Ep169: Why Becoming a Failure is Essential to Success | with Alex Weber, ANW

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There are turning points throughout our lives where we have a choice to either accept the status quo and continue being “comfortable” or take a stand to affect real change. Whether it’s change on an individual level or even on a larger scale, to take a stand requires courage and “brave honesty” (to borrow a term from today’s guest), and most importantly real change requires stepping into the discomfort zone and attempting things you never previously believed you were capable of. Sounds simple enough…but how can you actually take that terrifying step? And what if you fail?

My guest today is Alex Weber, an international speaker, American Ninja Warrior, award-winning entertainer, and author of the upcoming book Fail Proof: Become the Unstoppable You. Alex travels the country teaching top professionals and leaders how to bring their very best everyday to the most high-stakes situations that can make or break their success.

In this conversation, Alex and I go deep into the honest history of our many collective failures, analyzing and extracting the important lessons that have come from them and highlighting how important they’ve been to our successes. We discuss the importance of community and how essential it is to find people who support your highest goals and most basic needs. Because when you have a strong support structure around you, your chances of success increase exponentially. I hope this conversation inspires you to step outside your own discomfort zone and pursue goals you thought previously unachievable now that you will be “Fail Proof.”

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Why we should redefine failure so it’s not so binary and black and white.
  • What the deep end effect is.
  • The story of how Alex moved to Los Angeles and became the host of American Ninja Warrior.
  • How Alex struggled with confidence issues during the first season of ANW.
  • The story of the ANW towel and what it represents.
  • Breaking down the ANW course run and what led to his failure.
  • The motivation that ANW gives Alex to continue training despite the unknown of being on the show.
  • My bully story and how it led me to the success I’ve had in life.
  • Alex shares his bully story and what it taught him.
  • How to effectively become your own coach to turn your negative self talk into an asset.
  • Why Alex has a nickname for himself and his negative voice inside his head.
  • What the ABC is and how to make it work in your favor.
  • KEY TAKEAWAY: Enjoy the journey.
  • Why it’s essential to embrace each moment.
  • How Alex sets goals.
  • What it means to be bravely honest.
  • What Alex learned from a spilled cup of coffee.
  • What advice Alex would give his younger self who was bullied.

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Ep161: Managing Limiting Beliefs, Imposter Syndrome, and all the “Chatter” In Our Heads | with Ethan Kross

Ep121: Breaking Down Impossible Obstacles to Make (Almost) Anything Achievable | with Jessie Graff, ANW

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Ep105: Ramit Sethi on Forging The Path Towards Your Own ‘Rich Life’

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Ep68: How to Go From Couch to the (Spartan) Course | with Rose Wetzel, ANW

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Episode Transcript

Zack Arnold 0:00

My name is Zack Arnold, I'm a Hollywood film and television editor, a documentary director, father of two, an American Ninja Warrior in training and the creator of Optimize Yourself. For over 10 years now I have obsessively searched for every possible way to optimize my own creative and athletic performance. And now I'm here to shorten your learning curve. Whether you're a creative professional who edits, writes or directs, you're an entrepreneur, or even if you're a weekend warrior, I strongly believe you can be successful without sacrificing your health, or your sanity in the process. You ready? Let's design the optimized version of you.

Hello, and welcome to the Optimize Yourself podcast. If you're a brand new optimizer, I welcome you and I sincerely hope that you enjoy today's conversation. If you're inspired to take action after listening today, why not tell a friend about the show and help spread the love? And if you're a longtime listener and optimizer O.G. welcome back. Whether you're brand new, or you're seasoned vets, if you have just 10 seconds today, it would mean the world to me if you clicked the subscribe button in your podcast app of choice, because the more people that subscribe, the more that iTunes and the other platforms can recognize this show. And thus the more people that you and I can inspire, to step outside their comfort zones to reach their greatest potential. And now on to today's show.

There are turning points throughout our lives where we have a choice to either accept the status quo and continue being comfortable or take a stand to affect real change. Whether it's changed on an individual level or even on a much larger scale. To take a stand requires courage and something called "Brave honesty", to borrow a term from today's guest. And most importantly, real change requires stepping into the discomfort zone and attempting things you never previously believed you were capable of. Sound Simple enough, right? But how can you actually take that terrifying step? And what if you fail? Well, my guest today is Alex Weber, an international speaker and American Ninja Warrior and award winning entertainer and author of the brand new book Failproof: Become The Unstoppable You. Alex travels the country teaching top professionals and leaders how to bring their very best everyday to the most high stakes situations, that can often make or break their success. In our conversation. Alex and I go deep into the honest history of both of our many collective failures, analyzing and extracting the important lessons that have come from them, and highlighting how important they have been to our successes. We discussed the importance of community and how essential it is to find people who support your highest goals as well as your most basic needs. Because to be frank, when you have a strong support structure around you, your chances of success increase exponentially. I really hope that this conversation inspires you to step outside your own discomfort zone and pursue goals that you thought were previously unachievable now that you will be failproof. If today's conversation inspires you to take action, pursue more fulfilling work and design a more balanced life without sacrificing your health, your relationships or your sanity in the process, then I invite you to subscribe to my brand new weekly newsletter that I'm calling Your Cure for the Case of the Mondays. Every Monday morning I will share with you my favorite resources, mindset strategies, and practical tips to give you more energy so you can be more productive and so you can optimize every facet of your life, such that you no longer dread the week ahead. But instead, you can't wait for the next Monday morning to start all over again. To subscribe and become the newest member of the revolution. Simply visit optimizeyourself.me/newsletter. Alright, without further ado, my conversation with international speaker, author and American Ninja Warrior Alex Weber made possible today by our amazing sponsor Ergodriven who is going to be featured just a bit later in today's interview. To access the show notes for this and all previous episodes, as well as to subscribe so you don't miss the next inspirational interview. Please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast

Alex Weber 4:17

That is the thesis of all this is that you can be someone you weren't sure you could be and do things you didn't think you could do, and that it begins with Brave honesty, and it ends with being open to the gifts.

Zack Arnold 4:27

Well on that note. I don't think I could introduce it any better than that. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here today with Mr. Alex Weber. So Alex is an international speaker and American Ninja Warrior and award winning entertainer and author of the upcoming book Failproof. And boy, are we going to geek out on being gigantic failures today, my friend. People have no idea how big of a failure you are and how big of a failure I am. And that's all we're going to talk about as we are giant failures, talking about failure in life. Are we not?

Alex Weber 5:00

Oh, gosh, yes, failure.

Zack Arnold 5:03

So people are thinking, well, that's crazy, because like, I follow one or both of you on Instagram, and I see all the things that you're doing with American Ninja Warrior, and you're writing a book, and I'm working on a big TV show. And we're both training with Tony Horton. Like, we're huge successes. But we're gonna talk about how failure at least for me, and I think for you, too, based on having read through your book, I consider failure my secret weapon

Alex Weber 5:26

I love that

Zack Arnold 5:26

Would you agree?

Alex Weber 5:27

Yes 100%. And I, you know, I think we're so quick to these words are. All these words are so dense, right. And we kind of each have our own understanding of what a failure is and what a success is. And because those words are so finite, and we're like, hard in the definitions, I think that we close ourselves off from so many possibilities, because we're so scared that it's going to be a fork in the road, and we might get success. But we might get this dangerous, mysterious, imposing thing that starts with F.

