Dealing with stress is one of the inevitable facets of our daily life. And is necessary for building your resilience. Without proper control over stress, our performance in all areas of life suffers. We even risk falling into depression, experiencing anxiety attacks, and losing grasp of reality. Joining Adam Markel to discuss the path to a stress-managed life is radio show host Wayne Kelly. He shares how he was able to get a handle on his stress through strategies like bucking society’s expectations of him as a father and a professional, as well as embracing the hardships and failures that truly defined his strengths. Wayne and Adam discuss what it really takes to live with the inevitability of stress so that you, like Wayne, can consider yourself a “stress-free” person.
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Dealing With Stress In Our Everyday Lives With Wayne Kelly
I would say I’m in a delightful mood now. I was in a crappy mood earlier, it’s just one of those things sometimes. It’s hard for me, and I don’t know if you guys feel the same way, but you don’t always know why your mood changes. I didn’t wake up in a bad mood. I typically wake up and I have this morning ritual that many of you know about. That’s a fundamental way that I ground myself. I get to a place and attitude that I want to start the day with, which is gratitude. I get to a place where I feel good about my life, no matter what, including any of the uncertainty that is part of most of our daily lives these days.
For so many people in business and many areas of our lives, there’s a great deal of uncertainty. I’ve learned and developed these tools to turn those things around to be able to turn the ship, so to speak. Somewhere a couple of hours later, despite all that good morning ritual, I ended up feeling not physically at my best. My thoughts and my physiology started to follow. Before you know it, I was in a crap mood. I don’t know how to put it.
I was getting prepared for this show and immediately, the programming inside of me is that to be in service, I can always step outside of my own personal crap or whatever misery I might be in. If I’m in service, that always takes a second seat. It goes to the sidelines. I know that always works. What was wonderful was that I got a guest on the show and I was fortunate enough to be invited to be on his radio show. I enjoyed that conversation. I didn’t recall it so well. Randi, my wife, reminded me how happy and uplifted I was after that conversation. That’s why we wanted this gentleman to come and join us and be a part of this show. His name is Wayne Kelly.
As soon as I turned on the show, Wayne joined me, we started conversing about some things and immediately my mood shifted. I could feel that whatever that heaviness, almost like a low cloud lifted away. It’s funny because I was telling Wayne that they were crows. We’re up in Maine. We’re in this beautiful place on the coast and these crows were out in force yakking away. I don’t know, maybe that was the head chatter for me. It was a bit of a symbol of some chatter in my head. Get in service, spend some time with somebody that’s a lot of fun, and some feel simpatico with, and all of a sudden, the head chatter goes. We’ll see if the crows returned, but I don’t think so.
Without further ado, Wayne Kelly. He has been waking up and this is a wonderful segue into this idea of how do you wake yourself up even in the middle of the afternoon. I got to wake myself up which is great. He’s been waking up listeners in British Columbia, Canada, for more than 22 years. He started a media publicity company in 2005 and he helps authors, entrepreneurs, coaches, get publicity using the power of media interviews. Wayne, I so appreciate the fact that you’ve joined us for the show and recalling how much fun we had last time. Welcome to the show.
Thank you very much. I feel the same way. You get nervous before being interviewed, even though I teach it, I live it, I’m on the radio, and I talk a lot of time. Instantly, as soon as the camera went on, we’re both like, “Look at that guitar.” We start this great conversation and all of a sudden, I feel that there’s a happiness that comes over you when you have this. It’s cool. It’s neat to have a vibe with other people. I always say in my little radio show, “We’re all about living in a happy little bubble.” There’s so much garbage going on out there in the world and all these awful videos and terrible things that if we could bring a little bit of joy to somebody’s life, isn’t that a great simple place to start?
I can’t think of a simpler place to begin. Think about how it is you cultivate some joy in someone else’s life especially. Wayne, what’s not a part of the bio that I was reading that you’d love for people to know about you at the outset?
That’s part of who I am, but I’m stress free. I’m a human being that is stress free, which is odd. You don’t run into many people like that. I say it, but I live it. If I do feel stressed, let’s say, once every month or something, I feel stressed, it’s hard for me to deal with. I’m not used to it. I lived a stressful life and moved into now being content and happy with exactly where I’m at, and everything else to me is a bonus.
I’ve got to tell you I know exactly where we’re going to start because I needed to put my glasses on when you said that. Stress free. It’s funny because I picked up this old book. It’s such an old book that I don’t remember the title but the author is Albert Ellis, who is a rational emotive therapist. RET was this thing from 1955. He was writing books and I’m not sure if he’s written anything new or if he’s even still around, but this book was from about 1988.
