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“We live now in a service economy, so the people you hire are now no longer your greatest asset, they are your only asset.”

Bolster Life Group specializes in fostering leadership on an individual, corporate and community level. BLG Inc. provides tools, seminars and programs that help individuals and corporations to break through the barriers that are keeping them from realizing greater success, so that they live more fulfilling lives and impact their businesses, communities and the world around them in extraordinary ways.

BusinessInterviews.com: You recently co-authored a book with Dr. Deepak Chopra, “Roadmap to Success.” Can you share some highlights from the collaborative process and any insights you gained along the way?

Julian: Absolutely. I learned a lot about the process of writing from this project, mostly around the idea of authority. I had culminated all of my ideas, practices and “rules for success” and then went about searching for academic or professional studies to backup or support my “rules for success.” I lost a lot of time realizing that there really is no “right” way in the world of business and personal performance, but there definitely are lots of ways that don’t work. I had to assume authority in my work; allowing myself to understand that I can make a case for something. And I found that this is a common theme that holds back a lot of people in business — having the courage to just go out on a limb and stand behind an idea, to pursue it and just work out the kinks as you go. Hesitation is a killer in business. You need to believe in yourself; right or wrong, that confidence will fuel the work you do in business. Knowing the “right” way is a bit of a myth and only points the direction to go in, and it doesn’t get you to your goal. Confidence is the thing that allows you to make the journey happen.


BusinessInterviews.com: What are some practical but powerful tools or tips for shifting outdated beliefs?

Julian: When it comes to beliefs, I remind myself if the brain is a computer then beliefs are the code that our operating system is written in. It’s important to remember that beliefs for the most part cannot be “erased” in the sense of hitting “delete” on keyboard. But what we can do is to modify the beliefs by adding on to them, and as such changing their meaning and impact on us. The simplest tool I would recommend to anyone is to shift an outdated belief would be to fully understand the cost that that belief has on you; what progress in your life have you lost, what goals have you not reached, what experiences or opportunities have you not been afforded due to the belief? And you simply can’t list these; you need to connect with them on a deep and powerful level. Now, what you are doing here is that you are creating an association between that pain or discomfort and the belief that has inspired it. And, as the brain works on associations, every time you think of that belief you will trigger the association of those pains, and that may just change your behavior at that point.

The second tool I would recommend would be to find out what the belief is affording you. Yes, it’s true, we don’t hold onto any belief unless it’s giving us something, satisfying a value that we want to protect or express. Even negative outcomes can give us something and be addictive in a sense. We only have to think of the person who believes they can’t move their business ahead because of the economy. That belief gives them a powerful opportunity to be a victim, powerless over the fate of the business, and might let them off the hook for being responsible for claiming their future in a more powerful sense. In this way we hold onto negative beliefs because they give us something, such as the value of being “not responsible.” When we can “out” the “payoff” of a belief into the rational light, you can really take a look at this and often realize that it just doesn’t work. I like to “out” my payoffs in a group of powerful people, out loud, and that really helps me hear my own patterns and realize that they aren’t true.

I’ll offer a third tool because I feel deeply that this tip must be one of the tools people have in their toolbox, around beliefs, and that is to create a more powerful belief. You see, the brain works on values. We often have several values all looking to be satisfied in any given moment, like when you go to a restaurant and you see a fantastic desert you’d love to try, but you also want to maintain that healthy waste line as well. Two competing values, enjoyment and health, but we can usually just satisfy one of them. And this happens hundreds or more times a day, with our brain weighing one outcome over another. What’s really powerful is to get people exercising their “creative” muscle, remembering that they can create beliefs and write their own “code.”

BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to develop your, Unlock Your Future workshops and coaching program? What do you hope that the average participant walks away with?

