Let Go of the Past & Overcome Your Trauma with Stefanos Sifandos – EP 105

Interview with Stefanos Sifandos


Stefanos Sifandos

Let Go of the Past & Overcome Your Trauma with Stefanos Sifandos

If you want to live a rich life, one of the most important assets to invest in is yourself. You can have all the money in the world, but if you don’t have your health, the money is pointless.

While today’s episode doesn’t cover the investing strategies our guests usually speak on, it does offer valuable insight into how someone with a difficult past can face their fear and completely turn their life around for the better.

I’m talking with Stefanos Sifandos. Stefanos grew up in a low-income family with an abusive father, and the trauma he went through as a child wreaked havoc on his life as an adult. He became addicted to food, porn, sex, and abusive relationships.

After years of struggle, he decided to stop the past from influencing his present. He explored his deep-seated pain and saw the man he could be if he didn’t allow those demons to define him. Today, he’s a highly sought-after behavioral scientist and relationship expert.

In our conversation, you’ll learn his strategies for doing the inner work and how he overcame years of depression and feelings of low self-worth so he could build a thriving business and freedom lifestyle.

Featured on This Episode: Stefanos Sifandos

✅ What he does: Stefanos Sifandos is a behavioral scientist, relationships expert, trained educator, and the co-founder of Elementum Coaching Institute and the MPowered Brotherhood, driven and inspired by a desire to help others reach their full potential and connect with one another. Stefanos has worked with thousands of people from all over the world: Elite Special Forces soldiers, Olympic Gold Medalists, high-performing CEOs and entrepreneurs, world champion fighters, couples wanting to deepen and/or heal their relationship and individuals with substantial mental health issues. His mission is to assist individuals in realizing their full potential, to relate consciously to each other with authentic love, and find success in every wake of life.

💬 Words of wisdom:When we deal with the core wounds, we seek to project less and we take more responsibility for who we are and who we want to be.” – Stefanos Sifandos

 🔎 Where to find Stefanos Sifandos: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok

Key Takeaways with Stefanos Sifandos

  • How growing up in scarcity and living with an abusive father influenced him as an adult and how he built up the courage to face his biggest fears.
  • The mindset that helped Stefanos Sifandos climb out of $150k of debt and start building a business that led to him working with Olympic athletes, CEOs and Special Forces soldiers.
  • How Stefanos recovered from decades of trauma and feelings of self-worth by facing past traumas instead of hiding behind them.
  • The importance of finding someone who believes in you and gives you the strength to believe in yourself.
  • Why it’s crucial to allow ourselves to fully feel and embrace all negative emotions built up during childhood and learn to let them go.
  • You can be financially successful and still be miserable. How to stop defining your worth by what’s in your bank account and be content with what you have.
  •  You can’t show up at your best in relationships and business by avoiding pain and conflict.
  • The first step toward dissolving past pain and traumas is simply being aware of them.

Stefanos Sifandos on Shifting Your Mindset from Scarcity to Abundance

Stefanos Sifandos Tweetables

“When you bring yourself to the world fully, and you don't edit yourself, and you care about yourself, and you love yourself, you attract a very different caliber of relationship.” - @stefsifandos Click To Tweet “Awareness is power, and with power comes great responsibility. So, it's easier to avoid being aware, keep distracting ourselves with all the shiny things, like new relationship after new relationship.” - @stefsifandos Click To Tweet

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Read the Full Transcript with Stefanos Sifandos

Justin Donald: Well, hey, Stef. I’m so glad that you’re able to join us today. I’m excited to dig into a bunch of topics but welcome.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Thank you, Justin, for having me, brother.

 

Justin Donald: This is going to be a lot of fun. It’s cool seeing you in a new season of life. Because I knew you as a husband but not yet a dad. And we just got done talking about how you’re now officially a dad. You took the last seven weeks off. Today is day one but you’re actually back in the office. And what a privilege it is to have you choose us and be on this show. So, thank you.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: No. I appreciate that, man. Yeah, it’s definitely interesting being back. I mean, I’ve been working the last seven weeks but I really haven’t been doing too much or as much as I usually do. So, I’m all in. I’m all in.

 

Justin Donald: That’s awesome. I love it. So, I’d love to kind of just hear your story. I mean, I luckily know tons of bits and pieces of this just from our interactions. And you and I have really gotten close. I think we originally met – we have so many mutual friends but I think Mike Dillard originally connected us.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. Dinner at his place.

 

Justin Donald: Yeah. We had an awesome time with him and with Codie Sanchez and Chris Petkas and you and your wife and my wife. And it was just an incredible conversation. That dinner ended up being like a six-hour dinner. It was awesome.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. The days of “freedom.” I know you got kids for a while but just now, with a newborn, it’s like everything, all the attention is on her.

 

Justin Donald: Oh, yeah. Yeah. You’ll notice a season where it shifts but you’ll get it back. That season will shift back, and you’ll gain more freedom again. But I’d love to hear your story as an entrepreneur. Why did you get into entrepreneurship? Why did you move to the US? I mean, you’ve kind of lived all around the world. You could be anywhere. Why here?

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. Well, my wife’s American. Christine’s American. So, that’s why we’re here and I’ve been to America quite a few times prior to meeting my wife, Christine, and I love the place. I mean, this is such a rich, fertile place for innovation and creativity and, for lack of a better term, the American dream. You know, it’s an interesting concept, especially as an outsider looking up. I’ve been living here for four years now. America is this beast that is very different to the rest of the world. I would spend a decent amount of time in China as well. I mentioned China because it’s almost like I don’t want to say culturally or geopolitically the opposite of America but they do sit on varying ends of the spectrum, right? And so, and even Australia being more socialist in nature. And coming to America where there’s this independence and this value of independence and creating and accomplishing and achieving and being at the pinnacle of whatever it is that you’re interested in. There’s excitement around that, right? And so, being here has been eye-opening for me and also deeply rewarding as well and enriching and expansive for my business. But for me, what got me to be really honest and very transparent, got me into my entrepreneurial journey and wanting to create wealth for myself but also impacting income, right? But that has been a big part of my life wanting to create impact in the world that is meaningful and tangible and all of that, even the desire to create incomes. So, we grew up lower class, maybe upper lower class, or maybe really lower middle class.

 

And so, we didn’t have a lot of money. And my father’s relationship and my mother’s relationship to money was very strained. We were living week to week. My father was a gambling addict. And we struggled in that sense. You know, an electricity bill would come and I would just remember my father screaming that my mum leaves the lights on. And I grew up in a very aberrant, violent, abusive household that was the emotional and the physical abuse and it was this relationship to money and material wealth that was very strained and very awkward. And growing up, I just wanted to watch National Geographic with my grandparents. It is quite nostalgic for me. And I would see all of these cultures around the world. A, it really evoked the sense of I want to travel the world and, b, I got sad. I got sad looking at all these people in developing nations that didn’t have the things that we had, which was a roof over our head and food on the table. We at least had that. I said, “Well, I want to make a difference in the world.” And so, that idea, it grew, it expanded. And I wanted to do more of that. And I was also tired of not having money.

 

And so, I wanted to create more wealth. And to be honest, I spent a big portion of my life or my adult life, 15 years being in debt, not having wealth, not accumulating wealth, not being able to hold onto it, not knowing how to invest it. I had these grand ideas but I had no structure and substance. I had no education, and honestly, I hadn’t done my inner work to really equilibrate those wounds about money, about my money story, not from a perspective of mindset but from a perspective of deeper inner child healing, somatic, emotional, spiritual healing.

 

Justin Donald: Wow. There are so many layers to what you just described here. And your story sounds fascinating. And it’s interesting hearing the family life that you had, the household you grew up in, and maybe the different moves that you would make. And also, just this flip, right? There’s so much that we learn from our parents where it’s like, “Oh, man, I was trying to avoid this. How did I fall in line whereas there are other ones that are polar opposites, where it’s like I am never going to be this way or think this way or do these things?” So, I hear kind of the foundation of a scarcity mindset at home. And I’m wondering how you bridge the gap to living in such abundance today. And I know for a period of time you were trapped in scarcity, right? That’s a decision you have to make. So, how did you bridge that gap, Stef?

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. I had to go to the depths of my pain. That’s the truth of it, right? I had to really touch that pain in ways that I hadn’t before to be able to because, see, a scarcity mindset or a poverty mindset or a relationship to money, to wealth, to abundance that is strained is ultimately tied to non-deservedness, low self-worth, low self-esteem. And so, shame is a beast as well. So, we have to go to what really is the foundation of that mindset, of that belief system. It’s one thing to work with beliefs and work with mindset. And it’s important. Don’t get me wrong, it is important. It’s an access point to deeper layers of self. It is a way to see and feel the world differently, more see the world differently. It’s a way to begin to understand that an alternate reality, an alternative reality exists for you that could be far more beneficial, far more value aligned with who you’re becoming, who you want to be, and who you are, and who you don’t want to be. But to really go deep, we have to get into the body. We have to close the loop on that trauma and self-worth and shame, very, very big aspects of ourselves, of the human condition.

 

And when that self-worth is low, like it was with me and I would compensate in the world and it was so low that I would do anything, including sabotage myself to look a certain way. So, I would get the cars, have a nice car but it would come out I couldn’t afford the car, so I had to put it on credit or I would get myself in massive amounts. I was $150,000 of credit card debt, credit card debt. And given that was surviving, that was business, that was myriad choices that I made that were just not mature choices because I was wanting to be seen in a particular way because I was compensating for my low self-worth. I didn’t like who I was and I hadn’t dealt with that pain. I hadn’t dealt with the effects of the abuse and the trauma and the environment that I grew up in. And so, I had to touch that, Justin. That’s how I bridged the gap and I did that in a work and I continue to do that in work, of course, but that’s when everything really shifted. And I also want to say credit where credit is due. I was on that path and on that trajectory before I met Christine.

 

And when I met Christine, my life really expanded in ways I could never have. Well, actually, I could imagine. I was dreaming about it for many years but it was expanded in really profound ways because she not only saw my potential and believed in me, which very few people did in the world, that was my experience at least, but she also didn’t judge me and she met me with compassion. And compassion for me was very difficult. Judgment or non-judgment, rather, for me was very difficult. I never had that experience with my father and my parents. My mom, not as much. My father was very judgmental and very non-compassionate. And so, having that from my partner was first very shocking. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to embrace it. But as time went on, it really helped me tap into and touch aspects of me that I hadn’t been able to before, and that gave me energy and that gave me more confidence. Now, it wasn’t that she gave me confidence. It was being witnessed in a particular way that I then interpreted and I ran with it. I’m a relationships person.

 

You put me in a relationship with anyone, and if I can add value to that relationship, I most definitely will. And if I can ask for something, I most definitely will because it’s reciprocal and we’re growing together. And Christine knew a lot of people here in America. I was very far into America. I didn’t know anyone here. And she would introduce me to her friends and people and I would make use of those relationships. I would add value, just natural value to that relationship. I didn’t need anything in return. I was just grateful to make friends and create friendships and partnerships and ideate with people. And over time, the more we do our inner work, we create spaciousness in ourselves. And so, I was just continuing to create spaciousness in myself. And the more space that’s there, the more I can choose deliberately to, “What do I want to feel that space up with?” And so, that’s where I started really creating more wealth myself. In the first year that I met Christine, I paid for my credit card debt and saved money and invested that money. And part of it is I need someone to believe in me so I could believe in myself. I needed a real-life example. We often need that outside of ourselves so that we can then go inside and within inside, “Oh, that’s how I do it.” And that was, in short, how I began to build that bridge but the foundation was really working with my low self-worth, low self-esteem, working with the shame, working with the trauma.

 

Man, I did that for years, well before I met Christine. I was very responsible that I remained in solitude. I worked with practitioners, psychologists, shamans, spiritual healers, guides, coaches. I invested in myself. Even when I had to borrow money, I would borrow money from my mom. I would borrow money from people. I paid everyone back. Of course, I would borrow money from the banks, the credit cards. I would do whatever it took. I was relentless with my self-healing journey. And that was really what bridged that gap.

 

Justin Donald: So, do you believe that there’s a correlation then between the mindset shift that you had and kind of like looking at the world from an abundant lens and the wealth that you’ve been able to create? Over the last five years, I feel like you’ve had a massive shift and I’d love to know that correlation because for me personally, I believe it’s more mental than anything. I believe wealth, and when I talk about wealth, it’s all facets of so it’s time, it’s financial resources, it’s health, both mental, spiritual and I’d say even emotional. And it’s even like being on purpose or living and being in tune with the passions that you have in life. And so, like all that to me is like a component of wealth or all subchapters of it. But I believe personally that most people limit their potential because they are stuck in an old belief system or they’ve adopted someone else’s belief system, probably their parents or whoever they were closest to growing up. And that everyone’s kind of like one mental shift, one mindset shift away from abundance and incredible wealth, as opposed to where most people live, which is scarcity, “There’s not enough. We’re going to run out. There’s only so much.” And I’m curious to get your thoughts on that.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. So, the more inner work that I’ve done, the more abundance I’ve created in my life, every facet of that. My take on what you’ve just shared is yes-and because we’ve got to go to what underpins the belief system or the mindset because we can shift our mindset or we can you can put lipstick on a pig but the pig is still a pig, right? And so, we can convince ourselves that I was working with a client this morning where she made a decision five years ago to never be in a poverty mindset, and she’s committed to that. Yes, she’s still in poverty. And so, the reason in her case is because she hasn’t dealt with the underlying issues that prop up that belief system. And the underlying issues are what are the belief systems under the belief systems, under the belief systems, and what is the emotional charge that’s connected to her? What’s the payoff? What’s the payoff for holding a scarcity mindset? Is it inclusion into the family or the generational system?

 

Because if you break away from your family that was poor, I’m giving you an example, and you become wealthy, will you then be excluded from your family? Will you be outed? That carries a massive emotional charge. That is the feeling of annihilation. Now, if we go back to the evolutionary times, when you disagree or you’re disagreeable with your tribe, you would be kicked out of the tribe more than likely. Being alone in an environment that was very hostile and volatile mean certain death. And so, that sense of survival is in us. And so, we want to be agreeable to the tribe that we align with, whether that’s family, peer groups, friends, business associates, etcetera. And so, we have to deal with the emotions and the patterns, the psycho-emotional patterns that are attached to belief systems and mindset. We can work with mindset. It’s a layer. We can work with that layer. However, can we sustain that mindset shift? We enhance our ability to sustain it when we do the deeper work, the emotional work, the foundational core work, the somatic work by physiologically closing any trauma loops that exist in the body.

 

And that is a regulation of our nervous system, that is a physiological regulation of our nerves. That means we move out of subtle, sympathetic, nervous system response into a more profound parasympathetic nervous system response. And that becomes our base operating way of being in the world as opposed to everything’s a threat. We’re able to do that. We’re able to sustain changes or sustain belief systems or new ways of being in the world. And that’s how we enhance that, create greater sustainability, longevity, and also foster acting momentum.

 

Justin Donald: Yeah. You know, you think about the stress that that would put on your body to feel like there’s always a threat around. And I feel like with a lot of our veterans that come back, that’s the world they live in because they were trained for this to always look, to always be assessing any levels of threat that could happen at any point in time. And so much of this inner work that you’ve discussed I see done with people that have these traumas from war and battle and just living in a place where you’re emotionally drained because you’re on sensory overload. You’re heightened security nonstop. And so, what are those layers of the deeper healing work that you’ve done personally? You’ve got to solve for yourself first and then you can help solve for others.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. So, I mean, yes, it’s a great question. In my background, I have an extensive background in this area but essentially psychology, behavioral science, trauma, informed somatics, developmental psychology. And so, the layers are working with some of the belief systems, some of the ideas formed during early childhood. So, during our developmental formative years, where we really walk around in this brainwave state that absorbs so much of the environment and takes it for gospel, takes it for what it is. And then from there, we interpret that and form ideas about ourselves and about the world, how we give and receive love, our value, our worthiness. And we based a lot of that on how we’re treated by our parents, our primary caregivers. So, a lot of work around that and giving those parts of us that maybe didn’t have a voice or didn’t have an appropriate expression for a particular experience such as being yelled at or being hit or being sexually abused is something a little more extreme or being bullied at school or being teased or not feeling good enough for their parents because their grades weren’t there, and that develops this over-achieving sense of self and perfection, a sense of self that over time compounds and becomes the norm for one’s life.

 

And so, it’s all about competition. It’s all about perfection. It’s all about being better. It’s all about excessive doing, never satisfied, always achieving, defining our worth and our value by the more money and zeros we have in our bank account, the more status on our titles, the more businesses we have, properties we own, and etcetera, etcetera, then we’ll be happy but we’re never really happy. So, we’re searching the emptiness of life. It’s working with those parts. It’s inner child work. It’s somatic work. An example of somatic work is breathwork, breathwork for expanding consciousness and tapping into the unconscious emotional self. Particular breath techniques will activate parts of the hippocampus where unconscious memories are stored. And we can then not bring those memories back into explicit, overt memory but rather the emotions that were trapped or charged or held in those experiences, bring them to the surface to be moved and released so we can close trauma loops. These are obviously processes. And it doesn’t just happen once. Sometimes it can but it generally happens over expanded periods of time. There are so many men and women that I’ve worked with that are very successful.

 

You know, decamillionaires, centimillionaires, successful. Some are successful in their interpersonal relationships, in their intimate relationships. Most are not, from my experience. But accessing these parts of us that have been repressed and/or suppressed not only enhances their wealth and their capacity to earn more, that’s one thing. That’s a bonus. That’s great. But here’s the best part, that they become more content. They become more content with what they have and who they are. And they don’t need to keep chasing the elusive what’s next or the more monster. I need more to feel better about myself. We get to shift that when we do that in a work.

 

Justin Donald: So, that’s powerful. Being content with where you are, not needing more to prove your worth, to just know that you’re loved just who you are as you are, and that you’re enough just the way you are. And I think those are two things. Tony Robbins talks about those being your two primary questions or the two things that most people need to solve for or think about constantly that shape everything about them. And so, I love hearing you go through this, and I love knowing that you’ve done this in your own life. I also have seen you in work. I’ve seen the relationship you and Christine have, and it’s amazing. There are very few couples that I have seen that love each other the way you do, communicate the way you do, hold each other in the highest regard the way you do. And I know a lot of the work that you’ve done over the years has been kind of coaching and consulting with your conscious mentorship brand with like CEOs and entrepreneurs. But I also know you’ve done a lot of really cool work with couples from a relationship standpoint, and I’d love to hear about kind of each of the programs and the genesis of one that kind of led to and created the other.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. So, for me, Justin, relationships have been very beautiful for me, interpersonal, romantic, intimate, sexual relationships in those partnerships. But they’ve been a crux. They’ve been very challenging for me in the sense that I hid and I ran away from my pain and unresolved trauma through sex, love compulsion, sex compulsion, sex addiction. As a result of that, there was infidelity in my relationship, cheating, dishonesty. I wore masks. I had a disregard for their emotional needs. I wasn’t present and I was hiding. I needed more and more sex to feel better about myself and to validate myself. And not only was that painful, it was also a distraction. And it was a convenient distraction because it was such a beautiful pleasure. You know, the novelty and variety of being with a different woman every night or every week, even when I was in an intimate relationship and not being honest with what my needs were because I didn’t like who I was and I hadn’t dealt with my pain. I hadn’t dealt with my unresolved trauma.

 

That was the truth of it. And until I did all that, I wasn’t able to bring a real self, my real self into a relationship. And I found working with couples and I do a lot of work with couples actually as well, particularly I work with couples that run their own business or actually work in their – it’s a family business like it’s their business. They work in it together because it’s really challenging. Christine and I are the same. We work together and we live together and we love together and we’re partners together. And this can be actually really challenging to do that. So, I tend to work a lot with couples, particularly in that space. I’m helping them navigate the complexities of that and still being polarity and still being honesty and still help the business grow and all those good things and really get to the truth of what are the blocks around that and what are the limitations around that. But I’ve found that when you’re deeply honest with your partner, you attract. When you bring yourself to the world fully, you attract. Let me go back.

 

When you bring yourself to the world fully and you don’t edit yourself and you care about yourself and you like yourself and you love yourself and you see yourself and you honor yourself and you bring that to the world, you attract a very different caliber of relationship, one that’s actually in alignment not only with who you are and who you want to be but who you’re becoming, truly becoming. And then you help each other become. So, for those of you that want to be in a relationship or are in an intimate relationship and choose to be there, I’m the type of guy that’s like I’m either in or I’m out. If I’m going to be in something, then let me be all the way in, right? Let me maximize my time and my energy in the space that I’m in. And so, for me, I want to be able to get the best out of that. And it was honestly many, many years, over a decade, well over a decade of hardship and pain and shame. Man, I’m dealing with the shame of all the women that I hurt and I was dishonest with and myself, all the parts of me that I neglected because I was unwilling and unable and didn’t have the courage and the tools to really face my stuff.

