Category

Mental Health

Dr. Jason Richardson

By Author, Mental Health, Personal Growth, Professional Athlete, Sports No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, we celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month with the incredible Dr. Jason Richardson, a gold medalist in BMX racing turned psychologist. Dr. Jason shares his harrowing experience breaking his femur just over a year before winning the Pan Am Games—an injury that could have been career-ending but instead fueled his determination not to let it define his exit from racing. We delve into how he channeled this setback into motivation for healing, which eventually led him down the path to becoming a psychologist involved in sports performance and mental health.

This inspiring conversation explores themes of resilience, recovery from injury, and mental health fortitude. Tune in now!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Be sure to use code “Gary20” to get 20% off your order!)

In this Episode:

  • From a shattered femur to winning the Pan Am Games, Dr. Jason Richardson shares his inspiring story of resilience and determination.
  • Discover how intention played a crucial role in Dr. Richardson’s healing process and propelled him back into BMX racing at the highest level.
  • Dr. Richardson discusses how facing the possibility of never racing again led to soul-searching and an eventual career transition.
  • Explore the challenges of balancing family expectations, business opportunities, and finding passion post-injury.
  • Learn about energy-draining behaviors like comparing, complaining, complicating, and worrying, and discover strategies for overcoming them.
  • Dr. Richardson shares insights on how practicing gratitude can shift perspectives during challenging times and foster resilience.
  • Dive into the importance of radical acceptance and brutal honesty as tools for self-improvement, encouraging listeners to face their fears head-on.

Quotations:

“Having the intention of racing actually sped up and gave me great, not just motivation, but a great intention to heal, get better, and push myself.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“One of the things I cherish the most is my freedom, my autonomy, and my ability to choose. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing, but it’s something in me that I tend to see something and want to go after it, especially if it’s aligned with my talents and just who I am as a person.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“I also felt like I would heal much faster if I had a reason to heal.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“I want to be as good of a psychologist as I am a racer.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“So comparing, complaining, complicating, and worrying. Those are the four things that just suck energy out of us. And when I say suck energy out of us, they are energy, actually. But what they do is they distract us.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“The thing is, in our modern world, especially in a country, a first-world developed nation, whatever you wanna call it, survival is, it’s more like ego survival, right? It’s more like lifestyle survival. It’s more like, how do I look to my friends’ survival? It’s more like, what am I gonna think of myself surviving? Right? So that’s the life-death we face every day. Not to mention the actual stuff that happens, right?” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“We do our best to avoid negative feelings.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“Do you avoid tending to what you want to tend to? Or do you just lie to yourself, saying, it’s going to get better, it’s going to be all good, right? You ignore, which is another form of avoiding.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“It’s normal to not wanna feel negative feelings. However, it does take the eye off of the ball of what you can do to make a thing better for yourself, more better, happier, right? More better, happier. And so what happened, what I realized was, look, why not feel the feels?” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“You won’t know if your tires are gonna hold and you won’t know if you’re gonna have enough. But you go through it. And so what does it take to go through it? And that’s the digging deep. And that’s the learning to trust that you’ll be intact on the other side, come hell or high water. It’s actually facing your mortality that helps you deal with it, is my point.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“Gratefulness. Gratitude is great, I’m going to call it practice and effort.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“I know even if you don’t fly, you will probably land on your feet. I know that. My job is to help you realize that and believe that. And once you can accept that you will fall and know that it will hurt. and also know that you can get up and be okay and keep going, my job’s done.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“I kind of came to the conclusion that people want these things because they think those things get them something else.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“Some of us just don’t know, realize when we’ve won.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“It’s like everyone wants this one thing, but no one’s really asking for what they really want. You want some validation. You want some self-efficacy. You want to be loved and to know that you’re important to other people. Like that’s the truth. And so what does it take to live that life?”  ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“If you say that’s what you want, then go for it and find out. If you can get to a place where you’re okay meaning somewhat okay with the fear of not making it or the fall, that’s where things are going to start taking off for you. If you make it, great, but you’re going to find out some more things about yourself.”  ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“Why are we talking about the problem or problems versus, like, why aren’t we talking about solutions or ideas or ways to move forward?”  ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

