Anthony Trucks On Making Shift Happen
Are you ready to level up your life? Looking for tools and strategies to expand your capacity and become the person you've always wanted to be? Today's guest spent many years trying to do the same. Along the way, he's faced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. In the process, he's learned the secrets of "making shift happen." In today's episode of You Are Not Your Scars, best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and transformational identity shift coach, Anthony Trucks, chats with host Ellie Shefi about expanding your capacity and fueling your greatness! If you're ready to "make shift happen" and greatness is what you desire, do not miss this episode!
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Anthony Trucks On Making Shift Happen
Today's guest is a former foster child, NFL football player, competitor on American Ninja Warrior, best-selling author, sought-after speaker, media host, shift coach, and entrepreneur. He is the host of the Aww Shift Podcast and the author of the best-selling book, Identity Shift: Upgrade How You Operate to Elevate Your Life. He is regularly interviewed in print and on podcasts, television shows, and stages around the world. Speaking on leadership, resilience, motivation, peak performance, mindset, and diversity, he uses the challenges he has overcome and the lessons he has learned along the way to inspire and empower global audiences.
From being a child in foster care to playing in the NFL to becoming a successful business owner, he has accomplished what statistics would say is impossible. As a keynote speaker and identity shift coach, he uses cutting-edge science and psychology to teach people how to access the power of their identity, expand their capacity, tap into their full potential, and "make shift happen." Please welcome, Anthony Trucks.
That's an amazing introduction. I'm not going to lie. That's so well done. I'm like, "I want to meet this guy. He seems like a cool guy."
He is a very cool guy and I am honored to spend this time together. First, congratulations on being named by SUCCESS Magazine as being one of the Top 25 Inspiring Leaders in Business and Personal Development to Watch in 2022. That is awesome! Well done.
It was a fun one to get. I didn't know it was coming. Someone who subscribes to the magazine was like, "You're in a magazine." I'm like, "What magazine am I in?" They tell me and I go to the local Barnes & Nobles to check it out. I found the magazine, bought a copy to take home, and told my kids, "I told you I'm cool, kids."
Being in SUCCESS Magazine in their 125th-anniversary edition is a very well-deserved honor, my friend.
I appreciate it. It took me a lot of years to be able to say thank you and accept it. I receive that. Thank you.
The evil you know is better than the evil you don't.
You have had several "identities" over the course of your life's journey. I referenced some in your opening. Let's talk about a few of them.
Given away by your mother and placed in foster care at 3 years old, let's go right there. What was your earliest memory? How did that shape your early years?
The first memory is being given away. I do remember it oddly. I can tell you the layout of my house where it all took place. It's one of those things that I found out later: when you have traumatizing experiences, they sear themselves into your brain. For most people, their first memory of life is like, "I was hanging out with mom. We're going to the beach." Mine was my mom giving me and my siblings away.
That was my initial identity: being given away; being unwanted. That identity got rooted. When that happens, a seed grows from that of who you see yourself to be.
For many years, I dealt with abuse, starvation, and torture in the foster care system. When I was 8 to 14 years old, I didn't think I deserved much. I didn't think I was worth very much. I harbored this sense of I was a burden to most of the world and it was tough. As much as I would say it disappeared when I got a chance to go to college and NFL, it took me until my early 30s to feel like I had a worth to the world that was beyond just my ability to play sports.
For me, that identity of "I don't belong" was the first one. Anytime anybody has felt like "I don't belong" for whatever reason, that was my starting identity.
When did that shift?
It shifted many different times in different ways. To think that I don't belong, that first one shifted when I was able to get to the point of getting a college scholarship. In high school, I didn't belong. I was adopted by an all-white family. I was adopted into this realm where the community didn't look like me. I was the only person in my elementary school that looked like me. I never felt like I fully belonged. I did feel loved in my home but it wasn't anchored like, "I'm here."
In my first couple of years playing football, I wasn't very good. It wasn't until I had this off-season where I got tired of not feeling like I mattered, and I put this weird level of effort and energy into being great, that I came back the next year and was a dominant force when I played. That was the first moment in time when I felt like not only did I belong, but I also had risen to the top of my group of peers. I was the best player on the team and I played well. That was the first time where I was like, "I do belong. I do have a space in this world. This is my space and it's the football field."