He’s written dozens and dozens of books about the way that we handle stress and the way that we catastrophize, awfulize and do that thing inside of ourselves. We make ourselves miserable. I know that’s in the title. How is it that we can be misery free always? I started the book but part of the theory is we make ourselves miserable. Stopping that process is within our power to do. Tell me, you live a stressful life. Maybe we should start there. What does a stressful life look like for you back then?
For me, it’s stressful life was simple, and everybody has the same story, you get married, you have a couple of children, you have a job, and you are trying to live the way that you’re supposed to be. Do you try to fit yourself into this mold of, “What a father does? What is my thought of what a father is? What is my thought of being a husband?” You’re also trying to have a successful radio show where you’re always thinking about your show.
Every time you go for a walk or go outside, you see people, you’re thinking about your show. All of a sudden, you’ve got radio going around in your brain all the time. You’re trying to take care of your family, you get bills, and you get stressed out. We were building a house, and there are all these things that started happening. For me, I didn’t know how to deal with that because I went from being a single guy, and all of a sudden, getting married, child one, child two, mortgages, and all this stuff.
It was stressful for me to deal with and I didn’t know how to do it. I realized after a while that it was because I had almost a fake notion of what it’s supposed to look like. “I’m the man, I’m going to provide and this is what I’m supposed to do.” Instead of being more of, I would say, a partner but more of who I am as a person and what I can do to contribute to society and make sure that my family is happy at all times.
The taking care of the family thing goes both ways. Certainly, now I know men are on some DNA level. There are two things men believe they’re supposed to be. They’re supposed to provide and protect. Those are stressors for sure. I got married early. We had kids pretty young and I was starting a career, starting a law practice at the beginning when we began having a family. You’re building a business, your kids are young and your marriage is young so you’re green all over. You’re green in your profession, as a parent, and as a spouse. That’s a dangerous combination of things to be inexperienced at.What's great about the bad things is that everybody goes through them. Click To Tweet
It’s difficult because you don’t know how to fit. You feel like you’re failing at everything. “I’m not good enough at what I’m doing work-wise. I’m not good enough as a husband. I’m sucking as a father. I’m chronically tired because I’m working mornings or that I’m up at night.” It was a weird combination so what do you start doing? You stop eating properly and you don’t exercise anymore. What happens? You get more and more stressed. All of a sudden, I get the layoff notice, “We’re not going to need you in one month.” That’s awesome, and now what are we going to do? It turned out to be a wonderful thing for me. I never went to school for radio. I went to school playing guitar and learned music. That’s what I studied in school. When I got into radio, I was trying to be what the successful people were.
I wasn’t Wayne. I was trying to be a Peter so-and-so or what have you, and I was terrible at it. I was awful at it. When I got the layoff notice, I remember I ended up leaving much quicker because I went and found a different radio job where I totally changed and said, “I’m going to become more like me. I’m going to do something completely different and I’m going to become Wayne and let Wayne’s personality come out.” Wayne’s personality is laidback, fun, and always interested in people. In any interview that I get to do, I absolutely love finding out what makes people tick or why they do what they do. It’s this natural curiosity.
I never thought, “This is too big of a guest to be on my show,” when I was starting out. All those things, it was almost like by not worrying anymore about all these different things, it freed me. From there, we started growing and started the PR business. What happens is you start working again, you’re stressed, and you’re living all that. Luckily, I started exercising a lot more and realized that blood pressure, medications, and being overweight and all these different things are not working.
It doesn’t help anything. You feel you’re faking it. When you said that you can turn it on when you’re going to have the client with you and you’re going to be able to do a session with somebody, you turn it on. We could do that. We do that radio all the time. Nobody wants to wake them up by saying, “Good morning. Probably what a miserable evening that was. We had this child who was waking us up and this one was sick. My life sucks.”
“I’m so depressed this morning. How many of you out there are as depressed as I am? Welcome to my show.”
A total dark cloud of misery.
Maybe that’s the way to go. That would maybe meet a certain segment of the audience now.
You definitely can now because it’s a small percentage if you have those bad things happen. What’s great about the bad things is that everybody goes through them. When you’re going through things you often feel like, “I must be the only one because I’m looking at this person who’s super successful. Look at what Adam is doing. Adam is living on the coast. Look at so-and-so.” You compare yourself to everybody else, but all of a sudden you find out the truth and it isn’t Facebook.
