The Fallible Man

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A Different Kind of Man a different kind of Lifestyle

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How to become Unbroken with Michael Unbroken


S02E37

[00:00:00] Michael Anthony: Everything that you think, matters. Everything you say, matters, everything you do, matters. And see people think mindset is just like this idea about like, I'm going to go meditate or I'm going to do, you know, journaling or things like that. Mindset, I believe starts with first and foremost, how you're talking to yourself.

[00:00:17] And especially as men, we are so guilty of that. We say things to ourselves that if we said to someone in the street, we would get punched in the face or arrested


[00:00:30] David Dowlen: be better tomorrow because of what you do today.

[00:00:33] Welcome to the fallible man. Podcast your home for all things, man, husband, father. My name is Brent.

[00:00:38] I am the fallible man. And on today's show, we have Michael Anthony, AKA Michael Unbroken, podcaster author, and most importantly trauma code. Michael is helping people grow through their trauma and take back the power and control of their lives from traumas they've had in their lives.

[00:00:56] Michael, welcome to the show.


[00:00:58] Michael Anthony: Thank you. You, my friend, I am super excited to be here with you today. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you,

[00:01:06] Michael. I am the worst podcast host in the world because I don't actually introduce my guests because I get all this chance to. Like research you. I was, I was looking at some of your YouTube videos.


[00:01:18] David Dowlen: I checked out your Facebook. I was all over your social media, Guinea, trying to get a sense of who you are listening to some of your podcasts, but my audience doesn't have that benefit and I can read off accolades all day, but that doesn't really tell anybody who Michael unbroken is. So my first question is who is Michael Anthony.

[00:01:38] And where did the unbroken come from?



[00:01:41] Michael Anthony: Yeah, so. I'll tell you this. What people don't understand about their life is that they have the ability to craft and create themselves. And effectively the Michael's sitting here in front of you today as the realization of a caricature of the idea of the person that I thought I could be.

[00:02:01] And that comes to a tremendous amount of hard work through a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of torment. Um, and today I'm honored and I'm blessed to be a leader in the conversation about trauma to be an award-winning speaker, a best-selling author, to have traveled the world and share this message.

[00:02:20] Constantly and frequently to help people understand that no matter what they come from or where they've been, that they can have a life that they're proud of, where they can get unstuck can become unbroken and do that thing. I think ultimately we are all trying to do, and that has learned to love ourselves now from a contextual standpoint, high level elevator pitch here, you know, when I was four years old, my mother, she actually cut off my right index finger.

[00:02:47] So you can see out of your watch. Little scar there. And my stepfather was hyper abusive. And by the time that I was eight years old, we were constantly homeless. We were in poverty and I was always just trying to figure out, like, why is this happening to me? And by the time that I was 12, I got drunk for the first time and high.

[00:03:08] And it was selling drugs and breaking into cars and robbing people and doing all these really terrible things. Cause I thought that's what you were supposed to do when you come from a background. Like I come from. And by the time that I was 15 years old, I actually got expelled from school because they were just like, there's no reason for you to be here.

[00:03:26] And luckily got put into a last chance program, still didn't graduate high school on time. And I found myself. In this position where I was trying to figure out what do I really do with my life? And the only thing that I knew is that by the time that I was 21, I made a goal. I was like, I want to make six figures legally.

[00:03:46] And this was super important because my childhood best friends were being arrested. My uncle's in prison for life. Most of my family members been in handcuffs, myself, included. And, and I chased this idea in this dream that if I can make money, I can solve abuse. I can solve poverty. I can solve homelessness.

[00:04:05] Well, sure enough, by the time that I was 21, I landed a job with a fortune 10 company with no high school diploma because they literally handed it to me and no college degree. And you would think like, great, awesome life change. Everything's beautiful. And the money actually only exacerbated all the problems of my life.

[00:04:24] And I found myself at 350 pounds smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, drinking myself to sleep. And I put a gun on me. I was just done, man. I didn't know what else to do because I thought money was going to solve that problem about all the pain, all the hurt, all the loss, all the anger, all the, everything from coming from a background like I came from and it didn't.

[00:04:49] And then one day, and you would think like this, this was the pivotal moment, but it wasn't a day later I'm laying in bed. And keep in mind, man, I'm 350 pounds, um, eating chocolate cake, smoking a joint and watching the CrossFit games. And I was just like, okay, something's got to change. And for whatever reason, I went in the bathroom and I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, the first time I ever really like, truly looked at myself.

[00:05:18] And I remember being this eight year old little boy where the water company had come and turned our water off. Now, the thing that you have to understand is I grew up in America. I grew up in Indianapolis and we were so impoverished. The water company turned our water off and I took this little blue bucket from the backyard and I walked across the street.

[00:05:38] And for the first time as I turned on the neighbor's spicket, I stole. And I said, Michael, when you're a grownup, this won't be your life. And to some extent it wasn't because I wasn't homeless. I had a lot of money have cars and clothes. I have the whole nine, but I didn't have my life. You know what I'm saying?

[00:05:56] Like, I didn't know who I was. And as I looked in the mirror, not recognizing this face on the other side and remembering being eight years old, I said, what was I willing to do to have the life that I wanted to have? In these words, no excuses just results. Really just started reverberating through my body.

[00:06:15] Well, fast forward, 11. Wow. Almost 11 years later here. I am talking to you today. So all this is to say is that the Michael's sitting in front of you today, not to talk about myself in the third person, but the reality is I created this. I made this life come to fruition through a lot of fucking hard work and through asking myself what was I willing to do?


[00:06:39] David Dowlen: Well, I, I think that's, uh, that right there is a decisive question that people need to ask at some point is what, what are you willing to do? What, what is the price you're willing to pay? You know, how much, how much are you willing to put in the work? And a lot of people don't want to ask that question.


[00:06:57] Michael Anthony: Yeah.


[00:06:58] David Dowlen: You created your own reality and your own dreams. That's

[00:07:02] awesome.

[00:07:04] That is a beautiful thing.


[00:07:07] Michael Anthony: Well, I, I appreciate that, but like the truth is, man, my life is, um, I'm 37 years away from the life I want to have. I'm still just like, I'm just getting started. Like the way that I envision my life, my future, my reality is so much different than it is right now.

[00:07:23] And that's not about money or success or anything. It's about, can I do everything in my power to make a world in which a child doesn't have to have this story that I did. And I think about that every day as I move forward and do you're, you're spot on like the truth is people are afraid to look at and reflect on their life and to look at their shortcomings in their mistakes.

[00:07:45] But if you want to get better, you're going to have to, because you can only lie to yourself for so long.


[00:07:52] David Dowlen: I, uh, I love the privilege of getting to podcast. I've been enjoying it so much. I started, I've been in it for about a year now and I get to talk to just incredible people all over the world. And it's amazing.

[00:08:07] The resounding answer that I hear from a lot of men who have found a way that works for them and all of them seem to start with, you have to stop and be honest with yourself. It just, it keeps coming back to that. I ask them over and over again, you know, what's, what's one of the first things you need to do.

[00:08:29] To get yourself on the path you want to be on to start heading in the direction you want to go and just resoundingly. I hear it over and over again. You have to stop and be honest with yourself about where you are, who you are and what your situation is before you can make any headway is I I'm just blown away.

[00:08:51] Cause I just keep hearing this resounding answer.


[00:08:54] Michael Anthony: You know, what's interesting about that, man is. I think there's a part of that puzzle that's missing that people aren't talking about. Cause maybe they don't understand it. And the truth is when you think about it and it doesn't necessarily only apply to men or to trauma survivors or, or anyone applies to everyone.

[00:09:13] When you come through the societal norms that say, this is who you're supposed to be, this is how you're supposed to be. This is how you're supposed to show up. The one thing that you learned to do is you learn how to turn off who you are to appease those around you. Now, for some of us, that means safety right?

