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  • Writer's pictureShirley Owens

Make Today The Day to Change Your Life with Bryan Falchuk

“You need to value yourself enough to recognize that you can.” –Bryan Falchuk

Shirley and Bryan discuss life and how having a new perspective can change your reality and ultimately help you to get what you want!

We talk about weight gain and loss, feeling not good enough, developing healthy relationships, so many subjects, and ultimately how to take each day one at a time to create the life you want!


01:30 The Comfort in Food

08:21 Building a Relationship with Health

11:28 Something Heavier than Weight

18:18 June 30, 2011 –The Day of All Days

23:15 The “Do A Day” Way to Live

29:58 The First and Most Important Thing

35:25 Own Your Derails and Appreciate Where You Are

46:09 How to Turn Things Around




The choices you make in a single day, can powerfully change all the following days forever. Listen in as @SfbaldwinOwens interviews @bryanfalchuk on how to make each day count. #health #weightloss #illness #change #DoADay #selflove #backintime #regrets #relationship #perfection


“You need to value yourself enough to recognize that you can.” –Bryan Falchuk

“Quit thinking about what you didn't want. Start thinking about what you wanted and how you were going to create what you want.” ­–Shirley Owens

“When we take one thing at a time, how much faster we progress.” –Shirley Owens

“When it's too much, you don't even start. Or maybe you start but you quit pretty much instantly.” –Bryan Falchuk

“Once you're in a good place with ‘you’, then and only then, can you start to address how you're relating to other people.” –Bryan Falchuk

“The first and most important thing is self-love. That's the original building block. If you don't value yourself… you'll fail.” –Bryan Falchuk

“Even those of us who are ‘perfect’ can always be better.” –Bryan Falchuk

“When you change your perspective, you change your reality.” –Shirley Owens

Connect with Bryan:

Bryan has faced major adversities and learned how to overcome and achieve. From obesity to running marathons, from career struggles to success as a CXO, from watching illness threaten his family to finding lasting health, he has been through many lessons he used to develop his unique approach to inspiring others succeed.

Bryan’s work has been featured in Inc. Magazine, The LA Times, Chicago Tribune, on TEDx stages, and over 150 podcasts and radio shows. His two books, Do a Day and The 50 75 100 Solution: Build Better Relationships help people live better across every aspect of their lives.


Shirley Owens: My guest today has an inspiring story. He went from being obese and depressed to running marathons. He faced nearly losing his wife to an illness while their young son watched. He became vegan in just one day. He got his masters from a top school and rose to senior executive position in a successful business, and now he's a bestselling author, has spoken at TEDx events, and has reared in articles for many major publications like Inc. Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and the L.A. Times. He's transformed his life and developed an approach to help others do the same that he teaches in his bestselling book Do a Day. And he's here today to share that philosophy with all of you. I'm so excited, Bryan, welcome.

Bryan Falchuk: Thanks so much for having me on Shirley.

Shirley Owens: So I feel like there's just so much about you and I would love for you to just talk to me about who you are, your journey, and you know what you're doing right now with all of this.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, I appreciate that. And I'm, kind of, that in a really interesting transition point because I've been talking for the past couple of years about the kind of stuff that you just share it around my first book and that's been such a key piece of who I am and it will always be, but the transitions I'm about to go into my next book, and they build off each other so it's a pretty natural flow. But like I'm even figuring out myself, well how do I talk about this? Cause it's, like the first one is so definitional for me so let me hit on that so like you even know why, like, what I'm all about. But see, I have this approach that I call Do a Day and it's all about how I lived my life and it was born of a couple of things that really started with, sort of being forced to reflect on the kind of person I was, and things about how I was living and impacting those around me that I care about tremendously. But ultimately also myself and valuing myself to care that I was impacting myself that way. To recognize like, you know what, this is not serving you as much as you insist that it has to be this way or it's for the best even though it doesn't feel that way, it's not working. And so, you mentioned the obesity like a lot of Americans, I struggled with my weight for a really long time, and what I think most people miss in dealing with that is it's not just because you ate too much. Cause I know people who eat way too much in their pencil pen, like, it's not about what you eat, you know, it's like, oh, well their metabolism, yeah, maybe for some and maybe for others, no. It's not about any of that, there is a different root cause. Just like anything that manifest physically, there's something going on that's caused it.

Shirley Owens: Yeah, for sure.

Bryan Falchuk: And for me it was just bored of my parents, their marriage ending when I was really young, so I'm pretty sure, although neither of them will confirm this, I'm pretty sure I was in the marriage saber baby and I just said their marriage failed. So like, obviously my first role, I was not successful in that first job that I was given. But you know, it's like as a little kid, you can't do for yourself and so you look to your parents or your caregivers to do that for you and you provide that stability in that sense that things will be okay and I just didn't have that, you know, like that core. I'm a father and I see how my son, like, when my wife and I hug, he'll like, if he's sitting at the table he'll like jump out of the seat to come and join in.

Shirley Owens: Absolutely.

Bryan Falchuk: It's like he loves that feeling of our family being whole and I don't have a clue what that's like cause by the time I, you know, start to have memories, my parents split up when I was like five or six. So, you know, my first conscious memories sometime age two, three, like whenever those start to form, I don't have happy mommy daddy thoughts, you know, I have the fighting and the issues, and their marriage was already unwinding by the time I knew what was going on. And so I just didn't, you know, I didn't feel safe and taken care of and I really didn't understand any of that. So that was like, that sort of age is when a lot of your wiring in your brain is starting to get set up.

