Mental Wellness for Entrepreneurs


Being an entrepreneur isn't always as glamorous as people think it is. Many business owners and founders harbor secret emotional demons that can eat us alive if we don't confront them and build resilience. Dustin Hogan joins us in this episode of The SideHustle Lounge to talk about vulnerability, stigma, and the steps you can take today to cultivate mental wellness.

Some of this weeks episode highlights are:
18:33 We're scheduling in our work meetings, we're scheduling in our zoom calls or scheduling webinars. Why would we not schedule in our downtime or our connection time?
27:34 Depression or anxiety isn't who I am. It's just something that I experienced.
29:42 Lack of sleep is not allowing us to replenish, to rejuvenate, to recharge ourselves, which is leading to more anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout.

--- Full Raw Transcription of Podcast Below ---

Dustin Hogan (00:00):
It's not about trying to fix somebody cause ultimately we're not broken you know? And I often say that depression or anxiety isn't who I am. It's just something that I experience.

Introduction (00:14):
Welcome to the SideHustle Lounge. If you're looking for flexible ways to earn income, grow your mindset, and live the lifestyle you've always dreamed of, you are in the right place. So lower the lights. Grab your favorite beverage and join your host. Founder of and Amazon bestselling author of Sign and Thrive: How To Make Six Figures As A Mobile Notary And Loan Signing Agent, Bill Soroka.

Bill Soroka (00:48):
Hello welcome to the lounge today, we're going to be talking about a startling statistic that 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non entrepreneurs. I have some firsthand experience with this battling depression - anxiety almost my entire life. And it's my honor to bring my friend mentor, coach, and a men's mental health wellness counselor Dustin Hogan to the show to talk about that today. Dustin, welcome!

Dustin Hogan (01:23):
Thanks buddy. Thanks for having me here. Really - Yeah - Really looking forward to this conversation and getting to hang out with you.

Bill Soroka (01:30):
Yeah. I love that we kind of get to do this weekly on our one-on-one sessions, but to be able to bring this and talk about something that's so important, not only to entrepreneurs, but to just people living their life in general is important to me. And I know it is to you too, so really appreciate you being here. Before we go too deep into this though, before people just click off, they're like, oh gosh, we're talking about mental health. Can you tell us what you mean by mental health?

Dustin Hogan (01:59):
Definitely. I mean, for me, mental health is about just this state of being where we're able to cope with our everyday stresses in our life that we can work productively. And more importantly, that we're feeling, you know, at our best and our best is in quotes because that's different for everybody else. And similar to our physical health, our mental health and our mental wellness is constantly in flux depending on the time of the day, what we're faced with what we're going through in our lives. So it's something that we're constantly working towards. Oftentimes when people talk about mental health, they relate it to like mental illness or mental health disorders. But mental health is really about this state of being that we're able to cope with everyday stresses in our lives. And obviously we're in a time right now where stress is at probably the maximum than it's been in a very, very long time. So that's what today is such a, such an important conversation.

Bill Soroka (03:00):
Yeah, I think it is. And I love that definition and I love that it takes it carves out some room for this to be very personal. I think part of the challenge maybe on any creative endeavor, anything that you're putting out in the world, people you're think you're living up to somebody else's definition of success or whatever it is or how you're supposed to be acting or how it's supposed to feel when you get to a certain place. And that definition that you gave allows us to define that and really focus on the feeling feeling of success might happen before or after a society thinks it should. You are uniquely qualified to talk about this because you've been through some side hustles a little bit too. And I wondered if we could kind of lay the foundation maybe share a little bit about your side hustle journey and then how that led into getting into mental wellness.

Dustin Hogan (03:59):
Yeah, for sure. I mean, as I look back on the journey over the last, you know, 10 or 15 years from like a career standpoint and an entrepreneurship standpoint, it seems like it's constantly been filled with side hustles side hustles that have like turned into the main hustle. And I don't know if that's just, you know, I can't stay focused in on one thing. I mean, you know, the blessing and the curse of an entrepreneur is like, what's next, what's next thing. Always looking at the next thing. And I know you can relate totally...

Bill Soroka (04:30):
Opportunity everywhere.

