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Podcast: How to Address Pain, Performance, and Rehabilitation with Dr. Sean Pastuch

podcast dr sean pastuch

Podcast: How to Address Pain, Performance, and Rehabilitation with Dr. Sean Pastuch

Greeting from John Wiesehan III:

Welcome to the Live Well, Be Well podcast. Our goal is to address the trials and triumphs of daily life and always being better in all aspects of your life by looking forward to new challenges, but by being present today. We hope you gain inspiration to live better, be better, and learn small habits that you can incorporate into your daily life to accomplish your goals. Let’s get started.

John:

Thanks for joining us today on the Live Well. Be Well. podcast. My name is John Wiesehan III, CEO of Direct CBD Online. Today I have with me Dr. Sean. Dr. Sean runs Active Life Rx. He’s going to tell us a little bit about himself here in a minute. We are pleased to have him on. He was introduced to me by our last guest, John Eades from LearnLoft and author of Building the Best.

Dr. Sean, thank you for coming on with us.

Dr. Sean:

My pleasure. Thanks for having me, John.

John:

Yeah, of course. If you don’t mind — wherever you’re listening today — I’d like our listeners to know a little bit about what you told me before we hit the record button here… of who you are, what you do, the type of companies you run, and a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are.

How Dr. Sean got into personal training and chiropractic medicine

Dr. Sean:

Yeah, I’ll give you the nutshell. My background is in personal training and chiropractic. My father was a chiropractor, my uncle was a chiropractor, and I never wanted to be a chiropractor because my father and my uncle were chiropractors. I was like, “All right, enough of that.” So I went and became a personal trainer back in 2004, and I found myself running up against this wall of what do I do with my clients who have shoulder pain or have arthritis or who have whatever the case might be.

I would go to the physical therapy suite at the gym where I was working in Equinox, and they would be like, “Oh, if I have pain in my back, I just avoid it.” I was like, “You got to be kidding me. There has to be better than this. You guys aren’t solving it. I’m supposed to avoid it. So my client is just supposed to live with it then?”

John:

That’s not functional wellness is it?

Dr. Sean:

No, and the problem with that is that I believe the issue we run into that leaves us here is when we walk across the stage at graduation at any medical professional school, we take the oath to do no harm, but we never consider what harm is. They never define harm for us. So, we walk across the stage, do no harm, and everybody assumes that means don’t let your clients get hurt, don’t let your patients get hurt. When the reality is we haven’t defined hurt either.

Now all of a sudden, doctors start to project what their values would be onto their patients without asking their patients what their values are. And so, instead of allowing them to work through some things that are uncomfortable that would lead them to doing everything that they want to do, doctors, responsibly by the way, because it’s what patients ask for without realizing it, just eliminate the things that cause pain. Then they cause emotional harm instead.

John:

It’s almost like a subjective definition, an arbitrary diagnosis of that doctor’s viewpoint to get away from all that stuff.

Dr. Sean:

Kind of. If you were a doctor and I walked into your clinic, and I said, “My back hurts when I lift heavy weights.” And the doctor said, “Well, what’s your goal?” You said, “To not have low back pain.” “Okay, we’ll stop lifting heavy weights. Problem solved. Bing, bang, boom.”

But the reality is that the patient didn’t communicate well enough to the doctor and said, “I want to be able to lift heavy weights without having low back pain. Can you help me with that?” And the doctor didn’t ask enough questions. “Well, you want to be out of low back pain, but what do you want to be able to do and still have no low back pain?”

Those parts of the conversation never happened. So the doctor projects their values onto the patient. They’re in and out of the room in four minutes, and the patient is like, “Well, that’s not what I wanted,” so they stop going to the doctor all together, and then we get this bad wrap that all doctors are bad and all heavy weight lifting and all intense exercise is bad. Neither of those are true.

There are great doctors, and some of them are the ones telling people not do things because the people aren’t coming in with the appropriate line of questions.

John:

That makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

When I realized that I was like, “All right, I guess have to go to chiropractic school. I got to save the world.” So I went to chiropractic school, graduated, and realized that the kind of patients who I was attracting … I didn’t understand anything about business at the time. So the kind of patients I was attracting were very much interested in passive care. What that means is, “Doc, I need you to get me out of pain,” not, “Doc, I need you to help me get me out of pain. I need you to help me get out of pain.”

So I would work on soft tissues, I would adjust, and by the way, I was really good. I mean that. I’m not really good at a lot of things. I was really good at treating patients. I had patients flying into New York from Spain, from Barbados, from California, from Canada, from Finland.

John:

Using chiropractic medicine?

Dr. Sean:

Technically. Using my blend of chiropractic medicine and personal training. I was getting good at it, but then I became bored with it. I believe in the scale of you’re incompetent at something, which is anything that gives you stress just to think about — which for me right now is paying bills, opening my mail, anything like that, that’s not for me. It gives me anxiety to think about it. Competent are things that I can do, I would just rather not do them. I can do them fine. Excellent are things that I can do very, very well at a borderline world-class level, but don’t interest me.

