Oct. 6, 2022

Now You Can Have Greater Focus and Productivity with Less Stress with Taylor Jacobson


If you've ever wondered what can explain the different states of your performance, from feeling stuck or paralyzed to feeling creatively and energetically in flow or on fire, the answers are all inside this episode with my special guest Taylor Jacobson. Taylor gives us a masterclass on the relationship between productivity and the nervous system. Listen in to gain a deeper understanding of why we react to stress the way that we do. 

Taylor Jacobson is the Founder & CEO of Focusmate (www.focusmate.com), a virtual coworking community with a mission to help everyone do their best work. Thousands of people in 193 countries worldwide sit side-by-side, via video, to keep each other company, cheer each other on, and hold one another accountable. Taylor has been featured in The New Yorker, CNN, The Guardian, NPR, Fast Company, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many more.

Timestamps:
• [4:38] Taylor shares why: “That was all just this cover story for feeling completely spun out in my life and feeling like a total failure.”
• [7:23] Taylor explains when he discovered his true purpose “to help people be who they want to be…”
• [11:13] “I went through this whole arc of like, grief and empathy, and then like, joy and possibility.“
• [20:02] “The human nervous system is not an individual nervous system, it is a collective nervous system.”

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Dr. Christine Li -
Website: https://www.procrastinationcoach.com
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Taylor Jacobson -
Website: https://www.focusmate.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taylorjacobson/

Transcript

Christine Li  0:01  
Welcome back to the Make Time for Success podcast. This is episode number 95. If you've ever wondered what can explain the different states of your performance, all the way from feeling stuck or paralyzed through to where you're feeling creatively and energetically in flow, or on fire. The answers are all inside this episode with my special guest Taylor Jacobsen. Throughout this interview, Taylor and I mentioned that we feel like we're touching on 1000 different things. And I felt that content wise, there's about 10 episodes worth of material in this one episode, Taylor shares with us not only his own story of healing from severe anxiety, but also the origin story of his being able to create and found the global virtual co working community known as focus mate. Taylor also gives us a masterclass on the relationship between productivity and the nervous system. So you're going to walk away from this episode with a deeper understanding of why you react to stress the way that you do. And you're going to have lots of different options for bringing that stress down to more manageable levels. If you so need. Taylor has been 100% committed to the development of focus made, and his efforts and passion for this mission have paid off, as 1000s of people in 193 countries sit side by side via video, to keep each other company cheer each other on hold one another accountable, and to do their best work. I am very, very grateful that I had this conversation with Taylor, and I'm extremely excited to share it with you now.

Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn about powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important, and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the Make Time for Success podcast. 

Hi, everyone. Its Dr. Christine Li. And I think today's conversation is going to be really fun. I just have that feeling. I am just now meeting with our special guest today. His name is Taylor Jacobson, and he is the founder and CEO of Focus Mate, you can find it at focusmate.com. And this is a co-working space online. And I'm grateful that Taylor has agreed to come on the show today to introduce us to focusmate. And I think Taylor and I are going to just have a great conversation about all the reasons why we might want to use focus made procrastination, anxiety and assorted issues. Welcome to the show. Taylor.

Taylor Jacobson  3:26  
Thank you so much for having me. Hi, everyone.

Christine Li  3:29  
So Taylor, can you start us off with telling us about you your backstory, anything you feel the audience should know about you?