 

And so, the work that I do with couples for me is very meaningful and also just being reformed in that way. The work I do with women is very meaningful as well because I’ve worked very hard to just be honest and real and be authentic and be safe, be safe in my nervous system and learn to regulate my own nervous system to those around me because I understand physiology so deeply and neuroscience and neuroscience of psychology, of social neuroscience, that if I can be safe in my body, I enhance the chances of those in my field also feeling that and tapping into their own sense of safety. And we do that together and we grow together. And that’s one of the ways that I believe and I’m almost certain one of the ways that we’ve accelerated as a humanity is through social neuroscience, is through new reception, is through learning through each other’s nervous systems unconsciously. Yes, it’s the advent of fire and cooking our meat and all these other factors as well. I’m sure maybe psychedelics have played a role there a few thousand years ago in how we’ve evolved in the advent of language and the prefrontal cortex development, all those things.

 

But one of the ways I think we’ve been able to socialize so effectively is through the way we relate to each other. And that applies to every facet of life, every facet of life, particularly business because business is relationships. It’s all about relationships. Life is about relationships to self, to ideas, to others, to sex, to food, to all the things. That’s all the things we want, the Lamborghini that we want, whatever it is. I don’t personally want a Lamborghini. I’ll just use that example. You know, it’s all the things.

 

Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s powerful. And I just appreciate your realness, your pure, raw honesty of where you were, how you didn’t show up as the person that you wanted to be, and the shifts that you’ve made, which I know were not easy in the man that you are today who is faithful, who puts his wife first and in a good way on a pedestal like you revere her and to be a dad. It’s just so cool to see who you’ve become through this process. You wrote a book recently called Tuned In & Turned On, and I’d love to hear you share some of your thoughts because I’ve got to imagine a lot of what we’ve started discussing today can be found in this book in a lot of levels deeper as well.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah. Very well said, actually, Justin. Levels deeper, yes, and the book essentially. So, for a while now, probably a couple of years, every Sunday on social media and on my blog, I will post a short article amusing if you wish, philosophical poetry around sacred intimacy, sacred sexuality, and connecting to each other and masculine-feminine dynamics and the power of relationships. And I’ll accompany that with usually quite a sensual erotic image to really, a, capture the audience but, b, really enhance and amplify the words that are being read, right? And I thought to myself not long after actually, “I should turn this into a book. Yeah, we’ll turn it into a book.” So, I did, so I turned it into a book. But then I went a few steps further. I said, “You know what, I’m going to go deep with this. It can’t just be a book of musings and images. That’s great and it’s powerful but it’s more like a coffee table book. I’ve sort of already done that before. Yes, short wisdom like the Vedic texts, all about short paragraphs and chapters and so forth, sometimes a few words, sometimes a sentence, and that’s pertinent and potent and powerful but I wanted to go deep.

 

And so, with my editor, we split it up into seven themes, seven themes that are relative to being human in a relationship. And what I did was in each theme, I speak to the relevance of that theme in our lives and how it plays out in every facet of our lives but also the developmental tool hindrance that occurred when we were young, how that was formed, and how that can sometimes develop very unhealthy habits as adults. And so, I provide those connections and those links. I share a lot of my own personal story, and then I provide, I don’t want to say solutions but practices to engage and that can begin to shift you into more positive, healthier habits and patterns. And in the musings, each musing, sorry, each theme has about 10 to 12 musings. So, it is about 80-something musings in the whole book that are really they’re designed to show you what’s possible. And they speak to a variety of subject matter but all through the lens of sacred intimacy, of relationship, of sexuality, and how powerful our sexuality can be.

 

And when we really learn to harness that energetic emotionally, spiritually, physically, materially, we can create massive affluence and abundance in the world, in our world external to us but our internal world, where we are consistently satisfied and we’re not driven by filling the void of not being enough but rather we’re driven by pure inspiration. We’re pulled towards the thing that we’re yearning for and that we’re envisioning and dream weaving as opposed to, “I don’t feel enough, so I have to fill that void with something. Let me buy the next condo or the next big business deal. Let me make the next $10 million or whatever it may be.” And so, I go a lot deeper into that. It’s quite a decent-sized book. Yeah.

