This week on Small Talk, we sat down with former NFL athlete, international speaker, and creator of 'The Shift Method', Anthony Trucks, to chat about overcoming our shortfalls and making the necessary shifts to reach success.
Anthony Trucks is a globally recognized inspirational speaker and creator of ‘The Shift Method.’ He stands for operating at your highest level and has shared his findings by creating a suite of programs and services that guide you step-by-step through a process to upgrade how you operate so you can elevate your life and business.
We wanted to know where this journey really started for Anthony and the shift that led him into coaching and inspiring others.
“I was given away at three years old into the foster care system in the San Francisco Bay area in California. So, I started my life, I guess in that space of not feeling like I mattered. I bounced around between many different foster homes and had a lot of different levels of abuse, physical and especially emotional. So, I was really shut down emotionally as a kid, I didn’t really like people, and people didn’t seem to like me. A lot of those same dynamics that we experience sometime later in life, I started my life with.”
At the age of six, after three years of dealing with tremendous emotional turmoil, Anthony was placed into a family that he would come to know and love as his own.
“The unique thing is, I was the only black kid in an all-white family, so I had to navigate this whole world of, 'where do I fit?'”
Feeling out of place and figuring out how to show up in the world should be the last thing on a child’s to-do list. Yet, this was Anthony’s reality.
“I was not allowed to play sports in foster care, and now that I was adopted, I could play sports. So, I tried my hand at something new, and when we try our hand at something new, we usually find that we’re not that good at it. So, I realized really quickly that I had a choice to either lean in or lean out. Like so many people, I had been trying and trying, and I still wasn’t any good at it, so I decided to lean out.”
When facing a new challenge, we are often left with two choices, trying again or walking away. Knowing we want to do something but not knowing how to do it leaves us feeling scared, frustrated, and vulnerable. The easier choice would be to walk away, but in doing so, we will never discover what we are truly capable of.
“A few months later, I was sitting in my English classroom. These two girls were talking to each other, and they had no idea I was listening to them. What happened was, one girl, says to the other one, ‘well, the reason I’m so bad is because I’m in foster care.’ And that was a moment that really unsettled me. I didn’t want to be the guy saying that years from now. It triggered me to find a way to get better, and I dug. I started doing the things that it takes to be great, found a way to be great, and it turned into me becoming a monster in football.”
Having decided to lean in and not let his past dictate his future, Anthony thrived on his high school football team, eventually receiving a college football scholarship, leading him to play in the NFL.
“At twenty-seven, I had a baby with my high school sweetheart and got to the NFL. NFL stands for ‘not for long.’ I tore my shoulder my third year, came home, and had a massive identity crisis. I was suicidal; I wasn’t a good dad, I ended up getting a divorce. Life sucked. It took me another four to five years of what I call ‘the fog’; just getting up and going through the motions, not feeling great, and it sucked.”
When our realities as we once knew them change drastically, it is common to lose our sense of self. If we can no longer identify with who we once were and what we once did, how can we be expected to thrive?
“Eventually, I just woke up. It was at this moment where I realized I didn’t like myself. And it turned into me finally figuring out that I had to do work on myself, on a different level. And when I figured out what it looked like for me, I started doing different things, turned down a different path, and three years after being divorced, my wife and I got re-married.”
After choosing to lean in rather than lean out, Anthony started doing what it took to be better and mended what was broken within himself.
“I love my wife, I love my life, I love my kids, and I now realize that there’s a lot of value in what I experienced, and it could be even more valuable if I figured out how to pass it along. Many people get stuck for their entire lifetimes on one of the thirty things that I overcame. And it’s not because I’m special; I just approached things differently. So, what I did is I figured out how I approached it, and it turned into me talking about it and sharing about it and coaching about it, which has led me to where I am now.”
Fast forward to the present moment, Anthony Trucks now travels the world as a coach and mentor, talking to companies like Amazon, T-Mobile, and PayPal about identity and how it applies to anybody who’s trying to achieve higher than where they currently are.
Anthony has managed to make a global impact, all thanks to a simple shift.
