The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 10--Top 20 Strategies for a Happier Life with Tom Cody

April 07, 2021 Billy & Brian Season 1
Episode 10--Top 20 Strategies for a Happier Life with Tom Cody
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
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The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 10--Top 20 Strategies for a Happier Life with Tom Cody
Apr 07, 2021 Season 1
Billy & Brian

In this week's episode, Billy and Brian sit down with author, presenter, and professional wise-cracker Tom Cody--co-founder of Top 20 Strategies, to discuss what it means to live "above the line", "keep your day", and how to avoid becoming a crotchety old man or woman.   

Like what you heard from Tom?  Check out his books!
--Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living: Developing Your Inner Life through Social Emotional Learning
--Top 20 Parents
--Top 20 Teens
--Top 20 Teachers
--Why Students Disengage in American Schools and What We Can Do about It

Contact Tom at:
Twitter:  @top20training   
On the   

Thank you for listening to the Mindful Midlife Crisis!
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Topics you want us to cover?
Instagram:  @mindful_midlife_crisis
Twitter:  @mindfulmidlife

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode!  If this episode resonates with you, please share it with your friends and family.  If you’re really feeling gracious, you can make a donation to Your donations will be used to cover all of our production costs.

If we have money left over after covering our fees, we will make a donation to the
Livin Foundation, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote a positive outlook on life, reduce the stigma associated with depression/mental illness, and ultimately prevent suicide through various activities, events, & outreach.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

In this week's episode, Billy and Brian sit down with author, presenter, and professional wise-cracker Tom Cody--co-founder of Top 20 Strategies, to discuss what it means to live "above the line", "keep your day", and how to avoid becoming a crotchety old man or woman.   

Like what you heard from Tom?  Check out his books!
--Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living: Developing Your Inner Life through Social Emotional Learning
--Top 20 Parents
--Top 20 Teens
--Top 20 Teachers
--Why Students Disengage in American Schools and What We Can Do about It

Contact Tom at:
Twitter:  @top20training   
On the   

Thank you for listening to the Mindful Midlife Crisis!
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Topics you want us to cover?
Instagram:  @mindful_midlife_crisis
Twitter:  @mindfulmidlife

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode!  If this episode resonates with you, please share it with your friends and family.  If you’re really feeling gracious, you can make a donation to Your donations will be used to cover all of our production costs.

If we have money left over after covering our fees, we will make a donation to the
Livin Foundation, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote a positive outlook on life, reduce the stigma associated with depression/mental illness, and ultimately prevent suicide through various activities, events, & outreach.

Support the Show.

Coming up on The Mindful Mildlife Crisis...

Tom: Yeah, because if you're a midlife person right now, and you think, "Well, I'm burned out. I'm burned out as a dentist or a realty—" it's got nothing to do with your age. It isn't like you're burned out because you're 47. I was fried at 26. I was so burned at 26. How am I sounding tonight at 69 years old? Do I sound burned out? I was so burned out in my 20s and 30s. It's all about negativity. If you hang out in negativity, very, very common to get the burnout.


Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches, as we share our life experiences — both the good and the bad — in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.

Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy. And as always, I'm joined by my good friend, Brian on the Bass. Brian, how are you doing over there, man?

Brian: I am stunning today.

Billy: Oh, you look stunning as well.

Brian: Thank you very much. Stunning can be interpreted in many ways.

Billy: It's stunning outside. The weather has finally turned. I feel good about that.

Brian: It is. It’s gorgeous.

Billy: Although, how are you feeling about daylight savings time?

Brian: Why do we do this?

Billy: I don't understand it either. It's something that — I was in a sleep groove, and I was feeling really good. I finally was sleeping all the way through the night. I never thought that I would get into this, but I use CBD oil. Do you use CBD oil?

Brian: Oh, yes.

Billy: Yeah, I'm a big fan. What CBD oil do you use?

Brian: I use the Chris Hawkey's Cherry tincture.

Billy: Excellent.

Brian: It tastes amazing. It's, by far, the best flavored CBD I've ever had in my life. It works great.

Billy: I use Green Compass CBD oil. I learned about that through my friend, Kristen Brown, who's actually going to be a guest on our show at some point in time.

Brian: Yeah, mine is made by Cultivated industries. They have a bunch of different ones, but Hawkey's cherry is my favorite.

Billy: Chris Hawkey, I know that name.

Brian: Yeah, he's on KFAN. He's on the morning show.

Billy: Oh, yeah. We should be on the morning show.

Brian: Well, maybe. Eventually, he'll have a son. I don't know. We'll see. We got to get famous first, though.

Billy: That's true. Chris Hawkey, if you're listening out there, we're your guys?

Brian: We're your mental health not experts.

Billy: Exactly. So, we're actually bringing, I guess, what we're going to call season one.

Brian: Season one. Yeah, that's what they do in the biz.

Billy: Yeah. So, we're going to bring what we're going to call season one to a successful conclusion with our 10th episode. I feel good that we've produced 10 episodes so far, and we have a lot more on the way. We're really excited. We have more guests who are on their way. I just feel good about what we've put out there for public consumption. How about you?

Brian: Oh, yeah, I feel great about it. Although, I must admit when I'm listening to it, I critique myself quite harshly.

Billy: It's not the worst. It’s just like, "Oh, I should have said this, or—"

Brian: Yeah, why didn't I say that? You know that, dummy. Say it.

Billy: Yeah. And here's the thing, the magic of editing makes us actually sound smarter than when we're recording live.

Brian: That's because you've edited out all the, "the..."

Billy: The... Hey, wait. I got to look that up.

Brian: You guys should see how much tape is on the cutting room floor right now. It’s deep.

Billy: So, our plan is this. We would like to get you, the listener, more involved in our show. Because ultimately, the purpose of our show is to help all of us — especially people who are in their middle ages — live our best lives. We would like to know whether or not this podcast is actually helping any of you do that very thing.

We've received a number of messages throughout the past two months. We really, really appreciate each and every single one of those. In fact, one of our plans is, we want to switch things up in the segment breaks. We want to read through those from time to time and share those. We won't share names. Because, obviously, they're very personal. But just so that people can hear what other people think of the show and how the show has helped them. We will leave the meditation break in there, though. Because a lot of people say that they love that one. So, we're going to leave the meditation break in there.

We just wanted to say thank you for the feedback. Thank you for listening, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Some of you have also reached out. You have agreed to be guests on our show, because what we've discussed has resonated so strongly with you that you feel your own story may resonate with other listeners. We just think that's awesome.

As much as this podcast is a lot of fun for the two of us to record, what really makes it worthwhile is hearing from you. So, if you've got an inspirational story to share with us, or you think you've got some valuable life experience to share with our listeners, we'd love to hear from you.

During this — like we said, we're going to call it our first season — these first 10 episodes, we're definitely still working out the kinks.

Brian: Oh, there's kinks. All right.

Billy: Yeah, especially when it comes to recording our guests. This week's episode is no different. We had the distinct honor of interviewing Tom Cody, who is an author and speaker for Top 20 Training. You can look him up at www.top20training. He is an absolute riot. He is such a joy to talk to. I've had the honor of hearing him speak on multiple occasions. He describes himself as a recovering crotchety middle-aged man. He's now 69 years old. He's the happiest he's ever been. When you listen to him during this interview, you'll hear just how much crackling energy he has.

Brian: I like to describe him as a ray of gray-haired sunshine.

Billy: Yes, that's a wonderful way. Yeah, he really is. He's so much fun, and he has so much energy. Fortunately, for us, he actually does most of the talking in this episode. His audio quality is just fine. Meanwhile, Brian and I are sitting over here with thousands of dollars of recording equipment.

Brian: Let's check that. Tens of thousands of dollars.

Billy: But because we still have yet to figure out how to record our guests on Zoom, we sound like we're recording from the bottom of a soup can. Despite that, we're very excited to share with you our conversation with Tom Cody. Enjoy.


Billy: Tom, thank you very much for being here today. We have Tom Cody here. We are very excited. We've already had a good chat so far. Tom, you sound like you're loose and ready to go.

Tom: More than ready. Let's go. Let's do this.

Billy: Fantastic. When I was talking to you last week, I was joking around. We were talking about how to avoid being a crotchety old man. I said we would bring on a crotchety, old man. You corrected me. You said "No, I was a crotchety old, middle-aged person." You're the happiest you've ever been now.

Tom: Yeah, I'm in recovery, in crotchety recovery program. But one day at a time.

Billy: Well, that's wonderful. So, Tom, we ask all of our guests to talk about, what are 10 roles that you play in your life? So, can you talk about what the 10 roles are that you play in your life?

Tom: Yeah, right now, I guess, I'd say grandfather, father, son, husband, educational revolutionary, business owner, baseball fan, crossword puzzle solver, Indigo Girls fan, West Wing junkie.

Billy: Wow.

Tom: That's probably kind of it.

Billy: So, Brian and I are big music fans. Indigo Girls — talking about Indigo Girls.

Tom: I don't know why. I just started listening to Indigo Girls. They knocked me off my feet. I just don't know — the harmony. Crosby, Stills & Nash are done. And so, the next best thing now is Indigo Girls. I don't know.

Brian: Good idea. Because they're spectacular. They really are.

Tom: You turn Galileo on, and I'm outside my car dancing. I'm one of the very few men who is big at it. I go to Indigo Girls' concert. I'm like one guy there. Everybody else is under a thousand years old, so I don't fit in. But that's the thing.

Billy: That's awesome. That's awesome. I guess, I want to peg you to be an Indigo Girls' fan. That's a fun, little tidbit about you.

Tom: I come on in Connecticut at a high school. They had my walk up music Indigo Girls. I don't know how they heard this. But I got actual walk up music into the theater.

Billy: Well, we can fix that.

Tom: Yeah, next time.

Billy: I, too, am a baseball fan. I've actually been to all of the major league baseball stadiums. That was something that I wanted to do.

Tom: Cool.

Billy: Yeah, if you ever get a chance, Jay Buckley Baseball Bus Tour takes you wherever you want to go. Have you ever done that one before?

Tom: Well, actually, we were Buckley's competition during the dome. From '80 to 2010, I was part of a team that called Ballpark Tours. We ran up against Buckley. Ours was like the renegade pirate tour. Buckley's were organized. They knew what time you're leaving. Ours were, we're pirates, but we did a lot of Comiskey, Wrigley, Old County Stadium. I refuse to take my kids to the Metrodome. I'd rather watch them watch ballet than the crappy indoor baseball. So, I was a baseball revolutionary. We're protesting still 10 years after they built the dome. So, I'm an outdoor baseball — I go to watch the dude drag the hose to water the infield. That's how sick I am.

Brian: So, you were very happy when they built Target Field then.

Tom: Ecstatic. I wanted to pull the plunger on the dome. I volunteered. We had champagne. It was a nightmare. My children lost three decades of baseball. I mean, that's a big deal. So, I dragged my kids in an old, beat-up Cadillac down to Milwaukee all the time.

Billy: I didn't realize that you had your little revolutionary baseball tour. That's awesome.

Tom: It was the worst company of all time.

Brian: It sounded like you guys focused on the fun and not the regiment around it.

Tom: Yeah, not the regiment, but baseball. We had the baseball weirdos on that bus. These guys would talk about Ted Kluszewski's slugging average from 1950. There's a weird group.

Billy: So, when you went to Milwaukee, was it county stadium, still?

Tom: No, in fact, we hit Miller Park. The first time we're down there, they closed the airplane hangar on the top. Then it was like, never again.

Billy: Oh, man. So, we then ask our guests a lot of time, or every time we have a guest, we ask them, what are you looking forward to in the second half of your life?

Tom: Second half. Let's stop. Billy Lahr, that makes me 100 and freaking 38 when I die. He says the second half of your life. Dude, I'm in overtime. This isn't even a fourth quarter. I mean, I don't know how many spins around the orbit I get. But, for me, grandfather is probably number one. Father — my kids are all fine. I got a Broadway audio guy. I got a golf pro out in West St. Paul. I got a high school math teacher. They're good.

Billy: You did well for yourself.

Tom: Yeah, but I can move on now to Sam and Charlie and Lucy. That's probably my biggest deal now. That's probably my major role. I'm still wanting to get out. I'm all about education. Speaking about this stuff that we're going to talk about tonight, that's right up there. If I don't say husband, I'll be living in the street. She's not watching this. It's not husband. But probably husband.

Billy: Can you talk a little bit about your educational background? Because you are a teacher for many, many years. So, can you talk a little about that?

Tom: I went to Colorado State. I got out of there in the early '70s with a math deal. I didn't know what to do with it, so I stumbled into teaching. I did seven years in middle school — math. Then I did 33 years cross the river at Cretin-Derham Hall, high school math. I got my 40 in. I was a sicko. I had no sick days in 40 years. I'm an OCD dude. I showed up. Nobody said, "Tom, way to go. Bye." I thought it was a big deal. We'll also get right into this.

25 years or so, I was mentally a mess. I was a perfect ACT guy. As a kid, I was valedictorian. I had all the brainpower you needed. The mental part was there, but not the social, emotional part. I was a mess by 47, 48, 49 years old. That's kind of the demographic we're talking to here. I was a disaster. I was a functional, dysfunctional.

My kids got high grades in the classroom. My basketball team has won every game. I was functioning, but I was negative, sarcastic, tyrant in class. I see you nod. We all had a teacher like that. You're on time because you're just going to get 40 lashes if you don't. It might be verbally. It might be making it funny. I was that guy. I was miserable.

