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JJ Virgin got the news that no mother ever wants to hear, “Grant (her son) has been hit by a car and is being airlifted to a hospital”. His bones were broken, torn aorta, skin road rashed and in a coma. She was thrust into a moment where she had to decide what to do when the doctor gave him a .25% chance to survive the accident.
We’ll take those odds
JJ knew that she had to fight for him. You get what you expect. They decided he was going to get well and then they pulled in all of these positive people for his team. It was not a smooth ride but he was going to be fine. She could not allow herself or anyone on his team to doubt it.
The Miracle Midset
Fear is a temporary emotion. It means you are on the edge of your comfort zone. If you are not afraid, you are not stretching yourself. There is never a moment where you will not be in the throws of the ups and downs of life. Finding a way to lean into the fear makes us resilient, helps us grow and get ready for the next challenge.
JJ makes sure that there are actionable steps for the people she touches with her message. There is science now to prove the value of gratitude and prayer but for JJ, it has to be teachable so she can help people. With her new book, Miracle Mindset and movie, You Are Stronger Than You Think we can learn from her stories that will translate to transform our lives.
Interview Notes From The Show:
– Welcome back to The Urban Monk I am so happy to be in studio with one of my dear friends JJ Virgin who now lives a little closer to me and is visiting, hi.
– Yeah why don’t you come visit me?
– Well because I got small kids. I get to pull that card all they time I’m like, “yeah kids, you want them over? Sure.”
– If you bring the grandparents.
– If I bring the grandparents.
– Actually you can just leave the grandparents with me.
– Yeah oh my god right.
– You scored.
– We took a trip where JJ came on this, what was it? What was it Cancun? Cancun.
– [JJ] We went to Cancun.
– Yeah, I was like I can’t even remember these trips anymore and I brought my mother-in-law and my parents to be there with the kids and JJ was just like “I’ve never seen anything like this” ’cause my parents were just there and very supportive the whole time, it’s just a Persian thing right?
– Right it’s–
– Man, everyone needs some Persian parents.
– Seriously they were really good and so they loved you and they were like so now you’re part of the family right?
– Good I definitely want to be adopted.
– That’s, yeah good good you’re in. So this is the first time you’re actually here so.
– [JJ] I know, nice job.
– Welcome to our abode, yeah thank you, thank you. It’s just, I spend a lot of time here. I haven’t used the swords yet on anybody.
– I looked at that and I first thought it was Hello Kitty but I was wrong.
– Well it’s Chinese Hello Kitty.
– That would’ve been very strange.
– Totally, my version. I’ve heard a few things about him I didn’t really understand. Yeah so you, you’re, I love the fact that you are now doing what I’ve been doing for a couple years and so we can relate.
– Well ’cause you were doing it so I wanted to do it too.
– Oh got it, got it, trendsetter. So JJ has just finished a movie and it’s really really good, I’m in it, because I’m in it, no it is–
– You have a leading role in it.
– Is it a leading role?
– Well you know what you really help us connect the dots in the movie, so.
– Yeah there you go.
– I enjoyed it. Actually you had a good crew, it was wonderful. Now you know what it’s like to make a movie. Oh man.
– Yes. Yes, when I said, “I think I’ll do a documentary,” it was like.
– Those other guys are doing it, it’s a lot of work.
– Well I’ll do that.
– Tt’s a lot of work. Well it’s also a painful subject for you.
– Yes that’s what I didn’t think about is this documentary because it’s the story of what I went through that I was going to get to revisit every single thing over and over and then deal with things that I actually had kind of avoided. So there was that.
– Oh so it dug it up for you?
– Okay so let’s give you the story a little bit just because, I think a lot of my audience knows you, but I’d say a fair amount of people from my other universes might not know who you are, you know, health and wellness, nutrition celebrity guru-ess, right, who’s been in that space and then lightning strikes.
– Well and it was really crazy when lightning strikes because, or struck, because I was getting ready to come out with what became my big book that everyone knew me for and it was a couple weeks out and you know what it is like when you’re book’s coming out right?
– [Pedram] Less sleep.
– So, yeah so my book is getting read to come out, I’ve done a PBS special so I’ve got that lined up. I had taken the advance, the entire advance, all my savings and then borrowed to make sure that this book really got the lift off that it needed to get out there in the world because books don’t just, get out there.
– Sell themselves.
– They don’t sell themselves and so I just was like, “this is it, I’m gonna go for it,” and I’m one of those all in kind of people anyway so it’s, I’m all in and it’s a couple weeks before it’s about to pub and I come home and I have two boys, they’re 15 and 16 at the time, and my 16 year old is bipolar and he has good days and bad days and it was a bad day and so I come home and he’s mad, he wants to go to martial arts, he hadn’t gone to school. I’m like, “no you’re not going, you didn’t go to school.” Got mad, stomped out of the house in his bare feet, nothing, no identity, nothing and it’s dusk and the next thing I know my 15 year old comes running into the house and says, “Mom Grant got hit by a car “and airlifted to the local hospital,” and my ex-husband and Bryce and I rush to the hospital. We cannot find out anything, he’s a John Doe. I mean if we hadn’t, if my ex-husband and Bryce hadn’t seen the accident he would’ve died at that hospital because no one knew who he was. So we get there and they usher us into a conference room so you can imagine right? Airlift, ushered into conference room and they’re asking us questions and I’m like, “wait a minute, what is going on with my son?” And they said, “your son has a torn aorta.” Now that’s what killed Princess Diana, kills 90% of the people on the scene and his was an onion skin at that point. They said, “it’s going to rupture sometime “in the next 24 hours, it’s got to be repaired, “but he’s got multiple brain bleeds “and it’s a very specialized surgery, we don’t do it here.” Plus he had 13 fractures, he literally when we saw him, he had bones sticking through his skin. He is covered in road rash, glass, I mean glass, I was picking glass out of him for months and gravel, and so we found out that there was a surgeon who could do it a couple hours away at Harbor UCLA and they go, “he’s never gonna survive the airlift “and even if he did he won’t survive that surgery “and even if he were to survive both of those things “he’d be so brain damaged that it wouldn’t be worth it,” and I’ll never forget those words. I’m looking at him like, “wouldn’t be worth it?”
