Episode 23 - Trav Bell

  

  

In this episode, I torque to Travis Bell, The Bucket List Guy. He is a self-appointed ‘Bucket Listologist’ and is the Worldʼs #1 Bucket List Expert. He created his own unique Bucket List Life Philosophy which he uses to help Bucket Listers all over the globe. Trav says he has a special super-power which is to stop people just existing, wake them up, get them off the treadmill of life & help them to start living life on purpose. 

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In this episode we cover: 

  • The story of how Trav transitioned from working in Personal Training to becoming The Bucketlist Guy.
  • Why your business plan should fit into your life plan and not the other way around.
  • His experience on giving a TED Talk.
  • He shares funny stories on cycling and his Ironman experience.
  • Trav’s mission and vision.
  • What are Bucketlist coaches?

Links


    Transcript:

    FELICITY:

    This is episode 23. Welcome to the All Torque podcast, where each episode we interview an inspiring person to share their story with you. I'm your host, Felicity Dales, managing director of Body Torque.

    I have here today Travis Bell, The Bucket List Guy, the world's number one bucket list expert. As a self-appointed bucket list-ologist, Trav has obsessively studied the bucket list phenomenon and blended the world's best positive psychology principles to create his own unique bucket list life philosophy. He's designed his life around his bucket list, and now he helps bucket listers all over the globe create and cross off theirs.

    A bucket list is a tangible reason why, a life plan that has the power to transform every area of your life. It will help to decrease life's distractions and increase your focus on what truly makes you happy. But this is way more than just writing a simple list. This is about the journey you'll experience in the process of achieving your list, and about the person you become in the process. Trav says he has a special super power. His super power is to stop people just existing, stop Groundhog Days, and stop waiting for someday or the perfect timing to come around. He wakes people to get up, gets them off the treadmill of life, and helps them start living life on purpose. Before Trav became The Bucket List Guy, he built a chain of personal training studios across Australia. Starting with one client, he and his team went on to do over a million personal training sessions and motivated tens of thousands of clients. This is the foundation for why Trav is now regarded as one of Australia's foremost personal development speakers and life coaches.

    Some of the things that Travis ticked off his bucket list are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, advanced base camp Mount Everest, be a model for a life drawing class, complete an Iron Man triathlon, run a paperless business, walk the Kokoda track, ride the Alpe d'Huez in France, visit the happiest country on Earth and meet Tim Ferriss, and also go to the Burning Man festival. There are some epic adventures, Trav. Welcome.

    TRAVIS:

    That is.. We don't really have to say any more, I think the show's over, Fee.

    FELICITY:

    Well, I'm sure you've got some more on your bucket list. I've got some more, you know, because you've done so much with your background as a personal trainer and creating a franchise, which was the personal training studio concept with many locations, to transforming into The Bucket List Guy, tell us about your story. How did it all begin for you?

    TRAVIS:

    We both are in Ocean Grove, and I grew up as a surfer, a surf lifesaver and a jock my whole life so mentally a third year of University of doing a PE degree. I got into this thing back in the early to late nineties called personal training, and I was one of the first personal trainers, kind of running around Melbourne. I moved out of Ocean Grove to Melbourne, and I was gonna be a Phys Ed teacher, but I then got into this thing called personal training. One of our lecturers at University, he was Daryl Somers' personal trainer. He was getting paid a truck load per hour, and I thought Celebrity Personal Trainer, that's cool. The amount that he was getting paid, which was $200 an hour in the nineties, versus I could work on a gym floor or maybe go teach for not that.

    So I thought I'm gonna follow this guy around. This is pre-internet, pre-crackbook, pre-instacrack. It was, go to this conference, read these books, subscribe to these magazines. I did exactly what he said. I followed Tony around and I started single personal training, and from there got one client and then grew that into a chain of 21 personal fitness training studios around Australia. Tens of thousands of clients and their families get motivated, get results. And at the end of the day, did like we said over a million and half of personal training sessions, which was great. And did that for 20 years.

