009 – Recognize the Signs of Burnout with Zack Arnold

In this episode, I chat with Zack Arnold, a Hollywood film and television editor, and creator of the blog, Optimize Yourself. Zack shares his experiences with burnout, how to recognize the symptoms, and how to pull yourself out.

Overview
[00:01:09] Mission and vision
[00:06:55] “Disabilities”
[00:08:32] Going through the darkness
[00:15:47] Depression and burnout in creative fields
[00:17:15] Symptoms of burnout
[00:19:40] Climbing out of a mental hell

Resources mentioned:
optimizeyourself.me
Go Far (Christopher Rush documentary)
23andMe
Ancestry.com
Move Yourself
Focus Yourself
The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Productivity 
Cobra Kai 

Note: Some of the resources above may be affiliate links, meaning I’d get a commission if you use that link to make a purchase (at no cost to you).

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to LIFT, a podcast for you – the entrepreneur, the leader, the creative – who leads change with heart. If you don’t have it all together, you’re in the right place. I’m your host, Sharlene Sobrepeña.

In today’s episode, I chat with Zack Arnold, an award-winning film and TV editor, and creator of the blog, Optimize Yourself. We talk about how “disabilities” can be turned into strengths, the difference between burnout and depression, and how to recognize the signs of burnout in yourself. My biggest takeaway is that you can pull back from burnout if you develop the awareness to recognize the symptoms, and then take extra care of yourself. You don’t have to completely succumb to burnout. Let’s get to it.

Sharlene: So, I want to just dive right into the deep questions. I like to ask my guests these two questions.

Zack: Oh, I’m unprepared. Let’s see if you can surprise me.

Sharlene: The first one is, what’s your mission with your work and the second one is what’s your vision for the world?

Zack: Oooh, wow. Those are hard questions. So, the mission for my work – it’s funny, I spent years trying to figure out how do I give the elevator pitch for this because that’s all part of being an entrepreneur. And there are all the little fancy copywriting things you can put in your website. You get opt-ins and all those other things. But for me, after doing years of deep personal introspection to understand who I really am and why I do what I do, and what my purpose is, I found that I am here to inspire other people to step outside their comfort zones, so they can achieve their fullest potential. And I know that might sound like some copy jargon, but it took me a long time to dig deep into my past, doing therapy, working with coaches to really understand the experiences in my life that shaped who I am. And I found that I have a tendency to always stick up for the underdog and I always have a tendency to fight back against the bully. And in this case, the bully would just be life and improbable success that most people don’t end up getting because they just feel like they’re up against it and the world isn’t giving them what they need. And what I’m trying to show people is that every single person in the world has some form of disability. Right? So, that’s saying specifically was not mine. That was a saying by somebody named Christopher Rush. He was a good friend of mine. He was a subject of a documentary film that I created. He was actually the first quadriplegic to become a licensed scuba diver. He was the national poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He did a lot of things despite his disabilities. And when you look at a guy that’s quadriplegic in a wheelchair, you say, “Oh, that guy’s disabled,” right? But so many other people have disabilities that you don’t see and they just assume that they’re weak. But what I’m trying to teach people is that every single person on the planet has some form of disability somewhere. But rather than focusing on your disabilities, if you focus on the things that you can do and do well and accelerate those, then you can be successful in whatever makes the most sense for you. So really, my mission is to just empower people to really achieve their fullest potential. But in order to do that, they have to get uncomfortable and they have to do things that are hard, that they’re scared of. So, I like scaring people just a little bit out of their comfort zone, to push them farther than they thought that they could go. So, that would be the first question. The second one is, what impact do I want to see in the world or make in the world? Rephrase it for me again?

Sharlene: What’s your vision for the world?

