Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Tracy Brinkmann

Intro Banner of Tracy Brinkmann

Tracy is the owner and creator of Dark Horse Schooling and The Dark Horse Entrepreneur podcast. He has experienced a lot in his life. From hitting rock bottom with drugs, divorce, bankruptcy and death of his daughter to running the planning and marketing of some of corporate America’s finest companies to running his own marketing company and podcast, Tracy is looking to share all that he has learned and is still learning about starting, restarting, kick starting and stepping up your entrepreneurial game.



Tracy is the owner and creator of Dark Horse Schooling and The Dark Horse Entrepreneur podcast. He has experienced a lot in his life. From hitting rock bottom with drugs, divorce, bankruptcy and death of his daughter to running the planning and marketing of some of corporate America’s finest companies to running his own marketing company and podcast, Tracy is looking to share all that he has learned and is still learning about starting, restarting, kick starting and stepping up your entrepreneurial game.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Tracy Brinkmann – Business & Success Coach, Owner of Dark Horse Schooling and The Dark Horse Entrepreneur Podcast

[00:00:00] Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are speaking with Tracy Brinkman. Tracy is the owner and creator of dark horse schooling and the dark horse entrepreneur podcast. He has experienced a lot in his life from hitting rock bottom with the drugs, divorce, bankruptcy, and the death of a daughter to running the planning and marketing of some of corporate America's finest companies to running his own marketing company and podcast.

[00:00:27] Tracy is looking to share all that he's learned and is still learning about starting restarting, kickstarting, and stepping up your entrepreneurial game. I'm really excited to learn more. Tracy, thank you for joining us on fresh blood, please. Could you tell us a bit more about your journey to getting where you are today?

[00:00:47] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:00:47] Oh, my goodness. First off, thank you for having me aboard. I really enjoy this opportunity and I'll give you the cliff notes and we can dig in wherever you want to. . I was lucky enough to be the son of a military veteran.

[00:01:02] My dad served 23 years in the army and as a result of that, we moved all over the United States and even spent about six years. Stationed over in Germany. And I say, it's a good thing because I got to see a broader view of the world and a broader view of people, right? In different creates different colors, different religions, different types of people, the good, the bad, the ugly.

[00:01:24]And then my dad decided to retire and we moved into SA Southern California. So I went from probably a very structured. And it wasn't, my dad wasn't super, oh. But he was very organized, very structured. So I went from this structured life to probably one of the most liberal places on the planet, let alone United States.

[00:01:44]As I was becoming a teenager.

[00:01:46] Jolie Downs: [00:01:46] What was that like?

[00:01:47] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:01:47] Oh,

[00:01:47]Jolie Downs: [00:01:47] That's a big, that's a big time too.

[00:01:49]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:01:49] It was a big time. I rebelled a bit because I w I was upset. I was kinda mad because, I had grown up in, in this understanding of the world was this way. all of a sudden I've dumped into this world where wait a minute, it's way different.

[00:02:05]It, people thought differently, did different things and I'm like Okay.

[00:02:10] I don't quite get this right there. There was no military base where my dad settled anywhere near where he settled that. So it wasn't like I was near a military base. So I had some of those folks they were completely. Nine military folks.

[00:02:24] And it was a bit of a culture shock, which seems funny because I was still in the United States. What are what's up with that?

[00:02:32] Jolie Downs: [00:02:32] But there is two different there's different cultures. So yeah, this is very interesting.

[00:02:35] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:02:35] it's, it's funny as a, there's a comedian that used to say, People overseas speak like seven different languages and which is easy because you drive for an hour and you're in another language in United States, they do speak different languages.

[00:02:49] They're just different dialects and coming . Out of high school, I joined the military for six years, went back overseas and then came back. And then I, after my bout with drugs and we can dig into that too, if you like, I go on my corporate journey and that took me around the United States as well.

[00:03:07] And I really began to learn as an a young adults that inside the United States, we have these different cultures let alone inside a single city. Some cities are, like the five boroughs of New York. All kinds of individual cultures inside of that. And Yeah.

[00:03:23]It was pretty cool.

[00:03:24] And I went off on a wild tangent on you. Sorry about that.

[00:03:27] Jolie Downs: [00:03:27] No. It was really interesting though, especially I'm really, you think about the dynamic that we have in our current culture right now and the United States. So I find it interesting when you talk about growing up with a certain dynamic and way of thinking, and then being dropped in a completely different way of thinking, how did you adapt to that?

[00:03:44] And did you learn anything from that?

[00:03:47] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:03:47] You know what I think. When I, as I was growing up, one of the things I took to was being very adaptive, right? Especially when you go from United States to another country, I was lucky enough in the fact that my heritage, my grandfather was German actually came over here to the United States from Germany.

[00:04:06]So I grew up speaking the language, so that eased that, that

[00:04:10] culture a bit for me. But when it came to that piece of it, I was always very. Similitive. Maybe a little bit too much if That's.

[00:04:18] even a word. So I started assimilating the culture around me. Okay. I've never surfed before, but I was a gymnast.

[00:04:25] So I knew a lot about balance and everything. I was very athletic in that sense. So first thing I started to do is learn how to surf that helped me assimilate right into kind of Southern California teenage boy culture. And then, I w I was. Leaned heavily in my youth and all the moving that we did in humor, in being able to connect with people, because I found in across any culture, if I come over and if I can make you smile and make you laugh, the barriers begin to come down. And then we can start having open dialogue about anything we want to, and I think the third thing I really learned early was if I could get you to talk about it, keep asking questions about, you have a, an honest and authentic curiosity about what it is you do. Who's Jody, what is she doing?

[00:05:14]Why is she doing this podcast? Why is she talking to this blonde haired, bearded guy? I don't know. And get you talking that you'll open up and I'll learn things. I'll like, oh, you and I, we click.

[00:05:24] Jolie Downs: [00:05:24] Okay.

[00:05:25] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:05:25] I'll figure out, what you and I we don't mesh very well and I'll just, I can go my separate way and find someone who does,

[00:05:32] Jolie Downs: [00:05:32] that's so great, it's it? And that's really great advice all around for helping us, helping people to connect with new people, because let's be honest, it's not as easy as we get older. When we're in school, we have a lot of opportunities and the older we get, it seems like there's less opportunity to meet new people.

[00:05:48]And those skill set that skill set can get a little dried up for some people.

[00:05:52] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:05:52] Yeah.

[00:05:53] depending on your career choice, you're absolutely right. And of course, like you mentioned earlier, the events have happened, in the past year and a half have made that even more difficult. But at the same time, they've almost made them a lot easier because a lot more people now are going to technological meetings.