Do you know those vacation photos where they look so happy? You talk to your friend who put those pictures up and you find out that they’re on the verge of divorce because they were going crazy fighting during this vacation. You realize, “Maybe we should be real and talk more.” I love talking to guys about the hardships of being in a role if you will. As a dad, it was hard at this point and I like to talk about things like that. You hear other people say, “It was tough when our kids were three years of age, or what have you.”
The realness is a tool and it’s a gift because there’s such a lack of that in some areas of our awareness these days because social media for the most part is everybody’s best hair day. Especially when you get caught up in comparison, which on some level is natural. We look at other people for modeling of the things we want to do or be and, and we’re constantly looking at others for some sense of, “Are we in our place?” That’s a bit of a confusing thing to be looking at anything outside of yourself for confirmation, reaffirmation, edification, or whatever of what you’re doing as being right, true, and all that thing. That can be a terribly confusing process to be taking your cues from outside of what you might look at is your own guidance system internally.
You go through this period where you lose a job. There are a lot of people who have lost a job, business, or something that has sidelined their work at the moment. We know that something is the virus. There’s a whole host of emotions that come up at a time like that. You skip through that pretty quickly. Was there something you learned about yourself in that process? There are people reading this now who are going through it or they’re thinking about it’s going to happen.
Do you know what I learned? Do you know how they say, “If you’re feeling extremely stressed out, you need to start breathing and clear your mind?” It doesn’t work. You can’t breathe your way to losing stress. I know people will say, “You can,” but I’m sorry for me, that doesn’t work. It was more about communicating. I needed to talk with people. I needed to find out if there is something wrong with me. What’s happened? You started looking at yourself and going, “What am I doing wrong?” When you realize, “It wasn’t me personally. I wasn’t the reason why the layoffs happened. There were budget cuts and I was the low man on the pole so that’s what happened.”
I felt a little bit more in control, instead of waiting until the actual layoff date, by finding and making an opportunity by contacting a station saying, “Here’s what I propose for a morning show. I can join your team that’s already there and here’s what I can do.” I felt I got a little bit of power back in the way I was dealing with it. I didn’t know where it was going to go or what it was going to lead to but it turned out well. I almost have to take myself out of myself, in a way. I dive into, I’ve got to put on some music, I’ve got to start playing guitar, I need to go for a run or a bike ride, or I need to do something that I’m not going to think about the situation. I can take this thing and I can go to the darkest little places with my brain. Why? For me, that’s what I need to do. I escape by then going to playing guitar, music, and exercising.You can't breathe your way to losing stress. Click To Tweet
There are a lot of options for all of us in moments like that. One of the things that I have asked myself over the years is regarding how I’m feeling. Your disappointment, for example, and I’ll ask,
“Am I disappointed in the situation or am I disappointed in myself?” The emotions themselves like disappointment or sadness are fine. It’s when they become at a heightened level, almost a radical or extreme level that they lead to dread, anxiety, depression, or other things that are more extreme forms of disappointment, sadness, fear, and things of that sort.
Asking myself that question, “Am I disappointed in the situation, or am I disappointed in myself?” That little fork in the road is quite helpful because even looking at the situation we’re in now with so many folks having to reimagine and reinvent aspects of their careers or their businesses. The disappointment can certainly turn into a lot of anguish internally. Whereas, if you’re looking at what in the situation is the cause of the disappointment. Whether that it happened, that it caught you off guard, you weren’t prepared for and there was not maybe the response that could have ameliorated some of it or whatever the case is.
You’re disappointed in these things that you can look at objectively and dispassionately even. Whereas when you go, “I’m such an idiot. I could have sold my business last year. I had a chance to sell my business. I can’t believe I bought that new house. Why did I buy that new house last year? I should be downsizing. I should have been managing my money better so in any event that something like this I wouldn’t be vulnerable now and feeling so at risk, etc.”
There’s a distinct difference between that set self-talk because they’re both self-talk but clearly, one is looking at it in a way that is not about authorizing what you’ve done. We do that easily. You said that at the beginning, there are things that we even think of as men or women that we should be doing. It’s that should, that framing of something as should, “I should be providing better or I should have known better.”
That’s exactly it. It’s the shoulds are horrible and it affects a lot of different people, so I admire those that do walk away from the shoulds. It’s something that we do learn as we age and I celebrated a big birthday. I’m pretty excited. My grandma said as I hit 50, she goes, “You’re on the top of the hill, enjoy it.” Maybe that’s part of the game that you have to go through. You’re not going through life stress free. You’re not going to go through without having arguments.
