Momentum Podcast: 880
Loops and Spirals
by Alex Charfen
As entrepreneurs, we always want to be moving forward, making progress, and maintaining momentum. It's the best feeling for us; that's why we often find ourselves caught in what I call entrepreneurial loops and spirals, especially when there's a perceived loss of momentum. In this episode, Alex delves deep into what loops and spirals can look like and how you can break free from them.
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Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
Today, I'm excited to dive deeper into the entrepreneurial personality type the evolutionary hunter with you. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being a part of this movement of entrepreneurs and people with our personality type understanding themselves better. You know, when I think of entrepreneurs, I think of creators, I think of artists, I think of musicians, I think of playwrights, I think of business owners, I think of people who create incredible things in the world that we all want to see and use and interact with. I think of people who change the world and the same way that a business can change the world, a piece of art can change the world, a movie can change the world, a book can change the world. And all of them absolutely have. And as people with this very unique, very sensitive personality type, we are subject to a lot of challenges. And when we understand those challenges, we do so much better in the world. But one of the biggest challenges that I discussed in the last episode was entrepreneurial suppression: what the world does to us. Now, in this episode, I want to talk about entrepreneurial loops and spirals: what we do to ourselves to take ourselves out of momentum and there's a reason. Once you understand it, getting out of a loop or a spiral is so much easier, I can't wait to share it with you.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
If we take a look at who we are as evolutionary hunters, we are this… You've heard me say these things before, but I just want to set the stage for this episode, we’re the small percentage of the population that gets up every day, goes into the future, creates a new reality and comes back to the present and demands it becomes real. We are the people on the planet who have innate motivation. Psychology tells us we need internal or external motivation, intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. We just have innate motivation. We want to do. We want to create, we want to change things. We want to contribute. We want to make things happen. We want… that's who we are in the world. And that's how we show up in the world. And we don't have to turn that on. It's just there. That innate motivation is always present for us. And so we have this personality that's always driving, that's always doing, that wants to be in momentum, wants to be in forward progress, the world following in our wake, making things happen. You know what I'm talking about. If you are listening to this podcast, I'm going to make the assumption that you're one of us. And being in momentum and moving forward and making things happen is one of the best feelings in the world for us. Let's be honest, it is the best feeling in the world for us. Being in momentum makes everything in our lives easier. Being in momentum energizes us like nothing else. Being in momentum makes us think clear. Being in momentum gives us so much. It actually gives us a chemical high of momentum. This is the reason why we are subject to what I call entrepreneurial loops and spirals. Let me explain this concept to you.
A loop or a spiral is a condition that happens to us as entrepreneurial personality types, when we have a perceived loss of momentum. And I want to just give you, really quick, a link. You can go to freeeptbook.com. So free entrepreneurial personality type book dot com, and download an electronic copy of my book absolutely free, so that you can see the chart that I'm talking about. This is actually figure one, sorry, it's actually figure two on page 53, and the diagram shows what happens in a loop. Let me explain it to you. As entrepreneurs, we live from momentum. As evolutionary hunters, we are programmed epigenetically. We come to this world with the need to do things, with the need to make things happen, with the need to move forward. That's why so many of us have been told, ‘Sit down, stop talking, you shut up. You're making everybody else uncomfortable’ and more, right? And we drive like crazy to make something happen. But what happens to us and this condition that comes up for us is we are in a place in our lives where we have a perceived loss of momentum. And when I say perceived loss of momentum, the reason I use the word perceived is because often we're not actually measuring. We don't really know if we're in momentum or not. We're not clear if we are not. So we perceive that we've lost momentum. And because momentum is our life force, because we are programmed to stay in momentum, because we are programmed to be in momentum, here's what happens to us. Often when we perceive a loss of momentum and we move towards what I call unintentional consumption. It's like I need to do something that makes me feel like I'm in momentum. And when we consume unintentionally and by the way, when I say consume unintentionally, this could be podcasts or books or information or events. You know, going to industry events is a big addiction for a lot of us. Or it could be consumed unintentionally because we're drinking alcohol or we're