How to embrace life one day at a time: Cancer, Covid, Concerts and The Rolling Stones with John Zaccaria

Season 2 Episode 9: How to embrace life one day at a time: Cancer, Covid, Concerts and The Rolling Stones with John Zaccaria

This is by far the most captivating podcast episode I’ve ever recorded on How to embrace life one day at a time. I dive into an extraordinary conversation with John Zaccaria, a man who has overcome tremendous challenges and emerged with an inspiring perspective on life.

Discover how his experiences with cancer and the Covid-19 pandemic transformed his outlook, teaching him the importance of living in the present moment and appreciating every day. Be prepared to be moved and motivated as John shares his personal stories, lessons learned, and the mantra that guides his life.

Part 1: An Unyielding Spirit in the Face of Adversity

In the first segment of How to Embrace Life One Day at a Time, John recounts his battle with cancer, discussing the shocking moment of diagnosis and the unwavering support of his loved ones. Despite the fear and uncertainty, he adopted a remarkable attitude of resilience, refusing to let his illness define him. Tune in as he shares the powerful lessons he gained from his journey and the profound impact it had on his perspective.

Part 2: Choosing Honesty and Authenticity

John reflects on the importance of being true to oneself. He recounts a humorous story involving a bank manager and his decision to always speak the truth, even when faced with challenging questions. Discover how John’s commitment to authenticity has shaped his relationships and his outlook on life.

Part 3: Seizing the Present Moment

John’s mantra of “one day at a time” takes centre stage in this segment. He reveals how he learned to embrace the present moment, recognising that time is our most valuable asset. Explore his unique approach to time management and his inspiring journey of making every day count.

Part 4: The Radical Power of Hope

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, John found himself confronted with unprecedented challenges. Discover how he navigated through the uncertainties and made daring decisions to keep his dreams alive. Learn about the concept of Radical Hope and its profound impact on John’s resilience and determination.

Part 5: Appreciating Life’s Simple Pleasures

In this segment of How to embrace life one day at a time, John shares heartwarming stories that remind us of the importance of cherishing life’s simple joys. From a meaningful conversation at a store to a profound moment with his mother, these experiences highlight the beauty of human connections and the significance of treasuring every precious moment.

Part 6: Embracing Time as a Gift

Explore John’s unique perspective on time and its role in shaping our lives. Gain insights into his fascinating analysis of the 4K calendar, which visualizes the limited time we have on this earth. Discover how John’s approach to time management and appreciation can inspire you to make the most of every second.

Part 7: A Mantra for Living Fully

As the podcast draws to a close, John shares his powerful mantra: “One day at a time.” Delve into the profound wisdom behind this simple phrase and how it can transform our lives. Reflect on his journey, his unwavering spirit, and the lessons he imparts to live life to the fullest.

3 Reasons Why You Should Listen:

1. Find inspiration in overcoming adversity: Discover the incredible story of John’s journey through cancer and the COVID-19 pandemic, and how he emerged with resilience and courage.

2. Embrace the power of living in the present: Learn from John’s profound lessons on appreciating the present moment, making every day count, and finding joy in life’s simple pleasures.

3. Discover the mantra that guides a life of fulfilment: Explore the transformative power of “one day at a time” and gain insights into how this philosophy can shape your perspective and inspire you to live a more meaningful and purposeful life.

Tune in to this extraordinary podcast episode and be inspired by John Zaccaria’s remarkable journey of embracing life one day at a time. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain valuable insights, practical wisdom, and a renewed appreciation for the gift of each moment.

[00:00:00] Katherine: Hey everyone, it’s Katherine here. A quick note to let you know that this episode does discuss suicidal ideation, which I know can be distressing. Please take care while listening.

Hello and welcome to another episode of Secrets in the City. I’m your host, Dr. Katherine Iscoe, and let me tell you. Do I have an episode for you to introduce this incredible guy? I wanna go back about 10 years. Uh, I was just dating my partner. I think we were like two, three months or something like that.

And my partner was talking about this couple that he knows, you know, John and Nolene talking like, oh my God, they’re so amazing. They’ve done this and that, and like just. Pedestal. Fantastic. And I literally was shiting my pants because I was saying I need to impress you. And I remember when I met you and Knowles, it was like, I’d known you for 10 years.

This is a guy that you will find out in the next hour that you can meet this guy on the street and he will give you the clothes off his back. You’re just a wonderful guy. I think you have so much depth to you. Depth to you. And I don’t know if you get an opportunity to share it as much as I think people would like you to, cuz you have such an incredible story.

So John, welcome to the podcast. Okay. Thanks for having me. I always start by asking, if you were to describe what you do to a six year old, how would you do that?

[00:01:37] John: I make people happy. How? By, uh, giving them something to enjoy whilst they forget about the world they live in through entertainment. So, uh, dealing with rock stars and.

They, uh, take people away for a couple hours. They

[00:01:52] Katherine: really do. You know what’s funny? I’ve been listening to the Beastie Boys a lot in the morning. Do you remember the Beastie Boys? Yes. Yes. And it really transports me back into high school. That’s how I transport myself into a totally different world. But you’ve been in this industry for how

[00:02:06] John: long?

Uh, for 46 years. Actually. I started playing drums when I was three, so 46 years ago. Long time. Oh

[00:02:14] Katherine: my God. And you’ve seen it all. I’ve seen

[00:02:19] John: a lot. I dunno if I’ve seen it all, but I’ve, I’ve seen, I’ve definitely seen a lot. Definitely.

[00:02:24] Katherine: And I mean, I remember stalking you many like, I think a few years ago online and you’ve worked with incredible

[00:02:29] John: artists.

Yeah. I mean the, the Pinnacle was working with the Rolling Stones in London and New York. I didn’t know that. Yeah. On their 50th anniversary tour back in 2012. Um, and the other part of that, which I’m sure we’ll get to during this, uh, catch up is it was the, uh, the toughest time of my life. So, Um, on one hand here I am professionally at a height that I would never, ever have imagined.

