What’s The Episode About?
In this episode, I’ll talk about the near-death experience that brought about the Optimal CEO brand and the Optimal CEO Podcast. Since I was 5 years old, I had continually suffered from a very rare medical condition that used to affect me sleep, and it went on into my adulthood.
At some point, it affected me to the point that I almost wrecked my car on two different occasions while on the interstate. I had to finally seek help and the journey of recovery from it all is what led me to become The Optimal CEO.
Key Points Discussed:
- The night terrors (00:57)
- Dying 14,600 times in 45 years (07:16)
- Learning and applying both functional and integrative medicine (12:26)
- Transitioning into a new model(15:26)
- The Optimal CEO and serial entrepreneur (18:14)
- From pain and suffering to peak performance state (23:18)
- A continuous personal optimization journey (25:19)
Where Can You Learn More?
- My new book will be releasing soon. Be sure to join the Happiness Hijackers Inner Circle now! http://bit.ly/2wC9esW
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- You can find the podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
- If you haven’t already, please rate and review the podcast on Apple Podcasts!
When Was It Published?
June 5, 2019
The Transcript Is Auto Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors
00:05 This is The Optimal CEO Podcast, how patient zero turned into the optimal CEO. So, in today’s episode of The Optimal CEO Podcast, I’ll be sharing with you how the Optimal CEO brand and the Optimal CEO Podcast and that name came about. I’ll give you a hint. It involves a near-death experience and the journey of recovery back from… the consequences of that experience. So stay tuned to find out how a near-death experience led to the creation of the Optimal CEO. I’m Dr. Brian Brown and I’d like to personally welcome you to today’s podcast episode. Thank you for joining me.
00:57 So everyone always asked me, “Who or what is the Optimal CEO?” The journey actually starts… for me, personally at around the age of five. It was about age five that I began having night terrors. And for those of you guys who don’t know what night terrors are, they are similar to nightmares, except you don’t remember them, you just kind of wake up startled, maybe screaming, maybe short of breath, maybe feeling panicky, heart racing, sweating, those types of things. It’s almost like a panic attack at night, but you don’t remember anything that may have caused it. Some people can have hallucinations and things like that. I’ve never had that, but it was diagnosed with night terrors nonetheless. And, it lasted until adulthood, and when I got into my medical… when I got into my medical training, I realized how strange that was, because less than 1% of children actually carry it into adulthood. So I actually questioned it with one of my professors, and my professor just kind of said, “Well, you’re in that less than 1% category. You’re not having any breakthrough problems during the day. Don’t let it worry you. Congratulations.”
02:06 So, I kind of moved on with life at that point. And, then fast forward, from my training to… well into my private practice years, I’m age 45, and I’m driving down the interstate, and I nearly wreck my vehicle, because I almost blacked out. In fact, the episode that I had, was exactly like… one of the episodes I’d been having at night all of my life. And, being the typical guy, I didn’t think much about it, you know, I took off the medical provider hat, obviously, because I should have questioned it more, and I did not question it. I did the typical guy thing and just said, “Listen, I’m going to go on home. I’m obviously tired. I’m going to get some really good rest tonight and start today over tomorrow.
03:00 So that’s when I did. And the next day I’m driving on the interstate almost in the exact same spot at the exact same time, and I had another one of those episodes. This time it was worse. And, I decided at that point, “Okay, I’ve got a friend who practices cardiology. I’m might oughta just go… just pulling into the office and see if he’s there.” Well, I didn’t see his vehicle there, but I went in, his nurse greeted me, and I told her what was going on. She said that he’s at the hospital doing patient rounds, and I said, “Well, I’ll catch him tomorrow. I’ll catch him later.” And she said, “No, let’s go ahead and do an EKG.” So, she set me up in an exam room, did an EKG, and it was abnormal. I was having this weird, funky rhythm, that she couldn’t quite identify, So she took a picture of it with her phone, send it over to him, told him what was going on.
03:55 And, he said… that’s really strange. I don’t know that I can quite identify this rhythm either. Why don’t we go ahead and just do some cardiac enzymes, give them an aspirin, give him a nitroglycerin under his tongue, and I’ll be right there. So by the time he got there, the cardiac enzyme tests, uh, had come back. It was negative. Um, and he says, listen, you look good. Your blood pressure’s fine, your heart rate’s fine. Now your EKG is normalized. He said, I want you to come back tomorrow. Let’s do stress tests and the whole nine yards. So I went back the next day, uh, with jogging pants on, ready to do the stress test, did it, um, did the million dollar workup short of having a heart catheterization and, um, it, everything came back negative.
04:40 So he said, well, let’s put a 24 hour monitor on you and you bring it back the next day. So that’s exactly what I did. And then the day after I ticket back, I get this urgent text message from my friend saying, call me asap. And my mind, I’m thinking, okay, that’s not good. And so I called him and he said, why don’t you come by the office? So I was literally five minutes from there, I went to the office. And, um, he proceeded to show me this EKG strip from the middle of the night on three, three separate occasions where my heart had stopped. And he said, I can’t explain why it’s doing what it’s doing, but I do know who you need to see.
05:21 He said, um, I’ve got you set up with the, one of the top electrophysiologist in the country. And, uh, he’s at stern cardiovascular in Memphis, Tennessee. His name is Dr. David Lawn. Uh, why don’t you go see him first thing in the morning at eight o’clock? He’s going to see you right between, uh, um, cases that he’s doing over at the hospital. He’s actually not in the clinic. She’s doing me a favor. So I did exactly that, uh, because if he thought it was serious enough that we needed to interrupt this guy’s surgery scheduled for him to see me between cases, uh, then I was definitely going to be at that appointment. So, um, I met with the specialist and he said, this is really strange. He said, I’m pretty sure I know what this is, but I typically only see this in children. In fact, um, it’s, it’s taught to us as electrophysiologist that it is very rare to see this and adults.
06:14 And the reason it’s very rare to see this and adults, because adults are normally die with this condition, they just don’t recuperate well when their heart stops. And he said, so I need to do an electrophysiology study. Um, uh, can you come back on Monday cause this was on a Friday? And I said, sure. Uh, so I cleared my schedule that came back on that Monday, had the, um, AP study done. Uh, they call it an Epi study, electrophysiology study, and um, it was negative. Everything was fine. So they put a 30 day monitor, Omi me before I left the facility and I literally wore it one day, uh, because my heart stopped four times in the middle of the night. That night. Luckily I had the foresight to actually record the times that I woke up in the middle of the night, uh, with night terrors that night. And when I was going over the results with, uh, the electrophysiologist, um, I, uh, they, they coincide exactly with when my heart stopped.
07:16 And it dawned on me at that point that um, my night terrors had not been night terrors, that uh, they were actually a cardiac condition where my heart was stopping and in a meeting meet immediately made me think, okay, why is this happening? And then it dawned on me, it’s like, oh, well that just makes sense. If my heart stopping my body is going to dump adrenaline into the bloodstream to jumpstart my heart back. And that’s exactly what was happening. Now, if you do the math on that, if my heart only stopped one time from a one time per night from age five to 45, that’s 40 years times three 65, that’s 14,000, 600 times. I literally died and uh, and I would normally have two or three episodes per night that I could remember the next day. So, uh, when the weight of that hit me, I immediately went to, oh my gosh, if I’m dumping this much adrenaline into my bloodstream, uh, it’s no wonder a struggled with depression, uh, for 16 years and was on non different antidepressants.
08:24 It’s no wonder that, um, uh, struggled with weight and had gained up to 390 pounds. Because if your adrenaline is that overactive, then you’re going to be a dumping cortisol in with it. Cortisol and Adrenaline, uh, typically always traveled together. It’s a, it’s a rudimentary defense mechanism where a adrenaline gets released. It’s that, uh, it’s the whole adage that when our ancestors had to run from the food that were trying to capture or kill and they missed with their spear and they had to run the opposite direction, adrenaline dumps in, but cortisol also drunk, dumped sand because cortisol actually actually starts, it does many things, but it activates the immune system. Over time the adrenals start getting weaker and weaker and weaker. They’re not as able to compensate. And that was what was happening with me. My ability to dump that much adrenaline was waning or losing strength over time.
09:24 I was losing velocity and uh, I wasn’t able to compensate very well. So what I’m, what I’m trying to say. So, um, it started, I started putting the pieces to the puzzle together of why I was struggling with the depression of why I was struggling with the weight. And um, it made me, it made me think, it’s like, oh my gosh, you know, I’ve been at this diagnosis has been missed for years. And I’m thinking that’s, it’s just, it was just a hard pill to swallow. Now about the same time in those events was when I was starting to get disenchanted with the medical system as it was anyway, even though I was in the medical system, I was practicing traditional medicine. Um, I began to have this epiphany that, you know, what I’m doing is not really helping my patients. I remember sitting with a patient one day and, um, and, and feeling this overwhelming sense of disappointment that I’d been working with this patient seven or eight years and there had been no change.
10:33 Um, and, and then I started counting the number of patients that that was the case for. And it was a large majority of them. And it seemed like a, the numbers just didn’t add up. I was practicing psychiatry and I never knock on wood, I’ve never had a suicide and in my practice, but I started looking at the national statistics and I started seeing the number of antidepressant prescriptions that were going up. Uh, the numbers of, of, of those pills being prescribed was continuing to rise, yet a suicide numbers. We’re not coming down to, uh, to, um, to say that, okay, we’re treating depression, we’re treating suicide. Uh, so it made me really questioned what I was doing and life. And, uh, then when all of this happened to me, it really made me start looking at, okay, there are root causes to things that I don’t understand because it’s not the way I was taught.
11:31 So I began to do some investigative work and began to learn about functional medicine and integrative medicine. If you look at the purest sense that integrative medicine integrative medicine is a blend of, um, I hate to use the word traditional and nontraditional, but we’re going to have to use that, uh, to help you understand it. It’s a blend of traditional and nontraditional medicine. For example, with me and my heart condition, uh, having the pacemaker put in was something that my body needed. I have to do that because for whatever reason, and I’ll tell you that reason here in just a second, for whatever reason, um, my heart was stopping and it was not starting back up, uh, in the middle of the night. Now, uh, that, that reason that I was just mentioning is, um, uh, I was electrocuted at age five that did not have that memory until two years after the pacemaker, which was the craziest thing.
12:26 So, um, it was two years later and I had this mirror. I was like, I think I was electrocuted. I actually called my mom and said, was I electrocuted around age five? And she said yes. And then I put two and two together. And it was like, that’s the reason I had this heart issue. And, um, so over the years I’ve used an integrative approach. Yes, I have a pacemaker, I’ll always have a pace maker. Um, but I use Chinese medicine, I use acupuncture, I use massage, I use, uh, a deep breathing exercises and, and, and photo biomodulation, which is like a laser therapy, red light therapy, those types of things. And, um, so integrative medicine has served me well, but a functional medicine has served me well. Also. Uh, and functional medicine focuses heavily on root causes. So I’ve been a student of functional medicine and integrative medicine, went back and did some retraining.
13:24 Um, and, and, and closed my practice down literally for 15 months, a while I did that training and then reopen the doors, uh, doing what I’m doing today, which is I’m a functional and integrative medicine practice. Um, if you really want to boil it down, it’s a prevention and preventive aging at its best. Um, you might even call it performance based medicine because we move people from a state of a dis ease, uh, that’s two separate words or dis ease, uh, into a state of homeostasis or stability. And then we moved them into a state of, um, of just balance and optimization, uh, from balance and optimization to a state of peak performance. And, um,
14:27 so needless to say that the type of practice that I do now is, um, is is way different than how I used to do things. Do I still treat depression? Yes, I still treat depression, but, um, uh, I, I look for root causes. And the irony here is this. When I was in my psychiatric training, uh, they hammered in our head over and over, over again. A psychiatric disorder is not a psychiatric disorder until all root causes, all medical causes or ruled out yet. They don’t really give you good parameters on how to do that. Now, granted, I, it’s been over 20 years since I did my training, but not much as trained. I still hear those same mantras from New People that are coming out of residencies and medicals schools. Uh, and I hear those same mantra’s yeah. And when I compare notes with them, they’re being taught the same thing.
15:26 So it doesn’t seem to be evolving as much. Now there are some cutting edge things that are evolving, um, in certain areas of medicine, but there are certain areas of medicine that are just, um, they’re, they’re lagging behind a little bit. Um, and I don’t know any other way to put it, but it is what it is. So, um, uh, as, as the medical system frequently does, um, it, it kind of poo poos would, it can’t explain or doesn’t have the time, um, or take the time to fully understand what’s going on. And that’s actually what got me to transition because I didn’t want to practice under that model anymore. Um, and I don’t blame medical doctors. I don’t blame nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants. You know, I think the system as it’s set up today is set up for failure because we’ve got higher utilizers of care.
16:22 Um, we’ve got a system that is dependent upon insurance where insurance reimbursement keeps going down and, uh, the need keeps going up. So therefore, medical providers have to do more in a shorter period of time. And, um, when you only have five minutes to spend with a patient, uh, it doesn’t, it just doesn’t pan out. Whereas in a practice like mine, we spend as much as an hour and a half or two hours on an initial consultation and then we spent an hour on every followup. Uh, you get to know somebody really well when you can do that. But, um, uh, the, the short of what I’m trying to say is, uh, our, our system is broken and it’s no coincidence. I don’t think that the US ranks, uh, and one of the top countries in the world for, uh, prescribing, uh, and it doesn’t matter what it is.
17:17 I use the example of antidepressants earlier in anti-depressant consumption, but we are the, some of the highest utilizers are consumers of healthcare. Yet we have some of the poorest outcomes of any other country in the world. Uh, there is a huge disconnect there. And this is what, uh, this is what I’m going to make people aware of is that a, we’ve got to do something about this disconnect. So in my experience, um, it doesn’t matter where there’s depressive symptoms or cardiac symptoms or night terrors or whatever the case may be. Oftentimes there are clues to, uh, they’re, they’re just, these are just clues to a bigger issue at hand. And you know, and the incidents or example of depression may be, it truly is depression. Uh, but maybe there’s an underlying cause and we owe it to that patient, to that consumer, that health consumer to figure out what that underlying causes.
18:14 You know, maybe their fatigue is, um, uh, just fatigue. Maybe they’re over exerting themselves, or maybe their thyroid is off, or maybe their vitamin D is too low, uh, or may be they have gut issues, got health issues, and they’re not absorbing their B vitamins a or any of their nutritional, uh, uh, anything very well. You know, there, there’s so many root causes that can go into explaining a lot of what we label as disorders. Uh, when in reality they’re just symptoms. Uh, so we, we need, we owe it to people. We owe it to those who wish to live and optimize life. We owe it to them to find those root causes. So how did the name the optimal CEO come about? Uh, it’s simple. Uh, Hoffman and entrepreneurs since third grade, uh, started selling pencils and bubble gum and erasers and candy in school when no one else was.
19:13 And, uh, shortly after that I began mowing yards. I was the, uh, number one winter and our entire city of 60,000, uh, for collections, for fundraising, for muscular dystrophy campaign actually won a mountain bike. It was before mountain bikes were cool. Um, and, uh, uh, case, uh, for those historians out there, it was a Baja, a mountain bike. That thing weighed a ton. Now I, my mountain bike, I can literally pick up with two fingers. Uh, they’re so light. Uh, but the bottom line is, uh, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. It’s, it’s just in my blood. Um, it’s who I am. So, you know, even after I’d been out of training for three years, I made up my mind, uh, that I would become unemployable. Uh, I would become a CEO of my own company. And that’s exactly what I did.
20:10 Uh, those who’ve owned businesses and become CEOs of their own companies know exactly what I’m talking about. Um, it’s a feeling of freedom like no other, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. And now imagine living your dream and all of a sudden you start feeling bad. Um, maybe you start having low energy, maybe you start gaining weight and no matter what you do, you can’t get it off. Uh, no matter how much you exercise, no matter how much you modify your diet, you just can’t get the weight off. Maybe you start having sleep issues or brain fog or short term memory, short term memory loss or loss of motivation, uh, to, to, to get anything done or possibly even, um, sadness or melancholy mood. Um, and then you go to the person that you trust the most, uh, typically your primary care provider. Uh, in the case of women at most of the Times it’s a ob Gyn.
21:11 And, um, you go to that person and they do some lab work. They ask you some questions and they determine almost unequivocally every time that, okay, well there’s nothing really out of whack. You must be struggling with depression. Here’s a prescription for an antidepressant. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that from a patient that comes into our clinic or a new client that comes into our clinic, um, I’d, I’d be a very, very wealthy man because we hear it over and over again. I can almost script it. Uh, when a new new client comes in, um, that they’ve been offered an antidepressant for what ails them. And, um, I, I guess in a way, if you want to think of it, it is kind of the modern day snake oil. Now I’m not trying to minimize it. There are people who truly struggled depression and they need those and they’re very lifesaving. Uh, don’t get me wrong, but the bottom line is, it’s kind of the fallback and I think it borders on victim blaming because I’m not, I don’t have the expertise or knowledge to be able to figure out what’s going on with you. Therefore, it must all be in your mind. And, um, and, and, and that’s the only thing I can offer you.
22:24 So if, if you’re struggling with those issues that, that I mentioned, like the brain fog, memory loss, the motivation, sleep issues, weight gain, um, just feeling bad, you can’t quite put your finger on it. Um, needless to say, if you’re a business owner, those types of issues are going to interfere with you doing business the way you should be doing business. And when you’re running a business that has a really strong mission to positively impact lives, you literally can’t afford for these types of health concerns to rob you and the people you serve. Because that’s exactly what happening. Ha, that’s exactly what’s happening. Uh, there are two victims here. You’re the victim because you’re unable to deliver with the highest impact possible, and you’re, you’re the people that you’re serving or the victims because they’re not able to receive an impactful service or a product.
23:18 And let’s face it, that product as you. Um, so what do you do? You actually need a wellness plan, a roadmap that leads you away from a path of pain and suffering and into a place of, uh, feeling good feeling on top of your game, feeling optimized, and then feeling, uh, moving from there into a peak performance type state. Uh, I’m passionate about helping CEO entrepreneurs at the top of their game because I am a CEO entrepreneur. I’ve learned that CEO, entrepreneurs and heart based businesses like mine, those who want to make huge impacts, uh, understand what’s at stake. Now, I’m not saying you have to be a medical provider. That’s the furthest thing from the truth. Uh, but a heart based business is a business where you put your heart and soul into it and to making other people happy to serving others. And that’s a heart based business, a heart based businesses, a business that has a huge impact.
24:17 Um, and when you’re not feeling your best, you understand what’s at stake. You understand that at, at, at most, you’re not able to deliver what you want to deliver with the greatest impact, with the highest quality. And at minimum it affects your bottom line. You’re not able to generate the amount of income that you should generate because you don’t feel good. Um, and people in the CEO Entrepreneur Category, I actually also understand that the traditional medical system as they know it, is broken and really can’t be trusted to give them the answers they deserve and want. Now, I love CEO entrepreneurs because I love capitalism. If it weren’t for entrepreneurs and capitalism, none of us would be where we are today. Um, America is a melting pot. The land of opportunity. People move here from all over the world to set up shop as entrepreneurs because they know it’s the fastest way to improve the life of their family.
25:19 I believe that taking care of entrepreneurs is the first level of taking care of the rest of the world. In other words, if I help a CEO entrepreneur fond their optimal state of wellness, then it will trickle down to the next generation and it will also trickle down from employer to employee. Uh, helping CEOs, entrepreneurs become healthier, ensures that capitalism stays alive and well. Uh, I’ve journey back from the brink of death multiple times as I’ve explained earlier. Uh, and this has given me a burning desire not to play small. It’s given me the burning desire to impact as many lives as possible. I only have one life to live and one body to do it in. So restoring my health and wellness is top priority so I can impact as many CEO entrepreneurs’ lives as humanly possible. Um, my personal optimization journey has been a long one. In fact, if I’m being totally transparent, it’s a journey that is still continuing and will never end as far as I’m concerned. This is a way of life for me. Uh, uh, uh, a way of life, the way I live in constant pursuit of improvement and constant pursuit of optimization. Why? Because I have a big mission. If I’m not optimize for the journey, my impact will be small. If I have the same,
26:52 if I’m not optimized for the journey, my impact will be less and I have the same burden for you.
27:04 If I’m not optimized for the journey, my impact will be less and I have the same burden for you. If you’re not optimized for the entrepreneurial journey that’s ahead of you than your impact will be less and that’s just not acceptable. It’s personal for me. If you’re a CEO entrepreneur who has a huge mission and an even bigger impact to make, maybe you’ve lost faith in the medical system and want to finally get answers how you can become optimized for making the biggest impact on your business. My inbox is always open. I’d love to hear from you so we can book a free 15 minute strategy session to explore some possible solutions to help you do exactly that. You can message me on Instagram at the Optimal CEO or on Facebook at the Optimal CEO.
27:59 I’d like to thank you for joining me today. Please tune in next time where I’ll be sharing with you an insider secret of the medical community, that leaves you high and dry without answers for why you feel bad, and 92% of the time walking out of the medical office with an antidepressant prescription, whether you want it or not. I’ll also share with you the three things you can do to work around this problem. I’ll also share with you the three things you can do to work around this problem and get the answers and treatment you deserve. You won’t want to miss it, so stay tuned. Until next time, this is Dr. Brian Brown, the Optimal CEO signing off. I hope you have an optimal day.