055. Looking Back on Season 2 with Bryan Falchuk

By on May 14, 2019

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Another 26 episodes of the Do a Day Podcast are done, and I thought it would be a great time to pause, reflect, and take stock of all we’ve taken in with Season 2 of the show.

If you’ve been listening all along, you know how great and powerful these episodes have been thanks to the amazing guests I’ve had on. If you’re new to the show, this is a great way to get a bit of an overview of everything that’s come out this season (but the best way is to go back and listen to them all!).

Key Ideas in the Episode with Bryan Falchuk

  • I went through each of the amazing guests that have been on the show
  • Steve Gordon showed how falling down may be necessary to reach new heights
  • Robb Holman talked about the power of letting go so we can find meaning and purpose
  • Lindsey Heiserman inspired us to not let our past stories be part of our right now
  • Charise Colbert shared her journey coming out of domestic abuse
  • Sara Quiriconi talked to us about how to live free of all the cancers in our life
  • Syd Finkelstein on how to be a Super Boss leader
  • Ariana Robinson Danquah shared how to rise up when you’re stuck in the middle
  • Jon DeWaal gripped us with his story of falling off a roof and how that helped him see how to get through life’s toughest transitions
  • John Zeratsky talked about what he discovered to achieve the most, and it has nothing to do with productivity
  • Josh Perry taught the power of gratitude even in the face of life’s greatest challenges if you want to come through them thriving
  • Mark Crandall shared his trauma story to help us see how facing our trauma’s allows for growth
  • Adam Schaeuble got us all fired up, and he also inspired with his approach to reimagining your life – and making it come true
  • Sandy Vo talked about her journey to find clarity and peace despite a foundation of turmoil
  • Cornell Thomas is the epitome of the “What’s Next?” attitude winning over the “Why Me?” mentality
  • Sandra Younger taught us her Come Back approach to be a victor, not a victim of tragedy
  • Jenn Swanson talked about her journey off loss, gratitude and realization that you are your best investment
  • Howard Jacobson shared how losing his father inspired his mission to fight diseases of ignorance with the wisdom of lifestyle
  • Brooke Siem retold her amazing journey navigating her way out of a life of medication for mental illness into a life of discovery
  • Tanur Badgley showed how to become a person of purpose through his journey starting with a fall off the side of a mountain
  • Gary Bertwistle talked about the power of authenticity and discovering your mojo
  • Frank King went into how thoughts of suicide taught him to go after what he really wanted, and why so many people need support as they face moments that lead them to these thoughts
  • Mary Shores talked about the power of serving others as she went from dented to thriving
  • Nick Elvery shared his journey from addiction to peak performance and what sparked the change
  • Jaime Jay got vulnerable as he retold his story of multiple experiences with homelessness to being in a place of gratitude and contentment
  • Dai Manuel talked about the importance of living as you need to, from your own perspective
  • Blaire Palmer showed how the greatest thing we can bet on is ourselves
  • Dov Baron forced us to look at what’s really going on, magnifying it, and then using that insight to truly grow


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052. Living As You Need to From Your Perspective with Dai Manuel

By on April 23, 2019

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Dai Manuel is a super dad, dating his wife and currently doing life with his family around the globe. 

He is also an award-winning digital thought leader and author, executive performance coach and certified lifestyle mentor who empowers people to lead a FUN-ctionally fit life through education, encouragement, and community. 

Dai models his work based on 5 F’s: Fitness, Family, Finances, Faith with an overarching roof of FUN, built on a rock-solid foundation of Health. 

As a former partner and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar retail company, a keynote speaker, brand ambassador, competitive athlete, a family man, and community leader, Dai knows the struggle of the juggle and keeping his health and happiness a priority.

Dai and his family are on a mission to impact one million role models through education, entertainment, and inspiration by 2020. He’s also a good friend who became a mentor to me when I was starting my journey to create what became Do a Day, including pushing me to see what I could create by bringing my thoughts together in my book. Dai is an amazing human being full of inspiration, and he shares that with us here.

Dai’s gifts to help you make life more awesome:

  1. Join the free 28-day Whole Life Fitness Manifesto program and learn how to maximize your body, mind, and spirit in 30 minutes a day.
  2. The 99 Bodyweight Workout Guide
  3. How to Develop a Positive Mindset
  4. The 10 Most Common Low Carb Diet Mistakes 
  5. ‘Why Your Kids Make You Fat’ with the Ultimate Role Model Checklist 
  6. 6-Week Done-With-You Lifestyle program – the RBT Shred @ 

Key Points from the Episode with Dai Manuel:

