#storytellerjewels: Welcome to the Telling of Story podcast. I’m your host storyteller Jewels, and along with my guests, it’s my endeavor to explore the art and science of storytelling, to attract, engage, and retain a business audience, and to unpack why it works for some and not for the many that try. 

[00:00:21] Jewels: In this episode, I have the pleasure of talking with Brian Schoenborn.

[00:00:25] Jewels: Brian has been dealing with PTSD for more than 22 years. Listen in as he talks about the therapeutic value of telling your story.

[00:00:40] Brian: So what one thing I like to say is that I, you know, I didn’t choose this battle. This battle chose me, but it’s a battle that I have to fight, not just for myself, but for everyone else. So I feel obliged to talk about it, raise awareness, and fight that fight. But it is also therapeutic to talk about it and write about it, writing about it, especially I’m one [00:01:00] chapter away from writing my second book about living with PTSD long-term.

[00:01:08] Jewels: Brian Schoenborn has lived with PTSD for over 20 years and has tried nearly everything to overcome his trauma. Brian deeply understands the four trauma responses fight, flight, freeze, fawn and has used his knowledge to navigate his experiences after discharge from the United States Marine Corps. under other than honorable conditions, he was on his own without mental healthcare from the VA.

[00:01:35] Jewels: Despite this, Brian worked for over a dozen years in the corporate world. He has taught networking and public speaking skills at multiple universities and consulted with tech startups, a major international sports event and major award-winning producers. After 15 years of trying and failing to appeal his military discharge, he was vindicated with an honorable discharge.

[00:01:57] Jewels: Brian received his BSBA from Central [00:02:00] Michigan University in 2004 and his MBA from the McCullum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University in 2011. After living in seven states in China and traveling to over 20 countries, he’s found his home in Los Angeles, California. He is an author of multiple upcoming books on living with PTSD, as well as the screenwriter, producer and host as the founder of 8B Media.

[00:02:25] Jewels: Brian, welcome to the show. 

[00:02:28] Brian: Thank you. Pleasure to be here. 

[00:02:31] Jewels: Brian, there’s a little bit of a wild card in your story that you shared with me. How does an American get to produce the Manchester United versus Liverpool Masters matches in Melbourne and Adelaide, right here in Australia? 

[00:02:47] Brian: That’s a good question. Right?

[00:02:48] Brian: So, actually goes hand in hand with my battle of PTSD with the 20 year battle with 22 in June, actually 22 year Battle of PTSD. After discharge, so just kind of long-winded answer here, but like [00:03:00] after discharge from the military, you know, pursuing my path, looking for my path, that sort of thing, that led me to getting my degree.

[00:03:06] Brian: My MBA right? A number of years in corporate doing corporate storytelling, primarily marketing, PR strategy, that sort of thing. I’d actually worked my way up to as a strategy manager with Jose Cuervo in New York, and I had a pretty significant PTSD flare up, which left me frozen at my desk for about three months, getting pretty much nothing done.

[00:03:25] Brian: So needless to say, I got fired from that job. At that point, I was trying to figure out what my path was. I was tired of working up this corporate ladder. Still feeling unfulfilled, and I decided to make a leap and move to China. Dropped everything. Moved to China. Didn’t know anything, anybody didn’t know the language had never been there, and I was determined not to return stateside until I figured it out.

[00:03:48] Brian: As luck what? I have it. While I was over there, I was doing some storytelling work, some strategy work, business development, things like that, and I happened to meet this Ossie who was also trying to do some business development stuff. He and I hit [00:04:00] it off and one random night in Beijing, he calls me up and he says, Hey, I’m visiting.

[00:04:05] Brian: I’m here in town. You wanna grab some drinks? Blah, blah, blah. All right, cool. I’m with a couple of friends. We head over to his hotel and tos him back pines or whatever, and he is asking a little bit about what my friends do, and one of them happened to do sports marketing and he goes, oh, that’s great. He’s like, I actually, a business partner of mine is actually doing a promotion for Manchester United and Liverpool Masters.

[00:04:26] Brian: A friendly in Melbourne and a five aside tournament in Adelaide. He’s like, would you guys be interested? Like we’re trying to broadcast this into China and beyond. Would you be interested in that? And me, instantly I’m going, that’s exactly what I need to be doing. Like, I was like, I have no idea what I’m doing here.

[00:04:42] Brian: Never done this. You know, storytelling cool, but I’ve never done this in my life, but it sounds awesome. And I just jumped all over it. I didn’t tell him I hadn’t done it. I’m just like, yes, let’s go. And sure enough, we worked a deal. And next thing I know, I’m in Adelaide and Melbourne with Legends. Legends of Manu and Legends of [00:05:00] Liverpool.

[00:05:00] Brian: You know, Louis Garcia. Among others, and we’re putting on these matches. It’s kind of a long-winded story of giving up everything, moving literally to the other side of the country or to the world, rather, to find the path of your dreams, find your purpose, or whatever. And then it’s just the most random thing.

[00:05:17] Brian: I mean, you couldn’t even make that story. You couldn’t imagine just meeting a random person and then that person. Completely changing your life, and that’s what happened. 

