Honestly it’s been a source of stress up until some recent clarity.
My “aha moment” came to me on the heels of my first trip to SXSW a few weeks ago. I was drinking some complimentary boxed vino with my roomie Ben on the flight back to Rio rapping on questions like:
I’ve been geeking out about self-improvement and figuring out how to create the most abundant life experience for myself and the people I care about for awhile now.
Whether it’s business, finding love, or becoming healthier I could literally talk about this stuff all day long….
Today I want to give you a sneak peak of my new podcast that will be coming out in a few weeks.
We’ll be talking with everyone from entrepreneurs who’ve sold companies for hundreds of millions of dollars, to NFL players, actors, and people banking 500k a year while they sip coconuts on the beach passively.
It’s shaping up to be a buffet of awesome with an entree for everyone.
Today I want to share a preview of what’s to come with a leaked episode with my buddy Mike Hrostoski, the Men’s Coach.
If you enjoyed this chat with Mike Hrostoski and are craving connection with other men who are focused on becoming their best selves and supporting each other on their journeys check out The Conference For Men* coming up this month.
If you want to be notified the day of the podcast launch, you can get a personal reminder from me the day it launches by entering your email here.
Scott: Okay, today we have my buddy Mike Hrostoski – The Men’s Coach. Now, if you don’t know Mike or never heard of Mike, Mike helps high-performing men master the relationships with their women and work. And Mike got on my radar because it seemed like every single time I logged on Facebook, all my entrepreneur friends were either raving about him or his perspective. But Mike wasn’t always this thoughtful coach with an amazing online presence.
Mike, actually before this, left a lucrative career in Human Resources and took a full year off to do things that fulfilled him with joy. And after spending 2012 doing hundreds of hours of pro-bono coaching and traveling 12,000 miles across the United States to do volunteer work on a road trip, he launched his coaching career and business that operates full time from all over the world. He’s been a digital nomad since February 2012 and spent the last two years traveling and working across three continents. Mike, how’re you doing man?
Mike Hrostoski: Hey, awesome. Thanks for having me.
Scott: I am so excited to have you today man, because I know that you have a ton of great knowledge to share with our listeners. Mike today, I wanted to focus on one thing that we’ve talked about before and that’s how we become better communicators both in how we communicate with others and ourselves. Now Mike, you work with lots of high-performing men; people that seem to maybe even have it all figured out. But a lot of these guys are still not attracting the things that they want to in their life because they are not communicating as effectively as they could be.
What are some of the things that you typically see amongst clients, amongst thought-leaders, entrepreneurs; different type of people that are probably listening to this show that could be improved in terms of communication?
Mike Hrostoski: Yes, so as you asked that question, I guess two things come to mind. One is around lying and one is around expressing emotion. So the whole foundation of my coaching practice, of everything that I stand for is just ‘integrity is the magic elixir of life.’ And I have sort of learnt that in my own journey from being in my teens and early 20s like really being out of integrity. Like lying, cheating, stealing; I was what people would call kind of a bad kid. I’ve gotten in trouble a lot and cheated on tests in school, cheated on girlfriends and it’s because I started with the habit of lying when I was young; because I would lie to my parents.
I had pretty strict, Christian parents and I would lie to them just because I didn’t want to lose their love. So I could tell them the truth but then I would lose their love. And I’ve heard that story a lot from a lot of men when we really go back into the history of their life and that’s when it started. And then sometimes, we start that habit at a young age and then it just keeps on going through life. So, my whole platform is just like live a congruent life and stop lying and start living. And I have seen it — I’ve seen men completely turn their lives around just by telling the truth and we can go a lot more into that just around ideas of radical honesty and how to speak the truth and how to ask for what you want.
Scott: I would love to do that because it is kind of counter-intuitive in some ways that I think a there’s a lot of us out there think that when we are 100% honest we might make somebody — somebody we know, we might hurt their feelings or they might not want to work with us again or they might think less of us if we were totally honest. It’s actually counter intuitive in some ways. So, I would love to hear just a few, real-life examples that you have experienced where people were previously not telling the truth in situations and how telling the truth actually made them have much more abundance in their life.
Mike: Sure, I’ll give my examples. For me one area is women; I used to be completely terrified of girls. I didn’t kiss a girl till I was a senior in high school. It was more like she forced a kiss on me. I was the absolute, the shiest — girls terrified me completely and a lot of that was just from my upbringing and my beliefs around women. So, I think in about my mid-20s, I realized that if I just asked for what I want and if I just speak my truth, I’ll have much better results and I think that’s the time I got into pick up.