Zack Arnold 6:06

Yeah, so failure, right is to everybody, it's an F word, it's a bad thing. And from me, having spent years really digging into first my own psychology, and then speaking to so many students and people that had these limiting beliefs, and these fears of failure, failure is binary to most people. Either I have succeeded, or I failed. And as I know, I've learned that I'm sure you have as well, through all the many things that you've tried out in life, that I'm basically going to be quoting you. It's only failure, if you give up totally failure if you decide to stop. Otherwise, it's just feedback. It's information.

Alex Weber 6:38

100%. And I think I appreciate you saying that. And that's so true. And you know, both you and I both have done American Ninja Warrior. And that's really, that's really where this system came about. It started because I needed it. And it started in my first chapter with Ninja Warrior as a host, when I basically had to discover this system to save my dream job. And we can, you know, go into that

Zack Arnold 7:04

We are going to go into that. And we're actually going to do it right now. You basically stole right out of my mouth. I was gonna say, Wait, hold on a second. I've seen an episode or two or all of the episodes of American Ninja Warrior. I don't remember you being a host. I know Matt. And I know Akbar, I even remember Johnny from back in the day. Wow, you're telling me you're host. Tell me more I don't understand.

Alex Weber 7:26

So ah, I was hired after first doing my first dream, which was playing college across G one. And that being a whole thing was my dream is my everything growing up as a bullied kid. I have this purpose and dream. And I went there. And I was supposed to go into finance. And I say supposed to these words supposed to dangerous words. Those are dangerous words. I don't like to Should I have a good friend? And then she will always say you should go on that highway? Should I say I don't I shouldn't. I don't shouldn't do anything. I can if I want to, or I cannot if I know. And it's important that we identify because because words can they can lead us astray if we don't if we don't nip them in the bud. So I was supposed to I should go into finance even though it was not right for me. And I knew that I wanted to do something entertainment. And I also wanted to do something and possibly inspire people. And I didn't know how the heck that was gonna work. But I knew that it was in me that I wanted to do that. And so I moved to LA not sure if that's a cliche, we'll have to look back at that. But I

Zack Arnold 8:24

Always a cliche,always I belong to that cliche, myself.

Alex Weber 8:26

Well, we can unpack that one too. But, you know, something that I say in the book is the deep end effect. Of what that means is anything that we want to do, if we can hop in the heartbeat of it, even if it's overwhelming, or embarrassing or imposing, there's going to be so many riches in it, because we're going to learn so fast. So for me, you know, I was talking to people and everyone I talked to for advice. I was in New York, which, you know, is not a terrible place to do entertainment by any means. But everyone I talked to was like, Oh, well eventually moves, la eventually moved to 11. And I was like, Well, I'm gonna do this dang thing. What does this eventually talk, let's just hop in the deep end and get it going. And one of the gifts in doing that was that I actually got to coach high school lacrosse, and I won us Lacrosse Coach of the Year, which was a crazy meaningful thing to me. But I felt like I want to do something in entertainment, because that's really what I set out here to do. And once really committing to it. It was only a year later that I got hired to host for NBC. So Zack, we were saying it was a digital series for NBC American Ninja Warrior, where I would be this, you know, Goofy, fun guy who would crash the course I would talk about the crazy obstacles. I interview the athletes I get behind the scenes looks at these obstacles. And then they thought it'd be fun if I tried the obstacles. And the idea was that it would be entertainment, right? I would try these impossible obstacles and I'd fail. So I crossed At failing, fair, my face off for that first year. And that was what my job was. So I was nailing it. But what's really critical is at the end of the first year, my bosses then thought, you know, entertainments evolving, right? We all have these ideas, and they thought it could be a cool idea if I became good at this. And that changed everything. Because now this dream job for me, which it was, you know, I grew up watching friends and Seinfeld. And, you know, this was a dream job for me. So, to now, have it be hanging in the balance of me becoming good at these impossible things that the only thing I've ever done that was fail was, was daunting. To say the least,

Zack Arnold 10:48

What's amazing how just a little shift in perspective and expectations changes everything. Because your job was the same, your commute was the same, you went to the same place, you were in front of the same sets, you had the same number of lights and cameras, hours per day, but all of a sudden, there's a different expectation. And that changes the whole game, which as you wrote about goes from Oh, my God, it's my dream job to Oh, shit, I'm staring at the ceiling, it nights wondering if I'm going to get fired, because I'm a failure. Right?

Alex Weber 11:15

I mean, you You nailed it. And you know, I even because you get this so much, and your audience understands this world so much. And even if you don't, you know, will happen. But I would be on set. And the first part of it, even in that first season of American Ninja Warrior, where I would be standing on the Ninja Warrior set. And these athletes who are really cool, pretty intimidating people, right? I mean, they're big and strong and doing crazy things. And they're loud. And they would all be gathered around, I'm in Atlanta, the first episode that we did was in Atlanta, there's the ad athletes on one side, I'm off on the stage. And all the producers and executives are on one side and all the athletes on one side. And at this point in my career, I was still dealing with a lot of confidence issues, and a lot of fear of judgment. So I'm literally on they're thinking, I hope the camera man likes me, gosh, he hasn't said a lot of words, gosh, I don't know about this, and oh my gosh, people are looking at me, maybe if I talk at a low volume, I won't like they won't hear me because I don't want I'll feel self conscious if they hear me. And it was the deep end because I'm literally on the set on it. Athletes are on one side, bruises on another side. And you know, God, just go for it. The thing was, is that I just You said the hotel room. And I just remember that feeling. I just know what it feels like so deep in my bones of feeling inadequate, and feeling fear that you're not going to be able to do the job well. And I know that there's a choice there, right? Because we're scared that, you know, we're gonna put ourselves out there and that person might break our heart. We're not they're not gonna keep being in love with us. Who knows? Maybe they won't. That's life, right? That happens. We're gonna go for that career opportunity, and it might not work out. But the other option is us quitting on ourselves. It's us ignoring this truth. And this is this is really I call it dangerous lies. And we convinced ourselves that we don't want it. So rather than go after that thing, because it might cause us pain. We say no, I didn't really want to go after that career opportunity. I didn't really want to ask out that person. I didn't really want to have that tough conversation or build this new habit. But we do. We just have convinced ourselves that it's safer to not that kind of pain is is a knowing relentless pain. And I use that word knowing because it just kind of like eats at us. And it really eats us in the quiet moments at night. Yeah, so Ninja Warrior was just a very tangible way of me experiencing all that

Zack Arnold 13:59

very pointed, very tangible, very extreme way of dealing with basically the what I've learned through my own process of going becoming, you know, and I, I have maybe this is going to be a limiting belief that you're gonna have to help me with as a coach here. But I have a very hard time calling myself an American Ninja Warrior and tell I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. Right. And I'm not there yet. Because as you know, and I haven't been able to fully disclose what happened, but my first season did not go well. But what I learned through this whole process of deciding four years ago, and I'm going to try this, it sounds cool. And then going through all the various steps and learning the rope climbs and what to Lashay like all these fancy words and fancy moves. But basically what it did was it took a giant megaphone and amplified all the voices in my head. Yeah, right.