– [Pedram] Worth it?
– [JJ] Yeah it’s like.
– You’re not a mom, right?
– Yeah. I mean as a parent you’re like, and my son Bryce was looking at him and Bryce who is my super smart math guy, he goes, “so like a .25% chance of him making it?” And the doctor goes, “that’s about right,” and goes, “we’ll take those odds,” and–
– [Pedram] Attaboy.
– I know, attaboy, and we were like, “we’re overruling you, “That’s it we’re over ruling you.” So we did and we got this doctor to accept the case which in itself was a miracle because it’s now midnight and this doctor had to organize five surgical teams, get a hold of the stint that he had to put in Grant’s aorta that by the way was part of a study that had ended. So he had to find the stint, get it flown in, use it even though it was not approved for children. He said, “I figured I would ask for forgiveness.
– [Pedram] After.
– Once he was alive, right, and we drive there not knowing if we’re going to pick up a corpse, what was going on.
– While he’s getting airlifted you drive?
– He’s getting airlifted, we drive. There was no room on the airlift which honestly I think I would’ve passed out on that airlift. It was so scary. So I drive there, we get there, there are five surgical teams, it is full game on. We walk in, that one doctor said, “are you the mom?” Like, I’m like.
– Can’t you tell?
– “What gave you that idea?” He goes, “I got this,” he goes, “I do this all the time. “A guy was thrown off an overpass last week and I fixed him. “Don’t worry, let me show you where I’m going to do this,” and I’m you know, later on I’m like, “oh he was just trying to keep me from freaking out,” but he went, he took us to the OR, he goes, “he’ll be in here, I’ve got this.” “You just go to the waiting room, “I’ll be in in a couple of hours to tell you it’s all fine.”
– That’s really really interesting generalship of emotion for a doctor. Wow.
– He is in the documentary as like the hero. I’m like, “you need to teach classes on this because,” hey he didn’t know, but he knew what I needed and it wasn’t going to help the situation to have me panicked and freaking out. In fact I went to the waiting room and had to write blog posts for this discovery show I was doing. So I’m up there writing those ’cause I’m like, “I gotta get this deadline,” and he comes up to me and he goes, “okay, he’s fixed, it’s all good.” This aorta’s totally repaired. He goes, “now I’m just the plumber, “I have no idea if he’ll ever wake up.” So you’re like, you know you’re like, “yay, oh shoot.” So we go to see Grant and we see these neurosurgeons and they’re like, “we don’t think he’ll ever wake up,” and they’re just like, I was just like, you know, “not listening to you,” and I go in and I’m holding, the only thing I can hold is one hand, everything is bandaged and raw and he’s got the ventilator and the tube out of his head and the central line, I mean it’s just beeping and he’s in a coma, and he’s just, I mean there’s pictures in the documentary that people like, I go like, you know. It’s brutal and I’m holding his hand and I’m looking at him and I said, “Grant we love you,” nothing, I go, “Grant your brother loves you,” squeeze, I said, “Grant,” I just floated out another name I knew he wouldn’t care about ’cause I’m like I felt a squeeze, let’s test this. Then I said, “Grant your girlfriend Mckinsey really loves you,” and he went, right? And I’m like, “he is in there,” I said Grant, “you’re gonna be 110%, “like you are a warrior, you’ve got this, we’re all here.” “We’re all going to fight, we can totally fix this. “You’re gonna be better than you were before,” and I just decided that was what we were going to do. John and I looked at each other and went, “this is our do over.” Don’t you sometimes as a parent wish you could have a do over?
– Probably daily.
– Just after I say something.
– Could’ve handled that one better. So I’m like going, “we just gotta do over and he’s gonna be 110%” and you what we will all be better for this and so that was just the premise that we led with. So when we’d hear things like the neurosurgeons saying, “I don’t think he’ll ever wake up.” We’re like, “no, pass,” and don’t say that around him either.
– You’re not allowed to talk like that around the kid?
– Oh, by the way, and this is so important for people to understand, now I’ve always been fascinated with total coma, near death stuff, didn’t really want to do this.
– [Pedram] Get this close to it, yeah.
– Didn’t want to really, I’d rather watch it in a movie so, but Grant actually described what we were wearing in the waiting room during surgery. He said, “you know when Dad was sitting in there “and he was wearing that red shirt?” And I’m like “what, what?” You know, and then he described, I would sit in the ICU, ’cause here I am, I’ve gotta make this book go to pay for, I’m the financial support for my family so.
– If this thing doesn’t hit you’re broke, right.