[00:09:32] Growing up and not being able to tap into your intuition because of fear. Teaches you a survival mechanism that leads you to this place where you're 19 24, 30, 6, 52 years old. And you've never once made meaning of what you're capable of doing, because you've never known that you are allowed to man. I remember being a little kid.

[00:09:56] In these situations where every single time that I tried to move towards something that felt like it's me, there was pain, there was suffering. There was torment. Now that was in my home, but it was also in school, right. Because the teachers would be like, how dare you color the moon purple and the grass of blue.

[00:10:18] And you think about that, man. And, and the truth. We're the sum total of all of our experiences leading up to this moment. So all of those things inform who we are and then suddenly. Holy shit. I have no idea how to be honest with myself, cause I've never been honest with myself before, because every time I tried it was taken away.

[00:10:39] And when you're in these developmental years and that just keeps compounding, compounding compounding eventually. Yes. The solution is you have to be honest with yourself. The more difficult part of the equation is the part people don't understand and that's that maybe you've never had the opportunity from the jump.


[00:11:00] David Dowlen: It's amazing the right. It starts from the time we were little, there's just this foundational build. And if you go anywhere outside of the recognized, this is how we do it. I have a seven year old, a nine year old. So it really, it really struck me. When would the, if I wanted to paint the moon purple, right?

[00:11:22] Cause that's my daughters in heartbeat and it never. As like my, my kids, like, okay. Yeah. You know, they'll color that moon, however you want to color it. Yeah. I love pink giraffes, you know, things like that. Right. Because as far as I'm concerned, they can be as creative as they want, but you don't think about how it compounds over time as we tell kids.

[00:11:46] No, no, the moon is yellow or white. That's what, this is what it is you have. If you do it any other way. You don't think about that compounding effect because you do, you start to have to go, well, I see it this way, but this is the norm. I have to do it this way.


[00:12:03] Michael Anthony: Yeah. I think the, the part that you hit on that feels really true to me is the telling kids it's wrong part.

[00:12:11] Like who are you to say? Like, even like, I think about the zone would be very clear for everyone. I don't have children. Right. But I, who am I to tell a child that they're wrong? Right. From an educational standpoint, who are we to tell children how they should think, how shaped, how they should act, how they should be in the world.

[00:12:30] Now we understand that. Well, I understand that based on the industrial revolution, it was a necessity and you look at wartime era, it was a necessity we can make meaning of those things. But at some point, what we have to understand is that as an adult, and this is hard to hear, this is the first thing I teach any of my clients.

[00:12:50] You're not a child anymore. And that sucks. And I'm sorry that for some of us, things were taken away from us, but as an adult, as a person with free will, I hope an agency to the ability to make choices and decisions for yourself, you have to understand something really important. Nobody lives for you.

[00:13:15] Nobody breathes for you. Nobody loves for you. Nobody acts for you, everything that's next in your life. It starts with you. You have a choice to make every single day about the things that you do or don't do. And look, I'm not sitting here from a pulpit, like trying to reign down and preach to you. I've made the mistakes.

[00:13:33] I've done the drugs. I've wrecked the cars. I've been in the chaos of the world in my life. And I've been in this area in which I've thought about this. At scale and that's this, you have to decide what happens next and it's not up to anybody else. And like, what does anyone else have to do with you?

[00:13:57] You're not a kid anymore. And yes, there's hurt there's pain. They're suffering in that. And there's also this thing that I think we, we come to understand when you step into this healing journey on the other side of that hurt suffering and pain. There's beauty. And there's grace and there's happiness and there's joy and there's love, but you have to do this for you and you can't let other people get in your way.

[00:14:22] And I don't mean that in like this combative way, but by nature, you see it every single day, people come and say, how dare you wear that shirt or have your beard like that, or those headphones? Who do you think you are well on me? And what is your opinion of may have to do with. Okay.


[00:14:41] David Dowlen: We are jumping right into the deep end today and I'm loving it.

