Hello everybody, welcome to Episode 57 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we answer all of your questions on life. I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino.
Today’s question is not so much about the struggles of life, however. We recently received a question that was half asking about me and half asking a separate, more personal question similar to the normal style of the show. I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first, but I decided to split it all up into two episodes.
I decided to answer these questions about me as I feel we never had a formal intro episode. Sometimes it can be very helpful to know more about the people we look to for support. Today, I’ll be introducing myself a little bit more so you have a better idea of who’s answering all of this. So here’s the first part of the question sent in…
QUESTION: “Hey Greg, You've got a great voice and I've really enjoyed the topics you've covered on OLA. I would love to learn more about you and life lessons you've learned in becoming Greg Audino. Who are your teachers? What are your favorite books?”
First of all, thank you about the voice thing. People are saying that to me more recently. I’m not sure why — I’d never heard it before!
I took one singing class in college. I went to Goucher College by the way, a tiny arts and liberal arts college in Towson, MD, about 6 hours from where I was born and raised in Rhode Island. I hated singing, but in college, I was obsessed with challenging myself to do little things, and though I hated signing, I thought it would be a good challenge for me because I still felt it took guts to get up and do it.
Anyway, my song for the final show was “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma. I basically just watched a YouTube video of Hugh Jackman singing it non-stop and tried to do what he did. I think it came out pretty well, though.
My Acting Experience
I also felt it’d be good to try singing because, which brings me to a main point, I was an actor at the time. I was obsessed with acting — it was my whole life. I would take pretty much any other class that I felt somehow contributed to my acting. I took psychology classes, communications classes, art classes, whatever I felt was in the same realm. So I got my undergrad in 2013 and made a beeline for Los Angeles, and this is where the life lessons start to come into play.
I was soon living in LA and acting full-time. It was always a point of pride to me that I got enough work to not need a day job. I’ve been very into living life on my own terms and living a fulfilling life, so the fact that I was able to do that when none of my other acting friends were was really meaningful to me. I got on some cool shows like a three episode arc on Westworld.
I've been asked by listeners on how it felt to be on Westworld, so I guess now is a good time to answer that — it was a lot of fun. All nice people. If you want to see me get my head blown off by James Marsden, my friends always find that amusing. That was in Season 2 Episode 6, I believe.
Side Note: I always feel compelled to tell everyone that the nicest celebrity I ever met, and honestly I never met any that were out of line, but the nicest was Hugh Laurie, or Dr. House. Great, great guy. He and I had a scene together in this show he had going for a couple years called Chance. It was just us, no extras or anything and a small crew so he and I had a lot of time to talk and it was just very heartfelt, real conversation kinda like what we do here. It went beyond the usual stuff, and I always appreciated having that time with him.
But anyway, as time passed, things changed in my life, things that all culminated into what I’m doing now. There were some particularly key contributors, including a very devastating breakup with my girlfriend from college. During that recovery period when I often felt like a burden talking to people about it, I learned the value there is in having someone that you know will be happy to listen to you and support you. I also learned the value there is in relationships and how they can be misunderstood, taken for granted, or lost if both parties aren’t communicating efficiently.
The rise of social media also affected me in an interesting way: mostly just the accountability of it. You know, I was regularly seeing people complain about this and that — still do, of course — but no one was really willing to listen to viewpoints other than their own or equally importantly, take action. Just a lot of yelling and screaming about what’s wrong and it stopping there. Then as I turned the mirror on myself, I recognized that though I wasn’t complaining to the same extent, I also wasn’t taking action to make the world a little bit better.
And this didn’t sit well with me because ever since taking high school philosophy, I’ve been into this constant self-questioning and existential awareness. It’s a blessing and a curse. But it does help me hold myself accountable and recognize what I have in life. So I felt this need to start being more useful to people based not only the fact that all of my days were really spent on helping nobody but myself, but also because I had so many blessings to begin with. I’m a fortunate person in general.
Of course, I’ve had my hardships, but I’m much quicker to recognize how much worse they all could’ve been than to pity myself. So it just seemed like it was me me me all the time, always receiving in one way or another and never giving.
So I started thinking about how to give. I’d actually wanted to be a marriage therapist prior to being actor. And before that I wanted to be a professional hockey player, but that’s beside the point. I always got this enjoyment of helping others with their relationships when they asked me for advice. That propelled me into life coaching. I thought: it fits in the way that I best serve people, the certification isn’t as extensive as going to grad school for therapy (which I might still like to do), and I can do it alongside acting, scheduling classes and clients around my acting schedule.
So I got certified as a life coach, immersed myself in that world, and that was that. Eventually, acting no longer fulfilled me so I made the decision to leave it behind, leave all that hard work behind, leave a theoretically promising future behind, and start working in this field full-time. So I was all in.
Life Coaching Books – Recommended by Greg
That meant a lot of reading. You asked about some of my favorite books and teachers. I’d say the authors were probably some of my best teachers so these two kinda go hand in hand. I’ve referenced a lot of them in the outros of OLA already, actually, given out a lot of free ads. Mark Manson and all of his work is fantastic. He’d be my favorite. I recommend his books and subscribing to his website so you can read his essays. Not only is he great at challenging the self-help world, but he’s so relatable and his tone really brings in a new audience that would’ve otherwise not enjoyed the preachiness of self-help. I also feel similarities with him in terms of how I present myself and how I see things more than I do with other authors, so that was also enough to gravitate me towards him.
Johann Hari is great too. He wrote Lost Connections, the best depression book on the market.
James Clear is great. He wrote Atomic Habits, the best habits book on the market.
I tend to enjoy books written directly by therapists and psychiatrists as well. Faith Harper is one of them, along with Catherine Pittman. I’m about to read a book called Healing Depression For Life by Gregory Jantz. I’m also about to read Lori Gottlieb’s new book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone which is supposed to be great. I’m currently finishing up Amy Dickinson’s book actually which is a collection of some of her Q&As from 2011-2013 I believe. I figured that one was practical for the sake of OLA and I’ve been enjoying that.
I used to read Eckhart Tolle a lot, but I sort of drifted away from it. His work is just super particular, and in my opinion, very repetitive. His a miracle worker for some, and though I enjoyed his ideas, I wanted to start moving into to stuff that was more layered, I suppose.
Everyone Can Teach You Something
But these people are all my teachers, as is everyone I come in contact with as long as I’m open enough to hear and understand what they can teach me, whether or not they realize it. That’s a cool thing about this industry, or this field. Literally everyone can teach you something — either directly or you can observe them and your relationship with them to learn about yourself.
The learning is really non-stop if you’re willing to seek it out. That can be pretty brain-frying, so you’ve gotta try to keep it under control, which I often have a hard time doing, but such is life. I’ll always have my own struggles regardless of how many of you I help with your struggles. You wouldn’t find someone in a helping position who doesn’t struggle with anything, quite honestly.
Anyway, the big takeaways for me from all of this and much more that wasn’t discussed is to put relationships first. To the best of their ability, studies that measure happiness all seem to determine fulfilling relationships as being the biggest factor. So relationships, relationships, relationships.
I should say health is important, too. I’m young and I’ve always been in great health, but I hear about it a lot from those older than me so I’ll put it out there. And I guess my main lesson, what I try to always keep in mind, is the value of being unattached from certain outcomes.
Surely, everyone has their goals and desires. This is natural, don’t try to suck the rollercoaster out of life by trying to be neutral to everything, it won’t work. So have your goals, but don’t be so attached to them that they swallow up enough of your identity that you can’t find happiness if they don’t come true.
Thanks for putting up with that, everyone. I felt like I was putting my memoirs together. I must say I enjoyed sitting back and reflecting, so to the woman who asked, thank you for asking. Hopefully you guys have a better understanding of me now.
As always, you know how to keep this show running. Send in any questions you have that you’d like answered by emailing them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d love to do our best and help you out. We’ll even send you a free book from our collection if you’d like one. We’ve still got them in stock. Anyway, thanks again for listening to me babble about me today. Can’t wait to talk to you guys next time!