Psychedelics for CEOs: Useful Tool or Dangerous Shortcut?

  • Wylie-McGraw
  • Hey!

    My name is Wylie McGraw and I’m not a Coach; I’m a Performance Accelerator.

  • You’re in for a world of hurt if you go popping some “magic” mushrooms or sit in an ayahuasca circle before you’re truly prepared.

    And by prepared I don’t mean getting ready for Burning Man!

    Look, CEOs and leaders for decades have been using plant medicines to try and boost themselves into higher levels of thinking and clarity. They’ve had varying degrees of success since, quite frankly, many of them have no idea what they’re doing.

    No matter how you cut it, this is a self-poisoning experience. But you can get what you need out of it if you listen to someone who knows what he’s doing when it comes to these substances in a professional context. You WON’T if you follow the advice of some festival-going charlatan with a YouTube channel.

    Let’s start with some perspective… 

    I recently watched a short documentary about the Oaxacan [wuhhah-kan] community in Mexico. They regard a particular psychedelic mushroom as “medicine” and, surprisingly, raise their children on it as part of their health and upbringing. 

    The children begin using the mushroom as early as age six as the adults purport that it opens them up to respect for nature and life itself, especially areas relating to relationships, intimacy, and culture.

    The Oaxacan community describes its experiences with the psychedelic as pure and positive without ever encountering bad experiences. They laugh at the notion that something negative could ever come of using it. 

    This might sound crazy, almost like some utopian society. A community that embraces and experiences psychedelics without any sort of negative impact or criminal consequence…

    If only others could subscribe to the same reverence, positivity, and joy with psychedelics as this community, right?

    But, unfortunately, our society here in the US paints a different picture as we often misuse psychedelics for the sake of:

    • Escapism
    • Stress relief
    • Uncontrolled addiction
    • Recreation like parties, raves, and music events 

    Rarely are these psychedelics used in the same vein as the Oaxacan culture. 

    And under the guise of “finding oneself” or “unlocking the mysteries of life,” many Americans chase the high to ultimate disappointment in the misguided quest for “transformation.”

    In this context, magic mushrooms and other psychedelics are considered shortcuts, the hopeful easy route towards change, enlightenment, and greater personal meaning and purpose. 

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

    Today’s widespread use of plant medicines labelled as therapeutic, transformative, or even recreational stems from something deeper.

    There’s this yearning and desire, especially among leaders, for deeper and more meaningful connection to themselves and the world around them. There’s also the need to propel themselves beyond their problems and issues as fast as possible. For some, the staggering feelings of dissatisfaction even amid success has become suffocating. 

    And no amount of money, status, or accomplishment has been able to quell this pain. 

    Living with such a struggle, it’s no surprise that many leaders who come to me either wish to try or have already tried psychedelics.

    They’ve done some research, and their interest piqued when they heard household names like Joe Rogan or Tim Ferris discuss using such substances.

    I, too, personally see the value of plant medicines, but ONLY when they’re used in the right time frame, in the right context, and in the right environment. 

    Falling prey to social standards so different than those of ancient Mexico is why most people end up experiencing “bad trips” and overdoses that void the benefits of the psychedelic experience all together.

    This is also a chronic problem among many leaders and professionals as these plant medicines activate access into uncharted dimensions within us. But when we are given the opportunity to face ourselves in another dimension before we have truly faced ourselves in the here and now, we’ll encounter dangerous unknowns that bring forth some scary-ass shit. 

    Look, I get it. 

    It’s easy to get swept up in the maelstrom of stories that use of psychedelics helps break you free from ego and transcend what ails you. It’s intoxicating, especially to a leader who wants excited and accelerated forms of performance enhancement.

    However, this isn’t about being your own guinea pig in some trial-and-error attempt to accomplish the feat of “transformation.” And it should never be sought out just because somebody else said it was cool. 

    I can liken this to a high-level professional I knew years ago. A man so compelled to force some type of revelation that he embarked on a disastrous, month-long trek to many different types of ceremonial psychedelic retreats.

    His logic was to flood himself with as many options as he could as quickly as possible, with the idea that he’d become a more enlightened and wiser man virtually overnight. 

    It’s easy to get swept up in the maelstrom of stories that use of psychedelics helps break you free from ego and transcend what ails you. It’s intoxicating, especially to a leader who wants excited and accelerated forms of performance enhancement.

    This was a Fortune 500 executive who had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal development, clearly to no avail. So, he decided, yeah, let’s do a bunch of drugs and that should do the trick.

    Here’s what this intense experiment looked like: ayahuasca, kambo frog poison, DMT, and psilocybin ceremonies each week for four weeks. 

    Insane! It’s like thinking that drinking eight cups of coffee followed by eight bumps of cocaine would be the best way to show up “energized” for a date. 

    Unsurprisingly, I witnessed him devolve quickly, much within the first week. The phone calls we’d have were often filled with wide swings of subtle irritation to emotional breakdown. 

    Having dinner with him, I could see things were not progressing as he’d envisioned. He looked disheveled, almost confused. His once perky demeanor looked to be melting into a moody constitution. I worried for him.

    But he continued to uphold the facade that things were in fact providing him clarity, confidence, and powerful insights. Until they clearly just weren’t.

    His relationships with women began to wane as his bedroom performance became, well, less than stellar. 

    At one point he called me rattled and terrified. Confused and clearly upset, he shared that his overall experience wasn’t what he imagined. Not only did he discover that he had toxified his liver and kidneys and that his health seemed to take a dip, but something more sinister was happening. 

    Everything he immersed himself in resulted in detrimental and frightening “trips” that left him questioning the reality of his own memories.  

    He wasn’t a new man, but a more stressed-out and fearful executive who needed a literal reset back to “reality.”

    I could share more of the grim details of this executive’s experience, but I’d prefer you simply know that there are no easy shortcuts to better performance. And there are certainly no magic hacks to “transformation.”

    That’s why over the last decade I’ve curated a specific network of experts in plant medicinals who work closely with me in tandem to assist in the deeper breakthroughs I’m already helping my clients attain.

    Breakthroughs that provide real quantifiable results from positively influencing their bottom line to improving relationships to making deeper impacts towards their personal legacy.

    It’s like ensuring you have the right spacesuit on with proper training and preparation before just being rocketed into the chasm of space. 

    Otherwise, you’re destined for failure. You create more toxicity within your mind and body causing long-term damage rather than experience the change or benefit when it comes to your personal enlightenment and growth.

    If you’re curious about using psychedelics responsibly to access untapped wells of your potential, then let’s talk about how we can do this the right way to get positive results, not bad trips.

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