That must have been quite an adjustment from feeling like you don't belong and you don't have a place in the world to then being adopted at 14 by an all-white family that had children of their own. What was that experience like for you when you're already carrying this identity already of "I don't belong?" You don't look like them, you’re not biologically related, and you're coming into this environment where you feel loved, but there's still that feeling of not quite belonging. How did you navigate that? I know feeling like you don't belong is something that so many people struggle with. They could benefit from your insight.
That's the thing. I do what I do now and I share these stories because I know people will benefit. It doesn't always benefit me to share it, to be quite honest, but I do realize that there's a lot within my story that I didn't realize was a benefit to the world.
At this time, we're talking from the age of 6 to 14. I was in this family; we were poor. So on top of everything else, we didn't have much. We had bags from the Goodwill. They would give us bags because we didn't have much of anything.
So beyond feeling like I didn't belong, there was the added sense of, "I'm a poor kid." I had holes in my shoes. I had this massive afro because I couldn't afford to get my hair cut. I didn't have much and I also didn't look like them. It was a lot.
So what you do is you find a way to survive. I think that's what a lot of life is. You're just surviving. When you are surviving, you're not in a joyous, fulfilled, and happy space. Because of that, the actions you take from that space aren't helpful.
Also, the world is a reflection of what you believe you deserve for the most part. Many people operate from the paradigm of, "I believe this is what I deserve." I thought this is what life was supposed to be so I didn't aspire for more. I didn't shoot for more. I was just going to school, trying to get by, do my thing and go home. It ended up being this lackluster existence.
While I had this happen as a kid, a lot of people are just surviving in adulthood. They're in relationships or careers they don't want to be in. They don't like how they look in the mirror.
You have to fall in love with the day, not the destination.
The truth of the matter is we get normalized to this pain. They say, "The evil you know is better than the evil you don't." At that time in my life, it was the evil that I knew. I didn't know differently and I didn't want to get this energy to shoot up just to be shoved back down. At the base of me, I was like, "My own mom didn't want me. What makes me think that I should do great things?" That was the thought.
To be honest, I look at all those emotions and feelings as a level of suffering. It's the suffering of not feeling like I mattered and not being able to eat because we didn't have food. It's the suffering that comes in the form of feeling like the world doesn't like you and you don't feel accepted by a tribe or a group. As tribal beings, we need that. When you're suffering in that manner, the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Survival is doing nothing. It's passionless work. What I did to go from that not feeling like I belonged to playing football and being an amazing all-star was an uncomfortable set of actions. That's what a lot of us don't do. When you don't feel like doing the thing, that’s when you absolutely have to do the thing. That's why I believe that action ends suffering. It may not be the first action, but one action you take will end the suffering.
You take action one step at a time. Action begets action and action begets clarity. Action is how you get momentum. You went from not knowing how to play football to deciding that you had had enough. You put in the work and then emerged a force to be reckoned with because you took consistent action. You made a decision and you put in the work to then be this all-star, getting your full scholarship to play in college, and then going on to the NFL.
There's that "because" that you said. There's so much weight in the "because." Here's what I realized about human beings: we will battle for what we believe we deserve. I will fight for my piece of the pie, “I'm taking a piece of the pie. Don't touch my pie.” If we feel like we have a high deserving level, we'll fight for it. We will also fight for what we believe we deserve even if it's down low.
If you believe you deserve more, you will fight for more. If you believe you deserve mediocrity, you'll fight for mediocrity. You'll fight to stay small. You'll have the fear of success. What I realized over time when I was in the process of taking action, was that it wasn't this thing where I took the action and I all of a sudden feel it.
There's what I call investment bias. As humans, we have this investment bias. If I give something, I want a return. If I give money, I want something back for whatever I paid for. In actions, it's the emotion. When I said unconfident, it’s usually that unconfident action I take that I don't feel great about it now, but I take it and I feel a little bit better. Over the time that I do it, I'm investing. What happens over time is the unconfident acts that didn't feel like me in the first place begin to compound and the return ends up being "this is who I am now."
When I talk about this investment bias, the more work you do in the dark, the more that level of investment rises to a level of deserving. When I got on that football field, I had this mentality of, "I had done too much work in the dark for you to take what was mine in the light. This is my football and my play. I'm going to win it." It wasn't because I woke up and said, "You deserve it." It's because I did that dark unconfident action work overtime.
