Whatever you do.
Just own it.
We all make choices, decisions and take various actions every day.
I'd like to think that we do them with good in mind both for ourselves and towards others.
But that's out of my control.
What I can control is me; the things I do, say, how I behave, treat people, treat myself and the example I try to set for my family and those around me.
That's about as much as I can handle as I try to navigate my way thru this crazy little thing called life.
Each week I have conversations with various guys about the podcast and what I've blogged about the week before.
Some are friends, some are new guy's who've just signed on and a couple are in that "circle of trust" who I rely on to simply shoot straight, challenge me, disagree with me and push me to do better, write clearer, be accountable, find my voice, audience and even consider the ramifications of putting myself out there; both good and bad.
I often record these conversations because I tend to not remember very well the 30-60 minutes of highly opinionated verbose diatribes between a bunch of Type A personalities who like to hear themselves talk and too often don't think very much before we speak.
In case you're wondering, I use a great transcription service called REV to turn these recordings into word doc's, which I then drop into a very cool new app called INK (shameless plug for my client) that helps with content optimization so that I have a better chance of someone actually reading the crap I shill out and I ultimately become this super successful blogger/podcaster who lives on the beach and spends half his day taking care of his amazingly interesting clients and the other half writing, recording and working out all while my family looks upon me with love and appreciation for the life we've created (Pretty good dream, right?)
I wanted to share one of these conversations with you because last weeks podcast and my Instagram post with my guest sparked quite a bit of feedback and questions as to my perspective on health, fitness, the use (or not) of performance enhancing drugs in middle age, the search for the fountain of youth, choices we make and where I sit with some or all of these things.
So here's the transcript. I left my friend's name out of it. Not because I think he would care, but because I haven't asked him yet and because it really doesn't matter who I was talking to, it only matters what's being said.
Speaker 1: Last week’s post and podcast was interesting and kinda caught me by surprise and in particular on the aspect of performance enhancing drugs, guys using them, hypocricy of your message and who you’re talking to, training with and preaching about.
Greg: Yeah, people are willing to try things and willing to do things some more than others. Obviously, it's a very slippery slope, as you know. And you've been around all of this for a very, very long time. I have not. The way I view fitness and health and wellness is very different, I guess from a larger population.
Speaker 1: It is Greg, it is. And that's where you shine. You see what I'm saying? No pun. That's where it works for you. In my opinion. That's where you really stand head and shoulders above everybody else because look, you're saying I'm a clean, natural athlete. This is how I live my life and this is what I look like and without any drugs. Now you may be blessed with higher than normal levels of testosterone or whatever the case may be, but that's irrelevant. The point is you're not telling people how to be fit in the gym and in the kitchen for example and in the meantime you're jamming needles in your butt, you're not doing that. You are saying, look, this is who I am, this is what I am and I don't do that other shit. You know this is-
Greg: Yeah. That aspect is true and I do take a lot of pride in that.
Speaker 1: You should.
Greg: But I also will say, again, where my platform is, if I have a platform, is that I have this pie chart kind of life. Of what makes up my life and what's important to me and what I do. The health and wellness and fitness aspect of it is just a certain percentage of it. For me, all of the benefits that I get from a health and wellness and fitness, mentally more so than physically, would be completely removed if I was to cheat.
Speaker 1: All that is totally true. Write that down. Write that down right now because that's another great blog point.
Greg: It would take away everything that I believe in.
Speaker 1: That is correct.
Greg: From a work ethic standpoint.
Speaker 1: Correct.
Greg: From a lead by example standpoint and from a standpoint that how you feel and how you perform is primary to how you look
Speaker 1: Okay. But that message is going to get mixed reviews for you because you feature your body a lot, so if you're saying it's secondary and using it as primary.
Greg: Yes I do. But I, one, worked really fucking hard for it. And two, do it clean and honestly and three, I always said, that the thing that makes me feel more uncomfortable than just about anything, is talk about my abs and my physique, because quite frankly, I have as little control over my physique as I do about my hair loss.
Speaker 1: Then say that. All of those are great points, every one of these.
Greg: This is the way I am genetically pre-dispositioned to be.
Speaker 1: This is a perfect blog, perfect.
