David Richman Winning in the Middle of the Pack

Audio Episode


In this interview, we discussed the importance of having difficult conversations about emotional topics, particularly in relation to cancer and trauma. David shared personal experiences; he emphasized the need for education and challenged our understanding through conversation. We also discussed the importance of self-care, self-discovery, and running our own race. The interview highlighted the parallels between endurance athletics and life and the importance of personal motivation and overcoming obstacles. We also discussed the difficulty of having hard conversations with oneself and connecting to oneself in a different way. Our conversation emphasized the need to reframe and change the conversation to deal with past traumas. This interview focused on self-reflection, personal growth, and finding hope in difficult times. David also mentioned his book, interviews with various people, and the importance of sharing stories to inspire others. We encouraged listeners to act and support those going through difficult times. The interview ended with gratitude and a reminder to share and subscribe to the podcast.


Action Items

  1. Educate oneself on difficult conversations about emotional topics, particularly in relation to cancer and trauma.
  2. Challenge understanding through conversation and self-reflection.
  3. Practice self-care and self-discovery.
  4. Reframe and change the conversation to deal with past traumas.
  5. Take action and offer support to those going through difficult times.
  6. Share and subscribe to the podcast.

 David is an author, public speaker, and endurance athlete whose mission is to form more meaningful human connections through storytelling. His first book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack, discussed how to get more out of ourselves than ever imagined. With Cycle of Lives, David shares stories of people overcoming trauma and delves deeply into their emotional journeys with cancer.
He continues to do Ironman triathlons and recently completed a solo 4,700-mile bike ride.

David Richman

[00:00:00] David Richman: What theme draw me, drew me to this project was this theme of like, you never know what people are going through or what they have gone through. And oftentimes when people are going through difficulty, whether it be cancer, or end of a marriage, or drug addiction, or whatever, uh, sometimes having really hard conversations about the emotional things is tough.

[00:00:26] And it's a, it's a, it's something that I ran into over and over and over while watching my sister go through cancer, and talking to doctors and nurses, and survivors, and family members and friends, and whatever, is that, is that the hard conversations around the emotional aspects of, of the cancer journey was a place where people felt really not equipped to, to go to.

[00:00:52] So cancer, especially, and other forms of trauma can be very isolated, right? People can feel like, oh my God, I gotta go through this alone because they don't know what to say to you and you obviously don't know what to say to them. I mean, what do you say to somebody who's going through something maybe like terminal cancer or something, you know, they lost a kid, or they're losing a spouse, or whatever. Like, like, how do you even connect with them? Like, I just don't wanna say anything cause I don't know what the heck to say. I don't wanna, certainly don't wanna say the wrong thing.

[00:01:29] Ed Watters: To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand. The way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself; let's dive in and learn something right now.

[00:02:21] Today we're speaking with David Richman. He's an author, he's a speaker, and he's an endurance athlete. David, could you please introduce yourself, let people know just a little bit more about you, please?

[00:02:34] David Richman: Sure. Well, uh, you said it. I'm, I'm a writer, author, speaker, endurance athlete. I, um, uh, kind of changed my, uh, path in life in my late thirties and decided that I wanted to become, um, somebody who lived on purpose rather than on accident. Um, and, um, just went through a huge transformation and, you know, in, in, in my late thirties, uh, that allowed me to kinda learn who I, who I could become rather than already know everything about who I was. Cause I didn't really, didn't really love it that much when I, when I finally took a look in the mirror Ed, you know? And so,

[00:03:17] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:03:18] David Richman: um, I like to say I, I was, I was a, I was a successful, uh, businessman, uh, entrepreneur, started a few companies, you know, was running some big businesses in the corporate world. And I learned a lot of lessons, I just never had learned how to apply them to myself. So in my late thirties I, I, I, through a number of, of, uh, difficult times and finally eye-opening events, I finally decided, Hey, take a look at yourself and see what the heck's going on. And so that, that was the start of it.

[00:03:50] Ed Watters: Yeah. Well, you know, coming from a place of being on drugs and being out of order and then finding purpose, meaning, and having it all put together, that takes some time. You know, I, I, I'm still working on it and I'm getting close to 60. But, uh, we're, we're discovering through our journey in life that we all have a gift.

[00:04:19] And it took me a long time to figure that out. The journey took many, many terrible things in life. But each one of those terrible things, I find a gemstone in my life because I can reflect back and I can remember I was there and it gives me empathy towards other people.

[00:04:45] David Richman: Sure.

[00:04:45] Ed Watters: I find this is what you do a lot, this is what you do well. How, how did you come out of that life and find your purpose?

[00:04:59] David Richman: Yeah, it's tough because when, when you're just living your life, you just don't know, right? You just, you just, you just all of a sudden wake up and go, okay, this is who I am and where I'm at. And I, I don't know, I, I, I don't know if anybody can relate to this, but my, um, my, my purpose or my journey in life was pretty much just keep your head down and just keep moving forward, and, um, figure, figure out life as you go. And get through obstacles and get through the things you need to do, and just, you just plow through.

[00:05:31] And, um, when I, when I finally said, Oh man, that, that's not the way, the way to do it. Like, I gotta pick my head up and see how I'm interacting with the world. The, the first thing I did was take a look in the mirror and go, Wow, dude, like, you're, you're just not, you're, you're just not interacting with the world the way that you should.

[00:05:52] You know, I, I, I, I didn't know it until that time. But at that time, I, I just, once I, once I kind of raised my head up and said, Okay, stop plowing forward and, and take a look around for a second. I realized that I was pretty much like raised or I, or I had developed into a person who was looking to always do things to please others. And, because that's what they expected.

