Welcome to the Evolution of Medicine podcast! In this episode, we have a special guest host filling in for James. Kristen Brokaw is the leader of the St. Louis Institute for Integrative Medicine. For the past decade, she has been building communities of functional medicine practitioners, helping them find their tribe and reach their potential in this space. She is joined by Bo Eason, former professional football player, actor, playwright, author, and one of Kristen’s mentors. Their high-energy, engaging conversation spans mindset, the power of stories, how saying “no” is a key to achieving greatness, and how functional medicine practitioners can still thrive, even during a pandemic. Highlights include:
- The power of stories and how the ones we tell ourselves shape our lives
- How to move past the “it’s not about me” mindset
- How you should be thinking about making a declaration in your life, while avoiding the tendency for perfectionism
- Why elimination is key to becoming the best at what you do
- How to find the silver linings in the COVID-19 pandemic and take the lead in your practice and community
And so much more!
James Maskell: Hello, and welcome to the Evolution of Medicine Podcast. Over the last year, we have been doing a business of medicine podcast with leaders from other areas outside of functional medicine. And I’m excited to announce that for the first time ever on the Evolution of Medicine, we have a guest host. And that guest host is Kristen Brokaw. She is the leader of the St. Louis Institute for Integrative Medicine and has been organizing communities and practitioners for over a decade. And she did a recent interview with one of her mentors, Bo Eason, and talking about mindset, and various other things that are really critical to running a successful functional medicine practice. It was a really great interview and we have the best bits of it for you here now.
Kristen Brokaw: Today, I get to interview one of my mentors, Bo Eason. See when Bo was nine, he had a dream to be the best safety in the world and play for the NFL. Well, that dream came true, and he was the top draft pick for the Houston Oilers. Well, Bo took that same idea of dedication from the time he was nine until he actually became the top draft pick safety for the NFL. He took that same dedication and training and he replicated it again. And after he had a career-ending injury in the NFL, he said, “That’s it, I want to write a play.” And he wrote a play and he was the only person in the play. So he wrote this one-man play that he performed on Broadway for over a decade called Runt of the Litter and he mastered that craft. Then he did that again. And he is now a top speaker and trainer and he shares the stage with many big names like Tony Robbins and Brendon Burchard, and Bo trains and works with people on how to be the best. And many of these people he works with are people that we all know, top functional medicine doctors.
Bo has recently put out a book called, There’s No Plan B for Your A Game. And he takes his logic and how he has done this time and time again, of reaching mastery. He shows us how to do that in this episode, you definitely will not want to miss this juicy episode. So definitely take a listen.
Thanks for joining me today Bo, I am so grateful to you. You have been such a mentor to me in my life. And it all started when I was exposed to mold five years ago, and that’s huge in the functional medicine world. Lots of providers deal with that and it infected my eyes and the thought of…I had a blindness prognosis that was handed to me and I knew that something had to change in my life because I was really having a pity party. And what I did is I thought mentorship, and that was you. And I meet you, and I’m noticing as I’m hanging out with you and the people you attract, that these are real A players. And what I did differently than them is I didn’t think like them. They weren’t smarter than me, they didn’t have better upbringings, but they thought differently, and they had goals and dreams. So I really want to thank you for what you do. And what you do, is you give people permission to be the best. Right?
Bo Eason: Yeah, that’s right. It’s something my dad gave to me and my brother and my four older sisters, so all six of us were woken up in a certain way and that was, as you know Kristen, he would tell us we were the best and then he’d throw a couple of expletives in there just for punctuation. And that’s basically how I grew up. It’s funny, I love having mentors around me or coaches around me that see me accurately, and I think most people make the mistake of choosing a mentor or choosing a coach that doesn’t see them and kind of sees all people the same. He doesn’t see them individually, and then speaks you and then waits for you to fulfill on your greatness, whatever they see.
I think that the problem is most coaches, most mentors, their eye is not discerning enough. You have to have a coach who sees you accurately, no different than how I saw you when you walked into my life, right? I see what you are, but you can’t see it yet, because your eyes are in the way, right? That’s always the case. The coach, the player, you in this case, your eyes, are in the way of what I can see, because you’re looking out and I’m looking at you. And then that’s the kind of coach you want to have because that’s the one that sees your greatness and then lives it with you into existence.
