Comeback Stories

Darren Waller and Donny Starkins

Inspirational tales of the recovery journey - with Darren Waller, tight end for the Las Vegas Raiders, and Donny Starkins, international yoga instructor, mindfulness teacher, and personal development coach.

Tony Hoffman’s Comeback Story - One Choice That Can Change Everything
Oct 7 2021
Tony Hoffman’s Comeback Story - One Choice That Can Change Everything
After overcoming drug addiction that led to homelessness and prison, Tony Hoffman went on to acquire many great accolades. His goal is to motivate his audience through the methods he personally used to overcome his struggles into the one choice that can change the rest of their life for the better. Learn about the quote that Tony discovered in prison that unlocked the mental shackles he had placed on himself, and about Tony’s journey out of addiction and despair into a life of service and gratitude. Tony grew up in a typical middle class family where his parents worked all the time. His parents' absence very often meant that Tony had to figure things out on his own. He was naturally gifted at sports and fell in love with basketball despite being short. The biggest challenge as an athlete for Tony was that he didn’t have the life skills necessary to be coachable while growing up. Tony struggled with mental health issues because of the hole in his life where he needed his parents to be. Tony talks a lot about being 12 years old, which was the time in his life when he started to form his perspective on the world. His social anxiety led to self-loathing. He confessed his thoughts to his mother, but her inability to handle the situation only made things worse. Tony didn’t want to be treated like he was better than other people. He had to hire a sports psychologist to help him accept that he was gifted, and beating someone in sports doesn’t mean you are better than them. He ignored many teachers who tried to teach him about life when he was younger because he wasn’t ready to learn at that time. Tony’s first basketball coach was one of them. Tony quit racing at 18 to take a computer networking job in San Francisco. It was at that time he started experimenting with marijuana. This process of experimentation led to an oxycontin addiction which eventually resulted in Tony being a part of an armed house invasion of his best friend’s house to steal pills. Tony likens an opioid withdrawal to suffering from a flu that’s 100 times worse than usual, and you can get rid of the symptoms with a single pill. Tony’s rock bottom occurred a few years later where he was strung out on heroin and meth, and his brokenness made him lose all concern for himself. The drugs that he thought were fixing his pain were killing him, and he knew that and didn’t care. Tony had a spiritual experience on Jan 21, 2007 after being sentenced to prison. Tony tells people that he had been in a mental prison for 23 years, one that he created himself. Most people have created a mental prison for themselves without realizing it. While he was in jail, Tony saw a quote on the ceiling of his cell that changed his life. Tony realized that his gift was given to him for a reason and he became committed to getting out of prison and making the most of it. He decided that he would commit to doing the little things well and that would lead to making the big things better. Tony changed his narrative from quitting everything he ever tried to knowing that he is deserving of love and passing it on to other people.  Human beings seem to be the only beings on the planet that only take and rarely give back. Tony feels like that is the source of his discontent, and he can only feel fulfilled by giving and service to others. The pandemic has been challenging for Tony since he shifted so much of what he was doing to public speaking, but as long as he knows what his values are they will always lead him to where he is effective. Focusing on the house, or the car, or the wealth will always lead to an empty well. Understanding your core values is important because they are the bedrock for who you are. When you fall out of alignment with those core values, that’s when things fall apart. Tony views going to prison and being stuck with himself as a gift. It forced him to assess the times in his life when he felt happy and what his core values are, specifically determination, focus, compassion, and empathy. Being in prison highlights what really has value in your life. It shows how valuable your time is, your ability to walk and breathe and communicate with people in a way that inspires them. Tony’s definition of discipline is doing good work even when you don’t feel like it. This plays into Tony’s morning routine where it’s very regulated. One thing he focuses on in particular, is that when he’s in a vehicle he spends as much time as possible meditating. Tony’s sobriety model is based in spirituality and honesty. He needs to be able to be honest with himself and others, and quiet time is how he connects with his true self. Committing to be honest with yourself is the foundation for being a better person. There are many paths to sobriety. Use what works for you. If you’re struggling right now, talk to somebody who knows what you want help with. Sometimes something as simple as a conversation is all that stands between you and what you want. Tony’s comeback story goes to his best friend KP. KP has struggled with addiction just like Tony and has put in the work to get sober and has picked himself back up each time he fell down.   Mentioned in this Episode: @tonymhoffman on Instagram  Facebook.com/TonyHoffmanSpeaking One Choice podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Impact of the Lone Wolf
Oct 1 2021
Impact of the Lone Wolf
Carl Nassib joins us to do his first interview since coming out publicly in the NFL. His story is a testament for everyone to look deeper and realize that we all share similarities in this life of truth, discovery and triumph. In hopes to inspire the youth and bring further awareness about the LGBTQ community. Being the first does not mean having to stand alone. Carl felt he had a huge obligation to the LGBTQ community to come out publicly and tell his story. He did not come out publicly to break barriers. It wasn’t until 4 years ago when he actually realized he was Gay. He struggled with the idea that he needed to be someone else’s priority. He came from an Athletic family of 4 kids, his Mother, father and siblings were also in sports. Carl never lacked in Confidence, due to his mother who alway’s pushed him to be his best, keep a high standards. He never puts too much stock in things or people that put him down in life, only focuses on the things that brings him happiness. While in College at Penn State was the nation leader in sacks. Before becoming a Raider, he played for the Browns but was later cut from the team. This fueled his fire to play better and be the best. He learned early on to not focus on being like others but to be himself. Carl is the first active NFL player to come out publicly as gay, which coming out to his family was already stressful, however with the support of family and friends, this eased his decision to go public. He feels that if he can just help a few kids who are also finding themselves in a similar situation than it would allow him to sleep better at night. Teammates Darren Waller, Maxx Crosby have played a pivotal role inspiring Carl by telling their individual life stories in a team meeting. Choosing to come out publicly in the NFL has proven to be even more stressful, most would believe it to be the opposite. Your confidence shouldn’t be based on what other people say if you think you’re amazing because of what other people say, you don’t have confidence. Be confident seven days a week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Oliver Davis’ Comeback Story - The Daily Discipline Philosophy
Sep 30 2021
Oliver Davis’ Comeback Story - The Daily Discipline Philosophy
Oliver Davis shares the story of how his love for football and the willingness to put in the work every single day eventually became the basis for his successful private coaching practice, and how setbacks can be blessings in disguise on your journey to doing what you love. Learn about Oliver’s 4D philosophy and why something as small as a 1% improvement each day can change your life completely. Growing up was competitive for Oliver, especially being the youngest kid in a large family. It was a challenge moving to Georgia after living for years in Texas, but overall it was fun. At the time, moving from a small town to another state was a big change and very disruptive to Oliver’s life and expectations, but looking back, it was the best move his family could have made at the time.  In many ways it was good for Oliver. He went from being a big fish in a small pond on the football field, to playing with guys that were bigger than he was, so he had to learn how to adapt. He remembers being frustrated with having to sit on the bench a good portion of the time, but Oliver always believed that if he put in the work he would get his shot. At the end of Oliver’s sophomore season, everything changed. His new coach came in and changed everybody’s mindset around grades and what it means to succeed in life beyond just excelling on the field. Oliver never made it to the NFL, but he knew that chances were slim being 5’8” tall and was more than happy being able to give it everything he had when he was on the field. Now he carries that same mindset into the world of business. The first real message that stuck with him came from his coach during his sophomore year who put grades first. He taught Oliver that he could be the next guy to come through and make a difference. It’s easy to think that some people are meant to be certain things, but some people work their way to being the best, and why can’t that be you? Oliver’s lowest point was in being barred from playing football during his senior year. He remembers going to a number of different camps and working with a number of different teams just to keep football in his life. He leaned on his discipline and took a major chance that eventually resulted in landing a position in the AFL. Oliver’s father was always a positive example of hard work and consistent effort in his life, and he demonstrated the pattern that Oliver could emulate and bring to the field. Once Oliver’s family was on the way, he knew he needed to start thinking about making money outside of what he was earning in the AFL. He got a job merchandising for Coca-Cola and quickly figured out a system that grew his route rapidly, born out of his mindset and discipline. Oliver started running into a ceiling on what he could earn and achieve at that job, so he pivoted into brokering and logistics. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he had the mindset of success and doing what it takes to figure things out. The whole time, football coaching was always on Oliver’s mind. He decided that he was going to make a go of turning his passion into a business while still working full-time. Oliver asked his boss for a probation period to give him some runway, and put up some videos on Instagram and jumped into private coaching. It’s a process to find your purpose. Some things aren’t going to work for you and that’s okay.  If people were really disciplined and didn’t just talk about it, and stayed true to what they want they would get what they want. The common thread through every story of success is they never gave up. Oliver never expected to be an entrepreneur, but all his experiences and training have moulded him to be the leader he is today.  Daily discipline determines destiny. The things you do every single day will lead you to where you are going to be. If you think you’re worthy of the things you want, honor that every single day. If you can get 1% better every day, you will eventually achieve all the goals that you’re working towards. It will just be a matter of time. If you’re struggling right now, it’s never too late to get yourself in order. There are multiple examples of people who achieved their success at the age of 50. Always know that no matter where you are now, you can make the choice to change and improve things. Be optimistic, think positive, and write things down. You have to be the first person to believe in yourself and set the foundation for you to build on. Oliver’s comeback story shoutout goes to his wife. She was the one person that never doubted him and could see the vision he had.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Laura McKowen’s Comeback Story - Being One of the Luckiest
