Do you lack clarity of purpose? Do you go through the motions of your day while wondering, What should I do with my life?
Rick Cowley helps people identify what it really is they live to do. In this episode, he talks about the kind of guidance he provides and the people who have benefited from his help.
Rick Cowley tells the surprising story of how his and James’s paths crossed, leading to a friendship and his appearance on this podcast. [02:06]
James credits Rick’s guidance with a surfing milestone he says he couldn’t have otherwise achieved. [04:41]
A lot of people in James’s circle are asking, What should I do with my life? And James wastes no time telling them about Rick. [10:31]
What kind of people tend to benefit most from VysionQuest’s program? [15:09]
Clarity, really deep clarity, is difficult to achieve in life. For Rick, it was a life-threatening illness that opened his eyes. [18:23]
It needn’t take a brush with death to reset your life. This is what VysionQuest offers…. [22:28]
Have you got the desire to work through the process? [28:33]
Space for yourself and your thoughts is essential to discovering yourself. [32:04]
Kids live their whole lives by inspiration – it’s time to get back in touch. [35:33]
Life purpose is, how do you be you, while uplifting other people? [36:08]
If you want to live authentically, sometimes you just have to put yourself out there. [37:51]
This episode of SuperFastBusiness aims to go a bit more spiritual, if you will. And for that James has invited a new, but also a good, friend of his, Rick Cowley.
When stuff just falls into place
How James and Rick met is a funny story, which James invites Rick to share.
Rick heard about James through a mutual client, Adam Guthrie, now a friend and surf buddy of his. Rick’s listened to some of James’s podcasts, and about four years ago he switched his site and membership business over to 10XPRO, a decision influenced by James.
One of Rick’s recent projects has been reaching out to people who have podcasts, hoping to be a guest on their shows.
He had a list of prospective shows, mostly podcasts his past clients had liked. And one day, about two months ago, a name popped into his head, which he thought he should add to the list. And so he typed in James Schramko.
The next day, Rick met his girlfriend at the beach. They were playing in the shallows when someone came walking in from the surf. Rick did a double-take. That looks like James Schramko. They had never met, but Rick made up his mind to say hi.
Hey, he said, are you James? James turned around, said he was. Rick introduced himself and said he knew about James from Adam Guthrie. Was he on holiday?
No, said James, they’d just moved there. Well, said Rick, maybe we’ll see each other in the surf some time.
Rick later found James on Facebook and invited him to surf, which they did a day or two later. Since then they’ve surfed together maybe 15 times. A surf instructor, Rick would give James tips, and James in turn would give him tips on business.
The milestone that James owes to Rick
From James’s side, here was this complete stranger recognizing him, actually a rare occurrence outside of conferences. He was going to tell Adam Guthrie about it, but Rick messaged him and they got to catch up.
When Rick offered to give surf tips, James happily accepted. One of his biggest challenges had been surfing in an unfamiliar place by himself. Now he had a companion who knew the lay of the land, and was a surf instructor to boot.
On one memorable day, however, James was out by himself. A cyclone had powered up roof-high waves, and the lineup was packed. He sat out wide to avoid the crowd.
James closed his eyes, thought up a number, it must have been 38, and paddled 38 strokes. Then he waited. In the distance, a huge line of swell was coming. It was too wide for anyone else. Someone paddled for it and missed. It was just James and the wave.
He paddled, somehow stuck the landing, and was on the wave. As he threaded through the crowds, the wave started to arc up around him. He saw whitewash to the left and realized he was in the barrel. Then he got dumped, breaking a finger.
That barrel ranks for emotional experience right up there with childbirth and marriage, says James. And he has Rick to thank for it. If he had not had those sessions of training with him in the weeks prior, he would not have had the technique.
Sharing a good thing with others who need it
Unbeknownst to Rick, James sent an email out to his whole audience telling them about him. He’d found out what Rick actually does, which he can only describe as helping people to discover themselves. And James recommended this to people who he knew were often worn out, needing a reset.
