ep. 90 - Mike Schlappi


Lying on a bed paralyzed, with a bullet hole in his chest, Mike promised that if he survived, he would share his unique story all over the world and help as many people as he could. This is happening!

Mike knows that the most important part of any meeting or organization is the people. Whether speaking to a global financial corporation or a community medical facility, he has seen their results change when the beliefs of their people change. He inspires real people, with real problems, to respond differently; teaching that attitude is not a mood, but a position we take regardless of circumstances. That is his specialty!

Obviously Mike has had a few challenges in his life. But he also has a few Olympic gold medals, a few college degrees, has written a few books, runs a few successful businesses, has a few passions and has a few kids (five to be exact). This is all possible because he “walks the talk” (or rolls the scroll).


Gail Davis: Our guest on today's episode of GDA Podcast is Mike Schlappi. I have known and worked with Mike for over 15 years and recently I had booked him to speak for a 17-year client. When I called her for feedback, [00:01:00] she simply said, "The best we've ever had." When Mike Schlappi takes the stage, a dazzling smile greets you and then you notice a wheelchair. Mike is defined by what he can do instead of what he cannot do. Following a tragic accident, Mike has proven that just because you can't stand up, it doesn't mean you can't stand out. Welcome to GDA Podcast Mike.

Kyle Davis: Hey how are you?

Mike Schlappi: [00:01:30] I'm good, how're you guys doing? Thank you for that kind of introduction, I appreciate it.

Gail Davis: Well, you've always been one of my favorite people and I purposely left it a little vague and I'm not expecting you to give the full keynote right now, but I would love for you to share in your own words with our listeners your story and why you are in a wheelchair today and what the tragic accident was.

Mike Schlappi: I'll try to condense it but the bottom line is, that's actually why I give speeches, why [00:02:00] I share my story. I was just a kid living the dream and life was good, on my way to a football practice and me and a friend had made some mistakes. We got looking at his dad's off duty police gun, he thought he emptied it, pointed it at my chest, bang! Changed my world. It actually clipped my heart, punctured my lung, it ended up hitting my spine and I've been in a wheelchair as a paraplegic now for 40 years. That small moment is what caused all this and on [00:02:30] a very personal note, I was actually laying there and running out of air, nobody to help me and thought I was dying and I kind of made a little promise with heaven or whoever that if I could live, I would help people.

So I really don't consider myself some big speaker that can talk all kinds of subjects and this and that but I have a desire to get on stage and share my story and I have just found that it helps people. People laugh, they cry and people [00:03:00] find they really connect with my challenges and they want to improve their lives and I've just come to realize that my story helps people so I continue to do what I love to do. That's kind of what started this whole thing.

Gail Davis: In our industry there are a lot of overcoming adversity speakers who just simply share what happened and what they're doing and try to offer an inspirational message. One of the things that has always interests me or [00:03:30] resonated with me is how you've taken your experience and you've really been able tailor it to different industries for example healthcare. I think you have a background in healthcare and then with your personal experience, talk a little bit about how you have helped people in the healthcare industry.

Mike Schlappi: That's an area, I actually ended up going into that world as a profession partly because of my accident, now that good doctors and nurses and therapists that helped me. It led me that direction [00:04:00] and then over the years I ... So I not only was saved by wonderful healthcare professionals but that was my world as a director of rehab for a large hospital system in Utah for 15 years and that is definitely one of the industries that I love sharing my story for. When I come on stage I don't necessarily maybe know everything about an industry and I don't try to pretend that I do but I've often found that if I can customize my remarks to their audience a little bit, it [00:04:30] gives you more credibility as you're speaking.

One of my challenges you mentioned Gail earlier about being an inspirational speaker, one of my challenges is every time I go on stage, I try to be real, I try to really remember that moment and how I felt. So I'm not just on autopilot because I believe as an inspirational speaker, people remember what they feel almost more than what they hear. I don't really come as of a motivational speaker, it's more of a combination of motivation [00:05:00] and inspiration but I just love inspiring people because I think when people feel something, it causes them to change and act and do things and that as a speaker what you want to do is cause positive change in your audience. So yes, I do love healthcare talks.

