Catch Jay Shifman on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Audio digitally transcribed by Otter.ai
Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:18
I think it's a beautiful day for a beautiful day. And we have Jay in the room a pirate in the making. Good morning, Jay. How are you doing my friend?
Jay Shifman 0:28
That's really all I've ever wanted to be is a pirate. So I'm honored to finally have have achieved a dream. I guess I gotta find something new to dream about now.
Russ Johns 0:37
You graduated to pirate status.
Jay Shifman 0:39
Russ Johns 0:41
And a lot of people, you know, they asked me where the word the pirate come from. And there's lots of different pieces of the puzzle. However, it's really about being in a community, caring about each other, starting a conversation and actually doing something positive in the world. You know, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. I say that all the time. And it's a result of having some very challenging times. And I know that's some of the things that you talk about in your journey. And some of the things that you're doing actively, every single day helping other people work through their struggles, you know, going to measure where they are, and, you know, trying to make tomorrow a better day than yesterday. So you have an event coming up tonight actually, that people could check into tell us a little bit about that. Let's dive right into it.
Jay Shifman 1:31
Yeah, I do. And I'm very excited about it. It's the goal of this, as you said sort of is to make tomorrow better. And the easiest way that we can all contribute to making tomorrow better is by ending stigma around topics that there shouldn't be a stigma around and allowing people to feel comfortable talking about these things. The subjects that I talked about our mental health, substance misuse, drug use, and policy, those sorts of things. But there's unnecessary stigma around a lot of topics. And this event I'm doing tonight, the first of what's hopefully going to be a long, long stream of these. It's called rock bottom storytellers. It's a normalizing these, this the conversation around these these struggle moments, and hopefully ending stigma around them. So it's going to be for storytellers, talking about their lowest moments, one musician to give us a nice little break in the middle so that we can sort of have a palate cleanser, and I'm hosting it, put on by my company, choose your struggle. And if people go to my Facebook page, or just choose your struggle, or my youtube search youtube for Jay Shifman, you'll be able to find it and subscribe and check it out tonight at 830. Eastern time.
Russ Johns 2:40
Well, thanks for sharing that thanks for the effort in in helping others around us, you know, because there's a lot, right. You know, we're in the middle of a pandemic. And even without a pandemic, there are a lot of people that struggle with the stigma. And it's like, they don't want to talk about it, because they don't want to be labeled, and they don't want to be labeled, because there's something that's going to impact their life down the road. You know, and I was talking to somebody the other day about, you know, even if they go talk to a counselor, it's on their permanent record and and that may not necessarily,you know, be something they want on their permanent record. It's like, I just need to talk to somebody, you know, it's like, it should be open and active and allowed in some way, shape or form. So I love the way that you turn. Turn it to stories. And how did you develop that, that that direction? And the way that you tell stories around that?
Jay Shifman 3:42
Well, there's sort of two reasons for it. Number one is that our brains learn through story. We all know that right? I'm reading two books right now, one of them is a story of somebody whose life and the other one is a sort of scientific exploration of a topic. The scientific exploration has 10 times the amount of information and good information in it. I'm taking more from the story, not intentionally, that's just the way our brains work, we learn more from story. So it's a way to help people connect. As as we like to say, it's hard to hate up close. If you can, you can sort of hate these ideas. But when you actually hear someone talk about it, your body, you have a reaction your body tells you otherwise. So that's number one. But number two is that's how I got my start. Back in 2015. Five years into recovery. I was 100% buying into the stigma around this. I thought that I had failed. I thought it was a stain. I thought it was sort of to use the words you just said, you know, mark on my permanent record, right. And a buddy of mine who runs a storytelling event in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I'm from, asked me repeatedly to tell the story every time I was like, you're crazy, man, that's never gonna happen. And then I finally got over that fear and I did it. And six years later, it's what I do for a living. I launched this business full time in 2019. And all thanks to that one night of getting up on stage and telling 100-150 people this story that I kept quiet for five years. So, you know, I know the power of this full, you know, full hand, I lived it. And so I want to give other people that opportunity, and especially those who don't have it. And that's why a lot of what I do focuses on giving voices to those who given platform, so those voices that don't normally have the opportunity, because it's great, you know, for the Jay Shifman's of the world to be able to get up here and tell my story. But what about the all these other people who don't have that platform, that's what I am just motivated by every day to try to solve
Russ Johns 5:37
Well, and that's part of the #PirateBroadcast™ is, you know, #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings, that doesn't mean that it's all rainbows and unicorns, it's, sometimes we have #interestingthings that lead to kind of a serious topic. And we've had a lot of people on here talking about mental illness and, and challenges, you know, and, and, you know, I tell people, hey, I'm glad the first 40 years of my life had nothing to do with the internet, you know, there's no YouTube, there's no digital record of some of the shenanigans that I had to go through. And it's, it's reality, in so many ways that we have this. You know, mental illness is, is part of the fabric of life. Just like success is a part of fabric of life. And people don't really think about it that way. And they don't tell their stories about it. Because, you know, at some point in time, they, somebody decided that that wasn't the way to go. And so you know, you you keep it hidden You, you, you, you know, abused drugs, you, you know, drink alcohol, you try to push it down, you try to shove it down. And it's not really something that's, that's highlighted. So I love the idea of storytelling, and talking through this in a way that is productive for others to believe that it's okay.
Jay Shifman 7:02
Well, what's most important, I think, to keep in mind is that it's all in a spectrum, right. And this idea that we have, I mean, we're a very black and white thinking society, everything is either good or bad. It's in whatever the case is. And it's never true. There is never just two camps. You know, even in our political system, which is broken between two camps, there are millions of people who third party, there's never just two categories. And I think the most important, or the best illustration of that is I was reading this, this article in Psychology Today, maybe a couple months ago. And it was discussing how people who were used to be called what's the label of borderline personality disorder, are now being treated no different than those who have the disorder, whether it's bipolar, schizophrenia, whatever the case is, and the rationale there is, if somebody is 99%, you know, all of the categories that they need to be, you know, checked off to be given this diagnosis, except for one. Why does that mean, they should get a completely different regiment than someone who has that extra one, you know, checkmark. And of course, that doesn't make any sense when you when you think about it rationally. But that's the way we were operating for a while either you're you're in this camp, and you have the illness, or even this campaign, you're perfectly fine. So they've sort of started to wane out that, that diagnosis, and now treating people more on a spectrum. Well, okay, you have these symptoms, you don't have this one, instead of you are absolutely falling into a regimen because that's never the case. And I live that firsthand, I got a misdiagnosis when I was young, and it led to my struggles with substance misuse. And it's one of the reasons I'm such an advocate for this is that my story doesn't fit that sort of black and white thinking, you know, as I like to joke when I speak, I didn't first start struggling with substances when a friend passed me a joint underneath the bleachers in seventh grade gym class, like Nancy Reagan wanted us to believe what's gonna happen? No, we can't just have these binary thinking, ideas around these around these important topics, we have to be fluid we have to be understand.
Russ Johns 9:08
Well, it even goes to you know, ADD, ADHD, you know, dyslexia, you know, things that are real world examples of people's challenges, and things that people go through anxiety, you know, panic attacks, all of these things, you know, social, social distancing, in terms of, you know, there are people that are having challenges not being out in public not being able to connect with friends and family, you know, there's and to say that one's better or different or, you know, more challenging than another is kind of short sighted, I think. So, how do you how do you manage an outcome or is there an outcome through the storytelling exercise that you go through?
