Are you aware you’re constantly being judged? I bet you are. Are you letting it affect the the way you live your life? I really hope not.
Today, it’s so much easier to feel the burden of judgment. With social media, our lives are always in the spotlight. There are so many people who will hate on us, and the more successful we are the more haters there usually are.
You can’t listen to them. You just need to follow your heart and brush off their comments.
Focus in on listening to those that you really do care about, not some stranger that you’ve never heard of.
I have a special guest who knows more about this than most people: Brooke Ence.
Brooke is a fitness and CrossFit icon. She also appeared in Wonder Woman as an Amazonian warrior and she’s just getting started.
Unfortunately, she’s always received a lot of criticism in her life. Her love of working out has meant she doesn’t have a traditional female body. She can come off as intimidating to people, and there’s always been a lot of backlash on social media because of it.
Last year she suffered a spinal injury that nearly took her life’s passion away from her. She decided not to let it ruin everything she has built.
Through pacing herself she’s learned to get back into the competition world and has been making a massive recovery in such a short amount of time.
Sadly, this pacing of herself has lead to even more people criticizing her. They’ve been trying to make her feel like she’s burnt out or past her prime – but I get the feeling she’s going to come back even stronger and better in the future.
Instead of listening to the naysayers she’s learned to focus her attention to people that truly know her, support her, and gauge her success on their reaction.
On this episode of The School of Greatness, Brooke really opens up about her injury and the struggles she’s gone through as a woman focusing on her passion as opposed to society’s standards.
She really is an inspiration to all people — don’t miss Episode 649.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 649, with fitness and Crossfit icon Brooke Ence.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
Billie Jean King said, “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
Have you ever felt, in your life, that you were an imposter, that you weren’t supposed to be where you’re at. Or have you ever felt overwhelmed and exhausted from the opinions of others, from other people telling you you’re not good enough, that you look a certain way and you shouldn’t look that way, that you’re not talented enough, that you’re not smart enough?
And if they posted it online, did they talk about it in front of you? Did they talk about it behind your [back] and you hear about it from other people? Has this ever affected you from achieving what you want?
Today we’ve got Brooke Ence on. She’s an elite Crossfit athlete, entrepreneur, social media fitness icon. In 2015 she placed first in the California region, went on to place 14th in the 2015 Crossfit Games in her rookie year. And since then she’s built a following for her reputation as an elite competitor, and her passion for inspiring others to achieve their goals.
She is no stranger to adversity, however. Brooke has returned to elite competition this year after undergoing spinal surgery through her neck last year and March of 2017. In her incredible journey of how she’s overcome all these obstacles, all the mental barriers, all the conversations of doubt to coming back and competing at an elite level, is unbelievable.
She’s also [gone] on to have appearances as an Amazon woman in the blockbuster movies, ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Justice League’, and she’s done incredible things in business as well. And today, we really dive in deep about how to overcome that story in your mind, those conversations that keep you back from doing what you want; how she’s doing that.
She’s looked a certain way her entire life, and she’s constantly been criticised for her body, for her physique, and been told that she shouldn’t look a certain way that she always has been. She’s overcome constant challenges and obstacles, mentally, physically, emotionally to get to where she’s at. And she breaks down the whole process of how she’s done it and how you can do it as well.
Before we dive in, I want to give a shout out to our Fan of the Week, this is Anna-Lisa Brown, who said, “The day I ran across this podcast, something completely changed in my mindset and inspired me to change the game in my daily life. The guests all bring light into difficult situations in life while teaching through their own struggles. The world needs more of this. Life is hard, and without realness it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thankful, grateful and blessed for this incredible podcast. Lewis Howes, thanks for creating this game changer.”
So, Anna-Lisa Brown, thank you for leaving a review over on iTunes, you are the Fan of the Week! And if you guys haven’t left a review yet, we’ve got over 3,000 plus five star reviews. Just open up your podcast app right now, you can do it really quickly, or head on over to iTunes and leave a review on The School of Greatness, for your chance to be shouted out as the Fan of the Week.
And, The Summit of Greatness! If you haven’t got your ticket yet, summitofgreatness.com, we just announced the first four speakers, they are going to blow you away. If you’re looking to connect with conscious-minded achievers who are just like you, if you want to build that community, then come to The Summit of Greatness, October 4 through 6 in Columbus, Ohio.
You can go to summitofgreatness.com to check out ticket prices and all that good stuff, all the speakers and what’s happening. This is our third annual year and it is going to be mind-blowing. I can tell you, every single year people say it’s the most powerful weekend of the year for them. So, make sure to get your ticket at summitofgreatness.com.
And take a screenshot and tag me on Instagram, @LewisHowes, when you get your ticket, so I can connect with you over there.
I want to give a big thank you to our sponsor today, which is designcrowd.com/greatness. Now, if you are entrepreneurial, if you have a business, or you just want to launch something online, or you want to launch a book, a Tee-Shirt design, whatever it may be, fliers, I go to designcrowd.com/greatness for almost all of my design needs.
Especially for my online courses for logo’s, book designs, all that stuff. So you get a lot of people sharing ideas and giving feedback. So, you can change things and move things around until you’re happy. That’s what I love about this process. You get quick designs, you get it fast, there are over a half a million people that are on the platform who are designing from all over the world, giving their unique feedback, and perspective based on what you said you want.
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And also, a big thank you to our sponsor, Fin. Now, this is really powerful. Fin is a high quality, on demand assistant that can handle the administrative aspects of life, de-clutter your to-do list and keep you focused on what matters most. This is a game changer, guys. Thousands of busy people already rely on Fin to handle tasks like, scheduling meetings, booking travel, which takes hours sometimes, buying gifts, or even more complex jobs, like creating a website, or hiring a freelancer.
That’s right! So, if you’re looking to hire someone, you can actually use Fin to take care of this for you. Fin takes care of administrative tasks so you can be more productive. And, as a listener of my show, I’ve arranged for you all to try Fin for free. That’s right, you get to try this for free, have your own assistant.
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Again, a big thank you to our sponsors and I am excited about this episode. It’s all about overcoming those mental barriers that hold you back and a powerful story from the one and only Brooke Ence.
Welcome everyone, to The School of Greatness Podcast. We have the incredible Brooke Ence in the house. Good to see you, fresh off the regionals, where you’ve got tattoos and tape on you still and pulled hamstrings and shoulders.
Brooke Ence: It’s not because I don’t shower. I shower, I just sometimes don’t scrub.
Lewis Howes: Looks like it’s fused onto your skin, the tattoo, but it’s all good. Now, we met about, I don’t know what, three or four months ago, I think, through a mutual friend of ours, JP. And he said I’ve got to connect with you and really learn more about you as an individual.
And when we talked, I learned you have an incredible story. Now, you’ve had surgery in your neck and you’ve got screws and a plate in your neck. And then you decided to start training right afterwards, or a few months, to come back to the Crossfit Games.
You were in the Crossfit Games in 2015, I think you placed top 15 there, and then you got a neck injury, head surgery, and you’ve been training again, which is crazy.
And how did you get the surgery, again? Or how did you get the injury?
Brooke Ence: I don’t know how long I had it. My doctor thinks for sure I probably had a bulged disc for a long time. There’s no real way of knowing, but the more I started to connect the dots of things that my have felt off, like the tweaks that I just always had. I feel like every athlete might have something that they just, that’s what they work with, or they need to warm up extra for that part of their body and that’s just kind of how it is.
I started to remember things, and went, “Huh! Yeah, that could have been from this.” You know? But I, in December of 2016, I had a active recovery type day – it was just a gymnastics day, it was lowish volume. I’d already done a good amount of gymnastics, but all I was doing was some transition work, from standing to headstand.
So, this could have been at home, it could have been at yoga, it could have been any time. And I remember – so you bend at the hip and you basically lower yourself to almost a downward dog type position, and then you come to headstand and pick your legs up really nice and controlled, and then you lower your feet and then you push, pushing down into a downward dog, to come to standing.
And I felt a pinch in my back and I thought I had just slipped a rib, which I’ve done many times, I mean, many times. In dance in high school, if I wore really tight and if I held my breath during one move, it might slip a rib out. And so I thought that’s what it was.
Lewis Howes: A dislocated rib?
Brooke Ence: So, your ribs, on the back, they kind of float. There’s little areas where they kind of sit, so sometimes you can get that [snaps fingers] and you can kind of move a little bit, and if you take a deep breath, you’ll feel a sharp pinch, or things like that. And, usually, if you take two tennis balls, you can tape them together or, put it in a sock and tie a knot and just start at the top of our spine and lay on the ground and lower it down.
You’ll get to a point where you feel that really tightness, and you’ll just sort of relax into that position and it can kind of get things to go back where they go. I had a physio appointment and a chiropractic appointment that day, and I told them, “Oh, I popped a rib out,” and I was going to get it adjusted, and so he was trying to adjust me.
And I adjust very easily, like, I can take a deep breath and things will kind of move or pop where they’re supposed to go. And he was adjusting me and I was like, “No, it’s still bothering me,” and it was kind of like, when you feel like you have to move like this.
And so then the next day I saw my physio to do a little bit of cupping and acupuncture, and I was like, “I think I slipped a rib out yesterday and I went to the chiropractor and we couldn’t get it back in.” So, he’s feeling on me and trying to manipulate more muscle or tissue to try to get things to relax. It didn’t really go away.
So, everyday training after that – this was right before I went home for Christmas – I would get up in the morning, I’d be a little bit uncomfortable, and then I’d get on a foam roller at the gym, and I’d start with the foam roller across the top of my back and I’d put my hands behind my head, and I’d sort of roll down my back and my back would all pop, and then I would finish by pulling my chin to my chest, and I would pop.
And I went, like, “Ooh, okay. That feels so much better.” And I’d workout and I was fine. Went home, my mom picked me up from the airport, totally fine. Went to her house, totally fine, went to bed, woke up the next morning, and I was supposed to train. I was going to train, we were going to film, just vlogging.
And I was foam rolling by my parent’s fireplace and I started to just lock up, across my back, across my neck, and I could not figure out what was going on, it was getting worse and worse, and it was so bad that if I turned my head to left or right, or up or down, or moved, I had definitely a nerve pain, that sharp, burning type of pain that was coming down from the top of my head.
But mostly I was feeling it in my arm. It wasn’t in my neck, it wasn’t in my chest or anything, but, I’m not a doctor, so maybe if I were, I would have been like, “Oh, there’s probably something going on.” But it was in my arm, and it was so bad I couldn’t really move.
My sister had just had back surgery, and – runs in the family – and she had muscle relaxants. So she gave me one of those. I remember I was making breakfast and I finally got to where I could sort of move. So I warmed up to work out, and you have to remember, too, I’m trying to train as much as possible, because this was my comeback year.
So, 2017 was my comeback year. And I was strong and I was fit and, all of a sudden, I couldn’t really move very well, but worked out, didn’t really feel super great. I thought, “You know what? I must have slept wrong on the bed. I must have slept with a wrong pillow or something.”
So, I didn’t sleep on the bed that night, I slept on the floor, like, more of a hard surface and that was really bad, because, again, I didn’t know it was my neck. So, I’m sleeping on the ground, I’ve got a pillow, so I’m not super supported here. And it was so painful, I’m a grown woman, just bawling, just sobbing, and I go into my parents’ room. My dad gets out of his bed, I take another muscle relaxant, I get in where he was sleeping, finally fall asleep
We call the chiropractor the next day, because I, again, tried to do a little bit of some more rowing the next day, and I remember looking in the mirror. My whole right side was sort of like, hiked up. So, something was spasm-ing, something was happening.
And I went to the chiropractor, and we never really thought this, because I didn’t do anything, like, I just woke up. And I didn’t do anything weeks prior, I didn’t drop a bar on me, I didn’t fall, I didn’t do anything like that, and then this just went on for kind of a long time. I got home, I was kind of laying off upper body type stuff, so I started to feel a little bit better.
But every morning, at the time my mattress was on the floor, so I would roll out of bed onto all fours, and I couldn’t move my head, so then I would get to standing, and my husband would have to get out and pop my back and now it makes sense, right? Creating space, allowed some relief.
So he would pop my back and I would sort of move and I remember making breakfast like this, scrambling eggs, but I couldn’t move my chin, so everything was looking down or looking up and I let this go on for a long time, because I really just thought it was nerves, like, impingement.
Lewis Howes: And you kept training, too?
Brooke Ence: Yeah. I was getting cupped, I have photo’s of my entire back, just, I’m like, “I just need to create space! There’s just a nerve that’s pinched.” It really was impinged, like, right here. I finally saw my rolfer, are you familiar with a rolfer?
Lewis Howes: Yeah. I’ve done rolfing.
Brooke Ence: They’re amazing. And the guy I work with in Santa Cruz, Brian Johnson is incredible. And I went and saw him, and I hadn’t seen him in, like, a year and a half. So he starts talking to me, and I’m just telling him everything I’ve already told you, “I’m pretty sure I slipped a rib,” yahdah, yahdah, yahdah.
He was like, “Okay, stop,” and I lay down and he starts feeling down my spine and he feels right on the back side of where it’s at. And he said the way the tissue felt was as if I may have pulled a muscle. Nothing hurt me, but he was able to get some tissue to sort of move. And that night was the first time I slept, in a month and a half.
I remember I woke up, and I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. So, to me, I’m thinking – at the time, right before that, I had scheduled an MRI, I was seeing my chiropractor four days a week, and I should have seen him every day, like, that’s what I wanted, was every day. Finally I scheduled an MRI, but then I saw Brian and I felt better.
So, I’m thinking I got work done and I felt better, that’s a good sign, and so I thought, “Well if it is a pulled muscle, then it just needs time to heal. And I need to lay off it.” You know? So, cancelled my MRI, kept training. And now in my head I’m thinking, “Well, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s inflamed, but I’m okay, I’m not doing anything worse to myself.”
The day they announced the first workout, I was still in just really bad shape. At this point I couldn’t hold myself on a rope, I couldn’t hold my body on the pullbar, I couldn’t spray a hairspray bottle, I couldn’t use my thumb to text, I couldn’t do a lot of basic things.
And, to me, I’d go running, after I would run, my hand would cramp up and I would just shake it off, shake it off, stretch it out, no big deal. When they announced it, I went to see Brian, I made an appointment with Brian. I’m like, “Dude, you got to do something for me. Because this starts tomorrow, they announced the first workout today, I need some inflammation to go down, I need to be able to use…”
Lewis Howes: Is this for the Open?
Brooke Ence: Yeah, this is for the open. So, he’s like, “Okay, well, let’s see.” And he starts working on me, and he says, “We’ll start from the hands and move up,” because, before he just went straight to here and then moved down
Well, same thing. After he finished, this was the first time that, when he was done, I didn’t feel better. I still felt like I was aching, I mean, like, I was bruised all down my tricep, because I constantly was rubbing it myself or digging into it at the Crossfit, or making the boys, all my guy friends just rub it.
It hurt so bad, when I’d drive, I would have to put my arm up here, I’d put it on the ceiling, or hold it across here. I could not find a comfortable place for it. And because it was not feeling better, right after I left his office, I called, scheduled the MRI. They got me in that day, so I drove over, got that and then next morning, my chiropractor was reading it for me and I was in denial.
He basically just starts going into this full conversation of, “You need to think about your quality of life. You cannot compete this year,” and I, fully, was like, “I don’t care what you say, I’m competing, whatever it is. It’s a bulge.” And he’s like, “No, it’s significantly bulging, I’m not a spine doctor and I can’t tell you my opinion, per se, but you need to rethink if you’re going to compete this year.”
So, I immediately sent it to my coaches. One of my coaches is a ear, nose and throat surgeon, right? And so, he also sent it to his buddy, who’s an ortho, out there. They started calling and calling and calling to get me in to see Dr Ivan Chang. He’s up at Stanford, and he’s like, the spine guy up there, for all the 49ers and athletics and they called over and over and over again.
And finally his office called and they got me in for an appointment Monday morning, his very first appointment. And Monday, at five, I think, or four, is the last time you can submit your score for workout 1. So, basically I had already done the workout, I did it anyways, it was really crappy, and then I drove over Monday, saw him, and the plan would be I would do it again if I wanted to and submit it again, depending on what he had to say.
And he, with the MRI up, and he even took it to his colleagues, in hopes that they could say, “Oh, no, do this, do this.” But it was not good, and he basically just said, he pointed at it and he said, “There’s no more room for your spinal cord. In that area, there’s no more room for it. It’s being pressed as far as it will go.”
It literally looked like someone was pinching it in half. And he said, “If it decides to herniate any more, if it tries to, you’ll have severe permanent damage.” He’s like, I wouldn’t even go much longer without having it fixed,” because it’s one of those things you just don’t know. Because I could trip, or…
Even though I’d been training and doing all this stuff, like, I could do one thing and my body could decide to let it go, and it’s like…
Lewis Howes: It’s done.
Brooke Ence: There was no real knowing what would happen and it was up so high, so that was really sad.
Lewis Howes: So, did you have the surgery right after, or what?
Brooke Ence: No, that was mid-February, and we scheduled it for March 31st.
Lewis Howes: Did you keep training.
Brooke Ence: No.
Lewis Howes: So, no more training.
Brooke Ence: No upper body. I did other stuff, but I literally stopped going overhead and…
Lewis Howes: And using your neck.
Brooke Ence: Yeah. And I think the realisation of, too, of…
Lewis Howes: Or handstand push-ups and just slamming on the head.
Brooke Ence: And, I mean, that’s the thing, too. I had been getting adjusted four days a week. I was snatching, I was clean-and-jerking, so, snatching not really too big of a deal, you’re not bringing the weight to your shoulders, but anything else, where I’m bringing weight to my shoulders or headstands, or push-ups, or whatever.
I remember, for wall balls – you know what a wall ball is – prior to this, I couldn’t look up, because it was so painful, so I’d have to wall ball, like this, and just guess. It’s like I would do one and do a full lean back to catch it.
Lewis Howes: I hated wall balls, it’s the worst. Wow. So you got surgery afterwards, about a month later, and then what happened?
Brooke Ence: And then, it was just the road to recovery, basically.
Lewis Howes: So, they cut open your throat, here?
Brooke Ence: Yeah, they cut me here, and they basically take everything and move it over to the side.
Lewis Howes: Ah! That’s crazy!
Brooke Ence: And then they took the disc out and did a bone graft, so they put in bone, cadaver bone.
Lewis Howes: From where?
Brooke Ence: Not mine, cadaver. And then a plate and four screws. And then it was just, I wore a neck brace for six weeks, I couldn’t drive for six weeks, for obvious reasons, right? Couldn’t turn my head, couldn’t move my head for that long.
Lewis Howes: This was, like, a year ago, right? A year and a couple of months?
Brooke Ence: Yeah, and then I basically, a few days after having surgery, the only exercise I could do was I’d sit on a bike and I could use my legs, and then I would do air squats. That’s pretty much it, and walking lunges, that was it, for a long time.
Because they needed that to take. It’s crazy, it’s just like gravity, so I couldn’t bend at the waist, so all my friends got a real big kick out of standing behind me and calling my name, because I would be like this, like full turn around and I’m trying to pick anything up off the floor.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, it’s a full squat.
Brooke Ence: Yeah, and feel around on the ground.
Lewis Howes: And so, now, you had a pretty good recovery, because now you’ve come back, you’ve been training hard and you did regionals. How has that been? Did people think you would be able to come back and start training like this?
Brooke Ence: I think most people didn’t, and then some people that didn’t know what had happened, maybe look at how I did at regionals is like, I couple of things. And I feel like this is a very small percentage of people, but they either think that, all of the other stuff I have going on, like, I like business, is too important.
Lewis Howes: It’s distracting you.
Brooke Ence: Yeah, or they think that I’m just not focussed enough and I’m just not good enough. So, I think that’s a much smaller percentage of people, but also, I don’t really care.
Lewis Howes: Exactly.
Brooke Ence: It doesn’t affect me. It is very difficult knowing what I’ve gone through and wanting people to understand, but everyone’s just not going to understand. And so, that was something that I really had to deal with mentally, and preparing myself mentally for regionals. Of just knowing that I have to not care what people will think.
And it’s very easy to say, “I don’t care,” and I don’t want to care, but there’s still a piece inside me, because I’m a competitor and I love to help people and make people happy. I want to care, I want you to think of me in a good way. I want you to know that I’ve worked my butt off and all I’ve been doing is training and listening to my surgeons.
Where I was, and where I am in my recovery, or how I placed at regionals, was not a lack of effort. It was not a lack of trying or caring or time. It was a lack of time under tension, it was a lack of… that’s just where I’m at.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, recovery.
Brooke Ence: This point in my recovery. And so, luckily, I’ve got quite the tribe, that I really felt their support during regionals, which was quite amazing, and I was talking to my friend about it the other day, about just, like, I just had a million followers on Instagram, which I think is very cool. I think that social media totally sucks, to be honest.
Lewis Howes: Why does it suck, for you?
