As a leader, there will always be trauma around you. You’re always going to be running in hyperdrive that you’re going to burn out and crash. And that is not sustainable. Burnout is caused by unchecked stress and chronic tension, which can linger inside your body without you even noticing.
Join Alicia Couri as she talks to the President and Co-Founder of Motivation Beyond Measure and the Director of Education at the Somatic Coaching Academy, Brian Trzaskos. Listen in as he shares how he can help you master your physiology differently. Brian will help you understand the mind, body, and spirit connection so you can overcome burnout. Learn more about the optimal window of arousal and how that can impact your autonomic nervous systems. Get over your trauma today with trauma-informed coaching.
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Building Awareness Around The Effect Of Trauma On Confidence With Brian Trzaskos
Understanding The Mind, Body, And Spirit Connection To Recognize And Overcome Burnout
Welcome to this conversation I’m about to have with this amazing man, Brian Trzaskos, PT, LMT, CSCS, CMP, MI-C, a co-creator of Sensation-Based Motivation Coaching and a somatic trauma-sensitive methodology. He has extensive experience in diverse clinical settings ranging from cutting his teeth at the world-renowned Craig Hospital for TBI and SCI Rehabilitation to operating his own integrative wellness center in Upstate New York.
As a practicing physical therapist and student of Eastern movement and meditation practices for many years, Brian is a nationally recognized expert for his work in training health and wellness leaders on how to successfully address mental wellness, burnout, and chronic pain challenges with trauma-sensitive somatic coaching practices. Brian is the President of NEW Health Inc. and Director of Education at the Somatic Coaching Academy. He earned his degree in Physical Therapy and Trauma Informed Organization Certificate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. All of that alphabet that I shared, Brian, tell us what all that means.
Thank you so much. It’s great being here. As you’re reading that, I’m like, “Who is this guy? I got to meet him.” It sounds like he’s been on Earth for a while. It’s chilling my legs a little bit. Thanks so much for that intro. I appreciate it. I love being here with you. I love the work that you’re doing in the world, empowering people around this idea of confidence. It’s super important, especially with everything that’s going on right now in the world. We’re reckoning in a lot of ways with how we have been raised as people, the culture we’re in, racial diversities, and inequities, all that kind of stuff is coming ahead. The work you’re doing right now is super important. I’m honored to be here with you.
I am honored to have you here. We’re going to start with your certifications. That’s how people know that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to trauma and the mind-body connection. Explain to people what somatic means.
Soma is the Greek word for body. Somatic is essentially body focus. When we talk about somatic coaching or somatic practices, we’re talking about body-centered practices. The word somatic has been adopted into our culture. There’s also an element of holism there, like holistic nature. Way back hundreds of years ago, there was the body-mind split. Descartes was the original doctor who had made a deal with the church and the church said, “We are in charge of people’s spirit and their mind. You get the body.” There was a division around medicine. What happened in healing? I have physical therapy, massage therapy, and strength conditioning background.
I’m a manual therapist. I manipulate joints and that kind of stuff. I do work on soft tissue. I’ve been in that world for a long time, and I found myself when I was in that world and working at Craig Hospital. I was blessed that be one of my first jobs out of college. I did an internship at Craig and then was invited to go back and work there, which was like a miracle in and of itself because professionals don’t leave that place. The average length of stay for a physical therapist, occupational therapist, a rehab professional at Craig Hospital was well over twenty years. The national average for how long PT stays at job is two years.
It tells you this place was a hard nut to crack. I did an internship there. I won the lottery basically to get an internship there. I won the lottery to be invited back to practice there as a PT of only having only one year of experience in the field. When I went back there to work, we were working with people with traumatic brain injuries, traumatic spinal cord injuries, and lots of trauma. What I recognized quickly was it wasn’t only physical trauma. As a physical therapist, I work with people’s physical bodies. I realized in working with them, “Could you send your body over here to work with me? Send your emotions over to psychology.” It doesn’t work.
