EP 79 – Michael Dash: Chasing The High, A Story of Addiction and Triumph
Hey hey! Welcome back to the Bullpen Sessions! I’ve got an amazing guest for you all today, so put a smile on and get ready to take tons of notes because you, my friend, are about to go on a wild ride!
Today I’m joined by Michael Dash, a man I am excited to call a friend and colleague. We met last year in the Fast Foundations Mastermind, and I can’t wait for you to be inspired by him. When I heard his story of going from addiction and building a multi-million dollar company to following his intuition and helping entrepreneurs create fulfilling lives, I knew I wanted to have him on the podcast.
In this interview, we’re diving into how addictions — even seemingly benign addictions — can rob us of true joy and fulfillment and how to steer clear of them. We will also discuss how to trust your intuition and live a life you’re proud of. I think you’re going to be really encouraged by Michael’s perspective and inspired to live a more balanced life.
Let’s get started!
Who Is Michael Dash?
Michael grew up on the East Coast in a family that was constantly striving for more. At an early age, Michael developed an addiction for achieving, which eventually turned into an addiction to gambling, alcohol, drugs, and, finally, money. He was always chasing the next high — anything that would give him a shot of adrenaline.
This led him down a path of unhappiness and feeling unfulfilled, even though his financial score said he was winning. After spending some time behind bars, Michael knew something had to change. About that time, he took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Bali, where he learned about manifesting and synchronicities for the first time. Shortly after, he decided to make the rest of his life about accumulating happiness instead of wealth.
Since then, he’s started MD mentoring and coaching, where he helps highly-successful entrepreneurs double their revenue while reclaiming their sense of joy and connection in life. He recently published his first book, Chasing the Highs, chronicling his experience from addiction and transformation to living in true freedom.
I think today’s message will be super valuable to you because I believe we all struggle with addiction in one way or another. But the good news is that we all have the power to overcome addiction, and that’s exactly what Michael shares today — how to overcome addiction and live your most epic life!
Michael’s Story: Trapped in Addiction to Following Intuition
For as long as Michael can remember, he focused on accumulating money. As the son of an entrepreneur in New York, he grew up thinking that if you worked harder and longer, you could outwork your competition and succeed. He believed that happiness meant being rich, owning a company, driving a fancy car, and living in an epic house. That’s what he thought would attract women and applause and make him feel like a real man.
“I convinced myself that in order to be established, looked up to, respected, and successful, I needed all those things. … But eventually, when I had them all, I was miserable. I was not happy whatsoever.” – Michael Dash
Even though Michael experienced success at a young age, it took him a while to realize that there was something more for him in life than accumulating wealth and accolades. Michael’s first adventure into the entrepreneur world was as a bookie — someone who facilitates gambling and pays out winnings on other people’s behalf. Since being introduced to gambling at age 11, he quickly noticed that the bookies always won. So he decided to do the same.
He began experimenting with drugs in college, and it wasn’t long before he became a drug dealer. After graduating college in New York City, he started selling sports advertising to companies who wanted to be featured in game-day football and basketball publications. He did this for 500 universities around the country. All the guys he worked with gambled, did drugs, and partied, which exacerbated his addiction. He continued in this lifestyle until his early 30s.
Michael didn’t have a typical rock-bottom moment like a lot of people in addiction do. In retrospect, Michael said he probably hit it several times, but it never registered with him. He was arrested twice — once for a DUI and once for possession of a substance called GHB. Both times he bailed himself out, hired high-priced attorneys to plead down his case, and did his 100 hours of community service.
“[Both of these experiences] were completely humiliating and embarrassing for me — but only to me because nobody found out about them. … I still was not in tune that that was my rock bottom. I still was not in tune that feeding my ego was more important to me than actually being honest.” – Michael Dash
Michael said it wasn’t until almost four years ago that he knew something had to change:
“I had just bought my business partner out of the business that we built together. [It was] doing about five million in revenue a year. We got into a lawsuit right after … because she violated the agreement. … So [I ended up] in a five-year lawsuit at the time, running a business … that was running me. … I came to hate the very business I [had] built. I resented my employees.” – Michael Dash
Around this time, he saw an invitation on Facebook to attend an event in Bali. Since visiting Bali was on his bucket list, he jumped at the opportunity.
At the retreat, two people talked about living in a state of flow and making decisions by listening to your intuition instead of your conscious mind. Growing up in a family who lived by the mantra “outwork your competition,” Michael chalked it all up to a bunch of BS.
But when he got home, he said he kept asking himself, “Could it really be that bad to try to live differently — by intuition instead of my conscious mind?” The more he thought about it, the lighter he felt physically. So, he spent $1200 on the course he learned about at the retreat, and it changed the trajectory of his life.
Why Being Laser-Focused Might Not Be a Good Business Strategy
The word “addiction” typically comes with a negative connotation because people tend to talk about being addicted to alcohol, drugs, or sex. But I think we can get addicted to things that make a positive impact or even seem healthy — things like work, making the next sale, or being that master networker. Just because an addition may seem healthy doesn’t mean it is.
Michael pointed out that addiction, by definition, is an unbalanced passion, which means any addiction is eventually unhealthy.
“I feel like obsessive behavior to the degree of addiction is unhealthy in any manner. It’s not sustainable, right? If you took the word ‘addiction’ out and you just say, ‘Wow, he’s got an unhealthy passion for building a business.’ [That means] it’s really detrimental to your life, to your growth, to your sanity, to your health, to your wealth.” – Michael Dash
Michael noted that even if you’re addicted to something like having a healthy body, you’re still spending a lopsided amount of time in that area, which means another area in your life will suffer.
“If you’re not taking care of yourself physically and emotionally on a daily basis, then it’s going to catch up to you in some aspect of your life. And you’re going to end up being an unbalanced person.” – Michael Dash
In other words, you have to be at your best to bring your best. You can only cover up and hide your not-best-self for so long. Many people go into business with the mentality of being laser-focused to get their business off the ground. It takes a lot of work to have a successful business, but in more cases than not, it takes a lot of time, too — sometimes years!
If you’re going into business or building a business right now with a laser-focused perspective, here’s a thought Michael said you need to consider:
“Most people talk about, ‘[If] you want to build a successful business, you’ve got to be laser-focused.’ But if you take the flip side of that, [and say], ‘Okay, what are you not focusing on because you’re so laser-focused? [How is that] detrimental to your wellbeing?’ Like you have to incorporate that into your life because the business will break down when you break down if you’re building it without the key components of fulfillment.” – Michael Dash
An unbalanced life will catch up with you eventually. It could be before you reach success, or worse yet, you could wake up one day, like Michael, literally living your dream, but being unable to enjoy it because you resent everything.
Michael pursues being the best version of himself and caring for his fulfillment levels by taking time to fill several different “buckets” each week. Each “bucket” contributes to his sense of fulfillment. These buckets are things like community, being in nature, creativity, making money, and taking care of his physical health.
“For me, [those key components of fulfillment] fall into buckets. I believe fulfillment is made up of all these [different] buckets. And I try to fill half of them on a weekly basis. [That’s how] I have fulfillment — they’re all filled to a certain extent.” – Michael Dash
If you’re feeling unfulfilled in your life, it’s probably not because your life is miserable. You’re probably just not taking time to give yourself a sense of fulfillment. In the next three days, sit down with a piece of paper and write down five areas in your life that make you feel alive. Now schedule an activity for at least three of those areas in the next seven days. I think you’ll be surprised by how much you enjoy your life and feel excited to work after participating in those activities!
How to Live from Your Intuition
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a highly driven person, a go-getter. This means that living from your intuition might feel as bizarre and impractical as it initially did to Michael. Since Michael has transitioned to following his intuition he believes that it is one of the most important skills to master if you want to live a life of success and fulfillment:
“There’s nothing that will serve you more in your life than following and trusting your intuition. … Intuition is a powerful force. It’s an energetic field that will pull you into the direction that you’re meant to go. It might not actually make logical sense at the time — the reason might not appear right then to you — but when you are able to tap into it and trust it and follow it, everything unveils itself at the right time. … And then it all makes sense.” – Michael Dash
Michael explained that following your intuition should just happen. If you’re second-guessing yourself, you’re not following your intuition.
“Don’t think about it. … Just take action. Quit contemplating, quit pondering. Just take action on whatever your gut is telling you. Go do it, and it’ll lead you in the right direction.” – Michael Dash
If following your intuition feels scary, that’s most likely an indication that you’re on the right track because following your intuition requires trust. You don’t always know where your intuition is leading you, but as you practice, you get better at it and begin to see that it’s pointing you in the right direction!
Why You Should Listen to This Michael Dash Podcast Episode Right Now…
Guys, you need to start following this man if you’re not already. This interview was enlightening and motivating. The best part is that this just touched the tip of the iceberg of what Michael has to offer. So, make sure to buy his book, Chasing the High, for more in-depth advice on everything we discussed today. And don’t forget to connect with him on Instagram and learn more about the work he does on his website!
If you learned something today, please pass this along to someone you know! Just take a screenshot of this and share it on Instagram. Tag us both — Michael Dash, @mdash1, and me, @andy_neary — and let us know what your biggest takeaway was. And, if you have three extra minutes, please leave a review and rating on Apple Podcasts — I’d be extremely grateful!
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Before I sign off, let me remind you that you are capable of living an incredibly successful life that makes you feel fulfilled. If you feel out of balance or lack joy in your life, take a step back and invest a few hours of your week into the things that make you happy. There’s more to life than money and accolades, my friend. Now, go make good things happen today!
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