Best-selling author, lifestyle entrepreneur, and founder of Professional Basketball Combine, Jake Kelfer, talks to Adam Markel about his journey to success and the beliefs that got him to where he is today. Jake helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create impactful businesses by elevating others and bringing them along your journey of success. Today, Jake lives this principle through the Professional Basketball Combine, which gives basketball players an opportunity to showcase their talents in the hopes of being drafted. Learn more about Jake’s powerful success principle and how you it could impact your own success.
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The Journey Of Success: Elevate Other People And Achieve True Greatness With Jake Kelfer
I am feeling good and grateful. It feels great to say that. Somebody says, “How are you? How are you doing?” I’m from New York originally. It’s that whole, “How you are doing,” thing a funny little exchange that I’m used to since the time I’m a kid. As I have gotten older, when somebody asked me that question, I want to give them an honest answer. Growing up in New York, the standard answer was great, fine. How are you doing? You didn’t even answer the question. Somebody says, “How you are doing?” You say, “How you are doing?” Nobody even answered the question, as I recall.
Several years, people ask me and I want to be honest about my answer to them. Not every day do we feel great. Not every day does a body feel great. Not every day do we mentally feel fit. We are at our best. Maybe financially we don’t feel great every day. There is a lot of shit going on in the world that can feel less than great. When I started to say this, I started to notice how it felt for me to say I’m good and grateful. Both of those things felt true. If I’m great, I don’t mind saying I’m great, for sure. I feel good and grateful together. I won’t even say what it means because I got a great guest.
We are going to dive into some of this juicy bit together. His name is Jake Kelfer. He and I are going to chat about a number of things. We are going to track that. It’s usually no accident that those things come through at the beginning of a show. Jake is a lifestyle entrepreneur, a life elevator, which we can talk about too, a coach to ambitious entrepreneurs and freedom seekers, helping people create incredibly impactful and profitable businesses. He is a bestselling author of Elevate Beyond and Elevate Your Network, a high-energy motivational speaker and the Founder of the Professional Basketball Combine, which helps NBA draft prospects turn their dreams of playing pro basketball into their reality. There is a lot to unpack there. I’m looking forward to that. He and his work has been featured on Forbes, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and many other major media outlets. I’m looking forward to this conversation so much Jake. Thanks for being a guest on the show.
I appreciate you. I’m pumped to be here. I’m feeling good and grateful. Let’s do this thing.
Are you a basketball player yourself?
I consider myself a basketball player just now. It says it’s recreational, not legitimize. No one is taking that away from me ever.
With that definition in place, I’m a basketball player too. I grew up playing schoolyard basketball. I never got my dad’s height. He was a good basketball player. I love the sport. It’s an interesting thing. That ESPN special called The Last Dance was the documentary about the last season when Michael Jordan was playing with the Bulls as well as Scottie Pippen and the rest of that dynasty team playing together. Did you see that series, Jake?
Of course, I’m a basketball nut. If a show like that comes out, I’m glued to the TV. For me, I’m a young dude and as a Lakers fan and Southern California kid, I grew up with Kobe. This plays a huge role in my story. I had always heard that Michael was the GOAT, the greatest but I didn’t get to witness it because I was 6, 7 when they won in the ‘90s. Being able to see that documentary for me was eye-opening because you got to see who Michael Jordan was outside of the stories or the old clips. That was so cool for me to see that.No matter how great we are as an individual, we can never achieve true greatness without other people. Click To Tweet
It is epic even in watching it so many years later to see some of what they were able to accomplish.
Even outside of basketball, how great it was that they were filming that back then. Now, you are seeing it coming to light here in 2020, 2021. Whenever someone is reading this amazing piece, that shows what a champion looks like and what you got to be willing to do to make things happen and adjust when things don’t go our way. I dug it. I love the whole thing.
It’s so great that you brought up the idea that there are lessons to unpack, lessons about professional basketball and success in that arena, also in a lot of other areas. I’m going to throw this one right out to you. What is something that you learned from that documentary that you are still thinking about or that you have been applying since seeing it?
There are a lot of things. I even wrote a little bit about this and had a bunch of stories on it because I was fired up about it. Here is one thing that is the biggest truth from there. No matter how great we are as an individual, we can never achieve true greatness without other people. That is the thing for me that I based my entire life on. I wouldn’t have had the success I have had at this point if there weren’t other people involved. I wouldn’t get to the places I want to go if I don’t include other people on that journey. The more you include the right people, the more fun the process becomes anyways. That was a huge takeaway. Everyone’s like, “Michael, Michael,” but without his coach, he doesn’t achieve what he does. Without his role players, without Steve Kerr, without Scottie Pippen who is great, Dennis Rodman, he doesn’t achieve some of those things. That is by far the biggest takeaway. No matter how great we are, no matter how great other people think we are, we need others to get to where we want to go.
Phil Jackson was the coach at that time. You, being a Southern California boy, he comes to the Lakers and creates his magic there with Kobe. He first did it with the Bulls. Before that, he was on a championship basketball team. He played for my home team, the New York Knicks. The last time they won a world championship was with Phil Jackson playing with guys like Willis Reed, Earl Monroe and whoever else was on that team back then. Phil Jackson comes into that team. It’s remarkable because first of all, he wasn’t the head coach of any team too that point. He was an assistant, maybe been an assistant for a couple of years with Chicago. Michael Jordan was the star. He was the marquee, everything. He was all-world winning MVPs, scoring titles, you name it.
The first thing that he does when he comes into the role of a head coach, he says, “Listen, it can’t be just about you now.” He is telling a future Hall of Famer that something has got to change now in order for them to go from being good to great. This is funny. We are going to go from that place where they were a good team. We are a team that was getting stopped at some point every year. The Pistons were their arch-nemesis at that point but they had been stopped every time and Michael had no ring. Phil Jackson comes in and says, “We got to go to this triangle offense and we are going to try something new. You are not going to be the only guy touching the ball.” What I found personally remarkable was, even with a very healthy ego that Michael Jordan had and has, he had to make a decision whether or not he was going to buy into that system and put the team ahead of himself personally in order to win and to be coachable. I think it’s one of those things that you don’t hear a lot spoken about, Michael Jordan is a guy who was coachable. He was certainly coachable, don’t you think?
For sure. Related to that is, we have to be coachable just like humans. I look at it with our event that we run the Professional Basketball Combine, it focuses a lot on guys who are right in that second tier, who want to get into the G league, get on the last roster spot of the NBA. They are right on that fringe. One of the key separators for those guys is how coachable are they and how much of a team player are they. The franchise is looking to see, “Is this person going to add to our organization even if they are not playing on the court in the games?” We look at Michael right there, super important that he is coachable to go from his level of individual Hall of Fame to Team Hall of Fame. You look at guys at the level that I work with, to get from overseas contract to an NBA contract. It’s, “Are you coachable? Do you bring something to the organization?” We then look in business, in life and it’s like, “Are you coachable?” If you want to separate yourself from everyone else who makes X amount of money to make this amount of money or to get no customers to get a stream of customers. Coachability is one of those things that I think is pivotal in all aspects of our life.
You are a young guy. Are you coachable?
I’m 100% coachable. I know how important it is.
It’s one thing to recognize that coachability is important and look at other people and go, “It’s important that they are coachable,” but it’s another thing to be coachable yourself. Where did you learn to be coachable?
I will preface this by saying maybe growing up, my mom wouldn’t have said I was always coachable because I would always snap back and get defensive with her. Someone else would tell me and I would come back to my mom and be like, “Mom, I just learned this.” She’d be like, “Jake, I have been telling you that for the last six months. You just never wanted to listen.” I believe that my willingness to be coachable has stemmed from my parents. I’m blessed to have two incredible parents in my life growing up. They are my rocks. They taught me about this whether it was in sports or whether it was in academics. They were always, “When the teacher gives you feedback, see it as a chance to improve to get to that next level. When a coach gives you feedback, it means that there is a chance to be better.” I’m internally wired to want to be great. I just have this desire that I always want to keep leveling up and bring people along with me. The more that I’m coachable, the more I’m able to coach other people and bring them with me on this ride. A lot of the credit goes to my parents for putting me and giving me the opportunity to put myself in situations where would have that opportunity whether it was in sports or academics.
I have a bit of a theory about coachability as well. Often, coachability is something that we learn out of adversity, out of our own personal frustration or making the same mistakes again, hitting the wall that we can’t break through. I’m curious to get your thoughts on that. To me, one of the great things that I could also associate with the word coachability is humility. To look at someone like Michael Jordan and say, “There is humility there,” you’d think you can’t be as strong as he is, you can’t be able to trash talk people and literally will yourself to victory at the same time that you maintain a humbleness. I think from Michael’s standpoint, with all his success, an individual Hall of Famer at the time, when Phil Jackson takes over the team, he goes from individual Hall of Fame with no rings and no championships to Team Hall of Fame with six titles to groups of three, which is utterly remarkable at that time. It’s unheard of. Has there been a time in your life when you were humbled? That humbling experience whether it was in business or in something personal, that helped you to see the value in being coached or developed that humility to be able to listen to people.
I think throughout my life, there have been a lot of key moments where I have had to check myself. When I say that, it’s not even a super negative thing where I thought I was unbelievable, I needed to check but it was. I needed to check myself to see if I was in alignment. I needed to get focused because I want to achieve something and I want to get to that next phase. Am I going there for the right reasons? Am I taking the action steps that are going to get me there for the right reasons.? When I think about some of the things that I have done whether it was writing my first book, I was this 23-year-old who was writing a career development book. Internally, you have all these doubts about who is going to read a career development book by a 23-year-old?
On the other side, I have all this excitement of like, “I’m 23 and I got my first book coming out. Let’s go.” We are separating ourselves from the pack. I had to take a step back and realize from the coaches and the people that were in my life, no matter what happens, it’s important for you to keep going. A lot of times when we get to this point whether we think we are remarkable and something doesn’t go our way or whether we are hesitant and hopeful that it does go our way, we stop because we are afraid of what’s on the other side of that action. For me, there have been a lot of those moments in different initiatives and endeavors that I have pursued where I have had to say, “Hold up, what am I willing to do here? Am I doing it for myself or for the greater good, something bigger than just myself?” Those moments have always forced me to come to a place of humility while also still maintaining that competitive edge to be great.
That is well said, Jake. Part of what our business does is we help people craft talks that are fit for a big stage, like keynote speaking, often TEDx or Ted speaking. Ellis Wyms is a guy who played for several teams but he won a Super Bowl as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of the things that Ellis shared with us is his process of going from a guy who wasn’t going to be recruited, wasn’t a scholarship player in college, did play and in his senior year was a starter. In the sixth round, he doesn’t even think he was going to be a draft pick. He did the NFL combine and that is where he was seen and then gets picked up by Tony Dungy, the coach of the Bucs at the time. I hadn’t heard about an NBA combine. Is that something that you got involved with at its inception? Were you one of the cofounders of that? It’s something I hadn’t heard of until I read your intro.Coachability is one of the things that is so pivotal in all aspects of our life. Click To Tweet
The NBA, which I believe is the greatest sports organization out there, have their NBA combine just like the NFL has their combine. The NBA combine features the top players that are likely to get drafted just like the NFL combine ideally puts players that are going to be drafted. The only difference is there are a ton more players that get drafted in the NFL versus the 60 that get drafted in the NBA. A couple of years ago, the NBA announced that there was going to be a new contract. This is called a two-way contract where basically every team was going to have two additional roster spots. They would be able to send this player down to the G league to develop themselves. Also, they could bring them up if an injury happened. This contract would pay 9 to 10 times what the player gets in the G league system. When that was announced, I immediately realized where are the teams going to find these prospects. Where is the event that is going to host all of these prospects? There wasn’t any event outside of the NBA combine.
I and along with a couple of people started talking about this idea and I ended up creating a secondary NBA draft combine, dealt that next tier, signed those contracts to get noticed by the G league so that every team could come to one location. They didn’t have to fly these guys in and spend more budget. The agents could do things for their players. The players would get more exposure. Everybody would benefit because of this event. That is essentially what became the Pro Basketball Combine. Over the three years that we have hosted it, we have helped over 70 guys get noticed and signed in what are now 30 countries across the globe.
