Removing the Armor - Judd Shaw

Removing the Armor

Judd Shaw

Episode Summary

In his introduction episode, Judd shares his captivating story from survivor to thriver. Learn about Judd’s framework to guide you to meeting your authentic self.

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Episode 001

Let’s dive into the heart of storytelling and peel back the layers of our armored selves. “Behind the Armor” with Judd Shaw invites you on a journey of genuine connection, from unraveling the tales that weave the fabric of our identities, to the raw and the real experiences that define us. Join us as we explore the power of being seen, heard, and valued.

Show Transcript

Judd Shaw: [00:00:00] Welcome to Behind the Armor, where we deep dive into the heart of what matters. I’m your host, Judd Shaw, adventurer, storyteller, agent of change, and speaker on authenticity and human connection. Join me as we explore the complexities of human connection, featuring theorists, scientists, and speakers. Our mission is simple, to inspire you to reclaim your true self and create genuine connections with others.

Join me as we lay down our armor and live authentically. Hi, everyone. This is Behind the Armor, and I’m your host, Judd Shaw. As much as I love adventure, I love storytelling more. And on the podcast, these stories are a two-way street. While recording our first episodes, I’ve heard some of the most interesting and inspiring stories I’ve ever heard.

I’ve learned about meaningful frameworks that help us grow and develop. As humans, and I’ve connected with some of the most beautiful people on the planet, and we get to bring [00:01:00] that all to you on this podcast. I’ll be sharing science, education, research, and the many human stories on connectedness. My hope is that each episode will provide you actionable insights.

and impactful tools towards developing your best version of yourself. I want to dive in and tackle topics around human connection and authenticity that many of us struggle with and how we create the psychological safety to take off the mask and just be ourselves. Welcome to the first episode of Behind the Armor.

My experiences led me to study human connection And create my framework, the Connection Cure. I’m telling my story so you can feel comfortable telling yours. We all have a story. But before I tell my story, let’s talk about yours. Because, well, this podcast is about [00:02:00] you. What’s your story? You want happiness and fulfillment?

To remember what truly matters? Yearning for something real? You want to feel seen and heard? Find purpose? Find purpose. To stop repressing your true self. Some of us carry shame and maybe like me, your past trauma can get in the way of the relationships you’re seeking. And perhaps you want deep meaning. I get it.

I resonate with all of it. I want success to look like building a beautiful, thriving life with new opportunities to achieve what you want from your life, incredibly rewarding relationships and a strong, healthy network to elevate your frequency and put momentum in your sail with better, healthier, deeper connections with the ability to shift to a place where you can serve others.

and develop a [00:03:00] new level of self care in order to take care of what matters most, you. Through my experience and with the help of amazing guests, I’m going to spotlight that when you can’t be you, you can’t thrive for your potential and you rob yourself and others from experiencing your real gift. self.

Not only were we born wired for connection, the need to connect socially is as strong as our need for food, water, and shelter. We need human connection in the world around us, in the places we work. We live, we love and play. The problem of not showing up as our true selves is real. I believe that everyone, everywhere deserves to be seen, heard, and felt valued.

And when those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break, we [00:04:00] fall apart, we numb, we ache, we hurt others, and we get sick. Just last year, the US Surgeon General delivered a stark warning to our nation. It wasn’t about a contagious disease. It was a warning about an epidemic silently creeping through our communities, an epidemic of loneliness and disconnection, and for good reason, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lack of social connection results in a greater risk of heart disease, greater risk of stroke. Greater risk of dementia and worse a greater risk of premature death today studies show that approximately half of American adults report experiencing loneliness with young adults Reporting the highest rates of being masked up wearing a mask around others and not showing up as a real self [00:05:00] Can cause several deep rooted health issues you’re telling yourself That you’re not good enough.

