Taking Responsibility for Your Life Choices with Bryan McDonald

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Bryan went through hell and came out the other side, and that makes him a Titan. Bryan shares stories of a hard childhood, family drug, and alcohol abuse, and learning to set boundaries with family. But with all the hardships Bryan went through, the greatest thing he learned was to take responsibility for his own choices. 


{00:53} What makes Bryan a Titan?

{12:15} How fear of judgment can hurt us

{16:12} How Al-Anon helped Bryan

{23:05} When your role in the family is to take care of everyone else

{31:58} The thing Bryan doesn’t tell people

{46:45} Greatest success and biggest mistake

{52:21} Coaches need to meet people where they are

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Bryan McDonald Bio

Bryan is a coach, and he is inclined to refocus the conversation to be all about you. Bryan is not some naturally gifted listener (as his wife often reminds him). Rather, Bryan has made it part of his life’s work to remind people why we have two ears and one mouth. When Bryan builds your listening skills with you, it will become absolutely clear what your prospects and customers need to be raving fans of what you do. They are telling you right now – you just have to know how to hear it.

Bryan is a family man, a self-growth enthusiast, and appreciates a great sour beer. Also – he get entirely too excited about Penn State.”

Connect with Bryan:

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/mcdonaldbryan

Website:  https://www.onpurposegrowth.com/

Well, welcome to our show. I’m Carol Carpenter, and this is my fabulous co-host, Travis Johnson. Today we have a special guest on our podcast, Brian McDonald. Brian is a growth coach and partner at, On Purpose Growth, coaching, and consulting firm serving entrepreneurs through superior strategies he has created a track record of success by serving people rather than selling them. Welcome. 

Thanks for having me. I’m excited; this is going to be fun. I love the authentic, real stuff, so let’s go.

Look at that. He’s got a cuss word right in his opening statement. I love it. I also understand that you have a story that we’re going to jump to about cussing with your kids, which is just a favorite pastime of mine. 

But I want to know, Brian, what makes you a Titan?

What makes me a Titan? Uh, that’s a great question. You know, I think everybody has a definition of, you know, going through hell and making it out on the other side. And you know, I have my own, and I shouldn’t be where I’m at and that’s what makes me a titan.

This is not how most stories end.  It is not the end of my life, but this portion of my life is where that’s happening.

My mom was married three times. The second husband was a complete drunk. Growing up, chaos was just an ordinary day, and I should be a drunk drug addict, recluse, you know, unproductive, and living at home with Mom. And I’m not

My life turned out completely different because, at some point in time, I decided to fight for myself. Take full responsibility for everything that was going on in my life. Even at such a young age, and come hell or high water was going to I was going to make it happen, and you know I eventually did, right? I think you know everybody’s got their own unique story of going through hell, and what makes me a Titan is that I went through hell and came out a hero.

I love that.

There you go. I like how you incorporate our words into your narrative. that’s what it’s all about, and I love the fact that I use this in my story too. If you have to fight for yourself, you’ve got to take responsibility and make it happen. There’s no one coming to save you. There’s no magic apology: there’s no Dow Jones Industrial Average ending number that’s going to make your life better or worse. has nothing to do with your circumstances, but the choices that we make in taking responsibility for ourselves. 

And I ******* love that about you, Brian.

Thank you, man. Thanks. 

I don’t care what Carol says; I love her. That’s about you.

Excuse me 

No no. 

No, in truth, it is about choices, It’s the decisions we’ve made in life, rather than allowing our pasts to define and shape us. Who are we to say we are correct if we did, weld all be drunks and drug addicts, and if you think about because those adversities were horrible to get through, we made a choice. We chose to make better lives for ourselves. We chose to make sure, we will succeed to elevate ourselves beyond our circumstances, so I think that’s an important thing to bring up.

It’s all about choices.

 I used to do this when I was younger. This happened in stages if you will. Meaning, you know, when I was young, like, literally around age 6, I started assessing like, “Hey, my mom can’t take care of herself.” It was five. I remember a very specific moment. My mom and her husband where we lived in a tri-level house and were fighting around 1:00 a.m. 

My bedroom was at the top of the steps, so I got privy to every single fight, and I remember sitting on top of that at the top of those three steps and listening to my mom and her husband fight, and I realized, or thought to myself, that my mother cannot care for herself in this manner. The pattern continues, just as this **** show that I’m watching does. She can’t take care of herself, and if she can’t take care of me by herself, then she can’t take care of me, like, “Oh, f—, I need to take care of myself,” right? And I started, you know, as an independent journey, you know, taking ownership of what I could at that age. 

But then I used it for a long time. I was very, very resentful of my parents, and I blamed my life on their choices, which I think they influenced on. But, you know, most really in the past ten years I realized that they were simply doing their best.

Ah, I said that in my book they were just doing the best they could in the circumstances with the limited knowledge that they had, unfortunately, and that it directly affects you. Right, as a child, it directly affects you, so that’s the part that sucks.

In actually realizing what you just described, they were doing the best they could, and the circumstances gave me more freedom to be who I was. 

Well, I gave myself more freedom to be whom I wanted to be or who I was. And it also allowed me to It’s similar to resentment and the sadness was like a dead weight in my life, right? Like it was holding me back, and when I released it, I was like, “Oh ****, I can fly higher, right, because I’m not holding onto that ****, right? 

