The Surprising & Unbelievable Dark Side Of Open Relationships: Aubrey Marcus | E242 | Transcription
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With Joe Rogan as my partner, we sold out in 12 hours, zero to 60 million. How? A step one. That was a fucking wild. Aubrey Marcus. The man who built and sold on it with Joe Rogan. One of the fastest growing healing performance companies in America. My mother was a professional tennis player. My father was a pioneer, and that was the driving desire. It's like my parents were big. I know I can be big, and I was frustrated because nothing was happening. There were so many failures, and I really thought, like, I'm just never going to succeed. But I think the key moment for me, as Joe Rogan said, I can meet you 30 minutes for coffee. I was starting a supplement company. I went to Joe. What supplement would you like the most? I'm going to make the best one that's ever been made. That was the pivotal moment that changed everything. Alpha Brain. I really felt like I didn't want to do anything without it. We sold out of that product in 12 hours. We could barely keep it in stock from zero to 60 million. We were an ink 500 fastest growing company over the next four years. I mean, I couldn't have designed a fantasy better. But it comes with a cost, right? In that moment, I realized like, I'm not going to fly into a fitter rage and hurt somebody. You can see how much it still affects me. What happened? Before this episode starts, I have a small favor to ask from you. Two months ago, 74% of people that watched this channel didn't subscribe. We're now down to 69%. My goal is 50%. So if you've ever liked any of the videos we've posted, if you liked this channel, can you do me a quick favor and hit the subscribe button? It helps this channel more than you know, and the bigger the channel gets, as you've seen, the bigger the guests get. Thank you and enjoy this episode. Aubrey, when I read through your story and a lot of people's story, what I tend to see is a series of almost dominoes that have fallen to make the person who they are today.
Personal Background And Advice
Your mission & early context (02:03)
That's that in front of me. Can you take me to the first domino that you think was significant in your life that fell to make the man that I see sat in front of me today that I spent the last couple of days learning and researching about? I mean, the first domino is my mother giving birth to me, of course, right? Like it starts from the drop. It starts and we can't ignore all of the things that happen at birth that have nothing to do with us. And I was super blessed. My mother was a professional tennis player, went to the semifinals of Wimbledon, lost to Billy Jean King, like legit professional tennis player. My father was a commodities trader and he was a pioneer in his field. So he was actually kind of stretching what the market and what the world understood about futures trading. He's written up in a book called Market Wizards. They split up really early. And so I got two more parents. My stepmother was a naturopathic doctor who worked with a lot of the NBA basketball teams and the Lakers in the 80s, the Knicks in the 90s, the Heat in the 2000s, but from the naturopathics, I had not within the team aspect of it. And then my stepfather was a SWAT team, squad officer, just big badass, burly man. And from all of those sources, I got models of greatness. I got models of really testing yourself to see what you're capable of. And I think that's like the foundation of what I was. And then there's my grandmother who inspired this craving desire for knowledge just to learn about the world. And I think the key moment for me with all of that framework with my parents, that craving for knowledge instilled by my grandmother. My grandmother's tattooed on my arm, actually. And then I go and do my first psychedelic medicine journey after high school when I'm 18 years old. And I really feel like I want to find knowledge and then be able to distribute that to the world in an interesting way. I wanted to build my own legacy, so to speak. And in that first psychedelic medicine ceremony, I felt my body disappear. And I felt what I could only call consciousness or maybe even use the word soul, even though I wasn't religious at all, so I didn't believe in souls, but I felt something come online. And that was kind of the genesis of me being where I am now, even though that doesn't have a lot to do with all my business accomplishments and anything else. It's this desire to be great because it was modeled for me in the parents that I had, this thirst and quest for knowledge. That quest for knowledge turned inward with the psychedelic medicine journey. So I was looking inside, that's the field of psychonautics, which is really the field that I'm the most passionate about. Psychonautics, the exploration of the inner aspects, the inner cosmos of who we are. And then offering what I learn out to the world and sometimes that comes out in the form of products and practices and workout equipment and supplements, like with the company on it that I started sometimes with a podcast or a poem or a story. And yeah, that's probably one way to look at who is Aubrey Marcus. If you were to draw a circle around all of those products, the content, the podcast on it, and your current mission today through all of the work you were doing, what is the mission there? If I had asked you, if I asked you right now, what is your mission in life? What would it be? If you were to ask me, I don't know, 15 years ago, it would have been just to make a big impact. I just want to be big. I want to be big. My parents were big. I know I can be big. I feel it in me. I feel like there's something big that's supposed to emerge, right? And I was frustrated because nothing was happening. So I founded my company and I created on it. And then things started to get big. I started my podcast, things started to get big. I wrote my book, Things Started to Get Bigger. And that was the driving desire, right? It was actually, and yes, I wanted it to be for the good of all. I've always felt very connected to everybody else and recognize that you sitting across from me right here, you're just me living a different life, right? We're all part of the same source of life itself. So I did always have this belief, like, I want to contribute to the greater good of all as one of my teachers, Don Howard said, "Para, El Bien de Todos for the good of all." So that was always there, but it was a lot more about me. It was a lot more about me being big, if I'm being honest. And now right now, some of that's removed. It's like I've accomplished that thing where it's like Aubrey has made his mark, but that doesn't even matter anymore. Now I look out at the whole world and I say, "All right, world, what do you need and what do you need from Aubrey? What can Aubrey do to help you the most?" I hear you, I know that you're hurting, and I know that you're beautiful. You're beautiful in every way. And what can I do to actually serve the world in the best way possible? And that's the mission, man. Your parents breaking up at two years old. Was that significant for you in hindsight? You look back as an adult. Was that a significant moment? Ramification's of that were incredibly significant because it brought in my stepmother and my stepfather into the constellation of my family. So there could be very few things that were more significant than that, as I had four models of parent rather than two. And with four, I was able to get a much more well-rounded approach. Like the difference between my father and my stepfather were immense. What were those differences? Well my father was an incredibly acute and attuned intellectual, a philosopher, a thinker. He was able to actually analyze a logician. He was able to analyze the world in this very kind of philosophical way and it helped shape my mind in that way. My stepfather brought that bare energy of what it is to be a man. The physicality. He was always the best to play with as a kid too because of course you want to play with the bare. They know how to roll around and laugh and tell stories and you sit on their shoulders and you go climbing around. And it's not that either both parent didn't have a little bit of that, but they were very different archetypes. And so my understanding about what it means to be a man included so many different things. It included the eloquence of being able to write poetry and solve problems and play scrabble and play chess and it involved also brute force wrestling and playing and telling stories and standing as a hero against that which didn't serve. And so with two models of father, I got to actually have a much more well rounded kind of idea of what it meant to be a man. Was there lessons that you had to unlearn? From that? Of course. Yeah. And just the positive aspects of your parents, you learn the negative aspects of your parents too. Those are learned in ways that your mind can't even comprehend. So things that my dad was stressed about, I find myself being stressed about because I transmitted this kind of general sense of worry about things. So I've had to unlearn those aspects of worry. My father also was want to fly into fits of rage at a certain point. I remember one time, this is a very important story in my own trajectory because my father when he would get angry, he would just yell. It's just like he would just erupt. He was early and early after I started on it. It was probably 2013, 2014. Then we had a smaller office then, not the smallest office. It was the second biggest office that we had. And I had my own office and I was in there and I was filming a video and it was an important video for me to film. And we had a kind of front desk customer service person also in the office who was handling emails, customer service things and also handling anybody coming in the door. Then came up where she started knocking on the door. I didn't know it was her that was knocking on the door. I didn't really know who was knocking on the door. I was just trying to film a video. Back then, we didn't have a bunch of video editors so it wasn't like we weren't able to just stop. I had to kind of hit it in one take. We didn't have the tech resources. So I'm like five minutes into this take. I'm killing it and the knock comes. Then a second knock and then a third knock. And finally, by the third knock, I couldn't ignore it anymore. I was throwing me off of a mental track and I just started yelling like what? What is it? What the fuck do you want? One of those moments where I just got really angry. And then I hear like I'm sorry. And I was like oh man that was our front desk girl. It was just a sweetheart, absolute sweetheart. Like the sweetest. And I take a deep breath and I open the door and I walk out there and she's crying in her desk. In that moment I realized like I'm not going to do that ever again. Like I'm not going to do that shit. I'm not going to fly into a fitter rage and hurt somebody. You know, I like I won't. You can see how much it still affects me. Because that was the point that that pattern broke for me. And it's not that I haven't gotten mad since then or whatever, but never like that. You know and there's something else in me. It's like no, never again because I saw her and I saw what I did. And of course I apologize. But that's where I stopped that lineage transmission and said it stops with me. Where did that lineal transmission start in your father? Did you ever figure that out? Yeah with this father. You know, I mean, I don't know how far it went back. I mean, I don't have a strong genealogical tree. I didn't even get to meet either of my grandfathers actually. But I've heard the stories. You know, I heard the stories of that. My dad did the best to kind of shed as much of the trauma that he could shed. So he would pass on as little as possible to me. And he did his best. And he was actually the one that encouraged me to go on my own psychedelic medicine journey because that was one of the tools that he used to try and actually change who he is. So that he could be better for me and be better for the world. And he did a great job. You know, compared to the stories of my grandfather to him, he did an amazing job. And it was my job to clean up the rest. And that's what I'm in the process of doing is cleaning up the rest so that when I have my son, Huxley, it's going to be his name. You know, of course, source willing that we have a child. I don't want to pass any of that on. I just want to pass the legacy, a new fresh, fresh legacy, like fresh powder on a mountain, you know, like fresh tracks, a legacy of love, a legacy of support, a legacy of like, I'm here, son. And also, you're so much more powerful than you think you are. And let me show you and bring him through all of the initiations, the sweat lodges, the cold mountains. Like I've climbed with Wim Hof, when he's old enough, the medicine journeys, bring him through this path of initiation. But the whole way, just love, love, love, the whole way, where that never wavers. So he's not trying to prove something to me so that he can get me to love him. He knows that I love him. Are you speaking about a younger version of yourself and your father when you say about that approval? Of course, of course. Have you got an example of when you realized that you were following that pattern? I mean, the example is most of my whole life, right? Like, am I doing it right? Am I doing it right, dad? You know, am I doing it good enough, dad? Was the subconscious dialogue that I've been in for a long time? You know, it was my father first, you know, so that my father was dad. So Michael Marcus represented that image of dad, but it would transfer to other people. It could transfer to a mentor, it could transfer to a partner, it could transfer to a boss. And I would put this kind of approval seeking desire on them. They would be the surrogate father and I would be trying to show them how good I am. And then they would love me just like when I scored 25 points in a basketball game, my dad was all fucking love and happy. And when I scored, you know, seven points and had a bad shooting night, it's not that he didn't love me, but it felt like he didn't love me because he was just quiet and sullen. And I was quiet and sullen and all of the all of the love felt like it'd been sucked out of the room like a vacuum. Right. I learned in that just one example of many different ways that I learned that if you perform well, you're loved and if you don't, you're not loved. What's this ping pong story? Yeah. Well, that was just one of the moments that my father just flew into rage, you know. So I was four years old and my father was playing ping pong and he missed hit a ball, hit off the corner of the paddle, flew up into the stratosphere basically, because he was trying to hit a smash and I go home run.
