Ep 18. Kionte Storey: Befriending Suicidal Thoughts
After a raid gone awry while overseas during his time in the Marines, Kionte lost his right leg. Though he recalls the moments after in a matter-of-fact tone, the truth was the Kionte lost more than just his leg that day. He lost his self confidence, his self esteem, his ability to ever walk into a room and not be looked at twice. What followed were bouts of emotions he never faced before: melancholy, depression, and suicidal thoughts. This next episode of Resilient Us is all about the darker parts of our mind. What happens when you no longer see a future for yourself? How can you manage anxiety, melancholy, depression - will these things ever leave? I'm most excited about this episode because Kionte always smiles. But happiness doesn't preclude someone from suffering from debilitating thoughts. After our conversation I don't think I'll ever think about depression the same. And since the odds are that you or someone you love suffers from his exact same, tormenting thoughts, it's a good thing to rethink. So here's to renewing our minds for the ones we love, for being there for them when they can't be for themselves. Because really, resilience is a product of community.
1 Oct 2019
Ep 17. Cobey Fehr: Fighting for the UFC and the Kids Back Home
Cobey “Chaos” Fehr is an amateur MMA fighter who hopes to soon join the UFC in his fight for the kids. Cobey’s life has been defined by fighting, from his early days of fighting against the influence of drugs in his closest circles, to dedicating his childhood and collegiate years to wrestling, Cobey has, in all areas of his life, fought for who he is today. This is why I was most excited to talk to him - because I know that the lessons he’s learned on mats and cages across the country shape the way he sees life. He understands pain and suffering, and the proper response to those inconveniences which yield to something other than setbacks. This journey hasn’t been without difficulty. Cobey recalls intimately the moments when he wanted to jump out of a car on his way to college because he was so afraid of life on campus at Lake Erie College. He talks about performance anxiety and how personal and social expectations frequently culminate to bouts of depression. We talk about “making it” - what it takes to get to the UFC. Hint: it’s not just about your record. A fighter has to make a business case that they belong in the league, that their personality can sell out arenas. It doesn’t take long listening to Cobey Fehr to believe he has that personality. But his reasoning for making to the UFC is touching. He reminisces on growing up in Barberton, Ohio and how most of the media he witnessed spoke negatively of his future: star athletes getting busted for drug use, rising crime rates in the city, who was going to re-write that narrative? Who was going to show the next generation of kids that they could do something like MMA and not be someone who’s story ended in drug abuse? Queue Cobey. Can he do it? He’s sitting at 2-1. And, at a minimum, a fighter needs a 6 win streak to be considered for the big leagues. He’s got something else working in his favor, Cobey trains at Strong Style Training Center, the same facility as the UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World, Stipe Miocic. So, he’s in good company. If there’s one thing I’ve been pondering since my talk with Cobey it’s that in all things we must keep fighting. And as always, stay resilient.
24 Sep 2019
Ep 16. Mario Romero: How Much of You is Your Choice?
Mario Romero is a modern day renaissance man. He’s a polymath whose story doesn’t begin with promises of a prodigy. He seemed normal, even average. Some of his labels were inherited. As Mario so intimately recalls, he was told that “no one in the family is good at math.” So he wasn’t either, he thought. No one in his immediately family had graduated college (let alone an Ivy League), fought in U.S. Special Operations, or started the application process to become an astronaut at NASA either. But Mario has since done all these things. His accomplishments began with him challenging his prior causes, the moments in his life that defined what he thought he could and could not do. Mario was fed up with these prior causes, and believing them to be lies, set out to disprove their narrative. What culminated was a nine year journey in the U.S. Navy SEALs, where he was selected to join its most prestigious team, DEVGRU. After his time in the military Mario struggled - as so many veterans do. He never joined believing there would be a day after his time in uniform. Then there was. And he was left to figure out his new identity; with bruises and wounds on the inside and out. Having proved himself physically capable of some of the toughest challenges in the world, Mario applied the same approach to academics. He believed that he could become “good at math.” That it was just like any physical exercise - he just needed practice. Subsequently, he excelled at community college and continued his education at Columbia University in the City of New York - where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Pure Mathematics. Now, Mario works at NASA as a member of their dive team and trains astronauts in high-pressure environments. His next dream is to be an astronaut. Most peculiar to Mario’s story is his obsession with free will. How much of these accomplishments was actually his choice? He didn’t choose to first believe he was bad at math, did he? Did he choose to challenge the prior causes, or was it another cause that sent him into challenging his identity? While this conversation feels abstract, it suggests an interesting challenge. Where do we draw the lines to where the self begins and where it ends? And once drawn, can these lines be redrawn? Only through the proof of our lives can we answer these questions; through journeys with paths yet paved. Because, just as we've redrawn maps of the physical world, and our galaxy through exploration, so too we must explore and - and redraw - the map of ourselves.
