Dom Brightmon: Turning Adversity Into Advantage #45

Warwick Fairfax

November 24, 2020

Life, Dom Brightmon freely admits, can be crappy sometimes. But each of us has the power to flip the switch to “happy” — the key is to view our crucible experiences as crystal experiences. Through books (like CRAPPY TO HAPPY), public speaking, and working with men and women going through setbacks and failures, Brightmon (a member of the John Maxwell-certified leadership team) is both a teacher and practitioner of the truth that when you advance others, you advance yourself.

To learn more about Dom Brightmon, visit www.DomBrightmon.com

Highlights

  • How a job at the local library changed his passions — and his life (7:47)
  • At first, a gift may be wrapped in adversity (11:19)
  • How a relatively mild car accident proved to be a tough crucible (13:05)
  • When crucibles come just as you neat a goal (15:23)
  • The reprimand from his boss that helped him realize he wanted to be a leader (17:04)
  • Why his Dad was his hero (20:04)
  • How he’s benefitted from the blessings poured into him by others (25:43)
  • Describing his purpose (31:24)
  • How to join the business of immortality (33:10)
  • The power of forgiveness (36:31)
  • Why extending hope to others is critical (38:38)
  • MITCH — the 5 keys to elite performance (42:57)
  • Never give up (46:36)
  • Key takeaways from the episode (47:15)

Transcript

Warwick F:
Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax, the founder of Crucible Leadership.

Dom B:
… until you go inside, you never know what’s really going on until you get a closer, deeper look into what’s really going on and I feel like that’s really what we all need to keep in mind and life and heck even when it comes to crucible moments of, hey, at first, a gift may be wrapped up in adversity. It may be wrapped up in barbed wire with a pink rubber duck just taunting you saying, hey, you sure you want to open me buddy? I’m going to… and it’s just taunting you. Taunt like macho man, Randy Savage, a professional wrestler like, “Hey buddy, I know you want to succeed, but you got to open up this barbed wire and it’s going to hurt your hands first.”

Gary S:
Well, those are definitely some words of wisdom from today’s guest, Dom Brightmon, who speaks with us today about how to… yeah, I’m going to say it. I’m going to dare to say it. Dom discusses with us how to wrestle with our crucible experiences. Dom offers a unique and energetic and insightful perspective on how to move beyond our crucibles. He is a certified member of the John Maxwell leadership team and the author of two and a quarter books. His first book is Going North!: Tips & Techniques to Advance Yourself. His followup was Stay The Course: The Elite Performer’s 7 Secret Keys to Sustainable Success, and just out this fall is a chapter he’s written in a compilation book and if this isn’t a crucible leadership title, I don’t know what is. This is perfect for Beyond The Crucible. He has written a chapter for a book that just came out called Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy.

Gary S:
I’m Gary Schneeberger, the co-host of the podcast and I’m going to turn you loose here for Dom and Warwick to have a conversation, but before I do I want you to grab a pen or a pencil and some paper because Dom’s got some wisdom that he drops in this episode. He’s a motivational speaker who talks about these things across the country or at least across Zoom as we sort of face the pandemic that we’re facing right now, but here’s just one of the things that Dom says in the episode that you’re going to want to write down. I’ll give you a headstart and that is this, your adversity can be your advantage. Let’s hear Dom Brightmon and Warwick unpack that for us right now.

Warwick F:
Well, thanks so much and Dom really appreciate you coming on the podcast and yeah. I’d love to hear more here in a bit about your book Going North and your podcast on that and just how you help coach folks. Before we get into that, tell us a bit about Dom Brightmon and kind of how you grew up. I understand you’re in Baltimore, I’m a few miles down the road in Annapolis, Maryland. Same state, home of, I guess, the Maryland Terrapins. If you’re not from Maryland, you probably have no idea what a terrapin is. I think it’s some kind of snappy turtle from what I understand.

Warwick F:
Fear the Turtle, I don’t know why you’re meant to fear a turtle, but if you’re in Maryland I guess you’re meant to tell people, be afraid of the turtle. There we go, a little Maryland deal there. Tell us about yourself just growing up here and Baltimore area and yeah, your family and all that.

Dom B:
Sure thing. Well, first off, I like to say never hesitate to show gratitude. Thank you both team George Washington, Mr. Gary, and Warwick yourself for allowing me to be able to share this time with you. This is amazing. Outside of the intro, like my aim it to advance others to advance myself because I believe in coaching and empower others to share their stories, their motivational teaching and book casting because with motivational teaching as opposed to motivational speaking, you get to leave people with tangible tips and techniques they can walk out with, along with their motivation instead of being motivated to run through a brick wall and then they’re wondering to themselves, okay, why am I charging for this brick wall here? Why am I doing this? And really just giving them something tangible to walk away with. That’s a little bit about me, at least the short version of it.

Warwick F:
Yeah, no, that’s great. Tell us about your family. You grew up in Baltimore. Who was like a young Dom? What were you like as a kid in elementary school and all?

Dom B:
Oh yeah. Young Dom, pretty much a quiet kid funny enough. Went to grade school. Probably most of my time, if it wasn’t at home or playing with my friends, it was most likely in school or possibly church, because I think it was about two weeks old, got christened in the church and I was basically raised in the church from a whole life because my father, he was a spiritual man even though he still had short backs, like we all do. We’re all human. No, one’s perfect and all that good stuff.