Shirley Owens: For sure.

Bryan Falchuk: And obviously you don't have a clue in that time. So it's not like I said like it didn't pause one day and turned to my mother when I was like four, I'm like, oh mom, you know, I'm really struggling with these emotional, like, I had no idea, I just wanna eat cause I was really unsettled and food feels good.

Shirley Owens: I think as parents when we have, I have a bunch of kids so, you know, we feed them when they're younger, like, they're crying and we feed them, and they're in a store we give them a snack, or to ride in the car, or something. I think we--

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, and we celebrate with food.

Shirley Owens: --Yeah. We celebrate -- and it's comfort, and so yeah. When you talk about what you're going through at that age, the parents aren't really paying attention to what you're going through because none of us know that either until we're growing up until we learn, oh yeah, that was really bad for your time. You know, and so, yes, food becomes very comforting.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. It's really interesting as you're saying that, I'm like, it's about soothing and I mean the, you know, it's not to come down on any parents cause it's like, from birth, that's what like, babies cry for one of three reasons, you know, and one of them is food, you're right for giving them food, it's not that you're a bad parent or anything. You shouldn't feel that way, but at some point these things start to transition and now you see it with devices and, you know, I see a baby fussy and so the parent just, or the babysitter, or whoever just puts the cell phone in the baby's hands and so it's like, well that's a new kind story. I sucked my thumb until I was eight years old, which like my orthodontist loved, but you know, for my parents not as great, and obviously for me it wasn't great, but that was about soothing. And honestly it wasn't until us having this conversation right now that it just connected, there's probably a reason why I was still sucking my thumb at that age cause that's when everything was going on, and it's like, well I couldn't eat all the time so I just ate my thumb basically. Wow, I just feel I have a breakthrough (laughs), I never connected that. So, I didn't continue to struggle with the thumb sucking for too long, you know, once like sleepovers get to be more common and I went to sleep away camp, so like, you know, you don't suck your thumb in front of the other boys, so you're getting made fun of even more than you already do.

Shirley Owens: Right. And so now you can open the door and get food on your own. You don't have to--

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: --wait around for someone to give it to you.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. That one didn't resonate for me as much because if someone called me a food Ninja, I had my ways, I would get up super early and I would hit the, you know, like the cupboards before anyone was awake. I remember my mother woke up one morning and she was just like dumbfounded, there's a wrapper for this Hershey's baking chocolate bar on the counter, or you know, it was probably on the top of the trash, I wouldn't have left it on the counter that's too obvious. And it, you know, it's unsweetened chocolate, it's disgusting, but I ate the whole thing and it was like a pound. I was probably four or five, I don't remember, I'm probably five years old and she was just like, how could you do that? Like it didn't even taste good. That had nothing to do with it, anyway. So yeah, I struggled a lot with that and it was born of this anxiety and the thing is, you know, I was doing it to sooth, but actually it was just making things worse because, you know, now I don't feel great. Like I'm really slow, me and my clothes are, I'm constantly conscious of how I look and feel because my clothes are always too tight, like my pants hurt, you know, at the end of the day, there's like indentations when I will go to get into my pajamas, whatever, and everyone's making fun of me. So on top of whatever I'm feeling in terms of my family unit, I'm now also feeling like I don't sit in and I'm not as good as at all of these negative thoughts. And so actually it all just compounds and makes me want to eat even more, which of course only just adds to even more of the basis for, you know, at least one of the sources of my problems. So this just continues on through the years and when I was like 14, I got out of the sports department in school and I had to do PE and a lot of schools just to cope out in my school. You get this Swiss French guy who, he was probably as old as I am now and he's still look 20 years younger than I do, no, we look about the same age, I just had lunch with him a couple of months ago, so I don't know, there's probably like 22, 23 years between us, something like that, it's actually like he's 96, I just had no idea. But so he is like, you know, the epitome of health and I had never met him, I'd seen him around, I was just scared out of my wits in him because he's like fitness and fitness is a bad thing for me, you know, so uncomfortable, I'm so bad at it. But he was like the most caring, engaged human being I think I've probably ever met, certainly man. And he just, he took a totally different approach with me because that shitness, wellness was always, like, kid, what's wrong with you? And with him it's like, you know, there's really cool accent, which I'm not going to try to emulate. It's like, what do you enjoy? You know, well, I'm not gonna yell at you and make you run laps. I'm going to ask you like, have you ever tried this? Have you tried that low -- you know, let's go to the weight room, can be ever lifted weights? And it's like: "Well, I'm a teenage boy. I'd love to lift weights. That sounds great."

Shirley Owens: Awesome.

Bryan Falchuk: We get muscles, so he just, he took this really caring, exploration kind of approach and took out all the negativity and it was private. There was maybe like one or two other kids there. He had me off in my own and all of us were off doing our own things because this is what we enjoyed, and he just gave us structured Apollo but it wasn't like you're all running at the same time and so the fat kids like three laps behind everyone else. So all of a sudden it was like, oh this isn't so bad and it doesn't hurt because I'm doing things that I physically can do. So it took a few years, but I started to lose weight and more importantly started to build a different relationship with exercise and smarter eating. And the better I got at it, the better I wanted to get at it. And so I lost the weight and I built this like toolkit of, you know, different exercises, and approaches, and knowledge that would serve me for the rest of my life.

Shirley Owens: It sounds like during that time you were also building a strong male relationship to a healthy relationship with somebody--

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: --to care about you.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. And I mean to this day, but he is still such an important, she's one of the people I dedicated my book to and I thanked him and, you know, like I talked about it in the book and I thanked him in the end. And he's so, in such humility, like I know it made him uncomfortable, but I also know, if I ever did that in person, he would talk it down and just miss it and be like, no, it was all you. Like it'd be like, you know, I was in the desert and you handed me water, like, but you had to be willing to drink, I might of course, like you had to turn it back around and how I was like, but I would never, I would have died, you know, like maybe literally, I wouldn't have gotten that water and like I needed you there. So I knew he couldn't argue with me if I put it in writing that he can't talk back at the book. But unfortunately, and this was not a knock on him, it wasn't his responsibility, but we never dealt with why I was obese. So I got all the tools, but I didn't actually get to address the underlying reason. I made some progress cause I started to have, like, I smelled some success physically and I felt better about myself. So like, it's not that everything was terrible, but my underlying issues with anxiety were 100% still there and instead of it being around my weight, I just shifted to other things. Like, you know, now I'm going off to college and so there's different stresses that I have, and then I get a job and it's like, you know, then there's career kind of stress. And my job was, I was a management consultant, which if you don't know anything about it, it's basically you get paid to go find what's wrong, freak out about it and solve it. So it's kinda like I was paid to be overcome by anxiety, the more I was afraid of things going wrong and able to see that, the better I did. So if anything, my career was just reinforcing this underlying issue that I had and it just continued to spiral.

Shirley Owens: Wow. So did you find yourself eating again? Is that--

Bryan Falchuk: I did, yeah, and it wasn't the same way and, you know, then I was like traveling and whatever. I didn't like, I wasn't exercising as intensely as I used to and so I just sort of put weight on little by little, I lost a hundred pounds at the time I was like 18 half and by the time I was in my mid 20's, I was back up over 200, so I'd put on like 20, 30 pounds and then, you know, get married -- and like every year as a few more pounds and like, relationships are terrible for weight cause it's like do you want ice cream? Yeah me too. Cause of course you do, right? You go out for meals, like dates aren't just like, let's just go and sit somewhere, it's like, let's go and we'll have something to eat and we'll celebrate more.

Shirley Owens: Yeah.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. So, you know, and then you have a kid and half of the food that you eat was intentional and the other half is just the scraps they didn't eat and you didn't realize that. And so it's like, next thing you know, you've had 17 chicken nuggets today on top of your own shoes, and a peanut butter, and jelly sandwich, where that come from?

Shirley Owens: Right.

Bryan Falchuk: So, yeah. You know, I got up into the mid 20's, so I was just about 50 pounds back to where I had been. And the pattern was there that it just would have continued on, if not for this moment in 2011 where I stopped being able to make excuses, my wife has a chronic illness that became an issue or reared its head that summer ended the spring, and from everything that we knew, she wasn't going to make it through the summer. Her doctors gave up on her after blaming her for everything and just kinda being like, Oh, you're just depressed, you're doing this to yourself. It's like, well, she is depressed, how would you feel if you were suddenly bedridden and wasting away and no one can help you, but there's also some very real physical things going on. Because of my anxiety, I wasn't standing with her the way she needed me to because I always thought this guy was falling, I always thought this was the end and here I had pretty good evidence that I was right. And so I was just like, you know, I was turned up to 11 in terms of my anxiety, just freaking out about it. And when I get that way, you think I would have compassion for her? But instead it was like, I wouldn't say that I was able to consciously choose to control it because it was just out of control. And so it was like, I just look at everything I have to do and I'm a problem solver so I see, you know, when she is kind of in the throws of fear around what's going on, which is understandable, you know, I want to just be stop it. You have to do this, you have to do that, or I was not a good caring person and my son needed me, he was two and stay at home mom is now staying in bed and not able to care of you anymore. So you're kind of freaking out and it's like: "Daddy read to me," and I couldn't, I was like: "I can't do that. I have to do this. I have to do that. Take care of your mother." And I say: "You know I'm also trying to work full time." And that's not what a two year old needs, you know, so like I'm failing everybody.

Shirley Owens: Understanding this part, I've had the same type of situations where I've gone down and my husband has had to be put in your situation, and yeah, like that first reaction is not necessarily anger but it's like, wait, why is this all being put on me? And then as you search for that evidence, you can find whatever you want in that situation and--

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: --another spiral, right?

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. You know, I think my gut reaction to problems is to always feel like everything's being put on me and that no one else is able to solve the problem. And there's a lot of backstory as to why that's my interpretation and it is absolutely happening and like the lizard brain kind of level, it's not my conscious mind. I don't try to knock at people credit for being capable, but it's what I've known my whole life is if I don't step in and do this, then it won't happen or it won't happen.

Shirley Owens: Which for sure comes from, you know, that same story of, if your parents aren't taking care of you, you feel the need to take care of yourself. And then as other things come into your life, you don't trust that it's gonna get taken care of anywhere else and so then you always feel that you need to have the control.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, absolutely. And you look at every situation for reinforcement of those ideas in your head.

Shirley Owens: Right.

