1801 – Climbing Life’s Mountains with Eric Recker

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Dentist, Success Coach, Keynote Speaker & Workshop Facilitator, Eric Recker.

Recker Wide

Dr. Recker's journey began with a childhood experience that is unfortunately all too common: bullying. The impact of this early adversity profoundly shaped his drive for achievement. As a second grader, he made a pact with himself to excel in everything he did, a decision that stemmed from a desire to prove his worth to those who had bullied him.

However, this relentless pursuit came at a cost. Dr. Recker faced burnout multiple times, a clear sign that his efforts to seek approval from childhood bullies were unsustainable. Through these experiences, he realized the need to help others who might be on a similar path, struggling with the ghosts of their past.

One of the most powerful concepts Dr. Recker shared with me was the idea of “winning the now.” This philosophy centers on being present and defining success in each moment.

It's about reframing our perspective on losses, learning from them, and turning them into wins. Dr. Rucker's approach encourages us to step away from the constant pressure and urgency to achieve, which he aptly calls the “false sense of urgency.”

Dr. Recker provided practical coping mechanisms to deal with these challenges. One such strategy is setting aside dedicated “worry time,” a period during the day when you can process your concerns without letting them overrun your life. Another technique he advocates is the “brain dump,” which involves decluttering your mind by writing down everything that's weighing on you.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Dr. Eric Recker's personal journey of overcoming bullying and its impact on his drive for achievement
  • The concept of “win the now” and living in the present moment
  • Strategies for managing the constant pressure and urgency to achieve
  • Coping mechanisms for dealing with worries and anxieties
  • The “five-day knockback burnout challenge” as a resource to combat burnout
  • Dr. Rucker's coaching services, workshops, and retreats for high achievers

About Eric Recker:

Dr. Eric Recker, a dedicated dentist since 2002, leads a team of 18 professionals and has maintained a passion for his work over two decades. He has been married to Amy Recker since 1997, so he cherishes his family with two boys.

A native of Pella, Iowa, his upbringing in a rural community has shaped his character, fostering a love for learning and exploration. Eric, a pilot since 2018, has traveled to 12 countries and 46 states, reflecting his curiosity about the world.

Beyond his dental profession, Eric is a recovering triathlete, having completed over 20 races up to the Ironman level. As a Certified Elite Success Coach, he mentors and coaches high-achieving personalities, emphasizing the philosophy of #WINtheNOW.

With a history of biking across Iowa and scaling mountains, including Kilimanjaro, Eric remains passionate about helping people realize their goals and believes in a bright future.

Tweetable Moments:

01:34 – “I made a pact as a second grader on the sidelines of that field: I said, ‘I'm going to be so freaking good at everything that I ever do that nobody's ever not going to pick me.'”

15:13 – “I'm in the business of hope. I want people who work with me to walk away with hope and a plan that there's going to be good days ahead.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now it is dentist, coach, speaker, author and recovering triathlete. It's Eric Recker. Eric, you are the owner of when the now you are found on the web at Eric Eric, thank you so much for joining us. Yes, thanks.

Eric (00:01:15) - For having me. It's great to be here.

Josh (00:01:17) - Yes, absolutely. Well, I mean, that's quite a bill of goods you got there. Maybe I'll let you describe your impact in the world today.

Eric (00:01:24) - Yeah. So I can give the short version. It'll take about three hours. So I'll go ahead and just hop right into that. Everybody will want to still listen that long, but.

Josh (00:01:33) - All right, buckle up.

Eric (00:01:34) - Buckle up. Exactly. You know, so basically long story of growing up with some bullying that happened and wasn't allowed to play recess, kickball, of all things, in the early 80s in Iowa. Recess. Kickball was life. And so when you're told that you're not good enough to play, you start to make some deals with yourselves. You either believe that you're that bad or you do what I did. And I made a pact as a second grader on the sidelines of that field, I said, I'm going to be so freaking good at everything that I ever do that nobody's ever not going to pick me. So basically, what that led to is a life of overcompensating.

Eric (00:02:14) - So I had to be the best at everything I did. I had to be the best in in high school and be the best in college. To be the best in dental school, I had to be the best dentist and get advanced degrees. I started dabbling in in running and then I went all the way through marathon. That wasn't good enough. Triathlon all the way through Ironman. That wasn't good enough mountain climbing, all of that stuff until I finally realized, through three serious rounds of burnout, that I was chasing the approval of these bullies from the playground. And I suspect that I'm not the only one who has a story somewhat along those lines.

Josh (00:02:56) - I'm like, look what the listeners didn't see. I looked over both of my shoulders immediately when you said that, uh, we are birds of a feather, my friend.

Eric (00:03:06) - Yeah. And so it's okay if you're in the back of the room right now, it's okay to raise your hand and say, oh, dang, that's maybe what I've been doing.

Eric (00:03:15) - And so the burnout and all of that going through that, what I realized is, hey, I've been on this journey for a reason, and I want to help other people on their journey. So that's where I'm at right now.

Josh (00:03:28) - Yeah. All right, well, listen, I got to ask you because, you know, I think that that's, I think something that a lot of us, not all of us, but a lot of us maybe struggle with is, you know, because maybe we're high, you know, we're driven people. And for some reason that's a good thing to be driven. But when we look at it, you know, to what end? What are we trying to accomplish here or are we trying to prove something? Are we trying to be liked by everybody? Can you maybe talk a little bit more about kind of that dynamic of, you know, whether it's approval seeking or, you know, we just want to show off those bullies from second grade, you know, what's going on in our brain there.

Josh (00:04:09) - And and what can we do to disrupt that?

Eric (00:04:11) - Yeah. So we have a world that rewards achievement like crazy. We're just we're told to push, push, push, keep going. The next promotion, the next step up, the next accomplishment, all of that kind of stuff. And I found out on the top of a mountain in Colorado, on top of Mount Princeton, I was hiking out there. I was going to do a big bike race in a few days, and so why not climb a 14 or before you do that? Right. So I was standing out there surveying creation, looking at it, just being overwhelmed by it. And it was yet another mountain. And I got to the top of that mountain. I was already thinking about the next one. So the thought that really hit me is, if we don't know why we're climbing the mountain, we're not going to find the answer at the top. And there I was at the top, searching for that answer that I still couldn't find.

Eric (00:05:02) - So the bike race I was going to do in a couple of days was the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. So that's 100 miles, all above 9300ft. And so I knew then that that race was going to go great. It was going to go really well. I was going to cross the finish line. I was going to be totally fine. But I also knew it wasn't going to mean anything because I didn't know why I was doing all this. I was just doing it because I felt I needed to keep doing it. I would never celebrate the finish line. I would just keep going, keep going, keep going and pushing. And I had to figure out how to find some fulfillment in some of this, or else I was going to die chasing this thing that I was never going to find. Wow. Wow.

Josh (00:05:44) - All right, so how do we get to a place where we no longer have to keep chasing that?

Eric (00:05:50) - Yeah. So one of the things I love to talk about is, is what I call win the now.

Eric (00:05:54) - So that is the mindset of presence. So in all of this I found myself like maybe you have before Josh either stuck in the past. So I'm just living my life in the past, or I'm worried about the future. And part of my worry about the future was worrying about training for the next event. Because I'd get done with one. I'd sign up for the next one, I'd get done with a class or an advanced degree. What's next, what's next, what's next? And I missed out on the one thing that we're guaranteed, and that is what's right in front of us. So what win, the now says, is how do we get ourselves into the present moment? How do we actually live this life that's right in front of us? And so first we define what now looks like. So for us in this time that we're talking together now looks like an amazing conversation for us. It looks like tremendous value being added for anyone who's listening. I would like to think we're going to provide some hope for people who are discouraged.

Eric (00:06:58) - So that's what a win looks like in this. Now I have a few other meetings the rest of the day. I suspect you do two Josh people probably do, but when you're off to those next meetings just thinking in your mind during this time frame, during this now, what does a win look like and how can we chase after those wins? And guess what? We're also going to lose in some of the now moments of our lives. But instead of letting this drag us down like it used to always do with me, I would come home. At the end of the day, my wife would say, how was your day? I'd say, well, this happened. So I reduced the whole day to one thing that happened. So now I try to look at those losses instead of bringing them home and telling my wife. That's why my day was terrible. Instead, looking at it, what did I learn from that loss? And once I learned something from that loss, guess what? It's not a loss anymore.

Eric (00:07:52) - It may still sting, but I learned something. So now it's a win. So I look at my life completely different, so I do. I talk about things like find a recentering phrase. When you feel yourself stuck in the past, worried about the future, I sometimes just have to say to myself, I am here, right here, right now. Sometimes I have to say that a lot, but it's all about bringing ourselves back to the current moment so we can live in the now.

Josh (00:08:21) - Yeah. I wonder too, if there is someone listening who maybe does this thing where you replay old conversations, you kind of rehearse future conversations. So in that sense, like we're focused on the past, we're nervous or worried or anxious about the future. And any thoughts on that?

Eric (00:08:40) - Oh, yeah. So my wife is one of those people. Uh, and she will wake up in the middle of the night with the shoulds. Right. I should have said this. I should not have said that.

Eric (00:08:51) - All of those kinds of things. So I and and we're we're trying to work through that. It's a tough thing because I think a lot of people do that. But I think the more when those things happen, instead of being bogged down by the shoulds, instead we say, okay, what can I learn from that? If I don't like how I handled that, what can I learn from it? So when I'm in that situation again, how can I handle it differently? Instead of just mourning that and letting it be like an anchor that drags behind you?

Josh (00:09:23) - Your book is. I've got it pulled up right here. I'm going to snag the Kindle book right now. It's called the False Sense of Urgency and How to Hashtag Win the now who needs to be reading this book, aside from Josh?

Eric (00:09:38) - So only people who have ever struggled with being worried about the past or stuck in the past are worried about the future. So only those people.

Josh (00:09:46) - Okay. All right. Good.

Eric (00:09:48) - With the false sense of urgency, which the false sense of urgency.

Eric (00:09:52) - It's a background app that runs constantly in the back of our head. That app that says, you know, we have apps that run in the background on our phone that we'd love to get shut off. This one runs in the back of our brain, typically the brains of high achievers. A lot of the people who are listening to this podcast and it says on repeat, you're not good enough. You didn't do enough. You can't sit still. This moment has to be productive and it badgers you with all those types of things. So in Covid, the false sense of urgency told me, you have to listen to every webinar. You can't rest. You have to keep going. You have to be ready because when your office opens back up, you got to be ready to go 100 miles an hour. And so I really struggled with that. But I was able to name it. And by naming it, I was able to take some steps to to kind of push it back or silence it temporarily.

Eric (00:10:49) - You can't delete that app. I really wish you could, but there are some things we can do to manage it.

Josh (00:10:55) - Yeah, I know for me, one of the biggest, you know, one of the most helpful things that has been a good coping skill for me is, you know, if there's something that, you know, especially if I, it pops into my brain more than a couple of times. What I've learned is that the act of writing that down. So I open up a note app. Right? And I just like, okay, listen, on this topic, my brain keeps wanting to think about this. And so when I note it and I note everything about that concern or topic or what I'm going to need to say or whatever, but I note it fully, then if it does come up again in my brain, that's great. I already got that. I already got it done. There's there's nothing more I need to think about around that topic. That has been really valuable for me.

Eric (00:11:42) - Yeah. And that is that is huge. I think it's really dangerous. The more thoughts that we let play around in our head, the more it's just a jumbled mess. Uh, the more that we lose processing power when we have too many things bouncing around in our head, the act of writing it on paper, or getting it in a note app so it doesn't have to run around in our head. And then if it keeps coming up, guess what? Deal with it. Do something about it. Write everything you can about it. Take ten minutes and say, okay, what's going on with this? Let's dive into this a little bit deeper. But once you get it out of your head, just like you did Josh, you can revisit it at a time when it's more convenient. So I love that. That's a great strategy.

Josh (00:12:25) - I've heard of another strategy too, that I've implemented. It's called worry time. Right? So if you've got, you know, that like you've got some things that you're concerned with or upset about, you say, you know what, from 330 to 4 today, that is my worry time.

Josh (00:12:40) - And I'm going to take that 30 minutes and I'm just going to put all my notes. I'm going to worry. I'm going to spend 30 minutes doing nothing but worrying solid. But in the moment right now, yeah, yeah, I already have a schedule. I'm going to get to that. Don't worry. I got don't worry brain, we got plenty of time set aside. You can do all the worrying you want and it's kind of funny. It's a little psychological trick. But that is also. And then usually when I get to that 330 to 4, I'm like, I usually kind of get done with everything I need to think about or write down or whatever. It doesn't take a whole lot of time, but it's that's also been kind of if the brain, because I think, you know, the way that our brains are operating. Right. It's kind of a protection mechanism.

Eric (00:13:21) - It is for sure. You're exactly right and I love that thought about the worry time. I've also heard it called a brain dump.

Eric (00:13:28) - So you take a time and you just write down every single thing that's in your mind, everything. And then you pick three things that are the most important of that list that you've written down. And then you devise a plan to go after those three things. And I just think some of those things that we can do to make our brain less cluttered, we know the data on organization of our desk and our office and all of those kind of things. But it's the same about our brain. The more crap that gets to run around in there, the more cluttered our brain is and the less functional it is. So I love those strategies.

Josh (00:14:03) - Eric, how do people work with you? What does that look like?

Eric (00:14:06) - Yeah, so I like to work with people who are in a similar boat that I have been in. So they're high achievers. There may be trying to maybe they've been climbing the mountain most of their career and they're not sure what mountain they're climbing. I'm not sure where they're supposed to get to.

Eric (00:14:20) - They're not sure what their enough is. Where is it? Where I get to find contentment in all of this. So what we do is we we work together to try to figure out a road where you can live in the present, and where you can feel good about your plan, so that you can put the pedal down and go and find some fulfillment in it. So that's one of the things that I do working on working with people on my coaching. The other thing I love to do is, is do workshops for for leaders. And I'm leading a retreat to Park City, Utah, coming up in a couple of months with some business owners, and we're just going to take two and a half days, and we're going to get very real about what's going on in life, how we can find some work life balance, how we can work on our inflow and outflow of energy, and how we can have a plan going forward for sustainability. So those are a couple of things that I love to do with people.

Eric (00:15:13) - I'm in the business of hope. I want people who work with me to walk away with hope and a plan that there's going to be good days ahead.

Josh (00:15:21) - Yeah. Your website is Eric It's Eric Recker is r e k e r. To our friend. That's listening to the podcast app right now. Just click on the little show notes, click around, find where we've got the summary for this episode. Got a direct link Eric, to your website. We mentioned the book. I've already got it. It's on my Kindle right now. I'm going to read it my Kindle app. I should say. I'm really looking forward to it, because this is a topic that I've been thinking a lot because, again, what we want to avoid is burnout, and that is an inevitable conclusion to living in the kind of worry that we're talking about. Right?

Eric (00:16:00) - It is. It is. And so that's one thing that I have offered on my website that's free to listeners. So it's called a five day knockback burnout challenge because the the statistics say 70% of us have struggled with burnout.

Eric (00:16:15) - I suspect the other 30% might be lying lying.

Josh (00:16:19) - Right.

Eric (00:16:20) - Or they're not going to get off the couch enough to the point where they ever would get burned out. So what this is, is it's just a way to dive into it a little bit. No obligation. It's a series of emails with some things that you can do to help push back the hold that burnout might have on your life. So. And, and if you get through that, find some value in it. I'd love to have a conversation, but it's a thing that I want to offer to people because I would have loved to have something like that years ago, before burnout got to the point of chest palpitations, chest pain, uh, panic attacks, all that kind of stuff. I just don't want other people to go through that.

Josh (00:16:59) - Yeah, right. Well, listen, I got opted. You got at least one because I'm gonna. I'm opted in on that as well. Uh, Eric, listen, this has been a really, really great conversation.

Josh (00:17:09) - Again. Your website, Eric click on where it says, um coaching. And under there that's where you'll find the five day knockback burnout challenge. Uh, of course the book which you can get on Amazon, it's also linked from your website. It's the false sense of urgency and how to win the now doctor Eric Recker, DDS, uh, again, speaker, coach, author. It's been a joy having you. Great conversation.

Eric (00:17:38) - Josh, thanks for having me. It's been a great way to spend the day.

Josh (00:17:47) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influencer. Com slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi.

Josh (00:18:20) - I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.

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