Your worth isn’t found in what you do, but in the champion mindset you embrace. Featuring Jeff Koziatek, author of Blueprint For Value, this episode dives into the transformative journey of self-discovery and self-worth. Drawing from his personal experiences and insights, Jeff shares how you can unlock your core authentic self and achieve a champion mindset. He introduces the concept of setting your “True North,” where your worth is abundant. Jeff also explores the difference between living as a Challenger or a Champion, and how life is all about choosing which one you’ll be. Tune in and start your journey to personal growth and empowerment. Your champion mindset awaits!
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Rebalance Self-Worth With A Champion Mindset Featuring Jeff Koziatek
In this episode, I’m excited to welcome Jeff Koziatek to the show. Jeff is an artist and entrepreneur. He worked in the entertainment industry for over 25 years where he produced award-winning films and national touring shows, acted in film and television, owned a complete event management company, and performed over 5,000 shows. He is now a certified coach, an international keynote speaker, and a trusted advisor.
Jeff works for his clients to do more of what they want, and less of what of they don’t, and loves the results. Jeff once made a money-method decision to not provide for his family through a life insurance policy. He discovered his worth and found an avenue to speak his last time judgment and provide offerings for others to grow from to live a more fulfilling life. It is time to rewrite the narrative about what we think about ourselves and begin to align the actions for our true identity. Enjoy the show.
Jeff, welcome to the show. It’s so great to see you again. How are you doing?
I’m doing fantastic. I have my coffee and my Haleakala coffee mug and I’m talking to you. It’s a good day.
It’s a great day we are here. We have a lot of opportunities ahead of us and I can’t wait to cover what’s going on with you. First of all, I’d love to know what you are passionate about these days.
The thing that gets me out of bed is intrinsic worth. Helping people stand on a cornerstone of intrinsic worth. I use the word worth. A lot of other people use the word significance or identity, but I feel like that is the cornerstone that shapes everything else. Whether we are looking for our worth and significance outside of ourselves or inside changes everything in terms of how we show up for relationships and how we feel about our life in general. That’s why I’m passionate about it. That’s what I’m all about.
It seems like that’s connected to your highest purpose. That’s what you are bringing out to the world every day. That’s what it seems like to me.
I come from an entertainment background where I had the chance to cross a lot of different social boundaries and meet a wide variety of people in all stages of life from all different backgrounds. You do that more than 5,000 times all over the country, and you see this throughline. Everybody has to answer the question, “What is their worth?” and then the follow-up question, “Where does it come from?”
I thought I could see that and do nothing or I could try to help. When I can help people shift that perspective and stand on a rock-solid cornerstone of intrinsic worth, and then watch how their life changes. I’m not going to lie to you. Having 1,000-plus people stand up and give you an ovation feels good. When you are sitting across the table from somebody and they make that shift, and not only make a shift mentally, but they feel it in their heart, that’s equally as fulfilling, if not more so.
Bringing joy to the world right there to yourself, but not intentionally to yourself. Helping other people and you are feeling the reward based on people giving you a standing ovation. You said, more importantly, someone opening their heart back up and seeing what’s possible.
My whole vision is to empower and encourage other people. The opportunity to do that on a one-to-one basis with the coaching is huge, and then even as a keynote speaker to be able to offer that encouragement from the stage. That’s me in a nutshell.
Have you always thought that way? Have you ever always had that approach with your passion, your purpose, and even back to your childhood? Is this something that’s always been in you? How did you get here?
No. I grew up thinking that I was what I did, that my performance defined who I was, and if I wasn’t performing, then I wasn’t worth people’s time. I also grew up thinking, “Find something you love, make that your job.” That’s what was taught to me by my parents. I love art and people and I quickly became a massive workaholic when I took both of those messages and combined them. That did not take me to any place healthy. It led to a lot of work and a lot of wonderful opportunities, but the cost mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually was intense.
To go down that road so far as to think, “I can’t do enough. I continue to push and perform for more external worth and external significance.” My performance realized that it was not enough, and then started looking at my life insurance policy, thinking maybe that’s a better way to care for my family. That is not a better way to care for my family. That’s not a place I wanted to be.
When I had a conversation with a coach back in 2012, he helped me to shift that foundation from looking for it in my performance to looking for it inside. Everything changed for me. My marriage, parenting, and the quality of my work improved. Not only that, I discovered the superpower of not yes. I was saying yes to everything. I had to say yes to everything.
If I’m looking for my worth and significance in my work or my performance, then I have to take everything on. I can’t say no. After I met with my coach, Jeff Arthur with The Values Conversation, now I had a filter and I could say, “Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should. Just because this opportunity is here doesn’t mean I have to take it.” Let’s spend time with my wife and kids. Let’s spend time taking care of me so that I can take care of everybody else. It was an incredibly pivotal moment for me.
