From Downsized to Published Author and Coach

john cunningham member spotlight mentor writing Oct 14, 2021

Meet John Cunningham

I've written MorningCoach® spotlights about many interesting people. So, now I guess it's my turn.

I’m from Silicon Valley, and now I live in Tokyo, Japan. Been here for about 20 years in total. I’ve had a variety of jobs: cable TV installer, video producer, manager, English conversation teacher, corporate trainer, marketer, content producer, coach/mentor, and now author. It’s really been quite a journey so far.

How did you find MorningCoach®?

When I started working as a corporate trainer, many of my clients were in the investment banking industry. That was back in 2009. Soon after that, the markets crashed, and I was really at a loss for how to keep my sanity.

I remember Zig Ziglar saying, “Motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” 

I was looking for that daily source of inspiration and stumbled upon MorningCoach®. I was originally in the Morning coach fold until about 2014 when I was back in California. In 2017 I moved back to Japan in 2017, and in 2019 after finishing a big project for an international cosmetics and skincare company, I got a promotion. One of my assignments was providing executive coaching for global managers and people that worked in the C suites. I decided that if I were going to be helping such high-flying professionals, I needed to understand what it was like to be on the other side of the table. So, I reached out to JB and reentered the fold.

How has MorningCoach helped you?

During those early days, my stress and depression levels were really high. I remember one occasion when I was supposed to visit a new client at Lehman Brothers. This was the day they closed their operations. I got a call from my office saying not to go there. Many of our customers drastically cut their training budgets, and that left me scrambling to make my monthly nut. At one point, I worked for five or six different vendors.

When COVID hit, I had a totally different experience, thanks to my relationship with JB and the coaching program. My work was reduced by 80%, and my salary was cut by about 30% initially. I eventually got laid off.

However, I had been writing on Medium for a few months before that happened, and JB suggested I write a book. Well, I did it! And my book Win the Day: How to win your daily battles with stress, anxiety & depression was born from that experience.

Some members of the community gave me feedback on the techniques and advice I prescribed and vetted my ideas. Then I knew I was really on to something. My book is now available as an ebook on Barnes & Nobel, iBooks, and Rakuten’s Kobo. The other day I submitted the physical book to Amazon and Ingram, which distributes to brick and mortar bookstores. So I am hoping it shows up in those locations soon, and the book is available for Christmas. Everyone deserves good mental health, and I hope this book helps people to get that. I am also working to build my own online bookstore to sell the book. 

Sure, you can buy my book in other places, but like musicians, authors make the most profit by selling their books themselves. It also allows me to interact with buyers. This is something you don’t get buying from an online retailer like Amazon.

How have you grown in the past year?

In episode 4387 - Allowing Serendipity - What a wonderful thing, JB talked about how losing your job can sometimes be a blessing. That is exactly how I feel. I’ve had time to write this 55,000-word book about mental health and am working to build a business that helps people all over the world. That would never have been possible if I had stayed at my 9-5.

Have you used the GIDN and/or sacred 6 processes?

You can see in this post how I use the GIDN journal. It has been amazing. I never journaled consistently or paid much attention to planning on a monthly or quarterly basis before. But now, I have built this personal accountability system. I do quarterly reviews. I have a definitive vision of the future and a plan for how to get there one step at a time. That’s huge!

What keeps you here?

I’ve met some amazing people. Some are new to the community, and others have graduated to other things. Regardless, I now count these people as advisors, friends, and confidants. I don’t know many other people with whom I can talk as deeply as the people I have become acquainted with here.

What was one thing that was holding you back from achieving success?

I would say that the thing that held me back previously was belief. Belief in myself. Belief in what is possible. Belief that I deserve success. That all changes when I read the Bible from cover to cover. 

I used a plan that laid out how to read the entire Bible in a year, and I followed that plan judiciously. Sure I missed some Old Testament days, but I always made those up. At the end of the year, I had a really different relationship with my faith and myself. I began to see the plan that God has for me and trust that it would come to fruition.

Reading spiritual text yourself allows you to come to your own unfiltered conclusions about what those writings are saying to you. For me, that provides peace of mind. I can go back and see a passage I highlighted, reread a chapter or a book that struck me as important, and get insight and affirmation from that.

What is one piece of business advice that has stuck with you?

One big piece of advice that stuck with me is similar to JB’s saying, “Every no brings you closer to a yes.”

Mine is - If the answer is no, you are in exactly the same place, but a yes always moves you forward. So, ask. What I have learned recently is that the nos move us forward, too.

What is a book that guides you?

One of my favorite books is Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There is so much great advice about personal vision, development, and how to work with others. When I started writing on business topics and relationships. I was surprised how many of the ideas from that book became advice I provided to others.

What is something you are working on right now?

My book just came out. However, it is just a gateway to coaching and courses. Since I’ve worked in so many jobs and served people from all walks of life, I am determined to make my mentoring programs successful. That is the next step of the process for me.

 Is there anything else you would like to share?

Yes, continuing on the previous theme, I believe we all impact so many others in our lives. The kindness we show to the person behind us in line at the store will create a ripple effect in their home when they interact with their families. This goes both ways. So, being careful and caring in our interactions goes a long way. 

I do my best to live by the credo leave people better than you found them. In this way, maybe my impact isn’t just felt in you reading this story, for example, but it also makes its way to the people who you touch and the folks they touch as well.

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