Hangin’ with Bret Engemann
Ah, truly Bret Engemann is one of the good guys. He was the charming and handsome guy at Timpview High School. Athletics ran in his blood. After graduating from high school, Bret went on to play football at BYU and also the Raiders. But as we started diving deep into this podcast, I discovered a lot of things about my old friend.
For one, life threw him many, many curve balls. Things did not go according to plan. Bret had to step into the dark many times in his life. And through it all, he learned and grew even more. He learned the importance of being nice to EVERYONE. He also learned that it’s way more important to find joy in the process rather than the outcome. We talked about the illusion of control and how our unpredictable future has led to understanding what is really the most important thing in his life.
We also talked about his short-lived career on The Bachelorette and how that led to him being married to his wife. These things could never be written in a script. Too unbelievable. And yet it’s all true. Great catching up with my buddy. Enjoy!
Get to Know Bret Engemann
He was set to become a reality TV star, but then everything changed. Bret Engemann was among 32 contestants in season 16 of The Bachelorette but had to back out when filming was postponed. This didn’t stop him from finding love, however, and Bret is living proof that the future is unwritten. Bret had already had a pretty interesting life. He was a college quarterback at Brigham Young University (BYU), resulting in a professional football career. Nowadays, he’s enjoying married life and coaching his two adorable kids.
Who Is Bret Engemann?
Bret is mostly known for his football career. He was also controversially chosen for The Bachelorette as the oldest contestant to date — at 42. He proved that age is only a number and was considered one of the most desirable candidates vying for the heart of The Bachelorette. Even though he never actually appeared in the show due to the pandemic, plenty of secrets about his love life were made public. He’s been divorced, had two sons, and was back looking for love again. Bret has since remarried, and his new spouse was rumored to be part of the cast.
Bret was born in Provo, Utah, to Karl and Gerri Engemann, where he was brought up in a very religious household. He served a Latter-day Saint mission to Boston, Massachusetts. Brett isn’t the only member of his family to have experience in show business. His father, Karl, was an executive at Capital Records, managing the likes of Marie Osmond and Larry King, who was also married to his older sister Shawn until 2019. Bret himself has also been married and divorced. He has two teenage sons from his first marriage, Rome and Cole.
Work and Interests
Bret is an executive business manager for Powell Lane Enterprises, a health company owned by TV co-hosts Chris and Heidi Powell. He’s been a double diamond executive for over 14 years, marketing health products from natural ingredients such as unprocessed cacao and açai berries. He also participated in Black Out Tuesday, an initiative in the fight to end racism and police brutality, on Instagram and still has a strong social media presence.
Bret has had a pretty impressive career in football. After playing quarterback at BYU, he went on to play professionally with the Oakland Raiders. Throughout his football career, he reached many accomplishments. At BYU he was recognized as the top passer in the Mountain West Conference in 2002. He also earned MWC’s Offensive Player-of-the-Week honors in 2000. Before college, Bret also played both football and baseball at Timpview High School. As a senior, he was named as the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year and All-America by SuperPrep magazine. During his final year at Timpview, he was ranked among the top five passers in the nation, achieving 23 touchdowns and throwing 2400 yards. Although he might have moved on to the world of business, with a short spell in reality TV, Bret has always been passionate about football. He now dedicates his time to coaching his kids and never misses one of their games.
Bret was set to compete in the 16th season of The Bachelorette, featuring the 39-year-old hair stylist Clare Crawley, from Sacramento, California, and Tayshia Adams, a 29-year-old phlebotomist from Corona Del Mar, California. It was originally set to premiere on May 18, 2020, but it was postponed to October 13, 2020. Filming was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. They had to limit filming to the US, and contestants were given a 7-day quarantine beforehand.
Although Bret originally planned to appear on the show, he was unable to film at the later date due to scheduling conflicts. Unfortunately, postponing the filming meant that it clashed with the football season, and Bret was too busy coaching his kids and didn’t want to miss so many of their games. Bret is a family-oriented guy and spends as much time with his kids as he can, so he could not take part in the postponed production of The Bachelorette. This led him to better things, however, and you can find out more in this podcast.
Bret Engemann Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey, what’s going on, guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with an incredible specimen, really, when you think about it. In fact, the camera should not be on me at all. It’s still on me. I feel like it’s on me. But it should be on my good buddy, Bret Engemann, who is sitting across from me. Here’s the deal. Bret and I have shared a wonderful history together. It’s been very divine, and it started at Timpview High School. We both went to Timpview High School. The truth was, Bret had no idea who I was at the time of Timpview High School. I had no idea who I was at Timpview High School. My identity is still forming.
Charan: But Bret was the most popular kid in school, of course. He was the quarterback and he went on to play football from Timpview to BYU, right?
Charan: So, you were a quarterback at BYU. And then that went on to being on the Raiders for a little while, which was incredible. But the thing was, you came from an entertainment family, I believe.
Bret: I did.
Charan: And your dad was vice president at Capitol Records, I believe. Is that right?
Bret: Yeah, he was vice president of A&R specifically.
Charan: At A&R? Yeah, I don’t even know what that is, but that’s amazing.
Bret: Artists and Repertoire. It was his job basically to go out and find new, interesting acts to sign to the label.
Charan: To the label. That’s amazing. I’m surprised he didn’t sign you.
Bret: Oh, yeah.
Charan: I’m shocked, actually. No, but dude, here’s the deal. I have known of you for some time, and our paths never actually crossed til, I would say, years after even BYU days. Probably after your Raider days, because I think we met-
Bret: Through Angie, I think.
Charan: Through Angie.
Bret: Yeah, you guys were in an acting class.
Charan: Yeah, we were in an acting class together.
Bret: Rick Macy’s acting class.
Charan: Rick Macy’s acting class, so that’s when she said … I remember when said she was married to you, I remember being intimidated by that.
Bret: Oh, stop.
Charan: I was, I was. I was like, “Oh my gosh. Thankfully, I’ve learned some great acting skills and I’m going to impress him.” No, but I remember I came over to you guys’ houses and your kids, Rome and Cole, were just tiny little guys. Rome is now your height, 6’4.
Bret: Yeah, he’s 6’4.
Charan: It’s insane.
Bret: It’s crazy.
Charan: I remember meeting you there and just super nice and in fact, you introduced me as well to now a really good friend of mine, David Osmond, but you were the one that made the introduction.
Bret: Oh, did I?
Charan: Yeah, you did.
Bret: When did that happen?
Charan: I don’t know, but you were always telling me about him and then you introduced me, I believe. Even to this day, I talk to David Osmond all the time, so I have to thank you-
Bret: He’s probably the single most talented person.
Charan: He’s a very talented human being.
Bret: He’s incredible. Such a good person.
Charan: Very good person. But I remember meeting you and you were just so nice. I remember being like, “Oh wow, Bret’s also just a really cool guy.” And then I realized it was all a front because you were trying to get me into your MLM scheme.
Bret: Exactly, yeah.
Charan: I’m like, “All right, I get it now.”
Bret: Do what you got to do to get it-
Charan: Yeah, exactly. And you know what? Here’s the thing. It worked. I was like, “Yeah, I’ll sign up.”