Kyle Davis: Let's go to that moment and talk about how you feel. What was like the preamble to being shot and then what were the moments like there after?

Mike Schlappi: [00:05:30] I wasn't even obviously thinking about that. I was just a quarterback on my way to football, sitting on his mom and dad's bedroom and he walked around the corner with a gun and of course being a little hunter and growing up with gun safety and all that I [inaudible 00:05:46] on that revolver around a little Russian roulette and pulled it up and pointed it to my chest and took the safety off and bang! Then I knew kind of what had happened. [00:06:00] At first I thought, "All this can't be real." But the obviously my legs don't work, I can't breathe, my friend is freaking, I remember thinking, "This is real, I've been shot." I panicked, I couldn't get to a phone I knew my mom is five hours away so I was scared. I really literally thought I was dying in that sec I said I started bargaining with heaven then fortunately my friend came back in, started shaking me around and I showed him the hole in my chest. He went over to the blue phone on the wall, [00:06:30] all this before cell phones and he called my mom.

I waited for my mom and I'll tell you what, those next two minutes were the longest two minutes of my entire world but just knowing that my good mom might walk in that room it actually gave me that hope that I needed to hang in there. I'd like to say moms matter. Dads are decent, but moms you really matter, so thank you.

Kyle Davis: So it took two minutes for your mom to get there, how long till emergency services got there and all of that?

Mike Schlappi: My mom got [00:07:00] there and then she called 911 and so my friend's dad is a policeman and he's cruising around the neighborhood in his police car and he comes across this little radio that there's been a shooting at his address. So my mom and my friend's dad were the first people there so all this happen probably in three or four or five minutes and I'm trying to survive on very little oxygen because my right lung was collapsed. My friend was freaking out but fortunately he had just enough sense [00:07:30] to make the phone call and once my mom got there then everything started turning for the better.

Kyle Davis: How long were you in the hospital for? And what was recovery and rehab like for you?

Mike Schlappi: Well, eight days in intensive care and then another few months in rehab and so the whole process took a couple of months but right at first it was just a matter of I don't know if I'm going to live. All the stuff you go through surgeries and all the machines hooked up to you and punching holes in my lungs to get the fluids out of there. My [00:08:00] friend actually told everybody I shot myself for a few days because that was kind of the narrative at first and what else? I remember they took X-rays, they couldn't figure out how the bullet missed my heart and they figured out when they took the X-rays, my heart was on an out beat and when I got shot my heart was on an in beat. The bullet actually did clip the edge of my heart but because my heart was on an in beat it didn't rip the edge of my heart. I could go into it, I don't want to bother you with details but I feel very fortunate [00:08:30] to be alive. There's four or five things that could have went different that could have caused be to die.

So yeah, I hung out in the rehab and I remember my football teammates dedicated a game to me the next day and they lost 36 to 0 so that wasn't too good and I remember being mad at God-

Kyle Davis: It was the thought that count.

Mike Schlappi: They were the Dallas Cowboys they never would have lost but 36 to 0. But I was the quarter back so I'm sure that was part of the problem. My friends [00:09:00] flocked into the hospital, my parents were sleeping there and even my buddy that shot me showed up and he gave me a book. I never forget Tory handed me this book and I opened it and it said, "Mike I'll never forgive myself, but I hope someday you will." And then he signed, "Your friend Tore." This was just all happening so quick but I would be lying to you or anybody listening or anybody that when everybody went home and it was just me and my thoughts, I really would go rock bottom. [00:09:30] I'd think about is it worth it that I've lost my identity, my girlfriend dumped me a couple of days later, so I had those down moments but you know what, I really wasn't raised to quit and that's what I share with audiences, it's my journey. From having everything to losing everything and then stolid principles of putting everything back together. Because I don't believe it's just about me, it think anybody in the audience has, who's like this and just have to figure it out.

