Dai Manuel – The Cost of Addiction in Family & Business

Dai Manuel is a super dad, dating his wife, with a lead by example way of living and a contagious personality, who is on a mission to positively impact one million role models around the globe to lead a FUN-ctionally fit life through education, encouragement, and community.
He is an award-winning digital thought leader and author, Distinguished Toastmaster & keynote speaker, former partner and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar retail company, and a sought after lifestyle mentor and executive performance coach.
Dai knows the struggle of the juggle and keeping his health and happiness a priority. He models his work based on 5 F’s: Fitness, Family, Faith, and Finances with an overarching roof of FUN, built on a rock-solid foundation of Health. Nuggets of wisdom and inspiration to take action to be your best self are guaranteed when you connect with Dai!

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Michael King: [00:00:00] Hey everybody, welcome back to in the trenches with Michael King where we talk with business owners, leaders, and executives about the lessons they've learned while fighting in the trenches of the business battlefield. I am Michael King.

[00:00:23] As some of you know, about 60 days ago, I was at a conference in Charleston, South Carolina, and one of the keynote speakers was sharing his story about how eight months prior he decided to give up alcohol. He decided that alcohol, it had negatively impacted his life enough and that he was just ready to live a healthier version of life, and so he decided that he was going to stop drinking.

[00:00:51] And as I listened to him tell this story, a lot of what he said resonated with me. A lot of it hit pretty close to home. And, as I kind of reflected back on my time drinking over the last 20 years, I had kind of a light bulb moment and I said, you know what? Maybe it's time for me to stop drinking too.

[00:01:08] And I think the big thing for me was I would use drinking as a stress coping mechanism when things with business would get really stressful or in my personal life, I'd probably just swing by either the bar on the way home and have some drinks. Not always an excess, but definitely sometimes. And what I started to find over the last, I don't know, maybe year or so, it was even just maybe two glasses of wine.

[00:01:34] I would feel it the next morning, I'm 41 years old and two glasses of wine kind of impacted me. I found that, you know, even after just a couple of drinks, my mind would be foggy the next day I'd be at maybe 80% energy level. I just definitely wasn't on my “A” game. Nothing. You know? Earth shatteringly different about me or, or anything like that, but I just wasn't quite on my “A” game.

[00:01:58] On those nights where I had four or five too many, I was exhausted. The next day my brain was completely clouded over. There was no clarity whatsoever in my thinking. It was everything I could do to just kind of stay awake and get through the day. And honestly, I think I just got tired of it. You know? I had been drinking for.

[00:02:16] Legally for 20 years. And as I listened to this person share their story, I said, you know what, me too. I'm just tired of, I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of the bad eating decisions that come along with drinking who doesn't love cheese fries, you know, with, with a mixed drink or something like that.

[00:02:33] And so I said, you know what, I'm, I'm drawing a line in the sand. I'm done drinking too. And it's been a game changer for me. The, the energy level increase over the last two months has been remarkable. Consistently getting up at four 30 in the morning, hitting the Peloton, working out better eating decisions.

[00:02:52] I spend a ton less money cause I'm not out drinking and eating bad food that goes along with it. And the mental clarity I have, the presence that I have in my relationships day in and day out is next level just by 60 days of, of not drinking. Today, I'm going to sit down and have a conversation with a great guy.

[00:03:13] Die Manuel is going to share his journey through drinking and in some cases, substance abuse, and in some cases, infidelity. And he's going to share his, his journey on how he. Got off of those things, how he stopped drinking and making all the bad decisions that kind of come after a night of binge drinking.

[00:03:35]he's going to share with us the impact that, that those decisions had on his business, on his marriage, and on his relationship with his kids. And he's going to talk to us about how he. his aha moment where he realized he had to make some changes or, you know, his life, his wife was going to leave him.

[00:03:51]his kids were going to be gone and, maybe some of his business successes would be gone as well. He's also going to talk to us about some of the benefits that he's seen personally and professionally since making that commitment to stop drinking over 10 years ago now. So, without further ado, here's my conversation with Dai Manuel.

[00:04:12] Good afternoon.

[00:04:12] Dai: [00:04:12] Thanks for joining us

[00:04:13] Michael King: [00:04:13] today.

[00:04:15] Dai: [00:04:15] Thank you, Mike. I'm stoked, man. It really, I, I am. I'm really looking forward to this

[00:04:19] Michael King: [00:04:19] and it's not today. It's tomorrow because you're, where are you again?

[00:04:24] Dai: [00:04:24] I'm in Bali, Indonesia, so a nice little Island in Southeast Asia. Yeah, it's been my home for about two and a half years now.

[00:04:32] Michael King: [00:04:32] Awesome. So, you were telling me that about 10 years ago, you found yourself in a place where your professional growth, your personal growth, your marriage, and, and even, your fatherhood were in a lot of trouble due to alcohol dependency. Is that right?

[00:04:52] Dai: [00:04:52] Yeah, I mean, it was definitely a very big crutch in my life.

[00:04:55] And, you know, like anything, we, we learn coping mechanisms to deal with stress and anxiety and just all those pressures that we have in life. And, my main coping mechanism to pretty much anything was, was drinking. So, it really affected everything. Everything. It's crazy. And is that 10 years, 10 years sober, but a week ago.

[00:05:16] It's crazy.

[00:05:18] Michael King: [00:05:18] Before we get into the details of, of what led you to realize that that alcohol was really a problem and you had to make some changes, just give us a little bit of backstory about you and how you got to that point. Wow.

[00:05:30] Dai: [00:05:30] Well, let me take you back. We're going to go way back. You know, you know what?

[00:05:36] A lot of who we are today is obviously based on past experiences and learnings and obviously a lot of mistakes. Some will argue it's not the most efficient way of learning, but we learned that way. You know, we make mistakes. We figure out how to do it better next time, or at least that's the intention.

[00:05:52] And, but a lot of the things that we do in our lives that, especially when we do them repetitively, like these habits, they're ingrained pretty deeply. And usually it stems like as far back as childhood. And really as you start to understand that any sort of see these patterns and especially how they.

[00:06:08] Happen over and over again. You know, as you develop that sort of just awareness, let's say that there's this thing that's really holding you back in, in achieving maximum joy or happiness or success, whatever that means to you. You know? I know those are subjective terms and we all have a different definition, but I think they're all similar.

[00:06:26]at least if we really got down to it. Well, when I was nine, my parents separated and divorced shortly thereafter. And I remember it being a very traumatic time. Like I really didn't understand what was going on. And, I just knew my parents were splitting up, and this was back in the time you want to date myself.

[00:06:43] I'm 43 now, I guess. Can do the math yourself. It was a long time ago. The divorce wasn't as common as it is today, you know? So, at that time there was one than one other kid in my class. His parents weren't together, and so I took it really hard and my dad was working full time building his company. My mom was a professional working her career full time.

[00:07:03] And so. You know, all of a sudden there was this, this extra space because the parents weren't there all the time. So, it wasn't like we always had a parent available. My dad weaves every other weekend and we'll see them. And then sometimes if you miss a weekend, it be a month before I'd see him again, even though we live in the same town.

[00:07:17] You know, I was, it was amazing just how life happens. And it was a new life to me. And, I dealt with a lot of stress, a lot of sadness. And when you're left to your own devices, you start to pick up certain habits. You know, certain ways of dealing and to comfort oneself. And for me it was actually food, food and, and lethargy.

[00:07:39] Okay. Like watching lots of TV and movies, playing video games, but eating really, really poorly now from nine to 14, I eventually became more of a VOP. Like five years of really hard work, right. I tell people you don't just put weight on, and I mean, it takes a lot of effort to put weight on. And when you really think about the amount of consumption that's required.

[00:08:00] And so it got to a point where I was more of it than the obese. And it was crazy because mass depression, you know, I was very withdrawn. I believed that I was the shy kid that people would say I was, you know? So that was just all these labels. I, I own them. And yeah, eventually I, I got to the point where I

[00:08:19] That's very . I was considering suicide and you know, at 14 were already temperamental. I mean, teenagers with hormones and everything else going on. It's, it's hard. I'm just grateful we didn't have social media back when I was a kid because, I don't know, I think my story would be very different today. But I remember one day really getting down to it and, and, and breaking down and seeing myself in the mirror that day at my father's place, after hopping out of the shower.

[00:08:43] And I had this tendency when I would get in the shower in the morning, I would stay in it extra-long because it would, it would literally get all the condensation over the mirror. So, I wouldn't have to see my reflection when I got into the shower. I mean, that was every opportunity to avoid seeing myself.

[00:08:57] I, I took. That morning we were in a rush, and so it was a quick rinse got out and I don't know why, but locked eyes on myself. I did the scan, you know, the up and down scan, just looking at my full body and man, I broke down sobbing, just uncontrollably, like ugly cry, you know? It's like full on. I was just, that was to me at that time in my life, my, my proverbial rock bottom, and I figured, you know, there's only one real way outta here.

[00:09:28] And the more we started to go through this, and it's all happened so quickly, but you don't really realize when you, in the moment it feels like everything just stands still. But I started thinking about that. And to be perfectly honest, my guy, I'm terrified of the idea of finality. You know, just like there's no, there's no redo’s on that one.

[00:09:43] You know, like there may be, I mean, I know there's different religious beliefs, what we just don't really know  and that scared me. And so, I thought, okay, well, if I'm really too scared of a bad idea, what is my alternatives? My alternative is either accepting who I was at that time and that this is just my life and that's the way it's going to be.

[00:10:04] Or I make some changes. And for me it was like this idea of change. I know change can be painful, it can be scary, but to me at that point, the pain that I would experience if I didn't change was way greater. Then anything that could happen if I just started to do things a little bit differently than I was.

[00:10:22] And so right then and there, you know, I expressed my parents, and you know, it's funny thing is up to this point, there was lots of people that loved me and cared for me and wanted to see me happy, wanting to see me make changes. And then they would always encourage me and offer things and just be there to support me, but I never wanted it, you know?

[00:10:38] But that day. And I was like, no, I want this for me. This is, this is going to happen. I'm doing this. And at that point, everything changed. Like it all changed. And my parents were very supportive about me and mountain bikes. I can start cycling. They eventually paid for a gym membership. I remember walking to the library.

[00:10:54] My kids laughed with us now, and it's like he went to the library to get books. Like, just that, you know, like, no, we didn't have Google back then. And, I remember getting stacks of books. I've done nutrition and fitness, and just really starting to educate myself and what does it mean to be healthy and, change somebody's association.

[00:11:09] And anyways, 20 months later, I had lost all the weight, you know, and I'd actually become quite into fitness and this idea of healthy living and, people started to reach out to me. Even my parents' friends were asking, how do you do this? How do you get healthy? Because they saw this transformation. And that was when I really got excited about coaching.

[00:11:26] How old were you. So, I would have been seven 17. Okay. And this is what I really got into transformational coaching and helping people with like lifestyle shifts and it sort of just carried through. You know, eventually I hit 18, graduated high school, moved out West from Toronto to Vancouver. And, because I still wanted to shake the old image of me.

