There are so many things we keep ourselves from doing because we are in a place of resistance and fear. We have these inner monologues that hinder us from pursuing what we want, which often requires doing the unconventional. Timely in how things move in the world right now, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk about understanding resistance and how you can overcome it to unleash your creativity and do what you love to do. They share some of their missed opportunities and the lessons it taught them along the way on having the courage to keep creating and not caring what other people think. Don’t let the whispers in your head allow you to give up on your dreams. Follow Jason and Whitney in this conversation to gain some much-needed wisdom and inspiration to do things anyway, so long as it makes you fulfilled.
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Understanding Resistance: The Path To Pursuing What We Want
Jason and I are in different parts of the country in this episode. I’m in Massachusetts visiting my family and Jason has been in Detroit visiting his mother.
I’m going to be here for almost two weeks in total. It’s interesting. After the first few days, I feel my body adjusted after about three days to the time change. I started getting sleepy at my normal time, which is 10:00 PM, and adjusting my eating habits. One thing that I’ve been proud of myself, I want to give myself a little pat on the back, is that I’ve been consistent with my physical therapy, my workouts, and my meditation while I’ve been here. I’ve also been getting a lot of reading. It’s been a good opportunity to not only connect with family and be back here in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
Self-care seems to be such a cliché, overused word now, but in all honesty, I’ve been able to hunker down into my self-care routine and be consistent with it. I’m proud of myself with it because sometimes I’ve come here for visits over the years and I’ve let that stuff go by the wayside. I stop meditating, working out, taking care of myself, and eating all of my mother’s incredible food, which I’ve been doing. It’s been a good opportunity for me, in the midst of a lot of change and uncertainty, to take time for myself and that’s been nourishing.
I feel the same way too and it’s also been helpful stepping away from my life in Los Angeles to a slower pace that I have in Massachusetts and visiting family and friends in New York State, New Hampshire, Maine, and all these parts of the country that feel slower than a big city Los Angeles. I did go into New York City, briefly and that definitely felt pretty chaotic. Most of the chaos I was feeling and sensing was the unknown, something new, and how unsettling it is when you’re not sure with things like parking. They are different. Even in Massachusetts, I had moments where I’m like, “Are the parking rules different here? I’m not sure if I’m allowed to park here.”
It’s that feeling of being thrown off and that’s certainly something I noticed on my road trip as well on the way out here and as I’m beginning to prep for my road trip back to Los Angeles, I’ve been thinking a lot about what that will be like. I’ve been noticing, I’m curious if you experience any of this, Jason, it’s a combination of relief because both of us are visiting family members, which can be nice if you’re with the right family members and the circumstances. For us, our childhood homes, or for you, at least a substantial part of your life has been spent with your mom in that same place and there’s something comforting about that. It brings us back to our roots and parts of ourselves that we don’t get to tap into as frequently when we’re living our current lives in a big city.
I also have noticed how I can feel uneasy and anxious, and that’s something I’ve been paying a lot of attention to on this trip. It hasn’t come up that much at my parents’ home but it certainly came up during the road trip. It came up visiting my sister and some of my friends. Being in different situations has been simultaneously healing, stress relieving, and moments of anxiety and being out of my element if that makes sense. I’m curious if you experienced any of that, Jason, on this trip that you’re on now?
I realized that there’s still this deeply embedded belief system that if I perceive that I’m being lazy, I’m not doing enough, or taking too much time for self-care, there’s a weird voice in my head that wants to guilt me for doing those things. It’s something that I’ve worked on, but it still needs more work apparently, because there have been a few times where I’d be on the couch reading a book. I’m wrapping up the book I mentioned a couple of episodes ago, Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and I’ve started this book about depression and human connection called Lost Connections by Johann Hari.Part of the courage that comes with creating is once it's out in the world, you can't take it back. Click To Tweet
I’m sitting reading these books, and for the first time in a long time doing focused reading, which felt good to not be constantly on the phone keeping up with people or doing these things. In the midst of sitting on my mom’s couch at her house and in reading these books, there’s this weird voice that keeps coming up. It’s like, “You should be looking at new houses because you’re going to be leaving LA at some point. You start looking at different investments for your IRA and your retirement. You should be hunting down new projects because you need to make money to get the new house and put more money in your IRA and all these things that come up in my mind.” It’s been interesting to observe how we talked so much. If you’re a first-time reader, welcome. If you are a longtime fanatic, thank you for reading this blog.
One of the things that Whitney and I delve into is not only conscious and subconscious belief systems, how that affects our work-life balance, and our mental and emotional health but we talk a lot about the hustle culture. We talk a lot about the comparison trap and a lot of this social quicksand that we can get snared into on social media and on the internet as everything’s becoming more technologically connected. For me, it’s almost like I realized that there are two things at work here. One, I grew up in a blue-collar family here in Detroit.
