Dai Manual describes the moment in his life where he reached rock bottom and the only way out was to become vulnerable and be open and honest about his feelings and who he was as a person.
When Dai Unofficially Became a Coach
The Hero's Journey
When Dai Met His Wife
What Gave Dai the Courage to Allow Himself to Be Vulnerable?
What Stopped Did Being Vulnerable?
What Are The Main Benefits From Being Vulnerable?
Top Tips for Becoming More Vulnerable
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[00:00] Dai Manuel: But then there was this one day, you know, I got out of the shower, and I had this little hack where if I kept the water on really hot, got really steamy in the shower, by the time I would get out, the mirror would be covering, condensation all fogged up so I wouldn't have to see myself. I cowled off. But I was rushed this one day at my dad's, and I don't know what was going on, but obviously he needed to get my brother and I out early that Saturday morning. So I was being rushed to have a quick shower and get in and out. And I remember when I got out, I could see in my peripheral, my reflection, and normally I'd be very quick to just sort of towel and shield my eyes so I didn't have to look at myself. But this morning, I decided to turn, and I locked eyes, and then I did the scan. I started to move my eyes down, stopped on my belly because I started to bring my eyes back to the top. I got up there and I had just toweled off, and I needed to tell off again just based on the streams that were running down my face, you know, that ugly cry, you know, like, that was where I was at. That's how I was feeling. And it was like this incredible release for some reason, like, I really felt like I just needed to get it all out. And in that moment, I don't know why, I don't know how, but the what was what do I need to do right now to start changing things? And all that came to mind was tell my dad I want to make a change. I got out, throw on some quick clothes, found my dad in the living room as we're he's rushing to get us to the throne of my dad. I want to get healthy. I don't want to be this way anymore.
[01:46] Announcer: Welcome to the Radical Health Rebel podcast with your host, Leigh Brandon. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a five star rating and the warm review. Your opinions are important, and your ratings help grow the podcast and help educate people to lead a healthier, more productive, fulfilling, and happy life. If video is your thing, please check out the Radical Health Rebel YouTube channel, where you'll find Fun Bitesized clips from each episode. And now, here is Leigh, the radical health rebel with this week's podcast.
[02:26] Leigh Brandon: Dai Manuel, Welcome to the Radical Health Rebel podcast. How you doing?
[02:31] Dai Manuel: Fantastic. Just honored to be here. It's been a long time coming. I know we had a couple of rescheduling based on me and my well, let's just say my calendar. And so I just really appreciate your grace and the patience with me, and I'm just an honor to be here. This is wonderful. And I just love that, the connectivity. We're both on different continents right now. And here we are face to face and it feels seamless, right? And so it's great to be here.
[02:58] Leigh Brandon: It's good to have you. So today's episode is entitled the Power of Vulnerability with diamond. Well, and today I'll be discussing a very important topic with my guest, a subject that until a few years ago, I'd never even considered or even thought about. But in recent years it's a subject I've become more aware of in observations of myself and others. So I'm really looking forward to this conversation with you today, Dai. And to kick things off, can you tell us a little bit about you, your upbringing, perhaps your educational background, your career to date and a little about your experience of vulnerability in your own life?
[03:40] Dai Manuel: Okay, well, thank you. First and foremost, I know vulnerability is well, it's funny, I've got friends that work in the It space. They're understanding of vulnerability very different than mine. It means a term that we hear, especially with the blackouts and certain social media channels and the hacking that we've heard lots about. So a lot of people attach vulnerability with a negative connotation. So I'm excited that we're going to shed a light on actually the positive aspects of that term and hopefully people take it upon themselves to maybe warm up that relationship and recognize it can be a skill and a skill that can bring us a lot of fun in life and deeper connections. But before we get into that, it was a great question. Who am I? Well, that's the question we're always asking. But many years ago I shook off the titles and I shouldn't say I shook off, I just got to a place where I realized I was someone that was chasing titles. I was living in my ego a lot, and especially during my twenty s and into my early 30s, which will give a little bit more context to a story we'll talk a bit about later. In particular, what was sort of the theme of my TEDx Talk and life is never a straight line. It's one thing I've really come to understand, it's a lot of zigzagging, ups and downs, backtracking to go forward, slowing down to go fast and speeding up sometimes to slow down. And I didn't really appreciate that initially in my earlier years, but I definitely do now. And back in the day I would have been very quick to answer that question, trying to talk about my accolades, talk about my business background, the various positions I've held, again out of ego. Now, I've come to terms with this in the last 13 years and had a big shift in life. And now when I'm asked this, honestly, the only titles that matter to me dad and preferably Super dad, as well as dating my wife and I'm very intentional with the language that I use dating my wife, and we can probably unpack that a little later too. But those are actually the two things. Like, if you were to sum up, who am I? Those are it. I'm a dad. I'm also a committed husband and partner. Yeah, sure, I've got some businesses, and I've done a lot of cool stuff in that sort of health and wellness space. But like yourself, I'm just someone that's passionate about helping people navigate change. We get to a place in life, we might be struggling, we might be running up against the wall, so to speak, and feeling like we're not making any progress in certain areas in life. And I know how limiting and isolating that feeling can be, you know, I know how discouraging it can be, especially when it comes to living authentically, living openly, and really feeling confident enough in ourselves to try stuff that we've never done before. I mean, that's where the secret is to really maximize the opportunity for joy, happiness, and especially fulfillment in life. And I know you know this very well. I've heard this theme on your socials as well as in past conversations that you've had. So that's how I best describe myself. I'm 45 now. I live in Vancouver, Canada. The last five years leading up to the start of the Pandemic, I had exited out of a 17 year career a month after that. My wife left two months after she quit her career of nearly a decade. We pulled the kids out of school, gave away all our stuff, and started traveling.
[07:06] Leigh Brandon: Wow.
[07:07] Dai Manuel: We had no plan, no agenda, no destination in mind, to be honest. But we knew we wanted to chase the sun. So it was January in Canada. It's wet in Vancouver. For those that are familiar with climate here, I mean, it's pretty much Pacific Northwest is a rainforest. It really is. But it's not a warm rainforest. It's very chilly, especially during the winter months. And so we started going south. And during these last seven years specifically, I've been trying to better answer, who am I? That's really what I've been on as a journey of self discovery. So I apologize if my answer is a little bit longer winded than probably most people answer this question, but it's just me being open and honest. But I'm still figuring it out. I'm figuring it out. And you know what? I'm having a great time doing it.
[07:50] Leigh Brandon: And we're all still trying to figure it out, right?
[07:53] Dai Manuel: I think we are, right? Yeah, totally.
[07:55] Leigh Brandon: So what was life like for your dad growing up?