John:

It’s almost like second nature.

Dr. Sean:

Yeah, I can’t tell you how many patients used to walk into my clinic and 30 seconds into them walking down the hallway I knew what was wrong with them, but you can’t just be like, “All right, you have a disc injury. Go home, drink some red wine, sleep in a recline position, and go for 20 minute walks twice a day, and come back in two weeks and we’ll work on what caused this in the first place.”

Because they’d be like, “That was so irresponsible. You didn’t hear me out.” So then they would sit down, and I would hear them say all the things that I’d heard people say 1,000 times. I was just like, “This is boring. This sucks. I don’t enjoy this.”

So, it moved from being something that I was really good at and that I enjoyed to being something that I kind of felt like driving a Ferrari into a lake.

John:

Yeah, I get it.

Exercise: The problem and the solution

Dr. Sean:

Still an excellent car, just not functioning very well in the bottom of the lake. So I started helping people get out of pain without going to the doctor’s office and without missing their active lifestyle, without their gym.

Because I had patients who would fly out from Spain, Barbados, California, Finland, wherever. We had to figure out ways to help them when they left.

The best way to do that was through remediating their lifestyle, altering their mindset, and changing some of their belief and then writing them smart exercises to fix their problem.

The problem is people look at exercise is this thing that we do because it makes us healthy. Well, how does it make us healthy? Let’s look at how it makes us healthy, and then we can start to understand that the way that we exercise can make us healthy or it can make us sick.

It’s our choice, and we can only make that choice with the appropriate information. If you’re grinding yourself into the ground working out, you’re not making yourself healthy. You’re making yourself sick. You’ve reached what we call diminished returns, and now you’re doing more damage than you are good.

If you’re looking to lose 20 pounds and you pick up distance running, you’re unlikely to reach your goal. Now you’re going to do yourself more mental anguish than you are going to do yourself good. Not to mention all the pounding that you’re going to take for no reason.

So, we just found that there was this major gap between performance and physical therapy and chiropractic in the medical field, and we wanted to bridge it. So, that’s where we are now.

You asked me to tell you a little bit about both companies. Our goal through both companies is to humanize the doctor, professionalize the fitness coach, and empower the individual so that people can live pain-free active lives as long as they want.

John:

I think that’s great. When you can do that, and you can make somebody comfortable in that environment and it’s something that they get used to on a daily basis, and we’ve talked a lot on this podcast about turning behaviors into habits, that becomes a very fluid thing in their life to make them better, to live better, to be well.

It’s a more holistic approach, which is what I absolutely love about it. I think what you’re saying is somewhat magical, because I think there’s a huge need and desire in the world today for functional training like what you’re talking about, because all the different components of what you’re saying play differently in other people’s lives.

You mentioned on thing: mindset. Define your definition in your medical world of mindset. I want to take it back to and talk about both of the companies. I think that’s an important distinction, and then we can talk about mindset and how it relates to both those companies.

Words to live by: “It’s not about you, and it is your fault”

Dr. Sean:

Well, we don’t need to talk about the companies specifically. People will understand what the companies do just during this talk. We have four core values, and all of them lead to having the mindset that I believe people need to have, which is: “it’s not about you, and it is your fault.”

“It’s not about you.” People who upset you, they’re not doing it the express interest of upsetting you. They’re doing it with the interest of making themselves feel a certain way. They might be doing something that is inappropriate, something that is unacceptable. And you might be making it all about you. It’s not. It’s about them.

John:

You technically made the decision to make it about you.

Dr. Sean:

Of course. That’s the only way to make it about you when it’s not about you. Even somebody who does the most heinous thing, the most heinous crime to you, it’s not about you. They did that for themselves, and you were the victim. That sucks.

John:

To make themselves feel better about some insecurity that they have.

Dr. Sean:

Whatever it is.

John:

Whatever it was.

Dr. Sean:

Right, exactly. So, “it’s not about you, and it’s always your fault.” That is the mindset that we want everybody who we work with both across professional and individual platforms to understand and to embody, because if it’s not about you, it means that you can take a step back at any given time and look at the situation for what it is. Somebody did something. Okay, what were the things that led to that person doing that thing? That’s it.

All of a sudden, all of the emotion around what happened to you get to go away. You acknowledge them momentarily, and then they go away. Then the, “it’s your fault” is related to having the opportunity to be in control of your own life. If it’s not your fault, then you’re just waiting for the world to have its way with you.

So our four core values are we have a “try first” company. What that means is at any given time if somebody complains about somebody on my staff or bashes somebody on my team or bashes our company, I assume that that person is wrong. And I consider my staff first, and I will do things to sacrifice myself for the good of the company and the staff. I expect the staff to do the same, because in the long game it comes back to them better that way as well.