[00:05:24] Jewels: Why the decision to move to China out of all the places in the world? You said you’d never been there before and you needed to find yourself. It seems a little bit random, but why there and what were you looking for?

[00:05:35] Brian: Yeah, super random. I was looking for my path. I was looking for some sense of fulfillment, at least in stateside, in grad school, in the corporate world, there’s a lot of focus on pursuing your path, finding your path, finding the thing that makes you tick.

[00:05:50] Brian: And when I had lost my job at Cuervo, I was early thirties. I wasn’t fulfilled throughout my entire. Path. My entire corporate ladder. [00:06:00] I’d climbed the ladder a number of times and every step of the way it was, was just another job. I tried different industries, tried different companies within industries and things like that.

[00:06:09] Brian: No matter what it was, nothing quite felt like it fit. It was like, You know, the square peg, round hole kind of thing, right? When I had lost my job at Cuervo, I was kind of at a crossroads. I sat there, I said, well, you know, I could get another job like this, continue along the same path for the next 30 years of my life till I retire, whatever.

[00:06:30] Brian: But I asked myself, is that really the path that I want to go down? After doing some soul searching, my answer was No. And then, so the next step was figure out what I’m gonna do, what it is I’m gonna do, and how I’m gonna make that happen. And for me, I felt like I had to go somewhere as foreign as possible, almost bury myself away like a hermit or something, right?

[00:06:50] Brian: Like go somewhere where I could be as, as anonymous, as invisible as possible, as much as I wanted to be, right? But also be a public, a known figure as well. Not just hiding [00:07:00]myself away, but I wanted to go somewhere that I knew nothing about kind of. You know, almost like breaking things down to the lowest possible denominator and start building things back up from there.

[00:07:10] Brian: One of the reasons I chose China, well the two reasons really. One was, uh, in grad school I had a lot of Chinese friends. We got along with the Chinese pretty well, but number two is the beginning of the Chinese century, right? They’re talking about China’s gonna be advancing, and I kind of wanted to see what that was all 

[00:07:26] Jewels: about too.

[00:07:27] Jewels: What years roughly were you there? I wanna say 2015 

[00:07:31] Brian: to 2000. I came back in 2019, so just before Covid. 

[00:07:36] Jewels: So you mentioned that at your desk you had PTSD flare up and that lasted for three months. Can just for the audience, and, and for my sake, can you define PTSD and what’s it like living with it for 20 plus 

[00:07:51] Brian: years?

[00:07:52] Brian: Sure. So, uh, PTSD is post-traumatic stresses order. The common understanding is that it’s a military, you know, [00:08:00] something that happens to people in the military commonly understood as a combat. Injury. You know, you see somebody die or something happens to you or whatever. The reality of it is, is that it’s not necessarily just combat and it’s not necessarily just military.

[00:08:15] Brian: Anybody can develop PTs D essentially, it’s a response that your. Brain has when you experience something that is, goes so against your code, your value system, that you have a hard time processing it. In fact, what happens is to your, I believe it’s called your amygdala. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a psychiatrist or any of that, so just bear with me on this, but I believe it’s the amygdala.

[00:08:38] Brian: It’s the fight or flight response in your brain, essentially when you experience a traumatic event. You develop PTs D. From that, your amygdala gets stuck. Most commonly, we think of the fight or flight response. You know, you push through or you run. There’s also two other known responses, which would be like the freezing and the fawning.

[00:08:57] Brian: Fawning would be like people pleasing for me, [00:09:00] ever since the day of my traumatic event. It has kind of play on repeat, think like a broken record or something, right? Just constantly playing throughout your mind day and night. 24 7. Yeah, I compare it to like that, but I also consider it like with the, you know, think of like the volume dial.

[00:09:16] Brian: Sometimes it’s more intense. So the volume’s up 8, 9, 10 max. Most of the time it’s like about a, you know, one or two. So you can barely hear it. You barely registers, but it’s still there in a situation like mine. So it’s always going, but then at some points your brain might kind of get stuck and it might get turned up.

[00:09:33] Brian: For me, one of the telltale signs that that’s happening is once my mind is kind of like on autopilot. So let’s say I get a new job, get a new job, new industry, give me six months or so, learn everything about the job, master it, learning everything about the industry, company, all of that. Everything’s good, mine’s occupied.

[00:09:51] Brian: Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, volume’s done. Cuz you’re focused on other stuff, right? Give it another six months. You’re really mastering it, making that job your own. And [00:10:00] then another six months or so after that, you’re like, all right, cool. I’ve got it all. I know what’s going on here. I know how to do the job.

[00:10:07] Brian: I know the industry. I’ve mastered all of it. Now you’re kind of like on autopilot. That’s when the creep kind of starts settling back in. Right. And so for me, in that particular situation at Jose Cuervo, my trauma response of freeze kind of kicked in. So I went to a point where I was, you know, for like three months, I basically was almost, I’m a very social person.

[00:10:30] Brian: People love me, like I’m popular guy, all that stuff. But I basically sat at my desk. Stared at my computer, didn’t talk to anybody for like three months. I had one particular report that I had to get done for my boss. Simple report. I could have got it done in like four or five hours. Something like that.

