40s. I truly appreciate that I finally experienced (instead of learning without doing) the joy of declaring an intention and then create the manifestation of it in my reality.
It’s just no one ever told me (not that I would have listened anyway) what would happen when I finally “won” the prize I was obsessed with my whole life, and pursued like a crazed stalker.
Lemme ‘splain it:
Sure, the first time (actually, all three times) I became a millionaire it felt absolutely incredible.
Finally, there was some relief from the pain driving me… from all the fear I carried… from my insecurities. It was as if I had a full body, mind and spirt orgasm.
So, yeah, it felt amazing…
…for a bit!
You see, it didn’t silence my inner demons for long. Actually, it didn’t silence ‘em at all. They were all still there, waiting to strike. I just couldn’t hear them over the rapture I was experiencing.
And because just like any respectable crackhead, I was hooked! You can probably guess what happens when any junkie’s high starts to wear off?
Yep, the hard crash, of course!
It was the best high I’d ever felt in my entire life but it faded too fast. It never last long enough, does it?
It was UGG-LEE!
How could it be anything but a blood bath? Becoming a millionaire was my whole life’s work. So after the high of accomplishment was gone, so too was the “drugs” that pushed me forward. I was lost.
An addict does what addicts do, right? I needed my next fix… had to get high again!
One problem, tho. My tolerance was stronger. What self respecting addict settles for a slight buzz after they get a taste of the good shit?
See, even if I achieved the exact same goal again, it would always be a let down compared to my first high. And I craved another high like just like my first one. Preferably, BIGGER and BETTER!
Enough was never enough, because, after all, who can get enough of feeling that good?
You pick’n up what I’m lay’n down?
That’s why after my first big success breakthrough, in my early thirties, I ran harder than I ever did in my entire life. I went hard! For almost 4 years straight…
We’re talk’n ‘bout 18-20 hours a day, 6 and 7 days a week. Every week!
Each time I checked another achievement off the list, sure I felt high. And, with each new fix my tolerance increased too. It took more and more just to maintain any kind of a decent buzz.
No matter how big my subsequent successes were, no high was ever high enough to fill the giant hole that fear of abandonment dug into my core…
…not even when the success cash register rang in over $50 million worth for me and my top clients. It was never as good as the first time. Didn’t make me feel whole. Nor did it exercise my demons.
It compounded them, in fact.
Now, on top of crippling insecurities and inferiority, we can add… Paranoia… Chest pains… Anxiety… Ruined relationships… And on and on and on…
Because as you already probably know, you can’t abuse yourself like that for too long without it taking a toll on your mental & physical health. We have to pay the piper… with interest!
That’s what led to the first time I shut everything down, and dropped out of society.
I needed time to lick my wounds, regroup, and…
”find my balance.”
My physical health bounced back within a few weeks. However, my mental health took longer. I did some soul searching, and decided to “do it right this time.”
Gradually, after about 9 months, I cautiously dipped a toe back in the game.
Then things got interesting.
You see, on the surface, the new situations I created looked different. And my behaviors did change. Yet, I was still the same person I’d always been. Still defined myself by my accomplishments. Still addicted to success to feed my self-worth.
Only, that was a huge blindspot for me. I was convinced that this wake up call cured me, and now I would really live happily ever after.
Ah, the naiveté of youth.
Not to worry, tho. Life has its way of reminding us all of the truth 😉 right?
The point is, that all the inner demons had burrowed deeper. I thought I was calling the shots because my behaviors and actions were different. Too bad my Fred Stories were running things.
All these new habits of behavior somehow still produced the exact same results, thanks to Fred.
It wasn’t a total loss. It did give me a new way to get high I hadn’t tried before:
We love a dramatic story of redemption, don’t we?
There’s something about story of a hero’s fall from grace and then cheering their comeback.
It’s like catnip (especially in the western world).
As a culture, we’ve been unknowingly conditioned to appreciate and believe that success in anything requires deep sacrifice. The harder, more painful the struggle, the better.
It’s like it means nothing unless you have to dig yourself a giant blackhole, get sucked into it, and almost die as you claw your way out again.
Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
It’s like being stuck in perpetual deja vu, and you are Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day, completely oblivious that you’re reliving the exact same situation again and again but each time thinking it’ll have a different ending.
You’ve heard the saying, “the other side of breakthrough is breakdown,” right?
In other words, you can’t experience the euphoric breakthrough unless you’re faced with a breakdown of monumental proportions. The breakdown always comes first because without it there’d be nothing to breakthrough.
Oh, and, by the way, the bigger the breakthrough (unstuck), the bigger the breakdown (stuck) that’ll block you.
See if this tracks…
My first big success breakthrough was the best and biggest because the struggle, work and sacrifice I went through leading up to my first breakthrough was never as great either. So, in a sense, no new success could be big enough to produce a high good enough because they came too easy!
Hey, did I mention there’s nothing sane, logical, or rational about any of this? (I blame Fred.)
Now, it played out as self-sabotage, in my case.
That’s because the unconscious sabotage made it harder, which produced some good highs. Almost as good as the first time. Almost.
Achieving goals motivated me again. Strangely, I felt alive. All the struggling and suffering made the thrill of finally winning again feel like a breakthrough even though it was fake.
Into my forties I enjoyed some big financial successes that were also considered game-changers, and I…
…unknowingly, unconsciously sabotaged them and “had” to start all over again. Now, of course, I didn’t see (nor would I have believed it if I did) that I was responsible for these change of fortunes.
The idea that I would intentionally snatch defeat from the jaws of victory was ludicrous.
From my point of view, “obviously” I got screwed because the crash was always outside my control. I was the victim of bad breaks, bad actors/partners, bad circumstances, etc. That perspective was “right” and anything that went counter to it was “wrong.”
Because, what happens when you make up your mind about anything?
Psychology states that once we make a decision on anything, we will collect “evidence” that “proves” we made the right call…
Your mind is programmed to only show you things that you’re consciously looking for because it supports that point of view… and, at the same time, your unconscious mind follows its programming to filter out anything (or anyone) to the contrary.
Pick any side of any issue and you can collect “evidence” to justify either side as “right” and the other side as “wrong.” — And vise versa.
So my narrative said I was justified to believe I was wronged, and if not for that betrayal (or breech of trust) it wouldn’t have collapsed. There was a saboteur to blame, but it certainly wasn’t me.
Of course, there was a payoff for me in blaming outside factors: I could get pissed and use it to “make them sorry” for crossing me. Plus, now I could stage my next comeback; experience the thrill of defying gravity, jumping all the hurdles, swim up stream, save the day, and, against all odds, win the race…
…and then again!
That Snap Back Cycle fueled me for 10 years. And, because I simply couldn’t see I was stuck recreating the exact same life situations again and again, I deluded myself that I was making progress even though I was stuck in a destructive pattern.
Consciously, I really believed I was in charge.
The reason I still felt empty, unworthy and like nothing I did made a big enough contribution was because outside factors was the motivation instead of being inspired to action by inner factors.
Sure, I had many moments of inspiration, but motivation still defined the entire game….
…it set all the parameters and rules, and…
…therefore, outside influences (also called, “motivation”) controlled which inspirations would be activated and sent to my conscious mind and…
…which I would be invisible to me because they were automatically filtered out!
Can I share with you what finally broke that perpetual Snap Back loop that had me chronically stuck? Just 7 simple words started the chain reaction that after almost 10 years has evolved into iUnstuck.
You wanna hear ‘em? Cool. My wake up call was: