We are back for part two of our interview with human behavior and performance coach, Brian Bogert. A recurring theme you might recognize in these interviews is the idea that we are all byproducts of our emotional triggers, behavioral patterns, and environmental conditioning. As we explore Brian’s backstory, we will uncover some universal truths and hopefully learn some things about ourselves along the way.
In this interview, we talk about the role parents play in our development and how love is a choice not a feeling. Perspective, how to empower others and the need for selfless, authentic leaders. We discuss the dark moments in life, overcoming them and how that shapes our identity. We reveal the connection between authenticity and vulnerability, how trauma and emotions affect our relationships and how our deepest held narratives might actually be sabotaging us. If you’re on a journey of self-discovery looking to grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, this episode of Alone with Peter was made for you.
Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with human behavior and performance coach Brian Bogert. (BrianBogert.com)
Transcripts may contain a few typos. With interviews ranging from 1-2 hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
Brian Bogert: Human Behavior and Performance Coach
Personal Website https://brianbogert.com/
Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/bogertbrian
Bogert’s Bullet’s YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmhaMgY8q-tMMCj0rpGg7iw
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Peter Kersting: We are back for part two of our interview with human behavior and performance coach, Brian Bogert. A recurring theme you might recognize in these interviews is the idea that we are all byproducts of our emotional triggers, behavioral patterns, and environmental conditioning. As we explore Brian’s backstory, we will uncover some universal truths and hopefully learn some things about ourselves along the way.
Peter Kersting: In this interview, we talk about the role parents play in our development and how love is a choice not a feeling. Perspective, how to empower others and the need for selfless, authentic leaders. We discuss the dark moments in life, overcoming them and how that shapes our identity. We reveal the connection between authenticity and vulnerability, how trauma and emotions affect our relationships and how our deepest held narratives might actually be sabotaging us. If you’re on a journey of self-discovery looking to grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, this episode of Alone with Peter was made for you.
Peter Kersting: We talked about your kind of more your present situation, your philosophy and stuff. Now, I’d like to dig into a little bit more about that experience and how that shaped your resiliency. Especially, tell me a little bit about your parents, the way that they dealt with this situation. How did that shape the way that you see this stuff?
Brian Bogert: So, my parents are a gift in my world. As with every parent, there’s good mixed with mistakes, mixed with bad. But what I can, honestly I say about my parents is everything was always done through the lens of what was best for my brother and I. Their intent was always in alignment with what was going to be best for us. And so all of their actions, whether they’re good, neutral, or bad were always done with the best intent and nothing was ever done maliciously. So, I say that because I have to honor the fact that I truly will only ever honor my parents, because I am overwhelmed with gratitude for who they are and how they’ve helped me see the world.
Brian Bogert: But I also acknowledge that as is the case with all of us, we are byproducts of our emotional conditioning or our emotional triggers, our behavioral patterns or our environmental conditioning. So are there things that I desire to shake, evolve and grow through even stuff that I was taught by my parents and led by my parents? Yes. So, I want to be really clear when I answer this question because it is truly a miraculous story of how they’ve chosen to lean into this, and how this turned into a philosophy for me in life.
Brian Bogert: My parents never hesitated. They knew from the get go that they were going to do anything and everything possible to make sure that I and my brother healed as holistically as possible. They recognize that these types of traumas tear apart families, they tear apart marriages because they are very difficult to process through, right. When one partner is with a kid to have traumatic accidents, right, though there was never any finger pointing or blame and it’s never even been talked about in super, super detail, right. It’s impossible for one to be there and one not to be there, and have it create a dynamic between the two of them that had to be addressed, right. Nothing was done wrong, but it was also something that happened.
Brian Bogert: My parents realized early on that the only way through this was to unify together. To do what was necessary and what was tough in every moment for both my brother and myself. And, so I didn’t realize until far later how difficult some of those moments were for them. And, it’s because they were always there to demonstrate and lend their strength to me so that I could hold onto it and carry me through those difficult moments.
