Often times it is our own limiting beliefs that hold us back in life. In this episode of the Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana are joined by actress, Rachele Brooke Smith, founder of “The Disruptive Movement”. Rachele discusses how she went from a fearful, anxious child to landing the lead role in a major Hollywood film, all by using visualization to see past her limiting beliefs.
Rachel: We're good now? Yes!
Tana Amen: We'll share it from your page.
Rachel: We did it. No, it works. We're good.
Tana Amen: Yay!
Tana Amen: Are we live? Yay!
Rachel: We're live.
Tana Amen: Okay.
Dr Daniel Amen: You guys ready?
Rachel: Hi everybody! We are ready.
Dr Daniel Amen: Okay. Kick us off.
Tana Amen: All right, so we are here today with the Brain Warrior's Way Podcast, with someone very special to us: Rachel Brooke Smith. You are very special, 'cause not only do we know your parents, and they're great people, but you've actually made your own name in Hollywood at such a young age. I know you were on Center Stage, you were actually in the Nice Guys with Ryan Gosling and Russel Crowe-
Tana Amen: There's like this huge list here, I'm not gonna read them all, Cold Moon, Lee Roll, from the writer of Beetlejuice-
Rachel: That one actually comes out in August in theater so we're really excited about that, and I play a southern character and it was a big ... Every single film that I've done has literally been an experience or a story of how you can manifest big goals and dreams-
Tana Amen: That's awesome.
Rachel: Especially Center Stage.
Tana Amen: Well she's got this huge list of roles, she's been in movies, she's been in ... She is a ridiculous dancer, the control you have over your body is seriously ridiculous. I've never seen a person's body move like that.
Rachel: Thank you.
Tana Amen: It's pretty amazing and you are beautiful girl both inside and out, you're as pretty as you are on the outside I just think it's even more amazing how sweet you are at your age you are actually living with an incredible purpose.
So talk to us a little bit about your story, 'cause I don't want to just read your bio and all the cool things you've done.
Rachel: Absolutely, thank you. Thank you so much for that amazing introduction, and you guys really are some of my biggest heroes, honestly. You guys have had an incredible effect on my family but also my life from listening to your podcast and learning about the things that you teach, I'm just so honored, honestly, to be here and I just want to help share your message especially with the younger generation because we just don't talk about brain-body health enough.
It all starts here, it's all here what you think, how you eat, I'm just a huge believer in what you consume, just like who you are around, your environment is just as important.
Tana Amen: So you have this term that you brought up that I thought was really cool-
Tana Amen: Be disruptive. You talk about being disruptive in creating miracles in your life, so what brought that on?
Rachel: It really all goes back to a lot of what I think started my whole purpose and mission in my life, I grew up a really anxious, fearful little girl.
Tana Amen: Well, you'd never know it.
Rachel: That's the crazy thing, I wanted to share that and tell people know it doesn't matter where you are now, you can get to where you want to be and where you want to go but so much of it is that personal journey, that personal growth. So I grew up a very competitive gymnast, like very competitive from a young age and I always put ... They put a lot of pressure on us to be great, obviously. But I put so much of that on myself, I created my own world of anxiety and fear in my head, so much so that I was almost ... I was sick all the time-
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I understand that, that sounds familiar. I was one of those kids, too-
Rachel: Yeah, yeah. I think so, I remember hearing stories of that. I was almost throwing up once a week, not 'cause of an eating disorder but because I was so scared-
Tana Amen: Right.
Rachel: I had such anxiety. I really got competitive in gymnastics from eight to 13 and it was also a big part of my mom's life, too, just like any mom, if your kid's in-
Tana Amen: You have to be committed-
Rachel: Everyday, for five hours ... It was everyday five hours a day.
Tana Amen: You're committed.
Rachel: You're committed. So I knew that I wasn't happy, you know? I knew that I wasn't okay, especially when you're that sick all the time. I missed half the school year and it was just really hard for me to get the courage to quit 'cause that was my life, that was my identity. So just like anything else that we know, people are scared of change 'cause that's all they know. So even if you're not happy, you can end up staying in the same place because you're scared of change.
Tana Amen: So one thing I want to point out is you actually ... You didn't grow up without a lot. I want to point this out, like I grew up really poor, people hear that and they expect that in a situation like where I grew up in a really kinda ugly background, but you had pretty amazing parents-
Rachel: I have amazing parents. You know, my dad was in residency though for most of my life-
Tana Amen: He's a neurosurgeon-
Rachel: I just love my parents, heroes of mine. So for most of my upbringing, he was in residency and I didn't really get to see him-
Tana Amen: They're busy guys.
Rachel: Yeah, well we didn't have that ... I didn't have a bad childhood at all, I had great parents, but it wasn't until my later teens that it became different after my dad got out of residency-
Tana Amen: Okay. So he was gone a lot-
Rachel: Gone a lot.
Tana Amen: I know residents because I'm nurse and they live at the hospital-
Tana Amen: So I understand that. Were these things that sort of ... Were you the only one if your family who struggled with anxiety? Was this sort of a common theme?