And I stopped owning their **** correct? Like I stopped owning their *** for whatever reason—it’s like, “Oh, there were my parents. They were my parents, and these things happened, so that’s my identity”. But it wasn’t right, and I was everywhere.

Understand that you must wait for the cycle to complete. You may conclude with you.

And when I finally do, started probably around 2015   I think I told you guys right before we started recording that, uh, I help run a nonprofit. I got into some specific, you know, men’s work; it works around color and long shadows and getting involved in that and hearing other people’s stories about the trauma they went through, I realized that.

Man, I thought I went through something I didn’t in comparison to these people, right? As if I had a ******* good time, right?

Well, and there’s nothing negative about them. It was more about liking. I thought that nobody could have it worse, right? As if my experience was unique and no one else, as if how could anyone? “Whoa,” I’m thinking to myself. These guys are going through some crazy things. And the more I help them, the better get to where I was. It gave me more freedom again.

It’s a comparative thing, right? When you go through the worst thing that you’ve ever been through, every single person feels like no one else can relate to the worst **** they’ve ever gone through. And I’ve been there, and you’ve been there. Carol spent there. And that’s how we’re all. As soon as we start talking about it and sharing, we give to other people permission to share their stories of tragedy, woe, or whatever, they recognize that it is acceptable to discuss it. It’s no one’s fault, right?

 We can play the blame game all day long. I mess with my son sometimes when something happens. You know my wife will be. Like, hey, who did this is what I mean when I say I blame coal, and coal is similar to what I say. I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I’m blaming you, and he’s like, “Gee, thanks, Dad,” but we all laugh about it. We’ll have a nice little chuckle, and there’s a big difference when you are a kid going through this stuff, and I’ve been there. And you’ve been there, and Carol’s been there. We blame our parents, and that’s not wrong, but it’s a little bit misguided because they are doing the best they can. 

Here’s the deal, folks. Your parents guarantee 100% if you’re listening to this right now. Yes, we’ll **** your life up. 

They focused their lives on you as your parent, focusing on the things that they were missing when they were kids. Absolutely. I didn’t have a lot of stability growing up. I moved 50 times. I focused on stability, but that meant I missed other things with my kids. My daughters have already come and told me. You messed this up, Dad. I’d like, “Yeah, I did.” But here’s the stuff that we were missing when we were kids. I missed this, and this was what Mom was missing. 

Mom was missing her parents, whose dad worked three jobs including working on a farm, right? And, like her parents, she did not attend any of them. her stuff, so that’s one of her primary drivers. As a mom, I showed up to all of her stuff, but when we have that thing that we focus on his parents, there’s going to be something that we miss. 

And she’s all like well, you weren’t connected with me emotionally. I’m like, “Fun fact,” sweetheart. I’m not connected with anyone emotionally, including your mom, including my mom, right?

Travis should tell you his story one day, and maybe he will want to tell it now, but he has a crazy story, and when I heard it, I was actually with him when he told it to me. Ah, I was surprised he could be in a room with people and not feel anxious.

That says a lot about trauma and the impact of how we interpret trauma and that interpretation. It affects us. 

Correct it because you know trauma does not have to be a big… It’s an interpretation, right? It does not have to be this big. Crazy things happen. It could be something minor, which we will ignore for the time being. so much of our lives

As a burden and as baggage, you know, and eventually, it becomes so heavy that, unless you get rid of it, it brings you down, and I think a lot of people need to realize this is where, you know, therapy might be required. You need to talk about it, right? And if you don’t, if you’re unwilling to go to therapy, how will you get better? Good friends that will just listen to you, because I’m burdening your soul as well. When you’re talking, it’s like you’re permitting yourself to forgive yourself also, as well as all the people who have walked around you.

**** yeah. **** yeah. 

You’re permitting yourself to let it go and get over it

It disarms it. It disarms it, right?

It’s no longer a taboo subject, right?

It disarms and works in many situations that were previously embarrassing or uncomfortable. If we call it out, it disarms it, but I was just talking to a client today. She didn’t want to ask for recommendations, and she said, “Well, I’m Canadian. Blah, blah, blah blah,” like I didn’t understand the Canadian thing. But I think I understand the I mentioned the context. OK, here’s how you’re going to do this: You’re going to go to whomever you want to ask and say, “Hey. I’m asking you something. I want to ask you something, but I’m uncomfortable with it because I pride myself on being a humble person”, and I said if you go through this process, you will disarm it. 

It’s the same thing: you permit yourself in the world to feel a certain way because it’s OK for you to feel that way. There’s nothing wrong with it.

It’s fear; fear of being judged is fear of not being accepted.

Fear, shame, and guilt?

Is God the supreme being of all human beings? Is it so important to be accepted in society that people go crazy on social media to fit in, or is there something to be said for being unique as well? I mean, I hate the fact that we’re all trying to be carbon copies. Look at each other. None of us look the same. None of us are from the city. We have the same talents.

It’s my shocked face.

If we did, It would be disgusting 

It would be boring. It’d be boring, but you.

Right, yeah, it would, and look at the variety of people that we have and how interesting everybody is. If we could just shut up and talk to each other, you know, shut up on social media, you know, cut that **** out. And connect with people.

That’s the only way. I vent; I mean, come on.

On social media?

No, I mean, I don’t, but I’m sure their careers are whole who do, whatever the situation is. Whatever the situation is, there are sire’s people that do, whatever the situation is. Whatever the situation is, there are. more than one way to consider the following: Is there a story about, uh, a comedian, whose name I can’t remember right now? But it’s not mine; I’m not. “Taking credit for it,” he says. Man, I’m having this problem with this girl; she’s insane. She slashed my tires. She took my phone, and we were in the middle of nowhere in a cab, like it was crazy. That’s one way of looking at it. Another way to look at it is like this: So, you’re telling me that you couldn’t get away and you couldn’t call for help. Yes, it’s the same story, once a little dirty, right? It’s the same story, but it depends on the story that you tell yourself. To define the situation, would I assume that that story is terrible? 

I wouldn’t want to be around those types of people, but some people do. They’re kind of like, “I like that,” so I’m getting turned on. It’s just kind of getting me…. I’m not that kind of person.

Well, I think our futures are like—how do I describe this? So, there’s consistently a future in front of us, right? 

I believe that our futures are determined by our ability to consistently do so. How do we interpret what happens to us and the stories we make up about that? Right, because, like what you were describing, you could say what you’re just saying is like, “Oh, the second line is like, Oh, this is a little scandalous. We could end up in a scandal.”

The other ones, as we can live with getting the hell out of here, and what the **** is going to happen next? They’re both diabolical. opposing directions, right? 

Yeah, very true. So, what do you think about doing that work? It’s been cathartic for you.

And I realized the work started early on I just didn’t realize it. I mean, I mentioned that my mom’s second husband was a drunk. 

I came home one day in second or third grade, and my mom’s friends were at the house—a bunch of neighbors. This guy had kids. in their 20s. And they had babies. They had come to my house and my mom had a nervous breakdown where she was like, literally committed to the hospital because of it, right? 

And then right after that, we started going to Al-Anon. He was going to Al-Anon. I started learning. Coping … I was going to say “coping mechanism” but maybe some strategies. I think I dusted him off later in life and said, “Hey, how do I work this and use this?” 

So, the work started a long time ago, but it’s been very soothing and helpful. **** I love myself more.

However, for those who are unfamiliar with Al-Anon what is it?

Oh, so thank you. Al-Anon is the

Young ones wouldn’t know it.

Al-Anon is the so-called “A” for alcoholics. Al-Anon is for the family and friends of alcoholics. So it’s a non-drunk AA program out of a lack thereof.

Yeah, it’s going to help you understand what’s going on, regardless of whose fault it is. There are also anonymous groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous, Anonymous Gamblers Anonymous, Anonymous Sex Addicts Anonymous, and others. That one is too familiar.

Yes, this is a crazy world.

So, just so everyone knows, you’re all listening. I say some off-the-wall **** just to see how much Carol is paying attention, and you’ll see based on her reactions whether or not I’m full of **** or if I’m being truthful.

I mean, maybe I should go into that mode because that’s one of the things my wife despises, I’ll just say some random **** for the sake of it, right? So maybe I’ll throw something in. Here, huh? Along the way

You know you can do it at any time.

So, your mother was divorced three times.

So no, no, no, third husband.

My mother received three. Is that a big deal?

I’m just asking. Because, like our child, you’ve been through these?

Moms have three fathers, three. Grandma had four. Is that not how everyone does it?

Oh yeah, right.

Good Lord, no.

See, that was just my standard operating procedure. That’s how I thought everything worked; that’s how I was. I’m already looking into wives two and three. You know, whenever I have the opportunity.

Wait, stop it.

Is that not, OK?

Oh, God, this is going to be awesome.

My mom’s third husband was the longest, and he passed away. They didn’t divorce, and he was just getting old. But you know, the third time’s a charm, and, honestly, she’s never going to see this. I would probably tell her this. I think she’s just kind of thrown in the towel, and the third one has meaning. She was older, maybe in her 50s. Yes, she was in her 50s when she married, and I believe she still is. Just like, well, I’m going to, you know, live my life with somebody. I might as well do business with this guy. Yeah, I don’t think It was like love.

She didn’t love him.

Yeah, I did. I told my wife about getting married when we were talking about getting married. I said, “Look.” I’m doing the exact opposite of my mother, right? So, if you want to get married, this is an all-in thing. I’m not going to discuss unwinding this. We’re going to fix our problems, and if you want out right now, you can, because when I say I’m all in, I mean it like **** will get crazy.

We’re going to have our ups and downs, but I was in love with her. And I was only. I’m going to write it out so the formalized paraphrase insane thing, I believe, is I. I ran so far. I was so far from the other direction that my mom was going that I thought it was a gift that my mom gave me the ability to have. a family or not “Hey, there’s always a way out. I can press the eject button.

That is the life you didn’t want, and if anything, she should be the example of what you didn’t want. So that you Have the life that you want.

Yes, and this is probably where the strange thing happens. Oh, this is 2009, so maybe three years ago I was talking to my mom on the phone outside of my house. I remember it clearly and My mom said to me, “I wish you would choose me over your family sometimes.” I’m like, how? What the **** am I supposed to say in response to that? Like, are you ******* kidding?