Billy: Yeah, I can relate to it because there was a time when I was that guy, too. So, I absolutely relate to it.

Tom: They gave me awards for that behavior. That was the Vince Lombardi male figure. That was the Bobby Knight stuff I was growing up. I was mean. It was sort of revered. I couldn't understand why I wasn't sleeping. My marriage was just okay. As a dad, I wasn't very good. That's why I want to get back to these grandchildren and atone for my fathering. I mean, we got great kids. It's mostly because of my wife, Judy.

I was absent. I was busy. I wanted to achieve, accomplish, and accumulate. I'll say that again for the audience. The male brain or my brain was taught to achieve, accumulate, and accomplish. Meanwhile, the fourth A, which is what you 'are,' I wasn't paying attention to that. So, I became this guy I didn't like. But I had a bunch of stuff. I had stuff. I had a Hall of Fame, basketball, teacher this and teacher that. I taught AP Calculus. I thought I was a good teacher because everybody did well in AP calculus. Hello. What a monkey in there. The kids will get a 4 on the AP, anyway. I mean, these kids went to Mandarin camp when they were two. I thought I was really a good teacher. See, kids are really smart. So, I had an oh my god, aha in my late 40s.

Billy: Yeah, can you possibly — what was that?

Tom: That's why we're here. That's why you're here. You wouldn't have asked me to talk if I — yeah, that turned into this crappy old guy. I got lucky. I was in the right place at the right time. It wasn't an alcohol thing. It wasn't a religious thing. It wasn't a spiritual thing. I was sitting at conferences. A couple — a mom and dad — sat down and told me their daughter hated my guts. They said they were doing some of this work — we're going to talk about tonight — around mindfulness in the business world. Particularly, beauty salons, like hair cutting for women.

They had become these predominant — they're the dominant force in the country of training stylist, not to be creepy and crotchety. I thought, what is this? I was just curious. I don't know why I asked. But then they showed me a couple things on a piece of paper. We ended up going to coffee two days later. My head exploded, and my life changed.

Billy: And this is the Coen's, right?

Tom: No, the Cole's. Michael and Mary Cole, whose name appear on some of our stuff. They were co-authors with us early. It wasn't just them. They showed me the stuff. Then we started with, "We're going to do this for kids. We're going to do this for ninth-grade elective. We're going do this for parents." The whole time, it was always them. I had no idea that I was a target. I still thought I'm a really good teacher. I can make this above the line stuff. Amazing. Well, the target was me. It took me about eight months to figure that out. Because I was sharing all their stuff with kids then and think we got a really cool elective course here. So, I just started with ninth graders in 1999, 2000. It blossomed. The numbers grew. Then we had a parent night. A couple of parents were teachers actually in Burnsville District. They were interested in like, "Can you do this for our staff?" I'm like, this is a kid thing. They said, "No, this is a teacher thing. It's an adult thing. It's a parent thing. This is a life thing." You found nitroglycerin. You don't put it in a ninth-grade elective. That's not enough. You got to get this out to the world. We have no idea.

Billy: For the listeners, can you explain a little more around mindfulness and what exactly the program was? Just fill them in a little bit.

Tom: It's just thinking about your thinking. If you take psych 101, it's called metacognitive. It means Brian is metacognitive. Brian has the ability to do thinking, and then Brian can also think about his thinking. That's like the elevator version of this. Now, mere cats don't. Look at a mere cat. They're funny animal. They just think. If they want to eat, they eat. They fall asleep, standing up. Mere cats, I don't think are metacognitive. But neither are most of the adult human beings in this country.

Nobody is aware of what they're thinking is doing enough to change their thinking. Prove it. 5,000 people ran at the capitol with antlers on and spears. Somebody's got to say to themselves, "This is not a great idea." Right now, the country isn't bad. America is not mindful right now. To a micro, we have to take care of ourselves. This is so important. I could get into all the above the line, the frame. We got 30 of these lessons we do. Our group is called Top 20 Training. Because we got this top 20 brain, and we got this bottom 80 brain. I don't know why. It's a dumb name for a company. But that's what we named our company.

Billy: What I remember is — does this have something to do with 20% of the population can influence 80% of the population?

Tom: Yeah, and that was a stupid way to name the company. Because that's exactly why it's called the Pareto Principle in Italy, where 20% of the people owned 80% of the land. We thought that was cute, but it has nothing to do. So, it came off as, well, 20% of people are mindful and 80% aren't. We're like, no, no, no, stop. Tom, here sometimes is mindful. That's called my top 20 brain. Sometimes I'm clueless. Now, I don't know about the percentages or the number. Again, a dumb name. But that's 20 years ago. That's our name.

Billy: Anytime I've heard you speak, you said we all have the ability to be top 20s, and we all have the ability to be bottom 80s. Top 20 is live above the line, and they visit below the line. Bottom 80 is live below the line, and they visit above the line. So, can you talk about what that means?

Tom: As long as you're there. So, there's this line. Billy Lahr has this line. What is thinking is working. We call that above line. It doesn't mean happy. You could be above the line at a funeral. Below the line, you’re thinking it’s not working for you. Your bike's broken. You could be below the line at somebody's birthday party. It's not about being happy or sad. It's just, is your thinking working in this moment right now, and serving you in your best interest? It's that simple.

Now, up till age 47, I was a resident below the line. A quick disclaimer for all of you who are listening, we're not talking about trauma or mental illness here. I had neither of those. I did not lose my house in a hurricane in New Orleans. That's traumatic. I was choosing to be upset about referees and traffic jams. Some kid came in tardy, or somebody farted in class. Then I'd go nuts about this. I was choosing that life. If you want to hear the whole line, call me. Then I'll give you the info.

90 minutes can get you the whole above the line. We can talk about invitations and trampolines and all these things that go with it. It changed my life. I'm telling you, if I talk about this too much, I'm going to need Kleenex. I can't imagine that I lived without knowing. You say, well, it's just a metaphor. Wake up, you idiot. I mean, it's just mindfulness. Yeah, but we gave it in seventh grade. Simple to understand package for people to understand of choosing. Again, choose, choose, choose. It's choice, choosing your existence.

I'm just going to tell you straight up. If you're listening, look at me. You can just decide to be happier. You can. One time a 14-year-old boy left class. He came back, and he goes, "How can it be that simple?" I said just try it. He goes, "Why aren't you a millionaire?" I said, "Well, duh. Just decide that winter doesn't suck." Just decide that the Lowry Hill Tunnel is hopeless. It's always hopeless. If you want to get upset, every time you go through the Lowry Hill Tunnel, it's always jammed and jacked. They've tramped five lanes into two and think it's going to work. I'm better in the Lowry tunnel.