And, and mentally and emotionally I was at a low that I would never have thought I would get to. So I had this conundrum of, of emotion going on for the backend of 2012, which was pretty

[00:03:05] Katherine: challenging. Is the secret that you selected somewhat related to what you’re gonna be sharing during the

[00:03:10] John: Rolling Stones?

Yeah. I mean, yes. Yes. As a, as a cancer survivor, it, uh, Definitely messes with your head. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to swear, so I won’t swear. No, no. Oh my God, absolutely. Uh, it fucks with your head. So, um, and, and that’s both ways. It, it, it lifts you up and it brings you down and, and, um, at that point it was certainly the, you know, five years after being diagnosed, it was certainly, um, an interesting time, um, both professionally and personally.

[00:03:37] Katherine: So what secret did you select that

[00:03:39] John: jumped at you? Um, it was about, um, when am I gonna die? Is, is, um, kind of the, the downside of, um, being diagnosed with cancer, but the upside is every day is a miracle. So, um, when you later get the better of you, there’s certainly a. Um, a part of you that, you know, wonders whether that’s ever gonna come back again at, at such a, an early age to have to face something like that and probably prime your life too.

I was 33 at the time. Um, it, it certainly messes you about, so at the back of my mind, I’m always, you know, if I get a little, uh, you know, I was, there was a situation, I was in Broom a few years ago and I had a lump on my head and I thought it was a, a brain tumor and it ended up being not a brain tumor. Um, so yeah, from, from that point of view, you just freak out.

So, um, yeah, that’s probably the, the, the secret I try to hide from those around me. Cuz you, you don’t, you don’t want people thinking that, you know, when am I gonna die? I certainly live like I’m never gonna die. But, um, when, when life gets the better of you certainly, you know, kind of reads a ugly

[00:04:42] Katherine: head.

Yeah. So take us back to the wrong Wilson. We’ll call it the Rolling Stones.

[00:04:47] John: The Rolling Stones. Yeah. So, uh, basically back in, so when I got diagnosed in 2007, Um, I was in hospital and saw a little girl, um, coming to the lift with me, and, and at that point it was, I asked What is it that a child of that age does in, in hospital?

I’m an adult and I can read, I can get on a computer, I can by time, but what is it that these kids do? The nurses or their friends that the hospital corridors is the playground. Um, and as you said earlier, you know, I’m all about giving. I’m, I’m, I’m, uh, Program to give rather than receive. So, um, at that point I thought to myself, what is it that I can do for these kids?

And, and, um, so the only thing I have is music. That’s the one thing I know. So, um, I thought I could give them music to distract them from what they were going through. So, uh, back then I started a charity called Stroke Record for Cancer. Um, and, you know, we, we set out to, to help others com completely, um, blinded by the, the want to help.

Um, I kind of did whatever it took and, and ended up on a plane, went to New York and met with, um, Virgin Management to bring Sir Richard Branson to Perth to launch the charity, which seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but we did it. Um, and then while he was here, we pitched this idea about becoming a disruptor in the, the promoter world, um, which then became a company called Virgin Live, which then became the Rolling Stones.

So, um, thank you.

[00:06:19] Katherine: I had no idea about this. Oh, really? I’ve known you for like, yeah, yeah.

[00:06:24] John: March, 2010 we had a, a big launch and, um, it turns out that Richard makes himself available, I think it was 10 days a year for, for charity. So I got himself here, paid for himself to get here. He did it for free. We made a donation to Virgin Unite.

Um, and he did this full day of, of events for all kinds of people in Perth Mining Company is a, a finance company. Uh, we had a big party breakfast with, um, local radio stations. So, um, yeah, so we had this incredible day. Um, and this is kind of where 2012 kind of collided for me that, um, we had this, the, the charity strike chord for cancer, which then becomes strike a chord cuz we had more money than we could give instruments to for kids with cancer.

So we just dropped the cancer apart and became. Struck a chord. So we helped all disadvantaged kids, um, through musical instruments and lessons and concert tickets and just anything to do with music, what we could do. And um, and then someone decided that they wanted to have a go at me and I ended up in the, the paper and, um, got accused of stealing a fair bit of money.

And I went through a process of having to prove my innocence. And um, that was 2012. So whilst I was working with the Rolling Stones in London, I’ve kind of got this, you know, massive cloud of integrity and honesty hanging over my head. So, uh, it was suicidal at the time. I was definitely, um, you know, at a point where I wasn’t sure how I was gonna get through it.

Um, how did you get through it? Uh, incredible support from my wife and those around me. There’s no question about it that. Um, it’s interesting who stood up when they needed to stand up and, uh, even more interesting who ran away when I needed them to, to stand up. You had certain groups of friends that disappeared cuz they didn’t wanna associate themselves with someone who stole money from a charity.

Um, so yeah, and it, you know, I remember vividly on the night of the article that we went to a good friend’s house for dinner. I actually asked a question, are you gonna ask anything about the paper today? And the answer was, I don’t need to. I know who you are. So, um, yeah, it was, it meant a lot to me, to me at the time.

Mm-hmm. But that, that period is, um, you know, when you kind of look at it and go, and then I went to London shortly after to work with stones and um, I remember being in the pit, which means you’re not even in front row. You are in between the stage and the front row. So, okay. You are there, right. Like where

[00:08:44] Katherine: the security is

[00:08:46] John: literally sitting with the security guard.

Okay. And, um, and feeling like I wanted a job in front of a train. So, um, I had to get on the wife to the phone to my wife and got her to come over and make sure that I, I was okay. But, um, yeah, so you kind of got this, you know, you’re kind of standing side of stage and there’s all kinds of people, Penelope Cruz and you know, Javier and yeah, all these big, big personalities.