“But what I don’t think is fine, if that’s what you truly want in your heart of hearts and you don’t go for it, that’s not fine. Because now you’re bitter and resentful. And we don’t need a bitter, resentful, talented person out there being bitter and resentful.” ~ Dr. Jason Richardson

Bio:

Dr. Jason Richardson is a World Champion and Pan Am Games Gold Medalist. As a professional BMX racer turned psychologist, speaker, and high-performance coach, Dr. Jason Richardson has blazed a trail of excellence both on and off the track. Transitioning from elite athleticism to academia, Dr. Richardson earned his undergrad and graduate degrees while still competing, eventually adding a Doctorate in Psychology to his accolades.

Even in retirement from professional racing, Dr. Richardson’s passion for helping others achieve greatness never waned. He found his calling in guiding individuals to recognize and amplify their strengths while transforming weaknesses into opportunities for growth. Through his unique approach, Dr. Richardson empowers Olympic athletes, executives, and individuals alike to strive for more, be better, and live happier. With a career spanning professional sports, marketing, entrepreneurship, and psychology, Dr. Jason Richardson brings a wealth of experience and insights to his coaching practice. But he doesn’t just preach – he practices what he preaches, sharing his training routines and mindset strategies on social media to inspire others to live a #ChampionshipLife.

Guest Contact Info:

Website: https://www.drjasonrichardson.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drjrich/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realdrjrich/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drjasonrichardson/

Johnny Sirpilla

By Author, Faith, Grief, Leadership, Mental Health, Personal Growth No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, our host Gary Scott Thomas welcomes our special guest, Johnny Sirpilla, an entrepreneur, founder and chief encourager of Encourage LLC, and the best-selling author of Life Is Hard but I’ll Be OK. Johnny opens up about how he inherited not only a successful RV business from his father but also an ethos of hard work and integrity. He discusses how these values have shaped him into who he is today—driven, and perfectionistic, yet always striving to honor his family name. We also delve into the respective childhoods and parental expectations, highlighting both differences in upbringing and common threads such as love, support, and setting standards. This episode is filled with insights on personal growth and dedication towards family values. Tune in now!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Be sure to tell them Gary sent you so you can save 20%!)

In this Episode:

  • Gary and Johnny share amusing anecdotes about their distinctive hairstyles during their younger years. 
  • Discover Johnny’s impressively long bio and wealth of experiences.
  • Discussions on full-blooded Italian traits lead to light-hearted banter about food preferences between Italy vs America.
  • Insights into how family expectations shaped and influenced Johnny’s decision to continue his father’s legacy while creating new avenues within the RV industry.
  • Hear about reflections on parental expectations, love, and support while also setting standards around honor, integrity, and a hard work ethic without spoiling children materially.
  • As a board member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Johnny shares his passion for football and his favorite player.

Quotations:

“The simplicity is what makes it so amazing.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“I kind of wanted to make my imprint in the industry the way that my dad did in the fifties as a pioneer dealer.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“(RV) It’s taking the comforts of home with you on the road, right? Why sleep in a hotel bed and a stranger’s bed that other people have been in when you can have your own? So it’s a great way to see the country for sure. And great family time.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“I was driven at 15 and had some pretty high expectations of what I could achieve. So I always put a lot of pressure on myself, too much.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“What was awesome about my parents is there is no boundaries to the love that they would give and the support.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“I can truly say that I never felt spoiled by my parents because while there might be nice things, the expectation of how we acted in our character in representing our family name. you know, you had to be, you know, at your best.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“They wanted me to have and I bet your mom was the same way. They wanted me to have the life experiences that they didn’t.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“I bet our parents were similar in terms of, you know, where they came from and then maybe hopes and dreams bigger for us. Maybe my parents, because they’re full-blooded Italian each that they just talk so damn much that they verbalized it more.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“It’s been an amazing experience to volunteer for the great sport of football and the Hall is such a place of excellence that, you know, any service that I can give to honor the heroes of the game.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“I wrote the book to really help people when life is hard because I do believe that life is hard. Even if you have a good life, there’s plenty of things that go wrong in a good life and life is hard.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“There’s gotta be some blessings and graces that come out of this experience that makes me a better man, a better husband, a better business leader, and hopefully someday a better father.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“Practicing gratitude could make a great day really bright and sunny.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“We were able to experience something that God gave us this gift of parenting. even though it was short, it doesn’t mean it was insignificant. It was incredibly significant. And so their lives were incredibly significant.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“I can reframe anything that happens in my life with my anxiety. I can reframe it to something that’s really a gift and a blessing.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“The gift of being a father, you know, it’s the greatest gift of my life.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“The empathy and the mindfulness that I had for situations, that’s actually one of the beauties and maybe superpowers of anxiety. Anxiety makes you extremely mindful and extremely intentional because my mind has to work and think.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

