Episode Summary

In this episode of Unshakable Habits, Carl Berryman shares his journey of personal growth and how applying principles from fitness training has revolutionized his relationship. Carl highlights the importance of self-awareness, managing reactions, and gradually progressing in both physical fitness and emotional well-being. He emphasizes the need for men to start at their own level in relationships, communicate effectively, and become their partner's rock. Through insightful personal stories and practical tips, Carl inspires you to embrace discomfort, have difficult conversations, and create lasting change in your relationships. Discover how tracking progress and reflecting on mistakes can lead to extraordinary growth. Get ready to transform your relationships and become the best version of yourself.

10 Questions to ask you yourself from this episode

  1. How does self-awareness play a role in personal change and leading others with integrity?
  2. What does it mean to manage reactions and respond instead of react in relationships?
  3. How can the concept of starting at a comfortable level and gradually progressing be applied to relationships?
  4. Discuss the differences in communication between men and women in relationships. How can these differences be navigated effectively?
  5. Why is tracking and reflecting on our behavior in relationships important? How can it lead to growth and improvement?
  6. How can the principles of fitness training, such as progressive overload and getting in the reps, be applied to personal growth and difficult conversations in relationships?
  7. Consider a personal experience where you hit rock bottom in an area of your life and how it led to positive change.
  8. In what ways can men balance being protective with showing compassion and love in relationships?
  9. Reflect on a mistake you've made in the past regarding your partner's emotions. How could you have handled the situation better?
  10. Consider the importance of seeking professional help and having experienced individuals in your life who can provide honest feedback and support for personal and relationship improvement.

Quotes We Loved

  • “I actually started tracking because the first step to change is always gonna be awareness...So tracking the number of times that I didn't jump in to solve the problem was a big game changer for our relationship, for sure." — Carl Berryman
  • "I remember thinking "I have no idea how I'm gonna live without her." In other words, I put all of my happiness, all of my sense of being on my relationship with Jenny Lee. How much pressure does that put on her? to perform, to make me feel whole. Like, how unfair is that?" — Carl Berryman 
  • "From my experience, the number one pillar is self-awareness." — Carl Berryman
  • If an intruder comes in the house, I've gotta be the first one there. I gotta protect my wife. I gotta protect my kids. I have to be that guy who can be there with anger, with rage, whatever. But when my son comes home from school or my wife comes home from work and they're just been beaten down, they're feeling super hurt, I need to be the one who shows compassion and love and holds that space for them." — Carl Berryman
  • "The things we ignore don't get forgotten, they get built upon." — Carl Berryman 

Guest Bio & Links

Coach Carl is a Personal Trainer turned men's health advocate after realizing that his struggles with intimacy, depression, and a lack of concrete purpose were not unique. After hitting rock bottom in 2020, Carl started taking the principles and strategies that work inside the gym and applying them outside the gym.

Read Transcript

Intro/Outro: [00:00:00] Are you ready to break free from your old habits and create a better life for yourself and those around you? If so, welcome to Unshakable Habits, the podcast dedicated to helping men be better husbands, fathers, and leaders by prioritizing their physical and mental wellbeing. Each week we'll look at health from a 360 degree perspective with inspiring stories and practical strategies for building Unshakable habits that'll transform your life. Join Stephen Box, a board certified health and wellness coach, and let's change the world together. One habit at a time.

Stephen Box: welcome to another episode of the Unshakable Habits podcast. I am your host Stephen Box, and today our episode is going to be all about [00:01:00] relationships and more specifically communication in relationships. I know for a lot of guys out there, this is a a point of frustration, we go, man, my girlfriend, my wife, I just don't know how to talk to them.

I feel like every time I say something, I'm saying the wrong thing. I'm getting myself into trouble. I just, I don't know how to communicate with my significant other. What do I do? And today my guest is a former personal trainer who has come up with a really unique idea here of taking the things that he's learned in the gym and applying them back to life, and even more specifically, how do you use these things to help you in communication for your relationships.

And he now coaches other men on that. So, excited to introduce you today to Mr. Carl Berryman. So thank you for, coming today, Carl.

Carl Berryman: Thanks for having me, man. That was, that was a [00:02:00] beautiful way of putting it and I know a lot of men are probably either shaking their heads up and down or laughing at the things that you said because you're describing so many of our experience in that little beginning right there. So that was awesome.

Thanks for having me, man.

Stephen Box: Yeah, absolutely man. so tell me a little bit about yourself,

Carl Berryman: Okay. So really long story short, I've been having conversations with, some of my brothers as of late. Like I call the guy friends and the men friends in my life, brothers. So you'll probably hear me refer to brothers all the time. I really only have two. So family's not massive or anything. one of the things we talk about, as of late is do you need to hit rock bottom in order to change?

And so for me, I'm not gonna say whether that's yes or no for anybody else. For me, that's exactly what happened back in 2020. And when I say rock bottom, what I mean by that is from a physical standpoint, when I looked in the mirror, I did not see what I liked. I didn't look anything like I wanted to, when it came to my [00:03:00] relationship.

I asked myself, Kay, does my relationship look the way that I wanted it to? And after having some pretty intense conversations with my partner at the time, Jenny Lee, who I'm now back together with, we actually separated for three months. Because while there was no animosity or anything like that, just there was no intimacy, there was no passion, there was no fun, excitement, communication as we're gonna talk about was just wasn't there.

So we ended up calling it quits. and then mentally and emotionally, I went to bed and woke up with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks and just, even though I was a personal trainer and still am a personal trainer, even though that was supposed to be the purpose that I had found to live my life and give back to the world, I felt totally empty.

some things needed to change and things needed to change quick. And luckily, I stumbled upon this idea of taking what works inside the gym and applying it outside the gym. And ever since then, things have just like in the gym, how you, one of the core principles is progressive overload, [00:04:00] right?

just getting a little better over time leads to massive results. That's what's been happening over the last three years,

Stephen Box: Yeah.I'd love this idea because this is something, as a, a longtime personal trainer myself that I also picked up on, so many of the things that you learn in the gym are, applicable to the outside and whether it's relationships, whether it's business, whatever, you can apply a lot of these concepts.

Carl Berryman: but I have to be honest, I've never really given it much thought in terms of communication skills. Okay. yeah, and trust me, you're not alone there because it took me a long time to figure out how to apply to this because, when I thought about how I'm gonna apply some of the principles inside the gym to relationships, One of the things that was super easy to figure out was, okay, I've got a training split for my body.

