Overcoming challenges is what leads us to our successes. We often find the biggest PIVOTs at our darkest moments. It’s simply because your accomplishments do not define you. It is the work that you put into every task and the discomforts you had to overcome that make you stronger. It’s the lessons you learn from every fall that makes you the person that you are. In this episode we are joined by the New York Times bestselling author of Paleo Kitchen and creator of the #4 app in the world, Caveman Feast 3.0, George Bryant as he talks about how he fought his battles on and off tour. The Civilized Caveman also shares the Five A’s that helped him overcome most of the challenges he faced as he remains committed to helping people and organizations put the heart back into their businesses.
2:59 The Man That Makes The Heart
4:17 Never Leading Ahead
6:15 Civilized Caveman’s Paleo Kitchen
9:50 Things Aren’t Always What They Seem
11:41 Great Milestones Can Weigh You Down
11:40 The Five As
19:01 Illusion Of Safety
21:31 Get It Out Of Your Head
27:29 Stay Committed
31:42 The Challenge
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Conquering Success – The Five A’s Of Overcoming Challenges With George Bryant – Replay
This is our replay episode of George Bryant. He is a New York Times bestselling author, a top-ranking podcast host, and one of the most highly sought-after digital marketing consultants. Globally, he has helped hundreds of the largest companies and thousands of entrepreneurs by empowering them to deepen their love affair with their customers through his Relationships Beat Algorithms approach. George helps co-create transformational breakthroughs that help his clients accomplish their personal and financial goals.
The things that we discussed in this replay episode include having trouble leading from the front because of people that get left behind, how to pivot in a business, how George became a New York Times bestseller, and the five A’s, Awareness, Acceptance, Action, Accountability, and Attitude. Enjoy this replay.
This episode is extra special for two reasons. One is that I’m hanging out with a dear friend. I’ve been blessed to come to know this gentleman. He’s already had a huge impact on my life and I feel like we’re the quintessential soul brothers. Somehow, we know each other from a past life or something, but he has a big heart. I know there’s nothing that is more important to me than to be around other people that are willing to be vulnerable, be real, have big hearts, want to open up hearts, help people to elevate themselves in different areas of their life, and are committed to making that happen in their business through conscious business practices, conscious marketing, etc.
In just a moment, I’m going to let him introduce himself as you guys know that that’s my routine but I wanted to let you in on something. Normally, we’re doing a Zoom thing where you get to see the video of the actual show, but in this episode, we’re going to keep you in a little suspense. I can tell you now that if you hear the sound of water, it’s because we’re conducting this show from the hot tub.
It’s sunset and a beautiful night out. We’re in some 100-degree water and we’ll turn on Facebook to give you a little Facebook Live so you can check that out as well. Without further ado, I’m going to introduce my buddy, George Bryant. George, thank you for joining me and our community.
Thanks for having me. I’m stoked to be here. I’m going to tell you that giving me the opportunity to introduce myself is dangerous. As a podcast host, most podcast hosts know me and they introduced me because I’ll talk all day.
I know you better than them, plus we’re sharing a mic.
We are. I’m super grateful to be here and thank you for having me. Just so everybody knows, I’ll give you my elevator pitch as quickly as possible. First and foremost, I’m a bonus dad, a loving father, and an amazing husband to an amazing wife. That comes first. I was an active duty Marine for twelve years. I served in our lovely Marine Corps on a couple of combat tours, and I was medically separated in 2013.
Since then, I’ve made it my passion to get vulnerable online, connect with people and help to educate, empower and inspire as many people as possible through whatever facet of my journey that I’m on. I use social media and the internet as basically my online therapy tool to attract as many people as possible into the movement.
A little bit about me. I was in a wheelchair for months. I almost lost both my legs in 2005. I had seven concussions in three years. I was bulimic for twelve years and had quite a history that has catapulted me to be able to connect with people. Whether it’s food, fitness, mindset, business, or whatever the medium is, I always tell people that I like to put my heart back in all of it and connect with all the people on the side of it.