  • We touched on the interview we did years ago where we talked about Dai’s transformation from being a fellow “Fat Kid” to being this amazing fit and healthy (and inspiring) man. Like me, his original motivation was about not being seen as the fat kid and having girls like him.
  • That set him off on a journey to want more and masking his true feelings with other things – having things, alcohol, narcotics, women and more.
  • That reality existed for over a decade until his wife sat him down, looked at him and asked, “Are you being the type of man that you’d want to marry your daughters?”
  • That hit him – he wasn’t being that man, and he asked himself why.
  • While he initially pushed back on his wife, he did start to reflect and realized how much change was needed, including a lot of self-work. He started to change who he was around and the choices he was making, especially in the career he was in.
  • He had the option of taking over the business he was in, and instead, he and his family broke free. Three years ago, they decided they wanted to hit the road, travel and take in the world.
  • They set out on a road trip for a year across North America, taking in the world first hand. That eventually lead to moving to Bali (at least for a few years).
  • I had to note how different of a man Dai is today versus the last time we talked. There is something so much more profound and open about him after this shift he and his family made three years ago. That experience of the world has clearly moved his sense and understanding of himself.
  • We hit on the Buddhist notion of non-attachment, and how that can lead to such strong self-awareness and movement away from the auto-pilot way we tend to live.
  • When we get on auto-pilot, we tend to stop questioning things and growing – truly growing. Dai’s hope is that people get the chance to pause and ask those questions so they get to have that wake up moment.
  • We touched on the idea of commitment. Part of why they have made things work and grown so much is that they fully committed to the journey. That created a freedom and dedication to going for it and making it work. If you aren’t fully committed, you may do things in a way that holds you back – even slightly – so that you don’t do them well enough to really succeed.
  • We talked about Dai’s childhood, with his parents splitting up, being raised by their mother, and his father’s career. His dad had a successful business he eventually sold. After selling the business, his father started having health issues including cancer and lifestyle illness complications. While Dai was traveling around North America, his father’s health declined, so the family went to spend time with him.
  • After his father passed away, the family decided to travel to Southeast Asia for a three month stay.
  • They rented a home in Bali, and fell in love with all of it – the people, the food, the culture, but mainly the pace of life.  They went back to Canada briefly for business, and then decided to come back to Bali for at least a year.
  • We really started to talk about why Bali feels so good. The pace of life there seems to be a foundational point – when everyone is free of the sort of high-paced burden we tend live with, it almost reframes our humanness and how we relate to others and ourselves.
  • The amount of growth he and his family have experienced as a result of the lifestyle is so strong and recognizable. The full-conviction and commitment to it has been a key to allowing for this growth.
  • We talked about the moments where doing less of the self-work allows for some negative self-talk to creep in. The doubts about career, the future, capabilities, etc creep in.
  • For him, he’s gotten to a place where he knows enough about himself and what his capabilities are, so he’s able to reel that feeling back in, but it still happens. He just has the tools to recognize and face it when it does.
  • When you have a Plan B, that can be helpful, but it can also be a hindrance. He knows there’s a Plan B for him (he can always get a job), but he doesn’t rely on it or think about it actively as it would hold him back. Because of that freedom, they’re now so far down the path away from Plan B that it doesn’t come up anymore.
  • That freedom also has allowed them to see new options and choices they likely wouldn’t see if they were still holding onto the past or the safety-net-style options of Plan B.
  • We hit on the big question of whether you make a leap like his cold turkey, as some advise, or get your ducks in a row and build to it. His advice is to live as you need to live from your perspective. It is your life – own it. Some will need more security, while others will grasp onto that security for perpetuity and never make the leap. If something is making you unhappy, then leave that thing as you need to. If you really need to do it, you will figure out a way. You just need to figure out the process for you.


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051. From Homeless to Helping Through Vulnerability with Jaime Jay

By on April 16, 2019

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At the core, Jaime Jay is a connector of personalities and brands. He constantly challenges himself to be a better human being. He is also an amateur hockey player and starter good who truly enjoys helping his clients rediscover themselves, their companies and how to realize their “Why.” He has worked with clients across the world, co-founded and run a publishing company, virtual assistant service company, and hosts the popular “Culture Eats Strategy” podcast – a top 100 podcast in the Business category on iTunes. He is the recipient of the Army’s Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service.

Beyond all of that, he is an amazing, humble, giving person. The reason why is rooted in his life story, which started with homelessness, and a rollercoaster experience from there. Jaime shares that story, the lessons he learned and a big piece of himself in this episode of the show.

Key Points from the Episode with Jaime Jay:

  • Embracing vulnerability and being true to yourself helps so much in your personal growth and in business. Jaime goes on to talk about how important it is to be selfish, but in a different way than people may think. He means it positively, in terms of taking care of yourself since you can’t take care of others if you aren’t ok.
  • This sense of needing self-care started in childhood when Jaime dealt with homelessness when his adoptive father moved the family for a job that didn’t materialize. Jaime and his little brother watched an auctioneer selling all of their stuff as they lost everything and lived out of their car for months.
  • He got a job at McDonalds to help support the family, and he would have his family go through the drive-thru so he could give them extra food. He also would take leftover food and give it to his family and other homeless people.
  • Through the homelessness, he struggled to meet requirements at school and had repeat a year and ultimately had to get his GED so he could join the Army.
  • We talked about the timing of this experience given that he was in the midst of his teenage years – a time when most kids struggle with figuring themselves out anyway. Obviously, that only complicated things.
  • Another common issue people deal with after coming back from homelessness is one of the scarcity mindset, which he says has been very much alive in his business decisions. It has impacted him positively around his sense of what being content and ‘having enough’ really means.
  • Jaime shared that his family actually was homeless twice as his father was arrested for embezzlement. It lead him to try very hard not to be a burden on his mother and brother, which is part of why he joined the Army.
  • On top of the issues with his adoptive father, who also made Jaime feel stupid an incapable so much of the time, Jaime’s biological father left when he was five and was a bad drunk.
  • I had to call out the interesting way Jaime has kindness, calmness and gratitude that you might not expect given the tumultuous life he had. He said it stems from his strong desire for no one else to feel what Jaime has felt, so he may go far on the other side of the coin.
  • Jaime shared how his brother got addicted to drugs while Jaime was in the Army. Given how inseparable they were, this hit him hard.
  • He left the Army to be with his wife at the time, with whom he had a child. When he left the Army, he came home to his wife asking for a divorce, leaving him homeless and penniless again.
  • He spent the next decade never really feeling confident or secure, with this unhappiness and fear of what will go wrong.
  • From the age of 21 to 30, he was married and divorced three times.
  • On August 23rd, 2005, his brother was hit by a semi truck and killed when Jaime’s sister-in-law was pregnant with their second child. That devastated Jaime, and threw him into a backward spiral. That day in August is always so hard for him.
  • He started a successful advertising agency in 2006, which was hit hard in 2008 when the economy fell apart. And he was drinking and not saving at that time, which added to everything ending in 2008 with Jaime becoming homeless again, and he had to move back in with his mother at age 38. His perspective at the time was very much one of “The world is doing this to me. Why me?”
  • Sharing his story is tough because he doesn’t feel good about what he did or what happened. He is concerned with what people might think about him. But looking at this through the self-care lens, it helps him tremendously to be open about it, and it serves others through those who identify with his story and find inspiration in it for how they can move forward.
  • Today, he’s been on a different, empowering and gracious path. He’s surrounded himself with the right people who share his positive, kind values, including his girlfriend of seven years, who has been a crucial part of Jaime’s better life.
  • Jaime gave us a challenge. When we feel like someone is a jerk or is behaving badly, look at yourself and your behavior. Did you perhaps provoke that behavior in them? Often, we miss the trigger we are responsible for.


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050. From Addiction to Peak Performance with Nick Elvery

By on April 9, 2019

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Nick Elvery is a Peak Performance Coach who helps CEOs maximize their focus, energy and productivity.

Nick Elvery has overcome over a decade of hard drug and alcohol addiction.  His experience gave him the insight into just what it takes to create lasting change and build a fulling life that allows for hard work and health.

Watching his father’s health decline over his life and eventually pass way really gave Nick a different perspective on the importance of health. His mission is to help CEO’s take back control of their life and health so they can be there for their family without sacrifice the mission of the business.

We talk about the journey Nick went on, the struggle with addiction coupled with a desire to develop as a human being, the moment when he woke up and decided to change, and how his message is helping others today.

Key Points from the Episode with Nick Elvery:

  • Nick opened the conversation sharing the challenge he overcame – spending 12 years as an addict of hard drugs and alcohol.
  • Like many kids, Nick grew up experimenting with smoking and drinking. At the same time, his father’s health was declining in front of Nick’s eyes due to Multiple Sclerosis, ultimately claiming his life.
  • Watching a capable, driven, full-of-life parent degrade like that created a very strong emotional response in Nick, which drove further and further decline into addiction.
  • We talked about why Nick fell into addiction, and he talked about ego – the drive many of us have (especially when we’re young) to prove ourselves. This played a big part in his addiction where he seemed to need to prove he could do the most and the hardest drugs. It was a mix of seeking popularity and escaping the reality of his father’s decline.
  • The drive to fit in was a big theme for him, leading him to live like a chameleon rather than figuring out who he is and how to live as himself – something he’s focused on helping others are today.
  • Only when we become happy with who we are will people respect and accept us since only then do we accept and respect ourselves.
  • Everyone ultimately has a want to connect, and Nick felt like he didn’t fit in early on and was labelled as different, so that desire to fit in lead him to change his behavior in hopes of fitting in.
  • His addiction went so far that he found himself in Asia doing crystal meth in motorcycle chases with meth dealers – and he didn’t even think that was unsafe or anything at the time.
  • Paradoxically, while his addiction was growing, Nick was also diving deeper into self-discovery and personal development after getting introduced to Tony Robbins when he was just 16. It’s as if there was a struggle within him to self-destruct and to self-develop.
  • Doing some self-help work was what struck him hard enough to realize just how far he had gone in the wrong direction. It also gave him access to the path to change – a decision he made in a single moment of self-realization.
  • The word he ends up coming back to is Tenacity. Living by the tenacity of not giving in is a motto and approach he things we could all benefit from.
  • There is a need and value to do self-work that applies to all of us.
  • Nick has had a fascination with what makes people tick – what makes people succeed, why we get out of bed, why two people who have had the same experience yet come out very differently.
  • Nick’s advice to anyone facing a struggle – whatever it is – is to never give up. Anything you want to create in your life is totally possible. We may not be able to see that alternative, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It can be scary to look at such a different future, but it is still possible. You are worth saving and you can do it.
  • Surround yourself with people who care and see that future, too, and you can create whatever you want for your life.


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049. From Dented to Thriving Through Serving Others with Mary Shores

By on April 2, 2019

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20 years ago, Mary Shores started with an idea. Today, she is a successful entrepreneur with a multi-million-dollar, heart-centered business and a best-selling book, Conscious Communications.

But she didn’t start that way. Mary hit rock-bottom after enduring the loss of her daughter within the first year of her life, and while Mary was still very young.

She survived an unstable past filled with abandonment and instability stemming from her mother’s mental illness, but found within herself the strength to rebuild by founding an industry-changing business. She now inspires others with lessons of resiliency and empowerment nationwide.

