Wellness and Life's Second Half with Chuck Gaidica
Speaker 1: Welcome to Purpose City, stories of humanity in action, sponsored by Executive Wealth Management. Guests [00:00:30] on Purpose City do not necessarily reflect an endorsement of Executive Wealth Management.
Ken: Welcome to the very first podcast of Purpose City, stories of humanity in action, and today I've got two people with me. One is one of the most recognizable and trusted icons in Michigan, Chuck Gaidica.
Chuck Gaidica: Wow. That makes me sound really old.
Ken: Just semi-old.
Chuck Gaidica: Thank you.
Ken: And then Kyrstin Ritsema, who is the chief compliance officer at Executive Wealth Management. [00:01:00] And briefly, Kyrstin, what is a chief compliance officer? It sounds intimidating.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, what is that?
Kyrstin: It's intimidating. That's my entire job. No. Chief compliance officer is the person within a registered investment advisor who is tasked with ensuring that the Securities and Exchange Commission regulation is in place within the advisor. And that's why it's intimidating, because there's lots [00:01:30] of big words and regulation.
Ken: And you have to make people comply.
Kyrstin: Well, you can't make people do anything. You can set it up so there's bumpers in place to make sure that they can stay within their lane.
Ken: Right. Which includes here. Right?
Kyrstin: Mostly just you, Ken. I don't have any control over Chuck.
Chuck Gaidica: That's because I'm on the other side of the table.
Kyrstin: It could be, but I have long legs. I can really get your shins if necessary.
Ken: So, Chuck.
Chuck Gaidica: Yes, sir?
Ken: So, I know what you've been up to, but not everybody does. So if the last time they saw you was, [00:02:00] well, it could have been Live in the D.
Chuck Gaidica: Could have been.
Chuck Gaidica: Could have been.
Ken: Previously, well, you're iconic with Channel Four.
Chuck Gaidica: I was with Channel Four full time for 27 years,, and then two years part-time with Live in the D.
Chuck Gaidica: And then lots of other programming in between there, and different projects. And that was part of the fun of my job. I mean, everybody kind of knows me for the weather, but I also did the lottery show. I hosted Live [00:02:30] in the D, or co-hosted. And then, I also was part of all the specials, which was great. Thanksgiving day was never the same for our household.
Ken: I saw you, I think I told you one time, Thanksgiving, you were running up and down. I was in the Thanksgiving day parade with high school students, and you know, it looks fun on television, but it's kind of tough. It's early. It could be cold.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. It's a really early call, and there were years, very few years where I had to wear the high-tech long johns. But for the most part, my running, to be honest, my running [00:03:00] is what saved me those mornings, because I could at least warm up.
Chuck Gaidica: You know, some people had to ride a float all the way down, and they were freezing. So for me, that was actually kind of a saving grace. It was a tradition for me. It was just great to be part of it, for actually, part of the Thanksgiving day parade for almost 30 years.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: Yeah, the one time I did it, I thought it would be cool. They said, you're going to be in this rock and roll '50s thing or something. I forgot what station float we were by walking. So, they costume you up, and then they do all the makeup, and I came out and I looked [00:03:30] like a clown at doing rock and roll in the '50s. It was terrible. So I kind of, I wiped the makeup off, so it didn't look too ridiculous.
Chuck Gaidica: I was just the other turkey. That's all. I was just that one.
Ken: Yeah. That's right. So, you're still essentially a young man, and that was years ago. Well, not... Well, 2018 is when you finished your second run, right?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Actually, this summer, I'll be gone from full-time TV news seven years. It's hard to believe. It's been like...
Ken: What made you choose to [00:04:00] kind of bow out that early? What did you want to do?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. I started to feel in my, probably in my 40s that I got kind of a knock on the door of my life, and it was what a lot of people experience, and now I've actually gone through a program that helps to flesh that out. I entered half-time, and half-time is a very interesting way, kind of a fun way of talking about your second half of life. Even then, God willing, I've got another half. Right now, the math doesn't work. I'd have to be the [00:04:30] longest living guy, right?
But second half can typically mean just prior to, or as you're entering retirement, or you're in retirement. It really doesn't matter. In my case, it was in my 40s. I was nowhere thinking about leaving full-time TV. And what those questions are that come into your mind, and I'm sure they come into everybody's mind, think back when you were a kid. You're standing outside in the backyard, looking up at the stars one night, and you're asking those big questions. Why am I here? Is there a God? [00:05:00] What am I going to do? When I grow up? Who will I marry?
And you fast forward, 40s, 50s, 60s, beyond, you're asking, what do I do now? Why am I here? Maybe, who will I marry next? That's just a commentary on society right? It's just life. But you're asking very similar questions to the same ones you asked when you were a little kid.
Chuck Gaidica: And for me, those questions included like, am I going to, is this what I'm going to do my entire life? And the answer started to come back: maybe not.
Ken: [00:05:30] All right. Well, at that age, or that point of life, the things you're talking about sounds like a constructive way. The destructive way would be what's called a midlife crisis.
Chuck Gaidica: Right. There's probably some of that woven in there.
Ken: Right, right. Because those are the same thoughts you have. It depends what direction you take.
Kyrstin: Well, it depends on what you think the gap is between midlife crisis in a halftime role.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Or how you handle it, how you focus your attention and what you do.
Ken: It's the same thoughts. Am I going to do this?
Chuck Gaidica: Correct.
Ken: Even if you enjoy what [00:06:00] you're doing, to be doing this another 40 years, another 20 years, another...
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. And that's part of it. And I think more people would assign to midlife crisis the notion that, well, part of it is your mortality. Part of it is, I think, to be fair, you start thinking, when you're in your 20s and 30s, and certainly in your teen years, you're invincible, right? And then you get to a point where you start thinking, well, wait a minute, the math doesn't quite go that far.
And so, for some people, they run out and even today, people [00:06:30] 60-plus, divorce is increasing. Gray divorce is increasing. Some people run out and get a Corvette. I mean, some people have an affair. Some people focus their attention on a new chapter. And I would say for a lot of people, there's confusion there.
I used to tell my wife, I noticed when I started speaking out loud. we've got five kids, and I would say, I think I'm going to... I'm not going to re-sign my contract. And I could see the kids over in the corner with Susan, and be like... And I finally looked at them, and I just said, [00:07:00] I'm having the most fun being confused I've ever had in my life.
And you know what that did? It took the edge off the whole conversation. It wasn't like, "Dad's crazy. I don't know what's going on." But it really was helpful for me, and it was helpful, I think, for them to say, oh, well, he's not crazy. There's just something going on.
Kyrstin: Well, when you looked at them, when you're standing in that living room, and Susan's looking at you like, okay, well, I've been with him this long. I guess I'm going to take this next journey, too. What do you think that triggering event was? [00:07:30] What do you think that, what is it that really made the decision easy to, just step away?
Chuck Gaidica: For me to step away? It was not an easy decision, because I love the station, I love my coworkers. I was flying at a level that was really great professionally. They'd always been very good to me, and the audience was always very kind. And so, everything was working.
I think for me, I started to feel like I wanted to do good. And I know that's part of what you discuss on the podcast. But I think for me, I believe we're all charged to go [00:08:00] out and do good things. And so, I've come to learn, as I look back on this now, that often a lot of people, even a lot of broadcasters, tend to think that doing good means you need to go into ministry. And so, I did go back for a master's. I started my master's when I was 50. And then I went part-time. I was still working at full-time TV, news and radio.
Ken: And remind me in, was it church administration?
Chuck Gaidica: It was in ministry and leadership. It's a master's [00:08:30] in ministry and leadership. And part of that, I studied, I lived in Israel and Jordan for a month. I took a month off sabbatical, and I had great support from the station. And at that point, it still wasn't in my mind, like I was going to change my life. So here I am at age 54, I've got the masters, and I look back and I think, in my life, I always, I'm a lifelong learner, which I think is instructive most of the time. But at my pace, I'm going to get a PhD when I'm 90. it's just not working fast.
Ken: Well when I describe you, I call you a Renaissance man.
Chuck Gaidica: [00:09:00] Oh, well, that's nice.
Ken: Yeah. So, to back up a little bit, which I didn't know, until I recently read your bio, is that you were actually looking to go into health to be a doctor.
Chuck Gaidica: I did, when I first, I was at Loyola University in Chicago.
Ken: And then you ended up being the cuddle alert guy.
Chuck Gaidica: Right.
Ken: That's quite a jump. So, I know I'm moving backwards in the story, but that's still interesting.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: So, what point made you switch from medical? Well, you've kind of come full circle, I guess.
Chuck Gaidica: I [00:09:30] have, because I'm working in health and wellness now, for the most part. So, I got kind of a free ride to Loyola pre-med. Pre-dental, pre-med, it was either one. You could pick a little later on. And I dropped out in the first half of my first semester. This did not go over well at home. This was a great school. Northwestern said no; Loyola said yes. I went to Loyola. Later on, I did... We do have my son, Charlie, Charles, same name. He wound up going to Northwestern. I thought, well, they got me, because it costs money. But [00:10:00] you know.
So, I just thought, I don't want to be a doctor. Nothing against doctors. And I look back, and I think I would have had a lot of fun being a doctor. I really enjoyed the process. So when I dropped out, I went to work at the Walgreens drugstore company as an assistant store manager trainee, and I had a great manager, who I remember his name to this day. I've tried to find him to thank him, and I can't find him. His name was Mr. [Veigon 00:10:25], and Mr. Veigon called me. I was in the store, and basically an assistant store [00:10:30] manager trainee in those days was a stock boy with a key to the safe, right? You don't really get... I could open the store, but there wasn't much I could really do.
And so, he called me in the back and he said, "Pull up a... some kind of plastic thing and sit there for a minute." I thought, "Oh man, I'm getting fired already? I mean, I just disappointed my parents with dropping out of college." He said, "So, what do you think you want to do here at Walgreens?" And I said, "Well, you know, I'm in this management trainee program." And he said, "You know, I am a manager. You're [00:11:00] looking at the highest it's going to get, if you stay in a store like this." And he said, "I think you can do that easy, but I think there's more in you. I think you should maybe think about doing something else."
Kyrstin: That's the nicest way to get fired ever.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, I didn't get fired, but you know what he did, it was kind of... I was a Boy Scout, and it was kind of like the old days, where the Boy Scout leader would say, "Sit on a log, kid. I want to teach you some wisdom." You know?
Kyrstin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chuck Gaidica: And I thought that was real wisdom. And I just sat there thinking, is there something else? He said, "No, that's it." [00:11:30] He said, "You'll do fine if you stay in Walgreens, but I'm just telling you, you're looking at the top. This is it. This is far as you can go, and I think you can go much farther."
It was at that moment I went home and I thought, well, now, how do I take science and math, which I was really strong at, and I did enjoy broadcasting. I did a little bit of that in college. And I thought, how do I combine those? Oh, TV meteorology. Like, the light bulb went off. So, this Mr. Veigon, you know, when you think...
Ken: He was your Yoda?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, he was. Yeah.
Kyrstin: [00:12:00] Sage.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Chuck Gaidica: So, that's how that train track developed.
Kyrstin: Well, now, hopefully this connects up to him, and he can get his gratitude from you.
Chuck Gaidica: I hope. I hope he's still around. I tried to look him up within the Walgreens system, because I'm not sure he even remembers that he did that.
Ken: Yeah. There's always someone, or a couple of people that help us change a path, or turn on a light bulb.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: Right. So, if I get this right, your motto, philosophy, or it [00:12:30] was, is to be a force for good, and to help, or encourage, or to help others do the same.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Yeah.
Ken: Is that kind of a later, with your 40-ish epiphany?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, I would say so. I was always doing... We all do good things, and I think I've come to learn that even... I joined the staff at a church. Actually, a couple of churches. I was on staff once as a pastor of many, and then I was also an executive director, which is sort of like [00:13:00] pastor meets CEO. So, that was, that was an interesting journey, as well. Both of them rewarding in different ways.
But I think I look at it now. We're all ministers. We all go out every... People are doing good things all the time.
Chuck Gaidica: And for me, I was doing what I thought were good things, from school visits at elementary schools, when I was starting in my career, to emceeing events, to charitable events. And that was always part of the job, though. That was part of... It was never a mandate, [00:13:30] but I always made it my own personal mandate that I would do those things. That was my way of giving back. And then, as time went by, I thought, no, I've got to find some, maybe a hyper-focus on a few things. And then maybe I could walk alongside people and encourage them. "You can do it too. It's not that hard."
Ken: Yeah, and I think you're a great example. We'll go back to the midlife crisis thing, as that's a fork in the road. You can choose. And I think that fork comes in a lot of cases, maybe where you were at, when you hit a pinnacle [00:14:00] in your career and it levels off. If you don't have that... When you're still striving to get where you want to be, maybe you're not thinking about it, I want to do this. You see another. But when you kind of hit that plateau, then can I do the same thing? There's a lack of challenge there. There's a, you see a monotony maybe happening. And then comes the sports cars, or the extra relationships, or the something else, whatever. Or you choose to use your time productively, and use what gifts and talents you have that have gotten [00:14:30] you that far to help other people.
Chuck Gaidica: And I've met people that all of the above have happened, all at the same time. I've met people who are... I'm not unique in the sense that, I was trying to describe my career in kind of a fast way. I was really, I was never feeling threatened, like I had to leave. No one ever said... As a matter of fact, they thought I was kidding when I said, "I'm giving you one year notice." They're like, "That's cute. That's really funny."
But I think, [00:15:00] I've met a lot of people, captains of industry, moms who are staying at home. It doesn't matter. I mean, a lot of people come across this notion of this halftime moment, like, what am I going to do with my years left? So for me, because I guess I'm kind of an analytical guy, I started actually running math in my head, and I started thinking, okay, if I'm an average guy and I'm going to live to 82 and a half, what have I got, 25 or 30 Christmas presents to go. And I don't want this to be morbid, because it's not to me. I just thought, oh, I should probably get going on doing the things. [00:15:30] So, that was part of the motivation.
Kyrstin: Well, when you went to that halftime moment, I know that you had mentioned some training that you did prior to this. What was the focus of it? What was the, was it an internal, self-focused kind of training, or was it putting it out into the world, like how this is going to affect others at that point in time?
Chuck Gaidica: So, I read a book, starting in my forties. It's called Halftime: Moving Your Life from Success to Significance. The title resonates with everybody. [00:16:00] I've put on a conference where 900 people came, and they all say, that's the thing. I love this idea. And then, you read the book, and it does describe this idea. And then, I eventually met some of the team down from Dallas, and they invited me to be part of a three-day intensive and then a year of monthly coaching in Halftime. And it really does focus inwardly, finding your purpose. We're doing everything from Briggs Meyer, to StrengthsFinder tests, to sitting with world-class [00:16:30] coaches, discussing how you can turn that energy outward.
And for many people, there are a lot more epiphanies that come along the way. I remember sitting across from a guy, a financial planner, a stockbroker, and he said, "My heart breaks." That's one of the questions they ask: what breaks your heart? What would you do for free the rest of your life? Because maybe that's the cool thing you should do, right? And he said, "My heart breaks for human trafficking." He was in LA.
And I was out in, [00:17:00] I actually went to this class, this weekend intensive out in Malibu at Pepperdine University. And we're sitting at the table, just the two of us in a breakout, and he said, "I go every Friday, and I go volunteer at this women's shelter for human trafficking." He said, "I think I'm just going to sell my practice and quit it all, and just go do that full time."
I said, "Okay, that sounds pretty dramatic." And he's talking out loud. "I don't know how this is going to go over with my wife." I mean, I'm relating to it, because I'd already gone through [00:17:30] this myself. And I said, "Well, wait a minute. What if you just did this every Friday, or every Thursday and Friday, and you told all of your clients that that's all you're going to do every Friday. Don't call me. You've got my cell phone, but unless there's a fire, I've got staff. I'm doing this thing in my life every single Friday."
I told him, I said, "I would think you're the coolest financial planner I've ever met, because that's what you've done with your time." And I saw a light bulb go off for him, and I had other light bulbs go off [00:18:00] for me. So, it was inward introspection, as well as coaching, and then, how do we turn that outward to literally to go out and do good things? It was really a great, fun thing.
Kyrstin: When we look at a lot of, Purpose City, the guests that we're looking at, we're looking at companies, right? And we brought you on, and we talked a little bit how Chuck Gaidica is his company, is your company, is this personal persona. What are you doing every Friday?
Chuck Gaidica: So for me, I have probably, I wouldn't call it a frustration, [00:18:30] because everybody should have my problem, and problems. I've got five great kids. All of them except one who lives in Manhattan lives here. We've got three grandkids.
Ken: Oh, I thought they were all great except one.
Chuck Gaidica: No, they're all great. They're all good.
Kyrstin: I'm going to talk to her about that.
Chuck Gaidica: And then, we've got another grandchild on the way. So, my family life is very important to me. So, it isn't every Friday that I do things, but I have... My heart breaks for multiple things. I even try to sit and think deeply and pray about this. I wonder, [00:19:00] could you just give me one thing? And so, it's a bit of a frustration, because I do a lot of different things. And that's fine, because I enjoy that.
So, I just was part of a couple of events. One was for a homeless shelter in downtown Detroit that serves people, and it's that kind of stuff that I enjoy doing, along with serving. I've actually been to that place, and been one of the people that's handing out stuff. So I don't mind [00:19:30] being at different levels of giving back, but I don't have one thing. That's a very interesting question. I wish I could find it.
Ken: I mean, some of the things, if you term it as what breaks your heart, that's what you lean towards. Sometimes it's not thinking about what breaks your heart. Things in life do break your heart, and you end up in that area. Do you have anything that falls along...
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. I'm involved with the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan. My mom sadly had [00:20:00] Alzheimer's. So, in 2019, I lost both my mom and dad within four months of each other. Didn't see either one coming. Dad's was a brain tumor that he didn't even know he had. and within a few weeks, he was 85 and he decided to have brain surgery and he passed. And then my mom, we thought she had a few more years, but I really believe that there was some broken heart syndrome in there.
Chuck Gaidica: She knew the day he died, and she was, nobody told her, she knew. So, I don't know how that functions in the [00:20:30] world, but it happened. We actually saw it. So for me, brain health is really important, and I think what I'm looking at now in my life is how to reach people my age and even younger. There's a new phrase. I'm hearing bantered around: prehabilitation. Not rehabilitation. Don't wait until you get sick, and something's happened, and now you try to get better. How about we try to get better and well and healthier before we get to the freight train that's coming?
And so, [00:21:00] I'm involved with the Alzheimer's. They've moved their walk. They do a big walk. It happened virtually last year, because of COVID. But this year, they're hoping to do it live back at the Detroit Zoo. And the year before last, they had 6,000 people show up.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: Do you find It at all difficult to be involved in something that is that close to you, because it triggers too personal of the feelings?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Have you watched the movie, the Father, with Anthony Hopkins? He won [00:21:30] the Academy Award for it.
Ken: Is there a movie without Anthony Hopkins?
Kyrstin: I'm going to say no, but I'll write it down.
Chuck Gaidica: It's a tearjerker, and he's got Alzheimer's. I won't give much of the rest of the movie away, but it makes it hard to watch. Extraordinary performance. Oh, it was just, it was really bad for me, right? And I've got a two-year-old puppy. She's not... Well, she acts like a puppy. She is the most emotionally connected dog. So, I'm sitting there, and I'm crying on the couch next to Susan, and this dog jumps up, and she's chewing [00:22:00] my ear and licking my face. And I just thought, I don't know, dog spelled backwards is God. There's a reason that dogs are what they are, you know? And yeah, that was...
Ken: I just want to clarify. So, after a master's in divinity, God and dog, some kind of connection.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, I think you can tell a lot about a person when you see how they play or not with their dogs.
Ken: So, being a layperson with Alzheimer's, as far as knowledge of it goes, it's one [00:22:30] of the leading causes of death.
Chuck Gaidica: It's increasing.
Ken: I didn't know until recently, the sixth-largest cause of death in the US.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: And no cure.
Chuck Gaidica: Right.
Ken: So, when you're involved in charities for Alzheimer's, is it looking for a cure? It's there research? And/or is it the comfort of these people, and how to caretake for them, and the family support?
Chuck Gaidica: It's all of the above. [00:23:00] When we found out that my mom had it, we were sitting at Henry Ford West Bloomfield, in a big family meeting after all the tests. I mean, that was a heavy day, because at that point, she was still obviously able to tell what's going on in life, and she knows what the diagnosis means. But right after that, and through her entire journey of about seven years or so, we called Alzheimer's Association several times. Even when my dad passed, we didn't know. Do we bring mom [00:23:30] to a funeral, even though she'll forget she was there? And so, they said no, and that's a longer conversation we don't have to get into.
Part of it, a huge part is research. They keep coming up with drug therapies and they haven't found one yet. They've they got several that can take the edge off and maybe sharpen you a little bit, make things a little brighter, but they don't work on everybody, and they just had a big fail. But you know what, that's what research is. How did we get to the vaccines?
Chuck Gaidica: And then, part of it is comfort, and a huge [00:24:00] part of it is caregiving.
Ken: And it seems like the hardest part would be the length of time, isn't it? I mean, the toll on the family the years. It's not a quick...
Chuck Gaidica: Right. And so, that in itself, for people who are looking to do good, doing good doesn't have to be the big thing, right? It doesn't have to be the Thanksgiving Day Parade, big thing. It can be the caregiving in your family's life. And so, I have to temper my own self. And again, [00:24:30] I'm not alone. I'm not speaking like I'm somebody special, but sometimes I just have to say, it's not the big things. Being with my kids and my grandkids is part of the big thing.
Ken: for sure.
Chuck Gaidica: And so, yeah, caregiving is a huge part of this. I saw it take a toll on my dad. I've got two other siblings. We were kind of coming in around the edges. My sister was doing a lot more because that became sort of her full-time job, and then that creates your identity.
Chuck Gaidica: So, yeah, it's a difficult thing. So for me, as I now look at health and wellness, [00:25:00] I'm looking at things like the simplicity of we've all heard about heart health in our lifetime. We used to, everybody wants to go jogging or eat healthy. Brain health, equals sign, heart health. If you're thinking of what to eat, how to be healthy about your heart, you're actually doing your brain great favors. And I don't care if you're 40, because there is, I've met people who are in their mid-50s, early onset Alzheimer's. It hits them really early. It's unbelievable to imagine.
Kyrstin: [00:25:30] How did you see, when you were going through this process with your mom, how did that help guide you for this general wellness journey? Because it's not just care for the caregiver. It's how do you find time as the caregiver to stay well and healthy in order to be able to care for that person, and your sister?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. That's a tough thing. That's a tough thing. And I've wondered, even as I'm now, I've just become a wellness coach through the Mayo Clinic program, and I've asked myself if maybe a niche shouldn't be trying [00:26:00] to reach people who are caregivers. I remember trying to be a caregiver while I'm working full time, and thinking I wouldn't have had time to talk to somebody about my own health. That wasn't the priority for me. It was mom and dad's health.
But the other thing that I've come to learn, and this is applicable, I think, in many walks of life, when we're trying to help other people: just like the explanation, when you get on a jetliner, if just in case, God forbid, the cabin decompresses and the yellow oxygen masks drop down, [00:26:30] they always tell you, put yours on first before you turn to even your own child or somebody next to you to help them, because if you pass out, you can't help them. And I thought, that's the best analogy in life for being a caregiver. If not taking care of yourself, at some point, you can't take care of the people around you, who you want to help.
Ken: Right. Exactly. So where's Chuck Gaidica going from here?
Chuck Gaidica: Oh man, I wish I knew.
Ken: I mean, you've hit the pinnacle [00:27:00] by being the first on this podcast.
Chuck Gaidica: That's good.
Ken: It's in the history books.
Chuck Gaidica: Yes, yes.
Kyrstin: We are right there.
Chuck Gaidica: Yep. This is... And you've, you've said that a couple of times in jest, but it is a nice thing. I mean, I'm honored to be here. This is really cool for me.
Kyrstin: Thank you.
Ken: Yeah. I'm excited about this, just to have these conversations. People's wellness, get them thinking about taking care of themselves, taking care of others. on a bigger platform, you can do business and help your community and take care of [00:27:30] the staff, but they need more than just their paycheck. And, and I think that's where companies are going anyway, but this is just kind of to pull that out and talk about it.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: So, I appreciate your time on that. But so, how do you see yourself? What exactly... I guess it's a two-fold question, is what's it mean to be a Mayo clinic coach? Did I say that right?
Chuck Gaidica: A wellness coach.
Ken: Wellness coach. Thank you. And is that your direction? And if so, how do you use that...
Chuck Gaidica: Well, it's a credential. Being a lifelong learner, [00:28:00] so now I look back, and I've got a bachelor's. I've got this master's in ministry and leadership. I've got a certificate from Pepperdine and the Halftime Institute in second half significance. So, that's a cool credential, but you know, I'm still working on my own. But it's fun, because I can actually authentically speak to people about it, who are kind of in that timeframe in life, which means anywhere from your 40s to your 90s, or 100.
Kyrstin: Three more months.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay. Well, prehabilitation, we can get started early here.
Kyrstin: Okay, perfect.
Chuck Gaidica: [00:28:30] And now this new credential. So, I am focusing my work, I work a lot with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. I have a podcast. I've done some video work. That's health and wellness. The journey with my parents was health and wellness. Even going back to when you brought up, I started out as a doctor who dropped out, it's all been health and wellness. And actually, this is an interesting place to be, because from your perspective, from your company's perspective, and many people who deal in wealth management, [00:29:00] we've seen it. You can have all the money in the world, and if you're not taking care of self, if you're not really thinking about it, or illness hits you right after you quote-unquote "retire" and everything has been planned, all you, you're all the smart people, and you've done all the work and it's all like, okay, way to go. And something happens. Now, what do you do?
So I think health and wellness, especially if the COVID year, or whatever it's going to turn out to be, doesn't remind everybody, you need to really pay attention to this. It's [00:29:30] important. So, I think I'm... A coach is an encourager, so I'll give you that kind of definition. A wellness coach is a listener. It's reflective listening. It's positive psychology. I'm not the expert, you're the expert. And that means that I let you tell me as a coach what it is you want to accomplish. I help steer you, or kind of run you through the funnel of, well, let's create a wellness vision. And that wellness vision is future think, but it's something that's attainable.
And then, think of it as smart [00:30:00] goals. We've heard about those for a long time in the corporate field. Something that's attainable, it's not crazy, and you could actually do it. You know, I'd love to have a Bentley. It's not going to happen, right? I mean, you can... Don't set your goals where you can't... But then you walk with that person, and you try to refine, and you kind of hold their feet to the fire, but you do it in a way where you're letting them reflect back to you.
So, that's the role of a coach. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a... I've got a guy, though. If you want [00:30:30] a personal trainer, I know somebody. So, I can do that, but I think this is really, for me, what I find exciting. It's not different than what Mr. Veigon did to me and said to me at Walgreens. It's whether literally or proverbially, I'm putting my arm around somebody, and I'm saying, "I'm going to walk with you. I'm going to encourage you in your journey."
To me, I find great joy in thinking that at the end, you don't need to look at me and say, "Man, you helped me lose 20 pounds." You could say, [00:31:00] well, maybe your fingerprints are on it. Because I'm not, I don't need to be that guy. So that's what I'm kind of hoping, and whether that manifests itself as personal coaching, or doing it through digital work, or expanding the reach, or something. The podcast I do does that, as well. So, I don't know. I'm having the most fun being confused.
Ken: Yeah. Well, you're a good example of a coach. I mean, if people are just listening, you sound healthy, you sound perky. If they're watching, [00:31:30] you look great.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, thanks.
Ken: And if you're watching, he insists that he doesn't dye his hair.
Chuck Gaidica: I don't. I don't.
Ken: We're taking bids on that. He says he doesn't.
Chuck Gaidica: Never have.
Ken: Okay, we're going to close with this. I found this on your website. Chuck's adventures in life include... I'm going to read a list. Interject anywhere you want.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay.
Ken: Penetrating the eye of Hurricane Diana.
Chuck Gaidica: Flew through the eye nine times on a 12 hour mission over the Atlantic ocean. Wasn't as scary as I thought. The briefing [00:32:00] was scarier. When the pilot said, "Underneath every other seat is a yellow life raft. If we go down in the ocean, swim for one of those, unzip it, pull the rip cord. It will inflate. Get in. And any questions?" And I didn't want to be a smart Alec. I said, "Yes, you mean we're going out, 140 mile an hour winds and 50 foot waves, and we're coming out in a little yellow life raft." And he said, "Oh, no, we're all going to die. But I just have to tell you where it is."
Ken: That's the scary part.
Chuck Gaidica: Right.
Ken: Becoming scuba certified.
Chuck Gaidica: That was fun.
Chuck Gaidica: That's fun, yeah.
Ken: Receiving a private pilot's license.
Chuck Gaidica: [00:32:30] I'm a pilot.
Kyrstin: Did you want to fly through a hurricane?
Chuck Gaidica: No. I never wanted to do it myself.
Kyrstin: Not again? Good.
Chuck Gaidica: No. I can't. They won't let you.
Ken: This one I thought was super interesting, until I realized only read half the sentence. I first read becoming an instrument. I thought, really? What instrument did you become?
Kyrstin: Vocal. Vocal.
Ken: That is amazing. But it goes on to say, becoming an instrument-rated pilot for height.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, so I can fly through the clouds.
Ken: Oh, I see. Okay. Flying in and piloting a B-17 Bomber over Michigan.
Chuck Gaidica: Right over Pontiac, they let me fly it, because the pilot who was [00:33:00] flying it at the moment... It's a World War II aircraft. He was a certified flight instructor, so he knew that as a pilot, I can't just sit in that seat, but as long as he were sitting in the right seat, I could sit in the command seat, and he let me fly the thing.
Chuck Gaidica: Right over Pontiac. It was awesome.
Ken: Wow. Flying with the US Navy Blue Angels.
Chuck Gaidica: Ground zero to 20,000 feet in 20 seconds.
Kyrstin: Did you make it through?
Chuck Gaidica: I did, without losing...
Kyrstin: Well done. Well done.
Chuck Gaidica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ken: Traveling on a 10-day expedition to the rainforest [00:33:30] of Peru.
Chuck Gaidica: Yep. Dr. Bob Ballard, the guy that discovered the Titanic, was the guy who had this whole program going, and I tagged along. And then two years later, they called back and asked me to come on another adventure.
Ken: Another venture with Dr. Bob?
Chuck Gaidica: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ken: Which was?
Chuck Gaidica: Going to the top of Mount Kilauea in Hawaii and studying the volcano, literally standing right on the top of Kilauea, and broadcasting.
Ken: And that's one of the most active volcanoes?
Chuck Gaidica: It is, yeah. It was fun.
Ken: Chasing storms and tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas.
Chuck Gaidica: [00:34:00] Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Ken: And then, you mentioned a month in Israel and Jordan.
Chuck Gaidica: Yep.
Ken: Swimming with lemon sharks.
Chuck Gaidica: That was at Cobo Hall for a live shot for TV news, and it was a tethered dive, which means there's a big hose, like your aquarium with your fish tank connected to me. I didn't have scuba gear. And I'm under water, and I've got a little microphone in my mask, and I'm doing the weather underwater, but there's a cage behind me with these sharks that are not with me, but it looks like they're with me. And so, I do the 5:00... 4: [00:34:30] 00, 5:00, and at 6:00 I get in the tank, and the guy who's running the thing, while I'm live, pulls the rope and pulls the cage out, and now the sharks are swimming around and they're literally doing...
Kyrstin: Testing you out.
Chuck Gaidica: They're doing this. And so, I get out, and I said, "What are you thinking?" He said, "Well, you looked cool with the sharks, and the sharks looked cool with you. So I thought, why not?"
Ken: And he said, "Hey, when life..."
Kyrstin: "In case I get eaten?"
Chuck Gaidica: That freaked me out.
Ken: "When life gives you lemons sharks..." I don't know how that ends.
Kyrstin: Make a weather forecast.
Ken: There you [00:35:00] go. Witnessing up close a water spout on the...
Chuck Gaidica: I was just on vacation, on a cruise ship. And the whole team, everybody dressed in white, the captain, everybody ,they're all out looking, and I'm reading a book. Susan and I are sitting next to each other, and we're like, "What? A water spout?" My whole career, I've wanted to see one of these.
Ken: Yeah. And then, you mentioned leading trips to the Holy Land. How many times have you done that?
Chuck Gaidica: I've been in Israel, at the Holy Land, three times, and led a trip... was part of two trips there
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Ken: I led one trip in 1997. I haven't [00:35:30] been back since. One day.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, yeah. One day, soon.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, I wish you the best on your podcast.
Ken: Thank you.
Chuck Gaidica: I don't know if I helped or I hurt it.
Ken: Hey, if this is the first or last, I think it was a good one.
Chuck Gaidica: Now, there's positive mental attitude for you, right?
Kyrstin: I like it. I like it. Well, thank you, Chuck. We really appreciate you being here.
Chuck Gaidica: Good to be with you. Thanks.
Ken: Yeah, thank you so much. We're going to close by showing a little more of what Kyrstin Ritsema does as a compliance officer with Executive Wealth Management.
Kyrstin: That's me.