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! 

Before I go, I want to tell you a little bit about my new coaching program: The Broker Branding Academy! This Academy is for insurance professionals who are focused on HYPER GROWTH! If you want to blow your 2021 sales out of the water, you MUST have a personal brand. Your prospects are buying you — not the logon on your business card. I’ve designed the Broker Branding Academy to teach you, step-by-step, EXACTLY what I’ve done to build a personal brand my prospects and clients KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. It took me six years … but we’ll get you there in four months! Ready to enroll? Click here

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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EP 78 – The One Career Decision I Regret The Most

Hey hey! Welcome back to The Bullpen Sessions! Each week, I deconstruct my journey and struggles through my professional baseball career. I take the lessons that I learned and help you apply them in your work and business so that you can live a life of purpose! 

This week I am going to get really vulnerable with you, guys. I’m going to share a moment in my life that I really regret. So grab your glove, hold your ball, get ready to take the mound — this is going to be interesting. 

Make sure to keep reading throughout this whole post because this story has a twist. It’s about a decision I made in my pro baseball career that had a much bigger impact on my life than I realized. With that, let’s get started.  

Spring Training 2001

Let me take you back to my spring training in 2001 when I was playing with the Milwaukee Brewers. Each day I got to the spring training complex before sunrise and kept my stuff in the locker. Your locker could be next to someone playing AA or AAA who is just one step away from making it to the Major Leagues. It’s a great way to learn from guys who have been where you are and beyond!

Although, the thing about spring training is that it is very monotonous. Each day you go down for breakfast alongside the rest of the Minor League camp, you come back, relax, put on your uniform and head out for stretching and calisthenics, followed by eight-nine hours of practice. And if you don’t enjoy the entire process, it is going to get to you quickly. 

And I admit that I probably did not enjoy the process as much as I could have. I allowed myself to view the game more as a job than a hobby or a passion. Yes, it is a business at that point, but you can still give yourself space to really enjoy the process of getting up every morning to play ball while getting paid for it. 

But that year, I knew that if I stuck around spring training long enough and if I didn’t get cut, I had a chance to go break camp and pitch for the Beloit Snappers. The Beloit Snappers is a single A team in the Milwaukee Brewers organization located in Beloit, Wisconsin. And Beloit was just 50 miles away from where I grew up, which is why it was such a big deal to me! If I spent the summer pitching in Beloit, my friends and family could come and watch every single game that I played, and boy, was I excited about that! 

So every day, I got up and worked on my mechanics. I might not have enjoyed the process much, but I did not take anything for granted. And I remember entering into the last week of the spring training, days away from breaking camp, and I felt good. 

Two-three weeks into the spring training camp, you start playing games in the afternoon (sometimes teams will come to your spring training complex or vice versa). And on this particular day, we were heading over to the Scottsdale area to take on the Oakland Athletics. It was a beautiful complex, and I was pitching that day and had a really good outing. I didn’t give up any runs in the one or two innings that I played, and that made me feel really confident about what that summer was going to look like. I was excited about the possibility of my friends and family watching me play professional baseball consistently. 

After the game, I headed over to the practice field, ran my sprints, and did my cool-down workout with the trainer. On the bus back to our spring training facility, I was sitting next to Billy Hall who at that time was playing AA or AAA, and we had an inspiring conversation. Everything was looking good for me, but then that all changed.

The Pink Slip

When I woke up the next morning,  it was like any other day. But when I reached the spring training facility that day, there was something different. As I walked into the locker room, hanging on my locker was a pink slip. It was a very awkward moment. When you’re given a pink slip, everybody knows that you are being cut and let go, and so they tiptoe around you, pat you on the back trying not to offend you, and tell you how it has been a joy playing beside you.

I grabbed my playbook and took a walk of shame down to the Director of Personnel’s office. And here’s what was interesting — when I entered his office, I wasn’t just talking to the Director but also to two Minor League coaches who were sitting on either side of him. What were they doing there? And then it struck me — when some people are cut, they absolutely freak out. Those coaches were there for the Director’s protection. 

They thanked me for my time and service, passed over a list of independent teams to me, and asked me to pick a team that I wanted to play for. They would make a call and refer me to that team.  These independent teams are professional baseball teams but are not affiliated to any Minor League or Major League baseball teams. I could have spent the next summer playing in the independent leagues, and who knows another major league team might have shown interest and signed up a contract with me. 

