From Addiction to Purpose

With Ryan Dusick, a registered associate marriage & family therapist, the founding drummer of the world’s most popular band Maroon 5, a mental health advocate, an author, and life coach with a BA from UCLA and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Ryan brings his unique journey as a successful creative person in recovery, as well as his many years of education and professional experience, to clients seeking help with their personal challenges. Ryan prefers to think of his work as a collaboration, in which he and his client work together to discover creative ways of addressing their issues, tailoring therapy to the distinctive needs of each individual.

As a life coach, Ryan brings his background of success in the fields of music, literature, and mental health advocacy. His work both as an individual and in creative collaboration lends itself well to fostering the talents and ambitions of other creative people looking for help and advice in finding their way.

Ryan brings compassion to those suffering through their mental health challenges, and believes his very purpose in life is to offer support, insight, and helpful guidance to each of his clients on their journey from struggling to thriving. He looks forward to working with you as you begin your passage to a life of fulfillment and purpose.

In our conversation, Ryan shares his journey of overcoming addiction, heartbreak, and loss through therapy and finding purpose in helping others, emphasizing the importance of human connection. He reflects on the pandemic’s impact on identity, relationships, and purpose, advocating for self-care and embracing transition for personal growth. Additionally, Ryan discusses the significance of positive experiences and rites of passage in fostering unity among individuals.

>Subscribe to Guts, Grit & Great Business on Apple Podcasts

Takeaways & quotes you don’t want to miss from this episode:

  • Ryan’s story of his addiction, recovery, and finding his new purpose.
  • The challenges of isolation during the times of COVID, and the importance of connection and community.
  • The importance of recognizing and fostering synergy in relationships (even when it’s uncomfortable).
  • How can embracing differing perspectives lead to better outcomes?
  • How to find meaning and purpose through rites of passage.

“You don’t realize that some of the things you do are coping mechanisms because you take them for granted until they’re gone.”

-Ryan Dusick

Check out these highlights:

  • 05:19 Ryan shares his story from struggling with his grief to mental health issues and how he found his purpose.
  • 15:58 How Ryan experienced being in a spiritual bottom.
  • 23:21 When was the most challenging time for Ryan in his recovery journey?
  • 37:12 Ryan tackles the different personalities of each member of Maroon 5 and how they bring their differences together.
  • 55:55 Final takeaways to leave with our listeners…

How to get in touch with Ryan on Social Media:

You can also contact Ryan by visiting his website here.

Imperfect Show Notes

We are happy to offer these imperfect show notes to make this podcast more accessible to those who are hearing impaired or those who prefer reading over listening. While we would love to offer more polished show notes, we are currently offering an automated transcription (which likely includes errors, but hopefully will still deliver great value), below:

GGGB Intro  00:00

Here’s what you get on today’s episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®…

Ryan Dusick  00:04

I guess you have to look for the positive in everything. It reminded us how important some of these things are and how the rites of passage and the things that give us those flashbulb moments in our life. Those things are so important. And they bring people together, families together, couples together, parents and child, friends community. It’s all part of this experience that sometimes we take for granted but as a part of what creates all that meaning and purpose in our life.

GGGB Intro  00:34

The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.

Heather Pearce Campbell  01:02

Hello, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving online information entrepreneurs throughout the US and the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®. I am super excited to bring you a very special guest today we are going to have a fabulous conversation. For those of you listening, it’ll be a little bit different than some of the other conversations on the podcast. There are certain themes, and I suspect that this theme is really going to be very much in line with impart the name of this podcast, we’re going to be talking about guts and grit, what it takes to build things what it takes to get through hard things, what it takes to make turning points and pivots and build new things in life. So I’m super excited for today’s conversation. And I’m very happy to welcome our guest Ryan Dusick. Welcome, Ryan.

Ryan Dusick  02:06

Thank you. Heather. Thanks for having me on.

Heather Pearce Campbell  02:08

Yeah, super happy to have you on. So Ryan and I were introduced through a mutual friend or at least connection, I’m not sure how well Ryan knows Chris, but we’ve got some overlaps in our world and especially in the entrepreneurial space. But for those of you that that don’t know Ryan or not aware yet which Ryan we’re talking about today. Ryan Dusick is an associate Marriage & Family Therapist, the founding drummer of Maroon Five, a mental health coach, a speaker and advocate, and the author of the book, “Harder to Breathe: A Memoir of Making Maroon Five Losing it all and Finding Recovery”. His life has been a long and winding road from aspiring pop star with anxiety to heartbroken alcoholic to thriving mental health survivor and messenger of hope in recovery. Founding the group Kara’s Flowers in 1994 with Best Friends Adam Levine, Jessie Carmichael and Mickey Madden, Ryan and his bandmates worked tirelessly for a decade before the group changed its name to Maroon Five, and finally recorded its first multiplatinum album songs about Jane, multiple hit songs two Grammy Awards and 20 million albums sold later, Ryan found himself suffering and without direction when his career as a performer came to an end, just as it was taking off. After years of struggling with physical and mental health challenges. Ryan finally overcame in 2016 when he began his journey of recovery, culminating in a new life path full of meaning, purpose and fulfillment. While adding a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University to his bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA, he decided it was time to write his story in hopes of helping others who might see themselves in his personal struggles. Now working as a mental health professional, and advocate, Ryan is spreading the message that recovery is possible, and some astounding things can come with it. Welcome, Ryan. That is such winding and rich and really fabulous introduction. 