Mary shares her gripping, emotional journey as a point of inspiration that, regardless of what we face, we can come through. And she talks about her business, debt collection, to show that regardless of the work you do, you can do it in a way that has an impact and does good. In an industry not known for such things, Mary is proof that you can rewrite the script and still succeed – something she’s done time and time again no matter how things were playing out.

Key Points from the Episode with Mary Shores:

  • Reflection has brought an understanding around the theme throughout her life around the fear of abandonment
  • Mary was taken in by family in Illinois from her home in Southern California when she was just three years old due to mental illness her mother struggled with
  • Later in her childhood, she was reunited with her mother while her little sister stayed with the family who took them in when they were young, creating a sense of separation and loss from the person closest to her.
  • At 13, Mary’s mother left again, leaving her alone with her step-father so she chose to go from friend’s couch to friend’s couch throughout high school rather than having a stable home. She looks back on her view of that time as exciting and one framed by strong independence.
  • Mary became pregnant at 18, and ended up giving birth to a daughter when she was 19 only to lose her 18 months later due to complications her daughter suffered around oxygen deprivation during the labor and birth process and brain damage that resulted.
  • Mary didn’t just lose her daughter, but the process was so extreme because of how drawn out it was, and how much she was exposed to in the hospital; and of course she had nothing at the time as she and her boyfriend basically lived on the floor of their daughter’s hospital room.
  • While this obviously was a major trauma, it was also the spark for a resilience that has defined Mary’s life since then.
  • After her daughter’s death, Mary went through the lowest point in her life, feeling dented, damaged and like a failure. She decided in that process not to be a statistic and instead started a business. It wasn’t from a place of empowerment, but rather a desire not to be a failure.
  • Mary got into the debt collection business, which she says isn’t really most people’s dream or passion. She noted how so many people talk about following your passion, and collections isn’t really that, but there are things that can align to passion regardless of what the actual work is.
  • She wanted to be different, and take an approach of positivity-based selling of collections. She focused on the idea of how great it will be to get out of debt while everyone else focused on the same and fear of being in debt in their approach.  She failed miserably.
  • Being interested in neuroscience, she understood that people have a negativity bias, so the positive outcome wasn’t enough to overcome the unwillingness to pay in a way that fear can. This all ties to people feeling unworthy.
  • Figuring this out was an ah-ha moment for Mary, and she said, “I want the next person I work with to be happier at the end of the call than when it started it.” That approach worked.
  • The approach was so successful that Mary started to reach it more broadly, which is what lead her into her work as a coach and author.
  • Mary shared one of her favorite quotes, which is by Maryanne Williamson, “A miracle is but a shift in perception.”
  • Conscious Communications, her book, focuses on several key things to use to start your path forward. One of the key ideas is Gratitude.
  • She talks about the word, “Empowerment,” which gets so much focus, but what does it really mean? It’s really about an internal sense of feeling good.
  • All the focus on Happiness has people thinking that we have to be happy all the time. But the reality is, we aren’t. And we aren’t meant to be. And that’s ok. The key is to understand what we’re feeling and why we feel it, and learn and grow from that. But you shouldn’t judge yourself for feeling that way or ignore or diminish it.
  • She reminds us of the importance of self-care, which is a buzzword that’s thrown around a lot, but what does it mean? For Mary, it’s about taking time for yourself.
  • Cleanse or clog – everything you do in those smallest moments of life is always working to make a closer connection to what you want and desire or to stand in the way of it.
  • The choices you make will shape your life forever.


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048. How Suicide Unlocked The Potential in Living with Frank King

By on March 26, 2019

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Frank King, Suicide Prevention and Postvention Public Speaker and Trainer, was a writer for The Tonight Show for 20 years, is a Corporate Comedian, syndicated humor columnist, and podcast personality, who was featured on CNN’s Business Unusual.

Depression and suicide run his family. He’s thought about killing himself more times than he can count. He’s fought a lifetime battle with depression, and thoughts of ending his life, turning that long dark journey of the soul into a TED Talk, “A Matter of Laugh or Death,” which you can watch at, and sharing his lifesaving insights on Mental and Emotional Health Awareness, with corporation, association, youth (middle school and high school), and college audiences.

As an Inspirational and Motivational Public Speaker and Trainer he uses the life lessons from the above, as well as lessons learned as a rather active consumer of healthcare, both mental and physical, to start the conversation giving people who battle Mental and Emotional Illness permission to give voice to their feelings and experiences surrounding depression and suicide, and to create a common pool of knowledge in which those who suffer, and those who care about them, can swim.

And doing it by coming out, as it were, and standing in his truth, and doing it with humor.

He believes that where there is humor there is hope, where there is laughter there is life, nobody dies laughing.

He is currently working on a book on men’s mental fitness, Guts, Grit, and the Grind, with two coauthors.

He lives in Eugene, OR and speaks around the US, and all over the world.