Dustin Hogan (04:31):
Yeah, man. So for me, that's, that's kind of been the journey that I've been on. I mean, I went to school back in the day for hotel restaurant management and had these big visions of either wanting to run a hotel or just start up a restaurant.

Dustin Hogan (04:45):
And while I was you know, going to school and then eventually started working for the Marriott on the side, I was doing some landscaping. I was cutting grass in the neighborhood and quickly realized that I was making three to four times the amount of money cutting grass on the weekends than I was at the hotel. So after a couple of years of working in the hotel industry, I TA I decided to take that side hustle and make it a full-time thing and built up a fairly successful landscaping company in my early twenties. And then, you know, as I was doing the landscaping thing, I needed to find another side hustle. So I got into DJ-ing because I was passionate about DJ-ing. And then eventually I stepped away from the landscaping business and DJ-ing became the main thing. And that's been a side hustle that I've been, you know, has kind of remained on the side or at the forefront for the last 15 or so years.

Dustin Hogan (05:41):
And then, you know, music and DJ-ing was kind of the thing. And I started to kind of get into this coaching and speaking things. So I was doing, you know, free coaching sessions and then speaking at events for free. And then once again, soon realized that that side hustle could turn into the main thing. And so for the last five years, that's what I've been doing is really just focusing all my efforts into coaching. And then in the last two years have branched into the, to the counseling side of things. And now I marry the two together. Like I bring a very coachy energy to my counseling and therapy sessions and then to my counseling sessions you know, I or sorry in my coaching sessions. I, I bring some counselor and therapy vibes to it as well. So yeah, it's been this constant pursuit of more so my passions, but the, the side hustles that I was passionate about and then making those the main pursuit.

Bill Soroka (06:35):
Yeah. Well, I think that really helps bring energy and wisdom to your sessions and your clients, for sure, because you have this, you, you know what entrepreneurs are going through, you know, what they're going through in their, in their mind. And that's what we're going to talk a little bit about today because things did not go according to plan all the time. So can you talk a little bit about that and how it led into this this new passion for the mental wellness?

Dustin Hogan (07:06):
Sure. For me, anxiety and depression have been something that I've dealt with for, for most of my life. And for most of my life, it was a part of me that I hid away. You know, it was kind of like this internal battle, this internal struggle, this internal torture at times. Cause really, I know that's a, that's a big word to use, but that's what it felt like at times. You know, so for me early on anxiety kind of showed its face you know, fearful of just so many different situations, generalized anxiety, social anxiety at times. We moved a lot growing up. So going into new schools and new environments certainly was, was stressful on, on my young mind. So that kind of carried through you know, as a child into my teens and then even as an adult.

Dustin Hogan (07:58):
And then in the last, it almost seems like the last 10 or so years that depression has really shown its ugly head. And, you know, I mean, there's so many debates out there of, of was it a nature thing? Was it an environmental thing? And the research shows like it's still undecided if, if, if it's changes in our brain structure that, that lead to these things or changes in our environment. So in my, in my mind, it's kind of a combination of both. So yeah, I mean, depression really started to show its ugly head over the last 10 years. And then unfortunately it was exacerbated as I pursued these like intense entrepreneurial journeys. Specifically, you know, when things did not work out according to plan. And as we know down this path of an entrepreneur, either if you're a solopreneur doing things for yourself, if you've got an entire team, you can come up with the greatest plan in the world.

Dustin Hogan (08:55):
But often times when shit hits the fan, that plan goes out the window. And unfortunately in a lot of cases and certainly in my case, our mental health can go out the window and...

Bill Soroka (09:07):
Yeah, exactly.

Dustin Hogan (09:07):
For, for me, you know, 2018 is when things really just hit absolute rock bottom. You know, I had launched a series of workshops and events that had some initial success, but I wasn't able to get it off. The ground income wasn't coming in income was going on with the others at the other end, didn't know the path that I was going to be heading down, you know, one failure after another. And then eventually my, my mental health just hit absolute rock bottom. And you know, in 2018, 2019, dealing with a lot of like suicidal ideation, a lot of worthlessness helplessness hopelessness - yet on the outside, it was still showing up for this a confident, charismatic guy that seemed like he had it all together.