17 Sep 2019
Ep 22. Elliott Weeks: Building a Premiere Austin Outdoor Brand
Elliott Weeks is the founder of Old Enfield Supply Co., an Austin fashion brand that reflects the city’s down-home, cosmopolitan, feel. As I put it, Old Enfield Supply Co. (OES) has a classic feel with a novel flavor; its aesthetic is as unique as it is ubiquitous. A nod to outdoor living, grounded in simple sensibilities. The result of which makes OES as much as a lifestyle brand as, say, Outdoor Voices - another Austin staple. What made Elliott’s transition into starting his own fashion company is unique because at the time when he first thought of the idea he didn’t know a thing about sewing, sourcing materials, or any part of product lifecycle. Well… he knew one: branding. Prior to his entrepreneurial journey into OES, Elliott worked as a social media manager for large tech companies in the central Texas region. Experience which undoubtedly helped him scale his brand so quickly. But everything else Elliott had to teach himself. How to sew. Where to buy materials. How to setup a marketplace. The entire process was foreign. Though, thanks to his mother and grandmother, he was able to learn how to sew quicker than most. Elliott’s story is so inspiring to me because its impetus could have also been its end. It’s not too far-fetched to believe that there’s another universe where Elliott still lives on today saying, “I’d love to start a fashion brand, but I don’t know a thing about clothes.” He instead chose to align his abilities with his desires. You could blame that mindset on his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, you could blame it on the fact that he just couldn’t shake the idea from his head. Regardless of what you attribute his early success to, Elliott’s a-lack-of-skills-won’t-stop-me-from-trying attitude serves as an inspiration to us all who want to be somewhere that we currently don’t know how to get to. As always, I hope you enjoy the show! Feel free to give us any feedback, or requests for the show here. And until next time, stay resilient.
29 Oct 2019
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Ep 19. Josh Boyer: From Opiate Addiction to Spiritual Awakening
Josh Boyer was forced to medically retire from the Air Force. His back had too many issues; it required too many surgeries. And after each operation, copious amounts of medications were prescribed. Medications that were supposed to help Josh. But soon the pills that eased his pain started transform his mind. The pain was supposed to go away after surgery. Instead, the pain only dissipated after heavy doses of medication. Surgery, after surgery, after surgery. Josh was addicted to opiates. For years he consumed them without reserve. He lived nearly a decade under an incoherent fog. Then, one day, he quit. Cold turkey. The withdrawals he underwent took him to the brink of death. Or perhaps the brink of life. While Josh’s opiate addiction started as a means to ease his physical pain, it caused far worse, harder to cure injuries of the mind. In sum, his back was never cured. At least, not through the surgeries that introduced him to the pills that nearly ruined his life. And while his search for physical relief led to existential despair, it was from this bottom that Josh built up a new life. While his withdraws were extreme - he had over half a dozen seizures during his first year of sobriety - the thought of living another day beholden to the pills was even more haunting. Josh didn’t want to steadily change his life. He wanted a completely new one. So, in tandem with his new physical habits Josh sought a spiritual wakening as well. This is the story of one man who’s life now inspires so many others to fight their addictions through discipline, self-awakening, and positive mindset. As his personal mantra goes, "𝑬𝒎𝒃𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝑽𝒖𝒍𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚, 𝑬𝒙𝒖𝒅𝒆 𝑬𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒚, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑬𝒏𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒅𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒂𝒎𝒆”
8 Oct 2019
Ep 25. Dr. Lewis-Peacock: Resilience, Memory, and Forgetting
Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas Austin. His research focuses on memory, attention, neural decoding, and neurofeedback. Additionally, he is the Principal Investigator at the LewPea Lab, a cognitive neuroscience lab which explores how automatic and controlled processes contribute to goal-directed behavior. He is most famous for stating that forgetting is crucial to a resilience and identity. On the topic of resilience, mental health is frequently included in any discussion on resilience. How one defines mental health is murky. There are the obvious avenues: ensure you are getting enough sleep, socializing frequently, etc. Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock’s work argues that memory and forgetfulness should be considered just as much as any of these other characteristics. Forgetfulness seems like an odd trait for resilience. Understandable in the aftermath of trauma, otherwise memory appears to be the triumphal trait. After speaking with Dr. Lewis-Peacock the best analogy that comes to mind is that eating is to memorizing as forgetting is to fasting. Both play an integral role in balancing our somatic and neurological processes. Our conversation delved into the topics of brains as microprocessors, the effects that patient H.M had to the field of neuroscience, and how novel technologies impact the human capacity to remember. It was an absolute pleasure to have Dr. Lewis-Peacock on Resilient Us. Any student of his is fortunate to have his influence over their research. You can reach Dr. Lewis-Peacock and his team via his lab’s webpage, here. As always, please send any show feedback or guest requests to me! Thank you for listening. If you liked the show, please share it with a friend.
10 Dec 2019
Ep 20. Jeff Sabins: Illness, War, and Art
At one point Jeff Sabins was the most blown-up United States Marine in service. Meaning, no Marine wearing a uniform faced as many IEDs as him. But we don’t talk about that in his story. Because Jeff sees himself as more than a warrior. He sees himself as a loving father of a child recovering from a brain tumor; and as an author who just finished his first book, The American Terrorist. After Jeff’s son was diagnose with a brain tumor, his life was dedicated to being beside his son. And soon, it was dedicated to being there for families undergoing the same. Soon after his son’s cancer went into remission he was later diagnosed with autism - which, as Jeff explains, is more common than not. The Sabin family dynamics forever changed. Along the way Jeff noticed that the difficulties of navigating the medical system felt unduly cumbersome and isolating. On a mission to ensure that no families had to endure similar difficulties without having a community, Jeff and his wife started fromtumor2autism.com. This platform instilled hope in the Sabin family, as well as the many others that visited the site. Along the way Jeff’s career in the Marines progressed. But the author inside him couldn’t quiet. This, he learned, by writing regularly for his site fromtumor2autism. So, as retirement from the military approached, Jeff put paper to pen, and just two weeks ago published his first book The American Terrorist. What I love most about Jeff’s story is that each chapter feels so isolated from the next. We could have talked the entire time about combat and his near-death experiences. We didn’t say a word about it. We could have only talked about the struggles that his family faced after his son was diagnosed with a brain tumor - it was just an opportunity for them to help others. And becoming a published author….while on active-duty… that’s literally unheard of. Jeff’s character inspires, moves, and stills; and it was an absolutely pleasure to host him on Resilient Us. Follow him on Instagram or Facebook to see his latest writings! As always, let me know what you think of the show by reaching out to me here.
15 Oct 2019
Ep 23. Julia Mitchell: Managing ROAM Ranch
Julia Mitchell - alongside her husband Cody Spencer - manages ROAM Ranch , a regenerative landscape and ultimate outdoor Austin day trip. ROAM Ranch was started by Katie and Taylor Collin as an extension of their first company, Epic Provisions (buy these snacks!). After Katie fell ill while trying to balance vegetarianism with exercise, she returned to consuming meat and decided the best way to do so was by creating a brand that ensured the meat she consumed was fed and treated in a manner most wholesome. ROAM Ranch extends this vision as becoming a single ecosystem where Bison roam alongside ducks, pigs, turkeys, and a whole host of other animals that keep this agro-ecological system in natural harmony. The results have been astounding. Plots where little to no grass grew, now dozens of varieties of grasses and cover crops flourish. In turn, the land is literally generating nutrition where none previously existed. Which gets to the crux of Julia’s argument: we have a soil problem. Bland fruit, colorless meat, these things are symptoms of a ground run dry. And if more ranches and farms could address the problem of their dying soil, nutrition would abound. As Julia points out, the nutritional value that our grandparents received from one pound of meat we get from two. For oranges, the ratio is 8:1. As ROAM Ranch continues to awaken a small part of Texas land, they want the public to witness their work. The diversity of offerings continues to expand, from regularly scheduled ranch tours, to in depth classes about soil, to a life-changing Thanksgiving experience where attendees get to partake in the process of prepping a Turkey from life to skinned, cleaned, and ready-to-eat. ROAM ranch is one of the greatest outdoor Austin day trips. And to those wanting to spend extra time there, the ranch offers overnight stays as well as Axis Deer hunting packages. It goes without saying that if you live in the Austin area and want to call yourself a Texan, you must visit ROAM.