Dom B:
He took me to Sunday school every morning. Basically from 8:30 to around good 2:30 PM every Sunday. I’d basically be in a church, Sunday school service and then of course as a black Baptist church so you know the pastor is going to say I’m going to close and then he’s got another hour to go.

Gary S:
Yeah. It reminds me of a joke. What does it mean when a pastor looks at his watch? Nothing.

Warwick F:
Exactly. When you listen to your dad and say, I’m going to close, it’s like “Dad, come on. I mean, for once, can you actually mean it?” I mean, you ever kid him about that? It’s like, why do you say that?

Dom B:
Oh, well, that’s the good thing. He was the preacher himself. Funny enough, he joked around when he was a kid because funny enough, my grandfather was a preacher and when it was time to pray around the family room, and they would do prayers, they would pray all night. Even as a kid, he’d be like, “Hey, can we pray one prayer please? Just one.” And all the grownups just laughed at him because he was so right. I’m pretty sure God gets the point.

Warwick F:
As you were growing up with this kind of heritage, was it ever like… Well, Dom it’s pretty clear what the Lord will have for you. We’ve had two generations of preachers. Really the question is what kind of preaching do you want to do? What kind of church, I mean, was ever that expectation that you’d absolutely go into the… I don’t know about family business, but family heritage and all?

Dom B:
No. Well, let me clarify the generational preaching part. My grandfather was a preacher, but my father wasn’t.

Warwick F:
Okay.

Dom B:
He actually spent time in the military. He actually served in World War II, funny enough, and the Korean War in the 82nd Airborne Division as a paratrooper.

Warwick F:
Oh wow.

Dom B:
He actually spent time in the service in terms of service for the country in addition to being a spiritual man. For me the preaching like, folks have been… probably like 95% of people probably think I’m a preacher right now and I don’t even try to come across that way especially becasue like, “Hey, you look like that preacher on TV. Hey, make sure to share the tithe money and bless up some other people.” I’m like, “What? I don’t have a title. I just got slacks and a shirt.”

Warwick F:
That’s funny, but it’s kind of probably in the blood. I understand that one of the things you did growing up is you spent time in the library like a summer internship which turned out to be, I don’t know, somewhat of a key part of your journey. Talk about why the library? Because from what I understand, you weren’t really into reading books. How did that all happen?

Dom B:
Oh, yeah, it was funny back then too, because back then I wasn’t really into reading books because with grade school they gave you books that you don’t want to read. They’ll put you straight to sleep. Funny enough, remember back in 11th grade reading a book over the summer for a book project and after page two, I fell straight asleep and then I came too at 10:00 PM, a few hours later, like oh, whoops. That was the same year that it kind of brings back to the part of me being a quiet kid. My mom knew I was a quiet kid and she wanted me to get some work experience as quickly as possible, at least give myself an advantage.

Dom B:
Out of nowhere, like a spirit told her like, “Hey, why don’t you to see if you can get Dom a job at the library?” She called the HR office. They had an opportunity available. I worked there as a summer youth intern in the summer of my 11th grade year, and those three months were interesting. Even got paid for, is a paid internship, and my work was good enough and they liked me enough to bring me back on as a part-time employee when I turned 16, when it was actually legal to do so. Just doing that, and I was surprised because I was still the quiet kid. I haven’t really gotten to the part where I can be one of those ambiverts, the extroverted introvert, was able to be a social butterfly but still recharges when he’s not around people.

Dom B:
Just that summer youth internship, being able to be liked well enough to be brought back because I was always the kid who would always do his work. Funny enough, like even my humor was developing at the time because my first time there, the supervisor’s like, so do you come to the library a lot? And I was like, yeah, I do. I come here twice a year and everybody just burst out laughing. So yeah, reading wasn’t my thing and libraries weren’t my thing and I thought that was a lot. It’s like I got two big projects a year. I come here to take the books out and check them back in. As the years gone by, I realize, “Oh, people come here every day. Every day.” It’s a community resource and one guy says he’s a security guard. He’s like, “I see people here more often than I see my wife.”

Male:
Wow.

Dom B:
That’s how much people still use local libraries these days and that really experience just being around those wonderful folks with diverse backgrounds helped me to realize, you know what? I can learn to deal with people with different generations, different nationalities. Like with a lot of our work that in particular, there’s a little part where Storyville was for kids birth to five, where you get them ready for kindergarten, then they have a stream space and then for the teenagers, it was next door to high school.

Dom B:
One hundredths of 300 teens would come to the building after school, a good 2:30 PM in the middle of the day and then of course they get senior citizens, especially years ago when e-readers were getting extra big back then before smartphones got bigger. They just needed help using their tools they got for Christmas and heck even helping folks find employment. Libraries are more than books and I had to learn that after working there for a few years and going in, because I thought like, “Oh, just go to the card catalog, pick up a book.” Like, no, it’s actually bigger than that. It’s a community resource because, especially nowadays where people don’t all have reliable Wi-Fi and they go to parking lots of library, especially in the Baltimore County area-

Male:
Sure.