Is yours the actual NBA combine now? That is what you call it?
We call it the Professional Basketball Combine. The NBA has their NBA combine the week before our event. They have their players that attend then we go. We have our players, teams will fly out, send scouts, regional guys, executives, assistant GMs, depending on the talent that they want to see and evaluate. That’s how we run it. Hopefully, our guys funnel into the NBA pipeline. We have had some incredible success stories. I think there is something important that I want to note here, which is we talked about Michael Jordan. We talked about Phil never being a coach before, being the head coach.
A lot of times in our lives we just need that one opportunity. We need somebody to give us a chance that isn’t expected or guaranteed, something where we have worked hard. All these players that come to our event have worked their asses off. It’s time where they are right there. They can taste it. Our event has given players an opportunity to say, “I do belong in the NBA. I do belong in the organization.” We have had guys go on to win the G League Rookie of the Year. We have had over ten of those two-way contract spots filled. We have had guys who were mid-major players in college end up getting G League contracts. We had a D2 guy who no one heard of. We took a risk on him, gave him the opportunity. He has been in the G League ever since. That one opportunity is sometimes all we need to take somebody from good and turn them into somebody that is great. A lot of times we have it inside. We just need that chance.
Has COVID impacted your ability to do the combine in 2021?
COVID played quite a big role for us. We weren’t able to host it in 2021.
It was in the bubble. That is the way they were conducting their league.
The NBA did their league in Disney in Florida. It was a completely different season out of whack. The regular NBA draft process, everything has changed. We are approaching as of the time they are recording the 2020 NBA draft. The way it worked out is there were no big events or anything like that. We weren’t able to do it. One of the things that we did for our players because we still wanted to give guys a platform.
I wanted you to tell us how you were able to pivot because the show is in many ways about pivoting. Your one big event, you are planning for all year long, isn’t going to happen. It’s disappointing but you did something about it. That is where you’re at.
I’m going to get into that. It’s really interesting. I want to go two ways with this. The first way is related to this big event. We have a small team and this big event was like, “Are we going to be able to do? Are we not going to be able to do it?” We realize we aren’t able to do it. What we did instead was knowing that our whole mission is to get players an opportunity, to give them a chance to turn their dreams into their reality. That is what it is that we provide these players. We wanted to use our platform as a chance for players to be heard and seen. Our director of scouting started doing virtual film rooms, virtual draft rooms where we break down film. We get a bunch of prospects, who we would have invited or who would have been on our radar and allow them to pitch themselves through their knowledge of film, their game and distribute that to team personnel.
We were also able to do a PVC on a realist. We announced players who would have been invited or would have been there as another way to boost their credibility and boost their stock moving forward whether it be in the NBA or overseas, depending on what happens. I think the thing for us related to this specifically is there is so much unknown. We are so reliant and focus on what the NBA does because it goes hand in hand. If the NBA doesn’t have it, we don’t have. It’s important for us to understand that even in the midst of all this, we can only control what we can control. If we focus on the things that we can control and we create the opportunities out of that to the best of our ability, we are going to be alright. We are going to set ourselves up for the future and continue to do the things that made us what the event is.
Is it fair to say that you are focusing on what you can control is how you leverage uncertainty?
Yes, 100%. That is how we have been able to pivot and navigate through this time.A lot of times in our lives, we just need that one opportunity. We need somebody to give us a chance that isn’t expected or guaranteed. Click To Tweet
Part of the conversation on this show is always around the topic of resilience. I would love to get your bead on that. How do you define it? Where has it shown up or not been there for you either your personal life or in connection with the business?
This is one of those words where I feel like there are so many interpretations and meanings of it. It can be applied to us in many ways similar to greatness, success. When I think of resilience, in my own life and for the people that we work with or we see, is the ability to keep going in the face of adversity. The ability to not only keep going but to enjoy the challenges that come up through that adversity. When I think of this situation, it was not just in the basketball world but as a motivational speaker who is doing a bunch of gigs a year all over the country. Do you know what that is like?