Face what you fear most because that’s where the growth happens. Click To Tweet
One of the leadership principles I came up with when I was in the Marine Corps, which got me in a lot of trouble with my bosses and a lot of love for my Marines, is that I refuse to lead from the front. I will never ever again attempt to lead from the front. I had a massive problem with it because it means that people get left behind, and I’m never okay with that. I coined the term that I get to lead from the middle, where you’re close enough for me to slow you down and close enough for me to grab you and pick you up and we go step by step the whole way.
That’s where I love being with people. After writing a New York Times bestselling cookbook, launching a number four app in the world, and a couple of those superficial achievements, I’m now helping businesses put the heart back in their business. I’m helping them connect with what it means to be in business to carry their ethos and vision into the business so people get that they matter in every step of the journey.
It’s the perfect coordination of what we’re committed to because, as you know, our company wants to help people to pivot into a business and a life that they love. It’s a holistic approach to that. It’s mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. The Paleo Kitchen, which is no superficial achievement, was number four in the New York Times. I’ll say if you’re not going to say it, and it stayed on the Times list for 22 solid weeks.
Here’s the crazy part for all of you out there who I know most of you are in business for yourself entrepreneurs, and if you’re not, even if you’re working in somebody else’s business, you can respect what I’m about to tell you. Those 22 weeks at that book stayed on the list wasn’t a result of any massive marketing budget or marketing spend. In fact, the marketing budget was zero. If you’d like to know more about some of those grassroots boots, on the ground tactics, then you’re in the right place.
I did. I put the work in for that one. I’ll expand, so I didn’t know what a book was at that time, what a publicist was, or any of that was. I was just getting out of the Marine Corps. Here’s what’s interesting, and this is one of my dirty little secrets. I wrote a New York Times bestselling cookbook two years after I taught myself how to cook. I took the photos a year after teaching myself on YouTube how to take food photos, and then I marketed it while teaching myself marketing, which took nine months of work but kept me on the New York Times for 22 weeks.
George tells me he’s not a control freak.
The internet made it easy to support people. I tell everybody, if you have a problem, go to YouTube. It solves all the problems in the world. I am super proud of that, and it allowed me to touch over 150,000 lives with my recipes. I feel like they’re the same recipes that anyone else would make. The only difference is I put love in them, which is why everybody loves the cookbook so much.
We’re live streaming in a couple of different places. I don’t want to leave our community out. I’m going to hand this off in a sec and, as promised, let our folks know what we’re up to here. I’ll say this. The Facebook Page for finding out more about those recipes and being in that is a very forward-thinking, conscious community is Civilized Caveman, right?
If you guys want to come join the Hugs and Bacon family, it’s Facebook.com/CivilizedCaveman. What I love is we’re here to talk about a lot of stuff to do with pivoting, but pretty prevalent one for me. I’ll let you bring into it in Bridget and start the question however you want. I think I know the impact that this is going to have because it’s real.
This is the one thing we’re finding is uniformly the case. Everybody is pivoting in some area of their life, and without maybe calling it a pivot, they’ve been pivoting the whole way through. This idea of reinventing of utilizing change meaning change is the only constant in the universe. In fact, anything that’s not changing is dying. Anything that’s stagnant is soon to be dead. That’s what’s going on in the world. There are many people who are living lives of quiet desperation, quietly dying, becoming stagnant, slowing down, not living life on their own terms, not living fully from their hearts, and not loving their lives.
I think you’ve had some very significant pivots. Too many to track in this one show but one of the ones that dropped in pretty deeply for me and even for my wife, Rany, I know she was talking about this earlier, is a pivot with respect to how you think of yourself. Fundamental and basic, but it’s so basic and so fundamental that it’s foundational. Meaning everything gets built upon the thing we call self-esteem. The thing that we would refer to as our worthiness and how we view ourselves. I know that’s been a significant body of work for you in terms of your own self-awareness. Would you shed some light on that for us?
I will, for sure. I love this topic. Every opportunity I have to talk about it, I run towards it like it’d be a heat-seeking missile for what you fear most because that’s where the growth happens. For me, I want to presence to everybody. We’re going to dive into some worthiness for me. One of the distinctions that it took me a long time to understand is that the conversation never goes away. I told one of my mentors this, “I don’t believe that people change. I believe that people become conscious to choose.”