And that’s how I pick the coaches, not only for me, but for my kids more importantly, whether it’s a dance teacher, or a track coach or a basketball coach, that’s how I choose mentors for them and coaches for them, is what are they looking at? What do they see? And the people that you just referred to, the other people in the room that were high-end, they weren’t any smarter than you, they didn’t have any God-gifted ability that you didn’t have. They just saw the world in a certain way that you weren’t seeing it yet, because you weren’t seeing accurately yet. Right?
Kristen Brokaw: Right. And that’s like with your dad, you say your dad saw in you and he would speak it into existence, so tell us about how your dad would speak that into nine-year-old Bo.
Bo Eason: Yeah, he would speak it, but what was most important about the way my dad raised us and my mom, is they saw our greatness and they spoke to it day-in and day-out, and that’s how we woke up every morning. But after a while, you go through different stages, when you’re a young kid, you’re like, “Oh, that’s great. He thinks I’m great.” And then you get to be a teenager and it gets to be embarrassing. So he’s still saying you’re the best, and now he’s saying it when you’re going on a double date right in front of the girls, and now my brother and me are embarrassed. And then somewhere in our 20s, mid-20s, we kind of just surrendered to what he saw in us.
And we said, “Oh, he’s right. That’s what we are, and that’s who we’ve become.” So that just so happens to be how I was raised, so that’s how I see the world. So when you’re raised in a certain way, you see the world in a certain way. So the people that come into my world, I see their greatness. Now, sometimes they can’t see it at all, but a lot of times, Kristen, you’ve witnessed this before and you’ve probably seen me scream at people, is when they actually try to argue and prove a case against their own greatness. And so that’s when I really got to go on the attack because I know that it’s in there, but I got to attack the things that are keeping them from seeing it, which is past pain in their life, or a bad coach in their life or a bad parent in their life. And as the mentor or as the coach, you’ve got to overcome a lifetime of somebody being told that they’re no good, or they’re mediocre, or they’re average.
And you’ve got to battle that and if their identity is so strong, in that they just want to remain mediocre because it’s a lot safer to play a mediocre game, it’s a lot of exposure, right? Once you’re on top, you can get called out, you can be publicly shamed, you can be attacked on social media or by media in general. So some people are really…I think that’s what scares them the most so they remain kind of invisible.
Kristen Brokaw: That’s so interesting you say you’ve been brought up like, “Hey, past pain.” The very first thing you did when I entered your world is you got us all into our story. And you really helped, like, “I’m like a story? Do I have a story?” “Oh, yes, you do. Everybody has, and multiple.” But let’s talk about the power of story. Why do you start there and why is story is so powerful?
Bo Eason: Yeah, it’s just so powerful because we’re actually living our story into existence every single day of our lives. We make our story come true and it’s just a story, it’s kind of made up if you think about it. Like you were either told, “Oh, Kristen,” when you were a little girl, “You have great hair.” So for the rest of your life, you’re fulfilling on this great hair story, or the opposite of. So some people, maybe when you tried out for the choir, the choir teacher said, “Kristen, you are the worst singer in the history of the choir here at our high school.” And so that story now Kristen brings into existence for the rest of her life and she lives that story out and she makes it come true by being the worst speaker, I mean, not speaker, singer, or becomes the best singer. Either way, you’re reacting to that pain, that’s why story is so great.
If you ask me or you ask any elite athlete, any athlete that played in the pros or was an Olympic athlete, we all have the same exact story basically. And it goes like this: We tried out for Little League and we got cut. We got sent home and we were told we were no good. And most elite athletes did this, they said, “That’s never happening again. I will never be cut or sent home again.” And then you ride that story, you prove everybody wrong and you end up being the best basketball player in the world, like Michael Jordan did. The story that no one knows about Michael Jordan is he was cut from his high school basketball team twice, and he ends up being the greatest ever to play the game. How can those two things be? So either way, we’re living in reaction of the story that we’re bringing into existence. We’re either fighting against it, which Michael Jordan did, which I did, or we’re living it out, like, “I’m a failure, I was told a failure. So I’ll just live that into existence for the rest of my life.”
