Find Your Unique Genius w/ Casey Berman

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

"I hate my job." If this is a phrase with which you are all-too-familiar, this episode is for you. Casey Berman of is here to help you take the reins of your career, and steer yourself into a position where you are leveraging your unique genius to create real value for the world.

Highlight Reel:

1:00 - You are it

4:30 - Exposing the illusion/drama/game/movie/Maya of life

5:45 - The "I hate this" moment

9:00 - Cobbling together something new

13:00 - Why you need to be doing informational interviews

15:00 - Beware the cheap pay-off

17:00 - Your unique genius

25:00 - Find your why

27:00 - There's a better way

35:00 - Face your fears

42:00 - What time freedom looks and feels like

Adrienne MacIain 0:03

Hi, everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we have Casey Berman. Casey, please introduce yourself.

Casey Berman 0:12

Hi. Well, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it. My name is Casey Berman, I'm coming to you from San Francisco, California. And among other things I do I have founded Leave Law Behind, you can see, you'll find us at, but what we do, what I do, is help unhappy attorneys like I was once leave the legal industry, leave the lawyer job to find their dream, non-law career that they love and are good at. So that's what I focus on.

Adrienne MacIain 0:43

Absolutely. And I think we will definitely dive into your story in just a moment. But first, I want to ask my question: what story is the world not getting?

Casey Berman 0:54

Yeah, it's a great question. And I think it's a story that the sages, Buddha, Jesus, on and on, famous and not famous, Disney movies have been telling us and I don't think we're listening, and that is that when it comes to God, karma, nature, comfort, ease, joy, peace, the opposite of anxiety and all of that: we are it. Now, I would be laughed off the stage or even burned out a stake, or pointed fingers at, or looked quizzically at if I said that I am God, or that you are God, right? So you can't say it that way. But I think the story that people aren't getting is that, whether you want to quote the Matrix, or Truman Show or some other movies, and recently like, this story is out there, I, Casey I'm not, I'm not making it up, like, everyone's saying it, but no one's really listening to the fact that we are all it. We are not our thoughts. We are not our feelings. We are, as Michael singer says, the space behind them, and we observe those. And if you think of it that way, it's a lot less sexy, advertisers can't sell you anything. But that's really where kind of peace and joy and calm really is. So I think that's the story that's like right in front of our face, that we're just not reading or listening.

Adrienne MacIain 2:22

That we're all connected to source that we all are part of the same thing. Is that what you're saying?

Casey Berman 2:31

I'm saying that I am saying you are the thing.

Adrienne MacIain 2:33

Yeah. Yeah.

Casey Berman 2:34

You are it.

Adrienne MacIain 2:36

You are it!

Casey Berman 2:36

Alan Watts, who brought Zen philosophy to America in the 70s, you know, he would say that, like, you are it, it's not just we're all one, we're all in this together and all that. It's, it's this idea of that, like, you, Adrienne, are God. It's like, I can look in your eyes and just see like, I see you there, you're there. And I am. And you know, he goes on to say how we're all if you think of all the different waves and the crest of a wave in the ocean, it's all the ocean, but it's all separate waves. And I like to think of it as if you think of where all the water, if you think of all these different geysers and holes in the ground, think of Yellowstone, all that water shooting up. They're all separate geysers, but it's all the same water underneath, right? And that's how I sort of view all of us is: all of our bodies are the separation. And we're very focused on separation: Giants-Dodgers, Republicans-Democrats, but it's... underneath it all, we're all the same. And that's not just sort of a Kumbaya message. But like, for me, that brings me peace and calm. And then it also really, you can kind of just giggle and laugh at all the separation of it all.

Adrienne MacIain 3:46

Yeah, absolutely. I think we had to have, you know, in order to have an experience of life, if there's one thing, right, it has to split itself in order to experience something else. And so that's how you get binaries, but it is, it's an illusion, I completely, completely agree with you. Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you for that. And I think that will really inform the rest of this conversation where we're talking about helping people get in tune with their intuition and get outside of The Shoulds.

Casey Berman 4:20

That's right.

Adrienne MacIain 4:20

So how did that start for you? Where was that moment where you realized something's not working? This is not what I want to be, this is not what I want to do.

Casey Berman 4:30

Yeah. And you know illusion is Maya in Hinduism. And another way to look at it is that it's an illusion, but that it's a drama right, it's a game, you know, people say you're in your own movie. So that's...'cause illusion, sometimes I've had difficulty understanding it, and so when I think of it is a drama for me... You know, I always joke I was a Jewish kid who didn't like blood, so I didn't go to medical school, I went to law school. That's about as critically as I thought about it, right?

