Picture YOUR LIFE AS A STORY and Act Like its HERO to Bounce Back from Hardships w/ Jordan Gross

Sep 07, 2021

Welcome to episode 10 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.

Episode 10’s guest is ​somebody who inspires me, Jordan Gross. He’s the best-selling author of three books including What Happens in Tomorrow’s World. He used to be a mentoring consultant and was flying high but then realized his job wasn’t making him happy. What he really loves is story-telling and he likes to use his imagination to motivate people to live better and live more fulfilling lives. He calls this “Imaginativation”.

He’s currently back in University where he trains to become a therapist because he believes that will enable him to help more people to a greater effect.

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels. 

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How to be the hero of your own story.
  • What it means to live your life as if it was a story.
  • How to give meaning to your life problems.
  • You are the writer of the books that’s your life.
  • Your life is a story that you write every day.
  • Storytelling improves your life.
  • How to bounce back using stories.
  • How to get inspired by stories.
  • Achieve true balance in life through writing your own story.


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Staying away from the absolute (2:29)
  • Struggling with balance and being selective (5:06)
  • I do it for me. (14:15)
  • View your life through the lens of a story (17:58)


Intro Music:
“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick — bit.ly/youtube-monawonderlick
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free download: bit.ly/himalayas-download



[00:00:00] Jordan: Pull ourselves out of it for a moment and say, okay, this is part of my story, and how can I look at my life and say, what’s going to create the most exciting story possible going forward from this not so great event, then all your, all you’ve experienced in another chapter or obstacle or turning point in this life story that you’re creating.


[00:00:29] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is ​somebody who inspires me, Jordan Gross. He’s the best-selling author of three books including What Happens in Tomorrow’s World. He used to be a mentoring consultant and was flying high but he realised that wasn’t making him happy. What he really loves is story-telling and he likes to use his imagination to motivate people to live better and live more fulfilling lives. He calls this “imaginativation”. He’s currently back in University training to become a therapist because he believes that will enable him to help more people to a greater effect. I hope you enjoy our conversation. It was a pleasure to chat with him.


 So welcome Jordan. It’s great to have you here.

[00:01:12] Jordan: Hey, thanks so much for having me, Amar. It’s exciting. I’m pumped for you to have a podcast out, and it’s a great topic and this is going to be a lot of fun. I’m very pumped.

[00:01:21] Amardeep: How we actually met is, Jordan edited one of my early pieces when I started writing. I just found he had so much enthusiasm for helping people. I had no idea what I was doing, but Jordan helped me along the way, and then since then we’ve then gone on to come friends, but thanks for that early support you gave me.

[00:01:35] Jordan: You came as what I’ve seen you in your writing, describe as the shoshin mindset. You came in with the beginner’s mindset, right, and that was really refreshing because all you wanted to do was to learn. You didn’t require or sorry, you didn’t desire anything of me, you just were very enthusiastic about getting better. And that’s, what’s really important, I think. When, when you want to reach out to somebody and get some advice, it’s just showing that excitement and being determined to learn right, and grow. That’s that’s what gave me the real push to say, let me, let me get to know the sky a little bit more.

[00:02:18] Amardeep: In your role as an editor, you’ve read so much, one thing I’d love to hear from you is, what’s common advice that you see or read that you really disagree with?

[00:02:26] Jordan: So I think there’s a very common piece of advice that gets thrown around in many different shapes, sizes and forms, whether it’s to never give up hope or to just be persistent or to persevere through anything, or quite simply the advice that I would say that I disagree with most is, never quit or don’t ever give up. I’m somebody who tries to stay away from the absolutes, so never, or don’t ever, I’d say maybe 99.9% of the time, that could be true, but there are always scenarios in which quitting might be the best possible thing or removing something from your life might be the best possible thing, because you may be going down a path that may not take you to the person who you want to become. So for me, in my own life and my own story, I quit a job that I very fortunately realized was not going to lead me down a fulfilling and meaningful and purpose filled kind of life. Right. So quitting, whereas there were people who were saying don’t be labeled as a quitter, stick it out, push through, go a little bit deeper. Quitting was the best decision I ever made. So, so long as you’re going to give up in a very intentional and thoughtful way, I would say that that advice a lot of the time is not applicable to everybody’s situation.

