How do you feel about your “weaknesses”? Do they make you feel insecure or vulnerable?
If so, you’re not alone. In fact, almost everyone feels that way. What if I told you there was a secret to turning your vulnerability into your greatest strength?
Stories like the one we have today are why I do this podcast. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression in my life, bringing awareness to mental health issues is extremely important to me.
We as a society have come a long way as far as transparency with mental health is concerned. Today, all kinds of successful individuals from athletes to business professionals are opening up about their various struggles with mental health, and we frequently discuss mental health topics here on the podcast as well!
However, we still have a long way to go. Mental health is still considered a taboo topic in many cultures around the world, and here in America, we have only just begun to erase this stigma. Our guest today is on a mission to erase the stigma surrounding mental health in the sports world and beyond, Jay Glazer.
Despite his external success, Jay always wrestled with internal demons that he later discovered were depression and anxiety. This led to a series of panic attacks, breakdowns, and eventually, monumental breakthroughs.
In today’s show, Jay is going to share how we can ALL turn our mental health struggles into the motivation and the superpower that takes us to the next level. Please help me welcome the one-and-only, Jay Glazer, to The School of Greatness!
Jay Glazer is a TV personality and National Football League (NFL) insider for FOX Sports’ award-winning NFL pregame studio show, FOX NFL Sunday. The entire cast, including Glazer, became the first sports show inducted into the Television Hall Of Fame in 2019.
In 2007, Glazer created the first mixed martial arts training program for pro athletes in America and has trained over 1,000 pro athletes. And in 2014, he co-founded the Unbreakable Performance Center, a private training facility frequented by Wiz Khalifa, Chris Pratt, and Demi Lovato, as well as numerous NFL, NHL, and MMA athletes.
When I sat down with Jay, I immediately knew we were in for a good conversation. I understood Jay’s battles and was inspired by his ability to push through what he called “the gray,” which is how he described his anxiety and depression. Those days when you wake up feeling blue but can’t find a reason why you feel that way.
Jay said he felt he was blessed with the gift of communication, so he felt it was his duty to help other people push through the gray. He described feeling this depression and anxiety in his early childhood and continues to battle it today, detailing how it destroyed his motivation and ability to love and care for himself.
“I’ve had to build up this persona on TV all these years to hide it, but no one knew how much pain I was in until now. I first talked about it a few years ago [at] a charity that I work with, Veterans MVP. … One day I did an article somewhere where I was being this vulnerable — how I am in the huddle with them — with the rest of the world. And the reaction was like, Oh my God, you too? You have depression and anxiety? ” – Jay Glazer
Jay said there were only so many ways he could make people laugh as a TV personality on FOX before the gray would creep in. After going to therapy for most of his life, Jay has written his new book, Unbreakable, where he talks about the tools he used to pull himself out of his worst days. As many of you know, mental health does not only affect your mind but it affects you physically as well.
“It was almost like these heavy chains were pulling my soul down, and it was heavy — it hurt. When I’m having really bad days like this past weekend, I feel it behind my rib cage. It feels like I’m having a heart attack. The left side of my gut feels like it’s been punched, and my joints ache like I just got out of a fight — like a 50-round boxing match. So there’s a physical, visceral reaction for me.” – Jay Glazer
I was right there with Jay when he told me this. I know all too well the physical effect that mental health can have on a person. Many of you know I was abused by a man I didn’t know when I was 5 and I held on to that secret and that shame for 25 years because I thought no one would love me if I told them.
In the end, holding onto this shame made me feel less emotionally connected to the people in my life because I was lacking that aspect of vulnerability. It was only 9 years ago when I finally started talking about it, and when I did it felt like an enormous weight had been lifted. Consequently, my relationships only strengthened as I became more vulnerable.
It’s amazing to hear another person’s journey with vulnerability and how it has helped them connect with people and lift them out of tough times. Jay managed to take something that caused him daily pain both emotional and physical, and turn it into his biggest strength.
During our conversation, Jay told me about the biggest lessons he has learned growing up and in adulthood.
He credits his biggest life lessons to his parents, saying his father showed him what true loyalty meant and the importance of being there for someone. He said his closest friends have begun to describe him as extremely loyal, knowing he’ll always be there to support them no matter what, and that is a lesson he is thankful for every day.
The biggest lesson Jay learned from his mother was what hard work meant. His mother worked 6 different careers at the same time, a feat which Jay himself is currently managing, and watching her work her butt off as a child pushed him to be the hard worker he is today.
His parents aren’t the only people that taught Jay valuable life lessons, however. Jay has developed a close relationship with the great Dwayne Johnson. Yes, that Dwayne Johnson! After working on a movie together, the two began to have deep conversations about their mental health, and continue to check up on each other regularly. I asked Jay what the biggest lesson he has learned from DJ is, and he had this to say:
“I had that anxiety attack the other night, and I reached out to him struggling thinking, here’s another issue I was going through. He said to me, ‘You’re gonna be that voice of the gray for all of us’. He’s incredibly selfless, and I think the biggest lesson I learned from him is you could be the biggest star in the world and still be incredibly selfless. You can still just give, give, give. He does so much charity work for people, and it’s all to show himself, I’m okay. So yeah, we’re there to love each other up, man.” – Jay Glazer
Guys, loyalty and hard work are definitely two things that make someone great, but Jay’s willingness to build a support system really stands out to me. When you have that network of people surrounding you, your journey to greatness is less challenging.
You all know the drill — I love to ask my guests big questions. Towards the end of our conversation, I asked Jay what life’s three biggest truths were, and I loved his response. He told me life’s three biggest truths were that vulnerability is true strength, the secret to success is loyalty, and you must learn how to love yourself up.
“I’m trying to learn to love myself up. I’m trying to learn to be loved because that’s all I want — to be loved and have that love. I haven’t felt worthy of it, so it’s gotten in the way of a lot of my relationships. Now I think the more I could do that, I could hopefully feel that worthiness. Then I’ll have that happiness. I’ve been kind of searching for it.” – Jay Glazer
I couldn’t only ask him about the big truths, however. I just had to get my man Jay’s definition of greatness before our talk was over.
“Lifting somebody else up. This isn’t being cliche. Again, it’s not success in a career. It’s how you use whatever you have for somebody else. If you just do it for yourself, it’s not greatness. You’ve just done a lot of really good stuff. You’ve accomplished some things, but it’s not greatness. Greatness is when you lift everybody else up, right? I’ve said it before, “Being a great player, you’re great, but if you’re a Hall of Famer, you lift up everybody else around you.” – Jay Glazer
I love how Jay put this, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s definitely a mark of true greatness when you can use your talent to make everyone around you shine.
Guys, there’s so much more I couldn’t fit into this post, so check out the full episode here and let me know what you think! If you deal with mental health issues in any capacity, I think this episode will provide you with valuable insight on how to turn your vulnerability into your strength.
We all naturally want to hide our vulnerabilities because we think they make us look weak, but Jay has shown us that by simply talking about it with people, you may be helping them in their own journey with mental health. Make sure you check out his book, Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety Into Motivation and You Can Too, to learn more about Jay’s journey.
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode and that it inspired you on your journey toward greatness. Make sure to share this with a friend and subscribe over on Apple Podcast. I really love hearing feedback from you guys, so please share your biggest takeaways with me, @lewishowes, and Jay, @jayglazer, on Instagram.
Cheers to greatness,