[00:10:46] Brian: Took me three months to get it done. You’re just frozen. It almost looks like you’re going through the motions, but you’re not even going through the motions. You’re just stuck. So kind of it gets like that sometimes. 

[00:10:57] Jewels: So do you feel it [00:11:00] coming? Is it gradual? Does it creep up in you or is it all of a sudden you go one day you’re good and the next day it’s not great?

[00:11:07] Jewels: Well, 

[00:11:07] Brian: so for me, I mean, I’ve lived with it for 22 years. Part of why I talk about it is to kind of like help humanize it a little bit. Um, cuz there’s, you know, there’s a Hollywood tropes of like somebody being on edge or like, oh, I’m gonna kill somebody any, any second or whatever. Right? For the most part, that’s not true.

[00:11:22] Brian: There are millions of us and we suffer every day. It can come out of nowhere. Somebody like me that’s lived with it for 22 years, it’s, I’ve strengthened my mind through therapy for years and things like that. I can usually tell when it’s coming on, but sometimes I can’t, like the decision to go to China, that was also kind of like my brain switching from freeze to flight and I’m like, oh, I gotta, I gotta get outta here.

[00:11:47] Brian: Get away from everything I know, because whatever I’m doing isn’t doing it isn’t fixing, it isn’t putting my mind at ease. So yeah, I mean, it can come out of nowhere. I. It can also, like, you can, you know, catch yourself in the middle of it. It’s a struggle. It really [00:12:00] is. 

[00:12:00] Jewels: Is it something that you work through every day, clearly, but is it something that eases off over time or is it something you need, you, you learn to live with?

[00:12:11] Jewels: What’s the, is there a prognosis? Do, does it go 

[00:12:14] Brian: away? So from what I understand, it’s different for everybody. I think, from what I understand, the earlier you treat it, The better chance you have of, of getting it to go away, of curing it. So for example, let’s say, I’ll use a combat example. Let’s say someone was in battle, their best friend die or, or you know, they saw a dead body on the side of the road, right in the middle of combat.

[00:12:37] Brian: They might be messed up from that a little bit, but that’s a more obvious example of going, Hey, we need to get this guy to a therapist like now. Treat that right away in my situation, because it was non-combat and, uh, it was 20 years ago and there were differing opinions on, on non-combat related PTSD.

[00:12:57] Brian: Not only was the, the treatment minimal, [00:13:00] but treatment was kind of looked down upon by my unit. I was in the infantry, right? So it was looked down on my unit by my unit. And so it kind of, it was allowed to kind of fester for a while because it had taken so long to really be treated. Um, I will probably live with this for the rest of my life.

[00:13:15] Brian: Um, and there are a number of people, there are many, many, many, many trauma survivors that will have this for the rest of their lives. There are a number of. Treatment options. There are all sorts of, I mean, medicinal paths. There are alternative medicine paths. There are various like therapeutic, like almost like guided meditations of a sort to kind of reframe it.

[00:13:35] Brian: There’s loads of different types of methodologies and theories and, and various treatments that the community has come up with to cure this. And a lot of it is curable, but it also depends. There’s a lot of people that might have it. And don’t realize that they have it. You know, you can develop PTs d from a divorce or an abusive relationship or things like that and, and because there’s not a lot of awareness of it outside of the [00:14:00] military and veteran community, there are a lot of people that suffer untreated.

[00:14:05] Jewels: And in your particular case, what’s working for you? Is it the meditation side? Is it the mindfulness, or is it more medicinal? 

[00:14:13] Brian: What works so well for me, I mean, I’ve tried pretty much everything. I’ve tried various types of therapeutic treatments, various talk therapies, things like that. I’ve tried, I’ve, I’ve had doctors put me on a cocktail of different kinds of medicines.

[00:14:27] Brian: None of that stuff really works for me, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t work for other people. For me personally, the, the, one of the biggest things is meditating. One of the first things I do when I wake up is meditate. Clear my head. Good 20 minutes. That kind of gets myself settled. But then the other big thing for me is just keeping my mind busy.

[00:14:47] Brian: So meditation to clear the head and then keep my mind busy throughout the rest of the day. And that’s, you know, it’s through writing these books, it’s through interacting with various people that are in my community, which includes various storytellers, [00:15:00] writers, producers, that sort of thing. I’m constantly coming up with ways of telling stories either related to this or completely unrelated to this.

[00:15:08] Brian: Providing a service for the general population, whether it’s kind of a, an awareness kind of thing like we’re talking about here, or whether it’s more of a, an entertainment kind of thing like we did with the, uh, Manchester United Liverpool matches. So for me it’s, again, meditation in the morning, trying to get a good night’s sleep at night when that’s possible, and consistently trying to develop and tell stories that are going to make a difference for people.

[00:15:32] Jewels: So you use PTSD clearly as one of your strong subjects when it comes to storytelling, is it therapeutic for you or do you feel it’s a service that you need to provide others and that in turn sort of helps you or, or is it actually quite difficult to to talk about but you feel obliged to, to go there?