It’s common, he says, that people don’t even know what they want, while others feel that they’ve chased the wrong goals. That’s what Rick addresses, and a lot of James’s clients have joined his program, with great results.
James has been overwhelmed by the feedback – incredible, an amazing experience; people often use the word, “journey”.
What someone like Rick can do for you
So what has happened to these clients that was so positive?
It goes back, says Rick, to James’s description, of finding oneself. He doesn’t have the right term either, because it is rather spiritual or cosmic, though they don’t use those words. But when you reconnect with yourself, and are guided to ask important questions and hear the deeper voice within you, it goes beyond reconnection to get practical information and clarity for your life.
The people who come to Rick are usually achievers. He gets artists, performers, professionals, but most commonly entrepreneurs. It’s entrepreneurs, usually, who have a commitment to their freedom, to take on more responsibility, to be more self-directed, and to take on more risk. They thrive in the process that Rick has created.
They’re usually also at a crossroads – sold a business perhaps, and wonder what’s next. Or had a loss, the death of a loved one or an illness scare. Even a financial upset. Something that’s a sort of wakeup call, that signals a need for change, the start of something new.
A multiplicity of choices can be additionally stressful, because they don’t know what to choose. They might have tried journalling, or going on a trip, yoga or meeting with teachers. And they wind up more stressed because they still don’t have clarity.
One man’s journey to clarity
From what Rick has found, it’s really difficult to get that deeper clarity in our lives. What inspired the process for him was being diagnosed with leukemia at 21.
“It’s really difficult to get that deeper clarity in our lives.”
Rick went through a year of healing and different medicines, alternative treatments and chemo. But, he says, the experience gave him his life back. And at 21, he was young enough to do anything. A mentor/psychologist/spiritual broker that he had saw him through, and taught him how to reconnect with his inner voice, to hear the truth and act on it.
When you face a potentially terminal illness, says Rick, you don’t waste time. And the things that used to scare you don’t scare you anymore, because who knows if you’ll be around in a year or half a year or a month? So for him it was a liberating and empowering experience.
Afterwards, Rick dropped university, realizing it wasn’t what he wanted. That was the start of many leaps of doing what he really wanted, of which traveling and surfing were the core. He had a surf school in California, and a surf camp in Mexico. He met an Australian woman, and had two kids and an amazing journey.
But he knew he had more to offer, and out of that came the first retreat he ran, for young adult cancer survivors. It was a confirmation of something he knew would play a big part in his life. It was followed by five more cancer survivor retreats.
After separating from his wife, Rick moved to Bali and opened the retreats to professionals and entrepreneurs. It’s now, he says, been a journey of over 50 retreats and refining the process every time. The online version of VysionQuest is about six years old, and he revamped the whole process during the pandemic.
What VysionQuest is all about
At the heart of VysionQuest is, if you had a life-threatening illness, or life-threatening accident, and had that kind of a wakeup call, how would your life change? Who would you be? What’s your purpose? What’s your calling?
And it’s about silencing the spirit of fear to get to clarity. It’s about a vision so strong that fear loses its punch. You know what you’re meant to do, what you’ve most wanted to do, and that wins out over fear.
People are surprised because the online version is simple. It interrupts the patterns in your life, and you give up things like alcohol and caffeine. So instead of jacking up in the morning and numbing down at night, you reconnect with your natural state and energy, and slow down enough to hear the deeper voice within.
The actual work, says Rick, is just a 20-minute meditative audio lesson, followed by a writing exercise. This simple formula is based on concepts that came up over and over at his retreats, around finding and acting out clarity, walking your true path in your life and your work. The writing exercises are questions that have made a profound difference in his life.
Now, fear is clever, Rick says. It stops people from getting clarity, and it goes back to school and parents feeding us what Rick considers an untrue version of success. That is, just playing the game and doing what you’re told and fitting in.