Kyle Davis: Let's just say that any girl that breaks up with you a few days after [00:10:00] being shot in the chest probably isn't worth it.

Mike Schlappi: Kyle, I totally agree. Her name by the way was Annette [Burden 00:10:06].

Kyle Davis: Thank you. I was waiting for that-

Gail Davis: Can we fast forward to the fact that you are married and have children and fill listeners in on the happy ending there.

Mike Schlappi: Oh yeah, if you want to jump way ahead, life got better, I adjusted and finished school and got a Masters Degree in Business and Healthcare and got married [00:10:30] and had kids and raised them and then now I'm married and I got a beautiful wife. This wasn't just all about me, my parents, my friends, this journey has been ... So many people nowadays and non of them even knew me when I was on my feet. They've only known me as the dude in a wheelchair but there were so many good people including my parents, including my wife's friends that were always there for me. It's just been about a team, as most things with businesses or whatever, it's just about [00:11:00] one person, it's about a group of people working together.

Gail Davis: I know I did jump kind of fast forward but I just wanted people to know the girl dumped you but it had a happy ending.

Mike Schlappi: Oh yeah, now life's good, I know I've been dumped by plenty of girls but things are good yeah.

Gail Davis: Another thing that happened along the way that I think would be fun to hear about is when you got involved, when you took your athleticism and you got involved with the Olympics in [00:11:30] kind of what took place there, because I think you have a gold medal right?

Mike Schlappi: I think I do yeah. This little cute [inaudible 00:11:38] right behind me but I take it and share with audiences and people. My identity was sports and then when I lost my legs I'm thinking, "Oh boy, I'm just nothing now, just a chess player or whatever." So I lost all that and then I start playing wheelchair basketball. I remember my dad and I went in the backyard and I shot a basket and it didn't even get close. He said, "Mike, [00:12:00] you can still be a great athlete, you're just going to have to do it different." So I started playing wheelchair basketball, I found out they added it in the Olympics, I found out it was still like real basketball, 10-foot hoops, referees. It helped me put a piece of my life back together and just over time I became good and got invited trial for the Olympics and made a couple of Olympic teams and won a couple of gold medals and a bronze medal.

That's a big part of my story from [00:12:30] laying there just nothing, can't even go to my football game to representing the United States of America in the Olympics. I do bring my medals when I speak and I bring my bullet that I was shot with. It's a pretty cool contrast of here's this bullet that took everything but really adversity can create these good things and so it's a powerful part of the ending of my story, it's the bullet and the medals together around my neck. Yes, I love basketball and representing our country, it's been great.

Kyle Davis: [00:13:00] Just on the basketball especially the wheelchair basketball, have you seen the new iteration of it that's like the hardcore like they have the custom wheelchairs and they run and do each other and they push each other over and they shoot and do all kinds of crazy stuff?

Mike Schlappi: Heck yeah. Those are amazing athletes, they're living up on one wheel, they're falling over and getting back up. The national championship team this year 2017 was in Dallas Texas. The Dallas Mavericks Wheelchair Basketball team won the National Championship. [00:13:30] I found it and coach a team in Utah called the Wheelin' Jazz, the Utah Wheelin' Jazz. We have teams around the country but right there in Texas is the hotbed of wheelchair basketball. Great athletes, college scholarships at UTA Texas Arlington, the Mavericks have won the match. Bottom line is wheelchair basketball is amazing, these kids are freaking athletes. Cause they are unbelievable, I'm old now, I'm old school but yes, it's a great game and it's fast.

Kyle Davis: [00:14:00] I think a lot of people and they think wheelchairs they think about grandma being pushed around by her caretaker. But if you watch one of these wheelchair basketball games, they're getting after it, it's violent, they're really going after it.

Mike Schlappi: Very physical, special chairs, the wheels slant out so you can turn quicker and you don't smash your fingers. Guides are able to get up on one wheel, a lot of these guys don't live in wheelchairs so they've got all their stomach muscles, leg muscles, hip muscles [00:14:30] so they've fallen over and flipping right back up. You can push these things 15 miles an hour and you have dribble and three point lines. No, if you've never seen it, it might sound slow, I had the same thought when I first heard about that, "This will be stupid, somebody will push me down the chair and down the court in a wheelchair." No it's not like that at all, it's very athletic.

