Allow for support. Nobody is self-made. Oprah was mentored by Maya Angelou. Bill Gates was mentored by Warren Buffet. Trying to figure things out by myself at the beginning seemed admirable, but it was like trying to run a marathon with two cinder blocks chained to my ankles. When I made finding a mentor and a supportive tribe a priority, everything changed in 90 days.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Mason.
Dan Mason is a career and life reinvention coach. Using a unique combination of practical psychology, trauma-informed coaching, and spiritual wisdom, he has helped unfulfilled high performers in 17 countries trade the corporate world for their true calling- so they can increase their impact, happiness, and freedom. He is also the host of the 5-Star rated Life Amplified Podcast, which debuted #1 globally in 2017. You can find Dan at www.Creativesoulcoaching.net
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Like many young boys, I grew up idolizing my father and wanting to be like him. While other kids my age were out playing sports and chasing girls, I spent my summer vacations in middle and high school going to work with my Dad at the radio stations he worked for. At age 16, I had my first on-air job, reading news reports for a tiny little AM station in Maryland.
That led to a 20+ year career path as a radio DJ and Program Director, managing successful pop music radio brands in major markets across the United States, which was great until I eventually realized I had done a great job of recreating my father’s life, with absolutely no idea of who I was.
That epiphany started a personal growth path and a complete reinvention of my career in 2015.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.
The biggest successes of my life all happened by taking risks that everyone else said were too big. Whether it was accepting radio jobs in competitive landscapes that were considered unwinnable (and winning every time), leaving a cushy 6-figure career to start a coaching business, or just navigating the ups and downs of the human experience, I have always had an ability to lean into my desires and away from doubt, no matter how unrealistic the goals seem to others.
I’m not sure whether that’s been driven by stubbornness, blind optimism, or just the enjoyment of proving the naysayers wrong, but it’s served me well and allowed me to create a career and life on my terms.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
1.) I dream big. As a child, I was a gigantic WWE wrestling fan and used to put on wrestling matches in my bedroom with a pillow. I often fantasized about performing in the ring as a wrestler, which was a stretch for someone who was the least athletic kid in the world while growing up.
Yet, through a series of synchronistic encounters in my early 20’s, I spent 7 years moonlighting with a semi-professional wrestling group in Cleveland just for fun. I would literally change out of my business casual radio management clothes at 5pm and drive to a dive bar, where I performed as one of the top “bad guys,” hurling insults at the crowd and threatening to give my opponent’s wife “A Tastin’ of the Mason.”
I’ve had a …. Colorful life.
2.) Resilience. Life has knocked me on my butt more than once. In 2012, I was at rock bottom — stuck in an ugly divorce, 40 lbs. overweight, battling depression, and completely unfulfilled in a high paying career that I had outgrown. At my lowest point, I was suicidal.
In hindsight, that experience was a gift that forced me deep into my own personal development path. Within 90 days of hitting bottom, I lost the weight, learned about vulnerability, made incredible new friends, and manifested what I believed was a “dream job” in radio on the East Coast. Even though I eventually realized chasing bigger jobs in a career I’d outgrown wasn’t the long-term fix, I learned powerful lessons about how quickly we can create massive change, and how our pain can be a pathway to our life’s purpose.
3.) Empathy. I was always the “Dr. Phil” of my friends growing up- the guy people would come to if they needed to talk through a problem. There were times I lost sight of that during my radio career and life became more about me, my self-image, and what I could get from life. But so many new doors opened for me once I focused on solving problems and helping other people. I have a burning desire to help the people that are stuck like I was, living a life they were conditioned to want rather than the one that is authentic to them and their life’s purpose.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I worked for 20 years in the radio industry as an on-air talent and Program Director, a career path that was (and still is) akin to being a major league baseball manager in the sense that you’re hired to eventually be fired.
If the ratings went south, they fired you. But even when the ratings were great, you had leverage into a better a job before things dipped and they fired you.
In my 20’s, there was an excitement to that. I bounced around to 6 different jobs over the course of 16 years, went to a lot of big parties like The Grammys. I interviewed and hung out with celebrities like Ed Sheeran and Maroon 5. I certainly made a great living.
But in 2014, I realized radio wasn’t a necessary medium for consumers anymore. Competitors like Pandora and Spotify had cannibalized the audience and people who did my job at the local level were expendable.
