Sept. 28, 2021

12. David Richman


Hear from David Richman, businessman, motivational speaker, and author. His latest book, Cycle of Lives, details the evocative stories of fifteen peoples' lives and journeys with cancer. In this episode, we learn about perseverance and the power of empathy through David’s life and we also get an insight into some of the powerful people that he encountered while writing. Be sure to listen to the very end for bonus material.

You can find out more about David and his books here:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrichman/
Website: https://david-richman.com/

This episode features some hard-hitting stories, if you are in need of someone to speak to, please contact Samaritans via this link www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan

A transcription of each episode, as well as guest profiles and much more, is available on our website www.sondership.com

Credits
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Transcript

David:

I have an Ironman coming up in two weeks, two weeks from tomorrow

Danny:

Which one?

David:

Uh, Ironman, Chattanooga, Tennessee. And I don't know if there's anything about

Danny:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

David:

about the states, but Tennessee is, uh, it's a bit rednecky, but I'll, I'll, I'll, I'll go for it. That's a number, that'll be number 17 or 18 Ironmans.

Danny:

When you can't remember how many iron mans you've done, you've done too many. I think that's the, that's the general gist. Welcome to the Sondership podcast. I'm your host, Danny Attias. The Sondership podcast is all about hearing, inspiring stories from people with purpose and today's person with purpose is David Richman who's joining us from Las Vegas in Nevada. David is an author, public speaker, philanthropist, and endurance athlete, whose mission is to form more meaningful human connections through storytelling. In his first book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack, he discussed how to get more out of ourselves than ever imagined. With Cycle of Lives his most recent book, David shares the interconnected stories of people, overcoming trauma and delves deeply into their emotional journeys with cancer. He continues to do Ironman triathlons and a wide range of endurance athletic events. Having recently completed a solo 4,700 mile bike ride He's married and has twins who are in college, one in the UK, and one in the States. David, welcome to the Sondership podcast.

David:

Thank you, Danny, I really appreciate you having me all the way, all the way this far in distance. I'm glad we got to connect.

Danny:

David, this podcast is based on the concept of sonder and sonder is that moment it's that realization that other people's lives are as rich and complex as your own. It's where some of our empathy comes from and that awareness and that openness of realizing how everyone's got their own challenges and their ups and their downs and their complex stories. Those are the types of things that, that help us do more for other people and not just things for ourselves. Your new book Cycle of Lives, talks about a lot of different stories. And we're going to get into that in a moment. What I'd like to know though, David is what's your most memorable or impactful sonder moment.

David:

Thanks, Danny. I, I'll tell you being an appreciative listener of your most recent episodes, I had a chance to think about this and I thought about it, while on a bike ride. So as you, as any listeners that know that when you're on a long bike ride, they can be very contemplative. And I thought like two sides of that question, Danny one is, I think it's for, at least for me, it's something that's evolved over time. So I think you become a little more aware, then, you know, all of a sudden you're just completely aware of how that, those moments. So I've had quite a few of those moments. It's a little morbid, but I'll tell you when I think back to a scenario where I finished the end of the day, knowing exactly what you just explained. And so what happened was it was during the financial crisis, um, in 2009 10, that area. And I was managing a very large number of offices and a number of people in the wealth management business for a major wall street firm. So I managed all of the people that manage people's money. Those were tough times, as you can imagine, I was in New York on a business trip with the company, and I got news that one of our younger financial advisors, a wife, two young kids, wonderful, wonderful guy, had gotten himself into a little bit of financial mess and was feeling guilty about what his clients were going through. And he jumped off the building and it was, it was just stunning because, could you imagine just out of the blue, you know, there was zero sign that there was anything going on with him. And so I rushed on a plane. I get back to the office and I don't have a time between when I left and when I got into the office to have a grief counselor come in, I thought that would be something we'd really need. So instead I played grief counselor and I walked to, I planned to walk to each office and talk to everybody, but before I did that, I remembered that when I was a little kid, our next door neighbor, that the husband, shot himself on Christmas day in front of his kids. And I was just like, oh my God, man people with the suicide. And it's just like, oh my God, it was just tragic. But I feel like even though I had never really talked about that story, that. I needed to talk to everybody else. I walk into the first office, Danny, and I'm like, oh my God, you know that Sam and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And he goes, Yeah. I know it reminds me of a story. And he went on to tell me some story of a relative or a friend that had, had killed themselves. And I was just like, Oh, my God, we talked for a couple of minutes and it was super heavy. And this was somebody I had gone on vacation with, I'd been to his house, I'd met his kids, we've we, you know, we've done a lot. I had no idea that he's dealing, like he had that traumatic event in his life. And I went, man, I'm glad you shared that with me, and you know, we talked about, and then I walked out of the room, beat up and I went to the next office and I closed the door, and I said, oh my God, can you believe? And you go, oh my gosh, let me tell you a story. And I went like this to every single person.

