Joshua Coburn is a motivational speaker, author, mentor, athlete, and entrepreneur. He provides daily tools to realize goals and reveal essential power in order to effortlessly align your mind & body for living a confident, fulfilling life.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in a small midwest farming community of about 1500 people. I was raised in a very disciplined/strict alcoholic household. We didn’t have a lot and I worked from age eight onward. That fear of not knowing what to expect at home and the comfort of work and discipline was what drove me for years. I was that “Weird Coburn Kid” in town who was expected to achieve little. That lit a fire in me to do more, push harder, and always outwork anyone.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wished I’d have learned to ask more questions of mentors earlier. I wanted to learn the lessons the hard way but if id has asked mentors questions much sooner I would have been much more ahead of where I am today. This is referencing both business and personal relationships.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Today the buzzword is “Toxic”. Toxic Masculinity. Toxic Behavior. Most recently Toxic Positivity. When I hear a phrase like “Being positive doesn’t fix things and, in fact, it may turn a lot of people off from your message” it makes me chuckle. A positive mindset, confidence, personal value…those aren’t toxic traits to anyone unless they are struggling with negativity, hopelessness, and lack of value. It’s the politically correct way to bring people down to your level rather than taking responsibility & rising up. If that message turns people off from me or others, they aren’t the people I, or anyone else who is living a fulfilling life, need in our lives in the first place. My life and my profession are to build people up to be their best selves, if you’re not cool with that or willing to take part in that it’s all good. Others are and they are kicking all kinds of ass while doing so.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
On September 5th, 2001 I hit bottom. I surrounded myself with too many negative people who misunderstood who I was and treated me badly. I believed that I was useless and worthless because that’s all I heard from them and all my internal dialogue told myself. I was ready to check out. I wrote a suicide note and was ready to go…but I really struggled with anxiety and routine was the only comfort for me. When I finished writing that note I planned to end my life….but my anxiety wouldn’t let me break my routine as this was the time I usually went to bed. With my anxiety screaming in my mind “GO TO BED! REST LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO!” I relented and retired for the evening. I woke a few hours later feeling different and I realized it was because I wasn’t carrying all that negative weight. I released it all in the suicide note I had written. From that moment on I decided that the words of others had to mean less to me, the dreams I had must mean more, and I had to do anything within my power to heal. I also made a vow that if I was going to take such extreme measures with my death, I must do the same in life while helping others do the same. It’s what brought me here ultimately.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I practice happiness. Sounds silly but our moods are not perpetual & our challenges are not always similar. One thing that must be is our approach. I practice happiness with an encouraging internal dialogue that helps me keep moving forward no matter what the goals or challenges may be.
What is your morning routine?
Six am wake up. Immediate shower. Five to fifteen minutes taking in the sunrise as my dog does his business. Make coffee to deliver to my wife. Send a few messages to friends or associates. Meditate for roughly ten min. Begin work. That is roughly my first hour.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I write a daily quote/affirmation/phrase of some sort on an index card. I started this when I was coming back from my bottom and digging out of my hole. I still do it today as a way to focus or remind myself of something important I need to hear or focus on. I also post these on social media for others who may be struggling with what to say to themselves when they are on a hard road or facing major challenges as well.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Have a plan. Be disciplined in taking action. Stay focused. Understand that delayed gratification is an asset and not a liability.
In other words:
Write your shit down, set short term goals to assist you in achieving that long term shit, work on that short term shit endlessly (rest when needed but that doesn’t mean stop), keep your cup full and fire alight, and do whatever it takes for as long as it takes. My strategy is simple. Get up and do it. If you want anything in this life bad enough you’ll make it happen. If you don’t you’ll just talk about it the rest of your life and those are the hard facts.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This is a touch love, get your shit together and go again book for anyone wanting to beat the odds and their challenges. It hit me in a fundamental way at a time when I really needed it. No BS, just the way I like it!
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
A couple. “Just keep going” is something I repeat over and over in my head when I’m busy treading new ground. I don’t have all the answers but if I just keep going the lessons will be there…but the unknown is terrifying for anyone to face. This keeps my anxiety down and my game face on. Also, “If we don’t belong, make others feel as if they belong with us.” Everyone who is whole “out” and themselves is a misfit, a cog in the wheel, a monster in the machine, and it can get lonely. Fact is, this is every one of us on some level. If someone is uncomfortable, Ill work to make them comfortable and realize they have a place on my team and value to provide this world.