I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Michelangelo

To me, the real pandemic is mental health. It's a war that's been raging for a long time — and we're losing.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death and we need more decisive action to protect our families from going through this devastation...

I recently sat down with Dr. Mark Goulston who is a 25-year professor of psychiatry, a hostage negotiation trainer for the FBI, and regarded as one of the world’s top communication experts. His expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations.

Throughout our conversation, Dr. Goulston details a blueprint — including the exact words — you can use to have a difficult but important conversation with your children, your spouse, and your loved ones.

Why is that so critical? Because a single conversation could completely change the trajectory of someone's life — perhaps even save a life.

Dr. Goulston is also a corporate consultant for some of the world’s most renowned organizations – including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Disney, and the FBI; a contributor to the Harvard Business Review; and author of nine books that have been translated into 20+ languages.

He’s been named one of America's top psychiatrists and has appeared on OprahCNN, and The Today Show.

Dr. Goulston's top-rated podcast My Wakeup Call has featured guests such as Dr. Jordan Peterson, Lori Gottlieb, and Steven Kotler. He kindly featured me in Episode 405 (just released) where we went deep on the biggest turning point in my life — an experience that led to a lot of shame and negative self-talk that he leverages his psychiatry background to resolve in real time! I highly recommend you check it out as soon as you're done with his Win the Day episode.

In this episode:

Remember, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode – there will be at least 3-4 people you need to pass this on to – share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr. Mark Goulston!

James Whittaker:
Mark, great to see you! Thanks for coming on the Win the Day Show.

Mark Goulston:
That intro is a lot to live up to!

You think you're up for the challenge!? We'll see…

I'm saying, "Who is he talking about!?"

You've had such an amazing career. I first want to acknowledge you for all the people that you've been able to help and everything that you've done to advance the literature on mental health. 

The reason this interview is so important to me is because of what's at stake for the individuals who are watching and listening to this show and all the people that they're connected to.

And what's at stake is, hopefully, preventing the insurmountable pain that people experience from something that we need to do a much better job at understanding.

To kick things off, would you be open to sharing some of the biggest mental health challenges that you personally have gone through?

Well, there's always a backstory to people's front story. 

One of the greatest personal accomplishments I've had is I dropped out of medical school twice and I finished. I didn't drop out to see the world. I dropped out probably for untreated depression. I was highlighting all my books, they were all yellow, and I could follow what I was reading, but I couldn't hold on to it.

So I took a leave of absence, worked in a blue collar job which, to this day, I romanticized, "Oh, life was so simple. You're finished at 5, you're done. You don't have to worry about anything!" I still dream about it. And then, I came back and then six months later it happened again.

And so, I sought to take another leave of absence. I met with the dean of the school and he was worried that I would do something self-destructive – and I don't know that I would've, but I might have – when he communicated that the school wanted to kick me out. 

So, I get a call from the Dean of Students who cares about people, students more than finances, and he said, "You better come in here because we have a letter from the main dean." I go in there and the letter from the main dean says, "I met with Mr. Goulston. We talked about other careers and I'm advising the promotions committee that he be asked to withdraw," because I was still passing everything.

And I was at a low point. I come from a background where you're only worth what you can do. That's not that unusual with Depression-age parents, and even younger parents, you're only worth what you do, that people evaluate you on your performance. And I said, "What does that mean?" He said, "You're being kicked out." 

I'm not a religious person, but it's like I caved in and I felt something wet on my cheeks. I thought I was bleeding. I just kept looking at my hands because I just didn't know what it was. And it was tears from the body blow.

I come from a background where you're only worth what you can do.

Given that I come from the background that you're only worth what you can do, imagine you're feeling that, imagine that you're feeling pretty worthless. And he said to me, "Mark, you didn't mess up because you're passing everything. But you are messed up. But if you got un-messed up, I think the school would be glad they gave you a second chance."

So, the tears from the body blow turn into tears of, what's he doing? He's being compassionate. And then, he said, "And even if you don't get unmessed up, even if you don't become a doctor, even if you don't do anything with the rest of your life, I'd be proud to know you."

So then, I'm just sobbing like, "What is he saying?"

So he's seeing the potential in you perhaps more than you could see yourself.

Oh yeah.

Then he said, "And even if you don't do anything, the reason I'd be proud to know you is because you have some goodness in you, a kindness that the world needs. And we don't grade that in medical school, maybe we should. You won't know how much the world needs that until you're 35." 

I'm looking away. I can hardly look into your eyes as I recall this. And then he says, "Look at me." He points his finger at me, and he says, "You deserve to be on this planet and you're going to let me help you."

I think if he had said, "If I can help you, give me a call," I would have gone back to my apartment and I might not be here.

And so what happened is I picked up what I call the trifecta of hope. You're worthwhile even if you don't do anything. If there's something decent in you or good in you, you deserve to be here. So, he saw an unconditional value in me that I didn't have to earn or perform. He saw a future for me that I didn't see, 35 years from now, the world's going to need you. 

Third, he went to bat for me. He stood up to the medical school and said, "We're going to give this guy a second chance." And he arranged where I would meet with the promotions committee. And I guess they were able to see something in me that I couldn't see.

But what happened is I took that second time off and I went to the famous psychiatric foundation in America called the Menninger Foundation. Back then it was in Topeka, Kansas. Now it's in Houston. I grew up in Boston, went to undergraduate school in Berkeley, California, went to medical school back in Boston. I just wanted to get away from everybody telling me what I should do. And I didn't want to go to a place where I had to learn another language. So I went to Topeka, Kansas.

And I remember working at Topeka State Hospital. I grew up in a suburb of Boston, but here I was now connecting with schizophrenic farm boys. And I asked the psychiatrist on staff there, "Is this legitimate? I mean, this is not like anything in medical school." And they said, "Yeah. And you've got a gift."

I'll share one anecdote if we have the time?

Of course.

So there was one young man I was seeing who was mostly catatonic. And, in those days, a catatonic person could stand up in the day area of a state hospital and just stand and not move their arms. 

Of course, he really didn't talk, and I was seeing him in one of the consulting rooms. I don't know what there is about state hospitals in America, but the floors look harder than concrete, they must put something in the linoleum. So, I had this crazy idea, I don't know where it came from, I said, "Oh, let's try something," since he wasn't talking. But he was compliant. He didn't resist. He was just stiff.

Anxious people are already overwhelmed. If you say anything to them, they don't have room for it.

I said, "We're going to try something. I'm going to get behind you. And you are going to fall and I'm going to catch you. And so, I got behind him and I said, "I'm right here." And I had my hands up to his shoulders. And he let himself go and he fell. And I caught him. And then I went a little further back a couple feet. And then, he fell and I caught him. 