Worthiness was massive for me. My whole childhood, I never felt like I was good enough. I was neglected for good majority of my life, drugs, alcohol, and physical and sexual abuse. My story and core wound growing up are that I wasn’t good enough. From the surface, it looks like it was an amazing journey because out of that, I had the most horrendous case of Napoleon syndrome. I had to win at everything, so I did. I was the best at bootcamp. When I joined the Marine Corps, I was an honor graduate. I was meritoriously promoted. I tied world records for standing box shoved off.
They wanted to amputate my legs. I was a 22-week New York Times bestseller and wrote a number four app. What was interesting is I was pursuing a deep, dark empty hole that had no bottom because it was all rooted out of insecurity. I will say that the work started when I met my amazing wife, who started shedding light on me and allowing me to see that space was created so that I could exist as who I was and that was my value.
Pause there for a moment. I want people to catch up to this. No matter all of the accomplishments, the quote, the medals, the honors, all of those kinds of things that people strive for, they still didn’t make you feel great about yourself or at least make you feel whole and complete. Is that what you’re saying?
Yes, it never. They made the hole greater. They made the hole field deeper, darker, and more daunting for me.
People don’t change. They become conscious to choose. Click To Tweet
I will. What ended up happening is I ended up creating the perfect storm of failure is what I should call it as is. I was consistently setting myself up to fail as I achieved another great milestone, and I felt unfulfilled. The bar got raised and it was almost like an addiction. It was an addiction to being the best because I was seeking this value or meaning that I was chasing outside of myself, which didn’t exist and never was going to, but at that time, I didn’t recognize that.
This is a biggie right here, George, because I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to and say, “I get it. If I make $1 million, I have a successful business, or I get a New York Times bestseller, I want to discover what that’s like.” They think somehow that will be the solution. Not having had that, they think, “It’s easy for you to say it since you’ve had it.”
The grass is always greener on the other side until you realize it’s not grass. It’s like razorblades. That’s the best way to put it. What ended up happening is I ended up exhausting myself so much with adrenal fatigue and massive depression. It triggered most of my PTSD and I ended up back in the hospital bed in a psychiatric ward for four days over Thanksgiving when I should have been with my family.
I was so enrolled in my beliefs that I wasn’t willing to let go of them. No one could show me another way because I was so committed to finding value. I had set the expectations so high of myself that the only option was a crash. You and I referenced this. I looked at it as balance. Balance always leads to a very long fall to the bottom if you fall out of balance, so harmony is a better word. That crash and another hospital visit were a massive awakening for me.
What it forced me to do was disconnect. I had no phone and no contact. I didn’t have the people I loved around me. They could only visit. It was just me, myself, my thoughts, and a lot of blank walls. I think it was one of the first times in a long time that I had to slow down and figure out who I was because there was nothing else. There was no TV but papers, pens, books, and my brain. It was a long, hard journey for me. Those four days felt like 40 and it was self-discovery. I broke it down into an acronym.
I learned to help people with this because after reverse-engineering what I went through, I figured out that there were five phases to it for me. I call it the five A’s. The first A was Awareness. Aware that I was seeking, chasing, or being aware of the beliefs that I had, which was causing me to pursue something outside of myself. The second A was Acceptance. I tell people now that in order to move forward, you have to accept where you are because it’s the only way to create a starting line.
When you accept, you basically pinpoint your GPS coordinator like, “This is where I am and now I know which direction I can go.” The third A was Action. Action was taking an action as far away from the self-deprecating behavior or chasing some external thing of emptiness. I focused a lot on self-love and self-reflection. I would do things like write on my mirror with a Sharpie, “I am worthy. I am loved,” and sticky notes on my desk, the background of my phone like I went there.
The fourth A was Accountability. It was getting it out of my own head, putting it into the universe, and having someone that could support me. Whether it was, “Did you write a positive affirmation about yourself, did you practice this, or are you working towards this?” That’s what got me out. After about six months, I realized that that was still setting me up to fail because I was allowing the last step to be accountability, which was putting it on somebody else for my success. It always ended with somebody else.