One of the cool things about working at Craig was it was a pure, integrated team. We worked together as a single mind. We worked with PT, OT, recreational therapy, speech therapy, neuropsychology, nursing, and physiatry. We all worked together to put our brain trust together to approach the patients and the patient’s families in holistic ways. I learned a tremendous amount there.
I was reading the book, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. He talked about how breakthroughs in certain disciplines usually come from someone outside the discipline. Him, as a plastic surgeon, he’s not a psychologist, thought that these psychology things should come from psychologists. It came from someone who was a plastic surgeon working on what they consider deformities, understanding there’s something in the mind that needs to be addressed. It’s not just physical. What you’re talking about is true. You can’t separate it. People have tried. The general knowledge out there is that they are separated.
That’s the problem. If you come from this idea that they’re separated, it’s hard to bring them back together. The idea of what we do at the Somatic Coaching Academy is that we put our flag in the ground that there was never a separation. You are a body, mind, and spirit right now in the moment. Any provider, practitioner, or anybody you go to that wants to split that apart, for me personally, is not going to be effective and helpful for me because I know I’m whole and you know you’re whole. We have to come from an approach that we were never split apart, to begin with. That’s a complete cultural manufactured ideation that has helped us. It’s a problem now.
You are a body, mind, and spirit right this moment. Click To Tweet
You’ve created a whole paradigm shift in a belief, which is dangerous. This whole idea of trauma-informed coaching, because I did a session with you guys, if we experience emotional trauma, it’s in our bodies. I’ve been in this world for many years. It still took me hearing you say the words that emotional trauma affects the body. Anything that’s buried in the subconscious will affect the physical body because I still have that paradigm, even though it’s not something that was generally taught to me specifically. It’s the idea that’s been implanted in our subconscious through the church and medicine that they’re completely separate things without having to tell us they’re separate. The idea was there until someone told me it was not separate.
We’re born thinking it’s separate. We have to be told it’s not separate. What a great point.
It’s amazing that even though I know there’s a mind, body, spirit connection, I talk about the mind, body, spirit connection. I didn’t integrate how connected your subconscious mind is to the physical things that happen in the stresses when you feel stressed, not just emotional or mental stress. It is physically affecting your body as well. Sickness comes from that.
That can be measured, by the way. I’m experiencing emotional stress. If your body was being measured, the electromagnetic field and conductance in your body were being measured. It would be different if you were not feeling stressed. It’s measurable. We are energy. A long time ago, we had proof that we are energy. There’s an electrical pulse that goes with the heart. We’ve known that since the early 1900s. Here we are over 100 years later, still, “What do you mean I’m energy?”
Everything in your body functions through energy. Your brain waves are energy. Your heartbeat is energy. The way the blood pumps through your veins is all energy. We are energetic beings. We came from the energy that created us. We’re all just a vibration. I love all this stuff. I want to go back into some of the things that you’re doing. I have to make the time in my schedule to do it because it’s all fascinating. Before we get further into this, tell people how they can get ahold of you and then we’ll continue talking.
The best place to get a hold of us is at SomaticCoachingAcademy.com. Everything you want to know about what we do at Somatic Coaching is right there.
Reach out to Brian. This is about leadership and helping people understand who they are as they’re climbing that ladder. One of the things that are happening right now in leadership is burnout. People are burning out because they’re working hard. Especially coming out of the pandemic, people feel like they have to work harder to even get by. People have left their jobs. People who are left are left carrying the bag, holding a lot of the weight. Through the lens now of somatic trauma-informed coaching, how can people look at that mind-body connection to avoid burnout?
First of all, you’re 100% right. Burnout is also holistic. Think about that word. What are the symptoms of burnout?
That’s physical. What are the other symptoms of burnout?
Emotional catharsis, crying, or something like that is emotional thing. What’s another symptom of burnout?
You can have headaches, migraines, flu, or get sick.
