You’ll learn a lot in a little bit with Josh Koerpel’s unique methods of staying accountable, holding yourself to task, and how to build habits while breaking bad ones. Be ready for accountability…

“You need something to balance out the extreme volatile nature of the water and the dynamic nature of the fact that things are changing all the time. That consistency keeps you on a even keel. The simpler that you can keep your solutions and your consistent routine, the easier it is to fix those things when they go wrong.”

– Josh Koerpel


Ok and we are live on August 19, 2020! Hey so we’re like six months in. Um, and it feels strangely the same. I’m not sure how much progress I feel like we’ve made and still under lock and key and a lot of cases. And now this school is starting well, sort of like for some of us, um, some of us are having work kicked back up. You know, some of us are leaving this perpetual summer behind, um, except for Josh, actually, he’s, he’s living in Key West for the moment, but, um, I want him to talk to Josh because he’s really great, really good at figuring out like the brain and how people sort of start to break bad habits rather and start new ones. And I’m going to apologize in the, in the beginning; I happen to love it, but I’m going to apologize. He’s sitting in Key West and he’s surrounded by roosters. So if you hear them crowing, I just think it’s awesome, it just adds something to the interview, sos thank you for doing that. I asked you to cue them up, um, say hi and tell us a little bit about your story here, how you, how you got into this accountability gig.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, uh, one just thanks for having me on this is awesome. Uh, always love talking with you and you’re right, the roosters are here and they are feisty today. So, so Elvis Elvis has brought friends, uh, for those that I guess never know Elvis is the like lead head rooster around here that just seriously crows at all hours

If Foghorn Leghorn makes an appearance you’re going to have to stop and show me. Okay.

Cause yeah, yeah, yeah. In fact, I walked out, so right now I’m in key West and I’m on my friend’s porch where I’ve been working for the past, like. Four months. And, uh, and just the other morning I walked out onto this porch and these, just these two massive roosters were sitting right on the desk where I have my computer and everything just kinda like IME up, waiting for me.
I almost fall. It felt like I was going to get mugged. Uh, so yeah, so they’re getting, they’re getting, they’re getting crazy around here, but yeah, key West. Um, and yeah, like. I’ve had a pretty crazy journey up until this point. You know, I didn’t, I didn’t always, I wasn’t always an entrepreneur. I wasn’t always doing my own thing. I had an office job. I was a mechanical engineering designer for the entertainment industry, uh, which is just a fancy way of saying that I designed, uh, machines for, uh, for rockstars to like use during their tours and stuff.

Your resume would be like: “help Beyonce fly”.

Yeah. Yeah. As a small team, I worked for this company in New York and, um, there was maybe just like four or five of us and we worked in this like windowless office off the highway, but some of the most crazy and inspiring and, and cutting edge technology on how these massive shows the machines they use, making people do things, LCD screens, how they’re moving, the challenges and stuff for all these massive venues came out of that small little office and our little five person team.
Um, we were like the Navy seals of, uh, Of the engineering entertainment world, you know,

When the right minds team up. So now that you have this program that you you’ve been all over the world and you know, you were on ships and I think, well, we’ll talk about that because I think it relates to how you got into this, but you started this program called Firebuilders.
And, and why were you just kind of sick and tired of people complaining that they couldn’t get a goal done or, you know, for, for yourself?

I was sick and tired of that, but that’s not the reason why I actually started it to be honest. Um, I started this whole program because of my mother and she, she, you know, God lover is an amazing author.
She was just, just hit, Oh, dry spell, you know, just hit writer’s block and was always calling and always texting and wanted to talk through it. And, um, and I wanted to help, but at the same time I needed, I couldn’t, it was tough to take the time to do that all the time, every single day. So what I ended up doing was inventing a way that we could both get what we wanted. And she got the inspiration and motivation every day and it was a way to keep track of her goals to focus on one thing every day. And for me, I kind of got my time back and was able to work and focus on at the time I was doing a lot of client work.
So those two things like that was the catalyst for a lot of. Um, you know, a lot of this stuff and it was, and right now, now it’s, it’s all about, it’s all about stuff that I’ve learned in my life. Um, being able to take big goals and break them down into one or two small steps, things that you do consistently on a daily basis.
That has had the biggest impact of progress for me than just working in sporadic waves, like seeming like kind of most people do.

That’s interesting. Like let’s like kind of go into that because I feel that that’s a reason why a lot of people don’t get things started. Um, I think it also has to do with your personality.
I’m very much a just F and do a type of person, but you know, also put me at a diner with a menu that has 20 pages and I’ll probably be there forever and I can’t, but I think that, you know, you have some of that stuff and you know, there, there are some things are people afraid to try or their goals that they start with too lofty. I mean, what stops people, I think in your opinion or who you’ve seen and worked with, you know, what stops them from even starting?