You put in the time and work. It's that drive, determination, and discipline that you had to do the thing when you didn't want to do it. You got up and hit the gym when you didn't want to hit the gym, when you were tired, when the weather wasn't great or when maybe you weren't feeling so hot. You made a decision, you took action, you committed to yourself, and then you developed those muscles of discipline.
You have to because if you don't, then at the end of the day, you're not going to have the outcome. This is not new information. It’s a hard thing. I hear people say, "I've heard it before." I go, "You've heard it before, but did you listen to it?" The idea is we all get to this point of we took the action and are committed to it.
If your identity doesn't match your dream, you won't get it.
At that moment, we're looking for a commitment to the end destination to motivate us to keep moving. That is the wrong focus. What we should be saying is, “How do I stay disciplined?” Broken down, it's "disciple-plan" or to follow a plan. The idea is how I stay in this space of following a plan.
First, have a plan. Most people don't. We just have this emotion that drives us, "I'm determined and my willpower is going to get me there." No, have a plan.
Secondly, I'm big on you've got to fall in love with the day, not the destination. It's like climbing a mountain. If you hate the entire climb of the mountain, you're not going to be on the peak very long. It's not even worth the travel. If you love every step of the hike up the mountain and seeing the animals, all of a sudden you go, "I'm at the top of the mountain. This is cool."
It's the cherry on top and then you go, "I want to go back to climbing more mountains." You fall in love with the process of the day. The minutia that people hate, you love. What happens is you climb more mountains and you have more peaks. If you only love the destination, you'll hate climbing, which means you don't get to have as many peaks.
How do you find joy in the moments of the day of the journey?
You find them on purpose. There are a lot of things that I do on a daily basis that I do not thoroughly enjoy. This is the nature of the world we live in. You have to go intentionally seek something, because if not, you'll see what your brain goes out to find. If you're looking at something going, "I hate this," you'll always find things you hate. If you go, "I'm going to find a way to love this," you'll find things that you love.
There are certain honey-dos that my wife asks me to do, and there are things that I'm like, "I don't want to do that." In those moments, I go, "There's this album I've been wanting to listen to. I'm going to play that in the background when I go and do this work." When my wife wants me to go and help her at one of her businesses, I'm going to go because I get to spend a half-hour there and a half-hour back hanging out with my wife. I want to do that. I purposely seek to find the joy. When you have that joyful focal point, you're getting what you want out of the effort you give.
The byproduct will be the task that I don't want to do gets done, but I'm not in it for the byproduct of the task. I'm in it for the reason I set out, which was to spend time with my wife or listen to the album. When I do that on purpose, I have a lot more joy in life and I have a lot more perspective that filters and sees things that could be negative as more positive. I have more enjoyment in life and I'm enjoying the steps of the day. I'm not having this burnout at the end.
A lot of people are creeping towards burnout or holding just short of it every single day. Burnout is an emotion. It's how you feel based on what you're doing. If all of a sudden, the thing that was hard to do becomes difficult to not do, there's no more burnout. It's enjoyment. You can be the person that hates working out and it drives you insane. You get in shape and you go, "I hate this,” and you blow back up or you go, "I love working out. I can't imagine a day not working out.” You'll stay in shape for longer and you're healthy. There's a difference there. It's a matter of perspective and also who you see yourself to be in time.
I love your notion of taking advantage of net time. You mentioned listening to an album while you're doing the honey-do list or the tasks that maybe you don't love. In doing that, you're feeding your soul. You're doing some self-care because you've been wanting to listen to the album. You're going to get in the groove and it's going to give you energy. You're taking advantage of the time that you would be doing something that maybe in-and-of-itself wouldn't bring you joy and intentionally layering in things that would bring you joy. You are conditioning yourself to find joy. It's a muscle. You are being intentional about how you're layering that in. You're taking advantage of "no extra time."
You also referenced reframing your perspective to take advantage of that drive time to and from helping your wife with her business to spend quality time with your wife and to be able to connect. I love how what you're telling the audience to do is to control your perspective, make intentional choices, and take advantage of the NET time (the "no extra time"). You also referenced habit stacking and how you layer in these things so that you are creating the routines that sustain the habits, whether that's the gym or finding joy.
The last person you want to meet on your deathbed is the person you could have been.
