At Freedom, we love our users – not just because they use our product, but because they’re cool – cool people working on cool stuff. Academy Award-nominated screenwriters, bestselling authors, editors, journalists, developers, illustrators, designers, academic researchers, explorers, and entrepreneurs – the Freedom community is packed with curious, creative, and passionate go-getters. We love to share their stories and advice, because how better to learn about productivity than from the productive?
Meet JP Morgan.
JP Morgan is a personal development coach and founder of JP Morgan Creating. Through his coaching, JP guides individuals and elite creators in being more powerful in every area of their life and work by helping them create a life they truly love. Through helping you to find and follow your true purpose, JP aims to foster a deep passion for exploring, creating, and living.
Beyond his the daily work with clients, he has been invited to share his ideas and spirit on numerous stages including TEDx, Global Citizens Forum, BBC, SkyTV, and Interesting Talks London — to name a few.
Among his many adventures and accomplishments, JP has has lived nomadically while traveling the world for three years, coached human rights leaders, toured as a musician in bands, developed a children’s library in Cambodia, published travel writing and photography, competed as a black belt and triathlete, performed as a professional magician, studied with Buddhist monks and spiritual teachers, gone paragliding in the Swiss Alps, and cycled solo for thousands of miles.
When he’s not working in Santa Monica, CA, JP is exploring and traveling the world with his wife and three-year-old son.
With such varied experience and a wealth of personal development knowledge, we decided to sit down with JP to learn a little more about how he has created a life and career helping himself and others live a life that focuses on what matters most.
How did you know that you wanted to be a coach, writer, and speaker and what were your first steps in making this your career?
It happened organically and emerged from following different interests. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a teenager and have built and run various businesses; for a long time I was living out of a backpack and living as a digital nomad before that was even a thing. When people asked me how I was doing it I began informally mentoring them, helping them to leave their corporate jobs and create their own businesses and lives; I helped them create their own worlds essentially.
At the same time I was interested in performance magic as a hobby. What started off as learning David Blaine card tricks led me to psychological illusions and learning about the mind. This crossed over with my interests in productivity and being effective in business.
I found myself stumbling into this world of coaching and turned the informal work I was doing into something formal by taking on paid clients. After a couple of years it became my full-time work and now it’s been ten years.
Another factor was a lifelong interest in taking things apart and putting them back together and trying to figure out how I can be the most effective and the most honest in everything I do. That’s really the core of my work today too; it’s about dignifying the most personal truth and having the most power which for me means making the biggest difference in the most loving way.
At what point did you realize that tech was taking a toll on your productivity, time, relationships? When did you know that you had to do something about it?
I’ve always known that media in general was influencing me. When I was 19 years old I threw away my TV and didn’t get another one until my 30’s and on-demand entertainment became available. What I knew back then was that media being fed to me without me having to make a decision greatly influences how I think and feel and what my opinions are. I’ve always known that’s the case but I still get lost in it from time to time because I’m human. So I’ve always had that awareness, and as a very sociable person (I’ve been socializing online since the blogger days of the ‘90s, before social media became popular) I have had periods of my life where I was super absorbed in it. When I was a software developer I got pulled into writing code and I could see how spending hours and hours in front of my computer made my brain and my body feel. The more I did deep work in the world of coaching and spirituality, the more sensitive I became to my body, and the more awareness I had of the effects of social media on me, and so I was always looking for ways to mitigate that. When I found the Freedom app that was an obvious solution to be able to create containers for me to engage in social media.
What I knew back then was that media being fed to me without me having to make a decision greatly influences how I think and feel and what my opinions are.JP MORGAN
How do you prioritize what gets your time and attention each day?
I prioritize it based on the impact completing the task will have i.e. how much of a difference will finishing the task make? Because physics is my background I think of power as the difference made to a system. To achieve the greatest power I want to make the biggest difference in the smallest amount of time. I don’t use task management software anymore, I look within and ask myself intuitively “What do I know will make the biggest difference?”
To organize myself I also use containers of time. I don’t give myself hours and hours to get things done, I use smaller blocks of time; a couple of hours or 30 minutes and that fits much better into my life now that I have a family. I have a wife and a child and I don’t want to work mad hours like I used to as an entrepreneur; I want to grow my business inside a smaller container of time.
How do you stay focused and motivated on a daily basis? Do you have a routine, ritual, or process that helps to get into a productive flow?