We have a staunch solid work ethic. It’s one of the sources of pride of my family. Our family slogan is, “We’ll make it work.” You do whatever you’ve got to do to make it work. There are times when that family work ethic is part of that guilt voice in my head. If you ought to be doing more, you’re not doing enough but the other side of it too is a remnant of this hustle culture. If you’re not constantly working to increase the zeros in your bank account or the zeros in your social media platform then you’re “not doing enough,” and I’m trying hard to not only identify that voice but tell it to shut the fuck up. People are like, “You should love that voice.” No, I want to tell you to shut the fuck up because it’s this persistent thing that I know it’s not me.
I’m getting better at knowing that certain voices are not my voice if that makes sense. It’s like an implant that I observed or heard repeatedly from someone else. I somehow adopted or assimilated that into my belief system. When I’m aggressive and tell it that, I don’t want to be gentle with it. If I’m sitting there reading a book, enjoying myself, I’m like, “No. You don’t need to talk now. This is not your place to tell me I’m not doing enough.” It’s been hard work, honestly. That voice has been coming up over and over again and I’ve got to tell it to get in the backseat and shut up and it’s not going to control the radio.
For sure and I’ve been noticing that for myself as well. It’s an ongoing topic of discussion on this show. It’s interesting when you’re visiting family to notice these things because when you’re in these environments where you were developing as a human being, you’re remembering things that maybe you haven’t thought about in a while. Maybe you’ve suppressed them. Maybe there are triggers in the environment or with the people that you’re around. There are certainly pluses and minuses to nostalgia.
Overall, if you can find ways to reflect on these things and grow from them, it can be positive and it’s interesting because I experienced that as well, Jason. This isn’t necessarily exclusive to being at home for either of us, but when we start to slow down as we have been at a slower pace of living, and also perceiving this as almost like vacation, which is a word that I feel we don’t use often enough. In fact, most people don’t take nearly as much vacation time as they would benefit from, let alone are given as an actual benefit from companies. It’s a little bit different for those of us who work for ourselves because we’re our own bosses. We don’t get these paid vacation days unless we’re paying ourselves to do that, which is challenging.
I can relate to a lot of this, Jason, and a huge part of this is simply because we do work for ourselves. It feels like there’s this constant need to hustle all the time and vacation never feels like vacation because we’re always accessible via email if we don’t turn off our phones or our computers. We’re accessible via text and phone, and it’s hard to turn these things off because we often wonder, are we going to miss out on something or we’re going to miss out on a new opportunity? Is there going to be something urgent that we need to address? What are the consequences if we don’t pay attention?
I remember also when I took a vacation a few years ago to go to my friend’s wedding in Cabo. I was dating someone at the time and he and I were noticing this about ourselves so we locked our phones up in the hotel safe and that was challenging. We didn’t make it the entire trip without opening up the safe to check on things. Even though I had set myself up for this break, I still had that urge to check what if, just in case. Even if you turn on an autoresponder, there’s still this fear that there’s going to be something urgent, or you’re going to miss out on something because it’s timely. That fear looms over many of us.
Another thing I’ve thought about was how it is our responsibility to set boundaries but it’s challenging to set boundaries. I have this one friend that has called me a lot and I haven’t said to this friend that I don’t want to speak on the phone much but that’s how I’ve been feeling so I haven’t been answering most of the time. I’ve been reflecting on this, “Why is it hard for me to simply tell this friend that I don’t want to talk on the phone?” There’s this perception for me that I’m going to offend this friend, hurt their feelings or it’s going to be misunderstood. I started to think that I have this fear of creating further conflict by stating a boundary for myself. There’s also me trying to figure out exactly why I don’t want to talk on the phone.
I’ve been noticing that about myself, and it’s interesting because over the years since I started identifying as an introvert and noticing that it’s exhausting for me to socialize so sometimes I get a lot of anxiety about phone calls. I’ll try to email, text or fill something out online instead. Booking appointments online is generally more comfortable for me than calling somebody up. I’ve been this way for many years and I felt a lot of shame about that.
I started to see through social media that a lot of people experienced that. What’s interesting, and this is something that we’ve touched upon in different subject matters, is how there’s this fine line between knowing you’re not alone and feeling relief. It’s like, “I’m not the only one. It’s okay for me to act this way.” Versus finding out that you’re not the only one and almost using that as an excuse and enabling yourself. I have been trying to figure that out and I’m curious if you can relate to that at all. It’s like, “It’s socially acceptable to not pick up the phone so now I have an excuse to text or email instead.” We have this huge culture of people that are texting and emailing and avoiding phone calls and that in itself is becoming a big issue.
