From the depths of depression and staying in bed for over a year to thriving as an entrepreneur, this awesome episode explores the EPIC reinvention of Carlo Taormina. He shares his inspiring story of finding his purpose. Carlo is a high performance coach who overcame his own rock bottom to become a beacon of hope for others. In this inspiring conversation, Carlo shares his journey from depression to success, revealing the key to unlocking your potential: changing your state. Learn how to break free from negative self-talk and limiting beliefs, and discover the power of taking action, even when it’s scary. What is more, hear a powerful call to action from Carlo to help you get started on your own epic journey.

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Reinvent And Thrive At The Highest Level: Powerful Strategies With Carlo Taormina

Welcome back to another exciting episode of the show. I am so honored to be joined by Carlo Taormina. He is a high-performance coach and keynote speaker.

 

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Reinvent

Carlo, tell us who you are and what you do.

Thank you for having me on. I appreciate you. I’m a life coach, a high-performance coach, and a keynote speaker. I help professional individuals overcome that self-doubt and those limiting beliefs and help them overcome that to find renewed purpose and perform at the highest level.

I can relate to that because that’s what I’m doing too. I’m trying to help people really step into their epic and stuff. I’d like to start off with I want people to get to know you a little. How did you get here?

It’s a fun little journey, isn’t it?

It is.

Hitting Rock Bottom

I never really thought in my life I would ever be a high-performance coach and a keynote speaker. I never in a million years thought that would be the route I would take. I came to this position by divine timing, depression. It’s quite the story. I remember ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been ambitious. I’ve always been somebody who wanted to reach for the stars and make my mark in the world. I never knew exactly what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to help people. My imagination went everywhere.

Where my journey really started was towards the end of 2020. This was probably a week before Christmas. It was right before my birthday. This is what I like to call my hell week where anything that could go wrong did go wrong within this one week. It shook me. I’ve always been a lover of fitness. Fitness has always been part of me since I was a teenager. At the time, I was the manager of a gym. I also had my side business, and I’ll mention that a little bit later.

I was managing this gym at the time. My boss lets me go. He fires me. I was like, “That was cool.” That same week, I dealt with a really bad back injury. I had a herniated disc in my L5-S1. It was so excruciatingly painful. I couldn’t walk for a period of time. The last thing you want is to be lying in bed, not being able to move, and being trapped in your thoughts.

To add insult to injury, at the time, I was seeing this young lady who I was madly in love with. She was telling me, “We’re going to get married. We’re going to have kids. We’re going to do the whole nine yards.” One day, she calls me and is like, “I want to break up.” I was like, “I was not expecting that, but all right.” To increase the pain a little bit more for me, I was an online personal trainer. I was an entrepreneur. I had my own online personal training business. At the time, it was failing miserably. I was spending more money than I was making. I didn’t know what to do.

This week, I took a step back and looked at my life in the big picture. I was like, “What happened? What did I do to deserve this? What’s so wrong with me? What did I do?” That was the moment in my life when I said, “I give up. I quit.” Originally, that was my superpower. It was like, “I’m not a quitter. I’m a go-getter. I’m going to do this.”

That’s when I fell to my knees. I was like, “I can’t do this anymore. What’s the point of trying to be somebody if no matter what I do, I always fail? No matter what I touch turns to dust” I became terribly depressed. It was very bad. I even became suicidal. I laid in bed every day for a year. Pretty much, 2021 was a non-existent year for me. It was an interesting experience, but I’m so glad it happened because it made me the man I am now.

To add to that, I too have that hell week. For me, it was July of 1999 and a 7-day period. I got fired from my job, my car got totaled, and my then-fiance broke up with me. That was a seven-day period. I’m like, “Holy crap.” We can both agree that that was a bad week, but it opened up all of this greatness for me. I’m originally from Boston. I went to college in Southern California. I lived in San Francisco for a couple of years after college and went back to Boston, but I really knew my heart was in San Francisco. I visit all of my close friends from college. My best friend for my whole life lived in San Francisco. I always felt like I was yearning to get back, but I had put all these roadblocks in front of myself as to why I couldn’t move back.

Life came in and took all the roadblocks out. I said, “I’m moving back to San Francisco,” which I did 6 years and 3 hours to the day that I left. Eight days later, I set myself up on a blind date. I have been married to that woman for eighteen years. All in all, it is not bad to make that decision, take that hell week, and see it as an opportunity.

What I encourage people to do is there are detours. There are roadblocks that come in front. Oftentimes, and maybe you’d want to speak on this, I like to say our roadblocks are a mirage. Oftentimes, those limiting beliefs that we have and those thoughts don’t exist. They’re a mirage. We put them in front of ourselves. We’re like, “I can’t do this because of this,” but it’s not a reason why you can’t get it done.

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Reinvent

I love that saying. I used that exact phrase with one of my clients during a coaching call. I was like, “This is a mirage. It’s like you’re in the desert and you’re seeing something that’s not there.” I love the way you said that because a part of why I was depressed was because I had these limiting beliefs about myself. I told myself that I was a loser and I was a failure. I was like, “I can’t achieve anything. I’m not good enough to do XYZ, build a business, be attractive, get married,” or any of that stuff.

What I realized is that when I got out of my own way and wrote my story, that’s when my life started to change. I understood that my living belief was a story. I started to dive deeper into what that psychology would look like. I understood that a belief is only a story we keep telling ourselves with enough emotional attachment attached to it. That’s why we believe it so hard. It is because we’re so attached to it. It’s symbiotic.

Once I let go of that attachment and realized that I wasn’t all those negative things I said about myself and I rewrote my story and understood that I was successful, confident, attractive, smart, and all that stuff, it opened all these doors for me. That’s what led me down that yellow brick road to becoming the coach I am and the speaker I am. It’s been the biggest blessing in my life.

The Meanest Person In Our Life

Another thing that I talk about all the time with my clients and I talk about on my show, and I’m not sure why, so I’m curious about this and would love your thoughts on it, is why the meanest person in our life is ourselves. On a daily basis, we are so mean to ourselves. We say so many horrible things. I try to challenge people when I’m working with them. I hear that and go, “What if your best friend said one of those things to you? How would you feel?” Oftentimes, they’re like, “I’d be so devastated.” I’m like, “Why are you saying it to yourself? Don’t be the meanest person in your life.”

That’s so impactful. I don’t know if this is a direct correlation to what we’re talking about here, but I got inspired when you said that. We’re so hard on ourselves regardless if it’s negative self-talk or the “limiting beliefs” that we have about ourselves, but it is because our brains want us to survive. That’s the main job of our brains. It’s not meant to make us happy.

When we have these conversations with ourselves, it is not like our brain is doing it on purpose to hurt us. It’s a weird sadistic way of trying to protect us even though it seems nasty because it is something that’s so alien to us. It’s something that says, “You can’t do it. You don’t want to go to the gym today. Stay at home. You don’t want to start this business. You’re going to fail. You’re going to be embarrassed. You’re going to be a loser. Don’t do anything. Keep your job.”

When your brain is exposed to something that’s so alien, like being kind to yourself or giving yourself the permission to start a business, or move across the country and go to San Francisco. When you allow yourself the permission to say, “Brain, you’re not meant to make me happy. You’re trying to keep me safe. Thank you, but that’s not true.” When we can make the distinction between the two, that’s going to free a lot of people up.

 

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | Reinvent

 

I write about it in my book about how, first of all, failure is part of the journey. We are not going to do, “I’m not going to run my business without making mistakes. I hope they’re not too big. I see them as opportunities to learn how not to do it if that’s not the way to do it.” There are all kinds of wonderful stories I remember reading in Chicken Soup for the Soul. There was this laundry list of failures. It talked about how a person started a business and went bankrupt. His wife died in childbirth. He ran for Congress and lost. He ran for Congress and won. It was all of this huge laundry list.

When you get to the end of it, it says 1860 elected president of the United States. They’re talking about Abraham Lincoln who, not to be political at all, is generally considered one of our better presidents. I’m like, “Imagine if he gave up.” You and I are sitting here. We have light bulbs going on. What if Thomas Edison gave up? What if either you or I said, “Forget it. It’s not going to work.”

There does come a point where you have to say, “Whatever I’m doing isn’t working for me,” be it you’re trying to exercise in something and you keep getting hurt. Maybe that’s not the exercise for your body. You can’t squat 400 pounds no matter how much you want. You’re like, “I keep tearing my quad. Maybe I should look for something different.” There is that time, but there’s also a time that it’s hard.

You’re right. It is self-preservation. We psychologically like the known. We like routine. We are creatures of habit. We like structure. We feel very comfortable with the structure. When we push ourselves to step out, it is scary. It is the unknown, but amazing things happen when you say, “Shut up, brain. I’m going.”

I ride road bikes, and I love it. It’s probably not going to, “Shut up, legs.” That’s not my quote. That was something that someone in the Tour de France said years ago. They were like, “How did you climb this mountain?” He was like, “I said, “Shut up, legs.” Even though they were killing me, I told them, “Shut up. I’m going.”

You’re exactly right that we do get caught up in what’s comfortable. It’s not that it’s wrong, but we do have to pay attention when we’re too comfortable. Exercise is important to me. I haven’t been doing as much of it as I’d like to. I have no excuse. It’s me. The bed is comfortable. The time changes and it’s dark again. It’s hard to go, “I’m going to get up and exercise,” but it’s amazing what we can do.

100%. Once we get out of our own way and once we change the patterns that we currently engage in that are not serving us and replace them with positive patterns, that’s when a lot of doors are going to open up. Something I learned through my own personal development journey was the patterns we engage in can dictate the quality of our lives.

If we simply use a little bit of self-awareness, look at what we do on a regular basis, especially in times of discomfort or times of uncomfortability, times of unfavorable outcomes, and times of stress, anger, depression, or whatever the case may be, and look at our behaviors as a reaction, we are going to see a pattern. For example, for me, when I was really depressed, I didn’t want to think. I wasn’t sleeping. I would either watch TV or scroll social media.

Anytime I got triggered by a thought or an action, I would do that repeatedly. I play a video game or something like that to get my mind off of it. That was a negative pattern I was doing because I wasn’t necessarily solving anything. I was prolonging it, but I was numbing the pain, if that makes sense. Once I realized that and once I changed my pattern process and did something that served me, it put me on a completely different path.

Seeing Transformational Moments

Here’s the question. When you’re working with people as a high-performance coach or a life coach, what floats your boat or gets you excited about the work that you’re doing?

The biggest thing for me and the most fulfilling is seeing their eyes light up when they see a transformational moment or they find a breakthrough because it is like looking at me through a screen. It’s like seeing the transformation I went through when I found that light bulb moment and I told myself, “I don’t want to leave anymore. I want to live. I have so much to do. I know what I’m going to do. I found my purpose.” Seeing it through the eyes of another is the most fulfilling thing ever. It was so beautiful. I remember. I have this one client, and we had one call. After this one call, he was like, “I’m not depressed anymore. I feel good. Like I know what I want.” That was after one call. I was like, “That’s the best thing that could possibly happen in this situation.” That’s probably my favorite thing.

Have you had this experience where you’re helping someone out and you thought, “I’m going to step them through and get them to this a-ha moment.” As you’re building them up, they have the a-ha about 1 or 2 steps where the a-ha would happen. All of a sudden, they’re like,
“That’s great.” You’re like, “Yay for you, but I had more. You’re missing.” I call that coaching frustration of like, “I had thought this through. I was going to lead you here. I’m happy that you got there, but I have two more steps for you.”

That’s what happened with that client.

It sounded like it.

We had a strategy call. We understood what his problem was, and then he came on board. After that first call, that’s where he found that light bulb. It wasn’t a disappointment to me. It was something so amazing because I was like, “You don’t even know what’s coming next.” It was like a kid on his birthday. He sees a surprise party and sees all his friends, but he doesn’t know what present I got him. He doesn’t know what kind of cake I got him. Once he sees all that and he’s exposed to it, it’s the best thing that could have happened.

Impacting Lives

Here’s a little challenge for you. Put on your thinking cap. For me, 1 of the 2 most powerful words, and I love this, are not yet. There’s so much optimism. It’s like, “Have you finished your book? Not yet. Have you run your marathon? Not yet. Have you gotten your degree? Not yet.” Often, someone says, “Are you a success in your business? No.” It’s such a hard stop. Here’s my question for you. What are some of your not-yets, and do you have one that in the next six months, you want to try and make a yet?

Yeah. I set a goal for myself in 2024. I wrote it down. I had this goal that said I wanted to impact 100,000 lives in 2024 through my keynotes, coaching, social media posts, or anything like that. I wanted the confirmation that I helped 100,000 people. That is my not yet. It’s something that I’m working towards and I’m seeing success in. The numbers are growing every single day. It’s there. It’s not yet.

I love not yet because there are things that take time. If you ask a freshman in college, “Do you have your college degree?” and they’re like, “Not yet,” it doesn’t mean they’re not going to get it. They have a path that they have. They have a journey that they have to go down. I know in my own life, there are not-yets. There are the things that I say, “Not yet,” and I may never get to it, but I still hold up hope that I may achieve that sometime. It’s still there.

It’s a possibility. It’s not saying, “I’m not going to get there.” I love that.

The, “No,” makes it sound like it’s never going to happen. There are the things that you’re like, “That’s taking time.” For you to reach 100,000 people, that’s going to take some time. Here’s what’s going to happen. In about six months, I’m going to check back in with you and see where you are with this. It’s going to be part of an ongoing project I have with my show where I have quick updates with my guests and see if their ‘not yet’ is still a ‘not yet’ or if it is, “I did it.”

I love that. Game on.

You’ll be hearing from me again. You’ll be back on for a quick, “How’s it going? What hasn’t gone so right?” That’s great. We have a few more minutes. You tell me something. I’m asking all the questions. I’m jabbering on. Tell me something that you’d like my audience to know about you, about the work you do, and maybe some inspiring thoughts for them.

Transforming Mindsets

I have a couple of nuggets here. For me, I was really depressed and suicidal. I knew I was meant for more in my life. A lot of us have these, “I know I should do this. I know I should work out. I know I should build a business. I know I should find a better career. I know I should be a better leader for my business and my family.” Yet, we don’t do these things.

What impacted me was understanding that I was not in the right state to accept any information that I knew would serve me. That’s what kept me in my state longer back in 2021. If anyone who is reading looks back at their own lives and starts reflecting, they’re going to realize, “My state is the exact reason why I’m not where I want to be.”

What I mean by state is your physical body. You mentioned a perfect example when you hit snooze on the alarm and not going to the gym. It’s like, “The bed’s cozy. It’s a little dark outside. I’m going to stay in bed.” What I realized is that I became the best version of myself through movement. What I like to do is I like to do what’s called getting into a peak state. It is moving my body at a rapid pace for a little bit or for a couple of minutes. It helped to change my physiology and my body language. What that did for me is that it did two things. One, it put me in a state to make better decisions. Two, it reduced all those symptoms of anger, sadness, depression, or whatever the case may be.

To anyone who is reading who always feels those negative feelings, the biggest thing that helped me was changing my state. When I did, that’s when I started learning and absorbing all the information I was given to me by my therapist at the time and my family. I realized that was the missing link, and then everything else was peachy king. I found myself, my purpose, and all that good stuff.

That’s what I help people do, is change their state. I help them overcome those feelings of being worthless or that hopeless feeling or having a lot of self-doubt and limiting beliefs. They know they’re meant for more, whether it be in their own personal life or their business. I help them transform their mindset to perform at the highest level. I would love to do this if I may. To anyone who received value from this episode, which I hope you did, I would love to help. If this is not allowed, please tell me, but I wanted to offer a free consultation call to anyone reading who wants to dive deeper and wants to improve themselves.

I’m all about supporting other entrepreneurs. There are so many people who want help, but they don’t know where to go. That’s the most frustrating thing as I help people. I know there are lots of people who want to take that epic first step. They want to go on the journey but they don’t know how. They need someone, like a coach, to help them along and say, “It’s possible,” and stuff.

I’m going to leave you with two thoughts. First of all, I have what I call the 97/3 rule, which is that 97% of our day is good and up to 3% isn’t so good. Certainly, there are days when that 3% is a little bigger. In general, most of our day goes really well, but somehow, that limiting belief is, “Let me focus on that 3% that didn’t go well.”

The way that I like to talk about this is when I was doing my internship for my professional clinical counseling license. I was working with middle school and high school students, and a lot of them had academic issues. To try and help them understand, I said, “What’s your least favorite subject?” A lot of them said Math. I said, “What if on your next test, you got a 97? How would you feel?” They were like, “I’d be so excited. I’d be so happy. I’d tell my parents. I’d be so proud. I go, “Would you complain about the three points you didn’t get?” They were like, “Are you kidding? I got a 97. That would be incredible.”

Why are we ignoring the 97% of our day that’s going well and focusing on the 3% that isn’t going well? It’s like, “I hit traffic. My car got a scratch.” We woke up this morning. We had the opportunity to do it. There are so many things that are going well. Yet, we ignore all of that and focus on that limiting negative belief. I’m like, “Balance that off with looking at all this positive because it so outweighs it.”

To further take it, I like baseball. I am not a huge fan, but I like it. People make it into the Hall of Fame with a lifetime batting average of over 300. Imagine you and I are working for 9 hours and you only have to get 3 hours of your day in your business right for it to be a Hall of Fame day. I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty low bar.

I’ll take that every day of the week.

No doubt. It’s like, “I had a Hall of Fame day. I did three hours of work. I sat there for 9 hours, but 3 hours and it was a great day.” I love sharing that because it helps people change the perspective that they’re having on everything. It’s easy to go, “This didn’t go right,” but also remember to look at all the stuff that is going right.

100%. Self-awareness is key. For me, I like journaling. I like writing all my victories down so I become more self-aware and more focused on the things that went right versus the things that went wrong.

Self-awareness is key. Focus on the things that went right versus the things that went wrong.

Writing it down is always a good thing because it’s not just thinking about it, but you’re physically doing something that then allows you to come back and remind yourself. When you start to have negative thoughts, you go, “Let me go look at my victories.” Who doesn’t like to say, “How am I successful?”

100%, I couldn’t have said it better.

That’s great. I want to thank you so much for joining us and sharing your awesome wisdom and your great story. It’s so exciting.

Thank you so much for having me.

I want to remind everyone that EPIC choices lead to the EPIC life that you want to live.

Important Links

About Carlo Taormina

EPIC Begins With 1 Step Forward | ReinventCarlo Taormina has achieved the “near impossible” as he puts it when he describes overcoming clinical depression and suicidal ideation. Carlo has always been one to help people with his background in Personal Training, Life Coaching and as a Keynote Speaker.

Carlo rose from the depths of his mental illness to share his story of overcoming self doubt, destroying limiting beliefs and unleashing the real “You” in order to help those in similar positions. From sharing his story on social media, coaching clients and speaking on the largest stages, Carlo has had people approach him saying his message saved their life. As a powerful coach and keynote speaker, Carlo’s drive impacts all as he shares his message with Fortune 500’s, Universities and Local Communities.