[00:03:52] Amardeep: Yeah. I completely agree where I think it’s something that’s kind of drilled into us almost as children of this idea of you don’t want it to be a quitter. Being a quitter is a bad thing. When often it’s not the case. It could actually be that you’re forcing yourself to do something which would actually make you happy. So what’s the point of that? Like why, why should you continue doing something when it’s adding value to your life? It’s kind of back to front in a way, isn’t it?

[00:04:17] Jordan: Right. A hundred percent. I also think that, I try to see a lot of things through the lens of language, I think just quitting the word literally has a very negative connotation and if we could just sort of redefine it and reframe it to, you know, you’re not quitting soccer as a little kid because you don’t like it. You’re just pivoting to a different sport. You are redirecting your interests to the arts or to music, right. You’re not quitting what you were doing before. You’re making a realization, a conscious decision that it’s not necessarily for you.

[00:04:50] Amardeep: Yeah. And like I said, it’s just making a different choice. Your quitting one thing in a way, but you’re also choosing something else. There’s a positive side of that as well. When’s the time that you struggled to find balance in the past? And how did he get out of that situation? Realign yourself?

[00:05:06] Jordan: This year is a really good example. During the pandemic, I was somebody who I kind of tried to fill up my schedule and use the time at home to write more and edit more and try to speak more and coach more, and I got, you know, starting this January of 2021, I started a school program to become a therapist, so I have all of these different buckets and it was very challenging to give each one over the last six months, the proper time that they deserved. So I’ve had, or I was having a lot of trouble understanding how to weigh each one in terms of my interests, versus in terms of how it’s going to benefit me in the future versus how I need to show up for other people in these different categories, so the balance has been really tricky and it continues even to, to now, how

[00:06:05] Amardeep: did you, how did you try to find that balance when you had these competing interests? Like, how did you prioritize? Did you still manage to get everything done or did you decide to cut some things back?

[00:06:15] Jordan: And find that balance? It was pretty simple. It was by removal, like removing something. So I stopped coaching. I stopped speaking and I try to do the other things, but it’s not just, you know, removing something out of the blue. It’s very conscious choice of removing what was the most draining to my energy, right? So John Gordon has this concept in the energy bus called energy vampires and there’s some people or activities that drain you of your energy. They like suck the energy out. So I realized that speaking and coaching, for instance, even though I enjoy actually doing them, there are parts of them, say the outreach aspect or the sales component that were draining my energy. So I took those things out of my pipeline to focus on the other components that I could just enjoy and bring me an energy boost as opposed to that energy, you know, removal.

[00:07:24] Amardeep: Yeah. And I think that’s quite interesting point in there about how, at the high level, you might enjoy yourself doing a certain thing, but there’s all these other bits and pieces that come with it that you don’t enjoy and sometimes you cling on to the overall picture because you really want to do something, but it’s actually having a negative effect on you despite enjoying a part of it.

[00:07:45] Jordan: Yeah, definitely. And it’s also important to ask why you enjoy it too, you know. Like speaking another example, why I gave it up was because when I said, well, why would I want to speak right now? It’s because I loved being in person with people and meeting them and interacting with them and speaking to them face to face. But I can’t do that right now during the pandemic, so speaking was another thing that the why I like doing it, didn’t match up with why I would be doing it now.

[00:08:13] Amardeep: Situations change. The environment changes. And I’m exactly the same way where I’ve been forced to kind of get used to doing things online, like I’m meeting you online right now, but I’d much rather be sitting across the table from you and interacting in person and that’s the kind of person I am. I know I enjoy that form of communication more. I guess I know that about myself and I’ve learned that by myself because I see a lot of people saying about how they really enjoy working from home and they love the virtual aspect. But I know for myself, that’s not quite who I am. I do enjoy the face-to-face side a bit more. And [unintelligible] adapt into myself because now, by going down my own path, I don’t have colleagues anymore. So there, isn’t going to be people who I see in the office all the time. And for me, it’s been really important to kind of plan for that and make sure that I’m able to have that interaction still going forward. So do you think you’re going to start going back into speaking again now things have opened or is it still in the back burner?

[00:09:10] Jordan: So just real quick on what you were saying, the theme I hear is just self-awareness right. You have to be self-aware of what you want, what you really desire, where you ultimately want to be doing. Right. So that’s, that’s so important that you realize that for yourself and for the speaking, I think it’s going to be put on hold for a little while. I don’t know how I’m going to be able to fit it into once I can, you know, start practicing and working, five or six days a week. I’m going to probably do speaking more on like, like a inbound basis, like if I get any inbound leads for speaking and somebody wants me to speak and reached out to me, then I’ll go and do it, but I’m not gonna do any outreach for speaking opportunities, because that I know is something that gets me a little bit more down than other activities.

