Vulnerability Breeds Authenticity: The Importance of Human Connection with Brian Bogert
Brian Bogert is a human behavior and performance coach who teaches clients to leverage self-awareness and intentionality to become the most authentic version of themselves: Who they already are. Brian helps executives, entrepreneurs, athletes, and growth-minded individuals learn this transformative approach that cultivates perspective, motivation, and direction to help them align their lives with their true purpose and defy their own expectations. He teaches not just to accept change, but to embrace pain in order to avoid suffering. Brian learned the wisdom of resiliency through his own early experiences with pain. Brian and his wife have two children, and being a dad is the most significant part of his life, which helps Brian understand and effectively coach clients to find their best work-life integration.
When Brian was just seven years old, in a Walmart parking lot, a truck barrelling by at 40 miles per hour hit a median, flew into the air, and threw Brian to the ground, tearing his spleen and severing his left arm. A bystander, a guardian angel, put pressure on the wound and instructed others to run inside and grab a cooler and some ice for his arm. It’s because of that, and a surgeon who knew exactly what the recovery process was going to look like and planned ahead for the reconstruction, that Brian has his arm today. Instead of succumbing to suffering because of the injury, he fully recovered and flourished with a reattached arm, and he learned early how to move beyond what happened to him by creating an intentional mindset.
Before and after his accident, Brian would describe his family relationship as phenomenal. There were some challenging dynamics, but his parents always loved him and he never felt unsafe. His dad was the protector and his mom had endless energy, and together they created a powerful family team.
Brian’s accident didn’t just affect Brian’s life. His parents and his brother’s life were both completely uprooted as a result. His brother didn’t have his playmate anymore, and he pulled away emotionally from everyone. It took 10 years of establishing each other as individuals before they really reconnected and became best friends again.
School life for Brian was tough after the accident, too. He was different, and that made him a target for bullying. He was forced to grow up fast, and he never felt like he connected with his peers. People don’t know how to deal with others who are different. Being different, Brian had an intellectual curiosity for other people that were different. This led to him joining a non-Greek brotherhood called Rangi Ya Gizz that was founded as a result of the Rodney King riots back in the early ’90s around multiculturalism, diversity, activism, and community service. This broadened his understanding of the human element, and human connection, and people with different socioeconomic or ethnic backgrounds.
What Brian didn’t realize until it was too late was how much of a chip on his shoulder he carried due to the accident. He pushed the narrative that he was good and he was strong and he didn’t need any help so much that when he broke his arm in a snowboarding accident and went through 10 months of being unable to use his arm and five surgeons who were afraid to operate, nobody was there for him because he had so thoroughly convinced them he didn’t need help. At that time, he didn’t have the vulnerability or the courage to ask for help. This shifted his entire perspective to focusing on human connection, vulnerability, and authenticity.
Despite that shift, when Brian graduated college and entered the corporate world in risk management and employee benefits consulting, he still had something to prove to the world, and he poured everything into his career—to the detriment of his health, his happiness, and his relationships. He left his original company at 24 and went to an office in Phoenix where he’d have the opportunity to help build it from scratch, and he spent time studying leadership at successful offices and bringing it there. He had all of the success he could have ever wanted—and he got there years ahead of when he thought he would—but when his son was born, he took a week off, and then the next 6 months just disappeared. He realized then that no matter how much money he made, it wouldn’t matter if he wasn’t there for his family.
He didn’t know how to do it alone, and this time he was done pretending he could. He went through 15 coaches before he found the one that worked for him, and that coach told him that coaching was what he should be doing. He pushed it aside, but after that, every single day for 30 days, someone reached out to him to thank him for some impact he had on them. By then he couldn’t ignore it anymore, and a month later he launched his human behavior performance and speaking business. The transition took place over the course of several years, but with his wife’s blessing, he sold his business and went full time into coaching and speaking.
With a story like his, it’s hard to imagine Brian doing anything else than what he does now. But it still took him years to come to that realization himself, as well as the support of several important figures in his life. It’s important to remember that what seems obvious to others can be completely unknown to ourselves.
What Brett asks:
- [02:12] Can you tell me a bit about your early childhood?
- [06:57] Can you tell us a bit more about your family?
- [12:07] What happens after the accident with your family?
- [18:28] What was it like getting back on your feet after surgery?
- [21:53] What parts of you do you credit to the accident versus what’s in your DNA?
- [26:07] What is your faith?
- [29:51] What starts to emerge in your life as a young adult?
- [38:02] Can you tell me about jumping into the corporate world out of college?
- [45:30] Did you jump from your business into coaching full time or was there a transition?
- [50:56] What are you involved in now?
Lessons for intentional living:
- It’s important that we pause, become aware of the lessons we can extract from the stories of our life, and then become intentional that we apply it in our lives
- Don’t be afraid of vulnerability. We will all need help at some time in our lives, and pushing a false narrative that we don’t need help only hurts us when we do.
- Human connection without emotion is not human connection. When you shut off physical pain, you shut off emotional pain as well, which also shuts off joy, freedom, and fulfillment. Embrace the pain of unpacking the pain, whether it’s emotional, mental, physical. Heal yourself because if we don’t feel, we don’t heal. And if we don’t heal, we don’t ever connect.