Jason Connell is a writer, speaker, and former magician. Over the past decade, he’s helped thousands of people develop authentic confidence, self-compassion, self-love, and new levels of personal integrity. He has worked with many high profile clients, including fortune 500 executives, professional athletes, artists, and entertainers, and senior White House officials in the Bush and Obama administrations. Jason is also the founder of Ignited Leadership, a human service organization that holds training and speaking events to help today’s young adults become tomorrow’s visionary leaders.
In this interview, Jason starts by discussing his background, and some of the work that he’s involved with. He describes a difficult time in his personal life, and how this changed his perspective and the direction of his business. He explains why material success does not necessarily lead to happiness, and that what really matters is our relationship to ourselves. We then ask Jason why opening up is such a vital part of building stronger connections with people. He explains how to reveal your true self in a slow and controlled way. He also emphasizes the importance of allowing yourself to feel pain and not simply verbalize it.
Chris and Jason talk about dealing with tragedy and trauma and how it affects us. Jason points out the cultural elements working against us, including the desire to be happy 24/7, and our tendency to isolate ourselves when we’re suffering. Jason then describes what it means to be authentically confident. He dispels two common assumptions that people make about confidence, and offers advice on how to cultivate it. Jason also talks about accepting yourself, acknowledging discomfort, and facing your fears. He explains why “fake it until you make it” is an ineffective strategy that sends a toxic and subversive message to ourselves.
Next, we ask Jason how people can allow their excitement and passion to overwhelm their fears. He describes the mechanical approach and the spiritual or emotional approach to doing this. Chris and Jason revisit the idea of emotional pain and trauma, and share tips on how to heal. Jason talks about the role of acceptance and forgiveness in the healing process. He then discusses why self-compassion and self-love matter. Jason describes how to improve our relationship with ourselves, on both the inner and outer planes. He explains how to take action to motivate our feelings, and improve our internal dialogue.
Jason discusses why suppression is a bad tactic, and how to recognize if we’re suppressing something. He uses approach anxiety as an example, and walks us through how to overcome it. We then ask Jason what personal integrity entails, and how people can live with more integrity. He explains how most of us are living two different lives: our dreams and desires, versus our actions. He provides some examples on how to close the gap between our inner and outer worlds. Jason also describes how the tension between external behavior and authenticity inspires internal change.
Chris and Jason talk about how different tools are appropriate for different times, and emphasize the importance of accepting where we are and not comparing ourselves to others. Jason discusses how a growth-oriented mindset affects us, and recommends taking time to reflect on and celebrate our progress. We then ask Jason for advice on getting through difficult times and using suffering to our advantage. He distinguishes between two types of pain: grief due to a death or loss, versus pain due to something that was our fault, and offers strategies for dealing with both.
Jason talks about letting go of pain in order to step into something new. He reveals the ritual that he uses when closing out a phase of his life, in order to foster a sense of closure and rebirth. Finally, we ask Jason how people can become better leaders, live with more purpose and meaning, and make a bigger impact. He explains how to use influence and persuasion to proactively improve the lives of others. Jason also discusses how doing things for others naturally enhances our leadership abilities and improves many other aspects of our lives.
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