When Pete and I co-founded Mr Feelgood, it was with a vague idea that perhaps there were some men like us, who were dissatisfied with the traditional one-dimensional blueprint of what a man could be. The stuff we grew up with, culturally, politically, in the school system, on the television and in films were these hero stereotypes, bound by the limitations of what western societies expected. Sure, it was a natural thing to feel competitive, driven, independent, protective of our loved ones, and ballsy like the best of them. But it was also clear that there was much more going on inside that required attention, that needed acknowledging, potential gems to be mined and to work with.
Throughout the ages, there have always been great artists, poets, philosophers, and intellectuals who accepted all aspects of their characters, even when many in their era shunned and mocked such exposure. Leonardo da Vinci is a great example; an artist but also an engineer, an extraordinary balance of both the practical mind and sensitive soul. A complete man. We were keen to find these remarkable men walking among us, and exchange ideas and methods to help us become better functioning husbands, fathers, and friends. And as we talked to other men who were on a similar search for evolution, for guidance, one of the names that kept coming up was Rich Roll, a vegan ultra athlete soaring in the podcast world, a recovering alcoholic who has become a shining light for both physical and mental health.
When I first met Rich, it was at our mutual friend’s Christmas party. The house was full of kids young, teens and early 20s. It was a festive affair, a good vibe. He’d been described to me as this kind of superman, and it was clear that he was driven, special, respected, and indeed loved. But I remember also sensing that Rich was private, maybe because the booze was flowing, or perhaps because that night he chose to simply observe. I can understand both. Fair do’s, the man’s not forced, a little enigmatic, simply more introverted than me. I left wondering if I’d ever get to know him more.
A few months later, I sat next to his wife Julie Piatt at a special luncheon celebrating the late Mick Rock, the music photographer famous, amongst other things, for his professional relationship shooting David Bowie. Julie and I got on very well, she’s a brilliant human, beautiful, whip-sharp, deep, spiritual, warm, fearless, a natural entrepreneur. We spoke of Rich a little bit and I asked her to share some of his journey. I remember returning home and ordering his book ‘Finding Ultra’ which I dove into and couldn’t put down. Talk about impressive, talk about candid. A man who took actions to change his life and had the courage to walk, or run, towards discovering exactly who he was. I realized why people I met from all walks of life, from all over the globe, listened to Rich and followed his example.
So in 2021, we invited Rich to appear in Mr Feelgood, and he became one of the subjects of our ‘Who the F*** Are You?‘ profile, answering the 20 questions we have devised to quickly get to the heart of a human. He admitted to being a tad nervous, faced with the prospect of answering and not asking the questions, but once we began, he proved incredibly honest, and we had one of the most enriching conversations I have enjoyed since launching our platform. We stayed in touch, and Rich has remained consistently generous with his time and wisdom. We respect him immensely as a man, mentor, and entrepreneur, and are regular listeners to The Rich Roll Podcast, which has been downloaded over 300 million times around the world. So when Rich invited me to be a guest on the show I was honored. Driving to his studio late last year, I was a little nervous, aware of the quality that Rich delivers week in, week out, and tired, having been working until the early hours of that morning. But as I sat in the chair, without a script or an agenda, I heard myself settle on the cardinal truth. I realized that all I needed to do was listen, be present, trust, and be myself.
Since the release of our conversation last month, men from all over the world, all walks of life, have written to us to say how important such conversations are to them. Not only men, but mothers, wives, and daughters too. Perfectly functioning humans who are doing their best, but have at junctures had to reflect, pivot, work hard, start again, and accept their past with compassion. All just to live with authenticity — to simply be themselves.
We wanted to thank Rich for sharing his platform with me. And this week, we are sharing our’s with a man whose work we became aware of as a result of that podcast. We were emailed by a reader who connected with the conversation and wanted to praise the work of his life coach, Sean Hotchkiss, for helping to guide men to lead authentic lives. So we are publishing Sean’s story and philosophy today so more people can benefit from his wisdom. That’s community in action. I’ve always said Mr Feelgood is akin to a circle of men sitting around a campfire in the desert under a beautiful night sky. I don’t care where you’re from, what color your skin, which god you worship, your socio-economic background, which sex you choose to love. I believe at our core, we all want the same things: Love, peace, self-respect, purpose, and community.
Always with love,