Maybe we need to go back to having some phone calls and it’s not that I never want to speak on the phone. I go through phases, but something else along the same lines is something current during this COVID pandemic because we’ve been socializing less. Most people have been avoiding social gatherings or at least doing some physical distancing. Many people still are quarantining and barely see anybody. We then start to adapt to that way of living where we get used to not socializing. We get used to not seeing people in person.
For someone like me, I get out of that habit and it becomes harder for me to see people in person. It becomes harder for me to pick up the phone because I’ve been avoiding it and telling myself it’s okay. It’s a lot like changing the way that you eat. You can get on some regiment that makes you feel good even though it might be hard at first, you get used to the challenge and suddenly, it’s no longer a challenge anymore. If you go into or slip into a way of eating, that doesn’t make you feel as good physically, but maybe it’s comforting emotionally. It becomes hard to go back to the way of eating that makes you feel good physically because you’re eating to emotionally cope. I’ve noticed how so much of this is about creating habits for yourself but also having the self-awareness to know what makes you feel good.
This ties into what you’re saying, Jason. It’s that fine line because I’m sure you don’t want to always sit on the couch and do nothing, but you need to sit on the couch and do nothing sometimes. It’s finding the balance that works for you. The trick is we can easily slip into this place of not even knowing how much sitting on the couch is good for us. It makes us feel good physically and emotionally versus a certain point where we realize, “Maybe I should pay attention to this anxiety, maybe my body is trying to tell me something.”The thing that most people in the world face to a degree with resistance is the fear of failure. Click To Tweet
First of all, I’ve definitely used my continuing dance with mental and emotional health as an excuse in moments for not getting back to people. Truth be told, I’ve noticed that there’s an interesting corollary between me wanting to distance myself from speaking, communicating with too many people, and using mental health as a leveraging point for not getting back. It’s like, “I’m sorry. I didn’t get back to you. I’ve been taking a mental health day.” That seems to be a thing that I’ve noticed a lot of people doing or I’m stepping away from social media for my mental health. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, first of all, and there’s nothing wrong with struggling with mental health.
I’ve noticed for myself that overall, in 2020, I’ve done well with my mental health, all things considered meaning, taking inventory of everything that is rapidly shifting socially, financially, and politically. It’s like, “This is the episode where Jason finally pats himself on the back.” I feel that I’ve been doing well managing my mental and emotional wellness. I do notice myself using it as a way to keep certain people at arm’s length. Not necessarily the people I’m closest to, but more of the people on the periphery, whether they be acquaintances or people that are requesting business advice for me or want a free coaching call or whatever it is. I’ve kept those people at arm’s length because I’m noticing that one thing that I would do for many years is ignore the fact that I was struggling and “push beyond it or push through it” and take a call or do something.
This is another one of those things that as individuals, we need to determine what’s the right balance and proportion for ourselves because on the one hand, you hear from high performers, athletes, method actors, or entrepreneurs. You can name people in a variety of industries who are like, “Once you get to the edge of your comfort zone, push past it,” or “When you feel exhaustion, the great achievements come after the point of exhaustion.” One of the famous quotes that I’ll paraphrase from Muhammad Ali was, he doesn’t start counting his reps when he’s working out until it starts hurting then he starts counting.
We have that mentality that is purported if we want to be successful, influential, rich, famous, and succeed in our industries, whatever they may be but it comes down to points. I’ve noticed in 2020 where I would feel that urge to “push past” whatever mental health challenge I was feeling when my body was telling me to rest. The old belief system was like, “You’ve got to push past it because that’s what creates success or whatever.” I’ve been listening to my body more lately because of the foot injury I sustained and being in physical therapy.
I want to break out of ignoring my body and in many ways, the clinical depression and some of the physical injuries I’ve sustained over the last few years have been a result of me ignoring my body and attaching too much to that mentality of keep pushing, push through, that’s how the winners are made. Keep going. Some people might disagree with this, but I don’t necessarily feel compelled to “cross the finish line” if I’m hobbling my way over the line at the end. If I’m broken down and hobbling my way over and being like, “I’ve got my medal.” I want to honor my body more and I feel that’s my way of trying to achieve balance with it.
It becomes tricky to figure out when you’re honoring your body and your mind versus when you’re using that as an excuse, as you’re saying. For me, it started to feel confusing. Authenticity feels confusing to me. I’m like, “What is authenticity? What is authentic to me?” We’re constantly receiving input from many other people. We can easily feel confused. Who are we? What do we believe? What do we need when we’re hearing all of these different messages? It also reminds me of the voting process. I sent my mail-in ballot in and I spent some time going over all the different measures, reading different guides, and watching videos. We had an episode about this, if you, the reader, haven’t read it yet, you can check that out.
If you haven’t voted at all, I hope you have a plan. I noticed that I was feeling stressed about what to vote for and who to vote for. I was clear on who I wanted to nominate for or who I wanted to vote for President but in terms of a lot of the other people that were on the ballot, there were many for Los Angeles. Many measures and different people in the county and the stage. There’s so much and I felt overwhelmed by it all, and I kept thinking, “How much of this is my decision or how much of this is me going with what the majority of people are going with?” As I was reading through a lot of the guides, I felt a lot of pressure to make a decision and part of me is like, “I don’t want to make a decision at all.” This is too much. I don’t even feel educated enough to make this decision.
As we talked about in our episode about voting, there’s that we need to push ourselves to do and sometimes it’s uncomfortable to make a decision. Especially if you’re someone like myself, who is an eleventh-hour person. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t have voted until Election Day. That’s typically what I do. The only reason I sent in my ballot early is because I’m all the way across the country from where I’m registered to vote and I wanted to make sure that my ballot got there in time. I wanted to be as intentional as possible. Instead of allowing myself to take a ton of time to make a decision on what I was voting for and who I was voting for. I had to push myself to make the best decision that I could in the timeframe that I was giving myself.
That’s always interesting too, because that resistance that comes up for me and resistance always feels confusing because I don’t know what the difference is between real authentic resistance versus the excuse base resistance. We’ve talked about this before. I like the book, The War of Art. It’s one of my favorites because it goes into understanding resistance within yourself and identifying it and moving through it for the sake of your creativity. Almost any creative person out there will say that they faced resistance and fear. It can be tempting to listen to this resistance and not do anything or procrastinate.
We’ve also talked about not-enoughness and that can also be connected to perfectionism and feeling like, “I’m not going to do it because I’m not ready yet. I’m not going to do this because I’m not good enough yet. This project I’m working on isn’t enough yet.” You’ll see many pieces of advice saying, “You need to do it anyway. You need to do it before you feel ready because you’re never going to feel ready.” I’m constantly trying to figure that out and it’s confusing to me. That’s come up for me a lot too, Jason. It’s those moments where you wonder, should I allow myself to be uncomfortable now? Is this good for me or is it better for me to allow myself to be comfortable?
I remember for years, feeling scared out of my mind to do this book. I remember getting clear about my resistance and I identified that for me when it comes to pieces of art or projects that have a sense of permanence to them that’s what frightened me. In the sense that I wasn’t afraid to do YouTube videos, social media, or a lot of the digital content that we as creators put out there because those things can be deleted. You could delete a YouTube video or a post whenever you want. You can do those things.
They’re ones and zeros out in the digital knows sphere, unless somebody takes a screenshot or downloads the video. In maybe most cases, you can delete the record of those pieces of art digitally. There’s something about a book and the idea of making an album, or a zien or a manifesto, something that’s on physical printed paper, a pressed record, a CD, or something that’s physical and tangible in the world scared the crap out of me. I realized that it was because of the permanence. It was the idea that after I finished it, the finality of it would be that I couldn’t change it. If I regretted or didn’t see a recipe all the way through to its ultimate fruition, I could have changed that. I could have tweaked that ingredient. I could have done that differently.
Maybe a song. I’ve never released an album. I have 70 tracks on my SoundCloud account, but I can delete those tracks at any time. It’s like, “I don’t want that song out there.” I have this dream of going to Third Man Records, which is Jack White’s record label and he has a record pressing plant in Nashville and here in Detroit, which I hope to go see the Detroit plant in the store before I leave. As an aside, I have this idea of, “That would be dope to finally finish my actual solo album and get it pressed on vinyl so people can have it on the record players.” That terrifies the shit out of me because once that record is pressed, the songs are mastered and mixed, that’s it. It’s out in the world forever, and you can’t change it.
I had to get clear on my resistance. I was regretting that I wanted to do it differently than I’d heard the record or I read my book and went like, “I wish I would have done that differently.” I’ve talked to other artists and that’s a pretty common thing. They’ll look at their piece of work, whether it be a film, a book, or an album, they’re friends of ours, and they’re like, “I could have added that layer there. I could have taken that away.” That’s part of the courage that comes with creating. Once it’s out in the world, it’s out in the world and you can’t take it back. It simultaneously scares me and excites me.Overcoming resistance is having the courage to keep creating and not caring what people think. Click To Tweet
The thing that most people in the world face to a degree with resistance and that’s an element of the fear of failure. That’s something that besides the regret or wishing I had “done it differently” with pieces of art that are released in the world, the scary monster under the bed for me with resistance is failure. I have an ideal in my mind or a standard of excellence or a specific aim that I want to get to and by not reaching it having to live with the idea of failure. It’s this thing of getting it from all sides. You hear high achievers in sports, business, art, and whatever.
It said something crazy like Picasso was estimated to have created 50,000 pieces of art in his lifetime and I believe he lived into his 90s but only 100-ish of those 50,000 pieces are the ones that people will recognize. In the things that you would recognize, you would go, “I know that Picasso piece,” whether it’s his famous Dove or the Cubist things he’s known for. It’s interesting to note that because then you think, “Maybe a way to overcome resistance or stare down this idea of fear of failure is to look at creating without expectation. Also, creating in volume might be an antidote to that.” Think about that. If this man, as an example, created 50,000 pieces, but the things he’s known for and acknowledged for is around 100. That’s an insane ratio, Whitney.
Let’s take an example of someone like Prince, who’s one of my favorite artists ever. I know we’re bringing up famous people but it serves as a frame of reference for what we’re talking about. I made a point a couple of years ago that I wanted to listen to all of Prince’s music, album after album all the way through. I did the same thing with Queen and David Bowie. I’m like, “I’m going to listen to every single album all the way through.”
The ones we know, the hits, the big songs incorporate such a small ratio if you contrast it with the total volume of songs they’ve released and also the shits that are in the vaults that never got released. In my mind, I’m talking it through with you that maybe for me, my fear of failure is dealt with by creating and not stopping to consider what’s going to be “celebrated.” What’s going to be a hit? What’s going to be a best seller, all these aims or markers of success that society wants us to focus on? Maybe it’s having the courage to keep creating and not caring what people think, which is hard. I’m working through this in real-time with you.
I absolutely agree with that and I think about that a lot too. In hindsight, the biggest regret that I’ve had consistently over the years is not sticking with things that I enjoyed doing because I didn’t feel they were working at the time. That’s something I am trying to be mindful of with this show. It’s easy and incredibly common for podcasters to record twenty or so episodes and give up. That’s because a lot of podcasts take a while to get traction. We’ve been blessed to have a dedicated audience and be growing over time. We’ve had enough in terms of people showing their support and shout out to anybody who’s left us a review on iTunes.
I got a sweet message from one of our faithful readers named Amy, who says that she will often read our blog when she’s feeling stressed out because it makes her feel better. Amy, if you’re reading which you are, we appreciate people like you and anyone who is consistent with reading and showing their support makes a huge difference. There have been times in my career where I haven’t felt I received the amount of support that I needed in order to keep going.
To your point, Jason, in a way that’s been detrimental and can be detrimental, and it’s always relative. There are certain metrics for us as podcasters, for example, where we’re not quite there yet. We’ve had this show and perhaps in our heads, we can say, “We haven’t achieved what we want to achieve or it’s taking so long. We should give up.” I feel strongly, especially with the show but this is true for a lot of the different things that I’ve worked on over the years. You have to keep going longer than you think you’re going to. We live in this time now where if you don’t get results quickly, it’s almost like you’re encouraged to give up or there’s a common feeling of shame, embarrassment, failure if you don’t get results quickly. We see this on social media a lot. We see this with online businesses. It’s like, “You followed all these steps and it didn’t work out for you. You failed if you didn’t get the results that everybody else is getting.”
In reality, not everybody else is getting it. It seems like you’re the only one not getting results, but people that aren’t getting the results that they want generally feel shame around it that they don’t talk about it. It’s the people that are feeling successful that are talking about their successes. It’s in our face. We see what we perceive as “everybody being successful” that we begin to feel that we’re the only ones that aren’t. It’s similar to our bodies. We are marketed all of these incredible looking people. They look beautiful, handsome, sexy, thin, in shape, flexible, on and on. That is put in our face through the media and social media. That’s a small percentage of people on this planet that look like that and many of those people don’t look like that. It’s often quite fake or exaggerated.
If it’s 1%, or maybe a maximum of 5% or 10% of people look at those things or have the successes and yet somehow the rest of the people that don’t have that they think that they’re failures and that’s part of how capitalism works. It’s always pushing us to feel we’re not enough but it can be detrimental. For me, if I don’t get the “results that I’m supposed to get” then I’ll give up on things. To your point, Jason, I feel sad for myself at times.
If I had stuck with that project that I enjoyed doing and kept going despite any negative feedback I received or any low results that I received, I would have eventually received the results that I wanted simply through the act of consistency and the numbers game. To your point, Jason, it may take you a ton of work until one thing finally pays off, and that we need to remind ourselves and others of this more frequently. I’m glad that you brought that up. We have to push through these moments of doubt and insecurity and perceived failure.