Then, I had this crazy idea, and this was where the linoleum comes in. I said to myself, "I've got to now let him catch me." I mean, it was inescapable. Again, this is a fellow who had his arms by his side. 

I'm standing in front of him, his arms are next to his side. I said to myself, "You're going to die. You're going to fall back. And you're going to crack your head on the linoleum, but you've got to do it." And so, I'm there, I'm standing. I close my eyes. And then I just fall backwards. Remember, he's someone who doesn't lift his arms.

He lifts his arms up and he catches me. I don't think I dropped more than four inches. I opened my eyes, looked into his eyes, and I saw life. I saw a sparkle of life.

That's incredible.

And I want to say something about listening because I've been thinking about it and why it's so important – and it's not because I wrote a book on it. But what I realized is when you are with anxious people, they're already overwhelmed. If you say anything to them, or you instruct them, they don't have room for it because they're anxious. They're just trying to manage their anxiety. And when you check off a list, they'll be compliant because you're the doctor, you're the psychologist. So, they don't have room for you when you're talking to them. 

Then, a person who's depressed it's not so much that they don't have room, but they're stuck in, "nothing's going to work, nothing's going to work. No matter what you say, nothing's going to to work. I'm locked in here." If you can listen to them, if you can get them to open up, it creates space in their mind for you.

I heard a voice as clear as yours saying, "Maybe he needed something else."

And I mentioned something before we started, I had three anecdotes I wanted to share: listening into someone's spirit (and I'm not spiritual); listening into someone's eyes; and listening into someone's soul.

When I came back from Topeka, I started back at medical school. And we were on rounds at a veteran's hospital in Boston. We were outside someone's room I'll call Mr. Smith, I don't remember his name. And everybody's bantering with, "Mr. Smith needs surgery. Mr. Smith needs chemo. Mr. Smith needs more tests. And I'm just watching, saying, "Wow, I hope I can last now in medical school. I mean, I know I'm going to be a psychiatrist, but this is overwhelming." 

They're all bantering outside the room in this veteran's hospital. And the nurse comes over to our group and says, "Didn't you hear? Mr. Smith jumped from the roof last night. And he's in the morgue." They all go quiet. They didn't know what to say. And here's the listening into spirit, I heard a voice as clear as yours saying, "Maybe he needed something else."

The second anecdote occurred towards the end of my training at UCLA. I was called upon to visit a patient who had his arms and legs in restraints because he was pulling at his IVs. He was kicking the bed. He had a respirator tube down his throat. He was pulling at that. And his doctors paged me and said, "We put his arms and legs down and you need to go up and okay the order for the tranquilizer."

So I go in there and we'll call him Mr. Jones. And his eyes were as wide as saucers. And he had the respiratory tube in his mouth, so he couldn't speak and he's muttering. I'm thinking, "What is he talking about?" And I said, "What is it?" And then, I put a pencil in his hand, which was in restraints. And I said, "Write it down." 

He just scribbled, I couldn't read it. And I thought, "Well, maybe they're right. Maybe he's just hallucinating, he's psychotic." And I said, "Mr. Smith, we had to put your arms and legs down because you were pulling at the IVs. You were kicking to get off the bed, and you were pulling at the respirator. I've okayed an order for a tranquilizer and you'll calm down. And when you calm down, we'll take everything off." And he's still looking at me with those eyes, as I left the room.

And then, a day later I get paged. They say, "Mr. Jones, he's up, he's off the respirator. He's off his restraints. He's seeing up in bed. And he told us to page you." So I go up there, I go into the room – and his eyes are not wide as saucers, but his eyes were looking into my eyes. 

He grabbed onto my eyes with his eyes and he said, "Pull up a chair." And he seated me with his eyes. I couldn't unlock from his eyes. He said to me, "What I was trying to tell you is a piece of the respirator tube had broken off and was stuck in my throat. And you do know I will kill myself before I go back to that. Do you understand me?" 

He just kept looking at me. I couldn't pull away. And I said, "I'm so, sorry. I understand." So, that was listening into someone's eyes.

And then the third, one of my focuses was suicide prevention because I've been blessed to have eight mentors, they've all passed away. And the first one was the Dean of Students. And the second one was in my training at UCLA, a fellow named Dr. Ed Shneidman. And he was one of the pioneers in suicide prevention.

If you look up his name and his Wikipedia, he was one of the leaders in the field. And he would see suicidal patients who were still in UCLA, and they needed to be discharged, but they were still suicidal, and the residents didn't want to see them.

“I will kill myself before I go back to that. Do you understand me?”

And so, he'd go up do a consultation, he'd call me. And it was always the same call, "Mark, this is Ed. I'm with this handsome young man... I'm with this lovely young woman. They're in a lot of pain, Mark. You can help them, see them." And then he'd put them on the phone. And then they could be discharged.

So, one of these people, I'll call Nancy, she made three suicide attempts in the previous several years, and she'd been in hospitals every year. Back then, you could stay for six weeks – it wasn't the way it is now. I was seeing her as an outpatient for about six months, and I didn't think I was helping her. I was seeing her a couple times a week. But that was the longest she'd gone without a suicide attempt, or going into a hospital, but I didn't think I was helping her.

One Monday, I was about to see her. The weekend prior to that, I was moonlighting at a state hospital in Los Angeles, a metropolitan state hospital, where I would cover for other psychiatrists. And sometimes you're up 24 hours. You're just covering, you're admitting patients. You're putting out figurative and sometimes literal fires on the inpatient wards.

So, I had been up about 24 hours or maybe longer by the time I got in with Nancy. And Nancy never made eye contact. She wasn't catatonic like the person in Topeka State Hospital, but she was always looking a little bit to the left or right like this. 

As I was looking at her, all the color in the room went away, and it turned to black and white. I felt this cold chill go through me. I thought I was having a stroke or seizure. So, she's not looking at me, it's not rude, and so I did a neurologic examination on myself. I'm tapping my knees, I'm tapping my elbows, I'm looking at my finger to see if I have double vision. And I just thought, I'm all here, I'm not having a stroke or seizure.

Then, I had this crazy idea that I was somehow looking at the world feeling what it felt like to her. And I guess, because I'm a little curious, as I was at the state hospital, I just leaned into it, and it got colder and colder, and bleaker and bleaker. Because I was sleep deprived, I shared something where normally I wouldn't. I said, "Nancy, I didn't know it was so bad – and I can't help you kill yourself. But if you do, I will still think well of you. I'll miss you. And maybe I'll understand why you had to, to get out of the pain."

