By removing your mask and unleashing your full potential, you will realize your capabilities of leading yourself to success. Today, Ben Baker interviews Josh Cary, the owner of The Hidden Entrepreneur. Helping people realize that they matter and teaching them how to communicate their value is one of the key things Josh and his team does. He breaks down what their company is all about, their target clients, and their hopes moving forward. He also talks about the importance of not being hidden and understanding our value. Podcasts is a great method for raising value which is why Josh also helps clients build their own. Unmask yourself and improve your life and business by tuning in to this episode with Josh.
In this episode, I've got Josh Cary. He came to me through an unknown source. I got an email saying, “You’ve got to have this guy on the show. He's funny. He's entertaining. He's got a great story to tell.” The name of his company is The Hidden Entrepreneur. I did some research. He's the real deal. I had to have him on the show. Josh, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Ben Baker. It's so good to be here. Thank you for saying I'm the real deal. I'm not even sure what that means, but I'll take it.
It's the West Coast thing. It's that cross-cultural communication between the East Coast and the West Coast. You're out in the New Jersey area, correct?
Yes. I'm on this coast and you're on that coast.
Let's get into your story, because of The Hidden Entrepreneur, people look at that and go, “What?” Where did The Hidden Entrepreneur come from? Where did Josh come from? Where are you now? Where's this direction taking you? You're heading in an interesting direction. You've changed a lot of lives. Let's talk about where you came from, where you are and where you want to take The Hidden Entrepreneur.
It's such a great question because, as you pointed out, I may be heading in one direction now. Even 3, 6, 12 months ago, this direction was nowhere in sight, which surprises me at times. I'll back up a bit. I am The Hidden Entrepreneur and that's because I spent many years hiding. I showed up in every situation hiding all of my skill, my power, my ability in exchange for desperately seeking the approval of others. I couldn't find it within myself so I went out into the world and said, “Please like me. Tell me I'm good. Accept me. Will you approve of me?”
In order to do that, I couldn't be myself. I had to be a version of the person I thought that you would like and approve. Guess how that turned out? It didn't. My previous career was ten years as a digital marketing agency owner. Prior to that, it's a little more obvious. I spent fifteen years as an actor, filmmaker. I got bit by the acting bug in eighth grade. I said, “This is the approval I want. This is where I'm going to find it. I'm going to find it on the stage or in TV or movies and people are going to applaud for me, stand up and cheer. That's going to satisfy all of the lack that I was feeling.”
I had a good run for fifteen years and I don't regret any of that. I lived a good life. I have some good credits to my name in that regard. After 40 plus years, knowing, “The approval is not out there. I get it. It's within,” but how did that happen? Now, I'm blessed to have two adoring children. I have a six-year-old daughter, a four-year-old son who I tried to give shout-outs to as much as possible because they, to my surprise, became my wakeup call. Even in the first few years of their still young lives, I realized, “I see what's happening here. I'm the child in this circle.” My whole life, I always thought, “I would like to be a father one day. I probably enjoy it. Dare I say I might be good at that role.”
Now that I was given this chance and still showing up angry, miserable, depressed, lost, confused and having them witness that, I said, “I cannot, especially for them, forget about me. I tried so many years, but for them to witness their father in this role, being this person, it made no sense to me. I'm better than this.” I've always known what I was capable of my whole life but opted to show up less than that to seek approval. The struggle behind closed doors was, “What am I doing? I'm capable. I'm better. I know that I can do what I see others doing thus causing the jealousy, the anger and the frustration.” When it came to my children, I said, “This is not right. I'm going to make this change.” They helped mirror what I needed to see and became my reflection. Once and for all, I made the choice not to continue down that path and started making small changes one by one to limit any overwhelm and started adjusting and becoming the person that I've always known I was.
I'm a parent of a sixteen-year-old boy. I tell people when you have kids, you're under new management. I don't care how prepared you think you are to be a parent, you know nothing. Every child will surprise you. I'm sure you can testify as most of my friends can who have 2, 3, 4 and a couple of them have five kids. Every one of them is different, every one of them teaches you something different, and every one of them humbles you in a different way. That's the cool thing about parenthood and eventually, I'm assuming grandparenthood is that you get to see life through somebody else's eyes.
You get to sit there and say, “It's not all about me. It’s not all about my wants, needs and desires. It's not about me all the time, what about me and how come about me?” It's sitting there going, “You're more responsible for somebody else.” That's the basis of leadership. Whether it's family, employees, leading a team of people or it's baseball, football, whatever. It's understanding that it's not always about you. It's about how you show up in other people's eyes and how you set an example for other people. One thing I want to unpack is you start talking about being hidden. That's a big thing for our audience because a lot of people are hidden. Let's unpack that because everybody shows up and they put these masks on. They try to live life to say, “Look how wonderful things are. Look how great things are.” They're not living their life to their full potential. I want you to unpack, first of all, where you are with that and how you help.
The word hidden is we all show up into the world with this mask on for one reason because we are scared out of our minds. We are scared of what people will think, what people will say. With that, we try to cut that off and second guess that before moving forward, “This is what I did my whole life. I was scared out of my mind. I spent all these years living behind fear, using that as an excuse to do or not do everything.” On the other side of that, I'm able to see clearly that it is the driving motivation behind everything we don't do.We all know what we are capable of doing, but we put on these fronts and these obstacles to keep us safe and secure. Click To Tweet
I am convinced and I was able to see this clearly within myself and now I have a greater perspective to see it in others. We are more than capable. We know what we are capable of, but we're scared to make a move because of what others will say and what others will think. How detrimental is that completely because in our lives and in our businesses, we do not get a chance to move forward and that is all it's about. What I do is simply help you see that, admit that, get comfortable with that and say, “I know what I want to do. I know what I should do. I know what I can do. I'm going to stop disguising all of these obstacles as excuses. I'm going to take action and see what's what.”
For me, it became very evident, especially with the children that we've heard it, life is freaking short. It's over in the blink of an eye, even best-case scenario. The best-case scenario, my life is half over. I see that best-case scenario for all of us, even if we all live 100 more years in the grand scheme of things, that’s short. It will be over before we know it. Enough is enough. This was my driving force. I said, “I have these two adoring children. If it hasn't been clear yet, they're the best thing that continues to happen to me.” I consciously told myself that I want to show up in every situation for my children.
Should it be the last moment that I am given with them because we know anything happens in life, even the best-case scenario. If anything should happen and this should be my last moment with my children, I'm trying to make sure that every moment is as ideal as I want it to be. It's not in my one-on-one interactions with them. Yes, to be the best person I can with them and for them, but also when I'm not with them. I'm trying desperately to strategically do the things that make the most sense that I always stopped myself from doing because I have the reason. I have the motivation. This is the thing, broadly speaking, that I help others do. Get comfortable and honest with yourself.
You know deep down what you're capable of doing. You know what you want to be doing, you know what you should be doing. Let's together explore that, verbalize it and admit it. Put everything else aside and say, “Let's figure out the next step and the next step,” because I'm living proof. It feels great. I've never done this before, but now the past couple of years of my life, here I am. I'm on shows like yours, Ben. This makes sense. My life is going in places that I never could have anticipated, that never would have happened if I didn't do what I'm now helping others do as well.
There are two things that come to mind as you're going through that. One is Machiavelli that life is nasty, brutish and short. The other one is carpe diem which is, seize the day. It's how to juxtapose those because there are so many people that sit there and go, “The glass is not even half full.” The glass is never even going to get to half full. I'm a big believer in the glasses isn’t half full. It's not half empty. It's refillable. That's the essence between and behind the carpe diem. I want to find out from you, how do you work with your people? How do you work with the people that you work with and get them to understand that they matter?
I'm a big believer in that. That's the basis of my book. Powerful Personal Brands was written to help people understand, codify and communicate their value to others. How do you get people to understand that they themselves have value for who they are? They don't have to put up the wall. They don't have to put on the mask. They don't have to put on pretty dresses and fancy suits. Being who you are and being able to understand your value to those who you can influence is important. How do you go about helping people realize that they matter and how to communicate their value?
It begins with a conversation with them. Setting a stage and a tone with them that shows them that they are in good hands and that they are understood. They are seen and they are safe. This is the environment to explore that. I firmly believe we all know what we are capable of doing. We put on these fronts and these obstacles to keep us safe and secure. By creating this environment and having a sympathetic ear and prompting with the right questions to get them to share, “What do we want to be doing here? What interests you? What direction do you want to go? What are we working on here?”