[00:14:43] Now, tell me a little bit about your podcasts because you have the think unbroken


[00:14:49] Michael Anthony: podcast. Yeah. Just tell us a little bit about that. So I think probably like most people who start a podcast, it was something when I was like, I'm just going to play with this. I just want to see what else. I'd already written a book I've already been speaking for years.

[00:15:06] And I actually started my first podcast in 2016. So like a way ahead of the curve on it. And, and I, I just, I left that business. I left that company and it just kind of went to the wayside. And I started thinking I'm broken and in the podcast, it was just kind of like, I wasn't taking it seriously. Um, because what people don't understand about podcasts, it's a tremendous amount of work.

[00:15:30] And then, so I was like, you know what? Take this seriously because it matters because not only does my voice and my story and what I teach matter, but the guests who I have come on, like, if here's what I think about, I listen to podcasts for one reason. And one reason. And that is so I can add something to make my life different.

[00:15:49] I'm not necessarily saying better but different. And so that's what I adopted into the thing on broken podcast, because I know that like me, it was a podcast that I could have really used when I was deep into this healing journey. Five years ago, seven years ago, 12 years ago. And, and to today, like in all fairness, like it's a very selfish effort because I get to have people that I want to learn from on my show and by proxy that creates this like massive impact.

[00:16:20] So, um, you know, at the end of the day, though, it's really about that concept. It's about think unbroken it's about giving people something that will help them on their journey better, hopefully, but different probably.


[00:16:37] David Dowlen: I want to get to this before we get too deep into the show. Tell us about your coaching business.

[00:16:43] What is a trauma coach?


[00:16:45] Michael Anthony: Yeah, so here's what happened. I never planned on doing this ever. I it's shocking to me actually that I do it. Here's what happened. I was writing blogs of sharing stuff online. I was posting stuff and it was under a different name than because think I'm broken wasn't yet, like a thing that was a shower moment, honestly, and I was sharing.

[00:17:15] And people were reaching out to me and they were like, man, that thing that you posted, no one's ever shared that before I connect to that. And then it turned into, Hey, that thing that you posted, it changed my life. And then it turned into, Hey, that thing that you posted, it kept me from killing myself tonight.

[00:17:32] And that was really powerful. And then it turned into people asking me to help them. And so for the last three plus years, almost four now it's been me taking and building out the curriculum of what I know and understand about this journey and giving it to people in a way in which it can help profoundly impact their lives.


[00:17:57] And this was something that came from. Not only my own learned experience, but now I have over 30 certifications in trauma-informed education. I've worked with Pete Walker and Cabramatta and Bessel van der Kolk. And so many of the leaders in this space. It really, it was about like, how do I make my life different and learn all these things and apply them.

[00:18:22] But then it turned into, you know, even today, you know, my favorite moment, man, one of my clients, we had our last call and they're like, I'm good. And I'm like, yes, that's the goal. Can you be, can you just go live your life? Knowing that you can't run from this. I don't think the trauma ever goes away. I don't think there's ever this moment where the bad things in your life don't somehow impact you.

[00:18:46] But I do firmly believe that you have the ability to live life on your terms. And ultimately that's what it is now. What is a trauma now? What is a trauma coach and a long winded answer to your question? I work with adult survivors of childhood trauma. People have been through some really, really dark things.

[00:19:02] And I helped them understand the most important thing that we ever do. And that's again, learning to love ourselves. And that's a trial by fire. This is not easy. I will argue. It's very, very, very difficult part intentionally in part, because it just is. And so, you know, it's, it's, uh, I have small group coaching.

[00:19:21] I have one-on-one coaching the whole nine, but ultimately at the end of the day, man, you could literally just listen to my podcast and it will change your life. You don't ever have to give me a penny and it will change it.


[00:19:33] David Dowlen: For all of our audio listeners, because this is a podcast guys. You can't see, I have the video going as well.

[00:19:40] And it's www.healtraumacoach.com all one word, www.healtraumacoach.com. And you can go and you can talk to Michael and you can see what he's about and see what he's got going on. And guys, if you're looking for support, If you have some burdens you're carrying, Michael May be able to point you in the right, even if he's not the right coach for you, I'm sure he can point you in the right direction.