Greg: This is the way my body aesthetically responds to the kind of training I do.
Speaker 1: I love it.
Greg: You could put 20 people through the exact same training format as me and everybody is going to look different.
Speaker 1: Correct.
Greg: And what people are trying to chase right now, which is what fucks with them, is they are trying to chase everybody else instead of trying to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be. Its' not just fitness. It's everything. Remember, I make my living in insurance, not fitness. Fitness just enhances my life.
Speaker 1: Well these are all great points.
Greg: It's the comparison. It is the judgment. It is the assumption, all of those things that fuck everybody up. But it's no different, if you had straight hair, you'd want wavy curly hair, if you've got curly hair or frizzy hair, you want luxurious straight hair. If you don't have abs, you want abs. If you got small calves, you want bigger calves. I mean pick a topic. It's everything.
Speaker 1: Listen, Greg, you got some, you have some good topics here to work with. Very good ones. You have to kind of put yourself out there and people may not like what you have to say, but you're taking a position and they'll respect the fuck out of that.
Greg: Plenty of people don't.
Speaker 1: They what?
Greg: Plenty of people don't like it and that's totally fine but as you said, when you put things out there, you've got to be willing to take the shots back.
Speaker 1: That's right. That's right. Just tell people the truth.
Greg: I mean, I don't know if anyone has to tell anybody anything necessarily, if they don't want to. But if you are putting yourself out there, then you do have a responsibility I think, to answer those questions.
Speaker 1: Yeah, but you are putting yourself out there. You're putting yourself out there as a middle-aged health and fitness guy, and you have to tell people the truth. They have to understand what they're dealing with. And they have to understand why, okay, if you're natural and you're not ... you're in good shape or you're in better shape than other people would be if they did the same things that you did, then say that. I don't care what people do as long as they just don't pull any punches. Just be honest with people.
Greg: I think it's one aspect. I mean certainly my blog, my podcast, the things that I do are not going to be fitness focused week in and week out. It's not going to be a constant defense of what I do. What's more important to me about that aspect, and what I talked about a little bit this week, is way more about the personal connections you make through that world. My thing is you can be successful personally and professionally using fitness as your network.
Speaker 1: That's another subject entirely and that's great. I'm just saying where you start talking to most people, most guys your age are bent over sitting at desks, they're beaten down, brow beaten probably, they're fighting with their wives, trying to put their kids through school. They're not in good shape…So I'm just saying.
Greg: Oh yes. Look, again, a lot of assumptions, a lot of judgements, a lot of comparisons. You know one aspect of it, one topic of it, is what you're saying, which is talk about the drugs or no drugs, in there and talk about that. The other topic of it is, talk about the community itself or the ability to network. I mean listen, if you want to go network at bars, cigar lounges on the golf course, whatever. But if you don't, you can build a very successful life networking a different way. You could say “Here's a bunch of pictures of Greg working out.” I would say if you look at the last five things I’ve posted it’s me with five different people that I would never have gotten to meet if it wasn’t for health and fitness. That's become my network, where most of my friends and clients are. That’s where I kinda fit…
Speaker 1: Yeah. That's all legit. That's all totally legit
Greg: Some people were spending their time again, going to this CEO conference or this golf course or this bar or happy hour. Well that's not how I do it because I don't want to do that stuff. That takes away time from my kids, from my focus, the career I want. I wake up in the morning and say, okay, five days in a row I'm with five different people who actually live the same lifestyle as I do and I can do business with them. You can be successful wherever you want to be. That's kind of the missing piece to me for a lot of these people.
Greg: And even what I tell the younger guys in our firm, whatever kind of career you want, you got to be authentic and you've got to be true to yourself. Find what you like doing and spend your time, energy and focus there.
Speaker 1: Do people give you shit for being the kind of person that you are at your firm?
Greg: Oh, 100%. Body shaming, style shaming, food shaming...I mean think about it for a second, can you imagine if I walked into the break room and said "There's so and so stuffing his face with cake again?"...How is that any different from "There's Greg again with his no fun chicken & rice". It's a series of backhanded compliments that actually make you feel very self conscious.
Speaker 1: Really?
Greg: 100%. But any outlier is going to catch a little bit of flack. And I also don't think it has anything really to do with me per se. It has to do with them. Or at least that’s what I tell myself to feel better.