Alex Weber 14:48

This is so much so much good stuff that we're gonna we're gonna unpack all these because what's really cool about doing this interview with you Zack and everyone listening is it's very rare to speak with someone like Zack who is both in American Ninja Warrior,

Zack Arnold 15:02

I appreciate that. I did see that. I appreciate that. Yeah.

Alex Weber 15:06

And we're gonna talk about that. But who also understands everything else that comes in this world of self leadership and coaching and coaching ourselves and coaching others. So it's, it's fun here to deep dive on some of these that otherwise, maybe we couldn't in other interviews and and one that I want to talk about with you that you said because I go through to is first off what's really cool about American engineer and I tell everyone this is any element that can be turned the dial to 11 out of 10 is 11 out of 10, every little big, every single part of it from that you only get one time that you don't know if you're going to get invited, they don't know what the obstacles are that you don't even really know when you're going to run you have a rough idea, but not really to the lights of the cameras to the intensity and all of it 11 out of 10. But going from a host to a competitor was a big identity thing for me, because that's what we're talking about here. Right identity and what we choose to believe about ourselves, and, and why we do and I've noticed man that I really wrestled with it with because I would host and I'd go to all these events with American Ninja Warriors, and they'd get introduced on American Ninja Warriors, and they would introduce me and they'd be like, Dad, here's Alex, he hosts he's kind of a ninja. And I would always be kind of an engine, I'd have Asterix around it. And those, it pains me. And it took me till even after competing in 2019 for two years Oh, for the year going from host to competitor. I had like blankets and sweatshirts for the American Ninja Warrior. And I wouldn't wear it. And I would notice I'd be like, Wait, Alex, you can't just let that go. Why won't you take that blanket out of your shirt and put it back in? It's because I didn't believe that I deserved to wear it. And that's not right or wrong. But I'm like that's a dense thing. I don't pick out that flannel and put it back I put it on. So I think what's incredible. And I want to ask you this question that is what would it take for you to believe in your heart that you are an American Ninja Warrior?

Zack Arnold 17:05

I'm going to answer that I'm not going to deflect it. But I want to add on to your story first, which I think might help and might help add on to your story. I the exact same story about the towel. Oh, so I always said like what what I what I always tell my students is that when you set a goal, yeah, it's gonna be big, and it's gonna be lofty, but think is something really small and tangible that you can work for. So I had a student of mine that was very out of shape. That said, I want to do a Spartan trifecta, which is a sprint, a super and a beast on a year. And it seemed daunting. And I said, I want you to picture holding the trifecta metal and you're done. That's it. It's all about the metal. That's the only thing you're going to focus on is the vision of I'm holding all three pieces of these three metals to make the trifecta metal. And he finished it that year, we ran it together and all three of them together. For me, I always said until I realized I was totally full of shit. But I kept telling people, I just want the towel. The towel means I've succeeded. And for anybody that doesn't know, the towel has a lot of relevance. Because when you are on American Ninja Warrior, and you fall in the water, they give you a towel with a big logo on it. And for years, I would watch and I would say I just want the towel, that would be success. Guess what happened? I fell in the water. I got the towel. And I'm like, I don't know if I can use it. I don't know if I should be taken like so it's going against everything that I said because I did this is going to lead into the answer to your question. I believe in my heart of hearts. I'm not saying I'm right. But really honestly answer your question. I can call myself an American Ninja Warrior. When I know that when I fall, it's because it's the most I was capable of. Not because of some stupid mistake or some limiting belief in my head. It was because I gave it everything and I pumped out or whatever it was and like you know what? That was it. That was my best and I gave it all but I know that I didn't in my first year and that is what gnaws away at me.

Alex Weber 18:54

Let me ask you this. What if you made it to the fourth obstacle and you make a strategic choice and you were physically able to finish the course and probably do well in finals? But you made a strategic choice. It was wrong. You crashed in the water. Are you American Ninja Warrior?

Zack Arnold 19:08

I would say probably yes. But it sounds eerily familiar to potentially maybe one of the choices that you had to make this season. Yes.

Alex Weber 19:15

I mean, my air ran so I can talk about it. That's exactly what happened with mine is i I don't want to say goodbye to American Ninja Warrior till I've had a boss and because I know that I can. And in 2019 I could have been I would have been a little lucky. But I still could have been I would have been lucky. 2020 100% Yes, they got postponed two days later I broke my hand. I was out. That wrecked me. We can circle back that wrecks me because that's a big fail. We have micro and macro fails not all sales are created equal. That is a fail. I say fails or expectation versus reality. I expected to hit a buzzer on American Ninja word my mom as my guest of honor. Now I'm on the couch with broken hand doesn't Fail 2021 With all that firepower, came back, I was ready to hit a buzzer was physically capable to hit a buzzer was mentally capable was on track to doing it. And I would say two reasons. One, I made a strategic choice that was incorrect. And I can rationalize that because I was thinking at the best of my abilities, you know, you said, I pumped up, you know, pumped out, this is the mental version of pumping out, I made a strategic choice. That was incorrect. I made others that were correct. So it's tough to beat myself up. But if I dig a little deeper, I remember going on that fourth one. And feeling like wow, I've already made finals, because I was watching other competitors. And not a lot of people made it to that fourth, and a lot of people went out on that fourth. So in my heart, I think if I'm being brutally honest with myself, which is not my phrase, my phrase is bravely honest, I added the brutally right there. If I am, I think part of me was excited that I made it that far, and that I was actually doing well on American Ninja Warrior, and that I really was an American Ninja Warrior. And so that part of me was excited. And that fire as I went on that fourth obstacle, it was there. But it wasn't the same level of focus and belief that I had in the first three.

Zack Arnold 21:23

I love it. So at the end of the day, somebody watching would say, Oh, he looks like you put your hand on the wrong spot. And that thing, you didn't give yourself quite enough reach. And maybe if you'd shifted your weight a little bit more, you would have grabbed the other side, like I was there. I watched it happen live, people can watch it on TV. But what I love is that you knew in your heart of hearts, that when you finish the third obstacle, you're like, I just finished a hard bounce obstacle and your brain said, Alright, the hunger to hunger satiated, you've done what you needed to do. And though logically you hadn't there was something emotionally that said, Nope, we're good. And you think that factored into the wrong hand placement or the wrong shifting of the weight or whatever it is, in some way.

Alex Weber 22:02

I think exactly that I had mentally hit one goal. And so and I think that's dangerous. I think I was still wrestling with the belief of Can I hit a buzzer. And so this other goal in my head was make finals. And I have felt like I've made and I appreciate questions. Because this is the best I've been able to articulate it. You're the only person that honestly shared this width is I think in my mind, it was like, well, you nailed one of your goals. You didn't nail your one goal yet, but you nailed your top two, that was your goal hit buzzer and make finals. And I I think in my head, I thought I hit finals. And so I was like, well, it's okay, if you don't hit the buzzer. Now, I still it's not like I like did something stupid on that obstacle. I was still like, honestly, should should is a weird word, I made a strategic choice. And if I hadn't made the other strategic choice, I would have gotten through it even with that, you know what we're talking about the mental component. And I think I would have been fired up and seeing the wall and gotten through five to be honest with you. But um, I didn't and bringing it back. I do think part of it was, you know, I feel like I nailed the silver metal. So it's like, you don't have to go for the gold. And the danger in that. And something that I read is I didn't make finals. I missed it by like a few people.