Danny:

Woah

David:

And I'm like, how in the heck does every single person have something this traumatic and this dramatic in their lives? I finally remember, like the last guy I wanted to talk to was the guy that would put it all into perspective and give me a positive mood. It was this old guy who had worked at the firm and I'm not kidding Danny for 61 years, he still came into the office in a suit, just a total gentlemen, he was like the nicest guy ever. And if I wanted a respite, I'd go in and I would talk to Stu. And so I said, Stu, and he said, close the door, man. And I told him what I did. And he goes, that's really amazing that you went around and talked to everybody. He goes, can I tell you a story. And I went, yeah, and he said, uh, end of the depression, uh, we lived on a farm. I was pretty young, my brother and I were playing tag. And, um, he chased me into our, into our barn and there was my dad hanging from the rafters and I'm like, oh my God. I mean, even you Stu, and he goes, Yeah. You know, it's those kinds of things that define you, we just don't like to talk about them. And I just, I remember thinking how every person had those and probably countless other traumatic, dramatic, you know, really stressful times in their life. And you wouldn't know it just passing each other by, or spending vacations together or being at weddings together. Right. You just, you don't know what people have gone through, and when you really feel the depth of that, not knowing what people have gone through or are going through, I think that gives you a real, authentic sense of empathy, so long answer, but that, uh, that's one of those moments that popped into my head that said, oh man, you know, I, I got to realize that there's way more to people than I think there is.

Danny:

Thank you for sharing that, David. I mean, that is, you started with, this is going to be morbid, you're you're right, but it it's chilling and it's, I think it's almost quite literal. You're you're literally going from door to door to door and you're unpacking all of these stories of people that you know, that you just didn't know it was there. In fact recently I believe it's been suicide awareness day, and so these kind of stories have been popping up on LinkedIn and there's not the kind of thing you would normally see, right? You're on a business network and, and each one, just you pause for thought and contemplation and you continually get reminded of the depth of experiences and trauma and the things that are happening to people, everyone, all that all around. So thank you. So thank you so much for sharing that. And at what point did you decide, actually, I'm gonna write a story about other people's stories.

David:

Nice. Well, I, There's a lead up to that question because, there was a number of things that happened in my life, that happened to me and that I allowed or made happen to me, and they all kind of came to a head. I've come to believe that we only know what we know when we know it. And that's, uh, sense of forgiveness for yourself and for others. often think, you know, when, when I do something stupid, well, you didn't know to not do that until you knew. Right. I kind of cut other people slack as well. We only know what we know when we know it. And at the time, and this was right around the time of that story, I was telling you. I had, gone through just a really difficult set of circumstances either self-imposed or, that were, bad decisions or bad turns in life or bad cards that were dealt. And, I was a smoker. I was overweight. I was not athletic at all. Uh, the opposite of that, I was in a terrible personal situation. I was married to an abusive alcoholic. I had four year old twins that I needed to take care of and, stresses at work and, you know, managing people and trying to make it in the corporate world, when I don't, I don't know that I actually thought I belonged there. And then my sister said, called me up and said, Hey, David, I need to let you know that I've been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Danny:

No.

David:

And that kind of all became aware to me in a more purposeful way kind of altogether. And I just said, oh my God, what do I, what am I going to do? I got to stop. I got to change the way that my life is going and or pay attention to what the way my life is going. And what that led me to do was to start to be proactive in the way I attacked, you know, my life rather than, not paying attention to it. You know, that meant making some changes. you know, I changed my eating and I stopped smoking and I started running and I got my kids to safety right away and, change my attitude at work. And I just started to make these purposeful, proactive changes in my life that put me on a more intentional path. Let's just say that. So that was this kind of crazy transformation in me and then that led to, me, getting to a pinnacle point in my sister's journey, which was, uh, she was right near the end of life, and, uh, she wanted to watch a team that had assembled to support her. Uh, she wanted to watch them walk around a track for 24 hours as they raised money for, cancer research And I told her, you know, by this time I was doing endurance athletics, and I said, Hey, um, if you are out there for the whole 24 hours, I'll be there for the whole 24 hours. I'll be on the track the whole 24 hours. So me and my kids, they were nine at this time. So it's about four years into her cancer. We made a deal that we would do that, two days before the event she died. And so she didn't, Yeah, she didn't get to go, but her, her kids were there and her husband and friends and family and all of that. And we were there and I noticed Danny that, because I was very aware of what people were going through. I was trying to, you know, I think I had become more empathetic and more purposeful, and in my observations, both inwardly and outwardly, and I noticed that people didn't, they weren't equipped really to talk about the emotional side of what they were going through. So they could talk about their, oh, where am I going to get my next pet scan? Um, how am I going to manage my kids? Why I'm going back and forth to chemo? How do I navigate insurance? How do I deal with time off at work? Those kinds of things they could deal with. But when it came to the emotional side, people weren't really equipped to do that. It just kind of shut down, And I said, man, I wonder if I could make a difference in, uh, in this difficulty, uh, that people are experiencing in processing the emotions. And also as, as observers to it, as a doctor, as a patient, as a loved one, um, as a friend, uh, as a witness to what people are going through, how can I be better equipped to engage in authentic, meaningful heart centered, real discussions with them instead of just kind of going, oh my gosh, I don't know what the heck to say, and I don't want to screw up, you know, I don't want to screw it up. So I'm going to say nothing, right. We're just very easy to kind of just close our eyes and walk past the accident. So, that's what started it, I'm two for two on long answers, but that that's what started it. As I said, I said, how can I go about doing that? How can I help people with this? I, I was fortunate, I was able to talk to my sister about a lot and a lot of it on the emotional level, not everything we needed to. But, I felt like this was a recurring theme. So, as I started to explore that idea as a concept for a book, it started to take more form and also, uh, continued to drive into me that that purpose was a correct and meaningful one because literally Danny, every single person I spoke to had some level of realization. They could say to me at some, you know, authentic level, Hey, I've never dealt with the emotional side.

Danny:

I think that's really key that in, in these very difficult scenarios, you don't know what to say. So you don't say anything. I once attended, a session to learn how to have those conversations with people who are in the process of losing their lives through cancer. And it was really enlightening. It was, it was a lot about listening. Actually, it it's not that, they don't want to talk about it. And some do, of course not want to talk about it, but it's being receptive and not being judging. David. I know that you're donating the profits of your book sales to the various cancer related charities featured in these stories in your book. So when did you make this transition from, I think you said back in 2009, 2010, you were managing the people in the financial markets, to becoming an author.

David:

I I'd always wanted to be a writer and I had always been really close to my path, getting me on, on the, on the road, right. But it just, life just got in the way or I let life get in the way. And part of it is self-imposed and part of it is just, you know, bad luck and bad timing or whatever. It's, it's so funny. They say, if you want to see the cleanest house in the neighborhood, go to the local author's house because they want to do everything, but write. So they'll clean that house forever, right? Because it's so difficult to actually sit down and write.

Danny:

That's the resistance. Isn't it.

David:

That's the resistance. Absolutely man, you know, you know, uh, hard stuff. The hard stuff is really hard. Sometimes it's very difficult to get to. After I had done quite a bit of endurance athletics, I thought to myself, there's a lot of parallels between doing endurance athletics and business and life. Like you can take the same kind of lessons and, uh, give them another perspective. And so I thought to myself, I wonder what the lessons are in, like, if I could find out if they're really like valuable lessons that I've learned so I wrote this book called Winning in the Middle of the Pack that, explored the idea that we, you know, there's lessons we learned in life that we also learn on a a hundred mile run that we also learn running a hundred million dollar business. And so I wrote this book and I thought, man, it's, it's pretty good. So I, I, uh, I bought it to, my editor, she loved it. And we, you know, we got the book out there and started doing a lot of public speaking and the book really, it touched some people really, really well inspired them to make some change or whatever. And, and so I thought, man, this is great. And when I have the opportunity or when I take the opportunity to continue to try to put out books, I'm going to do that. So I jump on this idea, right. And I build it up in my head and I find these ridiculously amazing, inspiring evocative people from all walks of life and just all different backgrounds, all different kinds of cancers, you know, I wanted a 360 view, not, not one person's view. I, I interviewed them for a couple of years and I go on this, you know, long bike ride to go meet them and put this whole thing together, this idea, is really taking form. But I still got to write the book. So I write a couple of chapters and I sent it to my editor and I said, Hey, uh, you know, this thing's taking form. What do you think? And she goes, yeah, I just don't have time to edit your book. Um, so you're gonna, you know, you're going to have to figure out something else to do, and I go, I can't do my book without my editor because, you know, uh, you know, the good editor is, the difference between a decent book and a great book. And so I didn't hear from her for a couple of weeks. And then all of a sudden she called me up and she's like, oh my God, I just read so-and-so story. I was, I, you know, I thought I would give it a look at and she goes, wow, somebody learned how to write. And I went, oh man, that was nice. So that really inspired me to, uh, to continue to do it and to really put as much of an effort into bringing this book, in its best form, you know, to people. So I don't know. I just, you know, when you have a passion. Um, you can't really explain it and you do it when you do it and you know, if you can make your passion your life rather than your passion, your hobby, all the better, Right.

Danny:

A hundred percent. I love that. Take us back to the beginning. Take us back to David at school or David at college. What was, what was that guy like?

David:

Uh, Well, I don't know about the David at college cause he never went to college. He never,

Danny:

Well, I mean, you've got a daughter in Cambridge and you've got a son in college. I kind of

David:

I know, I know my twins, I, I told them they, they fell very far from the apple tree because, um, I never, I never had it. I actually did do a semester of college and it was pretty easy. So I said, why do this? And I had life get in the way that stopped me from doing it. I just didn't have the awareness to know that I should have, but whatever, no big deal. But, um, I had a strange upbringing. Like most people do, not maybe not everybody, but you know, everybody's got a story. Uh, mine was a little interesting. My, uh, parents were nearly 40 years difference in age. Um, yeah, when, uh, when I was born, my dad was almost 60 and my mom had just turned 21. So it was quite a interesting thing growing up, I grew up with a dad and back then, you know, in the sixties, a 60 year old was old now I think a 60 year old is young. So he was kind of too old to have kids. My mom, was really not a nice person and was quickly realizing that she got herself into trouble being married to an old guy and having two young kids. So I think she didn't like being a mom. So I had one that wasn't able to parent and the other one that didn't want to. So we were kind of left on our own, interesting, set of circumstances and I could bore you and your audience with a bunch of stories. But I, I left home at 18. My car broke down in Vegas. I got robbed at gun point and found myself homeless and, uh, only for a few days, but I was still, you know, living in the back of my car with less than a dollar in my pocket, nobody to call. So I kinda, I've always kept that in perspective, no matter how much I achieve and how much stuff I have, how wonderful my life is, how safe I feel. I still kind of grab onto that. There was a guy that had 56 cents in his pocket and nobody to call and was living in his car behind a grocery store. I don't get too far away from that thought. I think what's important when I look back on the things that I've been through or other people have been through is to not judge, and, to not regret and to not, hold yourself accountable to the past. It's just, if you are not everybody is, but if you're just trying to do the best you can do with the tools you have at the time, then just do it and just move forward and just don't worry about it. And so I've had a lot of those crazy points in my childhood and in my young adulthood that formed who I am, and I wish they would have been different. You know, I wish that I would have not had a gun in my face, three days after leaving home. But, uh, they are who I am that leads to your whole theme of it, it also helps to give me, I think, a little bit of empathy because, you just don't know, you don't know what people have gone, you just don't know, you don't know what people have gone through. You can't burden yourself with knowing every detail about every person and certainly you're not going to find out every detail about every person, but if you can really understand what people are going through or maybe have gone through, or at least be aware of the fact that there are things that have affected them in a dramatic way, it might give you a softer approach to them. It might allow you to connect in a more, real way in a real, real authentic, kind of grounded in a way that allows you to have these meaningful connections.

