Tired, unhappy, overweight, feeling overburdened, and feeling all the pressure was how Do A Day author, Bryan Falchuk, would describe his life at 32. On top of that, he was also facing the problem of losing his wife and being a single dad. Bryan was literally struggling. The clarity came from looking at his role as a father. He realized he was not being the man his son needed. He decided he has to do better for his son, and even more so for himself. Bryan shares his Do A Day philosophy, which is about mindfulness and about waking up each day and having things that you want to achieve, whether that’s overcoming something or whether that’s a goal that you’ve set yourself toward. Learn how you can apply Do A Day in your life so you can start to take those actions for what you have to achieve right now.
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Do A Day: Taking Action One Day At A Time with Bryan Falchuk
I’m excited about my next guest and I’ll tell you why. I saw his bestselling book and the title of it made me go, “Huh?” Then I heard his story and then I invited him on the show. His name is Bryan Falchuk and he has a very inspiring story. He went from being obese and depressed to running marathons. He states nearly losing his wife to illness while their young son watched is unimaginable to me. He became vegan in one day. He got his masters from a top school. He rose to a senior executive position in a successful business. He’s a bestselling author. He’s a contributor to Inc. Magazine. He’s transformed his life, but he’s also developed an approach to help other people do the same. He teaches that approach in his bestselling book. The name is so intriguing, Do a Day. I’m going to ask him to share the philosophy with all of you. Welcome to Heartrepreneur Radio, Bryan.
Thank you so much.
Your story of going from literally being obese and depressed to marathons. Let’s start there. What was the wake up call to change that?
I have about 100 pounds overweight as a kid. I lost weight towards the later years of my teenage high school experience, but it came back on. I was never obese again. I would say I just looked American. No one would look at me like I was a fat kid growing up. No one would have said, “There’s that fat guy.” I looked like you ever saw. The reality is I never dealt with the reasons why I was obese in the first place. I wasn’t overweight because I ate too much and move too little. I was overweight because I had emotional issues from my parents getting divorced and I was a little kid when that happened. Kids need to feel cared for and secure and safe and I didn’t. I turned to food for that. While I deal with being overweight when I was older and more capable of taking charge of things without dealing with the underlying, as soon as you get into a mindless existence, which is what happens to a lot of us, the weight comes back on because those underlying problems are still there.
When my wife was literally on her deathbed in 2011, I should stop and say she is still alive, that things turned around through a number of very specific actions. Looking at her in bed and our son looking on at her and her doctor given up on her, he was going on vacation. He’s like, “Let’s check in in six weeks.” She was down to just about 100 pounds. She was losing two pounds a day and no one could stop it. I said, “She’s not going to be here in six weeks.” His response was, “Take her to the ER,” like totally casually and flippant. That’s when it all hit me. That was June 30th, 2011.
What I realized is I’m not in a situation that I’m happy about. This is not the way anyone foresees the early part of their marriage. We’re a few years into our marriage, first child and he was two and a half. It’s one thing if we were like 90 years old, you face losing a spouse but not when you’re 32. It was like, “What’s going on here?” I’m mindlessly going through my life. I’m unhappy as I can be. I don’t like my job. I’m miserable in the house, not meaning I’m not happy to be there, but meaning I’m not a very great person to have there because I’m tired, I’m unhappy, I’m feeling overburdened, I’m feeling all this pressure. Now I’m facing losing my wife and being a single dad. I’m already struggling, so how am I going to do that?
The clarity came from me looking at not just my role as a father, which is crucial, and I feel like I was not being the man my son needed, and he was going to need a lot more of that and I love him more than anything. I have to do better for him, but even for myself. I put an article in Inc. It talks about being an employee in your life instead of living it. That’s a great way to sum it up. Who wants to work in your life?
I’ve never heard anyone language that. When you said, “Being an employee in your life,” it literally stopped me. That’s a wakeup call. Thank you.