[00:06:18] You know, I, I would be a certain way at school cause my teacher needed it, I would be a certain way cause I was trying to make my parents happy, I would be a certain way because that's what the boss said to do. And, and I looked to others to kind of set my motivation, my expectation. You know, I, I, I really lived for what I thought they thought of me or what they might expect of me. And then when I kind of put my head up, I realized, oh crap. Nobody cares, nobody, nobody's watching me. Like they, you know, right? They're, they're just,

[00:06:51] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:06:51] David Richman: they're just benefiting off of my effort or not benefiting off of my effort or whatever the case may be. But they're just living their lives. And, and, and here I was stuck in this like thing of like, man, I'm the center of the world and everybody expects me to be a certain thing.

[00:07:04] And when I looked around, I realized, crap, nobody's looking. And so who cares? Who, who cares? Who's the one that should care? And I realized it, it, it should be me. But I had no idea, right? And so,

[00:07:17] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:07:18] David Richman: I think that's what caused it. And it, it was a number of things, right? I, I was, I was in a, a, a, a relationship with a violent alcoholic, I had four year old twins. I needed to get outta that relationship, get me and my kids to safety. I was overweight, I was a smoker, I just found out my sister was diagnosed with, with terminal brain cancer, and I was like, just in the middle of all this crap. And when I finally looked in the mirror and I said, Like, who are you and what matters? And who do you want to be and you know, what do you stand for? I didn't have any answers. Like none, none. I mean, I knew some stuff about myself, but I didn't have answers to any of those questions. So I, I guess that was the start of it.

[00:08:01] Ed Watters: Yeah, that's a shocking moment when you hit that realization moment that you're responsible and you have the choice. And if we put effort towards it, you know the one thing, if you start the race and you finish the race, you did the same thing as the person in first place. It just took you a little longer. So, so, so that knowing that, Hey, I did that and if I do it again, I might be able to come in first place if I choose to do that. But I did complete the mission.

[00:08:47] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:08:47] Ed Watters: That's huge.

[00:08:49] David Richman: Yeah, you get that. That, that's, that's what the book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack, was all about. But I, it was things I had to learn, right? And that is that, like you just said, you get the same thing that the person came in first got. But you know what? Everybody's kind of watching to see who won. And, and, and sometimes they watch to see who's the last person to cross the line, which is, which is always,

[00:09:10] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:09:10] David Richman: always kind of fun. But nobody, nobody sees anybody in between. So lemme tell you a quick story. The very first event that I did of any size, length after I stopped smoking, was a Half Ironman I did in Northern California. And I show up at this Half Ironman, I'm still outta shape, uh, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm not too far away from having been not active in my life,

[00:09:33] my adult life. And, and, and, and a smoker. And I walk up to the start line where they're doing this wave start. They, they're sending people off in different age groups and mine was a few waves down. So I'm, I go to the front to go watch people and I said, Man, I, I gotta see what's going on here. I've never been to one of these events.

[00:09:51] And I'm looking down at everybody, Ed, and they're freaking a bunch of Greek gods and goddesses. Nobody's got an ounce of fat on them, they're, they're, they're [00:10:00] beautiful, they're cut, they're cut outta marble. And I'm like, Oh man, I do not belong in this group. Like, this is ridiculous. Like, what the hell am I doing here?

[00:10:09] And I said, Man, I got, I gotta go home cause this is not me. And, and as soon as I'd said that and I was almost committed to leaving, the gun goes off and people take off in, in the Russian River to start to swim. And I realized, man, one guy flips over on his back and he starts like doing some wacky backwards dog paddle, and another guy is swimming around in circles, and somebody else is swimming to the

[00:10:31] edge of the river cause they don't know how to swim, they're gonna walk the, the swim. And I started laughing at them. Like, dude, like they don't care, why do you care? Like, like, like just run your own race, right? Like, if you make it to the end, you get your medal. Nobody cares, nobody's watching. But if you quit, like you're gonna always know.

[00:10:48] So, so, so just, just run your own race, which, which, which is a different mindset. Because if you're used to being, thinking that others care about you in that way, or that they're watching you and judging you, which they're not. They got, they got their own problems to deal with. Uh, uh, I might have, I might not have tried it because I,

[00:11:09] I would be too self-conscious. And that's a stupid thing to, to have been at that point, right? Everybody there is just running their own race. Some people are gonna win, some people are gonna not finish, whatever. Who cares? Everybody's trying to do the best they can and that's what that winning in the middle of the pack means for me. Is that, is that when, when you're in the middle and nobody's really watching, you get to do it for the right reasons. And that is cause it's what you need to do, want to do, should do, whatever.

[00:11:36] Ed Watters: That's right. When it's your choice, it can make the difference. And, and usually it becomes a passion if it's your choice. And you definitely must be passionate, you've got over 50 triathlons. Uh, you know, your record is incredible. There's been, yeah, there's been moments when you've hit the wall and you've come to those cramps, those hurts, those, oh my God, how am I gonna do this? But I've started, I'm gonna inch my way to the finish. How do you deal with that emotional struggle and that physical struggle, and overcome, adapt your body, your mind, and do it?

[00:12:31] David Richman: It's a great question, but you know, and everybody struggles with certain things in their life, right? You, you, you, you have to inch forward through a project at work, or through the difficulties of a relationship, or taking care of someone. I mean, there's a million things that you could relate to inching forward to get to the finish line, whatever that, whatever that means. Um, I think what will help you do that is to determine if it's important to you or not. And if it's important because somebody else tells you to do it, that can only go so far. And, and at some point you gotta say, No, I need to do this for me and I need, I need to,

[00:13:15] I, I need to figure it out for myself. And so sometimes when I'm doing a race, not, not very often, but I think two or three times in the hundreds of races I'd done, I couldn't make it, like, I had to quit. And it's not because I didn't want to, it's not because I didn't have the right desire, it's just because sometimes you gotta know when to quit. But other times you gotta know when not to quit.

