GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic Life

 

Do you want to live a fantastic life? In this episode, Rodney Flowers is joined by Dr. Allen Lycka and Harriet Tinka to talk about the secrets to living a fantastic life and navigating strife. Dr. Lycka and Harriet share their life-changing stories and how both of them survived through great adversity. Get to know how Dr. Lycka and Harriet met to learn about the commonalities in their stories that ultimately led them to write a book together and share with everyone the secrets to living a fantastic life. Learn about the thirteen golden pearls and how these can change and enhance your life with a little bit of work.

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The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life And Navigating Strife With Dr. Allen Lycka And Harriet Tinka

How many of you want to live a fantastic life? Who doesn’t want to live a fantastic life? If that’s you, then you’re in for a treat because I have two individuals that are going to talk about how to live a fantastic life. They’re going to give you the secrets to living a fantastic life. How many of you want to know the secrets to live in a fantastic life? I know I did. I have two people here who have tremendous stories and they are doing wonderful things in life. They have written the book about The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life.

I have Dr. Allen Lycka, who has recognized as one of the leading cosmetic dermatologists in the world for three decades. He’s a pioneer in this field as an inventor. He’s an author of 17 books and 30 plus academic papers. For many years, he was the host of the top internet radio show in his subject matter, Inside Cosmetic Surgery Today. In 2003, when visiting Disneyland with his wife and young daughter, Dr. Lycka’s life changed drastically when he suddenly developed a foot drop. After a battery of tests, he was misdiagnosed as ALS. He was told, “Get your affairs in order.” That experience took him on a journey, more like a roller coaster, and he was not willing to give in to this death sentence.

He dedicated his life for alternatives and a correct diagnosis. He found it and realizing that each day was a gift. After that, he started to live life differently. That transformation has led away of living that he has shared in this book, The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life, which he has also co-authored with Harriet Tinka. She was a former fashion model, a woman of distinction, a Canadian Football League official, an ultramarathon runner, a philanthropist, a chartered professional accountant, and also an entrepreneur. They are both here to share the secrets of living a fantastic life. Welcome to the show, Ms. Harriet Tinka and Dr. Allen Lycka.

That you for that wonderful introduction. It sounds better than I am.

You’re living a fantastic life and you have the secrets to a fantastic life. It’s only right that I welcome you in a fantastic way. I want to know the secrets to living a fantastic life. I am excited that both of you are here with me. Thank you. I hinted a little bit about your story, Dr. Allen. I want to know more details about that and what led both of you to co-author the book, The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life.

I would love to share it with you, Rodney. It almost seems surreal because it’s been a long journey. It’s all started in 2003 at the happiest place on earth, in Disneyland. I was walking with my wife and my daughter. It was spring break of February 2003. My wife turned to me at the end of a hot sticky day and said, “What’s wrong with you, honey?” For once, I hadn’t done anything wrong. I hadn’t said anything wrong, but my wife persisted, she said, “What’s wrong with you?” I looked at her like she was from the moon. I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She looked at me and she said, “Listen to your foot.” I said, “What do you mean listen to my foot? That’s bizarre.” She said, “When you’re walking, listen to it.”

My foot had suddenly developed a right foot drop. It was not lifting up with every step. Normally, your foot doesn’t do that. It just walks, but my foot was not behaving itself. It was behaving strangely. My wife looked at me and said, “When we get back on, you better get this checked out.” Rodney, when your wife tells you that, you know you better get a checkout or you know what’s coming. My wife did that to me and I got back. I had every test known to man. I had CAT scans. I had brain scans. I had scan scans. They showed absolutely nothing.

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Doctors were perplexed. They thought I had a brain tumor. They thought I had a slipped disc. They found nothing. Finally, I went to see a neurologist. A neurologist is a specialist in the nerves. He was one of the world-class doctors. I walked in on him and he said, “You better be sitting down when I tell you this.” I said, “What do I have? I have a dropped right foot.” He said, “No, you don’t. You have ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and in six months, you’re going to be dead. Get your affairs in order.” I looked at him and I said, “You got to be kidding me. Is there a way to prove this?” He said, “On autopsy.” That’s when I lost it. I said, “I’m not going to die to prove you wrong.”

I went home. I went through the changes that you go through when you’re dying. I went through anger. I went through bargaining. I went through depression. I went through all these phases because I wasn’t ready to accept this diagnosis. Finally, I went to my wife and I said, “Dear, what do you think’s going on?” She said, “I don’t have the faintest idea, but you don’t have Lou Gehrig’s disease. I think you got to figure it out.” Back in 2003, they had invented this new thing. It was called the internet. You might have heard about it. It was new back then. In fact, it was so new, you didn’t have Dr. Google. You didn’t have things like that. You can’t put in something to find an answer.

You had to get off on a dial-in connection by telephone. You didn’t have much memory on your computer so you couldn’t have pictures of things like that. You had to use a language called DOS, but I have friends that knew a lot about this and they got me in. I looked for every disease that looked like ALS but was not ALS. I found a doctor in Colorado Springs, Colorado by the name of David Martz. He went through the same thing I did, except he got sick much more rapidly. He was on his death bed. He could barely raise his head from the pillow. While everybody was coming around saying goodbye to David because he was one of the best-known doctors, a doctor came up from Texas to say goodbye. He looked at David and said, “David, there’s something wrong with your picture. You don’t have ALS.”

