Digital Expert with SuperPowers with Brian Fanzo
You are going to have so much fun learning about things like NFT, crypto, podcasting, international speaking, our hometown, of course, but my favorite part of the conversation Brian Fanzo and I have is on having a super power that is unlike what the world would see it as - ADD and ADHD.
So you're going to learn about that from two different sides of the coin, and I hope that it just blesses you. I hope that you feel empowered by your unique, super power, whatever that may be. And I'm just more excited that he's like right here from my neck of the woods and we get to connect again, which is really bizarre that we've never actually met in person.
The Harvest Mastermind starts in January 2022! Start off the new year right with this amazing opportunity to grow and expand your business, whether it is an idea or seasoned business! https://www.fitinfaithmedia.com/harvest-mastermind
Digital Futurist | Keynote Speaker | Podcaster | Girl Dad x 3 and ADHD SuperPOWERED
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Show Notes: Digital Expert with SuperPowers
Incredibly excited to hang out with, uh, 7, 5, 7 homeys. Do people say that anymore? I don't think so. Gangsta that I'm devaluing. Oh, heavens Fanzo you're probably like, what is wrong with you? This is the one and only digital future is an 88. Superpowers Brian Fanzo man, I should go on a game show. Do you guys know my name Tamra came from a, an actual game show a week before I was born.
Maybe didn't end. That has nothing to do with this conversation, but you are going to have so much fun learning about things like NFT, crypto podcasting, international speaking, our hometown, of course, but my favorite part of this conversation that Brian and I have is about on. And having a super power that is unlike what the world would, secularize it as, and inheriting impairing a lot of children, sadly, including perhaps a conversation that I, as a mother am still navigating.
And so you're going to learn about that from two different sides of the coin. And I hope that it just blesses you. I hope that you feel empowered by your unique, super power, whatever that may be. And I'm just more excited that he's like right here from my neck of the woods and we get to. We got connected again in, in your city, which is really bizarre that we've never actually met in person.
And I've been hearing his word and eating his family's ice cream for a really long time. That sounds weird. Oh gosh, stay clean. Y'all state stay humble. San bridge is where it's at. Benzo's ice cream. Remember the days, the dog days of summer. Okay. Everyone on the same page. All right. So on and only right.
Welcome to the fit and bait podcast. It is an acronym representing founders, innovators, and trailblazers who are looking to live a life wholly, fully, authentically, and truly fit a space for us to connect on the raw real stories of mine by. Soul alignment of entrepreneurs and kingdom leaders. I'm your host, Tamra and dress.
And this podcast, isn't like the cookie cutter interview experience. I've been coined the entrepreneurial rabbi. And so we do go there unscripted, no matter how far wide, deep or high there is. My desire is to see people rise from the inside, out, into their greatest calling, by sharing their truest stories.
And tips as a purpose activator and brand builder. I believe our successes and failures are derived from who and whose we are not what we do, but strategy and vision are equally as important to the mission. So let's cut to the chase together and get fit in faith.
Yo, yo, yo, you're on the fit and pay podcast and I am with the one and only Brian Fanzo what's up. I am so excited to have you. It's going to be fun. You guys, if you don't know Brian Fanzo, then you've been hiding in a hole for about a decade because he's been around actually two decades, really. And especially if you're local too, they have some roads, Virginia Beach area, which I know so many of my listeners.
Family and friends are. And so I'm excited to connect with a local beach boy, but you've gone global in so many ways. And so from your super power, which we're going to unpack here in a minute, and also your podcasting, which you got way into way early, which I'm excited to just pick your brain and hopefully learn from, um, but also just your speaking career in, in the way you serve.
So thanks for being here and, and being super. Ah, thanks for having me. I know I don't, I don't get to interact with many people, Virginia let alone 75 7. So, uh, yeah, this will be a lot of fun. It's true. And to speak to that, it's been really interesting navigating entrepreneurship in Virginia Beach with the intent and the understanding that like, I feel like I'm really isolated and, and people don't really get it.
Even when I was going to host the event earlier this year. They were like, you can't call it a mastermind, like Virginia Beach. Hasn't adopted that language. They don't really know what that means. I'm like, why, why is. Wow. That's um, that's interesting. I, you know, I think Virginia as a whole, you know, I live in Northern Virginia now and, uh, I have said for the longest time, Northern Virginia loves to talk about Northern Virginia and DC, but they don't like, they, they believe everyone is talking about the beltway and everything up here.
Uh, and I moved to Arizona. I lived in Arizona for about seven years and I was like, for me, and I will say like when I left Virginia, uh, and I came, I came back to Virginia 2015. So. 2008, 20, 20 15. Um, I was impressed that like Northern Virginia had started to be a little bit better at like understanding like global, global side.
Cause they wanted to be like Silicon valley and notch, but I didn't, you know, Virginia Beach is also an interesting one just because. You know, there are so much happening. So many people from there, I was actually on a Twitter space with Timberland, uh, yesterday. And I put on the, I put in there seven by seven because his brother Garland Mosley went to my high school, graduated with, uh, from Kellam.
Uh, and we were in a home-ec class together. So I've known like that side, but it's funny. Cause like there's all of that yet. You're right. Entrepreneurs side. Yeah. I spoke at, um, some brand events, you know, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. And even those events seemed very, you know, I wouldn't say closed off, but yeah, they still kind of like emerging, which is probably a good thing.
