01:57 Monique: What was your inspiration for the book?
04:28 Bryan: My inspiration was , to actually write the book was a friend and mentor helping me see the path of what I really wanted to be doing. The way he put it was, what’s the last domino you’re trying to knock down? And now let’s line up all the dominos before that and push, right? As I went through that exercise for myself, I was in San Francisco for work and I went for a long run before my flight home along in the barking seals along the Pacific Ocean there and it was like, 4:30 in the morning, pitch black. Nobody around, perfect place and time to just be with my thoughts, the lapping ocean is perfect, some barking seals now and then but otherwise, it’s perfect. And it just became crystal clear for me and it’s because that was 2015, rewinding to 2011, that was when it really started for me. And I had been living those 4 years at that point and now nearly a decade, very, very differently. So I knew mentality wise, I just didn’t know the vehicle and the thing in 2011 was these moments were I thought my wife was dying. She was dying we didn’t think things would turn around and the world gave up on her. Her doctor called to basically tell me like, “Nothing I can do. I am going on vacation. Bye.” He did tell me I could take her to the ER if nothing else. We had just started a life together. 2011 we have been married for 5 years; our son was 2 years old. We were at the early stage. Every marriage faces that moment where it’s like one of us may be on the last few days and being a widow or a widower. It happens but not usually on your early 30s and the reality is, that existed in a version of me that was certainly not geared up. Nothing or anyone is ever ready for that. Like I was not the person I needed to be for her, for our son, or for myself and that last piece took a long time for me to figure out.
04:02 Monique: What informed you of that? That you’re the person you needed to be in that moment.
04:09 Bryan: Coming off that call with the doctor, that was June 30th, 2011 and I walked back into our bedroom. Like I took the call in and quickly went out of the room ‘cause I didn’t want my wife to hear, I didn’t want my son to hear, we’re all in our bedroom because I had a feeling like it’s a lot of bad news right now. She and I can have a private conversation. So I went off the phone with him and I am pale as a ghost. When I got back in to our bedroom, my son’s standing at the foot of the bed, looking at his mother who’s bedridden at this point. It hit me. It’s as if this boy is watching her die. And he turned around and looked at me right at that moment; I was done like, that just when it hits me. This is not working on so many levels. I’m not working. My style has always been super anxiety, the sky is falling. Bryan jumped in and does everything and save the day and I have been on that path since I was a little kid and it served me. Everything I had was because I constantly flailing to right the shift. I was actually a management consultant for 6 years so meaning my job was to find.. yeah, fix it! It’s like the more I did that, the more I was paid. It’s like I am totally reinforcing this react to the world and like hold the wall up and hold the ceiling up and only you can do that. No one else can. Which means if someone else’s is doing something and I see a better way to do it, I think they are not doing it well enough or fast enough, it’s like step aside, let me just see..
05:44 Monique: Let me throw my cape on.
05:45 Bryan: Yeah, and sometimes it was that literal. I remember a moment at work where this guy is flailing in excel projected in front of everyone and I’m like, “I know exactly what to do with this. Here, let me do it and I just took the keyboard and did it. And he came to talk to me later, “That made me feel worthless.” and my normal response is like, “But this was happening, that was happening. “ And this is just to justify it. And he’s like, “No. I’m a person you just totally demeaned and devalued me in front of all these senior people in this company. He’s right.
06:18 Monique: What was your role with that person? Was that a colleague?
06:20 Bryan: It was my boss’ boss.
06:22 Monique: It was the boss’ boss?
06:23 Bryan: I was his boss.
06:24 Monique: Oh, you were his boss. Oh, yeah! So you basically served any power or feeling of confidence, yeah.
06:32 Bryan: But to me at the moment is just stepping in to get the job done which mean in those moments when my wife is sick, I’m cooking, cleaning and working full time from home so that I can care for her also. And then my son was like, “Daddy, read to me.” I can’t do that I have to do this!” or she’s freaking out understandably and just needs me to sit with her and hear her. And I don’t have time because I got this and our son’s about to wake up. Constantly out of my way, there are things I need to be done to keep the roof on this house. One way I was 100% right, but in another way, I was 100% wrong. Like, I was doing everything and keeping things but I wasn’t like, “That wasn’t my wife needed. Like, yeah! She needed food or she needed her clothes or whatever”. But she needed her husband to sit with her when she’s scared for her life. To just sit with her and not tell her why she needs to do this and do that, the doctor said this and that. And just like, that is unbelievably hard.
07:37 Monique: And their end is when we realize that we are not on an island, right? We don’t live by ourselves. We don’t work by ourselves. Well, now I guess, kind of we do in the midst of this pandemic. But that being said, recognizing how much others need from you. And that was so powerful when you mentioned that look on your son, on your son’s face when he’s looking at your wife here and he was looking for you for some sort of something. It was just, “Okay, read to me.” And how we show up in those moments and that’s where as parents in particular, we don’t have playbook. The man in that mirror is powerful because they are reflections of us and we have a responsibility in terms of how we are shaping their world.
08:33 Bryan: That was the piece that hit me. My reasons for having Mind’s Idea. My parents were getting divorce when I was little and me not having that. So now, I’m in a situation where my own child, not divorced but losing his mother which is like not comparing one person’s hardship to another, but that is profoundly harder to deal with, I think. Of course for your own child, like you are hurt thinking about that so to think that this little boy is losing the person that is the center of his world, she’s stayed at home with him and that was his everything, that’s all he knew.
09:08 Monique: That’s all he knows, yeah.
09:09 Bryan: And if he’s not on any shot of happiness and I am the only parent he has? That’s not a good combination. I am not serving him and of course, I want nothing more than for him to grow up and to be happy and love his life. He has that possibility even if she’s not here, but not the way that I’m behaving. Yeah, that human mirror that reflected right back on me.
09:33 Monique: Well, and powerful awareness at home and at work with that instance where we got to get this done, move over I got this. That’s the challenge I am finding where often times first time managers are not really prepared in terms of how to manage. It’s not about you having the answers to all the questions. It’s about how do you support your team and getting those answers and being the best. They have opportunities greater than you can even imagine as a manager. And if you keep a ceiling on that, that’s all you’re going to get. So how you bring about success and increase performance and much of what you’re talking about in Do A Day, each of us carries a level of responsibility. It’s not just the manager’s fault, it’s not just the teammates fault but all of us carry some responsibilities. So let’s go ahead and pivot to that in terms of who you have supported and think about some client success stories. In particular, someone who you’ve supported moved from challenged to triumph?
10:43 Bryan: Yeah. There’s three clients that tend to come to my mind really strongly and this, I think my first non-friend or family or somehow like, “Oh, my friend, Bryan. You should talk to him”. But just like genuine off the street commercial client was someone.. a lot of my early work was with people who really struggled with their weight. I used to be obese. I grew up about 100 pounds overweight. That was a big part of my back story so that resonates for people. And I feel strongly like if you’re thinking about a coach, someone who’s walked the path that you’re on, someone who has struggled in the same way. And it’s not that intelligent people can’t understand, “Oh, I understand what you’re explaining to me”. But if I’ve actually lived it, it’s a bit different often. It doesn’t mean they’re naturally fit but things are lining up and she came to me for that reason. And people are like, “What do people come to you for coaching on?” And I say a bit crassly like, “I don’t care”. Of course, I care. But the point is, I don’t think where this vacuum compartment pieces of it like, “Oh, I just needed to work on my weight. Nothing else matters.” No, no, no you’re a complex intertwined person. What’s going on in your personal life, in your work life, in your family, in your everything matters for your weight, for your everything. So she came to me for a meeting too much. “I can’t say no to the treats at works. There’s always cookies and cake so I am putting on weight. I used to be an athlete in college, I’m not anymore so I want to lose weight, help me fight those cookies.” And in the back of my head, I’m like, “Right, so just don’t eat the cookies.”
11:38 Monique: It’s not about the cookies.
11:39 Bryan: Why are you eating the cookies? So we dug in to the bigger picture of her life and what was going on and why it was going on. One of the key things was she actually don’t know what she wanted or why she wanted it. Like not being chubby, is not a goal. I used to describe myself for those several years after I lost my weight. I used to be fat but now I’m trying not to be. Kind of goals like, “Hi I am Bryan, and I try not to be fat.” That’s kind of what she was saying, right? Like, I want to be not chubby. Like, that’s your life? Let’s talk about what you want to be cause that’s something that gives you fire. Why do you wanted not to be chubby? Can we set that aside? What is it that you actually want? Is that something that’s profound? Is it enduring? Is it going to be there for you when you need to dig deep? What are you hitting at? What the purpose you are going for and why are you doing that in the first place? That’s the work that we did and thankfully, that’s what I do with anyone. The reason why she stands out to me is, yes she lost the weight, but more importantly, there’s a lot of level to the nursing profession. There are different level of certifications, education and income, import and impact so she was starting at the lowest rung of that, just early in her career. She now has a PHD. This is from 2012 or 2011 to today. She earned PhD a couple of years ago. So she’s multiple levels above where she was at in a very short amount of time. She looks amazing, like she’s super fit and the cool thing to me is she’s coaching people now. And you see if you look at pictures in social media from when we started out, she was fine but there wasn’t, there wasn’t energy in her. Genuinely, she’s not one of these every photo is faked in, whatever. It’s just her natural life photos, she’s happy. And I’ve talked to her and it’s real. That’s what stands out to me. She knocked things within herself that made her, without even having to think about it, made her right decisions for her path because she knew what those dominos were. And so, today, she’ll just not eat a cookie. That’s not a plan for the day and cookies are good, you know? Think about what’s really going to pull you through whatever you face whether it’s about food or your career or your relationships, etc. If you don’t feel those things about why you exist and what you exist for? It’s very hard to me consistently make better choices.
14:18 Monique: That’s actually one of the elements of our coach training program that those who are coming in to the coaching space find most challenging is how to stand that space with the client and help them create what it is they want. Because the first thing they say is oftentimes just stay shadow of what they truly want. And so inviting them to expand on that through visual cues, what will you be hearing when this happens for you? How will you feel? And help them create a picture for themself to make it real. Such as they are like, “Yeah that is what I want”. When they can create that picture in their mind then the rest shows up - the behaviors, the pattern of thought. It’s so great to hear you say that and along the lines of your coaching clients, just your wild guess, is the most frequently thing that people say they want that seems to just evade them?
16:26 Bryan: Since Do A Day came out, there’s a shift in why people come to me. It used to be weight loss because people would see that. They can see that in me. And with Do A Day, it is a bigger discussion. So I find that I am talking to people either more about their career or they are out of place for like, “I need to shift my world”. And for many of us that comes down to what we’re doing, like people ask, “Tell me about yourself.” They either say, “I am away from father, a husband or like a high man, accountant or doctor or in certain career. And there are a lot of people and I think this is really interesting. In different stages, age wise, where they’ve sort of woken up and they said “How the heck did I get here?” That’s what I end up helping them most with. And that could be a career shift or it could be a relationship thing or any number of things; often it’s career. And I think the reason why is, we just have this conversation about my father. My dad is a physician. He’s from another country where you go to med school much earlier than you do here but he went in 15, which was even earlier there. It’s [19:59], it was awesome but he’s in his 70’s now so you think about that for 60 something years, he’s been a doctor, or on the path to be a doctor. He has no clue who he is. He went in that path before... Do you know who you were at 15? Was that the same person at 20 or 25? And now he’s starting to face retirement, he has no conception of who he is outside of being a doctor and it’s very unsettling. And so I find people who wake up at late 20s, late 30s, retirement or maybe someone on their 50s who’s been let go. They have no idea who they are because the last time they asked that question, if they did, was early 20s. You’re getting out of college, you’re getting a job and then you’re just on this path and 30 years later, “Wait, what? That’s what I end up with; it’s sort of identity question. And from that, the right career falls out, the right relationship to the people you’re in the relationship with including yourself.
18:36 Monique: Yeah, like who are they being? How do I get to know who I am, right? I have to admit, I went through that circle. I want to say the better part of 2 years because I worked hard earning my MBA, doing a corporate strategy work. I’ve been in large corporate. And I did not see it coming, what my role as a spouse and a mother and the impact that it will have on me. I’m testimony. I was trying to get 30 hours out of a day. It does not work. We only get the same 24 hours and it was an awakening of, like I still want to do what I was doing in my corporate job. Oh no, I have these other people in my life and how do I navigate all of this and so for me, the pivot to executive coaching was, it was very deliberate and it was a journey. And it was really a two years kind of unhinging what I knew to be true and being defined by my work.
19:46 Bryan: Yes.
19:47 Monique: Which so many people do. You’re defined by the company representing the title you have and what have you. And when you step outside of that, then it’s “who are you?”
19:58 Bryan: It’s one of life’s crisis’s are. I think its fallacy that you get one sort of half way through but it’s a natural time that we have one of these. Your world is widely different from the last time you made those call and it feels in discorded from who you are. And I think we have many versions of that at different points in our life that’s why there’s no specific age because it’s about what shifted, what’s going on with us, how our values have evolved, the context we’re in. But I think we get this periods where we feel like what we’re doing, something is not adding up. And I still like it or maybe I don’t but something is misaligned. Maybe I don’t understand what that is. And I think for some of us, there’s a stronger one of those for the volcano erupts in a bigger way. And that’s where we go on by a convertible or something like that. That’s the traditional one.
20:47 Monique: Because we want some external something that represents who we think we are and how we want others to extrinsic value that we place on what others think of us. And so, moving our discussion forward along these others in our life and moving primarily to workplace and relationships because the audience for Tuesdays with Coach Mo is really professionals, high achieving professionals and yes, who will stumble into opportunity and fall from grace and are having to pick themselves up and what have you. It was interesting; I was listening to a recent interview. President Obama recently came out with a book. He was, I think on Fresh Air and PR Podcast. I was listening to his interview and he laughed in response to one of his questions about well, you know “Others feel that you’re just too chill, like too laid back.” And he said “You know, I am who I am and one thing I know about my strengths is, others think I should have some strengths.” Like, I can’t live my life based on what others think I should be doing or others defining me. And he said “This goes back to childhood, growing up in Hawaii. This is kind of the land of the beach and sunshine and we kind of just like hang loose kind of vibe. And that has helped to shape him. What I found so empowering in that moment was wow, that’s what so many of my clients that I worked with and were interested in your experience relies so much with the rest of the world thinks of them. And what others have told me my strength is, well others have told me my weaknesses. And I truly believe where I’ve seen success with clients with those who know what their truth is; their intrinsic truth because all of us are unique. So yeah, makes it easier if you think you can put me into a box and so you run your race, I’ll run mine. So when you consider workplace relationships, what for you are some, guess, keys to success in navigating the workplace when it comes to relationships?
25:38 Bryan: Yeah, so I wrote another book that’s actually all about this. Not just about workplace but that’s one of the keys and basis but I think you’re getting at what’s most important and the heart that a lot of people struggle with. And I think putting the politics aside, this is why a lot of people don’t like Obama because he’s really comfortable with who he is and if you’re not.. I was having a conversation with my son about bullies earlier today and why they have to put someone else down is because they are so down on themselves. One of the ways they can pick themselves up is just lowering the bar around them. And that’s what it is, you see this person who speaks brilliantly, inspires people and is comfortable and calm even under the worst pressure that people face and it irks you because you wouldn’t be that. You’re worked up about it and he’s calm and that bothers you so you set a new bar for him so you can feel better. He’s unfazed. How are you in that same light for yourself? Do you know who you are so that you can be calm with what you face. You can be deliberate, and clear and brilliant and all the things that bother you about him, could you ever be that for yourself? If you’re not settled in who you are, you can’t be. Are you looking around at your boss did this to you and your co-worker failed at that and spelled onto you and it’s about how everyone else is incompetent but you. At some point, you have to ask if a thousand people are wrong and you’re the only one right, that’s probably messed up. So what are you seeing in yourself? And what I found in the notion of this other book is that ultimately, we all just seek happiness. This is why we do what we do which means I didn’t do this to just harm you, like for no other reason and just the fun to harm you. I wanted something which is maybe a perverse thing like I may want you to lower down so I may feel higher up which is why I want to feel better about myself. So if you can understand that in someone else, you’ll feel less attacked and you see the path of feeling a lot better and you can get to work on you.
