Improve Your Mindset with Paul Forchione - Conny Graf

Improve your Mindset - something we all need

This is a bonus episode, as I usually release a new episode every Monday but in September already I published an extra episode on the last day of the month, and so I am doing the same this month.

As we are heading into winter here on the north half of earth and possibly into a second wave of the corona pandemic I want to help improve your mindset, something I need to do myself. That's why I have Paul Forchione on the show today.

Paul was born with cerebral palsy and we talk about how he learned to walk at the age of 3 even though the doctors had told his mom that he would spend his life in a wheelchair.

We also talk about how he overcame the bullying and teasing in school and eventually got the bullies to start rooting for him.

If you find value in this conversation with Paul please share the episode with one or two of your friends or family members, because if you find value in it, they will too, especially if they have to overcome some physical or mental struggles. . 

Paul Forchione

Paul was born with cerebral palsy and it was so severe that the doctor told his mom he would never be able to walk. Thank goodness for great mom and mindset that wasn't his story. He is able to live a very active life but it wasn't easy. Today as a Mindset Coach he shares his struggles that he went through to help his clients with their personal struggles

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Reading instead of Listening (Transcript) 

FYI: this text is not polished, I try to keep it as close as possible to how the guest expressed herself/himself . 

Conny Graf
Welcome Paul I'm excited to have you on my podcast, how are you today?

Paul Forchione
I'm well Conny, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. I'm excited to talk with you today.

Conny Graf
I'm excited to I scrolled your website a little bit and I saw all kinds of cool information, but before we dive into all of this, tell us a little bit about you, who are you as a person.

Paul Forchione
You know, as a person, I am somebody that really cares about other people and want to bring them up. I consider myself a type of an underdog type of person who had to go through a lot of adversity, especially as a child. And so I'm very sensitive to people who are trying to make something really big out of their life, whether in their career, whether that be in their life with travel, relationships....

I really want to pull people up if I can because I, you know, I had a lot of struggles as a kid, and I want everybody to succeed in whatever they want to succeed in. So I want to be that helpful hand.

Conny Graf
Helpful hand that's beautiful. I did read on your website about how you love the underdog story because you were an underdog. And so I can relate because I didn't have a too easy either when I was younger, so I can totally relate to your story I didn't have such a harsh one maybe. It's beautiful when you say you want to help people.

I also read that you said you were able to ignore the negative voices early on. And I find that quite amazing that as a child, you could do that. How did you do that? or how did you figure that out that you can do that, ignore the negative surrounding voices?

Paul Forchione
Oh may I tell my story a little bit? Okay, actually I was diagnosed as an infant with something called cerebral palsy. And if you guys don't know what that is, it's, it's normally happens at labor, it's lack of oxygen to the brain at labor, and it can cause parallelisation and poor speech to one side of the body and it's actually a permanent disability. And apparently, in my case, the doctor said it was so severe that I would never be able to walk and that I should be getting used to be in a wheelchair because that's going to be my life.

Well, thank goodness for a great mom, she didn't just take that diagnosis and run with it she got a second, third, and fourth opinion and finally found somebody that was willing to help me. And that's basically how and where my journey began. I was doing physical therapy pretty much every single day, and I was able to defy the doctors. When I was three I was able to walk I mean I really don't remember that, but obviously that's a great feat, that I was able to walk when the doctors told me that I wouldn't be able to. But I do remember being put in soccer, as a young boy around five, and got a little defeated, to be honest with you. Because I could only run 25 to 50 yards, basically to the light post and back and these other kids are running laps around the field actually playing soccer.

I felt so defeated that my dad had to tell the coach Hey, my boy can barely run the light post and back that is basically all he can do. I was wanting to quit playing soccer because I was like dude I'm making myself look like a fool here, and I'm wanting to quit. But my mom told me no. If you don't want to play soccer anymore, that's fine but you have to honor your commitments we signed up for the soccer season so we need to honor that. So that's basically how my mantra was going forward is honoring my commitments and that was a lot to do with my mom. But I did get a break, when I was around six or seven, I was able to get some surgery on my right foot to tighten up the tendons in my right foot to give me a little more spring in my step and not feel the pain as much when I, when I ran. And I didn't test it out yet, but I switched schools around that same time.

