MY MIND WAS TELLING ME ONE THING, BUT MY HEART WAS TELLING ME SOMETHING ELSE.
I hated what I was becoming and the direction my life was going…
Working long tiring hours, sleeping in late and slowly losing control of the trajectory of my life.
Even though the money was good, and I had a job that allowed me a pretty fun lifestyle, it all came at a cost.
It also wasn’t something that I was waking up and being proud of anymore
I WANT TO SHARE SOMETHING WITH YOU.
It all started in Edmonton Alberta Canada where I grew up.
I came from a very loving and caring family. My dad worked his ass off to make sure we had everything we needed and played all the sports. My mom looked after the house and made sure we had all the love we needed. I also had a ton of support and love from my cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. I look back and I am so grateful for my amazing family. I won’t sit here and say I lacked any of that. Things were great until I was 11 and I have to move away from them...
In 1995, after my parents had been split up for a couple of years, my dad and I moved across Canada to Victoria BC. That was the start of a very difficult road for many years. I won’t get into all of that now, as I could write a book about what went on, so I will leave that for another time.
My passion at a young age was hockey, and I was good at it. I made it to some of the best all-star teams and world-class tournaments for kids at that time. My dad and I traveled all over the United States and got to have a taste of world-class competition.
As the years went on, hockey became tougher. Players were better, leagues were more competitive and the margin for error became less and less. As I got a bit older, the competition started to catch up to me and it became more difficult to stand out. Looking back now, the things my dad and I worried about really didn’t serve us. Always comparing my game to others and getting caught up with all the politics, which end up hurting more than helping. I always made the best teams in every league but was never the most skilled player. You could always count on me being the hardest working player.
Once I got to the Junior A level, things became even more competitive and I had to be that much more committed and dedicated. My ego grew quite a bit and I started to think I was better than I was and didn’t accept the kind of player I was. Distractions such as girls, parties, and alcohol in the mix really challenged me to stay focused on what it was I wanted to achieve stay focused on what it was I wanted to achieve. As time went on, playing in Junior A, things didn't go as planned. I thought I would have a lot more success, and my focus and mindset really didn’t match my goals. I did, however, have a couple of good years, but nothing special. Then I had one more shot at it…
I was 20 years old.
That is when I really fucked up.
In the summer before my final season of Junior A, I decided it was a smart idea to do a big cycle of steroids. WHAT A STUPID FUCKING MOVE. I showed up to training camp looking like a freak and couldn’t even skate or keep up with anyone. I was cut from the team and sent home during training camp.
Just like that my dream was over.
That was the start of a very dark road that lasted for a long ass time.
I finished off the year playing junior B, which always made me feel shitty because I knew I had flushed my career down the toilet. I lost all my heart for the game, and at the end of that year, I closed my hockey career.
From there, things were all over the map. I worked a ton of dead-end jobs trying to figure out what I was looking for next. I drank, did drugs and partied myself into a big fog of depression and anxiety.
During this time, I decided to go backpacking all over Europe with my friend Pete for 3 months. That trip instilled the travel bug in my brain that would never go away. We met a ton of great people, and it was a life changing experience.
Once we got back, I tried a little bit of everything. I tried becoming a cop, started the process of becoming a firefighter, but then fell flat on my face and failed the exam to start firefighting training.
I knew deep down that I was doing it for the wrong reasons, and I didn’t feel any passion for it. I failed at everything I tried because I always knew what I was doing wasn't right. Then I found something that really lit me up…BARTENDING!
I couldn't believe you could make money socializing and looking after people's food and drink needs... It blew my mind! I knew I had a personality that needed to be around people, and I knew that I felt passion for this industry, so that's what I sank my teeth into for the next ten years. I worked in some of the busiest and craziest places in Vancouver. I also worked during the 2010 Olympics where we won a gold medal in hockey. I also worked during the Vancouver Canucks run to the Stanley cup final in 2011 which led to a riot. Absolute craziness and so many great times!
But…with all the fun times came a lot of dark times. During all of this, I was very confused and unhappy. I was in and out of very toxic relationships, getting into trouble, and living a life I wasn’t proud of. I decided on my 29th birthday to buy a one-way ticket to Australia.