Dom B:
… to use the Wi-Fi during the whole pandemic things. That really lets me broadening my mind. It’s kind of like the whole outside looking in thing until you go inside. You never know what’s really going on until you get a closer, deeper look into what’s really going on, and I feel like that’s really what we all need to keep in mind in life and that even when it comes to crucible moments of, hey, at first a gift may be wrapped up in adversity. It may be wrapped up in barbed wire with a pink rubber duck just taunting you saying, “Hey, you sure you one open me buddy? I’m going to… and it’s just taunting you. Taunt like macho man, Randy Savage, a professional wrestler like, “Hey buddy, I know you want to succeed, but you got to open up this barbed wire and it’s going to hurt your hands first.”

Dom B:
It’s kind of like that thing, so yeah, it’s been really just that going forward, just taking a deeper look and realizing that there’s a gift in every adverse and there’s a gift when you look deeper into certain situations and environments.

Warwick F:
Sounded like that library opened up a whole window to the world, which obviously vicariously you can have an idea of what’s going on in the world in books, but just your community and different age groups, different people’s challenges and you’re helping them, your work ethic. You’re finding… I’m getting things done. Dom’s responsible. You finding a sense of humor. You don’t always think of the library as being a key part of the journey, but it seemed like it was for you all the ways you just described, which is amazing.

Warwick F:
I know from… Understand that you’ve had a couple of crucibles, I think you almost had a car accident when you were 21. Now, a lot of people when they’re young, they have car accidents. It’s not that uncommon, but somehow for you, this was a bit of a transition point for you. Talk about why that was the transition point.

Dom B:
Yeah, the wonderful TP that we all need in life, a transition.

Warwick F:
The blessing of a transition point or… is the gift wrapped in barbed wire, that kind of thing. Oh please. Thank you so much.

Dom B:
Exactly, but yeah it was just… Yeah, it was one heck of a transitional point because really that day I was expecting just to go to class and then celebrate with some family, some friends later on in the day, not expecting to fricking wreck my car making a left turn no less and blocking up traffic for good. Man, my God, it was a good 90 minutes.

Warwick F:
Wow.

Dom B:
And having to call two, it was two different tow trucks actually. Because I called AAA first after the accident and then they were on their way and then while the traffic was being backed up, a police officer drove passed and he noticed something was going on. He called his guy since the AAA guy didn’t show up and both tow trucks showed up at the same time and I was like, okay, I guess I got the insurance for this when you can call up your guy and then when the AAA guy came to tow my car, he was like, “Oh this truck isn’t built for this kind of situation.” Because my wheel was detached from one side of my car and then it was so darn plotted sit on the ground, that it was hard to drag it onto the truck with his tools that he had.

Dom B:
All of a sudden they call back the other tow truck and that just made it even longer and just really long story short, that really helped me to realize like, hey, I got to really shape up here because… I told my mom about it. She’s still in the Maryland area and still lived with them at the time when this accident happened. She was the other person I called when the first people called after trying to get the car towed away. I was still a little shell shocked from the whole situation. I was like, God, darn I can’t believe I fricking crashed my car like this. I’m not going to be able to drive it again. How the heck am I going to continue? Class like this, might take the bus or something.

Dom B:
This was the year where was the penultimate semester was the second to last semester before I got an IT degree at the school. I was so close to the finish line, and that’s the other thing about the moment. It’s like when you’re so close to that goal, there’s always going to be that one final test that really stands-

Warwick F:
Right.

Dom B:
… out to really make sure to test you to see if you really want to finish. If you want to be an uncommon finisher, you’re going to have to find your uncommon strength that was lying deep within all of us to really push beyond that moment. Sometimes it even requires the help of another person. Like my mom says like, “Hey, you’ve come too far to quit. God’s got big plans for you because you’re still alive.” Because I walked out no injuries from that situation, and she say, “Hey, you can do it.”

Warwick F:
How did that change your perspective on life? I mean, what about that was a turning point?

Dom B:
What made it a turning point is the fact that one is the first time that something like that really happened to me on that large scale. Like the closest thing that could really take place for that moment really had pretty much an easy childhood for the most part with the parents and everything and that was really something that just came flying out of nowhere. What made it really a turning point was the fact that that was actually a month after my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Dom B:
That was what really happened, is the fact that it was just really another hit to the face, where it’s like, okay, I’m seeing my hero decay. I can’t even drive my car anymore. Like am I going to be able to get to class and finish this darn degree? And then heck even a couple of weeks after that being called in, went in a meeting with my boss at the time and telling me like, “Hey, you got to shape up here.” Because she didn’t know what was going on. I like to keep the personal and the professional life separate.

Dom B:
I never told anyone about it until of course the books came out, but that’s all in the story and just realize that you know what? These three things realize, you know what? Something needs to change here. Something needs to change. Looking back at that meeting with the boss, yeah she yelled at me but at the same time, she also said that folks are going to be looking to me as a leader because she was having some new hires come in at the time since it was the new school year, and I looked up the leadership section of the library where I picked up a book by John Maxwell.