Right. Because you're going to help lead the way. Yeah. And, and I'm grateful for that, but at the same time, it's so interesting. Whenever I leave to go into different spaces around masterminds or around any business, like entrepreneurial realm, like, oh, wow. I'm not the only crazy person who thinks like this.
This is great. I feel so much better about my life. Yeah, it's amazing when you're like, when you get surrounded by people that are at least in the same, that same beautiful thing of social. I think social a lot of bad side, but like that to me to that was one of the best pieces, like finding your people and also, you know, recognizing you're not alone.
Yeah. So talk to me about like, when. Entered into the podcasting realm. Nobody was really doing it. Um, or if it was, it was a handful and I would love to hear just like what led you to that? Especially coming from Kellam. I mean, I'm married to a Kellam cat and all my best friends went to Kellogg and I was always like, they're a rare breed and they were my best friends, but they are a rare breed.
And so I'm curious, like what led you into that based on it was anything that tell him did, or, or Virginia Beach. Um, no, probably not killing her Virginia Beach. You know, I grew up, I've lived in San Bruno growing up in San bridge. Um, and for me, Kellen was interesting cause Landstown, uh, high school came about earliest on middle game as well as I in high school, um, came kind of around our same area.
Right. So we had used to be ocean lakes, Callum. And then of course it's like I ended up, we ended up knowing a lot of people. Cause a lot of people I went to middle school with. I never saw again. The beauty of that area. And, you know, I went to Radford and a lot of, uh, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Radford.
And funny enough, I did the radio station at Radford, but I was really put off on like the formalities, like the very, like, like everything had to be such a performance and process based. Um, and at the time, I didn't know, my ADHD was a big piece of this, but, um, for me, I was actually turning the podcast. As a coping mechanism, because reading has always been something a, I don't enjoy B I've struggled with, um, staying focused, even completing, you know, I mean, I, I loved high school.
I like perfect attendance yet. I did really bad in school, but my grades were like, I got into Radford on probation and put hockey there. And so, yeah, I've open about that. And so. Weirdly enough when I discovered podcasting, I'm not even sure. The first year I was still working for the U S government in cybersecurity, and I didn't go to school for that topic.
And when people were turning me on to things like this, it was like just as YouTube started coming on, like YouTube was so boring. Tech type content still kind of is, but the, but I found it was more like funny, a couple of podcasts, Dan, like really early that were like, oh, I can listen to this on the commute.
And anyone that's lived in Northern Virginia and had a commute to the Pentagon, I noticed that I had a stick shift Jeep Wrangler, which was
So, um, yeah, so like that's kind of how I kind of got into it from like a listening and then. I remember like reaching out and like, okay, I'm going to try to start podcasting. And I'm a tech guy, computer science background. And when I got sent, like the stack of things I had to do, I was like, I'm never doing that.
I will never become decrypt. Yo, your, your, your music, you gotta do all these ID three tags up to it, to a FTP server. And like, I was running like a very low, like $19 million a year budget, government contractor, 39 people in rec reports. I looked at that. Yeah, that's way too complicated for me. And it was probably two years of, I was fairly active in social media on Twitter.
For Pittsburgh. I was born in Pittsburgh, so moving to Virginia Beach, like still being able to have like my Pittsburgh roots and talk sports. Um, and it was actually through a tweet that I had put out. Like, I really wish podcasting was made simple because I would love to start a show and someone just to kind of reply back and was like, uh, Hey.
I would love to hear your take and I'll do all the tech stuff. If you're willing to, you know, uh, send it over to me and I, and we did it, it wasn't like a very, once it was a success, it was more of like the, the baby steps. But then when I realized some of the things that, that the process is, I kind of just jumped in and, uh, it's, it's been my mantra.
It's my life is, uh, you know, it was pressed the button. So, uh, yeah, I've done. I've done. So I just launched this past week, my six total podcast to that. This one is the craziest one I've ever done. So I decided to do a daily podcast. So it's called NFT 365. So it's these NFTs every single day during a podcast episode.
And I'm also mentioning an NFT every single day, and we're going to, we're doing it all, like along with it. And so no, one's done a daily NFT show and no one's done a daily mint. So I, um, I have a team that we're working with, but yeah. This is day five. And right now I'm five for five. So like consistency is not lately, not my strong suit.
And I was like, what could really push me to like really be consistent? And I was like, well, daily sounds like it. So, so far, so, yeah. Wow. So are you, you're not limiting like time or anything on it? You're just saying like, let's press play or what's your 5, 10 21. I it's really depends on that. So I'm doing a little bit trendy, a little bit news.
Like the first episode was 10. The second was an hour and two minutes because I covered what are NFTs. And I really try to like give example, I give nine real world examples that entities can fit in. So I'm kind of playing it with that. Some interviews, like I, the thing I learned you might have most successful podcasts, weirdly enough became a solo show where I just, it was just me for 40 minutes ranting on a topic that I, that I wanted to talk about.
It was really, it became selfish because booking guests and like managing calendars, it became like, I just want to do it. I just wanna like, and if it was one that ended up getting picked up and sponsored by Adobe and Oracle and, and ended up getting, like, when I would travel to speak at an event, they would say, well, how much more for you to do your podcast live at the event?
Sure. Like, and so like, that was like a cool aspect. Cause they're like, I really feel this podcast. You know, the Google plus hangout days, which I ran a large show there for a long while. And then my five podcasts, like pretty much all of those things. I combined them into one. It's what I'm doing now. And this one.