Brooke Ence: I just, not for me, just in general, like with anything that’s really good, it equally can be as bad. I just think that it is tough, and the stuff that I read sometimes that is so unbelievably hurtful, it’s really hard. And I think more times than prior to having this amazing platform, I really have to be secure with myself, I think because of all of this and because of the type of person that I am and what I’ve been through, I am more secure with myself, than I ever was before.
Even with more hurtful things being said or really just misunderstood things.
Lewis Howes: How are you more secure now?
Brooke Ence: I am much more confident in who I am, and my body and what I’m doing, whereas, before, and it’s more so that I’ve just had so much mental growth, and thats not because anyone else did that for me, it’s because I’ve been through some very tough things the past few years, and I wanted it, I was willing to read the books, to seek the help, to talk to the people.
And now it matters a lot for me to be vulnerable and to share my story with people and be willing to talk about the things that maybe are really hard to talk about, because the messages that I get on a daily, of the men and women and boys and girls that I am affecting and helping, that is what is the most important to me.
And that’s why I say social media kind of sucks, and it’s just because it is equally as bad as it is good, but it’s so unbelievably powerful. You can be so powerful, and it sucks because there’s people that who have power that I feel like they shouldn’t, you know, based on, one, the lack of caring or doing things to affect people in a positive way, the lack of using their power or their platform for good.
And that could be that they genuinely just don’t think about that or they genuinely, they’re a little bit lazy on that and people get busy, people have a lot of stuff going on, and sometimes it’s hard to remember all the things you want to talk about or all the people you want to help. You know, and when you’re being pulled in a million directions.
But I do think that if more people used it in a way to spread good and happiness and help people and be more charitable, we would just be in a much better situation. I mean, worldwide.
Lewis Howes: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
Brooke Ence: But, I mean, you can’t make everyone think that way, and that’s okay. Not everyone is cut out to do some things and that’s okay. I understand now that is what I have to do, and that is what I’m supposed to do, and that is what I’m doing. Which that fuels me, even when I’m having the worst day, or someone has written something very terrible or rude, that can pull me out of ever feeling like this is too much, or any sort of negative space, and I’m able to basically just go, [dusts off hands].
I mean, that’s your opinion; I don’t even know you, so it doesn’t matter, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m supposed to do, because this million and forty-thousand people, need me.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. Now, you’ve got a very specific body type. Not many women look like you, your kind of physique. You’re jacked, I feel intimidated being around you, because you can lift more than me, and has that affected you in terms of your own personal view of yourself or your confidence in the past?
Brooke Ence: Oh, yeah. I’ve been super built my whole life. And I was teased quite a bit, growing up, so, I mean, you’ll understand this too, it’s like, I think, naturally, to protect ourselves as we go through hardships, we just kind of built walls, or ignore things or shut things out, or don’t think about things, to protect ourselves from maybe the insecurities we have or having to be vulnerable and show them to people.
And I think, with things that I went through, with bullying in school, or stuff that had changed the way that I maybe thought about myself, instead of – I really just ignored them for a long time – until certain events happened where I couldn’t ignore them any more.
Because, like, for instance, in 2015 I won my region, I took first in all of California, I had two rookie wins at the Crossfit Games in 2015, I finished 14th. I got a phone call from Warner Brothers, I ended up auditioning for a movie, ended up being for ‘The Justice League’, which also had me play a role in ‘Wonderwoman’ as an Amazon.
A lot happened that year, and it was amazing! It was so much good that was happening, and not because I was chasing that, but it was a natural progression because of who I am, and also, I just focussed on being the best athlete that I could.
I had experiences on both those movies that had me, like, I’m by myself and preparing for the 2016 season, not only do I still have the same insecurities and same thoughts that come up, but I had not yet really addressed them, or practiced, or learned or trained my mind in a way to be able to let them come and go, without giving them too much attention. Without letting them be a reality.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. And consume you.
Brooke Ence: Yeah. So, not only had I, in real life, I had been able to train myself in a way where, when those things came up, I could really just go – I didn’t address them though, but I could ignore them. And the walls I had built up had, honestly, probably helped me to get to a certain point in my career, and when I was over there, I still have the same insecurities and now I’m in a whole different group of people, and a whole new industry I had never been a part of, and it was challenging!
Lewis Howes: Well, how so?
Brooke Ence: It was challenging to, in a community where I still stick out because of how I look, not as much my body, just the whole me, it’s just more accepted in my Crossfit community and health and fitness.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, celebrated.
Brooke Ence: It was celebrated and more understood. And now, all of a sudden, I’m in a community where I was called because of that, but in a whole new world, where some people don’t agree, or understand, or celebrate, and sometimes, for myself, inside, I didn’t celebrate it.
And sometimes I loved it, and sometimes I didn’t, and now I was in a situation where I would have given anything to, sort of, fit in. Whereas, I constantly tried to tell myself that I loved standing out. And I did, even though sometimes people can say things or there are insecurities that might pop up that I’m like, “Oh, I wish I was a little bit different.”
Now, I was in a situation where I was very different, and I just wanted to have more positive talk coming from other people, and I didn’t really have anyone to lean on. I was really by myself. I got through it and I dealt with it and I really was, like, I get home and I go to competition, I go the 2016 regional, I’m like, “You know what?” I was dealing with some injuries, I had some really bad tendonitis in my knee, so bad that we stopped me squatting altogether, like, below parallel, six weeks before regionals.
And I was, like, “You know, I’m going to have the toughest mental game, though. I’m going to be so mentally tough!” Winter regionals, fought like hell, going into the final even there were six of us in contention for the final spot for the Games. I had to beat two of the girls, I beat one of them and the other girl I needed to beat won the last event.
From what I understand, I was one point away from qualifying. All the trolls just came rolling in on social media, holy cow! They weren’t just attacking my appearance any more, they were attacking my character, my drive, my work ethic, all these things that was really hard for me to handle and think about and then, also, I’d always had some thoughts, or insecurities, or questions about myself, internally.
I never told people. And so, what happens when you don’t tell people and it’s just in your own head, you’re thinking, “Oh, well, it’s probably not real.” Like, I’m thinking it’s not real, but now all of a sudden I have all these people saying stuff, and I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh! It is real!” Like, “I shouldn’t have won the region in 2015. It’s a fluke that I went to the Crossfit Games in 2015. How was I in a movie? Why would they want me to be in a movie? I don’t look feminine.”
All of these things! “I’m not coming back, I’m washed up.” All these things that they were saying, and I still couldn’t grasp the fact that they don’t know me! And that there’s just people that I swear are getting paid to talk crap about…
It just broke me down, and it was at a point where I was so anxious and I was so sad and I was so depressed for so long, and I knew that I didn’t want to be that way any more, but I didn’t know how to get through it. I started trusting some of the people that I work with, and I started just, like, the thoughts that I was thinking or in my introvert – I’m a total introvert, who’s not good at extroverting – and so I started talking out loud, really just saying things out loud.
And a friend of mine was like, “You know, you have imposter syndrome,” he’s like, “You’re dealing with imposter syndrome.” Which made total sense.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. I think everyone’s had that.
Brooke Ence: Yeah, I mean, it’s a thing, too. When you look it up, almost anyone who’s having success will go through something like that. And it really talked about certain women between age this and age that, and that being something you deal with.
From there, honestly, we’re just at a place where I had been so vulnerable, I had shown so much of my self through – they did a road to the games on me that year, and I was so stressed out and I was so upset. I had just prepared for the regionals like no one else had, and I’m so connected with some of those guys with the cameras, I don’t, like, “You’ve got me.” And I think that’s how I am in general, but I had just had this opportunity.
I just completely showed myself to the community, to anyone. I was at a place where I needed to, if I wanted to be better, if I wanted to be better than I ever could have been, I needed to work through this stuff. I needed to tear the walls down. I think to a certain point, the walls I had built are the things I had, the lies I had told myself so I could get through a day without thinking negative thoughts about myself, probably really helped me get to a certain point.
But to become anything more or bigger or better than that, I had to deal with them. And that’s kind of what happened.
Lewis Howes: How did you deal with them?
Brooke Ence: Well, I read a book; one, talking to people that I really trusted. The thoughts that I have, instead of just keeping them inside because I’m embarrassed about them, saying those out loud to someone that I trusted so that I could…
One, when you say them to a friend, they will hear and go like, “You know how ridiculous that sounds, right?” But also, two, sometimes you say them out loud to yourself and you’re like, “Oh, wait. That sounds way dumb. So, a lot more of that, and then I read a book from Brené Brown, ‘Daring Greatly’, literally promote that book to everyone.
Lewis Howes: She’s amazing.
Brooke Ence: Yeah, and that was probably the book that probably helped me decide how I could start mending things moving forward, and realising that we have all of these moments that that you can always just make a change.
Like, I’m feeling all of these things and I’ve been affected by what people have said about me, and I knew that I wanted to feel better and change and move on and move forward and grow from the experience, but it was almost like I was waiting for this moment, where it was like, “Well, now you can.” But in reality it’s like, “You have a million moments.”
Lewis Howes: Yeah, every moment we get to decide.
Brooke Ence: And you just get to make a choice.
Lewis Howes: And that’s the challenge. I meet with a lot of people who don’t believe in themselves, or they don’t think they’re ready, or they don’t think they should be in the position they’re at, or they have this imposter syndrome.
And every moment, like you said, we have an opportunity to decide if we want to continue to tell ourselves negative things, or say something positive that we do belong or we are good enough, or hear exactly where we need to be at the right time.
And a lot of people, I think, struggle with accepting their greatness, or accepting the success they’re getting and it always frustrates me why we struggle with that, because we should be stepping into it more and more to inspire other people. And when we constantly say negative things to ourselves, it just holds us back and holds other people back.
But, like you said, when we start to talk about it with friends, that’s when we realise how stupid or ridiculous it may be. And so, sharing these things more with people, and not just holding it in, is what’s going to help us move forward. So I glad you started doing that.
Brooke Ence: Yeah, I mean, it really started to make a difference, and one, in relationships, in my training, and it really was just me realising that the only person that was holding me back, was myself. And it really helped me realise the I don’t have to give power, and not only do I not have to give power to my negative thoughts, but I don’t have to give power to strangers’ thoughts.
People say dumb stuff all the time, and if you don’t like the way I look, or you don’t like the way I dress, it still doesn’t affect the fact that I’m still going to go and be successful, and I’m still going to go and be the person that I’m supposed to be, even if you don’t like me.
If I go to a shop, and I see a shirt, and I like the price, but I think it’s really ugly, I’m not going to buy it. That’s okay, someone else might come in and they’ll buy it and that’s for them. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t value the fact that it was a shirt that you could wear.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, but you don’t need to go online and say, “This is an ugly shirt!”
Brooke Ence: Yeah, but also realising that someone might come and see me, and they might have an opinion, or an assumption, it’s an assumption, even if they say it, it might hurt my feelings, but no matter what they say, it doesn’t change what my goal is, it doesn’t change what I’m doing.
So, if it does change those things, it’s because I’m allowing it to, because I’m now saying, I’m dwelling on what you had to say to me, when, in reality, if I just go like this, [dusts off shoulders] and say, “Okay, thank you,” and walk away, how many more moments do I have ahead of me, than trying to relive all these crappy ones that are behind me?
And I really just started thinking more along those lines, legitimately these people don’t matter, and what they have to say is not going to change what I’m doing tomorrow. If I have a job, and I’ve got to go to work, because I need to take care of my family, or I’ve got to do xyz, what people think about me will not keep me from doing my job.
What it will do is keep me from being a happy person, regardless whether I listen to them or I don’t, I’m going to do my job because these things matter to me and taking care of these people matter to me, I need to have money to eat food, I’m going to do that. It’s my choice if I want to be a happier person or an angry person.
And once somebody says something or makes a comment, they’re a stranger, they’re a stranger forever. So, it’s my decision if I’m going to believe them or I’m going to say, “I’m happy with who I am, I’m not for everybody and that’s okay.”
Lewis Howes: What advice do you give to people who are focussed on other people’s words all the time? How do they move past that, and not let it affect them?
Brooke Ence: I think it’s just, I recommend it’s a practice. It’s literally a practice. And one thing I’ve started to do, especially on social media, or even if it’s maybe I’m out in the streets and someone has something to say, I will smile! I’ve been working with, do you know who Justin Su’a is? So Justin Su’a is a sports psychologist, and he works with a lot of MLB players, and he’s been working with me.
And something like, he was really helping me prepare for the regional, because I was already, like weeks leading up to it, an emotional rollercoaster. I think that I hadn’t quite yet felt things, or let myself feel things that were a natural response to what I had been through, and I was starting to feel them, like, I would be completely fine, and then, all of a sudden, I could just start crying and I felt anxiety in my body, not just in my heart or my soul or my head, it was physically, in my legs, in my arms.
And something he talked about was, every time I have a worry or a stress or maybe I have a negative thought about my own performance or something come into my head, it’s like, “Just smile at it, and let it go.” And I do that, and I do it physically, I think about it, I remind myself that it really doesn’t matter, and we have thoughts all day. We have thoughts all the time.
And one of the best things someone told me one day was, “Okay, think of the birds that fly over your head, we have no control over them, but what we can control is if we let them build a nest in our hair.” So, it’s like, we might have these thoughts and people might say some things, but we can just let them go. And if we pay attention to them, or give them power, that’s when it’s going to start stirring and create problems.
So I definitely am practicing it all the time. Practicing celebrating myself a little bit more. I’m not super great at receiving compliments, or talking about myself, for that matter, and I think that’s also stuff that I dealt with the the imposter syndrome thing, l know that I’m doing a lot of really amazing things, and having great opportunities.
And it’s not because its just because I’m a fluke and people for a second think I’m cool, but it’s because I am doing things. It’s because I am good at business, it’s because I am good with people, its because I do work hard for my goals, I do want to help people, I do love making people happy. I love building businesses and working with teams of people that want to be successful and make changes and differences. That’s all real.
And so, I’m getting a lot better at, not only letting things go that will only cause grief, even though that grief won’t make a difference in if I wake up and get out of bed tomorrow. I might, and that’s the thing too, realising, is that going to change what you do tomorrow? Are you still going to get up, are you still going to get out of bed? Still going to go to work?
So, realise that you haven’t lost chances to be a better person. You haven’t lost chances to love yourself, you haven’t lost chances to be successful, because we have all these moments when you literally can just do it, just be the person that you want to be. Just smile at the people that walk in the street because you want to be a happy person, and you just get to do it.
And I have this conversation a lot with people with diet, because sometimes we fall off the wagon, right? We have these big goals of wanting to lose weight or gain muscle, whatever that is, and sometimes we have these moments of weakness. And so, realising that it’s okay, and you might have to tell yourself, “It’s okay!” like, a lot! Okay? But it is okay!
Let’s say I wake up in the morning and I have a cinnamon roll instead of my eggs and bacon.
Lewis Howes: Mmmm. Love cinnamon rolls.
Brooke Ence: Cinnamon rolls are so good!
Lewis Howes: So good!
Brooke Ence: But, instead of my usual, maybe I usually have bacon and eggs, cup of coffee and a green smoothie or something – and I feel really good when I eat like that – this morning I have a cinnamon roll. Maybe I’m still working on relationship with food, and I’m still working on a lot of these other insecurities that I have, and so, at that moment I’m just beating myself up, like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve ruined it! I’ve ruined it!”
Because that’s what start to happen inside, it’s like, “It’s over! I had this great streak going and now it’s over! I’ve ruined it!” But in reality, it’s like, “Okay, literally forgive yourself and that was breakfast, so now all we have to do is focus on lunch.”
Lewis Howes: And make a better decision, yeah.
Brooke Ence: “We make it to lunch and you can get to a decision where it’s this or this, and you can make that better decision, you’re golden. So, just worry about that one and then when that’s over, then we focus on dinner.” That’s how I work with my training, that’s how I do a lot of things, I don’t try to look too far in advance.
Because I get overwhelmed really easily. If someone has a lot of weight to lose, if their goal is like, lose a hundred pounds, I can only imagine. Even with me with some of my goals, like this recovery. It feels like it’s so far away and it takes so long for you to start seeing a difference so that you naturally are motivated to keep going, right? That it would be super easy to give up or to want to stop.
But if you – and I tell people this – if you just focus on all those little moments along the way, and ignore what your big goal is, time goes by so fast. A year goes by so unbelievably fast that it will be here before you know it. And I completely agree that sometimes if you focus on something it feels so far away or just so out of reach, you can definitely get too discouraged before you actually try to get there.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. How do you train for a workout then, to set yourself up to have the best workout you possibly can? What do you think about?
Brooke Ence: Well, I first understand that, depending on what I’ve done the day before, or what part, like, what moment in that training cycle I’m in, or how I physically feel, or what I’m going through mentally, or whatever. There’s so many factors that are going to weigh on you.
So, I accept that my 100% can look different on different days. And as long as I give my 100%, regardless of what my score is, regardless of what my time was, or regardless of what the weight was, if I give my true 100%, that is how I get better.
Because if I’m physically there, I’m mentally there, I’m doing what I can, maybe I haven’t had a lot of sleep, maybe I’ve been travelling, or I’m sick. It’s not a matter of always having to have the same numbers, or always having to have the same time, your effort – it’s just like when me and you work out together, the weights, the time the skills might be different, or look different, but your effort and how it makes you feel is the exact same as how it’s going to make me feel.
It might take me a little bit longer in a workout to reach a point where it’s like, you can literally tell, “This is when I get better.” In the middle of a long run, everybody hits a moment when it’s like, “I want to stop!” If you can get yourself to not stop when you want to stop, that is when you’re getting better.
That’s what I tell myself in workouts, when it’s just hurting so bad, I’m so tired, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so tired! I’m so fatigued! I want to put this weight down!” Every time I hit that point, I try to hang on a little longer. And in my head it’s like, “That’s where I’m making gains,” and it’s tough, because it takes a lot of effort to get to that point that you get to make a difference.
Lewis Howes: So hard. And training your mind to push through every time is so challenging. I think that Muhammad Ali said that he doesn’t start counting until it starts to hurt, doesn’t start counting the reps, and it’s challenging to break through constantly, pain.
But that’s why I always talk about doing something every single day that you are uncomfortable with, or that is painful. That’s why I think working out helps us train our minds to overcome all the challenges of life, whether it’s a thousand people giving you nasty comments on social media, or saying something about you, or a business partnership not going the way you want it to, but having the mental agility to move through any challenge, is what’s key, in my opinion, for us to be happy.
If we don’t have that mental agility, we aren’t going to be able to stay happy, or be happy, and we’re going to let a moment consume us and build a nest on our head, constantly. So, that’s great! How do you push through every time? When it hurts? Is it just practice, again, just taking them one at a time?
Brooke Ence: Yeah, and you know what, there are days that I don’t. And that’s where it comes in, being able to practice that you can be kind to yourself. Understanding that you’re going to have good and bad days. Understanding that sometimes you’re going to make a decision and it’s going to be the wrong one.
So, also knowing that you need to be kind to yourself, and know that those moments are going to happen and it’s not the end of the world, then the goal becomes, tomorrow I’m going to make the right decision.
Lewis Howes: That’s it! And focus on the next decision. Yeah, I love that! What’s the vision for you moving forward now? You didn’t make the Games this year, but you’ve got a lot of businesses that you’re running, you’re doing movies, you’re doing other stuff. What’s the rest of this year or the next twelve months’ vision for you?
Brooke Ence: Yeah, just continuing my recovery. I’ll be honest, before this season I was thinking I don’t know if I’ll compete again after this year, because I love doing other stuff, I love the business and certain people, even within my industry have been telling me, “You don’t have to compete any more.” But I want to, and it’s not for other people, it’s definitely for me, and it’s still a huge part of me, and I think that training will always be a big part of me and who I am. I’ve been super active my whole life.
Luckily, with a lot of the businesses that I have going on, I don’t do anything on my own, but I’m very strategic about who I do it with, and the people that I’m working with in all the different things I’ve got going on, they hustle as hard as I do, and want those things to be successful just as much as I do. So, I know that when I’m not there, they’re still growing.
I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to get my shoulders checked and probably going to start, I don’t really want to do surgery on my torn labrum, so I’m going to look into some other stuff that I can do, and now is the perfect time to do that. I’m not upset that I didn’t make the Games, and I think that’s because I really had a big moment where I grew as a person and as a competitor during regionals.
Lewis Howes: Do you almost feel relief that you’re not having to train as hard, for the Games?
Brooke Ence: It’s not a relief, it’s more so that I’m just okay with it. The relief probably is coming, knowing that I still have a couple of things that I couldn’t address, because I wanted to try to have a comeback year. And the other things just need more time, so now I just continue into training, and we lower my volume for a little bit.
Lewis Howes: Recover and let your body rest.
Brooke Ence: And recover, but it’s going to be a much easier recovery than coming from a spinal fusion. And I feel like I was able to accomplish a lot this year, and it was a constant physical training and battle, and also mentally. Trying to learn to feel emotions and feel feelings, without feeling like I can’t feel those or I shouldn’t feel them any more or they’re dumb or I shouldn’t show them to people, you know? Or I shouldn’t be upset, I’ve got to be positive.
Instead, realising I don’t have to be happy about where I placed, I don’t have to be happy about how my first workouts went. But what I can do is decide, what am I going to do about it? If something’s going bad, it’s not making up some lie, thinking that we can make it way better. Or, it’s also not the opposite, of being so upset that I just am paralysed that I can’t do anything about it.
It’s saying, “Well, I’m not happy, about how event one, two or three went.” I came out of event three, first of all, I’ve never had more people cheer for me, ever, than I did at regionals this weekend.
Lewis Howes: Wow! That’s cool!
Brooke Ence: And I was in heat one, I mean, what I have heard, too, is that you just don’t even hear that in the first heats. You have people that are really there for those last heat, for those last girls that are in contention. It was insane, and I was so bummed, during event three. I just wasn’t happy about my placing, but you would never know it, because in the moment, all I could think about is, “Keep trying,” and I had never felt so much support.
That was the first time, for instance, on social media you see your number of fans, right? I understand that I do affect a lot of people in a really great way. I understand that I have a power that is very powerful and I can do a lot of good with it, but until you actually hear it, or see them, or meet them, it’s still kind of like, it’s just social media, you know?
You don’t, maybe, quite understand what position you’re in, and so that was the first time that it was like, “I hear you.” And now I really, really know that you all have my back. And after that event, I still came off the floor, I as just bummed, I really was just ready for it to be over. And one of my coaches came over to me and his name’s Michael Cazayoux, he owns ‘Brute Strength’, and he said, “What are you thinking right now?”
And I said, “Honestly, I just want it to be done,” I was just so tired and embarrassed. And embarrassed because I was – again, it wasn’t a lack of trying, it wasn’t a lack of training, it was a realisation of where I am with those skills at this point in my recovery. And there wasn’t something more I could do.
I couldn’t suck it up more, I couldn’t try harder, that just was the reality and it wasn’t something I loved, because I’ve been an athlete, I’ve been at this level and now it’s like, “I know what that feels like and I want that,” and it’s not like I’m not trying to have that, it’s just this is where I’m at and where my body’s at, you know?
We talked about how, moving forward, there’s three more events, and three events that I would be really good at, how this could be a really big defining moment in going into next year, and me as an athlete, as a competitor, in business, in my relationships, and it was just how I chose to use this weekend.
I went out for event four and it was this great, very fast, painful, high intensity workout that I knew I could do really well on, and before that I didn’t even feel, like there was no real point to try, per se, and to push myself to that really painful limit, because it wasn’t going to pay off, in the numbers or in the ranking. And so, what I was able to do, and what I did is, changing my mindset from, “I don’t care.”
I didn’t care how I placed on those workouts, I didn’t care if I was beating people or if I wasn’t, I was going to make sure, that, physically, I was willing to do the best that I possibly could do, and when it hurt, I would tell myself it didn’t, and when I wanted to stop, I wouldn’t because I’m capable of it. I’m capable of doing so well on these, and so is everyone else, right?
But I didn’t care any more about what my placing was, I didn’t care, and I had to do that. It really was, it was that event, that next event, how I handled that and how I chose to get through it, was going to set me up for the next, I had a whole nother day. And that’s why I was like, “I’m done, tired. I’m tired of feeling,” I didn’t want to feel any more.
And it really turned it around for me, and I won my heat, not only was it super emotional for me, my fans, my husband was, people were crying in the stands. I’m just moving on from regionals this year, I’m not bummed about how it went. I’m so grateful that I just had an opportunity to experience a regional in a way that I never had before, which now allows me to relate to even more people, which means I can help more people, because now I’ve lived all these different lives through competition.
I’ve had surgeries, I’ve had to sit out, I went and worked my butt off, but I didn’t qualify, I am recovering, I did not the best in three events and somehow I was able, I worked through it and I kicked butt on the last three workouts, and I finished, at the end, not in a qualifying spot, but just a happy person.
And I’ve been the person at regionals that finishes better than that, but was so unhappy and let so many outsiders affect me, that at the end of it, I was miserable. And in the end, that was because I was not yet capable of letting that stuff go, right? I was making myself miserable. No one else was making me be miserable in 2016, I was doing it.
And I just hadn’t dealt with things, or learned from things, or created the tools in my toolkit to be able to move through that negative stuff or those ups and downs easier. So, all these moments are just making me a stronger person who is way more capable of making a positive change, which is what, I think, fuels my fire more than anything else.
And making my coaches proud. I want that more than winning for myself. I want to go out and crush it, because I’ve seen the look on my coaches’ faces when I’ve done that, I’ve seen it and that is what motivates me and that is what I crave, is seeing that look in their eyes. Everything, from how their body language to what they have to say, or the lack thereof, because of how proud they are of what I was able to do, and that’s a huge piece of them, because I am a product of many people, but I am a product of them and a product of myself.
Lewis Howes: That’s cool! What’s the thing you’re most proud of since your surgery?
Brooke Ence: Well, I definitely think that regional, how I conducted myself. Just my energy across the weekend, and then obviously I’m super proud that I qualified for regionals. I mean, I was terrified. The regionals started in February and in December I still couldn’t use my hands, really. And I was really nervous through the open.
I mean, the open is like a lot of stuff that I struggle with because of my surgery, and I qualified 16th, and then I went on to regionals and finished 28th, or something like that, which is great, because up until event four I was, I think I was in second to last place.
Lewis Howes: There you go! You did amazing!
Brooke Ence: I mean, with that said, my region, the west region, the girls are insanely fit. All of them! You don’t find that at a lot of regionals.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, it’s tough.
Brooke Ence: It was very crazy, but also knowing, being there and seeing it and realising that everyone is just working so hard, made it even better for me to realise that I qualified, not last, to get into regionals. Sixteenth. I was fit, I was meant to be there. And at this time, I wasn’t meant to go to the Games, and these girls deserved it. But that’s okay, and that’s not the end all, be all.
So, the journey, I think I’m just so much more in love with being able to be a part of the journey, because last year, not being able to be a part of it at all, something that I work every day for, that’s what was really difficult.
Lewis Howes: Of course, sitting out, yeah. Couple of final questions for you: This is called The Three Truths, and imagine this is your last day, many years from now, on earth. And you’ve done everything you want to do. You’ve achieved every dream, you’ve had the relationships you want to have with people, and it’s time for you to move on into whatever’s next.
And for whatever reason you’ve got to take with you everything you’ve ever created with you. So you’ve done everything, but for whatever reason, nobody has access to it any more, you’ve got to take it with you. But you have a piece of paper and a pen to write down the three things you know to be true about your life and your experiences.
These will be your three lessons that you would share with the world and this is all the world would have to remember you by. What would you say are your Three Truths?
Brooke Ence: Oh, my gosh! This is what they would have to remember me by?
Lewis Howes: This is your lessons to the world, or the things you know to be true about life.
Brooke Ence: Probably one is going to be, you have the power to make a change, literally, at any moment, any day. You can choose to be happy, or choose to be happy, or choose to be unhappy. If you choose to be happy, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have unhappy things happen to you, but within your own mindset, being able to work through things, or not let outsiders affect you.
And it’s a constant practice, there is no end all, be all. I am constantly practicing these things, you life will just be so much better and everyone around you will be so much happier.
And then, also, surround yourself with the people that are or live or have the life or have the happiness that you also want. And then just worry about what they think. Or, look to them for opinions. That’s one thing that I’ve learned too, about people that say something that’s pretty awful, or just outsiders’ opinions. Do they, look at them, do they have the life that you want? Do they have the job that you are working towards? Do they have the happiness that you want?
If they don’t, then ignore them, because they’re not even on the same plane as you. They’re here, and your trajectory is here. Be true to yourself, and surround yourself with like-minded people that make you better.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, those are great. Powerful!
Brooke Ence: A few paragraphs. “Pick three things, Brooke,” alright!
Lewis Howes: I like it! I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Brooke, because you’ve had an incredible impact on so many people’s lives. Through your recovery, you’re already a strong individual, but through you being vulnerable as well, is what makes you even stronger.
And sharing your story, but also just showing up day by day through your recovery and not being perfect and not having it all put together the way you wanted to, with your workouts, and maybe your life in general, but saying, “I’m going to show up and do the best that I can.” It’s really making an impact and I know a lot of other people that are proud of you. So, congrats on everything.
Brooke Ence: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: Where can we connect with you online in anything that you’re up to? How can we support you? What’s the website, social media?
Brooke Ence: So, brookeence.com and there are two ‘E’s in the middle – people get that confused, there’s an ‘E’ at the end of my name, and then my last name starts with an ‘E’ – is my website. I have my YouTube channel which is just my first name, also #itmakesence, Instagram @brookeence, the same thing.
I’ve got a lot of different things I have going on, I work with a lot of really fantastic companies. Paleoethics is a protein sponsor of mine, and we’re actually getting ready to launch my own protein, which will be really delicious, and we just launched a skincare company called, ‘Athea Skin’, so @atheaskin, which is an anti-aging, great natural skincare line for really pushing toward people with an active lifestyle, people that are sweating.
And then from there, I have The Naked Program, which is an e-book that we just launched for the 99% of people out there that just want to feel confident, be strong and make gains.
Lewis Howes: Look good naked.
Brooke Ence: And look good naked! It is look good naked. You know, I understand that being competitive at everything is not for everyone, but there is some power in training and moving weight. I’m already getting so many messages of messages that, through a Facebook group, women that are making comments of, like, “I just took my shirt off for the first time in a workout, not because I’m happy about where I am currently, but because I was hot and I felt better and I feel more confident and I didn’t care about the way I looked any more. I cared about my performance and making sure that I did the best I could.”
Or people that are losing weight, it’s amazing! So The Naked Program, it’s an e-book, we’re launching a program in a few, in a couple of months, and I think that is it.
Actually, Trifecta Nutrition, let me just spit it all out. I’ve got my hands on a lot of things. Trifecta Nutrition is a food delivery service. It is incredible. So they do all of my food. They’re really great too, about how, if you have a subscription that they send to you every week, but you’re going to be out of town, like, I travel a lot, so if I’m going to be somewhere for training, I just give them my new address and they ship it to my new address so I can have my food where I’m going.
Lewis Howes: That’s great, amazing! Are you doing movies as well, more movies?
Brooke Ence: Movies, I don’t have anything in the works. No, I’m not in the new Wonderwoman movie, I think the Amazon portion in that’s very small and I really feel, like, I’m not against doing movies – I did musical theatre when I was in college, I wanted to be on Broadway, that was my thing before Crossfit and I like learning and playing new sports – but if something comes up, I am taking acting classes, because I want to be prepared, and if something comes up, I definitely am not against looking at it or trying it, but I do feel like the value in me doing what I’m already doing is so much higher and I can help so many more people than if I’m just trying to be a small role in a movie.
That doesn’t mean that I think the movies are bad, I just want to make sure that, whatever I do, I just want to make sure that it makes me happy and my soul happy, but I really want to keep helping more and more people.
So, Marvel, when you want to make that lady Thor movie, right?
Lewis Howes: Oh, yeah! That’d be great!
Brooke Ence: That one or a She-Ra. She-Ra and He-Man, trying to ride a unicorn, you know?
Lewis Howes: That’d be great! You’d be perfect, you’d be perfect! Final question for you. It’s, what’s your definition of greatness?
Brooke Ence: Oh, my goodness! Some of these questions are, like, I feel like I need to thing about this for a while. I imagine you’ve gotten so many different definitions from people. And this is really just on the spot, but I will say that I really feel like, for me, at this moment in my life, and this time in my life, my definition of greatness is the ability to allow yourself to be yourself, the best version of yourself in that moment in time.
By being vulnerable and recognising all the good things that you have going on. And by doing that your trajectory is only going to go up even more and you’re going to have the opportunity to make more people smile. More people are going to want you to be the person in their circle where they can surround themselves with people that have the happiness or the life or the motivation or the determination that motivates them to be that same type of person.
And the only way to do that is by first allowing yourself to realise that you are that, or that you are great.
Lewis Howes: Great!
Brooke Ence: Yeah!
Lewis Howes: Thanks for coming on.
Brooke Ence: Thanks for having me!
Lewis Howes: Appreciate it!
Brooke Ence: Yeah, thank you!
Lewis Howes: There you have it, my friends! You are great and you need to understand how great you can potentially be, once you work on these limiting beliefs and the conversations in your mind that say you’re not good enough, that say you shouldn’t be here.
You should be here! You’re here for a reason! Now it’s time to step into it! Again, Billie Jean King said, “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
Just because you’re not where you want to be, doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a Champion. You’ve got to keep playing the game of life. You’ve got to keep showing up, one decision at a time, one workout at a time, one meal at a time, one conversation at a time. Continue to make better decisions for your life and watch your life unfold in a magical way.
If you enjoyed this episode, go to the full show notes at lewishowes.com/649, watch the full video interview, we’ve got it over there; all the other links.
Again, a big thank you to our sponsors. The links for them are back there. Check out fin.com/greatness. Get a virtual assistant that you can try for free. It helps you do so many things of saving time on the tasks that you don’t need to be doing; managing your schedule, booking flights, figuring out meeting requests, all that stuff.
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And I want to see you in person! Again, no more excuses! You get to come to The Summit of Greatness. Go there right now, summitofgreatness.com. Come to our annual event. We’re going to have people fly in from around the world. I don’t care if money is tight or if you live in a different country, people are making it happen and you get to show up for yourself!
You get to give yourself an incredible experience, meet people that will be friends for a lifetime and start activating the things inside of you that have been hidden. Those things that other people have never seen. It’s time for them to come out. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family, you owe it to the world, to let your greatness out of you.
Come to The Summit of Greatness, sign up right now at summitofgreatness.com, get your ticket, bring your friends. Let’s make it an incredible, magical experience and I cannot wait to see you!
Again, one of the biggest things that holds us back in our life, is doubting ourself, is allowing the conversation in our mind to control our actions. You have an opportunity, right now, to make a different decision, to stop doubting yourself and start stepping into your greatness.
I love you. I’m so proud of you, for the work you’re doing on yourself, every single day. We’re in this together.
And you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!