S2E2: Relax and Embrace Who You Are During Covid-19 with Rich Bontrager

Dr. Allen Lycka Podcasts

Rich Bontrager teaches us how to defy the odds around Covid-19, and to relax and embrace what is going on around us to move forward. Join us for a lively discussion around our attitudes regarding Covid-19 and best practices that we can take with us into 2021 for healthy living. 

Guest Bio

Rich Bontrager should be dead at least three times, and yet he has defied the odds medically since birth, then through a severe fire accident, liver failure, and, most recently, a liver transplant in 2017. Rich has learned a great deal on how to DEFY THE ODDS. Despite being born with a horrible stutter, he has enjoyed careers as a professional sports broadcaster, leadership coach, Pastor, and now keynote motivational speaker. Life is a great adventure to “Trigger” as he is commonly known. He also hosts a YOUTUBE channel helping leaders improve their communication skills and abilities while traveling and speaking on how to DEFY THE ODDS.

Social media links for Rich Bontrager:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RichTriggerBontrager/
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/rich_bontrager
LinkedIn –  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rich-trigger-bontrager-virtualstage-presentationcoach
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/c/RichBontrager
Website – https://www.richbontrager.net/

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Transcript

Dr. Allen Lycka 
Hi, this is Dr. Lycka your host on Secrets Of Living A Fantastic Life. Today we’ve got a very, very special guest, somebody that I’ve had quite a bit to do with this week, mainly because we did a recording earlier in the week the thing didn’t record and today, we’ve been dancing with the devil for about a half an hour getting back into these eternal equipment. Now, this show will teach you the techniques, methods and mindset of having a fantastic life. And that’s what I’m going to talk to Rich about because Rich should have been dead three times and yet he defied the odds medically since birth, then through a severe fire accident, liver failure, and most recently a liver transplant in 2017. Rich has learned a great deal about how to defy the odds. Now we he and I share a lot in the story. Those of you who know me know my story, I was diagnosed as having ALS in 2003 was supposed to be dead. Last time I checked it 2019 and now the COVID virus is trying to get me but it hasn’t gotten me yet. So despite being born with a horrible stutter, Rich has enjoyed careers as a professional sports broadcaster, a leadership coach, a pastor, and now a keynote motivational speaker. Life is a great journey to “trigger” as he is commonly known. He also hosts a YouTube channel, helping leaders improve their communication skills and abilities while traveling and speaking in how to defy the odds. Rich, welcome to my show.
Rich Bontrager 
Well, thanks for having me back for second, third time, I guess now!
Dr. Allen Lycka 
Yes, the second or third time today for Pete’s sake. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you might as well forget it. Rich as we’re talking what’s going on in the world.
Rich Bontrager 
Well, the Coronavirus is going on people are hunkering down. And the big thing right now is all businesses for the most part is moving online. We’re going to a virtual world of interaction networking relationships, and it’s changing our country in our landscape of everything.
Dr. Allen Lycka
It also changed, This Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 is just wreaking havoc with everything. Yeah, I heard today’s memo is all people in California are sequestered to their houses.
Rich Bontrager
Right. And then in Florida, they’re still on the beaches. So, it makes no sense.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Well, yeah, I understand spring breaks going on. So, kids have to go someplace, right?
Rich Bontrager 
Well, yeah. But yeah, it is, is very crazy to see the extremes of the action of hide hibernate, and some people are still out just living life to the fullest. So, it is kind of the extreme. What should we really do right now?
Dr. Allen Lycka
Well, I’m in Edmonton, Alberta, the pandemic hit last Wednesday. By Friday, we had 129 cases. Yesterday, we’re up to 147 and we had our first death. Now that death was from a community acquired infection. We’ve had two big scares. One is a bunch of dentists were at a meeting in Vancouver, and all Dentists have shut their office as a result because a lot of people have been possibly affected by this. Another scare has happened is a bunch of doctors were at a curling bonspiel. And there’s been several cases from that. So, a lot of doctors are being sequestered right now on 14 days self-isolation because of this. So, the world has totally gone crazy. In the last little bit within 10 days, the economies of the world have gone from booming to Zilch. They estimate 25% of Americans are unemployed, another 25% are doing whatever, and maybe 10 to 15% have gotten together and are online. Wow.
Rich Bontrager
Yeah, and it’s only exponentially going up right now. Everyone is moving online services like Zoom like we’re using right now are going to be overtaxed. You have education or going online. You have political leaders all going on your talk shows like you and I both do going online. Education is going online. So, everyone is moving into virtual relationships, so they keep their business careers and livelihood moving. Um, that’s a whole new structural thing. We’ve never had a face because we’re used to brick, and mortar and you can’t do brick and mortar right now. You need to move back to your living room?
Dr. Allen Lycka 
I’m a realist with all this, you know, I almost died, just like you have many times in my life. My first experience was death was when I was born, I was a home birth. I came to early, my mother cut the umbilical cord a little bit too tight, and I could have bled to death then. Fortunately, the angel was on my shoulder and I’m still here today. I’ve had man, I have at the age of five, I became allergic to a lot of things. I have a massive allergy to fish. And just touching it to my lips would, causes me to have anaphylaxis shock. So, you know, and once I was in Kuai with my dear wife, we were at the most amazing restaurant and we did tell the cook. You know, we can’t have fish of any sort. You know, we can’t have anything else. They served as a soup. They forgot there was fish in the soup in the fish broth, so I almost died that night. Another day I was at a restaurant we were at a smorg. My wife was my tester she gave me a little bit of, I said, taste the soup. Do you think its fish? No, I tasted I almost died. I again, a good friend of mine was serving a nice cheese ball one night except he hid some salmon in it, salmon for me is deadly and so it almost killed me too. So, I only jokingly say only my friends tried to kill me. Yeah. And now it’s the time of a pandemic, for God’s sake. Rich. how scared should we be at this?
Rich Bontrager
Well, that’s what we’re trying to figure out. I think right now there’s an unnatural fear. I think there’s the reactionary fear right now versus the cautionary fear of like, don’t touch that oven, Johnny, because it’s hot. I think we should use cautionary fear. But right now, the fear is rampant. The rumors is there’s just a lot of negativity out there. You and I both defied the odds we both, teach people how to defy the odds. I think a lot of its mental first, mentally we have to tell people to slow down, take a breath. And look at the real landscape, not at the landscape that the media is telling us and everybody else. There’s too much confusion right now and I think people have to pump their brakes, be cautionary, but not flipped out.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Yeah. And you know, I am a realist as well, you know, I, in the time of Martin Luther back in the, in the very, very bad part of our life there. Guess what happens? Martin Luther was dealing with the plague. And he was told that he and his wife should leave. He said, No. If God wants to take me, it’s not me a It’s not my fault. He wants me up there and maybe it’s my time to go. And he lived through the plague, his wife lived through the plague and it really wasn’t his time. And my thing about this is to be realistic. Yes, you need to take all precautions. You need to wash your hands whenever you get into a house. And I would suggest washing them every day, every hour. And if you get a bit of eczema put a little bit of hand cream on. You know, I’m not practicing medicine I’m practicing common sense. Okay, I’m retired for medicine. Other thing I think people need to do is keep their immune systems up. I think they got to fight this thing off. A long time ago, a good friend of mine Haines Ely, one of the brightest dermatologists in the world told me take NAC when you’re traveling. NAC 600 milligram pill take two or three times a day, and that’ll fight off most infections. Very wise advice. When I travel, I take NAC. It’s been fine. Guess what I’m on right now, knack. That’s my personal advice. From a person talking not a doctor talking. But I think it’s worthwhile. If you can find something that’s going to work. Now, I would suggest you check with your doctor first, because all medications have side effects. And Rich, you’re on a slew of medications because you had a liver transplant. So, I would make sure that it’s copacetic that everything else you’re on.
Rich Bontrager
Well, and speaking of that, for a second doctor, anyone with the faulty immune system, no matter your age gets raised to the higher threat level right now. So, me with a transplanted liver, I am on only one medicine. I started out with 14 and three times a day. I’m only on tacrolimus which is the anti-rejection drugs. So but I need to still take that twice a day to make sure I’m in good shape and do all those steps you mentioned. That’s what people need to do right now. They need to make sure they have the medicines make sure they have what they need for provisions and you’re right, we need to be realistic and take care of business the best we can. When we lose our head, that’s when we forget the medicine, we forget the natural steps. But you can’t lose your routine of life. I have to take this medicine for the rest of my life forever. So, I must take it, and I’m at high risk even with it. But that’s my best protection I have right now besides washing hands, staying with limited contact, and have people ask me, the accountability is really put right now have people ask me, did you take it? How are you doing? checking in on people like myself is really important right now, you cannot do this alone?
Dr. Allen Lycka
Well, no. And you know, you’re talking to me I’m talking to you, when we’re social isolating sort of but we’re communicating , and, we really have it going you know, I believe that you should minimize contact, I don’t think you should go out and big crowds. But if you have one or two close friends, and you stay a reasonable distance from them, and you know, they’re not infected. Now, I think you’re probably okay, you know, the problem with this virus and maybe transmitted before, you know, you know, that may be the problem. But again, if you’re keeping your distance washing your hands, keeping down this risk with it, you probably are okay. It’s interesting that this virus is so contagious and causes so many problems. But, you know, as a doctor, I don’t think I’m invincible, you know, but at the same time, I think people should be realistic about this. Minimize social contact.
Rich Bontrager
Yeah..
Dr. Allen Lycka
I think a lot of stuff comes from group settings, a lot of stuff comes from big meetings and stuff like that, I think this would not be the time for big meetings, it wouldn’t be time for big activities. I think it’s time to keep a little bit isolated. And, you know, one of my friends sent me in France, they have been treating this with a couple of interesting medications, chloroquine, which is a medication to help fight malaria, and then medication called azithromycin, which is a type of erythromycin. And those today two together have decreased the virus in a person’s body from high to zero in five days.
Rich Bontrager
Well, and see, that’s where I think right now, we’re going to learn a lot. Yeah, we’re in the middle of the pandemic right now. Ah, we don’t have all the information. But I think through this, we’re going to learn a lot of things. In fact, I just did a whole talk video chat on, I think the innovation. If you look through history, every crisis has brought about new innovation. I think through this crisis, we’re going to have new innovators, new dreams, new ideas come out on the backside of this. So, I encourage people to use this time to their advantage. Don’t panic, don’t lock yourself down. Don’t just do nothing use this for your wild, crazy idea. If you think we are going to have new medicines.
Dr. Allen Lycka
The other thing I’ve come across, Rich which is very fascinating, I belong to a group of businesspeople called Synergy, which has some very fascinating people. And now the president of the group is associated with a company that makes a chemical that puts a film on things. It’s like almost like a watery based film that has activity for Coronavirus, and it stays on that place for 10 days.  You know, every day when I come to my office here. My girl wipes my desk down with the stuff. When I go to a restaurant and stuff my use that.  The restaurant. I’m going to have lunch today with a couple of businesspeople that I’m going to talk to, it’s all been wiped down. I gave him the chemical a couple of days ago. So, he’s implemented this. I call it magic bug juice for any better word. Yeah, it’s a COVID-19 free juice because he’s wiped everything down. So, unless the people that I’m sitting with are infected, I think I’m probably pretty safe, you know?
Rich Bontrager
And that’s where we share information like that, we have to share the thing for loop. We’re kind of learning about it. People in your profession are learning so much so rapidly. We can’t jump through everything right away. We have to know that it has been tested and proven. But those are the things we need to hear. We need to hear the new innovative ideas that there are ways to get around it. Well, either.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Well, either you’re a believer in science, or you’re not either you believe in the dark ages or the Age of Enlightenment. I think I know where you’re coming from right?
Rich Bontrager
Yeah, no, we have to use science, our heads, we have to use our hearts. Sometimes we know when in our heart danger. We should listen to that as much as we listen to the science and the medicine. And that’s where I think it’s the balance information. We must balance all this right now. And your decision for what’s safe for you. It’s not going to be the same for me. That’s one thing we need to communicate. I can’t take the same risks as a healthy 50-year-old because I don’t have that same ability. So, we have to understand what the best for us and work through it. But keep learning all these new things that you’re putting out there right now doctor.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Don’t let me get into something here. You’ve been through a lot. What’s been your greatest struggle?
Rich Bontrager
My greatest struggle has been my self-image early on because of my stutter. My deaf ear is shot, I don’t have any hearing since birth, I have bad eyes. I was born with CMV. That’s where I almost died at birth. I was one of the few children ever documented in 1965 of living through it. So, I grew up with a lot of disabilities, but I never saw them as disabilities, because I didn’t know any better. But my stutter with all that maybe kind of that geeky awkward kid, and myself image was very worn down. Umm, actually a girlfriend helped me get over it one day by teasing me about my stuttering, because I couldn’t ask her out on a date. And she actually encouraged me to just be me learn to relax and embrace who I was for what I was, that completely changed my attitude on life in so many ways. And I still embrace that today. This is who I am. This is what I’m comfortable with. And now I make my living as a public speaker. And everyone laughs everyone’s in shock when they hear that I stutter. I’ve just learned tips and tricks on how to get around.
Dr. Allen Lycka
I mentioned the last time which fortunately, is not there. Ah, a movie called The King’s Speech. I remember the name of it. I can’t remember which King it was. But he had to give a very important speech at the time of the war, and he had to say it fluidly. Yes, so the King’s speech is something everybody should have a peek at, especially if they have some limitations and so on.  It shows how you can overcome limitations.
Rich Bontrager
Well, as we talked about last time, how it’s not that we’re dummies, back in my day growing up, there was the assumption since you can’t speak, you must be dumb up here. Rather, I’m highly intelligent. My brain and my mouth don’t run at the same speed. And I had to learn how to control that speed to get out the information. So, stutterers are not dumb. We just need to figure out how to work with what we have. And there’s many well-known stutters Julia Roberts, her brother, George Clooney, Shaquille O’Neal. And you would never know for the most part, these people stutter and struggle.
Dr. Allen Lycka
There’s always something in life you have to overcome. You decide yourself, whether you’re going to be the victim or the victor. And it’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens.
Rich Bontrager
And I think it’s very true right now with this whole virus, we can all be victims, or we can all stand up and find a way to push through this, defy the odds, and do this together. I think we’re better together right now by sharing ideas.
Dr. Allen Lycka
I notice you’re not watching Netflix right now and not just doing nothing. How busy have you been since this virus has been on?
Rich Bontrager
Actually, I’ve been extremely busy because of the online network and the connections I already have. I’m doing chats like this to coach people to empower people just like you’re doing. So even though I’m not in the big room platform right now speaking to 100 people or 200. I’m doing this virtually so people can be helped. So, I have not slowed down my career. I’m just turning it to a different direction to help people through it. I’m using my same skills to help people out this way.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Well, you know, and as I said, you’ve been a public speaker I’m sure all your gigs have dried up I’m trying to launch a career in public speaking right now. What a time to do it. But guess what I do it to keep me busy. I’m writing a book. And the book, we edited with my editor up to chapter nine yesterday has got 13 chapters. I’m aiming for a launch for April 26. Okay, why shit, I think I can turn into a best seller. And if anybody’s out there they can please buy two copies of it. One for themselves and one for their mother or one for some mother in their life. We hope to get it to you by Mother’s Day. What I would like to see is enough copies sold so we could say, you know we fought the pandemic together. I know The Secrets Of Living A Fantastic Life you should too. You should know them. And I’d love to do that with you. It’s written with my coauthor Harriet Tinka, Harriet’s a beautiful black lady, who unfortunately, was stabbed and left for dead when she was in university. She’s got a story even more dramatic than mine. But the important thing is we didn’t turn into victims. We overcame that victim mentality and overcome it. That’s why I love people like Rich. You know, he he’s like a brother to me a brother and a cause. Comrades in arms so to speak. We fought less common battles, even though they were different battles. This is what people have to realize. It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens.
Rich Bontrager
No, and that’s exactly it. There’s a lot of mental fighting that goes on in people like ourselves. So, we have to decide that we’re going to fight it. Someone once in an interview asked me, you’re like, the boxer ring, you keep getting knocked down, and you keep getting back up. What helps you do that? I told him, it’s my attitude. It’s my faith. And it’s just that willpower of I believe there’s still a way to get around it.
Dr. Allen Lycka
I tell you this week, I had to spend one day with Simon and Garfunkel listening to the boxer a couple of times, because I felt like I was getting knocked down all the time.
Rich Bontrager
That’s exactly it.
Dr. Allen Lycka
I bet you’ve got a routine when you’re getting knocked down Rich that you tried to get through to me, Simon, Simon and Garfunkel help a lot with The Boxer.
Rich Bontrager
Oh, yeah, no, yeah…
Dr. Allen Lycka
Reading great book that you might have liked to doing things to motivate you.
Rich Bontrager
Well, I’ve been working on my book for 10 years. And I’ve told people during this pandemic, when you’re inside, write your book. 80% of people have a book within 10 days but the studies say 3% ever get it written.  Here’s your chance folks go write your book.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Get it done. Now the hardest part is not writing the book, writing the books easy. putting words on paper is easy, it’s rewriting it. Yeah, getting it out there and selling. So, if you’re still writing, Rich, got to get it out there, get it to a good editor, work with that editor and get it dancing.
Rich Bontrager
I’m being pushed by you and many other people. If you get this book done, defy the odds.
Dr. Allen Lycka
We’re just about at our end here. Believe it or not, it’s been a half an hour. So, I want people to know how to get in touch with you.
Rich Bontrager
Yeah, I’d be happy to give a 30-minute free consultation to help people out with defying the odds in life leadership, public speaking. Also, I do coaching for people that do this whole video type of stuff, helping people better brand themselves prepare themselves, you can contact me at rich@richbontrager.net, or richbontrager.net is the actual main website, you can find me just Google Rich Trigger Bontrager, I will show up very easily. And I would happen to be happy to set up that 30-minute free consultation for you.
Dr. Allen Lycka
You know, Rich, I, thank you so much for another delightful interview. I learned a lot from you the other day. But guess what, I even learned more from you today. But did you notice how we didn’t let a little problem with the internet defeat us?
Rich Bontrager
No, there’s always ways to overcome, there’s always a way to try and try again.
Dr. Allen Lycka
There are speed bumps, I’ve been on three calls today, the first one wouldn’t record properly. So, we did it as an audio call. Second one, it wouldn’t let me back into this call. So, I had to get her to use her Zoom line for us to do it. So, we did it on my cell phone with it and it worked beautifully, she sent me the links and it’s another golden one. Now with you it was like pulling teeth to get on. But again, the joy that I get out of this overcomes a little bit of hardship.
Rich Bontrager
Yeah, anything worth doing is worth doing, no matter what the battles are. So just encourage people like you are to keep going, to keep trying. And again, with this pandemic, we’re not done, we are only going to have new, exciting things come out of it. And I believe some great amazing things will come we just have to work and it’s just going to be a lot.
Dr. Allen Lycka
I think life is a fantastic thing. And I celebrate life every day. You know, the only way you can do that is nearly dying many times. And that certainly makes you experience life that much better. Every day is a gift. So, if you would like to know The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life, go to fantasticlifebook.com Please buy my book from that link. If you buy it from that link, I’ll give you free shipping. And we will get it to you by Mother’s Day if you buy it now. And please buy two copies if it’s in your power to do so because we would like as many people to have the secrets of having a fantastic life thinking of this as the COVID process. I think you’ll have amazing times as a result of it.
Rich Bontrager
Well, best of luck with the book and again, everyone hit that click. Go for it. There are a lot of new resources coming out and I encourage people to take advantage.
Dr. Allen Lycka
You know when we look back, this is going to be another blip on the radar screen.
Rich Bontrager 
Yeah.
Dr. Allen Lycka
We’ll say boy 2020 was the year we overreacted like crazy. You know, I think in our same minds, we should protect ourselves, you know, but I think going overboard is just as bad as being under board. So, remember the careful, walk a careful line between being crazy and being sane is very important.
Rich Bontrager
Yes, it is. Well, thanks for having me on today. I really appreciate it and God bless and everyone be safe with whatever it is you do.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Well, we’ll talk again sometime, my friend!
Rich Bontrager
All right. Thank you, doctor.
Dr. Allen Lycka
Bye now! Thank you again!

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