Dom B:
It helped me to really change my life and find personal and professional development to become a voracious reader again. It actually changed my perspective and realized, you know what? The car accident was a wake up call. My father falling, yeah that was a wake up call to basically make sure I take better care of him and always be grateful for him, and really a wake up call to take it up to the next level and realize that you can’t really go through a life on a plain meadow, like an open land.

Dom B:
There’s going to be some valley moments. There’s going to be some mountains you have to climb. You have to go uphill. Sometimes you have to go back downhill and metaphorically unlearn some things like the love for reading. That was something I unlearned through grade school, but I relearned after having those moments come crashing down on me forcing me to do something different. Sometimes it just takes moments like that to help you realize you know what? Something needs to change me. Those people to remind us like, “Hey, your adversity can be your advantage.”

Warwick F:
It almost seems like you had a renewed sense of purpose. You kind of rolling through life doing okay. Life wasn’t terrible after that point, but somehow the combination of the accident, your dad’s Alzheimer’s, the conversation with your boss. Somehow did it feel that sense of, I need more of a purpose, more of a direction, or rather than just kind of flowing through life or with something like that?

Dom B:
Oh yeah. Because one of my mentors liked to say, don’t go with the flow because dead fish go with the flow.

Gary S:
Wisdom.

Warwick F:
Right. Okay. Good to know. Somebody says Dom, just go with the flow. He says, no, no. No, no. I don’t go with the flow.

Warwick F:
Don’t do that.

Dom B:
Exactly. Because I don’t want to be in the frying pan later.

Warwick F:
Exactly. It’s amazing that you didn’t have much of a love for reading, but then reading self-development John Maxwell, that kind of fueled, that next direction… I want to ask about that, but I’m curious, you said… well, obviously when your dad gets a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, it just feels like this slow death sentence when the person who they were begins to evaporate before your eyes, which is obviously crushing. Talk about why he was your hero, because not everybody says their dad or their mom for that matter is their hero. Why did you see your dad as your hero?

Dom B:
A powerful question. Powerful question. Yeah, like I said earlier, like this first time someone actually asked me that. I’m blessed to say that my dad was one of my heroes in life because the whole spiritual foundation, always taking me to church every Sunday school and helped me to get that biblical foundation, and the fact that… he actually had gray hair all of my life. Like I’ve never seen… I’ve seen him with number… gray beard, gray hair on his head. What really made him my hero is that he always made sure that when it came time to pick me up from school, he would always be on time and show up early.

Dom B:
One time when he fell asleep preparing dinner for the family later, he apologized to me because he showed up five minutes late one day, and I’m like, it didn’t matter to me because I was still grateful to have a ride home from school and all that other good stuff. He felt bad that he was late for picking me up and even more importantly, even though he was in his early 80s, he was still volunteering at the church during the daytime to keep himself active because we would have a Maryland food… We would be sponsored by the Maryland Food Bank. That was one of our resources, it could be a soup kitchen at the church I attend.

Dom B:
We would get food from there. Since the church doesn’t have too many young folks available during the daytime, the trustees, he was a trustee of the church. He would help lift those heavy boxes. And mind you, he was around a good 83, 85 still doing this. One time we’re having a conversation on the way back home from class, and I was like, “Hey, so Dave, why are you still working as hard as you do when you could probably let somebody else do it?” You’ve worked all your life. You had two combat jumps in World War II. You served the country. You were a bus driver for 35 years and dealt with all that stress of dealing with all that, and you could just really rest and enjoy yourself because… like he retired, I think was like ’95 and it was around a good… my goodness, think it was probably a good 10 plus years past retirement where a lot of his friends died a couple of days after they retired and he’s lived a whole decade plus after it.

Dom B:
I’m like, why don’t you enjoy yourself? And he’s like, “Hey, I’m enjoying myself still because God’s given me life and it would be a disservice to not use my time here, my life to help other people.” This is a guy at 85 saying that and I’m like, wow. Just that really just… really made him my hero in life because he was there for me, always gave me some foundational principles and heck even the humor side where he sometimes will be so soft-spoken and quiet and everything enjoying himself and at sometimes when he gets around other buddies, he’ll bust out a random joke and have the whole group of guys laughing and I got to see some of his other side too and really just seeing the fact that parts of my life were emulated from him consciously and subconsciously and I didn’t even know what I wasn’t aware of it at the time. That’s the main reason I consider him one of my heroes.

Warwick F:
Boy, I mean, it’s a privilege to have a parent like a dad like that as a man of tremendous faith. Great character. He’s always there for you. Not quitting irrespective of age and lifting those boxes, involvement in church. I mean, that’s a great heritage. I often think that the heritage we have is often just… if we are blessed to have a family, legacy of character and faith, and this listeners would know the guy that started the family newspaper business in Australia, 150 years before my great, great grandfather. He was an elder in his church, wonderful husband, wonderful father, employees loved him.

Warwick F:
There was that heritage of character that was spread through the generations, of a sense of service and humility. With that kind of legacy is something that is just a gift to the future generations. I should know this, but are you married with kids? I should know this, I guess. Somehow I don’t know that, but I should ask you that. Do you have-

Dom B:
Oh no. No, not yet. I’m not rushing that. I’m 29.

Warwick F:
Okay. Good.

Dom B:
I’m in no rush for that right now.

Warwick F:
No worries. If and when that happens, you’ll have an amazing legacy and story to tell about their grandfather and that kind of heritage. It’d be really cool. Go ahead.

Gary S:
I want to jump in here for the listeners and just sort of recap what we’ve just talked about, Warwick and Dom aside from living in Maryland, probably couldn’t be more different in how they were brought up and they’ve lived their lives, but we’ve just heard both of them listener, talk about the importance of one of their forefathers. In Dom’s case his dad, and Warwick’s case his father as well as he talked here about his great, great grandfather and the importance and the power of the legacy that those individuals left in their lives and the lives that they’re leading now.

Gary S:
I said at the top of the show in finishing Dom’s bio, that his mantra is advance others to advance yourself. You know listener from previous episodes and following Crucible Leadership and Beyond the Crucible, Warwick talks about living a life on purpose and leaving a legacy, living a life of significance, right? Advance others to advance yourself could be the mantra of both of these men whose experiences are vastly different. One of the many things that they have in common emotionally is that they had someone who poured life into them and that’s gotten them now living lives of significance.

Gary S:
I just thought that’s really important for listeners to grasp, but it’s not so much how much you have in common with someone, it’s the things you do have in common that can propel your life forward in meaningful ways.

Warwick F:
Absolutely. I often think as people pour life into you, to use your expression, it enables you to pour life into others. Clearly your heritage, your dad has fueled what you do now. Talk a bit about how… stuff you grew up with, whether it’s dad, church, things you learned in the library, how all that kind of fueled what you do with John Maxwell coaching and your book, Going North and podcast, Going North. I have a feeling there’s a link between all those strands that fuels your mission and your purpose. Talk about that.

Dom B:
Ah, my pleasure indeed. It does all tie together like a patchwork quilt. Yes, indeed. The patches do a lot of work. I have to say that much because really I’m standing on the shoulders of giants. I guess in this case, sitting on the shoulders of giants, because they’ve like… really with the books like when you get a $25 package that someone probably took 25 plus years of their life to really put together, or maybe even shorter or longer and you get to borrow their experience and then take the meat out of it, throw out the bones and then put it to your life and apply it to your life and then apply a smaller version of it and then share with others, then you’ll create a version of your own success that you want, because that’s another thing too. Like it looks to me like success.

Dom B:
You can ask like five different people and you’ll get five different answers. Like you read a certain book and you might get five different meanings or five different translations. Really everything that I do is because I’ve had great folks in my life. My father, my parents, my older brother like siblings, heck even mentors and coaches that have really inspired me to really take it to another level and really create something for myself like my podcast itself.

Dom B:
It’s all about interviewing other authors to give them a platform to share their stories because we get to learn from one another from sharing our stories and we get to be inspired by hearing one another’s stories especially in this era of a need of vulnerability where vulnerability has become a buzzword because people are tired of folks faking the funk like those who like to maybe put their curated feed out in social media and make people think that’s their whole entire life when at the end of the day those pitches may not be a complete mirror of what’s really going on.

Dom B:
People really want folks that are actually real down to earth and give it to you straight, no chaser, some may say and just compiling those stories into create concept and give people the motivation to run for a lifetime. Because it’s another thing too. Like if one good person sees something good in you, you can run for a lifetime and just wanted to give that to the people because honestly, a lot of people may not know what they’re doing, but if they hear someone else who is confident in not knowing what they’re doing but still taking action, then that’ll make it even better. Because I remember going to a Toastmasters meeting a few years ago, I think it was 2014, and met a bunch of friendly faces and they had a guest speaker at this meeting. His name was Daniel Ally. He gave this speech how to act like a leader.

Dom B:
The acronym for act was audacious, contagious and tenacious. That inspired me to really take it to another level because he also had a book called You Are the Boss! and he was only a couple of years older than me. He was 25 at the time. I was like, “Wait, this guy in his 20s is speaking around the freaking country and eventually the world and he’s got a book and he’s writing about the things I’m already reading about.” I’m like, “I can do that too.” And I became an author a couple of years later because someone else’s action was the inspiration for me to get my butt moving even further and keep going.

Dom B:
The person listening right now, not just my stories, but the other stories in the past and heck even Warwick’s powerful story and I’m sure Gary has got stories too that he hasn’t even shared as much as he probably would like to yet, is the fact that we can all be inspired by another’s stories no matter what level of success you have.

Warwick F:
Yeah. I mean, that is so true. We need, I don’t want to say heroes, which we need heroes. It’s what we need real authentic, vulnerable people that we can learn from. It’s funny. I had somebody on the podcast recently, Chris Tuff who wrote a book, The Millennial Whisperer. It’s sort of a catchy title. Certainly what he’s saying is millennials, which is 20 somethings to early 30s, they crave authenticity, vulnerability. They don’t want just fabricated plastic politician or business people, the perfect hair, the perfect smile, all that kind of thing. They can see through inauthentic people a mile away. There’s just zero tolerance and people crave in our pre-packaged world we live in, they want the real, the vulnerable, the authentic.

Warwick F:
You’re sharing stories of real people. You probably don’t share people who have plastic stories, I’m guessing. You share the real stuff. People who are willing to go there, authentic and we need that because yeah, I mean, you were inspired by whether it’s obviously dad being proud of John Maxwell team, listening to this guy who was a couple years older than you. Gosh, if he can do it, heck I can do that. You know? I mean, my gosh. It’s like this is mission possible. I can do this thing, right? What is it you love to do in what you do? If somebody said, “Okay, well, Dom, what is your purpose in all this?”

Dom B:
Yeah, my purpose, I feel like would be to help others realize that success is tangible. Success is tangible because a lot of folks, especially folks in like the lower parts of Baltimore and folks who’ve had rough upbringings and heck, we’ve all gone through some rough stuff this year, I’m sure, with everything and just helping to realize that, hey, no matter what happens, you can still push beyond these moments and create some success for yourself. Like for myself so far, a couple of books and a podcast and getting out and sharing inspirations to the other folks and not being afraid to really talk to the folks who may have tons more followers and big followers than me on my show and just learning from them. Because that’s another thing too, is to learn from other people as opposed to like seeing somebody who may have like tangible success or whatever getting jealous.

Dom B:
Instead of getting jealous, find out what they did to create that because I feel like that’s something that gets a lot of people in the wrong ways. Like you know what? Instead of getting jealous someone, how do they get to that point? What did they do? And try to emulate them as opposed to getting mad and trying to complain about them, and then on your end, you may feel like, yeah, I’m telling the world how bad this person is. Like, yeah, they’re selling you a bill of goods of nothing. At the end of the day, you’re actually really helping them to get their message out there even more because haters make you greater, like a hater maybe somebody who may see somebody who may be doing something and they may not like it and then we actually check out the person they’re spewing the hate about. You may think, hey, this person ain’t that bad, I actually like what they have to say.

Dom B:
I’m just going to keep following them and seeing what they’re doing, so really just helping folks to realize that success is tangible. Like if you want to publish a book and join what I like to call the business of immortality, creating a piece of yourself that’ll be here long after you’re gone, then that can happen. Even though times are rough, this is still one of the best times to be alive in because there’s access to so many things to really help you create something that you may have been wanting to create for a long time.

Dom B:
Heck even one lady in a book club yesterday mentioned how she said, thank God for COVID. She’s like, I’m sorry for the lives that have been lost and counting during this whole situation but my faith has never been stronger. I’ve never had this much time to actually get more work done, to be quiet with myself more often because before COVID a lot of people are running and gunning and they may have forgotten why they’re running and gunning for. Like really just that sound to really be still and seeing that moment going beyond the crucible in a way and realize that, hey, this crucible moment can be a crystal moment.

Gary S:
Ooh. I like that.

Warwick F:
Wow.

Gary S:
I like that.

Warwick F:
That is cool. I mean, you’ve said a lot of powerful things there. I mean, you give people hope, you inspire people. It’s funny. We talk about crucible moments. Some people say, what do you mean crucible moment, it’s a crucible life. I’ve only ever known crucible, fire, brimstone, pain. It’s like a drop of grace of that cool water in the furnace. That would be a dream, but right now my life is a cauldron in the furnace and that’s sadly real for people, too many people and it is easy to get bitter and angry and hate.

Warwick F:
You have to ask yourself, how much does hate really serve you? Does it help you? Does it really serve you? Sometimes it’s one of the things we talk about and it’s funny, people in the business world don’t talk a lot about forgiveness, but sometimes it’s like forgiveness is different than acceptance. Something may have been done to you and it’s wrong. It’s unjustifiable. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to change in terms of the macro picture. We can’t change a lot of the structural systemic things that unfortunately are in life and have been for, well, probably thousands of years.

Warwick F:
Forgiving doesn’t mean accepting, but it’s like, okay, I may not like it but I’m not going to let this pull me down. Because bitterness stops you achieving your dreams. It’s like, okay. Just because you’re not angry and forgive and not bitter, it doesn’t mean you agree or accept. It’s fun… Sometimes you think if I forgive, then I’m condoning. Forgiving and condoning are different, but does that make sense? Like living a life of hate and bitterness even if it’s understandable or justifiable, how does that really help you? How does that help you advance? I mean, does that make sense?

Dom B:
Oh yeah. It makes perfect sense. Funny enough, I was talking in front of her show goes live in October, Rev. Misty Tyme. She actually has a book called The Forgiveness Solution. The things you said Warwick like, they aligned with what she was saying too and she actually does keynote presentation and things like that because she’s been there a lot herself with a rough upbringing. Heck, even dealing with past the spousal situations and learning to forgive is different from condoning.

Dom B:
It’s like, just because… You can forgive somebody, but that doesn’t mean you have to condone the behavior. Like that’s something totally different and that’s something I feel like a lot of folks need to keep in mind, is like, hey, you can forgive the person because it’s really for you so that way you can keep going and be lighter in life because a lot of folks are carrying weight. I’m not just talking about the COVID 15 to 35 from the COVID 19, …folks just crashed on a bunch of jokes.

Warwick F:
And Netflix, right? And Netflix, yeah.

Dom B:
Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. That too. That’s really just the power of truly forgiving. Like, hey, you can forgive the person but look at the behavior objectively, just separating the behavior from the person. Like, all right, the person can always change. We can always change. We’re subconsciously changing whether you believe it or not and it could be a change for the better or for the worse, but the behavior, if we can bring that to their attention and they can nip that in the bud early, that’s a whole different situation. I’ll fully agree with that. Fully agree with that.

