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Ep. 15 - Live Your Life Not Your Story - An Interview With Tommy Breedlove

by Hearts Rise Up
December 2nd 2019
From incarceration on his birthday at age 19 to University to fast-tracking the corporate ladder, Tommy Breedlove had achieved what few people have done given the humble beginnings and violence in his... More
right? Mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm. Hello to all of you Hearts rise up podcast listeners. Thank you for tuning your heart's in for another episode of this podcast. I'm carol chapman, your host for this episode. We share our own personal experiences, tips and strategies, along with powerful stories and compelling insights from guests that we bring on our show. Our purpose is to inspire you to rise up to your best and greatest self, tap into your own inner wisdom and elevate your state of being, your life and the world around you. It's that simple. So let's get right into today's episode on today's show. I have a very special featured guest Tommy Breedlove, Tommy's purpose is to empower humans to build a legendary life.

He guides his clients and audiences to discover a life of significance while building a lasting legacy. The tools he shares shows them how to work in their zone of brilliance, obtain financial freedom and live with meaning and balance. This helps them become the person they've always wanted to be. We all know that life has its challenges. Tommy's certainly had plenty of those. But rising up to life's challenges is what helps us grow and evolve. I'm looking forward to him sharing his journey with us and how he helps others achieve true freedom so that they can be the person they want to be and live the life they want to live. So sit back listening carefully to our conversation and I know there will be plenty of nuggets of wisdom. Tommy. Welcome to the show and thank you so much for taking time to be your very welcome carol. I'm very, very excited to be here. So let's, I'm ready to jump right in. So thank you for having me awesome. And you know, as I mentioned earlier in the, in your intro, we all know that life teaches us many things about ourselves, so I would love for you to elaborate a little bit more on my intro about who you are and share how you got to where you are today, because I'm sure we'll find some great jumping in points for deeper discussion.

I'm one of the fortunate people where my career with running masterminds and doing business mindset and relationship coaching actually fell into my lap. I, I never in a million years thought I would be doing it. So I'm I'm very fortunate that my profession has called me and I didn't call it, but I find myself, I come from humble beginnings in South Atlanta grew up with an X with a pretty big violence inside the home and some outside of the home. And because of that, The worst thing happens to you when you're bullied and beaten and abused in every way imaginable. At 18 years old, you become, you know about 12, 13, 14 years old, not 18 years old, but you become what you despise, you become that bully And at 18 years old I committed a violent crime and rightfully so society charged me with two felonies. luckily they were dropped to misdemeanors or otherwise you and I probably would not be having this conversation right now, luckily they were dropped to misdemeanors but I did spend my 19th birthday, incarcerated and that was the big first Step in my life instead of going to university and nobody in my family had ever graduated from university and I was scheduled to go and there I was you know 18 years old as a young man and instead of going to school I was going to jail which rightfully so by the way I was totally did it.

It was actually one of the best things that ever happened in my life because a male mentor, one of the very few appeared in my life um and it was an african american general gentleman which is unusual for that situation because those places are divided among racial lines. So he stepped across that line to help me to become the man I wanted to be and ensure I never went back. So literally to make the story quickly, I went from jail to a nuclear waste container factory which was brutal work putting myself through school at night, ended up a couple of years later at the university of Georgia and ended up a couple of years after that at a company called Deloitte and Touche, which at the time was one of the largest public accounting and financial consulting world firms in the world. So we like to say jail to Deloitte in three years, that was pretty amazing. Um fast forward 14 years, I am a principal at a different firm but a very large firm in the southeastern United States, got the corner office tailored suit, shiny things, fancy car and um it was just about one more conquest, it was just about more power, more money and I never dealt with any of those demons from my past, the wounds, the abuse and so how that led my life is I was the tough guy, cool guy, important guy.