I have this infatuation with focus. Whenever we're in a flow state, time melts away, and it almost feels like I'm nourished. I could have been in focus for the last hour writing a book that has been tough to write. When I get past that first five minutes, it's like the thought of "I don't want to do it but I should get into that" starts to melt away. I start to pay attention and dial in my focus on it. All of a sudden, that feeling of "have to" disappears and I'm in the groove. None of the rest of that negative stuff is there. I'm in such a focus flow.
Distraction kills us. With distraction, our energy dies. When I'm all over the place and I feel drained, if I can get rid of the distractions and focus, so much more gets done. I need something to focus on. When we go into these things and all I'm focusing on is negative, I will find ways to get my phone out and I'll do different stuff.
When you're distracted, the thing you needed to get done doesn't get done. Then you feel guilty because it didn't get done and now you're behind schedule and you have anxiety, stress and arguments as a result. Or, you could have chosen to focus on something positive, which gets you in that focused flow space and allows you to get that thing done. In that space, you have more joy. You've enjoyed doing the thing, have made more progress, have more peace, and have energy to move forward.
These are things that everyone can do. It doesn't matter where you're from and what resources you have. You can control your focus. You can choose what you're focusing on. You can develop your discipline and perspective muscle. You can find gratitude and joy. These are amazing things that so many people need right now. You're empowering people to "make shift happen."
If you remove the "f," people get what that means to make shifts happen. No shift happens without action being taken and momentum being created. People know all the things we're saying. They’re like, "I should be able to get focused and be disciplined." The hard part is people don't do it. They just sit down and go, "I've got to get this done." That's what they do.
Now, the onslaught of all the things they should have prepared for or should have done comes pouring down on them. They get to the space of anxiety, frustration, and overwhelm. All of a sudden, they're trying to survive the day and then distract themselves with a TV show and a bottle of alcohol at night.
Instead, the most important thing for someone to ask themselves is, "How do I find a way to get focused?" When you know what needs to get done, sit down and make a plan.
Don't just go block time like, "I'm going to make a podcast on Friday." Sit down and go, "What are the steps to make a podcast? How much time is it going to take?" Spend an hour or two hours before you even move into action and plan out what it looks like. Then, you can sit down and you can now focus. Having a plan allows you to focus easier and get more done. Sure, without a plan you can do some things and make progress over time, but when you have too much to focus on, you are killing yourself.
Too much to focus on equals distraction, analysis paralysis, or overwhelm, and all that happens then is that nothing gets done.
Now, we've touched on the fact that you've had several different "identities" in your life's journey. Through all of them, you had to cultivate the ability to pivot and shift, and you've made numerous pivots and shifts throughout your life. What was the shift in your identity from being an NFL player to being an entrepreneur?
Over time, all of us have been led into an identity. It either happens by chance or by choice. For most of us, it happens by chance. We read, saw, and learned something as a kid and the beliefs became instilled in us until we took on the associated identity.
For me, there was a journey of "identities" ranging from that initial feeling of not belonging to being an all-star football player to being a young father to being the first one in my family to go to college. There were "identities" that arose when my adoptive mom was sick, and of course there are all the "identites" around being in the NFL. When you get into the NFL, it's weird because that's one of those identities that becomes an anchor identity. It's who you are: "I'm an NFL player."
At some point in time, either by choice or by chance, you lose it. I had an injury and my NFL career ended. I came home and I was like, "Who is Anthony without football? I'm nobody."
It’s the analogy of the fruit or the tree. I saw myself as the apple, and the apple fell off the tree and rotted. It took me time to realize that we have never been the fruit. We have always been the tree.
The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
When I was only looking at myself as that one piece of fruit, I lost sight of the tree and the rest of the fruits. I didn't water it or give it nutrients or prune the branches. My marriage, my health, and everything else fell apart. My business was tanking. I wasn't anything. It’s all because I had lost sight of what was producing the fruit, which was me.
The biggest shift I had was in 2016 when I woke up and realized, "I don't like who I am. I feel guilty and ashamed of the person that I am." For some reason, I couldn't see the path out. I had been doing the things - buying the courses, reading the books, all this stuff - and I still didn't like myself. I had to ask myself, "What is going on?" The more I looked at it, I hadn't been taking the actions in the direction of what would be my level of joy or my greatness. I was doing what I had to do to survive.
In that spot, I did the first thing that we all have to do. I finally saw myself.