Zack: Okay. So, my vision for the world, that’s a big question. And I think that – and this is probably something that a lot of entrepreneurs, especially new ones, can relate to – as soon as you jump into the world of entrepreneurship, you feel this duty to change the world. And it becomes this heavy weight of, ‘Oh well, I’ve only got ten subscribers or 20 subscribers. I can’t change the world with 20 people. I have to get on the biggest platforms and have a list of a million people and get out on all the biggest stages.’ And that literally was just pushing me into the state of depression and despair, feeling like I was failing every day. And then I kind of turned it around and I said, ‘Well, it’s not about changing the world. It’s about changing the world for one person.’ So, if I can go one person at a time and I can change their world and their life is better because of it, my vision of the world is just being able to do that for one small person at a time. But with everything that’s going on, on the planet right now, whether it’s globally or politically, whatever it is, it is so ridiculously overwhelming and so negative that I honestly shelter myself and I try to block new sites and all this other stuff, and just live in my own little world. And in that version of the world, I’m reaching out and I’m helping people get where they want to get. So, I don’t know if that’s a cop out or not, but I guess that would be my best vision of the world.

Sharlene: I like it, changing the world for one person. And that actually starts with you.

Zack: It certainly does and you can’t help others until you’ve been through all the darkness. The metaphor that I’ll use is – we were talking before we started about the fact that I’m training for American Ninja Warrior and have been for a little over a year – and part of the training is I run obstacle course races and I love Spartan races. And there’s no way that I could help other people run their first Spartan race and overcome the obstacles and drag themselves through mud and under barb wire and getting sprayed in the face with fire hoses – nobody’s going to trust me to do that until I suffer through it first. So, I feel like the only way for me to be authentic and genuinely talk about my experiences and help others, and change their world is I have to have really been through the darkness first and, assuming that I escape the tunnel and I come out the other side a better person, people say, “Hey, I’m in the dark part of the tunnel right now. Show me how to get out.” And I feel that’s a really, really big part of any form of entrepreneurship is, ‘I’m not going to follow you or I’m not going to download your stuff or buy your courses or your product or whatever it is unless, number one, that product just solves an immediate need and I don’t care about your story at all.’ But most likely, if it’s somebody who’s an influencer or a speaker, your journey is everything. So, it’s not just about the message. It’s so much about the messenger. So, I’ve been focused so much more on the quality of the messenger and I’m still very focused on the quality of the message. But I feel like I have to come from a strong place of authenticity, sharing my story and my struggles which is actually one of the reasons that I chose to go after American Ninja Warrior as a 39-year-old non-athlete with two kids that spends his entire day behind a computer, because I figure if I can tackle that, people are going to believe me when I say, “I know how to teach people to overcome difficult obstacles.”

Sharlene: So, you mentioned disabilities. How would you define disability because our general definition of it is, I think, a bit different than how you’re describing it? Is it like a weakness?

Zack: Yeah. I would say that it’s something that is an obstacle that you cannot overcome. So, for example, if you’re quadriplegic, your disability is that you cannot walk. You cannot run. You cannot move your limbs and it’s very visible when you have that disability. But another way to look at it is if you desperately want to play in the NBA, but you’re 45 years old and you’re 5’2’’, your height has now become a disability. So, you’re never going to overcome that. That is an obstacle that you cannot change; that you must instead of trying to overcome, you must circumvent it. It’s the same thing for that person that might be 45 years old and 5’2”. They can’t be in the NBA. That’s a disability. But guess what? If they wanted to run the American Ninja Warrior Course and they were a gymnast, now their height is an ability. So, it’s the exact same thing that was a disability, now becomes a strength simply by reframing it. So, disability in my mind, is something that you cannot change, but it’s all based on context. So, even though Christopher Rush had the disability of being quadriplegic, he found something that he could excel in which is scuba diving. Because once he goes in the water and he’s weighted down and he has people around him for safety, he can walk and he can move his limbs because he’s practically weightless. So, now it’s no longer a disability. In my mind, it’s something that you can’t overcome, but it’s all based on context.

Sharlene: I like that. So, you mentioned going through the darkness. What kind of darkness did you go through, if you don’t mind sharing?