Um, and there I was kind of wanting to curl up in a ball and. I kind of pack up and go home. But, um, yeah, so, but it was my darkest hour, but it taught me a lot. It, um, I obviously went on to prove my innocence. Took a long time. I got treated like a criminal. Um, and the interesting thing was that, you know, once it was proved that I didn’t do anything wrong, that it was, um, it was interesting that the attention on being innocent was nowhere near the attention on being accused of being guilty.

So, um, yeah, it taught me a lot about, you know, being accountable as well. Um, but yeah, so it was a tough time.

[00:09:45] Katherine: So you were, would you say almost like you had to wear a mask, like during that time of you’re in the pit, you’re with these incredible people, you’re there with, would you say almost like the world’s like history’s Best

[00:09:58] John: Rock band?

Yeah, definitely. One of the greatest bands, one of the greatest. And at the time probably the biggest rock band in, in the world. And so

[00:10:04] Katherine: from the outside, you had the best life ever. Yet on the inside, would you say you were barely holding

[00:10:11] John: on? A bit. Not even I was, I was off the cliff trying to find a way back up.


[00:10:16] Katherine: you think this gives you a superpower? Like, the reason why I ask this is I think my darkest times cuz I’ve had three. Without those I couldn’t connect with people the way I do. Yeah, maybe I

[00:10:28] John: could. Yeah. Look, I, it’s interesting cuz I’m a very, whilst my job and my company is a public thing, I’m a very private person.

Um, and. To get to know me. People think I have an ego, but it’s, it’s more that I’m closed. Mm-hmm. Unless I open. Mm. And once I’m open, you don’t get out. Um, that’s certainly, um, you know, even when you come to my house, it’s kinda like, don’t go, you know, it’s kind of one more drink or, you know, I embrace, I know I, I embrace, um, friends and, and family and loved ones.

Um, even my wife laughs about it often that, you know, it takes three hours to say goodbye to actually leaving. But, um, yeah, look, it, it’s, it’s certainly, I. I, I go back to that moment a bit. Um, and it’s interesting that trying to do something good became my darkest hour over bigger problem than being diagnosed with cancer.

So, when you look at it, cuz the stress that caused me Yeah. Was public. So I had to fight this public battle. Um, you know, and, and my mum vomited. When I was sitting at the dinner table with her a few days after cause her brother passed away during that time and Oh yes. And um, and that’s when I got really upset.

Cause I thought, this is not just about me, this is my family was at the table having dinner. This is affecting everybody at this, this, and it wasn’t warranted. Um, if I had been proven to be then completely deserve every bit of it. But, um, you know, my mum had just buried her brother and there’s a son being accused of stealing, um, a serious amount of money and, you know, so it was.

It was tough, but you kind of look back at it now and you’re like, well, am I a better person for it? Yes, I am. Do I expose myself to that now? And sadly, I’ve been asked a number of times to publicly help with other charities and it’s just like there’s no way I would would go back to it behind the scenes.

Absolutely. I’ll do what I can, whether it’s concert tickets, whether it’s organizing, meet and greets, whatever I can do. But as far as me putting myself out there to. To kind of raise profile or, or, you know, do interviews or anything like that? From, from, from a charity point of view, it’s, this is probably the first thing I’ve actually done since then.

I reckon now that I think about it, I actually, other than Covid stuff, me, me personally, I haven’t done anything for, for very long time. It’s scarred it then in a, it hurts when you kind of think about it too much. Yeah.

[00:12:47] Katherine: Well, thank you for saying yes. What made you say yes? Because you, you knew this is like, this is not like a surface talk about the weather kind of podcast.

[00:12:55] John: Uh, I have a lot of respect for you and what and what you do. So it, I didn’t even think about it. It was like, sure. Um, and I, you know, probably didn’t even know what I was getting myself into until I sat down. Um, so it was, yeah, just a, you know, a, a love for you and respect for you, and it’s like, yeah, cool.

Let’s do it. It’s, and maybe it’s true, you know, maybe I need to, to kind of, you know, get some of that shit outta my head.

[00:13:14] Katherine: Do you believe there’s magic in

[00:13:16] John: timing? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. That, that stuff’s happened too many times in my life that to just think it’s coincidental, it’s definitely magic in timing.

[00:13:26] Katherine: Do you think everything’s for a reason?

[00:13:29] John: I believe that, yeah. Yeah. I, I do. Um, sometimes I struggle with it. Um, my brother passed away when he was two and I was six. I can’t. Find a reason for that. Mm. The only positive to come out of that is me and my two, surviving two brothers and our family are very close because we’ve lost a brother.

And, and my mum, you know, obviously mom and dad lost a son. So our love for each other and, and our bond is tight because of that. That is a, you know, one of the upsides of, of, you know, if there’s, if, if you wanna call it upside, but, um, it’s certainly. Um, yeah, most things happen for a reason, not everything.

[00:14:05] Katherine: I was at this talk and this lady who fell off this sort of like high area and became a paraplegic quadriplegic and she was very active and someone asked a question, do you think everything’s for a reason?

She said, absolutely not, because I would do anything to walk again. And that was the first time I’ve ever heard that. And I thought, and that’s why I always like to ask people because. It sort of made me question it because you could feel like the anger, you could feel how angry she was.

[00:14:33] John: Yeah. So I mean, I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for cancer.

Cancer taught me a, you know, a drive and a overcoming of objections. I, you know, I got taught in the early two thousands. I used to come up with a lot of objections over things. Um, can you give an example? Can you, I used to be a sales rep and. We’d wanna go and sell 10 books. And I’d come up with every reason why every store in the country wouldn’t wanna buy those 10 books.

So I was, you know, one of the top salesmen at the time at this company and, uh, the, the national sales manager, one of the owners of the company pulled me up at the airport one day and just completely ripped into me about always coming up with an objection. And I got so angry. I was like, hang on this, I’m like selling more shit than anyone.

