MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

 

We live in a society that glorifies ambition too much that we even created the term’ hustle culture’ to mask the toxic capitalistic, corporate-driven mentality that has become deleterious, demeaning, and devoid of humanity. As a result, we have become so accustomed to working day and night, leaving us more exhausted and burned-out than empowered—as what the capitalist advertisement wants us to believe. In this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen reveal the dark side of hustle culture, woke capitalism, and social media influence. They tap into the ways language is being leveraged in the capitalistic space, particularly on how corporations capitalize on the social movements to achieve their ends. Talking about the Millennial woman, they discuss the appeal of the world’ Girlboss’ and the unseen destructive effects it creates on women as they drive themselves to self-destructive work habits. On the big role of social media influence, Jason and Whitney then speak about the problems that come from comparing successes, statuses, and prestige. Listen in on this conversation that can help you reexamine the kind of work culture we are in and think about how you can take care of yourself better amidst it all.

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The Dark Side Of Hustle Culture, Woke Capitalism & Social Media Influence

As is usually the case with our episodes, Jason does not know what we’re going to talk about.

The same is true with this episode. Here I am sitting in a dark room in my mind, not knowing what’s about to happen next, which is par for the course for this time in life. Who the hell knows what’s going to happen next anyway? I suppose in a way, Whitney, the format, the content and the ethos of our show is perfect for this insane rollercoaster, rich, kaleidoscopic, ever-changing times in humanity.

That reminds me of a lot of what we put into our free eBook. If the reader has not downloaded this yet, you can go to our website at Wellevatr.com. We have a brand eBook in there that you can download for free called From Chaos to Calm. In numerous sections of that eBook, we point out the fact that things feel extra uncertain, but this is highlighting our awareness of uncertainty, which is always there. We’re not always as aware of it as we are. Sometimes that feels a little depressing and sometimes I feel it’s a little relieving. It feels bad, but maybe it’s no worse than usual, aside from the fact that many people are getting sick. That is the worst part of this.

For those of us who are healthy, a lot of us feel our biggest issues are anxiety and stress. That ties into the topic, which I know Jason’s going to get fired up about. We touched upon it briefly in the previous episode to this one. If you haven’t read that yet, we went over our eBooks. If you’re curious about the eBook but you’re not quite ready to download something, you can go read the episode and we would go through a lot of the main talking points of that. It comes up a lot on the show. A lot of what we’re going to talk about ties into hustle culture. I know that Jason gets fired up about this. I’m excited. I like it when you get fired u, Jason.

It’s guaranteed I’m going to get fired up about this episode because it’s something that needs to be deconstructed, examined and decoded. I remember the very first time, Whitney. This is going to be a throwback for a second but bear with me. The first time I ever heard about hustle culture or the concept of hustle was in 2000. In my final year of college, I went to Columbia in Chicago and I received, I finished, I completed a Bachelor in Arts degree with a major in Marketing Communications and a minor in Theater. One of my favorite teachers in my senior year at Columbia, his name was Hadji Williams. He wrote a book called Knock the Hustle.

This was about five years before he published this book. I remember him talking about hustle culture in the advertising, marketing, and PR industries. How toxic it was and how deleterious, demeaning, and devoid of humanity, that mentality, that he observed in the advertising industry. For me, he was a writing coach. He was a confidant. He was one of my favorite teachers and he’s the first person I remember talking about the downside of the hustle mentality. Five years later in ‘05, he published this book about knocking the hustle, about reexamining the toxic capitalistic, corporate-driven mentality of win at all costs. I have yet to read it. I want to pick up a copy now from an online retailer that we’re talking about it. I remember he was the first dude to bring my awareness to that.

Have you ever heard of the term woke capitalism?

I have. It makes me cringy as fuck when I hear that term.

What is your definition of that? What’s the context in what you’ve heard about that term?

I want to preface what I’m going to say by there are all kinds of greenwashing that’s gone on for the last several decades in terms of companies talking about their sustainable business initiatives or their conscious initiatives to be more humanistic and have a more humanistic, sustainable approach. Obviously, Whitney, you’ve been focusing on sustainability and ecofriendly living a lot longer than I have. I feel that certainly in some ways more in your wheelhouse than it is in mine. When you say woke capitalism, I often think about greenwashing and sustainability initiatives that don’t have a lot of foundational elements behind them. I also think about certified B corporations and that there are actual certifications or labels that corporations can get about reviewing sustainable business practices and getting those verified.

When I hear woke capitalism, I’m so sensitive to how language is being leveraged in the capitalistic space with like, “We care about human beings, regardless of color and gender. We donate 1% of our sales to albino pygmy bats in Malaysia.” It triggers me because I often feel that companies are doing things because it’s performative. We talked a lot about that in some of the previous episodes about cultural appropriation and Black Lives Matter, that there’s a huge gap between performative idealism in the corporate world and giving a shit. That’s my long way of saying when I hear woke capitalism, it sounds some more woo-woo bullshit.

If we keep chasing the proverbial carrot, whatever it is for us, the chase never ends. Click To Tweet

It’s definitely coming up a lot and it has come up a number of times in the past. I pulled up an article that had a definition of it. They were referencing some advertisements, like one by Pepsi and another one by Gillette, and using them as examples of woke capitalism. They defined it based on a Wikipedia post, which is, “Woke is a political term of African-American origin that refers to a perceived awareness of issues concerning social justice and racial justice. It is derived from the African American vernacular English expression stay woke whose grammatical aspect refers to continuing awareness of these issues.” Woke capitalism refers to the capitalist profit-driven approach followed by corporations who are capitalizing on the stir and population of social movements to achieve their ends.

It’s hard to gauge these things. Major multinational corporations are such gigantic entities with so many human beings, employees, moving parts, and facilities that it’s difficult to say whether a company is woke. There are individuals that can work for and comprise some elements of a capitalistic structure that could be more woke than others. To say a company is woke is a little bit tough. It brings up the idea of waste. It brings up the idea of how the factories are powered or how they’re producing things. We talk a lot about Tesla here on the show because Whitney is a huge fan. I like a lot of their practices. Even in the electric vehicle industry, as an example, cobalt mining is still a very contentious subject because there’s a lot of human rights issues with cobalt mining and a lot of dangerous practices in the mining industry.

It’s one of those things where we always have to ask ourselves, “Is a company doing their best? Are we doing our best?” There’s no such thing as perfection. If we’re going to be in a capitalist structure and companies are going to be producing goods and services for our consumption, I don’t know that it’s possible to be 100% damage free on the Earth in terms of waste, composting, soil erosion or emissions. It’s a tough thing. It almost seems like the more that we try and shift our practices and initiatives, there’s always more to do. There’s always more to optimize. I do give some corporations the benefit of the doubt when I see that they’re authentically trying. I’m leery of big corporations waving the banner of wokeness because to me, having been in marketing and advertising and worked for some big advertising agencies in the early part of my career, profit is still the motive.

We’re going to dig in deep into a lot of the things that you’re skimming the surface of. The inspiration for the subject came from an article I read, which you may have sent me, Jason. It was started with this article called The End of the Girlboss Is Here. I went down a rabbit hole. Speaking of the rabbit hole, the author of that article, it’s a wonderful article on Medium.com. I highly recommend it. As a Millennial woman and an entrepreneur, I feel the word girlboss has been so appealing. When you start to dig into it, it helps me understand why. A lot of the things that I want to bring up are very related to Millennials. As we’ve said in the past, Jason isn’t technically a Millennial. He’s a few years outside of that realm. Still, you are very Millennial in a lot of your behavior and your lifestyle. Would you say that’s accurate?

I have one foot in my actual generation, which is Generation X and a lot of my colleagues, friends, you being my business partner, best friend, assistance, people I work with, you go on down the line. A high concentration of them are Millennials.

I’m curious what you thought when you read this article, Jason. I wanted to point out that the author of it, Leigh Stein, is one of my dream guests. She came out with a book called Self-Care that I want to read. I have a long queue of books, but that’ll be on my reading list very soon. She’s incredibly eloquent. I’m putting it out there. Every once in a while, I like to throw out a name on the show of somebody that we hope to have as a way of manifesting it. Jason, do you remember much about that article, and what inspired you to send it to me?

Without it being right in front of me and having read, the big thing that jumped out at me was the feminist movement adopting a lot of white cis-gendered male corporate ideals in a mad dash to gain power and get ahead. The concept of feminism had subverted a lot of these overworking, hard-charging, success at all costs, smash the glass ceiling type of thing that men had been doing for God knows how long. Women felt this extra pressure to be successful, be their own bosses, and prove that they could do better than men, because of the massive amount of power the patriarchy has. For women and people of color in corporate settings or in entrepreneurial settings to work that much harder to get ahead.

The part that was interesting to me was the downward slope of this that we talk a lot and we have talked a lot about on this in previous episodes about the downside of the hard work mentality that there’s this, in my opinion, stilted pedantic mentality of you outwork everyone and you’ll get ahead. The Girlboss Movement, in my opinion, reading this article, it was highlighting the dark aspects of it. Women burning themselves out and losing touch with taking good care of themselves and some aspects of their femininity in trying to get ahead in a white male-dominated corporate hierarchy, losing some elements of who you are as a woman. I thought it was a great and fantastic read.

I highly recommend it and we encourage the reader to read it as well. One thing I like about Medium.com as a resource is they always tell you approximately how long it takes to read their articles. I usually read several articles from Medium every single day. I try not to rush through them because they’re usually very juicy. The most interesting line regarding this episode from that article is a line from that. Leigh says, “Woke capitalism lets the elites maintain the status quo while paying lip service to the demands of activists. As ethical consumers, Millennials get to feel they’re making a difference every time they go shopping.”

It’s pandering so people leave you alone. It’s like, “We’ll donate a higher percentage of our profits to the polar bear so you guys are appeased and so Greenpeace leaves us alone,” or “We’ll stop using fur in our fall fashion line because PETA protested.” It’s interesting because if we’re going to examine the psychology behind this, if a corporation changes their product development cycle, how they’re sourcing their ingredients, or how they’re producing their products, it’s almost giving in this case, Millennials that are more aware of the power of their purchasing and companies they want to support that are more ethical.

When we buy something that is perceived as green, ethical, sustainable or progressive, it’s almost like we’re purchasing things that are reflective of not our own personal values, but our sense of who we are. It’s like, “I bought the greenest car on the market,” or “I bought a recycled leather jacket.” We talk about virtue signaling and that’s a huge topic on social media. This part of conscious capitalism or the whitewashing and capitalism is virtue signaling that whoever buys their shit is also woke. It’s like, “No, I did a good thing, guys. Look where I spent my money.”

MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

Knock the Hustle: How to Save Your Job and Your Life from Corporate America

We are very driven to do good things. Part of what I took away from that article as well is that can be very manipulative. In general, marketing is always on that fine line of are you helping somebody or are you manipulating them? What I was interested in there too was how in one of our episodes, we talked about toxic masculinity. As I was reading that article, I started to think about toxic femininity. As you were saying, women are often striving so hard to prove themselves and that hustle is very appealing because we want to be seen as powerful as men and as successful as men. Sometimes that drives us to do things that might not be great for our mental health or the wellbeing of people around us. Another article that I discovered as I went down the rabbit hole were talking about the workplace culture, of a lot of these female-driven Girlboss environments and how there can be racism in there.

There can be so much manipulation of the employees or taking advantage of them or perhaps putting out a message that is in alignment with the work culture there. It was talking about The Wing as an example, which is a coworking space in some cities Los Angeles that I’ve been to, and how there were some bad things happening behind the scenes of that business. I was also thinking about the environment there and how it felt very elitist in a lot of ways. I don’t even know if it’s going to exist anymore after COVID, but whether it was COVID or not, that business might not have been sustainable because of some of the things that were happening there in their culture. On one hand, that place represented that Girlboss mentality.

That was a huge part of its marketing. I haven’t looked it up, but I remember going in there and feeling two things. One is I walk in and it was designed to appeal to that Millennial female solopreneur like myself or a small business owner. It was the color scheme of pinks and all of these typical Millennial female colors. The nice-looking couches and everything looks Instagram worthy. They had a cool cafe with plant-based options, an indoor and outdoor space. That was so nice, but then I was simultaneously feeling I walk in here and I feel that the need to prove myself. I feel like I have to dress up to go work in this environment because I’m going to be seen. I have to take nice pictures if I’m here because everything looks like it’s perfectly curated.

It was pretty pricey. It was definitely something that I didn’t quite feel comfortable paying for. They didn’t offer free trials or anything, which I always thought was a little strange. They had long waiting lists. It reminded me of Soho House, Jason. It was this elitist work environment, which appeals to me on some levels. As I was reading that article, I started to think, “There’s a lot of elements of this that end up making me feel I’m in the comparison trap all the time.” You’re surrounded by all these successful people and you’re constantly measuring yourself against them and how they look and how old they are and how successful they are and what are they getting done and how much money do they have?

That for me, personally, is triggering. For the most part, I enjoyed going to The Wing. It evoked a lot of good emotions. By reading that article, I wondered what those emotions are about. That’s what I wanted to explore a little bit further. That led me through this hustle culture mentality. What are the roots of Girlboss beyond the feminist movement side of it? There is one article that I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It’s so juicy and so articulate. I highly recommend it for you, Jason, and the reader to check out these articles.

Another one of the articles I was reading that wasn’t directly related to that first one by Leigh Stein. Another one that I happened to be reading was from this website TinyLittleBusiness.com and the article is Better Prospects: A Sphere of Influence Manifesto. I thought this was fascinating, some of the points about influencer culture, which Jason I’ve talked about too, and how that intersects with hustle. The author said, “It’s a culture of short-sightedness not helped that it has become a badge of honor to worship at the altar of hustle. The winners get to insert another coin and continue to play. The losers disappear and the screaming noise rendered invisible and irrelevant.”

This is what I’m saying. It’s when in this Girlboss environment. Part of it has to do with LA culture in general, then you add in the influencer culture and the Girlboss culture. There’s a lot of this winner and loser mentality. Many people are attracted to hustle and partake in the hustle simply because of that fear that they will no longer be able to play, they’ll be invisible and they’ll be irrelevant. That’s part of the huge danger of hustle culture. You feel you’re constantly striving to keep up and it’s incredibly exhausting.

It’s a tough thing because that inherently as an entrepreneur, there’s a mentality of working more. It’s a cliché, but this phrase always sticks with me, “Entrepreneurs are the only people that are willing to work 80 hours a week so that they don’t have to work 40 for someone else.” There’s an embedded mentality when one chooses to or feels compelled. Some people feel deeply compelled to run their own business. They almost feel as if it’s not a choice. There is a compulsion or something hurdling them into running their own business. Regardless of what the motivation is, there’s almost an embedded mentality of working harder to prove oneself because one has created their own business. It’s not just perhaps eschewing the 9:00 to 5:00 or eschewing a weekly paycheck to start one’s own business and the inherent pressures that come from that.

Anybody who’s reading who has been in business for themselves certainly knows those pressures. As you said, you have all these other layers on top of it, which is social media presence, being considered an influencer, content creator than being a woman, a person of color, or a person who’s been marginalized in society a.k.a. not a person who’s a white cis-gendered man. Anyone else who’s outside of that and feeling extra pressure to prove themselves. On top of that, you have living in a big city like Los Angeles, which is inherently a brutally competitive environment. It’s no wonder there are so many health issues around burnout, adrenal fatigue, mental health, depression, anxiety, and suicide. As we’re breaking this down, it’s like, “No fucking wonder.”

You hear more and more of those cases coming out. This is all speculation, but the first one is about Steve Bing. I remember when I heard the news about his passing, which I haven’t followed since it happened. I don’t know if you have, Jason, but he was a very beloved person as far as I’m aware and successful. It seemed he had it all. When Jason and I were discussing his passing, it was like, “Did he choose to end his own life?” It seems like he did. If so, what motivates somebody like him to do that? What’s going on behind the scenes that we can’t see? Is it depression? Is it burnout? Was it anxiety, stress, fear, all of these different emotions, and the toll that COVID is having on people, in addition to that? I feel hustle culture is changing a lot for better or maybe for worse during COVID because it’s changed our relationship to how we work.

This time of quarantine during COVID is for not just me, we’ve alluded to some shifts in my creative life and my career focus. Many people I talk to not in the wellbeing, wellness, food, health industry, but I feel a lot of people are taking time to reexamine their habits, their compulsions, their motivations, and not what they are doing. I don’t mean this in a luxurious sense because people are struggling financially right now. Amidst the financial struggle, unemployment, and economic downturn and the roller coaster ride, that is the stock market, I feel it’s important for people to ask, not just what I ought to do work-wise, business-wise or career-wise, but slowing down to ask why.