[07:59] Dai Manuel: Well, the earliest memories were nothing but fun and very pleasant. My parents were very kind, very thoughtful. I mean, they were both born in 1944. Just to sort of put this into perspective, they're clearly baby boomers, but the closest definition, they were end of war babies. And my dad was the youngest of five siblings, but his next eldest brother was ten years older than him. So you can imagine they had four kids in quick succession. Then there was a little bit of oops, and that came my dad. And my mom was a single child, but raised by deaf mute. My grandparents were deaf, and so they couldn't speak, couldn't hear. And so my mom her first language actually wasn't English, but it was sign language. And the interesting thing was, when she started to learn English, it was a big black woman from Mississippi. So my mom living in Toronto, Canada, where Canadian accents run amok. It just is. She was, you know, had this woman from Mississippi that was teaching her English. And so my mom still to today when she speaks, sometimes as a little bit of a drawl. It's the funniest thing, you know? But it's just it's amazing to see how impactful those initial inputs when we're growing up can be. Right. Fast forward. My parents got married pretty young. They were high school sweethearts. My mom worked and ended up becoming a nurse and supported my dad while he was finishing his school and become a veterinary medicine practitioner, doctor of animal sciences. Right. And so we always grew up with animals too. But at age nine and this is where things sort of took a turn, was my parents separated and ultimately divorced. And I was the eldest of me and my brother. And he was good. He was barely seven at the time, so for him, it was just whatever. It was just another day, and he didn't really have any issues with it. It was quite resilient. I still remember back and I was like, Why aren't you upset? Why aren't you crying like I am? Because I was uncontrollable sobby, and I just felt like my world had ended. Again, I dated myself. I'm 45. But if we go back 35 years ago, there was only one other kid in my entire class of 30 kids that had parents that weren't together still. So there was a lot of negative stigmas associated with divorce. There wasn't a lot of resources, and the conversations just weren't there. I really had no support, no ways to navigate this. And that was where things started to go awry. I see my dad every other weekend sometimes. I mean, he worked a lot. He had a great work ethic. He was building a practice and very successful at that. But unfortunately, it took a lot of his time. And so if I didn't see him on that every other weekend, it could go as long as a month without seeing my dad. And I'm not a big phone guy, all right? I'm not, nor is my dad. So it just meant that we meant to see each other that often. And so I was around my mom a lot more, and something weird happened. I felt really powerless. Now. Again, I reframed all this. I've been able to work with professionals to sort of work through some of this trauma from the early childhood because it did create some challenges for me, especially in my teen years and then into my twenty s and even my early 30s. So it's amazing to see how these early traumatic events can still impact and linger with us if we don't try to reconcile our relationship with these past memories. And so long and short of it. I learned very early on that I could eat certain things and do certain things that would make me feel better in the moment, that can make me ignore anything that was going around me. One thing I love to do was I would eat certain foods and they weren't nutritionally sound foods, OK? They were very nutrition poor, high in calorie, but provided me that instant dopamine hit that instant sort of fit where I could feel like oh, I feel good right now. I feel like things are okay in the moment, right? And what happens? Sure, the blood sugar drops off, we get to bad energy place, we start to crash. It's like oh, whoa is me. And in fact I'd often feel worse than I was before eating and of course you eat again. It was just this sort of cycle and it was a cycle I was in for five years and a lot of the activities I did were again seeking those little retreats or escapes movies and video games. So again, you know health very well. It's what you've been helping people with most of your life, right? Like myself. And as much as we know, we also don't know the long term effects of living in that state. And at least I wasn't aware of that age, right? I didn't know that I could make changes. I wanted to, I didn't know how to. It was really hard. All the cliches and the typical stigmas that are associated with someone, that's more of the obese. That's what I was living because by age 15 I just kept growing bigger and bigger and bigger year after year because my habits were the same. It's a solid return on investment, like those little daily deposits, unhealthy or healthy, either way it still adds up. You get that return on that investment. Unfortunately it wasn't a positive investment and at age 15 it really got hard. I was dealing with depression, a lot of social anxiety. There's like two images of me from back then because I avoided cameras in social situations, because I felt so bad about myself. I didn't like myself, I didn't like seeing my reflection, I didn't like having other people see me. And that's problematic. As we can all imagine, anyone that remembers their teen years are hard enough as is and add all this extra challenge to it. It didn't make things easy for me one day. It was the weirdest sort of thing. I don't really have any rhyme or reason to it other than I must have just got to a place where I was more afraid of not changing than I was with the idea of changing. That's the easiest way I can explain it. I think there's a lot of people, especially those that are listening, watching this, that can probably relate to that. You get to that place where you just feel like, gosh, if I don't change and I'm honest with myself, my future doesn't feel very exciting. In fact, it feels even harder. And I know if I keep doing what I'm doing, it's not going to be better than it is right now at age 15, to have that sort of realization. Now, I can articulate this now, I couldn't say that back then, but I felt this like, oh my gosh, life is only going to get harder and harder. I really just owned it. We're up till that point. And as I told you, my parents were very kind, they were very loving, they were supportive. They wanted my brother and I to be happy. I mean, that's really what they want. It's what every parent wants for their kids. We want them to be happy, joyful. And so they saw me hurting and they would often come to me and, hey, can we get you a gym membership? I don't hire you a personal trainer. Oh, I have a friend that's a dietitian. Why don't we have a consult with her? These are just examples of some of the things that they would often come to want to help me. But every time they came to me and offered that, I was like, all I could hear and all I felt was, you think I'm fat, you think I'm ugly, you think I need to change? So I would act out, I would push away. I'd really not be very nice. I'd be very confrontational. I would be very antagonistic and also very defensive. And that was sort of the normal. So it got to a place where they stopped offering to help, fair enough, because it would set me off on these bit of a spiral. But then there was this one day, I got out of the shower and I had this little hack where if I kept the water on really hot, got really steamy in the shower, by the time I would get out, the mirror would be covered in condensation, all fogged up so I wouldn't have to see myself when I toweled off. But I was rushed this one day at my dad's, and I don't know what was going on, but obviously he needed to get my brother and I out early that Saturday morning. So I was being rushed to have a quick shower and get out, you know, in and out. And I remember when I got out, I could see in my peripheral, my reflection, and normally I'd be very quick to just sort of towel and shield my eyes so I didn't have to look at myself. But this morning, I decided to turn and I locked eyes, and then I did the scan, I started to move my eyes down, stopped on my belly because I started to make my, you know, bring my eyes back to the top. I got up there, and I had just toweled off, but I needed towel off again just based on the streams that were running down my face. You know, that ugly cry, that was where I was at. That's how I was feeling. And it was like this incredible release for some reason, like, I really felt like I just needed to get it all out. And in that moment, I don't know why, I don't know how, but the what was, what do I need to do right now to start changing things? And all that came to mind was tell my dad I want to make a change. I got out, thrown some quick clothes, found my dad in the living room. As we're rushing to get us at the door, I'm like, dad, I want to get healthy. I don't want to be this way anymore. And I thank my dad every day, you know that he saw me that day in that moment, like, oh, boy. Okay, guys coming to me asking to make some changes. This is him not us having a problem. Let's act on this right away. So he's like, what can we do? What would you like to do? And I'm like, you know what, dad? I used to love riding a bike. Maybe we can go get me a bike. He's like, okay, let's do that. And literally, we ran the errands that morning, and on the way back to his place, we stopped at a bike store and got me a bike. Got home. I went for my first bike ride. I just went for a ride. I just rode at no destination. My decided I'm just going to ride, and I'll come home when I'm ready. And then I just kept doing that day after day, going for a bike ride, because it was something that was private. I didn't want to go in the gym. I mean, gosh a gym during the 80s? No, thank you. Covered in mirrors. There's stairmasters lining one wall, treadmills on another. You get to look at people doing the aerobics classes. I'm looking at all these healthy people, and I'm like, I do not want to be in here. You're all judging me. That's how I felt, right? Like I was very insecure. And so I started doing this exercise, and I realized I didn't know what to do next. I didn't know how to eat. I didn't know how to move my body to create certain physiological changes. I just really didn't know anything. I had no knowledge. I didn't know anybody around me. I didn't have any great mentors in my life or coaches. So I did the next best thing. I went to the library. I got books out on fitness and on nutrition. I remember Ryan, oh, my backpack. Was jammed and I was, like, struggling on my bike to get home with them. All my kids still like, dad, why don't you just Google it? Your dad's older than Google. They still like to joke about that, as they often refer to me being older than TV at times, which I have to crack them on. But it was just so interesting because I remember the excitement I felt right as I started to learn new ways to change. There's something incredible that happens when we gain knowledge and when that knowledge becomes wisdom, we start to apply it and see how it impacts ourselves personally. That's like knowledge to wisdom that's bridges the gap. It's the actions that we do to implement what we're learning. And I learned that early on, and thank goodness I did, because I just trusted that if I kept doing a little bit of the right things every day, that big change would eventually happen, that I would get to that place that I wanted to get to, which was I just wanted to feel healthy. And also people say, what was the other motivation? I'm like, well, if I'm honest, I wanted a girlfriend. My psychologist, many years later helped me unpack that. And to be honest, I didn't love myself. I didn't at all. But I wanted love. I wanted to feel loved. I want to feel like somebody wanted me or saw value in me. And for me, that's what I saw. Going on around with all my friends, right? Getting girlfriends, going on dates. I could see them flirting in the hallways, in the classrooms. I wanted that. I wanted that so badly. And I believe that if I got healthy and made some changes, that that would become available to me. And sure enough, it did. About two years later, it took about two years to release all that weight and to develop a new lifestyle. And I still remember the day I just woke up. And I would often make a little