I remember the first day of PE (physical education) we did our stretches and the teacher told us to run a lap and I'm thinking to myself. Here we go again. I'm gonna run 25 to 50 yards, and these kids are going to know that that's all I can do and the teasing is gonna start again. But because of my surgery it was different. I went past the point where I'm normally stopping. And I was keeping up with the other kids now I remember saying to myself come off Paul, keep going bud, you got this you've got this and I finished the lap with the other kids and I was like, Yes, yes, yes. Finally, the first time in my life that I was just one of the kids and I didn't stand out and things did get easier for me.

But I wouldn't consider them easy I remember, changing schools again in junior high and being a new kid, with no disability in junior high is tough. But, adding that being the new kid plus having a disability, it was brutal, I was bullied and teased every single day, it was so hard. I remember being in my room crying at night going Why me? Why do I have to be different? Why can't I be just like one of the other kids? Then around that same time I was raised Catholic so my mom wanted me to go to a Catholic High School so I had to take an assessment test to see where I was at, you know, going to high school. Apparently I guess I didn't do well on the test, and the principal told my mother that, we'll get him into the school, but don't expect much out of him, he's not college material.

After one test, the principal said that. So I had that, plus the bullying, so I was really down quite a bit. And I remember midway through my eighth grade I was just sick of feeling angry and sad, I didn't want to feel that way anymore, so I thought to myself, What can I do to distract myself from feeling these feelings. And I thought to myself what if I set a goal for myself, so I just focused in on the goal and didn't worry about the negative noise that I was getting from these other kids teasing me. I thought, well, what should my goal be? And at the time I really really really enjoyed baseball so I thought to myself, why don't I set a goal to make my varsity baseball team in high school.

So from then on I was playing fall ball winter ball spring ball and if it wasn't doing that I was throwing a tennis ball against the wall, doing that over and over again. And the great thing about me starting this journey about pursuing this goal about baseball, I started carrying myself differently. I put my shoulders back, my head forward, my mindset was changing I was becoming a different person. And people around me saw the difference in me and rather than bullying and teasing me anymore, they are rooting for me. They started wanting me to become this varsity baseball player. I'm happy to say that I was able to become a varsity baseball player in my junior and senior year and I graduated.

And then I had my other chip on my shoulder. All right, I had this principle that said I was not college material. Well I really didn't do that great in high school, but just kind of made it , I had that mindset, you know, oh I'm not college material. But then I thought to myself, when I graduated and I had this goal about make my varsity baseball team and I said if I could do that. Why can't I be college material? So then I just went to a community college because that's basically where my grades would allow me to go to is a community college. And I just stepped it up, you know, I went from a 2.0 GPA all the way to 3.5 transferred to Cal State Fullerton graduated from there, and then I am thinking "Well, what do I do now?

I have no life experience I have no idea what I want to do" I'm 22-23 year old, and I had a family friend who was a high up executive at a mortgage company and he said, why don't you try that. I said okay and I tried it and actually was really really good at it and I really enjoyed it for a long time. But then 2008 2009 hit and the economy changed, and the government put these regulations on us. Some of it rightfully so some of it a little over the top. For instance, I had to say my mortgage license summer when I spoke to a client. If I didn't see my mortgage license number I could get in trouble because they would have these secret shoppers that would try to fool you. And rather than worrying about what the client wanted, I started thinking to myself, Oh, did I say my mortgage license number, just say this to say that, because I didn't want to get fired. So I wasn't even worried about what the client wanted anymore I was just thinking about that I had to hit on my cues.

I remember about five or six years ago they brought in this motivational speaker to pump up the sales team, and the guy blew me away, the guy was so awesome. So I made a point to go talk to him after to tell them how great of a presentation he did. And I start picking his brain a little bit, and he told me he was also a life coach. I'm like a life coach? What is that? And he told me exactly what that was, and so I thought maybe that's what I should be doing. So I got my coaching certificate and I just put it out in the universe that want to be a coach and I kind of started doing the mortgage and the coaching at the same time. And then I made the leap of faith to just do the coaching now and that's what I'm doing full time now and that's where I'm here talking with you.