[00:13:37] And I think that, uh, you know, what motivates me to do it is to say, It's important to me. So I'm, I'm much better, I, I, I've learned that I'm much better if I'm motivated to do something. I'm much more, uh, uh, I'm much more likely to get it done then if somebody else tries to motivate me to do it. Now sometimes they can motivate me and it's a, it's a good thing if I respect somebody at, at work and I admire them, and they're a mentor, and they're asking me to help them, I'll run through a brick wall, right?

[00:14:10] If I have a friend who needs me, and somebody that I love and has been there for me, I'll, I'll, I'll run through a brick wall. So it, it doesn't have to be self-serving, it doesn't have to be the only thing that I do. But certainly you gotta, you gotta buy into it and say, It, it's that important to me. And if it's not important to you to finish the race, then don't give it any more attention, just walk away, don't finish the race. But, but if it is important to you, you gotta figure it out.

[00:14:37] Ed Watters: So, so what are some of the defining factors that go into that decision making for you?

[00:14:44] David Richman: Well, I didn't know what it was in endurance athletics. But, um, when I, when I found out at, like, I started doing all these races and, and events and pushing myself in ways I'd never pushed myself, which we sometimes have to do because of life, we sometimes have to do cause of work. We sometimes choose to do it because of life, or work, or whatever. Like, but when you, you get to the point where, you know, in, in my experience, um, there were so many challenges that I could see the parallels between endurance athletics and life. I could see the parallels between business and endurance athletics.

[00:15:24] And so it wasn't just that if I overcame something in my personal life, it was that, it was like that helped me in my business life. And if I overcame something in my, in my, in endurance athletics, that helped me in my personal life and my, and my business life. But I didn't know that right away. An example of that is, I was doing this, uh, this 87 mile rollerblade race, and it was in, imagine that, and I'm a dude that, Ed, that is not, I'm not coordinated,

[00:15:58] okay? Well, one of the first things I ever did, it was this 87 mile rollerblade race that went from Athens, Georgia to Atlanta, Georgia. It was totally brutal, it was outdoors, it was hot. Obviously outdoors, but, but it was hot, uh, up and down these rolling hills in Georgia. It was, it was really brutal. And for somebody that's not athletic, it was just an impossible endeavor to do.

[00:16:19] And when I got to about like, mile 30, 31, something like that, I was heading up this huge hill, and I, I couldn't even move. Like, I, I couldn't, as much as I tried to get myself to go up this hill, I was done. Like I, I, I had, I was done, I hit the wall. And I just stopped and I bent over and I turned my, turned my, uh, uh, roller blades perpendicular to the hill so I wouldn't slide back down.

[00:16:46] And I was bending down on my knee, and I'm breathing hard, and I'm sweating like a pig. And I'm just, I can't even move. And I'm like, What the hell are you even doing this for? You might as well just go home, like, this is just stupid. And I started thinking, You know what? Like anytime you have a problem, if you, if you stop, that's okay.

[00:17:05] You went as far as you could at work, you went as far as you could with a friend, you went as far as you could with a problem. That's okay, you know your limit, right? That's fine. But, but, but then, you know, you can't go any further. Like, you already found your limit. And I said, Shoot man, if you, if you just try to go like one more step, you're gonna learn something. Like, like, like, cause everything up to right now, you know. You know you're at your limit,

[00:17:30] you know everything about yourself. And if you can just take like one more step, you're gonna learn something new about yourself. And, and it's that way in, in work and in life, right? How much more can you take? How much more can you give? How much more can you, effort can you put towards something at work, you know, towards a friend, or something at work. If you just

[00:17:48] go, up one more step, what could I learn? So I took, I, I said, All right, just try it. And I went one more step and I'm like, do another, do another, do another. And it became a learning exercise for me. And in that case, in that, in, in that experience for me, it was five and a half hours later, I finally made it to the finish line.

[00:18:09] Okay, so it, it, it was a nine hour day going 87 miles on rollerblades. I was probably pretty close to the last person across the line. But I, I did 50 odd miles of learning and, and finding out what I could accomplish, and how hard I could push myself, and where my motivations lie, and where, when I was ready to quit or not.

[00:18:32] And so, that's where it all kind of stemmed from is this desire to learn. And, um, it didn't, it's, it's not exactly a, a light switch where you go, oh, I'm gonna take every difficult opportunity as a, as a chance to learn. It's not, life doesn't work that way. But it, over time it really helped me to know that, man, if you just look at things as a learning experience, if you could just find out what you're made of, and look forward to the next step and forward to the next step, then you don't have to already know everything. And then move on in life. And I didn't want to know everything cause, you know, it hadn't got me to where I needed to be. So let's, let's figure out where do I need to go? If, if that, if that all makes sense?

[00:19:18] Ed Watters: Yes, it sure does to me. You know, once, once you live it and you feel it, you move through it. Yeah. You understand it a little more better and better each day. So that's what it takes is time, effort, and knowing you're gonna get there some day. So, uh, your mission, I love this, you know, it's inspiring. Deeper human connection through life changing stories.

[00:19:48] David Richman: Yep.

[00:19:50] Ed Watters: that's what it's about. That's what changes the world, stories. You took this, what, [00:20:00] 5,000 mile, close to 5,000 mile journey across, across, uh, what, from California, to Florida, to New York.