Brian Bogert: But early on, before I had use of my arm, right, I was able to have dexterity in my fingers. I had to learn how to button my pants with one hand, I had to learn how to tie my shoes with one hand. And, my parents would spend hours upon hours with patience to help me figure it out. Even though it was easier for them to do it for me, right. They were truly giving me the ability to recognize that I can stand on my two feet. It is okay to ask for help, it is okay to receive help, but to truly make sure that I was able to do the things that were necessary so that I could live a productive, healthy life.
Brian Bogert: So, they would make me do things that were difficult that I struggled with. They would watch me struggle and I learned years later, my mom would walk around the corner and shed a tear because it was so difficult for her to do that. But, she did that because she knew it was one of the only ways that I was going to be able to stand up and do the things that were necessary for me in a way that was unique and different, in the way I had to enter into the world than almost anybody else, right. Not to say that my story’s more extreme or more important. It’s just, it’s my story and it is unique.
Brian Bogert: And, so she knew that I was going to have to learn how to enter into the world. So my parents, they demonstrated love, they demonstrated commitment. They demonstrated truly what it looks like to face and embrace pain, they demonstrated generosity and giving until it hurts in their lives in a selfless way. And, they demonstrated that love is at least in a marriage and an intimate relationship with a partner is as much a choice as it is a feeling.
Peter Kersting: Wow.
Brian Bogert: And I got to see how many times they were able to navigate through that where they were choosing to love each other and choosing to love the difficult situation in front of them, because this is where they really wanted to be even if it didn’t feel great in the moment.
Peter Kersting: Wow, that’s beautiful.
Brian Bogert: So, I learned a lot from my parents clearly, and I could talk days about the lessons I’ve expected for them, but I tried to encapsulate it into a somewhat succinct dancer.
Peter Kersting: No, I appreciate that. That it really is beautiful, especially how you said love is a choice. Oftentimes, I think we can often get a little bit distracted to think that it’s more of a feeling but I really do agree with you. It’s the choice and that’s a beautiful witness from your parents. That had to have been such a dark time for you, Brian. I know that had to have been something you really had to climb out of a cave. So if you’re willing, can you tell us, was there resentment? What was your situation like with school? How did you see your identity? How did those things play out for you especially early on?
Brian Bogert: So, I will tell you that the dark cave didn’t hit until 25 to 30 years later, because in the moment there wasn’t a whole lot of time to process so we just had to act. I will tell you that the time that I felt it the most was when I was in the hospital bed right after it happened and I felt like I was in a dream, and I was feeling sorry for myself. Asking questions, why me? Why me? Right, when I talked to you about perspective in our last session and we started to talk about this concept of learning not to get stuck by what’s happening, we get moved by what to do with it. That’s through perspective. Because we had families coming up to us in the ER, in the ICU apologizing. “We’re so sorry for what happened, what can we do to help?” Come to find out their kids laying in the hospital next to me with a terminal illness that doesn’t know if they’re going to live for around 30 days.
Brian Bogert: So other than not knowing whether or not I’ve used to my arm, my life was saved. And, so that perspective allowed me to kind of fuel my path towards I’m going to do everything I can to get back use of my arm. But 24 surgeries over five years, occupational and physical therapy three to five times a week multiple mornings before school, it was not an easy journey. But there wasn’t time, truthfully, for me at that moment to really do anything other than focus on managing my physical pain and getting my body healed.
Brian Bogert: And I don’t say that negatively, the emotional processing for me truly didn’t happen until far later. Because when I shut off physical pain when the demands of my environment exceeded my ability to cope, I shut off physical pain. My ability to process and manage pain is at a level that I guarantee is higher than most. That’s not a brag, that’s not a moment to impress, I have an extremely high pain threshold.
Brian Bogert: I’ve learned how to manage it, I’ve learned how to process through it. I’ve learned how to shut it off, but what I didn’t realize is I didn’t understand that when you shut off one kind of pain, you shut off all kinds of pain. So when I shut off a physical pain, I shut off emotional pain and I didn’t realize that till 25, 30 years later.
Peter Kersting: How did that affect your relationships?