Zack Arnold 23:22

Oh, I thought you were I remembered you I thought you were like 29 or 30. You didn't make it

Alex Weber 23:26

I missed like two

Zack Arnold 23:27

Oh, I didn't realize that I thought you had made it even to this moment. I thought that

Alex Weber 23:31

it and it hurts. It hurts. Now, you know, now I want to ask myself if I was listening, you know, and I would ask myself, this is not a failure. And I The result was not what I wanted it to be. It was pretty good. But it wasn't the result that I wanted it to be. But I do think that the failure is if I stop,

Zack Arnold 23:55

I was just gonna say that I was just gonna say if I'm going to be your coach, it's only a failure if you decide I'm done. And I don't want to do this anymore. Because XY and Z right? But if you decide I'm going to go back next year, you got some feedback. The feedback is you know, got to be careful about the scripts in my mind and the hand placement and there's always things to learn. You just got some feedback that you learn from it was a learning experience.

Alex Weber 24:17

And here's the here's the way life works is that who knows what the hell is gonna happen? I don't know in my journey of life if my journey is gonna lead me to a place where I apply I don't know if the journey of NBC American Ninja Warriors is going to lead to a place where they invite me back who knows and and so I need to know in my heart that when the things are out of my control, that's what it is. So not everything I guess I'm trying to say is I would have loved if I went from a failing host to hitting a buzzer as failproof came out. That's super cool. Now, I'm still thrilled. I mean the the where I went from which was barely even being literally I couldn't even get on to obstacles. I remember this I serious in the book, that one obstacle that they wanted me to try, they were ready for this in the book, but they're like, alright, Alex, like, it's time to get on the obstacle that you can get far enough to fail. So we get the content for the hosting. And I couldn't even grab on to it, because it was too tough to us. Like I can't even get onto this mailing before I fail. Um, so going from that to succeeding on American Ninja Warrior is the craziest one at in my life at I Alex Weber of experience. So, but I do want to finish this loop because you're asking really amazing questions and to be very real. I know in my heart, I love Ninja Warrior, and I love what it pushes me to do. So you're damn right. I'm going to apply again. Who knows that they'll invite me back. That's out of my control. If they invite me back. You're damn right. I'm going to commit every fiber of my being for the months leading up and give it everything I have with the singular goal of hitting a buzzer. And being a finalist, but hitting a buzzer,

Zack Arnold 26:05

yes. But let's break this down a little bit further. I'm going to get very Buddhist on you. And we're going to, we're going to talk about the journey versus the destination. Right? So what I've learned from this whole process is that yeah, I had the goal of I wanted to get on the show. Now I've gotten on the show, and I have all these all this crazy crap in my head about the way that it worked out wasn't the way that I wanted it to work out trying to rewrite all that. The point being that it wasn't always about the destination, it was all the the positive things that came out of my life because I made a choice. The choice was, I'm going to go after this. And the side effects from all of the people that I've met the friends I've created the fitness the health like the I'm a completely different person on a cellular level physically, mentally, everything is different because I made one decision. So all that having been said, if you knew for a fact, you're not getting the call this year, do you still train?

Alex Weber 26:58

Oh, beautiful question. So you know one thing and we said it is one of the promises in the book. And I encourage people to make these five promises, and one of them is to be open to the gifts. And that's exactly exactly you and I bonded over we use similar language for things and or different language for similar truths. And you said positive side effects. I call them gifts. Same thing. Yes. And I've made that choice. In the years past, I usually take you know, in 2019 I wasn't, it wasn't really in my life. So I kind of took the summer off. And then the fall I started trading a little bit and then I really ramped up in the winter 2020 I broke my hand. So I wasn't even really able to hop back in until the fall. This year. I had that thought of like, why are you taking an offseason? You love this you love who this makes you to sport? Why are you gonna take your foot off the gas during this so now life is life and I'm busy and I'm not a you know, my my life has taken me in different directions that I want to honor. So the the level of intensity is not like in season ramping up. But it's still like today, for instance, I'm tired, I don't want to go to pull ups. But like today is pull up day. And I don't think of American injuries in my life. It will just get kind of washed into that dangerous gray area of like, you've had a lot of interviews Alex, you've had a busy day today. Just you know, Thursday, it's fine your workout the next day, but because of the purpose of American Ninja Warrior and the gift to my life, no to doing pull ups.

Zack Arnold 28:37

Well, since you use the P word, that's where we're gonna go next. I love this idea of purpose. And I want to go back to the beginning. When I say the beginning I'm gonna identify that as let's call it Middle School, because you were discussing some some experiences that you were having in middle school and again, it was like uncanny and like if I changed the names this is the chapter that I would have written about middle school so I'm going to let you tell your story at length but mine like it's a name that I'll never forget I'll never forget the name Brian Johnson. Oh, Brian Johnson it's a good one right? Every day all day in between classes during classes on the way to the bus man I was not his hobby. I was his obsession. Whether it was you know, tripping up my feet walking up the stairs hit me from behind the back of the head with a book like I remember very distinctly This is one of the defining moments of my life which is why took martial arts which is why now working on Cobra Kai it all connects. But this moment I was standing against the wall holding hands with my girlfriend is it like sixth grade so girlfriend in quotes, but like holding hands with my girlfriend he just walks up to me and punches me in the stomach and walk walks away. One of the most embarrassing moments of my life. But that moment is really defined who I am and what I do and who who I stand up for and who I work for. And I know you have a very similar story in a deeper way that I would love to hear more about what What school was that at? Well, that was in my middle school Gilman Middle School in Gilman Wisconsin. Have you heard of it?

Alex Weber 30:06

You said Brian or Brad Johnson,

Zack Arnold 30:08

Brian Johnson.

Alex Weber 30:09

Well, here's the thing. Ah, you, me and our listeners, we can ruin Brian Johnson. Either on Facebook and just record this guy,

Zack Arnold 30:19

I forgive him. By the way, I haven't seen him since high school. But if for some reason he listens to my podcast, which I'm sure he doesn't, but if he does no hard feelings, Thanks, dude, for all the success I've had, because of who you shaped me to be the person I am. But at the time, not so fun. And I know that you've got a few choice stories yourself, and that also shaped your direction.

