I recently had the good fortune of catching up with my great buddy John Hawkins as a guest on an episode of his HawkTalk Podcast. This was my first ever appearance on a podcast and I was thrilled he invited me on to chat. John played a pivotal role in the direction that my career and life took, and for that, I am eternally grateful for him. You can take a listen to the episode at the bottom of this post, but first an introduction of how John and I met and a preview of the topics we discuss.
Back around my 20th birthday in September of 2004, I flew the coop and moved from Las Vegas to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was exciting leaving home and venturing out into the world for the first time. It wasn’t long after I arrived there that I received a call from a company back in Vegas looking for software developers. I really wasn’t at all interested in moving back so soon and I kindly declined the opportunity. The holidays rolled around and I flew back home to spend Christmas with my family. While there, my mom noticed a scabby spot on my forehead that had developed while living in Florida. I never gave it much thought, but she knew exactly what it was, and she quickly arranged an appointment for me at her trusty dermatologist who performed a biopsy. We celebrated the New Year by heading to Maui for a family vacation which I talked about in A Bucket List Born. While soaking in the tropical sun, I received a dreaded call from the doctor, the results were in and the spot on my forehead was basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. Rather than returning back to Florida after Hawaii, I would be extending my stay in Vegas for a few more weeks to undergo surgery to remove it.
While I was hanging out in Vegas and recovering from the successful surgery, I met a girl, feelings quickly developed, and before long I found myself contemplating the idea of moving back to Vegas. I decided to see if that company was still hiring and sure enough, John invited me in for an interview. I was a bit embarrassed to go in for a job interview with a massive bandage on my forehead, but John and I quickly related, as he too had a run in with skin cancer of his own. Only having a little webdev experience from a few small side projects under my belt, and being grilled with questions I had no answers to, I left feeling a bit defeated. A few days went by and I still hadn’t received a call back as he had promised, so I was quickly losing hope. The night before I flew back to Florida, I nervously followed up with him and was ecstatic to hear that he was going to offer me a position. I landed back in Ft. Lauderdale, rented a u-haul, packed my stuff, and made my second cross-country relocation in the span of about 4 months.
I started my first real job at the age of 20 as a PHP Software Developer for a rapidly growing internet marketing company, and boy was I in for a wild ride. Thirteen years, and 5 promotions later, I was the Chief Technology Officer managing the entire IT team of 20 people for that same company. Never in a million years would I have imagined that things would have played out in that way when John first brought me on board. Working for John was incredible, I learned so much and met so many amazing people along the way. It was like a dream come true, for aperiod of time, but my obsessive desire to succeed when it came to my career cost me in other areas of my life.
Despite the outward appearances of success and a facade of happiness, a storm was brewing inside of me. I was silently battling depression, anxiety and other health issues. Getting out of bed every morning had become a struggle, and self deprecating thought loops occupied most of my waking hours. Despite being miserable, I attempted to maintain a strong presence at work, choking down the real emotions I was drowning in. I numbed my pain with substances and the thought of suicide occasionally floated through my mind. I was spiraling downward quickly. I was not living a life of purpose and I wasn’t even the slightest bit fulfilled in any aspect of my life, both things that certainly contributed to my mental anguish. One day I reached my breaking point, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I couldn’t stay on the path I was on. I resigned at the end of 2017 and set out on a sabbatical of sorts, a mission to remember who I was truly meant to be, and to realign my life with a higher purpose.
The 17 months that have since followed have been a path of healing on a physical, mental and spiritual level. My diet and lifestyle have gone through radical upgrades, and my health has improved as a result. I’ve traveled to spectacular destinations and experienced incredible once in a lifetime opportunities. I’ve explored emerging ideas on the leading edge of science and spirituality and opened my mind to new truths about what it means to be alive at this time on this planet. I’ve discovered a passion at the intersection of the health of humanity and the health of the planet which has fueled a desire to help heal the world. It’s been nothing short of a complete and total transformation in every aspect of my life. Looking back, I don’t even recognize the person I used to be. Looking forward, I see a brighter future than I ever imagined possible.
Take a listen as John and I talk about the epic journey I’ve been on since leaving “Corporate America” in the podcast episode below. We covered a ton of ground on a wide range of interesting topics including travel, mental health, gut health, diet and nutrition, meditation, healing with psychedelics and other alternative therapies, spiritual awakening, quantum physics, ancient civilizations, environmental protection, climate activism, and soo much more. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it.
You can check out all of John’s podcast episodes at https://hawktalkpodcast.com.