What are you talking about? We’re going to go through that next. You said you’re stress free.
Now I’m stress free.
I know people are going, “You’ve got to get to it.” How is it that you’ve managed to get to a place where you feel stress free? That’s a different way of being.
I still need a paycheck. It’s not like I’m independently wealthy.
That didn’t change.
No. That helped but my kids grew up and we’ve gone through their education. One is finishing his engineering degree in 2020 so that is great. That is a huge relief stress-wise for you when you can get your kids through school and get them into their lives. You’ve done well, and they’re good young adults. That is a simple thing. My wife still likes me. She laughs at my jokes. Sometimes some things that I think are funny but she doesn’t. That is a celebration, as well, right there. For me, those things became important and also, I can’t schedule myself chock-full of stuff. I’ll do four days of work but on Fridays, I’ve said it, “I’m sorry, I can’t work on Friday, it doesn’t matter what the client is or who wants to work. Friday is going to be my time. I’m going biking and I don’t schedule myself so tight that I can’t take a break and go for an adventure of whatever that is.”
That has been huge for me. It’s not to have the book full for weeks and weeks of events. I remember Randi sent a note to book this show in February maybe. I was thinking it was February and I was like, “February? In August, I have no clue what it is I’m going to be doing at that point in time, but great.” She reminded me and I’m like, “Good thing I wasn’t super booked. Let’s do it.” It worked out perfectly. For me, those are the big things that I haven’t scheduled in my life so busy all the time that I have lots of great time to go and bike.
My efficiency when it comes to work is very good. I’ve got that nailed down to be super-efficient, don’t waste time and dive in. I love working in the mornings. I enjoy it when I’m out for a bike ride. I am still thinking about what the blog is going to be, what newsletters are going to send out or whatnot for clients coming up with ideas. Those times are still used for that but it’s being a lot more efficient with how I work.People don't perform well for long when they're run down. Click To Tweet
Are you a solo or are you working with a team, outsourced or otherwise?
If I need certain people then I will hire in but for the most part, it is all solo and it works out very well. It’s fun that way but it’s the same thing. Working with people is energizing. You get the odd one but what now, after all these years of doing it, you learn which ones are going to be a pain in the butt and you send them to the next person.
Client management is an important thing. We do a lot of work with people that want to do what we’re doing. It’s a wonderful thing when people come to you to say, “I want to do these things. I want to speak, get paid, deliver a TED Talk, have the clients that I can get to go deep and be able to draw the greatest creative gifts out in the process.” All those things are part of the reason that we do what we do and it is not without stress. It’s moments where I’ll say, “I am at the limit of my capacity,” because we have those. I learned that there are some things I shouldn’t be doing. I’m not exactly a solo but we’re a small business, we have some internal and some external resources. For example, I don’t schedule anything, so the fact that you said, “We got scheduled for this back in February and here we are in August,” I’m not surprised.
You’re booked a lot.
The way that it’s spaced out means that there’s not that exhaustion that comes from the overdoing, overworking, and the over overing, but I wouldn’t be good at it making that happen. If I were left to my own devices, I would be burned out because I’m not great at managing a schedule. I’m pretty good with managing priorities but not time management, my wife is always kidding me about this, or driving her nuts at times that I can bend time. I like to push and squeeze in as much and suck the marrow out of every day but that creates a lot of stress when you’ve got too many things stacked up. It’s not even about being able to do it. It’s about the drain on the system when you run yourself at capacity without a commensurate amount of recovery.
We as part of our speaking business and going out and delivering workshops for companies, we talked about resilience. The research and the statistics and all that is clear that people don’t perform well for long when they’re run down. It’s that simple. Not a whole lot more complicated than that but yet the way in which you arrest that process, you stop it from going down that path, especially when corporations are built to drive people as hard as they can for as long as they can. That’s what they call productivity. Except in the end, it creates burnout and exhaustion that leads to a whole lot of crappy work too. It’s a topic for a different day. For us, individually, we’ve got to be the guardian at the gate for ourselves, or we have to have people around us that do that. That’s why I say I don’t handle my schedule.
I love what you’re saying. You are scheduling it now. That’s what I was. It was about 2015 or so when the change happened but before that, it was, “Go, go, go.” Get up, go to the show, do the show, come home, work for clients, finish with clients and try to write stuff to promote yourself, create a blog and do all the things you’re supposed to do.