Alex Weber 30:37

You know, it's funny, and again, Zack on why I was so excited to do this with us. I feel like because of our background, and because of the depth that you understand just all of this. There's more like nuances and little like story details that, that I want to share that I you know, usually would not, so I was getting bullied by this kid. The publisher actually said I had to change his last name. And I fought for it because for you. But, you know, so he used to do this thing, where and I joke about it that he would give me basically like nipple twisters in the hallway. And he would do that, which was painful. And it was embarrassing, for no reason just like punching in the stomach. Like, if I was talking to a girl, he would do something like that, or I remember on the bus, he would just come back and just beat me up for no reason. And then go back to a seat. And this is one of those, you know, those like poignant moments, like you said, with the punch in the stomach, or the girlfriend, where you think back and it almost makes your stomach want to turn I remember just that your that we had to be in this place. And that place for me was I learned this is a skill that I learned, I learned that if I started making sounds of pain, when it was at like a three out of 10 pain level that he would only go up to a seven. But if I started making pain, and when he got to seven, he would go to a 10 at a 10 pain on me. So the skill that I learned in my adolescence was how to cry out of pain so that I didn't get beat up as bad. And that's why I say that is like, I wish I could zoom back and go to that kid and be like, let's hover out of this. And maybe we change some things. So you don't have to use that skill. But that's not our that's not our lives. That's not our journeys. And the gift to me. And I just spoke at this high school yesterday, I speak at colleges and I speak at companies and I'll say this to anybody is find something, find something, learn how to code, learn the guitar, join a band, play sports, I beg you learn something and pour into it because for me it was the sport of lacrosse. And Coach karke my high school lacrosse coach, who's now the top ESPN analyst. And I say that because I say this in the book, caring about people is not an afterthought, you can still be very successful and almost taken help you. He gave me the gift of he believed in me and he said I think you could be good at this sport. And so that was the first time anyone had really taken that kind of an interest in me and direction. And that changed my whole damn life. I played varsity I was a high school American I played division one in the Ivy League school I got us lacrosse coach of the year I played in the world championships, changed my whole damn life. So two things, one, know that you can be that person for absolutely anybody. Absolutely anybody listening. You can be that impactful to anyone in the world, and also to be open and allow other people to be that impactful to you.

Zack Arnold 33:47

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Kit Perkins 34:19

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Zack Arnold 34:38

When people think of protein powders they think, well, I don't want to get big and bulky. And that's not what this is about. To me this is about repair.

Kit Perkins 34:45

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Zack Arnold 35:18

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Zack Arnold 35:51

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Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with all that. And that's frankly, why I started building everything that I built with this website and podcast and coaching program is I mean, as an adult, I wasn't bullied anymore. That wasn't a problem. But I felt like in a way like the industry was bullying me, right? That's a very common thing in Hollywood, especially right now talking about all the overworked hours and the toxic work cultures like it just constantly feels like that, like the little guy, right? And we're we're being bullied by like the producers and just all the requests of our time, like we can't live our lives, etc, etc. And I said I, I need an outlet for this. Because if the only identity that I have is I'm you know, just a film editor. And this is all that I can do. I'm going to be miserable the next 30 years of my life, which is what led me to starting the podcast and the coaching program. But what that really brings me to is something very specific. And this is something I talked about, you know, Ethan crosses. He's a he's an author came out with a book called chatter. I actually just had him on the podcast recently. And I think you cited some of his research, you said a study at the University of Michigan, I actually think it was his research. But what I want to bring up is specifically when you said finding this outlet, but then being able to coach others. And there's a really specific technique that I've learned from him that I'm still developing. And I'm curious if it's something you just stumbled upon, or you learned specifically. But if we learn how to coach ourself, the way we would talk to others, it rewires the brain, and it starts to listen differently. And you say, I've got a name for myself and my self talk. So talk about the name for yourself and how you use that.

Alex Weber 37:52

So good Zack. Yeah, yeah, I mean, absolutely. So I call myself webs. And it's, it's a name. And I think why I do it. And I had to, it wasn't a conscious thing. It's only when I got so involved in this. And I started coaching executives and pro athletes, where, you know, I was educating them and encouraging them to do it. And I had a look at what I was doing. I was like, okay, that's what it is. Because webs was a loving. It's what my teammates and coaches would say, when they loved me. It was it was wet. It was very endearing. You know, I wasn't always that sometimes I was Alex and I was like, Oh, damn, everyone hates me right now. You know, so when I was when I was like, Alright, cool. I'm playing well, people like me it was, I just laugh because our webs you got to focus up now. All right, webs. You got to dig deep webs in your showers you don't know. Right? Like, and but it's me separating from from this this life. And the more that I dig on psychology and even spirituality and all of this, the more that these pieces which really beautiful science and you know, spirit land really sync up, and you start to realize that some of these things that we're doing are not really us. And we're just kind of playing the role of that. And so sometimes we can hop out of that and and coach ourselves and the easiest way to do that is to give yourself a nickname, with love that you can use and to also give that negative voice that fearful voice that anxious voice, a nickname to call it negative Nancy call it a troll, call it a dickhead whatever clicks for you. But that way, you're not that voice because the truth is you are not that voice.

Zack Arnold 39:40

It's really interesting. This idea of how you can both have the the third person name for yourself but also naming the negative thoughts. That was something I did it never really occurred to me. And if anybody is listening, you want to go back to the interview with Ethan cross. I'll leave a link in the show notes. But he's done extensive research and basically proven that on a neural logical level, that by assigning a third person name or talking to yourself in third person, it changes the way you interpret the information. Which brings me back to my inside my head story for a Ninja Warrior. And you were there as well, I can't remember if you are on the sidelines, but I know you were there. And we ran the same day. And we were both there for West. But I can't remember if you were on the sideline or not the point being that I know exactly why I fell. There. I could give you 10 different reasons. But there's one. One of the reasons is that I got there and like, Oh, my God, there's so many lights, and it's so big, right? So there's one reason it was it's really overwhelming. And for you, I would guess it's still kind of there. But you were on that set that's like coming to work every day, right. So for the most part, that's at least something you had been had been exposed to. That was the first time I'd ever actually been on this set in this giant dome and was like holy shit, this is a whole nother level right? Now the one half, maybe my hand slipped a little bit, a little bit more chalk might have helped. Maybe if I pushed off on my right foot a little bit more, oh, my left, you know, left toe was an inch away from the thing you needed to be in it slipped and all those things, right? I could use all of those as excuses. I'm going to tell you why I saw an American Ninja Warrior. Because I stood on the starting line. And I said I don't belong here. And the most dangerous word and that sentence that I've learned through all my research sense, is AI. And that's what we're talking about right now. Right Is this perspective that we take where as coaches, it's so much easier to have the outside perspective and coach somebody on an area that they think they can accomplish something I'm sure you've experienced this so much with either people you speak to with your your students, when you're coaching in high school, you already know that they can do something you believe that they can do something, but they don't.

Alex Weber 41:44

Yeah, I mean, you say something that I mean, I just resonate with it so deeply. And two things. One is, I think, hearing, especially when you said with with Ninja Warrior, that thought that you had, I do think you believed it, I don't think it was a fear thought of. I'm so nervous like it all these lights, it sounds like from what you said also with, with the identity with American ingenuity that in your bones, that was a belief.

Zack Arnold 42:13

And it's still one that I'm struggling to overcome. And I know that I don't have that belief when I'm put on the proverbial stage at my job. All right, there's a whole lot of stakes, there's a lot of high stress. And what I do working on, really big TV shows lots of money being thrown around the way that I describe it to somebody that understand editing. And clearly you do and everybody listening does, but it's really helpful for people to do what we do to explain it to those that don't I say to them, imagine a film set. Everybody knows that a film set looks like 150 200 people, they're spending millions of dollars. So they can put this footage that they shoot on a camera, they put it on one hard drive. And then they hand it to me. That's a lot of pressure. A lot of people feel really overwhelmed by that pressure. And they get stuck in all the ideas and limiting beliefs and oh my god, they're gonna find out I'm not I don't really know what I'm doing. And I'm self taught, and I can't really edit and can I tell this story. But at the end of the day, I don't experience that with my job at all, because I'm confident that I belong. So I never experienced that before the governance, the confidence came from doing it well over and over and over and over and over, which is now why I continue to train because it chips away at that place that I don't belong.

Alex Weber 43:25

And I do want to circle back to the I think because I have a with my entertained background. I've also I directed a feature documentary, which I have a lot of respect for editors, and also a deep understanding for what that lifestyle can be. Because, yeah, so we'll come back to it because this is another nugget that I'm excited that you and I get to talk about. But yeah, one thing in the book was the you know, and this is something that I learned with American Ninja Warrior is exactly what you're saying, Zach and I call it the ABC the actual belief cycle. But it's uh, you don't have to have the belief because a lot of times we may not. And I remember after breaking my hand, my belief was that I sucked. And then I went and that belief was validated because and that's when it's tough, right? Is when it's not crazy talk is when you're looking at the evidence and you're like, Are you kidding me? I couldn't even get through that. And then the belief is even worse. But what's beautiful is that if we show up sooner or later, the actions are going to start to be a little bit more promising because, of course, we're going to get a little bit better even incrementally. And then that incremental II actions is gonna summon a little bit more belief because we're like, Alright, cool. I got through that I believe myself a little bit. And that seesaw will keep pushing each other up. So it sounds like sounds like exactly like with your professional life. We just got to get the the actions but I hesitate because you're in a Tony Horton workout video. You're working, you're climbing ropes. You do these workouts with Wes and all of us. So I'm curious and I want to like be an audience member right now. What would it take? What is there a fee? that you need to do, so that you're like, Alright, I got this, I'm gonna enjoy it.

Zack Arnold 45:04

I actually have the answer to that. I don't know if it's a good answer or not me, I need to get through the second obstacle to believe. And I know that it's a self fulfilling prophecy that I need to believe I can get through the second obstacle to get through the second obstacle. And if I don't believe I belong there, I'm never going to get through it. So it's this cycle, right. But for me, I don't need a buzzer buzzer would be awesome. I just want to know that I successfully got through the second obstacle. And here's why the first one should be a gimme, it's not in there a lot of people that fall. And I know, I know for a fact that I can get through it, because I've done it in testing more than once, which is one of the other reasons that I was so frustrated. But what I learned was, I took it for granted. That's one of the things that's I know that our mutual friend Jessie Graff, who I've also had on the show, says that the number one ninja killer is confidence. And I didn't have confidence in my abilities to be there. But at the same time, there's a part of my brain that said, stare at the second obstacle. Because you know, you finished the first I done it more than once the exact same set it was during testing. So the lights and everything were not on, there wasn't a pressure. But I know that physically I could swing, I can grab the rope, I can put my foot where I needed to. But the second obstacles intentionally very, very difficult. That's usually what eliminates the wheat from the chaff. So that ultimately all the ones that go to semi finals have gone through just number two. But it's kind of the difference between Are you here to play? Or are you here to win? Right? So for me, that's the goal. That's when I feel like you know, I belong here. I'm not saying that's the right answer. That's just my emotional answer.

Alex Weber 46:34

I love it. Is there any reality where say, you don't say an injury doesn't come back? And I hope that's not the case. Because we all love it so much. And it's a successful show, or the invite doesn't happen? Is there any reality where you can establish that truth? Not on the show? Or does it have to be that experience?

Zack Arnold 46:56

That's a really good question. I love how all of a sudden the the host has become the the interviewee I love it. It's awesome. That's a really, really good question. I think that at the end of the day, this is going to come to a really big word that you use in your book. So I'm going to turn it back to you. But I will answer the question first. If let's say that one of two things happens, either the show doesn't get renewed, which based on ratings Not gonna happen. But let's assume the show doesn't get renewed, or I do all the training, I send another audition and never get the callback, right? I'm gonna, I'm going to regret and this is the big word, I'm going to regret the fact that I didn't get the opportunity. But I'm not going to regret the fact that I have tried as hard as I can to make it happen, right? Because that's ultimately the biggest fear is that I did, I didn't want to look back 40 years and say, a man when I was almost 37. I remember thinking that I should try this, but I didn't because I was busy. Or I was scared or I was out of shape. And now that I'm 85 or 90, like I just I can't live with the fact that I missed that opportunity. So that regret I'm never going to have, but I'm not going to lie. It's going to gnaw at me to again, use that word, I love that word, it's gonna nod me if I don't get another shot to prove myself.

Alex Weber 48:10

I hear that man. I feel similarly.

Zack Arnold 48:13

So let me let me ask you this, then, actually, maybe I'm not going to be asking him it's going to be more of a statement. But one of the things that I think is so important about what you wrote and why I think people need to read this book specifically, is that you don't give answers, yes, their answers and their strategies and whatnot. But this is another where you and I are so eerily similar. And I never would have known it. But like I said, I'm reading this I'm like, man, it's like I wrote this book, it's all the same stuff that I do. What you do is you teach people to ask themselves better questions. And the question that I want you to share and talk more about that people that are listening so desperately need to hear right now. What if you could fall in love with your life

Alex Weber 49:01

love that man. I'm glad you picked that one that out. To me, what that means is that we all and I say this in the book can become future romantics of, of longing for that success of longing for that goal of longing for that mile marker, that shrimp or that relationship or that love, and it's over there. And the moments the heartbeat of our life that occur between now and then that is actually what our life is. And so what it means is that we need to fall in love not only with these end, far off distant things, but in this in these moments in doing this interview, Zack, I need to fall in love with that moment. And how do we do that? Well, okay, what are things that I'm grateful for here? Okay, um, I loves at Zacks an amazing guy. I'm grateful that he asked me, this is fun, we get to talk about something and what are we talking about? Something that means a lot to me a book that I wrote, there's so much to fall in love with here. Okay, what about tougher stuff? Well, I'll be honest with you, I just saw something pinged on my phone. And it's, it's a tougher thing in work. Okay, well, I still got to fall in love with these moments of life, what can I fall in love with your Can I fall in love with the character growth, or maybe what it's pushing me to step into not saying that all of these are easy. But at times, it can feel like you want to write them off as cliches or I will add them. But at the end of the day, all of it is a choice. And the choice is either we step into our life. And we engage in all of these moments where we don't. But there's a hard finish for all of us. So if there is a choice, why not step into your life.

Zack Arnold 50:56

Now, I love love this idea about moments. This is such a key thing. And what I love about it so much is that it not only relates to what we're talking about now, it relates to what I do as an editor and a storyteller. So for anybody that's even made it this far, that's like, When are they going to talk about editing in film, because I thought this was a film and editing podcast, we're going to talk about it now. Because I'm going to connect these two and I'm going to give everybody that does what I do for a living or as a storyteller for a living, the best advice I can possibly give you to not be good, but be great at your job. Stories are all about moments. Right? You look at the difference between a good director and a great director, a good director, make sure everybody says their lines, their performances are decent, and I have the right angles to be able to put a scene together. A great director understands how to create moments, it's an eye look that wasn't in the script. Or it's the way the camera moves and makes you feel something when it catches the actor or just the right angle with the light or whatever. It's these moments that are created, right? And life is the same thing. And when I like talking about this idea of a buzzer, or I want to be able to get through the second obstacle, ultimately, yes, I would love to be able to get through at least the second obstacle and say I did it. But what I'm the most proud of is the fact that I get up every flippin Sunday morning. It's 7:30am and I get in my car, and I torture myself for four hours at Tony Horton's house, because those are moments that make my week, that moment and I know you've had 100 of these yourself, where you look at something new, you're like, I don't know, can I do this? Now? This This seems hard, but I'm gonna try and then you do it. That moment you remember that forever. So for me success is just how do I string together those moments one after another after another? Because if I hated training, and I got a buzzer God what a waste of my life.

Alex Weber 52:45

So true, man. And I you know, as we're saying this, it almost, you know, personas all look to my days, and I'll have to, you know, think, okay, what are the moments that I enjoy here, we're only enjoy it because of we finished the project and we're only enjoying it when it gets to be 530 and can watch that show or eat that thing or have that drink, then really we're just trying to get through it. Right and and then we're going to try to get through this day, we're going to try to get through this week, month year in trying to get through this life. So falling in love with with those moments. And sometimes, you know, I'll admit it Love is a lofty, there's not going to be all the moments that we love. But can we not dread them? Or endure them? Can we can we embrace it and just be present in it. Because this, this is frickin life. We're in it.

Zack Arnold 53:36

Well, the area that I want to go to next. And we don't need to dive too deeply into this. But this is an area that I'm very, very passionate about and teach. And again, like we were talking about before, it's almost like we have the same system with different names as far as the steps in the order and everything. But I would be remiss and I would consider myself a failure using that word again. I will consider myself a failure as a podcast host. If I didn't talk about what is my favorite quote on the planet that you use in your book, how to set goals, right? So there's a quote by James Cameron, which totally coincidental he's in the film industry, but very apropos for our listeners, in his quote is as follows. If you set your goals ridiculously high, and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success. So talk to me about in your book with your students with people that you speak to how you set goals because it all starts with setting the goal.

Alex Weber 54:30

Well, I think it goes to even what you and I were saying and the dangers of having that not lofty goal, and mine was just make finals. That wasn't really my goal. My goal was hit a buzzer, but because I kind of focused on that make finals goal. It sabotaged the ball actually. And same with you, you know, and so, I think what we need to do is gift ourselves the freedom and a lot of times I'll ask people what might be What might be your goal? What might be something you want what might be that achievement that's access that that thing way off? That seems impossible. Because when we say might, I think it gives us a little freedom to explore. And that's another word I love explore. Because to me, it means without judgment, we live in the most judged time in history, everything is the best or the worst, that's delicious. That sucks. That place was lousy, that place was too quiet. Everything is the smartest, the dumbest. Sometimes we can just it can just be what it is. And we can think about those ideas. And so I would encourage you before we set the goal, because once we set it and we commit to it, we're in it. And we've committed and the next heartbeats of your life, you know, for American Ninja Warrior, it's like, alright, well, that means these next six months, we're going to be given a lot of time, sweat, energy heartbeats to this goal. So before we enter into this, like Forest jungle to get to the castle, let's decide, do we want this goal and to just give yourself anyone listening, just give yourself an opportunity to explore. What might you want for yourself? What might you want in your career, and tell that troll negative voice to just shush up for a moment, and just allow bravely honest your heart to say, I might want this. And I'll tell you like, as I'm saying these words, there is a goal that I have, that I'm fearful to step up into. And I'm reminding myself, okay, you can have the fear. But you can also be bravely honest and admit to yourself that this is what you really, really, really want. So that would be my encouragement is gift yourself the opportunity to ask what might you want for yourself,

Zack Arnold 56:47

I love this idea of the word mite. All these things that you're talking about, that I haven't already been doing, I'm just going to steal all of them. I'm going to put my brand new, take credit for them. But I love it that the idea of might is great. The other thing, and we've already talked about this, but I'm just like, it's one of those spur of the moment things totally going off book, but I don't care. I've been trying forever to figure out how do I sort out the voices in my head? Right? This has been a conversation actively that I've been having ever since the day that Ninja Warrior happened, but something I've been reading about for a long time and teaching. But there's a had a problem that just came together. What I couldn't figure out how to do was named the bad voice. You said call it a troll call whatever call it a dickhead. You just helped me. And I instantly felt a shift. You know what I'm calling my negative voice what Brian said, no offense to the Brian's out there. But I already heard it in my head on like, shut up, Brian. F you. And I think that in order to feel like you even have the permission, this is something I talked about on another show recently giving yourself permission to go after something and not wait for permission from others. If you might want to achieve something great. You're going to have to name that voice and say shut up. If you're gonna tell me I can't maybe I could What if I could do it? Right? I'm not gonna be able to do it tomorrow. But I might be able to do it. I think that's a great way to reframe looking at goals.

Alex Weber 58:10

Yeah, that's interesting. You know, as you say that you personify that voice, and I just tried out a name on it in my head, and it does add a little bit more firepower in your life. And then I go, you know, it makes me think, Well, okay, so now that person's in your head, which makes us want to get that person out of our head, which we want those voices as much as we can to be out of our head.

Zack Arnold 58:35

Yeah, exactly. And it's the weirdest shift that you can just feel it's different, right? Because I know logically, yeah, those are limiting beliefs, I get it. Those are scripts, those are from my childhood, or from this or that or the other thing. But first of all, they're shut up, right? But then all of a sudden, emotionally, you given a name. And it's something you want to get out that you understand as an external force. It gives you something that you talk also about in your book that's called control. I can either choose to focus on the things that I can't control or the things that I can't. And I think that we spent so much flippin time focusing on things we can't control. It's just a giant waste of energy.

Alex Weber 59:09

Yeah, man. It's so true. And because there are some things that we can't control, and the great irony of life is those things that we can't control have such deep impact on our happiness on our success on our lives. They do. But the choice is always and will always be what can we do about it?

Zack Arnold 59:34

And speaking of that, that's like the perfect segue to the next story that I want to dig into. And I want to be super respectful of your time, but there's a couple things that I think are so vital for people to hear. When we talk about things we can or can't control, most people would go about their mornings they'd be in kind of a hurry, and they say yeah, I've got this to do or that to do not to spill my coffee. Ah, right, the stupid cop or the you know, I slipped on this thing or they made This cup wrong, right? The way that you broke down, and analogize and really understood and took responsibility for spilling a cup of coffee, everybody, this should be standard training for anybody that wants to be a better person. Tell the story about spilling a cup of coffee and what it means.