The influence of your parents (17:14)
I'm just a kid and I was like, I thought that was a funny thing to say, but for my father, he was so locked in this intense competition, which of course didn't matter. He's not like in the ping pong world championships was in his house. And later he started yelling at me from like for saying that during his ping pong match because it threw him off his game or whatever, whatever it was. So moments like that really made me kind of aware to the point of being scared about what I was saying. And so it gave me and as I said before, like one of the stoic mindsets is everything that happens to you happens for you. Why did it happen for you? I look at that story now and say, okay, at that moment, I realized that I have to be very mindful of everything I say when I say it because there's drastic consequences. If I don't, what does that make me do? It makes me a very good listener. It makes me a very good communicator. It allows me to understand how my words could be perceived. What a what a gift. That's my superpower. It makes dad, but it comes with a cost also the powers, right? Of course. And the cost was and sometimes still is less now. I have to be, you know, have to be honest and not claim a false humility, but sometimes still is, but the cost is like you're not present. You're not really present if you're thinking all the time about every different way that what you say could be perceived by somebody else and you're going through these hypothetical scenarios in your brain about the hypothetical conversations about if they took that the wrong way, how you would respond and what you would explain. It's mentally exhausting and anxious, you know, and it's I live so much of my life playing out a million different scenarios about every single thing that I said and how that could be interpreted. And as I said, like I'm mostly free of that, but every once in a while for a text that matters, I'll look at it and I'll see like nine different ways that that thing could be interpreted the wrong way. And then I have to manual, like with manual override of my own consciousness be like, it's all good. They know you. They love you. They're not going to take any of these different interpretations and then abandon you or get mad at you or anything like that. This process you described starts, according to all of the therapists and child trauma experts I've spoken to with something called awareness. And that kind of allows you to take on the challenge. But there's a lot of people that are living unaware of the puppet master in the back room. That's pulling the strings. What has made you aware? I mean, everybody has their own path. And so I don't want to sound like my path is my recommendation, my prescription for everybody. But for me, it's been the psychedelic medicine path. And psychedelic medicine doesn't have to involve taking anything. I think you mentioned that your partner is a breathwork practitioner. Breath work at the highest level is as psychedelic as anything. It's incredibly cathartic and magical and visionary even. I mean, there's been some studies showing that actually in that deep breathing process you're producing endogenous levels of DMT, DMT, which is called the spirit molecule, which is also the active psychedelic compound in ayahuasca. It's happening when you breathe. So there's a lot of different like psychonotic technologies that can get you there from sensory deprivation tanks to sweat lodges to lots of things. But I have done many and not most of the plant medicines in the world most and really experienced a lot of the great lineages that have had that wisdom and then also started to look to see how those lineages can evolve, how we can use this unique time where we have access to many different medicines and access to many different ways of thinking and psychological technologies like internal family systems, for example, which has been paired with psychedelic medicine therapy. So using all of this and create a new emergent lineage about how to hold these medicines in a way that is accretive and actually supportive to our life. Because for me, that's been the process. Again, psychonautics, the ability to look inside and see everything, as Rumi said, we're not a drop in the ocean, we're the ocean in a drop. So if you want to understand anything about the cosmos, you can look out at the cosmos or you can look inside into your inner cosmos with a K. And that's the way the Greeks spelled it and say like, okay, like what's really on the inside? What's really on the inside? And the medicines have helped me do that. Your first experience with plant medicines was when you were 18 years old, is that correct? You went on a, you call it like a vision. Is it like a vision mission? Can't remember the word you used? Yeah. After high school. Yeah, that was it. A vision mission. Yeah, it's, I mean, there's a, it's a vision quest, but there's definitely many traditional ways to do a vision quest, which involve fasting for four days with no food, no water. And that's more of the Lakota style of a vision quest or the North American First Nations, you know, kind of style. This was more of a medicine vision quest, which is a little bit different in that I'm still going on a journey for a vision and going to a place, but the medicine was actually there instead of the fasting and the stillness and the silence. And it's not to say that the medicine is better or worse. It certainly worked out really well for me, but that was the pivotal moment that changed everything. I actually had a vision of who I actually was. So that first step of four in my mission was illuminated where I started to understand the kind of limitlessness and the undying source of who I actually really am. I read that in your story, but then the next sort of 10 years of your life didn't seem to manifest what I would have assumed a plant medicine journey would have manifested in the sense that you described that from 20 onwards, you were still relatively sort of lost in seeking approval and partying a lot, drinking a lot. So there's a, it was interesting because I had connected to my soul. That was all that is, but myself, the Aubrey still wanted approval, still wanted to be loved, still wanted to make his mark, still wanted to be big. You know, so I was advancing rapidly in the internal kind of dynamics of understanding who I was, but externally I was not meeting that criteria and I couldn't see beyond a reason, you know, I, there was not a point where I thought, well, maybe I don't need this actually. And actually even now, even after all this work, it's like, I appreciate that I wanted to really go for it. I was audacious and I wanted to have a big company and I wanted to make a big mark. I wanted to have resources because resources are now opening up the possibility for me to really tell different stories, bring communities together, do the things that I really want to do. So I wouldn't have changed it, but there was a focus on me, you know, from an, a kind of egoic identity construct perspective being successful. And that was like the guiding, that was like the guiding principle. And I was failing at it, really. Like I was failing at it. I had a marketing company and I kept getting fired by my different clients and even if I did a good job and I would start, I would start things. It's funny actually. I smashed my, for those looking, I smashed my finger and it was all purple. So I painted it with my wife's nail polish, which is gray. So I have one painted nail, but it's a funny example because that was one of my failed businesses. I was going to start a men's nail polish line because I saw like Chuck Liddell and my friend Roger Werta, they were painting their nails. I was like, yeah, men can paint their nails. And I started that it bombed. There's so many failures and I really thought like, I'm just never going to succeed. I mean, I made a decent living. You know, I always, always found a client or always found somebody that I could get a paycheck from. But it wasn't happening until it did. Until it did. Until it did. When you think about that moment and the factors that aligned to make it, it happened until it did. What were those factors that aligned or what was it fate? Was it luck? Was it something that changed within you? Was it being more aligned with your own sort of authentic self? All of the above, looking back, I wasn't ready to hold the bigness yet. I had to, you know, kind of like sometimes if you have a young, a young stallion and they're bucking around in their heart, you got to run them a little bit. You got to run the stallion. I had to, I had to run a little bit. My partner at the time, Caitlin, we were running. You know, we were partying a lot. We were out. I was standing on the speakers and growling. I was training MMA with the homies. I was, I was running, you know, I was running. And I think I needed to do that. And at the same time, I was also exploring, exploring in that path, this like an onyx building experience. And I had this feeling, I just had this feeling when I watched Joe Rogan do comedy and we're talking 2008, you know, this is not the Joe Rogan of now, right? Way different thing. He was the fear factor guy. He the UFC commentator, but the UFC wasn't what it is now, not even close. But I saw him and I was like, I'm that guy's friend. I know it. Like I know we're friends. And I would, and I would meet him after a show or I'd run into him in a club and I'd be like, Hey man, but nothing would ever stick. Of course, because I was a fan and he was the guy and like that it's very difficult to bridge that gap in that kind of social construct. So he started a podcast and, and I was falling when it was like, Oh wow. And that was old Joe Rogan days back with Brian Redband. And there was no podcast advertising. Then again, podcast was in its infancy. He had no podcast advertisers. So I had one of my clients. And I was like, look, we should advertise on Joe Rogan's podcast. We got to do this. And for those of you who know, it was the client was flesh light, which is a whole other story. But I was like, Joe, we want to advertise in your podcast. And he's like, okay, cool. And it's like, it's flesh light. And then his, his manager team was like, what the fuck you doing Joe? You can't, you can't advertise flesh. Like he's like, damn right, I can't. I don't want anybody to take me so seriously that I can't, you know, advertise for this thing. And so which is a sex toy for anybody that does. Yeah, it's a sex toy for men. But what I stipulated in that was like, all right, yeah, we're totally down. We'll be your, we'll be your podcast sponsor. I just want to meet you for 30 minutes for coffee and then we'll close the deal. And that was really honestly the play. It was a, it was a strategy. Now I was tested. I was tested in that moment because at that point I was friends with Bodie Miller, who was the best skier in the world, arguably at that point, he'd won multiple world championships. He hadn't won the gold medal yet, which he eventually won in Vancouver, but he was the best skier in the world. And he was going to the Kentucky Derby and Bodie going to the Kentucky Derby is a big deal.
How to become self-aware (29:34)
He gets to go with all of the, you know, the big dogs and it's a huge party and Bodie was at that point my best friend. And the Kentucky Derby happened to be exactly at the time where Joe Rogan said, I can meet you 30 minutes for coffee. So I had a choice. I could either say, yeah, fuck the coffee. We'll just advertise. And I'll go to the Derby, which old me would have been like Derby, Derby. Let's go. Let's party, you know, the stallion that wanted to run. But there is some knowledge inside me that no, this coffee with Joe Rogan is important. And I'm going to skip the whole Derby party. And I'm going to just meet this man for coffee. And I met him for coffee and the coffee turned into dinner. And then that dinner turned into a friendship and that turned into him having me on his podcast. And then a friendship developed and out of that friendship developed really, I was starting a supplement company developed on it. As we know it now, Joe Rogan as my partner. And then the combination of again, going back to my parents, my stepmother had a deep knowledge of nutraceuticals that actually could functionally impact performance. She worked with basketball teams. So she had athletic performance supplements, cognitive performance supplements. And I was used to that concept. So with her help and with all of the scientific research, I could put together a formula. I knew how to market because I marketed things. And then Joe Rogan was my partner. And so we had a way to get that out. We had a way to let people know. So I raised $110,000. I got $50,000 from a kind of family friend that I'd worked with and with different clients and done some public relations work with. And I had Bodhi, my friend who, so one gave 50,000, the other gave 60,000. That was the start of on it. Is that money right there? And I basically blew through and wasted all of that. And then I went to Joe and I said, "Hey, man, like what supplement would you like the most?" He's like, "Ah, man, I'd like an all natural new tropic that really worked. A new tropic being a cognitive cancer." And I was like, "You know what, Joe? I'm going to make the best one that's ever been made." And he's like, "All right, man." And I went to work and I did it. And I formulated with all of that help the supplement that was alpha brain. And with alpha brain, then send it to Joe. And Joe was like, "Man, this is amazing. It was actually way too strong at that point." And he was like, "It was gnarly." But Joe's a beast. He's like, he's a savage.
Your vision quest (32:15)
So at that moment, then we kind of knew we had something. So I dialed down the formula, got it right. And when all of that came together and we launched alpha brain, it just clicked. We sold out of that product in 12 hours. We had the next batch going. And the only reason I had the money to even buy the first batch was because there was net 30 credit terms on my purchase order. So actually, we could receive the product and not have to pay for 30 days. So I didn't even have the money to pay in 30 days unless I sold it. But we sold it in 12 hours and then there was another order on the back of that. So I was actually sold through two orders before I even had to pay the first purchase order. So we grew on it from literally nothing at that point other than the resources that we had applied to having a website and having a shopping cart, et cetera. And that was it. And I had a rocket ship from there. And also, being on Joe Rogan's podcast, people started to be aware of my ideas and my philosophies and these other things that I'd been developing over all of these years in between all of the partying that I was doing and all of the other stuff. And at that moment, I started to have a stage and a platform and started to build a kingdom. When you say it, it grew like a rocket ship to close off that story. You quantify that in some way for people that are listening from that first launch moment to where it ended up getting acquired by Unilever, I believe. Yeah. Yeah. You say rocket ship, what do you mean? So 2010 on it was founded by me and with the investment from those two individuals that I mentioned, Bodie and Howard. And we sold a little bit, but we had a lot of inventory. We couldn't sell it. And we were failing. It was another failed business just like my men's nail polish company was going down into the dirt. And then at that moment with the alpha brain product, we put that on sale. And then from there, we could barely keep it in stock. We were just selling through as much as we could have. And then we developed other supplements that went and we went from, I mean, we were Inc. 500 fastest growing company over the next four years because we actually went from, you know, zero to, I don't know what the first year was. I don't have all the numbers, but imagine like 12 million, 24 million, 34, 35 million, 45 million, you know, then we, then we kind of leveled out around 60 million in annual revenue for a while. And then we had some real trials and tribulations and a lot of deep tests at that point to get us to the level where eventually in 2021, we were able to sell the company to, you know, to Unilever and have a huge exit, which has now given me, you know, an amazing blessing of abundance of resources. And one of the coolest parts about that is so many people in my life, you know, talking about community again, so many people in my life got little pieces of the company, you know, like my friend, my cod. My cod Brooks is now an actor on law and order. He was, he was an actor in true blood black back then. I was like, yeah, man, you can have 10,000 shares. Come on, just talk about this. I was given out, I was given out equity like candy. I was like, I love you, man. Here's some shares. And then all of a sudden, all of those shares turned into huge amounts of wealth, you know, for so many people. And that was such a beautiful thing, not only for me, not only for Joe, but for everybody that that was everybody that was around me that I was giving a little piece of this equity too for on it to build that energy, everybody, everybody want. It was like being on this gigantic hundred person craps table of everybody you love and everybody wins and the casino just empties out the bank and we all go home and we're like, wow, we did it.
Meeting Joe Rogan & building a company with him (36:03)
And in the meantime, we made great products. We inspired people. We got people to, you know, our concept was total human optimization. We got people to actually get back in touch with this idea that you can be a little bit better tomorrow than you are today. And so every step of the way, it was something beautiful. And then the payoff was beautiful. It was, it's just an absolute dream, man. And doesn't mean that I didn't live my own little nightmares of fear and anxiety and worry and stress and mistakes all through the process. But looking back now, holy shit. What an unbelievable. I mean, I couldn't have designed a fantasy better. There's going to be people listening to this who are the version of you at the start of that roller coaster. Yeah. What would you say to those people? Because I mean, a lot of our listenership are exactly that person. They have an idea that pursuing a dream. They may be for the wrong or the right reasons. I mean, who am I to say to define what either of those are? But what would you say to them in order to prepare them for that roller coaster? You have to see it. You have to see, really see it. Like see it with clear eyes, not with the diluted eyes of hope and not with the shrouded eyes of fear, but really see what's possible. I think people always ask me the question like, can you believe what happened with on it? And I was like, of course I can believe what happened with on it. But I didn't believe that it could happen. It wouldn't have happened. You know, it's the funniest thing. Can you believe it? I was like, yeah, I can believe it. Of course I can believe it. If I didn't believe it, it wouldn't have happened. So the first most important step is you really have to see it. And you have to see it realistically. And to see it realistically, you have to look at how difficult it is out there. You know, I mean, I meet so many people are like, yeah, I'm going to start this clothing brand. I'm like, and I've been, you know, done a few things with different clothes. And that's a hard business. It's a horror. It's a grind. That's difficult. But you can do it, but you have to see it and you have to see the field correctly. You have to see the competition. You have to see how challenging the market is and actually see how you're going to elevate above that. And when you can really see it, then you can make it happen. But it depends on how accurate your site is. So you have to see accurately have the discretion. And then once that's there, you have to go all in, like push all your chips in. When you see it, push all your chips in, focus and turn all of that energy into a single point and push forward with everything you got. Okay. So see it. I, if you thought sprung to mind when you said it talked about seeing it. So the first one is what role does seeing it play? Because you talked about the adversity. You kind of like glossed over the adversity of the journey. And I think part of the reason I started this podcast in the first place was because I think the adversity matters just as much as the eventual achievement. For sure. And obviously because of the way that the media works and the way we tell our stories, we focus a bit more on the achievement. But what role does seeing it play in being able to grace those hurdles as and when they inevitably come? Well the first one is to see it actually being successful. Right. I saw I could see that vision and even as it was happening, it was still, you know, there was still some part of me that was like, wow, it's really actually coming true. Because I'd seen it before. I saw the nail polish company successful too. I just didn't see it accurately. I didn't see the market. I didn't see the idea that this was going to be a very difficult thing to actually convince people was cool and that people would be like, why buy your nail polish when I just get any nail polish? I didn't really see it right. And with on it, I saw it right, you know, and I had the right people and with the right team. So seeing it into success is important. And then what you're going to encounter is a lot of things that you didn't see. And that's where the adversity comes. I didn't see that coming. I didn't see that coming. We had a security breach and on it, you know, it was one of the early days, 2013, 2014, when that was happening to a lot of different companies. I think I remember Target had a big one and it was found out and then Target was like, oh, yeah, yeah, this happened. And, you know, sorry about that. You know, people got access to credit cards that happened to us. And there was a choice point and it felt like everything was going to be ruined because we got hacked. Somebody got access to our customer data. We didn't have the right firewalls and all the right cybersecurity. I mean, I thought we did, but we didn't, obviously. And there was a choice point, you know, nobody, nobody else externally discovered it. We discovered it internally. We fixed it and we could have just kind of crossed our fingers and hoped that nothing happened. But I made a different choice. And in that choice, I just said, I got to tell everybody. So I just sent out an email. I was like, look, y'all, I'm so sorry. Like, this is on us. We didn't have the right security. We got hacked. And your information was compromised and we're so sorry. And here's, you know, a discount code for any on it products that you want and like our deepest apologies for any inconvenience. This may have caused if you have to cancel your card or whatever I understand. And I just came out really authentically and honestly. And that ended up being one of like these powerful moments where instead of the whole customer base turning against our company, me like these losers can't even secure our credit cards or whatever, they actually trusted and trusted our company and trusted me more because of just how authentically I shared about that story. So that's one version of a adversity that comes from those things that those monsters that come from the grass that we're slithering around or hiding in the tall grass that you don't see and then all of a sudden you have to confront them. And it's going to be about how you deal with those things that you didn't see and are you guided by that again, that superstructure that I talked about those principles of if you were me living a different life, what would I want me to receive? I would want honesty, just somebody to be honest and be like, yeah, we fucked up and we're sorry. And this is the best we can do. And that was kind of the guiding principle is I was bound by this value structure and the value structure was the kind of the guiding light through all of it and it worked. When you said about seeing it, one of the things that came to mind as well was when you can see the competitive landscape, often that's incredibly intimidating. Because entrepreneurs often talk about how being a little bit delusional and naive is actually a driving force. Were they to know how difficult it actually was? Like we're entrepreneurs to have seen your hardest, darkest days, they might not have bothered. So my second question here is about seeing it is what would you say to an entrepreneur that's starting a business, maybe in the same field as on it was, that's looking out and thinking, oh my God, but there's already loads of competitors and Aubrey did this and Joe did that. Like, I've got this idea, but there's so many competitors, I just won't bother. Because I'm sure when you started, there was a big competitive landscape. It gets more and more difficult, you know, all the time. And it's about can you get the right pieces of the puzzle together, the right product, the right energy behind it, the right ethos, the right experience, something that's actually better than the field. I mean, when you're talking about this landscape, you're talking about one of the beauties of this capitalist model is you're open to radical competition. And that's what drives the evolution. So you have to know that you're a little bit better. You're a little bit better than everybody else. And if you're able to show that in all of the ways that you're a little bit better, you'll be able to make it through. And yes, you're still going to receive immense challenges. Now, there's going to be times that security breach was just one of many. We had another moment where we made a huge mistake. We thought we were getting an investment. We distributed all of our cash. We had zero money in the bank. The investment didn't happen. And then so we had all of these accounts payable, no money in the bank. And we called it cash apocalypse at that point. Our CFO just looked at us said, we're bankrupt in 30 days, I'm leaving. What? Walked out of the room. Walked out of the room. I was like, all right. And then our COO who ended up becoming the CEO when I stepped down in 2020 right before like a year before the sale, he guided us through and we made it. And we made it because of the relationships that we'd held with honesty and with good faith with everybody. We weren't playing games with anybody. So they trusted us. We were like, hey, we're in a really tight spot. But if you trust us and you allow us to pay late, you extend our terms from net 30 to net 60 to net 90, maybe net 120, we're going to pay you in four months for the products that you're delivering. And they believed in us. They backed us. And that got us through that moment. So that's the CFO that walked down. Yeah. He made a big mistake. He made a big mistake. He had also, he had an equity position. He had options that he forfeited. Whoops. Whoops. Our current CEO, I mean, not current CEO, the CEO that emerged Jason Havy. He's such a sweet guy, but he couldn't help but send on the anniversary of that day where the CFO walked out and just told us straight up that we were going to be out of business for the next couple of years on that anniversary.
Advice for businesses that think they're "too late" (46:37)
He'd be like, hey, how's it going? We're still here. Just set up a text. Oh, wow. Wow. I mean, some people, that's natural selection of life. There's some people in the hardest times they bail, right? They're, therefore, they aren't deserving of those kind of good moments. Exactly. Pessé. You left in 2020. I don't see a huge desire from you from looking at what you're doing now to get back in bed in that same kind of industry doing the same kind of thing. Is that accurate? And if so, why? The, my desire to be a CEO is not really there. My desire to be this kind of visionary founder is there. So you imagine someone like Richard Branson and a certain, he's really not actually running any of the companies that he's running, running, owning. He's just kind of guiding them. And I am very interested in continuing to guide different projects and different brands, but I want really competent operators to really start to navigate. Now, I may end up actually working with the CEO that Jason Havy, who was with OnIt for 10 years, he transitioned out. So he's now no longer there. And so we make team back up, get the Avengers back together, and put, you know, a few other brands back on the table. And the reason for that is because they're great products, again, that are doing really important things. Like, I want to do important things. And the resources that that will allow us to, you know, kind of accumulate can then be applied to really great projects that can benefit, again, part of the end of the photos for the good of all. So yeah, I mean, I'm still, I'm still in the game, but I'm just doing it at a different level. I'm not going to be the guy who's pouring over the P&L's who's chasing down purchase orders, but I am the guy who can go out and meet the key allies, put the pieces of the puzzle together, share the voice and the kind of idea of why these products are important. And, and so that's going to be, there's going to be another kind of reload and birth of a new kind of wave of things that'll come out. And, and there's also, but there's so many other things now I'm going in many different directions. Of course, there's the podcast, there's the book that I'm working on and other books that are planned after that. There's media and documentaries that I'm making and there's stories I want to tell and there's a lot of different things that I'm doing, but I'm just at a level and a purview where I have a lot of competent operators that are helping execute on all of these different visions. Ladies and gentlemen, I am so delighted to finally be able to announce that one of my all time favorite brands and our sponsoring this podcast. And that is Woop. All of you know that I've been on a bit of a journey in terms of health, performance, cognitive performance, sleep and all those kinds of things. That's kind of been reflected in the guests we've had on this podcast. And Woop has been a huge part of my life for many, many, many years. That's part of the reason I also had the founder come on the podcast. After having Will on the podcast, I love the brand even more hearing about his vision, his passion for the project, where it came from, his own obsession was solving a problem which turned into the product. That is Woop. He's a wearable health and fitness coach that provides you with the feedback and real actionable insights into sleep, into recovery, into how you're training, into your stress levels and your overall health. And for me, it's empowered me to be the best version of myself across all of those aspects of my life. The Woop team have very kindly offered to give all of you a free month. So just head to join.woop.com/CEO to claim your device and your first free month on us. You know, I never really usually pick the chocolate flavored hules. My favorite are the banana flavor. I love the salted caramel flavor. But recently, I think I impart blame Jack in my team who is obsessed with the chocolate flavor hules. I've started drinking the chocolate flavor hules for the first time and I absolutely love them. My life means that I sometimes disregard my diet and it's funny. That's part of the reason why I've had a lot of guests on this podcast recently that talk about diet and health and those kinds of things because I am trying to make an active effort to be more healthy, to lose a little bit of weight as well, but to be more healthy. And the role that he'll plays in my life is it means that in those moments where sometimes I might reach for junk foods, having an option that is nutritionally complete, that is high in fiber, that is incredibly high in protein, that has all the vitamins and minerals that my body needs, within arms reach that I can consume on the go is where he will have been a game changer for me. Love. Let's talk about love then. I often wonder, you know, we learn our models of love and relationships very early and I've talked a lot about how I learned my model of love, the good and the bad, the ugly of it and how I was very much an avoidant in terms of my attachment style. I would run from everyone that had any interest in me. I'd pursue someone and then when they showed interest in me, I'd run. And I was like mimicking some like deep model that I learned that relationships mean you're in prison. Basically, the like the narrative I'd learned because my father, I was I think subconsciously convinced he was in prison in his relationship. So it took me a lot of awareness and unpacking to like realize that to the point where as I sit here today, I'm in a great relationship. Obviously, it has all of the same, you know, natural imperfection as any relationship. But one that I think is the most special thing I've ever experienced in my life. What's your journey been like with love? You have a unique point to your story, which you know I'm going to talk about. Yeah. Because I know a lot of people ask you about it, which is I don't even know what the correct term is. Polyamory. Polyamory. I don't know why I say that. Well, that would be multiple wives. Okay. Polyamory is multiple loves. So yeah, my journey with love was was interesting because, you know, again, I had my first major partnership was with someone who's now my best friend and also the best man quote of my of my wedding with my wife is was my former fiance, Caitlin. And we had a relationship where she it was not it was not polyamory, but however, we could bring other female lovers into into our equation, right? Into our female lovers. Right. So other girls could we could have sexual experiences with other women. And so that gave me kind of this release valve to my desires because I simply again, I was bound by these kind of feelings of value in this feeling of anybody who I'm with is me living a different life. So I can't cheat. You know, there was one moment. Well, I did I did actually cheat one time in my life. And it was so miserable. The feeling that I felt when I cheated on my partner, like that one time I was like, I just cannot do this. And I see and again, no judgment, you know, but I see so many successful and powerful men who are unfaithful to their partners. And to me, that's like going and skirting around the problem and just creating a whole bunch more problems. And it's also it's it's actually legitimately unethical, right? Like you're you're manipulating somebody you're lying to them. You're not telling the truth. And so after that one experience of feeling how just awful I felt when I actually cheat on it was a story, I was in Moscow, blah, blah, blah, it doesn't fucking matter. Like fundamentally, I was like this, I will not do this. Like this cannot be the way. And so in that relationship, the ability for us to have other lovers that were female, then it kind of satisfied that desire. Although the problem was is that I was still always kind of searching for that. And it was it wasn't quite right at that point for me at that stage of my young, stallion life, right? It wasn't quite right, but it was beautiful. We had a beautiful relationship and I love Caitlyn. I love that relationship so much. But ultimately I was, you know, that wasn't working out. She didn't feel like she was going to be the queen that was going to help me build my empire. She's a wild and magical woman, but she wasn't kind of that warrior queen focused energy that I was really looking for. And then Whitney came along who is my next most significant partner. And I saw that in her and I was like, ah, I think this is the one that can be with me, be by my side as I build on it to what it's going to become. And I stepped forward in the world. She's got the, she's got the right stuff for that. So we started a relationship just purely monogamous. No other partners. Nothing else. It lasted about 18 months and I still felt this strong desire to be with other women, to experience the goddess in many different faces. And I've never been any been the type that just wants to have sex with somebody because that makes me feel good about myself. No, I legitimately love women. Like I love them. I'm like, it's the greatest delight for me to be with a woman. You know, and so I had that natural desire. I wasn't willing to be unfaithful and cheat. So I went to Whitney and I said, Hey, I have this idea. What about I still want to be with you, but I think I need to be polyamorous. And I know that for this to be fair, that means that you get to see anybody you want to. So if I get to do it, you get to do it. Unlike in the former relationship with Caitlin, I would have been so jealous and be like, no man ever, never under any circumstances. I'm the lion. Like I had these old, old other kind of constructs and ideas. Thanks to, you know, it was really the book, Sex It Don by Chris Ryan, that actually opened my mind to this idea that there is a different concept that different tribes have utilized throughout history where we didn't have this possessive kind of jealous idea about what it means to have a partner that we were open to having, you know, having your partner have multiple loves. And I understood philosophically that our love is like the sun, like it's shining on all of these different places and to have somebody be like, your sunlight, your erotic sunlight can only shine on me. I was like, this is absurd. Doesn't make any sense to me. So philosophically, it didn't make sense. And I had my own desires. So I said, all right, let's be polyamorous. And I thought that I would be okay with Whitney seeing other people. I thought I was going to, I thought I was going to breeze through because I had a girlfriend first. So Whitney, after a period of three months, she first, she was like, you know, you're out of your mind. Go fuck yourself. I'm out. I was like, that sucks, but I understand your decision. I'm not going to change my decision. It's the way forward. A few months later, she came back. She's like, all right, let's try this. And I was already involved with somebody else. So I had a girlfriend and then Whitney was still my primary partner. So that was the constellation primary partners. Whitney, she lived with me and then girlfriend who I would go meet at a different, meet at her house or meet at a different place. And then have my own experiences with that partner. And then when Whitney, you know, and I really didn't have the understanding of how hard this would be on the other side, I thought like, yeah, it'll be easy. Like I philosophically understood it. Then Whitney got her first partner. And I cannot describe to you the feeling that I felt when Whitney had her first lover. It was, it broke me. It absolutely broke me. Even though I had agreed to it, even though I had acted on it on my end, when she was with somebody else, I felt like I was going to vomit, cry. I wanted to punch a wall. I wanted to just, I couldn't, I couldn't even handle it. And I also felt so ashamed for the fact that I had no like very little compassion for her having gone through this because I hadn't gone through it yet. And it was a really challenging kind of moment. And of course, what did I do? You know, whoever her partner was, I tried to like be better than them at whatever they were good at. And at one point, you know, Whitney was with a professional fighter. And I was like, I'll be a good fighter. And I was like, how stupid. Like she doesn't love me because I'm a fighter. She loves me because I'm me. And that was one of the really powerful lessons that Paul Amory taught me is you can't try to compete in somebody else's strength. You just have to compete to be the best version of you. And every time I would try to be like somebody else, I would become less attractive in her eyes. And that was really a deep lesson. But for eight years, we did the Paul Amory thing. You know, we had our moments where we were off and on and we'd have little breakups and little issues that would come up. But we both were free to see who we wanted to see and be with whoever we wanted to be with with the understanding that we were primary partners. These had so many challenges and moments where every different boundary that we thought we had, well, all right, you can be with them, but you can't be in love with them. Whoops, I fell in love with somebody. And then whoops, Whitney fell in love with somebody. And so that didn't work. So we're like, okay, I guess we're able to really be in love with somebody. But then if you're in love with somebody, then you want to spend, you know, and that energy is so strong at the technical term is limerence. It's that new relationship energy where you're just intoxicated with somebody. You want to be with them more. And then the primary partnership doesn't make any sense because the person can feel that you'd rather be with somebody else. And it was just, it was very, very challenging and also very, very beautiful. You know, the paramores that I had and a paramore is the term for the other partners you have outside of your primary partner. I had unbelievably beautiful relationships with them and magical, amazing moments and magical moments with Whitney.
Love & the truth about polyamory (01:01:13)
You know, there was so much energy and passion and drama in that, in that period. But it was honest. You know, the thing about it was is that it was honest. We told each other everything, you know, everything that happened. We told each other the truth. There was little pockets of withholding where we didn't express exactly how we felt and but every little minute dishonesty would get exacerbated into a massive, massive issue because there was so much pressure in the system because of the natural emotions of jealousy and worrying about whether my partner really loved me the most. And that was a really beautiful and deeply challenging experience. And finally, you know, at the end, I kind of was like, I can do this but I didn't master it. It was always, it always got the best of me. I was never really fully ever okay with her seeing other people. I was okay with me seeing other people and loving her. But I could never quite do it. I wasn't up to the task. And that doesn't mean that somebody else can't be. I just, I gave it my best and with all of my tools, all of my consciousness, all of my love, I couldn't do it. And so with that knowledge, then, you know, I met, of course, I met Vylana and Vylana, like, you know, immediately I'd been in love with her for a little while and we could tell that story if we like. But I'd been through the polyamory journey. So when I met Vylana, I was like, I'm not doing that again. You know, I'm not doing that again. Do you know anybody that's made that work? For a time, and the thing is, is I think it's a journey of growth and it's a journey of transformation and evolution. When things are stagnant or stuck, it may be an opportunity to get things moving. I think I would rather have the ups and downs, the brisk wind, the floating into the twilight sunsets of just glorious, beautiful experiences and then the hard crashes into the rocky crags where it's all blood and broken glass everywhere, you know, metaphorically, of course. I kind of, my poet's heart kind of likes that more than just kind of steady board diminishment of life force. There's no energy. There's no charge there. That never, that doesn't really appeal to me. So polyamory is one of the ways that you can really drive a lot of energy and a lot of growth and a lot of introspection and a lot of evolution of your own character through that process. So has anybody made it work long term? It's rare. And I don't think I have a good model for it because I think part of the problem is that the culture doesn't really support that yet. And I don't think our consciousness has evolved to a level where we can handle it. We don't have models for it. We have models of jealousy. It's in all of our songs. It's in all of our, it's everywhere. It's like we're flying again. We're going upstream against the cultural zeitgeist. So if culture changes, if society changes, I think that will become more possible. It's of course some people are doing it and they're making it work. I haven't seen it personally really work on like a long term level. But I think it's just because the culture hasn't blossomed for that to really be possible. I've often pondered if there's some kind of evolutionary Darwinistic reason why it doesn't work. And it would make sense from a Darwinistic perspective that I want my seed to pass on and I want my genes to survive. So if there's another man with my partner, for example, then that's going to evolve me out of the gene pool. So there's got to be some kind of, you know, one would assume there's some kind of inbuilt in a mechanism called jealousy to prevent that happening. Yeah. And there's also the genetic impulse to actually, I mean, again, we're having sex, but the impulse is to, impulse is to reproduce, right? That's where it's coming from. So yes, there's somebody actually sleeping with your partner, but you're sleeping with many other people too. So you're still genetically, you know, giving the opportunity to actually fertilize, you know, many different people. So there is a, there is genetic support, I think from like an evolutionary biology perspective to this concept, right? But really to make it work, we got to go back to that level two that we talked about earlier, which is community, which is tribe. Because if it's for the good of the tribe, then it doesn't matter if it's your genetic, you know, your genetic DNA. It's like, will this be the best, will this be the best situation for the tribe? And if the tribe is in love, the tribe is thriving. The tribe has energy. The tribe has that life force that then that's a creative to the overall mission. But without that kind of tribe level understanding, and perhaps even that humankind level understanding, you can't actually, I don't think you can make it work. I was reflecting as you were saying that about the tribe on various cult documentaries I've watched, where there's still jealousy, you know, even though they're a unit, they're one big family. Of course, you still see that jealousy throughout. I think that jealousy is less like about a evolutionary biology and more about the ego. The ego knows itself in relative position. It's a construct that we create to help navigate our life and our body and our soul. And so it's this idea. It's a story about who we are. And that story about who we are, we only know how good we are compared to somebody else. It's like, are you a good ping pong player? Well, that depends. Who am I playing? You know, like, if I'm out with my mates, yeah, I'm a fucking good ping pong player. If I'm going to a tournament, I'm the worst. So you know yourself in relative position to the context. And that's the problem in this kind of polyamorous dynamic. There's always this thing of this person's getting loved more or there's more attention here or you're comparing all of these different aspects and attributes. And so until you can actually observe that ego identity construct from a witness perspective, then you really can't escape the trappings of comparing yourself and comparing your situation to somebody else's situation. Violana. Oh, yeah. Violana? Violana. Your face lights up when you say her name. Yeah. Why is that? What does she mean to you? I didn't