People who are reading are going, “That’s my life.”
That is your life.
You’re having my life right now.
You’ve gone through it, you rush in and you have dinner, all of a sudden, off to bed. We’ve gone through that. We’ve all done that. Some people live with that but you need to schedule. Some people are amazing at scheduling their lives. I am a little more free-flowing for clients. I always book the times. I like what you’re saying about you still do take the time that you can have time with that guitar in the background.
To me, I was never a scheduler. In fact, I wouldn’t even wear a watch. I was a lawyer. I don’t even know that from my background.
Yes, I do.
For eighteen years, I wasn’t practicing. I resisted a lot of the rules. It’s the ironic thing about being a lawyer. I was not a rule follower. I push back against authority. I’m fiercely independent and freedom is an important thing to me. Wearing a watch didn’t feel like I was free. That’s why we go away to places and live where we live because we want to be free of some of the restrictions. The freedom that I gained from having my schedule be taken care of to know that I have things booked, I don’t have to think about when I have free time because when I’m not booked, my time is free. If I’m not on a show, with a client, or in a speaking engagement, I am free. I can swim, surf, read, play guitar, or whatever. That’s my time.
That’s given me a different perspective on creating that stress free. This is a little sub-theme. This might even be the theme, frankly, of our talk now because is it possible to live without the stress? Stress is good and it builds our muscles to lift things. That stress builds us in that context. I don’t think we can live without stress because we can’t live without growth and growth is the result of how we resolve and handle stress.
Like we said, when it comes to emotions, the overstress, the going past the point of what is healthy stress into that arena where we’re depleting ourselves. It’s like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns. Like your grandmother said to you, “You’re at the top.” The other side is the downhill slope. The downhill slope of stress is pretty rough. It’s hypertension, anxiety, depression, medications, and diabetes. It’s a whole host of things that lead to a shorter life.
I found that I was in that place where I couldn’t sleep. I’d wake up at 2:00 in the morning stressed out, anxious, and almost hyperventilating not to the point, but it was not good. It was not a good situation at all. Eventually, I finally said, “This is not right. This is not me because I am driven, motivated and I love to be moving forward. I’m goal-oriented and I still am but something’s completely haywire.” I went and talked to my doctor. We talked about a hangnail and we talked about whatever. I’m like, “I’m not sure what’s going on with my life but this is what’s happening.” My doctor, I have never seen the man more excited than he was and he goes, “You’re depressed.”
With a big smile on his face.
I’m like, “What? Me? How can I be? Come on now. I’m always smiling.” I remember I was skipping home. I was so excited to have a label and say, “I think I’m depressed.” That’s cool. At least I know what it is and we were able to work on it from that point. It was awesome. It sounds ridiculous but to know this is what’s probably going on and that’s where the change happened. All of a sudden, “I better get a bicycle,” because at that point, I was close to 210 pounds, and being 5’7” that’s not a good weight for my body. I started cycling and that was a big thing. That made the change. That’s where things started to turn around for me.
You and I didn’t have the exact same scenario but I ended up with this book, The Road Less Traveled. It’s an old Dr. Scott Peck book. It’s a killer book if you people haven’t read that book. I can’t say enough about that reading is helpful but it’s a bit scary too. It was like performing psychoanalysis on myself when I read that book. It took me into some dark places and I wasn’t necessarily prepared to even go there but it was also empowering to have this awareness. To be able to call it, to have a label to place on something you’re feeling.
I had a day when I ended up at the emergency room in a local hospital, convinced I was dying. I was having a heart attack. I had to pull off the side of the road. It was that extremely. My chest pounding, sweating, and scaring the life out of my wife too. I’m feeling guilty that I’m now in this state that I can’t control but I’m terrified. I’m like, “We’ve got to go to the emergency room.” The next thing I know I’m lying on the gurney. At a certain point, when the doctor lets me know after all the tests have been done, I’ve got a pretty hairy chest. They stick those taped electrodes to my chest and I’m like, “Those are going to be a bitch when they come off unless I’m not around, then I won’t care.”If you're not speaking about your business, you're missing out because everybody is looking for great content. Click To Tweet
I don’t mind that pain.
He said to me, “You’re having an anxiety attack. That’s what happened to you. That’s in all likelihood because you didn’t have a heart attack. Your heart is fine. You’re a lucky man.” I didn’t feel quite so lucky at the moment, but it was such a relief that afternoon, hours later, we walked out and I felt tremendous relief. I remember even saying, “Thank you, God,” and that was not my language at the time in my life. It was a reprieve of sorts. To find out that this is handleable. We can do about this. My ticker is good. I don’t a need surgery. I don’t need a heart transplant but there’s something off.