Gail Davis: Are you still involved in that Mike?

Mike Schlappi: I am, I retired. I've played for 40 years. I've played 20 years with our national [00:15:00] team in the Olympics and stuff but I've played a total of 40 years and just last year, the younger guys around here kind of pushed me aside and said, "Mike, why don't you coach." "You know what, I said, "Okay." It's been a good run. So now I'm coaching the Wheelin' Jazz and I enjoy that as well.

Gail Davis: Excellent. Well, we were talking a little bit about how you've been able to take your story and that your whole motivation for being out there inspiring people is to help people and how you've done that [00:15:30] with the focus on the healthcare industry. I also know that you've been very popular in education particularly in your home state and I think you come from a family of educators. You maybe even had a booklet that you shared with the entire state of ... I'm kind of going back in my memory bank here but I know you've done a lot.

Mike Schlappi: No you have a good memory, I'm impressed Gail. Yeah, my early days, my dad was like a basketball coach, he was a high school teacher. Then my uncles and then I ended up teaching at Arizona State University so I do [00:16:00] come from a family of educators and in my early days throw back when I was 16, 18, 20 years old I was going to dozens and even hundreds of schools and just sharing my story. Then eventually it evolved into a lot teachers associations things, whatever. Just that world my story resonates very well because a lot of my teachers are around me that help me and my friends are around that help me. I feel like my story fits very naturally in a lot of industries because [00:16:30] it is an inspirational story but yes, education healthcare, financial industry some of those just seem to be a natural fair for what I do.

That's kind of my early days just speaking at schools, little junior highs and high schools and it's obviously evolved to a corporate and associations and stuff like that. But I love the kids, still to this day I love sharing my story because it was all when I was their age. So that kind of relate with their hard times. I [00:17:00] don't like to use the old line, if I can do it, they can too. But I think people do, they are smart, they hear your story and they kind of attach it to their world and then maybe it helps them not be so depressed or maybe they are able to reach their goals or different things like that, so it is good for kids and teachers.

Kyle Davis: Taking education and then segmenting it into the next logical spot which is like safety, I understand that this is something that you talk about. You mention prior to being shot that you were a hunter [00:17:30] and you grew up doing that but now you have a safety component. I'm curious as to what the audience gets from you when talking about maybe it's not just gun safety but just safety in general. What's the message there?

Mike Schlappi: I'm not anti gun at all but obviously, a careless moment caused this. I like to say being causal causes casualties but yeah, I have a talk called Put Your Safety On. And I talk about how my whole world changed when my friend took the safety off and made a mistake and what I've [00:18:00] heard when I get out in the safety world is, and I don't mean it from a bad way but a lot of times these safety meetings are kind of boring or they're mandatory or whatever. Well I don't want it to be that way, I want these people to hear a fan, entertaining, laughing, crying story however, I want them to know this shouldn't have happened and when they see me sitting on a wheelchair, legs don't work, bowel and bladder issues, problems, this and that, they're smart enough to go, "Oh that didn't need to happen, that shouldn't [00:18:30] happen." And I talk about how there's no such thing as bronze medal in safety. There's no such thing as a bronze medal in safety because all these companies want zero tolerance.

And that makes sense. I'm not some expert about, you can't walk under a ladder, how to plugin this or that but my story really causes people to have a good time but realize it should happen.

Kyle Davis: So going back to that moment that you were shot, hindsight obviously is 2020, [00:19:00] what are some safety things that you in reflection or upon reflection would have said, "Hey, maybe that was a bad decision." Obviously there's the sailing at once but I'm just kind of curious as to how you can take that and then transition over to texting and driving in this and not in the other.

Mike Schlappi: Depends on the company I'm speaking to obviously but a lot times what happens is people just get [00:19:30] autopilot doing their job and occasionally it's not people watching and so they'll take shortcuts or they'll do little things that if they had been just a little more cautious or follow the protocol. But I find people they just don't take responsibility and they get tired of it and they haven't thought about it for 20 years and it's the same old job. It doesn't take much to cause the problem. Like I said in my situation, a half an inch was my heart [00:20:00] beat, made a whole lot of difference. Because what happens when someone gets hurt? Because this isn't just about you, it's about your family and it's your future. And what happens from a company standpoint is one accident completely kicks their insurance rates and all that stuff, their loss ratios into a whole other atmosphere.

These companies have a real desire to eliminate each and everyone of these accidents, sometimes [00:20:30] it's just a finger cut off. Other times it's like you said, the driver is texting and they ... It could be everything from small to large but they all affect the workforce and the employees. Not here on tangent but I lost a gold medal. I lost one of my two gold medals because one of my teammates tested positive for drugs. So I like to make the point to companies or whatever that, everything you do affects every single other person on the team, [00:21:00] not just me and my little world. I hope that kind of answered your question there Kyle.

Kyle Davis: It does. I like the fact that you mentioned that people take shortcuts. From my background, working in a pretty aggressive large sales teams, we had a lot of different forcing mechanisms to make sure that we did a lot of quality control on the data input and the tracking of tasks and different things like that because if we didn't, things would just run amok. The data input into [00:21:30] our system would be horrible and it would just clog us to a stand still so it's making sure that people are being very diligent and thoughtful in their actions or putting process and procedures in place that would make that happen or ensure that it would happen rather than letting things go willy-nilly like for 18 years or so.

Mike Schlappi: Oh yeah and especially in some of these industries like in fact right there in Texas I've spoken to two to three of these electric co-ops, where these guys are out climbing power lines. [00:22:00] When you're dealing with stuff like that, the dangerous industries or these coal mines or whatever. Those industries especially can have high incidents and pretty serious accidents. But every company has safety issues but some of industries are very ... That they got to be extremely careful, some of these blue collar stuff for oil and gas or what not. But safety is just a little niche that I've kind gotten [00:22:30] into in the last year too. What learned and you probably understand this being in the speaking world too. There was a time in my life I thought, "Does all this really matter?" There's motivation and does it all really matter?

Well I've come full circle. I would go to these three-day thing they learn about new products and territories and this and that. So that's all the head stuff, well I come along and provide the heart stuff. So it really does matter to me, I really feel [00:23:00] that these kind of speakers and motivators and inspiring presentations, I believe they do matter especially if you have time in a day or two event to fit them in here or there. I've come full circle, I believe what I do matters, both in the safety world and just the inspirational world.

Kyle Davis: I like that. Gail you had a question I think about sales right?

Gail Davis: I was just spending three days on site with a large company planning a global sales kickoff [00:23:30] and you just hit the nail in the head of what they were trying to balance, that there has to be content and there has to be curriculum and they have to share the latest tools and the latest products but how do you tap the heart. I think you have been very popular with sales organizations and it would interesting for you to kind expand on how you think you fit in to an agenda with a sales group.

Mike Schlappi: It's a little bit of what you just alluded [00:24:00] to and probably half the sales speaking I've done has been in the financial world cause I have my investment licensees, but you know what's funny, I don't get out there and talk about making a follow-up phone call or sending them a nice little note on their birthday. It's more about your heart, wanting to do this and caring about your job and wanting to change. My favorite saying in my whole speech. If you resist change you fail, [00:24:30] if you accept change you survive, if you create change you succeed. Because a lot of the salespeople I speak to, they come to this meeting, they're shaking hands with all their co-workers, they get pumped up and then they go back to Oklahoma or Massachusets or Washington or whatever and they have to wake up every day and get self motivated to go back out there and then make that phone call and so I feel my job is to just get them pumped up, to take personal responsibility and be self motivated and to [00:25:00] know that it's their work ethic that is just as important as having a good product.

I could give an average product to an incredible salesperson and they could sell it. I could give a great product to an average salesperson and I don't know. I really believe the person is as important as the product. I just try to share my story to inspire people to get out there and believe in their products and believe in themselves. I don't know why maybe it's just cause a lot of sales groups get together cause they're kind of like the lifeblood [00:25:30] of companies but there's absolutely a lot of sales meetings going on and leadership meetings and whatever.

Kyle Davis: What I kind of like about that phrase that you just mentioned earlier is it kind of gives you, you really do have three options, it's not a binary choice, it's a tertiary one and so by resisting change, obviously you're going to change. We can point to Kodak who thought digital photos and photography wasn't going to take over and film was going to be around, you can kind [00:26:00] of see how where went. But I like the one where you talk about accepting change versus creating change. I was wondering if could just expand on that just a little bit.

Mike Schlappi: Well, go to my story, it's normal when you have an accident or anything in life, a divorce or whatever with all these pains. I look out into an audience Kyle and get what, I don't see wheelchairs, but I see people that I know are dealing with stuff. Divorces, depression, disease, diabetes, whatever. And your [00:26:30] natural thing is to not want to change so you just want this to go away. I wanted my legs to work again, I didn't want to be in a wheelchair, it's the denial part. But eventually when you accept it and you own it and you take responsibility for it and it's real, it's not going away, now you start doing stuff. You set goals, you get creative and you really find out about who you are. Can I do this or can I not and it doesn't matter if it's a wheelchair or selling a product, it comes back to that individual [00:27:00] being motivated and confident and believing in themselves and so to me it comes down to the individual and what they're made of.

But when you have something happen like it happened to me, it really tests you, you really find out about who you are but most time you just can't make this stuff go away, you've got to deal with it and then you accept it and then eventually a lot of times you look back and you're like, "Oh wow, I actually learned from something from that. I actually [00:27:30] became stronger. I can literally say because of my wheelchair, I'm a better person in many ways. I feel like I came full circle, I feel like I accepted this in my world when I was willing to talk about it with other people and actually get up on a stage and it isn't about me and people laughing about me. It's about me looking them in the eyes and having the desire to help them. Because like I said, I know there's so much pain. I always challenge audiences and people to find a purpose [00:28:00] in your pain. You're going to have pain, find a meaning, find a purpose in that pain because it makes the journey through all of it so much different and better.

Kyle Davis: I like a lot of people there's a lot of done decisions that I've made in my life and there's a lot of bad things that have ... Obviously I haven't been shot in the chest, but bad things have happened to me and they have happened to other people who are listening to this. Denial doesn't get you very far in life, acceptance is a really, [00:28:30] really good thing but then being able to build off of that and not let that define you. You may have made a stupid purchasing decision on a solution and you fully invested in it in three years and it's just not paying off for you but then eventually you just have to come to terms and say, "Hey that was a bad idea." And then you have to pivot to something else and learn from that experience in a business sense or in a personal sense and say hey, "I've spent the last four years eating pizza, maybe I should not do that anymore." I like that kind of message that you're giving out there, [00:29:00] not only do you have to accept it but then use that as the benchmark from which you grow.

Mike Schlappi: To me it's all about owning it and taking responsibility. If I sat there the rest of my life, by the way Kyle you should be a motivational speaker, your mom should book you, she really should. Not to mention your childhood, I think we should spend 10 minutes having your mother tell us about your childhood, I think that would be-

Kyle Davis: Let's not, there's not enough counseling time out there for that.

Mike Schlappi: Back to what we're [00:29:30] talking about, about owning it and responsibility. If I sat here my whole life and said, every time lie in a wheelchair, "Oh my friend shot me, if he had done this, I'd been okay. Oh men, if his dad wouldn't have left that police gun over there. Oh jeez!" If you want to live in the world of fault and blame, you're not going to get anywhere. For me the concept of personal responsibility, accountability, ownership, those [00:30:00] things are so freaking critical especially in the world of sales or in overcoming any kind of adversity. Companies go through change and if each individual person doesn't own it and they're always fighting and wanting it to be how it was before they were bought out, then it's just hard. I mean you can live that way, but to me you're not going to get very far.

Kyle Davis: I was listening to another podcast the other day and it's not ours that's why I'm not going to mention it. I was listening to it and they were talking about somebody [00:30:30] transitioning from an individual contributor role to like a management role and how a lot of people when they do that, they want to blame fault or find fault in everybody else but themselves and they're not taking responsibility for the performance of the team. How they bring someone onto the sales team and setting them up for success, if they fail, it's not them failing, it's you failed them and owing that from beginning to end. Unless [00:31:00] of course they do something stupid, but we can always find that.

Mike Schlappi: I actually like it when people do stuff for the team, even though it's a personal thing like if you're on a basketball team or a football team. I've played tennis and whatever those individual sports but I think when you're a part of the team, I don't know what kind of makes you want to hold your part up for the rest of the team. If you're in offensive line you don't want Dak Prescott to get killed or Ezekiel Elliot to get smashed. I just think there's something about teams [00:31:30] but the personal responsibility. I love the word responsibility, if you break it down, it's response, ability. We all have the ability to respond and to me that's a powerful concept. But it is a team thing and whatever provides that motivation for somebody to do their job, to care, that's to me whatever it takes to find out with any human being, that's [00:32:00] what matters. We lose so many people, I see it in people's eyes, they're depressed or they're tired. They don't want to do this anymore cause they're 50 years old and we just got to find a way to light that fire within us.

Anyway I'm just giving you my little personal belief about how humans ... When I'm speaking, I don't always sit down and think, "Oh I'm talking to a bunch of sales reps." My mind thinks, "I'm talking to people. They have [00:32:30] problems, they need hope and they need inspirations." Sometimes if I sell a book afterwards, I'll get all kinds of emails. "Thanks Mike for helping me get my head in the right place, thanks Mike for helping me quit feeling sorry about the divorce I am going through." So that's what matters to me, because if I can get rid of that crap, they will be a better employee. If I can help them find hope in their cancer they're going through, they will be a better employee. I tell them if I can, I personally talk to people I don't sit down and think, "I'm [00:33:00] just talking to a bunch of sales reps." That's the way my mind thinks about my audience.

Kyle Davis: It's a deeper level. When you're talking about Dak Prescott I'm thinking when I was in high school Christian Ponder was my quarterback I think he owes me a royalty check from his NFL pay because I made him look good in high school.

Mike Schlappi: Oh my God.

Kyle Davis: Darn right, Christian Ponder, pay your boy.

Mike Schlappi: What position did you play Kyle?

Kyle Davis: I was the pulling guard, I was the fastest line man and the biggest one on the team.

Mike Schlappi: [00:33:30] Yeah, you had to block for those guys and they probably freaking never said thanks to you.

Kyle Davis: Men, my highlight reel was awesome, it was so good. I'd pull then I'd run down the line and the Christian would run right behind me, I'd blast somebody out, get a concussion, cause I had a lot of those and then he would keep running.

Mike Schlappi: Exactly and then my wife is from Minnesota and every time they interviewed Christian Ponder he never mentioned Kyle Davis, never once.

Kyle Davis: Not once, not once.

Mike Schlappi: The [00:34:00] concussion, he's probably struggling.

Kyle Davis: Clearly based on that new report-

Mike Schlappi: Sorry Gail we're getting up on a sports immersion here. I love if you can't tell.

Gail Davis: I love it and I love the hospital gory days. That was so much fun.

Kyle Davis: He should definitely pay for my CTE therapy or something like that.

Mike Schlappi: Were your mom and dad yelling in the stands at the coaches, or what were your parents like in the audience?

Kyle Davis: We had like 20,000 come to a football game, so to say that I could hear my parents would be a lie, [00:34:30] but I'm sure that my mom knew exactly what was going on.

Gail Davis: Not at all. I am a cheerleader at heart, so I'm always there cheering everyone on but people would say to me, "Gail did you just see that play?" And I'd be like, "No, I was visiting."