Brick by Brick
Anthony stepped into a role that he had never played before, leaving what he knew behind him and taking a leap of faith into the unknown. Far too often, we deny ourselves certain opportunities or paths due to self-doubt or fear of the unknown.
We wanted to know how Anthony pushed past ‘I can’t do that' and stepped into ‘I’ve got this.’
“It’s weird; I don’t think it happened because one day I said, ‘I’ve got this.’ What I’ve found is that there are a lot of voices in our heads, and like in any room, the loudest voice will convert the other voices. The loudest voice seems to win. So, I think what ends up happening is the voice inside that says it can do well; it’s not loud enough because it doesn’t have enough proof.”
We have all experienced the disputes that go on inside of our minds. One voice says, ‘let’s go to bed early,’ while the other is yelling, ‘let’s go out tonight!’ And like in many arguments, the loudest voice tends to win.
“I think what we have to do in those moments, and what I did, was work myself step by step in a direction that I feared and didn’t have confidence in, and little by little, brick by brick, I built it. And I think that every time a brick gets laid, that inner voice gets one decimal louder, and after a while, the other voice is non-existent; it disappears.”
The only thing that’s needed to believe in ourselves is proof. Step by step, brick by brick, when we make those tricky decisions that have our best interest, we begin to lay the foundation and create the proof that we needed.
“It doesn’t happen on day one; it doesn’t even happen on day two! But it happens on the days that you commit. Then, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days later, you realize that voice doesn’t exist anymore. The only one that’s still here is the one that tells me I can do it; so, I’m going to listen to that one.”
A Simple Shift
“It’s not what you know; it’s who you are with what you know.”
We wanted to know Anthony’s definition of a shift and how he realized that this simple shift created life-changing results.
“What I realized is that a lot of people live in what I call an epidemic of shelf-esteem. Everybody is sick with this disease of buying things, feeling good because they bought them, and never opening them or using them. Someone says, ‘get this book,’ so you go and get it. Now you have several books, but you never read any of them. The path to success used to be whoever had the most information. I think it’s because back then, people acted. So, if you had information, paired with the action you were taking, you would be successful.”
Information, one of the tools to success, is available to each of us right now. We can learn the tools of the titans, study a new language, or commit to a diet plan, but the difference between success and fantasy is whether or not we act on it.
“We can make excuses all day long about why we didn’t get something done or why we did something we shouldn’t have, and that’s fine. But, you want twenty-thousand dollars more, you want to lose more weight, you want whatever it is; the person who has that right now in their life, would they be making that excuse right now? It’s not what you know; it’s who you are with what you know.”
Action is what creates results. The identity of each human comes down to the execution of the tools and knowledge that one has. What would be the point of having certain skills and talents if they weren’t put to use?
You could have a great mindset, but if you don’t take action or have poor belief in yourself, how can you expect to see results?
“It’s not the mindset. We think the mindset is the key. But the mindset is just part of identity. Identity is compressed of beliefs, thoughts, actions, habits, mindset, and personal pride. It’s a collective union of all of them. So, once I learned that, I looked back on my life and reflected on the times I acted. It was less about what did I do, and more about my commitment to being the person who solves the problem.”
The Shift Method
By reviewing and analyzing his past, Anthony pinpointed moments in which his character and identity flourished and times where he faced blockages. In doing so, he was able to create a three-tiered system known as ‘The Shift Method’ in hopes of helping others overcome their limitations.
“There are three stages; see, shift, and sustain. The see stage is the one that most people skip. They want to go right to the shift, they want to start doing things, and when they jump straight to that level, they end up being tired and burnt out, wondering where their desired results are. So, I always start at the ‘see’ phase, and I help people see themselves.”
You can’t see the label when you’re inside the jar. If we don’t take a step back and look at ourselves, our habits, and our tendencies before making a conscious effort, we can’t see what we need to work on in our shift phase.
“For me, there were times when I didn’t like myself; I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t like who I was as a dad, partner, or individual. I had to really take a look at myself, and it hurts. But I could now permit myself to improve.”
