About the Episode :
David Wood joins in conversation today to share his life experiences that taught him to overcome fear. Learn how he is chasing his acting dreams after years of putting it off and how going out of your comfort zone is rewarding.
About the Guest :
David is a former consulting actuary to Fortune 100 companies. He built the world’s largest coaching business, becoming #1 on Google for life coaching and coaching thousands of hours in 12 countries around the globe. As well as helping others, David is no stranger to overcoming challenges himself, having survived a full collapse of his paraglider and a fractured spine, witnessing the death of his sister at age seven, anxiety and depression, and a national Gong Show!
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Watch the episode here:
What’s shakin, welcome back to all in, I’m your host Rick Jordan. I’m excited today because we got another amazing person coming on that you’re gonna want to share this out with a lot of people, because this dude has been around the world has a lot of stories and has coached fortune 100 companies, and performance, I’m pretty impressed about this because it has to do with the actuarial sciences. So I’m going to ask you right now to share this out with at least three people because we do not promote, we do not take sponsors, I just need your help and I’m asking for it, so that we can help grow more people, and my man David Wood, welcome to the show.
Thank you. Happy to be here.
That’s awesome, man. I was looking a little bit more into your information here and you have one of your dimensions that you have was from John Lee Dumas, right, you were an entrepreneur on fire a little while back.
Yeah, a couple of times with John.
Nice, I was on last year too for my movie that I produced last year . He’s such a good guy, you know, and especially being a veteran, I really appreciate that from him.
What movie did you do?
Liberty Lockdown, it was about government overreach during the pandemic crisis last year. Yeah, I guess we’re still kind of in that right now you know but there’s some renewed interest in that and I’m very pleased and just to even be able to be a part of that process but I hosted it and I also executive produced. It was a lot of fun man but that’s how JLD and I connected.
I just decided to get into acting three months ago so it’s been a really fun ride. Learning what that’s all about and discovering the industry.
That’s so cool. It’s so interesting too because you know I’ve gone from musician to business to pastor to back to business all this stuff and you know, I look in Actuarial Sciences is, you know, so data driven, and I’ve had a couple of friends who have been in that industry too and it’s interesting that you would make a transition over to, like, you know, cuz that’s very left brain right in the very very left brain, but now, you know because math doesn’t lie math is math, you know, we’re not talking about tax accounting here to where you have some creativity, that can be involved, it’s data driven, this is the reasons why things are the way that they are, and the reasons why we expect them to be a certain way in the future, correct? That’s pretty much actual.
Actuaries are an interesting breed because they need to be able to handle all the numbers and complex statistics and probability going 100 years into the future. Yeah, but they also need to have the English skills to be able to communicate complex abstract concepts to a board. So I got into it and yeah it was great for systems and numbers and money, and my left brain, and then I discovered a personal growth program and found out I knew nothing about emotional vulnerability, intimacy, true influence and leadership transparency. So the last half of my life has been catching up with those things and I made the transition not from actuary to coach but from actuary to professional entertainer, singing and playing guitar for pubs and parties and even on national TV once and then I became a coach, and now I’m diving into acting so trying to get that right brain cookin.
No kidding. Are we the same person here or something? It seems like we’ve had some similar ebb and flow through our life that’s pretty exciting.
Yeah, no doubt, I mean, like I said you know produced a movie last year to around this and then acting is always something that I thought in the back of my head it’s like huh, I bet you I could do that if I really applied myself so that’s why now here’s the question why you diving into acting now. You need lots of time for that industry.
I think I can change my background here, I’m going to show you, for anyone who can see the video here, this is what I’m doing right now this is a scene from Dracula.
Nice. Yeah man, I love it, dude who’s a makeup artist, they got you going pretty good there.