How many of us are doing it? You get up every day, you do your routine, you go to work, you check your email. It’s all the same thing every day. In my coaching work, most of the people that have come to me since my book came out had been around career wake-ups. They find themselves in a job with no clue how they got there. It’s something they got into when they were 21 or 22 coming out of college. I work with someone who’s in late 50’s and that career he got into, that company that he got into when he was in his early twenties, he’s gone from there. His job evaporated and he’s like, “Who am I and what am I doing here?” He has no clue because he’s a totally different person than who he was 30 something years ago. To make the choices about what do I do with myself, he’s never had the time to stop and think about who he is and what motivates him and what he cares about. There’s having these moments of feeling almost like, “Where am I and how did I get here?”
I can relate to that. I went through something like that a little bit later in life. I was President of a national healthcare company back in 1996 when my mom died of Emphysema. Seven days later, my girlfriend died at the age of 40 of breast cancer. I remember it was my wake-up call. It’s like, “Wait a minute, what am I doing in this industry? Maybe I’m good at it and I make money at it, but it’s not who I am and it’s not my passion.” Literally that’s when I quit, walked out, and started my coaching and consulting business, wrote my book, Work Yourself Happy and changed my whole life. I’m loving the fact that you get this, you’ve done it, and now that you’re helping others do it. It’s beautiful. Tell me what Do a Day is all about? I’m ridiculously intrigued.
There are some building blocks that come before you get to Do a Day. Do a Day itself is about mindfulness. It’s about when you wake up each day, you have things that you want to achieve, whether that’s overcoming something or a goal that you’ve set yourself toward. In my case, whether it’s losing weight or overcoming the sources of the depression and anxiety that I’d dealt with or achieving something like running a marathon or I’m getting that job that you’re so passionate about getting or whatever it is. Each day you wake up with actions that you can take in pursuit of that goal. That’s the do part, it’s an active verb. You have to do something to achieve it. The day part is about right here in right now.
Mindfulness is being present in the moment, not being weighed down by the past, not being weighed down by the future, and also not zombie-ing your way through the current situation. You bring your present mind to this state and you go after what’s in front of you right here, right now. The past and present, this is the key to it is, “How many times have you been in a situation where you’re filled with regret, remorse, pain, memories of what was done to you or what you went through and in the past and you bring that to bear now?” Maybe it’s a tough relationship you have with someone. Maybe you’re arguing with someone the last time you saw them. When you’re working with them now, you’re bringing all that pain before. Maybe you said something so you’re carrying guilt and you’re going to behave differently with them because of his past behavior.
That usually leads to some dysfunction today because they’re probably not being your natural self. You’re probably on edge. You might be more likely to trigger something, so you let the past coming into today. With the weight loss thing, maybe you’ve done well on and you’ve lost a bunch of weight and then you go out with co-workers for someone’s birthday and you have a beer and two nachos. You run home crying because you ruined everything, and you ordered three pizzas and ate the whole thing by yourself because, “You’ve earned it and now, it’s all over.” No, you made a decision, in this case, still today not yesterday but in the past. Is it the decision you wish you made? Maybe, maybe not. Understand why, box it in, and then make a different choice right now. You didn’t throw everything away with those nachos. You made a lot bigger negative dent with the three pizzas and you made that decision because of your judgment on yourself from that little thing from the past. Past is over. You don’t have to make that choice again. You don’t have to deal with the future either.
When I had 100 pounds to loose, that’s such a daunting amount, I could maybe lose two or three pounds for a week and feel great about it. Then I realized, “I still have 97 more pounds to lose. If it was two pounds in a week, that’s another year of working myself to the bone.” This is impossible, and I can’t do it. Then it’s like, “You’re not losing 97 pounds right now. All you have to do right now is the best that you can do and feel good about it. All of that will add up to 100 pounds.” In this moment, it’s not everything that’s yet to come, and it’s not everything that was. Be present and take those actions for what you have to achieve right now. That’s the essence of Do a Day.