And I thought to myself, "Did I think that, or did I say that?" I closed my eyes, and thought, "I just gave her permission." That was the first time she looked at me, and she kind of haltingly looked at me. She grabbed onto my eyes, kind of like those other patients. And I said, "What are you thinking?" I thought she was going to say, "Thank you. I'm overdue." She looked at me and said, "If you can really understand why I might have to kill myself to get out of the pain, maybe I won't need to." Then, she smiled.

I reached into her eyes and I said, "Here's what we're going to do. I'm not going to throw treatments at you, unless you say, maybe we should try something because none of them have really worked. Would that be okay?" And she nodded like, "Keep talking, keep talking." 

Then I leaned in and I grabbed onto her eyes and I said, "What I'm going to do instead is I'm going to find you wherever you are. And I'm going to keep you company there as long as it takes, because I don't want you to be alone there anymore. Would that be okay?" And then, her eyes got a little watery.

She looked at me and said, "If you can really understand why I might have to kill myself to get out of the pain, maybe I won't need to." Then, she smiled.

I think all of these, especially the Nancy episode, was the beginning of my work with suicidal patients. And I'm humbled that none of them killed themselves in 25 years. I've given it a name in a recent book that I coauthored during the pandemic called, ‘Why Cope When You Can Heal?’ The name I've given it is surgical empathy. 

We're talking about mental health. And one of the things that I learned about with people who are suicidal – and, if you're suicidal, you'll understand what I'm about to say – is you don't necessarily kill yourself from depression, loss of a job, loss of a marriage. It contributes to it, but there's hundreds of billions of people where that happens and they don't kill themselves.

But in my work with patients, what I discovered is at the end, they all feel despair. And if you break up the word despair into ‘des-pair’, they feel unpaired with reasons to live. No future. Hopeless, helpless, powerless, worthless, useless, meaningless, purposeless. And, when they all line up in some dark slot machine, pointless. 

Then they pair with death to take the pain away. Like the sirens calling out to the sailors, "I'll take your pain away, just sail close to the island." So, death offers them relief from their pain because death feels their pain and says, "I'll take it away."

Are they seeing meaning in that as an option? Do they find meaning in death?

No, I think what they find is comfort, because they're all feeling alone. 

Surgical empathy is, when people feel that way, they form psychological adhesions to death. So, an adhesion is not like an attachment. You can reason with an attachment, you can give insight. But an adhesion is like when you do surgery on someone and you save their life, their organs can form adhesions. And sometimes you have to go back in and cut the adhesions. 

So, surgical empathy goes in and uses something we're calling radical attunement. Radical attunement, which means causing them to feel felt. And when they feel felt, they feel less alone. And when they feel less alone, suffering that they can't live with becomes pain that they can. And they may reach out to that.

If you remember the anecdote with the Dean of Students, when he said, "You're going to let me help you." And he pointed his finger at me, something I didn't say when I shared the story is I meekly looked and I reached out towards his finger. And I said, "I think I'd like that." So, he went in and he applied surgical empathy.

Death offers them relief from their pain because death feels their pain and says, "I'll take it away."

And thank you for giving me a long leash, but something I want to give to your listeners because they probably want something practical, if they're worried about a teenager, especially, or worried about a spouse, it's something we call the four prompts. And these are surgical empathy tactics.

So, if you have a teenager you're worried about, do this while you're doing an activity. Do not initiate a heart to heart talk, eye to eye talk, with your teenager unless they initiate it. They hate heart to heart talks. But if you're doing an activity, especially when you're driving, and you're both slightly relaxed, what you can say to your teenager is:

"All of us parents are a little worried about our kids. Worried how this pandemic, the school, the masking, the out of school, the in school and all that. And I'm one of those parents.Can I just run a few things by you?"

Hopefully, your teenager will say, "Okay, dad. Okay, mom." I'm not sure they'd say no, but I think you might get a mildly begrudging, okay. 

Here's the first prompt, "When you are feeling your most awful about yourself or your life, how awful does that feel?" "Pretty awful, dad." Here's surgical empathy, "Pretty awful or very awful?" "Okay, very awful."

Second prompt, "When you're feeling that, how alone do you feel with it?" "Pretty alone." "Pretty alone or all alone?" "Okay, all alone." But hopefully you will have earned the eye contact.

Then the third prompt is, "Take me to the last time you felt it." "What or WTF?" Could say, "Yeah. Was it 2:30 in the morning? A few nights ago, we heard you walking around your room and we heard you keep walking, but when was the last time you felt it?" 

When you get someone to tell you something so clearly that you see it with your eyes, they re-feel it. If it's general, "Oh yeah. I had trouble going to sleep," they don't re-feel it, but if you get them to talk it out, "What was going on at 2:30 AM?" "I couldn't get to sleep." "Yeah. We heard that. What was going on?" "Well, I was getting a little frustrated." "And we figured that too, what happened?" "I didn't know whether to punch the wall or kick the wall. I just couldn't get to sleep." "And what'd you do next? I kept looking for cough medicine, maybe something that could knock me out. I couldn't find any. I kept looking for some of your sleeping pills, mom. You have them hidden, couldn't find them." "Then what happened?" "The sun rose."

Then the fourth prompt is, "I have a favor to ask you," and you're looking them right in their eyes. You say, "When you're feeling that way or you're even getting close to feeling that way, I want you to do whatever it takes to get your mom or your dad or my undivided attention because we got a million things in our mind and we are distracted, but there is nothing more important to either of us than helping you feel less alone when you feel that awful. Will you do that please?"

I felt like we were here for a live reading of an audiobook. This was amazing.

Did you see a piece of yourself in the patients that you mentioned in those anecdotes and, perhaps, some of the other people that you've seen over the years?

Yeah, absolutely. 

I think there was a part of me growing up that felt like an outlier. I still feel like an outlier because I would see things, to me, that was the elephant in the room and that was so obvious, but other people would say, "What are you wasting your time on that? We don't see that." 

In fact, I'll give you a quippy response, and this is also if you're listening or watching, write this down. When someone says no to you in life, it doesn't mean you're wrong or you shouldn't do something. It just means they won't help you.

Are there any statistics or insights you can share to help people grasp the severity of th suicide epidemic or anything that you know the general public would be shocked to know about suicide?

Again, I'm not a researcher, but the statistics are quite high.

Maybe the way to put it in context, if you can imagine a moment in your life that you didn't think you were going to get through, that was really painful and you just wanted the pain to stop, and it didn't. And if you can imagine something like that going on mentally, and it doesn't just happen occasionally, it happens daily or it happens a significant part of the day.

Something I'm very excited about, and I can give you an advanced preview although this is going to be very private. Someone who's become like a brother to me, a really good friend, Jason Reed, he's a serial entrepreneur, and his 14 year old son died by suicide about four years ago. And he felt he missed it, and some of the things that he learned is, since he didn't suffer from depression, what he learned is he gave solutions because he didn't suffer from depression.

When you get someone to tell you something so clearly that you see it with your eyes, they re-feel it.

And what he realized is, you have to go where they're at. They can't come to where you are at, and he shared this that I thought was poignant. He said, "When you ask your teenager, how are you doing? And they say, they're great, they're usually good. But when they say I'm fine, they're not," and so he feels he blew it, and one of the notes that his son left behind, Ryan, was, tell my story.

So he put over $200,000 of his own money into a documentary called, Tell My Story. It's on Amazon Prime. It's heart wrenching, and really he went up and down the West Coast of the United States and spoke to parents, he spoke to kids who had been suicidal. He spoke to treatment centers. In the last 10 minutes of the documentary he talked to me at one of the top suicide prevention centers in the country, Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center here in Los Angeles city, and that's where we got to know each other.

You have to go where they're at. They can't come to where you are at.

But one of the things he realized is first of all, suicide is too scary to talk about, so we've done presentations to YPO Global, Young President's Organization, Entrepreneurial Organization, but it's too scary. And so what he realized is, we need to just talk about mental health because it's too scary to talk about suicide.

When he reviewed the documentary, he said, "The most compelling part of it was less than five to 10 minutes of the whole documentary when teenagers who had felt that way were talking about their pain." I mean, it was riveting, and he realized that was the most powerful part of it, so he created a new documentary which he's tentatively calling, What I Wish My Parents Knew, and he interviewed about 10 teenagers, I think ranging from 12 to 18, and it's mesmerizing.

They talk about what they wouldn't share with anyone, but they definitely wouldn't share with their parents, and they were all basically feeling good. He said, "Well, talk to me about when you didn't feel good." 

And the plan is, it's not going to go to Netflix. It's not going to go to YouTube. One of the reason is because there's a lot of haters in the world, and these are courageous teenagers, and if you're a parent, who's worried about your teenager, you'll be hypnotized.

When someone says no to you in life, it doesn't mean you're wrong or you shouldn't do something. It just means they won't help you.

So the plan is to distribute it to high schools and only to high schools where there's control of it, and parents will come in and watch it. It's 45 minutes, and then there'll be 45 minutes of local experts coming in to talk about resources.

I've shared it with some parents already, and what will happen is, you'll watch it, you'll go home, you'll look at your teenager and you'll start to cry, and your teenager's going to say, "What's the matter mom? What's the matter dad?"

And what you're going to say to them is, "I just realized how much I love you." What you're thinking about is, "I don't know what I'd do if you were gone, and also when you're silent or you're in your room, I didn't realize it... I thought you were just being stubborn, you're in a lot of pain." 

I’ve been in this field a long time, Jason's only been in it for four years since his son died by suicide, but I think it's a game changer.

How do you discern between the boy who cried wolf type thing, where people are doing it for attention claiming they need help, versus people who are actually suicidal?

There's a book that I'm promoting by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry, it's called, What Happened to You? And the basis of something that Dr. Bruce Perry is most well known for is called trauma informed therapy, and their view is that whatever you're doing right now that's destructive, self-defeating or destructive to others, you weren't born that way. So their idea is, what happened to you that's resulted in what's going on right now? 

My approach would be whether they're trying to get attention or whether they really mean it, something happened to them that landed them in that. And if you can have a real belief that close to 100% of people are born innocent, I mean, there may be some people that 50 years ago, there was a fair amount of attention paid to men who had XYY chromosome. It was called Jordan's syndrome, and it was associated with criminality and impulsivity, but I think it's so politically incorrect, they wouldn't touch it right now.

So there may be 0.01% of people who are born destructive, but the vast majority of us are born innocent, powerless and dependent, and dependent on what the world pours into us. So imagine this, before you're born, you're omnipotent. Your wish is your mom's command, "Oh, I'm hungry, I don't have to cry. I need to be warm. Oh, this is cozy." And you're just flipping around as a fetus, popping the remote control there, and then suddenly you pop out.

When they feel less alone, suffering that they can't live with becomes pain that they can.

And I have a feeling that one of the reasons we cry is we think, “I'm totally powerless about everything. I mean, what the heck just happened? You're glad I was born. I want to go back!” But then what happens is we develop this dance where we're dependent on our parents, and there's a term that used to be used a lot called ‘good enough parenting.’

So you don't have to be a perfect parent, but ‘good enough parenting’ means, if your child is six months old or in a crib and they're crying. You may not have to go in within five or 10 minutes, and if it's time for them to learn to sleep through the night, you may bite your nails and say, "We're going to let them cry it out." And then they cry it out, but they've developed enough independence to be able to manage it.

But still for a long time, imagine that what you're being fed from the outside world is either abuse or neglect or in this day and age you're being overly indulged. The problem with overly indulging kids is, the world's not going to do that, so if you overly indulge them because you can't stand their having any pain and you rush in, well, that's okay when they're an infant. 

There was a book, The Beauty of a Skinned Knee, and it basically said, let your kid skin their knee, it's not the end of the world. Let them learn to be able to deal with it.

In Australia, there's a movement that's raised awareness of mental health called, R U OK? 

But if I was in a dark mental place, which I certainly have been in my life many times, someone asking “Are you okay?” would not have been enough for me to open up. I would've probably said something like, "Of course, I'm okay," and deep down I'm thinking, "Just shut up. I want to move on."

You raise an interesting point. Here's the difference between professional, clinical... I don't even know if it's empathy, but it's being responsible and surgical empathy.

There you are in that dark place, and you go to see a professional. You don't want to be there, you’d really like your parents to be able to do this, but they don't know what to do, so they send you to the professional and you feel resentful of it, "I'm not going to talk to a stranger."

But that stranger, especially now with electronic record keeping, is often talking to you while typing because they don't want to have too much paperwork. So they're saying, "Have you been depressed?" "Yeah." "How long have you been depressed? Have you ever thought of hurting yourself?" "Okay, yeah." "Do you have a means to hurt yourself?" "Yeah."

The problem with overly indulging kids is, the world's not going to do that.

So that's very professional. They cover their responsibility. They do the record keeping, so that's professional responsibility, maybe a little empathy.