Well, the starting thing’s interesting. Um, I think a lot of people just lack the confidence that, you know, They’re they don’t trust that they can actually follow through with it; they don’t trust themselves enough to make it happen. Um, it’s not that whatever it is that they’re trying to achieve is impossible. Most of the time it is possible. Like they see others achieve that same thing. You, you see it on Facebook all the time. You know, all of these guys, all the hard work they’ve put in, they’ve achieved a lot of money and status and, and whatever it is, that’s important to them in their life. And so you say to yourself, well, I mean, So it is possible to do that. It’s just that, can I do it? And, uh, one of the things I think that stops people is that they’re just, they don’t know how to answer that question, or they’re afraid that the answer is no. And so it’s much easier to do nothing and stay stagnant than it is to, uh, to step out.
And, and that failure, if that makes any sense.

It does. And I think that, you know, we often see that it’s, you know, Facebook is the highlight reel and we didn’t, we don’t see the backstory and the old adage of, okay. Like someone sold a course and they made $2 million, but they spent, you know, 1.9 million marketing it, right. So they, you don’t get the other side of it. And I think that discourages people too. So I think in some ways, a lot of what you do is you make it personal and you make it like you against You kind of thing. And I think that’s interesting, I guess maybe share a little bit more on that, because that to me is the key. It’s only you versus you.

It is you versus You it’s like, you know, you gotta put the blinders on and like you said, not look at other people and not judge their progress and compare yours. That’s an unfair comparison. You know, you have no idea how long that person worked to get to where they were. Um, And, and the more that you dig into that, the more that you sort of, um, get to know those people and sort of see what’s happening behind the scenes, the more you start to realize that yeah, they, they like worked 18 hour days for five years to make that happen so, um, you know, so buckle in because that’s what you’re in for kind of thing. Um, but the you versus you. Yeah. It’s, it’s. It really is at the end of the day, just about it’s for you. Like, you know, you can cheat yourself and you can, you can, uh, set yourself a goal and then make some excuse why you don’t want to hit it and let things slip and slide until finally it just disappears and often to the ether fades away quietly that, that dream of yours. Uh, but if you, if you’re honest with yourself and you say to yourself, look like I can, I can achieve this, but it may take a little bit longer than I thought. However, I can ease that burden by breaking it up into little small chunks, and as long as I feel like I’m progressing, I am going to feel good about this. And, and so, you know, a lot of people out there. A lot of people have written about this phenomenon and talked about breaking stuff down into little chunks and little goals and, and eating an elephant one bite at a time; that’s what my dad would always say way back in the day. Um, but with my system, what I have done is essentially taken that idea of breaking things down into small steps, but I’ve paired it with the emotive, the emotive power of influencers, you know, somebody in your life that you respect and admire and that you want their approval in some way, shape or form, you know, uh, I put those two concepts together and that is the Firebuilders program that I created that you’re talking about.

Absolutely. And talk to us about accountability, because I think that’s the other piece. It’s like, there’s like three things that go into this. So that’s the third. How, how does that affect everything for me when I have to report into somebody, it’s like, there’s no way I’m not going to report. Even if I didn’t do it, I’m going to tell them something. You know what I mean? I think either need a partner who can keep us accountable, whether it’s just a stranger or, you know, our friend, sometimes it’s better than it’s someone that doesn’t know you very well. Um, cause you’re, you know, you’re just going to be. You’re going to be more apt to report, but, um, how does that aspect play into people achieving? Cause you see people achieving things all the time. You get the reports, you see the stats of people completing, um, challenges and things like that. Does that sort of make or break the deal when they have to record it?

No, actually, um, it might be a little bit difficult at first for people because they’re just not used to the, you know, writing something down at the end of the day, you know. You ask people hey, what have you accomplished today? A lot of times people forget what they’ve accomplished, you know, they don’t even know. They just, they say to themselves, that’s a good question. I don’t even remember what the hell I did today. Uh, but

I think most feel that way these days and to stay alive and do not catch a virus.
That’s a win..

Yeah. Like, uh, like, like, you know, I mean, it’s. They’re doing great things in the world, but they’re, they’re discounting those. And instead of focusing on what they haven’t done. And so it’s a really good exercise to just get in, get involved with, is it at the end of the day, recounting to yourself, all the, like bad-ass things that you did because I’m sure you did a lot. And, uh, and so, so that’s, you know, one part of it and, uh, and when I look at all of the results, some people, what you start to see is that people’s desires of what they want, want to achieve. If you were to distill it down into one single thing that people could do, like what Gabby, what is your one thing that you want to do tomorrow to move a little bit closer to your goal? Right? Try and make that as simple as possible because that first step is key. But what you find when you look at the data, is that a lot of times that one goal, okay. Either, um, is vastly different than what somebody actually achieved, because life just gets in the way. And that just happens. Right. But more often than not, they’ve achieved so much more than that one thing, it was that one thing that was the catalyst, it was the crystallization seed; you can almost say to action. And then that led to another step in a final step and another step and another step. And then they ended up getting so much more done than they thought that they could, but it was that first step that really pushed them over the edge. And, and so that’s the accountability kind of side of this.

It’s the results. I think it’s like, you know, okay. Get on the treadmill, run a mile every day, but then over time, maybe you’ve lost five pounds that month because you did that. That’s the end result. But you know, you also, you did what you said you were going to do, but all the benefits are great. Um, I think you, I’m going to tell everybody what you don’t now it’s rare to catch you on shore, but you live on boat. Right? And that is, you live in a book called the Albatross and, um, You told me a while ago. And I thought this was interesting. Cause I had like a million questions about like, how does someone live in a boat? Why would somebody do that? Like, I didn’t get it now. I know I get it. Um, but again, certain things have to happen every day. Right? In order for you to no pun intended state afloat, right. They like to keep that ship intact, like is a lot different than when you have a course like that. Has that helped you? I guess it tells you, but you can tell me how, um, you know how it kind of shaped the way that you run your life, because I mean, you’re really good at consistency and I think that’s, that’s the key to anything really

100%. I mean, it’s. It’s, uh, it’s pretty much the reason that we didn’t die like out at sea, you know, like, uh, because you’re in a situation when you, when you, when you’re sailing and now, by the way, like for some context. So I live on a sailboat North of New York City. Um, for the last couple of years, I’ve lived on this boat, The Albatross, but all in my twenties, I was in the tall ship industry. I sailed these big traditionally rigged, sailboats all over the world. And so we would do these long stretches and these long sails, different points. Um, and, and what you find is that the situations that you find yourself in environmentally, right. Just being out on the ocean, they’re volatile. They are.. one minute. It’s sunny days. And the next minute you’ve got a massive squall and the boat’s heeling over and waves are crashing over the side of the boat. Things are breaking and people are panicking and stuff like that. So, you know, it’s, it puts things in perspective, right. And the way, the way that you’re able to deal with that mentally, right, is to have some level of consistency in your day. Right. You need something to balance out the extreme, like volatile nature of the water and the dynamic nature of the fact that things are just changing all the time. And so that consistency you on an even keel, no pun intended. Right? Uh, that, that is where I learned a lot of this stuff is, is the lessons and things that you learn out on, on the water. Staying consistent because things will inevitably go wrong and you try to prepare as much as possible, but inevitably they will go wrong. And the simpler that you can keep your solutions and the simpler that you can keep your consistent routine. Um, the easier it is to fix those things, when things go wrong. And, uh, and that’s something that I totally get, that a lot of people don’t get because they’re not in that environment, but I can tell you that, that if you were like, you would find that that is like that consistency is almost like a safe harbor in the storm.

I think for all of us, you know, parents and you know, and there’s a lot probably are going to see that with everything being influx. Nobody knows what the heck is going on September. I mean, it’s still questionable, will the kids actually go back in this area. Will they not? Um, How important do you think it is for somebody in September breaking a bad habit or starting a new one? I mean, have you ever seen kind of like such demand or such critical time for people to keep their heads on? I mean, would you recommend that everybody, no matter what, you know, whether they’re entering into a program or not, you know, keep a goal and keep a journal, perhaps? Um, cause I, I feel like, you know, aside from health re you know, health issues, you know, catching a virus or not. That’s the only way that we’re going to get through this or the rest of this.

Yeah. Well, I think it’s just a good idea in general, to keep tabs on how you feel and how you’re processing this for yourself and if that means writing stuff down, keeping a journal, um, articulating those feelings I think is important. And, and it’s also a good time to, you know, to, to try something new, uh, in my mind anyway, like, um, I don’t know a good example and maybe, maybe people out there can relate to this. Uh, but I, I do a lot of software development. In fact, the Firebuilders is software, and then I have this other piece of software. I do it from the boat and one of the best places, uh, to. Develop software to find good developers, high valued developers is in the Ukraine. And so last December I said to myself, you know what? I think I’m just going to start learning how to speak Ukrainian because

Who doesn’t you think you’re special or something?

Yeah, I’m sure everybody can kind of relate that point in their lives. They’ve said that to themselves. But, but no, I, um, you know, you realize that one, whenever you’re working with, whenever you’re working with people, especially people that overseas with different culture, different language, the more ties that you can have to them, the better, right?
The better higher quality product, um, the better relationship that you’re going to have, just the better time. You are going to have in general with all of the ups and downs that happened,

Bigespect on your side for you even trying. So I had the same thing. I worked with a lot of different people who speak different languages and the fact that I would even try to mutter a sentence or something goes miles, you know, because they’re like, Oh, give it a shot. You know, it was terrible, but you tried!

Yeah, exactly. Like we would all the traveling that you do, you know that you’ve got to see that all the time, right.

Yeah, it’s an appreciation that you took that step.

It is, it is. And top of that, at least for me on top of the appreciation, it’s the fact that, um, it, it, it’s something new. It breaks me out of my routine, my same old routine. It causes me to use a little bit different side of my brain and it forces me to again, be consistent with something that, you know, I didn’t know how to read Cyrillic. Yeah. I mean, I didn’t know. I actually. I, uh, you know, in case people out there want to do this, um, and this isn’t a plug for any website or anything, but I use this site called P R E P L Y.
And. It is awesome. I’ve learned a lot of languages in my day, and I can tell you that there was no way that I could have learned how to speak Ukrainian if I wasn’t, if I wasn’t speaking with somebody live four times a week, right? So four times a week, I meet with this person in Alaina, right in Kiev and we have these Skype calls and she, and her and I used Google docs and stuff. My point is, is that, is that sometimes you don’t want to do it, but you just make yourself do it. You stay consistent four times a week, every week. Right. And you see progress and you get almost addicted to the progress. Not necessarily the end goal of, you know, being able to be fluent, or conversationally fluent in Ukrainian.
It’s it’s the progress that you see that you say to yourself, man, like, um, I’m actually, I’m actually able to take what sounded like complete jibberish at first and break it up into words that half of which I understand, right. I still make a fool of myself. But it’s a little bit more. And so I start, it’s getting addicted to that progress and that’s what keeps me, you’re going, not necessarily the end goal.
I keep the end goal. I keep it’s been pushing farther and farther away, right to challenge myself. But it’s really the progress that is keeping me going and I would encourage that to anybody with any goal. Right. This is a great time to, to start to, to try something new and to get addicted to the, to the feeling of progression, as opposed to saying, Oh, you know what? Well, cause the last thing you want to do is look back on this time and say, I did nothing with it. Like I learned nothing. I did nothing I relaxed and, and I kind of regret not taking advantage of the situation. So, um, so yeah, I think it’s a fantastic time to try new stuff.

I love that addicted to the progress. And it’s true. That goes back just to close the circle. It goes back to having a small, measurable goal. It’s okay to dream big, but like it’s impossible to say I’m going to lose 50 pounds. In two months, you know, it just doesn’t happen. But if you say, wow, okay, by the end of the month, I’d like to have four or five pounds off. You know what I mean? You’re going to be thrilled and you’re going to be more tempted to stick on a program, whether it’s fitness or diet or both. Um, most of us have seen that, you know, but sometimes we need a little reminder. Alright. So what if people want to find out more about fired builders? What’s the best way to, to have a look.

Best way to have a look, um, www.firebuilders.IO um, that, that, so what we’re doing now, we’re in the really initial beta phases. Uh, beta beta means essentially like we’ve built out of working version of the software. We’re currently testing it with like small-scale tests, friends and family, stuff like that.
Trying to break it, essentially and, uh, and find all of the crazy bugs and stuff before we release it to the masses. And, uh, and so that is what’s happening, but if you are interested in something like that, or you feel like the whole premise of the fire builders thing in general, Is so that coaches and consultants can white label the software. They can use it so that they can hold all of their people accountable. You know, those, those end users, their participants, so to speak. They’ll never know that firebuilders exists. They won’t know. They’ll think that it’s all coming from like you Gabby, you know, like you’re holding them accountable every single day and helping them break down these goals into really small chunks.
So, uh, So that if you want, if you feel like that’s a something cool, you’re interested, there’s a wait list. Um, we’ll give you all the information. And then my exploits, like on the boat and the motorcycle trip, uh, which we didn’t even really talk about.

Yeah. We’re going to I’ll have, because we have to talk about travel and all of that stuff.
I’d love to talk to you more about solo travel. Like when things get back on track, because I think you’re, you’re a good, um, a good guideline guideline for how to do it right.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, thank you. I, uh, all of that stuff is on Instagram, uh, saltwater CEO and, uh, and my personal Facebook page, just, uh, Josh Koerpel.
Um, you can find me there. So yeah, those are the best ways to get in touch.

Awesome. I’m worried. Well, thank you so much. And I think people got something out of this as if nothing else, consistency and get addicted to the progress. That is, that’s awesome. It’s about the journey, right. And not the destination

100%. And like we’re living in such interesting times, like.
You know, the most interesting people are the most interested. And so just follow those, just follow those, those gut feelings of wanting to try something, explore something and do something new. And I promise it’s going to be something refreshing. Break it up into small steps. You’ll be good to go.

I love it.
All right. Thanks for chatting. Talk to you soon.
See you Gabby.
All right, bye.

Follow Josh Koerpel on Facebook or @jarsh_not_josh on Twitter saltwaterceo on INSTA on LinkedIn or or via

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