March 13, 2023

From Chaos to Success: The Journey of Self-Discovery and Personal Growth with Kyle Livingston

In this episode, we sit down with Kyle Livingston, a husband and Entrepreneur to talk about his journey of personal growth and self-discovery... See show notes at:

In this episode, we sit down with Kyle Livingston, a husband and Entrepreneur to talk about his journey of personal growth and self-discovery. Kyle shares his experiences of being separated from his biological family and how it shaped his identity and path in life. We explore the positive shifts and reinforcements that were crucial to his success and the real purpose of personal development beyond the promise of an amazing life. Join us for an inspiring conversation on navigating the journey from chaos to success, finding meaning from trauma, and embracing the shifting nature of identity.

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 Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, Kyle Livingston. Kyle, my man, what is happening in your world today?

Kyle: What is up, man? Excited to be on the show.

Michael: Yeah, man. I'm excited to have you here. Dude, you have an absolutely f**** crazy story. You know, generally speaking I like to just jump into the show and just kind of get into things. But I would love if you kind of gave us a little bit of context on your background ‘cause I was listening to you on a show that you were a guest on recently and I heard you say that when you were 12 weeks old, you got dropped off at a yard sale by your parents, I was like, f***. So, I kinda wanna start there, man.

Kyle: Good place to start, man. Yeah, dude. I was actually born six weeks premature, and so I spent the first six weeks of my life in an incubator, and I spent the next six weeks of my life in the care of my birth mom, who was a druggie and did not realize that I was actually allergic to dairy at the time as an infant. She was feeding me dairy, so I'm screaming and crying. And so she goes to this family that was originally going to adopt me, that she backed out of the adoption last minute. And you know, it was like, kind of like a handshake adoption it didn't go through the courts or anything and I could share how that came about in a bit. But dude, she pulled up, they were selling stuff that was gonna be my nursery and she says, Hey, can you watch him? I have to go party; I haven't been able to party in six weeks like I need to go party. And so, she goes and parties and doesn't come back for a couple days and she f*** rings him up and says, Hey, like, you can keep him, he's screaming for me. I can't get him to shut up, just keep him and disappears.

Michael: Hmm. You know, I actually relate to that in many ways I mean, not the same, but my mom would just drop us off wherever, go hit the road, be gone for f**** days and weeks at even months at one point in my life, just gone in that life. So, you know, I totally relate to that, I think fortunately, most people don't, so let's just be clear about that. Okay. So you're super young, obviously you're growing up now, were you in contact with your mother at all during this time? Or it's just like you're with these adopted family, you don't really know what's going on, you're separated from that?

Kyle: Yeah, I mean, I didn't even know I was adopted until I was like seven or eight years old, you know, until I was old enough to actually comprehend, like, you know, I'm not part of the family like everybody in the family has dark hair, I'm a redhead like there's clearly something off here initially. And so, they let me know early on like, Hey, you look a lot different from us ‘cuz you're not actually, you know, born from us. And I didn't have any desire to like chat with my birth mom or anything and then I turned 18 years old, dude, and I grew up in kind of the ghetto and turned 18 years old, got a letter that my parents had kept in a safe since I was a child. And I get this letter and it's a baby picture of me, and then two young girls beside me and on the note, it was a signature and like the names of the girls and a signature from one of their grandmas. And so, did I go on MySpace at the time, I'm 18 years old, I go on MySpace and I message every person or every woman, girl with this name around that age on MySpace and f*** lo and behold, like nine months later, I get a response from one of 'em and she’s, my sister. And so I met my sister on MySpace at 18 years old from a picture I got that was 18 years old.

Michael: Man, that's wild. And I would say kudos to your adopted family for being honest with you because dude, I've talked to so many people on this show over the years, whether they're very famous entrepreneur or celebrity or whatever it is, and they're like, yeah, I didn't find out about X until I was 30 years old. And I'm like, so, you know, I think maybe doesn't carry so much weight, not to put words in your mouth, but that would be my guess.

Kyle: Yeah, like if I would've found out now, I think it would've f**** me up more than like knowing about it my whole life, you know? Like I would've questioned a lot of things that had happened up to this point if I'd have found out about it now. So, kudos to them, man, I'm super thankful that they were candid and transparent of like, Hey, you were adopted like it is what it is. And I'm sure that was hard for them, you know, ‘cuz for me as a young child, it created this like, there were arguments I'd have with my mom, like, you're not my real mom, and like all this, you know, child of shit back then. But it's like, dude, she's the one that raised me, she's the one that took care of me granted, you know, good, bad, ugly, healthy, whatever like she's the one that took me in and raised me, so, massive kudos to them.

Michael: Yeah, totally. I mean, my grandmother who raised me was not the best person on planet earth, but you know, she raised me and at least there was some semblance of stability. I mean, obviously, as I grew up, I was pretty f*** up from the whole thing growing up in the way I did, and so I had to, you know, go and do the work and heal and all that stuff. But there's those moments that happen to us in our childhood and they can make us or break us. Right. And I feel this truly, and knowing a little bit about your backstory, I feel like it makes a lot of sense. The chaos of growing up in homes like that with parents like that good or bad. Right? Living in not the best environments builds resiliency. But I think there's two sides of, actually, I know there's two sides of it, there's people who succumb to that and it entirely destroys them. And I'm not even going to say they play victims ‘cuz like, dude, respect, I f**** get it like I was in the gutter at one point in my life. So, I know what that's like and then on the other side of it, there are the people who have seemed to have found a way to navigate, who have seemed to have found a way to push through into success for whatever that means for them. I'm curious is there moments that you think about or that you recall from childhood that were chaotic? And you don't necessarily have to go to the details, they don't have to even be chaotic, but were there moments that you recall where you're like, this shaped who I am today?

Kyle: Dude. Yeah, a thousand percent. I mean, even in the house that I was raised in, right? Like, all my siblings were older than me or my closest sibling is, is 11 years older than I am and out of the three siblings that lived in the home, they were all druggies, like in and outta prison, in and outta jail getting arrested, cops showing up. And I think one of the biggest things that shaped me was watching them f**** up all the time and realized that like if I just don't do that then at least I have a chance. And so, watching my brothers and my sister just dude just go through turmoil and like chaos and you know, just the shit that they went through, the biggest thing for me was like watching them and learning from their mistakes and knowing not to do it. And like, did I have stories and stories and stories on that but I would say as like a high level, that was the biggest thing and being self-aware to know that like, I can go that path or I could not go that path and the choice was up to me.

Michael: Where did that self-awareness come from? Because as I think about my childhood, my best friends and I, dude, we did all the things, all the drugs, all the stealing cars, breaking into houses. I mean, I didn't even graduate high school because of delinquency and I watched my mother go and ruin her life with drugs and alcohol I literally have family in prison for life to today. My three childhood best friends had been murdered, and so, you know, all of that and yet I was still in it, man. Like I was so disconnected and so I'm curious where did the self-awareness come from that you were able to make meaning of that? Because the only thing I thought in my head was like, you can do anything up to this level, but when you do this, this is like the breaking point.

Kyle: I had that same thought and like I still have those thoughts and I still have to break through those even today, and as I hit different levels of success in business and setbacks in business, like dude, that shit still creeps in for me, it's like, oh, well I come from here so I shouldn't be good enough to do this and those things still creep in. But I think that I've actually never been asked this question, so I'm just gonna kind of chew through it with you, man. I think that for me, having all my siblings be a little older, I spend a lot of time like by myself, like playing with legos, developing, like just time alone. I spent a lot of time just alone and growing up a redhead and in the area that I was in and like all these problems, like dude, I got made fun of a ton. And so, I spent a lot of time alone but what it did was it allowed me to like see people and see things and kind of observe versus be in the weeds. And dude, I grew up and I did all the dumb shit, we'd steal radios outta cars, we did all the dumb shit too. So, I relate with you a lot there but I think it's really rooted in the fact of like, we grew up really poor and everything that I can remember doing from 12 years old until probably 30 was running away from not being poor. So, I knew if I went down the same path as my brothers, I would get the same s**** my brothers got, which was living at my parents' house, living in shitty apartments like if I went down that path, I would get that. And so, if I chose something else, maybe just, maybe there's that, you know, for me it was 10K a month back then, if I could just maybe get to 10K a month, I could never have to worry about turning my shower on and water not coming out again. And I think that's what I was running from. So maybe it wasn't even a self-awareness thing, it was just a desire of like, I don't want what they have.

Michael: Man, that hits so home for me right now because that was really everything that I chased as a kid because it dawned on me one day. I was like, oh, the reason my life sucks and obviously this isn't true to a capacity it is. The reason that my life sucks is because we're poor because we have to take hot water baths from the sink, that we borrowed water from neighbor's house because we have government food, because I'm on food stamps, because every single time I'm in school, they gotta punched the little blue card so everybody knows I can't afford to pay for my own. And I remember being like, f**** this at 18 years old, I'm gonna go chase money. And I didn't have a marker of 10 grand, I wish I would, ‘cuz I would've made more money my first year but I had a marker of a hundred thousand dollars a year. And I was like, when I'm 21, that's the goal and I did that and it didn't actually solve any problems which was really fascinating. And in fact, it pushed my brothers away because I did not like, dude, the biggest mistake, I don't think I've ever said this on a show, the biggest mistake I've ever made with the money that I made a million dollars by the time I was 26, is I never gave anybody s**** because the only thing I thought, Kyle, I was like, I'm gonna go get this to make sure I'm good, because here's the bad side of resiliency through trauma, you learn that you have to be massively hyper independent and self-sufficient.

Kyle: A thousand percent, I agree with you, a thousand percent, dude. And I even alluded to that from a moment ago it was like I spent most of my childhood just kind of being alone and being away. And it does, like, even as you grow up to be an adult, it messes with the wires in your brain, and it's like, I have to take care of me first. And by doing so, and especially chasing the dollar, you tend to forget about the other people around you at least I did. And yeah, dude, I mean, I've cannibalized a marriage over it. I've cannibalized friendships over it, cannibalized family relationships over it and, you know, it's definitely not the ideal scenarios is chasing money all the time for sure.

Michael: Yeah, it's not, and even that's a part of the work that I'm still doing in my own life is looking at it and now it's completely different, right? I mean, polar opposite, I take care of my family as much as I can. I take care of my friends. I'm a giver first ‘cuz I realize like there was a point where I'm like, I'm driving a $85,000 car, I've got the nicest clothes, I got the best condo in town, what the f****? None of that stuff matters. Doesn't matter at all.

Kyle: Yeah, it doesn't. Dude, I remember, we're always still growing, we're always still learning. You know, we live in a decent, you know, really nice house, can't you say decent like, compared to where I grew up, like we live in a f*** baller house, you drive fucking baller cars, right? But the level like you, it's like getting fat, right? Like you just kind of slowly get there sometimes, and you wake up one day and it's like, I have all this cool shit and you're still upset, you're still kind of bitter, you're still a little frustrated and like, dude, I can go out and get my Audi right now and go zip around like 17-year-old version of me would not fucking believe the life I live today. And it's like, it is just that dynamic, but we also kind of take it for granted, 33-year-old me is pissed that I'm not living a different life. And it's like I have to find that balance even today of like, dude, I have it really well for especially for where I've come from but I have it really well overall.

Michael: What would you reinforce into 17-year-old you? I'm not asking the question, what would you tell yourself? Because I think those questions are pointless. I'm asking what would you reinforce that you were doing at 17 years old that has led you down the path? Like what were the positive aspects of the shifts in your life moving out of that circumstance and that environment that you believe were cornerstones in creating who you are today?

Kyle: I would say the biggest thing for me was to never let off the gas of self-development. I got dropped into the world of self-development at 17 years old actually just trying to figure this whole world out and there was a season in my life where the work on myself, I just stopped doing for like five years. And significantly slowed down any momentum that I had in my life at that time so I would've told myself back then like, Hey, even when you don't want to work on yourself and deal with your trauma and deal with your s**** and see how things are, you have to do that. Or it'll just cannibalize all the momentum you've created up to whatever point that was.

Michael: Why did you go to that answer?

Kyle: I think because from 17 to 24, I was hard into self-development, and that was the time where I saw the biggest leaps in my life 24 to 27, 28, I went through divorce. I stopped working on self-development. I got into drinking a lot, and I started creating these bad habits that cannibalize my life, whether it was like not reading a book or not digging into things or drinking too much or chasing women too much, or whatever it was. Whereas if I would've stayed plugged into self-development and what I was rooted in, it'd be a constant reminder for me for what I'm actually living for and my potential in my life, not just the season and feelings in the moment. And so, I would say that that four years where I didn't do it, I would've reinforced that at a young age to realize how important it actually was.

Michael: Yeah, that's really, really powerful. When I went through the beginning of this journey, like in depth, it started at 26 to say that I was on self-aware from zero to 26 would be a massive understatement because I looked at everything in life through these massively judgmental eyes, and again, that ties into that hyper independence thing. I'm like, oh, if you're not at this level and you don't operate this way and you don't look like this and you don't do this, I just f*** you, you're a loser. While simultaneously, I'm 350-pound smoke, two packs a day. Right. So, it's this weird irony, that dichotomy of growing up in a chaotic environment. And what happened when I was 26, I decided, when I saw an ad from Brendon Burchard, I was like, I'm gonna see what this is.  I'm gonna step into it, I'm gonna leverage it. And for me, the thing that even to this day, the very reason that I'm so deeply enmeshed and ingrained in self-development while I'm a speaker in this subject, why I write books on this, why have this show, is because I've come to realize that the moment you stop learning about who you are is the moment you start losing. And so, I'm curious like what element of personal development for you is what brings you back? Because I think so many people get into it and they're like, oh, I'm gonna do it and my life's gonna be f**** amazing and it's like, it's not that your life won't, but that's not the thing.

