GAP 18 | Tragic Hero


A lot of us get stuck in this cycle of shame and guilt over things that happened in the past. As a result, we keep ourselves from truly living and reaching for opportunities that make us who we are. Wally Bressler is no stranger to this. Having gone through a traumatic and harrowing childhood, he has transformed himself and created a life of success. Now, he is a real estate agent/broker, coach, and speaker. Wally joins this episode to share with us his incredible story with his book, Tragic Hero. He talks about dismantling the victim mentality, overcoming addiction, and dealing with bullying. Full of attitude lessons and insights, Wally offers us inspiration to navigate the challenges life offers. At the end of the day, we still have chances to create the life we want, no matter how bad things are. Follow this conversation to find out more!

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Tragic Hero: Rising From Traumatic Past Experiences With Wally Bressler

We got a fantastic guest that is coming to us. For those of you who feel like, “Glen, my life has been bad. I’ve been crapped on. It’s been tough. I don’t know that I can come back.” We have a person that has written an incredible memoir. I love this book. It’s called Tragic Hero: Picking Up the Pieces and his name is Mr. Wally Bressler. He reveals the most harrowing secrets of his childhood from surviving sexual, physical, and emotional abuse to escaping the gnarly roots of addiction that claimed his life at a young age.

Through a transformational story that emphasizes the importance of dismantling the victim mentality, Bressler challenges his readers to venture through the pain of their past so that they can take a radical responsibility toward the future. Wally and I have spoken on the stage together. We were down in Texas earlier this 2023. He is an author, speaker, and coach. He is a master of phone sales. He’s got so much to talk about, but hopefully, we’ll be able to give you guys some tips and attitudes on what it takes to become a master phone salesperson.

In this world that we live in, so many of us are running internet-based businesses, and it’s about AI, email blasts, and drip email campaigns. I still do believe that the phone is probably one of the best ways for you to connect with customers, potential customers, and clients. It’s a gateway to a lot of funds because it is a skill and a technique that is not used much anymore. Without further ado, I want to bring up my good friend and one of the best real estate coaches in the nation, Mr. Wally Bressler.

Wally, welcome to the show.

Thank you. It’s an honor to be here. Thanks for the very generous and kind introduction. I appreciate it. It’s good to be here.

Let’s dig right into it. You just released a book. A lot of people are always like, “I want to write a book. I’m going to write a book. I might write a book. No, I’m going to write a book.” did you have that same experience?

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A lot of people are like, “I want to write a book.” People are like, “You should write a book.” I thought about it, but there were some things going on in my life personally that I detail in the book that kept me from pulling the trigger. As a result of the things that had happened when I was younger and a lot of bad choices I made as a teenager and adult, I created a belief system of not being good enough, shame, and sadness. I was like, “Nobody wants to hear my story.” I was trying to hide from people and I decided one day, I’m like, “I’m not going to hide anymore.”

I went and told my story on all my social media outlets. When you share the things about yourself, you might be ashamed of or don’t feel good about, two things happen. Number one, it takes all the power away. Nobody can say anything about you that is bad because you’ve already taken full responsibility for it. The other thing is the level of empathy you get from people is staggering. Many people have gone through a lot of the things that I’ve gone through and other challenges that people have gone through. Once I did that, I was like, “I have to tell my story.” That’s what led me to go ahead and write the book. You’ve written a book before you know it’s not a small project. I read my book 30 times editing it and getting it ready. I worked hard and it took a few years to get out the door, but I’m happy it’s out there.

Tell me what you think the definition of attitude is. What does attitude mean to you? How would you define it? Who is your first or best attitude coach in your life?

I would define attitude as the choices we make and how we are going to handle the things that are thrown at us in life. We have 100% control over our emotions and our responses or reactions to the things that are thrown at us in life. In my opinion, your attitude about how you go about that is 100% your responsibility. It dictates how your life is going to be. Gary De Rodriguez is a business and life coach. He says, “Life happens from us, not to us.” We’re sending it out. Your attitude of how you handle things, how you respond to things, and how you treat people in certain situations is ultimately going to determine what happens for you there.

GAP 18 | Tragic Hero
Tragic Hero: Attitude is the choices we make and how we handle the things that are thrown at us in life.


My first attitude coach or influence on attitude was a guy named Bob DeMelo. He was my first coach. I remember I was in seventh grade, I used to get up in the morning and walk to school at about 6:00 in the morning and went to weightlifting. Bob was a good coach. He taught me a lot about life and being a good athlete. I remember he left teaching to go become an insurance agent. If you’ve been in sales forever and when you become a salesperson, organizations do all kinds of personal development for you. He brought back a lot of great skills and strategies about how to be successful in life and in sports from that. He shaped a lot of who I was as an athlete.

