The Spectrum Mindset: Your World Won't Change Until Your Mind Does with Tony Frezza

Episode Overview

In the journey of personal growth, the mindset we adopt plays a pivotal role in navigating challenges and achieving our full potential. Tony Frezza, the author of The Spectrum Mindset, introduces a revolutionary approach that integrates ten essential elements: growth, intention, acceptance, love, patience, presence, curiosity, abundance, adaptability, and persistence. Drawing from his experience raising his son with autism, Tony emphasizes that setting intentions, being patient, and cultivating curiosity are crucial for overcoming life's hurdles. This episode talks about how these elements can transform your life, reiterating the idea that your world won’t change until your mind does.

Understanding the Spectrum Mindset

The Spectrum Mindset is a comprehensive guide to personal growth, inspired by Tony's journey with his son, Dylan, who has autism. The book outlines ten key elements that are essential for developing a growth-oriented mindset:

  1. Growth: Embrace continuous learning and improvement.
  2. Intention: Set clear goals and align your actions with them.
  3. Acceptance: Acknowledge your current situation without judgment.
  4. Love: Foster compassion and empathy for yourself and others.
  5. Patience: Develop the ability to delay gratification for long-term benefits.
  6. Presence: Stay fully engaged in the present moment.
  7. Curiosity: Maintain an open and inquisitive mind.
  8. Abundance: Cultivate a mindset of plenty, not scarcity.
  9. Adaptability: Be flexible and willing to change.
  10. Persistence: Keep going despite difficulties.

Setting Intentions: The Catalyst for Change

Setting intentions is crucial for transforming your mindset and achieving personal growth. Tony’s experience with his son Dylan underscores the power of intentional living. By setting clear goals and aligning daily actions with these intentions, Tony was able to support Dylan’s development effectively.

For instance, Tony and his wife Shannon created a structured daily routine for Dylan, which helped reduce his anxiety and gave him a sense of control. This intentional approach can be applied to any area of life. Whether you’re aiming to improve your fitness, advance in your career, or enhance personal relationships, setting specific intentions is the first step towards meaningful change.

The Power of Patience in Personal Growth

Patience is another cornerstone of the Spectrum Mindset. In both parenting and personal development, patience allows us to embrace the journey rather than rush towards the destination. Tony learned that imposing arbitrary timelines on Dylan’s progress only led to frustration. Instead, he focused on incremental growth, celebrating small victories along the way.

In the realm of fitness, this approach is equally applicable. Setting realistic goals and acknowledging incremental progress helps sustain motivation and prevents burnout. By exercising patience, we learn to appreciate the process and build resilience.

Cultivating Curiosity: A Path to Continuous Learning

Curiosity is a powerful tool for personal growth. Tony’s journey with Dylan taught him the value of staying open-minded and continuously seeking knowledge. Instead of making assumptions, Tony embraced curiosity, which allowed him to better understand and support his son’s needs.

In our own lives, fostering curiosity can lead to profound insights and innovative solutions. By asking questions and exploring new perspectives, we keep our minds active and engaged. This not only enhances personal growth but also strengthens our relationships and professional endeavors.

Transform Your World by Changing Your Mind

Tony Frezza’s The Spectrum Mindset provides a blueprint for personal growth through intentional living, patience, and curiosity. These elements, along with the other components of the Spectrum Mindset, empower us to navigate challenges and achieve our full potential. Remember, your world won’t change until your mind does. Start your journey of personal growth and transformation today, regardless of your age or circumstances.

More about Tony and Spectrum Mindset Resources:

Books mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript for The Spectrum Mindset: Your World Won't Change Until Your Mind Does with Tony Frezza

Kelly Berry (00:03.832): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Life Intended. I'm your host, Kelly Berry. Life Intended is a podcast that explores what it means to be true to yourself and live an authentic and purposeful life. Each episode explores my guest's version of personal growth, self-discovery, the pursuit of becoming the best version of themselves, and how to find joy in the journey. Today on the podcast, I've got Tony Freza. Tony lives with his wife, Shannon, and two kids, Dylan, who is 10, and Ariel, who is eight. They live in Jupiter, Florida, and are surrounded by their immediate family. They have a much larger gym family at Fittown Jupiter, which he and his brother Andrew started in 2012. His mission is to help people become the best version of themselves and inspire them to live life to their fittest and fullest. He takes a holistic approach to health, helping people with their physical, mental, spiritual, and social fitness. So, I'm really excited to have Tony here for this discussion. Tony just released his first book called *The Spectrum Mindset* yesterday. So, that's really exciting. Congratulations. And while this may be Tony's first book, he is not new to writing at all. He's been writing and posting content and blog posts for years as well as having a personal journaling practice. I am so looking forward to the discussion. I think as you can tell in Tony's bio and the description of the podcast, there's so much synergy in kind of our personal missions. And I know that there's gonna be a lot for him to share both through his personal experience, his insights, and his just history as a coach. And I know that what he shares today is really gonna impact the way that you parent, the way that you conduct relationships in your life, and in your own way of thinking. So, welcome to the podcast, Tony.

Tony (01:12.952): Thank you.

Kelly Berry (01:30.136): Yeah, this is great. So, I'm really excited about your book launch. I just think that's amazing. I know it's been really exciting for you too, so congratulations.

Tony (02:01.582): Thanks for having me, Kelly.

Kelly Berry (02:04.148): Yeah, this is great. So, I'm really excited about your book launch. I just think that's amazing. I know it's been really exciting for you too, so congratulations.

Tony (02:16.014): Thank you. Yeah, it's been something that I've wanted to do for a long time now. As you mentioned, I've written many blog posts, but I wanted to do some deeper work and put out something that would last a little bit longer. They say kind of like book writing's like a way to leave a little bit of a legacy behind and something that lasts a little bit longer than that blog post that just gets some likes and is gone the next day. So, I was really excited to put this out there. And it was really something I've been working on for like three years now. It journals kind of our 10 years of raising my son. You mentioned that he's 10 now, but at three and a half, he was kicked out of his preschool class. We found out because he was acting up in class and he was on the autism spectrum. And so, that's when we first learned about the autism spectrum. And that's when, I don't wanna say like parenting got hard, but it was definitely a tougher challenge than we thought it would be. And then along this time, we were also running our gym, and anyone that runs a small business knows how tricky that can be. So, raising a baby boy in a baby gym at the same time was very stressful, but it was also a wonderful learning experience. And I was hoping through this book to teach people the things that I learned over the course of this past decade and really how once I changed my mindset about the challenges that I went through, how much that made these next challenges I go through easier. So, hopefully, I can pass that on to parents and just people in general who might be facing challenges or facing something that they didn't realize was as hard as they might have thought it was from the start.

Kelly Berry (04:04.256): Yeah, so true what you said. I think there are several things in life that are hard, but parenting is one and running a business is another one. And to your point, like doing both of those at the same time, being new to both of those and having just, you know, challenges, but even different experience than you thought you were. I think there's a ton, you know, when you have expectations and those expectations, you know, reality is different or your expectations are not met. It can just be, it can be tough. So, I know you mentioned that it was a great learning experience and a lot of growth. Did it feel, did it feel like that at the time or is that, you know, in hindsight?

Tony (04:45.227): Yes. Yeah, in hindsight, you know, you when you go through it, luckily enough, you know, you look for resources, right? So, if you're just, you know, skating by and you kind of have things handed to you along the way, you don't look to grow, you don't look to learn. Right. And so, within the world of, you know, the spectrum and autism, there's so many great resources out there. And so like I found that the parenting autism books were like amazing for just parenting in general. You know, they were amazing for being a leader of the gym, you know, things that talked about patience and listening and empathy, those things were, were just so useful to me. You know, a big book that I read at the beginning of my journey was *Mindset* by Carol Dweck. I know you're a big fan of that book as well. But, you know, in her book, she talks about people with finite minds or fixed mindsets, she uses the words fixed and growth. And I chose to kind of expand on that a little bit and use finite and spectrum as the words I was using to describe the mindsets. But she describes the fixed mindset as someone who prefers effortless growth. You know, they want effortless success, I should say. They don't really focus on growth, they focus on the end goal. And they want that goal to be handed to them. And they assume that if anyone else has had success, it's because they've had luck or it's been given it to them. But really the growth mindset is about earning that and that anything can be improved with effort. And so, as I went into parenting with like, you know, a very naive mind, like it's going to be good. Like my parents were great. I can be great, too. I could be better than even they were. I didn't realize, you know, how effortless I wanted that to be and how my journey was the total opposite of that, and I had to give a lot of effort to do the opposite.

Kelly Berry (06:56.736): Yeah. So, let's get right into your book. Tell us what it's about. Yeah, and just the inspiration for it.

Tony (07:09.246): Yeah. So, as I mentioned with finding out that Dylan was on the spectrum at three and a half, and removed from school. So, when you have, you know, you're kind of in that routine of like, okay, I go to work, drop the kids off, go back to work, you know, and you have this routine. And then all of a sudden, your kid's back home and you're just like, okay, now what do we do? We have to figure out, you know, what do we do with the next? And we end up going through the process of special ed programs and going through special classes with him. And a year and a half later, he was actually accepted back into a regular kindergarten class. And that was a really exciting moment for us to know that he could be qualified as normal again. And it wasn't not even a whole year in that class, and then COVID hit, and he was back home in our hands again. And so, we kind of kept meeting these challenges and stepping up to the plate and being like, okay, we can handle this. And actually, my wife really stepped up. She's the one that ever since COVID has homeschooled both of our kids. So, she still homeschools them to this day as they're in fourth and second grade and does just an amazing job making sure they get their education. And so, through all these challenges along the way, I kind of recognized 10 elements of the spectrum mindset that I think that are key to having people change their mindset. And so, we can talk about some of them as we go or pick specific ones. I might have a few favorites, and I think there's a few that will resonate with your audience the most too, as this is a life of, you know, as you're focused with living with intention, one of the elements is actually intention. It's the second element after growth. So, once you believe growth is possible with a spectrum mindset, you then have to set your intentions and set your goals with that mindset. So, it's actually the second one in the book.

Kelly Berry (09:17.472): Yeah, yeah, so I just shared with Tony. He shared a copy of the book with me on Monday. So, I'm through chapter six now. I haven't read the whole thing yet, but it is really, really good. So, I have read through the intention chapter and the first like quote that Tony starts that chapter out with says, "Don't wait for the right opportunity. Create it." And that is, you know, really distilled down what this podcast is about, figuring out what do you actually want, and then taking agency over the possibility that you can achieve that, and then setting your intentions so that your actions align with that. So, yeah, I would say that's definitely a favorite element of mine. So, let's talk about it a little bit more. How is intention part of these elements, as you see it with the Spectrum Mindset?

Tony (10:13.518): So, and as I talk to people like in the autism community, a lot of people ask for my advice because they see Dylan's transformation. They're like, all right, how did you do it? What was the secret? Like, you know, what was the certain thing that did it? Was it at a certain nutritional supplement? Was it a certain teacher or class that he went to? And, you know, it was really the 24/7 intention because if you do pick like an amazing, and I'm just using the autism example, but you can apply this to anything in life. If you want to work on something and you had two hours with an amazing teacher or coach, let's take fitness for example, you have an amazing fitness coach, but you get to spend two hours with them a week. That two hours is gonna be great, but there's also so many more hours in the day that's on you to improve your fitness. So that intention has to last longer than the two to three hours that you may have spent with a specialist in that field to help move you along your autism spectrum, your fitness spectrum, your wealth spectrum, if it's a wealth coach. It takes all the intentional hours of the rest of your day to make something happen. And I think that's what I learned is if you're that parent that's trying to help a kid with something, and you're like, Oh, I got this special coach for three hours a week. It's like, they get to spend the rest of their day around you and learning from you. It's your intention that's going to make the difference. Not that coach. Right. And that's what we found in our household was we were the ones making the difference, even though they did have great resources too, along the way.

Kelly Berry (12:02.016): Yeah. So, talk about some of the things that you did intentionally that you think impacted him and impacted the family as a whole because it's you and Shannon and you've got a daughter as well. So, talk about just what did that look like for you all?

Tony (12:21.654): Yeah, I think one of the things I mentioned in the book is like, we had to be on the same page, like as far as like family goals go. You know, when we first learned about Dylan's condition being on the spectrum, it was kind of like, who do we tell? Do we tell people? Do we label him publicly? Like that was a really big thing for us was like, if you know, we label something, will it stick beyond where we want it to be, you know, and stay longer than we want to stay for? And so, we were really kind of afraid of getting public with it. But once we did get public with Dylan being on the spectrum, it bonded us together to then say, okay, now where do we go? Right. And so, I think that's really huge. When you have a goal, when you have a mission, having people on board on that mission is huge and you only get people on board by making it public, you know, as far as you need to, right? You may not need to tell the whole world about something and your fitness goals or anything like that, but at least telling a friend and saying, hey, like I need you to help me with this. That was huge for our intention. Another thing that we did with Dylan, he had extreme anxiety and tantrums around entering new places. So, he had like a schedule, a calendar made, and Shannon made like all these graphics printed out of like, you know, a picture of a toothbrush and a picture of shoes and a picture of a school to show him in his day he was going to intentionally set everything that he would for his day. And that helped a lot of his anxiety and tantrums and it also gave him control over his day to where he felt the day was out of control for him and that's where he had to let his emotions go. He was now the pilot of his own flight in a way. Even if his parents were kind of talking him into, hey, you want to brush your teeth first, right? Like, you know, it was still him choosing it and putting it on this visual board. And so, that carried over to me. It taught me a lesson. Like, I don't throw tantrums at the gym. I don't think I do, but I do, you know, I do at times not operate at my best. And why is that? And I thought, you know what? It's probably because I'm not feeling in control of my ride.

Kelly Berry (14:23.192): Mm-hmm.

Tony (14:46.846): I'm not feeling in control of my day. So, one of the things I started doing was just doing an hourly planner. And really at the start of my day, these are the important things I wanna do. This is what I have to do at certain hours. This is where I can fill in some creative work like writing. And that gave me a reduced level of anxiety that I didn't even know I was probably dealing with. And just helped me make my days much more productive and creative. And operating at a much better place.

Kelly Berry (15:19.288): Mm-hmm. Yeah, so how did you all involve your daughter in any of that?

Tony (15:28.142): Well, that's a whole challenge in itself, right? When one kid needs so much attention, how much do you give to the other one? And yeah, it's probably something that I didn't fail at times. I wish I could say that I was better. But you know, it is like just that awareness. Right? So, I think how Dylan taught us to be present with him to help settle his emotions, it made sure I was also present with her. Right? And doing my best to use that hourly planner to say, hey, like, this is where I'm truly present with my kids. And I talk about it in the book, I think maybe later than you've gotten to so far. But like, you know, if we say our kids are the most important thing in the world, or our family's most important thing in the world, do a time inventory and truly look at your day. And if you spend nine hours on your business, a couple hours on your own health or self-care, and then you got an hour for your kids, your calendar is not showing your priorities, or your calendar is showing your priorities. They're just not lining up with what you say is important. So, I would encourage people to take a true time inventory of, you know, where are you spending that presence? And if you are giving an hour to your kids, truly give it to your kids, you know, or whatever it is you wanna give it to, you know, be there fully.

Kelly Berry (17:07.104): Yeah, I think that is something, you know, as I'm talking to more and more people, you know, there are certain obligations that you just have to have. Like you have to work or you have to be able to provide, and you have to spend your time in certain places. But the presence, the "be where you are," like, "be where your feet are," I think is so... You know, it is, if you are limited in your time, it's probably the single next best thing that you can do is the time that you do have, you just have to fully devote it to what you're in. And I think like for us personally, for Nick and I, like the pandemic really turned our world upside down and it really changed our business and we went from being in like an in-person, everybody-goes-to-the-office-every-day operation to fully remote, you know, Nick and I moved to a different state, now having a daughter, like our life and our time and everything just looks so much different. And I think that the thing that is so much better now than it was before when our life looked so much different is our ability to be present in the time that we have like together with our daughter, all as a family. It's definitely a, it's a big value to us. And, you know, we're like older parents. There's a lot of things that are different in our lives than maybe they are for some people. But yeah, you know, you may not be in full control with how your calendar says that your priorities look, but the, you know, being present is just, I think when people stop to think about that part, that's where they can probably make the first and like biggest improvement.

Tony (19:03.998): Yeah, one of the quotes I have from the book, and I didn't even know that this would resonate with people so much, but I've had a few people reach out. It says that if you ever want to relive the moment, you have to live in the moment. You have to be fully present there, or else you'll never be able to revisit that moment in your memories. You might have a couple iPhone photos of that time or that experience, but if you really want to relive that feeling and experience, you truly have to be there.

Kelly Berry (19:21.944): Mm-hmm.

Tony (19:33.654): in the first place.

Kelly Berry (19:35.872): Yeah, that's really good. I have read that part so far, and I remember it too. So, yeah. So, what are, you mentioned you have like a favorite couple of elements or a few of them. So, what are the, of the 10, you know, which ones would you say are your favorites? And can you, can you run through, just for people who haven't read the book, can you run through all 10 of them?

Tony (19:56.202): I'd say, yeah, if I can remember. You got, yeah, you got it right. It's like, I'm gonna cheat and I got like the book right here, but it is growth, intention, acceptance, love, patience, presence, curiosity, abundance, adaptability, and persistence. And I'd say patience is somewhat of a superpower.

Kelly Berry (20:03.939): Okay, I've got them printed out here too.

Tony (20:30.674): I think for me, I thought I was a patient person for the most part. But when you have a baby business and a baby on the spectrum, those will teach you real patience very fast. One of the things that like in the fitness field that I connected patience to was really just like meeting people where they're at and not having a timeline for their success. If I put a timeline on my son's success, you know, it would not work. You know, we would fight each other. I would get frustrated. You know, I would get frustrated with his teachers or tutors and we would probably just, everything would blow up. Similarly, if I were to, you know, if Kelly, you were coming into the gym and you were like, I want to lose, you know, this many pounds and I was like, all right, you're going to do it in this amount of time. And then I started placing some arbitrary deadline upon your success. You know, it probably would not work out, right? It may or may not, but most likely we would probably fail in the context of success or failure. And really, in the spectrum mindset, it's we're not trying to set arbitrary deadlines for ourselves, we're just trying to grow a little each day. And that is the success, right? So, you're not, you know, saying 10 pounds loss or 20 pounds loss is success, you're saying that I do the things this day today in my opportunity to achieve that future success. And there is, like I talk about in the book, how another thing with Dylan's anxiety in foreign places and new experiences, he had to hold objects. One of the objects I have right here, this is this little lion. That was like one of the things that he held in his hands to pacify himself. And like some parents, like myself, who lacked patience would be like, look, just put those down, kid. And we need to just, you know, wash our hands and let's go eat dinner. Because there were times where he would not wash his hands and or not eat dinner because he was holding objects. And it wasn't until that I decided to actually hold some objects myself and play with him and show them that it was safe to release his objects, to then play with the objects I was holding. That is when he started to loosen his grip on his. So, instead of shouting from the outside and being like, hey Dylan, you need to drop your objects. You need to come eat dinner. I just said, hey, I have all the patience in the world. I am going to grab some objects and just start playing as long as he wants to play for. And that is what moved us along our spectrum in that instance, we progressed together. All right, so that if anyone is a parent or coach and they're trying to help someone progress, shouting from the outside or saying, hey, you know, you need to do this, doesn't always work that well. Whereas if you can get there with that person and be like, look, I'm right here next to you, what can we do together to move today? And then that's where the real progress happens.

Kelly Berry (23:55.872): Yeah, and one of those things, it's far easier said than done because it's not always convenient in the moment to stop and have that level of patience or oftentimes take the amount of time that needs to take. So, how did you, in the moment, what did you do to remind yourself that this is the thing I need to be doing? Or this is the most important thing that he needs right now.

Tony (24:28.11): Well, I think like it's kind of a superpower to be able to delay gratification, right? And to say, I'm gonna put off what I want now for what we want later, right? I wanted a better connection with my son. I wanted for him to not have overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Did I want him to not scream in my face in that moment? Yes, but the things I wanted later were way more important than the things I wanted then in that instance. And I think that travels into the fitness too. It's, you know, it's like, of course, you know, workouts are hard and we just want to stop. And, you know, it's so much easier to just kind of stay on the couch or, you know, indulge in that dessert. But it's like, oh man, but I really want to feel confident in these clothes. You know, I really want to be able to go on the boat and feel confident as summer's coming up. And you're thinking about, okay do what I want later, is that more important than what's happening to me in this moment?

Kelly Berry (26:07.121): Mm-hmm. Yeah, it's great that there's a fitness analogy for everything that you want to explain and they're so relatable. So, yeah, well, you know, we operate in different capacities but in the same world. So, we use a fitness analogy is a whole lot, just extremely relatable. Yeah, so patience.

Tony (25:55.627): In my world there is, yes. Right? Yeah.

Kelly Berry (26:13.992): You mentioned as one of the elements. What's another one that you really feel like has been impactful or you just like a lot?

Tony (26:19.81): Yeah. Curiosity is probably one of my favorites because I'm learning here from a kid. A kid is teaching me these lessons along the way. And I think too often we think that we can't learn from someone who is younger than us, who is not as accredited with their certifications. And I think if you're truly a good coach, teacher, parent, you never stop learning and you're always willing to ask questions and better yourself because one of the worst things you can do in life is believe you have it all figured out and to stop asking questions and it's probably one of the bigger regrets of my own life is just kind of assuming too much and assuming that, oh, okay, that person must, you know, not want to talk to me or... you know, assuming that person is having a great day and not just asking them how they're doing. You know, I think that curiosity is a connector and it's overlooked. And yeah, I think like, I see the things that you do, Kelly and running, doing a podcast and doing meetups and stuff and networking connections and stuff. And like, if you don't go into these things with like a lot of curiosity, then you can't really get anything out of them.

Kelly Berry (27:54.836): Yeah. So, one of the quotes in your book says, assumptions can be killers of curiosity. And when I read that, I was, you know, it's kind of like, ouch. And, yeah. And also like I have, you know, *Mindset* was also a big aha for me in my life. But I, I know that I have, have gone through that, like where I have just made so many assumptions and so many missed opportunities to grow and learn or connect or look into things deeper because I just, I didn't think I needed to. Like, I took things at worth value or I had a lot of judgment or bias or whatever. And yeah, I'm, I'm really, that's something I'm working on. I have been working on for a while, but you know, really just working on asking more questions, being more curious. I think becoming a parent has helped that. It's been very enlightening to say the least, but yeah, curiosity is, I think it's a skill and it's also just like when you think about people who are successful or people that are just really, like they have a big circle or a big network or are people that you gravitate to like they are curious people. Yeah, yeah.

Tony (29:25.178): Mm-hmm. Oh, for sure. I think and like also we use assumptions to protect ourselves too. Like so it's kind of like a vulnerability thing. Like once you can like not try to be the smartest in the room and you can be like it's actually a superpower to be like, hey, I'm not the smartest here. Let me ask some questions. Let me gain insight from the smarter people. So really like assumptions. I tied it a lot to like ego. It's like your ego is showing when you're assuming. And if you can drop your assumptions, you can drop your ego. And that's where that curiosity comes into play.

Kelly Berry (30:06.592): Yeah, I love that. I think that's a really good point. I think what you said about being vulnerable is spot on. Like you have to show at least some level of vulnerability to be curious. And, you know, there's a lot of us who for a long time have just put it out there. Like, we're fine. I'm okay. You know, I don't, I'm not going to be vulnerable. You know, I'm not going to really let anybody in. And those things are just all tied together.

Tony (30:37.738): Yeah, now if you want to be like, you know, a six out of 10, seven out of 10, your life's potential, keep faking it, you know, keep faking it. Like you're, you know what you're doing and, and you're, and you're smarter than you are, but I mean, that's my bigger regret is in life is like, I wish I'd got, would have got more vulnerable sooner so that I could be a 10 out of 10 in my life and grow to my fullest potential.

Kelly Berry (31:00.472): Yeah, yep, definitely. That's really great, I love that. So that's curiosity. What about acceptance? Cause that's a chapter that I have read and there were several things in that we're kind of like, oh yeah, that's a good one. So, tell us about that and how that's impacted your mindset.

Tony (31:29.802): Yeah, I think a lot of times when we realize like a challenge is in our life, it could be a loved one on the spectrum. A lot of times like a health diagnosis, I think those two run very closely. You know, you find out, oh my gosh, like I may have a cancer or something and you may not believe it at first. And I think there's some strength to that. I think there's some strength to be like a fighter mindset, right? And like I'm going to fight this. But you do have to accept it at first. And one of the things I talk about in the book is like, acceptance is not approval. It's not saying like, yes, I have this cancer and it's there, it's got me, you know, I got it. It's a part of me now. You accept it in that you're aware of it. You've gained awareness of that thing. You are like taking it in, but then you're going to do something about it. Right, so often in our health journeys, fitness example once again, we'll have people come into the gym and we have a machine that tells you your body fat and muscle mass, and people don't wanna do it. And I'm telling, and I tell them it's day one, it's literally your first day in here, there is no judgment or expectations, let's just do the test, you don't even have to look at it. But at least we did it. And in that, I tried to explain, hey, like we can't like lie to ourselves and not acknowledge where we are right now and just let it be what it is. Because once we accept where we are, then we can move along life's many spectrums. But we have to look at where we are first, right? We have to see where that health account is, that bank account is. I want to be a millionaire someday. Okay, where's your bank account now? Oh, I don't want to look at it. I don't want to look at my credit card statements. It's like, okay, well, we have to accept where we are first if we ever want to move where we want to go.

Kelly Berry (33:42.137): Yeah, yeah, that's true. Like, it's just like dodging reality. You'll never really know how far you've come if you don't know where you're starting from, even though it's hard. And, you know, I think sometimes the reality of it just hurts because you've been telling yourself it isn't what it is. And that can be really tough. Yeah, another thing that I picked up from the book that I'd like to talk about just a little bit because this has affected my life over the past couple of years are, and I don't know if it was in the chapter or not, but you talked about like the emotions around diagnosis. So, fear is a big one. Even like the stages of grief, like sometimes with acceptance, you have to acknowledge that what, you know, you're losing something. or something from here on out is gonna be different than you expected it to. So, talk a little bit about that and how that has that acceptance and the emotions that come along with it. How has that impacted you and how have you handled it?

Tony (34:55.639): Yeah, when we first started the journey, like, I think you have all the emotions. One thing that really was hardest for me at the start in switching this mindset from finite to spectrum was you tend to think because something is the way it is, that's the way it's always going to be. And so, you think you're some kind of fortune teller or future teller because you're like, well, you know, because it's this way, it's going to be that way. And if this happens, then that happens. And it becomes this very like binary mentality of like A equals B. And with Dylan, like I started layering my emotions onto like his future experiences and I started saying like, oh my gosh, like when he's in middle school and high school. and does these autistic tendencies, like he's gonna get beat up and he's gonna get made fun of. And like that really brought me down. You know, Dylan doesn't even know these emotions are going on in me, but it was very tough for me to deal with those things. And you know, it's not necessary. Like I was putting myself through emotional roller coasters on pure finite thoughts alone. And it was so not productive. And, you know, I think a lot of the times, like you were saying, we go through these stages. And there is a process of grief and learning out that learning bad news, there's definitely a process. But go through it, don't get stuck in a certain stage and don't let your emotions pull you on this roller coaster. Because it's really your own doing at the end of the day. And it's your own doing to get off that roller coaster of emotions too. And luckily, I did, but it took some time.

Kelly Berry (36:56.736): Yeah, so what is the opposite of what you just explained look like?

Tony (37:03.278): Um, it's, it's knowing that, so with a spectrum mindset, it's knowing that I can only control like the things right in front of me right now. I can only control. I tell this to Dylan because even though I wrote this book, our journey is far from over. Just recently, he's playing in a youth sports baseball league and having emotional breakdowns at the plate. He's just so scared of the ball that he cries every time at the plate. And I tell him, Dylan, I don't care if you hit the ball. You cannot control if you hit a single, double, home run. What you can control is three things. You can control your attitude, your emotions, and your effort. Right. And as long as he focuses on those three things, attitudes, emotions, and effort, that's all I really, that's a success at the end of the day. And if he can like, um, kind of hone those things and just get them under control and be in charge of them, that's gonna be the win in the baseball game. And for me, that was what I was focused on too. It was like, if I can just handle my own emotions and attitude and effort, I'm gonna be okay. Just day by day, truly day by day. Because worrying about something five years, 10 years down the road is just useless compared to what I can do now.

Kelly Berry (38:28.64): Mm-hmm. Yeah. It's definitely an energy zap, for sure. And really, like a momentum zap as well. Because you think you're making progress, but sometimes you have so far to go, it can feel like useless or futile. But yeah, you've got some really impactful things in the book where you talk about that.

Tony (38:34.67): So, like even with, so I journal every day, every morning. And it's what you would probably call gratitude journaling, because I'm always trying to find the good in the day. So, even when we have a super tough baseball game experience where there's crying and tears and, you know, it may not have ended so well, I'm still writing the next day about what was great about that. And, you know, what am I, what am I still grateful for in that experience? And what am I taking out of it? and what am I hopefully learning for the next time. So, I think that retrospect and like doing that process, that practice of journaling with a positive mindset and trying to find the positive out of things that aren't always positive has been huge for me too.

Kelly Berry (39:28.973): Yeah, yeah, that's powerful. I know there's a lot of different ways that people practice gratitude, but I think it doesn't really matter which way you choose, as long as you're doing it in some capacity. It truly has remarkable impact on your life and just your mindset, I guess, to your point, mindset, attitude, and effort will impact all of that. But yeah, that's really good too. I'm not sure since I haven't read the whole book and you and I haven't talked about this yet, but one thing I was curious about, being curious, is how has this mindset and this experience that you all have gone through as a family, how has that affected your relationships with friends, with family? Has it impacted? you know, for the good, you know, for the better, or has it even like caused you to like move on from some relationships?

Tony (40:52.374): I mean, I'll speak to as like the very recent, like even like publishing this book. I'd say that that's been one of my favorite things is having family, cousins, aunts, uncles, old friends, just reach out and say congrats and getting to have a conversation with people who I haven't like talked to in years. And it's, you know, we live in this like very connected world. And we do get to see like people's updates on social media, but like, you know, it gives you like that awareness of like, oh my gosh, I haven't really talked to this person in three years or, you know, cause you sent texts and like the iPhone remembers and it's like, wow, the last message was 2021. Wow. Okay. Like I'm a bad cousin. Like, you know, so I think like, if there's anything in your life that you can use an excuse. Like I love using this book now as an excuse to like reach out to old friends and people and connect back with them because we don't do it enough. And it's been really my favorite thing in the past couple of weeks. Getting to write thank yous, you know. I think as I talk about like gratitude and journaling, writing the thank you is very powerful, not just for the person that receives it, but for the person giving it. And so, I've been really having a great time to saying, hey, like, you know, my book's coming out or, you know, here's a copy of the book and just thank you for being a part of this journey in my life.

Kelly Berry (42:15.762): Yeah, yeah, that's great. And I think probably from their perspective, I've heard a little bit of this so far. You know, my podcast has been out only less than a week now, but you know, these are conversations and this book for you is really like opening your mind to people. So, these are probably not conversations that you have with people all the time or things that you talk about. So, it's really... For me so far, this podcast has just been like a glimpse into how I think and act outside of my friendships or my relationships with my family. So, people are like, wow, I feel like listening to you, I get to know you better, or I'm like learning a totally different side of who you are. But you've really opened the door and the windows to who you are and what you think. So, I'm sure there's a lot of people feeling like they're getting to know you all over again or they're getting to know you for who you have become and more. So, that's probably been really insightful for you to hear what people think about the book and everything like that.

Tony (43:43.506): Yeah, like I, you know, this book started kind of in 2020. And as you mentioned, that was a time where like, you just started to pause and realize what was important in life. It was also a time where like, it got really hard to share personal experience. And it felt like anytime you shared an experience, it was like on the chopping block for criticism or cancellation. And I wanted to just dive, I just wanted to lean into that more and just be like, look, I'm gonna even go. more transparent, more deeper with my experience and share it. And hopefully it helps people. Because at the end of the day, I feel like we all were put on this earth to share experience and to evolve. Our next generation should evolve based on the things that we learned and accomplished. And so, it's up to us to pass that on to others and be open with our experiences to better our society and race as a whole.

Kelly Berry (44:45.568): Yeah, that is so true. There's never been a time where no matter what you say, it's open for criticism or just conflict. Never a better time to just kind of be who you're meant to be and move on without worrying about what people who are not meant to be in your life think about it.

Tony (45:13.166): Mm-hmm. Yeah. They'll say you make it with a book once you get your first one-star review. So, I haven't made it yet because I haven't got any bad reviews yet. So, but looking forward to it because that's apparently a big accomplishment.

Kelly Berry (45:25.988): Yeah. So, something else that I have just been thinking about is I've started to read this book and thinking about talking with you today. And just my whole podcast theme in general is a message that I want to send out to people. It's like, it is never too late to start these things. You know, you may be listening or you may be reading or something else may happen. And it does kind of like stop you in your tracks and help you see that there may be some things or the way that you think or some things that you're doing that just aren't the way that you want to be. And it's never too late to start doing something about it.

Kelly Berry (46:14.068): Yeah, so for anybody who may be listening and be like, you know, wow, there are some things like in my parenting or, you know, in just my intentions. Do you have like advice on where, where you should start or which of these elements you think like you should put into practice first?

Tony (46:33.986): Well, that's why I'm hoping anyone reads this book and everyone because I feel like I did, I wrote it, you know, as a parent and mostly about our parenting journey, but I feel like anyone at any age can gain that wisdom and that insight of a different mindset that says that, you know, evolution is possible at any point in your life. And you're never too old to evolve. You know, you're... If God is keeping you on this earth, he's keeping you on this earth for a reason. And it's up to you to keep fulfilling your purpose and evolving and changing. And to someone who would say like, so I just turned 40 and it was like a big goal. Like, let me get a book published by 40. It happened just after 40. So, I almost made it. But like, you know, when you hit those new milestones and age, like, think about 10 years ago, think about when you were 30 and like, Oh man, if I was only 30, if I knew what I knew now, what could I have done with my life? What could I have accomplished? And then stop and realize that at 50, you're gonna get to look back and say that same thing. But right now you are 40, right? So, in 10 years, when you do get to look back and say, oh man, I wish I would have done that when I was 40. I wish I would have taken that opportunity or failed more or tried more things, you know, you that's where you are now. So, jump 10 years ahead. Pretend, you know, you're 10 years older and look back and tell that person that you are now what you want you to do.

Kelly Berry (48:19.14): Mm-hmm. Yeah. So, two more things before we wrap up, and hopefully this one you can kind of just give an overview, is one of the things I listened to another podcast you were on, and I think there's like a degree of this in this book, but you know, you talk about finite games and infinite games. Can you talk a little bit about what those are and how that relates to your mindset and these elements?

Tony (48:52.146): Yeah, yeah, there's a couple of good books out there. There's *Finite and Infinite Games* by James Carrs. And then Simon Sinek wrote a book called *The Infinite Game,* but it had a very much like business focus to it. And his message was like, hey, if you're a business leader and you want to lead your business to success, don't stop trying to like just win quarterly profits, like try to win the infinite game. And the infinite game is you know, staying in the game, right? Cause too many businesses in his example, just try to win the best, you know, the highest profits, highest revenue quarter to quarter, but they're not looking at the long term and hoping to be around in 20 years, right? So, it goes back to that, like asking what's best for us now or what's best for us in the future, right? How do we win now versus how do we just win infinitely? So, when I think about like what I say to my son, there's things, and my daughter, like just parenting, there's things that I want to say in the moment that would get my frustration out, that would pacify me and help me win a finite game. It would make me win the battle of, are you going to bed right now? Or are you having dessert tonight? I would win that. I'll win it every time. But would our interaction lose trust and cooperation over the long term? Would it hinder our great relationship that we have? And that's where I said I calculated everything that I said to my kids. I just take time. I just have presence and patience in that I think about what I say so that I never, I try not to, say anything that would win a finite game in the moment to lose their trust or cooperation over the long term in that infinite game. Because ultimately, I'd like to be their parents forever, and I would like for them to seek my friendship and love forever.

Kelly Berry (51:05.188): Mm-hmm. Yeah. So, if you could wrap up everything in your book and everything you've learned and package it into like a message that you want to send out to the world, what would that message be?

Tony (51:22.854): I would say that your world won't change until your mind does. Your mind is so incredibly powerful that it can shape the world around you and shape the future before you and change your mindset and it will change your life. And don't just read my book. My book is a great book, but there are a lot of good books out there that can help you grow your mind.

Kelly Berry (51:50.112): Yeah, I love that. It's really good. Well, I do have a couple of end of the podcast questions that I would like to ask you, and then we'll wrap up. But this has been great. Definitely, I know we've talked a lot about parenting, but so much of this is applicable to life in general, relationship with your spouse, with your family, with your friends, and just really influence the way that you go about living a life of intention and making sure that you're living the life that you want to live. So, well done. I like, I like everything about it.

Tony (52:31.542): Yeah, thank you for having me on this.

Kelly Berry (52:34.356): Yeah, so two questions. What is one thing personally or professionally that you want to accomplish this year?

Tony (52:43.41): Ooh, I'd like to accomplish the book becoming like a bestseller. That would be really big if it like hit some kind of charts or some kind of success. I know that's very results-based, but that would, that would be awesome. Um, maybe start networking on my next book. That's something more I can control too. That would be a success is getting the next book started.

Kelly Berry (53:09.017): And how do you recharge?

Tony (53:12.746): Um, it's morning routine is big for me. Um, prayer in the morning, Bible app, gratitude journaling and starting every day on my terms. I think that's really big is like not jumping it, you know, opening the gym to coach 5 a.m. classes three times a week. It could be very easily, uh, you know, set on someone else's terms or bring an attitude or emotion that I'm not proud of. Um, but I really try to take the time wake up earlier if needed to set the day on my terms and my attitude and gratitude.

Kelly Berry (53:49.86): Nice. So, on days when you are at the gym at 5 a.m., have you already done all of that before you get there? Nice.

Tony (53:55.791): Yeah, 3:50 wake up just so I can get some time in to, you know, get my head right, get my mindset right.

Kelly Berry (54:05.312): Yep. You know, if you want to talk about intentionality, I think that is a really good example of, you know, if that's the way you want to start your day, like that's what it takes to get it done. And, you know, if you say that's the way you want to start your day, but then you hit snooze until 4:40, you know, you're not being as intentional as you'd like to be.

Tony (54:32.076): Yeah.

Kelly Berry (54:34.86): Great, well thank you so much. I'm glad we had this conversation today. I know that it's just gonna be really impactful for a lot of people and I truly wish you all the success with your book. I can't wait to finish it and write a review and hear from others who have done the same too.

Tony (54:53.826): Awesome. Thank you, Kelly.

Kelly Berry (54:55.864): Yeah, thanks, Tony. Talk to you later.

Tony (54:57.762): All right, bye.