Hello, I’m Justin! My background is in mechanical engineering where I graduated magna cum laude and with university honors from Brigham Young University. I then pursued a PhD in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in neural engineering at the University of Utah. From there I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Neuroscience. In the fields of medical devices as well as Life and Wellness Coaching, my mission is to improve the lot of mankind. I enjoy writing, gardening, keeping chickens and bees, and tapping my maple trees for homemade maple syrup! My heroes are my father, Clayton Christensen, Stephen Covey, and Jonathan Fields. I live in beautiful Gates Mills, Ohio with my lovely wife and four kids.
My quest into the world of blogging and coaching really began when I was in 4th grade. I loved to write stories and won the Young Author’s Contest in 4th and 5th Grade. Then in high school, a neighbor of mine gave me a copy of Sean Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens patterned much after his father’s book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The book spoke to me and played a huge role in helping me set and reach many of my early life goals. However, at that time I didn’t make the connection between wellness, personal development, writing, and the coaching.
In high school and college I loved physics because I could come to understand the “how” behind the governing laws of the natural world. For the same reason, I loved physiology which explains how the human body works. From day one, I knew that whatever I did for a career, I wanted to help people. My limited understanding of career options for physics majors was to do research and teach physics. That didn’t sound appealing or feel like it would really change people’s lives. I wanted something more applied. So I figured that engineering was pretty much applied physics. As I neared graduation I realized that the field where I felt I could do the most good in really changing peoples’ lives was by applying engineering toward medical devices.
I decided to pursue a graduate degree in biomedical engineering. Now, the field of biomedical engineering that I felt could have the biggest impact on people was the field of neural interfaces. Neurological disorders such as Alzheimers, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and others strike at the nervous system and largely affect the very part of people that they consider to be “themselves.” I was also drawn in by the promise of neural interfaces as being able to potentially restore sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and provide Luke Skywalker-like prosthetic arms. I spent the next 5 years training monkeys to perform finger movements and reaches while I recorded from various neural interfaces and used the recorded data to “decode” with algorithms what the monkey was intending to do in real-time. The problem that I ran in to is that such exciting research lived in the realm of academia. I learned that research and academia perform the initial concept work, but if anything is going to leave the Ivory Tower and impact the common man, it’s going to happen through a business.
Academia to Industry
And so I left academia to work in industry. I spent a number of years learning how to jump through the hoops of medical device regulation in order to bring medical devices to the market. I found that the meaning and impact that I was looking for to have in peoples’ lives was seldom and could take years and years in order for that impact to come about and even then, I may not even see the results in people’s individual lives. I wanted to be a closer part of seeing those results, to feel, see, and experience with people the improvement in their lives.
Searching on Nights and Weekends
So on nights and weekends, I began looking for what my voice, my passion, my calling in life could be. I toyed with going back to school and getting an MBA. I noodled whether I should go in to business with my father. My wife brought up life coaching, but I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t really know what life coaching really was and I didn’t know if I’d be any good at it. At this time I started listening to podcasts, one of which was Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project. I started getting back in to the excitement of personal development literature. I checked out stacks of books from the library, I signed up for an Audible account for listening to audiobooks, and I started exploring my strengths and interests. I’d often been told that I had a gift for writing, so I began writing a blog.
People on Planes
On a flight home from a work trip I sat next to a divorced woman in her 40s. In the course of our conversation I began discussing some concepts regarding relationships that I had been thinking about. As we talked, she asked me, “Are you a counselor? Or do you counsel people? You’ve got really good advice. I feel that we were meant to sit next to each other.” That conversation had a huge impact on me. I thought, “Gee, maybe I should look in to this Life Coaching.” From that point on, God, the universe, fate, whatever you want to call it, continued to drop hints–I found a business card for a Life Coach in my couch at home, I realized that the heroes that I looked up to were essentially in the coaching field. I began training myself in Life and Wellness coaching. I had recently met a friend and had begun collaborating with her regarding functional medicine and business. The coaching aspect spoke to me, and I offered to write, coach, and help start a functional medicine coaching business. A short time later, on another flight home I was reading a Wellness Coaching book, when the man sitting across the isle from me noticed what I was reading. He asked, “Are you a coach?” I responded, “Yes, I’m just starting.” And I explained my story–engineering to Luke Skywalker arm monkeys to exploring to find my voice to starting a Life and Wellness Coaching business. He responded that over the last 15-20 years he has worked as a Life Coach and just watching how I talked, held myself, and asked questions of the person sitting next to me, he could tell that I was a coach. We quickly resonated with each other and I left validated, with another sign that came from a random person on a plane that “just happened” to sit next to me, that I was heading down the right path towards my mission of making a difference in the lives of people. Since that time, I have dedicated my efforts towards expanding my voice via writing and blogging and building a clientele for my passion as wellness, functional medicine, and life coach.
If you’re interested in joining me on a journey of self-improvement and wellness and would like an ally or guide drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve read this far and have already subscribed to the blog but still want to read more, be sure to check out my past blog posts. You can find them in the archives.