– If this doesn’t hit I’m broke and I know like, last year alone the non-coverable medical expenses, this is four and half years out, 55 grand so this is not like, this has to go, like I’m sitting there going, “I’m not leaving and this has to work.” So I’m sitting in the ICU, I’m talking to Grant about the book. Blah blah blah, and he says, “you know Mom the gray man came down “and he asked me if I wanted to live or die, “and I was there with grandpa and it was really nice.” You know you always here, it’s so nice over there, and he goes, “but I kept hearing your voice “and I thought about my family and I told him I’d stay.” So you manage your talk around anyone that would come in and say, “oh we’re trying to get him to walk again, “we don’t think he will,” I’m like, “out,” you know? It’s like only people who were around–
– So did you fire your practitioners like as people would come in and have that attitude you’d just be like?
– You know what’s interesting is, I threatened to and I never had to because the minute they saw the difference, like the orthopedic surgeons, he had this crushed heel, and at first you’re just concerned about the aorta and then once the aorta was fixed it was all about the brain and it’s so different your perspective, I remember when Bryce broke his leg and it was like this big crises and now here’s Grant with like rods in his femur and this heel that he’d crushed and had a pin sticking out and a big gaping wound. I’m like, “eh it’s a heel,” you know.
– [Pedram] Yeah that’s fine.
– But it turns out heels are really important in the grand scheme of things.
– Sure after aortas and brains are fixed, yeah.
– Yes after aortas and brains, heels are pretty much, in the orthopedic world pretty important, and hard to fix, and so these orthopedic surgeons come in and they go, “you know we’re just trying to see “if we can ever get him to walk again, “this is a game changing injury,” and I go, “you know what, I want you to look at him “and tell me if this was Kobe Bryant what would you do? “‘Cause I bet that’s not what you’d be saying “so if you can’t say that then you are fired,” and they’re like. Then I go, and I took them outside and I go, “moreover I’ve got really good insurance, “I think I’m probably paying for everybody on this floor “because in these county hospitals you know how that works.” I go, “so that’s not going to fly with me.” They were like, “okay,” and it was just, I got the most amazing care from the most positive people looking to help him be 110%.
– Huh, interesting.
– [JJ] Because I wouldn’t accept the latter.
– And the sad part is if you weren’t, if you didn’t have good insurance, this would be a very different, very different scenario right? And that’s healthcare.
– You know, I’m not, we’ll see how that is because in the Children’s Hospital, when we were at the second hospital, Children’s Hospital LA which was just an amazing place, has a McDonald’s in it, not quite sure about that connection, strange, but it also had a Starbucks so that was a win.
– [Pedram] For Mom.
– Yeah I mean that was the one thing. I took amazing care of myself during this whole time. I put my self care on the top of the list because I went, “you know I’m not going in the ICU sick, “so I have to be focused,” it’s like game time, I can’t be sick so my self care was the priority one, Grant, book, right? And, but I let myself have a hall pass on coffee, I did, but at Children’s Hospital LA they take anybody in and they gave them amazing care, so, I don’t actually think it–
– [Pedram] Interesting.
– But where the differentiator is is I believe you get what you expect and I just told them what we were expecting to do with Grant, and that was that that so.
– Interesting, and you controlled the scenario, you were able to bend the reality around this whole thing.
– [JJ] Well I also bent the rules a bit.
– Did you?
– Oh yes, well just at the very beginning, we had a Doc, Doctor Ann Mayer came in from Cedars-Sinai, she’s a brain trauma doc over there, and one of the first nights in the hospital she comes showing up with essential oils. I knew nothing about essential oils, you know I put some lavender in my bath, that was the extent of it. It was the first time I started to see Grant actively respond, where he was fluttering his eyelids, wiggling his nose, wiggling his toes, and she was explaining all this and she’d come every week and do this. I mean I hardly knew her when she starting showing up. I was like, “oh my gosh I’m like so grateful,” then we started using progesterone cream and they didn’t need to know that. It’s cream, just rubbed it in. We had, Dr. Susanne Bennet was over there doing some, she would come in and she said, “I knew you were in the building I could feel you,” I’m like, “alright, you know.” Grace who doing acupressure. We just were doing, we were like–
– [Pedram] Whatever it took.
– Whatever it took, and then I knew that fish oil would be helpful. He was on five grams of fish oil prior to the accident which I think everybody needs to be on fish oil because it protects your brain and it’s not like we plan to hit our head. I mean you can pretty well know you’re gonna hit your head if you’re doing soccer or volleyball or any of these other sports but we don’t plan it so be on fish oil ’cause it protects your brain. Grant was on it before. They would not go past two grams of fish oil because they were afraid you’d, “bleed out.” I’m like, “there’s no studies on that.” So I had all of the studies from various sources gave them all to me and I walked in with them and they were like, “nope not doing it.” So I just did it behind their backs, right?
– I was like, “alright.”
– This is my kid right.
– This is my kid. I ran into Sanjay Gupta in the green room of Access Hollywood and I told him what I’d done and he said, “we have parents,” ’cause he put us on CNN with this story, he says, “I have parents laying down on the hospital floor saying if you don’t do this you’ll have to get security, you have to help my kid,” ’cause there’s so many stories now of fish oil helping and it never hurts. It does not increase bleed times, there’s not one bit of evidence to show that.
– And now the line’s broken like they’re accepting it or just?