Brian Bogert: Everything. Human connection is not human connection without emotion, right. And, so it absolutely affected me because I was guarded, I wasn’t vulnerable, even if I did it strategically and tactically. But as a little kid, I remember, right, not being able to trust what others were receiving from me because I would tell my story when they’d see me in a sling asking me what happened. And, 90% of the time they’d look at my parents for validation because telling someone that you got runner by truck and your arm got ripped off when you’re eight years old and you’re in a sling, and they can’t see the scars and all the pain, they just see a sling, right. They don’t believe you.
Brian Bogert: And so nobody even believed my story from the get go, so I created an intellectual narrative that was I’m good, I’m tough, I’m strong and I can do anything by myself, I don’t need anybody’s help. Right, so that affected my relationships absolutely because not only did I not trust, but I refused to be defined by the boundaries that other people placed on me based on how they viewed my situation through their lens.
Brian Bogert: I decided I was going to set my own parameters, I was going to set my own guidelines and I was going to push through those. So that worked really well for me, but I truly never had the connection that I desired with people. And I realized the power of our narratives, I was bullied in school. I had different things that I struggled with just really trying to fight consistently to make sure that who I was, was okay. And then when I rebroke my arm when I was 20 in a snowboarding accident and almost lost it again.
Peter Kersting: Oh, my gosh.
Brian Bogert: And, I went 10 months with it hanging by my side and seven surgeons who were afraid to touch me. That’s the moment I realized the power of our narratives, because nobody was there and it wasn’t that they weren’t there cause they didn’t love me and they didn’t care for me. It’s that everybody believed in my narrative, “Brian’s good, he’s strong, he’s capable, he doesn’t even need help.” And when I’m in a position where I’m most vulnerable as an adult, I didn’t have the courage to ask for it.
Brian Bogert: So, I shifted that whole next period of my life towards vulnerability and authenticity based in human connection. I said in our first conversation, those are the two pieces that I believe are glue that binds human connection. And, so we have to really pay attention to what those are. And, I did that strategically and tactically to get people to open up to me, but it wasn’t until I realized the motion that I realized that everything I’d done in that prior period was the sole thing that was preventing me from being connected was the fact that I wasn’t experiencing emotion in its full Life.
Peter Kersting: That seven month period, when you were basically realizing this narrative that you’ve built that you can do it on your own has kind of, I guess, sabotaged you. How did you get from there to, “All right, I realize I need to be more vulnerable and authentic.” How did that shift happen for you?
Brian Bogert: It didn’t happen right away. It was a process as is that everything in life, so it wasn’t a switch that just got flipped. I got into a pretty depressed state at that period of time. I put on a bunch of weight because I couldn’t be physically active, I couldn’t move. I got depressed and so then I started eating crap food. My relationships were not getting better in that period of time, they were getting worse because I was upset in the beginning. I was a little angry, I was a little resentful. I was like, “Why isn’t anybody here for me? I’ve given so much.”
Brian Bogert: But, then I had to turn the lens on myself which I think is the case for all of us. Everything begins and ends with us, so if there’s something, some relationship, some dynamic in your life that you don’t like, start with you first. You can likely influence a difference, and so I did take back control of that in that time but it was tough. I surrounded myself with a couple of key individuals that I did have the courage to ask for help for, or who had voluntarily showed up just because they knew I was struggling. They reached out to ask if I needed the anything, how I was doing. And I accepted it and it was their compassion, their empathy, their care that allowed me to truly realize we can’t do this alone, right.
Brian Bogert: With my arm hanging by my side with a broken bone, at any moment it could snag a nerve, a vein, an artery. I could lose my arm at any point in that period of time I did not take for granted the help that I needed, that I didn’t allow myself to receive in prior periods of my life. And I started to realize we cannot do this journey alone, because as I’m experiencing all these things as an adult now alone, that I was guided through the process as a kid, it also ha made me have an even greater level of appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifices my parents made for me. So, I focused on human connection and how do I start to actually demonstrate that ability to do that for other people, but in a way that I can connect with them in the process.
Brian Bogert: And, so that was that what that process started with was just a lot of pain, and frankly a lot of suffering which I was experiencing in loneliness, and despair, and resentfulness and anger towards myself for allowing myself to be in this position. For not being prepared, for not opening myself to ask up for courage. I had to sit with all of that and then I had to start the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual rehab because I was broken in that moment. Not just physically, in every way. And so I started that, I started as I would restart rehabbing my arm, I would start focusing more on human connection. I’d start focusing more on how do I change my energy when I’m earning the things? How do I look lower my wall to be a little more vulnerable with people?