Bret: And you were on auto-ship.
Charan: Yeah, I was on auto-ship before I even knew I signed up. But we hung out doing a little bit of Xocai as a chocolate MLM company, but through the years I have seen you do all kinds of different businesses. You left network marketing. You did, I think, things for an artist, I believe. I don’t even know if that’s true or not, because you were just … Or, you were working with someone that was an artist or something like that? I thought…
Bret: An artist? Like a painter artist?
Charan: Maybe a painter artist, but then you were also an agent, right? Weren’t you an agent representing-
Bret: So, I worked with Chris and Heidi Powell.
Bret: As their manager essentially. Chris and Heidi were on ABC Extreme Weight Loss. They were the celebrity fitness coaches on that. I worked with them for about five years or so just helping them, business consulting and-
Charan: Doing all those type of things.
Bret: All the type of things, yeah.
Charan: Well, it was just interesting, because then we started talking more because you were getting more interested in entertainment as well, in the acting field, and I remember even the one little sketch that we were laughing about … We made a little video together and I was like, “Wow, Bret’s got insane acting talent.”
Bret: Oh, come on.
Bret Engemann’s “Lemonade Stand” Story
Charan: I’m serious. It was just hilarious. But I’d love to take a walk down memory lane a little bit. This is all about the “lemonade stand story,” so do you remember your first business and what that was?
Bret: My first business was … Well, it wasn’t my business. My first opportunity to participate in a business was my neighbor, Jared Stewart.
Bret: He owns a local company called Tribalry. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.
Charan: No, I have not.
Bret: He’s probably five, six years older than me. He started a door-to-door candy sales company.
Bret: So, I went to work for him selling candy door to door. I didn’t make any money. He paid me in Big League Chew.
Charan: In what?
Bret: Big League Chew, which was a bubble gum. It’s for Little League baseball players, essentially.
Bret: I was paid in Big League Chew and learned how to go door-to-door and have awkward conversations with people.
Charan: Dude, that’s amazing. I didn’t know that.
Bret: That was fun. It was fun. Just our neighborhood, basically. We were just trying to flash a cute smile and manipulate in that way as much as we possibly could our neighbors.
Charan: Dude, and you know what? Those skills have paid off, man, in a massive way.
Bret: But really my first job in business wasn’t until after, and it wasn’t really a job. It was after … or actually concurrent to me playing with the Raiders, and that was actually Xocai.
Charan: You’re kidding me?
Bret: No, I’m not kidding.
Charan: No way.
Bret: Yeah, yeah. So while I was in training camp, I was really sore and experiencing all the different types of muscle cramps that anybody would in training camp. My brother Paul sent me a bottle of this… at the time, it was a liquid chocolate.
Charan: I remember.
Bret: Do you remember that?
Charan: Yeah, of course.
Bret: It had an interesting aftertaste.
Bret: I’ll leave it there. It was pretty gross, but it actually helped me with inflammation.
Bret: What it was, was just the natural properties of-
Charan: Dark chocolate, right?
Bret: Dark chocolate. Exactly. So anyway, started taking the product. He signs me up in the business, starts placing people in my business and I talk to a couple people, just shared with them the experience that I had with the product. Before I know it, I have a business. It’s an outlier story in network marketing. It very rarely happens. It was just a perfect storm.
Bret: Anyway, it got to the point where I had to make a decision between … It grew so quickly that I had to make decision between do I still want to keep pursing football or if I focus on this business, I can actually make this a real moneymaker, a way to support my family. So, I left. I left the Raiders after year three, in the middle of year three, and started building this business.
Charan: Was there a point, because I remember you were just an exceptional football player … did you think that was going to be your career?
Bret: I did.
Charan: What made the switch? Why were you [crosstalk 00:09:09]?
Bret: When I was a BYU, I had a severe shoulder injury my sophomore year. It took me about two years to recover from that. I never really fully recovered. I went from being able to throw the ball… at the peak of my playing career and my arm strength, I could throw the ball 80 yards in the air. Not that throwing the ball far is the mark of a great quarterback. But just to illustrate the digression of my throwing ability, I went from being able to throw the ball 80 yards in the air to about 60 yards in the air, 65 yards in the air. I lost a significant portion of arm strength and it never really came back.
Charan: Now, just so we have a comparison of a regular human being and Bret Engemann, I think I could throw the ball maybe 10 yards in the air.
Bret: Come on.
Charan: All right, all right, 11. No, I’m just kidding, but 65 yards is still insanely far, I would think.
Bret: Yeah, sure. Sure.
Charan: Right? Was that a significant thing that you were like, “Okay, I can’t. It affects me.”
Bret: It wasn’t incredibly significant. I had to completely change my style of play where I used to be able to force balls into tighter coverage, and I couldn’t do that as effective anymore. So, I had to learn. In some ways, it was good for my football career because I had to learn better how to dissect coverages and anticipate throws better, but I think in the eyes of NFL scouts, I was always damaged goods.
Bret: And then so many things happened in my football career. We had a new coach come in-
Charan: At BYU?
Bret: BYU. Gary Crowton came in. LaVell Edwards recruited me. I played for him for the first two years. Got hurt in the middle of year two, missed the rest of that season. Had to red-shirt the following season because my shoulder was still recovering, and then Gary Crowton came in the following year while I was red-shirting, and it was … With him, for whatever reason, we didn’t really jive. It almost seemed like he was wanting to start anybody but me. It was a weird situation, but I ended up earning the starting spot in spring ball against his wishes, I’ve come to learn, and played that season. He kept putting me in and out of the games, pulling me from time to time.
Bret: And then, when it came time to decide if I was going to come back for my senior season, I went in for my end of the year meeting with the coaches and essentially … I’ve never talked about this before. Essentially they invited me to leave. Basically it was like-
Charan: Are you serious?
Bret: Oh yeah. I’m not going to say who it was that I met with, but they basically said, “Look, no matter what you do in the off-season, no matter how well you play in spring and in fall, we’re going to start the younger guy. We’ve got a younger team. We’re going to rebuild, so I think you can stay here if you want and be the backup, but that’s all you’re going to be, no matter what.”
Charan: At BYU?
Bret: Yeah. “Or, you can go down a level and play Division II or you could go into the draft and see what happens.” So, the decision I made, in hindsight, was the wrong decision. I should have stayed for sure.
Charan: Oh, really?
Bret: I think I should have stayed. For many reasons, but I think, primarily, because it had an effect on me. I felt like I quit on something, essentially. And then, when I left and entered the draft early, I didn’t really have enough tape, I didn’t have enough experience, so NFL scouts — I was a huge risk. I was really unknown, so I didn’t end up getting drafted, and I had about four teams that were interested in signing me as an undrafted free agent: the Ravens, Rams … They all start with R … Redskins and Raiders. I decided to sign with the Raiders out of those and went to training camp.
Bret: But when you go undrafted, your path to become a starter and being relevant in the NFL, it’s infinitely more difficult.
Charan: Man. That’s why I didn’t go.
Bret: That’s what I was thinking.
Charan: I was like, “You know what?” And I was just going to sign up as a water boy but I was like, “You know what? Even that, I’m not going to be drafted as a water boy. There’s just no way I’m going to make it.”