[00:15:53] Jewels: So 

[00:15:53] Brian: it’s extremely difficult to talk about. That’s probably the main reason that so many people suffer. And probably the main reason it’s [00:16:00] so hard to pinpoint an exact cure on it, right? Because not to get too heavy, but like if, if we haven’t already, but like, just imagine your worst possible day and it’s on repeat over and over again and it’s, you know, you can feel guilty about it, you can feel ashamed.

[00:16:14] Brian: There’s all these negative emotions that come with it, but you know, like you’re constantly thinking about it. But that’s the one thing that you don’t want to think about. And the one thing you don’t want to talk about, right? If people don’t talk about it, Then your loved ones, your friends, your family, your work community, for example, professionals, medical professionals, politicians, whatever.

[00:16:33] Brian: Nobody’s really gonna know what you’re going through or how to deal with it. So it’s an extremely difficult thing to talk about. Plus you’re like, who wants to hear about my sob story? Right. Like, there’s that aspect too, especially like, you know, okay. So, I mean, I’m fortunate enough that I own my own company now, so I, I talk to whoever about whatever I want, but like anybody else that.

[00:16:53] Brian: Works in corporate America, for example, that may have maybe dealing with something. They can’t necessarily share [00:17:00] things with their coworkers or their boss or whatever because you’re afraid of how they might respond and how it might affect your career. Like there’s a lot of different variables that go into it.

[00:17:08] Brian: You may not even realize that you have a problem. You know what I mean? And that goes with the awareness aspect of it. For me, like I said, I’m fortunate enough that I have my own company that I can pretty much do and say whatever I want, but there’s an aspect of it that I feel obliged to talk about it because I do have that luxury.

[00:17:26] Brian: But also in talking about it, I am raising awareness for all those people that suffer in silence. That’s my battle essentially. I was active duty when nine 11 happened. My traumatic event happened right around that time, so I did not, even though my unit was the first to go to Iraq, fought in Fallujah and those things, I was not there.

[00:17:44] Brian: So, one thing I like to say is that I, you know, I didn’t choose this battle. This battle chose me, but it’s a battle that I have to fight, not just for myself, but for everyone else. So I feel obliged to talk about it, raise awareness, and fight that fight. But it is also therapeutic [00:18:00] to talk about it and write about it.

[00:18:01] Brian: Writing about it, especially, I’m one chapter away from writing my second book about living with PTSD long term. And something that I’ve noticed it’s talking about it is hard writing about. It’s even harder because it’s internal dialogue that you’re having with yourself that you’ve tried to put down on paper or whatever.

[00:18:20] Brian: But one thing that I noticed is that you push through that and once it’s done, once you have it on paper or on, you know, word doc or whatever, once it’s out of your brain, then you can go, you know what, if I wanna come back and visit that? I can go back. It’s there. It’s right there, right? I wrote it. It’s all there.

[00:18:39] Brian: If I wanna go back and visit that, I can do that. So there is an amount of catharsis to it. There’s an amount of therapy that’s, that comes along with writing your story. So you’ve 

[00:18:47] Jewels: chosen storytelling and various formats of that. You talk about r uh, writing a couple of books, which is awesome. I’d like to circle back to those.

[00:18:55] Jewels: But you’ve also done some producing and some sports events and and public [00:19:00] speaking. There’s a number of different formats that you’ve chosen. Tell me why you became a storyteller and what it does for you and what you feel it might do for the audience. 

[00:19:09] Brian: Yeah, so, well, the funny thing is, is that I’ve always been a storyteller.

[00:19:12] Brian: I just never realized it. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a rock star. I, I was in a punk rock band. I played bass guitar, played drums, sang, got accepted to one of the top music schools in the world to study bass guitar production. Back then, I thought I was just a musician. I didn’t realize that I was, Storytelling also, but like when, when I chose not to do that and go on, join the Marines instead and then go their business route, my entire business career was storytelling.

[00:19:39] Brian: I didn’t realize that either. Right. I’m like marketing, right? PR and strategy. Like how are we gonna make these products, like interesting and people want to buy them or whatever, right? Like I never saw that as storytelling. I didn’t realize that until, really, until I was in China. And, but even then, it wasn’t until it wasn’t the soccer match, it wasn’t Manu and Liverpool.

[00:19:58] Brian: I also hung out with a bunch of [00:20:00] Socceroos and, and a League Legends. But for that matter, like, uh, Mickey Bridges, I don’t know if you’re familiar with him, but yeah, he is my buddy. Anyways, even doing that, like I didn’t realize it didn’t click to me yet that that was storytelling. It wasn’t until actually while I was in the process of working on that event, like while I was working on that event, I was actually sitting in a coffee shop in Beijing and I was working out something, you know, headphones on.

[00:20:27] Brian: Just plugging away. And there was this old white dude sitting next to me and about four hours into my workday, he’s still sitting there. I eventually take off my headphones. I turned over and said, hello. Long story short, he was an Oscar-winning producer, movie producer. He was looking to help raise money for some film that he was working on.