One of the key features of burnout is also additionally hopelessness. When you look at the definition of burnout, hopelessness is one of the key factors. For you to go to a doctor and get a mark off, you’ll get a diagnosis of burnout. Hopelessness has to also be present. It’s physical exhaustion and disconnection or repulsion from your work. You hate where you’re going every day. Think about that for a second. That’s body, mind, and spirit. Exhaustion is physical. Persistent negativity is emotional and hopelessness is spirit.
One of the key features of burnout is hopelessness. Click To Tweet
When I first looked at the definition or the qualifications for burnout, I was like, “There it is right there.” That proves that we as humans live on three planes of existence simultaneously. We live on a physical, emotional, and spiritual plane. Spiritual being that, “Is what I’m doing meaningful? Do I have hope in terms of what I’m doing? Am I making a difference?” Those are spiritual kind of ideals that, as humans, we connect to. I’m sure you’ve probably had times like I have where you don’t feel like you’re making a difference. You feel hopeless. I can tell you, from my experience and the people I’ve worked with, that existential angst or disconnection is as debilitating as having a slipped disc, and they can’t get out of bed.
When people talk about mental health, they’re not just talking about your ability to think. They’re talking about that spiritual and emotional disconnect. There’s a lot of shame that people feel like, “I should be able to get out of bed and do this. Why can’t I?” They start hiding. You end up going down that deeper hole. Thank you for sharing that the emotional is as debilitating as the physical and when you have that hopelessness, it is as debilitating as if you have fallen and can’t get up. It takes the same toll on you. You can experience one without the other two, and then you can bounce back. When you have all three in operation, that’s when you have that burnout. Those are things that, as you’re treating your patients and clients, you’ve seen beneficial.
I could tell you 100% what we always say is, “Start at the body.”
Why is that?
The way that we construct reality essentially is what we call sensory inn. Our brain is closed up in a skull. I like to call it the CEO in the dark. It’s like a CEO that’s locked in their office with no windows, and there’s only one doorway coming through. The information that comes in can only come in from their executive assistant. Nobody else can deliver it. That’s basically the way the information synapses as it gets to the brain. From anywhere in the body, there are at least two synapses before the information gets to the higher cognitive function areas. Our brain is always informed by what’s going on in our senses. The sensations in our body and how our body feels are the primary information. It’s the way our brain primarily determines what’s going on.
You’ve probably had these experiences. If you have a lot of vitality in your body or you have a day where you’re energized, you feel good, and you could get a letter in the mail that says, “You owe an extra $3,000 in taxes,” you’ll be like, “I don’t like that, but I can figure it out.” If you have no energy, you’re exhausted and drained, and you get that letter, it’s like, “I want to stick my head in a hole. I can’t deal with this.” The level of vitality and health that we have in our bodies is the primary informational system for our emotions and our spiritual access and connection.
I’m not suggesting that there’s not some impact the other way. I’ve certainly worked with people, although I’d have to say it’s more rare for people who have chronic illnesses but are tapped in spiritually and emotionally and can navigate their chronic illnesses in a unique way. I say unique because it’s not common. I’ve worked with at least tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people, for many years that I’ve connected with. I can tell you, my true experience of that is maybe a couple of handfuls.
When you have an experience with a person like that, it changes you forever. That’s one of the things that changed me. I have a great story around that. When I was a young PT, my first job at Buffalo General Hospital, I was assigned to the hospice unit. I was going up to do an evaluation with this woman. She had cancer so she had a head scarf on. She’s in bed. I got the note ahead of time and was like, “I don’t know if I want to go in there and if I can emotionally handle it.” When I walk in, she’s glowing. She starts asking me about my life and what’s important to me. It was transformational for me that that’s even possible for somebody. That happened a couple of other times.
I love that you’re saying that because that’s like Stephen Hawking. It’s like someone who can transcend the physical condition and see the world completely differently despite everything else. That’s important. This show is about confidence and understanding that mind, body, and spirit connection.
It understanding that they are connected, but when you take care of the health and vitality of one, it impacts the others. If you have that chronic or debilitating physical, there’s nothing you can do that’s going to control it getting any better. Work on elevating your spirit and your mind so that you can transcend what’s happening in the body and vice versa. That’s the point I wanted to make.
