The Lone Wolf: making the most of being different, with Dr Gareth Craze

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Dr Gareth Craze is an old friend of mine who’s career has followed a similar trajectory into coaching. But what makes Gareth unique is that he has learned to make the most of what we call being a Lone Wolf. Some people only need a small tight circle of connections and have no interest in being social butterflies, and Gareth is the prime example of a guy who’s made that work for him. We also discuss his recovery from depression and his incredibly diverse career that took him from promoting heavy metal shows to coaching senior executives!

Dr. Gareth Craze is a behavioural scientist and coaching psychologist, as well as a board-certified executive coach, health and wellness coach, and personal lifestyle coach. He has coached leaders and professionals across numerous different industries and organizations in the areas of leadership development, workplace performance and behaviour change, work-life integration, professional resilience, and executive assessment. Gareth is also experienced in group learning and development, and is a certified Prosocial facilitator and coach; using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and contextual behavioural science to build and sustain thriving, effective teams.

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Full transcript (unedited):

n today’s podcast, I’m gonna be introducing an old friend of mine, Dr. Gareth craze, still feel funny calling on the doctor. But he has recently done his PhD and he’s earned every square inch of it. This guy’s a behavioral scientist, and basically a genius when it comes to high achievers in coaching people with psychology, and he likes to focus on organizational management leadership. So he’s a board certified coach and personal lifestyle coach. But more than that, this guy has lived an exceptional life. And today, he’s going to talk about how he’s managed to do that, and how he helps other people to do that. And more importantly, the life of a lone wolf, the person who isn’t that interested in creating deep, meaningful social connections with lots of people who actually prefers to do it on their own, but has a few very deep and meaningful connections that completely satisfies them socially. So if you’ve ever been the odd one out and the lone wolf, and you’re wondering how to make the most of that, and you felt a lot of pressure to become something else, well, maybe you need to listen to this guy. I don’t actually know how long I’ve known you for. I mean, decade plus, something like that. 1213 years me. Yep. Yeah. And, you know, you’ve fascinated me as a person, because you certainly haven’t walked through the beaten path as far as I can tell. And, you know, when I first met you, I don’t even know what I call that job that you had when first meeting music promoter manager, something on those mixed bags stuff there. Yeah. In the in the, you know, category of metal largely as well, which is very high risk category zone was trying to make money and musically through to what you’re doing now, which almost looks like a completely different life. You know, PhD, neuroscience coaching. And yet, you’re still the same guy that offers me, you know, it’s same guy just doing completely different things. So one of the things I absolutely respect and admire about you, and I hope to kind of pick up part of it today, is how you’ve been able to live this oddball do it yourself exactly the way you want to do it type life, as opposed to, you know, going down the well worn waterslides, and everybody else looks down. Because I absolutely believe that content and happy life, if there is such a thing comes from living like you’re doing, choosing your way, doing what you think is right, quite often going against the grain. But having the faith in yourself to do that maybe having the understanding that the grain isn’t necessarily a healthy thing to go with. Something like that. So that’s what I want to explore with you today. I don’t have like sick questions or anything I just want to dig in. And actually, I want to personally get to know you a bit better. I know you kind of just is hanging out and talking about topics that we both enjoy, I don’t actually know much about you in terms of your history, childhood or that kind of stuff, you know, so let me hand it over to you. I don’t want to overwhelm you, as long as big questions like, how’s your life been? But maybe take me through just a little bit of a biographical history of what you think were the key moments, you know, for you from start to now and how you ended up being this? Yeah, here’s how I ended up being this. This fantasy. Yeah, well, I mean, as far as I think as far as, like, key moments in my background, that concern like there was, there was sort of a point at in primary school, when I realized, you know, like, a, like a, like, a lot of people have this realization, I’m not quite like all the other girls kind of thing. And so I mean, I sort of had this epiphany where I was quite a lonely kid, you know, through a lot of childhood, but I was also not a kid who was desperate to make friends either. And that has stuck with me for a lot of my life. I don’t derive much of my pleasure or my fulfillment in life, from the kinship of other people. And and I actually, I really cottoned on to this really early like it was You know, there was this feeling like, initially I was I remember being like five or six years old, and feeling like I was kind of left out or something like that, you know, and feeling, you know, maybe like, I’d been scorned by the other students, or, you know what the fuck was wrong with me or something like that. And that’s sort of like, carried on with me a little bit through primary school and stuff. But I think I got to about maybe nine or 10 years old. And I had this realization where I was like, I don’t think she liked being around friends that much. Anyway, there was something about how interesting, the world in my own mind was compared to anything that was on offer from other people. And that effect got amplified when I was at high school. Like, I mean, I went to a, you know, you’ll be able to resonate with this. Being from West Auckland and stuff, you ain’t too messy, right? Yeah. Yeah, so I went to Coulston. So I mean, you know, like West Auckland school, or boys, very jock Rugby School, you know, like, like, you know, a great, great school from which I, you know, got fond memories and a lot of respects, but, you know, by the time I was like, 15, or 16, I was this kind of lonely kid, who was like, man, you know, I’m glad I’ve got interesting shit up here to keep me occupied, because the shit that I’m surrounded by, is about as fucking banal and fucking stupid as it could possibly be. You know, so I had just these key moments growing up, in terms of like, how I developed in relationship to other people that I think have stuck with me. And a lot hasn’t really changed. Like, the funny thing is, like, I have a much more comfortable person these days in the social world, like I, you know, like, I have friends and colleagues from all walks of life, and I, you know, have, you know, I’m perfectly adept at being around them, and so forth. But actually, Henry rowland’s one time did this, he made this distinction, which I think is very powerful. And it really, really sticks with me, well, I really sums up what I’m like, he said that he is great at being in front of people being with people is a different issue. I’m fantastic at being in front of people like sticking in front of a crowd, sticking in front of the client or something like that, you know, I can, I can light up the stage in front of just about anyone, you know, like when it when it comes to kind of giving up performance of myself, as it were, I’m like dead hand. But when I’m just around people for the sake of socializing, I can do it up to a point. And then I reach my limits of sociality very, very quickly. And I don’t want to make it sound like you know, my kind of relatively a social personality is everything about who I am. But it certainly shaped a lot of my philosophy on the world, it’s sort of shaped a lot of my outlook on myself. You know, I got to a point where I was like, I went through a pretty serious, you know, sort of fast forwarding a bit. When I was in the music industry, as you mentioned, like working as a promoter and stuff, there was a point I think about 2012 2013, where I was pretty seriously depressed. Just not having a good time of life, like, I was in a very toxic relationship, my business was starting to tank. I done a few kind of dumb things in my life that had just kind of just basically Fuck my life off in a couple of key ways. And I’d sort of come to this, like, you know, almost like a cool kind of reckoning moment, dark night of the soul or whatever, where I was sort of like questioning myself about, like, you know, is there something inherently fucked up about me? You know, like, is there something about all that time through childhood and adolescence, where I felt like I was comfortable with, you know, solitude, extended periods of solitude that I, I had this sort of, sort of general immersiveness of a company of people anyway, has that all kind of come home to bite me in the ass in some way? And when I come came through the end of that period, I actually sort of realized no, actually kind of the opposite. In fact, what was so challenging for me and working in the music industry was that that’s a job like being a promoter is a job where socially and interpersonally you’ve got to be on all the time, and you’ve got to kind of like enjoy the social dimensions of it. And I just didn’t at all like, like, seriously like, like, like, there was some nights where You know, I’d have like a sold out show, you know, 1000 people in the room fucking everyone having the time of their life and shit like that. And the only person who didn’t give a flying fuck about the whole thing was me, you know, and I was the person who successfully stage the show, because, you know, I was just like looking out over the sea of people with their friends, having a federal time I go backstage, you know, the tour manager in the band are all like commending me and saying, I’ll fucking great shows hanging out and shut like shit like that. And we’ll I wanted to do was just with no disrespect to anyone there or anything like that, crawl back into bed and read a book by myself and be very, very happy in my own company. And like, now I’ve kind of got myself in a position where, you know, doing your PhD is a very, very solitary thing. You know, you’re working, you’re working with other researchers and academics and stuff. But, you know, your PhDs are famous for being, you know, pursuits, that make people very, very lonely. You know, and if you’re someone who likes to have a lot of friends and likes to be around the company of people a lot, you know, a PhD is kind of can be a tall order for you. But for me, this was amazing. Like, for me, doing my PhD, and being buried in reading and literature and data analysis all day and stuff like that. Whereas in the, you know, compared to the time was in the music industry as having to deal with people all day, it was fucking Paradise by comparison, it really was. And now, I think I’ve sort of taken that same energy into what I do now, you know, working as a, as a coach and sort of same workspace that you’re in, and then sorry, I mean, again, to go back to the, you know, being in front of someone compared to being with someone put me in front of a client. And that client is just like, another piece of data. To me, they’re kind of like, you know, without dehumanizing them, or D personalizing them. They’re an abstraction. They’re a concept, you know, and I work well with that abstractions and concepts. You know, the moment that their client says to me, Well, you know, we should get a drink sometime or something like that, you know, that’s where, you know, I’m just kind of like, well, yeah, okay, kind of, kind of do. Yeah, and so, yeah, that’d be that that’s, I think that’s a little bit about. You mentioned the word odd boy, I think I think why I sort of like, like, started off with this kind of motif is that that’s where the odd bonus really came from, originally, you know, that the sense that I wasn’t quite within the meaty part of the bell curve, as it were, it came from, you know, this early childhood realisation that, again, I my life, is not primarily for food, in kinship with other people. So I think that’s what’s the sort of the oddball train rolling in motion. Interesting, you know, we’re almost identical. I’m a front of stage guy as well. When it comes to being nice guy, I call it the performer type, they put on the show to get approval rather than anything else, you know, literally on stage, and sometimes, but I was desperate for kinship. That was my driving motive. Which is, whereas for you is more likely to be was arm’s length will not just suppose it was for me a bit as well. But what’s really interesting is the link between article in advantage actually, in some aspects where because you don’t have ties, socially, you’re not influenced when it comes to choosing the direction of your life, what you want to do, where you want to go, how you want to act, your family is tied down, then the people in the meaty part of the bell curve. You know, I remember being when I got to university, started, actually, with a communications degree. I switched to psychology in like second semester or something. But I remember suddenly, on this communications degree, doing all those beginner papers. At one point, I said, I was like, I have no idea why I’m here. I feel like I’ve like dropped into this life and somebody has made all the decisions I have often felt like just being pulled down a river by the current that current was trying to fit in socially, to count was a desperate need to be part of the in crowd. I even got to the point where I like sometimes, early on, I was choosing papers, the beginning of my degree, because I saw a hot girl signing up for them. I mean, that’s kind of how my decision making looked like I was like, where’s the where’s the approval? I need there? I guess that’s where I live now. You know? And this is why I find out our similarities so intriguing. Because we have such a massive difference as well. You know, or lots of the same sort of strategy for trying to enjoy life and so on. But I was tied to something that you weren’t tied to. And we ended up in the same spot. That’s really bizarre, you know, but I’m tying myself to get Yeah. So I was, when you’re like, music promoting and stuff, I’m still nine to five, wearing a suit and tie and doing all the same stuff everybody else does. It took me a long time to come around to coaching, which was my version of music, promoting whatever is my version of doing something different that nobody else is doing, and fuck what everybody else thinks. And I just have to figure it out for myself. But like you, I love this, my favorite place is in here reading books, thinking things through, I love podcasting, making videos, because me just talking about my ideas, I can do it forever. I never run out of ideas. But I used to sacrifice that to film socially, whereas you would bail socializing to go back to that. Very interesting. I find that the period of depression interesting, you managed to come out the other side not accidentally coming to the conclusion that there’s something wrong with you, you know, sounds more like your depression was a result of kind of the perfect storm, lots of rough things going on for you at the same time? What what are the insights? Do you hear from that period of your life? You know, like, how, how is it that somebody who’s going their own way and kind of knows who they am falling that does end up depressed? The simple answer is I you know, at one point, I really wasn’t following what I should have been doing, you know, like I was in a relationship that I knew I should not have been in and you know, like, for which if I’d only tried to take something of an aloof third person perspective, on the issue, which I did, every time we broke up, which was every three weeks or something like that, you know, like, you know, have that aloof perspective where it was, like, Am I doing in this fucking thing? You know what I mean? And that, and that just dragged out for several years. So I mean, that was part of it. Part of it was I knew the music industry wasn’t for me. And yet I had this business that I was struggling to keep afloat. You know, we got kind of hammered in the last couple of years that I was running that business, we had a lot of, like, cancellations, we had, I just had a lot of stress on my shoulders. And the thing is, like, these days, I still have a lot of professional stress, but I enjoy the professional stress because I enjoy what I do so much. You know, like when I when I was stressed out in the music industry, like what a show would cancel or something like that. I was stressed out in the way where I was like, Ah, man, I’m losing money. And I fucking hate what I do. You know, what hate possibly too strong a word. But, you know, I’m not, this is not the lane that I want to be in. And I think that just kind of like, compounded. On top of that, I got busted for drunk driving in 2011 or 12, or something like that, which was incredibly stupid, and you know, something for which I was, you know, suitably humiliated, and chastened, and setback on my ass and so forth. And, you know, but it was just another thing that added to that perfect storm. And, I mean, just to sort of circle back to your question, I think, for me, the depression arose simply from the fact that in a relationship, I shouldn’t have been in a career path I shouldn’t be shouldn’t have been in doing stuff in my life, like getting busted for drunk driving, which is just not congruent with who I am as a person. I was living outside of myself, you know, they was this like, super high potential gifted person sitting on the sidelines, you know, waiting to creep back into the right lane. What we’ll do to to find the right lane for the first time, perhaps arguably, and I you know, me and that person wasn’t one of the same I was someone else. I think I think there was a period during that time where to the outside world I was kind of miming the language of success in a lot of ways you know, like, you know, kind of I mean, just to sort of to the outside world kind of like well fucking you know, music promoter What a cool job you know, hot girlfriend that’s cool kind of thing and No, and I think I almost believed a little bit of that outside hype in my own mind or something like that isn’t as if to you know, sort of convinced myself in a moment not dude, you know, you’re a fucking concert promoter with a hot girlfriend just fucking What are you complaining about? You know, just fucking enjoy a lot in life kind of thing. You know, like, you know, hard some people have it and shit like that. And but I think that perpetuated the depression, you know, because I would be having these sort of internal wrestling matches in my own mind of, you know, the lot in life that I should be satisfied with. Why am I not satisfied with this? And so Wathen, you know, I mean, I’d stopped short of calling it a midlife crisis, you know, I mean, the one thing that’s sort of in my early 30s At this point or whatever, but it’s probably the closest thing I’ve come in my life to something like that, you know, this kind of this kind of critical threshold of everything sort of coming together at the same time. And I can’t remember, like any singular incident or thought that I had, but there was some time some definitive time around 2000, late 2013, early 2014, where I had this realization that if I’m going to extricate myself from this depression, I have to start realigning my life, with the vision that I really want to pursue for myself and the values that I really hold. Because right now, I’m not doing either right now. I’m kind of orbiting a vision I don’t want to pursue, and I’m certainly not living in alignment with my deepest values, you know, like, I’m living really, totally out of lockstep with my own values in a couple of key ways. And so, yeah, I think that, that I mean, that that is the kind of proximate cause. You talked about distal causes. I mean, I know for a fact that, you know, just just putting it in layman’s terms, my brain is wired in such a way. So I have tried to light bipolar. So type two bipolar, for those who don’t know is it’s all the depression and anxiety of regular bipolar, but without the mania, so I knew they had the crazy freak outfits and stuff like that, that kind of maniacal behavior. But I did get diagnosed in the diagnosis, I and subsequently, I’d had brain scans and things like that. And, you know, there were sort of enlarged areas, and certain parts of my brains and less active networks and other parts of my brain. So there’s this, you know, very, very strong, underlying physiological reason for why someone like me could be a candidate that’s prone to depression. But in terms of the proximal causes, I think, all of what I just mentioned, you know, just the toxic relationship, not being a job I wanted to be in and all those other things kind of clustering together and kind of putting me over the edge at the same time. It’s kind of what did it. Yeah, well, sounds like you almost, it was inevitable, really, fear does a combination of sort of internal and external factors. almost incredible that you got out of it really. Which is interesting, because I’m starting to get, you know, one of the kind of questions floating on my mind is like, what’s your recipe? Now? What would you recommend, you’ll start to see some of that come through. One of the things I think you you’re kind of like, a model of the classic lone wolf archetype, if there was such a thing, which I know there’s, there’s a subsection of my audience and the people I connect with, who are in that category in the fall against it their whole life. You know, it’s a specific, it’s almost a specific type of nice guy, you know, which is my little niche, niche within a niche of, I think I should be social. And this idea that I don’t want to be as there’s something wrong with me for that. You know, some people think, Oh, am I a psychopath? One goes like, do I have their narcissism thing? Is that what this is, and so on, and so forth. And particularly people on the spectrum, you and I have talked about spectrum? Before as well. I’ll be keen to hear your thoughts on that. But there’s this idea, once you embrace the idea, like Nah, you don’t want it. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be completely isolated. But if you just get your head around first, you don’t want it. You don’t want what everyone else seems to want socially. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not want it. Because it sounds like you kind of ended up putting on a, we’ll call it the the cool promoter guy performance. Almost urge to be like I should want this. Everyone else seems to now seems to think this was cool. So I should an end there kind of guilt trip. You know, it’s like somebody who’s rich and miserable, and and I should be happy. But you’re not. That’s the truth. You don’t have to be, right. There’s actually, you know, one of the only beneficial things of this Johnny Depp trial being such a big deal is just if nothing else look rich and famous doesn’t mean happy. See, like I fucking missed up there. And that’s just the case, like, across the board, what we’re supposed to want isn’t necessarily good to have. So I guess I form a picture of you in my head of how to do the lone wolf thing, right? How to figure it out and how to make it work. And it’s a totally workable type two B it’s it’s you just gotta go with it rather than against it. What are your thoughts on that? A little bit of idea. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of substance, the general idea, I mean, I would make a pull back from the maybe classic archetype of the lone wolf, just to say that I actually do value social interaction. And you know, I’m glad that I get the social interaction I do. I mean, I’m certainly glad I’m not a complete hermit. I’m not a complete loner that I actually, you know, I mean, you know, like the the expression, I love kids, I don’t have any love friends, I just don’t have many kind of thing. It’s kind of like that. That’s a perfect description of where I’m at. And I mean, I mean, a couple of things I’d say on that, you know, like how to do the sort of quasi lone wolf thing. First of all, I think you’ve just got to think about what’s your reflexive response to the proposition of social interaction? So for me, if someone that I don’t know especially well, like someone who like who might be an acquaintance, or you know, like a colleague who’s trying to maybe segue things into something like more akin to a formal friendship, if they’re, if there’s someone who’s kind of like, hey, Garrett, do you want to go to the movies on Wednesday night? My response is always, not really. No, and it’s not because you, I don’t think you’re cool. And it’s actually not because I don’t think I would do that, I wouldn’t have a good time, either. It’s just because, you know, if I’m being honest, with my self, you know, documentary and with weights or whatever, and I feel less weird in that space, you know, like that, I think that’s actually kind of a good proxy. Like if you’re, if you’re someone who’s got, like, both inclinations. And you know, an acquaintance, different media with it with a with a friend, I think that that’s maybe like a different conversation. But if you’re an acquaintance talking about an acquaintance, incision, you for a social engagement, on your reflexive response is anything less than actual energetic enthusiasm, and, you know, like, on board with the idea, then that’s okay. You know, like, you’ve just got, I think, reconcile that fact with yourself that it’s okay. It doesn’t make you, you know, you might have to sort of like, figure out the best approach to like letting people down gently. And, you know, there’s some fucking monkey dancing that has to go on a lot of the time when you are sort of a lone wolf type. And you’re sort of trying to maintain cordial relations in the world, because of course, you know, this is a, this is an extroverted world that we live in. This is a world not for the lone wolves. This is this is a world that’s, that’s governed, and structured society, and culturally around the kinds of people for whom, when I say, Norway, don’t want to go to the movies with you on Wednesday night, they interpret that as you know, a repudiation of them, or social rudeness, or, you know, why, you know, like, what, what’s wrong with me or something like that? It’s not, it’s not a world governed by people who would hear that and sort of think, oh, okay, he just prefers to be by himself more than he would prefer to be with me. And that’s okay. We don’t live in that world. Right, we, you know, people, people like me, people who are perhaps more introverted, you know, like, certainly people that are on the spectrum, you know, the nuances of the social world, social world are not set up for people like us. And so, I mean, I don’t really have any, I don’t think I have anything in the way of like broad based advice, or like broad based insight in terms of how people that are roughly the same as me would sort of like navigate the world navigate the social world. But a good place to start is kind of just again, your reflexive response, you know, like, like, like your, be mindful of yourself, be self aware enough to notice feelings as they arise. And to not be judgmental about them. I mean, just to give you an another example, to illustrate, I was in New Zealand, Australia, a few weeks ago, caught up with a lot of, you know, a lot of mates. And it was actually good for me to, I think, get that social interaction. I mean, certainly hasn’t been a lot of it in the last few years with COVID, and everything like that. So it was actually good for me in a lot of ways developmental for me in a lot of ways to kind of shed the lone wolf skin and get out among people and get that kind of social nourishment. Because I’m not, you know, far along the spectrum or anything like that. I probably veer more to that side of the spectrum. And that guy, I quantifiably, do, because I’ve done an IQ test before but you know, I’m more on that side of the spectrum. So I you know, but I still need that kind of social nourishment from time to time. And it was cool, up to the very last day or so. And so I got away with a bunch of mates down to the southern Western Australia. We had a fat old time, we, you know, totally socially lubricated and everything was totally fine. And I was actually enjoying the sociality, you know, with it within reasons that were within limits, like, you know, 10 o’clock or something like that I’d scurry off to bed and happy to be by myself again. But that lost the road trip back home. So the story was road trip back home, very quiet in the back van with a bunch of other blokes, you know, again, who had been having a fatal time with and the whole thing the whole time, I was just like, that was a great fucking holiday, I can’t wait to get home now. I can’t wait to like get back to Perth. I had one more sleep, get on the plane and get back to Vietnam. When I got back to Perth, I tested positive for COVID. And so I couldn’t. Because Vietnam at this point, actually stupid. It’s so funny. They changed the entry requirements like three days after I got home. But at that point, I just show either a PCR test or rat test within 24 hours. So basically, I was fucked as far as like my, my planned departure, the next day was concerned. And so when I got that test, I was fucking like my mood sunk like a stone. And it’s sunk even further, because in the background of their house I was staying at or that I was bunking down with my friend’s girlfriend who had also just tested positive for COVID. She yells out, well, at least we can all hang out in the lounge together then. And so And of course, you know, she was saying it from a totally sweet and totally well intentioned and totally well motivated place. And my response, in my own mind, at that point was I fucking hate being around people. I fucking hate being around people totally irrational. And I don’t actually hate being around people. But in that moment, I felt like my ticket to solitude, and my ticket to liberation from being around people had been yanked away from me brutally. And it fucking hurt, viscerally. Like, I fucking I, when I got on the phone with Katie and my wife and told her I’m going to be delayed at least a couple of days, I was legitimately upset can tell telling, and she was totally Ricci was like, hey, you know, a couple of days, you’ll be fine kind of thing. And I knew that, you know, and as it turns out, next day I test negative, it was probably a bullshit rat test or something like that, who fucking knows. And I think the back to Vietnam two days after I’d planned, but just in that moment, in that moment, where I’d been absorbed in the social world, but it reached my limits of it, and then to have my pathway to solitude, my impending pathway to solitude yanked away from me, that fucking hurt, and, you know, sort of processing and a couple of days later, I was just like, you know, wasn’t a rational about that, you know, was was there is that is that the right way to, for someone to have responded? And now that I have the knowledge they do about myself, I can say, Yes, that was the expectable and rational response from someone like me, knowing who I am. So I mean, I say well, this, you know, long winded shaggy dog story, just to sort of, maybe give some context to people who are kind of in a similar boat that you know, like, if you have your version of a well, you’ve got to do something like hang out at a house for an extra couple of days, while a few people are around and you get this feeling of this is the worst fucking thing in the world. Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you don’t feel like it’s a character defect. The The analogy I would use for anyone who feels that way, particularly people that are especially introverted, is it’s just like some people can only take so much heat, some people can only take so much cold, you know, like we all have limits. To, you know, to we will have a comfortable temperature range, and I would suggest that it’s the same for social exposure as well. And sometimes, if you’re exposed too much to the social world, and you’re not someone who can take the metaphorical heat or cold, you’re gonna respond in the way that your brain deems fit. And that’s, that’s not a defect. That’s not a deficiency. Yeah, I think we’re more similar than I first thought. I have limits. Like, my wife and I are both genders zuke dancing, and I’m really into it until about three hours and and I’m really, really fucking not I like, like I might as well be, it’s something I don’t want to be at all. Like, I’ll be dancing away, you know, as love dancing and all these lovely girls, it’s all very cuddly and nice. And it’s my kind of socializing, there’s no talking. And it’s all going very well, at some point, a dance finishes, and I just go, I’m so done. Now, I’m fine, I have to leave within the next 15 seconds or I’m gonna have a tantrum, like, I’m really like, trapped, suffocating done. And it hits me very quickly, I’ve learned to like just breathe through and just go, Okay, that was my last dance, I’m just gonna do my little Irish goodbye, and just back out of the room, Homer Simpson into the bush, you know, just disappear, and it’s all good. But what my wife would dance until she collapsed, if she could, you know, she never gets sick of it. It’s never enough and sustain when she socializes, like, I met her, you know, at a family’s house, or whatever. And we had about the two hour mark. And I just feel like I’ve got full blown depression out of nowhere. But it’s just, I’m just done. And I’ve actually made peace with it recently. And she doesn’t get it. But she never has that. There’s no limit life, she enjoys something, she enjoys it constantly without break, whereas I just have a peak, and then a valley, and I’m done with this thing. And it’s actually doing it too much that’s killed them for me like I don’t play guitar anymore, because I did more than I wanted to. And I don’t want to at all, you know, I actually killed it. So I think, you know, earlier, you said the world’s kind of wired for extroverts towards their feet. I think there’s more people like you and I, then it might seem, I think more people don’t like the way it’s wired, then, possibly even not necessarily a majority. But maybe it’s 5050 heads, I think that a lot of people are playing along. And that gives the impression that a lot more people are into it. And actually, you know, if it was an i No doubt, if we went exploring around different cultures around the world, especially in what isolated ones were five ones where they totally go with it. Like, I’m done with the accounts, I’m going for a three day walk there, right? Yeah, that’s fine. Whereas if you did that, where, you know, you and I are used to being there would be deemed as like mental illness, or something. So what I like about you speaking up about this as mostly just making it okay. You know, you talked about how you can do this in society? Well, when I created the broader community, I basically became a community like this, you know, we’d be having like a group sessions, I was like, I’ve had enough, I’m going home, and everyone’s like, Alright, have a good night. You know, because everyone got it. Everyone knows what their feelings like. And you’re allowed to do that. Yeah, you know. And even in certain elements of the dance community, there’s certain people that I know I can go sit next to them on the couch be like, I just suddenly don’t want to fucking be in there. But I want to talk about like, I just got that the other day. And, and it’s okay with them. But it’s still like this best kept secret thing. So I’m glad you’re sort of bringing it out, as I kind of, like you say, just check in with how do you really feel about this? Because there’s no point fighting it. There’s nothing wrong with you. Your body’s telling you what you prefer? Why would you fight against it? And all I’m trying to add, I think is that the idea that everyone else prefers something else, there’s an illusion, or a lot of people pretending that they prefer it, but they’re actually just like you, and too scared to speak out. But you have spoken out. And you know, what’s really ironic, you know, you say the worldwide against this. But you’re doing pretty well. You know, and however you want to measure their quality of life, like it’s, I don’t know much about you and your partner, we’re keen to hear a bit more about what kind of partner go like you ends up with, you know, what I mean? How does she accommodate you’ve been this way and what she like keen to hear about her partner, you’re doing what you love for a living, you’re living in a place that you obviously find exciting and interesting to stay at. You kind of got your shit really well sorted, physically fit. You know, there are a lot of people who are going with the grain who don’t have anywhere near that level of personal fulfillment or success. So maybe you have found a way to make it work for you. This world. You know, that’s just an observational Keaney, your thoughts on it? Yeah, I mean, I think it’s just a case of, you know, to the degree that this is I haven’t I agree with you, by the way that this is probably more people like us than we are perhaps aware of, you know, that maybe there are so many people that are maintaining the illusion that the illusion is actually more prominent and more widespread and universal. And I perhaps alluded to eight I think that’s absolutely possible. But as far as like, you know how the advantage I had of Navigating this world that I’m in is I just don’t I’ve kind of disabused myself of the need to fulfill social obligations in any way. So my wife Katie is very similar to me in a lot of respects, and that she’s much more of an introvert systemise than an extrovert empath. She prefers her own company, we are each other’s best friends, we are each other’s entire social life in many ways. And we like it that way. Like, like, if we’re gonna go out and be social, why don’t we just be social together, because we like talking to each other, we have many great things to talk about. And rely, you know, and even though we have friends, and you know, mutual friends, and so forth, and you know, we still get social nourishment from seeing those friends. You know, we are very much the kind of couple that you know, how you this is your meme, almost of like the couple in their 40s, who goes out for a date, you know, double date with another couple of something like that has a good time. But we’re the ones who get home, can’t wait to rebel clothes off and turn the air conditioning on. And thank fucking god that is over fucking people. Oh, my God, you know, like, and it’s and it’s not like, those particular people that we just saw, it’s just the presence of people. So so having a wife, who is kind of chipped the same way as I am, is very, very helpful. It’s with her and I, it’s not a case of I mean, we were opposite in some aesthetic and cultural ways. But in terms of our in terms of our broad psychological dimensions, her and I are very, very similar in many ways. On top of that, I live in a country where people don’t speak English most of the time, which is great, because I can see someone from five law what you know, I can see someone from 500 meters away, and no, I’m not going to be able to have a conversation with them. And that for me, or for someone like me, is fucking liberating. Right, like, like, I, I remember the curb your enthusiasm about the old stop and chat, you know, like light labor, that the person who barely knows you bumps into you, but because they have this, you know, very, very loose connection to you, they assume that, oh, you know, me or, you know, obviously, we must stop and engage for at least 15 seconds or something like that. Right? None of that here. Right. And I love that because, you know, it was certainly when I was working the music industry, fuck me. I mean, I couldn’t I couldn’t walk from the backstage area to the front of the venue without encountering 2050 