Then they come into my room and I go, “That is so great that you were told you’re a loser, because we’re going to now use that story as the most valuable thing that you’ve got.” Because it is, it carries so much weight that I always have all of my clients, whether they’re doctors, or whether they’re lawyers or whether they’re athletes, it doesn’t matter what occupation they’re in, what matters is they use that story to connect with other people. Because other people, including you and me and everybody listening to us today, has had pain. And that pain and embarrassment and shame is the best connective tissue that you’ll ever have in your life. Nothing connects human beings more than embarrassment, than shame, than failure, because we’ve all felt it, tasted it, and it’s what makes us connect to one another. So my clients share that pain, that story every time they open their mouth. And all of a sudden, they have a whole group of people, whether it’s people that want to date you, or people that want to do business with you, they’re attracted to you because of the story.
Kristen Brokaw: So you’ve inspired me to start a mastermind for the doctors in my area, we’re called Elite Masters of Medicine and I let them know your story is your connective tissue just like you said. And you would be amazed, Bo, and maybe not surprised, but when I was telling them you lead with this, and every single one was like, “Oh no, I’m trained. It is not about me, it’s about the patient. It’s not about me.” And lo and behold, now if you hear from them, they say, “All I do is lead with my story, because…” One of my physicians said she told her story and the patient was sitting there with their sister and the sister leaned back and said, “That’s it, I’m making an appointment here.” So why do you think so many people, and with doctors, don’t make it about me, we should be thinking differently, right?
Bo Eason: A hundred percent. Whoever made up that term, I would just want to strangle them, and that term is, “It’s not about me.” Look, if you’re the one speaking, if you share your personal story, you don’t ever have to say the words, “This is not about me,” because the minute you share a story, a true story, with intimacy in it, with connective tissue in it, you have now just bridged the gap between human beings. Now, you’re telling the story so that the person you’re telling it to or the group of people you’re telling it to now have the freedom and permission to share who they are. And here’s the thing about “It’s not about me,” when you share a story, like if I say this sentence, “When I was nine years old, I had this dream. So I made up a 20-year plan.” So that’s just a simple sentence that’s about my life, right? When I say that sentence, you don’t think of my life, Bo’s life, you don’t think of my 20-year plan, you don’t think of my dreams, you think of your dreams and you think of you when you were nine, and you think of your 20-year plan, whether that worked out or not.
You don’t think of mine, you think of yours. So now let’s reframe how important story is. So Bo says a sentence, “When I was nine years old, I had a dream. So I made up a 20-year plan.” That puts you, the listener, into your own life. That is the greatest gift that you can give to another human being, is to put them into their own life, which is where they want to be. That’s why you don’t have to say this word “It’s not about me,” because the minute you’re sharing something that’s personal and intimate, now that person is connected to you because you just gave them the greatest gift you can ever give an audience, which is put them into their own life.
Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. And that’s, again, why that patient’s sister was like, “That’s it, I have to make an appointment here.” One thing that those doctors report to me is that they get greater compliance out of their patients, right?
Bo Eason: Oh, yeah.
Kristen Brokaw: They want that compliance.
Bo Eason: I mean, look, my doctor, the only reason I work with my doctor is because of who she is, her story. And same thing with everybody that I work with, I only work with them based on their story. I once had a guy train me on how to make an offer from stage, this is why I worked with him, because he was a fighter pilot who was in the first Iraq war, and he was telling me about landing in the middle of the night, a jet on an aircraft carrier when you couldn’t see it. And he was 1,000 miles off course and he’s trying to find this in the middle of the ocean. He’s trying to find this aircraft carrier. Now, when I hear that story, Kristen, now this guy’s training me on something totally unrelated to being a fighter pilot, right? But is he going to be good at what he does?
Kristen Brokaw: You better believe it. Yeah.
Bo Eason: I don’t care what his occupation, I don’t care if he’s the janitor, I don’t care if he wants to be my assistant or train my son in how to dance better, that dude, I know he’s going to be excellent at what he does, because if you have the ability to land a jet on an aircraft carrier, then you can do anything. And all you have to do is move that mastery over to the new thing. And lo and behold Kristen, he was the best at training me at something I didn’t know about, which was online kind of offers and stuff like that.
Kristen Brokaw: So taking that story of, I find you and I am hanging out with these A players and I have this new mindset. Well, I remember being at this seminar with physicians, and one of them came up to me and he was just haggard, I mean he said, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got all these emails and I just don’t have any time and I now have…” He’s pre-diabetic, not because he freebasing Twinkies, but because he was so stressed out and I just really saw this desperation in him and I thought, this whole thing that I’m learning, this mindset with Bo, they need this. I didn’t even translate, I kind of just thought doctors, they’ve got it all together, right?