[00:11:44] I want to move somewhere where nobody knew about my past. You know, there was nobody, like if I wanted to let them know, I let them know. But if I didn't, it didn't matter. Because that it was like I could reinvent myself. And I think people can relate to that. There are those moments we have in our lives where we just feel like, I just want to start over.

[00:12:00] You know, I want to start fresh. So, I made that move. But the interesting thing, Mike, and this sort of, sorry, it's a quite a long pre-law here, but this sort of leads into the alcohol and drug component of my life because I learned to cope with some emotional trauma with food previously, and you know when I got that all right.

[00:12:20] I spent all this time focused on the exterior, you know, focusing on how I looked, you know, and, and, you know, between you and I, biggest motivation was I did want a girlfriend. You know, like, I really, I wanted a girlfriend. I wanted someone to want me, you know, and just to, to give me that emotional fix, if you will.

[00:12:40] But I'd never done any internal work, you know, and never really worked on that inner dial, that nine-year-old that was dealing with a lot of trauma. I'm dealing with a lot of unknowns and, and, and scared to be quite honest. Then I just got to the West and started going to university and started working anywhere I could in the fitness space part time, you know, personal training, teaching, spin classes.

[00:13:01]I even. Did a lot of rock climbing and we'll do Palates work. I was teaching martial arts, like I really did a lot of solo individual sports because I never played team sports because I just never got into them based on my state of unhealth when I was a kid. And so, she has a team, so I just always have done individual sports.

[00:13:17] And then, you know, alcohol and drugs started to become normal because I still believed I was that shy guy that couldn't open up to people. I dealt with some social anxiety around that. But I found if I'd have two or three drinks, hey man, I could talk to anybody, you know, and wow, they actually like to talk to me.

[00:13:35] And it was amazing. This, this thing kept reinforcing the pattern, right. And then it just became a habit. And fortunately for me, I had a knack for sales. I was like, Oh, I could. I went to school for philosophy and English lit. As you can imagine, this, lots of career prospects of that and

[00:13:53] Michael King: [00:13:53] philosophy. If you don't do that, then you can go cheap.

[00:13:56] But if you don't do that, you better get into sales.

[00:13:59] Dai: [00:13:59] You're in trouble. Yeah, exactly. And, and so, you know, I love that stuff. But yeah, I didn't want to be a lawyer and I didn't want to be a teacher, so I really got to figure something else out. And I started selling fitness equipment part time at a company and, I got, I have a knack for it because I was so excited to help people.

[00:14:15] So it was never really about the product. It's about them and about the results they wanted to create. And then they would just help. Find the right tools to help them get the results and just really took off. You know, part time I was making more than most people pull time, you know, in their careers. And unfortunately for me, my mentor, 20 years, my senior at the time took me under his wing, saw that I had talent, saw that I hadn't an eagerness to learn and to be coached and literally taught me everything he knows.

[00:14:40] And then eventually we became partners and opened up a new company and grew that to eight figures a year and had a lot of fun doing that. 17 years, but for the first seven, eight of those years, I spent a lot of time drinking, you know, it was like the thing I would do to unwind every day, every day, and I get home after work.

[00:15:02] Oh man, I was talking to people all day. I've had all this stress. I'll just have a cup of glasses, wine bottle later. It was so easy. It was just easy, and I would justify it all the time.

[00:15:14] Michael King: [00:15:14] So if thinking through the social anxieties that you had back in college and how you kind of leaned on alcohol to, to just take the enough of the edge off that you felt like you could interact and be social with people.

[00:15:27] There's somebody that's had. A job in sales. I know that you have to interact with people. Can, can I assume that when you would get into sales meetings or, you know, those kinds of interactions with people that, that nine year old inside rear his head and you had a drink or something like that while you were with clients and those kinds of things.

[00:15:48] Dai: [00:15:48] Yeah. More on the beat of East side. Cause that was a different sort of purchasing experience, if you will. You know, a where typically I was very heavily involved in our retail operations. So, in retail sales management, and you know, we were in destination locations. You can imagine in like a, on the outskirts.

[00:16:07] They weren't the nicest looking stores. They were more aware of those formats. So, but we would. Drive traffic there with advertising, you know, so low rent, take the savings, put into advertising and drive traffic. And that was how we operated. So, we would always have people coming in and I had to learn.

[00:16:25] To be able to open up. And I always tell people, I feel like I'm an introvert, but I work as an extrovert. You know, someone to tell me the day. I say, well, you're probably an ambivert. And I never even heard that before. But I guess it's someone that's sort of placed between both and, but I would definitely say my, my default's more introverted.

[00:16:41] And so getting into sales, I had to really learn how to do it. But like we talked earlier, you know, off Mike, these one on one conversations, they're not a problem. It's when all of a sudden, I have multiples or, or Omar people. And especially when I started getting more into a leadership capacity with my company and doing sales meetings or larger presentations for certain events.

[00:17:00] Yeah. That's where it really got, you know, cause I just, it was challenging. It was challenging. I would. I would try my best; I would do okay. But I always feel that it was that little bit of an edge or that extra stress. And in the after something like that, it was like, Oh, I definitely need to track now.

[00:17:14] And it got to a point to, like, I was just known in my industry, you know, I had a great reputation, we did great business, had great things. My energy was right. I know that authentically, I believe people really enjoyed being around me. But eventually, you know, it gets to the point where it's like, yeah, we can talk business a bit, but let's just get to the bar, you know?

[00:17:33] Cause everybody really just. I knew that wherever I was going that night, it was going to be fun. Let's just, you know, I go to trade shows. Industry is, where are you? Where are you going to be tonight? You know, like, Oh, I want to meet up with you. You know? And it was just this nonstop. And, it's weird because I, I just, I started having my kids, you know, quite young.

[00:17:51] So during those seven years, my kids were born, you know, during that time. And a lot of the times that alcohol consumption would lead to narcotic use. At times, and I'm not proud to say, but I was, it was promiscuous. You know, I was not faithful to my wife. I was not being the man that I believe myself to be.

[00:18:12] I think we all have these sorts of visions of who we want to be. Who we want to be perceived as, what are some of these core values that we have? What's really important to us? You know? And it's like, Mike, if I asked you like, what? So, what's the most important things to you in your life? The beliefs? And then we had a conversation 20 years from now and I asked you the same question.

[00:18:31] Chances are, you give me the same answer. It's like, I mean, those are those foundational core elements that helped make us who we are. And you know, in psychology they call it cognitive dissonance. No fancy term for basically we have this idea of who we are. And then we have who are showing up as and who are acting like and, and the, the further these two poles are apart from each other, you open up a lot of space.

[00:18:53] And in my case was the chasms. And. Yeah, we fill the stuff, we fill it with stuff, fill it with stuff off, you know, all that just nonstop. And it's a lot of sadness and depression and anxiety and angst and just, Ugh. And we do whatever we can try to avoid acknowledging. And so, we pick up some certain habits, coping mechanisms for numbing it.

[00:19:15] And that's what I let people know. Alcohol was really just a numbing agent for me. That was a way of just sort of checking out for a bit. But as soon as it was done, I was right back where I was. There's nothing that changed.

[00:19:25] Michael King: [00:19:25] What kind of impact would all those nights in what you told me before, sometimes afternoons, but afternoons and evenings and late nights of drinking, what impact did they have on you professionally.

[00:19:40] Dai: [00:19:40] Yeah, well, when I really look at it, and we've had a brief conversation about this, Mike, and we didn't go into too much detail, but when I started really advancing, and now even though my partner was the CEO, I was the COO and, my much of the time also the CMO, those are sort of my two areas of expertise was the operations and the marketing.

[00:19:59] And, you know, he was the Czech guy and, the guy did everything else. And, but I started to be very much involved with the rest of the teams. You know, we were across two provinces. We had eight retail spaces, number of B2B enterprises. And so, I was now responsible for a lot of people. And I was still quite young at the time, you know, early thirties and actually at that time, late twenties almost 30 and so there's a lot of responsibility.

[00:20:26] A lot of the people I worked with were older than me, so there was an age credibility gap already. And I never thought of it, but I could just tell, you know, and especially meeting with certain customers and you know, I get these 50 plus guys coming in to buy. Year for their home, like, yeah, well, I should talk to one of the managers.

[00:20:43] You know, I can get a deal. And they would look at me and be like, yeah, no. But as soon as they found out and I start to talk to them, they would realize, okay, I get this. You know, but, but it's those first impressions, right. And, the long and short of it, I had a heavy influence on the company. And it was a negative influence at times.

[00:21:00] You know, I could get them hyped up and motivated and moving in the right direction from a sales perspective and a performance perspective, but then I would undermine all the good things I was doing because I'd be like, Hey, we had a great weekend. Let me take you guys out for dinner, take them out for dinner.

[00:21:14] And I just be ordering drink after drink after drink for everybody. And I remember. Pressuring staff to drink with me. Like it just, it just got to that point where it was like, yeah, we work hard, but we party harder. And I didn't want to be that guy, you know? But yet I did it. I don't know if you can relate to that.

[00:21:33] It's almost like you see yourself doing these things and then you kick yourself for doing them, but you did them anyways. You know? And, it was just a habit and it started to affect, like I had some guys leave. I had some people just, they started going that extra mile or, you know, really making this a lifestyle habit for themselves as well.

[00:21:49] And I saw that affect them negatively and their families and, and I felt responsible. I really did. Even certain sales and certain purchasing decisions, you know, were influenced based on a night out and just listen. I was never performing at my peak.

[00:22:03] Michael King: [00:22:03] Did you ever come across a point in time when you had an employee that you needed to discipline or have a difficult conversation with them due to performance or something like that and you found that you couldn't because of the relationship you had

[00:22:18] Dai: [00:22:18] with them?

[00:22:19] Yeah, and also the fact that they've seen me. And my best, but they've also seen me at my worst, and my worst was pretty darn bad. You know, like a, I've done some things that, you know, you would meet me as a first time and you'd be like, have this impression of who I was. And those that knew me and had been out with me, they knew that was all bullshit.

[00:22:41] Pardon my French. But they really didn't. But they just knew it wasn't legit. Like I was acting as somebody completely different outside of the scene and I didn't like that, you know, because I wanted to mourn, you know, there was a night that came down and it was actually almost 10 years to the day. My wife sat me down and meanwhile I, there was lots of things.

[00:23:01] I had fallen asleep at the wheel, written off a car, you know, I was lucky to be alive. I've done a lot of dumb things under the influence of alcohol things I'm not proud of it all. Then the carb thing was like. Should have been the biggest wake up call, but it didn't wake me up. Got me sober for it. Got me.

[00:23:18] Yeah, exactly. Well, got me sober for about two months. I was like, Oh, I need to take something. But then, you know, after two months, it's like the memory of that incident, it wasn't as bad anymore. You know? Like, it's like, okay, well now I could have

[00:23:31] Michael King: [00:23:31] you had fallen asleep with the wheel.

[00:23:33] Dai: [00:23:33] Drunk

[00:23:34] Michael King: [00:23:34] and total the vehicle.

[00:23:36]that's the story you're referring to, I think, and that's overdue up for just two months, and then it was like

[00:23:42] Dai: [00:23:42] two months.

