Success Podcast Post

We Can Do Hard Things with David Richman

George Grombacher June 30, 2022

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We Can Do Hard Things with David Richman

LifeBlood: We talked about how we can all do hard things, why humans have a difficult time making big changes, how to express our true feelings, why we all must take a hard look ourselves in the mirror, and how to get started, with David Richman, speaker and author of Cycle of Lives.  

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


David Richman

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on what level this is George G. And the time is right welcome. Today’s guest struggle powerful David Richmond. David, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:18
I am George, thank you. excited to have you on

george grombacher 0:21
David is the author of cycle of lives, 50 people stories, 5000 miles and a journey through the emotional chaos of cancer. David, tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:36
I share so my personal life is involved around all this stuff that everybody else is trying to keep as much on our plate and get as much off our plate as possible. But I do endurance athletics, which I picked up in my late 30s. Actually, I was overweight smoker, pretty unhappy, didn’t didn’t really take take care of myself or my own needs. I had young kids, a four year old twins. And it was in a horrible relationship and said, Oh man, I gotta get us out. And when I did, I happen to walk by a mirror where I saw my reflection. And I’m like, dude, like, who are you? And I just didn’t have the answer. And so I embarked on this journey of putting down the cigarettes starting to eat healthy and, and starting to do running. And then that led to doing Ironman, and 100 mile runs, 500 mile bike rides and all this crazy stuff. And then, in reflection of that, at that same downtime in my life, my sister was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. And I was drawn to this idea. I’m a writer, and I was drawn to this idea when I saw what she and others were going through, maybe not her so much, she was pretty open and able to talk but I noticed that people were really good about talking about the tasks around their trauma. But they weren’t real good about talking about the feelings. And everybody I spoke to George had some kind of level of I wish I would have said this, or I wish I would have the freedom to do this, or I don’t know what to say or, you know, like, around the emotional side of it. And so that’s what drew me to write this book.

george grombacher 2:28
Wow, that is that is that is quite a story. So quitting smoking is is no small feat. I did it years ago. Yeah. How long did you smoke for before you quit?

Unknown Speaker 2:43
Well, we can talk in time or cigarettes, but it was about 250,000 cigarettes and about 20 years. So yeah, it was it was pretty bad. And you know, I don’t know about you, but I heard 100 times, you know, you gotta quit. I told myself 100 times you gotta quit. But it was like one thing that I didn’t I inherently I just didn’t want to fail at quitting. And so I never tried to quit because I felt like, dude, if you fail at this, then it’s over. Like, like, like, I knew I had to quit, like, I didn’t want to quit. And I didn’t want to fail at quitting like, quit, start, quit, start, quit start. And then during that, that time, my sister, my sister was going through her brain cancer. I had twins, my daughter said to me, she she wants to hurt, you know, in kindergarten or something that that smoking causes cancer. June has cancer, so she’s gonna die, so you’re gonna die. So she said, you know, Dad, we quit smoking. And I’m like, wow, as a first time I really heard it. And so yeah, so then I did it. It was hard. It was but I the second I quit and never had another cigarette.

george grombacher 4:03
Amazing. You know, it’s fascinating to me to try to figure out why and how we as human beings decide to actually make change. And you did it in a couple of different regards, right? You quit smoking, you started eating healthy. You started exercising and you went from being I don’t know if you were sedentary or not sort of guests. Yeah, you were to the absolute David Goggins opposite.

