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Today’s guest is Gavin Meenan.

We go deep talking about:

  • Internal conflicts we face as fathers and how they affect us, our spouses, and our children
  • The overwhelming guilt and pain that comes over us when we try to avoid facing reality
  • Why having good men in your life matters
  • Why, in order to experience inner peace and healing, fathers must learn to forgive themselves for past mistakes and aspire to be a better man and father
  • How and why to provide emotional support tools for our children
  • Why it is important for us to be able to recognize the emotions that lie underneath our children’s words and be present in their life as a safe haven
  • Why we need to overcome our addictions as men and fathers
  • Why it is critical for us to identify and comprehend the source of our pain and trauma

Gavin Meenan is a leading voice in the Irish health and fitness community.

A former European Powerlifting Champion, he has personally helped hundreds of people achieve life changing results.

Gavin resides in the town of Sligo in Ireland, where he has built his business from being a personal trainer in the local community, to helping people from all around the world via his exclusive online coaching and mentoring platform.

Having impacted over 100,000 people with his unique message, Gavin is now expanding his platform into the men’s coaching space. His goal is to help men everywhere build stronger minds, bodies and lives. This has been his main inspiration for writing and publishing two of his best selling books.

In his personal life, Gavin has overcome struggles such as childhood bullying, trauma, convictions, addictions and redundancy. He’s now on a mission to help all men out there overcome their challenges and move forward towards a life of fulfillment and success.

Mentioned on this episode:

The Modern Warrior Podcast

Find Gavin online at:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gavinmeenan/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gavinmeenan1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gavinmeenan

Website: www.gavinmeenan.com

Modern Warrior Podcast

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the data work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of dad work. This is episode number 96. Getting to self forgiveness inside of a nightmare with my guest, Gavin Meenan, we go deep today talking about internal conflicts we face as fathers and how they affect us, our spouses and our children, the overwhelming guilt and pain that comes over us when we try to avoid facing reality. Why having good men in your life matters? Why in order to experience inner peace and healing, fathers must learn to forgive themselves for past mistakes and aspire to be a better man and Father, how and why to provide emotional support tools for our children. Why it's important for us to be able to recognize the emotions that lie underneath our children's words and be present in their life as a safe haven. Why we need to overcome our addictions as men and fathers, and why it's critical for us to identify and comprehend the source of our own pain and trauma. Gavin Meenan is a leading voice in the Irish health and fitness community, a former European powerlifting champion, he has personally helped hundreds of people achieve life changing results. Gavin resides in the town of Sligo in Ireland where he has built his business from being a personal trainer in the local community to helping people from all around the world via his exclusive online coaching and mentoring platform having impacted over 100,000 people with his unique message, Gavin is now expanding his platform into the men's coaching space. His goal is to help men everywhere build stronger minds, bodies and lives. This has been his main inspiration for writing and publishing two of his best selling books. In his personal life. Gavin has overcome struggles, such as childhood bullying, trauma, convictions, addictions and redundancy. He's now on a mission to help all men out there overcome their challenges and move toward a life of fulfillment and success. You can find Gavin online at his website, gavinmeenan.com. You can listen to him anywhere you listen to podcasts, search for the modern warrior podcast. You can also find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with his name Gavin, meaning, guys, this is an intense episode, Gavin shares a very real nightmare of a story that I didn't know about before we got on this call. I'm extremely grateful that he was able to share so candidly. And there's such a lesson here guys, and being able to forgive yourself no matter what you think you have done. So we're gonna get into this. And I just want to remind you if you've been getting value out of this, would you please leave us a rating and review on Spotify or Apple? It takes just a few seconds. And it's one of the best ways to get this work into the hands and ears of more men who need it. Because I think that the more men we get to do this work the more fathers we get to do this work, literally the better the world is going to be. If you could take five to 30 seconds to leave a rating or review on Spotify or Apple I would very much appreciate that. And if you don't already follow me on Instagram, please do so that's where I'm most active dadwork.curt DADWORK.CURT on Instagram. With that being said, we're gonna get into this excellent episode with Gavin Meenan. Here we go.

Alright guys, welcome back to another episode of the data run podcast. I am pumped to have Gavin Meenan on. I was actually on your podcast recently, which was a ton of fun. And I was like, Oh, dude, let's just do this again on mine. So thank you for showing up, man. And I'm really excited to get into this because it sounds like you've got a pretty interesting story to share with the dads. So first of all, welcome, and thanks a ton for being here.

Gavin Meenan 3:08

Likewise, carp man, it's an absolute privilege to be here. Your podcast is epic, your contents epic. And I'm just so happy to be to be a part of that. So thank you so much for having me on.

Curt Storring 3:17

Beautiful. Thank you for buttering me up already. Okay, man. Well, I want to start with your journey through fatherhood. Because like, for me, this is the most important thing in my life. Like I was here, I hated everything. I was terrible at it. And now I'm here where I like, I'm pretty good at most things. And I really love waking up in the morning. And that was so different. Nine years ago, when I first became a dad, and I, you know, from what I've gathered, you've got a similar sort of story. So would you just like walk us through from as far back as you think is relevant? Because I love getting like the real life success stories and sharing them with the guys listening, because it's so motivating. And everyone always picks up a nugget along the way. So if you're willing, would you walk us through sort of where you were becoming a dad? And then what changed? And how?

Gavin Meenan 4:02

Yeah, so a 26 My life changed drastically, because that's when I had my maiden daughter Ariana at the time. And during those couple of years, before she was born, I was working as a as a retail manager. Now I came out of college and came out in the middle of a recession and had a background in fitness and personal training, but I just could not find a job anymore because there was no jobs to be found and ultimately took whatever I got, and I had this inner hunger to get on the career ladder and, you know, make money and and move forward in my life and sort of leave that college life behind me. But long story short, Arianna was born at 26 quote when I was 26. And she was born December and in February, I was made redundant from that job that I had so many aspirations and ambitions for and I was basically on my ass. walked into the shop on a I think it was a Monday morning and hit your came in at 11am and sat me down and said government God let you go, you know, as bluntly as that and I had to go like straightaway, and I walked home, didn't know where to go, what, where to turn. And I'm thinking man, I'm a, I'm a dad now. And I have no job. Like where I go from here. So obviously, I took a very gung ho approach, I got home and I got stream a laptop and apply for every job gone. And like it did find another job, but it was fired from that job three months later, and again, back to back to square one. And during that time, of course, Arianna was only a few months old. And I spent the good part of a year as a stay at home dad was working, you know, meaningless jobs or on time, you know, did a bit of security on a, on a nightclub door, worked a few hours in a shop here and a few hours in the shop, they're just making ends meet and sort of lost my way during those years. And also, I had my own, like they were my external battles I had my own internal battles at the time was well, unknown to myself, I didn't have the self awareness to understand what was really going on there. And I had quite a impulsive behavior or compulsive behavior towards porn, it's going to be called a porn addiction. I don't know if you could call it that, but certainly a very unhealthy relationship with porn. So over those years, where I was sort of lost and directionless, and didn't know where to go, I sort of fell into that realm all the more. And, you know, that certainly held me back from any progress in my life, I, I perhaps was living my life as a victim during those years and feel sorry for myself and porn was a soother and extended stay at home dad, as much as I look back at it now, and I can be really grateful for the bond that we created. And the time I had water during those years, it was very difficult in that moment, because I'd always worked from the age of 1213. And, again, conditioned to always work because my dad always worked, and you sort of fall into this conditioning as you move forward and adulthood. And because it didn't work, I felt like a bomb, I felt like a loser. And this also transpired into everything else in my life. And I said, last direction, because I wasn't working. Whereas I said, reflect back now. And, you know, I was I was a stay at home dad, I was doing my best my daughter, I was, you know, I was doing a lot of good things at the time. But I didn't have that level of self compassion to understand that level of awareness. So first drive myself, I was a wounded animal, and I was soothing myself at this point. Anyway, Some time passed. And I remember, you know, these were difficult, difficult moments difficult was a difficult year relationship as well, wasn't wasn't in a good place. Obviously, I wasn't in a good place. It just filters on to everything else. And I remember going to the shop one of the days with Ariana, we run out of run out of powdered milk when she's just a baby. And I remember going to the cashier and grabbed this powder milk and went to went to pay for it. And the transaction was declined because there's no money in the account. And I thought Fuck, now I can't even feed my own daughter know, what the fuck? What's going on?

You need to make a change here. So I went home deflated. And I just sat down I thought, Okay, what? Like, what are you good at? What have you done before that maybe you can start doing again, you know, you can't find the jobs, maybe create a job. And I just had this epiphany or this moment where I thought, You know what, I enjoy working with people, I do the background and personal training, you know, maybe I'll just maybe just start a Facebook page, printed some business cards and you know, just to get chance. And lo and behold, I did that. Start a Facebook page, got the word out there. And a week or two later, my old friend became my first client and I was a great first client. Right now what? What I do and my straight dragon no idea. Okay. 15 Hegel's 15 euros charging yourself okay, maybe let's just go with that Googling, what's the going rate for a person trainer? I came up with 15 Euro an hour, that's okay. I've nowhere to train him where to go to train. So I took a sort of bold approach at that point. And again, this is perhaps a desperate time in my life because I had nothing else going for me I was very much stuck in life and I had to make something happen. So it was it was desperation, that sort of transparent inspiration. And then there was a hotel up the road not too far away from the house and I said, Okay, I'm just going to chances walk into this gym and pretend that I'm, you know, just training with this guy and said nothing. So we did that for a few sessions. But of course They, they realized very quickly that I was actually training this guy and got kicked out because of insurance reasons or whatever else. So okay, strike one, we'll try another gym. So did the same thing in the gym. Same story got kicked out eventually. And it was the way they were starting to improve. So I said, Okay, let's go outdoors, and let's, you know, start training outside. Like, I had to keep this going, I had to maintain the momentum. I couldn't say, okay, sorry, I can't train anymore. I said, I've got to make this work of gotta, you know, I've got to give this everything I can. So did that. And over that few weeks, I also got a couple more clients. So things were starting to build very, very slowly understanding that I didn't have a lot of connections. And the tone didn't know a lot of people. So it was like starting from complete scratch. But it got a couple more clients and outdoors for a while. But then, you know, that becomes sort of difficult because the weather in Ireland is erratic, it could be winter, spring and summer in one day, and get caught insurance, Gordon Ramsay said, Okay, I need to take one more chance here and went back to my old college. There's a gym there and sneaked upstairs again, third time lucky and managed to stay in a gym, I didn't even realize I don't think that it was up there training people for like, three or four months, until they did release. And at that point, I was able to have a discussion with them, that enabled me to stay there and to build my personal training from that from that place. And it just, it blew up over over a six month period where I was absolutely out the door with clients. And I was completely inundated with with work and up to the point where I was heading towards burnout because I completely invested everything into this. And then my relationship was suffering, my time with my daughter was suffering time myself was suffering. And it got to the point where I had a waiting list full of clients couldn't bring them in because nobody was leaving me. So at that point, I reached out to a mentor, and we made some changes in order to move forward the business and then caught my interest there started building the online business, and sort of two businesses go on at the same time. So instead of doing 60 years of work in the gym, I was doing maybe 25 hours in the gym, 10 hours, then of online coaching, and then all the bits and pieces had time for myself, family time for myself time for my family, and it could progress with those things as well. So I had to make that change in order to move forward. And from there, it's just grown massively over the last few years. And yeah, that got to a certain point, as I said, I had a lot of inner difficulties. You know, during that whole time, I still had my porn addiction, I still had my underlying traumas and pain that I had not processed and carrying this with me tried all of those years. Until I got to the point where I couldn't carry it anymore. It just got too heavy. And I began to speak to a counselor and and to make some progress internally. So yeah, that was that was quite difficult. Like, again, just to give you a bit of background in terms of what was really going on there.

What was the sort of inner chaos, so to speak, was related, mostly related to a car accident that I was involved in when I was 18. Or I took my dad's car and me and a few my mates, we went for a drive. And this is something I would have done quite frequently. When I was 18 years old, my dad would let me take the car and go for a spin. So this one evening, went for a drive and I just took a corner too fast and crashed into the, to the car coming in the opposite direction and the lady in the car, she died on the scene. And I went through a whole process there of grief, guilt, you name it, all of the other negative emotions for for years to come. But at the same time, it didn't, I didn't process any of it. I carried it with me for over 10 years of my life before I actually reached out and started speaking to someone about it. So whilst I had all these external challenges of redundancy and being fired, and becoming a dad and building a business, all that external stuff, nothing really mattered, because I had this internal chaos that I carry with me the whole way through that. And that had a massive impact in terms of how everything else operated. So that's when the real work began when I started speaking to this counselor and yeah, that was a that was a difficult but necessary process as well. And yeah, well, I go on much more. But

Curt Storring 14:40

yeah, ya know that thank you for sharing all that man. And like, I'm surprised because I didn't think that was where we're going. And now I'm like, Oh, shit, like what other questions I'm going to ask here? Because that feels enormous. And I'm like, really curious how you got through that. So I don't know. That's still tender. I don't know if you want to go there. But like, for me something as big T traumatic is that I've never experienced. And so just curiosity wise and other people obviously have gone through things like this. What was that process like? Because I'm used to like, you know, childhood wounds, something happened, your abandon, neglect, you know, big T trauma, whatever. But then to have it sort of like later in life and have it be such, I'm just feeling sort of like deflated in my own gut right now. I'm just like, you know, wanting to share that for everyone listening. I don't know how you guys are feeling. And I'm so curious how you got through that. And what what were some of the tools? How did you build that self awareness after years of just like, grinding on the external world, like, Okay, I finally figured it out, like, great success story, bro. And like, Oh, I'm fucking miserable inside. What what did that look like? How did you even get to that point? Like, oh, I just found a counselor. And it was good. Was that it? Or was there like more to your story? And what kind of healing did you have to go through to get to this point? To even talk about this?

Gavin Meenan 15:59

Yeah. Well, just to give you some context, that the car accident happened on a on a Thursday evening, right? And worst weekend in my life, as you can imagine, so like, I come from a small town. So I actually knew the lady who died as well and knew her family. So it's, it's pretty, it's pretty tight knit community, my parents on the pub in the town and her brothers and her family would often frequent the pub. So like, everyone knew everyone that was involved in that car accident. And yeah, went through a process there. And that was Thursday, you know, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, going through the weeks and the funerals and, you know, a massive blow to me as well, at that point was, I still remember, you know, sort of member defining moments during that episode is, the police came into my house on the day afterwards, like me still reeling from the shock of the accident and said, Well, you know, Gavin's gonna be most likely convicted for dangerous driving, causing death. And to me, that was like another massive hammer blow. Because I don't know why. But at no point, up to that point that I did, I realized that I wasn't deep shit here that I was actually going to be convicted. You know, it was just too overwhelming. I was trying to process what happened with the car acts. And next thing. This comes up me as well. And I remember, like, I took that really, really hard, because I actually believed I was gonna go to jail at that point. So nobody knew what to do. You know, this is like, what do you do in that situation, this is a Thursday, I just finished my first week in college first week of freedom to the locked up again, to a certain extent, after one week. So what happened on Thursday, the college I went to is maybe two and a half hours away of my own place. And I was advised by the police, I was advised by my parents and the people close to me that, you know, like Gavin, I think it's best that you get back to normal life as soon as possible. They're most likely afraid that if I hung around, or if I stayed around the home place that I would dwell on it, and most likely fall into deep depression, and whatever else could happen from there. So I don't look back at that or blame anyone for the decisions they made, because they don't have a fucking clue what to do. So that was what they felt was best. But on reflection, you know, that was an avoidance that was an escape from from town was an escape from that experience. And I could go away, go to college. And as I said, Did not process any of that I felt after one week, maybe two weeks that I felt I you know what, I've got this, you know, I can handle it, you know, I can I can move forward and Yeah, I'm okay. I'm okay. Everyone, I'm okay. I'm fine. But then all the while drinking myself silly, several times a week, excusing that as I'm just I'm just being young and just being wild and just being free. Really, you know, blackouts three or four times a week. Is that normal? Is that, you know, is that a normal thing to do? So again, completely dismissed all that. And drinking. I was drinking quite heavily for a number of years afterwards. There's actually one episode where I think it was a year or two after it happened and was run that run that time of year. It happened in September as around the end of August, September time and actually, one night ended up in an hospital in a&e because I got so drunk I went on this complete whiskey binge with one of my friends and couldn't stand up getting sick or myself and my parents had to come and pick me up was like that was was pretty bad. Like that was the tipping point perhaps off my drinking All the while thinking, Yeah, that's fine. Like, it's not a car accident, you know, no, I'm over that it's fine. But then, all throughout those years as well, I did not make any opportunity or did not create an opportunity or avoided any opportunity for, for peace of being alone. And, again, reflecting back in this because it didn't have the awareness at the time, like I wouldn't even even be able to sleep without having some music immediacy, I avoided a avoided piece at every cost. However, there were some days where it would become I sort of fall into accidental peace. You know, I couldn't drive at the time. So I had to go on these buses. And I went on buses to and from college, and sometimes

my iPod would die. And I'd be there in silence on a bus. And that's when the overwhelming guilt and pain would come over me. But again, I never questioned it. Never question that I just, I don't know what he did, or that I had the blinkers on I was completely perhaps willfully blind as Jordan Peterson would put it to the the underlying pain I had within. So over the years, like my daughter being born was was quite a pivotal moment in my life as well, because it's a time I know, I was going through a lot of difficulties with the porn like, that was also my escapism, that was also my comfort, my soother with all that pain. And, but at the same time, I knew I had to make a change. And over the years before I reached out to the consumer, I started making some changes with the poor, and I started to reduce my consumption of it, and stopped drinking as much. And, you know, started to try to be a man, you know, try to be the best father possible. Because understanding to how to how the father wound there. So that's another conversation. So I had a Yeah, so I wanted to be the best. Because I didn't feel like my dad was sure that he did he, he didn't show up for me in my life. So I wanted to make sure I was there for my daughter. So that was a defining moment. But it got to the point where I was making those changes, but understanding because of the lack of our columns, because of the lack of porn, no, there was more peace, there was more time on my own. And there was more pain coming to the surface. And it got to the point where just one day, I don't know why. But one day, I just had this overwhelming feeling of guilt. And the guilt was associated with her son, her son was in the car at the time as well, he was three. And I started thinking about him a lot, a lot, and felt completely guilty that I had taken his mum away. And that was, that was the defining moment where I carried that for a few days. Again, I tried to maybe ignore it or suppress it as, as also good and doing. But just one day, I sat in my car after I finished in the gym, and I said, No, I can't do this anymore, grabbed the phone, popped onto Google, and just rang a concert, say I need, I need help, I need to talk to me to talk to someone. And that was a process that, again, began for for a year or so. And I don't actually remember any of the conversations we had. It's strange. I don't remember any of the conversations we had. But I do remember, again, the defining moment of that journey, which was her question to me was, Can you forgive yourself for what you've done? I said, Now, I can't forgive myself, Victoria. Was that a joke? I can't forgive myself for what I've done. And she then asked me, well, you know, you knew that you knew the Lydia, and you're going on pretty well with her, which I did. I used to work with her and in a shop and the town actually, and we got on really well. And, you know, if, if she was here, like, you know what, she forgive you? That fuck? That question floored me. And I had to take a few moments to rethink about it and knowing her and the relationship that we had and understand that, you know, she would have seen me as a pretty good person. And that wasn't my intention to do that. They said, Yeah, yeah, she probably would, she probably would forgive me. And that was a massive weight off my shoulders just to have that realization that, you know, she she probably would forgive me. Now, I can't be certain of that. But in order to put it in the context, in terms of relationship we had and understanding that, you know, wouldn't have had that intention, of course, of going out and doing it. At that point, I answered that, yes, she would forgive me. Did I fully believe that? Probably not. At the time, I wanted to believe it, but it still took me a number of years. To, to forgive myself. And it's still a process. I think it's still a process every single day. And I've been asking that question. Even the last few months I could have I really forgive myself for what I've done, you know? And it's, I think it's a daily process of maybe asking that question and maybe reframing the situation and understanding the context behind it. And

you know, it's not just forgiving myself for the accident, but it's forgive myself for everything that happened before and after the accident as well. They're gonna stunning like, that's 10 years of my life where I drank myself silly, wasted my time wasted my energy, did a lot of meaningless, stupid things throughout those years. And as I was going through my personal development journey, I would look back at my 20 something year old Gavin, and I beat that guy opposite. That guy was a fucking dick. Like, what was he doing? Like, gobshite out drinking every night blackouts every night, getting into fights, watching porn, like, Man, that guy was pathetic. Hang on a second. Wait a minute, this guy is in extreme pain. He's completely lost in life. He's got no guidance, he's got no one there to show him the way he's, he's broken. Even went back there and beaten this guy up, he's already in the floor, he's already crippled. So that guy doesn't need another kick. That guy needs an arm on the shoulder and just someone to tell him you know what? It's going to be okay. Go, you know, and that's what I had to do. And that was, you know, I talk about finding this inner peace within myself over the last year or so. And that was, I think, the missing piece. And finding that piece was forgiving my forgiving myself for what I've done. And again, it's a process every single day, I have my heart my questions, my journal. And you know, I, I asked some pretty tough questions, tough, but necessary questions on myself in order to just rise above that, and understand that, from going around with this guilt, or this sort of negativity, it's going to filter on to the people in my life, it's going to affect my kids, my relationship, my business, it's, you know, you've got to make sure that you're okay, Gavin, so that everyone else is going to be okay. So, I don't just do this for myself, I do it for the people I love the most, and for the clients and the men I work with. And for all that I do so. Yeah,

Curt Storring 27:36

man, thank you for sharing all that. Yeah, I'm going to, I'm gonna need a breath after that. That's for sure. I mean, this is just this got way heavier than I was anticipating. And I appreciate that so much, man, because this is like, this is the deepest and most like, ridiculously real stuff that you know, we can be listening to you right now. And I wanted to talk to you about you know, forgiving yourself. And I, you know, was under the impression from the last talk that's like, oh, you know, you weren't a very good dad and okay, whatever. Like, I've gone through that to you. And like that was it's funny. You say that, though. Because even for me, who it's like, okay, I see it in my oldest particularly what my poor parenting did to him. And I did not forgive myself, because I thought like, Oh, you are a piece of shit, man. Like, what an idiot. I can't believe you fucked up your kid like that. And I had to go through it was not until like, even pretty recently to in my journey, I went through the same thing that you asked yourself, which is like, Oh, can I forgive myself? And then not go? No, I need to be punished more, but go like, Oh, man, was I ever hurting? To do that to another human being? Yeah, it wasn't. It's not because it was bad. But it's not because I'm a loser. Because I was hurting. And we don't need there's a meditation. I like listening to some times where the the woman says, like, when you're down, you don't need less love, you need more. And that's like, oh, fuck him like that, that it was so hard to get to, though. And I wonder if there was anything along that journey for you. That was like, any thoughts you have on that as you're going through it still because this, like I said, was like the hardest thing for me to finally realize, and it was like the key to unlocking the ability to move forward. So I don't want to like beat a dead horse. Because it's pretty much just like, look back, realize that you weren't an idiot, you were doing the best you could with the tools that you had forgive yourself. But it took me a long time. So I don't know if there's anything else you can add to this or if I'm just beating a dead horse. So what do you think? Yeah,

Gavin Meenan 29:37

for sure. I mean, as I said, Yeah, my daughter was 26. And I was completely clueless and completely lost and completely broken within myself. And obviously, that had an impact on my daughter and I can identify that now. Within her, you know, I see some of these patterns within her. You know, she's a good kid, but I can see some of my bad habits have transferred onto her and my sort of frustrations or my tempered at the time, you know, she's she would sort of have my temperament from those earlier years. However, I do have the opportunity now to sort of somewhat correct that course for, if that's the right term, but to even just help raise her levels of awareness in terms of understanding, Ariana, maybe if you approach this differently, you might get a better result or maybe, you know, just sort of step back from the situation, maybe ask a different question in terms of what you're actually trying to achieve here. So, it may be pretty heavy stuff for 11 year olds, so um, I'm trying to not go too deep into it, but I understand as well, that, okay, she's gonna have a difficulty, she's gonna have a wounds from her past, we were all gonna have wounds we can't, like there's not there's no perfect human beings here. But if I can somewhat help her adopt some tools and strategies, so she can use them in her times of difficulties, then, you know, I think I've done a good job there. As I said, she's 11. And I've still got a few more years here to help her understand the importance of those strategies and those tools to help her overcome whatever challenges come our way. And, yeah, this is something that could be a great opportunity for I mean, yeah, she may have to go through some healing process herself, or get over some pains or difficulties from our own past. But, you know, when I know the enormous amount of growth and progress, you can, that that can come from that. So, you know, if life's all been happy and joyful, like, where's the where's the challenge? Where's the growth, where's the progress, so, but it's what you do in those moments. And that's what I'm trying to help with. And, again, I do that, from my own demonstrations. Now, I wanted to see what I'm doing every single day, what the journaling, what the work, I'm doing. Sure, some of the stuff I'm doing online with the with the guys sure some of my videos, short videos of me jumping into the sea training in the gym, all these sorts of things that she can see that I'm benefiting from. And we'll, as I said, transfer on to her as well. And maybe she could adopt them. So, yes, to be that example.

Curt Storring 32:14

Yeah, it's funny, I literally just recorded a podcast, it'll be going out other than, well, you know, this will be a few a few weeks from now. But anyway, from when we're recording, it'll go out soon. And it's about this basically, which is how to bring mindfulness to your young kids without like forcing them to meditate. And one of the things I thought as well, in my own life is I just show them Yeah, meditate. Yeah, journal. Yeah, like, look at the work I'm doing. Yeah, I go to men's group. And same sort of thing. Like I brought my son when he was eight, he just turned nine afterwards. But we went and did the cold plunge this year on January 1. And he's like, I'm gonna do it this year. And he's like, okay, man, like you come on, and he hated it. And then once he warmed up, he's like, Oh, I'm so tough. And I'm like, bro, you're crying there for a second. But yeah, good job. And so it's, it's fun, right to like, bring them along, and show them what you do, because they're gonna do what we do, not what we say. So giving them the tools, which we never had growing up, I just feel like, you know, as much as I screw up as a father, from now on, they're always going to have at least a toolbox. And I was like, when I was growing up, I was like, I didn't even know there was a toolbox. Never mind that I could reach in there and like, use a tool. So they're gonna be like, Oh, my dad messed me up. And thank goodness, I can meditate away. And it's like, okay, well, you know, I will give them some wounding, but it's not gonna be as bad as I got, I hope. I would like to ask and, you know, feel free to not answer if you don't want, before we move on to something else. What has been the process for you finding forgiveness from the family of this woman? And how have you sort of stayed strong in that, to accept whether or not they forgive you, and still move on with your life knowing that you're still a valuable human being? Is there anything in there to touch on?

Gavin Meenan 33:46

Yeah, well, the thing is, a lot of them, the ones that I spoke to, and I did not hold this against me. So as I said, this was a pretty tight knit community. And during those years, yeah, I was, I was still going out, I was still drinking, as you know, and I'd bump into her nephews, and one of her nephews would come up to me and say him, I'm Gavin. Look, we don't hold it against you. Any of us could have taken the car keys and you know, it's just an accident. This could have happened anyone, but at the time, that just went over my head at the time. I would have actually preferred it at that point. If he said Yeah, Gavin You're a piece of shit. How How could you do this to a family and that would have sort of convinced me of my own self hatred and my own guilt that I was carrying. So yeah, yeah. You're right. Yeah, I'm a piece of shit how can I do this? Because that was my own internal dialogue, my own turn a belief. So at the time yet they they had forgiven me. No, it's a big family as well. So I can't speak for everyone and one memory that sort of sticks out with me is like I wanted to go to the to the week and I wanted to see her before she went to the church and we went down to her, went down to the house on a On a Sunday morning, early before anyone else arrived, and I remember walking into the door and I, yeah, I looked up and she had a few brothers, one of the brothers was, was bringing us into the house deck, he was very welcoming. It was really nice. And I walked in, and her brother was standing by the doorway in the kitchen. And he just looked at me and he, he turned away, like, turned away in disgust. It couldn't look at me. And that memories stayed with me. And up to this day. I went into the room, I seen her and I

can't even put into words what I was feeling. Yeah, I didn't know what I was feeling in that moment. But

it was a completely surreal experience. Like, there was times now we can, we're actually thought it was a nightmare. It didn't think it was real, like, convinced that it wasn't a nightmare. It was that surreal. But so like, there's, there's those sort of episodes that, that carry with me that almost continue to instill this, this feeling of guilt, you know, because I could feel the hatred or disgust from him or from perhaps other other members of the family, from what I understand. Some of our older nephews, or some of the other people in the family sort of came and went in terms of like, this could happen, that they wanted to knacks, and then another week, they could be hating me for what I've done, you know, and, and obviously, it's, you know, it's a death in the family. And it's something that, you know, I was responsible for so extremely difficult time. And, of course, it didn't spend a lot of time at home. So maybe that was our that was one way that my parents tried to protect me so that I wouldn't be sort of invested in the community and and again, on flexion, you know, that was something difficult for me to actually process where I felt like, Man was a was a fucking kicked out of the community was a exiled here, to a certain extent was I was I pushed away, and over the years of sort of, began to understand that maybe that's how I internalize that, that no, you're not welcome here, Gavin, you've got to go. You can't be here, because you've done this. So I don't live there anymore. I have this sort of yearning to go home. And I think a big reason why I haven't moved home was because of that, because because of that experience, because I feel like I was pushed away for what I've done. So again, this is all going back to the self forgiveness and get to that point. And and yeah, like, there was a process there, of course, where I was convicted for dangerous driving, causing death. So we went to court. And the big thing about it, too, is that my parents were sort of unavailable at that point, as well, because there were so invested in keeping me out of jail, that they didn't have any sort of time or energy or maybe awareness to invest and to me in terms of Okay, how's Gavin doing here? Like, I mean, is he okay? It was more like, oh, Gavin, you've got to, you've got to meet most of the search there, we've got to do this, we got to do that. There's the next part of the process and I was like, keep me out of jail, keep me out of jail, keep them out of jail. But I was already me on jail me on prison in my head without anyone else realizing. And it came to the court day and three of our sisters actually spoke up and it's something I'd be eternally grateful for they actually spoke up and they told the judge that they did not want me to go to jail something that I'm not too sure the word exactly, but they didn't want me convicted or didn't want me to go to jail. And I think that could have been the saving grace that kept me out. And as well as all the good rap references that I received from the people in my life teachers and peers and cultures and like a stack full of references and all the good work my parents did to keep me out of jail but at that point that's where the maybe that's where the internal healing should have began or maybe you know, we've gone through this process we've captured a jail now okay, we need to need to work on you know, governance and get you out of here. Get get you out of your own internal prison. But that didn't come for as eight, maybe eight years later, so So yeah, what was I forgiveness there's a her family as I said, her, our family as I believe right now. The dead forgive me for for what happened. Now. I can't speak for everyone. And it's her son is still there. And he's he's doing pretty well I believe and her brother, her brother, that the the one who who turned away in the doorway that time he actually his family adopted her son, her And, and yeah, I was I was tested there I was tested two years ago where I was at home and went to went to a golf course with my, with my brother and went towards this, this tee to tee off for the next hole. And there it was, her son hadn't seen him since he was since the accident, and that was the test passed the test. And I failed the test because I couldn't look him in the eye. I could feel him looking at me. But I couldn't look at him. I couldn't look him in the eye, I was maybe afraid of what I would see.

Could have maybe seen the same level of disgust or anger, as I'd seen in her brother, perhaps, or maybe would have seen forgiveness. But I was afraid to look. As I said that was like he was the pivotal. That was a pivotal moment in my life. He was a big factor there in terms of me actually, finally reaching out and speaking to someone about it. And there he was, you know, I felt like this huge amount of guilt. What before I reached out to the counselor, and as I said, Yeah, I went through the process of cancer and believe that, okay, maybe I forgive myself here. But then I met him. And I was left with more questions in terms of okay, Gavin. The work isn't done here yet. So again, that was two years ago. And it's been, again, a continual process to, to forgive myself. And it's, it's only been in the last six months, I believe that I've been able to find this level of inner peace within myself. And again, it didn't just start with that concert either. Three years ago, I began with a psychologist. And I started the psychologist because I believe the psychologist would maybe go a little bit deeper than the counselor would have felt there was maybe some unfinished business, unfinished business there. And the same time I started journaling, started getting my morning routine into place. And those two things combined have really, as I said, develop this inner peace. But it's, as I said, it's a continual process. I still get the questions, I still get the challenges, but I take those questions, I take those challenges, and I actually do the work to answer them now instead of avoiding them or stead of ignoring them. And that's been the difference.

Curt Storring 42:27

Thank you again, for all of that. And I'm just going to maybe wrap that up just so we can, you know, tie that particular section and not necessarily have to go back there maybe for for everyone's emotional benefit. Yeah, so thank you very much, man. That sounds like it was incredibly difficult and still is. So I appreciate that. You're so open. That's incredible. Yeah.

Gavin Meenan 42:49

Well, I hope it helps someone.

Curt Storring 42:50

Yeah, dude, I kind of want to talk about how you go about parenting now, because I'm curious. Sounds like you're doing a lot of stuff that I'm doing in terms of like mindfulness and being present with your with your daughter. It's your only child.

Gavin Meenan 43:05

I have a son as well. Mason's four. Yeah. Okay.

Curt Storring 43:09

Okay. And I'm curious if your own experience, and looking back at all this and knowing how bad it feels to feel bad, has sort of informed your active parenting approach. And what I mean by that is, like, just knowing what to do in the moment. You know, validating emotions, perhaps bringing her along in such a way that she knows that you believe in her that she's important. What has parenting looked like to you, since you've been sort of a more grounded, stable place emotionally?

Gavin Meenan 43:40

Yeah, well, the big thing I've discovered is, the more I've become aware of my own emotions and my own behaviors and my own actions, the more I've become aware of her behaviors and her actions and know her patterns. So this is where I've been able to sort of identify some of my poor habits in the past that have had an impact on her life right now. And, again, as I said, for me, yeah, I come from a family where my my dad was absent. He had his own internal wounds and trauma and was by no means emotionally available to me at any point in my life, and certainly not right now. And certainly not that they've experienced the car accident. So I was very much left to my own devices. I feel all my life from an emotional perspective. Now, of course, go back to the parents and parents tell me all we did this for you. We did that for you. We picked you up from school. We fed you we put you to college. Yes, yes, yes, external stuff. But where were you when I needed someone to talk to where were you and I was dumped by that girl in school where you want to get into a fight and came home with the black guy, you know, like all these sorts of difficult experiences that that a man went through and The big thing, though, that I want my daughter to know is that I'm there. Ultimately, that's it that I'm there to listen, not just to hear what she's saying, but to listen to what she said, the ability to be present and to identify the emotions that are beneath the words that she's speaking. So and again, as for her as well, to build up her emotion, emotional intelligence to certain extent. And to me that's so important that she doesn't sort of become embroiled in other people's emotions or other people's difficulties or other people's problems with her. And same with my son as well, is that, okay? He's only four, he's, you know, is setting the foundations for him, of course, but it's been present, like being present is so important. And it's something that I'm super aware of every single day, if I'm sitting on a laptop here, which I do for several hours a day, and the kids are running about the house, and they're doing their own thing, and they're happy they're playing, I'm gonna, I've got to shut this down, I haven't spent any quality time with the kids today. I'm downstairs and I say, Okay, let's go for a walk, or let's go to the swimming pool, which you did today. Let's just do something fun together. So I make a point every single day to do something with them. And to give them that real life experience to know that I'm there for them and willing to be present for them. I'm willing to listen, and you know, work and wait, and other things can wait, and that they're important, and they're of value to me, and they feel valued as people then. And of course, this is going to help them as they move forward through life. So yeah, again, that's, that's a tough, maybe another conversation that we need to go to in terms of my own father and mother wounds, but yeah, how long do we

Curt Storring 46:57

go and join us in men's group this week? And we'll go all the way. Yeah, no, thank you for that man. And that one of the things that I find on your social media, because that's where I see most of your I get most of my interactions with you, is that you seem to have like a really good sense of, here are the basics, here are the fundamentals. Like it's not rocket science. And, and not many people know it. And so I've seen like, you know, you do videos on like, four ways to stop losing respect or something like that. And it's like, oh, like, this is so basic. And I really love when guys like you and even like I was reading. What does that one I've been reading with Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's like, this is so like, basic, right? But when you see it, and someone explains it to you, it's like, Oh, damn, why aren't I doing any of these things? And so I'm curious to know, like, what your? What's important in your life? Like, what do you prioritize? Because I see you in the ocean. Golfer swims in like cold weather with waves pounding against you. And I see you out for walks all the time. And I see you like, You're fit and like you're doing the work. And so do you have like a set sort of foundational principle for your life? And if so, like, what are that? What is the one guiding principle? Or what are the five things that you really focus on? Because it just seems to me from your vulnerability, your humility, you're just like, presents the fact that you are still growing and showing up? Like, you're quite a Solid Dude, just emotionally and like, you know, internally. So I'm really curious if like, what drives you like that and what things are important that you are just like, non negotiable on?

Gavin Meenan 48:34

Yeah, well, I haven't always been this emotionally Solid Dude. And I understand the dire consequences of not being emotionally solid have been emotionally fragile. So I've been working pretty hard on on solidify solidifying that foundation on which to build a stronger life on and it does start from the start from the beginning starts from, okay, it's me, first, I've got to invest this time and this energy into, into myself before I begin to build on this throughout the day, and every single morning, non negotiable, every single morning, I'm up before the kids move before everyone else. And it's my team. And I, I take my journal, I leave the house, I go to the lake, and I'm in peace and quiet place and I can then tune into my emotions and my feelings that point. And it takes me a few moments, of course, close, it's maybe some form of meditation, just close my eyes, and I feel what's what's happening there I feel in my body or here in my mind. And it just, I just write it down. And it could be anything could be could have been the dream I had last night. It could be a challenge that I faced yesterday through a different conversation with a guy that's sort of still lingering there. That could be linked to something that happened five years ago, 20 years ago, I don't know. But it's understanding to that, like whatever may Problem are challenges today, it's most likely linked to a challenge or a problem they didn't fully process in the past. So I go there, I go back. And I try to find the source in order to understand it, and to build the build the foundation again from that point. And again, to build on that from a new understanding a new perspective, in terms of what's really going on in my life right now. That's been influenced by someone else back here, by my mom, by my dad, by Auntie's, whoever it may be. And of course, you know, I had to go through the process of getting over my porn addiction, and the porn was not the problem. It was the pain behind the porn. That was the problem. And before the car accident, porn was already a problem there. It's just me the car accident exasperated, that porn, that porn addiction. But understanding, like, I had this internal wound that went way back to childhood, and I've worked really hard and understanding what that was. So when someone comes to me today, and they've got some difficulties or some struggles in their life, I encourage them to go to the deeper in terms of asking the question as to, Okay, where is the source of this pain? Where's the source of this problem? Where's the source of this challenge? Can you identify that, and of course, it's, it's difficult, it's painful, you you've done it, you've been there, it's not an easy process to go back there and revisit past pain, past experiences or to see or begin to see your parents in a different light, as flawed individuals, that they're not perfect, they then made a lot of mistakes in your life, and you're paying the price now. And again, not to point blame, but just gain a better understanding as to what's really going on your life based on what was happening within them, you know, your parents paint pain become European. So you have to sort of look at your parents and understand what was happening there, and how that transpired into us a kid and how that's influencing you today. So for me, I've done a lot of that sort of work that deep, deep work on myself and with the guidance of psychologists as well, which are very, very difficult conversations. And, you know, the one thing I began work with a psychologist, and it wasn't about the car accident, it was what the rage and anger that I had towards my parents. And again, I was there going, nah, that's not I don't feel any anger, or pain, or anger or rage towards my parents. Now, that's, that's not true. But then I take that idea with me. And then I explored my journal, and I say, Okay, hang on a second, maybe there is something here. And that's, again, he gives me some little nugget of information or little nugget of insight. And I take that with me, and I sort of open it up to my journalists to my own questioning, and then they come back then the following week, and say, oh, you know, what? You were probably right about that. Yeah, there is, there is a lot of anger there. For sure. And, again, this is something else that's cultivated this inner peace not to be holding anger, or blaming other people for my difficulties or problems. You know, it's it's taken ownership of that and understanding that, look, your parents, you know, come from a different generation hardened individuals don't that's not a compliment, hardened individuals in terms of like, emotionally shut down, not allowed to express their emotions coming from a generation that told them to shut up, be quiet or get to work. And don't be crying. Don't be a baby. So there was no there was no room for sort of their self investigation or self development as such. So of course, they're going to carry that trauma, pain with them into their life. And my father, to this day will not speak about his childhood. And I've actually had to investigate that myself in order to understand them better, and therefore understand me better because I was carrying his wounds with me. So

yeah, I'll cut that story short, because I know we're limited on time. But there's a like, from from my father my father came from. He comes from an island off the coast of Ireland. So it's not on the mainland, it's an island 20 miles off of sea. And because he was the oldest boy in the family, a large family at the time, he was 13 at the time, and his father basically forced him off the island, to go on work and to provide for the family. And from what I gather, and this didn't come from him, because it's still too difficult for him to speak about. It came from my cousin, as his brother's son. My father, like left the island kicking and screaming, completely, completely traumatized. So that's where my anger towards my father changed to empathy. I was like, fuck and that was the In Jinja, for me,

Curt Storring 55:03

okay, so thank you for sharing all that again. And maybe we should just go into like a data, I want to just do that, because I think that'd be very valuable. But what I heard there just in terms of like, recap, like You're up early, before everyone else you get you time you prioritize yourself, your journal, you understand the like past informs the present, which I think like, it's so obvious when you look at it. And yet, it's like, nobody has still nobody understands that this is true. And I heard you take a lot of responsibility like that those, I don't know if there's anything else in there. But those are like fundamental principles to me that I picked up on that, which I think like should apply to pretty much everyone, if you want to live a more authentic life, and get to the bottom of things. So before I ask you, where we can find you, and what kind of work you're doing, is there anything else that you'd put in there, just like principle wise fundamentals? At the end of that?

Gavin Meenan 55:59

Yeah, well, as I said, I do jump in the sea pretty much every day, and like it's freezing cold water. And the big reason to do that is to build my level of resilience. Because again, going back to previous patterns and previous behaviors, the reason I was so stuck in these habits was because it didn't have the resilience, it didn't have the even the confidence or the strength to see beyond them. I know a drop in the sea every single morning. And still, every single have been doing it for two years now nearly every single morning. And I still get to see some days, I'm going off, fuck. Again, this phone call water today. But I go into it. And again, it's building that different level of conditioning within me whenever there's a challenge then in life or a challenge with business challenge with family. So yeah, I can deal with that, you may still have this sort of overwhelming feeling of the sort of restriction or fear or anticipation, they're like, oh, fuck, this is gonna be difficult. But I pay. I do that every single morning. So I'm conditioning myself in the morning time by taking on the voluntary hardships to then be able to take on hardships that life throws my way. So it doesn't faze me as much and look at the same time. Look back at the car wrecks and as difficult as that was, like, whatever happens next. Yeah, I can deal with that. Like, that's, to me. Like that's as bad as it could possibly get bar. Okay. Something happened to the kids. That that the sort of challenges that come up in life now, even COVID What had happened? So yeah, okay. Everyone, like losing their shit. I was like, Yeah, I've come through worse my life. So you have this inner confidence from going through the difficulties go into the challenges again, beyond that, to then be able to take on further challenges in life. And this enhances your growth and your progress, and you continue to move forward in life. And that's perhaps I've been have become a leader in the field is just by doing that work on myself forced and building that strength and resilience to then be able to help others do the same. So

Curt Storring 58:10

yeah. So do hardship. Yes, exactly. I agree. 100%. Dude, this has been, like really magical, honestly, like, I'm feeling a lot from this. And really, really appreciate everything you shared, and just going as deep as he did, because it is not easy. It's very inspiring. So I want to make sure we get like, a minute or two or however long you want, honestly, to just drop in whatever you're doing these days, where people can find you where they can work with you. Just let us know all the links. I'll drop them in the show notes too. So don't worry. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 58:42

All good. All good. Well, look, you'll get me anywhere and everywhere. Just type in my name government. And I think there's only maybe one government in the world here. So if there's another government and it's he's got loads of numbers after his name, but I'm Gavin Meenan on Instagram, government and tick tock government and Twitter. Yeah, Facebook, all the rest of it. So if you type in my name, even on Google, you get all the links there. And I've got the website as well. government.com And yeah, help man what their what their fitness what their what their health with their strength on a physical aspect, but then also help men as well with their, with their inner difficulties and energy challenges. So I've got sort of two rounds there, where it's coaching on the physical sense, but then it's mentoring and personal development on the on the other side as well. So just depends where you're at and what you need at that point. So yeah, government and not Gavin Meenan, which is often mistaken. So m e n, a n, and you'll find me everywhere. What was that name? So

Curt Storring 59:45

yeah. Okay, well, I'll drop that in the show notes at Dad.Work/Podcast. You can find all that there if you're listening. And guys check out Gavin in I think it's just an excellent idea to put the physical with the mental I don't think you can actually be successful in the physical unless the mental is dialed in. At least that's been my experience. So, man, thank you so much again, and I look forward to just staying in touch because this is amazing postcards been a privilege, man. Thank you Thank you for listening to the Dad.Work Podcast. That's it for this episode. But if you would like to stay in touch between weekly episodes, why don't you go over to Instagram and follow me there because I draw up a number of things throughout the week that are related to what we talked about on this podcast, but usually go a little bit deeper, provide some tips you can find me on Instagram at dadwork.curt. That's DADWORK.CURT And please, if you have been getting something out of this podcast, if it has touched you if it has improved your marriage or parenting or your life, would you please leave a quick review on Apple or Spotify. leave a rating. If you have a few extra seconds, leave a quick review. That's the best way that we can get this work in the hands of more fathers. And I truly believe that we change the world, one father at a time because each father that parents better that loves better raises children who do the same. And in just a couple of generations. I feel like we could be living in a world much better than the one we live in today. Your review will help along that path. And I thank you so much for being here to listen until next week. We'll see you then.

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