todo list every day of just the action items that I knew I wanted to accomplish that day, like get a workout in, make my food for the day, drink three liters of water, just really basic stuff. But that was what I would try to ensure I did every day. And I remember one day in particular waking up and I didn't do my list that morning, but I did everything that I would normally want to do. And that's where I really realized, OK, this is just how I'm living. I don't have to think of it anymore. I just do, I do my life and all these good habits are in place. And that was a really empowering moment where I realized, you know what? All this change has happened in the last couple of years because I chose for it to happen. And I think I'm grateful that I learned that early on, because I was able to reapply that in other situations that were really hard in life, you know, like, listen, we never get out of this thing without any scars. If you do well, you've probably lived in a bubble. If you're someone who's out there living a life, you're going to have scars, you're going to have hard stuff. I mean, it's just the nature of things. That's what we do with those hard stuff, right? And who do we get around and we can unpack? But that was what all those changes started, and just to sort of put a little bow on this, and then we can sort of move on, or we can chat about anything we want. But it was the weirdest thing. All right? I remember if I sort of share this little side story here, because this is where I realized what I want to do the rest of my life. I was 17, in change. A friend of my mom's came to the house, and I remember him coming to the door, and Larry was like, hey, is your mom around? I'm like, no, no, she's in the back of his gardening. You can just walk in the back. You'll find her. She's out there somewhere. And he's like, okay, great. And he kept looking at me through the screen door while I'm in the kitchen preparing for some food. And I'm like, okay, what are you hanging out for? I told you, my mom's not here. I'm 17. This guy's, like, in his 40s. I'm like, Dude, what's up? You can tell that my gesture is like, what's going on here? Why are you keep looking at me? My mom's over there. It felt kind of awkward, right? And then he asked something, and he said, well, actually, before I see your mum, can I ask you some questions? Can I talk to you? And I was like, oh, what did I do on the weekend? I remember there was a party this weekend. Did I do anything bad? What am I forgetting that I did instantly? I'm, like, feeling the sweats. Come on, give my heart rate go up. Because I'm like an adult twice my senior wants to have a conversation with me. 101. I must be in trouble. That was instant fear, right? And as we sat down, the first thing out of his mouth was he was acknowledging the changes he had seen me navigate the last couple of years, and it made me feel really good, you know, seeing that feeling seen, right? And more importantly, also feeling heard, which happened next, you know, because he then proceeded to say, listen, I want to get healthy, or healthy you're is how he framed it. You know, I want to lose some of the weight. I remember grabbing his gut and doing the little shake where they grabbed the rolls, and he's like, I really want to get rid of this. Do you think you can help me? I was like, sure, I can share with you what I did and what helped, and I would love to, no problem. And so we started that relationship. I started to provide some insights and some guidance, some coaching, a little bit of mentorship. But here's the thing. At 17 years old, it was the first time I felt I had value to offer. First time that someone saw me and saw that I had value to offer, that was a wonderful feeling. And right then and there, I got bit by the bug. You know, the bug to coach and mentor people because I felt so fulfilled after that conversation. I was like, I want to do more of this. This feels good. This feels right. This feels aligned with the kind of things I want to be doing. And so I knew right then and there that for the rest of my life, in some capacity or another, I'd be serving others and helping them with change and fast forward. In almost 30 years now, I've been doing this I'll be 46 in about a month's time and having coaching and mentoring people. And I still love it as much today as I did on that day when I was 17, having that first conversation with Larry. It hasn't really changed much other than I've learned a bit more. I've also had to move aside from my ego and realize that empathy is a much more empowering feeling and emotion than fear, than guilt, than shame. You know, it overpowers all those. And so I look to create and foster more empathy and understanding and connection. And that's where vulnerability comes from, right? Otherwise, I was living in my ego, the old traditional cliches of no pain, no gain, right? Like, as some of us trainers may or may not have tried to maintain with our clients at some point or another. But I used to believe that in my early 20s especially why I wasn't very successful trainers, to be honest. But Heinza's not always 2020. That's sort of my teen years. And then I gained so much clarity and confidence that when it came to taking action, I was pretty quick to take action at times. In particular, I graduate high school and I was like, okay, peace out. I'm moving out west. And literally, I moved from Toronto to Vancouver, and I didn't look back. I knew at 18, I'm never going back. I need to start my own life. I want my own life. And fortunately, I got into University of British Columbia. So it made that transition even easier with my parents. Less things to discuss or fight about. And, like, I got into school here, so I'm going in there for school. Meanwhile, thinking back on, I ain't never coming home. This is my new home. This is my life. And, yeah, and that's when the next journey began, you know, at around 18 years old. But, yeah, that's sort of the origin, man. That's sort of like. The hard stuff. Obviously, there's lots of other stuff that happened in those earlier years, but that was the most impactful decisions and to be fair, challenges that set my life to where it is today. Had I not had those experiences that time, would we be talking today? Probably not. Would I be alive today? I don't know.
[26:58] Leigh Brandon: Honestly, when you were speaking earlier, I was thinking actually it's unusual for someone at 15 to actually see the light from one of another phrase. And I'm sure you do get people in your forties and fifties coming to you in the place you're at when you were 15.
[27:15] Dai Manuel: You bet.
[27:16] Leigh Brandon: So the fact that you learnt important lessons that young has given you several decades to be able to be of service to others for all that period time.
[27:28] Dai Manuel: Yes, thank you. Yeah, it's been a heck of a journey. But I have to make one little note. I realize that some people, they just grew up being very active, were attracted to sports. They may have had parents that were very encouraging or themselves very sporty, where they already had active lifestyles. And to be fair, that was something that wasn't modeled to me by my parents. My mom's always struggle with her weight. My dad was and I loved my father. Okay, please don't take this the wrong way, or I'm not trying to be mean, but he was skinny fat, okay. His body fat percentage is quite high, even though his body weight, BMI wise, would always be in the healthy zone. I mean, you take the shirt off, you're like, okay, that extra fat you're carrying around the midriff, that's not healthy. And if you do a composition test here, you're in the high 20s, maybe early 30s. It's quite high when we look at that composition. And of course, back then, that wasn't as readily available, but you could tell. You would know. But this is what I grew up with, so they were wonderful supports. But when it came to modeling good habits and good behaviors, especially things that are in alignment with living a healthy, active lifestyle, that just wasn't part of that upbringing. So as such, at nine years old, when I found other ways of providing myself with that momentary reprieve, if you will, from just the rigmarole I was experiencing of life and all those changes that I didn't want that. Were outside of my control. Walking in on food and watching TV and playing video games. I felt like that was in my control, that I could do that. And I didn't come from fitness. So when I did eventually find fitness and found my health again and reclaim that, I knew I was never going back. I'm just fortunate that I had that experience early on. Yes, you're right. I see people now in their later years of life wanting to now make those changes, but they may have been people that were very active and very healthy for a good period of their life, but then those habits fell off the wayside, right? And as such, some of these other unwanted results just became part of their life. I come from a very different perspective because I know a lot of people in the health and wellness space from one of two schools, typically one, you've always been healthy and active and you just love that aspect of life and you want to help others cultivate more of that too. Or you come up from the other side and you've been through something really hard and you've come out the other side thinking, geez, that was awesome. I mean, it's not usually awesome when we're going through it, but once we get through it, we can look back and say, well, that was awesome. I did that, that was great. But obviously when we turn on and look back and see what we've come through, there's other people on the other side of that wall and we're thinking, gee, they want to do the same journey. There were some pretty nasty potholes here and I tripped a few times. I like to help them so they can navigate a little bit more simply than I can. And that's sort of that connection sort of riff on Joseph Campbell, I think is the Hero's journey, right? Very much that's alive and present in my life now. When I look at that framework, I'm like, oh yeah, that's exactly what's happened to me. I think about the gurus or the influence, that mentor that meets us at some point on that journey that really helps us. And I'm very grateful and fortunate that I've had a few people like that in my life and that's what I wish for anybody and anybody listening to this. It's like if you don't have a great coach or mentor in your life, well, don't stop looking for one. It's amazing how much they can help us make the changes a little bit more smoothly than we can do on our own. And I see value in that. Anyway, sorry, I start to ramble a bit, but that's one of those early days, right?
[31:15] Leigh Brandon: It's interesting you mention the Hero's Journey because I almost called this podcast the Hero's Journey podcast.
[31:22] Dai Manuel: No way. Really? Wow, that's super honest. I love it.
[31:25] Leigh Brandon: Most of my episodes, if you listen back, is an explanation of the person's hero's journey, which leads me on quite nicely to my next question.
[31:34] Dai Manuel: Yeah.
[31:36] Leigh Brandon: When did you meet your wife?
[31:40] Dai Manuel: Early 20. So I think I was 21 or almost 22. I think I was actually it was right around my birthday and I had just broken up with a girlfriend and was actually a fiance, which is just a whole nother story. She was great, but I was just young and naive and we both were both early 20 something. That puppy love, that instant sort of love. Anyway, long and short of it, I remember proposing on the beach during a full moon and thinking that this is the best thing since sliced bread, right? Not really thinking about what I was committing to or asking, and I think we were both of that frame of mind. But anyways, after about a year, that ended before anything went further. But during that time, I moved out because we had been living together, and I moved back in with my brother, and my brother had this three bedroom place and I rented one of the rooms. And so it was nice moving back in with my brother, who had moved from Ontario to to where I had lured him out. And he now lives out here now still to today. And actually, my mom's not relocated out here too, so I keep trying to bring people to Vancouver, come on now, because I really didn't want to travel their way. So, yeah, there's some selfish motivations there, but I knew it would be better for them.
[32:57] Announcer: You're listening to the Radical Health Rebel podcast.