Key Points from the Episode with Frank King:

  • Frank has a backstory of suicide being a very real part of his family. So some may find it odd that he became a comedian, but he sees the two intertwined. As he reminds us, where there’s laughter, there’s life – no one dies laughing.
  • He spent the first part of his adult life as many do – working in a fine job that paid the bills, but didn’t pay his soul. It got to the point where he realized he would kill himself if he stayed there. The alternative, pursuing his dreams in comedy could leave him penniless. That’s when he had a revelation that unlocked potential.
  • We chose the devil we know rather than the devil we don’t. “Normal” people would look at a bad situation with uncertain outcomes in the alternatives, and they stay where they are.
  • For Frank and his diagnosis of Chronic Suicidality, it’s more of looking at a raging brushfire coming for him while he’s standing at the edge of a ravine. While “Normal” people might face the fire despite the certain death, Frank would jump because he sees no risk to it since he’d die either way so he might as well try something else.
  • He shared a simple example that clarifies what this Chronic Suicidality means in his daily life – his car broke down a while ago. “Normal” people would look at it as a binary situation where you either fix it or replace it. For Frank, he had a third option – he could just kill himself. Put another way, he always sees a way out, so he uses that to help him pursue possibilities. The key is to find a way to see that vision of potential without having to turn to suicide.
  • If he stayed in the job, he would kill himself. If he left and failed, he could still just kill himself. That thought removed the cost of taking the leap, so that’s exactly what he did.
  • Frank focused on suicide prevention and support a lot. What he realized is how valuable it is for the person supporting you to really get it, to really understand what you are feeling. Since he has been there, he realized he had to be in that support role.
  • What he found is that people need one of two things, and you need to see which they really want. Do they want someone to help them through it and talk them out of it, or to just listen.
  • Interestingly, Frank is not reckless in his behavior despite the suicide thoughts.
  • He has now been through divorce, bankruptcy and more, and is still standing, which is a testament to the power of support and self-reflection.
  • Frank likened someone committing suicide to how a plane crash works. It’s not usually one single thing, but rather a cascade of events. If you can nudge those events even slightly, you may be able to change the outcome, which is his goal.
  • We talked about his self-care plan, which helps him relate differently to his Chronic Suicidality. He meditates for 30 minutes a day; after 60 years, he decided to look into medication, which he now uses and realized he actually likes his life; and he lives an active, healthy life and eats a healthy diet. He actually ended up competing in a body building contest shortly after we recorded this episode.
  • Speaking out loud about his mental illness is also one of the most beneficial things he’s done. It’s been freeing and empowering in a way he did not expect or understand until he did it.
  • We talked about the power of control a lot, and he shared the story of his mother as she was at the end of her life. There was debate about letting her self-administer pain medication when getting too much would kill her. Frank shared the study results on the subject that showed that, when patients are allowed to push a button to give themselves pain medication, they actually use less than when someone else administers it at regular intervals. The reason is control.
  • As he’s reflected on his struggles with suicide, he sees how inserting situations where he has control has helped. This is part of why he enjoys his exercise regime because there’s control in it. A 20 pound weight always weighs 20 pounds. In his comedy and speaking work, he may have audio issues, the audience may not be engaged, etc. All things he can’t control or have so much variability in them that it can be unsettling.



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047. Finding Your Mojo Through Authenticity with Gary Bertwistle

By on March 19, 2019

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Gary has always had a passion for innovation and creativity. His career has spanned the retail, music and radio industries. Gary’s drive comes from having people and organisations think differently to generate new ways of doing things.

As a thought leader in innovation and creativity, Gary has helped companies of all sizes, in all industries and categories, to look at how they currently do things and address what needs to change in order for them to think differently and maximise the ideas that currently exist within the business, with the view to making the company more successful. He is often called when companies or individuals lose their mojo.

Through easy to understand, fun, interactive speeches and sessions, he presents to a wide variety of clients in the areas of creative thinking, mojo, marketing, strategic facilitation, and innovation to improve performance and help us be at our best.

Gary has written 6 books, a number of which have become best sellers, and won the Speaker of The Year Award for TEC (The Executive Connection) in both 2007, 2008 and again in 2012.

In addition to his speaking commitments he also established Australia’s first ever creative thinking venue The Ideas Vault at The Entertainment Quarter in Sydney, co-founded Australia’s leading cycling foundation the Tour de Cure in 2007, writes a blog called The Espresso, in which he scours the world to find interesting tips, tools and news to give you a new or different perspective on the world in which we live, and hosts a popular new podcast series on iTunes called The Mojo Radio Show.

Key Points from the Episode with Gary Bertwistle:

  • Gary bought a farm in his home of Australia, and in driving back and forth to the city from his farm, he went through all of his music library, and decided to listen to podcasts, which sparked a desire in him to start his own (after a previous career in radio)
  • Getting to hear the real authentic person behind the outward person is what Gary really craves in all of his interviews, and key to finding why someone has their mojo working
  • When Gary and two friends were putting together their charity efforts and had to select what to focus on, childhood cancer became so clear because kids get cancer despite not having lived a life of smoking or other behaviors people normally ascribe to cancer.
  • Gary has also focused on the impact on all of those around the person with the diagnosis, and Gary has worked to support them, as well.
  • While money helps, we can also really help people by being of service to them, sharing a message or being a support
  • While he was deep into raising money for cancer research and treatment, his father was diagnosed with cancer
  • A doctor friend of his told him that cancer is a formidable foe, and we have to be as aggressive with it as it is with us. He took this advice to his father to ask him, yes or no, are you going to fight this? If yes, then we are really going to fight, so let’s do it.
  • Not only did Gary work to raise money to fight cancer, but he has become a fire fighter to help save farms like his own from wildfires in Australia
  • He heard about people going out to fight these fires, and felt a strong sense that you cannot hear about this and not do something yourself.
  • He also had a very clear desire to do it because it was hard. The draw of a real test was a big part of what drives Gary to go after new goals.
  • Gary talked about the life of a volunteer. He and his peers work all day as farmers, getting up early and working hard all day. Then they get the call to fight a blaze, and go fight it until the work is done only to get up early again to work on their farm. They do it for no pay, and no time off afterward. It’s out of the pure desire to help. He saw this first hand fighting a blaze that nearly took his own home if he and his peers didn’t stop it just feet from his kitchen window.
  • Doing truly fulfilling work like this is such a part of his world, and so rewarding in a way that he can’t imagine not having it in his life.
  • It’s important to model the right kind of values and behaviors. When kids see us doing right, they will follow.
  • When you focus on the process of giving back, it changes the trajectory of your life, the scale of what you do next, and your whole approach to your world and what’s important. Our children then get to change their trajectory through the example we set, which makes it even more important.
  • Gary likes disruption and being different. He reminded me of the idea from Mark Twain that, whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s probably time to pause and reflect.