– It’s, you know, I think this is one that if you push it there’s been enough.
– Children’s Hospital had him on 20 grams. I walked into that, that was the second hospital we went into and I said, “he’s on 20 grams of fish oil,” and they said, “okay,” ’cause the charts, there were two big chart books, I was like, “this is what he’s taking, “vitamin D, and this and that,” and they went, “okay,” but at Harbor he spit up his own feeding tube. This is how stubborn this kid is. He was like pointing to it, and I go, “I can’t take it out ’til Monday, there’s no one here,” and he went. I’m like, “oh there it goes.”
– And then what, just I want food?
– He like hacked it up and John helped him and then we all, we just, the first one, one of the first words he said was, “disgusting,” about the hospital food. We did all our own food. I had a NutriBullet in there, I was making shakes and–
– [Pedram] Nice.
– Yeah that was it, and once I could do a smoothie man it was game on.
– How the hell did you keep your head together in all this? With these bullets flying?
– You know this is, one of the phrases I love, is that habits create structure that gives us freedom. You know when you look at this like the one thing that we know for sure in life is that stuff’s gonna happen, it’s gonna, you know. I mean there are gonna be big challenges that we face, it’s part of life. Prior to this, you know, I had, I found out that my dad was dying of cancer, that my son was bipolar and that my ex-husband was suing me for every bit of money that I had all at the same time, and you know so–
– That’s a good week.
– Well it was good, that was training, right? So when you look at it. I had created habits already that allowed me to get through because this was like as you can imagine so frightening on a daily basis, it was so scary. I was saying my son was going to be 110%, meanwhile he’s staring off into space vacant, moving an arm back and forth and we don’t know if he’ll ever walk. I don’t know if he can hear, talk or anything else so this is like extreme mindset management. When people ask me how I got through it. At first I was like oh I was so healthy. That helps.
– That’s baseline.
– That’s baseline, it was all mindset. It was mindset of Bryce looking at the doctor and going, “we’ll take those odds,” it was us saying, “he’s gonna be 110%” It was just being able to show up and go, “you know if I can’t go through that open door “I’ll do it this way,” and so it’s those things that you do, the learning how to lean into fear. It’s not about being fearless, we’re gonna feel fear. Like I’m scared every day. Like every day there’s something, I’m like, “oh my god,” you know, especially with all this stuff I’m putting out there, but it’s learning to lean into that and build that courage and over time you build courage, you get resilient.
– How does one start? ‘Cause so many people live back on their heels and fear is just up front and personal and they just can’t even see past their fear of the fear, right?
– Yeah, yeah. So I had this mentor, you know I’ve been known for nutrition and fitness, I’d been doing it for 30 years, but in my 20’s I had a personal training client who was a big mindset coach and she basically took me under her wing. She was gonna teach me how to do this business, but she kept doing it by teaching mindset and I remember at the time I was like, “just teach me the business, you know, “I want to learn how to market and sell and close,” and she kept teaching me mindset stuff and all of that was the stuff that just became so much a part of me. But one of the things she started me with that I do every single day, that saved me, if I had to credit like one thing that saved me through this whole thing, I get up every single morning, I take out a journal, a physical journal and a pen and I write down at least three things I’m grateful for, every single day and you know what, when you are scared the fastest way to push fear out is to put gratitude in. Like I think so often when we try to say, “I’m not going to feel that,” well you are going to feel these things, but you know what fear doesn’t last long. Like our buddy Dr. Joan Rosenberg teaches, I have an academy, and she teaches how to lean into fear because it’s basically a 90 second emotion, but one of the things you can do to help you ride through it is just do the gratitude thing. So every day that’s what I did, I’d be in the morning, I’d do the gratitude thing, it was like, “okay, you know, I can do this,” that’s how I got through it, and then at the end of the day, and this was a big one for me. I think we have a tendency, I know I do, I tend to get totally anxious and panicked because I’m always thinking out there, you know I’m out on the horizon instead of being present and when you’re going through something like this you have to be totally present and I was looking, ’cause I’m like, “okay, we’re gonna get him to 110% 1% at a time,” right? And so like when Dr. Mayer brought in the essential oils it was like, “okay he fluttered his eyelids.” When he grabbed my hand and lifted it up, okay, so I was looking for every little win and that’s another thing that I do every night. Tim and I do that every night. Like what were the wins for the day? And you know this is a great thing to do with kids because it teaches them how to frame things so you just framed your day, you started out in gratitude, you ended with your little wins, huge, I mean little wins might be, you know I read a chapter of this book. It doesn’t have to be big stuff.
– I avoided pumpkin pie.
– Exactly, big win.
– Yeah yeah yeah, so learning this and framing it. I’m very interested in setting the table on this. You start your day with gratitude and you end the day with kind of just, just kind of putting a cherry on top and being like, “what did I do?” After a few iterations of this what is happening to the mindset? What is starting to happen that makes you have a different operating system?