Providing that space for them, it's that simple so to speak. I'm able to provide that direction, that comfort, that ear, that strategy for my clients to say, “What are we working with here? Find out what's holding you back? Who in your past is behind it? How in the world can we slowly but surely put things in place that allow you to step forward safely and to feel that little win?” We all have it, we're all valuable. Case in point, I was the look of anxiety. I had almost nothing to offer on paper. I couldn't find my way for so long. Now, I'm trying my best to lead by example and I'm getting these small wins. I'm getting this sense of accomplishment that is working and even something like that. Others watching others looking in can say, “He's doing it. I'm so inspired by that. I can do it. That's the stuff.”
When I start working with you, you have that base. You have that desire. We can start swimming a little further together and getting you going. I launched my podcast not a terribly long time ago, but I had no idea where it was going to take me. What I started with was using the podcast as a way for myself to connect with others. I spent a lifetime feeling disconnected from the world. Silly me, I wondered why in any relationship I felt, “Nobody gets me. Nobody relates to me. Nobody likes me yet because I didn't show up allowing you to. I put on this block.”
Putting that aside, I said, “I'm going to show up. I'm going to connect with people. I'm going to see where that takes me. I'm going to dive into this fully. I'm going to help others do the same for their business pursuits,” whatever that is. Slowly but surely, I started getting positive feedback on what I was doing. These small wins you need to find early on. I started doing it. I started getting great feedback from my podcast. I realized I gave myself credit. I said, “I'm decent at this. I enjoy it. People are responding. Let me help others in this world.”
Years later, it's not general business consulting and the service, but it's now tailored to more of my specific strength in the podcast space, which surprised me. I'm able to help people share their message, advance their careers and their businesses through the podcast medium from point A to point Z and everything in between, including getting your message out, understanding who you are, what your voice is, what your theme is, what your show's going to be about and helping you navigate that, that realm through that medium.
You're helping people create their own podcasts and create their own communicated message. That's powerful because not only are you getting people to understand their value, but they're giving them an opportunity to use their voice to be able to spread their message in a positive way.
That's the biggest part of it. Whether it's through a podcast, social media, your business website or your message, it's the podcast medium that's the vehicle for that. Regardless of what your vehicle is, in my case, it's the podcast, you need to step forward and know clearly what that message is. You know, for example, how many podcasts are out in the world?
There are 700,000. There are enough numbers of them.
Many are not good versus the ones that are even decent good or dare we say extraordinary. That whole tipping of the scale fascinated me. I said, “Why are so many not good versus decent good and extraordinary.” It's because people aren't taking the time to explore their full voice and message. Through a conversation that's part of the strength I bring, whether implementing it through a podcast or something else, it's having you understand that you have a bigger message. It's inside you. It's there. Let's together work through and get it out. Often it doesn't because we care a great deal of what people think and we're in a state of fear.
That's important to think about, the fact that most people don't understand what it takes to do a podcast weekly, biweekly, monthly or whatever you decide you're going to do your podcast level. I've been doing this for a few years on a weekly basis and quite honestly, I could probably do this twice a week. I've got so many people that like to read this and like to be on the show. I appreciate it. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot out of you because it's not the time that you have on the air. It's researching your guests. It's understanding what your message is and making sure that your message is consistent from week to week.
You're not seeing the same thing, but you need to help. I'm sure this is how you do it and this is going to be my question. How do you help your potential clients build a podcast that is uniquely them and they understand what's the message and what's the value that they want to bring to the world because it's not teaching them, “Here's a microphone here. Here's all the technical stuff with it?” It's getting them to understand themselves well enough to sit there and say, “This is what I want to tell the world and this is why I want to tell it to them.”
You brought up something that one of the techniques I use and it's called F That Noise. This was something that I realized early on in my adjustment of who I was and how I was showing up to the world that it is this F That Noise, all the noise in your head, all the things we tell ourselves. It’s all the story and belief you continue to perpetuate. For me, from a very early age, I sold myself the story as truth that I wasn't good enough, I wasn't capable and nobody wanted me around. What do you do? You go out into the world seeking on paper, meaning on the surface you might tell yourself, “No, I want people to love me. I want people to say how proud they are of me and how good I'm doing.”
What we do is once we commit to a belief about ourselves, we go out into the world and we perhaps even subconsciously seek the validation for that belief. While I might've been saying, “I want people to accept me, approve of me and tell me how capable I am and show me that.” What I was doing was attracting the people and the circumstances to validate the story and belief I already sold myself, which is, “I am not capable. People don't want me around.” That's exactly what I got for many years. It's an interesting struggle.
What I realized was that F That Noise became my mantra. It's a five-step process, NOISE, which is how I got myself out of this dark depressive state and how I help clients. This all has to do with emotion. That's our driving force in life. Everything we do has the foundation of emotion. What F That Noise does is help you become very aware of the emotion and allow you to change it to much better-suited emotion. First, you want to do is N, name the emotion. Put a very specific name to whatever obvious emotion, the most predominant one. It might not always be cut and dry to one if you have a few. What is that predominant emotion? Is it anger, frustration, guilt, loneliness, sadness or desperation? Whatever you're feeling, name the emotion.
Now, we can go on to the O and that is to own that emotion, meaning it is yours and nobody else’s. You are not giving that power away to somebody else. You are not saying, “Yeah, but I feel this way because if they didn't do this, I wouldn't feel.” No, it's yours, own it. This gives you the power and ability to move on from it, which remember is what we want to do. Once you're able to own the emotion, you're ready for the I. You need to identify with it. You need to say and admit, “Yes, I am angry. I am lonely. I am jealous.” Feel it in your body. Identify with it.
Once you make that declaration, you are now ready to move through this process to rid yourself of this. We can move to the S. You are ready to sit with it. This doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process whether it's a few days, a few weeks or whatever it is. You are sitting with the emotion for one reason and one reason only. You are looking to identify what prompts this in your body, what triggers it, you might say. Is it a certain person, a certain time of day, a certain activity or a certain topic? What is prompting this emotion to overtake your body?
So much of our emotions from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to sleep are habitual. We don't even realize they're happening, but they continually and consistently happen. You need to become self-aware through this process that you are able to cut it off and see it coming and say, “I see what's happening here. It's going to happen. It's happening. Let me stop this from happening. It doesn't have to happen.” Sit with it to identify what causes it, when and how it happened so you can create some distance between this prompt because it's a choice. We have to retrain our bodies that it does not happen. It's all a habit that we can easily break a little bit of knowledge and self-awareness. We move swiftly to the E in all this, which is the end goal. We all simply want to evolve into the person we've always been and that's what happens when you reach the E in F That Noise. You will become the person you've always been. It's a better place to be.
That is an amazing philosophy because if we sit there and if we can identify what our problems are, if we can live with it, if we can embrace it and sit there and say, “Now, it's time to get beyond it,” our life is so much better. I want to think about and I want to push this back because it keeps coming into my mind, the words social media. There are millions, if not hundreds of millions of people on social media that are there strictly for validation. I was on a huge conversation about TikTok. Most people in North America are truly unaware of TikTok. It's good and it's got its bad. It has gotten to the point where you have teenage girls dancing around with almost nothing on to these music videos trying to get validation and everything in between.
You have some good, funky, cool stuff and some self-deprecating young girls and young boys that are looking for validation. It's a matter of looking at it in social media and sit there going, “Because social media feeds you more of what you click on, are we putting ourselves in a position as human beings with self-doubts where we're putting the baseball bat to the back of our heads every time we click? How do we get beyond that?” There are so many people on social media looking for that validation. All they're getting is more of what will validate their own self-doubt and their own self-depreciation mentality.
You need the element of self-awareness. First, you need the desire to want to change and to realize, “I am making this choice whether habitually or specifically or deliberately. It's all a choice.” First, you have to decide consciously and deliberately, “This needs to end. I'm doing this. Becoming self-aware is a crucial element in all of this. Once you do, now you can start the process. There's another element. I'm extremely happy with who I am as a person, but again, that wasn't always the case because I would be a certain way, do something and what? What we do is we spend all day beating ourselves up and we hope the next morning we'll be better.You need to step forward and know clearly what your message is. Click To Tweet
Nobody's perfect. I still have moments, times and situations that may surprise me. I find myself doing something, acting some way, saying something that is not ideal for who I want to be but it happens. This isn't about getting to a place where it’s pixie dust and fairies or whatever that thing is, where everything is great. No, we're all full feeling human beings. Sometimes we get caught off guard. Sometimes we're not at our optimal best. The thing is whenever I experienced something like that, the goal is to realize you don't have to stay there. I'm now more able to quickly get that less than ideal negative space and place. This isn't about never feeling doing or being a certain way, but how you don't beat yourself up and remain somewhere for hours or days or worse knowing how to move quickly through that. We are all human beings doing the best we can every moment of the day.
That's sage advice because we all go into periods of our life where we have self-doubt. Even those of us who are happy 99% of the time, that are fully aware that we love our lives is that we all have self-doubt. Every single person has self-doubt. “Did I tell my kid I loved him this morning? Did I or did I not?” You might've forgotten. “Did I forget to do it as I walked out the door?” It’s the little, silly things like that. It's a matter of sitting there going, “How do we put ourselves in the position where we realize, how do we move beyond that certain level of doubt to be able to be a better person?” It's a short journey to get there and there are some people that are in these deep dark holes that they're never going to get out of by themselves. How do you help people that realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel and how to show them how to get out of those holes because those are the people that truly need our help in their lives?
It starts with a conversation and being the space for them, being the ear for them, being the mirror for them and being there for them. Offering them whatever it is I can that makes the most sense for them, their journey and helping them extract that. Being there for them, listening to them and helping them put a plan in place for them. It's all about for them. This has nothing to do with me, but I'm willing to show up with you and for you, if I'm the right one to help you navigate through that. At the end of the day, I've done what I'm desperately trying to show others is perfectly possible. I came from many years the most lost, the most anxious, the most desperate and now I'm trying to lead by example and help you do the same.
I’ve always known what I was capable of but I covered it up. I didn't want to show anybody. I didn't think that anybody would like that, would approve of that. I did the opposite, which was help you validate what I desperately needed, which was continue to show me that I'm not capable and nobody wants me around. That's what I got until I woke up and said, “Stop. I can't do this anymore.” Again, my children played a big part in that. It's all possible when you are ready to admit to yourself what you know you are capable of doing and what you know you should and could be doing. All I do is I offer an ear, a space and a sense of direction to help you feel safe and secure to slowly but surely inch down that path. You'll start to see beautiful, amazing things in your life like I continue to see day in and day out.
Two questions and then I’m going to let you go. Number one is the most important question. How do people get in touch with you?
The best place is my website, JoshCary.com. It has everything you'd ever want. You can hear all of my podcast episodes, watch all the videos and you can click through to the social platform of your choice and we can continue a conversation there if you wish.
Check it out on the website. It's easy to navigate. It's got lots of good information on it. It's well worth a shot. The last question I ask every single guest as they walk out the door is when you walk out of a meeting or leave a conversation and you get your car and you drive away, what's the one thing you want people to think about you when you're not in the room?
“What a great guy,” that encompasses so much of what I'm going for. Much of my life, nobody would have said that about me because I didn't feel that way. Even more specifically, I want to be remembered as the greatest daddy. That's what it's about for me is being there for my children. I don't think that after the business meeting, they're going to say, “He's a great dad.” Maybe, so that's what I mean by a great guy. By that, it goes deeper than that. Somebody who is a genuine kind, smart, funny, loving, caring and encompassed in what it means to say, “What a great guy.”
Josh, you have been a great guy. We've enjoyed having you on the podcast. Thank you for all your insights and all your passion. Thank you very much for being on the show.
It’s such a pleasure, Ben. I appreciate the invite.
Josh Cary spent 40 years in hiding! That’s right. He was hiding every aspect of himself and showing up with a ‘mask’ on in all areas of life trying to gain the approval of everyone else.
At 19, he changed his name and entered into, what would become, a 15-year career as a professional actor and filmmaker. The applause and external accolades didn’t completely heal his feelings of anxiety and insecurities and he found himself more isolated than ever.
Today, Josh Cary is a podcast host and business coach to entrepreneurs who are ready, willing, and able to say “F That NOISE!”
“F That NOISE” in their head that’s been acting as the comfortable excuse for remaining where they are.
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