Transcript – Anese Cavanaugh: Biohacking Your Impact – #97
Dave: Today’s cool fact of the day is that some bumblebees are nectar robbers. They actually land on a flower and sidestep the process of crosspollination. They just poke a hole through the side of the flower where they think the nectar might be and then they suck it out with their tongues. Because bumblebees are polite they actually put a little tiny spray from their tarsus which is a special gland in their lower leg that lets other bumblebees know that the nectar is gone. That’s just a cool fact. I have no idea how it’s relevant to your biohacking but it was so cool that I decided I want to grow a tarsus so I can mark those myself.
Before we get going with today’s guest I am really excited to introduce a new product. For years people have been saying, “What about Bulletproof Tea? What can I do?” The answer is you can get lots of different kinds of green tea and some are good and some aren’t so good, but there’s something cooler. It’s a new Bulletproof Cacao Tea. It boosts your mental focus and it smells and tastes like chocolate but it’s not creamy unless of course you make it with Bulletproof Brain Octane and butter and things like that.
It is a tea, not a cocoa. We’ve tested it using the Bulletproof Process and verified that it meets our standard for toxins. It has the same amount of caffeine as the cup of decaf coffee. If you want to drink something in the afternoon that tastes chocolatey but you don’t want a full blast of caffeine it works and I can drink it before bed and I actually feel calmed by it.
You may not know the story but Bulletproof Coffee was inspired by my time in Tibet in 2004 when I met some locals in Mt. Kailash and I learned about drinking yak butter tea and then later I learned the benefits of adding what became brain octane oil for performance. Adding the tea gives it a whole new angle and this is that neat hint of chocolate so check it out. It’s very affordable and it’s really good.
That said, today’s guest is Anese Cavanaugh. She developed something called the IEP method which is a practice to help readers and people and teams tap into energetic and creative capacity. I’ve been wanting to talk about creativity and boosting creativity on the podcast because it’s something that’s been core to my success in boosting an energetic presence. How do you show up on stage? How do you show up in a meeting? I couldn’t find a better guest on the show than Anese. Anese, welcome to the show.
Anese: Thanks Dave. Great to be here. Thank you.
Dave: What is this Intentional Energetic Presence and is it a bunch of hippie you know what?
Anese: No, it’s not hippie. It’s kind of a biohack for leadership.
Dave: Oh there you go.
Anese: It’s the way I think about it. I was thinking about your audience today and the biohacking and how much I’ve gotten out of just using your product below and I’ve started to think about IEP in terms of how to me it’s one of the quickest ways to create more impact more efficiently. We tend to go through our lives focusing, I think, on the wrong things a lot of times. We focus on skills. From a leadership perspective we focus on things like the visioning and strategy and all these different pieces, collaboration and communication. While these are all super, super important if you’re missing intentional energetic presence, it goes underneath those, if you’re missing the presence that goes with it then all these skills no matter how great of a leader you are you’re not optimizing your performance.
To me IEP is all about literally biohacking your impact and how you take care of yourself so you can create the impact you’re trying to create in the world.
Dave: Now, the last interview I just did on the show was with a friend named [Yan 00:03:51] Erwin who’s very rational and very well if we can’t all see it, it doesn’t really exist. Here you are coming, an energetic presence, do I have to have crystals to have an energetic presence? I mean I know that with the Bulletproof audience these are people who are trained thinkers, intelligent people. What is the energetic presence that you’re training? Help me understand that. Help our listeners.
Anese: Yeah, great, absolutely. If you take the 3 words and you take them apart you’ve got intention, you have energetic and you have presence. To me the most important words on the 3 is intention and presence. The intention is literally about how intentional we are around the impact we’re trying to create, how intentional we are around how we’re showing up. How intentional are you and I in this conversation around the impact we want to create for your audience?
Putting that level of intention you can’t necessarily see it, but if you think about any meeting that you ever go into, any conversation you have, how you take care of yourself that requires a level of intention that the people I’ve seen be the most effective with this they really work on cultivating their ability to create intention. Intention is the most important piece.
The presence piece is literally how other people experience you. I’m sure that anybody in this audience can relate to knowing people in their lives that might be amazing performers, excellent leaders, great designers, whatever. They might be fantastic at it but their presence it actually leaves people feeling worse than when they first came in contact with them. They leave [inaudible 00:05:29] leaving dead bodies behind. The way they show up, they might be phenomenal in an organization but the way they show up it leaves people feeling bad. There’s that whole [inaudible 00:05:42] said they might not remember what you said, they might not remember what you did but they will always remember how you made them feel. To me presence has a huge impact on how you make other people feel.
If you look at intention and what you want to create and you look at presence it’s how you’re actually showing up to create that impact. Those make it a little bit more tangible.
Dave: The first step is you’re working on people on creating their intention. How do the want to show up and then how do they create their energy for that and then how do they actually show up?
Anese: Yeah, how do they want to show up in terms of what are the outcomes. I mean there are 5 different levels that I look at intention at. The first one is literally as simple as what are the outcomes I want to create out of this meeting or out of this conversation? Then we can look at what is the emotional impact I want to create on the person I’m with, with the audience? What is the emotional impact? You talked about being on stage and stage presence. To me it’s super important before you even go out on that stage that you’re thinking about how am I going to show up in order to create an emotional impact in the audience.
What happens is so often we go out and we’re living from here up. We’re living in our heads. We’re not really grounded and centered. We go out and we’re not actually cautious and intentional about the way we show up. I believe that we’ve got the ability and I say this over and over again, I believe we have this amazing super power to be so intentional about the emotional impact that one has on other people. The clearer you can get somebody on that the bigger the chances they’re going to be able to create that impact.