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046. Becoming a Person of Purpose with Tanur Badgley

By on March 12, 2019

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Tanur Badgley is a school teacher, blogger, and host of the People of Purpose podcast. He is fascinated with understanding the unique gifts he has been given and how he is shaped into a higher purpose when he chooses to live with full appreciation of those gifts. He believes we all have these gifts and can use them to unlock our infinite potential through pursuing our purpose. Tanur started his own path to purpose after a near-death experience falling at Yosemite National Park at the age of 19. Three years later he finished out college without a plan or a purpose to pursue. He found himself working a soulless corporate sales job, battling with depression from a devastating breakup, and eventually lying a dark room in the cold Minnesota winter after suffering his second major concussion. After three weeks of healing in the dark and two months of rehabilitation, Tanur was able to learn how to truly listen to from  his heart. During his work disability, he put in motion everything he needed to move to Thailand. and become a teacher.  In September of 2015 Tanur moved Phrae, Thailand where he taught and tutored English to 400 local 5th and 6th grade students from surrounding villages. He wrote nearly everyday in Thailand regularly publishing themes of his learning in his widely read Student Of the World Blog. He infused his blog with what he learned about himself and the world through teaching in Thailand, volunteering on an organic farm in Cambodia, trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp, sitting for a 5-day silent meditation course, and his month-long yoga teacher training certification course in Rishikesh, India.

Just over one year after moving Tanur found himself much happier and whole. He decided not to renew his teaching contract opting instead to choose an indefinite period of vagabonding and couch-surfing Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Canada through family, friends, and followers from the U.S. and Canada. This period lasted for 15 months. It was in this period that Tanur created, launched, and began hosting his People of Purpose podcast in October of 2017.  He felt compelled to go beyond himself to begin a project that shares the stories and wisdom of all the wonderful purposeful people he had met throughout his personal journey into purpose. People of Purpose features guests who live with a high degree of intentionality, are leading communities for positive change, and are treading a path that is very authentic to their passions and purpose. The podcast constantly inspires him and those listening to better align intentions with actions to live a more fulfilling and inspired life. In its first year the podcast has featured 30+ guests and 40+ total episodes. People of Purpose (PoP) has expanded to now include a regular newsletter where Tanur shares what takeaways on what he’s been experiencing and thinking about to grow in his purpose and how they can be applied to your life too. The podcast has now added a private coaching practice called Path to Purpose. Tanur expects a fully-interactive, comprehensive online course will be made available in 2019 that draws from the practices he’s learned from his guests and his personal path of purpose.

In July of 2018 after 15 months of traveling, teaching online, and finding odd jobs Tanur moved to San Francisco, California. He is completing an accelerated one-year Master’s of Education program and teaching credential as a full-time student and 7th grade social studies co-teacher at an urban, public- charter school in San Francisco. He is driven by the purpose he can express through through each of his endeavors and projects and the consistency of learning and challenge that helps him grow in his purpose which is “to be a conduit of God’s love by accepting everything he is, opening himself to learning challenges through difference, and using his gifts to live purposefully in order to help others find their purpose and fulfill their potential.”

Key Points from the Episode with Tanur Badgley:

  • Intentionality and purpose are the key themes to both this interview and Tanur’s life journey.
  • Tanur talks about decisions to experience via immersion so you get full-in rather than dipping your toes into things is how you can really grow. We talked about the intersection of immersion and introspection.
  • When Tanur was 19, he, his younger brother and father spent part of their summer hiking and climbing in Yosemite National Park.
  • His brother took a route off the path, which landed him stuck unable to get down from where he had gotten as many of the rocks he used to climb up had loosened and fallen out. Tanur went to try to help him, and ended up stranded on a small ledge with his brother. He tried to go for a ledge above them, grabbed hold and started to make it up until rocks let go under his hand as he was one grab from the top, sending him spinning head over heals over and over again as he tumbled down over 100 feet. He landed on his butt, but had hit his head multiple times, and finally stopped in the waterfall they were climbing by.
  • While the wiser choice would have been to stay on the ledge and wait for search and rescue, he chose a bolder path which ended up being the foolish path.
  • Tanur soon passed out from his injuries and head trauma while his brother was still stuck on the ledge. Their father finally made it to the top via a safer route and then saw what happened and quickly went to get help, which took seven hours and took them into night time.
  • He remembers moments of consciousness where he was frustrated that the help was focused on him while he brother was still in danger. Tanur saw himself as being as hurt as he could possibly be while his brother could fall off the ledge.
  • He had whiplash, a concussion and fractures in his cervical spine as well as deep tissue injuries to his butt – all of which he still deals with today. Somehow, in the moments after the fall, he felt a lot of peace. He made it, he was still there, and he was overall ok, which gave him a sense of not squandering his opportunity in life.
  • To get to a point of not squandering opportunity, he needed to know his purpose in life, and sought to learn more. Of course, that needed to wait slightly while he recovered from the damage to his body and brain, and was totally reliant on his father to care for him for several weeks and even more as he worked on the injury to his brain.
  • Three years later, Tanur found himself in a similar situation – he got another concussion while playing basketball. He was angry and it was impacting his decisions and behavior, so it wasn’t surprising to him that he ended up in a situation where he would get hurt. He had lost his grandmother, broken up with his girlfriend, and was in a sales job he did not like, which just meant things were boiling up inside of him, and because his life wasn’t aligned with what he cares about, he wasn’t making progress in dealing with everything.
  • With the space from all of it that his doctor’s note excusing him from work for a month due to his concussion, he dug into the self-work to face the pain and anger. Through his work, he focused on how to live a life that wasn’t for someone else but was for his own interests.
  • He dropped everything and decided to move to Thailand to become an English teacher, meditate and live in a more peaceful way.
  • He also used the time to finally move forward from his last relationship. We hit on the irony of how bad relationships can be harder to get over than the good ones.
  • He is clear that he wouldn’t be where he is today if not for the travel but even for the concussions. He finds himself thankful for both of those experiences.
  • His work as a teacher showed him how it is the most proactive force for good. It’s about saving lives before they go down a bad path, if you see it that way. He sees it as requiring you to be a role model and a constant life-long learner who builds up themself to keep growing. It’s about connecting with people as more than just a transaction but a true relationship.
  • Tanur talked about a very interesting struggle to fit in the box of society enough to actually fit into the world while also being removed from the game of it enough to be able to be fine if it all goes away or trouble befalls you.



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045. Breaking Free of Depression, Medication & Suffocation with Brooke Siem

By on March 5, 2019

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Brooke Siem is a true renaissance woman. She’s a professional chef (and Food Network Chopped Champion), world traveler (30+ countries), breathwork coach (more nasal breathing, please!), and grief/mental health advocate. Her broad range of life experience helps her to connect to clients while providing actionable tools that help them navigate the mental and emotional challenges of modern living. She believes in the power of using life’s triggers as a roadmap to healing, with self-awareness and self-compassion as the driving force for positive change.

Brooke had been prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs at 15 years old after her father’s sudden death. An unexpected  opportunity for a life abroad sparked the realization that she had been heavily medicated for half of her life. She decided to make a massive change.

First, she booked a one way ticket to Malaysia. Then, she got off all the prescription drugs.

Two years and 19 countries later, Brooke’s primary focus is on advocating for mental health and wellness without the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Though she believes that these sorts of drugs can have their place on the road to healing, her own experience has taught her that these medications are often poorly monitored by doctors, prescribed without thought of the long term consequences, and prioritize the notion of “existing” versus thriving. Brooke’s goal is to show that it is possible to live a joyful, centered life without the use of antidepressants, no matter how far down the rabbit hole we once were.

We get into the backstory that lead to being on medication for a decade and a half, the catalyst to come off them, the process of doing that (and what she discovered about herself through that very difficult journey), and how she’s lived her life since.

Key Points from the Episode with Brooke Siem:

  • Brooke had built a life in New York City around a bakery she found success at, but was also struggling with the demands of New York (and the costs of living there). Despite the bakery’s success, the cost of doing business in New York were so high that it made it hard to feel like you had real success.
  • She found herself struggling to fit in and find her path or her opportunities, and was judging herself for not being able to find them in New York – a place with so many opportunities abounding. Seeing people in successful paths only compounded that as she felt inferior to these other people who seemed to know where they’re going, and the competitive nature within her made her feel like she wasn’t winning in the path she had created.
  • When her bakery’s lease was coming up for renewal in 2017, her world changed. She got an opportunity through a program called “Remote Year” to travel around the world and work remotely with 70 other people in the program, and she went for it. The only trick was that her work – owning a bakery – wasn’t something she could do remotely. She figured she wouldn’t get accepted into the program anyway, so she didn’t let that stop her. She figured if she made it, she’d figure out how to make it work. And that’s what happened.
  • She felt she was at such a low point that she new she needed to get out of her situation and would regret not doing it if she could.
  • This all brought about another major change. When Brooke was 15, her father suddenly passed away, and she was subsequently put on a cocktail of drugs to manage the emotional impact. She went through all of life’s major, pivotal growth periods – adolescence, high school, college, entering the work world and becoming independent, without the drugs effecting her mind.
  • As she was turning 30 and looking at this nomadic existence, she realized she wouldn’t be able to get her prescriptions refilled reliably, so she suddenly realized she needed to find a path off of them, which also helped her realize she had been on them half of her life already and that got her wondering who she would be without them.
  • This sparked a very fast path to coming off the drugs so she would be clear by the time the trip came just six months later. As many of the drugs have long half-lives and withdrawals, this would be both tricky and intense.
  • When this all started, she described her feelings as misery, suicidal and essentially just waiting to die. It went so far that she found an online life expectancy calculator, got a date when it said she would die, and put it in her calendar. She actually quoted the time remaining when we were talking.
  • In the midst of this withdrawal, Brooke actually was chosen to compete on the cooking show, Chopped, which was incredibly hard in and of itself, but so much harder because of the emotional impact of the drug withdrawal. She actually went on to winning her competition despite what she was going through. She described seeing herself on the show as watching a twin who wasn’t her.
  • Brooke touched on her competitive side, which manifested in a competitive dancing background when she was younger, which obviously served her well on Chopped (and other things in her life).
  • She described coming off one of the drugs specifically, where her hearing became painfully heightened, making her hyper sensitive to everything around her (and NYC not being a particularly easy place to be that way). She described it as having all of these emotions and sensations bottled up for years, and then coming out all at once, which can feel unbearable.
  • She described the feelings she had through her therapy approach while coming off the drugs, and this feeling like her real feelings had been stifled and she had a dream where a rope was being pulled from deep in her throat, and that symbolized a freeing. It lead her to need to go outside one night and scream at the top of her lungs to physically release all that was inside, which was a pivotal, transformative moment for her in facing all that was inside.
  • Ultimately, the travel was a very clarifying thing for her because it helped her realize that the only constant in her life was her. She was able to completely isolate all of the variables in her life, which changed each time she moved to a new place, and found the way she could be the grounding center and could learn and grow in each place she went to. For example, with her heightened sensitivity to noise, traveling to Malaysia was incredibly difficult as the noise and bustle was even greater than in NYC. Had she not done that, she wouldn’t have gotten as good at dealing with the sensory-overload of life as she became after a month in Kuala Lumpur.