So many people end up being in funky places but still doing work and going, "Why am I not getting farther ahead? I'm doing the work. I'm doing the thing." Yes, but are you doing the stuff that you feel comfortable doing or the stuff that doesn't scare you or the things you saw somebody else do? It's not your work. If you don't do your work, you can get tired and get nowhere.
I had to take a hard, critical, ego-based look and go, "Where do I need to stop my ego from showing up and stop being in denial? I've got to work on this specific thing that may poke my soul, but it's got to be done." When you notice those, it is not fun. We all have friends that will tell us those things, and so many of us cut the friends off, saying, "You don't support me." Maybe they support you enough to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
At that moment, I was like, "This guy that I have been isn't the guy I want to be. How do I change that?" I can't wish it to change. I can't pray for it to change. I've got to do things that I don't feel comfortable with. It's the same as I did when I was in high school or college or at the NFL. I've found these things to do and the more I did them, the more I invested, the more the return came. I'm not a bad guy anymore. I'm a present husband. I'm a great father. I started building and building.
Here's the big thing we don't create for ourselves: we don't create proof. We have proof of all the things we can't do. We can see it all day long and that stops us from creating positive proof. I had to create a more positive proof. The more I created it, the more it created me. That is a cycle that I've learned: what you create, creates you.
When you create the sculpture a million times, you're not just a guy that made sculptures, you're a sculptor. When you get in the boxing ring every day for ten years, you become a boxer. It didn't happen on day one. It happened over the progression of investment to where you are now.
We've got to start looking at the things we do. When I go back, all the tools and everything were at my fingertips, but I didn't identify as the guy that could do the things. I didn't take the action. I had this limited capacity in my identity. Identity is tied to our human capacity. Capacity is our ability to mentally and physically power, produce, perform, and operate.
If I can't power, produce, perform, or operate something in my life because I don't have the necessary mental or physical capacity, it doesn't matter what I want to do or what I have a dream of doing, I won't be able to do it. If my identity is not in that space, I don't get the dream.
If your identity doesn't match the dream, you don't get it. A lot of it ties to, "What are the actions? What capacity must I increase or expand to be able to do these things and eventually over time, feel like that's who I am?"
It’s taking that action. Now, some people might say, "I don't know what my capacity is." What I hear you saying is get the books, do the courses, ask the questions, find the mentors, and put yourself into proximity with communities or groups where you're able to look at someone else and go, "They can do it and this is how they're doing it."
Success leaves clues. It's asking for help and being in proximity. To your earlier point, when you can see it and you see the positive proof that at least a pathway exists and somebody is doing the thing that you desire to do, then it opens up that possibility for yourself that if they can do it, maybe you could do it too.
That's the first part of it. If you don't believe it's possible, you won't commit to the actions of it. We always say, "You're the average of the five people you surround yourself with." I don't think that's true. I think you're the average of the expectations of the five people. If their expectations are above yours or at an expanded level, then you’ll assume that you’ve got to aspire to that.
A lot of us gather information but don't take action. We buy the books and take the courses and get "shelf-esteem." That's where I buy it and it sits on the shelf in my house or on my computer. My course is unopened or I consume too much of it and it sits on the shelf of my mind. I feel good that it's there, but it never goes into my life. It's because I don't have the capacity that somebody else does that allows them to learn and rapidly translate that to quick action.
I look at that and go, "That's the capacity thing." There’s a process to expanding capacity. If something happens, first assess what's going on. Take a look at what's going on. "Can I do it? What's the situation?” Then make a plan. Then say, "Let me prepare for this. I'll read, consume and practice this." Then take action.
A lot of people get stuck. What they do is they either have imposter syndrome which is, "I don't identify with that. I can't take an unconfident action, so I don't take any action," or they get to this point where they take a low threshold action, which is a sub-action that doesn't do much or have them expand and so they have more proof that they are not capable.
The only solution is to take that uncomfortable action at a bold level that allows you to go, "Maybe I can do more." It's going to feel uncomfortable like it's not you. It's going to feel too fast and too much. If you're a race car driver and you know that the goal is to go 180 miles an hour, but at 120 you get freaked out and you let off the gas or press the brake, you're going to be afraid to go past 120 and you'll never reach 180.
The goal in that example is, "How do I normalize to this speed?" That's expansion. Instead of slowing down, grab the steering wheel, hold on and find a way to accelerate and go faster. It’s in that moment that we truly expand and what was hard before becomes easy. Now, it's becomes a no-brainer.