Bo Eason: Yeah.
Kristen Brokaw: But then they’re just human. And you taught me how to make a declaration, and you do in your book. And it was at that moment that I thought, “That’s it. I’ve got to help them.” And I decided that I wanted to be the best medical professional mentor on the planet. So it was like they connected for me because there’s something you always say, and you say, because nobody’s coming, it’s up to you to lead. I’m looking at this doctor that I thought had it all together, and I realized nobody’s coming. So it’s got to be me. How did you teach me to do that? What happened there?
Bo Eason: Yeah. Well, I mean, look, we’ve been raised in a certain way that somebody’s coming to your rescue most of the time, right? So, “Oh, no, the police will be here. Oh, no, the firefighters will be here to rescue,” or whatever, somebody’s going to be there to help you. And then I think this happened kind of around 9/11. So this big event happens which changes the world going forward, and you learn that nobody’s coming for you, you have to be on the watch and the lookout yourself, no one’s coming to protect you because they don’t have time to come and protect you. Once terrorism came to our shores, we just started protecting ourselves, we have to be present ourselves to keep ourselves alive. And if you just surrender to the fact that nobody’s coming for you, no one…and then we look at leadership, we go, “Well, for sure this is going to be great leadership, and these leaders are going to lead me and they’re going to give me the accurate information so that I can follow them.” And does that ever happen? No, that never happens. So you just have to get to the point where nobody’s coming, I actually have to take the lead.
Kristen Brokaw: Right.
Bo Eason: And it’s a huge responsibility, because you prefer not to have that responsibility, because it’s just easier. But if you do that, if you shirk your responsibility and you pass it on to someone else, you’re going to get in trouble. And then you’re going to be following instead of leading, which I think that if we all take the bull by the horns, my dad used to say that to us every morning, “Look, son, you’re going to…” I remember this one time, we were losing a bunch of football games when I was in high school, we lost like eight in a row. I never even played football before, but we lost like every game I was in and I was like, “What the hell is going on here?” And my dad goes, “Well, son, you got to take the bull by the horns.” Meaning you got to lead, I can’t follow, otherwise, I’m going to follow these guys right over a cliff and we’re going to continue to lose games. And eventually, I understood what my dad said, and even though I didn’t want to, I was just so tired of losing that I said, “Okay, captains of the team, I’m now the captain, here’s what we’re going to do.” And eventually, we turned it around and started winning. But only until you take the bull by the horns. Otherwise, you are going to be led over a cliff by amateurs.
Kristen Brokaw: You know how many functional medicine doctors can relate to that? Obviously, a lot of them were trained in allopathic medicine, and they’re hanging out and getting led and thinking somebody’s coming. And, “I’m going to be able to help my patients with all the more medications and more medications,” and then they realize that, “No, that’s not going to happen.” And then they get exposed to functional medicine and they’re like, “Oh, my gosh, it’s got to be me,” and they buck the system and jump over into the other side and realize, “I can get to the root of patients issues,” or, “I can do this.”
Bo Eason: Yeah.
Kristen Brokaw: Some of the people, in my mastermind, they say things like, “I want to be the best relaxation wizard,” or, “I want to be the best at group visits,” or, “I want to be the best in functional medicine in the Midwest.” I mean, they’ve got big dreams. But I’ll tell you, doctors are perfectionists, and they struggle because they don’t want to put the wrong one down on paper. I mean, how should we be thinking about making a declaration? And is it hard or why do they struggle or…?
Bo Eason: That’s where you hit the most resistance, is whenever you have to make a declaration, so think of our founding fathers, so 250 years ago, they write up a document called the Declaration of Independence, which is what you’re asking your clients to do is what I ask my clients to do. And basically, the Declaration of Independence is a story that was written by guys that you and me don’t know. And yet, you and me bring that declaration into existence every single minute of every single day for 250 years, people who we didn’t know bring it into existence, people after we die will bring it into existence, by the way they talk freely, by the way they move around the country freely, by the way they’re doing a podcast freely. They are living that declaration into existence every day for 250 years, I’m asking you to do the same.
