The Top 5 Books That Inspire Me

The Top 5 Books That Inspire Me

As someone who loves to read and learn as much as I can, there are a tremendous amount of books and influencers who have had a hand in shaping my business and leadership style.

However, these 5 books top my list as far as the value of content and lessons that I use every single day. In this video, I'll share my favorite 5 and the lessons that you can learn from each of them.

Thank you to:
Dr. Travis Bradberry 
Simon Sinek 
Dave Ramsey 
Gary Vaynerchuk 
Mel Robbins 

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Get in touch | rich@richbracken.com

The Power of Giving

THE POWER OF GIVING

Giving always feels good, but do you know that there are other benefits to giving? 

In this video, I'll discuss the various physical and mental benefits of giving as well things you can give, other than money, that take just a few minutes and are free. I'll also break into two sections: giving in your personal life and in your professional life.

I'll also provide you with simple tips on how you start a habit of being more giving and empathetic today!

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Get in touch | rich@richbracken.com

JUST GET STARTED | 3 TIPS TO START YOUR NEW GOAL

JUST GET STARTED

My first video blog!

Have you been putting off a goal or new path for a while? Keep talking yourself out of it?

I share 3 lessons with you that I used to get started on some of my favorite accomplishments!

You can subscribe to my new YouTube Channel by clicking here!

What We As Men Can Do About "Me Too"

 
metoo.jpg
 

In light of the recent events that have spurred what is now a gut-wrenching trending post, I find myself in utter disbelief of what's happening.

At record pace on all social media platforms, I'm seeing friends, colleagues, acquaintances and complete strangers flood the networks with #metoo. This response by women to raise their hands as victims of sexual harassment and abuse is just disheartening on so many levels.

I am quick to say that it takes me quite a bit to get riled up about a topic. However, there are certain topics that are instant igniters. Disrespect and abuse, specifically women, children, minorities and animals, simply enrages me. The idea that someone has convinced themselves of some sort of unchallengeable superiority that should result in submission instantly reddens my face and sends my pulse through the roof.

How dare you? How dare you think that your fragile ego, your incompetence of humanity and your inability to respect the minds, hearts and bodies of others, is tolerable? How dare you think that your behavior should be excused, swept up, shrugged off and apologized for without consequence? 

It is in those moments of behavior that you try to rationalize anything, but nothing is acceptable. No condition, situation, outfit, conversation, level of intoxication or power play gives you any right whatsoever to invite yourself to help yourself. That your need to feel important is more valid than the years of pain, torment and self-depreciation that these victims feel.

I applaud the women who have been brave enough to stand up and say "me too." To face the fear of admission that has no doubt haunted them. To come forward, in staggering numbers, and say "this happened to me too." I wish I could look you each in the eye and tell you how proud I am of you. I wish for each one of you the strength and bravery to know that this has been exposed for what it truly is:

A monumental problem.

But no problem is solved without action. No trend is overturned without decision.

So, as a man and as a father of boys, I promise to you all that I will stand up for respect. I will raise my sons to be respectful and to hold their integrity higher than anything. To understand that each and every person has a heart and that it should be treated as a treasure beyond measurable value. I will not be satisfied with myself as a father until I know that my boys understand that. 

More importantly, as a man, I will be a voice and an intervention. I will speak up when conversations turn problematic, an intervention when behavior becomes so as well. I will challenge those that demean or ridicule your value as that level of disrespect is where it starts.

I'm not, by any means, trying to take away from anyone's strength or ability to take care of themselves. However, I firmly believe that if a culture such as this, is to be changed, we all need to do our part emphatically. 

Finally, to the perpetrators of this cowardly, despicable, sociological behavior....

Fuck you. 

And let it echo 100 times for every "Me too" that gets posted or discussed.

Do better....today and forever.

Thank you to Alyssa Milano for starting this conversation. Let it be the beginning of the end of harassment and abuse. 

It is never ok.

My Marathon Mission

26.2 miles through the 5 boroughs of New York. That’s what I’M doing on November 5th, 2017.

Had you told me on November 5th of any previous year that this would be on my calendar, I would have laughed in your face and looked for the drink to take away from you.

I would have called you crazy.

Nevertheless, here I am gearing up for one of the biggest physical challenges of my life. Flight booked, hotel room booked, shoes ordered, training schedule in full effect.