Yeah. And then once he started pointing it out, um, I kind of was like, oh yeah, right. I get this. And he’s like, if you unlock this, you, you’re gonna open up. Um, and it’s interesting. I was in Melbourne three weeks ago and I haven’t seen him since 2007, and I went to see him to thank him, um, because if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be alive because when I got diagnosed, to me, cancel was just an objection.

So my instant reaction was, how am I gonna overcome this? Because I’d been programmed from reading the books and seeing videotapes back then. That’s how long ago it was. Um, about how to overcome objections and then fast forward to covid March, 2020, when I couldn’t do anything, my natural state was how am I gonna overcome this?

How do I do shows when you can’t? Yeah. And at one point in probably February, 2021, I was the only person in the world doing any sort of large scale event. Um, and actually I received a beautiful gift today from, I wish I had it with me, um, from Boy and Bear, an Australian Australian band who sent me a photo of that concert with the moon in the background thanking me for, for the vision and, and the belief I had at the time when no one else believed.

So, you know, I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for, you know, my, my boss at the time telling me that. And I certainly wouldn’t have got through covid. I probably would’ve just crumbled and came up with all the reasons why I can’t do shows like everyone else did. Mm. So, um, you know, I, I certainly, um, look back at that time and, and, and am grateful, as weird as that sounds to people.

Even now when people around me get diagnosed or someone I know gets diagnosed and I go outta my way to make sure that I share my stories as much as I can. Um, and I tell ’em, you’ll get through this, you’ll be grateful. And a lot of people are just like, are you crazy? How can you put cancer and grateful in, in the same sentence?

But the thing I learned is that we all die and only some of us live. And a lot of people are like, what? What does, what does that mean? It’s like, think about it, not many people live. Yes. As in go out there and give it a go. Um, we all get a start and we all get an end. Some people just start and finish.

Mm-hmm. My, my, my brother a long time said to me, he goes, you’ve had some highs and lows. You know, I’ve kind of found this balance in life. Whereas you kind of, you’ll, you’ll be up and you’ll be down, whether it’s financially, emotionally, Professionally, you know, I have this wild R of emotions, um, and my wife said to put up for it for a very long time.

[00:17:48] Katherine: Um,

[00:17:49] John: we love you Nolene. Yeah. So, um, yeah, so, you know, you, you, you don’t, and if you go through something like cancer or some major thing and don’t learn from it, then you’re a fool. And it’s, interestingly, I met a lady at the Grand Prix three weeks ago and she’s a cancer survivor. She said to me, she said, I haven’t changed.

After the, the experience. And I was kinda like, I, I don’t understand how you can’t be reprogrammed. I don’t know how you didn’t, you know, look at yourself in the mirror and go, okay, cool, there’s an end. Yeah. And I’ve been told there’s an end and I nearly got the end, so I’m gonna make every day count. And you know, that’s why as late as last night, I said to, to my kids, every day is a miracle.

And we all only have one day, rich, poor, sick, healthy. We all only have have today. And that’s why I’ve got one day at a time tattooed on my arm because it’s. It’s all, we all have, you know, none of us. And all that comes back to, you know, going back to that, you know, 2007 period where you kind of look in the mirror and go, fuck, you know, I remember, you know, being wheeled into the operating fear and letting go of my wife’s hand and kind of going, am I gonna touch that again?

Am I gonna see her again? Yeah. You know, let alone what she was feeling. But you kind of like, what does, what does the other side of this mean? What does it mean? You know, it was, um, To, to, to really pull out the warts and all. I remember the day before the operation having to go to the sperm bank and the lawyer, cuz I wasn’t sure if I was gonna survive.

So had to save some sperm and I had to sign over everything to my wife and Casa didn’t make it so, oh, Jesus. That, that day was pretty heavy. You know, you kind of going, all right, well if I don’t make it, she can have a kid and everything at least goes to her. But that was the instruction from my, my doctor at times, like, go get your affairs and order.

And, um, it was a heavy day. You know, it was a, it was a really heavy day. But, you know, the thing I learned is you can’t dwell on that stuff. It’ll eat you up if you allow it to dwell on it. Um, so I do the best I can to stay focused on shit ahead of me, not shit that’s behind me. So, uh, look, kinda like a shark.

Just keep moving forward. Don’t swim back. Yeah. Um, but, you know, it, it comes with struggles too. Cer certainly, um, you know, my wife’s had to, to deal with me. I, I struggle with time anxiety. Mm-hmm. A lot. Mm-hmm. Um, I don’t like to waste time. I like to make the most of every minute. Me too. Um, and sometimes she likes to just lays around and lay dead, so I’m just like, go, go, go.

So, you know, you there, there are times when you’re like, wow, this is, you know, what’s it been now 16 years? It’s been a long time and I still have a charge for life that I wouldn’t have had if it wasn’t for, for that part of my life. That’s for sure.

[00:20:22] Katherine: I love the concept of objections. Uh, you know, that moment of the guy telling you like, why are you making all these excuses and objections and you flipped it?

I mean, that sort of made me think about this time where some guy basically said, do you not realize that you’re the common denominator for all the problems in your life? And it’s kind of similar in that way because I was just making excuses. For all the dickhead guys I was, you know, dating. But really the reason why is I was changing myself to get their love, and then all of a sudden I would revert back to who I am and then they would dump me.

Mm-hmm. But I would think, oh, you know, clearly there’s, you know, something wrong with him. No, something wrong with me. Mm-hmm. And it was, why is it that some people understand that they’re responsible for everything that happens in their life and other people? You don’t realize that. What do you think makes

[00:21:12] John: that difference?

Uh, I mean, obviously the, the, the way we’re wide, but some, some people aren’t prepared to, you know, we have two, two ears and one mouth and, you know, I try to listen twice as much as I speak. I think some people don’t have any ears. And that is, you know, it’s, it’s probably one of the biggest problems in most relationships where people don’t listen to what the other person is saying or feeling.