The thought of taking care of your family through an insurance policy is pretty scary and dark. I’m super appreciative that we are here talking and hearing you impact the world and make a difference not only for your family but everybody you interact with. That would have gone away thinking about your impact. I’m curious to learn a little bit more about how you got to this point from a standpoint. Was there something else missing along the way?
It was the worth piece, 100%. Growing up, you see all these examples in the world of people being celebrated for what they did. You go to school. People are rewarded. They are put on the dean’s list. They are on the honor roll. They are celebrated for their performance and achievements. The same thing with sports, theater, and the creative piece of art and getting awarded based on your performance. I’m an all-in guy.
I can be a little intense and very focused. I said, “That’s it.” I also got glasses pretty early like in second grade and it completely shifted my social circles. I thought, “Clearly, I’m not enough. I have to do more.” When I discovered theater and when you could stand on stage, deliver lines, and get people to laugh and applaud for you, I thought this was the fastest way to fill that need.
I also played baseball, and when I played baseball, I pitched because when you were standing on the mound, you were running the show. At least that’s what it felt like. For me, performing was the best option. You could create art, but with 1,000 people smiling and cheering, that feels good. When you have a huge hole in your heart that says, “I’m not enough. I need to do more.” That feels great.
How did you close that over time to identify your worth from within?
It was with my coach. Back in 2012, I had a video production and photography business. I was performing. I had all this stuff and everybody said, “You need to focus.” I’m like, “How do you focus when you are what you do? If I’m doing what I love, how do you say no?” It’s like cutting off an arm. You can’t do that.
At the same time, everything was maxed out. I couldn’t grow any of my businesses beyond where they were because there was only so much time in the day. When I sat down with a coach and he helped me to shift that, the conversation that I had with him began with me trying to prove to him that I was a bad, horrible, and no good person and that I had done all these things, which made me unworthy, which is why I was trying to prove or atone through all of my stuff.
I would share things with him and he would say, “Same time next week.” I’m like, “You don’t understand. Not only have I done these things, but I have also thought these things.” I have had these thoughts and I shared with him things that I had not shared with anybody else to prove him wrong and me right, and he sat there. He continued to engage with me without judgment and kept coming back. I’m like, “Who are you?” Nobody does that. Except Jeff did with me and that allowed me to drop my defenses and take an honest look at what was going on, and then choose a different path.
The judgment word is a tough one. As you talk about performing, pitching, and delivering, we are immediately judged. Did someone laugh? Did someone applaud? Did you get that person out? You have been going through these roles where you are immediately getting feedback. Judgment is a tough word when you think about a fixed mindset or growth mindset and how you move forward. How did you get past that point of not feeling judged any more than in general?
I wrote a book. I believe that everyone has intrinsic worth that cannot be lost, stolen, increased, or decreased. It is always full all the time. On a scale of 0 to 10, you are a 10 no matter what. Yet our feelings about that, our perception of our worth can change on a moment-to-moment basis. When other people judge us or criticize either our performance, what we are doing or our character, it’s easy to take that personally and then have it slow us down. Sometimes that can affect our perception. I wrote Blueprint For Value: 52 Habits to Discover and Strengthen our Personal Worth so that we can keep our perception high to match the reality that we are now have always been and will always be a ten.
There are three big components to that. It’s building out the compass that I work on with my coaching clients and that work on with the organizations that I coach. There’s the mindset. That’s the second piece, and then there’s the supportive team. The team is habit 26. It’s fellowship. It’s the four positions that you need to fill on your team.
My compass, which is my worth, my values, my identity, and my purpose is my vision and mission. I have a champion mindset, not a challenger mindset. I have surrounded myself with a team of people who believe in me and want to support me, including mentors, cheerleaders, givers, and connectors. When I am faced with judgment from other people, it doesn’t stick, and if it does get there, it doesn’t stay for long.
Usually, it slides right off, but if for some reason it stays on board, I’m able to turn to page 52 or habit 52 and #WashMyBrain and get that off by reminding myself who I am and what I’m all about. I have a team around me that can be like, “There’s a blind spot here. You are missing this.” That’s how I keep moving forward.
I’d say as a performer and speaker, I used to think when I was looking for my worth in my performance that I had to make the whole audience smile, laugh, and applaud. That’s why I am hired to come in. Unfortunately, if I take that attitude, I strip the humanity of the audience. Now they are objects. If they don’t do what I want them to do, then it’s my fault.
I’m taking 100% responsibility for things that I have no control over. That’s nuts. That can drive you crazy, picking up responsibility that isn’t yours. When I started to realize, “My worth is here. Their worth is there.” All I can do as a performer or as a speaker is to make an offer, and then the audience can either choose to accept it or not. That’s up to them. The relief from judgment from the audience, from the heckler who sits there with his arms folded, or the woman who is yelling things, or the kid who is throwing things. All of a sudden, all of that judgment, I could see it for what it was, not who I am, and that was big.