[00:20:08] He would. So guys, I want to make sure to share that website. I want to make sure and share what he's doing. And like you said, go listen to his podcast. That is starting point. What does it mean to be unbroken?


[00:20:23] Michael Anthony: Yeah, I'm stealing a line out of my own book, man. I love it. Um, you know, it's really funny is, and that's the, that's the end call for, for my podcast.

[00:20:33] Right. I ask everybody who comes on that question and I don't tell them either, it's kind of like this ice cream thing you did to me. And it catches people off guard sometimes. Right. And, um, and I think about it all the time. It's very simple. It's very, very, very, very simple. It's looking in the mirror and being okay with the reflection on the other side.

[00:20:53] That's it, despite all the chaos, despite all the bad things, despite even the things you've done, dude, I've done so many terrible things in my life. Like for real, I've done some dark shit, but I've come to this place where I've learned to love myself, where I've gone through the healing journey, where I've put myself in a position to heal, to grow, to change, and ultimately to learn to love myself.

[00:21:17] Despite the flaws and despite the bad things, and just even despite the good things, right. I don't measure myself against the accomplishments as much as I don't measure myself against the pitfalls, because you're going to have both in your life, hopefully. And I think at the end of the day, being unbroken is just looking in that mirror and being okay with what you see.

[00:21:37] Not saying it. You have to love it and be a narcissist. I'm not saying you have to be so dope. Self-deprecating that you destroy yourself every time you cross yourself in the mirror. I'm just saying you can look in the mirror and be okay. Like that to me is unbroken.


[00:21:53] David Dowlen: I was looking through your podcast.

[00:21:54] I saw you had Nate Rifkin on at one point, is that correct? Yeah, I, I had him on several shows back. I enjoyed that. But we were talking about how difficult it is for people to be alone with their own thoughts. Right? Why solitary confinement is such a problem and why it's so traumatic for people in those situations.

[00:22:13] Right. And just being alone, how many people are scared to just spend some quiet time with their own head. And I mean, this, this goes into the same area, right?

[00:22:24] Staring in the mirror and going

[00:22:27] I'm okay with you. You were cool. I like what I see. I like who I am, because I don't think there are many people who can honestly say that.

[00:22:36] So that's a really profound thought. There are very few people who look in the mirror and go you're okay. I'm good with that.


[00:22:45] Michael Anthony: Yeah. Well that requires doing a tremendous amount of difficult things again and again, and again. And that's where we get caught up, man. I think about that a lot in, and to your point about the solitary confinement in your conversation with Nate, like that's spot on man, and that's devastating that people would get locked into solitary confinement and all, we'll say this as a caveat, there's also a beautiful space and being by yourself, And being a shut down from all of the sounds, all of the input, all of the stuff out there, and I'm not talking about even just meditation.

[00:23:25] I'm Tom, can you do the dishes with no noise? Can you walk around the neighborhood without something in your ears? Can you just exist? Right. And I think it's getting harder and harder. Like even I have to challenge myself to it right before I came on with you this evening, I went and took a walk and nothing in my ear.

[00:23:45] That's even uncomfortable sometimes, you know what I'm saying? Right. And, and I think to get to that place of like being in the mirror and looking at that reflection and being okay with it, I mean, it's a, it is a process, man. It is a journey. You know, if I look at, you know, you look at my story, I'm I'm 25, 26 years old.

[00:24:04] I'm having this moment looking in the mirror for real, for the first time and not being okay. It probably took me seven years. Like legit to be able to have that moment of looking in the mirror and being like, all right, I'm okay with this. I'm good with my choices and decisions. And I think that the only way that you get there as this, that thing that keeps you awake at night, that's what you have to deal with.

[00:24:32] And until you do that, you will never be okay with that reflection in them. That's everything quitting, that job, starting that business, leaving that relationship, adopting that kid, like whatever that thing is. And it's different for everybody. This is not one size fits all, but whatever that thing is that keeps you awake at night and tell you, address that you're not going to be okay.

