Some people have a hard time realizing that they can be capable of doing a change in their life and be the best version of their selves. Josh Cary spent 40 years hiding every aspect of himself and showing up with a mask on in all areas of his life trying to gain the approval of everyone else. At nineteen, he changed his name and entered into a fifteen-year career as a professional actor and filmmaker. The applause and external accolades didn’t completely heal his feelings of anxiety and insecurities, and he found himself even more isolated than ever. Now, Josh is a podcast host and a business coach to entrepreneurs who are ready, willing, and able to say, “F that noise,” and show up once and for all as a person they know they are capable of being. Join host Nathan Hirsch as he interviews Josh about how you can unmask yourself and change your story to improve your life and business.
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Changing The Story Of Your Life With Josh Cary
My guest is Josh Cary. Josh, how are you doing?
I am good, Nathan. This is an absolute treat. Thank you for the invite.
This should be an interesting interview. For those of you that don’t know, Josh spent 40 years in hiding. He was hiding every aspect of himself and showing up with a mask on in all areas of his life, trying to gain the approval of everyone else. At nineteen, he changed his name and entered into what would become a fifteen-year career as a professional actor and filmmaker. The applause and external accolades didn’t completely heal his feelings of anxiety and insecurities and he found himself even more isolated than ever. Now, Josh is a podcast host, business coach to entrepreneurs who are ready, willing and able to say, “F that noise,” and show up once and for all as a person they know they are capable of being. First, let’s take a gigantic step back. What were you like as a kid growing up? Were you a rebel? Were you a straight-A student? I know you didn’t always think that you want to be an entrepreneur, but did you even have that entrepreneurial itch at all?
I was none of those things. I was not a rebel. I was a lonely, scared kid that couldn’t understand why nobody was giving me the time of day. I slapped on that label and said, “Nobody wants me around, then I’m not capable.” I chose to wear that label. Once we identify with something as a person, what do we do? We go out into the world and we seek the people and experiences that will validate that. Consciously or not, typically not, we go out and that’s what I did. I found all the people that were willing to validate my own story that I’m not capable and nobody wants me around. That’s what I did for many years. My entrepreneurial itch came, I remember in grade school. My mom used to work for a gum company. She would go to the supermarkets and have to restock some of the shelves. In that, she would take some of the expired gum home and I said, “Expired gum, I will sell that to my friends,” and that’s what I did.
How did that work out?
It worked out $0.25 for a pack of Chewels was not a bad deal. I’m sure the FDA would have something else to say about selling expired gum, but it worked out at the moment.
Can you tell a little bit more about your story? It’s not the typical story that we know from people that we interview on the show. I’d love for you to dive a little deeper.
Remove the label that you put on yourself about not being capable and seek out what you’re truly capable of.
Because I had that label on that “I’m not capable and nobody wants me around,” I showed up in every situation with that tone, with that vibe, and you receive what you put out. I would go into all sorts of life, into social and personal relationships. I’m only barely trying to figure it out and get it right. Those were always a mess, all kinds of business scenarios. As a young adult, I was trying to make ends meet in my own businesses. I was always hitting a wall and finding this struggle that, “Why can’t I make things work?” I was out there hiding all of my power. That’s why now I am The Hidden Entrepreneur. I spent 40-plus years in hiding all of my power and all of my ability knowing full well this is where the internal struggle and conflict came. I would be out into the world hiding all of my power and ability, seeking the approval of everybody else. I wanted people to like me at all costs and I didn’t want to rock the boat. I didn’t want to feel “superior” to anybody else. I didn’t want to make anybody feel less. I always had to play small and second fiddle.
That’s what I did. I always showed up in that regard. The irony is that I would then go home and know full well what I was capable of. I know that I could do what they’re doing. I could probably do what they’re doing much better than they are, but I didn’t. I was scared out of my mind. I would hide behind fear and use that as the excuse to do something or not do something. That created a lot of tension and struggle internally. What do you do with those emotions that you don’t know how to handle? You mask them in various forms of addiction, habits and patterns that don’t serve you. After 40-plus years, I was ready to make a different move.
How does that work? Did you flip the switch and the next day going forward? Is it a long transition? Did you have habits that you made sure that you committed yourself to?
It’s a long, steady process. It’s never about ripping the Band-Aid off. Maybe at some point you make the decision. You make a choice, which is the big light bulb moment that sometimes at some point you have to make a choice. You have to make the decision, “This isn’t how I want my life to go anymore.” Leading up to that moment, there were some efforts that I was like, “I want to be better. I want to show up more like me and put my best foot forward,” but I wasn’t ready. I was doing the preliminary work, reading the books, trying to meditate and trying to get my act together there. It didn’t have me shift until I found myself. Now, I’ve got two adoring children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son that I give shout-outs to often as possible because they were my inspiration, my mirror at the time.