    I grew it into a monster, the story goes. And I've told this story a couple of times. And take out of it what listeners, take out of it what you will. I grew into a monster and I became too much of an accountant, too much of a lawyer, and I really got into personal training because I love helping people at the coal face. There was a few legal blues and stuff going on, and I just really started to fall out of love of what I created. I was a franchisor of personal training studios. The franchising model kind of did my head in. And honestly, it was very cancerous kind of people in there. It did my head in and I love the end product of personal training, but the business model for that time of my life just put me into a state of depression, to be honest. I was in a pretty sad place for a couple of years.

    Through a series of different events, I found myself in seminars. You'd be going to these seminars. Rah rah. Hugging it out. High fiving with our partners. And reading all the books. I went and did NLP courses and Positive Psychology courses. I was in one of these courses and I spent a lot of money and a lot weekends. It was in one of these courses where a friend of mine said, "Trav, you're in all these courses." I said, "Yes, yes I am." "Why don't you teach this stuff? You’re a motivator guy, you have no fear around speaking in public." Which I really didn't. And that just sort of helped me compartmentalize why I was learning all this stuff at that time.

    So literally, I went, “All right, I'm gonna summon up the courage to put run a seminar.” I did that. I had 40 people in a room. I nearly had to pay them to be there. Mum and Dad, billable champions were at the back going, "What the hell is he doing now?"

    It was like a motivation kind of thing. It was my first seminar. I was shit scared. I packaged in all the things that I'd been learning. It was embarrassing. It was a crap seminar to be honest. About half way through I started talking about my list to do before I die. I'd had one written down since I was 18, and no one really knew this about me. I told the room. I said, "Who else has got one of these lists kinda written down?" And like no one. I said, "Why were you doing this? Why do you wanna earn money? Why do you wanna create more time?" And the quite common response is, "I don't know. Just build up enough to pay the bills and do a bit of travel when I'm older." And I'm like, "Probably sicker."

    So I said, "What would you really like to do before you die?" And then the room.. it went from a crap seminar to a not-so-crap seminar. Everyone started sharing. At the end of it, Joe, one of the participants, said, "How's all this list to do before you die stuff? It's like a bucket list. You're like the bucket list guy." I went, "Wow." Okay. Went home that night, registered the domain name the bucket list guy and as they say the rest is history. I was on the Google machine, and I was looking at everyone out there living their bucket lists. I wanted to find a different way of inspiring people and motivating people. For me, the bucket list has always been the filter that I looked at life through. There was no expert, number one person in the world. So I literally called myself, at that point in time, the world's number one bucket list expert, and it stuck.

    FELICITY:

    Fantastic. Great tag line.

    TRAVIS:

    That's how I got there.

    FELICITY:

    And from your to do a list at 18, which is pretty amazing to have such a.. you know.. a to do list at such a young age. And thinking that broader perspective in mind. Because I think most of us don't. You're right. You're in your business and it progresses and evolves, and we always think bigger, better, more. But it doesn't necessarily serve us. And then your role changes, and it's not really what brings you joy. So you have become someone else that you don't really like quite often.

    TRAVIS:

    I did a lot of stuff around my own values as well. What was the things that gave me real purpose, more meaning? What were my strengths? And what were my values? And it all came back from doing a bunch of different exercises and diagnostic on myself, benchmarking. And it came back that this is what I'm meant to do. I love coaching. I love coaching one to many. I'm done with the one on one in that past format as in personal training. Coaching one to many just made sense. I always set up businesses as you know, Flick. We've been mates for ages and I've always set up businesses really quickly.

