Man Of The Week – James Clift

In today’s world, its not uncommon to hear that the goals of many people we know are centred around achievements that they believe will enrich their lives. Media and society often create a blurring of the lines between achievement-based goals and fulfillment-based goals. Our newest Man Of The Week is James Clift, someone who we applaud for his outlook and attitude. After reaching those famous self-centred goals, James was left feeling unfulfilled and wondering what his purpose was and how to be of service to the world. While he is still discovering his purpose at the young age of 27, James knew quickly that he wanted to help change people’s lives, and he started by focusing on improving their careers. Today, James is the CEO of – the internets largest online resume and portfolio creation website. By focusing on helping people find their professional careers, next job or to showcase their talents in ways they haven’t been able to do before, James’ idea and work has the ability to impact the lives of millions and potentially billions of people.

Age: 27

What do you do? (Work)
I’m currently the CEO of – the internet’s largest online resume & portfolio creation website.

Why do you do it?
My original goal when starting this journey 5 years ago was to build profitable companies that allowed me to work anywhere in the world. I got there, and spent 4 months living in Argentina last year while growing my business.
It was awesome, but after reaching those self-centred goals you begin pondering how to be more of service to the world. That pondering has evolved my whys. On a business level, I want to help millions of people improve their careers (and as a result, their lives). On a personal level I want to scale up that impact – and play a part in creating something that impacts billions (eventually).

How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
My company plays a role in one of the three most important things in a person’s life – their career. If we can help people land their next job or contract, that momentum can change their career trajectory permanently. That is why we do it.
The other categories are less complicated, but no less noble. The most important thing in life is being a good person (after first defining what that means to you). To me being a good person is being kind, honest, and making the most of the opportunities given.

What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– I missed the last shot at the Provincial championship finals in lacrosse that could’ve put us into overtime with a chance to win. Another painful moment was in Grade 12 basketball when I tried to take a charge but was called for the block with 15 seconds left in the Fraser Valley semifinals. We lost by a half-court buzzer beater. Losing hurts. Learn from it.
– I ran a window cleaning franchise in my second year of university. It taught me how to sell, and the difference between being a boss and an employee.
– My first company went through the Growlab startup accelerator when I was just getting into the world of tech entrepreneurship. That experience taught me how to scale my expectations for what a business could be.

What is your life purpose?
If any 27 year old tells you he knows his life purpose, he’s either delusional or lying to someone (maybe himself). Or perhaps I’m envious.
Right now my job is to build my company, and work on becoming a better person. I should probably spend less time contemplating my place in the universe, and more time doing those two things. That said, my life’s work is leaning towards building companies that make a positive impact, and helping more people do the same.

How did you tap into it?

Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
Elon Musk and Richard Branson are the obvious choices for entrepreneurial legends, but I don’t believe in mentors. I believe in having good friends that happen to be successful. Many of my best friends are successful entrepreneurs, and we learn from each other. Nothing beats a whiskey-fueled conversation with people that believe any crazy idea is possible.

Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
Good ones?
Exercise every day.
Meditate every day in the morning for 10 minutes (this is a constant failure)
Don’t eat artificial sugar or refined carbs

Bad ones? My life is a series of dopamine hits from checking revenue/user numbers, emails, text messages, and twitter.

When do you know your work/life balance is off?
The only time I hear the term work/life balance is when reading articles on work/life balance on I’ve never thought about it, as I’ve never really been employed.
I always prioritize my family, friends, and health over work –  the stuff that really matters.

Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
I made $7500 in year one of my first company, and couldn’t afford to pay rent. To keep the company going, I rented my room out on AirBnb and slept on my couch most weekends.

What did you learn from it?
It helped me realize that what seem like huge risks are usually quite small in the grand scheme of things. If your worst case scenario is an uncomfortable couch in downtown Vancouver, you’re doing ok. It has helped me justify taking those risks – knowing that I’m still pretty happy if I have a couch to sleep on.

If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Fall in love with things that make you a better person. Learn to love exercise, nutrition, building things, reading, dancing, hiking, learning –  anything that makes you smarter, happier, or healthier is a good investment.

How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
Pick the right partner to begin with. I see too many relationships that are clearly doomed from the start. Of course there are sometimes more complicated variables, but in general a great relationship should be easy. Or so I’ve heard.

Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I LOVE They are a crowdfunding platform for medical treatment in 3rd world countries that gives 100% of the money to the treatments. Watch Chase Adam’s talk on Youtube, and if you don’t fall in love with their mission please get a heart replacement ASAP. And donate to their universal fund on a monthly basis. The update emails from successful patient treatments make my heart smile.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
In a Sentimental Mood by John Coltrane – for those late nights that turn into mornings.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Tough question. I hit my last 5 year plan in 3 years, and have yet to make another one.
Here’s all I want – a life filled with amazing people, great conversations, and ambitious ideas. Perhaps I will create the place where all that happens in Vancouver.

What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
It is crazy that everything we do on the internet might be around for 1000’s of years. I guess my legacy will be the writing I do, the products I build, this interview (hmm), and anything else I decide to share. Hopefully some of it makes people do ambitious, good things for the world.

What One book would you recommend for any Man?
Waking up by Sam Harriss

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]

Man Of The Week – Ian MacKenzie

This week’s Man Of The Week is Ian MacKenzie, often described as a new paradigm media activist, whose goal mission is to uncover and share stories of the emerging paradigm, moving away from destruction and towards a more life-affirming future. Using film as his medium, Ian crafts conscious memes on behalf of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Be it fluke or fate, Ian’s entry into the filming world came when he decided to join his best friend on a year-long journey to tell a story about a man who worked 52 jobs in 52 weeks to discover his true passion. The film, aptly titled, was called “One Week Job” went on to receive widespread media attention and ironically enough, it was Ian who discovered his true passion; filmmaking.

Today, Ian is working on a couple different projects, with one particularly hitting close to home, Healing of Love (2016). A short film that aims to explore and excavate our deepest wounds around love, sex and partnerships. Follow Ian’s latest updates by following his Facebook fan page.

Age:  35

What do you do? (Work)
My friend once called me “The Indiana Jones of the new story.” I’m a filmmaker and activist that crafts conscious media to shift our cultural mythology away from destruction and toward a life-affirming future.

Why do you do it?
I’ve always been fascinated with stories, from reading fantasy books as a teenager, to writing short stories of my own as a young adult. Cultures are built upon stories as well, though they are often harder to see when it’s all we’ve ever known.  Given our convergent crises on this planet, from social, to economic, to environmental, we are called to reimagine our cultural stories at the deepest level.  I choose film as my primary medium as it contains a uniquely powerful alchemy that can catalyze change in a short period of time.

How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
Like many artists, I have little separation between my work, my life, my family, and my self. I don’t see them as separate realms, but intimately intertwined. (Case in point: two of my feature documentaries include my best friend (One Week Job)  and my partner (Amplify Her) as the main subjects).  At the core, I attempt to make beauty. In the face of so much cynicism and despair, making beauty is a revolutionary act.

What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– In 2007, my aforementioned best friend Sean Aiken graduated from college and didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. Rather than dive into a career path, only to find out later it wasn’t for him, he decided to launch The One Week Job Project. He would work one job a week for a year, and contribute any funds paid to charity. Incredibly, the offers rolled in from all over North America, from a Dairy Farmer in Alberta, to a Hollywood Producer in LA, to an astronomer in Hawaii.
Halfway through the journey, I quit my job as a copywriter and joined him on the road, shooting the adventure on a basic video camera. While I’d had an interest in filmmaking, I’d never seriously attempted a documentary…until now.  Eventually, I crafted 100+ hours of footage into a cohesive film, which in 2010 we premiered to a sold-out audience in Vancouver and eventually aired on the CBC. I haven’t stopped making films since.
– In 2011, I attending Burning Man for the third time. While many come for the party, others stay for The Temple.  It is the yin to the gathering’s yang – a beautiful structure that serves as a place for collective grief and sorrow. That year, it was called The Temple of Transition, a magnificent building that taught me the meaning of agape.  On the final night, the Temple is always burned in silence – from dust to dust. And yet that morning,  something in me couldn’t leave without capturing a piece. I shot as much footage as I could, and post-burn released the short film Dear Temple.    I believe it was Mark Twain who said the two most important days of your life are “the day you are born, and the day you found out what you’re born to do.”  This day was the latter.
– Finally, in 2013, after multiple years of failing to conceive, and my burgeoning desire to expand the boundaries of our love, my wife and I decided to separate. (The complete story is an epic saga of joy and heartbreak, in fact, I’m currently finishing a 17 page essay on the end of the marriage – stay tuned).
Suffice to say, it launched me on an inquiry into our cultural mythology of sex, partnership, and the village, which has already taken me as far away as Tamera peace village in Portugal to shoot my forthcoming short Healing of Love – aimed at excavating our deepest collective wounds around love and sexuality.