[33:02] Leigh Brandon: Just a brief interruption to this podcast to talk about adult acne. Now, did you know that 40% to 54% of men and women older than 25 years will have some degree of facial acne? And that clinical facial acne persists into middle age in 12% of women and 3% of men? I know only too well the devastating effects that actually can have on your confidence and your selfesteem and how it can easily destroy your social life, your career, and your relationships. I know this only too well because I suffered from severe cystic acne from age 13 to 31 over an 18 year period. I visited my doctor on many occasions, and his only suggestions were acne creams, harsh cleansers, and antibiotics that weren't working and were actually making my skin worse. After 18 years of struggle and thousands of pounds invested in treatments that didn't work, through my professional education, I began to learn that what my doctor had told me was untrue, and that diet was directly related to acne plus other factors such as food sensitivities, toxicity, hormones, and balancing the body's microbiome. Putting what I had learned into practice, I managed to rid myself of acne over 20 years ago and have been helping others to do the same for well over a decade. By teaching people what foods cause acne, what food sensitivities each individual has, how to optimize their detox pathways, how to reduce environmental stresses and toxins, and how to balance hormones, especially those related to the mTOR pathway, a major causal factor with acne. I've been able to help many other adults overcome their acne nightmare, too. So if you would like more information on how to overcome your adult acne, please go to www.skinwebinar.com. That's www.skinwebinar.com, where you can also request an Acne breakthrough. Call with me to see if you are suitable for my Eliminate Adult Acne Coaching program, where you can once and for all learn how to overcome your adult acne. Now back to the podcast.
[35:19] Dai Manuel: So, my brother, what's the easiest way to sort of describe this? Those periods in life, they're just not always the most clear in my mind. But when I think back to my brother introduced me to my now partner in my early 20s. He was working with her, and she's a redhead. Tinga, ginger.
[35:41] Leigh Brandon: Okay.
[35:41] Dai Manuel: And I'm very partial to redhead. It's always had Welsh blood, I think. So you're right. And also, she's just a wonderful woman and very kind, but also fiery, right? So no BS kind of a woman, and I always loved that because that accountability. She provides me from a loving place, but she will challenge me and push the right buttons to do so. And sometimes I don't always like it, but I know it's for the best. But we started dating, and things moved fairly quickly, but not so quickly, because she had already in mind. She had gotten this working visa to move to Australia. She had just come back, so she was actually back in Vancouver saving money so she could go again. And her plan this time was to go and not have a fixed return date. Obviously, we started dating. I feel a lot of strong feelings. We're right out of the gate. But at the same time, I'm like, oh, I can't really be vulnerable here to share how much I care for her, because she's just going to leave me anyways. She's already, you know, got a plane ticket. She's leaving, you know. But we had a wonderful three months together before she left, and we kept in Tom intact. Now, back then, it was like, you know, the occasional email back and forth, but she had to find, you know, little cafes to get access to the computer, so it wasn't like we heard from each other on a daily basis back then. If you're a traveling backpacker, you typically didn't have a cell phone back then. Again, this was the early 2000s, late ninety s, and it just wasn't as readily available, especially if you're someone that's traveling on a shoe string. So you don't have a cell phone, not like today. And we got to a place where we just accepted that things weren't moving forward. But who knows? Maybe one day she'll come back. But we kept in touch four months later. I remember getting an email from her right around Christmas time. And I don't know what it was about me, but because I had basically given her the cold shoulder, I felt kind of hurt. That jaded of her leaving. I was like, man, we love each other, we care about each other, and she's leaving regardless. Like, I felt hurt, you know, and my maturity at that point, or lack thereof, I was like, well, fine. You're out of my life. You know what I mean? That was my mental place. It was like, I'm just going to throw you to the side and just move on, trying to protect yourself. I was. I really was. But then I get the occasional email, and something around Christmas time, she called me. She actually called me. And I remember getting on the phone with her and having a conversation, and just all those feelings came up again. We've ended that conversation, and I know I wasn't the warmest. I wasn't. I was still pretty cold. And a couple days later, I sent an email. Basically, I've always struggled with communicating my emotions. It's been something I've been working on especially for the last ten years, specifically working on better, being able to open up and to share how I'm feeling, you know, for the sake of developing more connection, but also giving people understanding as to why I'm acting the way I am. In certain situations, I know if I can communicate what I'm experiencing, what I'm feeling, it helps people relate and understand so they can also support or help. And back then, I decided I was like, I forget it. I'm going to organize my thoughts. I wrote this long letter. I just poured my feelings out. Within a couple of weeks, she came home. Wow. And we've been together ever since. I still think back to that. We started having kids within the first couple of years of being together and wasn't necessarily planned, but it wasn't unplanned. At the same time, we were told by the GP that with her inverted uterus, it may take a while to get pregnant. And so we're like, oh, okay, we're going to have kids together one day. We'll just start practicing because you never know. A week and a half later, we were pregnant, right? So I'm like that's stupid doctor. But we were excited. And by 26, I was a dad. She was not quite 24 yet. And Chardonnay was born my first daughter. And at that time I was working professionally as a fitness equipment salesperson. Actually, I was managing a location for a national chain and doing very well. It's what actually, I didn't go back to school once I started working there and realizing that in a performancebased pay structure, the more people I serve and help, the more money I made. And I was like, this is crazy. I've never worked in an environment like, I've only ever done the hourly exchange of hours for dollar. So for me, it was all of a sudden like, whoa, if I work really smart and I focus on the relationship with people and I help them make the best decision for them, you're going to reward me by paying any more? And they're like, yeah. I was like, Sign me up. And so I just really dove into that, into this world of sales, if you will, customer service, retail. And I liked it. I really did. I liked it a lot because the reason I was thinking I was going to be a lawyer or potentially a teacher, because with the philosophy and English lit degree, your choices are limited. OK? And hence, that's why I was always into fitness, because I just love that. I always figured working that, but I wasn't sure if there was a potential career there. Then I found the equipment side of things and it became very apparent, wow, there can be a career here. And I was making six figures in my mid 20s, selling fitness equipment, working about 40 to 45 hours a week. I was like, wow, I could support a family. I could have a great lifestyle. And it just felt really good, the kind of work I was doing. So a couple of years later, when opportunity came about to then co found a new company with the operating partner of that national chain, I jumped at it. I was given a sweat equity position where literally, just based on my merit and what I'd done and be mentored by him for those years, he saw what I was capable of. He saw that I always treated every business, every role I was ever in, as if I owned it. I watched my parents. That's how they always treated. Every job they'd ever done was like they owned it. The full accountability, the work ethic was there. So I modeled that and it was seen. And he must have seen something in me because he's like, I can work with this. There's a good clay here, I can help mold this. And I was so hungry, I was starving for mentorship, starving, I wanted someone to teach me. I did. That's what I wanted. And he saw that. And so James took me under his wing and fast forward. We worked together for 17 years, and he was the CEO, I was the CEO, and I was marketing and operations sales, and he was the executive officer, which basically overseed all the cash flow along with our Samo, our CTO. Anyway, long and short, it was an excellent experience. We grew that company to eight figures a year, and I had a lot of fulfillment doing what I did, but eventually it just wasn't fulfilling anymore because I started going through some huge changes 13 years ago because I went from food to alcohol. A lot of the anxiety I felt as a teen, it was funny, even when I got healthy. And by 17, when I felt that I was not my fittest and my healthiest, and I was like, I got this again. I got a girlfriend, you know, check, check, check. The anxiety was still there. The nervous around big groups is still there. Every time I looked in the mirror, I still saw the little fat kid. And what I realized as I started to get invitations to go do more social things, because again, I was looking more fit. On six one, I was at 210, quite fit, quite healthy. I made all these big changes all this year, so I had the attention of people of my peers. And so I started getting invited to go to more social events and parties and stuff like that and I was always apprehensive to go. But I remember the first time I had that drink, two drinks in, I was like, whoa, I feel like a completely different person. Some of that anxiety I just don't notice right now, actually, that girl over there, I'm going to go talk to her. And there was this instant moment where I just I associated alcohol with the person I wanted to be. That is a slippery slope when you start to go down that path. It just got really unhealthy. But that was how I functioned for almost 15 years up until early thirty s. And that's actually where the TEDx Talk comes in and talks a bit about that change. And before we get into that, I'll just sort of leave it at that so we can converse a little bit. I feel like I'm on a bit of a soapbox here, just talking and rambling.
[44:10] Leigh Brandon: So really the alcohol was basically self medication.
[44:15] Dai Manuel: It was, it's just what allowed me to open up to people. But I started to realize it wasn't the real me. It was very much a filtered me, a performance me. It was me trying to be what I thought other people wanted me to be rather than me actually saying, who do I want to be? Why don't I just be that person? Right?
[44:36] Leigh Brandon: Basically putting on a facade.