Like I know, okay, today's Tuesday, so today's gonna be lower body day for me. When I go into the [00:05:00] gym, I know what exercise I'm doing, I know what weights I'm doing. Not only that, but I've got my journal where I'm tracking. So I'm not going in trying to remember what I did last time. I know I did this amount of weight for six reps.

Okay, so I want to try to do this amount of weight for six reps. So I'm tracking all that thing. So one of the things I actually started doing was tracking my communication with Jenny Lee, but the question is how do you track communication? I think first and foremost, we need to define what communication looks like because anybody who's been in a relationship before knows that men and women communicate differently.

They just do. so one of my biggest mistakes. That I used to make all the time, and I've been married and divorced before Jenny Lee as well. And looking back on that, women are very good at expressing their emotions verbally. And when they do that, they don't want solutions. They don't want solutions.

Whereas we men, [00:06:00] if we have a problem, we want it to be fixed. Don't get me to talk about my feelings, just tell me what to do. So guess what I was doing? Whenever my ex-wife would come to me with an issue, I want to jump in there and provide a solution. Okay. So I actually started tracking that stuff. I actually started tracking because the first step to change is always gonna be awareness.

So if Jenny Lee would come home and she would be upset about something at work or something else, completely unrelated to work, whatever it was, she was upset. I would have to catch myself and be Carl. K. Don't solve the problem. And I would track it literally in an app on my phone and say, how many times this week did you not try to solve the problem?

And it's okay, oh, I only did it two and I wanna do it five because these three times I couldn't help. I had to jump in there. She was crying and I had to get her to stop crying. no. I had to stop doing that. So tracking the number of times that I didn't jump in to solve the problem was, was a big game changer for our [00:07:00] relationship.

For sure.

Stephen Box: Okay. and if we can just throw a, pro tip in for people here. guys, do not pull out your phone and record your tracking in the middle of.

Carl Berryman: No, you don't. No, you don't wanna do that. You're giving her a hug and she's crying on your shoulder and she feels you looking at your phone. What are you doing? Oh, no. I'm just tracking the fact that I'm not trying to solve your problem here, honey. I'm good. I'm good. Keep crying. Keep crying.

Stephen Box: yeah. That,

Carl Berryman: Good pro tip.

For sure.

Stephen Box: yeah. Just a pro tip there. don't do that.

Carl Berryman: Yeah,

Stephen Box: so talk to me, let's rewind just a little bit here. 'cause we'll do, we'll deep dive into some of the specifics how to stuff here in a little bit. But I want to hear your story about where were you in your relationship and what kind of helped you to realize that this was a problem that needed to be fixed in the first place.

Carl Berryman: it, you know what, it was really weird because it was a moment and I honestly don't know how the question came to my mind, but it was December 4th, [00:08:00] 2020, and I was gonna get a jump on the New Year's resolution from a physical standpoint. So I went to the mirror in the bathroom with my shirt off and took the picture.

That was gonna be the day zero, and I didn't realize that December 4th, 2019, I had done the same thing, so exactly a year ago. And those pictures looked exactly. there was no change, even though I went an entire year thinking I was doing everything right. And I don't know why. This next question came to mind.

I just asked myself, Carl, if you've been fooling yourself with regards to your body, where else are you blind to the truth? Because if you looked at Jenny Lee on an I on the surface, yeah. when we're out with couples and everything like that, we seem happy. We come home. if you were to put a camera in the house, like it's, we're not fighting or anything, but my body, even though I wasn't super fat or overweight or anything, I was not even remotely in the shape that I wanted to be.

And even [00:09:00] though Jenny Lee and I weren't fighting, there was no animosity, nothing like that. We didn't have the relationship that we wanted to have. It was far from it. And that was a hard wake up call that Carl,you're not being the man that you need to be for her. You're not being the man that you need to be for yourself.

So that was tough and. One of the, I remember this so much, 'cause as soon as we separated, we were living together. As soon as we separated, Jenny Lee gets her own place. And I remember going over there for the last time before we had our three month separation. And when I left her place, I was absolutely bawling because there was one thing I kept saying to myself that now I realize how dangerous this is and how selfish it is.

I kept saying to myself, I have no idea how I'm gonna live without her. In other words, I put all of my happiness, all of my sense of being on my relationship with Jenny Lee. How much pressure does that put on her [00:10:00] to perform to, to make me feel whole? Like, how unfair is that?

But I wasn't aware of that until the separation. So that was a massive turning point for me.

Stephen Box: Yeah. So one thing that you just touched on there, and I wanna make sure that people don't miss this, is when you're looking in that mirror and you ask yourself that question, Of what else am I fooling myself on? And especially when it comes to your relationship and realizing that maybe you're not doing everything you can there.

Carl Berryman: I think this is one for a lot of guys where it's a struggle, right? Because I hear this all the time with my clients, where when we start talking about the relationships, it's, my wife doesn't support me in this, my wife doesn't wanna have sex. it's always, my wife doesn't, right?

Never. I'm not doing this. So when you first had this thought, did you just [00:11:00] immediately recognize that you needed to make some changes, or was there a point where maybe you were doing some victim blaming too, Absolutely. Like the victim game was huge in my mind, especially before the separation. It was huge. In my mind it's Jenny Lee isn't into this. Jenny Lee doesn't do this. Jenny Lee isn't this, and it reminds me of a conversation I had on my podcast last week where I asked the guest about his relationship and something that transformed his relationship and like all relationships, this gigle with family members, friends, significant others, whatever.

And he said it went from blaming them to blaming us, to blaming me. Blaming them to blaming us, to blaming me because let's face it, one of, one of the things I think that causes us the most stress in any area of life is trying to control the uncontrollables. And I can't control Jenny Lee's behavior.

I can hope to influence it, but at the [00:12:00] same time, I have found for me, and this is a lesson that took me super long to learn, if I am ever wanting Jenny Lee to change anything, whether it's with fitness, nutrition, or communication, whatever, this is gonna sound so cliche, but the cliches are cliches for a reason. I need to be the example. If I want Jenny Lee to stop doing something, I need to make sure that I am not doing that thing. If I want Jenny Lee to do more of something, I need to make sure I am doing more of that thing. If that doesn't work, then it's time to go back to the drawing table and see, okay, is this really the right person for me?

Do I need to have a different type of conversation? But we, you can't, anytime it could be something as small as leaving laundry in the dryer. I used to get super choked when Jenny Lee would do that. I'm going to put my clothes in the wash. And it's oh, you always leave her stuff in the dryer. I just stop to say, Carl, have you ever done that before?[00:13:00]

And the answer is always yes. So it, it always starts with us. I have been in a situation where, Jenny Lee's just not into the things that I'm into, whether it's building the business or any type of personal development.

She's hardcore to that stuff now, but, Because of me realizing the best way to change or influence somebody else's behaviors Through your own.

Stephen Box: Yeah. you just gave us a lot there. I'm just gonna say that, Carl, me and you could never have been roommates 'cause I'm, but you just gave us, a lot to unpack there, right? Because I think you hit on a couple things. This is really important here. So one is we cannot change other people. So often I see this conversation,my wife told me that she wants me to do more stuff around the [00:14:00] house and she wants me to help, with the kids, help the dishes, help cook, whatever.

And I did those things and I'm still not getting sex, so I'm not doing those things anymore. And it's like you are doing those things strictly to try to change someone's behavior. So I love the fact that you pointed out we can't change someone's behavior. We can hope to influence it, but we can't change it.

You have to do the things that you're going to do because they're true to who you are because it's the things that you want to do. When you're doing things to help around the house, you're not doing it because it's gonna turn into sex or because it's going to get you a pat on the back. You're doing it because you love your significant other, and you know that makes them happy.

That's why you're doing it

Carl Berryman: right. But if you're doing it because you want something out of it, it's probably gonna [00:15:00] backfire on you. Absolutely. And I love what you said there about it needing to be about you being true to who you are because, when Jenny Lee and I separated for those three months back, early 2021, I, my number one goal there that I took away from this idea that I cannot live without Jenny Lee and therefore my happiness is dependent on her, was to do everything I could to make it such that I never needed anybody.

I could want somebody, but I wouldn't need anybody. So after three months when Jenny Lee and I spoke again, which happened by accident, interestingly enough, it was funny. But, when we discussed the possibility of getting back together, I. I didn't know if I wanted to. I didn't know if I wanted to, 'cause I was so happy on my own because I really went outta my way to do things for myself that represented me, loving myself.

So [00:16:00] it just so happened that she was doing the same thing. So an agreement we've always had is that the only time we'll really break up is if we feel we're not expanding as a couple and individuals. If we feel like one of us is holding the other back, or the other one's just not living up to their end of the bargain.

Right? And that's just not happening and hasn't happened since. don't get me wrong. There are d The one thing that I don't really like talking about, just all the good stuff about our relationship is it's not like we don't have bad stuff. It's not there aren't days where I come home, it's oh man,is this really the way that it is?

But I know that's more, that's about me. That's about me, not about her. So really focusing and staying true to yourself because what you said there with regards to not doing something for the sake of hoping to get an outcome or changing somebody, but rather as a, as you just being true to yourself. That is, that's really step number one when you think about it, is just, it's amazing [00:17:00] how much more attraction there will be.

And this has been my experience anyways, how much more attraction there will be on every level from your partner when you are stepping into the truth of who you are, unapologetically.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Something else. You didn't explicitly say this, but. It tied into what you were saying. One of the things that I talk about on my website is, this idea of helping men to become better fathers, better husbands, and better leaders. And a lot of times when people hear that we're the leader, they instantly think if they own a business, that they're a leader in their business or maybe they're a leader at their job.

But I think equally important, if not even more important that people don't talk about is your role as a leader in your household. And just really touched on this, because being a leader doesn't mean that you have to make all the decisions. It doesn't mean that you like sit on the throne [00:18:00] and rule the house.

What it means is that you have an understanding of who you are and you are living that truth and. When you do that, my experience has been that your wife, girlfriend, whatever, will automatically follow your lead, right? Because she recognizes that you are stepping out in confidence that you are being true to yourself and she can see that.

Carl Berryman: That is an incredible point because two things, number one, really hard to lead others from a place of integrity when you're not leading yourself. like it'd be super, it'd be pretty, it just, I wouldn't feel comfortable training my clients in the gym if I couldn't demo the exercises that I want them to do.

Because I was so horribly outta shape, or I wouldn't feel [00:19:00] comfortable coaching 'em on nutrition if I myself am not living the practices that I'm preaching. And when it comes to leading the household, there's it. I would find it very difficult to lead anybody else if you're first unable to lead yourself.

And what you touched upon there, Stephen was so good with regards to awareness is always going to be the first step in change. Like becoming aware that change needs to be made. But the, from my experience, the number one pillar is self-awareness. So for example, I have conversation with one of my brothers, oh, I did this or my wife said this and she wants me to do this.

So I started doing it and just like you said, even she's just still not responding. I don't get it. I don't know what she wants. Okay. W is this something that she's done before in the past? Or is this just a complete out of the blue thing? It's no, she does this all the time. Okay, if she does this all the time, [00:20:00] then maybe it's time to take a look at how you're responding to what she's doing, because she's just gonna, she's gonna keep doing that.

Like you need to accept right now. She's not gonna change. She's not going to. So you need to be able to figure out some way to manage your reactions, go from reacting to responding. But one of the, one of the pieces that I think. It is super, super critical. That gets played under the radar a lot is with regards to fitness inside the gym.

Every single one of my classes, when I have multiple classes especially, or multiple person classes, especially when I have PE new people, I always talk about level 1, 2, 3. So level one, come in, take it nice and easy, like just learn the movements, don't look around you and see the people that have been coming for 10 years that are just crushing it and compare yourself to them.

'cause you're not ready to play at that level. So go for level one, something nice and easy so you don't hurt yourself. Level two, after you've gotten a little bit more comfortable, dial it up when you can. But then when it starts to get to the point where, ah, this [00:21:00] is gonna be a bit too much dial back, there's nothing wrong with that.

And then level three is okay, I've got this down. My form's good. I understand how this's supposed to work. Now I'm gonna give it. We never apply that to our relationships. So like a level three would be okay right after this podcast going and sitting if you're not in the habit, Having conversations with your partner on the regular, and you go, oh, I listened to this, I can't remember his name, something Berryman and Stephen's podcast, and they were talking about having these conversations that we really need to get deep in conversations.

Let's go do it. That is gonna freak a lot of men out. That's if you can only deadlift two plates, putting on five plates on each side, that's insane. Why would you do that? So men need to figure out what their level one is and start there. Just start there.

Stephen Box: Yeah. it will also freak your significant other note.

Carl Berryman: Yeah. Yeah. And not in a good way because you're gonna give her exactly what she's been asking for you to open up, but she won't be ready for it if you just fire hose her.[00:22:00] it's just,it doesn't work that way.

Stephen Box: Yeah. so let's talk a little bit about that. let's say that I'm a guy I've never really been able to open up. I'm very frustrated in my relationship. I don't feel like my significant other is meeting my needs, and I'm just really at that point where I'm throwing my hands up in the air and I don't know what to do.

And maybe I'm even at the point where I want outta the relationship. But like you said, you found yourself in that situation of, I'm at that point where I don't know how to live without this person. So I'm afraid to leave, but I'm not happy. I'm super frustrated with all these things 'cause I have no idea where to start.

What does level one?

Carl Berryman: So it's interesting that you bring this up because I just recorded a podcast episode yesterday and I talked about this. one of my really good brothers was talking about how men typically. [00:23:00] Are meant. We've been talking about leading men are meant to lead, we're meant to be the forceful type. We're not the, we're not meant to show emotions or anything like that, but in a successful relationship, you need to be able to hold both sides of that coin or play both sides of that.

So he said like an offense, defense kind of thing. So he said, you know what, if an intruder comes in the house, I've gotta be the first one there. I gotta be, I gotta protect my wife, I gotta protect my kids. I have to be that guy who can be there with anger, with rage, whatever. But when my son comes home from school, or my wife comes home from work and they're just, they're beaten down, they're feeling super hurt.

I need to be the one who shows compassion and love and holds that space for them. So we talked about that and getting to your question in terms of what a level one looks like. If we wanna learn how to communicate better with our partners, if we wanna learn how to hold space for their emotions without jumping in with solutions, Level one would be [00:24:00] to just listen to how other men are doing it.

That's it. don't even do anything yet. Just listen to how other men are doing it. Listen to Stephen's podcast, listen to whatever, read a book, whatever level two would be. Now you need to start communicating with yourself. Like you need to figure out. And that's a really simple way to do that is just journaling.

There's a reason why every single coach recommends journaling because it works. so journaling with yourself. So just writing down your feelings and seeing what it's like to actually get them out on paper. And then a level three would be essentially communicating with other men about this or. I'm never gonna be the one one to shy away from professional help.

Like I've had therapists that have therapy is one of the best things that has worked for me in the past because it's nice to not just have a professional help you, but somebody who's completely outside of your circle. Somebody who doesn't know you, doesn't know your significant [00:25:00] other, and could just give you completely unbiased opinion.

That would be like a level three going to that. But level one is just listen to other men who are going through the same thing. So number one, you realize you're not the only a-hole out there who is doing the things that you're doing and everything like that, but also so that you can realize, okay, these dudes have been in my shoes and they've somehow made it work.

Okay, maybe there is hope for me and hope's always a starting point.

Stephen Box: Cool. so one thing that you pointed out there that I love too, this idea of. Working with someone else, right? So whether that's a therapist, whether it's a coach, whatever. because I think this is also a great place to start to learn how to communicate. Now you have to be careful about who you hire here because there are coaches out there that don't know any better and just will tell you could do this, and this without really talking to you, without really seeing what you are about.

and, but if you [00:26:00] can find somebody who is really good at asking you questions and giving you space to communicate and not judging you, not trying to just hand you a solution, not trying to fix things, but is really just like getting more detailed and asking the questions and things like that. This is behavior that you can start to model

Carl Berryman: right.

Stephen Box: now.

Now, Don't model it. Exactly. 'cause your wife or girlfriend or whoever also doesn't want you to have a therapy session with them. But it will teach you how to get outta that mindset of, I need to solve everything. And it will get you into the mindset of getting curious about things.

Carl Berryman: Right?

Yeah. That, so that word definitely needs to be emphasized. Curious, like being curious is so big when it comes to communicating effectively in [00:27:00] relationships because it's funny, especially since I gotta be careful how I phrase this. I don't wanna say, I'm getting away from saying I've battled with depression for a long time because I no longer, I've just come to the point where I don't see depression as a bad thing anymore, just because I know every single time I get into a really dark place, like it's just, Something amazing always comes from it.

Like I always come out stronger. It's no different than the pain inside the gym. And speaking of which, this is another strategy that was, it just, it blew my mind that this alluded me for so long. It's imagine somebody comes to me for a personal training session. I'm like, okay, we're gonna do an assessment.

Let's see how many pushups you can do. And then they go and they do, let's say they do 15 pushups. Okay, you got 15. Okay. So going forward, I know what I'm working with, so I know maybe the next step is to get us to 20. And yet the next workout, they come in and as soon as they get to 12 reps, I see them starting to struggle and I tell them to [00:28:00] stop.

Stephen Box: And they're like, what are you doing? Like I thought the goal was to get to 20. yeah, but you were starting to hurt, right? Like it was getting hard. So I stopped you. Like they would fire me in a second because they came here for that. Because they know that there can be no progress without discomfort.

Carl Berryman: And yet in our relationships, the moment. Discomfort kicks in. We either avoid the, I used to do this all the time, walk away from the conversation, just ignore it and then wake up the next morning. Pretend it never happened. And that just one of my good friends the other day, what did he say? He said, the things we ignore, don't get forgotten.

They get built upon. They don't get forgotten. They get built upon, which means it is it's like an injury in the gym. yeah. okay, my back's hurting. Ah, I don't need to go see physio. I'll just do this and I'll modify this. guess what? In a few weeks or a couple months, whatever started then is gonna put you outta commission now.

So you better look after it at the first sign of that. And [00:29:00] the longer you put it off, the worse it's gonna get. So we have to be, I think it was Tim Ferriss who said, your success in life. Is dependent on the number of uncomfortable conversations you're willing to have. And nowhere is that more true than relationships.

We gotta be willing to step in the gym, realize, okay, that was, that was a little bit too much weight this time maybe. So I'll take some weight off the bar next time I go in and, we'll try it again, but it doesn't end.

Stephen Box: Yeah. and we can even expand upon this, right? Where, excuse me, where it's this idea that, when you start. guys, listen to this very carefully. You're going to be bad at it. Okay? it's like when you first walk into, and you start into the gym and you start working out, and like literally you're just going in, you have no idea, excuse me, what you can lift, right?

