In ancient Greek philosophy, achieving areté, often translated as excellence or virtue, is highly regarded. When people approach life with areté as a principle, it means they are focused on the quality of everything they do and experience as well as fully realizing their potential using all of their skills, strength, courage and wit. Philosophers commonly believe that the three components of a person—mind, body and soul—each has to be developed and prepared to live a life of areté.
This concept is central to the work that speaker, trainer and coach Eric Mikkelsen does.
Mikkelsen, a licensed marriage and family therapist trained in nutrition for mental health, works with high-performing individuals and teams, such as athletes and CEOs, through Soul Judo—a service that teaches people and organizations transformational strategies and how to apply them. He believes that working with leaders is quite impactful because they, in turn, have an effect on a large number of people due to their positions of influence, and wants to help them live their best lives in a way that traditional coaching may not be able to deliver.
In Mikkelsen’s opinion, many people are struggling with the phenomenon of “being in their own heads,” wasting energy by feeding thoughts that are not good for themselves or others. This causes their minds to become cluttered and can have a detrimental effect across all aspects of their life, including finances, relationships, health and wellness, that most people may not be consciously aware of.
“There’s a battle that happens between our brain and our soul on who gets to be in the driver seat, and most people don’t even realize it,” Mikkelsen says. “Oftentimes, the soul, which is the essence of who you are as a person, is left in the backseat, or even locked in the trunk. We want to have the person’s soul in the driver seat, but the brain often won’t give it up, so I teach them strategies on how to achieve this.”
According to Mikkelsen, the name Soul Judo is inspired by the martial art judo’s use of the opponent’s energy to come out stronger. Most people think that transforming their own lives and organizations takes too much energy, which is why they won’t bother to do so. However, Mikkelsen asserts that the energy for transformation can be self-generating with the right techniques.
Through his program, Mikkelsen provides guidance for those who choose to strive for areté, empowering them to manage their brain rather than being managed by it. He believes that awareness brings freedom, so making people aware of what’s happening gives them all kinds of options to do things differently for transformational change.
“Through my work with Soul Judo, I aim to reach as many of my brothers and sisters globally as possible,” Mikkelsen says. “There is a lot of pain across the world which I can help to minimize while maximizing joy and thriving.”
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