Jay Shifman 10:00
Yeah, I would say that it's very personal for everyone, you know, again, from doing this myself, I've gotten offstage. And I've had fingers in my face. How dare you, you know, a lot of times, my wife knows the stories, because I come home with them all the time back when, you know, public speaking was the thing of the grandparent who was like, how dare you, you know, say the ADHD is over prescribed, the medication is over prescribed and all that kind of stuff. And it's like, I didn't say that I told you my story of it being over prescribed, you know, but it what it does in people's very personal, I've also had people come up to me afterwards crying and saying, help me understand my son better my daughter better, my father better whatever the case is. So you know, it, they're they're all across the spectrum, you know, and most of them are good. I would say, I don't want people walking away from this and thinking that, you know, I get accosted on the street, I'm very lucky. 99% of the interactions I have are very positive people saying thank you so much. And, you know, helping me understand that I can talk about this with my podcast that you just struggle podcast, the best email I've ever gotten, and it's hanging on my wall is someone from a northern African country who emailed me and said, I'm so happy that I found this podcast, thank you so much for doing it. I don't get to hear this talked about where I live. And that's why I do this, right, is that that one person who I'm probably never going to meet in real life. In fact, when I say that, I'm never going to meet that person in real life, I was able to change that life just by putting out this podcast. So that's why we do this is we no idea who we're gonna interact and who we're gonna help change the way that they go about their life.
Russ Johns 11:42
I absolutely agree. You know, cuz, I mean, it hits close to home for me, you know, my dad had dementia, you know, I've had family members that struggle with it, you know, My son committed suicide. I've had relatives, and suicide, and it's just a real topic that hits home close to me, and, and that's one of the reasons why I wake up, I think about #gratitude. In the morning, I just wake up and I want to be able to pursue something positive today. And I know that it's just going to be a productive day, if I can either help someone, you know, offer a piece of advice that's going to influence or inspire someone, or get a guest that is going to help move that forward, and have a conversation like this, Jay. So I really appreciate it. I want to, I want to give a shout out to some of the people in the room, Michael Baker. He's always a advocate for the pirates. Good morning. Thank you so much for being here, Michael. I really appreciate that. Tracie, the producer of the show, very important topic. Absolutely, positively. There's so many things that are you know, less than perfect. So we all we all fit in the bucket of less than perfect, I think. And it's just like you said, Michael, just like you said, Jay, it's really degrees. You know, it's like we all have degrees of things that are your testimony, experience, strength and hope. Thank you so much. JD Thank you. Hi to all the pirates, Russ Hedge. Russ Hedge. I sent Russ an email. I was supposed to be on his show this morning with Gabriel. And my mother fell and broke her arm and and so my schedules got kind of messed around. And I just publicly apologize to Russ, for being caught in the crossfire of calendar malfunction. And so Russ, I appreciate you. I love the opportunity to come in and talk on your show. However, it's really, really going to be a challenge today. So everyone needs an advocate when fighting through struggle. absolutely, positively. And I think that absolutely. silverfox. Darlene, thank you so much for being here. Hola. She says, hope everyone is well on this morning #PirateBroadcast™. Hugs Russ, thank you so much. And then Lorrie from yesterday. The Queen of green and Colorado. She's says Good morning pirates. Russ says all good. Love you, Russ. Back at you brother, we will reschedule. So I just really want to be able to illustrate to people that just this brief comment in the #PirateBroadcast™ gives me hope that people have an opportunity to connect so where can people connect with you, Jay, on your event tonight that you're having if they want to find out more about you and what's going on?
Jay Shifman 15:09
Well, I'm Jay schiffman, or choose your struggle on every social media. And the event tonight specifically will be broadcasting live in my choose your struggle Facebook page, go to Facebook, search for choose your struggle, if you don't have Facebook, which I know a lot of a lot of people don't go to YouTube and search for Jay Shifman. Not Choose your struggle, that's a different page. So go to Jay Shifman and subscribe there, it'll pop up live at 830 eastern time tonight. And it'll also be you know, recorded and shared everywhere including I do most of my work on LinkedIn. But unlike you, my friend for some whatever reason LinkedIn is not allowed me the LinkedIn live yet. So this one will not be broadcast live on LinkedIn. But recording will be posted there.
Russ Johns 15:56
Yeah, it's crazy. I and I don't have stories yet. It's like a lot of people have stories, and I have stories.
Jay Shifman 16:01
It doesn't make any sense.
Russ Johns 16:05
Okay. It's like, Hey, you got live, you don't get stories.
Jay Shifman 16:10
I want live, I want to be able to I want this event to go live on LinkedIn because that's where I do most of my work. But, you know, who knows? That's so funny.
Russ Johns 16:22
You know, and it's really, it's about the whole thing of the entire thing of making sure that people have an opportunity to hear a story that relates to what they're doing, how they're feeling. What's the emotional attachment and recovery, you know, feeling better? It's an ongoing process. It's a lifetime effort. You know, it doesn't just magically one day go away. Yeah. So what are some stories that you can relate to that the people might hear tonight?
Jay Shifman 16:57
Well, I'll tell you, the one that always gets me is we see this in movies and TV all the time, right? It's the person comes out of or goes into rehab, or whatever the case is, and they're like, great, I'm good now. And that's just not, that's not how this works. You know, I I went in and did my recovery work over the course of about four months. But it took me another, I would say, four to five years to truly feel that I was back to, you know where I needed to be and that I was healthy, and that I was safe and stable. So those are the things that I really look for. And so one story, if they're presenting this, as you know, I was struggling with substance misuse, or whatever. And then I got off the drugs. And now I'm great. And it's like, okay, I mean, tell me more about that interim period, because I know that's not actually what happened. And the other one that I really look for, you know, as a person who survived multiple suicide attempts, and by the way, I'm so sorry that you lost your son. There is a lot of survivor's guilt there that kind of never goes away of like, you know, Why was I so lucky to make it when others didn't. So my heart is definitely with you on that. But the people who can talk about stuff like that in an open way, that says to me, okay, you are clearly at a more place of peace with this. And you can be a incredible advocate for other people. And when I look for people to do this event, I'm doing another, you know, storytelling thing going coming up soon. That's what I look for. It's not someone, you know, I have big names that pitch me to get on my podcast. And occasionally I say, yes, if I think that they're, you know, a good person for the show. But a lot of times I say no, because they sort of rely on their name or their status to do a lot of the talking for them. I don't want that I want a person do you may or may not be a person that you know, but when you finish listening, you want to go, Oh, I want to know more about that person. Those are the people I'm looking for the people who can tell their story, the way that they lived it and are open and vulnerable. That is what makes the is the most meaningful to me.
Russ Johns 19:03
Well, I was having a conversation with Rubin, Rubin from Dubb yesterday, you know, we were on a show, little episode, and we were talking about the challenges, you know, being an entrepreneur and, and having this, you know, it's like every day is a different adventure. And the reality is, is that you get you feel beat up a lot of times you feel exhausted, you know that there's something at the end and you just have to keep going. And it really, you know, a lot of people isolate themselves, when in reality, they should be actually opening up and having conversations like this and saying, Hey, I am in a, you know, I I'm in a couple of masterminds. So that's one way that I can relate you know, you can open up and you can actually share and say, Hey, this week's been really challenging XYZ and broke and you know, we were talking about today before the show, you know the frustration of tech, it's, it's all of these little things. It's not just one thing that builds up, and, you know, allows us to explode. It's, it's 10,000 little details that just kind of just build upon things in it. It's like, and I've had periods in times in my life where, you know, it's been very dark and the best outcomes, and the biggest changes and pivots in my life have been when it's very close to being tragic.
Jay Shifman 20:33
Yeah, that was beautifully said. And it taps into something that I say, whenever I speak, whenever I get interviewed whenever I have chats like this, and that is reminding those who are struggling right now to reach out, you know, as someone who's been there, I truly felt that there was no one I could go to. And of course, now 11 years later, I look back and go, God, that was so dumb, you know, I had so many people in my corner. But I didn't want to be a burden, I felt that I'd burned every bridge, all those kind of things do you feel. So there's a saying, those of us who do this work, you know, we say a lot, which is I'd rather spend two hours talking to you today than two hours at your funeral tomorrow. So please, if you're struggling, you know, someone who's struggling, reach out to them, you know, don't don't you don't want to live with that guilt, I can promise you, you don't want to live with that guilt. And there are ways to do it safely. There's something that I teach and I coach is how to reach out to people that you think are struggling, you know, I've got certifications and all these things, because there's a lot of science that goes into it. And I understand that hesitation, you don't want to upset someone you don't want to whatever, just know that it's better to take that risk than to possibly live with that regret later on, that you didn't reach out when you have concerns.
Russ Johns 21:48
No, no. And, and, you know, like I said, You know, I, I live in a very positive world because I choose to be positive, Ichoose to have #gratitude when I wake up. And think about all the things that I do have. I'm a can person, not a can't person. However, I'm, you know, 100% transparent here is that not every day is perfect for me. Like, it's like I get stressed too, I get you know, I have these things that I want to talk about and share and, you know, explode on and just vent at times. And, and so having people you can reach out to and know that they will just listen is is something that everyone should have in their toolbox. So I just really encourage everybody to think about that. So I want to I want to silverfox Darlene says I hope LinkedIn approves us for LinkedIn live to talk about these issues that affect all of us. Absolutely. These mental health topics are part of work, employment management processes. Not hard to see. absolutely, positively. Nancy is in the morning. So my past is always present. The difference is that today I am grateful to have made it instead of trying to run from it. I think that's that's a great point. Nancy, and Nancy is up early. She's on the west coast. So she's she's up early, Russ Hedge is up early. Russ Johns that point when you know, it will get better, but don't feel it is when community becomes so important. We need those people with whom we can show up raw, absolutely, positively. Wendy says Good morning pirates. If we focus on maintaining mental health, we'll help so many more people, especially us, it's really hard to feel sorry for yourself when you're helping somebody else's in need. Yeah. Would you agree with that?
Jay Shifman 23:52
100%. And, and there's a lot of science to back that up that the you know, there have been studies that showed that the way that we feel the most connected in the world is by helping other people, and in all the amazing things it does in our brain. And that's why waking up and sort of being grateful as you so perfectly put is so important. And beyond that. I actually have two moments of gratitude built into my schedule two moments of affirmation. On Mondays on LinkedIn, I do a whole post on someone I admire and thanking them for the impact they've had on my life. And on Friday, I send someone $5 on Venmo saying Friday coffee and Jay go get a cup of coffee on me and then post that to Instagram and tell all my followers why this person is amazing. And they should go follow him. Because it gives me something to look forward to at the beginning of the end of every week. It's a way to connect with people in a way to feel connected. It's a way to feel grounded, right? It's not all about me. It's about helping other people. And I definitely encourage people to do stuff like that, obviously not those two, you know, that's not what speaks to you, but finding moments to feel connected and to thank other people. I can't tell you enough how great it makes you feel and how more worldly and connected, it makes you feel.
Russ Johns 25:03
And also, there's a side benefit. And I want to, I want to share this that I've shared it before on the show is, the side benefit is when you're helping others and you're adding value and you're contributing to the world. Magic things happen in your life, things show up that you'd never expect. Conversations start happening that you would, you can never imagine. And so adding value, having gratitude, recognizing that you need help, asking for help, all of these things are things that Jay and I are talking about today. And it's, there's not a downside, to working toward being healthy. And being in a state of mind that is positive and productive. Because nobody, nobody wants to be hanging out with a downer. So let's, let's work on changing our story. Because it starts right here. You know, we got to change our story in for ourselves. And we got to change our story that we're telling ourselves, it's like, you're saying, Oh, my entire day is crap. Like, that's not true. No, you got up, you probably had a meal, you know, you, you had some joy, the sun is shining, you know, it's like, think about what you can find that is encouraging.