And there's other things in life that I haven't thought that critically about some of them minor and you know some of them major, some worked out and some, you're like, why did I do that right? And so for me, it really hit in in 2004. I was a lawyer in House Counsel. And I'll never forget. So I had the job almost all attorneys wanted. Think of you know, dot-com San Francisco, office space, dog running around, free lunch, all that. And I was the lawyer, and it was a great job. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot. But there was just that moment, we had an office in England. So they were buzzing with emails, right when I woke up, and I'll never forget walking to work and looking at my Blackberry--I'm dating myself--but looking at it, and I just said: I hate this. I just hate it. And then realizing later on that evening, no, I still hate it. And then realizing the next day, no, that hasn't gone away. And just like, I hate this, I hated the anxiety, I hated the lack of purpose. There was one story that really came up as we flew to--I was sort of on the outs and we flew to England, which is the headquarters, and we had a big rah, rah, pep rally for it, it was it was nice, it was nice to see everyone together, those things are very beneficial. But I'll never forget, as in house-lawyer, I got put the sticker that went on me was like, "Hi, my name is Casey." And I was in the admin department. And I remember thinking, I don't want to be an admin, and no knock on people who are doing administration, it is for some people, it just wasn't for me. And that really, the universe, I think, was saying, you know, a lawyer is kind of glamorous in some ways, but you're kind of a glorified paper pusher in many ways. And is this what you want to do? And I saw the path, General Counsel of Silicon Valley, I saw the money and the cars and just everything I could do, and I just, I sat there, 27 years old and said: I can't believe I'm doing this, but I am going to turn that down. And I left, way back when. So yeah, that was really the start of this journey or process which I've, I've had a lot of bumps and bruises. But it's been very rewarding.

Adrienne MacIain 7:15

So you took that leap? What happened next?

Casey Berman 7:18

Yeah. Took that leap. So actually, what happened is it took me, just to show, and I help attorneys leave the law, and it takes a while for this. And I understand. That happened in April of 2003. I didn't actually give notice until June of 2004. Just to show you how the mind works. No, no, don't leave. You know, I talked to friends. And they're like, you're so crazy. I mean, Mr. Leave Law Behind guy took 13 months to do it. Right? And there's a funny story that I was getting ready, I was going to tell the CEO, and it was like 5:30, he was still in his office. And I was, I went to the bathroom to wash my hands. And I was just so nervous. And I went, someone came in, I went into a stall, I just caught my breath, person left, I went back out. Well, he was the guy who went into the bathroom. So I went back to the office, and he was gone. And I was like, oh, God. So I had to wait the next day to actually give notice, and he was not very supportive. He was like, "How could you do this? You know, you're gonna fail, you're gonna this..." And I remember being like, "Aaaugh, this is the last thing I need!" So I left, I spent about a few months bridging, I consulted for them just to pay the bills. I went traveling, I got married. So a number of things happened. But yeah, it was really a: "Wait a minute, what the heck did I do?" I had a number of those moments. But through it all, there was just that voice, I'd heard a voice. And it just was like: I gotta try this, I gotta do something else. And then you know, you have money anxieties, and I had to borrow money, buy groceries on my line of credit once when I didn't have the money coming in. I mean, you just have all those things. But something just invisible kept, kept pushing me forward. So.

Adrienne MacIain 8:56

And what did you do?

Casey Berman 8:57

Yeah. So I cobbled it together. I started consulting, I started reaching out. This was in '05 now and I started, I got kind of like a part time consulting gig as VP of operations. And then a friend of mine later on, called me who I'd opened up to, and when you open up to people and say, hey, I'm going to make a shift, some are going to yell and scream, some are afraid, not for you, because of their fear. They don't think they could make it. Some of them do want to sabotage you but others are very supportive. And one guy called me and said, "Hey, I know you're gone. I think you're nuts. But there's a guy out there who I know and he has this company that does management, consulting and qualitative research. He's looking for people who love to talk and are good with people. Casey, I thought of you. You want me to put them in touch?" And I'll never forget, I was driving, I was in this part of San Francisco, this neighborhood near the Presidio, and I remember thinking, yeah, yeah, set up the phone call. Before I know it, I'm doing qualitative research, I'm traveling (this is before my kids), and I'm like, consulting, you know, doing focus groups, and I was taught, they taught me how to do it, but I realized that my friend saw skills in me that I didn't even see.

Adrienne MacIain 10:16


Casey Berman 10:17

I realized also I was able to take a job, and I only maybe knew 40% of it, and people were willing to teach me the 60%. So, you know, a lot of rules I had that I'm this, this and this, and you need to be 100% to get a job, were literally just thrown out the window. So again, I did that I've been doing that kind of in one form or another ever since, I was with that company for a while. And then in 2009, I started kind of a public journal, and Leave Law Behind where I started writing about what it was like to leave the law. And I'd left now five years, right? And I get invited to my alma mater law school here in San Francisco. I thought five people would show up. 55 people showed up, I talked about how to it was right in the middle of the recession, in '09, about how to leave law. And some people came to me and said, will you coach me? I said, Yeah, what's that? What do you mean? "So like, I'll pay you for..." they tell me what coaching was, they paid me, and it's kind of taken off from there. So it's kind of crazy. Yeah.