Danny:

David, when you left home, where was your sister in all this? Were you, were you quite close? Did you, did you travel together or did your paths diverge?

David:

Um, no, it's a great question, she was the one person I could call. And when I did call her, I felt so guilty about, worrying her that I just told her I was fine and everything was okay and I'm on my way to college and I'll figure it out and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I just, I didn't tell the truth. But also part of it was, she was about a year and a half older than me and we had the same childhood, right? She had the same traumas and difficulties as I did, maybe even more as, as a kid because my mom used me as a tool to pick on my sister because my sister was not burdened with the same things my mom was going to be burdened with right. Two young kids at a young age. So when I saw my sister having some freedom and some happiness and some, some reduction of stress from our childhood, I didn't want to burden her anymore. Do you know? I was very happy that she was able to form relationships. At that time she was dating somebody that she would eventually marry and have kids with. So we were close, but we had come and gone a little bit. I didn't want to be in her life when I was at my worst. I wanted to be in her life when I was at my best, so that she wouldn't worry or be stressed out or whatever. So we went through ups and downs in our relationship, but, uh, certainly in the last three years or four years, as she found out about her cancer and died from it, we got, we got a lot, a lot closer.

Danny:

Yeah. And that's, that's nice that, that you were able to kind of rejoin. David, let's hear some of these stories. Let's hear some of these stories that you picked up and remind me, so you wrote this book of 15 different, different stories, different people, and you went to visit them all on your bicycle. Expand on that a bit more. It sounds crazy.

David:

It's definitely crazy. But it does make sense when I explain it, right. So if my goal in life, is to, form deeper connections with people and help people form deeper connections through storytelling, then you got to tell some stories. When I came to that realization, like I was speaking about, how, uh, people shut down, when it came to the emotional side of the trauma of cancer, they were going through, I said, let's, let's figure this out, and I do get inspired by people's stories, but I need to go super, super deep into somebody's story, or I need to have multiple stories before it kind of the light bulb goes off. So when somebody I'm hearing somebody talk and they're more prescriptive or more, preachy in the way that they are giving me their messages, it just doesn't make sense. And so I don't identify with that. So I didn't want to come off doing that in this book.

Danny:

Yeah.