Dave: That’s a big statement. It’s one that in my experience is true. I used to actually be really stressed all the time especially earlier in my career. When you’re in a meeting and you’re super stressed it doesn’t matter if you’re pantomiming the activities that are appropriate for the meeting, people know that you’re stressed. They know that you’re not paying attention. They know whatever it is that you’re doing no matter how much you want to hide it or how stressed you are about that. It doesn’t change anything.
Are you actually taking executives and training them on how to actually do that?
Anese: Yeah, yeah.
Dave: What are some of the companies you’ve worked with on doing this?
Anese: I do a lot of work with companies like IDO, the designing firm, Cooper. I’ve done work with people on IBM, Citigroup. I’ve got executives that hire me privately all the time. I just had a company come out. They flew their 2 founders out from Washington DC to come in and work with me for 2 days to really help them get more grounded in their intentional energy like presence, how they’re showing up and how that was having an impact on the culture. Yeah, there are many ways.
Dave: Those are some really big companies who are somehow … even though this is a “soft skill” versus hard science, is there a way to quantify this?
Anese: I believe so. Here’s what normally happens. I usually get a phone call it says we need help, our team is not getting along or we’re having a hard time collaborating. We need help with communication. I get a lot of requests for having difficult conversations and giving feedbacks. What companies will usually say or what executives will usually say is I need help with learning these skills, can you help me learn this skill? What I found, Dave, is that I can go in to a company and I can teach them this beautiful feedback model. I can do all this great work with them around having difficult conversations and whatnot. But if their intentional energize presence, if their IEP is crappy underneath that it doesn’t matter how good that training is. It’s like they’re almost fake doing it.
People can feel it. If I say something to you and my energy is off and I’m not being authentic and my intention for you is not great they’re going to feel that. From the leadership standpoint it’s going to be much more difficult for you to receive me and to actually learn from whatever I’m trying to work with you on.
Dave: You’re making great sense. I’m getting a bit of an echo. Can you turn my volume down a bit on your end?
Anese: Sure absolutely.
Dave: Make sure that way when people are listening at home … can you still hear me all right?
Anese: Yeah, I can still hear you great.
Dave: Beautiful. That one cut the echo.
Anese: Okay, great.
Dave: I noticed that when I started doing heart rate variability training years ago that it made a huge difference when I went on stage. People would pick up that I was calm. I remember I gave this talk about cloud computing which is the world’s most exciting topic clearly. People are yawning. It’s a typical business conference, 10 doctors and whatever. Afterwards one of the people in the audience came up afterwards and they said, “Thank you so much for your talk.” I said, “Oh, you’re welcome. Are you interested in cloud computing? Can I get a lead?” The thing we do at tradeshows.
She said, “No, I just wanted to say thank you for being so nice” which was really weird because I wasn’t trying to be nice but I’ve done HRV before I went onstage and I was projecting that. I was intentionally projecting calmness when I talked about a boring topic. Somehow she had picked it up and was like, “I really enjoyed that.” I got unusually good feedback on that. I always do heart rate variability before I go on stage and before we did this show, it just takes a minute. Is that a technique you use? What’s the secret juice for turning on presence and showing integrity when you actually have it?
Anese: When you actually have it or when you actually don’t have it?
Dave: When you actually have it. I suppose you mean you don’t have it you might want to show integrity but it hasn’t been a big focus on how to deceive people but …
Anese: It’s a whole another call I think. I don’t think it’s that one.
Dave: Yeah, you’ve got to call Monsanto for that skill. They have a big need for that.
Anese: Actually honestly I don’t do the heart rate variability. I really should probably should learn more about it. I’m curious. Now you got me a little bit more curious about that. For me the way I’ve been doing it is I started doing this work with athletes years ago. What I found, my career has evolved from working with athletes to going and working in corporate America to doing health and productivity. It’s been this evolution.
What I found is that the number one thing before you go out on stage, before you go into that meeting, before you do anything is that you can stop and get present and actually just be in your body. As cliché as that sounds to really be in your body in this present moment and to notice what’s happening for you, what are you believing. Before you got up on stage what are you believing? What are the thoughts that you’re having about the audience? Are they scary? Do you want to contribute to them?
Whatever your thoughts are, if you can get present to how you’re feeling about that audience and you can get present to your breath and your physical body then all of a sudden that presence is the first step to be able to go step out and to show up a little bit more powerfully. You have an intention into that Dave and to me you’re unstoppable once you’ve got the intention piece.
Dave: If people are doing yoga maybe you’re going to get into this. People used to say these words to me. I’m in my late 20s and I’m like, “Get into my body?” I’m like, “Where else am I? I’m in my body. What are you talking about you crack smoker?” Maybe I was a little angry, right?
It took me 3 days of focus work like a personal development thing before I was like, “Oh my God, there is some weird feeling in there. I wonder what that one is.” I was that disconnected from what was actually going on in my body and it was totally making people not react well to me in ways that I wasn’t conscious of.
This is a really tough thing. It took me 3 days of weird stuff to get there. How do you take an executive who’s busy, distracted, probably eating a lot of crap, doesn’t get enough sleep and all the things that most executives deal with today, how do you possibly get them to pay attention to this? It seems insurmountable.