Sep 23 2021
Laura McKowen’s Comeback Story - Being One of the Luckiest
Laura McKowen shares her story of discovery and pain in struggling with an alcohol addiction, and how nearly losing her daughter brought her back from the brink. Find out how Laura learned the way to find purpose in the everyday little things that make up life, why gratitude outweighs pain, and why the struggle with addiction is the common peril that connects everybody. Laura grew up in a suburban town in Colorado. Her parents were divorced and she spent a lot of time around people who drank. As a consequence of her parents separating, she became hyper-attuned to everyone else’s emotions. The demands of the external world eventually became too stressful to handle and they manifested internally. Her earliest memories of struggle were of contorting herself around her father’s tendency toward anger. She experienced that as low self-esteem and being whoever the other person needed her to be at the time. If you don’t have a sense of identity for yourself and your sensation of being okay is determined by the outside world, you’re not going to feel okay. Laura was told by authority figures in her life that she was tough and resilient because she didn’t project her pain on the surface. She tried to live up to that perception, which only drove the pain deeper. We develop false selves when our needs are not getting met. We need these false selves on the surface to interface with the world, but if you don’t have a stable core underneath, you are always performing which leads to addiction because the pain can be too great. We often build our entire lives around this performance. To denounce it is to blow up your life, so we avoid doing that. Laura’s grandmother comes to mind as one of her earliest teachers, but she found many of her teachers in books. She had always been attracted to Buddhism and has been drawn back to Pema Chödrön many times over the years. Her greatest moment of adversity was hitting the wall with her drinking. After waking up next to a stranger instead of taking care of her four year old daughter, she knew she had a major problem. Despite her outward appearance of success, Laura put in jeopardy the most important person in her life and she couldn’t reconcile those two things. Extracting herself from the emotional, physical, and psychological addiction was the hardest thing she had ever done. It was the dark night of the soul that lasted a year and a half. In that time of purgatory, Laura got a taste of sobriety. Just getting through a day without drinking was the challenge she had to overcome and it took a few months of effort before she had a tough day that didn’t require a drink to get through. Being an author, podcast, and CEO are all parts of the expression of Laura’s potential, as much as the little things. Your purpose doesn’t have to be as big as your destiny. It can be the moment to moment events of each day and how you choose to show up for them. It’s often the unseen actions that feel the best. Being in purpose is a practice, but what we practice gets stronger. “If you bring forth what is within you, what will bring forth will save you, and if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” -Gospel of Thomas When you spend time with people who have been through something hard, nothing surprises you anymore. What’s extraordinary is the ability to let something go and make meaning of it. At the beginning of Laura’s reckoning with her alcohol addiction, she realized that we all have some addiction. It’s the most ordinary story of humanity, and she realized that she wasn’t alone in her struggle. The struggle is the common peril that connects us. Gratitude is a blanket over everything Laura experiences now. She’s grateful specifically for being okay in any given moment, even when she isn’t really alright. Being satisfied in an everyday moment is enough. What is enough? We all feel the disease of more and it will erode all your achievements and happiness if you let it. Darren practices self acknowledgement to avoid the never ending race of needing to always be more. Acknowledge yourself for the progress you have made. Defining your own level of success is important for feeling happy. Don’t measure your success against other people’s standards. Everyone has to do this work, but for people in recovery the stakes are a bit higher so it’s more present and clear in our lives. Writing your thoughts and feelings down has been proven to improve health factors and doing it coaxes things from the subconscious to the conscious, which is the only way to release them. If you can maintain an attitude of curiosity, you can start to reveal things to yourself.  Verbalize what scares you to someone you trust. Laura’s comeback story shoutout goes to her daughter. She has taught Laura what it means to love someone without reservation. Without her, Laura wouldn’t have learned how to talk to herself. Being a mother grounds her to her true purpose.   Mentioned in this Episode: lauramckowen.com theluckiestclub.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Kelsey Chittick’s Comeback Story - Our Greatest Obstacles Turn Out To Be Our Greatest Gifts
Sep 16 2021
Kelsey Chittick’s Comeback Story - Our Greatest Obstacles Turn Out To Be Our Greatest Gifts
