Aligned entrepreneurs are not managing their time but instead managing their energy. That means helping people get back their energy and their time so that they can ultimately create and contribute more in the world. On today’s show, host Nathan Hirsch talks with high performance entrepreneur Matthew Cooke about entrepreneurship and Matthew’s ten commandments of an aligned entrepreneur. Matthew is the CEO and Founder of Body Based Breakthrough and has helped clients reach their goals through mental toughness and movement strategies.
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My guest is Matt Cooke. Matt, how are you doing?
I’m doing awesome, Nathan.
For those who don’t know, Matt helps entrepreneurs shift from the grind to align in their energy and relationships so they can create and contribute more. His work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, mindbodygreen and the Elephant Journal. When he’s not serving his clients, you can find him on a road trip adventure with his beautiful wife or chilling at home in California with their spaniel puppy, Sophie. Let’s take a gigantic step back. Talk to us about what you were like growing up. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Were you a rebel? Were you a straight-A student? What was that like?
I grew up in a family where I thought I was lazy, anxious, overwhelmed and messy. I was overweight as a kid as well. I was that perennial B-plus student. I don’t know if you can relate to that or if anyone else knows that. You have these straight-A people that are perfectionists. They nailed it from the moment they got out of the womb. I was the kid that was like, “I’m going to skate by decent and moderately average.” I was the B-plus student until I found Adderall. That may be a turn you may not have expected.
I work with a lot of tech companies. I work with a lot of people in the tech industry. There is such an epidemic of, “I’m not good enough.” Adderall made me feel like a god. I remember being confident with it. Stimulants are no joke. I was prescribed it. I was told as a kid because I was lazy, messy, overwhelmed and anxious. They were like, “Let’s slap a label. Let’s tell him he’s ADHD, which I think translates to, “You’re probably an entrepreneur. You probably have a lot of cool ideas and you’re probably super excited about life.” That was my path. I found Adderall and was prescribed it. I took it and it felt amazing. What I started to realize is that I got caught in this trap of trying to perform for love and attention simply to get by in the world.
The grind is the people that are running a sprint rather than a marathon. Business is a marathon.
Fast forward to after getting out of college. I ended up working for this incredible startup that was creating the Netflix for optimal living. I was one of the first founding members of the company. What was fascinating was I got to work with 200 of the world thought leaders. Everything from productivity to neuroscience, conscious business, conscious parenting, mindfulness, spirituality, health and fitness. You name it, across the board. By the end, I joked that I had wisdom constipation because I had so much stuff downloaded into me. The big thing coming from that is this high-performance culture that a lot of us live in. It has many positives to it. I realized through my experience as I left that company, I burnt out at 24 years old, full-on adrenal fatigue. I had nothing in the tank.
That is why I help my clients do what I do now. Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, they’re all incredible men. They have incredible visions and can share this beautiful message of, “Let’s hustle, let’s fly, let’s take massive action and make things happen.” That’s awesome and not all of us are built for that. That is the real myth of being an entrepreneur. As soon as we put ourselves into this group and we say, “I am an entrepreneur.” We all of a sudden think, “I should be able to do anything and everything that any of these guys teach.” That’s simply not the case. I help my entrepreneur clients shift from grind to aligned and truly helping them find the blueprint of what’s going to work for them. I don’t have that blueprint. My job is to help siphon down what you are made to do and in the way that you’re meant to do it.
What is aligning to you?
I have ten commandments on what an aligned entrepreneur looks like. A big component of that is not managing our time but instead managing our energy. It’s a big part of what you do with FreeeUp is helping people get back their energy and their time that they can ultimately create and contribute more in the world. It’s super aligned in that sense. That’s a big part for me is not having people manage their time but managing their energy throughout the day. The cool thing is our minds are infinite, especially as entrepreneurs. They can experience so much possibility. There are infinite possibilities that our minds can conceive of.
The only issue is that we’re also humans, we forget that. Our bodies have daily rhythms and cycles. It’s not just pooping, peeing and sleeping. There are actual rhythms and energetic highs and lows that our bodies go through throughout the day. A big thing of my teaching is like, “I understand you want to be superhuman.” With Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and all the things telling you how great everyone else’s life is, we have to bring it back to you ultimately. What kind of life are you wanting to ultimately live? A good question I always ask my clients is, “How long do you plan on having this business for?” Everyone’s like, “Obviously, forever to some degree.” If you want to sell it, IPO and all that stuff, that’s great. For the most part, it’s like, “I know I want to do whatever I’m doing forever.” Why are you treating it like you’re only going to have this business for another month? Why are you in constant sprint mode? That’s what I look at.