[00:06:11] Like we're doing right here, we're meeting together. I'm not even sure where you're at. I'm up in Wisconsin. You're wherever you're at. Ah, there we go. And we're having a chit chat right now from across the miles. So there's those opportunities, but I think the opportunities are there, but as we get older, we, I think we fall into our routines.

[00:06:32]We're like a record that a GRU has been cut into and we're just following our own song. I would warn you though. Be careful because a grave is nothing, but. Know his, but nothing, but the gutter with the ends kicked out, which could be that groove. So that grave could be that groove. You want to be careful there,

[00:06:51] Jolie Downs: [00:06:51] Yeah, you want to be careful. You got to keep living that's for sure. Now I'm curious, cause you we've only scratched the surface here. I know that you had a corporate role in, in planning and inventory planning, production, all of that kind of thing, correct? For a number of years before going into your own.

[00:07:10] Okay. So tell me a little bit about that. With your corporate career, like where did you get to in your corporate career and then what made you make the decision to go into business for yourself?

[00:07:19]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:07:19] You know what? I always had my side hustles, right? We're talking way back from the entrepreneur over the elementary days to where I was selling pencils, you go into the school and there's that little machine there put a quarter in, you get 2, 3, 4 pencils. And I would always make sure I have extra pencils.

[00:07:34] So when someone needed one, I charged him a quarter for them. So I'd be getting 300% return on my my investment later on, as I grew older. You're settling in Southern California. Like I mentioned, I got into cars. I wasn't the engine guy, my brother from another mother. He was the engine guy.

[00:07:50] I was the paint and the stereo guy. So a lot of my friends brought their cars to me to install stereos. That was good for extra money. Started painting cars. I always had that entrepreneurial hustle, even when I was working in fast food as a teenager. Okay. Out when I, like I mentioned earlier, I, I high school.

[00:08:07] I jumped into the service for six years, came back to Southern California and started really my entrepreneurial journey first. I started doing computer consulting for preferred provider organization. The people you would call up and say, Hey, here's my insurance policy number. What doctors do I get to go to?

[00:08:24] So this is back in the nineties now, right? So dating myself a little bit here. But it's obvious with the gray hair. And so I started doing database programming for them. So that was my first entrepreneurial journey official however, Th that coincided with the first real money I had in my pocket, landed a couple of big clients.

[00:08:43] It was out celebrating in this row was introduced to That's where the drugs came into the scene. So you mentioned in the introduction, my, my fight with drugs and that one took me off my entrepreneurial path, unfortunately down the road for a couple of years battling with that addiction.

[00:09:01] Get out of that. and I that's, when I got cleaned up inserted my car. Journey. I started with Coca-Cola.

[00:09:09] Jolie Downs: [00:09:09] Okay.

[00:09:09] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:09:09] You had an ahead. An amazing run with Coca Cola went through, I actually was a member of their marketing north America marketing team. Made it up to a director level at their location down in Atlanta, went from Coca-Cola to home Depot.

[00:09:24] From home Depot. I went to let's see, it was a place it's called front gate. They're now an owned by a home shopping network, a cataloger from there I went, and these are names that we're all gonna recognize, except for maybe front gate. David's Bridal,. Victoria secret and Le Senza. So all, all the the,

[00:09:40] Jolie Downs: [00:09:40] Lot of great

[00:09:41] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:09:41] companies

[00:09:41] the Yale some amazing companies.

[00:09:44] And I think what I'm thankful for is there something I learned different in each one of those obviously Coca-Cola is a marketing engine, right? It was all about the marketing, at least in my roles. So you learned all about those nuances that we hear people touting about, know your customer, right to interview.

[00:10:04] In doing that. And then when you get to a home Depot, they had this endless aisle mentality for their website. It's Okay.

[00:10:11] you want to screw here? It is 50,000 versions, which one do you need? And so there's a pro and a con to that and I got to see both sides. And then we're working closely with the marketing department there.

[00:10:21] They were doing. Things on, responsive, targeting and retargeting before Facebook was even around or anything official they had some great techniques that they were using. So I learned a lot of that early on in a while. This is all going on. I'm over here on the side. I'm doing coaching.

[00:10:40] I got in, I got, I was being heard. During my time at Coca Cola. So I started intern, coaching, others, being a mentor inside the company, and then other people outside saying, man, you're doing some amazing things, have an amazing career. There was one point in my career. I had five promotions in three years and they're like, how did you

[00:11:02] Jolie Downs: [00:11:02] you, how did you do that?

[00:11:03] Tell

[00:11:03] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:11:03] Yeah. I started, so I always had a side hustle even during my corporate time. And then. About seven years ago, I moved up here to Wisconsin to run the marketing for an organization called legendary white tails. And had a blast, great time doing amazing things in. It was just like, all right, I want to keep doing this kind of solo.

[00:11:27]Cause this is theirs.

[00:11:28] Jolie Downs: [00:11:28] We found your jam.

[00:11:29] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:11:29] I found my jam.

[00:11:31] It's funny. I always found in the corporate world, I was good for a little while. There was that. And then there was that point where it just wasn't, I don't want to say it wasn't fun, but I got that itch,

[00:11:42] Jolie Downs: [00:11:42] itch. Yeah,

[00:11:43] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:11:43] Yeah, You get that itch. You're like, okay. And as you could tell, by some of the names, I kept jumping from name to name, trying to find that sweet spot, I find it more in my own world saying, okay, here's what I get to do.

[00:11:57] Cause you know, you get to pick who you work with. And that's one of the, I think amazing things about being an entrepreneur is two parts. One, you get to be. And if you're not being you're really not doing your business or your customers a service, you've got to be authentically you now, I'm not saying you need to tell them all your dirty secrets.

[00:12:18]You know what I'm saying? But you want to be you. I come to you here. I am. I got my soul surfer shirt on my long hair and my beard. This is who I am. All right. And those, what you'll find is when you be you, those that resonate with you they'll be attracted to you. You'll spend less time trying to find them because they'll be drawn to you.

[00:12:39] You're like, oh man, Tracy rocks. I love everything about him. And those that don't care. Can't dig you for who you are. You probably don't want to work with him in the first place.

[00:12:49] Jolie Downs: [00:12:49] A hundred percent. You're a hundred percent, tracy. There's so much to unpack there. I'm like, I don't know where to start. Okay. So let's start with the corporate really quick, because you mentioned the promotions and this is something that people want to know about. There's a lot of people who are trying to move themselves up.

[00:13:01] The corporate ladder they're trying, or they're trying to get into big name companies that are the dream companies. So I have two questions. What helped you get into these companies? Would you say, like what helped you land some of these jobs? If you have any advice there. And then the second, when you had the promotions, multiple promotions within a company, I'd like to know what you felt helped you be, that person that they look to for the promotion.

[00:13:26] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:13:26] sure. The first one is I became the person they wanted me to be. All right. So let's go with the the Coca-Cola example. W did I want to go into Coca-Cola at the manager level? That wasn't my tactic. I went in and said, you know what? Here's an amazing job that I can see an uprising trajectory. And it was working in their parts department.

[00:13:52]Basically if you look around, you see all those Coca-Cola machines and I don't mean the vending machines, the fountain machines where you go get your drink and, go away. There are vans that grow around and service those machines, where they were looking for someone to make Sure.

[00:14:06] that the inventories.

[00:14:07]In place in all those vans across the whole Western United States which was about if I remember correctly, 125 vans or so I'm like, oh, I can do that. Because my geek brain said if they don't have the right tools, I could create the right tools. So I went in there with the confidence I went in there, I got the suit, the tie, no beard.

[00:14:28] I left my mustache cut my hair short. I became the person they want.

[00:14:32]In there speaking their language. You do a little research, you can, the easiest research is really just read their websites. When you're looking at the job description, there'll be key words, go and look at other job descriptions that they're looking for.

[00:14:45] You'll see. Those key words will be sprinkled throughout all those job descriptions, those buzz words. All right. Different cultures have different buzzwords. And if you can inject them in the interview, they're like, oh, this is our guy. We don't even have to look any further. And again is because that's who I wanted to be.

[00:15:02] I'm like, okay, this is who they need. I'm going to become that person. And then when you get in there, you go in 180%, not a hundred percent. You just go after it, you be the go-to guy, even while you're learning. Yeah. That's okay. So that's that one. And what was the other question now?

[00:15:22] Jolie Downs: [00:15:22] and cheers to that. Cheers to that. So the second one was what, how did you get, was it, that was how you got the job,

[00:15:28] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:15:28] That's how I got through. Oh yeah. The

[00:15:29] Jolie Downs: [00:15:29] he got the job then promotions? Yeah.

[00:15:31] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:15:31] The promotions were a result of continuing that 180%. And here's where I'll go with. So the role I was at in Coca-Cola north America marketing I was the I was the manager of inventory and planning for all of their marketing materials. And so rather than just saying, Okay.

[00:15:49] I just have to worry about making sure the right inventory is in the right place at the right time.

[00:15:54] I went beyond that and said, I went over to my actual, the folks that were creating the actual marketing content and said, here's what I'm seeing from the sales and shared that with them and then gain their insights of what they were creating. And so there was that it became almost this two way street of, Hey, here's what we're thinking about doing.

[00:16:18] And I can say, Ooh, ah, you probably don't want to do that because the last seven times you tried that. And it really became important because the mentality back then was, there was there was a lot of turnover in the marketing department, as folks came in young from college, trying to build up their portfolio and we either move on to other parts of the Coca-Cola organization or out into other organizations entirely.

[00:16:41]So they weren't always the same people. And so I became that. That, almost that constant. And then I did the same thing with the customer service folks. I reached out to them and say, Hey, here's what I keep seeing going on. I think it'd be helpful. X, Y, Z. Because I was adding all this value across the board, they're like, Oh,

[00:17:00] they just, you need more responsibility, and it happened with boom. It, at one point my director, my, excuse me, my VP created a role. That actually fit what I was already doing. They're like you're doing all these amazing things. Let's just create that role because it's serving us so well. Boom, there's that? And then they I continued to do that and they put me into a manager role and then it became a director role.

[00:17:24] So it was just, again, I don't want to be over-simplistic but deliver the value. Just like you tell any entrepreneur out there, Dell, if you bring the value, the rewards come and sometimes you have to step out of the norm to find that value.

[00:17:43] Jolie Downs: [00:17:43] You're so right. Thank you for that. It was a great answer. And so the other part that we skipped over was the drugs. When you went down that avenue and you got yourself out, and that's what I I want to hear about because there's a lot of people that are struggling. There's a lot of people struggling with addiction.

[00:18:01]How did you help yourself?

[00:18:03] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:18:03] I and I would like to say, I looked around in one day and said, oh my God, I need to stop doing this. It wasn't that simple. I had to hit rock bottom. And and I've had this conversation with a number of folks who've battled in addiction of one type or another. I unfortunately was too damn good at it.

[00:18:22]Trust me. I'm not trying to make this life sound awesome. Cause it's not, it's somewhat like they see you see in the movies, but it's not like the movies. Like I said, I had landed a couple of great clients was out celebrating and I was actually sharing with the fellow who owned the bar that we were shooting some pool at.

[00:18:39] And it, man, I got this great client and I really compressed the timeline of the turnaround. Just to land the job. And he's it.

[00:18:46] sounds like you need to stay up a little bit longer. I'm like, Yeah.

[00:18:49] but man, your brain only works so long or programming. I need to sleep. I need to eat. He says I can fix that.

[00:18:55] And that was the introduction to meth. He gave me some of that and I got so much programming done the next three days after that, I was like, man, this stuff is awesome. And it's all great. Anything like that? Booze, you hae that, but that initial. Feels amazing until you wrap your car around a pole.

[00:19:12]And so it quickly got its hooks into me and my business became secondary. It was all party, party, party fund, fund, very selfish. And because of the, my ability to connect with people, I didn't have to go out and sell it. I actually got other people to sell it for me to support me.

[00:19:31]Then I found to say, damn, I could actually make some money doing this. And so now it became a profit center to the point where, I was able to buy my own condo. I had a couple of cars and right. I wasn't like living the lifestyle or anything. I just had a nice little condo space of my own and, There are a number of seedy characters in the, in this world.

[00:19:52] And they're even seedier when you get to the dark side of the tracks. And it came to a point I was off on a four day party binge and someone ratted me out. And the police literally kicked open the door and raided my condo. I was not there when it happened. So that was a blessing from above. I got back there that Sunday morning and, it's, I walked into my condo and you're like, oh, what the hell happened in the air? And it's in the movies, furniture is tossed over. There were, fruity pebbles and frosted flakes and instant potatoes dumped out on the floor as they were looking for things.

[00:20:27] They didn't find anything. Little smart. But a couple of detectives showed up while I was cleaning up. And are you Tracy Brinkmann? Yes, I am. Now mind you remember? I said I was on a four-day party binge the beginning of those four days. Me and a buddy of mine went to the firing range in Southern California.

[00:20:46] I didn't have a carry permit. I didn't have a gun permit or anything. So we were allowed to have it at the range. And I say, Hey, I'd like you to come back tomorrow. And it were his guns. He had the permits. I'd like to come back tomorrow and, shoot some more at the range. And he goes I'm not sure I'll be able to make it.

[00:21:01] I said can I just borrow your guns? And I'll just drop them by your house later on. Sure. They're in my briefcase with my wallet, I'm out on the party binge,, having my fun, I get to the house. And because we're back to the present, right? The detectives come in, I have Tracy brakeman. Yes. We'll over yo, we heard this or that.