In fact, I’ll tell you a quick story to give you an idea. I did not have a good childhood. I had a rough childhood. I did tell that in my book. I had low to no self-esteem and lots of self-loathing. I did not feel good about who I was in general. I had no confidence. In my junior year in high school, he is like, “You got to come out for the track team.” I’m like, “I’ve never done track before.” When I say track, the shop where I wasn’t running. You’ve seen me, I’m not a small man. I played football and did track in high school and college.

Bob was like, “Come up with the track team.” I’m like, “Okay.” I threw the shop, but to qualify for the state meet, you had to throw 40 feet. For 3rd or 4th meet, I threw 40 feet. He got us ready for the state meet. I qualify for states in my first year. He says, “Let’s listen to this visualization audio.” We listened to visualization audio from an Olympic weightlifter and how he had lifted the most in his life by visualizing things. I wish I’d put down a larger number, but I said, “I want to throw 44 feet, 10 inches.” I wrote it down on my sneakers. Everywhere I walked, I looked at it. It’s mental picturization.

We get to the state meet. I am confident that I knew it was farther than I’d ever thrown before and I ended up coming in second in the state in my first year. He goes, “I saw when you walked in tonight that you were ready to go.” “What did I throw?” He pulled out a sheet and he goes, “You threw 44 feet, 10 inches.” I still get goosebumps talking about it. Even though there were other things I dealt with during the period of my life that weren’t great and bad decisions I made, that’s how he served me about attitude. I’m controlling how I’m going to feel about something and what I’m going to do about something.

I love it. GAPer, lesson number one with Wally is the power of visualization. What a powerful story. If you’re reading this, my question to you is, what are you visualizing for your future? What are you going to write down on your sneakers? Whether it’s income, relationships, weight, drug addiction, or alcohol addiction making those numbers zero, or whatever it might be, the power of visualization is effective as described by the great Wally Bressler.

Wally, when we talk about traumatic childhood, you do touch on it in your book. Let’s be honest, I’m not so sure that the abuse problem isn’t even magnified more now than it ever was before with what’s going on in the world. What’s your number one advice to those people reading that have suffered that abuse like you? What’s your advice for those people that maybe know something is going on with somebody else, but they’re not directly involved and maybe they could help?

GAP 18 | Tragic Hero
Tragic Hero: Picking Up the Pieces

The first thing is you have to accept the fact that it’s not your fault. A lot of us engage in a lot of shame and guilt over things that happened in the past. I was sexually abused. I had a food-binging disorder since the time I was six. My parents used to send me to bed without dinner when I was 3, 4, and 5 years old. I started looking at pornography when I was eleven. I started having sex when I was twelve. I was bullied all the way until 13 or 14. I created a tremendous amount of shame and guilt in me.

It took me until I was 49 years old to realize that those things weren’t my fault. I had to accept responsibility for the decisions I made along the way and the things I did to hurt myself and other people, but it wasn’t because I was trying to be mean, hurtful, or malicious. It’s because I hated myself. I did not have a good operating system for how I was going to take care of things. The first thing is you got to say, “I accept the decisions that I made, but the way that I am emotionally, psychologically, and mentally is not my fault.”

The first thing is you got to have radical honesty. You got to be honest with yourself that there are some things that are just not right. You have to look in the mirror and say, “These things are not good.” I got up to 480 pounds at one time. I was addicted to pornography, sex, and money. I’ve probably blown about $5 million in my lifetime. I hurt my children. I cheated on my ex-wife four times. I did get honest about the fact that I was making lots of horrible decisions. I had to go and look and find out where those horrible decisions were coming from and at least identify the fact that, “I’m going to be honest with myself. I’m in a bad place because of these things.”

The second thing is this radical transparency. This is like the twelve steps for Alcoholics Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous. One of those things is apologizing to people for what you did to hurt them. You’ve got to be radically transparent and say, “I did this. I own that I did this. I see how it affected you and I’m sorry about that.” Not just that, but also having conversations with family members and letting them know why you turned out the way you did. One of the first conversations I had, when I was healing, was with my four children to explain to them what happened and why I went to prison, why I did the things that I did, and why I wasn’t a good dad for so long, and accepting responsibility for that.