So it's a little bit interview a little bit one-on-one um, and it's like so far so fun and the feedback has been pretty amazing. So I'm pretty sure I'm so excited to listen to it. That's incredible. And interestingly, like NFTs have only come to my attention because of clubhouse and like listening in on like what people are talking about and how it's working.
I was had a mastermind this past weekend. And this lady who's an author, she's written like 300 and something books in the last three years, making seven figures doing it. Only her own publications. It's wild. She has like a three-day series. She can write a 300 page book, not like a little tiny thing in three days, and then publish it's crazy in the romance sector.
Very interesting. But that, wasn't the point of me telling you the point was she was like, I wanted to get into NFTE. So I bought this mermaid and I did. Siren mermaid was. And so she gets this like nude mermaid and FTE, and our kids are like, what did you do? She's like, so if anyone wants a topless mermaid, I've got one.
Um, but I think it's so interesting. And I'm truly just learning about how these inequities, in addition to this new metaverse and the experience of this next level, um, virtual experience, you're gonna have NFTs hanging on your wall in this space. Like. I don't even consider. I can't even conceptualize it.
Can you give us like a quick, this is what it is, overview. Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think so what we're referring to like, so it's like they're calling it web three or there's a creator economy, but really what's happening is for the last 10 years. The internet has been built, where we gave all of the platforms, all of the data and all of the power.
So Facebook, Instagram, like, you know, we are, we're using them for free. We have to remember that and we're paying with our data and the time we spend on them and the shift is happening where there's technology, which is called the blockchain. But it really doesn't matter because no one really knows what the internet was built on.
So why would we need to know what, like the future is built on? But it allows us to do is remove the centralized hubs of like Facebook, Amazon away from them and having everything sit on this transparent, what they're calling. It's a ledger that allows us to really store transparently and give all of us the users control of everything.
So we control our data. We control who shares what, and, and it really shifts the centralized element of like Facebook over to the users. It can be good. It can also be a very interesting thing where, you know, we're, we're getting a lot of our business. A lot of our lives were built in this, like, you know, us dollar monetary transaction, right?
Like you sell a course. I buy it with money and that's the exchange the way we're moving forward, where cryptocurrency. And FTS this metaverse and then creator coins, which is what I plan as well. The way these are all coming together is how do we create a, an opportunity where the, the sharing of value is not limited based on the type of money, the area you live, the goods and services that you provide, and how do we share in ownership?
Right? Like, imagine this is like a great example where imagine when. Was like in prelaunch and they had their Uber's everybody that was taking the risk on a Tesla, Uber imagine, cause you took the risk and prove the concept. Right? Imagine if you had part ownership in Tesla as Tesla grew, because ultimately that's the way it should work in a way.
Right. We've we as users have for the longest time, like Facebook's great. If every user turned off Facebook today, The company would end. They have literally no mechanism. We've never really had a share. And the way that this new, this new change happens is if you want to be successful in this place, you set up this automatic sharing and it's, it's built into the contracts.
It's not anything that's shared. Um, and the best example was I bought a domain in this new it's called an ENS donut domain. I bought it in March. It's just fanzo.edu, right? That's like what it was. I bought hundreds of domains that company. Turned into a revenue of $125 million in these domains. And what they did is when they made it public, they said to thank everyone at bottled Jemaine from March till, uh, Halloween, we're going to give away 25 million of our profits to all of the owners because all of you own a piece.
And so I got a deposit of $18,000 for an 800 domain, $800 domain that I bought in March because technically my adoption helped them get that success. That and that's the aha. It should be right. If we think about true growth and you love this. It is building a new digital world that allows rising tides lift all boats percent is the most beautiful part.
Yeah. Yeah. It's really amazing. And it had that like really firm foundational ethics, all of that should be the case. But to know that like ethical economy is not something that generally is a phrase ology that people use. Um, but to experience it firsthand from your testimony, like that's so rad to be able to say that you were a part of.
Experienced it, it was an influx for you, but it's also going to serve that platform that much more because you're now like so loud. Right. And they give it to you in, in tokens. Right. So now I even have, like now I have like tokens in their company and, and the NFT side, just like, cause I think if we look at the JPEG, like the, the photo that we see everywhere, I'm using it on my profiles, but really what the beauty is, the photo I like referred to it.
Like the logo that's on the front of you. Yeah, you drive a BMW. There's a BMW is as much for you as it is. When you pull in to let people know that you drive a BMW, let's say I'm a Jeep Wrangler guy still to this day, the Jeep world is just a different world. We just walk the same day, the Jeep wave, but the NFT, the picture is really just, it's a signal of the community you belong to, but the core beauty of it is underneath there.
Community, there are contracts and things that you enable. And so like, I mean, I was in New York and because I have certain NFTs that I purchased, I got into exclusive parties and shows that only those that had that NFT had. And so like, that's where we're moving. Like there's an element where, and I will say this like five years before.
Every aspect of every business will have an NFT component because we've all like even your rewards are you go to Chick-fil-A, you get rewards. Those are just rewards to use for Chick-fil-A dollars. Imagine if you were able, if you went to five Chick-fil-As and five states and they were able to reward you something there, now they're kind of changing this incentive where you could get an NFT from each one of them.