[00:20:44] Brian: He showed me the trailer and that’s when the chill went down my spine and I was like, that’s like I’m looking for my path. I went to China to find this thing. That’s the thing, like I’ve gotta tell stories. That’s when I realized I was a storyteller. Seeing that and going, I can do that, all that other stuff was all, it’s [00:21:00] all leading up to it.

[00:21:01] Brian: It’s all storytelling. Right. I just didn’t realize that I had that in me. I didn’t realize that it was a possibility, I suppose, until some random stranger sitting next to me in a coffee shop happened to show me that it was possible. That was when it started to click that I had been storytelling my whole life.

[00:21:18] Brian: That’s when I realized that it was possible to do it. On a grander scale with the opportunity to help people, but really enlighten, entertain, and empower. I would say, yeah, I guess I’ve been doing that ever since. So I don’t know if I answered the question or not. I kind of went off on a tangent, but no, 

[00:21:34] Jewels: it’s all good.

[00:21:35] Jewels: Thank you, Brian. Great story. Can you tell me a little bit about, you know, you come from a, a military background. I imagine being a Marine gave you an immense amount of discipline. Has that helped or hindered your creative process? That is a good 

[00:21:51] Brian: question. Let me think about that. It actually has helped in a sense.

[00:21:55] Brian: One thing that I’ve learned, so when I’m, again, I mentioned the, the [00:22:00]soccer match, and I met that producer right around the same time, so that would’ve been around 2016, I believe, 2017. So I’ve been doing this as a writer, producer, and a storyteller full-time for about six years. Something like that. During that time, I’ve, I’ve been able to kind of polish my creative process.

[00:22:18] Brian: For me, it is all about the process and using that discipline before sitting down and writing a single page on a piece of paper or Word doc. I used that discipline and I said, okay, how am I going to attack this? How do you write a book? I’d never written a book before. Four years ago, I didn’t even know. I literally googled how to write a book.

[00:22:39] Brian: I was, I had no idea. So I used the discipline for my military days to kind of think about, before you attack, you got a plan. You gotta understand the situation, you gotta plan, figure out what’s gonna work best for you. For me, in terms of, let’s just say in terms of writing the book, which actually that planning process, that creative process has going hand in hand with.

[00:22:59] Brian: [00:23:00] Developing other completely unrelated films and TV shows and stuff, you know, that the creative process that I found worked for me was coming up with a high level highest to high level, right? And then kind of diving deeper and deeper and deeper as we go. For me, I would be starting with a long line, so in the, in the film and TV or literary business for that matter.

[00:23:20] Brian: And we’d have a log line, two sentences about high level, about what you’re trying to do, elevator pitch, business world’s elevator pitch, same thing. And then from there, You create a lengthy summary. We call it a treatment, but it’s essentially a a summary, which is kind of almost like a cover letter. So if I’m gonna relate this to like job searching, right?

[00:23:39] Brian: Log line would be your EL elevator pitch. Your treatment or synopsis would be like your cover letter. And then you’d go into an outline and your outline would be like your resume. You fill that whole thing out, and then from there you take each bullet and you expand upon them, right? You start telling the stories within that, and that would be like your interview process.

[00:23:57] Brian: Same thing, just kind of a different medium in terms of, [00:24:00] you know, where does this message get, gets get put out. Adhering to a rigid process, I suppose, for lack of a better term. Or, you know, coming up with a process and, and adhering to the process that comes from the discipline. That’s definitely Marine Corps values, but it’s also within the boundaries.

[00:24:17] Brian: That’s where you can get creative. So it’s interesting to me that I’ve always been a storyteller even before I joined the Marines. But without the Marines, I could not have been the storyteller that I am today. Does that make sense? 

[00:24:30] Jewels: Absolutely. I talk to a lot of business owners and one of the things I try and impart with them is that inherently, especially a business owner, they, they are storytellers and they should tell their story in order to grow and progress their business.

[00:24:49] Jewels: Um, so very similarly, the. They’re, they kind of feel that they don’t have that creative aspect. You know, they might have the discipline of running a business, but not necessarily creative enough to tell [00:25:00] their story. And I think that’s a, a bit of a misnomer. I believe it’s in all of us, and particularly if you have a story to tell and you’re trying to progress either a cause like you are, or whether you’re trying to grow a business or whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, that’s how you get the message out.

[00:25:18] Jewels: That’s how you. Garner an audience. That’s how you find your people. That’s how you know you, you attract. So it’s important that, and I like the way you’re structured it there, that within a structure, within a boundary that you find your voice and the structure will give you the framework, but the creative side will allow you to be as creative as you need to be within that storyline.

[00:25:42] Brian: So we’ve got, in Hollywood right now, we’ve got the writer strike the WGA strike. Right. I’m not part of the union, but I’ve been there to pick it with them and I support them and things like that. The point that I’m making with that is, you know, they’re creatives and they’ll tell you that the hardest time to write a script or a book or [00:26:00] anything is when you have a blank page.

[00:26:02] Brian: The minute you have something on the page, then it starts to flow. So like, so when you have no boundaries, creativity is almost impossible because you have anything, you can do anything. But when you start to like hone in and set parameters and refine where you have to be creative within, then you can go, oh, I can do this or I can do that.