[00:09:59] Amardeep: That almost works perfectly. If you’d, like you said where by being more selective, you’re able to the bits of it that you enjoy.

[00:10:05] Jordan: Yeah.

[00:10:06] Amardeep: And you’ve cut out all of the parts that you do want to do. A nice way to find balance there. Is anything happening right now? So you mentioned that you’re at school and you’re obviously balancing the other things that you still have remaining left. How is your balance now? Do you feel like you’re in a good place or do you feel like there’s still more changes you can make and what would kind of a success, lifestyle look to you at the end of all of this?

[00:10:28] Jordan: Yeah. I love that question because it makes me dive a level deeper into what’s going on in my life right now. So after these different buckets and removing some of them, I would say the most important ones for me at the moment are school, and writing, and going out and selling the book that I had just come out. Right. So I would say that school is going really well, I’ve got a three day a week internship. I’ve got all my work is, is covered. I’ve got group projects. I got a ton of readings to do. School is like the number one right now. I’m in the program for 16 months, paid a lot of money for it. So I’m going to focus a lot on school. Get the most out of school. Writing is my favorite thing to do, honestly. Telling stories and sharing stories, whether they be articles or books. That’s my favorite thing to do, but I am not doing as good a job on it. I have this ebook for storytelling that I’ve been working on for almost a month and a half now. And by my own, I write very quickly and by my own standards a month and a half is like forever to be working on a project or an ebook, even, even if it’s like, you know, 40 pages or something. Like, I, I. Usually would, would bang that out much quicker, but I just haven’t been able to, because I’ve got the, too much focus on the school side and then the book sales I have done, I was telling you before I haven’t done relatively nothing for book sales, a couple posts here and there, and a couple of reach outs to, to friends and people who I’ve met along the way. So I need to do a more conscientious job of book sales, if I want this thing to have the longevity that I really want it to, because I think it’s a very important story that I put out there. So, no, I’m not, I’m not where I want to be balance wise right now. And I think what success looks like, is a more strategic outline of when I can be focusing more on writing and outreach and school. And that’s not, you know, not even I’m learning that it can’t even be like I do all three every day. I need to devote certain days to it. I need to open up weekend days to it if I really want to. But then I also have to balance out the other important things in life, non-professionally. Like time with friends and family and my loved ones and things like that. So it’s a challenge. Look, this thing is always going to be hard. We’re constant, constantly working at it. You know, my definition of personal development is this never-ending process of continuously growing and adapting and changing and hopefully looking back at who you were and saying, you know, I’m proud of who I was, but I’m even proud of who I am now, and just continuously doing that

[00:13:29] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show.

With the books that I was like, that kind of outreach, do enjoy the outreach for that more than say, like the outreach to speaking, because I guess you’re talking to people you already know you’ve already collected in the past and you’re able to kind of get across the work they’ve already done and what matters to you and why you think it can help other people? Or is it still a tough task for you? Could you kind of consider it in the same vein as, yeah, I reached for the speaking?

[00:14:29] Jordan: Yeah. I mean, truthfully Amar, my ideal world is maybe this is why like Medium so much, or why I just like content so much is my ideal world is I do it for me. I love what I create. I put it out there and then just hope for the best. Right? So, so whether that’s a book, an article, a video, a talk, whatever it is. Just put it out and hope for the best. I really don’t enjoy the outreach part because I feel like I’m taking. I feel like a bother. I feel needy all of these different components, even if I believe in what I put out there, that it’s going to help people, right. I’m not turned into my default setting, which is like, I would prefer people come to me and say, hey, I need help with my book. And I’ll be like, yeah, let me, let me do that for you right away. I’m on the other side. So I, I don’t, I really don’t enjoy it, even if it’s people who I do know, I actually probably enjoy less with people who I do know, because I don’t want them to think any less of me or anything for asking them to give me some help every once in awhile.