And so that's kind of where we're moving and I think it's a, it's a positive step, but it's also, it's required a lot of, uh, you know, changing and that's really. For me, the podcast and this new project is minting. And if every NFT, every day, people came to me and said, even if I understand enough T I don't know where to start, I might not even have the money to put into it.
Right. And that to me is like my, like my north star is connecting great people with great people. Like, I just love that. And I was like, well, Create something. So to allow that to kind of, and so I said, why don't I just buy an NFT everyday for 365 days? Um, which is kind of a crazy concept in the beginning with, but now people can track it, right?
You can make, as if that's yours, you can see these trends. We can go through the hallway, you know, cause things are going to dip and go up where, oh yeah, for me, a part of it is I love learning in public. I'm like, Hey, I don't have to know everything. Yeah, come learn along with me as we have. And obviously like you adopted the video podcasting thing a long time before most people did too.
And so you're actually going to showcase what the value is of that throughout. Oh, that's so rad. Um, and we're Twitter. Twitter has really become like the NFT blockchain hub now. The Twitter newsletter feature. So every Friday a Twitter newsletter will come out, recapping the seven things. We, we just minted that week and giving you a trends and also predicting things, uh, for the future.
So we're kind of like integrating a lot of this, like, I mean really in a weird way. It's to me, it's, it's like the emerging of my entire background, like 20, 20. It's almost like coming into one world. So I think it's where, uh, you know, it's a lot of pay off a lot of excitement for me. And for me, I think the beauty of this is like, it's going to impact so many different ways.
And, and for me the podcast, I mean, it's my favorite medium to listen, a medium to create. So it kind of fiscal. Yeah, absolutely. And then thinking through your cyber security background, like that's like where that evolution really goes into place. So I want to shift a little bit because this, I could go on this conversation just because I'm learning as well.
And I think it's so intriguing, but there are this of your story that I know that I wanted to deposit into the fit and based podcast. So let's talk a bit about, um, your evolution of being able to even step foot into this space very confidently. And I feel like it comes a lot from the backstory of your educational understanding, and I love that you shared at the beginning about school and being like I was there every day.
I flunked, I wasn't doing so hot. Right. Um, so talk to us about like, why, what was the struggle behind that? Um, it wasn't that. Smart, uh, clearly to be able to understand the NFTs and cyber security and all of this computer science, there's a, there's a lot of intellect that goes into that. Your IQ is really high.
Let's hear the backstory. Yeah. And you know, and I think for me to interesting part is since the day I left college, I have found success in every single thing I've done leading up to that day that I left college. A lot of the imprint that was put on me was that why can't you do what everyone else is doing?
Or don't you see that they're doing? And for me, you know, I'm the oldest of three boys. Uh, both of my younger brothers are wicked smart. I don't believe they ever got anything other than straight A's, uh, through high school. And. Uh, I was the kid that I was trying really hard. I was often labeled lazy, but not lazy from the standpoint of, uh, not willing to put in the work, but lazy in the sense of, I wasn't willing to do like mundane tasks and I become bored very easily.
And I will say like a shout out to Kellam high school. Uh, Mr. Rubin was my guidance counselor and, um, he, I would argue, save. My entire trajectory, because going into my junior year in high school, um, I had a 1.2 GPA. I mean, I, and he was like, I just want to know, like, what do you want to do after high school?
I was like, we'll go to college and then I'm going to figure it out. And he's like, he's like starts laughing a little bit. You think you're going to college? And I was like, well, of course I want to be the first thing in my family. And he was like, Brian, you need like grades to do that. No. I was like, well, I like going to class.
I was like, I just, and at that point he kind of looped in a couple of other teachers, shout out to Mrs. Peterson as well, um, and brought in a couple teachers and they said, let's put him in AP classes, let's put him in. And I'm like, wait, I just got a DNF, regular English. Don't put me in that. But they understood at that moment.
And I, and funny enough, it wasn't until many years later what they understood about me. And they were like, well, Brian, you don't like, you don't like the reading. But you have no problem reiterating all of these things and standing out in front of class, we're going to put you into AP English. And then they were like, okay, you don't like this part, but you print journalism.
Like I was the editor in chief of the school newspaper. So like they really adapted by learning and. Thankfully, I got, you know, I graduated a little bit. I think I was like 2.1, uh, like near the back of my graduating class and got into Radford on probation. Ended up playing hockey at Radford was the president of my fraternity at Radford and even Radford.
Like I had this feeling of, well, I get the, I get the call. Now everything's going to click like pager. I get, that was not the case middle school, like a little low in the fact that I had alone school. Um, and you know, so for me leaving school, you know, I couldn't get a job in, uh, in it or tech, you know, right out I graduated oh three.
Um, and I end up working at Dick's sporting goods and then got a job at ups, delivering packages for the Christmas hire. Uh, and I'm a competitive person I'm really competitive. And they told us that there was 90 there's, 90. Um, Christmas hires and they had three full-time union positions, um, that were going to be based on like a lot of these, like things on the package delivered.
Of course I'm competitive. So I got the second floor of that pod and got brought on union for ups. Uh, and 11 months later, um, I was getting my own route and a lot of it was. Man, this job is great. Like ups job. I'm not getting paid way more, almost double what all my friends are graduating college with you.
It was a really, um, but I also knew like myself and, um, I ended up in a grocery store, meeting someone that saw my fraternity letters and he asked me if I knew cybersecurity. I said, no, uh he's like, let me ask you two terms. Did you take any of these at Radford? And he asked me two terms. I was like, Nope.