Most commonly, as humans in leadership roles, my experience is that the body is the easiest place to enter into that process with people. It’s the most tangible.
Also, what people don’t under most people don’t understand, which I learned from you, is that it gets directly to the subconscious immediately. It is the direct path to the subconscious. This is what’s cool. What blew my mind or an a-ha when I did that session with you guys was the understanding that the subconscious mind controls all the automatic functions of your physical body. Why wouldn’t the trauma that you experience, even if it’s mental trauma and it’s manifesting physically, that is the quickest way through the body to get back to that subconscious because the subconscious mind controls every function of your body?
It’s pretty simple once you understand it.
It’s tapping directly into the subconscious mind. That blew my mind. It’s all this stuff that we keep learning about the subconscious mind, how we get into the subconscious mind, and how we recognize things’ direct path through the body.
It’s about helping people to re-energize their bodies. When people have low energy, which happens with burnout, people are exhausted. The first thing we look at is what we call energy blocks. You already said energy circulates through the body. We’ve already established that the body is energy. The body is like an energy circuit. There’s energy flowing through the body. Like any circuit, the energy going from the plug in the wall to the computer, if you took that cord and kinked it, you’d cut off the energy flow and the computer would crash.
Same thing in our bodies. We have tension in our bodies. The one thing I’ve learned tremendously from my time working as a PT is probably one of the most detrimental things to people’s levels of energy is chronic tension in the body. If I could beat that drum and say, “If there’s one thing you can do, it’s reduce the amount of chronic tension you have in your body, and your life will be so much better. You won’t even believe it.”
How do they do that?
Lots of different ways. One way is to do things working directly on the body like getting a massage. I’m a huge fan of self-massage. I’ll take a lacrosse ball and put it on the floor every morning. I lay in there and I work my back in there. I work it up and down my arms. There are all kinds of tools that you can use, like roll foam, rollers ball. Ball rolling is huge. I advocate that for almost everybody. It starts to release some chronic tension in the system so you get more energy flow going along. That’s a great thing to start with. At the Somatic Coaching Academy, we have a program called Core Centering.
We teach people what we call core-centering practices. There are four parts to that. There’s a massage like we’ve talked about, breath practices, movement practices, and meditation practices. We put those all together. The massage starts to loosen up the system and allow you’re taking the kinks out. The rest of those practices, the movement practices, the breath practices, and meditation practices, charge the system so it gets the energy running through the system. That’s one of the things we do a lot with people who want to amplify their levels of vitality. One of the most amazing things that happen is once your body is feeling more vital, you come back online.
That triggers the endorphins.
It starts to create balance in your system and what we call your autonomic nervous system, which is where a lot of that trauma-informed work comes from. It is how we influence your subconscious mind, which is your body, via your autonomic nervous system or your automatic nervous system. When you can help somebody get into what we call the optimal zone of arousal, it’s called the window of tolerance model. Think about a window. In the window is the window of optimal function or optimal arousal from your autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system is the nervous system that controls both you being awake and also being asleep. When you’re in the optimal window, you are present, focused, clear-minded, reasonable, and have conversations like we are right now. We’re in this social engagement. We’re in this level of optimal arousal. Above that level is what we call hyper-aroused. This is where you go into fight or flight. It’s where your nervous system steps on the gas and you go from this cruise control so you’re running high. Below this level of optimal arousal is the breaking system, what we call the parasympathetic nervous system response, where your nervous system shuts on the brakes and shuts you down.
Here’s the 100% true idea from trauma-informed to trauma-sensitive frameworks. When I’m working with somebody and they’re having trouble with a colleague, a partner, an employee, their own capacity to meet deadlines, a boss, or whatever it is, I can almost guarantee that they’re having that problem and that problem is highly informed by them by being out of that optimal window. If they’re hyper-aroused, they’re hyper-aroused. Most of the time in the Western world, we’re hyper-aroused. When we’re hyper aroused and our foot on the gas, what happens in our fight or flight system is that we lose access to the cortical function in our brain so that we can’t make good decisions. We lose the capacity to witness ourselves as being our witness, our emotions, our reactions, and our responses.