[44:38] Dai Manuel: Really, totally. I was really good at it. Really good at it and so much so probably too good in certain situations because it started to be that. I was referred to as fungi. Die. I go to trade shows in my industry and we're one of the largest retailers in Canada for specialty fitness, Coin. At least we were back in the day. And so we always have the attention of all the big suppliers and vendors and people wanting our time. So it always felt really good. Get your ego stroked a little bit there. It was like, people want our business, so you feel important. And I remember going into some of these conversations and it was all fine and dandy. We negotiate a deal, but always a rush to get to the end of it because I had a reputation. People were like, okay, well, now we got the business out of the way. Where are you partying tonight? Because I want to be there. I'd have suppliers and other professionals. They were literally pulled me aside just to find out where am I hanging out tonight? I had this reputation. If you want to have a good time, hang out with Die, it'll be fun, you'll have a good time. And I started to realize that I was getting a lot of satisfaction and gratification from believing that's how I was and who I was, but I was compromising my values continuously, which again made me feel worse. It's not that it's going to make you feel more awful about yourself is when you don't honor what you value, you do the things that are opposite to that. You act out of integrity, out of alignment. And you do that a few times. You already feel you do it a lot of times, trust me. It just eats away at the inside and that's where I was. And so my drinking became more frequent and in turn eventually it wasn't a good thing for me in any area of my life because it was affecting my relationships at home. Both my kids are under the age of six. My wife and I have been together for a decade at that point. I've been running the business with my business partner at that point for about six, six years ish roughly as independence separate from that national chain. And the hardest part was that everybody on the outside looking in believed that everything was okay, everything was great. Look at Die's life, two beautiful kids, a great relationship, a booming business. He's got his health. Just people's perception of me was such that I didn't actually create a lot of space for me to be vulnerable because I feel sheepish to talk about what was actually going on because I feel like it would completely undermine this perception of who I was. And I was valuing the perception or the opinion that people had of this fungi die. And that just made me feel isolated, like nobody knew who I really was. And then things got to a place where my wife's like, you know what, we're done. We're done. We can't raise the kids in this environment anymore. This is not healthy for them. I know it's not going to get better. And hear my wife say that to me that one morning many, many years ago, it was the hardest thing I'd ever heard. And it was only hard because I realized in that moment, as much as I have all the sales experience and I'm really good at handling objections and helping people through to make the right choice for them, I realized there was nothing I could defend. She was absolutely right. And that was a really awful feeling to realize that, to really realize that everything up to this point in my life, yeah, I created the situation, but I've also created what's happening right now. So that full sense of accountability and being honest right then and there. Because up to that point I wasn't open about it. I wasn't honest about how the drinking was affecting things. I always believed I could just stop, but I chose not to. I always chose to value alcohol over everything else in my life. It was a value, it was a relationship and the relationship was rather toxic. And that one morning, or it was actually closer to the noon, I made a decision. I remember sitting here and my two daughters down on the couch and I'm going to go one year without drinking. Some people were like, well, you should just astronauts is the only way to really overcome challenges with alcohol. And I don't necessarily agree with that. I do know that you need a period of sobriety to do the work that we've probably been avoiding. And for me, it was doing any of that inner work. I was so good at doing the external stuff, working on fitness and health and certain metrics to quantify that those things are going the right direction. But anything that had to be qualified, more cerebral, more honest and open, and more of the internal motivations, that was an area I just always refrain from. I just wouldn't go there. And I realized I had to go there. And so I needed a period of time to do that work. And so I committed to my family to go one year without drinking. And then I got to work and it was hard. I'm not here to paint a pretty picture, you know, it was tough. It was very, very challenging, especially in the first three months, because I realized that crutch was so required for me to function that all of a sudden I removed it, as they say, cool turkey. And I was like, holy gee, I don't know what I'm doing here. This is tough. I couldn't connect with people. I felt unsure about my decisions, my processes. I didn't really know who I was, what was the value to me or what wasn't, other than I knew I wanted my family. I wanted to maintain that. And I found help. You know, I got really this is the first time I've ever truly been vulnerable. My life was at that point at 33 years old, first time. You know, I'd never been truly vulnerable up to that point. I got vulnerable with my wife and I told her everything about how I was feeling, what I was struggling with, all that internal dialogue that I was constantly trying to quiet. And she looked at me in a way that she never looked at me before. There was a great level of empathy, but even a greater level of love and understanding. And she let me know I wasn't alone in this. That was it. That is literally I can go. And I know some people might think this is more of an exaggeration, but it's not. And this isn't even a hyperbole. But I truly believe, had she not intervened that way and said what she said and made me feel the way I felt in that moment when I was vulnerable, I don't know if I'd be alive today. I know that sounds very melodramatic, but I'm just being honest. I had written off one car falling asLeighp at the wheel while under the influence. It was very good. I was escaped getting charged for that. It's now passed a statute of limitations. So I can talk about it, but back then, we were able to fake it and fraudulent. I got to watch what I say, obviously, but I've made some really bad choices and done some stupid things that I'm embarrassed about, and I definitely regret. Did she have the right to challenge me? Absolutely. And I'm so glad that she did. And that's when I got to work, and we can talk a bit about what I did, but I don't know. What are your thoughts on all that? I mean, I know I'm kind of rambling, but I appreciate the space to do this because, to be honest, I haven't fully gone into this story or timeline in this detail before, so I just appreciate the space and the questioning to allow me to do that. It's interesting. As I'm telling this, I'm like, oh, my gosh, I remember I did that. And I did that. Oh, yeah, that was really hard. You know what I mean? I appreciate this. Thank you. Yes.
[52:28] Leigh Brandon: I was just thinking, there were two times in your life when you're 15 and 33 where you kind of hit rock bottom twice, and both times it created change within you. And for some people, and I've seen it many a time in my own career, sometimes it takes people to hit rock bottom before they're ready to make the change. But I guess my question is, when you sat down with your wife and you had that conversation where for the first time, you opened up and became vulnerable, what kind of gave you the strength to do that?
[53:05] Dai Manuel: If I'm honest with you, I think it was also an act of desperation because I tried everything else, and clearly everything else still brought us to that situation. You know what I mean? Like, I'd done periods where I've done a sober September kind of thing, or sober January. I've done these little one month stints of not drinking. So she already knew that I had that ability in me, but that would have been the longest in I'd ever done without drinking since the age of about 17 and a half, you know, one month. So to say I was going to go one year, twelve X fat. You know, like, it was a big deal, and she knew it. And I think there was a little bit this is where the fiery tinge of gin comes out. Okay. She was really good at not just placating what I was saying right out of the gate, you know, she was very quick to be proven, show me, because she knew I'm very good at talking. I could talk my way out of quite a bit of stuff, you know, and she's seen it before, and so her thing was, don't tell me, but show me, show me. And that was really the impetus that got me going, was, okay, I'm going to show you. I got to a place where I was I was. ****** off, you know, and sad and also scared, but I was ****** off, all right? I was like, I'm doing this. I was mad at myself for allowing myself to get to that place, and I was like, I'm doing this. Whether I have support or I don't, I'm still going to do this. But I wanted the family support. I didn't really care about anything outside of that because I wanted that integrity in the family. Because I knew if there was one thing that I didn't want to change or lose, and that was my family. It's always been one of my biggest values, and here it was. I had been living in integrity with that value. I've been doing a lot of things that definitely erode that value and erode my sense of family in my own life. And it's like, no, I'm doing this and not really knowing what I was committing to every once. And I get people saying, yeah, I'm going to do a half marathon. You've done a five k before? No. Okay. Have you ever done distance running? No. Okay, awesome. All right. You got this. Trying to be supportive, but it's also at the same time that we're like those that know you might be fighting off a little bit more than you can chew, as the old cliche goes. But I was ignorant and naive enough that I just didn't let that come into my friend of mine. I wasn't really thinking about how I was going to do it. I just knew that I wanted to do it, but I also knew why I was doing it.
[55:43] Leigh Brandon: So before you were 33, what stopped you being vulnerable?