I would outwork you guy. I literally had the mantra, ye who turns the lights off last wins And it almost cost me everything. My marriage was crumbling. Um if there was 100 things not to do in life, I checked off about 90 of them, I was just trying to fill that hole that was inside of me because the money, the prestige, the power and the shiny things wasn't doing it. So I, I saw it in other ways and I find myself one morning looking up at the blue sky, not knowing where I was in Atlanta. Um, after just a couple of days of complete chaos, a couple of years, a couple of weeks before I was probably doing some 50 to $100 million deal in some boardroom and here I was again, um, basically at the bottom looking up thinking man, I've got to change something and so I made my, my life my full time job, you know what I mean? My life is my emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. I literally made me, I doubled down, invested in myself and for the next 78 years just did the hard work to be fulfilled inside master my mindset, cultivate unconditional love for myself so that I could go um love my people, love my family, love myself and and serve and so through that process, the most amazing thing started happening, my network expanded, my marriage became the best it's ever been, my financial and Business success.

I just went 10 x through the wolf roof just by doing all of the right things and being the person I was born to be. And here's the miraculous thing when I did that. All of these successful entrepreneurs, business people or just ambitious people in general came out of the Woodworks and saying, hey, you went through, they saw me go through this massive transformation and they saw me do it without giving up my ambition or drive. But they saw my, you know my relationships, they saw my success and they saw my happiness just, just go through the roof and they said how do I do that, you know what are you doing? And that's how I got to you today, I am, I am, I am honored to run mastermind groups and to do a lot of public speaking and uh being amazing business life and mindset coach for people who um stare up at the stars and ask why I'm here, where I'm going and who am I? So it's, it's a really a miraculous life. So that's a very Quick 45 years of my life done in about five minutes and That's quite a journey even for 45 years. And I was going to ask, what have, how did you change your mindset?

How do you know, what did you learn and how did you do it? What were the things that you that you that employed in your life to make that transformation? I still do it every day. And so I quit this work the hard work. It's amazing how we, as human beings and I'll tell you specifically what I do and this is what I teach others to do. It's amazing to me that will invest in people we don't know will invest in our careers, will even go to the gym to invest in our bodies. Um, but we won't invest in ourselves. And to me your, your emotional mental spiritual fortress is just as important as your business and physical fortress. So it's just like going to the gym, you have to do the work every single day to be the master of your mindset and cultivate unconditional respect, love and confidence for yourself. And so each day I get up I have a hour and a half to two hour routine. It includes physical exercise, it concludes meditation, gratitude practices, journaling I have daily readings that I do.

I also have a coach that helps me hold account, hold me accountable to my goals, my vision and my core values. I am also involved in a men's mastermind that helps me to be the man I want to do. So not only have, I surrounded myself with like minded, abundant positive people who are going places in life. So I think it's critical who we surround ourselves with and not have energy vampires in our life, but I also do the hard work each and every day to cultivate. Um you know, we all have that inner critic in our brain that says we're not good enough and what if they figure out, I don't know what I'm doing or what if they figure out my deepest darkest desires we all have that we're not alone. And so I spend a lot of time every single day minimizing that self critic building that fortress of a mental, mental, emotional and spiritual health and also my physical body so that I can go out and serve my audiences, my people that I coach as well as the people in my master minds the best possible. But I also have to do it to serve myself and my wife. So I'm a firm believer that you have to serve yourself first before you serve others.

It's not selfish, it's actually appropriate. It's the only way we can do it. And so that's what I do every day as I spend a lot of time working on me so that I can serve others better. That is so well said. I think that so many people just don't realize uh, the importance of taking care of yourself and we spend so much time just externally. Um, just just frantically just working our way through life that we don't really take the time to reflect um, on the inner reflects who we are. Take the time to nourish our own soul, our own mind, our own body. And I love what you said about the, the emotional mental spiritual fortress. We have to, to care for that and the things that you're doing with um, taking an hour and a half to two hours a day. You know, most people um don't feel like they can, they can even take that amount of time, but I think it's important for us to make the time.

And I would have to say for myself, I do a lot of the same things in the morning where I'll take you no time for meditation. I take time for stretching a little bit of yoga and I go to the gym after that. And um, and I do journal from time to time. So there's a lot to be said for that. How do you help people to um get themselves into a a process where they can begin to start taking better care of themselves, taking the time for themselves because you'd be going from, from many people be going from zero to spending no time on it to a certain amount of time. That's going to get you to where you need to be, 100% of the time people come to me um, to be a better leader to make more money or they have some sort of business change or strategy or the problem with their partner or they want to make a big career change or they're just simply lack.