Everybody's freaking out about the pandemic. I didn't love it. Look at me. I'm OCD. I hated it. But I'll tell you what, I kept trying to think, what's my choice? What's my choice? Grandchildren, grandchildren. Focus. Families, Zoom, figure out Zoom. You know what else we did in the spring? There were four of us with our company. Once George Floyd deal hit, we took four months and said, "Let's try to make our stuff more equitable." We're stuck. Nobody's hiring us. Why don't we use this time to write, create, improve? That is so not me in the '80s.

Brian: Can you give the elevator pitch on what those discussions were like, and what you have talked about in terms of equitable experiences when it comes to Top 20?

Tom: Well, we talked about above the line. That's coming from a 69-year-old white guy who was born on third base in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Now, what we've tried to do is try to get the lens for the other folks. First of all, we just got better at owning it. I'm just going to stand up and say, "Look, this is my lens. Here's where it comes from. I'm going to own my male privilege." If you're out there thinking you don't have privilege, and you're a white male, wake the hell up. Give me a break. If that thing didn't wake us up last spring, I don't know what's going to wake you up. We got so much work to do.

Bill Lahr: Yeah, it's funny, that's one of the things that I had to do a 180 on. Because I remember getting defensive when that idea of white privilege came up. I would look for the holes in it. Then finally, I can't remember what shifted, but it was just the realization that there are certain things that I don't have to worry about as a white male. Finally, I was like, "Oh, I get it now. I remember it just washed over me like a shower. It was just like, oh, I get it now. I finally realize this. But I had to be open to the idea rather than getting so defensive about it and having a visceral reaction when someone would say it to me.

Tom: I had the same deal. I went through the same thing — defense, defensive, all your male bashing. I'm not interested in male bashing. Male bashing, let me just speak for my gender for a minute. We need a little bashing. In the questionnaire before this thing, it says what's a male brain versus a female brain in teenage years and so on? Come on. The fourth-grade girls are 38 years old. The fourth-grade boys are in their borders. Right?

I can't believe we'd let 16-year-old boys drive. That's dumb. I would let a 16-year-old girl take a driver's license test. Boys, I'd try about 25. Why? Think of Alamo, Enterprise, Hertz? No cars till you're 25. They're the only people in America that understand brain science. Instead, we like you go fight in the army at 18, smoke cigarettes, buy pot, whatever. But you can't rent a car to Alamo. Why? Because frat guys are still throwing lawn chairs in the bonfires. "I'm not giving you my car," says Alamo. It's so obvious now. On the back end of my life, there's something—

The good news — ladies, if you're listening, you'll test this. The guys catch up eventually. They catch up. We rally sometimes.

Billy: Which was a long time.

Tom: Yeah, hopefully, before midlife.

Billy: How do you see that manifest then when you do presentations in schools?

Tom: Well, it’s tougher sell. Our stuff is a tougher sell for students who are males. Because tough guy, emotions. I'm strong. I don't need this crap. It's a tougher sell to a ninth-grade boy than an eighth-grade girl. Developmentally, they're two different beings. So, we have some tricks. We always try to — if I'm teaching this to ninth-grade class, I'm immediately finding the toughest dude in the room. We have the kid’s write a little bit at the end of the week. I'm reading his the very next Monday. Even if it's crap, I'm pretending it's like a Pulitzer Prize stuff. Then he looks and goes, "Okay." Then his body is like, "Well, if Bill's into this, I guess I'll listen." But her stuff is so- you're not all the time. When we talk, its internally valid.

Billy: It's really a lot of common sense. But then it goes back to that old saying. If common sense is so common, why are some people still screwed up? That sort of thing. It is like what I've read through your books. It's just like, yeah, this makes total sense.

Tom: Nobody ever disagrees. Nobody ever raised their hand and go, "I just prefer negativity." We go in to do these trainings. People follow you to your car. They're like, "Dude, when can you come back? You're cheaper than my therapist." It's simple. It's internally valid. It makes sense. Nobody sets out to be a crotchety, old, middle-aged lady in a classroom as a teacher or a business hating your job. It's just so simple, but it's so hard.

By the way, I don't want this to sound like I figured it out. I got the old demons, man I got stuff in my closet that comes out every day. I got old habits. You don't just switch hands brushing your teeth at 48 years old, and then you're good to go. I pick up the toothbrush with the other hand on them.

Billy: Great analogy. One of my favorite quotes is from Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. He says, that guy that you used to be is in the car with you, and will always be in the car with you. But under no circumstances should you allow him to get back behind the wheel even if he's kicking and screaming.

Tom: Right. There's a book. I want to plug not our stuff here. But let me plug Shirzad Chamin, Positive Intelligence. He talks about the sage and the saboteur. In the old Disney movies, it was a devil and an angel that we're always — Tom, swear at everybody. The angel is like, "No, just take it back." Sage in Tom, we want the sage driving, not the saboteur. The saboteur lies to you. The saboteurs say screaming at children motivates them. That's what saboteurs say to you. The sage goes, "Don't do that." I used to lose all the time. I used to fight. The sage was there. But the saboteurs had been working out. So, they beat the crap out of my sage. I would lose all the time. Don't yell at the ref. But then, I yell at refs. But I was clever. I didn't get that many technical. I should have been. Oh my god, I was bad.

Billy: Well, one of my favorite stories that you've told is you called timeout, and the ref — can you tell that one?

Tom: Yeah, 60 or 30. The guy goes, "Do you want a 60 or a 30?" I had it with him. I screamed top of my lungs. Minneapolis North Gym was where I did this. I said I don't know. I called it for you. Three, take as long as you need. We're just going to kill it here. But you want to start the circus again. Have you ever been thrown out of the gym? Minneapolis North? Not a great deal. Yet find a bus. I mean, these stories they're all true. I did this crap. I have no excuse. If anybody's listening that had me in class, I'm sorry. If you had me after 1999, you’re welcome.

Billy: Was there an affirmation? Were there some kids who found that cruelty to be funny? Was that a reinforcement for you, like you've got an audience?

Tom: Absolutely. Guess what? I coached 6 D1 girls in basketball. They were all fine. They all had crazy parents, almost every D1 athlete, right? They thrive to that stuff. They say keep it up. I'm tough. Well, I coached D1 athletes, right? How many were not D1 athletes? Hundreds. These are 16-year-old girls that I'm really emotionally abusing. Why? Because we're going to get the rebound.

By the way, we got every rebound and every free throw for 22 years. Because they're petrified not to. Of course, we're going to beat you. Why is that? We're going to come in at 6 AM if we lose for practice. I mean, it was that nonsense. Yeah, short-term — accumulate, achieve, accomplish. Long term, they don't speak to me. I had a 25-win team. See, I talk. I had a 25-win team in 1993. I hardly talked to anybody on that team. If they see me at the State Fair, they crossed the street. What did I become? That was a perfect example of what I didn't want to be, especially later in my life. I don't want to be that guy.