using drugs unintentionally, or we're using plant medicines without an intention and we move towards this unintentional consumption and then we have a feeling of gain. We have this feeling of gain when we consume, we buy, we listen, we attend, we buy again, we use again. We do what it feels like to get into this place of momentum because we feel like we don't have it. And then we have this feeling of gain like, ‘Hey, we did it’. We're moving in the right direction. And I'll use an example to explain this in just a moment. And then because we are evolutionary hunters, what happens is there's this reflexive, almost instinctive check for momentum, like, hey, did this work? And we look at where we were and where we are now. And if we're not measuring and we don't understand, we probably will perceive that we did not create momentum, that we did not move forward. We can't verify that momentum. And then we have this belief reinforced that we need to do something to move towards momentum. And so we move again towards what I call unintentional consumption. And we get in this loop where we're doing the same thing over and over again, but we're not getting the result. Let me give you an example. In entrepreneurial terms, we have a perceived loss of momentum. You know, I see this all the time and we're in this place where we're not momentum and we're frustrated and we sit down and Facebook or Instagram or whatever we use, and there's an ad for an industry conference, and the industry conference says all kinds of things that we really want to feel. You know, the ad says it's going to help us. It's going to move us forward. It's going to motivate us. And there's going to be the right people there. I'm going to be in the right community. And so we attend this industry conference unintentionally, right? It was an ad. We didn't go seeking exactly what we needed. We took what was in front of us and we go to sign up for the event and we actually feel like we're moving forward. We get like this, this boost of energy. It's like, ‘Oh, I signed up for an event. I'm getting into momentum, I'm doing something’. Then we attend the event and we get even more reward. It's like I'm at the event, I'm in momentum, I'm around other people like me, I'm doing something positive and we feel like we have achieved something. And then we have that reflective, instinctive momentum check and we say, hey… Maybe a month after attending the event, maybe a week, maybe six months, ‘Hey, did this really do anything for me? Did I change anything? Did I move anything? Did I move forward at all?’ And what we often understand, if we went to an event where we unintentionally consumed, where we didn't know what we really needed, where we weren't just filling the gaps in our knowledge or in what we needed to move forward or in the processes or structure we needed to move forward. And then we look at ourselves and we say, ‘You know what? I'm back where I started’ and we feel like we need to find some momentum. And it works for everybody else at the event. They all look like they were moving forward. And so what do we do? We attend another interview industry event. Then we feel like we're moving forward. We attend the event. We feel like we have achieved something. We check if we achieved it. We don't really see any forward progress. We feel like we're back where we started. We feel like we need to find some momentum. We find an industry event again and we get into this loop. And for some people it becomes a spiral loop doing the same thing over and over again and not getting any results. A spiral is when you do the same thing over and over again, and it actually moves you backwards. It starts taking away momentum.
Years ago, I was sharing this example of attending an industry event in an event that Cadey and I did here in Austin, and there was this person in the audience. Her name's Christina. She's giving me permission to share this story. She's an absolutely amazing entrepreneur. And Christina was in the room and I was writing the diagram up on the board, and I was talking about attending industry events and feeling like you were creating momentum, but really not getting anything out of it and realizing that it's a spiral, not a loop, realizing that it's actually moving you backwards. And as I finished drawing the diagram, I turned around and I noticed that she was sobbing. I get a little emotional just thinking back to it, because she wasn't just kind of crying. She was sobbing. She had her face in her hands. Tears were coming down her cheeks, and she was in that place where something had been revealed to her that was so confronting that even in a room full of people, she couldn't hold it back. And so I stopped and waited for a second. And I said, “Christina I notice you're having a reaction. And I'd love to understand why”. And she said, “No one has explained what I've been doing for the past five years like you just did. And I feel like I've been caught in this addictive cycle. I feel like I've been going to events for no reason. I feel like I've gone over and over again”. And then she started listing off events and holy cow. She had to have been going to an event every weekend or every other weekend, or at least once or twice a month because she listed off, just off the top of her head, so many events that she had been to recently. And then she said, you know what? You're right. I didn't feel like I was in momentum. And I go to these events to feel good about myself. I go to these events because they feel like I'm achieving something. I go to these