– You know what’s incredible is, so so many of these things, and what’s cool is there’s science now, like if you look there’s science behind resilience, gratitude, forgiveness, that was another big one that I put into play, but I didn’t know it at the time so what I just knew was that it worked for me so I went and tested it out with 150 people and it was interesting, because I queried my community last year and I said like, “if you’re not where you want to be “with your health, or you’ve gained weight back, “like what’s going on?” And I fully expected Pedram that they’d go, “oh I can’t give up my sugar,” right or, “I ate the pie,” or whatever their thing is, “I don’t have time, I can’t afford to eat healthy,” you know all the stuff that we hear that are the so I don’t have to’s, I call it the so I don’t have to. But that wasn’t the reason, they said, “I don’t feel worthy, I’m not good enough,” and so these things all start to make that shift very quickly, ’cause I believe you get what you expect and the more that you put this out there, like I have right now the Miracle Mindset book, you know, number one, New York Time’s bestseller, a million copies sold, the kind of impact I want to have. I have it all over the house because those things start to make it real, it’s like your brain can’t differentiate so if you’re starting that way it’s keeping you positive, and when you’re thinking of possibility, and positive, it completely shifts you. I’ve seen it shift people in a week, like that fast, like all of the sudden and it was interesting ’cause a lot of the people who first came into this were my health people who got to the next level in their health, got out of a rut, a lot of them were like just kind of stuck, which is what I hear from, “I’m just feeling stuck,” and it wasn’t by trying a new diet, right? It was by up-leveling your mindset ’cause when you think about it you’re never gonna outgrow that. Wherever you think you should be is exactly where you’re gonna be.
– [Pedram] Right, right.
– And you see that with people, like they make a lot of money, like they won the lottery and then they come back and it’s gone, right?
– Gone, yeah, yeah, then they’re still where they started. So you have all this bad news and you have a good news filter as you’re sitting there in the hospital, the ortho is saying, “no way the kid’s not gonna walk, “you’re lucky if.” And so you know have a way to kind of digest information in relation to this operating system in a way too right? Because now you have this outlook and you’re like, “no I don’t want that for my kid, “so I don’t even accept that reality.”
– I can’t even hear it because you know to me if I started to believe that it would happen, right? So like when they said there was a .25% chance of him making it I didn’t think about 99.75, I was like, “no, I don’t want to hear that.” ‘Cause it’s like if you let any of it in it was gonna happen.
– You’ll help create it. So that right there is a really powerful metaphysical like truth, is the thing that you want to manifest is what you focus on and you stay focused on that and you stay there so there’s resilience, there’s force, there’s power and a lot of people probably are thinking, “yo lady you’re crazy, that’s unrealistic,” and so there’s–
– It doesn’t even exist, there’s no 110%, that’s how crazy it is and you know what, he’s actually there now, but think about these lines, I love the line your limitations will be your life, but it’s also your tolerations, you become your tolerations you know so those things you tolerate, “oh okay I’ll just settle for this,” that’s who you are, that’s who you become, so if I just decided, “gosh I just want him to be alive,” and there were times in there, I mean this is, the whole time was scary, it was one big mindset management, it’s been scary ever since. You know 25% of people who have brain injuries try to kill themselves, they’re suicidal, my son’s one of them. You know you have that level of brain injury, it’s depression, anxiety, it’s, you’re socially isolated, it’s–
– So you’re not out, you’re always–
– But you know we’re never out, none of us are.
– Life means you’re in.
– You know we are all in so it’s like so, trying to shy away and go, “I just can’t handle that stuff,” ’cause I’ve had people say, “I could never do that,” I go, “well you have to do it.” Early on when my son got diagnosed with bipolar disorder I went to a therapist and I, and he’s telling me what I need to do and I’m like, “I’m not strong enough to handle this,” and he goes, “well you better make yourself stronger “’cause this is what you’re facing,” I’m like, “ah.”
– Deal sister, yeah.
– Got it. You know it’s, that first mentor said, “don’t wish it was easier, make yourself stronger,” and I’m like, “got it,” and that’s the big thing, it’s like, sure you can shy away from these little challenges ’cause you think you’re afraid, but when the big challenge comes you’re drowning.
– Don’t wish it was easier, just make yourself stronger. That is, you know that is such sage wisdom right there and you had to embody it, that’s the hardest part right? It’s one thing to like read metaphysical books, it’s, we all read self help crap, but when bullets are flying everyone’s panicking.
– Exactly. And you said an important thing, you know, “we all read self help crap.”
– But it’s true, it’s all over the place.
– But it’s true so you know what, I am a super left brain person as you know and everything to me has to be frameworked, I have to be able to prove it and so when I was looking at this whole thing I go, “I don’t need to write a memoir like who care’s what I did?” Unless those, that specific story has lessons that are so universal and I can show people how to get into action so it will impact their life so they’ll get unstuck so they can handle stuff, so they can show up bigger in their life and it turns out there are simple lessons like leaning into fear and riding that 90 second wave, you know like starting in gratitude, there’s a very specific way to do forgiveness, and it totally sets you free and you can learn these things and they’re quick, and they’re life changing ’cause reading something doesn’t change anything, doing changes.
– I think that that right there is like a critique of the consumption culture that we live in too, it’s like, “oh well now I can speed read so I had, you know, “15 self help books I didn’t pay attention to this week.”
– Exactly, yeah.
– Right, and it doesn’t matter right, you gotta stay with it and so, the three things that you mentioned are all now evidence based science and so you know I come from the school of old, I did a bunch of stuff with Buddhists and Dowists and like so I studied this stuff and so now this stuff is being studied all around and so it’s like prayer is good for you, it turns out gratitude is good for you and it’s really come full circle. I mean we’re at a place right now where we understand that this is, this is science, it works, and so you incorporated that before this happened and you’ve been looking at that since I’m assuming so like what in there, like what, you have like a magic formula that worked for you. What parts are also universal, what parts, ’cause people are like, “well you know JJ’s so strong, I wish–”
– JJ was scared to death, JJ was scared to death and you know I sought out to go, “alright will this work, can I teach this?” And that’s what I always look for like with anything that I do I look at what’s actionable, the science behind it, but you know there’s a lot of things that there’s science behind and it’s like you go to try and use it and it doesn’t work right? And you’re like, “well that was great but that didn’t work.”
