Ep 248: Tommy Breedlove – How to Build and Live a Legendary Life
We all have the power of choice.
But some of us think otherwise. If you don’t believe you have a choice because of the stories that others have put in your mind, ask yourself what will you choose today to start unwiring that lie, so that you can live your life and not that story you’re telling yourself.
In this episode of Chasing Dreams, we get to chat with the amazing Tommy Breedlove on how, through conscious actions and inner work, you can build and live a legendary life.
Tommy Breedlove is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of the book, Legendary, and Atlanta-based business, relationship, and mindset coach who is a regularly featured keynote speaker at global events. He serves clients and audiences by empowering them to build and live Legendary Lives. He guides them to build a lasting legacy, work in their zone of brilliance, obtain financial confidence, and live with meaning and balance.
Tommy grew up fairly humble on the south side of Carolina, where not many people from there are given the opportunity to go to college. As a young boy, Tommy’s dream was to drive a Coca Cola truck. He loved the product and knew the company was a good one.
But as a young boy this dream wasn’t something he chased. His parents pushed Tommy into the college path. However, growing up in and around a lot of violence and abuse, Tommy became what he hated. At 18 years old, he committed a violent crime and was looking at seven years in prison. So all that hard work and that dream was literally lost in the blink of an eye. But luckily, it was dropped to a misdemeanor. Tommy spent his 19th birthday incarcerated as opposed to being in university.
This was his first major wake up call and his first reset. He opened his eyes and saw that he was running in the wrong direction with the wrong people. He made a choice to redirect his life.
But like everything in life, there are reasons for why things happen. While young Tommy was in jail, a 45 year old African-American decided to step over racial lines and mentor Tommy. One thing that was missing from his life before prison was good, solid mentorship. This man told Tommy that he wasn’t going to be part of the system. They spent several days and weeks learning from and teaching one another. Tommy was inspired.
After serving his time, Tommy decided to start again and not waste his second chance. So he decided to work for a nuclear waste container factory and did community college at night. He went from a jail cell, to UGA, to being hired by Deloitte (one of the largest financial companies in the world), in three years.
If you work hard on your inner game - your mind, physical, and spiritual health - all of these things will come to you. There’s nothing you can’t overcome. And in life, it’s all about the long-term game and the long-term commitment to ourselves.
“Hurt people hurt people. I do believe that people can change and with intentional action, you can do or be whatever you want. And so no matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can always overcome it by taking intentional action.” @TommyBreedlove #chasingdreams
FOLLOWING OTHERS’ DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
After Tommy’s reset, he began working with Deloitte. His mindset was about working hard and being his best self. At the time, he thought if he just outworked and out-hustled everybody in that world and found money, power and success, he would then be happy.
He worked his way up through other firms. But no matter how high up he was in the corporate ladder, he was still that abused and hurt little boy. This was mainly because he hadn’t done the inner work that was needed. This resulted in Tommy turning back into the darkness whenever the money, power, success, or next deal didn’t fulfil him.
Tommy was wearing all of these masks at work - the guy with the shiny suit, the tough guy, the guy who didn’t need to ask for help - all of the things that weren’t him. A few years into his corporate career, he found himself knee-deep into a multi-million dollar deal and lying in a ditch in down-town Atlanta. This was his final aha moment.
“Who is this person who just doesn't feel good enough?” This was the question he asked himself while lying on the cold pavement.
From the outside it looked like Tommy had it all. But in reality, he was unhappy, scared, acting out, and unfulfilled. Because of this, his insecurities came out as arrogance. And arrogance, according to Tommy, is just insecurity on steroids. With this final aha moment, Tommy made a decision and said enough is enough.
“Arrogance is just insecurity on steroids.” @TommyBreedlove #chasingdreams
“The moment we equate money to happiness, we’re already off to the wrong start.”
THE POWER OF CHOICE
Money is just a magnifying glass. If you’re a super unhappy person, money will magnify that 10x. If you’re a happy person, money will help you do a lot of good. Money is important, definitely. If you want to make an impact, it’s important. But it’s not going to - in and of itself, make you happy.
So what Tommy says, is happiness is a choice and a journey. It’s not a destination. Joy is fleeting in our lives so we have to choose to do something different. Additionally, if you are unhappy in a job, a relationship, a situation, whatever it is, the most probable reason that you are staying in that situation is out of fear.
Social media and society also play a large role in one’s happiness. According to research, if you scroll through Twitter (or other social media platforms) more often, you are more likely to be in a bad mood throughout the day. This is mainly because of all the negativity, rants, and too much stimuli.
But with all that being said, you have one thing that is in your control - you have the power of choice.
Happiness is a choice and a journey. It’s not a destination. @TommyBreedlove #chasingdreams
“Money is just a magnifying glass. If you’re a super unhappy person, money will magnify that 10x. If you’re a happy person, money will help you do a lot of good. Money is important, definitely. If you want to make an impact, it’s important. But it’s not going to - in and of itself, going to make you happy.”
“If you are unhappy in a job, a relationship, a situation, whatever it is, the most probable reason that you are staying in that situation is out of fear.”
THE THREE GIFTS OF LIFE
You are given three gifts in life - the gift of life, choice, and death. The reason death is a gift is because we’re only here a short amount of time. So, what will you choose today to do differently to make a better choice?
It’s all about setting the intention and taking action. In addition, it’s not about doing broad strokes but being laser focused and just changing or doing one tiny thing. It could be reading a great business book, or reading a personal development book, or listening to a podcast. Whatever it is, no matter how small, if it pushes you in the right direction to become your best self, then do it. It’s all about choices.
Remember that there are so many of us out there that struggle with the same things. We often think that we are alone and that our struggles are unique. But that is far from the truth.
WORKING TO ACCEPT THE GIFT OF CHOICE
We all have the gift of choice. We all have the power to choose. But some of you may think that this doesn’t apply to you. Remember that the power of choice doesn’t always mean that the choices are going to be easy.
If you don’t think you have a choice, ask yourself why. Why do you not have a choice? Is this because you are living a story and not your life? The story is probably a lie. Someone along your journey has probably told