The second value is integrity, which is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing. Not because it does anything good for you, but doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, no matter who’s watching and who’s not.

John:

Pretty simple.

Dr. Sean:

The third thing is professionalism. If I have a meeting with you at 4:00, I’m going to be here ready to go at 4:00. If it’s a phone call, I’m going to wait until 4:00 to call. I’m not going to call you at 3:59. I’m definitely not going to call you at 4:01. If you have a program that’s supposed to be in on Monday, that program is going to be in on Monday. If you send me an email and I’m supposed to get back to you in 24 hours, I’m going to get back to you in 24 hours. Professionalism is the business embodiment of integrity.

The last core value that we have is a growth mindset, which means that you believe at any time things could change for the better and that you have to investigate all of those options at any given time. Things are the way that they are only that way because nobody has chosen to change them.

John:

That’s great.

Dr. Sean:

So those are our four values, and they all lean back to, “it’s not about you, and it is most definitely your fault.”

John:

That first one you said, “it’s not about you and it’s always your fault” is such a shift in mindset on how you view almost every situation you deal within your personal life-

Dr. Sean:

Every one of them.

John:

… professional life and with employees, with people you meet, you and I, all those things. And it embodies the entire mindset shift that you have to train your mind for something like that. That’s a pretty drastic shift, but you have to create behaviors and the habits for.

Dr. Sean:

Can I give you two examples that-

John:

Of course.

Dr. Sean:

… are going to bring this to life for people? I’ll give you one professional one, then one individual relationship example.

The professional example is I have a staff of 22 people, and at any given time one of them might do something wrong. The “it’s not about you and it is your fault” mindset means that I have to look at the situation and assume I did not do the appropriate thing to develop that staff member. It’s not that they chose to be lackadaisical, it’s not that they did it wrong on purpose. It’s that I didn’t build out the appropriate developmental steps to make sure that that person understood both how to do it and why it was important that it was done that way. I didn’t do that or I hired the wrong person who didn’t value those things in the first place. No matter how you slice and dice that, it’s my fault. They didn’t do it to spite me, but it’s my fault.

John:

That makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

So-

John:

Take responsibility.

Dr. Sean:

… let’s go back in, redevelop them. Then if we redevelop it appropriately, they demonstrate competency, and they make the same mistake again, well, then, it’s my fault if I keep them on staff.

John:

True. That makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

So, that’s how “it’s always my fault” in the business. In a personal relationship, I see all the time, parents. I’m a parent. Are you a parent, John?

John:

I am.

Dr. Sean:

Okay. One of the things that really-

Dr. Sean on parenting and intentionality

John:

Real quick. How old are you kids?

Dr. Sean:

Five, three, one.

John:

Oh, they’re little. Mine are ten and seven. So very different phases.

Dr. Sean:

Yes, they are.

John: 

Okay, sorry. Go ahead.

Dr. Sean:

That’s okay. One of the things that always kind of chaps me is when I see parents yelling at their kids to get in the car or keep your hands to your … whatever it is. You can tell that the parents are frustrated, they’re exhausted, and they don’t know what to do now. So they just yell at the kid, and I get it. I get it. I’ve been there where I’ve wanted to just rip my kid’s head off, and I’m not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s important to understand, though. People are going to think I’m crazy for saying this, but it’s kind of like training a dog. You can’t do it when it’s convenient for you. You have to do it on purpose. It has to be something that you sit down with a kid and have a conversation. You make it simple so the kid can understand how to do it and why it’s important to do it that way, and when they make a mistake you have to take the time to go back and express where did I go wrong to yourself and give it to the kid.

John:

It’s so-

Dr. Sean:

Because they’re kids.

John:

It’s so true. Look, kids, especially at the ages yours are, are just trying to figure out the world. They just ended up on this planet less than a year ago, and you expect them to get in the car and stop yelling. That’s all they know how to do.

Dr. Sean:

It’s harder with a 1-year-old, but with a three or 5-year-old, there are simple things like, “Hey, why is my kid screaming in the back seat?” Well, she wants lunch, whatever. She wants to watch a movie, and there are no movies in the car. We don’t have movies in the car. So now she screams.

I’m like, “Shut the heck up. What are you doing?” If I do that, that doesn’t make the conversation better for anybody. I’m still stressed, the kid is now even more stressed, and it’s going to happen again. So, pull the car over, have the conversation. Or even better, have it beforehand.

John:

On that topic, just being intentional takes that whole thing and wraps it up in a bow. If you’re intentional in your relationships to strive to always make them a little better than they were yesterday, you’re going to do all those things, and I think that’s really important. I love those core values.

Dr. Sean:

I agree.

John:

Yeah, just be intentional, and don’t expect someone else to know your point of view, because they probably don’t unless you sit down and tell them or why they did something wrong and give them a chance to fix it.

A few points about CBD and self-therapy

Dr. Sean:

You’re right, and that pertains to getting out of pain also. It pertains to having anxiety. It pertains to being stressed. It pertains to struggling when you’re sleeping. It pertains to all of those things, which I know are things that people take CBD for.

Taking CBD, as an example, is somebody taking into their own control a substance that they believe is not harmful for them, and I’m not suggesting that it is. I’m suggesting I’m going to stay out of that conversation, because I’m not an expert. But they’re taking an action to make themselves more comfortable. Great! Good! Good! Good on you for doing it.

What else could you do, too? What else could you do with it? Could you exercise differently? Could you eat differently? Could you have a mindfulness practice? Could you have a therapist you’re talking to? Imagine if you coupled those things with the CBD that you take.

That’s what we’re looking at is on a scale of good, better, and best — how do we get from where we are to best? What does it even look like? What does success look like for you? And what must be true for that to become a reality?

I talk to people all the time who tell me that they’re too old for this or they just have this knee thing. I’ll give you an example of how that sounds to me. You ever heard somebody say, “this bad knee?”

John:

Oh yeah.

Dr. Sean:

Or you got a bad back? So self-talk is a big thing in our company. We help people get out of pain without going to the doctor and giving up their active lifestyle. We help professionals do that for their clients. The reality is none of those things happen if we don’t develop the person who we’re working with.

Saying I have a bad back is no different than saying I’m dumb. I have a bad back means I have this, I can’t do anything about it. I’m dumb means I have this, I can’t do anything about it. Both are detrimental. Both are detrimental.

John:

Very true.

Setting yourself up for fewer injuries (yes, even from sneezing)

Dr. Sean:

They both put you in the state of being the victim. You’re not dumb. You haven’t educated yourself in whatever it is specifically that you’re talking about. You don’t have a back thing. You haven’t decided to figure out how to get rid of your back pain or you’ve quit trying to figure out how to get rid of your back pain. It is all a decision-making process. We get what we tolerate.

John:

It’s so true. It’s so simple, yet it’s so true. I think you can talk to this. If you have an issue, you can generally solve it. Here’s a situation I’m dealing with in my physical health right now: Usually I’m a CrossFit guy five days a week. I lift.

I have not lifted in four weeks because I sneezed when I got home one night about five weeks ago, and I broke a rib in the back of my ribcage.

There’s nothing I can really do for that except for to rest it and let it heal, but I can get on the bike, and I can ride for 40 minutes a day or I can go out for … I can finally run again. But there’s really nothing else I can do, but there are things I can do to make sure my heart rate stays elevated, my mindset stays right.

Because if I don’t work out, everybody knows it. It’s kind of one of those things. The overall health and physical well-being, just take the action into your own hands. I think it’s great. It makes perfect sense.

Dr. Sean:

John, to layer that, why did your rib break when you were lifting that weight?

John:

No, no, no, I-

Dr. Sean:

Or when you sneezed?

John:

I sneezed. I was cockeyed. I was standing sideways a little bit, and I sneezed. I looked at my wife, and I said, “That wasn’t good.”

Dr. Sean:

Even so, people have stood cockeyed before and sneezed and not broken anything.

John:

Correct.

Dr. Sean:

So the question is when you’re better, what evaluation are you going to undergo to see if there was an imbalance that led you to breaking your rib when you sneezed? Because now you can take it to secondary levels and tertiary levels of how do you get as far away as possible from breaking a rib again when you sneeze?

John:

I didn’t think about that. I like that. That’s cool.

Dr. Sean:

Those are the things-

John:

I should try to prevent my rib from breaking again when I sneeze.

Dr. Sean:

Right, it seems like a ridiculous thing. I know that, but what we do when we evaluate people is we use such common-sense evaluation that they’re kind of like, “How did I not know this before? This is so simple.” You do CrossFit, right?

John:

That’s right.

Dr. Sean:

So you squat.

John:

I do.

Dr. Sean:

Which leg do you use more when you squat?

John:

Both.

Dr. Sean:

But you don’t know-

John:

I don’t know.

Dr. Sean:

… do you?

John:

I don’t know.

Dr. Sean:

The answer is I don’t know. What would happen if we gave you something like a front rack step up touch? You put a barbell on your front rack, and you stepped up on a box that was above your kneecap height so that it’d simulated being on the bottom of a squat as far as depth is concerned. And we said, “Do as many as reps on your left as you can, and then do as many reps on your right as you can.” What would happen to the way that you train if you got 18 reps on the left and two on the right? Would you change the way that you train?

John:

Yes.

Dr. Sean:

And it’s a very common-sense experiment.

John:

Yes, undoubtedly.

Dr. Sean:

You do pull-ups, right?

John:

I try. I do.

Dr. Sean:

So what if we laid you on the ground flat and had you bring your arms overhead into the position that your hands would be if on a pull-up bar? And your right hand, for example, touched the floor, but your left hand dangles in the air because it didn’t have full range of motion. Are you going to keep training the same way or are you going to change the way you train?