I’m also not saying that it’s easy. It’s not always easy to do it. It’s not always easy to do it anyway. It’s not always easy to go beyond and push through these moments because there’s much public shame these days too. There’s fear of, “I better take down the social media post because it didn’t get enough likes and everybody’s going to see how few likes that I got on this post. If they see it, maybe they’ll think less of me or they’ll make fun of me behind my back.”
Maybe they will. Some people will judge you for things like that and some people might make fun of you or think that you’re less than them because of those things. Take it from me that not pushing past that can be detrimental to you in the long run and there are many projects that I did years ago. I can’t even imagine the results that I might have with those things that I enjoy doing if I pushed through all of those fears or all of those uncomfortable moments.
Is there one in particular that floats to the surface for you that you’re like that one thing, “Damn, had I stuck with it?” I don’t want to say the one that got away, that’s a ridiculous analogy, but it’s like that. Is there one in particular that stings a little bit more than the others?
There are a few. One off the top of my head is a podcast I did a few years ago called Reel Influencer. I had a co-host, my friend at the time, and we were doing this together. I was thinking about it because back in 2015, that was the year we were doing it, A) podcasting was not as big as it is now, and B) the whole world of being an influencer and the industry that we’re in now was small. In fact, at that time, I was one of the top vegan YouTubers because there weren’t that many vegan YouTubers or vegan YouTube channels.Part of how capitalism works is always pushing us to feel we're not enough. Click To Tweet
It was easy to stand out back then. I bet you if we had pushed through that, where I don’t even remember any of our numbers, but I don’t think they were that exciting to us so we didn’t feel there was anything at stake in terms of giving up on it. I bet you that show would have been a huge hit because I look at people who started podcasts around the same time or afterward and the success they’ve received. Just because you start something at the same time as somebody or before then doesn’t guarantee you the same results or successes as them. Who knows what would have happened with it but my gut feeling is that it would have done quite well.
I also have to look back and say, I don’t think I gave up on that project because I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t feel that motivated so perhaps it was the right decision. There are other projects though, especially on YouTube, where I feel like I should have been more consistent with them. I have continuously been discouraged on YouTube even those times where I felt I was doing well. There weren’t that many people doing the content that I was doing at the time, many years ago.
There was this one YouTube channel I had called What A Vegan Eats. I was vlogging about what I ate every day and at the time when I started it, which was 2011 or 2012, it was such a rare thing for people to be making content like that and I felt embarrassed by it. I was like, “Who cares about what I’m eating every day?” Lo and behold, a few years later, it became a huge trend and that style blew up. I had already given up on it. I tried to dip my toes back in again once I realized the missed opportunity. Maybe it would have picked up again but at that point, it wasn’t having too much traction.
There’s this weird gap of time where I felt I maybe should have been more consistent and I often wonder. I would also add to that, Jason, it wasn’t that close to my heart. Going back to some of the things that we’ve been saying here is, I’m not that passionate about vlogging what I eat every day. That’s popular in TikTok now and I’m sure if I wanted to, I could dive in and if I posted a video every day about what I ate, I could gain a lot of traction on TikTok but it doesn’t excite me and that’s why I’m not doing it. That’s the other important element of this too. It’s tempting to do something because we see it working for other people and thus we feel we have a higher chance of success with something if we do it.
This can be attributed to anything. It’s your career, body, business, family, life, or whatever you’re working on. We can see all these success stories around us and these formulas as we’ve talked about. If we don’t want to do those things, then they’re not going to be sustainable or pleasant. We might get results but those results are temporary. If we’re not enjoying it, we’re not going to keep it out and those results aren’t going to stick around. Even though I might have regrets about some of those projects, I also can’t regret them because I suppose if I enjoyed doing them like I do with this show, I would have kept going with it and it would have felt easy.
I want to read something and share something that is super relevant to what we’re discussing. I had an opportunity to connect with some of the editors at Shoutout LA. As we are getting too close to the end of this episode, I do want to share something that nicely dovetails on what we’re discussing. The article came out in early October 2020 on ShoutoutLA.com. It’s called How to Know Whether to Keep Going or to Give Up? It’s a longer article. I want to get to some of the nitty-gritty that resonated with me. They have short interview clips of artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives and that stood out to me. I want to read briefly. One is from London Alexander, a queer author. He said, “All signs point to give up. Logic, intelligence, common sense finances, especially finances. All suggest that giving up makes the most sense, but then someone will come up to me and tell me that they love what I’m doing and that it’s inspired them. It’s that one voice that doesn’t even know how powerful it is that makes all the hardships all the doubt, all the late-night crying sessions worth fighting through to continue pursuing my goal of connecting LGBTQ people through my art.”