David:

What I wanted to do was to bring real, gutty, just, just to the heart of the matter stories to people which made it so that I could, if that was truly my goal, I could, I had the freedom to say to people when I met them as potential participants in the book, Hey, here's what my goal is. You got to buy into it totally because it's going to allow me to ask you any question that comes to mind. Like you can't hold anything back. And as we get deeper and deeper, we have to be able to continue to go there because I can't give people a special pass into your journey, without understanding the dark tunnels and you know, the hidden places. If we can unpack that in a real way, and I can then turn around and write these stories in a truthful, very deep level, then people can be able to identify with what you've gone through and say, oh my gosh, okay. Maybe that's how I should deal with this. Or maybe that's how my friend who's going something might be dealing with it and that's the way I wanted to do it. Not everybody that I spoke to was able to hold my hand through these dark hallways right. Not, not everybody, felt safe or comfortable or, had the courage to talk about some of the things that they talked about. Not everybody did, but, a diverse amount of people. I wanted people with different ages, different types of cancer, one lady who had cancer five times over 35 years, I wanted, a wide range of emotional responses to their traumas. And I also needed to have people whose stories before cancer were evocative and, thought provoking Uh, so that we, I could identify, like, I, I, I'm much more interested in not in watching you do your half Ironman, but I'm much more interested in knowing, what kind of training did you do? When you fell off your bike, you know, how did you deal with like, getting back on the bike and going fast? I want to know the, the gritty stuff. So I found a ton of different people and just started interviewing them and it was shocking how, when they were given a safe space and had a partner, even if it wasn't, close to them partner by, they had a partner that was willing to go along this little discovery journey with them. it was amazing how much richness and how much, detail came out in, in their life's experiences. And so, that was a real, a blessing for me because, I, you know, not, not one of the people that eventually made it into the book was anything, but just a hundred percent raw and truthful and disclosed everything that was meaningful about their, about this emotional journey that they had gone through. Um, and it was, it was quite moving.

Danny:

can you give us one or two highlights of those stories?

David:

Oh, my gosh. Sure, So, boy, there's so many wonderful stories in the book, but, I'll tell you, one that constantly gives me, the chills is when we say we never know what people are going through. That makes sense, right? We, we can all say that and we can all agree with that, but it sounds a bit trite to me, right? When you really hear, and if you can hear what people are going through, then maybe you're, you can take a whole step, a big step back and go, man, I got to reassess the way I come to these situations. So when I say to somebody, could you imagine, I want to ask you this, honestly, Danny, could you imagine that you get woken up at three in the morning and your loved one, your significant other that has been by your side for twenty-five years. You've, you've survived six kids. Uh, one of whom passed away tragically at 18 months. You've got this wonderful life and it's, as full as it could be. And, uh, your significant other wakes you up in the middle of the night and looks over and says, so, Danny, I just need to let you know that they're wheeling you in for surgery. A grapefruit sized tumor has been discovered in your brain. It's going to be a multiple hour surgery, uh, one which you possibly might not survive. But we have to, we have to take you in now. And could you imagine you looking at your partner and smiling and saying, thank God. Like, cause you ma could you ever imagine, uh, uh, smiling and saying, thank God. And I say to people, you never know what people are going through. You never know what they have gone through. Just step back for a minute and take a moment. I could never, if you asked me that before I spoke to the people involved in this story, that's it could be relieved, I might even say happy to have that be told to them, There's no way you could believe that. But then when you go deeper and you find out more to the story and more to the story, then you go, oh my gosh. Now I can understand that. And her story is that as they were going through this wonderful life and building this marriage and, and, and having the ups and downs that everybody does, maybe not everybody to lose their child, but, you know, I mean, severe ups and downs in life, and you make it through that forms your bond with your significant other in a more meaningful way. Right. That, you know, the more fires you go through, the more fireproof you getl, right, so to speak. So, but unfortunately she started losing it. And she started becoming angry and, unresponsive and she couldn't help herself and, and he became more distant and, and more angry at her, because he couldn't understand why she was turning into the person she was turning into and it was affecting her life and her friendships, her relationship with her kids. Most definitely the relationship with her husband and over a period of a year or two, it was escalating and getting worse and worse and worse. And they were even starting to question if they could stay married. And if they were how long, maybe until the kids are out or whatever, we'll figure out a way to coexist, but it just kept getting worse and worse and worse. And finally, they had this drag out 12 hour, non-stop rambling fight where she, at the end of it fell down in a heap and just went, honey, it's not, you it's me. I've lost my mind. I've gone crazy. Check me into the hospital. So she had gotten to the point where she had given up and she asked her husband to put her into a mental institution.

Danny:

Woah.

David:

Imagine that, imagine how difficult that in, I'm making the story very short for the audience, but there's a lot more to it than that. But imagine getting to the point where you say it's me and you have to put me away. They have to fix me. So when they put her away, how may I imagine? How, just, how, how ripping at your heart that, that sounds with kids at home in a 25 year marriage and the whole thing, they put the woman through a battery of tests as they would anybody, you know, very high end private, institution. And he goes home and he gets this call from, from the lead physician in the middle of the night saying, hey, we just got some tests back. And you've got to come down here right now because here's what's going on. And they told him, so he races to the place. he wakes his wife up and he tells her here's what's going to happen. And she said, God, thank God. Thank God. Thank God it's not me. It's a tumor in my brain. And so how could anybody be happy to hear that they have potentially, uh, facing death immintently and they're relieved and happy about it. You couldn't ever understand that unless you knew her story. So to me, you know, it's, that was a great example of, um, just how you can't assume what people are going through or how they're, how they're dealing with what they're dealing with.

Danny:

Yeah, I, it really makes you take pause and have perspective because people are reacting in different ways to different scenarios and you've no idea I mean this is physical this is, even something that they don't even know they have. But, there are so many things driving responses and emotions and the way people behave and, we, we judge things so superficially that we don't give them, we don't give ourselves the chance to truly understand where people are coming from.

David:

When somebody says to you, uh, you know, when you ask them, can I help you? Is there anything I can do for you? And they say, no, I'm fine. Or no, it's okay. Or it's not as bad as what you think. Or, you know, I've got a lot of other people helping me. So, but thank you when they do that, that might not be the truth. Now we might hope to hear that from them because, you know, we don't want to see our friends sick and we don't, maybe we, you know, we can, but I'm not saying, uh, everybody is one way and not another way, but I'm just saying I can identify with this uncomfortable feeling of, I don't know what to say. You know, recently I had a friend who I found out I hadn't been in touch with them for several months and I sent him a note cause I saw him post that his kids were going off to college and I said, oh my gosh, you and your wife must be so proud. And he said, well, I am, but, uh, Nina, got cancer and died suddenly like a very short, like, three months illness and she died and, and I'm like, oh my God. And normally I would said, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry and would have tried to figure a way to get off the phone because how do deal with that. But I'm going through this journey. I knew there was a different way to approach that situation. And as a result, I think we had, and continue to have the interactions that are, more real I, I'd been equipped a little bit to understand that there's more, there's, there's more to it and I I'm okay to say something stupid. I'm okay to interact with him on whatever way I can, as long as I do it, continue to do it and make it deeper and deeper.

Danny:

I was going to ask you, based on this experience, what, what is your advice for people who find themselves in this situation on the other side of, this trauma, what would you recommend people do in that scenario?

David:

In sales, I know, a lot of your, a lot of your background and some of your guests and, and certainly your listeners in sales right the, the answer to that question is it depends, right? It depends on what? It depends if you want a shinier thing or a smarter thing or whatever right. It depends. And it really does depend, um, and it's not such a simple answer. When you get to the end of your life, Danny, if you're fortunate enough to reflect, people only reflect on two things, they reflect on wonderful connections they've made with people and the joy and the memories and the love and emotion that that's brought them, the connectivity that that's brought them. Right? So they feel the joy, or they feel the regret of not having formed meaningful relationships with people that were close to them or regretting the people that they didn't keep close to them or regretting the fact that they weren't honest with those people or whatever, right. It's, it's either joy or regret. You have to allow yourself forgiveness and you have to understand that what they're going through is probably as uncomfortable, if not more uncomfortable to discuss with you, then what you're going through. And so just ask dumb questions, press, when you think you shouldn't press don't press when sometimes you think you should, right, don't be sympathetic, be empathetic, right? Ask open-ended questions. Certainly don't apologize. It's not your fault. Don't say I'm sorry. It's not your fault. Right? Um, just to figure out a way to, to engage them in a continuing conversation that will pave the road for them to be able to explore their trauma and share their trauma rather than keep it bottled up. So when I meet with somebody, right. I don't assume to know the answer to how they're feeling or what they've gone through or whatever. So what I'll say to somebody is, oh, was that person like. Or, you know, my grandmother is going through, breast cancer and instead of saying, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry to hear that. I'll say, oh my gosh, were you guys close? Was your grandma in your life in a real meaningful way? Just taking that one step, even if it's the stupidest question ever, just allow yourself the ability to, to ask it.