Ryan Dusick  02:33

Sounds pretty good when you read it. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  04:18

Right? You’re like, Yeah, let’s really talk about that. No, and I know, you know, there’s a lot of struggle and probably dark times in your story. And I think it’s really important that we tell full stories that show both sides of life. I think so often we hear the pretty stuff. We hear the stuff that people want to share, right and it’s not always the full true story. What was it about your path? I love hearing about the point where somebody decides to share their story, you know, and it for you, maybe that was a change in direction, but what was it about that particular point in time where you knew it was time to share? 

Ryan Dusick  05:17

Well, it was an interesting moments in my life, you know, I had struggled with the grief of losing not just career, but really, my whole identity that was wrapped up in being a founding member of Maroon Five, and struggled, dealing with that loss, and then and the self medication, the alcoholism and the ensuing, you know, mental health issues I had with depression and anxiety and so on. And I had just started recovery, I had finally gotten to a place where I was able to walk back into life and, but finding new purpose a new meaning in my life, because I was taking on acts of service as as we do in recovery. And for me, that was really just being a sober person and doing what was necessary to stay that way. But it became this new mission in my life, it became something that was fulfilling to be of service and to give of myself, and that led me back to school to become a therapist, which, you know, I didn’t really have like a five year plan or anything for what that was going to lead to, or what that would look like, it just kind of it was following that feeling of purpose and fulfillment that led me there. But then it kind of just hit me like a ton of bricks when I was in my second year of grad school, that this tragic story had been telling myself about what I had lost and how painful that it had been, and how I was going to overcome that had a happy ending, you know, because here I was finding all this new purpose and finding connection again, and meaning so I figured I had some interesting stories to tell, I had a crazy journey from where we started in my parent’s garage all the way up to the biggest stages in the world. And a lot of people would might be interested in some of the stories along the way of that alone. But now there was this other element to it, which was about heartbreak and loss, but ultimately about hope and redemption. And there might be some people out there that would relate to what I went through, not because they’ve been in a pop band. But because they’ve dealt with some of the same things that I’ve dealt with anxiety or depression or perfectionism. You know, impostor syndrome, obsessive compulsiveness, substance abuse, there’s just a lot of themes that are not specific to the context of my life, they’re things that a lot of people can relate to. And so I just felt like I had this story that ultimately, could, could be relatable, but could offer a sense of hope, and direction for people that need it.

Heather Pearce Campbell  07:56

When you look back at some of those times, where and I know, you said like, you didn’t have a five year plan that you know, none of us have crystal balls. And in those really dark moments, did you have hope? Like, how did you find it? Were there people in your life? Where was this shift for you from that transition of, you know, being in a space where you didn’t know how things were gonna get better? Or go forward to them having hope again, I feel like that’s a really sticky murky place for people.

Ryan Dusick  08:32

Yeah, it was tough. Because when I left the band, we had been working for over a decade, and finally got to the place that we had dreamt of. And quite honestly, it’s the stuff that we were doing at that point, and the success that we were having, it was all great and wonderful. But that’s not the stuff that I really miss. The stuff that I was really missing was the feeling of connection with my bandmates, with the creative process, with the whole journey, the process was what I missed. And so when all of that was gone, and I was kind of just left with what is the rest of my life going to be, and I couldn’t really come up with anything. I didn’t really feel like I had any hope. Even though I had the success. We’d sold millions of records. So I had some money in the bank. And I had a lot of freedom and security as a result of that success. But I was missing what was at the center of that what would make it all worthwhile, which was something that felt meaningful and purposeful. And so I couldn’t see a lot of hope, beyond just the idea that I was going to be somehow just getting through the rest of life, a life that would be, essentially a letdown from what I thought it was going to be. And that I was just going to kind of try to find ways to enjoy myself and get through this letdown of a life. And so there’s no hope in that it was just essentially, this is what’s left and what am I going to make of it. But without any sort of direction or sense of why or what that could be. It’s interesting looking back on it now in the place that I am in my life, because I think hope was there, I just couldn’t see it. In the midst of all the things that I was dealing with, you know, I was in grief, and grieving is a process, it takes time. And sometimes you have to sit in depression for a while, and you have to sit in the anger, the denial, and all these things that the stages that are also not linear, you know, it’s not like you’re, oh, I completed step one, or step two is it you go back and forth, and you might be in a good place one day, and then in a terrible place the next day, so. And then for me, you know, the self medication and the escape and avoidance of the things that were uncomfortable or painful, kind of perpetuated all of that. But it was when I was able to recognize that those ways of coping weren’t helping anything, they were actually making them worse. And as scary as it was to allow myself to be open to the idea of something different, something that might be more uncomfortable, but might actually lead to a life worth living again, I just started to open up to life again, I started to reconnect to living and that is when the hope came back in.

Heather Pearce Campbell  11:34

Gosh, there’s so much I mean, so many themes and in your response and what you’ve just shared, I mean, a couple of things really stood out. One is you talk about this idea of being attached to the way that you thought life would be, right? So it’s like this disconnect between the experience that we’re having and the way that we thought life would be. You also mentioned a time where you recognized what it was you were really missing about that experience. And that’s super intriguing. Like, what do you think led to that realization that for you is it was actually about the connection and the creative process versus what some people would look like as kind of the outward symbols of success.

Ryan Dusick  12:24

I don’t know, if I had the emotional or intellectual wherewithal, when I was in the middle of that to recognize clearly that that’s what I was missing. You know, hindsight is 2020. And I probably have a clearer understanding of it now than I did then. However, I think that I had a sense that what was missing from my life was not parties at Prince’s house. And, you know, flying first class to London for big show.

Heather Pearce Campbell  13:01

Right? Although, let’s be clear, it’s okay to miss those things. Right? I’m thinking like, I would miss, you know, I’m laughing about it, because that feels so far out of my reality. But like, of course, those are miscible things too.

Ryan Dusick  13:14

Yeah. And we had dropped with those things. And so they were wonderful that we got, I mean, being able to experience the things that you only fantasized about, of course, I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. Those are wonderful moments in my life, I’m glad that I got to live them. But essentially, that wasn’t what made my life purposeful. Right? And essentially, what made and does make my life meaningful, is what makes my life purposeful. Right. So when I came to that place, where I, for lack of a better term, you know, hit a rock bottom, which was kind of a spiritual bottom more than a literal bottom, it was very clear to me at that time, that what was missing was connection. I had, you know, a bar stocked with was fine the course you know, and other luxuries that come with success. And none of that even though I was still you know, able to go out to a nice dinner or take a nice trip and go to London if I wanted to and have a holiday like those things weren’t filling me up. Right. It was a process that was missing it but there was the driving force for it. The the the reason why you do those things is to celebrate things in your life, that have meaning if you take the thing away that has meaning that all of the other stuff is kind of meaningless.

Heather Pearce Campbell  14:41

I love that the recognition that those those outward things are the things that we do to celebrate what actually has meaning. You also mentioned that reaching a spiritual bottom right and I think even post COVID I think there’s a lot of people that can relate to what that is. As you know, I’ve had so many friends that especially entrepreneurs, and new take entrepreneurs as a category, I think they’re particularly prone to the kinds of journey that you have just described. And we’re also more prone by the way to mental illness and rates of depression and feeling lonely and isolated, like all of those things go along with the entrepreneurial journey pretty significantly. And so, I think there are a lot of folks that can relate to that experience. And sometimes, in hindsight, realizing what it was, you know, I’ve had friends describe it, as you know, the dark night of the soul, which you read about, how did you experience it? How did you experience that spiritual bottom? Like, can you just describe for us what that was, like, as a way to illuminate it for others?

Ryan Dusick  15:56

Yeah, well, I mean, obviously, when you’re an addict, or an alcoholic, as in my case, it’s a pretty visceral experience of of disconnection. Because the deeper you go into your addiction, the more isolated you become. And all the things that that used to be enjoyable, are no longer enjoyable. And I was, I think, just kind of terrified of being uncomfortable. I was running away from responsibility. And at the end, it really just looked like me being alone a lot of the time and drinking till I passed out on my couch at night. That’s a pretty clear visualization of being spiritually broken looks like, because essentially, I had no real connection to a life that was engaging or fulfilling. I mean, there were people still in my life, thank God, that I cared about, and they cared about me. But a lot of the friends and people that I did have relationships with over the years, during that time did fall away, I was left with the core of people that really were close to me and my family, and so on. But, you know, I didn’t have a working definition of what spirituality was, at that point, it took recovery for me to understand it was, I didn’t think of myself as a spiritual person, even though I had been raised Jewish, had some religion. I didn’t the word spirituality didn’t really mean anything until I had to think about it in recovery. And the first definitions that came to me about it has to do with what I had been missing as much as what I was searching for, because you don’t have to know you know, what, or who God is, or have a clear definition of like, what is my spirit and what you know, lifts it up are essentially to look and recognize, at my lowest point, I I felt broken because spirit soul, whatever you want to call it, had no place that it felt like it belonged. So the reason why the higher power is such a big part of the the 12 steps, I always thought is you have to humble yourself before God. And that’s part of it. You have to be humbled in order to be in acceptance and to surrender fully. But at the same time, it’s about we all need to feel like we were connected to something outside of ourselves.

Heather Pearce Campbell  18:28

Yes. And I think there’s so many ways to do that. You’re right. I think some people get turned off by the concept of God or whatever, or even, you know, religious construct, but it’s like the folks that I serve, some can be religious, some just consider themselves spiritual, you know, some who knows, but when they feel connected to a mission to a purpose in their work, like they’re contributing to a greater good in the world. I mean, it is the difference between making it and not making it. 

Ryan Dusick  19:04

Yeah, absolutely. And it look, there’s not one way for everyone and there’s, it’s I’m not here to tell you what that purpose should be, or what your your higher power otherwise should be. You should feel connected to it. That’s an individual journey. It’s just that no man is an island or no woman. And we don’t thrive in an existence in which we’re cut off and isolated from life. I mean, there are people that are by nature I’m you know, I’m an introvert, my nature is to kind of spend a lot of time alone and and ponder things and do my, I like to be creative and writing on my own is a lot of fun for me. But at the end of the day, if there’s no connection to the world outside of that, if the people in my life, you know, if I’ve lost that, then essentially all of that creative work. All of that focus all of that introspection, loses meaning, right? What are we writing about? What are we focusing on in our deep thoughts when we’re solitary, if not life, and its meaning for us and the things that we value. And whether or not you’re a people person or not, we are social animals, we need a certain amount of connection to other people or to communing with our pets, even that’s a form of spirituality to me, when I wake up in the morning, and I see my cats begging me for food. You know, I’m like, here’s another creature on this planet that’s deeply connected to me. And there’s very tangible way, and I’m going to give them food, and I’m going to pet them afterwards. And they’re going to be very happy. And that’s going to make me happy. It’s so simple, right?