 

Justin Donald: Well, it’s interesting because that is the addiction that I think a lot of people with like an alpha personality have. It’s like you might classify it as, “I want more. I have this insatiable desire for more,” but it’s often not that. It can be that but I actually think it’s the thrill of the next thing, the thrill of the kill. It’s this heightened dopamine blast that you get and just what it’s like to take some sort of risk and kind of be living on the edge a little. And I think that there’s an addiction that a lot of people have to those emotions. And sometimes people will manifest that in their relationships and that’s probably not the healthiest way to do it but that’s how you can make the relationship exciting, right? And so, it’d be interesting to hear you dissect that a little bit more.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Yeah, for sure. So, we’ll either do that, putting the relationship in place and expectation on someone else to fill that void within us. And that’s a heavy burden for someone else to fill, right? Or we’ll place that burden and maybe it’s not always a burden but we’ll place that responsibility into the next thing that we’re doing that we need to be successful, that defines our identity in the world. And if that doesn’t work out or if the relationship doesn’t work out or if that person that’s carrying that very heavy load, whether they know it consciously or unconsciously, can’t do that and they give that load back to you, we take it as rejection or abandonment or humiliation, which is often amplified by unresolved rejection, abandonment, or humiliation, which hasn’t been resolved at the core wound. Here’s an example. When you have a thin gold chain and it’s in your drawer and you pull it out, it’s all knotted up and you’re trying to undo the knots and it’s really challenging. But then you get that one knot, and when you undo that one knot, all the other knots just unravel and you’ve got the thin gold chain. That’s like our emotional wounds, right?

 

We wouldn’t have just experienced rejection for the first time when we were 35 years old. We probably more than likely experienced rejection when we were very young, and we haven’t processed it appropriately, physiologically, mentally, and emotionally. And so, when we deal with the core wounds, we seek to project less and we seek to take more responsibility for who we are and who we want to be, as opposed to saying, “Well, I’m going to put it all in the relationship. I’m going to put it all in this deal that I’ve just done with 30 properties. And as soon as they all sell and I get 200,000 for me each, it’s going to be great.” No, no, no. Do that thing but what’s the energy behind it? Be in a relationship. But what’s the energy behind it? What are you giving and what are you taking? And importantly, how are you giving? Why you giving? And how are you taking? And why are you taking? Is it coming from a place of deficit and pain and avoidance? Was it coming from a very genuine place? And that’s where we often don’t go there as people.

 

I’ll say one more point to this. Ignorance can be defined as a lack of awareness. Most of us are ignorant to the things that we need to look at because we don’t want to be aware. Because awareness is power and with power comes great responsibility. So, it’s easier to avoid being aware, keep distracting ourselves with all the shiny lights and the things like the new relationship after the new relationship after the new relationship because when the honeymoon period ends and it gets too difficult so we break up and we often break up too early. Some breakups need to happen but often it’s too early because we haven’t extracted the lessons and we jump to the next relationship because it’s exciting. The dopamine’s there, the anticipation, the anticipatory hormone of dopamine props us up. So, we avoid being aware. If we can just be aware, then we have to take action on the awareness because it’s more painful to be aware of something and not take action on it and know that we need to. That’s just not being aware of it at all. So, we have to come to some level of acceptance of what am I going to be aware of? What I’m going to take massive ownership of?

 

Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s powerful. I love the way that you describe it. I love how you dig into it. That’s game-changing topics and depth right there and I hope that those of you that are in a place where you recognize some similarities, you can get the healing that you need. So, awesome stuff. Gosh, Stef, I love spending time with you. You are so interesting and so inspiring. Where can our audience learn more about you? Where can they get the book? Give us all the details of how we can connect with you.

 

Stefanos Sifandos: Thank you. Thank you, my friend. Well, first, I very much appreciate being here and it’s always great connecting and conversing with you as well. Social media @StefanosSifandos. My website, Stefanos Sifandos. And I have a special preorder URL for my book, which I’ll provide to you, and I think I’ve already provided it to you and you can include that to preorder the book. That would be amazing.

 

Justin Donald: Awesome. Well, we’ll get all this in the show notes and I’m just so excited to have you on today. This has been such a fun session. I appreciate you sharing all your expertise, all the trials and tribulations you’ve had, and how you solved for them and really moved into the position of the man that you wanted to be. And I know Christine has done this in the same shape as the woman she wants to be and collectively how you want to be in this world as a couple. So cool. And I want to wrap today up as I do with each episode. And that’s where the question what I think is one of the most powerful and important questions to wrap your head around and create some clarity with. And that’s this. What’s one step that you can take today to move towards financial freedom and a life by design, not a life by default, a life that’s on your terms and by your playbook? Thanks. And we’ll catch you next week.

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