David whispered because he could barely talk. He said, “What do I have?” The doctor said, “You have Chronic Lyme disease.” David said, “What’s that?” He said, “It’s a bit of a tick that leaves your nerves affected. It looks like ALS.” David said, “I’ve never heard of it, but is there a treatment?” He said, “Yes, there is the doctor from Texas.” He said, “If I started, you’re going to get better.” Do you know what happened to David? He was like Lazarus. He rose from the dead. He got up. He started dancing and talking. He was better within a week. I knew I had to talk to David. He had pieces to the puzzle that I needed. I called every hospital in Colorado Springs. A doctor can get him to another doctor anytime he wants to, providing you takes the steps. I phoned the hospitals and I got in touch with him at the Methodist Hospital down there.

I talked to him and he said, “Dr. Allen, can you come down and see me?” I said, “I can’t.” He said, “Why?” “It’s our Thanksgiving. My wife’s having 50 people over.” He needed to be in the ribs and said, “Aren’t there any planes in Canada?” I said, “Of course, we got planes.” He said, “There’s no excuse. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I went and told my wife, “I’m going to be gone.” She said, “Where are you going this time?” I said, “It’s not a medical meeting this time. I’m going to help to see somebody that might help me.“ She said, “You must go. I’ll take care of the 50 people. That’s nothing.”

I got on a flight. It went from Edmonton to Denver. It was a great flight for three hours. From Denver to Colorado Springs, I got on this puddle jumper and it was terrible. It was like that roller coaster you alluded to, Rodney. This plane would go up and it would go down. It was like the drop of doom over and over again for fifteen minutes. When I got off that plane, I was green. I crawled off and there was David to meet. He literally was on the tarmac. Back then, you could do that. If you were in a little place, you could go to the tarmac and meet your friends. He met me. We went and talked for hours. He said to me, “History is repeating itself. I think I can make you better.”

He started me on treatment and that’s why I’m still here. I maintained my status as one of the top cosmetic doctors until I retired in 2019. I did everything I could, but when you go through this, Rodney, your life changes. You start to change in a better way. You realize you have a second chance and everyday matters. Every day, you got to make the most of it. I started writing a book and in that process, I met this young lady, Harriet Tinka that was on a similar path to me.

For myself, I had a similar experience, but different. Even now, it’s hard to believe that I’m a domestic violence survivor. I was an international model. I was walking the runway full of confidence, yet I was a victim of a stalker. My story begins when I retired from the modeling agency. I decided to focus on my formal education. It was at the university that one of the students befriended me. He became my friend. Little did I know, his attraction to me was a psychological trap, disguised as a love that later on became deadly. That was your typical domestic violence victim. I was young, naïve, and I didn’t even know the signs of a domestic abusive relationship, yet I was vulnerable enough to trust him. I started seeing signs of him that were very abusive, but I confuse those for love.

One day, he kidnapped me from my apartment. I have stuff stuck in my mouth to silence me because I was making a lot of noise. We drove off to an isolated area. While I was there, we saw a phone booth. It was a help phone. He said, “You need to go call your parents and say goodbye to them because this is the last time you’ll ever see them.” When he told me that, I said, “No.” Whatever he’s going to do, he is going to do it. He got angry at me again and said, “Harriet, in the back of my car, I have a gun, a knife, a rope, and gasoline. I would wrap and tie your body up with a rope, cut you in pieces, and put gasoline on your body. Are you going to call your parents?”

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic Life

Living A Fantastic Life: You have to be strong for yourself. You have to love yourself completely inside and out with all your perfect imperfections.

 

I was afraid, but I still say, “No.” He got angry and got his knife and stab me on my left thigh two times. I sliced my middle finger and there’s blood everywhere. It was gushing everywhere. Even now, I don’t remember how I got from that point to the hospital. When they woke up, the doctor told my father and me that I’ll probably never ever walk again because he had stabbed me right through the bone of my leg. If I do walk again, it would take me a long time. I had been an international model walking the runways, and now I was a cripple and depressed. It was from confidence to depression. I was traumatized. That’s the time I keep asking, “Why me? Why not you?” I decided to start healing. While I was in the hospitals, there was a little girl there who inspired me. She shared her story and when I shared my story, she said, “You need to go out there and use your story to make a difference in the world.” For me, that was my turning point. I use my story, my trauma to have a purpose in life and change my mindset.

Those are traumatic stories for both of you. How did you end up turning that into the secrets for living a fantastic life? What you’re describing is contrary to that. Most people will feel that life is over and life dealt them at an unfair hand. Here you are, writing a book about the secrets to live in a fantastic life.

Harriet, why don’t you tell Rodney how we met?

Dr. Lycka, being a doctor, he always give back to the community. One of the organizations he was sponsoring was the YWCA Women of Distinction. This organization recognizes women in the community for what they have done. For me, I was nominated to be in the Turning Point category where I use my life experience to impact the world. I won the award and thereafter, I met Dr. Lycka. We started talking about our stories and we said, “Maybe one day, we should write a book about our stories.” That was a few years ago. Here we are, finally, we wrote the book on, The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life.

All we would do is we had coffee afterward many times. We started talking about our commonality and each time we talk, we realized we had a great conversation. We recorded some of them. We said, “Maybe we could put this into a book.” We then realized what we had developed was what we call our thirteen golden pearls. Golden pearls are a very rare thing in nature because of the fact it starts in a specific type of oyster. What makes it is an irritation in the lining of the shell and the pearl walls off with a material called the luster and certain pearls, Pinctada maxima from Indonesia, put gold around there and they come out exquisite. They are rare that a single pearl cost about $10,000. We realized that we had developed golden pearls in our lives. We realized that we had found some commonalities that we could share with others. That commonality is what we call our golden pearls, thirteen of them.

How do you go from being in this place where life is seen over, destroyed, and not worth living, which is what you’ve described to creating these golden pearls?

