Our guest today is Justin Caffrey, a serial entrepreneur, thought leader on resilience, mindfulness and well-being. In this episode, we talked about grief, inner transformation, and why many people need a crisis to discover themselves. If you are feeling under pressure, would like to build resilience or find your life purpose, then this episode is for you.
“I don't think I was ever motivated by money but motivated by the need to not worry about it.”
Justin grew up in an environment where his parents struggled financially To break out of this cycle, he started his career in financial services in London. He was very motivated to make money and after his first successes in financial services started his own business. Over the years, Justin became a serial entrepreneur and built and exited several 7-figure businesses.
From the age of 20 to 30, he was working nonstop and felt like he could only define himself through his work.
Justin exited his first business at age 32 after his first child was born, but immediately started a new one. When his wife became pregnant with their second child, they started to think about relocating somewhere near the sea with a warmer climate. The family went to Spain for a vacation and to explore if this was the place they wanted to relocate to.
However, while they were there, the baby was born prematurely at just 26 weeks.
11 Months Of Love And Presence
“Our whole world stopped, and we tried desperately to get him to a point where he was healthy enough to get him out of Spain.”
The doctors gave a very limited chance that baby Joshua would survive as he had many medical challenges and weighed only 920 grams when he was born.
Justin describes his son Joshua as his very first and most important Zen teacher as he was able to be in the present moment for the very first time. He was previously just running after success and worked so much, that he could never appreciate the present moment until that time.
Now, as he had to be in the hospital or at home with his 3-year-old son, Justin had to be present all the time. According to him, very often we need a real crisis or hit rock bottom before we can realize and appreciate the small things in life, and shift our mindsets.
After 6 months in the NICU, Justin and his wife could take Joshua home, but he still had many challenges. They were back in the hospital every other week. Eventually, the doctors told them that they couldn’t help Joshua anymore, and they had to make the incredibly difficult decision to let him go.
Joshua could spend 2 weeks with his family at home and passed away peacefully.
Getting Back To His Old Ways
“I realized that it was only a matter of time before I ran out of space so I needed to take action.”
Although these 11 months were incredibly life-changing and mindful for Justin, he decided to go back to work immediately after Joshua´s funeral and put all his grief into working even harder than before.
Four years passed, and Justin started to have health problems. He experienced panic attacks at work but didn’t take them seriously at first. He also fell into a serious depression.
Eventually, the pressure was so heavy on him, that he decided to get professional help. Justin went to a psychiatrist who used meditation and mindfulness in his practices. He went into intensive therapy for 3 months, and it was so successful, that Justin became his student for 2 years.
After this experience, Justin knew that he had to leave financial services and become a therapist and a coach himself.
Justin’s Life Purpose
“Within three months my life has changed.”
In order to change his life, Justin had to face Joshua’s death and his own grief. He had to bring himself to radical acceptance, which was incredibly painful, but the only way to move on with his life.
According to Justin, if we let go of the toxicity of our emotions and accept our grief, then what’s left is the beautiful memory of the person who passed away, and the appreciation of the time we’ve spent together with them.
Justin’s view on success also changed. Now he measures success in service, giving to others, and the feedback he gets from them.
Palma’s Reflection On Befriending Your Emotions
We invite you today to start a check-in exercise.
First, notice how your body is feeling. Is it tense or relaxed, restless, or calm? What sensations are present in the body?
Secondly, check-in with your mind. Notice the thoughts that are present in your mind, allow them to appear and pass through.
Lastly, turn towards your emotions. What emotions are present in this moment? Label them briefly, and also notice where they appear in the body. Whenever you notice that you have an emotion just gently notice what's present at the level of the body.
If you would like to learn how to befriend your emotions and work with them in a deeper way, then check out Palma’s course on Expert Academy
About Our Guest, Justin Caffrey
Justin is a recognized thought leader in Mindfulness, Resilience, and well-being. A proven multi-business entrepreneur in different sectors and countries. He has built and sold multiple regulated companies with seven-figure exits. As a financial services professional, Justin is a Certified Investment Fund / Hedge Fund Director and private equity investor. He sat on the Board of a UK Government company for seven years, where he chaired both the Audit and Remuneration Committees. In 2019 & 2020 he was awarded the prestigious accreditation of All Ireland All-Star Thought Leader in Personal Development. After losing his son in 2011, Justin turned to Eastern psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience, to help aid his own recovery. Specialist field: Subjective Emotive Brief Therapy (SEBT), Resilience, and Neuroscience.
A special thanks to Justin Caffrey for taking the time to share his inspiring story with us.
Resources Mentioned In The Show:
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