Jay Shifman 26:30
I love that. And it's why I finish every day, I have three moments of mindfulness built into my schedule. And the last one is I finish every day by doing a sort of look back on my day, and I rate it from one to five. And I do it for two reasons. One, exactly as you just said, we have this ability to take a terrible moment and decide it means everything, right? And so if I look back and go, okay, that moment was awful. Maybe that moment lasted a couple hours. But everything else around, it was pretty good. I'm not gonna write my mom my day, as bad as that moment, right? The second reason is, as a person who struggles with depression, when we get into those moments, it's really easy to let art that voice in our head, take control and say it's always been this way that always be this way. And if I actually have data, where I can go back and look at my ratings and say, no, it's only been this way for two days, another day or two, I'm gonna be fine. It's a way of combating that voice in my head. That's telling me everything is lost. So it's definitely something I recommend, especially if you do struggle with those ruts, as as many of us do, and for even if you don't write it as us just so perfectly said, to do a mental inventory. And remind yourself No, not everything was as bad as that one. One low moment.
Russ Johns 27:43
Yeah. Now, I just want to say Howard Kaufman, thanks for encouraging message here and #inspiration can help us reflect on one's internal challenges. We all have them. We all you know, don't lie to me. You've had some bad days before. You know. You can't hide it from me. It's like I know. And Howard is an #inspiration to me. He does some great work in his his products. I love if you're not connected to Howard, connect with Howard. Nancy, Jay Shifman. Yes. When people disappear or their patterns change, reach out to them. When I am in that place, reaching out is difficult. But I welcome when people reach out to me. Yeah, absolutely. Nancy, do we need to put you on speed speed dial? I love it. And Wendy says #gratitude therapy. Absolutely. And her mental wellness. And Nancy says she loves the cup of coffee idea.
Jay Shifman 28:48
Thank you, Nancy.
Russ Johns 28:49
Yes, coffee. Great idea. Jenny gold. Yes. Hi, Russ and Jay. Jenny, I owe you a phone call. And a follow up. So she sent me some great beard oil. I love it. I just want a shout out. So you know, this is the kind of community that we can actually, really, it doesn't take millions of people to make millions of impacts. You know, a small story planted in the right place, can take hold. And it's like planting a tree you know, you have to nurture it, you have to understand it. You have to know what it needs, and continue to support it until it provides fruit for us. And it's a journey. It's a it's a message that needs to live on and continue. So I applaud your efforts. Jay, thank you so much for being here. And for those that joined late, you know you can find Jay Shifman on YouTube. You can and on Facebook. Is it gonna be streamed to facebook live tonight.
Jay Shifman 30:00
It is and I have a link, I don't know how to drop it anywhere. But if you find me any other social media, just search for choose your struggle or Jay Shifman. And my camp site, you know, with all of my links and all that stuff that is cool kids are doing these days is there. So definitely find me and, you know, click on that and you'll find a link straight to those events for that also check out the choose your struggle podcast, wherever you get your podcasts. I talk to people with lived experience, industry leaders, everything about the subjects of that thank you for that beautiful mental health, substance misuse and recovery and drug use and policy. And if you just want to have a conversation, I tell the story a lot. But last spring, when I lost five speaking gigs in two days after the world shut down because of COVID. I was like, alright, what am I going to do to still have an impact. And so I threw up a comment on on my social media on my podcasts on my website, just saying, hey, reach out if you need someone to talk to. And I was swamped, because so many people just need someone to talk to you. So that never stopped if you need someone to talk to. I know I'm gonna volunteer Russ here because he's clearly one of those people too. But reach out to one of us and I guarantee you will be there for you.
Russ Johns 31:14
Absolutely, positively. Well, Jay, as always, it's a pleasure to connect and have conversation around the subject and hopefully inspire, motivate someone to make a difference. #Makeitmatter, folks. The pirate community is welcoming, it's open, and it's approachable. So if you're not a pirate, become a pirate, support the community, start a conversation, open it up with #gratitude, and make sure you're making a difference. So I thank you, Jay, for coming by stopping and in this conversation. And also, you know, you can find this content on YouTube. I'd love to have you subscribe, like and share this content. You know, go over to the podcast. You know, the podcast is #PirateBroadcast™, hashtag #PirateBroadcast™, you can find it on Pandora, Spotify iHeartRadio all of the where all podcasts are sold. So because #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree, and you #enjoytheday. Take care.
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