When I went through this, I looked around. I realized I had found some answers. I realized that every day was a special day. I had been given a second chance, Rodney. I had a second opportunity. My life was supposed to be over in 2003. I was given six months to live. When you go through that, you look at the pieces. You look at things and how you’ve done things and you could go one way, which is hard and mean, or you can go the other path, which is kind and gentle, loving, and sharing. That’s the path I took. I took a path where I could get things back. Harriet was a young lady that showed her the path. Why don’t you tell us about your experience with her?

When I was in the hospital, feeling sorry for myself, wondering, “Why me?” The little girl that I mentioned shared her story. She was nine years old. She had been in a car accident and she lost both her parents. She was homeless, motherless, and fatherless, yet she exudes so much positivity and it is all about gratitude. She taught me that it’s not about what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens. Having that is exactly what changed my mindset. Of course, forgiveness was the number one key. Forgiving yourself in what happen to you was the way that I got through it.

What was one of the pearls?

It's not about what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens. Share on X

I have favorite pearls, Rodney, but let Harriet share her favorite pearl.

I’ll start over with forgiveness because I did mention that one, but there are many. Forgiveness is a tough one because they said to forgive as quickly as you can so that you can start healing. That’s not easy. You can forgive. If somebody cuts you off doing traffic or if your husband and wife who get to take your favorite show, that’s easy to forgive, but when something’s happened to you or your child, that’s trauma. It’s not easy to forgive. You can write down 21 steps on how to forgive and see over and over. What I did for myself is I use three steps. Number one, because hate and anger are not true states in natural emotion, forgiveness is not natural. It’s a temporary act that has to be a permanent attitude.

For me, number one, I had to say, why I’m angry. I said, “I hate my attacker because he stabbed me. I hate my attacker because he hurt my family.” Number two, I had to turn the second sentence into love. “I hate my attack because I love my life. I hate my attacker because I love my family.” Number three, I had to get rid of the hate and focus on love. “I love my family. I love being healthy.” It became a love journal. That’s how I learned how to forgive and it’s not easy. You have to take each step by step. You can validate that you’re angry. That’s number one, to say the reason why you angry. For me, that helped me forgive. That’s my favorite golden pearl that I share with the world.

What has that done for you? What happened to you is devastating. Let’s not ignore the heaviness of that. It happens every day, all over the world. People are assaulted in all kinds of ways and they have to live with these things. Sometimes these things happen at a very young age and no one knows about it. They are afraid to talk about it because they don’t want to look like they’re the bad person. They don’t feel that anyone would believe them. They carried this otherwise. It’s very hard for them to let that go. They feel that that’s the reason why their life is the way it is if it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to be. That’s something to point to and everyone that they would talk to about it would agree like, “That’s devastating. I understand where you are,” but here you are on this show, writing a book, talking about how you forgave your attacker. It takes a lot of strength. What has that done for you as a result of being able to take that step? How does that make you feel? What is life like now that you’re not carrying the heaviness?

It’s a relief. That kind of suffering can either time you into desks or diamonds or in this case, golden pearls. For me, I have no regrets about what happened. I can’t change anything that happened to me. There’s nothing I can do. I control my controllables. What happened to me has made me a better person. If that didn’t happen to me, I wouldn’t know who I would have become. It’s part of my journey. Nobody knows that journey. This is my journey. My purpose is to make a difference using my trauma. I don’t want to lead the victimized. I want to get over that and not judge myself because of what happened to me. This is who I am and my purpose is to help others.

I love the control of the controllables. That’s a beautiful statement and worth repeating. How about you, Allen? What is your favorite golden pearl?

I’m going to share one that you remind me of a lot, and that’s enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is something you bring every day. It’s the game-changer. It’s the thing that makes it different. If you bring your B-game every day, expect to be existence. If you bring you’re A-game every day, guess what that is all about? Let me tell you a little story to bring this home. There was Fred. He was a carpenter and he was tired. He worked for a lot of years for one company. He worked for 40 years and he didn’t want to do it anymore. His enthusiasm was gone. Getting up there was hard work for him. He went to his boss and said, “Boss, I’m quitting. It is my last day.” The boss was taken aback. This was his best carpenter. He was the guy that did it all for him. He said, “Fred, you’ve got to remember that you’re my best carpenter. Can you do one more job for me?” Fred said, “I don’t know.”

He said, “Please, Fred. I need you to do it.” Fred said, “Okay.“ The boss said, “Build me one more house, and then that’ll be it.” Fred said, “Okay, I think I could do it.” His heart was not into it. He brought his B-game every day. He barely got his ass to work. He worked two hours a day, whereas before he used to work ten. At the end of it, the house barely passed inspection. At that point that it passed inspection, he went and gave the keys to his boss and said, “I’m done.” The boss said, “Wait a minute. We’re going to have a party. We got to crack the champagne and have a good party.” They had a party and said, “I’m done.” He said, “Wait one more minute. Everybody it’s Fred’s last day. He’s leaving us after all the dedication and hard work he did for us. I’ve got one little gift for you. Here are the keys to the last house. I’m giving them to him so he can live. He could remember all the good things he’s done all his life.” Can you picture how that would have been different if he had brought his A-game every day instead of his B-game? Unfortunately, he has to remember it for the rest of his life too.

How many times do we wake up every day? All of us have goals and ambitions or challenges that we want to overcome, but we don’t always behave like we want to overcome them. We don’t always bring our A-game. I agree with you. I think enthusiasm is a huge game-changer. It takes that dedication and commitment that you talked about. The underlying trait of enthusiasm is dedication. Dedication is something from the heart. It’s something that can be cultivated, but I feel that either you are dedicated to something or not. You have to make that decision that every day, this is what it’s going to be because of whatever it is.

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic Life

Living A Fantastic Life: Laughter is one of the most important variables people can do because it changes everything.

 

When you make that decision, you just show up. Enthusiasm can be a natural thing. It should be natural. You shouldn’t have to be pushed into enthusiasm. You’re talking about your goal, your dream, your challenge, your theme in life, your purpose and I don’t know any other thing that you should be more enthused about than you. We’re talking about you and what you’re bringing to the table, your impact on the world. If you don’t have enthusiasm about that, my question is, what are you enthused about?

I’m going to bring up those golden pearls again. Each one of our golden pearls is something you find inside of yourself, Rodney. This is something you go out and harvest on the street. This is inside of you. You have to make them all come alive. You’ve got to realize they’re there and work at them a bit. The beautiful thing about this book is that it’s something everybody can do and can take home with a little bit of meaning. There’s something in there for everyone and it will enhance everybody’s life if they work at it.

Why did you title this book, The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life? Why is it not the secret to success, the secrets to money, or the secrets to a lot of other things that you hear in the market, but a fantastic?

That was a hard choice. We wanted to bring it home to everybody. How many people live up blah life? How many people live an average life? I’m asking them to plus it. I’m asking them to live that better life that’s inside of them. I’m asking you to take a step out of their comfort zone. I’m asking them to grab at that. That’s what I want everybody to live is a fantastic day, not just the life that they averagely live.

I agree with that. The other thing is most people don’t know what the purpose is. We thought about all of these golden pearls and purpose is one of the golden pearls. With purpose, in the book, we use a motto code, the Ikigai. If some of you readers don’t know what ikigai is, it’s a Japanese word for a reason for being. When you’re doing your ikigai, you asked yourself four questions. Number one, what is it that you love to do? Number two, what are you good at? Number three, what does the world or your community need that you can offer? Number four, what can you do and get paid for? When you can answer all those four questions, you found your ikigai. For us, our ikigai was to write this book, to help people have a fantastic life. That’s what it’s all about having that fantastic life and being kind to yourself as well while you have a fantastic life.

You talk about being kind to yourself. It is difficult at times when you’re going through a challenge or you’re facing adversity, especially when you have high expectations for yourself to have that compassion. You want to be here, but something seems to be holding you at some standard below that. It can be frustrating at times and you get frustrated with yourself. You get frustrated at what you’re not able to do, that dealt between where you are and where you want to be. You want to cover that. You want to achieve that. You want to overcome that. Sometimes it’s devastating that you can’t seem to get there that way. Having that compassion for yourself, I love that because with my story, not being able to walk again, it was that compassion that kept me sound and grounded day-to-day, to take one day at a time.

“You did good.” Even if it was one step or it was one movement, it was showing up to therapy with a smile or having a good attitude. You didn’t quit. You’ve made a decision to show up again and having that compassion for yourself. I can imagine, Harriet, it took a lot of compassion for yourself to get over the trauma. You are a fashion model. That takes a lot of confidence and I’ve met a lot of people who have experienced some of the things that you’ve shared with us. One of the things that are attacked when they go through things like that is their confidence. They don’t want to be seen, especially not in terms of being a symbol or an icon for fashion and beauty. You seem to dominate that and carried that well. You must have a lot of compassion for yourself.

It wasn’t easy. I didn’t always love myself. It’s something I had to work on. Looking at my picture, I thought I was beautiful and looked great, but then I had to be realistic and say, “I love myself and I am enough. If I’m enough for myself, I will be enough for others.” It takes a while to go through that. The biggest thing is the attitude and it has seven diseases. There are a lot of self-doubts, complaining, and indifference. Your attitude has to change. It’s all a mindset and watching through all those different things that attitude brings about makes a difference. You have to be strong for yourself. You have to love yourself completely inside and out with all your perfect imperfections.

If I’m enough to love myself, then it’s enough for others. Allen, I don’t want to give the entire book away, but this such good content here. Maybe just one more golden pearl since there are thirteen of them.

Live a fantastic life, not just the life that you averagely live. Share on X

I got to go with the most important one. This is what makes everybody change their life. That’s what you did for me and that’s laughter. Laughter is one of the most important variables people can do because it changes everything. That’s a game-changer. It’s proved there’s a huge spirit around us that can make us laugh than cry all the time. It takes us to a different situation. Scientists have studied laughter. There’s a Dr. Wiseman in London that studied all the jokes in the world and had people rate them. He’s come up with the world’s funniest joke. Would you like to know the world’s funniest joke?

Yes, please.

There were two hunters. They were out in the woods. One was blocking the other one dropped down. He looked like he was dead. His friend tried to shake him, “Wake up.” He didn’t move so he pulled out his cell phone. He’s way out in the boonies, but cell phones work everywhere these days. He phones the operator. “Operator, what do I do? My friend’s dead.” The operator said, “Calm down, sir. This happens all the time. First, make sure he’s dead.” The phone drops down. He shakes his friend and all of a sudden, there’s a loud bang. He comes back to the phone and says, “Yes, he’s dead. What do I do now.” He shot him.

Isn’t that the world’s worst joke and the world’s best joke? Why do you laugh when somebody slips on a banana peel? It’s the events that happened that aren’t supposed to happen. That’s what life was all about, a bunch of events that don’t work the way it is. Every day something funny happens. We were on here and you had technical difficulties. You broke up, you froze. We got to be devastated by that and say, ”We’ll try this again next time,” or we can laugh and move on to the next thing. If you don’t laugh at these little things, we’re all going to be crying all the time. We’re all going to have problems. That’s why I think laughter is one of the most important things you can do with your soul. I think you’ve got to cultivate it a way of looking at things that’s a little bit humorous because otherwise, the other side is not pretty.