[55:48] Dai Manuel: To be fair, there wasn't any examples in my life of other men like myself being vulnerable with each other, and I will take full ownership on that, that I was not surrounding myself with those kind of associations. And we have to understand that our brains aren't wired to be happy, but they are wired to learn. And the two best ways that we all learn is through mentorship and modeling. So we model habits, and then we're mentored by people that maybe already know how to do the thing that we're trying to do. And so they share, they educate, they show us, they walk us through, they help the coach teach instructs, however you want to put it, but that good. Habits are modeled or behaviors and thoughts and actions, but also it's the role, not just role modeling, but the mentorship piece that's really that integrity and accountability. And to be fair, when I looked at all the men that I was associated with most frequently at that time, I mean, just vulnerability was never role model. We just weren't honest with one another. We would put on the happy face all the time. Meanwhile, I would find out later, oh, man, you're going through a divorce. I had no idea that you guys are suffering just these little things that we never talk about as men, getting together with each other. And that was my normal. So to be fair, my father never did. He grew up with his mother, my Grandma Grace, never saying I love you to him unless he's so interesting. Same with his father. Now, he knew he was cared for, but that exchange of I love you was never said, never uttered. And he grew up like that. My dad was always very stoic, but also very reserved when it came to expressing emotions. So I modeled a lot of that myself. Meanwhile, my mom, on the flip side, some people that know her know that she is a heavy eMotor. She will share her emotions freely and openly and to the point, at times maybe too much oversharing. So I had this very interesting dichotomy in the home. But I tend to err more on the side of my father and his habits. And that's what I tried to emulate. So that was a big thing that prevented me from being vulnerable just with other people. Because here's the thing about vulnerability. It always takes somebody to go first. Someone's got to go first. Because in going first and sharing something vulnerable to ourselves, first to somebody is an instant way to build trust instantly. Now, I know we're going out on a limb. That person could take that information, they could misuse it, they could abuse it, they can literally turn it around and use it against us. I mean, sure, that is a possibility. But on the flip side, what's the other possibilities? Well, the other possibilities are that now you have deeper connection, deeper understanding of one another, better understand who this person is at the core. I mean, if you think about any significant relationship in our lives, there is a level of vulnerability that's been present to allow it to get to that depth of a relationship. Anybody that's ever asked for a date has been vulnerable. And if you've asked for two dates, you've been really vulnerable, right? Because there's even more, greater risk. It's like, well, we had one day, now I'm getting rejected. Not in a follow up date. Like that sense of rejection, that negative association to going out on a limb and expressing something that's very dear and near to us. We have those experiences that are hard. And so it does frame our relationship and our perspective on this idea of opening up. And so I believe that it's a skill. It's a skill that any one of us can develop, but we have to find a safe place to practice it, but also find a great community of other people that also want to practice it, you know, and doing it from a very positive place rather than from more of a negative place. And I realized I was lacking that safety, that community, those kind of individuals in my life. And within that first twelve months of no alcohol. All my association changed, it all changed. And some of it was my choice. A lot of it was just people stopped calling me, inviting me to be social. So she's social, there was drinking around. And it wasn't that I wasn't willing to say yes, I would have said yes and come, I would be not drinking, but people didn't know how to react around me.
[01:00:08] Leigh Brandon: It would be fun to Dai.
[01:00:09] Dai Manuel: Now. There was this disconnect, right? So it made it hard and that's okay. I was okay with that. I was totally okay with that. And some of those relationships here, they were hard to initially to think that, wow, I thought there was so much more here. I thought there was a deeper relationship here. I didn't expect that this one choice or decision I'm making for the betterment of me and my family and my life would cause our relationship to fail. And I think it was also because the changes I was going through often made people like a mirror, holding up to them, thinking about some of their habits and some of the changes that maybe that has been dangling around in their minds. And I think I was a reminder of that. And sometimes if you're not ready to change and not wanting to make change, I mean, anybody that comes forward trying to encourage change, I mean, we don't like it, right? We're like, no, no, thank you. I mean, look at the pandemic. And we had two years of following all these rules and regulations and literally having their quality of life heavily compromised and it was out of our control. Most of it. I get it, I understand the psychological aspects of that. But it's interesting when you start to unpack it and you see how it plays out in your own life, right?
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[01:02:00] Leigh Brandon: Are you regularly suffering from painful bloating and wind that can be smelly and embarrassing? Are your bowel movements not as they should be, either constipation or diarrhea or possibly alternating between the two? Do you find the pain is bad enough but the bloating and cramps make you feel awful and are affecting your everyday life? Do you sometimes feel you can't eat properly because of the wind, bloating, and pain? And has your doctor told you that you have IBS but unable to help find you a solution? Do you feel right now that you simply don't know what's causing your symptoms and whatever your doctor has suggested hasn't worked and you feel frustrated that you're still far from having a normal, flat, comfortable tummy? Have you invested a lot of time, energy and money into improving your symptoms and don't wish to waste any more? Do you feel frustrated and depressed and don't feel like you can take part in all the activities you enjoy and sometimes have to cancel attending events because of the way your tummy feels? Do you fear that if you don't get this sorted, you could end up with a much more serious gastrointestinal disease? If so, what would help you right now is to understand the root cause of your digestive condition. Rather than continuing to try to mask the symptoms with over the counter or prescribed medications, you need help understanding how factors such as nutrition, gut health, stress and toxicology affect the digestive system and how to optimize these factors. You need someone who can advise, motivate, and support you every step of the way, someone who has walked the path before and taught many others to do the same. What you need is might Overcome your digestive issues program. Might Overcome your digestive issues, program. Can help you in the following ways. I will help you understand the root causes of your digestive Problems and teach you how to approach the condition holistically via expert advice on nutrition and lifestyle factors to overcome your Digestive issues. Program. We'll start by ensuring you are on the right diet for you, based on your genetics or metabolic type and one that avoids the foods that are known to exacerbate your condition. We'll go on a journey step by step, learning all the necessary lifestyle changes required to achieve a flat, comfortable, painfree tummy. Each weekly 30 minutes coaching session will include advice, support and guidance specifically tailored to your needs and at a speed that is right for you. Once you're eating right for your metabolic type, you will begin to see changes in how your tummy feels. And we will also uncover all the necessary blocking factors that you may have. And you'll be taught how to reduce, replace or eliminate all the factors that are causing your digestive problems. Ultimately, this program will enable you to achieve a flat, calm and comfortable tummy every day for the rest of your life. For more information about how to improve your gut health and to claim a complimentary no obligation gut health consultation, please go to www. Bodiecheck co UK that's BodyChek and fill in the request form at the top of the homepage and we'll be in contact to arrange a convenient time. Now back to the podcast. The one thing I was thinking of when you were speaking earlier, if we could go back to when you were 30 and perhaps I met you somewhere and I took you aside and said, Dye, you're not happy, are you? Right now what you need to do is to go home, speak to your wife and tell her how you really feel. How would 30 year old Die responded to that?
[01:05:52] Dai Manuel: I would have brushed you off. I was not very secure in myself back then. I was really good at fake it till you make it, showing up as a strong, confident individual. But that was just my facade. I always felt like that little fat kid. Still, it's wild how that initial period of life influenced how I perceived myself, but how I believed others perceived of me, even though a lot of that had changed. I'd been healthier longer than I was ever unhealthy. And yet those images within my own mind and habits, man, they were still loud and clear right in my life, had voiced their concerns about some of my choices in what I was doing and invited me to take a harder look at that or to open up about it. To be fair, I wouldn't have been open to it. I would have brushed it off or just sort of I may have placated and been like, okay, yeah, that's a great idea. No, you're right. Thank you, thank you. And then do nothing with it. I don't know enough about myself. That's probably what I would have done.
[01:07:02] Leigh Brandon: Do you think the 30 year old die would have been fearing by opening.
[01:07:07] Dai Manuel: Up judgment and being found out that I'm a fraud? Because I was really good at talking about what my values were. I lived by them as much as I could, at least whenever I felt that someone was observing me. But it's the things that you do when no one's looking, right? We hear that. And it's true, though. Like, what do we do? What do we think? What do we say to ourselves when there's nobody else around? And I can tell you that guy wasn't a very happy individual. I was very quick to try to change that self perception. And often I would look for exterior methods of doing that, whether it be drinking alcohol, doing some drugs, even at periods of my life. Promiscuity not proud of that, but I was. I was looking for validation, affirmations confirmations from others. And I was constantly seeking that, but never being satisfied. It was really hard. I know I'm sharing this, and I don't mean to make this sound like a sob story, but I know that there's so many others out there that are struggling with similar things. And all I can invite you to do is find a community or find a practitioner, a coach, a mentor, a therapist, a psychologist, like, somebody that you can just open up with. It's not going to have any history. You know what I mean? Like, there's no history with that individual. They don't know any of your background because there's no biases, conditional and unconditional biases. Right? There's not. It's just it's a clean slate, and you can get a professional opinion or perspective on what you're navigating. Because I know once I started working with the psychologist, and I only worked with him for three and a half four months. But those three and a half, four months were enlightening. It really gave me some frameworks, but also posed some questions that I could really reflect on and introspect with and find the clarity that I needed. But also, I was in a place where I was saying no to alcohol, so I had the clarity and the space to do that work. And I think that's important to note, and it's not something that happens in one conversation and all of a sudden, oh, wow, life is great. Now I wish it was like that. I mean, we think about fitness, right? Like, yeah, you have one worker at the gym. Well, now you're done. No, it's an algorithm. You have one healthy meal. Is that going to undo 20 years of unhealthy eating? No, but it's a start. And we can compound the good for greater good over time. It's consistency and frequency that's required. And that's going right back to my wife. She was like, Show me, right? She was like, don't tell me anymore. Show me. And that's what I had to do, walk the talk. The coolest thing was, though, just like when I was more of the obese teen, in those first three months of that big change, I needed to experience a win. And I think this is important for anybody that is navigating change, period. This is a little thing just about human psychology. When we win, we feel like we're accomplishing things that we want to accomplish. The brain feels really good. There are certain chemicals endorphins that are released, like dopamine. And these things can be very beneficial and used to support us, too, right? To sort of solidify some of the new habits. And I remember three months in, there was this one hill that I would ride that bike up, and I felt it was huge. Now, again, I live near the Rockies now in western Canada. Those are mountains, okay? Those are mountains. Where I grew up in Ontario, it was very rural, lots of farmland, but what I felt was a mountain was more of a hill, but to me is that morbidly obese fat kid on a bike. Trust me, it was like Everest every time I came up to that mountain. And I remember riding my bike up the very first time when I first started cycling, in that pursuit of getting healthy, I would barely make it up about a third to a quarter of that hill, and I have to get off my bike and walk it to the top. But every day I kept coming back to that hill, trying to go a little bit further, a little bit further. And I remember it was roughly about three months in. I remember just one day, very distinctly, I was like, There it is. And I just kept my head down and I kept cycling. And I remember when I pulled my head up, I was like, I'm at the top. I did it. I did it. What I couldn't do three months ago, I've now done. And I'll tell you, that moment I believe that not only change was possible, but I made the change happen. You know, I did quite literally go from feeling like I was a victim of change to becoming a champion of change for my own life. And it's a subtle shift, but it's a powerful shift because I felt like I had control and influence over the changes I wanted to make. That lesson I knew very well I could draw on again and again later in life. Just sometimes wasn't as quick to come to it. Sometimes certain habits, certain trains of thought would prevent me from just doing what I knew to do to facilitate change. But I don't think I was ready. I don't think I was ready. There was always something else going on or an excuse or a reason to justify not changing right then and there until you can't. Right when I'm staring at my wife across the table, she's telling me, let's talk about what it's going to be like a coparent or kids in two different households, because I don't see us being together anymore. I was more afraid of that than the idea of changing to retain my relationship with family and my wife. Anyways, lots of thoughts there.