I added the fifth A, which is Attitude for gratitude. The full circle is when I have a breakthrough or I have a moment of even clarity of like, “I am who I am in this moment. I’m perfect. I’m whole. I’m complete,” then I have my accountability part of me like, “Good job.” I then root it in something I’m grateful for in that moment. I create a physical memory where I do something or write something down to say, “I’m here. I’m grateful for this. It’s come full circle. It was mine.” Those are the five A’s that I’ve used to basically overcome most of the challenges I faced, and I’ve been able to put words to what it was like to be in that room for four days with no contact and go through these cycles of twenty plus years of my life. It boiled down to those five things.
Thank you for both going there and being vulnerable. I’m sure there are a lot of people that are reading this that are having challenges, have been there, and understand that money doesn’t solve your worthiness issue. This is deep inner work that we all have to do. I wish it was easier than it truly is but the fact is its vigilance. It’s a lifelong pursuit.
It’s rewarding when you’re consciously working on it. It’s frustrating when you’re unaware or unconscious. You started this and I love that because in addition to giving those five A’s, which I think everybody is going to remember and everybody can use, you put them to use in your own way however that works for you.
What started this all was your discussion of beliefs and letting go, which happens to ironically be the first two steps in the vivid process. It’s to be looking at your true beliefs and where is it that there are things that you believe that you could choose to unbelief. Where are the things that you believe are limiting you that you could simply let go of? It is when you can’t let go or you’re so tied into your way of thinking and being. We could call it your ego. It’s a negative way to look at it but truthfully, it’s a survival mechanism.
I think for you, me, and a lot of folks that when we want to control situations or have it our way, it’s strictly because it’s what brings us a feeling of security. It’s where safety resides. That creates some great blind spots, as we know. I appreciate you identifying and sharing at least a few of those blind spots with our folks.
For me, it was the illusion of safety. What I learned was that when I was comfortable, I had the perfect recipe being created for a disaster. The longer I spent comfortable, the bigger the impact of that disaster was on me. It took me a long time to realize that and I became present to that.
The grass is always greener on the other side until you realize it’s not grass, it’s razor blades. Click To Tweet
Comfort is a status quo. That’s what it is. You’re buying into what ultimately leads to that stagnation and mediocrity. Ultimately, our hearts and souls will only put up with that shrinking, the dying for so long before we either check out as in become a member of that herd of people that are walking around like zombies, or you’re so upset. You’re so in pain that you have to do something about it. That’s where I think our community’s crossover because the people who are spending the time to sit on and watch you and I hanging out in the hot tub or folks that are reading this episode now, knowing that we’re sitting in a hot tub.
Maybe they’re stuck in traffic, out in their backyard looking at the sunset and meditating, or something else but they’re not willing to stand for the status quo. They’re not willing to endure pain and that comfort because comfort is indicative of so much of what is within our control to change. That is so within our control because everything that we have at the moment that’s a part of our comfort zone is something we’ve settled for.
We’ve settled for, accepted, and tolerated everything in our life at this moment. You want to put yourself in a disruptive mode on purpose as opposed to by default. That’s why we’re so keen to talk about how it is that you design and build your life or your marketing funnels, which I know is one of these other areas of your great fascination and expertise and all that thing. It’s designed side versus waiting somehow for life to deliver you your sentence.
It’s being in consistent pursuit of the greatness of your greatness, discovery, and awareness. I love tangible stuff for people because tangible is what work for me. I’m going to give an example from now. There’s a lot of depth to my story and my pivots from sexual abuse and physical abuse to everything else. I think given those five A’s and everything else I’ve been through, there’s one recurring theme that supports me more than anything else, and it’s going there the moment it comes in my head.
What I mean by that is my brain, I’m sure as like most people’s, is the master manipulator in convincing me to avoid certain things, whether it’s the hard conversation or the action. If I throw something in the trash brown, it misses, and it lands on the floor, do I pick it up and throw it out, or do I leave it because I know I’ll get it later? It’s always going there in the five seconds.