Bret: They don’t do that anymore?
Charan: You know, I think back then they would have, but I just decided it just wasn’t my path. It wasn’t my path.
Bret: You weren’t really passionate about H2O.
Charan: Dude, that’s crazy. I didn’t know about all that stuff at BYU that happened to you and everything like that.
Bret: Yeah, some of it, I’ll admit, was self-inflicted, but there were some variables there that were out of my control that were pretty frustrating.
Charan: Well, let me ask you this. Looking back now, what have you learned from that whole experience?
Bret: That’s a good question. Well, I think, like I mentioned before, you live and learn, obviously, through life, and I think the thing that I regret the most, as I said earlier, was leaving early. Just because I felt like I had unfinished business. I felt like I, in some ways, was letting my family down. I grew up loving BYU football. It was everything to me. I felt like I just let a lot of people down, and in some ways, I let myself down by allowing somebody else to influence me to make a decision I didn’t really feel good about, but it’s a decision that I have to live with and that I made.
Bret: So, I think, just, if anything, it’s taught me we’re all motivated by human beings to either pursue pleasure or to avoid pain. That experience in my life has taught me how painful it can be to quit on something. And it seems like more people are wired, at least through my experience, to avoid pain than they are to gain pleasure. That really motivates people. I don’t want to experience that pain. I don’t want to feel that burn or that heartache. So, I think that’s probably the biggest lesson I took from that is just I’m never going to quit. Never going to quit on anything again. It’s just too painful.
Bret: You run so many scenarios in your mind. “Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” scenarios.
Charan: The regret.
Bret: The regret.
Charan: It’s interesting you say that. I remember when I made the decision to be an actor. It was in 2004, and I remember this thought that I had, “When I get old and I look back on my life, if I regret anything what would it be?” And I knew for sure if I never gave acting a shot, I would regret it. So, then I started thinking why have I stopped myself from being an actor? It was fear. It was fear of failure. It was fear that it was going to work out. But I was already creating a scenario that wasn’t even happening. It was just in my own mind happening, right?
Charan: So, I went for it, not entirely sure what was going to happen, but I’m like, “Well, hey, at least I gave it a shot, right?” I’m so grateful I did, because it had worked out for me. But it’s been very interesting as well, because like you were saying, that pain of quitting is tough and now it’s like, “Hey, for better or worse, you’re going in head first and going to make something happen and see how it goes.”
Charan: Which, takes me back to that Xocai conversation, because I remember when I first met with you … And it was you and Jared Overton, I believe, right?
Charan: And we were talking about this, you were making significant money.
Bret: We were.
Charan: You guys were doing some really good stuff, and so much so that you were like, “We should create a training video.” I don’t know where that training video has gone, but it was the best training video I’ve ever seen.
Bret: Is this the one where we walked through the river in our suits?
Charan: Yeah, in your suits. It’s just you filming you, and then I’m pulling back seeing you guys stumbling through the Provo River. It was the best. It was so funny.
Bret: Where is that? Do you have it?
Charan: I don’t know where it’s at. I honestly have looked for it, and Jared’s been wondering, too.
Bret: Jared has?
Charan: No, no. He was like, “Where is that training video?” I’m like, “We just have to recreate it.”
Bret: That was so funny.
Bret Engemann Talks About His Business Career Path
Charan: It was so funny. But I remember you had such great work ethic and that work ethic has taken you all across the board. Here’s the deal. We just barely talked about this, but your path in business has been very non-linear. It doesn’t really make logical sense, like “Oh, now I’m doing this. Now, I’m doing this. Now, I’m exploring this.” Can you talk a little bit about your path? From the days of Xocai from that MLM date, when did you decide, “I’m done with this and I want to try something else?”
Bret: Well, with Xocai, it was out of my control. The owners of the company did some things that took the company in a … I don’t even know how to say this, because I don’t want to get sued, but it was no longer a viable option for me.
Bret: It wasn’t really something that I was passionate about really. There were some things that were involved in the business, some elements of it that I could be passionate about, engaging people and having conversations. You learn some good leadership skills in some ways. But there were just some things about the culture specifically that just didn’t jive with me, and I found myself waking up feeling heavier as each day went on. I just increasingly felt more heavy.
Bret: As I was doing that, there was an opportunity to do a real estate project down in southern Utah, down in-
Charan: I remember this, dude. I remember you telling me about this.
Bret: This is late 2006. I found a piece of property that was on the west side of Zion’s National Park. It was the last privately-owned piece of property. 3400 acres that abutted West Temple at Zion’s National Park. Knew nothing about real estate development, but I had a friend whose dad was a real estate developer and he had some experience, and he was a brilliant guy. Long story short, I asked him to come and partner with me in this real estate venture. The idea was to put together a destination resort, two golf courses, 1600 homes, a high-end community, an equestrian facility.
Bret: And we actually went out and met with Donald Trump and convinced him to be our brand partner. He has a line of boutique hotels across the country … I think he has six different communities and they’re called Trump National. So, flew out to New York, met with him, met with Ivanka and they flew out, came down to Zion and we put a deal together. Then 2008 hit and the real estate market crashed, and we lost our option on the land and we lost a whole bunch of money. And my partner, who I trusted at the time, ended up stealing a whole bunch of money-
Charan: Oh, shoot.
Bret: Probably half a million dollars.
Bret: In the neighborhood of. Yeah, so that was a difficult time. It was a blow for sure, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. I just went for it, and had the housing market not crashed in 2008, who knows? Even having gone through what I went through, losing the money that I lost, losing investors’ money — my sister put a whole bunch of money into it and her husband — I’m still glad that I swung. I took a swing.
Charan: Yeah, you went for it.
Bret: Yeah, I went for it. I think I would regret it more had I not, even having gone through the pain that I went through.
Charan: Well, you know, it’s interesting, because we’re talking about different scenarios from football to Xocai to this real estate business. So many things happened that were not in your control. I feel like your life is figuring out “how do I deal with things when things get out of control?”
Bret: That’s what life is.
Charan: So, how have you been able to deal with it?
Bret: I think I’ve just learned to focus more on the process, less on the result.
Charan: I love that.
Bret: I teach that to my kids. Rome’s 16 now, Cole’s 13, and I have a stepdaughter, Maude, who’s three. Especially with my sons in sports, they get so worked up, or so nervous before games and they’re so worried about whether someone’s going to hit a home run off them or if Rome’s going to throw an interception or fumble or perform the way he wanted to perform. Invariably, our conversations always come back to one thing and that is to focus on the things that you can control, live in the moment, love it, enjoy it and just enjoy the process. Focus on the process. If you focus on the process and not the result, the desired results will come. If you focus on the results, it’s likely that you’re too focused on the result that you’re not present and you’re not focused on the process, so you don’t get the desired result.
Bret: It’s counterintuitive but-
Charan: Well, and what’s also interesting is, I’ve had moments where I was focused only on the results and I got the results, and I wasn’t happy. I’m like, “Why am I not happy? This is what I wanted, right?” I realized because, like you said, I wasn’t focused in the process. I wasn’t focused on the moment. I wasn’t enjoying the experience. I was too wrapped up in my mind over some scenario and when that scenario happened, it didn’t satisfy me because I was placing my own happiness, my own sense of fulfillment on some outcome that it had to happen a certain way.