Heather Pearce Campbell  20:49

Well, I do love the simplicity of that example, though. And you know, even that pet example over the weekend, my dog I think she got stung. Like I think it was one of those late slow moving wasps of the season where the the temperatures are cooler. You know, I like I looked outside, I was like, I can’t believe we still have lost. We don’t have a big deal with whilst around here. But we do get some and of course, my dog who’s you know, one and a half, she tries to bite them if they’re flying around her face. Well, I think something happened she bit one or it stung her. Anyway, she puffed up like dramatic reaction. And so of course, this was Saturday morning, I gave her Benadryl I was like really evaluating do I need to take her to the emergency vet and I thought, I’m just gonna wait a few minutes, if she acted like she was having breathing problems, or, you know, acting strangely, like I was going to take her immediately. But the Benadryl really calmed the reaction down. But she stayed by my side, the rest of the weekend, like was afraid to go outside by yourself, you know. And so that sense of connection, it was very much like that, again, that maternal caretaking instinct of like, oh, yeah, of course, we’re so connected, she feels that something is wrong in this moment, and is now nervous about it. And, you know, I felt like I had this little toddler connected to me all weekend. And so, but it was very sweet, we got so many cuddles. And, like there was something really tender about it. And I just think like, even COVID, you take COVID As a recent example, for people this theme of like isolation, and we’re just not really destined to do stuff or do life on our own. And that, you know, even for my little family, you know, I’ve got two small children. And we’re in Seattle, you know, it’s a pretty liberal place, everybody masked up, we, we all tried to quarantine as much as possible. And it was pretty hardcore. And it was so hard. It was so hard. And I just thought like, my heart was breaking every day for people who are elderly, or folks who don’t have built in family and how hard you know, something like COVID, but even a journey, like what you went through of that just total isolation and physically feeling isolated, emotionally feeling isolated from people, it’s, we’re absolutely not destined to live that way.

Ryan Dusick  23:20

Yeah, to be quite honest, that the pandemic was the most challenging time in my recovery. I’ve been sober for seven and a half years almost, I’ve been on this whole journey, where one thing after another has been uplifting and fulfilling and the things that I’m doing. But then all of a sudden, we have this moment in history where everything shuts down. We’re asked to spend inordinate amount of time, you know, alone, or just with a core group of our family. And just some of the the normal things, the normal sort of ebb and flow of life that creates a rhythm and structure and just things we take for granted. All that stuff has gone. And we’re left to our own devices. And for me, I mean, for I think, for any addict, isolation is not a good thing. We need community, we need connection. But that’s the reason why that’s true is just that addicts, you know, are vulnerable, but it’s an innately human thing.

Heather Pearce Campbell  24:18

You know, you look whether addicts or not like look at the rate of drinking during COVID went way up cigarette smoking, like all the things went way up, because stress levels are up, right. It’s like an automatic relationship to isolation and stress. And it’s such a reminder that none of us are alone in this.

Ryan Dusick  24:44

Yeah. And you don’t even realize that some of the things that you do are coping mechanisms because you take them for granted until they’re gone, right. And then all of a sudden, you have to cope and you have to find new ways to cope. And that’s when people start reaching for things that may not be quite as healthy. And I deal with that all all the time. And as a therapist, you know, my clients, I had either the very unfortunate or, or very fortunate timing of becoming a therapist, just as the pandemic was hitting.

Heather Pearce Campbell  25:14

Right, when everybody needed a therapist, and then everybody was going online for one, yes.

Ryan Dusick  25:21

I was in my last year of grad school. And when you do your traineeship, and so I had my first clients that I saw, were online, on on zoom on this computer right here. And so that’s a heck of a way to start seeing clients over a computer in the middle of a global pandemic, where people are isolated, and they are self medicating, and they’re feeling disconnected. And they’re feeling a lot of questions about their identity about what their future. So it was an interesting experience. But I see the the aftermath of it, people really struggled for a while and continue to have issues related to that. And especially young people, of course, who had formative moments in their life that were either delayed or cancelled as a result of that, and it makes you I guess, you have to look for the positive in everything, it reminded us how important some of these things are, and how the rites of passage and the things that give us those flashbulb moments in our life, you know, those things are so important. And they bring people together, families together, couples together, parents and child, friends, community. It’s all part of this experience that sometimes we take for granted, but as a part of what creates all that meaning and purpose in our life. And even if your work is your life, even if it you know, it’s not up to me to make your priority list for you, if career is number one, which is fine if it is you know, it’s not the only thing, right? That’s right, it may be one but it’s not the only thing. And no more than anything else is the only thing. So that’s why I talk also a lot about a holistic approach to this. It’s we have to nourish ourselves in mind and body and in spirit in order to be truly healthy. And then all of those things do better and thrive. If we’re doing well. If we take care of ourselves, and we nourish ourselves in the ways that we need to, then our career does better and our family does better and our personal you know everything is better if we integrate those things.