Unknown Speaker 4:30
Yeah, yeah. I mean, not that crazy. I’ve done some crazy stuff. You know, I’ve run you know, 25 hours straight for marathons. I’ve done you know, nearly a 5000 mile solo bike ride in only 45 days. It doesn’t pretty crazy stuff. But you know, one of my book participants he a guy, his story is crazy. I won’t I won’t go into it right now. But he has this great way of explaining how in one second, he was able to change Almost everything about his perspective, his personality, his oneness with himself with the world, we met this woman, and he said, it was like I put on a new pair of glasses. And it was like, I mean, oh my god, right? If you just see things, just the tiniest bit more and focus, things change just a little bit, it can change the world. And so for me, that little change was, was, you know, all of these factors that happen at that one time, and then, you know, really taking an honest look in the mirror and saying, like, Who are you like, because we got, we’re pretty good at fooling ourselves. Ah, you know, I’ll eat better when, you know, I’ll reduce my stress when life gets easier. You know, I’ll be better friend, when I’m not so busy at work. We’re really good at fooling ourselves. And I was a master at it. And so, when I just took an honest look, I just went, Man, you know, you got some good stuff about you keep that you got some bad stuff about you. You need to you need to work on it.

george grombacher 6:11
I love it. So much powerful stuff. Keep the good get rid of the bad.

Unknown Speaker 6:15
Yeah. So yeah, no, sorry to interrupt you, Georgia. I’m just saying like, like, like, if you are able to take an honest look at yourself, and, and go, you know, like, Look, man, you’re kind of wasting your potential, you’re, you’re you’re wasting who you want to become or who you could become. Then for me, I’m sure this, what might resonate with people, I needed to, like, forgive myself, and free my mind a little bit. Because I’ve run into times in my life, I certainly have seen others run into a time in their life where they come to the realization about who they are and where they’re at in life. And that’s the point that they give up trying to change because it’s already too late, they already feel guilty. They’re burdened by their their past, they got a chip on the shoulder, they you know, they already know that the outcome, or whatever the reason is, and I just I just said do just forgive yourself for not being who you want it to be where you want to be, you don’t even know just go figure it out, find out but deal with free mind. And that that was the key for me. It was like those two things, like being super honest, and authentic with myself, and then saying, okay, just like it’s okay. You know, move on. You’re good. Now you could you could go start again.

george grombacher 7:38
That is powerful. David, is, how does that tie it? See, it strikes me that there’s a tie in there when you were talking about focusing on tasks, versus actually addressing the feelings?

Unknown Speaker 7:50
Yeah. Yeah. And for a guy who and I, a lot of guys are like this, some, most people are like this, I think I heard a different book about it, that, that we grew up going, Okay, I gotta be XYZ to make my parents happy. Or my teacher, or I got to do this. So my boss will hire me or give me a promotion, or we do all these things for other people. Right? So we’re really good, especially if you’re a pleaser, especially if you’re like, wanting to fix things. And in my case, everything about myself, right? You’re really good at the tasks, right? But when do we just step back and, and, and look in the mirror, and look in the mirror, as oftentimes, I’m use as an analogy now. But like, when I have a heartfelt meaningful conversation with you, somebody close to me, that’s kind of like, like, settling down look in the mirror being real, interacting in a positive way. Right? Like, nothing’s off the table, there’s no BS involved, like, let’s just, let’s just be real. And that’s, that’s hard. It’s hard to do. It’s really, really hard to do. You know, and that’s when you start to deal with feelings.

george grombacher 9:06
It requires immense courage by you as an individual to do that. And then also, I imagine, and it does to make yourself vulnerable. And I guess maybe that’s the term to engage in that conversation with somebody else. And like, going back to your sister, being able to you I don’t know why I’m trying to put words in your mouth.

Unknown Speaker 9:37
Yeah, no, no, listen, you’re absolutely right. And the thing is, is that there’s this there’s this concept of sonder I don’t know if you’re familiar with the word sonder. I wasn’t for most of my life, but sonder is this is this thought that that we are all just password buyers in each other’s lives. Which is unbelievably Fascinating, right? Because, man, would I beat myself up for disappointing someone or thinking that somebody didn’t think good of me, right? Boy Did I beat myself up, but I could care less what I thought about me. And so when you know, when you, when you do connect in a way that says, I’m going to be authentic, it really only matters who who I am because George, we’re just passive buyers, right? You and your listeners, you and me, most of the people we run into our lives, it’s your life, you’re limited, I’m not limited. And that’s, that’s really I just learned that also through writing the book about cancer, right? Is that is that people don’t want sympathy, they don’t want to hear that you’re sorry. Because it’s not your life, man, you don’t have anything to do with them losing their grandma, or them going through a difficult time at work. It’s not even nothing to do with it. Don’t be sorry about it, just and don’t Don’t Don’t feel bad for him. Right? Just empathize with them, connect with them. And that’s why it’s so hard to to but it’s so like I said earlier, like, if you could just focus on that one thing, you know, like, like that honest, authentic connection with yourself with other people. It’s a hard place to go to. But once you do, man, it’s an easy place to refine every minute, you know. I love it.