They can't find their purpose in life. And I'm one of those big believers that we all have a purpose and our purpose changes based on the seasons of our lives and it's our job. The whole reason we're here is to fulfill that purpose during whatever season we are and it does change throughout your lifetime. And so, um it's interesting to me, the only way to do that. And so you've said something really powerful is is one of the ways we do that is we we take them through a really, it's an art and a science. We take them, we take every single client through a purpose exercise. We also take them through a personal mission statement exercise and that typically doesn't change and that's your core values, who you are, what you fight for, where you're going. Um, so we take them through purpose exercise. personal mission statement exercise. We work extensively on conquering our time. Um, no single human being on Earth has more time than any other human being. We all have 24 hours a day and a billionaire doesn't have more time than we do. It's simply the choices and priorities. So we do a lot of time on time management. And if you use the word busy, that it's just a code word for somebody else or something else is controlling your time and you're not in it.

And so we do a lot of time management exercises, but we also spend a significant amount of time and then we do a lot of work on the money side too because it's important, anybody who says money is not important. I would run from them. That means they're probably broke. But we do spend a lot of time on the money side. But we also spend a lot of time we all carry. We all have our insecurities, our fears. We all are not alone in that. And so what I do is give a lot of these ambitious alpha people the gift of going second and when I'm vulnerable to them about the mistakes I've made and the tragedies I've made and the and the miss turns it gives them the opportunity to speak up and and be vulnerable with me. But then we do a lot of work on our mindsets so that we can minimize that self critic that that voice inside our head that says we're not good enough and we don't know what we're doing. We do a lot of work on cultivating and it's a practice. I have them practice here. I hold them accountable and I have them go home and do exercises each and every day so that they can start becoming the master of their mindsets. And then we also do a lot of work on the gratitude space, the forgiveness space.

And that's the part of cultivating unconditional love for themselves and for the for the for others. And so it's a, you know we're one big stew and um you know business and finance. It's super important. Unconditional love for ourselves and others is super important. Self confident. Self respect is super important. Being the master of our mindsets is important. There's a spiritual component to it, depending on what you know what their particular belief systems is. And we worked there and we we literally do hard focused work so that they can, it's not a it's not self development self improvement. I don't want to change human beings. I want to make them, I want I want them to make the best choices possible so that they can realize I call it a revelation, we reveal who they were truly born to be. And so that's what I do. So how do how do you help people determine if they're the right client for you. So it's interesting. We have a pretty thorough process now and it's uh, there's there's multiple layers to do that. I have them. First of all, we uh, Lindsay and or Patty will screen them.

Usually Lindsay Lindsay runs the practice and Patti runs all of our administration and scheduling. But Lindsay will usually have a long conversation with him. We what we're trying to determine is are they ready? Are they willing and ready and have a deep desire to truly be the best version of ourselves? Because I don't have time. We've got a little bit of a waiting list right now because I can only serve so many people doing my schedule with speaking and the book coming out. And so a we want to determine, you know, how big is their desire to show up and do this work for ourselves. And then we have them fill out this very long, very detailed questionnaire about where they are and where they want to be. And it covers every single facet of their life and from there after those two steps. And they usually, and I've got people all over the country. And now I've got two people in the UK that I've never actually even met, but we, I know every single thing about their lives. We meet over video for an hour or two hours every other week. And um, I know everything about them, but once they go through three screening processes, then I know they're ready and then we either work in person here we have two offices in Roswell Georgia or we do it over video and I have people in san Francisco I've got in new york I have people in the U.

K. It's just really an amazing thing and they typically work with me. It's it's a retainer basis and they typically work with me over three or four retainers and then when I think they're ready and they think they're ready They still keep me on. I become like a board of director for them and then they just do check ins for 10-30 minutes when they need it. They've got a big decision to make or something going on in their family or they want to know if there if this is their nonsense or they're making the right decision. I become like a board of director member for them and that's when I know the work is really starting to work. But I I still hold them accountable on a regular basis. There's accountability check ins. There's forms to check in but we I ensure they do the work and I have very very strict boundaries with my clients as well. I will fire them as quick as look at them if they start crossing the lines um you know with their time or with how they treat the people that work in our office. I have zero tolerance for that and I know they're not ready to do the work because they're not doing if they're if they're treating people badly or they're not honoring the contract of the boundaries, I know they're not doing the homework and so I know that sounds kind of tough, but it's super important for me and my time is critical.