That’s a good release. It’s pretty heavy to put that responsibility on yourself. I can only imagine as you are going through looking at the audience that you are calculating it versus being your authentic self.
That was hard and it makes sense. If you are hiring an entertainer, you want the entertainer to entertain your audience, and you want everybody to have a good time. It makes sense to have those expectations. It’s the same thing with a speaker. You want your speaker to come in and you want them to engage your audience, and you want the audience to have a certain experience. Yet it’s not 100% up to the speaker or the entertainer.
Being able to recognize that this is how we get here, and then respond with a healthy view of the situation and say, “All I can do is make an offer, and I’m going to do my best to make that offer and invite people in. If they come in, great, and if they don’t, great.” I usually find that most of the negative feedback that I receive from people is mostly about them and whatever they are at or what they are dealing with, and then they are putting it on me. They have certain expectations and they have stripped me of my humanity, and now I’m an object that’s there to serve them. It goes both ways. To be able to step back and see that for what that is, I found it to be healthy for me.
I love the offer you put out there to people too. People could pick it up and do something with it, or say, “That’s not for me,” or they could disagree. It is what people take with them. You talk about 52 Habits. Our life is filled with habits and putting the right habits in front of us, it’s what’s going to outline not only results and our love for our family and other people. Having that open mind and willingness to take in offers and see where they take us, and what might fit with our beliefs and values is important. I love that reference to offers. When you hear speakers or you are reading this show, you don’t take everything that’s on the show or that’s part of the speaking series. It’s like what matters to you and what can you do with it.
You have to know what your core is to be able to do that well. In my business, a lot of people will say, “I want to get better, improve, grow, or develop,” but they have no idea where they want to grow, what they want to develop into, or what better looks like. When I help my clients identify what their unique compass looks like, worth, values, identity, and purpose, now they have a very clear picture of what better looks like.
When they know their values, they are not guessing anymore. When they make choices that align with their values, it feels good. They can feel confident about their choice before they even make the choice. The guesswork is out because if you don’t know that and you make a decision, you are rolling the dice and you hope that feels good. Understanding who you are and what you are all about ahead of time changes all that. When you show up to watch a speaker or a performer or fill in the blank, you can look for similar values or not, and then make a choice ahead of time.Understanding who you are and what you're all about ahead of time changes everything. Click To Tweet
As we think about our core, is that our true individual north? How should we think about that? How do I get started as an audience member? What could I do, leaving this show that I can start to think about and make sure I understand my core?
A hundred percent true north. That’s like Air 5. When you know your compass, you know the true north in any situation you face. What does that person do with those values, those skillsets, and is here to do this way? Worth, values, identity, and purpose. Something you could take right now, a quick action step that doesn’t cost anything is you can go to my website, CoreAuthenticity.com. Download a free values assessment.
It’s free and takes maybe ten minutes. To fill that out and clarify, what are your guiding values? I believe that all the choices that we make in life come from our values. If it feels if we are we are confident in the choice, if we are in a relationship and everything clicks, or if we know somebody five years passed and we come back together and we are like, “That’s so great.” We pick up like no time has passed. Chances are there’s an alignment of values.
On the other hand, if we are constantly second-guessing ourselves if we are in a work environment or relationship where all the boxes are checked, but there’s still conflict, there’s a very high probability that there’s a misalignment of values. Knowing the values ahead of time can help with that. You can do that with an easy free values assessment.
As far as building out the rest of the compass, I don’t believe that we can do that on our own because we need somebody outside who doesn’t have the same blind spots and perspectives that we have and can help us see around our blind spots so we can take an honest look at that. Whether you are working with me, another coach, or a counselor, we need some outside perspective to overcome that hump.
To get specific with that, when I was five, I was run over by a car. It was this big 1978 Monte Carlo. The whole situation created an internal narrative for me that fed into looking for worth outside of myself, believing that I wasn’t enough. To set the stage quickly, there we were in my mom’s friend’s house. We are leaving. She’s in the front seat. I’m in the back seat. We are about ready to back down the driveway, and her friend’s son comes running around the house screaming. We look over and he’s being chased by a swarm of bees. My mom is like, “Here’s a whole bunch of bees. I got to roll up the window.” She’s cranking the window and she didn’t get up fast enough because a bee swerved off course, flew into the car, and landed on my shoulder.
When you are five and a bee is sitting right there, it’s ginormous. I freaked out and I screamed, which caused my mom to scream and freak out, and then somehow, she lost control of the car. Now the car is rolling down the hill backward. Now she’s panicked about the car, which grabs my attention. Now I completely forget about the bee, and now I’m focused on my mom, and she can’t stop the car for whatever reason. I fling open the door, and this is a ‘78 Monte Carlo. The doors are big. I throw the door open, jump out of the car, and start pushing on the door to stop the car because that’s all I know to do as a five-year-old, what else are you supposed to do?
