105. Stop Trying to Outrun Your Secrets with Andrew Hood

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By Bryan Falchuk. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Around 15 years ago, Andrew Hood was transferred to another city for work. It coincided with having financial problems due to a bad real estate investment that he had made at the time. He was isolated from family and friends with a failing single income, a bad investment and a two year old son. He had always been a sufferer of anxiety, but at that point, he was deep in depression also. Andrew didn’t want to let anyone know that things had gotten so bad because that would be like admitting he was failing at life. Things go so bad that his wife ended up calling his father because she was scared that he might hurt, or perhaps even kill himself.

Around that same time, he had people coming up to him at work and asking him to be their mentor because they saw him as someone who really had his act together. To put it simply, Andrew was living a lie at work and at home.

His wife calling his father was probably the best thing that could have happened to him because of the love and support his parents have always shown him. Andrew still remember his father saying “You don’t understand son, hearing the words ‘dad I need help’ is one of the nicest things that I could ever hear as a father."

Soon, Andrew had a plan with his father and accountant to get out of the investment trouble once and for all and was starting to see a therapist about his mental health struggle.

Over the next 15 years, Andrew has been working on his career (Now a Director Of Sales for a multinational IT Company), and started a blog which was awarded no.39 in the Best and Most Inspiring Blogs Worldwide, Written two self-published books, and, late last year, signed a publishing contract to release his first novel to the world. He also now loves reading philosophy and learning about people.

His life is busy but great.

He helps people now, with his management style and in his writing. The book he just published, The Man Who Corrupted Heaven, is about a rich man who dies and progresses through something called the 4 stages of death. It deals with self-reflecting and issues such as child sexual abuse. It is already getting fantastic reviews.

Key Points from the Episode with Andrew Hood:
  • In his day job, Andrew is a sales director for an IT company
  • His side hustle, or “passion lane” as he calls it is in his writing
  • Fifteen years ago, he was a junior sales rep at a company.
  • The economy in Australia, where he lives, was booming.
  • On top of the day job, he had lots of little passion projects on the side, and felt like he was thriving.
  • He was married, and had a two year old, and things were good.
  • He was tapped for relocation into a promotion. For six months, everything went well.
  • After that, the work he was moved to do dried up overnight.
  • At the same time, an earlier decision he and his wife made to invest in real estate went South as the global financial crisis took hold.
  • The stress he started living under was tremendous, and the idea that the world thought he was failing only added to it.
  • Andrew described it as a black hole that was following him, and if he didn’t keep moving forward, it would swallow him.
  • Someone at work asked him to be her mentor because he had everything together.
  • Little did she know, he had just been alone in a conference room crying.
  • What was coming out was that Andrew suffers from anxiety, and he was deep in the throes of it.
  • The mentoring brought front and center the idea that he was living a lie because people thought he was ok, but he was struggling inside and hiding it from the world.
  • His wife knew enough of what was going on to know he needed help, and called his father to step in and ask him what was going on.
  • His father said something he would never forget, “One of the best things a father can hear is, ‘Dad, I need help.’”
  • His father helped him work with an accountant to get a plan around the financial problems he faced.
  • Andrew also started to see a therapist, who he shared the idea of living this secret life.
  • He said he always thought secrets were character-building and make you stronger.
  • The therapist shared how the therapy community views secrets, which opened Andrew’s eyes to the need to be open and honest about what we struggle with. She said, “You are only as sick as your secrets.”
  • After the money situation got better, the depression and anxiety remained, as if he was stuck in a hole and couldn’t bring the standard up.
  • This was really interesting - even when the problems go away, the internal work is still needed.
  • As he came through it, he started to write.
  • He told his wife as he began, “I don’t always know what I’m writing until I write it down.” This helped him work through it.
  • He started with a blog, sharing his thoughts.
  • He put out an article on his blog on RUOK Day in Australia about his struggles with mental health and anxiety and the work he did.
  • He was scared to release it as it would expose him and his secrets, but he published it, and the attention started.
  • All his friends and family who knew about the financial issues but not the emotional or mental suddenly knew.
  • What it did was flip a light switch on the issue for others, and people started to share how they also suffered with he same issues but didn’t feel comfortable talking about it.
  • This was the final part of the secret, so when it got out, he started to finally be free of his secrets.
  • As Andrew says, it’s a much better life when you’re not trying to outrun something.
  • He started to get fit, where his health had been suffering for years.
  • He’s started writing books, with is first one taking two years to write.
  • After writing his blog, The Tipping Point, he started to realize he could piece together his thoughts to give a picture of a complete person.
  • His first book is called The Man Who Corrupted Heaven. It was all about a rich man who doesn’t want to give up everything he spent his life building up when he gets to heaven, where you can’t bring anything with you.
  • It follows the main character as he goes through what Andrew called The Four Stages of Death, and the growth he goes through.
  • The sequel, The Man Who Settled the Score, is being written now, and the third book in the series, The Woman Who Stole the World, comes out later.
  • What Andrew realized through everything this that trying to keep it all together by yourself is exhausting and doesn’t help.
  • If you’re worried about someone judging you, then it’s probably not the kind of person you want in your life anyway.
  • Find someone to just talk to so you can start the process.
  • Find something you’re passionate about, and go toward that.

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