And I think pick up is kind of a gateway drug for a lot of men because it’s such a big pain-point of just wanting to feel loved from some women. So, got into the pick up stuff, tried that for a bit and then really learnt through trial and error that all I have to do is just speak my truth of whatever is my truth and women love it. Some do and some don’t, but that’s fine. So, an example is, when I talk to women, I just tell them the truth. I don’t have any weird pick up lines, I’ll just say like, ‘oh my gosh, who are you? You have a great energy or you’re really beautiful and I just had to meet you’.
And then we just kind of instantly get into like a really deep conversation and there’s no BS, kind of like cheesy, pick up line stuff that they teach in some other programs or boot camps. If she says, ‘I have a boyfriend’, I’d say, ‘great, of course you do.’ ‘Just thank you for being here; I really appreciate you being here, and you’ve made my day’. And I don’t lie at all and I don’t hide my desires at all. I think that is something that a lot of men who find themselves, like in that dreaded friend-zone.
It’s because they are lying to their women in their lives. If you go on five coffee dates with a girl that you really like but you have never expressed your feelings, you’re lying about your needs, you’re lying about your desires, as if choice A is to say like ‘hey, do you want to hang out?’ And then you hang out and you’re really pinning after her and you wish you could form some sort or relationship to keep that to yourself. Choice B would be like, ‘hey I want to take you on a date, like are you free next week?’ It’s much more direct but it’s saying like hey I’m interested in you; I’m interested in having a relationship or having some sort of connection.
Scott: It’s so simple and it seems so obvious to say these types of things and just to authentically and directly communicate your desires instead of saying ‘hey, I like your shoes’, or ‘where are you from?’ When really, you just think the person is really beautiful or interesting and you want to see what they are like. Even though it is so simple — even in my own life I’ve experienced this; it’s not as easy to do. It’s not easy to just start communicating directly and authentically even when we know that is the most powerful way to talk to people.
Scott: What do you say to people that when they want to start becoming this type of communicator, whether with women or with people in the office? What are some of the initial steps that somebody can take to start integrating this type of communication into their life?
Mike: Yeah, so it’s a great question. So there are times in all of our lives when we are sitting in a meeting or we are with some friends or we are in front of a woman where we really want to say something and it is literally sitting in the back of our throat. And it’s like, you want to open your mouth and say it; but then you don’t say it and then five minutes later, you regret not saying it. So, I don’t have that anymore. I used to for pretty much all of my life; I was always like, damn it, I wish I had freaking said something, I wish I had told something to that girl who was like looking at me longingly with those eyes, but I didn’t have the balls to say anything or I wish I had spoke up in that meeting because I had a really good idea on like how to make the company more money or how to reduce expenses but I freaking did say anything.
So, I don’t have that anymore, but it took a lot of work to get here and in those moments, when you want to say something, just say it, just let it come out and the first couple of times, it’ll feel like jumping out of an airplane. It’ll be scary, like your heart will be racing, and you’ll be saying, oh my gosh, I don’t believe I’m about to say what I actually want to say. But then when you say it, I promise you, just by saying it, it’ll feel better and then you’ll start to build that muscle of speaking your truth.
And as it builds, I mean, it’s been a slow process for me and even now, I’d be lying if I told you that I approach every beautiful woman that I meet and I always and in every moment, speak my absolute truth. There’s still some times where I get shy or I mess up. I’m human, we’re all human and we make mistakes all the time. But in general, when I’m with someone, I pretty much speak my truth and it’s a constant practice.
Mike: I use the word ‘practice’ a lot in my work, I do a lot of work around sexuality and intimacy and I like the term ‘sexual practice’ because as a man, I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to get everything perfect and get it right especially in sex. A lot of sexual dysfunctions like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation which like really isn’t a thing. But that comes from us being so nervous of getting it right, like ‘I’m going to make sure I’m going to get this right and I want to be a good lover’, but we’re in our head so much that we are not even enjoying the experience.
Enjoying the pleasure of our own existence and enjoying having a beautiful woman in front of us and like interacting with her. Instead we’re in our heads and we’re talking, ‘oh, man I hope I can do this right and I hope I can pleasure her’ instead of just being there. Just enjoying yourself and being in your body and being really fully present to her and just being present in the body. So, just treat everything like a practice; I mean life is a constant practice and if anyone ever says, ‘oh, I’ve got it all figured out’ or if any one has the word ‘guru’ after their name, just run. [Laughter].