Charan: And even then, it was a fleeting moment. It was a fleeting moment. But here’s the thing, I see you as … diversified your portfolio of all kinds of different things. We talked a little bit about you getting into acting a little bit. And it’s been awesome, because as I’ve seen you do these things and focus on the process, and all of these things have helped you learn to focus on the process, I see you become more fulfilled and more joyous. And as a result, those results have come in. Maybe not in the way you expected them to come in, but they have come in.
Bret: Very rarely in the way that you expect them to come in.
Bret Engemann Talks About His Recent Marriage
Charan: Right, right. Speaking of which, we were laughing about this last week, we were talking about it, but you were single for a while, for a long while, and you probably weren’t expecting to be single for a while. Then, you recently got married, which is very exciting, and you were telling me, “Hey, it feels amazing. It’s so great.” But the whole process of how you got married was unbelievable. I’d love to hear a little bit about that.
Bret: Yeah, it was pretty unconventional to say the least.
Charan: I really need to get motivated for myself, but keep going. Keep going.
Bret: There’s hope.
Charan: Yeah, there’s hope.
Bret: Don’t give up, Charan.
Charan: Oh, I haven’t given up. I’m so focused on the process, I can’t give up.
Bret: Let’s see. Rewind to last February, I believe. February of 2020?
Bret: Yes, 2020. I got a call. I’m up in Sun Valley, Idaho, with my sister Shannon. And I get a phone call from a 310 number that I don’t know. Pick it up, “This is Sunny Willebrand from The Bachelorette. I’m the head casting director for The Bachelorette.” I thought it was a prank call, so I just started laughing. I was like, “Who is this? Who is this?”
Bret: Because I had heard of the show, I had maybe seen it a couple times, but wasn’t a big fan and never in a million years thought about going on the show as a participant or a contestant. Anyway, I learned very quickly that she wasn’t kidding. Somebody submitted me to be on the show, anonymously, and I guess they filled out … There’s six pages. They filled out the first page and pointed her basically to my Instagram and my Facebook and then they went and did the research from there and then called me. I think, as I went down the path, last second they needed to cast somebody who was around my age, because most of the contestants were younger and Clare Crawley, who was the bachelorette at the time, was 38, 39.
Bret: So, I was the beneficiary of just an immediate need for an older guy.
Charan: That’s great.
Bret: I would have been the oldest guy in the history of the show.
Bret: So, I go on the show-
Charan: And, I actually remember it was a big deal, because everyone heard about it.
Charan: I’ll tell you. I heard and I’m like, “Wait, Bret’s on The Bachelorette?” Then Gail Dickey, who we both know, messaged me-
Bret: Oh, I forgot you know-
Charan: Of course. Of course I know Gail. She’s like, “Charan, did you hear Bret’s on The Bachelorette?” I’m like, “Wait, what? What is happening right now?” Anyway, keep going.
Bret: It was all so surreal. I go down. I’m there for about a week. Then, COVID hits, the height of it, and the day that we were supposed to move into the mansion and go and meet Clare and do the whole-
Charan: Oh, the whole thing?
Bret: The whole deal, they sent us home and said, “You’re going to come back. We don’t know when. It could be two weeks, it could be two months. It could six months. We don’t know.” So, I came home and I’d been home for probably a month or so and I’m at the gym, and a friend of mine, her name’s Demi … She was my friend at the time … asked me, she’s like, “What the heck are you doing home? Why aren’t you shooting The Bachelorette?” I said, “Well, they sent us all home for COVID.” She was like, “Oh, that makes sense.”
Bret: I didn’t know this, but she had gotten divorced, and she was always a family friend. She’s significantly younger than I am. She’s 26. I’m 43. So, I always knew her just as the younger girl. Never gave it a thought, but we just started talking and we hit it off. She let me know, she was like, “By the way, I’m the one who nominated you to go on The Bachelorette.” I was just like, “Oh my gosh.” We started talking and started dating, and she dated a few other guys early on while we were dating, but I was locked in on her.
Charan: Yeah, you knew.
Bret: I knew. I knew immediately. What is it? A year later? We just got married three weeks ago. The woman who nominated me to go and marry somebody else, I am now married to.
Charan: That is unbelievable. You in a million years could never write that. If you wrote that in a script, they’re like, “That’s too unbelievable. That wouldn’t fly.” And yet, that’s what happened.
Bret: Right. Life’s stranger than fiction.
Charan: Yeah, absolutely.
Bret: I think they say. Did you make that up? Is that you?
Charan: Yeah, sure.
Bret: That’s what I thought.
Charan: Yeah, I’m a fictitious guy. No, it’s very interesting, though, because as you see that, and you look back on your life, you’re like, “Wow, I never would have thought. I never would have thought.” I have this funny thing when … I was talking to a friend of mine and I’m like, “If someone could quote my life, or if there’s a motto I could say that defines my life, I would say, ‘And it did not come to pass.’ ” That’s what I would say. At first. But the thing is, the stuff that did come to pass was wow, way better than anything I could have ever thought of on my own, and that’s what I think is so beautiful about it.
Charan: What I’ve learned from you is you just learn to be malleable, and that rigidity in your mind, that need for control is broken down, broken down, broken down. You thought for sure, “I’m going to be a quarterback at BYU,” yada, yada, yada. “Oh no, I can’t throw 80 yards anymore. I can only throw 65 yards.” So, you’re just learning all the time, shifting things, shifting things, and I feel like that has actually become your superpower now. The ability to trust in the process versus the outcome, and that really is the key to having a successful life, honestly.
Bret: Yeah, you have to do it.
Charan: You have to do it.
Bret: Otherwise, life is just … Along the path, you can’t anticipate. You have this perfect vision as to how your life’s going to turn out. You can’t anticipate the different failures that will come, that will inevitably come, no matter the effort you put in. So many things have to align in order for anything to work out. Timing, luck, a good execution plan, the right people in sports, in business, anything in life. It’s pretty rare that the perfect storm occurs, and if you don’t learn how to adapt to that and accept …
Bret: Not that you want to accept losing but recognize it for what it is and not allow it to defeat you, not allow it to define you as a human being. But just to recognize that as a singular event in your life that you’re going to learn everything you possibly can from, and you’re going to take those things that you learned, and you’re going to better yourself and try to step forward and focus on the process and try to succeed again.
Bret: It’s just “rinse and repeat.” It’s just what life is. And one of the other things that I think that’s taught me is just to be kinder to people in general. Life is really difficult. Just to pay your bills and just to navigate life as Joe Schmo, it’s hard. I think when you’re a kid, you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s one of the things I try to remind my kids is just freaking be nice to people, and I have to remind myself of that as well always. You never know what somebody’s going through.
Charan: You just don’t, man.
Bret: You don’t.
Charan: You don’t.
Bret: And you can’t anticipate the pain that they might be feeling.
Charan: Well, it’s so interesting, dude. The whole world was thrown a big wrench last year when COVID hit. I was one of the fortunate ones. I was one of the people that, because my whole life has been filled with unpredictability and acting is just that, so this was like, “Oh, yeah. This is just another unpredictable thing.” And I was fine with it. But there was a lot of people that really suffered. A lot of people died. A lot of people lost their jobs, everything they were planning for, their retirement. A lot of people lost of ton of stuff.
Bret: Relationships fell apart.
Charan: And it was very difficult. How did you manage that time?
Bret: Man, that was such a weird time in life. I felt like I was in a movie, like we were in an apocalyptic … How do you say that? Apocalyptic.
Bret: … movie. End of days-
Charan: I even made a trailer about it, a movie trailer about last year.
Bret: I’d like to see it.
Charan: I will show you after.
Bret: Please do. I spent a lot of time feeling anxious.
Charan: Of course.
Bret: I tried to make the best of it. I spent a lot of time with my boys. I went on a lot of hikes. I hiked up the Y trail with my kids several times. I’d take them out to the baseball field, and we really just use it as time to spend with my family. The business, it was tough to do business. Everything was shut down. Nobody was doing deals. I mean, it was tough. I financially suffered for sure, but I think I grew closer to my boys in the meantime, and my sister was also in town, I spent a lot of time with her, so just really spent a lot of time with family.
Bret: Yeah, but what a weird time. We’re just barely-
Charan: Getting out of it.
Bret: … getting out of it.
Charan: But here’s the thing. What it taught me was anything can happen. Anything can happen, honestly. It’s interesting. Last year, my mom and I started taking walks together. We have a couple-mile trail that we do, and I’ve never done that before with her. But last year was the year we decided to start doing it, and I was like, you know what? This is amazing. This is amazing that we can chat and share these different things, and I can share with her the things that I’ve learned in life, and she’s sharing with me the things that she’s learning in life. I was like, man, it’s so simple. This is so free to do, and yet, I think this is what I’m going to be taking with me after I pass away. Not all the deals that fell apart, or all of that stuff, right?
Bret: For sure.
Bret Engemann Talks About Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Charan: I want to shift topics just a little bit, based off of all this craziness that we went through with COVID. Has there ever been a time in your life where you were like, “That was a severe lemon; this was a very, very hard blow”?
Bret: Oh, yeah.
Charan: Can you tell me a little bit about it and how’d you get out of it?
Bret: Man. My divorce from Angie. That was just a pain you can’t anticipate. We have two kids together, had a good life, and just like anything, things don’t work out. Our marriage didn’t work out. You can’t anticipate the pain that you feel when you lose a relationship like, especially when there are kids involved.
Charan: Of course.
Bret: That was a real fire for me, and I wish I would have handled things differently than I did. I wish I would have been kinder. I wish I would have been more gentle. I wish I would have sought to understand more rather than just being lost in my own pain, but really seeking to understand what she’s going through and trying to be there for her. I made it more about me than I should have, and I regret that a lot.
Charan: I think anyone going through pain will make it about them.
Bret: For sure.
Charan: Because they’re in pain. It’s a natural thing.
Bret: Yeah, but it was as though I, for the first time in my life, was … It was like I became the victim. I was allowing myself to be a victim in some ways. I think over time I learned how to take responsibility for my own actions, and the victimhood, I guess, that I was experiencing slowly dissipated over time, as I learned, but it wasn’t an overnight thing. I mean, we’ve been divorced now 10 years, and it probably took me two years for the dust to settle and for me to recognize my own contribution and … Yeah, it took me two years of just self-loathing and pain and sadness and feeling like the victim. What a waste.
Bret: Now fast-forward 10 years and she and I are great friends-
Charan: Which is amazing.
Bret: Yeah, we go to ballgames, sit next to each other, talk and laugh. We’re friends. I’m friends with her husband. He’s a great guy. She’s friends with my wife. It’s funny, because so many times in my life, and I think you mentioned this earlier, that the thought occurs to you, “Never did I ever think that I would be here. What the heck is going on?” I’ve said that multiple times in defeat and feeling sad, but I’ve also said it in feeling victorious and feeling like, “Wow, what a cool thing that we’re experiencing right now.” To be sitting here, I’m sitting next to my ex-wife. She’s sitting next to her husband. I’m sitting holding my wife’s hand, and we’re all friends. We’ve all learned how to weather the storm, and we came out the other end better people. It’s just strange.
Charan: Dude, I love that, man. In a very, very small way, I’ve experienced that where I was in a relationship with someone, and I introduced her to this other buddy of mine, because we were all working together, and then she broke up with me and she married him. There was a lot of hard things that happened in the process, in the first stages, but now dude, we’re all such good friends. We all hang out, we’re having a good time. We’re joking around, and it’s almost as if that whole thing was a weird dream. It was just this weird phase of life, and I’m like, “Yeah, that pain?” We laugh about it. That’s the funny thing. We laugh about the pain that we went through. We’re like, “That was such a crazy thing.”
Charan: Now there’s just peace. There’s just peace, and we were having a conversation about this the other day. I was like, “You know, it’s crazy to think that, yeah, mistakes were made, but we make mistakes. We’re human beings. And now we’re just pals, we’re friends. We can all hang out.”
Bret: Because you learn from the process.
Charan: You learn from the process.
Bret: Combined with time. Time does have a magical way of … The famous saying: “time heals all wounds.” It really does, but I would add a caveat to that, and that’s if you allow it to. Because I know people who have experienced painful things, and they hang on to them for the rest of their lives.
Charan: So, how did you let your pain go then?
Bret: For me, I had seen other people who hadn’t and I saw the end result of that, and I thought, that’s not an option for me. Also, I guess, it became … I just remember having a moment where I felt so sad that I almost felt something break within me. It was weird. It was just like, “What was that?” I’m at my absolute rock bottom. I’m broken, and I just thought, “I’m not doing this anymore. I absolutely cannot. I can’t feel this anymore. If I continue to allow myself to lean into my pain, I’m going to die.” I felt like I was going to die. So, I thought, “Look, what’s the alternative? I have to find a way to move forward in my life, to find peace to let go.”
Bret: And I think the number one thing that helped me to let go was to just forgive, to recognize my own contribution and then to forgive, recognizing my own faults. I think that’s probably the hardest thing to do as a human being.
Charan: Yeah, it’s hard.
Bret: But it’s the absolute number one most necessary thing to do if you want to feel peace and happiness in your life. You have to learn to forgive.
Charan: You have to learn to forgive. Have you ever heard of that saying “forgiveness is to set someone free only to realize that that someone was yourself”?
Bret: I’ve never heard that, but I love that.
Charan: Well, you can say that I quoted it, but it’s not me.
Bret: Say it one more time.
Charan: I don’t even know if I can.
Bret: Forgiveness is …
Charan: “Forgiveness is to set someone free, only to realize that that someone was yourself.”
Bret: “Forgiveness is to set someone free, only to realize that that someone was yourself.” Charan Prabhakar.
Charan: Thank you, that was it. Yeah, and it’s going to be recorded in the podcast so it’s [inaudible 00:42:49].
Bret: Yeah, so it’s official.
Charan: Yeah, it’s official. No, it’s true though, dude. Forgiveness is such a super power. It’s such a super power because (A), it’s hard to get that power. It’s hard to have it, but when you have it, when you can actually forgive yourself as well as forgive the person offending and what not, there is a tremendous amount of peace that comes with it. You’re like, “Wait, why was I holding onto such things?” Because all it will do is just bring you down.
Charan: Like you were saying, I’ve also known people that have held onto pain for so long and they’re like, “I can never let this go. I will never let this go.” I said, “That’s fine. That’s your choice to never let it go, but look what it’s doing to you. Honestly, look what it’s doing to you. Look how sick you’re becoming as a result of it.”
Charan: To me, when someone isn’t willing to let something go, basically they’re indicating to me they don’t love themselves. They don’t love themselves enough to let something that painful go. Imagine saying, “Hey, here’s a hot stove. You have to hold onto it the hold time.” And you’re choosing to hold onto to it. Why? why do that? But yet, we do it all the time.
Bret: Some people do. It literally is. It’s the definition of insanity. It’s almost like they enjoy the feeling of pain. And I think you can over time, you can become so toxic and so dysmorphic, so self-dysmorphic that that becomes your identify if you allow it. And that’s the scary thing about it. Patterns matter in life. That’s what I’m trying to teach my boys right now is, number one, don’t allow yourself to be defined by your lowest moment or by your mistake but also, recommit yourself and understand that actions matter and patterns matter. Right now, you’re setting yourself up as a young man. When you wake up, what you do when you wake up, your process throughout the day, your schedule, that matters because it’s going to carry over from your young adulthood into your manhood.
Bret: My son Cole is always saying, “Dad, I’m not a bad kid.” I’ll catch him doing something stupid or whatever. He’s just like, “Dad, you know I’m not a bad kid.” I’m like, “Son, I know. You’re right. You’re not a bad kid. You did a bad thing, but if you continue to do these bad things, over time, if you consistently behave like a bad kid, then it begs the question.”
Charan: Yeah, exactly.
Bret: I don’t know.
Charan: No, dude. That’s smart, man, because that’s what it is. The actions keep repeating itself and if you keep on doing it over and over, that’s just who you end up becoming. I love that, dude. Dude, you’ve dropped so many amazing truth bombs, I can’t wait to re-listen to this podcast after because it’s amazing.
Bret: I’m just making it up as I go.
Charan: I know. I know, and [crosstalk 00:45:46] that’s what so great about it. I’m trusting the process.
Bret: Aren’t we all?
Charan: We are.
Bret: This is the other thing I’m discovering. I think I mentioned this the other day. As adults, the older I get, the more I realize that we’re just like kids. Everybody is, to a degree, faking it until they make it. Even after they’ve made it, they’re still faking it.
Charan: I don’t know if they’ve ever made it. I don’t know if anyone’s ever made it, let’s just be honest.
Bret: There are very few real adults in the world.
Charan: Yes. I know I’m not one of them.
Bret: Nor am I.
Charan: But the thing is, is that’s the beauty of it, though, right? When you’re living in that moment, when you’re trusting the process, then every day becomes like Christmas because you have no idea what you’re going to unwrap next, right?
Bret: And I also have a funny story quickly. It’s a football story.
Bret: It has to do with focusing on the process, not worrying about the results. My very first snap at BYU — I’m the backup. It’s my freshman year in 1999, playing against Colorado State. It’s the very first Mountain West Conference game, national television, and we’re winning. We’re up by three touchdowns. There’s maybe three or four minutes left, and I’m a true freshman. Just got home from my mission, and I’m the backup. Kevin Feterik had a great game. Threw for 500 yards and anyway, we won. We were winning when I went in. As I’m about to go in, we’re just calling handoff plays, basically. Norm Chow, who was the offensive coordinator at the time-
Charan: Cameron Chow’s dad, right?
Bret: Cameron Chow’s dad.
Charan: Of course.
Bret: Calls the play to me … I’m standing next to him on the sidelines, and I’m about 10 yards towards the huddle and he stops me. He’s like, “Bret, Bret, Bret. Wait. Come here.” I go running over there and he goes, “Don’t fumble the snap.” I was like-
Bret: Don’t fumble the snap? I was like, “Yeah, of course don’t fumble the snap. Why would I fumble the snap?” I’ve never fumbled a snap in my career to this point, so course I’m not going to fumble a snap. Go in the huddle, call the play, break the huddle and the first thought in my mind, “Don’t fumble the snap.”
Charan: I’m so glad.
Bret: “Bret, do not fumble the snap. If you fumble the snap, you’re going to look like an idiot and this game’s on national television. This is your first snap. Do not fumble the snap.”
Bret: “Red 88, Red 88, set hut.” I fumbled the snap.
Charan: Go on.
Bret: I fumbled the snap. I’m at the bottom of the pile. I have it chested, but this other guy has two fingers in there, and they gave them the ball. Turnover. My first snap at BYU.
Bret: All as a result of me trying to avoid a negative outcome and manifesting that negative outcome in real time on national television.
Charan: Dude. That’s my favorite. That’s my favorite, dude.
Bret: It’s like if I tell you for the rest of the day, “Charan, do not think of a pink elephant,” now the rest of the day, you’re going to be thinking about a pink elephant.
Charan: Pink elephant, right. Dude, it’s really funny. We’re talking about manifesting and those positive thoughts or negative thoughts. You can have an insane power to create whatever you want in your life, but like you said, pink elephant and that’s all I’m going to get.
Bret: Yeah, you can manifest. The point I’m trying to make is, if you focus on negative things, invariably they will happen to you.
Charan: They will happen to you. My buddy, Adam is his name, he’s an overweight guy. Really good guy, really, really funny guy and it was so funny, I made the realization … I pointed it out to him and we were like, “Dude, that is amazing.” But years ago, years and years ago, he created this vision board and in the vision board, on the top of it — without even realizing what a vision board was — he was just putting pictures up of things that he wanted, and he wanted to be a little bit trimmer. He’s an actor-
Bret: I think I know the Adam that you’re talking about.
Charan: Okay, okay. All right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bret: He’s a good guy.
Charan: Yeah, great guy. He’s a really good buddy of mine. The picture that he puts up on his vision board is a topless picture of Ryan Reynolds. He’s like, “Dude, Ryan Reynold’s, he’s so ripped. He’s so funny. He’s amazing. I want to be like that guy.”
Bret: Isn’t he related to him?
Charan: So, here’s the funny thing.
Bret: Okay, okay. All right, sorry.
Charan: So now, what happened was this was years ago, and then afterwards, his brother, Bart, who’s married to Robin … Robin’s sister is Blake Lively and Blake Lively marries Ryan, so now Ryan’s a part of their family and he’s his brother-in-law in a sense, and I’m like, “Dude, you literally manifested Ryan Reynolds into your life. You’re as fat as ever, but you still have Ryan Reynolds in your life. That’s amazing, dude.” That’s the power, dude. That’s the power of manifesting.
Bret: But at least you were honest with him.
Charan: I was very honest with him.
Bret: Good for you.
Charan: He’s actually quite trim now. He’s trimmer now.
Bret: He is. I’ve seen.