It's important for people to ask, not just what they ought to do work-wise or business-wise or career-wise, but why they are doing it. Click To Tweet

I want to dive further into that, but I pulled up an article about Steve Bing from the Hollywood Reporter, which I feel as a pretty reputable source. I’m scanning it. I’m not reading it in depth. One line that summarizes a lot of what I’m saying, it basically concluded that he did commit suicide, which was implied from the beginning. As time went on, they confirmed it. In a paragraph here, it says, “Several who were close to Bing say they did not fear he was suicidal but acknowledged he was contending with a sea of troubles. Depression, serious drug use, family riffs, and rumored money pressures. Perhaps the toll of a pandemic on a single man who did not care to be alone.”

It also shows you that nobody knows the proverbial demons that another person is struggling with. On a base level, we have these images of Steve Bing who, from what I read, he inherited $500 million on his eighteenth birthday. That’s mind-blowing to me. To be eighteen years old and be gifted from your inheritance $500 million, that’s almost unfathomable. We could say, “How fortunate,” but we have no idea how that shaped him as a human being had the rest of his life.

One of the final paragraphs of that article says, “In the days before the pandemic closed Los Angeles down, a store says Bing was seen dozing at Crossroads Kitchen, a popular Melrose Avenue vegan restaurant in which he was an investor.” It’s a sad thing when people feel compelled to end their lives because of their struggles, but it’s a personal decision as well. We’ll never truly understand because they’re not here to speak for themselves. Whether that’s connected to the hustle culture or anything that we’re talking about here, it doesn’t necessarily mean if that was Steve Bing’s motive. That’s what comes up for me and my curiosity. A lot of people get curious about that. What pressure is somebody facing or what demons is somebody facing to go to such an extreme measure? That hustle culture can be incredibly detrimental. I see it a lot, especially in the Millennials. That’s a huge part of what I want to talk about here. Another article I read was from the New York Times, and it’s called Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?

If you remove young people from that, why is anyone pretending?

A lot of this research I’ve done has been targeted towards Millennials because it is a big issue with people in that age range, myself included. It certainly isn’t limited to them. This article came out in 2019. There are some great lines here. I’m going to read them out loud for us to discuss. “Hustle culture. It is obsessed with striving, relentless positive, devoid of humor. Once you notice it, impossible to escape. It’s glorifying ambition, not as a means to an end, but as a lifestyle. The concept of productivity has taken on an almost spiritual dimension. Aimed at a younger generation of people who are seeking permission to follow their dreams. In the new work culture and during or even merely liking one’s job is not enough. Workers should love what they do and then promote that love on social media. It creates the assumption that the only value we have as human beings is our productive capability.

Our ability to work rather than our humanity. Spending time on anything that’s non-work-related has become a reason to feel guilty. The vast majority of people beating the drums of hustle mania are not the people doing the actual work. They’re the managers, financiers, and owners. Myths about overwork persist because they justify the extreme wealth created for a small group of elite techies. Millennials were raised to expect that good grades and extracurricular overachievement would reward them with fulfilling jobs that feed their passions. Instead, they wound up with precarious, meaningless work, and a mountain of student loan debt.”

The word that comes to mind is it feels bleak. It’s interesting that there’s the correlation between hustle, work, and productivity being treated as almost a spiritual experience or elevated to that level. The first thing that came to my mind is a quote from Alan Watts. He said, “Stop measuring your days in degrees of productivity, yet instead in degrees of presence.” It is an interesting thing, Whitney, because at the end of the day, or end of one’s life, if we want to go there, it’s almost a question of what was all the hard work for? Was it making someone else rich? Was it trying to strive for attention, significance, and power because we feel we didn’t have enough? If so, why did we feel we needed to strive for those things?

It does bring up the idea and the question of what is enough? What’s enough power? What’s enough money? What’s enough significance? What’s enough influence? To me, it seems like this whole game is a zero-sum game because there’s always more money you can be making. There are always more followers you can have. There are always more connections you can be making. Instead of 10X-ing your business, you can 20X it or 30X it. It feels if we go down this road and we take it to its logically justified conclusion, there’s an element of I would say self-destruction and nihilism that’s built into this. If we keep chasing the proverbial carrot, whatever it is for us, the chase never ends.

I find articles this helpful for my mental health because, as I’ve been developing my career and my businesses and all of that, there’s often a conflict that I felt within myself. A lot of that comes down to things like the comparison trap that I mentioned and seeing so many people succeed in ways that I hadn’t and wonder was I doing something wrong? Maybe had I not optimized it. Was there something wrong with me? Was I not enough? Was I not doing enough? There’s so much even now. It’s still happening. I am less aware of it now because I’ve consciously moved away from it. In the past, I was into people like Gary Vaynerchuk and even Brendon Burchard, who we talk a lot about, Jason. I enjoy a lot of his work, but for a large extent of his work, he does encourage people to hustle, to work hard.

That appealed to me a ton, I would say probably between 2013 to 2016. I was entrenched in that. I’m trying to learn how to make more money and how to optimize everything and trying to figure that out and support other people with it. I still like helping people monetize, strategize, and optimize. Now I’m trying to be careful about using those words because I don’t want to do it at the expense of my mental health or somebody else’s mental health. It triggered me and it triggered a lot of self-worth issues. What starts to happen when you see other people succeeding as you compare yourself to them and you wonder why aren’t you getting those successes and are you not doing it right?

Like all those things I said, and that can be incredibly detrimental and draining too because that’s a huge part of the hustle culture. It’s trying to keep up with the Joneses. When the Joneses are posting on Instagram and all of this, you think, “I got to do that too,” or, “I should follow them. They must have a formula.” A lot of people want to sell their formulas to you. Over the years, when I see stuff like that, I hide it. I press the mute button on Instagram. I turn off the ads on Facebook and I tell Facebook I don’t want to see stuff this anymore. I unsubscribe from newsletters. In my life, that does not serve me. Part of that is not how I’ve developed mentally and emotionally over the past few years. It’s also that I’ve spent so much time doing things and it didn’t do that much for me. It didn’t bring me nearly as much money as I was promised. It didn’t change my life in a positive way. It led me to overwork myself, to drain myself, to feel burnt out. I don’t want to feel that way.

MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

Hustle Culture: Woke capitalism refers to the capitalist profit-driven approach followed by corporations who are capitalizing on the stir and population of social movements to achieve their ends.

 

There’s a big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that a lot of people are promising. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It doesn’t mean you have to love it every single second of the day. I want to smash that myth quickly of this idea that you have to find something that you’re so in love with doing. The traditional phrase, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s bullshit because there are days you can love something, but there are some days where things are tough and you got to gut it out and you got to find deeper powers to make it through certain days.

However, I do think there is an element of truth in that you’re doing something to keep up with the Joneses or keep up appearances, meet influential people, be part of an elite clique in your industry. Also, make a lot of money or do whatever the thing is. If those things aren’t happening, you’re busting your ass, you’re working 80 hours a week, you’re not seeing your loved ones and you’re losing sleep. You’re not taking good care of your health, your mental health, your physical health, your spiritual health. It’s almost as if you put all this time, effort, work, sweat, blood, tears, and then you don’t get the thing you want, whether that’s a certain number or certain number of followers. Whatever the thing is.

It makes me question how much do you love your craft? There’s another layer that when you are passionate and you have a deep love for your craft, whatever it is that you’re doing, that even if the “rewards” or the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow doesn’t show up, you still have a love for what you’re doing. Joseph Campbell, who I love to reference, one of my favorite authors of all time. In his book, Reflections on the Art of Living, he said, “If you chase money and money doesn’t show up, you have nothing left. If you have a vocation, a career, a craft that you love, money will come and go, but you always have the thing to focus on. You’ll always have your craft, your vocation. You’re a student of something that you love. There’s a love affair with that. Money flows in, money flows out, but you’re not dictated by the money.”

I feel I’ve chased money a lot in my career. I know a lot of people are chasing money. We talked about this maybe in some previous episodes. It was the episode about Fake It Until You Make It about fake gurus, about the experts. This is my opinion. I’ve noticed a lot of people that will go to a Brendon event, a Tony event, a Dean Grasiozi event, or a Grant Cardone event. Name any life coach transformational person, and they’ll come out and they’re like, “I’m a coach now.” Do you do this because you have a deep, sincere desire to help people with their suffering and their confusion and their struggle, or are you doing it because you see dollar signs?

In my opinion, a lot of people that are popping out that are like, “I’m a transformational expert. I am a coach. I’m an expert.” It’s like, “Be honest with yourself, do you want to help people or are you doing this because I can enroll three people and make $90,000?” Be fucking honest about it. I am getting fired up because it pisses me off when I scroll through Instagram and it’s these hordes of people that are coaches and I’m like, “How long have you been doing this? Why are you doing this?” I don’t care about how long. I’m like, “What is your actual motivation here? If it’s to cash in and make money and get attention insignificance and feel good about yourself because you did something with your life, it’s not about helping people. I honestly feel, yes, I’m fired up because I want to call bullshit, bullshit. In health wellness, wellbeing, transformation, there’s a whole lot of people that when I get an intuitive hit on them and I dig under the hood, I’m like, “You’re not doing this because you want to help people. You’re doing this because you see the dollar signs and you want to cash in.” It’s an icky feeling.

From a spiritual perspective, we need to remind ourselves that we’re all on different journeys with our awareness. Some people are in different places than we are. We also can’t judge someone without digging in deeper and somebody might not be willing to admit their motives yet or they might be so seeped into the culture. Part of my motivation for doing this episode is I’ve certainly been seeped in the culture. One thing I’ve been spending a lot of time examining is my relationship with social media. I feel conflicted and still is daily. I’m considered an influencer. That word makes me cringe. I have a lot of negative associations with it and I generally use that word whenever it works to my advantage, to be frank. I do a lot of research around that. One of the things that I do as a side passion project, I love helping people figure out their social media strategy. Not from a place of making money, but from a place of making a difference in the world and serving.

That is ultimately always been my motive, but I found myself getting carried away with the hustle culture. I found myself getting and buying into the Girlboss mentality and that woke side of the capitalistic mentality. You think, “Why not make money? I deserve to make money.” I’m more drawn to on a deeper level the spiritual side of things. I want to do something for intrinsic value-driven reasons. A lot of people do, but there’s this culture around you encouraging you to take advantage of people and like, “It’s okay to do this.” One of the things that came up in my research, and this is obvious, but there is a lot of research that shows that Americans associate busyness and stress with prestige and status.

The same thing is true with money. If I can say that I’m this coach and I’m charging all of this money, it’s like you’re trying to get some sort of external validation, which is ultimately about being perceived as prestigious and having a high status. That’s a huge passion of mine, trying to understand all of that. I’ve been developing a whole new program on this separate from Wellevatr. This idea of status is so fascinating to me because I found myself in that too. It’s a big Millennial thing. That book Selfie, which we referenced in some episodes, is interesting about how certain people around my age range especially have been raised to be super drawn to status. I read a separate book. I brought this up in our episode with Chris Guillebeau, who talks a lot about hustle and encourages hustle in a lot of ways. There’s a wonderful book called Status Anxiety.

That’s a fascinating book because it gets into the history of it. It’s so important for us to understand the history, whether it’s the history of our lifetimes, but also the long-term human history and how status has been something that’s incredibly important to us as human beings. It’s a very primal desire to fit in, to be accepted by the group, to not be ostracized. It’s part of our survival. My heart goes out from a compassionate Buddhist perspective. I’m reading a book by Pema Chodron, and one of her key points across all of her work, but in this book, especially, which is called Welcoming the Unwelcome.

She talks about how important it is for us to always see the goodness in everybody, even if they’ve done something horrible. She pointed out how even in prisons, the inmates would learn about each other and see the goodness within themselves and in their peers in the prisons despite that they’ve done horrible things. That doesn’t mean that somebody isn’t good deep down. It’s that they made decisions out of some driving factor that it could have been a snap judgment. Some horrible things happen. Some moments of rage can drive us to do horrible things. Does that mean that we’re not good overall? I guess it depends. Maybe there is some extreme examples, but certainly in this case that you’re bringing up, Jason, of people that are trying to capitalize and position themselves as experts, coaches, gurus, and whatever else. If I examine it, what I see is somebody who’s striving to get validation and striving to survive financially. They’re caught up in this culture that perpetuates that and rewards that.

First of all, yes, Whitney, having compassion for self and others an ongoing process of discovery as we go on as humans and it’s a crucial one. Sometimes I lose my patience with people. I’m like, “I’m going to call you on your bullshit.” To one degree or another, that’s been good in some ways in my life, in other ways, not good. I’ve noticed in not only taking these transformational workshops, these coaching programs or talking to a lot of our and associates in the well-being industry, there are a lot of predatory practices. One example that I see is people will take a transformational or coaching program, empowerment program. They’ll come out of it. Whoever the leader is, or the teacher or the person at the top of that hierarchy who’s leading it will be like, “Now go enroll clients. You hold your value and make sure you retain your value.”

As we go on as humans, having compassion for ourselves and others is a crucial ongoing process of discovery. Click To Tweet

It’s this pressure-y tactic to pump people up, which in a lot of ways, people do need more self-esteem, especially people that are perhaps reticent to claim their worth. What I see in a lot of these programs is it’s predatory because in some ways, it’s perhaps taking advantage of a person’s weakness and saying, “You need to charge more. Don’t worry about your lack of experience. Go out there and do it.” They go out and they enroll people for $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 coaching programs and they don’t have the life experience or the training to back up what they’re offering. They got the money, so they feel they’re a success as a result because they enrolled someone.

I say predatory because it is in a way of taking advantage of people. For me, I’m very open-minded but I’m also coming in with a healthy level of skepticism whenever someone tells me about a transformational program, a coaching program, or a new thing. There’s a predatory element to a lot of it, Whitney, that I pick up on quickly now that I didn’t use to in the past. When I get a whiff of that, it goes back to the advertising, the marketing, and the Girlboss thing. It’s almost this religious fervor or this experience of like, “Come be with us, be with this group. You’ll be successful, you’ll be famous, you’ll be noteworthy, you’ll be known.” It does go to our primal desires to have safety, have resources, and be cliquey. Whether you like it or not, there still is a hierarchy in human civilization that is being reinforced continually. What we’re talking about is this idea of status and this idea of hustle, this idea of overworking oneself and aligning with specific people in our industry or in society is reinforcing hierarchy. That is what it is to me.

I can agree with a lot of this and it’s very manipulative. It also makes me think like there is a hierarchy too because the people that are encouraging other people to hustle and grind are benefiting from it. I read in that article on The New York Times, where the people that are perpetuating this hustle culture often are the ones that are benefiting from it financially. We’re being manipulated in a lot of ways to buy into that. A lot of these budding coaches, these newbie coaches, or inexperienced people that start coaching programs are pulled into it and they might go and pay for a certification. I’ve been drawn to sign up for coaching certification programs before.

I haven’t yet. Sometimes I’m like, “I wonder if people would take me more seriously if I was certified as a coach,” because I take coaching very seriously. This is a long path for me. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. Looking at the marketing behind some of these certification programs, and the same could be true with the culinary world, Jason, the nutrition, or the health coaching businesses. Those are expensive programs. They’re usually on average $10,000 to get certified in something. You wonder like, “Is it that these people running the certification programs? Are they benefiting and they’re manipulating the people in the programs to figure out how to make their money back? Is that why they’re charging so much?”

There’s a lot of responsibility behind it. It’s not like somebody wakes up one day and is like, “I’m going to go sell a $50,000 coaching program so I can make money.” They were somehow influenced by somebody else who might have benefited off of that as well. Somebody who is trying to find their place in the world and trying to get by financially. Look at MLMs and I’m not sure how comfortable you are Jason, but I feel you were drawn into an MLM. From my perspective, it seemed you were mostly driven out of the promise of making money. Is that right?

It was multiple things. Yes, it absolutely was the money. At that point, I had a couple of long-term business deals that had fallen by the wayside and I needed the cash. The other side of it too was that the more that I learned about the company, I did think that their products and their sourcing and what they were doing was pretty on the up and up the more that I learned about them. The biggest thing was I was worried about money with the downturn in my business and some other deals that went south. A colleague, friend of mine came along and said, “Do this with me.” I had resisted dozens and dozens of MLM pitches over the years. Something in my intuition told me not to do this and I said yes anyway. Eight months into doing it, I was like, “No. I’m done.”