Taylor Jacobson  3:37  
Sure. Thanks, Christine. I can start with some of the backstory that really got me to start this company, which it's funny to tell a backstory that's like all of the things that have gone wrong in your life. But that's generally you know, what motivates us to do things. So one of the first really big phases in my life about 11 years ago, and I was working in a job where I didn't love the job. And then I started working remotely. And that combination was enough to cast me into this place of severe severe procrastination to the point where I just I was invited to take a different role in the company. Basically, it was kind of like a nice way of not quite being fired. And I decided to leave and I decided to like start my own thing. But really, that was all just this cover story for feeling completely spun out in my life and feeling like a total failure. And it was really the first time that I really conspicuously failed after, you know, whatever excuses I'd been able to tell myself up until that point at times when I had felt like let my self doubt, for whatever reason, this time, I just couldn't hide from the fact that like I wasn't wanted at this place. And it was because I couldn't get my job done. And so it took me a while to start to appreciate some of the changes that had precipitated that outcome for me. But looking back at it, it was very clear that going from an environment and an office where there was a lot of camaraderie, there was people that could walk by my desk at any point in time and see if I was working on something, I could grab lunch with somebody and blow off steam if I needed to just like vent about my boss or something. And when I switched to working from home, in my mind, I was like, Oh, this is great. Like, I can just sit on the couch, I can work out when I want, I can whatever. And in practice, it was not great at all, I felt really just kind of this heaviness is almost hard to describe. Since then, I've come to understand these things like transformation really better. But that experience was so painful that I just started reading everything I could about not just productivity, but like personal growth. Because I was so ashamed, I became depressed, I was like hiding from people, you know. So it was a really mental health issue for me. And after like a year, I kind of started to get at least my mental health back on track, but I wound up continuing to work independently, not in an office. And I just continued to procrastinate. And I started to find ways to work around it. But it really wasn't until just a few years ago, when I had the idea for focus mate, that things really started to turn around. So in part because of all that pain, I went and I got trained as an executive coach, I started doing coaching. And so it kind of just my whole life became oriented around this really painful problem of like, I think we're all intuitively in touch with what we are capable of.

And if we can kind of numb ourselves out a little bit from that pain. But if you're really aware of it, it's just it's really brutal to not be the person that you want to be that you know you can be. And I could tell you 1000 stories, really painful stories like that about, you know, different moments in my life. But ultimately, it just became very clear that this was part of my purpose was to help people be who they want to be and put out into the world, the self expression and the service to the world that is in their soul in their being in their life experience and what however you want to contextualize it. So I'll give a brief snapshot of focus mate just to kind of land this, where it came from I was talking to at the time, it was a coaching client, he was part of a men's group I was running and he was procrastinating very severely. And he just confessed it to me. And it was like it was very intimate confession. Sometimes this can actually be feel really personal feel really, we can feel really inadequate, that we live in such a individualist culture, especially in the States. So it can be a shameful thing. And so we confess this to me. And you know, I just there's this moment of me feeling safe with him. When he confessed that, and I was like, you know, I have this fantasy that I've never told anyone. But what I would really love to do is to get on a video call, and each of us to share what we're going to work on. And then to just sit there together, keep each other company check in periodically See how it's going? And let each other know like, are we making progress? How much progress. And so that was the first experiment. And it was so insanely effective. I mean, two huge procrastinators were suddenly just crushing it. And from there, the possibilities started to emerge for a company. And so we've built focus, mate, we've built a company around this idea where you can, anytime you want, you can come on to focus on it. And you can find somebody who's gonna keep you company and hold you accountable for 25 minutes for 15 minutes. You have preferences over who you work with, we can get into more of the details of it. But that's that's a snapshot of what we're up to.

Christine Li  9:18  
That is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it from the origin moments. And I agree with you, it's from our pain that we actually can actually find our purpose and really know ourselves sometimes. So I'm grateful that you came out of that period with all this information about yourself and all of this new possibility for yourself and that you've pushed it forward. Because you realize that this is such an important path for people to navigate and succeed on that. Being able to not have that brutal feeling inside of you that you're not working to your potential Saul is a wonderful gift to be able to help people with. Thank you. You're welcome. And I think you have a beautiful gift. On top of creating this, this website for people and opportunity for people of describing the internal experience of someone who is struggling with that gap with knowing that they have more to do more to give more to be, and not knowing how to access that energy or those behaviors. So thank you for opening up a whole part of the universe.

Taylor Jacobson  10:38  
Thanks so much. That's really I really appreciate them.

Christine Li  10:40  
Okay, so the hiding in shame. You mentioned that part. And we don't necessarily have to talk about your personal experience. But what you can say to our listeners about if they happen to be in that mode right now, where they're feeling so embarrassed, they're feeling so stuck, they have almost given up on thinking about options, what would you say, in empathy with them? But also, what can they do? What can they feel? How can they shift things?