[00:23:43] Michael King: [00:23:43] I can handle it better this time. I'm more awake. It's okay. So, what was the turning point then? What was that aha moment where, you said, yeah, this has gone too far.

[00:23:54] Dai: [00:23:54] So there's something magical when you're a parent.

[00:23:57] I mean, I really think that is the epitome of creation. You know, is bringing a child into the world. I mean, there's nothing, in, in, at least in my life, there's been nothing that's been anywhere near the equivalent of that. You know, I have, I feel very grateful and blessed to have had two of those experiences.

[00:24:15] Personally and kids come into our lives. The life goes from me to, to weave and then goes even one beyond that goes to them. You know, they, they become quite the focus and rightly so. I mean, they are everything. So, they had some tremendous positive impact in my life. Yet I would still justify my habits as just part of my life.

[00:24:38] And so it was like, these two are always in conflict. You know, these belief systems around being a parent and being. The best version of me for them, for my family, because I felt they deserve it, which they do. And yet on the flip side, I was still doing all these other things based on believing this is what I want, and I deserve this, you know, because this is my life.

[00:24:57] And you know, we can justify everything away if we didn't want, you know, like we just, we, we can't, we can always find the proof to validate any point. Whether it's true or not, but we were just very good at, you know, arguments sake. We're, we're pretty good at. He's, I was really good at it. And, you know, this, one morning my wife sat me down and I could tell, you know, there was, there was something here, you know, I could tell she was upset, very upset.

[00:25:23]we'd already been together for a number of years, but yeah. At this point, you know, our kids were four and six at the time and they were on the couch watching the Explorer. And I remember my wife sent me down. Yeah, of course. And I won't say the jingle cause once it's in your head,

[00:25:37] Michael King: [00:25:37] don't you do that to me, Ricky, Bobby,

[00:25:45] completely serious conversation and Ricky Bobby clothing.

[00:25:49] Dai: [00:25:49] You know what? We need that though. We need that because, it was a serious moment. You know, when, for those that are in a relationship, I think, well, I like to hope that they can relate to this, but you can tell when a partner looks at you and you know, they look at it in a certain way because you know, there's love in the eyes.

[00:26:06] You know, that they, there's this, there's a reason why you're together and they see something in us very often that we can't see in ourselves. But that morning I couldn't see that look in her. And so, when she asked me to sit down, it was like. I knew something serious here like this, this is not my wife, this is not the person I've come to love and know.

[00:26:30] And, and I was like, my gosh, what's going to happen here? And so, she started to talk about her and the kids leaving. And that enough was enough. Because, you know, obviously I was very good at just begging for forgiveness, and did that a lot and would make slight changes and I'd always revert back, you know, it was a constant, two step forwards, three steps back, it felt like, and she put, she asked me one question, you know, cause we talked for quite a while, you know, that needs some breaks from sobbing or we're both crying.

[00:27:02] And, it was just, it was a messy morning. And she asked me. Are you being the type of man that you would want to marry your daughters? And I don't know what it was about that question, but up until that point in my life, I'd never thought about that, you know, am I being that kind of a guy? Because to be honest with you, if someone liked me at that time, it showed up.

[00:27:26] On my doorstep to, to ask to be with one of my daughters. I would have punched him on the nose and be like, you're not coming in here. Like, there's no way. And yet I was that guy, you know? And, so right then and there, I made a commitment. I sat my girls down there and we went over and joined them on the counter.

[00:27:45] Chrissy sat with them and I was like, making a commitment. I'm not going to drink for a year. You know, I'm going to start to do some work. That internal work, which sort of brings us back to that whole idea that was sharing with you when I was morbidly obese. I have always been so good and working on the exterior in my life up to that point, up till about 30 years old, I had never done any real internal work, never really working on my mind and on my emotions and my psychology.

[00:28:10] Like really my belief systems. He never did anything with that way. And so, I turned the focus back internal, and at the time I took away the crutches. I took away the coping mechanism, which I learned to just live with. And it started as a one-year commitment. A lot of changes happen in that year, like just so many changes.

[00:28:31]especially my relationships both. Very close personal ones, but specifically and more profoundly my PR professional relationships, especially getting, going into the first few conferences or having the first wave of, of, you know, my suppliers and reps coming to town and me not drinking like all of a sudden like are our costs like our expenditure as it related to two meals and drinks and these sort of nights out.

[00:28:59] You know, they were dropping it on average 30%. And just cause also we were removing that. I knew that that influence I had was no longer there and eventually, it wasn't a big deal. We really started to live this health and wellness culture, which we should have been because that's what the industry was in.

[00:29:17] We were in,

[00:29:18] Michael King: [00:29:18] let me ask you this. Did you see a subsequent drop in new business? That came along with

[00:29:24] Dai: [00:29:24] drinking, stopping. And the reason I asked this is,

[00:29:26]Michael King: [00:29:26] I have heard more than one person on one more than one occasion. Say you have to do those kinds of things to get sales. You just have to go out and feed people drinks.

[00:29:36] It's just, it's part of the industry. You have to do it. So, did, did you see a drop in new business because of the, the drop in alcohol consumption?

[00:29:45] Dai: [00:29:45] No, I didn't personally. And realize a lot of the business that I was doing and what my role was, was more on the purchasing side, you know, buying products to get into the stores.

[00:29:58] I know with my customer interactions, it didn't, if anything, it actually, it garnered me a lot more respect. because now when we were having conversations, I was fully aware, fully present for those conversations. And, but I made it very clear and very known that this is. Who I am. This is what I'm doing, and it's not for anybody else, but it is.