george grombacher 11:26
We do care a lot about what other people think of us even though we may never interact with them ever again. And we care so little about about ourselves and and taking care of ourselves. And I wrote down that you’ve got to run your own race and that there’s wordplay there because you run 5000 miles or whatever. Yeah, focus on that.

Unknown Speaker 11:50
Yeah, that was so packed. Gonna tell you super quick story, okay, my very first half Ironman that I was going to do, I was still overweight. Obviously, I quit smoking. And I got to the point where I thought I could do a half Ironman, which is for anybody listening, 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and then a half marathon. And I had never done any of those distances on my own individually. Right? And I go up there and I’m like, oh, okay, I’ll listen. Durance athlete, and whatever, and I’m working on myself and I get I get to the race. And at that at the start, they’re doing a wave start. And it’s like the 35 to 39 year old man or something are doing the wave, sir. And every single one of them is looks like a Greek god. And I’m like, What the hell am I even doing here? Like, these guys are athletes, man. I mean, look at me what the hell I’m getting, I’m getting out here. And you know, I don’t belong in this group. Right? And also on the gun goes off. And one dude falls on his back. And he started doggy paddling backwards. And another guy starts swimming in circles. And another guy swims to the edge of the river and kind of like catches his breath. And I’m like, Man, I couldn’t be better those guys like, they don’t they don’t seem to care like that anybody’s watching them. Because if they did, man, they would not be out here, right? Yeah, who swims on their back on doggy paddle at a half Ironman, especially when they look like a Greek god. And then it hit me like to run your own race. Like, you’re here for you. Nobody’s paying you. Right? Nobody cares. Nobody’s watching. Just Just do what you do run your race. I love that, that that that saying that you you just gave us? Yeah, so I was just like, who cares? Man, nobody’s watching. Nobody cares. That’s a wonderful thing. So wonderful thing, run your own race.

george grombacher 13:38
And it strikes me I was I was just thinking about that. This morning, I was thinking about how how probably a lot of the most successful people is in the context of somebody who moved here from from another country that does not enjoy the same freedoms as ours. And immediately they recognize the opportunity and they started taking advantage of and I thought, you know, this person doesn’t care what anybody thinks they are seizing the opportunity and pursuing the life that they want. versus, you know, me, I’m guilty of, jeez, I wonder what that person thinks about me. And if I do this, Jeez, what, what what, you know, what will people’s perceptions be? It’s like, what a waste of time

Unknown Speaker 14:21
is a waste of time. And there’s a fine line, right between being self aware and being self caring, and maybe being selfish or self centered. You know, like, as long as you’re doing things ethically, as long as you have intention, and I know that that doesn’t resonate with everybody, because if you do something bad and you explain it away as Oh, I didn’t intend to do that, but okay, that’s bullshit. But, but if you do things with good intention, and you do things from a heart centered, authentic, you know, above the line, kind of, you know, origination point And then doing it for yourself is great. Like, I used to tell my kids, they’re like, oh, all of our friends come over. And you could consider you don’t have to do that. And I go, Yeah, you’re right. I don’t have to, I get to do it. Like, it’s not a half to like, I’m doing it for me. I know that you like it, but I’m doing it because it’s what I like. And so that’s the kind of self care you know, I I do and I still am guilty, who’s not wondering like, what’s that person thing? Or what’s that person thing? But I, where I used to have that as the only part in the equation, maybe that’s less of a factor. And more of a factor is what do I think? And it’s a, it’s a really a wonderful place to be because then you can learn, you know, you can learn about yourself and what you’re doing and where you belong in the world. And, honestly, I mean, George, if, if we are just pacifiers in everybody’s life, why the heck do we care what anybody thinks? Right, Michael Jordan doesn’t care what people think. No, you know, Oprah Winfrey doesn’t. Elon Musk doesn’t they could care less what anybody thinks why? Because they’re just living their lives, man. They’re 100% tuned in to what they want, which is great. Because he do a lot of good stuff.

george grombacher 16:12
Yeah. Made me think, as you were talking about the process of quitting smoking, and you were reticent, nervous, afraid to do it, because you didn’t want to fail at it. And so I know that, when I recognize I’m concerned about what other people think about me, I don’t beat myself up and say, you know, geez, I just need to go from caring about what other people think, to no longer caring. And if I find myself doing it, then I’m going to beat myself up, because I’m not perfect and imagined. It’s like everything else that we’ve been talking about, you just need to start doing it. And you’ll get better at it.

Unknown Speaker 16:46
You do. I mean, look, when I first the very first run that I went on, George was I wanted to learn how to run. So I actually hired a running coach. And I said, Hey, let’s go for a ride. He goes, Yeah, meet me. You know, on the on the strand in Santa Monica, we’ll go for a mile run. And I’ll check out your gait and see how you do. I couldn’t run two minutes at a 12 minute pace. I literally, I stopped and I sat on the curb. Like he goes, Wow, he will wow, wow, are you out of shape? And I’m like, Yeah, I couldn’t. I mean, I couldn’t run two minutes. But then you learn. I then I ran two minutes, then I ran four minutes. And then I ran a mile. And then a few weeks later, I ran three miles and you just figure it out. Now, when I go out for like a four or five mile run, I’m like, Oh, you barely went for a run. And all of a sudden, like, just you know, how many years ago I could run two minutes. an hour. Now I can run 50 miles. It’s like, but it takes time, right? And I said same thing like I didn’t all of a sudden go ah, you know, I’m a Mr. fixture want to be fixture, you know, care about what everybody thinks to the next day going. I don’t care what anybody thinks. It’s not that easy. But but that self talk helps that that true, authentic look in the mirror, honest with yourself self talk really, really helps you kind of bridge the gap between there and here a little bit faster. Because, you know, it’s hard to lie to yourself when you’re looking in the mirror and saying hello to what’s up. You know,

george grombacher 18:26
love it. Well, you’ve already given us a bunch, David, but people are ready for that difference making tip, what do you

Unknown Speaker 18:34
let me kind of tell it to you on a super quick story, of course. So the I did this 87 mile rollerblade race. Imagine that Georgia on rollerblades, especially a guy that’s not very coordinated. It went from Athens, Georgia to to Atlanta, Georgia. And I had no business being out there. It was ridiculous, so hard. And about 30 miles in and this is kind of at the very beginning of my journey into endurance athletics. And about 30 miles in, I’m hitting the wall, my legs are done. I’m totally dehydrated. I’m 100% Toast. I’m in uncharted waters, I’ve never been anywhere near as far down the road of pushing myself ever nowhere near physically in my life. And I stopped and I leaned over and I turned myself you know, parallel or perpendicular to the Hill, because otherwise I’d slide back down. And I look and there’s the sag wagon, you know, the the wagon that picks up the stragglers that aren’t going to make it to the finish line. And I go man, I don’t want to do that. Because if I don’t go any further, I’m going to know what my limit is. I want to know everything about myself. And I said, Man, please you got to figure something out. And I see this line on the ground that’s from my sweat. And I go well, if you could just cross the line, you’re going to be in new territory like you You’re gonna learn something. And then if you do another step, you’re gonna learn something, and another step. So it’s not really about like accomplishing your goal. It’s about learning. And I said, Wow, man, alright, so if I don’t make it, that’s cool. But every step I take, I’m gonna learn something. And so I just how I used that to power me that day. And I figured out a way to get to the finish line about six and a half hours later, and I was completely toast at the end. That’s an understatement. I got sick, it was it was it was horrible. But, but at least I learned all this stuff. So every time that I run into a difficulty, along whatever stretch to work, personal life, professional life, writing writer’s block, at an athletic event, whatever. And I hit the roof, like I’m done. I go, Ah, man, can you figure out what you ever learned if you just go a little bit harder. And sometimes you can’t really learn that too. But you just go. And so before I used to say, I got to accomplish this, which which is a different driver than then I want to learn, I want to seek, I want to, I want to find I want to find stuff out, I want to learn rather than I need to get somewhere. And so I don’t know, that’d be my, my tip. That’s what I use. I use that visual in my head of, you know, just just figure out a way to take one more step. You know, so that’d be my, that’d be my that’s my little driver.

george grombacher 21:27
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets Come on. I think that’s incredible. It’s so true. Just take that next step. If I get over this little line of sweat, that is the last sweat inside my body.

Unknown Speaker 21:41
That I might have been? Yeah. Sometimes you got to give up, right? So sometimes you hit the you got to know when to quit. But also, maybe, maybe, especially if you’re doing things for yourself, we cannot quit on ourselves a little too easy. And, yeah, it’s been a wonderful learning journey, for sure.

george grombacher 21:59
The stories that the are in our heads, and whether they’re true, or we’re just telling them ourselves, and they’re absolutely not true, but that you’re feeling like you’re gonna be a failure if you didn’t make smoking. And you know, if I stopped this, this rollerblade race right now, it’s going to be the story of my rest of my life. Because I know this. That’s it. I mean, it could have been they both could have been true, because you push back push past both of them, but it’s just it’s fascinating. What, what, what we do between our ears.

Unknown Speaker 22:30
Yeah, it really is. It’s, I mean, yeah, and the crazy thing is, is it doesn’t have to be whatever way it is. Right? Right. It could be whatever way you want it to be. But, man, we’re just not wired to know that at least. At least I wasn’t smart enough to know that. And I’m sure there’s plenty of people that are going, yeah. Who doesn’t know this stuff? Right. But I didn’t know it. So I’m glad I found out even if it was a little later in life,

george grombacher 22:56
I think it’s so valuable just to hear people talking about it. So because we don’t know unless we engage and explore these things. So I appreciate you being the person that you are and sharing and writing and expressing yourself. And then and and keep taking those next steps. So sure. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Dave, where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Unknown Speaker 23:20
Oh, thank you for that. The latest book, this cycle of lives. All the proceeds go to the cancer organizations that were chosen by the 15th book participants, so great cancer organizations around the country. They’re listed in the book listed on my website. I do expressive writing workshops, for cancer organizations and other trauma organizations to try to help people deal with their emotional self talk. And deal with that, that issue we just finished up on which is what’s in between our ears. And you can find the book wherever books are sold, the audible just came out, which is awesome. I had 15 different actors each do one of the 15 people in the story. So wherever books are sold it’s cycle of lives. And you can find me David Richmond all over that thing called the internet. And if you’re interested, it’s there very inspiring, uplifting, evocative stories that we can all learn from. And I think if you read it, you’ll, you’ll learn from the people who are so courageous and telling their story and with the hopes of empowering people like you and I’d have the tools to start really hard conversations. And so if that rings a bell with you, and you know, go buy the book and know that the proceeds are going to help out people going through a struggle.

george grombacher 24:45
Also, if you enjoyed as much as I did show, David your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas pick up a copy of cycle of lives wherever you buy your books, and find David on social media and all over the internet. I’ll list all those places in the notes of the show thanks again David

Unknown Speaker 25:04
You’re welcome George

george grombacher 25:06
and until next time keep fighting the good fight as we’re all in this together

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