Billy: That hits home for me, because I think I still battle with responding in that way. I think just because in my role at my school, the 13 years that I've been there, seven of them I taught in the alternative program, those students were coming in with all sorts of academic and behavioral and social emotional needs. I wasn't necessarily in the best mindset to be a pillar of support for them at all times. Even now, as a dean, I'm always working with students when they are at their worst. When you call home, you're dealing with parents who are shocked. Maybe they respond in a way where it's like, "You're going after my kid," that sort of thing.

For me, it's really difficult to step back from time to time, because I get wrapped up in the emotion of it. I'm very much emotionally driven. I struggle with that. You said something last week that just slapped me in the face when you talked about burnout, and how burnout has everything to do with who you surround yourself with. I'd like to take a break right now. I want to come back and talk about that when we're back. So, thank you all for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis with Brian, and Billy, and Tom Cody.


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And now, let's take a minute to be present with our breath. If you're listening somewhere safe and quiet, close your eyes and slowly inhale for 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Slowly exhale for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Let's do that one more time. Inhale for 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Slowly exhale for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go ahead and open your eyes. You feel better? We certainly hope so. And now, back to the show.


Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here talking to Top 20 Strategy guru, Tom Cody. Tom, once again, thank you for being here. We finished off the last segment talking about burnout. You had said something to me last week that really stuck with me when you talked about how burnout isn't a real thing. It's about who you're surrounding yourself with. So, can you talk a little bit more about that?

Tom: Yeah, because if you're a midlife person right now, and you think, "Well, I'm burned out. I'm burned out as a dentist or a realty—" it's got nothing to do with your age. It isn't like you're burned out because you're 47. See, I was fried at 26. I was so burned at 26. How am I sounding tonight at 69 years old? Do I sound burned out?

Billy: You sound like you got a lot of pep and a lot of energy.

Tom: I'll get on a plane to the North Pole if Santa wants a training tomorrow. By the way,, Santa. That's I was so burned out in my 20s and 30s. It's all about negativity. If you hang out in negativity, and if your job requires you to do a lot of working around negative people, very, very common to get burned. But I'm just different night.

In my 30s and 40s, the crew I was hanging with, not such a snappy group when I look back. I won't get into what they were doing. Lately, I hang out with a guy named Paul Bernabei in Top 20. He makes Gandhi look like an a-hole.

Billy: I've met him. The guy is amazing.

Tom: If somebody cuts us off, then Paul goes, "Well, let's be curious. You don't know their story." That's how this guy thinks. I've been hanging with him for 22 years. That's a different — it's hard to be burned out when you're surrounding yourself with positive people. We're writing positive books. We're thinking about positive mindset. The best therapy for me is when I go to a training. Because I do six hours at a business or a school. Basically, I'm talking to myself for six hours. I'm training 200 people, and I'm telling jokes for the microphone. But I'm mindful the whole time. God, I got to practice this. I'm giving myself the pep talk.

The other one, it's right behind me here on this poster. Keep your day. If you're struggling with burnout, and you hate it, just pick the next day. Tomorrow is called March 6. Okay. I don't know when this is going to air, but just pick the next day. Don't let anybody get your day. I'm not going to let negativity get me, Lowry Tunnel down get me. Target checkout lady who doesn't know what avocado is, you're like, Ahhh. She's not getting my day. I'm not giving my day away. If I'm a teacher, I'm not going to freak out about a tardy kid. If I'm in a loving relationship, and my partner is a mess, not my circus. Not my monkeys today. I'll listen and be empathetic, but I'm not giving away my day to my wife, to my grandkids. I'm just not doing that. Especially, at my age 69, I can't be giving them away. I don't know how many I got left in my bingo hopper here. Now you're 48 or whatever. I don't think you can afford to be doing it either.

Billy: I'm 43. So, are you currently overaging me? You call me 47 and 48. Now I'm 43. If I look 48 over this Zoom call right here, Brian, we're going to work on the filter.

Brian: You got to make up for something.

Tom: 43. Billy's got the fake ID. Hey, but keep your day. Don’t give your day away to nonsense. Again, we're not talking about trauma here. You lose your dad to COVID. Will you keep your day? No, it's awful. But let's stop freaking out about — Minnesota people, give me a break. In December, its dark. It's really dark. You see, it's dark and cold and dark. Yeah, you, fool. You live here. It's dark next December, too. Stop giving your day away. The Vikings, all the Vikings, Kirk Cousins, shut up. They're never going to win the thing. Get over it, and move on. Just find something else to do.

Billy: I've made my peace with Minnesota sports teams, but I have yet to make my peace with Minnesota winters. Sometimes, Tom, you say things to me. I feel like you've been spying on me for years and years and years just to say these things, so that they hit me deep in my soul.

Tom: Sure.

Brian: I got to say, as a Packers fan, the Vikings make me very happy.

Tom: Good for you.

Brian: Yeah, they don't wreck my game very often.

Tom: Yeah, and a Green Bay guy here is not getting my day. I'm telling you what. I used to be the most generous man in Minnesota. Because I would give my day away to everybody. I was giving my day to basketball refs. I was giving my day away to a slouchy kid in class. I was constantly just giving it away. Harder to get mine now. You could still do it, but it's just tougher. I'm a little more, like, nope.

Brian: You guys have buttons that people can buy. You've got buttons galore that people can buy. Can you talk about that?

Tom: We have buttons pride.

Billy: Yeah, there we go. They've got, keep your day buttons above the line.

Tom: There's a cool part of this. These are made by kids in special ed at a high school, Irondale High School. They make them for us. They got a machine, and they publish them. But all our little catchphrases — be curious, keep your day, live above — we got these $1 buttons. If you ever see us, we'll probably have a bag of those. If you want one, give us $1. It goes to the kids at Irondale. So, it's been a cool thing.

Brian: That's great. We should give some of those away. Sign us up for 10 or 20 of them. We'll buy them because it's a great cause.

Billy: They're available on their website.

Brian: Yeah, we'll buy some.

Tom: But we might be out of luck. I don't know if we got enough right now. We can get them to you. Because they're out of business. They're not in school.

Billy: Right.

Tom: They might be down since COVID hit. But we'll find some for you. What you're doing right now is so important. I just want to emphasize that again. You're talking to somebody. Whoever's listening out there, you're at a crossroads here listening tonight. You can continue to make the choice to just keep doing it the way you're doing it. Einstein calls that insanity. You think you're going to get different results with the same kind of thinking. You got to change this to change that. By the way, now I'm in radio.

You got to change this inside life to change the outside life. I used to try to do it in opposite. I would try to fix the outside in order to make the inside better. That's terrible thinking. It doesn't work. I'll be happy when the Vikings win the Super Bowl. I'll be happy when it's 72 degrees in January in St. Paul. You can do that. I did it forever. In a day, I'm just done with that formula. I'm going inside out, not outside in.

Brian: It's fantastic. Because that, again, seems so simple. But it's so powerful.

Billy: It can be hard, too, if you've been living the opposite for such a long time. If your default is to go yeah.