[00:21:17] And that's why we, what was they call it? Executing a warrant. Do you have some ID? Sure. It's in my briefcase. Let me get. Everybody gasped at this moment. I wasn't thinking I was just trying to be the good guy. Here's my ID. Wasn't even thinking back to Thursday and what was in my brain click open from behind.

[00:21:34]I hear one officer yell, gun, right? Wraps his arms around me, pins me down, handcuffs me and I don't blame them. If I was the officers and the roles reverse, I would do the same thing. They take me downtown. They I hang around for a bit in a cell and then they finally pulled me into an interrogation room and they're asking all the right questions.

[00:21:57] They knew all the right names. Now I didn't admit, they knew all the right names. And I don't know you're talking about it. I don't do that guy. Yeah,

[00:22:05] I may have seen him at the bar, but if you show me a picture, I probably wouldn't know his name, those types of things. So they finally let me go. And as I'm walking back home, I'm thinking to myself. Oh, my God. My dad had always raised me family for his family first. And I had a four month old daughter. So now it's not my life I'm hosing up anymore. I was this close to, if I'd have been home, it might've been a different story. I'm not, might not be talking to you right now.

[00:22:31] So that was my I use the phrase. I was my come to Jesus moment. And I got back to the, condo called my mom and dad and said, I need. And God loved them. I have a, I had amazing parents, God rest them in my brother from another mother. If it hadn't been for those three folks, I might not be here.

[00:22:48]So for anybody who's battling any kind of addiction in your ready, because if you're not ready, you're probably not listening to me. You're you checked out from my story a long time ago, but if you are ready, seek to help.

[00:23:02] man, find somebody you trust. But find someone you don't trust, you don't even know that you think might help you and get the help.

[00:23:10] I didn't go to rehab. I went to my mom and dad's garage and set up a bed for, cause of my daughter, she, I gave her my old room where I used to live and took my bed and put it in the garage. You can do that in Southern California. Set that up and literally fell asleep for five days.

[00:23:26]I only woke up enough to, do bio things, go to the bathroom. Mom would force a sandwich down my gullet and I'd go back to sleep. Yeah. And then once I was awake and after that five or six days, I mentally I'd taken this wicked kick to the head and psychologically, I was like, Wow.

[00:23:46] I still had all these amazing computer skills.

[00:23:48] I could have went right back out there and started making money. But I kept thinking, man, what if I see this person, I go into an interview to pitch my service and they're like, Didn't I see you wired out of your skull at the bar the other day. You know what I'm saying? That kind of thing kept me from doing that.

[00:24:03] So I went out and did warehouse jobs. I worked at the overnight dock, moving boxes, the midnight shift. I went out and did Kelly services, being an accountant in someone's office for awhile, just to build my confidence back to feel good about myself. Just one step at a time as they say.

[00:24:22]And then finally I was like, Okay.

[00:24:24] I'm ready. And that's when I put myself back out on the market and landed that role at the Coca Cola company.

[00:24:31] Jolie Downs: [00:24:31] Amazing really good. I applaud you Tracy. Cause that's so hard, especially in that moment, calling your parents and saying, I need help. What. Moment. I thank you for sharing that because I know how I can imagine how hard that is. And I know we all have those moments in life that are so hard and we just need to bring ourself to to take that step.

[00:24:54] And so can so good. Good for you.

[00:24:57] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:24:57] In what, and don't get me wrong. I'm gonna tell anybody out there. It's not, I'm not saying it's easy.

[00:25:03] Jolie Downs: [00:25:03] no. That's why it's

[00:25:04] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:25:04] If it was easy. everybody would do it. But man, here's the thing, the hardest. Everything I had envisioned in my head as I was walking home, knowing I was going to make that call.

[00:25:14] All the horrible things I had thought did not happen. The worst case scenarios that I had run through in my mind, 87 times just dialing the phone. They didn't happen. It was just me having to utter the words and my mom saying. But you're like, wait, what? You really, you've got to get over the fear that's inside yourself because so many people are willing to help you without even berating it.

[00:25:41] Sure. Come on over. We'll make sure you're taking care of,

[00:25:44] Jolie Downs: [00:25:44] there are so many incredible people in this world. They're everywhere. They're all around us. We just need to open our eyes and hold out our hand and be willing to put it in someone else's.

[00:25:53] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:25:53] but it's that pride, right?

[00:25:55] Jolie Downs: [00:25:55] it yeah. Oh, it's yeah. There's that pride gets in the way. Always. In fact, that was a big thing.

[00:26:00] Learning early on. I in relationships, if you want to have good relationships, you have to learn how to put the pride.

[00:26:06] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:26:06] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:26:08]Jolie Downs: [00:26:08] You've done a lot in your life, Tracy. What do you feel out of all the things that you've done, what do you feel has been one or two of your greatest successes and what did you learn from it?

[00:26:18] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:26:18] I think it's going to be one of the hidden successes. One of the greatest successes really was the moment I turned around and looked back into my own abyss. And I've had to do it three times. Obviously coming out of my, my, my drug times, I took the time and I didn't do it right away. Don't get me wrong.

[00:26:38]I was going through that, building myself back up. And, but during that building myself back up, I took the tough man in the mirror moment and looked back and said, okay, I went through some crap. I did some stupid things. What can I learn from it? And took those. Forward, which is why I think why I became a success in my corporate journey.

[00:26:59]And then during my corporate journey, you mentioned the death of my daughter. I went through that trial. And after that, I threw myself into work and in a personal development and as a part of that exercise, I thought let's do this again. Looked back at that horrible moment. I wouldn't wish on anybody of losing a child to say, Okay.

[00:27:20] what can I learn?

[00:27:21] What can I glean from this to carry forward? And then the last time was when I came to realize that I was selling myself short in the relationship that I was in, because I had thrown myself into personal development and she was in her own path. Let's say she was just staying. Stagnant while I was, I won't say I won't even use the phrase of growing.

[00:27:46] I was going 10 degrees one way. And she was going zero degrees straight. What? 10 degrees? Over 10 years, that's a long way apart. And it became to the point where I actually felt like it was an abusive relationship, not physically. But definitely mentally, and you've got to stand up.

[00:28:03]I had to courage to say, you know what, this is not working. I'm worthy of someone or something better. And when you can get through the ugly divorce, and so really I think those are the, yeah.

[00:28:16] I've raised some amazing kids. I got three wonderful daughters.

[00:28:21] Oh, that will always be my greatest success. But when it comes to right that the inside myself, it's being able to turn around and look at that monster. That was me. At one point, I call it my, your via BIS and glean the lessons, right? That's silver lining or whatever cliche you want to get it.