Like, this madness continues, right? It’s similar to, similar to. I can’t believe my mom has said that to me, Right, this is my family, right?

But you can believe it; she showed you. That was her personality throughout her life.

Yes, the comment is more awe-inspiring. I can’t believe that… not at all, It’s more like I can’t believe it.

Did she put you first in any circumstance?

Oh no, no, oh.

Seriously, what makes her think that you would choose her first?


So, here’s an even better context. So, I graduated from Penn State in 2001, having grown up in Pennsylvania my entire life until then. It was May 2001 when I graduated. My mom was living in Chicago with her soon-to-be husband, I picked up and moved on a Thursday after I graduated, I said I was moving to Chicago, and I picked I packed up all my stuff on Sunday. I came out here, and I moved here to be close to her. Five years later, she moved away. Her husband was in a wheelchair. They had two houses, he couldn’t travel. They were in financial trouble. I was telling her to stay here. Don’t go to your house, where she was moving to in Tennessee, and then she got mad because we weren’t coming to visit her.

Oh, dear God

And then she’s like, why did you choose your family? I’m like. Whoa, I chose. You came; I came. to you, and then you ******* get weird.

and you left.

I can’t make this *** up.

You’re supposed to keep following her, Brian. You ***** ** ****. 

I don’t think so.

That’s called parent guilt, yeah?

You know it got to the point where I realized at some point that I am the adult, not the child. Yeah, and I don’t want that. “This is exactly like me,” I thought. For example, why do I have? Why do? I have to act like a parent. I want to be the kid kicking and screaming. and acting like a little kid, but I’m not.


But that was never your role, right? I took on a different role. I was the adult. I was the one taking care of everybody, so my entire life … So, you also right, Travis? 

That role. You don’t get to pick it; it picks you, and unfortunately, you know, it’s not like we get to choose and say, “Oh, I want to step into that role.” Whether you like it or not, you’re forced to play that role. Like it or not?

So, when my mom divorced her second husband I was in, like, 6th grade. She started moving up in the world in her job, and the only way she could move up was to pack up and leave for another town. My mom and dad were kinds of going where the jobs are with a big corporate company, and she asked my dad to come to live with my brother and me, so we didn’t move, and my dad just moved in with us at the place we’re running because we had moved so many times. 

And here’s how it relates to my father: We lived about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia, on a Friday, if my dad wasn’t home around 7:00. On a Friday, I knew he was gone for the weekend and didn’t say anything. I thought, hey, if he disappeared. They won’t notice. That’s something I’d notice, right? So, my dad wasn’t around, and neither of my parents took me to get my license. I was working a job. I was working 35 hours a week going into high school, and some lady I worked with who was a manager caught wind that I didn’t have my license. I was walking to work. Her husband took me to get my driver’s license. My parents didn’t take me to get my license. My dad didn’t ask a question. I didn’t inquire, and I didn’t ask stupid questions about it. I had to put together paperwork for college. In front of them, say, “Hey, what do you need?” to sign up with us. I did all the paperwork and found out what we had to do to get, uh, you know, financial help, and here’s where I’m going. I figured everything out.

Myself, yeah, but there’s something to be said about that being the person that figures it out. Being the person who’s a leader What do you think? That gets you ready for life.


It got me prepared for a lot, but is it? That’s just how I am. What I mentioned earlier about the resentment and the sadness on that, was like a dead weight. The responsibility I took on myself, right? It’s like I did it even though I didn’t want to do it right. 

And, you know, it took me a while after college to realize what I was doing. That’s right, like the. I used to hate that.  I had to do that, but I look back. I’m like, “No, no, that was actually.” Good, right? Like, that was fantastic of me even though I did it grudgingly.


You’re in charge of your destiny, and I wanted to say something about your relationship with your mom because people listening to this need to hear this.

If someone in your family is trying to use guilt or shame to get what they want, you don’t have to put up with it. You don’t have to tolerate that. You don’t need that in your life. No amount of Sheer DNA gives someone permission to treat you that way. 

Anyone who tries to do that to me in my world would feel the same way I do right now. I know what kind of person you want. Thank you for letting me know that you don’t care about me at all. I’ve said this to their face, and they look at me like, “How can you say that?” I was like, “How can you try to use guilt to make me do something that is not something that I would normally do?” Like you using guilt on me, this is a terrible thing, not the fact that I called you out on it. That’s not the worst part.

shame never works, ever, 

Shame works a lot. Its why people use it. Shaman and gilt work all the time. That’s why people use it.

Well, let’s talk about that because shame works. Or the. Or let’s call it the instant action somebody is looking for, right? If you shame me, I’ll stop doing that. But it doesn’t change me as a person; it only changes what I’ve done. It makes people retreat and does the opposite, right? It’s a temporary fix to a permanent problem.

Well, the permanent fix is being very clear about your boundaries, and if you’re clear about your boundaries, then nobody can step over anything and get away with it. You’d be like, “Yeah, you’re ******* out of here.” I don’t want anything to do with you pushing my boundaries and delivering exactly what I expected. and you knew him. And now you expect me to forgive you?

Huh. I’ll forgive people, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to walk back out into tracking and get hit by the bus again

Sure, forgive, but don’t forget. I’ll forgive you, but I’m not going to forget because you’re never going to do that.

Yes, yet rid of them. They don’t have to be in your house.

This is how my sister operates. My life is that she will be as sweet as she possibly can to obtain whatever the thing is. And if I say I’m unavailable or I can’t, then all of a sudden I’m a ***** ** ****, a loser, blah blah blah, blah blah, and I’d like to thank you for telling me and reminding me who you are and that you’re only behaving this way because you need something from me and no one else is willing to give it to you. I’ve got her blocked. On everything that I own, I’ll get random messages, and I know it’s her because she can’t send me a message without calling me some kind of name. 

Hey, I hope everything is going great for you, butthead. I miss your family, blah blah blah blah. She’ll have to call me a name in there because she can’t, not because that’s how she operates.

Here yeah. 

That’s how she operates, right?

But think about me; I don’t. I don’t know the situation with your sister, but from what I’ve learned, is to set a boundary with those people, but at the same time, I appreciate, with empathy, the amount of sadness going on in her. Yeah, because she has to do that, right? It’s me; I’m not forgiving her.


But it’s you, you know….

It’s their way of seeking attention because, regardless, she knows that’s a trigger point.

Yeah, oh yeah, yeah, I laugh at it now I call my dad, be like, “Here’s the nonsense your daughter sent me today.” I won’t say, my sister. I’ll say your daughter. I want to take ownership of her.

When my dad talks to her. “Me,” he’ll say. Like your sister, he won’t say his. My daughter, my God He’s in jail right now, like she borrowed someone’s phone to send me a hateful text. This week, I received one. She’s been in jail for a little over a month now. It’s like the tenth time in two years

Did something happen between you and her, or is it just the totality of her life?

Oh, you mean, like when she tried to kill me. Or do you mean when she’s not taking responsibility for anything in her entire life? Or do you mean four kids from three different guys? Her first marriage was not with her husband; it was with another man, but nothing was ever her fault. Do you mean that kind of stuff?

Oh my God. 

Train wreck, Oh yeah, that’s great.

Oh my. Yes, and that was exactly how it felt. I love the fact that you said nobody is going to come to save you, right? They are the ones who play the blame game never works, it’s a myth.

Well, I thought it was Biden’s fault. I mean, it’s Trump’s fault. I mean, its Obama’s fault, but I’d be damned if it wasn’t Bush’s fault. Whoopty-*****- do! 

Congrats on pointing the finger! They don’t change your life. The bit does it.

No, no, and that’s the thing about that. having that victim mentality? Well, ***, I’ll just talk about it from my perspective, right? 

At any point in my life…. a lot of times when I was younger, I got into victim mode. It was. I had a pity party for myself, but nothing changed.

And there’s no presence. It’s the only party with no presence, right? 

As a result, it’s insane. But here’s what: Here’s a question I always ask myself when something doesn’t go right, especially when there’s another person involved. I always ask myself, “What role did I play in that?” I mean, I always play something in it, right? I’m not, and it’s not 100% my fault. But what role do I play in it, right? Tango requires two people. 

My role in it I was allowing the person to do what they did to affect me negatively and not trying to draw a line in the sand, right? It has nothing to do with them, it has everything. to do with what I was given. It must occur because

Yes, yes, what you allow will continue.

What do you put up with persist? or something like something in that direction. It’s true, right? It’s as if we get stuck in patterns and processes, and the only way out is to get rid of them.  You set the boundary.

So, what would you say, is something, and I always ask. Travis knows this. I always ask people what it is that they don’t tell me. Many people would, but many people would. I don’t know about you.

So, what is it? something that I don’t tell a lot of people. and not many people know.


Something unique about you, of course, people know.

Yeah, there’s something about you that not a lot of people know. Interesting, bizarre. You know. One of our guests stated …

I’m trying to decide which one to pick.

Oh, you can. You can have multiple answers. We’re OK with that. Yeah, this is a multiple-choice exam.

Guess what happens as you become more interesting?

So, I’ll do it. I’ll give it in context with some other stuff, so I repeated a pattern that I learned from my parents, and I went bankrupt. Not many people know that

I used to be embarrassed about it. I mean, I don’t walk around the world telling people this, but Uhm, you know what I am? When I met my wife, I was in the mortgage industry. I was the top loan officer. I was working in the office. Life was good, and the minute I met her, my business started going like that, and I had to… I went bankrupt before I got married and she still wanted to marry me.

I knew I had to keep her. I don’t tell many people. 

What do you believe happened? Why do you think he went bankrupt?

I was more committed to going bankrupt than I was to fix my situation.

Wow, what a great perspective on that!

I just left, won’t you?

More committed to becoming bankrupt than changing your situation.

You know we discussed it; you know it’s all about choices. I made a bunch of choices that moved me in that direction. Knowing that if I go this fast, I’ll have to make these choices. I could tip this thing over, which I did, and the result was a perfect storm. 

It was happening as I was doing loans for mostly real estate investors, small commercial and single-family home investments and then I started getting into the game. And then, as you know, I had great relationships with the banks that we were doing loans with, they started calling me and saying, “Hey, Brian, we’re publishing rates, and we’re publishing… We’re doing loans. I’m going to tell you right now that our underwriters are not going to close them, and in that situation, I said I was going to go buy more real estate.