It’s a ‘78 Monte Carlo. That’s a big car. I’m five. There’s no way I’m going to stop it, but I don’t know that. I’m five. I’m pushing. As a big Shazam and Superman fan, this is what you do, and it didn’t work. The door knocked me over. I fell half under the car and I watched the front tire roll over my stomach. We end up going to the hospital and they are like, “Was this kid run over by a car? This doesn’t make any sense. There’s nothing broken.” They come in and they see the tire track over my stomach, and they are like, “It did happen. We don’t understand this, so let’s keep them in for observation for a few days.” I ended up staying in the hospital and then finally released days later.
The problem with this situation is that as kids, we all take ownership and responsibility for everything that happens to us. Not our responsibility to pick up. Yet I did it anyway. Yet we all do it. At this moment, I started interpreting this scene like I made a mistake. I responded incorrectly when the bee landed on my shoulder. My poor choice led to people getting hurt as my mom ended up outside the car. She was in the hospital too. She was pregnant with my brother at the time and so everybody is like, “Is she okay?” My bad choice led to her pain.
I ended up getting put in the hospital. My father was trying to work. He’s trying to take care of the house. He’s trying to take care of his pregnant wife. He’s trying to take care of his kid. He’s not in my room very much. I’m in the hospital alone a lot. Not only do I respond wrong, but I hurt people, and when that happens, I get abandoned and left behind.
You pick up this message and then we start looking for evidence to back up this narrative, and that’s how I spent most of my life. I’m like, “I got to prove that I’m more than who I am.” It fed into all this other stuff, and it wasn’t until I worked with another coach to go back and rewrite that narrative that this outside perspective. It’s a long story to get to this, but I needed somebody else to walk me through that.
Let’s look at this as an adult, not a five-year-old. Your reaction was legit and makes sense. It’s natural what you did. Let’s talk about the characteristics of a kid that jumps in and does that. Let’s talk about the choices that your dad made, your family made, and the hospital made. To go back and rewrite that had a huge impact on how I saw my worth and what I do moving forward.
Incredible story of all abilities. I can’t believe it. Tire marks. No internal injuries. At least broken bones and no survivor. Unbelievable.
That’s a whole other story. It was nuts, but it fed that core belief that I can’t do it right. If I step out and do something, people are going to get hurt. Those messages that we pick up as a kid are incredibly powerful. To go back and rewrite those narratives in a way that is healthy and that helps us move forward in a working way makes all the difference.Those messages that we pick up as a kid are incredibly powerful and to go back to rewrite those narratives in a way that is healthy and that helps us move forward makes all the difference. Click To Tweet
That’s why we need that outside perspective to come in and help us see around those blind spots that we have because we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t even know that we don’t even know it. If we have somebody else come in like a coach, we can overcome those hurdles, get past the things that are holding us back, and move forward.
I have some self-doubt questions about my life. It’s like sometimes you are wondering back to your story about why didn’t you get hurt. Other people got hurt and why are you okay? You caused it when you are trying to save it. You are a savior and connector. It is important for us to understand how we impact the world.
Looking at the positives and looking at the actions we take allows us to break through and overcome whatever is happening, whatever challenge, or situation to believe that we are trying to do the right thing and the right situation. Making sure we are doing our best at that. Some people are not connected to doing the right thing. They want to do what they think is the right thing. It’s maybe not the best thing.
If they are doing the right thing but from the wrong motive and foundation, everything shifts. My vision for life is to empower and encourage others by teaching anyone who wants to learn and set an example. Not a perfect example, but an example of what it looks like to keep moving forward. There have been pieces that have been evident throughout my entire life.
It’s more focused and more effective now than ever before because my foundation has shifted. It was there in the performance. It was there in the videos, the photography, and everything else, but once we shift that foundation and recognize that what we do comes from us, but doesn’t define who we are, the freedom that comes from that is incredibly profound. That freedom leads to more presence, which leads to more connection, which leads to more positivity.
Freedom is an important word there. Allowing ourselves to connect in different ways. It takes some of the burden off of ourselves. The word forgiveness or compassion is an important word in your world too.
I am a big fan. Yes.
Some of these elements too and we will get back to that compassion. You talked about your parents a little bit, doing more of what you love, and you are what you do. Are there elements you learned from your parents around those messages? You said that came from them. Is it their actions? Was it the work they did? Is it how they loved you or what they did or didn’t do? What are the things that show up for you there?
My parents always said, “Find something you love to do and make that your job.” When I told them that I love art and people, and I wanted to be an actor, they said, “Go be an actor.” It’s like, “You are supporting this? That sounds great.” That was huge. I will always remember as a kid, we are at church. It was a snowy Sunday. All the snow came down during the service. When everybody came out to their car, we all had to dig our cars out. It was cold. We get in our car, we are about ready to leave, and my dad doesn’t get in the car. After he digs out our car and gets everything going, he looks over and sees this other car next to us that belongs to this older lady. He goes over there and digs her car out.Find something you love to do and make that your job. Click To Tweet
I thought about watching him serve other people in that way to go the extra mile. They always say, 20% of your people do 100% or 80% of the work in an organization. My parents were those people. They were always serving in the church. They were one of the small groups that kept things going, and they didn’t have to do that. They weren’t being reimbursed. It was an outflow of who they were. That was something big.