[01:12:43] Leigh Brandon: So do you, from your experience, think that it's more difficult for men in this society to be vulnerable than women generally?
[01:12:55] Dai Manuel: Well, I believe in many circles, yes, it is more challenging for men only because there are a lot of stereotypes and cliches and stigmas that aren't in our favor around the subject and theme. There's a lot of cliches associated with real men don't cry. Like, we still hear those, right? We hear that, and it's still iterated, and there are still some people and cultures that believe that, and so we have things stacked against us in many situations. However, all that being said, it's amazing to see what's happening culturally around the world today, especially with the influx of social media adoption. There's communities popping up all over the place and what may have been seen as a minority at one point. You can find the majority of any sort of group or belief system now by traveling the Internet, doing some searching, doing some conversing, looking for the help to support those communities. And I think that is the saving grace, so to speak, is that we do have access to information in communities and that support network to start to do this. But if we're seeking it in our current situation and depending where you live, I know for me there's still a lot of people in my life that aren't open to having some of those types of conversations. And that's okay. I don't think of them any less. I don't I'm not here to judge on that. I'm just simply here to say, hey, have you ever considered maybe this? You know, what's your thoughts on this? And most of the time, I find when I'm having those conversations with people, inviting them to look at how this vulnerability play into their life and level of connection around them, do they feel like it's something that can help? There's something that might be that bridge to what it is that they're missing? Because all I can do is ask questions. I can't make people do anything. That was the thing I learned early on in myself. Remember I told you my parents would come to me like, we get your dietitian. We'll get you a gym pass? Every time I heard that, I was just like, you just don't like me the way I am. You think I should change. Like you want to change me. And so I'm very apprehensive about that and kind of gun shy at times, but I am the first to invite people to consider trying new things. Maybe it's just a subtle language shift, but that idea of inviting versus telling, I find people are more open to it.
[01:15:22] Leigh Brandon: Just to kind of summarize, what would you suggest are the main benefits from being vulnerable?
[01:15:32] Dai Manuel: Well, it's relatability and connectivity and, you know, empathy is a powerful emotion. And honestly, if we had more empathy in the world, I think the world would be very different. Especially this is me going out on a limb here, but I look at all the challenges in the world. There's typically a man sitting at the table. So as a man who identifies as a man, I'm just saying I know that we are at the root of a lot of problems in the world as a gender, and so I feel that there's some work to be done, and I think there's some shifts that we can make as men. And I think if I'm speaking to men specifically on this subject, even if they think life's been amazing and great and they've achieved a lot, and vulnerability hasn't been a part of that, I'm like, can you imagine what it would be if you started to introduce vulnerability? Because what I want people to see is that it's actually a valuable skill to learn, because it will allow you deeper connection, deeper understanding, deeper relatability, but also allow people to experience deeper and more sincere and authentic empathy. Because we now understand what is someone experiencing, or at least we're aware, because we can often relate to what challenges other people are going through if we just open up and talk about it. Prime example I remember this is going back, I guess, about five years ago when I started a men's group in Bali while I was living there with my family, and it's called Mentorship Mondays. Okay, so Mentorship Mondays, and we get together for dinner and conversation every Monday night. It was an open invitation. People just showed up, and they wanted to come. You had to be a man. I mean, it was for men only, but we would show up at the back of this gym where they had a cafe, and we would eat and connect. What was really interesting this one night was we had just over 20 guys around the table. The youngest guy was 18. The eldest guy was 72. We also had nine different cultures represented around that table of 22, 23 men. So it was an eclectic group spanning literally decades of experience. And when we open up the meeting, we always say, hey, what's alive and real for you? And then we allow one man to speak at a time, to just share what's going on. What's alive and real for you right now? Like, what's going on for you? What's great, what's challenging? What are you proud of? It was just what's alive and real right now for you? What are you present to right now in your life? And feel free to share it. And always, the first person to go sets the tone for the meeting. That 72 year old put up his hand first and started to share about something that he been struggling with his entire life, or at least from the point that he said he was about 40. So, like his latter half a life, he remembers this very vividly, this challenge. And out of privacy, I won't share what it is, but it was a substance related challenge, and he shared openly, and it was such a powerful share. He talked a bit about what his struggles were, some of the things that led to him feeling those struggles. But more importantly, he was also sharing what he'd been doing as of late that's been helping him. So there's that little bit of accountability of not only talking about the problems or challenges that we're navigating, but also, what are we actively doing to try to work through those. So we can share and learn from each other's experiences, but also offer support where support seems necessary or valuable. We can offer that guidance if someone's open to it and say, hey, that.
[01:19:11] Leigh Brandon: Happened to me too.
[01:19:12] Dai Manuel: Here's what I did. And this 18 year old was his first time being there. And when he first came into the room, it was like a deer in headlights, as the expression goes. He was like, Where am I? I see all these guys sitting around the table. Do I want to be here right now? You can just see it in his eyes. He was like, a little bit of fear, a little bit of questions. He's like, Why am I here? Of course, we greeted him. We made him feel welcome, got him at the table, and then we just sort of set the tone of what to expect, right? And so he's just looking around like, oh, my gosh, I don't know. I don't know if I should be here. And because that 72 year old went first and started sharing about something that he been struggling with and what he's been doing. There's the most interesting thing. He finished his share. Like, hey, anybody else want to share? The 18 year old put up his hand. Put up his hand. And I was like, he's just brand new. Just got here. He's only heard one guy talk. I mean, he's only been here like, 15 minutes, and he's put up his hand already to share. And he shared the fact that he's been struggling with the exact same thing that the 72 year old just talked about. He's like me too. I've been struggling with this, and here's how it's been affecting my life. And the most interesting thing was that once the meeting was all done, you know, there's often conversations that happen after the meeting. That's where a lot of the mentorship actually happens, is post meeting and remember talking to the ATO, and he's like, you know what? I didn't know why I came tonight. I shared with you guys something I've never told anybody, and I shared that tonight. I'm like, well, how do you feel about that? I feel great. I realize I'm not alone. There's other people that are struggling with the exact same thing. And here I thought I was alone, that no one would understand what it is I'm working through or what's challenging me in my life right now. It was in that moment I realized that's exactly why we have this. This is why learning to practice and being open, more authentic and vulnerable can be something valuable that helps not only us, but the others around us. And I think it's just important to note that, to take account of that in our own lives and try to cultivate more of that. Because I know once you do, it just opens up so many more doorways as far as living a more fulfilled, happy and joyful life. It really does. And I know I can talk about it till I'm blue in the face, but here's my thing. I'm just going to say what my wife says. Show me. Like, I'm not going to tell you. I'm not going to invite you. Just go try it. Show me you trying it. Let me know how it goes. And I know once you start to experience that, it all becomes very clear.
[01:21:43] Leigh Brandon: I mean, for me, vulnerability, and this is my interpretation, you could just switch the word to honesty. It's about being honest to yourself and others, particularly to yourself first. And also, I guess it helps to be vulnerable if you love yourself. What I see is people that don't have love for themselves find it very difficult to be vulnerable because it matters to them what other people think. But if you love yourself, for most people, it doesn't matter what someone else thinks. Obviously, if you're married to them, whether your kids, it might be a different story. But generally speaking, if you're happy. In your own skin, it's much easier to be honest.