All the document basically says is we’re independent. We’re independent of England, and we have all these freedoms that we used to not have. Well, as soon as you make your declaration, so my first one was, I wanted to be the best safety in the world. That was how simple, because that’s how nine-year-olds talk. And so I’ve stuck with that because it works for me. So I always have all my clients say, “The best. This is my declaration; I want to be the best in the world at…” The reason we say the best is because it’s really easy to know when you’re off-course when you say the best. It’s also easy to know, it simplifies your life, because you know when you’re not the best, you know when you’re off-course. And, look, if you’re going to make a declaration, say we made a declaration like this, “My declaration is to be a mediocre doctor, completely middle of the road.”
Do you know that that’s going to come true? I have not met a person whose declaration did not come true. So why would you make a mediocre or second place declaration? If it’s going to come true, and it’s going to take the exact same work to make it come true, why not have the declaration have the words “the best” instead of second best, or third best? And here’s another reason to have it. Because that’s in our DNA. So we were born, and the doctors know this a lot better than I do, but we were born against all odds. So the day we were conceived, 300 million sperm were delivered on that day. And so the odds of us being born, at least on that day of conception, were 300 million to one odds. Now, a million years of design and evolution had taught, ingrained in all those 300 million sperm, it taught them one thing, what was their instinct? What were they to do? What were you and I trained with a million years of evolution to do on that day that we were conceived? It was to penetrate that egg, it was to fertilize that egg. Now do you think that that swim was casual? No, that swim was a swim to the death. Do you think there was any participation ribbons handed out on that day? None, not even a silver medal. Not a silver, not a bronze, only the gold.
And that’s who you are, that’s in your DNA. I know that because Mother Nature tells me that, so I’m not going to fight against Mother Nature, I’m just going to go with her, because I know I’ll lose if I go up against her. So if that’s how we’re made, then why would we then now be born and make a declaration to win the silver medal? That doesn’t make any sense. No person has ever…I think we can all agree that this sentence has never come out of any little kid’s mouth. When you were seven or 13 years old, you go to your mom and dad and you say these words, “Mom, Dad, my dream of my life, my declaration of my life is to win the silver medal.” Now that sentence has never been uttered from a kid’s mouth, and if it ever is said, spoken from a kid’s mouth, I will change my training, I will.
But I know it’s never been said, because no one who is derived from the 300 million to one odds sperm, then is seven years old and has a dream, and the dream is to be silver metal, second place instead of gold. My training is 100% gold, that’s why the declaration says, “the best,” not second best, because then I know it turns people on. It turns the greatest thing about you on and that’s who you are anyway, so any lesser game is…I’m not playing a lesser game.
Kristen Brokaw: So I remember you telling us, “Okay, you got this huge dream. Now, I’m going to guarantee you that there are certain things that are coming for you, and there are certain things you need to do, distractions are coming, bumps in the road are coming, and it’s about doing less versus doing more.” Because there was like, “Oh, what do I need to do?” And they add stuff up. But this is my favorite part about knowing you, is elimination.
Bo Eason: Yeah. Me too.
Kristen Brokaw: I love it.
Bo Eason: There’s nothing better than elimination. Elimination is key. Most people think that to be the best, you got to add a bunch of stuff. Like, “Oh, I got to get this big to-do list, and I got to start doing this and be in that, and add this to my repertoire.” And in reality, being the best is about eliminating things out of your life, so that you have a clear lane to run in. So imagine what that might look like. So I know probably a lot of the doctors that will be listening to this, your job really is to eliminate…like my doctor, her job is to really eliminate things from my life like bad food, and then adds in supplements but eliminates most of everything else. Adds in exercise and training, but then gets rid of bad trainers and bad physical fitness equipment or whatever it is, and then adds meditation and then eliminates other stresses. So it’s about you’re adding in these things, but the key to reaching the top is get rid of everything else, and you got to do that with people too. And sometimes they’re close to you, sometimes they’re in your house.
Kristen Brokaw: Well, one of your teachings is get a Dawn, right? And a Dawn is your wife, but you don’t mean necessarily everybody should get someone named Dawn, why don’t you tell us what you mean by that?
Bo Eason: There’s a whole section in my book that is called Get a Dawn. And it just came from me telling my clients, “Look, you have to have a Dawn.” And now, your Dawn might be a George, it doesn’t matter what gender, it doesn’t matter who they are, but there’s sensibilities that this Dawn must have is like, this is my image of my wife, even though she’s really pretty and feminine and cool and funny, my image of her is a dog on a pant leg.
