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Today’s guest is Dai Manuel

We go deep talking about:

  • Loving, showing up and spending time with your daughters
  • Ego in men that comes attached to their careers
  • Better ways to manage stress and anxiety
  • Vulnerably sharing challenges you face as a dad with your spouse
  • Addiction and fighting through it
  • Figuring out your real friends in this fatherhood journey
  • Picking habits that helps us stay on the right track
  • Having the right motivation to turn our lives around in terms of our health
  • Identifying your daughters love language to best bond with them
  • Owning up to your mistakes so that your daughters can also adapt to that 
  • Prioritizing our self-care and mental health

Dai Manuel is a super dad, dating his wife, with a lead by example way of living and a contagious personality, who is on a mission to positively impact one million role models around the globe to lead a FUN-ctionally fit life through education, encouragement, and community

He is an award-winning digital thought leader and author, Distinguished Toastmaster, TEDx speaker & edutaining keynote speaker, former partner and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar retail company, and a sought-after lifestyle mentor and executive performance coach.

Dai knows the struggle of the juggle and keeping his health and happiness a priority. He models his work based on 5 F’s: Fitness, Family, Faith, and Finances with an overarching roof of FUN, built on a rock-solid foundation of Health. Nuggets of wisdom and inspiration to take action to be your best self are guaranteed when you connect with Dai!

Find Dai online at:







Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. Today is episode 43. And my guest is diamond Well, we go deep talking about how di is successfully raising his daughters into amazing young women, ego and identity and men that comes attached to our careers, better ways to manage stress and anxiety. vulnerably sharing challenges you face as a dad with your spouse, addiction and fighting through it, figuring out who your real friends are in this fatherhood journey. Picking habits that help us stay on the right track, having the right motivation to turn our lives around in terms of our health, identifying your daughter's love language to best bond with them, owning up to your mistakes to become a better dad and prioritizing our self care and mental health as fathers diamond well is a super dad dating his wife with a lead by example way of living and a contagious personality. And this is just me speaking that was his bio. He truly does have a contagious personality. And you'll notice in this episode, he is always smiling. I think you can probably hear that. But I just noticed in all of his pictures and even talking to him. He is always smiling and finding the silver linings and everything which I really appreciate about him. All right back to his bio. He's on a mission to positively impact 1 million role models around the globe to lead a functionally fit life through education, encouragement, and community. He is an award winning digital thought leader and author, distinguished Toastmaster, TEDx speaker and edutainment. keynote speaker, former partner and chief operating officer of a multimillion dollar retail company and a sought after lifestyle mentor and executive performance coach, dinos the struggle of the juggle and keeping his health and happiness a priority. He models his work based on five F's fitness, family, faith and finances with an overarching roof of fun built on a rock solid foundation of health nuggets of wisdom and inspiration to take action to be your best self are guaranteed when you connect with di you can find them online at his website diamond wealth com that's on Facebook, at Diamond well Twitter at Diamond well Instagram at Diamond well LinkedIn, diamond well and on Pinterest die, man, well, that's di m a n u l this was just a super fun conversation with di he is so positive he is so gung ho about life and fun and fitness and connecting with his family. And he shares very vulnerably about his story and his pain and his struggles that led to some dark nights for him and how he recovered and got through that and is now stronger than ever. I know you'll love this one. I love talking to him. I just love being around him to be honest. He's a happy, amazing dude. And I'm so grateful that he spent the time with us today. So let's dive in to this episode number 43. With diet man, well I am here with dai Manuel. And man like I said before you have been like in my orbit for a couple years. And it was like when I was doing this online marketing stuff. I think I like maybe wrote a guest post for your site. Anyway, this is a long time ago and I'm just pumped because your energy is infectious man. Like in the last two minutes. I already feel so much more pumped for my dad. So welcome. And thank you for taking the time man.

Dai Manuel 2:57

Curt Thanks, man. Well, from one dad to another dad as well as man to man and just you know, good human good human. I really, it's it's super cool. I got to go back and dig up some emails, man, cuz I'm sure it's there in the history. The old archive. Yeah. Google remembers everything. So it's in that but it's so cool to reconnected. And oh, man, you know, we're talking about stuff that is very real. Right, as we say, in the men's groups that I've been fortunate to be a part of, for the last few years, you know, it's what's alive and real for you. Right? Like, what's alive and real. And I know today's conversations gonna be alive and real for not only us, but anybody who happens to come upon it, you know, so

Curt Storring 3:36

yeah, that's exactly the point. Yeah, yeah.

Dai Manuel 3:39

Thank you for the opportunity. That's what I want to say. So thanks.

Curt Storring 3:42

Yeah, no, no, thank you for showing up, man. And I love starting these things just to get an idea of how fatherhood looked for you when it started and how it's going. Now. So I eventually want to talk to you about raising daughters, because this is a question I get all the time. I've got three sons. And for some reason, a lot of the guys in the podcast have had sons. And I keep getting this like, Okay, well, what what do I need to do to raise a daughter and I've got some questions on that. But I'd love to know like, what becoming a father was like for you, because guys listening know that my journey has been very painful. And I've sort of got through it. But was it easy for you? Was it something you always wanted to do? Like, what did having children do for for die? Like, what did that look like in your life?