[00:24:56] What the reflection in that mirror. That's my experience. I can't speak for everybody else, but here's a truth about it, man. This is what's really crazy. You can lie to everybody, but yourself. Cause when it gets dark and it gets quiet and you're lying in that bed and you're staring up at that ceiling.

[00:25:13] There's only one voice in that head.


[00:25:16] David Dowlen: Oh yeah. You, you can put on all the areas you want you at the end of the day, you just have to come face to face with you. And I'm think that's part of the reason we're still surrounded by stimulus at this point, right? You were saying just walking without headphones in was difficult.

[00:25:31] We surround ourselves with external stimulus all the time. Uh, I mean, how many people sleep with a fan? Just because they have to have noise. I sleep with a van because I have to drowned out noise because I hear everything. Yeah. I have too good of hearing. It actually keeps me up at night. I hear everything that moves in this house, everything that moves the mind yard outside of my house.

[00:25:55] So I go for the opposite because I actually, like, I got to spend a little time in a sensory deprivation tank one time

[00:26:02] and it was amazing. Not

[00:26:06] not because it was horrible for me. It was like, oh my goodness. I can finally turn it off because I get sensory overload anyway. So we're going to keep going with this conversation guys, but first we're going to roll.

[00:26:17] They're our sponsor. And we'll be right back with more from Michael unbroken





[00:27:03] David Dowlen: Guys and we're back here right here with Michael Unbroken, discussing how to become an unbroken. Michael,

[00:27:11] we, we

[00:27:11] got pretty deep right before the break. So on a lighter thought, maybe we'll see how you answer it.

[00:27:18] What have you bought in the last year? Under a hundred dollars that has had the most profound impact on your life?



[00:27:27] Michael Anthony: Oh man, that's such a good question. Wow. Um, hold on, hold on. Um, I feel like normally I'm like on the spot with these things, but I want to make this really significant. And I'm really thinking deeply about this as strange as it's going to sound. Maybe not. No, that's not fair. It's not strange because it's practical.

[00:27:49] I bought, uh, uh, Amazon fire, Kindle book. Um, and the reason why is because I love to read, I read 60 to 65 books a year on average, and I wanted to challenge myself this year to read a fiction book. And I knew that if I didn't get one of these things, I can't listen to a fiction book. I tried that did not work.

[00:28:15] And I was like, maybe if I just put myself in a silent room at night and I just swipe the pages, I will read this. And sure enough I'm in the process has been a long process. The goals read it this year at some point is to finish this book. So I got a book called the Goldfinch, which a lot of people recommended to me as a fiction book.

[00:28:35] And, um, I added this into the repertoire of challenging myself. I've read a total of two fiction books in the last 30 years. Um, so this was a, this actually has been a big deal for me because the allies began writing. My fourth book, um, which is a fiction book. I was like, maybe I need some kind of precedent for how this should look.

[00:28:58] Uh, so yeah, that, that's a big deal. It's I'm going to call that life changing because I'm always trying to challenge the narrative of, of what I have an understanding about who I am about. And it used to be, I don't read fiction and now it's like, well, if you start with one, is that really true?



[00:29:16] David Dowlen: May I, may I recommend, I have to shamelessly.

[00:29:20] Interview with a vampire by Anne Rice. Rice changed my life. My whole family were loved to read. I was never a reading person when I was 15. I borrowed a book from my girlfriend at the time because my English teacher said if we didn't bring a reading book to class, we're again, detention. Right. And I was, I kid, I don't, I didn't even know where the library was practically.

[00:29:44] So. Yeah, I just grabbed my girlfriend's book. I was like, Hey, I'll give it to you. Back after class, I've got to have a reading book. Our she's going to put me in detention. And I was that kid who five minutes till the bell got the hand on the front of the desk, like I'm in the position, arms tucked with books under it.

[00:30:03] The bell scared the life out of me. Like it just snapped me out of a deep, deep trance. My English teacher walked by. It's good to see the fina