Heather Pearce Campbell  27:34

All right, let’s pause for a moment and hear from today’s sponsor. Are you an entrepreneur who is on track to make a million or more in revenue this year in your business? If so, your business is likely facing a host of legal issues that are right for support. And if you are like so many of my clients at this level, you are likely tired of taking unnecessary risks and a DIY approach to legal support in your business. You’re ready to tackle the mess of legal documents, six legal gaps that you have. You want to take care of your IP, your clients, your business, and avoid unnecessary conflict and risk in the process. If this is you, and beyond just being an entrepreneur, you are a catalyst and are committed to your mission and your impact in the world. I invite you to get in touch. You could be a fit for my catalyst club, a small business legal support program that I designed for my high level clients. Just like you, you can find out more at Just click on the Work with Me tab to learn more about the catalyst club and other ways that I support my clients, a fabulous group of world changing entrepreneurs, I might add, you’ve done the initial legwork in your business. And now you want to soar. And you know that you can only go as high and as far as your legal foundation lets you go. So get in touch today, hop over to, click on the Work with Me tab. And if you have any questions, get in touch through the Contact link on my site, I look forward to connecting it would be a joy to support you on your path.

Heather Pearce Campbell  29:17

On this podcast from the start. We’re talking about personal life stuff, mindset spirituality business like all of it because there’s no separating those aspects of our life and the overall health depends on you know, healthy parts and you know, I think so much the challenge during COVID is even if you could do one and like well in one area like I know folks who like got into the best shape of their lives or started a new diet or whatever. Like you’re still so many of us were missing missing out on the like the emotional and the mental home nourishment of connecting with other humans. I remember walking down the street because we do neighborhood walks every day with the kids. And as hard as that was, I remember thinking like, gosh, you know, we’ve got little kids, it’d be so hard you talk about those important life transitions, be so hard to have, like a high schooler right now, or a kiddo that’s graduating high school and is supposed to be attending their first year at university, and it’s all on lockdown. And they’re going to zoom and it’s a completely alternate reality, right. And so, yeah, the challenges were real. And even if we got like, two minutes bumping into a neighbor in their driveway, or meeting new people, I have a kid out my son who’s super pro social, he will talk to anybody and like, he could talk the leg off a dog, but he would do this to neighbors in COVID, like if we caught them in the street, and I always giggled a little bit, because they would go along with it. And we’d actually have a great time connecting with them. But even just one moment like that, in my day, compared to no moments like that made a dramatic difference in the day, like just how it felt, you know, and it just made me realize, like, oh, my gosh, the power of connection, even with somebody that we don’t know very well, or is just a friendly face on the street really made a big difference in those long, long days. 

Ryan Dusick  31:26

Yeah, and I think I had already recognized that before the pandemic started. And so maybe put me in a position to be helpful to people, because I had experienced that myself, you know, self imposed version of the pandemic in my life before that. And when I was able to walk back into the spaces, that we’re connecting, and that did sort of the average person goes, maybe to an office, maybe somewhere else, you know, nine to 540 hours a week. And regardless of whether your co workers or your favorite people in the world are your best friends, there’s a natural sort of connection that happens, that we need that in our life as much as we need the core group of people that we really are connected to, and that the people that we depend on, we also need the secondary characters, we also need that person that you meet at the front desk, who just brightens up your day, because they have a great smile, I say How you doing, you know, and go into the gym or going to, you know, whatever your hobby is on the weekend, and the people that are involved with that. Not everyone has to be your best friend in the world in order for them to have meaning in your life. And so me going back to school, and going into class, and meeting all these new people, and having a cohort of people that were on this journey with me, some of which I’ve met a couple that I’ve stayed friends with people that became close friends, and those are relationships that I treasure. But there were a lot of other people along the way that were just part of my cohort, people that were on that journey with me, and had a special moment in my life. And that was meaningful. And the same thing. Now, as a therapist, you know, a lot of people want to graduate and go straight into private practice. And that’s if you want to maximize your income, that’s probably the best way to do it. Because you can charge more and you can make your own hours and you can do all these things. But it’s a little bit isolating, and I looked forward to the idea, it’s kind of funny, everyone, probably what goes the other way right out of school, they get a job where they’re around people all the time working nine to five, and they’re dreaming of having freedom and having their own business or make their own hours. I had that life of being wild and crazy on the road and living this fabulous life. I just was like kind of craving this normalcy and the structure that comes with going into an office and seeing the same people every day. And like just the the very, I don’t know, the the friendliness of it the watercooler talk, those things that I don’t like seen on TV, were very exciting to me and office culture. Be careful what you wish for, you know, I mean, it’s we all want freedom, we all want security, we all want to have the ability to to do the things we want to do with our time. But oftentimes, when you have that the thing that you want most are the things that you’re taking for granted now.

Heather Pearce Campbell  34:24

Yeah, see that? That felt like a goosebumps moment for me like you just providing that shift in perspective. And I think it’s so true, like how many things are we looking at in life through the wrong lens, because we’re thinking like, Oh, I wish it was that way or whatever. One of the prime examples, I have a good friend who’s also a business coach, and he has coached me at times in my career, and he’s just phenomenal at what he does. And I think there was a time where and I don’t know that this categorization is right because I’m probably putting my lens on it. But he talks about how much he now appreciate. He calls it TV time with his wife, he said, where we just sit there, watch a TV program, we don’t even have to talk. And it’s because in the middle of the pandemic, she went through a lung transplant. Oh, if you can imagine being on a lung transplant list while COVID is hitting and happening, and how terrifying it is to go anywhere, right, so they really lived through some tremendous stress. And he’s a real spiritually minded, engaged, passionate human. And so, TV time, if he’s anything like me, like, I can kind of resent TV time, even though it’s one of the ways that my spouse likes to unwind, or he’s really a story guy loves to watch a good movie or see a story or whatever. And I think about that, and I just think, you know, what, how much would I would I missed that, like, if the tables were turned, you know what I mean? And it really is like, those, those things that we think need to be different or should be different. It’s really interesting to just try on a different perspective, right. And you just shared a really poignant example about that. I want to dig in a little bit, because I know that in your life, like you the the process of building something of creating something, right, you talk about this connection to creation and the creative process and having a creative purpose, we go back, take us back in time to what it took on the first part of your journey to build what you what you built with your band, and together, like, I’d love to hear some glimpses into that, and then we’ll shift forward into what you’re doing now.