Conny Graf
Yeah, that's an awesome story and it's amazing what people say to you when you were a child, there's basically two ways where you could go you could believe them and then kind of not live up to your potential or you can be like you actually finding a way and proving them wrong which must feel really good.

Paul Forchione
Yeah, absolutely. It definitely did I mean, it wasn't easy at all but looking back, it did really, really defined who I am today so I don't have any regrets about it.

Conny Graf
Yeah, well no and that's basically what makes your strength now, because if it would have been too easy then you wouldn't be able to help your clients or your friends or whoever you want to help as well. And so, you're now... would you call yourself now a mindset coach or a life coach or how do you call yourself?

Paul Forchione
Yeah I call myself a mindset coach but I mean that's on the vein of being a life coach Yeah,

Conny Graf
yeah, yeah. So, when I help my clients I always say too it has a lot to do with mindset like when we're dealing with clutter. I always joke and say everything starts in your brain it's mental clutter, and it's like literally what you're telling yourself and we're all human so we're all sometimes not telling us the nicest things.

So getting back to my question so you were able to overcome these negative voices from the outside by focusing on a goal. Is that how you help your clients too, taking them when they're struggling to find the right goal and focusing on the goal is that the journey that you're suggesting?

Paul Forchione
Not necessarily. What I normally tell my clients is the gratitude piece, right. Focus on what is going well in your life and not dwell on what's negative in your life. For instance I have this exercise I teach my clients. When you wake up in the morning and before you grab your phone or turn on the television or radio or whatever your morning routine is take a few minutes just to think about what you're grateful for. It could be your family could be friends. It could be your sense of humor, it could be just that you woke up this morning, you know if you're at really having a bad time of things. And that starts your day off on the right foot so you start to focus in on all the positive things that happen in your day. You could get a notice on your phone that you got a free coffee and Oh look at this it's keeps building and building and building. And if you do that you're going to have way more good days and bad days.

Because you could also look at it the opposite way right, you could be looking at all the negative right. You know what you could be driving to work and you have a flat tire and you could say to yourself, that's my luck. I always have bad luck, of course I would get a flat tire, because I always have bad luck. Well you have bad luck because you focus in on all the bad things that happen during your day. And that's the reason why you have that bad luck because that's what you're focusing on. And it's a choice right you could look at the positive things or you could look at the negative things and and what I teach my clients is, it's better to look at the positive things because it's going to set your day up better. You'll have way more, you're gonna have way better good days and bad. And I'm not trying to tell your audience that you should put on this front to be happy all the time, I'm not saying that at all.

We're all human beings, and we feel feelings, right, so we're entitled to be angry and sad if that happens because, it's life, life will happen and it will make us angry and sad, but there's gonna be a time that you're going to save yourself. I don't want to be angry anymore. I don't want to be sad anymore, and at that point. You're aware that you don't want to feel that way anymore, and that's when you bring in the gratitude piece in. Okay what is going good right now in my life and that's what we focus on, and it's a constant struggle and it's hard, we have to continually remind ourselves of this every single day.

Conny Graf
I love that and it's kind of funny because when I work with my clients, we do something called the love tour. That's the first step we do we go and we figure out what actually, they love in their home so I focus on the positive things too before we even start dealing with clutter so it's kind of similar. Instead of focusing just on the clutter we're focusing first on okay what do they love about the home what made them choose this home or this house this apartment, whatever, and then where are the areas in their home that they actually really like before we even go and figure out what needs to go.

So that's interesting. I didn't even know that you're doing that because I thought from looking at your website it sounded like you helping a lot of clients mainly reaching their goals by figuring out the right goals and then planning the steps they need to take to get to the goal, but I love that you start with the gratitude, which helps so much.

Paul Forchione
Yeah, absolutely. A lot of times people come to me about goals or things of that nature but then it just becomes more about mindset, basically helping their mindset. I mean, a lot of times in life, people have families and they have to keep the strong face, they don't want to show any weakness to their family they don't want to worry their family for their struggles with their emotions or financially or whatever's bothering them because they want to make sure that they're the leader and they make sure everybody else is okay. I allow that space, that non judgement space, where they can be vulnerable with me and I won't judge them and allow them to explore their emotions. That way they become stronger.