So, You know, it, it’s hard to look at yourself and, and criticize yourself. And, and I say that all the time when we we’re going through a tough time as, as a, you know, husband and wife, that it’s like, if I’m the problem, then cool. I’ll fix it, whatever it is I’ll need to do. So you, you need to, and sometimes you know it, you get right and sometimes you fall over.

So, you know, it’s, to me, it’s where we’re all too proud to, or not all, most of us are too proud to, to accept responsibility for, for our faults. Mm-hmm. Um, You know, and I say to my son a lot, um, you know, through, through whatever it is, whether it’s a day of school, whether it’s work, whether it’s a marriage, whether it’s a, a business at the point, it comes to an end.

Whether it’s the day, whether it’s the, the relationship, whether it’s the business at the point, it comes to an end. When you put your bed, when you put your head to bed at night, can you tell yourself that you did the best you could? Mm. And if the answer is yes, then. There’s no point beating yourself up about it.

But if there are, I could have, I wish I had of what if then, then you know, you got yourself to blame. So, um, congrats. I certainly take that a lot. You know, um, personally, um, you know, my business nearly failed a few years back and, um, I had to look in the mirror and go, well, this is your fault. You need to, you need to fix this.

There’s only one person that’s gonna fix this. And, um, that was part of the 2012 problem as well at the time. So, Um, you know, it was this concoction of crazy emotions, but, um, you know, I kind of had to put my ego aside and, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s funny. For my 40th birthday I had a dream board with a white Maserati and I’m my 40th birthday.

I borrowed my niece’s car to drive to work cuz I couldn’t afford a car at the time. So you kind of go, how are you supposed to process that? I look back that, not that a Maserati means anything, it’s just a target and just a reward. But um, you know, I kind of look back at that and go, you couldn’t be further from owning a Maserati to not even having a car, but it was a good kick in the ass.

It was a great kick in the ass. So, um, you know, and none of that stuff means anything. I see that stuff as a reward, not as a look how good I am. Um, but you know, it’s, uh, it’s certainly, um, Interesting when you hit those kind of lows and you gotta look and go, well, this is me, this is my fault. Mm-hmm. I’ve gotta wear this.

And, and, and probably to the same point, I think when people do do well, some people maybe don’t celebrate it enough. You know, you’ve achieved. So reward yourself, whatever that is, family holiday, what time off, whatever it is, you know, to, to kind of give yourself the reward. You know, I ask myself a lot about those luxury items in life.

Um, you know, is it about the impression or about the reward? And for me it’s the reward, not the impression. Mm-hmm. That’s for

[00:24:19] Katherine: sure. Oh my God. If anyone were to meet you, you were the opposite of pretentious. I mean, yeah. I don’t even think you could even try even act. Pretentious. It’s just not in your nature.

Try not to be. Im impossible. Impossible. So someone, someone’s gonna be listening right now and they’re gonna be so motivated. I know, because I, I know my family who’s listening. What is some practical advice? Because I love this objections and tenacity and some people after Covid, for example, might be still struggling.

Maybe they’ve separated,

[00:24:53] John: take, take ultimate responsibility for your life. That’s, there’s no. You know, there’s, I’ve had a couple of handouts in my life and, you know, at at points when I did get them, they’ll probably the wrong thing to happen to me at the time cuz it made me think life was easy. Um, so yeah, you are your own person.

Um, and you know, there’s all of those cliches that you’ve gotta love yourself before, love someone else, and mm-hmm. If you can’t do it, then who’s gonna do it? There’s all those things. But, um, again, back to, to Ganter, it’s. If you aren’t in control and you’re not prepared to do the hard work, then who is? Um, and put yourself around.

I mean, probably one of my downfalls is I’m so open again, back to that, when you’re in my world, it’s ki it’s, it’s an open book. You know, I mean, I, I, um, I laugh at the, some of the conversations I actually should share the story on, on that. A few years ago I got asked, uh, I had to do a, um, life insurance.

Cuz I changed banks and I was doing life insurance and so I had this call with this insurance company about life insurance and you know, there’s a million questions and one of them was have I had illicit drugs? Um, and I’m a promoter and I’m being in the music industry. So the answer is obviously yes.

Yeah, if I had a said no, it, it’s obvious that I’m lying. So I said yes. Um, and fast forward I got rejected life insurance. Right. So I was kinda like, yeah, I get it. I’m a cancer survivor, so they probably don’t wanna know what cancer survivor, you don’t wanna insure a cancer survivor. It’s like, no, it wasn’t the cancer, it was, you had had illicit drugs.

So my bank manager said, why did you tell ’em the truth? I’m like, well, I just told ’em the truth cuz they asked the question. So I answered it. Yeah. And my wife was like, You fucking mad. You know, like why, why would you tell him? It’s like they asked the question. So I gave the right answer, which is yes, I’ve had least tr Yeah.

Um, but you know, even at that point I’m kind of like, well, it’s, you know, it is, it is what it is. But um, yeah, so it’s, it’s, it’s funny. That’s a funny story though.

[00:26:55] Katherine: I would do the same thing. Of course. I found it very, very difficult to. To lie. I went to a store and they didn’t charge me for something that was really expensive, but very, very small.

It was basically a spool of thread, very good thread. And we were, the lady and I were talking about it and she was like, wow, this is a really expensive thread. Why don’t you get the other one? And I said, well, my great-grandmother used this thread, a whole conversation about it. She didn’t charge me. Went in the car, and I’m, I’m like, that was really cheap.

And Vlado is sitting there. He is like, go back in. Yeah. You’re gonna meet him. He is like, just go back in. And it was like $60 and she missed it. I, I wouldn’t have been able to list it comes back. It does. At, at, yeah. Can you tell us about the moment that you learned about your diagnosis?