[00:15:34] Amardeep: And I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to. So I go for the same thing with like kind of promote things and trying to get the ideas out there. And the way I tried to think about it is try to minimize the asks, because if you’re only asking for a view for a book and you’re not doing books that regularly, then it’s maybe once every few months that you ask somebody, can you do this little thing for me please? Whereas if you’re doing it regularly and you’re constantly asking for favors, that’s where I feel like it becomes a bit more of a burden. And it’s also that you’ve, you’ve created work that you’re really proud of, and it’s something that you believe can help people, and in that way, by outreaching to people you’re helping them too, or you hope that you’re hoping them too. Such is one way I think you could think about it, just to try and alleviate some of that pressure you putting yourself to, or worrying about people, judging you for doing that outreach. Have you made the switch already to dedicated days for individual talks or is it something you’re in the process of doing?

[00:16:36] Jordan: I’m in the process? So some weeks are better than others. I know, for instance, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, I have eight to five internship, or like eight to four-ish internship. So those aren’t going to be the days where I can just fill it with all different activities, but maybe I don’t have class on a Friday, so Fridays might be the day to just really work on writing and get a whole bunch of content created at least or started. So it’s, you know, I also, I love what, how do I say, I love routine, but I hate monotony. I enjoy having a routine, but I don’t like doing the same exact thing, so I need a little bit of difference in my weeks and whatnot. Even though it’s not perfect, I, I enjoy how I’m going about what I’m up to these days.

[00:17:28] Amardeep: That’s the most important thing at the end of the day, isn’t it? That you’re enjoying what’s going on because there’s no point in having a routine that you’ve seen somewhere else and you’re copying it perfect if it’s not matching up your life and not making you happy. What is one mindset shift that you think other people could make, or the people listening right now, that they can make in their own lives and it would make them happier or improve their lives?

[00:17:51] Jordan: My advice is to view your life through the lens of a story. So I think a lot of the times we don’t feel happy. It’s because we feel pain or we feel scared or nervous or intimidated or stressed or something bad happened to us, and whether it’s a string of events or this acute scenario, that’s when we’re not going to feel happy, right? But if we sort of pull ourselves out of it for a moment and say, okay, this is part of my story and how can look at my life and say, what’s going to create the most exciting story possible going forward from this not so great event? Then all your, all you’ve experienced is another chapter or obstacle or, or turning point in this life story that you’re creating, right? So the more you’re able to view your life as this story, where the story is only more exciting by these moments of unhappiness because they make the happy moments so much greater, then you’ll be able to better adapt to these situations and times of unhappiness and allow yourself those moments as well.

[00:19:04] Amardeep: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And one thing I think happens quite regularly is where, when something bad happens, then people think that more bad things are going to happen afterwards. They kind of see it, it’s going to be a negative spiral whereas, we see what happens in stories, right? Where there’s a negative event, the hero’s is in trouble, but then the hero comes through it, there is a prize, a future later on, and viewing yourself as the hero of your own story, where life is going to throw things at you, but believing in yourself and trusting yourself that you can get through that and things are getting better later on. I think it’s a great way to think about it and to have that mindset and I can know that’s what a lot of your books you’ve written is about and try to show life through that lens and you tackle quite some quite difficult subjects that, common struggles that people go through. Is there any examples of that that you could give, like one of, maybe one of your favorite stories that you’ve written about in the past?

[00:20:00] Jordan: Yeah. I mean, something as simple as going to the dentist, right? And when you go to, my girlfriend’s a dentist, so I like to bring this example up, but when you go to a dentist, you show up so afraid because you know that they’re going to be drilling inside your mouth and it’s going to be painful and you’ll be numb and it’s going to feel terrible. But all of that goes away, right? The dentist is there to show you that pain is inevitable. It’s going to happen. You’re going to feel pain, but the suffering, maybe it was the suffering you were in even before that pain. That is not required. Right. That suffering is not required. That’s almost a choice for you afterward to decide whether or not you’re going to allow that pain to linger and stay with you all the time. Or if you’re going to say, Hey, this pain is just a part of my story, you know? So even with what you’re saying Amar like, you might be one of those people who has bad events, you know, you go to the dentist and then the same day you go to the dentist, you forget to pay a bill, and then you forget that it was your significant other’s birthday, or you forget your own anniversary, and then you forget this and you, and you know, these events can build up on one another, but the more you start to realize, okay, even if it’s, if it’s one event or if it’s 500 events, I always like to think of, my favorite sports golf right now, and all you need in golf is one good shot to feel like the sport is worth it, you know. You could have 500 bad shots in around, but if you get one good shot, the sport is totally worth it. It feels that good. So in, in your life, you could have these 500 down moments, but you just need that one moment of hope, inspiration, happiness, to realize that it’s all worth it. You know, it’s worth it to keep going.