[00:28:44] Jolie Downs: [00:28:44] I love this so much, Tracy it's so important. And that's where all of that's where so much of our growth happens is really being able to look back into those moments of a base. And we all have them in more than one generally and be able to learn from those times in our lives. And often those times really are.

[00:29:02] They give us the. The soil, if you will, for that learning, at least for me, I've found that those abyss moments where you really, it feels like everything is over. It is, it's just, it is a darkness. If you will, when you can get yourself out of that and you can look back it's those tools that help you get through everything else in life.

[00:29:22] It just, it had a there's so much to learn there.

[00:29:25]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:29:25] I think if we, if anyone wants to believe that they're here for a purpose, let's just, let's scratch that for a moment. I think life has lessons to teach. And as you go continue to go through life, I'm 50 plus years old, I'm still learning lessons. And until I learned the lesson, life is going to find a way to put the lesson back in front of me.

[00:29:47] So as soon as I'm ready to learn the lesson, they'll say, Yeah.

[00:29:50]I'm going to start teaching you the next lesson. Now you've learned that one and I'll be your experiencing new things. I, once I figured, you know what, I'm worthy of something amazing. Six months later, I found the amazing woman and married her.

[00:30:04] And we're happy as a clam now. But I had to learn that lesson for so life will keep teaching you the law. We'll keep putting the lesson in front of you until you learn it.

[00:30:15] Jolie Downs: [00:30:15] Yeah. Yes. And Tracy, I want to say I'm so very sorry about your daughter. I can't even imagine. I don't even know what to say about something so horrendous. Is there anything that, from that experience that, you know, that abyss of learning that, that moving forward. Ha. There's just here's where I'm going with this.

[00:30:34] There's a lot of people in grief right now. There's a lot of people have been lost over the past year. Not only for COVID for lots of different reasons. Is there anything that helped you through that grief that you feel might help somebody else?

[00:30:46] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:30:46] Oh I was lucky enough and this is it seems weird to say, to be there at the moment that she passed.

[00:30:54]And actually it was a choice, right? She had, she was born with a distended abdomen, had six operations in her first three months of life. And she was put on the donor. I'm going to give you the short version.

[00:31:07]She was put on the organ donors list. We were in Atlanta. She ends up needing to move to the children's hospital in Pittsburgh because that's where the operation is. It was a newer operation. So they were going to do it up there. So now we're flying back and forth and everything. And 1.1 of the I don't honestly call them nowadays.

[00:31:27] They used to call them candy stripers. One of the, the aids and the hospital aids was holding the baby and babies are wiggly jiggly. Something happened, got her attention. She falls out. Control hits her head, gets a massive hematoma. It'd be old banana shape on her head. And her health begins just to go sliding down the hill.

[00:31:45] And so on one of the trips going up there, and she's about 17 months old at this point. And any parent will recognize this, you see your child and something's wrong just instantly just like that.

[00:31:56] So I walked into her room and I'm like, Okay.

[00:31:58] this is there's something going on. So I pulled the doctor aside in the room and asked, Hey, I'm curious if the organs are available right now, was she survived the operation.

[00:32:09] I got a lot of doctors speak him in and hon and literally, no joke grabbed him by his white coat. Pulled him across the hall into a janitor's closet. Closed the doors. It's just you and me. No hospital administrators, no insurance companies. Re-ask the question. And finally got no, he didn't believe she would survive the operation. Okay.

[00:32:31] Not the answer, but now I know. So do you think her health would improve? Like it was just a month ago where she could survive the operation little quicker answer, but at the end it was, no, I don't think so. At this point, she's on a respirator. Her body is functioning. Okay. But she's too weak to breathe.

[00:32:52]So that it becomes, Okay.

[00:32:54] She's not going to survive the operation if it happened right now and she's not going to get better to survive the operation. So you're left with that ugly choice. Do you leave her on the machine or do you let her go? And this is where, sorry, this is where I was almost thankful for my previous drug addiction.

[00:33:13] And looking back into that abyss because I realized my whole bout with drugs was my selfish time. It was all about me, me party, party. That's all I cared about me. And when I realized I was being selfish, cause I had my other daughter I stepped out of that. And so it actually made me really pause to think, am I keeping her here in the hopes that she will get better and grow up?

[00:33:38] Or am I keeping her here for me? And it made the decision, just the slightest bit easier to remove the breathing apparatus, wrap her up in her favorite blanket and literally rock her to sleep. One last time. Sorry.

[00:33:55] Jolie Downs: [00:33:55] Oh, Tom

[00:33:56] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:33:56] now I'm going to get to the answer to your question, because I got to be there at that moment and almost became the deciding factor.

[00:34:03] But I got to tell her, thank you for all the amazing things that she had taught me. She had this amazing thing. She did anyone who's seen E T re T reaches out, and it is finger glows, knee heals. She would do that. Anytime she saw something new in her, come into her life, toy food, she would reach out real tentatively and touch it.

[00:34:24] And once she touched it, like any other baby it's in her mouth dollar or whatever, and she always looked at the world with these eyes of amazement, like any baby does, but because what she was going through, I knew she was uncomfortable and in pain because all the things that were going on with her, but she was still just, and it, I was always looking around at her, watching her, watch the world and thought, Oh, my God, I need to continue to do this.

[00:34:48] So I promised her while I was rocking her that I was going to do these things. Going forward and I've kept that promise so far. And so to answer your original question about helping them deal with the pain is like whoever you've lost they've they came into your life for, I truly believe for some reason, if it was to help you to get through something, to teach you something, to be there as a shoulder, to lean on my brother from another mother, Robbie had passed away.

[00:35:19] He's four years, my junior. He passed a year, passed away five years ago. How was deeply in pain until I realized, he taught me everything he could tell. wanted to learn so much more from him. So that was my way of looking at, okay. He's still with me. He'll never be away. So that's probably, and that's not a great lesson.

[00:35:40] It's not going to ease anybody's butt. And then the second thing I would say is feel it, man. They're your feelings. You have every right to your feelings. I held mine in when my daughter passed away for far too long and it, I didn't realize it until about maybe eight to 12 months later, I was watching this movie where a father.

[00:36:04] Volunteered to kill himself to give his son his organs. And it, there was a whole, I won't be able to explain the whole thing. I'll take too long, but as soon as I realized, that's what that father was doing, he was going to offer himself to donate his organs to his son who was dying. I just started bawling like a baby.

[00:36:23] All these pent up emotions had just come out from my experience that I didn't let myself. Feel the movie just said here, it's your time. Boom. Like life show me that lesson. And I finally learned it. So you've got to feel your feelings and then you can say, what were they here again? It's another way of looking at that silver lining. Yeah,

[00:36:45] It's not great that they died. Maya, your mom passes away. Your brother passes away, but man, you got to enjoy them for how long, right.