“It becomes a really mindful way of living that produces a lot of joy.” ~ Johnny Sirpilla

Bio:

John A. Sirpilla is a 1988 graduate of Miami University with a degree in Accounting and a special interest in Psychology and Finance, a 2000 graduate of the University of Phoenix with a master’s degree in Organizational Management, and holds a certification in Executive Presence and Influence: Persuasive Leadership Development from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

In 1992, Johnny became President of Sirpilla R.V. Center, Inc. Within a few years, he was recognized out of more than 3,000 dealers as the National RV Dealer of the Year for the best overall-run dealership in the country. In 2003, Johnny was one of the initial acquisitions by Camping World and sold his family business to become part of the executive team to attempt the first RV dealership roll-up plan in the industry’s history.

Johnny served as President of Camping World, a 140-store nationwide retail chain serving the RV industry, and was promoted in 2012 to Chief Business Development Officer for the parent company, Camping World and Good Sam with annual sales of nearly $4 billion. Johnny retired from Camping World in 2017 after a successful IPO.

His company, Encourage LLC, has various holdings in industries including leadership development, population health management, employee benefits, medical device innovation, e-commerce roll-up, executive leadership and consulting, fashion and interior design, and senior living communities, and has become an international best-selling author with his book, Life Is Hard but I’ll Be OK.

Johnny has been married to his college sweetheart, Susan, for over 30 years, and they reside in Canton, Ohio, and Naples, Florida.  They have three grown children, Beau, Bella, and Stone, who all reside in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Guest Contact Info:

Website: https://johnnysirpilla.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnnySirpilla/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/johnnysirpilla/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnny-sirpilla/

Mark Lundholm

By Author, Comedian, Fun, Mental Health, Personal Growth No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, we sit down with the hilariously insightful and widely known recovery comedian, Mark Lundholm. Known for his unique blend of humor and mental health advocacy, Mark shares insights from his life’s journey—from dysfunctional beginnings to becoming one of just three people in the country who do what he does (and arguably doing it best). With anecdotes that range from humorous to profound, he reflects on personal growth through experiences and his unique perspective on life. Now, he’s sharing the tools he uses to captivate, entertain, and educate audiences around the world.

Whether you’re looking for laughs or life lessons—or ideally both—this episode promises plenty of each, courtesy of one of the most distinctive voices in stand-up today. Tune in now!

This episode is sponsored by:

(Use code “Gary” to get $89 off any Mike Counsil Plumbing and Rooter service!)

In this Episode:

  • Discover shared interests between Gary and Mark bond over their mutual love for cigars and a specific shop they unknowingly frequented together.
  •  Learn about Mark’s unique niche that combines humor with mental health advocacy. As one of only a few in his field, he shares insights on using comedy as a platform to educate and enlighten.
  • Reflect on how age brings experience over energy, particularly in comedy. With years spent touring different countries and all 50 states multiple times, hear about what longevity has taught him.
  • Explore Mark’s language fluency across audiences: From inmates to politicians, Mark prides himself on speaking ‘all languages’ due to performing for diverse groups.
  • Dive into personal stories from Mark and Gary that reveal their youthful misadventures and learning curves.
  • Discover how growing up in Oakland during turbulent times shaped much of his perspective on making mistakes—and learning from them collectively rather than individually.
  • Stories about playing golf—including an enlightening moment with an older golfer—Mark draws parallels between sportsmanship, business ethics, integrity, and personal improvement.