The bedrock of my effectiveness is my morning routine. I start my day with reading; I’m currently reading the Tao Te Ching for the umpteenth time and The Supple Leopard for the first time. Once my mind is activated and engaged I sit and meditate in silence to still my mind, sometimes just 5 minutes and sometimes as much as an hour. Once I’ve cultivated an awareness of my inner experience then I practice cultivating habits of thinking through speaking intentionally around who I am and the world that I want to see. Those two pieces are not only the bedrock of my morning routine but also the foundation of the work that I do professionally as a coach. I help people to disembed from the illusion of reality, and then from that place of peaceful groundedness outside the illusion to dive back in with a paintbrush or a hammer and chisel and to create a reality for themselves that gives them the most loving experience of life and the most powerful state of being that has them create the biggest impact in their world.
So I do that to begin my day and then I ask myself “What would I love to create today?” from that place of grounded clarity. That’s how I figure out what I’m going to do and then I set off on my day.
Another important factor for me is managing my sexual energy and that means being sexually active with my wife on a regular basis and not using masturbation excessively. Because I’m sensitive and aware of how much my sexual energy is the root force of my desire to create in the world, when that’s well balanced I’m much more naturally motivated and effective in everything that I do.
How do you optimize your environment for productivity and focus? How do you incorporate Freedom into your schedule?
My work environment is organized to enhance simplicity and enjoyment and to keep my mind uncluttered. I have white walls and plants and I use a standing desk. My entire business can function from a smart-phone so while I do have a work-station I can also leave it and go anywhere and be anywhere and work through my desktop, iPad or iPhone. Often I’ll just go wherever I feel I need to be to continue to be productive. I don’t constrain myself to a single environment.
My consulting calls take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 2pm, so because I have a rigid structure around when I take calls it means that I can be flexible with the rest of my time. Sometimes I work till 5pm but I don’t have to. Very often I take off Mondays and Fridays because I don’t have any commitments on those days. Having that flexibility is great because I can have a four day week and I don’t even have to think about it. Having a solid structure means that I have a lot of time to be spontaneous.
Having a solid structure means that I have a lot of time to be spontaneous.JP MORGAN
What is the most difficult/challenging aspect about your work or working process? Do you have any strategies that you use to help overcome these challenges?
The most difficult thing is being productive online because it’s so easy to be distracted. One of the most interesting things I’ve done is to stay on Facebook and completely destroy my newsfeed. It took me a couple of days but I have literally unfollowed every single page and every friend and so when I load Facebook there is nothing to attract my attention. The only way I can engage with Facebook is to take the manual step of going to my friends profile and so for me it’s the difference between having a cable connection at my house and just having TV and commercials pouring in at all times versus a subscription to Netflix or Hulu where I can decide to watch a TV show right now and when I’m done, I’m done. It’s on-demand social media versus being fed social media and that’s one example of how I’ve adapted it to be more effective for me.
I also used to get lost engaging in dialogues, to debate or try to make a point, so now I ask myself the question every time I post or comment, “What will posting this create?” I’m more connected to my intention every time I post or comment and that has me not wasting time because I’m conscious of what my use of that time is creating.
The most difficult thing is being productive online because it’s so easy to be distracted.JP MORGAN
What resources or tools do you use daily and have found most beneficial to your working process?
What projects are you currently most excited about?
I’m most excited about my Creators Class. I’ve been coaching for ten years and over that time I’ve created a personal philosophy which I’m calling the Creating Perspective. A lot of my clients have said that some of the greatest value they’ve got from my work is learning that perspective and so now I’m going to be teaching it on a monthly basis through live dialogue and through a private community of people that are interested in creating everything they want in life, not through controlling, but through dancing with reality and the universe. It’s for people that want to create more peace, love, and happiness, and also more wealth and prosperity. If that sounds interesting to you, you should join my mailing list because we will be announcing it soon.
What do you do outside of your work routine that helps you stay healthy and productive?
I really prioritize sleep. We have a three-year-old and he still sleeps in our bed, so on some nights in order to get a good eight hours of sleep I’m in there for nine or more. I really honor my sleep and rest and taking it easy. I start my day with high intensity interval training; I’m an avid crossfitter and have been crossfitting for five years, and I also mix in yoga and walk a lot.
I just turned 40 and I’m the strongest, fastest and fittest I’ve ever been. I eat a super-clean, whole foods diet. I’m really into tracking stuff, I have an Apple Watch which keeps me accountable and I love to stay socially engaged with friends and family who also use activity trackers. I use social engagement and my competitive nature to stay engaged with fitness in a way that keeps me healthy and I like to see how I can use my curiosity to level up my game. I love going to see doctors because I don’t see them as someone you see when you’re broken; I always want to get as much information as I can to optimize my health and longevity.
Where are you currently based?
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
To learn more about JP or his coaching, visit JPMorganJr.com