You and I have had this conversation a lot of trusting our intuition. I know I’ve brought it up with you with a few deals that you and I have had come across the table. If my heart and my gut are saying, “Don’t do it,” I am now paying closer attention to that than I ever have before because I have so many life examples, including this MLM of my intuition saying, “Don’t do this. It’s not for you.” I said yes anyway. Eight months down the road, my heart was like, “We told you this.” It’s fine. I’m not beating myself up for saying yes, but the moral of this to me at least is if you are getting a very strong hit from your intuition, whether it’s a yes or a no, it is important to follow that in life.

Multilevel marketing is fascinating to me and I feel wary of it. I’m very skeptical. Technically, I was involved with one because another one of our mutual friends was part of one for skincare and they make amazing skincare. I joined and technically I joined under her, but I was joining mainly as an affiliate. Affiliate programs are similar to MLMs, but not quite the same pyramid scheme. Technically that’s what it was. I remember watching what you went through with your multilevel marketing situation. The pressure that you faced and it felt cheesy to me like, “I’m going to show you how to be successful with this.” There’d be phone calls and strategy sessions and there were events and all. It was intense. That did not feel in alignment with you as who you are.

I always joke that I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and they wanted me to drink it. I was like, “I had to be honest about it.” To me, here’s what it was. It wasn’t the near-religious fervor that I felt from some people about these products sometimes. It depends on where a person is at in terms of their life experience, their awareness. For you and I being in this industry of food, nutrition, and wellness for so long. I’ve been in that for years. I’m not doing a humblebrag. It’s a long time to be doing this shit. I’ve had a lot of products. You and I probably sample when the expos, the trade shows, the conferences, and you and I do speaking, we travel and we do the things we normally do in a non-pandemic year, we probably sample thousands of products a year.

Not to mention our personal trips to the grocery store. We love to try things.

From supplements to protein powders, to green powders, to nootropics to biohacking stuff. You name it we love it. We’re fanatics about that. With this MLM in particular, there was a culture and marketing around it around this is this is the greatest stuff ever, which God bless David Wolfe and his thing about everything being the best ever, but at a certain point, the rhetoric is like, “Everything can’t be the best ever.” The culture around it was this is bar none the best products in the industry. I beg to differ. I tried them. I used them. They’re great, but do that they are the panacea in the wellness industry? No. Therefore, I couldn’t get behind the marketing. I can’t stand behind something from an ethical standpoint. Unless I use something, love it, and know it for me to get on and talk like, it’s the greatest thing ever, there’s a disconnect for me. That to me goes to integrity and ethics. If you want me to market a product or a service as the greatest thing in the industry and in my heart, I don’t feel that it is, that’s unethical to me.

MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

Hustle Culture: There are days you can love something, but there are some days where things are tough, and you have to gut it out and find deeper powers to make it through certain days.

 

I struggle with that a lot when it comes to essential oils. I feel it’s such a shame that a lot of the top essential oil companies out there, or people’s knowledge of essential oils is connected to MLMs. Essential oils are incredible. There are more brands out there that aren’t MLMs and there are brands, but there are some major essential oil brands that are part of MLMs. I’ve always felt a little sad that they are MLMs because I don’t trust them. When something’s in MLM, I immediately feel skeptical. That doesn’t mean it’s not good. This company you’re referencing, it’s not that their products weren’t good. To your point, it’s that positioning that they’re the best. You have all these essential oil companies trying to position themselves as the best and there are brands like Well Scent that Jason and I love, that’s one brand I feel loyal to because I’ve been using their essential oils for years and they’re not an MLM. We’ve known the owner and there’s so much passion behind it.

There’s also a ton of other brands. I’m not brand loyal to one essential oil company. I’m shouting out Well Scent because of all of the brands out there, they’re the one that I have the most affinity towards. I’m not going to name them, but the other essential oil brands that are known for being MLMs, I feel sad because I wish that I could view them from a non-MLM standpoint. When I entered into the relationship with this skincare company, I wasn’t looking at it as an MLM standpoint, even though technically it was. What was neat is they decided to stop being an MLM and now they’re not anymore. I thought that was in so much integrity and it made me love the brand even more. I was already a fan of their products, but the fact that they are willing to step back from that industry and say they’re going to do things differently is amazing. I’m not saying their name because I need to do a little bit of more research to see where they stand. Last I heard, they were completely revamping their company to no longer be in an MLM. I was like, “This is awesome.”

I’ve never heard of that happening. I’ve never heard of a multilevel marketing structure reverting. That’s fascinating, Whitney.

Once I do my research, I will revisit this and tell you how I’m feeling about them, but I still use their products pretty frequently. I’m saying it comes back to the manipulation side of things. I try to be very careful about my motives for promoting products. I don’t want anybody to feel I’m in it for the wrong reasons. I have then, and Jason, you’ve experienced this as well. When times get tough financially, it feels very tempting to promote something just to get paid for it or to make money from it. That’s what I’m saying. When we get triggered by other people and the things that other people are doing, it’s a great opportunity for us to look within ourselves.

My heart goes out to anybody who’s trying to be a coach or joining an MLM because if their motives are similar to ours and our experiences, we’ve been there too. We know what it’s to do something and feel drawn to something because you’re in a place of scarcity. A lot of that’s happening. There’s a lot of businesses that are growing because, during this pandemic, a lot of people are feeling that pressure of uncertainty. Even if it’s always there, it feels so strong. That leads me back to a couple of other things before we wrap on this subject matter in specific. There were two other articles that I wanted to address on the subject matter. Another one is from The New York Times and it was called The Busy Trap. Busy as a word that I get very triggered by because I feel like it is such a superficial word and it drives me nuts when I hear people use it.

There are so many synonyms for it. “Things are crazy right now,” is a phrase that synonymous to busy-ness. It’s like, “Sorry I haven’t been able to do this or that because my life is crazy.” I get so triggered by that term just as Jason was getting triggered about the coaching. I have to bite my tongue to not say anything when somebody says they’re busy or that their life is crazy. I call bullshit on that. That’s my thing. I feel like it’s such an excuse, but then I have to have compassion for why somebody uses using that term.

This article is interesting. A couple of parts of it that I found most fascinating where this one, which is, “Busyness serves as an existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness. Obviously, your life cannot possibly be silly, trivial, or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. It makes you feel important, sought after, and put upon.” Another line was, “Wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”

The histrionic exhaustion covering up things that don’t matter. Do you want to talk about the truth meter being hit? There’s a balance here of having deep compassion for ourselves and others and also, the James Baldwin quote that I love so much, which is, “If I love you, I have to make you aware of the things you don’t see.” Calling people in on their bullshit. I want to be called in on my bullshit. The people that I know love and trust, when they call me in and say, “Are you aware? This might be motivating you or this is how you’re showing up. You’re acting out of desperation. You’re acting out of fear.” Please call me on that. We’ve done it. It’s virtue signaling. “I wish I could hang out, but I can’t because I have a podcast and then I have an interview with Oprah and then I’m hanging out with Marianne Williamson. I’m going to go have a sleepover with Deepak Chopra and we’re going to roast marshmallows out on his patio.”

We’re all wanting acceptance, approval, significance, and some sort of love. At the deepest source, what does this come down to? It comes down to wanting to be loved. Look at me, I’m important. I matter. What I’m doing in the world matters, but we run ourselves ragged chasing acceptance, chasing approval, chasing people’s love. All of us have to become more aware of whenever we are desperately seeking people’s love attention and approval because as human beings, we are apt to do that.

Part of my mission with this episode is this woke mentality. We want you to wake up and examine these elements of yourself because sometimes we’re doing things, saying things and making decisions, living our lives as a whole based on superficial motivations that have a ripple effect. Not within your own life, but on other people. When I examine why I get so triggered by that busy term, it’s because it feels somebody else is saying to me that I’m not a priority. It’s often using that context. It’s like, “Sorry, I didn’t get back to you sooner. I’ve been busy.” It’s like you’re trying to say that your life and all of the things going on are more important than your friendships or your business partners.

That’s an assumption there. If we strip away, that person is also saying that their desire to feel important is more important than showing that I’m important to them. It’s like, “You don’t feel important right now because I want you to know how important I am.” That feels so selfish. It’s so triggering to me. I’m sure I do this in my own way. I’m trying to pay more attention. We’re all in our different paths of awareness. It’s not meant to come across as a judgment. It’s meant as a question and noticing my own trigger, recognizing what does it brings up within myself and how I feel when somebody uses that word busy to me.