Heather Pearce Campbell  36:46

Right. Well, I was gonna ask you like, Was there somebody in particular that led the vision side of it, or was that an outcome of the group like group synergy and being able to come up with a vision collectively?

Ryan Dusick  36:46

Yeah, I’d love to it’s funny, I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, until recently, and then looking back and realizing, okay, this is really the second time in my life when I’ve had an idea for something and built it from the ground up. And it didn’t look that way when we started because we were just idiot teenagers, with a dream. And but I was essentially the grown up of the group, I was the oldest guy at 16. I was the one with a hammer down car. And I had the wherewithal to sort of organize things, by nature, I was the type A personality in the group, kind of a control freak, kind of obsessive compulsive and just wanted to be the one who organized things, which was helpful, because, you know, very a group of big personalities, but all very different and unique personalities. Adam was an ADHD kid, and very creative and very impulsive. And able to just sort of have an idea and run with it without too much overthinking, in some ways, sort of a Zen mindset, but could lack the organizational skill or the ability to sort of have attention to the larger picture. And so I think that we helped each other and that he needed me to help him organize or stay focused. But I needed him to pull me out of what could be maybe rigid thinking or being a little bit too controlled. So we were kind of, we were foils for one another, we were a yin and yang. And then Jesse and Mickey had their own personalities that were different. That added more to the chemistry as well. But we were just kind of dreaming. I mean, the biggest dreams we had at that moment, were just we wanted to play the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip or the Troubadour and play with some of our heroes. There were local bands that we looked up to, and we wanted to open for them and didn’t really see too far beyond that, although we looked at our favorite bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana at the time. We started the band in 1994. So it was the era of the alternative rock in the 90s. But it became more than that pretty quickly. I was hustling around, taking our demo tape to all the clubs and negotiating the deals for the tickets and doing our mailing list and all that stuff that you do. And we were hustling. And we actually got signed to an independent label right out of high school, or when we were still in high school. And then it kind of shifted from there. And it went from just this teenage fantasy to like, wow, we could actually maybe build something. And the vision started growing from there and became a bigger vision of actually living the life of our heroes and getting to that level. And then it became, you know, the kind of work ethic that I have that was just hustling and trying to pull things together. I think that the other guys in the band, at a certain point, were able to implement that, in terms of the music itself. And we were able to realize like what it was going to take, it wasn’t just going to be luck. That got us to where we wanted to be, we needed to spend the, you know, 1000 hours of whatever it is of trial and error of learning what doesn’t work as much as what does work. And so there was at a certain point, the work ethic and the vision, and but you know, the creative process that some of that was innate, there was, you can’t really plan for it in terms of like the chemistry and the synergy that happens in a group musically, but also, just in terms of the personalities. And when I talk sometimes now, it’s in particular, with entrepreneurs or people that are in business, I’ll talk a lot about teamwork and collaboration, because it’s not just tolerating people that you need in order to get together and work on something with, you know, you need more bodies in the room, it’s recognizing that the very thing that might be opposite about this person might actually be the thing that is most helpful to you. You know, and you do need unique personalities, you do need people that are opposing the democracy of ideas comes from opposing ideas. Right?

Ryan Dusick  41:32

Well, thankfully, at that early stage, for the time that I was in the band, I can’t speak to what it is now. But when I was in the band, it was very much, we were very diplomatic with each other, and very democratic in the way that we made decisions. And we argued about everything. I mean, it was a knock down, drag out fight to to get our way. But at the end of the day, if it wasn’t unanimous, if we had dissenters, it would kind of bum us out, you know, it’d be like, we don’t really want to do this, if we’re not all gung ho about it. So we wanted to get everyone on the same page. And if it just didn’t, it wasn’t happening. If there was dissension and disagreement, at a certain point, we would usually just move on to something that we could all agree on. Because there was I think, just the sort of understanding early on that the chemistry was more important than any one person’s vision, that’s not to say that we didn’t all have our own very specific and very grandiose visions of what it would be, it’s just that I think that we all brought something to the table, not just one guy playing the guitar, one guy playing the drums and so on. It was, Adam was this sort of uniquely natural talent, a savant even maybe, I mean, what he lacked in terms of organization, or in terms of the ability to apply himself in very specific ways. He just had the ability to just like pick up an instrument, and just, it would just flow through him. And he would just, he didn’t never really had to study music to this day, I don’t think he reads music or understands theory or anything like that, that you would study in music school. It just flows through him. And so that allows him to have this very zen like approach to it, where he just sits down, and he just sees the music as sounds, and organizing them in a way that sound good to him. And it comes naturally. But again, he didn’t have other elements of at least at that point, that are required to take a vision like that and make it fully realized. And then you had Jesse, who was the most grandiose in his visions, he was like putting, you know, 24 piece orchestras on our music when we were still playing, you know, grunge rock in the garage, which didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I thought we were getting ahead of ourselves. But again, we needed that the guy who was going to be pushing us to the next thing pushing us further not settling for, okay, we’re just going to be another band with two guitars and drums. We’re going to do something unique, we’re gonna do something bigger and better than you’ve ever heard. And then I was kind of the grounding force I was kind of the glue the person who was tethering all these wild ideas to something tangible. And and Mickey being the sort of hipster in the group was was just very cool and had a vision of how this fits into the cultural landscape. You know, what, how does this how does this relate to what’s going on, in pop culture in what’s on the radio, what’s on TV, what’s in film, what’s, you know, he was thinking about the music video before we even finished the song and that kind of thing. So you put that all together and very disparate ideas, different angles of coming to the same proposition, and you have the perfect workings which we couldn’t have planned. You better have a team that was able to execute a bigger idea than any one of us could have seen.

Heather Pearce Campbell  45:09

Such a clear example. I love how poignant that story is around this idea of bringing differences together, you talk about, like, yeah, we would get bummed out if we weren’t all on the same page. But also the importance of the fact that we shouldn’t all be on the same page all the time, right, that you get the most interesting ideas and outcomes, when you do have different opinions on the team. I love that. I love how clear that was in your example. And I think you’re also right, you speak to also the magic that just sometimes happens between a certain group of people when there is that synergy. And it sounds like you guys had this built in understanding that almost like having this more democratic approach was more important than, you know, following one person’s vision.

Ryan Dusick  46:02

Yeah. And I think it also allowed us to have a support system. You know, a lot of people think a support system is just people that agree with you, no matter what you said.

Heather Pearce Campbell  46:13

So nice. 

Ryan Dusick  46:16

It’s lovely. But, I mean, how does that really help you? You know, I think that none of us at that point, we were teenagers, and when we made the first Maroon Five album, we were in our early to mid 20s. So we were still just kind of coming into our own as young men. And as much as we were gaining confidence, and we had our own sort of cocky version of confidence. We still had all these insecurities and self doubt about, you know, what each of us had to offer. And as our own selves were emerging, we could rely on one another, to push each other and to support each other. And there was a natural push and pull in which we differed to one another in some ways, but we also challenged one another in some ways. And that’s a good balance to strike, you know, in terms of, sometimes the best thing you can do for someone in terms of support, is to challenge them, it’s not just gonna agree with them blindly. And just think that anything they do is perfect. But at the same time, you know, there’s no reason to kind of piss all over something that someone’s doing, just because you think your idea is better. Sometimes, you need to really take into account that like, okay, maybe this is the idea, maybe it’s not, but let’s it’s humbling, you know, to recognize, like, my way I thought it was right, but actually, in this instance, this person was right. And so there’s a lot of ways in which that push and pull can lead to something even better than what you were envisioning. And that’s the magic that you refer to that’s, that’s when you again, you can’t always plan for that you can look for it when you’re trying to put together a team and see, okay, here’s a person that actually adds something to the equation, not just another minion to do my bidding, but somebody who actually can bring something to the table. But I think also it’s, it’s being able to recognize it, when it’s happening to see that there is something that’s, that’s emerging in terms of synergy. And, and embrace it, and not squash it, and to to foster that relationship more to invest in that relationship, and to allow it to sort of flourish into what it can be. Even if, you know, as we all do, we can be defensive and sometimes not want to hear that, you know, my way isn’t always the best way, you know, right?

Heather Pearce Campbell  48:44

Yeah. Oh, it’s so true. And I just think it’s totally human nature, right to want to be heard and recognized and to have our way and we learn as we grow up and get kind of the rough corners knocked off that that’s not always how the world works. And I think when we can be in areas in our life, where we start to see the benefits of exchanging ideas, having different opinions and realizing like, that process can be uncomfortable, but it’s still okay and can result in the very best outcomes. I’d love because I know we just have a few minutes left, I’d love to shift into your current work now. Share with us first of all, are you loving it? Are you feeling like yes, it’s absolutely the right, you know, right time to be on this path for you. Talk to us about where you’re at now.

Ryan Dusick  49:34

Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s telling that the biggest problem I have in my life currently is trying to decide which of all these different opportunities are going to be the ones that are going to be most fulfilling for me are the most purposeful because, you know, I didn’t anticipate some of the things that I’m doing now. And every time I turn another corner or take on another challenge, which is something I ran from for a long time, you know, seeing challenges as threats as opposed to opportunities, which I do now, when something looks challenging when something’s uncomfortable. I recognize that’s probably somewhere I need to be, and so that has not steered me wrong yet. It’s just led me to this other dilemma where it’s like, well, there’s like four or five different things that I could see myself doing, and investing myself in fully, but I had a certain point, I’m going to have to say no to so permitted, and choose the ones that matter most. That’s a good problem to have. But yeah, I mean, as a therapist, it’s fulfilling work, it’s an extension of that impulse to be of service. And it is taxing work. And it is definitely something that people who do it 40 plus hours a week, you know, I always I feel for them, I don’t think that’s going to be my path, as much as I will continue to do it. I don’t know, if just being in an office all day, in that capacity is the healthiest thing for me, especially because I am a creative person. And I like having projects. And I like connecting with people in a real tangible way, collaborating and that sort of thing. So, you know, the writing the book was an incredible creative process for me, you know, I’ve been getting out in speaking about it and promoting it, I’ve found this whole new venture of being a speaker, public speaker and an advocate for mental health and, and so that’s led me into that world. And so just looking at different media and ways in which to express myself and, and stay on this path that kind of straddles the line between, you know, my personal creativity, and this, this bigger purpose of service, which can be either one on one or it can be advocacy, it could be in a bigger scale. So there’s a lot of different paths to kind of walk down and figure out, which will be the the prime ones, but it’s all good stuff.