The last part is radical responsibility, which is if this is going to change, it’s going to be me. We’re not going to wake up tomorrow morning thinner, healthier, happier, and wealthier. We’re not going to wake up and have that happen. We’ve got to take responsibility for the actions we need to take to get the results we want. It’s not easy, but it’s a lot easier than living in pain for decades if that makes any sense.

We've got to take responsibility for the actions we need to take to get the results we want. Click To Tweet

Radical honesty, be honest about what you need to change. Radical transparency, make sure you tell yourself and other people that, “I’m being real with you. I owned what I did. This is why I did it and I own why I did it.” Radical responsibility, some things have to change and you’ve got to take action and that’s the only way it’s going to change. Otherwise, nothing is going to happen and it’s going to get worse for you.

I love it. How did you make millions of dollars?

I’ve lost everything four times in my life from making bad decisions. Part of the way that I made millions of dollars was by learning lessons from some of the dumb stuff I did. I went to college. I got a great college education. We talked about this before. We both played college football. I graduated from a great college and I went into the mutual fund industry. I was making about $100,000 a year by the time I was 28.

I got into the real estate industry when I was 30. Through sales, I sold 72 houses in my first 14 months in the business. I have a great real estate organization and then I’ve been coaching pretty much straight through since 2006. I’m also doing sales for my own business and for other people in real estate. I was doing real estate investing for a while.

A lot of hard work, phone skills, sales, and probably early mornings and late nights, and you amassed a fortune or some high income, and then you gave it all away to strippers and porn sites.

Yes and no. That wasn’t the big issue. I gave it away to people because I wanted them to like me. I’m spending money on things I shouldn’t have spent money on. My ex-wife had a friend and she wanted to live in a neighborhood with her friends. I wanted to make her happy. I was a pleaser so I bought a $440,000 house, BMW, and a brand-new Town & Country minivan. I spent a truckload of money like a knucklehead. I bought a motel that I shouldn’t have bought. Mostly were trying to outrun the shame that I experienced in life. I did spend a lot of money on food. In fact, for a few years when I was still addicted to food, I spent $48,000 on food.

Fast food or good food?

Not good food. The people at Uber Eats and DoorDash loved me. I had an addiction to money, which means as soon as it came in, I was like, “I got to spend this. I got to do something with this. Let me shower people with gifts. Let me buy stuff for people. Let me do dumb stuff with it.” I was living paycheck to paycheck while I was making $250,000 a year or more. It was bad.

People with financial problems do stem from, “I don’t feel like I’m worth what I’m making.” The only way to self-correct this is to get rid of it all and repeat the cycle. Talk to me a little bit about food addiction. We could have somebody that’s suffering from food addiction right now on this show. Try to encapsulate it and give us food addiction 101. Obesity is everywhere in America. We got to be the most obese society that there is. What have you learned about being addicted to food and binge eating, and all that? What’s the diagnosis and then what’s the cure for people?

I’m going to take it out a little further. Any addiction is a response to pain. I saw on TV this commercial for an addiction center. The guy who owned it said, “When people come in and say they’re addicted, I don’t say, why the addiction? I say, why the pain?” It’s an avoidance strategy. You have alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, food, and smoking.

Any addiction is a response to pain. Click To Tweet

You also have procrastination, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and all kinds of things that would not seem to be addictions, but are. Also, Imposter syndrome and addiction to money. There’s no shortage of reasons that people are an avoidance strategy. Food addiction is the very first pain management strategy that was made available to me. You grew up in an Irish Catholic family, right?


I grew up in a Roman Catholic family. When you grew up in an Italian family, there are three means of communication, food, getting yelled at, and getting hit. You get 1 of those 3 modes of communication. Food was a big thing in my family. My mother’s motto was that if you go from the table hungry, it’s your own fault. For the most part, everybody in my family is obese which I’m genetically related to.

My parents suffered from anxiety. They both smoked. My dad drank a lot for a while. We were all overweight. Food was a pacifier for all of us. For me, when you get sent to bed when you’re 3, 4, or 5 without food, it creates a tremendous amount of fear of being hungry in you. My parents weren’t trying to be mean. They weren’t bad people. That’s what they were raised on. That’s how they treated you.

I remember my first day of first grade and it was snack time that day. We got our milk and everybody else ate their snack. I ate my entire lunch and my snack. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to eat. That turned into sneaking food. Whenever I was having a tough time, I would eat. Being a high school and college football player, it was easy for me to hide when I was eating because I was busy. I was athletic. I was a big guy. When I was in college, I played the defensive line. I was 6’3 and 280.

You were rewarded for it.

When the coach says, “You could be one of the best players we’ve had at our school.” I’m like, “Yes, I could.” You then get out of football and the next thing you know you’re still eating the way you are. Interestingly enough, most of the time you’re eating, you’re not eating because of physical hunger. You’re eating because of emotional hunger.

Emotional hunger is similar to physical hunger. You still get the same feeling in your stomach and whatnot, but the difference is real hunger comes on over time. Emotional hunger comes in like that. While I was working on myself and getting better, I was talking to a psychiatrist. I said, “Let me ask you a question. How is it that I can eat a full meal and then an hour later I want something like shrimp scampi?” She’s like, “You’ve trained your brain your entire life, and that food is a safety mechanism. It’s a safety blanket. It’s how we get protected.”

Our brains work on neuroplasticity. Whatever we tell it to do, it’s going to do. The more we do it, the more ingrained it gets. She said, “Basically, what’s happening is even though you’re not hungry, your brain is like anxiety and fear is going to come again. Why don’t we eat and get ahead of it on its own?” You train your brain to protect you after a while. It’s like, “We get it.” I have this urge to eat. I have this urge to smoke or do drugs. Sometimes it’s not even because of a trigger, but it’s because we’re so used to protecting ourselves with that addiction that it’s like, “It’s been an hour, but let’s do it anyway.”

The solution part of it is you’ve got to recognize when these emotions come up. T. Harv Eker, the Millionaire Mind, talks about TFAR, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, and Results. A thought triggers us and we’re supposed to feel an emotion. Either we take an action or inaction, which is still an action, and then there’s a result. People who are addicts and avoiders go, “Procrastination thought, drugs thought, alcohol thought, or food thought, and let’s not deal with that emotion.”

If you want to overcome any addiction, including call reluctance or what causes call reluctance, you’ve got to let that emotion come up and you’ve got to let it pass. The best way to do that is through mindfulness, which is focusing on the present. We get freaked out when we think about the future and all the bad things that can happen with all that anxiety. There’s a lot of sadness and depression when we think about the past, but if I’m focusing on what’s going on right now, I can’t focus on either of those.

I teach people box breathing, in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4. That takes you out of your fight or flight instinct and into your rest and digest, which is where you’re cool. If you practice that enough on the good side, your brain takes over there too. Eventually, it won’t let all that crap come in, but you got to work at it.

What landed you in prison, Wally?

Bad choices. When we have addictions, first of all, we stopped developing emotionally because we’re numbing all of our emotions. Brené Brown says, “When you numb one emotion, you numb them all.” I can’t numb pain and not numb happiness. I can’t numb sadness and not numb love. You numb everything. I’m spending my entire life dealing with all these addictions, spending a stupid amount of money, eating as much as I want, having sex with whoever I want, watching pornography, and then living in shame every day behind that.

I want to make money. I had an opportunity to do some real estate investing in 2005 and 2006. I was doing well in real estate. At that time, this was 2005 and 2006, this is the Wild West. If you could fog a mirror, you could get a loan. The guy that I was working with worked for Countrywide. He’s like, “There are all kinds of flexible loan programs out there. Let’s go ahead and buy people’s properties that are in distress. We’ll pay off all their debt, help them improve their credit, and they can buy their home back.” That’s what we did, but unfortunately, he was taking advantage of those loans, and was basically lying on mortgage applications, and whatnot.

My name was on the paperwork and I did stuff. I didn’t ask questions. I looked the other way at stuff so I have to accept responsibility for what happened. I wasn’t trying to steal money, but I wasn’t exactly trying to do things to stop it. He ended up submitting about $15 million worth of loan applications to multiple banks. People lost their houses because he stopped paying mortgages and going to casinos, buying cars, and doing dumb stuff with them.

He called and said, “The FBI wants to talk to us.” I’m like, “Why would the FBI want to talk to us?” He said, “It seems what we were doing was illegal.” I’m like, “Mike, I asked you if it was illegal.” He goes, “I know.” I hired an attorney in 2008. It took me five years to figure out if I was going to prison or not. I got one count of mail fraud and spent 366 days in prison.

That will affect your attitude.

It will indeed.

I’m guessing it wasn’t hardcore prison. Nonetheless, there are still bars.

It was in a prison camp. There are no walls around it or anything like that, but it’s still a prison. You still get treated like a prisoner. You have very few rights. They’ll treat you the way they want. If they want to take your stuff and throw it around or If they want to punish you, they’ll punish you. Prison is like the Bizarro World. Outside, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In prison, you’re guilty until proven innocent. There are these rooms probably 8×6, 6-foot-high cinder blocks with bunk beds and a couple of lockers. Your celly, that’s what they call them, if he screws up, you get screwed up too. If he has tobacco and he doesn’t own it, then you both go to the SHU until they find out who owns it.

GAP 18 | Tragic Hero
Tragic Hero: Prison is like the Bizarro World. Outside, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In prison, you’re guilty until proven innocent.


Did they lock you in your room?

We got locked in at night. Not in a room, but we got locked into the sleeping area or where we lived. Every night, we got locked in from 9:00 until 6:00 the next morning.

Was there more than just you and your roomie there?

There were probably little over 350 people on the 2 different sides of the camp. Eighty percent of the people there are for drugs. Some of them were there for white-collar crimes. One of the guys was there for stealing corn. Too much of stealing a lot of corn and taking it across state lines. There was some dumb stuff, but mostly drugs. Meth was huge.

When Rudy Giuliani worked with the government and created the Rico Act and started using the ability to take on a bunch of people through association, they started applying that to the drug thing. They’d find some guy that had four grams of meth on him and they’d say, “You are part of this ring. We heard you take a phone call from the big guy. If you roll over on him, we’ll give you a lighter sentence.” Guys were going to prison for not even doing a whole lot of stuff there, even though they did it.

Interestingly enough, I did not work on the things I needed to work on. I lost a bunch of weight, which I gained all back when I got out, but I didn’t work on all the mental and emotional stuff. When I got out, I went right back to making bad decisions again. In fact, I started dating somebody. I so badly wanted to be in love and wanted to do a better job than my marriage that I looked past all the red flags. It’s a very toxic relationship.

I was with this woman for four and a half years. She took an engagement ring from me and we were going to get married. She was supposed to move down from Illinois to be with me. I broke up with her because she wouldn’t come down. Two days later, I found out that she was married the entire time we were together. She had lied to me about everything. For me, that was like, “This is the last bad decision from the thousands of bad decisions I made,” and I decided I was going to take my own life.

I was literally sitting right here in my house in a leather chair. I was looking out the French doors and the light in the garage. I’m like, “I don’t have a gun. I couldn’t take all the medicine I had. It wasn’t enough to kill me. Maybe what I’ll do is I’ll call the police and run after them with a knife. Maybe they’ll shoot me and slit my wrists.” God was like, “Do you remember your dad died? Do you remember how crappy it was?” My dad died when I was 23. They’re like, “Are you going to do this to your kids?” I said, “No.” I then decided I was going to work on myself. I was 49 at that time.

What’s the best attitude lesson that you learned in prison?

Dale Carnegie talks about this. It’s not how to win friends and influence people, but he talks about how to stop worrying and start living. One of the things he says is, “You got to live-in day-tight compartments.” I can’t do anything about yesterday. I got nothing to do about tomorrow. Let me do the best I can for today and not worry about it. I get into my daily rituals, do what I need to do, and focus on doing everything.

I’m doing the best I can at that moment and have an attitude of gratitude for what’s going on for the fact that I still have a bed and a pillow, still eating, have clothes, and my family is still taken care of. It’s the attitude of gratitude and that you’re doing the best you can to get through each day and not worrying about what happened yesterday and what’s happening tomorrow.

Was there an inmate there who either took you under his wing or showed you the way? Was there an inmate that was an old philosopher? Was there a guy that you were particularly drawn to and you’re like, “This son of a gun’s got some good stuff?” I’d love to know his name and what did he teach you.

It’s interesting that you asked that question. I weighed 480 pounds and I basically gave them the clothes that I was wearing and said, “You can throw these away,” because they were a mess. They gave me a white jumpsuit and a T-shirt. The jumpsuit only went up to my belly button. I couldn’t get it over my stomach. They gave you these slippers and they’re like, “You can’t wear these too long because they’re just for transition.”

I got there and I had no shoes. I had to get rid of these. The commissary didn’t open until Wednesday. I couldn’t get my boots because it was Labor Day weekend. For the first time in my life, I did not have shoes to wear. Of all the things, I could not find a pair of shoes that fit me. There was a guy there that helped me. The Christian group was good. Whether you’re a Christian or not, they give everybody a bag full of toiletries and all kinds of other stuff. The guy brought me a pair of sneakers that fit me. It’s a size fourteen sneakers. These sneakers had been worn by probably no less than ten guys. One of them had laces and one of them had boot laces. Those are my sneakers for about a week and I was very grateful for that.

There was a guy named Rex who’d been in for 19 years and he had 4 or 6 years more years to go. I used to walk up to Rex and be like, “What’s up, Rex?” He would say, “Your paycheck is my blood pressure.” He had a good attitude and was a believer. When I was having tough times, he would sit and talk with me and say, “You have to make the best of it.” The hardest days were Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays. He says, “This is not a forever thing. This is not terminal. Eventually, this will be over someday. You have to look at it that way. It’s all going to end someday. You’re going to go back into your life and go ahead and do all the things you want to do.”

Whenever he needed to talk, he’d sit and talk with me. He told me his story. He tried to kill himself right after he got into prison. Somebody came and saved him. He was the same as me. He was addicted to meth and cheating on his wife. He was making meth and selling it, and now he’s in prison. He is one of the most respected guys there. He’s treating people well and people look to him for advice, direction, and support. He was one of the guys that helped me get through that.

You mentioned that you were bullied as a kid. What bullying incident affected your attitude the most? It’s happening. People now have kids that are being bullied. There are kids that might be reading this that are being bullied. Tell us one instance when that happened and what happened. What are your thoughts on bullying? As a result of being bullied, how can you help those who are seeking answers to move past it?

The kids down the street made up a poem about my family. It was the nut family. They called me Walnut, my mother Chestnut, and my sister Peanut. They had made a whole song and rhyme about it. They used to sing that every time they came to see me. Because I didn’t have any emotional management, they knew they could get a rise out of me.

Interestingly enough, my parents never taught me to protect myself physically. This is a funny story now, but they took me to karate, gave me classes, and bought me a Gi. As soon as they dropped me off, I went over to the bowling alley, bought candy, and played video games for an hour, came back, and waited for them. I didn’t learn how to protect myself physically, so I learned how to protect myself verbally. I became, for lack of a better word, a verbal assassin. I could say anything I wanted to hurt you.

You are very witty.

I appreciate that. I tell people, “You can’t hurt my feelings.” I grew up a fat kid. When you’re younger and you’re bullied, you want to be included so badly. If anybody is reading this, we get approval for places because we spend most of our time there. We look for it at home and at school. If you don’t get it at home and at school, it strengthens your need for approval and acceptance.

This is why call reluctance is so pervasive in sales. Sixty percent of salespeople have a very strong need for approval, acceptance, and being liked. They’re not going to put themselves in a situation where they could be rejected or not liked. They’re not likely to pick the phone up because of that. For newer salespeople, it’s 89% and only 27% of the top 10% of salespeople have sales call reluctance.

I digressed. We’re playing on the road and we have bikes. We’re taking turns jumping. We decided that we were going to jump over each other. They’re like, “You go first.” “Okay. No problem.” I laid down, but instead of jumping over me, they rode their bikes over me until I can get up. It was not widthwise, but lengthwise and near my face. It was a pretty horrible experience. I had a lot of nightmares.

I have a couple of my kids that have been bullied. What I’ve learned is that people bullying you has nothing to do with you. My mother used to say, “They wouldn’t have fun with you if they didn’t like you.” In fact, they would because they’re angry and terrible people. She thought it was because they were investing time in me. They’re bullying you out of the fact that they don’t like themselves. They have misplaced anger. They’re projecting their feelings. They’re hurting you because they’re hurting. Hurt people hurt people.

People bullying you has nothing to do with you. Click To Tweet

There is something to be said about standing up to a bully, but also doing it in a nice way. If kids are bullying you, walk away if you can. Don’t engage them because they want you to engage them. Don’t internalize it because we don’t need anybody’s acceptance in this world except for our own. I’ve been telling my kids this forever. You don’t need anybody. You don’t even need my acceptance or your mother’s acceptance or approval. There’s only one person that has to approve of you and that’s you. Somebody not liking you does not make you not likable. Somebody not loving you does not make you not lovable.

We don’t need other people’s approval and acceptance. We have to have it of ourselves. If somebody is bullying you, tell your parents to do something about it. Bullying my kids was the wrong thing to do because I was bullied as a kid. You picked on the wrong kid to make fun of. I spent a lot of time in school sticking up for my kids. That was me.

We have a lot of very successful people that are reading this. As I talk to these folks and they go, “I’ve worked so hard and done so much, yet there are still people out there that are backstabbing me. I try not to let it affect me.” I try to say, “Guys, it’s all them. It’s not you.”

We’ve only met once, but spent a couple of days together and had dinner together. You are clearly the salt of the earth. You come from a position of a high level of service. You’re a believer. You honor your relationship with God, which I respect. You treat people the way that God wants us to treat people. I try and do that now too, but the problem is when we do that, it also leaves us open to being taken advantage of. Even though we don’t want to be hurt by stuff like that, sometimes it does hurt us because we do serve at such a high level and want zero in return.

Not that we’re doing things for gratitude reasons. I’m not doing something nice so I can get a thank you. Those people get upset when somebody doesn’t wave back when they let them in. Did you let them in so you get a wave? We’re not doing it for gratitude. We’re doing it because we want to help people. I try and conduct myself as a good person and take care of people. When people say stuff about me, it sucks. Usually, we don’t let it bother us, but occasionally, we’re having a rough day and that person said that about me, I’m like, “You rat bastard.” Overall, we don’t want it to keep us from moving forward and doing it again.

I want to take it back to your college football days. That’s a big commitment. There’s a lot to be learned. It was probably a time when you were the happiest, most accepted, at least bullied, and maybe some of the best years of your life before the shit hit the fan. What was the attitude lesson of college football for you?

I got the helmet from college from one of the coaches. I’m like, “I want to represent,” so I put that up on the shelf. By the time I was eighteen, I was a mess. I did not like myself. I wasn’t drinking a lot at that time. I was in great shape because I played football. I was making money and wasting it. My priorities at school were my football, fraternity, having sex, and then partying in school. In fact, I got 75 in the first semester of my freshman year, which is not bad when your mother’s been an educator for many years at that time. She’s like, “I’m going to make it easy on you. You need to get a B or better in all your classes in the second semester, or there’s no fraternity and football.” Miraculously, all Bs are better.

It’s an attitude lesson right there.

When your back is up against the wall, you can fold or you can fight. I did not like myself. I hid it well though. It was a small campus. I was very fortunate. I let it for all four years. I was a College Football Preview Magazine Preseason All-American in my senior year. I had a lot of fun and made a lot of great connections, but inside, I hated myself. I was not happy. I started having depression in my junior year. I remember, in my senior year, I started having anxiety because I hadn’t had a job. We’re roughly the same age, right? When did you graduate from college? I graduated in ‘90.

GAP 18 | Tragic Hero
Tragic Hero: When your back is up against the wall, you can fold, or you can fight.


I never graduated, but it would’ve been ‘90 if I did.

We’re pretty much the same age. The whole point is that was a double-dip recession. The second worst year since World War II to graduate and get a job. It was tough and I was freaking out. I did not like myself at all. I hated being there and I almost left. In my book, I tell the story about telling one of my strength coaches, Paul Adey. I’m like, “I want to go.” He’s like, “What are you stupid? Why would you leave this?” He got me to stay and I’m glad I did. Some of my best friends on the planet are from school. Football was good because it made me show up every day. It forced me to focus on going and playing. Since my freshman year, I didn’t want to lose my starting position.

I fought through the sadness, the anxiety, and the depression. I went there and played. I probably could have done a better job, but it at least made me have to show up all year round for lifting and football. Even though it wasn’t the happiest, I was in the best shape of my life at that time. It forced me to put on the happiest face that I could.

College football is not easy because you got two weeks of double sessions at least before the school year. You got two and a half months of a football season and you travel. Sometimes you left on a Friday and got back on late Saturday. Your weekend is shot. You’re doing your homework whenever you can. With practice, it’s easily probably a 30-hour commitment during the week.

Yes, if not, more.

You played D-1. I played D-3. Even then, we flew, traveled by bus, or whatever, we’d leave on Friday afternoon at 2:00 and then we’d be on the bus all day. We’d go there, walkthrough, have dinner, go to bed, play on Saturday, shower up, eat dinner, and drive back. We’d get back late Saturday night. We’d have to be back at the field house on Sunday for conditioning or getting treatment and stuff like that. It required me to show up and use my time wisely. It taught me a lot about discipline. I was bullied and made fun of in college too. I was an easy target. You could get a rise out of me easily. It was my own fault.

You could walk away and not punch somebody in the face or assault them verbally. How did you learn to cope with that? Did you accept it and let it roll off your back? Is that probably the healthiest way to do it and not listen?

The biggest thing that I learned is that once you accept yourself for who you are and that you realize that you don’t need anybody’s approval or acceptance, people can say whatever they want about you. Sometimes they would say stuff about me and I would agree with them. “You’re fat.” “I am. I need to lose some weight, don’t I?” That takes all the power away from it.

When we talk about everyday hard work, rituals, and not letting other people affect your mentality or your attitude, this gets into what you do. Wally has coached some of the most successful salespeople in the nation. He has the Trigger Sales System. I want to finish with your thoughts for the people that are in sales. I’ve always said, “I don’t care if you’re a doctor, a shoe salesman, or a dressmaker, everybody is selling something.” If anything, you’re selling yourself on why and what you’re doing is okay. Talk to us a little bit about your philosophy or your attitude when it comes to sales. What does Trigger Sales System mean?

We’ve been selling since we were kids. We want the extra cookie, fifteen minutes of video game time, a date with the girl, get into college, or meet somebody and get married. We’re selling ourselves all the way through our entire life. As you said, everybody is a salesperson at one point or another. Many people are like, “I want to help and serve other people,” but what happens is a lot of people don’t take care of themselves first and make sure that they’re in good shape, which makes it hard for them to serve at the highest level. Does that make sense?


I use that analogy or the metaphor of being on the plane. In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, a mask is going to come down. Even though the bag doesn’t inflate, there’s oxygen, put yours on first, then you can help other people. Many people get into real estate because of time freedom, money freedom, and location freedom. Cliff Freeman calls them the three freedoms. They want all that, but the problem is they put all of the stuff they need to do with themselves on the side and focus on other people.

As I’m working with other people, all my stuff is getting worse. Your brain is going to be like, “We get a deal with this.” If you want to be an effective salesperson, you have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing the training. Make sure you’re doing the things you need to do to be successful. As you’re taking care of yourself and improving your skillset and as you’re focusing on other people, you make it about them and not make it about you.

My program Trigger Sales System helps people who have trouble getting on the phone and in front of the video camera identify why they can’t get on the phone and in front of the camera. It has nothing to do with the phone or the camera. The only way it’s going to hurt you is if I throw it hard at you or if you break it up into pieces and try and eat it. Otherwise, this is not going to hurt you.

What it has to do is what’s going to happen on the other end of the phone like hurting feelings, rejection, not being accepted, not being approved, and all stuff that happened when they were kids. I teach people to go and find out what the actual reason is and how to then deal with the pain. It’s basically changing what they’re saying to themselves and what they’re believing. For most people, it takes about eight weeks. There are people who can get on the phone and are having great sales as a result of it.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the great Wally Bressler. He is the author of Tragic Hero: Picking Up the Pieces. If you’re somebody that feels like they got some pieces that they need to pick up in their life, you need to pick up this book. You need to go to You need to engage with Wally if you’re somebody that’s an entrepreneur starting your own business and that has a business that’s in sales.

I’ve seen Wally on stage and watched him work. He’s a genius when it comes to phone sales and sales overall. I would encourage you to look him up. Wally, one thing we always like to do is have you tell our GAPers a message of hope to those people that are sitting in their cars or wherever they are that are reading this episode.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, how bad things were at any point in your life, what terrible and horrible things you have done or you think you’ve done, or how long things have been going on, there’s still a chance for you to create the life that you want. I went through 40 to 45 years of addictions to sex, pornography, money, and food. I left prison with $0.54 to my name in 2014.

All of my kids have gone through a tough time. One of them tried to take their own life. A lot of bad things have happened in my life because of what happened to me and what I did. Now, I’m sitting here in front of you telling you that there is hope. You don’t need to hit rock bottom to make the changes. You got to make a decision that you want a better life for yourself.

Wally, thanks for your candor and compassion, and for giving our people hope and the reality that through pain, you can become a champion and come out on top, which is what you’re doing. You’re an inspiration to us. We love having you, Wally Bressler. We will see you in the next episode.

Thank you.


Important Links


About Wally Bressler

GAP 18 | Tragic HeroFollowing a massively successful run as a real estate agent/broker, Wally began to coach and train agents and teams, including industry titans like Jay Kinder and Michael Reese, and then worked with them to help grow their coaching organization to generate more than $5 million in annual recurring revenue.

Additionally, he helped strengthen their affiliate relationships with real estate lead providers: Tiger Leads, BoomTown, Commissions Inc., and Market Maker Leads. Since then, Wally has worked with top agents across the United States and Canada to help their agents improve their conversion skills and bring in more profits. He has helped top agents build multi-million-dollar producing sales organizations, all while conducting over 40,000 one-on-one coaching calls, live trainings, in-person presentations, and over-the-phone coaching sessions. With that experience, Wally now runs The Trigger Sales System, helping entrepreneurs and sales professionals at all levels overcome their sales call reluctance in order to be more effective in building their business and recruiting to build greater revenue than ever before.

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