And I didn’t change the direction I niched myself. I had so much in that area. People who did had four or five loans with me on investment properties, but they lived somewhere else without telling me. Like, oh, you can do that for me, and I mean, the bottom fell out. When I walked down the steps of our apartment to get my car one day and it wasn’t there, the bottom fell out between my wife and me. And then I had to tell her. And she found out everything she’s like. Why don’t you tell me? I feel like this is the most embarrassing thing to tell somebody, but I’m trying to catch up and I couldn’t. 

But, once again, that was the greatest gift right now; it was one of the greatest gifts that happened to me because of the perspective and timing. It taught me how to be more committed as a result of what I learned. My dedication to things that benefited me rather than harmed me might? You know it was an expensive lesson.

But most lessons that are worthwhile hurt and are expensive.

They are expensive, and I learned from them. That, I believe, is the case. I made the decision consciously; that’s the point in time when I made it. to not fail at anything and to learn from things when they don’t go right. 

I was making six figures within nine months of going back Correct, right? So, I did it. I did not refer to faces.

Well, let’s also say it’s OK to make mistakes and fail because the truth is, you know, I see this in a lot of people. It’s better to fail quickly than slowly because it costs more to fail slowly. If you fail quickly, you can figure out, “Oh, that didn’t work.” Let’s move on.

And it stings us.

I appreciate your willingness to share that with us because so many people need to understand that whatever choices they are making right now can be reversed. It doesn’t mean it’s the end. It doesn’t mean you’re some kind of terrible person. Please stop attaching negative emotions to your identity. Please, dear God, to all these stupid **** out there:

But I don’t understand why. This happened, and I was like, “Well, you were dumb as ****.” You saw it coming. We told you about it. You still did it, and it hurts. Let’s move on, but I’m not sure why you don’t want to admit you saw it coming.

We want to hold onto it.

You want to hold onto it for some reason that doesn’t benefit you or anyone around you. Allow that **** to pass. There’s a whole Disney movie dedicated to that concept.

No, Elsa, she saved me.

Frozen let that **** go like it was adult frozen and just let it be. Please, dear God, let that **** go.

Yeah, that’d be awesome if they said, let that ***** go

 Anytime my kids play that song, that’s what I’m going to say. Allow that **** to pass.

Oh, we’ve got to get Adina Menzel on here to come on and sing. Allow that **** to be broadcast on the podcast. That’d be great.

I told my oldest daughter about it. I think you guys in the city have kids, and my two daughters are complete opposites, right? I can’t believe how opposed they are, especially since my oldest is very much a rule-follower. It’s terrified of failing as she did just now.

The oldest usually are!

And uh, and I’ve had conversations with her about, “Hey, it’s not like the challenge isn’t there.” And how do you? I say this whether I worry about failing or not. The challenge is focusing on learning from it. Or not, because if you’re failing at it, you’re not learning. 

If you’re learning from it, you’re doing it right. I said only you could. I also told you that you can’t make progress without failing. 

We don’t learn how to do things better by doing them right all the time; we learn from doing them wrong. Like, hey, I’m not going to do it that way, right? So, you can’t escape failing. It’s just that when you fail, you just apply the learning perspective, and it won’t burn as much or won’t burn again, and I’m trying to pound that into her. Yeah, because. 

Failure is defined as failing to take the first step and failing to try; this is a failure

You’re never going to get there, and one thing that came up for me when you guys were. After I explained that, I realized that. You know, I went through a phase of my life—let’s call it right after college. In my early twenties, I was obsessed with success and obsessed with her. I should have been working on my personal development, but I wasn’t committed to doing the work to get it done.

There’s a difference.

And after that, I went bankrupt. But I’m going to change hell or high water. I’m going to have people tell me what they see that I don’t see, and I’m going to listen. I’m going to read a lot of books, right? And that is part of it wasn’t a hockey stick, but it was the about-face – because I was just living in this dreamland of maybe someday, I’ll be successful,” I realized, and I was thrown into a world of “Hey, it’s you. “You have to get your hands dirty to be successful.” That is a significant distinction.

\ You can’t necessarily see what others see, right? So, from the outside looking in, they can pinpoint things better than you can. Figure it out for yourself, you know. You know yourself. You might be A tiny bit biased, right?

This **** is fantastic; don’t I realize how fantastic I am?

I know it’s perfect, right?

So, you mentioned this earlier. We mentioned therapy. The right therapy only works if you’re willing to take responsibility for yourself. Therapy says that the answer is inside you, and the answer is for everyone. Going to therapy means that it’s your fault. That’s the answer. It’s your fault, and you have to take responsibility for your shifts. All of the psychology and all of the therapy are now solved because it is indeed you. 

People who are successful in business understand that the answer is not within them and that they must seek advice. They must try new things. They have to pay for mentorship, coaching, whatever. The issue is new versions of everything; the entrepreneur, the businessperson, knows the answer is not within them.


I think it’s very true, and you know what? It’s a. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing because you know all the different kinds of coaches, right? And I’ll compare this them when I was learning to swing a golf club, I went to several coaches to learn to swing a golf club, and I can’t tell you how many times I was frustrated and wanted to swing the bat or, sorry, the club at their heads. Because the way they said it did not resonate with me, I would go and swing it. And man, have you. Ever hit a golf ball wrong? I mean, the way it shakes through your body makes you feel like I’m about to murder you. If you force me to keep hitting this wall, and I’m hitting it incorrectly, okay?