You get more chronic tension, not less, when you're hyper-aroused Click To Tweet
We get more chronic tension because there’s a lot of adrenaline in the system. You get more chronic tension, not less, when you’re hyper-aroused. Cortisol floods the system, which shuts down your capacity for your memory centers to work. We forget what is a problem for us or not a problem for us, or what we’re supposed to answer or not answer this. Our memory is affected when cortisol’s in the system a little bit more. Our digestion gets worse and shuts down. Our immune system drops, feel nauseous. All of that affects how you function and perform. It’s not a mystery. My first job is to help people get in the optimal window of arousal by helping them to impact their autonomic nervous systems directly.
Once someone is in an optimal window, all of a sudden, they’re like, “I can do this. I can make decisions.” It’s crazy because you’ve shifted how your autonomic nervous system works. That’s where that trauma-sensitive piece comes around somatic coaching. We’re not trying to get people to think differently. We’re helping people to master their physiology differently. Thanks for letting me give you that framework because that’s part of what we do and what makes sense for us.
That’s important to understand because if you’re a leader in any capacity and you find that you are always running in hyperdrive, you’re going to crash. That’s not sustainable. You need to be able to have the right tools to get back into that optimal window where you can think clearly and make good decisions. This is good. The idea of meditation too. Again, a lot of misinformation out there and paradigms that are skewed in one particular way that dismisses the benefit and the real necessity for meditation in order to help us to get back into that optimal level or zone. How have you helped leaders with this practice of meditation to bring them back to where they can think clearly, have all their faculties at their disposal, and be more effective?
Meditation is a super powerful tool. The way I set it up with people is it’s the last thing that I do, not the first. It can be the most challenging for people to get good at.
It’s because of the belief around meditation, what it is and how it operates.
Remember that our subconscious mind tells our conscious mind how to think about things. If we have subconscious resistance to change, which we all do, it’s going to come up with all these great ideas and reasons why it’s not good for us and not going to work. When you start in your body and you help people have less tension, we feel more relaxed. That automatically brings you closer to the window. You do some self-massage, movement, and breathing gets you closer to the window. Once you’re in that window, meditation is way easier. The problem is if you try to meditate when you’re outside of the window, what happens is when you’re in hyper-arousal, our thinking is disorganized.
That’s why they can’t quiet their mind enough.
In hyper-arousal, we’re in a threat state. If you’re in a threat state, you’re like, “I got to pay attention to that. What’s going on over there?” We’re collecting information and sifting through it. “What’s threatening?” Your mind is running, “All the emails I got to answer. I got to get that person.” It’s hard to focus because you’re out of the window. If you’re in hypo arousal, our thinking is disabled. We’re shut down and we can’t focus at all. We get confused. Meditation is the capacity to focus our attention. The closer you can get people into that window, which as a side note, I would argue that that’s where natural confidence resides when you’re in that window. That’s where our experience of confidence resides in the optimal window.
Meditation is the capacity to focus our attention. Click To Tweet
When your mind is racing and things are coming at you, you’re probably more likely to see negative things than positive because you’re in that fight or flight zone or fear zone. Anytime you’re in fear, you can’t be confident. This doesn’t work lightly. I hope everybody who’s reading is enjoying this as much as I am. All this stuff lights me on fire. The other thing I wanted to share was some of the things that may have challenged you in your journey to owning your own company and business, leadership academy. Was there anything that stands out for you that said, “This could have sunk me, but because of what I teach, what I know, and how I’ve learned this stuff, I was able to overcome it?” Can you share anything like that?
I’ve been in this game professionally for many years. I thought I had it all figured out after about 5 or 6 years of doing this stuff. Several years ago, I had a health crisis. I was even more than burned out. I didn’t even know it, too. That’s the crazy thing. A lot of people are burned out, and they don’t even realize that that’s what’s happening.