And no, but he's like, well, I like you already. You're not a liar. He's like, could you get a security clearance? And I said, I'm pretty sure I could think I don't, I don't know it required. And I'm like, I'm trying to think of my
and he's like coming for an interview. And, uh, my, my pay went for. 98,000 to 31,000, um, you know, right out of college. Um, I was newly married, but no kids at the time. And I was an overnight help desk employee, um, in the government. So yeah, I'm talking about like one extreme to the other, but it was, you know, an opportunity to be in a new field, a new place.
And really, that was kind of my first feeling of. Like I was always one that could work smart. Right. And I had never had a problem working hard. And so like, I started to like recognize like these little things in the, in the help desk. And, uh, I. I guess theme of my story has been willing to bet on myself.
And so what happened was six months or so into the help desk job on a Friday afternoon, uh, the person that hired me came in and said, Hey, we just had had a head of our training. Quit out of nowhere, the first person to raise their hand that wants to go to Korea, to teach a class on Monday, raise your hand.
And I had my hand up first and he's like, do you have a passport. I've been on a cruise in the Caribbean, like, does that count? Like I literally had not left the country yet. And he was like, no, but we can track it to a same-day passport. So I got a same-day passport in Washington, DC. Wow. Flew to Seoul, Korea.
So that's, high-speed chained on the taboo, Korea, the entire time reading this manual to teach these the S I'm answering questions on a phone call. Like I was like, I knew enough to answer questions. I did not believe I knew enough to teach and. That was the, that I thought that five days in a Tega Gloria, uh, every night going back to my room and just studying what I would get teach the next day.
And when I flew home, I came back to the office like the following Tuesday, and my boss brought me in and he's like this on this call. And our government lead pretty much came back and said, uh, if you have Brian, as the instructor will go from one course a month to four courses a month, as long as Brian's doing it.
And. Uh, they offered me a promotion, three levels above, um, where I entered, um, within a year, the person that hired me ended up being working for me. We grew this massive team. I ended up being there for about nine years. Uh, we ran one of the largest software deployment, uh, you know, groups inside the government.
I ended up traveling to 54 countries, three trips to Iraq, two to Afghanistan. Um, and it was just amazing. And for me, a lot of that was. Wait a second. Like I was told, I couldn't, you know, I was not passing classes. I was, uh, and, um, and so I did that for about nine years and towards the end is where, um, I started to recognize people would say that I had, um, ADHD or add equalities.
And it was around that time that my youngest brother got diagnosed ADHD. And I was like that like, oh no, what? I probably do have ADHD. I'm not going to take medicine every day. And like, why does it diagnosis no matter. Um, and fast forward a year later, uh, my brother convinced me to go into the doctors and just kind of talk with them.
And, uh, it took me, I think, eight minutes into the, uh, evaluation. He's like, yeah, you have ADHD. Uh, at, at a fool. I play on both sides of the spectrum. Um, and I also have recently was diagnosed dyslexia, which also kind of plays into the, the reading side. And for me that day, that day. Other than my three daughters being born was one of the most, it was the, it was a day.
I know what clothes I was wearing. I know where my Jeep was parked because like I walked out of there and for the first time went from feeling broken to feeling like I was just different. And I've always like, I've always been okay. Being different. I mean, they went into me in high school, knew me as someone that was not afraid to be different, but that diagnosis at 31.
So it was nine years ago. Um, was really, I mean, it was one of those days that now looking back to school, like, I, I apologize to every teacher I've ever had, like now, like I now understand like, well, who I was and what I'm about. And, and just recently my, my middle daughter, um, was diagnosed ADHD and dyslexia as well.
And so I get to now see it through my nine year old and my 10 year old's eyes. Um, but yeah, that's kind of what. I came. And then I worked for the government for those nine years, went and chase what my dream job was, which was a technology evangelist, uh, kind of modeled after guy Kawasaki and what he did at apple.
I was a huge apple, um, and I really didn't want to sell or market, but I wanted to talk to everybody. That was kind of my thing. And that kind of turned me on to speaking. I started speaking on behalf of this booming startup and, you know, speaking at Amazon web services events, and these giant events and, uh, that company that startup got bought and the day they got bought, they came in like, Brian, this is your last day.
And that's the last day I've worked for anybody else. I've been doing this. Full-time speaking thing now for a little over seven years and doing a podcast as well. That is so incredible.
I see as sister, the dream is spending. Calling you forward. And yet the works are taking until
summoned into purpose to reap what he promised, what you desire is noble and honest.
Co-laborers needed to level up your fields. Plow, plant. Harvest to yield
your vision and growth well manifest layer, spirit to rest with all you invest
a fresh season upon you waiting to flourish, requiring your faith and works to nourish.
Are you ready to repeat your harvest?
do you feel like when you, when you came into that like aha moment, right? Or that, that re or revelation of yourself in, in that higher sense that you have now had more empathy, obviously towards your daughter, but empathy towards people as a whole. Are you able to like recognize other people in your field who have that similarity?
I would say at the start, I wasn't at the start. I was very bitter and angry because I was like, how did anyone not see this in me? When they tell me that I'm like off the spectrum. And once I started being a little bit more public about it, because it's kind of just who I am. Everyone's like, oh, we, of course we knew that.
And it was like, man, if I, if anywhere along the way from high school to college, um, if anyone went in, so that, that, that, and I, and I say that because. Oftentimes, when we, when people talk about like your diagnosis and where it's taking them, we kind of forget that part. There is like this weird, like I'll still get it every once in a while where someone will mention something and it'll, it'll flash me back to this like amazing high school experience I had.
And I was like, oh yeah, my desk was sitting out in the hallway because I couldn't control myself to enough to not talk to the people around me. But I will say without hesitation, I. Empathy is like where I'm driven. I am one that I just don't, I don't judge. And it's like, I look at anyone that as long as they are happy and what they are happy doing does not injure or, you know, impact others in a negative way.
I'm very open and supportive. I, I believe I was that prior to OT, ADHD, um, you know, The grand Marshall of the LGBTQ parade in San Francisco in 2004, as a straight white male that had just gotten married. Um, and for me, my best friend in high school had come out to me, um, who I adore was like, oh, well I love her.
And how do we like change some of these conversations? And so I've always kind of been in that place, but I will say definitely without question the ADHD. A lot of it is what people hear me talk about now. And I a, I talk a lot about ADHD, but honestly it opens up and gives people permission to talk about the things that they're been embarrassed about.
And that's where it makes me, like I talked about since, so now at seven years, uh, every introduction that I've taken the stage, every single one, it says ADHD, super-powered in there. And that is very strategic in the sense that I want that known and the amount people that wait in line after I get off stage.
Most of them have no, no, uh, idea of ADHD, but they're like, my son has this or my daughter has this or I've suffered with this. And to me, like, that's the greatest gift that is like, Hey, I mean, I'm just sharing part of, so that makes up, you know, what makes me unique and the fact that it's giving other people permission is really what yo is the part that I think drives me the most.
Now, I feel like from a perspective and you being a dad towards your daughter, I've walked through this conversation over my own son. And there was a time on clubhouse that you were sharing specifically about your experience or your mom's experience, and you coming out to her about this experience and asking her questions.
Um, and I, I have this almost innate fear from that conversation. I remember exactly where I was. I was running around level loop right outside of San Ridge. Right. And your negative. Right. And, uh, when I heard. The story. And it was almost this internal processing of am I doing my son justice by not getting him, um, into medication or even not getting him fully tested and having a couple of people mentioned things to me, but also witnessing his XL in school and the way that it has been knowing your story and knowing friends, stories of ADHD who didn't have that same experience.
And so would you share a bit about. Just for mamas who are listening. Yeah. Yeah. You know, and for me, you know, my mom is my, you know, my hero. She I'm a mama's boy without question. And for me, you know, when I got diagnosed, I think there were, you know, in my, in my household growing up and I think most households, especially during this time, you know, mental health was definitely not something that we're talking about.
Medication was not talked about at all. And so for me, even just the, like, even I remember when I tell the doctor, I'm like, well, now I'm diagnosed. I'm not taking medicine. Like, I'm just like, let's just say that straight and feel the process took over, you know, nine months of going through lots of different, like changing some diet, changing some things.
And then it was like, let's just see where medicine comes in and, uh, Over those first couple of years, I didn't even know how to talk about the things that I felt like different. It was, it was like, I just felt like comfortable. And, and as I started to have these conversation with my mom, there was this like revelation of wow.
You know what, when, when you were younger, I think you were 11. You were diagnosed, you were diagnosed ADHD. And when I went and told my friends group, I said, my mom, my mom was like, they were all like, well only bad parents medicate their kids. Right. And, and it was the stigma and let's face it the only that stigma.
But then I take Adderall and Adderall became the overnight drugged for kilo take to stay up overnight and study. So like that has like another layer of stigma on top of it. Um, and I would honestly say, if am I 20, is my mom. Hey, you should probably take you be medicated for ADHD. I don't know how I think I would have taken it as like an insult.
Like what you saying? I'm dong. I literally would have paid. And so for me, when my mom said that to me, like 34 and I knew it was hard for her and we had this conversation and a lot of it. This, this is how my brain works and it's not an excuse, but it's, it's evidenced that the, the way that school is designed, the way that even our, um, reward system inside of corporations is not built for neurodiverse, right?
The normal, typical is the, the brains that are wired to say one way. And the neurodiverse covers a wide gamut. And, you know, I went and got my brain, uh, tested, um, last, last March. Um, and I got, I ended up brain scan. We did this whole testing of like an ma in my brain, on my brain. The two sides are flipped.
And so I'm very emotional person. Like I cried doing undercover boss. I cried Sunday. They were doing a story about one of the football players that was giving back to his local community. And I just get emotional. Am I? And my daughters have always known that. And this is growing up in a house with an Italian dad that I've only seen cry twice in his entire life.
It was both in his dad. His parents died like literally the only two times I've seen my dad cry. The kid that always smiled and laughed. And my dad never was a smiler. Like my dad's like amazing human, but it's just a tough guy. And so me always being emotional then realizing these things in my brain and also realizing, yeah.
Where most people get like a fight or flight feeling. I get an emotional feeling. Well, the other side, whenever other people get emotional, I get a fight or flight feeling like you start to learn little nuances. Like one of the things that you'll know about ADHD is because especially diagnosed late, right?
We've developed coping mechanisms, like really podcasts listening, right? Like everyone that worked for me thought I was dealing with the smartest person ever. They would ask for book recommendations. Every one of them.
I heard and I heard this author interviewed on this podcast. And for me, all of that was to disguise. I didn't want people to all of a sudden realize I was dumb, right? Like that was at the piece. And I will say when my daughter got diagnosed, I mean, it was a moment for me. Uh, first of all, like, okay, don't make it about me again.