[00:36:53] It, mine was only 18 months, but man, 18 amazing months.

[00:37:00] Jolie Downs: [00:37:00] Tracy. That was incredibly powerful. Thank you for sharing that. I I'm really moved right now and there's.

[00:37:06] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:37:06] Yeah,

[00:37:06] Jolie Downs: [00:37:06] There's so much to take away from there. I'd like to know what was your daughter's name?

[00:37:11] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:37:11] her name? is Krista, Okay.

[00:37:13] Jolie Downs: [00:37:13] Krista with a K. Thank you for sharing Krista story with us. I really

[00:37:17] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:37:17] My pleasure.

[00:37:19] Jolie Downs: [00:37:19] So I'm curious because you've learned a lot in your life.

[00:37:23] And so I'm I'd like to know what your personal definition of successes how do you define that for yourself?

[00:37:29] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:37:29] believe it or not, I've made it so simple is being authentically myself.

[00:37:35]

[00:37:35]If I get to be authentically myself, I feel successful. So that means to be able to feel successful in my marriage. I get to be me and she gets to be she. And if there ever a time where those things but then we figure it out.

[00:37:50]We it's, nobody's perfect. It's we've had our bumps. But we've never gotten to the point where we are yelling at each other, which is amazing

[00:37:59] Jolie Downs: [00:37:59] That is amazing.

[00:38:00]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:38:00] I don't like that kind of confrontation. I would like to sit down and have a chat with you and just figure it out. Hey, this is what I'm thinking.

[00:38:09] What are you thinking? your opinion? Which is so hard, especially given the things we've seen in, like we were talking about earlier, what's going on in the world right now. Everything is you got to do this or don't right. Or you got to wear that or you can't do that. You know what I'm talking

[00:38:25] Jolie Downs: [00:38:25] Yep. Yes.

[00:38:26]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:38:26] It's not always black or white, sometimes. Yeah. Drop the ego drop the pride and just share

[00:38:35] Jolie Downs: [00:38:35] Oh, so true.

[00:38:36] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:38:36] hit right there. So Yeah. if I can be authentically me, I'm a success that makes it pretty easy.

[00:38:44] Jolie Downs: [00:38:44] You're right. And when you are it's just like when you're able to embody those things, when you're unable to be authentically you a hundred percent, you give permission to everyone else to do exactly the same and it just opens it all up.

[00:38:56] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:38:56] That's right. And I have no right to say, you know what? I don't like how long your hair is. I think you should be a blonde who gave me the right to say that. You're like, you know what? I like my damn

[00:39:08] Jolie Downs: [00:39:08] Yeah. Yes exactly. And just makes me think this, the whole, perception is reality because it's this topic that, that you can go so many different ways with, because perception is reality. And when you're dealing with interviewing and things like that, just like you said you changed yourself.

[00:39:23] You you showed them what they're looking for. You gave them, you became the person that they wanted you to be. Because perception is reality for them. But then on the flip side, you also want to have it's. You can't be defined by other people's perceptions of you. Like you said, someone can come and say, why don't, you should have this long blonde hair. And you're like, oh, maybe that's the reality ship. No, the reality is your own perception. So this perception is reality is one of those double-edged swords for me that they can go back and forth. It's just a matter of.

[00:39:50] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:39:50] it's a tough one. Here's what I find is when people play that when they do, like I said, from my Coca-Cola days where I became the person they wanted, as I look back now, of course, back then, I didn't notice it. I compartmentalized pieces of my life. Okay. Because I was still a hardcore rock and roller back then, and I even liked street rap.

[00:40:11] And this is the stuff that I wouldn't play in the office. You can't play that kind of stuff at the office. And there's words in there that. Man in the United States, some people would go, why are you listening to that? You can't even sing those words out loud. And so I had to compartmentalize and then take it one step further.

[00:40:34] I had to compartmentalize it away from my kids.

[00:40:37] Jolie Downs: [00:40:37] oh, you have to. Yes. All of these

[00:40:39]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:40:39] So it's okay, I could not, I could I not be me at work, but I really couldn't be me at home fully. so what and it just, it begins this really ugly. Process of the snake eating itself. So Yeah. That's where I come back. If I can be authentically me then rock on now, It doesn't mean I'm going to be blurting, curse words everywhere I go.

[00:41:00]I don't curse all the time, but sometimes the next expletive roll right out of there, I'm like, oops,

[00:41:05] Jolie Downs: [00:41:05] It

[00:41:06] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:41:06] sorry.

[00:41:09] Jolie Downs: [00:41:09] these things happen.

[00:41:10]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:41:10] Exactly.

[00:41:11] Jolie Downs: [00:41:11] So I'm curious. You've experienced a lot. There's a lot of people who feel stuck in life right now, it's in the middle age too. I find that a lot of people hit that spot in life where it just, they feel a little stuck. Do you have any advice that you would give someone to help them move forward and either find the right path, find the right next opportunity or just move past that feeling of being.

[00:41:34] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:41:34] Oh we could go on a whole nother episode for this, but I give you a nugget and if we want to dig, we can I have a whole, what I call the eye chart process and the eye probably answers your question, which is to Ida. Let me expand. And when I say this, I want everyone to, if they wanted to pause for a moment, and if you're in a safe spot, you can even close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting on a Vista, a high on a mountain, right?

[00:42:00] Maybe on a cliff. If you're willing to hang your feet down and you're looking down over what you would call your perfect. You're just looking down. And as you're looking down, ask yourself, what kind of house are you living in? Is it a mansion? Do you have a little bungalow, right? Or do you have a little grass thing along the beach?

[00:42:19] Whatever it may be. Maybe it's a cabin up in the mountains, right? walk inside that house. What does it look like? Do you have fancy stuff all over the place? You have rustic, you have kiss memorabilia. Like I have in my room behind me here, who is the perfect person that greets you as you walk through that door, are there kids, is there a dog?

[00:42:41] How does it smell? Does it take that big whiff now? How is all of this making you feel? So this is your mind telling you, this is what we really want deep inside. You notice I haven't talked about money or a job or who you are. This is what you're like, Okay.

[00:43:00] If I could get to this, I would be a happy person now.

[00:43:04] See that's going to be the first step to breaking you out of your rut. Remember I talked about that being a grave with the ends kicked out, that groove. And now it's Okay.

[00:43:14]Now you can maybe ask the question. All right let's leave the house and go to. The job and maybe going to the job means you just go into a different part of the house because you're working for yourself.

[00:43:24] Or if you're one of those cubicle folks or an office guide, that's fine. Where that at Coca Cola is in an IBM's shiny ivory tower, or is it somewhere like Google or you got all these cool things happening, right? Maybe you're a gamer. I don't know whatever it is for you. You can picture that. Now you can step back and say, all right, that's what I want.