It was relieving at the time. Solution here. Great. The problem is a solution. Was it John Lennon that said that? It’s a great quote in one of his songs, “There are no problems, only solutions.” There was a problem solution there and yet I didn’t have a clue about what would need to change. You did. You got on a bike and you started to do that. What are some of the other things because I wanted us to talk about what creates resilience? We lead ourselves into that anyway.
For me, it was sports and letting go of thinking that I was supposed to be something, “At this age, I would have this many dollars in my bank account and we would be driving this and this. My beater would be a Ferrari.” Let go of all those things. I had to say, “Who am I? Let’s get a great bicycle. Let’s ride the bicycle.”
You’ve got a good bike though.
I had a great bike. We’ve got cars but that’s the bike. A car is not going to change you from being that much 40 pounds overweight to where I was supposed to be, according to the doctor. This even helped my business, I started tracking the food I ate, I wrote down everything that I ate, put it into MyFitnessPal app. I was biking, and I started running. I remember I ran three times and I thought my knees were going to fall off. I went to one of the running places and said, “I’m too big to run.” They were like, “No, not at all. You just have the wrong shoes.” They set me up with the tools and all of a sudden, I was able to start learning how to run. It wasn’t right away. I’ve never run before. Eventually, I started tracking every piece of exercise. In fact, I have a book and still write it down every time I exercise. I will not exercise without tracking where I’ve gone and stuff. I keep it there.
For me, it was the biggest thing. I started exercising, tracking it, and tracking what I was eating. That helped out a tremendous amount. That changed my life. All of a sudden, I started realizing, as I tracked it, all my weight started going down. I started feeling better. All of a sudden, you get more energy, and you start thinking about things that you want to do again. I worked on me. I was able to say, “If I ever had a bad month, I went through sometimes, I didn’t even focus on the business anymore, because it was more important for me to be doing my health stuff.”
I let that stuff go because I was so wrapped up in it that I’ve lost all my joy for doing it. I didn’t want to do it. It didn’t find it inspiring at all. I lost the drive. By stepping away from tracking everything, then all of a sudden, I started going, “I’m going to start tracking when I make contact, or I’m going to start tracking what I’m going to do in my business. Two things a day that I’m going to do.” I came with the book, and I start tracking things. That started to work for me as well. If I’ve ever looked back and go, “This month wasn’t that great,” I look back at my book and go, “Look at that. You didn’t do squat. You didn’t reach out. You didn’t make contact. You didn’t do any interviews. You haven’t done anything at all. That’s a reason.” For me, I almost need to know a reason on why something happens. Does that make sense?
It makes perfect sense because there’s a logic to it. There’s an if and then. The premises lead to a conclusion. You could have been a lawyer.
Can I be a judge?
No kidding. Skip that part of being abused in court and go right to the point where you’re the abuser.
It seems way more fun.
It sounds more fun. I’ve got to believe.
That has been the secret to now being able to do the things that I do, I don’t feel tremendous stress and I find a lot more joy. You’ve got to be happy to be getting up at 4:15 every morning. You said that you wake up usually you’re in a good mood. It’s the same thing to me. When I wake up, I’m ready to go. I’m like, “This is going to be great.” Every once in a while you have a tiring week but for the most part, this sure beats working for a living, getting to talk on the radio and meet cool people, and hear these wonderful stories. I love what I get to do.
I’m going to do this shameless pitch, even though it’s not a pitch. Because I know that we help people with this stuff. It feels a pitch to me but everybody can be a broadcaster these days. For nothing here, what you described is this joy. It doesn’t even need to be your full-time gig. Michelle Obama started her podcast. We’ve been listening and there are two episodes already. I’m listening to her in the first episode. Randi put it on in the car as we’re driving. I’m listening like, “This is the same as ours.” Let’s get straight. It’s Michelle Obama and the former president of the United States, regardless of whether you guys are reading this and where you stand politically. This guy was the leader of the free world.
We know who he is.
He was a Harvard Law Review guy and these are not people without credentials and a lot of impressive things. Still listening to that pocket sounded like Randi and I, as husband and wife. He’s speaking. He’s trying to get a word out and she’s interrupting him. The guy can’t get a full sentence out before his wife is stopping in the middle. I’m going, “This is exactly the same thing in our house. What’s the difference? Their microphone sounds like our microphone. They’re not even on video. It’s only audio.” Anybody can do this.