Kristen Brokaw: That is true.
Bo Eason: And I also get this mama-bear type vibe from her, which my mom had that. My mom, and if you talk to any mom of a professional athlete, so me and my brother both played in the NFL, if you meet those moms, they are unbending, relentless, they’re like a dog on a pant leg and they are Spartan moms. They don’t take no for an answer. They demand courage, they demand greatness. Everyone thinks like, “Well, pro athletes, that’s because of the dad.” No, it’s never the dad. The dads are more like cheerleaders. It’s the moms because everyone knows since time, since the Spartans were in war, that if the women buckle, if the women give way, then so will the whole country. And so that’s how my wife is, she’s a Spartan mom. She demands greatness from our kids, and from me, and she will not let us fail. My mom was like that, too. And if you get in the way, say somebody gets in between my daughters’ dreams and my daughters, somebody comes in the middle between those dreams and my daughters, they’re not going to be around very long. Because even though Dawn is feminine and beautiful and cool and you guys would love her, she will take you out if you try to harm a dream of one of our kids, you understand? That’s what I’m talking about.
Kristen Brokaw: Well, I mean, you couldn’t have said it any better. And I want all the people listening to think of who’s your George? Or do you have that right-hand person? Maybe it’s not your significant other, like in your case, but is your office manager a freaking Dawn? Is she willing? Is she supporting your dream and your declaration, bringing it into existence, fighting for you? Because it’s just so interesting these providers that I work with, they kind of think, and like maybe a lot of people, that they just have to do it all themselves.
Bo Eason: Yeah. It’s so true. Write this down if you’re guilty of that, because I was guilty of that also, no one wins alone. No one wins alone. Think of an artist that you may love, Mikhail Baryshnikov maybe, maybe it’s Beyoncé, think of a solo act, somebody who looks like they’re a solo act, Frank Sinatra. Do you know how many people are clearing the forest for those people to be able to perform at the level that they do? Think of an elite athlete, Tom Brady. Do you know what is behind him that you’ll never see? No one will tell you about the nobody can win alone, you have to be protected. You have to be guarded by somebody who’s unbending, who only sees your dream as their dream. And they, sure as hell, will make that sucker come true, come hell or high water. That way you can run freely and perform the way you have to.
Kristen Brokaw: Yes, I’m so glad to hear you say that. Some of the doctors that have been doing this, they say, “Oh my gosh, now that I’m not doing email, I can actually focus on my one thing.” So it’s the little things, right? Maybe it’s having to think about laundry or email or, I mean, it’s simple too, right?
Bo Eason: It’s very simple. If you think of Frank Sinatra, in fact, that’s why I used him as an example, is there’s a Dan Sullivan, who’s a great coach, strategic coach, he has this term that he says, “Frank Sinatra doesn’t move pianos.” That’s the term. And so if you think about Frank Sinatra when he was the top performer in the world, did Frank Sinatra sell the tickets to his shows? No. Did he escort people into the show and sit them? No. Did he hand out programs of his shows? No. Did he play the piano or the saxophone or the guitar in his shows? No. Did he set the lighting for his show? Did he put on his makeup? None of those things he did. Frank Sinatra does one thing, he walks on the stage and sings.
Well, I want you to start thinking of your life exactly like that, because you’re not good at those other things anyway, you suck at putting makeup on and doing the lighting and selling tickets. But what you’re great at is doing what you actually do. So do that, and then have your Dawn or your George take care of everything else and build a team so that you can run freely. Think of yourself, remember Secretariat at the great racehorse, what was Secretariat doing? Was Secretariat wondering what the training was going to be like today? No. Was Secretariat wondering when his next meal was coming from? No. Was Secretariat selling tickets to the races? No. Secretariat was doing one thing, that’s what I want you to do. You run freely. You don’t do anything else, you let somebody else handle everything else.
Kristen Brokaw: Yeah. And I know that they’re all like, “Oh my god, that sounds like magic.” It still sounds like magic to me and I’m always looking at what can I get rid of? What can I get rid of to free…? So the one thing that I learned from you so well is, now that I’m kicking off the…getting lean, right? I’m eliminating, I’ve got my declaration, but this thing is going to take time. It’s going to take time to get to mastery, because there’s all those bumps and the distractions, they’re coming for me. This is a long road, it’s so easy to quit. Why does everybody quit?