know that I could love somebody like this. I didn't think it was really possible. I thought it would be like a, I thought that always be kind of like, yeah, this is good enough. Like, you know, like, we'll make this work and we'll find this situation that'll make it work. But with Violana, it's like, no, no, like I love you so much. I wouldn't change a thing about you. Like, and it's this, it's this crazy thing that sounds like it sounds unbelievable. It doesn't sound like it's believable. It doesn't even sound credible. And I don't even know if it's reproducible. I can't say that everybody out there, you got your Violana. I wish I could go with a straight face and say like, there's your Violana out there. And for Violana's out there, there's your Aubrey out there. And I know it. I don't know. I think maybe I'm really lucky. I don't know. But it's like, we met, you know, and I could feel it and I could feel it and she couldn't see it for a long time, but I could always see it. I didn't know, but I could see this possibility. And when we got together, I mean, I had bought the wedding ring before we actually even had sex. You know, I mean, if you follow the story closely, there was a kind of experience at Burning Man, etc. But really, but really though, like, I just knew I could feel it and I knew it and I knew she was, I knew she was my queen. I just knew it and she is in every way. She's the perfect compliment to me. And it's not that, you know, the Jerry McGuire's, you complete me. No, we're two complete beings of different skills, attributes, polarities, energies, emotionalities, sexualities, but we merge together and together, we're just so much more and life is so much more beautiful. It's a, it's a dream, man. It's a dream. There's no, there's no compromise. There's no compromise at all. And that's what all that, you know, you go to a wedding and you all the old timers would be like, yeah, you got to learn to compromise and you're going to have to pick your battles and blah, blah, blah. It's like, no, no, what about no? What about no? What about just it's fucking incredible and you're in it together. And I think one of the reasons why we're able to be that is because we're willing to go into the deep together. If there's something that's, that's that we can't resolve, then we have tools. And again, the plant medicine journey, like we'll go deep. We'll go, you know, multiple times we've drank ayahuasca together and big things that were brewing come to the surface and erupt, you know, like a giant volcano. And then we have to sort out all the magma and all the pieces that'll come up, but we'll keep going back in, going into the deep, not looking away from everything. And with that attitude, we're just cleaning, cleaning the, cleaning the connection and the intimacy between us all the time. When you look back in hindsight, because I'm thinking for myself, but I'm also thinking for the person that's listening to this, timing plays a role. And when I say timing, I actually mean the timing of your growth journey kind of crossing theirs. Yeah. So like, had you met violin 10 years earlier? Yep. One would assume maybe, yeah, no, it wouldn't have worked. What was, when you reflect in hindsight, what was the work that you kind of needed to do to be ready to receive a violin? Well, the stallion had to run. The stallion had to run step one. I needed to run. I needed to be, I needed to experience myself and have myself reflected in the hearts of other people who I really loved. And I think people think of the stallion running, you think of just having a bunch of one night stands and who fucking cares? Well, like you really care that much about that particular type of pleasure you get in your genitals? No, you're caring about it because it's your ego. Because somehow that makes you like collecting trophies. That's all bullshit. But what I really, what I needed was to see myself reflected in other people and to know like what my impact could be on someone's heart and what their impact could be on my heart. And that's why I have so much love for all of my paramores and for Whitney for allowing that journey, particularly in that period. You know, Stephanie and Savannah and Lorena, all of the different people that I was with. And all of the other names that are not mentioned in that you're in there too, right? Because there was moments that elicited some aspect of me, some quality that came online, came alive and I was able to help something come alive in them. It was so beautiful. And I think that chapter in my life needed to happen. It needed to happen. So I could say, I've done this. I've seen myself reflected in all of these different partnerships. And now I'm ready to devote that energy to you, Filana, because I've really, I've felt what this is really like. So that's, I think, step one of a many step journey. Is there a piece of work as well around, I guess that's maybe adjacent or attached to what you've just said, but learning how to control one's emotions? You talked earlier about anger and snapping. And the thing in relationships is if you haven't got control of that, the relationship's not going to last, especially in, you know, I think of myself, you know, the ego I had in my younger years and I still have an ego now, of course, I'm not going to pretend I don't. But I was, I was the type of person that would just get up and go. So if there was any conflict, again, going back to what I said about my father feeling like he was in prison, I would be out of there. And that was my response to conflict. It was just let's get up and go. So was there a piece of work that had to be done to learn how to become a master of like, or to get better at conflict resolution from an emotional standpoint? The emotions will come like a wave. And the Buddhists, they call that the moment of trigger where you get hooked, they call it shempa, and then this desire to actually take that energy and then, you know, flood it onto another person. And it's very difficult. It's very difficult to stop that from happening. And so, but you can with awareness, you can feel it coming and then you can start to develop your, you know, the right, the processes and practices about what to do. My, I have two really dear friends, Christine Hasler and Stefano Sifandos. And they just let a workshop at our Fit for Service Summit. And they talked about one of their conflict resolution techniques because he had that type of anger that would come up and that would be, and she would then withdraw and get small and they had this dynamic. What they developed was he actually goes into the plow stretch position where he puts his legs over his head when he's in that, when he's in that angry state. And they actually, once soon as he gets angry, that's their agreement that he's going to go into that position. And if he's going to yell at her, he's going to have to yell at her from between his own legs through his own ass. You know, so like they develop this method that they literally use in there's some of the most conscious people there, you know, there, but they have as they have a strategy. They have a practice. And so if I Lana and I have developed our own practices, but I would say the most important thing beyond the practices that you can do like that. Some of the practices we have is like, there's, you know, we can say like a magic word that will be like, all right, when you say this word, this level of conversation is like, is the pure level. Like we can't, we can't fuck around anymore. Like this word now, now we enter a new parlay. It's like the pirates when they're all shooting each other. They're like, parlay. And then they go and they're like, all right, let's talk this out a little bit. Okay. So you like stepping outside of it. Right. So we'll have like, we'll have a construct will be like basically called parlay and then we'll be able to negotiate. So we have some moves like that we can make. We have for smaller things, we have this, this construct we call bedrock where anytime we're in like the deepest state of love, we'll be like, this is the bedrock. This is where we'll always return to. This is the nature of our love. And so either one of us can go bedrock and we go in and no matter if we don't want to, if even if every part of us is fighting, we go feel the truth of how much we love each other. So those are some of mine and I don't go into plow position, but those are some of our own strategies. But the most important thing of all of the things is full radical ownership of every aspect in which you may have overstepped where you may have made an assumption where you may have made a projection to really be completely honest with your own culpability in the situation. Because without that step, there's going to be a kind of accumulating resentment and that accumulating resentment for that ownership, which was not taken, will then become the monster that eats love. So you know, Vailana and I, we've had a couple fights that lasted, you know, a day, two days, because we weren't able to get to the point of radical ownership. We were still kind of pointing a finger and not able to meet in the middle of like actually owning, and it's not always the middle. Sometimes it's 90-10. And sometimes you're like, I'm sticking at 10. It's like, hold, you want to take more? You're like, no, hold, I'm holding at 10. Like that's all I can take. You got to come 90. Otherwise, like this is an impasse. And I can't move forward if there's fragments of that resentment that are there. So we just keep talking, keep figuring it out until we actually get to the truth. And the beautiful part about that is there's no fragments of resentment. There's no marbles that are being added to the marble mountain of resentment that's going to ultimately destroy our love. There's nothing there. Because we've taken ownership for it. We've apologized for everything we need to apologize for. And then we've evolved in our own understanding and taken the onus and the sovereignty and the responsibility to learn and to be better the next time. Have you heard of Professor John Gottman, his study about couples? They found that in his study of why couples end up in divorce. It wasn't arguing or anything else. It was a buildup of contempt, which is exactly what you've described there as the wants to that eats love. He said they could be laughing in the studies. They could be arguing in the studies. It didn't matter. It was any sign of contempt, which is basically he defined as unaddressed issues building up. So when you're the example I gave on stage when I did the Derivacy O'Liv tool is your partner going, babe, come look at this. And you go, that. That's five years of being sick of their shit, not talking about it in unaddressed bullshit. Just in that little micro expression, that's like an unaddressed recurring conversation of you being sick of whatever. So I think that's a really central idea to what you're saying there, this idea of constant work and constant communication and constant conflict resolution. Can you imagine the world if all couples could replicate that? Like when you see it, it sounds easy, but there's an everyday battle underneath that. And I know, because my partner's sat over there and we do this. We have the same everyday battle because some days I don't want to talk. And some days I think you're wrong and you think I'm wrong. And some days my ego gets in the way and some days the thoughts come in, just do this. Leave, run away, whatever. And being able to continually confront that I think is a very, very difficult challenge that I've only seen in a cut, you know, I'm talking here about men in particular. I've only seen it in a couple of men. You know? Yeah, the advantage that I have, again, is, and this is my path and I'm not saying that this is the formula, but the plants keep me honest. You try to, you try to, you know, carry your bullshit story of it's all their fault in your victim and then go drink a couple cups of el d'agondilla salva zai wasca and see if ayahuasca agrees with you. You know? Like, it's, there's a, I'm held accountable to the truth and it's not just the medicine now the medicine lives in me, right?