Kelsey Chittick talks about the emotions and pain of losing a partner, and how the process of grieving and allowing herself the space to feel and release her emotions showed her that healing is possible. She learned that when you share your pain with the people that support you, it gets better. Kelsey says she grew up living a charmed life. She spent her childhood in a small town in Florida with a close-knit family. Kelsey focused on sports as she got older and eventually met her future husband in college. This gave her a strong foundation for the rest of her life. Her grandfather was very spiritual and her mother and father allowed Kelsey to choose her own spirituality, as long as it ended in love. Her mom was way ahead of the game, diving deep into self-improvement and meditation well before it was cool. She didn’t struggle as a child in the same way that some others have. Kelsey’s brother dealt with addiction to drugs and alcohol, but Kelsey’s first real experiences of pain didn’t happen until she was in her 30’s, after she had kids and when her husband passed away. Her first real teacher was her grandfather. He taught Kelsey that she had everything she needed inside of her to heal and be who she wanted. Kelsey says she married her husband because he was so similar to her grandfather. We are given a vehicle and must decide how to drive it. Kelsey’s husband Nate used his football career to get people to pay attention, and then used it to have real conversations with them. Two years before Nate died, Kelsey started to feel that something was off. She could tell that he wasn’t the same and something was wrong. Kelsey later went on a spiritual retreat to Jamaica and on the last day she got the call that brought her to her knees. On the flight home, Kelsey made the decision to be there for her kids and do what she needed to do to be present. Now meditation is the most important part of her routine. She still gets anxious and fearful, but she fights to be alright everyday. You have to do it until it stops feeling weird. Yoga and meditation can be challenging when you begin but if you keep at it, eventually it becomes easier. Kelsey’s lowest point happened around a year after her husband died. After all the logistics were finalized, there was just the hole that was left. The nights with the kids were the worst. She was not prepared for their pain and it took two years for Kelsey to figure out how to support them, which for them was sitting next to them without saying a word. At the beginning of Kelsey and Nate’s relationship, his brother was 13 years sober, and they committed to sitting with the awful. After Nate died, this became about embracing the grief and feeling the emotions until they passed. Kelsey allowed herself to feel the tsunamis of grief as they came so she could move on. Kelsey has always loved to write and be on stage. The experience of losing her husband gave Kelsey the opportunity to write about something truly meaningful, and the book she wrote after Nate died was born out of the journals she wrote afterward. Compared to the pain of the last four years, Kelsey feels like she’s on drugs, metaphorically speaking. The joy outweighs the pain now and life feels more bright. It wasn’t until recently that she could see the beauty of it all. The power of journaling is that it gives you the ability to get things that are eating you up out of you. Writing things down is the great gift of handing something over to something bigger than you. One benefit of journaling is you see your growth over time and when hard things happen, you get the mindset of having dealt with hard things before. We’ve all been through hard times, and they need to be honored just like the good times. There is a difference between meditating, yoga, and having a meditation practice, which is something that Kelsey realized only recently. When doing anything public like a podcast, Kelsey used to get herself fired up but now she tones things down so she can settle herself. Her morning routine starts with a meditation from Sam Harris. If you’re just getting started with meditation, start with something in your ear. It could be either music or someone speaking but it will help you. After a while, you can get to sitting in silence. That's great. For Kelsey, emotion needs motion, so she moves her body a lot through walking and yoga. Yoga has helped her process a lot of the emotion and pain that came from the last four years. Kelsey is proud of making it through everything. When life is simple and easy, you don’t think you can handle the hard times. Kelsey was tested, and she and her kids made it through. We don’t have a lot of choice about what happens to us, but we have a huge choice on how we deal with what happens and how we define it, and a lot of that comes from the language we use. Kelsey decided to change the story she was telling herself about her life and reframe it. What you speak becomes your truth, and your truth becomes your reality. You can go back and change one thing in your life without changing everything. She doesn’t want her son to play football, but she wouldn’t go back and change the fact that her husband did play because then she wouldn’t have had the life she did have with him. If you’re struggling right now, find a community and people who will hold you accountable who are also joyful and will keep you moving. Do one thing better each day and find support. Time heals but how you get there is up to you. Kelsey’s comeback story goes out to everyone in her town, who showed up in ways that are hard to describe after Nate’s passing, as well her friends and family who carried that pain with her. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
David Meltzer’s Comeback Story - Blending Faith and Money
Sep 9 2021
David Meltzer’s Comeback Story - Blending Faith and Money
David Meltzer shares some of the most powerful lessons he’s learned in the process of losing over $100 million dollars and nearly losing his life and family, and then rebuilding his life from scratch. Learn about David’s philosophy on faith and money, and why gratitude and humility are the keys to accelerating the process of creating wealth and happiness in your life. David grew up in the world of “not enough”. He had no shortage of love and happiness, but his family certainly struggled with money. This shaped him as he got older because, in his mind, the only missing piece to his life was money. That gave him a drive to achieve everything he could, but it also gave him a major chip on his shoulder. The story of not having enough had positives and negatives. In a healthy way, it taught David to keep his options open and be creative when figuring out how to solve problems in his life. During the pandemic, the ability to see opportunities where other people can’t has been a superpower. The problem with growing up with not enough is that you are always asking for crumbs, because you don’t know any better. The size of the world you live in is so small when you’re poor, and you focus on what you don’t have rather