I love that you brought that up because it’s so true.
It’s normalized. It’s like, “I’m exhausted.” “I’m exhausted, too. We’re all exhausted.” As a culture, we’re not doing well in that regard. I was working as a PT at a health fair and I had my blood pressure taken at the health fair. I was like, “I’m going to get my blood drawn. I’ll go get my blood pressure taken. I was doing physical screenings over on the other side of the room.” I get my blood pressure taken. It’s 179 over 90. I’m the healthiest guy on the block, by the way. I’m running every day. I’m eating organic food and all this kind of stuff. The nurse freaked out. She’s like, “You need to go see the doctor tomorrow. This is not good.”
I had it checked out and nothing is wrong with me, but my blood pressure was sky high. I had acid reflux. I wasn’t sleeping. My back and neck pain was horrible. I was angry person and frustrated. I was not a happy dude. I didn’t know why until I broke down in tears at home over some silly thing that happened. It was a sock on the floor or something. I started crying. I’m like, “I cannot take this. I’m freaking stressed.” I then was like, “Is that what’s going on? Is all of this because I’m stressed?”
It was killing me. I had to do some pretty deep, serious work around getting my footing. It took a good year and a half or two years for me to start sorting some stuff out for myself. It wasn’t only what I was doing in my life and what I was piling on my life. I talk about overwhelm and burnout. It was why I was piling it on. Why was I so attached to it? Why couldn’t I let it go? Why did I keep doing it even though I said I was going to let it go? All of that deep excavation came, but it came more easily because I entered through body processes. Thank God I had body-centered practices, like these core-centering practices that we teach. That helped to loosen up the belief systems in my physiology so that I could process them and deal with them.
One of the things we see where people struggle is when they come to our programs all the time and say, “You were able to help me. I’ve been in therapy for decades and I haven’t gotten the support and the help that you were able to help to give us.” I love therapy. We have psychotherapists on our teams and those sorts of things. We also do a lot of body-centered work. Remember, our subconscious mind tells our conscious mind how to think about things. Our intellect is the most highly suspended system.
Going through the body loosens up the belief systems that are wired into our physiology so we can do something with them. That was my story. Thank God it wasn’t the end of my rope. It was a huge wake-up call for me and a transformative experience that I’m so grateful for now. Even though it stunk at the time, I was horrible in many ways, I’m grateful for it because it changed my whole life and it propelled me to start my own business, believe it or not. At that time, I was working in a hospital. Can I share my story how I started my own business?
My blood pressure, acid reflux, and I got my stress and burnout all sorted out. I was proud of myself. I’m like, “I got it figured out. I’m going to take care of myself for the rest of my life.” I’ve got it dialed. I had to go back to the doctor about nine months to a year after this incident happened. I had a sinus infection. I saw a different doctor in the same office. It was a new doctor so I’d never met him before. I walk in and he sees my chart. He says, “Brian, do you know you have a history of high blood pressure?” I said, “Yeah, I know.” He said, “I have to educate you.” He gives me three pieces of paper. This was his education. Get enough exercise, eat a low-fat diet, and don’t smoke. I said, “Thanks, doc. I appreciate it.” I take them home and I look at them.
I was like, “I had a great diet. I eat farm food from around the corner. I’ve never smoked. I exercise every day.” Obviously, those weren’t my problems. I caught the doctor two days later in the parking lot. I said, “Doc, thank you so much. I appreciate the information that you gave me here. I’m curious, why not anything about stress?” He said, “I know all about stress. A study came out that stress is the leading cause of death via heart disease in our country, but I don’t have time to deal with it.” I looked around the parking lot and there was nobody there. I’m like, “Did anybody hear what he said?” He said stress is the leading cause of death, but he doesn’t have time to deal with it. In that moment, I said, “I’m going to deal with it.”
Stress is the leading cause of death via heart disease. Click To Tweet
This is why you have to be your own best advocate when it comes to your healthcare because doctors are stressed, and they don’t have time to deal with it.