You're gonna pick up some weights and they're gonna feel super light, and you're gonna be like, this is way too easy. [00:30:00] And there's gonna be other weights you're gonna pick up and you're gonna be like, I almost died, right? that was probably dangerous, right?

Carl Berryman: Yep.

Stephen Box: and it's gonna be like that as you get into these conversations and as you start to explore these different things in your relationship, because what you're going to find is that there's gonna be some times where they feel really easy.

There's gonna be other times where it's gonna be really difficult. And I think, an analogy that you used a little while ago was this idea about the pushups, right?

Carl Berryman: And what I find that for a lot of guys,and I'm only bringing this up 'cause I, I don't want people to get the wrong idea from it, right?

Stephen Box: Is we've been taught as men that if you did 15 on Friday and you can only do 12 today, that even if it absolutely kills you, you have to do at least 15. and there's a difference between your brain telling you to stop at 12 and your body telling you to [00:31:00] stop at 12. Right? And a lot of times when we get into these conversations or these situations in our relationship, we haven't yet learned to distinguish the mental uncomfortableness from actual damage being done.

and we try to push through and we cause more problems just trying to push through and that's why I completely agree with what Carl said earlier about the first thing you have to do, the first skill you have to develop is awareness. Because awareness is what starts teaching you the difference between I am avoiding this thing just because it's uncomfortable, versus I'm avoiding this thing because doing this would be really stupid.

Carl Berryman: right. You bring up an amazing point there, Stephen, because I. I never really thought about it that way before in terms of, what? Some. So say for example, I am going on week number six of the strength training [00:32:00] program. Now I'm gonna be doing strength for the next six months. And obviously the first three weeks I'm experiencing the newbie gains again, where the weights are just flying up every single work.

And I'm like, yeah, I'm the strongest person in the world. This is awesome. and then all of a sudden it's okay, where you used to jump up 10 or 15 pounds, now you're going up two and a half or five. And it's ah, what's wrong with me? This workout, I have to do this. there was a workout last week where I actually had to go down in weight.

I'm like, okay, does that mean that something's wrong with me? And it's I gotta assess that. I gotta say, was it my that my head just wasn't in it? And that wasn't the case at all because when I lowered the weight, I really wanted to focus on my form and it was my body that was telling me. To slow down, not my head.

but that's something that's really hard to distinguish without awareness and reflection. So going into relationships and communicating and having [00:33:00] conversations and everything like that, there needs to be that awareness there in terms of, and one of those things to be aware of might be the fear.

is this fear a little bit too much to handle for me right now? Is this fear rational? is it like perfect example? Jenny Lee has always been incredibly receptive to whatever I've had to say that I thought she might like just completely go off the deep end on. she's always been very understanding.

and yet there are times where there are some difficult conversations that I want to have and I would hesitate now. Is that fear rational? no, it's not, but it's there. So I have to be asking myself, okay, do I need to have this or am I gonna have this conversation because I know it's a conversation that needs to be had, or am I gonna avoid it out of something that really [00:34:00] isn't real?

Anyways, so it's, it all boils down to getting in the reps, whether it's in the gym or not, and especially like the whole self-awareness piece and reflecting on that and saying, okay, just like in the gym too, it's okay, I hurt my back doing deadlifts. Okay, I need to adjust this and now I know I can go for forward doing it safely.

Okay, we had this conversation. This is what I said, and it triggered that and her, ugh, I'm gonna wanna stay away from that language next time. But it's all about getting in the reps.

Stephen Box: Yeah. to use the gym analogy here, right? So let's say that you, you're one day not quite as strong, like you can't do as heavier weight or you do hurt your back, right? It's that reflection piece that you're talking about in the gym. It's easy, right? I can look at things like, what's my sleep been, right?

How's my nutrition been? am I eating enough? Am I fueling my body properly? Am I getting enough rest? am I doing, Proper recovery. Am I giving myself enough rest days and things like that, right? Am I can analyze [00:35:00] all that stuff and I can figure out where I am, or at least pe people who have our training know how to do that

Carl Berryman: Yeah.

Stephen Box: but you can do that. it's possible to figure those things out and figure out is this just a bad day where I haven't been recovering well enough, or I haven't been, nourished my body enough and that's leading to this, versus say, an injury where I'm now, okay, I need to back up.

But it's not just a matter of oh, I hurt myself doing deadlifts. Let me just avoid deadlifts forever and let me take deadlifts out of my rotation until I get healed up. But while I'm healing, let me do other exercises that are going to strengthen the muscles that got hurt. From my deadlift, right? Or let me make sure that my deadlift form is great because those are things that would've led to the injury.

And I think, to translate that back to the relationship, what I'm hearing you say is we take that exact same approach, right? It's [00:36:00] you do something what we call outcome-based decision making, right? You do something, you see what the reaction is, you see what happens, and then you go, okay, what led to this? What do I need to change? What do I need to fix? What is it, something that I'm doing wrong? Is there something in the environment? Is just, is there a, was just the one off my, significant other, just had a bad day and

what was the root cause here and what can we do to start to fix it?

And fixing it might not be something that's just one step, right?

Carl Berryman: no. And it's so funny, like one of the things that irritates me the most about, the health and fitness industry, and it's been like this for forever and today, but the whole quick fix, oh yeah, you can do this in 30 days, this in 90 days. And sure you there's obviously people that can do that, but it's just, it's, it, to me it's pretty simple math.

How long did it, if we're talking about weight loss, for example, how long did it take you to put it on? Okay, so it took you 15, 20 [00:37:00] years. it's probably gonna take longer than 30 days to get it off then because we got 15 to 20 years worth of habits that we need to look at before we can even contemplate looking at getting off that weight, right?

Because yeah, sure we can help you get it off in 30 days, but those habits are gonna come creeping back in, so we need to do that. but I love what you talked about there with regards to, like the injury piece of it. is this something that I need that's just hurting a little bit or is this a legitimate injury?

Because in relationships, if it is a legitimate injury, then. You're probably gonna want to see somebody professionally who can diagnose that injury and help you find out what that root cause is. Because trying to find it out on our own, oh man, that's, you gotta be willing to put in some serious reps to make that happen.

Whereas if you listen to guys like Stephen, if you listen to guys who have been in the game for a little while in terms of relationships and coaching and things like that, it's okay, just like if somebody is having an issue with their squat, I can watch a few [00:38:00] reps, boom, tell 'em, okay, this is what you need to adjust and let, instead of them having to try to figure it out on their own.

And that's where the benefit of not only, sure, of course, professionals, but even having, and this is one of the biggest things that I harp on all the time now, that if you wanna improve the quality of your life, you need to improve the quality of the men and your relationship you have in your life as a man.

because if you're around the right men, they will be able to tell you straight up, Carl, you were an idiot for saying that. you never should have said that. So I go, oh, Jenny Lee did this, and Jenny Lee. Oh, Carl, what did you say? Oh, I said this. And they'll just be like, and they'll laugh because they'll be like, Carl, you never should have said that.

You are totally in the wrong here. It's not her, it's you. And so having guys in your world that have the capability of doing that from a loving and compassionate standpoint is awesome. Rather than just having echo chambers all the time, guys saying, oh yeah, you know what? Yeah, she shouldn't have done this, or she shouldn't have said that.

It's no. Like maybe you're the problem, not maybe [00:39:00] like you are the problem.

Stephen Box: yeah. and the thing is, to me, it always also comes back to something we talked about earlier, right? Which is this idea that even if she is in the wrong, even if. What she did is, completely unacceptable. A, you can't change it.

Carl Berryman: B, you have to ask yourself, is her reaction based on your past behaviors, right?

Stephen Box: Have you created this issue for yourself? Because if so, just like Carl just told you, if it took you 30 years to gain the weight, you're not gonna get off in 30 days. If you spent the last three years conditioning your significant other to respond a certain way, you're not gonna fix it in five minutes or one conversation.

Carl Berryman: That is a huge tie in right there in terms of conditioning and that is a question that actually I'm gonna pose to [00:40:00] myself as soon as we get off this. I'm gonna write it down. I'm gonna ask myself this question when it comes to the things that Jenny Lee does, and for anybody, like for the guys listening, think about your significant other when it comes to things that they do that irritate you. How have you conditioned them with your responses that is acceptable?

Stephen Box: Yeah.

Carl Berryman: So that's super powerful because our actions are conditioning both ourselves and our significant others. And if all of a sudden, just because you wake up one day and say, oh man, I heard this thing on the podcast today. I'm gonna start doing this.

You start doing it and you don't get the response you want. it's like getting back to the gym for the first time.

Stephen Box: You go back to the gym once, regardless of how hard your workout is, your body is super sore for the next like week. And then eventually that starts to fade off where it's you know what, sometimes you're not even sore.

Carl Berryman: Usually it might be a day or two, but that's it. So you go into your relationship trying to just have [00:41:00] this crusher workout into nowhere. Guess what? There's gonna be some soreness. But when that soreness is coming from your significant other, it's gonna hurt a lot more.

Stephen Box: yeah. so Carl, I did not ask you about this beforehand, so I hope you're okay with doing this.

Carl Berryman: I'm sure I will be.

Stephen Box: what I would like to do here is let's run through two very common scenarios and help guys figure out, figure how to start responding in these situations, right? So we're not giving them like the entire playbook right now.

'cause we could spend easily another couple of hours talking if we did that. but one situation is, you brought it up. They come home and they've had a rough day and they start unloading their problems on you.

Carl Berryman: Yep.

Stephen Box: So because guys have listened to us today, they now know not to just jump in and start problem solving,

Carl Berryman: but that's gonna leave them with this awkwardness now because now I don't know what to do.

Stephen Box: Yep.

okay, I'm gonna be quiet, but then what? [00:42:00] Because I'm not used to showing empathy. I'm not, and I think what a lot of guys are gonna automatically do is they're gonna go,I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to hear that. And guys, I'm gonna tell you from personal experience, it doesn't work.

Yeah. that's be, that's better than problem solving, but not much.

so can you give them just a very simple blueprint here of what. What is that first baby step that they can start to take here?

Carl Berryman: Okay. So the first baby step for sure. and I'm just gonna speak from my experience, the first baby step, so let's say jail comes home and she's super upset, like the waterworks are going and I'm just. One, I'm gonna first talk about a mistake that I would make and then an alternate that I would do.

So a mistake that I would make, I used to make in the past is yes, I'm holding her. I'm making sure that I'm physically creating a loving environment for her. because in the past I would like [00:43:00] totally, like with my ex-wife, she'd be sitting down, I'd be rubbing her back totally insincerely, just thinking, I cannot believe you're crying about this stuff.

This is so ridiculous. Not the right way to go, hence why I'm divorced. but with Jenny Lee, the first thing I'd want to do intrinsically as a man is I would want to get into her head and figure out the thoughts that she's thinking, because if I can change her thoughts, I can change the way she feels.

That's what I would do for me. No. Don't do that. So the first thing I'm doing is I'm making sure I'm holding that space for her, like physically holding her, whatever it is. Whether it's rubbing her back, just giving her a hug, whatever that is. Step number one. Step number two, what I have found with Jenny Lee works really well is validation.

So we want to validate the way that they feel. Now, what does that look like in practice? So if Jenny Lee comes home and after she's been crying and talking through the things, eventually she'll usually say something along the lines of, I know this sounds [00:44:00] stupid, but I'm gonna let her know that it doesn't sound stupid and here's why.

And then I list off an example how I have acted completely irrationally in the past before because I have. So they're thinking their behavior is irrational and they want validation that it's not, even though they're not asking for that. So validating how they feel is huge. And then really, My number one job.

What has worked with me so well with Jenny Lee is I now assume the identity of being her rock. So what does that mean for her? That means that I just need to bring her back down to a calm place as much as possible. She's on the ocean driving the ship, or it might be, let's go back to the gym. She's on the bench, she's getting ready to do bench press and she's pressing the weight.

It's the last rep. She can't get it up. She can't get it up. I'm there to spot, not lift the weight, but spot just enough so that she can re racket [00:45:00] herself. So I'm not going and solving the problems. I just wanna ReRack help her get the weight up to ReRack it. And the way that looks like is just if you want your partner to calm down, provide a calm environment.

Stephen Box: Really that simple. I say simple, but that's not. That doesn't mean easy, like even la like when I said that whole thing about thinking what she's thinking about and asking her words, I actually did that last week and then I caught myself right away. Right after I said it. I was like, ah, Carl, you shouldn't have said that.

Carl Berryman: So then I just went back and just took that away and yeah, it takes some time.

Stephen Box: yeah. It takes a lot of practice and you will slip up. Yes. something you just touched on there that I think is super important to highlight. guys, think about this for a second. Have you ever had somebody come up and put their hand on you? it could just, be like they put their hand on your shoulder or they wrap their arm around you [00:46:00] or whatever, right? Imagine someone that you're really close to. It could be your significant other, it could be a family member, whatever, right? somebody you're really close to. Just think about how you feel in that moment. and by the way, I forgot to mention this earlier, but we talked about it, and I just wanna kind of slide this in here. For every guy out there that goes,I'm a guy. I don't have emotions. I don't think about my emotions, I don't talk about my emotions. If you acknowledge anger, then you have emotions and you talk about them because anger's an emotion. So put that outta your head, okay? so think about the way that makes you feel when that familiar person touches you. And then think about when an unfamiliar person touches you. And think about the dis the difference in how those feel. So Carl pointed out,like rubbing his ex-wife's back. Very [00:47:00] insincerely guys. I'm gonna tell you, she could tell

Carl Berryman: Yeah.

Stephen Box: it felt different to her.

Carl Berryman: And that's why don't do things just because, right?

Stephen Box: This isn't a checklist. I know there's a lot of guys out there that love their checklist, right? They're tell me what to do. I'll check it off the box. I rubbed her back. I held her. I don't know what the problem is, right? You weren't sincere in it. You weren't doing it because it was the right thing to do.

You weren't doing it because it was what you wanted to do for her. You did it because you thought that's what she wanted, and you thought it was going to get a certain reaction. That's the key.

Carl Berryman: Super key. And that makes me think of one more important thing. Even though I was doing all those things for Jenny Lee,

Stephen Box: ironically enough, I was being a hundred percent selfish there. And here's what I mean by that. For me, I have found that my level of [00:48:00] happiness and fulfillment in life is 100% in relationship to me living with integrity and fulfilling who I feel I am as a man.

Carl Berryman: So one of the things that I do in my journaling experience every morning is it always ends with an I am statement. I am this. So inside of my relationship for, I did actually today's Tuesday. So today is always, or Tuesdays are always relationship, health and fitness for me. And so my I am statement today was, I am the king, my queen, and I deserve, I am the king, my queen, and I deserve So as much as it, you know what?

It's cool that I can calm Jenny Lee down and provide that safe environment. I feel proud when I do that. Like I feel like I'm being the Carl that I know I can be. So yes, I do love Jenny Lee and I wanna support her to every end. At the same time, my number one priority, and she's very well aware of this, is me fulfilling my [00:49:00] purpose in whatever way, shape, or form that looks like.

And in this scenario, a king isn't how I've defined it. Somebody who will come in and provide solutions. It's somebody who will create the environment where solutions can be found by the other individual, whether that's a man or Jenny Lee. So even though I'm doing this for her, it's really all about me.

And you've talked about that so many times, Stephen, in terms of not doing things for the sake of just trying to get the other person to change or do something. No, this has to be about you being you, being authentic to yourself. And then it's so amazing when you let go of that stuff, how all of a sudden it just, it comes to you even though you weren't even necessarily looking for it.

Stephen Box: Yeah. so one other scenario I want to touch on here. The other common scenario that I think a lot of guys are gonna find themselves in, so we just talked about when she comes home and something has happened,

Carl Berryman: Yep.

Stephen Box: but what about when the something is us?

Carl Berryman: [00:50:00] Oh, that's a gooder. Okay, so let me think of a scenario where this something was me. Oh man.

Stephen Box: you didn't do something that you said, whatever, right?

Carl Berryman: Yeah, so that one's more so the way that I like to look at that one. If Ken we're gonna go back to the gym, if I'm doing something stupid, it's almost going into the gym and just loading the weight up on the bar that you are going to use for your heavy sets.

Without warming up. Without warming up. Like you just go in there, you are going to hurt yourself. You don't wanna do the warmup. You know what? You know what? Maybe a couple sets of this and then get right at it. No. So me being able to manage when I have something, when I've done something wrong is all about what I've done previously To prepare for that.

I know guys want to have an answer, [00:51:00] oh no, just do this one thing, do X, and it will lead to Y. guess what? There's quite a few letters in the alphabet before Y, and you need to tackle those things ahead of time. But to answer your question more directly, when I do something wrong, oh, now I'm thinking about something I did.

Oh, it might've been Saturday. Yeah, it was Saturday. no, it was Friday and it was bad. Like it wasn't terrible. Like I went, Jenny Lee was on the phone, it was her last day at her previous job on Friday. So it was gonna be a good celebration at night. We're gonna have happy hour and just celebrate her moving on to a new job that she really wanted and got.

So it was awesome. So she's on the phone with her boss. I'm upstairs trying to take a nap, and she's got him on speaker phone. And I'm like, why do you have him on speaker phone? I'm trying to take a nap and if I don't get a nap in, at that point in time when I'm exhausted, oh, I'm such a horrible person to be around.

And so I go downstairs to use the bathroom [00:52:00] and I slam the door. Like I'm upset, but I'm not upset at her. I'm upset at the fact that I'm just, I'm tired, I'm exhausted. I didn't get to sleep. So I come upstairs and I'm like, you know what? I'm just gonna chill out here. And she's downstairs and I know she's done work, but she's not coming upstairs.

And I'm like, so I go downstairs and I can tell. She took me slamming the door. Really, personally, she thought I was mad at her. So what I should have done in that situation that I've done in the past, it actually worked out pretty good. 'cause I wasn't mad at her. was go down and really explain.

Actually, now I think about it. I did do this. I went downstairs and I explained to her, listen, I slammed the door. It wasn't because you, it's 'cause I'm exhausted and I was tired. That was it. Like it, it didn't have anything to do with you. So really long story short there, the quicker you can own the fact that you were in the wrong, the better.

Never expect your partner to do that. Don't ever expect your partner to do that. But if [00:53:00] you want them to start doing it, the sooner you can own up to where you're wrong, the better.

Stephen Box: Yeah. Yeah, I think taking ownership is important. And you could even maybe in that situation have shared and said, the fact that you had the phone on speakerphone, it was preventing me from taking my nap, is what frustrated me. But I should have just, came down and like gave you like the wave and can you take it off speaker phone and trying to sleep versus slamming the door like a child, right?

Carl Berryman: And and here's the thing, what you talked about there is try to put the fire up before there's a fire in the first place. So for I know we, we've been together for now, including that separation like nine years. I know there's things that she does that I'll never understand that she does that used to irritate me.

So why am I surprised when those things happen? But on top of that, why am I not taking measures to not allow [00:54:00] those things to happen? what can I do on my end to prevent the things that might irritate me? Like she's putting out landmines and I know exactly where they are. Why did I go pick them up before I step on them?

Like it's that simple. So yeah, going down ahead of time, being like, Hey, can you take that off the speakerphone? Absolutely. But also being able to communicate the fact that, listen, I know you think that it was you that was irritating me, but I'm just irritated because of this, because of that.

Like really accepting and this is really tough for men and takes practice. Again, accepting responsibility for your feelings regardless of whether or not your significant other did something to really trigger you is one of the quickest ways to close the time period that'll take you guys to get back to your equilibrium.

And if both of you can do that's awesome. It's if I'm in the kitchen and Jenny Lee's tired and she's on a meeting, whatever, and then she snaps at me when I ask her a question, she'll be the first [00:55:00] person to come to me after that saying, you know what? I'm sorry. It's just I, this person was irritating me.

I didn't mean to snap at you. I'm like, I know it had nothing to do with me. That's why I didn't take it personally. which is tough, but doable.

Stephen Box: Awesome man. love it. Really appreciate you, coming on today, man, sharing all these insights. do you have a final thoughts you wanna share with people before you, tell 'em how to get ahold of you?

Carl Berryman: One of the final thoughts that I would say is something, one of my brothers, Dennis Papa Dental, we call him, came up with, amazing man. we talk about this idea of level one, two, and three all the time. okay, so you get, you have to know what your level one twos and threes are before you can start playing at that.

first of all, starting at level one, but then he brought something up with, and this goes with the gym, this goes in relationships, this goes with anywhere. This idea of no more zeros. Like no more zeros. So it's okay, I know I need to have this conversation with my partner because this is just something that's been going on too long and it's gonna [00:56:00] keep getting worse and worse.

But I just, I don't have it in me to have the full blown conversation. Maybe a level one is, you know what? Write it in your calendar for a day that you do wanna talk about it and that you'll commit to it. That's it. that could be a level one, just keeping awareness alive. Or it could be something I got from another brother of mine, his name's Mike, him and his partner, they've actually worked some things out in advance.

Let's say, for example, if it's money, they say, okay, how do we want to talk about this when we talk about it? So they're not having a problem right now, but they can anticipate some problems that will come up. We all have problems with money. We all have problems with communication. We all have problems with intimacy.

And then discussing ahead of time when you're not in the mix of it. Okay. How do we want to talk about this? When we want to talk about it? 'cause then you at least have a reference point. That was a really good tip that I got from him. That's super, super easy to apply.

Stephen Box: Awesome. and I'll add one, just for myself there that I've found, my wife is one of those people [00:57:00] that really needs time to process things.

Carl Berryman: If you just dump something on her, and one immediate answer, she's just gonna get I irritated. what I've learned to do is if there's something going on that I wanna talk to her about, I'll go to her and I'll say, Hey, This has been going on it, it's something that, is causing, me to be irritated or whatever.

Stephen Box: And I want to talk about it. I honestly don't know what the solution is right now,but I just wanted to bring it to your attention so you could start to think about it. And it gives me some more time to think about it and then we can have a conversation and figure out like, how can we make this work for both of us?

Carl Berryman: and that goes to you reflecting back on how your wife responds to things, and then remembering that in the present situation, knowing that she's gonna need some time. So that reflection, not only, we talked about self-awareness being super important and a relationship awareness of the other is gonna be pretty important as well.

Yeah. So that's a huge [00:58:00] one.

Yeah. and and the thing is, I don't know if guys caught it or not, but in the example and the way that I was wording that, I'm also very careful to not go, Hey, you're doing this thing totally wrong and I need to talk to you about it. Yeah.

Stephen Box: you're doing this thing and this is how I'm feeling about that thing,

Carl Berryman: Yep.

Stephen Box: right?

and you might even include in there, I know you probably don't mean to make me feel this way, but this is how I'm feeling about it, right? and I'm, and you're really, you're doing everything you can to not place any blame on them, but you're allowing them to self-reflect and place blame on themself if there's something they need to change.

Carl Berryman: Yep. Yeah, I can support that one a hundred percent. Because language is anything that the smallest tweaks will make the biggest difference. Like General Lee and I, same thing. I know this probably wasn't your intent, but when you said this came up for me.

Stephen Box: Yeah.

Carl Berryman: That's it.[00:59:00]

Stephen Box: Yeah.

So, awesome man. so if someone is listening to this entire hour plus of our interview today, and they are thinking to themself, this is really great stuff. I learned so much today. I love this. Which I know every single person who's listened has walked away with that today. But if they're thinking to themself, but I have no idea how to do this.

I, I need help. how do they get ahold of you?

Carl Berryman: Instagram's the best way to go. It's at Ignite the impact. And on there it's funny. On March, what is it? The 21st, I believe? Yeah, the 21st. I'm actually having a relationship masterclass that goes over all of these things. A lot of the things that we talked about here and now. Some of the tidbits you've given me, I'm most certainly gonna add there for sure.

but at Ignite the impact because there they can get, if you wanna work on your self-awareness, I have a journal on there, a free digital download you can download to start just getting [01:00:00] aware of how you communicate with yourself. And then most importantly, taking steps on an like actionable steps every single time you journal.

So it's not just a matter of, oh, this is what my feelings are and whatever. And there's not, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with just writing out your feelings. I've just found for me, if I can actually find steps, small steps to take as a result of getting in contact with my feelings, then it's just all that much better.

yeah, just hit me up on IG and I'm more than happy. I do free coaching calls too, so if anybody wants to hop on a coaching call, that's totally cool with me.

Stephen Box: Awesome. appreciate, very much for, coming on and sharing your insights today, Carl. I just want to remind everyone that while none of us are born unshakable, we can all become unshakable.

Intro/Outro: Thank you for listening to the Unshakable Habits podcast with Coach Stephen Box. Be sure to hit the subscribe button and help us spread the word by sharing the podcast with other men. If you are ready to create Unshakable habits, you [01:01:00] can learn more and connect with us at UnshakableHabits.com.

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