people. Like, yeah, Gara Gara. And like, you know, you’re feeling like your, your, the rude cons or something like that by not stopping and having an actual conversation with people. And like, legitimately, it fucking graded on me, you know, and graded on me. And I can say this in with clear conscience. I can say it in a way where it’s like, you know, I wasn’t repudiating these conversations, because I didn’t like the people or anything like that, necessarily. I know that these people were coming from a well intentioned and well motivated place, when it came to hitting me up and saying, Hey, Gareth, come and chat with me for a second. But I just fucking hated it. And sorry, here, I don’t have to do that, which is wonderful. I, my side gig is I teach at a university here and, well, two different universities here in Vietnam. You know, 100% of my students are ESL. So most of the time, they’re not asking me questions and stuff like that anyway, you know, a lot of the time they probably tuning out, you know, it’s almost like teaching into the void somehow, you know, like, like, I’m not actually sort of like speaking with people. I’m talking to a void in a lot of ways with no, no disrespect to my students or anything like that. But it’s certainly it’s a different dynamic compared to you know, if I was doing the same thing with classical English speakers who were getting every jot and tittle of what I was saying another thing I love exercising because I love being on my own. I love going for like I do like the equivalent of a 10 kilometer run almost every morning. And that time for me is just fucking currency man. I mean, like it’s, it’s the time where I’m at my sharpest mentally. It’s where my imagination and my creativity and my ability to sort of process ideas and you know, I love playing with language. I think it’s like one of my greatest strengths. Overall was that I’m I’m a master at using the English language well, and I have no compunction about self identity. Bong is a master of English, I know how good I am at using the English language. So those moments by myself, you know, jogging or lifting weights in the morning are times where my English language mastery part of my brain is fucking on steroids at that time. And, you know what else I mean, I guess with the coaching side of thing with with my with my main gig, again, it’s not like I’m in a conventional social interaction with someone, you know, like, like, they are paying me for service. And even though my, my disposition as a coach is very warm, and I’m very good at developing rapport with people, which is, you know, not necessarily a conventional thing for a sort of lone wolf type, you know, like I, I actually when I, when I work with my clients, and when I meet new clients and stuff like that I have a very free and easy, sociable, outgoing, cheerful kind of personality, I’m very good at developing chemistry and rapport and trust with people and so forth. But, you know, something I said before, ultimately, even if I’m in person with them, they’re like, an abstraction in some ways, you know, like, I sort of see, my clients is almost puzzles that I’m there to help answer. Rather than, you know, of course, they are human beings that have lives and feelings and experiences and dreams and all the rest of it. I’m not depersonalizing them. But when I’m working with them, my brain almost goes back into like, introvert systemizing mode, and it’s like, okay, how do we process this concept? How would how do we reckon through this concept, even though this concept is then flesh and blood, human forms sitting in front of you, and they’re blinking their eyes at you, and, you know, they’re giving off facial expressions, and so forth. They are no different in some ultimate sense to if you were writing a paper right now, or if you were doing a literature review, right now, it’s all just data, it’s all just concepts that you’re there to analyze and process. So yeah, I think I think all of the above is kind of, it’s what’s helped position me to be comfortable in the life that I’m in if I I mean, God only knows now, if I if my wife was was, you know, different, that was a more sort of sociable, extroverted person herself. Or if I was, you know, if I if I wasn’t able to see my coaching clients as its fractions, in some sense, or if I was teaching to an English language class, or if I, if I was someone who simply couldn’t be by themselves while exercising for long periods of time, and some people can’t like some people, some some people, like I honestly had so many people hit me up and say, like, how do you, like, jog? So much? So don’t you get bored? You know, like, like, people, people, like your fucking nerds being in your own head for like, like, like, an hour? Don’t you get bored with that? Don’t you get like, unstimulated? I’m like, No, complete fucking opposite. So that’s, that’s, that’s a string to my bow and an advantage that I have. But some people just don’t, I guess. Yeah, I like what I’m hearing them because you’ve gone beyond acceptance to seeing it as an advantage. And playing with it as such, which is what makes it an advantage. I mean, anything can be you know, I, quite often when people are giving me whatever their excuses are for not being able to do this. And the other I like to draw on examples from the community that just kill it. Excuse as long as I’m not smart enough to start my own business. So refer to the guy have Down syndrome, who runs a restaurant, you know, and things like that. I like to kind of point out, when you figure out what your thing is, and decide that it’s an advantage, it becomes one. You know, there’s a coach, Sean Stephenson, he’s passed on now. But it’s got a three foot giant, you know, their guy. I think he’s got like, I don’t know what’s called, he’s got a disease where the bones break and stuff all the time. Like, they’re, like, They shatter, and he’s right. And so he’s in like, very small and compact as a person. And you know, he’s been half his life in hospital and stuff. So that’s his thing. It’s not a gimmick. But it’s a often refers, he literally calls himself a three foot giant, because he’s so small from this thing. And a lot of his stories are a reference to like, well, I’m in this much pain, but I still made stuff happen. So how was that a disadvantage? He hasn’t just accepted he’s gone like this is who I fuck and, you know, and you know, he ended up with a wonderful wife and successful business and as as healthy as his body would let them be and so on. So I think that’s the key message I’m getting through here. Like you said, it’s not exactly lone wolf. I think there’s like a spectrum. It’s more like quality over quantity. Very much like thing has to be very, very worth it. Especially when it comes to socializing, like you’d much prefer, like you say you down to almost one person, really just the wife, they’ll do very, very high quality, very low quantity for me. Yeah. And I’m very similar, I might be just a bit further back on the spectrum, I like about five people, you know, but definitely no more. And someone starts small talk with me at a barbecue in a fire, like, it’s one of the things I do with honesty is I’ll throw out some real deep stuff to either make this happen or get rid of them, you know, I don’t want to talk about anything that isn’t really, really interesting to talk about. So I’m just like, here’s my real issues. Am I okay, by now? Okay, back to myself back to my head, my favorite spot. And like you, I could spend three days alone and not get bored, you know, there’s too much going on in here take me three lifetimes to unpack like a single day of what’s going on. So I think we’re very similar in that sense. But that’s where I like I’m seeing in you is just, there’s so many people I’ve worked with, who are trying to reconcile your view of the world with what appears to be the trend, shall we call it and they shouldn’t be this way. And and I’ve got to do my own thing. I’ve to go with what I am. Use it to my advantage as myself, like, if this was a strength, how would I treat it? How would I respond to it? You know, it’s kind of like, it’s a respect you have of, you know, when you’ve had enough socializing, you respect that, you know, force it, force, feed yourself what everyone else is doing. As an interesting you and I both ended up in countries where English is rare. You know, I quite like it, because I’m in a small town. fucking nightmare. If you speak the language, you can’t get to the supermarket without bumping into six counts, you know? And, but I can just go and keep walking. And they’re totally cool with it. Because they know, what else are we going to do? You know, and I saw just the other day, my wife, who, you know, my wife is quite opposite to me in this life. But we had some kids day thing. And I was already fucking stunning and just dying to get out of there. And this woman who she used to dance with comes up and just throws an arm around her and just like engages her in conversation. And it’s just, it’s just my nightmare to have someone just invade your personal space, eat up, you’re just about to leave all the body language told her we’re about to leave. And she just anchors us in for another 10 minutes of Voc and nothing. And I was just like, Man, I’m so glad I’m not here right now at least I can turn around, I can talk to my daughter or something get out of this. That’s my nightmare. Is, is somebody stealing my time socially. So I think I see eye to eye with you a lot of us. Let’s um, let’s wrap up with some pretty shameless promotion of your own work. You know? Because, obviously, as you say, you do do coaching. And I’m keen to hear a bit more specifics about that. Who do you work with? What type of work you do and someone’s listening? who’s right for you? Like? What is it that they need to be talking to you about? Well, first and foremost, first, foremost, thanks for the opportunity to give such a same shameless plug. I think, you know, just just to build on what we’ve been talking about anyone who’s out there who is kind of in that low, lone wolf side of the spectrum, or maybe you know, vacillates in that direction, and, or know someone who does, let me know, because that’s honestly my ideal client is someone like me, someone who maybe had that kind of dark night of the soul thinking about, am I fucking weird for not being, you know, in keeping with what the world seems to expect of sociality, and the social world and so forth. I love working with people like that, and not not just to, like leverage my own example to show them that there is a way but to show them that there is a way for themselves, like they’ve got a way of leveraging what’s unique and distinctive about being in the service of their own growth and development. So yeah, having first and foremost, I actually just love working with people who are a lot like me that maybe have not had, either the epiphanic moment or the, you know, the key aspects of reckoning with themselves that that I’ve had, which, you know, allowed me to arrive at this place of comfort and reassurance about myself and what I’m good at and everything like that. More broadly, man, I work with people from a lot of different professions. I mean, I work with CEOs, musicians, athletes. You know, I’ve worked with people in my coaching witnesses. I’ve worked with people in the military. I work with some academics and scientists I’ve got a very very I mean, I’m non discriminating when it comes to prefer actual professions and what people come to me with. But my coaching style is certainly not for everyone. It’s very direct, it’s almost confrontational. In some ways, it’s always done from a place of genuine compassion and care. And, you know, mindfulness and respect for the other person’s feelings. But I’m a pretty straight talker, you know, I don’t. I’m someone who, you know, I did my PhD at a school and in, within a tradition that was very, very heavy on the positive psychology side of things. And I, I actually take a lot of inspiration as a as a practitioner. And as a scholar from positive psychology, I think it has contributed a lot of valuable insight to psychology more generally. But I think it has significant limits. And I think that positive psychology almost needs to be balanced out with a little bit more of a pessimistic psychology. And I’ve actually found that that’s resonated with quite a few people, quite a few people that I’ve worked with, have gotten the most gains working from me, by coming to this realization that it’s not all fucking roses and sunshine, and not in your life and not in the world. A lot of people when they seek out a coach, and you I’m sure you’ve had this experience as well, all the angling for is a positive outcome. All they’re angling for is, you know, like, I consider myself with something about me a problem, I’m hiring you as the person who’s going to implement a solution, and almost has this kind of an unstated implication there that by hiring you, you’re gonna guarantee me that solution. A, that’s just not having realistic expect expectations of of a coach and what they do and so forth. But another thing is that, from my perspectives, some people have the most growth, when they realize not everything is going to be hunky dory about their lives, when they realize that some of the latent levels of depression and anxiety or social immersiveness or unconfidence in certain domains, things like that, some of them while they can be addressed, may be with you forever. And that’s okay. You know, they didn’t you know, that you shouldn’t look in your head yourself as just this tapestry of defects that need that for which every one of them has effects. Okay, many of them might do I mean, you know, you specialize in confidence. And I know, you know, I certainly think confidence is a is something that can be developed in most pets, not all people over time, you know, sustained effort, you know, deliberative practice, and so called Confidence is something that, you know, a sizable majority of us, I think, can develop over time. But even someone who develops confidence or builds confidence, it doesn’t follow from that, that that confidence is going to be available to them accessible to them and on hand to them in every single domain of their life and every single context of their life. And I think a big part of my success with a lot of my clients is just taking them back a little bit from those absolutes, those absolute positive outcomes, you know, like trying to get them more comfortable with the idea of a lot of my clients, for example, anxiety is a big thing. And I mean, anxiety, you know, a if you’ve got really bad eggs died, you should be talking to a psychiatrist and not a coach. But anxiety is one of those things where you can tamp down its worst excesses, you can tamp down that constant, false, you know, false positive false alarm going off in your head, non stop, while also recognizing that until the day you die, there are likely going to be some things, some people some situations, some stimuli that are going to make you anxious, and that’s okay. You know, that that’s actually like legitimately okay, you know, like, the mere fact that you have anxiety about something should not be cause for alarm in and of itself, okay, to the degree that it leads to other unhelpful behaviors or deleterious life outcomes or things that you would not want in your life. Okay, then that anxiety should be addressed, right. It’s like It’s like also anger as well. Right? There’s a there’s a healthy amount of anger, that you can allow yourself and not treat as a I can’t hold my shit together, I can’t hold my emotions together character defect. You know, like, we don’t live in a world of absolutes. Human beings are like the least absolute absolutism based species we could possibly imagine everything about ourselves how we interface with others how we interface with the world is based on complexity, it’s based on granularity, it’s based on non specified, it’s based on mass specificity to a person. You know, just because, again, so just make maybe a little shaggy dog on this. But I think where I’ve had a lot of real success as a coach, as a coach is bringing around people to this notion that striving for perfection, that’s