In his new book, The Self Help Book: 6 Practical Ways to Never Stop Growing, author and coach Jared Graybeal outlines six practical ways to live a life of constant growth while avoiding stagnation or burnout. Those ways are–confidence, competence, clarity, character, connections, and commitment.

The insightful guide is filled with inspiration and encouragement and is designed to give you the perspective you’re looking for, no matter what’s going on in your life. Every time you turn to The Self-Help Book, you’ll walk away encouraged, knowing that every day is an opportunity to grow, and that you have the ability to do so.

Drew Appelbaum: Hey listeners, my name is Drew Applebaum and I’m excited to be here today with Jared Graybeal, author of The Self Help Book: 6 Practical Ways to Never Stop Growing. Jared, thank you for joining, welcome to The Author Hour Podcast.

Jared Graybeal: Drew, thanks for having me, man.

Drew Appelbaum: Jared, let’s kick this off, can you give us a rundown of your professional background?

Jared Graybeal: Currently, I am the owner and CEO of a fully customizable subscription-based, nationwide meal-prep company called Superfit Foods. That’s sort of the bulk of my weekly schedule. I also own and operate a boutique digital marketing consulting agency called E3 Business Solutions and E3 Business Solutions also houses some of the other projects that I do. Like I launched this book that we’re going to talk about, there’s a journal that comes with it, and a couple of other projects that I do as well.

I guess you could say that I’m a social media influencer. I work with some fitness brands throughout the country that I align with from time to time. And I’ve got a podcast. The brand, Superfit Foods that I’ve built over the years has been featured in Forbes 30 under 30 two years in a row and I got to do a TEDx Talk a couple of years ago on nutrition and mental health. So as far as my professional resume, those are the highlights.

Taming the Lion

Drew Appelbaum: You have seen success in so many avenues. Why a book–and why a book on this subject and why was now the time to write this book?

Jared Graybeal: Since I was a kid, I was always in a desperate pursuit of something I didn’t know that I wanted and I think we’re all there, I’m just a little bit more self-aware than most people. I basically wanted to be known. I thought a lot about death as a kid. Not in a weird way, just, “Okay, how do I make my life count?”

I read a quote by Benjamin Franklin, I think I was around 10 or 11 at the time and I’m going to paraphrase it, but he says, basically, if you want to be remembered or if you want to be someone that people remember, you have to do things worth writing about or write things worth reading.

I’m not that exciting of a guy, right? I’m not the next Red Bull guy, going to jump out of a spacecraft. I figured I should probably put out some quality content into the world. I’m naturally a teacher–that’s my passion, to teach and of course, I’m in the fitness industry so that’s usually my schtick. But The Self-Help Book came from my desire to put quality information out into the world.

A little bit more of a backstory to that, I’ll try to make it short because I can tell these ridiculously long stories. About four years ago, I got asked to teach. I was part of a certain church at the time–still part of a church, just a different one. I was asked to teach on the biblical principles of entrepreneurship. As if I’ve mastered that, right?

Anyway, I created a teaching called Taming the Lion and I began to write a book around it. That book was based on a different quote and a totally different mindset, but I’ve got writer’s block on that. The reason for that is because I don’t really consider myself to be a super competent or talented writer. I grew up getting average grades in everything, English, and literature wise.

I was what people would call a right-brain thinker, I’m great with numbers. I never really thought that I would actually be a good writer and so I struggled to write this book, Taming the Lion. But I’ve always put out blogs over the past two, three, four years. Whether it be fitness-related or faith-related or maybe even a bit of both. A buddy of mine encouraged me to start doing that a couple of years ago. Then, after I wrote a blog for his website, he said, it was really good, and it was one of the top-performing blogs on his website. He’s got a high-traffic website.

That inspired me to keep writing and so long story short, early last year, I wrote a blog called “Six Ways to Never Stop Growing,” and it was one of those blogs that’s just way too long, I don’t know if you or the audience reads blogs, but if you open one up and it’s just so long, you’re like, “This is ridiculous.”