[00:43:46] Now I know what I want. Now let's start. Backstepping that a step at a time? How do I get there from where I am today? If you can't picture what you want. And here's the perfect example. If I went to the ugly divorce, about two months later, I was sitting down with my journal and I figured out, you know what?

[00:44:04] I know I'm going to be in a relationship eventually, but I really want it to be at the right time. And I started writing down what I wanted in my perfect mate, perfect woman. And being a guy, obviously I had to get through all the obvious things I wanted to have long hair and pretty eyes and this, that, and the other, all right now.

[00:44:22] But then You start going a little deeper. I want her to have an open mind. I wanted to have a golden heart to be loving. All these things. For me now, I know what I was looking for. I didn't have to worry about the next time I saw some Cudi walking down the hallway, going, Ooh, do I want to start dating her?

[00:44:39] Because if she didn't fit this model that I just pictured inside my own head, because I know what my heart wants. Moving on. And as a result of that just a few miles behind that. I found her, I think it's, that whole law of attraction, you put it out there, the world universe, man, this is what I'm looking for.

[00:44:58] And eventually it. will be brought into your circle. Doesn't mean you're going to get it. You've still got to earn it right. Because trust me, I had to earn this woman. But the universe says, okay, here's the one you're looking for. Boom. Now the rest is up to you.

[00:45:12] Jolie Downs: [00:45:12] Tracy. That's exactly. The steps that I took to get myself unstuck. So thank you for just reinforcing that because

[00:45:21] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:45:21] It's gold,

[00:45:22] Jolie Downs: [00:45:22] what worked for me. It is gold. It is gold, and it is a matter of there's so much that people find themselves surrounded by things that they don't want. And it's very easy to do because life can be very reactive and we can forget to be proactive.

[00:45:37] And yes, when I was in my moment of stock, that's what got me out was. That whole visualization of figuring out what would my ideal life look like in five years, if I were to, everything were to go, if I were to plan every facet, what would that look like? And then finally figuring out what you want and going after it.

[00:45:55] So that was very amazing.

[00:45:57] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:45:57] it. And one step at a time.

[00:45:59] Jolie Downs: [00:45:59] Yeah. One step at a time. Yeah.

[00:46:01] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:46:01] And I think one sub one sub text underneath that is if you are looking at something, you're like, dude, I already know what I want, man. Thanks for that exercise. But I know what I want. There's a question you need to ask yourself. Here's a couple of them, but I'll give you one.

[00:46:15] Is that really your goal?

[00:46:18] Jolie Downs: [00:46:18] Sure.

[00:46:19] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:46:19] Cause if you haven't done that exercise, it might not be your goal. It might be a goal you've stumbled into because of the career path you're on or because of a choice of partners or maybe even your parents who knows it could be A goal that has been brought to you by society.

[00:46:35] Answer that question. And if you have to pause and think about it, it's probably not your goal. If you say 100%, no problem, then you're good. Go for it.

[00:46:44] Jolie Downs: [00:46:44] yep. No, that's very profound. Thank you. So before we wrap up a couple, just a couple of things. Is there a book or a video or talk that you've watched read, listened to that made a really big impact in your life that you think other people would benefit from as well.

[00:47:02] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:47:02] Oh, my gosh. There are two. And the first one is really easy to mention. Not many people will read it. I get it. It hit me when I was in my teen years, when all that. thing was going on, my dad settled into Southern California. I was into martial arts and I picked up a book called The Taoby Bruce Lee. And it wasn't just about his martial arts. It was a lot about it. He was a very philosophical guy. Deep. And I didn't even realize it. I just knew him as the guy up on the big screen back then. And there was a number of notions philosophies in there. One still rings true to me today is absorb what is useful, discard the rest and add something that.

[00:47:42] is uniquely yours.

[00:47:43]Oh, you do that in the rest of your world will just fall into place. So that's number one. And I think that the one that really was a very pivotal for me after that was see you at the time. By Zig Ziglar that happened right after my daughter passed away. And I didn't read the book.

[00:48:01] I actually bought the cassette tapes and listened to them over and over again. And it was, there's just so many magical stories and he just had this way of delivering them and such. Authentic and down home in disarming way. You're like, you're learning a lesson. You're like, wait a minute.

[00:48:19] Do I earn a lesson there? It was just, it's so cool. If you haven't listened to any of Zig stuff, I'd recommend all of it, but that wouldn't see you at the top is it's pretty magic.

[00:48:27] Jolie Downs: [00:48:27] I'm going to check that out. Thank you. So as far as the guests getting to find you, I know you're a podcast. Tell us a little about your podcast.

[00:48:35]Tracy Brinkmann: [00:48:35] The podcast is called the dark horse entrepreneur. And like you mentioned it, so for my dark horses, which is another word for the underdog, right? Yeah. Those folks that no one thinks is going to be able to show up when Placer show if you're looking to, start restart a kickstart your life, your business.

[00:48:51]That's where we're at, man. Cause we've, we talk a lot about entrepreneurship, but I find that there's a lot of lessons in life that we've got to, this amazing tool between our ears,. If our, that, if our mindset is jacked, our biz set is going to get jacked as well. So we spend a lot of time on all that personal development stuff at the same time.

[00:49:13] Jolie Downs: [00:49:13] Great. I love it. Love it. So people can all have your links on the show notes so they can find your website. And if people are interested in your consulting, they can find you there as well.

[00:49:24] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:49:24] absolutely.

[00:49:26] Jolie Downs: [00:49:26] All right. And then last question, Tracy, what are you sure of in life?

[00:49:32] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:49:32] Oh, what am I sure of Mike? That's a magic question. What am I sure up? You know what, here's one thing I'm sure of. I'm sure that things are going to change.

[00:49:44] Jolie Downs: [00:49:44] Ooh,

[00:49:44] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:49:44] result of that, I'm going to have to change too. Now it doesn't mean I'm gonna have to stop being well, we talked about authentically me, but it may be how I present that to you might change.

[00:49:57] Until you can catch up with who I am. I don't know. But Yeah, I th I, I guarantee you, no matter what's going on in the world, something's going to change. And as a result you're going to have, and if you don't change here's the magic. If you don't change while the rest of the world's changing you, my friend are falling behind.

[00:50:15] Jolie Downs: [00:50:15] I have a hundred percent, Tracy. Thank you so much. This was a wonderful talk. I enjoyed it all.

[00:50:20] Tracy Brinkmann: [00:50:20] Thank you.