It was like, oh my goodness. I get to know witness through her age. Cause you was nine at diagnosis. What I would, I probably would have went through and I just started and I went down a whole of like, what would I have wanted at this point? And I will say, my daughter is not medicated. I am medicated and Medicaid now eight years.
Um, I, my daughter is not, so I'm, I'm one that we. Figure out your own process. Um, I've tested four types of medicine. I've gone off it for six months, multiple times over the eight years to try different things. And almost every time I do any show, uh, and I share that I'm medicated. I get like a line of people that give me like different herbal things and like things and like, and I'm on.
That's like, I'm, I don't believe I know what, I don't know. The first of all for my daughter and the thing that I came up with that if I was my 11 year old self. Yeah. When I was struggling with the things that others got so easily, or when I felt isolated, even though I was very popular right there, there's like these, these elements was, I just wanted to know that I wasn't alone.
That like someone understood me. And so like my daughter and I, we have a, we've thought about half heart. Um, anytime she's with her sisters or she's doing anything and that's like her reminder, like, Hey, you're you and daddy's brain worked the scene. And. The way that I loved to position it is definitely not a disability.
Uh, although we have to be Frank for in the United States. Now it is a disability for your, for your company, so you should report it so you can get, you know, things that cause extra test time is a big one, right? Because we there's like the pressure sensor. Um, also that something. You're like, I was often late to class, but Haiti being lat late.
And there's something called time blindness that exists with those in ADHD where our ability to, um, understand short amount of time in like, like if someone's filling up a glass of water and you watch them fill up the glass of water, how many seconds did that take? So with ADHD, there's so far, their guest is not anywhere close to someone that doesn't have ADHD and, and some people just are always different shades of this, but.
The being able to my daughter, we always call it. We have a beautiful brain, right? Like that's my, my language. Like I, and I do say I'm ADHD powered, uh, because there are aspects of what I'm able to do, because I also kind of caveat that in like, I've changed my tune a little bit because I came out about three years ago and came out and said, if.
Take my ADHD away today, I would. Yeah, because it impacts everything. It impacts my sleep too. My eating too. Um, like I, I often forget going to bed at night to brush my teeth. I'm 40 years old. That's kind of a, because my brain does not look at that as a priority because that's where my brain works. I don't do it because I want to have bad breath.
I do it because it's not important to me. It doesn't. Well, even so my brain. And so I, the thing about this ADHD superpower and I, and I made that statement three years ago. And then as I started like, well, first of all, you can't, there's no cure for it. Right. I've been taking medicine and I'm not cured. Um, the other part of it was, it has allowed me to become and like lean into the person that I am.
Right. I, there are lots of things like you as a speaker, you know, Keynote speaker and the way I've designed, like my presentations, the way I present a lot of that is leveraging like nonverbal feedback from the audience. It's understanding how to understand energy, knowing my peripheral view, all of these things that I can do that when I try to explain it to someone that doesn't have any HD.
I can't do all of that and know what slide I'm on and how much time I have left. And what's coming out of my mouth when I recognize that it's like, oh, okay. Like,
I think that's the beauty. And I will say one of the other lessons is when we talk about it, there's been a tendency to be like, You have to come to us because these are the things that are wrong with us. And I believe it's about meeting in the middle, right? So it's about helping to educate the non, you know, the neuro-typical on saying, Hey, this is what we don't understand about this group.
And then we also have to recognize the world is built for this one type of learning. One type of thinking, one type of motivation. And I think a pandemic in a weird way kind of taught us that because all of a sudden people started working from home and sort of working in different ways and their production went up.
Right. All of a sudden you're and they're like, what is. I let this employee decide their work hours and I'm only rewarding them based on what they accomplish. And they're accomplishing 10 times more than me mandating them 40 hours in the office. It's not because 40 hour an office doesn't work. Right.
It's just that some people's brains aren't built for that. And so that's, to me, it's kind of like the lesson out of all of this is like, we just kind of have to meet in the middle and just identify some things that just aren't really built, you know, especially in the school system, it's, you know, working with my daughter's teachers.
I feel for every teacher underpaid under appreciated, uh, industry mind. The mother of my kids is a teacher, a high school teacher. And you know, we're still working on it, right. Even talking to the parents of my daughter's friends and my daughter this weekend, this past weekend came to me and said, yo, daddy, I found two others that have beautiful brains like us.
And she was like, but they, one of them takes medicine and the other one's mommy told them not to tell people. Well, and like, for me, part of that was like, okay, now we have to understand like where these are and like, how did we have these conversations a hundred percent? And that's the part that I, if I I've been building this audience and community for awhile, That's what I, if, if I can use the, all of this, like the influence and visibility that I do have to kind of choose that narrative, then I think it'll work out.
Yeah. And I think like, as you're talking, you're obviously a wealth of knowledge to the listeners over here. Like this is so informative and it is, um, and I think it's because the conversation is just in one often happens only in like a doctor setting and then it is. And it is like, okay, behind closed doors, it's like, you don't need to wear that badge.
Cause most people don't look at it as a badge of honor. And here you are wearing it as your Superman logo. Right. And being like, this is it. And this is why, and this is how so I think it's in, in any recognition of any sort of disability or not to say disability, but. Depending on how we look at it. If we talk about it more, there becomes then this opportunity for us to utilize those tools, both as parents and as the people who need it and actually apply it in a new way, in a new context, without shame.