Adrienne MacIain 11:15

Well, there was clearly a need. You're clearly bringing value. But the thing that I find so amazing is you know, I wasn't in law, but your story is so similar to my own story. I was in academia, but a same kind of thing, where I just had this moment of: I hate this... you know, I love teaching, and I love research. But I hate the bowing and the scraping and the, you know, the the weird little political dance that you have to do to survive in that environment. And, same thing, I went to my, you know, professors and got this huge lecture on how this was insane, and how I could never come back again, if I left this was it, you know, career over. And you know, why did you just throw away all these years of your life doing this thing? I was like, I didn't throw anything away, I learned so much! And just that synchronicity of your friend, and you know, recognizing it, like you take a leap, and it's like, the universe catches you somehow. And you just find that next little step, and you just make your way. And there, you do, you find those people who are your team, and who are your supporters, and who recognize that, you know, you have to find your tribe, I think that's the biggest thing is like, find who your gifts are for, and then just start giving them. Start giving them before anybody asked for them. And like you said, people will come to you and tell you what your gifts are, that you didn't even know.

Casey Berman 12:47

Realize: people want to help.

Adrienne MacIain 12:49

Oh, yes!

Casey Berman 12:51

So for me, for people I've helped leave the law, they were amazed when someone you don't even know you, reach out on LinkedIn, or a friend, yeah, and they take 30 minutes and say, "Hey, Casey, you know, I think this is good, I think that is good about you, you can do this, you can do that, and if you want me to make an introduction, I'll introduce you to so-and-so down the road." And you sit there saying, "We just met, and it's virtual, it's over zoom, and I just connected you, a cold connection over LinkedIn!" So I this idea that, you know, I think one of the fears many people have is, well, if I reach out to someone, they'll reject me. If I want to do an informational interview, they'll think I'm stupid, because I don't know about their space. All of this. The whole point of an informational interview is-- for everyone: informational interviews are phenomenal. One, you gather information: do you like the job or not? Is it on your list, or you cross it off. Two, you let other people talk about themselves. Literally, the question is, hey, Casey, you're in such and such space, I'm thinking of exploring it: what is it like? Oh, well, you see, and that person gets into it. Who doesn't want to talk about themselves? And then third, they make introductions for you. That can be more warm leads, and you're just expanding your network.

Adrienne MacIain 14:08

Yes, and maybe, you know, most of the good jobs aren't actually advertised, they are snatched up before anybody external even knows about them. If you if you have a conversation with someone, and they have a connection with you, and they like you, you'll stay in their mind, especially if you keep that relationship warm over time. And then if something comes open, they'll think you know, hey, you know who might be a good fit for this? Before it's even advertised.

Casey Berman 14:35

Yeah, I've had, I think, four jobs if you look at my LinkedIn four jobs, maybe five over 20 years, and none of them came from an open job posting. Always friends, you know, so and so who I know is looking, they haven't even... the job posting is in their head. They have a need, Casey, maybe get coffee with him. And then you talk it's fit, it's a not, you like each other, he goes, maybe I'll post it, but you know what, why don't I just hire you? Let's just do this or let's just start off: Can you consult for three months? I'd be happy to consult, and there you go.

Adrienne MacIain 15:09

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So what advice do you have for people who are out there right now listening to this and thinking, yeah, I hate my job too. I hate it. What now?

Casey Berman 15:21

The first thing is to ask why do you hate it? Are you just having a bad day? Why do you hate it? There'll be a ton of reasons: I hate the people I work with. I think some of it also, and this is David R. Hawkins calls about cheap payoffs. So first of all, there's the usual suspects right? Like: I hate it; the work is boring; I hate the people around me; I hate the clients; I hate the customers; I just... blah. Look deeper, too, because there could be something that when you hate your job, it's a cheap payoff you get. And a cheap pay off he means is this idea that we actually get a reward, a payoff, for playing small. For having misery in our life. So think about the family and the kids, I have two kids, if they don't wash the dishes, and it's 10 o'clock at night and I'm washing dishes, it feels really good to be angry sometimes. You get that you know that--

Adrienne MacIain 16:18

The martyr.