    And I say to the entrepreneurs out there and even to the people in careers, our careers or our businesses do two things and two things only. To spit out the cash flow as well as the time flow for us to do the things that we truly wanna do. And be okay with instant gratification, not delayed gratification, not wait until someday or the perfect time. Because as we know, that day may not never come around. Just like the movie "The Bucket List" I'm trying to wake people up before they get a "use by" date. And that's my mission, and to help.. now with our bucket list coaches worldwide. We're all on that mission to wake people up. Get them busy on their bucket lists, rather than their to do lists.

    FELICITY:

    Yes.

    TRAVIS:

    Give them time out of their lives to work on their lives, to live a life by design rather than by default. All this is part of the vernacular that we're now putting out there around the world.

    FELICITY:

    Well that leads well into our next question. You say that the bucket list is a tangible life plan, and that your business plan or your career plan need to fit into your life plan and not be the other way around. So, let's talk about that.

    TRAVIS:

    It truly is. Our businesses and our careers are purely vehicles to spit out the time flow and the cash flow that we need to do the cool stuff that we wanna do. Double bonus though if you love what you do on a day to day basis. It's hitting your values, it actually lights you up, you're inspired to go to work, then I think that's the holy grail. But unfortunately, if you look at the research, look at the studies, the stats, on disengagement, 75%, Flick, of people who go to work don't like what they do.

    FELICITY:

    Wow.

    TRAVIS:

    It is messed up. So you're telling me the 40/40/40 plan, 40 years of my life, 40 hours a week, that I'm going to live on 40 percent of what I earn at my peak in retirement. That's what the 40/40/40 plan is. We're gonna go 40 years and do something we don't like? That's insane. The world's full of choices. I want people to be happy. It's about helping people find the light at the end of the tunnel, and make some choices for them and their families. Helping people optimise their vehicle, their career, their business to produce the results to allow them to go and do the cool stuff they wanna do. It's not just travel. Travel's only one of 12 categories when it comes to writing a bucket list. A bucket list is a tangible life plan. I honestly believe that. We've got so many people around the world that have either seen me do my TED Talk or being coached by one of our coaches or seen me speak, where we've kinda in a way with this whole bucket list philosophy given people, and this is their feedback, given people permission to dream again.

    We tell people, "Put your own oxygen mask on first." Just like when you're getting on a plane. Who do you have to put it on first? Put it on yourself first before you can go and help other people.

    FELICITY:

    That's right. Yep.

    TRAVIS:

    So be the example for your family. Be an example for your kids. Be an example for your employees if you're self-employed. Be an example for your ecosystem. Really, it's so important because we've got these things called a mid-life crisis and we got.. you know depression is going through the roof, the over-prescription of anti-depressants is going through the roof, the over-prescription of anti-depressants in teenagers is actually going through the roof. Even though we're talking about all this positive stuff, it's still climbing. I don't wanna swear, but it's.. up, it's really messed up, and this is a massive driver for me. Having been through depression, I know this stuff works.

    FELICITY:

    Well it's really living a life more deliberately, isn't it? And on purpose, and with purpose, and being clear about your objective. Whereas sometimes we just get in the run of the mill and the habit, really, of just going to work and not perhaps planning like you say. Having a bucket list, which actually also gives you something to look forward to, but also forces you to evaluate perhaps what is important in your life. I think that if you do suffer from depression or other perhaps debilitary types of things that then it does force you to think about it, unless you are too depressed to think about it.

    TRAVIS:

    Unfortunately, here's the thing. Just like the movie "The Bucket List." I don't like the movie. You know, why? Because it took two blokes to get given a cancer diagnosis and then they wrote a bucket list. That's just dumb. Why wait until it's too late? But unfortunately, human beings need such a slap as a "use by" date from a guy in a white coat giving them that "use by" date for them to reprioritise. And most people reprioritise in a heartbeat as soon as they get given a diagnosis.