If we have learned anything through the pandemic, it is that things are less in our control than we realize. Click To Tweet

There are two examples. One is somebody who didn’t respond to my texts for a few days. When they finally did, they’re like, “I’m seeing your text now. Sorry. Things have been crazy.” It had me thinking, “Bullshit. I know for a fact that you’re on your phone all the time.” Do you want me to believe that you’re so busy that you don’t even notice the notification popup? Granted, it could be possible if you have notifications turned off on your phone. Maybe you’re doing it for your mental health, but that would be so much more honest like, “Sorry, I didn’t respond. I didn’t see because I had a ‘do not disturb’ on because I’m trying to spend less time on my phone.”

I’d be like, “Awesome. I totally get it.” Maybe someone saying, “I’m so sorry I didn’t respond to you. I saw your message a few days ago, but I felt overwhelmed and I didn’t have the capacity to respond.” I crave that type of honesty. There’s still a pending text message I sent to a friend of mine and she still hasn’t responded to me. I feel this resentment in me. I bet you anything that she’s going to respond one day and say, “I’m so sorry I didn’t get back to you. I’ve been so busy,” or whatever her version of that because she says that to me all the time. It’s so sad because now I’m at a place where I expect her to tell me she’s busy.

I have to prep myself for her saying that. I hate that. That’s such an icky feeling to anticipate your friend giving their common excuse to you every time. What happens is I, as a friend, don’t want to reach out to that person anymore. I don’t trust them anymore. I don’t feel safe with them. I don’t feel an important or priority. It starts to eat away at the friendship, which is sad. The only way to deal with that is to have compassion for them to see their inner goodness, to be patient, to examine what it brings up for yourself. All of these things we’ve been talking about. Just because I know I should be doing that doesn’t mean that I’m perfect at it. I still get triggered by these things. Jason, you do too. We were talking about this with somebody who you’ve been annoyed who hasn’t responded to you.

I feel I do give people a lot of rope. I feel like I’m a forgiving person and I’m a patient person in some ways. I have a lot of understanding and a continually evolving understanding of human psychology and what motivates people. Certainly, I’m examining that for myself. Sometimes about going back to school and becoming a clinical psychologist because the human mind fascinates me so much.

I would love to go and get a degree as a therapist.

It’s been coming up a lot for me. I’ve been thinking a lot about that.

Me too. We haven’t talked about this. It’s so funny we’re thinking of the same thing.

I want to go back to this person who I’ve known for a long time. We’re not extremely close. We were closer in many years past and his career has evolved and changed and he’s a well-known person. I was reaching out to him to possibly come on the show here. I’ve sent three texts in a row and three texts spaced out over the course of the pandemic. I don’t know what he’s going through. I know he’s putting out content though because I see the content he’s putting out. It’s one of those things where like, “I know you’re making content, so you’re checking your phone.” It’s one of those things where I hope that he does get back to me because what I don’t want to have that happen, Whitney, and I feel like this is a thing that happens all too commonly. People will ignore texts or emails and then you’ll see them in person and they’ll act nothing’s happened. It’s like, “It’s so good to see you.” I’m like, “Motherfucker, how about those three fucking texts? It’s good to see you too.” They don’t even acknowledge it.

How about when the next time you hear from them is them asking you for a favor?

I want to extract a tooth with no anesthesia out of their mouth is what I want to do.

It’s always like, “I know we haven’t talked in a little while. A lot’s been going on in my life. I’ve got a new book coming out and wanted to send you a copy of it.”

MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

Hustle Culture: All of us have to become more aware whenever we are desperately seeking people’s love, attention, and approval because as human beings, we are apt to do that.

 

“Would you mind promoting it?” It’s like, “No.” I do love to give people the benefit of the doubt. We have no idea what a person is struggling and going on with, but at a point after a number of emails, phone calls, FaceTimes or texts, if you don’t get back to me, I do switch into a mode of, “With love, fuck off.” There’s a number I get to where I’m like, “I’m done.” I’m on the edge of being with that person. I’m being honest about it.

Sometimes we need to talk these things through and reflect on them more before we take action. If we have learned anything through the pandemic that things are less in our control than we realize. We don’t know what’s happening in the world with other people until they share it with us or it’s on the news. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of stress and it’s always a great opportunity to come back to compassion. I want to make sure that we get to that juicy article that I shared, even though I feel we’ve covered a lot of different angles. There may be some more things to uncover here. I’m going to read some of my favorite excerpts from article that I told you is well-written. It’s a long one. It was on Buzzfeed. The title of it is How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation. I feel like you struggle with burnout a lot more than I do. You have a lot of characteristics that are more Millennial than Gen X.

I’m going to go through all the excerpts, but if there’s one that’s appealing to you, Jason, feel free to interject and I’ll pause for you. Don’t forget, at the end of every episode, we do our new thing, which is the frequently asked queries. I want to make sure that we have some time and energy left for that. I often copy and paste a lot of notes from articles. I don’t remember exactly where they were. Don’t take this in full context of it. It’s a long article. The first excerpt starts off. “Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? It’s because I’m burnt out. Why am I burned out? It’s because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? It’s because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it explicitly and implicitly since I was young.

Students were convinced that their first job out of college would not only determine their career trajectory but also their intrinsic value for the rest of their lives, yet their lives don’t feel at all the dream that has been promised. I never thought the system was equitable. I knew it was winnable for only a small few. I believed I could continue to optimize myself to become one of them. The psychological toll of realizing that something you’ve been told and came to believe yourself would be “worth it.” Worth the loans, worth the labor, worth all of that self-optimization isn’t.

One thing that makes that realization sting even more is watching others live their seemingly cool, passionate worthwhile lives online. The photos and videos that induce the most jealousy are those that suggest a perfect equilibrium. Work hard, play hard has been reached. When we don’t feel the satisfaction that we’ve been told we should receive from a good job that’s “fulfilling,” balance with a personal life that’s equally so. The best way to convince yourself you’re feeling it is to illustrate it for others. Our steadfastness hasn’t made us more valuable. Exhaustion means going to the point where you can’t go any further. Burnout means reaching that point and pushing yourself to keep going, whether for days, weeks, or years.

Much of self-care isn’t care at all. It’s an $11 billion industry whose end goal isn’t to alleviate the burnout cycle but to provide further means of self-optimization. At least in its contemporary commodified iteration, self-care isn’t a solution. It’s exhausting. We engage in self-destructive behaviors or take refuge in avoidance as a way to get off the treadmill of our to-do list. The best way to treat it is to first acknowledge it for what it is. Not a passing element, but a chronic disease, and to understand its roots and its parameters.”

It’s interesting because this whole marketing of self-care has exploded the way that it has because it’s almost as if people are trying to delay the inevitable. “I’m going to go for a massage and I’m going to go for a float tank session.” I’m speaking to myself here too, in my experience. “I’m going to go get a foot bath. I’m going to go to a Korean spa. I’m going to take a holiday in Bali, Tulum or Hawaii.” You come back and it’s the same mentality of grinding yourself into the ground to try and prove yourself. In a way, the self-care services and products and practices aren’t being designed to get anyone off the treadmill. They’re creating delay switches and delay mechanisms so that you burn out later. If anything, a lot of them are delaying the inevitable, which is that at some point you’re probably going to mentally, physically, or emotionally crash from working like you do.

That makes me think about some of the people that we know who are obsessed with self-care and wellness. We’re into that as well, especially when it comes to biohacking. It seems to me that a lot of the root of people’s desire is to biohack us included, it’s like, “How can we live the longest and be as successful as the longest and go enjoy life and extend pleasure for the longest?” You wrote a whole book about longevity. You had a TV show about longevity. That’s deeply rooted in the work that you do. I wonder if that at its root, a fear of death.

Is it like, “I don’t want to address mortality, so I’m going to see how I can optimize myself to live for as long as possible and to be strong mentally, physically, and emotionally for as long as possible?” It becomes an obsession and it takes up so much time and money too. There’s almost a stress in it that I feel from some people, this obsession to always get things right. That perfectionist mentality is rampant in the wellness communities. I wonder too, is it at what expense? You’re literally spending money as an expense. Your time is an expense, but it’s stressful. Is it counterbalancing itself?

If it gets to the point of obsession, yes. If one has a healthy relationship to these things in the sense of if I don’t take my supplements and don’t do the infrared sauna, don’t do the cold plunges, don’t do the breathwork or don’t do the meditation, I’ll still be okay. I say this too because I have an obsessive personality. Ever since I was a kid. As little as I can remember, my mom would tell me I’d find something that I would or enjoy and be obsessed with it. I would learn as much as I could about it, do it every day until I’d get burnt out with it and move on to whatever was next. In terms of wellness and well-being and self-care, absolutely Whitney. It can become beyond being a fan of it into an absolute obsession that if I don’t do my regimen every single day, I’m going to lose my shit.

It certainly gives us a lot to examine. I hope that the reader is taking away either some interesting things to consider for yourself and simply enjoyed going along the ride with us. This is not something that’s a one and done subject matter, for sure. As we said at the beginning, we’ve a lot about hustle culture. It’s something that we get triggered by, that we’re interested in and passionate about. Alternatives to the word busy and that busy mentality and perfectionism as we’ve talked about. It’s interesting too because it’s taking a look at our own motivations and taking a look at the culture that we’ve been so steeped into. It’s part of the reason that I try not to use the word wellness to describe my work. I prefer the word well-being. That came out of an article that I read.

If we acknowledge that uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of the reality we're living in, then certainty would be an untruth. Click To Tweet

You might’ve sent it to me initially, Jason. Part of the suggestions that the article had, I can’t remember what it was called exactly, but it was about the wellness industry, the word wellness and how it was often a bit on the superficial side or commodified. One of the endpoints of that article stuck with me. That was we should be talking about well-being, not wellness. That had a huge impact on me because as I’ve said, my conscious motivation is to not improve myself and feel my best, but to help other people do the same thing. Examining my desires to improve and my desires to optimize and think like, “What is that all about? Am I doing this for the “right” reasons? Is this good for my mental health?”

Jason and I have struggled a lot mentally when it comes to the vegan world. We often have discussions about how we want to distance ourselves from the vegan industry because that doesn’t always feel good for our mental health. There’s so much perfectionism steeped in veganism. The more that I examine it, the more that I want to reframe my relationship to that world as well. The same thing goes with wellness. I want to touch upon another article the importance of diversity and wellness too. We’ve gotten into that in some of our episodes regarding Black Lives Matter, cultural appropriation, and how we need to make sure that everybody is represented here. A lot of wellness is steeped in white culture and elitism.

It’s out of financial reach for a lot of people or it feels it’s not something that they can relate to, whether they’re not seeing themselves represented or it feels it’s beyond who they are. It’s so important for us to have diversity, race, gender, age, financial means, education, and so many things. One of my big aims with this episode was that we talk about these things and are honest and transparent about our own experiences and our thoughts with it. Use that as a way for us, me and Jason, but also you, the reader, to unravel the things that we’ve been doing in our lives. With all that said, unless you have something else to add, Jason, should we dive into the frequently asked queries part of our show?

For those who might be new to our show or haven’t read some episodes, we started doing this, which is where we pluck from the queries people type in on Google to come to our website, which we’re able to track through Google Analytics. For better or for worse, and maybe a little creepy. We did a whole episode on this and the creep factor, the data privacy side of it. We have one episode with Paul Jarvis who runs an amazing company called Fathom Analytics, which is an alternative to Google Analytics. We did a separate episode a few months after Paul’s where we talked about our relationship with Google Analytics and how that led us to a new segment on our show that we’ve been testing out and find it a lot of joy in. It’s a little comic relief or pulling some interesting things that may not have anything to do with the subject matter of these episodes, but something that we want to talk about.

I also use this cool website called Exploding Topics, which shows you the hot topics online, what people are searching for. I often find interesting subject matters from that. Before I get into it, another thing that I want to start doing, which we sprinkle into our episodes, but I want to be more intentional about it. Shouting out wonderful brands and the people behind them. The one brand I got an email from, it made my heart feel good. I thought, “I want to give this person more shout out.” It’s a brand called Canopy Verde and they make my favorite fashion accessories. They make bags. I’m obsessed with their backpack specifically. That’s what I use to carry around my laptop when I’m traveling or going outside the house.

I use that backpack to store things in general. It’s so cute. I have two of them. The same model, but different model, if that’s the right term for this, but the same style I should say with the different colors. They have a crossbody bag that I’ve been using for many years and a few others. Plus, they sent me some nice masks, which are made from organic cotton. What’s nice about Canopy Verde is it’s a female-owned business based in Brooklyn, somewhere in New York City. She’s the most delightful sweet person, super generous. It’s all vegan. She uses eco-friendly materials like organic cotton. She’s so creative. She does great colors. I absolutely love them. An email from her popped in my inbox. She’s on Etsy. There’s an award that they’re up for, it’s called The Annual Design Awards. I want to be more intentional about that because there are so many great brands we talked about. Well Scent, for example, which is another wonderful female-run mission-driven business. Is there anybody off the top of your head that you want to shout out, Jason, that’s been on your heart?

Do you know who’s been wonderful and sends me care packages out of the blue? You were the one who turned me on to this brand is gr8nola.

Do you get care packages from them? If you could see me, I’m literally pointing my thumb at myself, which is my little signal that, “I want to be included.”

I will include you in the next care package.

Gr8nola is phenomenal.

They have an activated charcoal and a matcha granola that Whitney turned me on to. There’s a sweet little family-run corner store in Hollywood called the Hollywood Supermart. Any Angelenos, anyone visiting Los Angeles, support Eddie, and his family and those great people there.

MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

Hustle Culture: Much of self-care isn’t care at all. It’s an $11 billion industry whose end goal isn’t to alleviate the burnout cycle but to provide further means of self-optimization.

 

It’s Paul, Laura, and Eddie. Paul and Eddie are brothers. Laura is the wife and they have kids that participate in the shop. It’s such a sweet place. It looks run down from the outside because of those little strip malls that they’re in, but it’s so amazing inside. It’s a little adventure because they’re always adding interesting things in there. In addition to your standard American junk foods, they sprinkle in organic and vegan stuff. I’m glad that you mentioned them too. They do have gr8nola.

Gr8nola is the bomb. Erica is the Founder. It’s a small business. They’re based out of Northern California, amazing superfood ingredients, super high vibe. They taste amazing. Everyone, if you all are into granola or maybe you’re not into granola and you want to get into granola, check out gr8nola. Support Erica, another strong, ethical female-run business. I love them.

It’s a coincidence that we’re talking about female-owned businesses here. What is amazing about that endorsement, Jason, is that you love granola. For you to be fanatical about one specific brand. I know you still like Purely Elizabeth a lot too. It’s one of your top granola brands.

It is, but I don’t like to shout out the company.

Why? This might get uncomfortable.

I haven’t had the best dealings with Elizabeth. It doesn’t mean I won’t support their products. I love their products, but if I have less than favorable or loving dealings with the person behind the brand, I tend not to shout them out.

I’m the same way.

It’s like, “I love what you create, but I don’t dig you as a person.”

To each their own. I’m going to say it again and be a broken record to always extend compassion. One thing I’ve learned, and it’s been a very humbling experience, just because I don’t have a good experience with someone, that doesn’t mean that’s a permanently bad thing. Things can shift and we never know what people are going through and what’s driving their behavior. I’ve had bad experiences with people that other people have great experiences with. That’s always super humbling for my ego because I want to believe that if something goes wrong for me, it goes wrong for everybody.

It’s a subjective experience.

Thank you for your transparency. If this ever gets back to the company, there’s always an opportunity for things to shift. One last company. Since you mentioned the word care package, I want to say that Jason and I each got incredible care packages from LaCroix, which is certainly not a small business. I’m very partial to MAD TASTY, which has our last shout out to LaCroix and Mad Tasty, then we’ll get into the frequently asked queries. MAD TASTY is my brand obsession. I did a cool project with them. It’s going to be on their Instagram TV or something that. I love their sparkling water, their CBD. We shouted them out before. They’re my number one. I have to say that LaCroix has sent us one of their new flavors and it’s outstanding. I’m also going to say that I felt not so great about a lot of LaCroix’s flavors in general. I feel they’re a little bit of a letdown. I’ll be transparent. Every once in a while, they’ll come out with a new flavor or I’ll try a flavor I haven’t had before and be pleasantly surprised.

We can't know what life has in store for us, despite all of our control and planning and evaluating and forecasting. Click To Tweet

This new one blew me away, but it’s going to be a teaser. I don’t want to say what it is because Jason hasn’t experienced it yet. If I say the name of the flavor before Jason’s tried it, it’ll ruin the surprise and I’m a big fan of surprises. This is part one. Part two will be in a future episode. We’ll find out if Jason loves this LaCroix flavor as much as I do. As soon as the cat’s out of the bag, maybe we’ll update you. Jason and I get a lot of product sent us. We’re very fortunate and privileged to be sent things for free to try. It’s rare than you might believe to get a great care package. When I got this package from LaCroix, the outside box is completely customized. It’s so cool. Inside, I was shocked at what they sent. Jason, you have some fun care package should look forward to whenever we have a physically distant meetup or something.

Yes, very soon.

Let’s get into some frequently asked queries. You’re probably in the mood for something funny. I categorize them. I’m a nerd. I use Google Documents and I have spreadsheets where I keep track of all these things that we’re talking about to keep it all organized. I categorize every query based on whether it is funny, interesting, or serious. How about one of each, Jason? I’ll bring this one up. I thought it was amusing. For some reason, one of the queries that showed up in Google Analytics was simply the word pierogi. Somebody typed the word pierogi and we were suggested as a website to go look at it.

Maybe because at some point word got out about my classic Wrobel family recipe for said pierogies.

You must have said the word pierogi on one of our episodes. It’s not like somebody else is secretly is spreading the word.

Have you heard about those Wrobel family pierogies? You need to get a recipe.

Tell us more. Also, I would love to know, have you had a great vegan pierogi?

When I went vegan, my mom followed suit a couple months afterward. Over the years, she has successfully, along with my aunt Mary Lou, adapted a lot of our classic Polish family recipes and veganized them. One of the things they did is they’ve successfully veganized pierogies and they are spectacularly good. We have vegan sour cream, vegan pierogies, vegan golabkis, which is also my nickname for your dog and my dog.

Your dog, especially.

Also, borscht, which is a beet soup, sour cream pierogies. Pretty much every single non-vegan traditional Polish recipe, my mom has successfully veganized and they are delicious.

We’ve got some fun trivia for you here that you were not expecting. Part of our motivation for doing frequently asked queries is to keep you to read the whole episode. I would be interested to see if anyone fast forward to the final 5 to 10 minutes. What if they hated everything else?

Here’s the danger here too is mentioning more Polish recipes borscht, pierogies, and golabkis. One thing that Whitney does in her brilliant research and analytics measuring is we have something called Chartable that we have our show subscribed to and we get updates we are trending in some interesting countries. For the first time, I noticed on our Chartable that we are trending in Poland in both the health and fitness and the mental health categories. I thought, “I wonder if it’s because they’re searching for pierogi recipes. The fact that my last name is a very common last name in Poland. If we keep charting in Poland, I am not going to argue.

MGU 92 | Hustle Culture

From Chaos to Calm

The thing is that the charts that we see on Chartable are specifically for Apple Podcasts. That means that somebody is searching for things or finds us on Apple Podcasts specifically. It’s not yet set up to search for other things as far as I’m aware. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it’s cool every time I see a new country showing up. We’ve been in the top three of all shows on some interesting countries, which is neat. This is a good time to remind you the reader to subscribe and to leave a review. If you’re a fan of our work and you want to help spread the word, leaving reviews is incredibly helpful. We are so grateful for that. That helps other people find our show. It validates the show.

As we talk about consciousness, we also enjoy getting validated by anybody else. If you want to give us a little pat on the back virtually, that’s the way to do it. You can also join our community at Patreon.com/Wellevatr. It’s a way that you can support us with $1 or $2 a month financially. It helps us pay for some of our expenses. We love to find ways to thank you and give you special perks. You can also find us on social media. Usually, when we talk about these things, that means that we’re wrapping up. I promise two more queries. We got a funny one. What do you want next? An interesting or serious?

Interesting.

This one to me is funny, but also interesting. Why did somebody type this in? The query was, “How to catch someone creeping around your house?” That definitely falls into the category, but very interesting.

They’ve already broken in. They’ve already gained entry to your home and you want to catch them creeping because they’ve somehow gained entry without your knowledge or consent? How to catch someone, not how to prevent someone from breaking in your house. They’ve already gotten in and I don’t want them creeping. I don’t have any advice for that. I have pepper spray, lighting off maybe the fire alarms in your house to startle them. Throwing cat or dog food and saying, “Attack.”

You could pull up a Home Alone and set up all these traps and stuff. I feel part of the reason that movie was such a success is that as kids, you’re fantasizing about catching a burglar. That movie also, if you watch it as an adult, you’re like, “This is creepy.” This kid’s left alone by his parents who did not pay enough attention to him to remember to take him with them on their big trip. This poor kid has to defend himself and the whole house from these burglars. What a crazy concept. This query also reminds me of a documentary series I started watching that I recommend for anybody who’s interested in true crime. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is the name of it. It’s on HBO. It is well done as many HBO documentaries are. It’s also creepy. I’m not going to try not to spoil anything, but this idea of someone creeping around your house is something that comes up in this show.

This series is also interesting, Jason because one of the “main characters” of this documentary was a podcaster. Either she was a guest on podcasts or she had her own. She was known for her blog and she had at least podcast appearances. That’s all I’ll say for now. One thing I don’t about HBO series is that they only released them once a week, so you can’t binge-watch them. This is one of those series that I would have loved to binge-watch. Maybe it’s for the better though. It’s tough. It’s probably better to prolong your pleasure and also not sit around for eight hours watching something when you should be working or sleeping.

It’s delayed gratification.

I’m curious if anybody else reading who has also watched this docu-series, if you’d to share anything as long as it’s not a spoiler, don’t spoil it for me, for Jason or anyone else, because it’s so easy to come across spoilers these days. I try to protect myself from those at all costs. One last query. We’re going to have something serious. This is one that I found. I thought it was profound and Jason might have something additional to add to it. The query was, “Certainty is the enemy of truth.” Is that a quote from something? Do we possibly say those exact words or quote somebody? We talk a lot about certainty.

We talked a lot about certainty. I don’t remember saying that quote. If we acknowledge that uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of the reality we’re living in, then certainty would be untruth. It’s a self-evident or self-fulfilling quote. We can’t predict the future. We can’t know what wants to be. We can’t know what life has in store for us, despite all of our control, planning, evaluating, and forecasting. The part of the nature of this reality is we don’t know what wants to be, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. In a way, certainty is an illusion.

It’s funny you say that too because I was putting some of those words into the final edits of our eBook we talked about, From Chaos to Calm. I use that term illusion in reference to certainty or control. It’s interesting when I looked up that quote, certainty is the enemy of truth, there are two people that it’s attributed to it. One of them is Nipsey Hussle who said, “Premature certainty is the enemy of truth.” We’ll have to go through our show notes to see where that came from exactly. Apparently, we said something that led somebody to our website after searching for that. I hope you enjoyed this episode as a whole. I hope you enjoyed this segment of Frequently Asked Queries, which we are doing that the end of every episode unless we have massive people telling us not doing. Even if they did. We probably do it anyways because I like doing them. Don’t you?

We’re going to keep doing it because it brings us pleasure.

It does. Luckily for you, the reader, they’re at the end of the episode, so if you don’t them, don’t read to the end. There might be all sorts of little nuggets of wisdom that you’re not expecting in here. I can’t imagine somebody wouldn’t like this, but you never know. We enjoy feedback. Speaking of which, there are some easy ways to get in touch with us. One is our website is the main hub. It’s Wellevatr.com. There’s a whole website with a blog, free resources, video trainings and all sorts of goodies for your wellbeing.

What we would love is to hear from you either by going to the bottom and writing a comment in the comment section. That’s a great way to be part of the conversation. Also, while you’re on the website or separately, you can find us on social media. All of our social media is under the handle @Wellevatr. That’s how you can reach both of us at the same time. You can comment on our social media posts. You can direct message us there or you can find us individually. We each have our own separate accounts, but we like to hear from you together. That helps us keep everything in the same place and helps us communicate together as Whitney and Jason. We’d love for you to be part of the conversation.

In addition to being able to direct message us privately, you can also email us at [email protected]. If you have anything that you would like to add, suggestions, topic requests, if you want to write a testimonial in addition or instead of a review on iTunes, whatever you’d to share, we would love to hear from you. Having you part of this is important to us. With that said, thank you so much for reading. We look forward to being connected with you in whatever means that happens to be. We look forward to having you read future episodes. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please do. You’ll be notified when the episodes come out. We have them every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The next episode is our guest episode. That’s a lovely one with our friend, Maxwell Goldberg, who is an expert in organic living and wellness and well-being. He’s such a fascinating guy. It’s a great conversation. Stay tuned for that coming out soon and lots more that coming your way. Until next time, we’re wishing you all the very best with your well-being physically, mentally and emotionally.

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