Because I always say this and this is something that I've learned later in my life that being vulnerable is a strength not a weakness. It took me a long time to realize that but it is the truth. The story I told you about having cerebral palsy, I was ashamed of that story. The reason why I was ashamed of that story is because all through my childhood, all I wanted to be was like the other kids I didn't want any special treatment. I just want to be like one of the other kids. So I buried it, I didn't want that. But then when I started doing the journey of wanting to become a mindset coach. I thought to myself: how are these people that I'm want to help, how are they going to open up if they don't know where I'm coming from? And I thought it was very important that I allowed myself to be vulnerable with them, so they would feel comfortable be vulnerable with me. So that that's been a great, great transition in my own life.

Conny Graf
Yeah that's totally true and what comes to my mind is then all the work from Brene Brown around vulnerability. And literally, the society sometimes doesn't want us to feel the so called negative emotions. They're trying to shut us off, possibly like I just remember when I went through decluttering sometimes with people and they start crying and then right away. They're saying Oh I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, sometimes it's healing if they can just let it out. And then we can move on, rather than stuff it down but maybe it's getting better now slowly, but we're still in that mind frame or mindset that we can't show any weakness, that we have to be always at our best and then have this facade up, which is extremely exhausting. So it's wonderful that you can hold that space for your people that come to you because of your story, that's very inspirational and empowering.

Paul Forchione
Yeah, absolutely. I work with some great people, and I remember one of my clients just to give you an example, I won't get into too much detail because I want to keep the privacy, but she was coming to me and she was not in a good spot, and I could tell by her voice and I was thinking myself, oh man this is gonna be, this is gonna be our call. And she was going on about everything that was going on in her life at that point time, and I was taking notes on what she was saying, I Let her go on and tell me what was going on in her journey there.

Then I said okay if you get everything out and she goes, Yeah, and I pointed out all the positive things that she was doing, because she wasn't looking at any of that she was just because she was so fixated on the negative. She missed all the positives and I'm like you're doing this correctly. Look at, look at how well you're doing that, this and this and this. And I'm not saying by the end of the call that she was jumping for joy, but you could tell in her voice that she was a little bit upbeat. Because she wasn't realizing all the positive things she was doing, she was focused on the negative and just by that I felt like that was a win. I was able to open her mind up to the positive things that were going on in her life, so that that's a lot of what I do.

Conny Graf
Yeah, that's awesome. So, to be mindful of your time, where do you prefer people to come and lock you up. If somebody is now inspired and thinks, oh I need to talk with Paul, I need to find out more about how I can focus more on the positive things in my life. Where would you want them to go? I think you have a podcast too is that right.

Paul Forchione
Yeah that's right, thank you so the easiest way to get a hold of me is through my website www.acalltoaction.coach, and I even have my cell phone on there so you can even call me and we can set up a free consultation to see if we're fit for each other. And as you mentioned I do have a podcast is called Actions & Limits and I deal with another coach and basically our theme is, if you believe you can achieve, so we bring on people, you know that are successful now, but we dive into their struggles as well as their successes, so that people can learn how and what they did to become successful. And they can see their downfalls and see what they did wrong so that the people listening know not to go that route, and go of what positive things they were doing. So yeah Actions & Limits podcast.

Conny Graf
Yeah, that's awesome I will put that all in the show notes so that people can find you. Do you have any last words of wisdom or a last tip or something you want to get off your chest, that we haven't talked about yet?

Paul Forchione
Yeah. The thing I would want to tell your viewers is everybody has a special talent. Whatever it is, everybody has it, and you just got to find it, and it's okay if it takes you a long time to find your passion. Just find it, it's not always about the destination it's about the journey. And once you find that passion just let it show so the world can see how great of a person you really are.

Conny Graf
Thank you, that's beautiful words we're truly all special in our own way and I love it when we can shine. Which is a lifelong journey but yeah thank you very much, Paul for your time and for your wisdom and sharing your story with us, the powerful and inspirational story. Thank you very much.

Paul Forchione
Thanks Conny I had a lot of fun going on your podcast.

If you have any questions

If you have a question about decluttering, organizing or something you heard me talk about on the podcast I'd like to invite you to a free public call "ask Conny". You can ask me a question anonymously or just listen in what others ask.

Register here, I look forward to seeing you there. 

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