The industry had changed… but I had also changed. I didn’t want the same things at 38 years old that I wanted in my 20’s. I wanted to do something more meaningful.
As I attended a private music industry party at Taylor Swift’s Manhattan Apartment, I had a moment of clarity as I stood in line waiting for my photo op with Taylor. Even though I curated a glamorous life that looked great on Instagram, it didn’t feel great in reality. I was financially secure, but spiritually and emotionally bankrupt.
However, like many people who are going through the motions in an unfulfilling career, I had no idea on what else I was qualified to do or where to begin to figure that out. That was the beginning of a 3-year journey to figure out my purpose.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
With no Plan B and diminishing returns on going to traditional therapy, I hired a life coach to help me start figuring out the big questions. Who am I? What am I here to do? Why had I recreated my father’s life and what would it look like if I started to build one of my own?
I was so moved by my personal development work that I wanted to share it with other people. With no intention of ever making it an income source, I started a group on meetup.com for others who felt stagnant and stifled in their lives. Twice a month, I would facilitate meetings at coffee shops and parks, sharing the tools I was learning about myself.
Eventually, a couple of the attendees asked me if I would coach them privately. As I worked directly with them to gain clarity on their purpose and identify the subconscious blocks to taking new action, they began to achieve amazing results.
I jokingly call myself “The Accidental Life Coach.” I never set out to create this path. It found me when I started focusing less on my own perceived problems and began helping other people.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
After another exhausting day of BS corporate meetings where everyone sat around the conference room table and disingenuously applauded at PowerPoint slides, I came home from my work, drank a couple of glasses of wine, and said “Screw it, I’m going to buy a web domain for my coaching business.”
At the time, I thought I was on a 2-year plan to figure out how to make a sustainable income as a coach.
The following Monday, I was called into a meeting with my boss and given my termination paperwork.
By the end of the day, I already had two other companies on the phone wanting to hire me for jobs in other cities, but I knew I was being released from that job so I could become the man I was meant to be.
The Universe pushed me off the ledge and said “it’s go time!”
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
While my career path looks radically different today than it did 6 year ago, my skillset is mostly unchanged. In radio, I was a content creator through both the spoken and written word. I was the friendly voice person in many people’s day. As a manager, I helped people set goals and build strategies to achieve them. I was a leader and motivator. For many of my employees, I was also a friend and supportive ear when they were struggling in the office or in their personal life.
All those skills and gifts are part of my day-to-day coaching business, only now I’m using them in a way that feels authentic to who I really am instead of who I tried to mold myself to become to feel like I was “enough.”
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
I out earn my old radio income while doing work each day that is deeply meaningful to me. I live and work from the beach in Southern California and I’ve helped clients in 17 countries discover and thrive in their own life’s purpose. My clients have created dream businesses, pivoted into entirely new careers, written books, and starred in movies and commercials, all while increasing their sense of balance and overall well-being.
My podcast, Life Amplified, debuted #1 globally in 2017 and has been downloaded in over 150 countries. Through my writing, speaking, coaching, and media appearances, I’ve been able to inspire over 12 million people around the globe.
Everything in my 10-year plan unfolded in less than 3 and I believe anyone can create the same results when they fully commit to their purpose.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My friend Elvis Duran, hosts a nationally syndicated radio show in NYC that reaches 10 million people every day. I first met him in 2006, when I had been hired at my radio dream job in Miami. Unfortunately, that job only lasted 8 months before I was fired.
For so long, I was bitter about how it went down. Why would the Universe allow me to have everything I worked for in my 20’s, only to take it away 8 months later?
Fast forward to 10 years and I had just published an article at the HuffPost. I got a message from Elvis Duran, who stumbled across that article while on vacation in the Carribbean. He emailed me about building a relationship with his morning show and promoted my podcast when it first launched, helping to propel it to #1 on Apple.
What seemed like a massive failure in 2006 was in actuality, the seed that my business grew from 10 years later. There are no mistakes or failures, only synchronicity and miracles.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Of course. And that struggle still happens with each new level in my business. I don’t know if it’s something you ever eliminate entirely, but I operate from a place that what is for me will never miss me. I will either achieve the goal, or I’ll get a helpful lesson out of it.
I tell clients all the time that you don’t have to feel ready to be ready. And the scary opportunities in front of you would not have even made their way into your consciousness if you weren’t ready to rise up and meet the challenge. Just take the next step.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I can sometimes fall into patterns of avoidance and try to do things on my own. For instance, I worked with my first life coach right up until I left corporate and started my business. Then I went into a scarcity mindset and didn’t want to invest in support until I was making $10,000 per month.
That approach nearly bankrupted me. Nobody is self-made and we all need support to create our next level. Once it became clear I wasn’t getting the results I wanted for myself, I made a $30,000 investment with a high level mentor in a group coaching program where I was also surrounded by like minded people.
With so much amazing support behind me, I made the entire investment back within 90 days and my business took off. You need people farther ahead of you and a group of supportive peers beside you if you want to create an uplevel.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Leaving radio wasn’t just about leaving a career. It was about leaving everything I was conditioned to believe gave me value and security in the world — — the approval of my family and girlfriend at that time, the image of success, a steady paycheck, an illusion of being “important.”
But that’s the whole point of living your purpose. It’s about discovering who you are without all of the medals of achievement you wear to prove your worth and realizing you’re inherently worthy. There’s nothing to prove, only people to serve.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1.) Let go of the “how.” Your job is to focus on what you want to create in your business and life and to take the consistent action steps in that direction. From that place of alignment, the Universe has a better, and more efficient plan than you do. When I first felt the nudge to combine my background in radio with my passion for coaching, I began calling friends who had morning shows in small markets, asking if they needed a guest for “Motivation Monday” segments.
While I was thinking small, Elvis Duran stumbled upon my HuffPost blog while on vacation and thought enough of it to reach out to me. I never could have imagined that while I was calling radio stations in small markets with 10,000 listeners, the Universe had an efficient path for me to reach 10 million people.
Honor your desires and surrender the how.
2.) Clarity is the by-product of courage. I wasted too much time in analysis paralysis asking questions like “Is my website or messaging right?” “Am I targeting the right audience?”
Those are answers you will never know until you take the first step. Nothing worthwhile has ever been created with a known outcome. As a mentor once told me, “Do it messy. Do it afraid. But keep doing it.”
3.) Stop waiting to be successful before you choose to be happy. Happiness in the present moment is the jet fuel that will bring the future success. Before the lockdown, I went on a 10-day trip to Australia. I made more money in that 10 days than I had in the previous two months combined. When I prioritize having fun and being in flow, everything I want comes to me with ease. The energy you bring to the beginning of a new endeavor is what you’ll finish with when the goal is finally achieved, so you might as well choose to feel the emotions you want right now.
4.) Allow for support. Nobody is self-made. Oprah was mentored by Maya Angelou. Bill Gates was mentored by Warren Buffet. Trying to figure things out by myself at the beginning seemed admirable, but it was like trying to run a marathon with two cinder blocks chained to my ankles. When I made finding a mentor and a supportive tribe a priority, everything changed in 90 days.
5.) Give up the need to get it right from the beginning. Before you can be great at a new endeavor, you have to be willing to be bad at it first. I listened to a podcast where they talked about the bad first drafts of movies that are now beloved. “Pretty Woman” started out as a gritty drama about prostitutes before it became a mega-hit Rom-Com. “Anchorman” was about a group of news anchors whose helicopters crashed in the mountains and they turned to cannibalism to survive. The truth is, you’re going to fall on your face when you’re starting out and that’s ok. The goal is to learn the lesson, pivot, and keep moving forward.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
For everyone to live authentically from their life’s purpose. Work is the place we spend the majority of our waking hours, yet 2 in 3 people according to Gallup are disengaged at a job they hate.
When you’re connected to your purpose, you show up each day as the most vibrant, lit up version of yourself. You then bring that positive energy home to your family and kids. Their lives benefit from your presence and happiness. The people you’re meant to serve are better off because you’re sharing your gifts, product, idea, or message in a way that improves their lives. It’s a win-win situation for everyone and my life’s work is helping people create an Amplified career and life with more purpose, freedom, and happiness.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
Oprah. I’m inspired by her for so many reasons- for overcoming childhood trauma, for dedicating her life to bringing up others, but also, for saying yes to her desires. She expanded into acting, producing, publishing, and even new partnerships with companies like Apple. I’d love to spend an hour in her energy and just pick her brain on what she had to learn to scale into a media empire.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My website is creativesoulcoaching.net.
Find me on IG and Twitter @CSCDanMason
I’m also at Facebook.com/CsoulCoaching
And the Life Amplified Podcast is available on all podcast platforms.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!