Heather Pearce Campbell  52:05

Yeah, well, it’s fun, because when we first connected, and I heard about your various projects, and some things that you’re up to, I thought, yeah, it really is the scenario that like, once you open one door, you know, it’s like, you’ve got all these other doors opening and pathways that you could go down, especially as somebody with a message to share, you know, a platform, I think doors will open for you easily. So it’ll be super fun and exciting to see what you choose as a person with a lot of creativity. And as you start to explore some of these other areas. For folks that are thinking like, I need to connect with Ryan, or go learn about his work or what he’s up to, or maybe get access to your book, could you share with us? Where are you online? Do you like for people to connect with you? Where would you direct people to for that, or the folks that either want to learn more about your story, about your book, about your current work?

Ryan Dusick  53:05

Absolutely, I do love to make new connections. And the best way to find me is through my website, You know, if you’re looking for a therapist, or a coach, or you know, for me to speak at an event, that all of those, through my website are good ways to find me. It’s kind of a one stop shop for all of that I’m trying to keep it up to date. But I do keep my Instagram page up to date in terms of all of the things that I’m doing. And I post things as some of the throwback to you know, to my years in the band, old photos and videos, some of its, you know, new stuff that are doing speaking and otherwise, and that’s @ryan_michael_dusick is my handle on on Instagram, the book Harder to Breathe, you can get that on Amazon or anywhere that you buy your books. Right now, it’s up there. And very proud of it. It’s the thing that I’m probably most proud of, that I’ve ever created in my life. And that includes, you know, an album that sold 20 million copies and won two Grammy Awards. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  54:13

That says a lot about your book and how you feel about that final product.

Ryan Dusick  54:19

Absolutely for personal reasons and as a part of that bigger mission that I’ve described. So I think that you know, for anyone out there, you don’t have to be a Maroon Five fan, too, to appreciate what’s in the book. But you know, there are some fun stories in there about that too.

Heather Pearce Campbell  54:38

I’m sure well, I look forward to sharing if you’re listening and you want to check out Ryan’s links, we’re going to share all of them at the show notes page, which you can also find at, find Ryan’s episode. Ryan, I am just so thrilled to be able to help share just a little bit of your story and your mission. I think it’s really inspiring for all of us truthfully, to be able to hear those stories about reinvention, or, you know, a second career, I think a lot of people can feel challenged about, like whether that’s the right fit for them or maybe feeling like they’re in the wrong place, but they don’t know how to pivot. And I think those stories that have hope built in have endurance, built in have like New Horizons built in are really important for all of us to hear. So I’m really grateful that you’re out there sharing your story, I’m super happy to be helping to share the message about your book. Any final thoughts or takeaways or action steps that can be anything that you’d leave our listeners with today? What would you like to end on?

Ryan Dusick  55:52

Well, you know, the word that was leaping to mind, as you were just just saying that last part is transition. I think the crossover here for a lot of us between what I went through and what maybe some of your listeners might be going through is life transition, you know, whether it’s, for me leaving the band, and having to deal with that transition in my life, you know, getting sober, or now, sort of having transitioned and continuing to transition into this other very fulfilling, but equally challenging period of my life. There’s moments of transition in our life that can be very challenging, but can ultimately end up being the greatest things for us, right? And so, as an entrepreneur, that could mean starting a new business, it could mean leaving a business, that was your identity and your purpose for a long time, even in the best circumstances, selling a business for profit. But now you’re starting, what is my life now without this business that I spent the last decade building or whatever, so there’s a lot of ways in which this idea of transition is kind of the crux of a lot of what we’ve been talking about. And we all go through them, they’re part of life transitions. We’ve all been through one big one in the last few years. And we will continue to go through them. So anyway, that’s just sort of struggling. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  57:19

You know, it’s huge. I love it. It what resonated for me while you spoke about that is, I’ve often explained and I’ve walked, I feel like, gosh, we have a whole separate conversation if we wanted to just on the topic of grief, dealing with grief, walking with grief, like having something to grieve in life. And I’ve had a lot of grief in my life. But whether it’s parenting, whether it’s business, whether it’s parts of ourselves that we need to let go of, there’s just so much letting go, that needs to happen in order for these transitions to occur and to come to the next phase, the next beautiful thing and so yeah, that whole transition, letting go, it’s really true. I think it’s the act of learning to live.

Ryan Dusick  58:08

Very much so and letting go is, you know, we could spend a whole hour on any of these topics. 

Heather Pearce Campbell  58:14

Totally. Anyways, I so appreciate you, I am certain that people are going to find so many gems throughout this conversation. And, again, just really appreciate you sharing your story. I’m so happy to share and really look forward to being in touch and seeing what’s ahead for you.

Ryan Dusick  58:33

I appreciate that. Heather, thank you so much for having me on.

Heather Pearce Campbell  58:36


GGGB Outro  58:38

Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.