– So to me I’ve gotta make sure it actually works and that people can put this into their life. It’s one of the challenges that I have with a lot of different personal development stuff, I’m like, “but I don’t have an hour a day to do that,” like I got a minute.
– Give me something I can do in a minute, in 5 minutes, in 10 minutes I’m down, but if you tell me I’m gonna spend an hour I’m not even gonna get started, it’s crazy we’re all too busy so that’s what I was looking at is like, alright what are the key issues? And then again that’s why I took this focus group and went and took them through it and I said, “I don’t know if this is gonna work, “we’re gonna co-create this and I’m scared to death,” I was just being like, “okay I’m just putting it out there “that I’m actually scared.” People were always like, “you?” I’m like, “uh-huh I know I look like a tough girl, “but you know I’m scared every day,” and actually I know that when I’m not, that I am playing small and I think it’s a refrain, because we have this whole thing that fear is bad, what if fear is good?
– You’re on the edge of growth.
– And what if, like I can’t think of one situation that where I had the most perfect beautiful experience and I learned and grew, ever. Can you think of like, “gosh that was just a beautiful experience “and I learned so much.” Nope.
– No, so I also can’t think of anything I’ve ever done perfectly ever, you know.
– Ever. So I think these are all, I’ve got a very specific story and it’s kind of like an extreme story, it’s just like what I did to stay healthy in the hospital, I look at it and go, “you know I had this plan “for how to stay healthy in the hospital “so clearly it will work for everybody else “’cause that’s the hardest place to do it.” You know least healthy place on the planet, the hospital, but this, this specific story, extreme situation, so the things that I used, that now I find out are backed by science just like all the stuff that you’ve been using and they’ve been doing for centuries. It was like, “oh there’s science behind it.” You know these are all things that we can all learn and use and then change our life with and that’s what’s so cool about it. That’s why I went, you know this has been two years of just a painful process to do, I’ve been like, “why’d I do this, why am I doing?” but then I took people through this training and I went, “that’s why I did it.”
– There’s also this really interesting thing that’s happening with you, and I’ve known you for a while now, and I’ve known you pre this and post this right? I mean we’ve been around and you know, you’ve softened as a person as well. I mean you’re a go getter, you’ve always been a go getter, but like you’ve been able to relax into things in a way that’s very different, it’s like once you’re kind of on the bleeding edge of chaos, like I see this with GI’s, I see this with like MMA fighters. It’s like, wow that guy is a beast in the ring and he’s like the nicest guy to hang out with. Like it does this thing where it like extends your range and it shows you what you’re capable of and like you don’t sweat the small stuff as much either right?
– And it really, it’s like you don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff. I’m looking at people going, you know as you do this, the best way to explain it is we all have our comfort zone and I think of this with my 19 year old now, Bryce, who we were talking about earlier. So we all have our comfort zone and that’s really what we think we are able to tolerate, and every day if you can just push it a little bit ’cause you never shrink back. Every time your comfort zone expands, that’s, it stays there, you don’t go back. Once you know you can accomplish something then you go to the next. So you think about Bryce, who at 15 walks up to his brother on a ventilator, you know with road rash all down him, with bones sticking out and goes, “dude you look really ugly right now, “but if anyone can pull through this you can, “you are one tough guy.” I’m like, and then comes over, hugs me, ’cause I’m freaking out, hugs John and then goes home and says, “you know what I’m gonna stay here, “I’m gonna go to school tomorrow,” and goes to school on his own and goes through his like you know. I’m like, “who are you?”
– Wow, wow.
– But how do you rattle a kid like that at this point? Think about how his stress tolerance, his resilience, his comfort zone has expanded right? And so I think a big lesson here is when you are up against a scary situation and you have that you can either lean into it or run from it, you can never really run from it, you’ve gotta lean into it.
– We have a culture of running from it though right? Like the cops are going to protect me, the doctors gonna take care of me. Like if you let the doctors do what they wanted to do that day you probably wouldn’t have a son.
– No I wouldn’t have a son because they told me very specifically to let him go. It was the silliest thing, I’m listening to this and my Spock brain’s going, “but he’s gonna die here,” like you just told me he was gonna die here within the next 24 hours so why wouldn’t we airlift him, you know, the only reason I saw not to airlift him, and I went outside and I had what, the guy who founded Hoffman goes, “you had a divine hit, do you know that? I’m like, “no,” you know because I’ve never had any of these things before so I’ll take your word for it.
– I was really normal until today right.
– I was like kind of going along, sort of, kind of shut down over there. I walk outside and I’m like what would Grant want ’cause that was my big question as a mom was, you know hey we can airlift him but what if we airlift him and he survives the surgery and we’ve got a vegetable.
– So what would Grant want and that’s when I went outside and I’m like outside, and it’s a full moon and I’m standing there being totally present, but what would Grant want? And I just got that hit and I’m like, “that hit is you fight for him.” I’m like that’s it, went inside like you know, game on.