Kyle: So, for me, dude, it's realizing we're all f**** And so, like listening to people like, like ZigLar and Robins and like the classical part of, you know, self-development like, they kind of come from a place of like, Hey, we're all f**** broken and you just gotta think this way and operate in this way. And I think the feelings, the shifts ‘cuz like, dude, the six inches between my ears is the most dangerous weapon I have for success or for total self-cannibalism. Like my brain, I have to take control of it, and I have to create feelings in it because if I just let it run rampant, I turn into an asshole. I end up hating my life and like, I don't like those feelings. And so, I think the dopamine hit for me on the back end of going through and listening to all of the classics that I love and enjoy, like the dopamine I get on the other end and the emotions I get on the other end of that, it pulls out a different version of me and it realizes like I can be f*** up and win. And I don't have to get into the thoughts of like, you come from the ghetto, you're left at a yard sale, you haven't done anything like those thoughts start to go quiet when I'm in self-development, when I'm not, those thoughts are fucking screaming at me. Dude, it's the one thing that allows me to just put those thoughts away and that's the thing that gets me back into it, it's like, okay, I can see straight now and I'm not getting bombarded by all these voices of my head that are just an old version of me trying to protect myself.

Michael: Yeah. And you're brainwashing yourself. I mean, I think about this constant, I even teach my clients like, I'll start sessions with them of like, I'm about to brainwash you, that is what's happening, , because I swear, I wish I could remember who told me this, they go, well, you should get brainwashed ‘cuz your brain is dirty, it's full b****. And I was like, yeah, that's so spot on. And for many people, especially when you come from environments, one of the things that I heard you say in this podcast where I was like, Man, that's f*** crazy like it really felt that way to me is when your mother came and sat down in your room after you had gotten done like mowing lawns for a weekend, and she was like, you made more money than your dad makes.

Kyle: That was one of the most pivotal points in my entire life, dude. And I'll never forget it because, you know, I had spent two days mowing lawns, washing cars, hustling, grinding, came home, counting the money on the bed. And my dad, like growing up, my dad was the hardest working man I've ever known. He'd work a hundred hours a week at two different jobs, drive an hour and a half both ways to work like dude, he just worked, that's all he did, that's all I knew my dad to do was to work and to see that I could make as much money as my dad as a f**** 14-year-old kid, mowing lawns. I was like, I can't, like again, learning from other people's mistakes, like I can't go the same path as my dad. Like if I do, I get the same life that he has so, I have to find something different. And that was when I started looking at like, well, what else is out there? And so, by the time I was 18, I was like 10K, 10K, 10K, 10K but that moment where my mom sat down on my bed and told me that, I was like, f***, like this is broken and I need to figure out something different. And that's what started my path to entrepreneurship, man.

Michael: Was the thing that was broken seeing that your dad was working that much for nothing?

Kyle: Basically, yeah, because I didn't realize this till later on in life, but in the moment, I realized it wasn't the hard work, it was the what work I was doing, even as a kid. But the only work I could do was manual labor and so, the harder I worked at manual labor, the more money I made which created a f*** up paradigm for me later on in life is that like, dude, there was one year, I was 22 years old where I was working in construction, I was building cell phone towers, I had my own company and I slept in my truck on the road working more than I slept in a hotel bed or my own bed. And so, I had this work hard, work hard, work hard, that ended up damaging me later on in life because that's not actually what got me there. And I realized that back then, but didn't live that throughout my life.

Michael: What about that damaged you?

Kyle: Couple of things. It took my like, don't get me wrong, working hard is mandatory, right? Working your like fingers and grinding everything into the ground, there are other things in life that you begin to just not have the capacity to facilitate like relationships, right? Like my first marriage, I worked on the road and like, didn't actually facilitate a healthy marriage like I wasn't trying to be a good husband I was trying to make money. And so, I began chasing the dollar, and so my health declined, my relationships declined there were opportunities that I couldn't capitalize on, whether it be through relationships or finances or business, because I was just working you know, 12, 14, 15 hours a day, not caring about my health, not caring about my wife, not caring about my friends, because I needed to work because I thought working was the thing that got me there. And then I woke up one day and I lost everything that I had and I just spent the last three years working harder than I'd ever worked my entire life.

Michael: I resonate with that a lot. And what I'm wondering is if you thought the same thing that I did and what maybe many people do. I remember there was a point where, so I worked for corporate America. I'm in this lucky position really by any stretch of the imagination, but I had earned it, right? But there's always a little twinge of luck and success, and I'm making multiple six figures. I have no high school diploma, have no college education, everybody around me is like, don't ever give this up, because if you do, you'll never get this opportunity again. And so, I let those seeds get planted. I believed it and I moved in. I just stayed in this role and then I was like, nope, I hate this. I quit. I'm gonna go start my own business. And when I started my own business, it was massively a struggle, it was painful, it was uncomfortable, it cost me everything. Right. Because I was just chasing money and what I'm getting to is, I felt and I still feel like in that time, not today, in that time, that if I chase that at some point, I would hit a level of success that made me like myself, and I'm wondering if that's true?

Kyle: Dude, that was a hundred percent how I felt because there were times where I had a lot of money in the bank and I felt great, and then I didn't have a lot of money in the bank and I felt like total shit. And I realized that my identity was attached to the work and the money and not who I was as a person. And dude, that just takes you on the wrong paths in a lot of areas, you approach relationships differently, you look at opportunities differently and a thousand percent resonate with that.