Zack: Oh boy, I know you said we only have 25 minutes. I’m not sure I can do it in that amount of time. Yeah, I’ve been very vocal about my multiple experiences with depression, suicidal depression, burnouts, severe anxiety. And I found, after doing a lot of introspection and analysis and therapy, and many things over the course of the last 15 to 20 years, that in my case it’s a combination of two things. One of which is it’s just a genetic predisposition. I’ve had my genetics tested. I actually talked a lot about this in one of my podcasts with a genetic expert, that I have certain genetic disorder called SNPs. It’s something – anybody can get this tested now through 23andMe or Ancestry.com – it costs $100. And if you had this analyzed, you can find out, ‘Do I have a genetic predisposition to some of these things?’ I do, but I didn’t know that until a year ago. So, I spent a long time dealing with constant lethargy and always being in a bad mood, constantly being anxious, never having energy. I just couldn’t string two creative thoughts together, even though that’s my livelihood. But I assumed I was just broken and I was weak, right? I figured everybody else is doing this, why can’t I? Why is it that I can’t work a 16-hour day and not go outside and see the sun and not take walks and not exercise? Why can’t I still do my job, when it seems like everybody else is? What I started to learn is that everybody is experiencing the same things. It’s just because it was considered a weakness, so to speak, everybody tried to hide it. So, the first time this happened to me is when I was 25 years old. I was editing my first feature film – by trade, for the last 20 years I’ve been a Hollywood film and television editor. And I was doing my first feature film at that time. And during one of the stretches, during the director’s cut, we worked – I don’t remember the exact amount of time, this is all a blur – but it was essentially seven weeks straight, seven days a week, no days off working from 9 am to 1 am, with somebody sitting on the couch behind me telling me how to do everything. When you’re in it, you just don’t know how bad it is, but as soon as you’re out of it, you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I cannot believe how awful that was.’ And I just had this severe crash, where as soon as the pressure was off and I had time away from the job, I literally couldn’t function. It was at the point where I spent 10-12 hours a day on the couch, doing nothing, eating very poorly. You really got to the point – as far as my anxiety was concerned, the thing I remember more than anything was my wife asking me to take the trash out and I just broke down in tears. Just the mere thought of having to wake up and go outside with a bag of trash, and go downstairs and back upstairs was too much. It was just, ‘I can’t do it.’ That’s when I knew that I had a problem. That was the first time. I’ve had probably two or three other bouts with severe depression since that happened. The most recent – which I think is one that you might be able to relate to based on our conversation before we started – is that I spent, I don’t know, probably four to five months working on a big online product launch. So, I have a program online that’s called Move Yourself, which helps people that work sedentary jobs build healthier habits into their day so they can be less sedentary. So, it’s not exercise per se. It’s just, ‘How do I get more steps during the day? How can I be more creative? How can I feel more energetic, if I live behind the computer?’ And I ran what was called the 5X Challenge. And it was a challenge I was running and advertising all over the world, to people that were in my industry and it was a free challenge. It was a five day free challenge and basically what happened was, when I first ran challenges like this, I got 15 to 20 participants if I was lucky. This time, I got 1100. So, I had 1100 people in this free challenge and I was completely overwhelmed. And while I was running the challenge, I was still finishing the online product. I would send people to landing pages that I had published five minutes before I sent the email. I was basically going 21 hours a day. And the launch went pretty well. I didn’t hit the targets that I wanted to hit financially, but a lot of that is because my projections were unrealistic; just because it was like, ‘That’s the number I want so that’s the number I’m going to hit.’ But it wasn’t really based on any sound conversion numbers, all the kind of standard metrics. It was just because I really, really, really wanted to hit it. So, in my mind, my launch was a failure. And it really wasn’t. When I had done post-mortems with other people in business groups and online groups, they looked at the numbers and they’re like, ‘Dude, great launch’. I’m like, ‘Yeah, but you don’t understand. I wanted it to be more.’ So, in my mind, I had spent four months building this and on top of it, I had turned down eight high-profile jobs on big TV series. So, I basically told the world I’m unavailable. I’m living in a cave. I’m living my dream. I’m not going to be a film editor anymore and this product launch is going to save my life and is going to make me a rich entrepreneur. It’s how we all talk. So, after that happened, and I didn’t sell what I wanted to, I started to think about ‘why did I make these decisions. What were the repercussions? Well, I turned down all this work. I turned down a lot of money. So, if I just had gone to work, I would have made more money than the product launch.’ But the thing that really hit me more than anything was the fact that my whole goal for building an online platform and helping people, my goal for me, personally, was that I want to be able to work from home so I can see my children grow up. In my industry, most people just miss their kids’ childhoods because they’re working six to seven days a week for 12 to 16 hours a day. And I said, ‘That’s not going to be me. I want to be able to be a big part of my kids’ lives.’ So, here I was spending five months building an online product from home and never seeing my children and getting annoyed when they were coming in the door because I was building my future. And when I looked back at that, I said, ‘This is absurd. This is the exact opposite of what I should be doing.’ So, that sent me into this giant depression, where I just felt such a tremendous amount of guilt for having made such a stupid decision to launch this product, that I basically went into a state of being completely frozen. I couldn’t write a post, I couldn’t even write an email to my list. I was petrified to even write an email to my list. And this is more coincidental than having to do with that specifically, but I was in the process of a rebrand. So, I basically just sent one email saying, “I’m rebranding the site and it’s going to take a while.” I think I actually did the rebrand in maybe one to two weeks. But to the outside world, it took me four months. What they didn’t realize is I was doing nothing four months other than feeling sorry for myself and asking, ‘Why was I doing this? Should I even be putting up a new website? Should I do this at all?’ Until I really started to unpack a lot of the deeper fears that I had behind what I was doing – because like I said, you look at the spreadsheets and you’re like, ‘Yeah this is pretty good, especially for somebody that’s just starting.’ But to me, it wasn’t enough and I wanted to do more. Once I understood where those thoughts came from and that it really was the guilt that was causing so much of the depression and burnout, once it started to lift, that’s when I started to “climb out of the cave”, so to speak.