Casey Berman 16:19

--yeah, the martyr the holier than thou right? Some... when it comes to work, to your question, it could be a real cheap payoff, or you get that pay-off, you get that reward of: I told you the world is bad. I'm better than this place. These people are holding me down. The victim mentality, whatever it is. So in addition to the usual suspects, I would always look at what what payoff might you be getting from this, from the complaint? The third part I would say is okay, great, let's, if you really do hate the job, the work is boring, there's no meaning to it, there's no purpose, fine. Focus, and this what I teach in Leave Law Behind, focus on what we call your unique genius. Okay, and there's three questions. If you're a sports fan, like I am, it's a, it's like a scouting report on how good a player is. Think about actors or actresses: they're good at this type of work, or that type of singing, or that type. You're really and ask your network three things: Compliment me, what am I really good at? Two, what advice do you come to me for in general? Do do I build IKEA tables? Am I a great party planner? And then three, what have I done, or what do I do for free? Collect all of these traits: you're a great talker, a great speaker, life of the party, you're the one who really thinks deeply, you're insightful, you're creative, you're the speaker, you're the one person behind the scenes, whatever it is, gather all of that data, organize it, you know, interpersonal, keep the trains running, whatever buckets you want to, right? And really get that narrative, kind of tell a story, use that to tell a story of who you are. I am Casey and I am good at this, this. And my skills are really into these three main areas: I am quiet leader behind the scenes, I am keep the trains running on time, and the adult in the room, whatever. Get that, let it sit, believe it. And then literally find job descriptions that match your skills and strengths. So if you're kind of a quiet behind the scenes, keep the trains running on time, operations, project management, if you're creative storytelling, hate the details, to go into a storyteller job goes into content creation, right? But really don't look at the job and the title and the salary, look inward at yourself. What are your skills and strengths? What do you enjoy doing? How does that then add value to a job, because the job description literally is just a call for help. It's a pain point. How do your skills and strengths help fill that, heal that pain, fill that gap? And not only that, if you're leading with what you're good at, what you enjoy, you're going to enjoy it. And the company that has the job description is going to really see the value. So looking at in those three ways: Why do you really hate it? Is it just a bad time? Are you getting a cheap payoff? And then that unique genius process I just described, those would be the three steps that I would really suggest people take if they truly hate their job.

Adrienne MacIain 19:02

So helpful. Thank you. Those are great.

Casey Berman 19:04

I hope that wasn't too much.

Adrienne MacIain 19:06

No, that's wonderful! So much value that the people are walking away with today.

Casey Berman 19:10

Good good good.

Adrienne MacIain 19:11

I want to dig a little bit deeper into that whole, "unique genius" thing because I think this is the thing that so many people don't know about themselves, have never taken the time to learn about themselves, have never been told it was even important or mattered at all: what they actually enjoy doing, or what they're naturally gifted in. Right? I think a lot of us grew up with this idea of, well, these are the things that people will pay you to do. So you need to get good at one of these things. Rather than thinking about what are my actual gifts? And so often, we take for granted the thing that is the most unique genius that we have, that special sauce that nobody else has, because it comes so naturally to us. We don't think of it as work. It's just what we do.

Casey Berman 20:07

Yeah. Yeah. No, it's a great point. I mean, think about Beyonce saying, "Yeah, you know, I sing but really, should I be paid to sing and perform? I love it so much, and it actually comes to me." Or Steph Curry. "Really, you're gonna pay me to shoot balls from 42 feet? Like, come on, I'm gonna go be an accountant." You know, we would think that's crazy, right? Um, you know, it goes to the great question you mentioned earlier about, about the script. And when we wonder like, who we really are. We're the observer of our thoughts, as Michael Singer would say, or the God, or however you want to say, that can trickle down into what you just said around not only do we not know who we are... this unique genius is for one of the first times, if not the first time, where you really critically catalogue your skills and strengths. And so another thing I would suggest for the audience is: title, salary, location, all of those elements of a job are important, don't get me wrong. But first, start with your unique genius, your skills and strengths. Now, just because you have these skills and strengths, and it's unique to you, doesn't mean it's not unique to someone else. Someone else has their own version. I mean, Steph Curry shoots from 42 feet, but so does Dane Lillard from Portland, he can shoot from 42 feet like they're both good shooters, right? Doesn't mean Steph Curry says "Well, I'll let Damian Lillard do it," right? Like you've got your own unique skills as well. You're like, how many more sports analogies is Casey gonna bring up? So but it really is one of the first times where you look at your skills and strengths, and we're taught to be humble, and not to boast. So it's difficult for people to do that. Do it! At Leave Law Behind I always tell people: this is a boasting zone.

In a good way, be selfish. And I encourage everyone to boast and be selfish and brag to themselves, because you literally just want to understand and catalogue what you do well, how you add value, and how you can help people. Right? I think it was Abraham Lincoln, I'm gonna butcher it, but he said, like, you cannot be... Don't be poor to help the poor. Like, it's as if we said, Look at all these sick people around here, I'm going to get sick, too. Why would we do that? Right? But when it comes to jobs, we don't want to boast, we want to be humble. I'm not saying be a schmuck about it. But like, literally catalogue what you're good at what you enjoy doing, and match it to a job description. And that's the thrust of you and your genius.