Quotations:

“If you’re young, you’ve got a ton of energy for something. When you get old, you’ve got a ton of experience for something.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“Golf and lovemaking are a metaphor for everything in life.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“You can’t hide for 18 holes. You finish 18 holes, you know whether you would ever play with that person again, do business with them, introduce them to your family, tell them anything intimate. So it’s a very, very good finding out.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“If I do really well, then I’ll put pressure on myself.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“I’m not afraid to fail and failure is really mental anyway.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“And so the road will tell you who you are, who you’re not, and who you are today.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“Comedy has a fine edge to it where you know too much you cut something; it’s like a scalpel too much you cut somebody deep just the right amount you cut just deep enough to get them to do their work.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“I am disappointed if I don’t do as well as I could have, would have, should have because this is what I do for a profession. So if I don’t do well, I know now. If I’m an eight on a 10 scale, I’m okay. Anything less than an eight on a 10, I feel like I should give some of the money back.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“Anger is a human emotion. Anger is one of the greatest tools I have because I’ve discovered that anger becomes a passion to change something.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“So dysfunctional can mean I wasn’t informed very well. Turns out misinformed sometimes leads to mistreatment.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“So the simple twist is trauma is a teacher or it’s a perpetrator. Sometimes a perpetrator starts out as a teacher.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“If what you don’t forgive, you will become.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“People are real insecure when it comes to you doing their job too. So what I learned from that is I could forgive them and say, well, okay, or I can become them and beat the crap out of the next person I work with.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“So know your place. And I don’t mean that in a demeaning way, but I know my place. I’m very happy with my little niche corner of the comedy market. Nobody does what I do better than me, but nobody else is me. I’m the only one of me that’s ever gonna be in this universe just like you. And people are listening. There’s never gonna be another you in this universe.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“Funny and smart, they were like two bullets in a gun that only had two chambers for bullets, you know, boom, and I’m done.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“High IQ equals more failure for some of us because I’m going to rely on my intelligence instead of my experience or my ears. Smart people don’t listen as, as well as we should.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“Trauma is a teacher, disappointment is a teacher, poor example is a teacher.” ~ Mark Lundholm

“When the truth shows up, the excuses disappear. When the truth shows up, the denial is lessened because if enough people are telling you something, it’s probably got a relative amount of truth to it.” ~ Mark Lundholm

Bio:

Mark Lundholm is a comedian, author, mentor, sponsor, father, and ex-husband. He has been performing stand-up comedy focused on the challenges, struggles, and experiences of those struggling with addiction for more than 30 years.

Soon after attaining sobriety, Mark began professionally entertaining others with his irreverent and spot-on humor about life, relationships, perceptions, and challenges as someone who grew up in a dysfunctional, traumatic home environment. Before long, his popular comedy performances created national and international demand, and Mark continued to grow his audience. As of 2019, Mark has performed in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries and has presented his stand-up comedy for Presidents and other heads of state, world-renowned musicians, and Fortune 500 companies, from audiences of less than a dozen to more than 20,000 people.

In addition to his work in stand-up comedy, Mark has written and performed his own one-man show off-Broadway, achieving critical acclaim from the New York Times and Chicago Sun Times among many others, and has also appeared on Comedy Central, A&E, CBS, and NBC.

From the beginning, Mark performed his stand-up comedy in jails and prisons, addiction treatment centers, homeless shelters, and recovery conferences, and this work helped to cultivate his capacity for working with individuals in early recovery. This work eventually evolved into day-long workshops at leading addiction treatment centers, where Mark works with groups in early recovery, ranging in size from a dozen up to more than a hundred clients in early recovery. Mark’s skill at reading and working with the audience has enabled him to help clients identify and hone in on challenges that prevent individuals from achieving their goals, and work to overcome those challenges to long-term recovery.