Michael: What's your identity today?

Kyle: So, for me, man, like I'm a believer, so like I believe in God, I believe in Christ. And I think that for me, my identity is wrapped in like, how can I move the kingdom forward? What can I do for the kingdom? And I look at money as a fuel to move kingdom forward. And so, my identity is wrapped in like I have a bigger purpose and for me, there's two things that I really push forward and like the things that I strive for and it's like, it's more my why, but I kind of attach it into my identity even it’s like dude, there are women and children today, Lockton f**** cages being sold to the highest bidding pig in the room. And it's like, my identity is like, I need to go save those people and I know it takes resources to do it. And so, my identity is like, how can I go get resources to get them out of those fucking cages?

Michael: One of the things that we do with Think Unbroken is we donate to Operation Underground Railroad, which I'm sure you must be familiar with and I do that one because I grew up in an environment where you saw children being hurt constantly, I'm one of those children. And two, because when you really recognize the evil of money. The evil of money I don't think it's about big buildings and I don't think it's about luxury cars, and I don't think, I don't think that's the evil of money. I think the evil of money is what people do with it to hurt other people and because like human hunting is f*** real. Human trafficking is real. Child s*x islands are f**** real. Yep. And people go, I'm mad at the 1% ‘cuz they can buy all the Starbucks they want. I'm like, you guys are looking at this totally backwards, you're missing the point entirely. Why is it that now? And what has even shifted for you in which you have become, I'm gonna call you a servant leader for lack of a better way to phrase it. What brought that on? Because you're more successful than you were a decade ago, you're doing better in business. You have a great home, you got Audis, you got the wife, everything seems to be on paper, what you're looking for, and yet there's that side of you like, no, I've got to give more like, why? Because most people, don’t whether they're making 50 grand or 500 million, they're like, I'm not gonna give, I'm gonna get me first. Especially when they come from backgrounds like us. And so, you and I have this very interesting parallel track where I'm looking at this, I'm going, yep. We were here, we were here together. We were here together. And now on the other side of it, we're here together. And so my shift came because I just simply realized at rock bottom, when I was 50 grand in debt, borrowing money from my girlfriend to pay rent. It doesn't actually matter, that was for me. So, I'm curious, what was the shift for you?

Kyle: I don't know if I can like nail down one single shift, man. I've always been a kind person, right? And once I started giving back and started actually like having, here's where I think it came down to. Once I got to a place in life where I had more than I needed and I saw other people struggling and I started helping, like selfishly in the beginning it was like, f***, that feels good, right? Like I was able to help them and it actually got a little like, I don't know, a little weird ‘cuz then it kind of went to my ego. It's like, well, I make such good money, I can go help people. Or I had a really good month, I could go help this person and it started feeding into my ego and I had to take a step back at one point and realize like giving isn't about me. Like sure, it makes me feel good, but giving to other people and helping other people, like that's what it's about. And I think for me, what comes up when you say this is Ed Mylett says this, he says, when I get to heaven and I see what the version of myself that God created me to be, I don't wanna be a stranger to that person and I don't want that person to be a stranger to me. And there's always been something inside of me that's like on the ego side of things that feels like I can just do anything. Like if you tell me or if I wanna do something, like I will go do it and I will figure it out and I will win and because I have that talent and that skillset, if you will, that I've developed over training my mind for a decade plus because I have that skillset, I owe it to myself and to other people and to God to go and actually do the things that I'm placed here to be. And if I make it about me, I'm just playing too small and the rewards at that level aren't big enough for what I want. Whereas if I make it about other people, like dude, my goal is to be able to rescue and rehabilitate 30 women a year, it costs about $80,000. I think last time I looked was about $83,000 to rescue and rehabilitate a child or a victim of sex trafficking. And it's like, if I just made this about me, I could do a couple hundred grand or a million bucks in my business like that's awesome. But if I make it about those other people, now I can create something much larger and not only can I help them, but now my clients, like their kids do the way that I work in my business and I operate in business is like my client's children will never have to know the trauma that you and I grew up with, and that's f*** important to me. And so, if I can take and work with 70 clients versus seven, and I can rescue 80 women instead of 30, like that's just feels good like that's what I'm here to do. And I have that skillset that I've developed that allows me to do it, that most people don't have the opportunity to get dude, you know, growing up we talked about the resilience early on. Dude, most people can't get punched in the mouth over and over and over and over and over and over again and keep going. I can, and as much as it sucks, those were the traits that I were given, and most people just won't ever get those dude.