Your time is critical carol. My people's time is critical and I want people that are ready and willing to do the work, I don't have time to play and so um I know that sounds tough, but there's a whole process, we go through to screen clients, but it's if they make it through, it's an amazing thing, hmm, I can imagine you have to really want it um and want to change uh to put yourself out there and do it. Can you share an example of a success story? I know you're probably one of the biggest success stories yourself and you just share that with you, I can even use their name, so I have also very strict confidentiality clauses because you know, a lot of them, you know, I get I have carte blanche on this one particular actually three particular people, but I use the one um but it's amazing, you know guys come to me and we always end up guys and gals, we always end up in relationships work as well because it's one of the toughest places, you know relationship with their Children relationship with our spouse relationship with our employees, our boss.

So we do a lot of relationship work too and it gets intimate and wrong, right? And we put tools and systems and processes and strategies in place so they can be the best version of all. You know, they're the same person behind closed doors as they are in public. And so that's why we have strict confidentiality clauses. But a gentleman approached me about two years ago. Um he was an advertising executive. His name is chris tough in his words, he had no friends, he was making a significant amount of money, but he was not happy unfulfilled. His marriage was not good. Um, he had basically had his own version of rock bottom and we were introduced at a men's retreat that I was facilitating and during that I just fell in love with this guy because of his rawness whose vulnerability and his desire to be better. So he checked all the boxes and I happen to be running the retreat and in two years time He's gone from having zero friendships to 15 of the most healthiest friendships he's ever had. He's written a national best selling book and build a massive practice around a movement called the millennial whisperer.

And he's sold just thousands and thousands and thousands of books. Um he's being asked to speak on every stage in manageable and every corporation is beating down his door. He's now he's become one of my best friends in life and he and his wife are like brothers and sisters to me and my wife. So from his friendship to his happiness, to his business and financial success to working in his zone of brilliance and finding his purpose. When I tell you he has been an overwhelming success and it's interesting. He every facet of his life, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental and definitely professional has probably increased 100 times greater than it was when we first met. And it's all because he did the work, he showed up for himself and he showed up for his family and he followed his dreams and we like to say a term. We, he burned the boats. And so when I walked away from literally millions and millions of dollars in the financial world, I was an owner and on the board of directors of a big financial firm here based here in Atlanta, I was set for life financially, I didn't have to do, I mean I could have done the bare minimum and walked away over my entire career with eight digits in the bank.

And I just, I just couldn't do it because it wasn't, I didn't love it. I didn't like it, it wasn't fulfilling me and the money wasn't gonna buy me the happiness so we have a term called burn the boats and chris certainly did that when you burn the boat, you can't go back right, you got to go forward and I don't suggest everyone do that. I actually am a big fan of people staying in their current careers until we figure out where they need to go. But in his case he went all in and his life is just significantly different than it was two years ago. Do you find that there's a common denominator or common something common amongst all of the clients that you take on that drives their success, ambition and impact? One of the things that we look for in our screening process is I don't it's very hard to undo a victim mentality where you blame society or a politician or something that's happened to you in your past or culture. It's very very difficult to undo that and that usually. So I like to think that mentors and coaches help people move forward and psychologists helped them deal with their past and we do some past work here, but psychologists are certainly more capable of doing that than I am.

And so if you've got an entitlement or a victim um if you want to blame politicians or society or there's probably some deep wound there that they have to deal with. So usually um and there's always wounds that we deal with that we all have mommy and daddy issues and insecurities and that's part of the unconditional love and self confidence, self respect and conquering our mindsets that we deal with. But typically these people are ambitious and they have a burning desire to make massive impact on this world and got a couple of guys who are in the early stages of their careers and they're just crushing it now in life and they're both of them are looking to move and then change careers soon. Um so it's it's a that the common denominator is a burning desire to be the best version of themselves. Um ambition and drive as well as um almost 100% of the people who sitting here want to make a better impact on this world. And so that's really the common denominator. But I've got zero tolerance for apathy, martyrdom, victimhood and entitlement. Just that's the stuff I look for.

