This week we get to feature a Man who’s story and journey so far is so rich and powerful that it will send a tingle down your spine! Our Man Of The Week is a champion and mindset coach who acts as a catalyst of change in the lives of others. James Butler was a man who dedicated his life to his career, the Canadian Forces, until a life-changing experience forced him to rethink his life, career and relationships. A true believer of human potential, so it’s no surprise today he is a Head Mindset Coach at Peak Objectives, where he empowers high-performing leaders to better serve their surrounding communities and beyond. A young and accomplished young Man, James opens up and shares vulnerable and moving stories from his past in this week’s edition of Man Of The Week.
What do you do? (Work)
I am the champion’s coach. What does this mean? I am the catalyst of change – the ripple in high-performing leaders’ lives helping them champion their cause to make powerful impact in their companies and communities.
Why do you do it?
I was a man dedicated to my career, family and future. But not long ago, I lost everything. A life-threatening injury and the results left me without my career, partner or physical health. I was at a cross-road: slip into a bottomless abyss or build a life from scratch. I chose the latter and dedicated myself to moving leaders forward – and helping humans realize their true potential.
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
There are three main ways I make a difference. In my private practice, I help leaders center their personal power and better serve the world. In my wider business community, I train world-class coaches in an intensive program out of Seattle, called Accomplishment Coaching. In my personal life, I put service at the forefront: by volunteering and public speaking, I support initiatives to build stronger, happier communities.
What are three defining moments in your life?
– My first defining moment exploded from nowhere. In 2010, while trudging through an endless Afghani grape field – it was my job to walk ahead of patrolling Canadian Forces troops and clear explosive devices from roads, pathways and buildings – a member of the supporting Afghan National Army stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED), just 15 feet from where I stood. Time crawled like a slow-motion video and I wondered if I were still alive. As the ringing throbbed in my ears, my senses quickly returned. I immediately yelled for everyone to stop and stay still. In war, if there’s one bomb, there are always more. While rockets fired at us, my fellow soldiers stood stalk-still as I examined the ground at their feet; we had stumbled upon an IED ‘minefield.’ Over the next four hours, in 58-degree-Celius heat, I became an artist, locating and clearing bombs with a paintbrush and my fingers. On that day alone, I personally cleared five IEDs that would’ve killed us all. On that day, I learned the true potential of the human mind and our power to overcome anything.
– My next defining moment came from another rather uncomfortable predicament. I’d returned from Afghanistan and had been training for five-years to become a prestigious, sought-after bomb-clearance diver. Essentially, a highly-specialized professional diver who dismantles bombs under the sea – a tradition dating back to WW1. After years of grueling training, I had finally arrived at my ‘dream job.’ Unfortunately, during an advanced course, I suffered catastrophic failure of my left lung, while deeper under the ocean than most have ever gone. I awoke hospitalized, with a chest full of tubes and significant internal bleeding. The doctors didn’t think I would make it and suggested I make peace with my family. Obviously, I pulled through. But on the other side of the scalpel was a long road to recovery: I’d lost 65lbs, had a chest riddled with holes and was unable to walk. This was the wake-up call I needed. This injury was my catalyst to create a life of service – and a company that helps high-performing individuals reach their apex, without having to experience the hardships I’ve faced.
– As I continued my recovery, and embraced my new career path, I discovered the joy of a true client breakthrough. We’d been working together for three months. This client had a really successful life and career. He just wanted to brush-up his skills, develop new insight and perhaps embark on the road to retirement. But one day, we had a phone call and he unlocked something in himself that had always been there, but which he didn’t know how to access. Our call was powered by energy and emotion, but I thought maybe it was just temporary. But, over the next few weeks, he completely reinvented himself. Instead of retiring, he transitioned to a new career and powerfully claimed the life that had eluded him for more than 60 years. I learned that in a simple, yet powerful moment – at any moment – we have the power to change our lives. And I’ve learned to live in perpetual awe of how amazing life can truly be.
What is your life purpose?
My life’s purpose is to be the conduit for human potential. And, as a result, foster a culture of growth and love not greed and fear.
How did you tap into it?
Every great coach has a coach; by delving into my own ‘self’ with my coach, I’m consistently reconnecting with my life’s purpose.
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
Rich Litvin, a high-performing LA-based coach. This man coaches with heart-centered power. He’s impacting world leaders and revolutionizing the coaching industry. Power over Profit!
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
I strictly adhered to a morning ritual, which includes meditating, affirming and visualizing the life I want, as well as exercising, reading and writing. Check out the Miracle Morning for a strong example of what this looks like.
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I know my balance is off if I’m struggling to connect with my tribe – and am so focused on my clients I forget to look after my own well-being. When this occasionally happens, I dial it back and schedule more time for myself and the people I love.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
I was recently gave a keynote to the University of Minnesota’s Division 1 football team. As I was presenting to 200 of the biggest, best athletes the school could recruit to their top-tier organization, a player asked what inspired me to believe in the impossible. I told him, almost regretting my vulnerability as the words escaped my mouth, that I’d had a reading disability my entire life – and the day I stopped using that as a crutch and began searching for solutions, my life changed. Confessing to 200 professional athletes that I’d always had trouble reading was… crazy! But, my vulnerability – this defining moment – had an incredible result: it humanized me and created a safe space for valuable conversations. (And, since you’re wondering, I have a rare visual disability that makes words dance on the page.)
What did you learn from it?
We all have a story, a ‘dirty little secret,’ we don’t want others to find out about us, because fears tells us our secret will sink us. I learned that’s simply not true.
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Don’t be a dick. You can have money, power and all the influence in the world… But if you’re a dick, all the money in the world can’t save you from yourself.
How do you be the best partner (boyfriend/husband – past or present)
When you’re in a relationship with the right person, for the right reasons, it’s a lot easier to put your best foot forward. I’m in a relationship that a) supports me in my life goals and b) allows me to express love, joy, admiration and companionship. If you’re in a relationship for the right reasons, you can, for the most part, be the right partner. Oh and that whole not-being-a-dick thing… Kindness and mutual respect win every time in my books.
Do you support any charities or not-for-profits? (Which one(s) – and why?)
The main non-profit I support now is Lifetime Networks – an organization partnering positive influencers with members of the disabled community. Almost like a Big-Brothers-and Big-Sisters for people with disabilities. This non-profit helps disabled people continue adventuring, exploring and living a vibrant life, despite their physical and mental limitations. In a materialistic world that glorifies the pursuit of ‘more,’ working with this incredible group of people helps me live in the moment, stay humble, laugh often and never forgot to help those in need. One day, I may find myself in need too and would be thankful for people willing to step up.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
‘Lean on’ by Major Lazer – “it hits me just right”
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
I see myself on a stage in front of tens-of- thousands of people, creating a movement of champions.
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
That this world can work for everyone. We can all have a life of joy, peace and abundance while taking care of others.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
The Motivation Manifesto, by Brendon Bruchard.
If you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]