My father would always teach through movies. We would watch a movie and a character would say a line, and then he would pause the movie and be like, “Did you catch that?” He rewinds it on VHS and then plays it again to make sure that I heard it. There was this one movie that we’d watch called The Last Starfighter. In The Last Starfighter, you have this kid from a trailer park who gets called into this galactic space battle way off somewhere else, nowhere near Earth.
The kid is like, “This isn’t for me.” He goes back home and the guy that’s taken him back home, he is like, “Take this communicator. If you change your mind, we could get you back into the fight.” The kid goes, “I’m just a kid from a trailer park.” The guy responds by saying, “If that’s all you think, that’s all you will ever be.” He throws a communicator at him and then he takes off.
My father was like, “Did you hear that?” That’s something that I have always held onto. How do we see ourselves? What is that personal narrative? We can control the narrative that we tell ourselves. We can control how we think about what we can bring to the table and I don’t believe we can do that alone. We need help, that outside perspective. Those are some big takeaways from my childhood.
That’s fun to live through different quotes and messages. Sometimes I will do that with my kids and they will be like, “Okay, Dad. Nice speech.” At some point, it will pay back. I see some of that. You are a dad. Leading by example with your family and your kids, now you have a different role. You learned from your mom and dad, and particularly through movies and other examples. How is that paying itself forward?
My sons love to give me trouble. They’d be like, “We know it doesn’t align with our values.” I’m like, “You are listening. This is great.” I’m always looking for opportunities to teach and it’s seasonal. When my kids were younger, it was more of a love them phase. I wanted to make sure that they felt like we loved them no matter what. I wanted to pour into and affirm their intrinsic worth regardless of what they were doing. That was huge. As they got older, they switched to more lessons. We would watch movies and I would do the same thing. I’d also look for opportunities around like, “Here’s another life lesson,” and my family started giving me trouble.
It’s like, “Life lessons with Dad.” It’s the season. Some people pay for this with my coaching. You get it for free. You are born in. You should be thanking me. We do that. Now that my oldest is getting even older, I have switched more to an advisor role because I want him to make mistakes. I want him to try it out here while he is still under our roof so that we can walk with him through that. He feels empowered to try some new stuff and figure things out in a relatively safe environment. My kids will share something and I usually ask them like, “Do you want feedback? Do you want me to ask questions? Do you want me to listen?”
Usually, they will tell me what they want so we model that. When I make a mistake, I go and apologize specifically. I’m like, “I should not have done this. There are other ways that I could have handled that.” I try to own my stuff. I try to be upfront with my emotions and let them know that it’s okay to have more than two emotions as a guy and let them see that and we talk it out. The fruit of all of that from setting the example for my kids has been incredibly profound. We don’t do this so that we get ROI.
My wife got diagnosed with breast cancer. This is in ’22. She had to go through a bilateral mastectomy, do chemo, and a full hysterectomy. It was nuts and it happened like, “You have this. We are going to start scheduling everything in less than a month.” We are like, “What?” It was a massive shift in my life. I hired a coach so that I would be there for my family so that I was taking care of myself. It’s an outside perspective. We had the coach for April through her initial surgery. Everything was great. What did I do? Because I’m human, I said, “I’m good,” in May. I’m okay and I let my coach go. I had other coaches, but the one that I was doing daily touches with, I let her go.
By the time mid-June comes around, my wife is in the middle of chemo treatment. She’s fighting to survive. My kids are struggling with, “Mom has cancer,” and I’m trying to keep business going, the house, and everything else. I wanted to connect with my family. One day, we were having dinner with my oldest, who was thirteen at the time, and he gave me one of those teenage boy answers, one-word answers.
It rubbed me the wrong way. Instead of saying anything or lashing out, I grabbed the kettle chips on my plate and I crushed them, and it felt so good. The sound, the texture, and everything. My wife was like, “Do you need to go out?” He’s like, “No. I’m fine,” he starts crushing chips. My thirteen-year-old looks at me and says, “Do you want to go check on the cats?” He was volunteering at this woman’s house because she takes in rescued cats, and I said, “Sure,” because I just wanted to connect, and so we went to the cats. We are playing with them for 5 to 10 minutes talking about whatever with the cats and what’s going on.
My thirteen-year-old son says, “Dad, are you stressed? What’s got you stressed?” I gave him a list appropriate for a thirteen-year-old boy. “Here’s my list.” He asked me, “Do you have a plan? What are you doing for you?” I thought, “I’m going to retire. I’m going to give you my coaching business, and all this other stuff.”