But what's the difference between if someone says to you, "Are you okay?" And they're looking at you and saying, "You're not okay, are you?" And, "You know what? You're not okay, and you're not okay in a big way sometimes. Is that true? And there are times when you're not okay where it scares the heck out of you, and if you let anyone else know it would scare the hell out of them. And there's sometimes when you don't know how you're going to make it through the next hour, you've had some of those times, haven't you?"

And you want that lead in, you're almost desperate to talk about it, but you just need the right opening, the right set of circumstances to happen. 

What can people who are watching this or listening to this do to have those conversations with their friends to be able to do that? 

Look, I've got 50 years doing this, and so it's natural for me. 

When you say, "Are you okay?", a lot of times you don't want to have them tell you they're not. What I would say to you is if you are aware that some of your friends or people you care about might be in a bad place, check out local resources because if you get them to open up and you don't know what to do, and you're in over your head, you're going to get too anxious. Well, "I'm sorry you feel that way," and then if you say, "Well, just hang in there, it'll get better." They're going to feel like, thanks for nothing.

So if you care about some of your friends, just check out local resources. In America, you can call 988 and say, "I'm not suicidal, but I have some friends that might be and I'm trying to figure out the best way to get them to call you," so check out resources and say, "Any suggestions about what I could say or how I could say it?" 

If you're able to open up one of your friends and you get a sense that they're feeling relief, you can even say, "Our talking like this is not making it worse, is that true?" "Yeah." "It may not be making it better, but it's not making it worse, is that true?" "Yeah."

"Is saying some of the things that you've said, and I'm not jumping down your throat and telling you not to feel that way. Is there anything about that, that's helping you feel a little better, a little less alone?" "Aha." You could say, "I'm getting close to the limits of my ability to do this, but I think what you're telling me is, it helps. And I care about you or else I wouldn't have had this conversation, and I've even checked places... And don't worry, they're not going to throw the cops at you and whatever, but I've even checked some places where I'd like you to make a call. 

In fact, I'll even stay here or stay on the line and just call 988 or whatever, and this is what they told me. They're trained, they're skilled, they're wonderful listeners. Now, some of them may be checking the boxes, but they wouldn't be doing it, most of them are volunteers."

Towards the end of my practice I was thinking, it's okay to keep records just to stay on top of the treatment or if they're taking medication, but if I'm keeping in the record that they're suicidal or they're thinking of hurting someone else or whatever, what I realized is anybody else who wanted those records, it was not in the patient's favor, but that was some years ago.

I came up with something called The Seven Words. So picture this, and if you're listening in and you have a company that's really stressed, you can do it in your company. I can talk to your HR director or you can call me in although I'm a little bit overwhelmed with what the world has coming at me to do, but I want to share this anecdote.

There was a company called Ink Global, and I coached the CEO of it. A wonderful Brit named Simon Leslie, and I had done a presentation to his people. Ink Global used to publish 80% of the inflight magazines, and so those magazines went away with the pandemic. No one's going to touch a magazine that's filthy or contaminated, so it's gone digital, and they've been able to pivot, and they own a lot of the airport monitors in America, 2,500 monitors. So they're pivoting.

But there was a point in which they were in a bad place because the main form of income was advertising in those magazines. And they have offices in London, Miami, and I think, Shanghai or Singapore. And the CEO said, "Mark, can you do anything with my people, help them get through this," and again, I guess, going back to that fellow in Topeka State Hospital, you don't want to ask me, can you do anything? Because I am slightly creative in this area!

So there's 150 people on a Zoom call, so it's five or six screens, and I had done a presentation before, so they knew of me, but they also knew that I was a little bit creative, that's a euphemism for what it is.

They're all looking on the screen and I said, "I'm going to try and experiment. I want you to think of the worst moment you've had, not presently, but the worst moment you've had in the last couple of weeks and raise your hand when you're there." And they're like deers in the headlights, and then one by one, they raise their hands.

As you see the hands go up, you can feel a shift emotionally, and then I say, "In the chat area, I want you to write down the word that most closely connects with how you felt: anxious, angry, depressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, numb, embarrassed, shame, alone, lonely.” There's a whole bunch of words.

And again, there's a pause, and then it starts to trickle in. Joan, afraid. Andy, angry. Frank, overwhelmed. And it floods, and as it floods and you look in the Zoom screen, people lower their hands and they're crying, and then we get through it. They're crying with a relief, and then we get through it. 

I said, "How many of you feel better because of that?" And it was about 70, 80%. "How many of you feel worse?" Nobody. "How many of you feel no change?" 20%. And then I said, "How many of you feel that you're in a group of very special people?" Close to 100%. 

I said, "You're not any more special than you were a half an hour ago. What happened is you shared a special moment and you realized that you were with a group of really good, strong people trying to make it through a tough time, and we just flooded you with something called oxytocin, and oxytocin is the hormone connected to emotional connection, and you cried with relief."

And here's the embarrassing thing, so if you go to markgoulston.com you’ll see a testimonial from Simon Leslie, I love this guy we're like brothers. He sends me the first video testimonial I've ever receive. He was saying, “I don't know what to say, that was amazing. I love you.”

I said, “Can I put this up on YouTube?” He said, “Well, I do sound drunk. I wasn't!” He said, nah, go ahead. I mean, he has a great sense of humor. So I put that up and now I've got over 30 video testimonials on my website. And anytime I'm feeling like the imposter syndrome, have I done enough in the world? Maybe I haven't done enough. Like Schindler said, I could have saved more. But when I go into that thing where, have I done anything good? I'll sometimes go visit that page. And it was almost like your introduction of me. I don't know who they're talking about, but whoever they're talking about, they like this guy.

A lot of clients that I've worked with, middle aged, one of the toughest things they're going through personally is children of theirs who are young adults who don't seem to be motivated to want to grow. The parents don't know how hard to push them or whether to take a step back.

How do we stimulate that desire in people to want to take ownership of their life? Particularly at that younger age, being like a young adult. And how do parents know how hard to push or pull?

There is an incredible power to an unsolicited, heartfelt apology.

What I might say to those parents, especially if those parents saw the video of those teens, because those teens said they couldn't talk to their parents. What I would say those parents is, see if they'll go on a walk with you.

There is an incredible power to an unsolicited, heartfelt apology.

I'd say to my teen, my young adult, I need your help with something. Yeah. Let's go for a walk. But no, no, I don't have cancer. I'm not getting a divorce. We're not bankrupt, but I need your help with something.

And then as you're walking, say:

“What's this about? I hate to fail – and I failed you. I don't think you're lazy. I think you're scared. And I think I messed up because I don't think we could ever have a conversation like we're having right now. Because if you told me you were scared, I'd either sort of just say, oh, that's just being a kid. You'll outgrow it. Or I'd find some way to mess it up if you opened up. 