Taylor Jacobson  11:13  
Just listening to you, I went through this whole arc of like, grief and empathy, and then like, joy and possibility. So firstly, yeah, I just, I want to want to like send you some love. My frame for this has actually shifted a lot during the pandemic, a couple of years ago, I started experiencing some major nervous system dysregulation. That's a whole other story we can get into any amount, but shame, depression, these things are expressions of nervous system state, that is generally known as freeze. And it's a self protection mechanism. You know, freeze is a adaptive mechanism that is a place we go into, when we basically we can't handle you know, what we're experiencing. And two things. One, human beings are really the only animal that has the ability to kind of like store up nervous energy, other animals just release it. And they can get traumatized. But we're like, we're just easily traumatized. And so that's something that we really have to be gentle with ourselves about and appreciate that our bodies come out of that, kind of as they're able, as they're ready. And we, we need to do a lot to help them with that. So taking a step back, we can sort of simplify the nervous system is having like three states. One is where we feel safe. And when we feel safe, we can focus, it doesn't matter if you have ADHD, it doesn't matter if whatever. If you feel safe, you can focus your blood flow is optimized to the brain to the throat to the facial muscles. So it's great for problem solving, for collaboration. And for getting work done. If you drop it down one state below that, now you're in flight or freeze. And this may be super obvious to some people. When you're in fight or flight, your blood flow is now optimized to your limbs to your spinal column. And so you may have a lot of energy. But it's more like agitation. And it's really hard to focus. And to the big point here is that the way that our bodies are designed to sort of like spend most of our time relaxing, and then to have really major exertion to like hunt an animal or to possibly run away from a lion or something. But we are not at all designed to be constantly bombarded by stress. It is not how our bodies are meant to work. But here we are, right. And so it is no wonder that a tremendous percentage of the population, which must be underreported, and literally every statistic out there is experiencing chronic stress, which is a chronic state of fight or flight. And the kind of healthy appropriate response to fight flight is like sprint, or to scream or to like attack or something like this. And yet, we're just kind of holding it all in. We have a very repressed relationship to that fight flight energy as well. And so what happens is we stir it all up in our bodies. And if you don't express fight flight energy, what happens is you drop down into freeze, it's basically your mind is telling your body it's not safe to do the thing that my body is wanting to do. And when it's not safe to fight or flee, that is when the freeze response kicks in. And so depression, anxiety, ADHD, in a very simple sense. These are all chronic conditions that reflect us being kind of stuck in that free state. And so people express this in different ways, different sets of symptoms that might be labeled anxiety might be labeled ADHD might be labeled depression might be whatever. But we're kind of all just experiencing different flavors of the same phenomenon, which is way too much chronic stress that we're not able to, we don't have the skills to we don't have the safety to release it and get back into that safe state. So all that's by way of saying, You're so not alone. And it's so actually physiologically appropriate, like how your body is responding to the stimuli. And so our job, individually and collectively is to figure out how do we get ourselves out of that free state and doing the things that help release that energy and create safety so that we can focus?

Christine Li  15:43  
Thank you for that information and education about the nervous system and the different phases of it that we can move through, especially under stress, my mind goes to procrastination and that part of procrastination that makes no sense to us aware when we're doing it that we know, we're not necessarily feeling frozen in a free state, but that we are feeling stuck. And there's something blocking us from taking the logical step, which might be let me check out focus mate, let me call my friend, let me take a walk around the block where we're kind of just not communicating and believing ourselves. While we're not speaking to ourselves kindly, maybe what is your take on that piece? The illogical piece?

Taylor Jacobson  16:38  
Yeah, I mean, it's your cert, we're like overwhelmed or discombobulated. Those are completely expressions, you know, you can kind of you might be bouncing between freeze and fight flight. And so that like agitated energy that's like, I want to do something, I might be like, going to get a snack, or that's like a big one. For me. It's not that I'm just frozen in bed or something. Right? The body does have this natural impulse to get into the fight flight state, because that's how we get like, you can't skip from freeze straight to safe, you have to go through fight flight. And so yeah, that's, for me, that's what procrastination is. You're in fight flight. But the blood flow is not in your brain, you're not being logical, you don't feel safe, you don't feel calm, you are just like a chicken with its head cut off. That's literally what we're going through. And then also, if you're in that freeze state, even at all, you're kind of bouncing between, again, freeze and fight flight, you're experiencing shame, you're experiencing overwhelm. And like you said, the negative self talk, I interpret them as like tribal responses of like, I'm gonna be rejected by the tribe. For this kind of behavior. I'm like, no longer functioning in a positive way. So I just think we have to be as gentle as we possibly can with ourselves and just realize that like, that's just the mind responding to the nervous system. And it's not true. Yes,