If you’re out there reading this having a good chuckle about it. The fact of the matter is, there’s a tremendous amount of joy that comes from the conversations that you can have with interesting people in a format known as a podcast. Everybody has been given the authority on the airwaves to be a broadcaster at this point. As a disclaimer, we don’t have a show company. We get contacted by a lot of companies and we work with some as well because it’s a great way to reach people.
These days, even seeing in my publicity company, it’s expanded so much. Before it was focusing on AM/FM radio and television but nowadays, if you’re not speaking about your business, what you do somewhere every week, you’re missing out because everybody is looking for great content. This is where the magic happens, when you’re able to have a great real conversation, that makes you a great guest.
What you and I’ve been talking about, I’ve never talked about with people. This isn’t something I would ever talk about on my show or what have you. We didn’t know where this was going to go when we started this interview but it’s been interesting as we’ve done the dance and talked about all these cool things and issues. I hope it helps out other people. That’s a big thing that I want out of this. If somebody else says, “I’m going through this. I’m maybe not feeling as well as I should be or maybe there’s something wrong,” get yourself checked out because you don’t know where it is.
Nowadays, you’ve got all these great podcasts, you’ve got TV, you’ve got radio, and you can still get into them. Look at all the money that these big radio stars are getting paid. Why did they get paid that much money? It’s because people are listening. Especially with what we’ve seen going on in the last little while in the world, what a great time to get on and talk about stress, relationships, and being cooped up. My kids both moved home during this whole thing and it was great. If I was quarantined here with my wife, she’d be overjoyed with happiness being able to listen to me all the time.
“Of course, Wayne. You would.” We were empty nesters last fall and we were getting used to it. When COVID-19 hit, we were getting over our guilt. We cleared the last guilt hurdle.
Why are we so happy?
“They’re back. Are you kidding me?” That’s a wonderful place to land the boat to bring it up right up the shore right there.
That is perfect. Spending time with family. It’s great.
My last question for you, Wayne. You get up early. You get up at 4:30 in the morning. Is there something that you do when it’s dark out, and you’re starting your day that is a ritual? You’ve spoken about a lot of different rituals. In fact, I love the fact that you shared that idea about tracking things. People can look at that and say, “Where is it possible for me to do some tracking?” In my own theory is if you’re not willing to do that and you’re opposed to tracking it, it’s probably because what you’re going to track is going to cause you some pain or what you’re not tracking and things you’re not doing that you ought to be that would be beneficial to you.
Head in the sand is not the best thing.
It’s interesting, you brought that up because the lack of awareness is a bigger issue, the blind spot that comes from an unwillingness to look at things, even difficult things is challenging. In the money arena, I’m sure there are people that still don’t open up their bank statements or open up their brokerage account statements because it’s ugly, or whatever. You go, “Am I not tracking those things? What are you missing, that otherwise with the awareness?” I didn’t want to have a doctor tell me I was having an anxiety attack. “It’s a little embarrassing. I felt embarrassed. I’m a lawyer, a litigator, a dad, and I’m a husband. What am I doing having an anxiety attack?”
I could look at it that way, for sure but I didn’t, and I don’t. Especially now I look back and I go, “The awareness that I got out of that probably saved me a heart attack, a real one.” It’s like you’re going into the doctor and doing that, “By the way,” and the doctor lightens up going, “You probably are depressed.” It’s like, “What did that turn into?” It turned into you creating through that awareness, changing some things that you knew you needed to. It was clear, you had to do something differently. You’re fit, you’re in shape, you’re living a completely different life from a stress standpoint and you go, “That’s a transformation.”
Absolutely, and I feel happy.
When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thought or thing you do?
For me, it’s about being prepared. I don’t even have a ritual per se in the morning because I’m focused on getting into work. I get into work earlier than I’m supposed to be and I always believe in being as prepared as possible. I’m prepared for whatever happens, I’m ready for. You can prep for something, things go sideways, and it’s perfectly okay. Even for any interview, I take my time. I’ll make sure I’m prepped. I’m in the right headspace. I am ready at least an hour ahead of time, which sounds crazy but it’s an hour at a time where I set up things, and think about what it is that we’re going to be talking about. It’s being prepped in everything I do. It’s critically important to help me stay calm.
The ritual of being of preparedness.
Is that a ritual?