– [Pedram] No no this is what we’re doing.
– This is it, that’s what it is, and it’s like I am fighting, it was very strange, I had another client, and it’s so interesting when you go through a situation like this because again I’m very science orientated, very left brain, and all the sudden you’re like, “sure send me holy water, “yes pray for me, yes,” you know like, “yes.”
– Wave a chicken.
– Yes exactly, I’m like “yes I’ll take it all. “Yes I will that’s awesome.” I had energy healers calling me in the morning as I was driving to see him they tell me what was going on with him, they like blow things through the phone, I’m like, “cool,” you know everything was great.
– I’ll take it. Yeah it’s not, when you’re on the bleeding edge, was it? I think Shrini said this, neuroscientist from Harvard, neurons perform best on the edge of chaos right?
– Well Shrini would know.
– Shrini would know right, I mean he’s a genius guy, he’s just you know eccentric and genius and all of it. At the edge of chaos there’s genius and so at the edge of chaos you found your strength, you found your resilience.
– Well I think that’s the whole thing with being challenged is that we are never better than when we’re challenged and what was really interesting is Grant as he’s come out of this, is you can imagine as a parent, you know we bring him home early, we just said, “you know what I think he can do this better at home, “we’ll set him up,” and even things like crossing the street, I’m like jumping him you know, I’m like.
– Back off, and as he’s going through this he goes, “Mom,” you know things were hard, he can’t remember things, you know, I said, “use your phone, this is your hard drive now, “your phone’s your hard drive,” and he’s like, “can’t you just help me with this?” I go, “no, this is gonna be hard and you are strong “and you’re gonna step up and you can do this, “’cause that’s not gonna get easy for you,” and he’s like, and the minute I shifted, ’cause at first I was like, “I’ll take care of you,” and like you know, “baby baby baby.”
– “My poor baby,” yeah.
– And that was not working at all, he was getting depressed and dark and down and then I was like, “no you have to step up,” and he was like, “okay.” I’m like, “okay.”
– And it’s a lesson, I kind of look at this whole thing and go, “this is a parenting lesson.” You know for all of this, we’ve created these entitled kids, you know, they need to learn the consequences, they need to learn how to step up, we need to be challenged. We were challenged growing up.
– And it’s changed a lot and you can see it reflecting in the world right? Generation after generation, the work ethic is going down, it’s becoming a very difficult world to parent in, because you know, the new norm is just you know, let them moan.
– Yeah, and that’s not how a resilient human is going to–
– No that’s the whole, Carol Dweck described this at Stanford, there’s a fixed mindset and the growth mindset, which to me that’s, the growth mindset is the idea that your mindset’s a muscle and you can develop it which means you better be because if you’re not guess what it’s doing? It’s shrinking, but the fixed mindset is the victim, it happens to me, whine whine whine. You know, it’s like, you don’t raise those kids.
– People are, so if you’re in an environment–
– Not us.
– Not us right, but so if you’re in an environment where you’re like, “oh shit I think I might have just done that,” or you know, “that’s how I grew up.”
– Oh I looked back and went, “oopsies,” you know, I might have,whoops.
– Yeah, well yeah so then what do I do?
– Alright kids I’m taking it all away and you’re going to go out into the back yard and camp, fend for yourself.
– Yeah today we hike 40 miles suck it up right? I used to do that with, I used to own a summer camp before I decided to like go into healthcare and these kids, I’d just be like, I don’t care what the doctor labeled you as, like, “today we’re climbing up that mountain, suck it up,” right, and it’s just like of course they could do it. You’re a bipedal animal, that used to do this for hundreds of miles a week and now suddenly it’s like walking is now called hiking right? Hiking is just walking here.
– No hiking is up here.
– Right, but this is here, let’s just go get it.
– In the alps.
– Yeah exactly. So there’s so much in the movie that is, I don’t want to spoil anything. Your movie’s coming out soon, we’re gonna share a link to it so.
– Yeah you are like one of the big inspirations on this movie. There were several times over the last year that I didn’t really like you much I must say.
– I never said it was easy, I said it was good for you.
– Damn Pedram.
– Well I mean I’ve been working on a movie for a year and a half and everyone’s like, “let me see it,” I’m like, “let me fucking see it, “like I’m still working on it look.”
– You’ll see it when I see it.
– You’ll see it when I see it, like nice little clips of it.
– Then you see the first one, you’re like, “that’s not what I was thinking it was gonna be.”
– Yeah, you’re like, “oh there’s color correction, “there’s sound, there’s this, there’s that, “it’s like it takes a while to hatch that egg,” but you’ve done a really really good job, it’s a beautiful film and it’s coupled by an amazing book and you, it’s, you look so pretty here.
– Thank you.
– The Miracle Mindset.
– That’s the soft JJ.
– That’s the soft JJ. Well it’s the new and improved JJ right?
– That was funny because my editor’s like, “we want a soft picture of you “’cause all my pictures are like.”
– Look at my arms, right.
– You know.
– I was joking that I’m gonna arm wrestle her here but I’m not ’cause she might beat me right? But that’s the JJ I knew right, it’s just like just strong.
– Who actually, I won in Sacramento I beat the guy at Oktoberfest at arm wrestling.
– That is so gangster.
– I know.
– That is so good.
– Thank you very much.
– Yeah thank you very much.
– You are stronger than you think.