Christine Li  18:04  
thank you so much. I love the tribal piece, because I feel like that is deeply encoded in our systems, right, biologically, and how we're set up, we're set up to really care about being included in the group. And when we feel like we're at risk of being expelled, that's when we go into these heightened states of fear. And we might do things that really are not going to be advantageous to us because we're feeling terrified. At some level. I am wondering, I have all this free questions at the same time. So forgive me, I want to talk about how to reregulate your system kind of what are your ideas for staying calm, nurturing that state? Believing that that's possible? Sometimes I think when we're so used to feeling high stress, feeling like that's actually what normal is, for us, it may be a step to convince people that actually your body will do much better, you'll function much better, you'll think much better. When you're at a calmer state. How do you help people with that?

Taylor Jacobson  19:19  
Oh, my goodness. Yeah. I mean, just count me among the millions of people who have experienced so much chronic anxiety that you actually, you don't even realize that that's not how you're designed to be. So we can start with even like, Why does focus mate work? Because I think it shocks people, they're like, Wait, this works way better than I expected it to. And it's because of exactly what you said, because it's not just that we're tribal animals. We're also mammals. We're pack animals and you know, somebody's said this to me once. And it really resonated, that the human nervous system is not an individual nervous system, it is a collective nervous system. And so like that really puts a fine point on this idea that like, that thing ain't gonna function the way you want it to if you're too isolated, and this has nothing to do with introvert extrovert, or like, do you like to curl up and read a book on Friday nights or whatever, we all need to be with other people. And it might look different for different people. But safety means having strong, safe bonds with others. And so there's a really strong autonomous change that happens in your body when you are with another safe person. That's called co regulation. Actually, you talked about nervous system regulation, this is the nervous system co regulation. And so as soon as you get onto a focus, mate session, and actually even before you start thinking about it, start looking, you know, this applies to any, anything that you might be doing with another person, you start even imagining it looking forward to it, and you already are starting to feel safe, you're already starting to feel more focused. So there's a whole bunch of science going on around focus, mate. But I think that's one of the big ones that that I just want to underscore for people. And it's why sometimes going to a cafe can really help just being around people. Gosh, like 8000 things to touch on here. But before we started our recording, we did three deep breaths. And this is kind of cool. And because you can do things with your mind to trigger the experience of safety. But often it's easier to start from the body, which will signal to the mind that you're safe. So if you really slow down your breathing, you're telling your body, it's safe, you can't slow down your breathing, if you're getting chased, you literally cannot do it. So there's all kinds of breathing techniques, box breathing is kind of one of the big simple ones, but just like slow nasal breathing. And you know, for me, breathwork was something that I really just stumbled into a couple years ago, and it just had so much impact on my body that I was like, Oh, this is definitely a pathway for me. So I lean more towards the physiological, you know, body first things. Yoga, is another huge one. Why is yoga so effective, we store this fight flight energy in the tissues of our bodies. It's literally why you get tight muscles. It's where chronic injuries come from, and, and really chronic conditions too. So what is yoga, it's really just trying to simultaneously relax and stretch at the same time. And if you have a good yoga teacher, they're gonna be emphasizing, hey, I want you to relax everything in your body that's not necessary for this pose. And why do they do that? It's because we're training our bodies to do things, not just lie in bed, but to do things while believing that we're safe. And we have to do that through this concentration of relaxing the tension in our body. So yoga can literally help us release that old stuck fight flight energy that is having us you know, like you said the word stuck, you know, in the intro, that's having us chronically feel unsafe, chronically feel stressed. I mean, there's so many things we could get into, I'd love to actually hear some of like, what your favorites are. And I guess I'll bottom line it by just saying. There are many, many techniques. It's really about finding what resonates with your body, because again, it's a physiological thing. It's not a mental thing, the mind is just responding. And so trusting your intuition and your body's guidance about what the stress is, and not kind of buying that story that there's no time. Like, you have to start telling yourself a different story that if I can reduce my stress, if I can release this stuck energy, I'm going to be so much more effective, I'm going to be so much more clear headed, I'm going to make better choices. I'm going to work faster, all these things. So that's been really impactful for me.