Mike Schlappi: I wasn't watching number 76 or whatever your number was.

Kyle Davis: It was 55 and brother was 56.

Mike Schlappi: 55, 56. That's awesome.

Kyle Davis: 55, 56 and one played defense and one played offense. There really should have been no communicating with other people. It should have been strictly [00:35:00] focused on the field at all times. But you know parenting.

Mike Schlappi: That's awesome.

Gail Davis: Now this has been a lot of fun and I'm glad we got to tap into some of your passions cause I know sports is a big one of them-

Kyle Davis: You do have a book though right?

Mike Schlappi: Yep it's called Shot Happens. That title says, I got shot, what's your problem.

Kyle Davis: God, [00:35:30] it's such a good one.

Mike Schlappi: That paralyzes you. It's kind of that question. Let me tell you one other piece of my story that's kind of interesting. My friend shot me, told everybody I shot myself, then he got involved in drugs and he started robbing banks and he went to prison for 25 years in Fort Leavenworth and I reconnected with him about 10 years ago. But that story about he and I ... I broke my arm right after I got shot so he came to visit me in the hospital and I remember it was a turning point for me, I let it go. [00:36:00] I no longer really blamed my friend, and until I talked to ... I try to tell people, you got to let it go. What do you have that you got to let go? What paralyzes you? Expect, what I just said about book, what stops you, what fears? What walls are you building around you? For me for a few years it was my friend and then I just completely let it go that day he visited me after I broke my arm in the hospital. I don't know why I just do that, I just wanted to mention that. But go ahead sorry.

Gail Davis: [00:36:30] What happened when you reconnected with him?

Mike Schlappi: It was cool, I was in a restaurant and he called me and he was close and I told him to come over there and he went to shake my hand, I wanted to shake his. You stick your hands out like two cool guys. He came and knelt down, right next to me and we hugged and we talked and I reassured him that I don't blame any of my problems on him. We talked about him going to prison and how that has changed his world through 25 years and how he blames his dad for everything. So we just had a good talk, but I'm proud of my [00:37:00] friend, he has his life positioned very properly. Now he's got a job, a girlfriend, I don't call him everyday and go to lunch or anything but he's in the Salt Lake area here doing better and out of prison and got a job. Again it's not about me, he's had his own journey and I think that's a powerful message. There's just always different sides of every situation. So I'm proud of my friend.

Kyle Davis: One of the things that you did just talk about, I know we've brushed up against it a few times [00:37:30] but these mental barriers that people, these walls that they throw up. Whether it be like resentment or too much pride or something like that, and I just like how the fact that you just said you have to let it go sometimes. You have to just acknowledge what your deficit is and just let it go.

Mike Schlappi: Just let it go. We don't need to spend our lives blaming everybody else for our problems. Let it go. I like to say when I took the bullet out of my back, I [00:38:00] got the lead out. Quit sitting on our butt, let it go, it's okay and move on. You have to go through the natural steps; denial, bargaining, all that stuff, acceptance we talked about. But ultimately if you've got walls built around you, if your whole world is all about fear, you're in trouble. So we got to break down those walls and acknowledge their problems and face them. A lot of time when I've challenged somebody to find their bullet, if I can get [00:38:30] them to go grab that one thing that they've always been using as an excuse. My ex wife you know. If they can tackle that and throw it aside and let it go, it's amazing how much the river just flows better, just so much more natural.

Kyle Davis: Well if you want help finding your bullet and then having it pulled out of your back, you can do so by contacting GDA Speakers and we'll get Mike Schlappi to come and speak for you. I think this is a good time for us to [00:39:00] throw bow on this. If you do want to contact us you can 214 ... Well I almost gave my cell phone right there. 214-420-1999 or by going to gdaspeakers.com. For the transcript, the book and everything else, you can go to gdapodcast.com. With that being said, Mike it was awesome, thank you.

Gail Davis: It was great thank you Mike.

Mike Schlappi: Thank you everyone.