We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Baur and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jay, what is the most important factor behind your success?
There’s an old adage that says, “Write for an audience of one.” It’s a sage piece of advice that guides the success of my life coaching business, Confident Robot.

The Confident Robot approach starts with the idea that by understanding a bit about how we are wired up mentally, we can reprogram ourselves. That is, we can shift our thoughts, emotions, and habits in order to live more meaningful and fulfilling lives. The starting point for this understanding comes from evolutionary psychology—the study of how evolution shaped our brains to be what they are today. A key insight is that evolution takes place very slowly, so we essentially have the same hardwiring as our cavemen ancestors. This means our brains were designed for an environment and lifestyle that was very different from what we find in the modern world, which is one reason why so many of us feel like fish out of water in our daily lives.

Many of these hardwired, robot-like systems within the brain affect the way we think and feel. The Confident Robot approach helps you understand that anxiety, worry, and stress are normal parts of human programming, and it gives you tools to help move with these emotions with greater ease. While I don’t literally think that we’re robots, framing ourselves in this way has been a powerful metaphor for my clients.

When I first started my business, I was worried that comparing humans to robots would be off-putting to some people, even though I was strongly drawn to the notion. Common sense says that your brand shouldn’t alienate the majority of people. But I thought about the “audience of one” advice. In my case, we’ll call it “brand for an audience of one.” Meaning, don’t create a brand for the masses; pick one person and create for them. Better yet, make that one person yourself. Create the brand you want for yourself. Create what resonates with you.

It makes sense for my business. In a world of nearly 8 billion people, I only need to resonate with a tiny, tiny fraction in order to have more business than I know what to do with. Though they would be the minority, I knew there would be many people out there who would like the robot metaphor.

This is the complete opposite of what many marketers or branding agencies would tell you. Most brands are centered on pleasing as many people as possible. But for my business, the old writers’ adage made sense. If you work too hard trying to come up with what the general public most wants to read, you won’t end up writing something good. If you seek universal appeal, your product, brand, or artistic expression will be so watered down that it won’t actually appeal to anyone. You will in essence be after the lowest common denominator, and that’s what you will get.

Following this advice has helped me to create something unique and powerful rather than flat and generic. In a country with over 20,000 life coaches, I stand out among the crowd because I offer a unique lens for people to see their challenges. The robot perspective has been so significant to me that I’m writing a book based on the concept.

“Branding for an audience of one” is one of the most powerful factors behind my success. Think about it: in creating something that truly speaks to you, you are bringing out the best in yourself. You will be more passionate and motivated, and this will sustain you over time. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and will draw others to you. And you will find the magic that comes from following your inner compass.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What makes me different from others in my field is that I use the lens of why we do the things we do as a catalyst for helping my clients create change from within. It’s not just about reaching public-facing goals; it’s about shifting habits and perspectives to create a life that flows.

For example, simply understanding the root of why many of us are so stressed out in our daily lives can be very helpful. Earlier I mentioned that we are all fish out of water in the modern environment. There are many implications of this, but a big one is what I call the “trance of tension.” In the time of our prehistoric ancestors, life was dangerous, brutish, and short. Your next meal was never guaranteed and there were many ways to meet your untimely end. The cost of a small screw-up could be very large. At that time, stressing over all the little details as if they had life and death consequences was a good thing because they did have life and death consequences. As a survival mechanism, we are designed to “sweat the small stuff.”

In modern times, all the little things still cause us stress and anxiety with primal force, even though most of it is trivial. To compound the problem, modern living is much more complex than the lives of our prehistoric ancestors––there are many more little things to think about, many more decisions to make each day. We attend to all of this with an intensity that is unhelpful. Much of this stress and anxiety actually makes the challenges of modern living more difficult to resolve, but the hardwired, robot-like parts of our brains are stuck in these patterns. Most of us are walking around in a counterproductive trance of tension.

My approach varies depending on what my clients want to change in their life. I assist my clients in sorting through priorities, setting goals, and going after their dreams, so my work is much broader than just helping people let go of tension, but the notion that we are all predisposed to getting tied up or stuck in certain ways is a common theme. I work with people on a wide variety of topics and in many ways, but in the most basic sense, often just getting people to see their challenges in a different light is enough to help them untie their own knots and move through the world more smoothly.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A week in sunny SoCal? Brilliant––sounds like a great way to reset your operating system. For starters, we’d stay in Marina Del Rey near the ocean. Here, we’d rent beach cruisers for the week and eat and drink our way up and down the beach bike path, with stops at Venice Ale House and Candle Cafe for sure. Once we’d had our fill, we would head to the Lake Shrine in the Pacific Palisades to rebalance our chi. With mind and spirit in order, we’d take care of our bodies with some mountain biking in Chesebro Canyon and a hike in Griffith Park. At some point we’d make it down to The Chori-Man in San Pedro; I’m partial to The Chori-Man breakfast burrito with maple habanero pork chorizo. If I could convince the friends to stay another week, we’d go camping at Thornhill Broome and take a trip to Catalina.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would not be where I am today without my wife, Jane Bloom, and my parents, Tom and Barbara Baur. Jane is my best friend and has encouraged me over and over to follow my dreams. My parents have helped me more times than I can count, in childhood and beyond. Because of these three people, I’ve had breathing room in my life and with their support I’ve built a career that I’m truly passionate about. Confident Robot would not be my life’s work if it weren’t for these people. Their support and encouragement has made all the difference in the world.

Website: https://www.confidentrobot.com/

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