I couldn’t agree with that more. To tell you a little story, my dad and I have a good relationship. I call my dad every morning. There are no days that I don’t talk to him. We’ve gotten to this routine where we get on the phone in the mornings. It’s almost expected that we’re going to talk about something funny. We don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t take long for us to get on the phone. Within 30 seconds to a minute, we’re laughing at something and this happens every time we get on the phone. It’s unplanned, but it just shows up. There are times that we get on the phone and we can say, “How are you doing? What’s up dad?” Immediately, if the expectation is strong, we start laughing for no reason and the laughter lasts for way too long. We don’t even know what we’re laughing at, but we know we’re laughing at something. We’re laughing at ourselves at times. That is a funny thing.

That’s what life is all about is having a little bit of humor and a little bit of a laugh. Otherwise, the other side is you could talk about how bad it is outside, how this COVID is going to round, and how we’re all locked up in our little houses. How many million people unemployed because of the COVID? We could talk about something else that’s nasty, but if you turn on that humorous side, it sure changes the way you’re going to look at your day. I am sure it is going to change how you feel about yourself and how you feel about others.

Let me ask you a question about seriousness because there are a reality and a seriousness to some of the things that people are going through. You can take COVID for example. It’s serious that a lot of people are laid off. It is serious that a lot of people have died. It’s a serious thing that we have this social distancing and we can’t connect with people the way we used to. It is changing. There’s a seriousness to that. What is your opinion? I know you’ve talked about laughter, but how do we balance the serious stuff?

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic Life

Living A Fantastic Life: These are terrible times, but it’s how you address those terrible times that make the difference.

 

Let’s talk about the basic premise that we said in our book. It’s not what happens with you, it’s what you do with what happened. You can take any situation and let’s say you were given lemons. You could take those lemons and make lemonade. I would much sooner have lemonade than lemons any day. I think that’s what everybody has to do here. We have to realize there’s some devastation going on and so on, but there’s another side that can even be better. We can have a better world as a result of this. Coming out on the other side, we could be kinder and nicer to everybody. I’m going to challenge each and every one of your readers to do something for somebody else that they would not regularly do. Maybe they could mow their lawn.

Maybe they could go to the grocery store and get them some groceries that they don’t have. Maybe they could knock on their door, socially distancing still, and see if they need anything. Maybe they have a car and they can go get their medications for somebody that couldn’t get them. Maybe they could share a smile and a nice thing to say, “How are you doing, Rodney? Is there anything I could do for you? Is there something I could do to make your day a little bit better?” These are terrible times, but it’s how you address those terrible times that makes the difference rather than anything else. I know that you’re going to listen to that message in your heart and you’re going to do something.

Also, sometimes, the biggest thing is the fear factor. This is what we are all going through. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re afraid of. I have a fear of heights, but is it the fear of heights or am I afraid to fall? That’s really what I’m afraid of. It’s not the height, it is falling down. That’s what it is. You have to put in perspective. Having this time with the COVID going on, this is a time that we can all get creative. Maybe find your ikigai. For myself, I do workshops for young girls, I go to schools, and I empower them. I can’t do that. I have to be creative and go through virtually and meet them that way. Maybe give them a call. Simple things like that. We can start being creative. It’s not the time to be depressed and sad. It’s time to think outside the box and see what else I can do. I was this in place but how else can I get there? I was in a situation where I would start and left for dead. I got through it. We all go through a path. This time is temporary. It’s not going to last forever. We have to realize there’s more to come. We are just going through the hurdles.

I’m a firm believer when you talk about change, especially breakneck speed change that happens fast and abruptly. The way to deal with that is innovation and creativity. That is the answer every single time. I know that may sound cliché. The second step to that is that accepting whatever the innovation and the creativity result is because a lot of times, we have the creativity but we don’t want to accept what it is. It’s right there in front of you, but you don’t want to do it. It’s because you’re attached to that old way of doing things. You are not ready to change. We want to control change. I firmly believe that people, eventually let go and we adapt to change, especially when we see other people doing it.

We see that, “Those people over there they’ve been doing it. It seems to be working. We’ll then change,” but when it’s quick and you have to make a decision to change, people don’t want to do that. Even if they know the change is better, they still like the other one. “Have you gotten all the bugs out yet? I’m going to wait a little while before I put my whole body, my foot in there. I’m not going to put my whole body in there yet.” It’s because we can’t control where we want to change and that’s part of controlling. I noticed changes here, but I’m not going to do it yet. I’m going to do it when I’m ready to do it.

I think that’s a sense of control or you don’t have that control ever. The sooner we can let that go and relinquish our control, especially to the spirit, higher power, and higher sources and then trust that I can produce the same result or even a greater result by doing it differently and let go of that attachment. In that attachment, there’s comfort and certainty in that comfort of the way it is. There is uncertainty in this change that I may have to do. Even though you may get a greater return on investment, that is still a change and I don’t want to make that change. Sometimes we have to make the change. We have to accept it.

To tell you a story, after I got hurt, it took about a year for me to start having petty part and that was a long time. I was mad at the world. I had a nasty attitude and I didn’t want to accept that this was my life. I had this injury. I didn’t accept anything about it. It wasn’t until I accepted that this was an opportunity to inspire. It was a challenge, but it was an opportunity to overcome, to climb a mountain that you hadn’t even thought about. This is bigger than any mountain that you’ve ever dreamed of in your life. You wouldn’t have chosen this, but this was a good one. This is what it is. If you overcome this, there’s probably not anything in your life that you would overcome that would be having a greater impact than this particular mountain right here if it didn’t happen to you.

This is a gift and it took me a long time to accept that. I think about if I could accept it or have realized it sooner, I could have started making an impact sooner. I could have started to inspire people sooner. I could have been happier sooner. I could have had more laughter sooner. I could have started that process to recover sooner. The more we want to resist that change and prolong the process of greatness and the process of recovery, we can’t get into that space. In your case, we prolonged the process before we can start living a fantastic life.

Rodney, you said that beautifully. To be successful, you first got to be willing to be vulnerable. Everybody hates being vulnerable. Everybody thinks it’s a bad state, but if you want to run a race and win it, you have to put it all on the line. If you’re not going to put it all on the line, you’re not going to win it. When Harriet’s running this ultramarathon, she’s got to be vulnerable because she could lose and hurt, but by embracing her vulnerability, she becomes stronger. That’s what you did there. You embraced it and move further. That’s another one of our golden pearls. Being vulnerable is a key to success. It’s our struggles that make us stronger. If everything was great every day, we would never become strong and great because it’s our struggles that turn us into the great beings and individuals that we are.

Life is all about a bunch of events that don't work the way it is. Share on X

There’s a story in our book about a butterfly coming from a cocoon. Somebody tries to help him out of the cocoon, breaks the cocoon, and let them come out. That butterfly came out deformed. If you would let it go through the process, struggle its way through the cocoon, come out and emerge as a beautiful butterfly, it’s a better process. You’ve got to realize these things that happened to us, happened to us for a reason. They allow us to become greater because of them, not despite them and we got to get that way. I was supposed to be dead in 2003. Here, I and Harriet have this wonderful opportunity to share with you in this wonderful show that you have, and how we could share with all your readers and help them have a wonderful day, a fantastic day. This is what it’s all about.

I believe that challenges and obstacles are no different than a rainy or stormy day. It’s no different than the tsunami in 2011 that happened in Japan. It’s no different than any type of hurricanes like Katrina and all of that. These are things that happen because it’s a part of life. I think it’s the balance. It’s the Law of Polarity. If you think about the Law of Polarity, you can’t have a front if you don’t have a back. You can’t have an up if you don’t have a down. You can’t have a left if you don’t have a right. When you think about life, that’s what life is. Life is the ebbs and flows, the good and the bad, ups and the downs. People that are successful, in my opinion, are the ones that are able to navigate that. I don’t want to remove the challenges of my life. I want to learn how to navigate them.

I don’t want to take away the 100-foot waves. I want to learn how to navigate the 100-foot waves. I don’t want to take the tsunami or tornado. I want to learn how to survive and thrive in those types of conditions. If you take them away, you take away my experience, my growth, my reward of being able to overcome. You take away the joy that I get from falling down and getting back up and then getting back up again. That’s my growth process. I can’t go from 0 to 100 and nor should I want to. I want to enjoy the journey of going from 0 to 100.

For me, the number one beauty of going through that process is the education that I gave and the fact that I can pass that down to someone else. I can give them a headstart. I can help them understand the game so that they can play even in a bigger game as we continue to evolve as people. As we continue to evolve and the generations that come behind us, they’re going to play a bigger game. They’re going to have bigger challenges. We’re going to conquer the ones that are here while we’re here, but then we’re going to leave and they’re going to be here. They need the tools, the skillsets, the know-how, the tenacity, the attitudes, and everything that comes with being able to handle the challenges that they need to face.

We can’t ask for the removal of those things because we need them so that we can pass them down and teach people how to overcome it. That is, to me, the deficit here. That’s the true issue in my mind, not just in America, but in the world. These types of lessons are not being taught. They’re not taught in schools. If parents don’t have this type of mindset, this game-changer mentality, they can’t pass that down. To me, we see this whole COVID thing as exposure to our mentality and the skillset that we lack as a people to handle tough problems, challenges, and situations. Simple things like isolation. Isolation is a gift for some of us. I’m sure Harriet there are times when you want it to be alone. You don’t even want to be around anyone because you want the time to think. You want the time to get to know yourself. You want time to discover who you are in the middle of all of this.

When you get an opportunity to have that, an opportunity without going through a trauma, that is truly a gift. Some people are put in that situation because something smacks them in the mouth where they got hit upside the head, they suffered a football accident, some type of sexual assault, or whatever it is. They’re put in a place where that like, “Why me?” They’re searching for answers and no one can give it to them because they’re the only one at that moment in that situation. Other people are going on with life and you got to figure that out. It takes isolation to steal in this to get to that point, but not a whole world is in a timeout.

For me, I was like, “Yes, because I think this is what we need,” but people don’t know how to take advantage of that. What I’m saying is we need to have these skillsets so we can pass these types of things down and say, “This is a time of stillness. This is a time for you to get to know yourself, to understand. This is a moment of shifting, a moment of looking at what I’ve been doing, and what I can do differently. What’s working and what’s not working.” It’s a moment of clarity. You can turn this into a moment of clarity instead of a moment of chaos. Chaos puts you in a place where you can find clarity. Don’t get mad because chaos is here. Get quiet and get still because that’s how you learn how to navigate.

Rodney, we got it here in The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life book. There are a lot of secrets in there. Many of them of which you’ve touched on and many of them about that, but this is not the story of Harriet’s and my life. It’s a story of everyone’s life. We all go through struggles. We all go through strife. This is about navigating that and doing it in the best way possible and bringing out the best you. Those are Harriet’s words. Tell us a little bit about the best you, Harriet.

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic Life

Living A Fantastic Life: Braveness only comes about when you’re afraid.

 

Being yourself and not trying to emulate other people. What this book does is focus on the noncognitive skills that are not taught in school, but you can read those things. You can either learn from your own experience or from others. We encourage you to learn it from us because we got all the grit through the trauma and all of those things.

I love that you guys wrote the book because sometimes we don’t know what to look for in trauma and difficulty. All we know is wanting it to go away and to have a book that highlights when you’re in these types of situations, create, look, and do these thirteen things. This is the outcome that’s going to help you. You guys are like a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. You’re shining the light and guiding people through the rough waters.

That’s a beautiful metaphor. We would like to be a beacon for people. We would like them to see a better way. Now, there’s a lot of doom and gloom. We’ve even put an extra chapter in this book. The fourteenth pearl is fear and how to address fear. One of the greatest things we have is fear itself. I think fear is our greatest incapacitating thing. It’s even more dangerous than the virus that’s out there. The virus is dangerous. Don’t get me wrong. Fear is an even more incapacitating thing. You need to learn how to deal with this thing smartly. When you’re out, wear a mask, wash your hands. The other thing is to sit on your couch. Our ancestors used to fight wars, First World War, Second World War, the Vietnam War, the Korean Crisis and we’re being asked to sit on our couch. We sure could mess that up pretty bad.

We got to understand that this is manageable. We got to understand that we can get through this, there’s another side and yes, we can do things. I’m talking to you in Maryland. I’m in Edmonton. What a beautiful, amazing world we have here, where we can communicate across the globe in an instant and how we can affect people in such a way that it’s different than it was a few years ago. We’ve come a long way and I’m grateful for every day that I have and every opportunity I have to share. It has been a wonderful thing. I would like everybody to have that fantastic life.

I love the way you talked about fear, managing fear is a keyword. How do we manage this thing instead of being overtaken by it? That’s the same thing I feel about risk and challenges. You got to manage it. You’ve got to figure out how to do it without getting hurt.

In the 1930s, there was fear. There was a big depression going on. One of your greatest leaders of all time said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Those were great words that empowered people. I think empowerment is what we’re lacking. We are thrown into a situation where we don’t feel empowered. Harriet is the empowered lady. She is the doctrine of empowerment. I want her to address that.

Empowerment is one of the golden pearls. To add to the empowerment, the biggest thing is attitude. When it comes to fear, worrying is what we’re going through now. They did a study on the amount of time we worry about. Forty percent is things that will never happen. For example, if you say, “I’m not going to go to California because I don’t want to get caught in those fires.” That’s about 40%. Next are things that you cannot change from your past. That’s 30% of what is happening. The 12% is things you worry about like, you get something swollen in your hand, then you go online and you get Dr. Google to tell you you’re going to die from cancer.

The 10% are petty things like, “I don’t know what I’m going to have from supper. If I don’t go to Walmart by 9:00, I’ll miss buying, whatever.” That’s about 92% that we worry about that’s not going to happen. Technically, we only have to worry about 8%. That is the legitimate amount we have to worry about. If we put it in perspective and maybe decide, “I’m going to worry about all my worries at 9:00 every morning,” and don’t worry about it. If you ever worry, do it at 9:00 the next day. Set a time to worry and you start working on yourself, then you feel empowered. It’s a process. If you worry about these things, once you go through that phase, you feel empowered and you will have a fantastic life.

Fear is the greatest incapacitating thing. Share on X

The word FEAR is an eponym. It sounds for False Expectations Appearing Real. How real are our fears? Most of the time, they’re not real. Most of the time, as Harriet pointed out, we’re worrying about nothing. What makes you brave is when you act in a situation when you’re afraid. Braveness only comes about when you’re afraid. It doesn’t come about when you’re not afraid. Fear is a gift in itself because it allows us to accomplish things we could not do, otherwise. Think about that gift we’re given with that situation. A hero can only be a hero if he’s in a heroic situation. If you’re not in a heroic situation, you’re not heroic. It’s a gift to be in that situation. We look at the gifts we’ve been given. You got to realize we can take the best of them or the worst of them.

Fear is an indication that you’re in a call to act.

Yes, it is asking you to act. It’s saying, “Get your button gear. It’s time to get moving here. It’s time to do something.” You may do exactly the wrong thing in that situation but that is fine. Learn from it and go on because we learn more from our failures than our successes every day. I believe that you should get all of your failures over right at the beginning because then you’ll be successful more often. Get that failure out of the way. Do something. The biggest solution for fear is action. Maybe the wrong action. Go on from it, learn from it. Harriet tells me about a race that she ran. She ran down the wrong hill. She took the wrong turn but she ended up the finish line anyhow, but the point is she ran.

You can face everything and run or face everything and rise. That’s another acronym for fear. I like to think I’m facing everything and rising. That’s what I want your readers to do. It’s very important.

With that being said, how can people connect with you if they wanted to find you learn more about you? Harriet, how can people connect with you?

To connect with me, you can log onto EmpoweredMe.ca.

How about you, Allen?

I’m going to give you a couple of things. One is to get the book, go to FantasticLifeBook.com. If you buy it there, we can give you free shipping. We’re going to give 20% of the proceeds of this book to help women that are in abused situations. We’re helping shelters in Canada and the United States to get better. Secondly, if you would like to see me, DrAllenLycka.com. I have a gift for your readers. Everybody texts these days. Everybody from the time they are 2 to the time they’re 90, they’re texting. I want them to text Golden Pearls to the following number, 1 (819) 717-2515. I will give you a Golden Pearl a week for the next 52 weeks to help you along with your goal to being a better life to get that fantastic life.

Thank you for doing that Dr. Lycka. I appreciate you guys coming on the show. The topic about fear is important. I think we spend a lot of time thinking and pondering over things that don’t matter. I see it with my own eyes. I’ve done it. I’m guilty of it. I think it’s the skillset to stay focused on and spend your energy thinking about things that do matter. Harriet, you broke it down so beautifully with the stats. We spent so much time thinking about and worry about things that don’t matter. That’s a major takeaway from this conversation. You’ve given us many golden nuggets, golden pearls, many valuable tips and tools that we can use. I’m going to be a little greedy on the show because I’m going to ask you for one more. I like to end the show with a game-changing mentality message for the audience. If you could give us one more thing, it doesn’t have to be a golden pearl.

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic Life

The Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life: Two Survivors Reveal the 13 Golden Pearls They’ve Discovered

It is not what happens to you but it is what you do with what happens. That is the main message.

You couldn’t walk eighteen years, but it’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens. Those eighteen years were a long journey to where you are now, but it wasn’t what happened to you. It’s what you did with what happened. You’re on the show with us, you’re interviewing us. You’re doing many things to inspire people in your world.

I was going to ask, for eighteen years, what is the one thing that made you go through it other than being silent because you need to do that?

It was what I was alluding to earlier. It was the opportunity to have this impact. It was the opportunity to overcome it because if I overcame it, then I could do the show, write a book, and tell people how to overcome or have the experience to say, “This is how you deal with traumatizing, debilitating situations that come out on top. This is how you win. This is how you change the game.” I want it to be that guy I did. That’s the guy I wanted to be. I was grateful at that point for it all because I knew what it was created for me in my life. I tried that on, I kept it on, and here I am.

You found your ikigai.

I believe we all have that charge, to be honest with you. We all have our proverbial wheelchair. We all have something in life because we’re all seeds. I think we’re all here for the purpose of the creational sustainment of life. We all have something to contribute to that life, whether it be the next person, to the next latest technology that’s created, and being a guy that has a great attitude and makes people smile. I don’t know what your gift is or what your purpose is, but I know you have one because you’re here and that’s how life works. There’s an order to life. If you showed up on this planet and you have, you’re here for a reason because life is not going to let you come here without that.

If you look around, everything is serving a purpose and you’re part of that. In my opinion, you have the responsibility and the privilege to express yourself to the fullness and navigate all of this stuff and still shot through it. The challenges are just the dirt that gets thrown on us so the energy can press upon us so that we can grow out of the ground and progress into this beautiful flower, tree, or whatever it is that we’re supposed to be. We have to learn how to navigate that. That’s why it’s good to have people like you in the world, both of you that write books and do the work that you do so that we can collectively, together as a team, help one another express our true selves as nature and the universe intended for us too.

Once again, this is amazing. I love your book. For those of you that are reading, go check out the thirteen golden pearls to live a fantastic life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to live a fantastic life. Even if you feel like your life is okay, you feel like you’re living a fantastic life. It’s okay to find out maybe there are some other areas in your life that you can improve upon or some golden nuggets that you can start implementing to make it even better. Learn so that you’ll be able to share them with someone else who doesn’t feel like their life is fantastic. Take that on, try that on, spread your fantastic life, and share it with someone else. I enjoyed you guys coming on the show. Thank you, Harriet and Dr. Allen. I appreciate it.

Thank you, Rodney. This was a true pleasure.

We have a fantastic time with you, Rodney. Thank you for having us.

Until next time, peace, and love.

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About Darryll Stinson

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic LifeThey Each Suffered Near-Death Experiences and Sought Renewal through the Wisdom of Human Virtues That Refocused Them on a Life of Richness, Appreciation, Joy and Service.

In February 2003, Dr. Allen Lycka was walking with his wife and youngest daughter at the “Happiest Place on Earth” when his wife noticed his foot was “flapping.” It was making an audible “flap” with each step he took. In the prime of his life, considered one of Canada’s premiere cosmetic dermatologists with a thriving practice, a leading philanthropist and committed family man, Dr. Lycka was perplexed by this sudden development in his right foot. Going through a full range of tests, the dozens of doctors he sought out were equally perplexed. Until one leading neurologist delivered the devastating news that he had ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and he would only live six more months. “Get your affairs in order,” the doctor callously said.

After going through depression, anger, rage and denial—he ultimately decided not to give up and began searching for another answer. He just couldn’t believe the diagnosis. His diligence paid off and he found a doctor who really DID have the answer. Since that day, Dr. Lycka rededicated his life to the appreciation of living fully, and being of service.

About Harriet Tinka

GCM 132 | Living A Fantastic LifeHarriet Tinka was a gorgeous model-turned student at the University of Calgary. Featured on haute couture runways and in fashion magazines, she chose to turn her back on the soul-crushing pressure to be the “ideal female body.” Instead she chose to go to university and focus on getting an education. During this period, one of her friends began to turn critical, mean and possessive, until one night he attacked her. She was beaten, abducted and sliced up with a butcher’s knife. It was a miracle she survived, but the trauma left her with a big “why me?”. That is until she met a 9-year-old girl named Amber who helped her get her head turned around. Today, she is a highly-regarded empowerment youth worker, ultra-marathon runner, accountant and mother of three. She exudes vivacity, health, strength and emotional balance.

They met each other when Dr. Lycka sponsored a leading awards ceremony honoring “Women of Distinction.” Bonded by their shared traumas and their renewed appreciation for the value of life and service, Dr. Lycka and Harriet wanted to give others the Secrets to Living a Fantastic Life… that they distilled from their own experience. Each of these 13 essential human elements were founded from the grains of near catastrophe and transformed into “Golden Pearls of Wisdom”.
Offered in the format of an enchanting and charming dialogue between the two authors, the book also includes their chronicles of pain and triumph, allegories and stories, along with inspirational and insightful quotes. The exploration of each of the 13 Golden Pearls creates a necklace of self-empowerment that will enhance anyone’s life.

The Golden Pearls shared offer a roadmap for living a life that is rich in love, achievement, appreciation, joy and service. They offer strength, comfort and encouragement.

The authors are on a mission to transform lives. Dr. Allen Lycka is now a full-time speaker, author and transformational leader and Harriet Tinka coaches young women to fully embrace who they are through her Empowered Me programs.

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