Warwick F:
Yeah. It’s funny, I often say about forgiveness, is that, why should you forgive? Because you’re worth it. Not forgiving, it puts you in prison. In a prison of bitterness and anger and it just… it’s like a living in a prison with toxic chemicals. I mean, it erodes and destroys your soul. Why? You’re worth a lot more. It’s like they often could care less. Don’t give them the satisfaction. If you want to use some tortured, twisted logic, it’s like forgive because you’re worth it.

Warwick F:
Talk a bit about… you mentioned some people, their lives are pretty difficult. How do you give people hope? You in some ways were blessed in terms of the parents you’ve had and the dad you had, but a lot of people aren’t blessed with that. There are some people that have terrible upbringings, live in a terrible neighborhood. Their lives are terrible. How do you give people whose situation seems hopeless, how do you give them hope? How do you inspire those folks?

Dom B:
Yes. One of the first things I’d like to do is listen to people, give them some time because that’s really what a lot of people need nowadays, is someone just to listen to them. It’s like the classic time when you may greet somebody with the, how you doing, and you really don’t want to know how they’re doing. Just being courteous to people, but usually if I ask somebody that, I usually expect an answer usually. If that doesn’t work, even sometimes adding in a little humor to if they’re open to it because sometimes folks really need just a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine of life go down a lot easier.

Dom B:
Just really just humor, the power of listening, and just really a smile as well and heck even sharing someone a positive word and reminding people, it’s like hey, just because someone on paper may have all these titles and accomplishments, that doesn’t mean they don’t take bio breaks. We all have to take bio breaks here just to keep a little clean air for the listeners.

Warwick F:
Yeah, no. It’s so true.

Dom B:
Yeah. Just remind the folks like hey, like me too. Just because I got some victories that doesn’t mean I’m still not sure, but I’m like, hey, I still struggled from day to day. I still have to remind myself that I can still get things done and I can still be confident enough to really speak and inspire people because like with the whole COVID thing, like even having anxiety attack, because… I got an email from my day job and it was because of a miscommunication error and I’m like, oh crap, hope they don’t can me here because the whole side hustle side thing that dried up for a bit and it’s like, I don’t really have it to where it’s matching or at least exceeding the day job costs and it’s like crappy. If something stupid happens, and I don’t have medical insurance then I might be screwed up, especially for some of the folks who may be relying on me too and just realizing that, hey, I still struggle too.

Dom B:
Like nobody is immune from struggle and adversity. No one’s immune. If you think you’re immune, then you basically haven’t lived long enough.

Gary S:
And that’s a great place to begin the process. I think I can hear in the background the captain may have turned the fasten seatbelt sign on and we’re going to… We’ll circle the airport a couple of times, but we got to land the plane pretty soon, but that’s an excellent point to what I’m sure is the next question that Warwick has, and that is, as you’re offering hope to people, one of the things that you’ve done is you’ve written books to help people draw some of that perspective out. I wanted you to know, Dom, because we’re interviewing you today and you started out not loving books much, and then you loved them and then you became an author. I wanted you to know that I wore this. If you’re watching on YouTube-

Dom B:
Yeah.

Gary S:
If you’re watching on YouTube, I’m wearing an author T-shirt…

Dom B:
Yes.

Gary S:
… underneath my sport coat in honor of Dom, but that those books that you’ve written are things that when you can’t speak to people, they can unpack the wisdom that you have and I wanted to give you a chance before we finish up the questioning to tell people how they can find you on the internet, how they can find your books, how they can learn more about Don Brightmon on the web.

Dom B:
Sure thing. Folks can head over to dombrightmon.com, dombrightmon.com. If you head up there-

Gary S:
That’s B-R-I-G-H-T-M-O-N.com. We’ll have them in the show notes too, but that’s the address.

Dom B:
Oh yeah, that’s right. He’s right about that. Definitely the show notes. You got to show your notes in math class, you got to show your notes in podcasts apparently.

Warwick F:
That is… I wanted to briefly ask about… you have a thing called MITCH. M-I-T-C-H, five keys for elite performance but before you answer that, I just wanted to make a quick observation that as you’re talking about dealing with people with really difficult circumstances, by just listening to them, giving them a little bit of hope, it’s like a drop of grace. A little bit of hope helps you take one more step and then that one more step leads to another. The journey to maybe a life that’s about a… it just begins with somebody having a listening ear and giving them a little hope.

Warwick F:
It doesn’t take much to help you take one more baby step and that’s what you do just in your life, in your books. I just wanted to just throw that observation in there, but talk a little bit about MITCH and that’s an amazing acronym. What is MITCH, the five keys for elite performance?

Dom B:
Sure thing. Sure thing. I have to think of a Gary or Warwick acronym. I know. If listeners name MITCH, they’re going to be happy about this, but MITCH, the five keys for elite performance. The M stands for mental awareness. Mental awareness, being aware of what’s going on in your mind. The I stands for influence awareness, being aware of the things around you that influence you. Like this podcast right now, that’s a good influence. Binge on Netflix for 10 hours after listening to a podcast, maybe not so good. It’s a detox, but maybe not for 10 hours.