Brian: The toothbrush analogy.

Billy: Yeah, when you default to the negative, which a lot of us do. Because it's actually part of our survival. It's that we default to the negative. That's where our amygdala is a little too strong for us. It's important for us to develop the prefrontal cortex.

Tom: But watch, Billy. You're living in the most negative culture in the history of the planet. Comedy in America is so negative. Chris Rock is funny and certain lives are funny. But they're mean.

Brian: Social media.

Tom: Yeah, social media is negative. Professional sports has got to be absurdly negative. The government is a joke. I don't care if you're a donkey or an elephant, or red or blue. You got to be kidding me. This US Senate — I don't know if it's going to change in the next four years less. I'm not going to argue politics with you. Only that Washington DC is the center of negativity.

Brian: Absolutely.

Tom: And so, why are we negative? Then I hate it when you're talking about kids are negative these days. Teens are negative. No, they're not. They're just growing up in a lake full of pollution, and they smell funny. Well, yeah, because we're raising them in this lake. That's why it's so important.

If you thinking at night about making a shift in your mindset, that's going to shift a whole lot more. It's just you will start cleaning up the lake. What if this — I'll tell you what. Social-emotional learning, whatever you're calling this stuff tonight, (SEL), social-emotional learning is sweeping the nation. High schools are figuring it out. They're watching kids with straight A's fail at life and thinking, what are we missing?

Billy: You talk a lot about IQ and EQ, and how you would rather have someone with a high EQ as opposed to a high IQ. Because the person with high EQ — with emotional quotient and emotional intelligence — is going to be able to interact and socialize and think and communicate and learn above the line more often than somebody who has a low EQ.

Tom: Yeah, and I'm the poster boy for high IQ, low EQ coming out of college and into my life. I could tell you all 50 capitals. I was just bad at listening. I can do the quadratic formula in my head. I was just bad at collaborating.

Now, which one is more important in the 2021 job market? A lot of you listening are looking to hire people like this. You don't care about IQ, frankly, in the job market. Because everybody gets this stuff on Wikipedia, Google Chrome Book, Monkey or whatever they're doing. They'll figure it out. If I need to learn how to work, what you do at work, I'll figure it out. I'm not trying to oversimplify being a doctor or lawyer. I get it. They stuff their skills. But everybody who gets fired or let go, it's all about the EQ. You never get rid of a nurse because she's bad at shots. I mean it. She's just a knucklehead emotionally. See, you'll move her out of the hospital.

This generation of kids is getting into a time where the careers haven't even been invented yet. What are they going to need to succeed? Mindfulness, and before midlife. Because you're not going to get any money any other way, unless you're good at bank robbery. You need to get a career. Who's going to hire you in a job market where there are no jobs? You have to be entrepreneurial. If you don't have the right mindset, you can't be entrepreneurial.

Billy: It says here the National Association of Colleges and Employers has identified career readiness as the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace. This is what they want people to graduate from college — knowing how to do critical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, teamwork and collaboration, digital technology, leadership, professionalism and work ethic, career management, and global and intercultural fluency.

Tom: I want to accent collaboration. Edison did the light bulb as just Edison. The Wright brothers, two guys, flew. That's never going to happen again. 3M is not inventing stuff with one lady in a room. "I don't like my lab partner," says every kid in every high school. Well, too bad. That's more important than the science you're learning.

Tom, say that again. The lab partner, and trying to get along with a knucklehead lab partner is more important than phosphorus mixes with calcium. That's the skill. But we got to remind kids, we got to remind adults this. We call them star qualities in Top 20. We got to develop persistence, willpower, self-discipline. That's all I need to get hired. That's all I need to be happy. If you don't have that stuff, mindfulness doesn't help you much. Because you got to also have the grit, the resilience. I got to develop this stuff. If I didn't do it at 18, maybe I'd do it at 45. I wouldn't recommend my path. But it's better than beating your head on a rock and say, Jesus, it still hurts when I hit my head on the rock. Well, try something different.

Brian: At least you made it. You headed that direction.

Billy: I think that's why I admire you so much time, Tom. Because I listened to the stories that you tell from when you were in your 20s, and 30s, and your early 40s. It's like, man, that's me in a nutshell. That's all the things that I used to do. I feel like I'm transitioning into a more Top 20 mindset. I'm not there completely.

Tom: Yeah, nobody is.

Billy: Right. I'm edging my way to that. I'm still neurotic, anxious, mess much of the time. The number of times that I create a story or narrate a story in my head and get worked up about something that's never even happened — it's never even happened. It's not even a situation that I'm facing, but I've created something.

You guys talk about tornadoes of negativity. I create that tornado of negativity just with my own thoughts. It's like, oh, gosh. So, I really, really made a concentrated effort to slow those thoughts down so they don't spiral into a whirlwind of toxicity.

Tom: Let me give you the 10-second version of what you just said. Not now. If you get a note from the assistant principal at a high school. Come see me. The kid goes, "Oh my god. I'm expelled. I'm going to be living in a van down by the river," whatever. You start making up all this stuff. Not now. Our stuff is not complicated. Just get the heck — but it takes a habit. It's buried behind me. Not now. You got it. I'm better at that now.

All this person didn't return a phone call. I bet they aren't going to hire me. Not now. Let the problem be the problem, Tom. There's going to be a problem maybe. Well, let's wait and see what the problem is. It requires strength. I want to say a word about strength. We're talking about the male brain last week on your show or whatever.

Everybody wants to be strong, whether you're a female or a male. But there's a male Neanderthal image of strength. See, mindfulness is strength — emotional strength for males, sensitivity strength, intellectual strength, mental strength. You think you're going to be able to raise a kid because you got good biceps? I mean, you can hold them up when he's 10, I guess. That's about it. But he won't probably be around if you don't have emotional, mental. It's — I can't say that word. It's hard to raise kids as a man in this society.

By the way, my dad, he didn't even participate. I was somewhat absent. You, too, sitting here listening tonight, it's a different deal. You're in charge of these kids, these families — if you have a family with kids. You have the other kind of strength. I think that's what mindfulness creates. It's this idea that males can cry at the end of West Wing. Males can watch Marley die in the — what's her name, the dog?

Billy: Wait. what?

Brian: Wait a minute. I haven't seen that.

Tom: Yeah, I'm serious. If you watch my dog, Marley — remember that movie, Marley & Me — and you're not crying when they put them under the tree, in the hole, there's something wrong with you.

Billy: Listen, last week, I broke down talking about my own dog.

Tom: That's foreign news to the people older than me. They're like, "Oh, no. I just got some in my eye." I mean, that's weakness. That's weakness when you aren't appropriate with your mental approach to what's going on. There are times where you sob. There are times when you laugh. There are times when we cry.

Billy: I think about how, ahead of his time, Jimmy V was when he talked about the three things you should do in the old days. You laugh, you cry, and you spend time in thought.

