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Russell Mano – Part 2

Episode 025

Seeking the Improvement of Self

Russell Mano, strength coach and co-host of the podcast, shares his life story in this 2-part series. In this second part, he tells of the journey to self-fulfillment.

From his occupation of being in the military, college, and eventually as a trainer to his personal life of struggling with relationships and the path to recovery from PTSD, Russell searched for answers in order to improve himself.

Currently, he is still happily seeking improvement along with his wife and children.

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Russell Mano – Part 2 Quotes

  • “Some paths may be better than others, and just because I see one that works doesn’t mean that it’s the best or right one, but I can see them very quickly. That’s how I knew at that time – I’m not going to stay here.”
  • “Sergeant Polling, for some reason, pulled me aside one day and said, I bet you that you were the same way before the military, and the military has not changed you at all.”
  • “My brother apologized deeply, and we must have cried together for hours. And I know that was tremendously healing for me.”
  • “I would describe myself as a hopefulness romantic and wanting to have everlasting love and family, and that’s what I wanted, and it’s not for not trying, but they were failing – they were constantly failing, my relationships.”
  • “If you are interested in really having love and relationships, you don’t quit because you had failures. You learn, and you get up again and try again.”
  • “I look forward most to the things that I’m going to be able to do with my family. Because those are the things I’ve dreamt about.”
  • Russell enjoyed the army and felt equipped to handle it due to his experiences at home and his strength training.
  • Russell dabbled in the corporate world and working for a Mortgage company, and he hated it.
  • Russel had repeated failed relationships and marriages and discovered that he was the root problem for not setting boundaries.
  • While joining a shared support group for those suffering from PTSD due to emotional abuse, Russell met his wife.

What impact did the army have on Russell?

Russell truly enjoyed the army. He also served in the Army National Guard. He likes the structured guidelines of the army, and while the leaders were demanding, they knew their stuff and held themselves to the same standards.

Where did Russell go after basic training?

After Fort Knox in Kentucky, Russell went to Maryland in Aberdeen for several months, where he learned his military occupation specialty. After that, Russell went to Germany for two years and worked as a mechanic.

Who were the leaders that Russell respected, and why?

Russell acknowledges that he does not respond well to screaming and yelling. Thankfully, Russell did not have those kinds of leaders.

Instead, he had very competent leaders that he knew he could trust and could complete the tasks themselves. They were also very compassionate, which is the opposite of what many folks may believe about the army.

Two leaders that earned Russell’s respect and all the soldiers include Sergeant Polling and Sergeant Hill.

What happened next?

Russell left active duty in December 1999, and he was in college, his original plan, by January 2020. He went to Cal State LA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

He chose psychology to better understand what he went through as a child. Unfortunately, it did not answer many of Russell’s questions.

What was it like going back home?

Russell was at the national guard and working at a law firm. They moved to San Gabriel.

Russell’s brother went to a nondenominational church, and his brother apologized and cried and admitted he was wrong, and he was sorry. There was a nice amount of healing at this point.

How was the corporate world?

Russell dabbled in the corporate world and saw his day-to-day tasks along with where he could end up, considering his managers and directors, and it wasn’t for him. Eventually, Russell opened his own mortgage company for a few years. It was very unfulfilling for Russell. It felt empty.

The only thing he was pursuing were checks and then the next checks. It was unrewarding.

So, then he did some soul-searching and spoke with his brother’s friends. They advised him to do what he loved to do, and the money would follow.

Another piece of advice that came his way was to consider what he did when he wasn’t being paid in his free time. And Russell loved basketball and working out.

This led to a job at LA Fitness, and he led in training sales, but it felt deceitful because these people believed they were going to be led by Russell when, in fact, they were just going to be passed on to other training staff.

He asked to be demoted to trainer, which hardly ever happens, and it was a wonderful decision for him.

What personal struggles have Russell had?

Russell considers himself a hopeless romantic but has had multiple failed relationships. A failed relationship and then a fear of being alone and jumped into a new relationship that lasted three years.

But this led to major self-realization. He needed to understand the common denominator in all these situations, and failed relationships were him. Russell needed to change.

He discovered he did not know how to set boundaries for himself. His childhood taught him to put his feelings to the side. And the idea that the people who love you and hurt you, and that was okay.

What happened in the relationship?

He was in a toxic relationship where he believed his significant other was a sociopath who harmed Russell emotionally and physically. This left Russell with PTSD, and he discovered that therapy was not the best solution for PTSD. He wanted to find someone who had a shared experience.

He actually found his current wife through these efforts.

How did this relationship blossom?

Russell found himself at a low spot, and he prayed and said he was going to give himself again to God.

At this time, his future wife was in one of the Facebook groups, and they started chatting as friends through text; then, that transitioned to FaceTiming and grew from there.

Does Russell have a family now?

He does. His relationship transitioned quickly. They met in late September and were married by December. By February, his wife was pregnant.

They are a happy family of four.

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Russell Mano – Part 2

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