25:20 Monique: Let me not get the glare but that is exactly one of the pages I actually kind of dug in here. And I love when you share about the incidents where a huge project and that missed line in the spreadsheet and what that meant. It wasn’t so much about that event but how you internalized it and then what you then put out for everyone else to enjoy and say that sarcastically. And that what’s the residue of that on anyone around you and so it is distinguishing between a failed event and the bridge to identity and that it really identified you. It’s an event and so if for nothing else, listeners to lean and I can even repeat this about distinguishing between an event, an activity and you and your identity being separate from that. Because when we identify with an event, even an event can go great. Sometimes we’re so full of ourselves because we’ve been doing such great things. That has residue as well but what happens when we identify with mistakes or hiccups or again it was an interview of President Obama said, “Progress is bumpy”. It was not a straight line but when we then internalized that, guess what that means inside of us, we’re bumpy and what do we then put out? Bumpy to others. And so that’s harnessing that self-awareness, I think is brilliant. So in what ways do you do that, Bryan, with your client in terms of helping them harness who they are?
27:14 Bryan: Yeah, you made a point about looking to others for validation or for like what Obama said, “Don’t look for their version of you that you should be living up to. So I do ask questions when they are relating stories to me like, “Okay let’s pick this apart and why you’re feeling the way you did and what the actions and the reactions are so there’s sort of postmortem to pick a part where did this all come from inside of you instead of it as an external thing or you’re looking for something external to laid on like I screwed up that spreadsheet. I have something to point to rather than, “No, Bryan. You’re just terrible to work with because you screwed up the spreadsheet.” So ultimately it comes back to like the first, because I know there’s a revised version of the book so I can say this. It’s like the first thing I teach in there and it was not in the original version and the title of the book is Self Up. That’s what it all boils to and as much as I loved the other messages in the ways that it helps people in the book, the truth is if you don’t get the first part, none of that stuff matters so building your purpose, your goals, none of that matters if you ultimately, you’re always coming back to a place where you’re feeling like you don’t deserve what that goals about and you’re incapable in achieving it. I don’t care how great your goal is and your reason for achieving it, if that voice inside of you is like, “Yeah, but..” you know? You’re not going to get that job. You’re not going to get this, you’re not smart enough for these people don’t really like you. Do you think you actually achieve any of those things? Or stop searching for someone else to tell you you’re okay? That’s pleading. If you are you, you’re okay. It’s not the same thing as hubris or being conceited. And I think societally, we mistake those. Love yourself and you’re just a jerk. No, you don’t have to go around gloating. Feel stable and confident in who you are.
29:06 Monique: When in your opinion is too late for someone to navigate the change that they want?
29:14 Bryan: Yeah, when they are dead. I mean that honestly. I worked with people in 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s and it’s always, they’re really setting their ways, they are not going to change. That’s fine for you to say, they are still human being, they still have feelings and even if they’re just inch closer in understanding their own internal motivations, that’s a catalyst and there’s a kinetic energy in that. And so I always say, I don’t change people’s lives. I help you change your life and that is a dynamic flow in process that we have to trigger. And as I said to you in the beginning, I needed to be better for my son, for my wife and me but I didn’t see the me part and that took me 6 more years. I was on a podcast and a host called me out. And he’s like you’re not talking about loving yourself and that’s why I changed the book. Absolutely right, I wasn’t ready for it. But it doesn’t mean I was never ready for it.
30:14 Monique: And it’s a journey. It’s a journey and it’s a process and there are support resources. I will be putting the information in the shownotes for our listeners to connect with you, to connect with your resources. And as we’re ready to draw to a close now, Bryan, what final thoughts do you want to share?
30:37 Bryan: So this point of self-love and make some other people squeamish. I can’t stress it enough, it’s to find a place where no one has to hear you but you just feel something good about you’re capable of and there’s a lot of easy ways to start that journey. Just think to yourself before you go to bed, “What did I do well today?” And be really careful not to suddenly discredit it or say “Well, I screwed that up but I got it back.” You don’t need the screw up part, just the good. And what happens is the more you do that, the more you do that. You start to build the right sense of yourself. It’s the little step by step thing but I said this in the book, “We’re not climbing to the top of the mountain in one day, it’s each step.” So if you are willing to invest in being capable of better and deserving of it, little by little every day, you’ll be surprised how much better and more capable and achieving you are not long from now.
31:34 Monique: Bryan I can’t thank you enough. Thank you so much for connecting with me today.
31:39 Bryan: Thank you for having me on, Monique.
31:41 Monique: You got it.