I read the books, do the courses, do the things and I’m like, "Give me more,” because I have the capacity to do so. I say it's either expand on demand or when crap hits the fan.
We wait until we're up against it. When we’re broke or the marriage is falling apart or the doctor said something is going on, then we move. Why not expand on purpose?
I look at it metaphorically. Let's say I have five things in my house that I want to power on, but I only have two plugs. Maybe you have this aspiration for marriage, parenting, health, hobbies, and a business. In our houses, we typically only have two outlets, so we're constantly unplugging one thing to plug something else in. This is where we get to this point of we don't have sufficient capacity. That leaves you constantly trying to figure out the perfect combination. Let's say you're going to have your marriage and your health plugged in. Then all of a sudden, your business falters, so you unplug the marriage and plug the business in there. Then your marriage falters so you unplug health and plug your marriage back in. Now your marriage is improving and your business is back on track but your health deteriorates. We're trying to power these five areas with two plugs. The goal isn't to frantically unplug and plug or find the perfect combination. The goal is to expand capacity so you can plug all five of those in at the same time and have room for more.
As you do more, you experience more. You want to be able to have more hobbies, friends, and things. It's not a matter of trying to find the perfect combination, but it's like, "How do I have enough plugs to power this?"
What do you do to fuel your tank so that you have the energy to try the things, to constantly serve, and to align and remain aligned? What's your self-care practice?
It's my capacity stuff. Capacity is a matter of your mental and physical ability to power your production, performance, and operation. On the mental front, I like to make sure I'm very present in the moment. I'm present. My coach in college laid this on me years ago. It took me years to get it, but he said, "Be where you are, when you are." I'm here with you right now. I'm not on my email. I'm not on my phone. I'm not thinking about anything else. I'm present.
Because of that, it allows me to be so present here that when I leave this space, I don't feel guilty. In the next space, I can do the same thing. If you're present in the moments that you've planned for yourself, you'll find that you get so much more done. You feel guilt-free as you progress through life. That's the first piece of it mentally. I also meditate, read, and learn. I do the things that my brain likes to do and things that don't so I can strengthen it and grow it to where eventually what's hard becomes easy.
Physically, we have this weird perception that our body is designed to carry our brain around. It's not. Your body is designed to fuel your brain. If you do certain things below the neck, it makes everything above the neck happen better and more efficiently with less stress. I have a training regimen. I have a massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, personal trainer, and nutritionist. I have as much now for my body as I did when I played the NFL, and I'm not running around tackling people anymore.
I realize that whenever I move my body and take care of it, it allows my brain to function better. It levels off dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. I can create more BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors). I can study, pay attention, and remember more so I'm of more value to the world. The more value I bring to the world, the better my life gets, with more freedom, time, and fun. It's a cycle. It's only because I've expanded my capacity on demand. I don't want to get to a point where I can't handle the life I've created for myself, even if it's a success.
I'm purposely always in a space of I'm not going to wait for a trigger that throws me. I'm going to create the trigger, get better, faster, stronger, lift some more weight, run fast, get some more cardio in, and read more books. I'm going to assess who I am right now and see what I've got to work on. I have to make a plan for my stuff and what I'm going to do. I have to practice. I practice not just to practice, but to be a champion.
A lot of us read the book to read the book or take the course for the course. I'm practicing to teach it, to be able to embody it, and to apply it to my life, and then when it comes to the actions, I'm going to do things that are uncomfortable on purpose. I'm not going to wait for the crap to hit the fan. I'm going to do it on demand.
I'm going to try that thing and go, "Let's do it," and I'm going to lean in. Now, I'm in a place of control of my life that's different from anybody else that I know.
You're doing it intentionally. You're training yourself on-demand.
You're either waiting on life to throw you a bone and hoping you survive a situation, or you get prepared and stay ready so you don't have to get ready.
Stay ready and design your life with intentionality. Have a plan and a practice that allows you to live the life that you love, in alignment, with the capacity that you desire.
What can you suggest as a practical step for someone who is looking to increase their capacity and add that one more plug? What is something they can do now to expand?
There are a lot of things. The true expansion takes place at the moment of action. If we're going to take the shortest path to expand, it's going to be the moment you're faced with something that scares you, whatever it may be. That's going to be the capacity to expand things. Try to step back for a minute, breathe and then go full bore. What I tell people is to ask this single question, "What would the person who has everything I want do in this situation right now?" That's an identity question that's outside of us.