[00:30:18] I've made this decision from me. So, it didn't really affect anything that way, at least not that I, I noticed, it wasn't anything that would be like, Oh, wow, maybe I should rethink this kind of thing. It was all positives. But interestingly enough, you know, you start down that path of really working on yourself and getting clear on some of your past experiences that have formed some of our belief systems.

[00:30:40] I mean, when you really start to question why do we believe the things we believe? Like what are these internal motivations that get us doing what we're doing, especially on autopilot. You know, it's, these are the things, this programming that takes over. For us when we're in the States of stress, especially, it's just cause it's a condition response.

[00:30:59] And when you start to really pay attention to some of those responses, if you could start to make changes because now you're aware of them, you can. Actively create a little bit of a gap, you know? And that's why I love meditation. I like mindfulness and those exercises because it just helps us hone that skill of creating a bit of a buffer from just blind reaction.

[00:31:22] Right? And with purposeful action. And, and so it's just that little gap. That's all I've been, I learned to do. As I removed alcohol and I had to think things through, and to be honest, I still had a lot of that social anxiety and so it was hard to be social at times. And, that's when I found an organization called Toastmasters.

[00:31:43] It really helped me work through that, that anxiety I had with, with just addressing. People in a larger group setting, you know, it's an organization, it's nonprofit, they're everywhere. Every major city has got one, you know, and it's just a group of people come together to help each other be more effective communicators, storytellers, you know, people that can speak and lead more effectively.

[00:32:05] And so I just embraced that and dove all in, you know, cause now it was like the focus Mike was, was me getting. My life in order to was actually in alignment with that guy that I believe that I was. I was, and the one that I know, my wife, my kids saw whenever they looked at me now, I was actually wanting to live into that.

[00:32:22] And I actually found my business improved drastically. You know, systems got tighter cause I was way more present at work. I was able to really just dive in and see things for what they were. A lot clearer, and then make some very mindful choices as how to change certain things of our business and help implement them.

[00:32:41]so it was a, it was a good experience, but I eventually just outgrew my role and I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do anymore. So, I always tell that to people, you know, be, be cautious because when you make these big changes, especially when we learn to really grow on all levels, we do change. And the person that we were won't be around anymore.

[00:33:00] You're going to be somebody different. You might find that you have new beliefs, new wants, new passions that emerge. And sometimes that that calling is far greater than anything we're doing right now. And we can either ignore it, maybe pick it up as a little passion project or something that we do on the side as a hobby or.

[00:33:20] We say, you know what? I want to pursue this, and that's what my wife and I got to that point. Quit my job, quit my career, you know? And, as an owner, it's not easy. And, we just sort of reinvent our life. He started pursuing the things that we were most passionate about and things that we really want.

[00:33:37] Michael King: [00:33:37] What are those things? What are you most passionate about? What are you pursuing?

[00:33:41] Dai: [00:33:41] Well, I love. Impacting people. You know, bottom line, I just, I love being able to have a conversation, or I'm a professional keynote or now, which is really amazing. You know, like I, my last year I had about 10 keynotes around the world, and I'm speaking to large groups, like a guy from social anxiety using training as a way to

[00:34:02] cope with the stress of, you know, dealing in those large social studies. I don't know, getting paid to go speak to these groups and my messaging often. And you know, there's some that are much more business focused, but the ones that really get me excited are the ones that are more motivational, inspirational nature, that talks about the power of choices and changes.

[00:34:19] And the fact that it all starts with something small and that can grow into something big. So, the things that really get me excited is seeing people truly embrace their ability. To create, you know? So whether you want to create the best possible company and whether you want to create the best possible life, it's really recognizing where the areas that satisfies  and more than just satisfies.

[00:34:44] You know, Joseph Campbell, he wrote something called the power of myth, and we've often heard of something called the hero's journey. George Lucas was inspired by his writings. That's actually how Star Wars came to be. It was based on this guy's research, and we're all living this hero's journey. We're all on a journey all the time, and you know what?

[00:35:00] On these journeys that we're on, we get challenged all the time, all the time. We can either learn from those challenges, grow from those challenges, or we can just stop having them. But stop and, and, you know, shine away and hiding in a cave between you and me. I don't think it's the life that I'd want to live.

[00:35:21] I don't think a lot of people would want to live that. And so when you embrace this idea of life is a constant flow, you know, and there's going to be challenges. But we come back from those challenges often changed. And when we feel that we've really changed profoundly, w we feel a calling to now help others do the same thing.

[00:35:38] You know? I know that you've got a backstory, Mike, of why you do what you do. And I bet you when you look at that, a lot of it's come through struggles that you've personally overcome and understandings that you've gained and this knowledge, this wisdom, and it's like from atheists coming back with a fire, right?

[00:35:54] It's just like, no, I want to give this, this next person. I want to help others with what I've gone through and. That was something I couldn't ignore it anymore. I wanted to do it in a bigger scale. And, that was the big motivation for, I left five years ago from what I was doing to do what I'm doing now.

[00:36:10] Michael King: [00:36:10] So other than keynotes, what else are you doing today? How are you helping people, become that best version of themselves?

[00:36:17] Dai: [00:36:17] Well, I wrote a book called the whole life fitness manifesto, which. You know, I hear from a lot of people, I've been in the wellness space for over 20 years. You know, there, there's lots of excuses that I see come up quite often.

[00:36:29] And I'm guilty of having these two. But you know, there's always the time, excuse, there's always the, I don't know what I'm doing excuse. And there's a lot of excuses. And so after, you know, a couple of decades of just dealing with this and helping people through this and coaching them through this, this mental shift to really start.

[00:36:46] Taking action and full accountability of the life. I put together a format, you know, as simple lifestyle program that teaches people how to leverage 2% of every day. You know, 20, 30 minutes of every 24 hours, there's only 2% of your, your, your day. And I teach people how to use that very effectively to, to improve not only the body, the physicality, but also their mental acuity and spiritually, you know.

