If the “who” you are doesn’t match the “what” you do, regardless of how it manifests, it’s time to figure out why. We suffer a consonance crisis when we know when things aren’t right; we just don’t quite know what’s wrong, and so solving for the void becomes difficult. Not sure if this is you?
Consider Army Captain Joshua Mantz who was shot while leading his platoon on a patrol of the streets in Baghdad. He knew what was happening as the bullet struck his body. He knew what was happening as the blood rushed into his stomach and chest cavity, something the body does in a last-ditch effort to protect vital organs. And, he knew what was happening as he thought about his family, took his last breath, and died. For fifteen full minutes, he flatlined, all the while CPR was administered, along with life-saving drugs, and a rapid succession of jolts from a defibrillator. Then, miraculously, the medics felt Josh’s pulse returning. He came back from death, brain capacity fully intact, and faced figuring out why.
When Josh returned to the military after an arduous physical recovery, he attacked his work with such fury that he earned the best assignments, earned an early promotion to Major, and threw himself into a Crohn’s Disease flare-up so brutal that it nearly killed him, again. He had to slow down before he shut down.
He left the military entirely and joined the fastest growing private sector company in the world: Tesla. The pace felt like combat, the mission was world domination, and the founder’s focus was singular and unwavering. Tesla was a comfortable and familiar environment and one which would nurture his full-press pursuit of success.
But, Josh kept getting requests to speak in public about his experience in Iraq (and the months and years that followed his death), to talk about recovery, to talk about trauma. He would work 16-hour days at Tesla, building leadership development and company-wide employee engagement programs, and then race to the airport to catch a flight and give a speech before racing back for work the next day. It was, as he calls it, an allurement, an unavoidable passion, something he couldn’t not do. But it was untenable. He lacked consonance between his two lives, each in different speed boats, both going in opposite directions.
Everything Josh was doing mattered. It was important work, helping those with trauma was undeniably life-saving and close to his heart. It was thrilling work, Tesla was growing at rates that were garnering front page stories around the world and teaching him heady, important lessons. Each day people told him how amazing he was, how amazing his career was, how amazing his life was.
But he didn’t feel so amazing. He didn’t feel in consonance because while it was alluring, it wasn’t alignment. There was dissonance between who he was, what he cared about, the vision of the world he wanted to create, and how he spent his time.
He was stressed and empty, all while being the luckiest guy on earth.
Josh needed to dedicate serious thought and effort to doing just that. Thinking about how hard it was to say no to those speaking opportunities helped him to understand that his calling was to reveal the truth behind trauma: what really happens when soldiers come back from war. Josh dove into the depth of his soul, and scraped the bottom of his bank account, as he figured out how to go forward. He didn’t know how to help, but he knew that what he was doing wasn’t working, either for him or for those he wanted to heal. He needed to be in a place where he saw the connection between the work he was doing and the solution he sought for those affected, and he needed, for his own health, to do it in a way where he could control the pace of how and to whom is scaled.
Josh spent a year and a half — the hardest in his life, including the one where he had to re-learn to walk — creating Darker Souls, a leadership training and consulting company focused on the integration of psychologically adverse experiences to drive optimal performance at the individual and organizational levels. In short, he’s helping people and companies understand how to take trauma and make it a strength, not just a scar. The name comes from his highly-acclaimed biography, The Beauty of a Darker Soul, in which he describes his death and his journey back through life. In short, he’s helping people and companies understand how to turn traumatic experiences into strengths, not just scars.
In hours of conversations with Josh, I’ve learned one thing: the void is often clearer than the solution.
It’s time to get yourself in consonance, find your purpose and do work that matters to you. Josh’s consonance came snatched from the jaws of death. The good news is that yours won’t be nearly as harrowing. Are you ready to start?
Take the Limitless Assessment and see if the who you are matches what you do, then take the steps to live a limitless life.