So I think you just thought opening up was not an option. And I love you. I'm sorry.”

Just leave it open. See what happens.

Interesting.

So much of what you're talking about seems to be about establishing that connection. Not being afraid to lead with vulnerability, which is something our mutual friend, Keith Ferrazzi, talks about a lot as well?

When you spend a lot of time seeing people depressed or suicidal, you learn a lot about humanity. 

I remember I asked one young man, I said, well, this seems to be helping. What helps? Why does this help? I'm curious, because it seems to be helping. Maybe I can recreate it. And he looked at me. He said, “Before I started seeing you, I was convinced that I was a burden to everyone.”

Teenagers don't want advice, they want comfort. But a lot of parents, especially younger parents, don't know how to comfort because they weren't comforted. And so you give them advice, and they don't want advice. They want to feel better first before they try a solution. But you don't know how to get close to them emotionally because you don't know how to get close to anyone emotionally, including yourself.

And so you give them advice and they don't want unsolicited advice because if they don't follow it, they feel like they're being stubborn. And you're afraid when you ask them, well, did you follow it? No, I didn't do any of that. Why not? And they don't know how to say because I want comfort and mom, dad, you don't do comfort.

Teenagers don't want advice, they want comfort. 

So I asked this, I said, so what he helped? He said, “Before I saw you, I was a burden to everyone. I think I scared my parents. My brothers and sisters saw me as manipulative. And man, I think that's pretty true. And given how my life is, I'm a burden to myself. So one of the reasons I wanted to die is why don't I just relieve everyone of the burden. And I don't care what anyone would say to me. I'm a burden. But when I started seeing you, you had this smile that was glad to see me.”

And it was kind of like the Dean of Students seeing goodness in me and I didn't have to perform. It was an exact replay of that.

“When I saw you, doc, I thought you were crazy. You were smiling like an idiot. And you were just glad to see me.” And it had nothing to do with checking boxes. Well, let's make sure you're following your medicine, how is it working for you? And he said, “I left thinking you were crazy, but I wasn't a burden to you. And it was like a little oasis. And I would leave thinking, is he crazy? What is wrong with him? Why does he like seeing me? It became a little bit like an oasis.”

So you see what we're getting at, and I'm guessing that that unmotivated teenager, young adult, I'm guessing they feel like a burden. A disappointment. Frustration. Wish you didn't have me. And you talk about my brothers and sisters who are more motivated and even they don't get me. What is your problem? You're so lazy. You're so blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

But the change is you go there and you give them the unsolicited apology. You look in their eyes, and I'm telling you if this teenage video goes to all the high schools, there's going to be a lot of parents who, when they go home and they see that unmotivated kid, they're just going to start crying.

What about for someone, maybe a parent who had a child take their own life, or sibling or a friend or something like that, how do people feel like it wasn't their fault when that has happened? 

And how does someone whose parent might have taken their own life, how do they move on without feeling like it's the family curse and that's their destiny?

Well, I think the most important thing is find people who have gone through the same thing. Because if you're talking to someone who didn't go through the same thing, no matter what they say, you're going to say, “It's easy for you to say.”

I had a patient and her daughter was viciously killed by a man. By viciously, he used a shotgun and her head landed in a tree. And this was her only daughter, her only child. And she was in a bad state. She was referred to me by Dr. Schneidman. And I didn't think I was helping her. 

One of the things she shared is she said, “I can't go anywhere. I can't go in a supermarket and think that I have this secret that nobody else has. And then if someone says, oh, do you have any kids?”

I'm guessing that that unmotivated teenager, young adult, I'm guessing they feel like a burden. A disappointment.

And I said, there is a group called Parents of Murdered Children. And the Los Angeles chapter was led by Doris Tate. And that was Sharon Tate's mother, who was killed by Charles Manson. And I said, I'm going to take you there because you're not going to be able to listen to anyone unless they've had a child who's been murdered. 

She fought it and said, “I don't want to hear other people's problems.” I said, “Well, look, I'm glad you haven't gone off the deep end, but we're going to go.” And so I got her to start going. And what happened is younger mothers, a number of them from the ghetto, would start joining the group. 

She said, there is no word for a parent who's lost a child. You can be a widow if you've lost a husband, but there's not an English word for what to call if you've lost a child, I'm not aware of it. Survivor. They talk about, oh, I'm a survivor. But what happened is these young women adopted her, and she found a purpose and it saved her life. 

About five years ago, I got some announcement that I didn't know, that she was reasonably wealthy, but she donated a lot to a trauma center at UCLA. And there was an announcement and a little thing she said, oh, and many thanks to Dr. Mark Goulston. Wow.

Here's something else that she and I came up with. She said, look, when people ask me, do you have any kids? And then I tell them, well, I once did. And then they're curious, they're rubbernecking. She says, what do I say? It's so awkward. And one of the things we worked out, and this was after she was much better. 

She said that what she worked out is that when someone said do you have any children? And she said, “Well, I once had one.” And then when I tell them what happened, what she learned to do, because they would be stunned, what she learned to do, what I told her to do is, take your right hand, put it on their shoulder and say, “It's okay. If I was you, I wouldn't know what to say either.”

And what happened is it just alleviated the conversation.

Reading people has been an important superpower of yours in your career. It's essential in your work as a psychiatrist and your work in law enforcement.

Is it more of an empathic tendency that you have, or is there a very specific process that you have to be able to read people?

I spoke in Moscow three or four years ago with a Nobel Prize winner, Daniel Kahneman. He wrote a book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. And four or five of my books are best sellers in Russia, so they had me there. 

If you can do this every day, once a day for a week, it will change your life. What I said in Russia is that underneath people listening to you, they're always listening for something. And if you can know that's always happening and be curious as to what they’re listening for – without judgment, without an agenda, without selling them.

So for instance, we'll do an experiment and tell me what you feel inside. And I'm taking a chance. I don't want to blow it now, we've done okay! So underneath you listening to me, I think what you're listening for is that people's trust and confidence in you to bring them value is hugely important to them. And you want to honor people who trust and have confidence in you. You want to honor them by not wasting their time.

Underneath people listening to you, they're always listening for something.

The last thing you want to do is waste of viewer or listeners' time. And so what you're listening for are guests that can bring them value, that can inspire them, change their life, give them a tip that they can use. Something that's doable by them.

And I think you're listening for that with your guests. I'm guessing with a little humor that you may have some guests who are best selling authors, but they're awful. They're arrogant, they're stiffs, they're condescending, they're convoluted, and you're smiling. And you're saying, I can't post this! I don't know what I'm going to tell them, but I'll try and be honest. 