Scott: [Inaudible 00:12:13]
Mike: Yeah, because I am always wondering and some of my greatest teachers are — I just wrote up like a status update about this, some of my greatest teachers are a decade younger than me. I’m going to always keep learning and I think the minute you think that you have it all figured out, that’s when you’re in trouble.
Scott: It’s also when — it sounds like life gets pretty boring; if you knew how to do everything, it wouldn’t be fun. There are so many things that you just brought up that are so incredibly reminiscent of my life’s experience and I think like one thing that has really helped me because I am the same way man. Over in my journey, there was a point where I wasn’t seeking what I wanted in my life with zeal. I was all about protecting my ego and protecting my self, instead of just going for what I wanted without hesitation. And I still am trying to get better at that.
But one thing that really helped me was to kind of think of building that muscle as if you look at a line graph, where I’m thinking of Google Analytics right now where, there’s an up, a spike and a down and so on. And what happens is, you start building up, you start taking these actions and then maybe you mess up for a day or two and you go back down and then you’re taking more actions, you keep going back up and all of a sudden, you’ve created a new normal for yourself.
Maybe you’re not going after the things that you want, speaking your truth every moment of every single day, but on average, there’s a new equilibrium for you where you’re taking a lot more actions, speaking a lot more truth and going for things directly because you’ve built this muscle. And you’re just starting off in a place that is much more healthy, that is going to get you much more of what you want; whether it’s women, whether it’s success, whether it’s the type of friends that you want in your life because you did that work and you created that new normal for yourself.
Mike: Yeah, totally. That’s a great metaphor. It’s a constant process but every when it kinds of builds upon itself and then it is just a slow, incremental process and — so one thing about it just came up to me too and by speaking your truth, the shame disappears. I do coaching work and I support men in the areas of life where they need the most help and coaching. It’s kind of a mix between therapy and goal-setting, it’s like being a guide for someone and holding the space for them. And something that I found is around shame; shame is kind of like a vampire in the sun.
Shame when exposed to the light, just disappears just instantly and I have guys all the time where they’ll share something with me, something really personal and they might be crying and they’re having an emotional release and they’ll say, ‘man, that feels really good; I’ve never said that to anyone before’. So, what happens with our secrets and — I just gave a talk recently at a conference called, ‘A life without secrets, the truth will set you free’ and I just talked about how I used to have so many secrets in my life and it was heavy.
It was like walking around with this huge weight on my chest and feeling the stress of any moment, someone is going to find out. Like my dad is going to find out or my girlfriend is going to find out, people are going to find out that I’m lying. And now, I really don’t have any secrets and I go as far as to like post most of them on my blog and that might be a little much, I’m kind of crazy, but I have found that as soon as I hit ‘Publish’ on a blog post about something that I used to hate myself for or something that I used to have shame around, it literally disappears.
Even before someone reads it, it just feels good, just to get it off my chest. So, even just to play right now on this interview, I was feeling — about 10 minutes ago, I was feeling nervous and I was feeling kind of jittery, I had a couple of cups of coffee this morning and I had some juice and this interview is really important to me. So, I was a little nervous and I thought I wasn’t showing up as well. And now, I’m a lot more like dropped in; like I’m dropped in my body, I feel much more connected, I’m more in my flow.
And even by saying that, the shame of just disappeared [Laughter] and I feel fine about it. So yeah, that’s just one example, that as you talk about stuff that you had shame around that you hated yourself or whether you do it do a friend or a therapist or to a coach or to your men’s group, or if you are crazy like me that you post it on your Internet, it literally disappears. And it’s like, how do you want to show up, do you want to be carrying those secrets, do you want to get that stuff off the chest and just breath into the space of more freedom and just more lightness? Have you had an experience like that in your life?
Scott: Absolutely. Mike, guess who else just had a coffee before this interview because they wanted to show up their best selves? I had the same exact feelings because I want this podcast to provide as much value and impact to as many people as possible. And this isn’t the first time for me, this is a new type of communication medium that I am not as familiar with and making sure that I do the best job I can and it does wear me. So, I do things like have coffee. [Laughter]
Scott: But I totally agree and I think it’s like an interesting thing for people that are listening to this and to think about it is, you mention this idea of how do you want to show up and there’s kind of a counter intuitive notion here that a lot of us are intentionally trying to show up and show the world our best and hide the rest because we think that that’s going to give us what we want. Like portray this image of perfection, or never making a mistake; yet in reality it seems like in your experience there tends to be more benefits when you do the opposite, when you share your secrets, when you speak the truth.
