page title icon The Morning Upgrade Podcast Featuring Bryan McFarland

Welcome back to The Morning Upgrade Podcast episode #4 where I talk to Bryan McFarland, owner of 3×5 Life. We talk about his love for ultra marathons and how he uses his personal development habits to help his long-distance running. 

Top Discussion Points In This Episode

  1. How to use mantras/affirmations to push through difficult tasks and have the ability to cross the finish line. 
  2. Dialing in on the night (pm bookend) to dominate the morning (am bookend).
  3. The benefit of sharing personal development tips with your team.

Links & Resources Mentioned

Connect with Bryan McFarland at 3×5 Life

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Transcription of the Episode

Announcer:

Welcome to the morning upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote. Where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan Cote:

Hey everyone. This is Ryan Cote with the Morning Upgrade Podcast. Today I have with me, Bryan McFarlane. Hey Bryan.

Bryan Mcfarland:

How are you doing?

Ryan Cote:

Doing good. So why don’t you start off by telling us who you are, what you do, and then what you enjoy?

Bryan Mcfarland:

I’m a father and husband, first and foremost, entrepreneur. I run a family sales agency that works in the manufacturing space. I recently launched a product called Three By Five Life. Right now, as we’re recording this, we’re kind of in that COVID era. And I saw kind of a lot of people struggling with different anxieties of some sort manifesting from COVID. So I kind of wanted to see how I could help. And I created almost a productivity card that kind of combines, you know, what you have to do today plus has a spot for AM gratitude and PM wins. Very simplistic, I wanted people to have a system that they could easily adopt. So that’s out there in the world now. 

What I enjoy doing, I guess I should use the word enjoy loosely. I’m an avid ultra runner. So I like to run far. I’ve learned a lot through that process of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’ve run about 15 ultras, anything from 50K up to a hundred-mile race. So you can learn a lot about yourself when you’re 60 miles into a hundred-mile race and it’s rainy and cold and dark, and you have 40 more miles to go. And where’s your mindset, where is checking in with yourself. So that’s what I enjoy doing. So I spent a lot of time out there in the woods, logging some miles.

Ryan Cote:

I could not even imagine running a hundred miles, it doesn’t even seem possible for me. I was a sprinter in high school and I’m like a stalky five foot six, so it’s like I’m equipped to be a long-distance runner. But what does that feel like? You’re in mile, I don’t know, 70 or whatever, what’s going through your head. Like, how do you actually keep yourself together? What’s that like?

Bryan Mcfarland:

That’s really where doubling down on your self-development comes into play here because self-talk is so imperative, as you know, Ryan, there’s such a power in mantra. So I use mantras, something like the further I go, the stronger I get because I could sit there and be in a negative headspace of oh, it’s miserable wild, all I want is to go home and eat a burrito or get some sleep or what have you. And if you go down that thought path, you’re going to end up in a bad place instead of flipping the script and really going deep and starting to have positive affirmations and think about crossing the finish line, how good you’re going to feel, how accomplished you’re going to feel. So it’s been powerful. It’s really helped me to be a better father to be more patient, to be a better businessman. You know, someone wants to sit there and negotiate with me, I mean, I build up that grit muscle so I can go. It adds other benefits in other areas of my life, for sure.

Ryan Cote:

Are you saying affirmations to yourself while you’re running when you get into that part where your mind wants to give up, or you’re saying the affirmations that you practice every day, it helps you in those moments?

Bryan Mcfarland:

I guess a little bit of both, but I have specific mantra slash affirmations I say for running, when I’m in those spots where I know, okay, I need to start flipping the script if it starts going negative to something positive. And I have that planned out so that, you know, I’m just not getting into a negative thought loop.

Ryan Cote:

That’s crazy. A hundred miles. It’s like you’re starting to motivate me to run. I’m gonna start off with one mile though, but maybe eventually I’ll tag on a zero, then another zero.

Bryan Mcfarland:

It all started for me five, six years ago. So, you know, we all have to start somewhere.

Ryan Cote:

Have you heard of David Goggins?

Bryan Mcfarland:

Oh yeah. Yes. Big fan.