Success in school is showing up and doing what you’re given to do. But when you enter the real world, you’re responsible for your own happiness. That’s why there are so many people who are successful, but not fulfilled. They don’t feel connected to what’s important to them.
So in Rick’s philosophy, we have to do things that almost trick that fearful voice, and get it to not only be quiet, but then actually come on to your side and be an active participant in discovering these gems that are inside of you. It’s like going on a treasure hunt.
When you silence the fear properly, all of you is on board with letting answers come up to the surface and revealing all the puzzle pieces of your life’s vision.
Can Rick tell us more about getting fear on your side, asks James? Is that a technique that’s explainable?
It’s a sequence, says Rich.
Desire – You have to want to do the work, because being true to yourself can get scary and uncomfortable. Desire is so important that Rick actually has a phone call with everyone before they sign up, so they know what it is and that they want to be there.
Space – In some way, you’ve got to make a special space in your life, a special container, to tune out the distractions. There, you don’t reach for your phone, or for coffee, or for alcohol or Netflix or what have you. With retreats, where people actually leave home, they make that space together. Or with Rick’s 28-day program, the client is making that space. And the first hour every morning is a really sacred space for tuning in and answering questions.
Inner knowing – What you do in that space is make that stillness where you can hear the deeper voice inside you. There you can ask yourself questions, like, what would you like to understand about yourself or about life? What changes would you like to see in your own life? And just start journaling what you hear. Doing that, you start to hear the difference between your mind, and your ego, and the fear, and your inner knowing, this deeper voice inside of you. It feels deeply right when that voice is speaking. And writing it down is always really powerful.
Appreciation and gratitude – These are the first exercises that come up – looking at how much you have accomplished and been given in your life, your achievements and your blessings. This creates a change in viewpoint, because too often we’re focused on what we don’t have and where we can improve, and what we should have achieved and haven’t.
“It’s really easy to get knocked out by trying to play the comparison game.”
It’s really easy to get knocked out by trying to play the comparison game, says James, when you’re active on social media.
That’s why one of Rick’s levels of commitment is that you get off social media for those 28 days. And at the retreats, it’s a non-negotiable. People say they’ve gotten a lot out of just doing that.
Building a strong sense of appreciation, says Rick, gives you a strong foundation from which you can reach for your vision and do the work of looking forward and saying, What’s calling me? What do I really want?
Inspiration – Then you move to inspiration, Rick says, which is an emotion many people have lost touch with. Kids live their whole life by inspiration. They do things because it will be fun, will make them laugh, will feel exciting, will feel naughty or dangerous.
So the program starts to gently get you back in touch with those things that give you that sense of energy, of youthfulness, of excitement.
Life purpose – Then it’s time to ask, what is your life purpose? And this is not a project, or an organization that you’re going to start or a role that you’re going to have. Your purpose is a unique way of being that you have that uplifts and empowers other people. And it puts you in the flow of life, in the magic of life, and also taps other people into their magic and flow of life.
“There are many times when all you have to do is show up.”
When you’re living in alignment with your purpose, says Rick, there are many times when all you have to do is show up. Even when you think you should be doing more, that you need to be more planned, that you should be doing better, all you have to do is show up and be there and be present with the other person or with the problem you’re finding a solution for. And magic happens.
It’s like with Rick and James. Rick hasn’t given James that many different surfing tips, he says. But his presence, his just being there, empowered James to improve his surfing, to be in the right place at the right time.
Want more of Rick?
They had a good fit, says James, and he loves sharing Rick’s presence.
People listening or watching will have made up their minds as to Rick Cowley, and if he’s a good person to talk to.
So if you want to get in touch with Rick or are interested in his program, the best place to go is his website, vysionquest.com. Or email him at [email protected], and you can hop on a call, where Rick will meet you, hear what’s going on in your life, and answer any questions that you have about VysionQuest, see if you’re a good fit and if it could be a good next step for you.
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