Can you talk about some of the things that we can expect when we start showing up in this more authentic truthful way that you are alluding to; some of the positive things?
Mike: Yeah, so for one — two big things come to mind. For one, it’s more comfortable to be myself. So, if I was only sharing the best self, then in those periods, when I am going through stress or going through hard times in my business, I would feel like a frog. And I’m just going to call some people out, there’s not like actual people but if any time you see like a blogger or someone who just disappears like off the face of the earth, it’s because they are probably going through some stuff and they can’t write because they are totally blocked off.
And if they just spoke the truth about what’s going on, then, they’d be able to write but if they are used to only showing just the best side of themselves, then it just like cripples them. And that’s when you see people fall off or quit their blogs and all of a sudden, they’re only accepting guest posts because they are trying to figure their own stuff out. And honestly, that kind of happened in me in November-December. I was having some really dark, tough times around like a conference that I am building The Conference for Men.
And I noticed myself just like really blocked creatively and in my writing and I realized that I haven’t been sharing about how hard this has been. And then I started sharing that and then I could write again and I could — my writing and my speaking and everything got free. So, the most important thing to me, way more important than anything is being happy and having fun and feeling good and living a life full of joy. And I know that I’m just one data point but when I’m carrying around secrets and heavy stuff, it’s just not as fun. It just feels heavy.
So that’s really kind of the big thing, it just feels good to live a congruent life and to share.
Scott: For people who don’t have a blog or an online presence, maybe they do but they don’t feel comfortable sharing this, is there another practice, maybe an accountability partner, maybe a coach or something, another place that they can go where they could share these secrets in maybe a safer way to kind of onboard the process of not holding these in?
Mike: Yeah, great question. So, what I do is the crazy APE Calculus part of it and it took a long time to get here. I’m a work in progress totally so to start off with, even journaling, just getting stuff out — I’ve done exercises where — I did one recently when I was in Panama. I wrote a bunch of secrets and stuff that I was holding on to and I just poured my heart out on to pieces of paper. And normally I would burn it, but I didn’t have any fire so I ripped it up into pieces and I threw it in the ocean.
And that just felt good, just to get it off. So journal — just pour your heart out on to pages and then burn them. Just do like your own little fire ceremony; one step past that is to talk to a friend, talk to a really trustable friend, someone who you trust, someone who you love and just share. Something else is like go seek out therapy, seek out professional help or get a coach or join a men’s group. I’m a huge fan of men’s groups; it’s like men meeting together to lovingly support each other. And there’s all sorts of ways to get stuff off of your chest.
And like for everyone listening, it’s your choice; so whatever feels the best to you to get that stuff off whether it’s a journal or telling someone or writing a blog about it, just whatever feels the best and whatever feels kind of edgy. So it should always play to your edge and it should feel edgy, but it shouldn’t feel like, ‘oh my God, if I do this, I’m going to die’. So it’s that little balance of don’t try and go — like you can’t go from A to Z without going through the entire alphabet, so just do whatever that next step is that feels kind of edgy to you.
Scott: Yeah, I love it. It resonates so much with me and it’s kind of on this larger theme of — and I love the muscle metaphor of kind of building a muscle. People ask me all the time, Scott, how do you go on — I was recently on Good Morning America version of Australia and basically talking about how I gave up lying and have a very similar experience, positive things happened to me during that. And a lot of my friends were like ‘dude, how do you go on in front of six million people eating their cereal and tell them how you were a liar and you gave that up’?
And when I thought about it, well, it didn’t start there; it started when I started talking to my friends and trying to be more honest. Then I started writing a blog, then I started talking about things in my blog that I was used to be worried about that my parents would read. Then I started just being completely honest with everybody and then all of a sudden, when I got to that point of — here’s a big stage and you’re going to have to speak your truth, it wasn’t that scary because I had all those experiences leading up to that point that had kind of broken the barrier that I was afraid of.
And it is a process, it is not an overnight — I’m going to hide all my stuff and the next minute, I’m going to go on stage, crying out my biggest anxieties, fears, secrets that I’m holding. It’s a gradual build; at least it was like that for myself.
Mike: Yeah, and then even when you’re on that interview, were you kind of nervous?
Mike: [Laughter] Yeah, so I think people sometimes see, like I’m a dude, like we’re just dudes and I think — because I know — I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years so I left my corporate job I guess two years ago. I remember reading blogs and listening to podcasts and seeing people and just thinking like they were super-human. Being like damn, like this guy has something special that I don’t have. Like, this life is not for me, because I’m not from a wealthy family and stuff like this can’t happen to me.