Well actually that’s me in makeup, I just really, oh wow, I did that, we get out of the way that nice Dracula’s looking pretty scary. The reason now is it’s kind of the universe had a hand in it. For 10 years I’ve been thinking that one day, I just like to do it one day. Right. Yeah, and I’d like to move to Los Angeles and devote myself to acting full time, get some kind of diploma audition for everything and just live the life and if I get some gigs that’ll be a bonus and then, this year I realized I’m single. I am mobile, and maybe now’s the time, because I don’t know how long I’ve been on the planet. I want to I want to do it sooner than later so I decided since my lease is up may one may one’s when I moved to Los Angeles, and I started telling people, that was what changed everything I started telling people I plan to move to Los Angeles next year I want to get into acting, and a friend said, I’m going to audition for this local production of Dracula, do you want to come with me and part of me was like “Hell no, I don’t know how to audition,” and another part of me said, “Yeah, this sounds like the universe knocking, I should do this.” So I went and auditioned and they offered me the lead.
So now I’m that awesome, performing in a professional production. I’m actually getting paid for this and then things have taken off. I got two short films coming up. I just booked my first commercial and it’s a really fun ride.
That’s really awesome, man. I’m sure this is going to be the case because it’s almost like because of how the industry sort of collapsed last year right the filmmaking industry. There’s probably more opportunity now to get involved and what they’re really ever has been, because I’ve always loved movies I’ve always loved going to the movie theaters and when they shut down last year all over the place was like, What am I gonna do, you know, because I love these things but then even when you started seeing a lot of the independent films started to be pushed into theaters when the doors opened back up because all the major studios were pushing out their release dates.
You know I remember Black Widow was one of the ones but then also the new James Bond film too still isn’t out yet, you know, actually, or did it come out just, I mean, we’re talking on. We’re in October here. This is publishing I think in January but yeah, the bond was pushed out, a year and a half too. But these independent films were cranking man the local productions were cranking as, as theaters came back up so it could be the right, I mean just like you said, the universe, man, it’s just the right timing for everything.
Yeah, and it was handy for someone who lives in Colorado, like if I was in LA, I can be different but the fact that now I can audition for so many things over zoom or load, upload an audition tape now they’ve, they’ve all gone virtual, and that makes it more available to people who might not live in a center like LA.
That’s awesome. I think this is a concept and it ties into this too because you said hey it’s just something you’ve been wanting to do in your life. Why is playing it safe? The most dangerous thing you can do?0
Well, I’d say 500 years ago it wasn’t 500 years 1000 years ago, survival was the main thing that we’re up for and so playing it safe I think is an evolutionary trait but nowadays, a lot of people on the planet have got survival handled, and not everybody, but that means that we don’t have to continually play it safe, and the risk is if we just stay in the comfort zone. We’ll get to our deathbed, look back and say, “Dammit. I wish I’d gone for it more. I wish I’d asked that woman or that man out. I wish I had moved across the country. I wish I had really gone for it in acting or started that new business or asked that celebrity to have lunch,” or whatever it is that you really want to go for. I don’t want anyone to have regret, I’ve had too much of it in my life. From when I didn’t go for what I wanted and I let fear run me and I just stayed comfortable, for example at school.
You know, I almost never stood up to the bullies, and I wish just once I’d punched a bully on the nose and taken a beating. I wish I’d done that and so regret a powerful motivator. Let’s work out how we want to fully live life and that’s going to take some risks, and some of us are going to feel very uncomfortable. When I auditioned for this play, I was very nervous when it came to the dress rehearsal, I was terrified I was gonna lose my lines. Like, I’m not saying it’s easy, but on the other side of it we can feel really good about ourselves because we’re really living the life that we want to live.
That’s beautiful man and getting to that point to, I mean, I hear you when you say regrets a powerful motivator to, but then there’s also challenges right and you’ve got some stories around that I know you had an accident, right with a full collapse of a paraglider at some point and some other things that led you to anxiety, depression, can you tell me more about that.