Are you entitled to your victim? Are you apathetic? You just simply not care if that if that's the case that the stuff the stuff that I'm gonna be teaching them is not gonna work right? Right? And do you feel that the people that have been successful and working with you, they've learned that they don't have to feel like others need they don't need others approval necessarily that really can dictate how they how they what they should do, how they should feel, how they should act or even define who they are, They need to be true to who they are. That's and that's part of what your whole transformation was and when you hit rock bottom at the height of your career. You you looked at what didn't feel right for you and at some point you were living um and doing this maybe because that's what society said, hey, this is what I should be doing, but we really need to step back and take our, take back our power and find true happiness based on what is true for us.

Am I making sense? Totally. 100% of the people who I work with struggle within 100% of humans struggle with giving credibility and credence to what other people think what they think whoever they are. I don't even know who they are and the truth is is that's our insecurities and fears most people aren't thinking about us ever because they got their own nonsense. They're dealing with. Um what other people think about us is none of our business and it's usually are demons and insecurities and it usually has to deal with past mistakes or what if they really, you know what if I if I pull the dress up and I'm standing here naked, what will they think? So 100% of the people, including myself struggle with that on some level, the key to that is to know that we're not alone and that's why we do this work. That's why we do the work to work on our self confidence or self respect. The unconditional love and mastering our mindsets and conquering our time because eventually we're going to attract the right people in our lives and we're not going to be around angry judgmental, fear based thinkers.

Um that's the work that we do and here's the thing to society. Our media promotes fear and division. It wants us to be a republican or a democrat. It wants us to dislike each other and it wants us to be scared because that's what sells news. And then the flip side of that, our social media wants us to be envious and so they want us to put our best selves on instagram facebook, whatever your or or you know, these these superficial bullying comments all over social media. So we're surrounded by all this noise that promotes those insecurities and fears and jealousy and envy and division. And so a lot of the work that we do in this office and over video and in public speaking and retreats and masterminds is getting rid of that noise outside of your life so that you can concentrate on you and do you and do you the best way possible so that you can make as much impact money, business success and happiness as you can. And so we all struggle from that including myself. It's one of those things that we got to realize and we've got to do something about it and it's up to us to do that everything in life is a choice.

It's the only power we have. We have zero power other than our choices and mindset and so we have to choose and be ready to choose to do the hard work to be better than we were yesterday. I hear you on that. I couldn't agree more and I have just a few other questions for you. Absolutely. I would love to know what's the best advice you ever received from someone? It was two things a mentor named Kerry Gay ho um looked at me one time and said, do you want to live your life or are you still going to live your story? And I thought that was a pretty powerful thing as I was letting my insecurities, mistakes, demons, and wounds from my past dictate my future. And when I stopped living my story and started living my life, a lot of things changed. Um 2nd 2nd piece of advice came from a very strange place. It came from a river rafting guide and he said, you must participate in your own rescue. And I thought, wow, that was profound. What he meant is I needed to turn over if I fell out of the boat, turn over, put my feet and head out of the water, look for the rope and I couldn't find the rope swing to safety.

That's life. That is an amazing analogy for life. There's no magic pill. Um there's no person on a white horse coming to save us and there's no easy fix nothing good in life comes quickly. There's no such thing. You know anything that gives us quick satisfaction is usually very bad for us from food to alcohol to other other things. So you have to participate in your own rescue, You have to invest in yourself and it's just like going to the gym, you've got to build your mental, emotional, spiritual, physical muscles so that we can have that revelation to reveal the person that we were always born to be So participate in your own rescue and choose to live your life and not your story are probably the two best pieces of advice I ever had. I love that. I absolutely love that. Um participate in your own rescue. And of course you've got to choose your own life, not your story. Wonderful, wonderful advice. I'd love to just quickly. Just talk a little bit about your book. You have a book that's coming out, Can you share a little bit about that? I'm so excited, it's been 2.5 years in the making thousands and thousands of hours of my time and then I have an amazing team behind me, amazing publisher, it's called legendary and the reason I named it legendary.