But then I just started doing it and a lot of it happened after my mom passed away. I just dove into life, because I was like, I’m going to die, so I’m going to create the most amazing life story possible. And we’re just dudes; we’re dudes trying to figure it out and literally showing up every day. I’m afraid every day, I’m afraid of all sorts of stuff but I just keep pushing my edges because I know it’s like — do I want to live my life in fear like I did for all of my life including most of my 20s where I just watched people pass me by?
I watched them do the stuff that I wish I was doing and I felt so much resentment towards them and I was the biggest hater ever. [Laughter] And I was like; do I want to live that life? I just want to say, you know what, screw it. I’m just going to dive in, I’m so scared, my heart’s beating out of my chest, but this is my life and I’m going to make an awesome life-story out of it. So yeah, I’m scared, Scott’s scared, we’re all scared but we show up every day and that’s it, that’s what makes the difference.
Scott: I love it, I love this idea that everyone is just a dude because I just had this experience. And I was at South by Southwest, there was a list of three people that I wanted to meet and the first day I met one of those people. And I’m actually interviewing them on my podcast; it’s Charlie Hoehn who was Tim Ferriss’ first employee and had million-dollar product launches and now he’s written two books and all of that stuff. And I was like, man this guy is insane, he’s a machine, he’s so much smarter than me, he’s so much more talented and business-savvy, and all these things.
And we had coffee at Whole Foods and ended up hanging out for six hours and at the end of it, I was like, this guy is just a dude, this guy is just like me, just like my buddies. And I think it’s so common to immortalize these people who produce content, who are entrepreneurs, who do things that we want to do and fail to recognize that they have the same human feelings that we have, the same insecurities, the same types of challenges; maybe at different scales that we face every single day.
And for me that was incredibly empowering because it allowed me to realize that all of those anxieties and all of those things that I felt like I could get better at or that seemed really hard to do or impossible, it was totally normal for me to feel that way because these people that I had immortalized were going through the same, exact thing.
Mike: Yeah, and as you said that, something else just came up to me. I get this feedback all the time from people who meet me, either clients or when I meet people at events, they are like, ‘thank you so much for sharing the times when things aren’t going well, because it just shows that you are human’. And I hear people sometimes like, ‘thank you for giving me permission to not be perfect’ or ‘thank you for showing me that it’s not good all the time’ and — yeah, it’s not good all the time.
Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster of emotions, especially before a big launch or before doing something that you have never done before, which is like almost every day. So, if I lied about it and I was like ‘yeah, this is easy all the time’, then I just wouldn’t be telling the truth. And so yeah, just the feedback that I get on a regular basis is like ‘thank you for giving me permission to be human’. Because sometimes, we look at people and they’ll have programs like, ‘the super-human, bad-ass, alpha-male blueprint [Laughter] like join my program and be able to like do whatever and have mind-control and punch through walls — ‘
And to a certain extent, some of the stuff that I do is super-human compared to what I used to do. But I’m not special, I’m just a dude who has been flexing those muscles over the past three years every day. Like literally every day pushing my edge. So, when you go to a gym on Saturday morning, the people at the gym on a Saturday morning look like the people who would be at the gym on a Saturday morning. So, it’s like I’m just a dude, but I’m working really hard and I’m trying my best and like that’s what makes the difference.
It’s like showing up even though you’re scared, trying your best and realizing that it is just a practice.
Scott: Is there any — for somebody who is listening to this right now, and says, I’m tired of living my life in a way that I’m not speaking the truth, and I’m not going for what I want, that I’m not pushing myself on the edge, what would you tell them that is the first step that they should take?
Mike: Man, there’s so many —
Scott: I mean, I guess the first one is really just self-awareness, right?
Scott: It’s just being aware that throughout your day and just being cognizant that the decisions that you make are either a function of what you want or whether you’re protecting yourself and just asking yourself that question, maybe it’s something that you could do. And something that has worked for me is writing these affirmations out every single day that had to do with this type of behavior and just having it in the frontal cortex of my mind that I am the type of guy that hunts his fear and goes directly for what he wants.
And as I go throughout my day, just the fact that I read that to myself in the morning or I thought about it, it has a big influence on me just evaluating, being aware of the decisions that I make and then bring the awareness to it allows me to direct my actions in the appropriate way.
Mike: Yeah, so I’m going to get heavy for a second.
Scott: Do it. Let’s do it, let’s get real.
Mike: So for me, death has been my greatest teacher and a lot of the most amazing people that I know, they sort of have a death story. Whether it was a near-death experience or the death of a parent or a death of a friend, but something happened that just like woke them up to life. And I’ve talked to some dozens of entrepreneurs about this and they’re like, yeah, when my dad died, I just woke up or like when my best friend committed suicide, I just realized that wow, I’m going to die and I need to start living.
And so I talk about death a lot in my coaching and an exercise that I like to do with clients is I really drop them down and say, ‘hey this isn’t going to happen but I want you to imagine that you went to the doctor and the doctor said you have a month to live and really sit with that and just feel the heaviness about it and grieve if you need to. What would you do if you had a month to live?’ And often times they’ll be like crying or they’ll be like oh my gosh, I’d tell my mom and dad that I love them, like I haven’t talked to my dad in a couple of years or I’d tell my girlfriend how just amazing she is and probably throw a party for my friends and I’d finally go sky-diving.
I wanted to go sky-diving for five years, I would just do it and they come up with this list of a ton of stuff and I’d say, ‘all right, that’s your homework’. [Laughter] For the next session, just do as much of that as possible because that’s what you really want to do. Like that’s the essence of what you really want to do, like start ticking stuff off and I literally, man, since my mom passed away, that’s kind of how I lived life. I just check into what would I do if I had a month to live and I’d do that stuff and that’s why I have been traveling for the past two years.
I’m what they call a digital nomad, so I mean I don’t have an apartment. I live everywhere and it’s amazing; I’ve had such a rich life getting to just meet people like you and meet people all over the world. And I do work; I very rarely do something that I don’t want to do. Like my work turns me on so much, I love to coach, I love to speak, I love to write; I don’t always love all the backend kind of stuff, but it’s like I’m working on scaling and growing a business and I’m loving the process of that. But I do what I want to do all the time because I know that man; life is so precious and so valuable.
So to the guy listening to this, it’s just like what would you do if you had a month to live? What would you do? Journal that out, and then do it. I think often times it’s having conversations with people that you love; so telling mom and dad that I love you or apologizing to friends, closing open loops around commitments that you broke and it’s a lot of apologies and it’s a lot of saying ‘I love you’ that have been owed for months or years. Yeah, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it, but —
Scott: I was going to say, there’s a weight on my shoulders that’s been lifted and I haven’t even done anything. [Laughter]
Mike: Yeah, and by doing that — I did this exercise with a client one time and I told him, you know what, I don’t care what you do because it’s your life, because this is your assignment but I’m going to call my dad right now. And I called my dad and I hadn’t talked to him in a bit and I just — I was like ‘hey dad, I need to tell you something’, and he’s like ‘what? Are you all right?’ And I was like I need to tell you and I just broke down crying and I was like — I could barely get it out and I was just — wanted to tell you that I love you and I love you so much and I appreciate every thing that you ever done for me.
And I know we don’t always get along, but just all of my success is because you are an awesome dad, who was always there and in that moment, I felt — in my traps, I felt like a release, I felt like something open up. Like a muscular, energetic release in my body and after I got off the phone, I could like breathe deeper into my body and I was like, wow, that was awesome. And I felt really clear and from that moment, like dad and I, our relationship’s been better because I was able to speak the truth of what I had been holding back just because I love him so much.
And yeah, it is just so powerful when you wake up to the reality of your death and just how precious life is and then from that place of like bringing realization of death of into life, like that’s when the stuff gets awesome and then that’s when you’re just — like sales gets easy, [Laughter] like talking to women gets easy, speaking the truth gets easy, because you’re like I’m going to die so I’m just — I’m going to go for it —
Scott: Yeah. [Laughter].
Mike: I’m going to walk up to Richard Branson and just like ask him to hang out and have coffee. Who cares? [Laughter]
Scott: It’s — the word that comes like the phrase that comes to mind, for me personally, when I think about this is the question really is, ‘am I going through the motions or am I pursuing my deepest desires with zeal?’ And it is a really powerful question that we can all ask ourselves. I want to transition here to a topic that I think will also mould nicely into the Conference for Men because I do want to talk about that and I think it’s going to be absolutely awesome.
But one of the struggles that I have had is I have been a guy who has been into personal development who has tried to exercise these muscles that few people truthfully talk about and it’s — I’ve noticed that as a young guy or as a young female, anybody — it’s hard to find a peer group that appreciates the stuff, that you can have these types of conversations with that they’ll be open to. And I think once you have peers in your life that are into building these muscles that are into developing these conversations, it just becomes much easier to do.