The grind is the people that are running a sprint rather than a marathon. Business is a marathon. It’s not going away overnight unless you choose it too. That’s the thing. A lot of us, our bodies end up taking us out of the race because we push hard. There’s beauty in that too. Hopefully, you and the people reading can understand that we have the mind over here and we have the body over here. As much as we can get them to line up, I always like to say, “Your head is 50 miles ahead of your body.” Let’s get those a little bit closer together and you’re going to find success, abundance and all those fun things.
I know one part of that is delegating and relying on other people. What does that look like for an entrepreneur? Where do you see people go wrong when it comes to doing everything opposed to taking it off their plate?
I’m sure you know this Abraham Lincoln quote where he says, “If I had two hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first hour and 50 minutes preparing and planning, and spend the ten minutes taking action.” I teach a five-step process that I call, “The perfect day for entrepreneurs.” A big piece of that is taking action with structure. Everything before that, I’ll say to them in order. The first thing is to declutter. Declutter from the day before. I don’t care if you have a 5:00 AM club high-performance or if you wake up at 11:00 AM. We all have different businesses. To me, that doesn’t matter. As soon as you wake up, you’re decluttering your mind. You’re decluttering your body from the day before. That could be getting a workout like sweating. That’s decluttering, shaking the dust, shaking the cobwebs loose. I like to pull out a journal and start ripping through all the things that I’ve been thinking about or that have been present on my mind. I have a process I teach called body-based breakthrough. That’s a big part of this process as well is decluttering.
The second is values. At that point, “What are my values? The third is support up. This is where FreeUp comes in or where getting support comes in or delegating. I’ve decluttered my mind and my body. I’ve gotten my values straight of like, “This is my vision. This is what I plan on doing.” Three is support up. It’s like calling in the troops, whether you have coaches, consultants or you have team members. It’s being intentional with how am I putting together the actual steps that need to be occurring. This is where the grind and hustle thing comes in. It’s like throwing crap around and hoping that something sticks. I don’t want to be a machine gun. I want to be a sniper. That’s how I look at it. What is all the excess motion or the extra fat in my business and in my life that I can cut away? That’s what align does. It’s the same thing with this is if I’m going to be delegating something, I need to be crystal clear on what that thing is.
I’m sure you find this with FreeUp. When people are making all these requests where it’s super unclear about what they’re asking for, nobody’s going to be able to carry that out. That’s an important thing for me. It’s getting clear on the stuff beforehand, clarifying and spending the time to do that. It’s going to save you more time on the back-end of having to do all the revisions and all the way you didn’t get that right, just because you weren’t clear in the first place. That’s what I would say. Lastly, after you take that support up, you take action structure and then finally reflect and review. What worked, what didn’t work and you start it all over again. Go two, three cycles of that day and you’ve got a solid business.
The downtime is going to make you way better in the up time.
Can you give us an example of one of your clients, maybe what they were doing before and what they were doing afterward?
One of my favorite client is Tim. He’s working for one of the best marketing agencies on the West Coast. He’s a veteran. He’s been doing it forever. He’s working 70-hour work weeks when we first met, talking about from grind to align. He’s working 70-hour work weeks implementing for this company because he’s seen it all and done it all. He became the workhorse for everybody. He took responsibility for everybody else. All of the projects and emotionally had the weight of the world on his shoulders for this company. The funny thing is he didn’t own it. He was a big part of the company. By the time that we were complete, going through my course Aligned, that was a huge transformation for him. By the end of that, he was working ten hours a week for the same company consulting them. Making twice as much money, which is a lot of fun. We all have the things that we want. For some of us, it’s like, “I want to crush it and make a ton of money.” For some of us, it’s, “I want the time freedom.” For him, the time freedom was more valuable than money. He’d made twice as much money doing the consulting. He’s building his multimillion-dollar business that he’s super stoked about around membership websites and all these fun things. He’s a super exciting case.
I have another one, Jaden. He’s a good guy. He was working eight-hour workdays. He now works four-hour workdays and is four times more productive in those four hours. The biggest thing with this is the energy management, it’s like, “We were taking a look. When are you most productive? When do you have your highest acuity mentally throughout the day? How can we maximize and double down on what’s working and the time that it’s working so that we can be more effective in that time? There’s this cool concept in neuroscience called undirected attention. There’s directed and undirected attention. He was spending his time in directed attention which we can all think about. That’s like when we’re in deep work, we’re in focus mode. When we’re in undirected attention, we’re recharging our battery for directed attention. Some of us don’t turn off and it’s the thing that kills us. The most important thing is to flip off the light switch of directed attention, which includes scrolling on Instagram. We need to be in this diffuse attention where we don’t necessarily have a goal in mind.
I don’t know if you have you experienced this, Nathan. When you’re on a walk, when you’re in the shower, when you’re on a road trip, those are when your best ideas come in. It’s not when you’re at your desk like, “I need to have great ideas right now.” It’s always when you’re in that diffused attention. That’s when those moments of insight hit. That’s a big thing that I teach my entrepreneurs is like, “Downtime is going to make you way better in uptime. The time that you’re working.” The time that you’re in it, crushing it whatever you want to call it, we need that downtime. That relaxation is vitally important.