    I've seen it in all my audiences. I've seen it around the world. You know of people that have done that as well, that have got a health scare and suddenly they're out their living their life. Really? Does it take that much? It takes that much for you stupid human being, for you to get off your ass and go live your life. Oh my God. We are so.. we've got it wrong. We are so busy on the to do lists and we're not busy on our bucket lists. I wanna help people really look at their life just through a different lens. Just as a reminder, I'm sure for some, maybe a massive wake up for others.

    FELICITY:

    Yes. So, you've also presented at a TED Talk, as you mentioned and was that on your bucket list, Trav?

    TRAVIS:

    It was. Frickin' horrifying. I regard myself as not a bad speaker, but when you've got 2000 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre in comfy seats like they have at Village Gold Class seating so they're all comfy. You're told not to do a lot of audience interaction because they can't get up, which is a big part of what I do, a lot of getting people involved to make it more of an experience. 18 and a half minutes. Very little interaction. A three by three red dot massive stage. Four cameras on you. Not allowed to swear. I think I did though. And you got this massive countdown timer and go for it.

    FELICITY:

    And you're on.

    TRAVIS:

    When you're used to doing 60 minute to 90 minute talks, now do it in 18 and half minutes. What it really did was teach me to really squeeze the essence out of the message. I was completely surprised by getting it as well. Jon Yeo who's a good friend of mine, who's the curator of TED in Melbourne, is a hard nut to crack. I even had him on my podcast for "The Bucket List Life." There's an episode on there and you'll hear me basically sucking up to him.

    One year before, I actually got the guernsey to go onto the TED stage. So I was like, "So Jon, mate I know you're a great speaking coach. You're the curator of TED. What would one have to do to get on that stage, Jon?" Nudge, nudge. He gave me nothing. He just gave me nil. And I'm like, "Jon, you know ..". So anyway, because of a few other people who he knows had seen me speak, and they had a theme coming up a few years ago called "Adventurous Minds" he tapped me on the shoulder one night at a networking event. He said, "Trav, we need to talk about you doing a TED Talk." And I just went (laughs).

    FELICITY:

    Nice.

    TRAVIS:

    I literally crossed off that on my.. I ticked it off live in front of those 2000 people.

    FELICITY:

    Wow. Fantastic.

    TRAVIS:

    Yeah. When I got up to the "Your Proud Achievements" slide in my talk, which was fantastic.

    FELICITY:

    What did you learn from that? You know, having to change your presentation from normally an hour to an hour and a half and being interactive..

    TRAVIS:

    Less fluff. Less fluff, Trav. Get to the point. Extract the real essence of what you're trying to get through to people. And if you can't do in 15 minutes, if you can't do it in 20 minutes, then you're not really.. your delivery has got too much fluff in it. To his credit, Jon, and to the whole TED community, their credit is it's gotta be an idea worth spreading. It can't be.. What he said to me was, "Trav, I don't want you to do your normal schtick. I don't want you to do your normal show. This is not.. We have people that have got great ideas, they're inventors, they're not professional speakers. They're just presenting an idea. So, cut the show. We don't need to be entertained. Let's just get to the essence of what.. The idea of what we're trying to get across here." And I thought that was the best .. And it did me a huge fired up. Helped me readjust my keynote, and it's been so positive since.

    FELICITY:

    Fantastic. And what stories do you have. You have any funny stories in particular with cycling that you can share with us?

    TRAVIS:

    Oh my god. Well last year I followed the Tour de France.

    FELICITY:

    Oh, yes.

    TRAVIS:

    And did Alpe d'Huez. Big one on the bucket list. Oh my God. So we followed the Tour de France and we did all the climbs. We did around the Alps rather than the Pyrenees. So, we're down the Alps. Let's just say I'm down in Ocean Grove. Not a lot of hills. And that was a big wake up call. I did it with ten mates who I used to bike around with up in Melbourne. We've done a lot of charity rides with each other. This was a massive wake up call. You'd be staying in a ski field in the bottom of a mountain. And then we'd say to our organiser, "So what's our ride today?" And he'd just point to the sky and look at a peak and go, "That," and you’d go, “Oh dear.”