It was one of those moments where you are like, “We try to model this. We try to show them what it’s like to ask questions. We try to show them that it’s okay to have emotions. We try to teach through all of these life experiences. We try to promote our values, knowing their values, and being intentional. Living intentionally with life, not reactive. Responsive and not reactive.” Instead of waiting to see like let’s intentionally design. For my son, at that moment, to turn around and become a mentor for me was incredibly powerful and reemphasized for me the necessity for an outside perspective. That’s a long answer to your question, but that’s what we are doing.
He was there for you. We talk about paying it forward, paying it back, and listening. Sometimes we think these aren’t listening. Your approach to teaching versus telling is pretty important for folks to be able to respond versus react. That little significant word difference of teaching versus telling. A lot of people, parents, leaders, and coaches, it’s not about telling. It’s offering those solutions and ideas, and holding each other accountable.
I do think we could have accountability reminders or people or friends and coaches, but it could be our kids. Being able to listen to our kids. You are willing to listen to your kid versus getting upset is a message in itself. A lot of people wouldn’t listen. They would still be crushing the chips and worried about what’s ahead. I hope your wife is doing well and everybody is doing okay at this point.
At the end of the story, she’s cancer-free. She’s healing now. We are on the other side of all the treatments and stuff. ‘23 has been the year of fun. We are living life. That’s important to know. How does that story end?
For the audience, I wanted to make sure they knew. I know you were on a trip together, so I’m assuming the best.
We canceled so much stuff and we thought, “We don’t know how much more time we have. We don’t know how able we will be for very long. We are going to go out there and do the best with what we have got and live our possible now as opposed to waiting to do that sometime in the future.” That’s been huge. You are right with the teach and the tell. I used to teach and coach. Those are the two words that I would use. I used to teach people all the time how to juggle. Here’s how you juggle three things. These are all the things you need to know.
A few years ago, a guy, I believe, in his 60s, was missing a couple of fingers from farm accidents when he was a kid. He wanted to learn how to juggle, and he didn’t know how to juggle. He never juggled before. I said, “Do you want me to teach or coach you?” He said, “I will take coaching for $500.” I’m like, “Great.”
Here we go. I show him what juggling looks like so he can see it. We have a clear picture of the true north, going back to the compass. I hand him the three balls. I was like, “Now you try it.” I empower him. This is where we are going. Give it a shot. He tries it. He makes some mistakes, and then he looks at me. I’m like, “What worked? What didn’t work? What do you want to do differently next time?”
Instead of telling him what to do and micromanaging the situation, it was all about empowerment walking him through the assessment and the reflection piece, and encouraging him along the way, so then he picks up and tries again. I have to tell you, that guy learned how to juggle faster than anybody I ever taught how to juggle and it was through coaching. I wasn’t telling him what to do. I was empowering and encouraging him along the way, and it was profound. I don’t want to go back and teach juggling ever again. I want to coach because it’s amazing how fast people will learn.
I love the distinction and it does sound like your thirteen-year-old son. He was coaching you with his inquiry.
He was, which makes me feel good. He said that all the kids at school refer to him as the counselor. I’m like, “You give me all that trouble about what I do.”
In this day and age for kids and adults, it’s hard. It’s hard to be yourself. It’s divisive. There are a lot of things that are challenging of what we believe or we are told certain things. We are told who we hang out with at school or at work. How do we truly allow ourselves to be our core authentic selves? How do we do that in a way that we communicate effectively? We can be who we are. We are not offensive to some. What do you think? What’s your reaction to that? How would you respond to that is a better way to say it.
It’s going to circle back to where we started with the worth piece. When we see ourselves as a ten lacking nothing, we recognize that our worth is intrinsic, not tied to something external. When we are looking for it outside of ourselves, we are looking in 1 of 5 places. Either our performance, property, appearance, circumstances, or our relationships.
Performance could include knowledge. Our relationships could include our political views and our spiritual views. When we start looking to all these other things out here to bring us worth and significance, it’s never enough. It always runs out and leaves us in a position of having to earn more. It’s like putting us in this scarcity mindset like, “We have to go out here.”
To use Carol Dweck’s term, “It’s fixed. I am not enough. I have to go out and get it.” When that happens, we adopt a challenger-type mindset. When the challenger shows up, we either compare ourselves to other people or play the victim, which makes it impossible to be our core authentic self. Now we are like, “So-and-so has it better. Look at them on social media. I will never be enough.”
Also, we compete and it’s all about trying to be the best. When we are doing that, we are not present at the moment, and with our relationships, we are 100% focused on getting more and being on top. When we are doing that, it’s hard to be ourselves. We start to contend when the challenger contends. It’s like, “I’m going to be the best and I’m going to make sure that you are down here.” We start sabotaging and attacking other people so that we get up top.