Rachel: It's interesting 'cause I don't think it's come out until maybe later. I'm the second oldest in my family, but definitely more of us sort of put so much pressure on ourselves. We all talked about it at different times how we just feel this pressure, and not because our parents put it on us but just to do amazing things in the world. I've just always had this feeling inside of me like I just have to do big things, whatever that means. I just want to make an impact, I think I've transformed that kind of ... I've learned how to transform that kind of anxiety or fear into just living it everyday.
Dr Daniel Amen: That's what I'm interested in.
Dr Daniel Amen: How did you go from-
Rachel: From that-
Dr Daniel Amen: From that part of life and feeling anxious and being unhappy-
Tana Amen: And sick-
Dr Daniel Amen: And working really hard-
Dr Daniel Amen: To where you are today-
Dr Daniel Amen: So what were the steps for you that you think other people could learn from?
Rachel: Absolutely. I do have to say , one of the biggest things after I finally got up the courage to say I'm not happy in this, I have to be done. It was after I broke my hand, had surgery, and the thought of going back to that life of gymnastics ... I couldn't do it. Finally I got the courage to tell my mom, it was very challenging and it was very hard for her to hear that and I love my mom to death but it really ... Being a 13 year old girl and having your mom say "I can't really be around you for a while, I don't like you very much right now" is extremely hard to hear-
Tana Amen: Ouch.
Rachel: But we're best friends now, like I said, I have the best mom in the world and I love her so much, and we've grown so much through these pas ... But after that I straight cried, I was super sad, my whole identity was gone, my best friend didn't want to be around me very much and then I saw a movie that to me had this life changing experience in that film and that film was Center Stage, the first Center Stage.
Tana Amen: So you were the lead role?
Rachel: No, not in this one. I was 13 still. I saw the first one.
Tana Amen: Interesting.
Rachel: And that was the film that completely changed me and it was the first time I'd ever felt this overwhelming passion, like, that is what I want to do. Because it made me so happy and I was so inspired by these people, these girls telling this story on stage in their movement and their dance. I always loved dance, it was kinda a part of gymnastics but not really.
So I had goosebumps, chills, I couldn't leave my seat and I just felt so overwhelmed by this experience that I remember my family ... I stayed after and just closed my eyes and automatically started visualizing myself doing all of it.
Tana Amen: Okay, well I'm a little tripped out right and now because you got the lead role-
Rachel: I did.
Tana Amen: In the next Center Stage.
Rachel: In the second one-
Tana Amen: So that's very creepy and weird and eerie and cool-
Rachel: In a cool way.
Tana Amen: In a cool way.
Dr Daniel Amen: That's awesome.
Tana Amen: It is but it's sorta trippy.
Rachel: And that's what-
Dr Daniel Amen: You teach people about, is visualizing [crosstalk 00:12:04] finding your bliss-
Rachel: Absolutely, I'm like the biggest believer, we have the most amazing tool between our ears, you know, the power of visualization can completely create experiences in the future and its how much you believe in that. I got told-
Tana Amen: I'm blown away.
Rachel: Along my path after I was like, that's what I'm gonna do, I walked out of the theater saying, okay, mom, dad, get me into acting classes, get me into dance classes, and I just lived it and breathed it. It was the first time though that I ever experienced what it was like to just feel happy and just so ...
Tana Amen: That's so powerful.
Rachel: I can dance, I still do. Hours and hours all day long, and I never ... Whereas some people's passion or mission, might be gymnastics and they might have that same experience, you know-
Tana Amen: Right. Have to find your thing-
Rachel: With just being able to do it. I think that's such a powerful thing, the power in finding that, in trying new things, getting out of your comfort zone, what I say, disrupting limiting beliefs, disrupting your comfort zone, because if you never try, you never know but so many of us stay in this comfort zone-
Dr Daniel Amen: [crosstalk 00:13:05] so many interesting brain things going on ... 'Cause I'm not actually a huge fan of gymnastics for girls-
Dr Daniel Amen: Or boys. Because of the head trauma that goes with it. I have a niece that competed at a very high level all the way through college.
Dr Daniel Amen: She had three concussions and then she had behavior issues and I mean, it's not a good ... But I don't know that many dancers who have concussions. I'm sure there are but not many-
Rachel: Way better.
Dr Daniel Amen: Those complex motor movements that you learned in gymnastics that made it easier for you to be a dancer because you're working your cerebellum, that's the back bottom part of your brain that's involved in coordination-
Dr Daniel Amen: It just helped your development-
Rachel: So much so-
Dr Daniel Amen: But then switching it to get something you love, something you're passionate about, something that's not work, something you have to do, that's what you know, we wish for all-
Dr Daniel Amen: Our kids and our patients. It's like, can you get connected-
Dr Daniel Amen: To what you love.