You’re crushing your confidence. Most of us are actually wearing masks thinking they’re keeping us safe. We’re hiding and we make ourselves invisible. Hiding fear, hiding anxiety, hiding feeling of wanting to be liked and accepted. To not show vulnerability, to hide depression, hide sadness, maybe even hide happiness, to hide anger, or to try to demonstrate masculinity, worse, maybe even manipulate others.

What mask do you wear with the world around you? Are we saying, Oh, I’m so confident, I’m fine. All is good. But your face is hiding the pain in your soul. Do you laugh to hide tears? What parts do you hide? What’s [00:06:00] behind the armor? Could it be that you’re really feeling, I am not good enough? I’m in pain? I’m feeling anxious?

Are you the last person others would say has problems? But your anxiety is paralyzing you? These masks only serve as defense and coping mechanisms that we think are keeping us safe. Those may have even worked for some time. But the masks and the armor begin to weigh you down. These masks at some point no longer serve us and keep us invisible.

But here’s what I found is the deeper problem. Many of us don’t even know our true selves. Many of us don’t even know who our true selves are. Perhaps you’ve worn the mask for so long that you’ve forgotten who you are behind it. So how are we supposed to be authentic or bring our full selves to work if we don’t know who that is?

By the way, if you don’t know what that means, your true self, that’s what I [00:07:00] hope to help you figure out. We’re going to look into the different types of the masks we wear, the way we wear these masks and how to take them off and show up as a real and raw you. We’re going to present outstanding guests with actionable insights on ways you show up for yourself and harness your superpower, your authenticity.

Being authentic means you’re aligned with your inner self, your core values, and you express that consistently where you show up. Let me tell you a part of my story. I grew up facing a lot of adversity and trauma, which left me with the belief that I wasn’t good enough. So what did I do? I spent years tirelessly proving that I was.

My worth. Desperately seeking validation and yearning to be heard and seen. I became a master at concealing my true feelings, engaging in people pleasing, and even turning to substance [00:08:00] abuse to cope. My coping mechanisms, honed over years of navigating a hyper vigilant internal system, eventually led me to an incredibly successful career.

As a workaholic attorney, I reached the pinnacle of my field, running my own law firm and achieving number one status in my practice area in New Jersey. But my dark night was coming and that was inevitable because I was living a lie. There was the mask and the reality, wild success and absolute chaos.

The relentless pursuit of success and perfection took a toll on my emotional health and I faced monumental challenges. Both personally and professionally. I was so lost for a long time. After multiple visits to drug rehab, involuntary hospitalization, incarceration, I was released back to my world shunned and shamed [00:09:00] by my family with no stronger human bonds than when I entered those facilities.

No surprise that led to deeper loneliness. I reached a turning point in my life. I was at my final jumping off despite having grown my law practice from one to 55 people. Having a wife and three beautiful children and owning two houses, flying first class or private everywhere I went, and having a yacht waiting for me out back at my beachfront property in Key Largo, Florida.

Despite all of that, I had nothing left in the tank. I had become a shell of a human. In 2020, I laid down and crawled into a ball in the corner of my garage floor. And cried. It’s that hard, uncontrollable, shaking kind of cry. As a survival reflex, I curled my body around my vital organs and returned to the fetal position like it was back in my mother’s belly.

[00:10:00] Did you need to have your dark night of the soul? I needed mine. Maybe sometimes you need to drink or do drugs too much. Maybe sometimes you have to mess up so badly to realize that life is finite. Maybe it takes the weight of more and more of those cosmic bricks to get heavier, bigger, louder. And now it’s time to turn it around.

I needed to mess up my entire life to turn it around. The question is, when will you say I’m tired of not showing my genuine self to the world? I’m tired of the fear of hiding. We all have the capacity to experience it, to feel it, and to get unstuck. It was at this dark moment, alone and disconnected, when my transformation began.

I found the incredible process of creating authentically trusting connections, first with myself, and then with others. The best version of me now shows up in the world. With Human [00:11:00] Connection, I went from Judd 1. 0 to Judd 2. 0. Authentic Connection gave me a whole new operating system. With a new belief system, core values, and a compass, I embarked on a profound journey of self discovery.