Those events were canceled, those contracts. I had to evaluate and go back to my roots. Why am I doing what I’m doing? What is the way that I can make the greatest impact for myself, my family and the people that I care about? How can I continue to change the world even though I’m not able to control everything about what I want to control? I want to control more. We all do. We want it. I think when it comes to resiliency and being resilient, it’s about understanding that there are always going to be things that we have no control over. It’s always going to be that we are going to get knocked down but it’s what we do in that situation that separates us from everybody else. That is resilience for me.
I’m not sure how larger or what is the size of your team. I have a theory that when we work with organizations, when we either speak to them or work with people, senior leaders and those folks, we say you have got to model resilience. That is the only way an organization is resilient because the individual people that work in that company are resilient. Not everybody has a blueprint for what it looks like or what it takes to develop their own resilience. It requires a great deal of leadership. Do you have things that you are doing now in the organization to encourage people to be able to take better care of themselves? What does that look like within your group?
Organizations are not big. It’s mostly me and our director of scouting within the combine. We have freelancers and contractors and everything. The biggest thing that I focused on, with him specifically, was just giving him the certainty that I still believe in him and what we are doing and leading by that example.
I think you dropped a big, wonderful bomb right there. There is a lot of people that are part of this community, large organizations and some are just solopreneurs or starting up with a few people and then have outsourced solutions. In this time of great uncertainty, what you did is you tell this guy you reminded him that you are certain that you can succeed, that your certainty includes him. You have faith in him and his value to the organization. Even in the midst of whatever is going on, as a company, as a team, you guys can succeed. Did I paraphrase that correctly?
Yes, 100%. I want him to know that I believe in him. I have faith in him. I have faith in what we are trying to do. Even if we can’t control what is going to happen, we can control how we set ourselves up for the next one. We can control how we continue to stay mentally strong, how we can continue to find unique ways to be innovative and creative. That is one of the blessings, typically, that comes out of a terrible situation whether it’s personal or on a global scale is we are forced to innovate. We are forced to make these adjustments. We are forced to pivot. We are forced to see what matters. When we have those people who tell us it’s going to be okay, who believe in us and tell us that we’re going to come out greater and stronger because of this, you feel that it’s possible.
The greatest lesson I learned from The Last Dance is that no matter how great we are as individuals whether you are the CEO, a mid-manager, a contractor, the most important thing that we can do to achieve greatness within ourselves is to tell somebody else to bring someone else along the way for the journey. That is why I make it a big priority for me with everyone that I work with at any point in time. I want you to know that we are in this together. We are on the same ship.
I believe in you. I believe in our ability to succeed. What has happened there is you Akito the whole thing because right in the middle of great uncertainty, you are creating certainty. Nobody has a crystal ball. That certainty doesn’t exist even for recovering control freaks like myself. The landscape ahead, what are you guys thinking in terms of how far ahead you are looking and what you are doing to plan for that?
It’s an interesting question. We are reliant a lot on what the NBA does. In some ways, that is a blessing in a lot of ways. It’s not because we are dependent on somebody else to dictate potentially the future of where we go.
That is a challenge and an opportunity all at the same time.
We have done an incredible job at navigating it up until this point. I think now more than ever is we are being proactive to react. We are anticipating what we think could happen and laying out the scenario. We are also waiting for information to make the best decision on how to proceed.
We often talk about disruption in the fact that we are disrupted, many years, many different models were disrupted. Sometimes, we talk in terms of how you manage disruption. I think one of the ways that you do that is you self-disrupt. You positively interrupt the status quo. You are pivoting because you were forced to do that. I think when you are looking ahead, you are looking at what’s the landscape that you can create. Is there a scenario that involves riding in the coattails of the NBA because there is a great model that already exists for that? What would it look like to not do that or to do something that wasn’t necessarily competitive but has collateral benefits, doing something that wasn’t strictly tied to the strategy and the planning of an entity that you have no control over?