Anese: I do. I get them in a room. I get them in a room either with myself or even better with a group of people. We do these 2-day events and within the first 90 minutes and you can watch on my site there are clips of this, but by the first 90 minutes I literally have people pair up into threesomes. One person is an observer. One person is a receiver and one person is a projector. Literally Dave just by standing there and projecting an intended emotion on another person the person who’s receiving it can literally feel what that energy is. They can literally feel what’s coming out them.
A short answer is the way that I have people experience is is I have them see what’s happening in their own impact, in their own presence that’s actually getting in the way. I’m the one that gets the phone call almost every single day saying, “I’ve got my PhD. I’m an MBA. I’m the highest performer in my company. I’m the founder of this awesome company. I’m the one that gets that phone call but I’m still not having the impact that I want to have.” Or, “There are all these great things going for me but people still think I’m a jerk. I don’t understand why.”
Every time we look at what’s happening to them 9 times out of 10 it has something to do with what’s going on internally with their IEP. If we can shift that then all of a sudden it becomes much easier.
Dave: I was in a workshop once where a woman in her mid 80s, a very small woman, she got a group of 25 people to think really bad thoughts about a person when she would scratch her nose. She brings in this big strong guy and she says, “Okay, hold out your arm and I’m going to just pull on your arm.” She can’t budge. She could hang from his arm. He’s a weightlifter kind of guy. She scratches her nose and everyone in the room sends like really nasty negative thought to the guy. I was blown away because literally she reached up with one arm and just yanks his arm down. He looked at her like she was Superman and had no clue.
There was no scam there. They didn’t set it up ahead of time. I know both of them personally and there was no prearranged shenanigan. That actually really showed me something about the power of my thoughts and feelings towards people. I mean you’re getting people 90 minutes to acknowledge and understand that what they’re thinking and feeling are very important because they do affect other people?
Anese: Yep, absolutely.
Dave: That’s a pretty powerful thing to do in a short period of time especially for executives.
Anese: Absolutely. Well, think about it. It actually doesn’t even take 90 minutes. If you think about this, if we’re really, really present all of a sudden our access to intuition and wisdom that we don’t have access to when we’re running around, we’re just living in our heads. I think about it living in our heads. If we’re really, really present all of a sudden my presence with you I’m going to be much better able to pick up on what’s happening over there with you.
The minute you get people into a space that is contained then you can actually start to notice how they’re showing up. Literally everything down to what I think was the default phase. The default phase is a baseball expression we make when we nobody else is looking. We’ve all been in this room. We’ve all been in that meeting, all of us. The guy is going like this. Maybe even some of your listeners if they’re listening to energy they’re like, “Oh my God, why is she talking about energy]?” They go, “Whatever.” Well that has an impact.
We have the ability to have an intentional presence that really pay attention to how we’re showing up that either sucks people up around us for a better experience or it takes away from their experience.
Dave: Yeah, people have asked me how the Bulletproof Executive has grown, the blog and the podcast and all. The principles you talk about showing up with a positive intention, I say it, but my actual intention is I want to help other people. That’s my core motivation. I don’t want to make a ton of money although I would like to make a living for my family. That’s important to me, but that’s not my primary goal. I’m assuming that’s going to happen, I sure hope. If I helped a lot of people and I had to go back to Silicon Valley to get a job, okay. I’m still going to help a lot of people.
I know that that’s my intent that I set consciously. What else should I do to show up more energetically in what I’m doing? Give me a little coaching session. What a great time to do it.
Anese: Anybody who’s listening can look on my site and it actually shows a full model but –
Dave: What’s the URL just so they can have it?
Anese: The best one to go would be iepmethod.com and they can also go to anesecavanaugh.com. They can download literally a quick start module that has the core pieces of IEP. It actually has the things to pay attention to. It’s got 7 different things you can do immediately to start rebooting your presence. They’re welcome to that.
You think about the model. In the center of the model is this thing called what I think is essential to you which is basically what you just talked about. It’s your purpose, your why. It’s you Dave being fully who you are, [inaudible 00:19:01] just you, and also having self awareness. A lot stuff we’re talking about there have been studies done around Daniel Goleman’s emotional intelligence and self awareness and self management and how important that is to leadership impact. This central you to me is where that self awareness lives.
The central you, all about what you value, what you know about yourself [inaudible 00:19:26]. Then the next level of it goes up to what I can give as energetic presence. Not to freak everybody out but it is energetic presence and that’s literally looking at how you take great care of yourself, the environment you surround yourself in. How you take great care of yourself that actually is what attracted me to Bulletproof Executive in the first place because I got turned on to you guys about a year ago and I was so excited so I just started sending people in my IEP courses to Bulletproof in terms of you’ve got to take good care of yourself.
That is a foundational piece if you’re working with me. If you’re doing this work you have to take amazing care of yourself. So thank you for that.
Dave: You’re so welcome. In your experience, what is the reason that you have to take good care of yourself? What do people get out of that?
Anese: Yeah, there are several things. Confidence is one, obviously, but more importantly to me is I notice when people are eating a lot of junk and they feel a lot of brain fog and they’re eating [inaudible 00:20:29] and they’re eating all this crap and they’re not taking care of themselves they can’t stay present.
Anese: I mean that’s it. You can’t stay present if you’re topped off with a bunch of crap. For me I was always sending people to Paleo and of course I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a doctor. You have to do what’s best for you. At the same time I found that Paleo and then Bulletproof Executive those … that was the thing that if I could get people to start calling you guys then it would take care of the nutritional component and then obviously a lot of other things. That’s what introduced me to you guys and why I got so excited to talk to you when you guys asked.