[00:37:10] But when I say spiritually, it's just really that connection at oneself has with. Their world. You know, it's that, that emotional state that we get from doing certain things. We get that certain feedback, right? And it's just being able to make conscious effort and choose to do certain things based on how you're feeling.

[00:37:28] And, and so, I've really enjoyed providing this, but I'll give it away for free. Even on my website. It's just like, here you go. I mean, of course you want to buy a hard copy of the book. I don't give those away. But the digital copy idea, and it's just there to make it very accessible. And then on top of that, I worked with a lot of people one on one.

[00:37:44] You know, I still do some business coaching, but I don't advertise myself as that. It's just based on people that know me and know the things that I've done want some support. So I provide that. But. The things that really get me excited are talking to people. I, I tend to talk with a lot of people that 35 plus many of them are parents or planning to be parents and they come to that state in life where things are shifting.

[00:38:03] You know, it's been really me, me, me, me, you know, a lot of career focus and education focus. But there comes a point where it's like, you know what? I want something. Wow. But not sure how to do it. The term life coaching. I know it comes across in, some people have certain connotations of it. I guess we could say its life coaching, but I think of it as so much more than that.

[00:38:24] And, so I would say I do quite a bit of that, and I, I really love it. It just brings a lot of joy to my life. And, yeah, man. It's, it's cool, but I, listen, I, I just, I know I can start rambling on this stuff, but I just wanted to. Quickly say one thing, you know, I know a lot of us have certain struggles and, and especially those that are listening to this.

[00:38:42] I know there's probably that one little thing. And I equate it to like a slow splinter. You know, like when we get a little splinter somewhere on our body, you can tolerate that for a while. You know, like you can leave it alone. You just get by. You cope with it. It's just like, yeah, okay. It hurts. But doesn't hurt bad enough for me to, you know, go in and do something to remove it.

[00:39:07] You know? It's just like we learn how to deal with certain stresses in our life and just be okay with them. We, we accept it as, it's just part of my life, so I got to learn to live with this. But you leave those things alone for too long. They fester, you know? Yeah. There's a chance of infection there.

[00:39:26] There comes a point where the pain will grow. And when it gets to that point, it's like, what are you going to do to deal with it? There's always a way to deal with it no matter what, but you have to be willing to do something different than you're doing. And sometimes it can be one choice, one action, post choice, and everything can change.

[00:39:49] And I want, I know it's overwhelming at times, but I really want people that are listening to this. It's just like, what is the one thing? Then, you know, by doing that one thing, it's going to make everything else a little bit easier. And, it's a great book called the one thing. It's a great business book.

[00:40:01] And it talks often about this, you know, this idea. Just what is that one thing that if you do that thing, everything else is either obsolete or easier. And, and I tell people that's a stupid question, but frame that around your life, you know, like around your life. I mean, this is life. It's, it's, I don't know if we get any reduce.

[00:40:19] I'd be nice to think that we do, but at least based on my current awareness, I don't think we do. So what are you going to do with what you got? And, yeah, man, that's a. A bit of a preamble. So,

[00:40:31] Michael King: [00:40:31] the one thing is a great book, Gary Keller, we use that in our company every week. You know, we have the, the one thing for the year, for the, for the quarter, for the month, for the week, for the day.

[00:40:41] The one thing that we can do by which all other things become easier or better or more successful, what's the one thing we can focus on that's going to make the biggest impact? And when you get the discipline to really just focus in on that one thing, it's amazing. How much of a game changer it is. And I think the surprising thing for me was, well, you know, I found myself, well, I can't just do one thing.

[00:41:06] And that's not really the premise of the book. You're not just doing one thing, but now that, but when you get really good at that finger, you solve that problem. How many other things just kind of go away? Is it result that you didn't even realize? It's kind of like that,

[00:41:17] Dai: [00:41:17] that infection,

[00:41:18] Michael King: [00:41:18] you know. So let me ask you this.

[00:41:21] This wasn't something that we talked about prior to the, to this conversation, but now that you've been doing the coaching and keynoting and stuff for so long, do you have a one

[00:41:34] Dai: [00:41:34] lesson

[00:41:35] Michael King: [00:41:35] or one common denominator that his kind of stuck out that surprised you to learn through all of this effort to make people better.

[00:41:44] That you didn't expect.

[00:41:46] Dai: [00:41:46] Yeah. Well, I sort of hinted to you before, but this just this idea of creation, really trying to help people get into a state where they feel inspired to create, whether it relates to their business, whether it relates to their life. I mean, whatever it is that that brings them, that sense of joy or happiness or fulfillment, if you will.

[00:42:04] I'm all about that, but sometimes you have to create that space. You have to sometimes work through some challenges too, to recognize, okay, well for me to get to that point, there's some things I've got to deal with. One thing I found is our ability to dream often becomes stifled as we age. And as we become potentially cynical, we, we, we, we become set in our ways, you know, so as we age, and you know, I hate making these generalized statements, but I found this even myself, you know, as I was age and get into my thirties, I just wasn't dreaming.

[00:42:35] Like I used to. Like in my twenties there was nothing but possibility in front of me. You know, there was nothing about, I just couldn't see anything else. It was just like, you know, I've got this untapped potential and I'm going to tap into it. And, but over time, you know, based on certain choices, certain habits, it just, you were down on that and you stop dreaming.

[00:42:56] You stop asking yourself certain questions, to, to elicit that dreaming response, if you will. And. One activity I found was actually in a business book that I read many, many moons ago. Fellow Vancouver, right? Cameron Harold. He wrote a book called double double, and, it's has nothing to do with Tim Horton's, but he was, when the, see that's the fact you're

[00:43:17] Michael King: [00:43:17] talking right there.