Alex Weber 1:00:17

I appreciate that. And it's a it's true. I so in the book, and I laugh, because earlier today, I I spilled salad dressing and they're not too dissimilar the experiences, but in this one in the book, I spilled a cup of coffee, and I call myself some stupid amas. Well, that was stupid, wasn't it? And it was one thing of just a joke in the book of that it's not only was I saying that I was stupid, but I'm asking it as some like bullying question to who to just me. So I'm asking me to also bully me. It was just unnecessary. And then I thought about okay, well, why did I spill the coffee? Obviously, okay, it was clumsy and rushing. Okay. But I think so often we just look at why things are happening in that moment. And we don't dig at why they're really happening. So for me, I was rushing, okay, but why was I rushing? I was rushing, because I slept in for a lot longer than usual. But I didn't sleep in, I just laid in bed, and I was looking at my phone. Okay, but why? And why was because I got an email from a colleague who was doing better than me. And rather than feel excited or inspired by them, I felt jealous. And I felt like I wasn't good enough or that I wasn't doing enough, I felt inadequate. And so I just stood in bed for longer than usual. And then I had to rush to get ready, which meant I rushed and spilled the coffee. But if we look at that, and we look at, okay, spilled coffee, grab a paper towel, move on your day, beat yourself up, fine. But if we look and we dig those deeper layers, then we can actually look at something that's much more helpful to us, which is rather than just the spilt coffee, we can look at, well, do I really need to feel inadequate about myself and jealous, because someone that I know is doing well? Would it feel better, and when it helped me more to be excited for them, or happy for them, or inspired by them or learn from them. And all of those are true. So rather than just, you know, sweeping up the half Caf from the counter, we can dig a little bit at and I say Dig, dig it, why things are happening? Why did you miss that term? Why did you get in an argument with your spouse or a friend or a family member? Why? Because then if we don't just look at the result that we did, actually why it happened, then there's really good stuff that we can shape and work at, that's gonna make these results way better. We won't spill the coffee, we won't get in that argument. We won't miss that deal. But it starts with not just beating ourselves up when we make a mistake or fail.

Zack Arnold 1:03:08

Yeah, but Alex, that's gonna force me to take responsibility for my life. That's kind of scary,

Alex Weber 1:03:14

brave honesty, brave honesty. It's, it's no one else's life. And, and I encourage people to embrace this truth. And I remind myself of it too. If I want to, if you want it, we could close this desktop. We could buy a plane ticket, move somewhere, travel the world until we lost money and go skydiving without a shoot. That option exists. I mean, during darker times, I've actually thought about that option, like just blow trout, and then go skydiving without a shoot and just call it a day. Okay, that option exists. But the choice also exists to do all these amazing things that I really feel in my heart that I really want to do. And so if that ownership exists for that amazing choice, that ownership is also going to exist in every other area of our lives.

Zack Arnold 1:04:08

Well, speaking of all these different choices that can be made all the things that you've learned throughout this journey. I have one final question that I want to ask. And it's something that I've been asking my guests recently, it might become a regular thing. So it's a little bit of an experiment. But it's been very, very fruitful so far. So I want you to jump in a time machine with me. Oh, okay. And we're going to go back to a very specific time and a very specific place. We're going to go back to and I want you to really picture it, the vision of wherever you are in time and space where you're getting the nipple Twister, ah, and I want you to time travel back to that version of Alex. And I wonder what advice you would give him

Alex Weber 1:04:51

I would say, Don't cling to this meaning I'm trying to like Play it safe, so that I can keep getting bullied. Good as the enemy of great is one of my favorite expressions. And I would just say to him, like, don't try to just play it safe and keep the status quo, which is, oh, I don't want to do anything to upset them. So let me just let them keep pulling me at some point, standing up, and whatever that looks like, that meant me getting my ass beat. Well, what else is happening? I'm gonna my beat anyways, I might as well take a step back. And, and and go for something that actually I wanted. And I think that, you know, I I'm just going through different examples in my head of family members who are going through similar things where we don't want to have certain conversations because it might ruffle the waters. But what we're clinging and I think that that is an important takeaway is, is don't claim and don't fight for the stuff you don't want. And to step up and fight for the stuff that you do want, because either way, there might be a fight in it. But one way you're going to get what you actually want.

Zack Arnold 1:06:13

Well, I would say that number one, that's amazingly fantastic advice not for somebody that just wants to be a ninja warrior, or public speaker and author, it's for anybody that wants to accomplish anything, that whatever the status quo is, if it isn't the status quo that you want, at some point, you have to stand up, and you need to change the conversation that might require conflict might require stepping into your discomfort zone, which both of you I don't even know what comfort feels like anymore after the last four years, like I forgotten. I'm just so used to everything being scary and uncomfortable that I've almost forgotten what comfort is like, but you have to be willing to step into that zone if you want the status quo to be a different status quo. Right? I mean, that that's really what really what it comes back to. So to wrap it up, I have to say that despite the fact that we are two gigantic failures, I feel like we did I feel like this was an okay interview. I'm sure we'll both have notes in our voices afterwards. You're gonna see and I should have said that that was a dumb answer. I could have done that better. But you know what, for two giant failures, we did Okay, today, we're learning. We're learning we're constantly learning Yes,

Alex Weber 1:07:14

I'm not gonna stop I don't think you're stopping

Zack Arnold 1:07:16

Nope. The only thing that's getting in my way of my goals is death. That's it. The only thing that's going to stop me because everything else is a choice. And I can take control those choices. So for anybody that aspires to be a failure, as big as you are, where can they find your new book? And where can they find you?

Alex Weber 1:07:32

I appreciate it man. So Failproof: Become the Unstoppable You is on Amazon, you can preorder it now it goes live October 5, which basically just means they'll ship it out to you but it's you can order it now and if you do it would mean a lot to me shoot me a note. Let me know I would love to hear from you and and just have a nice little well moment together here about you and your life and what's going on and my handle on everything is I'm Alex Weber one being Weber and I appreciate you having me Zack is someone that I admire, and I admire your commitment to be your best in so many different areas. So I appreciate you having me on

Zack Arnold 1:08:11

And I appreciate you taking the time to be on this has been an absolute blast

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Optimize Yourself podcast. To access the show notes for this and all previous episodes as well as to subscribe so you don't miss future interviews just like this one, please visit optimizeyourself.me/podcast. And super quick before you leave today, don't forget that every Monday morning, I am sharing all of my favorite resources, strategies and practical tips to help you pursue more fulfilling work and design a more balanced life without sacrificing your health, your relationships or your sanity in the process. To subscribe 100% free simply visit optimizeyourself.me/newsletter. And once again a special thank you to our sponsor Ergodriven for making today's interview possible. To learn more about Ergodriven and my favorite product for standing workstations the Topomat, visit optimizeyourself.me/topo, that's t o p o and to learn more about Ergodriven and their brand new product that I'm super excited about New Standard Whole Protein, visit optimizeyourself.me/newstandard. Thank you for listening, stay safe, healthy and sane and be well.

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Guest Bio:


Alex Weber

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Alex Weber is an international speaker, American Ninja Warrior, award-winning entertainer and author of the upcoming book Fail Proof. He has been awarded US Lacrosse Coach of the Year honors, holds a World Record, and competed in the World Championships of lacrosse finishing as a Top Scorer in the world. Alex shows Top Professionals and Leaders how to bring their very best everyday, and to the most high-stakes situations that can make or break their success.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Debby Germino and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

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Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”