[00:20:09] David Richman: Yep.

[00:20:09] Ed Watters: That's like, some people look and say, Wow, that's insane, I could never do that.

[00:20:16] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:20:17] Ed Watters: You managed to do that. How long did it take? You've got some fascinating discovery stories and personal stories that you share in the book. But, can you highlight some of those individuals that you met along the way that are not in the book that

[00:20:38] David Richman: Sure.

[00:20:39] Ed Watters: touched you and changed you in some way?

[00:20:42] David Richman: Oh yeah. I mean, I'm prone to give long answers, but I can give you an answer to that. But I, I gotta, I gotta frame it first, right? So I, I do this, uh, bike ride, uh, it's a solo bike ride, took me about, uh, four, it took me 45 days. So I, I was biking 41 out of 45 days. 4,700 miles solo, so you know, we're talking about 120 miles a day. And because of all the hills, and wind, and carrying my stuff and everything else, I was on the bike average of just over 11 hours every day.

[00:21:14] And so it, it physically, it was a, it was a brutal feat. But what I wanted to do, like you do, you, you, you bring stories and, and I totally agree with you that humans are, are really connected in, in my mind by stories, but also one other thing, and that's emotion. And, and, and we all have the same basic emotions.

[00:21:34] We might have different emotional responses to things, but we all have the same basic emotions. And if we're connected by story and we're connected by emotion, why not connect the stories in my book by getting on my bike, right, and visiting the people I had, I'd interviewed for a couple years. That was the goal.

[00:21:51] And, and, and most of them, almost all of them had never met before. I just talked to them on the phone for a couple of years, really diving deep into their stories about trauma and cancer and, you know, trying to figure out how we can better connect to each other, and to them, and whatever. So, uh, what theme draw me, drew me to this project was this theme of like, you never know what people are going through or what they have gone through.

[00:22:21] And oftentimes when people are going through difficulty, whether it be cancer, or end of a marriage, or drug addiction, or whatever, uh, sometimes having really hard conversations about the emotional things is tough. And it's a, it's a, it's something that I ran into over and over and over while watching my sister go through cancer, and talking to doctors and

[00:22:44] nurses, and survivors, and family members and friends, and whatever, is that, is that the hard conversations around the emotional aspects of, of the cancer journey was a place where people felt really not equipped to, to go to. So cancer especially, and other forms of trauma can be very isolating, right? People can feel like, oh my God, I gotta go through this alone because they don't know what to say to you and you obviously don't know what to say to them.

[00:23:18] I mean, what do you say to somebody who's going through something maybe like terminal cancer or something, you know, they lost a kid, or they're losing a spouse, or whatever. Like, like how do you even connect with them? Like, I just don't want to say anything cause I don't know what the heck to say. I don't wanna, certainly don't wanna say the wrong thing.

[00:23:34] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:23:34] David Richman: And so that kind of inspired me to do this book. And when I, when I went on the bike ride, to answer your, I just wanted to frame it, but when I went on the bike ride, I didn't know that I was gonna run into so many people along the way where that thesis was reinforced almost every single day,

[00:23:54] Ed. I ran into someone who said, Oh my gosh, you know, I'm so close to my grandma and grandpa just died of liver cancer, I don't even know what to say to her. What do I say to my grandma? Or somebody at work, they told me something really bad that their, that their kid is going through. And man, I'm like avoiding them in the hallway cause I don't wanna say the wrong thing.

[00:24:15] Like, what do I do? And I'm just like, Wow. Ed, this happens to everyone, every single person has that same thing. And one of the first people who I ran into, and I, I don't tell this story very often because some people think it's, it's kind of dorky, but one of the very first people that I ran into where I had a serious conversation with was a guy

[00:24:39] who was, I, I'm in a, some kind of sinkhole, swimming hole thing like at the end of my day. And it was, it was like the highlight of the town, was this sinkhole thing. And I said, Oh, I'm gonna go check it out. And I went and dived in it and I came out and there was one other guy there and he walked up and he said, What are you doing?

[00:24:57] And I said, I, I told him. He said, With that bike, you're, you're riding your bike cross country? I go, Yeah. I go, I'm gonna end up in, in, in New York eventually. And he said, Holy cow. He says, I'm on a cross country trip too. And I said, Really? What, what for? He says, Well, he goes, I'm a magician pastor. I go, I've, I've never heard of such a thing. He goes, Yeah. I've been a pastor my whole life, but I, I, I combine it with magic it helps me connect with young kids and whatever.

[00:25:26] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:25:27] David Richman: And I said, Oh, what kind of journey you on? And he pulled this, this coin out of his pocket and he said, I'm on my way, and this was, I was in Arizona or New Mexico. I, I was in Arizona, I think. I'm on my way from Oklahoma to San Diego where my brother's gravestone is. And we were very estranged, I never knew how to talk to him about really difficult things. And we went through some difficult things and we never got past that. And I never talked to him for 30 years and I figure it's about time that I go have a conversation with him. And one of the things I'm gonna go do is put this coin on his tombstone as, as a way to apologize and try to connect with him.

[00:26:10] And I thought, Damn. Man, that is hard, that's hardcore, right? That this guy's closing the chapter on a very painful, you know, part, part of his life. Which is being estranged from his brother because he wasn't able to have hard conversations with him or his brother wasn't with him or whatever. And he was gonna go close, close the book on those feelings or deal with those feelings.

[00:26:35] I mean, obviously it was too late, it was a one-way conversation, his brother's dead. But, but it was a way for him to, to kind of reconcile that issue. And I said, Man, everybody has that issue of not being able to talk about the hard things. Doesn't matter if it's your brother, or your spouse, a friend, a stranger, whatever.