It's about building and living a legendary life and it encompasses every single thing we've talked about on this phone call and what I like about the title legendary is that's not something we can claim for ourselves, that's something society, our peers, our friends, and our family give to us and you can be an amazing legend like martin Luther king or Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, there's countless of people who are amazing legends in life or you can be a horrible evil legend like the Saddam Hussein's and the Hitlers of the World and so it's a playbook of simple tools, story strategies and tactics. We've talked a lot about them on this call that I aspire when I leave this world and this, this playbook is all about positive impact for yourself and others. From conquering your time to financial freedom, to mastering your mindsets, to unconditional self respect and confidence, to networking and relationships and purpose. But this book is about us aspiring and I aspire for this. I'm certainly no legend.

Um, but I aspire one of my time and all of us, you know, one thing we all have in common is we're not gonna be here long term, we're gonna, we're just a short blip on the map. But why can't we do every single thing in our power to be remembered as an impactful, positive legend in this, in this world. And that's what this book is all about. I love that. And when is it due to be published? So, official published date is late february. That's when it'll hit the bookstores in the airports. However, I will have books in my hand e book and the audible will be ready within the month. I'm really excited about that. Um those will be out probably mid november and then I'll have physical pre copies, both hardcover and soft cover in my hand in december. Official launch stage february. But the e book will be coming out in november. The audible book will be coming out in november, we're recording that as we speak and uh the physical, you'll see it in the airports and the stores uh in february and all systems are leading to believe this thing could be a Wall Street Journal and a USA today bestseller.

So we'll see, we've got our fingers crossed, it's not about selling books, you don't really make any money with books by the way, especially as a first time published author, but it really is about making impact in people's lives. And if people actually read it and they actually take action which is super hard. Not only is taking action super hard, but continuing to take action is even more difficult If people read the book and just do one of the tools in there for 365 days their whole life with 10x. And so that's that's why we want to get this book and as many people's hands as possible because I do believe it in it so much that it will be that impactful. Well I can't wait till it comes out. I want to get my own personal copy. Can't wait to read it. And on that note, I just want to thank you so much Tommy for sharing your insights, your story, your personal story, what you do to help others. And even just, you know, sharing the, the insights of what you advice that you receive from others and how you're really trying to help truly helping others. Um, and and just success stories that you've shared is just terrific to hear.

And it really is. I just want to say it really is about choice. It's always about personal choice. And if anyone doesn't think they don't have a choice, then then they're they're misguided. That's all I can say. Absolutely. It's the only power we have. Exactly. So only power we have is choice. Yes. So any other party comments you'd like to share, check me out. You can follow me on social media at Tommy Breedlove linkedin instagram and facebook and or visit me at www Tommy Breedlove dot com. We'd love to hear from you. I would love to some feedback criticisms were open to anything. You know, we're we're all about, we'd love to hear from you and tell us what's going on in your life. And if if there's any way that we can help you, we would love to do that. Or if there's any way we can guide you to someone depending on where you are in your journey. We've got a lot of resources around us and it takes a village to keep this business and myself going. And I also have a lot of people that helped me. And so we'd love to help you if you need it. And so thank you so much for the time. Carol sounds great and I'll just repeat that.

It's Tommy Breedlove dot com and legendary is the book that is due out in february, but early copies will be available in in december and we'll have all this in our show notes. Tommy. Thanks so much. I know you've got to run, but you have a terrific day and I look forward to learning more of your journey and your success down the road. Thanks so much. Thank you carol. You bet. Thank you. Thank you. Bye bye. Okay, stay with us just a bit longer before you go. We hope today's show helped to bring a bit more joy and happiness into your heart. We hope it inspires you to unleash your own inner power and to rise up to your best and loving heart centered, highest self. Just a few things before we go, we'd be so grateful if you'd leave us a review on Itunes because those reviews are important to our show and we'd love for you to subscribe to our podcast and share the show with others. And finally let us know what tips and strategies you use to rise up to your highest self by reaching out to us at www dot hearts.

Rise up dot com or email us at Hello at hart's rise up dot com. Well, that's it for now. Until next time. Keep rising up and may love, and happiness always be in your heart. Bye for now, Right.

Ep. 15 - Live Your Life Not Your Story - An Interview With Tommy Breedlove
Ep. 15 - Live Your Life Not Your Story - An Interview With Tommy Breedlove
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