[00:26:21] Brian: You know? So that’s one thing. And the other thing I wanted to say, so it’s revolving creativity, the aspect that you were talking, the, the earlier point that you’re making about entrepreneurs and thinking they’re not creative. Look, before I got into this business, I hung around the startup communities in Boston and New York and Beijing for like 10 years.

[00:26:40] Brian: Like I thought I was gonna create my own startup. I’ve had this entrepreneurial spirit for a long time, and I’ve sat in seminars with like major angel investors and VC investors and stuff like that from Silicon Valley or wherever else, and they tell you about how are you gonna pitch your business or whatever.

[00:26:55] Brian: I say all that to say that the whole point of being an entrepreneur, [00:27:00] whole point of business is to solve a problem. And nobody’s gonna buy your product to solve a problem if they don’t know what the problem is. They don’t know how you’re gonna solve it. In essence, that’s a story. Think of like, uh, I don’t know, Coca-Cola.

[00:27:14] Brian: What’s the problem? You’re thirsty. What’s the solution? We got a sweet, a tasty drink for you. But you know, like every product, every service out there, whether you’re trying to push a message for awareness or whether you’re anything, right, every product, service, anything that business revolves around, there’s a story to it.

[00:27:31] Brian: So if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a ceo, or you know, founder of a company or whatever, in essence, you’re a storyteller. You know, maybe your stronger suit is operations, whatever, right? But like if you’re, let’s say you’re trying to raise funds. How are you going to get an angel investor or a VC or a bank or whoever can give you money, can write that check.

[00:27:52] Brian: How are you gonna convince them that you’re worthy of getting that money? It’s the story. Straight up. What 

[00:27:58] Jewels: advice would you [00:28:00] give the entrepreneur or the business owner who maybe is stuck in their own head and doesn’t believe they have a story or don’t believe they have the capability? What advice would you, you know, what’s the blank page?

[00:28:11] Jewels: How do I get past the blank page perhaps? And get started down that journey. 

[00:28:16] Brian: That’s a good question. Get anything down, just start. And you know, there’s been plenty of gurus out there that have said, just, just start. But to be honest, just start, don’t wait. The quicker you can move past the starting line, the quicker you can figure out how to adjust.

[00:28:32] Brian: You can’t adjust, you can’t assess. You can’t make any progress on anything if you don’t start, and when I say start, I’m not saying start planning. I mean, you can planning, yes, planning’s good. I’m not saying don’t plan, but also don’t spend your entire life planning for something. I just watched this movie last night with my spouse.

[00:28:53] Brian: It was called The Glass Castle. It’s actually based on this, my bestselling memoir from a couple years ago. And the [00:29:00] beginning of the movie, this guy, this father’s telling the daughter, oh, you know, one of these days we’re gonna have a glass castle and how would you like it designed and blah, all this stuff, right?

[00:29:08] Brian: And they go throughout the years and he’s got a whole blueprint. Drawn out of specifications and how he’s gonna do it, and he’s gonna make this huge castle. It’s gonna be amazing, and they’re gonna love it, and they’re gonna live there the rest of their lives and happy ending. Right. As you get through the movie, the daughter gets older and older and older and older, and there’s no progress, no physical progress made on the glass castle.

[00:29:31] Brian: So the point being on that is you can plan and plan and plan and spell something out and create a blueprint and all this and that. But if you don’t break ground, You haven’t gotten anywhere. You know what I mean? 

[00:29:43] Jewels: Absolutely. I think it’s great advice because some people are, are natural storytellers out of the gate.

[00:29:48] Jewels: You know, they’ve grown up as the center of attention as a kid, you know, in the high school yard and whatever. Some can do that naturally. Um, for other people. It’s a learn skill, but it is learnable. The trick to it, [00:30:00] really like any writer or songwriter will tell you, is that you’ve gotta get a lot of the crap out first to get to the good stuff as well.

[00:30:09] Jewels: So the more you do, the more you produce, the more you create, the better your reflexes get and the better your ability to just get started becomes. But you also get the chance to get some of that feedback. So in the early days, you know when you get your message out there, not many people. Might be looking or listening or reading your content, but you will get some feedback and even your internal voice will give you some feedback.

[00:30:35] Jewels: You know, that was good, that was bad, that was average, and you just continue to get the stuff out of you in order to practice. And practice in this case doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but you do get the opportunity to improve and it just get better and better. But you have to start, you’re 

[00:30:52] Brian: absolutely correct.

[00:30:54] Brian: It’s a feedback loop, and if you’re not doing it, you’re not getting any feedback. But it reminds me of a Marine Corps thing, [00:31:00] which goes hand in hand with like American Special Forces. I’m sure Australian forces probably have something similar, but it’s this idea of embracing the suck. If you don’t go out there and do it, whether it’s business or writing or art or, I don’t know, physical fitness or anything, flirting, trying to get yourself a partner or whatever.

[00:31:18] Brian: Whatever. Right. Dating anything, you’re gonna suck at it when you first do it. If you’re gonna spend your life being afraid of being bad at something, then you’re never gonna do that thing. But if you say, okay, this is something that I wanna do. This is the direction that I want to go. I wanna dabble in this, see if I can get good at it.