Sharlene: Thank you for sharing. How common is depression and burn out in creative fields?

Zack: I wish I could give you statistics and tell you that I know all the research and I don’t. But I can tell you pretty confidently that it is rampant. It is everywhere. I mean just for example today, there’s a Facebook post that I saw from another – I don’t know if it was an editor or it was a designer – somebody in my industry had posted an article that they wrote that was very private about their experience with depression and burnout. And it just exploded. It went viral. And the responses were unanimous: “This is me, too”, “I go through this myself”, “Thank you for sharing”, “I can’t believe somebody else is talking about this.” And I remember when I posted one of my first blog posts, I think it was probably about four or five years ago now, it was just a very – and this was before I knew anything about getting traffic or sharing – I basically just put it up on my site, not even really knowing what I was doing and it was just called, “The classic case of post-production burnout.” I just put it up there and it exploded. And I instantly, overnight, became a household name in my industry because nobody talked about this before I did. Now more people are coming out and talking about it and there’s not as much of a stigma. But the response was just overwhelmingly positive, of people saying, “Oh my god you just described my life.” So, I can’t speak for all creative fields, but I can’t imagine there’s anything special about film editing versus graphic design or all the other creative fields that are out there. So, I would guess that it’s probably rampant in all of them.

Sharlene: How can we pull ourselves out of burnout and how can we recognize the symptoms?