12 Nov 2019
Ep 21. Paul Alkoby: Making Fitness Fun Again as a videographer for The Tactical Games
Paul Alkoby makes fitness look fun. Over the past few years he’s worked as a videographer and photographer for cross-functional fitness companies, including CrossFit and, most recently, The Tactical Games. One look at his work and you’ll catch yourself saying, “I wanna do that.” But how Paul got to this position was a winding road of uncertainty, filled with self-doubt, and fears of failure. Like many veterans, Paul felt disenchanted with his career choices after service. The options seemed bland; lacked existential purpose. So Paul returned overseas, this time as a private contractor. That, he realized, was not the answer for “what should I do next for my life.” But a newfound love was forming. While Paul was traveling a lot to fulfill his contracts he picked up a camera to help a gym he loved run their social media. He soon found himself wandering during free hours taking pictures of anything that looked remotely interesting. He was beginning to love the camera itself - adjusting shutter times, aperture, etc. So began his calling. As Paul started sharing his work more and more people reached out to him for his eyes to get on their projects. They wanted to see the world Paul saw the world. Naturally, Paul’s initial clients were in the fitness industry - where much of his work remains today. Through this journey, Paul has helped showcase incredible athletes and programs that are changing people’s lives. Among the topics of our conversation, Paul and I talk about Creativity as a means to achieving mental health Concerns over privacy in the digital age Overcoming imposter-syndrome What to do when you feel completely disconnected from your work + MUCH MUCH MORE! As always, let me know what you think of the show! And until next time, Stay Resilient.
22 Oct 2019
Ep 24. Cassandra McClure: The Future of Cosmetics is Clean
Cassandra was having a total-body allergenic reaction. The cause was the object of her career. For years Cassandra worked as a makeup artist, dressing women for their lives finest occasions. Suddenly, the very things she used to make a living - to make herself and others feel more beautiful - was a threat to her health. Almost serendipitously Cassandra soon after discovered a brand called Beauty Counter. Soon after that, she uncovered the systemic horrors of the beauty industry. Products are produced with little to no health and safety oversight, which leads to ingredient lists that include the ever-mysterious “fragrance” to the known human carcinogen formaldehyde. In short, Cassandra faced a moral crossroads. Objective one was to rid herself of her increasingly worse allergic reactions. So, she tossed out every last piece of makeup she owned and started anew. She replaced her entire makeup kit with organic, clean, products. Objective one complete. Objective two was a bit more challenging. Should she change her client offerings to the same clean, organic products - effectively raising prices and losing business for a value add that wasn’t yet valued to her customer base? After much deliberation Cassandra chose to take on the industry. She changed her client’s offerings. And she did, for awhile, lose business. But she kept vlogging about the changes and people started following. It didn’t take long before Cassandra became a leading voice for change in the cosmetics industry. She now runs the best cosmetic-based podcast, Clean Beauty Podcast; sits as a judge on the Clean Beauty Awards, hosts clean beauty workshops across the country, and can be found at industry events nationwide. In addition, Cassandra is the co-founder of the Sustainable Project, which educates the public of the environmental impacts of the beauty industry. Recently, Cassandra successfully released Lash Binder - the safest and easiest artificial lash applicator. All this she’s done in pursuit of getting the United States to ban 1500+ known toxic and allergenic ingredients in U.S. cosmetics. Join her mission by visiting any one of her sights, following her podcast, and posting your content with #ban1500ingredients or #cleanbeautypodcast.
26 Nov 2019