But because you want to honor people trusting and having confidence in you, you both are looking for people that can give them immense value, and you're also wanting to protect them from people that would waste their time. So is any of that true?

Absolutely, it's true. And even a step further than that, anything that is super valuable, I want it to be emphasized. I don't want people to glaze over something that can literally change their life or change their mindset or something like that.

And that's why, when people go and watch the YouTube version of this episode, they can see the breakout quotes and things that appear. They’re the things that need to be reinforced, at least in my opinion. 

That's why we put so much time into the show notes, the videos, and all the different clips that appear.

And I'm going to do something, since we're buddies now!

So if you're listening and watching this, whenever you're in a conversation and it's going sideways, instead of getting agitated, if you can drop your agenda – and this can be also in business, but also personally – and you can say:

“When we started talking, you were looking for or listening for something and we didn't do it. In fact, we got further away. So can you tell me what you were looking for or listening for? It may not be too late to save the day. Or maybe there's someone that if what you're listening for or looking for, I can introduce you to.”

And so it's a way of flipping a conversation.

Huge.

But the thing that, it will mildly embarrass you, but I'm going to give you a little coaching.

So there's an exercise that I have developed called the HUVA exercise. And it's an exercise if you want to be 100% present with another person. And by present, it's from their point of view. And what you do is you decide, I want to be totally present with this, and this is how you build the muscle. So it's an exercise that you build muscle.

After the conversation, you rate yourself from their point of view. And the H is how much do they feel heard out by me? The U is how much do they feel understood by me, scale of one to 10? And you show understanding by say more about that. Yeah, elaborate on that. Dig into that. How much do they feel valued by me? Which is you're genuinely pausing and seeing the application of what they're doing or understanding it and going, wow, oh, that's going to save a few lives. And then the final A is how much did they feel that you added value to them? This thing that you're doing?

And I would rate you as 9, 10, 10, 10. You're not a perfect 10 on the heard out because there's a part of you that's thinking about the next question. And that's fine, and you can get to the next question, and then you're going to use up your electricity bill here.

But do you follow me? It's breaking presence a little bit. On the other hand, if you know your audience and the questions are what they want to get answers to, then it's important to interrupt someone like me, who's a bit long winded.

And as an interviewer it can be hard to have that balance. 

After all the podcasts and things that you have appeared on, how would you rate them on an average on that HUVA scale there? 

I've been on hundreds of podcasts as well. I know for the most part, at least in my experience, people don't really listen that well. They're so busy thinking about the next question or they haven't taken the time to research and understand their guest. But your material, I think, lends itself to probably a deeper conversation, perhaps.

I've been on over 300 podcasts. 

A lot of people don't know that I'm going to be this runaway train. And when we get into it, it seems to have a life of its own. There are some people who will just go with it, like, wow, I don't know what he's talking about, but I'm engaged. The hell with my listeners, but I'm engaged. Tell me more. So I think I don't do it on purpose, it's just my nature.

But I can understand that people, especially when there's people who have a 20 minute thing, we have a 20 minute thing, we have a hard stop, we want to cover these things, and la, da da, da, da.

And to be honest, and some of those people are very successful, they have big audiences, they're more transactional. They also have audiences where they're selling stuff. They're selling a lot of product. So there is a kind of an agenda that we do a podcast and we bring on guests, but every five or 10 minutes, they say “Don't forget that you can take our course. And for the next 24 hours, it's a $997 value for $99 and it's going away!”

So look, I'm naive. I had a guest on my podcast the other day, Jeff Hoffman, one of the founders of Priceline. Love Jeff. And the reason I had him on is I heard him speak and how he pivoted to philanthropy. He does tons of philanthropy and he's wonderful.

But in this interview, in a very entrepreneurial setting, it was much more about how to be successful. But he did throw in, he said, on one of my trips, I saw a sign that says, “Yeah, you're successful, but have you ever done anything that matters?” And he said, it just blew him away. 

When I spoke to him on the podcast, I said, I wanted to thank you because I don't know that I've been that successful, but everything I do matters, that's what I focus on. But when you said that, I felt, oh. You were talking to an entrepreneurial audience in which I feel less successful than most of them. Although they give me a compliment. They say, you're the wise elder that we should listen to, that we don't!

For someone who wants to get a yes in a very potentially life changing conversation for them, like a promotion or funding for a business, what can they do?

Something I've discovered is that 90% of the world have a reverse cognitive bias, and 10%, or maybe even 5%, have a forward cognitive bias.

People like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, they have a forward cognitive bias, meaning they look into the unknown and see it as an adventure to be lived. But 95% of the world sees the unknown as a danger to be avoided. And so given that many people are like that, one of the ways you can try and get a yes is... So the reverse cognitive bias would be, and you have to develop it so it's naturally.

People like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, they have a forward cognitive bias, meaning they look into the unknown and see it as an adventure to be lived.

But if you're meeting with someone, say you're selling something, and you could say:

“Can I ask you a hypothetical question? Would that be okay? I'd like you to imagine that after we have a conversation, you go to your boss and you say, I think we need to go with this guy. I think we need to invest in this. I think you need to come to my next conversation with him. So I'd like you to imagine that we haven't talked about things, but you leave and you have those thoughts. So what is it that we solve? What do we talk about? What would cause you to leave thinking that? I could just tell my boss, who I spoke to you about.”

So that's the reverse cognitive bias. Here's another way to use it for meetings, because most people hate meetings because they think they're a waste of time. You say to your executive team:

"By the clock, we're going to be done in 60 minutes and I'd like us to have a hard stop then, because that's what was scheduled, and some of you have emergencies and I have emergencies. So, I want to do an exercise. I'd like you to imagine that the meeting is over and you're going back to your day and you each say, 'That was the best, most productive meeting we have had in six months.'"

"What happens so that you leave? And no finger pointing. We're not here to personally blame people. I prefer you're not leaving saying, 'Well that was a waste of time. I had better things to do.'" 

And something you can do if people are just too paranoid is you say, "Okay, you can't finger point, but here, Post-it notes. Here's an index card, I'll shuffle them, and you don't have to put your name. Let's keep to our agenda, let's not get distracted."

So, it's preferred to be private as well, rather than said publicly?

Well, it depends how open your group is, and my guess is they're not that open. But the point is you surface it and you read all of them. You say, "Wow, this is really good."

How has being a father, and separately a husband, separately impacted your work?

I love my family. I have a little quip that I say about my wife. I say, "Being tolerated can really hurt when you get that from your partner, until you realize what a piece of work you are. And then it's a gift!" 