Michael: Yeah. First off, I hope that you're able to do 800 people a year, you know. To me, that's why I love business and I love living in America the greatest country on f*** planet Earth, ‘cuz you can do that. There's so many people who dismiss that and it bothers me, but we'll save that for another conversation. I get into this really interesting thought process quite often about growing businesses and about being able to serve and what that means inherently for me. And you said something really important that I think most people don't understand running businesses, honestly, really anything, man, really, anything that you do in life that matters, you're gonna get punched in the face and knocked down again and again and again and again. And the thing about getting back up is people go, yeah, I get knocked down, get back up, it's like, get back up and learn. Get back up and learn. Most people just get back up and then it's like they're in the same relationship, they're in the same job, they're in the same fast-food restaurant again, I'm guilty of all these things, right? I look at that, I think at that constantly, and it drives me f**** crazy because I'm like, what is the point of resilience if you're not actually doing anything with it? And you mentioned something that I think is really, really important and it's this idea that as you go through this journey, like you have to help people alone. And that's what Think Unbroken is entirely, that's why we created it, that's what it's for. My mission is very simple in generational trauma in my lifetime, through education and information, that's why we do this point, blank period. There is no other reason. Right? And every day that I think about the effort that it takes to do this, there is a, you got into that place about your why and I have to remind myself why. And it's incredible to me that yours is the same as mine, it's ‘cuz I do not want a child growing up in the world that I grew up in. It's awful. It's painful. It's disgusting. It's all of those things and you have to be willing to step into truth. And I feel that when I first started this not even Think Unbroken, but this journey of my life, this radical transformation now, 12 years ago almost, it was looking at everything in front of me and going, I am tired of my own b****. How much of a role did that play in your life and what were you tired of?

Kyle: For me, it's very seasonal, right? Because like all of us, I have patterns, I have habits, I have little f*** monsters that show up for me and it's different at every point. And so, I would say the role that it played was typically I'd get to a place where I was comfortable and the b**** would come pour back in, and I would go through a city.

Michael: What does that mean?

Kyle: Like, let's say I got to a place where I was comfortable financially, like I had some money in the bank, bills are paid for the next few months. And like I get to that place financially and I get a little comfortable and the b*** starts whether it's oh, I'm gonna start drinking a little more, or not working as much but like not working as focused as I should be or taking the time off where I shouldn't be and just doing these little b****, lazy patterns that show up and the addictive patterns that'll show up and I start telling myself these stories as to why it's okay to stay here. And then an opportunity will pass me by because I didn't grow large enough, my business to capture this opportunity or I lose a friendship because of the b**** that shows up like for me, it kind of comes out in bitterness like I get a little bitter sometimes. And so, when I get to a level of comfort for me, I tend to like rest on my laurels instead of keep going, whether that's working or investing in a relationship or whatever, the s*** that shows up for me is like not being good enough or the mental patterns of like, you don't deserve that, or like, that's impossible and all these like, false beliefs that tend to show up that like I know where they come from and I know they're not even my beliefs, but they just still want to pull in. It'll eventually come to a head to where I either have to break through the b**** and break through like my negative thoughts and break through the things that are happening in my life. And typically, at that point, I've rested for so long, or I've gotten distracted or we talked about like lenses earlier. I begin looking at s**** through different lenses because of my upbringing or because of the season that I'm in or because of a fight I had with my wife. And that sh*** it becomes like a poison for me. And it's typically right before the next level or the next place I'm supposed to be going and it's like the thing that tries to keep me there.

And so, I either have to get so sick of it that I break through, or when I get so sick of it, I can give up. And there was a season, you know, just recently last year, I mean there was a season last year in business like dude, we didn't think we'd make it like we got our fricking teeth kicked in. We dumped a bunch of money in ads and switched offers and all these things. Dude, we got our f*** teeth kicked in for like four months straight. And when that happened, I even felt my identity like, oh, you're not good enough to do this. You're not good enough to make this. Like, the b***** starts coming back and that starts showing up as like, dude, I'll go start drinking more, I'll go start smoking weed sometimes and like the patterns start happening. And it's like, if I stay here, I will stay here forever or I can outgrow that s*** mentally and try and move on to the next version of who am I'm supposed to be in life. So, I dunno if that answers your question well.

Michael: I find myself at times when I'm deep against a wall where it's like, here I am, you need to break through or be consumed by it, dude, I swear of God, I feel like this has happened every single time there's a pattern that, like you mentioned, shows up, next thing you know it's sex, drugs, rock and roll for seven days, four days, whatever that is. Right. And then I pause and I go and sometimes it's not even that, sometimes it's just, you know, I sit and then I go, man, I'm so f**** mad at the world right now, why can't I just figure this out? It's not always like; I have to go destroy my life. Right. And in that, what I 99% of the time come down to is I go, I'm scared of the next level because something in me from when I was four years old says, you don't deserve to have that. And I love that you brought up Ed Mylett because I've seen him live many, many times and I've read his books, I listened to his show and he talks about this power of one more, right? And he's like, just do one more thing, one more phone call, one more interview, one more email sent, one more rep at the gym, one more mile, one more stare, right? Whatever that is. And for me, for so long, the only way I broke through things was just to do it anyway, that's what I think about this one more concept, it's like, just do it anyway. Do it when you're scared. Do it when you're afraid. Don't run. Because that discomfort that I need to stuff down with sex, drugs, rock and roll, all that shit that is an identity that you're holding onto from 30 years ago. And so, when you get there, where does the breakthrough actually come in for you like, what does that look like when you're against this wall? Here's the next level. It's like, all right, Kyle, m**** like, you gonna do this or not? How do you get through that? Because that's the place where people find themselves in 40 years on their deathbed going, I regret not doing it anyway.