Brian Bogert: Right, and so it was just a process, but it started with awareness, right, which I think so many things do. And, I had to really be aware of what was happening in my life, what contributed to where I was at and why it was I was there. And what could I do moving forward to be intentional, to pull myself out of this valley despair that I was experiencing which truly, again, was only a portion of that because I didn’t experience the emotional piece and its full extent for another 10 years.
Peter Kersting: Yeah, man, I really appreciate you sharing this because I know this can’t be that easy to talk about even now. And, it really gives us so much more meaning to the embracing pain part because I want to ask you, have you always been this introspective or has this experience made you this way? I’m sure it has affected it.
Brian Bogert: So, it’s hard for me to answer that a hundred percent because I was seven. And truthfully, my brain has rewired itself where I don’t even remember my myself with two normal functioning arms. So when I watch old home videos, it’s weird for me to watch. So, the reason I say that is it’s hard for me to say pre-accident and post-accident, because my brain has blended it as one.
Brian Bogert: But, I will tell you what I’ve heard externally is that a lot of who I am did not change after my accident. What it provided for me was perspective, and perspective to be able to build myself based on this moment. But I do believe that I’ve always had a high level of introspection, maybe not in the same way now that I view it from a complete whole awareness. And, particularly as it relates to being aware and internal as it relates to my relationships with other people.
Brian Bogert: I think I’ve always been very self aware and reflective of external scenarios. I think I’ve always been very aware and introspective around even my internal dialogue. But, at some point I shut that off and I stopped listening to my own and I listened to the voices of the world. And so it took me a while to fight back to get back to this place, because I think this is exactly who I’ve always been. It just took a long time to shed the layers the world had placed on me that was preventing me from being who I was.
Peter Kersting: One of the reasons why I do this show is to help people shed the layers that the world has placed on them as Brian so eloquently put it. And, so in transparency of trying to reach more people and trying to get more people to see the show, if you’re feeling inspired, I would ask you please go to Apple Podcasts, subscribe to the show, rate and review it so that more people will see it.
Peter Kersting: You can also head over to Peterkersting.com and follow the links underneath the HTML player, take you to your preferred podcast platform. You can also follow me on Instagram at Alone with Peter, and if you need to send me a DM and I’ll be happy to show you how you can support the show. Let’s get back to behavior and performance coach, Brian Bogert. Well, when you talk about radical authenticity having to be coupled with vulnerability, it sounds like especially in your early 20s during this dark period is when you were really learning to be vulnerable.
Brian Bogert: Correct. 100%.
Peter Kersting: I wonder how much you feel like your ability to be empathetic towards others is connected to that pain and that suffering.
Brian Bogert: So, it’s funny that you asked that question in the way that you do. I think there’s a huge degree of it, but because I didn’t experience emotion for a long time, I was not empathetic even in my work for a long time. So, my wife joked for years that I didn’t feel anything and I would always say she was crazy because what I was feeling inside felt like chaos compared to the outside world, right. But I didn’t express it that way, I didn’t process through it. I just felt a lot. And it didn’t translate always to empathy, right, it translated to sympathy.
Brian Bogert: I could see a situation, intellectually understand it but I didn’t feel the situation because I hadn’t allowed myself to feel. If we don’t feel, we don’t heal. So, when I unpacked emotion and I really started to understand that I was only feeling within a small box and I didn’t feel to the full extent of joy, pain, despair, or anything. When I started to broaden that lens, and realize that I actually do experience all of them but I have to allow myself to and not suppress, because that’s what I learned to do. When I can allow myself to feel it holistically, I started to have a whole different perspective in my own experience, my own journey and how does that connect with others.
Brian Bogert: And, now when I hear someone else or they’re expressing a pain in form of an emotion, or an experience, or a trauma or just even a conflict with their kid or spouse, it allows me to feel what they’re feeling in a way that’s different. And, so it was one emotion came in that all of it changed and when empathy and compassion could be at the forefront, because I even used to talk in the way that I would ask people what they think. Even in coaching I’d say, “What do you think about that?” Very rarely did I ever say, “What do you feel about that?”
Brian Bogert: And, I believe I used to believe, again, because the way I lived in the world, that mental toughness and the intellectual narrative was all that mattered. Right, if we were mentally tough and we set our mind to something and that’s all that matter. When we stay committed to it, we can get there but it’s only part of the equation. What I’ve realized is that those that reach the highest levels of performance, those that unlock, those that can demonstrate empathy and compassion most consistently in many scenarios are those that understand that one, we are hardwired to be intellectual or in for each one of us.
Brian Bogert: I am hardwired to intellectually start first, my wife is hardwired to start with a heart. First, my daughter, I have to enter through her heart to be able to communicate with her mind. My son, I have to enter through the mind to communicate with his heart, right. We have to understand these things, but those that unlock are those that understand how they’re hardwired one, and then two, they understand and can pay attention from a place of awareness, the intellectual and emotional narratives that they are shaping in any scenario, and be able to balance and regulate between the two.
Brian Bogert: And by doing that, we become whole selves where we truly can be not only sympathetic, but empathetic and we can intellectualize the emotion that we’re feeling so we can, again, do what I said in that prior period. We can think about our thinking, think about our feeling, feel our thinking and feel our feeling.
Brian Bogert: It’s in this quadrant that I think success lives, and how we unlock as human beings because we become a whole complete self when we can actually allow ourselves to do that. But, we’ve lost the art of thinking and the world tells us not to feel. So, what are we supposed to do? Right, our schools don’t teach us how to do either one. Our schools teach us how to memorize knowledge, and how to access people. They don’t teach us to think and they don’t teach us to feel, and they certainly don’t teach us to think about our feeling or feel about our thinking. Right, and it’s so we have to go to another depth so that we can truly understand how do we connect in what we’re all hardwired to feel which again is safety, protection feeling seen and understood and connected. It’s emotions that are the root of all that.
Peter Kersting: Yeah, emotional intelligence is this term that I think feels a little cliche sometimes because the most often that I hear it is in some corporate setting. But, it really is about how well do you understand your emotions and express them, and then understand other people’s emotions and how they express them. Are you familiar with the Enneagram? Because, what you’re talking about sounds very Enneagram.
Brian Bogert: Yeah, no, I’m familiar with the Enneagram for sure. And, yeah there’s a lot of people that are like, “Oh yeah, this is conceptually something I understand.” Because, that does help people understand that hard wiring and better understand how they entered the world. So, a lot of these things do and it’s just interesting because as we walk through this type of a conversation, it’s apparent that we just don’t typically operate this way. None of us. Myself included didn’t for a long time. But, I do think that this is one of the paths to freedom and we have to be able to seek and understand what these things are.
Brian Bogert: What I do want to say though about emotional intelligence, and I want to come back to that point. I have a slightly different perspective on emotional intelligence than most. I love by the way, how you describe that. My emotional intelligence is my ability to read people and understand those things, and have the awareness on myself in some capacity. So that’s in alignment with where you’re at, but what emotional intelligence doesn’t help you do is know what to do about that or how to connect as a result of it.
Peter Kersting: So, I was smiling a little bit when you’re talking about empathy versus sympathy, because that’s kind of where the connection is on a little bit to me.
Brian Bogert: Well, sympathy can be done through emotional intelligence and that’s what I did for a long time. I was so focused on redirecting energy and attention on myself as an early age, I learned how to read people and rooms so that I could divert attention from me. I could understand how these rooms were going to navigate how different environments, and different people would feed off of each other. I could see how one person would be triggered and either shove it down or react. I would see how people could calculate.
Brian Bogert: So, I was studying people from an early age which gives me a ridiculous amount of emotional intelligence that’s not only based on my natural intuition, but is highly trained and condition based on the situations I was in. Now, where I struggled was even though I saw it, I was sympathetic to it. And so my ability to connect, even if I knew how to coach someone through it, my ability to have them feel like I understood and can connect, and relate to them was something that was missing because I didn’t have the emotions and the feeling to connect to the intelligence that I was seeing around emotions. It was all intellectual. I wasn’t feeling the emotions, that sympathy not empathy. Right, so I want to be really clear, emotional intelligence is not that we know what to do with it or how to connect as a result of it. It’s that we see it.
Peter Kersting: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. And a lot of what you talk about, I’m like, it’s interesting for me to hear because in some ways I really relate to your perspective. I think we very different experiences, but I really can see your perspective in a way that aligns well with mine. And I think, for me at least, the part of that I guess the bridge from that sympathy to empathy for referring to knowing how to act toward somebody, for me a lot of it was I could see well what I was doing and how it would affect people. But, I didn’t choose to use that except for in a self centered way for a very long time.
Brian Bogert: Yeah. Yeah, yeah great point. Great point, Peter.
Peter Kersting: Yeah, I think it’s once you decide, I want to do other centered things. I want to make this person be the focus of this, that’s when you really can-
Brian Bogert: Yeah, well, and that’s when you operate from high intent, that’s when you can meet attached from an outcome, that’s when you know. But by the way, that all is also byproduct of starting to understand who you are. Right, because when you’re clear on that it becomes a lot easier to navigate those situations. But dude, I think you’re spot on and I think… But we all know that, right. That’s why so many people are starving for authentic leadership right now, because there’s so many frauds that are out there. Right, and there’s a lot of people who have brilliant skill sets to read people, but they use them for the purposes of manipulation versus empowerment, right.
Brian Bogert: And so very successful… And again, I’m not vilifying this by any means because there are highly successful people in sales, in business and in life that have used it for pure manipulation and gotten there. And on the other side, there’s highly successful people who’ve done it from a place of where it’s not about me, it’s about other people. Now, I believe it really connects when it’s about something bigger than us, when it’s not used for, you know. But I also view that as… Geez, a line from Spiderman, right. With great power comes great responsibility.
Peter Kersting: No, you’re so right.
Brian Bogert: And, I think that’s how I’ve always viewed this is the perspectives that I view the world, I carry as a responsibility not as a power that I can use over people.
Peter Kersting: It should not about manipulating others. And here’s the thing about this too, what we talked about black and white and gray, right. I don’t think most people walk into a situation of power, thinking that they’re manipulating other people. When you hear about the stock or the housing crash in 2008, when people got in a big trouble because of what doing, they go, “Oh wow, I can’t believe I got to the spot.” Like once they got caught, they said, “Oh wow, I don’t know how I let myself get here.”
Brian Bogert: Yeah, it’s now things pattern. And, the more that you think it’s okay and the more you’re accepted into it. But by the way, that’s no different than anything else in life. Again, we’re byproducts are our emotional triggers, behavioral patterns and environmental conditioning. Their trigger in some way led them down that path unintentionally, unconsciously, that all of a sudden started to feed something that was positive so they patterned down on that. And oh, by the way, they surround themselves in an environment that allows that to be okay until they get caught. And then all of a sudden it’s like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.” Right. Like, “That’s not what I meant to do.”
Brian Bogert: But, that’s why we’ve got to be vigilantly aware in every moment because if we’re not conscious to what we’re doing, it will have unconscious ramifications and damages that created. Right, our minds process 11 million bits of information per second, but we’re only consciously aware of about 40. So, we’re largely led by the unconscious. So until we go through a systematic process of moving the unconscious to the conscious, the unaware to the aware, we cannot be intentional. And we will feel like a victim, we will feel like it’s fate and we will feel like we have no influencer control over our destinies. It starts with awareness, what we’re unaware of we cannot be intentional with.
Peter Kersting: There’s so much that we could unpack, and we won’t have time to about all of it. But, I do think it’s worth noting the difference between focusing on what you have control of versus what you do not. And, I think that’s a very hard thing for a lot of people. I know Stephen R Covey describes it as your circle of concern, your circle of influence.
Peter Kersting: People have a really, really big circle of concern. Things that they don’t have control over, and their circle of influence is very small until they take that self-awareness and that intentionality to grow. And then all of a sudden, it’s never going to be as big as a concern but it gets so much bigger. So, this is why this stuff I’m so excited we’re talking about, it because it is about empowering people.
Brian Bogert: Yeah, well it is. And, I’m a big believer in focusing on what we control and part of what we can control, right. One of the biggest things, and I believe this is true for all of us is our thoughts, our energy, our actions, our behaviors, our reactions. The way we show up and treat other people, the mindset, the emotional state, the pains that we embrace in our lives, the way we move through things to free ourselves. We all have control over those things, right. But there’s lots of things in our lives that we don’t have control over, but we try to control them. Right, and-
Peter Kersting: Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. No, I’m just going to say I think people are very emotionally driven. I think we’ve touched on this and as much as we want to think that we’re very intellectual, we’re very emotional. So being aware of those shortcomings, those pitfalls, those areas where I am going to fall short emotionally is how we can start to take control of that and ownership of that.
Brian Bogert: 100%, 100%. So let me tell a story on this point around control, because this is something I literally just had a conversation with a client yesterday. Okay, I’ll give some framing on this. I won’t ever tell this person’s story, I won’t give details of it. I will give details on the most relevant thing right now, but I’m not going to give any details on the life beyond it. Other than for 30 years, she has hidden behind armor that she created to protect herself based on some traumas that happened 30 years ago that she never act with anybody other than her parents. Ever.
Brian Bogert: It was hidden, completely silent. She was miserable, she was stuck. We’ve worked together now for about nine months. She’s a different person, okay. She’s somebody that used to take drugs to sleep every day. Anytime she’d feel stress or emotion, she’d take a Valium to calm the human stress response, was on high doses of different medications. Phenomenal human being, phenomenal human being, broken, hurt, painful.
Brian Bogert: She’s unpacked all these things. She’s changed her life, she’s changed the way she’s entering into things. She’s changed the way that she’s approaching her profession, her real relationship. She’s almost off all of her medication. And I want to be clear here, I’m never going to vilify medications. Medications are truly important for helping with the chemistry of the body. Some people need them, they need them forever. Some people use them as tools for a period of time. So when I say this, it’s not to say there’s anything bad about meds other than they were not allowing her to feel and be the person that she wanted. So she wanted to get off and set a baseline, because she’d been on them for so long to numb the world around, okay.
Brian Bogert: Fast forward, she’s feeling more, she’s more dynamic. Again, she’s almost off all of her meds, so she’s got this real time scenario. She’s human. We are all human, we all experience emotion. Her mom has some health stuff. It could be one or two different things. They were waiting on test results to determine what the path is. Okay, now we know that when somebody has some health stuff going on, or waiting to test results, we know that we’re stressed. We know we tend to perseverate, we know we tend to focus on that, we know that we end up cycling around it and those emotions just continue to grow bigger and bigger because they’re all based in fear on an undetermined future at the moment.
Brian Bogert: Right, so she did no different because in those scenarios for us, what do we do? We try to control as much as we can, so can I get the test results ahead of time? Can I have things in place? Can I do these things and can I feel prepared so that I can somewhat process in that moment?
Brian Bogert: Her biggest fear was two things. One, that she wouldn’t be able to process the heaviness of all the emotions that were taking place. And two, that she wouldn’t be able to shut them off and compartmentalize them to be there so that her mom could borrow her strength. Okay, but here’s what happened instead because 30 years of conditioning have led her to believe like, “No, no, I got to do these things.” So she goes on Friday, she checks for test results, they’re not there. She starts to get her a little bit upset, a little bit like frustrated. Like, “Why they’re not there? Our appointment’s on Monday, how come the results aren’t on Friday? They said they’d be uploaded.”
Brian Bogert: So, she goes and she starts to see and checks again on Saturday, they’re not there. Checks in on Sunday, not there. Checked again on Monday, the afternoon appointment is coming up quick and guess what? The results are still not there. By this point, she’s upset, she’s overwhelmed, she’s angry. She’s steering spun out of control, she’s panicking about is she going to be able to show up for her mom, because she doesn’t know what the outcome is. If she doesn’t know what the outcome is, how can she be there to be strong for her mom if she can’t process ahead of time?
Brian Bogert: Here’s the crazy thing about all of that though, when I actually asked her, I said, “What about having that information ahead of time would’ve changed the outcome for your mom?” And she said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Would you have known the result of those test results, would that have changed the way you interacted with your mom?” No. “Okay, would that have changed the course of action moving forward?” No. “Okay, would it have changed the way you would’ve gone into the doctor’s appointment?” No.
Brian Bogert: Okay, so you wanted information to feel like you could be more prepared to anticipate what was going to happen, but even had you known on Friday and let’s say it was the worst of the two options. Then all you’re going to do is sit and be even more miserable for the next three days, because until you have a course of action, you’re not going to know what to do with it. But, now you have information and you can’t do anything about it. So, really all you’re doing is you’re creating this scenario where you’ve got no control over everything.
Brian Bogert: So in that case, recognize, yeah I’m experiencing sorrow and loss and grief in an anticipatory way around something that we don’t even know is going to happen. And, so I have these emotions that I’m caring with my mom that are stressed, that are concerned, that are care that I want to be strong there for her. But, instead I’m going to try to over control the scenario which actually makes it worse. And at the end of the day, she could have done nothing with her mom, with the doctor, with anything until they go to that doctor’s appointment.
Brian Bogert: So truthfully, why even try to look at the test results? Go in, hear them from the doctor, receive them in that moment, listen to be able to process what the path forward is because that’s the first moment that you have any control of the scenario other than you’ve already gone and gotten the tests. So, how often do these things repeat in our lives though where we create or fabricate a reality that’s not real, not true? And oh, by the way, test results came back and it wasn’t the worst of the two. So it was complete wasted energy, complete wasted emotion, complete wasted time, right. Because nothing could have been changed, nothing about the outcome or direction could have changed in those four days where she was attempting to get control over something she had no control over.
Brian Bogert: But, how often do those things happen in our businesses and our relationships with our health, with our fitness, with our sleep? We anticipate, we struggle, we fear. We’ve lost the ability to be where our feet are, and recognize that everything we need is already in us based on the variables that are in front of us. We try to over control and over archetype our life in a way that often just creates more struggle.
Peter Kersting: Wow, yeah it’s such a relatable problem how often we look ahead to the next thing that maybe it’s coming, maybe it’s not, maybe we don’t have the solution but we still try to find the problem. And, it’s funny because I recently was doing a reflection on my own private voice and part of what I was articulating to myself was sometimes my private voice is a problem finder not a problem solver.
Brian Bogert: Dude, you’re spot on though, because here’s the problem with self-awareness. Most people just become more aware of all the ways that they should be judging themselves, right, truthfully. And Dr. Tasha Eurich out of Denver is one of the leading experts on self-awareness and this is something that I’ve used for years, but she put science behind. Part of that is because people ask the wrong questions. People ask why. Why did this happen to me? Why did I get passed up for the job? Why did my dad prefer my sibling? Why, why, why, why, why?
Brian Bogert: At the end of the day, going back to the topic of control. We have no control over anything that’s already happened. It’s done. But when we ask why, we’re attempting to seek control or a greater understanding. But why leads to more questions of why, leads to more questions of why which keep us circling that drain and repeating those patterns in our life. She outlines when we reframe that to what, what can I do about this? What did I learn about this? What could I do differently to put myself in the position, so I don’t get passed up their promotion next time. What can I do to repair my relationship with my dad because it has nothing to do with my sister, right?
Brian Bogert: When you become more aware of all the ways you used to be judging yourself, all you do is circle the drain. So, when I say I learned not to get stuck by what had happened to me and said get moved by what I could do with it. When I tell people it’s important to pause and become aware of the less so we can extract so we can come intentional our lives, that’s what I’m saying. Focus on you up until the point that you understand the root, and you understand the dynamic that led to the root, and then shift to what can I do about it moving forward.
Up Next on Alone with Peter
We’re going to finish up with one final interview next Monday, December 27th. (My wedding day!) I’ve highlighted some common problems, obstacles, and ways of thinking that I’ve noticed other entrepreneurs, creative people, and travelers have expressed. I’ve articulated these concerns in my own words and asked Brian to provide some actionable, practical tips for us to grow and develop into the people we’re meant to be. I’m excited to have you guys check that out, so stay tuned for part three this upcoming Monday.