[01:22:33] Dai Manuel: So well said. You're on point. Exactly. And I love how you sort of you've simplified that in a very good way. Easy to understand and much more accessible than my long answer. Thank you. You're a great listener. I love it.
[01:22:51] Leigh Brandon: No problem. One more question for you.
[01:22:53] Dai Manuel: Yeah, of course.
[01:22:54] Leigh Brandon: What's your top tips for becoming more vulnerable?
[01:22:59] Dai Manuel: Well, I guess it depends on the gender, but I'm going to speak sort of from this man's perspective, you know, as a man who identifies as a man, because that's what I know. It's what I experience every day. So I can definitely speak to that.
[01:23:13] Leigh Brandon: Not pregnant, then?
[01:23:14] Dai Manuel: No, not today. I eat a lot on the weekend. What's, halloween. But I think in my own experience, community is so critical. Here's the thing. Someone might be listening to watching this, right? Or maybe you had this episode shared with you because someone heard something like, man, so and so has got to hear this. And I get that because that happens to me a lot in my life now that people better understand me because I've been more vulnerable with them. They understand me better. They know what I like more and what connects with me more. And so as a result of that, I get these special messages from people from time to time saying, hey, check this out. I think you really like this. Or this might be something that resonates with you. And I value that. But that's where community comes in, you know, community that we're better connected to have a better way of being very proactive in how they support one another because they get to know each other much more deeply and clearly. And I think that is what we all are seeking, is deeper connection to some level, at some level in our lives, we want to feel like we're not only heard, but we're also seen. Yeah. And I know that I struggled with that. I did. I've struggled with that in my life. And what I want to invite people to do is just find a space, even if this is something that's intimidating and you're like, oh, my gosh, I don't think I could ever do that. That seems so hard, so uncomfortable. You might feel like your skin is crawling a bit, just so the idea of it, and I can say, is that's a good thing? It's a good thing. There's nothing wrong with that feeling. Chances are that's why you want to lean in more, explore that feeling and why that feeling is there. But find a controlled or maybe not so much control, that's probably not the best word, but a safe environment to practice. So find a local men's group or a locals men's community of men wanting to come together to be better men. Like, what does it mean to be a great man? That's a great question to ask oneself. As a man who identifies as a man, what does it mean to be that? And then you start to qualify that. Maybe you quantify it with some of the habits or lifestyle choices that you have. But as you gain more clarity too, do you gain more confidence? And when you feel more confident, you take more action and you procrastinate less. I laugh at Nike. Okay? I think Nike is a great brand. Look at me. I got my swoosh on right? But here's the thing. What's their slogan? Just do it. Right? What if and if there's Nike execs out here. I'm just putting this out there. What if the slogan was Just did it? What if you were able to say, you know what? I just did it. That's celebrating the act of completing whatever it is, that thing that you wanted to go do, because it's actually in the action of completion. That's where all the work and progress happens. Just do it. Yeah, great. Just do it. Choose to do it and do it. I love it. I think it's great. It's catchy. I mean, it's a global brand. It's as recognizable as the Pope. I mean, it's Nike, right? But here's the thing. What if we start to celebrate just did it. And celebrate the doing the actual completion of the things that we said we want to do. And so my invitation is to go celebrate doing it. Go take action. Just try it. And don't do it just one time, not just twice. Do it consistently for a period of time. Give yourself at least three months, because I know in at least three months time, you'll see some positive shifts. And then lastly, the last set of tips. Or just put these three questions to memory. One. Can I do this? This refers to whatever changes you feel is needed right now in your life once you get to a yes, I can do this, you have to ask yourself question number two, which is, if I do this, will it actually work? Right? Because, again, clarity and confidence is required. So answering these two questions, you got to get to two yeses. So can I do this? Yeah, I can. If I do this, will it work? Well, I've seen other people do it, and it's gotten results from them. So yes. I don't see myself being any different than the last person that also did something similar to this. Great. Well, now, question three. Is it worth it? I mean, it's great if we work on a team or an organization, we can use terms like it, but look in the mirror and ask yourself, am I worth it? That one's not easy to not only understand or comprehend, but to answer for ourselves, especially if we're struggling. And so if we really struggle to say, I am worth it, and to really believe that there's a three part like three B. Okay, so that was three A. There's three b. Okay, if I don't necessarily believe that right now, who do I need to surround myself with to support me with some of these changes that I want to make? Because you get around a group of like minded individuals, positive people that are already on a similar path of change, inevitably they're going to be great supporters, wonderful mentors, but also offer kind and sincere accountability, right? Like from a very empathetic place. I always like to say when people work with me, I'm like, listen, I see the potential in you, and I know you can't see that in yourself yet, but don't worry, I'm going to keep dripping into you until you see it, too. And not only see it, but feel it. And I think we all need a little bit of that in our lives. We all need that from time to time, we need it. And so if you can't find it, go create it. But those would be the best tips I can offer up for anybody to navigate change, to start to explore vulnerability and how it plays out in their own life. But it's one of those journeys you just got to start by taking an immediate action that starts to move you forward, and that's it. You can talk about it, you can watch lots of Ted Talks, you can read books about it. Sure. But when you start doing it, that's where all the greatness happens, okay? It does for yourself and on this journey that we're all on. And the world needs you to be more vulnerable. That's my call to action. Everybody is listening and watching this. You know, they need you. The world needs you, the real you.
[01:29:26] Leigh Brandon: That's great.
[01:29:27] Dai Manuel: So don't shy it away anymore. Share it. Share it.
[01:29:32] Leigh Brandon: Just add to what you were saying there. And this is a saying that I got from one of my coaches. If your goal doesn't scare you, it's not big enough.
[01:29:42] Dai Manuel: Yeah, good one.
[01:29:45] Leigh Brandon: Love that. You don't achieve anything great in your comfort zone.
[01:29:50] Dai Manuel: That's right. You reach a lot of good, but that stretch to great. Well, it means you've got to not be so complacent with good, you know? And I always loved that. I forgot his name that wrote that book, but good to great. Maybe it's Jim Collins. Jim Collins? Yes. Thank you. I remember him always saying, or I'll paraphrase, but the only thing preventing any of us from achieving more greatness in our lives is that we just get so complacent and comfortable with being good enough. And we often think good enough is good enough, but, man, we're limiting ourselves, aren't we? It's like, no way, man. Go for the great. Go for the gold.
[01:30:29] Leigh Brandon: Absolutely. So, Die, is there anything you'd like to offer? The radical health revolution.
[01:30:36] Dai Manuel: Hey, if you're a man and you're curious to learn more about mentorship money, there's no cost, and it's open for anyone to join us. We have in person groups that meet in Bali still, and I've got one in Vancouver. And then we have three online zoom calls every Monday in three different time zones. We have one in the UK, one in the Eastern time zone, so Est, and then one in PDST, so western North America in the west east, and then the UK. And then obviously Bali, but Bali is an inperson meeting only. But if you're interested reach out, I'm happy to send a link or you just find me on Instagram at diamondwell. I do have the link in my profile as well and there's a little bit of an onboarding. And what I mean by that is you'll put in your name and your email, you'll be sent a video that just gives you an overview of what we're about, what the community is about, and then there's access to that community. We have a private WhatsApp feed and anyways, it's just a wonderful group of men that are here just all wanting to be better. That's it. We're on a journey to be better. We make mistakes, we screw up, we don't condone that. We're not here to put people down for making mistakes. It's all good. It's part of life, man, as you already said. Right? Like what was it? It was like if your team is not big enough or sorry, the goal is not big enough or scary enough, it's not scaring you, it's not big enough. Right? That's what you said. Well, the same goes here. Sometimes we need to be around a community that forces us to go outside of our comfort zone. And it's been so instrumental in my life and some of the changes that's all I can speak to is community, community. And I want that for everyone. Everyone deserves a community.
[01:32:07] Leigh Brandon: That's great, that's great. What I'll do is I'll make sure the link is on the show notes and also links to the social media as well. Make sure they're in the show notes.
[01:32:16] Dai Manuel: Thank you. That's amazing. I really appreciate that. And if you want to join us, you're welcome to Me Do.
[01:32:25] Leigh Brandon: Thank you so much for taking the time out today to share your experience with the Radical Health Rebel listeners and viewers. And to all the Radical Health Rebel tribe, if you know someone who would benefit from watching or hearing this episode, please make sure to share the love and forward it on to them. After all, the mission of this show is to help people lead a more fun filled, healthy, productive, fulfilling and happy life. And if you'd like to support the podcast, you firstname.lastname@example.org/Radicalhealthrebel, where you can also receive lots of other exclusive premium content, including Unedited, full=length ad free, video episodes, Ask Me Anything, Q and A sessions, and Radical Health Rebel merchandise. So that's all from Diet and Me for this week, but don't forget, you can join me same time, same place, next week on the Radical health Rebel Podcast.
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