Zack: These are two very difficult questions. I wish that I could give you “Five Quick Tips to Overcome Burnout” PDF and I’d even written stuff like that, but I realize it’s a lot more difficult. To recognize burnout, I think the first couple of things that I always tell people and that I always recognize in myself is when you start to feel like you can’t recover every day. In my industry or any industry, there are going to be days where you work long hours, you have deadlines. It’s “crunch time” and you’re going to be tired for a few days. That’s not what I’m talking about. That exhaustion, in a way, is almost good exhaustion because when you’re working towards something that you’re passionate about, that can actually be fun. It’s kind of like running a marathon. You run a marathon, you’re exhausted. You’re really sore for a few days afterwards and then you wake up a week later and you’re like, ‘Oh man, I want to do that again.’ With burnout, it’s a lot different. With burnout it’s just this feeling of lethargy every single day where you feel like you’re losing passion and energy for something that you used to love. So, I know that I’m starting to experience burnout when I dread the thought of writing a blog post or I absolutely dread the thought of recording a podcast. Or I have to cut another scene, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t do it.’ You start to feel this tightness in your chest. Some people feel it in their stomach. Other people feel it deep in their throat and they feel really emotional. And you think to yourself, ‘It’s not like I’m being asked to do something horrible. I used to love this but why am I feeling this?’ This to me is a really, really acute sign that you’re burning out and you need to take a break, and you need to step back because you’re practically terrified of doing something that you love in a situation that you put yourself in. So, that would be the first one. And then I think just more from a physical level, if you really find yourself having trouble sleeping, if you’re eating patterns have changed, if you’re just chronically anxious, if you’re shorter with people, if you find that you feel less attraction for somebody that you might be with but it really has nothing to do with less attraction. It just has more to do with the hormones in your body and you’re just kind of being all over the place. These are all signs, over the course of a lot of time, like I said again, everybody’s cranky every once in a while, and everybody’s tired. But if it just doesn’t go away, that’s when you know that something is wrong and you start needing to pay attention.

Sharlene: So, how can we pull ourselves out of burnout?

Zack: Again, I’m not an expert. I don’t play one on TV, so I’m just coming from this from my perspective of having gotten myself out of it and having helped other people get out, but I don’t want to pretend like I’m playing one of these pseudo experts on a podcast that has a website. So, I want to be clear about that. I think from the multiple journeys that I’ve had trying to climb out of the deep dark hole, at the end of the day, the most important thing is digging in and understanding how you get there in the first place. What are the behaviors that you chose? What are the habits that you have that led to this place? So, for me it wasn’t, ‘Oh man, well I was getting very little sleep and I wasn’t eating well when I was working on this launch. Therefore, if I sleep better and I eat better, I’m automatically going to get out of the state of burnout and depression.’ Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t get better sleep and eat better and exercise. Of course, those are all physiological things that you can do to get out of burnout. But it’s so much more often the psychological component and understanding ‘What is it that really put me in this place?’ And what I realized is like we talked about before, first of all, number one, it was the weight of the guilt of knowing that I had five months to spend with my kids working from home and I basically threw all of it away because I was so driven towards a goal. That guilt was the first big reason that I was in a state of depression and burnout. But the second was that I discovered that I actually was more afraid of success than I was of failure. So, in ways, I was actually sabotaging – in very subtle ways- I was sabotaging my success, which started from a deep-rooted history in my family with not only me, but other members of my family, my parents, just seeing this pattern over and over, and over of people having these grandiose visions, not following through and going into these giant pits of despair and then just recycling over and over and over. That’s a common theme rampant in my family. I was repeating those themes. So, as I discovered, I’m developing the same patterns. That, coupled with the guilt, I was like, ‘Oh, now this is actually starting to make a lot more sense.’ And once I learned the source of it, so it was no longer, ‘I suck. I’m a bad businessman. I’m going to fail the rest of my life and I’ve wasted my life and what’s the point?’ Those are some of the surface level thoughts, but those are coming from somewhere else. Once I realized that, I thought ‘Okay, that means that that’s a part of my past. How do I change those patterns of thinking?’ And then I started to think to myself, ‘Well if I reframe this experience not as a failure, but I reframe it as a learning experience, I can actually help a lot of people.’ So, there’s this little voice in the back of my head – and it wasn’t there right away, but fairly soon – as I was sitting there binge-watching Shark Tank for eight hours a day, eating Oreos and popcorn, thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is going to be a good learning experience for other people when I get out of it, because then I can talk about it. And I know it’s going to take some time, and I know I need to be patient, but there are a lot of other people that are going through what I’m going through right now and my business and my site is helping these people.’ So, it’s one thing to read books and do research. It’s another to be stuck in the same mental hell that they are and figure out, ‘How do I climb out of this dark hole?’ So, once I reframed it and I saw that teaching experience – it didn’t make it any less painful, but it helped me dissipate some of those nasty horrible voices that you try not to listen to, but you sometimes listen to anyway. That’s where I would start, is really digging into the deeper reasons why that happened. Once you have a better idea of that, then it is really just about choosing one small thing as far as your health is concerned to get you out. For me, it was sleep. When I went through this phase, my sleep was just destroyed. I’ve never had any trouble sleeping my whole life and I became an insomniac. And it was all because of fear and anxiety and guilt. So, once I said to myself, ‘You know what? I don’t care if my diet’s horrible (which it was). I don’t care that I’m not exercising (which I wasn’t). I’m just going to focus on one thing. And my one thing is getting better sleep because I know if I get better sleep, it’s going to be a little bit easier to start exercising, taking walks around the block and eventually going to the gym again if that time ever comes.’ Once you start sleeping better, you start moving better, guess what also becomes a little bit easier? Eating. Because your appetite hormones become a little bit more balanced and you don’t feel like eating everything that’s made from sugar and high fructose corn syrup and red dye number 5. Those are the best drugs on the planet for somebody dealing with depression. You just want to eat everything that isn’t healthy because for a very small moment, it makes you feel better. So, it’s just one small domino at a time. I went from the point – and I don’t remember exactly when but maybe mid-2017, May and June – barely being able to take a walk around my block without getting really winded and tired out, to now training for American Ninja Warrior ten hours a week. It’s one small step at a time.