[00:21:59] Amardeep: On the dentist, or I guess I got one share here, where during the pandemic I had like a root canal done and it was a nightmare, and as part of that, I needed to get a crown fitted afterwards. I went to the dentist and I put the wrong dentist in, so I took the train for an hour. And went to the wrong address. Turned up. And when I was speaking to them, they said, oh, like, we don’t have that person working here today. So wasted an hour, getting there, and on the walk back to the station again, I slipped on some ice and cracked my screen on my phone. And one of the great things about it is I kind of laughed it off. I didn’t catastrophize, and to me, it was a great lump of, I guess, how far I’ve come in life that it was two stupid events. I’ve wasted my time. I broke my phone. But I found the funny side in that. And if I can do that in more regularly in my life, then I think I’m on the right track. It’s been great to have you Jordan. One thing I want to know is where can the audience hear more from you in the future? If the want to get to know you better. So just right before that, All I’ll say is related to your story, I’m learning a lot in my therapy training that the more you could look back or view an event and have some humor related to it, laugh at it, smile at it, kind of chuckle or shrug your shoulders and say, okay, you know, that’s a sign of sort of positive mental health. Going forward, like you’ve made good strides. You you’re in a good place. But anyway, you can find me mainly if you want to just find me literally and reach out my emails, I’m pretty sure on my, on my website, it’s jordan-gross.com. You can reach out through there. You can reach out via LinkedIn messenger, but if you want to find my content, it’s mainly on LinkedIn and Medium, and then you can go to my website as well. Awesome. Well, I wanted to finish off with, and I think probably going to have a good story for this as well is, what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently?

[00:24:05] Jordan: Yeah. So one small thing that’s brought me joy recently is the smell of food. And there’s two reasons for this. The first is that I’m talking to you coming off of a three day juice cleanse, where all I’ve had is juice for the last 72 hours. And it’s, it’s kind of wild, but I don’t, I don’t have a good sense of smell. But because I haven’t tasted any food really in the last three days, I feel like my smell has compensated. So the smells of food have been so much more potent lately that I just, I’m loving everything that I smell, and I just started eating again. You know, the taste is obviously unbelievable, but the smell is so much stronger. And the other reason is because, I have, I have a friend and also my dad who had COVID and I know there’s so many people who have lost their sense of taste and smell, especially smell though. My, my dad and my friend, it’s been six, six plus months for my dad and my friend over a year of no smell, so just trying to appreciate that little moment that we overlook, but now it’s been introduced to us in a way where we shouldn’t overlook it because it’s having each wreaking havoc on so many people, you know, appreciating that because of what they’re going through as well right now. So yeah, the smell of food, not just food in general, but the real smell of it.

[00:25:47] Amardeep: Something that I think people take for granted in their lives, when I guess for your friend and your dad, they’ve lost that. It really shows about how much it meant to them before. I guess it’s a lesson for all of us to make sure we appreciate things before we lost them.

[00:26:04] Jordan: It’s, like I was having this conversation with my dentist. I was like, you think there’s a way where

[00:26:12] Amardeep: Is your dentist your girlfriend, by the way?

[00:26:13] Jordan: No, no, no, no, no. She’s not. With my dentist who we were just kind of talking about how, before, like there are diseases where you lose your sense of taste and smell, but before COVID to the lay person, right? Like losing taste and smell was never something you even think about. Right. So, you know, appreciating, like you’re saying something you never even think about. I don’t know, being able to like, feel your hands or, or speak or walk. Right. My mom has MS and I truthfully, thank, you know, my lucky stars that I can walk without feeling pain because she walks and feels pain, right? So these, these, these things that you don’t even think about, you know, practicing like extreme gratitude for that, even if it feels silly, is so important because we really do have all these luxuries that we often overlook. Yeah. That’s a great point to end on. Yeah, I just wanna thank you again for coming on.

[00:27:14] Amardeep: Pleasure to have you, and I’m sure the audience, they’re going to love it.

[00:27:16] Jordan: Thank you. I appreciate it.

[00:27:23] Amardeep: If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes.

Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

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