Rachel: To something, yeah, I think that's why ... In the stuff that I do, when I started disruptive, it was all about through that experience and so many other experiences, along my path when I was like, I'm gonna be an actress, I'm gonna go to LA, I'm gonna be a movie star. Those would be my dreams I think that celebrity movie star, but it was like I want to help change people's lives like it changed mine in that moment. Just the power of film, I mean I started to cry because every time I go to the theater and see a movie, I think it's one of the most powerful ways to change people because it takes people through an experience.
We can share ideas and stories all day long, as soon as you can experience something with somebody, you know, it's a totally different game changer.
Tana Amen: It's interesting, I want to throw something in there as a mom, from a different perspective ... So we have a 13 year old, she's amazing, I just have to say she's actually amazing. But we went through a situation where I actually was frustrated with her for a while because she wouldn't commit to stuff, she wasn't passionate about much of anything-
Tana Amen: And I was frustrated, I felt like she was quitting on things and we were sort of pushing her to go into science and always talking to her about being a doctor, planting that seed. And she had a similar experience. One day she was at a concert and she just got this bug and she just sat there. I remember, I was with her 'cause she was young and so she left there and she was really quiet instead of being really excited like outwardly and I could tell something had shifted. She told me this is what I want to do and I was like, what?
Rachel: You're like scared.
Tana Amen: What happened to being a doctor, right? I could see it, I could see there was gonna be no talking her out of it and she was so passionate and so driven and when I asked her why she said "Because I want to make a difference, I want to be inspiring and this is a way I can do it. This is a platform." She goes "I just can't think of another way."
I thought to myself for a minute, I could push her to go the doctor route, and she'd probably not be happy, who am I to squash her dreams? So since we've been doing that we've been really supporting her, this kid is amazing. She just blossomed, she's such a good kid and people say to me, your kid's so good. But we're trying to do our part to sort of foster those dreams and ... Thank you for that.
Rachel: Yeah, I think that's so important, and something I learned ... I got told I was crazy all along the way. Trust me, my dad, when ... I had all these other plans of how I was going to accomplish this goal and dream and none of that worked. Thank goodness it didn't because I really learned through that. We were saying that before, some of the things that you think are the worst things could actually and usually are the very best thing.
Dr Daniel Amen: So Freea, what were those things that worked for you?
Rachel: We'll say, before we get into that I want say what you're talking about. My dad was not happy about me moving to LA when I was 18, he was like "What about the college route, what about going to ..." 'Cause I had an amazing GPA, the only reason why I didn't get into my dream college was my test scores weren't ... I wanted to get into a ridiculously hard college, but I was devastated when I didn't because I was like captain of the dance line. Overachiever like crazy to get this goal and dream, I didn't get in, was devastated and then last minute found this audition, or heard of this audition in LA for this performing arts scholarship program. Did that for a year, best thing I ever did. As soon as I got out, I actually had an agent, I could actually audition again. I got turned down by a bunch of acting agents and they were like, no, you're not ready.
The only thing I knew to do was to dance. So I would just keep going back, I would keep going to classes. That whole year I'd been in LA I never seen anything on the wall for an audition, any time. This was the first time I could actually have the chance to audition again, I saw this sign that said auditions for the lead girl in Center Stage 2. I almost didn't go because I just got turned down so many times by acting agents-
Tana Amen: So good point.
Rachel: Yeah, I almost didn't go. I justified ... I felt in my mind, creating all the ants, all the automatic negative thoughts you talk about which is really, we'll get to that, the big reason why I started disruptive was to help disrupt those and have an actionable thing and a reminder on a shirt, or apparel that helps you be like, no that's just a ... I'm stronger and more powerful than my thoughts.
Tana Amen: So that's similar to what we would call a pattern interrupt.
Rachel: Yes, exactly.
Rachel: Really, that's what disruptive is, in a fun, creative, kind of rebellious way using pattern interrupts to help people rethink or reframe situations.
Dr Daniel Amen: Rebellious against yourself-
Dr Daniel Amen: Against the limiting beliefs in yourself-
Rachel: What I call the negatives. I mean, I'm an actress, I feel like I have so many people inside of me. But we all do, we all have these different characters that we could be or can be, it's just like, what character are you deciding to be today?
Rachel: You know?
Tana Amen: Some days I wake up and I feel a little whiny and I'm like, no, we're gonna be a warrior today.
Rachel: Yes, exactly. Even having names for that. I think the more creative and that when you say one of the things that did work is when I mixed my creative mind into my personal growth side, into my goal achieving so even with clients I work on or my online programs with disruptive, it's all about game defying goals and one of my big missions is to make personal growth and brain-body health a fun, cool, sexy thing to do for a younger generation.
Tana Amen: For your generation it has to be sort of fun and sexy and sexy doesn't have to necessarily mean sexy in that way, but like that sort of exciting, fresh and fun. And I've seen your clothing line for your workout apparel, it's super cute. I ordered some for Chloe-
Tana Amen: It's really cute.
Dr Daniel Amen: That's really awesome, so when we come back, we are gonna talk about the practical things you're doing now to keep your brain and your body in top shape and how you're sharing it with the world-
Rachel: Yes, I would love that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Stay with us everyone.