About


STRENGTH THROUGH FAILURE

Welcome ELC family!

I’m Joey, founder of Efficacy Life Coaching.
Let’s start with my truths.

  • I was born to make an impact on others.
  • I have a voice the world needs to hear.
  • I have something of value to offer.
  • I will never forget the value of changing one person’s day.
  • I am always getting what I need, and it never looks like what I think it’s going to look like.
  • I am committed to never-ending self-improvement.

The birth of Efficacy Life Coaching was inspired, established, and built on the foundation of my personal history with overcoming adversity. Every experience, relationship, comeback, challenge, experiment, failure, and victory instructed and shaped me. My evolution serves as an example of what is possible for others.  My mission is to be of service; empowering people like yourself to go higher, unlock your infinite potential and get more of what you desire in life. Facilitating change and growth in myself and others is my greatest source of joy, my gift, and my craft.  My experience on this planet demonstrates that no matter where you are, or where you’ve been, you can go from just surviving to thriving and constricted limits to freedom.

My story is a tale of strength through failure. The path I chose to trudge was a rocky one, filled with potholes, wrong turns, detours, steep climbs, free falls, and hard stops, culminating in complete defeat.

I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. Over two decades I progressed from my first drink as a young child to being a broken 35-year-old man, homeless, with a 300 dollar a day heroin habit. During that time, I hit many bottoms, drew many lines in the sand, and crossed every one of them. Along the way, I caused a lot of damage and suffered most consequences short of death and long-term prison. The worst of them being the loss of self and the will to live.

On August 20th, 2009, by way of divine intervention, some tough love, acts of charity, and the generosity of family, I got an opportunity to get sober and began my journey of recovery. With grit, determination, and consistency along with a lot of help from higher forces and many beautiful souls from all walks of life, I have remained free from all mind-altering substances since that day.

My recovery has not been a linear, steady climb to achieving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. My experience was that although sober, I got significantly sicker before I got any better. Depression, self-pity, victimhood, shame, demoralization, self-condemnation, and suicidal ideations consumed me 24 hours a day.  I turned to food.  Addiction was not through with me yet.  As I write this I’m reminded of a quote by American Author, David Foster Wallace who wrote in his 1996 novel Infinite Jest; “The truth will set you free. But not until it’s finished with you.”

From August 20th, 2009 to March 1st, 2015, the amount of time between myself and my last drink and drug increased in length, as I grew in width. My weight rose from 230lbs to an obese 415lbs, while my overall health declined. I was in a tremendous amount of pain in every way and at the end of my rope. I was medicated on antidepressant drugs, hopeless, without being able to see any light at the end of the tunnel. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Yet again, I was given the gift of desperation, coupled with a timely visit from my deceased Grandfather in a dream. Where, with a sense urgency, he reminded me of a lyric in a song written by Bob Dylan, titled, It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)… “He not busy being born is busy dying.” So true! My Paps was a gentle, mild-mannered man. I can’t remember ever hearing him raise his voice while he was alive. In the dream he repeatedly screamed at me with pressing intensity, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” It wasn’t the first time that line caught my attention, but at that moment, it resonated and impacted me in a way it never had before. Perhaps it was the delivery? I’m not sure it matters. Let’s just call it an act of grace.

On March 1st, 2015, I woke determined to take back control of my life, my health, and get busy living instead of just existing. I was terrified and it became clear to me that I was never scared to die, I was scared to truly live. That truth set me free and for the first time in recovery, possibly ever in my life I had some clarity and felt the essential emotion of hope. I knew what steps to take. I had read many “self-help” books over the years that had become “SHELF HELP” books. Collecting dust on my bookshelf. A prime example of the slogan “information without implementation is worthless.” And the antithesis to the old adage that “knowledge is power.” Guess what? It’s not! Knowledge is potential power; applied knowledge is power.

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can think or dream you can do. Begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The elementary truth in this statement is backed by irrefutable evidence in my life. The big picture was intimidating but not impossible. I took out my journal, wrote a specific goal, and set it 10 months out. “I will be off antidepressants drugs and 60 lbs. lighter on January 1st, 2016.“ I made the decision to commit and started small. My daily routine was as follows:

  • Wake and make my bed
  • Drink 60 ounces of water
  • Walk for 10 minutes
  • No eating after 8 pm
  • At night write 3 things I did well and 3 things I’m grateful for
  • No negative self-talk, no exceptions
  • 2 minutes of meditation

I met with my psychiatrist and against his recommendation but under his supervision began weaning off the antidepressants. This resulted in something a hadn’t anticipated. Tears, lots of them… each time I stepped down the dosage I would cry for a week straight. Although I felt like it all the time, I hadn’t shed a tear for well over a decade. For me, this was good news. I was ALIVE!

For the first few months, I focused on those fundamentals and did none of them perfectly. Every few weeks I would take another tiny step and add a small, impossible to fail good habit. I was consistent, started building some momentum, and feeling a little better. I began to get more quality sleep. When I completely cut out sugar and almost everything that turns to sugar out of my diet there was a massive shift. For me, that was a game-changer. I had no idea how addicted to sugar I was or how much easier everything was going to be once I removed it from the menu. On January 1st, 2016, I was completely off antidepressant drugs and displayed absolutely zero signs of depression for months. I got on the scale and weighed 355 pounds. I had lost EXACTLY 60 lbs. and acquired my first real-life experience with the power of handwriting clear goals. More importantly, I was living in integrity.

ADDE PARVUM PARVO MAGNUS ACERVUS ERIT


ADD A LITTLE, TO A LITTLE, THERE WILL BE A GREAT HEAP.