than realizing how limitless life really is. Many people that achieve big results in their life still feel unhappy because they are constantly chasing the things they don’t have. You need to find a way to be enough for yourself. When David lost everything, he was almost relieved. He had this extraordinary gift to sell but he never really felt like he earned it. He bought things he didn’t need to impress people he didn’t like. Losing everything allowed David to reassess his approach and appreciate what he has. When you appreciate what you have, you add value to it and expand it. When you give it away, you now have a bigger space to receive even more. Appreciating what you have must be part of the process. Receiving starts with our belief system. The moment that David shifted his paradigm and realized that he was already happy and healthy, he just needed to identify how he was getting his own way. Where are you putting all your energy? Put your emotion and energy into the relationships that are feeding you instead of the people bleeding you. David was abused as a nine year old. Pain and trauma are going to happen to everyone, it’s part of living, but it’s what we do with the pain that’s important. Pain was trained into David to be a propeller. Faith was David’s ultimate GPS because he had faith that anything that happened in his life was an opportunity to grow, learn, and accelerate instead of a punishment. Everyone has a different definition of meaning and happiness that’s unique to them. The way that you reconcile that with your successes will determine how much you can give and how great an impact you can have. David’s mom and two grandfathers were the biggest influences in his early life. One lesson he learned along the way though was that just because someone loves, that doesn’t mean they give good advice. Two years before David lost everything was the greatest moment of adversity. He almost lost both his life and family after years of going down the wrong path in life. On the edge of taking his own life, David realized that he didn’t hate his father, or his best friend, or his wife, he hated himself.  Of everything that David teaches, the two things that have had the most impact are gratitude and to ask for help. The same lessons he learned before he was 3 years old. If you say thank you before you go to bed for the next 30 days it will change your life. No one knows everything, but we often pretend we do. There are only two types of people in the world: people who don’t know and ask for help, and arrogant people that pretend they know and cause separation and offense and pain. Come from a place of humility in everything you do. David’s early story was that he wanted everyone to love him, but that’s changed to simply loving himself. When you try to get people to love you it turns people off. Gratitude changes the way that we see the world and turns what we have into enough. People need to know their what, who they can help and who can help them, how to get it done through the lens of gratitude, and then apply the why within. The more you get done, the more you will be profitable, passionate, and personable in what you do. David is always grateful for his health. He spends an hour everyday on his health because when you’re healthy you get as many wishes as you want. When you’re unhealthy, you have only one. Happiness is the greatest virus. All you need to do is witness giving and happiness is released. If David were to give his younger self advice, it would be the same thing that’s currently on his nightstand: ask for help. Asking for help is the fastest way to accomplish something, but it also allows people to feel important and special. Be ignorant and humble, and ask for help. The key to life is to be interested, curious, and creative. Ask people open-ended questions and be more interested than interesting. When combined, it accelerates the process of creation. Meditation is the practice of being quiet so that you can acquire a higher vibration. It’s the one practice that has changed David’s life more than anything else. David’s comeback story shoutout goes to his mom and wife.   Mentioned in this Episode: david@dmeltzer.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Ryan Clark’s Comeback Story - Your Comeback Story Is Still Being Written
Sep 2 2021
Ryan Clark’s Comeback Story - Your Comeback Story Is Still Being Written
Ryan Clark shares the lessons he learned from his near death experience and how facing death allowed him to realize how precious life really is. Ryan also tells the story of losing one of his oldest friends to suicide in college, and how that changed his perspective on life and why you shouldn’t wait to be a better friend and person to those people in your life, because they aren’t always going to be there. Ryan didn’t grow up rich but he doesn’t have a story of childhood adversity that many people do. Even at an extremely young age Ryan wanted to play football, to the point of preferring to watch a game in 8th grade instead of kissing his then girlfriend. Ryan’s earliest memory of pain involved one of his oldest childhood friends. His friend took his own life and it was Ryan’s first time dealing with the death of someone close to him. Up until that point, Ryan considered himself tough. At his friend’s funeral, he recalls how angry his sister was and how confused he felt. It was his first true memory of pain. Up until that point, you think you have an infinite amount of time with the people that are close to you. Thinking back now, Ryan wonders if the questions his friend was asking him were actually an attempt to get Ryan to ask him the same questions. To start a conversation that could help. The emotion he dealt with most was regret and being upset at himself. It was the first time Ryan started to ask what kind of friend he is. This experience of pain allowed Ryan the introspection so he didn’t have to relive the same relationship with his son. The person who mentored Ryan the most was his oldest first cousin, Gary Lewis. He would talk to him constantly about life and showed him that football is not just about the glamorous lifestyle, it’s about the discipline and focus you need to get the things you want from life. He taught Ryan that even his time is valuable. Gary was the first man other than his father that had a huge impact on who he became. The adversities that Ryan has dealt with ended up being the greatest thing for him. He recalls a day where he felt like he was dying. After losing 20 lbs over a couple of weeks Ryan began shaking uncontrollably and truly believed he was going to die. He began praying for his wife and his family, and upon accepting his fate his shaking stopped. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him for weeks until he called a doctor in Pittsburg who ran a test. Two hours later Ryan was in the hospital and went through five procedures over the course of the weekend. Ryan had a Sickle Cell Crisis and by the time he got to the hospital, his spleen was four times larger than normal. One of the key lessons Ryan learned from his experience is that not everyone is built the same. The truth about concussions in the NFL was coming out around this time and it gave Ryan the perspective to understand the anxiety and depression that other player’s were experiencing. All these experiences brought lessons in the loss for Ryan. Death can teach us how to live. Everybody’s comeback story is unique to them and it’s not so much about the story as what you take from it. It’s important to value the stories of other people instead of trying to compete with each other. When telling his story, Darren tries to relay the message that you don’t have to be perfect to impact the lives of other people in a positive way. The story doesn’t stop when you overcome a trial. Everyday you have to wake up and defeat the obstacles in front of you. Even with millions of dollars, you have to overcome your bad habits, some of which get amplified by having money. We all want our story to be bigger. Ryan is grateful to simply be alive. He’s also grateful to God for keeping his family safe, especially his mom. He’s even grateful for the trials he’s gone through, as a football player and off the field, and having to grow up once his football career was done. Losing his first passion led to Ryan having to find a new one. Now learning about the world and how he can help has become his new passion. For someone who’s stuck, the first thing to realize is you shouldn’t be embarrassed. It’s never too late to start, but don’t start too late. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can start feeling and being better right now, but don’t put it off. Don’t wait to feel better. Take action now, and you will feel better. You can’t control how people see and value you and you can’t control how you see and value yourself, just start. Ryan’s comeback story shoutout goes to people who are still in their story and actively working to be better right now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Baron Baptiste’s Comeback Story - Meditation, Yoga, and How To Stay Out Of Your Head
Aug 26 2021
Baron Baptiste’s Comeback Story - Meditation, Yoga, and How To Stay Out Of Your Head
Baron Baptiste, the founder of Baptiste Power Yoga, talks about some of the major realizations and key lessons he’s learned in his life and why the hardships we encounter are things that allow us to choose how they shape and define us. Learn how Baron let go of his anger and resentment and how that became one of his life’s most impactful turning points. Baron describes his childhood with two words: freedom and painful. His parents were dedicated to natural ways of living and eating, with his father being an herbalist and running a yoga center. With the freedom, he didn’t have the same bonds as other families, which resulted in a deep sense of loneliness. He recalls being the kid that everyone picked on and because of the shame and embarrassment. He never told anyone what was happening. In the long run, the pain of being alone developed into resilience later on in life. Baron’s father was his first real teacher. He had a natural way of serving people and being around that bled into Baron’s perspective as he was growing up. Another big influence was a visiting yoga teacher from India who exposed Baron to athletically physical yoga for the first time. As he continued to study with him, he showed Baron the power of a mind/body practice. Baron’s childhood was stacked with a lot of trials and tribulations. Since he didn’t fit into the mainstream very well, he fell into a peer group that didn’t have the greatest habits. In his teenage years, Baron was failing school rapidly and getting into drug use. Baron continued on this path, got married and had three kids, but eventually he and his wife decided to separate, and that experience brought back the same sense of deep loneliness. Baron saw two options. He could put his suffering and pain on others or he could take responsibility for his life and who he wanted to be. Before his divorce, Baron was taught a different way of meditation that focused on observation of his thoughts. It was at that time with that focus, that Baron realized how much resentment and anger he had inside him, brewing just below the surface. Prior to hitting bottom, he didn’t see himself as an angry person at all. He realized that he had a lot of anger towards his father for not being present in his life when Baron was growing up. It was forgiving his father that lifted a sense of heaviness off his shoulders, and that moment of forgiveness became a major pivot point in his life. You can feel justified in your anger and resentment, but at some point you need to let go of the things that no longer serve you. Yoga was always a part of Baron’s life but it never directly impacted his experience of living. It was more of an intellectual pursuit until he learned to embody his experience with meditation. He began exploring other kinds of teachings like Christian and Judaic mysticism and Zen Buddhism. You can access the power of meditation without going through the 12 steps. You just have to be willing to sit with your shit. Meditation is about getting to the root of the problem, digging it out, and healing yourself. In life, we are either expanding or contracting. Resentment is a way of contracting and closing ourselves off. As the saying goes, “It’s like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Around the age