#1 — Russ Macumber — Invisible Demons, Role Models & Simplifying The Big Questions

This almost didn’t happen. 

Yes, even after after 15 years of fast-paced client-fac­ing advi­so­ry, deliv­ery and pub­lic speak­ing in the cor­po­rate world, I was still almost so ner­vous that I con­sid­ered pulling the pin on Danc­ing With Doubt.

It’s a dif­fer­ent beast, these cre­ative projects. 

I’ve always thought of myself as pret­ty con­fi­dent and ‘able’, but noth­ing shouts ‘vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty’ as stick­ing your head out in pub­lic with a new ven­ture straight from the heart and soul.

What will peo­ple think? What will they say? Will this add val­ue? Will I ‘per­form’? What about social media trolls? ‘I’m not cre­ative — this isnt my jam’ — imag­ine these in loop, over and over again — that was the lead up to, and the morn­ing of the first recording.

Dont get me wrong — you can be pret­ty pre­pared with tasks, time­lines and mile­stones — that stuff is my jam — but when it’s time to cre­ate cre­ative good­ness, boy did I strug­gle get­ting out of bed for Episode 1!

Luck­i­ly (and delib­er­ate­ly), I was hon­oured the share space with my good friend, Russ Macumber. 

I’ve known Russ for many years, albeit in a more per­son­al set­ting. He’s some­one i’ve always respect­ed and looked up to — after all, 4 kids, mul­ti­ple suc­cess­ful busi­ness­es, and a vibrant, warm per­son­al­i­ty to go with it…what’s not to like! I remem­ber even get­ting some men­tor­ship advice from him, once sun­ny day in Mel­bourne a few years back.

I neglect­ed to tell Russ that he was my first guest, so he actu­al­ly got a nice sur­prise when we were doing our sound­check before the recording. 

Look­ing back and reflect­ing, I am so glad that we shared Episode 1 together. 

From shar­ing a gig­gle, to talk­ing about biz, to then going super-deep on some very per­son­al strug­gles, to talk about the very foun­da­tions of our being — our iden­ti­ties and high­er pur­pose, to bring­ing it back to biz. A per­son of Russ’ cal­i­bre open­ing up like that is some­thing we need­ed to hear.

Russ opened up on some deeply per­son­al mat­ters, such as his expe­ri­ence with alco­holism and the result­ing impacts on his per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life. I want to first and fore­most hon­our Russ’ courage in shar­ing this pub­licly — it’s not easy, but on the flip side I think we know how much these sorts of con­ver­sa­tions can help oth­ers in sim­i­lar situations.

Alco­holism can be an insid­i­ous beast, and West­ern soci­ety is only recent­ly start­ing to acknowl­edge the neg­a­tive impacts at macro and micro lev­el. After all, it does­nt need to go to extremes such as liv­er cir­rho­sis — it can eat away at our poten­tial, our rela­tion­ships, our very zest for life (much less our health) in hid­den ways we are only just start­ing to talk about as a society.

Weav­ing into Russ’ expe­ri­ence with alco­hol was the impor­tance of pos­i­tive role mod­els or men­tors, and the fact that it’s so impor­tant to sur­round your­self with peo­ple that can tell you ‘like it is’, and help keep you on the path to the best ver­sion of your­self. Whether it’s hav­ing a work men­tor, or even a wife that can give you an ‘push’ (ulti­ma­tum) — yes my awe­some wife has giv­en me some of those as well — you don’t always have the answers. You can’t always objec­tive­ly see what’s going on in your life. But we’re social crea­tures, and if we can bring our ego down just a lit­tle to take in this advice, we’ll all be more round­ed and ground­ed said social creatures.

On the top­ic of high­er pur­pose, the sub­lim­i­nal mes­sages from soci­ety con­tin­u­ous­ly ampli­fy the need for ‘impact’. Are you hus­tling enough? Are you fill­ing your time enough? Will you be the next best thing, the next Elon Musk, the next Jeff Bezos? In my cir­cles, some­times these are the sorts of con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing. And whilst they can be moti­vat­ing to an extent, they can also be dev­as­tat­ing for one’s sense of self and psyche. 

Because ulti­mate­ly, there will always be some­one ‘big­ger’, ‘bet­ter’, ‘rich­er’, more ‘impact­ful’ than you — and in our prison of com­par­i­son (thanks social media and click­bait news), this can lead to a feel­ing of inad­e­qua­cy. So to hear Russ talk about sim­pli­fy­ing this notion, and focus­ing on the basics such as rela­tion­ships, kids, con­nec­tion, then fol­low­ing with busi­ness and those impacts — now that is some­thing we can all take away.

I’ve always said I don’t know where this pod­cast road will lead…but now more than ever i’m incred­i­bly, incred­i­bly keen to find out!

Also, note to self for next time — clean the cam­era lens! :’)

Let me know your thoughts on all this, I promise i’ll read.

May suc­cess be with you!

3 thoughts on “#1 — Russ Macumber — Invisible Demons, Role Models & Simplifying The Big Questions

  1. Wow, this is real­ly rel­e­vant to me and every­one. I love how you men­tion the com­par­isons on social media , we need to move away from this and cre­ate com­mu­ni­ty. No more time for divide. Glad this pod­cast might help oth­ers to see that they are not alone. Well done.

  2. Good post. I learn some­thing total­ly new and chal­leng­ing on blogs I stum­ble­upon on a dai­ly basis. Its always use­ful to read con­tent from oth­er authors and prac­tice some­thing from their websites.

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