Sharlene: What is the difference between burnout and depression?

Zack: Oh man. These are great questions. You’re really making me think. These aren’t just like the little canned answers that you answer over and over. I think that with burnout, it has a lot to do with exhaustion and it has a lot to do with lack of passion. And I’m not saying that you don’t experience those things with depression because you certainly do, but I think that those are more than just symptoms. They are connected to the underlying cause. You could look at it with circular reasoning and say, ‘Well, the exhaustion and the lack of passion caused the burnout. Now the burnout is causing more exhaustion and more lack of passion for the work.’ Right? And I think when you’re talking about depression, there of course is lack of passion for the work and there is exhaustion – and again, this is not coming from a place of science at all. This is just me, one person, talking about my own experiences and thoughts. But I feel like those are more symptoms of depression and I feel like the underlying cause of depression is usually a lot deeper and a lot more emotional. And one of the best things that I’ve ever heard said about depression was that “Depression is just anger turned inwards.” And for some reason, you’re angry at yourself. It could be about a decision that you made. It could be about the fact that people are treating you a certain way, but underneath you know that maybe you handled it the wrong way. It could also just be that it’s a complete imbalance of neurotransmitters. It has nothing to do with your behavior whatsoever. But, in general, for most people that don’t have that form of imbalance, it’s more emotional. It’s more deeper rooted than just burnout, which is that combination of exhaustion and lack of passion. So, that’s the best way that I can put it, that I really think the underlying cause of depression – at least in my own experiences and the other people I’ve talked to – when you really peel the onion back and you get to the core, it has something to do with some guilt or anger towards yourself that you’re turning inward instead of outwards.

Sharlene: You mentioned earlier that some people are predisposed to getting depression. And you’re one of those people. Do you find yourself still slipping back into darkness sometimes?

Zack: I don’t find myself – let me put it this way – do I slip backwards? Yes, all the time. But if we’re looking at it as a spectrum or this long slope, I don’t slip backwards nearly as far as I used to before I notice it. So, what I found through this journey is that obviously my genetics hasn’t changed. My DNA is what it was two years ago and ten years ago and 15 years ago when I experienced this. But what I’ve learned is that it’s much more about the awareness. I never saw this coming the first time. I had no idea what was going on. And then the next time, maybe I saw it coming and I just kind of ignored it, and it was kind of this thought of, ‘I can push through and I’ll be fine. And as soon as this project is finished and it’s successful, I’ll feel better. I’ll have time to rest and recuperate.’ One of the jokes in my industry is that, “Oh yeah, I’m going to get healthy when hiatus comes.” But hiatus just never comes, so you just never get healthy. That’s always the excuse. But what I found, especially through the latest journey, is that it’s not so much about figuring out how to get out of it. It’s about recognizing when you’re starting to slide. So, for me, I went into – I wouldn’t say depression – but it was just a fairly low grade of lethargy that was the precursor to depression. But I recognized it immediately and I’m like, ‘Oh I know what’s coming. I know exactly where this is going.’ So immediately, I kicked in all the systems that I needed to, knowing that I didn’t want it to get any worse. Which meant that I worked less hours. I slept more. I didn’t do quite as intense exercise, but I did more general activity to keep myself active. And I tried to stay away from sugar as much as possible because for me – and a lot of other people – but for me especially, sugar is gasoline for depression. As soon as I started to feel it, the more sugar I eat, the worse it gets, the worse my anxiety gets, the more depressed I get, the more irritable I get with other people. So, I need to stay away from sugar and refined carbohydrates. So, it’s just like I turn on all these switches and levers and I’m like, ‘Yep, I feel it coming. Now I need to change some of these behaviors because I don’t have the guard walls up.’ I can go and have a few Girl Scout cookies when I feel great, and there are no real repercussions. I go have a few Girl Scout cookies when I feel myself slipping into depression, then that becomes a box. Then that becomes two boxes, and that becomes me hating the world and screaming at my kids, and just being a nasty human being. But now I recognize those things much sooner.

Sharlene: That’s really interesting, thanks for sharing. So, I think I want to end the interview there and let people think about that for a bit and self-reflect. Where can people find you and what projects do you want to share that you’re working on?

Zack: Sure. So, as far as projects, as far as film editing is concerned, I actually just spent the last five months working on a television show called Cobra Kai. For anybody that hasn’t heard of it, it’s basically a TV series extension of The Karate Kid movie series. So, I’m very excited about that just because The Karate Kid was my Star Wars growing up. So, if anybody’s listening there like yeah, I don’t care about The Karate Kid, well you don’t care about this project. If you did like The Karate Kid and you haven’t heard of Cobra Kai, you should definitely check it out. I worked on Season 2, so I’m excited about that. As far as projects with my business, which I’m assuming that your audience would be more interested in, the two big projects that I’m working on now are number one, over the last year I’ve been building and expanding my private coaching practice. So, I work specifically with creatives that are struggling with either trying to find a specific path to transition or move forward in their career or they just can’t figure out how to balance their life with their career. So, it’s more about finding work-life balance and changing longer term lifestyle habits. So, I’ve been building out that coaching program and all of the lessons in the curriculum that I’m using with those private students is becoming a self-contained online course, which is called Focus Yourself – which is specifically for creative people that just can’t figure out, ‘How do I balance intense creative work with managing real life and managing things at home? I’ve got a big project and I just procrastinate all the time, and I get sucked into social media and email. And at the end of the week, I feel like I’ve got nothing done but I’m exhausted.’ I teach people step-by-step how I can build the habits and systems in place to focus and get stuff done. So, that’s the big project that I have going on at the moment.

Sharlene: Cool. And where can people find you?

Zack: Sure. So, my website is optimizeyourself.me. I have a whole slew of free guides, but I think that the most useful guide for this audience would be my Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity and that walks through various steps as it pertains to movement, as it pertains to diet, as it pertains to productivity, strategies and as it pertains to sleep – all these things that, in my mind, help prevent entrepreneur or creative burnout. It’s basically a 60-page guide to get people started that really have never dove, jumped into the world of how do I actually improve myself and optimize some of these functions. So, if they want to download that for free, they can just go to optimizeyourself.me/ultimateguide.

Sharlene: Great. Thank you so much, Zack.

Zack: Thank you. This has been a pleasure. Once again, I appreciate the opportunity.

Thank you for sharing your time with me and listening to LIFT. If this episode resonated with you, I’d appreciate it if you would take a moment to leave a review. That way, more people can discover this resource, and together, we can accelerate good change in the world. Thanks so much. Until next time.

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