What is your life purpose?
My life purpose is to weave the threads of the emergent culture – to see the larger patterns and craft a cohesive synthesis for others to understand and activate their own gifts.

How did you tap into it?
By having great parents and friends. By listening deeply to my soul’s inner calling. And by continuing to trust I will be lead to where I’m needed most.

Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
Author, farmer, and spiritual activist Stephen Jenkinson is one of my most prominent mentors. After spending years in palliative care (what he calls ‘the death trade’) he recognized over and again a consistent death phobia that plagued the end of life. He traced the origins to the dominant culture, and the loss of our ability to be at home in the world.  Along with his wife Nathalie, they attempted the impossible – they created the Orphan Wisdom school, a teaching house to learn the skills of home and village-mindedness once again.

Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
I’m on the road quite a bit and I have a hard time maintaining daily habits. The ones that do survive are the simple ones, like my morning coffee.

When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I recognize my work/life balance is off when I lose track of the basic joy of being alive. Work feels oppressive and never-ending. Relationships feel withered and burdensome. Usually it means I need to spend less time on the computer and more time outside. – along with saying ‘no’ to new projects, even though they’re often compelling.

Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
Recently, I invited a sharing circle with my close family. It was a long time coming, as I hadn’t had an honest and open conversation with them for almost a decade. Spending most of my time on the road, our lives had drifted further away from each other.  My family also inherited the Irish trait of avoiding sincerity with humour, which makes it difficult to really open up with each other. Therefore, creating the space for the circle was incredibly vulnerable.

What did you learn from it?
I’m happy to report the circle went very well and I wonder why I waited so long.

If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Finish things. It’s far too easy to start something, then let it flounder while you move on to the next compelling idea/project/relationship. You will be known by what you finish. That doesn’t necessary mean continue everything until it’s complete.  Respectfully bow out of a project if it’s no longer viable. Mercifully close that relationship if it’s become destructive or numbing. And learn to say no, rather than attempt to please everyone.

How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
Remain committed to your mission. Often, that which first attracted your partner to you is the first casualty when you alter your life for a relationship. And maintain a shared vision for why you are together, even if that will change over time. It could be raising kids. Building community. Making art.

Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I’ve been a longtime supporter of Amnesty international, an important voice for human rights, and especially for those who have been wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and forgotten.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
One Day They’ll Know” by Pretty Lights (Odesza Remix). This perfect fusion of two artists captures the epic feeling of driving down a sun-drenched coast or gazing out a plane window at the languid clouds below. I often find myself in these inbetween places, from one adventure to the next. This track beats back the feeling of overwhelm – reminding me life can only be experienced one day at a time.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
These next few years will see me touring my films Amplify Her and Healing of Love. Along the way, I’m also finishing a short from my time with Stephen Jenkinson called Lost Nation Road. I’m also gathering the wisdom of village-making – recognizing the importance of rebuilding structures of healing needed to create trust among people once again. This is especially true for men – who, in the wake of the rising feminine, need a new culture of true empowerment, solidarity and authenticity.

What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I see myself engaged in the necessary work of building a village on the West Coast, likely a gulf island. This is the real foundation of any future worth living. In the 1960’s the initial surge toward intentional community was sincere, but lacked the eldership necessary to plant the roots deep enough.  Today, that spiral is coming around again – only this time, we have the internet and emerging forms of decentralized decision-making and localized autonomy.  Combined with the grace and wisdom of indigenous peoples still connected to the land, and remembering our own ancestral lineages, we have the opportunity to collectively awake from the culture of separation into the joy of reunion – with each other and with all life.

What One book would you recommend for any Man?
“Iron John” by Robert Bly. This seminal book kickstarted the previous wave that became known as the Men’s Movement, and remains just as relevant today. While the specifics of each man’s life may be his own, there exists an archetypal substructure that each of us must navigate on the path to initiation. This book is a map.

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]

How to Train Your Brain to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

February. The Kryptonite to our New Year’s Resolutions. 

As January progresses on it’s a good time to bolster your mental fortitude in order to keep the personal changes you made as New Year’s resolutions alive.  
The trouble with resolutions is that they are surface behavioral changes. They’re like rubbing Tiger Balm on an aching muscle. Resolutions often don’t alter the underlying thought patterns that determine our decisions and produce our actions. It’s easy for anyone to change their attitude or behavior for a short period of time, the challenge comes in sustaining that practice.
The error that most of us make is that we put all of our focus only on the resolutions we set. That may sound weird, but what about looking at every other area of your life that is directly influencing that resolution?