If I'm asking, "What should I do?" I'll do what I feel comfortable doing. There are people that are at very high levels that we are aware of and if I was to ask you what a certain person would do, you could probably tell me, "I know what my husband, wife, or friend would do. I know what The Rock would do, or what Oprah might do."
You can say it and when you know what it is, now you go, “That's what they would do.” You pull it back to you and go, "That means I've got to do it." You'll feel that little bit of pressure and anxiety, but you take the action boldly. You're not going to have a ton of confidence in the things you haven't done, but the first step is to ask the question and then take that action. If you do that and you do it consistently, you'll find that life becomes something completely different for you.
Consistency is key! I love the tip you gave to get outside yourself and ask yourself what would the person already doing the thing you want to do, do? I loved your point that we do know the answer. When you ask yourself, "What would they do?," you know they would do A, B and C. It's powerful when you don't have the clarity within to go external like that.
Now, how did you align your knowledge, skills and passions with your identity and your life's purpose?
I set my own scale. We borrow the world's scale fairly often. Most of us have no scales of our own. Whatever scale we have is what my hero would shoot for, what I saw on TV, or what my friends say is big. I've realized that anytime I've borrowed the world's scale, it kills me because it's never good enough. There's always something more you can do.
What I started doing to align all that was go, "What's great for me? What will be my version of harmony when I'm hustling? What's my hustle harmony? What's my thing?" What happens is the world can go, "You didn't do this." But I go, "Let me take a look at my scale. I didn't do that, but for me, it feels good.”
I still have the positive energy necessary to keep showing up in the world. That allows me to stay in alignment with my views, values, and what's necessary for me to feel like I have my principles locked in and I show up in that way, regardless of what the world says.
Having that simple golden thread or my own North Star allows me to get up every day, do things that I love, and be proud of them. I may not do it as Tom across the street does. For example, 2:30 in the afternoon is when I cut it off. I am no longer working. I get my kids from school. We come home. We go throw the football on the field, workout, or whatever it is. I'm a dad. Even after that, I rarely get back to the computer and do work. Most people go, "You could still get a couple more hours in before you go to bed." I could, but then I'd be sacrificing something I don't want to sacrifice. I don’t have the success that you may deem, but I have my version of success. When you compare it to mine, I go, "That's great. Cool," but I feel great about my thing because I set my own scale.
In setting your own scale, is that your internal gauge to know whether you're staying aligned and on track?
If I use the idea of the world scale, it's like saying, "I set the GPS for a town." I'm setting my GPS for the address of a specific house. I know what the house looks like, what color it is, and even what the grass looks like. I know it all. When I go to gauge my success, I go, "Am I on track to get to the destination I set the fastest?" If not, you're just heading out of the house hoping you land somewhere. I'm not going to live my life that way. As you said, alignment is that blue line. It’s a line and if I know where that destination is and I've set that to be my scale, then I'm progressing down that pathway and everything is fine.
You are truly the embodiment of someone who is using your experience, your voice and your story as a way to transform lives and to live as a force for good. Thank you so much for all that you do in the world. Thank you for how you show up and for how you serve. Thank you for your willingness to be open, present, and vulnerable, not only with me and with your clients, but with the millions of people around the world that you serve.
You have your podcast, you are a sought-after speaker, and you have a best-selling book. You have a wide variety of programs to help people shift their identities, expand their capacity, and then step into their full life. Talk to us about some of your programs and services.
I'm not a big fan of a bunch of information. With the idea of shifting identity, nobody woke up and goes, "I want to shift my identity today." What people do know is, "I wish I could feel more on top of things. I wish I could get more done. I wish I could feel like I had confidence." People don't want that frantic unplugging and plugging we talked about, they want something I call "hustle harmony.”
There are different parts of the hustle: business, marriage, parenting, friendships, health, etc. The idea is if you can have them all plugged in and have room for more, you'd be in what I call "hustle harmony." Everything is getting the power it needs to operate and function. There’s no burnout. You feel at peace. So what I provide is a process. We use to call it the Shift Method. You shift out of hustle headaches into hustle harmony. It is a state of how you flow, so it's an identity, but it's more tangible.