The other one that is resonant with me at this particular time with my reinvention and shedding process is actress and producer named Toni Christopher and she said, “I think you know deep in your heart when it’s time to give up or keep going and I don’t believe it’s ever a “giving up.” I believe we all receive whispers and signs that inform us where we are heading on our life’s path and there are people I know that some would see as giving up but what they found was a calling to something else. It’s incredibly personal. This question perks up from time to time, especially during this pandemic and it’s been a gift. For me, it confronts where I am, and if I’m doing all I need to be doing to express and engage with my art. I ask myself questions like, ‘Is there something else I could do with my life?’ These questions ignite a fire in me to take more different action because, ‘No, I’m not done.’ I’ve either become comfortable or I’ve stopped working. Persistent creating and collaboration is my heartbeat and if we allow ourselves, we can do it every day.”
There’s something about that that resonates. I feel there’s much of, “Don’t give up on your dreams.” This is one thing I want to talk about in an upcoming episode. It’s this idea of dreams and giving up or keep on going or how dreams change how they change over the course of our life. There’s no right or wrong. People are afraid to “give up” and reinvent themselves. There’s nothing wrong with it. I want to maybe talk about in the next episode about this aspect of shame and guilt when someone wants to give up on their dreams because there is a lot around it. Do you feel that too sometimes? There’s a little bit of shame and guilt around like, “Don’t give up on your dreams. You need to achieve your dreams.” I don’t know. It feels like pressure, shame, and guilt all wrapped up in that conversation.
There’s a lot to unpack there and I know that you’ve been wanting to talk about it. I look forward to diving into that in another episode. Before we wrap, we want to shout-out some of our favorite brands and products we’ve been trying and we want to shout-out ourselves because we are gearing up for something cool in 2020. We’ll be talking about it. Before we tell you what it is, we wanted to make sure that you knew about this free eBook that we have called Take Charge!, we created this in 2019. Jason, it would be interesting to revisit it for 2020 because maybe we should do a 2020 COVID version of this. I feel like some of the advice that we gave at the end of 2019 is going to be different this 2020.
That book is about getting consistent, staying committed, and following through, and that ties into the subject matter which is funny because it wasn’t intentional. We made this eBook and you can download it at our website at Wellevatr.com. It is in the free resources section. It’s the first button on our website. If you click Take Charge Now, all you have to do is enter your email and you’ll get this free eBook that’s designed to help you reach your health and wellness goals. We enlisted the support of some other wellness thought leaders to share their best advice on longevity, nutrition, exercise and physical optimization. It’s completely free. There’s no catch. Send us your email so we can stay in touch with you and you will get it in return.
My shout-out beyond the eBook is, and I’m excited to talk to you about this, Jason, because I have been saving it for this episode. I don’t think I mentioned it to you. I loved this. I was shocked. I was surprised. I’ve seen it in the store a ton. I’ve always chosen a different option instead of it and finally, I was bored and thought, “I’ll give it a try.” I’m blown away by this. It is this brand of vegan ice cream called Cado. It’s avocado ice cream and it has some other ingredients in it beyond avocado, but that’s one of their big things. It’s adding avocado to a dessert. If you’ve never had avocado in a dessert before, it sounds gross, but I remember being introduced to avocado in a sweet setting back when I went vegan in 2003.
There was this Asian restaurant in Boston, where I went vegan and they had an avocado smoothie that was unbelievable. It was creamy and it didn’t taste avocado at all and my life was changed. As a result, here we are years later, I am still vegan and I bought the Cado Java Chip. It’s a coffee ice cream with flakes of chocolate chips. It’s incredible. It reminds me of this ice cream I loved as a kid called Java Chip as well. It’s a Starbucks ice cream that my friend’s mom used to buy and it was delicious. I have many great memories around it. I’ve now found a nice alternative. The Cado Java Chip is my big recommendation. It’s absolutely delicious. Have you tried any of their products, Jason?
No, but I’m excited that you have because I’ve been aware of them for a while and it’s been on my mental list to want to try new things being the fact that all of the food trade shows are on hiatus until Natural Products Expo West, which is scheduled for the end of May 2021. If life is teaching us all anything, it’s to have zero expectations about anything. I hope to try it because God knows when we’re going to be at food trade shows again. Related to this, I want to do something a little different. I’m here in my hometown of Metro Detroit, Michigan. One of the biggest things that I suppose people have as a popular misconception is that Detroit is some healthy food dessert or vegan dessert. I can assure you that over the last years of living a plant-based lifestyle, Detroit has some incredible places.People are afraid to “give up” and reinvent themselves. There's nothing wrong with it. Click To Tweet
I wanted to give some shout-outs in succession to some of the favorite places I’ve been to on my trip here and some of the old school places that I love, if anybody’s interested or comes through, lives in and visits Detroit, whenever that might be for you. I feel I’ve got to get a little hometown love here. I want to start with the classic which is Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak. It’s Vani Hari, our upcoming guests, The Food Babe. It’s her favorite restaurant in Detroit. We go on and on about the menu which I’m sure will happen in that episode at some point. The old school Inn Season Cafe, they’re closed now for renovations but that’s the OG. That was in 1996 or 1995 was the first vegetarian restaurant I ever went to. That’s taken us way back to OG status.
Another one is Seva in Detroit. They have another location in Ann Arbor. I’ve also been to some new places. I got two chili dogs. I went to a place in Hamtramck, my old neighborhood, which was called Nosh Pit and they had carrot dogs. They are Detroit style chili dogs made with carrot dogs and a whole bunch of other great food. We had chili mustard onions, which was a more classic take on a Coney dog. By the way, for anybody who doesn’t know a little bit about Detroit lore Coney dog is typically a hot dog, regular white bun, spicy chili mustard onions and that is the classic style to do a Detroit Coney dog. I had two vegan versions of that.
We’re going to pick up Detroit Vegan Soul, which is my favorite soul food in the country. We’re going to hopefully try a new vegan ice cream shop in downtown Detroit called Cold Truth. They don’t market themselves as a vegan ice cream shop but on the DL, it’s 100% dairy-free. I wanted to give a huge shout-out. Also lastly, GreenSpace & Go which is our friend Joel Kahn. He has a to-go place. There’s a ton of dope vegan and plant-based options in the City of Detroit. Who knew? It makes coming home a whole lot easier. Although on the real-real, the best food in the city is in mom’s kitchen. My mom is a dope chef. She was one of my original culinary inspirations along with my grandma Rose.
Though all those other places I mentioned are cool but legit my mom’s kitchen is the place to be. With that, dear reader, we appreciate you being here on the show. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been a longtime fanatic, thanks for giving us all of that love. If you want to connect with us on a deeper level, you can download some free resources at our website which Wellevatr.com. We are on all of the major social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, all the biggies @Wellevatr. If you want to reach out to us directly, it does come to Whitney and myself. Our direct email address is [email protected]. With that, Whitney, have an amazing dinner. As we wrap, where are you going? Are you guys going out? Are you eating in the house? Give us a little skinny as we get to the end here. What are you doing?
We are going to a restaurant that isn’t vegan friendly, but it is festive. In the month of October, they do an Oktoberfest type of thing. It’s a bar or a pub, I should say it’s Massachusetts. It’s in the town where I lived when I was born. I was born in Massachusetts, but my parents were living in this small town of Hudson, Massachusetts. It’s not that far from where my parents live now so it’s a nice place to go. You’ve been there, Jason. They have all amazing restaurants. You have been there because I remember we went to the Speakeasy they have there and the ice cream shop. They have a place called New City Microcreamery and they had to move the Speakeasy outside during COVID so it’s no longer technically a hidden Speakeasy. It’s a cool town. They always have vegan options. This place they’ll have a basic salad, but I’m going for the experience and end up eating something at home afterward to make up for the minimal nourishment that I’ll be getting at this meal.
We are going to be experimenting with fillets of fish made out of banana blossoms. I will report back with how that recipe experiment went in the next episode. With that, thanks for being with us.
*We use affiliate links in our show notes. This means we receive a small sales commission if you purchase an item based on our recommendation.
- Digital Minimalism
- Lost Connections
- 2020 Elections: Staying Sane Through the Voting Process – Previous episode
- The War of Art
- Find Your True Fork
- The State of Wellness: On the Practices Around Wellbeing and Mindfulness with Jeff Krasno – Previous episode
- SoundCloud – Jason Wrobel
- Third Man Records
- iTunes – This Might Get Uncomfortable Podcast
- What A Vegan Eats – YouTube channel
- Shoutout LA.com
- How to Know Whether to Keep Going or to Give Up? – Shoutout LA Article
- London Alexander – Shoutout LA Article
- Toni Christopher – Shoutout LA Article
- Take Charge!
- Cado Java Chip
- Natural Products Expo West
- Inn Season Cafe
- Vani Hari
- Nosh Pit
- Detroit Vegan Soul
- Cold Truth Soft Serve
- GreenSpace & Go
- [email protected]
- New City Microcreamery
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