Our Environment Will Make or Break Our New Year’s Resolutions

Changing our old ways (and sticking to your New Year’s resolutions) means eliminating things that are going to remind our brain of how we used to be. If we are in the same environments as before, then what we see, hear and experience on a daily basis will consciously and subconsciously trigger thoughts and feelings of the past.
The trouble is those thoughts and feelings are exactly what led to the negative behavior we’re trying to change. So if we stay in these environments long enough, our willpower will eventually tap out and we will naturally go back to our old ways.
Dr. Joe Dispenza wrote a great piece on the effect our environment has on our New Year’s resolutions here.
As he says, “Everything we see, hear, taste, touch and smell is an environment. The music on your phone, the interior of your car, your social, and business networks, each room of your house, the places you visit, every person in your life.”
Although we want to make changes in our lives, in reality we’re not going to be able to dramatically alter every single environment we’re in. But we can do our best to limit those external triggers from igniting those memories and pulling us back into our old way of thinking.
Here are 7 changes you can make that will keep your New Year’s resolutions on track. They may seem small on the outside, but they have a big impact inside your brain and nervous system:

  1. Avoid brain fatigue:

Get sleep and manage your energy. When we’re tired it’s harder for us to regulate our emotions. This makes us more prone to getting down on ourselves. It also makes it hard for us to maintain willpower and a positive outlook when tempted by external pressures. So make sleep and rest your number one priority, as it will be a deciding factor in your decision making.

  1. Change your morning routine:

Not long ago, I went through some health challenges which caused me to wake up every morning feeling like absolute crap. You know when you have the flu and try to get out of bed in the morning? It felt like that and went on for over a year.
The interesting thing I found was that when I finally got better, I was often waking up in a bad mood. I wasn’t my normal, motivated self. I realized through that year I’d literally trained my brain to wake up expecting to feel bad.
In order to re-train my brain to feel good, I had to do something that would immediately shift my focus and emotional state upon rising. So, I began doing cardio for 20-30 minutes every morning, using exercise as a way to release those feel good brain chemicals: endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.
Quite quickly I noticed that I was waking up with my usual, positive outlook on life and eventually didn’t need exercise to create it anymore.
Your brain recognizes the routines and rhythms of your lifestyle. So try to shake it up by starting your day off with exercise.
For more on this, read my article in Entrepreneur magazine on the science behind creating an effective morning routine. I use these strategies with my clients to create immediate and lasting change in their lives. 

  1. Shake up your route to work:

Find ways to change everything that happens before work. Is there a different route you can take to the office? Can you leave earlier or later? Can you switch up your mode of transportation? Can you head in early to read or work on other side projects?

  1. Rearrange your place:

Look at ways you can change the interior of your house, apartment, or bedroom. Can you rearrange furniture? Put up different pictures or new art? Is it time to paint? Sometimes what we see can instantly trigger an emotional reaction even if we don’t necessarily notice it. Freshen things up and see if it either eliminates negative feelings or ignites positive ones.

  1. Load new music on your phone:

Change up your tunes to shift your mental focus in the morning, in the car or at the gym. Are there any podcasts you can start listening too? I heard ManTalks has a pretty good podcast 😉

  1. Surround yourself with new people:

One of the toughest obstacles to creating personal change is the people around you. Most find it hard to announce to their friends that they are making changes in their lives. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to end friendships in order to stick to your resolutions. But you can begin to surround yourself with people who are doing more of what you want to be doing. Who inspires you? Who do you admire? Who do you respect?

  1. Find an accountability partner:

If you want produce the behavior you most desire, find someone to keep you in line. Share your goals and meet regularly to check up on each other. Accountability is why Uber and Airbnb work so well. Nothing will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions as well as an accountability partner.
They force us to not get complacent and slip back into our old ways. Over time this creates a brand new habit that holds itself accountable.
[For more on Graham’s disruptive performance coaching listen to him on the ManTalks podcast. And to learn about the principle of Deep Work, listen to Cal Newport on the podcast.
Graham Young
Graham Young is the founder of Disruptive Performance Coaching and contributor to TIME, Fast Company, Entrepreneur magazine and Business Insider. He creates human performance programs for business professionals and organizations that optimize the brain’s ability to minimize fatigue, elevate productivity and unleash confidence.
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