Tom: Yeah, and he was right on. At the time, I heard him speak. I said, oh, that sounds soft. But after his passing, I looked back, and I watched that show, I'm bawling like a baby now. I get it. Again, it's metacognitive. What am I thinking? Is that serving me? Can I think about my thinking? I don't want to beat that in the ground. But it's pretty easy.

Brian: But you should. Because a lot of people don't get it yet, as you were saying earlier.

Tom: I like Dr. Phil's deal. If somebody goes, I just prefer negative, he'd go, "Well, how's that going for you, dude? I mean, cool. See, I don't ever jam this down anybody's throat. If there's a kid that says I'm happy, fine. Goodbye. Life will see you later. This is not for everybody. It is for everybody, but not everybody is ready to drink. I got Kool-Aid. Some people aren't thirsty. Okay, I'll leave the pitcher. I'm not going to fight you on this. I'd rather move on to the next business, the next school. Okay. Because I was that guy.

Brian: Well, it is something that the person has to internalize. It's not something somebody can hand you. They can suggest it to you, but it's not something — you have to internalize it.

Tom: Here's another Cody-ism. What I'm offering tonight is not insight. It's outsight. You're listening to me in your car, wherever. You're just hearing this old man give you outsights. Nothing happens with the show tonight till you have the insight. Your parents gave you outsights. "Don't date her." They told you all kinds of crap. You didn't, until it hit you. The parents were all like, "I gave you all the greatest insights in the world." No, you didn't. Because I don't agree with any of it. But as soon as it hits you and you own it, it's yours. I can't get rid of this now.

I don't know if you can hear me clear enough. Once you get this into your skull and into your heart, it's not going out. It's not like you forget how to be happy. True story. There was a night in 2001. I was about a year and a half into this. I couldn't sleep the whole night because I was too happy.

Billy: What made you so happy?

Tom: Everything. Just my life. One guy said to me, the dude that was turning me on to this, my mentor said, you're gone find prosperity like you've never had before. I go, what does that mean? He goes, mental, spiritual, financial. This is going to make you emotionally rich. You're also going to make a crap ton of money doing this. Because America's dying for this. I was like, "No, I'm just a teacher making 385 with a master's, whatever." Holy smokes. I'm not blowing my horn here. I'm talking about the content. We've hit the national stage. This stuff is out there now. I got to present at Dakar, Senegal three years ago. They made me come over to an international — I'm like, what am I doing? I'm getting on a plane at JFK, with my crappy t-shirt on, thinking I didn't see this coming. I'm not trying to tell you I'm a big deal. I'm not a big deal. But sort of a big deal. People, they just like it.

Again, a lot of our works in school. But I want to make a pitch to you, people in business. I could come in and do this with your people, I'm telling you. I won't save all of them. But I guarantee, you got a tom Cody on your staff right now. I guarantee there's somebody is just waiting. There's somebody just waiting to get that insight. If they do, it's going to be worth it.

Billy: I can speak from personal experience that your books, I look forward to. Every time you're in the building, I go. Every time you're doing a Zoom meeting with our staff, I go. I look so forward to it because it's interesting. Like you talked about, yeah, I could pay $150 to see a therapist every month, or I can drop $20 on your book and read that every time I start dipping below the line. It almost feels like I'm paying rent down there. It's like, no, I need to move out and purchase property above the line here.

Anytime I've heard you present, it has always been — you've talked about trampolines just to bounce me back up above there. I think it's important for people to stop and do an emotional inventory. Where are you at? Because if you're moving too fast, I think that's also where mindfulness comes into. If you're moving too fast, and you're constantly in doing mode — like what Sarah Rudell Beach talked about episodes ago — if you're constantly in doing mode, then you can't stop and do that emotional inventory. Then you miss out on what you talked about. It's taking those outsights and turning them into insights.

Tom: In my old days, I drive by Caribou. I'm going to five basketball practices. I'm going to do this, do that. I drive by, and some dude is sitting there looking at the sky. I was just thinking to myself, what is wrong with that guy? Is he got some mental problems? No, the guy in the car had mental problems. That guy's watching clouds.

Now, it was 2000. I think, 2000, 2001 when this hit me. I went to Italy for three months. I just sat there. It was unbelievable. I had no idea I even had that in me. I can do a morning at a coffee shop now. I can be alone. By the way, 69, you're alone a lot. I got news for you. People looking forward to this retirement thing, Judy is doing something else. You don't want to be with me all the time. You do a lot of walking around the neighborhood. So, you better be okay and get your head on straight. Because you're going to spend a lot of time in the six-inch space between your ears. If you're not doing it now, you're going to do it down the road. Get ready. I can do that now I can be okay with me, and just me being me. That's a skill. I didn't have that down.

Billy: How important is it for you to continue doing your conferences and engaging people about this topic? Because last week, we talked about the importance of, especially as we age, that we continue to do things that we love and we continue to socialize. Because if we don't, those brain cells, they atrophy.

Tom: Yeah. Well, number one, this pandemic cost me a year business-wise. I didn't get to go to Cleveland, or let alone Dakar, Senegal. There was almost no business, so I was forced into the inside world. I lost. I lost that. People say, "Well, do you really want to go out and keep doing this?" The answer is yes. I miss it. I miss Delta. I miss cancelled flights in Tucson. You're like, what? Well, because it gets me to share this with people. I do have a shelf life. Although I think I can do what I do in a Stephen Hawking deal, I'm not roughing houses here. So, I could do this for a while until I lose my mind here, which I'm watching my mom go through that right now. It's going to happen at some point.

But no, I'm just getting warmed up, sparky. I want to do this. I feel like the guy who gave this — Michael — when he gave it to me, he said one deal. That's all you got to do. Promise me you're going to pass it on. Because he had been given this gift from somebody else. He had no idea. I tell him all the time, but he still has no idea how profound that gift was to me. I'll never pay it back. Because I burned so many bridges in my youth, I got a lot of atoning to do. Some of it involves going to Minot, North Dakota. It's not as exotic as Africa. But I fly to Minot. I could vote in Minot. I'm up there so much. Did I plan to be big in Minot? No, but they think, "Oh, Tom's here." It's fun, and it feels good for your ego and self-esteem. But I'm way past that now.

When I first started doing this, I love the applause. Oh, Tom's funny. Yeah, great. That's nice. What is it doing for you now? Just like my teaching career, it used to be all about me. When I figured it out, it was all about the students. I used to be all into teaching. Later, I was more interested in learning. Same arc of my Top 20 career. First was all about me. They're giving me money. They're giving me a plane ticket. This is so cool. But you do that for a while, and it's not enough for you. What am I helping these people become? That's my deal. That's what I want to do for a while.