Now, specifically, I want to let everybody know that one of the biggest breakthroughs for me was when I became public about my sexual abuse, which created a lot of ownership everywhere in my life. I had never told anyone about my wife about my sexual abuse. I decided to go on the stage in front of 400 people I had never spoken to and open with that. My butthole was clenched tightly and I was afraid everybody was going to run out. I learned a very valuable lesson in that moment. The lesson is that my brain in survival mode will always make the situation seem way worse than it could ever possibly be.
The faster I get it out of my head and into the open, the more free that I am. Now, I used it with Adam specifically. For those of you reading, Adam is a mentor of mine. I look up to him for speaking and everything he has in the world. We were talking about a talk I gave. I was going through my process and wondering why I was afraid of feedback and wondering what it was. I looked right at him, I started crying, and I said, “I don’t want your feedback because I feel like you’re a father figure to me. I don’t want to feel not good enough and judged.” I went there immediately upon feeling that.
What that did for me was it created a space of vulnerability, authenticity, and freedom because it was no longer in my head. I wasn’t worried about what Adam was going to say, what he was going to do, or if he was going to judge me. I got it out of my head, which created a possibility, which in the end, created a deeper connection and strengthened our relationship. Our relationship is built on authenticity and trust because we know that in any moment, we can be authentic with each other, and it’s a safe space.
That’s a perfect example of realizing that this work happens vigilantly every single day. The more that we practice it and the more that we run towards it, the greater we become at 1) Being aware of it, 2) Accepting it, and 3) Taking action towards it to create a different result. I thought the timing of it was serendipitous that literally now and Adam, I don’t think he expected it based on his face when I said it, but it’s a daily practice. More than anything, it’s a daily practice.
George, thank you for bringing that back up because, as you said, it’s so important to be able to what I like to refer to as getting leverage over yourself, the roommate in your head, the little voice in your head, the little you, the mini-me, that kind of thing. I laid something on you and I’m going to share it with our folks now, too. I agree with you. Awareness is the first step in change. Understanding what it is, and I love what you say about acceptance, accepting where you are as the first pinpoint the GPS.
The way point of where you’re starting from, understanding that, and being able to do something to change it, meaning the reprogramming process. The tool that I shared with George that’s worked for me, and I’m going to share with you folks, is that you can call out what we might refer to as your dirty little secret. It’s giving yourself permission to simply call out whatever the thing that you’re trying to hide from other people. The place where you’re, in essence, trying to keep up your facade or charade.
On some level, I think it’s our instinct. It’s the survival instinct to want to do that. What it does when you challenge it, you call it out loud into the ether. You take the emotional charge off of it. You’d neutralize it, which enables you to be more balanced or emotionally in harmony. That is a massive benefit to being able to challenge the actions you take or don’t take by being able to do different things, see different things differently, and it’s very expensive.
Final question for you is to ask you, in terms of the pivots that you’re engaged in all the time, is there a ritual or a practice that supports you in being able to utilize the change that’s around? For you to be able to challenge that little voice in your head, or a challenge that the little you wants to keep you feeling uncertain, insecure, or worrying about what people think about you, whether people would even like you based on what you say or do. What’s a ritual that you can share with our folks?
I love that question and I’m glad you call it rituals. Here’s what’s interesting. I like to challenge myself to keep my mindset where it belongs, which is uncomfortable most of the time. I hate being cold. I despise being cold with a passion. For three months, I’ve been taking an ice bath every single day to the point where I travel, and I’m up in Toronto with business. The lake is 34 degrees Fahrenheit. People have winter jackets on and I go swimming in the lake.
It’s interesting for me, though. I’m going to explain why this ritual supports me so much. It’s because there are some rituals that we have, like going to the gym or eating healthy, that become monotonous and they become a pattern. I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable consciously lowering myself in a bucket of ice. Every moment before I do it, I get so uncomfortable. I doubt myself and I don’t want to be cold again.
I have this entire process that feels like an attorney, but it’s probably three seconds where I have to commit to getting in. It has not lessened at all. The more I do, the same it’s there. The ice doesn’t hurt as bad or it’s not as cold, but the moment of getting in is as uncomfortable now as it was on day one. I found that this is the most supportive thing that I have because it is something that makes me uncomfortable. It’s beneficial from a health standpoint. Every day, it starts my day by pushing the envelope. It creates the eating the frog thing or whatever, but it creates so much possibility for the rest of my day.