I finally, though, found my very last swing coach. Finally, I found somebody that spoke my language because it was simple. He didn’t overthink it; he simply did not. He was a no-nonsense kind of guy, you know. I got along with him right then when he explained it to me. “Oh well,” I thought. That sounds way easier, right? For the first time, I swing the golf club. I found a sweet spot and flew that sucker. I was thinking, this is my coach now, just like all the other times. I wanted to murder them. Those swing coaches like they’re going to burst. I’m not sure whom they were teaching, but I realized, hey just because they didn’t speak my language doesn’t mean they didn’t speak somebody else’s. And that is why I don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody.

For somebody, it’s a life coach. I can help somebody else; it could be a psychologist. We don’t know because we don’t know how those people are.

See, I’m glad you followed up on that because I was going to say therapy is your fault. Golf is the other person’s fault.

Because I’m damn good at golf, and his instructions were just *******, right? That’s all. 

Yeah, you never swing the club correctly.

You swing your hips.

Uh, it’s 

It’ll never work doing the club.

Yeah, it’s just like this cool pendulum, but, like the way he said, it worked, so I didn’t feel like I was doing the wrong thing all the time. It takes time and is difficult.

Amazingly, you find the right person to talk to you so that I can connect with you. I sucked at trig in high school, and I received the worst grade of my life: a D in trig and an F in physics. I went to college in the Navy, which required me to do calc and calc-based physics, and I was like, “I don’t get that.” I didn’t get that *** ten years ago, but I’m going to get it now.

And I’ve found the right person; he was teaching trig in college like pre-calculus, and he was able to walk me through the two concepts that I didn’t get ten years before that. And he went on and on about it for about five ******* minutes. I was like, “You mean to tell.” For me, it was that easy. And that was a stupid piece. I went missing a decade ago. He says, “It sounds like it.” Once I had those, I was able to do all the other stuff, and I was like, “Well, *** ** * *****.”

So, I’ve got a question for both of you based on what you’re saying. So, when you think back, on the people you didn’t connect with…

how do I stay with the witness? I’m just going to have to… 

What did you think about those people you didn’t connect with? Work can be more focused on you or them in their area of expertise.

I would say they and their expertise that they were to teach me from their perspective instead of getting to know me and teaching me. What I would call It meets me right where I am.

What about you, Travis?

I plead the Fifth, so I don’t self-incriminate.

Because I believe that one of the biggest challenges is speaking for myself.

When I go for help. I’d rather date someone who is interested in me and where I’m at first than someone who isn’t. What do they know, and who they are… I’ve always found that to be super helpful.

Trying to fit you into their picture so they can analyze you, right? And it’s like, “Well, no,” because I’m over here and I’m not you. And I don’t have the same problems as you, nor do I think like you. So, I’m coming to you because I need help over here, but you keep guiding me back over here because it’s a more comfortable space for you. Very uncomfortable over here to analyze me?

Yeah, that’s a challenge I’ve talked to other business owners about: “Hey if you’re not meeting people where?” They’re there, and you’re the problem, not them.

Yeah, and my ego keeps getting in the way.

Learning how to validate yourself through the success of others. Well, I’ll speak for myself. Sorry, I don’t want a project that isn’t about the success of the people I work with; I want one that is. 

 And I don’t give a **** as long as I’m making that happen. So, how did we get there? It’s different for all of them, right? That’s the most important thing. And, uh, it’s been like a gift of freedom to me.

It’s just that I just found that to be a super helpful perspective, right? And I’ve seen so many other coaches fail in the same way.

What do you think is your greatest success in life So far, what do you think is the lowest point?

Greater success is the fact that I’m married with two kids and a close-knit family due to the **** I went through. I f I have nothing else in life. I wouldn’t need anything else, would I? And that’s something that I work on every day, right? I need to keep it going if I want it to be a huge success. So, I think that’s the biggest failure?

Don’t call it a failure; I mean, I hate to call it a failure, but call it the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in your life.

I think the biggest mistake is not learning.

How do I describe this as I know it now, including all personal work, and what is the biggest mistake I did not previously have the awareness to work on myself in the manner that I do now? So that’s what it took a freaking bankruptcy and, you know, a car accident right before that for me to finally ******* wake up to let go. of blaming everybody else—you know, blaming my parents for my situation and not fully owning it. I owned a part of it; I just didn’t own all of them. It’s because when I look at, like, what happened after that, it’s like, “Oh, sh*t, my life would have been richer.” 10 more years if I would have just realized it, yeah.

Yes, you would have been if you had realized it sooner.

if I figure it out sooner, right? Yeah, I mean. Yeah, I can’t think of anything else that has failed. Wasn’t that something that blossomed into something wonderful?

Well, I think that’s the wonderful part is, you know, that we can tell people if you know who I am, you know who I am. You could get over yourself. And if you simply owned that ****, you’d be way ahead of everyone else in no time. 

It’s a little hesitant to own it, and that’s what keeps us…delays us from moving forward. Yeah, a perfect example.

As a result, what’s funny about what you said, and what I find funny, is that I trust people who own their *** more than people who don’t.

Oh, yes, playing the victim.