The second and third phases of Anthony’s shift method are shift and sustain. Far too often, we do things to receive immediate validation, or we seek short-lived success. In focusing on sustaining our improvement, we can rest assured that our efforts can be maintained after making our shift.
“You see it often, these yo-yo diets. You lose weight; you gain weight, lose weight again, and then gain it back. That wouldn’t happen if you were the type of person who was in shape all the time, if it’s who you are. It happens because we try to do the things of a different identity, we don’t sustain it, and we slide back to our old identity. It’s an up and down thing because we don’t have a disciplined system.”
Most people lack a plan in life or the discipline to stay on it, causing a big hindrance. A disciplined system allows us to stay on track with our plans, reach our goals, and set ourselves up for success.
“If you at any point in time want to become the person we’re talking about, it’s gonna happen over repetitious days, months, and sometimes years. When we look back on who we were three to five years ago, we find that we were different people. We liked different things, and we found different things important. So, that’s where I found that the solution doesn’t lie in the information, it lies in the identity of the person, so If I can create a process that I can share, now it becomes use to the rest of the world.”
Once we hold others to a higher standard, we come to find that they begin to act in ways that match that heightened standard. For example, if you were to say to a friend, ‘you are so trustworthy,’ that friend has no choice but to be a trustworthy person. The same goes for us; once we begin to hold ourselves to a higher standard and claim the identities we seek, our actions can’t help but match.
“If you aren’t good with who you are, you’re never alone; you’re always with someone you don’t like. And if you aren’t able to create this identity that you love, you always shame yourself for not being your authentic self. So, it all comes down to claiming who you truly are and want to be and consistently being that person.”
A Simple Reminder
It all starts with a shift, and if Anthony Trucks could instill one practice into the minds of everyone on earth, it would be, ‘nobody really cares.’
“We believe that everyone will see what we’re ashamed of or that everybody will know if we’ve done something wrong, but in reality, no one cares; they’re too busy caring about themselves. Realizing that it frees you up to do what you do, unashamed. I think if you can really live an unashamed life, it’s the most freeing thing.”
Caring about what everybody else thinks dictates our actions and limits us from being who we truly are and expressing what we’re truly capable of.
“Happy people are genuinely just happy; they don’t judge others or try to bring them down. So, when someone comes at me sideways, all I can say is, ‘I don’t know what happened in your day, but I don’t want that happening in mine, so I’m not going to take this with me.” I’m gonna do what I do, I’m going to try to serve people while doing it, but those who aren’t served by it, that’s okay.”
“The best advice I have ever received goes to the core of how I operate, and it’s, ‘action ends suffering.’ In the moments we don’t want to do anything because everything sucks, we lost our job, we had a breakup, whatever it is, there’s always an action that will end that suffering. Typically, the problem is that we are not in an emotional space to take that action, so we prolong that emotional pain. So, for me, the moment I’m in that funky spot, I think what action I should take, not what will solve this, because I may not know what will solve the problem, but what action can I take that will make the next moments of my life better.”
Some positive and uplifting actions that can be taken in moments of misfortune and upset include: going on a walk, going to the gym, calling a loved one, or taking time to reflect and write down how we truly feel in the moment.
No Longer Pursue
“I used to chase wanting to have a nice shiny car, and now I realize I don’t care about what people think about my car. I care about the inside of my car because that’s where I’m going to be. I don’t care if the guy driving past me, who I’m never going to see again, is impressed.”
We asked Anthony Trucks what he believes 100% to be true, his answer….
“That God Exists, that I know one hundred percent to be true. The fact that we are having this conversation, my body intuitively knows how to pump blood, take breaths, form ideas, and converse with another human whose body is doing the same miraculous actions; I don’t believe that this happened accidentally. I’m a smart guy, I’m not the smartest, but I don’t know how this stuff could be an accident and wasn’t created by some divine design.”
At TrooMe, we believe that the truest, most vibrant expressions of ourselves are not waiting to be found but reside within, just waiting for us to tap into.
May we follow in Anthony Trucks' footsteps, seeing ourselves as we truly are, identifying what we wish to change, making the shifts needed, and sustaining our efforts on our paths to becoming our best selves.