#MANUPInterview with Dave Braun
So, here’s the real cool thing, I get to sit down with one of my good friends, the [OolaSeeker 00:00:05].
Let’s get into a little bit. When I first called you and I said, “Okay, here’s my topic. My topic is man up,” what was your first thought when you heard that?
Well, the interesting thing is, is right away … ’cause, Troy and I … I mean, Troy is one of your good friends too, we sit on this bus, and we talk about everything from faith, to marriage, to everything. And, one of the things we talk about a lot is being a man, and the different versions of being a man.
So, I’m a little passionate about that because I have four daughters, four sisters. And, the funny thing is, is my four sisters for sure, their husbands are men. Like, they’re men, and they take good care of them. And, I think our definition of that’s a little different. Now, the crazy part is that sitting with you, you’d probably be the only guy to sit on this couch, which is called the man couch by the way. This is called the man couch.
Is it really?
I had this couch made, and it’s called the man couch ’cause I always wanted a dirty leather couch, like a man couch. And, you would probably be the only guy that would probably make me feel less of a man.
But, in light of all that … That wasn’t our conversation. But, in light of all that, no, I think it’s such a key thing out there right now. I mean, I wanna have an open conversation with [inaudible 00:01:24], because we talked the other day. When you called me and you said, “Hey, I’m working on this project.” And I’m like, “Cool. This’ll be interesting to see what this is all about.” ’cause I told you, we get calls every day.
Like, “I wanna write a book. How’d you guys do it?” So, your idea, when you talk about, “You know, men need to be men. They need to stand up,” and you started talking about that, I got super passionate about that topic, because of having four sisters and four daughters and how I want them to be treated.
So, my idea of a man, it may differ from you. But, I think at the core it doesn’t. ’cause, we talked a little bit about that on the phone, is that it’s not the look. It’s not this dang thing and this crazy-
I love it. I could never pull it off, ’cause I’m a shorter guy. So, it’d be hanging down. But, it’s really at the heart, like the core of what a man is.
And, I think it comes down to respect, and being a leader, and being loving and caring. So, that part of a man … There’s a part of man where it’s like shooting his own food, and chopping wood, and all that, which is the provider in a man, right?
I mean, when you go back way back, they were providing for their family, and they were leading their family by providing food, and shelter, and warmth.
And, I think today’s man … I mean, we … Food, shelter, and warmth is around every corner. You just pay an electrical bill and whatever. So, the man up part now is loving, and respecting, and taking care of, and not doing the things that would be unmanly, if you know what I mean.
So, yeah. I was super passionate about that, just because of four sisters and four daughters. So, it was a great topic, a great conversation that we had on the phone.
Well, you know, and I think that’s one of the key things, is when I look at raising three boys, how do I want my boys to show up in this world? Do I want them to show up on a couch at 30 years old in my basement playing video games with their hats on backwards and that’s them? No. I want them to be out crushing it, you know?
Contributing members to society, finding someone to love, love strongly. Not just this … And, I think that’s part of my man up piece, is when you talk about someone loving someone else, I think we’re starting to lose that definition of what it really means to love someone strongly.
Boldly. Hard. Love them.
Boldly. Hard. It’s not just this, “I’ll love you when it’s convenient.”
It’s, “I’ll love you, bam, even when it’s hard.” And so, when I’m looking at this, and I’m seeing … I mean, do you see, with men just in general … I mean, when I walk down the street, I like to observe, and I like to watch people.
And, some of the things that I hear from men, it almost makes me just kind of cringe.
How about you?
Well, you know what, I kind of get the other side of that. And, what I get is … I was talking to you about this a little bit the other day. First of all, your boys will never end up on the couch at 30 years old, ’cause you won’t let them.
So, I know that. Just like there’s no one sleeping on this couch. And, I have to kind of man up my daughters a little bit. And, I think it’s that enabling love.
You know what I mean? I love my kids. I will do anything for my daughters and my son, I have a 15-year-old son. But, they know that at 18, 19, man, it’s time for them to move on and do their thing. We see so many times … I talked to you about we run these events, OolaPalooza, which you know about, two day events.
So, I see the flip side of this a little bit, where we talk to a lot of women. And, the women are sitting there working on their goals and their life, and they’re talking so much about their marriages and their relationships. And, if you look at … First of all, you look at people in the work environment. 55% of people hate their jobs, but 53% of marriages end in divorce.
So, if 53% of the marriages are just like, “This sucks so bad I have to get out,” that doesn’t mean 53% are bad. That means it’s like 70 or 80% are not in great relationships. So, what I see on the other end so much is it’s women saying, “My guy dated me, opened the door for me, loved me, and we got married. He started to put on five pounds every year, and now he watches football. And, now he’s on the couch playing video games,” whatever that is. I hear that a lot.
And, the last thing I wanna do is judge, ’cause I have my own things. I mean, I was married 17 years, went through a divorce. I did stuff that I shouldn’t have done as a man, obviously, and was very embarrassed. Like, the whole divorcing felt guilty. You know my whole story. It’s hard to go through that and be a … I think from that you can lose it or become more of a man. For me, for sure, it made me work really hard at being more of a man for my family.
But, I feel so much for women who this guy pursued them, and then the ring is on the finger, and then everything just starts to slip and slide. And, I feel like that’s one of the things I’m passionate about, is how important it is, is if you get into a relationship, and you’re acting like a man, and you’re pursuing, and you’re getting into a relationship, your relationship will stay good if you continue to act like that and continue to pursue and continue to love. And, it goes both ways.
But, that’s one aspect of it, which you talked about. Then, the other aspect, again, it’s the women’s thing. And, it’s actually … we wrote about in the new book that comes out. But, in the women’s thing-
Yeah, by the way, when does that book come out?
And, what is the book?
It’s “Oola for Women.” So-
I don’t know if people even know what Oola is, but it’s just-
So, let’s go there a little bit.
It’s balancing and growing your life. It’s become a lifestyle about balancing and growing your life in seven key areas: your fitness, finance, family, your field, which is your career, faith, friends, and fun. And then, looking at these areas, say, “What do I want?” This is a man thing too, by the way. It’s like, “Where am I? Where do I want to go? And, how am I gonna get there?” And, it’s not passively living life, it’s taking action. So, it’s not words. It’s actually taking action on life. So, it’s not like, “Man, I’d love to retire someday,” or, “I’d love to provide for my family. I’d love to take my family on a vacation.” Or, “I’d love to be the faith leader of my family,” or, “I’d love that.” It’s not about “I love it,” it’s actually taking action and doing it.
And then, in … along this journey, you’re gonna run into what are called Oola blockers: fear, guilt, self-[inaudible 00:07:13]. Everybody suffers with those to a certain degree. And, as a man, as a woman, as a teen, how do you push through that.
And, then you gotta embrace the Oola accelerators, which is hard for men to do. And, that’s embracing gratitude and love, humility, the humble part of being a man.
So, it’s not man like, “Yeah,” screaming.
It could also be a very humbling … Some of the men I know, like when I think of Dr. Troy, he’s the farthest thing from a man from the standpoint of oil changes and working. His hands haven’t had a callous on them his whole life. He-
Well, he had Carhartts at one point, right?
They were brand new.
He wore them for a day ’cause he was cold. But, he’s a man from a standpoint of how he takes care of his wife and his family, and how he loves them. So, embracing those accelerators. And, that’s really what Oola is. It’s that lifestyle about balancing, growing, and taking action towards your life.
But, when we’re working on this new book, and we’re interviewing women … So, that’s that one side of, “I married this man, and how he’s a boy on the couch.” And then, the other side is, “I had a boy, I raised him to be a man, and now he’s 30 and he’s on the couch.” And, mom’s take that … It’s hard on parents, but it’s really … What we found by researching this, it’s really harder on women, like moms. Because, moms have a little more of that natural loving. They gave birth to this child.
And, it’s hard for them to tough love. So, it’s that enabling love.
And, that’s another part where part of me … I don’t wanna be judgemental, but you just wanna smack someone a little bit. It’s like, “Get off your mom’s couch and quit eating her food. You’re 30. Go get a job.” And, it’s just something that wouldn’t have happened 20, 30 years ago.
You would’ve got smacked.
Your parents would’ve smacked you. They would’ve kicked you out.
And so, there’s that part of it to, where it’s like … I know people go on tough times, and I know for me I would never be homeless if something bad happened. You know I went through a tough time after my divorce. If I needed to live at my parents place for six months, I could’ve. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, when you’re there two years, three years, or you’ve never left, it’s … just looking at that and say, “Okay. What do I want from my life, and how am I gonna go get this?”
And, I know we had talked to this guy at an OolaPalooza a long time ago, and he wanted to … His main goal was he wanted to be married.
He wanted to be married. He was about 30-years-old, 20-years-old, he just wants to find a great woman, which is awesome. Like, share your life with someone.
And, that was his one thing. And I’m like, “Well, why haven’t you?” And he goes, “I don’t know. I’ve dated. I just haven’t found the right one. And this, and this, and this.” Well, in reality, I’m like, “Tell me about your situation.” “Well, I live in my mom’s basement.” And that, I’m like, “Okay, dude. I love you-
I love you, so I’m gonna just embrace you and hug you, not judge you.
But, I’m just saying, if you ask 100 women who are 30 and say you’re looking for a guy, and if you say he lives in his mom’s basement and he’s struggling with student loans, or whatever it is, and he’s struggling to find a job, not being rude, 99% of women are done with that.” So, it’s just that part of the Man Up Project that I like so much about you. It’s not judging.
It’s not nothing. But, what it is, is saying, “There’s a better way to come at this and just be a good person, love hard, be humble, be a solid provider for your family.” That doesn’t mean just money, but be a provider from a standpoint of … You know, Dr. Troy, I think, is a great leader of faith in his family. He leads his family in faith. His wife is amazing with that too. And then, Troy’s brother Tim, who’s another guy that I look up to, is a quiet, humble, loving person that’s not gonna be out doing crazy things he shouldn’t with his wife. He respects her and loves here.
I look at my four brother-in-laws, dude, I would wanna be half the man they are. I was just with them at a wedding yesterday. I just flew in. And, just the way they are to my sisters, I couldn’t ask for anybody better. They’re so amazing, you know?
And so, that’s another thing, too, is looking at that, is surround yourself with good men, you know? Surround yourself with good men.
That’s the thing that … One of my biggest things with this book is the last thing that I want people to think is that I got all the answers, or to assume that, hey, because I wrote this book that, “Well, this guy thinks that he’s got all the answers and he’s perfect,” you know? No. Most of the stuff I write, most of the stuff I talk about, whether it’s on Facebook or blogging, whatever it looks like, it’s stuff that I’m struggling with and trying to work on myself.
And, I think it’s the same thing with the Oola stuff.
We’re going through life trying to make the best and perfect progress that we can, and be the best version of who we were designed to be.
And, I think that’s, for me … Now, you touched on something that really struck me, and it [inaudible 00:12:01] somebody that, a good friend of mine, that brought this up. And, he talked about it being meekness. That, a man, a true man, displays meekness. And, how meekness is not weakness, but is strength under control.
What’s your thoughts when you hear that?
I love that. I think of people, I think of men. My grandpa on my mom’s side, 14 children, struggled financially, obviously, back in the day, always happy, always positive, always loving. We were talking about him the other night, how … They’re both passed on now. But, we were talking about him the other day, how all the craziness around 14 kids, and all these grandkids and everything, we remember them at the end of a Sunday dinner. Sunday you go hang out at his place, he would play guitar. Do you know who his step-brother was? Lawrence Welk.
Was he really?
[crosstalk 00:13:04] bubbles.
… picture that. So, picture my grandpa. No one watching this knows who Lawrence Welk is. Google it. It was a long time ago.
But, so picture … That’s my childhood a little bit. My grandpa playing guitar on Sundays, having soup, all that stuff. But then, what he did is he would help out, and then he would take my grandma, hold her hand, and they’d go walk. Like, you’d see them walking down a gravel road.
And, he would just take her away from the craziness. ’cause, she just prepared the meal and all that stuff. And I’m just like, that humble meekness … He was so strong. He has such strong values, and so set, like, “This is how I’m gonna love my wife. This is how I’m gonna take …” His kids would not have been on the couch at 30.
You know what I mean?
“This is how I’m gonna love my wife. I’m gonna love my kids. I’m gonna raise good men. I’m gonna raise good daughters.”
And, I look at that, that side of the family, 14 brothers and sisters, my mom’s 14 in the family, and all the cousins, there’s no fighting, there’s no jealousy. There’s just loving, because he set the tone for that because of the values. And, he did it in a very humble, meek way. It was never forceful, never strong, never yelling. I’m sure the boys got spankings back in the day that they deserved, way back in the day.
But, he led so well with that. And, I love that. Meekness is not weakness. I mean, it’s that humble confidence that you see.
I feel like I’ve seen both ends of that. I’ve seen that forceful, manly love that’s forceful and full of anger on one side of my family. Not my dad, but my dad’s side. And then, I’ve seen this loving, caring meekness and humility on one side that’s so incredible. And, the other thing you talked about is just the transparency of your message. And, that is so key. Because, there’s no … The days of pocket squares, and, “This is what I do, and if you wanna be successful follow me,” that’s over.
It’s this transparency. And, that’s why I complement you so much on this and I’m so excited for your project, is because I know you’re coming at it with a humble heart. You wanna raise good boys, and you wanna give people that information. And, it’s like Oola, too. Like, “Here you go. We’re not telling you what to do, but here’s a way. There could be a better way.” And, if you look at this and you say, “This works, this works, this doesn’t work, but boy I like this, and I can live more humbly, or live with more meekness and understanding, that’s not a weak part of me,” that’s just such an amazing thing. I think it’s such an amazing and timely message right now.
Oh, that’s awesome, man. Well, one last question before we cut it off.
That’s it, man.
So easy, man. I was just getting warmed up.
[crosstalk 00:15:35] … I wasn’t gonna get you [inaudible 00:15:37] really hard on this one, but this last question may take a little while.
So, one of my things … You guys know [Verick 00:15:46].
Yeah, very well.
Yeah. Great guy.
One of those guys that challenges you to be better. And, just being around him makes you wanna be a little bit better, you know? And, I respect him for that. He’s a huge, very strong leader in his faith, and other areas of his life as well. And, one of the things that I’ve been getting into lately, and seeing more need for, is that accountability piece. And so, as guys … You know, say there’s a guy watching this that says, “Yeah, that’s something that … I need to man up,” that accountability piece I know … And, I don’t even have to ask you, ’cause I know what you’re gonna say on it. It’s huge.
Talk a little bit about the importance of the accountability and what that … For whatever reason, men get around men and they think, “Oh, if I’m gonna be vulnerable and share something with another guy … I’m a freak.”
But, how important is that, that actual piece of me sitting with you and saying, “Dave, man, here’s where I struggle?”
Yeah, yeah. I think if you wanna look at … you’re talking about the Man Project, I think that’s one area where that has improved so much. I think if you go back, again, 30 years … I might be speaking for relatives I don’t know, but I don’t think they would have that accountability piece, they would have that vulnerability or that openness as a man. I think they held that in.
And, I think now that’s totally cool. I know I could call you at any time and say, “I’m struggling with this,” and you would listen to me. And, you could do the same. And, Verick is that guy. Verick is the Tim, Troy’s brother, those type of people that they lead with such quiet confidence that they’re kind of … they’re just good dudes, you know?
And, the accountability is just such a huge factor. So, there’s a couple things that I look at when it comes to accountability, and it’s a big part of what we talk about in Oola, is when you set your plan in motion, like, “This is what I want for my family. This is what I want for my fitness. This is what I want for my career,” whatever it is, you set that in motion, one of the key things, and we built it in the program, is accountability. You have to tell others about it, and you have to have accountability partners.
So, accountability partners are the ones that are gonna tough love you and say, “You said you were gonna lose 15 pounds, and you said you were gonna take your wife on a date. You said you were gonna save an emergency fund. How’s that coming?” And, check in with them every two weeks. That’s what we do in Oola, we check in.
Now, the other thing that we do, to the next level, which is a very manly thing, is we put rewards on it.
So, it’s like a head hunter thing. It’s like, “I’m gonna lose 20 pounds.” And it’s like, “Okay. So, how much are you gonna pay me if you don’t lose 20 pounds?”
And, you have a buddy like that. And then, don’t commit 5 bucks, ’cause anybody’s gonna just, “Here’s $5.” Commit something that you know it’s gonna hurt, it’s gonna suck, if you have to pay it. And then, all of a sudden it comes on like, “Dude, I want that 5 grand so bad.” And you’re like, “I’m not giving anybody 5 grand. 5 grand’s a lot of money,” right?
So, that’s a great way. Not just men, I do it with my sister. I did it with my sister too, who was just talking about doing something, talking about doing something. I’m like, “Okay. What’s your goal for this? Like, seriously, I love you so much. Seriously, we talk about this every week.” And she goes, “I need to do this with my career.” And then I said, “What’s one thing that is gonna make you do that?” And she’s like, “I don’t know. I don’t know.” I said, “Here you go. You owe me $5,000 if you don’t hit that goal. Can you commit to that?” And, she wrote it out on a napkin and sent me a picture of it. She committed to it. She made her goal. You know what I mean? She committed to that.
So, it’s not just a man thing at all. But, that’s something that we did way back in the day with our crew of guys. And, we call them our flock. So, in Oola we call it a flock.
Three to four guys, love and support you, you can tell them anything. They’re gonna love you and support you, but also kick your butt if you’re getting off track.
And, when you’re starting to, like, “This is what we want for our legacy in our family. This is God’s purpose for my life,” and you start drifting, they can say, “Dude, that’s not … You said you’re gonna be a great husband, and you’re out partying, drinking, getting yourself … That’s not a man. That’s not what you said you wanna do.”
So, you need someone to course correct you. And then, I think the third component to that is the accountability piece, the accountability money. Like, put some … make it count.
Make it hurt.
’cause, it’s … Make it hurt.
And then, the third thing is mentoring.
My grandma, my grandma who would hold hands with my grandpa and walk down the gravel road, she was so big into moderation. Moderation. Have a drink, you know? Whatever. Moderate. Have a little sugar, not so much. Have a soda one a week, right? She was-
Or a donut.
Or a donut once a week. Troy needs to hear that. She was big into moderation. But, the other thing that she was so big into is you are who you hang out with.
And, that is so true. You are who you hang out with. If you start hanging around with dudes who aren’t the man you wanna be, pretty soon it’s gonna feel very normal to do what they do.
If you hang around with people you look up to, like Verick, like you, like … I talked about Tim and Troy, and some of the other guys that I surround myself with, it’s ’cause I wanna be like them.
My brother-in-laws, I wanna be like those guys. They’re good guys. And, that’s who you surround yourself with, that’s a big part of not only being a better man, just being a better human. On every level, surround yourself with good people, you know? And, if you wanna reach back and help someone who’s hurting, do that. But, don’t fall into that. But, do that. That’s a very manly thing. That’s a very human thing, it’s a very loving thing, is to reach back and help others that are off course and struggling.
That’s why I like this guy. He’s go dreams, he’s got passion, he’s got things he wants to do and things he wants to accomplish. It’s not just existing, it’s doing something with your life. So, thanks brother.
Awesome, man. Thank you so much.
Good to see you.