(YOU)niversity #1

It was no easy task deciding what story to deliver for (YOU)niversity’s first offering. I have hundreds of unique tools bouncing around in my head at any given time and when I made a list of possibilities, I was a little overwhelmed. 

So, how did I choose?

Well, I went back to the most basic of tools that I use, and decided to share the story of how I discovered this process. 

This was nearly 4 years ago and I was standing in a dark parking lot on Navy Submarine Base Pearl Harbor. I was wearing my uniform, and on the phone with my first coach. 

You see, I hired my first coach while I was still in the Navy and the only time slot that worked for both of us was 0545 on Thursday mornings. So I would get up early, shower and shave and then hop in my truck to do muy coaching call on base. Then when I was done I would head into work. 

Anyways, back to standing in that parking lot. 

My coach wanted me to discover exactly how I was going to help people. So she had me standing there in a parking lot at 0545 with my eyes closed, visualizing the person I was going to help. 

I had them in my mind when she asked me this question. 

“What do you want them to do first?”

And without even thinking about it, I answered “I want to know how they feel about their life, and I want them to be honest with themselves. 

“What next?”

“I want to know what they think they could be doing to improve their life.”

“Good, and then?”

“Why aren’t they doing it? How are they lying to themselves?”

“Oh I like that step,'' she said. “Now what?”

“I want them to do something regardless of those lies. I want them to prove themselves wrong.”

“Yes! Keep going”

“I want them to see how they showed up, collect the new information they learned about themselves, and see how things aren’t always as they make them up to be in their heads.”

“Perfect. Anything else?”

“Yes, I want them to start the process over.”


So just like that in a dark parking lot on, with my eyes closed I created my 6 step process. And have been using it ever since. And if you are familiar with First Wakeups, any of my other content, or have spent a significant amount of time in my Facebook Group then you have no doubt heard and even used these tools before. 

So then why pick this as my first offering if you have likely seen it already?

I am glad you asked. 

Because to me this is the structure in which First Wakeups is built. if I stripped down all of the fancy trim and inspiring quotes you would be left with this. A framework built to be honest with ourselves. 


Ok let’s break these down step by step. 

On a scale of 1- 10 how do I feel about my life?

The whole idea is that you give yourself an honest assessment of where you are at. And when you ask yourself this question to quickly grab the first number that pops up. For me, I can feel the number square in the middle of my chest when I ask this question. Own this number whether it is a 2 or a 9. It is a starting point. Nothing more and nothing less. And we have all experienced 2’s and we have all experienced 9’s. The cool part is the BEING intentional after we have established our starting point.

What could I be doing to improve on that number?

Again, this is all about honesty. What COULD I be doing? Not HAVE TO, SHOULD DO, MUST DO… What COULD I be doing? This could be anything honestly. So I invite you to make a list. Write em down and add anything that comes up. It could literally start with STAND UP! Go to Yoga. Write a journal entry. Talk to my kids or my partner. Start my business. Stop eating sugar. Take a break from a relationship or take one to the next level. Write down all of it. And make sure they are things you COULD be doing.

What lies am I telling myself that keeps me from taking action?

These are your “Yeah, buts…). For example, I could have a conversation with my partner about X or Y BUT I don’t want to upset them. Or, I could eat less sugar BUT then I have clean out the kitchen and get my family onboard. Or, I could take a walk everyday with my kids BUT it’s hot outside. Or, I could shut my phone and face to face with my family BUT candy crush. 

I think you get the point. 

This list can be adjacent to the list you made in the previous question. 

What am I going to do today? (and then do it) 

This step is merely picking something off your COULD DO list and taking a step. One step. One tiny step. Your brain is hardwired for you to remain in the easy lane as often as possible. It doesn’t want you to take steps because it attributes the feeling of struggle to your physical body dying. It’s true. Your brain is scared of everything and wants you to follow suit. 

Not today brain! Today we follow our hearts and prove to you there is nothing to be afraid of. 

This step is about taking steps. Any steps. If you are starting this process fresh then literally any step is progress. And if it is something fresh and new that is even better.

What did I learn? What worked? What didn’t work? And perhaps a bit of rest.

This 5th step is all about upgrading that grey matter and filing away all the things that didn’t kill you. How did the convo go with your partner? How did a few days without sugar feel? How did that walk affect your energy? What did you notice when you weren’t glued to your phone?

Keep in mind the feedback isn’t always pleasant. It is just honest. Truth is often harsh AND always fair. Be with it. Learn from it. 

I believe that we are always operating in our perceived best interests. This is based on our current level of experience and our current level of awareness of self. And with every action taken, every lesson learned, you upgrade that experience and awareness so your next choices and your next time through these steps will be even more powerful than the last. 

How have you evolved and what is next?

Now that you have collected all that new data and have taken a couple steps up the mountain, what new things can you see? What new stories can you write about yourself? What old stories can you begin to let go of? And what do you want to get after next?

Now let’s start the process over again! 

On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about your life?

(Dramatic Pause)

So my challenge is to use this tool at least once a day for the next month! You will notice the more you practice it, the more easily you will be able to step through it, choose your next step, all while soaking up all that new learning and experience. 

If you work this everyday, it will be second nature by the time you receive September’s installment of (YOU)niversity.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all. 

Have an amazing August! 

Ryan Charaba

First Wakeups LLC


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My 9/11 Story

I was on a nuclear submarine in the Indian Ocean about 6 hours away from the Suez Canal the day the attacks took place.

Whatever it is, you can Google it.

YOU BETTER ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE! This is a common phrase we hear growing up as kids. And one that doesn't generally come with an instruction manual. I spent 20 years in the Navy and there was a manual


Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

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©2020 Ryan Charaba - First Wakeups LLC