Dave: It was about having the energy to be present, basically eating right. That’s been my experience. I don’t know how to do what I do if I was eating gluten or margarine or soy and all that other stuff. It makes me weak.
Anese: It’s amazing and I watch also … here’s another thing. If you look around the model you’ve got essentially you, you’ve got the energy and presence. There’s your socio-physical energy, how you take care of yourself. That’s what we’re talking about right now. Then there’s your environmental. How does your environment support you? That comes down to literally seeing your pantry and your refrigerator.
If I come over to your house Dave and you’re teaching all this Bulletproof Exec stuff and I come in and I look in your closet and you’ve got all these donuts you’re out of alignment somewhere.
Dave: My donut stash, oh no.
Anese: The next piece of that model is literally about your mental and your emotional energy and how you think. You probably, I’m sure, completely see this when you’re eating a lot of gluten and junky food that hurts your thinking. Your confidence, your assumptions, a big piece of IEP is the intentions and the assumptions people make.
For example, let’s just say that I assume that this show was going to be really horrible to be on and you’re going to be a horrible host. The audience is going to hate this and whatever. If I make that assumption and I get on with you that’s going to have an impact on how I show up. I might not be able to totally control how people receive me or totally control how they respond to some of this content, but I can at least take really good care of myself and do the very best I can to share and contribute as positively as possible.
Dave: You’re getting results in a relatively short program, 90 minutes and you do some ongoing leadership coaching and things like that. If someone is listening to this podcast they’re likely driving. Most people listen to these on their commutes or when they’re exercising. What’s step one if I’ve decided I want to be more intentional. I want to have higher energy. Where do you start?
Anese: First one is to decide that you actually want that.
Dave: What are the blockages of people deciding that? It seems obvious.
Anese: Well, it does, to you and I it seems obvious but I find it not. A lot of people walk through their life reacting to their life and blaming external circumstances for not having energy, for being tired. You name it. Think about all the things that people, all of us, I’ll just say human beings tend to put blame on for why our life isn’t this certain way we want it to be. That all boils down to a decision.
From an IEP standpoint the first step is literally making the decision that you want your impact to be better. That’s it. Make the decision. Reasons why people might not want to is in my experience people get a lot of mileage about of being able to blame everybody else that they are not getting the results that they want. Working for the results can be hard. Taking care of yourself, giving up gluten, I’m sorry, I am a fan of bread. It was painful to give up gluten but it was a decision.
Dave: Is fear a reason that people don’t show up?
Anese: Definitely. I think a lot of times this falls into the environmental and relationship quadrant of the IEP model is that the people that we surround ourselves with tend to be who we become. We start to model the behaviors of people around us. A lot of times people are afraid to show up even bigger because if they show up even bigger they might alienate themselves, their team. It’s the tall poppy syndrome, right? The tallest poppies get cut down. A lot of times that not deciding to show up bigger comes from a fear that’s been produced for whatever reason it got going on in other parts of the model.
Dave: Okay. The first step is they decide they’re going to do it. Let’s say that they decide rationally and emotionally that they’re going to do it so they get past whatever fear they have of success honestly. There’s a lot of people who are just afraid of being successful because then they’re responsible and then they might fail. It’s easier to just not succeed because you’re not afraid of failing. It’s weird but …
Anese: Yep, no, totally, yeah.
Dave: We’ve gotten past that. That was step 1. What’s step 2?
Anese: Step 2 would be now start having awareness around how am I showing up and am I showing up in a way that I really want to show up. Step 2 is just awareness like really looking at if my life is not the way that I want it to be, if I’m not getting the results that I want to get, if I’m being perceived as a jerk but I think I’m amazing, what is it that I’m doing? How am I showing up as creating that impact in my life?
Second would be awareness. I find that honestly about 60, 70% of this work is around the society and the awareness. If I get people to decide and be aware then all of a sudden if they will start taking better care of themselves and they’ll start being more aware of how they’re literally showing up and how they’re creating their circumstances because we create our lives. We create our circumstances. If they start to be more intentional about that then all of a sudden it becomes more obvious to start shifting things.
For example, and this is in the emotional piece, underneath every single complaint this is not a communicator request. If I was complaining about something in my life or if I’m complaining about this relationship I want to look at what is the request underneath it and if I can make that request or actually get into action to make it better then also I’m in a more position of power. That power builds the stuff up and then my IEP it’s easier. What I find is it’s contagious. The minute we start to just make a little bit of a shift then everything else starts to get easier.
Dave: Okay. Talking about awareness is pretty easy to do. Okay, we’re going to be more aware but you don’t walk around with a mirror and even if you had a mirror that’s just how you’re physically moving your body. Since you’re talking and moving you probably aren’t watching what you’re doing with your body anyway. That’s why you see people on stage rocking back and forth. Even Bill Gates when he talks on TV you still see him rock back and forth. I’m sure someone has told him that before. He knows it but he doesn’t know it at the time.
Awareness is a nice concept, but how do you make awareness real?
Anese: For a long time I had this thing that I would do where I would throw little filler words in and I would pick filler words. A lot of people have filler words. Do you have filler words?
Dave: Yeah, like um?
Anese: Like um, or like or etc, etc, or –
Dave: No. I don’t believe I do. I’ve taken them out very consciously over the past what, 15 years of public speaking. It was a process to do it.