I’m a morning person. From 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM, I’m rocking it. There would be some mornings that I’ll even go to the gym. I feel I missed that portion of my day, even though I had a great workout. Business-wise I feel I’m lacking the rest of the day because that’s when I’m most productive. I know clients and friends of mine that are local and they’re entrepreneurs. They’re most productive from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM and that works for them. I definitely agree with that. Some of our best ideas come from different places. My business partner, Connor, lives in Denver. Whenever I go and visit him, we go for hikes and we talk business. That’s when the best ideas come into play. I 100% resonate with that.
It’s vitally important and I don’t think enough of us give time to that. That’s truly when the best ideas for humanity are going to come through. One of my favorite quotes, Albert Einstein said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness from which it was created.” If you have a problem that pops up at work, chances are if you’re in work mode, you’re not going to be able to get a handle on it until you shift out of work mode then through a different mindset. When you get a little bit of space from it, that’s when the best ideas come through.
Let’s say there’s an entrepreneur reading out there. They’re working 60, 65 hours a week, they’re having success. They’re doing $1 million to $5 million a year. What would you tell them? What is your first step?
I always have all my clients start with agreements. What are the agreements that you’re making in your life, with yourself, with others? Go ahead pull out a sheet of paper and write down, “What are the agreements that I have in my life right now?” Including business partners and clients, list out every single client that you have. List out all the people that you’re working with. I want you to look down at that list. Most of the time, we can technically hold all this information in our heads. When you get it down on paper, most of us go, “Is this what I’m agreeing to in my life?” We all come on one thin layer at a time until we start to build this insane thing that we never wanted. I have people take it. It’s essentially an inventory of your agreements with yourself and with others.
We have three options with every single agreement that we make. A lot of us think of commitments and it’s like, “You made a commitment you got to stick it.” I like to look at it as we made an agreement here. We’re humans. You’ve got three things, you can either keep the agreement. You can obviously break the agreement or this is my favorite one, you can renegotiate the agreement. It’s like, “I realize I’m not in this, to the level that we originally agreed to. I want to deliver for you, but I’m seeing it’s not going to happen.”
What I’d like to do is I’d like to renegotiate. If I don’t fully do this, you’re not going to be happy. I’m not going to be happy. No one’s going to win. Let’s find something that’s in alignment, that’s aligned for both of us. That doesn’t always mean like, “I’m going to drop it,” and be super flaky and out of integrity. It’s like, “I want to find the thing that is going to work for both of us.” That might include delegation. That might include me delegating it to someone else. My team are like, “Let me find the person that can be your guy or gal.” The biggest thing is many of us stick around in these sticky agreements. It hurts everybody in the long run because we end up unconsciously self-sabotaging.
You cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness from which it was created.
We create all these resistance patterns. If you feel you’re pushing a boulder uphill every single day, that is a surefire symptom that you are agreeing to things that you’re not unconsciously game for. We all know that. When you say, “I’m going to lose twenty pounds,” and you don’t lose twenty pounds. It’s like “What was the factor there?” Unconsciously there’s some reason that your body is choosing to hold on to that way. It’s not because you consciously said, “I’m going to do it.” There’s an equation there.
If we’re not keeping up with an agreement, if we’re not fully, balls to the walls, doing it, loving it and having tons of energy and enthusiasm behind it, chances are it’s out of alignment somewhere. We just need to find like, “Let’s have that.” Sometimes that’s the hardest part. We don’t want to have that icky conversation with that boss, with that potential client, with that lover, with that partner, whatever it may be. It’s like, “We need to have this uncomfortable conversation.” The most courageous thing you can do is to have that sticky conversation where it’s like, “This isn’t an alignment anymore. I’d love to renegotiate so that everybody can win here.”
Where can people find out more about you? What are you most excited about?
I have a course called Aligned. It’s ten weeks to shift from grind to aligned. We have some awesome pillars. They’re vitality, focus, connection, performance and then your perfect day. We crush it throughout those ten weeks. It’s a ton of fun. If anyone’s interested in checking it out, my website is MatthewTCooke.com. Otherwise, you can do Go.MatthewTCooke.com/aligned, that is the course. If you’re interested, check it out. I’m super friendly. You can always shoot me an email as well at Matthew@MatthewTCooke.com. Either way, I’m happy to meet you.
Matthew Cooke in helps entrepreneurs shift from Grind to Aligned in their energy and relationships, so they can create and contribute more. His work has been featured in HuffPost, Thrive Global, Mind Body Green and The Elephant Journal. When he’s not serving his clients, you can find him on a road trip adventure with his beautiful wife, or chilling at home in California with our their spaniel pupper, Sophie.
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