obviously non starter. But even striving for a kind of persistent, near permanent positivity, that’s kind of a non starter to, you know, we all live under the shadow of our own shadow, in a lot of ways we do have dark sides that are going to reemerge. I mean, you you just alluded to a performing, you know, you were one of the most together, you know, emotionally calibrated people that I know, as a person, and as a professional, and you were speaking before about, you know, you know, being in a situation, a social situation where you can just feel those fumes, you know, boiling up and you know that you know that there’s a limit to how much those can boil up. Now, you didn’t speak about that as though it was a defect about yourself. Right. And I think we can kind of extend that same analysis and that same overview, to any single person, you know, we are all littered with your aspects of our our psyche, that perhaps could be better in some ideal Pollyannaish world, but to the degree that they aren’t, you know, ideal. Work with what you’ve got. Because you might be surprised at how much what you consider to be on the face of it. A defect or deficiency is actually a strength or an advantage, lurking under the surface that you just haven’t properly reckoned with or grappled with yet. Couldn’t be more on board with that. I think, you know, one of the things I thought of when I looked at your website is like dark coaching, which is kind of how I view my own as well, like, like, you aren’t quite confrontational and stuff for my sessions, but in the most loving way I can muster. But I like those messages. Because yeah, I think a lot of people do come to coaching. They’ll scoff at perfectionism as being unrealistic. And yet their behavior shows they are, in fact, precede, you know, seeking it. And the same as you know, if you tell them, you want to be happy all the time, I know, that’s not possible, and yet they seem to be seeking. And how much relief I’ve seen people get from going like, oh, I can be anxious sometimes. And that’s not actually a problem that needs to be solved. So yeah. And that’s most of the pain gone from it. You know, even into the point where maybe anxiety is helpful, that telling me something. My personal, you know, my journey with anger is a huge one. It’s one of my main deviations from loyalty to stoicism as a philosophy is, you know, stoicism generally shits on anger pretty hard. Um, I do anger saved my life, when I finally lifted out of a cage when I stopped fighting it, when I let it like, tell people what I really thought when I let it like design contents, when I let it come through as energy and my sessions on my ah, I thought anger is just punching a wall and hiding it with a Limp Biscuit poster like I did as a teenager, you know. Turns out anger can actually be a force of probably, I think anger has done more good for other people in my life, since I unleashed it than any other emotional state than I’ve ever been in. So I love that you can you can take people there and help them get there because I think most people go into coaching think they need to fix something, when they actually need to accept and utilize something, which is a much shorter, it’s, you know, a point between two lines, there’s not the long way around, we try to work against something and correct it. But it’s also nuanced. There are some things that perhaps really shouldn’t be fixed, and changed and adjusted, because, as you say, they lead to behaviors that are detrimental to your life. So you change those bits, but you only change them out, they need to be changed and so on. It’s very nuanced. And this is why coaching exists. It’s very hard to do this work completely on your own, but their massive blind spot that we have about ourselves, I mean, I never didn’t coach myself as much as much quality as another coach could do for me as well. As usual, we could just keep rambling on and on and on. But I think we’ll just have to break it out from the conversation by conversation. Just because we actually have lives to live to some extent. But I really appreciate you coming on and sharing your stories, honestly, and most importantly, just putting up a flag of, it’s okay to be like this, it can actually be an advantage if you play it, right. There’s a lot of people I’ve already got a list of like, four or five people my head specifically that I want to send this to who need to hear this because I’ve been fighting against being like you their whole life. And I just think they need to hear that they don’t need to fight against it. So I really appreciate you coming in putting that message out there. So shamelessly Yeah, man, I appreciate you having me on. And you know, to the degree that it resonates with people when it’s a, you know, salient message for people then so much the better. And the I mean, just the one thing I would add just it’s something you said before about, you know, like turning into a strength I mean, that the, the quote that I keep going back to is Greta Thun, Berg, you know, when she when she famously said, This is my superpower, you know, like like this, this is not mean to win. The ship that I’ve got going on up top. This is knowing the ending to wellness. This sets me apart from you know, the bland and timid masses in a lot of ways. I think that is one of the most beautiful, powerful, impactful quotes I’ve ever heard in my life. And I think it’s a guiding, I think it should be a guiding philosophy for everyone, whatever their superpower might be. But again, I mean, just last thing I’ll bring up with this, the restate that message scratched the surface of your perceived defect, there may just be a mis framed, misconceived strength bubbling under the surface waiting to be brought up. Absolutely, absolutely. And I found in my own work with clients that that’s often the case. As cheesy as it sounds, they’re their biggest weakness is really their biggest strength. They just, they fighting against it as what makes it look like a weakness, they’ve figured out yeah, they’re with the wrong people, or they’re in the wrong job, or they’re at the wrong place. And that’s why it doesn’t look like a strength, they’re in a place that doesn’t accept it that doesn’t see it as malleable, as amazing, they change who they hang out with. And all of a sudden, that’s like, the favorite thing about them. You know, my, my book editors, she’s on the spectrum. And you know, he’s got us he’s very, very honest and hard on his sleeve with her emotions. For most of her life, she was around people that just gave us so much for being like that. And of course, all the people in her life like that so she figured all people are like that. And then she moved from where she was in Croatia of all places to be like that. And then she moved to Canada. And now it’s like, everyone’s like you’re the only friend I can talk to and so because she’s like this you’re the only one I can be honest with and so on. You know, ours with the wrong people. I’m actually supposed to be like this just not around them. You know? It’s just such a such a common occurrence I see. Well, some dude, well, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you if they want to start a conversation and explore working with you more? If you go to you can go to my website dub dub dub dot energy, e n e r g i a Also look up in his year coaching Facebook, Instagram, I’m on most of the socials probably on LinkedIn a bit more than other social media these days. Otherwise, send me an email Gareth dot crazy IRAs Eddie, at energy a Or just fill out the contact form on my website. But yeah, and happy to hear from anyone who, who might like to tap into the mind of the lone wolf, who might be a lone wolf themselves potentially more than happy to hear from those but any any and all folks welcome in my labor. Excellent. And wherever you’re watching or listening to this, I’ll have all those links posted below. So just scroll down and click away. Alright, thanks again, Gareth. Night, and no doubt, we’ll talk again soon. Cheers of being chatty. Well hope so. Man. Cheers, mate.

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