events so I can be around other people like me, but they're not the right events because I haven't figured out what I really need or what I want or where I'm going. And so I keep going and I keep judging myself and I keep staying in the same place and I feel like it's me and feel I feel like I'm broke and I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing. I feel like I'm not moving forward. But the reality is I've got this strategy that just has me stuck. And I remember really feeling for her. I remember knowing what it feels like to be in a loop that becomes a spiral. I've been there so many times in my life. There's so many different times where I have been in a place where I'm consuming unintentionally and I feel like I'm creating massive momentum, but I'm not. Because here's why this is such a strong pattern. Here's why this is such a strong dynamic for people like you and me. If you look at who we are and we accept that we are evolutionary hunters. When I say that, if your body tells you ‘he’s right’. If your body tells you I am the evolutionary hunter, if your body tells you that this is who you are, then I want you to understand why this is such a strong pattern for us. Because that perceived loss of momentum that makes us unintentionally consume, historically, evolutionarily, that perceived loss of momentum was the indication, the declaration that the tribe needs food. This is a survival instinct. The reason we get into loops and spirals is to survive. And so we feel like the tribe needs food. We decide to go on a hunt. That's the same thing as unintentional... You know, in history, historically, evolutionarily, we would have gone on a hunt. Today, it becomes unintentional consumption because we have so many options. We decided to go on a hunt. We feel positive about the decision. We go on the hunt. We get flooded with positive chemicals. That's, you know, buying the ticket, going to the event. Then we feel more positive when we're at the event. We're on the hunt. Did we kill anything? Do we have anything for the tribe? And if we don't have anything for the tribe, we have to come back and hunt again. And so when we consume unintentionally, when we put ourselves into one of these loops, we're actually awakening evolutionary patterns, evolutionary addictive behaviors that we have that are survival mechanisms to keep the entire human tribe alive. That's what we're up against. That's what we're triggering, and that's what we're doing when we go out and unintentionally consume. It's because we feel this need to be on the hunt. We feel this need to be achieving and moving in the direction. We feel this need to be driving towards an outcome. And so in your life, one of the ways that you can rapidly move forward, one of the ways that you can change things right now, one of the ways that you can start to have awareness is that you haven't had before is to ask yourself, where are these patterns in your life, where you are repeating the same behavior due to a perceived loss of momentum and you're not making forward progress?
I can tell you, for me, to be very candid with you when I was younger, these patterns came from going out and drinking with my friends. These patterns came from the occasional use of illicit drugs. These patterns came from going out and dating the wrong women over and over and over again. Even when I knew they weren't the right person, I'd still go out because I wanted to be in momentum, because I wanted to be moving forward. I've been in these patterns for most of my life, and once I understood that these are evolutionary patterns that are driving us to survive, I understood why the behavior, the compulsion to continue doing them was there, and it allowed me to explore this in a different way. Because here's what I know now. When there's a perceived loss of momentum, I run from unintentional consumption. I actually do the opposite of unintentional consumption when I have a perceived loss of momentum. I slow things down, I get quiet, I get still. I start looking at the processes and structures I've created to understand where I want to go. Because if there's a perceived loss of momentum, I know from the episode you can go listen to this in Momentum, Our Life Force just a couple episodes ago, if you didn't hear it. I know that there's three things necessary for me to be in momentum. I know I need a clear outcome that I'm excited about, that's compelling that I'm going to move towards with intention. I also know that there needs to be clear measurement or perspective to let me know if I'm moving forward. And I also know I need to know what I'm doing and what the people around me are doing. And so it just so happens that over the past few days, Cadey and I, my wife, Cadey, if you're new to the podcast. Cadey and I have been going through our personal planning structure because we're going to be teaching it beginning Black Friday of this year to a small group of entrepreneurs. We're going to work with… Cadey and I are going to be working directly with them, and that structure gives us the following: One, it gives me ultimate clarity as to what I want in my life, my relationship with myself, my relationship with Cadey and my relationship with my business. So it’s three alignments: self, relationships and business. You can hear a little bit more of that in the episode that I did on The Evolutionary Hunter. Those three elements of self relationships and business allows me to actually create intentional outcomes that mean something. That I'm not unintentionally going out to consume.
And when I get clear on where I want to go, then I go consume exactly what I need. Intentional consumption creates massive momentum. If I decide, like I did June of this year, that I wanted to radically drop body fat, because here's what I realized. I realized I was in a loop. I realized that loop had turned into a spiral. I was kind of eating the same way and had been for a few years. I had talked myself into thinking that I was doing fasting and intuitive eating, but when I look at the metrics that I keep daily, I measure a lot and I measure my body composition daily. When I go back to June of this year, and it's November now when I'm recording this. So 6-20 of this year I was 240 pounds, well over 20% body fat, and that's very heavy for me. I'm six foot two, so I was probably 20-30 pounds over where I like to walk around. Yeah, 20, 30 pounds overweight. I like to walk around and I realized I was in a place where I wasn't moving in the right direction. My weight was going up, it wasn't going down. My body fat was going up, it wasn't going down. I was in a place where I was literally in a spiral. And I also am 50 years old. I turned 51 this weekend, or I was 50 years old when I had this realization. I turned 51 this weekend and I am very clear about the fact that the older you get, the harder it is to gain muscle and the harder it is to lose fat. It's actually really easy to put them all on, put a lot of fat on, but it's really, really hard to take it off. And I decided that I was going to turn this spiral, this ‘I think I'm doing the right thing’ into intentional action forward. Into actually getting the results I want. And so here's what I did. I set the outcome that I wanted to have body fat below 15%. And I said the outcome that I wanted to totally change my body composition to where it's much healthier. And I also said the outcome that I wanted to lose at least 30 pounds. And like I said, I started 6-20 of this year. And when I look at the numbers from back then, it's pretty interesting to see. And I'll share exact numbers with you. So on 6-20 I was 240 pounds. I had 104 pounds of muscle mass and my body fat was 58 pounds. So well over 20%. And to me that was a dire situation. I was not happy with it. It was frustrating. I didn't feel good. I felt bloated and overweight most of the time. My clothes weren't fitting. There's all kinds of things that were going wrong, and so I had to get very clear on an outcome. And the outcome that I selected was I want to get below 15% body fat and I want to do it in a way that's sustainable and I want to do it in a way that's long term. So I had a clear outcome. My second thing was what am I going to measure to see if I'm successful? I'm using the in-body scale, which tells me my body fat, my weight, my muscle mass, and my body fat on a daily basis. I also on a weekly basis use something called the Zozo Fit suit. I'm not an affiliate. I actually use it. It's incredible. It's Zozo and it's this bodysuit you put on there. Makes you look like you're a player in a video game, but you stand in front of your camera and it takes all your measurements by just standing there and turning around. It takes like 2 minutes to get all your measurements. And so I could see, am I actually losing weight? I could see am I losing muscle mass or body fat? And I could also see what is happening to the measurements in my body and the zozo fit. Actually kind of gives you an outlined kind of graphic of your body. So you can see the before and after, you can see the changes that you're making. And since 6-20, it's now November. Well, the numbers I have are from November 12th, my weight is now 209 pounds, so I'm down about 30 pounds. My skeletal muscle mass is 108, so I've lost about 3 pounds of body fat, but sorry, 3 pounds of muscle mass, three or 4 pounds of muscle mass. But my body fat is down to 33.1 pounds. So I went from a high of massive body fat of really I don't want to sound like I'm criticizing myself, but really not being in good shape and and being someone who really respects being in good shape and who knows that you need to be and who understands just how much it affects your health, just how much it affects who you are, to not be in a place where you're really solid and in good shape. And I had 58 pounds of body fat that has now reduced down to 33. And how did I do this? I created an outcome. I understood what I was measuring, got really clear on what I was going to do and then moved towards it, intentionally consuming the right things. I went to ifitfitsyourmacros.com, run by my friend Anthony Glover. I figured out what my macros should be. I started measuring all the food that I eat on a daily basis, which sounds obsessive, but it's actually really easy and oh my God, the learning has been incredible. And I literally was able to put food in my body just like software into a computer to get the result that I wanted. And I've made massive changes in the last, let’s say, the last five months. In fact, some of the most dramatic changes that I've made in my entire life and this health and wellness is something I've been focused on for most of my