Both of us, myself and our director of scouting, he has another job and I’m a business coach as well. We have been able to build up the combine in a way. We have that flexibility. Talking about how we have changed with the combine and how we have had to pivot and do certain things allowed both of us to look into our own lives. He just had a kid. What does that look like? How am I supposed to, as a leader, give him that certainty? Moving forward, he should spend more time with his family because there’s going to be a time where we are going to need to jump back and go all in. It’s the same thing for me. How can I reinvest this time that maybe I wouldn’t have had? How can I reinvest this into my wellbeing, our coaching clients, programming? What new things can we provide? What is happening? By 2022, there is going to be exponentially more growth as an individual on my end and I will speak for myself here. There is exponentially more growth for me because I have been able to understand true priorities. I have been able to get more efficient. I have been able to build something that is going to last longer and create a larger legacy.That one opportunity is sometimes all we need to take somebody from good and turn somebody that’s great. Click To Tweet
When I think about the entire scope of why I do anything that I do, it’s a change one but it’s to elevate the world to be able to achieve their greatest definition of success. All of this, everything that we are talking about, resiliency, humility, the life of what the events are, all of it has boiled down to is this going to get me closer to my mission of elevating people and to personal fulfillment, freedom and happiness. That is all we are all trying to seek. If this is giving us an opportunity to reflect, I need to take advantage of that opportunity even though it may have been disguised initially as one of the worst things that could have happened to our combine and to myself as a speaker.
Let’s for a moment, talk about the public speaking piece because we have a lot of people as well that are in that arena, in our community. The gig stopped. COVID happens. Everything you had on the books is now put on hold or canceled. No new gigs are on the rise. At that moment, what was your pivot? What did you do to improvise? Improvisation is one of those skills we are getting to work on so much now. What became part of your best practice to respond to what was going on?
As a speaker, I work with a lot of high schools, colleges, leadership groups and some organizations probably about 70/30 splits. For me, one of the first things that I did was anyone that I had an existing contract that got shut down, I let them know. Similar to what we talked about with my employees, “I completely understand what is going on. I’m here for you. We will work this out. I know it’s going to be a tough time. Let’s communicate and go back and forth.” I wanted to let them know that I’m not going to apply pressure. I’m not collecting their paycheck, trying to claim half of the fee because everybody was panicked. That wasn’t the way I wanted to handle it. I let them know that I was there for them. I wanted that.
The second thing that I tried to do in the beginning was build relationships with new potential clients by offering to do little gigs. In the high school space, in the college space, in the leadership groups, I reached out to a bunch of people that maybe I met once or twice and was, “I’m sure everything got canceled. I’m sure everyone’s freaking out. I’d love to do a 15, 20-minute thing for your seniors as a little send-off for them.” That is easy. It allowed me to practice my virtual skills. It allowed me to practice my virtual presentation. It also builds an incredible rapport with the decision-makers who now are going to be, “Look at what he did in a time when we needed him the most.” If they’re deciding between me and someone else, guess who they are picking. I’ve seen gigs come in for 2021 purely off of that intentional strategy.
It wasn’t to get more gigs, per se. It was to create impact and give people what they needed. It benefits all of us. That is when we are winning, when everybody’s becoming better because of us and growing because of what we do and our actions. Those are a few things that I have done. Now, I tried to leverage different types of virtual stages, summits, podcasts, virtual conferences and leveraging all these different avenues. In the beginning, those were the two pieces and pieces I still think are always applicable. Sometimes we don’t think about those things as the natural plan of attack.
I have a theory that it is very difficult for us to give anyone else anything that we don’t possess ourselves. To be there for other people, to be at our best for others, interferes with that process if we don’t take care of ourselves, personally. I’m not talking about selfishly but we recognize that to take care of ourselves is a benefit to others around us. My question to you is as we wind down this discussion, what is one thing that you do on a ritual basis to take care of yourself, to maintain that resilience?
One thing and this is something that is played a role in every pivot I have ever made is the practice of gratitude. That is something that I never fully appreciated. As someone like me who’s always go, gratitude was never something that I thought I needed to practice. I thought it slowed me down. I thought it took me out of this pursuit and away from the speed. In reality, the practice of gratitude has been a force of comfort. It’s been a source of happiness. It’s been a source of connection. It’s been a source of growth for me every day in everything that I do because it always allows me to stay present. I think that’s one thing that I like because of my change in stance on how I thought about it.