On December 5, 2012, my roommate/best friend Arshia and I sold everything and moved to Australia. I planned on staying 6 months and ended up staying 5 years. Arshia moved back after 6 months.
What a wild ride that adventure was!! I was able to travel around that amazing country and work in som any fun places. I also met a ton of great life-long friends. However, as I said before… although the partying and fun was great, I went through some of the darkest times of my life.
I am not sure what was going on through my mind from about 2014 to the end of 2016. I really lost control and let my life completely spiral out of control.
Most of it is a blur.
I was working at some of the best hotel bars in Sydney. Working a ton of long hard hours, would stay up all night partying, then do it all over again the next day.
The downside is I would wake up with such bad anxiety and panic attacks that I thought I was going to die at times. This went on and on, day after day.
At the end of 2015, my dad came to visit me in Australia. It was the first time I had seen him in almost 4 years. We spent Christmas together, New Years and Australia Day together and he really got to experience the amazing lifestyle of living on the beach in Australia. I lived smack dab right on Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia, which was one of the most sought-after beaches in the world. We spent 6 weeks together in my small studio apartment. We almost killed each other but made it work. We were able to bond more than we ever had in 20 years, so I cherish those times. Things seemed to be going so well. My dad was healthy and fit and in a good place. Life seemed like it was going to work out just fine.
Then we got hit with the most fucked up news we had both ever experienced.
I was at work when I got the call that my younger brother had taken his own life.
I can’t describe what I even felt or what was going through my mind, all I knew was I had to tell my dad.
I left work in a hurry and hopped in a cab. The thoughts raced through my mind, brought tears to my eyes as I was about to have the hardest conversation with my dad I had ever had.
He took the news as well as anyone could and let’s just say it was an evening full of tears and pain…
My dad never really got over the pain of losing his son. What was even harder was that his ex-wife (my mom) made it nearly impossible to build a solid relationship with him. This crushed him.
Like I mentioned earlier, this situation was a nightmare for 20 years.
After that, I went on another destructive cycle worse than before and pretty much hit rock bottom. I never wanted to tell my family how bad I was feeling, and how much I was drinking because I didn’t want to hurt them.
After dealing with the pain and continuing to punish my body, I ended up meeting someone that completely changed my life.
I met my girlfriend, Tamara, who not only helped me through those times but also helped me through the hardest time of my life that was yet to come…
I can’t say enough about how blessed I was to meet her and the positive impact she has had on the trajectory of my life. My life completely changed when I met her, and she supported and lowed me the freedom to try new things even if she thought I was crazy. She was literally my Angel from above, and I love her so much.
At the end of 2016, I decided to quit my current job and made a commitment to myself to take 3 months off alcohol in 2017.
Once I did 3 months, I said to myself; why don’t I do 6 months? After 6 months I thought, why don't I do a year? And so, I did. I went the entire 2017 completely sober! That was the largest and most important decision of my life up until that point.
The clarity it brought, the creativity, the motivation, the inspiration, the new outlook on life, and most importantly, the hangovers were gone. I could get up early and never have that lazy, anxious, lethargic feeling I had for so many years that completely clouded my mind.
It was challenging. Explaining to people why I quit while running a bar and having to spit everything out. The crew I worked with were awesome, and they supported me with my decision. I managed to write a cocktail list without every swallowing a drop of liquor and believe it or not, my creativity was better than it ever was before!
Side note: Any bartenders out there, if you want to create some amazing drinks and find new inspirations, try going off the booze for a while and see what happens! It seems crazy, but it’s true.
2017 was a big year for many reasons as well. With this new-found clarity, I was able to open my mind to other opportunities and possibilities I never thought could become reality.
I had toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur or starting my own business, but it seemed impossible. Never in a million years would I have thought I was capable of anything like that.
I reached out to my friend Balazs, who was having crazy success with his business endeavors, and I was finally in the mindset to take on the challenge.
Balazs became my mentor and helped me get started and on my way. He told me the steps I needed, and I began my journey.
The first big game changer was joining a coaching and educational platform that taught me how the whole online game worked. How to run ads on social media, how to drive traffic, how to write and film ads, all of it. It also provided us with a team of support, which is key! The life-changing elements that this platform taught me were how important personal development is and working on yourself. I used to laugh at people who talked about self-help and all that stuff. The irony of all of it was, I needed it the most.
I started on a journey of having a daily method of operations which consisted of meditation, gratitude, reading, affirmations and goal setting. These fundamentals completely changed my life in so many ways. I started to trust in the process and learn that if you put in the daily work and fundamentals great things will come.
2017 was off to a great start, 6 months sober, helping run a 5-star hotel cocktail bar and feeling the best I ever have had in my life, then boom!! I got thrown some devastating news.
My dad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
He had been getting pains and when he went to the doctor, they told him to stop being a hypochondriac. Who tells a patient in pain to stop worrying so much? Absolutely baffle my mind.
I got the call from my older brother and was told that he had 48 hours to live. My heart sank, felt like I was going to be sick and my entire life with my dad flashed before my eyes. I was absolutely defeated by the news.
I booked the next flight I could and flew back to Canada where I arrived at about noon the next day. I spent the day with him in the hospital, and he died at about 6 pm that night.
Watching my dad die was the hardest thing I ever experienced and still don't know what to think about it because it all happened so fast.
The one thing I can say is that I am so incredibly grateful that I was sober and was off the booze during all that time. The inner work I had been doing really helped me get through that insanely difficult time. I don’t think I could have made it through if I were drinking.
From there I sat and had deep thoughts about what I was doing and where I wanted to go. Life seemed to appear a lot shorter than I thought in the past. I decided that I wasn't going to live and do anything else in my life that didn’t fulfill my purpose.
That’s when the real journey began, and I had an awakening of strength and resiliance that protected me on a completely new path and on my way to creating something amazing.
I decided the bar environment wasn’t for me anymore. I wanted to fully commit to following my heart and my passions to create something amazing. If I was to ever be involved in a bar again, it would be as an owner, not a bartender!
Then I truly asked myself, what is my WHY? What is my purpose in this life? My answer was to help human beings. I desire to make a difference in people’s lives, inspire them to do amazing things and do whatever I can to be the change I want to see in the world. I always had this burning desire to do things that make a difference, and it fires me up that I can help as many people as possible.
I started studying Tony Robbins and told myself that he is exactly the kind of leader and human I desire to be. I will one day make an impact like him. I started reading books about people who had success and had the results I wanted. I focused on consuming content that lifted me up instead of sucking the life out of me. And that is what I have continued to do.
That brings us to the present day.
The lifestyle I have chosen has allowed me to travel, explore my passions, and truly work on myself so that I can be the best version of myself and help serve others in a dynamic way.
Travelling is so important for learning about yourself and about the world around you. You truly find out what you are made of and the depth of your resilience because things don't always go as planned. When you learn to love then the journey, that is when the magic happens. There are so many places to visit, and I feel blessed to be ticking a few off along the way. With the changes I have implemented in my life, I have been able to build an incredible foundation. This allows me to build and continue to execute greatness into the world and in my business.
I have been focusing on my personal brand and showing the world who I am and being as authentic as I possibly can. This has been an amazing journey which will continue to evolve.
I created a podcast called “University of Adversity” which has deep meaning to me.
Why did I create it?
Creating it was satisfying a vision I have had for a long time. It was important because I wanted to give back to the world. I wanted to create a space where people who need inspiration or feel stuck or are going through a lot of shit that it’s OK. That someone else has been through pain and maybe worse than them.
Sometimes we just need perspective, and I believe this podcast will help change many lives.
I can’t help but think that if my younger brother would have had an outlet like this to listen to, he may have not made the decision to end it all; throwing it all away.
That is why I believe in this so strongly.
The next year is going to be filled with many amazing projects and adventures. I will continue to work on myself and help become the person of influence that inspires millions of people.
My goal is to impact people’s lives in such a way that when they come into my life, they come out feeling better than they did before… that’s what it’s all about.
That is my purpose for all of this and for this crazy adventure called life.
- Lance W Essihos