Bo Eason: Yeah, you’re exactly right. So as soon as you make your declaration, say you do it today, “I want to be the best functional medicine doctor on the planet,” whatever that is. Now, what you’ve just done is you’ve set in motion obstacles, and distractions are now coming for you, in the form of people, social media, TV, video games, they are coming for you. And I think they come for us because they want to test whether we’re serious or not. Like, “Are you sure you want to be the best functional? Are you sure? Because there’s this new video game out,” or, “There’s this new movie over here,” or, “There’s a Netflix series that you should spend the next eight weeks bingeing on,” or “There’s this great new bread that you should eat.” So all these things are coming for you.
The question you have to ask every time they show up, and they’re going to show up, for one, Kristen refer to this, you have to have a really long timeline. I like declarations that last 20 years. Now, they can come true a lot earlier than 20 years, but I like having a nice long runway. And I want you to ask yourself this question, which is the same question that the 2000 Olympic crew team from England, so the Brits, the crew team, they were rowing a boat, a team. Leading up to the Olympics, everybody wanted to talk to them, wanted to invite them to do this interview and be distracted by that and come to this party and do this and do that, because there are Olympians. So they came up with a sentence that answered every one of those requests. And here was the question that they answered the question with, “Does it make the boat go faster?” Does it make the boat go faster? So if you asked one of the crew members on a date, they had to ask, “Will this make the boat go faster? Does this make the boat go faster?”
If you invited them to a party, they answered it like this, “Does that make the boat go faster?” If the answer is yes, they go to the party. If the answer is no, they’re not going to the party. “Here’s a hot dog, would you like to eat this, crew team?” “Does it make the boat go faster? Yes or no?” “No,” so they don’t eat it. That’s how simple your life can be once you make a declaration of being the best. My favorite part, Kristen, my favorite part of attempting greatness or attempting to be the best at a discipline, and I don’t care what the discipline is, is I get to say no to everything else.
Now, some of you are going to miss out on some stuff, like you might not get to go to the prom, or you might miss a few parties, you might miss going to McDonald’s and waiting in the driving line, but your life will be simple and you will be on top. And there’s no way around that. People go, “Well, I don’t know. I don’t know if I can reach world class.” Well, I do. I do because it’s just a function of time and what you’re going to say no to. And your career and your life is based on what you say no to. And your saying no to everything, that doesn’t equal you getting to the top in your declaration.
Kristen Brokaw: Bo, this has been awesome. I want to finish with this. Obviously, COVID is going on right now.
Bo Eason: Yeah.
Kristen Brokaw: And it’s definitely a setback for many. A lot of practitioners, their offices are down. Tell them how they should be thinking right now.
Bo Eason: Yeah. I’d love for you to see the world like this, instead of the way you may be seeing it. So if you’re suffering, you’re seeing the world in a particular way. This is how I see everything in my life, and this has been since I was a kid, right? So I’ll just give you a quick example. I see everything to my advantage. So I grew up in California, so I played football in California as a kid and so I never played in the snow, because it never snowed where I grew up. And so we never played in a cold game, sometimes it got a little chilly but never in the snow. But then many years later, I get drafted to the Houston Oilers who play indoors at the time, they had an indoor stadium, in Houston Astrodome.
So we played at 72 degrees every single game, you guys, every single game was 72 degrees, until we had to leave the confines of the Houston Astrodome and go to Cleveland or Chicago or New England in the middle of winter. I’ll never forget this, we’re playing the Cleveland Browns on a Christmas Eve, and I’ll never forget it, because I woke up to eat my pregame meal, breakfast with the team, and I looked out my hotel window, I just pulled the curtains and across the little courtyard there, there was one of those banks that had the temperature on it, and it said negative nine degrees. And meanwhile, I’d never played in the snow before. And I just remember seeing how cold that was, and instead of doing this, instead of going like this, “Oh, shoot, I grew up in California. This is not to my advantage. I’ve never played in the snow, everything is against me today.” Instead of doing that, this is what I did on that day, and it’s what I’ve always done, “Oh, good. I’m a great snow and ice player. I always have played great in the snow. Always.” That’s how I see everything.