When we are competing, it’s just focus on us. When we are contending, “I’m going to be better at your expense,” or we start to control. If we are controlling everything, then it’s, “I’m going to put this mask on. I’m going to stand this certain way. I’m going to control what you see and what you don’t see,” and we are not ourselves. When we live as a challenger, that is incredibly exhausting, and there are a lot of costs that we pay for that.
We are no longer living what is fully possible. We are stuck in survival mode. On the other hand, when we see ourselves as a ten, then we can live with the champion mindset. The champion mindset says, “We are enough.” If I see the 10 in me, I can see the 10 in you, which changes everything. When the champion shows up, he, she, or they don’t compare, compete, contend, or control. The champion engages and can be honest with what’s going on without being destroyed.
They say, “This is where I’m at. These are the things I do well. These are the things I don’t do well. This is what’s happening.” Based on that, they can equip, “What do I need to move forward so that I can be my core authentic self? After that, how can I empower myself to lead, succeed, or fail without judgment judgment? I am more than what I do. I’m more than what happens to me,” and then encouraged along the way.
If we are going to unleash our core authentic self, we need to stand on a cornerstone of worth that we are enough. We show up with that champion mindset to engage, equip, empower, and encourage ourselves, and then we can hit Champion 2.0 where we start to engage, equip, empower, and encourage other people, and we keep moving forward that way, and then we need that team like we talked about. If we don’t have the team, we will fall off and 1 degree here turns to 90 degrees way down the road so a team can help us stay on track.
I love your energy and your messages. I would love to see you in person at an event. What’s hot for you out there as you are speaking? What’s critical as you are going to events? That’s a great topic these days that gets you fired up. If you are seeing audiences get fired up.
I love all my topics.
Go to the website for folks that are reading. There are a lot of nice topics out there, areas to pick and choose. I love seeing you juggle out there. It’s a sign of many things in life.
One of the topics I talk about is work-life balance. How do we harness the power of not yes? How do we navigate that? That’s a big one. That comes up because a lot of times when we live through life, everything seems like it’s all the same priority. Everything is a high priority and we all have to get done. The reality is not everything has the same priority level. Some things are like a hacky sack that if we let it go, it sits there and waits for us to come back and pick it up.
Some things are like a bouncy ball where if we let it go, it will come right back so we can divert our resources someplace else temporarily. Some things are like this glass ball where if we drop it, it’s not coming back. These three things have different levels of priority and importance. Talking to people about the work-life balance so that you can keep all of that stuff in the air, and recognize when you got the glass ball and when you can drop your hacky sack into your coffee. That’s a big one. I did not see that coming.
One of the other topics is how we navigate change or challenges. That’s big. Confidently conquering change and rising above challenges. The third one I like talking about is communication. It’s the opening act. How do we effectively communicate with other people? Being able to share, from my experience, working with more than 3,000 different clients or 3,000 different personalities and how do we effectively communicate when we don’t have a whole lot of time? Those are three biggies.
You give back a lot.
From my entertainment background, I kept going into all these youth organizations, whether it was schools or clubs, and a lot of them struggled with budget. They didn’t have the budget to bring in quality programming. As a speaker and as a performance coach, working with cultures and M&A, I see a lot of organizations that are philanthropic, but they don’t know what to do other than write a check.
I thought it would be cool to merge those two. When somebody hires me to do a keynote or they buy a coaching package, they can gift a free performance to kids in their area. In that way, they are modeling lifelong learning. They are showing like, “It doesn’t stop after graduation.” They are letting the next generation know, “We see you, we value you, and we want to support you for the future.” I have programs for kindergarten through college-aged students bringing corporations and communities together, and that’s a lot of fun.
Paying it back and paying it forward. That’s got to be so rewarding for you.
Change happens through relationships. It’s not just a check or gift. If we can go in there and we can let people know, other people see you. I see you. If I can support the staff so they can continue the topics that we address, then we are strengthening that relationship and so much more. That’s how we move forward. We have to move forward together and that’s what I’m doing.
You seem to have a lot of fun with what you are doing. Is there anything you are doing outside of your day-to-day that’s fun and inspiring?
When we were faced with the cancer stuff, it shifted my perspective on how I’m living my life and what I’m doing. I would say right now, it’s about having real conversations with people. Wherever I’m at, whether it’s a coffee, the speaking, or the coaching, the last few years have been brutal on my family. That’s led to writing a new book. It’s all about compassion and helping people to love their loved ones more effectively and not cause so much harm.
It would be great to have a how-to book on that for the person who’s not been trained in emotional intelligence or has taken psychology and sociology classes. That’s exciting. I love shooting photography. That’s very inspirational for me. When my son asks, “What are you doing for you?” Shooting photography brings me joy. Editing brings me joy. Running and spending time with my kids, watching them do cross-country or inline hockey, spending time with my wife, and all of that stuff. Also, bourbon. I have discovered bourbon and whiskey. That can be inspirational as well.
A lot of good components there. I’m excited about your book coming out too. It sounds very in touch with your worth and your personal stories. How to help us connect better with our families. What’s the timing of that so we can all take a look and watch you guys publish your second book?
The goal is the summer or fall of ‘24. If people want to stay in touch with that, they can shoot me an email and be like, “Put me on the list. Let me know what’s coming.” We can connect on LinkedIn. I will be doing posts there. When we see somebody that we love and care about going through some pain, it hurts us. We don’t want to see them suffering and we don’t want to suffer either because we feel bad, especially if there’s nothing we can do to stop the pain. Unfortunately, that motive can lead us to do some things that come across as hurtful and don’t help our loved ones, and it doesn’t help us either.
The book is supposed to be vulnerable. I’m going to be sharing my life and what we have experienced. At the end of the day, the book is a how-to book. If you want to do these six things, stop. Turn to page 46. Work through this first, and then if you have been given the offer or if you have been given permission, here is a restored version of these six things that do what you want to do and offer the good and the connection so that your person can heal. I’m excited about that.
I’m excited about it too. We will be on the lookout. I do look forward to my copy. We will read that for sure. Do you have any last final comments you’d like to share with our audience about truly identifying their core authentic selves and finding their true north? All this is possible for everybody. I believe and I know it. It can seem like a lot of work. How can you help us break it down simply to get started?
Take the values assessment. It’s free. It takes ten minutes. If you don’t have what I call a compass, if you don’t know true north, then you end up staying busy, buzzing all over the place, and not making progress. Figuring that out is important. Reach out to me or reach out to a coach that you know or another counselor and work through that stuff.
Once you have got that, they used to say rockets fail their way to the moon. They know where they are going so when they get off track, they can course correct back and they eventually land where they are supposed to. Knowing your compass will help you make progress in your life. The values thing is great for the worth piece whether you are looking for an internal or external.
For me, that comes from my faith, but you don’t have to share my faith. For me to treat you as though you are worthy. If faith isn’t your thing, we could go with Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Pick one and pick one that works for you that moves you forward. If nothing is a miracle, that’s going to throw you into the challenger mindset, and you are going to compare, compete, contend, and control. If you are living as if everything is a miracle, then you are living in the champion mindset. You are free to engage, to equip, to empower, and to encourage and go back and forth there as necessary.
Last but not least, if you are struggling with relationships either personally or professionally, I don’t believe you will see worth in somebody else beyond what you see in yourself. You have to see yourself as a 10 so that you can see the 10 in other people. We might value what they can do for us or what they have been through, but we won’t see worth in the person.
Getting that cornerstone, that’s a choice every day. That’s why 52 Habits, the book, is to wash your brain. It’s not a switch to be flipped. It takes consistency and repetition. That would be my long-winded answer to your question. Choose how you want to show up. Challenge your champion. I am a ten or I am not. Figure out what your guiding values are. That’s a tremendously wonderful place to start, and then get some outside perspective to clarify who you are as a person, not your roles, and not your responsibilities, but your identity piece, and clarify your vision and mission, and then see what the next step is.
Thank you so much. I appreciate you so much as it relates to all your vulnerability, all that you shared, how we can overcome challenges, and all the tools, the coaching, and the ideas you have shared with us. I’m honored to know you. I love you man to man. You are the best. I appreciate the changes you have seen in the world and how you overcame your challenges to make a difference. You are here. You are making a difference every day. Your family is going to pay it forward for all of us. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks for being on the show.
In the words of Morpheus, “We are still here.” Thank you. This has been great. You are a phenomenal host and your presence in an interview to listen and then ask great follow-up questions and dive deeper is fantastic. This has been a lot of fun.
Jeff is quite the speaker and entertainer. What a fun guy to be around and interview. Check out his website if you are looking to understand what your values are because he’s got a free assessment out there. Make sure too, as you self-reflect throughout your day, check to see if you are living your best life with a champion mindset or a limited one with a challenger mindset.
Consider his book if you are looking for help. His book is called Blueprint for Value: 52 Habits to Discover and Strengthen Your Personal Worth. Now this is where you can rewire the habits that define you each day. Take the actions each day that resonate with you in your true north. Find a partner or a professional coach to encourage and support you along the way. Keep pursuing and aligning with your happy, authentic self and you will live your possible with this champion mindset. Have a great day.
About Jeff Kozietek
Artist and entrepreneur. Jeff Koziatek worked in the entertainment industry for over 25 years where he produced award winning films and national touring shows, acted for film and television, owned a complete event management company, and performed over 5000 shows.
He is a certified coach with both The Values Conversation and the John Maxwell TEAM, a professional member of the National Speakers Association, a VISTAGE trusted advisor, and has received training in Emotionally focused therapy.
Jeff’s clients do more of what they want, less of what they don’t, and love their results. His services include 1:1 coaching, keynotes, and workshops.