Momentum beats motivation - with Corey Wilks

Momentum beats motivation - with Corey Wilks

Aug 1, 2021 05:26 PM
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Dominic Zijlstra
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Motivation is a lie, a fleeting emotion. Momentum however is real, and you can create systems that build momentum and then ride it out. Putting on your gym shoes may create the momentum to go for a run. With Corey Wilks
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Motivation is a lie, a fleeting emotion. Momentum however is real, and you can create systems that build momentum and then ride it out. Putting on your gym shoes may create the momentum to go for a run.
I talk with Corey about momentum, and how to build an intentional and meaningful life, aligning your goals with your values and learning the things that serve your audience.
Connect with Corey at
Find out more about Superlearning at
Video preview
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to another episode of the super learning professionals interview series. Today I'm joined by Corey Wilks. Corey is a licensed psychologist and a professional coach, and he's also a fellow of mine in the course creator fellowship. Welcome Corey.  Corey, could you tell me a bit about your area and how knowledge management and learning matters?
Corey Wilks: [00:00:25] So for psychology. And like I said, coaching , I've recently switched from doing therapy to coaching over the last couple of months. For me, knowledge management is really important because people come to you for your expertise and your guidance, so basically what they come to you for is your ability to make connections between different concepts and ideas. You can't make those connections. Unless you understand the fundamentals. So that's where knowledge management comes in is how do I understand and retain the fundamentals so that I can make those higher level connections for people I work with.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:01:04] Nice. So what has been your own learning journey to get here?
Corey Wilks: [00:01:07] So I, started just traditional uniform education. Bachelor's master's and a doctorate. With a lot of help from YouTube university and Wikipedia and Google. And then after I got licensed, I set a switch to coaching. So then I got some more formal training, through the college of executive coaching.
And then a lot of supplementing, which is self-learning just reading business books, strategy books, big idea books, following, thought leaders, that kind of thing.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:01:39] So. Doing this supplemental learning. How do you choose what to learn? Like what path to pursue, which, which rabbit hole to go into.
Corey Wilks: [00:01:48] So there are a couple , questions I ask myself. So the first one is most applicable, which is what do I need to know to better serve the people I work with, whether that is clients or my audience, because they also, right. So that's one of the first things I think about is, okay, well, what would be interesting to the people I work with or the people who follow me. And then the second thing is just, what do I find interesting in general, which is usually a pretty good overlap because a lot of what I'm interested in is, the non-fiction. So I'm looking at my, stack of books right now, to be read. And I have things like atomic habits, blue ocean strategy, contagious.
So Ryan holiday books,  Peter teal, that kind of thing. And there's a huge overlap. Between those interests that I have and the people I work with. So it meshes pretty well.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:02:37] That's great.  Tell me a bit more about what you're writing about. Is that like blogs? Is it like a book? Like how do you reach your audience, where you write what you write?
Corey Wilks: [00:02:46] So right now my website, I have, I don't know how many articles up, I'm going to be writing more about. Business-related topics in the future, but right now the categories are mindset habits, and overall mental wellness, which is still, super important to anybody. A lot of the things that I write about are just how, do you develop the right mindset to overcome the obstacles in your way?
To achieve more. Cause my whole thing is helping people build an intentional life and intentional life is one that is meaningful. Purpose-driven that brings you fulfillment. So not just going through life passively. So all the writing I do on my website is geared toward that mission.
And then eventually I will, right. Fully published books from that. But what a lot of successful authors do is essentially beta test potential chapter ideas with blog articles. So that's the, stage I'm at, right?
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:03:49] That seems like a successful approach. So you mentioned habits building routines, getting the right mindset, how to do this in your personal life.
And how does that fit in with like your lifelong learning goals?
Corey Wilks: [00:04:01] It's just establishing the right mindset and habits. So for me, I'm actually pretty lazy. So the whole reason I got a doctorate and do as much as I do is I have quit lying to myself and pretending like, no, I'm not lazy.
Like, I'll get it done. I'll be motivated. Motivation is a lie. Motivation is a fleeting emotion that you can't bottle it. You can't rely on it, but momentum is. You can create systems that incentivize momentum and spur you on work. And then once you create momentum, you just kind of ride it out.
So, because I've accepted the fact that I'm a lazy individual, it's like, okay, with that assumption, how do I need to structure my environment to still get done? What I want to get done, even though I'm lazy. So it's a lot of, removing distractions, a lot of starting with something super small, like setting the bar so low, you can't fail.
So for example, if, one of your goals is to work out more it's an all or nothing thing either. I don't work out at all, or I have to go to the gym and workout for two hours. If that is the struggle you're having, then may be a goal is do one pushup or one sit-up or put on your shoe, your gym shoes. Because that one thing creates momentum and then it makes it easier for you to build momentum.  So that's a lot of what I do is what is the smallest thing that I can do to where success is all, but guaranteed. I set the bar super low. And then I just ride out that wave of momentum from there.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:05:35] I really liked that. And, in your coaching, do you see that this, helps other people as well to reach their goals? Or do you take a different approach there?
Corey Wilks: [00:05:42] So a lot of the people I work with are, are entrepreneurs. So a lot of that they understand a lot of what I do with them is. Trying to help them figure out how to build an intentional life.
So some of the people I've worked with they've made a lot of money, but they haven't made money doing meaningful work. So the question is like, okay, well, what does a meaningful life look like for me? What is something that, resonates with me on a deep level? So one of the things I work on with them, Like with goal setting before we set a goal, we dial down into what are your fundamental like core values. So for example, if I set a goal to get six pack abs, if that isn't rooted in a core value that I have, I'm either never going to reach it. I'm going to have assets, or even if I do accomplish it, it's going to feel like a hollow victory because it isn't rooted in anything that I truly care. So that's what a lot of my coaching clients and I work on is first of, let's figure out what are your core values and then rooted in those values.
How can we create goals? So, because the goal that is rigid in your values is something that is going to be intrinsically motivating to do intrinsically rewarding for you to do so. It won't feel hollow. You will be driven to do it every single day.  But for some people, an obstacle that gets in their way may be low energy or a poor diet, not taking care of their physical or mental health.
So then we would address that because it is getting other way of achieving that goal rooted in a value they have.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:07:25] That makes a lot of sense. Apart from the people you coach, how do you inspire others around you or work with. Even your friends or family to, take on like a lifelong learning approach.
Corey Wilks: [00:07:39] So with clients, a lot of times , I'll recommend books, during session or afterward in my writing, I will either do like a deep dive into a book. So like not a book review.  One of the ones that I did was on the Alchemist and it wasn't a review of the Alchemist. It was more so like here are, I think, like 11 lessons of how to,  escape a mediocre life or whatever, because that's the whole concept behind the Alchemist is, pursuing your true passion, that kind of thing.
So. I will do deep dives like that for people in my writing sometimes. And then if people like it, they can obviously check the book out. Other times in writing , I'll reference a book or an article to kind of peak their interest. And then same thing , with friends and family, whoever I'll be like, oh, that's a really interesting concept from this book.
You might want to check it out, but I don't try to like shove it down their throats because nobody wants to be told what to do. It's more, so I try to be a resource. For people's needs. And the best way to, to bridge that gap is by recommending a book or something.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:08:42] Definitely like you want them to find their own intrinsic motivation to actually read it.
And so what's an example, or maybe like the biggest learning challenge you have personally faced.
Corey Wilks: [00:08:53] So in grad school, there was, this class is child and family therapy and there are, and again, this was when I was doing therapy, but. There the final was you had to pick a diagnosis, a problem out of an envelope, and there was like 20 different options.
And depending on what the problem was, you had to come up with a way to treat it. So all my classmates were freaking out about like, oh, I've got to memorize, you know, 20 different things. But what I realized was, there are 20 different things, but really they can be categorized into like one of four groups.
So I simplified it from 20 individual things to one of four groups. So then I was like, okay, well, if it's in general, in the group of related to anxiety or related to behavior problems or related to potty training, well now I only have to come up with four solutions. I come up with one solution per group.
So again, making those connections based on those fundamentals I talked about earlier, that helped me a lot to just simplify the whole process of, well, generally, what category would this go into?  Well generally what solutions work for this category?  And that's something that I've taken with me throughout my professional career is how do I simplify it to be more effective, sort of like the 80, 20 rule.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:10:18] Exactly. It's almost like, recognizing patterns and then chunking it together into one underlying principal.
Corey Wilks: [00:10:24] Exactly. And that makes it way easier to remember and to understand concepts.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:10:30] So maybe finally, what, do you think is needed in your field or what do you see in your coaching to keep making sense of all the growing amount of information that's out there and actually assimilate that into knowledge or wisdom.
Corey Wilks: [00:10:44] So for both, but especially for psychology, psychology, isn't very interdisciplinary. Meaning psychologists become more of an echo chamber of psychologists talk to other psychologists. They don't really talk to people in other disciplines. And that was part of the reason I switched to coaching is coaching.
You have to understand a lot of psychology, but also business. Most psychologists, I know have no understanding of business, when I started to learn about business and marketing and copywriting, all this other stuff that made me more effective as a psychologist. So I think that understanding other disciplines or just, just the fundamentals can really help you in your discipline be better.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:11:32] I like that a lot. Like an interdisciplinary approach.
Corey Wilks: [00:11:35] I think it'd be self-taught like you, you don't have to go to like a formal training or a conference, just pick up a book that isn't in your specific niche or discipline. And see what connections you make with your, knowledge base that you already have from your specialty and how that connects to, like I said, to business, to chemistry, to arts, to writing.
That will make you a better professional and more effective because now you can make more connections that your colleagues can't.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:12:09] That's great. So, Corey, do you have any suggestions who I should interview next for the series?
Corey Wilks: [00:12:14] Three people. I like they've got good content and they're just, they're solid people to talk to, Nick Wignall and I can send you their Twitter stuff later.
Nick Wignall. He is also a psychologist. Dan co. He is big like the. Self-development personal development, area. And then Joey, he goes by Joey . Joe is interesting because he comes from an engineering background and essentially he started reading a bunch of psychology and other like personal development books.
And that helped him lose like over a hundred pounds and improve his mindset and habits, that kind of thing. And he's taken that knowledge. And now he is helping professionals and entrepreneurs, along similar lines,  to how I help them as well. So those are our three solid people, that have a lot to talk about.
And they're very emblematic of lifelong learners. And, like I said, Dan is self-taught with personal development. And even though Joey was formally trained in another discipline, he has switched and he still uses strengths from. I'm assuming his engineering background to be more effective. And Nick is just polarized also when it comes to all things.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:13:32] Great. Yeah, that sounds awesome. I'll try contact. So thank you. And if people want to find out more about you, what's the best way for them to do that?
Corey Wilks: [00:13:39] So, Twitter, I'm just @CoreyWilksPsyD.  That's my handle across all social media and then, my website, which is  CoreyWilksPsyD.Com.
There's the simplest way to get ahold of me.
Dominic Zijlstra: [00:13:51] Awesome. Thank you for that interview, Corey, and I'll see you all right and rec.
Corey Wilks: [00:13:56] All right, no problem. I'll take these. Thank you. Bye.
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