[00:43:19] The fact that

[00:43:23] Dai: [00:43:23] I know it was McDonald's, I won't lie. It was a bit of everything. But he was the COO for a company called wanting hundred, got junk, and he wrote this great book. And in the book. He's got an extra sky's that used to be called the painted picture, but he's rebranded, and it's now called the vivid vision.

[00:43:42] But it's this activity of giving yourself permission to sit down and draw out what your life looks like five years from now, but it, but it was more than just sort of this vision setting. These exercises, like things based on wants things based on things that maybe you want to accumulate or certain titles you want to get to, you know, certain volume in in business.

[00:44:01] But more than that, it's like. It's almost like envisioning that perfect day, but you write it out as if you're there right now living that day. Like what are you waking up to in the morning? You know who's there? What do you have for breakfast? Like really give yourself permission to paint this vision.

[00:44:18] You know, and, and I found it was really cool cause it would allow me to start dreaming again and, and, and really be very specific in the life I wanted to design for myself. You know, like, I want to be able to go walk on the beach first thing in the morning, you know, share a coconut with my family. Like B, being in somewhere tropical was a big part of that.

[00:44:39] I wanted the heat, I one of the, one of the, one of the sun and one of the surf culture. And so we started painting these pictures and you know, it's amazing to see people talk about vision boards and all this, and those are great too. I've got no problem with all these activities. If it's, if it works for you, if you feel connected to the work, it's awesome.

[00:44:55] But if it's a chore, well they'll do it. But I find with a lot of my clients, when they really get into this and they start to allow that, that those juices to flow. Certain things start to come up that that might've been suppressed for quite a while. You know, I have one client that, yeah, they, they really wanted to be active and to do things with their upcoming grandkids that they could do with their own kids, but they didn't really realize, so they started envisioning their life, you know, in five, six years down the road when they start their kids start having kids and knowing where they were in life that.

[00:45:29] They weren't going to be able to do for their grandkids what they were able to do for the normal kids. And that really shook them. They're like, well, why not? You know, there's this belief that, well, I'm getting older, so I just going to have to limit my, you know, output. And, and while we put myself out there, because now I'm of this age, and I mean, it's not true.

[00:45:46] It's absolutely not true. But then you start to see these things and you start to identify, well, what's most important to us? And for them, it signifies some big lifestyle shifts. Yeah, no. And it was just really wonderful to see because now there's a much deeper why, you know, Simon Sinek start with why I love that stuff.

[00:46:04] Right. And to be able to emotionally connect to the things that we do, we don't really sit with them too often, you know, cause it's not easy to explain. It's not easy to identify and it does take self-reflection, but you know, we can talk about the, what's in the wins, especially the house all the time. No till the cows come home as they say.

[00:46:25] Yeah. But really getting clear on that why, man, it's not so easy. So those are the things that I, that one activity. I feel that if people really embrace that, there's some really great things like that can just come to the forefront. And then it usually leads into a bigger conversation and more reflection.

[00:46:44] And really. Honesty with oneself, but it's a great way to sort of break that ice and start the process.

[00:46:53] Michael King: [00:46:53] If somebody listening needs your help, if they want to work with you on leveling up their life or getting clarity on their why, how can they reach out and connect with you.

[00:47:02] Dai: [00:47:02] You know, I'm really, is it, this is the cool thing about was to be honest, you know, one of my parents, you know, we don't have any say in what name we get.

[00:47:10] And you know, initially I didn't quite get it. So she has a kid. You can imagine that the name dies, like the amount of it, you know. Not only was I being made fun of because of my weight. I mean, my name didn't help things, you know, like a boy named Sue. I was just like, hello. And I, but I, it's a Welsh name for David and, and, but my last name is Portuguese.

[00:47:30] So it's a very unique name. And then Google came out. And I love Google because it likes my name. You know, if you get it somewhat even close to spelling it, I'll pop up. But I have my name on all social platforms because it was. Unencumbered everywhere. No one's going for that one. So literally you can reach it on any platform.

[00:47:50] And I am, you know, I have a team, but I, I respond personally to all the messages and inquiries. So it just, I only ask people to be a little bit of patience. usually it takes me a couple of business days to get back to most inquiries, but I'm around and, who knows, I'll be in the city near you soon.

[00:48:05] And if there's an opportunity to, to connect in person, I always. Welcome that. but otherwise, let's leverage some of these cool tools that we got, and we can always have a conversation.

[00:48:14] Michael King: [00:48:14] Awesome. Ty, thank you so much for the, for your time today and sharing your story,

[00:48:19] Dai: [00:48:19] Mike. Thank you. And I love what you're doing.

[00:48:22] Like I really do. And these are the stories. That are normally only told in sort of private settings with, with people that we usually have quite a bit of trust with. You know, even like the mastermind sessions that I've often been a part of. Now, these are things that happen between behind closed doors, but these are the stories that really open all of us up to the world of possibility, but more than that learning, you know, and, so I, I love what you're doing.

[00:48:48] I'm really excited to see this podcast grow. So, if I can be of any other service to you or to the listeners. Open invite to anyone. I'm around, so just reach out.

[00:48:58] Michael King: [00:48:58] I appreciate it. It means the world to me that you're, you're a part of it. So again, thank you very much.

[00:49:16] Michael King: [00:49:16] Thanks for joining us today. Please don't forget to subscribe to In the Trenches with Michael King on your favorite podcast platform like Apple, Google, or Spotify. Once again, I'm Michael King with KFE Solutions. We'll see you again next week!