Jerry Colonna — How to Look Inward to Establish a Sense of Self
Play • 45 min

“The clearest example of transformation is growth and growth happens every day. Every day we’re moving directionally correct with incremental progress. We’re moving in a particular direction. And that feels like a good day.“ -Jerry Colonna


Welcome to the Conscious Creators Show; where through intimate and insightful interviews with authors, actors, musicians, entrepreneurs and other podcasters, you'll learn tools and tactics to 10x your creativity and strategies to grow and monetize your audience.


Jerry Colonna is an author and the CEO, and co-founder, of, an executive coaching and leadership development firm whose coaches and facilitators are committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders. For nearly 20 years, he has used the knowledge gained as an investor, an executive, and a board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others to lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity. Previous to his career as a coach he was a partner with JPMorgan Partners (JPMP), the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase. He joined JPMP from Flatiron Partners, which he launched 1996 with partner, Fred Wilson. Flatiron became one of the most successful, early-stage investment programs in the New York City area. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

During this episode of Conscious Creators, host Sachit Gupta speaks with Jerry Colonna, author, and the CEO and co-founder of Jerry discusses how people are reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic and how they can navigate the new and heightened feelings that may arise. Additionally, Jerry shares his thoughts on sorting through your emotions, how to separate your self-worth from extrinsic events and motivations, and what personal inward reflection and transformation can look like. 


Episode Highlights: 

  • Jerry is the author of Reboot, which is one of Sachit’s favorite books that he has read/listened to multiple times.
  • How are you feeling and thinking about the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • Jerry thinks we, as humans, tend to be distant from a conscious understanding of what is actually happening on a global basis.
  • Jerry talks about the impulse to ignore and the denial that can accompany difficult situations, like we are in now.
  • How can people navigate when those feelings come up? How can people deal with their heightened emotions?
  • Jerry believes that people need to get to a place where they recognize that, even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, they are okay.
  • Take a step back to see if you are really safe.
  • Once you start discovering stories of your childhood, what do you do with them?
  • You start to put it into categories and sort it out, then put it back in such a way that you know what it is.
  • Jerry gives the example of a child who believes they need to achieve good grades. They end up in a place of safety, but their intrinsic sense of self has never been tested or strengthened, and the sense of self-worth is tied to extrinsic events.
  • Once someone gets an awareness of that, how do they bring about transformation or change?
  • Tools, such as meditation, can be very helpful. We need to be able to release ourselves from those notions on a regular basis.
  • As people start to experience transformation and change, how do you help them navigate their relationships?
  • Jerry does not like the idea that people identify themselves by their relationships, and believe people should look inward to see how relationships influence their sense of self.
  • What does the transformation to increased sense of self look like?
  • It’s a process and it’s a movement, every day there is incremental progress.
  • Can you expand on “striving for lemon drops” from your book?
  • Jerry explains that lemon drops is a metaphor for visiting the safety of his grandparents’ home.
  • The business we experience is similar to striving for lemon drops, because it is the striving for some type of safety.
  • What do you say if someone’s response is to create even more business?
  • Jerry shares his own experience with increasing his business as his initial response to the pandemic lockdown.
  • How do you know where the intention is coming from?
  • You can tell by asking yourself questions, such as, “What was I feeling when I started this project?”
  • Can you share the story about when you went to join JP Morgan? How can you tell if you do something for the validation or to answer your calling?
  • Jerry wasn’t in-touch enough with his internal self to know if he was making the right decision, but quickly realized he had made the wrong decision.
  • What else would you share with people as tools or guides as they are navigating what’s going on?
  • Jerry speaks on how Dr. Fauci is persistent in leading the fight against Covid-19.
  • As someone reads Reboot, what is the endgame or how do you measure the success?
  • True personal transformation is measured by your view of yourself.
  • The process is to be able to check yourself, and at the end of the day say “this was not a bad day,” more often than not.


3 Key Takeaways:

  1. Get to a place where you can recognize that you are safe, and you are ok, even in uncertain times.
  2. The process towards looking inward and expanding your self of self is slow and incremental.
  3. Instead of becoming fixated on things, relax into what is happening and accept that you have little control.


Tweetable Quotes:

“Never in my life have I used [humanity] without hyperbole, and today when we speak about the pandemic and the economic impact as well as the emotional, existential, physiological, physical impact, we are truly talking about humanity.” -Jerry Colonna

“Right now our systems are so hijacked that everything feels like a threat, which means that most of what we are perceiving as threatening is false, thus leading to all this anxiety.”- Jerry Colonna

“One of the things that meditation helps us do is to learn to stand back from our minds and to watch our minds at work.” -Jerry Colonna

“It’s probably more helpful to start inward and say to oneself ‘well who am I independent of these relationships and how do these relationships influence my belief system about myself?’” -Jerry Colonna

“The clearest example of transformation is growth and growth happens every day. Every day we’re moving directionally correct with incremental progress. We’re moving in a particular direction. And that feels like a good day.“ -Jerry Colonna

“True personal transformation isn’t measured by how I view you, it’s how you view you.” -Jerry Colonna


Resources Mentioned:



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