Christine Li  24:09  
Yeah. Thank you for that. Coincidentally, I just came back from a yoga class and I've been away from yoga for quite a while. I don't know why. Particularly, I'm not necessarily a regular yoga person to begin with. But I just so appreciated having the experience of feeling like my hips opening up again and feeling like the real stretch and feeling the pleasure of the pain. You know, there wasn't any real physical pain, but it was the pleasure of exertion. So it wasn't painful. But it was the pleasure of exertion on demand like it was because I wanted to because I felt safe because I wanted to improve my flexibility and regain that. And when you brought up the yoga example, I thought to myself, that's why it's so important to practice. Big Because if we're not practicing these energetic things, guess what happens? Stress wins. Because there's seemingly an influx of stress, no matter how calm we are, at baseline, no matter what we're thinking, they're always going to be things that are challenging us, causing us to feel drained of energy, and disrupt us from states of calm. And the more that you can get conscious about these patterns, get conscious about what's coming in as input, and get a practice going for stress release. So it doesn't have to be yoga every day. But it can include yoga every once in a while, because you're just training your body that you've got this, you've got master level control over this whole system that is built to protect you, it's in service of you, that's how I have come to think of it. And when we think, Oh, it's bossing me around, or it's instructing me to stay in bed, that's when the problems really start to pile up. Because you don't feel in control of the physical system. And then that causes other problems, right, like chronic pain conditions, or hiding out, which will cause other problems, eventually, all these things, and we're a complete system, of energy of ourselves of our thoughts, and of our potential. It's a massive system. It's not just contained in our physical body. And I love how you speak so eloquently about the CO regulation. I mean, that's fascinating. And we all live it. But we're not necessarily thinking about these things in this way. We're thinking we're on our own, it's just us, we suck. Like, whatever, whatever your current thought is, know that you're not alone, I think that might be the biggest message that Taylor is reaching to us today is that whatever you are suffering with, there's a way to connect with something that can release that stress. And let's help you find that.

Taylor Jacobson  27:16  
Yeah, that's so beautifully put, and you touched on one of the challenges of like, feeling that stuck feeling and like maybe you are lying in bed. And I think part of that is that we do have such a repressed relationship to the kind of like aggressive release that can often help to catalyze us out of that. And I have one friend too, who has ADHD pretty severe. And his thing is playing pickup basketball, and it's like, this guy transforms into this like, monster, you know, where he's just going so hard, and there'll be trash talking, and not in a malicious way. But it's a safe, this is even what play is in the nervous system. lexicon. Play is a mixed state of safety and fight flight. And so it's conditioning our nervous system, that it's okay, that we can come out of fight flight and back into safety quicker and quicker. So like, just want to give that frame for people of like, maybe the thing that you need is something that's more aggressive or more, you know, I was doing primal screaming for a long time to really support my nervous system to get back into a more functional state. So yeah, just knowing we have these judgments that that kind of keep us from actually listening, tuning in to what our bodies are asking for.

Christine Li  28:35  
Yes, and I can't help but ask this question. I think I was debating whether or not to but the fact that you're a man, and your thoughts about what men struggle with in terms of finding the way out, you know, finding the stress release, finding the permission to express themselves, find help find space, do the primal screaming whatever they need, you know, do you feel like there's some sort of imbalance where men suffer. And I don't know what the language is for this. But we're men are burdened with a responsibility to not go in that direction to not go in the direction of self healing.

Taylor Jacobson  29:21  
Well, it sounds not to project but it sounds like an observation you have had perhaps,

Christine Li  29:27  
well, I noticing that I think you're the third man I've had on the show as a guest. And I'm just hearing a lot because I'm doing a lot of interviewing for the show a lot of the female experience. So I think you're just making me curious because of what you've been saying over the past few minutes about the more aggressive forms of release that there are right and I'm just not in the habit of hearing about those probably because I'm not interviewing that many men.

