Can you share with us a little about your background, experience and your passions in life?
My name is Goran Yerkovich, and in December of 2016 I’d hit a new rock bottom in my life. But the thing was, on the surface, my life seemed perfect; I was making great money consulting in the corporate world as a Business Analyst, my wife and I owned property, and a luxury sports car paid in cash, we also did yearly vacations travelling around the world to incredible, exotic places. And I had a wealth of friends and family and most importantly, a loving marriage, and yet something was still missing.
It was then, sitting in my office, feeling depressed and not sure why, that I stumbled on a Tony Robbins video on youtube explaining that it was the decisions and choices we make in life that will empower us to live the life intended for us. I realized the journey I was on, putting all my energy in the corporate world, and making money, and more money and then spending it on material things, was not living my authentic life, and was failing to give me true, deep, rewarding happiness. I was not doing the things I knew I was placed on this earth to do.
So slowly, in Dec 2016 I made a few big decisions and started taking massive action. With some planning and budgeting, and the emotional support of my wife, and a good friend, I decided to take a break from the corporate world and figure out exactly who I was, and what I was meant to do.
In that time off, I started with a list of 7 things I wanted to be, or do. And over time, in trying them all, I realized what items in the list truly represented my authentic self. Over the past 3 years I realized my love, passion, and talent for storytelling and writing.
Once that realization set in, I would spend almost every single day writing, six or seven days a week, some days just 30 mins, some days 8 hours. Over the years I’ve written hundreds of articles, including real life stories, self-help articles, or short fiction. I now know with 1000% certainty, that I love writing and storytelling. I also realized what I wrote about mattered; inspiring others to reach their goals in life matters deeply to me today, as much as it did when I started 3 years ago.
So today, still on this new rewarding journey, I’m proud to say I am a writer, an internet entrepreneur, and life coach. I’m also the founder, and principle author of The-Inspired.com, an online magazine filled with tools, tactics and habits to help readers reach their goals in life.
My articles are currently read by thousands each week in over 100 countries, and I was recently published in Fatherly.com, and syndicated on MSN, Yahoo and Flipboard which has reached millions.
I certainly wouldn’t say I’ve ‘made it,’ but I know I’m on the right journey for me, one that I hope inspires and motivates others to work and accomplish their goals in life, and live their authentic lives too. Because waking up each day and doing something you love, something that fulfills you, is an amazing way for anyone to spend the rest of their life.
What would you say are your top 3 core values in life?
1. To accomplish great things we must not only act, but dream, not only plan but also believe – not my quote, but a great one.
2. Live as your authentic self. Be the authentic you. The world will respect you for it.
3. Some day we will all die. Our relationships, experiences, and contributions are what will truly matter the most in your life.
If you could choose any new skill to have, what would it be?
To be a faster reader. I believe the skill involves the ability to imagine what you are reading, rather than just reading it. Great authors will paint vivid pictures for their readers which in turn will allow them to become more absorbed in the material, and thus, be a faster reader.
If you could select one piece of advice that you feel the world needs to listen to and bring into reality, what would it be?Believe in yourself. Self-belief is the starting point towards creating and executing on real, tangible, actionable goals in our lives. Without self-belief, goals will never get written, and obstacles will not be removed. Click To Tweet
Who is your virtual coach/mentor, and why?
I do not have one set virtual coach or mentor, but go to different sources as the time requires.
Jack Canfield, in his book Success Principles, was one of the most influential catalysts for me in realizing I had to take 100% accountability for where I was in my life; in the good, bad and ugly.
Tony Robbins is fantastic at moving us into action, and reminding us that the decisions and choices we make next in life are what matter most; so getting moving.
When I needed more specific ideas for my online magazine The-Inspired.com, like how to brand it, market it, and how to give the audience what they want, I turned to Gary Vaynerchuk and his videos or book “Crushing It” who interviewed successful entrepreneurs on their journey to success. Gary believes that we are crushing life when we do what we love and get paid for it.
I also love listening to Joe Rogan and Tim Ferris as well for out of the box interviews on inspiration, and approaches to life, work, and reaching your goals.
What is your “secret ingredient” for a happier and fulfilling life?Internal dialogue and daily self-reflection: these elements are the secret sauce for a happier life because they allow us to optimize our days by reviewing them as we go. Click To Tweet
Let’s take mornings for instance, which are the most productive time of the day for most of us.
As my day begins I will pause at some point to ask:
“How do I feel this morning?”
“Is the morning going the way I expected?”
“Am I as productive as I expected today?”
“Am I working on what I had planned Am I on track or schedule?”
And if the answer is ‘no’ on some or all of the above, then I think about why, and what I can do immediately to course correct, and also, even more importantly, what I can do in the hours ahead to ensure tomorrow morning is a great day.
Typically by taking just a few mins to reflect each morning on the above, the result the next day is a much better, more optimized day, and it usually only takes a few minor corrections for me now to get there.
I am a firm believer that what we do each day, is what we do every day. And so maintaining a sense of general wellbeing or happiness should be an important part of our lives.
And it turns out, all it takes is just micro-doses of the little things each day to live a great and fulfilling life.
What are these little things? Here’s a sample, yours could be much different:
– Leaving the house or apartment in the morning and talking to our neighbours
– Playing with or going for a walk with your pets
– Spending time with your spouse or with family in the morning
– Taking care of your plants in your home, or garden
– Going for a walk or run outside or at the gym
– Taking in early morning yoga, meditation or Wim Hof breath work.
– Enjoying a great cup of coffee or tea
– Eating a healthy breakfast
– And then getting to work in an environment free from distraction and negative energy.
All of the above should also have a schedule around it. If not, you may find yourself stressed out by having to make too many decisions on what you do next each morning.
And I think it’s obvious with the above list that I’m also a firm believer in getting up early enough each morning so you have the time to take care of yourself first, before starting your day.
Night time routines matter too:
During the morning, If my energy levels low, or I’m feeling anxious, or if I can’t concentrate, it likely means my routine the night before played a part in it. In other words, ‘being good’ the night before leads to a super productive morning. And a super productive morning will lead to a great day. And a great day means you likely don’t need the snacks, or alcohol or mindless Netflix or Youtube binge watching, or other reasons to stay up too late, because your cup is already full.
Which habit do you think is making you a better, happier and healthier person?
My night-time sleep routine. This allows me to have an incredibly energized, positive and productive morning. If I’m watching Netflix or Youtube, I make sure the screen time is over by 9pm. Then I take a short warm shower, brush and floss, and get into bed to read a book for 30 to 60 mins.
This routine allows me to be asleep by 10 or 1030pm which give me my 7 or 8 hrs of sleep, and enough time in the morning for me, so I don’t feel rushed before the work day begins.
I believe we are living with another epidemic these days – and it is a crisis of not enough sleep. Our bodies and brains need 8 hours each night but somehow the highly successful or influential have told us it is a luxury to sleep, and that we do not need it, which is total bull.
I write about this on my website based off some great work from Matthew Walker, a sleep scientist and Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab.
Not getting enough sleep over a lifetime is possible, but it also has a high correlation with a shorter life, higher rates of cancer and other diseases. So practice your own healthy sleep routines and tell your friends and family about it too.
What helps you when you are stressed or anxious?
If the stress or anxiety is from some undetermined cause, or just the grind of life, it may mean that things are out of balance in my life.
In these instances I increase or add more meditation, yoga, runs, or walks, and lift weights on the day the stress or anxiety hits, and definitely include it the following day.
Overall we should try to do some variation of the above 3-5 days a week, that is, if you’re like me and sit behind a desk most days.
Anxiety also comes from not eating healthy, and not getting a good night’s sleep.
Vitamin D, as in getting enough sunlight each day, also matters – a lot.
If your life is going great, and you’re doing most of the above, but still not feeling great, check in on how much sunlight you had in the past week. If very little, get outside, and if you can’t, get in a safe dosage of Vitamin D each day.
What book changed your life, and in what way?
Jack Canfield’s book “Success Principles” is a great starting point if you are unhappy with your current situation and are not sure where to start, or what to do next.
This book was the catalyst for me to take 100% responsibility for my life. It literally changed my life because it got me moving.I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting to start for things to be perfect, when they might have the perfect plan or idea in place before starting on something they love. That's not how successful companies, or great ideas,… Click To Tweet
I’m a firm believer that no matter how bad any situation is, we must not take a victim mentality, but instead empower ourselves and believe we have the power to change our lives.
Do you practice mindfulness? If yes, why did you start and what do you like about the practice of mindfulness?
Yes, as part of my weekly meditation, yoga or Wim Hof breath work sessions. I usually do a combination of these activities 3 or 5 times a week. i.e. 30 mins in the morning or at night.
If you are not sure what Wim Hof breathwork is, or the importance of breath work, I write about my experiences on my website, which includes steps to begin your own morning routine.
My very first experience with it included cold water submersion in 300 lbs of ice, which, needless to say, was not necessary, but made for one exhilarating experience.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
I study, read, ask questions, and then get exercise to absorb what I learned. If it is related to a story I am writing, I immerse myself in related materials through books, podcasts, or videos and by asking for advice from close friends or from those in a given field who might be willing to mentor or coach me.