Adrienne MacIain 22:36

Yeah, I love the word soulfish. I've been using that lately.

Casey Berman 22:41

I like that.

Adrienne MacIain 22:42

Yeah, just recognizing that you really do have to pour so much into yourself so that it can come out and help others, it has to come from in here. The other thing I wanted to say is I think there's a different kind of humility that you find when you really discover gratitude. And when you really recognize that giving your gifts and using your gifts to help other people and recognizing that those gifts are amazing, and are valuable, is the greatest gratitude that you can have for having those gifts.

Casey Berman 23:13

Yeah, exactly.

Adrienne MacIain 23:14

Yeah. And I think this goes back to what you were saying before: it's you. You are the thing, right? And these gifts are the thing. And so it is a devotional practice to show up and do work that gives your gifts.

Casey Berman 23:30

And I'll just add to that is like, when you're in a... so people say, "Well, Casey, they're still stress. There's still challenges, there's still deadlines. I can't love everything about my job." And that's right. There's still those moments. But when you're, when you understand your gifts and apply it to a job, and that job is something you enjoy, and hopefully you're at an organization, whether it's your first job or not, that's fine, that has purpose and meaning to you, right? Then what you're able to do is you're able to get, you're able to endure. You don't give up. You don't sit here, like you said earlier, "I hate my job, I want to stop." You endure through it and endure, not in a horrible way, but just "I'll get it done." And it's okay. And what I've seen also is that when that deadline comes up, when that stress comes up, as opposed to if you hate your job, and you're not really that good at it, and you're doing it for title and salary and so on, you get paralyzed and you just procrastinate. Then you have to end up working Saturday night or working Sunday because you didn't do it on Thursday and Friday, right? What happens when you're good at something is even though there's a challenge or a lot of hard work, you can do it. You're good at it. You enjoy doing it. The challenge is not a problem. It's an opportunity. And even if it is a problem, even if it's part of that new job, that is a pain. There's such purpose. You have such mission, and you just love the people around you and your work and you have such a fit. you have that strength, you have that inner strength to get through it.

Adrienne MacIain 25:09

That resilience. Yeah.

Casey Berman 25:10

That resilience.

Adrienne MacIain 25:11

Yeah, I agree. I think the mindset, the attitude, all of that is so important. When you look at, you know, the challenge, do you see it as a game? Or do you see it as a burden?

Casey Berman 25:21

That's right.

Adrienne MacIain 25:22

But I also think you have to find your why. It's kind of like parenthood, you know, when you are dealing with a sick kid who's throwing up on you, right? Like, you have to find that love. You have to find that why, like, I'm here because I love this kid, and I want this kid to thrive. And if you you don't think about it that way, you can't, you don't have that same resilience. It's like, I don't remember who said this exactly, but it's the, you know, the stone masons. There's two stone masons, and you ask one, "What are you doing?" "Oh, I'm squaring off this stone." The other one: "What are you doing?" "Oh, I'm building this beautiful Cathedral." You've got to find your why.

Casey Berman 26:00

You've got to. And I know I have had whys and whys can fade away. So when I started in management, consulting, it was great. I was learning, making money, paying the bills, having fun, good people. After a few years, you're doing the same projects for big tech companies, well known tech companies, and you sit there and you say, Okay, my why has faded. knew why. And that's perfectly fine.

Adrienne MacIain 26:26

And not only is that perfectly fine, that's important for your growth. If you had the same why your whole life, you wouldn't grow or change much would ya?

Casey Berman 26:37

It's the natural course of things. You're right. I didn't think of it that way. Yeah, that's exactly right.

Adrienne MacIain 26:41

Yeah. So we're gonna transition in just a moment here. But I want to kind of ask you, what do you think are the big takeaways that you really want people to walk away with today? If nothing else, like, you want to make sure they they got this?

Casey Berman 26:57

So I want people to understand that in life in general, and in career, there is a better way. So I'm not saying the grass is greener. I mean that if you are suffering in any way--anxiety, depression, lack of potential, whatever those thoughts are, that are clinging to your identity--there is a better way. You don't need to feel that way. And I don't want this to come across as bliss ninny entitled self development guy from San Francisco. That's not it. It's more of when, if you think of Neo in the matrix, when he saw the ones and zeros when he put up his hand, and he stopped the bullets, right? It's when Truman, Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, knocked on the side of the studio and saw the door was open there. And so it's also you moving from intellectually knowing it, to feeling it. And so the one thing I want you to know is maybe not to know. Is maybe to stop thinking and to start feeling into the fact that there is, in this illusion, in this drama, another role, another character that you can embody based on, again, what you're good at, and what you enjoy. So if you took one thing out, it would be: you're not restricted with the character you're playing right now.

Adrienne MacIain 28:35

Yeah, you are the author of your own story.

Casey Berman 28:39

And as the Zen would say, "You are the actor and the audience." You're playing the part and you're watching the part, which boggles my mind still, but you are: you're the author of it, or the reader, or the actor, and the audience.

Adrienne MacIain 28:58

You're here to help others, but there are no others.

Casey Berman 29:04

In the illusion, there are, so like, play the game. Like if I go walk out on the street, or I go somewhere, or if I'm with a corporate client, and I talk this way, they're gonna, you're gonna have me committed. Again, there's games to play here, you know? It's like with my children, like you know, don't don't say that word when we're with grandma. You know, Mom and Dad are a little more liberal, but don't say that. So there's definitely games to play in this illusion-matrix-drama, whatever you want to call it. But if you can have one foot in the game and one foot out, and just having that calm, soothing voice, the geyser, the water underneath, whatever. If you can have that it makes playing in this game more fun, so much fun, so much more fun, more comfortable, not complacent, but comfortable. Less serious, more sincere. That's what I'd love for everyone to come away with.

Adrienne MacIain 30:02

That's beautiful. I love that. Yeah, I think there's a metagame to this game. But you're right, there's that balance: if you go to a cave and you know, meditate, you constantly miss out on the game that you were here to play. And that's a shame as well.

Casey Berman 30:20

There's... it's a great point you bring up and there's, I'm no expert, but I've been reading sort of armchair Hinduism and Zen and so on, because I find it... it's not a religion, it's an ideology. And I love that about it. But there were two type of wise people, one that went into the woods, did just what you said, went to the cave, got enlightened, and stayed there. They have it, they found enlightenment, but it was just for themselves. Then there were the other ones, I think they're called the Bodhisattva, that find the enlightenment and come back, they come back to the world. It doesn't mean they die, but they had their awakening in the cave, from the forest, or even wherever. And then they share it. And I think like what you're doing on this podcast, what hopefully the work I'm doing with lawyers, and what other folks are doing is, we heard a voice, we saw something, we're not even that enlightened, but we just we heard something. And we want to either share what we have, or create some sort of forum where others can share. And I think that's a beautiful thing about the consciousness in in the game and bringing about. So that's it, I think that's really one beautiful thing about what you're doing here is having these conversations and letting someone like me be comfortable to kind of talk in this weird way. You know, you don't you don't have these forums to do this that much. So.

Adrienne MacIain 31:44

Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I think it's so important to get in touch with your intuition, and to have these conversations about the things that really matter to you, and that are really authentic and real to you. And we so rarely do that in life, we so rarely look beyond the game and say, what really matters to you, what's really going on here?

Casey Berman 32:10

And we're so caught, if you think about our five senses, and then you think about our thoughts and our emotions, we're so caught in that, that's the virtual reality we're in, when really, we're here, we're observing all of that most people don't want that's freaky, they don't want even think about that. Or, you know, meditation is boring. I don't want to do that. And I don't want to try and get, I don't want to clear my mind, I want excitement, I want my mind full of stuff. I want to, I want to be excited. So there's a lot that won't do it. And, you know, and there's a lot of ways to keep your mind going, TV and internet and, and everything. So.

Adrienne MacIain 32:55

I think that's just the game that they're having fun playing right now. So, you know, but I completely agree with you, there really is a qualitative difference, there really is a better way. And it's not just about, you know, this job versus that job. It's that recognition that your desire matters. What is important to you is important.

Casey Berman 33:22

That's right.

Adrienne MacIain 33:24

And just that recognition of if I want this thing, then that's meaningful, and the pursuit of that is meaningful to me.

Casey Berman 33:33

And you're not being entitled, you're not being selfish. One thing I would say was that people who play the game of watching TV and so on, that's fine. Like, that's great. I sound judgmental. I don't mean that way at all. But if they just took a moment to think beyond what they're being told, there's a reason television programming is called programming. There's a way that if they just took a break from it... But maybe they don't do it in this lifetime. Maybe it happens another time. That's all and that's, that's fine. But there's that what they want can, they can maybe view it in a more unique, authentic way.

Adrienne MacIain 34:09

Yeah, I mean, I think I always say to people when I'm working with them, if something's working for you, ignore me. Keep doing what you're doing. Like, if you're getting the results that you were looking for, then teach me something. But if you're not getting the results you were looking for, try something new, maybe.

Casey Berman 34:29

That's right. If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. If it's great, keep it up.

Adrienne MacIain 34:35


Casey Berman 34:36

If it's not, if you feel empty, if you feel something's missing if you're... then, you know.

Adrienne MacIain 34:42

Yeah. And the same works in reverse. If you stop doing something that was working, and then suddenly you're like, why isn't this working anymore? Because you stopped doing the thing that was working for you. That's the beauty of repeatable results. You know, we have physics and the laws work the same way every time. You want results you've never gotten, you've got to do something you've never done.

Casey Berman 35:02

And you have to face your fears. Because

Adrienne MacIain 35:03

Oh yes!

Casey Berman 35:04

the fears are the big blockers.

Adrienne MacIain 35:09

Everything you want is on the other side of that fear. So the fear is actually a beautiful signal. It's like a lovely torchlight saying, this way, come here, keep going!

Casey Berman 35:21

And the fear is just energy. Just like a thought is energy, it's just energy. And I still, I mean, I can recognize my fears now, like I can distance myself from my fears. I don't know if I can overcome them that easily, I'm still still working on it. Or them being a signal... I intellectually get that, but emotionally, it's difficult. I'm still just scared stiff.

Adrienne MacIain 35:49

I always say when you are performing, you're always going to get that same physical sensation. That never goes away. What changes is what it signals to you in your mind. At first, it signals to you: oh, my gosh, I must suck at this because I'm having all this, you know, physical sensations, that means I'm inexperienced, it means I'm no good at this. Later, you realize, no no no, everybody gets this every time. And so it means I'm about to do something really exciting. And I'm about to get really awesome results, because I've got all this energy now.

Casey Berman 36:25

You know, it's such a great thing you just said, because an example for me is, I lead these very high profile projects for high profile companies. And years ago, we would interview executives and you know, collect the data, have a report, like very: Do we advertise this way? Do you advertise that way? Do we launch this or not? Right? Think of the Surface tablet I was involved with that team in the beginning many years ago, right? So the pressure, you go to bed before the first interview going: These interviews are very expensive, I'm leading it, and they're basing their whole go to market strategy on what I am going to find out. Right, like, so years, I mean, I would just, you know, sweating and nervous and all of that, right? So just recently, I had another project I was leading for big clients, I'm advising work I do. And that, like you just said the initial, before we kicked off, we had a big interview, the initial butterflies in the stomach. And I felt the butterflies and the anxiety. But there was just this countervailing: it's alright, man, it's okay. And I had this like, well I should prep and I should spend stay up all night and prep and another one going: Go watch the game. Like, you're fine. You've done this a million times. No, no, but like, you're really but it was how the other thought in my mind was, you know what you're good at, don't get complacent.

Adrienne MacIain 37:52

You got this.

Casey Berman 37:52

You got it, it was more: You got this. Don't worry, you got this. Right! It was really, you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly that, that duality of feelings that I that I felt.

Adrienne MacIain 38:03

Yeah, I think, again, we all have negative self talk that pops up, that, it's trying to help you, you know? It's trying to save you from embarrassment, from ruin, from you know,

Casey Berman 38:13

It is.

Adrienne MacIain 38:14

all this stuff, right? It's trying to be helpful. It's trying to be helpful. And you just need to acknowledge it and say, "Hey, thank you for being here. I appreciate your help. And I got this."

Casey Berman 38:25

That's it. And one way--you're totally right, the acknowledgement--if you personify it, so you know, Freddy, fear of the unknown. Right? Debbie, I'm afraid I'll disappoint others. You know, first of all, you got to laugh at it, because it's so stupid. And then once you're laughing at a fear, it's like, oh, god, what am I doing? I'm I am going to stay being a lawyer and wreck the rest of my life and be mean to my kids and my spouse and everything because I don't want to disappoint my parents, the fellow partners and my clients? Really?? Is it disappointment that I'm, I don't want to have "the talk" that I'm leaving the firm? Is that? Yes, that's what's getting in the way.

Adrienne MacIain 39:09

Yeah, their judgment. Or not even their judgment: your projection of their possible judgment.

Casey Berman 39:17

That's it. Oftentimes, people will say, "Hey, can you take me with you?" First of all, I'm happy you're leaving, like mmyyuh. But also your parents will say, "Oh, I knew you were unhappy." You know, it's like coming out of the closet like, "Oh, yes. Like we all knew. We all knew you were unhappy." Like, you know, "we were waiting for you to get it on your own." "Really?" "Yeah." "You're not gonna be mad at me, mom?" "No! I mean, pay your bills, but no," like, it's all of that. And so when you say Debbie, the disappointing, it makes you laugh. And so personifying it also is another way that you can really shine a light on that fear and overcome it. Acknowledge it.

Adrienne MacIain 39:58

I often treat it as a little kid, because that's kind of what it is, it's like "Mom, Mom, Mom I'm scared! I'm scared, Mom!" "I hear you, I get it, you know, mommy's got this, you're okay, we're going to be okay."

Casey Berman 40:10

One big fear I have is: doing work, everything's going to be hard. If I have to do that I got to get the notes and then I got to open a Google Doc, it's gonna take me eight hours to do it and I want to be with the kids and I really, it's nighttime, I want to get a good night's sleep... before you know it this hour and a half project I've stretched into 43 hours, right? So then I don't do it and now it's another week behind, right? And now I'm feeling guilty because I got to send it and I'm like this... crazy.

Adrienne MacIain 40:39

I feel that so hard. I feel that so hard.

Casey Berman 40:42

Harry Procrastination, right? I dunno what's wrong with him.

Adrienne MacIain 40:45

Yeah, yeah, there's so many elements to it you know, but you'll learn your things. And the bottom line is all these things are overcome-able, you just acknowledge them, recognize them, like I see why you're here, I get it, and I'm going to do this anyway. I'm going to do this anyway.

Casey Berman 41:01

They're overcome-able that's exactly it.

Adrienne MacIain 41:04

All right, well, let's I love to do this little exercise with people and just see what this brings. So I'm going to have you, if you will do me the honor of playing along here, close your eyes, and breathe in some colored light and just let me know what color it is.

Casey Berman 41:22

It was it was like a pinkish red and then this blue came in so it was...

Adrienne MacIain 41:28


Casey Berman 41:29

Start with the pinkish red started.

Adrienne MacIain 41:31

Okay, one more time and let me let me know if it's the same or different.

Casey Berman 41:38

One now there's a bunch of colors they're all fighting for it. But yeah, stick with the pinkish red, it's still there.

Adrienne MacIain 41:43

Beautiful, beautiful. So I have a magic wand over here. All right, what I'm going to do is I'm going to wave my magic wand and once I do that, everything that you deeply desire, not even necessarily consciously, everything that you deeply desire is going to come to pass right here in this moment. And so I'm waving my magic wand and I want you to just tell me what's the first thing you see in this ideal new reality that you're in right now?

Casey Berman 42:11

I see time freedom.

Adrienne MacIain 42:15

What does that look like?

Casey Berman 42:16

It looks like nothing on my calendar. And not only nothing on my calendar, but that nagging feeling that I'm missing something like it's Wednesday, why am I not doing stuff? There's a comfort like, no no. If you're.... she waved that wand, like, you're good.

Adrienne MacIain 42:38

You're good! You are just being.

Casey Berman 42:40

It's just time freedom it's just, it's just... I'm going for a run, I'll wake up early, don't get me wrong, I'm not gonna sleep till noon but I'm... I mean sure, I might, but I'm running with my dog, I got nowhere to be, I'll leave the park with her when it's ready to go, and I come and I'm just intentional with my my wife and my kids and...

Adrienne MacIain 43:03

I want you to be there in that park for a minute with your dog. Yeah, and tell me what you can smell there.

Casey Berman 43:10

Grass, freshly cut grass. I smell eucalyptus leaves, the trees around there.

Adrienne MacIain 43:18

What can you hear?

Casey Berman 43:20

I hear the wind, the San Francisco wind. I hear the summer camp. There's kids playing, I hear my dog running through the sand, I'm in the park where they don't want us to be, but she just loves digging up the sand and tennis balls I hear her begging I just I'm just thinking, I'm listening to something, or I'm just quiet but I'm just, I've just time freedom. I have nowhere to be. I've got somewhere to be but I'm doing one thing today, it's later, like, I don't even have a clock.

Adrienne MacIain 43:59

Yeah you're just here you're just completely here in this moment. And something unexpectedly wonderful happens what is it?

Casey Berman 44:11

I run into someone, someone appears either I knew before or I didn't and we have a fantastic conversation. Just like whoa, really? And they have their dog or they're just walking in, hey how are ya, and make small talk, or maybe I knew this person. Hey, how are you? And but we I just we just have a great let does a great impromptu, sincere, authentic, engaging, enlightening, making me better type of conversation. We walk away going, "Oh, like wow, that was cool. I'm happy I bumped into that person."

Adrienne MacIain 44:57

Awesome. Yeah. And then you get really good news. What is the news?

Casey Berman 45:06

Um, the news. So the first thing that popped in my head popped into my mind was like a huge influx of cash.

Adrienne MacIain 45:15


Casey Berman 45:16

It happened, you know, hey, the deal closed. Like, they're wiring the money, you know, and it's like, yes. The other thing that came right behind that, next to it and parallel, was just my children, just like getting... my daughter just got an internship here with the supervisor in City Hall here in San Francisco. And then she's getting she just got a volunteer activity today, but like something whether they started it, we homeschool our kids, even before COVID, so we're sort of a little bit off the grid in a way, but like something with both of my children that they just maybe they didn't even know about. But it's it's an event. It's a volunteer opportunity. It's a camp, it's a something and they're just so excited about it.

Adrienne MacIain 46:10