Bryan Falchuk: So instead of seeing the good that someone did, or the fact that they still made it through even if it wasn't the way you would have done it, you focus on it wasn't the way you would have done it and it could've been better and smoother. And it's like, yeah, but, and you don't give any credits, it's like, I have all these moments where I'm certain this is the end. I'm certain I'm gonna get an F on this test and I'm freaking out about, or I'm going to get fired at this job, or this client's gonna kick us out, or like whatever the end of the world means to me in that moment, and somehow I'm never right. But yeah, I'm still standing, I never ever got fired, I never failed any tests, like all the things I was so certain were going to happen, never did.

Shirley Owens: But you still go there.

Bryan Falchuk: I still go there and it's because like, A- I wasn't able to recognize like, yes I stepped in in some way, but give yourself some credit for that. Like if you stepped in, that means you're more capable than you thought you were. And obviously it wasn't so terrible because you're able to handle it, but the B- in that is you need to value yourself enough to recognize that you can. And so like if you don't normally do that, I don't think anyone else was capable. I didn't think I was, or at least didn't put any weight in my ability to get through.

“You need to value yourself enough to recognize that you can.” –Bryan Falchuk

Shirley Owens: So at what moment did all of this click in your head, or did some of it click? At what point did you say, I'm creating this and I need to create something different.

Bryan Falchuk: I know the exact date, it was June 30th, 2011 and it was, that afternoon, I got a call from my wife's doctor who was like: "yeah, I'm going on vacation. There's nothing else to do. I'll check in in six weeks." And she was just over a hundred pounds, she's losing two pounds a day every day and no one could stop it, and at least the doctors who were running the show didn't have an answer for it. And so I just said: "Doctor, do the math, she's not going to be here in six weeks." And he just said So nonchalantly, he's like: "Oh, okay, we'll take her to the ER if you need to." And he hung up, and I walked back into our bedroom and my son's standing there looking at his mother essentially dying in front of his eyes, and he turns and looked at me and that was that moment. Like when he looked at me, it just totally floored me. And I said, in my head, I was like, well, what the hell are you doing? Some people mistake that as get outta here, you know, you deserve better you shouldn't have, no, it's like I recognize how much I was to blame for what was making me so unhappy, or at least how much, you know, if we don't want to get into blame, how much power I actually have to not have to feel this way and to make things as bad as they are, to make them as good as they possibly can be for her not to feel like the doctors abandoned her and so did this guy who was angry in the house, and for my son not to feel like, if I felt the way I did about divorce, absolutely watching your mother die in front of your eyes has got to be worse. And I'm like, I want nothing more than that little boy to be happy. And, well now that rest on me cause I'm about to be the only parent he has and I'm not standing by him and like that. Yeah, you know, people were like, well as a parent I was like, yeah, as a human being, I think most people get that. But certainly as a parent, that was enough for me, and what I didn't do is reflect enough on my own self worth. I wasn't comfortable enough with myself yet, but I did get there. But that was like the third piece is recognizing that this isn't what I want, and I'm the one doing this, and I own myself better. For me at that moment it was enough to feel like I owed my son better and obviously I didn't want my wife to die so I owed her better. I didn't need to feel bad about myself just yet, but in hindsight, that actually was the most important thing. It just took me longer to come to grips with that self piece. So yeah, that was June 30th, 2011 literally in more than a light switch, it was like all the lights went on and the entire planet at once for me and I grabbed it, and I'm like, this is really different from anything I've ever felt and I don't want this life, I don't want this for the rest of my days. Like if I don't grab hold of this feeling and do something with it, then I might as well just give off and I don't have that option, that little boy needs me so I'm doing this and that was it for me, everything's been different.

Shirley Owens: So you quit thinking about what you didn't want and you started thinking about what you wanted.

“Quit thinking about what you didn't want. Start thinking about what you wanted and how you were going to create what you want.” ­–Shirley Owens

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: How you were going to create what you wanted.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, and really, really specifically. So the next morning I was like, okay, I'm still feeling this. There are some really specific things in my control. I mean, honestly this sounds like, oh you wrote a book on it so you've formulated, I literally felt exactly this the next morning. The book didn't create the clarity, the clarity was there and the book came from it. I like, I don't buy it [inaudible] so I always like, just everything was so, I can't even explain it. It was just so clear to me, like I was, these are the things that are 100% in your control, 100% about you that you've always had excuses about, and you keep changing and going back on and no one ask you we're changing this and that's it. And one was my weight, so I'm like, I know where I should be, I have all the tools to do it, thanks to that. You know, thanks that I ran the PE program, I know exactly what to do enough, no more excuses. I am not, that was like, I spent the first half of my life, at least in the second half trying not to be, which is like, is that how you want to define your life? I'm the guy trying not to be fat. So instead of that, I'm just going to be a healthy shit active person and I'm redefining my life that way and I'm going to take that action every single day. And so I had really specific goals and timing on it and I knew exactly what I was going to do, and I made a little spreadsheet cause I'm a consultant dork and that's how I live as doing spreadsheets. But I plotted it out and I knew this is the exercise I'm doing and I'm gonna write it down, I'm going to track my weight, I had all the tools and I was just like, no excuses, just get up and do it, that was number one. Number two is the anxiety. I'm like, this is absolutely standing in my way. And my wife had been begging me for a while to talk to someone and I had every excuse in the book, all anxiety based for why I couldn't do it because of money, because of time, because if you don't understand, or like they're gonna want to go do the whole story and I don't have time for that and I don't really, you know, and it's like I had been looking at all of the therapy and I'm not going to all of this therapy at once, just like I didn't lose a hundred pounds all at once.

Shirley Owens: Right.

Bryan Falchuk: As you need to go once and we'll worry about the second time when it comes time for that, like one appointment and if it doesn't go well, I can find someone else. You know, maybe there's someone who does nights, or there's somebody who does weekends if I can't get out of work, or it's like, because of what's going on with my wife, I can't do it nights and weekends so I need someone who can see me during the day, we can solve for one thing because it's all I'm actually facing. And so I did that, I found someone, I went to one appointment and I went to one employment, like I dunno, 12 times with that person, but it's just one appointment and I saw someone else afterwards. Like ultimately they helped me with something but I wasn't really the long term fit for me but it was really useful for that initial start.

Shirley Owens: Why don't we take one thing at a time?

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: How much faster we progress.

“When we take one thing at a time, how much faster we progress.” –Shirley Owens

Bryan Falchuk: It adds up. I use an analogy from when I ran my first, I say first, I haven't run another one yet, but I will, but my first marathon, because that training is such an amazing way to think about achievement. Cause like day one, I can't run 26.2 miles, almost I'm just come off and running a marathon, like, you know, first marathon, first training. My long run that week was going to be eight miles and that would have been the third longest run I've ever done in my life.

Shirley Owens: Wow.

Bryan Falchuk: And that's pretty daunting. And then if you think about that, it's like, well, how that's, you know, that's like less than a fourth of what I ultimately have to do, or third of what I ultimately have to do. So even if I can do that, it's still not good enough, like you started thinking in terms of failure. It's like, you know what? I'm not running a marathon today. Today I'm just running two miles, or three, or whatever today's training is. And if I think about anything else, I'm going to make bad decisions today. And this is where it all started to become clear to me is like, do a day, is the two key words DO and DAY, day is about presence of right now. None of these other things are happening, the number of days I woke up, had a pep talk with myself about, like in high school about not eating too much, or like this is it man, you're going to lose weight, and by 10 o'clock it's all gone, you know, like it's all out the door because it's just too much. And when it's too much, you don't even start, or maybe you kind of start but you quit pretty much instantly. And it was like, it's always only right now. It doesn't matter whether you failed yesterday, or someone mistreated you yesterday, or you had something great and now you've lost it, cause none of that's happening. And my whole thing was a fear of tomorrow, like, none of that's happening. So today you get to be free of those two things, yesterday and tomorrow, whether it's anxiety about them, or fear, or longing for, and patient of this matter, they're not happening. So focus on right now, what can you do today? And then that's the do, take some action, you know, I'm not going to lose the 50 pounds I lose a second time right now, but I'm going to get on the elliptical and I'm not going to put on the manual program, and cover the screen with the magazine, and kind of zone out until it's done. I'm going to put it on an interval and I'm going to push myself really hard, and I better be exhausted on the other end of that. And when I'm in the, you know, the line to get lunch at a local cafeteria or wherever I'm going restaurant and I'm facing two choices, or there's a cookie at the cash register, I'm just going to do not getting the cookie, I'm going to do, like, I'm going to make each one of those decisions a proactive choice about the achievement I'm trying to hit today. And it doesn't matter how many more times I'm going to not have a cookie, or how many more times I'm going to not yell at someone, or whatever it is you're trying to deal with cause none of that's happening. But when you start to add up each of those dues, you start to make some really serious progress and you will make it so much faster than you thought you would.

“When it's too much, you don't even start. Or maybe you start but you quit pretty much instantly.” –Bryan Falchuk

Shirley Owens: Yeah, I love that. You know, I think about awareness is one of my favorite things. And when you're constantly aware of what the choices you're gonna make, it's amazing how much progress you can make when you're aware, right? AWARE.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: I find that, it sounds like you're doing a day, but you're also doing each minute--

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, I mean it's presence.

Shirley Owens: --and right now I'm going to make this choice and I'm going to bring it up and deal with it at that moment and make the choice to get past it, and I really love that, I love that sound. That sounds like a really good place to start.

Bryan Falchuk: Cool. Yes, that's been me for the past eight years and like people took notice of shifts that were going on, you know, I was pretty vocal on Facebook about my weight loss goals. I was partially creating some social pressure, partially creating some social support, you know, cheerleading and whatnot. And so, I put it out there and people saw and start to come out of the woodwork like, Hey, you know, I'm struggling with this too. Can you help me? Or like, I saw what you did and I want to do the same thing. What did you do? Can you give me some advice? And so I sort of fell into coaching and the more I did it, the more I was like, this is so rewarding. I love watching people transform their lives. And I kinda turned into that guy from my high school, like, I won't take credit for any of it because I didn't do that. I just gave you a little bit of inspiration, maybe gave you some tools, but you're the one who did it. You know, like you changed your life and that's really important that you value that.

Shirley Owens: Yeah. I love what's transpiring here, you know, the show's about relationships and getting what you want. And can you talk a little bit about how the relationship with yourself change so that you can create relationships with others because that's what I'm seeing here. Like this is you're, the PE coach and this is, you know, your wife, and your son, and all these things. But ultimately what I'm hearing is that you changed the relationship with yourself and you believe that you are worth it, and that you had what it took, you know that you were able to do these, and so that switch in your brain, can you talk a little bit about that?

“The first and most important thing is self-love. That's the original building block. If you don't value yourself… you'll fail.” –Bryan Falchuk

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. Well and that's so perfect cause that's, I mean that is the tie between the two books is, like, Do a Day is about your relationship with yourself, and once you're in a good place with you and then, and really only then can you start to address how you're relating to other people, but that's the second book is about your relationship with others. So the relationship with yourself, it starts, it's interesting, the first time I put out the book, these like building blocks and the original first building block was to find your true motivation, and it was what I felt in that moment when my son looked at me after the call with the doctor. But actually a year after publishing it, I changed the book, I added like a layer beneath that and it came from being challenged on an interview where I talked about that feeling about being there for my son and this guy's, like, but that's not a deep enough like he's external to you and I talk all the time about how it's going to be something really deep within you. And I'm like: "No, but you don't understand, I'm the parent." And he's, like: "No, I get that, I'm a parent too. But your son's still not within you, your feelings about him might be, but he's not and you haven't gotten deep enough." Like he was basically give me a taste of my own medicine, which is spot on. Like, why do I feel that way about my son in the first place? Which a lot of people hear a question like that and that's a stupid question. Well I'm not even gonna bother answering that, it's itself on, it's so feminine, like, it's so obvious, but it's not. So why is that important to me? And why do I feel it? Well, it's about feelings I have for myself, and it starts to bring in those feelings about my own childhood, and like all of it. So it forced me to start to reflect on me. And the thing that I added that you must have before we get into finding your true motivation, and studying the goals, and the execution, like, Do a Day is all an execution strategy. How do you actually achieve it? The first and most important thing is self-love. That's the original building block. If you don't value yourself, if you don't think that you're good enough to achieve something, you don't have the skills, you can't do it, you'll fail. If you don't think you're good enough and you don't think you deserve it, then nothing else we talked about will ever matter. It doesn't matter if you find your motivation, it doesn't matter if you know what goals you want to achieve, it doesn't matter how well you do against those goals each day cause you don't actually internally believe that you can or you should. And without that you will regress, you will fail, and a hit, like, I don't like talking like that cause it's really negative and it's defeatist, but it's also really true. And it's not--

“Once you're in a good place with ‘you’, then and only then, can you start to address how you're relating to other people.” –Bryan Falchuk

Shirley Owens: I felt that with myself too, I, you know.

Bryan Falchuk: We all do.

Shirley Owens: Once you really realize that everything that we've created in our lives we've created.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah.

Shirley Owens: That's powerful. Even if it a ton of negative stuff that you did, you realize, wait, I did that, I created that. So I can create that, wow, what else could I create? And I know I went through that transition with myself too. And yeah, you have to believe in yourself, and love yourself, and have a relationship with yourself before you can inspire or contribute to others relationships. Really quick, I have a tangent to go on.

Bryan Falchuk: Go, go, go, yeah.

Shirley Owens: I think that myself and my listeners want to know how your wife's doing.

Bryan Falchuk: I'm so bad at this, I go off on these tangents without closing the loop on that, so thank you for asking. She's okay, she's still alive, she has Chronic Lyme disease which unfortunately is controversial and they've been some really nasty pieces put out in a couple of publications that I'm not going to give their names because I don't think they deserve the recognition. Just totally shaming people with Lyme and I don't understand why. So--

Shirley Owens: [inaudible] do that a lot to people who are suffering from that too.

Bryan Falchuk: It's all over the place. And here's the thing, medicine is a science and one of the key things of science is observation. So you observe what's going on, you reflect on it and you try to understand why. And for some reason our history going back hundreds or thousands of years around medicine has been, actually science more broadly is often been to shame those who claim something different from the establishment. And the thing is, much of the time those people you shamed were right because let's not forget the earth is flat, and the sun revolves around us, and you do bloodletting and use leeches for like everything that's wrong with you. So those were three key things that were very firmly established pieces of science in their day, and they're all wrong. And four out of five doctors smoke Marlboro's, or camels, or whatever it was, like, there are so many things that we've sworn up and down were absolutely fact. And if you think differently, you're a terrible person, you're a heretic, you're wrong, you're crazy, and the establishment will shame you for it and actually you were right.

Shirley Owens: Right. And that's why we are all here, that's why we, you know, all of us are pulling together, and learning, and growing, and teaching, progressing together. So I'm really happy to hear that she's still doing okay, and that there's this progression, and it sounds like your love and your relationship with her has grown through this experience too.

Bryan Falchuk: It has, and it's also not perfect. And I didn't wake up and was like the perfect, awesome husband always in forever. And she's not--

Shirley Owens: Can you figure out how to do that?

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. You know, that's part of my whole philosophy is it's not the mess ups don't matter, and as much just like writing it off. Like if I fall out a line and I'm a jerk, it's not like, Oh, Do a Day, it doesn't matter, you know, it's a new moment and so I'm good, I don't even have to apologize,, no, no, no, no. You need to take ownership when you do something that doesn't align with what you're trying to be, and you need to learn and grow from that. You mentioned being, I'm 100% vegan, like 90, I don't know, 8% of the time, or seven, or five, depends, I dunno how many cookies there are around. I'm generally very good about it and good is relative to my own values, not some external like someone's taking notice and counting. But there are absolutely moments where for some reason I make a decision that doesn't align with that but it doesn't mean it's like, Oh it's all ruined now, you know, I actually, I didn't know there was dairy and something and so it's like, Oh no I'm not vegan anymore so I'm going to go eat a cow. I still like, I will try to understand why? Why did I make that decision? It could have been for a really good reason. You know, it was like my stepmother early days maybe in vegan and she really didn't understand what it was, and she was trying to accommodate, and be caring, and she wasn't doing a great job but she tried and she went out and bought me a Frittata for this family thing cause she didn't want me to have to sit there and not eat. And I was like, what do I do? You know, like I know she totally went out of her way when she didn't have the time for it. It was a really big deal, and she felt like I did this nice thing for Bryan, and so I ate it, and it was like, okay, that was a purposeful decision around other people's feelings and for myself, okay, well how if it was a piece of veal, I wasn't going to eat it that was too far down for me. But this is okay, there are a lot of things I'm not okay with this, but there are reasons why I'm going to make the decision I'm going to make, and then I will go right back to being, you know, on board with what I'm trying to achieve. So it's not to just write stuff off, reflect, understand, you know, maybe I wasn't great to my wife in a moment, I'm going to reflect on that. I'm going to own it, I'm going to talk to her about it, try to understand why it happened, so maybe there's something the two of us need to do differently together, yeah, you grow from it. So I'm not perfect, I'm not done, this is a work in progress and that's kind of the beauty it cause I don't want to stop learning, yeah.

Shirley Owens: Yeah, for all of us. So is there anything, looking back over your life and things in your control, is there anything that you would have done differently, or that you would've changed to get to this place that you want to be at?

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. I think that's such a hard question to answer when you really stop and think about it. So there are things I've done, or things that have happened to me that I wish that didn't happen to me, or I wish I didn't do or say that of course. But if you really started to pick it apart, think about whether you're thankful for what you have today.

Shirley Owens: Exactly.

Bryan Falchuk: So like I was talking to someone about business school. I went to business school, I didn't go to my original first choice, which looking back, no way what I want to go there. And that's not me being bitter, I genuinely, now that I understand more, it's the same way with college. My original first choice, I was just ignorant and really didn't know what they were about it, and know what kinds of people were there, and it wouldn't have been a fit for me, so I'm glad I didn't get into both of those schools. But someone was like, Oh, do you regret that? And if I did that would mean I wouldn't have met my wife, which would mean my son doesn't exist, which would mean, you know, like you start to taken apart. I was like, well hold on a second, so you're okay with, you'd rather have gone to a different school then have this as your child? Or have this person as your wife? Or any of the other things in your life? No, and of course it could've been the ignorance, all of that, but still me saying I would change this or that, you know, it's like stepping on that butterfly when you go back in time, like you can completely rewrite history and so if you appreciate where you are, then you wouldn't do that. And if you're willing to do that and then maybe you don't appreciate where you are enough.

Shirley Owens: I am, yeah, I agree with that. Like we are a compilation of our past, and our mistakes, and our wins, and so, yeah, I really like that perspective.

Bryan Falchuk: There's totally moments of meanness though that I would add, like there's some things I've said in my life and like I can, I'm not going to name them, but there are a couple of moments where I would 100% go back in time and just never said that.

Shirley Owens: Yeah. And at the same time you could look at yourself and be like, wow, the fact that I have something inside of me that awakens when I hear that makes me not want to be that person, It helps me where to not be that person again, right? So that's really, yeah, I love that.

Bryan Falchuk: I could grow from it without actually letting the words out of my mouth. Like I didn't say not think it, I'm not happy that I thought about it, then let me think it and learn and grow from it because I have but not actually make the person feel the way that they ended up feeling is they didn't deserve that, that's the bit I would change. But yeah, so there's stuff like that, but on a grand scale, no way, no way.

Shirley Owens: Yeah. So, okay. Your first book, we've learned a little bit about and how that can help us to take the first steps. I know with my first book, you know, it's a beginning and it is also like a learning experience in a progress. And can you tell me and talk a little bit more about your second book and what message you're hoping to get out there? I mean, with your first book, your second book, both of them, but just like what your messages that, if you could kind of put it in a, you know, like a paragraph.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, so you know, Do a Day it's like I was saying, it's your relationship with yourself. So it's how to unlock who you really are and your understanding of that to overcome the things that you believe are in your way so you can achieve what you wish you had and it was sure. The next book is called the 50 75 100 Solution, doesn't roll off the tongue like Do a Day, but it's all about how we relate to others and specifically forms of dysfunction in relationships that we have. And it's not just romantic relationships, it's literally any relationship with people, whether it's a long term one or a one off, you know, like a person at the checkout counter when you're buying something, and all of these interactions in all these relationships, who are we in them? And if they're not going well or going as well as they could, whether you believe you're the source of the problem, could you be the source of the solution? And so it's, this is a mindset in how we interact with others to help change those interactions for the better. And it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be perfect, but if they're better, that's good. And you can build from that just like with Do a Day, you sort of win your way into more and more.

Shirley Owens: I love that.

Bryan Falchuk: That's where, the next one's about and it's coming out towards the end of 2018 and here we are inside of a middle of 2019 headed into the back half and the book's not out yet. So there's another Do a Day moment, didn't come out when I had anticipated and that's--

Shirley Owens: Bryan, do it.

Bryan Falchuk: --Yeah, I'm doing it. So I mean, part of it is like Do a Day stayed active much longer than I ever thought it would, which is awesome, like I'm not complaining about that at all, but that just, you know, it's like more of my focus than I anticipated when I was setting timescales for writing 50 75 100 Solution, and that's okay because that's what I needed to do. So the goal is to have it out this year, by the end of the year are sorta like pre-holiday time because what better holiday gift could you give a loved one than a book about relationship dysfunction. It's like, honey, I love you. Wait, why are you giving me this? What are you trying to say?

Shirley Owens: We all have it. We all have it, you know, some of us are doing better after having it than others and let's share. I love it.

Bryan Falchuk: And you're just asking for a friend on the card, that's okay.

Shirley Owens: Yeah. Like this isn't for you but maybe you should read it anyway, just for the fun of it.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, it's for you to help with me. So at its core, there's three concepts in Buddhism that really floored me and I'll tell you just like backstory behind Do a Day, this was born of, sort of, two sides of my interactions with people. One is as a coach, hearing what people were struggling with around relationships and just reflecting on that and looking into that so I could help them. And the other side was, I've got relationships and they don't all go well, including my marriage to my wife and I've been through a ton, and I met lots of other relationships, coworkers and whatnot that could go better. And so in working on things with my wife and frankly working on them with myself for the sake of our marriage, I got introduced to a few books around on Buddhism and Buddhist principles. that just really floored me, and they floor me around how I was thinking about others. And it's how most of us do, it's this like they're doing this to me and the mentality. Or if they would just, you know, I found myself thinking like if my wife would just appreciate what I did, or if she would just love me more then it would be okay, then she wouldn't think I was so bad or that, you know, she would get over.

Shirley Owens: Others can do in the relationship.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah. Like I'm awesome, I'm great, I did this great thing for her, she just doesn't understand it because she's in a bad mood and so she's just looking at me as that guy in 2011 who was a jerk and not giving me any credit, and like, I don't need to change what I'm doing. She just needs to see it for what it is. Instead of blaming me or thinking that I mean poorly or, you know, she only notices when I mess up. It's all, I'm just going to continue to operate exactly as I had been and one day she'll wake up and realize how great I am. And it maybe, wouldn't it be nice if I could help her to wake up? Or more importantly help her to wake up while I actually wake up myself because shockingly, I actually am not perfect. I've come to figure that out in the past little while, even those of us who are perfect can always be better. That's another way to think of it. And that's why I like this really is for everybody. We all have relationships and we can all do better them or at least help become better even if we think we are, you know, we are not to blame in any way, shape or form. It's not really about blame, it's about how we interact.

“Even those of us who are ‘perfect’ can always be better.” –Bryan Falchuk

Shirley Owens: Yeah. So if you could give one piece of advice to our listeners today, just to start today, at this moment, what would one thing they could do to start living this approach.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, so the first of the three concepts is the most powerful one I think in turning things around and this what I refer to as happiness seeking. So it's the idea that we all just need to be happy. And the thing about that is we don't always know what happiness we're actually seeking, but we certainly don't know what other people are, yeah, we presume it a lot of times. So trying to understand what their goal is because you'd be surprised, it's probably not just to make you miserable. So they may want something that in one way, shape or form they may see you as standing in the way of or competing for. And it's not that they want to hurt you, they just want what they want and you happen to be in the way, or maybe they don't realize you're in the way. So it's like, you know, if we both want the last cookie, we can't both have and if we split it, we both get something but it's not what we actually wanted. So what is the happiness that person wants? And where are you in relation to it? And that helps to make you feel less attacked and, like, why are they doing this to me? It's like they're not doing this to you, they're doing that for that thing over there. You just happened to appear to be in the way and you got hit while they were going there. It's not to you, it has nothing to do with you. And it also helps us understand, well what can I do to help them get to what they want instead of seeming just stand in the way of it. And if you're no longer a barrier to it, but you're actually a supporter in them getting to where they're trying to go, they make sure you completely differently. So that to me like the notion of happiness seeking a really, I was like, well what do we really want here? Each of us? Have, I really stopped to think about what they truly want cause if it's just to make you miserable. I'll give you like a cheat, that's not the answer. That is absolutely not what they want. So give it some more thought. Maybe ask them. Depends on the situation.

Shirley Owens: It's really helpful to kind of open up some space to see other's perspectives.

Bryan Falchuk: Yeah, I mean it certainly forces you to just pause in this whole like the world's so bad to me and it just, it gets you to break for a second and then you can breathe. And when you do that, like you will step down attention and find a new answer.

Shirley Owens: Perfect. So can you tell our listeners how they can find you?

Bryan Falchuk: Yes. So they can go to, Bryan with a Y and Falchuk, F-A-L-C-H-U-K. You can find everything about me there, articles, and books, and speaking stuff, and I've got some exercises and stuff just to help people get moving on all this. And yeah, that's the easiest place to get me, There's all my links to social @bryanfalchuk everywhere, you can find it all there.

Shirley Owens: Awesome. Well thanks so much Bryan for being with me today on the Get What You Want Podcasts.

Bryan Falchuk: It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me on Shirley.

Shirley Owens: And remember, when you change your perspective, you change your reality. Thanks for listening.

“When you change your perspective, you change your reality.” –Shirley Owens
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