Billy: Well, we want to make sure that we spread the word just how amazing you are. With a with a simple visit to your website, they can get this. They can get the show live and in person, or they can get the books. Can you just talk about what you all have to offer in terms of conferences, and books, and whatever else you've got going on? Go ahead and promote yourself.

Tom: I would promote two things because I know a lot of you are not involved in education. If you're into education, you need us yesterday. You need me yesterday at your school. Because the schools, I mean, my god. Professional development in schools is so bad. It's either the EpiPen lady, the insurance guy, or bloodborne pathogens. So, people say you're the best PD we ever had. Well, duh. The bar is low. So, forget schools for a minute.

What I would push for you is, our latest book is Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living. It's got nothing to do with education. This one is written for plumbers and sisters-in-law, and dads, and moms. It’s called Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living. Mindfulness, rebalanced. You can get that stuff on the website. It's

Then for trainings, a lot of you are in businesses, I would love to have you give me a yell. Maybe you're interested in doing your bank staff or you own a fitness club. If you got folks that need just to clean the head a little bit and just get a — by the way, if you're thinking of firing three people, why don't you save the money, and at least try this first? Maybe you can do it with a book. Maybe you can do it with a Zoom call with me, or bring me in. I got two shots next Tuesday. I got two shots, baby. I used to have two shots at the bar. I'm hoping I can get out and go on again by late summer or fall. I hope that we're back in business. But I appreciate the plug in.

Billy keeps saying, now you're amazing, Tom. You may not like my message. I don't know. If you've been listening this for an hour, you kind of got the flavor. It'll be the same sort. I don't have another speed. I don't have a more professional way to say this. This is what you get. You're like, I would never bring him into my bank. Okay. Then don't.

Billy: You'd be missing out if you didn’t.

Tom: No, maybe not. You're like, "You're just not professional enough. You need to wear a suit and tie, and talk about the metacognitive." Okay. Well, I don't do that.

Billy: No, we actually talked to Maurice Buchanan and Daleco James over at WURK Gym. One of the 10 words that they listed was professional chameleon. What they meant by that is they wanted to be able to dress the way that they wanted to dress, and look the way that they wanted to look, and diversify their business the way that they wanted to diversify it. Because they wanted to stay true to their brand and who they are. One of the things that I feel we pride ourselves on is finding guests who are genuine and authentic and are real. Tom, you are as genuine and authentic and as real as they come. We love you for it. So, thank you so much.

Brian: Yeah, Tom, I agree with most of what you said. But I have a point of contention.

Tom: Yeah, I bet you do, Brian.

Brian: You, sir, are a big deal.

Billy: Agree.

Tom: Would you keep that on tape? I'll play it for my wife. She laughed. She thought I was funny from 1978 when we married to 1979.

Billy: Are you just recycling jokes?

Tom: No, in '78, she's like, "He's the funniest person of all time." Then by '80s, she's like, "Just shut up. Don't do your thing. You got a thing you're doing." I'm telling you, if we go out to a bar after the training with me, or a coffee shop, whatever, it's the same thing. If you give me a microphone. I'll be a little more careful if I have a microphone. But it's pretty much you just hear me. That's why this has been so easy for me to tell this story, because it's my story. How hard is that?

Billy: You're a natural at it, Tom. We want to thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today. You can go and check out to check out all of the things that Tom is talking about today. That's not even the tip of the iceberg of the content that is in his books and in his presentations. We've maybe touched on three or four things. Though we dove deep into those three or four things, they break it down in such an easy, metaphorical, user-friendly way that as you're reading it, you'll be like, "Oh, that's such an easy concept to remember forever." So, check it out. Tom, you're the best. Thank you so much.

Tom: Thanks, guys. Hey, let's keep up the good work. This is important stuff. Make sure you listen next week, because they'll find somebody else to give you a different slant on all this.

Billy: Thanks, Tom.

Tom: See you. Call me in a month. See you.


Thanks for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put out new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact us, or if you have suggestions about what you'd like us to discuss, feel free to email us at or follow us on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. Oh, and don't forget to show yourself some love every now and then, too. And now, back to the show.

(closing interview)

Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Brian, after we got done talking to Tom Cody, you were like, "Dude, you are knocking it out of the park with these guests." What did you like so much about Tom?

Brian: As you mentioned, in the first bumper, that guy was just extremely energetic. It inspires you to be a better person, really, when you listen to him. You know what I mean? He just has a way of putting perspective on things. That, I really dig.

Billy: You said that you're actually thinking about having him come speak to your workers.

Brian: I was thinking about it. Because I know a lot of people that could use what he was talking about.

Billy: Yeah, and he has great books that you can check out, too. He mentioned them in the podcast, but we're gone mention them again. I strongly recommend that if you have teenagers, that you have them read Top 20 Teens. That is a great book for them to check out. They actually have a Top 20 Parents book out there as well. They have top 20 books for every walk of life. Their newest book is called Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living. I purchased that one not too long ago. I haven't read that one yet. It's on my shelf. It's one of the books that I'm going to read, as I continue to move forward and try to be a better version of myself. So, we'll probably revisit that and have Tom come back on, and talk about some of the finer points in that book as well.

You can check out Top 20 Teens. That's a great book to purchase for your kids. He has a book called Top 20 Parents, and then Rebalanced Thinking, Rebalanced Living. All of these are available at I like listening to Tom, because I feel like he calls me out on my own bullshit and my own excuses. We talked about daylight savings time at the beginning of this episode, and how that has, for me, especially throw me for a little loop. I have talked on this podcast how much I despised winter. Tom's like, suck it up. Get over it.

Brian: You live here.

Billy: You live in Minnesota. You should know. It shouldn't be a surprise, from November to mid-March, that you're going to be cold and it's going to be dark.

Brian: Hey, Billy, we're in mid-March now.

Billy: I know.

Brian: Is that great?

Billy: Here's the thing, as I look at daylight savings time now, it's 5:34. It's still a lot of light.

Brian: A lot of light.

Billy: A lot of light out. You have to look at those opportunities, as well. As Tom would call it, you need to reframe how you see things, how you experience them. One of the things Tom has shared with me in the past is that, if you don't change what you're doing, you're always going to get what you've always got. That has helped me become more aware of how I see different situations and really try to approach them with the top 20 mindset so that I am in my best way of thinking rather than when my thinking isn't serving my best needs.

So, I would highly encourage you to check out those books. If you have an opportunity to have Tom present to your staff or present to your school, go to a training if you can. He's absolutely fantastic. We really, really thank him for being on our show. We really thank you, once again, for listening to the first 10 episodes — what we're calling season one. We're not going anywhere. We'll be right back with more episodes each Wednesday. Sometimes we'll have bonus episodes coming for you as well.

We hope you've enjoyed what we have put out there for you, so far. For Brian, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care friends.


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If you'd like to contact us or if you have suggestions about what you'd like us to discuss on future episodes, feel free to email us at or follow us on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. Be sure to check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. Thanks again for listening. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved.