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Get Out of Your Own Way with Dave Hollis

Jillian is excited to be joined by author Dave Hollis to discuss his journey toward self-help and improvement.

Here’s a breakdown of the episode:

  • Dave has always been the skeptical type, and most of his life he had viewed self-help as being only for people who weren’t complete or good enough. After a successful life and career, he soon found himself stuck and lacking growth and motivation.
  • It can be hard to start the journey toward self-help later on in life. After Dave’s career became dull and he found himself struggling, therapy was the way that he was able to get to the “why” in his life.
  • Hoping we improve is not a strategy or plan to improve. We must put forth the effort. When Dave’s wife confronted him about his problems, he realized that he needed a plan to change, or his family and marriage was going to fall apart.
  • Self-help and improvement can be hard and complicated, because it pushes us beyond what is comfortable, and sometimes we fail. Failure isn’t final; instead, it is an opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Dave began to use alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety and stress. He began to realize that his relationship with alcohol wasn’t helping him to become a better person, and while it was muting the anxiety and stress, it was also muting joy.
  • Dave recommends two things for managing stress and anxiety: first, find people who can normalize your problem. Then, own your struggle and be honest and open about it to others.

Throughout most of his life, Dave was wary of anything that involved self-help. He believed that seeking self-help was a way of admitting to one’s failure or incompleteness.

His career was safe and successful, but it began to become mundane, and it was failing to grow him and push him beyond his comfort zone. He soon found himself struggling to move forward and in desperate need of help. This led him to challenge everything he believed surrounding self-help and start off on a brand new journey.

He didn’t realize his need right away; it was a process, but he stepped out of his comfort zone and began to go to therapy. He wanted to know the “why” behind the things he did, and he tried to understand why he felt so incomplete with his life and job.

Dave’s life came to a point where his wife had to pull him aside and have a deep conversation about the future of their relationship and family. If he didn’t address his problems with a plan, his family would likely fall apart.

Realizing the possibility of what could happen if he didn’t change compelled him to make the courageous decision to actively put forth effort in his life to seek help and become a better person.

Improving ourselves can be hard. It pushes us beyond what is comfortable, and the reality is that it’s going to be painful and uncomfortable. What if we fail?

“Failure is an amazing opportunity for learning.”

We must recognize that failure isn’t a final verdict, and it doesn’t mean we can’t get to where we want to be. Failure is just an opportunity, and if we can realize this, we can use those opportunities to grow and improve.

When Dave realized that he needed to change and wasn’t living up to his full potential in his current career, he moved his family from California to Texas to start a fresh life and small business with his wife. However, growing this new business ended up being extremely difficult and often stressful, and he turned to an unhealthy coping mechanism—alcohol.

“I had convinced myself that muting some of my anxiety was a good idea…you cannot mute the anxiety without also muting joy in your life.” 

It’s important to find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety because if you’re always trying to mask it, you’ll find that it also masks the good, wonderful things in life. When it comes to managing stress, the first thing to do is to find people who can normalize your struggle. Then, own your struggle and open up about it to the people around you. You’ll find that many of them are also struggling with the same problems.

If you want to grow and improve yourself, or if you don’t really know how to start, check out Dave’s book: Get Out of Your Own Way: A skeptics guide to self-help.

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