Speaker 1: Your father was really 47 when he passed away?
Speaker 1: What did he pass away from?
Greg: Cancer. Two, three packs of cigarettes a day. Yeah. I mean and I think anybody who goes thru this goes the other way for a while…I went the other way trust me. I am no angel. I drank, smoked, drugs. I did everything. It just didn't work.
Speaker 1: Well, it didn't work because it doesn't work except in the case of maybe Keith Richards.
Greg: I have a very simple approach to this now. It really is as simple as how do I feel? I mean that's it. When I drink now, I don't feel as good when I wake up in the morning. And when I don't feel as good in the morning, I don't get the things done that I want to do that day. So it compounds my depression, my stress, my anxiety, all of that. So if I take better care of myself, then I'm happier. I mean that's really how it works for me anyway.
Speaker 1: Well I think, yeah, I just think that I only wanted to bring up that one point and the other point being that you have to be careful not to stand on both sides of a line. And I know that you take a lot of shit. You have to really be careful in your situation, unlike me. You have to watch that you don't offend your clients or future prospects. It's a tough position to be in. If I were where you are right now, I would be very reluctant to put myself on the line like that because I could very easily lose clients over some of the things that I say. So I'd have to be very careful about it.
Speaker 1: I mean, but last week you said things like, here's an example of walking both sides. "And while I don't believe that money buys happiness or really don't have any problems at another $500,000 a year couldn't solve."
Greg: Okay. Yes, but that's another way of saying money ... it's a contradiction in a way because money does in fact buy happiness, you don't need a billion to be happy. If you have 10 million or you have $100 million, you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family. But yes, more money doesn't actually make people happier. And that's been scientifically demonstrated in test after test, after test.
Greg: Point being I think that if you are a genuinely happy person to begin with, having a few more bucks is going to definitely provide you a lot more outlets for happiness. No doubt.
Speaker 1: Yeah, that's right.
Greg: if you're not happy to begin with you're going to be unhappy no matter what.
Speaker 1: That's another point. But that's a very good one...You're going to take a lot of shit from people because you're successful. You have two kids in private school, you live in West University of wherever it is, you drive a nice car, you work out at the Houstonian or whatever, and people are going to give you shit for this. They're going to say, you know what? You're not normal. You're not like other people who are middle aged. You're like a certain specific tiny niche of the pie. So in a way you're really talking to a small group of people, I mean, just in a way it's kind of like the same people I talk to.
Greg: Well I think you go wide, I think you want people to go as deep as you possibly can and hopefully be inspirational and hopefully lead by example.
Speaker 1: But you have high end clients. My clients, well like for example, Sony pictures, okay. Yeah, the guys at the top of Sony pictures make a ton of money, the people at the bottom don't make shit. The people at the bottom are more often the people who hired me. They don't want to hear this shit. They don't want me to talk about the Houstonian. What the fuck. They live in garage apartments.
Greg: Okay. Well here's the other side of it that. I could spend a lot of time thinking about that or not thinking about it at all. Or I could say, hey, this is me. This is what I do.
Speaker 1: That's right. There you go.
Greg: Because here's the point. I genuinely don't have time to live somebody else's life or think about what they're thinking. Right now I have all of those things that you said and what I'm going to do is work to have more of them. And the right people will want to work with me and the wrong people will not.
Speaker 1: Good lines, all very good lines.
Greg: And if you don't like it that's fine. All right. I'm not going to try to win you over any more than you should be trying to win me over. Just do you. The same way I'll do me. There's plenty, plenty of opportunity out there and space for all of us. That's-
Speaker 1: I'm just saying your tone is a little elitist. That's all I'm saying. So while you're saying to the guy at Walmart, listen, just be happy with where you are and I'm just going to be happy. He's going to say, I guess you are fucking happy with where you are.
Greg: I'm not telling, I'm not telling them.
Speaker 1: That's the way it comes across.
Greg: I'm not telling you, you can't be, but am I telling you, you should want more and work harder-
Speaker 1: Yeah, you are. You are. I am.
Greg: I absolutely am. I'm saying there's nothing wrong with that if that's what you want to be. And that's what makes you happy. But that's not what I am.