[00:27:41] John: Yeah. Yeah. It was, uh, 26 to June at 4:00 PM on a Tuesday.

Um, and are you familiar with the sunscreen song?

[00:27:50] Katherine: Maybe, is it the slip, slap,

[00:27:52] John: slap? No, no. It’s um, everybody wears sunscreen. You should have a listen to it. Everyone should have a listen to it. So it’s a song which is spoken. Mm-hmm. And it talks about everyone should wear sunscreen, but it also gives lessons like, um, what are one of the things, you know, don’t read beauty magazines that only make you feel fat and ugly.

Um, oh wow. You know, pr you know, make sure you have a good relationship with your parents cuz they’re the. You own a connection to the future. Yeah. Um, so there’s all these beautiful messages in them, and that’s a bit deep. It’s, it’s very, every, everything, you know, travel, um, you know, tell, tells you to travel and dance, you know, like it’s awesome, right?

But one of the lines is stress is what blindside you on some idle Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM and when I heard it, I was like, holy fuck. It was Tuesday and it was 4:00 PM so I remember it very well. And um, what I was at the time, my wife, um, was a fashion agent. She was in her office and I had just got off the phone to my doctor and I went in and we started laughing because we were so shocked that laughter, the first reaction was kind of laughter.

That’s the memory I have. Yeah. And then very quickly it turned into, Oh, now what? And we went to see, quickly went to see my doctor, obviously, and he wasn’t gonna see me the next morning, but we demanded that. We see it was, you know, four o’clock. Yeah. We, we demanded that we go and see him and we had dinner at mum, we always had dinner at my mum’s every week.

And at that point we have dinner every Tuesday night and I, and we don’t drink, none of us drink at my mum’s. There’s rarely ever a bottle of alcohol at my mom’s table. And, and I turned up with a bottle of Irv and, um, kind of explained why I’ve got this bottle and it was to celebrate me surviving. The cancer journey cuz my mum had already buried her son and there was no way I was gonna let her bury too.

Um, and back to the dark times in, in London and suicide. It was cuz of her that I didn’t do anything silly because then she would’ve lost two kids. So she was the, you know, the primary reason that kept me like, you can’t do it to mum. You can’t do it to mum, let alone everyone else. But, you know, mum was a big, big part of, you know, Just keeping it together then.

But, um, yeah, so I will never forget that, that moment. And, um, I certainly, when I listen to that song and I hear, you know, stresses what blindsides you on some, I choose afternoon at 4:00 PM you kind of like, sure does. That’s, you know, you, you don’t, you don’t know what you’re dealing with. And, you know, another funny story, I was in, I was in hospital for a while and um, had a cousin come in who was complaining about a headache and I had tubes in every fucking part of my body.

Barely could breathe. They’ve come to see me, but they’re complaining about a headache and I’m like, wow, this is kind of weird. Here I am fucking fighting for my life and you’ve got a problem with a headache. It’s, you know, it’s kind of like, wow, this is what, what kind of perspective is that You’re looking at someone, you know, literally barely being able to speak tape all over my face and tubes and shit of machines and shit everywhere and.

And you can just go pop the panol and go to sleep and wake up tomorrow and the chance say, are gonna be better. So I remember that moment. I certainly remember that moment. Do you think

[00:31:08] Katherine: they did that because of the perhaps perceiving things as uncomfortable or is it just that’s the kind of person they

[00:31:15] John: are?

I sort of self-centered. Okay. That’s how I, at that point, it’s like, shit, really? You can think about that at this point, you know? Yeah. But that was just my, you know, I laughed about it and I laugh about it all these years later, but, um, you know, it’s, it’s kind of funny that in a moment like that you’re.

You’re complaining about, it’s like, fucking bringing a headache. I’ll have a headache instead of what I’m going through. Yeah.

[00:31:35] Katherine: Um, but yeah. So what’s what’s on for the rest of your life then, even though you’re, you know, in the back of your mind every day is, you know, could be the last day.

[00:31:46] John: Yeah. It’s interesting.

Um, I went to my godfather’s funeral a few years back and I said to my brother, I’m gonna write my own will, uh, my own eulogy. Yeah. And, um, He, I think his response is, you’re a fucking idiot. You know, it’s something you’re so negative or something like that. I’m like, it’s actually the most positive thing you can do.

I wanna see my daughter walk down the aisle. Yeah. I wanna see my son get married and have, you know, kids I want, you know, I want to be able to create a, a life and memories that, you know, I can take for all my days. So, um, I haven’t got around to writing it yet. Um, but I mean, I see lots and that’s probably, you know, whilst I’m, I’m 49, I probably live like I’m 28 and.

Um, a lot of friends ask, you know, how do you stay out Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, Saturday night? You know, it’s, to me, it’s, it’s just living, it’s back to that we all die if some of us live. Um, not that I won’t go to the opening of an envelope. I’m not that kind of guy. But, um, if there are friends to catch up with or you know, people to be with, I’m definitely, you can’t say no, can’t say no.

I definitely can’t say, and if I say no, I will rebook it or yeah, if someone says, let’s catch up, let’s get the phone out and get a. Date in the diary. And, um, so for me the, you know, the rest of my days are just living it, making making sure that, you know, um, cuz one thing is certain I know, is that we don’t have the time that we think we have.

Mm. And by that I mean, I did a spreadsheet on time a while ago

[00:33:09] Katherine: because of this time anxiety thing or Yeah.

[00:33:11] John: Time anxiety. But also I love numbers, so. Okay. I was kind of always chasing my, my ass kind of going, I haven’t got enough time there, but I, I’m like, I’m gonna actually spreadsheet the time I need in a week.

So sleep. Yep. Time to get ready for work. Time to go to work. Work time with my wife, time with the kids, time with my mum, friends, exercise, you know, all the things that we aimed or do over a full week period. Mm-hmm. A week at a time. And we have 168 hours, I think it is. 168 hours in, in a week. And I was something like 264 hours a week.