of 19, Baron decided to give up alcohol and drugs, and despite not being addicted to those substances anymore, the 12-step program still had applications in his life. After attending some meetings with a friend, he had the realization that he needed to forgive his parents as well as acknowledge his judgement and resentment, and let it go. Everything changes when you stop blaming, and start taking ownership. Baron is most grateful for his three healthy, bright, and intelligent sons as well as whatever higher power has been watching over him and allowing that to happen. He’s grateful for the experiences and hardships that he’s had that have strengthened him and made him better. Make your practice about staying out of your head, in whatever way that means for you. There is power in staying out of your head. Meditation is a unique way of doing that. It allows you to be present to the physical sensations of your body and the universe. If you find meditating difficult, just find a comfortable place and just sit. If you feel resistance, just put your attention on your breath and watch your thoughts. Just sit without expectation and see what happens. Your thoughts aren’t you. Separating yourself and becoming aware of your awareness gives your negative thoughts less power over you. Baron’s friend John Sullivan gets his comeback story shoutout. He’s the one guy who has always been there in the hardest of times.   Mentioned in this Episode: Baronbaptiste.com @baronbaptisteyoga on Instagram @baronbaptiste on Twitter Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Sylvester McNutt’s Comeback Story - Telling The Full Story
Aug 19 2021
Sylvester McNutt’s Comeback Story - Telling The Full Story
Sylvester McNutt III brings some hardwon and deep wisdom to the podcast. From a childhood where he faced death down the barrel of a gun held by the hands of his father, to nearly being expelled in high school and turning his behavior around and becoming a model student, to the simple yet powerful lesson he learned about love in a brief conversation with an elderly lady on the streets of LA. Sylvester describes his childhood with one simple word: colorful. His father was in the military and his family moved around quite a bit. As he got older, Sylvester was able to appreciate the duality of his early life where his father was a great leader but a poor teacher, and his mother was an excellent teacher but not the most loving mother.  Around the time his brother and sister were born, the entire family dynamic changed from healthy and happy to violent and unhealthy. He sensed the changes but didn’t really have the language to describe so he got into sports to cope. Sylvester actually stole his first journal from a 7/11. As difficult as his childhood became, it launched his deepest curiosity. One of his earliest memories of pain was when he faced death directly because of his father. That’s when he developed a deep mistrust of his parents. The consequences of the constant disruption and mistrust were anger issues. This led to Sylvester getting into a number of fights in school until a teacher directed that anger towards sports. Another important teacher in Sylvester’s life was his Assistant Principal in high school. Sylvester was always a difficult student and after being suspended for 42 days he essentially had to beg to stay in school. His Assistant Principal was willing to show him the motherly love Sylvester needed to turn things around and gave him a deal that allowed him to stay in school. In his final high school years, Sylvester had perfect attendance and straight A’s because he had something bigger than his trauma, which was his team. Slyvester’s coach required him to take up track in preparation of excelling at an even higher level, and despite hating running, that experience became the path that led Sylvester to yoga. In so many ways, sports saved him. Sylvester’s father passed away in 2014 which gave him an acute sense of his own mortality. He was in a position where he didn’t have the money to fly back for the funeral and was forced to ask for help, which was one of the greatest things that happened to him. Speaking at his father’s funeral and helping people grieve their loss was when he realized his destiny and decided to pursue speaking. His journey to becoming the speaker he is today has helped him heal all the trauma of his childhood. He no longer has hate in his heart and feels blessed to be able to heal other people with his words. Being present enough to ask why he drank alcohol was enough for him to want to be sober. Sylvester is now five months sober and is looking forward to his first birthday with a sober toast, many of which have also started reevaluating their relationship with alcohol. While he was in his trauma, Sylvester was in survival mode. He pushed hard in his corporate job and became one of top salespeople in the organization, but that turned sour after he became afraid of his own success. Sylvester recalls a story of his encounter with an elderly woman/potential angel who revealed the truth of love to him. When someone gives you love, you honor that. You don’t justify it.  Many people downplay the love that they receive because of shame. Shame makes you feel small and reject love. Today, Slyvester is most grateful for his little boy. Fatherhood has given Sylvester another way to see the world and a more complete perspective on life. Journaling is a powerful way to dismiss thoughts of not being worthy or not enough. You can ask yourself “do I need to hold this thought?”, many of the times you don’t. We teach people how to treat us. As human beings, we seek safety, but the trouble with a complete break in a relationship is that lack of opportunity for repair. The solution is boundaries. Boundaries are about developing a framework that allows us to interact with each other and a vessel for safety. If you’re struggling with boundaries, know that boundaries are where you end and the other person begins. They are about respect, not about one person always being right. If Sylvester could send a message to his younger self, it would be to “stop trying to do it all on your own.” Find a community. It’s okay for other people to know about your pain and failure. Strength is in the full story, not just the success.  Sylvester’s comeback shoutout goes to a number of friends and family members that have supported him and showed him the right path forward.    Mentioned in this Episode: Free Your Energy podcast - more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aubrey Marcus’ Comeback Story - The Alchemy of Gratitude