I adore my wife, my children. I have three grandchildren, three and a half and under, and I get to see them every day.

I'll share something with you. It just came to me. Having dropped out of medical school twice, even when it looked like I was going to make it through and maybe have a career, I was still haunted by, "Well, are you going to drop out again?"

I didn't know whether they'd be proud of me, but I just wanted them to grow up and not be embarrassed by me.

I remember when I finally dropped out for the second time and I came back, I not only finished medical school and finished psychiatry training, I went eight years without taking a sick day because I was afraid if I canceled a day, I would become a dropout again. I was seeing patients with a 104 temperature [40 degrees celsius], vomiting between them, because I didn't want to take a chance.

But I remember when we had our first child, I thought to myself, "I just want them to grow up and not be embarrassed by their dad." I didn't know whether they'd be proud of me, but I just wanted them to grow up and not be embarrassed by me, because there was still that part of me that was embarrassed. It makes for a nice story, but there's still the part of me that's embarrassed that I dropped out twice.

And my oldest daughter is now 40 and my kids are great, and what's even great is they have each other's backs. My wife gets most of the credit, because a lot of that is details, and you can tell I'm all over the place.

It was interesting, I remember looking into my oldest daughter's eyes when she was about seven months or something, and she's really making eye contact, so she's not just a blob. She's like, "Oh, hi." And I looked into her eyes and it was a truth detector. What she was saying to me is, "When I grow up to be 18, do not be anyone that I'm ashamed of or embarrassed by." That's what her eyes were telling me.

So, I've done my best to live that.

Knowing that you've got grandchildren now, what can we do to make sure these kids never reach that point where they feel like they're so disconnected or in that state of despair?

Well, here's something that's interesting.

I wasn't close to my grandparents geographically, so something I've done with my grandchildren is when I'm with them, I want to bathe them in something Erik Erikson called ‘basic trust.’ He came up with seven or eight stages of psychosocial development, and the first one is, do you trust the world or do you distrust it? Albert Einstein said the biggest decision you'll ever make in life is whether the world is safe or not.

So, my children, they're busy, they're working, they're juggling, they're wanting to make sure the basics are being taken care of. But as a grandparent, I don't have to do that. So, there will be times when I'm with my grandchildren, and I'll look into their eyes like I'm looking into your eyes.

My message to them is, "Do you know how amazed I am that you're my life? Do you know how glad I am that you're born?" And I imagine they're saying, "Am I going to have a good life?" If I have anything to do about it. "Am I going to have a career?" We'll work on that.

But what I'm doing is, rather than having to run, are they fed, do we change them, I’m focused on something completely different. I’m just trying to be 100% present. And I wasn't that present with my kids. I was a psychiatrist, but I'd run off to see patients. They had a nickname for me, which is very funny, but it's not funny. Their nickname for me was "Hi, kids, bye, kids, love you, kids."

You keep that one off the official bio!

Well, you heard it first here on Win the Day!

On your best day, what's an affirmation that you would write on a flash card that you could show yourself on your worst day?

All your eight mentors, who didn't suffer fools gladly, believed in you. Remember that.

Love it. 

Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

I'm a learn-it-all, even though I come off as a know-it-all in these podcasts. But every day I wake up and I'm excited. I say, "I can hardly wait to find out what I learn today."

And at the end of the day, I ask myself, "What did you learn today that you didn't know?" That's one of the reasons I have a podcast. I'm using the podcast, and we'll have you on it, but it's in the top 0.5%, which is pretty good; zero social media. I don't have a team.

I get 25 requests to be on it a week, and I learn from people, and the range of people is everyone from Larry King to Jordan Peterson to Susan Kane to James Whittaker, a future podcast guest!

So, just every day I learn something.

This has been absolutely incredible. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate all of the insightful and candid things that you have shared. I have no doubt that we will change many lives around the world from this conversation. So, thank you.

Well, thank you for the beginning of a friendship.


Final steps to Win the Day...

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Onward and upward always,

James Whittaker

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Resources / links mentioned:

🎧 My Wakeup Call podcast with Dr. Mark Goulston.

⚡ Dr. Mark Goulston website.

📷 Dr. Mark Goulston Instagram.

📚 Dr. Mark Goulston books on Amazon.

🎬 ‘Tell My Story’ documentary film.

🎤 TEDx Talk ‘What Made You Smile Today?’ by Mark Goulston.

 🧠 ‘What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience,

and Healing’ by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry.

🏎 ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman.

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I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

Michelangelo

To me, the real pandemic is mental health. It's a war that's been raging for a long time — and we're losing.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death and we need more decisive action to protect our families from going through this devastation...

I recently sat down with Dr. Mark Goulston who is a 25-year professor of psychiatry, a hostage negotiation trainer for the FBI, and regarded as one of the world’s top communication experts.

Dr. Goulston’s expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations.

Throughout our conversation, he details a blueprint — including the exact words — you can use to have a difficult but important conversation with your children, your spouse, and your loved ones.

Why is that so critical? Because a single conversation could completely change the trajectory of someone's life — perhaps even save a life.

Dr. Goulston is also a corporate consultant for some of the world’s most renowned organizations – including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Disney, and the FBI; a contributor to the Harvard Business Review; and author of nine books that have been translated into 20+ languages.

He’s been named one of America's top psychiatrists and has appeared on OprahCNN, and The Today Show.

Dr. Goulston's top-rated podcast My Wakeup Call has featured guests such as Dr. Jordan Peterson, Lori Gottlieb, and Steven Kotler. He kindly featured me in Episode 405 (just released) where we went deep on the biggest turning point of my life — an experience that led to a lot of shame and negative self-talk that he leverages his psychiatry background to resolve in real time! I highly recommend you check it out.

In this episode:

Remember, the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode – there will be at least 3-4 people you need to pass this on to – share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr. Mark Goulston!

🎥 For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

🎧 My Wakeup Call podcast with Dr. Mark Goulston.

⚡ Dr. Mark Goulston website.

📷 Dr. Mark Goulston Instagram.

📚 Dr. Mark Goulston books on Amazon.

🎬 ‘Tell My Story’ documentary film.

🎤 TEDx Talk ‘What Made You Smile Today?’ by Mark Goulston.

 🧠 ‘What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience,

and Healing’ by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry.

🏎 ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman.

🎬 Subscribe to Win the Day YouTube channel

💚 Give the Win the Day podcast a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts

🙏 Give the Win the Day podcast a 5-star rating on Spotify

💕 Win the Day Facebook group

📝 Win the Day newsletter [weekly LinkedIn exclusive]

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