Ant Taylor on Embracing Emotions

Brett interviews Ant Taylor, founder and CEO of Lyte, on a profound self-reflection that changed his life and business. Ant discovered that shifting from living largely in his head to operating from a more intuitive and embodied space allows him to tap into the wisdom of his emotions. We will learn more about how he now embraces the ebb and flow of emotional intensity, resulting in the uncovering of deeper truths.

"This moment, when he called out the anxiety, I didn’t know it at the time. It just triggered a different kind of, I guess, leadership style that was a little bit more like I am going to jump into that pit over there, guys. I’m pretty sure it is filled with snakes. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get my ass handed to me. It’s going to be at least funny, possibly dangerous, but if I live, come with me."

Follow us on Instagram at @artofaccomplishment to learn more about our guests and share your own experiences.

Transcript

Episode intro:

This moment, when he called out the anxiety, I didn’t know it at the time. It just triggered a different kind of, I guess, leadership style, that was a little bit more like, “I am going to jump into that pit over there, guys. I’m pretty sure it is filled with snakes. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get my ass handed to me. It’s going to be at least funny, possibly dangerous, but if I live, come with me.”

Welcome to the Art of Accomplishment, where we explore how deepening connection with ourselves and others leads to creating the life we want with enjoyment and ease.

My name is Brett Kistler. I am an adventurer, entrepreneur and a self exploration enthusiast. I am here with my co-host, Joe Hudson. Joe is a business coach who has spent decades working with some of the world´s top executives and teams developing a unique model of human patterns that underpin how we operate with ourselves, each other and the world. A good entry point into this model is a mindset called VIEW, vulnerability, impartiality, empathy and wonder.

Through understanding and cultivation we learn to easefully drop into the VIEW state of mind, deepening self awareness and increasing our connection with the world around us. To learn more about this podcast or courses, visit artofaccomplishment.com

Brett: All right, everybody. Welcome back to the Art of Accomplishment. Today I am speaking with Ant Taylor. Ant is the founder and CEO of Lyte. How are you doing today, Ant?

Ant: I’m well. It’s great to be here. It’s surreal to be here, having listened to your voice for a year.

Brett: It’s surreal being here after seeing in the Art of Accomplishment, on Zoom calls, but never quite having any face-to-face. This is really the first time we, I can say, have met.

Ant: Exactly. It’s always remarkable when Joe rattles off your resume at the various bad ass shit you have done. I always want you guys to pull up for a second. You are a little bit of a thrill seeker, right?

Brett: A little bit. You could call it thrill seeker. It is really hard to say what I’ve been seeking, but that would be a podcast about me. Maybe we could do that some time, but I really want to hear about you. Tell me a little bit about your story. Just introduce yourself to our audience.

Ant: I’m the founder of Lyte. I aspire to be the CEO of Lyte. That’s a big part of why I started to do the work with Joe. Lyte is growing really quickly. It is a live events business. It helps people get to more shows and helps more shows happen with a lot less risk. Maybe you guys have heard there is a little bit of a pandemic on, to navigate the waters of all of that treachery and keep the business growing, which we have been able to do.

Before that, I had two previous startup experiences. One was a giant success. One was a personal failure, but a good success for the company. All in advertising technology in New York. One of the companies sold to Yahoo. The other company sold to Oracle. Before that, I was in school on the East Coast.

I grew up California, in Berkley, but very much consider myself an adopted son of New York City, because that’s where I feel like I really came of age. Now I am back living in California working on things Lyte all the time.

Brett: I heard you also played basketball at Princeton. You have summited Mount Shasta, and this is something we have in common. You once scuba dived deeper than legally allowed in the Blue Hole in Belize. As we mentioned in the pre-call, it turns out both of us did it for the same reason, which was one dive partner getting narced and sinking far deeper than intended and needing to be rescued.