Ryan Cote:

I figured, since you said ultra-marathon, that’s a big thing for him. In addition to doing thousands of pull-ups or whatever crazy thing he’s doing. So I’m really fascinated by the three by five life. You know, morning upgrade podcasts, it’s about morning routines, personal development, growth. So obviously, when I saw your product, I knew we had to talk and we were talking before we start recording, you said, you know, it’s a new business, it’s a startup. What have you learned from launching a new business like this? Like, what’s been the hardest thing about that launching a new product and what are you doing about it?

Bryan Mcfarland:

Right now it’s getting the word out and learning a whole new business from social media advertising and influence marketing and all that. It’s all new to me. But initially, it was being okay with sharing the message. I had a little hesitation of putting myself out there and what would my peer group think? You know, things of that nature when the idea came to me and I actually wanted to move forward with it, which was interesting, I didn’t realize I was going to start to have those feelings. But then I kind of flipped the thought process to what if I impact one person? What if I impact 10 people by this? And it helps them. And that’s way more important than any critics or naysayers. And I’m thankful I did because in the short time the product has been out there I’m already getting messages of the positive impact it’s had on people’s lives. So it was an interesting process of putting myself out there in this regard.

Ryan Cote:

Same thing with me with Morning Upgrade. So I get what you’re saying. Do your friends and peers know that you’re big into personal development? So did this product come at a left-field or they kind of go, okay, well, Bryan, he’s really into personal development so this makes sense.

Bryan Mcfarland:

They know, as you know, your average with five people you hang out with. So my closer friends, we drive on this topic, and then there are some friends that, you know, we’ve kind of drifted away over the years, which happens in life. So it’s a mixed bag. It really is.

Ryan Cote:

Do you have a mastermind that you belong to? You said you’re the average of the five people, I’m assuming your friends, but do you have a mastermind that you belong to as well?

Bryan Mcfarland:

Yeah, I have three guys that we meet biweekly and I joined a dad’s mastermind four or five years ago and it was a year-long mastermind. And when that was over, there were a few guys that kind of wanted to keep it going on the side and we’ve done that ever since.

Ryan Cote:

I’ve been part of a mastermind for about two years now, it’s 10 of us. We meet weekly through zoom and then we get together twice a year and it’s tough with COVID, but we’re planning it together in November. So we’ll see if it happens, but normally we get together twice because everyone’s throughout the US and I’ve found it to be huge for accountability and just being around people that you could talk about morning routines or affirmations and they’re not like, huh. You know, they’ll get it cause they’re into it as well.

Bryan Mcfarland:

Exactly.

Ryan Cote:

So speaking more on routines, what does yours look like?

Bryan Mcfarland:

I have a pretty strict morning routine, and I’ve had it for probably eight, 10 years and in different iterations, and it’s grown over the years. The last few years, I’ve been really focusing on the PM bookend. So as people way smarter than me say the morning starts the night before. So really dialing in my PM bookend to make sure my AM is on point. So when it comes to my morning, kind of like, we all know the miracle morning with how . I have what I call maige just because I like the order of it. And it doesn’t mean anything, but I start out with meditation then I moved to affirmations, which is A, then I is intention. So I pull out my three by five life card and I write down, you know, gratitude and then my one thing in my three buckets of life, which is energy, work, and love. So three things I want to be in those buckets. And then move on to visualization. And my visualization is for the day.

So on the other side of my card, there’s like a little day calendar. So I put in my big rocks, you know, like our conversation right now, Ryan was one of those rocks today. So I visualize how I want the call to go, how I want our discussion, our energy levels. Then if I had a lunch meeting with somebody I can visualize how I want that to go. So that’s my visualization process. And then E is for energized, just to do some type of workout, be it a 15-minute core workout or run. A lot of times I run at lunch, but I still like to do something else, get my blood flowing in the morning even if I know I’m going to have a lunch run as well. And then for extra credit, I jumped in a nice cold shower. And then on the way to work, there are three things I listened to. I listened to Darren Daily, then I listened to optimize plus one. And then I listened to daily dad by Ryan Holiday. So that’s kind of loosely what my morning looks like.

Ryan Cote:

I’m actually listening to Darren daily as part of my morning routine as well. I’m familiar with Ryan Holiday but I didn’t know he had a podcast called daily dad.

Bryan Mcfarland:

It’s about two minutes long and it’s just little bits of information about being a better father.

Ryan Cote:

So how long does the total morning routine take? I need to get the PM thing too. But how long does the morning take?

Bryan Mcfarland:

It depends on, I guess, on how long the workout is. But you know, I meditate for 10, 15 minutes. So I’d say all in it’s, excluding the workout cause that changes, probably about 30, 35 minutes.

Ryan Cote:

Very cool. Just a random question, but I know you’re in a family business too, you run a sales agency. Do you try to spread the biggest personal development messages to your team as well in any way, like through an email or just by what you share with them?

Ryan Cote:

Yeah, I try to do it in a, how I show up every day, and then I’ll interweave it in a non-preachy way. I mean, one of the guys that work for me, he listens to Darren Daily every morning. And that was just through a Darren daily that came out that was sales-related. So I forwarded it to him and then maybe two months later, another one came up that I taught he’d resonate with, I forward it to him. So it’s more of a drip process than anything else.

Ryan Cote:

So what I do is I send out a weekly email to the whole team, the whole company at Ballantine, used to be just a digital team and now I’ve got the whole company on the email, I used to make the emails just like wins about digital, but now it’s more about personal development and sharing episodes of Darren Daily that I thought were good, sharing movies, whatever the case is. And so not that every single email I send out is personal development, but I do definitely try to like drip it in there and, you know, I’m sure not everyone it resonates with, but I know sometimes people will share things with me where I could tell it’s resonating with them, whatever the particular message was. So yeah, it’s a big part of my life. So I’m trying to inspire other people and impact them however I can. 

So, I got one more question for you. I definitely want you to tell people how they can find out about Three By Life and whatever other sites you want to share. But my last question for you is around, I like asking people about their perfect day, it’s something that I’ve taken more seriously now. I guess because with COVID, just had more time to think and you know, what is the perfect day look like? You know, the perfect day, what you live every day, not if you could do anything you want in the world where nothing’s off the table, but like your perfect day. What does that look like? Are there certain elements that are part of your perfect day?

Ryan Cote:

Yeah. So I have a different spin on this. Like I kind of run an algorithm. Ray Dalio is obviously insanely successful with his funds and he started his funds by running algorithms. And the same is true with your life. I mean, we all have algorithms if we realize or we don’t realize it. So I have kind of a sheet that’s like a week sheet, Monday through Sunday. And every night I check in on my algorithms and basically did I do them or not? So, you know, something like if I eat then it’s plant-based and whole foods. If I breathe, then it’s slow and it’s through my nose. If I’m at work, then I have scheduled focus blocks, if I’m home and it’s past 6:00 PM that means my phone is away and I’m with my kids. So it’s a series of algorithms that I kind of created my 10 power algorithms. And I know that if I’m operating with these algorithms, then it’s going to be an awesome day. Is it perfect every day? No, not at all. I mean, some days I crush it, other days I don’t, but at the end of the day, I’m cognizant if I didn’t do certain things. So that’s how my perfect day manifests, is through, Hey, did I really do what I said I was going to do? If I’m going to operate at my highest level then I need to be running these algorithms.

Ryan Cote:

I love it. It makes sense. You have to be running at the highest level because you’ve got Three By Life that you’re running, your family sales agency that you’re running, literally running a lot of miles. So this is awesome. I really enjoyed this conversation. You definitely dropped a lot of gems. Really appreciate it. If anyone wants to learn more about you or your product, what’s the best website that they go to or websites?

Bryan Mcfarland:

So Three By Five life is threeXfivelife.com. Instagram is three X five underscore life. So they can private message me there or through the website. And that’s probably the best way to reach me there.

Ryan Cote:

Cool. Well, thanks Bryan for being on the show. Thanks, everyone for listening, and talk to you soon.

Bryan Mcfarland:

Thanks, Ryan.

Announcer:

Thanks for listening to the morning upgrade podcast. Please subscribe and review, and don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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