Anese: Yes, yes. Well that’s the awareness right there. The minute I have awareness that I’m using a filler word then all of a sudden my consciousness, I then start sorting for that. I’m going to be a little bit more intentional about it every time. Literally before I go and speak I might say, “Okay, I am going to focus on speaking clearly and articulating and connecting with whoever I’m speaking with.”
I personally have found it not as effective to say, “I’m not going to say um” because –
Dave: It doesn’t work. It makes you say it more.
Anese: It makes me say it more, right. The minute you have awareness, now you’ve got something that you can start to put your attention on, but you put it in the intent, you put it in the positive. My posture has been really bad. Think about really bad posture. You want to look at it and say, “Okay, I don’t want to have posture anymore. How do I want to show up on stage?” There’s a 5 step reboot that I do with people which is the first step of presence is just noticing what your presence actually is. Literally gauging okay how am I feeling right now emotionally, physically? Howe am I showing up? Am I contribution to the room just by the energy that I’m putting into it or am I detracting away from it?
Does that make sense?
Dave: It makes sense to me because I’ve trained my awareness and I’ve had a very hard time communicating to people other than if I’m working with a coaching client on public speaking where it comes down to almost everything that I teach them is grounding. There are guys who can teach data technique better than me and raise your arm higher and all that and those guys are amazing. Most people are too flighty, even the professionals. They just can’t be present until they learn how to be present.
I’m really intrigued by your work because you’re making it part of what you’re doing and you’re dealing with someone who’s very mushy, saw things that half the world doesn’t even know exist but those are the key to being a good presenter.
Anese: It is. Here’s the thing, we’re talking a lot about presenting and the presenting piece is really important obviously but I want to make sure this is about your life. This is literally about how we show up from a present standpoint in the rest of our life. Going in to that simple feedback conversation or that conversation with your child or with your spouse, literally thinking about getting really present about my intention for my child and how I’m showing up energetically with them before I go in and have that conversation.
That’s a super power. That helps me actually be that much more effective with my kid. He is going to experience me much more connected and grounded as his mother. You know what I mean? It’s not just stage presence, it’s literally you’re present in every single thing that you do. The other piece is just that we talked about this is happening in 90 seconds. People can see this. People can see this in 45 seconds. When we get into a room where we’ll start looking, you’ll see this immediately.
I want to be really clear with that, Dave. This is a practice. This is not something that you learn and you’re done with it. Literally you learn it, you have awareness and then you make a commitment to keep making your IEP a little bit stronger everyday. Whether that’s working in the first and the second quadrant around the thoughts that you’re thinking and how nice you’re being to yourself or the food that you’re eating and the third and fourth quadrant which is literally around how you show up on a stage, in a relationship or whatever. It’s literally making it into a practice like a yoga practice almost.
Dave: It is. Every sentence you speak is one of those. In fact, I realize when I was working on why do I say um and why do I do those other sounds that I very rarely do these days, it was because unconsciously some part of me was worried that I wouldn’t get heard or that I would lose the floor. I felt I always had to be saying something or people would think I was dumb or something.
When I got right down to it I realized it’s just fine especially when you’re on stage and you have the floor to take a pregnant pause and it made me a much better speaker. In order to do that I had to have awareness, A, that I was saying um and all the other things that I would do and B, I had to understand that if I didn’t do those things is I’d still be safe.
I’m the Bulletproof Executive, how can I not be safe, etc, etc? This isn’t rational, none of this stuff we’re dealing with here is on the cognitive brain level. It’s energetic primal brain kind of stuff.
Anese: Yep, it is, it is. What’s funny about that is you taking those pauses actually makes you that much more powerful. What you’re talking about is looking at the belief that you’re holding underneath whatever happening. What’s the belief that has you saying um? What’s the belief that has you going really quick?
I’m just thinking about going through the different components of where I have people work. Essentially you is just you being grounded in the first place, just you, right? The other pieces, the food, I mean that is going to make sense to everybody listening to this, the food piece. The environment, that’s one that really surprises people a lot because they don’t realize how much their environment is actually impacting their life and their ability to be healthy and their ability to get results.
One of the most common places I see this is with meeting. Here is a biohack for a meeting. Most people, I mean I don’t know, you guys probably do really quick meetings, but so many companies spend so much time in meetings and they’re 60 to 90 meetings long, whatever. You name the meeting. What’s happening is those people are going into those meetings and they’re not intentional about what the meeting is about. They’re not intentional about how they’re showing up.
If you can start to see people more intentional about how they’re showing up in a meeting and what they want to get out of it you can cut a 90-minute meeting down to 30 minutes without a problem. It’s a practice. It applies everywhere.
Dave: That makes a lot of sense. Now, there’s something else in your work that a few guests on the podcast have talked about in the past and certainly something that I tend to bring up when people ask me my top 3 things. That is gratitude. How do you bring gratitude to bear in IEP and especially with these Fortune 500 CEO types? What’s the role of gratitude here?
Anese: To me it’s everything. It’s funny. We have something happen last week with our team that was a bummer. One of my practices is to find the gift in everything. No matter what it is, to find the gift because there is a gift. There is a gift in every single thing that happens no matter how horrible it feels at the moment. If you can find that gift and then learn from it, what’s the gift, what do we want to learn from it and now to express gratitude for that gift actually happening. I always believe it’s going to start working someway. It’s going to teach us something for the future, whatever.
Gratitude to me from a company standpoint, if I can get … I always think of it as it starts with the individual then it goes to the team, then it goes to the entire organization and the cultures they’re creating. If I can get every individual to just start thinking about what they’re grateful for whether it’s toothpaste or great coffee or that they have a roof over their head, we can find things to be grateful for no matter what.
I’ve only met one person in my life who said that he had nothing to be grateful for. He has decided to be grateful. He had decided to not be grateful. That’s a bummer.
Dave: I met a woman like that once in a sweat lodge of all places. She was sitting there just talking about how she hit rock bottom and her life was so bad. She didn’t stop and didn’t stop. Finally, at the end of it I looked at her and I said, “Well, I noticed you still have both of your legs.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “Well, I don’t think you’ve hit rock bottom yet.” She didn’t like that very much but she did get the point which is that there are always things to be grateful for.
Anese: There are. There are. Even being grateful for being ungrateful like that’s an interesting place. I mean really, you want to meet people where they’re at. You say, “How do I get executives and these people to start working like this?” You have to meet them where they’re at. If they’re in a place of being ungrateful and they’re stuck there and they want to be that way then that’s actually really something to be grateful for because you’re making a decision to stay there and you’ve got a lot of power. That’s something to be grateful for.
Dave: They could have decided to kill themselves. They can be grateful they didn’t.
Anese: Yeah, I mean who knows, right? I agree. Gratitude I would say would be one of my top … to me that’s essential.
Dave: Do you write it down everyday? What’s your personal gratitude practice?
Anese: I don’t write it down. It’s so ingrained in me that throughout the day I’m just, “Oh thank you” before [inaudible 00:37:01] “Oh, thanks I’m so glad this worked today finally because we’ve had fun getting this together.” It’s just part of my everyday. The kids and I, I’ve got 2 kids. At the beginning of the day we’ll set intentions. What do you want to create today? How do you want your day to be? My daughter the other day she goes, “I’m in a bad mood. I’m just going to have a bad day.” I said, “Cool, you’ve decided, awesome. You’re going to have a bad day.” That’s her decision.
Acknowledging that they’re making a decision and that they’re setting intentions we’ll do in the morning and then they’ll say what’s one thing, what’s the greatest thing that happened for you today that you feel really grateful for? It can be huge or it can be tiny, it can be anything.
Dave: The idea of intentions with kids, how old is your daughter? She’s a teenager?
Anese: Yeah, my son’s 13.
Dave: Okay. We do that. My daughter is 6 my son is 4. Before bed we do gratitude, 3 things that happened today that you like that you’re thankful for. It’s really funny to watch them go through it and then change their mind. I like this more than this. I think it’s a really healthy thing. I need to work on doing that every single night. Some nights it’s late and we just don’t but it’s such a powerful practice in kids. It’s cool that you’ve done something similar.
Anese: It is really powerful. My kids get into this stuff. It’s funny they even get into the intention piece. My daughter especially, she’s 8 so she’s a little bit more resistant to the intention piece sometimes. “Mom, I’m not deciding I’m going to have a bad day if I said I’m just in a bad mood I’m going to have a bad day. That’s not an intention.” Yes, it is. It’s an intention, sweetie. The gratitude piece, I just think that makes things easier.
Dave: Yeah, if you have gratitude in my practice anyway it is the gateway to forgiveness. If you don’t want to hold a grudge and continue being mad at someone when they don’t even know you’re doing it and really wasting your energy on someone like that, I found that I’m unlikely to let go of something if I’m not in a position to find some piece of gratitude even if it’s a stupid gratitude. Really, I’m thankful I’m not going to walk into that wall again.
Anese: Yeah, right, absolutely. Well, you’re reminding me of one of my favorite tools so to speak is this idea around deciding in relationships. One of my favorites I stories is I had 2 clients, they were partners in a company and they had just a contentious relationship for years. People knew about it. They knew to avoid it. You could imagine. You can imagine the story that goes with that.
I worked with one of them really intensively and one day I said, “This to me no matter how wrong he is or how bad he is, this to me boils down to a decision for you. Do you want to have a good relationship with him or not?” She literally, Dave, she made a decision. She said, “You know what? I’m tired.” The person that was draining from was her. They’re both having energies drained. Because she was so attached to him with him being wrong and her being right and all these different pieces that was actually having more of an negative impact on her.
She said, “I am deciding to have a good relationship with him.” What was amazing is she could have gone to him and said, “Hey look, we have a bad relationship. I want to have a great relationship.” That would have been a perfectly great way to handle that but instead she opted not to say anything and just to start operating from a place of deciding to be good with him. Her making a decision killed off the other option of continue to gather bad evidence for him and instead had her start looking at when he did things really well. What was great about him? What did she appreciate about him?
The fun thing about it was that her energy and presence actually shifted with him and he started to show up differently. Now those 2 have one of the best relationships in the company.
He didn’t even know what’s happening. He didn’t even know. It was literally her deciding. It’s like that exercise that that woman did with scratching her nose. People feel what we feel towards them. They feel it. That decision piece. To me that’s the other thing. That’s magic. If you can constantly look at how you’re contributing to the things that are happening in your life and then make a decision to shift them, it’s pretty cool.
Dave: You totally can. One of the really exciting things about biohacking and one of the reasons I’m a supporter of the quantified self is that we’re finally getting enough sensors with enough detail that we can measure the physiological responses that you’re talking about. 10 years ago, 15 years ago what you’re saying would have been complete nonsense to the vast majority of people especially the hardcore scientists. They know how it works. Honestly, they know how a lot of stuff works and I’m a big fan of science.
At the same time these new sensors keep breaking old scientific paradigms and for instance the heart rate variability thing one of the reasons that I believe it does something is we can show that if someone has a particularly strong amplitude or heart rate variability whether it’s chaotic or ordered the people around them will shift their own heart rate variability to match.
Anese: Yes, that’s right.
Dave: You can be the antenna in the room and you can be chaotic or not, but if you’re chaotic and you don’t know it and you’re strong people will become more … their heart rate variability become more chaotic and that will manifest itself as people don’t feel comfortable. Their stress levels go up. You can be a stressful person but now we can measure that you’re having this effect on other people instead of just saying, “We all know it’s true because some of us can sense it and some of us don’t and some of us think it’s not true.” I’m sorry. I think the word for it is science.
Anese: It’s funny. I was with a group last week and I did a 2-day intensive with 24 other executives. In the room about 8 of them were scientists, hardcore scientists. I had dinner with them the night before and said, “Okay Anese, be prepared because tomorrow is going to be neat. There’s going to be some resistance in that room talking about this energy stuff.”
I got some statistics together like sleep statistics and [inaudible 00:43:05] stuff and the science and the research that talked about how 70-90% of your impact is actually not in the words that you say but literally in your presence and the belief that you’re bringing. I have science ready for them. I was ready to go, Dave and I got up there and I had them do one of the first exercises that we do in the first 20 minutes. I got up and I threw up a slide that just shows some planet and one of the guys goes, “Never mind, we don’t need to see that. Let’s just keep going with this stuff” because they were able to feel it so quickly.
It’s just the power of getting people present with each other. That’s the magic of what happens is just getting them present. It was interesting. I didn’t need any of my data.
Dave: Cool. If only we taught people in school how to be present that would be amazing because then you could just bring it to a meeting and then you could use your presence to determine whether or not there was a scam going on in the room or whether the information was coming from the right place then the whole intuition creativity thing happens there.
Anese: Yeah, for sure. I believe that our presence is actually our impact. What if it was that simple that our presence is our impact and that our ability to use intention to decide what that’s going to be, I mean what if it was as simple as that? I guess one other piece I would just add is you talk about matching, matching people. For people out there in listening to this who work on teams or relationships, it’s really easy. Unless you are really intentional about this, it’s really easy for the lowest vibration, I’m going to use that word just for a minute, it’s really easy for the lowest vibration in the room to win.
You go into a group of 8 people and 6 of them are actually in a pretty good state and there are 2 that are just bringing the room down, unless those 6 can really be intentional about holding their state it’s going to be easy for the rest of them to pile on and then sink the energy of that room. You think about that from a cultural standpoint, you think about that from a team standpoint, that’s got some pretty interesting repercussions about it.
Dave: It does.
Anese: Those are quantifiable.
Dave: Exactly. I was about to try and express that in a similar way. This is measureable and it’s not mumbo-jumbo like crystal harmonic kind of stuff. It’s human interaction and psychologists know this and now physiologists are starting to measure it. If you’re one of those bummer people and you don’t know it, that’s bad. In fact, casinos have guys like this who work with them, right? We’ll come to a table and everyone is winning and then they’re just like the bummer person and they start playing and everyone around is like, “Oh my God.” They have professional bummers. I don’t know what they call them.
Anese: I did not know that. Yeah, it’s true. Here’s the other thing, with the exception of professional bummers it’s my experience that most people don’t want to be that bummer person. Some people get a ton of mileage out of it and the woe is me and they really like to be in there. They’re there and they want to be there. In my experience most people don’t want to be that person. It’s literally just shining a little bit of a light on it going, “Hey, look at this. Do you realize the impact that you actually have? Do you realize how you’re contributing to how hard your life is and how busy you are and how much people don’t want to hang out with you? You’re contributing to that.”
The minute they start to see that you’ve opened up hopefully a little bit of a window for them to go, “Okay, wait a second. I’ve got the ability to start shifting this.” That’s the window.
Dave: It’s so cool that we can talk about that because it’s hard to find people who will talk about this who aren’t wearing tie-dye with dreadlocks. Not that I don’t have lots of friends who wear tie-dye and dreadlocks, I do, but it’s hard for people who aren’t in that spirit to connect with these ideas and to understand that they’re based on science and that very successful people, pro athletes and CEOs that they use these techniques every single day. That’s why I thought it would be really cool to have you on the show to talk about that.
Speaking about talking about things, we’re near the end of the show. I always ask people for their 3 biggest recommendations to help people perform better. Given that’s your business this might be an easy softball question for you, but not just for business, your whole life, what are they the 3 most important pieces of advice?
Anese: Three most important pieces, we didn’t get to talk about mandating self care.
Dave: That’s true.
Anese: I was like can we mandate self? Can that be an important piece? No.
Dave: Oh, that’s right. We can talk about that for a minute. Let’s talk about mandating self care and then the top 3.
Anese: Okay. Do you want the top 3 first? Do you want mandating self care?
Dave: No, let’s talk about whether executives should mandate self care for their people. That’s a great question we were going to talk about. I forgot.
Anese: It is. There’s so much, Dave. There’re a million things we could talk about. You and I started talking about it. I asked you at the beginning if you mandated that everybody on your team was bulletproof. What was your answer?
Dave: No, I don’t. It always drives me nuts when I take all the people and we’re still a really small company, but there are people who are mid 20s, starting out in their career and I’m doing my best to help support their growth but they’re nervous like, “Oh my goodness what should I eat?” Honestly, I don’t care what you eat. I care how you perform. If you can eat chicken wings and wash them down with beer and you can kick ass all day long and stay present and focused, number 1, you’re stronger than I am. Number 2, more power to you. If those habits show up in how you interact with others or how you perform the things that you agreed to do then we’re going to have a conversation.
I’m not going to tell you, “Don’t eat chicken wings and drink beer.” I’m going to tell you you’re not performing well and what is the potential causes. That’s my thoughts towards it. I also give them brain octane oil. I give them Bulletproof coffee. I give them the beans. Here are some things to help you feel good and perform well and you don’t have to use them, but they’re there for you.
Anese: I think that’s great. I know. I’m completely in agreement with you. I went to this thing for a while and I’m actually working on an article right now. I don’t know the exact title of it but it’s basically can you mandate self care in your organization especially if you’re covering their health care benefits. For my people I pay for their gym memberships, different pieces. Legally you cannot mandate, from an HR perspective you can’t mandate how somebody takes care of themselves. However you can absolutely support them.
I think what I’m finding over and over again for myself and then for other people that I work with is that you set practices in place like what you guys do with the Bulletproof coffee and the brain octane and all that. You can incentivize. I don’t really believe in incentivizing self care. That bothers me a lot incentivizing it. I would want the people in my team to take care of themselves if they really want to perform great. Do you know what I mean? Support it. I think you can support it but I don’t think you can mandate it.
Dave: You can make it easy. Another example, we have a new product that’s coming out in about 3 months. Other than Bulletproof Coffee it’s the biggest performance boost I’ve ever found, it blows away so many things that I’ve taken as a supplement. When I tried and a couple other people in the company tried it we all looked at each other and we said, “We have to have this.”
We did a special run, like pre production run in manufacturing just for people in the company. For the past couple of months I think everyone in the company has been running on this as a daily supplement on top of what they normally do which is totally optional, not required but they wanted to because everyone wants to feel good and have additional cellular energy and things like that.
The other thing I do is when it’s within reason I bring some of the employees through 40 Years of Zen, the training that I’ve done on myself, it’s really expensive. I don’t get it for free. I pay for it like everyone else. I do that because it’s not mandated. It’s offered and it’s optional and there’s no penalty for not going. What if you can upgrade someone’s IQ by 12 points? What if they get to do it? I’m pretty sure that they’ll benefit and I’m pretty sure that the mission of the Bulletproof Executive will also be moved forward so we’ll help even more people. It’s a win but it’s not mandated.
Anese: Yeah. Especially for companies like yours and mine where our entire mission is around performance optimization and people feeling amazing and having the impact they want to have. I think that the nature of who we’re going to attract to work for us they’re already going to have an intrinsic motivation for self care. You know what I mean? It’s a funny conversation. They can mandate self care. I know you can’t but I love what we’re both seeing here in just that you can support it and make it easy. I like your way of thinking about it, making it easy. I think that’s really nice. That’s really nice.
Dave: Well, thank you. Speaking of making it easy, you had extra time for your top 3 so lay them on.
Anese: Besides the obvious ones like take really good care of yourself, those are just given. I can have those?
Dave: You can have those.
Anese: Okay, I can have those, good. I would go back to find the gifts in everything no matter how horrible it feels like find the gift. I would say putting a mindset on finding the gift in everything and then finding gratitude for that gift, learning from it. That would be one. Another thing would be owning the power to intent and create impact. Just knowing that in every moment I’m contributing to creating my reality. With that I get to intend what I want to create. I think that’s really powerful.
I think another one would be being kind. It’s so soft but it’s true. Being nice is free and holding a positive intention for other people, there that’s what it is. Holding a positive intention for other people and knowing that we have the ability to literally make other people do better just by the way that we hold them. That goes with being kind. That woman said to you, “Thanks for being kind on stage.” It’s free to be kind.
Hold a positive intent and be kind, intent, your impact –
Dave: Gratitude was the other one.
Anese: Gratitude, yeah. You might want to try and squeeze them together. I’m cheating. I’m cheating on this.
Dave: You’re biohacking. There’s nothing wrong with cheating as long as you tell people what you did so they can learn from it and they can cheat too the next time and we can all save time.
Anese: I put my things to do in slashes. I add. I would get about 9 more in there if I could.
Dave: Nice, I love it. Anese Cavanaugh, where can people find out more info about you? Give us your contact info.
Anese: Sure. They can go to anesecavanaugh.com and they can also go to iepmethod.com if they want more specifically on IEP. Anise Cavanaugh is our home site which got a ton of stuff on it. IEP is specifically about the method. There’s videos, there’s pictures, there’s the tool kit they’re welcome to. We’re doing an event in May. This year we’re doing another event. They’re welcome to come out for that. Yeah, there’re all sorts of stuff on there.
Dave: Wonderful. Thanks again for coming out on the show. It’s been a pleasure. For everyone listening, please do us a favor of heading over to iTunes and telling people that you like the show if this has been valuable for you. That helps other people find it. Thank you, since we’re talking about gratitude, for making us the number one ranked health podcast on iTunes, at least most of the time because it varies on a week by week basis. I appreciate it.
Finally, if you would please go to bulletproofdietbook.com and enter your email address I would appreciate it. Because I can show that list to publishers, I am working on the Bulletproof Diet Book and I can say, “Look, here’s people who care about the book.” If you’ll do that I’ll send you the first chapter as soon as it’s done and I’ll send you the new very nice Bulletproof Diet Infographic for no cost. Bulletproofdietbook.com and click this is a really cool podcast on iTunes. Thank you all. See you soon. Anese, thank you.
Anese: Thanks Dave, thank you.