Yeah, my life has not been a lot of it’s been easy, so it’s been a mix. I was blessed to get paid to go to university, and that was at a time when you didn’t act, there weren’t fees like it was free to go to university, but a company paid me to go and then offered me a job straight out of the gate, so a lot of my life has been blessed and when I was seven years old, my little sister was killed and I was there and witnessed it and so I’ve got some PTSD. I’ve had anxiety and depression and there have been times in my life when I didn’t know if I was going to make it. You know when you’re in full blown anxiety attacks.
You don’t know if it gets worse, what’s going to happen, and massive depression, you just I just didn’t know and then the paraglider. Yeah, that was I had a full collapse at 300 feet and I walked away from that one. While I had another collapse at 10 or 15 feet and I fell under my butt, and that’s when I fractured my spine, but now I’m fully recovered and I think one of the reasons I tell some of these stories is because I think when people see someone who’s got some form of success and they’re doing something well in life they might just assume or that person’s got it all together, they’ve got it all worked out or they’ve got something I don’t have no sometimes it’s really really hard. You just don’t tend to see the shiny bits of people present to the world, you don’t get to see the underbelly and what, what they’ve had to go through to get there.
I was at a Tony Robbins event recently too and he was talking about different things you know he was referencing really the pandemic and all that but it correlates to what you’re saying to is that his statement was that life is risky, unless you choose to just, you know, stick yourself in a house you know and that’s it and then just do nothing but what kind of a life is that to begin with?
I would choose to go through the things that you’ve gone through over just having a life of no impact, because even though they do I don’t doubt that they suck I’ve had my share of adversity with my dad passing away. I’ve had my share of adversity with a near death experience. I mean less than a day but being away from dead because of a medical thing, the freak medical thing that happens and still, out of all of those experiences are the things that have driven me forward you know you’re talking like the power of regret for me it was more like the power of what haven’t I accomplished yet, if it’s a form of regret cool what haven’t I accomplished yet that I want to, because I’m recognizing that things are going to continue to pop up in my life here and there, and how do I overcome those challenges that I haven’t even seen yet in order to push to another level and impact even more people.
Yeah, we’ve gotten very comfortable in our society. I don’t know what it was like 200 years ago or 500 years ago but I imagine it was harder. It was harder than today. You know, if our chair doesn’t go back far enough on the plane, we’re pissed. Right, someone’s someone’s giving us all my cup of tea or hot enough so I got to go in and heat it up, we’ve gotten in such a small comfort bubble that anything like even a cold shower is like, “Oh my God, God, I don’t have a cold shower.” So there’s a practice that we can take on called practicing deliberate discomfort. You can take on a practice of cold showers just to see what it’s like to be uncomfortable and lean into that, and it can start to translate into other areas like calling 10 people and asking them if they want to work with you, or, or whatever it is that might be an edge for you.
That’s intriguing man. Were you in my house a few months ago because the water heater was dead for like two days and I hated it
I mainly stayed outside looking through the rear window but one time I needed to use the bathroom. I apologize for not asking.
That’s okay. You and I seem to get along pretty well so that’s that’s fine, we’ll just let the last slide a little bit. That’s awesome but you’re right, though, cuz I mean even for just those few mornings I was like, Man, this sucks. This is the worst you know and I caught myself in the moments like but after these five moments. These five was, I was gonna say five minutes but it was probably more like five seconds the fastest showers I’ve ever taken in my life, you know, that the first cold ones but after those moments of discomfort I was like you know the days were going pretty well and it was the only thing but it set me up for the rest of the day or I could have let it set me up, I should say, to have just a gloomy outlook for the entire day. Because, yeah, that whole thing.
Right, and you know, I just realized it translates not just the physical stuff right so we’ve got, we’ve got maybe cold showers or going for a run or exercising longer than feels comfortable or even, I’ve got a chin up bar, and I don’t mind doing the first four to six but after that, I don’t feel comfortable in the body as I’m doing it, but it also translates to emotional stuff. Are we willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable having a tough, tough conversation.