Now that goes for tragic things too, like deaths in the family, is to my advantage. I take advantage of the pain, of the feelings. 9/11, Dawn and I were in New York on 9/11. That happened on a Tuesday, I was to perform my play for the first time in New York on Thursday. So that would have been 9/13. So as soon as those planes hit, and so we were there, I didn’t say, “Woe is me.” I was upset just because of what happened, but at the same time, this is how I see the world, I see it like this, as soon as the planes hit, and I knew why I was in New York was to perform this play, I said this, I just did this, I just nodded to myself and said, “Okay, I know my job.” I knew my job. Now, my job was to perform a play, and that may sound meaningless to everybody who saw those planes hit, except for me. I said, “No, no, this is going to be different now. This is a different world I’m going to be performing this play in, and I’m going to perform it in a different way. I’m going to give more of myself because of what just happened.
The audience in that theater is going to get a deeper level of humanity because of what just took place.” So even tragic events like that, I go, “Okay, I know my job. If it’s snowing, I know my job. If a plane hits a building, I know my job.” When this quarantine and the COVID-19 happened, I did the same exact thing. I said, “This is to our advantage. We are going to learn something from this, we’re going to lead from this. We’re going to come out of this stronger, better. It gives us a chance to get closer as a family, to get intimate with our own dreams and declarations, because we have the time to do it, to eat better, to train more.” And so I knew it was to our advantage.
And if you’ll just see the world like that, whether good things happen to you or bad, and I’m sure this COVID-19 is the beginning of things that are going to happen maybe more frequently, so what do we do? Do we wrap ourselves in a blanket and lay on the ground? Or do we lead? Do we take advantage of the situation and take the lead? No different than my dad used to talk about, “Hey, if you want to win, you better take the bull by the horns because no one else is coming for you.” And certainly in this situation, that’s how it feels, right? Like so, “Is anybody going to give me a good prediction on this thing, any good data out there on this thing?” Who’s going to be that person? Who’s going to lead? You? I think so. I think, certainly, if I was a doctor right now, or in functional medicine or medical, whatever, I would be licking my chops right now, I would.
I would be licking my chops going, “Let me at this sucker.” Because, look, everybody’s hurting, the whole world, not just the country, the whole world, right? So who are you going to be? You got this huge opportunity sitting right in front of you, and you can either wallow, you can be victimized by it, by your career choices, or you can say, “You know what? I know my job. I know what to do. I got this.”
Kristen Brokaw: Yeah.
Bo Eason: That’s what I would do. That’s how I would start seeing the world because obviously these things aren’t going to stop.
Kristen Brokaw: Oh, Bo, thank you for that. If anybody wants to go through this process like I’ve done working with Bo, they obviously can get your book, There’s No Plan B for Your A Game. You’ve been touring around with your book, and how are people receiving it? Anything you’ve learned from writing this book?
Bo Eason: You know what’s funny, the book came out in September and it made seven bestseller lists, but it’s funny, now that we’re shut in, now we’re quarantined, I keep getting so many messages and the book is selling, and I’m like, “Oh, so maybe the way I see the world, maybe I’m right, maybe my voice didn’t mean as much in September, but it certainly means more now,” the book’s voice, right?
Kristen Brokaw: Yeah.
Bo Eason: Because it is, it’s like a field manual for COVID-19 because it gets you locked in to what your greatness and what your dreams are, instead of what other people’s dreams are. Because most of the world right now, guess what we’re doing as people, we’re fulfilling on certain people’s dreams, you know whose dreams we’re fulfilling on? The news media’s dreams. We’re fulfilling on their dreams. I don’t want to fulfill on their dreams, I want to fulfill on mine and my kids’ dreams, not theirs. What is their dream? To keep you watching. And how do they do that? It’s got to be fear based. They got to scare you, they got to put you in upset, that’s how they keep you watching, right? So they don’t care if it’s true or not true, but you are now building the media’s dreams. I have no interest in that, I have interest in building mine, my clients and my kids’ dreams. So that’s what I’m going to do, and I think that’s what you should do too. And the book lays that out, there’s no plan B for your A game, lays that out.
Kristen Brokaw: So it teaches you how to be a pro. That’s absolutely no doubt. So thank you so much, Bo. I really appreciate you today.
Bo Eason: You’re welcome, Kristen. Thank you.
Kristen Brokaw: You’re welcome.
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