Care about your beliefs. (A lot.) Beliefs dictate actions. If we’re not taking desired actions in our lives, it’s 100% because of our beliefs, nothing else. But was I taught to monitor, adjust, and elevate my beliefs as a kid? Nope. I was taught not to bother with them. We all are, and then we wonder why our lives occasionally turn to trash. If you can get a majority of your thousands of beliefs on all areas of life to be ‘correct’, you’ll find yourself taking all the best actions, and it’ll feel natural. But if you stubbornly refuse to address your less-than-helpful beliefs, don’t be surprised if you end up a homeless failure for years.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason ‘J-Ryze’ Fonceca.
Jason ‘J-Ryze’ Fonceca is a Rebel Teacher, who believes he can cure the world’s ‘wisdom problem.’ He tested with genius IQ as a child, placed in a gifted school, but still spent years homeless in Toronto. He broke free to become Evan Carmichael’s advisor for a decade, and now runs an exclusive mentoring group for rebel-preneurs.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/28c36154972d02973b6c155a4b073b36
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My childhood was a bubble of brilliant bliss. I lived a charmed life. I tested with a genius IQ, and placed into a gifted school, where I learned to transform bullies into buddies. Everyone hung out at our place because my parents were ‘cool’, and I was popular.
Days flew by in a blur of creativity & culture, backed by 90’s rock & rap, while my parents sheltered me from The Simpsons because it was “too vulgar.” I ended up making quite a bit of money when high-school ended, so I didn’t attend University.
But my popularity, talent, and great family life had a side effect. I became bored of school & work, considered myself smarter than the teachers (and everyone else), and turned into a self-righteous, entitled, arrogant punk.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Ask and it is given.” — Abraham-Hicks
During my homeless years I became obsessed with the work of Abraham-Hicks. Their messages of optimism, empowerment, and law of attraction were solace when everything around me was bleak. Whether I was sleeping on the frosty park grass, cleaning my teeth with a sea-salt rinse, or hustling to earn just one client to keep me going… for some reason my soul was always soothed when I read their words. Their main teaching was that the subconscious, our cells, and our souls are always asking for certain desires, and once asked for, life immediately ‘gives’ them. All that’s left is to get out of our own way and allow them in.
Studying Abe’s quote didn’t magically pull me out of homelessness, but it did keep me from despair on many cold, dark nights, and — -to my mind anyway — it paved a path to my salvation.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Speed-Learning. Since I was a kid I’ve been able to understand things lightning-fast. Someone begins talking to me and I understand their overall point before they have half a sentence out. I dive into a brand new topic, and in seconds it feels like ‘old hat.’ This meant that I got most schoolwork done during class, and had the rest of the time to learn whatever I wanted. I taught myself more things in the few hours I had outside of school, than I did in class. This ‘speed-learning’ has given me above-average proficiency at a jaw-dropping amount of skills & disciplines. Which brings me to my next trait…
Creativity. During my long-time collaboration with Evan Carmichael, I created fully-animated shorts, wrote landing pages, and conducted interviews. I’m credited in his latest book for all the illustrations. I’ve created music videos, written lyrics, and made memes for him. I’ve re-touched photos at his request, assembled brand-guidelines, and made systems for his team. Not to mention the ‘believe’ gesture, catchy slogans, and ‘signature sound’ we designed together. I played an integral role in creatively guiding his entire brand, for years. All thanks to my creativity and…
Passion. I cuss. I get straight to the point. I don’t pull punches. I don’t tolerate excuses. Why? Because I’m super-passionate about helping people rise up, in every area. I believe in people. And I believe humanity is far better than what we’ve been showing one another, and my passion for realizing that oozes out. Recently, I helped a client named Marissa* cure a chronic skin condition in a single phone call. But to do so, I had to threaten to hang up on her, because that was the only thing that snapped her out of her auto-pilot excuse-making. Passion is default for all I do, including this interview.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I failed many businesses in a row. Web-design, artist, blogger, life-coach, author, e-merchant, and more. I was eventually evicted and ended up homeless. I barely eked out survival while running my biz on the streets for over two years. During that time I was under-fed, under-slept, robbed, and even spent a lil time in jail (falsely accused, charges dropped, and fully pardoned). It was, uh, a ‘less-than-optimal’ time in my life.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I’d been giving away tons of wisdom and advice on Evan [Carmichael’s] internet forum (back when he had one), and his moderators pointed me out to him. They basically said “this guy answers questions better and faster than us on our own forum!” Evan was intrigued so he invited me out to dinner. We ended up talking about biz, brands, empires, and life until the restaurant closed. It was an epic, five-hour session. Shortly after, we began our decade-long collaboration. My second chapter saw me become Evan Carmichael’s personal advisor.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
My specific trigger was failing to kill myself. I fancied myself as this super-smart guy, and not only did I fail every business and end up living rough, but I couldn’t even kill myself properly. That shattered me. It went against everything I’d believed about myself and life. I set out to one-up other suicides, to ‘do it right.’ So I ruled out noose, gun, and subway-tracks as too awkward and sloppy. Carbon monoxide or poison seemed far better, so I found a drug veterinarians use to put animals to sleep, and sourced it in Mexico. I hustled and got enough cash to buy it, but when the time came, I didn’t have an address to ship it to. With no ID I couldn’t even get a PO box, and if had it shipped to a friend’s, they’d “talk me out of it”, call the cops, or stop me somehow. My brilliant suicide plan was dead in the water, just like everything else I’d tried in life.
So I gave up on everything. I laid on a crumbling bench in Queen’s Park, and hoped I’d starve if I did nothing long enough. But all this led to something strange happening. (I’ll explain more in the next question.)
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
So after about two days on the rickety bench, wasting away, my skin was blistering. I was parched and baking in the sun. Annoyed, I roused myself and shambled over to the Toronto Public Library. My irritation left as soon as I lugged my pack into the air conditioned lobby, so I figured I’d charge my beat-up laptop. To pass the time, I ‘randomly’ followed inspiration and started giving all my ideas, opinions, and wisdom away on various internet forums and groups.
And it felt… well… the only way to describe it is that it felt…good.
Or perhaps, slightly fulfilling. Instead of trying to be productive, or making something of myself, or avoiding failure, or caring if parents are proud, or giving advice in order to ‘get clients’ & ‘stay alive’… I was simply giving my insights away because it felt ‘vaguely nice.’ Giving help away to others in the climate-controlled library simply felt better than being useless in the heat.
And that was the key. Letting go of all preconceived notions and tuning into that deep, hidden, inner-inspiration toward things that feel good was a game-changer for me.
I started getting a lot of love. People absolutely adored my answers to their questions. They loved my help. It was the most rewarded I’d felt in ages, so I kept it up for as long as I could, day after day, and I’m still here doing it better than ever. So if people want to tap into their powers and re-invent themselves, they need to let go of everything they’re clinging to about their old selves. Only by letting go do we discover the real, valuable, purposeful parts that are destined to remain.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
I recently started an exclusive mentoring group for rebel-preneurs called ‘The Den’, with my partner Cynthia. Cyn and I believe that “rebels shall inherit the earth.” Our society is ripe for change and disruption, and that change will come primarily through the rebels of the world.
This group is catching on fast. We only started truly promoting it in December and it’s growing by leaps and bounds. Deedee* joined and quickly quadrupled her sales, plus levelled up her parenting skills. She said we “taught her more in a week than her previous coach taught in 3 months.” I helped Mark* break free from his job, sell his company for a multiple, and secure two speaking gigs. John* joined and in his 7-day trial alone his YouTube subscribers grew 6000% over his two previous weeks.
It’s really positive energy and results all-around.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’m grateful to my partner Cynthia ‘Cynshine’ Moreno. You see there are two core, vital aspects of business: 1. A valuable product that people believe in, and 2. The persuasive offering of said product.
And I’m great at the first part. I’ve polished my heart and mind for decades. I’ve soaked up all the wisdom, swam in self-help, and refined an eye-rolling amount of skills. I’ve watched 1000s of TV series, listened to 100,000+ songs, and read millions of words. I’ve pages of testimonials from people who’ve relied on me and I’ve always delivered. I’m an extremely valuable person and I’m not modest about it. I’ve been through hell and back, have forgotten more than most people ever learn, and had Evan Carmichael in my corner.
But I struggled for years in all my businesses. Why?
Because I suck at the second part. And it’s not that I don’t know how to do it, I actually teach it. And it’s not that it’s particularly difficult — it’s not, and businesses everywhere persuasively offer their product. It’s just that… I hate doing it. It’s not my passion. It’s not what I’m on earth to do. And so for years I searched for a partner. I trained so many. I invested in them all. Taught them so much hoping they’d sell for me. But it was always empty promises and failed investments. I knew I could create a high-value business, if I could just delegate the ‘persuasive-offering’ part of it to someone else.
But I just couldn’t seem to find somebody… until Cyn.
Cyn loves telling people about me, and about our biz. She’s passionate about offering it to people. She’s eager to get eyeballs on it. Not only because she knows Ryze will change the world for the better, but because it provides next-level value and truly helps people who take advantage of it. I agreed, and I’ve always known that if someone would just ‘sell’ me, we’d blow up. And now Cyn’s helping me do that. And although it’s early-stages, it feels like a dream come true. Think about it. Finding someone who ‘gets’ you, that you can trust and rely on, and who complements your skillset and passions perfectly? That’s the kind of partner anyone would be blessed to have.
So I’m immensely grateful for her. (And maybe your readers will be too, because without her I wouldn’t be doing this interview).
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing that happened to me is suddenly I’m on-air talent.
I’ve always been behind the scenes, rarely stepping into the spotlight. (That’s also another reason I’ve been such a well-kept secret until Cyn entered the picture.) And even with this latest venture, I figured running a private Facebook group won’t have me on-camera much, right?
I was totally wrong.
The members of our group love when we go live. They love when we get interactive with Q&As on some of life’s biggest mysteries. On top of that, Cyn’s adamant that we make more YouTube videos and that I get in front of more people.
So although I still say “like” and “um” on camera here and there, overall I’ve embraced the new me. I’ve gone from being a lone-wolf, behind-the-scenes advisor to CEOs… to an on-air personality, helping ‘the public’ and whichever rebels qualify to join our group.
Definitely an interesting experience.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
While I was homeless I doubted myself super-hard. Most people would, I imagine. I’d wake up cramped after sleeping in a chair and think “I’m useless, worthless, and powerless. How could anyone believe in me, myself included? Might as well throw in the towel.”
So I did. (Sort of.)
By giving up and trying to end my life, then failing to pull it off as desired, something else died. My ego. My identity. Everything I thought about myself was challenged. Life practically forced me to shed all cares — including whether I lived or died. And it was that deep, cathartic letting go that let life inspire me down a new path.
And it tied directly into all the Law Of Attraction stuff I’d been obsessing over from Abraham-Hicks, Joe Vitale, and Deepak Chopra. (Though at the time I didn’t realize it.) Because a key principle of Law Of Attraction is to truly let go of how we think things should unfold, and instead allow them to unfold in bizarre (often ‘scary’) ways.
Everything we want lies on the other side of fear.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I had no support system and stubbornly refused to create one. You’re totally right, I probably should’ve created one. The lonely lone-wolf path I took was excruciating. But on the plus side, by not seeking a support-system, life provided me one of its own. Just by following the tiny impulses of whatever felt ‘vaguely better’, and giving value away to pass the time… I ended up with a support system. My outpouring of agenda-free value, just because it ‘felt nice’, drew people to me. They praised me. They volunteered to help me. They gave me opportunities.
Sincerely supporting others without agenda, sparks ‘life’ to support us in return.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
As a hyper-competent, independent, control-freak who’s used to doing everything on his own — and generally doing it better than most — it was a big leap outside my comfort zone to trust all Ryze’s sales, outreach, and marketing to Cynthia.
Like… what was I thinking?
And it gets even more uncomfortable. Because Cyn wasn’t well-known for her sales & marketing skills. It’s not like I was trusting some famous sales-guru with a million-dollar track record. I was trusting an ex-heroin-addict who’d never run a business before. But she believed in me, my value, our mission. And she believed that she could get eyeballs on our brand and introduce our offerings to people who’d really benefit. And she’s been doing that passionately.
So suck it, comfort zones!
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1 — Care about your beliefs. (A lot.) Beliefs dictate actions. If we’re not taking desired actions in our lives, it’s 100% because of our beliefs, nothing else. But was I taught to monitor, adjust, and elevate my beliefs as a kid? Nope. I was taught not to bother with them. We all are, and then we wonder why our lives occasionally turn to trash. If you can get a majority of your thousands of beliefs on all areas of life to be ‘correct’, you’ll find yourself taking all the best actions, and it’ll feel natural. But if you stubbornly refuse to address your less-than-helpful beliefs, don’t be surprised if you end up a homeless failure for years.
2 — Care about your feelings. (A lot.) Even the most positive, high-value beliefs are nothing unless they’re energized. That means injected with feeling. Emotion. Joy and happiness. There’s zero point believing “I’m going to make it” with your mind, over and over, if your heart is feeling down. Our emotions give ‘juice’ and power to our beliefs. Otherwise, no matter how great they are, they’ll remain hollow, dead, and unrealized. An un-energized positive belief is a powerless positive belief. Super-important, and sadly, almost never taught.
3 — Internalize that ‘business is simple.’ It really is. Our culture has this weird tendency to over-complicate things, often because it gives us an excuse to ‘fail’ by not doing the work, and then blame that failure on how ‘hard’ business is. It’s total crap. I’ve failed about 16 businesses, and they all failed for the exact same reason. I incorrectly performed the simple, basic, core process of business. That’s it. That’s the reason all businesses fail. It’s the same way you fail to ride a bike or tie a knot. It’s not because business is hard or complex, but because of a simple, yucky truth people absolutely hate to admit. The person running the business incorrectly performed the core process of business.
And what is this simple business basic? Well, it’s what cavemen did to turn a profit. It’s what kids with lemonade stands did as well. And it’s what Apple, Nike, and Google continue to do. “Persuasively offer value you believe in to increasing numbers of strangers.” That is business. It’s that simple. And if your biz is struggling it’s because you’ve screwed up one of the words in that sentence.
4 — Enable positives only. Unfortunately, I’ve enabled so many negative traits & people in my life. I’ve enabled business partners to be lazy. I’ve enabled girlfriends to be needy. I’ve enabled addicts to over-indulge. I’ve enabled excuse-makers to be consequence-free. I’ve enabled employees to shirk responsibility. All in the guise of ‘being nice’, or ‘not rocking the boat’, or ‘living to fight another day’ or any other cliché or justification you can think of. And all this enabling does is create a bad planet. Our world doesn’t need people indulging in terrible behavior all day, while everyone around continues enabling them. Each time you enable someone’s bad behavior, karma is counting, and it will come back to bite you one way or another. I wish I was taught to spot when I’m enabling someone’s bad behavior, and then taught to call them on it.
5 — Learn Persuasion. This is a game-changer. We’ve all been persuading others unconsciously since we were children, and that’s great. Our instinctual persuasion brings us reasonably far in life. But personally, I wish I was taught to persuade intentionally and effectively. Because although most people don’t notice it, persuasion is the key ingredient to every single thing we want. Want staff to work? Persuade. Want mates to seek you? Persuade. Want clients to buy more? Persuade. Hopefully it’s starting to click how ridiculously important this is. Like, it’s up there with reading, writing, and arithmetic. Oddly, those three are taught with fervor, while persuasion wasn’t mentioned to me until half my life was over.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
“Together We Ryze.” I am constant shots of adrenaline and a fountain of wisdom, but no one saw me until Evan discovered me and Cyn began marketing me. I may have some valuable things to say, but it’s useless if I’m locked in my house because of covid. It’s only when a generous publication like yours gives others a platform that the real value comes out and turns up. The point is, human beings can create such beautiful synergy… if only we’d let go of our rough edges and high walls.
Each of us has huge value to offer the world, but we’re like puzzle-pieces. Our value increases greatly when we ‘click’ with our ‘matches’ on all sides. In a divided, judgy, cancel-culture world we need to drop the walls, open our hearts, and let our true matches to connect with us in business, love, and life.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
I’d love a private breakfast with Demi Rose Mawby, because I believe beauty & sex-appeal are insanely valuable traits, and tragically under-leveraged. Most of society either writes off beautiful people as shallow, or lusts after them as possessions. But there have been times all throughout history where beauty changed the face of the globe. Cleopatra. Marilyn Monroe. Beyoncé. These weren’t just ‘entertainers’ or ‘eye-candy’, they used their beauty to expand kingdoms, transform politics, and move nations. It’s time for beauty to stop being relegated as fluff for our insta-feed, and instead reclaim its rightful place as one of the universe’s most powerful blessings. I’m pretty sure Demi would get it, and we could really accomplish something magical together.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much. My website is jryze.me and I’m @ryzeonline everywhere else.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!