Even early on in their young lives I realized, “I see what’s happening here. I’m the child in this circle.” Because of that realization, I said, “I always wanted to be a father growing up and now given a chance, I’m not going to ruin this. I’m not going to have these two kids watch their father desperate, needy, insecure, seeking approval,” as all they know and then that’s how they see me and that’s who they become. I said, “Absolutely not.” Now, the line is drawn. I have to step up. That’s when I said, “I get it. You guys are this incredible mirror and are everything that I wish I ever could have been, your confident, playful, magnificent, kind, loving, adoring everything you’re putting into the world. I will go over here and I’m going to do my work.”
When facing dilemmas, ask yourself what you can do to make it work.
I took some time and realized that from the minute I wake up and how I wake up to the minute I go to sleep and how I go to sleep and everything in between, there are dozens of small, medium and large patterns and habits that I’m doing that are either helping or not helping. I said, “I’ve got to do it. Now is the time.” It’s scary as anything, but I said, “I’ve got my children here. That’s my motivation. I want to be the best person for them and see what happens.” My biggest fear was that all of these people that were in my world that I attracted by wearing that label, I said, “What happens if these people retaliate?” Imagine if I take a step to the right, they don’t like that. They’re going to have something to say about that. Am I strong enough to stand up for myself? I never was but I said, “I got an inch over, inch by inch, strengthen myself, surround myself with even one person that I could get behind or could get behind me. If something happens, I can lean on them a little bit.” It’s all about slow and steady progress. That’s all it is. I replaced a bunch of negative habits and patterns slowly but surely, one at a time, seeing the win, feeling good about it, observing the result, seeing the world not collapsing around me. It’s quite the opposite and here we are now. I get to have great conversations with people like you.
Can you give us an example of how maybe an interaction went with a client, with someone in the outside world before and then after?
I attracted all the negativity that I feared. That’s what we do. When you go out and you’re either consciously or subconsciously assuming something’s going to happen, that’s what happened. I spent a great deal of time in the digital marketing space, running my own agency. Every day I would wake up and there would be a pit in my stomach because I knew that I’m feeding a family, I’m making ends meet, I’m paying the bills. I knew that I was capable of so much more, but I wasn’t able to get over that because I learned that I couldn’t tweak my business until I tweaked myself. As much as I show up, that’s what I’m attracting. I’m not in the right headspace. I’m not in the right physical space here. I would be met with all this client resistance, aggravation, frustration and all of that constantly. There would be smear campaigns against me trying to tarnish my reputation a lot. I’m like, “What is going on here? I’m a good person. I have wonderful intentions. I’m nice. I’m generous. I’m doing the best I can. Yet I’m still being met with this resistance, with this outcome. Something is terribly off here.” There were moments like that.
How does that translate into hiring and managing people? I feel like a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with that too. They care a lot for the people that worked for them or work with them. They think it could be an outside vendor. It could be an internal contractor in their office. It could be a VA in the Philippines. That impacts their decision makings and how they talk to people. People ended up respecting them less over time because of that. Can you talk a little bit about that?
I’ve had a small handful of in-house, in-person hires. I had an assistant who was my right hand. I had found her locally and there was a great match here. All of my shortcomings and insecurities come into play because I wasn’t strong enough. I wasn’t secure enough to manage her, train her and teach her. Imagine that all of these insecurities that come up in every part of my world prior are now still. I am the one paying her yet I couldn’t bring myself to correct or be a boss. That’s how atrocious it is. All these things would happen and I was like, “I can’t deal with this.” What winds up happening is the tension, the friction, all of this stuff that eventually leads to a terrible falling out. I had to let her go because there was all this stuff. I was like, “It’s not working. She’s not good. It’s not happening. My numbers aren’t growing. She’s not getting it.” That’s all on me, that wasn’t on her, but that’s where it goes when you’re in this unhealthy space.
Don’t be terrified of doing better than other people.
Do you have any hiring tips or advice, especially for someone that might be struggling with that on that day-to-day side and how to interact with people that you’re working with?
I have to get myself right in order to interact with people and be the best colleague, peer, boss that I could be. You need to start there by examining your shortcomings, your needs and get them met first. Do that work first, so when you do hire, it is as legit and authentic as it could be. That’s the only way around it. I had to get myself in a clear head, in a confident space, in a legitimate space personally so then I can show up properly in the business world.
Let’s talk about coaching. I know you worked with a lot of different entrepreneurs and we talked a little bit about being more self-aware, understanding and not caring what people think. Where do you see entrepreneurs struggling the most outside of that?
We care so much about what people think, that paralyzes us and we don’t make any move. I see many people who want to do things and they’ll either say, “I don’t know what I want to do,” but a little probing and prodding they know exactly what they want to do. It’s all fear-based because they’re scared of how they’re going to look. What are people going to say? What is it going to mean? Can they do it? They need this helping hand, this “permission.” That isn’t permission at all. It’s getting out of your own way. As in my story, I knew from day one what I was capable of doing, but I put on all these fronts, all these masks to allow myself to play it safe. That’s what I feel is happening.