    So the next half day, that morning you're just climbing on minimum eight percent kind of thing. And you know, we hung out, I've got too much upper body. When we drop the hammer for a spring I'm good. I'm not some 50/60 kilogram whippet that is ideal for cycling. I really hurt. So Alpe d'Huez, we did Galibier on our last day. Oh my God. They say in France you're not a cyclist unless you've done Galibier. And Galibier you're going up and up and up, and the cool thing is I got stronger and stronger as our ten days went on. And we crisscrossed the Tour de France. So, we saw a sprint finish where the Aussie won. We saw a start. We saw them come over the hills. We went off, I'm sure you know people who have done this, we went off in the mornings and watched them come through after that. So, we'd be going up these hills in like full on granny gear. And they'd come up in top gear just grinding and attacking. And you're just like, "Oh Jesus. How do they do that? "

    FELICITY:

    It's a bit demoralising, isn't it?

    TRAVIS:

    Having red wine and trying to..

    FELICITY:

    Purely for medicinal purposes, Trav. I’m sure.

    TRAVIS:

    We're in France. Come on. That doesn't help at all.

    FELICITY:

    But it made it a memorable trip. It's definitely a great memory.

    TRAVIS:

    On these big climbs, if you've done these big climbs, you really.. I remember going up Alpe d'Huez, and it's like 21 hairpin turns. It starts off steep as well. I get about half way there and I, "Don't stop, Trav. Whatever you do, don't stop. Don't stop." That was my mantra. “Don't stop. I've stopped. I've stopped. I've stopped. I've stopped.” And I'm like, "Look, I gotta take a picture from here. It's just a beautiful view." A selfie is a great excuse.

    FELICITY:

    Yes. And to recalibrate.

    TRAVIS:

    Honestly, I lost touch with some of the group, and there was some people behind me, so were in front of me in our group anyway. You're honestly, you’re going up and you.. I swear I'm going through depression again, asking myself the big questions. “Why am I here? Am I really riding? I wanna ring a life line. This is crap.” Asking yourself, "Do they have Uber up here?" And then you get to the top, you summit, you feel fantastic, and you're going down. And you feel like frickin' Lance Armstrong on APO. You know what cycling's like. You're having the worst time of your life and the best time of your life, and then the best time of your life, and the worst time of your life. And it's six times a day. And you're like, "Why am I doing this?"

    FELICITY:

    That's so true.

    TRAVIS:

    But it was just the scenery, unbelievable, but.. Our hosts were fantastic, and they really looked after us. And then seeing the finish over the cobblestones coming into Paris. I just got goosebumps. And for the first time, I know you know him, but for the first time I wanted to meet Cadel Evans. He lives just over the river from us, and I've never met the guy. I've seen him around, but I've never actually met him. Here I am Champs-Élysées. "Hey Cadel." And he's just there, and we had a little chat. I went, "Get a selfie?" Alright. Done.

    FELICITY:

    Done and dusted.

    TRAVIS:

    Even though he's only three, two and a half, three kilometers away from where I live, and I could probably pop out on my balcony right now and I can see his house, I had to go all the way to the Tour de France to meet him and cross that off my bucket list.

    The other big one I did involving cycling was doing an Iron Man. It was actually doing an Iron Man was the second thing behind Base Camp Mount Everest. The second thing I ever put on that list to do before I die when I was 18. Growing up as a swimmer, that was okay. Done one marathon. And I literally entered the Iron Man having never done a triathlon before, and not even owning a bike.

    FELICITY:

    That's radical.

    TRAVIS:

    So, I did it. And I did a series. Because it's not.. Here's the thing, it's not about. It's about the what and the why, and not about the how. Just go out. Number one, you're gonna extract and then articulate this personal, meaningful and holistic bucket list. You gotta actually get it out of your head. Because right now everyone's bucket list is swimming around with their to do list. And guess which one gets done first. Writing this stuff down is really important. Once you write it down, you're articulating the values system, your internal Google machine sort of takes over and you start paying attention, following blogs, following people, having conversations around those things. The how, the path, kind of starts to reveal itself.