That was the moment I decided to start my own business. Within six months, I had left that hospital and launched my own practice. It was all based around this idea we’re talking about many years ago around helping people to learn how to influence their own autonomic nervous system so that they have the healthiest body, the healthiest mind, the most connected nature to our spiritual nature or other people, or however you describe that. It all lines up when we understand how to consistently support our own nervous system in a powerful way. Thanks for letting me share my origin story. I don’t get to share that a lot.
I love it. When you were talking about leadership, you made a bold decision that some people might not have made that they might have said, “All right,” and gone home. You’re like, “No, this is a problem. I’m going to make a decision to solve it. This is not okay.” That’s a powerful leadership lesson. This is an important awareness thing too. If it comes across your path, it’s because you have the power to change it.
Don’t just complain about it. It was given to you because you have the power to do something about it. Don’t sit there and say, “Why don’t you say that to me?” Think about it a different way. Turn that thought around and say, “That’s a problem and an opportunity. I’m going to tackle that.” Before we get into our Rapid-fire, is there anything else that you want to share about leadership and this idea of confidence in somatic coaching or trauma-informed coaching that we didn’t touch on?
Do I have a week?
I’m listening to you and I’m like, “We need to do a series together because there’s so much in this. I love it because it’s helping me.” You’re talking and I’m learning and loving it. You already know that I’m a creator. I’m a spirit creator. I’m a searcher. I love the information. I’m making an impact so this show is definitely going to make an impact. I’m thinking of everyone I’m going to share this episode with personally. This is powerful.
The last word I would say, and it’s not a small word, but I’ll mention it, is the idea of the environment. If we think about the optimal window of arousal, any of us as leaders, entrepreneurs, infopreneurs, or however you categorize yourself in that regard, as people that are doing bold stuff in the world and want to become the most confident in the world and show up that way, always create an environment that reflects back your greatness.
As a leader, you need to create an environment that reflects your greatness. Click To Tweet
That’s one of the best things we can do. It’s going to reflect back our greatness because it puts us in that optimal zone. Too many of us create environments or reflect back hyper-arousal and threat, or we create environments that reflect back hypo arousal or keeping us down. Can we create an environment that reflect back to us or a nervous system state of arousal that is correlated with being confident?
I want to do a dance. That is drop-the-mic right there. We need to create an environment that reflects the confidence that we have or even the confidence we’re aspiring to. We have to surround ourselves and live in that space. That will continue to lift us up but not take us over. It’ll continue to build us up. I love it. I’m going to do this Rapid-fire. I don’t know what’s going to come out of this, but this is going to be interesting here with Brian. Brian, what’s the biggest leadership mistake that you ever made or were a victim of?
Environmental toxicity. I let myself be in a toxic environment for too long.
How many of us haven’t done that? What’s the best leadership advice you ever got that you still implement now?
One of my supervisors I worked with at a hospital here where I live locally in Upstate New York, I connected with him. We always had this jovial relationship. What he would always say is, “We’re serious about what we do, but that’s as far as it goes.”
I know you. That is true of you and your wife. That’s as far as it goes for me, too. I’m serious about getting you results, but that’s about it.
That’s as serious as they get. Otherwise, we’re having a good time.
It has to be fun. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing. That’s my motto. My kids, too, that’s why they don’t like school. If you were a castaway on a deserted island and there are only three things that you hoped or wished for that could wash ashore or get airdropped from a plane, what would they be? One of them cannot be a phone to call for help to get out of there.
A bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich. I love BLTs. That’s my initials, too, by the way, which is funny.
I don’t know what the L is for, but I know the B and T.
Can it be people?
It’s my wife and people like you, Alicia. Let’s get on the island and have a party. The people I love being around and probably a hat.
This is an interesting one that stumps people sometimes. If you were a song or a song title that is out there in the world, what would that be and why?
Take It Easy by the Eagles.
That was not hard at all. That didn’t stump you.
That’s my theme song.
You’re easygoing. When you were describing yourself when you were having your moment break, it didn’t even sound like who you are.