More recently, Mark continues to perform stand-up comedy at theaters, clubs, and special events worldwide, while also developing materials for professionals. These tools are designed to assist in using humor to enhance recovery and enable counselors and therapists to more effectively reach their clients and help them to attain and maintain long-term sobriety and recovery. Whether it is his clinical stand-up comedy products (“Humor in Treatment, the 90-minute clinical comedy series that has sold over 5,000 copies, or “Family in Treatment”, the six-hour video set of interventions, interactions, psychoeducation, and tools to help families and primary clients more effectively understand each other), his clinical products for professionals (“Recovery 101”, a comprehensive curriculum utilizing humor to address the common underlying issues contributing to addiction; “Recovery Bingo”, a clinical game that fosters understanding and openness; “Doing Good Group”, a video and written guide to more effective group facilitation strategies, injected with humor), or his practical psychoeducational tools (the forthcoming “Shortcuts”), Mark possess a rare gift for identifying challenging issues, helping others to see them and to learn effective strategies for improving their lives and achieving long-term sobriety and recovery.

Guest Contact Info:

Website: https://marklundholm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marklundholm/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marklundholm/

X: https://twitter.com/marklundholm

Dr. Afton Hassett

By Author, Mental Health, Science No Comments

This week on the Here’s What We Know Podcast, join us in this enlightening episode as we dive deep into the world of chronic pain with our guest, Dr. Afton Hassett, an experienced pain psychologist and the author of “Chronic Pain Reset”.  She offers informative content about how stress and mental health are intertwined with physical discomfort and delves into various aspects of chronic pain—its effects, causes, and potential treatments.

Listen in and discover valuable insights about how your emotions can affect your perception of discomfort, and learn practical strategies for dealing with persistent affliction. And together, let’s unlock the power of positivity in healing!

This episode is sponsored by:

In This Episode:

  • The Intersection of Mental and Physical Health 
  • Resilience in Managing Chronic Pain
  • The Power of Social Interaction
  • Customizing Treatment Plans
  • The Neuroscience Behind Pain 
  • The Invisible Nature Of Pain 
  • The Role Of Physical Activity And Sleep In Managing Chronic Pain 
  • Negative Impact Of Modern Devices On Sleep Quality  
  • Understanding Chronic Pain
  • The Biopsychosocial Aspects of Pain
  • Rewiring the Brain 
  • The Limitations Of Pharmaceuticals 
  • The Power Of Holistic Methods  
  • Pain Relief Through Enjoyable Activities 

Quotations:

“I think one of the most healing things that we can do is to just kind of step outside of ourselves.” ~ Dr. Afton Hassett

” The coolest evidence we have to date is that our emotions and our mindset can indeed influence our immunity and our ability to fight off a common cold and other viruses.” ~ Dr. Afton Hassett

“People just have to be open to kind of keep trying different things, and that’s what matters is to continue to try.” ~ Dr. Afton Hassett

“My goal is that down the road, I won’t even be helping people with chronic pain. That’ll be cured. But by helping them, I’m leading a life that feels really rich and rewarding.” ~ Dr. Afton Hassett

Guest’s Bio:

Dr. Afton Hassett is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. She received her BFA from Colorado State University and her doctorate from Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. As a principal investigator at the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center, she conducts interdisciplinary research related to exploring the role of cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors in chronic pain populations. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and is a leader in the field of resilience and pain research. Her work has focused on exploring positive emotions and affective balance in people with pain; health-related quality of life in adult and pediatric rheumatology patients; and novel interventions to promote resilience and self-management for individuals with chronic pain. She is committed to education for individuals at many levels including patients, undergraduate and graduate students, medical residents, postdocs, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Dr. Hassett is the Director of Clinical Pain Research at the Back & Pain Center and the Past President of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals – a division of the American College of Rheumatology. Current funding sources include National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the University of Michigan. With over $14M of research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Afton’s mission is to bring evidence-based strategies from research and academic settings to the people themselves. Her life’s work is dedicated to helping people with chronic pain live lives with less pain, greater happiness, and renewed purpose in life.

Guest’s Contact Info: