Lance Wantenaar: [00:00:00] Welcome everyone to the thinking like a genius podcast episode. I’ve got the privilege of speaking to Brian. Fanzo also known as I social fans. I came across Brian on clubhouse. And Brian is a birth of a firecracker to say the least. He is a very energetic individual and he’s got some fascinating insights.
[00:00:46] And one of the reasons why I wanted to get him on is one, obviously he’s been involved in some cybersecurity, but also he’s very public and he’s got a unique story to tell. I love interviewing people who think differently and who looked at the challenges that life presents to them, and then they make their own out of it.
[00:01:08] They make the best of it. So Brian, tell us a bit more about yourself and then we’ll dive into some of the topics and, Yeah, explore some of the ideas of how you’ve become, what you’ve become and what your message is and what you want to do in life.
[00:01:24] Brian Fanzo: [00:01:24] That works for me. It sounds good. So, yeah. my name is Brian Fanzo.
[00:01:27] I’m the founder of isocialfans, and first and foremost. I am a girl, dad of three little girls, a 11 year old, nine year old and seven year old. I am ADHD super-powered I was diagnosed ADHD at 31 and it’s something I, I wear as a badge of honor and part of who I am. And am I right? And messaging and, you know, I was a computer science major in college.
[00:01:48]took on an entry-level job, at a help desk, for the U S government in cybersecurity. although I graduated, in 2003, I didn’t take any courses in cyber. So it was, a little bit of a gateway for me. And I ended up staying in that. that company for about nine years and slowly grew my role to, running an entire team of, 32 direct reports, 140 people across the team.
[00:02:10] And we were focused on getting different branches of the military, to share their cybersecurity policies, across the military, as we were deploying, both an antivirus, a rogue system detection solution around the world. So, in that in four years, I traveled to 54 countries, really working on.
[00:02:27] Not only the deployment of the tools, but trying to get an understanding on what the importance of us to collaborate. And so this was early two thousands, so things are a little bit, uh, to say the least we, we were learning on the fly for a lot of the things we did, including, you know, three trips to Iraq, two to Afghanistan.
[00:02:41] And, it was a really interesting time. I, did there about nine years and then left there, to chase what I consider my dream job, which was a technology evangelist, modeled after what guy Kawasaki did, at apple. And, was really focused on how could I be an evangelist for a company.
[00:02:56] So I worked at a data center company, for about two years, a little over two years, before it was purchased by century link. So it was my job as the evangelist was, I. I was a dotted line to the CEO and a dottedl line to the CMO and the CIO. And really, I became kind of the face of the brand, speaking on stages, trying to get people to understand cloud computing and really the future of where we were leaning.
[00:03:17] And after that company got bought, the last six years or so, I’ve been full-time keynote speaker and I talk a lot about storytelling, leveraging technology and, and, and really innovation and my focus. As a whole is helping brands, businesses, audiences find the synergy between technology and humanity.
[00:03:36] And that’s kind of really the role that I’m playing now. So I, I like to say my skillset more so than anything else is, I’m pretty good at translating the geek speak so I can understand the computer science cyber world, but I also can relate that to the executive. You know, room and, and the business world as well.
[00:03:51] And so that’s kind of my, my little, fun swim lane and I get it critical of podcasts to get the travel around the world speaking, and I have a lot of fun.
[00:04:00] Lance Wantenaar: [00:04:00] Some interesting touch points on that. Funny enough. One of the companies that I worked with previously, which is EasyJet, one of our data center providers were Centurylink.
[00:04:11] Brian Fanzo: [00:04:11] that’s a small world. There you go.
[00:04:12] Small world,
[00:04:13] Lance Wantenaar: [00:04:13] and a lot of the guys that we worked with in our data centre, I think one of the network guys has actually moved across to the U S he is now working in Dallas, I think, or one of the data centers over there really, really smart guy who was in the, I think it was a CCN CCIE.
[00:04:30]and he’s migrated across to, to the U S supporting data centers over there. So it’s, interesting to, find these little random connections, in the technology space. So my background is I primarily worked for an airline for about 11 years. I workec the majority of the time worked in the network side of things, networks and telecoms, and then migrated across to cybersecurity where I’m now working full time, doing cybersecurity and also fraud investigations for a payment provider and a financial services company.
[00:05:04] My interest in all of this is. Quite random because I got involved with a lot of the psychology side of things because of cyber crime, cyber fraud, and was social engineering. And I became really fascinated in how people think, how you process information, what drives the decisions? How are decisions affected, how people think process, information, how they analyze information to then come to their conclusions?
[00:05:35] The reason why I wanted to get you on is one of my guests that I interviewed was a guy called JJ Davies. Now, JJ is a fascinating guy. He grew up with dyslexia and dyscalculia, which is really challenging at the best of times when somebody has dyslexia and he then made a concerted effort to retool himself and to become.
[00:06:01] And a self-learner and he became interested in learning, developing himself. He now works in cyber security, which at the best of times is quite challenging for somebody that’s dyslexic, because you’ve got to read a lot of information. You’ve got to translate that information personally, but it’s also the number side of things, right?
[00:06:18] So it’s, it’s a dual challenge for him and he’s doing really well. So the reason why I wanted to get you on is, you talk about being an ADHD. Evangelist, but also you wear it as a badge of honor. So can you tell people a bit more about what is a D H D and how has it impacted you and how did you get to the point where you got diagnosed and how did you change that and find ways of developing yourself and using it to your advantage?
[00:06:51] Brian Fanzo: [00:06:51] Well, that’s a great question. And you know, for me, much of my life since I was young, I really, I loved people. I loved going to school, but I wasn’t a great student. I would just have trouble, not only, reading books, not like I couldn’t read, but more of the fact I couldn’t stay on topic or on focused or I’d read 10 pages and not remember what I read.
[00:07:11] And I was always told growing up and through school by teachers that I wasn’t. No, I wasn’t committing myself or I wasn’t focused enough or, my desk would oftentimes be pulled out into the hallway and they’re like, well, Brian will do better out here, which was no better because I had the same, I love the same things.
[00:07:26] Uh, and so for me, I had to get creative with not only how I learn things, but. Really leaning into the things that worked for me. And I’ve always loved people telling stories, connecting with people. And so for me through high school, through university, a lot of that was, I wasn’t a great student, but I could find ways to get enough done so I could pass a school and kind of go through.
[00:07:47] And then in my career, as I took that job, especially in the cybersecurity space, I. I exploded. I went right up, I ended up within three years was promoted six levels above where I started. And so much of it came down to this ability for me to relate with people. And it wasn’t about me having to do some of these things that in school.
[00:08:04]I was kind of looked at as like, Hey, these are, this is what you need to know. But then I also knew, as I started working with the government. We were working on, identity or kind of adapting the CIS SP certification to the U S government. And a lot of that was still a massive struggle for me to consume.
[00:08:20] I was much better going, I would end up going to training courses. And listening to how they were teaching it and then creating our course from that rather than looking at the materials and being able to do it. And so I really had to like get creative with kind of almost hiding this thing at the time that I thought was my own problem.
[00:08:37] Right. I just, I just assumed that I was, I was broken in some ways and, and figuring out how to consume, you know, I mean, reading even books that I wanted to read, right. Like not just saying workbooks, but like sitting down and reading was not something that came easy or natural to me. And, you know, through.
[00:08:52] No many renditions as I turned 31, my youngest brother was diagnosed ADHD and part of his ADHD was, he would be very lazy and lack motivation. And that was, I wasn’t feeling that at all. But one of the things that his doctor had told him was, you know, if you have trouble turning your brain off at night or, comprehending everything that you read.
[00:09:12] You might have ADHD. And so my youngest brother kind of nudged me to go to the doctors and I had never taken medicine full time. Really wasn’t understanding really the ADHD side. Other than most people I knew would say, well, I have a little bit of ADHD. And I was like, I would just kind of assume that I did too, but I didn’t really understand it.
[00:09:29] And I went to the doctors and about. 10 minutes into the test. He was like, yeah, you test off the charts. He’s like, you are a hundred percent ADHD, in many facets on how I think how I learn. and that day was massive for me. I remember where I was. I know the clothes I was wearing, because it was a day for me that I moved from.
[00:09:47] Feeling that I was broken or something was wrong with me to just really realizing that I learn differently and I think differently and I, I operate differently and I’ve always been okay with that kind of concept. And it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I found out my mom had actually been told when I was 11 years old.
[00:10:05] That I probably needed some kind of medicine. I was probably were trying to diagnose it. But the stereotype back then was that you were a bad parent. If you put your kid on medicine, right. And like a lot of those circles. And so I wasn’t aware of that. And so for me as this journey became, more of me identifying myself, I figuring out ways that I learn.
[00:10:23] I’m a big podcast listener. I do a lot of my learning and listening, consumption via audio books. And it wasn’t until I was 34. So about three years after diagnosed and someone asked the question when I was on stage, it was actually a giant state of 12,000 people. And they asked the question about like, Hey, you talk with your hands, you talk really fast.
[00:10:40]but you have lots of things going on. Like, have you ever been diagnosed with anything? And I just said like, yeah, diagnose ADHD. And it’s actually my superpower because now that I know that I’m diagnosed, I can figure out my ways to work. And I didn’t think much of it. And I came off stage and it was the longest line I’d ever had of people waiting for me to talk.
[00:10:57] And so many people were coming up to me, not saying that they had ADHD, but Hey, I’m struggling with this. Or I’m also something like this. How did you turn it into a superpower or I can’t believe you admitted to that. And it was that day that I had kind of like an aha moment that so many of us are struggling with one thing or the other.
[00:11:12] And so many of us have these vulnerabilities and things that are, you know, make up who we are, but. We’ve, we’ve not only been taught to hide them, but we’ve also kind of, because no one talks about it. We’ve almost believed that we are the only ones that are going through this. And that was the day for me that I changed my, like, it’s been part of my brand ever since, because for me that day was about, well, if I can just give people permission.
[00:11:36] To realize that they’re not alone and to own everything who they are a little, then I’ll make an impact on others and kind of can live it that way. And it’s been a journey I can tell you, um, you know, figuring out how to get others to understand it. Right? A lot of times people will be little it, or in some ways we’ll say, well, that just, you know, like, well maybe you need to do less things, or maybe you need to, be more focused here or find your niche, all of these things that I’ve been told.
[00:11:59] And what I’ve kind of learned is I’ve had to redesign my day when, how I work when I work. But will. The biggest secrets I found was being very transparent with my clients and those that work on my team. And so my team knows when I take my medicine, my note, my team knows how I prefer to be communicated with.
[00:12:16] They also know when to like text me versus send me an email. oftentimes I will get voice messages and, video messages where they would traditionally send an email just because that’s how I prefer to communicate. And that’s been my secret, like over the last, I’d say two years really being transparent with my team and saying, Hey, this is where I struggle.
[00:12:35] This is where I exceed. And if you can help me by if there’s something that you need done, if you can format it in a way that I prefer to consume it, it’s going to really help things out as we move forward. And I was amazed. I mean, the way that people respond to that is they almost feel like a weight’s been lifted off their shoulders because that now that they understand how I communicate best.
[00:12:56] They can just change to embrace that. And it’s been a pleasant surprise and something, you know, I’m still getting a little bit better at being self-aware with like knowing where I’m not good at things and, how I can bring in people to help me with that. But I think that’s a journey I’m going to be on for a long while.
[00:13:11]Lance Wantenaar: [00:13:11] You’ve mentioned a lot of things, which I think of phenomenally important. Cause my biggest challenges, I never classified myself as a good exam taker. Even though I’m quite diligent with my studies. I have to spend quite a lot of time working through material to create links. And one of the things that I’ve found recently, I came across some software that allowed me to create links and it automatically shows the connections between the thoughts and the ideas, which speeds up the way for me to make a cohesive.
[00:13:45] You could say whole out of everything to link it together. Cause I find that once I can relate. Piece of information to each other. It sticks better. I can understand the better I can find the connections between a lot better and remembering it is a lot easier because there’s a lot of that cohesive knowledge.
[00:14:03] You creating this, I call it a knowledge tree or a neural network of your own library of information because you finding ways of connecting it for yourself. So you make the knowledge very personable. Once I was able to relate it to myself. Then it meant that I didn’t have to go through the same process of rote learning because the information is personal and that’s, that’s how I’ve found that studying works to me.
[00:14:31] Now, the other interesting thing that you mentioned is that you find that. Because of ADHD, you were struggling to consume information, either written word or some of the more traditional ways that people are using on consuming information, because the obviously challenges to one, feel motivated to do it because you’re not internally motivated, which is probably why your brother was struggling a lot, because he couldn’t understand the information.
[00:14:58] He couldn’t process information, which de-motivated him, which is why, why should I do it? Personal motivation is not there. Right? And by finding ways of actually adapting, it’s allowed you to find a way of, you could say becoming yourself. And that’s the other lesson that I’ve had when I spoke to JJ, is that.
[00:15:19]People who have dyslexia have to find better ways of actually managing how they behave and manage other people. But also they find a lot more creative ways of thinking. And then they started using their social skills to allow them to, you could say work around some of the limitations. And I think that’s what you do so brilliantly is that you take a restriction and instead of being.
[00:15:45]held backed by it. You use the other aspect of it. You use your social connection, your ability to communicate effectively because you understand you struggle and processing information. So you find a way of actually conveying it in a very clear and concise way. And I think that is probably what makes it so powerful is because you can convey information so clearly.
[00:16:07] So is that one of the things that you found has been your, you could say. Your winning skill is being able to take that information and make it really concise and clear and conveying it to somebody.
[00:16:20] Brian Fanzo: [00:16:20] Without question. And I would also tie that to my learning. Right. What I’ve found is that oftentimes even in school, they would ask me the question after I didn’t do good on a test and I’d be able to give them the answer, but the idea of, and it wasn’t test anxiety more say, but it was the idea of me kind of contextualizing that into the format.
[00:16:37] And so what I’ve found in many cases, and I’d say kind of fits in two buckets. One of them is I found that I was often told, like, Yeah. Hey, you’re working on so many projects that you don’t complete. And what I found was that a lot of times what other people look at as sporadic projects, or is actually my learning process, right?
[00:16:55] And so I have I’ve yellow, sticky paper all over my walls here. And oftentimes I will, I’ll do a brain dump where I’ll throw everything on the wall. I’ll outline a lot of things that are in a structure that I believe could be for let’s just say an online course or maybe a book. And I’ll formulate all that, but then I won’t do anything with it.
[00:17:10] From there it’ll, it’ll kind of live there. And from the outside, that would be like, wow, Brian you’ve failed. Like, well, how have you not done anything with it? And that, that overwhelmed me for a long while, but then whenever someone would say, well, Brian, the way that you talk about that it’s such a beautiful formula.
[00:17:23] You simplify it. You’re able to really put it in a way that we all understand and what I figured out. And it took a little while. Was, if I didn’t do that process, then I wasn’t able to do that on the outside. Right. And so I had to kind of embrace that piece of it. And the other part of it is because I’m not afraid to fail and it’s not because I don’t think failure is hard or hard, horrible, but I’ve kind of just owned who I am.
[00:17:46] I’m able to lean in something like clubhouse and just try everything with zero caring if it works or not works. And part of the beauty of that is I’m learning how I convey the message and how I talk about things. And so oftentimes for me, not only. Being able to communicate it well, but the very first time I’m talking about a new topic or a new subject, I’m doing a lot in the mental health space right now.
[00:18:09] That very first time I put it on my podcast or my Instagram stories is me also learning. Right. Cause I put it out there and it’s like, it’s okay. Now that I have it out there, what is the audience saying? But I know that I learn, you know, some people always say like the more you write it down, the more you learn well, for me, the more I get to say it, the more I learn.
[00:18:27] And I think we can oftentimes kind of like figure out that correlation and it’s been my magic. And, you know, I often joke that my solo podcast that I host by myself is my, it’s my way of being able to quote unquote rant or be myself. But I just kind of allow myself to formulate a structure. I usually pick three, three things I want to talk about.
[00:18:47] And I go, I press the button and I record for 40 minutes. And the beauty of that is it’s it’s as much for the audience as it is for me, because when I get on stage and I’m talking about on stage or I’m on clubhouse or a podcast being interviewed I can not only make it relatable, but I’ve, had that process so well built out.
[00:19:05] And that’s kind of how I’ve lived. I’ve leaned into, what’s worked for me.
[00:19:08]Lance Wantenaar: [00:19:08] You highlighted a lot of things, which I also do, which I find incredibly fascinating. Because I like to structure the information and find the connections. You use the same process as what I do, but obviously you use a lot more of a physical approach because you do sticky notes and you make the connections.
[00:19:26] Now, this is where I find it’s really, really interesting because I’ve been looking at this whole process of how people think and process information and. A good example is when you see a lot of these movies, they’re talking about these cop movies, or, you know, these police stories, you’ve got people where they’ve got this wall of information, they’ve got these pins and they tying them back with pieces of string and everything else in effect.
[00:19:51] They are replicating what you’ve just talked about. And what I’ve spoken about is you’re trying to look for, although it’s a manual process, the process is still the same. You’re trying to look for connections of information. Yes. You graphically displaying the information for two reasons. One you’re looking for connections.
[00:20:10] Two, you’re looking for patterns, correlations to make it easier to look for something that stands out. The other thing that it does is it allows you perspective because you standing away from it. Yes. So you go to a God’s eye view at the information now. This is where it gets really interesting because you mentioned the fact that you might leave it away, you put it away and you don’t do anything with it for a while.
[00:20:37] This is where the power of subconscious kicks in, because one of the things to do done, you overloaded your, you could say from cortex with a lot of the manual input, because you’re making decisions, you finding patterns, you’re identifying how the information is structured together. You start chunking the information together, you start piecing it together.
[00:20:56] You’re trying to find ways of where it connects to how it connects. Then what happens? You put it to one side and the subconscious is okay. I’ve fed in all this information. Now I’m processing it. And now you go away six months and subconsciously because you programmed those rules and those requirements into your brainstem, into your, the RAS part of your brain.
[00:21:20] You start picking up other patterns of information as you’re working, as you’re doing things on a day-to-day basis, and you start getting depth of understanding, you start getting new connections to start creating more of these more subtle structural pieces of information. And then when it comes to the point where you talking, because I decided to do the podcast with exactly the same reason, I wanted to force myself to learn the topic better.
[00:21:46] So I started talking about it I research, try and put it together in a structure. And then I talk about it. I did this the other day when I hosted a, room on clubhouse, I was talking about psychology of finance. Cause I looked at it initially and read something new and sort of piecing it together and trying to create a, you could say a knowledge structure of how it all ties together and to make sense, but, so I decided to speak about it now, what it does, it creates more connections because now you verbalizing the information and you start refining your information to a point where it gets to a point where you can tell a story in a way that resonates with somebody.
[00:22:23] And that’s the skill. Of developing multiple ways of consuming and conveying information because we don’t start conveying it through stories and analogies and various other things. It makes it very difficult to. Get the information across into a way that somebody can understand. So I find your process is spot on, is really quite fascinating to see how you put it in.
[00:22:46] Now, the,
[00:22:46] Brian Fanzo: [00:22:46] I love the way
[00:22:47] you broke it down. That was, I mean, I, I haven’t heard any way kind of formulated like that. And that is, and I would also say that one of the things that I’ve learned, trying to coach others was part of my process being that because it’s not fully baked as I’m starting to share it. It allows me to understand the relatable points with what the audience.
[00:23:05] Yes right. Versus others where they’ve already considered, they already considered the idea of complete. And then when they’re sharing it, even if it, to the audience, if there is a disconnect, figuring out where the disconnect is and how it’s such a limiting aspect for them versus for me, it’s like, I, know that it’s still fluid and able to bring in so many of those points.
[00:23:23] So I love the way you
[00:23:24] Lance Wantenaar: [00:23:24] brought that together. It ties into. A really interesting aspect, which is Feynman’s process of, refining knowledge because he used the, some of the process. He said, you’ve got to take everything that, you know, you’ve got to refine it down to a concise idea and concept and everything else.
[00:23:41] You’ve got to break it down. Using first principle, understand all of the smaller components. Then you’ve got to be able to explain it to five-year-old in a clear and concise way. Yep. Once you start refining it down into very, very clear message, it means that you can encapsulate everything because now you start looking for other ways of conveying the information.
[00:24:05] And this is where I think storytelling is so powerful because if you think about stories, doesn’t matter, which if you, especially children’s stories, if you look at a children’s stories, they seem quite simple. But if you scratch under the surface, there is an immense amount of complexity in each story because they’ve got analogies, they’ve got lessons built into them.
[00:24:26] There’s a lot of, behavior that you want to exhibit in somebody by the, because of the lessons that come in, you try and convey knowledge and information in a subtle way. But that’s very personable, which is why stories. Are so effective is because you tying all of these graphical elements and these life experiences into these analogies and these emotions and everything else, because that’s a key thing is getting an emotion across to it because your emotion helps cement the knowledge and how to get the information across in a way that moves people.
[00:25:00] And that’s for me, the most fascinating thing about being able to. Take knowledge and then go to something like clubhouse, right. And get the message across because there’s nothing worse than having somebody that’s got really, really phenomenal knowledge and capability to convey it, but they don’t have the emotion to go with it.
[00:25:22] They don’t have a way of conveying it in a clear way because it loses its value and it loses its ability to touch an audience, which I think is a real skill.
[00:25:34] Brian Fanzo: [00:25:34] Yeah. That’s where I’m playing the role in the mental health space. Right. I think that’s where I fit in now with working with the professionals and the researchers and those that are, have figured all of this out in many different ways, but I’ve struggled to get the message to the right people or even in the right format.
[00:25:48] Right. And so, I’ve been really enjoying being able to have access to them sharing not only my story, because I have a story with it, but also helping to understand, okay. What are the things that you believe that if these messages actually hit home with the right people, they would make an, impact that they desire.
[00:26:04] And I don’t claim to be an expert on that side. Right. for me, it’s more of like, I can see those two points and I’ll find the emotional gap and the emotional connection that I can not only relay it in a certain way, but I can understand the emotion of the person receiving it. Right. Which I think is that, beauty and it, you know, and it’s definitely something that, for me, that’s a, Practice and, a lot of it’s, of figuring out the, I love the human condition, right?
[00:26:25] Like a lot of what I do. I take notes, a whole lot of notes storing. I watch TV from Netflix to, you know, different things, to understand how questions are asked, what are the way certain topics are brought to light, even in documentaries? Like what is the emotion this documentary is trying to convey and how do they deliver that?
[00:26:42] Because if I want to deliver a similar emotion, I can, you know, kind of take some of those key traits from, a Netflix documentary. And do the same onstage or on podcasts, or even on clubhouse.
[00:26:53]Lance Wantenaar: [00:26:53] I’d like to delve a bit into the mental health aspect, because a lot of it ties into obviously currently conditions make it really very challenging for a number of people in so many different ways.
[00:27:05] But let’s just talk about how that was. For you before you were diagnosed, how did you mentally cope? And what was your take on that? how did you feel when you got to a point where you were diagnosed and how did that make you feel personally going forward?
[00:27:24]Brian Fanzo: [00:27:24] So I think for me, and this is retrospect because I think at the time, because I’m very extroverted, I’m very passionate.
[00:27:31] I’m loud. I love to tell stories. I have no afraid of talking. I was able to use that as kind of my defense mechanism of people not allowing them in to see the underlying side. Right. And oftentimes was willing to work twice as hard. And not tell people I was working twice as hard, just so that I could present things in a certain way.
[00:27:48] Right. So I would kind of go through the standard procedures of sure. I can I’ll do it like everyone else is doing it. And then I’d go home and completely do something different so that I could consume so I can learn. And for me it became. What I kind of assumed is how I had to be. It was in a weird way.
[00:28:05] I didn’t have much exposure to mental health or depression or even medication. I, my family, I was very blessed. My family, I, was very, open and loving, but we didn’t really talk about any of those things. Right. And I, I remember. Because people always associate, especially when I was younger, as lack of motivation or lack of Brian’s not applying himself, which is I hear all the time, right.
[00:28:24] Or Brian can focus on TV, but he can’t focus on his work or whatever it may be. I immediately put that as a blinder, but one of the things I realized was. That if I can show up as myself and be very confident in who I was that people would kind of give me a little bit more leeway than everyone else.
[00:28:43] Right. So, because I lead with my heart and lead with who I am, and this is, this is how I worked. When I worked in the government and cybersecurity, this is how I am now. It’s always been this kind of like, Hey, take it or leave it. This is me. And that was a defense mechanism for awhile. And the day I got diagnosed I walked out of the office, I remember.
[00:28:59]Like I just stopped and had this like feeling of, I felt like something was taken off of my shoulders of, okay, Brian, now it’s not the hay that you have to like, bear this burden that you’re you’re broken or it was more of like, oh, there’s other people like me. I am different and I need to figure out how this medication is going to impact me.
[00:29:18] Right. That was, that was a whole nother thing because I had never been medicated. I would never took medication on a regular basis. And so that was one that I wasn’t prepared to handle even the, not only the side effects, but the differences per day on how things were going. And one of the things I haven’t mentioned, but my youngest brother, the one that kind of gave me the nudge to doctor.
[00:29:38] The dose of medicine for him had gotten so high and out of control, that his personality was changing and so much. So his wife and family, we just decided like, you got to figure out something different. Like this isn’t, you are not you. I mean, he’s one of the nicest people in the world. And all of a sudden he had a short temper and there was things that just were not working.
[00:29:55] And his son had gotten very high on his dosage. and so he ended up having to, Take himself off of it and, is off of it today and uses a couple of other things to kind of operate. And so for me, that was a concern that was definitely, and I was very lucky to doctor. When I went into, I was afraid.
[00:30:10] He was going to say, well, you need to give up the medicine. Because at that point I was starting to. Realize how the medicine was helping me in certain areas and, and understanding what I could do or not do whenever I was on it. And his idea was, you know, kind of nontraditional in many cases, but it was a, what do you call a drug holiday?
[00:30:27] So one day a week, I don’t take my medicine. Which for an upper, like ADHD, like Adderall, that day. It can be very tough. I can be very drained, lack of focus. I can have a low, but my need to increase. My medicine has been. Almost eradicated.
[00:30:42] So I’m on the same dosage of medicine for the last five years without having to increase the dosage. And it still makes the same impact. And I make the correlation to the, the taking the day off, some of the professionals that I’ve met on clubhouse, would love to like delve into that a little bit more.
[00:30:56] Cause they’re not sure. If it’s that direct correlation or me being so hyper aware of, how the medicine affects me and my ability to still be in touch with the things that, it impacts. But that to me has been one of those things that not only figuring out how to embrace that, but I think going forward, one of the things that I had to learn was when someone would say something like five things millionaires do before 6:00 AM, right.
[00:31:21] You hear that? Or you read a blog post. I used to be like, man, I will never be like them. Right. And it’s very easy for us to be like, well, I don’t do those things. Like they’re wrong. What I had to learn was. That’s what they’re doing, but why is it that they’re doing and how does it impact them? And if I can, if I can take that out of that, I can implement it into my own world.
[00:31:42] And that’s been a little bit of my secret sauce is I really focus on not what they’re telling us to do, but what is that changing in their, not only mental health, but physical and their emotions and really even how they look at, success and goals.
[00:31:57] And so that to me has been kind of a subsection of it. And, you know, I’ve, gone through, I did do a couple of years ago, three years ago now I took six months off of the medicine completely, with an idea of figuring out. Maybe now that I’m more self-aware and more understanding, maybe I don’t need the medicine because I’m not wanting, like, I, don’t as a futurist, as someone that loves trying things, I refuse to say, this is the best way, unless I’m willing to test the other way.
[00:32:21] Right. It’s just my own reality. And that was probably the hardest six months I’ve had in six years. how about that? That’s my alarm for my medicine. So that’s my Adderall at 2:40 PM. That’s too funny. So for me, and it was tough. It was tough in so many ways because. I really wanted to try to kind of live without the medicine.
[00:32:36] Not because I didn’t believe the medicine was infected, but I, I believe I was, I was developing a lot of these mechanisms and processes that would enable a lot of things. But for me, where the medicine really comes in is in Not only the confidence to accomplish things, but oftentimes that, hyperfocus to stay something til I meet the end result.
[00:32:57] Right. And so even the idea of being able to, like, I played semi-professional poker for a while and I would always say like, without medicine, I could sit at a poker table for 16 hours and read people around me, understand how was everything going on? But I would play online poker and I couldn’t last an hour.
[00:33:13] And I’m a guy that loves the computer and that, was such a disconnect with me. And it wasn’t until I told that story one time and I had someone reach out to me and they’re like, well, you realize Brian, that does come a lot to the human condition and your, desire to be around people. And that connection that you get in that, the stimulation as well as the way that I learned where we talked about a little bit earlier, me being able to put things out there and in this disconnected, playing on the computer world, I didn’t have that.
[00:33:38] And so it was completely removed. And so for me, especially this past year, I’ve traveled my entire career, not traveling, but still needing to accomplish a lot of the tasks that I would normally do when I had all of this human interaction, was a struggle. This past year 2020 was a very big struggle and I’ve had to find different ways and I think.
[00:33:56] For me, clubhouse has been the greatest vehicle for that because I’m able to feel the connection. I’m able to go deep. I’m able to hear emotions, you know, be able to go back and forth, turn that into a zoom video. And so for me, that’s kind of been the evolution of this entire process.
[00:34:10]Lance Wantenaar: [00:34:10] Here’s a bit of an interesting observation that I’ve got with regards to how you learn and how you process information because of.
[00:34:20]You’d say ADHD and your struggle to deal with things in the normal traditional way. You rely very heavily on social interaction. So you’ve mentioned the fact that you can set a normal poker table, read people all the time and platelets for six hours. Couple of things where the brain loves novelty and loves new things, because it’s very stimulating, which is why ADHD causes somebody to be so hyper and excitable and everything else is because of so much novelty that’s going on, and the continual feed of new, fresh information, because they, firing off new things.
[00:34:56] Doing all these new things is because of novelty factors feeds the dopamine. And dopamine is a, is a pleasure. drug that you create. And it comes from one learning, something that you motivated about or two doing, something that you love with, that you get focused in, because it also helps you with your focus.
[00:35:13] Now the reason why you find it so useful is the social interaction ties into the way that you interact with people. So you’re getting this dopamine hit all the time because there’s novelty is new things. You’re seeing people’s reactions, you’re very social and visual in the way that you process information, which is why you find it.
[00:35:34] So interesting. And because the opponent kicks in, you’ve got some of the other brain chemicals that kick in which help enhance your focus, which drives the focus, which then allows you to be engaged for long periods of time. So you’ve got this continuous feed of information because you’re paying attention to all these things that really interest you because you’ve got this feedback input that allows you to keep on focusing on it and being engaged.
[00:36:01] And also because of the way that you are. This is how you learn a process and connect with people. You’re so reliant on the social aspect. It’s one of the fundamental ways that you can stay focused and also as good for your mental health is because you’ve got this connection with people, right? And that’s why 2020 is so difficult for you is because you’ve developed a way of interacting with people and connecting with people.
[00:36:29] Because of the challenges that you’ve had right now, because that is no longer there. You’ve had to find other ways like clubs, our zoom meetings, and various other more visually stimulating things where podcasting might be a bit more difficult. It’s a good way of, you could say getting your knowledge across and getting your.
[00:36:47] Ideas out and processing information. You need the social interaction to give you that motivation and energy to carry on because the other interesting thing is that, especially if you’re getting to motivation and learning is that feedback. And that’s what I think, um, clubhouse is so valuable is because it’s not like.
[00:37:13] Facebook or Instagram, which are snapshots in time. Right. And the challenge with that is it tends to be very singular, very one-on-one, and it can be very linear in certain aspects where you have something like clubhouse, you’ve got multiple inputs and you get this constant feedback. And this feedback loop is how you engage, whether the information that you’re sharing is resonating.
[00:37:40] Or whether you’re getting the right information back to modify it. And that’s where clubhouse is. So addictive is because you get this instant feedback, this instant gratification way beyond what Facebook does, because Facebook engineers through likes algorithms and various other things where in clubhouse, because you’ve got that direct feedback, it’s like being at a party.
[00:38:01] But obviously not being physically at a party, you can get that, that auditory feedback and you can determine context. That’s the other thing that it goes missing a lot with Facebook to attend all these other things. That’s why you got these Twitter wars that happen or these online wars or flame what it’s, because people are missing the context when they, when they typing in information.
[00:38:25] Yes, somebody can type in information. The context was completely missing because it’s a snapshot in time, right? Where clubhouse is dynamic there’s context behind the information. When somebody says that there’s a bit of inflection, maybe humor, or there’s some other context, which has carried across from a previous comment and you tying these things together because it’s a conversation, it’s a fluid animal, almost in a sense.
[00:38:53] And managing it correctly to get that message across and being respectful for people is very, very important, but it’s that whole contextual message that ties into each other, which is why I think clubhouse is going to be so powerful. And this potentially can be very long lasting is because it allows level of contextual information to be conveyed, which you don’t get another social media platform.
[00:39:18] But I agree. That’s, that’s my take on the whole slippery side of
[00:39:22] Brian Fanzo: [00:39:22] things. No, I like that. That’s great. I definitely spot on to how I operate and how I work. That’s for sure.
[00:39:28]Lance Wantenaar: [00:39:28] what’s the next thing? the work that you’re doing with the mental health side, how much have you looked into it?
[00:39:34] What are some of the insights that you have from it?
[00:39:37]Brian Fanzo: [00:39:37] You know, I think for me, I think we’re still figuring out, like, not only how we kind of, make things a little bit more formal, but really how do we, take what we’re kind of developing as far as understanding the role that we can get advocates and allies into the conversation.
[00:39:49] But when you know, we’re doing, you know, one of the things I’m working on right now is working with, some professionals that I’ve met through clubhouse, a couple that are outside of clubhouse, to formulate some of the things, that we can kind of translate into. understanding for those that are having podcast or clubhouse or even live video on how they can create safe spaces, but still understand their responsibility in not leaving someone in a vulnerable state and how to protect the audience.
[00:40:13] If something becomes triggering or a story goes down a different path. And so trying to create something, not only of a training, but more of, a way to take. A lot of these practices, because I don’t believe non-professionals should be giving advice. But I also do believe there’s a lot of safe spaces that are being created, where people are realizing that they’re not alone and they can tell the story so that they then can embrace the fact that they should talk to a professional.
[00:40:37] And so that’s one of the places where kind of, exploring at the moment, I’ve teamed up with, a couple of different groups, mental health matters. one of the other groups I’m working with, is focused on the education. the secondary education and even, K through 12 on educating, like how do we take some of these conversations?
[00:40:50]and a little that is because my middle daughter is diagnosed, dyslexia and ADHD. So I’m now seeing that through a father’s eyes as well, and we’re taking different approaches on how she’s kind of going through it. and that’s giving me a new perspective and a new approach. So to me, that’s an exciting development.
[00:41:06]And then we have one other project, that I can’t really talk about yet, but I’m focused on taking some of these elements of change and narrative and the storytelling and these more awkward taboo topics, really focused around, mental health, sex, religion, and politics, and Delivering it in more of a mainstream format to see if we can not only remove the bias, but teach through education on some of these things.
[00:41:31] So that one, that one’s exciting. It’s coming together a lot. faster than I expected it to. but, once that’s hopefully comes to light, I’ll be able to talk a little more about that one.
[00:41:38] Lance Wantenaar: [00:41:38] That’s really interesting. And I wish you all the best for that, because I think.
[00:41:43]It’s going to be quite an art to get that message across in the right way to tie it all together and to make sure that it’s being done in a respectful way. One of the areas which I’ve been doing a lot of reading specifically is about empathy and actually understanding how empathy can be really effective in being understanding of another person.
[00:42:04]And respectful of the other person’s view, but not necessarily allowing them to
[00:42:10]be disrespectful. So it’s allowing the person to have a voice and an opinion and respecting the voice in their opinion, but allowing yourself the understanding to get to the drivers behind it. Because a lot of the times. Even though somebody has got a view and a belief system, and they trying to get a message across the first part of the message is not always, what is the driver behind the message, right.
[00:42:36] And empathy is a way for you to put your ego on hold to then try and see if you can establish what the driver is behind the message. I love that. And that is I think, a really very challenging thing to do, because one of the things that you mentioned, which I found was quite difficult when I was working in cybersecurity in the corporate world is taking a really technical aspect and trying to relate it to a business person or trying to relate it to a project manager or to high-level management, because you’ve got to.
[00:43:09] Convey the message across in a non-technical way, but to get the actual importance of the message across. And that is quite challenging when you’re coming from an analytical background to try and get that across in a way that somebody can conceptually understand, but still have the value of the message across.
[00:43:28] And that is absolute skill in itself. And a lot of people don’t really understand. One how difficult it is, but two how valuable that is as a skill, because if you’ve got that as a skill. The world’s your oyster.
[00:43:45] Brian Fanzo: [00:43:45] Right? I agree. I agree. I liked that. I was studying that. I liked that split the empathy side, I think is such a fascinating approach.
[00:43:52] Not only on how we can convey it, but how can we draw it out of others? How can we create conversations that are, that are, Productive from a scenarios where, and I think, you know, Clubhouse is one of the ones that I think that’s an interesting subsection where, you know, I know some of the most recent press releases about audio only platforms is, audio only platforms going to lead to different change and allow us to, maybe debate or disagree or, bring worlds together.
[00:44:18] And maybe other ways we, wouldn’t. And I think, oftentimes we’re looking at it from like the audio perspective, but I actually think it’s more about the empathy perspective. And I think because you’re able to show up without having to be worrying about being judged on your appearance or putting on a quote unquote show.
[00:44:34] I think that actually plays into that empathy equation as well. Right. Which is, uh, which is an interesting to see how we kind of move forward in that, in like the power of audio and where that even goes from there.
[00:44:43] Lance Wantenaar: [00:44:43] I think the other valuable thing was clubhouse, which I really do like is the very clear guidelines that are put in place beforehand because the driving factor is number one, you have to be respectful of the other people.
[00:44:55] You have to make sure that you are following certain rules and regulations and you have to be there to when you stand up a room. You’re the moderator. You’ve got to make sure that you act in a responsible way. You basically got actors of hierarchy, a father figure or authority figure, and you’ve got to manage the situation.
[00:45:13] So it’s really an interesting way of watching how people learn the skill and how they use it to their advantage. And I’m hoping that people are going to embrace it in a way that’s beginning to be respectful and not going to cause. A lot of divisive topics. And I don’t think it’s wrong to say that somebody can’t discuss a controversial topic.