Focused on self-love and self-reflection. Click To Tweet
I find validation where I’m like, “I took a seven-minute ice bath this morning.” They’re like, “You can do anything because you’re nuts.” I’m like, “Maybe or I’m committed.” It’s my number one ritual and sets my day from a clear perspective because when you’re cold and you have to breathe, all you can focus on is breathing. It gets my commitment going. It has health benefits and increases circulation, and it makes my mitochondria more receptive. There’s all that stuff but it allows me to go there every day before I go there in my day.
That’s what I mean to say. That would be it for me and it carries over everywhere. From an applicable standpoint for everybody, when it comes to a relationship, in my marriage, business, working with Adam, travel, or a long meeting day, I can look at all of that as just another ice bath. I’m like, “I’m going to get in the ice bath.” It may be uncomfortable in the first moment but it creates momentum, which you talk a lot about. It constantly creates me in a pivot so I feel like it sets the tone for me throughout the day to easily adjust.
What it means to me, and I’m sure there are some people that are reading that are thinking, “I’m going to do that.” Some people that are gone, “There is no way in hell I’m going to do that. That’s the last thing in the world I’m going do.”
Those are the Adams in the world.
The truth is, whether you’re going to do it or you’re not going to do it, it’s a question of whether you are challenging your comfort. As we said, comfort is a bit overrated. At least among the people that we’re hanging around with. Being uncomfortable, however that looks for you, could be that your discomfort is to be quiet. I can’t tell you how many people I know who just to be still, shut up, stop make their mind still, and would have sit still is very uncomfortable.
Can you stir yourself in an ice bucket? You can. Can you also call up a long-lost person in your life and tell him you’re sorry, forgive him, or love him? Yes. Would that make a lot of people uncomfortable? Yes. What’s great is that every day, you start your day with something that makes you uncomfortable. That isn’t easy and that’s setting a tone. That’s a powerful ritual. We appreciate you sharing that for us.
I love it. I’m going to challenge myself because that reminded me. I’ve had it on my docket. I’ve wanted to write a letter every day to somebody, an actual handwritten letter. A bonafide letter that has an address on it, a stamp, it goes by the postman, and it gets delivered to their door. It’s pure like, “I miss you. I haven’t talked to you. I apologize. I’d love to be in contact. Let’s go there.” I’m going to commit to doing one a week. I’m going to start writing a letter to build a bridge to a relationship that I’ve let go of, someone that would like to hear from me, or even a relative that I’m not in close contact with. I’m going to bridge the digital gap and pivot into a physical relationship, which is going to take time.
That’s the best gift that we can give. That reminded me of that. I’m going to challenge everybody to write a letter and pivot, but I want you to start by not sending an email or not calling. You got a pen and a paper. If you can find the post office, just in case you forgot where it is, go buy some stamps. Lick a stamp and seal it. If you want to go high school style, you can spray cologne on it, and then you can send it in the mail. I want everybody to do that.
The brain is the master manipulator in convincing us to avoid certain things. Click To Tweet
Kiss it on the way out, too.
There we go. XO on the seal, everything.
This is amazing as always, George. I’m so thrilled that we get to hang out and do the episode in the hot tub. This is new ground for us. We’ll be talking about this in the future. For you, guys, I would love it as always, if you have some comments, leave your comments. If you’d love to join us, we’ve got a great new community that’s taking us by surprise, but we’ve been pleasantly enjoying what’s going on, the authenticity, vulnerability, and support that’s happening in the Start My PIVOT Community on Facebook.
We’d love to have you guys join us. As always, my heart to yours. Whatever you’re doing in your life, I hope you love it. I hope you love life. If you don’t, then wake up tomorrow. You get to start again. Put your feet on the floor. Three steps, wake up and be grateful for the fact that you are awake on a literal or figurative level because there are people that, at that moment, you’re taking your first conscious breath and are taking their last breath.
Be in gratitude, stand up and say, “I love my life.” If you don’t currently love your life, what a perfect place to create a powerful intention and begin to work on that. It is our belief that the love you give yourself is the love that you give the world. The day that you give yourself is the day that you offer to the world.