I’ve gone on to lose 185 pounds without any pills or medical intervention; slowly and consistently moving towards my ideal weight. There has been a great deal of healing. I have done a tremendous amount of work on myself and completely changed my lifestyle. I vaguely resemble the man I was 25, 10, or even 5 years ago. I’ve fallen and failed countless times, climbing back up again and again, learning vital lessons along the way. Today I am living a healthy, robust, life of purpose and my life force is stronger than it has ever been. I am truly grateful. I’ve come to believe our problems drive our evolution and some lessons can only be learned on the battlefield. All the failure, pain, suffering, mistakes, and shortcomings once overcome became my greatest virtues, strengths, and gifts. This puts me in a unique position to help others traverse the same territory.

ATHLETICS| CAREER | EDUCATION

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
~Albert Einstein

As a kid, my passion was playing sports. Over the years I played baseball, soccer, ice hockey, and football. I was super competitive and excelled at all four. I loved everything about it. The emotional intensity, practice, discipline, being part of a team, the workouts, and especially physical contact. I was an angry kid and sports was a way I could express that and most of the time it was within the rules of the game. By the time I reached High School, I had settled on two of them. Football and Ice Hockey. In my mind, that was all that mattered and the only thing I ever worked hard at. In school, I got good grades, to comply with academic requirements in place to play. I went on to play college football. Unfortunately, my collegiate football career ended prematurely before the start of my junior year, mostly due to multiple shoulder surgeries and years of beating up my body without taking the proper care during rehabilitation and recovery periods. My formal education ended shortly after. If there was a “learn to live” class in school, I missed it. As far as formal education is concerned, anything of value to me or anyone else I learned by participating in sports, not in a classroom or a textbook.

The life skills, virtues, and values I picked up from great coaches, mentors, and teammates participating in athletics serve me well as a person who is always growing and dovetails nicely with my ability to be an effective coach. Once I was committed and in forward motion, I was able to draw on those experiences to create a framework for living and build a solid foundation for my coaching practice. My highest priority values are functional health, learning, and teaching. I am self-educated and over the last 6 years monomaniacally researched, studied, and immersed myself in anything to do with optimizing your life and understanding why it is people do what they do. Above all, I have implemented this knowledge in my life and teach it to my clients, friends, and family. I believe in order to keep it you need to be giving it away. My life experiences playing sports coupled with information and tools I voraciously absorb and apply are in the arena of:

  • Power of repetition, consistency, and momentum
  • Effective communication
  • Creating, organizing, implementing and refining systems
  • Brainstorming
  • Hustle, grit and hard work
  • Goal setting
  • Breaking complex things into small, actionable steps
  • Teamwork
  • Discipline
  • Structure
  • Time management
  • Strategic thinking
  • Habit Building
  • Visualization
  • Breathwork and meditation
  • Mindset
  • Decision making
  • Flow
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Holistic, Functional health & wellness
  • Generating energy
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Neuroscience
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Alternative medicine
  • Spirituality
  • Life hacking
  • Relationships
  • Leadership

CAREER

When I left school, I landed in my cousin’s woodshop. I was given a job in his shop sweeping floors, maintaining machinery, making deliveries, and helping the craftsman where I could. They were making museum-quality furniture of the highest order. Mostly free-standing French Art Deco reproductions. I was surrounded by the most talented people, mesmerized by the work they were doing and enamored with the sights, sounds, and smells of all the exotic materials in the shop. They were all so generous with their knowledge. A gift I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. Under the mentorship of my cousin Frank and the many amazing people who worked for him, I started to pick it up. It turned out I had a natural talent for it. Engulfed in such a fertile environment for learning, I soon became a top-notch craftsman myself. My entire adult life I have made a living building fine furniture. A craft I have always found a great deal of inspiration, passion, challenge, joy, and creative expression in. Several years ago, I found myself uninspired, stifled creatively, and unfulfilled. The romance was over. I confided in a trusted mentor of mine. He said something to me that hadn’t even crossed my mind before. “ Joe, look at what you have overcome, it’s miraculous! You are doing yourself and the world a disservice if you do not share, teach, and help others to do the same.” I felt a spark! It was out of that spark that Efficacy Life Coaching was born.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

I am blessed with an amazing family, who has always loved and supported me even through the darkest periods of my life, where I brought them chaos and pain almost all the time. They enthusiastically encourage me in everything I choose to pursue and love me unconditionally. For that, I am truly grateful. I am the oldest of three boys. I have great relationships with my two brothers Francis (43) and Harry (27). I value our relationships deeply and enjoy spending time with them as much as we can. I became an uncle for the first time this year when Francis and his wife Meg (sister from another mister) brought a beautiful baby girl into this world, Birdie Lee Pollaro. She’s a bundle of joy for our family! My 9-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Franky, is my soul brother. I love him so much. He’s a ballbusting, energetic, 10 lbs of cuteness who thinks he’s a wolf.

When I’m not working on myself and my business, I’m hanging out with friends. I have such wonderful friends and we do a lot a laughing and enjoying life to the fullest. My newest passion with benefits is Cold Water Therapy. “Hurts so good!” I get into the ocean and any cold body of water as often as I can. The colder the better. In the summertime, cold showers and ice baths suffice. My absolute favorite thing to do is listen to music. Music has always played a big role in my life, inspiring me, and feeding my soul. I attend live music events as much as I possibly can and rarely turn down an opportunity to do so. Some of my other favorite activities include:

  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Movies
  • Fishing
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing
  • The beach! I absolutely LOVE the beach!

I dedicate my life’s work in honor of my boy Blue’s life. Blue found me on September 12th, 2012 in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Since that day he has enriched my life in ways I can’t even put into words. He taught me so much. I believe in and aim to live by Blue’s unwavering creed “slow and steady wins the race” ~Blue