life, not some of my life, for most of my life. This is something that's been a long term, long time obsession for me. But getting to this place where now I'm in a totally different place physiologically and health wise, it took me getting very clear and getting out of the spiral I was in, you know, before I convinced myself I was intuitive eating and fasting. What I was really doing is eating very little for two or three days a week, then eating way too much for two or three days, and then very little, then way too much. I was putting so much stress on my body, I didn't even understand it. Now that I've lost weight, it's incredible. And now that I've lost body fat and maintain muscle, it's incredible what's happened to my metrics. I also wear an aura ring, and the aura ring tells you what your resting heart rate is. And at night, the lower, the more athletic you are. Unless there's some type of pathology or something going on where your heart rate is too low, but the lower your heart rate, it typically is an indication of athleticism and the higher your heart rate variability, like how variable the heart beats are, the less stress your body has. And in the past five months of going through this experience, my resting heart rate has gone from mid to high fifties to mid to high forties, a 40 D per minute, 40 something beat per minute resting heart rate at 51 puts me in the top 1% of people of resting heart rate. And my heart rate variability has gone from really low, like sometimes under 20. Most of the time under 32. These days it's routinely in the forties or 50, so it's doubled. And this is all come out of me getting really clear on what I wanted. Understanding exactly how to get there and using the same elements that I told you about in 878 - Momentum, Our Life Force, two episodes ago to do this exactly for myself, to create massive momentum for myself in this place where I was in a spiral and getting worse. And so for you, first, it's all about getting really clear on what you want. And there's a number of ways to do this. I'd love to help you. You can listen to my podcast and pick up enough information and enough tips to be able to do this on your own.
I want you to know that by starting Black Friday, I have an opportunity for you. I'm going to be working with a small group of entrepreneurs to go through our personal operating system where you get clear on what you want using frameworks and strategies that no one else uses because they're made for the evolutionary hunter, they're made for you. And I'm going to take a small group of people through this system to get really clear on your outcomes to create massive momentum. I'm going to share the keystone habits that create central nervous system regulation so that we are in our bodies, we're present, we're aware, we are in flow and we're getting things done. And I'm going to personally work with a group of people to make sure that 2024 is the best year you've ever had. That brings more clarity, more achievement, more momentum, more peace and more alignment than any year ever has. You can go to charfen.com/blackfriday and sign up for the waitlist. You'll be the first person to hear about this opportunity when it's ready. And I would love to work with you personally. I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I can't wait to watch this group of entrepreneurial personality types use the frameworks that we've put together over the past 20 years. They have been proven with hundreds, if not thousands of entrepreneurs to create massive momentum for people who think like us. And if you're in a loop, if you're in a spiral, if you're feeling that addictive behavior, if you know those things are going on in your life, I want you to understand something. They're going on in all of our lives, including mine. We never get rid of all of them. It's just part of who we are. Recognizing them, understanding them and transmuting them into something positive is how we create massive momentum. So I don't want you to feel judged by this. I don't want you to feel hopeless. I don't want you to feel upset with yourself. I want you to accept the fact that you are an evolutionary hunter. You are one of the people in the world who creates the world around us. And we come to this world with sensitivities and vulnerabilities that the average person just doesn't have. And one of them is loops and spirals. So if you're in one and you're feeling it, here's your opportunity to get out of it. You can go and do it on your own. You can listen to the podcast. You'll get enough information. But if you feel like you want some support, go to charfen.com/blackfriday. I would love to work with you this year and thank you for being a podcast listener. If you know someone who needs to hear this message, take a second right now. Forward them this episode and let them know you love them and you care about them and you think this is something that could help. I appreciate you being here with me today. Thanks for being a momentum podcast listener. And if you choose to. I can't wait to work with you through our personal operating system charfen.com/blackfriday.