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Being ALPHA against all odds
This is the inspiring story of an Alpha who became that against all odds.
Bill Schuffenhauer spent some of his childhood homeless and was in 17 foster homes because of his mother’s addictions and prostitution. As he became a man, he made some Alpha decisions about who he was going to be and became a three-time Olympian.
He is now a motivational speaker, an advocate for homeless families and coaches corporations and mentors men dealing with depression, addiction and suicidal impulses. This is such a big opportunity to learn from a guy who’s been there and done that, from the despair that led to a suicide attempt, himself, to representing the USA in three Olympic Games and winning the first medal for the US in 46 years in four-man bobsled. Trust me, this will challenge you to reach for the Alpha in you.
Questions answered today:
- When did you first realize that you were special and had some gifts and talents?
- You had every excuse in the book…why didn’t you fall into the trap of making excuses?
- When was your athletic journey the hardest and what did you do then?
- What was your motivation to succeed?
- Of all of your accomplishments and successes, what single moment stands out the most as a defining moment in your journey? Describe that.
- Do you or did you have haters?
- What struggle are you the most proud of for pushing through?
- What makes a man a real man?
- What is the most ‘alpha’ thing about you and were you born with that or did you develop it?
- What are you doing now?
Brad Singletary (00:00):
Today’s guests grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. His mother was a prostitute and drug addict who was often beaten in front of him. He had to steal, to eat from trash cans and was once caught trying to break into a bicycle store to steal something to sell for food. His mother was often evicted and he lived in foster homes until he went to live with his grandmother. He discovered his athletic talent and went to Weber State University on dual scholarships in track and football. As a college to decathlete, he won the junior nationals. After college, he was among the top five decathletes in the world. He injured his ankle while training for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and thought his Olympic dreams were over. He then won a silver medal in the four man bobsled in the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He then competed in the 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Brad Singletary (01:36):
Welcome back to the alpha quorum show. Brad Singletary here. This is a pretty exciting opportunity for me and for the men who listen to this show, we have a somewhat smaller, but a worldwide audience. And this guy today is our biggest guest to date. Bill Schuffenhauer joins us who has seen and done many things in his life. Things that most of us couldn’t even imagine, including being homeless on one end of his life and at other parts of his life competing in Olympic games and standing on the podium, winning medals. And so we’re just very happy to have you here, bill. Thank you so much, man. It’s been a long time. We, we first met in Ogden, Utah. We had some kind of mutual friends and and I I’ll never forget the, the pride that I felt when I watched you stand up there with the, you know, the American flag draped over you. You’re holding up the silver medal and there’s like, I know that dude, I drank kava with that, dude. I’ve been in, I’ve been in that dudes house. So those are, so those are some fun times.
Bill Schuffenhauer (02:41):
That’s great. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Brad Singletary (02:47):
So tell me, man, what, when did you first realize that you were special? You know, when, when I hear about this childhood and some of the struggles in your family and stuff, there had to come a point where you, where you’re like, wait a minute, there might be something really kind of cool about me. That’s different than other people. When does that moment?
Bill Schuffenhauer (03:07):
Yeah, I mean, you know, it all honestly started when I moved from salt Lake city where I was, you know, basically run the streets and getting in trouble all the time. And you know, I was living with my mom at the time and she got in trouble. And so we were facing a situation where she was going to either have to give me up to foster care again. So that would have meant like my foster home or yeah, so I couldn’t even out of 17 different foster homes. So but the state gave him my grandma and oxen to take him in and playing. So you know, obviously we went with that route and my, my grandma lived in Roy at the time. So I moved from, you know, the, the life I was living down here in salt Lake city to will Utah.
Bill Schuffenhauer (03:52):
And so when, when I moved up there, it was just something different. Right. And I, I wanted to get more involved and be a part of, you know, just, just different atmosphere. You know, all these kids seem like they were all happy all the time. There wasn’t any gang banging there wasn’t drugs, you know, there wasn’t prostitution and all this other stuff and partying, all the stuff that was going on that I was experiencing in salt Lake. And so the first time when I, you know, watched this one kid named Jake Scholtz go out to what later times it’d be track practice. You know, I turned my first negative into a positive because I was good at running from cops and jumping fences and filter. You might be right at my eighth mile. And, you know, originally I just did it because I wanted to be a part of something.
Bill Schuffenhauer (04:41):
But when I did my first competition at Ogden high school, in fact, and my first ever event, and I’m funny enough, I’ve never even talked about this on a podcast. My first ever track event that I competed in, in my entire life was a a hundred meter dash at Ogden high school. And I remember running out raise and I held my breath the whole way and ended up winning the race. And I was like, wow, that was really cool. Right. And you know, I don’t, I don’t think it, you know, it didn’t, it took a while before I realized that, you know, that I had something cool, but I, more importantly, I realized I didn’t want to grow up the way that my mom was providing that lifestyle. And when you take a kid who’s seventh, eighth or ninth grade, you know, and typically their concern is about school and friends and all that stuff.
Bill Schuffenhauer (05:29):
And my concern was about like, how can I change my life? So, and I’ll end up like, you know, my mom was, and, you know, when I decided to make that, that goal in life to be something different and try and find a new direction for myself, I just knew that was just a little bit outside of the box. But it, you know, athletically, I didn’t really realize that I had some special gifts until like my first year of high. And I like to be helped with a bunch of state championships all the way high, but went to junior nationals and placed in the top three in junior nationals. And you know, still ranked top, top five in the world, even then. So that’s when I was able to combine like my joy of actually competing in something and do something that was a part of and realizing that I was actually good at it naturally. And then just eventually along the way I figured out, you know, the more work you put in and smarter, you train and take care of your body, you know, the better you can tell me. So it wasn’t until honestly, probably about high school when I was like, Hmm, this is actually pretty cool.
Brad Singletary (06:39):
Yeah, man, you had every excuse in the book. I mean, you had every reason to fail. You had every reason to quit. You had every reason to think, well, I don’t have the support. Like I don’t even, I don’t even live with my parents. I mean, that’s something that probably doesn’t happen a lot in smaller towns in Utah. You know, this is a different you’re, you’re, you’re really kind of in a different situation than maybe most of the people you, you were around there once you moved. But what, what helped you not fall into the trap of making excuses?
Bill Schuffenhauer (07:13):
You know, what it was, it was, you know, what I mentioned before, it was just the negativity of how I was growing up in the first place. And just looking at that lifestyle and being like, I don’t, I don’t want that in my life. Like one day I’m going to have to grow up one day, I’m going to want to have kids my own. And I don’t want them going through like what I had to go through, you know? And it’s just like, it was just so clear to me back then as a kid, but that’s not what I wanted. I just, wasn’t gonna let anything get in my way.
Brad Singletary (07:43):
Did you ever have any idea that athletics was the route? I mean, that, that was the way, I mean, that ended up, that ended up, you know, you get a scholarship to colleges, how you got your education and it led to other opportunities. Did you kind of know like, Hey, this is my thing. This is what’s going to help me lift me out of my circle.
Bill Schuffenhauer (08:03):
No, I would say after the fact, but like, you know, the whole time I’m a kid who just doesn’t really have a whole lot of direction. And, you know, although eventually I connected with my teachers and my coaches and mentors along the way to help me out. Even, you know, when I graduated high school, I had scholarship offers to every university in the country and I was going to actually go get a job and just work. And my coach was like, what are you talking about? Like, you know, you can’t do that. And you know, when like, you know, coaches are like, well, you could actually go to school, you know, and get all your school paid for. And then, you know, that’s when the first big, big cost of, you know, potentially making an Olympic team came into play. And so, you know, it is what it is like, you know, education in reality became my first passion so that I could actually could compete, you know?
Bill Schuffenhauer (09:00):
And you know, like if you’re a kid who has bad grades, you can’t compete on the team. And seventh grade I had like all F’s and a D minus. And so eventually work with my teachers and stuff, and my coaches to pull my grades up high enough, like a 3.6, 3.7, so that I could compete on the team. And you know, that’s just when I was like, you know, I’ll combine, you know, that, and, and being an educated athlete and also being an athlete that competes at a high level together. And you know, when I did that, I was like, wow, it was like so many opportunities in life. You know, but we just, you know, we had to recognize him and to start taking it for granted
Brad Singletary (09:41):
Some point, you know, you’ve got these coaches talking yet, but at some point you actually had to have the balls and the audacity to say, I could go to the Olympics. I could compete. I could try, I could, I could try out, I could, I could aim. I could shoot for that, that goal. That’s,
Bill Schuffenhauer (09:56):
That’s huge. I mean,
Brad Singletary (09:58):
How did you ever get that kind of courage to even start talking about that vocally? I mean, you’re saying the word Olympics.
Bill Schuffenhauer (10:07):
Yeah. You know, it’s it all first started off, you know, once I was getting involved with track and field I just really enjoyed that camaraderie of, of sport and coaches and teammates. And I really enjoyed competition and I loved going to a track and doing five, you know, being the only guy who’s doing five, six, seven events and placing in top three and all of them, you know, and I just really enjoyed that. And yeah, I just, it was just, it became a passion that I just really enjoyed. And, you know, you know, along the years, you know, people, you talk about how you can get burned out, whether it’s, you know, a new relationships or work or whatever it is. And I always had to like reground or recenter myself and realize that I was doing this because I really enjoyed the sport.
Bill Schuffenhauer (10:57):
And I enjoyed it for these reasons. And I was using it as a platform to help change my life for the better. And so, you know, this is what I went with and, you know, it’s one of those things where, you know, there’s probably some luck along the way, but at the end of the day, you know, you can still be surrounded with the best coaches, best mentors, best bosses, best teachers, whatever it is. But at the end of the day, you still gotta get up and decide to put those pants on one leg at a time. And that she go out there and still do the work. And and that, you know, that work ethic also came from my coaches and stuff too. But, you know, for the most part, it just started off because I really enjoyed the sport and enjoyed the comradery. And I loved the competition. I love winning.
Brad Singletary (11:46):
So what was your, what was the hardest part of your whole athletic journey? And what did you do when it difficult? I know you probably had tons of ups and downs.
Bill Schuffenhauer (11:57):
Yeah. I don’t know if there was like one single moment. It is what it is. You, you, you know, with whatever you have in life, you know, there’s going to be the ups and downs. There’s going to be times where you’re in the trenches and you feel like, you know, there’s no hope and you know, it’s, you have to continue to push on. And that’s what I did. And, and, and through those times of pushing on and, and, you know, going past the point of like giving up for anything, and that’s when you realize like, Oh man, this is so worth it. And so there’s a lot of hard times, you know, there’s tons and tons of hard times. And, you know, people hear that whole story that Michael Jordan, you know, failed more times and succeeded. And that’s just, that’s normal for people that are competing at that level.
Bill Schuffenhauer (12:44):
You know, again, whether it’s sports or business with mys, you know, you have to take those failures in mind as learning experiences and not look at them as failures, you know, and once you reassess, like, okay, you know, this is how this went. It didn’t go the way we planned, you know, then you can kind of get back to the drawing table and, and reassess and say, okay, like, this is like a view to make some improvements here, improves there. So, you know, if you don’t get up and dust yourself off and get back off a horse, and you’re just still laying on the ground and you’re not moving anywhere. So I valued all my hard times. There was a lot of them along the way, you know, there’s times where I went to a big need that I was supposed to win and ended up getting injured and didn’t win, or, you know, miss making the Olympics in 2000. And you know, there’s a handful of things, but I just always utilize those situations of learning lessons as opposed to things that would hold, hold me down.
Brad Singletary (13:35):
Yeah. So it must’ve been quite a down, or you’re preparing for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and you get an injury that was, you know, you couldn’t even walk after that. And that must’ve been, so there’s this buildup, there’s this ambition. And now, now I can really break out and be big. You had done some big things already with these junior nationals, top five and all that, but that must have been such a like deflating, discouraging thing. Like, ah, man, I was, was almost there. I was almost, I was almost going to do it now, this huge like setback creative problem. How’d you? What was your attitude at that time?
Bill Schuffenhauer (14:12):
Yeah. You know, and, and, you know, being honest, like that was definitely one of the hardest ones, just because, you know, I had done so well throughout that whole season. You know, I qualified for early in the year, I qualified for Olympic trials was actually ranked number one in the world for half the season. And just everything was going my way. And you know, you have the media, you have friends, you’ve got family, you’ve got community that’s supporting you. And you, you tend to like carry that weight on your shoulders, but you do it for like several reasons. First off, you enjoy carrying that weight because you want to make, not only yourself, that proud you want to make all these people around you that proud, but at the same time when it doesn’t work out that weight’s still there and you feel like you let everyone down you know, including yourself.
Bill Schuffenhauer (15:02):
So you know, that experience was pretty devastating for me. And you know, it is what it is. I kind of did a whole tuck my tail between the legs and just thought life was over. It’s like, Oh, I guess I’ll just go to school and be a normal person. And you know, so, you know, out of many of the different hard hurdles that I’ve experienced in life, I definitely would have been one of them, but obviously, you know, as we talked about earlier is like utilizing these failures as learning lessons. And, you know, once I was able to pull myself back up and get a clear mind and try to refocus, then another opportunity popped up.
Brad Singletary (15:42):
Yeah. So you, you go rehab your foot, you get yourself fixed up. I don’t know if you’re, you know, you’re training or you’re just kind of given all that up. And you’re just kind of living as an average ordinary guy. But when did the, when did the next opportunity come because you had, you had such a reputation, people knew who you were and, and you were well-liked, I’m sure. Such a likable guy. What, when did the next thing happened? So someone approached you about 2002, or how did you get yourself in position for that?
Bill Schuffenhauer (16:13):
Yeah. it wasn’t too long after that, you know, because you have the summer Olympics, which is every four years, you have the winter Olympics, which is every four years. But back to back, you’ve got, you know, winter to summer, which is only two years apart. So it was only a few months until I just had a friend that approached me and, you know, they knew my story and they’re like, how cool would that be if you actually trained for the winter Olympics? And I’m like, what are you talking about? I don’t figure skating.
Brad Singletary (16:46):
There’s no track in the winter Olympics. Right. You’re thinking, what am I doing?
Bill Schuffenhauer (16:49):
All right. What are you talking about? It’s crazy. And so, so, you know, they introduced me to Bob slid and, and honestly I was introduced to the sport of bobsled via that movie. Cool. Runnings. and that’s, you know, that was my first experience about learning about Bob said, it’s about four Jamaican guys, you know, didn’t boss around by John candy. But you know, we, we really looked at it as a serious, you know, opportunity and we’re like, you know, what, how cool would that be? If we could literally design or architecture of sport exactly the way we wanted to. And we take your life of how you grew up here in salt Lake city, and you turn it all around to eventually compete in a sport you’ve never done before. You don’t even know that he’s an existed. And this is only a year and three months before the Olympics, like how cool that’d be if we wrote that story.
Bill Schuffenhauer (17:40):
And basically what came down to is like, Hey, he’s got nothing to lose. All we gotta do is take everything that we put into tracking, sealed, and focusing on those. They can just put it over here into a bobsled focus and just go for it and give it all we can and see what happens. And, and you know, that’s what we did. And a year and three months later, I, you know, make the Olympic team and up on the podium here in salt Lake city, literally two blocks away. I was eating out of garbage cans, winning the first Olympic medal for the U S and over 46 years.
Brad Singletary (18:12):
Wow. Yeah. I’ve read that in your story. And by the way, this guy has a documentary about him. Well, I’ll put that link in the show notes. There’s so much cool stuff out there about your whole story. So I like what you said there about somebody talked about what if we write this story? What if we, what if we create this? Like, there was this creation that had to happen to like, imagine it, believe it and, and, and see it out there in front of you and you made it happen. That’s cool. How you, how you mentioned that too, to write your own story and create your own
Bill Schuffenhauer (18:45):
Well, I mean, you think about it, you know, when you think about it, right, you look at people out there that are successful in however, they define their success. And if you get an opportunity to sit down and talk to them, how they do that, every single one of them has written their, you know, their architecture, they’ve written their story by design, nothing within any of the, you know, any of that is by default. And they didn’t let you know, random things develop them, you know, where there are hurdles along the way. Yeah, absolutely. But we learn from both and, and wrote your story exactly how they want to write it, because it’s your story, write your story, Brad Billy’s story, whatever. And we have a choice to, to be the author and write that book. Hell of a lot,
Brad Singletary (19:29):
Man. That’s just that this is one of the, your dude, this is alpha a F I am just, this is
Brad Singletary (19:39):
That little identity, alpha quorum. And the whole idea is just like, you know, not everybody’s a star, not everybody’s a shining star, but every man can rise up with whatever he has. He can take whatever he’s been gifted with and make something of it. And that’s, that’s the story that you’re telling here. And that’s the story that you’ve lived. And I know it hasn’t always been easy, but dude, you’re talking, this is some alpha mentality right here. If you guys that are listening to this show right now, I just want you to, to, to understand that it happens all over the place. Something that Bill’s saying here is that everyone creates their reality by design this isn’t just by default, especially successful people. You have to design it and, you know, I’m sure you’re just gifted in your body and in your genetics and so forth. And that’s a, that’s a big piece of, you know, when athletes do well, clearly they have a different, different body. But I’m sure that you didn’t just get there by luck. This wasn’t just something that fell in your lap. There was a lot of work and a lot of commitment and sacrifice. Talk about some of those things. What did you have to give up? What did you have to no longer participate in? Or what were the sacrifices that helped you? Like stay focused and stay on track?
Bill Schuffenhauer (20:55):
Yeah, I mean, you know what, I’m from day one, when we, you know, my coaches and I in high school decided that we’re going to do this sport, the decathlon, obviously, which led the TriNet to bobsled. You know, we just realized that there’s going to be some things that you don’t get to participate in, like all the other kids, right. And it’s, you know, all the other kids are playing reindeer games over there and you, you’re doing something completely different over here. And, you know, all the way from, you know, friends who had jobs in high school and were making money and buying themselves cars and they got their driver’s license and being able to take girls on dates and, you know, just all the normal things that you would have as a high school kid, as well as like college, you know, you don’t go on vacations.
Bill Schuffenhauer (21:38):
And you know, spring break is consisted of training and doing competitions and, you know, staying after school longer to either work on, you know, education stuff or sport or whatever. So, you know, you just rather different different life and, you know, and that, that led all the way up to even, you know, what I did make the Olympics, you know, sacrificing the time that I was spending with my family, you know, I’m traveling all around the world doing competitions and doing charity events and a, on the load 10 months of the year. So, you know, there was a sacrifice with that too, and just not having all the quote unquote things that most people had you know, that age. So, you know, they were sacrifices, but I wouldn’t ever go back and change any of that because it was, of course it was a long, extremely difficult load. But at the end of the day, you know, I get a remind myself and look in the mirror. Like my last name is like written in the history books for not only my kids, but their kids in general, you know, generations they’re on after to see forever and another change. And so all those sacrifices were well, well worth it.
Brad Singletary (22:49):
You give me goosebumps to hear you talk about this stuff. It’s never going away, man. You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re in there, it’s, it’s set in stone and there’s probably all kinds of, I bet you have all kinds of cool things from all three of these different games. You’ve got a silver medal somewhere. And I just think that the things that you’ve accomplished most people will never see that kind of thing. But I think men in their own realm and their own world and their own life, they can push through and they can do something that was unexpected. I mean, here run downhill. So you’ve done all kinds of running events, but then they say, look you know, let’s have you run downhill on ice. Let’s have you run downhill on the ice, pushing some other dudes. And then you climb into like a bucket and then you’re going to slide down a long slide and then try to win, you know?
Brad Singletary (23:39):
And so that’s, I love that this was something you’d never done before. You know, if you’d spent your life, if you spent your life doing that you know, that would still be impressive, but it’s like, Hey, here’s your, like, I play football, you know, I’m a discus. I do, I do track and field events, just this bobsled stuff. It must have been just a learning curve. There was probably a lot you had to really change about, I don’t know if techniques of running and there’s probably so many things you had to adjust from what you had known before.
Bill Schuffenhauer (24:11):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there were some, you know, some things that needed to change, but like, you know, I know you’re going to ask me this a little bit later, but like, even with what I do now with my clients I always typically help like them realize that, you know, as human beings, we tend to make things way more complex than they need to be. And so that’s kind of the approach that we took with this. It’s like, okay, we’re going into a completely different sport. We’ve never even done before, have no idea about the sport, but we’re just going to go in and come from a place of, of like being a student and you learn the sport and just apply, you know, our mental games already done. We already know that mental games there, you know, we’re on that, you know, the physical day where we’re there.
Bill Schuffenhauer (24:56):
And the only thing we had to do is learn about the sport and then just take those two combinations, the physical and the mental and the plan to learn about the sport and just see what happens. You know, again, we have nothing to lose and and we didn’t make it too complicated. And we were just like, you know what? It’s like, Hey, let’s just go in there and give it our very best and be open minded and be flexible and, and enjoy and have a good time. And it obviously worked out and it worked out really, really well.
Brad Singletary (25:25):
Yeah. Seems like so many men and people just, they trip themselves out with all the, like, I could see if, if, if somebody said, Hey, let’s go. Why don’t you go try out for the Olympics? Or I would have freaked myself out with all the things. And you just seem like you had to tune out all that noise, enjoy yourself, have some fun. Yeah. I learned some new things, but you really made it simpler. You really kind of simplified it in your life and said, Hey, something I enjoy doing, I love to compete. I love the team, the team atmosphere, and I’m representing United States of America. I mean, that’s pretty, pretty awesome itself.
Bill Schuffenhauer (26:01):
Yeah, no, it’s you kind of cut out a little bit there. Sorry, bad, but yeah, no, it’s, it’s it was, it was such a great moment and, you know, I get a, I’m really big on reflecting back on the past in a positive way to really appreciate, you know, where you’re going in the future for yourself and stuff. And, and it was just like, you know, I reflect back on, on mostly that story when we sat there and said like, we can actually write this story exactly the way we want to, and there’s no one to stop us. And you know what, at the end of the day, it’s totally up to us to make this happen.
Brad Singletary (26:38):
I’m wondering if you had haters, you know, or people that didn’t believe in you or kind of ridiculed you, or like what you’re, you’re silly, you’re setting yourself free.
Bill Schuffenhauer (26:47):
Absolutely. And, you know, and I think that’s, it is what it is, you know, human beings and you know, all of the stuff we’re going through right now to Brad, right. Where unfortunately, some of us are so judgmental and you see somebody who’s successful and you just want to hate on him just because, and it happens everywhere you go. But, you know, again, we’re given this amazing gift as human beings to have choice, right? And so we can choose to not attach ourselves to those haters and the people that are naysayers and the people who want to talk trash on us and just focus on what we want to do. Cause again, you know, going back to what we talked about earlier, it’s our story. It’s not that person’s story. You know, what’s my story. And so I’m going to focus on the things are going to help me be successful in the things that make me happy and the people around me and how the, you know, the very best people around me to help me be successful and help them also be successful. So yeah, there’s a along the way when it is what it is, but it’s one of those things you just have to look at. It is, you know, take it with a grain of salt because that’s exactly what it is, you know?
Brad Singletary (27:55):
So you’ve talked a lot about your, you know, your athletic accomplishments and they’re just amazing. I’m wondering about other kinds of struggles in your life, maybe in your adult life or, you know, teenage adult life that you push through. What other kinds of struggles are you most proud of yourself or pushing through?
Bill Schuffenhauer (28:14):
Yeah. Yeah. You know what, honestly, I’m glad you brought that up because it’s one of the things I talk a lot about right now, and this is only being as of recently as this last December when I started talking about it. But when I retired from sport in 2010 I kind of like lost my identity, had a really difficult time with that transition in my life. And it led to, you know, a lot of like very, very deep depression a lot of alcoholism taking antidepressant pills and pain medication while I’m drinking and just really led into a really deep, deep, dark place at you know, eventually December 3rd of 2016. I ended up attempting suicide and you know, to the point where the doctors were like, you are lucky reason around. And so I, I eventually turned around to be an advocate for those that are dealing with depression and suicide and addiction.
Bill Schuffenhauer (29:13):
And, you know, you might think I would talk about my Olympics being like, you know, the biggest coolest thing I’ve ever done was one of the most, you know, things that I’m most proud of, but it was, it was me finding a way to be so vulnerable in life to tell my story for the first time with my situation. But I realized that, you know, as many people as I’ve helped with my story going up almost to the Olympics, that I realized that there’s so many more people that I could help around the world with talking about because depression and suicide and addiction, as you know, is a big, big thing out there. And sometimes people don’t really want to talk about it. And I just said, you know what? I’ve been trying to get so much self-validation after the Olympics. And that’s what led me to like fall into this. Depression is always trying to say, like, I need to see prove something to everyone else. And you know, when I eventually became vulnerable enough to talk about that and realizing that as someone as an influencer or an athlete, that people looked up to that by me talking about my situations and open up the doors for other people to feel more comfortable to talk about theirs and hopefully avoid, you know, that situation is actually suicide or any of those things,
Brad Singletary (30:29):
Dude, I’m glad you’re with us still, man. I’m glad you’re, I’m glad you survived that and that, you know, you, you have the courage to share that you’re so right. I that’s, you probably don’t know cause I haven’t seen you in so long, but that’s my profession is I’m a, I’m a therapist. I work in mental health and that’s kinda my day job. And this whole, this other movement we’re trying to do is just really kind of aimed at men to say, Hey, exactly what you’re talking about. Talk about your stuff, tell on yourself get some help when you need it. And, you know, get a tribe of men, get a tribe of men around you that can, that can help support you and encourage you. So I love that you’re sharing that. I just, I didn’t know that until earlier, before the show tonight, I was reading about that about, you know, in 2016 and I’m just so glad you’re here, man. You’ve got such a light to bring to the world. So how did you, you talked about losing your identity some after athletics ha and then, you know, that led to depression. How did, what did you end up with? I mean, what are you now? So yes, you’re in limp three time Olympian, silver medalist. But aside from that, like what is, what are you, who, who are you, what did, what did you settle on or how did you identify what you are at the core outside of your, you know, muscles and speed and all that?
Bill Schuffenhauer (31:42):
Yeah. So, so I do I do a lot of mentoring and consulting for organizations, from individuals to athletes, to homeless shelters, to technology companies now. And that they’re all stemmed from, you know at one point in time, literally less than two years ago, I was just like looking at my life. And I was just like, so unhappy obviously with all the depression, all that stuff that was going on, I was just like, you know, you know, in a place coming from a victim mentality where I was like blaming everyone else and like, you know, why has God put me through this and why are people not helping me out and blah, blah, blah. And it was just, it was always everyone else’s fault. You know, this one time I connected with the guy that was doing the mentor international mentorship group online, and he’s like, Hey, you want to come join our group?
Bill Schuffenhauer (32:34):
And I was like, yeah, sure. Why not? You know, I’ve never done a mentor group or anything like that at this before. And the first conversation we had, we started talking about, as you probably heard and talked about it earlier, like, do you need a life by design or do you lead in life by default? And I was like, huh, like what does that mean? And he’s like, well, if you live life by design and listening, your life is going exactly. You want it to meet reaching all your goals and hitting all your metrics and all these things, but it’s not, you would life by default. And you know, you don’t have the job you want, you don’t, you know, you’re in a bad relationship or, you know, whatever it is like, there’s something that’s not working in your life the way you want it to.
Bill Schuffenhauer (33:14):
So as I reflected on my life, I literally got up and off that call and looked at the mirror in my bathroom. I was like, you lead a life 100% by default. And the reality is no one’s going to come save you. God’s not going to come save you. Your friends, your family is not going to fix all your problems. The only person who can fix it is yourself. But I didn’t know how to do it at that point in time. And so literally the next week we, we continued that conversation leading the life by design or by default. And we started talking about, well, if you lead a life by default, it’s not too long to declutter your life and rebuild your architecture by design. And so I started literally just decluttering the things in my life that didn’t serve me. You know, I had a company that was doing pretty well, but I just closed it down.
Bill Schuffenhauer (34:07):
I sold everything in my house that I didn’t need, or wasn’t really, like I said, it didn’t serve me and moved from one city to another city to surround myself with more positive people. And, you know, during that same time too, I, I sat down with myself and I was like, okay, what is it that you’re good at? And what do you really enjoy doing? And, you know, when it came down to it, it was all about coming from a place of service. And, you know, from that I’d built up like my four pillars of service, which was nonprofit, mentoring, consulting motivational speaking. And, and that’s all I decided like, this is all I’m going to focus on. And once I did that the changes in my life were literally instilled. They come so fast. Like it just blows my mind sometimes. You know, I feel like I’m, you know, I’m on the right path. I’m coming from a place of integrity, like dating in and day out and just being able to accomplish and do all the things that I want to do. And at the same time, I get to help people along the way, you know, and have fun doing it.
Brad Singletary (35:11):
Yeah. I saw you on a Facebook live the other day where you were going to it speaking to a corporation, or you had a, you had a speaking engagement where you were going to present. And I just I love that you’re doing that. And I’ve also seen you, you mentioned as one of your pillars of service, by the way, alpha a F talking about service. You know, you’re a guy who, you know, you spend a lot of time doing personal training and trying to reach a personal accomplishment. And you’re just talking about nonprofits. I mean, serving your community, what type of a nonprofits have you been involved with?
Bill Schuffenhauer (35:45):
So right now I consult for a organization that’s called family promise. There’s about 43 family promise organizations nationwide. And we have one here in salt Lake and that organization helps serve families that are experiencing homelessness. And so that’s one that I work with in depth, I do all their fund development and their corporate community relations and all their event management. So we’re getting ready to do the first big ever celebrity virtual auction, golf tournament concert. So I’m, I’m really passionate about that because that’s basically part of my foundation is I grew up homeless. And so being able to have a passion project like that, and then I have my nonprofit called the power on you.me, which deals with suicide addiction and depression as well. So those are the two things that I focus on when it comes to the nonprofit world. So
Brad Singletary (36:44):
Wow, that’s awesome. So, you know, this, this little movement that we’re working on is just about strengthening, man. I’m curious what you think makes a man a real man. I mean, maybe there’s a lot there, but if you could, if you could boil it down to a few things, what makes a man a strong real man?
Bill Schuffenhauer (37:01):
You know, I, I think it was a lot of things that make a man, a real man, but I think when a man can truly come from a place of integrity and, you know, house with vulnerability, you know, in their life, you know, that’s, what’s going to make a man, a real man, but, you know, through through athletics and everything that I’ve done in life, you know, I always made sure that at the end of the day, I’m coming from a place of integrity. And you know, when it comes to me talking about my story, I gotta be vulnerable about it because my story is, I don’t tell it in a real story and I’m not open. And I talk about the hard things that people don’t want to talk about, then the stories worthless, you know, and, you know, we get a lot of guys out there that, you know, well, I’ve gotta be tough and, or my grandpa or my dad told me, you know, not to be vulnerable and cry. It’s like, yeah, but how’s that serving you? You know, so for me, it’s just honestly coming from a place of integrity and, and, you know, being able to be vulnerable and open,
Brad Singletary (38:15):
Wow, that’s in your, in your, you’re all out there about your struggles and even the suicide thing. And maybe that for a lot of people would be a shameful thing. And you’ve used that as a, as a message as a way to say, Hey, I’ve been in these depths, I’ve been in this dark place. And I, and I, you know, and I, and I’ve pulled myself out of that. And now you’re an advocate you’re working with organizations that help people with homelessness. I love that you, you know, that you’re, you’re just very open about your story, you know, and, and an older time and an older generation, people just would never, Oh, don’t share your business. Don’t tell people that stuff, you know, keep that a secret. And those are things that were people felt ashamed of, and that this has become part of the beauty of your whole story here. I’m curious since you’re talking about vulnerability, I’ve just got a couple more questions for you here, bill. So what are you still working on? What he is still trying to figure out in life? I mean, I think I saw your mid forties, late forties. You’re a little older than me, I think 47.
Bill Schuffenhauer (39:14):
Sure. I figured I’d just 47 or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know what, it’s interesting, it’s kind of hard to have a conversation about what’s going on right now without talking about, you know, the whole Kobe pandemic and stuff like that. You know, as I mentioned, you know, two years ago, I really focused on my tillers of success and basically those are the things I really want to focus on. So everything that I do right now like I said, I consult for the homeless shelter. I’ve got two technology companies that I consult for that are startup companies all in the sports world. You know, I, I, again, an advocate for suicide, depression, and addiction, and you know, those are, those are pretty much my main things and just try to make sure that, you know, find time for myself and family along the way to you know, keep yourself grounded and make sure you’re happy and, and people around you are happy and, and just keep moving on.
Brad Singletary (40:24):
So what is the most alpha thing about you and were you born with it or did you have to develop that?
Bill Schuffenhauer (40:33):
You know, I think I would say, gosh, I think there’s a lot of different things. But at the end of the day, I think just a combination of my confidence again, being open coming from a, you know, a solid place of integrity and, you know, I think some of that you’re born with, but at the same time, you’ve got to go through trials and tribulations in life to also develop a lot of that stuff. And if you’re not constantly working on that stuff, you know, it’s just like, you know, if you want to be the best CEO, if you want to be the best basketball player, if you want to be the best doctor, you know, you got to get to work on it and it’s not something you can just, Oh, I’ll, I’ll work on this on the weekend and so on. And so on. You know, if you have things that are your alpha characteristics, just as they are your best characteristics, characteristics doesn’t mean you can’t still continue to sharpen that stone and, and hone those skills to be better and better. So for me, again, confidence, integrity, and my vulnerability. I know those are two weird things talking about her ability as an alpha, but
Brad Singletary (41:45):
That’s perfect, man, that, and that’s the people that are kind of fo alpha, the fake alphas. That’s the part they’re missing. They’re there, they’re pretending they’re trying to be flashy and showy and cocky and all that really is a mask for their inability to be vulnerable. So I’ve teach that a lot. I love that. You’re I love that you’re sharing that same message and that you’re living that way yourself. I mean, it’s clear that you’re, you’re, you’re an open book and I’m just really appreciate your time with this man. Bill. How do people get in touch with you, man, if they want to follow you on social media or get in touch with you about speaking engagements or those kinds of things, how do we reach you?
Bill Schuffenhauer (42:25):
Yeah, easiest way. I mean, obviously I’m all over social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. But probably easiest is if you just go to my website, Olympian speeds.com. My, my, my actual personal cell, it doesn’t go to some random person. That’s my personal cell plus my email. So it’s easy to get ahold of me. Any of those ways
Brad Singletary (42:48):
We can post your cell number on there,
Bill Schuffenhauer (42:52):
That’s on the website anyways,
Brad Singletary (42:55):
Dude, see that now that’s vulnerability and now that’s access. You know, those are some of the things I just really appreciate your time. I know you’re a busy man. You’ve got, you know, you’ve got family, you’ve got responsibilities. You drove in all kinds of things in your, in your personal life and trying to grow and continue to reach new levels of, of you know, growth and accomplishment. And I really just appreciate your time. And you’re a member of our our Facebook group too. I’ve seen new commented on a couple of things there, I believe. Right? The alpha quorum tribe.
Bill Schuffenhauer (43:25):
Yes, sir. Yeah. I mean, if people, you know, if people can get ahold of me on there and they just want to ask questions I’m an open book, man. If there’s anything I can do to help anyone out there with something they’re going through or questions they have, you know, just, just ask. That’s why I always tell people I don’t hold it in and just ask because more than likely at some point in time in my life, I’ve either experienced something similar or have gone through exactly what they’re dealing with.
Brad Singletary (43:50):
Yeah. I love that you share that. It gives other men the confidence to share it. And what an inspiration bill. Thank you again, man. And I look forward to, you know, I want to share this with you. I’ll I’ll edit this and clean it up and we’ll get all your, your notes and everything, the you know, your social media tags and everything. And just really appreciate what the San Diego shirt, man, I’ll, I’ll get your address later, but I’ll send you a, an alpha quorum shirt or maybe get some hats or some swag, you know, I know you’ve had, I know you’ve worn a lot cooler things before, like a silver medal around your neck, but I can send you a T I will send you a tee shirt for being our first big time guest here, man. Thank you so much again and
Bill Schuffenhauer (44:32):
Yeah, no, I appreciate it. Thanks Brad. Thank you to all the listeners really appreciate it. You know, being a part of this group and just being able to do my piece of the puzzle. Gentlemen, you are the alpha and this is the alpha quorum.