For what I want to do. So nearly a hundred hours a week short. So it’s kind of like, oh great. How? How do you manage that? Right? So all of a sudden you get asked for meetings and you’re like, is it something we can do on a call? So you start to, you know, someone wants to take you out to lunch and it’s like, well that’s three or four hours that I don’t have.

Mm. That I would rather be spent. I’d rather take my mum out to lunch. Cuz then that’s, Three or four hours of the three or four hours I wanna spend with my mum. Yeah. So, um, I said something the other day, I should probably get around to writing a book about it cuz it’s a really interesting concept cuz it’s the only thing we all have in common is time.

Mm-hmm. Right. So, and the one thing most of us do is waste a lot of that time, and it’s the biggest asset that we all have mm-hmm. Time is, is the, the one thing that you can’t buy. Um, so when it spells it, I actually saw a color, you should check this out. It’s, uh, It’s the, it’s called the 4K calendar. Mm-hmm.

So basically on average payment, we have 4,000 weeks. So you get this calendar that’s got 4,000 weeks on it, and then if you are 40 years old or 49 or whatever it is, it, it actually crosses out all the weeks that you live and shows you the weeks you have left to live. Oh dear. So you either look at that and you go, this is really negative and daunting and scary.

Or you look at it and go, Hurry the fuck up and live your best life because this Yeah, with every week you’re blocking out another. Now that’s assuming you get to 80 odd years old. I think it was 88 this guy did. Yeah. Um, assuming you’re gonna get to 88, this is what you got left. If you’re lucky enough, 80 eight’s a good life, right?

Mm-hmm. So if it’s 78, then you gotta write off, you know, 500 weeks. Yeah. You know what I mean? So you kind of look and I was, and I was like, wow, what a simple, and it’s just a. Like a calendar. Yep. With all these weeks and you just literally fill in the weeks. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. So we’ve ordered, I’ve, I’ve ordered on, they come from the US or something, but Yep.

Um, but yeah, so it’s kind of like every week. So it’s a, a weekly reminder on that’s another week gone, another week, gone have you, and you can’t get it back, but you can’t get it back. What, what, what have you done this week? You still haven’t done that. And then the call part is, uh, the guy that was doing it, some motivational guy was, um, Was putting the dots on where his kids were gonna go to college.

So there was milestones in So kind of working towards Yes. The milestones on it. So, um, I kind of found it inspiring. I was like, that’s, I love it. That’s a cool thing to kind of, you know, it’s like you look, there’s another time, another time. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s, um, so makes you wake the fuck up and

[00:36:29] Katherine: is vi I mean, you can’t deny it, like the, the visual aspect in the impact of that is undeniable.

Absolutely. You know, it’s, It’s pretty clear. It’s funny that you mentioned time, especially when you’re over halfway. Yeah. Well, I think you’re gonna live until you’re like 120. Oh God. You’re gonna be one of those. Oh god. Weird. You’re gonna be like George Burns. Yeah. You know, he drank wissy like it was watery.

Keith Richards. Or keep wizard. Yeah, same, same sort of thing. I’m, I’m working with a lady who’s incredible at extracting, like who you actually are rather than who you think you are, if that’s the best way to summarize it. And so I’ve been rewriting my bio and one of the sentences I wrote was, based on my past, was I felt like I was abusing my time here on Earth.

Yeah, good way to put it. Funny you, you know, oops. You’d think it, but then when you write it, you’re like, Every day is really a gift. And you can either use it or you can abuse it. And it’s really as simple as that. And you know, not only every hour, every, every second really does matter. And this isn’t about like high achievements or, you know, anything like that.

This is actually just the appreciation of the life, I think. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s really as

[00:37:39] John: simple as that. That’s probably the most simple way to put it’s appreciation of life. That’s, and you know, that’s, I think that’s probably where people, you know, Sitting around on a beach with your family and broom is not wasting time.

Mm-hmm. That’s you. But for me, I’ve gotta know that’s what I’m doing because if we are kind of deciding for two or three hours that that’s what we’re gonna do, a two or three hours is like, I’m, you know, kind of ready to jump off a cliff. Yeah. It’s like, come on. So, um, yeah. It’s, it’s, yeah. Abusing the time we have is, is, um, probably what most people do.

I think. So sadly,

[00:38:15] Katherine: Unless you get sort of shaken up. There’s a great analogy. You know, I think it was like Volvo. There’s this massive like, you know, cars going down the line and there’s massive arm that comes down and just picks a random car up, takes it to the sod and shakes shit out of it just to figure out like what falls out.

Yeah. And I think that’s almost like your experience is like you were that car that unfortunately, but also fortunately got taken over and shook the shit at it. Totally. But you survived. Yeah. And you sort of let go of everything, but you realized what you wanted to hold onto. Mm-hmm. And what was important to you.

That’s kind of how I look at time and also life. Absolutely.

[00:38:56] John: A hundred percent.

[00:38:56] Katherine: What a story I would like to end with just a final question. What is a mantra that you go by every single day? Is it your tattoo? When did you get that tattoo?

[00:39:08] John: So there’s a story behind this. So, as I said, my brother died in 1980.

Yeah. And, um, my mum never made us feel like she’d lost a son. So she loved us unconditionally. Um, she never made us feel like that, you know, we’re the lucky ones cuz our brother died. Um, she never made us feel unloved. She was always there for us. Um, always, always and still is. Mm-hmm. Um, And she always says, one day at a time, and whenever I talk to her about my brother, it’s like, mom, how did you do it?

She just says, one day at a time. Because if you think about when you’re in that negative thought or being challenged or being diagnosed or a divorce or whatever it is, you’ve lost a parent or or a child, whatever it is, if you think about the future, you’re gonna come unstuck. Mm-hmm. Whereas if you just go today, Yeah.