[00:26:55] And so, again, sorry for the rambling. But that, that, uh, that happened to me almost every day where there was some poignant, evocative story that somebody told me. If you just give them a minute to ask, Hey, what the heck's going on? Then everybody can identify with that thing of, I don't know what the hell to say, man.

[00:27:16] Ed told me he was, you know, going through something and geez, man, I like, I don't even know what to say to the guy, right? Or, or we, we, we, we, we end a relationship on bad terms, and then we find out that somebody's going through something tough and we can't get past our ego to say, shoot, man. What you're going through is way more important than what made us estranged, I need to talk to you. It's hard,

[00:27:40] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:27:40] David Richman: those things are hard. And so what I,

[00:27:42] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:27:42] David Richman: what I wanted to do with the book was not to give people the answers or prescribe or preach to what they should do, but just give them a better insight into the human experience so they could maybe feel a little more confidence to go out in the world with the people that they're close to or want to be close to and, and have those hard conversations.

[00:28:06] Ed Watters: Yeah. So having those hard conversations, you know, even my podcast intro, it, it says some of the best conversations that we have is with ourself. You know, that's asking you those hard questions that are meaningful and nobody can answer those questions but yourself. Sometimes it takes a lifetime and, uh, I'm, I'm glad that there are stories

[00:28:41] of hope and meaning, and finding release, in however fashion, we find that release of old traumas. Because if we pack those traumas with us, even, even the minute ones, they, they can really be burdensome and weigh on us and make us old pretty quick. Finding that release, however it happens, I, I think it's pretty important. So,

[00:29:11] David Richman: Ed, I mean, that's brilliant what, what you just said, and it's very true. What, what, what prevents us from, from doing is, one, we don't know how to talk about those things cause they've been stored up inside of us forever and we've been talking to ourselves with that inside kind of child voice of protecting ourselves, or distancing ourselves, or not being vulnerable, or thinking that we gotta be tough, or what, whatever the heck that, that, that thing is that guards those traumas from, from being dealt with.

[00:29:42] And then, you're right, it starts with having really hard conversations with ourselves and connecting to ourselves in a different way. And, uh, it, it is, it can be, uh, a step towards what you explained needs to happen. When you know [00:30:00] that people might understand you a little bit more, or care, or that, that they're not gonna abandon you when you appear weak. Or you're, they're, they're gonna sometimes give you help when you need it.

[00:30:12] It, there's a number of things that, right, we just, we self isolate and we just keep that stuff buried inside for so many different reasons that, you're right, if you can just reframe it and just change the conversation and connect to yourself in a different way. And just allow yourself to deal with those traumas, man, that's where some huge, I,

[00:30:32] took me a long, it took me almost 40 years to, to start to do that. And, and I had, I had a lot of, I had a lot of bad things happen. Some, some of them by circumstance, some of them as a, as a result of my bad decisions. But either way, they're a bunch of traumas and, and it's took me like 38 years before I even recognized that I'm allowed to have a new conversation with myself, you know?

[00:30:56] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:30:56] David Richman: So, so I'm totally with you, man. I, I think that's, that's the number one thing to do.

[00:31:02] Ed Watters: It's hard to forgive ourself. It's, it is very tough. Because we, we feel that shame, that guilt associated with shame

[00:31:11] David Richman: Yep.

[00:31:11] Ed Watters: and releasing that is, is key. It, it really is identifying that struggle, releasing it, and owning it. You know, don't, don't make excuses for what you've done, uh, because we've all done some pretty stupid things at times in life. And we, we have to recover and sometimes we don't allow ourselves to recover. And it, kind of is, is a struggle all in its own. Uh, so coming off of those old habits, for you, uh, what, what was that like and finding

[00:31:53] that, that hope that you might find a new path, a new beginning? Because obviously when you're on drugs, it, it took me a long time. I was fearful of coming off of drugs because when I did reach out for help the first time, I was told, Bring me $4,000 and I can help you. That scared the hell outta me and I ran, you know?

[00:32:23] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:32:23] Ed Watters: And I, I just said, Well, my drugs are a lot cheaper than that. So, uh, the logic there was. Keep doing what you're doing. So how, how did you find meaning and hope to help others through that difficult time of recovery? Because I, I, I still to this day, I'm a recovering alcoholic, I'm a recovering drug addict, I'm a recovering smoke addict, you know? I, I just was Mr. unhealthy and I pushed my body to the limit. What, what was that single moment when you said, Enough?

[00:33:12] David Richman: Uh, there's not a person alive that will not agree that you just know what you know when you know it. And you don't know before then, right? Because you have, might, maybe had a conversation with yourself about addiction, or about who you were, or who you weren't, or whatever a thousand times. And then one day it just hit you, right? One day you just knew.

[00:33:31] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:33:32] David Richman: You just knew what you knew. And, uh, I had in a short period of time that realization that I, I needed to get out of this violent marriage, uh, I needed to protect my kids, uh, I needed to try to reconcile the fact that I was not the one that's gonna die, my sister is, right, from, from, from brain cancer. And I'm stressed out to the max, and somebody said something to me that just made sense at that moment in time.

[00:34:06] And I was complaining to him for the hundredth time about the bad things that were happening in my life, right? Oh, you know, this at work and this thing here, and my, my wife's so mean, and you know, how, how come I can drink and not be violent? And she drinks and she's violent and, and I'm going on and on and on, right? And, and I'm just complaining about everything and maybe for the hundredth time. And, and he stops me and he goes, Dude, he says, You know what, I, I'm sorry, but I gotta stop you because you're the problem.