Julian: Well, what inspired me to develop the Unlock Your Future, or UYF as we call it, would be my experience of the idea that anything is possible. This all started for me roughly 20 years ago when I was hit by a drunk driver just a few days before Christmas. I was 18 years old, driving alone on Sunday morning, and the resulting impact broke my neck, C3 / C4. I also incurred a head injury that resulted in a condition known as ‘retrograde amnesia’, or simply that I lost my memories. So here I was going from feeling like an invinsible 18 yr old to being confined to a hospital bed. My memories had slipped away, and I was angry at the life I had lost. Then, I met a young man just a few years older than me, who had had it far worse, having broken most of the bones in his body for a far worse MVA, and yet he approached the world from the idea that ‘anything was possible’. It was never described in those words, but all the same he inspired me to realize that I get to choose what my life would look like, no one else. And that attitude got me up and out of a wheel chair, through grades 5-13 that I had to redo due to memory loss, and through a grueling physical recovery. Nearly a decade later I repeated that mindset of ‘anything is possible’ to grow my small fledging business in extraordinary ways, undertaking a gamble that most people with far more business experience and success would tell me wouldn’t work out, and yet it did, and I took my company national, growing it to the largest of it’s kind in Canada. That same mindset of ‘anything is possible’ has realized dozens of other crazy and amazing accomplishments in my business and personal life, and it’s lead hundreds of others to realize amazing things in their lives too. So, the idea that ‘anything is possible’ inspired me to create the Unlock Your Future workshop.

I want people to walk away with the realization that they are far more powerful then they realize, and that they can create the life they want to live. And there are a number of fantastically powerful tools and techniques that people just don’t know about that can really unlock incredible potential. And we create a really fantastic community of people in each program; and belonging to such a community is akin to jumping on the super highway of personal success. If you want to really succeed in life, nothing is more powerful that leveraging the power of a tribe; a tight knit community of real change makers who are breaking through a lot of the same things that you struggle with. There is just nothing like belonging to that family. Super powerful

BusinessInterviews.com: Do you think that anyone can unlock the ability to be an effective and successful leader?

Julian: Absolutely. And the key word there is “unlock.” We don’t have to create the leader we hope to be or to find the success we desire. We only ever need to unlock that potential from within us. And that is the best part of the work that I’m so fortunate to do — watching that light-bulb moment where people get just how powerful they really are, and they start to create their lives, rather than just surviving their lives. And it’s as much a matter of learning how to write the code for your own brain as it is about understanding the code that you already put there, why and then allowing yourself to let go. I’m a particular fan of “leadership” because it’s the one place where we can really hope to change the world, how we create and run our financial markets and economies, to the future of our business and communities. Everything stems from leadership, from the quality and health of families to the state of our countries and communities, it all stems from the kind of leadership we take and the kind of leadership we inspire.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the art of writing and delivering a speech that both engages and motivates the entire audience?

Julian: For me, the key is around getting people enrolled. There is a subtle difference between engagement and getting people personally invested, and that is where the magic lies. You want to get people to the point where they are just listening to you, but they are considering your words as opportunities for them to find the answers for themselves, and to do that you need to understand what people in the room value — which is usually a bigger list, obviously — but you can typically find those things that are true for all people in the room, things that are universally valued. And I think that it takes getting people re-associated with themselves. You see, human beings are great disassociaters; we actively numb ourselves, to varying degrees, to the things that we don’t want to feel. It’s how we survive for the most part. It’s not efficient at all, but it gets us by. If you want to really get people invested into a speech or conversation, get they back in touch with their real selves, both good and back.

BusinessInterviews.com: I know that you’re proud of the work you’ve done with your Youth Leadership Development Program. What are some unique challenges that you see this generation facing?

Julian: Belief, integrity, responsibility and real connectedness. Belief for the simple reasons that most youth don’t believe that they matter or that they can make a difference in the world. That belief will stick with them, manifesting in various ways and embedding into them as they become adults. They’ll settle into jobs they aren’t compelled to be engaged in (and we all know that there is a serious issue around employee engagement). They’ll settle for higher levels of debt, unhealthy living, a declining environment and economy and they won’t – for the most part – be compelled to do much about because they don’t believe that they can.

On the issue of integrity, it’s far too easy these days to appear as one thing and deliver as another. And yet integrity is the most important character trait we can have, as it’s the one trait that guarantees the rest succeed.