I’m curious, if you have any advice, because I get this question a lot; where to go to find peers that are into working on these things, having these types of deeper conversations. Where do you go? Because for a while, I was living in New York City and my finance bros were just concerned about what bar we are going to, that the game is going to be on and there’s going to be hot girls. They didn’t really care about hearing about Scott’s secrets or feelings or anxieties. And I think a lot of people struggle with that.
Mike: Yeah, man, so much of what you said, like, that’s why I created this event because as I have traveled just all over the world for the past two years, I hear that so much from men too because there’s so many groups for women; there’s like goddess circles and women’s groups and — I mean dozens of conferences for women’s empowerment which is awesome. I’m all about powerful women.
But there is really nothing for men and I think that’s a result of a couple of things; one, men just don’t ask for help because it’s beaten out of us when we are young, just the idea of like ‘don’t cry’ or ‘be a man’, or ‘being a man means you just suck it up’ and it’s your duty to just be miserable at work. [Laughter] So, that’s why, I’m creating this conference, because for me, my entire life changed when I went to my first conference. I went to Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit; the first one in 2011. And just going to that was like taking the red pill in The Matrix.
It was — just totally blew my mind, literally blew my mind of the possibility of life that is available to me. I met people that were doing like what I am doing now except, I didn’t even know that was a path for me. I always thought that the corporate path was it and I worked for five years, I got my MBA, I got the high-paying corporate job and I just thought I would just have to keep working there for the next 30 years and then retire as a vice president. That was it, that’s all that even knew.
At the age of 30, or at the age of 29, I didn’t even know that this world of like entrepreneurship was like available to me. So, like based off of your interest, like whatever you’re into, I’m sure most guys listening to this podcast are into like growth hacking or entrepreneurship or just start up scene, or maybe like the spiritual community or sacred sexuality or just like whatever your thing is that you really jazz about, go to meet-up groups, go to conferences, go to events. Like every conference and every — every time I go to a conference even if it is like a $2000 investment — I recently spent like three grand going to this one conference but it literally — most of the time, it takes one person for me to make that investment back.
Just one person — just one coaching client, or like one relationship with someone who I am going to do a joint venture with and just — my world just expanded so rapidly but it’s because I went to the places where my people are at and oh man, I just can’t reiterate how important it is to meet the people that you want to become in real life.
Mike: Like that is totally — we chatted on Skype, you and I, a couple of months ago, but when I met you in New York City, it was like a much deeper connection and I got to experience you and give you a hug and just like be in your energy for a while and that’s a much deeper connection. And now, we’re like actual people-friends instead of just online friends. And I say this to clients and friends a lot, get out of your house, just don’t — technology is great and I love it. And it’s a miracle that I can write something with this machine and like thousands of people read it every month.
But like most of my growth both as a person and my growth in my business has been being in front of people. Most of it has been at events like conferences or meet-up groups or workshops because that in person connection is everything.
Scott: Absolutely, you can’t replicate it. You cannot replicate that. You can write the best email online ever and it’s never going to be same as a warm embrace, that’s for sure. So, let’s say, hypothetically, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed here; let’s say that this dialogue that we have had has resonated with people and they are looking for a conference, perhaps a conference for men where they can go and meet other likeminded individuals. What can they expect at The Conference for Men?
Mike: I’ve done a lot of men’s work and I guess really men’s work is kind of like what we did for the past 45 minutes except it’s much deeper. It’s men in the room openly communicating about their fears, their anxieties, their desires and just like loving and supporting each other. I think it’s a whole new paradigm that I think a lot of men — and I know for me, for most of my life, I saw every other man as a competitor. Like when I went to a bar or just in life, every other dude was competition.
But now I see every man as a brother and just my reality has changed because of that. Like instead of competition, it’s collaboration and just I have so many awesome bros in my life who just support me and love me and we just help each other out. And because of that switch, my life has become a lot better. So, what to expect at the Conference for Men is just a community of men who just actually care about you and who won’t tell you that you are weird for being into personal development.
And guys who are doing the work and pushing the edges in all different areas of their life and just like sharing ideas, like I love when ideas have sex [Laughter] and I feel like technology is helping — I mean we live in the most amazing, fascinating time, we’re evolving like crazy and like entrepreneurs are talking to the spiritual people and the start-up people are talking to the mystics and like — I could go on and on. Like quantum physics and everything; it’s all coming together and we’re learning so rapidly and the same thing in person.