And I think that's the biggest word, like shame to me is the one thing that I want to just obliterate and. Comes in so many ways shapes and forms. And so it sounds like there was like so many elements of shame, even with the little ones who are experiencing that now. Like they'll talk about it. Well, in fact, the more you talk about it, the more free you are and the more you understand, and we can all understand and conceptualize together.
And I will also say, you know, even as I became very vocal about my ADHD, I recognized that I didn't know my role. In this ADHD conversation, because I don't have a PhD, I don't have the doctor's degree. And, and I will say clubhouse is a big part of this. As I had some really great connections that would always lean as me like, oh, ADHD.
And like, they would kind of connect the dots and then they would put me into a conversation where I'm like, I'm not the expert. Excuse me. You need to talk to someone that has like the research or the study or whatever it maybe. And it was through like, I would go to the doctors and I started doing this.
I was like, w what can I do. To help get all of the amazing things that you're doing to the public. And they would say you're doing it. And I was like, yeah, but like, what can I do? And like, cause I remember scrolling past, uh, Facebook groups that would say like, you know, ADHD enabled, you know, Well, I got it, but like, I'm not one that can help on either side.
Like where, and what I found is like, my role is I like to say I get the right people in the wrong rooms and the wrong people in the right rooms. Right. Because there's a lot of us that would never go into an ADHD room. Cause we don't believe we have it. But if we can have a room that you talked to where you entered this room, right, you entered this conversation.
Most people that maybe got an aha moment from this conversation, probably one of tune into an ADHD podcast. But now all this. Oh, maybe I need to look into this a little bit more. That's where I found my role. And I believe anyone that when we look at our vulnerabilities, we look at the things that we struggle with.
It, it doesn't have to be as transparent and open as me. Like I know like that, and it has its downsides. Right? There's there are, there are elements where I will find out later, like that client didn't work. Because they understood that you might not be best at getting back to them right away. I was like, oh, it's interesting.
Because like, they came to me because I'm the best at what I do on stage. And like, I'm like, how do they know that? But I mean, the other flip side of that is like the, when we, when we enable these conversations and like one of my pet peeves has been, I used to be, and I think black lives matter taught me this.
And as well as, um, as this ADHD side was, I often would just stay silent in areas where. I was the advocate and I was an ally and now I do not. And like, if I'm in big rooms, I was in, I was in like one of the, I mean, I was in one of the largest privately investor calls I've ever been a part of as an investor and twice within like a 10, second period.
Someone's like, oh my ADHD, squirrel brains all over the place. Like, you know, we all have ADHD and I immediately doesn't have the, can I cut in real quick? And then the whole thing was like, why is that guy with the hat talking. I was going to put this out there. This isn't even a shot. I was like, this is an education.
Every time we say, we think everyone has little ADHD or he say squirrel brain. And it makes even if no one in this room identifies you take that conversation out. And that means when we hear everyone has a little ADHD, then all of a sudden like, oh, well, what I got isn't that big of a deal and I'm not going to get help and I can understand it.
And I always caveat, like everyone has a little bit of time struggling to focus. That's true. That doesn't mean you have ADHD. ADHD often is like in that focus. As we struggled to focus on things we want to do and things we don't want to do. Those people struggled to do the things that they don't want to do.
Right. Get focused on this, like doing my taxes and you're like, I must have ADHD. And you're like, oh, so like for me, I would, I would encourage. You know, transparency, I don't believe is the, is as much the answer, like for a while. I kind of leaned in that because I know that's scary for a lot of people are like, I do wear it like a Scarlet letter because I will put it out there because it just, I it's, I'm so comfortable now, but I will say if you have an opportunity, small circle group of texts circle, and someone makes a comment or a th uh, layers of piece of bias over something that you're familiar.
I think it's a perfect opportunity to step up and educate. And I tell people, Hey, this isn't about saying we're all like, we all were linked. It's just about what that phrasing of. We all have a little ADHD could possibly impact on so many different people. And so like that to me has been like, it's been finding that like, like, okay, where can I fit?
Where can I help? And like, I'm now. On studies with Harvard scientists have been sitting HD for 15 years and they're quoting me in their research, which is like, how did this all happen? When I was the kid at 31, that was. Oh, thank God. I'm not broken. Like I've been feeling broken for a long time. So, well, I think that the differences in it and add normal to most people, no different than you being an early adopter in the realm of, of digital you're, you're willing because you're.
And your curiosity has actually been a part of your biggest asset. And I think it's just, it's really cool to see it empowers me, um, from the perspective of wanting to support people in that realm. My husband always claims that he's ADHD and just never, you know, found out about it. Um, because he sees everything that my son is going through and is like, I was the exact same way.
I was the exact same way. And so ultimately the person who originally, um, mentioned it to us was the, his learning specialist who a specialist around dyslexia. And she said, I would really just encourage you. She said at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with the medication or not the medication it has to do with it.
If you could find out something more about your son, let's say somebody was talking about your son and they're like, Cooper did it, that you would immediately be like, I'm sorry, what'd you say what what's happening? Like mama bear. Right? So if you could learn more about this human that you've created, that is actually not created by you fully.
And there's things that you don't know, even though you think, you know, everything. And so I think that it's, it's a powerful tool on every realm. Mental health is the same thing. You're depressed. You'