    So, for me, I just went, "You know what? 900 bucks. Let's enter the Melbourne Iron Man when they first run it down here." And I just entered and went, "Oh dear. Now what?" And before you know it I started training, I over-trained and started to get all kinds of different over-training injuries. I was exhausted. Then got a coach. Bought a triathlon bike. My first ever, I did an Olympic distance triathlon as part of training. Then I did a half Iron Man. All part of training. Then I did the full. It was actually the Iron Man funny enough that put me on the map as The Bucket List Guy because nearly every training session I did a video. So, there's about 60-70 videos of me online with my training to do the Iron Man. As a result I did that, and funny enough I did a pretty good time. I did nine hours, twenty-six for the full. Did three twenty, I was eleventh out of the water. And then just held the bike. And then did a three twenty-nine marathon. That was 15 minutes faster than just doing a marathon.

    FELICITY:

    That's amazing.

    TRAVIS:

    I lost six and a half kilograms during the whole race, and I was six minutes off qualifying for Hawaii for my age group.

    FELICITY:

    Wow. That's fantastic.

    TRAVIS:

    And I just put myself in the frickin' hurt locker. I hardly remember the last half of the marathon. There we go.

    FELICITY:

    Gee that's amazing. Very inspiring, Trav. Well thank you for joining us today. That's been wonderful to hear those stories of yours, and also inspire us. I want to leave our listeners with your shared vision, which is to create a purposely fulfilled world. And your shared mission, which is to help 10 million bucket listers live purposely fulfilled lives. And I hope that our listeners will be one of those really so that we all can participate because I think that's a fantastic mission.

    TRAVIS:

    Now since just after my TED Talk I've teamed up with a business partner, an Australian over in the US. He's got a big business around the world. He runs a business coaching business, and he said, after speaking at his conference, he said "Trav, I reckon you’re onto something here. Let's talk about licensing what you do." And went alright, let's do it. One year later, after that conversation, I'm now the proud CEO of The Bucket List Coaches Global. So now, launching that at the start of this year, we've got now bucket list coaches in ten countries in ten months.

    FELICITY:

    Wow.

    TRAVIS:

    Our latest country is literally Costa Rica. We got a bucket list coach from Austria to Costa Rica, and they're teaching my methodology and helping. We're all collectively a tribe of coaches. We're all working towards at hitting that ten million mark. So, it's not just me out there speaking from stage. It's about a legacy piece and really helping a lot of people in all walks of life in all sorts of countries around the world.

    FELICITY:

    That's fantastic. And it's great that you're able to collaborate with someone else. It's really fantastic that you're all united with that purpose. Our listeners can find you on LinkedIn, so I'll put that in the LinkedIn show notes. And your website, which is www.thebucketlistguy.com . And you've also got your podcast "The Bucket List Guy."

    TRAVIS:

    That one's called "The Bucket List Life."

    FELICITY:

    Oh okay, sorry. That's right. "The Bucket List Life." And also, we'll put the other links in for your Facebook, Insta, and Twitter that you're on, and YouTube. So, everyone can reference those from our show notes. I'd just really like to thank you once again, Trav, for joining us today. It's been really inspiring and I'm looking forward to hearing more about the bucket list phenomenon as you grow and evolve. And I'm going to create my own bucket list now.

    TRAVIS:

    That's what it's all about, Fee. My absolute pleasure.

    FELICITY:

    Thank you very much.

    Thanks for listening to the All Torque podcast. We'd love it if you would leave us a rating and review on iTunes. This helps us to deliver content you want to hear about. Please take a moment to share it with your friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. I'm Felicity Dales, see you next episode for another story of inspiration and motivation on the All Torque podcast.

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