Charan: He’s great.
Bret: He’s working a ton.
Charan: He’s working a ton. I was working on the same show he was and then I got killed.
Bret: Is it Chosen?
Charan: No, it was The Outpost.
Bret: Oh, The Outpost. That’s right.
Charan: That’s what it was.
Bret: But you are on The Chosen?
Charan: I was on The Chosen.
Bret: And that episode is coming up.
Charan: Yup, episode eight of season two.
Bret: Episode eight of season two, stay tuned.
Bret Engemann Talks About His Greatest Source of Joy
Charan: Yup, stay tuned, guys. Stay tuned. Okay, dude. A couple last questions for you. What is the greatest source of your joy right now?
Bret: My wife and my kids.
Charan: I love that.
Bret: And relationships. Unquestionably.
Charan: Could you have said that years and years ago?
Bret: Probably, to be honest with you. I’ve always been pretty family-focused, and that’s just because of my parents. They’ve been that way as well.
Charan: You have got great folks.
Bret: But I think now I have a deeper appreciation and probably a deeper, abiding love than I was capable of before, for so many reasons. But I think that’s unquestionably my source of joy and peace and everything, and my motivation for everything that I do in my life moving forward.
Charan: That’s your source?
Bret: That’s it.
Charan: That’s it. I love that, because you are now totally grounded in the thing that you love the most, and you’re not motivated more by careers or whatever. It’s more about that.
Bret: The other thing is, it’s such a freeing feeling because now I know that nothing else matters. No matter what happens in my life moving forward, I have my family. They’re going to love me no matter what. No matter if I fail in every venture that I try, if I do nothing but fail for the rest of my life, they’re going to love me. So, it makes me just feel like, “Why not?” Failure, who cares? It’s just part of life.
Charan: It’s part of life. I love that, dude. I know I was having a conversation with this lady yesterday about feeling safe, and I thought that was a very interesting conversation to have, because she was asking me, “Hey, in what relationships do you really feel safe in?” I’m like, “Wow, that’s a good question,” because based off of how safe you feel, you can be more vulnerable with the people. Or you can’t be as vulnerable with people. You have walls up, you have guards up. But to know that no matter what you do, no matter how much you fail, your family still loves you, that’s a tremendous amount of safety. Right? That’s a tremendous amount of power.
Bret: Of course. It’s the most powerful thing in my life by a factor of a billion.
Charan: I love that.
Bret: Yeah, when you’re younger, I think you’re motivated by things, and I think as life sets in and you experience life and maybe you acquire some things, you realize that they’re just things.
Charan: They’re just things.
Bret: And really, if you think about it and not to get too spiritual, the only thing that we take with us is our relationships and that’s it. Why not make that the central focus of your life? And if you do that, I think that everything else just falls into place, and if it doesn’t, you still have your family.
Charan: You still have your family. It’s interesting, there was this quote, I think, by Jim Carrey. He’s like, “I wish everyone in the world would get everything they’d ever dreamed of only to realize that was never going to satisfy them.”
Bret: At the time he said it, he was, I think, in a hospital for depression and anxiety. I may be misremembering that, but I remember watching an interview where he was saying, “I should be feeling ecstasy perpetually. I’m the most famous actor in the world. I’m the highest-paid actor in the world. Everybody loves me. I’m doing everything I ever wanted to do, and yet I feel as empty as I’ve ever felt in my life, having achieved everything I thought would bring me happiness and here I am.” I don’t know if he’s recovered from that, honestly. He’s doing all these weird cartoons now.
Charan: Yeah, he’s ever learning. He’s trying to find that fulfillment.
Bret: Just like all of us.
Bret Engemann Talks About His Greatest Fear
Charan: Like all of us. Okay, greatest fear. What is your greatest fear?
Bret: Man, that’s a tough one. I have so many.
Charan: I know, dude. I know. COVID 2.0.
Bret: I think probably my greatest fear would be to probably … I keep going back and forth. My greatest fear is to not … It’s centered around my kids, basically. I have such a sense of urgency to teach them everything that they need to be empowered and to be successful and to feel secure and safe, and all the things that human being … successful … all the things we want to feel. So, I think right now in my life, that’s my biggest motivating factor. As much as I can teach them to stand on their own two feet and to avoid the mistakes that I made, all the while understanding that-
Charan: They’re going to make mistakes.
Bret: … while my biggest fear is what it is they’re going to have to experience, certain pain and failures along the way because that’s just what life is. So maybe it’s not my fear, but that’s my focus right now, and I think that’s the pain I’m trying to avoid for myself. It’s one thing to experience it yourself. It’s another thing entirely to see your child experience pain. That’s a pain that you can’t explain. I don’t know if I answered your question.
Charan: No, you did.
Bret: I was going to ask you a question about fears because as an actor; you’re constantly going on auditions-
Charan: All the time.
Bret: In my brief experience doing that and going through auditions, it can be oftentimes humiliating. How do you deal that personally when you go on audition?
Charan: Honestly, there was this point … I remember this particular day even. I was in California. I was heading to my car to go to an audition, and there was this insane amount of peace and joy I was feeling. Just this incredible, euphoric peace. We’ve talked about this before. I’m a spiritual guy, and I have faith and I felt like my faith in my Savior gave me the sense of joy and gave me the sense of peace. so much so that I felt complete even before I got to the audition. That was a real important lesson for me to learn, because I was like, “Man, I’m going to this audition and I know this is my dream, and yet I’m already fulfilled. It’s almost like I don’t care what happens. This will be fun. It’ll be fine.”
Charan: But I guess going back to what you’re talking about regarding outcomes, when you feel complete, when you feel whole, when you feel loved, when you feel that love for yourself, you don’t really care what the outcome of anything is. You’re just like, “I’m already good. I’m already good.” I think going to an audition in that space, I was a lot more relaxed because I just didn’t care how badly I would mess up.
Charan: The truth was, I would end up booking more of those auditions than not because I was just relaxed. I was having fun and I was connecting with the casting director. I wasn’t really worried about winning the part. I was just more like, “Hey, let’s just have a good time and connect with the casting director and have a good conversation, and then leave and then forget about it and then have another experience. Then whatever comes into my life, comes into my life.”
Charan: But it was a beautiful lesson. That’s one of the reasons why I love being an actor. Not because of fame. I don’t really care about any of that stuff. But the process of it, the process of going to an audition, getting rejected, all those things over and over. I started realizing, “Oh, wait. What is rejection?” Is it just a perception? Is it just me saying, “Oh, they just didn’t want me.”
Charan: Look, I’ve been on the other side. I’ve been the casting director, and I’ve read a lot of people for movies that I’ve produced, and I’ll tell you what, there are ton of good actors, and they all make really good choices, so casting actually becomes very difficult. It’s something that has nothing to do with even their acting ability. Even seeing it from that perspective, I’m like, “Okay, that makes sense.” But then there have been times when I’ve gone in and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I bombed it.” I can’t even think about how bad I bombed that, but the idea of bouncing back is to realize you’re already fulfilled anyway.
Bret: It sounds like you’re now defining yourself as … You don’t identify as an actor. You’re Charan and acting is something that you do and you enjoy, but it’s not the end all, be all.