As I said, I don't like a bunch of info. We've got enough of it in this world nowadays. There are enough books, courses, and programs for the time being. In time, you'll need more, but for now, most people would have a lot of this stuff. The issue isn't, "Do I have enough?" The issue is, "Do I have the capacity to consume and learn it, and rapidly translate that to action?" That's an issue people don't have the answer to right now.
When I come in, I go, "I'm going to help you expand your capacity and develop the skill of doing it." Not to learn a bunch of stuff, but I'm going to show you how to develop a skill. A skill is a repeatable thing you can do to get your result immediately that you get better at over time.
Let's say I'm a painter. In the beginning, it was hard to paint. After a while, you paint without even thinking about it. There's a whole story about Picasso. He's at a restaurant and someone walks up and says, "Can you give me a little picture of that?" He goes, "It's $15,000." They go, "You did it in 60 seconds." He says, "No, I did it in the last 40 years - what you saw me do in 60 seconds. If not, you would have made this picture yourself." It's a skill and eventually, it becomes second nature to you.
I help people develop that skill of capacity expansion so that what they are trying to accomplish can be accomplished.
You serve so powerfully. Service is a hallmark of your life. I know that you give back to the community and you do a lot behind the scenes. Tell us one organization that we can get behind and support that is near and dear to your heart.
There's one that I sit on the board of. It's called the National Angels. You can go to NationalAngels.org. It is a great organization for foster kids. It's one of the closest things to my heart as a former foster youth. There are a lot of people that go, "Anthony, do you serve the foster youth because it would be great?" I go, "I do but you're not going to see it heavily in the public. It's my time to serve them at a human level, not to make me look good."
NationalAngels.org is a great organization that I love and am proud to sit on the board of.
Let's imagine you're coming to the end of your life best-lived. You've climbed the peaks. You've been the present father. Your kids are happy. You've been the present husband. You have left it all on the field. What do you want people to say about you? What do you want to be remembered for?
I always say the last person you want to meet on your deathbed is the person you could have been. I think and talk about it often. At the end of my days, as long as the people who are closest to me know that they were the most important parts of my life, then I'm good. If you think about it, a thousand years from now, very few people will remember or remember it the correct way. At the end of the day, it's that the people that mattered most to me are aware that they mattered the most to me.
You've had a lot of coaches and mentors. You've been around the best of the best. What's the best piece of advice someone has given you?
It's from someone that I have never personally met, but I saw him speak a couple of times. It's a guy named Harvey Mackay. He said, "The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement." It's a very simple yet powerful thing: this, "I have never arrived” mentality.
I'll always learn. I enjoy the learning process. There's never going to be a day that I know everything. They say, “You don't know what you don't know if you don't know that you don't know it.” I'm going to continue to keep expanding and learning.
How can people connect with you and find out more about your work?
The best place to go is AnthonyTrucks.com. You can find out about my work there.
Follow me on social media. That's a great place too.
If you want to grab the book, you can go to IdentityShiftBook.com
Everybody, run and connect with Anthony. He has been through so many things and he has been able to develop this skill and now he imparts it when he's speaking, in his books, podcasts, and programs. Get into proximity with this man.
Thank you so much for spending this time with us. Any parting words that you would like to share with the audience?
Go out there and live a life worth telling a story about. I want to have my grandkids come to my house and when they come to the house, I've always got good stories to share.
Go out there and make shift happen. The reason I say shift is you have to shift something inside like how you see things, then shift the action you take. That's how to change your life in the long run. Make a plan. Expand your capacity. And go out there and make shift happen!
About Anthony Trucks
Anthony Trucks is a former foster child, NFL football player, competitor on American Ninja Warrior, best-selling author, sought-after speaker, media host, Shift coach and entrepreneur. Host of the Awww Shift Podcast and author of the best-selling book Identity Shift: Upgrade how you operate to elevate your life, Anthony is regularly interviewed in print and on podcasts, television, and stages around the world.
Speaking on leadership, resilience, motivation, peak performance, mindset, and diversity, Anthony uses the challenges he’s overcome and the lessons he’s learned along the way to inspire and empower global audiences. From being a child in foster care - to playing in the NFL - to becoming a successful business owner, he has accomplished what statistics would say is impossible.
As a keynote speaker and identity shift coach, Anthony uses cutting-edge science and psychology to teach people how to access the power of their identity to expand their capacity, tap into their full potential, and Make Shift Happen!