Diving into the realms of mental health, trauma, inner child work, and the power of authentic human connection. I read, I listened, I learned. I discovered the immense importance of self love and emotional regulation. Learning to show up as my real self became my superpower. Like me, you have the strength to get through those moments.

There is a huge floodlight. At the end of the tunnel on the other side is the life worth living the best version of you with new habits new skills In a place where you can be you but to show up as your truest self connect authentically with others and [00:12:00] thrive takes bravery the decision to live authentically invites risks You may have to shed certain relationships or create and place boundaries to protect your new self I like to say bravery starts in the heart So thank you.

Thank you. Thank you for joining me on this journey. If you feel like your life is being pulled down from underneath you If you’re stuck, if you’re struggling, if you just can’t get the wind behind you, I say you’re in the right place. Welcome. You have an amazing opportunity to look at yourself and reconstruct your life.

The way you feel can feel like forever, but if you dedicate yourself to a path of conscious awareness of how you’re showing up, have self understanding and see your situation as a path being laid before you. I’m convinced that you can thrive. I’ve seen lives transformed through authentic human connection.

As part of this podcast, I’m going to share my [00:13:00] framework with you. Let’s start with the basics. C. U. R. E. stands for Conscious Awareness, Understand, Renew, and Expand. Imagine it as a circle with four rings and each of those is a step towards genuine human connection. Step one of the Connection Cure is to become consciously aware of our problem of disconnection and hiding our true selves.

You know, to acknowledge a problem, you must be able to identify the problem. And how do we know if we’re being inauthentic? Maybe there’s a part of you that you hide from others, especially people you know well. To a stranger, I couldn’t have looked more socially connected. I had a wife and three children.

I had tons of friends and acquaintances. But I was like always hiding my low self worth and [00:14:00] loneliness. In fact, I was always protecting the opposite. I created a persona that I was arrogant, self centered, and always the life of the party. Once we’re able to show up in our relationships and interactions, we need to understand how we got here.

That leads us to the second step of cure. You for understand. Where are you afraid to be your true self? Why is that the case? What life experiences have conditioned us to wear the masks we wear? Understanding our individual, unique answers to these questions will help us work through and begin reconnecting with ourselves and others.

Everyone’s answers are different because everyone’s journey is different. Maybe your why could be traced back to a serious illness you had when you were a child. Maybe it was a [00:15:00] serious loss of life to someone you loved. Maybe it was because society and your caregivers taught you that you couldn’t be your genuine self.

Maybe it was childhood trauma like it was for me. Maybe it’s a list of things. Once we have a greater understanding of how we mask up, which causes us to hide our authentic selves, we can work on the next question, which is how do we heal and start to renew our connections? And that brings me to the third step, R for Renew.

Now that you’re uncovering and reconnecting with your authentic self, you can begin reintroducing that true self to the world. What authentic connections can you renew? And lastly, E for expand, which looks at how we can deepen and [00:16:00] expand our connections. How can we encourage others to do the same? After I reversed engineered my own healing, I found the connection cure refreshingly simple.

I didn’t have to spend years working on myself to begin. I didn’t have to be fully healed to start. You can start today. exactly where you are. You know, in each episode, I’m going to relate ConnectionCure to other frameworks so that you get the most in depth tools to unmasking. When we learn to love and accept and bring our authentic selves to the world, Our connections with others are so much stronger and more meaningful, loneliness dissipates.

Have you noticed how people who embody authenticity, they possess a magnetic appeal, [00:17:00] drawing others towards them through their demonstration of understanding, of bravery, of love, and genuine kindness. When in the presence of someone living authentically, showing up real and raw. We’re drawn to them, and this allure is a reflection of our deep seated need to speak our own truth.

But sharing my true self vulnerably with just one trusted person opened up a level of connection I never thought possible. Surprisingly, my authenticity didn’t drive people away. It brought them closer. And they began to show up more vulnerably too. Because when you show up authentically, you give permission for others to do the same, which creates a cycle of thriving in our relationships, our families, our communities, and around the world.[00:18:00]

And this ripple effect may be hard to measure, but it’s there. but exponential in impact. If there’s one thing my journey has taught me, it’s that living authentically moves towards a life of enriched with love, peace, and profound connection. Otherwise, the unhealthy mass we wear, they stay on. We never feel truly seen.

We stay stuck. We have a sense of false belonging. We pass on the pain and dysfunction. We mirror bad leadership and we engage in unhealthy relationships. We must fight against inauthenticity, being fake, wearing masks, and not showing up as the real you. If you refuse to fight this battle, your kids will have [00:19:00] to fight it.

Your inability to face your trauma means your son is going to have to fight that battle. Your unwillingness to show up as your truest self means your daughter is going to have to fight that battle. If you don’t break the cycle, if you don’t show up as you, if you saddle yourself with shame and guilt and do not fight to be your authentic self means your kids will have to fight that battle.

Be the one to remove this from the next generation. Say enough is enough. I’m going to be my authentic self. I’m going to be the unique version of myself, and I’m going to show up as the real world, and I’m going to show the real world me. Be grateful for the hard lessons. Let go of the [00:20:00] past with love and forgiveness.

Fill your life with joy and peace. Love yourself. You’re incredibly worthy. Of all the life and joy can bring so heal your inner wounds and have the courage to understand yourself and also forgive yourself for what you had to do in survival mode forgive yourself for what you had to do to kill your pain and sadness forgive yourself for the ways you’re not there to fight for yourself the way you are able to show up today nurture your pain don’t disregard it Namit Avoid it or feel shamed or guilty for it.

I hope the Connection Cure becomes a helpful tool in your healing journey. Today I’m on the [00:21:00] other side of the transformation. Every day I give myself a hug and I affirm that I’m okay just the way I am. I explore my creative arts. I found a love in writing my children’s picture book series, Sterling the Knight, and I value the relationships with myself and my close connection with others.

You are the storyteller of your life. I dislike the advice, look good, feel good. Your life doesn’t have to look good. It just has to feel good to you. I also don’t like the advice, fake it until you make it. Don’t fake it. I hate cocktail parties, but sometimes I have to go to these work events anyway. And so I say circle the wagons around a small table in the corner and, and find all the other uncomfortable people dislike these [00:22:00] events too.

And create a sense of safety that. You have this shared sense of feeling. Create a Rat Pack. That way, while you still may never learn to love cocktail parties, you still show up as the real and raw you. If you’re listening to this, And you feel like your past, your failures, your hard mistakes, the people you’ve hurt.

And you’re telling yourself, I must be a failure. I deserve all of this hardship. I’m unlovable. You’re allowing yourself to have these beliefs take root as your identity. Like I’ve been let down so many times, I must be a letdown. Or I’ve made so many mistakes. I am a mistake. I’ve made bad choices over and over and over [00:23:00] again and so I must be bad.

This is bullshit. These are the lies that you are telling yourself and they become your narrative. These impact your self worth, they impact your self love, and they impact your ability to connect authentically with yourself and with others. When we try to conform, to fit in, to meet others expectations, we do so at the expense Of who we really are.

And every time we do that, we are telling ourselves, I’m not worthy to be my truest self. I’m not unique. I’m not lovable. And every time we do not show up as our genuine versions of ourselves, of who we want to be, aligned with our own core values. [00:24:00] And instead, we conform to others to fit in? We remain invisible.

We reduce our self worth. We don’t rise to our potential. We stay stuck. We don’t shoot for our dreams. We shoot ourselves in the foot. I used to say, I’m broken. I would hide behind masks so the world wouldn’t know how I really feel. And I pretended to be a clown, smiling on the outside. But I wasn’t broken.