How to make any relationship work (01:21:21)
I've consumed it and that consciousness is within me. So I can't allow anything that I need to take ownership for to exist. And then sometimes that'll come up in the past. I mean, I think as my consciousness evolves, different levels of I'm sorry are elicited from me. I mean, I think over the past three years, you know, being with Vailana and having separated from Whitney, there was probably a dozen or two dozen times where there was a new, I'm sorry that came out because I actually could see it from a different level of consciousness now. And I mean, she's like, all right, man, like we split up, like, you know, like I think she appreciated it. And I think she's still working through her own, you know, her own process with that. And it's our own process of, of feeling any grievances we've had. And, but you know, I just try to do my best to own, to own my fault and mistakes in it. And, and that's an evolving process. But I am held accountable to this idea of, no, no, I, I have to, I have to be honest and I have to be real and I have to own it. And it doesn't make me less than to admit any of these things. That's, that's the way that actually makes you more than to be able to be that in sometimes just have the humility to be like, yeah, I was an idiot or I was a made a mistake or all of these things and not, and then not pile on a bunch of shame on yourself either to just know that you're in an evolutionary process. And through that evolutionary process, when you evolve, you're going to be able to look back at your old self and be like, damn, you could have been a lot better. It's amazing how there's almost this mental conversation I have sometimes when I'm, when I'm, when I'm in that state of conflict with my partner and my ego's there and my ego's saying, oh, you're right, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. And then the other voice somehow wins out and says, you fucked up. You know, you reacted badly there. You should just go and apologize. And I did this the other day with her where we had had a bit of a disagreement about something. You know, a couple of hours passes, maybe 12 hours or something passes, I realized I fucked up. So I picked myself up and I walk over to her and I just say, do you know what, from yesterday, I just want to say I'm really sorry because in reflection, my reaction was not good there and it didn't make sense. And I realized it hurt you, et cetera, et cetera. And I'm really sorry about that. I wish I'd reacted differently in hindsight and upon looking at my behavior, I realized why I reacted in that way. And like, it's not good enough. The minute the words came out of my mouth, it was like a wait. I had just lifted. It was like my ego had been fired. I felt great. The pressure I had on me up until that point just evaporated. And it's funny that I don't get there quicker. I think I'm getting there quicker, though. If I zoom out on myself, I go, OK, look at yourself over the last 10 years, give yourself some credit. But yeah, it's great. All the work you've done, do you still struggle with these things? Yes, but they get smaller and smaller. So like you're talking about, like the time it takes you to go over there. So maybe there was a time in your life where it wouldn't have been 12 hours, maybe it had been 12 days, maybe it had been 12 months, maybe actually never. But now the time is shortening. Now you're in hours. Yeah. Then eventually you're going to get into minutes. And then from minutes you're going to get almost to real time, almost to real time. And then maybe one point you'll touch real time where you're really actually seeing. I don't know. I'm not in real time. But I'm definitely in the minutes category. I mean, I remember the last little conflict, Vailana, and I had actually involved this painted fingernail. I'll tell the story. So we're in Miami. I'm really hot. I have these big wooden backed lounge chairs. And I'm ready to go upstairs. And I'm like, babe, I'm super hot. I'm like thirsty. I'm ready to go up. She's like, you sure you don't want to tan your back a little bit? And I'm like, my back? What are you trying to say? My tan has unevened. It's like, that bother you? And I went to this whole thing. And I was like, all right, fine. I'll tan my back for you, I guess, if that's important to you. Well, so that's what was going through my head. So I flipped the latch on the thing so I could lay flat down because I was laying with my back up. The thing comes and smashes my finger, just like, crashes like, crushes my fingernail right between the way that the back of the chair was falling and it's just searing pain. And I'm like, get up. And I want to like scream and hit something because it hurts so bad. And I couldn't disambiguate the feeling of pain with my frustration that she was the one who wanted me to stay there. And if she didn't want me to stay there, I wouldn't have smashed my fucking finger and so, and then I'm like in there and I'm like kind of fuming. And she's like, are you mad at me? I'm like, no, I'm not mad at you. Because I knew logically that I wasn't mad at her, right? But like, my whole energy was like, yeah, I'm fucking mad at you. And I was like, why did you ask me to tan my back? And she was like, oh, actually, I just wanted to stay. And it took her a moment. But eventually it was like, actually, she just wanted to stay herself. And that came out of her mouth in that way. And then I took it as like some kind of slut critique of my tan gradient, you know? And ultimately, but we got in this little conflict and the conflict escalated because we were in the heat of this kind of emotion. And she kind of walked. She was like, I'm going to the gym. It's like, all right. And like, I took like three, you know, three minutes, four minutes. I don't know. Five minutes, whatever. And then I just sent her a long text. And I went through every different situation, every different aspect of it. From the first moment acknowledging I wasn't able to disambiguate the pain from my anger to her that I misunderstood what she was saying about my back. And that was actually just her way of saying, I want to stay longer. And I projected that she was critiquing me. But that wasn't actually the case. And I didn't, you know, like all of this thing. And then I responded poorly in this comment and this. And then I said, however, how you responded here, here, here, here, you know, does not feel an alignment with ethos of our relationship. So it's like this whole bullet pointed long, long message. And I sent that to her and I was like, all right, that's the truth of it. And then she receives that. She comes back and she's like, all right, you know, like I acknowledge these different things, you know, and now here's how we can get better from this. And pretty soon, you know, within about 15 minutes after that, we were just, we looked at each other and I was like, we're kind of dramatic, aren't we? And we just started laughing. And it was over, you know, and so that process just gets quicker and quicker and quicker and quicker. And that's the, that's the, that's the way of it is just to shorten the amount of time that you stay out of consciousness. All of that requires a level of vulnerability that a lot of people still find very uncomfortable, especially men in my, in my, in my experience. We, we actually made something to help our listeners become a little bit more vulnerable. And these are these question cards. They're actually taken from this diary. So every time we have a guest here, they write a question for the next guest. There's been one left for you in there as well. So we took all of the questions, as you can see here. Cool. We put them on these playing cards so people can play at home. There's about 70 of them. I've just select a bunch of random ones for you here. And I'm going to just lay them out in front of you. If you could just pick one, all right, and then answer the question, whichever one you feel called to. This is like a Oracle deck on the back of as a QR code where you can see, you can scan it to see the person that answered the question as well. Here we go. Is there something right now that you know you're doing wrong, but you haven't fixed yet. If so, how will you get unstuck? Well, I don't like the word wrong because the way that I look at my trajectory is the trajectory of evolution. So if I'm doing it, it must mean that I needed to do that in order to learn how to evolve from it. Or I understand the point of the question outside of the semantics, which are important, you know, because I think we can put ourselves in wrong, right? Good, bad in this very polarized idea. So in the evolution of Aubrey, where am I still stuck? Where have I not actually gotten to the place where I want to be as who I know I can be? And it's the reliance on stimulants to keep me alert. And it's okay that I like my coffee and I like my nicotine and I like, you know, crad them sometimes or whatever, but there's a kind of reliance to go up, you know. And then there's a reliance to go down. And I still have, you know, sleep medication that I take. And I know it's not good for me. Like particularly the sleep medication, like I'm kind of okay with the caffeine and the nicotine. I could probably like maybe fast rum it for a little while. I don't smoke cigarettes or anything, but whether it's a cigar or whether it's, you know, a nicotine pouch or something like that. So that one feels like, yeah, there's a little cleaning up to do, but it's not really, it's not really like damaging me in a fundamental way, but the sleep meds I think are and they're very sticky because I get in this loop where let's take today, for example, last night I fly into the hotel. I'm kind of juiced, you know, I'm here in Hollywood. There's lots of sounds, lots of noises and I'm in a new hotel. It's pretty dope and I'm just not sleepy. You know, watch a cool movie. And I got a big podcast today and I got some other stuff I need to do during the day. So could I have fallen asleep without the sleep meds? Yes, eventually I could have, but that would have come at a cost to this podcast. And then that would have come at a cost to the listeners. And then so I get in this trap of why I can't do it today. I got this thing to do. So then I'll reach for the sleep meds and I'll take them. And I know that those are deleterious to my health. So I'm kind of stuck in this position where I'm not giving myself the time where I don't have any obligations or anything that I want to offer the world where I can really phase out of all of this. And even when I do, because I have phased out of it for all of my ayahuasca journeys, I have to get off everything. And I'm able to do it. And I'm like, this time it's going to stick. And then I'll get that one night, the night before a podcast or a night before I have a bunch of things to do and I just can't sleep and that old, the old sleep med and the drawer, I flush them down the toilet, whatever, but then I'll find another one or whatever. I'll figure it out. It starts calling and it's like, listen, like, you know the solution, just pop this bottle and you'll go to sleep and you'll be able to do what you need to do tomorrow. And that voice keeps me stuck. I'm like stuck in this limbo. And I can't stay stuck there forever. So what I need to do, so part of that question is like, right, what do I need to do to get unstuck? I'm going to need to give myself the space to really allow my neurochemistry to reset and also probably have to holistically change my mindset to say, I have to look at the whole arc of my life and all of the conversations I have and everything that I'm going to do as more important than any individual thing and say, for the whole arc of my whole life, I have to get my neurochemistry and everything back in alignment so that I don't rely on these other chemicals to help me fall asleep. And so it's a holistic mindset shift and also a period because it's going to be rocky in that period where I just push out all of my obligations, everything that I need to do and I keep threatening to do it and I just haven't made the space to do it. I haven't prioritized it enough. But that must happen. It must happen and it's just a matter of me doing it and I pray and I believe and I trust that I'll do it before the universe makes me do it by having some accumulation of the negative effects of the medication I'm taking, et cetera. If you don't listen when it's time, you'll have to listen, like the universal make you listen. So I'm going to listen before the universe makes me listen. That key step though of awareness is you're clearly very aware and that's what, you know, when I think about helping my friends or I look at my friends' situations when they're struggling with something, that first step of really being aware of it, like you even know that it's a voice that calls you to the draw, which means, you know, from my observation that I also fully feel like you've done much of the hard work already by just admitting it to yourself, you know, because of the cognitive dissonance. So many people would justify it away or, you know, make other excuses to make it okay, but you've confronted that. Yeah. And it's funny because you've confronted it even in the, at the expense of how it might make you look and you're willing to say it out loud as well. That's amazing. In that story, I also sort of through line to what you're doing with Fit for Service. For anybody that doesn't, isn't aware of what your work now with Fit for Service, what is it and how can one get involved and if they are to get involved, what do you hope they take from it? It's really the technology of healing and transforming through community, you know, so that's really what we're doing is, yeah, there's a lot of, there's coaching and there's teaching of different things, but we're going through an initiatory, explorative practices. Now we don't do psychedelic medicine as far as the things you take, but we do do all the psychedelic practices from, you know, shamanic breath work, which is incredibly powerful. You know, many facilitators deep, deep breathing, huge emotional catharsis, ecstatic dance, you know, vision quests out on the land or, you know, wanders out on the land, vision quests are again longer sometimes, you know, Temascal, Innipi Sweat Lodges, you know, by the First Nations people, all of these different initiations and then communication technology initiations from circling techniques, which teach you how to communicate with each other to helping to collectively process archetypal grief, you know, masculine grief and feminine grief and using those dynamics to help elicit the strongest healing. But in the process of doing that altogether, deep bonds are formed and we have a survey that goes out to anybody who's been to, you know, at least two of our events and we say, did you meet somebody and fit for service that you know will be a friend for the rest of your life? 100% say yes. And so we're building, yes, there's the greater fit for service tribe where there's a lot of, there's a beautiful rich community, but the bonds that are formed with those people that maybe you did that one eye gazing exercise with and you started crying because you could see yourself in that other person or you were there with them in that one breath work that was so intense and the wind was whipping and everybody was screaming and there was three exorcisms happening simultaneously and it was fucking wild. Like those experiences then bring a bond together and you start to learn that actually going through these difficult things together will actually, you know, form relationships and help you heal and help you grow. And it's such a beautiful process to continue to watch this happen, you know, with so many different people from so many different places, you know, and it's really inspiring to see people willing to, in some ways, as we were talking about, nobody wants to mind. In some ways, you do expose yourself to your own darkness willingly by going into a breathwork or going into an eye or going into these things. That you know that you're fully supported and it's with full intention.
The thing you're doing wrong that you need to fix (01:38:17)
So in that way, we are actually going into the darkness to illuminate the light and just doing that together. And it's been really incredible. It doesn't feel at all like work. It feels like I would do this. And actually last year we switched to a donation model because we thought like this is the way to do it. We lost so much money that we can't do it anymore. But nonetheless, like so I basically worked all last year at a huge financial loss and offered all of these different summits and festival, all of this stuff. And it was still worth it. I wouldn't have changed it now. Of course, it's fundamentally unsustainable to do it that way. But nonetheless, like it's one of the things I really love to do and all of our coaches feel that way and it also draws in some incredible people that we get to learn from other master coaches and other inspiring medicine people who kind of carry a transmission that we learn from. So it's kind of like a little moment where we get to be in our own little Jedi school and just evolving our own internal psychic and emotional and physical technology. I watched the video on your website fitforservice.com and it looked, I don't know, sometimes just observing a clip or a trailer can make you feel a certain sense of warmth and connectedness. And that's what I got. I felt like a big group of friends that had gone out to the desert somewhere and were connecting at a much deeper level than you ordinarily see in that kind of retreat or event or whatever. So I felt really compelled to be involved I guess. So I think everybody should go check it out, just go watch the video and go see if it's calling you because I think there will be a lot of people out there that will realise just from watching that video that it's right for them. We do have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest asks a question for the next guest. See what has been left for you. Oh okay. Oh interesting. I actually don't get to see the question before we open the book but this is a good one. Who is someone you need to forgive? And then there's another line which is who is someone you need to forgive and have not? Which I think guess is the same thing. No forgiveness is an interesting thing because it's a spectrum. Yeah forgive you. But do you? But do you really though? Are you still kind of holding on? Are you saying the words and are you there? True forgiveness is the place of love that sees no wrong. It doesn't even actually register that there was a wrong there. Like that's the zero state of absolute forgiveness is to get to a place of what grievance? What did you do? Remind me again because I don't see it because kind of how I told this story about my dad, the way he yelled at me. Like I've seen so clearly, I've seen so clearly that it gave me a superpower that I'm able to be in absolute forgiveness of that. Absolute forgiveness of that. In when I get to that place where I've seen and would never have traded it for anything, I wouldn't have changed it one bit. When I can get to that place where I wouldn't have changed the thing, that's where real forgiveness is. As it's like if they're like I'm sorry I'd be like for what? Thank you. I mean like I see how this benefited my life. So that level of forgiveness, it takes the time to get there. So there are actually many places where I am in the evolutionary process of getting to that. But maybe I don't quite fully understand what that has given me yet. So somebody's done something and I haven't quite worked that into my, into the way that I can say like all right, this was for the best. If I had to say I would have to say the, the governments of the world right now, I don't think I've fully forgiven them. In the collusion, what I've seen between the collusion, between media and politics and you know, big pharma and big, big war and this whole construct of empire. One part of me says like all right, like if we take the Lord of rings analogy, the two towers need to rise so that the fellowship of the ring comes together. And that's what gets the elves and the dwarves to get along with the, with the hobbits and all and the wizards and the humans and everybody comes together and it's necessary for the two towers to be, to be built and to try and push their darkness on the world so that the fellowship will come. But there's been so much pain and so much loss and so much unnecessary suffering and so much unnecessary fear. And it's hard to get to the point where I can say like, yeah, I wouldn't change the thing with that. Because so I guess it's, you know, forgiving empire and I use empire to be that whole construct of that kind of top down manipulative dystopian control that we've, you know, everybody has their own little oculus to whatever part of that they see and I'm not trying to push my own view of that. But I think we can all feel that there's a force out there that's not in our best interests as sovereign beings. Have I forgiven that force? Not quite yet. Not quite yet. The full fellowship comes together and we have all of the, because I start, I'm starting to see that happen. Like all of the allies are forming this lattice work, this network that's now becoming more available because because of the pressure of the force of empire. But until that fully actually crystallizes it and it works, I don't think I'll be able, I'm not able to forgive empire yet. Orbury, thank you. You're the type of person that I love to speak to because there's, I feel like there's no question you wouldn't answer and the most difficult questions, but also you take a pause to answer the questions head on and your story of personal transformation and transition through various chapters in your life and ego death and all you've been through, you speak to it with such vulnerability and openness and honesty.
Fit for Service (01:45:06)
So anybody that's in a different phase or chapter of their journey to where, you know, you've found yourself today, I think they have the honest roadmap on how to progress forward. And that's the most inspiring powerful thing. And you know, it's not often you get to sit with someone who's had such tremendous business success that can also analyze that from sort of a meta perspective. And it's now doing work that's tremendously spiritually aligned with a new refreshing take on what their mission should be. And in your case, it's, as you've said, not just anymore about you. It's much more about the broader global community and your tribe. So thank you so much for this conversation today. It's been an honor to meet you and spend time with you. I feel freer. I feel inspired. I feel, I feel more powerful for it. And I hope we can have it again once the goblins and the Lord of the Rings. Yeah, let's get all the characters together. I've never seen the Lord of the Rings. So I guess it's happening. Here we are. Here we go. Another ladder, another, another connection, another node in Ingers net was formed. Sorry, Empire. It's happening. We'll be. Thank you. You're welcome, brother. Thank you. Quick one. As you guys know, we're lucky enough to have BlueJeans as a sponsor and supporter of this podcast. For anyone that doesn't know, BlueJeans is an online video conferencing tool that allows you to have slick, fast, good quality online meetings without any of those glitches that you'd normally find with other meeting online providers. You know the ones I'm talking about. And they have a new feature called BlueJeans Basic, which I wanted to tell you about. BlueJeans Basic is essentially a free version of their top quality video conferencing. And that means that you get immersive video experiences. You get that super high quality, super easy and zero fuss experience. And apart from zero time limits on meetings and calls, it also comes with high fidelity audio and video, including Dolby voice. They also have expertise grade security so you can collaborate with confidence. It's so smooth that it's quite literally changed the game for myself and my team without compromising quality at all. If you'd like to check them out, search BlueJeans.com and let me know how you get on. DM me, tweet me, whatever works for you. Let me know how you find it.
The last guest's question (01:49:55)