[00:31:34] Brian: You have to be bad at it first. We got NBA playoffs on right now, right? So I’m thinking about basketball. Got LeBron James, right? He’s probably the best of our generation, if not one of the greatest of all time. You know that? That’s debatable point being. He didn’t start at like five, six years old or whatever, and was given a basketball and he was LeBron James.

[00:31:53] Brian: You know, he was given a basketball and he had to figure out how to dribble. You know, he had to learn every, you know, [00:32:00] even the most basic, the most, the simplest of aspects of that craft. He had to learn from step one. You know, so you, you have to expect to suck before you can get good. It’s only by doing that you can get that feedback, and it’s only by getting that feedback that you can assess.

[00:32:16] Brian: It’s only by assessing that you can manage, it’s only by managing that you can really become good or even great. I 

[00:32:22] Jewels: love the embrace 

[00:32:23] Brian: the suck, Brian. I think that’s embrace. I’m gonna 

[00:32:27] Jewels: use that and thank you. Brian, tell me a little bit about your two books. What are they about and, uh, are they published? 

[00:32:35] Brian: Not yet.

[00:32:35] Brian: So working. I’ve got, I’m in contact with some literary agents right now, so we’re working on some deals getting ready to publish that. Some may, they may be available. And to be honest with you, publishing cycle in America’s forever, so maybe like another year or so, but, That being said, as I mentioned, they are, uh, focused around PTSD.

[00:32:53] Brian: When I had written the book originally, it was like the war and piece of PTSD. It was like 200,000 words, like 800 pages. [00:33:00] The literary agents were all like, this is entirely too long. You need to cut this at least in half, blah, blah, blah. And I was looking at it and I was going, okay. That makes sense. Try to make it a little more digestible.

[00:33:10] Brian: And I, I started looking at it. I was like, you know, there’s really four distinct stories in here. If I can re-engineer it, right, restructure it a little bit, maybe expand in certain areas or whatever. I’ve actually got four books and each one really focuses on a trauma response. So the first book, which is completed, it’s making its rounds with the agents right now, that one is tentatively called Post-Traumatic Stress Diaries Fight.

[00:33:35] Brian: In the flight fight response? Well, collectively, all four of them is about living with PTSD, long-term highs and lows, you know, fighting for vindication, that kind of stuff. Finding your purpose, finding your path. Post-traumatic stress diaries fight is really, it’s the fight with the military. So as mentioned in my bio, I was originally.

[00:33:53] Brian: Kicked outta the military, kicked outta the Marines with another honorable discharge be, and really it was because in an infantry unit, [00:34:00] they didn’t treat non-combat PTs D the same way. So I kind of got the short end of the stick. But this first volume fight is, it’s about it. It goes into detail in the event, the decision to join the military, the event that happened, the aftermath, the treatment of it afterwards, this long standing battle against the military, against the the V, the Department of Veterans Affairs, that sort of thing, culminating in a battle in Washington, DC to get vindicated, really to be believed and to be finally properly treated the way that I should have been treated.

[00:34:31] Brian: That’s a battle for vindication and it’s got a happy ending. It goes hard, but it’s got a happy ending. The volume two is flight, which is more about the flight response, so it’s, so it really dives into different aspects of being stuck in a job that’s unfulfilling. Trying to find ways to escape. There’s a very big escapism aspect to it.

[00:34:50] Brian: It includes backpacking, Nicaragua, for example, as well as backpacking Southeast Asia when learning some life lessons and things about the world. This, that [00:35:00] one ultimately culminates in the finding of my purpose. So kind of talking about that, that that meeting in the coffee shop and things like that, like that’s part of it.

[00:35:09] Brian: And then the other two focus on the fawning and freezing responses and, and those have yet to be written. So I’m, so there, there’s a lot to those yet, but, so those will be a while down the road. But really what I’m trying to do with this is humanize PTs d try to show people that it’s something that just about anybody can have, they can develop from a, a number of different experiences and show that like, look, we’re normal people.

[00:35:33] Brian: We’re not those crazy tropes you see in movies. We’re not those guys that are. Ready to grab a gun and, you know, go postal or whatever, right? Like, we’re not those people. We, we, we suffer, we struggle. We’re constantly striving and trying to make peace of ourselves and, you know, become members of society. So hopefully it’s done in an entertaining, educational, you know, empowering way.

[00:35:51] Brian: I feel 

[00:35:52] Jewels: like there’s lots of lessons in that, even for those people that perhaps don’t necessarily have PTSD specifically, but, [00:36:00] It feels like life lessons. Like I think we all go through times when we wanna fight something or disappear or freeze or please others. You know, the, the four responses there feels like what everybody goes through at some point in their life.

[00:36:14] Jewels: Right. So I feel like there might be some life lessons in those for other than PTs, D sufferers specifically. 

[00:36:20] Brian: Oh, absolutely. I feel like there’s a lot of universal themes involved in there. These are stories that people can relate to. Maybe not every story is completely relatable, like how many people drop everything and move across the world just on a whim.

