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- Choice Theory/Reality Therapy Certified
- North American Academy of Hypnosis Certification
- Trained in Vipassana and Transcendental Meditation
- Shambhavi Meditation training with Sadhguru
- Healthy Masculinity (group leader roles)- The Mankind Project
- Consciousness and Lucid dreaming – The Monroe Institute (Tom Campbell)
- Pursuit to Mastery 2 (with group leader roles) – Excellence Seminars International
- Social and Behavioural education
– Clearmind International
– Landmark education
– Joe Dispensa – Advanced workshop
– PD Seminars – The Haven
- Health and Nutrition – The Institute of Holistic Nutrition
I was raised in a middle-class family with an entrepreneurial mindset. My father took care of the money and made sure we were all provided for, while mom looked after the kids. My parents taught me to be polite, “mind your manners”, “play nice,” and share. They showed me that hard work and making money was the recipe for success.
Like most children I learned a script about “how to do life.” This script set up for an inner conflict through most of my experiences. My true nature was out-going, exuberant, and playful, which made it easy for me to get into troubling situations. I would “go too far,” then punishment was used in order to teach me consequences. That meant my dad’s anger would erupt, which filled me with fear. I lived with this tension between my innate desire for playfulness, freedom, and belonging, and my fear of “failing to live up to expectations” or not following the family script.
Ironically when I became a teenager the rules shifted. Suddenly I was encouraged to “think outside of the box,” be an entrepreneur, make money but still conform to the expectations and roles they had designed for me. I learned rather than tell a lie, say nothing. I learn how to avoid conflict, especially with my dad. Unconsciously I learned to shut off parts of myself so that I could fit in and feel “happy.” Before my parents didn’t ask for or want my initiative and now as a teenager, they expected it.
Life fell apart when I was 19 and the unthinkable happened. My close friend died in a drinking and driving accident. I was devastated, “this doesn’t fit, young people don’t die, what the hell is going on!” I sank into a depression because expressing anger outwardly wasn’t part of my conditioning. My early experiences with my dad taught me anger was simply unsafe. With my own mortality front and center and loss of my friend, I spun into a fast-track lifestyle. I ran from my fear and anger, not addressing them. Instead, I adopted a “live for today – there’s no guarantee for tomorrow” mantra that became part of my new identity. I took on a false confidence, and bravado, and although I’d changed, I was simply living a modified script.
The original script resurfaced quickly at 21, when I became a dad. Now it was time for me to be a good dad, and a good provider for my young family. Falling back to and embracing my childhood script brought me a sense of safety and reassurance. With hind-sight I realize the same paradox was running in me; my innate desire to be playful, fun and free would flow until the fear of failing to meet expectations kicked in. I was dedicated to being successful as a husband and father by using the recipe my parents taught me of hard work, make money, be successful. This led me to becoming a workaholic and unintentionally achieving the opposite of what I wanted – a divorce!
Although to an outsider the writing might have been on the wall, I never saw my divorce coming. I was devastated and fell back into depression. I remember thinking, “I did everything I could, I devoted my entire life to create the best for my family. What was the point of it all? Was I a fool?” People in my family lineage did not divorce, it was “for better or worse, until death do we part.” I considered myself a failure as a “family man.”
My life turned 180 degrees as I lost the identity and roles associated with husband and family man. Losing my purpose created a flip in me from selflessness to a high degree of selfishness. I took on the role of partier, drinking regularly, and being someone who was free from responsibilities. I sought easy ways to make money and work as little as possible, and playing poker fit the bill perfectly. Developing my skills at poker, making a name, and identity, for myself, I became an entertainer, traveler, thrill seeker, and “experience” collector. This fast-paced lifestyle, that many people envied, had all the toys and distractions. That was the problem! I was carelessly using up and devouring life. The noise of this lifestyle was so loud that there was no way for me to hear my inner voice. My capacity to appreciate the simple things in life was severely diminished. At the time, I didn’t realize seeking bigger and bigger experiences, in order to feel alive, would never bring me the deep fulfillment I was looking for. It would be years before I discover the ability to truly appreciate the richness and joy of ordinary life.
At 36, life stopped me again. I snapped out of autopilot and my conditioning, when my closest friend became ill with cancer. He moved in with me and over the course of a year would lose his battle with cancer. Once again, I began questioning life; What is the point of all this? What really matters? A deeper internal voice was speaking up and I was finally ready to listen.
All sorts of questions flooded my mind. Have I got the right relationships in my life? Have I got the right career? What the hell am I doing with my time? I was spending 8-10 hours a day at a poker table for God’s sake.
My attention shifted into learning; about the human body, nutrition and quantum mechanics. Soon I was into consciousness explorations, lucid dreaming, transcendental and Vipassana meditation. My thirst for learning was unquenchable. After hundreds of hours of courses and thousands of dollars spent, I discovered a deep desire to be of service to others and to become a mindset coach. I was finding a new identity.
Little did I know gathering knowledge and learning was a way of soothing myself. I was reassuring myself by consuming copious amounts of information and unconsciously proving to myself I wasn’t a failure. The deep fear of not being enough was still underpinning my motivations and self-image. Without integration my thirst for knowledge became a trap. I didn’t realize my self-responsibility was not keeping pace with my knowledge. I wasn’t walking my talk. And I recognized without slowing down, simplifying, and implementing, I would not be able to properly integrate all that I learned.
As I slowed down and took the opportunity to go inward, I discovered a world of confusion, feelings I didn’t understand, blind spots, and an inability to express myself. How could I not know my feelings, or how to describe and label them? The answer is nobody in my family had these skills. As I went deeper, I knew it was imperative to address my deepest fear of feeling not enough.
Through my experiences with Prime Potential, I was able to reach the root of my real issues. I learned I had been living within a created identity, starting with my family scripts, and adding layers of hurts, fears, accomplishments, and even successes. Lastly, I polished this off with a shiny coat of bravado. No amount of improving or modifying this identity was ever going to set me free. My true identity was always within me, I had buried it deeply. As I discovered this new identity, my true-self, I felt liberated and I inherently knew I was whole and complete. It’s difficult to convey the profoundness of this shift. The journey of living into, embracing, and finally embodying this new identity requires dedication and focus. This has become a cornerstone of my coaching approach. I know first-hand how easy it is to think you understand a concept and not be able to implement it. I’ve dedicated myself to developing tools and programs to transform people’s lives.
As I reflect, death and tremendous loss have been the greatest teachers in my life. These times of devastation brought me opportunities for real change and allowed me to break free from my childhood scripts, and ultimately my “false self.” Each of these experiences and my responses to them led me inward, into my core and discovering my true authentic self. Today I’ve discovered how to feel joy while simply being present with a cup of tea. I practice embracing all of life as valuable, not sifting for only the good things but lovingly acknowledging everything’s innate value, even death and loss.
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