When I hang out with really smart people, it’s like I become smarter just through osmosis. So, any time I go to an event, I always walk out a little bit smarter, with a little bit more self-awareness, like a little bit more emotionally stable — so at the conference, we’ll be meeting other guys who’ll will be doing this work and then I have a team of like 20 different speakers and group leaders to walk you through a bunch of exercises and take you though the hero’s journey of the weekend of experiential learning.
And I believe that doing something is the best way to learn something. I’m not even a big fan of like reading or watching YouTube videos anymore. I just do stuff, and at this conference, you are going to do stuff. Some of the exercises that we talked about, you’re going to be doing that in real time and literally just leveling up in your life in a weekend while some guys take years to do but in this safe container of just a bunch of men who really care about you and care about your development.
Scott: One might even say a bunch of people that are just dudes.
Mike: Just dudes — it’s like — yeah, totally. And I love that you said that because we’re all like just dudes, like we’re not — we’re just dudes and we’ve been doing this work for years and some of the speakers have been leaders in the men’s community for 20 years that have been literally doing this work supporting men for 20 years. And I would go to my conference and I would feel lucky to be there just because of the lineup of speakers and guides that are going to be there. So, yeah, I’m super-excited for it and I’m just really looking forward to supporting every man who shows up.
Scott: I love it, I kind of want to switch the name of this podcast from ‘The Competitive Edge’ to ‘Just Dudes’, but I don’t — I don’t know if I can do that after recording a couple of episodes already. So, the one question that I always like to finish with, Mike, and you might have already answered this and maybe it is just a good chance to remind people. But if you can give one piece of advice, one habit, one action for people that want to get an edge to create more abundance in their business and in life, what would that be?
Mike: I have a lot of them, but I’m going to go with ‘in the face of fear, take a bold step forward’ and I actually got this from my brother a couple of years ago, who was like 18 at that time. So everyone is my teacher, never stopped learning and he said that to me, ‘in the face of fear, take a bold step forward’. So, imagine you’re standing on a ledge and you’re looking down and it’s like you’re looking down a cliff and that’s how it feels when something scares you. Whether it is a beautiful woman or a public speaking engagement or talking with Charley Hoehn and you’ll be like going up and talking with Tim Ferriss.
It’s that fear of, I’m about to jump off a cliff. And for most of my life, I just stood there just paralyzed in fear and I watched people jumping off the cliff. I watched people jumping by me and jumping off and I kind of felt jealous that they were taking the leap but I was too scared and I didn’t do anything in my life. Really paralyzed by fear for most of my life and since my mom passed away and since I got on to this magic carpet ride of entrepreneurship, any time I feel that fear, I just take a bold step forward.
Even when I am afraid and literally that mindset shift has just completely changed my life. From the outside, I might look super-human or whatever, but it’s just because I am stepping forward instead of cowering in fear like I did for the most of my life. So, in the face of fear, take a bold step forward.
Scott: That quote is so strong for me and so actually literal, because one of the things that has been troubling my journey has been this whole thing of just going and approaching the most beautiful woman that I see on the street every day. And the thing that I always tell myself is that when you see that and you’re in that moment of ‘should I go talk to this person, or should I just continue to watch the gym or whatever I am doing’ is, just move your feet, just take a step. And then once you’re on that path, it’s like when you wake up to go to the gym in the morning.
Just put on your shoes, just take the one step and then you’re going to do that, you’re going to be so much more likely to take that bold action than if you don’t do anything. So, I love it man, I really do. Mike, if people want to find out more about you, get more of this awesomeness that we talked about today, find more about the conference for men, where is the best place for them to go?
Mike: So, the conference information is at conference for men dot com and then I live online at Hrostoski dot com which is my last name, H-R-O-S-T-O-S-K-I or you can probably look at it on the podcast title or —
Scott: It’s almost as easy to spell Smith. [Laughter] Nice.
Scott: Well, I’ll make sure to link all that up and I think there’s only a little bit more time — do we have an official ticket sale close yet?
Mike: Yeah, it’s going to be April 11th. I might actually open it up for a little bit later depending on sales, but right now it is April 11th. So, definitely check it out, get your tickets and if anyone has any questions, they can seriously just contact me directly. Find me on Facebook or go to my website — if you have questions, just contact me, I’m super-accessible, so I’d love to connect.
Scott: Awesome. Well Mike, thank you so much for coming on the show, I’m fired up, I’m excited, I’m walking away with some refreshed perspective, I really appreciate your time.
Mike: Cool, thank you, I am fired up too. This was fun, this was the best hour of my day so far. So, thanks for having me.
[End of interview 00:55:27]
*This is an affiliate link.