Dai Manuel 4:24

I mean, like yourself good. I was young dad, you know, I started having kids pretty young. I was, I guess, 2016 my first was born and 28 When my second was born, you know, and so now I'm at that point, I just turned 45. But a week ago, and my eldest is first year university, my youngest is, you know, got about 18 months left of school and she's done and it you know, life is different now. Had I seen it getting to this place? I mean, of course, you know, that we know that right? Like we've been through it ourselves, you know, as the kids that became adults eventually, at some point in time, but It's just weird having that that role reversal, not being really fully aware, because in my mid 20s, I was like, I knew I wanted a family, you know, and perfectly honest, and my wife and I laugh about this every once in a while, but I'm just gonna share it. Alright. So, you know, my wife and I had been together for about 18 months, and we had a very interesting, exciting beginning in our relationship, but she was leaving to go traveling. And, you know, I had just come out of a breakup. And you know, she had just finished a relationship. So we weren't really looking for anything serious anyways, but, you know, we had those three solid months together before she was off to Australia for a year, maybe indefinitely, who knows? And so it was it was weird, right? Because I fell for pretty hard. And, but trying to be cool, dude, and, you know, 25 year old guy being like, not let my emotions show and any of that stuff. And yeah, but I was pretty distraught, you know. And then she left. And honestly, we didn't chat for the first few months. Like, it was just a couple emails here and there, but it was more so her group email, she was sent out to everybody, because again, you know, dating ourselves a little bit here. This is, oh, gosh, 22 years ago. So you know, FaceTime was not an option wasn't around yet. So it was the the email newsletters she put out once a week with her updates, and were travels and so there wasn't really much personal connection. And but every time I would meet somebody new, I just kept thinking of her, you know, I just kept comparing to her, which is like, Oh, my God, I remember sending her email right before Christmas of the year that she was away, being like, you know, you've ruined relationships for me, and she's upset. We had a phone call. She called me from Australia. And it's like, yeah, you've ruined relation home. What do you mean? And I'm like, because every woman I compare to you, you know, no one raises the bar, anywhere close. So long story short, in January, she came back, she kind of trip short, she came back. And I don't know, we things move pretty quick. And within the year, we had moved in together. And I was not ready for all that responsibility. I'll be honest with you. I think I thought I wanted it. I thought that was what I wanted. But, you know, it's one of the things when you rush in. And it's kind of like God, yeah, I'll jump in. I'll look at where I'm landing after, you know, and I definitely felt like that. And I felt like, oh, my gosh, I got nowhere. There's no safe landing here. This is, this is like real life, man. I'm like, growing up now. This is adulting Oh, my gosh, what am I doing? And so I was kind of half and half out. I had a lot of nasty habits, which we'll probably talk about a little bit later. For those that heard my TED talk, you know, I I allude to some of the challenges I've worked through in my adulthood. And they were there. And she knew of those but didn't know at the level of what they were there. Anyway, so we've been living together for about six months. And we've been having conversations about having kids. And, you know, she had a medical condition where she had an inverted uterus. And so the doctor said, Listen, you can have kids, but it may take a long time. And it may require medical assistance. And so we're like, Okay, well, whatever, we want to have kids. So we just start, you know, trying now because it might take 10 years, who knows? Like cuz that's what could take a decade may take more. And so we're like, Okay, well, that I'm hearing like, it's gonna take at least 10 years, like means more contraceptive, none of that is okay. As it happens, it happens, dude. A week later. That fucking doctor, pardon my friends, but that doctor pays medical malpractice all the way I'm assuming that you're gonna help pay for my kids. But no, it you know, and it was so we were thrust into that reality that oh, my gosh, we've had our first child coming, and it's coming. Like, you know, clock's ticking right now. And so yeah, that that sort of set out. That was Where's where I started dad from was that place of like, oh, my gosh, this is real. It's happening. Now what?

Curt Storring 9:11

And, and what was that now? Like, what? How did you get through that?

Dai Manuel 9:15

Well, to be honest, I didn't really like I managed it, not necessarily the healthy way. I tried to just continue life as it was knowing that this was coming. But I was still prioritizing me. Like, I was the center of the universe, you know, and it's all about me and, and like it was just I was living in the ego. All right, I was I was in my mid 20s. I was just started really take off my career. I was just getting courted to potentially become a partner in a new company. And, you know, so things are like, wow, professionally, I was like, okay, things are looking great. And so I was leaning into that energy a lot. Because that energy really does massage the ego a lot too. You know, The accolades, the the recognition, the peers, and it was just, I was I was looking to have my ego stroked. It feels awful to even say that right now, you know,

Curt Storring 10:12

so relatable, though, man, certainly I know.

Dai Manuel 10:15

But it was really a struggle, because a lot of my identity was attached to my career and the perception of me in that career in that role. And, you know, anything outside of that I just didn't think was important. And so I, I felt like, I was a good dad, but I don't feel I ever checked the box for being a great dad. And, you know, I was, I think you can probably relate to the skirt. Like, it's just anybody is listening to this. And I think a lot of us dads that are very career focused, we struggle with this, this changing of focus between career and everything else.

Curt Storring 10:52

So hard, so hard.

Dai Manuel 10:55

Yeah. And I struggled with that. And so I wasn't always present sure I was available, I would take my kids to school, and sometimes pick them up after school, you know, the sports like, I was still a very present in their lives, at least spatially. I was there, physically, but it wasn't always there mentally or emotionally, nor spiritually. And that was a really hard realization. And so I felt like I was failing in a lot of areas, in my way for dealing with a lot of those stresses was something that was embedded in me in my late teens was, wow, you know, you have a couple of drinks, everything's fine. My social anxiety is gone. A lot of my stress in the moments gone. I mean, we all know, it's temporary for whatever period of time that that lasts, but you wake up the next morning, not only do I have a headache, but also all the problems that I thought I was running away from it there too. It's even worse trying to deal with them. And, but that was my habit, that was my way of dealing with it. And so that was ongoing for the first 10 years, almost of my relationship with my wife. This is ongoing. Like, imagine she's the most patient woman I know, most patients. But that sort of gets us up to speed with where we were at with the TED talk, you know, it's like my alcohol consumption got out of control. Just did, yeah. Thank you.

Curt Storring 12:08

That's, that's what I was gonna ask you like, was that I know, you said, like, you know, I said, I'd never do this again, and your TED Talk. And like, I was gonna ask, like, just how bad was it? And this was while your kids were growing up into their, like, one of their early teens or their adolescence, like how they were

Dai Manuel 12:23

eight at the time ever present. When I was at my worse, no, no, sorry. No, no, no, they were four and six. They were four and six.

Curt Storring 12:30

Okay, time. And so what did you What did your worst look like? Can you share that? Yeah, sure.