Ant: When you get down to the deep depths, below the sharks, into the darkness, all of the beautiful things going on on the side walls, they have warned about getting narced, but it doesn’t feel like you have lost your mind. I’m forgetting it now, so if I am exaggerating this now, please forgive me dive master of Belize Blue Hole. I want to say it is acceptable to be at like 140, right? Even then, only for like five minutes. I think I had found my way down to 180, 190 feet.

Brett: That was way deeper than we went.

Ant: I can’t tell you for sure, because I was basically black out drunk, but I want to say the emotional feeling of that moment was pretty amazing.

Brett: I’m glad you made it back and also had the experience. I wanted to get into today, what something is, that has shifted for you over the course of all of this journey, diving, basketball and these businesses. What is something that has shifted for you personally, in your consciousness, that has just shifted everything for your business?

Ant: I think the things that are different daily in my life are a mixture of I’m in my body a lot more. I realize that my brain is a fantastic survival tool, but when it comes to thriving, maybe it can move a little slower than I want it to move. I am in my somatic system a lot more. I trust my intuition a lot more. I think I did the 20% to get the 80% benefit, the 20/80 rule, radical self-acceptance, and really understanding the voice in my head was coming from a place of love, if misguided for all sorts of reasons, trauma and otherwise, ultimately coming from a place of love.

Getting to a place of really accepting who I am, accepting what that voice is telling me, and loving on it as it is trying to love on me has changed my daily practices and how I move through the world. I think the last piece is just really embracing my emotions more. That’s a constant fucking battle against a lot of muscle memory in the opposite direction. I was like a class A avoider empresario, just all sorts of tactics to get away from feeling for much of my life. But now with a lot more reps, I really see the power of embracing all flavors of emotion all the time, not just for the emotion of it, but for the truth that is behind it.

Brett: If I could try to hone that down and sharpen it a little bit, it sounds like you are describing having started from a place of living in your head and in a mental space feeling somewhat separate from your body, feeling like emotions are just something that happens and are meant to be managed or put out of the way so you can continue to meet your goals. Coming into a place of embodiment, feeling your body, feeling your emotions, including noticing the voice in your head, and just coming into acceptance of all of your parts and less dissociation.

Tell me a little bit about how your life and your business looked prior to having this recognition.

Ant: The one other thing I want to say on that before we get to that question, there was no epiphany moment, carpe diem, stand on the desk and scream and shout breakthrough moment in the work. It was much more of a series of experiments and really kind of an ebb and flow of intensity that was just pushing me ever wider into undiscovered country. That sort of sustained. Maybe we will talk at the end. I’ve labeled this summer the summer of resistance, because for whatever fucking reason, this summer I started to just reject, just push back on all, a lot of old stories but new stories that were keeping me from the work. Just to say, it wasn’t a single point in time breakthrough.

My beloveds at Lyte have coined an expression for pre-work. It is simply Ant 1.0, and I love this, because I discovered the moniker kind of by accident when it just slipped out in a meeting. Oh, I’m sorry, what the fuck is Ant 1.0? Again, part of the lies our mind tells us is that nobody can see I’m out here avoiding the shit of every emotion I have. Nobody can see I am managing myself and in my head. Nobody can see that this anxiety is eating me from the inside out. Of course, everybody can see it. Everybody can feel it. It is like the most obvious thing in the world.

The way I came to the work actually explains a lot about who I was at the time. We have 24/7, 365 business. In some respects, there couldn’t be a worse business for me to be in. Our events happen all the time, at night and we are building technology by day to make those things work. It happens all the time. When you go on Christmas vacation, you are going to go see shows with family. There is no real time to pull up.

Luckily enough, someone had come to work with us for only a brief time, but she had come. Amy Vernetti was her name. One day I am banging away at my keyboard. She is a mile a minute kind of person. Do you want to 10X your life? Do you want to be a fucking game change CEO? I don’t even think I looked up from my laptop. I am just banging away. I am like of course, that sounds amazing. Sign me up. No thoughts. There is a perfect complexity in that moment. I didn’t have enough time to pull up and ask what is this, who is this, what do you mean, 10X.

Brett: That sounds a lot like standard pushy marketing. What was she bringing you? Do you want to 10X your life and increase your penis size?

Ant: She might have said that. Sure. I kept banging away. I trusted her, but that wasn’t the point. The point was the dissociation for me was even in the realm of taking the right steps to really hit another level of performance personally and professionally, there was a relative detachment to anything. It was just like I describe it as feeling like I was constantly sprinting across a tightrope, destined to fall. You can’t sprint across a tightrope. The wind could be off. You lose focus.

But there was constantly this notion of like, “I’m going to sprint across this tightrope. As long as I don’t look back, and as long as I don’t acknowledge there is no net below me, I have the best chance to get within distance to leap out and grab the ledge on the other side.” That was my MO, and obviously that’s super reductive and missed a lot of things.

My 1.0 self was prone to a lot of anxiety, really terrible at stress management. High performing, high achieving, no doubt, but at great cost. At the time there was no somatic feeling. Let’s just make that very clear.

Brett: Except for the feeling of stress.

Ant: Nothing that I used as a dashboard, nothing that I harnessed. I brought Joe soon thereafter, actually before I started the L12 work, I needed to do some team cohesion work with my executive team. There was nobody better at that moment than Joe. I remember we were doing a VIEW exercise, but one of the really elementary stuff, getting in the flow of really understanding wonder, I think.

I’m sitting in the middle with Alex, my head of engineering and second employee. He is throwing me softballs. He was trying to trigger me. That’s what it was, but he is just throwing these softballs. I’m in the middle of the room, and all of my executives are paired off around me. Just randomly. It just ended up that way. Joe did his annoying thing, where he saddles up next to you and he goes do you mind if I give it a go.

Brett: You are bracing for it.

Ant: What the fuck! At the time, I am brash, and I am like, “Yeah, dude. Shoot your shot. Good luck.” He leans in and he is like, “Your anxiety is going to kill your company and everybody in this room knows it. Ooh. Yeah. Feel that shit. Feel that shit.” The whole room was just like, “Ooh!” The one thing I will give myself credit for in all of this is, I was so starved for this work. I was so ready to go that for me that was a release. I think I might have started laughing, because it was just so much. Let’s just swan dive into this shit and stop fucking around.

Brett: We laugh when it hurts too much to cry.

Ant: Right. There was some of that actually. He was so full voiced about it. He didn’t whisper that. That was a lot of the pre-work. Some of the symptoms for me, the life symptoms, and I think I said to you in the pre call. I’m still mining a lot of questions for my personal relationships. Professional relationships, it is easier, because that’s where I’ve done a lot of the work.

The symptoms were pretty evident. I had this feeling of something between a glass ceiling and being bound to some floor of achievement that I hadn’t really broken through. I remember when I started, I had such imposter syndrome coming out of my last experience, really all of my experiences professionally. Because we had had a lot of success, some of it felt earned and a lot of it felt not earned in a way, like it had come too easy. There were a lot of things left unknown that I wanted to learn.

When I started Lyte, I really wanted to drive every nail. I wanted to learn every part of the process of building a company. That had occupied my mental time in a great way, but I still had a feeling of being bound. There was some upper limit of what I could achieve, and I couldn’t put a finger on it. I was like maybe I should have gone to business school like my friends did. Maybe I should have taken a sabbatical and tried to write that novel, I’ve always fantasized about doing. I hadn’t done enough to break up my rhythms. It was sort of like the mental diagnosis.

The other feeling is that experience of moving through a dream, in a dream scenario where you are running either from something or toward something, but you are running in slow motion. You can’t make yourself run faster. I don’t know if you have ever had a dream like that, but it was that feeling more and more, not a present feeling but a slow burn in the back. My anxiety, my endless well of anxiety, that kind of weighed on me. That was a symptom, feeling kind of bound. The anxiety was a big symptom, and then a lot of exhaustion.

I pushed the organization hard. It is a hard space that we do our business in. There hasn’t been a lot of technology innovation in it for a lot of entrenched reasons. We had endured through a lot of those things and gotten the company to a pretty good level, but you looked around. I think everybody was sort of bleary eyed and exhausted. If I was really honest, that exhaustion stemmed from a lot of the way I moved through the world and the company.

Brett: What you are describing there is Ant 1.0, you could see it fractally distributed throughout your organization. You avoided stress, you knew it was there. Everyone else knew it was there. You had this belief that maybe others didn’t see it, and if they saw it, something bad would happen. It was better to just keep it hidden and pretend it wasn’t there. As a result, one of the symptoms of this is you kept feeling like you are just in this morass as you are moving forward. The wins you have feel like they come too easy, and everything else just feels hard. Is it something like that?

Ant: Something like that, the wins with Lyte felt sweeter. They didn’t come easy, but I was addressing a lot of them, surface level imposter syndrome stuff, because there were essentially three of us, then five of us, and then about 10 of us building it. I felt the wonderful dopamine hit of our successes, but they come at the cost of a lot of exhaustion and there was a sense that in that hamster wheel you are in in an early-stage startup, every rev of the wheel, you felt took the equivalent amount of energy. There was no force multiplier or escape loss where things really started to spin. Some of that had to do with being an early-stage startup, but a lot of it felt it had to do with some of the 1.0 tendencies.

Brett: Let’s get into how this transition started to occur and how you started to allow yourself to see and feel what was going on inside you. Starting with this moment with Joe, tell me a little bit about what you might have expected to feel, if somebody told you something so direct and truthy in front of your entire team and what you ended up actually feeling.

Ant: Would you call that truthy? I would say that was some fucking, cold hard raw form truth served up in my face. No. I think if you describe that incident to anybody. I have told this story to people not doing any work, and I throw them into trauma. What? You are the CEO. Those are your execs. That fucking narrative.

Just remembering that time, I would have expected to feel defensive, enraged, offended, hurt, and frankly to have called it. Thank you facilitator that we have hired. Go fuck yourself. We will take it from here. That’s the textbook version of that experience. But the release was, and this was really the start, I think, of connecting mind to somatic response, which it took me so many reps to really get or feel. The reality was to the words you use, when I am in the presence of truth, my entire system just feels an intense ease and almost to the level of like a body high or like a tantric fucking extended orgasm of ‘whoo’.

It is funny. I remember it almost verbatim, because I think every word and what he said had such a resonance, not just to me but to that room of people, to that community of people who come together and fight their asses off to make Lyte a thing. It was all from love. It was literally love.

Brett: What had been holding you back from recognizing this truth? The moment you said it, you already knew it was true. It resonated in your system. What had blocked you from allowing this truth in that you had already known prior to somebody saying it?

Ant: From an early age, my traumatic early childhood experiences taught me that to feel emotion and certainly to express it, meant anything could happen. I would be physically in danger, and so I think that cycle of avoiding that kind of early detection system or that dashboard that we all carry. It was more of a muscle memory, going all the way back. Like I said, there was always this notion of a tightrope and of running across it, trying to get away from a past that was less than ideal and ignoring the risk and pitfalls that lie beneath and instead just try to get to something where that all goes away. If you think about it, it is a very childish conception of the world and life, but I don’t think it is an uncommon one.

The only other thing I would add to what I said earlier is, I do think there is a historical lineage that feels familiar to me. A lot of my father’s family came from eastern Texas in the time of the Great Migration. We never really talked about it frankly as a family. My father was African American, and we were all coming out of the South at a time when racial terrorism was if not legal then the law looked the other way. When I talk about sprinting across the tightrope, there was also a feeling that I think that I learned in childhood, around just working your ass off to get to a better place than the folks before you. You stood on their shoulders to do that, and that meant in some cases subjugating your emotions and looking normal, whatever normal is. Showing up normal and achieving.

All of those things were factors in how I would have expected to show up and why it was so surprising that I didn’t.

Brett: Let’s get a little bit deeper into this moment when this truth hit you and it landed in your system in a different way than you expected. It felt like some form of relief. I am hearing there was a gratitude for recognizing this truth, and also it was very activating for you. How did that moment continue in the room? Just continue that story.

Ant: I wish I could do a reenactment of the moment. I was talking to Crystal, my chief of staff, who is also deep into this work and a comrade in all of it. I think it was like her second week at the company. I remember her description of it was like, “What the fuck just happened?” But it also became a permissioning, because honestly it wasn’t even like I took it on the chin, and I just kept marching through. I showed the team they could battle this. It was not that at all. It was more like it cracked me open, and what flowed out of that was a deeper state of vulnerability that I think then allowed the team to show up and go deeper in their own vulnerability.

I think getting a couple levels down into the work in community. Execs that are working 12, 15, 16, 17-hour days together, it means that everybody could go. It was sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am going deeper so you are going deeper. You are going deeper, so I am going deeper. The deeper we go, the more benefit we get from the work.

Brett: I can imagine everybody in the room who saw this moment with you also felt the similar truth in them and in their role in their company and also in their lives and their avoided emotions and their stress.

Ant: Totally. It was one of the great things I was reminded of in the AoA hotseat days. I loved those, because it reminded me of the early work with the L12 where we were all still kind of strangers to each other, but I took so much from the stories of strangers who are in the work and talking about things at the level I am thinking about them.

In this moment, I mean this started like a daisy chain of moments. Sometimes humor for me is a great tactic for avoiding, but for me humor is really in truth a way to experience, I think, this work at an even deeper level, to experience the love around this work at a deeper level. This set off like a daisy chain of moments of incredible failure by Lyte’s fearless founder and CEO, incredible moments that have continued now for 18 months.

I remember we were doing work. There is an assessment called the Harrison Assessment, which is really about charting qualitative attributes but in the form of a paradox graph. The y-axis might be my ability to achieve, and the x-axis might be my ability to manage stress. If I am in the top left quadrant, I am a really high achiever who is really bad at managing stress, which is where I still happen to be. I am trying to edge my way to the top right quadrant where I can do both well.

We were doing this work as executives, and it wasn’t getting to where I wanted to go fast enough, and I couldn’t figure out fast enough. We ended up doing a group session. This was almost a year after this moment. I had Joe come on and facilitate, and what we realized is, we weren’t getting anywhere, because I didn’t understand how to do the process myself. We ended up taking the three hours we had allotted for all executives for me to actively figure out how to fucking make this thing work for me for three hours.

Brett: Make what thing work?

Ant: Make this Harrison tool really work for the outcome, which was more team cohesion, understanding each other’s tendencies, understanding how this gets reflected. We use the V21 process to manage prioritization, with the ultimate outcome we are all sort of aligned and we are all chasing the right things with the right prioritization.

This would have been a mortifying discovery greater than 12 months ago to realize that I was the problem in the room, but now 12 months on, it actually became a super intense moment where my team got to watch me fail over and over and over again for three hours until I had that breakthrough. There is no way I can simulate that for them. There is no way they are going to get better than to watch me struggle and find the thing, whatever the thing is, right in front of their eyes.

This moment, when he called out the anxiety, I didn’t know it at the time. It just triggered a different kind of, I guess, leadership style that was a little bit more like I am going to jump into that pit over there, guys. I’m pretty sure it is filled with snakes. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get my ass handed to me. It’s going to be at least funny, possibly dangerous, but if I live, come with me.

Brett: That sounds like a contrast to walking through a dark jungle full of snakes with no flashlights or lanterns and say, “Don’t worry, guys, There are no snakes here. Just come along.”

Ant: That’s the perfect juxtaposition. It is one I can do really well, one I can do authentically. One is authentically me. The other one, nobody believed there were no snakes in the fucking jungle. They never believe that, and they became burnt out by it. Some of them left. Some of them said go fuck yourself, I’m not walking into that jungle. I know there are snakes.

Brett: Tell me about how things have shifted since then. You mentioned now this Harrison assessment moment, which was about a year after that moment with Joe in the workshop. How else does this show up in the day to day? Describe a little bit more about Ant 2.0.

Ant: I show up with questions more often than I show up with declarations. I am in wonder a lot more. Questions are so important. You wake up with a to do list versus you wake up and say what does the universe need me to see today. What am I curious about today? Those are two very different days. Same shit can happen, but very different days in terms of how I show up.

Brett: How does anxiety move through your system now?

Ant: I’ve developed some hacks since then. This may or may not be intuitive, but now I know that if I am feeling anxiety, many experiments on from this first one, that it typically means I haven’t articulated something I need. A boundary hasn’t been set or I am in that state of managing people, where I feel like I’ve got to go do something to bring something out of this person or protect them from something. Therefore, I need to not talk about the things that I or the organization need, so I can make sure they are okay, which Jesus Christ, does that ever work out? Does anyone have any case studies of that working out like twice?

Brett: It seems to work out in teaching us new ways to do it differently.

Ant: That’s right. It’s successful in that respect. Now when I feel the anxiety, I feel the anxiety and I name it. There’s another person on my executive team. He is also deep in this work. For him, he has a hack where he tries to think about anxiety as excitement, just that slight mental model shift for him is a real shift in the resonance of what he is dealing with.

Brett: That was a deep shift for me as well in air sports and base jumping, which was when we had fear and anxiety at an exit point. Somebody once told me, and this was a big shift for me. The other side of the coin of fear is excitement. It reminds me of a tool that has come up through this work, and I don’t know where it came from. I think there are even some studies on this. If you are feeling anxiety, you can just jump up and down screaming, “I’m excited, I’m excited, I’m excited!” It will actually transform the experience from anxiety to excitement, and you have the energy to go draw the boundary or take the responsibility that you are ready to take but you are feeling anxious about.

Ant: I think that’s totally right. I love that your example is base jumping and mine is the data portion of my staff meeting.

Brett: It is all emotional base jumping. That’s one of the things I like to describe this work as to a lot of my friends. It’s emotional base jumping. It has scared me more than jumping off of cliffs on many occasions.

Ant: For sure. The anxiety piece, I like LP’s hack a lot. My hack is to name it to my team, and then to find the need. The other part of my 2.X is I start doing a simple thing, like I want to be surrounded by people who make me stronger. That was a weird one. That one came out on another podcast I was doing in remembrance of the murder of George Floyd. I did it for 12 months, on the last month, I was talking to [unclear], and I said something about how we want to take a look at the board. I said my criteria is, who makes me stronger. That has been an incredible breakthrough for me.

The work I do with Crystal, my chief of staff, with Kaitlin, my [unclear], with my executive team, LP I mentioned, Wendy and others is really inviting them into this work, because I think as we do it in community, we do it at a deeper level. We make each other stronger. That’s been another piece of prioritizing my needs in that way. Another thing that’s been a fun one is I love ‘no’. I love ‘no’ so much that I have a ‘no doctrine’.

Brett: What’s your no doctrine?

Ant: It is still under development, but it has been in place at Lyte for six months. I was discovering that people are prone to platitudes and there’s a lot of sentences that go something like this: I totally agree with that comment you made about base jumping and this being emotional base jumping. I really see how it is super scary. You are standing on earth and then you are jumping off earth. Blah, blah, blah, and then there’s like a dot, dot, dot. Then they say, but I actually think it is more like skydiving. This is fucking exhausting. I want what’s after the but, because what’s after the but is a no. Inside of that no is a deeper truth of a more robust product solution, a better response to this client, a strategy, and you are just not saying that, because I don’t know, but I know that there is some emotional story you are in that makes you think I need to hear a bunch of platitudes before we get to the no.

When we think about no as an enabler, not something to be overcome, but something to point us collectively in a group of people at something closer to the truth that we started with, then to me, an organization. This is a little strong, but I think an organization might be the sum total of its no and its speed to nos. It’s individual no’s and its ability to get to those no’s quickly and explore them. When we collide with each other, like when Joe saddles up next to me and the result of it is the comment he made to me, that’s collision. That collision unlocks a lot of energy that can take the conversation to another level.

I love ‘no’. I introduced the no doctrine as we lead with our no’s. We just flip it. You can do all the platitudes you need to do and make yourself feel good on your emotional journey, fine, but just lead with the no’s. Then I permissioned no’s aren’t anything we try to overcome. They aren’t anything we try to break down. They don’t even necessarily mean everything has to stop. We are going to get to the no’s as fast as possible and then we are going to explore those.

Brett: Welcoming the no.

Ant: Welcoming the no.

Brett: How has that impacted your ability to say no and what’s in there for you in how you communicate?

Ant: Where I struggle still is, I get into this thing of managing people, and it is really connected to my childhood, feeling I can’t say no, something I am going to say no is going to be misperceived and I am going to lose connection to the person I am talking to. That’s a big one for me, presuming I don’t want to lose connection to the people. If I don’t mind losing connection with you, all day.

For me, the practice of the no doctrine is exactly that. If I can start with no’s, then I have already set myself up. I have already knocked out fifty percent of my proclivity to try to manage your experience of what I am saying. That’s one I am still working on.

Brett: I would like to get back to that experience of stress within you. You have described a lot of the 2.0 Ant being different from the 1.0 symptoms you were experiencing. I am still curious about the somatic experience about when stress arises now, how is it different from when stress arose before when you were more dissociative?

Ant: Of course, I still feel stress, but I guess the point is I feel stress. I don’t then work out four times in a day and then rip out reactive emails to people, all the things we do in our crazy stressed times. I feel it. Typically behind the feeling of the stress is an emotional feeling that we are familiar with. Maybe it’s sadness. Maybe it’s anger or resentment. Maybe it’s old shit, shit that when you actually sit with it, you are like ‘woah’. You are not 8 years old. What’s coming up? You are good. You are here. You made it. Let me sit with that and love on that and let that move.

I always say move through me, and I don’t mean it like that. I had to let someone go. I called Joe right after, and I said I’m feeling super stressed, super anxious like my life is going to end. What the fuck? He said sit down for a second, close your eyes. What comes up? It was old stuff. He said sit with him, young me. We had a conversation. Then I basically told him to fuck off and go outside and play. At that moment, it was at a cellular level, it felt that stress had melted into fear, terror that had melted into just release. Then the joy came in. It was an intense body high. I could almost feel my body in that energy release moment, not like a sigh, like something had collided and now the energy was flowing back out of me ready to be creative, ready to build connection, ready for the next thing.

That to me is what sits behind the stress now every time it comes up. I’m not batting 1,000, but the on base percentage is getting better. At the bottom of that well, every time is a truth and an energy release that becomes creative and constructive.

Brett: What I hear you describing there is that before the shift, the stress felt like something that was just going to get in the way and then after having a couple of really big release valves open up, you started to build a trust, this faith that behind the stress comes energy, creativity, joy. Stress comes in all different types of flavors and somatic feelings. Some of them are still stuck from our childhood experience or other life experience. We can start to develop a meta-awareness of when stress comes up, feeling it transmuted into something else. What it sounds like you just described is you started to feel more alive than Ant 1.0 at these moments when stress came up.

Ant: That’s exactly, more alive.

Brett: That’s beautiful. Thank you so much Ant, for joining us and telling your story. I resonate a lot with everything you said. It was really a challenge to keep this podcast about you, because I kept wanting to be like there is a way that that resonates in me. I would love to do another one some time.

Ant: Remember that time Joe came into my team meeting and told everybody I am a stress ball because he is a fucker.

Brett: Maybe we should close this episode with one fuck you, Joe Hudson.

Ant: Let’s do it.

Brett: 3, 2, 1.

Brett and Ant: Fuck you, Joe Hudson.

Thanks for listening to The Art of Accomplishment. If you enjoyed what you heard today, please subscribe & rate us in your podcast app. We would love your feedback, so feel free to send us questions and comments. To reach out to us, join our newsletter, or check out our courses at artofaccomplishment.com

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