An Excerpt from Aliveness Mindset

Jack Craven

April 04, 2024


Jack Craven’s Aliveness Mindset is an invitation for anyone feeling stuck to awaken to a life of renewed passion, greater purpose, and authentic joy.

AlivenessMindset.jpgWhen did you last feel truly alive? What if you could experience that feeling not just once in a while but every single day?

That is the promise and goal of an Aliveness Mindset. You are fully capable of bringing the best, most vibrantly alive version of yourself into the world day after day. Aliveness is already within you, but you have to define it and find it, guard it and grow it. It must be discovered because you are unique and so is your experience of aliveness.

In Aliveness Mindset, executive coach Jack Craven shares the principles and strategies he has used to lead countless CEOs and high-level business leaders into a more fulfilling, authentic life. His practices are not a series of impersonal steps or a formula to blindly follow but rather an organic process of self-understanding and personal growth.

The following excerpt comes from Chapter 1: "This Is What I Want."


Let me ask you a question. When have you felt most alive?

I don’t mean “alive” in the biological sense. I mean alive on the inside. I-never-want-this feeling-to-end kind of alive.

Let your mind travel back over the years and reconnect with those memories.

It could have been at your job, when you discovered that you excelled in times of crisis. Maybe your kids are little, and when you tuck them in you feel a deep rush of love, and for you, that is the very definition of being alive. Maybe it was when you fell in love. Maybe it was your wedding day. Maybe it was holding your baby for the first time.

Whenever or wherever it was, you found yourself saying, “This is what I want. I wish it could be this way all the time.” What does aliveness feel like to you?

Aliveness doesn’t feel the same for everyone. If you’re going to become more alive, you have to learn to identify, describe, and ultimately experience your own version of aliveness. Relive the emotions you experienced when you were there. Imagine how your body felt, what feelings were in your heart, what thoughts were in your mind.

It’s possible you’ve never stopped to think about this before. Try to sum up your specific experience of aliveness in a few words. What words come to mind to describe how aliveness feels in your body, your emotions, and your mind.

Over the years, I’ve asked my clients the same two questions:

  1. When have you felt most alive?
  2. What does aliveness feel like to you?

We all experience life differently, and the words we choose to describe our best, most authentic, most satisfying moments are deeply personal.

For me, aliveness feels like “giddy.” My senses are heightened, peace and satisfaction are at their peak, tension and fear have dissipated, and waves of joy and peace dominate my senses. There is an element of playful energy. It feels tingly, like electricity is coursing through my body.

Maybe for you, aliveness would feel more like calmness, adventure, rest, energy, peace, connection, significance, curiosity, generosity, freedom, thrill, love, joy, delight, gratitude, belonging, impact, or something else. Explore what aliveness feels like to you. Describe it for yourself.

One of my clients described his feeling of aliveness as “like a kid getting out of bed on the first day of vacation.” Another said it was like “being in the flow.” Another said, “It feels like I live life on the balls of my feet, and I’m ready to jump.”

As you connect to what makes you feel this way, it’s possible that even the thought of your aliveness triggers a response in your body. You can imagine it and feel it all at once. It’s energizing and invigorating.

Now ask yourself, "What if I could always feel that way, or feel that way more often? How would that change my life?"

I find that for many people, aliveness is a foreign concept because they’ve never been challenged to imagine a better quality of life than what they are experiencing. They have material and career goals, but those are superficial metrics of success. What about success on the inside? What about a lifestyle characterized by peace, joy, fulfillment, and positive energy? Some people seem to spend more time analyzing Amazon reviews for products they might buy than they do evaluating the quality of their own life and choosing a lifestyle that aligns with their values and priorities.

Take a moment to think not just about what aliveness feels like to you but about your level of aliveness. Do you regularly experience your personal definition of aliveness in your family; in your career and workplace; in your mental, emotional, and physical health; and in your friendships? Or do you have a sense that you’re going through all the right motions but somehow life is eluding you? It’s one thing to experience aliveness from time to time, but it’s another to experience it as a way of life and in all areas of your life.

That brings us to the best part. This is the heart of this book, and I’ll keep coming back to it.

You can take your personal version of aliveness into every aspect of your day-to-day life.

That might be hard to believe if you feel trapped and suppressed by circumstances beyond your control. I know the feeling. I’ve learned that you don’t have to wait for anything around you to change before you feel more alive because aliveness starts within you. It’s something you control, and you can choose to engage it in nearly any situation.

That doesn’t mean that, in my case, I act giddy all the time. It means I let that feeling, that experience of aliveness that I have defined for myself, become the filter and the frame for how I see the world. And when I do, I bring a better version of myself to my daily tasks.

In other words, aliveness is found at the intersection of what makes you feel most alive and how you approach your day-to-day life.

If either of those is out of whack—for example, if you don’t know what aliveness feels like for you or your lifestyle isn’t aligned with those things—then it will be hard or even impossible to experience ongoing aliveness. You’ll be biologically alive, but you’ll struggle to enjoy life to the fullest.

I know this from experience, as I’ll share in the pages ahead. Not just mine, either, but that of hundreds of CEOs and other business leaders I’ve had the privilege of coaching. I’m so passionate about aliveness because the truths I’m going to share literally saved my life. I was fifty years old and on track to burn out, break down, or give up. I had resigned myself to the unsatisfying life I had rather than standing up for the life I really wanted.

That is, until I decided to do whatever it took to experience Aliveness.

And then everything changed.

Today, I am a better leader, a better husband, a better father, and a better friend. I feel reborn. I have a new excitement about life, and I’m convinced the decades ahead will be the best of my life. The leaders I work with tell me my energy and passion are contagious.

That’s what I want for everyone I meet. It’s what I want for my wife and my kids. It’s what I want for my friends. It’s what I want for the leaders I coach.

And it’s what I want for you.

I want you to experience aliveness on a daily basis. I want you to learn how to take your personal brand of aliveness into your everyday life. I promise you, it will change everything.

So what, exactly, is aliveness? Here’s my definition:

Aliveness is a state of being characterized by bringing the best version of yourself into your day-to-day experience through identifying and adopting mindsets and actions that align with your unique way of being fully alive.

  • State of being means aliveness is more than what you do or how you feel. It’s how you exist and experience life. The goal isn’t just to feel alive; it’s to be alive.
  • The best version of yourself refers to the fullest, most authentic, most fulfilled version of yourself. It’s the “you” that is aligned with who you want to be and how you want to show up in life.
  • Day-to-day experience means that your aliveness should influence every area of your life, everyday of your life, in any situation or circumstance.
  • Identifying and adopting the mindsets and actions is all about the process of finding what works for you. It’s about alignment with how you experience being alive. Your mindsets and actions should promote aliveness, not block it, which means you have to understand what makes you tick and be willing to change things that are misaligned.
  • Finally, that align with your unique way of being fully alive points to the process of shifting your inner and outer worlds to create better alignment. Your goal is to align your mindsets and actions with that experience.

I encourage you to write down your answers. Your journey toward aliveness has just begun.


Adapted from Aliveness Mindset: Lead and Live with More Passion, Purpose, and Joy. Copyright © 2023 by Jack Craven. Published by Forefront Books. All rights reserved.


About the Author

Jack Craven has always shaped his professional journey around his passions. Starting out as a trial lawyer with the Chicago State's Attorney's office, he moved into private practice and later took on the role of CEO for his family's business for nearly two decades. Today, he is a distinguished executive coach, leading CEOs, and their C-Suite teams into more fulfilling, authentic lives.

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