I have had the unique opportunity to meet amazing people throughout my life and Army career. My good friend Andrew Brechko is no exception. Veteran, former teacher, and owner of ABrechko Outdoors, Andrew strives to get individuals back out into nature and focus their lives to meet success head on.
His first book Where Did You Go?: A 21st Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again is a call and answer for those who feel lost and that there is a level of success that they can achieve despite their current misconceptions about life or limitations.
Are you a cancer in your workplace or your home? Do you bring other people down instead of building them up? Do you have a dream that you want to follow? Your clock is ticking. The Mountain awaits you. Begin your ascent. As you climb, surround yourself with people who want the same thing. Stay away from those who ridicule your dreams and align yourself with those who support them. If they don’t understand, point them in the direction of this book to explain what you are doing.
Interview with Andrew Brechko:
Where did you get the idea for the book?
I started writing the book about five years ago when I was in Afghanistan. I had a lot of time to think when I was over there and I felt the urge to write. That’s where I started the book. I ended up setting it down for long periods of time and came back to it periodically over the past five years. It wasn’t until I resigned from my 9-5 last year that I actually came back to it with gusto and finished. Reading what I wrote and continuing to write helped be conquer my fears and served as an anchor over the past eight months as I dealt with a lot of failure and frustration in starting my businesses. This allowed me to put into practice what I wrote. I would lay on my girlfriends little red couch and feel beaten down. “Climb the mountain,” I would say to myself. This would get me out of the valley and back to work.
How does this unique view on life help you find success?
I think we all have to define our own definition of success and I think it has to change over time. If it doesn’t, it will stifle our growth. All too often we allow our society to define it for us. Turning off the noise and really exploring our passions, desires, and fulfillment principles helps create a good foundation or starting point for defining our success. The only rule that I hold constant in defining my own version of success is that it has to offer good to the world. If it meets that criteria, I can adjust the rest.
Many people look on their past with regrets. How do you use your past experiences to help yourself and others succeed?
I think regret is a mindset. If you are not making mistakes, you are not growing as a person. We only know what we know. Life is a blank novel, I write about that in the book. We write our own story. Focusing negative energy on mistakes or things that we did in the past is wasting our most valuable resource; time. Examine your regret. Learn from it. Embrace it but don’t repeat it. I always like to tell people that failure and triumph are equally important lessons to learn from. The world is cruel enough, why beat ourselves up.
What does success mean to you?
Success is always changing as I find my way in the world. Currently, as I said above, I want to add positivity into the world. Adding to that, I want to strengthen who I am. One of the things I have embraced recently is to keep my head down and my chin up. To become bulletproof in my resolve to see all aspects of my life move towards the better. I have really been working on applying this to my business, personal relationships, family relationships and myself. I am slowly starting to see the positive results and they’re building on each other. Very interesting to watch.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on two projects. I have been writing for my blog, ABrechko Outdoors, http://abrechkooutdoors.com/ every day exploring my mind and its interrelationship with the outdoors. Some of the posts are serious, some introspective, some are funny and even mundane. I am writing fearless right now, drawing from a past experience. I used to belong to an art group at a local gallery. One day I was drawing one of our models with very bright pastel colors. I asked the owner of the gallery, a very talented artist, to kindly critique my work. He said I should start learning tonal control with black and white before I added color. It just so happened that his friend who owned a very prominent art gallery in NYC started to have a friendly argument with the owner over his critique. In the midst of the argument, he turned to me and said, “Learn everything from the masters and as soon as you learn it, forget it all!” I have adopted this with my blog. No rules, try everything because I think that is where my true voice will develop. I also take the next step and put everything into the world for critique and as you know, people love to critique. It is hard to release myself into the world, to the sharks if you will, but it is necessary for me to grow. It makes me stronger.
The other project is a book called Drink Beer: Lose Weight.
On the business horizon I continue to build ABrechko Outdoors and a digital marketing business, both are very fun and rewarding.
How do you prioritize your time and effort on all of these tasks?
That is a great question. Funny, you asked that because someone just asked me that yesterday. As you know from my book, I spend very little time engaged with technology or anything that robs me of my time. I try to be very purposeful in everything that I do. I have found that this has really brought with it a new found passion for excellence in all aspects of my life. It also allows me to take my lumps better. I think that when you are happy and living life on your own terms, you are fueled by the universe. I smile in all my tasks from washing dishes to writing. This is a Buddhist concept. It works.