[00:34:44] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:34:44] David Richman: And I'm like, Huh? I go, What? He goes, Yeah, you're the problem. He goes, Everything in your life is a rabid dog and you go seek them out. You go seek out all these rabid dogs and then you, you go to pet it because that's what you want to do. You wanna make it not rabid and it bites you and then you wonder why the hell did it bite you? He goes, You know what, why don't you take a look in the mirror and see what your problems are

[00:35:10] cause, cause you gotta change that behavior. You're the problem, it's not them. They're rabid dogs, they don't know any better. They don't know any better, they're gonna bite you. They're problems, they're bad people, they're difficult situations, they are what they are. It's your decision to deal or not deal with those people,

[00:35:30] it's your decision to put yourself in those situations or not. You're not making the right decisions, you're the problem. And I'm like, Holy, like, wow, you're right. And it just, all of those things happened so that I, I looked in the mirror, and I, I'm not saying figuratively. Like, I remember the night I was in my bathroom, kids were safe,

[00:35:54] you know, I, I, I'm in a new place, you know, divorce is underway, and I know it's gonna be okay. And, and I'm, and I'm, I'm looking in the mirror going, Okay. Like, who do you want to be? Like, like, you don't want to be that, you don't want, do you really want to keep getting bitten by rabid dogs? I mean, do you really, like, what's your problem?

[00:36:15] Do you want to be a smoker? Do you want to be fat? Do you want to be unhealthy? Do you want to be stressed out? Do you wanna always complain about all the BS that's happening around you? Like, like what, what are good things about you? What are bad things about you? Like, figure it out. I just stood in the mirror and I might have spent like 45 minutes staring at myself talking out loud and just saying, Man, this is where you're at. And, and so that was the moment, that was the moment where I, where I, where I changed. And only in retrospect, Ed, do I know that that was like step one, step two was what you said earlier. And I, and I didn't, it didn't go past me, I heard it where you said you need to forgive yourself. And,

[00:36:57] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:36:58] David Richman: and, um, sometimes just forgive yourself, sometimes you just let it go, some, sometimes it's just free your mind, or whatever. Sometimes it's just move past it, I don't know what the word is. Sometimes it's forgiveness, sometimes it's just moving on, whatever.

[00:37:13] But that's kind of step two, is that, like, forgive yourself or free your mind, whatever. So one, take an honest assessment, two, forgive yourself or, or let it go. And then three is lean into what, the next step. Like, like learn, learn about yourself. Well what, how, how can you get to a different place? What, what can you learn?

[00:37:33] What, you know, what journeys can you embark on? What can you accomplish? And so all that, I mean, in retrospect, I know that's what happened, but that's what was happening in, in the moment. And it was that moment what, that, that started to change. So when I talk to people and I, and I'm trying to help them or talk them through issues like this, I'm like, Well, here's, here's what happened to me, right? So

[00:37:56] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:37:57] David Richman: just take a look in the mirror, like, free your mind and just move on, dude. Like, like move on, change, change it,

[00:38:02] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:38:03] David Richman: right?.

[00:38:04] Ed Watters: Truth will set you free,

[00:38:06] David Richman: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:38:08] Ed Watters: that is the answer. And you know, being truthful with ourselves, it's difficult, that's for sure.

[00:38:15] David Richman: It's hard,

[00:38:16] Ed Watters: So

[00:38:17] David Richman: hard.

[00:38:19] Ed Watters: looking back where you are now and back when you first started, was there ever an imposter syndrome, um, attitude blocking you from excelling, getting to the next step in the ladder? Could you talk to us about how you overcame that?

[00:38:42] David Richman: Yeah, so, um, thanks for asking a great question cause it makes me think about, in the context of what we, what we've talked about, like that head down kind of thing. Like I, I, I was afraid of being an imposter my whole life. I remember the very first company that I launched where I went to go ask for money from some investment bankers. A lawyer that was representing the investment bankers took me out to lunch and he sat me down, he wanted to find out more about what I was doing. And he said, Yeah, the one thing you forgot in your, in your, uh, uh, slide deck is where you, where you got your MBA.

[00:39:18] And I went, Oh, I didn't get a MBA. And he goes, Oh shit. Looking at your, at your, what you accomplished, and what you're asking for, and what you're doing here, I would've said, Okay, well you didn't even put in where you, where you graduated from college. And I go, Yeah, I didn't go to college. And he's like, Oh, you know, and so, so I, I knew, like, I always felt like an imposter. Dude,

[00:39:39] I was running a hundred million dollar in revenue business for a major Wall Street firm without a college education, okay, imagine that. I was the only guy in the room without the college education, I guarantee you. So I was an imposter, right? My whole life I was an imposter. But, but not really because, but I just felt that way.

[00:39:59] Like it [00:40:00] doesn't matter, you know? I know nobody did the job better than me. Like I knew, if you put me in a room with a hundred people, Ed, I don't care what the situation is, I, I might, I'm not coming out first, but I'm not coming out more than like 5th, or 10th, or something, you know? And so,

[00:40:16] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:40:16] David Richman: I don't feel imposter that way. But um, when I, when I started to do athletic events and go, You don't belong here. Like, ugh, you're an imposter. It was the same thing that I, that I, that I did as a, uh, you know, in business, as an entrepreneur, as a friend, whatever, you just, sometimes you just gotta go, Let it go and just go, No, man, just be who you want to be. Like, like I just, I remember like telling this person that I was gonna do an Ironman. I was so nervous that they were gonna laugh me out of the conversation. Like, dude, you're a fat smoker, what do you mean you're gonna be doing an Ironman?

[00:41:02] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:41:02] David Richman: Right? And, and I said, Hey, I was thinking about doing an Ironman. And she looked at me and she goes, Yeah, that's a good idea. All right, go do it. And I'm like, Oh, you mean you think I could do it? I'm not an imposter? You know, and so I, I don't, I don't blame anyone for believing that they don't belong in the job, or they're not the best podcast, I'm not a good interviewer. I'm in a room with people that are so much more successful. Bull, I say, Bull, right? You just be the best you can be and you're not an imposter, right? But, but we,

[00:41:38] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:41:38] David Richman: we limit ourselves so much cause we think like we don't belong in the room. I'm telling you, you belong in the room. Everyone does.

[00:41:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:41:47] David Richman: In every situation, if you can be the best you can be and you walk away going, I, I, I'm the best I am right now, I'm giving it a hundred percent effort, it's what I want to do, I belong here, that just, that mindset means you do, you do. And, and who cares If you win, lose, or fail, doesn't matter, you belong there. That's a hard lesson to learn.

[00:42:08] Ed Watters: Yes it is. You know, and we have to remember, it's our passion. Don't let other people drive our passion. Only you know what you truly want, so get it. That, that's, that's just so, so poignant, you, you have to do it. So talking to cancer patients, you know, I've, I've talked to a couple on the podcast and the attitudes.

[00:42:41] Uh, Fitz Kohler, a fascinating woman, she just blew my mind when she was out there doing her job with cancer. And she's, she's a survivor and she's out there making it happen and letting people know the struggles. And then Terry Tucker, he's an individual, he's diagnosed terminal, he doesn't know when he's going to pass on.

[00:43:15] But still today he's on Facebook, he's on podcasts, he's making a difference in somebody else's life because he found meaning in his own. These are true inspirations of cancer. Why is it so difficult for us as ordinary people to just find that inspiration that we find in a lot of these cancer patients?

[00:43:51] David Richman: Yeah, it's, it's a great insight and, and I, I spoke to doctors, and loved ones, and survivors, you know, secondary people, secondary to them, not just the people that were going through cancer. And, and I think you nailed it earlier, and, and it's, it's that, why we find inspiration in them is cause we, we can see qualities in ourselves and they're being okay with, with, with what's in them.

[00:44:20] And we have not forgiven ourselves, or we think we're an imposter, or we don't believe we're important. Look it Ed, when I spoke to every single one of the people that are in the book and even a bunch that didn't make the book, and remember I talked to these people for like a year and a half, two years, okay?

[00:44:35] When I talked to them, almost, the very first conversation, but certainly every single one of them at some point in the conversation said, Eeh, you know, my life's not that interesting, nobody wants to hear. And all of a sudden you start talking and you're like, Holy crap. That's like, that's the most interesting story I've ever heard.

[00:44:54] Like, what do you mean no, nobody, no, nobody's gonna care cause this story's not interesting? And I think when we are able to, which you do really well, bring stories to people, we're able to kind of identify. And, and it evokes emotion in us because we recognize like, holy crap, when somebody like that is grabbing life, you know, and, and, and living it and, and really, you know, purposefully doing what they need to do

[00:45:23] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:45:23] David Richman: for the time. That, like, I, who doesn't wanna be doing that? We could, maybe that could be us, maybe we could be that strong,

[00:45:30] Ed Watters: that's right.

[00:45:30] David Richman: maybe we could be. And, and then we go, Okay, well, I know I'm not going through what that person's going through, but some piece of us understands that that person never went through what we went through. And so we go, Ahh. Like, when I watch, you know, Tiger Woods, I, I don't go, Oh, I'm, I'm gonna be the best golfer ever in the history of the world.

[00:45:54] You know what I think? Like, holy cow man, like, like that person is being the best that they can be. Wouldn't that be cool? I could be the best that I could be, ugh. And that's how we identified, because it's like, man, I want to be, I want a piece of that. I want that passion, I want that success, I want that drive, I want this, whatever.

[00:46:12] And we identify. If we don't identify, we're not gonna be moved by it. We're not, we're not gonna be inspired by it. But if we just, and, and when you put somebody on a stage like you do on your podcast, it gives us just a little bit more insight into the thought of, you know what, everybody goes through crap. Everybody, everybody does and some people can overcome. Maybe I can overcome, you know, and I think it, that's what, that's where the inspiration comes from.

[00:46:41] Ed Watters: That's right, finding hope, inspiration through others. It's people helping people. Uh, I just love that all the way and make it about that. And once you do that in any aspect of your life, You're gonna succeed. And we, we can define success in many ways, but success is finding that pleasure zone, being happy, and making it happen in the right manner for yourself. And then that will just emit outside.

[00:47:17] David Richman: You know, uh,

[00:47:18] Ed Watters: So.

[00:47:19] David Richman: Yeah. Let me, let me just

[00:47:20] Ed Watters: Go ahead.

[00:47:20] David Richman: add one thing to that before, before you go on, sorry to interrupt you, but have you ever been to an Ironman event? Okay, it, it's really kind of a bummer because, uh, when you're like me, like a middle of the pack guy and, and you're getting ready to start the run, you know, first you do a 2.4 mile swim, then you do a 112 mile bike, then you do a full marathon, when you're a guy like me, when you start to do the marathon, you're starting to hear the announcers call in people at the finish line

[00:47:47] and I still got a whole marathon to go and I'm like, Geez man, this is tough. But what's really amazing, talking about inspiration, is I've done about 18, 19 Ironmans, okay? And the winner of the Ironman, person that came in first, like first, certainly, probably more of the top 5 or 10, you know what they'll do?

[00:48:11] They'll finish the race, they'll go home, they'll talk to their sponsors, they take their shower, they get whatever, get a meal in them, and then they all make it back to the finish line cause they wanna see the people that have the drive to do it no matter what. And they wanna go, Oh man, I want to see the last people go through cause they're inspired by the effort people, now these are people that just went and won the race, right? This is like their living and it's like no big deal. And what do they do? They go back and they just, they wanna be moved and inspired. Like, what's it take for some, you know, 70 year old former smokers? What does it take for some 45 year old single mom? You know, what does it take for some cancer to just wanna get to the finish line? And they're just totally inspired because they're like, Man, I want some of that, right?

[00:49:06] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:49:06] David Richman: That is amazing.

[00:49:07] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:49:07] David Richman: So sorry, I just had to tell that story cause, cause

[00:49:10] Ed Watters: No, that's inspirational right there.

[00:49:11] David Richman: It, it's inspirational.

[00:49:12] Ed Watters: It's truth.

[00:49:13] David Richman: I'll tell you what, they're not, they're not being inspired by the person that never started.

[00:49:19] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:49:20] David Richman: Right.

[00:49:20] Ed Watters: That's right. Get off the couch, throw down the Cheetos and you know, pick up some, some,

[00:49:26] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:49:27] Ed Watters: some good healthy snacks and

[00:49:29] David Richman: Yep.

[00:49:29] Ed Watters: do something. It, it really,

[00:49:32] David Richman: Yeah, good bag of Cheetos goes, goes well every now and then.

[00:49:36] Ed Watters: Yeah. Yes. Don't, don't make it a habit

[00:49:40] David Richman: Exactly.

[00:49:40] Ed Watters: that's for sure. Uh, David, do you have a call to action for our listeners today?

[00:49:47] David Richman: Oh man. Well, selfishly, call to action is, if, if the book sounds like it might inspire you, uh, uh, go out and check it out. It, it's audible. Um, it's, it's available where books are and, and [00:50:00] also the good thing is each one of the book participants chose a charity and a hundred percent of the net proceeds go to the charities that were chosen by the book participants.

[00:50:09] So the call to action is a little bit self- serving cause who doesn't wanna inspire people with the books they write and, and, and by telling evocative stories. But it's, it's a little not self-serving cause the money goes to, goes to charity. But I, I just say any call to action is, um, look, uh, trauma, as you know, as everyone listening knows, can be a very isolating place and,

[00:50:34] and, and, and we often abandon people. Who doesn't have somebody in their life that's going through something and we haven't reached out to them cause we don't know what the heck to say and we're just like, ahh. And then now two weeks have gone by, or two months have gone by, and now it becomes harder to reach out.

[00:50:49] And then we're just like, ahh, like now I can't say anything cause it's been so long and we, the truth is like, just pick up the phone and call, send them a text, DM each other, like, just forgive yourself for not doing it before. And, you know, just move on from the fact that you're probably gonna say the wrong thing.

[00:51:09] But if you, if you reach out there and, and care, um, they need to hear from you, you know? And, and, and that's the truth. I don't know one person that can't identify one person in their network that they shouldn't reach out to and say, How's it going? I know you're going through something difficult,

[00:51:26] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:51:26] David Richman: I know you went through something hard. I haven't called you before, but I'm calling you now. Talk to me, what's going on? So, I don't know, it's, it sounds a little goofy, but I think that'd be a good call to action.

[00:51:39] Ed Watters: Make connection

[00:51:40] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:51:41] Ed Watters: and, and make it matter.

[00:51:42] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:51:42] Ed Watters: You know, that's the best connection. So, uh, David, I wanna say thank you, uh, before I let you go, how can people find you and find your great books?

[00:51:55] David Richman: Well, thank you. Uh, yeah, just, uh, cycleoflives.org is my, uh, website, cycleoflives.org. And I have information on there and books. I also do expressive writing workshops and, uh, public speaking on, a number of different topics in business related to trauma, cancer, that kind of stuff. Um, hopefully I have some good articles.

[00:52:16] I just, I actually just put up a, a free 70 page guidebook that I just wrote that's, uh, uh, helping people with the basics of how to do their first 5k, 10k, or sprint triathlon. So, um, yeah, if you're interested in any of that, just, it's, it, I always got good content on there. And, uh, uh, if, if nothing else, you go to Amazon and look up David Richman, you'll find my books.

[00:52:41] Ed Watters: David, you're sure an inspiration and what you're doing is remarkable. Keep doing it, you know, it's changing lives. Keep hitting those podcasts, stories matter.

[00:52:52] David Richman: Yeah.

[00:52:52] Ed Watters: And most important, thank you for being here on the Dead America Podcast.

[00:52:57] David Richman: Yeah, thank you. And keep doing it. I don't know what number you're at, but I know you're above a hundred, right?

[00:53:04] Ed Watters: Yeah. I've got several. I, I don't even know. I couldn't tell you.

[00:53:10] David Richman: On this one, on this one, on Dead America, though, you're over a hundred.

[00:53:13] Ed Watters: Dead America, yeah. I, I hit a hundred and I've got several, uh, at least 30, 40 waiting to be pumped out.

[00:53:24] David Richman: Nice.

[00:53:25] Ed Watters: Yeah. So,

[00:53:26] David Richman: Well, beautiful. Keep doing it. I mean, you know, if you're only touching one person, you're touching them. And I love the way you ask questions, so keep it up. And I'm sure people are gonna wanna listen cause they, uh, they like your style and your content. So, so thank you very much.

[00:53:41] Ed Watters: Thank you, David. It's been a pleasure.

[00:53:47] Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.