Dustin Hogan (09:56):
And in so many parts of my life, I did have it together, but mentally dude, like I was struggling and it took hitting rock bottom to really, to make me sit down and realize if I didn't take my mental health super seriously. I didn't know the path that I'd be heading down and that scared the shit out of me then that scared the living shit out of me. And through that darkness, I came to the realization of like, okay, I've got to like heal myself, but I want to use this, this pain, this emotional and psychological pain that I've been dealing with to then help others. So it was that, that kind of the lowest point in my life, I made the decision that, yeah, I wanted to actually go back to school to really develop the counseling and the therapy skills to then be able to go out into the world to help others, to heal myself and to really make an impact. So fast-forward to today, that's what I'm blessed to be able to do. And it's been yeah an intense journey to get to this point.

Bill Soroka (11:00):
Yeah. I love that story of energy conversion and I can relate, but that rock bottom-ness do you find that to be a necessity for change or do you think there's an easier way to do it?

Dustin Hogan (11:13):
Oh man, that's a great, great question. That's a great coaching question actually. Like many things and we've even talked about this before. I don't think it's as black or white is like, is it a necessity or is it not? You know, because there's certainly people that haven't hit rock bottom that have found their purpose that have found their meaning that are there, that are doing what they want, you know, without having to go down that on the other side, there's so many stories out there of people hitting absolute rock bottom, you know, like 50 cents in their bank account. And that's the moment that they've kind of had to move forward or there's a major loss or trauma in their life. And it's from that moment forward that they found the purpose. So I think it's a spectrum, you know, there's that gray area in there.

Dustin Hogan (11:58):
And, and just recognizing that it's it's, whatever path is personal to you, that's, that's the right experience to go through. And it's just ultimately comes down to whatever we make of whatever is put in front of us. For me, this is what's been put in front of me. And, you know, even in those dark moments were filled with tears and filled, filled with just like absolute overwhelm and uncertainty, just that tiny little voice in the back of my mind that says, dude, like this, what you're going through right now is going to help other people. So just stick it through, just stick with it.

Bill Soroka (12:36):
Hmm. Powerful lesson. When you're at rock bottom, what, how do you recognize that voice? Like what, how, you know, when it's time to stop or when it's time to bounce up and

Dustin Hogan (12:47):
I can only speak for myself, but that voice is usually a whisper and the voice that's saying all of the negative things that the mind likes to sometimes be in this vicious cycle is screaming at the top of its lungs. And just like in real life, oftentimes the people that are like screaming in your face are the ones that are filled with most fear. And it's those that sometimes have that quieter quieter voice that actually have the most wisdom. So that's been the case for me, you know, it's that quieter, almost non-existent just little hum of a voice in the back of my mind that holds the true power. It's that screaming, yelling voice. It's telling me I'm not good enough. I'm worthless. I'm a failure. It's just screaming because it has no actual power and it needs to try and find power in a certain way.

Bill Soroka (13:38):
It's overcompensating. Yeah. That inner critic can be a real bitch sometimes.

Dustin Hogan (13:43):
Yeah. For sure.

Bill Soroka (13:44):
Now, why is it, do you think entrepreneurs in particular are more susceptible or why more risk for entrepreneurs?

Dustin Hogan (13:53):
Certainly. I think there's so many reasons for that, but first and foremost everything falls on our shoulders, right? We are having to make every single decision. You know, when five o'clock comes around the job, doesn't end where I'll be often thinking about it 24 hours a day. It's a very lonely path, you know, part of the draw to entrepreneurship and, you know, side hustle and being a solopreneur is, is like being able to chart your own path and do things on your own. And at the same time, especially initially it's like there are hours and I'm sure you will resonate with this where you're sitting at a desk for 10, 12 hours a day, doing your work, building your business, not talking to a soul. And while there are benefits to that, there are also, you know, downsides to it as well. So, so loneliness is a huge part of it. Contributing to the downward spiral of many entrepreneurs' mental health, the stress that comes with it is a huge component of it.

Bill Soroka (15:01):
Well, let's talk about that loneliness factor for just a little bit. Cause I think that really resonates with me. Number one, because I, I think a lot of us like to blaze trails, we'd like to be the pioneer in something we'd like to take an idea and run with it. And when we do that, we kind of buck the system and then when things don't work out, you carry that additional burden as well. It's like you get those 'I told you so's' that happened in there. How do you counter loneliness?

Dustin Hogan (15:34):
Yeah... That's a good question. I mean, for me personally, it's, especially in this time of, of disconnection right now. It's, it's been even more challenging, but just finding any way to connect is a step in the right direction. And oftentimes I think, you know, going back to this concept of black or white thinking that we talked about earlier, it's like, it's like, Hey, I'm either like super social and like getting together with all of my friends or I'm doing nothing and I'm being a hermit and staring at the wall and just reading books and doing, working on my business. But there's this, this middle ground right now, right? We're on the other side of the continent yet we're still connecting with each other. Same with my parents. Like getting them comfortable with jumping on FaceTime and zoom has been a beautiful way to get connected with them.

Dustin Hogan (16:24):
Even just something as simple as getting outside and going for a walk I've found, just being in the presence of other people, not even having to interact with them is a way to kind of combat that loneliness. Like I think of the times that I've worked out of like coworking spaces, for example, and you know, I'm there doing my own thing, but I'm surrounded by other people who are in a similar energy. So maybe we're not talking and interacting for the entire day, but just being in those spaces and then the energy of other people can often combat that loneliness. So, you know, it's not just about jumping in and having to be like super social it's about these little doses of it.

Bill Soroka (17:03):
Yeah. That's a really good point. I enjoy that too, because on that, I think we don't recognize, especially if we're in an environment where maybe our friends or family are not entrepreneurs we have, we don't have a event or some, some people who 'get us' and that we're and we realize that we're not absolutely crazy sometimes. And there's other people out there kind of blazing their own trails that helps combat that loneliness a little bit.

Dustin Hogan (17:30):
Yeah. And I mean, I'd love to even ask you, like what, what are some of the things that you reach for to combat that loneliness or to build some of that connection back into your life?

Bill Soroka (17:42):
Yeah. I've had to work really hard at this and I'm not really good at it because of, you know, I got my personality type, I've got my own habits, but I really have to prioritize and schedule a connection time. I have to literally put it on my calendar, you know, reach out to a friend, reach out to a partner, reach out to mom, you know, whatever it is. Cause I can get almost obsessed in what I'm doing because I love what I do. I love my work. I love this energy that I have going on. So I'm actively scheduling it. And then I would say, you know, I've been joining masterminds trying to find my own path in that it doesn't always work out like I expected it to, but I think that kind of intentional effort is what I have to do to keep going.

Dustin Hogan (18:34):
Yeah. And I think there's so, so much value in just what you said there and like such a golden nugget to take away of like scheduling it in. Right. We're scheduling in our work meetings, we're scheduling in our zoom calls or scheduling in, you know, webinars. Why would we not schedule in our downtime or our connection time? Because it's just as important, if not more important for the success of our business to have these times of connection built in. Like, I look at my calendar and I like schedule in date night with my wife, because if I don't do it, it's going to get filled with something else.

Bill Soroka (19:10):
Right. Exactly. And you you, you just reminded me of what triggered this is. You know, a lot of us are working hard to build a dream life, a lifestyle. It might be money. It might be freedom, independence, lifestyle, travel, whatever it is, but we're, it's usually involves other people. And I think one of the traps of entrepreneurship is that we get in and we work so hard that we burn bridges. People feel left out, we do damage to relationships and then we think we finally make it. But there's nobody up there left to enjoy it with us because we've left them behind. So I had that realization. I realized I had to schedule it. If I had one piece of advice though, I would tell you not to tell the people that you're scheduling that you scheduled. For some reason, I let that slip a couple of times and people got so offended that I put them on my, the calendar.

Dustin Hogan (20:05):
Yeah. Yeah. Or even just thinking like, you know, a date night with my wife. Okay, babe. It's like, you've hit your two hour window. Like I've got another appointment. Our time is up. We'll see you next week. So we've got five minutes left. So just start backing up.

Bill Soroka (20:21):
Yeah - ran into that a couple of times too. But I think if you set the expectations in the beginning and just, it's like, Hey, I've got a couple of hours. You want to go and grab a bite to eat, but they have to be back by four by one for a call. I've learned that I can totally do that. And I feel like I kinda cut you off on your list of why entrepreneurs are so impacted by this. But let's, let's keep going. Cause I'm so curious!

Dustin Hogan (20:45):
No, no, no worries, man. I'm just involved in the conversation here. So there's a couple others that are, I think are really important. So first and foremost is this idea of like impression management. So as an entrepreneur, we're so concerned with the impression that we're putting out in the world, especially for those that are maybe going down the path of like trying to find funding or bring on investors. Right. Or, you know, entrepreneurs that are very front-facing with clients. It's like trying to put out this impression of like, we've got it all together. You know, that, that like, you know, we've got this like suit of armor on - nothing gets past us. Nothing affects us. When the reality often is, and I just think about myself, like, dude, I would have, you know, when I was on the road speaking, sometimes speaking upwards of like, you know, a thousand, 1500 students every single day, I'd wake up in the morning, like filled with tears, just overwhelmed with anxiety and depression, to the point where it felt like sadness was like seeping out of my pores and I'd have to show up at these events.

Dustin Hogan (21:56):
Obviously I couldn't be on stage like that in front of like 500 kids. And like, yes, I could generate that energy. But then as soon as I'd get back into the car to drive to the next one, I'd be breaking down again. So I think about from an entrepreneurial standpoint of like having to just like manage this impression that you're putting out into the world, which is so overwhelming in and of itself,

Bill Soroka (22:19):
Is this the imposter syndrome? Is that what you're talking about?

Dustin Hogan (22:22):
No, it's not the imposter syndrome. It's more along the lines. Like when I'm talking about it from my standpoint, from like a mental health standpoint. Right? So like clearly I was in like a very distressful state, but had to put on that mask because I had to give off the impression of like, I've got it all together. And obviously that's a very extreme example, but just thinking, you know, once they get on this spectrum, maybe someone isn't dealing with, you know, extreme depression or anxiety, but they're very, very stressed out and they're having to go into a meeting and kind of like push that all of the side. Cause they have to give this impression that they've got it all together. You know...

Bill Soroka (23:02):
How do we balance that with the reality that we do, we have to keep it all together. Right? We can't just walk in and carry all our emotions on our shoulders and let, let it all out. However, like, so what I'm talking about is the taboo of expressing and balancing vulnerability with professionalism.

Dustin Hogan (23:22):
And I think this, what we're talking about right now is stigma, because let's say I was going into a meeting and I had a broken leg, for example. And if I rolled into that meeting and said to investors that we're going to be investing in my company, it guys I'm really sorry that I'm late. I've got this broken leg. It took me, you know, 20 minutes extra to walk here. Nobody would say a thing about that. Nobody would question me, they wouldn't question my character. They wouldn't question my ability as an entrepreneur. Yet if I walked into that same meeting and said, Hey guys, I'm sorry, I'm 20 minutes late. I was very depressed this morning. I had to deal with my mental health.

Dustin Hogan (23:59):
The perception would be night and day, right? And that's really this, the stigma and having more conversations like this around these topics and getting an understanding that, you know, our mental health and our emotional health really need to be seen as the same thing yet. They're not. And it's an unfortunate thing because the person with the broken leg is struggling and the person with depression is also struggling. It's just the way that we're perceiving it is completely in drastically different.

Bill Soroka (24:31):
So true. So how do we get through that stigma? I mean, do you, especially because I think mental health is expensive for some people or it has this perception of being expensive. So how do we push through that?

Dustin Hogan (24:43):
We're doing it right now. We're having open and honest conversations about it. Even for me as somebody who is a counselor and a coach I'm open and authentic and vulnerable about my challenges. And I know for, for many of my clients who don't know my story and maybe show up in a session with me and see me working with them in a confident way, you know, when I self-disclose and, or, or they read my story on my website or on social media or something like that, it, it draws them in because I'm not scared to hide it anymore, you know? And, and well, let me reverse, there's fear in sharing these things because it's not something that people are typically doing... Yet I'm still leaning into that fear and putting it out there because I know it's serving more than just myself. Yeah. If that makes sense.

Bill Soroka (25:34):
Yeah, absolutely. And along those lines, what do you think about the quote, ""Share your scars, not your wounds.""

Dustin Hogan (25:42):
I totally totally connect with that. And I believe we even talked about that on one of our calls one day you know, sharing, sharing the work that somebody has done to get to that point where they they're at a place of healing or they're not in distress. Definitely. I think that that's the way to move forward. And certainly that's, even for me, you know, like once I've worked through it and then, and then what can happen is you can share the resources, you can share the techniques, you can share the tips that I've got to you to that point of healing.

Bill Soroka (26:15):
What are the dangers of sharing openly before you're healed?

Dustin Hogan (26:22):
And once again, it's not like a black or white thing here because I think there, there, there is value in still sharing when somebody is in the darkest place. And at the same time when somebody is sharing, when they're maybe in that dark deep pit, you run the risk of potentially putting people in a place of fear and worry for you because you, you are in that place of, of, you're not, you haven't worked through it, you're in the process of working through it. And at the same time, somebody that does maybe share about it when they're in that dark place, you know, a lot of celebrities are starting to do that right now. And it's giving permission for other people to be more authentic, to be more vulnerable and to really, to ultimately Bill, to realize that it's okay to not be okay.

Bill Soroka (27:09):
I love, I really think that's extremely important too. Cause especially with social media, we just see maybe all the highlights, the highlight reels of people's life. And we just think their life is always this, this great rainbows and unicorns, but there's so much behind the scenes. What advice do you have for people who receive or are listening to somebody who is in distress?

Dustin Hogan (27:34):
It's not about trying to like fix somebody, you know, oftentimes if somebody is coming to us, that could be a friend, it could be a family member. Oftentimes they just want an empathetic and a compassionate ear - just to hear them out. So often in my work with clients, I'm not there to fix anything. I'm just there to provide a space to compassionately, listen, to provide perspective, to provide reflection and to sometimes reframe things, reframe things. But yeah, it's not about trying to fix somebody because ultimately we're not broken, you know? And I often say that depression or anxiety isn't who I am. It's just something that I experienced

Bill Soroka (28:20):
Powerful, powerful. From an entrepreneur's perspective. If someone listening is thinking, I think I might be overstretched. I think I might be flipping out. I think I might be depressed. What are some things maybe just in day-to-day management? What are some things that an entrepreneur can do to help heal them through mental health, mental wellness, as hard

Dustin Hogan (28:46):
As it is, but, but just taking that time to schedule in that downtime, scheduling in that, that time to breathe. Like I even think of, and I think you use this strategy as well as all working, you know, hour long blocks, but I set my timer not for 60 minutes. So set it for 50 minutes and then I'll take 10 minutes to get up, to walk around, to just process, to let myself breathe. Not only is that making me more productive, but it's really allowing me to focus on my mental and emotional state and to just give some, some breathing room there. So oftentimes it doesn't need to be these like big grandiose actions that we take. It can be those small little efforts or the course of time that build up that resiliency that build up that sense of mental wellness and mental wellbeing.

Dustin Hogan (29:36):
So small little things like that.

Bill Soroka (29:42):
Where does sleep play into this?

Dustin Hogan (29:42):
Oh my goodness. We do do we live in this hustle culture right now where it's, if you're sleeping more than like four hours a night, you're, you know, you're sleeping too much. But the reality is, is that is a quick path to burnout. And not only that, but, but as we diminish the amount of sleep we get, we're building up all of these stress hormones that build up in our body and all of these things contribute to inflammation. And there's so much research out there now that inflammation in the body is lead leads to things like depression. You know, we're we're really putting stress on our immune systems through a lack of sleep. We need that time to regenerate. So yes, maybe you're going to get a couple extra hours out of the day, but that's a very short term solution. Long-Term, you're actually doing more harm to yourself. So all of these things that are happening from a biological standpoint, lack of sleep is not allowing us to replenish, to rejuvenate, to recharge ourselves, which is leading to more anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, all of these things.

Bill Soroka (30:47):
Which leads right into the diet as well, right? Like what you eat - nutrition.

Dustin Hogan (30:52):
A hundred percent and there are all of these kind of pillars of mental health. It's not just the way we think it's the way that we think it's the way that we act. It's the relationships that we have is what we put in our body. It's like, like I said, and you said this, the sleep, all of these different things contribute to mental health, the same way that it's not just what we eat that contributes to our physical health. It's if we're exercising, it's the relationships that we have. It's what we're consuming on social media, right? It's the weather that we live in. It's the environment that we live in. All of those things contribute to our physical health. So why would it be any different for our emotional and mental health?

Bill Soroka (31:31):
Exactly! What would you have to say? You said you, you used the word resiliency a few minutes ago. And in my experience, people don't try to solve a problem until it's a problem. So a lot of times we don't even confront mental wellness or until we're confronted with that rock bottom, this, that depression, what advice do you have for people to do every single day to build resiliency? So maybe it's not as bad when, when the shit hits the fan.

Dustin Hogan (32:02):
Well, you know, I'm such an advocate for, for meditation. And I mean, that is first and foremost where someone can start and oftentimes people say, well, I don't have an hour to meditate. Okay, great. Do you have two minutes? You know, like two minutes is better than zero, right. You know, five minutes is better than two minutes. 10 minutes is better than five. So it's just like, whatever you have available on your schedule. Like I get it. We're all overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that we have to do, but something is better than nothing. And to me meditation is perfect for building resilience because resilience is all about our ability to bounce back. Right? Something happens. It's our ability to bounce back. So meditation, what it does is it trains us to build that focus muscle of our mind, to be able to just direct our focus, wherever we need it to go.

Dustin Hogan (32:57):
And, and to be able to build that up in times when we don't need it. So when we actually do need it, it's there, right? It's the same way as like, I love going to the gym and sure, I want to, I want to look better. I want to be stronger to lift more weight at the gym, but if I need to move the couch at my house or my condo here, the work that I've done at the gym is going to help me do that as well. And it's the same thing with meditation. Sure. It's going to be, you know, going to be more mindful in sessions, you're going to feel calmer, but it's when you're out in the real world, that's when something like meditation actually comes in to be able to allow you to be more resilient in the face of challenges that as entrepreneurs, we face every single day, right?

Bill Soroka (33:37):
Yeah. Meditation, I have to give credit for absolutely changing my life. I've learned to prioritize peace of mind above all else. And meditation definitely helps me grab it. More importantly. Now that I've done it for years, I noticed when I don't do it, haven't meditated for a few days. I'll start getting kind of antsy and I'll start feeling anxious. And I'm like, what is going on? Oh, I haven't meditated for like three or four days in a row. Sorry. I can get right back on track with that. But here here's the thing. Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

Dustin Hogan (34:09):
So I was just wanting to ask you a question is, is when you started meditating, did you feel like you were doing it right? Or did you feel like, oh, if my mind's not clear, I must be doing this wrong.

Bill Soroka (34:21):
Yeah. That's so funny. That's exactly what I was going to ask you because I think meditation is now pretty mainstream. Right? We hear about it all the time. But even when I talk about it I hear, I get the same response. I don't know how to meditate. I can't stop my mind. I have a special, like everybody thinks their brain is special because it's running a million miles a minute and they, they see to have too many thoughts. I went through that too. I still go through that. And what I love about meditation is I don't know that there's necessarily a right or a wrong way. There's I think there's some best practices to help keep you on track, but I've learned how my brain functions. So sometimes I'll keep a notebook next to my brain. Sometimes I've got an idea and it is going to pound through my brain until it gets out in the world.

Bill Soroka (35:08):
So I'll just write it down and I'll get right back. I'll just fall right back into it. And I usually only do 15 minutes a day. My most powerful meditation sessions come at 45 minutes, but ain't nobody got time for that sometimes. Right. Let's do the 15 minutes or I meditate while I'm waiting somewhere. If I'm waiting a couple minutes, I'll just sit and meditate that way, make some time for it. But what advice do you have for those people who maybe have tried it? And they're like, okay, fine. I'll meditate. Everybody keeps talking about it. And then they sit there and they get antsy after 30 seconds, their brains going crazy. What advice would you have?

Dustin Hogan (35:45):
I mean, I want to come back to something that you said there's no right or wrong way to do it. And a lot of people, myself included when I first started meditating thought that if my mind's not clear, I'm doing this incorrectly, but we have to keep in mind. We have to keep in mind that the nature of her mind is to wander because our, the only job of our brain is to keep us alive. So it's constantly searching out for threats. So if we're sitting down in a meditation, for example, and all of a sudden pain is coming up in her body, because we've never sat in this position before our brain thinks, okay, pain - not good. I'm going to focus in on that. And I'm going to think about all the other times that I've had pain and then, oh, no pain can lead to me being injured or no pain could lead to me, you know?

Dustin Hogan (36:35):
And then before you know, it, you're down this rabbit hole. You're like, oh my gosh, I'm not doing meditation, right? Because my brain is wandering. Keep in mind. Like I said, the nature of our mind is to wander. So whenever it wanders, gently, bring it back to focus on whatever you're focusing in on. It could be your breath. It could be a mantra. It could be a visualization of some sort. It could be your body gently, bring it back to focus. Two seconds later, it's going to wander away again. You bring it back to focus. That's what meditation is. Because if you continuously do that over the course of days, weeks, months, years, you're going to, like I said, build up the strength of being able to bring that focus back into the present moment. So when you are out there in the real world, and like you said, when shit hits the fan, you've trained that muscle to be able to focus in on whatever's happening here in the moment. So when I'm working with my clients, they're like, oh, my mind is wandering to this. I'm thinking about the grocery list. And I'm like, okay, great, thank your mind. Become curious and almost giggle at it. Like, thank you mind. I appreciate you doing your job, but we're, we're here meditating right now and have these funny conversations with yourself.

Bill Soroka (37:48):
Yeah. That was really helpful. And one of the best tips I had heard along the path is to consider your thoughts like passing clouds. Yes. So when you have them like step back and be the observer, and I love that you can tie a sense of humor into it too. And just watch the thoughts go by and just say, okay, like don't latch onto them. You don't need a lasso to latch onto them. I can feel my heart rate and my body rev up whenever I attached to an idea. And I'm like, oh my gosh, I've got all this stuff to do. I've got, you know, I've got all this work I got to do. And that's leads me to a real practical tip too. Before I meditate. I actually write out my schedule for the day. So my brain doesn't make shit up as like of all the stuff I have to do. I know exactly what I have to do. So I know I can, I can relax that part of my brain and get into it,

Dustin Hogan (38:33):
Dude. I'm going to, I'm going to steal that. I like that.

Bill Soroka (38:36):
Awesome. Well, Dustin, thank you so much for diving in to mental wellness for entrepreneurs with us. I think this is an extremely important topic. It's important for us to at least acknowledge it and talk about it. And I appreciate that. Any closing words for us?

Dustin Hogan (38:54):
I mean, I just appreciate you having me on for, for one know, you know, that I love and respect you so much, love everything that you're up to in the world. And this is such an important conversation to continue having. And I think the more that we can have conversations like this, the better, and you know, I'd say for anybody out there, that's listening that maybe is struggling and is fearful of sharing this. My only piece of encouragement and my hope for you would be, this is find somebody in your life that you trust that you are close to and step into that vulnerability of, of just sharing. You don't have to share everything. But so often for me, just simply opening up sharing, disclosing a little, something has been such a important part of my healing journey. And for so many other people, it's scary. Don't get me wrong. I know it is scary. It is terrifying to open up to the world and oftentimes share these darker parts, but there's so much value in it. And it doesn't need to be in like a traditional therapy session or with a counselor or a psychologist or whatever it might be. It could be with a friend or a family member, but there's so much value in simply just opening up and sharing. So yeah.

Bill Soroka (40:14):
There is a magic that happens because I think in my experience, you know, I'm pretty sealed up when it comes to the, to the darker emotions, what most people see is the charisma and the positive attitude and the fun and the enthusiasm about everything. Right? But that stuff that happens behind the scenes, I thought we were supposed to keep it hidden. I didn't realize that when you open up and you share that the other people are going through shit too.

Bill Soroka (40:45):
And that builds that unusual, strong, beautiful connection when two people are extremely vulnerable with each other. So I think you're absolutely right. There's something powerful that happens there. Dustin, thank you so much. Really appreciate you being here. And for those who are listening, if you'd like to get to know Dustin a little bit more and see what services he offers you can get a free 15 minute consultation on coaching or counseling. Just visit the, his links in the VIP room at the side hustle lounge. And you can get there at If you haven't registered yet, if you have registered, just go to the , and you can see Dustin's information plus all of our guests. Thank you again, Dustin have great weekend.

Dustin Hogan (41:34):
Thanks buddy.

- Bill

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