But why? Why am I doing this? It’s often a question I ask myself after a 14 mile training run and my football damaged knees are screaming at me. Why put my body through this and why run the risk of injury not to mention the costs and time associated with travel and participation plus the hours spent training?

One of the main reasons is that I have an opportunity to race with a team to raise money for cancer research; a cause that I am extremely passionate about. Through a serendipitous connection with former tennis pro turned announcer and author, James Blake, I have been helping to raise money for his foundation. (Donation link: richbracken.com/richmarathon)

The biggest reason is one that I’ve not really spoken much about during this process. One that should always be the reason you do anything really and should always be your driving force when taking on a new challenge.

I’m doing it for me.

As a kid, I knew I had the potential to do some great things and I heard the same sentiment from several of my teachers and mentors. “Richard has the potential for impact and leadership,” read a certificate I was given in middle school. That phrase made me proud and terrified me at the same time. You see, I was a painfully insecure kid in those years. Always knowing I was a nice guy but never seeing the same value that others would see in me. Never truly believing in myself while also knowing that there was a genuine passion within me to do great things. The idea of putting myself out there as a leader, or a guider, or an example of anything positive scared the hell out of me because it was just that: putting myself out there.

While no one could come close to ridiculing me like I did myself, I felt the fear of rejection and failure so intensely that I would rather not participate than challenge my own growth. I would forgo the opportunity to build the courageous mental bridge between who I was at the time and who I knew I had the potential to be deep down inside because I was aware of my competitiveness, but my self-doubt blanketed it to the point of suffocation.

I battled physical obstacles as well. As a heavier kid, I spent my time on sports like golf and football. Never a fan of cardio activity, I also battled asthma which took its toll on me, but also gave me a bit of a crutch at times. I admittedly would cut corners or pull up if I felt uncomfortable because I had a fall back. I regret that lost time of improvement more than I could ever say.

Now to look at the concept of running 26.2 miles, in a row, at once is a massive shift for me mentally, emotionally and physically. Running a marathon, in essence, is a perfect scenario for me to destroy any remnant of doubt in myself. It will be several hours, alone in a crowd of 50,000, competing against myself and my previous insecurities.

Throughout my training, I’ve cracked my own walls of doubt and pushed through already. I’ve gotten to a level of pride and confidence in my physical ability that I’ve never had before, simply by not letting myself give up when it gets uncomfortable. I have found a personal euphoria in leaving a trail of stress, doubt and fear on the pavement behind me as my mental focus won’t allow it to remain.

Finally, I want this to serve as motivation to others. That’s the main reason, I feel, that I’m on this earth is to help guide people through doubt as I’ve done myself. I’m running this for you all as well. To show that you can do anything you put your mind to. You can accomplish any goal if you want it bad enough and you’re willing to put in the sacrifice and time to obtain it. Do not let the demons of doubt push you away from what you know you can and are meant to do.

So what started as a fluke response to a Tweet has now become a line in the sand, a monumental opportunity and a challenge that I willingly accept…..

And will accomplish.

 

A Conversation With My Middle School Self

Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations.
— Leo Buscaglia

Leave it to Throwback Thursday, aka #tbt, to get me thinking about middle school.

Yes, that painful 3 years where we should have cocoons for the changes we go through, but there we stand, exposed to the world while we morph physically and mentally.

A time where it seems social pressure and standards are thrown into hyperdrive. Judgement, cliques and paths of association are formed. Gone are the playful days of coloring and recess and here are the days of locker combinations, passing periods and pressure. 

Immense pressure.

Now, for those of you reading this thinking "What? Middle school was easy. None of this was part of it," I envy you in a lot of ways. 

As I was posting a picture for #tbt on Instagram (seen above), I paused and looked at it for a bit. To the eye, you see a 6th grade boy, posing for his youth basketball picture with a hesitant, uncomfortable smirk. Now, to say that I was a bit heavy is stating the obvious. From 3rd grade on, I gradually gained weight and became what you see in the photo and with that weight, especially due to the timing in life, caused an onset of insecurity and depression.

The one thing you want to do during this time is fit in and I just felt that I struggled in doing so. I got caught up in the idea of being popular and quickly realized that that was going to be an uphill battle. This compounded the problem in many ways, causing a downward spiral mentally and emotionally for me.

It's odd to say that in 6th grade, I experienced one of my personal lowest points, but every day was a battle. I had some great friends and I truly appreciate those around me, but inside I always felt like I was the "pity friend." The one that you invited because you felt bad. Now, I'm still friends with a lot of people I went to middle school and high school with who are probably reading this thinking that this concept is absurd. Well, it's also part of the facade of what I had to do those days. 

It was in this picture, in hindsight, that I can see myself carrying the weight of not feeling good enough. Battling everyday to love myself and be happy with my life. Something I would carry for more than a decade after. 

Fast forward about 10 years after this picture and I'm sitting in my counselor's office in Des Moines, talking through the after effects of a horrible relationship where I was subjected to verbal abuse on a daily basis. After uncovering my underlying pain of self imposed inadequacy, my counselor asked me to bring in a picture of myself from my childhood where I can clearly remember pain. This was the picture.

He asked me what I'd say to that child in the picture if I could sit down and talk with him. What words would I share if I could have that movie moment where you travel back in time and sit next to yourself. With tears in my eyes, I struggled to say "You're going to be ok." Struggled because I didn't want to fall apart in his office, not because I didn't feel it. It was in that moment that life turned north for me.

Over time, I've continually seen this picture as a reminder. A reminder not to be so hard on myself. Not to judge or put all of my emotions in one basket. A reminder that that bottom of my emotions is a hell of a long way from where I am now. A reminder to always check in with myself as much as I check in with others. I don't regret one moment of the pain I went through or overcome. It allowed me to focus on my personality, my heart, my sense of humor and my ability to connect with others. Without that pain, without the growth, without having to battle and dispatch the demons of depression, I wouldn't be the man I am today. I thank God every day for the struggle.

While I'm the first to say focus on the future and keep driving towards your goals, it's moments like this that make me realize the emotional benefit of appreciating where you've come from. The phrase "honor yourself," has a ton of meaning for me because of this. 

I've come a long way in life, I've experienced opportunities that some can only dream of, I've connected and touched thousands of lives since that day in Des Moines, and even back to that picture. The one thing that my self doubt created was the emergence of my God given gift of caring for others and being able to connect to them through emotion and energy. It's formed who I've become today as a motivator and leader. It's one of the main things that has kept me alive and has provided my path in life.

So, if you're ever struggling, trying to find that new level of energy where you're at, or just need a jolt of perspective, get out an old picture. Maybe a time that you felt awkward or lonely, It's in that time that you need to realize that you're 100% successful at living your life since then. That you've successfully gotten up every morning and pushed on in life. 

Be proud of who you are, love who you are for all that makes you uniquely you and mostly....

Honor yourself always.

The love you have for yourself will allow you to be the best version of you possible for you and those around you.

What would you say to your middle school self? Comment below!

You Are Already "Perfect"

You Are Already "Perfect"

What if I were to tell you that the endless pursuit of perfection could be simplified by sitting down to make a list? Learn how my own pursuit of perfection created problems and how you can find the happiness that I did years ago.

How to Use the "Unsubscribe" Feature in Your Life

How to Use the "Unsubscribe" Feature in Your Life

Most, if not all of us, have unsubscribed or unfollowed some digital communication (e-mail, social media, etc) but what if you applied that theory to your personal and professional life?

Learn how controlling your "Life Inbox" can bring you immediate happiness, clearer focus on your goals and better relationships.

Participation Award Parents (Video Blog)

Participation Award Parents (Video Blog)

I'm excited to share my first video blog with you based on a recent experience my family had with what I've termed "Participation Award Parents." These are parents who are too tired or too busy to realize that their kids need them. They need their time, attention, love, nurturing and they need to be taught and guided right from wrong. Keeping your children alive isn't enough, we need to do more as parents and we need to support those parents who aren't sure what they're doing.

Please share this with all of your parenting friends and groups so that someone may have the opportunity to stand up and ask for help.

You Can't Have It With Hab-its

You Can't Have It With Hab-its

Each of our lives are a series of choices. Learn how to implement some small adjustments to your daily routine to impact your day, your mood and your path. This inspirational post will give you permission to take care of yourself and motivate you to chase loftier goals.

The 4 Investments You Should Make In Yourself: #3 Sing and/or Dance More

The 4 Investments You Should Make In Yourself: #3 Sing and/or Dance More

The next investment you should make in yourself: your mood changing playlist.

Throughout my life, music has always been a constant. No matter the genre or artists, songs are to me like ingredients are a to a chef. I can blend songs into a playlist that is a dish of mood redirect. 

However, it's not enough just to create this playlist, read about what you must do every day to maximize your investment.