So for me this was about, it’s just take one day at a time. So I got my mum to write one day. She’s Italian. Yeah. And doesn’t write very good English. So I got her to write one day at a time, 10 times in her writing. So that’s, um, her writing with the best one and the best day. And you know, there’s a capital D and a little while, like it’s messy, right?

And, and I actually had someone go, it’s a pretty dodgy job of the tattoo love. Its like, well it’s, it’s my mom’s writing. But, um, during o, so I had this in my office, um, and I scribbled out a day and I wrote hour, and then I wrote hour. I scribbled out hour and wrote minute. So during Covid, during the peak, challenging times when mm-hmm.

You’re making decisions with border shutting and are we gonna get artisan? Do we set up, do we not set up? Do we fly there? Do we not fly there? Do we take that risk? Do we not take that risk? Is someone gonna get, um, you know, uh, covid is someone not gonna get covid? And then, so it was like, there were so many decisions being made by the hour that, or by the day that the day was too long.

So it became the hour that was still too long and then it became the minutes. It’s like, okay, what decision do I need to make right now? Who needs a decision how to make right now? Okay, great. That next, who needs, cuz there was so many variables that, again, if you started to think about all the variables, you kind of go, there’s no way I should be doing this because this could happen, that could happen, that could happen that, but it’s like, What’s happening right now and, and, um, a cool thing Ticketmaster did.

So Ticketmaster does all that ticketing. Cool, cool thing Ticketmaster did is they did a little 10 minute, um, doco on that period, which is called Radical Hope. Um, I’ll put the link in the, yeah. Yeah. So going back and looking at that, it’s like, I was fucking mad. I was crazy. But again, it comes back to that OB objection.

It’s like, just plow through it. Was it, was it the right thing to do? Yes, now, but at the time we could have lost everything. Crazy amount of risk taking on those kind of decisions. So, so the mantra is definitely one day at a time because it, that’s, again, that’s all we, we kind of all have Is that more than that?

We don’t have, I gotta

[00:42:15] Katherine: ask you this, I know I said it was the last question, but I’ve gotta ask. So you’re, you’re working one minute at a time. What happens if you make a mistake? How do you avoid the guilt? Shame. Anger, frustration of that? Or do you

[00:42:30] John: Yeah, it’s, well, you know, houses were being risked at that time, you know?

Um, and that’s not only mine, that’s others as well. Mm-hmm. Um, but you know, you, you, so yes, there are mistakes and there are some things that we shouldn’t have done, but you kind of were just hoping, and, you know, the support we had from the artists, people like John Butler were, you know, unbelievably, you know, supportive.

Um, I had a guitar player’s wife. Thanked me for being able to keep their house because the money they were making was able to pay their mortgage during it time that they weren’t earning money. And you, you kind of start looking around and you’re like, this is so bright now. This is so big and means so much to so many people.

Um, and you’ve got everyone’s support. Mm. But. I was, it was, it was interesting. It’s, uh, we were at a, a cafe with my, I was at a cafe with my wife a while ago, and I was, there was a surfer and like a massive tube. Mm-hmm. Right? And, and I, I, I think I made the comment, something along the lines of all that guy is thinking about right now’s, how the fuck am I gonna get out of this?

Right. I’m like, imagine that feeling. She’s like, that was you during Covid. It was like all you could think about was, how the fuck am I gonna get out? You just, there was nothing else in my world. All I thought about was how, how, how, what am I gonna do? What’s the next thing to get through? So, you know, you know, you know there’s risk, but you also look around at the team, around you and you kind of go, they’ve all got my back, so I’m just leading this train.

This is not, I can’t do this on my own, never can do it on my own. But, you know, all those people that were on that train, whether it was the, the, you know, staff partners, Um, you know, crew managers, food people, bar operators, you know, there’s a, there’s a cast of thousands that go into to delivering a show, so you kind of gotta, you know, I’m doing this for, for everybody.

There was, you know, there was some euphoric moments. I remember after the first weekend in Adelaide, we did some gigs. I was walking around at like 3:00 AM just sky high. My wife screaming at me. It’s like, go back to the room. You’re on your own. Who knows? And I met some dudes and randomly talking to him and, So, I mean now I look back and I laugh and you know, I’m kind of proud of what we achieved collectively.

But, um, I think if someone had actually stopped me at that point and went, do you understand the risks and the trouble you could put yourself in? Um, if, you know, cause you could get shut down. Literally there’s a case we can’t. Um, you know, so, but you’re just blinded by the overcoming objection. It’s don’t, you know, unless it’s there, don’t, don’t fear it.

Just keep playing through it. So, um, yeah, it comes back to that being diagnosed period again, you know, everything kind of, now, you know, it’s before cancer and after cancer for me. Mm-hmm. And now there’s kind of, before Covid and after Covid, it’s the same kind of movement, you know, it’s, um, it’s certainly reprograms.


[00:45:26] Katherine: there’s a solution to every problem is what I’m

[00:45:28] John: hearing. Yeah, there is. You just gotta find it. It’s, um, it’s hard to find. But you know, it’s, it’s, for most problems, there’s a solution.

[00:45:37] Katherine: Mm-hmm. You’re so easily lovable. Thank you. And probably why you have such a great team behind you. You, you know, I think you’re, you’re a wonderful leader to follow.

So, um, I’m, I feel even more grateful that I’ve taken time away from your mom.

[00:45:54] John: This wasn’t in my spreadsheet,

[00:45:57] Katherine: John. I, I could, as you now speak to you forever, and this has been, I will hands down say the most motivational podcast. Oh, wow. I’ve ever done. Thank you. It’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.

Good to chat. Thanks. Thank you. Until next time guys. Remember that every day is not only your chance to shine, but really fucking live. Yep. Thanks for watching and listening.

[00:46:24] John: I mean,

[00:46:26] Katherine: I don’t even know what to say.

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