Charan: It’s all.
Bret: I experienced something similar … I know we’re running out of time-
Charan: No, no. Keep going. I love this stuff.
Bret: This was my junior year at BYU, we were playing against Utah State up at Utah State, and I wasn’t having the best half of my life. I wasn’t playing terribly, but I just wasn’t playing great. And we were losing. We were getting killed. It was 28 to 7, I think, with 30 seconds left in the half. We had the ball back, and I remember the coach called a Hail Mary at the end of the half to try one last desperate attempt to score before the half. The ball came off my hand weird and just sailed up in the air. I tried to throw it as far as I could, and I think it went about 60 yards in the air and about 20 yards down the field.
Bret: The safety basically sat under it like a punt and intercepted it, wove through our offense and the last line of defense. I fall on my butt. This guy’s way faster and more athletic than me. I make a fool out of myself. He scores a touchdown. Last play of the half. Now we’re down 34 to 7. We’re running into the tunnel up at Utah State, and I’ve got Utah State fans throwing things at me, and BYU fans throwing things at me, “You suck.” Things you couldn’t imagine BYU fans saying were being said.
Charan: Oh, man.
Bret: I just remember being at the half in the locker room and I felt really down, obviously. I was just like, “This sucks. This is everything I’ve wanted to do and we’re getting killed and we’re losing to Utah State,” who wasn’t very good. It just hit me like lightning like, “Okay, so what? What’s happening in your life?” Suppose you go out and you throw nothing but interceptions the next half .” The other concern I had was that I was going to get pulled out of the game, and then I just thought, “Who cares? My life doesn’t change at all. The things that matter the most in my life are still there. My family still loves me. I know who I am outside of football. Football is something that I do that I enjoy, but it’s not who I am.”
Bret: Thankfully the coach left me. I completely let go of the fact … In fact, I just assumed we’re probably going to lose, but I’m going to go out and I’m going to have fun. I’m going to enjoy process. I’m just going to go and just let the outcome take care of itself. We came back and won.
Bret: 35 to 34. We scored every drive. We stopped them on every drive, and it was just like, “Who cares?” It’s still, I think today, the biggest comeback in the history of BYU football.
Charan: Wow. Dude, don’t you just love those type of moments when you’re like, “Hey, whatever happens happens, right?”
Bret: That’s why I love sports. It’s why I want my kids to play sports, because it’s such a microcosm of life. You can learn so many valuable lessons in such a short period of time that you can reflect on. They’re tangible. Again, it’s not linear. I still have to continue to learn those things. Once you learn something and once you’ve experienced something, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have it forever, that you’ve mastered it.
Bret: That’s the other thing. It’s a constant process. It’s a constant effort to remind yourself of the lessons that you learned.
Charan: I remember in 2013, I had an audition for a Wendy’s commercial. By far, the worst audition I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Bret: In what ways? Were you nervous?
Charan: Well, what happened was, I got in there, it was a Saturday, and there was just so much information that the casting director threw at us immediately. So, your mind is just trying to process all of these things like, “Okay, at this point, say this. At this point, turn here and look here.” All these things. I’m like, “Okay, okay. I think I got it.” And I could tell that the casting director did not want to be there that day. He was just not in a very good mood. It was a Saturday.
Charan: Anyway, immediately as he said, “Action,” I messed up. But he really chewed me out. He was like, “Are you kidding me? You can’t even pay attention to what I’m saying? You realize we have to start over.” He was just grilling into me. I felt awful about myself, and I remember leaving and the guy that was playing opposite me, he was like, “Dude, that guy was a jerk. He was so mean.” But I remember just really taking it down and being like, “Man, what am I doing here? This is the worst. I suck.” I said all those negative things.
Charan: But then after I let it go and I saw this thing about auditioning … I don’t know if you know who Brian Cranston is.
Bret: Yeah, of course.
Charan: Amazing actor. He gave this awesome, awesome video about auditioning, and it was just all about being your version of the character. You create something, but you’re you. For whatever reason, it just struck a chord with me, and the next audition I had, I booked and it was for a TV show. But anyway, the following year I ended up applying a lot of those principles, and I started booking a lot of things, and the last thing I booked that next year was a Wendy’s commercial, and they were advertising the exact burger I was trying to advertise for last year.
Bret: Did you audition with the same guy?
Charan: I don’t know if it was the same guy, but I ended up getting it. I ended up getting it, and it was the same burger. It was just one of those things where I was like, “Okay, I couldn’t have written this.”
Charan: So, I love that. The moment you let go of everything and you just have fun with the process, you have fun with the process letting go of the outcomes, it’s that beautiful thing of “rinse and repeat,” like you were saying. It’s the beautiful idea of surrendering. Surrender the outcome, surrender the illusion of control. I think that’s what it comes down to. We think we have control. We don’t have control, so go ahead and surrender that illusion. Then when you do, you can just relax. You can just say, “Okay, cool. I’m here with my kids. I’m having fun. I’m going to teach Rome how to play football. I’m going to teach Cole not to be a bad kid. I’m going to do all these things and it’s just going to be awesome.”
Bret Engemann’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: Okay, so last question for you and we’ll wrap it up. What advice would you give your younger self after learning all these things, after learning all those lessons through football?
Bret: That’s a good one. I would say, it’s just a repeat of everything that we’ve talked about, but it’s just to remember who you are always. It’s twofold: remember who you are and then be relentless. Success, while there are so many things that you can’t control, the thing that I’ve noticed about the most successful people in the world is that they are relentless pursuing whatever it is, whatever that desired outcome is. No matter how many times they’re defeated, no matter how many setbacks, they’re relentless and they’re consistent. So, remember who you are, let go of the outcome and then just be relentless.
Charan: Yeah, I love that, dude. I love that because the the thing is you cannot control the outcomes, so might as well let those go, but remembering who you are is like, “Oh, I’m a warrior and I can just continue to be a warrior. It doesn’t matter what happens. I don’t care if the whole world burns down. I’m going to continue to be that warrior because that’s just who I am.”
Charan: I think that’s a powerful lesson that we need right now, because if anything 2020 taught me, it was just that the world can change on a dime. So, what happens if the world decides to change again? Are we going to freak out and cower in fear? Maybe for a little bit we might be like, “Oh no, what’s going to happen?” But then it’s like, “Hey, we remember who we are.” Remember what’s most important in your life, and then just go for it.
Charan: Dude, you are awesome, man.
Bret: You’re awesome.
Charan: Thanks so much for being on this podcast.
Bret: Thanks, man. Thanks for having me. This was fun.
Charan: Yeah, this was great. I love it. I feel like I’ve learned a ton of stuff.
Bret: You’re good at this, Charan.
Charan: You’re good at speaking.
Bret: You are.
Charan: Come on.
Bret: No, you’re a really good interviewer. You ask great questions. You have great insights.
Charan: Thanks, man.
Bret: Anybody watching this right now that needs to hire somebody for something huge…
Charan: Well, it’ll be the Bret and Charan show, how about that?
Charan: Okay, we’ll do it.
Charan: Awesome, dude. Well, thank you so much for being on the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast. Have a great day.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.