[00:45:36]whether it is, being used to be divisive and disrespectful, I think. But then I think it’s going to be self perpetuating. If somebody’s going to go down that road, people won’t be involved in the room and the only people are going to be involved in the room. I’m not somebody that you really want to associate with.
[00:45:52] And that’s, that’s the main, thing. It be interesting to see how those. Behaviors evolve over time and to see what happens with that and how that behavior exhibits over, a period of time, because it’s quite new. It’s going to be a learning experience for a lot of people. I just fervently hope that they manage it in a correct way to make sure that people.
[00:46:13]are respectful of each other.
[00:46:15] Brian Fanzo: [00:46:15] Right. And I think it’s gonna be the evolution of the platform, the evolution of the skill set needed to moderate a conversation like that. and even the evolution of. Our ability to actually listen and learn, not listened to wait to talk. And I think that is one that, you know, we’re, we’re seeing a lot of on the platform where someone hears one thing and they want to add on to that.
[00:46:34] And they, discount the rest of that, conversation before and then adding on and without context or not, you know, edifying someone or that connection. I think that oftentimes is the root of a lot of the things that end up spinning from that. And we. We end up focusing only on the disconnect was on this one piece.
[00:46:51] And I was like, no, they’re just going to go with it on this one piece. The disconnect was this person stopped listening when they heard that one piece, which then facilitated so much of that conversation, which I think that to me is fascinating to see how that develops on clubhouse, especially.
[00:47:04] Lance Wantenaar: [00:47:04] Yeah. I think you’ve highlighted a really important point over there is the fact that people are answering outside of context.
[00:47:11] And sometimes because they hear a specific topic, you go down a bit of a rabbit hole or focusing on that single topic, which is made you pay attention instead of actually listening to the whole message in context and understanding, getting context. And that is in itself is a really difficult skill is to pay attention to everything, to get the nuances in the message and not just the single point.
[00:47:38] Of information that you’re interested in.
[00:47:43] Yeah, it comes to quotes that I scene recently, with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, how I, we says hearing is different too listening. Yes. And it’s a very valid point. Listening is actually paying attention to the whole context on the whole message. And thinking carefully about it and actually trying to put away some of your ego and biases to actually understand what it is the other person is doing, which comes back to empathy.
[00:48:09] You know, how much are you thinking about the other person or are you just thinking about your own opinion?
[00:48:14]Brian Fanzo: [00:48:14] That’s the by-product right there. I think. And I love that quote. That’s one of my I’m going to definitely take and. Talk about as well, because I think that is such an important piece of hearing and listening and understanding, you know, where the, they both play a role and also understanding, you know, I think being able to.
[00:48:29]Understand, someone’s point of view based on what they’ve gone through and their exposure and their being truly empathetic to everything that has happened to them, to bring them to the point of having this point of view, being able to be able to understand that still disagree with them yet still operate and move forward together on things you have to work is, uh, is a workplace thing that I think we’re going to have to deal with a lot.
[00:48:52] Once we move further past this. Pandemic, because I think we’ve exposed a lot of conversations. A lot of people do a lot of different devices, especially in the United States. divisive elements that I don’t believe a lot of people have been exposed to. And I think as those teams come back together, especially in the office, it’ll be a very interesting, how all of those things kind of delve out.
[00:49:09] Hopefully it makes our focus more on the empathy and understanding our own role in that.
[00:49:15] Lance Wantenaar: [00:49:15] Yeah, I actually did an interview with a PhD. Andrea Mohlberg, which will be coming out soon. And that was one of the things that she, wrote a book about it and about a tool sets and various ways that you can actually develop and use to allow you to actually cope with a lot of challenging discussions and topics like that, it was really a, fascinating interview to do with all, once that’s been released, I’ll ping you and I’ll also send you her details, cause she’s a really fascinating lady to speak with.
[00:49:45] It’ll be well worth connecting with and actually listening to your advice. And, hopefully it will be something that you can do maybe work with her in the future. So it’s, uh, she was a fantastic person to interview and, I was happy to be able to get her involved in. So, yeah, definitely. Brian, thank you for a wonderful podcast interview.
[00:50:07]I really thoroughly enjoy it and it was really. Fascinating to listen to about your own experiences in your own way of thinking and, and developing and how you’ve become the person. You have tell people where they can get hold of you. And, what’s your website, you’ve got social media channels, and you’ve got all kinds of touch points that people can get hold of you.
[00:50:28] Yeah, sure.
[00:50:28] Brian Fanzo: [00:50:28] So, it’s I social fans with a Z or Zed at the end. So I social fans, on every social channel that exists. So that’s my username everywhere. and my website is Brian fanzo.com. That’s where you’ll find a lot of my virtual events, things that are going on. and then, you know, my, interview podcasts, which just launched a season two is called press the damn button.
[00:50:47] So as in any of your podcasting, Apps called press the damn button. And I have, a new project, under the clubhouse, club that I run, which is called misfit mafia and the misfit mafia. I’m going to have some content coming out of that very soon. So stay tuned for a misfit mafia.club, and you’ll be able to get all of that information.
[00:51:02] Lance Wantenaar: [00:51:02] Sounds fantastic.
[00:51:03] I look forward to that and also look forward to connecting on clubhouse again and getting involved in some of your rooms.
[00:51:09] Brian Fanzo: [00:51:09] I can’t wait. I look forward to it. This is a, this is a fascinating discussion and I liked that. I not only you were able to validate some of the things that I do, but also, I enjoyed the way that you brought some of those together.
[00:51:19] So I will be, connecting that and being able to share that with my audience as well. So thanks for having me. Brilliant. Thanks a lot. Cheers.