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044. Fighting Diseases of Ignorance with Howard Jacobson

By on February 26, 2019

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Howard Jacobson, PhD, is Chief of Behavioral Science (aka Chief Habit Nerd) at WellStart Health. He’s the host of the wildly popular (in his home) Plant Yourself Podcast.

Howard is co-author, with Josh LaJaunie, of Sick to Fit, and contributing author to T. Colin Campbell, PhD’s WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, and Garth Davis, MD’s Proteinaholic. His work has also been featured in Fast Company and the Harvard Business Review online.

Howard is lead instructor at the WellStart Health Coaching Academy, and co-author of the Coaching for Performance chapter of the American Management Association’s Book of Knowledge.

In his free time, Howard runs, practices Russian martial arts, gardens, and plays far-too-competitive Ultimate Frisbee.

Howard earned his BA from Princeton University, and his MPH and PhD from Temple University.

He lives in Pittsboro, North Carolina with his wife, and sometimes with his adult children. (Fly, kids, fly!)

Key Points from the Episode with Howard Jacobson:

  • As Howard went through his career, he had a feeling that making money meant he was selling out, so he does a lot of things for free.
  • His podcast, Plant Yourself, has a huge following, and shares the vegan lifestyle with thousands of listeners.
  • WellStart Health – a digital platform and care team to reverse chronic disease. Can you use behavior change to lead to better health outcomes and get people to put those new habits into their lives in a meaningful and sustainable way.
  • Millions of people have tried and failed to do better, and Howard uses a really brilliant analogy to illustrate why. If a six year old who has never played the piano before sat down to play a complex concerto, they will fail. This isn’t surprising. Yet we are essentially doing that with totally different ways to eat where we go in without clear knowledge, guidance or resources and don’t seem to have the same understanding when we struggle. Instead, we go to a place of frustration and a mentality of, “This will never work for me. It’s too hard.”
  • In Western society, we carry trauma and push ourselves to just move on, which really means the trauma stays within us, stuck there. In other cultures throughout time, there were processes to move through trauma, whether ceremonies, rights of passage or forms of therapy so people could truly move on. We don’t do that, and the trauma continues to cost us as time goes on, and it compounds with each successive trauma. Howard has chosen to face his rather than deny them, and that’s part of the work they do at WellStart.
  • Howard went into a podcast episode he did during a water fast he was on, which lead him down a mental path that came from releasing a lot of inhibitions as he faced lots of feelings. The episode went through a lot of thoughts around his father, and losing his father to cancer when Howard was just 24 years old.
  • He said he was really angry about it, which came from losing his dad to what he saw as a disease of ignorance. He realized this after digging into the research when his father was sick to find a way to save his life.
  • What he learned was that there are many diet-based changes that could have prevented and could help fight the cancer. Lacking that knowledge is the driver of this feeling of the loss being unnecessary and due to ignorance.
  • The knowledge was out there, but it was relegated to a very small academic world rather than the norms of the world at large.
  • While he was angry about the loss of his father, he used the time to reflect on who his father was, what he meant to Howard, and the ways his father would have grown and improved as a person had he had the chance to.
  • We have all lost people too soon. We have all seen towering figures shrivel and die unnecessarily, as Howard put it. And it’s been decades since his father died, so we shouldn’t still be able to say that this is still happening from the same ignorance.
  • He would like to see all doctors trained in lifestyle medicine, which, essentially, none of them are today. And the doctors should be upset about this situation.
  • We need to get this knowledge to a place where it’s accessible to all, not just people in the small group who know today, or to those who live with access to the tools you may need, like a Whole Foods store.
  • He asked really pressing questions around the sustainability of what we are doing in healthcare and agriculture/the environment. Things have to change, but will they change because we change them before it’s too late or will it change because it comes crashing down and we have no choice.


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