Yeah, maybe asking our partner for something sexual in the bedroom that we’ve been wanting or confessing something to our kids, or you know or feeling afraid, feeling, you know, like, are we willing to have those feelings in the moment, it doesn’t feel good but if we’re willing to do it. Usually, afterwards, it feels good, after I get off stage, speaking to a crowd, I feel really grateful that I did it after I asked that celebrity to endorse my book, I feel proud, and I feel good that I gave a shot I just pitched Alan Alda from Mash awesome to be on my podcast and I haven’t gotten to know yet, he said, reach out to my producer and we’ll see what we can do, but it feels scary doing it and then afterwards, generally feels good, in my experience, and as a bonus, you might get some really cool results, you might get you, Jack, I’m blessed to have Jack Canfield write the foreword to my, my book, that’s awesome, a lot of work and a lot of risk.
To get there, but when it happened, all my god. I actually remember the moment when I walked up to him and her event, and, and handed him the draft because he’d said I’ll take a look at a draft, and standing there while we’re waiting for the speaker to come on, he just looked through it, change two pieces of punctuation and handed it back to me and I didn’t know what happened. I’m like, “Wait, are we good?” I said, “That’s it,” he said, “Yeah. Oh my God I got it.”
That’s awesome, man. That’s putting yourself out there, brother, that’s amazing because it’s
Over a period of years for sure it was a long game,
You generated the momentum off of that too because it’s not. It’s, I like how you say that you didn’t get to know yet, you know, from, from the individual you’re asking on your podcast because sometimes it’ll kind of linger there, and it seems like it might linger there for the long time for a long long time but how, how often do you feel like for these big moments in your life or how many times you feel like you have to ask the question, you know, or continue to pursue that route to make active choices and decisions to go after an outcome that you’re desiring that you’re dreaming of?
Should I keep going, or is it time to let it go?
You got it right.
Yeah, this is a huge question, I think I have a lot to say about it. Maybe through examples I can flesh this out, so I’ve got a friend who’s got a product that he wants to bring to market, super passionate about it. He’s been at it for several years, and hasn’t raised funding and, you know, he’s often asked, like, how far should I go now. One factor is money, like doesn’t have the resources to do it. He’s got time he’s running out of cash so he might want to put a timeline on it. Another factor is passion. How important is this? How much do you love it? He said to me recently if I won the lotto, if I won a million dollars. I would still be doing this. So, okay, so maybe it’s a labor of love.
Now there might come a time where he’s got to go and get a day job and this becomes more of a hobby. Seth Godin wrote a book called The Dip and a very simple concept, but a very powerful concept. And it’s all about the rewards that tend to lie on the other side of a dip. If there wasn’t a dip, everyone would go for it and they would get the rewards like qualifying as an actuary, for example, it takes on average 10 years to qualify, and it’s blood sweat and tears and sometimes you can study for a year. Sit a six hour exam, and 80% of people fail the exam. So you got it now, go and study for another year, with all the changes in legislation, it was horrendous. Massive dip. Now I know the extent of the dip. I don’t think I would have, well, I may not have started on the journey, because I would like 10 years and and failing, again and again and again and you can’t just stop when you’re 70% of the way through, because it’s like being 70% of a surgeon, he still can’t do surgery. Right and actually still can’t sign something.
I wouldn’t want that person working on me.
Actually, even after eight years if you still haven’t qualified, you can’t sign things required by legislation so you don’t get a huge pay bump. So that’s an example of a massive dip. Now, If you’re not sure you’re like, Wait, how far should I go before I give up. I’ll wait. Another example, Jack Canfield, and Mark Victor Hansen with Chicken Soup for the Soul
I love Mark! Mark’s been on the show before. Ah, love Mark and his wife crystal amazing yeah right.
He’s such a fun guy. Now those guys had at least 150 rejections, you know their book, and they kept at it, they kept at it now, how far do you go. I once did a voice dialogue session with myself and voice dialogue is where you get the different parts of your psyche through the competition, and you sit them down and have a conversation with them.
I want to do this.
There was a part of me that wanted to push this project that was good for the world and that I really loved, and I wasn’t getting any traction and there’s another part of me saying, you can’t keep doing this, you’ve got to make money and it’s like what’s the answer so I sat down in two different chairs and the financial controller would say we’ve got to make money, and then I go and sit in the other chair, and take the other role and say yeah but this is good for the world.
Anyway, after about 5-10 minutes. We came up with a deal. All right, we’re gonna pursue this for another three months and we’ve got to get a minimum of 10 clients doing this, even at 50% discount. If that doesn’t happen, then, okay this isn’t viable financially and we’re gonna let it go. But if we do hit that target, we can keep on going, and then I was at peace. The different parts of me were satisfied and we came up with a deal, and we weren’t going to indefinitely be going through this dip like walking through the desert with no water.
Now, so what Seth says, is to work out the dip like take a look at the resources it’s going to take, how much time, how much money, what do you need emotionally. And do you have that, are you likely to stick it out for those big rewards on the other side of the dip. If you’re not likely to stick it out. Don’t begin. There’s no failure in going all the way through the dip and there’s no failure and saying hey I’m not gonna even start, but going halfway through blood, sweat and tears and then saying, up. I don’t think I have what it takes to finish it. I’m out. That doesn’t seem like a good move.
It’s an interesting practice and integration there too is having that dialogue with yourself in that it’s not in your example there it was very pragmatic right both sides were coming at it from their own perspectives that was awesome. Is there sometimes a third person that exists in that dialogue to that third person takes on almost like an embodiment of fear.
I’ve never gone that far, and I’m not a therapist and a psychologist, but I understand that part therapy is about identifying the different parts of us. Usually, in my experience and with my clients. There are two strong voices that are warring when we just keep it simple. So there might be a part that’s afraid. That’d be the part, I don’t want to, I don’t want to audition, or I don’t want to go on national television because I’m really scared and then there might be another part that’s pushing for it. Yeah, but this would be great for business and you’re going to feel really good about yourself afterwards if you go and do it, and other things are going to be easier, right, so when you go back can you have a conversation with these two parts and maybe come up with a deal.
Okay, what if, like, let’s take the acting audition. I was very scared to go to that audition but before I went, I did some preparation. I bought the script and read the whole script, I don’t know if anyone else did that. I memorized the lines for the audition, so I didn’t have to look down at the book. I had friends come over and read with me, I Googled how to do a German accent so I could do the Vampire Slayer with a German accent and then I hired an acting coach and paid him 50 bucks an hour to show him what I was going to do for the audition and he gave me some feedback. So, you know, that might be part of the deal. All right, we’ll prepare, and we’ll do this, and we’ll get support from a friend, you’ll have someone come with us and, okay, on that basis. I’m willing to do it, and I’m willing to be afraid.
That’s amazing, man.
Okay, yes, I’m willing to feel free. It’s not that big a deal, I’ve had it before, I’ll get through it. I think a lot of us, like, I just don’t want to feel like that, and that’s valid too. Yeah, I just don’t want you to automatically. I don’t want anyone to automatically go out of their comfort zone. Without having looked at what’s possible and if you say I don’t want to paraglide because that’s too scary for me it doesn’t seem like a good time. Okay, don’t do that. That’s a valid choice as well. I think I just want everyone to make a choice.
That’s incredible. That’s really where we get stuck to isn’t it is as I’ve started to realize over the past couple years that a lack of a choice, the lack of making a choice is also making a choice. It’s it’s choosing to really not do anything in whatever you’re stuck with right now, you know, to even that’s that that’s a good intermediary step man I think I’m gonna start to practices on my own two parts therapy, and I almost think as you were saying this I envisioned, creating a room for this even, like, in an empty office or something in my office building to go in there and just have two chairs, you know, maybe put some ferns in there so I’m not talking like like Zach Galifianakis with between two ferns or something like that but it’s just, this is where my humor goes in my head but it’s just sitting there and putting myself in this room in two different seats and being able to go back and forth. You know I’m fairly good at that but then allow this for other people to be, like, not making a choice, is making a choice, how do we get past that.
Yeah. Well, I think a big step is to realize that if you don’t make a choice, that is choosing. So sometimes an audition request will come through, they like my profile, they like my showreel and they want me to upload an audition tape and then I find that I’m actually delaying it by two or three days and I’m not doing it. So clearly there’s some part of me that’s like, I don’t really want to do it maybe, I don’t think the audition is going to be very good or I don’t really know how to do it or there’s something about it. But I do acknowledge that if I don’t upload that tape that is a choice, as well, and that’s fine. Some people get confused in relationships should I break up, should I not.
Byron Katie says, maybe it’s not you making the decision, you know, you’re still if you’re still with the person, then you’re with the person, one day you might find yourself packing your bags. And then you’ll know it’s time to leave, but we have this idea that we’ve got to work it all out sometimes the universe does it, does it for us and so I don’t know that we have to get past our weight. I’m not making a decision here, I think just acknowledge that not making a decision is a decision as well. I just had something this morning that I didn’t, I didn’t know the answer to, I was like, they just moved a chute on me, it was going to be Sunday morning, everything was set, it’s blocked off I’ve been holding the date last minute they decided to have it tomorrow.
Now instead of three hours they want me for eight hours. Well, I’m like, What are you able to do in three hours before now you want me the whole day. So part therapy right one part of me is like, I want to do this role I think it’d be good. Another part of me is like, I don’t know if they’ve got their act together. I’m not feeling respected. If they, they really want me for eight hours for something that’s not a big role. I just wonder, I don’t feel appreciated, so that would be a really good example to sit down with a couple of chairs and just go back and forth, and then make it, make a decision, make a choice.
He did and I will say up front that feels like a form of life for me like I wrote 10 years ago, because everyone kept asking how do you travel the world and work from where you want and choose your own hours and all of that so I wrote that book and Jack was kind enough to, to bless it with these forward, but the new book, The upcoming book and we’ve already got the mini book available for people is called mouse in the room, and mouse in the room is his way of writing this because the elephant is not the only animal in the room.
Oh my gosh, you’re already sucking me in man.
So, we all know about the elephant you see, I see it, no one’s saying anything like if I showed up here with blood on my face or my shirts off or I was 10 minutes late, and didn’t say anything to your producer that’s like an elephant’s like, come on, why is no one saying it? Many creatures in the room are much more subtle. Yeah, any thought we’re having that isn’t expressed as a mouse, any emotion, any body sensation, any part of our experience is a mouse in the room. And I think most of us grew up hiding our experience from people. We run it through our filters, we run it through the analysis, and then we pop out on the screen of our computer screen here on our face. What we want the other person to see, and at least a disconnection, at least a less influence it hurts us as leaders, it hurts our confidence because we’re hiding so much.
So, we’re writing mouse in the room, to show people how we can firstly become aware of our own experience, just like we talked about with Potts therapy, oh I’ve got this part of me that wants to do this project, I have another part of me that’s resistant because I’m not feeling respected now, boom, those are nice and then if we can name those mice artfully. We can be actually truly connected with the other person and maybe they’ll even feel permission to show a little more of what’s going on for them and it starts going back and forth in a, in a truer deeper connection.
David, that’s powerful man. Where can people go to, to stay updated on when a mouse in the room is coming out.
Yeah, well I created a special link that’s very easy to memorize and we’ll go to a hidden page on my site with a gift basket of goodies for listeners, nice and the link is myfocus gift.com. You can get on my mailing list you can listen to my podcast, Extraordinary Focus, you can you can get a copy of the trailer that we’ve produced for mouse in the room and if you want to see if we’re a fit for coaching, then there’s a link where you can request a 15 minute coaching session with me and we’ll see if we’d be a fit for each other and all of these things are at myfocusgift.com
Amazing, David man I really appreciate you being on today thanks for just bringing all of you in showing up today, my man. I appreciate that.
My pleasure. Thanks, Rick.