I just didn’t like me. With a connection cure, we can correct the faulty programming we received as children and growing up. We can let go of those things that no longer serve us. And now we can transform. Allow new, empowering, loving beliefs to replace old, [00:25:00] limited beliefs. Build your own identity, showing up authentically, increasing the levels of your self worth and self love.

That’s what moves us from survivor to thriver. And that’s when you begin to experience the best version of yourself. The person you’re meant to be. So let’s get dusty and dirty in the arena. Let’s begin to remove the mask. Maybe even layers of masks. Remember, bravery starts in the heart. And let that truth be your guide.

Because when you show up authentically, you’re inspiring other people to to do the same. And that ripple effect can extend farther than you could ever imagine. I’d love to hear from you on this journey. Please comment on episodes at judgeshaw. com. I want to hear your aha moments, your feedback, your questions, [00:26:00] and share this with anyone you feel could benefit from it.

I’m so grateful for you. And I think this journey is going to be so much fun and so powerful. You and I, we’re going to learn some incredible things together. So I say, let’s lay down our sword. Let’s take off our armor and just be us. Flaws and all. This He’s behind the armor. Thank you for listening. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to you.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please follow us on your favorite platform or share this episode with a friend. You can also follow me on Instagram at Judge Shaw Official. A special thank you to personal injury law firm, Judge Shaw Injury Law, for their support in helping us bring this podcast to life.

Remember friends, authenticity isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being real. It’s about [00:27:00] embracing our vulnerabilities, celebrating our strengths and owning our stories until next time.

Orange Star

Behind the Armor:
Judd Shaw

Hey, there. I’m Judd Shaw—a lifelong adventurer, storyteller, and emotional intelligence speaker. Growing up, I grappled with feelings of inadequacy, tirelessly driving me to prove my worth in every aspect of my life. As a successful attorney, I reached the top of my field, but success came at a cost. Pursuing perfection left me emotionally drained and disconnected from my true self. It took a global pandemic and the breakdown of my marriage to shake me awake.

Amid the chaos, I embarked on a profound journey inward, delving into mental health, trauma, and the power of authentic human connection. Through therapy and inner work, I learned to regulate my emotions and cultivate a deep sense of self-love. I’m on a mission to share my story and inspire others to embrace their authenticity.

Orange Star

Behind the Armor:
Judd Shaw

I’m Judd Shaw—an adventurer, storyteller, and EQ speaker. Raised in adversity, I internalized a belief that I wasn’t good enough—a belief that drove me to chase success at any cost. As a workaholic attorney, I climbed the ladder of achievement, but a deep sense of emptiness lay beneath the façade of success.

It took a series of personal setbacks, including the upheaval of COVID-19 and the dissolution of my marriage, to jolt me out of my complacency. In the wake of chaos, I embarked on a soul-searching journey, diving into my psyche’s depths to uncover authenticity’s true meaning. Through therapy and introspection, I learned to confront my inner demons and embrace my true self with open arms. Now, as a leading speaker on authenticity, an award-winning author of the children’s book series Sterling the Knight, and a podcast host, I’m dedicated to helping others break free from the limits of perfectionism and live life on their terms.

Orange Star

Behind the Armor:
Judd Shaw

Hi, I’m Judd Shaw—a speaker on human connection and authenticity. From a young age, I battled feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Determined to prove my worth, I threw myself into my career as an attorney, striving for success with unwavering determination.

As the accolades piled, I felt increasingly disconnected from my true self. The relentless pursuit of perfection took its toll, leaving me emotionally exhausted and yearning for something more. It took a global pandemic and the breakdown of my marriage to finally shake me out of my complacency and set me on a new path.

Through therapy and self-reflection, I began to peel back the layers of my persona, uncovering the power of authenticity in forging deep, meaningful connections. As a leading speaker on authenticity, an award-winning author of the children’s book series Sterling the Knight, and a podcast host, I’m on a mission to inspire others to embrace their true selves.


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