Aug 12 2021
Aubrey Marcus’ Comeback Story - The Alchemy of Gratitude
Aubrey Marcus, the Founder of Onnit, talks about how some of the lowest points in his life and relationships revealed what he was struggling with internally and what he needed to let go to move forward. Aubrey shares some incredible wisdom and discusses why gratitude is the ultimate choice, why truth comes as a whisper and how you can calm your mind so you can hear it, and why fear is the cage we all construct for ourselves. One of the things that stands out to Aubrey about how he grew up was that his parents split up early on and he quickly had two step-parents as well. Every single one of his parents was exceptional at what they did in the world and this gave him a unique, well-rounded environment and a lot of pressure to perform. His earliest memories of pain involved his father and certain moments of intense rage. These experiences shaped how Aubrey communicates and the language he uses to be effective. Another challenge was the level of expectation that Aubrey had for himself growing up. He still struggles with his internal judge and tries to make it more of a coach instead of a critic. The internal judge is often a driver for high performance, but there’s a good chance that high performers would still achieve at that level without it. What could you have accomplished with a more positive mindset? Aubrey’s first real spiritual mentors outside of his parents include Don Howard, Ted Decker, Joe Rogan, and Bodie Miller. Aubrey also looks to some of the great mentors of the past to learn from as well. Adversity was more of a compounding series of events for Aubrey going into 2018. He had challenges in his relationship, health, business, as well as issues with his friends and it all culminated with a car accident. That six-month stretch of his life was the most challenging he’s ever experienced. In the depth of his struggle, Aubrey turned to prayer and letting go of his attachment to his business’s success and accepting the possibility of failure. All the issues in his life became pearls of insight that he could share with others, and the act of sharing was one of the things that helped the most. Aubrey’s podcast was initially inspired by being one of the early guests on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Aubrey’s clothes business developed out of what they were doing with Onnit, but the nature of a cut and sew business is very challenging. One lesson he learned along the way was that if you want to be successful, you have to back it with a lot of chips and really go all in. Every time that Aubrey has shared something vulnerable, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. As bad as the car accident was for Aubrey, it was the turning point for a lot of the issues that he was experiencing. His greatest challenge was in his polyamorous relationship where he felt overwhelmed by the pain of knowing his partner was a guy that he couldn’t deal with.  There was another moment in the business where the CFO of Aubrey’s company walked out in the middle of a meeting. As rough as that was, the relationships in his personal life were the hardest aspect to deal with. Struggling with the other guy his partner was going out with revealed to Aubrey that he entangled sex and love and needed to separate the two. Aubrey is grateful for his wife and his health. He feels like an unseen hand has been guiding his life and moving him forward. Gratitude is a choice, and it’s one of the most important choices you can make. It changes the way you see the world and it’s something that you have to practice every single day. The mind is noisy, and the truth often comes to us as a whisper. To hear that whisper you have to quiet what your body is screaming for, which is where meditation practice comes in. One of the easiest ways to hear those whispers is to get into the flow state in whatever way works most effectively for you.  People have categorized psychedelic medicines as a drug which is part of the stigma, but in the right context, they can create hybrid sobriety and free you from the habit of being yourself. That doesn’t mean that plant medicine can’t be abused if they are used like drugs, but when used properly they reveal your true self which isn’t addicted to anything. Addiction is an attempt to solve a problem according to Dr. Gabor Mate, and studies are showing how plant medicine can help solve some of those problems. Sobriety won’t necessarily solve your issue, but you usually need another practice to help you get to the root of the problem. Finding the right guide is crucial to using plant medicine correctly. Do your research and come with the right amount of respect before jumping in with both feet. If Aubrey could speak to his younger self, it would be to tell him to enjoy it more and know that it will all work out. But after five years of giving that answer, he’s not sure he has been taking that advice. He’s still trying to find the time to enjoy his life and do his best. Today is a good day to die is a philosophy of living in such a full way that each day is a good day to die. Living with a fullness of life and heart is a philosophy that Aubrey has embraced and an ideal that he tries to live up to. The thing that is holding us back is always ourselves. We live in prisons of our own creation, the trick is to let ourselves out. There are now more cages than ever for us to place ourselves in and there’s never been more fear in the world than there is today. Coincidentally, the people most afraid to die are the most afraid to live. Fear is the real virus. Stop fearing the conversations you know you should have, stop fearing putting down boundaries in relationships that are unhealthy, stop fearing to be yourself. Aubrey’s comeback story shoutout goes to his mom and her unconditional love.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices