The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life

From Obesity to Empowered: Brian Falchuk's Story of Personal Resilience and the Do a Day Philosophy

March 20, 2024 Bryan Falchuk Season 1 Episode 72
The 2% Solution: 30 Minutes to Transform Your Life
From Obesity to Empowered: Brian Falchuk's Story of Personal Resilience and the Do a Day Philosophy
The 2% Solution with Dai Manuel
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Brian Falchuk's 'Do A Day' philosophy transformed his life from despair to the peak of personal victory.

This heartfelt conversation explores how life's experiences reshape us and the importance of resilience and growth.

We celebrate the cathartic act of writing and reflect on the profound realization that our self-worth is not tied to the material. 

Our exploration of Bryan's story illuminates how societal pressures and our own identities can obscure our true needs.

Join us on this expedition toward personal fulfillment and balance, one step at a time.

Be sure to connect with Bryan's platform and resources below:

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Dai Manuel:

Welcome back to the 2% solution, where we dive into stories of transformation and triumph. Today's episode holds a special place in my heart as we welcome Brian Falchuk, an incredible figure of resilience and change. Interestingly, my journey into the world of podcasts began with my very first guest appearance on Brian's show years ago, making this conversation a full circle moment. Brian, with his duoday philosophy, has inspired countless individuals, including myself, to live better, one day at a time. Today, we're here to share actionable insights, some uplifting stories and the lessons we've learned along the way. Strap in for a deeply personal and motivating episode that explores the power of daily actions and achieving lasting change. Brian, welcome to the 2% solution podcast.

Bryan Falchuk:

It's awesome to be here, Dai.

Dai Manuel:

Oh man, as I said in the introduction, everyone. This is a treat for me, because this is completely full circle. We're talking about a decade in the making here, quite literally. And yeah, I think just literally it's got to be about 10 years now, maybe, if not be, a little bit more.

Bryan Falchuk:

I think just over, actually, yeah.

Dai Manuel:

Is it just over? I think it is, because I think it was around 2012 or 2013. But where I was going with this is the very first podcast that ever went on was Brian's. And now to have you back on a guest, my new podcast probably getting it to my own, it just feels like. It just makes you feel a little warm inside, you know. I get all the feels and you just shared something with me about that.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah, so you were my first guest ever on my original podcast. Enlighten your Body is what it was called. I actually forgot the title. I was like the heck's that. Oh yeah, that used to be my show, but dude, yeah, 2012,. I remember I was sitting on the bed in our guest bedroom really nervous to send an email to this guy. I had been like bromancing, stalking on Facebook and that was kind of the main platform back then to hope that you might actually respond and you did within minutes and I literally jumped off the bed and ran off to my wife. I'm like you know that guy I've been talking about. He just wrote back to me and, yeah, little did you know and little did I know.

Dai Manuel:

And look where we are now.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah, we're just 10 years old. Why?

Dai Manuel:

And a few more gray hairs.

Bryan Falchuk:

Well, that's why I've got a hat on. Yeah, yeah so a few more gray hairs, a guy with like thick blonde hair? Yeah, you don't understand.

Dai Manuel:

Well, listen, I just got to keep this somewhat shaved because one of my chin hairs come out and there's only a few of those, because I was saying to everybody I don't grow it on my face, but I seem to do okay on my head, but when it does come out on my face, it's a lot of grays there. Man, all right, all right, so don't worry, it's coming, it's coming. I'm going to wake up one day and it'll be like Ted Danson right, just white, oh wow.

Bryan Falchuk:

All right.

Dai Manuel:

Yeah, could be. It happened with my grandpa. It was like literally over a 12 month period and he was like in his fifties he still had a full head of hair, but he went to that white mane like almost instantly in the span of 10 months and my mom often blames herself for that, but we'll see.

Dai Manuel:

Anyways, hey, listen, I want to dive in because you are one of the OGs. I've told this on other episodes. You know OG, I know a lot of people just think hip hop, original gangster, and I'm like no, no, no, no, no, no, we're old guys, right. So we're the original OGs. And the big thing was Brian is. When it came to this idea of small incremental changes, you were one of the first guys that I thought was extremely prolific with that messaging and I know it didn't come by accident, it wasn't even by design, but it was by experience and which might sort of just. Let's start there, talk a bit about your story and where that philosophy of do a day came from.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah Well, you're part of that story. Whether you want me to get into that or not, it's going to happen. But you know, for me and there's a similarity in our back stories slight difference in the details. But you know I grew up obese, as do tons of people around the world. You know mine was a byproduct of a lot of anxiety that I grew up with around my parents getting divorced when I was young and I was joke like I was the youngest, I was the marriage saver baby and I failed in my first job.

Bryan Falchuk:

You know, all kidding aside, as a little kid like you, just need things to be okay. And you know, with divorce and there's fighting, and you know moving out and all that kind of fun stuff that comes with divorce, it's not okay and as, like a five year old, you cannot do a thing about that. And for me, obviously I wasn't like going to sit down with my parents and be like listen. You know I'm having a lot of distress and discomfort about this. I'd like to discuss it with you and work through my emotions Like that ain't going to happen. But I still needed that comforting and I just didn't understand it. So I turned to things I could access and could control and that was food. And you know food really works well at quieting that anxiety for about seven minutes, you know, maybe eight if you're lucky, probably more like three, and that's the problem there. And so like eating does not actually cure anxiety, it's not even a band-aid, and so the more you eat, the more you eat. And it got out of hand and you know, it got to a place where I would say, if you look at a picture of me age five, age six, I'm roughly twice the weight at age six and I was, roughly speaking, like a hundred pounds overweight through my entire childhood into a, you know, early adulthood or late teens, lost weight which was amazing in high school, thanks to this incredible guy who just changed my relationship to exercise.

Bryan Falchuk:

But I still didn't deal with the anxiety. And that's because it was serving me, because now that I was older and more capable and had a car and then had a job, and had a job I could actually solve for the things that when I say like the sky is falling, I could jump in and save the day. And so I actually started justifying the anxiety because it's like, well, if I didn't do that, if I didn't freak out and jump in, then look what would happen. You know, everything would collapse. My job rewarded me for that. I was a management consultant. I was paid to find where the sky is falling, jump in and lift it back up. And it's like obviously I didn't get any of that at the time, but in hindsight it's like everything I was doing in my life was just reinforcing the things that were working against my life. And it finally came to a head and you know we can talk about this.

Bryan Falchuk:

But I almost lost my wife. I got a call from her doctor that she wasn't going to make it, and it was in that moment and thinking about my two-year-old who was watching his mother die in front of his eyes. If he's just left with me as his only parent, this poor kid has no hope for happiness in life. Because I am this like get out of my way, I got to get this done and just like constantly freaking out kind of person, and it was. I needed an external event and an external place to stick all of my hope into, because I had enough issues with myself that like I wasn't in a place where I could be like no, I deserve to not feel this way and it had to be about him for me in that moment.

Bryan Falchuk:

But that's what then sparked me to say, like, hang on a second, if I don't deal with this, yeah, he's going to pay Ultimately. I got to a place where it's like and I'm already paying and like isn't that? Isn't that worth it? But I'd sum this up with like why do a day when you're really overweight? It's always too much weight to start the exercise, to start the diet? Because it's like you kill yourself in the gym today. You eat nothing, like you do everything that all the Instagrammers are telling you. Like do this one thing. And it's like you know you're exhausted. You get on the scale and it's like 99 pounds to go. It's like, oh my God, that's like the same as 100. It's always too much. The mountain is always too much, and I realized that every day.

Bryan Falchuk:

And so what I realized in this whole do a day moment was I'm not losing all of the weight today, I'm not stepping to the top of the mountain today. I just need to take a step today and I don't need to worry about what are the steps that are ahead of me. Or, frankly, like did I miss step yesterday Because a lot of us do that it's like, oh no, I screwed up. I had this one thing that's not on my diet. Now it's all ruined. So I'm going to go eat a cheesecake and four pizzas and you know, like we throw it all the way because something from yesterday. But it's like yesterday's not happening and tomorrow's not going to happen. We don't know what's going to be with it. So can we just do the best we can for ourselves from a place of what really matters for us in this moment?

Bryan Falchuk:

And it was when I realized that that I stopped feeling this impossibility, this weight the sky is falling, crushingness. And that allowed me to actually dig into, like going to see a therapist, you know, because it's like, how am I going to make all these appointments work with my wife and my kid and my job? And it's like you're not making 80 appointments work for the next six years. You just have to go tomorrow or whatever it is. You know that that's what do a day was. It was freeing me up to focus on what can I do in this moment. That's better for me and those I care about and the purpose that I live for. That's it. I don't have to think about anything else, because none of that's happening and I don't know what will happen with it. So I need to release the anxiety and pressure of it.

Dai Manuel:

Oh man, I just whenever I hear your story, because I'm familiar with it, I'm familiar with the book, I got a copy of it, you know, and I got to say you know, it brings back a lot of my own memories and I imagine that it's also, if not triggering, it's definitely a trip down memory lane for a lot of folks, especially today and just the world economy that we see, you know, it's the health challenges, as much as we have greater knowledge and wisdom than we've ever had in a time before that.

Dai Manuel:

the obesity epidemic is in full swing you know, and it's not ever trending down, it's only trending up, and so I feel these stories are so important to tell, not only because they're inspiring and motivating, but really it's also educational.

Bryan Falchuk:

You know.

Dai Manuel:

I know that that's a big part of how you serve your communities and still continue to serve us all around this idea of transformation and empowerment and also making actions, but making sure you're taking the right actions right. To create those results, and I guess you know what was most effective for you when you started this, because I appreciate it's like I just got to get through today. Yeah, Do one thing today that moves me forwards for tomorrow. And what was that for you, though?

Dai Manuel:

Like what was those activities that you started to do that really created the effect that you were looking for.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah Well, so here's the problem, dye is, when I lost weight the first time, it was purely about activity and I actually became bulimic. I wasn't, I wasn't what. Did my finger down my throat? I was doing it through exercise, which I didn't see it, because bulimia to me was someone who's you know forced himself to throw up. And this guy, who's a mentor to me, pointed out he's like you know, I'm afraid you're becoming bulimic. And I was like what are you talking about? I don't, I'm not throwing up or anything. Like I eat, you know. And he's like, no, you're purging through exercise, like I'm doing four hours on the elliptical or the at a stair master that I bought and put in my bedroom, right, and I was like literally like 530, I get on the thing and I just watch TV and I'm just like pumping for four hours straight and if I didn't do it, I was miserable to be around. So it's not about, it's not about exercising, but yes, that is a modality that has helped and this is why it didn't work was like you can't just do that forever, and I didn't know why I was doing it and I didn't fix the issue.

Bryan Falchuk:

So, for me, the thing that was different in 2011,. It's August 1st 2011, because that call I got from my wife's doctor was July 31st. I'll never forget it. The thing that was different was I actually reflected on what the heck actually mattered to me, like, why am I, why do I need to do this? And that's why I say in that moment it was about my son and that very you know, for any parents out there, it's like that very deep connection you feel and the importance of your child, especially when they're little, like he's two. You know he's not now. He was like he shaves me.

Dai Manuel:

But actually, before we dive into what the actions were, you actually speak to that call because I know this and I think this gives great context to everybody out there, because I mean, how many of us wait for that OS moment, right, that poop moment in our lives to finally start to make and take actions, right? So if you don't want to share that for a few minutes, Well, and it was.

Bryan Falchuk:

You know I say it's like a gun in your face kind of moment, because that's what it was. It was about eight o'clock at night. You know, we're about to. I was about to do the bedtime routine with my son and my wife was a stay at home mom and at this point this is end of July, starting in late May she'd started to get sick and was at that point bedridden. She had wasted away to about a hundred pounds. She was losing two pounds a day literally, which, like you know, mid, like she's about five five at the time, like that's an extremely low weight and you don't have that many more two, two pound a day days to go through. And she had been.

Bryan Falchuk:

We live in Boston, like amazing medical community here. She'd been to every specialist under the sun. Her primary care doctor called me and was, or he called her house, you know I picked up and he just said yeah. So you know, all her tests still look fine. I don't think there's anything wrong with her. But she keeps getting worse is really nothing we can do at this point. I'm going on vacation, I'll check in in six weeks and like he was taken off for the rest of the summer and I just said to him. I was like, doctor, she's losing two pounds a day. Do the math. She won't be here in six weeks and he just goes okay, we'll take her to the ER if you need to. And he literally hung up the phone and it like there's a whole conversation about the medical community and caring and like blaming the patients were like that's a whole other topic that matters. You need to advocate for yourself.

Bryan Falchuk:

But I get off that call. And this was, you know, the sky is falling fear. I'd been living with for a while now, trying to balance a full time job, this little kid who is still very much hands on and a mom who can't take care of him anymore. So how do I like you know, and we didn't have help. So it's like, how do I make all this work? And in the back of my mind I'm afraid she's not going to make it. But I never said that out loud, no one ever said that to me and I felt like, okay, brian, that's just you being too scared about it. Like that's not realistic, she'll get through this.

Bryan Falchuk:

Then I get this call from her doctor is like, yeah, well then take her to the ER she's not going to make it, which is totally irresponsible. But that made it very real. And so you get off a call like that and you are just totally stunned. I walk into our bedroom. I don't know when I'm supposed to like. Am I supposed to be like yeah, the doctor thinks you're going to die while he's on vacation. Sorry, I don't know what you say to that, but my son is at the foot of our bed looking up at his mother and that's when it hits me is like he is watching his mother die in front of his eyes and I'm what he has left. And that that's what totally floored me. And yeah, just to be totally clear, doctor was wrong. She is still alive, she still deals with health issues, but they're not in the process of taking her life. So things change dramatically and there's a whole, her whole story it's not my story, but her story around.

Dai Manuel:

Let's get her on. Just I'm going to put this out there.

Bryan Falchuk:

You should. I think you should. Yeah, she listens to the show too.

Dai Manuel:

Oh, yeah, okay, well, you make sure you tell her yeah, I want to get her on because I want her episode to follow yours. Yeah, yeah, I love to do that.

Bryan Falchuk:

I just sharing what it was that she found out, so she has chronic Lyme disease which, depending who's listening to this, you're either like oh yeah, I know people have been through that, or you're like, no, that's not real, which is unfortunately what their response is. And when ticks but she grew up in like Long Island in Vermont, which are too heavily populated with ticks kind of areas, and played outside a lot and it was a normal thing, you had ticks on you. It happens you go through the woods. Ticks don't tend to just come with Lyme disease, they bring a lot of other things to the party and so it's messy, there's a lot to it, and when you don't treat it it's really insidious and difficult. And the symptoms are not consistent, linear or clear. They move around. They're good days and bad days. You get a lot of well, you look good, you get a lot of fighting through, and then you have these periods where it's significantly worse.

Bryan Falchuk:

And the thing that I always say to people is like, have you ever had an unreliable car? If you've gotten in the car and you don't know if you're going to get from point A to point B, and it starts making that noise, and you're like do I need to call for assistance? Like, am I going to make it. Imagine if that car was your body on a daily basis, and it's different because there's pain now, there's all sorts of other things, but to feel that level of instability, non-reliance and fear with just your body creates a situation of anxiety that is so insidious and so far reaching that it's unbelievably hard to deal with. And so for that doctor, be like you're getting yourself all worked up and you seem to be depressed and you can't do what you feel if you're in this spot.

Bryan Falchuk:

But I can attest to that's not how she was before she got stricken, so it's not that she was this way and then that manifested. She was vibrant and highly involved mother and she got sick and she'd had these bouts where it was like one or two days and then she'd recover, and so I kept waiting, like every day she had one of her flare ups and I was like, okay, it'll be over in a day or so. We didn't know about the line at the time and it just kept not going away and it kept getting worse and she kept wasting away, and so that's where it was like just spiraling out of control, and thank God it hasn't happened again. However, the things that were like the early warning signs of it. Those have happened a lot, and so that's where, like, you hear your car make that noise. There's been so many moments where it's like is this just a passing thing, or is this the start of another one of those? That's why it's such a difficult thing on a daily basis.

Dai Manuel:

I appreciate you sharing this because, as you know I know we've had conversations where we started our road trips we had the pleasure of getting down to Boston and visiting you and the fam and sharing an awesome was it a vegan dinner Was it a vegan place.

Bryan Falchuk:

It's been closed down, which bums me out. Yeah, yeah.

Dai Manuel:

One of that many options? Yeah, that was such a great restaurant, I think they got very sick of us all.

Bryan Falchuk:

We stayed a long time and we were not quiet, but that's okay.

Dai Manuel:

Our kids are pretty young at that time, so it went over.

Dai Manuel:

They were having fun. We dropped enough money. I think it's all good, but I was going to say I mean I was also down there for a research of my CrossFit, so it was just a wonderful opportunity to all connect and get that out of the way. But I do remember us sharing the conversation because I've been very open about my auto immune condition and how symptoms aren't always the same. You know they are changing and that's the challenge with when you're immune, immune systems under attack.

Dai Manuel:

I mean and, to be fair, the doctor still. They're so afraid of making wrong guesses. Yeah, they just. They stopped making that.

Bryan Falchuk:

We're saying they don't know, right? Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah, it's super difficult, but it was. It was that extreme situation, an extremely emotional point that forced me then to be like you know what really counts here, what matters, and it was like a reevaluate your entire life and kind of your operating system, if you will like, your core values, and that put it all front and center. So the next morning was my exercise different? Yes, Because I knew, I already knew how to be different, like I had lost weight before. I knew the things I should have been doing but it just like, oh, I just don't want to. You know I'll get on the elliptical, but I'll. It was magazines. Back then the iPad wasn't inventive.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah, I know, I'll just open a magazine and you know next thing I know it's beeping because it's done. You know it's like I was a turkey in the oven. I wasn't actually a person exercising. I'm like, no, I should be doing intervals and when they hit, I should hit back. And it was like I want to and I'm tired, and so you need something more than just feeling bad about the way you look, to actually put that effort in and it.

Bryan Falchuk:

I used to joke that I was like I spent the first half of my life obese and second half trying not to be. What a horrible way to live your life. Like, hi, I'm Brian, I try not to be fat. Like, oh, that's awesome, what a great guy. I'd love to spend time with them. I don't have.

Bryan Falchuk:

My exercise is zero to do with the way I look or fitting into things or any of that. I actually don't care about that at all. I exercise because I love it. I love the way it makes me feel, I love the challenge, I love the achievement. There are days when it's harder than others. There are days where I don't perform the way I wish I did and I, instead of being mad at myself for it, I'm like, okay, well, let's think about that.

Bryan Falchuk:

What was? Was my knee hurting? Was I tired? Was it this? Was it that? Where was my mind at? Was I distracted?

Bryan Falchuk:

So I'm looking at it and trying to understand myself better. And that's why it's not just action, cause you can't just take action. I always warn people like just is a four letter word. If you hear someone say the word, just watch out for what they're saying next, cause it's a total under representation of the true issue at hand. So I tapped into what actually matters to me and when you really do that, you know it's like I say, when, when people tell you to dig deep, it's like this is what you're digging for, it's what's that thing that's going to rise you up above the challenge you're facing. That will keep you on that path.

Bryan Falchuk:

And I I just got in touch with that and you know we can go into more of it. Like I got in touch with that at a profoundly deep level. That like I mean you know I did a TEDx talk on all this. Yes, absolutely, I've talked about this a gazillion times. I wrote a book on it, which you were the catalyst for, the book, which is another diamond well, influencing my life positively moment. But I'm on stage there and like I'd rehearsed this thing, I'd done this talk a number of times and I well up and I'm like I might start crying on stage, even though it's something I've talked about a million times. It's that powerful for me. Like I know some people in the audience were upset, but like this is ultimately about me, I didn't do any of this, for I hope it helps other people.

Bryan Falchuk:

But one thing I came to grips with really early and not jumping ahead of the book was you go through these ups and downs and we're going to buy it. Oh my God, maybe we're going to make Oprah's list. My mother's not even going to buy it. I'm not going to sell a single copy Like you go through these ups and downs, right? Oh gosh, yeah. But I realized when I'm writing it like I can't choose to write this or not based on whether it's going to sell a gazillion copies or not. I need to write this because doing this helps me tremendously and if no one reads it, I'm actually totally okay with that, because I have taken so much for my life and how I can impact the lives of others through just how I am, that it's worth it Even if not a single book is sold. And you know the economics of selling books is like, oh yeah, even if a lot of books are sold like not quitting my day job off of one book.

Dai Manuel:

No, stop, stop, stop. I hear you, man, I'm saying wait. But the book does bring wonderful opportunities and great opportunity to connect with amazing people. You know, and also just yeah, I've always maintained, you know, if one person is positively impacted by something that I create, you know, content-wise, I sleep really well at night.

Dai Manuel:

You know, just knowing that and because I know for myself there's been those moments where I've been really low and just that right message pops up at the right time, it's incredible how profound it can shift us you know, and I appreciate all the content that you've put out over the years because a lot of it is around motivation and mindset and really this idea of aligning that purpose, mission, vision, you know, to one direction, right, getting anything aligned. And so I'd love for you to maybe just chat a bit about that piece, the motivation and the mindset, and then you know, of course, because I know people are curious, they're like well, what did you do?

Bryan Falchuk:

What were the actions you were doing, you know. So are we starting to mine mindset motivation?

Dai Manuel:

Because I love your thought.

Bryan Falchuk:

Well, and it's funny like I've written two kind of self-help for lack of a better name than I edited the fourth one. They're all actually built in the same structure. So people are like, well, you write business books, that's how they know me, and it's all self-help. It's all self-help, it's all the same and it's because I introduce a concept and then I learned through examples. So the chapters or days is what I call them are actually like this is a theme in my life and I'm gonna walk you through how those lessons we just talked about actually apply here, so you can see it in practice.

Bryan Falchuk:

And what I'm trying to do is paint. This isn't just about we lost, like that is. That's just one manifestation of it. I talk about career stuff and parenting and all kinds of different issues, and then there's a million things I don't face that lots of other people do, the point being like A, it helps make the lessons practical. And B, it takes away a little bit of that excuse of, oh, this doesn't apply to me and it's like, oh, that guy's just losing weight, I don't need to lose weight, so I don't need to worry about this. We all face all kinds of mountains and handcuffs and challenges, and that's why, like, I try to share lots of different perspectives on this general notion, cause the reality is we should all be in touch with what matters to us, we should all find ways to achieve what we actually care about in life and then we should pay it forward right, like if we're better people, we're infecting those around us with that betterness, and that's a good thing.

Bryan Falchuk:

So the purpose I keep talking about is there's some fundamental aspects of that that I talk about, and it's like when we talk about weight loss for goals. You know it's like beach season or high school reunion and you want to make them look, even be, jealous. Or you're going to your ex's wedding somehow you got invited to that. I don't know what kind of. That's great, you guys are friends, but you know you want to make someone jealous or something like that. That's all fine and that works for like six weeks, and then the event passes and you fall back into your old habits, cause you lost weight or you got a better job, or you save the money to go buy that car to you know, whatever the one thing was, that's temporal, that's not motivation. I think purpose can be a stronger word for this year and what it is is about getting in touch with that very deep down thing that has to be internal to you. So I said it was my son and I was on a podcast as a guest and someone called me out. He's like, but you said it's going to be internal and you're basically like BSing us that your son's internal he's not. So you know, you're right, my feelings as his father and he's like, well, dig into that.

Bryan Falchuk:

And I kept going back and it ultimately came back to me and I just wasn't ready for that yet cause I didn't feel enough like to sound mushy, but self love, I wasn't ready to respect and value myself enough to realize like I actually don't want to be miserable. I don't want to always be in fight or flight, I want to just enjoy my life. And what does enjoy my life mean? I have to define that for me. But that's not a until beach season's over or you know when people. I just have to get through this and then it's all going to be good. That's not life. Life will always throw you curve balls. It's just a question of whether you're swinging or not, right, like that's up to you. So it's got to be, you know, deep inside of you, it can't be temporary, it has to be persistent. I always say it should never be material, which, like, how is something deep inside of you like I want a bigger house? But for some people, you know, they do focus on the material and that drives them for a while. But I'm like you got to dig into. Well, why did you care about that?

Bryan Falchuk:

So I give an example right when I was coaching someone who had just gotten laid off from a job, he was late fifties already, had great retirement savings houses paid off, kids had moved out and he actually had a pension from the job he just got let go from and it was going to kick in and his wife worked. And he's like Brian, I got to find another job. You had to help me. And I'm like, okay, well, let's just take a breath on this. What is it you want to do? He's like I don't know, but I need a job. I have to. You know I got to pay the bills. I'm like, well, what bills are we talking about here? Cause, by the way, you got like two years of severance, so like the bills are ticking until you're like 60. And then, like five years out. You get your pension, so it's a five year span. You get tons of savings.

Bryan Falchuk:

Like he had been a senior executive, senior executive at financial services company for a long time and but he was so in this rush and kept talking about paying the bills, Like, well, let's break that down, what are the bills? And he's like, well, the mortgage is this and the phone is this, and the blah, blah, blah. And I was like, okay, do you have college tuition? You're paying? He's like, no, no, no, no, kids are on their own and they're good Mortgage. You said that.

Bryan Falchuk:

He's like, well, actually, no, I mean, we paid the mortgage off. We own our house outright. I'm like, oh, so, property tax, okay, but that's smaller. And if we start to break it down? And we talked about his severance and we talked about what he's got saved and his wife's income, and he started to realize, like you know, the bills are totally taken care of, they're well, they're living well within their means. But he kept harping on it and what we got to is like it's his sense of being the breadwinner and he was a sales executive. So his, he got his first job in sales when he was like 21, right out of undergrad. He had long blonde locks. He was an NCAA athlete he's now

Bryan Falchuk:

white haired, diabetic, overweight. Oh, his sense of himself. And the last time he actually thought about getting a job was when he was an unbelievable At that point. But it wasn't him. It was how his kid saw him, how his wife saw him, how people from the outside saw him, his country club, all these kinds of things. He had no sense of himself and it was taking him down to this very personal view on himself and thinking about like, who are you? Last time you asked yourself that, if you asked yourself that you were a child, really, in the grand scheme of things, you were a kid. That's the difference between the material, which is like pay the bills, have the things, versus like well, who the heck are you? That's like you should not find a job when you don't even understand yourself, because unless you find a job when you don't even understand yourself, and that is what, and for it, we were doing the work. But he got a job anyway and six months he was out. Wow, because it was like, and he hated it, but he's paying the bills.

Dai Manuel:

Yeah.

Bryan Falchuk:

Like wrong reasons. So non-material is really important to me and once you understand that, set that energy on a purpose. And for me there were three things that I outlined that I'm like these are immediate things I have to take back and control in my life. The first and most important was the anxiety bit. Enough excuses, like I need to find a way to make one appointment with a therapist work, and I was like anything else is too much. So I'm going to do that, I'm going to start the process and once you make the one work, then you just have to make one appointment work. That's the second one, right, and the other was the wait. So I knew what I needed to do, but I was so fired up that morning. It's so much purpose and so much drive and like step aside magazine, I'm going to have a little conversation and I beat the crap out of those intervals. If I'm being honest, I was so exhausted at the end of the session I think I had a mat under my elliptical that needed a mat under the mat but it was

Bryan Falchuk:

great and I was like hungry for more. And the last thing was my job had been amazing and was not anymore. That was a longer burn, but I needed to start to do some things to position myself for the next role. And those were things I had known for some time which I could never actually dig into. And the thing about success is success begets success. So when you frame yourself to actually go after it and you start and you're, you're measuring today not I need to know 20 years from now to this workout, I was winning each day, and when I wasn't, I was looking into why and I still felt success because I came away understanding like now I know how I'm set up to do this better tomorrow, and so it was very much this building exercise. I love having conversations like this because then, like, no doubt I'm going to do better tomorrow, because I'm like yeah, right, and he did all that.

Dai Manuel:

But he also brings back those memories and those feelings of what you committed to.

Dai Manuel:

I mean, the identity conversation is so relevant because I've had periods in my life where I, you know, when I transitioned away from 17 years of building a company that I co-founded in, it was like as much as I knew what I was sort of leaning into. I didn't really know who I was, sort of a place to redefine who I want to be, but also who do I want to be? Yeah, and then am I doing the actions that bring me closer to that? And I just keep thinking about Nietzsche when you've been talking. You know, it's just that idea of you. Know I won't do it verbatim, but I mean the summation of the quote is basically you know, with a strong enough Y, we can endure anyhow.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah.

Dai Manuel:

And it really sounds like that purpose piece, that identity piece. Once you get clear on that, the house is just automatic, right, you just know what to do, right, right. So I mean, can you continue speaking to that, because I just I love it and it's also it's been so impactful sort of so many people, this change that you've committed to.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah.

Dai Manuel:

But also I just think about your kids, yeah, and what you can do, you know, is just remarkable. That's your legacy, right, Lipper, you know.

Bryan Falchuk:

Yeah, it is. It's pretty and I was actually a terrible student in English class growing up, so there's just that aspect of it too. It's like wow, but that's kind of you know the story we keep telling ourselves about what's impossible. It's been a really interesting ride for me. You know, in the in the like personal development, self-help, whatever you want to call it space, there's a lot of noise and a lot of people who are the most effective and I'm not throwing shade at all, but I just I don't jibe with the approach Like the. You know, you see, like I can teach you how to make a million dollars.

Bryan Falchuk:

Selling courses to people on how to make a million dollars, I'm like, well, you just like you're telling me that you're scamming me right now, but somehow people are falling for it. I know that stuff works and you know it's in different masterminds. They're like, oh, you got to angle it this way and it just never felt right to me and it's the what like those are, that's lots of hows, that's someone else's how, and more power to them and they're successful and you know they did better than me. That's awesome, um, but it's a very hard space to compete in because there's a lot and even on my best day I'm going to come close to selling as many books as anyone. You know.

Bryan Falchuk:

Any of those, those big names would. Um, I got really comfortable with not caring about that. Nice, because I just you know, and it goes back to like you're actually the one who told me the average number of books, uh, that gets sold in a year, you know and you know it was like 248 or something and that was one of the most freeing moments I've ever had.

Bryan Falchuk:

It's like oh, the bars. Like I think my mom's probably going to buy that many, so it's she bought 30. No joke.

Dai Manuel:

So like my mom bought a bunch of, she just kept giving them away to everybody and I was like, yeah, I'm like 218.

Bryan Falchuk:

That's all I have to sell now, um, but it's like it. Let me let go of caring about it. And that actually is a big part of this. I is like um, I did. I've done three TEDx talks and one of them the last one I did actually, I think as as important and pivotal as do a day is for me, this one is the one that I think I end up touching on the most is um.

Bryan Falchuk:

So often there's something that we really want, we care about it, we want to go for it, we want to achieve it. It aligns with who we are and we're too scared, and a lot of that fear is ultimately around rejection, which is a natural and normal thing. You don't want to fail, you want to be told no, you want to put yourself out there to have a blow up in your face. I, I kind of reframed it and I think the book example is a great one is right now, you know, rewind. Before I released it, I have sold zero books. If I put this book out and I I'm the only one who buys it I will have put a book out and sold one copy, which is better than I've done now. Worst case scenario, I don't even buy my own book, or my wife doesn't, or whoever, and I've sold the exact same amount of books as I've sold now. So, like, what have I actually lost? I've grown tremendously by writing it, but what did I actually lose? If you, you know you want to ask someone out and you're like, oh, but they might say no, you're not going out with them now. So if you ask them out and they say no, you're just still not going out with them. It's up to you whether you want to care about you know and do it in the right way and be respectful. And you know, like, don't be a horrible person in the process. But if you're respectful and ask them kindly and genuinely and they're like, no, you know, I'm not interested, or I have a, I'm already with someone or whatever, how much worse off are you? That's actually your choice. Whether you're going to allow that to redefine who you are is your choice, and I see that in myself and others on a daily basis. Is like we put ourselves out there. Someone's not going to like it. How do you, how do you react to that? That's up to you.

Bryan Falchuk:

I got one negative comment on do a day on on Amazon and friends who started like that guy was such a jerk. He ripped it apart Like what a waste of time. The author doesn't know anything. He's really self-centered and self-serving. He's obnoxious Like all these net really really mean things. And at a friend's like that, like you should reach out to Amazon and have them remove.

Bryan Falchuk:

And it's like no, like if you look at this guy's profile, he has reviewed like 30 or 40 self-help, personal development, you know emotional intelligence kind of books and he pans all of them. I'm like this is someone who's very hurting and he's trying to. He may not even be aware of it, but he's trying to find help and he just keeps not getting it and he's blaming the authors for it and that's like. I saw that as like this is someone who's hurt, not like it's for me I don't care, like it's not that I don't care, I care and I was hurting for him but I wasn't offended. I didn't take that as like oh my God, I'm the worst person in the world. I'm this obnoxious, you know narcissist that he's describing I've used like wow, this poor guy, someone shoplifted one of my books from a store at a local store selling them.

Bryan Falchuk:

Wow, yeah, and I was kind of like that's, that's kind of meta. Like you shop self-help book, I'm like I would have just given it to them and not had the store lose the money because clearly they needed it. I'm like you're shoplifting a book like that, like you'd need it. But you know we don't need to take these things personally and then define ourselves on it and that's really hard. But that's been and none of that would have come if I didn't start with. You talked about it and this is what sparked the book is the first domino. But you talked to me about line up that like what's the last domino you're trying to knock down now start setting them in reverse. And if the book's the first domino and that's what I got to after you and I had to call I had to go out for a run at like four in the morning and do everything that you know, all these other dominoes I only saw the last domino.

Bryan Falchuk:

I didn't realize there's a whole. It's a whole like design to knock down after that and that's been really cool for me discovering it. But this, this like freedom from the fear of rejection and that sense of failure because someone else just didn't give you what you wanted, that you didn't have to begin with, that's been really opening for me.

Dai Manuel:

Yeah, and more than that. I think you just to add to this, because I love everything that you're sharing and, of course, everybody that's listening or watching that in the show notes there's links to the books, the TED Talks, all Brian's great stuff, because you're going to have to go check it out and I know the Do-A-Day book is still available along with all those other books. Just, it will be well worth your time to check it out. And, yeah, well, no, easy to make that recommendation. But I think what I appreciate most, brian, is that this journey that you've been on no-transcript, it's continuously evolving, you know. But obviously the mindset and what you experience through that huge transition and shift, this alignment of values, purpose, mission, vision, you know, just you can see how it just created this, this sort of a wormhole effect just sucking you through right. So the next chapter of your life, for the next season, and I'd love to just hear you know, because of that evolution, how's it set you up for what you're doing now?

Bryan Falchuk:

what you're doing today.

Dai Manuel:

And, more importantly, did you mind sharing that? But also what's next, brian?

Bryan Falchuk:

So, first of all, I'm glad you phrased it like that because I, when people are like you know, I just need to fix this or what I hope I'm never done, and I'm not interested in comparing myself to what I was like at 35 or whatever, like in each moment of my life. I just want to compare myself to that moment and whether I'm doing what I could have done. So what's next for me? I don't know. I have senses of things that I want to do, but I'm not. I'm not really too focused on that. It's more. It's more whether I'm doing what I think is the right thing in this moment, and I've gotten very comfortable with the ambiguity of that path.

Bryan Falchuk:

Jason, really, you know, we talked about one of the moments I left a job and was going to go out on my own right when COVID ended up hitting. So, like 2020, as for a lot of people, I made less than I did my first year out of undergrad. Only I had a family in a house and all the financial responsibility. Like I faced some pretty big like I don't know whether I screwed up and but I stuck with it. I think all of this comes from that, from that do a day moment where it really forced me first of all to re kind of rewrite or reboot my operating system, because it was always there, I just wasn't in touch with it. You know, you get infected by a virus of some bad code and I don't know why I'm making myself into a computer in this whole talk, but I'm in the matrix man, we're in the matrix.

Bryan Falchuk:

I restarted my phone and it suddenly was able to get online again. Yeah, that, you know that. That opened up very different leadership for me, very different achievements. I went on on the career side to have ups and downs, but more ups than downs, and I'm really thankful for that. Today I run an organization. I'm in the insurance space by day and I fight crime by night. I run like an industry. Yeah, that's right. Insurance Batman is not a sexy. Yeah, yeah, put out all these other books. I wanted to.

Bryan Falchuk:

You know this vision of myself as a public speaker. Like I'm Tony Robbins and maybe not that level, but like doing that kind of stuff off a do a day that didn't pan out and that's okay. I'm not going to say some of that, but I do way too much on the insurance side. So like I'm overbooked beyond belief and I'm actually like try to price myself out of something and hope they would say no, it's great to be in demand like that, and where I'm at right now is is the opposite problem of what I had in the past, where I've got too much and I'm learning.

Bryan Falchuk:

You know, I've talked about this when you're in the hustle and you eat what you kill, and especially when you've kind of lost everything financially and, like you know, trying to build a business in COVID and no income for months and months, the idea of saying no to something is really unsafe. And I'm not in that place, thankfully, but I still have that hunger, and it's a good thing, but this is just like me, with my anxieties, like no, but it's protecting me, it isn't. It isn't because it could also kill me, it's it's overworking me and it's keeping me from things that also matter to me. So for 2024, one of the key things for me is reinstituting that decision making balance and and I've got a bit of a rubric where I'm weighing things out and I also just need to be comfortable saying, oh, you know what, I'm not able to do that and that's okay.

Dai Manuel:

So that's our phrase.

Bryan Falchuk:

Hopefully that's what's next for me is getting some sleep. Yeah, not right now, but um, yeah, I just. I'm about balance and I've got this plan of retirement, which is not actually retirement but is freedom to divvy up my time as I wish. I would still like to do an Iron man.

Bryan Falchuk:

That's the last thing I talked about in due to a yeah, yeah we'll have not done that, but I would love the free I love, like when I was marathon training. That's all I did and it was the most beautiful time of my life. I'd love to get back to that. So that's kind of if I had a dream scenario. It's getting to a place where I have the, the pure freedom to spend my time in ways that really just feel enriching, and I generally get to do that. But I also pressure and things that, yeah, I would probably skip if I could. That's alright, I'm working on it and and you grow so much in the journey. I'm not I'm not bemoaning any of it. I'm unbelievably thankful for what I have. It's. It's pretty amazing, and especially the number of times I was told or saw we're so certain that I wouldn't have any of it. So you know, I can't be anything but glad if I really reflect on it.

Dai Manuel:

I think it's a wonderful state of mind, but also it's an earned perspective based on your life experiences and just your proactive approach to life, right, yeah?

Dai Manuel:

it's not like you continue to wait around for stuff to happen. You want to make it happen. Yeah and sure. When you're doing that, you're gonna run up against obstacles and you can either figure out how to get around them or you choose to go down a different path and that's all okay, right, I mean, it's as long as you feel like you're still progressing. I think that was the nice thing about the day was every day there you're experiencing a win, yeah yeah, at least have a micro moment where you see that needle move the right direction.

Dai Manuel:

Yeah, I mean, you compound that over a year 365 days are like this year 366. You know, like game on man, like you're, you're gonna be that much further along than when you started the year. And Thank you for not only modeling that, that mindset, but also mentoring people, both directly and indirectly, through the content, the books. You know you're still showing up on podcast here and there and attending a lot of stages and I know that impact is being felt far and wide.

Dai Manuel:

And thank you again for just being here today, brian you know, I give my guests always the last words, so I like to give you the last word to share the last message for the audience listeners, and we'll call it a day yeah.

Bryan Falchuk:

Well, I mean, it is a throwback to you.

Bryan Falchuk:

You know I, you, you're one of my first like I'm reaching out and I don't know if he's gonna respond, but you did, and I think that's what we need to remember is I think the biggest way I've been able to have any impact for myself and for others is by showing up when people call for it, and I take so much from that selfishly, like it's not purely for the good of others.

Bryan Falchuk:

I feel amazing, contributing to someone else doing better, and I'm very lucky for the fact, and thankful for the fact, that you seem to be operating the same way when I needed it. You know who's this guy that reaching out out of the blue, but you were there for me and that was a really powerful and unlocking moment for me, but also great role modeling that honestly die like. I know you didn't. I don't know if you remember that, but it stood out and left a message to me that I've tried to replicate throughout my life and you've done that for me so many times. Like I said, wouldn't be a book first guest so awkwardly I'll make make my last point about you, but it's invaluable and we all get those chances, so it's just a question of whether we take them and serve for others.

Bryan Falchuk:

Love you brother thank you like honestly.

Dai Manuel:

Brian, that was very kind of you to say, but you know you've been A wonderful rock in my life as well at times where I've really needed it. Even just remembering past conversations, looking at your book, it's a nice little shift back to that, that realignment with my own why and purpose. And I have to remember that there's days where, yeah, I may not be feeling that fulfilled, but you know why I can't wait, you know, to do that thing. That I know realigns me and I think it's just that continuation of taking the right actions for the right reasons and For you know, in a good place, or doing that consistently, usually the right results will ensue, you know. So it's thanks again for being here today and I can't wait to share on the show later.

Dai Manuel:

but yeah, no pressure, but yes, thanks, thanks again for being here today, brian, and again, everyone in the outro all sort of smiles, a lot of key takeaways also remind you of what links to check out, and please do reach out to Brian if you have any questions, thoughts or you want to book them to come speak at your next event. I tell you he's a phenomenal speaker and I'll have links to the TED talks to prove it. So there you go. What a journey we've been on today with Brian. His story is a powerful reminder that, no matter the obstacles we face, transformation is always within our reach through small daily actions.

Dai Manuel:

Brian's do a day philosophy is not just a strategy but a way of life that encourages us to live fully in the present while working towards our future selves. If Brian's message resonated with you, remember to share this episode with someone in need of a little inspiration. Don't forget to subscribe and leave a review for the two percent solution podcast, as well as go to the show notes and check out some amazing links to Brian's platform is Ted talks, his books and, honestly, a whole pile of motivating, inspiring and educational content. Until next time, keep striving for that two percent improvement every single day and remember the power to change lies within you. See you in the next episode.

Do a Day
Health Struggles and Family's Impact
A Journey of Self-Discovery and Transformation
Finding Purpose Through Motivation and Mindset
Finding Self-Worth Beyond Material Possessions
Building Purpose and Identity for Success
Overcoming Fear of Rejection and Failure
Evolution and Balance

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