I’m calling it a ritual, especially since it’s conscious. Habits are things we do without thinking about it. It doesn’t sound to me like you prepare unconsciously. It’s the opposite for you. You’re consciously aware that preparation is vitally important to you for a bunch of reasons. It makes you feel secure, I’m sure. You have less fear when you feel prepared but you’re also being responsible. You’re also preparing for an opportunity. As you said, things go sideways all the time. Who knows what that all looks like? When we think or share information about resilience, one of the things we always say is, “You’ve got to develop resilience before you need it,” which counters the way most people live. They are resilient because some shitstorm came their way and now they’re resilient in the face of that storm. Whereas being prepared before the storm allows you to be resilient and some.We can live without stress because we can't live without growth, and growth is the result of how we resolve and handle stress. Click To Tweet
You’re ready for it. It doesn’t matter what goes sideways. To a certain extent, there are going to be some tragic things that are going to happen but for the most part, the things that we think of as difficult are easy to deal with when you’re ready. You’ve prepped, you’re ready, let’s go and all of a sudden, something happens. You’re in the right mindset. It’s all in the mind. You’ve got to be ready for the game.
Did you see the ESPN special about Michael Jordan?
I loved it.
How brilliant is that?
Unbelievable. Talk about being in the game. He was in the game at all times.
It was almost like never a moment the guy wasn’t in the game. That level of competitive fire, we rarely see it. To have it be captured the way they captured it, it’s a look into what true mastery is. It’s brilliant. Wayne, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s a pleasure to have you.
This is awesome. Thank you so much. We’ll jam one day with our Yamaha guitars.
Right back there over that shoulder, this is an old Yamaha which of course, the Canadian is saying, Yamaha.
That is killer.
Too funny. 1985. There we go.
That’s the year my wife Randi and I met. I know it doesn’t sync up well so I’m not going to grab my guitar and play. Zoom is off by a little bit. We’ve tried this.
When our oldest daughter, Chelsea, was getting married, I have this thing where I like to sing at their occasions occasionally. I was learning the song on the guitar and I was doing it with a dear friend, a business partner. She was singing and we were trying to bring it together and I’m like, “Why are you going so slow?” We’re trying to sync up but Zoom is off a little bit so we keep thinking we were each off whatever. The story with this guitar, it’s 1985 and they only made six of them, right?
Yeah. Who knew?
What’s the story with Steve?
It’s the coolest story. I bought this guitar from a friend of mine named Steve. Steve bought it from a guy named Barry but went to sell it. I looked it up online, but I couldn’t find it anywhere online so I sent a note to Yamaha. I gave him the serial numbers, and they said, “That’s a hand-built prototype guitar. There were only six brought to Canada to sell the following year’s guitars and the guy’s name is Barry.” He said, “I sold it to Steve in the Maritimes,” and that’s the guitar I have. Isn’t that unbelievable?
It’s the best.
Thank you so much, Adam. You’re amazing. It’s been wonderful chatting with you.
Thanks, Wayne. Thanks for being with us. Everybody, we appreciate your feedback. We live on the feedback. We’re interested in knowing how we can serve you better and make the show better so please leave a comment if you’d be kind enough. Go to AdamMarkel.com/podcasts to leave a comment there. You can leave it on iTunes, Stitcher, and those places. If you haven’t subscribed, please do that as well. One last reminder, for me, my waking ritual has remained the same since those days when I was living a stressed-out life as a lawyer and I don’t believe that you have to be stressed out as a lawyer. To be clear, I didn’t have the tools at the time to manage that well. I put my feet on the floor back then and I’d feel this sense of dread, anxiety, and stress at the beginning of the day. It’s an awful way to start.
For more than ten years now, I put my feet on the floor. I feel gratitude. I do awaken with wanting to have the attitude of gratefulness and appreciation. I say something out loud. I say four words out loud, which don’t have to be your words at all, but you could try them on if you like and we’d love to know what words you start your day with. Mine is, “I love my life.” That’s it. Four words. It’s simple. In this time that we’re living in, I’d say there’s a parenthetical statement to add to that, which is no matter what. “I love my life, no matter what.” Wherever we’re meeting you now, we hope your day, evening, or whatever is lovely. You’re enjoying it, you’re grateful for it and we appreciate you. Ciao for now, everybody.
- Radio show – Adam Markel Episode
- Wayne Kelly
- The Road Less Traveled
- Michelle Obama – The Michelle Obama Podcast
- iTunes – The Conscious PIVOT Podcast
- Stitcher – The Conscious PIVOT Podcast