How can you achieve a work-life balance? By following a strict schedule. Penny Zenker’s guest in this episode is Brimstone, a professional wrestler and radio host. Brimstone’s life as an entertainer makes it especially difficult to have a work-life balance. But by spending quality time with his family and learning how to say no, he’s nailing time management. Join in the conversation and learn valuable tips on how you, too, can achieve work-life balance. Tune in!
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How To Achieve Work-Life Balance The Simple Way With Brimstone
On this show, we look for unique individuals and different people who are leaders, executives, actors and wrestlers, who can help you to work smarter in the way that you approach your work and your life. This episode is no exception to that. I have a unique individual with me. His name is Brimstone. He’s had a successful and rewarding career spanning over decades with the biggest set of different types of work in play that I have heard. Let’s look at this.
We’ve got professional wrestler, radio hosts and podcaster, actor, does voiceovers, a musician, a philanthropist, a food critic, a horror model, a comic book animator game hero. He has been called a Renaissance man by many but more accurately described as a well-seasoned entertainer and a serial entertainment entrepreneur, so without further ado, Brimstone, welcome to the show.
Penny, finally, Brimstone has made it to the show. I’m super stoked and excited. Now, I can add Take Back Time to the things that I have done and accomplished throughout my career. I’m excited to be here with you.
It’s going to be right on top. It’s the first thing that you were on Take Back Time.
It will be the first one that goes in on the scriptures page on my official website, so there we go. I’ve got you there.
Tell me what does take back time mean to you? You have had an amazing career in so many different areas. What does that title mean to you?
I have been in the entertainment industry like you mentioned for decades. Sometimes your workload can get so big, huge and you feel the weight on your shoulders. Any opportunity that you can take to get back a little more of your time or family time, it’s worth more than money to be completely blunt. A lot of people don’t know how to make the time for their business, family, and their own personal health and wellness.
That’s where you wind up finding a lot of issues and where people are having very big personal problems. They have issues with their families, business, friends because they can’t balance properly. It’s a very difficult thing when you have so many things going on to learn how to schedule yourself and take back some time for yourself from that schedule that becomes such crazy. I hope I’m making sense.
When I’m talking to people, I coach executives and talk to large audiences, what I hear most is usually when they get that wake-up call. They start to prioritize themselves, their relationships, their family but there has to be a cost to it because we are wired to overwork and underplay. I would like to know how do you do it? How do you balance? How do you make sure there’s enough time for you, enough time for your family? What are your key strategies?Any opportunity that you can take to get back a little more your time or family time is worth more than money. Click To Tweet
My strategy is quite simple. I have learned to do this over the years. I keep a very strict schedule. To be completely blunt, my wife is the one who made me start doing it. I was working myself to the bone and not spending as much time as I should have with my family. I was touring all the time when I was home. I was continuously running into Manhattan because we are a Long Island. We are only about 40 minutes to an hour into Manhattan.
I would go and be doing 3 to 4 different red carpets in the night to make sure to keep the name relevant, and get out into new audiences and so forth. Unfortunately, what people don’t realize, on the entertainment side as well as the entrepreneurial side, is whichever way you are going to swing it. Let me start by saying, entertainers are entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs should be entertaining. Keep that in the loop. You have to sacrifice when you are entertainment and entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest sacrifices always happens to be the family, and that caused many issues. It didn’t but it started to. We had conversations and I was able to snap myself out of them. We worked out. I said, “We’ve got to figure out scheduling, know where I’m going to be, where you are going to be, and how we are going to fit this in out.” In my defense, only one time over the many years that I have been with my wife, and prior to that, I never ever missed any important things, birthdays, holidays, school things. I always made sure because I have to prioritize that over everything. I do this for my family and leave a legacy and money behind for my family. That’s the reason why I do this. You can’t forget what’s number one.
The one time, I wound up on Mother’s Day weekend. I’ve got requested to do a booking in Ohio assigning for two days. I said to my wife, “I’ve got a booking for Mother’s Day weekend but I’m not going to do it.” She goes, “Great. For what?” I said, “It’s a convention.” She’s like, “How much is it? What are they paying?” I was like, “It’s this.” It was a nice amount. She goes, “We will celebrate when you get home. Go do it.” That’s it. I’ve got permission first.
I want to highlight some things for people who are reading. You made some points that are worth repeating and putting in context for everyone. We forget what we are doing this all for. We are doing it for our families. We are not working ourselves to the bone because we like to work a lot or maybe we do. We need to remind ourselves constantly of the bigger picture.
What are we doing this for? What is important and what would it cost us if we don’t set those boundaries? That is the hardest thing for people. It’s to set boundaries and some inner rules. What I like about that is you created this rule for yourself, which was when it comes to important family events, I’m there. There are no excuses. Maybe 1 or 2 things you can negotiate or discuss but that you are there.
Those pre-decisions that we make help us through those stressful times. You go, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” It’s then clear. There’s nothing to think about. There’s no stress about it. It’s like, “My kid’s soccer game is this Sunday and I’m not missing that. It’s spring break and we are going on vacation. I’m not going to drive everybody insane and fly out in the middle of the vacation and fly back in,” or things like that because people do that. They don’t realize the disruption that it has on the family and the disconnect that it creates. It’s so important that you said that. I want to point out that there’s a date night.
It’s a thing that was created that everybody is aware of. It’s there so that we can protect our relationship, so that we can say, “I’m going to dedicate this special time and quality time.” It’s not always the amount of time but it’s that, we are making space for quality time. I understand that from you too with those events and quality time. We don’t need to get guilty for maybe being away as long as we make that quality time with our kids and family members. Did I capture those things right?
You hit the nail on the head. It’s funny. We call it one of the things that somebody might not even think or you might not have ever heard about it but I’m sure you know who Eminem is. He’s one of the biggest names in the world. The way he works and he works like a fiend. He works as an animal but he also runs it like a business as I do. I run my entire world as a business. He says, “I’m going to record. I’m coming in at this time until this time, I take my lunch break and I work. When it’s time to check out, I check out and that’s it. I’m done. That’s it for me.”
I have learned that’s a great way to do things. My only issue is that I also do multiple different facets of entertainment and entrepreneurial things. Sometimes I can’t shut it off from 9:00 to 5:00 but I try to keep it where, as I mentioned earlier, I do 2, 3, 4 interviews a day during the week, weekends, either on traveling or spending it with my family. At night, I try not to do as many interviews if I don’t have to because if I have that time, I want to be able to sit down with my wife and my kids. We go out to dinner and do things together. You have to have that bonding time with your family. It’s very important.
Let me ask you a question about that. When you are coming to the end of your day and you are having a break, going into your family, I call that a transition. The challenge with the pandemic is we have lost some of those transitions because we have a good transition if we have to get in the car and come home that we can clear our head during a time. You can listen to some great music or whatever. Now, if you are in your home studio or your home, then that transition is lessened. What do you do that marks the end of your day and makes that transition so that when you start your evening with your family, you are 100% present with your family?
When I’m home and not touring. I have my studios in my office and my green room. I had to. I don’t work out of my house. I have my own location with The Grindhouse Radio and also with the Hound Comics, Inc.
That has helped to keep them separate. You go, “No way. I’m not doing that together.”
Every so often they cross over. I have been telling my wife she and I should do a podcast together but she refuses. I said, “We should do something. We will go into a studio and do it.” She’s like, “Maybe not.” My kids, my son and my younger daughter, both shown interest in voice work and voice acting so I bring them into the studio and I will work with them when my engineers are around. Usually, I’m at the studio. I’m at the office. You can easily communicate with me but this is my office time and work time. When I come home, I still have some work to get done here and there but I’m mostly turned off to work and I’m spending more time with the family.
However, don’t get me wrong. On my phone, I am on it 24/7 because I have to social media. That’s part of my business. I deal with people all around the world. Sometimes I will get a message or a call at 2:00 in the morning and I’m still sitting in working. Again, I don’t do that when I’m sitting down to a meal with my family or watching a movie. We take those specific times and we make sure I will take my phone, I will put it down and say, “This is it. Let’s enjoy being together.”
For people reading, you have put it away. We all know that feeling of when we are sitting there having dinner with someone and they are on their phone. One of the biggest realizations for me was when phones started to become popular. It was New Year’s Eve. We were enjoying New Year’s Eve and half the people who were there at this small party that I was at, were on their phones texting everybody Happy New Year instead of enjoying the moment with the people they were with.
I thought this is crazy. It was a shift for me to be like, “I’m not going to do that. I’m going to be present.” I fight it. I’m not perfect but I do look to not to have it at the dinner table. You have to have it away from you because if it’s there at the table, you are going to look at it. We’ve got this addictive impulse. It’s got to be across the room and out of sight or out of mind thing.
The thing is where people that work from 9:00 to 5:00 or even though entrepreneurs in business will go “outside of normal business hours” because you’ve got the East Coast and West Coast and so forth. In terms of me, as an entertainer, I’m Brimstone 24/7. The thing that is different about me is I can’t shut Brimstone off. He’s always still here, right there.
You can do whatever you want. You chose. We all have to be aware and we make a choice. It’s important to you to be able to maintain that as well as maintain your family. I know some entertainers may work after hours and be present on social but they are not a slave to social media or their phone. It’s a choice.Take your seeds of failure and plant those seeds. Click To Tweet
The thing is when we go out to eat, I can’t help it if somebody recognizes me, comes over and wants to talk. It happened to me in the big theme parks where they have had to escort me out through the back to get away from people. It’s not a normal person, so I can’t shut off that who I am. I can be Will, my real name is Will but I’m always Brimstone. We are one and the same. Sometimes, it’s hard to shut the Brimstone off. What’s funny and you will appreciate this. Obviously, in the pandemic, we couldn’t travel. I hadn’t toured in forever.
I’m so used to being on the road, and in and out of town. Finally, I said to my wife, “We have our shots,” except for my little one, of course, but things started to dip down and it was in that little period before we had the Delta and all that jazz start popping up again. I said, “We need to go. We are going away. We are taking the time before school starts again. We are going to take a trip. We will do this, that and the next thing.” We decided to go to Disney and do the whole Disney trip. Normally, when we go into Orlando like when I will be going to Salem in a couple of weeks to celebrate our anniversary. I contact Salem. They set up an itinerary for us, we go in and we do things. My wife doesn’t mind. I take the time and I take pictures. I do whatever I’ve got to do.
We then get to do things that other people don’t get to do. I do that with the theme parks while we are in Orlando. I do that with a lot of the places. It’s called giving gets. I know a lot of the restaurants out there. This time I said, “I don’t care. I don’t want to do a God damn thing while we are there. I want to be Will for the week. We will put Brim on the side. He will come out whenever he has to come out and do his thing.” I kept it to such a minimal thing. She was like, “Do you want to go?” I said, “No, I don’t because I don’t have to. If I go there, I know I’m going to be stuck talking for half an hour to 45 minutes sitting in qubits. I can’t.”
There were two things we did. One was in Disney, and then the other was with a show, which is I have had a relationship with for many years. That’s what we did while we were out there. I went to my father’s house and I was able to not do anything else. I did, however, have things scheduled during that week. For one day, on a Wednesday, we weren’t going to the theme park. I scheduled in the morning back-to-back. I had rescheduled everything for one day. I did about six interviews in a row and that was it for the rest of the trip. I minimized everything that I normally would do and I put it on the side. It was one of the most refreshing vacations I have ever had, to be completely blunt.
Sometimes you need to do that. You need to take that hat off and chill. Coming back to the point about scheduling, you can accomplish what you need to. Sometimes, I will take a full vacation and not work at all. Sometimes I will work for an hour or two in the morning that I can get some peace like good content together, for instance, or some things that are important to me, and then I’ve got the whole rest of the day to put that away and be with my family.
Sometimes I like to do that as well. Everybody got to do what works for them. No balance says you have to do it like this. We have to listen to our bodies. If we are feeling stressed, that’s the time to start taking things off of our schedule, give ourselves more space, look at getting more sleep, and taking care of ourselves. It depends on what gives us energy and what takes energy away. We each must find what that balance is for us.
There is no cookie-cutter way to do it. Everybody seems to think that there might be a cookie-cutter. It’s different for everybody. Scheduling though has been tremendous. I know what I’m doing when I’m doing it, and how I’m doing it, then I give myself time. I used to feel very stressed and on the tip of my seat. It’s not in a good way when you are sitting and doing a sale.
You are being pulled in so many different directions. You have so many different things going on that it can be overwhelming.
It’s unfortunate in entertainment as a parent, as a husband or a wife. You are pulled in many different directions and you want to make sure that everything is handled properly and given the attention that it deserves. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming. I get it but if you schedule yourself out, you know what you are doing it for and you put things into perspective, it’s a completely different ball game.
That’s such an important word, perspective. Put things in perspective. I was thinking a question popped up for me. What do you think is the hardest lesson that you have learned?
In terms of life in general? Trusting the wrong people. There are certain people out there that are not right for you and they are not meant to be around you but they were meant to come into your life to teach you a lesson. For me, failure is the biggest and the best thing ever. Failure is a true success because when you fail, as long as you do it properly and you figure out, what’s the reasoning behind this failure? What went wrong? What can I do with it? You learn from it.
We have learned a lot more from failure than we do from success because we don’t take the time to see why we were successful. You just keep moving.
You take those seeds of failure. You take those two steps back, plant those seeds, and you are taking ten steps forward. It’s happened a few times throughout my career where I trusted the wrong person and it rattled me. It was the worst thing in the world at the time and then afterward, I go, “As awful as it was going through it, I learned a lot and now, here I am doing ten times more.”
It’s a catalyst. It’s whatever we make it. It can be something that holds us down and holds us back or it can be a catalyst that propels us forward. It depends on what we decide to make of it.
Another big lesson that I have learned that will help a lot of people, and I know it’s hard for some people to do it, is to learn how to say no. A huge situation back at one point in my career, I used to say yes to everything. I wanted to do everything and be everywhere regardless of how exhausted I was and where my sanity was. Maybe it’s that I wanted to prove that I could do it or I thought that I needed to but eventually, I’ve got to the point that I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t have the time for myself, family and friends. I was always committed. Half the time, I was committed to things that didn’t make sense or they didn’t necessarily care that I committed to it and I was giving my time.
It probably wasn’t the most important thing to drive you towards your goals. It was things to fill your time and we do that. We are not realizing and keeping our tasks in alignment with the goals that we have set. Sometimes we get way off. That comes back to what you said about perspective. It’s stepping back and saying, “Is this important for me to do? Is this driving me towards a long-term goal?”
There are certain things that you want to do, even if it’s not a huge stepping stone. It’s little things to learn or to be out there and doing some stuff. For the most part, when you’ve got things coming at your left, right and sideways, you’ve got to learn how to say no. For people that work from 9:00 to 5:00, you could do the same thing. If somebody is overloading you with work, say, “No. I’m not going to do it.”
There’s a nice way to say it. You don’t have to say no. You can say, “At the moment, here are my priorities. Unless you want to shift these priorities, I won’t have the capability or the capacity to do this as well.” If you want to change it, it’s a nice way of saying no. In essence, it’s still saying no.
It is what it is. Some people are, as I said, either they are afraid they are going to lose their job, they are going to insult somebody or piss someone off. You do it for yourself. It’s the same thing for anybody that’s creating anything, whether it’s in entertainment, a business or podcasts. Anything that you are doing. Create for yourself. Not for other people. Your people will find you. That is what’s going to make you happy. Work for yourself. Build for yourself. You will never look back. It’s such a humbling thing.
What comes up for me when you say all that too about saying no and the reason why we always say yes is we can’t take things too personally. We take life a little too seriously sometimes. We could lighten up a little. I’m working on that. I’ve got this theme going where I call The Joy of Vacation. Bringing more joy into my life because being busy is sucking the joy out of people. We’ve got to say no so that we can allow space for joy.
That’s everything. I want to be happy. That’s all I want to be. I don’t want to be miserable. I don’t want to be so crazy where I’m a miserable mess, and then that affects my home life, everything.Create for yourself. Work for yourself. Build for yourself. Click To Tweet
Let me ask you one last question and we are going to have to bring our show to an end. What brings you joy? Outside of your family because obviously, that might be your number one. What’s the number one thing that brings you joy?
The number one thing that brings me joy is essentially creating. I like to create things, develop things and bring into the world what I wish was there. For me, that’s pure joy. When I get to do voice work, and bring life and breathe life into a character that was a drawing on paper at one point, and now is alive and on a screen, to me, that is so much fun. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s like being God without being God. “I’m not saying anything, God. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m not you.” At the end of the day, just being creative. Creativity makes me go. I don’t do drugs. I’m not a drinker. That’s what gets me high. That’s why I do so many different things.
That’s why I have brought so many different products into the market. It’s because creativity, for me, is everything. It’s my crutch, joy and happiness. I like getting in there. Not only building it but putting it out into the world and the ether. Promoting it, watching it grow, watching it get legs, watching it builds out. I’m into the next natural progression of everything that I’m doing. That’s how I have grown over the years. I truly believe I’m unapologetically authentic all the time. That’s one. Two, I like to see what I can do next and what I can bring forth into the world that makes people smile.
I don’t do the adult world thing. That’s not my thing but I’ve got a face for radio. We were good for that. Other than that, no limits.
Thank you so much for being here. Where can people find out more about you and what you are creating next?
You can always find everything at TheRealBrimstone.com. It’s my official website. Get everything there. All my social media is up there as well. I’m very big on my Instagram, @TheRealBrimstone. It’s verified. You will know it’s me. It is always 200% of the time, me responding. It’s not my wife, not my assistant or an intern. It’s always me. If you have to send me messages, obviously, please be respectful. Don’t blow up my DMs. If you write something on any of the photos, it’s going to be me that responds as long as you are respectful. We will get to know each other there. I’m very open. I love my fans and I love the people that follow me. Please check me out.
Thank you so much for being here.
It’s an honor and a privilege.
Thank you all for being here. In each one of these shows, you get a different perspective. You know how people are creating balance for themselves and where they are challenged as well. You can relate to yourselves. I guarantee that you have walked away with a tip or two that you can put into practice that can help you to work smarter, to think smarter and to be smarter. That’s our goal here. Thank you so much, everyone. We will see you in the next episode.
- The Grindhouse Radio
- Hounds Comics, Inc.
- @TheRealBrimstone – Instagram
Brimstone has had a successful and rewarding career spanning well over four decades; participating in numerous entertainment fields boasting a list of titles including professional wrestler, radio host/professional podcaster, actor, voice actor, author, musician, philanthropist, food critic, horror model, and comic book/animated/children’s book/video game hero. He’s been called a Renaissance man by many, but more accurately described as a well-seasoned entertainer and serial entertainment entrepreneur.