And so at that moment, I made a terrible decision. I told them that I was glad that I got the chance to play professional ball, but I already had my finance degree, so it was time for me to move on with the rest of my life. It was not this decision that I regretted the most, but it was a bad one nevertheless. I was 22-23 years old at the time, and I could have taken a year or two to play independent ball, enjoyed the travel, and had fun since I did not have too many responsibilities at that age. But my pride was hurt, so I wasted that opportunity.  

If you are a young athlete reading this, then I have a piece of advice for you: Savour the joy that your sport brings you, regardless of whether you’re the MVP or not. If you have a chance to continue playing in independent leagues or have any other opportunity to pursue your sport, then don’t be so quick to end your career so abruptly as I did! 

The Decision I Regret the Most: Letting That Experience Impact My Business Career 

Now, this is where we get to the lesson that I want to teach you with this episode today. Here’s what I did regret the most. When somebody had literally fired me and told me that I was no longer good enough to play a sport that I had been playing since age four, that message impacted my business career for well over ten years. But how?

  • Reason #1: I struggled with feeling good enough about myself. My self-worth was rock bottom for a long time. This definitely impacted my early career when I was selling financial planning or insurance. Am I good enough to win at this new game I’m playing? For a long time, I didn’t think so.  
  • Reason #2: I was never satisfied. Instead of looking back and seeing what I had accomplished as a 5’9” pitcher in professional baseball, I looked at myself as a failure. And again, this transitioned into my business career. I was never satisfied with my work. This is something I still struggle with today. Recently, I’ve really been trying to take the time to reflect and celebrate my progress about how far I have come in life! 
  • Reason #3: I know one of the reasons I was let go was because of my stats, or lack thereof. I also was considered “old” for the level I was in at the Minor Leagues. My stats the previous year were good, and so were my stats on the mound and the spring training, but they weren’t great. And I allowed that judgment of my abilities (based on some stats) to impact my business career. I was always tempted to compare my own stats to others, and I had this constant feeling like other people were judging me. Of course, now it was not about run averages or strike-outs, but about sales numbers, pipeline opportunities, or the amount of revenue I was bringing in. It was just a different type of stat.

Let’s face it —it stings when someone tells you that you are not good enough to play something that you have played all your life. It sucked. But what I really regret is letting that experience destroy my mindset. And as a result, for ten years, my business career suffered. 

I also regret not taking the moment to celebrate victories. It’s good to be ambitious, but if you never reflect on everything you’ve accomplished, you’ll eventually burn out.  And lastly, I  regret the fact that I allowed myself to be judged because at the end of the day the only person that impacted my happiness and my success was me

If you’re a young athlete, I gotta speak straight with you. At some point, your sports career is going to end, and you will have to move on to Chapter Two. You’ll have to start something new. And the advice that I want to give you is never to doubt your own abilities. Know that you are good at what you do but that your work doesn’t define you as a person. Be happy, find something that fulfills you, and enjoy the process. Celebrate your victories and the progress that you are making. 

And what’s more, don’t let other people’s judgments impact you. Don’t get caught up in the comparison because at the end of the day, this is what kept my business away from success for far too long. And I don’t want you to make the same mistake.

Why You Should Listen to This Episode Right Now…

Guys, I leave this with you today — whenever a transition comes in your life, have faith in yourself. Enjoy the process and the journey to whatever your next chapter in life looks like. And most of all don’t let other people’s opinions determine your self-worth. Just stay in your lane, and know that success is coming just around the corner. 

My man, thank you for taking the time to read this Friday Bullpen Sessions post, and don’t forget to listen to the episode as well. If you are enjoying these episodes,  please go over to Apple Podcasts, subscribe, and give me a five-star rating — I’d be really grateful. Also, share this episode with a family member, friend, or coworker who needs to hear it, and tag me on Instagram, @andy_neary, with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways!

Thanks so much for joining me today, guys! Before I go, I want to give you two special offers: First, I want to invite you to join my Complete Game Mastermind. This is my coaching program, and it starts in just a few days! Masterminds are a great way to get coaching and put yourself in rooms with other entrepreneurs just like you. You can start building your community and gathering people around you who will support you and your growth.

You can also join my FREE text community! Just text the word “Mindset” to 414-622-1462, and I’ll give you access to a TON of free weekly coaching. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge and join the Complete Game Mastermind, this text community is a great way to see if my coaching might be right for you.

Remember — when clarity and confidence collide, action happens. Go out and make it happen today!