Danny:

That's really useful, David, thank you. Thank you so much. David, thank you very much for sharing your, your stories and your experience and your book Cycle of Lives. I assume is available on Amazon.

David:

Oh, everywhere books are sold.

Danny:

And how can people connect with you? How can they find out more about

David:

Okay. A hundred percent of the proceeds are going to the cancer focus charities that were chosen by the book participants. So that's always a good thing. And if you're interested in continuing to give, even if it's in a couple of dollars that goes from each book sale to these participants, pick up the book. You can find out about me by going to cycleoflives.org or, just looking up David Richman or looking up cycle of lives. there's interesting information. I'm continuing to do endurance events and bring stories to people and talk about these stories. And, um, I love interacting with readers. I love, I love it. Um, uh, you know, I've, I've gotten a couple of just wonderful, uh, feedback. If I tell you a super quick story. One of, um, the people that I heard from, uh, that had the most meaningful impact on me about the book and why I felt like so grateful to have been able to do this book is that I got an email from a gentleman who was a gastroenterology oncologist and he said, David, I read your book twice. And the first time I read it, I read it in horror about the fact that I was probably a terrible doctor. And I went, what are you talking about? And he said, I had no idea what my patients were going through. Clearly he was dealing with people that were dying or near dying or needed help and that he was, he had to be unbelievably empathetic and understanding of what people are going through and dealing with these just crazy, not never ending life and death stories. But he, after reading the book said, oh my God, I had no idea what my patients were going through. He said, then I, second time I read it as a person who has plenty of friends and family that are dealing with a lot of trauma. He says, and I reading as a person, ah, now I have a better understanding of what people are going through. So he had this like aha moment where he went, oh my God, was I, what was I fully present for my patients? But now he feels fully present for his friends and family. I thought that's such a wonderful thing that when we take the time, you know, it's kind of again on the whole theme, but when we take the time to really understand what people are going through, and we let it really sink into our soul, into our brain, into our hearts, you know, it really can have an impact on us and, you know, give us the ability to, to, you know, to form these connections at a deeper level.

Danny:

That's wonderful. What a great place to end. David Richman, thank you very much for being a guest on the Sondership podcast, and I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming Ironman, Chattanooga.

David:

Thank you, Danny. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on and keep doing what you're doing.

Danny:

Thank you. So David I think about a few different people when I hear your story. I think about when you say you're a overweight, smoker and you tend to endurance athletics, I think about Rich Roll of course, is kind of follows that path and throws his job away and immerses himself in, clean living And who did that first? Him or you?

David:

Uh, he'd probably get it first. I'm only. Yeah, he definitely did it first. I I'm. I No I'm not the original. I'm the first I'm the only one that's done it for me though.

David Richman

Author, Husband, Dad

David is an author, public speaker, philanthropist, and endurance athlete whose mission is to form more meaningful human connections through storytelling. In his first book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack, he discussed how to get more out of ourselves than ever imagined. With Cycle of Lives, David shares the interconnected stories of people overcoming trauma and delves deeply into their emotional journeys with cancer.

He continues to do Ironman triathlons and a wide range of endurance athletic events, having recently completed a solo 4,700-mile bike ride. He is married, lives in Southern Nevada, and has twins who are in college.