Permission to Kick Ass

32: Darren Hanser

Episode Summary

Mental health is such an important part of running a business… so why don’t we talk about it more? Today’s guest, Darren Hanser, is on a mission to change that. After realizing something was off in his own business, Darren took action to find the real meaning behind the symptoms. If you ever felt overwhelmed with your business — this one’s for you.

Episode Notes

Literally the week everything started shutting down for COVID, Darren and I were at a conference bonding over a mutual love of grilled cheese. That led to a fascinating conversation about mental health and running a business that we did our best to recreate here. In this episode, Darren and I talk about how to maintain your business’s most important asset — you. 

Can’t-Miss Moments From This Episode:

This one is jam-packed full of advice. Don’t miss out - listen now!

Darren’s Bio:

Darren Hanser is a direct response copywriter, consultant, and marketing strategist who works mostly with health supplement companies and to improve conversions and order values using his Offer ARC Method. 

He’s become a go-to resource for a number of direct response copywriters and offer-owners who need fresh eyes on their headlines, hooks, and offers through his weekly Attention Freaks copy critique mentorship group.  

Darren has worked with some incredible brands like mindbodygreen, Mindful Health, Pure Health Research, Just Thrive Probiotic, and many more.  

In addition to his marketing work, Darren has become a strong voice for Mental Health awareness through sharing his experience with depression, anxiety, and being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.

He’s @darrenhanser everywhere online, his website is and you can also get FREE access to the brand new “Indulgent” Headline masterclass right now at

Resources and links mentioned:

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Episode Transcription

Angie Colee (00:02):

Welcome to Permission to Kick Ass. A podcast about leaving self-doubt in the dust, punching fear in the face and taking bold action toward your biggest dreams. I'm Angie Colee, and let's get to it. Hey and welcome back to Permission to Kick Ass. With me today is my friend Darren Hanser. Say hi, Darren.

Darren Hanser (00:24):

Hello everybody.

Angie Colee (00:26):

So can you give us a quick overview of what you do?

Darren Hanser (00:31):

What do I do? Um, I write online, uh, junk mail basically. Yeah, so I, I write direct response copy, uh, video sales letters, long form sales letters. I do consulting and, um, coaching mostly in the health supplement and fitness space, um, as well as some, uh, other niches, but mostly in kind of the health and fitness and personal growth space.

Angie Colee (01:01):

That's awesome. And it's by now, if you've been listening to me long enough, you know, that I talked to a lot of copywriters just because that's my backgrounds, but if you're not familiar with copywriters, we write sales materials. Like Darren said, I think you write a little bit more than junk mail. My friend give yourself some credit. But we are sales writers, but there's, there's a lot of creativity to this too, especially in your industry where it's a little bit competitive. So I I'm glad that you took some time to be here with me today. So, um, before the call, we were talking before I started recording, we were talking a little bit about your growth journey. So when we, when everything's shut down, we were at a conference and we wound up having a really great conversation about mental health and learning to adjust and adapt as you're growing a business, despite all the stresses. And I mean, that's even more important now as these lockdowns continue, we're, we're, we're recording this in April of 2021. We're a year into the pandemic. There are still some places that are super strict lockdown like yours. Um, so, so let's, let's just jump right in mental health and business building. Go!

Darren Hanser (02:09):

Yeah. I mean, I think when, when we, when we met, it was, um, March, we were having grilled cheese sandwiches, um, and that's kinda how we started talking and yeah, the truth is at that point, I was really just coming out of a big dip. Right. And I think a lot of, um, freelancers, especially like, you know, I, I work as a freelancer and I coach freelancers as well. Like I do a little bit of work one-on-one and the, the one thing that seems to happen is, is how do you manage your energy so that it doesn't, you don't hit a wall constantly and then burnout, and then go through this phase and almost feel, um, proud of it that you've kind of, oh, I've worked so hard and I'm all, I'm so burnt out and I'm just going to take a couple of weeks off and then I'm going to get back at it. Right?

Darren Hanser (02:59):

Like that's not, I don't really find that attractive. Right. What I, what I find attractive is the ability to constantly maintain a consistent level of, of production over a long period of time. That that is, is a high level. Right? And so my problem before we met was I went through a phase like that. And then I went through a phase where I was at a low production level and my focus was at an extreme low, and my energy was at like in the toilet. Um, so, and I was still responsible for producing those same results as the, as the person who is in, in a full head space. Um, so I, I discovered at that time that it was super important to, um, really take a step back and be honest with the fact that there's so much focus on physical health and everything like that.

Darren Hanser (03:55):

And everyone's looking for a new hack to get better physically, but I w I've watched, uh, I think it was, uh, it was a documentary or I read a study. It, trust me, it's I can't remember exactly where it is, but it was basically a statement that said that we're not really physical bodies that are carrying around this brain that's doing stuff for us. We're actually a brain that is caring that is using our body to carry out its desires. Right. But we're actually just a brain with our eyes. Um, and it's using our body to, you know, carry out what it wants.

Angie Colee (04:31):

Meat puppets.

Darren Hanser (04:31):

So it's exactly, it's, we're basically like these big puppets. Right. And so what, what it meant was that if you don't take care of that part of it, that's actually running the show, no matter what you do, physically, whether you go to conferences, whether you network, whether you practice, whether you, you know, do whatever you need to do to get better, it's not going to work unless the, the mental aspect is working as well. Right. Because, and I had to go through a phase of figuring out really what was going on. Right. Was it anxiety, was it depression? Was it burnout? Was it fatigue? What was it? And, and as a copywriter, we're always looking for like, you know, like the number one real reason for Darren's fucking nonsense. Right?

Darren Hanser (05:20):

I'd keep looking for that. And what I came up with was I have almost every, um, symptom of like ADHD that, and I've never been diagnosed with it, but I have probably a stack as big as three dictionaries of doctor reports of childhood psychologists, of teachers, of report cards of everything that has every symptom yet. Nobody actually thought that was the case, because I wasn't like a hyperactive kid. I was just kind of, I was in my head and I was impulsive. I'd say weird things. I'd make weird jokes, you know, and that was just kind of my personality and I leaned into it. Um, but it was really, uh, covering up a lot of symptoms that should have been seen when I was a kid. Um, so that just got, it came to the forefront because a lot of the symptoms start coming out with work.

Darren Hanser (06:11):

Right. Are you starting to make more mistakes at work? Are you starting to, you know, make more mistakes? Uh, like unseen errors, like miss reading things, um, things like that. And a lot of the copy that I was writing, I would read it again and I'm like, wait, like, there's a lot of like little errors in here and that I wasn't even seeing. So I started looking into it and realized that this is like a huge symptom of like adult ADHD. So I started looking into it, got assessed. Did the whole thing got on the right medication. Got on the right, like course of like habits. And honestly, within a couple of days of starting this medication, I, it was like a new brain turned on. Um, and so it was fun. I was, it was interesting. I was in the middle of a project.

Darren Hanser (06:59):

And so I had submitted like my first draft and it was, I was like delaying this project. It was one of those things where it's like, "oh my God, am I ever going to get through this?" And so finally I deliver this draft and then they responded to me and they said, "you know, it's not, um, this isn't your best work." Like, cause I've worked with them before. Right. And it's like, I've done a few projects and like, they've done well. And they said, "you know, can you, can we have a call? Like, you know, I don't know if, well what's going on, but this isn't your best work." Right. So this is literally right when this was going on. And then, so I got on my medication. Um, I spent a couple of days I re edited the entire sales letter, sent it back to them and I said, "look, this is what was going on. Um, over the course of the last few years, uh, this is what's happened. I took care of it. This is a new draft, um, you know, based on my actual brain working and here you go." Right. And they came back and they said, "wow, it was completely different." Right. So, so

Angie Colee (08:06):

You had so many, like, I want to unpack that a little bit because I think there were so many good things I want to, I want to highlight one was knowing yourself and how you operate and being able to objectively look at your performance and realize, like you said, that the things were slipping through something is off here without using that as a club to beat yourself with like "Angie sucks, look at all these things."

Darren Hanser (08:29):

There's ways that we there's ways that we try to over compensate for these issues. Sometimes it's "oh, well, maybe I'm it's because I'm so busy. So I need to start an agency."Right. Or maybe "I need a junior, maybe I need a junior writer." Right. "Maybe I am better at strategy. And I need someone else to do the writing and do the editing." Right. You find these ways to like, kind of fix the symptom.

Angie Colee (08:54):

Yeah and I'm laughing, like for those of you that are like hearing me laughing and thinking I'm laughing inappropriately. It's just because starting an agency or bringing on someone else to do the writing is like actually creating way more work for yourself then.

Darren Hanser (09:06):

Right? Exactly.

Angie Colee (09:07):

So that's why.

Darren Hanser (09:08):

It creates. Well, that's the thing, like if you went in that mindset, it's like, well, sometimes it's not like it's easy to look at the symptom and not, and think like, oh, well maybe I didn't and I needed a new way to edit my, my sales letter. Maybe I need a new process. Maybe I need this. Well, maybe my brain's not working. Right. Like not many people think about that. A lot of people when they're stiff, when they're, um, you know, fatigued when their back is hurting, they start looking for reasons why that might be when people are not performing well at work. Sometimes it's like, they don't look deeper. It's maybe it's just not meant for you

Angie Colee (09:54):

Yeah, like or they dismiss it or use it as a justification to play it safe.

Darren Hanser (09:58):

Exactly. Right. So, so I knew from experience that, you know, I had performed better before. Right. I had performed at a higher level before and there was a couple of things that happened. I was like, "well, this isn't my best." Right. And I'm trying my hardest and I'm putting the effort in, and I'm like killing myself, you know, with emotional trauma, because it's, it comes with the territory of like, you know, being a high achiever plus someone who, um, has like executive dysfunction, it's like an extremely hard balance. Right. So getting that fixed was like, okay, now I can operate at like 150% versus kind of chugging along and working my ass off for 70% effectiveness. Right. And I think people with, um, with any, any sort of, it's not just, you know, diagnosed mental health issues. Right. Sometimes it's, it's just managing your energy so that you are giving your best when it's your time.

Darren Hanser (11:07):

Right. Uh, because during the day, for example, I don't write best first thing in the morning. Right. I'm not one of those people that gets up at 530 and writes and has morning, you know, I was watching, um, I think Marcella, Alison was doing a video like last year or something. And she was talking about her morning pages. Right. And now she writes her morning pages. And I was like, if I had to get up and write pages in the morning, I would lose my mind. Right. But there's other things that I do that get me in the zone that get me inspired, that I'm sure she would lose her mind if she had to. Right.

Angie Colee (11:45):

And that's why it's so important to know how you work best and to be able to experiment with a bunch of different ways. Like I've tried morning pages that's based on The Artist's Way. Um, and I don't know, some days I was super into it and some days like for three pages, I wrote this sucks. I just need a couple more lines.

Darren Hanser (12:04):

Yeah. And like, there was a, there was a time, um, there was a time, I think it was, I don't know, maybe 10 years ago when I started doing like the morning ice cold shower thing. Right. I was like, oh, I'm going to, I'm going to be a bio-hacker. And uh, I'm going to be, you know, super non-inflamed in the morning and I'm going to take these ice cold showers. And I did it for like a couple of mornings. And then I was like, this, this sucks. Like, it's, it gets suppose it's supposed to suck. And I understand that. Right. But there's other things that I could do to build resilience that don't suck as much and aren't pointless. Right. So I could make sure I stay on schedule. You know, I could set a time during the day I know I'm effective and block it out for like, this is my writing time. This is when I do like, this is when I'm actually working. Right. And then block off all the times that I'm not doing anything. And I think that's the, that's the key for me. I don't need to be like a crazy Instagram biohacker, you know, I can just live a chill life and write and be calm.

Angie Colee (13:15):

And yeah. Resist the urge to fill every spare minute. I think it's important to block off space like that for you to do nothing or do whatever feels good in the moment. I'm a big fan of afternoon naps. Um, even when I was working on a high-performing team where we would be at these big thousand person events, right. And we're working from seven o'clock in the morning to sometimes 10, 11 o'clock at night, my team knew if I disappeared in the middle of the afternoon, I found my way back to the room for a nap. And like, I don't, I don't do it with any fanfare if I disappear. It's usually because I need some downtime. Cause like 30 more seconds, man. And Cool Angie is going to become Bitch Angie in about two seconds flat. So like I, I just shut that off. I don't even make it a deal. I go back and take my nap. That's like hitting the reset button on my attitude for me. And then when I come back, I'll be happy. I'll be dancing on the chair. I'll be hugging people. High-fiving in non COVID times clearly. But, um, yeah, sometimes you just need that. And that's something that I know I need. And I'm very militant about that. Like, Nope. It's nap time. Bye.

Darren Hanser (14:26):

Yeah. For, for me, what I've done is I've kind of replicated the commute. Right. So, you know, because I used to commute to a job, you know, and I had a long commute. It was like between 45 minutes to sometimes two hours each way. Right. Depending on the day and weather. Right. So I had a lot of downtime and, um, I found that when I started from home, uh, full time and I was not actually going into an office, I like, I, I needed, I still needed that time. Those, those, that buffer time. Right. So even now what I'll do is, you know, I get up and I have my coffee and I read my stupid, you know, phone. Like I make sure that I get as much blue light as possible, immediately from my phone. Um, I don't have any sort of morning routine that I follow.

Darren Hanser (15:22):

Um, I just chill for a bit. And then I start working on a few projects. Then I, before I actually start the next thing I go and I drive to the coffee shop, I go through drive through, I listened to a podcast, I'll go for a long walk. Right. And then, then I'll come back. And what I noticed is during those downtimes is when all that information gets like, synced it gets synthesized, right. And it's all, it's all that, you know, secondary activity that you're doing, the showering, the, you know, shaving getting, you're going to get a massage, doing whatever it's during all that time that you don't have all this stuff, all the input that you actually come up with, all the ideas. Right. And I've like all the story ideas, all the links of, you know, if you're writing sales, copy all the connecting parts that you're like, oh, how does, how does this person connect in this story?

Darren Hanser (16:16):

And then all of a sudden you take a break and you come back and you're like, oh, I got it. Right. You've got like this, you know, data mine, you know, going on. Right. And I think that's, I don't think that's appreciated as much. Um, because for example, I'll see some people wanting to hire copywriters or whatever, and it's, they're really looking for like a workhorse right. Where they're looking for, um, someone to almost turn copy. Right. And I actually used to work for interestingly. I used to write a lot of, um, viral headlines for, um, like, no, I don't really like, so this client I used to work with, they had probably around 20 different kind of pages on the internet and different niches, different political, you know, sides and all kinds of different things. And then they would sell books and t-shirts and courses and, you know, all kinds of stuff in different little niches.

Darren Hanser (17:13):

Right. And then they would also kind of, uh, rent out their audience to other, um, offers. Right. So if they had a, let's say I had a page that was all about golden retrievers, you know, I build it up to 2 million page and then I sell, you know, ads, you know, I basically partner, you know, with golden retriever people, right. It was like, this was way before all the happening anyway. So what we would do is write all these viral headlines, um, and just crank out these crazy headlines every day and all these articles. And it was a workhorse type situation where they want like 90 headlines every morning, you know, and you know, maybe not that many, but like you have to crank through like all these articles and write headlines for them because their entire business is based on page views and traffic and ad sense and that type of thing.

Darren Hanser (18:06):

So it was really interesting being in that type of environment. But what I realized is that's not the type of work that that's not the type of situation that breeds, um, like excellence, right? So there's some people that can sit 12 hours a day and then crank and work. Right. I'm, I'm not that person. Um, and I had to learn that by experience of saying, okay, yes, I can do all these projects and then having to do them realizing like, no, I'm, I'm not a 12 hour a day, you know, in my office writer, right. I need to move around. I need to have space. I need like, you know, that's,

Angie Colee (18:45):

You know, that's, that's so key and I'm glad that you brought that up because I think there's a certain amount of info about yourself that you can only glean by going through it firsthand. You know, and I have a similar background where a lot of my early days as a copywriter were in Silicon valley, which is basically the capital of hustle and grind culture. Um, and you know, people sleep in for two hours in their car and practically like living onsite at the startups that they helped found. I've been there. I've done the same as you like two hour commute, listening to podcasts, get in there, work 10 to 12 hour days, pop out for a nap in my car, get back and grind, grind, grind, it's doable, cause I've done it. And there's something to be said for getting in the reps and learning how to get good and crank and get really fast.

Angie Colee (19:33):

Is it sustainable? I really don't think so. And it was only going through that kind of workhorse period of my career, where I found where that limit was. Cause I hit a wall hard, like you said, I, I had a catalog that was 112 pages, a retail catalog. And, and we had to produce that in four months with a skeleton crew of one writer, me, one designer, one art director who handled all the photography and the coordinating of the products and stuff like that, that had to be shot. And one production designer who handled like the page layouts and there's a whole bunch of technical specifications. When something goes to print, we had 112 pages and four of us working on that and we had four months to get it done. It was a nightmare. And we got it done almost through sheer bullheaded stubbornness because I think there was, there was a little bit of kind of corporate sabotage going on there, somebody setting impossible deadlines just to see if we would fail.

Angie Colee (20:30):

And I was like, mmm screw you for getting this done. But like there were days after that catalog went out, that I threatened to set boxes of it on fire. If someone brought one near me, uh, where I would just, my boss had come by my cube and see me just sitting like incapable of doing anything of processing anything. And so that's why I was glad that you brought that up kind of that workhorse difference because yeah, it's doable, but it's not sustainable. There's got to be a balance. And I'm not saying that you're going to be on an even keel all days, because there are naturally periods in business where you're going to work harder and naturally periods where you're going to coast or work a little bit less. That's really what you're aiming for. Just kind of manageable peaks and valleys versus like, oh my God, pedal to the metal all the time. You just can't do it.

Darren Hanser (21:20):

Yeah. And it also, you know, it also allows for you to come up with like interesting ideas, right. Because if you're not taking time away and experiencing things and reading or watching different documentaries or going for whatever, like whatever you can do now, you can't really like explore the world. Right. But yeah.

Angie Colee (21:43):

You can take walks, you can take walks.

Darren Hanser (21:43):

But if you're not going out and kind of experiencing a little bit of life and talking, maybe even talking to people who are in your market right. Or watching how they interact with competitors, you know, like for example, um, I'm, I'm writing a, uh, I'm writing a sales video for like an under eye serum. Right. And it's for, you know, women, you know, who want, you know, less visible wrinkles around their eyes. Like, it's a, it's a very simple thing, but you know, so I mentioned it around my house, right.

Darren Hanser (22:16):

Where I had, I live with three women. Right. You know, and hear the response. Right. And here are the, the first thing they say, and it's funny, like I get into these conversations and I start sometimes like the, you know, friends, they, they think it's weird that I want to ask all these questions about, you know, menstruation and estrogen and all it's like, I wanna, like, I'm asking all these, these cause that's my market. Right.

Angie Colee (22:39):

Welcome to life with a copywriter as a friend.

Darren Hanser (22:41):

It's funny because like, you know, every time I have a product, I'll, you know, I'll talk to them about it and I'll get their real opinion. And it's interesting when you come, come out of that with, but you'd never find that unless you step away and actually start just getting out there and talking to people and experiencing things, and you can't do that. If you're scheduling like seven hours a day of writing, right? Like when are, when are you going to actually do the other stuff?

Angie Colee (23:09):

I know no kidding. You like creativity naturally. It's like drawing from a well drawing water from a well, and if you keep drawing without giving it a chance to replenish, eventually it's going to run dry and you're just going to not have anywhere to get water. And so the idea is to recharge that well, by giving yourself space, to let these ideas just kind of bounce around and marinate with each other. Cause like at its core, I define creativity as being able to see connections between two ideas that don't seem to be connected. And so like, you know, a couple of weeks ago I wanted to write an email to my, to my subscribers and I had nothing to say, or at least I thought I had nothing to say. So I sat down and I started journaling. And like, what, what could I talk about today that has some sort of importance to business.

Angie Colee (24:01):

I wound up writing out this goofy ass story about my first attempt, trying to make a smoothie based on internet recipes that I found it didn't go well, it was not at all easy. I wound up with a drinkable result at least. But like I just wrote out this entire crazy story about how I tried to make a smoothie. And I was like, I don't even know if this is going to resonate with people. It just seems like a stupid story, but you know, the points of this and how it ties back to business is that, you know, there's a lot of different people. That'll tell you how to build a business and they claim to have this step-by-step. And if you just follow this series of steps, you're going to have a business congratulations. And like, as you can see, I followed all the steps and wound up with a really shitty smoothie.

Angie Colee (24:47):

So like sometimes you're just going to have to like take the recipe that you have work it to the best of your ability, fiddle around with it and get it to something you can live with and then move along with your day and do better next time. And I sent this out just because I had challenged myself to write this email and you know, not make an excuse and push it off because I didn't have anything to write. I got a lot of people not only reaching out to me going, oh man, I feel this smoothie story. That was so great. Uh, I, I also had people writing into me with actual smoothie recipes, like try this one. You'll you'll have a lot better luck. So there's like, there's something to be said about giving yourself space and challenging yourself to connect things that don't seem connected, but yeah, that comes from taking care of yourself and not forcing that grinds like yeah, yeah,

Darren Hanser (25:35):

Yeah. You can't, you can't force it. And I think the, what I, what I would try to do before is, you know, like I have, I have my own email list now and you know, I've had it for years. Like I, that's how I started this copywriting was just learning how to sell stuff on the internet. Like, that's, that's really what I was trying to learn, how to do. Um, and I learned how to build an email list, right? Like that's, this is what you did. And, um, you know, so at one point I was, that was when, um, I think, I dunno, know what year was this that I started? I think it was 2011. I think I started my first email list. I got my, aweber account in 2011. And that was when, you know, I think Ben settle was one of the only kind of daily email people, right.

Darren Hanser (26:25):

That was talking about that kind of stuff. Um, and a couple of lists I was on that's what they were teaching is you email every day. Right. And so that's what I did for, I think for five years I emailed two to three times a day to my own list. Right. And you know, so there was consistency there, but now I'm, there was a, there was the style of email list that was building then is different than today. So what worked then is different. Like if I email my list every day today it'll work. Um, but I also have different intentions with what I'm doing. Right. So I'm not, I don't just want to email because I have to email, right. I want to email because there's something happening because there's a reason. And you know, for some reason, even this is like anti marketer, but I'm not into like fabricating reasons to reach out just because like, I feel like I need some extra cash in my pocket. Right. Um, you know, so that's, that's kinda how I'm treating my email list now is more like, like you is more just finding things that are interesting sharing them and then, you know, linking it to something. Right.

Angie Colee (27:37):

The funny thing, because when I started writing to people, I always, I, I was under this mistaken impression. I think that I had to have some, something profound to say some razor-sharp business insight. And like, you know, if I'm not Seth Godin level of genius, then why am I even writing to these people? But then I found that just talking about what's happening in my life and what, how it's affecting me, what I'm learning from it, you know, like we were talking a little bit before the call about how I, I filmed or I filmed, I recorded this secret podcast episode. Uh, and if you're listening to this, if you write to me, I will send you the secret podcast episode. It's not on the main feed, but I was telling somebody this crazy story about how I was it's a Tuesday night, I'm sitting at my Airbnb in Memphis, just watching TV and unwinding.

Angie Colee (28:25):

And I hear someone shrieking the words to Bohemian Rhapsody outside. And so I wound up telling this story about how I went outside to find out what was going on. And it was this drunk ass chick, and she's not responding to like, Hey, it's late time to go home from her boyfriend. She's like, holding her phone at him, brandishing it. Like she can repel the power of Satan. There's this crazy story. Like you, the people I was telling this to, they were chuckling. And finally my mentor goes, are you telling the story anywhere? Like, are you, are you sending it to, to your followers? Are you sharing it with your group? What's going on? And I was like, nah, I was just like a crazy story. I like making people laugh. And he goes, you need to share this with people. And I was like, what? There's no point to the story other than some drunk girl interrupted my Tuesday night, there's no lesson that I could share here. Why would I say this? And as soon as those words left my mouth, my brain yelled at me, "drunk girl confidence." You can pull lessons out of there. Like, I'm not advising you get drunk guys. But like, here are the takeaways that you can get from this. And like how much faster you can move forward when you give zero fucks what anybody in the neighborhood thinks of your rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Darren Hanser (29:41):

Yeah. There's something you can find in everything. Right. And if you're paying attention and you're keeping your eyes open, I think a lot of people are like on their phones and watching what's in there. But I used to, when we could sit in coffee shops, you know, I, even as a kid, I would overhear other people's conversations. I was an eavesdropper. Right. And I was always listening to everything and I was always trying to see like, what is actually happening here. Right. And I think that's an interesting way to look at the world instead of being like, oh my God, she was drunk. And she was out and how, how dare she? And she's such a bad influence on our children and led like looking at it and being like going that route, or there's the route you can go and say like, what's happening here? Like what's actually happening here. Like, and I think the more you can do that, the more you see these kind of obscure relationships between things, right. And you just become a more rich like writer and speaker. You just have more things to pull from.

Angie Colee (30:46):

I think, you know, you said a couple things that really struck with me and, and one is like, I could have chosen to see that situation a different way. I could have been bothered by her screeching because let's face it. She was not a, what I would say a talented singer. Uh, but she was very enthusiastic instead. I was just kind of internally laughing. Cause I think part of me was jealous. Like she's having a lot of fun on a Tuesday. Oh my gosh. Like I'm just sitting on the couch in my PJ's and she's out here just like having a ball. Um, and the other piece of it was switching from being a consumer, somebody that absorbs all of this information all the time and then just like cranks it out, you know, processing information and then turning something out, kind of going back to what we said about letting it sit, being an observer, looking at it from different angles. Like you said, letting ideas, bounce around, finding the connections and forming your own thoughts about what's happening in the world, around you versus just passively absorbing things that are happening. Because like I could have very easily been irritated and let that ruin my night, but that's one of my best stories lately,

Darren Hanser (32:00):

Right? Like you're, you're trained to be like offended and kind of like, you know, I spent good money to be here and you're, you know, taking up my air there's you could go a number of ways. Right. But the, the best way is like, I don't know, see if she's got needs some company, I don't know, a drink.

Angie Colee (32:23):

It was funny. Like I was standing in the shadows in the driveway, like behind this big SUV in the dark and it's dark, it's night. Her boyfriend's trying to convince her to come home and he's like, come on, Lindsay, it's getting late. And she does that coy thing where she's like, "is it though?" And I stepped out from behind SUV at that point in time and was like,"uh, yeah, actually it is kind late" that's and that's when I thought that like she was, she started walking off in one direction or boyfriend walked off in another and I thought that she was giving it up or just going back to the bar for a good time. That was when she found Bohemian Rhapsody on her phone and then started like holding it in our direction, trying to repel us like Fine, if you won't let me sing, I'm going to play it at you.

Darren Hanser (33:06):

Yeah. I mean, it's, it's also like there's, I think one, when you start observing and trying to come up with different ideas and doing all that, you start also re learning when it's not a good story, right? Like when to choose your stories and how to place the right ones. I think that's also like an art because you know, when you're coming up with even ads or, you know, emails or leads for videos, and you're coming up with different stories, advertorials like, whatever, you're coming up with stories, there's all kinds of stories out there that you see and like you see experience, but it's not, they're not always the right one to tell in like your business.

Angie Colee (33:51):

Well, and that that's a good point too, because just like you said, with this, you know, the drunk girl story, that same story had multiple different interpretations and depending on what mindset and what filter I was looking at this situation through affects the way I tell that story I chose, I chose, you know, back to the mindset thing, to look at this through a lens of humor. And this is funny to me, this is a funny story I could have just as easily chosen to be angry, especially since that's like our default mode, these days to rage about anything and everything. And I can understand that, especially in COVID time, like being locked up at home is a recipe for raging. I don't really get it. Um, but you know, the important thing that I wanted to point out with that and like choosing the angle of the story to tell, and being a student and an observer of life is that you train your brain to look for different angles when you don't let one, like default annoyance, rage kind of take over and color all of your interpretations of the story that you're telling.

Angie Colee (34:51):

Uh, and I think that's a good habit to get into like, is there another angle to this? Could this be funny? Could this be horrifying? Could this be scary? Could this be any other number of interpretations? There's, there's more than one truth to these things that we're seeing in life. And I think that's a great creative exercise too. Yeah.

Darren Hanser (35:10):

I mean, that could be a great, you know, beginning scene of, uh, like survival VSL, right? Like she's outside screaming at the top of her lungs and you go down the fire escape and find out there's some sort of riot going on and like, what do you do? Right. You know, like, are you ready? You know, I think like, there's, you know, there's, uh, there's uses for lots of these experiences, right? Like if you're in depends where you, what kind of business you have or what type of thing you're doing. But I mean, in like the it's interesting, like in like the direct response space, you're really, you are looking for kind of the obscure, like kind of head turn story. Right. You're trying to

Angie Colee (35:56):

I think that's interesting, like a good story that you would hear at a party that actually catches people's attention. Um, and like that applies to not just our business, but, but any kind of business. Like I know that when I had my mom on the podcast, for instance, she's a baker versus being a writer. That one thing that I really wanted her to share was why she started baking because she makes rum cakes. She didn't make cupcakes, she doesn't make wedding cakes. Like she chose booze soaked goodness. And I was like, there's a story there that people want to hear and they will try these rum cakes accordingly. And, and so, you know, lest, lest you think here's two writers talking and it's only about writing, like, no, these, these stories will help in any kind of business, like just this practice of getting creative, getting out of your head. And I think that also helps with the mental health too, to bring it back to what we started talking about, practicing, seeing it from different perspectives versus sitting in your feels like whatever. Especially if that default mode is like annoyance or anger, um, looking at it from other angles really helps.

Darren Hanser (37:05):

Yeah. One way to do that is like, you know, there's, there's that headline kind of formula. Like, is it possible that blah, blah, blah. Right? And like, if you're, you know, one kinda kinda thing is if you're in a situation and especially with like the mental health stuff is, is, is weird because there's like the it's, it's really funny. It's one of those things that it's, it's the only kind of illness that someone will say they have when they haven't been diagnosed. Right. It's it's, I've never, I've never heard anyone. I've heard. A lot of people say they have ADHD as an adult. I've heard a lot of people say, I haven't heard a lot of people that have actually been diagnosed. Right. And actually have

Angie Colee (37:53):

I suspect I have some symptoms, but I've never been diagnosed

Darren Hanser (37:56):

There's so, but there's people that there's, there's like other illnesses in the body, right. That are so physical that, you know, if you have it or not, right. Like you got a tumor. Yep. You either have one or you don't. Right. Like you don't walk around saying I have a tumor. Right. Um, because I have symptoms, like I have a pain in the side. Right. I'm not saying it's a tumor. Right. But it's something there.

Angie Colee (38:19):

I never thought I'd have this moment in the podcast where I got to impersonate Arnold Schwartzenegger, "it's not a tumor."

Darren Hanser (38:25):

Right. Like that. So, but, but it's interesting, like mental health is one of those things that like, has this, um, conversation around it that is either accurate or it's like my, my thoughts about it. Right. You know, my opinion about what mental health is, my opinion of what, you know, people with anxiety have and whatever. Right. So I started looking really deep into it and realized, and I want, cause, cause I write, you know, health supplement copy. Right. So I wanted to know like, what is actually the problem. Right. And so I started looking at it and realized like, it's literally just the fucking connector. It's, it's one little connector between like, I want to do something and I'm actually doing it. Right. I have an idea about a business and I'm actually going to build a business, like the thought process of someone that is not working is I have all these ideas, but there's nothing happening.

Darren Hanser (39:21):

Right. So when I started getting this medication, I looked at it and it's like, oh, this connects that little fuse. Right. So when I started taking, I'm like, oh, I'm starting to get shit done. I have an idea. I go do it. I have an idea. I go do it. And so I think like the, the focus on that is, um, super important, but it's also like, it's also one of those things where it becomes a default for a lot of people. Right. Where it's like, you know, oh, it's my anxiety. Oh, it's my, it's my attention problems. Oh, it's my depression. Well, you know what, like, there's, there's a very, um, that's why I'm, I'm, I'm super vocal about if there's, if you think there's a problem, go get it checked out. Like actually confirm it. Like, that's probably, that's one of the ways that you make a good business decision.

Darren Hanser (40:14):

If you think that you have a hypothesis, I think I have mental health problems. Okay. But like, don't confirm it by going on Healthline. Confirm it by going and actually getting an assessment done. If you, you know, I think that's, that's the main point I just want to make is that, um, I always talk about it because I think there's a lot of people who I've spoken to who think they have problems or they think they might have something that could, could be helped. Um, but they haven't taken the next step. Right. Because they're like, oh, I'll just, you know, eat better. Or I'll just exercise when yes. That could be like a huge part of it, but there's, there could be another aspect that you're missing out on. Right. And without, you know, being open and talking about things like this, I would've never figured that out myself. So I always talk about it and just go crazy.

Angie Colee (41:03):

I think, I mean, I think that's important to, to add visibility to it, to remove stigma from it. And I think in a lot of ways, you know, one thing that I heard you saying just now was I think that there are some people out there that suspect that they have some challenges with mental health and use it whether intentionally or unintentionally as kind of a way to stay safe, like you said, "oh, it's just my anxiety."

Darren Hanser (41:26):

Of course. That's what anxiety will do.

Angie Colee (41:26):

And they're like -

Darren Hanser (41:31):

It'll tell you that it's your anxiety. And it will like, it's literally working

Angie Colee (41:35):

And then just stop there. Like I know somebody with generalized anxiety disorder and there are therapies, there are strategies, there are tactics, there are medicines that are designed to counteract the anxiety so that you're not paralyzed by it. So like, just because you're struggling with a mental health issue doesn't mean that there isn't something that you can do to help yourself get moving forward again. And I think like, that's why it's important to me to talk about it. Cause I don't, like, I struggle with anxiety too. And I've developed a number of coping mechanisms to help me from getting stuck there and spiraling, recognizing that I'm spiraling as like the number one thing that I do

Darren Hanser (42:13):

Exactly. Right. And so that's the, um, I think it's also, you know, here's, here's the thing, like if you also suspect that someone's not acting or not kind of producing, like they should be right. Or something's changed and you can't really put your finger on it kind of don't be, uh, like don't worry about prying. Like I like, I, there was someone close to me here who was going through huge things in their life. And I was like, this looks really familiar to what went on in my life like five years ago. Right. And so I'm like, I started just observing and just listening to what they were saying and some of the decisions they were making and I'm like, you know, I actually think they're kind of dealing with some of the same shit I was. Right. And like, I kind of feel bad if I don't say anything.

Darren Hanser (43:05):

Right. So I said that and I said like, look here, watch this video. I don't know if this is relevant to you at all, you know, but just watch it and whatever, he never watched it. I messaged him again, like a little while later. And I said, look, you know, I talked to this person, they helped me a lot. You know? I think it would be awesome if you did too. I have no clue if it's even relevant. Right. But I just want to, you know, so he, he actually went down that path and was, and is now doing better. Right. So like, that's like, there's no, like if someone was walking around with like their arm bleeding, you'd say like, "dude, do you need a bandaid or something?" Like, you know, but if someone's walking around with symptoms of, of behavioral things, it's almost easier to write it off as like, oh, they're, they're going through some shit, like leave them alone. Right. Instead of like, maybe they're going through it be like, and it's real. Right. And, and you shouldn't leave them alone. Right. Like I think that's like the, the shift that I think needs to be made is it's not like that's how you don't make something taboo. It's when you don't hide from it.

Angie Colee (44:09):

Yeah. And you just, it just, like you said, with the physical element, you would visit a friend in the hospital and ask if they're okay. If somebody is going through some mental shit, same thing applies, reach out and ask if they're okay. Like the worst that happens is they're not ready to share. And they say, "yeah, I'm fine." And they just kinda blow you off. But like I've had that happen with, you know, I work with a lot of junior level people and I would have instances where they would blow a deadline or they would turn in something that, like you said, it clearly wasn't their best work. And I definitely could have gone to them and been like, "what the hell is wrong with you? Like, why aren't you producing?" I always chose to lead with empathy and understanding coming from the place of clearly they didn't mean to disappoint me. Like the intent here was not " Hahahahaha how can I piss off Angie today?"

Darren Hanser (44:58):

So usually what will happen is, is, is, is like if you're working with someone, usually they won't even tell you like, yeah. Okay, thanks so much, you know, great working with you. Bye.

Angie Colee (45:10):


Darren Hanser (45:11):

Right. And then just they won't even tell you if there was even an issue and you're like, what, what just happened? Right. And those are some of the things that happen throughout, like early in my career, I was like, even like in different industries, I was like, what is like, there's something happening here that like is not connecting. And some there's gotta be something going on. Like, it was so frustrating.

Angie Colee (45:32):

That's the importance of having business relationships with people though. And not just thinking like, I'm the consultant and they're the client. And then like we only come together and talk at these times. It's like you said, when you were going through things and you turned in something that wasn't your best work, your client came to you and said, "Darren, what's going on, buddy? This is not normal."

Darren Hanser (45:54):

Yeah. It wasn't. And it's, it's interesting. Like it wasn't even, um, it wasn't even a negative, right. It was actually from their perspective, it was like, "Okay, what, what can we do to help you? Right. Like, do you need extra resources? Can we, you know, like whatever." And I was like, "you know what? I'm, I've got an appointment, you know, this dates and I'm going to get things sorted." And actually the interesting thing is at the event that we were at, um, I actually like, that's where I rewrote their whole sales letter. Right.

Angie Colee (46:25):

Oh wow. I didn't know that. Powered by the best grilled cheese sandwich in the world.

Darren Hanser (46:29):

Exactly. You're like, I was there and I was like in the event and I was writing because I had this, I had to do this. Right. And it was basically the first time in years that I had ever had like full brain capacity. Right. And it was just, it was interesting to experience, but I was like, oh, thank God. Like this is working now. Right. Anyway,

Angie Colee (46:51):

Uh, it's so important to talk about these things guys. Like you're not alone. You're not the only person that's going through this. Yes. Your situation might be unique, but whatever, you're struggling with, somebody out there probably understands how you're feeling on a very deep level. So like, don't stay in your head. There are professional resources, there are personal resources that you can do to take care of yourself and, uh, you know, to, to be a better human, that's all we can ever try to be.

Darren Hanser (47:17):

Yeah. There's so much now, like every, all the new tech companies like Better Help. And, um, they usually like I think is one. And, um, there's like a ton of different apps, right. That even just help. And there's one, that's like, it's actually really interesting where they did a study and they'll send texts at random times during the day. Right. So they'll send like interesting texts about, you know, how you, how are you feeling or check in with yourself now? Or like, you know, how's your mood, whatever, but it's at random times of the day. So it's got that like unexpected feeling. So when you get it, you actually get like, it's like, oh, I'm getting this like thing that's random. Um, it doesn't happen at like 9:00 AM. I'm getting this like gratitude email anyway, I thought. But, uh, all that stuff is interesting to me. I could talk forever about it, but I know we have a time limit here.

Angie Colee (48:17):

Yup. Well, and you know, actually that's, that's a good place to wrap it up for now, but I think we should definitely do a follow-up on mental health because this is such an important topic. And we need to be talking about, we need to be sharing resources. We need to be reminding each other that we're not alone. And like, I'm not saying that you have to share your deepest, darkest shit. Right. Like I, I had an unexpected breakup last year that led to this tribal thing that I'm doing now. And I didn't talk about it for like three months. I didn't go sharing a raw open wounds. I waited until it healed to start sharing my experience. But like, that is just another means of human connection to when you can share it when you're able to share it from a healthy place and not have it like destroy yourself in process. Um, so Darren, tell us a little bit more about where to find you and I'm definitely gonna make sure that they have those resources that you mentioned to check out too,

Darren Hanser (49:06):

For sure. Yeah. Um, basically anywhere any social network, I'm just Darren Hanser, uh, you can go to my website, and you can also go to attention, which is a where you can get on my email list, but it's also, uh, like a weekly, uh, kind of small coaching group. I do. Uh, so we do like copy reviews and I also talk a little bit about mental health as well. So it's kind of a small thing that I do every week and you can get more information there.

Angie Colee (49:36):

Awesome. Thank you so much for being on the show. Darren, I'll talk again soon.

Darren Hanser (49:39):

Thank you.

Angie Colee (49:43):

So that is it. Another awesome episode of Permission to Kick Ass on the books. If you want to know more about the show or if you want to know more about me, Angie Colee and the mission I'm on to help entrepreneurs punch fear in the face and do big bold things, then head on over to That is all one word together, Make sure to sign up for my email list so that you know whenever there's a hot, fresh and ready podcast episode out for you. And also on Mondays, I like to send out a little newsletter called Kick Monday's Ass. I'm sure you're totally, totally surprised by that. So thank you for being here with me today. I'm Angie Colee. Make sure that you share this with a friend that needs to hear this message today. Like it, share it. Comment wherever you're listening to this today and let's go kick some ass.