There’s one line from that song that resonates for me. “We may lose or we may win, but we’ll never be here again.” When I hear that line every time, it’s like, “Yes, that’s it.”
What are you reading now or what are your top three books of all time?
Number one is any different versions of Dao De Jing. That’s Lao Tzu’s Daoist text on Daoist philosophy, wisdom, and understanding. That’s one of my absolute best favorite books. I keep this with me all the time and it’s my little pocket guide. I look at that and it’s something I live from. Other favorite book is The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton. I read it a couple of times, but I picked it up recently and reread it.
The forefront of epigenetics, which I love that whole idea of epigenetics and understanding those things. I only get one more book while there are so many more of them. One of the other ones that I love, which is pretty popular and transformational around trauma work is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. That has also been super informative in the work that we do at the Somatic Coaching Academy.
One last thing. I was thinking of it earlier and I remembered it now. This is for everybody who’s reading. The subconscious mind picks up patterns. When you enter a situation and suddenly you get this tension in your shoulders, your back, your neck, or you get a headache, that’s the subconscious mind again bringing that pattern back to you. Don’t say, “I have a headache. This again.” Be aware that it’s something that’s happening in your environment or is triggering in your body from your subconscious mind. How can people become more aware of those things?
What you said there was perfect, by the way. It’s talking about it differently. It’s a different level of awareness because people are aware they have a headache. Where the awareness comes is understanding why they have a headache. A lot of people are like, “I have a headache because that person is here. I have a headache because of what they’re saying.” Rather than saying, “I have a headache. This is part of a pattern for me.” That awareness by itself is awesome. What we help people do is create a pattern interrupt.
You have to interrupt the pattern. If you can interrupt the pattern, it creates room for more awareness and for a new pattern to then be activated within it. I recognize it as a pattern, interrupt the pattern and then put a new pattern in there. What you’re saying is the key part. Recognize that it’s not a result. It’s a pattern.
I heard someone talking about starting their own business and she said, “When I was sitting in my car every day, crying, bawling my eyes out to go into the office, my stomach was churning.” Enough of those days. You realize, “I need to do something different here. I can’t keep doing this.” Don’t get to that place. How many things did she ignore before getting to that place of a complete breakdown every single day driving to work? Don’t get to there. Start recognizing the tension before you get to that.
Recognize the more subtle signs. The sooner you recognize those subtle signs, the faster you can make changes and shifts that are super healthy for you and everybody around you.
As you can tell, I’m enjoying this conversation so much. I thank you so much, Brian, for sharing all of that and for coming on the show. Thank you for our friendship and for being part of my team and all this stuff.
Thank you so much for inviting me to come on. It was super fun. It’s always super fun hanging out with you. This is a lot of fun to talk about this topic.
The next time we get together, we’ll talk about motivational maps and the Laws of the Universe. I know you love those. I love them, too. We got to do this again and talk about those other things that affect the mind in a different way. Thank you so much, Brian. For all of you out there, I want to encourage you to lead yourself, lead your teams, and lead your organizations with audacious confidence. Until next time, bye.
- NEW Health Inc.
- Somatic Coaching Academy
- Dao De Jing
- The Biology of Belief
- The Body Keeps the Score
About Brian Trzaskos
PT, LMT, CSCS, CMP, MI-C, is a co-creator of Sensation-Based Motivation Coaching, a somatic, trauma-sensitive methodology and has extensive experience in diverse clinical settings ranging from “cutting his teeth” at the world-renowned Craig Hospital for TBI and SCI Rehabilitation, to operating his own integrative wellness center in Upstate New York.
As a practicing physical therapist and student of eastern movement and meditation practices for 30 years, Brian is a nationally recognized expert for his work in training health and wellness leaders how to successfully address mental wellness, burnout, and chronic pain challenges with trauma-sensitive, somatic coaching practices. Brian is currently the President of NEW Health Inc. and director of education at the Somatic Coaching Academy. He earned his degree in Physical Therapy and Trauma Informed Organizations certificate from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
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