I commend you. First of all, I love the title, like, “What is that?” It’s a phenomenal name.
It’s veganism. That’s what I named it. I read a bunch of books about these vegan athletes and every time I was curious, but then I go into all those future states like, “What about my son’s birthday? Who want me to have a piece of cake with him? What about that business trip at a steak place? There’s nothing for me to eat,” all of these things. Then it struck me, I’m like, “None of those things is happening tomorrow.” It was like 8:30 PM or something. I couldn’t plan it all. I’m like, “When I wake up tomorrow I’ll do a day.” It hit it me, “What I’m doing here?” I’ve never known how to explain it.
I woke up and a regular day at work. I normally would get a salad at lunch anyway, so it’s like, “I’m not facing any of these what ifs that I’d been using to talk myself out of even trying.” Once I gave up on all the anxiety like, “What about this, what about that?” Is it was easy and that was almost three years ago. I don’t look at it as I’ll never eat these things again in my life. If I do, I’m a transgression and have that cake with my son? I don’t say, “I’m not vegan, so it’s all over.” They go, “Eat a cow.” I did something for a reason. I understand why. The next time I can make a different decision if I choose to. That’s very freeing.
As you’re talking, I’m feeling how freeing that is. It’s bringing in that mindfulness and it’s allowing us to get rid of all that judgment. Something that we did, we did it, it’s over, whatever. I love it when you’re talking about right now, I’m here. I’m in this moment. Feel good about this moment. What can I do in right here, right now? What are the actions I can take? I’m sitting here thinking, “It does sound easy.” it is about the fact that we are humans with lots of choices and instead of planning out our whole future and having all that what ifs and all that fear, which is mindful, and we take it in these little doses.
I said to my husband, “I have more on my plate than I ever had. I feel overwhelmed.” He said, “What are you thinking about?” I said, “I’m thinking about like twenty things.” He said, “That’s a week from now. That’s a month from now. That’s three days from now. Why don’t you focus on tomorrow?” Coming from my husband, I thought, “You don’t understand,” but coming from Brian Falchuk, “This is awesome.” I love this. I want a copy of your book. Where can I get that?
I put everything on a website I created Do a Day. It’s a book called Do a Day. The website is DoADayBook.com. I’m all over the place. You mentioned Inc. Magazine. I’m trying to put everything into that site, so people can have one hub where you can find it all. I sell the book there as a link out to a number of the most popular places you can get it, It’s on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in every format. It’s printed it’s at Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Audible. I also do sell signed copies on my site as well. You can get to my Inc. articles there, social media. It’s all linked up from DoADayBook.com so it’s nice and easy for people.
I’ve interviewed lots and lots of people and I don’t ask to read most of their books. I’m like, “This book I want, so I’m going to recommend the audience.” Go ahead and get a copy of Do a Day book. Go to DoADayBook.com. It’s so easy. I love how you have taken different things that could be challenges and adversity and all kinds of things and transporting them and given us a simplistic way that we can make transformation. You’ve given me personally great tips here. Thank you for joining me and Heartrepreneur Radio. I have loved every second of our time together.
Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate that.
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- Bryan Falchuk
- Work Yourself Happy
- Do a Day
- Amazon – Do A Day
- Inc. Magazine – Bryan Falchuk column
- Inc. – Bryan Falchuk article
About Bryan Falchuk
Bryan is a best-selling author, speaker and life coach. He has faced major adversities and learned how to overcome and achieve. From obesity to running marathons, from career struggles to success as a CXO, from watching illness threaten his family to finding lasting health, he has been through many lessons he used to develop his unique approach to inspiring others succeed.
Bryan’s work has been featured in several top publications like Inc. Magazine, The LA Times, Chicago Tribune and more. He has spoken at multiple TEDx events, and has been a featured guest on over 100 podcasts and radio shows.
While Bryan lives in the US, he has worked and lived in numerous countries and cultures across the world, giving him a truly global perspective.
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