That’s how this one turned out. I elaborated on the six things and I thought one, “This is way too long of a blog,” but two, “I held back on a lot of these concepts and if I were to elaborate, I think this could be my first book.”

That’s what I did, I took another two, three months, and elaborated on each concept. I had a goal of about a hundred pages because I didn’t want it to be too much, but of course, I didn’t want it to be too little. I didn’t think “Six Ways to Never Stop Growing” was a good book title, so I bounced around a little bit and landed on The Self Help Book.

God would have it, nobody has chosen that title yet and I got to pursue it. Here we are.

Drew Appelbaum: It’s such a great title and it’s so genius in its simplicity.

Jared Graybeal: I really appreciate that, I got really lucky. So, that goes back, I don’t know that I necessarily said, “Early 2021 I want to publish.” But as I said as a kid, I always knew that I wanted to put something out into the world, and this is really just the beginning for me. I’m the type of person, I aspire to be a polymath.

I’m interested in so many different things. I imagine I’ll end up writing multiple books about different things that I’m not even an expert in, but things that I’m interested in or I’m passionate about. I didn’t time this book, but like I said, early last year, I just happened to be in the writing space and felt inspired to write “Six Ways to Never Stop Growing” and is transformed into a book, and of course, the publishing process takes a little while, and so here we are.

Develop Standard Operating Procedures

Drew Appelbaum: Now, while you were writing this book. Maybe through some research or maybe just the introspective journey of writing, did you have any major learnings or come to any breakthroughs while you were writing?

Jared Graybeal: For sure. There was a couple of things that I recommend everybody try in life and none of them are easy. One of those is writing a book, but maybe an easier version would just be to generally try to teach more because the act of teaching helps you learn and grow yourself.

More importantly, the act of documenting your teaching strategy or content, helps you grow even more. I’m a consultant, really, by nature, and so one of the business practices that I teach in the small business world is developing SOP’s or standard operating procedures for what you do because it does two things.

One, it makes you better at what you do, because once you document it, you realize, maybe some things that need to change and some things you didn’t recognize. But two, it creates a strategy for your employees and maybe your independent contractors and things like that.

In writing this book and coming up with six ways to never stop growing and elaborating on confidence, competence, clarity, connections, character, and commitment. It certainly convinced me not to use another alliteration but it stretched me in those six ways because I’m teaching on these things and I have to recommit to doing all the stuff I’m talking about in the book.

Drew Appelbaum: Now, who do you see this book for?

Jared Graybeal: I loathe that question because I see this book for everybody. But I’m not ignorant to think that this book is for everybody. If I were to pinpoint where we’re going to create a marketing strategy and spend some money on a particular demographic, I would say interest is an entry-level growth journey, relatively young people that are maybe in college, coming out of college, starting their first business or starting their first career role.

That’s if you back me into a corner and made me choose a people group. But again, I think, self-growth is a lifelong journey if you do it right. I would love for middle-aged people to find this book. I would love for people going into retirement to find this book, for our grandparents to find this book because I think true fulfillment and quality of life comes from the pursuit of self-growth. Setting goals, accomplishing those goals over time.

In a perfect world, this book is for everybody. But again, to answer your question more specifically, young people that are just getting started or preparing to get started on their growth journey or their career track.

Drew Appelbaum: Tell us what’s different about The Self Help Book versus others, and it’s funny to say this, self-help books.

Jared Graybeal: I am not egotistical enough to think that this book is any better or different than a lot of the other stuff out there. That is probably not what you want to hear, or the audience wants to hear, and you know by now that I’m a Christian and so, the book of Ecclesiastes basically says that nothing is new under the sun.

So, I honestly don’t think that I’m saying anything that somebody else at some point hasn’t already said. But I do think I’m packaging it in a way that I haven’t seen before. What I mean by that, I think in such a way, for example, that if you were to text me and ask me a couple of questions in one text, I’m going to answer you with number one, number two, number three. Because I think that people operate better that way, with more strategy and structure.

The book is developed in such a way that I believe you can follow it better than a lot of self-help books. The chapters are orchestrated through that alliteration and I think that people are naturally attracted to alliterations. It’s created in such a way that again if you read the whole thing but next year, you’re struggling because you just moved to a new city, you can open it back up to the connections piece and just dive into that.

Then there are these five tips or six examples. I think that’s how a lot of people’s minds work. I don’t think I’m special in that way, I just think that this book is structured better than a lot of self-help books.

Another thing, it’s right to the point. Of course, there are fun stories in there about my life and about other people that I’ve encountered, and there are quotes from high-level leaders and notable characters and stuff like that, that people can really draw on to and they’re attracted to. But I do think a lot of self-help books are full of fluff and maybe they’re famous authors that have a page goal that they’re given by their publisher. I don’t know how that world really works.

I just wanted to write what I felt was necessary for the book and I didn’t want to keep people longer than they needed to be. I think that’s another reason why The Self Help Book is a quality source.

Drew Appelbaum: I like how you start the book and you cite a study that says that the majority of people feel trapped in their routine. Can you talk to us about why it’s so important to break out and become unstuck if you will? Even if people claim to be happy in this routine?

Jared Graybeal: Yeah, this is sort of two-sided. Because throughout the book, I talk a lot about establishing strong healthy habits and routines in order to catalyze growth.

When we’re talking about this particular quote, where people are stuck in their routines, those are bad routines. Those are routines that are leading to stagnation and if you’re stagnant, that means you’re falling behind.

Because nobody really stays the same. The reason why it’s important to shake things up a little bit from time to time is because if you’re old enough to listen to this podcast, you know by now that life is constant change. We can either choose to catalyze and control that change, or we can choose to let the world and those around us control and catalyze our own life changes, and nobody likes that.

Craig Groeschel is a leader that I follow. He says that everyone likes change, they just don’t like the way that others try to make us change. And so, the reason why you need to mix-up your routine from time to time, shake it up, and really create a routine that’s conducive to your lifelong goals or at least your short-term goals, is because other people are going to make you change regardless, so you might as well do it yourself.

Why We Don’t Set Goals

Drew Appelbaum: Can you tell us the three main reasons why you found that people get stuck?

Jared Graybeal: I think that people don’t set goals for a couple of reasons and I think the main one is that we’re scared to fail at reaching our goals. We’re scared for other people to see us fail to reach our goals. A lot of us live life, at least in the early stages of our lives, of our adulthood, thinking that everyone’s focused on us and that’s just not necessarily the case. We need to let that go because when we fail at our goals, nobody else is really watching. As hard as that seems to say.

One of the other reasons is that when we do set goals, and this is not just my opinion, but it’s based on research, most people suck at setting goals. I don’t want to bore people with a ton of data but for those that do set goals, I don’t remember all of the statistics off the top of my head, but I think 92% of them fail to reach the goals that they set, at least in New Year’s resolutions and things like that. Clearly, goal setting is broken for a lot of people.

I think one of the reasons for that, and I won’t dive too deeply into it, is because a lot of people don’t quantify their goals.

I have a couple of people on my staff and I said, “What are your goals for this year?” One person said, “I want to manage my money better,” and I said, “What does that even mean?”

Another said, “I want to spend more time doing the things that I love.” Well, sure. We all do, but how much time? How much money do you want to save and how are you going to do that? Let’s break those down so you can really hold yourself responsible, because next year, you are going to say the same thing because you didn’t do it because you didn’t quantify. That is just an example of how people set bad goals.

If you can’t measure it, it’s not really a goal.

Western culture is fantastic and of course, I’m a product of it. I think our education system could be a lot better, but it’s still great. We’re producing some really intelligent people in this country. But one of the problems with it is that we grow up and develop to be so reliant on others to catalyze our own life changes. For example, from kindergarten to the end of college, we are taught and told to learn so we can get a passing grade and eventually, get a good job.

Most people by the time they get that job, whether or not it’s good, stop learning because they say, “I’m done with school, so why would I keep learning?”

Learning is attributed to so many things–longevity of life, people that continue to pursue learning usually live longer because they have more to live for, and a lifelong pursuit of learning is tied to financial stability, or even wealth, quality of life, and things like that.

However, most of us don’t pursue it after college because we’re not told we have to. Now, there’s a lot of great jobs out there with leaders and managers that promote growth, and they reward it. Those people are in an environment where they’re led to learn but a lot of other companies and a lot of other industries and a lot of other people don’t pursue continued learning after traditional school. It’s just not the norm. So, that’s the first reason why people stop growing.

Drew Appelbaum: Now, you mentioned it before, and I’d love to go back into it. You list six areas of your life to focus on to help you live that life of never-ending growth. There are six C’s and you mentioned they are a layer. Of those six, which do you think would be the most important to start with if you’re trying to change in 2021 and really grow?

Jared Graybeal: I’ll honestly say that no matter what, but maybe even more so because of the political climate and the unrest and just everything that’s happened over the past year and even last night, it is January 7th today so people can Google that, but the character chapter. That is one that I struggle with. It is one that I think if people are willing to be honest with themselves and self-aware then that’s probably the biggest one that we all need to work on.

If 2020 showed us anything and I don’t want to generalize the audience because I don’t know them, but I know myself and I need to constantly work on my character. That’s where I would choose for the broad majority of the world to jump into if they were to choose one chapter in 2021.

Why We Need Commitment

Drew Appelbaum: Now, which one would you say is the trickiest and by that, I mean the one where people think, “Oh, I got this,” and they might skip that chapter but really, they don’t?

Jared Graybeal: I wish you could just ask me about a specific person that I know, but I would think commitment. I know a lot of confident people, I know people that are smart, competent. I know people that are great at networking and they can connect, and I know some quality people with great character, but what I’ve seen a lot in my world of business and leadership and starting businesses and working with young people is a lot of people don’t commit and I think that’s a big deal now.

I don’t think if we were having this conversation 20, 30, 40 years ago it would be the same, but of course, we live in the digital era where there are options for everything, whether it be a spouse or a pillow top-mattress, are at the touch of our fingertips. Careers too, of course. Everyone thinks there is always a better option and so it is really hard to get to people to commit. The commitment chapter is probably the answer to that question. If people would just commit, then we would see a revolution of self-growth.

Drew Appelbaum: Are there questions you should ask yourself to find out how you’re doing in some of these areas? What could I ask myself to see really how my confidence level is or what are some questions I can ask myself to say, “Hey, how are your connections now? Have you built connections recently?”

Jared Graybeal: Yes, of course, the book goes into that and that is one of the fun parts of the book I think. That is why the journal goes so well with it. At the beginning of this chapter, I asked a couple of questions because you might open the confidence chapter and you’re like, “Man, I’m good to go like I’m Joe Cool,” but at the end of the day, there might be some discrepancies that you haven’t addressed in your life or in your competence world.

An example of that, I think one of the questions for confidence, for example, is when you are in a small group meeting with six to eight people at work and you have it every Monday, but you just never speak up, even though you have good ideas every week, you might have a confidence problem. Now, when you’re with your friends out on a Saturday night, you might be the coolest guy at the party, but you’ve got a confidence discrepancy at work. It goes across all areas. That is one of the questions I ask in the confidence area.

One of the things I ask going into the connection chapter is, “When was the last time you met someone new?” I’m a natural extrovert. I think over the years being an entrepreneur and of course, as the work from home lifestyle has evolved me into what we would call an ambivert where I can definitely be fine solo for a while.

I stretch myself from time to time, but I make a point to meet someone every day. Sometimes when I’ll ask somebody, “When was the last time you met a stranger? Where you intentionally met somebody?” They’ll say, “I honestly don’t remember,” and that is wild to me. I love meeting new people. In the connection’s chapter, people might think, “Well, I have enough friends,” and this isn’t about making new friends. It is about making connections.

You might be one connection away from changing your entire life for the better and so that is one of the questions.

Drew Appelbaum: You’ve read this book and let’s say you see some gaps in your life. Some of these really hit home, and one of the parts I love about the book, including the questions, is that it is very specific.

So, what is the best way to start making these changes? If you read the book and you see a bunch of red flags in your life, are you quitting your job and getting a divorce and moving to the desert, or is the way to just dip your toes and work on these slowly?

Jared Graybeal: I don’t think drastic change is necessary unless you’ve taken some baby steps and you’ve set aside some time for strategy. What I mean by that is, reflection is a huge piece of this whole journey. If people aren’t willing to take a moment to be self-aware, then this book isn’t going to help you. If you read The Self Help Book and all you think about is your friend that could use chapter one and your spouse that could really read chapter three, then your parents who should read chapter four, it is not going to help you.

This book is about you. So, the first thing you have to do is make sure you’re internalizing this stuff and then if you decide, “You know, maybe I need a major change in my life,” I think the next step is setting some goals. You can’t just say, “Oh, this book has made me realize that I hate my job.” Because that is not what this book is for and if you hate your job, you got there somehow.

Hopefully, you didn’t just take a job that you hated right away. Hopefully, you didn’t choose to be in a relationship, and the next day you hate it. Usually, that stuff happens over time and I am not saying to take the same amount of time to get out of it or to quit the job, but in the job instance, identify what you love.

A lot of people bounce from job to job and they hate one job, and they think the next one will be cool because maybe there is more money. Maybe it is in a cool area of town and they take it and then they hate it again. Then they find another job where they think they’ll be fulfilled and then they hate it because they are overworked and then they find another job where they think they’ll finally have less stress, and they hate it because they are underworked. You have to find what that sweet spot is for you.

You have to spend some time journaling and reflecting. Identify what the job is and then what the steps are to getting it. Do you need more confidence? Do you need more competence? Do you need more clarity in your life? Do you need more connections? The book is very practical.

Then you have to create your goals. If your goal is to get this next job at this next place, what do you do? Look them up on LinkedIn. Look up their website, see if they have any opportunities. Try to connect with an employee there. Try to connect with the HR manager, connect with the staffing agency that might have connections there. Then work on your resume.

You have to create a checklist, then goal setting, and then accomplish those baby goals so your big end goal is this new job. So, I think again, I don’t promote or condone these leaps of faith without a bit of strategy because it just makes way more sense and you are going to be far more successful if you plan it out a little bit.

Drew Appelbaum: Writing a book especially like this one, which is going to help so many people look inwards and hopefully change outwards is no small feat, so congratulations on writing this book.

Jared Graybeal: I appreciate it.

Drew Appelbaum: Now, hot seat question, if readers could takeaway only one thing from the book, what would you want it to be?

Jared Graybeal: You know, one of the first quotes is my palliative care nurse, Bonnie, and she talks about the patients that she cares for, and they’re all at the end of their life. One of the things that they talk about is that they wish they would have lived a life instead of pursuing things like money but pursuing things that really fulfill them. I think that’s one of the biggest messages I want to convey from this book.

This book is not a 10x book, this book is not a get-all-the-money-in-the-world book. This book is about optimizing your life, fulfilling your true potential, and living out your God-given mission and purpose. I think that it’s much easier to find out whatever that is and to reach for it and to pursue it when you are constantly addressing these six C’s. Confidence, competence, clarity, commitment, connections, and character–but the main message is living a life of fulfillment and finding out practically how to do that.

Drew Appelbaum: Jared, this has been a pleasure and we totally just scratch the surface of the book. I am really excited for people to check it out. Everyone, the book is called The Self Help Book, and you can find it on Amazon. Jared, besides checking out the book, where can people connect with you?

Jared Graybeal: I am super active on Instagram. It’s @jaredaxlgraybeal, my middle name is Axel, and my website is jaredgraybeal.com. You’re going to find everything that I’ve got going on either on my Instagram or my website.

Drew Appelbaum: Jared, thank you so much for coming on the show today, and best of luck with your new book.

Jared Graybeal: Thank you, I really appreciate the opportunity to be on.