Dom B:
The T is for time awareness, being aware of your time. The reason why I put time awareness as opposed to time management is because one, it goes to the theme of awareness and two, you can’t really manage time because we all have the same amount. We just have to decide which activities we put in those blocks of time and it’s really where our attention goes. Then the C is for connection awareness, are you connecting with wonderful people that’ll really help you to think better, to live better and become better.

Dom B:
Do you have your metaphorical Wi-Fi signal open to receive the abundance that awaits you if you meet wonderful people, and the H to put the cap on everything is habit awareness. Because the habits that we have on the daily will decide where our future and our destiny will end up, because if you’re not getting enough sleep daily then it’s going to show up in your work when you’re short with people, especially since nowadays everyone’s in the people business whether they realize it or not, and it’s now more than ever where we need empathy.

Dom B:
And if you’re well, or your cup of empathy is empty, then basically you have to go back to your habits to realize, okay, am I getting enough sleep? Am I actually giving myself enough time for myself? Am I actually doing something to take care of myself and just really putting all those things together to really help you to become a top elite performer and that’s the major keys that helped me to really get out of the grief and some setbacks over these past couple of years when building a wonderful life that I’ve been blessed to live up to this point.

Gary S:
That makes me wish my name was MITCH, to be honest.

Warwick F:
In the days we’re living in, as we close here, in COVID there’s this as much division in the US and probably the world as there’s ever been. A lot of anger, grief. I mean, we live in just such challenging days. What’s sort of a word of hope for people when they feel like things are so difficult, things are so bleak. What hope would you sort of give it like a thought, just for people that are feeling there’s not much hope around?

Dom B:
Sure thing. You are somebody’s gift whether you know it or not, because there was a Facebook post from an independent musician on YouTube where he was sharing a post that was asking folks how long has it been since your last suicide attempt? And he said five years, and then a few other folks were listing their years. Some said four, some said three, some said two and one of them, I actually listened to some of his music and I was a fan of it and I’m like, hey, keep pushing forward and keep being better and realize that, hey, you’re someone’s gift. Like I listen to your album at least once every other month. I listen to it every year man, like keep pushing us. I love your work.

Dom B:
I didn’t even know that they were going through that. You are someone’s gift. Make sure that you remember you were always someone’s gift. You may not know it now, you may not think it now. It’s hard to see it where you are now, but keep pushing and you’ll eventually see that are you are someone else’s gift because taking your life will be taking that gift away from someone else and it’ll be taking away the future that you can create not only for yourself, but for those you love.

Gary S:
Wow. As I say, increasingly on this podcast, because we get such good guests with such great insights. I’ve been in the communications business long enough to know when the last best word has been spoken, and Dom has spoken it. Let me wrap up with three takeaways I think that come from this a really, really insightful conversation with Don Brightmon. One, look for the gifts in adversity. There may be, as Dom explained it, some barbed wire on the package that that gift arrives in, but you have to unwrap it. You may get cut. It may draw a little blood physically and emotionally, but you can get through it. You can not just survive, but you can thrive.

Gary S:
Adversity is not a period in your life story, it’s a comma and life can be as Dom’s latest book contribution puts it, it can go from crappy to happy. That’s point one. Point two, look to others to help you move beyond your crucibles, family, friends, associates at work, they will encourage you. They’ll educate you. They’ll help you heal from the hits to the face as Dom put it earlier in this episode. Moving beyond a crucible is not an individual sport like tennis, it’s a team sport like football. Like football, you’re going to get knocked about a bit, but you’ll also score touchdowns because you have a team behind you that’s all kind of driving in the same direction toward those goalposts.

Gary S:
Your crucible moment can be a crystal moment, and I’ll stop here and say copyright 2020 Dom Brightmon. Just so no one thinks I’m trying to take credit for his fantastic intellectual property, and then point three as a takeaway from this episode listener. Advance others to advance yourself. That’s Dom’s mantra. The way to fill up your legacy glass is to pour into the lives of others.

Gary S:
Thank you for spending time with us here on Beyond the Crucible and this discussion we’ve had with Don Brightmon. Warwick and I have a favor to ask you. If you’ve enjoyed this conversation, if you’ve enjoyed previous conversation, we’d ask that you would click subscribe on the podcast app in which you’re listening to us right now. That ensures that you’ll never miss an episode and we have, I can tell you, because we’ve recorded some of them already. We have some interviews coming up that are just as exciting and exciting in different ways even, than this one has been with Dom. We’ve got good content on the line, as they say. Click subscribe and you’ll never miss an episode.

Gary S:
Until the next time we are together here on Beyond the Crucible, remember that your crucible experiences are painful. They can be in Dom’s language, crappy, but happy is just over the wall. You can move from that to happiness. If you learn the lessons of your crucible, if you dig in and do the hard work, if you work through what that barbed wire has done to you as you had that crucible moment, those crucible experiences can be not by far not the end of your story, not a period to your sentence, but a comma because what can happen is the next chapter in your story once you learn those lessons and move on.

Gary S:
The next chapter in your story can be the most rewarding chapter of your life because in the end that chapter, the last page of that, is a life of significance.

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