– You are stronger than you think, yeah and so, like your whole thing has been getting your clarity on your diet and really being the person that says, “say no to these foods that you’re allergic to,” and all this and now you’ve like crossed over into this thing where it’s like all these universal principles that you had to deal with. I mean this was, again I’m not going to spoil the movie, there was a period of your life where a lot of amazing things happened and it really brought out the best in you and there was two directions to go on this, right?
– [JJ] Yeah.
– And the other one’s not acceptable.
– No no, and that’s, anyone would make this choice, but I was fortunate that I had all of this in me already and that’s the real point, like I’m gonna go back because I’m a nutrition and fitness gal too, this is a muscle, use it or lose it. You know you wouldn’t say, “you know I think I’m gonna run a marathon, “I’ll go tomorrow.” And just go run the LA marathon.
– What’s the problem, I don’t know why I’m so slow.
– Gosh there’s nothing more important to train than your mindset because it’s going to impact your relationship, your finances, your career, your health, every single thing and yet we don’t have any way to quantify it. We don’t have any exercises to train it so that’s when I was like, “I can put this together.” So I actually created a score card so you could assess your mindset and all the different attributes of it and then I created the training so could actually train your mindset and really simple little short fast things that work right? Because to me like if it’s gonna take a whole lot of time I’m not doing it and I’m sure most, you know, like most people don’t need to be busier, so most people are already overwhelmed so it’s what you need to do to help them cut through the overwhelm but when you really look at it, it’s nutrition, fitness, mindset, and I think you’d agree, like there are all those pillars that you’d have to have to be truly healthy out in the world and a lot of this I actually was incorporating into my program ’cause it just wasn’t obvious because it was so in me. Like I would always start with like, “what’s your why, what’s your purpose behind this?”
– That’s really interesting because you had it in the person you had dealt with, your mentor in this business thing, had basically like uploaded it into you and you were running this way anyways and you didn’t get it and so it’s just like, “I don’t understand, “how the hell can you eat bread when you know you’re allergic to gluten?” Right and it’s like the mindset piece is the glue.
– I know it’s like just put that cookie down, like just put it down, you know.
– It’s like so I never would’ve thought about like what’s the driving force behind it that tells me not to go do that thing?
– But it’s kind of like the fish in the aquarium right? The fish doesn’t know he’s in water so it’s like if you’re in the mindset you just can’t see it right? So you have to change the mindset.
– So that was the great thing because people were like, “how did you do this?” and I actually hadn’t, I was like.
– [Pedram] What do you mean?
– Yeah they go, “I could never have done that.” I’m like “of course you would’ve done that, like, “it’s your kid,” and then I thought, I went “oh, “no they probably would’ve listened to the first doctor” who was very angry at me, I read the medical report later. It was like, “I told them to keep him here.” I’m like, “yeah, you know really.”
– [Pedram] Yes you did.
– Yes you did. We tried to get him in the film, he declined.
– He declined, I wonder why right, totally. The one that got away, yeah yeah. Well so okay we’re running out of time. I’m gonna share links to the movie, You Are Stronger Than You Think and it is releasing soon.
– [JJ] So tease.
– Yeah I’m excited to share it and the book is coming out at the same time?
– February 21st, but we have a whole like, get started creating a miracle mindset package with the book in it ’cause I, you know now it’s like now that I know that this is something people can learn I’m like, you know, on a mission to get everybody doing this.
– [Pedram] You’re on fire, that’s what I love about you.
– Yes baby.
– You’ve always been on fire since I’ve known you and now this is really, it’s like it’s taken fire and coupled it with water in a way where you like, you have this like real, like, it’s brought the like mama bear energy and brought it full circle in a way where it’s just like, you have this cohesion in it. Like this really, it’s just really changed a lot of things.
– Thank you.
– Yeah it’s really–
– It’s like the missing piece. It is amazing, you know we were going to call that book My Best Worst Year, but you really look at it and, Grant is the best embodiment of this. I asked him a couple weeks ago. I did an interview with him that actually blew my mind and I taped it because it’s for a live training but I thought, “I don’t know what he’s gonna say, “so I’ll tape it,” and so I said, “Grant, you know, let’s go back four and a half years “and I’m gonna put you at the side of the street “and you can cross it or not and what do you do?” “Crossed the street and better because of it.”
– Makes me.
– I know.
– That’s a heavy four years but you know what that’s life’s journey. You know like Lord of the Rings is this amazing saga of all this shit that these guys go through to like fight evil and then there’s this little story of how the movie should’ve ended, and then like they go, “oh we have to put this ring “in this volcano,” so they’re like, “call the eagles,” and the eagles just come and they just go drop it in right? But that’s not how life works. Life is all of these turns that you take to learn about yourself and find your strength and so I’m so excited to share this. I want to thank you for being here.
– [JJ] Thank you.
– And any time you’re close, you’re close so I want you back, like come hang out with me.
– Yeah, bring the kids.
– Yeah I’ll bring the kids. You said it, you heard it here, I’m bringing my kids.
– They like the doggie.
– They like the, yeah.
– Okay so I’m taking, you’re right he met your doggie, I’m taking my kids to JJ’s and I’m gonna Facebook Live what she says when my kids are tearing apart her house. Awesome, I will see you next time. I’ll put links in, excuse me, I’ll put links in as soon as the movie is ready to share and we’re ready to go. Yep see you next time.