On the matter of responsibility, it’s not around “wrong making” but rather empowering our youth to realize that they can step up and take responsibility for things, that they do have power in life. And we all know what happens when people don’t feel they have power over their lives: They either implode or explode, to various degrees, from forming ever-increasing limiting beliefs and lower levels of self-love, or they look for quick and easy forms of gratification, in drugs, violence or, in some of the worst case examples, radicalization. Lastly, and perhaps the most unique of all the challenges that this generation will face, we have the lack of real connectedness. In all truth, despite all the connectedness of today’s technology, we are more disconnected then ever. And there’s a powerful aspect to community that is vital to really living a fulfilled life, and the realms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter just don’t offer it. There is nothing wrong with these great tools, but youth often turn to these mediums as ways of connecting with community over real connectedness that comes from face to face interaction. One of the things that I know delivers the most value in the programs that I run with youth across the nation is the fact that they have to interact with one another, and it’s those small and powerful communities that have made the real lasting impact. The communities these kids form during our Claim Your Future programs are still going strong today. Watching youth that would normally be lost behind walls of bravado and false appearances, are instead deeply connected in real and intimate ways with people they call their closest friends, learning about themselves and being involved in one another’s lives in fantastic ways to see.

BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you think that it’s so important that businesses recognize the role of leaders in their own employees?

Julian: It’s really around employee engagement. We live now in a service economy, so the people you hire are now no longer your greatest asset, they are your only asset. And people want to belong to companies that they can get behind; that they can believe in the idea of. That is the description of what we call true employee engagement. So, how do you get people engaged? Well, the best way is to have them be leaders in their own right, giving them the direct ability to contribute to creating something in the business. Todays’ business leaders must break away from the old and outdated idea of centralized leadership and go to their employees and find out what they would like to create in the workplace? When you have an employee who is personally invested in the work they do, seeing that work as an expression of the impact or difference they want to make in the world because they are held as leaders who are responsible for creating that part in the company, that employee is literally a 100 times more valuable. Employee productivity will increase, and employee turnover will decrease. Studies show that there is a 3.9 times earnings per share growth rate in companies with higher levels of employee engagement, so we know that making employees leaders translates into real value for businesses.

BusinessInterviews.com: What’s inspired you to turn your attention to the subject of masculinity and leadership? Have you discovered any surprising or little known facts during your research so far?

Julian: I’ve had the good fortune of working with a lot of men from all walks of life in my coaching practice, and from my speaking career, and what I’ve found is that most men are looking for something they can’t easily name or easily find, and that’s purpose and happiness. Now, we have the outdated ideas as men that happiness comes from wealth, excitement and sex, to name a few. And yet we have more and more men unhappy then ever. Men are reporting higher levels of depression now then ever, with suicide being the biggest killer of men under 50, and what’s worse is that we are mostly raised under the archetypes that lead men not to talk about it. You could call it the “Bruce Willis” generation of men who are tough about their emotions. Now, when you look at the themes of masculinity in leadership, we have a generation of male leaders who are increasingly taking actions that are lacking in integrity and a generation of leaders who are increasingly unhappy and unbalanced. It doesn’t take much to imagine the consequences of leaders who are under great stress, unbalanced in their lives and increasingly unhappy, already with eroded integrity and caught up in the game of business rather than the business of success? And yet we already have countless examples of these problems, from the financial crisis of 2008. And the truth of all the research is this: It’s all linked. Simply put, men who are intrinsically happy and well balanced are far less likely to operate in business in ways that contradict their integrity. Such men contribute to healthy and happy families, and are the bedrock of what we would call “functional” society. On the flip side, men who are unhappy, consciously or not, are more likely to function in business with faulty integrity, which is nearly always realized in real, disastrous, results. What isn’t being focused on in business is the health of the people in it. Businesses are a huge part of our communities that we do belong to, as we spend as much if not more time at work than we do in the other areas of our life, and yet business leaders are missing opportunities to create and enhance the quality of the communities in their workplace, and the people in those workplaces.


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