John:

You’re going to change the way you train.

Dr. Sean:

So for me, the biggest problem in Crossfit as an industry is the same problem that Fit Body Boot Camp, that Orange Theory has, F45. They all have it. It’s that we just throw people into exercise and assume we can scale and modify for anybody.

When the reality is usually the scaling and modification happens reactively. We see that somebody can’t do something or can’t do something appropriately or effectively or efficiently, and so we say, “Let’s do this differently.” It’s too late. It’s too late.

John:

Yeah, it’s less weight or it’s a different type of movement, when in reality the problem is there’s an underlying issue that’s preventing them from doing that in the first place.

Dr. Sean:

Yeah, and I had to watch you do something wrong 26 times before I decided, “Oh wow, I need to change the way John’s doing that, because I never evaluated him in the first place to identify that that would probably happen when we do that.”

John:

That makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

That’s what I’m talking about with the evaluating yourself to find out why your rib broke. We’re never going to say, “Oh, that’s why your rib broke.” It would be irresponsible to say that if A then B kind of logic example. But it would also, to me, be irresponsible to not know.

John:

No, it makes sense. Man, your practice sounds very intriguing. I’m going to make an effort to look into it deeper with you after we … This is the first time we’ve interacted, so I think I’d like to take some time and really understand it in more detail outside of this for sure.

Look, you’ve been super successful in what you’ve built. Talking to John, our mutual friend, and you now, you clearly have come a long way and modified what is traditional forms of medicine into something that I think could be really huge. I think our listeners would really like to know about it. Those of you listening today, I think it’s important to know some other types of mindsets that you may have in your life in general.

Do we decide to remain in pain?

Dr. Sean:

Well, they all go back to the same way. An example of that would be if you’re still in pain, it’s because you’ve decided to be. Nobody likes to hear that. If you’re still in pain it’s because you’ve decided to be.

People are like, “Wait a minute. I have rods in my back. I’ve had six surgeries. I’ve done all these things. What do you mean it’s because I’ve decided to be?”

What I’m suggesting is that it would be harder for you, the person with rods in their back, fusion in their spine, six surgeries, screws, it would be harder for you to be out of pain than for somebody who has never had a surgery who has no issues.

But if anybody in the world has what you have and doesn’t have the pain, you don’t have to have it either. It’s a decision. You decided to stop seeking a solution to your pain, they didn’t. What I would like to do, if it’s okay with you, is talk about what pain really is.

John:

Yeah, let’s talk about it.

Differentiating types of pain and injuries

Dr. Sean:

We started the talk by describing how doctors avoid giving patients of their’s any painful experience. We have broken down what pain is through a lens of making it something that we can communicate with our clients about without there being any subjectivity to it, or I should say, with as limited amount of subjectivity as is humanly possible. Because if we just said, “Did it hurt?” And they’re like, “Yeah.” “How bad?” “Pretty bad.” “Okay, let’s stop doing …” That’s not good enough.

So we have four definitions and four rules. The four definitions are irritation, or, excuse me, insult is our first word we’re going to define. That is right now you’re sitting listening to this podcast comfortably.

If I said, “Freeze. Do not move for four hours,” eventually you’re going to go from sitting comfortably to changing butt cheeks, sitting more upright, grabbing a pillow, standing up, whatever it might be. The moment that you do that, the stimulus hitting your body goes from subconscious, which is insult, to conscious, which is irritation. It’s uncomfortable, so you change position.

It wouldn’t make sense for me to be like, “Oh John, you okay? You all right, man? I noticed you changed butt cheeks there.” You’re like, “Yeah, I just changed position. I’m fine.” The moment it becomes conscious, it’s irritation. So now the question becomes when does irritation become pain? And irritation becomes pain when there is a negative emotion attached to it. Irritation becomes pain when there’s a negative emotion attached to it.

You grew up playing sports?

John:

I did.

Dr. Sean:

What’d you play?

John: 

Golf.

Dr. Sean:

So golf comes with its own sets of discomfort.

John:

Yes, it does.

Dr. Sean:

From elbow stuff to wrist stuff to hand stuff to low back stuff from walking around to the Achilles getting stiff, all these kinds of things.

John:

Yeah, and the 15 plus handicap.

Dr. Sean:

That’s still pretty good. So the point I’m making to you is there are certain things that if you experienced them again today that you experienced when you were playing golf growing up, you’d be like, “Ah, that’s nothing. No big deal. I’ve had this before.”

John:

Makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

Somebody else experiences it for the first time ever, and they’re like, “Oh my God, what is this?” For those of you who are sitting there right now like, “I don’t fully get it,” if you all of a sudden started getting stabbing pain behind your eyeball that felt like somebody was jamming you with an icepick through the back of your head into your eye, you’d probably go to the doctor. You’d probably be in a lot of pain, but people who get what’s called cluster headaches deal with that almost weekly. So when it comes on for them they’re just like, “Yeah, it’s one of those headaches again.” For you, it’s life-threatening.

John:

That makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

The thing that makes it emotional, John, is the lack of certainty around it.

John:

The lack of predictability.

Dr. Sean:

It’s the familiarity. Yeah. So if you were certain about what’s going on, you don’t experience pain. If you’re not certain, you start to get some alarm bells going off.

The fourth term is injury, and injury is the decision that “I can’t.” Insult, subconscious. Irritation, conscious. Irritation drives adaption. Pain, negative emotion associated with discomfort and elevated by uncertainty. Injury is the decision that I can’t. Now, if we’re asking people does it hurt without discerning between irritation and pain, then we have a problem.

We have four rules that we follow to determine if somebody is causing more damage or not when we work with a client. As I said before, irritation drives adaptation. You ever said like, “Ah, that’s the good pain. Keep doing it.”? You ever heard that before?

John:

Yeah, I have like when you’re stretching, right?

Dr. Sean:

Yeah-

John:

It hurts, but you know it’s good for you.

Dr. Sean:

Or you’re getting a massage and they’re like, “Is this too much?” You’re like, “No, it hurts, but it’s good. I like it.”

John:

Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Sean:

Okay cool, it doesn’t hurt then. It’s irritating, because pain is a negative emotion. So now-

John:

That’s not true pain.

Dr. Sean:

Right, exactly. So now we take ourselves to four rules to determine if you’re experiencing true pain or irritation. The first rule is on a scale of one to ten, one being nice, gentle massager, your 7-year-old walking on your back. Ten being passing a kidney stone, childbirth, or Braveheart battle torture. Rate your discomfort. If it’s a four or less, we’re good. If it’s a five or more, you have a certain level of panic, and we’re going to struggle to work you through that.

So, we’re going to stop for the moment. We’re then going to reduce the load, reduce the range of motion, change something. If the pain gets better from rep to rep, then resting is a terrible idea and we need to keep going through that initial discomfort to get through it. If the pain gets worse from rep to rep, we need to stop. We’re dealing with an inflammatory condition most likely.

Rule number three, when I put the weight down or when I stop doing the thing, does my pain go away? If the answer is yes, well then you’re not doing any damage. Most likely you’re not doing any damage. What’s more likely happening is you’re just irritating something when you load it. Again, we would reduce the load. Or if that pain didn’t jump to more than a four, we keep doing it.

The fourth rule is do you get increased pain 24 to 48 hours after you stop doing what you were doing? If yes, you will, but at a joint level and a pain level. If the answer is no, then we’re good. You didn’t do any permanent damage. Those four rules allow people to be like, “Oh shoot, that thing that was uncomfortable was just uncomfortable. It wasn’t pain. I wasn’t hurting myself worse.” When we give our clients that identification, many of them report being in less pain before they even start working with us. Because we’re giving them parameters of their testing period.

Dr. Sean:

Everybody has testing. It’s all totally custom what we do for our clients one on one. So, when we explain to our clients the rules of the testing, oftentimes they’ll report back, “You know, this might sound crazy, but I already feel better.” And we’re like, “It’s not crazy. That’s a psychological change.”

John:

It’s because it’s probably mindset.

Dr. Sean:

More than half. We have a rule we won’t sign somebody up unless they tell us they believe it’s going to work.

John:

I like that.

Dr. Sean:

We turn away at this point almost 35% of clients who are ready to buy. On the business side, it’s more like 50%.

John:

Wow.

Dr. Sean:

Which is partly my fault. It means we have to get better leads, but the reality is we don’t want the wrong person.

John:

Yeah, basically you’re going to set someone up for failure who’s going to not be a positive case study for you to their friends or whoever. You never know where that’s going to go.

Dr. Sean:

Exactly right.

John:

You’re setting yourself up for failure.

Dr. Sean:

That’s right. We don’t abandon people. If we don’t take them, we refer them to someone who they should work with instead of us.

John:

No, that makes sense. How do you utilize, if you at all, the current healthcare system in combination with your practice? Or do you?

Dr. Sean:

We do. If it falls outside of our scope, we want to find a good doctor for our clients to go to. We also study and live by the above all do no harm. Part of doing harm could be referring somebody to somebody who they don’t need to be going to and making them feel as though what they’re dealing with is worse than it actually is.

The other part of that is taking somebody on who you can’t help, because they represent the paycheck. They don’t represent the paycheck long-term. They represent it in the moment, and then six weeks later they’re going to be pissed and telling everyone not to work with you. We have things that we look for in doctor’s offices who we’re going to refer clients. We have things that we’re looking for in coaches who can work with people in person that we look for before referring somebody out.

So, we use the current healthcare system in a sense that when we’re not fit to help somebody, we find somebody in the current healthcare system who can.

John:

Got it. No, that makes a lot of sense. So just talk about Sean for a second. We’ve talked about the business a lot. I don’t want to be duplicative here, but what are some of the daily habits that you do as a person? When do you wake up in the morning? When do you go to sleep at night? What are just some of your positive daily routines that you’ve altered since you had this mindset and the business since it started to make you who you are today?

Making the most of new routines throughout COVID-19

Dr. Sean:

We’re talking on May 11th, and on May 11th I’m doing the core job of disciplining myself. When the real world was operating pre-COVID-19, and this is not an excuse by the way, it’s just the reality…

When the world was functioning pre-COVID-19 I would wake up at 5:00 AM, get all of my creative work done between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM when my kids would wake up. Then my kids would wake up, I’d make breakfast for everybody in the house, my wife would leave for work eating the breakfast I made for her on her way out the door. She’s a teacher. Then I would come to exercise at 9:00 in the morning and then go to work thereafter… with my assistant at 10:45 AM and in the office from 11:00 to 5:30 every day.

Post-COVID or mid-COVID I have a really hard time keeping my boundaries up, because I know that what I’m doing, my company is doing especially for health professionals, fitness professionals, medical professionals is in many cases allowing them to continue putting food on the table in their house. It’s allowing them to get out of their own head. It’s allowing them to feel like there’s an opportunity for them in this despite the fact that it seems like everything in their lives is over.

In the regular world, the urgency is a little bit less. I don’t leave my phone on after 5:30. I have family time scheduled. My assistant schedules family time for 5:30 in the afternoon.

John:

That’s great.

Dr. Sean:

Yeah. She schedules when I have to drink a cup of coffee. She schedules my lunch. If it’s not on the schedule, it doesn’t happen. So, my father schedules lunch with me through my assistant. And that’s the empathetic way for me to do it by the way, so I can be focused when my father’s with me.

John:

Intentional.

Dr. Sean:

Or my mother is with me. Yeah, exactly.

Now I’m up till midnight. I’m waking at up at 7:15 in the morning. Same routine, but my wife’s not going to work. Now I’m cooking breakfast for everybody, getting my workout in at 9:00, getting to the office at 10:15, 10:30, and staying until 5:30, 6:00. Then oftentimes when I get home I get the SOS text or the call or DM or whatever it is that I feel compelled to jump on, because the stature I’ve provided for myself, the position and the authority that my company has in this industry, I feel like it comes with the territory. You want that power, you have to take that responsibility.

John:

Of course. That makes a lot of sense. Look, there’s a lot of people out there probably listening now that their way of normal life and their routine is completely jacked right now, and it’s unlike anything that it’s ever been.

But it’s funny, it also provides us a unique opportunity because of the time that we have available to use it wisely.

But you have to make the decision and set the mindset to alter your behavior and your habits that you have with possible excess time at home without spending an hour or two, an hour and a half in the car without having to wake up at 5:00 AM.

Still wake up at 5:00 AM. Spend the time in the car [instead] working out or doing something that grows your different aspects of your life or making it better relationships for yourself.

I know it’s hard for people to hear that sometimes, because people are struggling in so many different ways right this second. But that’s really neat how you schedule that time throughout each day to be intentional with those who you put on the schedule. I think that’s really important.

Well, the first three things that get scheduled are my personal work time, which means I’m coming at the world. I’m not checking your text message at 5:30 AM. I’m not answering your call at 5:30 AM. I’m not reading your email at 5:30 AM. I’m not doing it. I am creating things from 5:00 to 7:00 without any interruption.

Dr. Sean:

The second thing that gets on the schedule is my time to exercise. I used to be hour and 40 minutes, two hours a day, five days a week. Now if I train 40 minutes four days a week, it’s a lot.

John:

Yeah, I’m good with that too. That’s good.

Dr. Sean:

I just don’t care anymore. Then lastly is my family time, because I set a goal in January of 2018 that by June of 2018 I would be able to be on the local boardwalk … I live at the beach. I’d be on the local boardwalk with my wife and kids every day at 5:30 PM. So then we set the list of what must be true for me to be able to be on the boardwalk at 5:30 PM every day if I want this to work and if they want this to work. So, success for me is I’m on the boardwalk every day at 5:30 PM.

John:

That’s great. It’s a good place to me.

Dr. Sean:

That’s success. Yeah, it means so many other things have happened. It means I didn’t reactively say yes to the business meeting that starts at 5:30. It means I didn’t take the client who wants to sign up with us to call me at 6:00, because I don’t need the client. If they can’t fit in my schedule, it doesn’t work. It’s never going to work. Then it means that I’ve been efficient. I’ve gotten things done throughout the day. It means I was disciplined. It means I’ve been focused. So, all of those things need to be true in order for me to be available at 5:30 PM on the boardwalk.

John:

That’s great.

Dr. Sean:

And that’s success.

John:

Some people may look at that, and I’m not saying this, but some people may listen to this and say, “Wow, that’s really selfish. He’s got a client that wants to talk to him at 6:00.” But it’s not. You did everything in your day to be as productive as possible to give yourself that free time, and I think that’s wildly powerful. That is 100% success. I could not agree with you more. I think that’s really cool.

Dr. Sean:

Thank you. There’s two things to that. I believe that everything we do is selfish. If you donated to the American Cancer Society, and they were like, “That’s it?” No matter what number you gave them. You gave them 20 bucks, $20,000, $2,000,000, and they were like, “That’s it?” And you’re like, “Yeah, I know. That’s all I could do this year, whatever.” Next year you do it again. “That’s it?” Eventually you’re going to be like, “You know what? It doesn’t feel good to donate to this charity anymore, so I’m not going to do it.”

If you are blind enough to believe that you’re doing these things for somebody else, I feel bad. Because we do things for other people so that we can feel good. As soon as the other people who we’re doing things for no longer feel good to do things for, we stop. Once the energy out is greater than the energy in, we stop doing it. That’s human nature. Nothing to feel bad about there.

John:

No, that makes sense.

Dr. Sean:

So when I don’t take the call at 6:00, it’s because I’m protecting my energy so that the calls I do take between 10:30 AM and 5:30 PM I am on, I am there, I am present. There is zero that’s getting by me on those calls. I’m focused.

John:

And the flip side of that is you’re focused and intentional when you’re with your family at 5:30.

Dr. Sean:

100%.

John:

Makes perfect sense. I would just like to wrap it up. We ask every person or every guest that we have two questions, and I think they’re really neat questions. Who is one person in your life that you don’t give enough credit to for your success?

Dr. Sean:

My wife. My wife. I give her as much credit as I can give her, and I can’t give her enough. She is not able to be on camera with me all the time. She’s not able to be my podcast cohost all the time. She is not able to be in photos with me or travel with me or any of these things all the time, and people don’t realize, who aren’t in it, I don’t think they realize how valuable it is to be able to travel, to be able to network, to be able to do your job with the complete peace of mind that everything at home is taken care of.

John:

So true. I couldn’t have said it better myself about my wife.

Dr. Sean:

My kids are taken care of, the house is taken care of. My wife pays the bills at home.

John:

You worry about nothing.

Dr. Sean:

Physically pays them. Nothing. She allows me to focus on work, and she’s not a stay-at-home mom. She has a job. She’s a teacher. What she does seemingly effortlessly allows me to do what I do every day, and there’s no way that I could ever pay her enough credit no matter how many times or how many ways I say it.

John:

Thank you. I love that context, and I could not agree with you more.

What’s your favorite song of all time that’s had the biggest impact on your life? Because I believe that music is an emotional connection for most of us. What’s the one song that’s had the biggest impact on your life?

Dr. Sean:

I got to be honest with you, I don’t have a song that’s had a big impact on my life.

John:

That’s cool.

Dr. Sean:

For me music is an interesting thing, because it helps me set the mood. It helps me get excited when I need to be excited. It helps me get relaxed when I need to get relaxed. It helps me focus when I need to focus. I listen to binaural beats all day long, and it’s like being in a spa in my office. But I don’t think there’s been a single song that has changed the way that I think about anything. What I will say is learning about local music or not even local, but small upstart bands, it has changed the way that I think about being found from a human perspective.

I’ve gone to concerts where I’m like, “That band is incredible.” A band called the Jonah Smith band. Amazing. You’ve probably never heard of them.

John:

I haven’t, but I’m going to type it down and look it up.

Dr. Sean:

So what’s different about them than the Dave Matthews Band? Who I’ve also seen in concert and didn’t think it was as good. What’s the difference? It’s one of them probably knows what it takes to get found, to grow, to set the goal after the goal. One of them probably just wants to make really good music, and for me that has been a really, really, really … whether it’s true or not, I’ve created that thought in my brain and made it true. When I do things in my business, we have to be really good. We also to have make sure people know that.

Where you can connect with Dr. Sean

John:

Makes sense. Okay cool, so how can our listeners when they want to find out more about Dr. Sean, how can they go and find you? Where are you available?

Dr. Sean:

They can go to @drseanpastuch, P-A-S-T-U-C-H on Instagram. If they go there, they’ll see in my bio a link to both Active Life Rx and Active Life Profession, and that can be their jumping-off point forever.

John:

Just so the listeners know, when you go to Direct CBD Online under resources and go-to podcasts, this entire podcast will be scripted. All links for Dr. Sean will be at the end of that transcript for you to go and listen to.

Dr. Sean, thank you so much for being on today. It was a distinct pleasure to have you on, and we hope to have you back again soon.

Dr. Sean:

Thank you, John. I’m always down to come on podcasts. I enjoy it.

John:

Awesome, man. Thank you.

Thank you for listening. You can keep up with episodes on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also visit directcbdonline.com where you will find all podcasts under our resources section on the main menu bar. You can use coupon code LIVEWELLBEWELL for 25% off of your first order. Remember to always live well and be well. We’ll see you next time.

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