Dai Manuel 12:35

Well, I would, I could drink a lot of volume. And I was considered as good guy, like, amongst everybody that knew me, like, I was the fun guy to hang with, like, I would go to conferences and trade shows, you know, for my industry, and like, all the suppliers, like, they would find me or they'd see me, I mean, where are you tonight, we want to go where you're going, you know, that was the reputation that I created. I was a fun guy to hang out with, after hours, you know, but I was also a professional and cranked a lot of volume for those guys in the daytime hours. So there was this professional respect. But what I started to realize was, it didn't match the personal respect, because I didn't really understand what that would mean, you know, like, and I was being valued. And that value was being reaffirmed through all these negatives, which was going out all night drinking, sometimes my drinking in the later years led to consumption of certain types of narcotics, specifically Coke, and that would almost indefinitely lead to me being promiscuous, you know, not being faithful to my wife. Three big Whammies there, you know. And every time I do it, man, it's just Gosh, that the easiest way to describe is like I felt like, you know, maybe this is this probably appropriate. You know, the new Ghostbusters, I just watched with my one daughter last weekend, you know, the Slimer I always think about Slimer from Ghostbusters, those that remember the original Ghostbusters, you know, like, it's just this feeling of being slimed, like after words, and, you know, take a while and I equate that it was just like the manifestation of shame. It really was, it was just how I felt, you know, I it was really hard for me to just talk about all the struggles I was working through, talk about some of the challenges, you know, through. I don't want to hash out all these old stories, but uh, you know, we all got baggage, okay. We all got past trauma. We all do. I mean, I don't know anybody that's gonna get through life with me any of that. It's just like, I mean, Buddha's got something to say about that he's been talking about for 2600 years. So we can all be wrong, you know, life is about suffering. But how do we minimize it? How do we, how do we prioritize the things that really matter? You know, and make the best of the time that we're here and it got to a point where I just, you know, made a decision. I was going to go for one year without drinking. And, you know, I'd done stints where I'd gone. Two months, three months while I did up A cleanse, you know, a lot go. I didn't do any sugar either Winner winner chicken dinner. But, you know, it was

always temporary. And I was always counting down the days till Oh, yes, okay, it's almost over so I can have a drink. Like it was crazy, right. But I was like, I had the mental fortitude to say, You know what nuts enough, I've got some challenges here I've got some, some real life problems. And it wasn't till I brought that up to my wife, and actually shared with her for the very first time in our relationship, you know, this is after being together for a decade, I honestly shared with her vulnerable. And when I say vulnerably I mean, I just told her what was alive in real and all the challenges, especially challenges being a dad, and the concern that I was going to end up being a really poor dad, a poor father felt like I was already failing on that front. And felt like it was my lot in life, you know, it's like, this is what I'm destined to be, you know, I'm destined to be a poor dad, you know, and I'm not going to support these girls, I don't know how I'm going to protect them, you know, like, just all these excuses that I believe to be true. And, and I just remember sharing about all these things, you know, areas that I felt inadequate, and because to me, it was the last ditch effort. And I just want to bring this up, Curt, because I think there's probably other men out there that are listening to this thinking, Well, I'd love to be able to open up like that to my spouse. But you know, it's like, I don't know how I'm intimidated by the idea is like, I can't open up to my best friend or that kind of stuff, let alone my wife, you know, like, it's not an easy conversation to navigate. And I equate it to you know, being someone that's been in the fitness industry for about a quarter of a century. It's like, I don't like it when someone comes to me. And they're like, my doctor said, if I don't start exercise, I'm gonna die tomorrow. No, like, that's not the best motivation to make a life change. Now, it may work for you may not, but I hate making desperation moves, you know, and it felt like a desperation move. So I didn't necessarily feel like I was being authentically vulnerable. I felt like I was being vulnerable to the sake that hoping, oh my gosh, if I don't do this right now, my life is I know, it's forever going to change my family, I'm going to lose my wife, I'm going to lose. I mean, I don't, that's really what matters. All of a sudden, for once in my life, you know, that conversation, we talked about the beginning that able to focus between work, and then everything else was awesome. Like, I don't care about the work right now is like one of the first times as like, I could give two craps about that I'm done with that I want to focus on this is what matters. And it was the first of my life, it was crystal clear. And so I made that commitment to my wife one year, told my kids six and you know, four years old, sitting on the couch watching Dora the Explorer on TV, hey, Daddy's gonna do this. And they're like, Oh, you're not gonna drink when no water, no pop? Like, what? No, no, no, no adult drinks, you know, and so we had to qualify it. So they understood, and, and then I got to work. That's why I respect a lot of what you said earlier occurred about all the work that you've been doing on yourself, and just the growth that you've experienced as a result of opening people up to this type of conversation, you know, and meeting with other men around this topic or topics. And, you know, as soon as you start doing that, you you just, you start the healing process for yourself. You know, and that's what I noticed. I don't know if you notice that yourself as well. But I noticed that it's weird, right? It's like, we have this idea that, Oh, if you're vulnerable, I have an injury. I don't want to share the injury. Because if I show the injury, oh, my take advantage of it, you know,

Curt Storring 18:25

yeah, it's like, we assume that there's like vultures circling that if we open up, they're gonna see this and just jump on us. And then we will be torn apart, we'll be nothing our identities will be shattered. And that's so true, man. And and we're gonna come back to vulnerability. But I want to hear like, How did this even come to be? You just woke up one day, and it just like, popped in your head? Was there? Like, did your wife tell you like sort of the zone? Like, what was that one point where you're like, oh, no, I really got to do something here.

Dai Manuel 18:54

Well, yeah, I was gonna say, if you want to hear the details about sort of what led up to that morning, and me making the decision that sort of what the TED Talk talks about, is that specific story itself. And, you know, I'll paraphrase a little bit here, but I was out the night before, you know, it was like New Year's Eve. And, you know, we were out together as a couple. Of course, I, you know, just kept drinking. She was my wife, you know, she's good with a glass, maybe two glasses of wine in a night. You know, like, she's very light on the alcohol, but she doesn't drink for the sake of drink. She's more just social. Like, it's just that aspect of being social, you know, for her, she's fine. Me, it's like, no, I just keep going, you know, I go till I get the glow. And then once I get the glow, I keep going. I was that was just my tendency is just what I would do. And, you know, she ended up leaving that night because she's like, Oh, we should really get going. You know, she's trying to be encouraging. She could see the direction I was going. She's trying to be helpful and protective. It's also New Years, you know, it's been hour before with kids or at home with a sitter and she's like, why don't we just go home we can celebrate the New Year's with the kids and Like, no way I'm staying here. I don't want to start. No, not at all and just not being very nice. Okay? wasn't being very kind, especially to someone that I said is the most important person in my life, you know, and I don't know how I got home that night. No idea. But I got him somehow, and didn't make it to bed. I ended up waking up the next morning on the floor beside our bed. And, you know, it must have been around noon or so and my whole family's up downstairs, you know, and vice cleaning away on the dishes like she's putting dishes away. She must mean it. Listen, just say she was putting the dishes away passionately. Okay, like, everything was clanging like I could tell, right? It's like, you know, someone's being obnoxious Lee loud on purpose, like, for sure. And so I woke up and made my way downstairs. And sure enough, there there in the kitchen, kids are in the living room watching TV and wife just gave me this look. And I'll never forget the look. Because there was no love in the eye. In her eyes, no love, he was simply like, I'm done. You know, and where before, she's always been that person that I truly believe I would feel that she always see the potential in me that I couldn't necessarily see myself. You know, and that's when you know, you really got good friends and family and people that truly love you. Like, it's those people that see the potential in you that you know, even on your worst days, you can't see in yourself, you know, and even on your best day, sometimes you don't see it either. Right? Like, it's like, they can see it. And they want to nurture it, they want to bring it out of us, you know, and so she'd always been that person. But that morning, that look was no longer there. And Ouch. And I knew you know, it's it's, I think back to when I was a kid I remember getting caught. Dad mucking around in the garage doing some I don't know what it was, I just remember getting caught. I remember that feeling oh, my God, I've been caught, you know, like, oh, you know, and and he was getting that sort of that that feeling? And I'm like, Why am I feeling so guilty? Like I ate. And I realized that because there's something there? I don't. I'm not proud of what I did night last night. I know, that wasn't good. But I did it anyways, I was well aware. And this is the biggest thing. And that's why people asked me like, What are your thoughts on the 12 steps programs or addiction and all this? And I know, I believe that? Sure that language serves a purpose in certain places. But I think people get really comfortable with labels. And it's like, oh, that's my answer. That's what I am. So this is my only solution. Because when people say to do to fix it, that implies that we're broken, and I never felt like I was broken. I felt like I was dysfunctional. But I never felt broken. You know, and I never felt like I was choosing to drink. Out of necessity. I was always fully aware. I was also fully aware when I would say oh, there's my wife calling, miss, you know, like, you know, you just turn off the calls, you know, and I was fully aware, I was aware of every choice I made. And I made it. And so she sat me down that morning, and we opened up with her basically saying, you know, this is not the environment I want to raise our kids in. So where are you going? Like, ah, you know, and it was like, everything became very real very quickly. And for anybody that's been in that situation I feel for you. I know how scary it is. It's awful. And in that moment, like, you know, I just broke down. Like I said, I did have a place of, you know, I don't like to think it was desperation. I think it was necessity at that point for me to be vulnerable. Like, I was like that point where I was like,

not being vulnerable. It's gotten me to this place. What happens if I try just opening up and sharing how I'm feeling right now when I'm thinking about what I'm dealing with? What if I actually let her in on that? What then? So I did. And it was a hard conversation really hard. But it was worth it. And from that one thing, that one instance, you know, it literally set the rest of our lives on a different path. And I committed to one year no drinking. The first three months were horrible, really hard. I had to look at all my association, because my closest connections like they didn't know how to deal with me and my sobriety. didn't know I had no idea. And to be honest, two drinks in hanging out with them. I didn't know how to deal with it either. Because you know you're no longer on the same page. There was things that I wanted to talk about now nobody was interested in talking about you know, so I started to question all my association like oh man, this is this is awful. I'm getting invites still to go to the bar to go to the pub to watch UFC like I'm like guys like, or is it? Yeah, we're going golfing then we're gonna hang out the 19th I'm like I have no interest in doing that. I just don't I need to be there right now I just, I don't need that right now. And so I was able to figure out who are my real friends, you know, like, who are the people I really want around for the rest of my life with me that I want to be there to serve, and support, like they're supporting me. And so I did a cleansing man, like I, as I was cleansing myself, I cleanse my friends list, okay, I figured out who's a real friend and who's not. And I have a fraction of the connections I used to, but the connections I have now are way more meaningful to me. And they're people that I respect greatly. And I've created some, some filters, you know, I just, there's certain values that I prioritize. And if, you know, I want people with similar values in my life, that's all plain and simple. Most people don't know what their values are the core values, right, they don't actually take the time to reflect and introspect and really think about what's important for them, you know, and so it's something I like to invite people do just just do it, you know, Brene, browns, got some great free resources all about this stuff on her website, you know, so go check it out. And if you haven't, don't know who Brene Brown is, just watch your TED talk first, and then go from there. And yeah, you know, she's definitely the, the most outspoken person on the topic of vulnerability currently in the world, you know, and but especially in the corporate space, she's, she really goes from the corporate angle, but it translates over. And so some of the ideas that I'm sharing, you know, they're not mine, I didn't think these up, but I've discovered them, and I've implemented them, and I've morphed them into something that works for me.

Curt Storring 26:33

And you've really embodied them too. And I think that is worth a lot, because a lot of guys will hear this and they'll be like, Okay, maybe for that guy, but I don't know if I can do that. And so I just want to like, honor you for having gone there. And then for continuing to share this. And just a quick side note here, are you more fulfilled now you've got fewer friends, perhaps you've got, you know, all these guys wanted you to hang out, you were like, good guy die. But now you've got these like deeper connections. And for anyone listening is like, I don't want to like upset my friends. I don't want to do all this. I don't want to be alone. Already more fulfilled now.

Dai Manuel 27:07

Well, first of all, I one, thanks for the question. Cuz I think it's a great question. But to you know, like is it's qualifying and quantifying, you know, what is the friend? Like, what does that term even mean to somebody? And I think that's what I started to really try to understand too. Like, I think our ideas of friends is somewhat been warped with the invention of social media. Right? I guess it's because it's now followers, and you know, Facebook, I got X amount of Facebook, friends, friends, like, I couldn't tell you, I wouldn't know if I walked past most of these people. I generally mean like, it's just so that's what I mean by this, we're very quick to quantify or how many friends I have. But I'm, like, qualify the friends. Like, once you know, the name of the kids, you know, do you know what kind of career they have? Do you know? What's their hobbies? You know, like, really, do you know the person that isn't always so easy to say yes to. And so I wanted more that I wanted to be able to go a little bit deeper and open up a bit more because I was very good at being very surface. It's probably also and people are listening to this or watching this, they're probably thinking like, the Republicans say BS when I say this, but I'm naturally introverted, which a lot of people are surprised to hear, I choose to work as an extrovert. I want to make an impact with the life that I have left, you know, and I want to leave this place better than it was when I got here. Like, that's certainly what I want to do, you know, and, and, for me to do that, I realized that there's going to be some things that I need to change, there's gonna be some things I may have to learn, just people have to connect with. But at the end of the day, it's trying to find other people that want similar things, you know, and back to your question, you know, so that the friendship thing, like, I think Jim Rohn said it best, right, like, you know, I'm one of the net some of what are five closest relationships. And I think, you know, I think that's been misquoted and a lot. But the idea is sound, right? It's like, because it's true, whoever we spend the most amount of time with, we tend to start to act a lot, like we just do, we pick up the mannerisms, we pick up the scenes, you know, I, I've been hanging around with a friend that curses a lot. And I've noticed that I curse a little bit more as a result, you know, it's like, it's just, it's wild, right? But you just you pick up those things very quickly. It's like, look at kids and how quickly they pick up languages, right? Like, it's amazing. They're sponges, they're just, they're in it. They're not sitting there trying to read a book and watch a tutorial. Like they're just, they're learning by living and I think there's something to learn there. And so just real quick, because I don't want people to think that I did this on my own. There's no hell, hell and high water. I could have done this on my own. I know that now. Those first three months I also found a psychiatrist to work with because I had some mental health challenges I really wanted to work on to really get to the root of what was creating. Just this this barrier for me to just want to open up and get really get to know People, especially my own family, I just I wouldn't ever go deep. I wouldn't ask questions, I would get very surface answers to questions like I wasn't really allowing people in my life. And I knew I wanted that to change, but I didn't know how to change. And so I knew I needed help. Found a psychiatrist worked with him for three months, I also found a relationships counselor to help my wife and I, after our second session, the Council looks at me and Christine's like, I think it'd be worthwhile for Dad to come on his own for a bit. I was like, alright, well, I'm in whatever and, and you know what, and I did checkouts and step programs. I did, I went checked at some meetings, but I really had a hard time with the first step. I'm not powerless against this stuff. Not I knew what I was doing, I was in my right mind the whole time, I didn't feel as a life and death situation, but I just chose to make it a priority. I chose to value alcohol over everything else. In that moment. It just told me that my values were at a whack, you know. And so that was my only struggle, I couldn't deal with that. So I had to find other systems, you know, and for me, cognitive behavioral therapy worked the best. For people that are not familiar with that I've read some articles on my website, or there's tons of resources out there, go to They've got lots of resources on it. CBT for short, but it works great, you know, cuz it's all about just habit change, changing thought patterns, addressing your biases, those and conditional, you know, subconscious, automatic responses that we do all the time. And recognizing not all of them are good for us. Right? So those were some of the things that I did in that first year. And here's the crazy thing, and this is this is what I want everybody to take away from this. Yes, it was a lot of work. Okay, it was, I'm not, I'm not gonna paint a pretty picture here. You know, you want to make some changes, changes aren't always easy. But I will tell you this, these types of changes are always worth

it. It's like, you know, what would you do? If you knew that if you had a year and you weren't going to work your

your self, you know, I would say put your bag off, but you know, you're gonna work. You know, you're gonna work your balls off. But you know, you're committing to this process for one year just to work on yourself. Like, just just work on yourself. Your mental health, your physical health, your spiritual health, your, your psychological, like, all those aspects that make you who you are. Let's just say you focus and prioritize that time for you to really get clear on that. But you knew that if you did that for one year, the rest of your life was going to be absolutely amazing. Would you do the work? Because I can honestly say for anybody that I know, that's done that work on themselves. They've never come to me and said, You know, I, I really regret making my life better.

Curt Storring 32:46

I also have never heard that.

Dai Manuel 32:48

Well, it's like me in the fitness industry. I have never had someone say die, you know that, that that salad with salmon? They asked me for lunch off? Yeah, well, I'm really disappointed. I ate a salad for lunch today. And I've never had a client write means they die. You know what? I really regret working out today. Never. There's just there's certain things in our life. We don't regret ever. So that's probably something that's good to do. You know, unless you're a sociopath. And that's a different conversation. For most of us general population, people that are in a fairly good place, like, really, you know, like, that's yes. It just takes a little bit of commitment and some focus, but also some support, you got to find the support network. Absolutely. 100%

Curt Storring 33:30

I'm so glad you went there. That was the next question is like, Okay, now you get here, you're gonna make this change. And then like, what you just did it? Like, yeah, right, dude. Nope. So were there anything else along the way that helped you sustain that? Like, did you pick up habits or practices that helped you stay on track?

Dai Manuel 33:47

Yes, some stuck. Some didn't. Um, the ones that stuck. Well, of course, was my commitment to my own health, my fitness, dialing into nutrition, which, you know, and I should qualify this a bit. You know, I was diagnosed in eight or nine years ago. So I had already gone through this change of giving up alcohol, which was actually a really good thing because later on a couple years later, I found out I have an autoimmune disease called autoimmune neutropenia. I know it's a mouthful, but it basically just means that my bone marrow doesn't, it creates a lot of good immune function for me like certain cells, so like our white blood cells, and that whole part of our auto immune system is generated through bone marrow and my bone marrow, very healthy, but unfortunate, my body this thing called neutrophils, so you guys get a scrape cut or something like that, you know, like you get that white pus that shows up there that disinfects basically is our body's way of preventing infection and cleaning wounds. I don't have any of that. And so, you know, I get a scrape, I get it, you know, I get sick, I get a virus. Which you can imagine for the last couple years. It's been like my hematologists like, oh, you know, you should put We live in a bubble and I'm in a bubble. I don't want to live in a bubble like you know. And so, it definitely when you know that you have a health condition, and I want to bring this up, because there's a lot of people out there, especially men, as you head into those 40s and 50s, you realize things aren't like they used to be, okay, like, your body's not recovering as well, maybe you're not having as much energy anymore, maybe putting on more fat than you care to be, you know, all of a sudden, what you used to eat, it's like, I can eat this, and I'd be fine. All sudden, I'm eating this, and I wake up the next morning, I don't feel fine. My pants feel a little tighter, you know, like, I feel like I'm on slower. And it's just this idea of recognizing, like, hello, there's certain habits that are really good at keeping us optimum. And then there's certain habits that will detract us from that, that goal. And so I started to get really clear and in filtering some of the habits, so mindfulness practice, you know, like, and I'm not here to say, hey, meditate for an hour every day, like, hey, if that works for you're fine. But I, I struggle with meditation, but I'm really good with walking meditation. And so I had to try lots of different meditation, because we all know, it's like, gosh, science has proven this, I don't need to be here talking, we don't need to be listening to you know, the Dalai Lama talking about meditation, scientists have actually got all the data now they're show the physiological effects that happened when we meditate, as well as some of the psychological effects, right? So we know this, it's like, we know, smoking with us, you know, half the label now package like this is gonna give you cancer, it's gonna make your your mouth look like this. I mean, and yet people still do it, right, like, so I do recognize it still takes us to take action on it to actually put it into motion. But if you start to meditate everyday, you will notice massive shifts. And I'm saying five minutes, 10 minutes, if you struggle with sitting still, like I did. Try walking meditation. And if you don't know how to do that, I've got an article on my website talks all about walking meditation, different ways to do it, grab an app, like Insight Timer, it's absolutely free on the app stores, and download that find a meditation that you like, and walk, you know, they have walking meditations on there, they have guided ones on there, like, just start, start doing it, you know, like that one thing was great for mental health. And then journaling was another one. And I know, I probably sound like a broken record here. Because you probably hear this from everybody that you've ever asked the same question to what are some of that? I

Curt Storring 37:25

love it. I love it. Because you guys just sometimes need to hear it over and over and over for they're finally like, oh, maybe I should do that. I love that you're going here. I love it. Man. I

Dai Manuel 37:35

feel sad saying this stuff again. And again. And again. Because I'm like cheese. I say it. It still doesn't seem like it's slanted. But you're right. Because the more we're having the conversation, the more we keep saying it, it's gonna seep in. And but my my ask of people, Curt and I think you're probably similar is, you know, I'm a big fan of the compound effect, right? I think it was Darren Hardy that wrote the book originally. But you know, the concept has been around forever. Right? Einstein talked about so you know, the most powerful force in the universe. Compound Interest, right? Let alone with relativity. But it's fascinating, right? Like this, this idea of compounding. So my invitation to people is as daunting as it is, because I can give you some other rituals that are now part of my life, like my regular fitness routine, the way I work on mobility, the way I work on recovery, even to how much water I drink in a day, you know, or how many steps or standing minutes I try to get in a day, even heart rate variability. And I'd love to, if we have some time talking about that, but that's one metric, I invite everybody to start monitoring just your HRV every single morning, just looking at your HRV especially as men, because cortisol really messes us up. You got too much cortisol in your body, it messes with you big time with inflammation. If you've got that little bit of extra round your gut and you feel like geez, no matter what I do, it just sits here. It's cortisol, maybe, okay, it's your stress levels are, they're just under control. And until you get that in order, that's going to be your lot in life, you're going to be stuck with that. Okay? Like, don't beat yourself up over it, it's okay. But you have to look at the mental health to really deal with that. A lot of people go to physical, they go to fitness, they go to nutrition, and I'm like, No, that's not gonna help you. I'll help you temporarily, but it's gonna come back. Maybe you'll be right back where you are right now. We got to focus on mental health first. And that's why the meditation, the journaling, so critical. It's so critical, those two simple little things. If you just did those two little habits and you committed to 30 days of doing that. I would love for someone to come back to me after 30 days consistently doing those two things and say it didn't work. I don't feel better. Like yeah, never ever heard that ever. Like I just, I just never heard it. And now, I don't know. So

Curt Storring 39:56

I'm glad that we're going here because one of the things that I have to keep in mind brings that each man is on his own path. And sometimes it takes friction or struggle to finally make the change, like, you know, you experience like I experienced. And so the more that men lesson, perhaps something in their lives will come up and they're like, Okay, now I really need to make a change. And I know the tools to use meditation, journaling, breathwork, you know, fitness, walking, all these kind of things, it'll at least be in the back of their minds for when they needed. So that's why I love sharing it even though yes, we're broken records at times. I would love your feedback. Now, this has been so good, man, thank you for sharing all this mobility, and how important it is because it's changed a lot of my life too. And I probably have a few more questions about that. But I want to make sure we touch on raising daughters. Because yeah, I was recommended to talk to you specifically because of your fatherhood two daughters. So could you give us maybe like an overview? Do you have any principles you live by? What do daughters need from the from the fathers?

Dai Manuel 40:57

Great question. And, you know, I want to share a resource for every dad out there. Dads with daughters, fathers with daughters Facebook group, I think it's got like 140,000 dudes in there. Now. It's remarkable, like how big that group's grown, but it's part of the fathering together. Organization, which is an American based nonprofit. And I sit on the board actually so amazing, amazing group. And they have a lot of these Facebook. So they have like fathers with sons, fathers with daughters, they have all these individual Facebook groups, and the communities are really, really busy, very engaged, great thought leadership, great insights and resources. And so I like to always recommend that, whether you're just a father period, there's some good resources out there. And because it was definitely helpful in my journey as a dad so far these last 18 and a bit years. I would say that, you know, one thing about daughters is I knew I always wanted daughters. Always, I just I knew I wanted girls. I mean, when my wife and I started entertaining the conversation on having kids, I was like, I'd love to have daughters, you know, girls, I wasn't opposed to this, I just want to help the human being. But I, I just there's something about having daughters, you know, I think it's also because I knew the kind of guy I was, and I was like, Oh man, I don't know if I can manage myself as a teenager. You know, like, honestly, I'm just being honest, like I was, I wasn't trouble, but I wasn't a dream either. Okay, like, I was morbidly obese as a teen, which created a lot of mental health challenges for me. And it wasn't until I was 15, that I got my health in order, and which, you know, changed for the rest of my life. But up until 15, I dealt with a lot of mental challenges and physical challenges as a result of that health, which made it difficult to help me, which is what I carried into my future with me, you know, my adulthood, which that sort of ties everything together. Now, people I understand why there were some of the habits that I brought forward from an early age, you know, but being a dad of daughters, the one thing I've really realized is that daughters are so interesting, because they're just, you know, their first true role model of what a man is, is their father. You know, like, usually now now, again, I know with nuclear families, and just the way the world is today, and but specifically, I'm talking about my situation. Alright, so this is, from my perspective, my experience, realize I know, there's languages, there's pronouns, there's all this other conversations that we should pay attention to. But for the sake of brevity and what we're talking about today, I just wanted to have that out there. Because I know some there's I get messages from people, sometimes they'll hear me talk, be like, Well, what about this, and this time, like, oh, gosh, I mean, it was a five minute conversation, I didn't have the time to talk about all that stuff. But if you go listen to my other stuff, or read some of my stuff, you'll notice that I'm very open to this conversation. And, but as a man that sees himself as a man identifies as a man, as a father, I know that my daughter saw me as the first male figure in their life, that everything I did as a father was role modeling to them, what they identified to those positions, you know, whether a husband, a business owner, a man, you know, a father, a friend, like everything I did, I realized was just a reflection that these sponges were going to, you know, mop up. And, and so I became very, very aware of that. And I want every father a daughter know that they're like, take your daughters on dates, show them the way they should be treated. You know, I guess that was my biggest concern is it that was like just them when they get into a relationship romantically with somebody and like, are they going to be respected? You might look at are they gonna end up with a guide like I was. And that's a sad place to be, you know, like, really when I realized that it's like, I would hate for my daughters to end up with a guy that was like me. Not a happy feeling. You know? And that's also what fueled the change or the desire to change, you know, was the fact that I didn't want that. And so the role modeling pieces is critical and, and girls, they love time with that. They don't care about stuff, they really don't. My kids don't care about stuff, they're not motivated by things. They weren't minimalist anyways. And, but they're really good that way. They're not motivated by that stuff. But they are motivated by time with by energy exchanges. You know, sitting down just talking about our day, you know, being present with them.

Which is weird, because when I grew up, I believe that my main love language and for those that aren't familiar with your love language, go to five love languages, calm, you know, check it out, they got some free quizzes there, you don't have to read the book anymore. Read the quiz, but you can figure out, you know, how do you feel loved? You know, because most of us have a bias to showing love the way that we like to receive it. And we have to realize that everybody receives love and feels love differently. And when you start to understand, especially your own family, your own kids, their love language, you can start to make them feel much more fulfilled and connected way easier. Okay, like, but I was conditioned early on. It's not my dad's fault. But he was often would, would bring gifts would give us gifts, you know, and that was his way of showing love. He also grew up having that role model to buy. So she his father, right? And next generation trickle over, right. And so I remember early on thinking, I just got to get my kids stuff to show me how much I love them. But never made me feel more connected to my kids. You know, just giving them stuff made me feel good in the moment. But just because I could give them something. And I saw that joy it brought them. But you know, what really brought them lifelong Joy was knowing that that's there for them. And I'm there to have a shoulder to cry on. When they go through that first breakup. You know, first thing my daughter broke up with her boyfriend. So we've been really worried about. Regardless, dating is a whole nother conversation. We need a secondary interview for that. But but especially when they become sexually active. Oh my god. I don't want to go there. That's still something I don't like to think about even you know, what's that mean? But I'm like, Oh, my God, no. But those are the big things. You know, it's the time with it's the attention. It's really understanding their love language. And once you know that getting connected is actually not hard. I think people, I used to think it was gonna be hard to connect, but it's not it's actually takes very little effort. That's a cool thing about kids. I mean, they're naturally just super resilient. They're born that way. You know, I'm thrown into all this, as you said earlier, you know, it's stress, right? Like, we know, I mean, you don't have to read Darwin's research. I mean, we know that stress, a lot of it creates change. You know, it just does No, stress. Trauma is just part of life. Yeah. But it can be a useful experience, if we're more of the growth mindset and the fixed mindset where we see these these struggles as ways to just learn and grow. That's a constant reminder, that's that dialogue in your head that you have to say, Okay, where's the shining light in this situation, you know, being optimistic, you know, being hopeful. And I found that with my daughter's, that's how the kind of language my wife and I have used. It's also how we still talk to them. It's how we shares how we show up. And it's been really neat seeing that they've adopted that same sort of mindset. That in itself, and the ability to instill in them early on, the ability to ask for help. And be okay with asking for help. Huge, but also at the same time teaching them how to also find the answers on their own if they need to. You know, so it's, that's been our focus, you know, we just want to raise good human beings. And then one last thing I'll add, also, knowing that times ticking away here, we were the parents. So for those that have younger kids, or even that, you know, preteen kids, we were the annoying parents that took their kids everywhere. I didn't care. I honestly didn't care. My kids came to my Toastmasters meetings with me. They would come to my CrossFit competitions, you know, they we just took them everywhere. Like we didn't care, like my we were young parents. So it was really interesting. You know, we're hanging out with a lot of other friends, like our friends are just starting to have kids now, like in their 40s or started having just a few years ago, and we're at a completely different stage of life now. You know, and so it's, it's been interesting, just watching that dynamic, but, you know, here are these little people that we bring into this planet and they're just looking at For Love and security and to feel safe and, and all we can do is our best and trying to lead them down the right path. But at the end of the day, they have to walk it. And so those are just some of the little takeaways that I've noticed, as I've reflected, and I've made a lot of mistakes along the way. It happens, and I own them very quickly, you know, and that's also made it really good to help my, my, it's good for my daughters to see that. You know, so they in turn have also adopted that, you know, as well as my wife is

just a phenomenal human being. And to be honest, she's the big, biggest reason why my kids are turned out the way they have. But I've done my part to as best I could, you know, yeah. But yeah, those are some of the key takeaways. Obviously, I don't know if you had any more specific questions that people have asked, but those are the big ones.

Curt Storring 50:49

Man. That's, that's exactly what I was looking for. Because I as you were talking, I was going like, Okay, what other questions are there? I don't think there are. And I think that's the issue that guys have is like, Well, what do you mean, that said, and what I'm hearing from you, is you just show up, love them, and you spend time with them. And you're there for them. And it's not all that different from from boys, to be quite honest, we all need to be seen and heard and supported and challenges soothed. And man, if you can be a little bit more gentle, I suppose. You know, I think boys need challenge very specifically, whereas, whereas girls, I have read at least and heard from other men need sort of affirmations that they are worth fighting for, that they're worth being desired. And all that kind of stuff. So yeah, I don't have any other questions, because like, it is just as simple as what you just said, man. So there's one

Dai Manuel 51:41

more thing I want to add in here, because I hear this from a lawyer yet. Because parenthood, and martyrdom are often confused. Okay, and what I know, yeah, well, this is the one thing I instilled early on in my kids was the prioritization of health and self care. And I was like Mom and Dad, we need our self care, we need to work on our physical fitness, we need to work on our mental health, like, these are aspects that every human being needs to learn how to do for themselves, just like learning how to do an oil change in a car, you know, pretty useful thing to learn how to do, you know, I don't know how to do it, but I know the others. But there's certain basic skills, right. And when you think about yourself, as a vehicle, or as a vessel, for you to live your best version of your life, you got to make sure you are the best version of you, health wise, especially. And so early on, we instilled those those values in our kids. So even today, they're like, you know, Mike, I know you've got plans that afternoon, but I'm going to get I have a workout scheduled from one to two with a buddy. So I'll connect with you, but I can't meet you up until after my workout. And they're like, Okay, no problem. Great. You know, like, it's, they know, they understand and they to also prioritize time for themselves. And so I think that's really, really important to establish those those boundaries, those those conditions, I don't know what you want to call it, but I call them rituals. And early on, but I understand I want them to understand why they're important. But I also want them to adopt them as rituals for themselves. You know, because I remember what it was like being a morbidly obese team and not having that kind of a support early on in my because my parents just didn't know, they didn't know. Yeah, you know, they didn't know, it's not their fault. You know, like, I don't blame anybody for it. It's just me, you know, like, we just did the best that we couldn't get in the situation. So now that's, that's it, I started to make sure I added that in there. You know,

Curt Storring 53:27

no, perfect point. I often tell guys this because it's like, well, I can't take time for myself. It's like no, doing self care as a dad is self less. It's not selfish, because you show up so much better. And you teach your kids these habits. So thank you for adding them in. Okay, we're at the end of time, but I want to know, where can people find you? And how can they follow along with you and your journey and all the amazing things you have to say?

Dai Manuel 53:48

Thanks for this great conversation. Curt. This has been awesome. I know, we just scratched the surface on so many subjects. But what's great first conversation, I'm super excited to share this out there. You know, like, I think we've touched on a lot of points that are very relevant to people like you and I, you know, I can and there's a lot of us out there. So, I do a number of things now, like at my professional life, I I'm just about helping people, communities, you know, people get out of their own way, mainly with a strong foundation and self care and mental health. That's that's the priority if people really adopt those two principles. I know lots of great things can happen. Lots of great things, you know, I've seen in my own life and seeing clients and communities and so that's that's what I do now is I help people with that and then I can do it professionally or personally. It depends I work with corporate as well as as individuals. How to have more fun, so you're smiling, more feeling more fulfilled and joyous,

Curt Storring 54:43

which by the way if you can't see die, he is smiling all the time. I was like, I want to know why man, but it's so amazed you like all the time so if your alley man talk to die for sure.

Dai Manuel 54:55

Well, thank you. I appreciate that. And you know like yourself, Curt, I'm part of men's groups, we have a mentorship Monday community that runs in four different time zones, always at 7pm on a Monday, but depends on what time zone you're in at that 7pm. We have a UK group as Southeast Asia group, East Coast American group, and then a West Coast Canadian group. So we're all over the place, but a great group of just men coming together and we're open to any men. So any males I should say anybody that identifies as he his in him, mainly, that not to say we're not, but I just know, a lot of the conversations circle around that. And so we do have a lot of I'm gonna say a lot, we have a number of gay men that come but they also identify as he him in his so it's, I just want that to be known. Because we in the past, we've had some, some non binary, one individual show up, and I could tell that some of the language that was being used, he wasn't resonating with you know, and so I just wanted to be on it. But I hope he found a groove I just said, you know, like, find your community, you got to find a community to belong with, right? And sorry, I'm going off paths. You know what, people don't want to come after me. What's your I am so easy to find, as long as you know how to spell my name, D Ay, ay. Ay Nuel, you can type that in, or anything that resembles it. Most of the search engines have that will do the rest of it for you, because they're, they're used to correcting the misspelling So, but my name is what I have for all my social handles, which is kind of nice, having a different name and made it very unencumbered and very easy to get. So my website, all my social channels, I'm most active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. So if you private message me on either of those three platforms, you'll hear back from me personally. The other channels I'm not as active on or engaged on, I do respond. I'm honored to them. But I, as I tell most people, I'm a team of one. You know, I had a big company before. And I've got a good company right now. But I'm also very good at managing my time. I'm a Systems guy, I like to let people know that. So I have systems, I have operations in place to help me do what I do. And to help others as well. And so I just say it all starts with a conversation. And when I extended my hand and said, Hey, can you help me? It was one of the most vulnerable acts I've ever done for myself, but it was one of the acts that changed everything. Everything. I know how hard that first action can be. And so if you want a safe space to do the first reach out, I've got a hand here already waiting. Okay, so that's as the best way to put it. But Curt man, I absolutely love everything you're doing. I want to know how I can support you. I have my own podcast I'm planning for next year in q1. I'm telling it right now. I can't wait to have you on it. So I just wanted to say that so thank you

Curt Storring 57:46

anyway, man. Yeah, thank you so much for going deep. Thank you for being vulnerable. And just thank you for sharing this your energy is infectious. And man you're doing amazing work in the world. So thank you for spending the time with me man. Appreciate it

that's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to That's DAD.WORK/POD. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening, and we'll see you next time.

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Are you enjoying this podcast? Do you want to say thanks, and help more fathers find this episode? Please leave a review for the Dad.Work podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Ping me at or on Instagram @dadwork.curt and send me a link to your review and I’ll give you a shout-out on the podcast!

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