Whenever I work with someone, they know exactly what they’re capable of doing, their genius like we all are. You’re brilliant. Get out of your own way. Figure out what that noise in your head is about and figure out why you keep perpetuating this false story and belief. I sold myself a story as truth for many years and that was all lies. That’s how I showed up. That’s what I needed to do until I learned it and got it differently. In the entrepreneurial space, we care a great deal of what people are going to say or what they’re not going to say. That keeps us not moving forward.
What daily habits do you make to keep that noise out?
I love this because I see my day-to-day as if I’m in recovery. In many ways, I am from a lot of negative habits and patterns. When you’re in any recovery, it’s a daily thing. You don’t just do it for a day, a week, a month or a year and then say, “I got it. I’m done. I’m going to move on. Now, I can live happily ever after.” It’s something you have to live with and attribute constantly. Here’s the thing. It’s not a chore. I love my daily habits and patterns that are, by the way, always evolving. Here’s the thing. When somebody says, “Let’s take a good example, an easy example, I want to lose 50 pounds.” What do they typically do? They restructure their whole day, their thinking, their process and say, “I’m going to go to the gym five days a week. I’m going to eat three meals of salad every day. I’m going to chug two gallons of water. I’m going to get ten hours of sleep.” We know how that winds up. You don’t have to do that. That’s not what I did to get here and that’s not what I’m doing where I go from here.
Don’t use fear as an excuse to not do something. Challenge your fears.
What I do is I looked at all honestly what small, medium and large patterns and habits were I doing that were either serving or not serving. I replaced one at a time. For example, I started observing the people that I love, respect and admire, people in my world, books and on TV and whatnot. I noticed that there was one thing among many that kept coming up. They all seem to get up early. The most successful, they always say, “I get up early.” I’m like, “I don’t get up early enough but I could afford to get up a little earlier.” Now, I get up at 6:00, which I think is good. I know that there’s a whole 5:00 AM club out there. Maybe I’ll consider that in the future, but 6:00 to me is perfect. I didn’t start from, “I get up at 8:00, now I’m going to get up at 6:00.” “Get up at 8:00, maybe this week I’m going to get up at 7:45.”
Do that for a week. That’s a win. Observe how good you feel because you said something, you committed and you followed through. Say, “I’m going to get up at 7:30 or 7:00 or whatever it is.” My habits and patterns rely now on I deliberately get up early. I own my morning. I have two small children and I don’t want to get up when they’re getting up. I make sure that I’m up at least an hour or so. My morning is deliberate. I get up a certain time without the snooze button. That’s another habit that changed. It’s simple. Don’t snooze. You’ll read about it. It’s more effective and more productive. I get up early, I hydrate with some lemon water and sea salt. These little specific things and I’m like, “Somebody I respect said that this might work. Let me try it.” I do that then I exercise. I run two miles on my treadmill and then I come up, I make coffee, I eat a light breakfast. I never check email. I never scroll social because these are the habits and patterns that I want to observe that I feel good about. There are a lot of things in that regard that I do, I test for myself. If they make me feel good and my best, then I continue to do them. I observe honestly, “What is getting in my way here?” I’m like, “I’m doing this. Is that the best I can do it?” We go from there.
Change comes from the small steps you take for the better in your life.
Josh, this has been great. Where can people find out more about you? What are you most excited about for the rest of the year?
My website is the hub for all my stuff, JoshCary.com. It’s got my podcast episodes. You can watch all kinds of videos. You can read more about me. You can click over to any social platform where you enjoy hanging out and we can socialize from there. What’s interesting is I love being a podcast host as well. In the course of the year, I’ve put out over 115 episodes now to date and I realized, “This is where I can double down.” I’ve interviewed many people who complimented my style after the show and said, “I’ve been on a lot of shows before and this was the best interview ever.” After hearing similar feedback, I thought, “Let me see what I’m doing. What am I bringing to the table?” Self-awareness is always key. See what’s working and not working. How are people reacting and not reacting and responding? I figured that I love this whole medium. I want to help others perfect it. I’m getting ready to shoot content for two courses that complement each other, best interview ever and best guest ever. How to perfect your interview style? How to show up as the best guest you can? That’s going to take a lot of my time.
Thank you so much for coming on, Josh.
This has been brilliant. Thank you, Nathan.
About Josh Cary
Josh Cary spent 40 years in hiding! That’s right. He was hiding every aspect of himself and showing up with a ‘mask’ on in all areas of life trying to gain the approval of everyone else.
At 19, he changed his name and entered into, what would become, a 15-year career as a professional actor and filmmaker. The applause and external accolades didn’t completely heal his feelings of anxiety and insecurities and he found himself more isolated than ever.
Today, Josh Cary is a podcast host and business coach to entrepreneurs who are ready, willing, and able to say “F That NOISE!” and show up once and for all as the person they know they are capable of being.