[00:36:33] Brian: But how many people have fantasized about that? You know, there’s plenty of people working in office job are like, man, you know, like, if I could do everything over again, I would do this, or whatever. There’s plenty, there are universal themes and, and things that everybody either goes through or thinks or feels or whatever.

[00:36:48] Brian: And I do find it to be, I’ve had a number of people read these already that have not, they don’t have PTSD and they’re like, this is an, an amazing book. It’s gripping to page turner. [00:37:00] Like, I can relate to this. You know, like there, there are a lot of universal themes and things like that that will appeal to the average reader.

[00:37:07] Brian: You know, these aren’t self-help books by any means. It’s a memoir in the sense that it’s my story. So I’m writing from experience. But it’s really more cinematic than anything. I’ve been told by a number of people that reading these books, they get sucked into it and they feel like they’re there and it’s, you know, it’s a tough subject matter cuz it’s trauma, but it’s not all bad, you know, like, dude, I produced a soccer event, a match between Manchester, United and Liverpool in Australia.

[00:37:33] Brian: While I was living in China, like that’s crazy. That’s awesome. You know, like there’s some really cool things that have happened in, in these books. That’s not all. Woe always me kind of stuff. There’s ups and downs, there’s highs and lows. You know, just like anybody, they sound 

[00:37:45] Jewels: fantastic and I wish you luck in getting them produced cuz it feels like stories that needs to be told and uh, needs to be out there.

[00:37:52] Jewels: So hopefully somebody listening perhaps may even to read my give. You may be able to help you there. Brian, I’ve really [00:38:00] enjoyed our chat. One of the questions that I like to finish up on that I ask all of my guests is if somebody was had the opportunity or had the funds to offer a million dollars to your favorite charity, perhaps there’s a PTs D charity that they could support on your behalf, and in return you were to give them just a few minutes of your time, what words of wisdom would you impart on them for that donation?

[00:38:27] Brian: First of all, the donation would be 20 two.org. Those guys are doing pretty amazing things. So there’s a number in the us maybe you’ve heard it or not, but it’s, you hear it a lot in the veteran communities. 22. In the US there are 22 veterans that commit suicide every day. A lot of that is because of PTSD.

[00:38:44] Brian: It’s almost one an hour. Like it’s, it’s a lot. It’s a lot. And what 20 two.org is trying to do is try to reduce that number to zero. And one of the primary ways that they do that is they’ve developed this, you know, psychotherapeutic [00:39:00] process where they work for free with veterans and first responders. So first responders, meaning police officers, firefighters.

[00:39:06] Brian: E m s kind of things. They work with veterans and first responders that have PTSD for free, and you can FaceTime them, video chat, whatever, and they’ll talk you through this process, which will help you reframe the experience that you went through. And, and they claim a, an extremely high success rate. I had pretty good success with them as well.

[00:39:25] Brian: It did not cure me, but I’ve also had it for, you know, over 20 years. I don’t whatever, don’t expect it ever go away. But the point being is that they do a lot of good work and they’ve got an extremely high success rate in curing PTSD. With a quick call, with a quick video call. So if I had a million dollars to donate to a nonprofit of my choice, it would be those guys, Dan and Joe and everyone over there.

[00:39:43] Brian: They’re great. You can find them on LinkedIn and then imparting words of wisdom. Really. I mean, I would say that the, your life is whatever you can make of it. And if you’re not happy, if there’s anything that is not your ideal life, figure out what that is and figure out what it is that you can do [00:40:00] to overcome that.

[00:40:01] Brian: Cuz you have your whole life to do it and you have your whole life ahead of you. And if you do take that time to find your path or find whatever is gonna give you that ideal fulfilling life, your future self will. Thank you for it. And so will everybody

[00:40:15] Jewels: else. Ryan, that’s great advice. Thank you so much.

[00:40:18] Jewels: Where can the listener find out a little bit more about. Brian, 

[00:40:22] Brian: you can find, uh, information. So I had a podcast. It’s on hiatus. It’s been on hiatus for about two years, but I interviewed a few, some veterans and entrepreneurs and things like that on a podcast called Half the City. You can listen to that on eight b media.com.

[00:40:35] Brian: It’s number eight. Bravo media.com can also find me on the socials at as Bri. Bri as Bri, Bri a s b r i b r I, pretty much everywhere. Pretty low key right now because I’m, I’ve been focusing on getting these books out there, but you’ll probably be seeing more of me pretty soon. So, Brian, 

[00:40:51] Jewels: thanks you so much and good luck with everything.

[00:40:54] Jewels: Appreciate you, 

[00:40:54] Brian: man. Have a good one.

[00:40:58] Jewels: I thoroughly enjoyed that [00:41:00] conversation with Brian. He taught me a lot amongst other things. Things like saying yes to random opportunities can radically change your path if you need it to. Telling your story can be incredibly therapeutic for the author and informative for the audience. A win-win. And if you want to share your message, you just have to start.

[00:41:20] Jewels: Embrace the suck, and if you’ve got this fire in the podcast, I would really appreciate you heading off and giving us a rating on the podcast of your choice. I really appreciate it and it helps us get the message out even further. Much love Chat soon.

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