Kyle: So, I've never shared this and this is what it typically looks like. It typically looks like me completely breaking down and crying like a little bitch like that's typically what happens at some point. And I realized in that moment, like if I stay here, and this is why for me, I had to create something bigger than me because in those moments I would just fucking give up. It's not worth it. Fuck it. Is this the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm not doing it. Not worth it. I'll go back and get a job at McDonald's or some shit. I don't wanna do it or when there's turmoil in a relationship, like, f**** it, I'm out. I don't wanna do this. And then I realize, you know, I have a thing called a morning formula that I got from a mentor of mine where it's a document explaining who I want to become in the next five to 10 years. And I try and read it every day, it doesn't always happen. But especially those moments where I'm just like typically in tears, sobbing, weeping, feeling like my back is against the wall, the world is closing in on me, no one's here to help me. I realized like, dude, no one's coming to f**** save me. And yet here I am and every day that I've ever had a breakdown, I've made it through it up to this point. And so, there's no different in this breakdown or this back against the wall or this problem that I'm not be able to make it through, especially with the help of God for me because every day after this point, regardless of how grim it looked, regardless of how dark the next step looked, I've always made it through even if it was uncomfortable. And so, if I'm in that position, for me, what it'll look like is I'm typically one day freaking out crying and then kind of the next day I don't know, and maybe this is still some trauma s*** that I gotta deal through, but it's like, quit being a bitch. Like you're called for bigger s***. You're called for things that are above and beyond you. Like you think you have it f**** hard. Think about the women and kid in f*** cages in Africa or in India right now, and you think you have it hard? Little bit of perspective for me is what I try and bring in and I'll read through that morning formula and one of the lines in that morning formula is who I need to become, what are the character traits of the person in five years? And I'll realize like, fuck, I'm not carrying those character traits today, that's why I feel like this, because if I was that person carrying those character traits, doing those things, I wouldn't feel like this. So, getting back into doing the things that are not who I am today, but they are the things of the person I want to become and then having some perspective of like, dude, your life's not that bad, quit being a b***.

Michael: Yeah, I do know and that hits hard. And today I go to the gym, I try to go at least six times a week and it's not always working out, sometimes it's literally just sitting in the sauna, just sweating and it's like a meditation for me and I'm in the sauna today, I'm thinking about, it's so funny you just said that ‘cause I was thinking about when I was 20 years old. So, I hadn't yet landed that job with that Fortune 10 company. I was working as a manager in a retail place making I dunno, dude, this was 20 years ago, I'm probably making 12 bucks an hour or something. Right. And my fucking car got repoed. And not only did my car get repoed, but that same week rent was due and I couldn't pay my rent. And also, I didn't have enough money to buy food because I didn't get paid till the next week because of that cycle, that two weeks cycle.

So, everything just kind of collapsed on me, I'm like, I just need one more week. I need one more week. I need one more week. And then it was like, okay, cool. That happened. And I remembered being like 12 years old, I lived by myself. Literally I lived by myself in an abandoned house stealing food from the big lots on the corner of 30th in Georgetown and Indianapolis, no water, no heat, no electricity. My mom was on a bender. I remember being seven years old having a asthma attack so bad, I coded in Kentucky and like all these things were going through my head today, and it was like, why am I so scared of b**** that doesn't matter? And it's like, why am I scared? What is it that it is that's holding me back? Because I'm at this point now in my life where there's another level I can, dude, I can touch it.

You know, I've spoken on some of the biggest stages in the world. Grant Cardone has invested in my business. I know everyone in this industry, and it's like the breakthrough that's about to happen is where I'm at right now, and I know it's coming but the breakdown has to come first. And the more I think about this, I love that we've gone here today. I believe that to have the breakthrough, you do have to have the breakdown. And Tim Storey, who is an amazing mentor, if you don't know him, he is Oprah's coach, coached all the celebs. He's been on the show. He and I have been friends for a couple of years, and he talks about turning your setback to a comeback. And as we're having this conversation column, just thinking about all of the people listening. And I'm wondering, what tool, what if anything, because I love this idea of your morning and this document that you have created. I think a lot of people write a lot of s*** down and they look at it, but I think that the reason that people stay stagnant and stuck is lack of execution. And so, I'm gonna give a piece of advice here and I want you to as well, and so my piece of advice is if you are having a breakdown to have your breakthrough you need to take massive action that is incredibly uncomfortable by doing the thing that you know you need to do. And so, Kyle, my question for you, what do people need to do if they're having a breakdown right now so that they can have a breakthrough?