Speaker 1: You're saying, Greg, you're saying, look at me and my life. And your life is not the normal life of people.
Greg: Okay but wait. No, but what I say more than anything is, it's still fundamentally flawed.
Speaker 1: Okay. Everybody could make that statement. Mick Jagger could make that, anybody could make that statement in the whole fucking world.
Greg: That is exactly my point.
Speaker 1: Yeah. But he's still Mick Jagger. You see what I'm saying?
Greg: Yeah. But that doesn't matter to him, it matters to everybody else.
Speaker 1: Correct. And if you're speaking to the world and you're trying to communicate to the world, just like he is when he goes and does concerts for people who make $30,000 a year, you got to be mindful of that.
Greg: Yes, I can. But you got to know your audience too.
Speaker 1: That's right.
Greg: Professionally and personally. And if it's aspirational then some people will get that. If it's a turn off, some people get that too. But if you're turning off people because you're pushing for well-rounded success and then those people are just bitter because they don't have it. And then are working to fix it.
Speaker 1: You're right. I mean, I agree with what you're saying. I'm just saying that what people get from things is not always in words. It's just the vibe, you know?
Greg: And again, that's part of the four agreements. That's their perception, their assumptions, their judgments, and their validation of their situation by trying to knock somebody else.
Speaker 1: Yeah, or just not feel connected to you.
Greg: They don't have to. But again, if you're living in a world of X billions of people, what do I need to accomplish everything I want? .00000, or whatever less than 1%-
Speaker 1: That's a great line for your blog. What do I really need? Who is my audience? .000001 of the population. Now I get it.
Greg: Outside of that, what am I focusing on?
Speaker 1: Nothing. No, and that's what I would do. Just say, you know what? That's it. That's my audience. The rest of you can live your lives or do whatever the fuck you want. This is my audience and this is who I am, period.
Greg: It's not up for debate. It's not up for defense. I had a note last week that I couldn't find because it was in a conversation like this saying, “Stop fucking with things that don't move the needle’. It's that simple. There's no defense needed. Do what you do. What moves the needle for you and you know what? Don't give people two hours of your time to defend yourself. Use that time to focus elsewhere.
Speaker 1: No, I mean I agree with ... Hey listen on a kind of related topic. You posted a video or something of ... let's see, it was somebody doing sled presses, some gym somewhere. Let me see if I got it here. Hang on.
Greg: Oh, yesterday I think I was at Plex.
Speaker 1: I don't know. It was a really cool though, environment. I don't remember where it was, but it was a big open space.
Greg: Oh, I was at Plex yesterday.
Speaker 1: What's it called?
Greg: In Stafford, Plex. P-L-E-X.
Speaker 1: And what is that? A gym?
Greg: P-L-E-X. Yeah, it's Danny Arnold's place. He's a great trainer.
Speaker 1: And where's his place?
Greg: It's like the beltway.
Speaker 1: Oh it's out there, gotcha.
Greg: Yeah, my son plays lacrosse.
Speaker 1: Oh, I see. That's a really cool gym.
Greg: Hang on for a second.
Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. I really like this gym.
Greg: He's worth going to on Saturday mornings now because I have to be in Stafford anyway.
Speaker 1: Okay, because of your kid's out there?
Greg: So while my son is playing, or practicing I go train there. Which by the way, I caught a lot of flack for that yesterday too because one of my posts said, "listen all you dads who tell me you dont have the time to workout and basically who sit at practice and yell at your kids during practice and sit over their shoulder, the coach's shoulder, why don't you use the time to go train yourself?"
Speaker 1: And what do they say to that? You got flack for that?
Greg: Oh of course I get flack for that. Because they're like, again, he thinks he has all the answers and tells people what to do or whatever. And I say, that's not what I'm doing. I'm just telling you that I hear all the time that you don't have the time to do things and the reality is you have the time. You’re just choosing not to use it.
Speaker 1: But do you know the people that are commenting to you? Do you know who these people are?
Greg: Some of them I know. Some I don’t. Most of them are just guys from around the neighborhood who get pissed off. Which I don't give two shits about. Don't ask or offer problems if you don't want to hear the answer...
Speaker 1: All right bro. Have fun.
Greg: All right brother.