I always know gratitude’s important. Did I ever go on a gratitude walk? No, I laughed at that. Now, I go out and walk. I look at the leaves on the trees. I see the leaves change colors. Those things, there is power in that. There’s power in noticing things and being fully present. To give a specific example, you can walk down the same block in your neighborhood every single day. If you start to notice it, you will find something new that you never noticed even on things you have walked by 100 times. That is when you’re present. Gratitude has been that one thing that if I had to pick would be something that I highly recommend for everybody to do.
Now I know fully why it was that we were connected for this episode. Gratitude is like an unsung hero in so many respects. I love what you just shared, Jake, about a gratitude walk. I have not heard it termed that way before. It’s no wonder that we started with that concept of what it means to be good and grateful. I’m good and grateful for you and for all that you shared with our community. I have a ritual that I remind myself of at the start of every day. It’s a ritual that helped me to reset. I think that is the thing about gratitude, it’s such a reset and it can take no time at all. It could be ten seconds. You can create a reset for yourself in the midst of a day that might be going sideways for any number of reasons. We hit the wall or something comes out of nowhere. We get surprised or energetically, we are not at our best and you go, “What do I do about that?” You can hit the reset button and gratitude is one of those things. You can do it. You can use it to do it. For me, there are three steps to my waking ritual. The first step is to wake up. I already know the answer this question, Jake, but I’m going to ask anyway. Did you wake up?
I did wake up.
You are fully awake, buddy. It’s true that as awake as we are, maybe we are amped up because it’s a good day or whatever it might be, the process of awakening is a process. It’s not a thing that it’s done because you feel good. You got to do it again tomorrow, a little bit more tomorrow. That is life. To me, that is a fully encapsulated life. Every day you wake up just a little bit more than the day before. That is the first step in this. The second piece, you have already spoken about, which is gratitude. When I wake up in the morning, I take that ten-second reset for myself. Sometimes it’s more than ten seconds. Sometimes it’s a couple of minutes. I lie in bed or I sit with my feet on the floor and I feel what it feels like to experience gratitude throughout my body. That second step and you spoke to that.
The third step is I believe that our words have power. This is one of those things that a lot of people don’t get as fully as I think we can get. Our words have power. They have this divine power to them. There is this opportunity to do something miraculous with our words each day. What you say matters. A lot of us throw away a lot of words. If any of us would listen to a recording of all the stuff that came out of our mouth on a particular day, it will probably horrify us. To carefully select our words, it’s not that easy for an entire day. At the beginning of the day, I set that intention by curating a specific thing I say when I put my feet on the floor. It’s four simple words but four words that have changed my life. I think it helped a lot of people as well. Those words are I love my life. I wake up, feel gratitude, I put my feet on the floor and I say I love my life.
Those of you out there that are contemplating a morning ritual or awaking ritual, you could try this out for yourself. This wake up, we are all going to do that, hopefully no guarantee. If you are searching for something and feel grateful for the fact that you’re alive and breathing at that moment, you don’t have to look further than that. You can pick something to say. Jake, I’m just putting you on the spot but you are going to wake up tomorrow, you are going to feel gratitude. What’s something that you could say out loud at that moment?
I love my life. We can do that. This is going to be a great day. I’m grateful for water, shelter, a bed. We can do something very personal. I’m grateful for the opportunity to choose happiness, to choose gratitude, to choose the people I surround myself with.
Well done and beautiful. Jake, thank you so much for being on the show. Everybody else, we would love to hear from you. It’s so great to hear from our community. You can go to AdamMarkel.com/podcast. Leave a comment there. If you haven’t subscribed, feel free to do that and recommend the episode to somebody else that you think is not living in gratitude or wants to get some great insight around pivots. I think now is a great time to share something like this with people and give them a hand. We all need a hand. I’m always looking for inspiration. Without saying any more than that, I’ll say ciao. Thanks.
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About Jake Kelfer
Jake Kelfer is a lifestyle entrepreneur, life elevator, and coach to ambitious entrepreneurs and freedom seekers helping people create incredibly impactful and profitable businesses. He is the bestselling author of Elevate Beyond and Elevate Your Network, a high-energy motivational speaker, and the founder of the Professional Basketball Combine which helps NBA draft prospects turn their dreams of playing pro basketball into their reality. He and his work have been featured on Forbes, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and many other major media outlets. Connect with Jake on social @jakekelfer!