What is the most unusual thing you are grateful for?
Scuba Diving. I’m not a strong swimmer. And as a child I was literally afraid of everything, including small dogs and swimming pool water. So as an adult, as my confidence grew, I decided to take the bold step of overcoming this water fear and become a certified PADI scuba diver. It wasn’t easy, especially getting certified off the cold waters of British Columbia in the late fall, with next to zero visibility.
But the amazing part was, once I overcame this fear, and got in the water, the instructors informed me that I was a natural at it. I was born to scuba dive!
It is worth mentioning that the payoff has been incredible, and there’s a big lesson in it for us all.
My wife and I did our first and only ‘night dive’ swimming in total darkness with small flash lights to be greeted by 17 x 16 ft manta rays off the coast of Hawaii, who swam just above our heads scooping up the plankton attracted to the light from our flash lights.
Or French Polynesia dives with dozens of black tip reef sharks and three very large Lemon Sharks who circled around us a few times before deciding we likely wouldn’t make a great meal.
To diving 80ft down into a sandy Hawaiian basin to experience hundreds of Garden Eels poking out of the water and dancing around us, floating along with the current.
During experiences like these it reminds me of all the wonders around us on this earth, and how important it is we do our part to preserve them for generations to come.
Ultimately though, Scuba Diving for me is a lesson in how any of us have the power to overcome our greatest fears, and in doing so, not just survive the experience, but learn, grow and thrive from it. Scuba Diving for me has allowed me to see the world in a whole new light.
What makes a “Good Day” a good day for you?
We live in a world today where over 300 million people suffer from clinical depression. And this number is likely very under reported. As is those who suffer from stress or anxiety. And I am a firm believer that medication, anti-depressants, opioids, are not the answer.
The answer to this crisis is all part of taking a journey inside ourselves to ask ‘what is it that truly makes me happy? What is it I was put on this earth to do or be?
Then, once we have that answer, or a general idea, it is up to us to work towards a way to do that thing.
There is a lot more to this that I cover on my website, and in my upcoming book, but the short version is, in order to live a happy, and fulfilling life, each of us must connect with our authentic selves, and allow at least a small part of our day to include the authentic you.
What does this mean?
Well, many of us get stuck doing things that bring us zero joy or fulfillment. We fall into our careers, and then 20 years go by and we wonder what it was all for.
For me, I incorporate writing into each of my days. I love writing. I love story telling. I know I was placed on this earth to be a writer and to inspire others. I have known this since I was 23 or 24 years old. But I did not get started on this fully until I was 39. Now at almost 42, I am excited to wake up each morning because I spend part or my entire day writing.
For me it started by writing just on the weekends, and then I started adding writing, even for just 30 mins, into some of my mornings. And as mentioned, now I write daily.I know many of us might say they don’t have time, but I also think, your happiness, and making time for what you love is incredibly important. Click To Tweet
If the following answer would be read by billions, what would you write?
Believe in who you are today, and in your incredible potential, even when no one else will.
Work hard, learn, listen, ask questions, don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes.
Listen to the voice in your head telling you what happiness means to you. Then execute on that path a little each day until it becomes you.
And never allow ‘fear’ to be your principle guide through the major decisions you make in life.Finally, eventually, when it all comes together, and you are living your best you, the authentic you – be humble, be kind, and give back. Click To Tweet
What question I should have asked you but didn’t? What would you answer it?
Q: What is one major type of philosophy that we can all leverage to improve our everyday life?
A: The answer is stoicism. Stoics believed in asking vital questions such as “Why do we live the way we live?” and “What is true happiness to you?” or “Is wealth truly good?”
From these questions we learn that we may be living a life we never really wanted.
We may be following the wrong path, towards excess materials, power, or fame, disconnected from our authentic selves.
We learn, in our answers to these questions, that happiness comes not just from rights, but also from responsibilities. We learn that in life it is important to challenge ourselves, to lift something heavy, and to do the things that matter the most to us.
In addition, we learn the importance of morality and ethics which combine to form our virtue. In this we learn the goal in life is likely not to be the richest, or most famous, or to take whatever we want, at the pain or expense of others, because we have a moral obligation to ourselves and others.
Lastly, thanks to the Stoic approach, through the ideas and daily questioning above, we will have a better understanding and control over our emotions, giving us tools to adapt, thrive, and find our own level of balance and peace in our ever changing world.
The Inspired is made up of real life stories with great life lessons. The greatest stories have the power to shape and transform us. Great stories remind us that life is what we make it, and that each of us, no matter our current situation, has the power to take control, improve our place on this earth, and start something new.