Kyle: I think the first thing you said right there about massive action, that's the biggest thing. And I think there's a step before that because most people don't take massive action because they're terrified of something winning, losing, doesn't matter they're terrified. Typically, the fear is the reason we are in that place of breaking down. I'm too afraid of what's going to the next level. I'm being pulled to it and I'm not ready. And I sit in the corner and I'm fearful and I'm frustrated. And one of the biggest tools that I've used to kind of break off that fear and realize and separate the fear because dude, the version of you at 12 years old sitting in an abandoned house, searching for food from Big Lots, you were probably f*** terrified.

Michael: But I also didn't know better.

Kyle: Fair. But like you couldn't see past tomorrow you're trying to get dinner. And a lot of people get stuck in that place if they're so afraid that they can't even f**** see what's for dinner, they can't see the next thing that they're gonna get. And so, the tool that I've always used, that I got from a mentor of mine is gather yourself. Don't sit, try and do this like while you're ugly crying. But write down on a piece of paper at the very top is like, what's the place you're going to? Like, where are you heading? What's the next stage of your life what do you want it to look like? What is it you're pursuing? And then the entire page is a list of shit that can go wrong. Down to like be as real as possible like is there a chance that if you move into this next season that you can be homeless, living under a bridge in a box? Probably not. You probably have someone in your life that'll take you in. You probably have a couch you can sleep on. But go down and be realistic of all of the worst-case s*** scenario that would happen. And when you get to the bottom of it, you realize, man, it's not as bad as I thought because we make up these projections and stories in our brain that's a thousand times worse than anything that's actual real, actual reality. You know, I have conversations with people that are looking to get into this next level of business and it's like they're talking about like losing their house and being homeless. I'm like, dude, you have the best network in the world like you would never be homeless, what do you mean? Like that's a dumb, that's not even real. And you get to the bottom of this list and you realize, s****, this isn't as bad as I actually thought it was. And then I actually draw a line on the bottom and I sign the s*** like a document. If I decide to move forward and actually pursue the breakthrough, I'll sign on the dotted line at the bottom and make that contract with myself that the goal at the top if everything were to happen, it's still worth it. And if it's not, then I probably should be going a different direction anyway.

Michael: And I would imagine as you write that down, it's really starting to become true for you, whether or not it's something you actually want, that's actually a really good advice. I love the parlay of that, get massive clarity. Write it down, because if you write it down, you'll figure it out. And if you write it down, you figure it out, you make agreement with yourself, you won't be as scared and thus you will take action.

Kyle: Yeah. Well, and you might even be as scared, but the thing is you've committed to yourself that it's worth it. And anytime that self-doubt creeps in, I'll go back to that document and be like, did I sign this nine months ago? And I told myself back then it was worth it and I'm letting the emotional state freak me out too much. I'll just refer back to the logic and I say, Hey, I said it's worth it and I'm gonna do it afraid anyway. And that's where a lot of people get stuck is like, be afraid and just do it anyway, just do one more way, just take one more step. Live one more day. Step one more place. And learn how to control your f**** emotions for God's sake, please learn how to control your emotion. So that's three parts. Clarity, action, control your emotions because anything that you do in life is going to be hard, it's going to be scary, anything that's worth doing right? The second you get outta complacency, ‘cuz you've never done it before, you're gonna be terrified, you just are. And so, I think that that's a really, really practical framework that Kyle has just given us to help create some massive change in our lives. My friend, this conversation's been unreal, so stoked to have you had you on today. I know that the Unbroken Nation just got a ton of value out of you. Before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Kyle: Yeah. Best place to find me is on YouTube or on any of the podcast platforms, the podcast called, it's called Project Fortify, or if you find me on YouTube, it's just under Kyle Livingston. So, Project Fortify and all the podcast platforms YouTube Kyle Livingston.

Michael: Brilliant. And of course, we'll put the links in the show notes for the audience. So, guys, go to look up Kyle's name, Kyle Livingston for this episode, we'll put the links for that show in the notes Kyle, my friend, my last question for you, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Kyle: Unbroken to me is getting broken and having the resilience to get back up again and when the next adversity arises, controlling your emotions enough and controlling how you feel enough to get back into, to pursue your dreams and actually chasing something that's worth it.

Michael: Hmm. Truth. Brother, thank you so much for being here.

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Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.

Kyle LivingstonProfile Photo

Kyle Livingston

Business Consultant

Kyle Livingston is a Husband, Entrepreneur and regular human, BUT I do have a Superpower…

My superpower is I can troubleshoot the issue plaguing your coaching and consulting business that are keeping you stuck in your business & help you fix them. The emphasis was on that last part if you could tell. But, I do have a secret that I want to share 1st.