Taylor Jacobson  29:56  
Yeah, well, actually, I think what I'll share is really important for men and Men because we sort of CO create the conditions for men and women together and for men. I absolutely it seems clear to me there's a culture that feeling feelings isn't okay. That to be manly, you don't show feelings or really even feel them. I guess, directly opposite to that is the reality that the men that have been most grounded the most in their masculine sort of clarity, presence and power, are men that are very capable of feeling and rapidly moving through their emotions back to safety. And so the function of emotions is just like a course correction. You feeling anger? Oh, there's a boundary that's being violated. So now, what is it, and anger is helping really mobilize your energy to identify it to get the clarity and to do something about it. And because our society has largely deemed anger, inappropriate, unhealthy, that good men don't get angry, because Angry Men are violent and bad and destructive, and hurt people and hurt women. And so instead of actually feeling their anger and hearing the wisdom in it, a lot of men in our society, me for a long time, repress it. And it comes out as passive aggressiveness, and manifests itself in things like depression, if, because, again, like we talked about, if you're not feeling the anger, you're not moving through fight flight, you're not letting your nervous system do what it's designed to do. And so now, you're, you're bottling all that up, and you're getting dropped down into freeze, depression, overwhelmed, etc. And it's still there in you, right. So instead of men who are bold, grave, leading transformation in our society, holding it down for the masculine pole, because men are predominantly masculine, energetic beings, and that is, like, protection and change, whereas feminine energy is more like Union and receptivity, etc. So we wind up with a society that doesn't actually have that sort of bold, declarative energy of transformation, that we're all kind of stuck in this more frozen state. And like, you can see that in, in so many facets of our of our culture, where it's all it's apparent to all of us that we need, that we need change. And so we actually need men to feel their feelings because it's going to get them activated and connected to their true selves. And they're, you know, I'm just, I've could just go off and off and off. So I'll leave it there. Thanks for the question.

Christine Li  32:53  
Okay. You're very welcome. I'm really glad I asked it. Okay. And I agree, we absolutely need men for the change and for the expansion.

Taylor Jacobson  33:03  
And by the way, that's not just about men, you know, all of us have masculine and feminine energy in us. But yeah, specifically, I think this is a kind of a societal malaise that affects men in this way. Yeah.

Christine Li  33:16  
Yes. Yes. Okay. So let's talk if we can about focus mate. More directly, what are the things that most surprised you about creating this? And having people go through it and seeing what can be what is the biggest surprise you've had?

Taylor Jacobson  33:37  
You know, I, I don't know if this is, qualifies as a surprise. But one of the defining aspects of focus mate is that you it's an act of vulnerability to start using it. It's kind of implicitly raising your hand and saying, I, I'd rather have some help than do this alone. And be seen in that, you know, like, the moment you show up on a focus mate session, you are being seen literally by somebody else in your desire for support, on the one hand, that deter some people from using it, because they're, they're just, sometimes we're just not ready or not ready to be vulnerable. For me, this was years of a story that there's something better about figuring things out on my own. And that's a very convenient story to avoid being vulnerable, right. But the flip side, the positive upside of that is that this community is like wildly supportive and accepting and warm in a way that I think just blows people away. And so like, universally the experience in our community forum and on sessions and group sessions, is just this warm embrace. And I guess why I say it's a pricing is that it keeps blowing my hair back over and over, you know, I like drop into the community and experience something or I get a message from somebody almost every day just sharing how transformational that's been. So yeah,

Christine Li  35:13  
that's a beautiful story, thank you. And I felt that very much resonated with the audience that I am working with. Typically people who self identify as procrastinators, and I have just felt that this is just the loveliest community of people, people who are interested in expansion and healing, and not believing that it's just their issue that we can help each other, when each of us find something out about ourselves that it's energy that kind of resonates with other people, too. So thank you for that beautiful story about the community. And I'm so grateful for you that you've built this community that you can drop into and help and guide and inspire. It's a really wonderful story. I am sure. My curiosity always is about like the builders Road, like, you know, how was that experience having to navigate creating this community? How did you get through that?

Taylor Jacobson  36:22  
Okay, yeah, topic change. Entrepreneurship. Yeah. One really important thing for me in my entrepreneurial journey, and I've done entrepreneurial things, since I was probably 19. But all with really middling success, or less, let's say, and I was like, 2930, when I first had the idea for focus, May, I'm 36. And I was actually so tired of letting myself down. And going back to that early theme of our conversation, that I didn't jump into it right away, I had done too many things that ultimately weren't the right fit for me and didn't work out not because they weren't good ideas. But just because it wasn't a really good fit for me. And so when I first had the idea for focus, mate, I just sat on it for a while. And in that time, I had so many ideas, and I just couldn't really help myself, but from like, starting to work on it. But in my mind, I hadn't decided to I was still working as a coach. And that was six or eight months. And there's just this moment, I was talking to a friend and he said, You know, I think you'll regret it. If you don't do this. Could be wrong. But that's what my sense is of you. He'd said, and it just hit me so hard that he was right. And like, literally, that moment, something just clicked. And I was like, Yeah, I need to do this. And from that moment, I've been in this mode of 100% commitment. I don't think I've ever experienced 100% commitment, really in anything up until that moment. And what's profound about that is it totally changes the context for any challenge that you encounter from, oh, gosh, like, this is really hard. Does this mean this is a bad idea? Does this mean this isn't a good fit for me? Does this mean like all these disempowering stories that might lead you to quit? Or might just drain a lot of your mental and physical energy? For me, getting to that 100% commitment? Now it just becomes, okay, here's the next problem solve, how are we going to solve it, and all your energy is just going to solving the problem which no big surprise is like way more effective at actually solving problems, then, like spending 60% of your energy, wondering if you should quit. So, you know, this is kind of a meta lesson and entrepreneurship for me, but it's one of the biggest ones. And I've really discovered that in order for my life to work, I have to do things that feel completely aligned for me. And sometimes we learn by doing and then we get started getting feedback. Some might say, from the universe, from our bodies, whatever it is, that is just not quite the right fit. You know, this, there's 1001 challenges that you experienced as an entrepreneur. So going into any one of those specifics isn't to me as important as the context of like, absolute commitment and absolute alignment also with whether you call it your purpose or your soul or just what lights you up, what energizes you? That's been the biggest thing and just no matter what I'm experiencing, I'm always connected to that big possibility. I don't say big as in like, bigger is better, but just like a future state, a future vision, something that I just feel drawn into and called towards, because it resonates so much with every part of me. That just gives me a lot of energy and sense of possibility and like I can do it. Yeah.

Christine Li  39:56  
Yeah. And I'm thinking about everything you've said prior to describing that Add, it's that you've been on a journey of restoring, you're calm. And then once you're calm, you can then go in 100% commitment because you've got all of that worked through, or you're in a, you know, you're in a practice of having that tended to, so that you can really dream even bigger. You're right. It's not necessarily the size, but it's that it is what is in your vision. It's part of your life's path, which is amazing. So thank you, Taylor, you have been an amazing speaker and guest and creator and inspiration to me in this conversation, and I'm sure to many of the people who are listening to this episode. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably. And so briefly, in this episode, this has been amazing.

Taylor Jacobson  40:51  
Thank you so much, Christine. It's it's really been great. It's been a pleasure.

Christine Li  40:54  
Okay, great. Is there something I might have been leaving out about how people can get into focus made and, and use this wonderful platform that you've created?

Taylor Jacobson  41:06  
No, yes, folks that are listening. We'd love to have you join our community. It's really easy. It's free to join focus mate.com that's focused ma te.com We have a thriving Facebook community too. If you want to be a wallflower and join that and you know, ask some questions, see what other people's experiences have been. But yeah, we would love to welcome you.

Christine Li  41:29  
Okay, terrific. in case somebody wants to direct message you, is there a way that they can do that so that they can reflect on this episode if they feel the desire?

Taylor Jacobson  41:39  
Yeah, the best way to reach me is you can just email hi@focusmate.com. And that will get to me. That's the best way to get to me. Thanks.

Christine Li  41:50  
Okay. Okay, great. Thank you so much, again, for your bravery and your vulnerability. All together. 

Thank you so much, my dear listeners for being here for another week of the Make Time for Success podcast. I really appreciate your attention and your time. I will see you next Thursday. Bye. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Make Time for Success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. We'll talk to you soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Taylor Jacobson

Taylor Jacobson is the Founder & CEO of Focusmate (www.focusmate.com), a virtual coworking community with a mission to help everyone do their best work. Thousands of people in 193 countries worldwide sit side-by-side, via video, to keep each other company, cheer each other on, and hold one another accountable. Taylor has been featured in The New Yorker, CNN, The Guardian, NPR, Fast Company, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many more.