Jolie Downs:

There is so much wisdom to be learned from Tracy’s story. From the very beginning Tracy learned how to be adaptive, moving around so much he had to learn how to connect with other people. This skill is so important to success in life and Tracy gave great advice around how to develop that skill. Let’s be honest, it can feel harder to develop meaningful connections during certain stages in life but regardless of how it feels, there are a lot of options out there – both locally and online - and we’ve learned that you can develop deep connections virtually.


As Tracy shared, in his own life, he learned how to surf in order to connect with the community he lived in.

If you are looking for deeper connection, what is an activity that has interested you that you can get involved in? There are communities around every interest – pick one that lights you up and go all in. You’ll find those like minded souls that make life brighter.


Once Tracy met people he would try to make them laugh and smile to help the barriers come down. Humor is a great way to connect with people but even if humor isn’t your style, you can always make someone smile. Kindness, authentic curiosity, genuinely wanting to learn about someone is something that can be felt, generating good feelings and resulting in that smile. Remember, people don’t always remember what you say but they do remember how you made them feel. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, be the one who is interested enough to learn about it and you’ll find those connections growing and deepening.


Tracy had great advice around landing that dream job and setting yourself up for promotion. When Tracy wanted to get that managers role at Coca Cola, but he knew he could master the level below it. Knowing there was a strong upwards trajectory being within the company, Tracy presented the company with exactly what they were looking for, going in with confidence that he could do the job to the best of his abilities, he spoke their language using the buzz words found on the job descriptions and making the correlations with his own experience - and he landed that job. Once he got the job, Tracy went in at 180%, even while learning, Tracy advises to be the go to person – become that person willing to help, willing to learn, willing to make a connection. Tracy would connect with every department, using that curiosity to learn about their operations, their wants, their challenges and becoming the person who can see the big picture. Becoming that person who brings the value add. Because of his actions behind this mindset, the promotions came and he quickly moved up through the ranks.


This is a recipe for success that you can apply to your life.


Are you looking for ways you can help? Are you looking for ways you can learn? Are you finding ways to make helpful connections that assist others to reach their goals?


Do this in your work. Do this in your life. The success will follow.


I appreciated that Tracy shared the difficult parts of his story and what he learned from those experiences. He gave us powerful messages. When struggling, whether with addiction or something else, we must get over the fear inside ourselves and ask for help. There really are so many people out there willing to give a helping hand. I hope that would be your family or friends but even if that isn’t the case, our world is full of beautiful humans working at organizations that were created specifically to help you. Please, if you need it, go to these places and ask for that help.


Tracy shared that he hit that rock bottom from his drug use and had to take a look into his own abyss. He had to acknowledge that he had done stupid things but he took the time to learn from it, then he moved forward and built himself back up stronger than before. This experience of looking into his abyss and coming back, helped him deal with the ultimate loss of losing his child, his daughter Krista. Once again, being faced with a different kind of abyss, Tracy knew which mindset would bury him and which mindset would help him get through.


What can I learn? What can I take from this experience to carry forward? How is this experience helping me a better human? In times of great distress, it’s this flip of the mindset that will help to get us through.


I remember the extreme anger and soul crushing ache of losing my mother. She died from cancer at the age of 50. I remember questioning God, the higher power – how could there be a God that would take such a good human, such a loving, wonderful, needed mother at such a young age? If there is a God, how could they allow such a thing to happen? I felt righteous in my anger.

But, with reflection, I realized I was asking the wrong question. The right question was:

How could I question God, the higher power, when I had been given a wonderful mother that I loved so deeply, one that the loss of her was causing me such immense grief. I had been blessed, I had been given a gift for 26 years. Now, when I feel that pain of loss and it becomes too much, I remind myself to flood my thoughts with gratitude and love for what I had been given. And even though she is no longer physically on this earth, she is very much a part of me and influences my world and that of my sons. As Tracy said, every person is here for a reason, here to teach us, impact us and help us grow, we carry them in our hearts.

When I take a step back to look at the impact my mothers life had and still to this day has on my life and on my loved ones around me, it is awe inspiring.


We owe it to ourselves to choose the mindset that inspires. And it is a choice.


So, with whatever you are dealing with right now, I ask you, have you chosen the mindset that makes you contract or the one that helps you expand?


I loved Tracy’s definition of success – Success is living life authentically himself. If he can run a successful business, live a successful marriage with happy friendships all while being authentic to himself, then this is a life of success. And how true it is. I’ve experienced living my life for others and I’ve lived my life for myself and there is nothing like gliding through life fully owning, loving and fully living in your skin. That total acceptance and gratitude, of this is who I am, that is a true feeling of success and one that once found, can’t be taken away.


Are you living authentically as yourself? If not, in what areas do you not feel free to do so? What changes could be made so that you would feel free to be you?


When I asked Tracy if he had any advice for someone who might feel stuck in life at the moment, I absolutely loved his answer, this is something I believe in deeply. This IDEATE process, not only got me unstuck within my own life but I know this is what has helped unstick countless others, we’ve discussed it many times before on this podcast.


I think often, in life, we can find ourselves surrounded by things we don’t want. All around us are our have to’s – I have to do this, I have to do that, I need to do this, I need to do that and when we get in the reactive mode with our have to’s we tend to forget the Want to’s.


What I’ve learned is that it all begins with the WANTS.


And a huge percentage of the population truly doesn’t know what they want. When I was drowning in my life, buried underneath all the things I did not want, I had a clear realization that I didn’t really know what it was that I DID want.


How many of you can identify with that feeling? Not fully knowing what you really want? I would bet a lot.

A large percentage of the population never stops moving long enough to focus on even asking themselves that question or they are so consumed with their needs that they think they don’t have the luxury of wants.


This is a mistake.


Again, It all starts with the wants.


And you must write it down. Write it all down.


There is power in finding clarity and writing out your intentions. Getting clear on your goals and writing them down brings a special kind of magic and the universe conspires to make it all happen with you.


So take the time to do the practice that Tracy laid out. Even if you think you know what you want, if you haven’t done this exercise in the past year, it’s time to do it again and make sure you are in touch with your own wants, staying true to your own course and not those of others. Close your eyes, think about your life 5 years in the future. Say everything you wanted worked out absolutely perfectly, what would your life look like? Where would you be living? What would your house look like? Who are the people who live there? What does it look like, what does it smell like, what does it feel like? What do you choose to do every day, for work and purpose? For pleasure? How are you helping others? What kind of person are you? What do you exude to the world?


As Tracy said, once you figure out what you want, once you know what you are looking for, it activates the reticular activating systems in your brain and you will start noticing where you can take those baby steps each day. You will see the doors start opening to help you get there.


This is the way you transform your life.


I hope you consider doing this practice and writing it down, tonight.


Finally, I’ll leave you with a final shared thought from Tracy and Bruce Lee – my wish for us all:

That you absorb what is useful, discard the rest and add something that is uniquely yours each and every day.


Until Next Time





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