Way more correct, way more. Right, if you tell me, “Oh, I ****** this up here,” I’ll believe you. So, I ****** that. I’m just coming into that. It’s like, OK, I can trust you. People you know are ******* ****ed up and don’t say anything. I don’t trust them, and I’d rather someone spill the beans. 

That is, that was the number one thing I told my students when I was teaching for the Navy. I was thinking look, you’re going to do something stupid. You’re going to make a mistake. You’re going to **** Something up. 

Do you want to know the fastest way to get out of trouble? And they are the quickest way. I feel like you’re ready for this. Write this down; it’s a very simple process, but you’ve got to write this down. It’s going to be tested. It’s one of the questions on the exam, like “foot stomp” or “you have to know this.” 

Step one is to walk in and say, “Hey, I ********, it’s my fault. “Here’s what I did, and here’s what I’m going to do to fix it. 

#2. You are now out of trouble, huh? And they were astounded. It’s as if you’re not going to be fired while I am. I’m going to fire you from the Navy.

Oh my God. 

Do you know? 

Break a $10 million section. They’re not kicking you out of the military. So just say, “Hey, I ****** it up.” I didn’t do this right. What are we going to do next, and what will your boss say? Oh, OK then.

When people make that adjustment, they name the adjustment and make it. I trust you even more on top of that because you were honest with yourself. You said you’d fix it, and then you fixed it as if that’s whom I want to run with. Because it’s 100%, right?

Because accountability is something I cannot do. None of us here can hold anyone else accountable except ourselves. We can only hold ourselves accountable. Right, I can create a space where you can hold yourself accountable, but I can’t make you hold yourself accountable. So, when I meet people who hold themselves accountable, we’re going to do something together. I don’t know what it is, but we’re going to do it somehow, yeah, I can trust you.

Because about 95 freaking percent of this world doesn’t take accountability for their actions

Not at all, yeah.

Super frustrating. 

It’s incredible.

What do you think? Say, this is super frustrating.

Oh, it’s stupid. It’s ******* stupid, right?

I’m just glad to know right away what kind of that they are. Oh, you know, there’s this guy who’s falling. Over here, cool Like, what are you writing down? I’m like, “Oh, I’m just removing you from my phone because I know that we’re never going to talk again.” What do you mean? “It’s not Their fault. Man”, yeah, it’s maybe partially their fault, but not the majority of it.

Yeah, I’m creating this.

It’s on you.

Yeah, Yep. 

You didn’t take the time to work. Read the 104 pages and the terms and conditions of the thing you signed up for. 


I want to go back a little bit to something you said about coaches and not meeting people where they are. I believe I’ve seen the military developer’s styles shift slightly over the last 20 years or so, and I believe what many people don’t understand is what motivates others. You can function in whatever you need to do once you understand what motivates that person or how they operate. 

I’ve been a leader for about—I don’t know every damn minute of my life it seems I have been a leader in some capacity at subway some people just need to know what the rules are, and then they go and work. Some people need a kick in the morning to work. Some people need you to hold their hand. Some people need you to scream at them. Some people need you to talk nicely to them. Some people need to see you working before they’ll ever start working. Whatever that thing is, that gets the other person moving. If you don’t know what that is, you cannot collaborate with them.

That’s the magic key.

Hide them; you have to understand them in their style and ask.

I think Carol said it earlier. There is a controversy surrounding bias. What happens is that our bias manifests itself, and we expect others to accept and operate in the same way that we do, and then we get angry about it, right? Like that’s stupid, right? They act as if they will not repeat the same error.

Hold that up. We’re projecting our values onto other people.

Yes, that’s correct, I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m trying. “The world, right?” I thought. I’m trying to own what I say. I try not to project my feelings onto the world because I see it all the time, and bias is a serious thing, right? 

We need to get out of our way. If you’re in the business of helping other people, you need to remove yourself from the situation, get out of the way, figure out how they operate and then help them get to where they want to go.

You’ve got to ask questions and get to know whom you’re dealing with, right?

Oh my gosh.

And don’t base any of those opinions that are appearing in your head right now about that individual on anything, including your biases. You just have to be open. And just be an empty room with no information, and that’s where you collect the data to draw some conclusions to help those people.

I love that perspective, right? I wish more people understood that because we would. The world would operate more efficiently. We would have less drama and conflict.

Hold on to Brian, please. There are people. who enjoys drama, conflict, and it

It just doesn’t work, right? I know it’s not my people, but I can tell you some people say it all the time. I don’t like drama. Guess what? 

They love it.

Yeah, I know.

They bring it everywhere they go. But they’re the first ones to tell you. I hate drama, and I’m. like I do, because I watch all of it. Follow your grass.

Mormons would be here, looking like the test results. Say that’s a lie. Hey, Brian, this has been a **** ton of fun; I’m excited and glad to have you on the show today. What is the one location where you want people to find you?

My website is the only place where everyone can always find me. It’s McDonald Bryan, my surname with a Y because my life has been backward, so I made it. That will always be the case; it will always point to the location. People can find me, and I must say that this is one of the most enjoyable. Uh, these are the first genuine conversations I’ve had on a platform like this in a long time, so thank you. I’m going to be smiling about this for awhile

We appreciate you coming on Thanks for joining us.

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