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My guest today is Dominick Quartuccio.
We go deep talking about:
- Drift and living a life of intentionality,
- The importance of doing the work in community with other men,
- Sex addiction,
- How to support your children in a way that makes them feel safe, seen, soothed, and supported, and
- Resiliency in the face of “Porngate”.
Dominick helps men discover and live the Great Man Within. He co-hosts The Great Man Within podcast, and runs DoInnerWork.com. He is a regular contributor to the ChooseFI podcast and the Dad Edge podcast (formerly the “Good Dad Project” podcast).
Dominick created and runs The Great Man Mastermind, a select community of high-caliber men living their highest potential. He also formed The Great Man Within Digital Mastermind, an online community and movement of hundreds of men around the world all with one common goal: to uncover and live the best version of themselves.
He is the author of two books: Design Your Future: 3 Simple Steps to Stop Drifting and Take Command of Your Life and On Purpose Leadership: Master the Art of Leading Yourself to Inspire and Impact Others.
You might have heard Dominick on NPR, read about him in the New York Times or watched him do 100 consecutive pushups on YouTube.
Find Dominick online at:
Great Man Within Podcast:
- On Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-great-man-within/id1449269930
- On Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/4mKl8wxJ2BUuM2m8fra0jk
Curt Storring 0:01
Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My guest today is Dominick Quartuccio I am excited to have him on today because we go deep. So a lot of actionable steps here we talk about drift and living a life of intentionality, the importance of doing the work in the community with other men. Dominick's path through sex addiction and recovery, how to support your children in a way that makes them feel safe, seen, soothe, supported, and resiliency in the face of porn gate. Gonna leave a little bit of a cliffhanger here because I want you to listen to the end. This is an incredibly powerful story of how Dominick navigated an extremely challenging time in his life. There's a lot more packed in here Dominick gives us the goods. Now Dominick helps men discover and live the great man within. He co hosts a great man within podcast and runs do inner work calm. He's a regular contributor to the Choose fi podcast and the dad edge podcast. Formerly at the good dad project podcast. Dominick created and runs the great man mastermind a select community of high caliber men living their highest potential. He also formed the great man within digital mastermind, an online community and movement of hundreds of men around the world all with one common goal to uncover and live the best version of themselves. He's the author of two books, design your future, three simple steps to stop drifting and take command of your life. And on purpose leadership mastered the art of leading yourself to inspire and impact others. You might have heard Dominick on NPR, read about him in the New York Times or watched him do 100 consecutive pushups on YouTube. Like I said, Dominick brings it today. I'm extremely grateful for him. And I think there was a lot of amazing things for you, fathers in this podcast. So here we go.
All right, I am here with Dominick Quartuccio, and I am very excited to have him on man, I have listened to your podcast for a couple of years. So thank you for being here to spread your knowledge and your wisdom.
Dominick Quartuccio 2:05
Curt, thanks for doing what you're doing here, man, and especially for fathers and and also for listening to the show. I mean, you must have been one of the first so it's great to have you.
Curt Storring 2:14
Yeah, I think the first one I listened to is actually about sex Addicts Anonymous. And I think that was one of the earlier ones where you got into that story. So I remember being at the gym and going like holy shit, who is this guy being so vulnerable? And so it's amazing to come full circle and have you on the show now.
Dominick Quartuccio 2:30
Thanks, man. That was like I think our second or third episodes you are right there from jump. Oh, yeah.
Curt Storring 2:35
Awesome. Okay, so you are actually your, it seems like you're good at pretty much everything, which I love. And I would love to start with a conversation on drift. You've actually written a book on drift, which is called design your future three simple steps to stop drifting and take command of your life. And this is something that as a dad is only too easy to drop into. Because there are a million things going on. We're just trying to get through the day. And we don't often stop to think about what kind of life we're living. So could you just give us like, what is drift for people who don't know? And then what are some of the signs to look for?
Dominick Quartuccio 3:12
Yeah, man, I think you kind of you teed it up beautifully, you know, drift is that nebulous feeling of inaction, I'm doing all these things, maybe I have the job that I want, the finances are in order, I have a family. And then there's still that kind of restlessness, this dis ease, like you're not connected to something more meaningful or fulfilling. And drifts kind of gives a name for that. And I can't claim credit for it. So Napoleon Hill is one of my great mentors. And, you know, obviously, it's passionist mentor, because he's been dead since 1970. But I'm gonna give you a quick crash course on Napoleon Hill and where this term drift came from, if you're not familiar with him. So Napoleon Hill is most famous for writing the book thinking Grow Rich, it's the Bible for how to attract riches and abundance. He got the idea to write that book from his mentor, Andrew Carnegie, of Carnegie Steel, the billionaire, the Titan, and he told Napoleon if you want to understand how the world's most successful people, like the Henry Ford's the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers, King, Gillette, JP Morgan, Charles Schwab, how they became as successful as they became, you need to interview them, distill their secrets, write the book on that. So he did that called thinking grow rich. Now, the more fascinating piece of advice that Carnegie gave Napoleon was, if you want to understand the real human experience, not just the most successful people in the world, then go out and interview 10 times as many of those people who are at the end of their lives, who felt like they left chips on the table, who felt like they didn't play full out, didn't realize their potential, talk to them, find out how they ended up there. And so Napoleon dedicated the next 20 years of his life interviewed 25,000 of those people, which is a remarkable number. And he ended up writing the book. That is the number one most important book of my life. And I've read hundreds of books. The number one most important book on my life is outwitting the devil by Napoleon Hill. And that is a distillation of these 25,000 stories of dreams lost. And it's this dialogue with the devil. And the devil has this passage in the book. And I remember reading it during Hurricane Sandy here in New York City, which is no, no, eight years ago now where we lost power, we lost internet, we lost electricity, no water, nothing. And for five days, all I had was like a flashlight, and this book outwitting the devil, and these words came in and shook me to my core. And the words were, I'm the devil speaking these words, I make my way into the minds and hearts of people through habit. And once I can infect their habits, I established this state of drift. And when I can get a person to drift, I can lead them straight towards the gates of hell. And drift, and I'll eventually finish the storix is a long one. But drift is this condition, where we think we are making conscious decisions in our lives, when in actuality it's our automatic behaviors, or habits or patterns, our fears, our unconscious belief systems, what society expects of you the pressures, what do you taught by your parents? These are the things actually sitting behind the driver's wheel of your car, and you and your conscious life is stuck in the truck stuffed in the trunk. And it's usually only when an outside force, like thrusts itself upon you and wakes you up. Do you wake up from drift, and it's usually something pretty crappy, like losing a job, you know, your loved one like or maybe like your partner walking out on your a global pandemic, shaking up everything in your life? Those things can be catalysts for you waking up from drift and beautiful ones. But the last thing I'll say on it is if the only catalyst for change, for conscious change in your life, is an outside force thrusting itself upon you, then how in control of your life, are you really?
Curt Storring 7:19
Yeah, well, I think there's a lot of people who can relate to this. And I'd like to go a little bit deeper into how you can even even tell because you said you might have the job, you might think that you're living this life. And it's often this big awakening. And I actually had a guy on the podcast recently, Brandon Archer, whose big awakening was a heart attack, and his mid 40s fittest he's ever been and that was like the catalyst for change. And it almost killed them. You know, so so I guess, how can men tell that they're drifting? And then how do we do this without almost dying without being thrown into the wringer? Like how do we actually start taking control of our own lives?
Dominick Quartuccio 7:59
Yeah, so my podcast partner, Brian, we run the great man within podcast who you're a fan of, we talk about how there's like these three stages of wake up calls that we get from drift. There's the first stage, which is you get a tap on the shoulder. And most men typically ignore that tap on the shoulder, right? So in like your friend's case, I mean, there's plenty of men who have had panic attacks or heart attacks. Usually there's like, you know, you're anxious, you have too much stress, you blow up at your kids, you blow up at your spouse, like those are taps on the shoulder, you can't sleep at night, these are taps on the shoulder, and they're there and they're constant, we tend to blow by these. The second step is you get a two by four across the forehead. Maybe it's like one of your kids rebelling against you, maybe it's your partner, putting the foot down, whatever it is like we tend to get those two by fours, something a little bit more consequential. Some guys respond to that. It's usually when you get hit by the Mack truck, which is stage number three, and that's the heart attack. Or for me, it's ending up in sex Addicts Anonymous. You know, for Brian, my podcast partner, it was getting diagnosed with chlamydia and testicular cancer on the same day that woke him up. And what I've found with most guys is because we've been taught to kind of, you know, ignore these feelings, suppress the emotions, weaknesses, insecurities, these kinds of things that we deem as weaknesses or insecurities, that we wait until something's really broken. You know, we wait till something's really broken before we address it. And so I would say, How do men know when we are are drifting in our lives? Some key indicators are, if on the, on the surface on paper, everything looks like it's running on all cylinders. And the outside world is saying like, wow, you're really crushing it. And then in your inner world, your experience is very different. you're anxious, you're overwhelmed, you feel trapped. Maybe you don't have that sense of freedom. Maybe you're stifled with creativity, maybe you're not having sex with your partner anymore. That's a telltale sign of drift. Another telltale sign of drift is when you are publicly or privately criticizing others. Right? If you are like in your head, killing someone else, maybe because they're more successful, or because they're doing something that you want to be doing, or they represent some sort of threat to you, like, even if it's a private criticism, if you're judging, if you are judging someone in your head, that is a telltale sign of drift. And another big one is when fear drives your behavior. So if you are, if the compass for action in your life, is trying to avoid looking bad, or you're afraid of being weak, or you're afraid of being passed by, or you're afraid of having low podcast numbers, or you're afraid of, you know what I mean, like any of these fears of those are the things that are actually driving your behavior. That's drift. And those can be extremely motivating forces. This is one of the things that most people to understand, we rely so much on fear for motivation, because it's the most readily available, it's always at your fingertips. And it's quite seductive. Purpose Driven energy, right, like to make your decisions and build your life around things that are purpose driven, and inspirational is more challenging, because it's not as readily available, you have to dig a little bit deeper, you have to be more nuanced, you have to be willing to bypass the seduction of anxiety, to actually draw from something that is more enduring, and inspiring. It's not as easy it's a it's like threading an eye of a needle. But if you're building your life around fear, that is also a telltale sign of drift.
Curt Storring 11:48
Okay, amazing. Thank you. So I hear all of this. And I can tell, you know, all the tabs and the shoulders, the two by fours and the Mack trucks in my life, and even living through fear. I mean, even still, things that I do, they're living in fear. It's like those parts of my life. Now I you know, key into those to do something about them. But let's imagine, you know, people have listened to podcasts, they pause it, they do their work, they figure out what's wrong with them, or what they perceive to be wrong with them. How do we do anything about this? Like, how do you then live that purpose for life that you just commented on?
Dominick Quartuccio 12:22
He had met. So I think the first thing I just I just want to give guys permission or anyone permission, I speak primarily to men and on our show, is there's nothing wrong with you. You know, drift, drift is something that we will all do throughout our lives. And the reason for it is because 95% of what we think feel and do is automatic, it falls below our conscious detection. Right? Like whether or not you believe in like neuroscience. Some of the statistics say that between 90 to 98% of what you think feel and do is habitual. It's below your conscious detection. And so it's because, you know, imagine if you had to everyday wake up in the morning and like think through things you have to you know, to be on autopilot in certain areas of your life allows us to function normally. And to do so efficiently. So when that happens, drift is constantly going to be this force that pulls us there's nothing wrong with you. The game you want to start to play is when you find yourself in drift, how quickly can you catch it. And this is where awareness practices are really, really powerful. This is also where community and this is one of the things that I and again, I'm speaking primarily to men, most guys will choose community last, you know, they'll read books, they'll listen to podcasts, they'll do stuff, self study programs. And they'll spend years in that cycle before they will actually step into a community where there are other people who are other guys who are actually calling them forward holding a standard that will quickly help you to get back on track when you started to drift. So let's just say you have all that let's say you have an awareness practice, let's see you have other people in your lives that are holding you accountable. Now what the stages of the process that I write about in design your future is if you are drifting, there's a three step process to kind of break free from drift and its add process. you awaken from drift through awareness ready to make change, you disrupt whatever patterns or behaviors that brought you there. And then you design some new behavior based on that like that awareness that awakening of the like what you've disrupted in your patterns. So awakening disrupting and designing so in the case that like you know, your your friend had or the the man that you interviewed in the podcast, had a heart attack. And I can't speak to his particular instance, but let me take some from the men's in our group. But plenty of guys in our group have panic attacks from living an overwhelmingly stressful life. Okay, they've now awakened ready to make change the way that they've been living their lives. They have to disrupt the way that they've been living. Many of those guys get four to five hours of sleep a night. Many of those guys prioritize their work before their family before their own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Well, it's time to disrupt those behaviors, and reprioritize by designing new protocols around evening routines, morning routines, prioritization essentialism, these kinds of things. So that's how you can really start to break free from those stages of drift.
Curt Storring 15:35
Amazing, yeah, that's, um, I think it all comes back. Starting out with this, the awareness and as I work through our, our ethos, or principles at Dad.Work, the first one is just wake up to what is and otherwise known as know yourself, otherwise known as present awareness. Like there's all of these things that start with understanding that that tap on the shoulder that panic attack is actually the gateway to change. And it's a matter of them, like grabbing that change and being like, okay, now what? And so I'm hearing that you need to have that and then know what to do about it. So is it just a matter of being amongst other people to figure out what to do about it is it just had being well read? Like, if something comes up, you're like, Okay, here's my chance. Is there any, like tools or tips that you have for actually like, then doing something about it beyond just, you know, creating this new life?
Dominick Quartuccio 16:30
Yeah, and here's the thing, you don't need to know what to do about it, because chances are, you won't know what to do about it, right? Like so if, if you've been living your life in a very particular kind of way, whether it's, you know, living such a stressful life, that you end up having a panic attack, or you live a life that I lived for many years of my life, which had compulsive sexual behavior that led to bottoming out and ending up sex Addicts Anonymous, whether you drink too much, even if your high functioning, man, it's kind of getting in the way of your relationships, or your physical health, maybe you're eating too much. There's all these different ways, when you finally wake up to what is chances are, you're actually not going to know what the right next path is. Because you've been doing it a different way your whole life and to feel the pressure of having to know what that right next path is, can can sometimes stymie you. And most guys get an amendment and many people get paralyzed in that place. So let me just take the pressure off and say, you know, the permission is to get experimental. And I talk about that in the book, too, like you when you're disrupting, it's all about running experiments. And one of the best experiments that I like to run is I like to do these things called temporary abstinence periods, you know, because I never quite know exactly why I have a behavior that I have, until I stopped doing it. So for example, you know, like when there was a period of time in my life, where I felt that maybe alcohol was keeping me from living the greatest version of myself, a really great way of like, figuring out why the impacts of that was to do 50 days of abstinence, which turned into 100 days of abstinence. I never intended to stop drinking alcohol together, but I just wanted to see, you know, what would happen when I went out on dates and said no to alcohol? What would happen when I was at the time I was working in a fortune 50 company, as a sales leader, you know, four days a week, I was out, you know, schmoozing and you know, there was always alcohol, saying no, in those environments, what would it feel like to wake up in the morning, well rested without a hangover, you know, like experimenting with stopping something for a temporary period of time. Other examples of that could look like I did 50 days of no TV, no Netflix, because I can disappear into television. I did 50 days of no book reading, because I could, I can get compulsive with consuming information. I see a lot of people getting fat, on just content consumption, and then never doing anything about it. I've taken time off of many lots of time off of masturbation and pornography, to reset my nervous system sexually speaking, these have all given extraordinary insight and wisdom and lenses into why I do what I do, which then allows me to intentionally intentionality is the antidote to drift. I forgot to mention that before. So intentionality is the antidote to drift. Now, instead of drifting, I can intentionally say, what is the relationship I want with alcohol? What is the relationship I want with pornography? What is the relationship I want with my sleep habits, and on and on and on?
Curt Storring 19:44
Yeah, I mean, this is a conversation that could take hours and hours just to go into each single little bit here so that men can understand like all the pieces because putting it all together, is sometimes overwhelming. And I love that you've been able to do it. Quite simply, I mean, we're about 1518 minutes in here. And I feel like you know, the groundwork has been laid now it's about taking action. And one thing I'll just mention for guys going like 50 days, like holy shit, how am I going to do that? The one of the first things that I did to disrupt my patterns was simply doing a fast, and like, I had been counting my calories for years, I had been really trying to dial in everything, be really healthy all the time, hit my macros. And you know, the next thing was, well, fast. Sounds cool, everyone's fasting these days. And I did a three day fast. And the question that came up, was, what am I hungry for? And just like, it wasn't food, you know. And that was just one example of these abstinence breaks. And mine was only three days and maybe even a single day fast. If you don't already intermittent fast, or whatever, it could be enough to get that insight and simply to sit with the discomfort, which is what I think you're doing as well, in your 50 day abstinence periods, is to have the courage to sit in that discomfort and to question. So is there is there anything else for drift before we move on, because one thing you touched on was doing the work with men. So I just want to make sure we haven't missed any important parts of drift.
Dominick Quartuccio 21:08
I think I think I'm so glad you said that. And I didn't catch this. But sometimes I can get kind of extreme in these challenges that I run. And for someone who's like, Oh, my God, 5222 50 days, not at all, you know, like three day experiments of like, fasting is a great idea. Take five days off of television, right? Take five days, and say, I'm not going to eat after 7pm. Tonight, take five days off of pornography, take a week off of jacking off, like these are all very approachable things. And don't worry about it if like you, if like you slip up and like a couple of days, look at the slip up, and then back it up and actually look at what were the events that preceded that slip up? Or is it just a lack of awareness? Was it some triggering event, this is all really relevant information. And this is also where like that community element, you know, like having men in your life, having dads in your life, having people in your life that can actually like talk you through talk this through with you. So many guys try to do this on their own. And then, you know, it just it just happens in silence and in secrecy. And when you drift. There's really no one there to hold you accountable. And there are very few guys who can deal with like who can do that completely on their own. And most of us need some sort of like camaraderie, you know, to kind of keep us on that path.
Curt Storring 22:34
Yeah, exactly. And that has been my experience as well. And even as someone who identifies as a high performer, as someone who has done so much of the work alone, it wasn't until I started doing the work with other men, with elders, with mentors with men in a men's group, that it was like, oh, wow, there are things here that I can push, I can walk against the river of life flowing against me. But when it picks me up and carries me away, there's nothing to grab on to. And then I just go. And so I would love to hear your experience doing the work with men. Because like I said, I mean, I have done, I did the work alone for so long. And it was so helpful. And yet, most of my journey has been accomplished with other men. So So what are you seeing there? I know it fits in with drift here, because you can stay motivated to actually make the changes with the disruptions in your life with other men. But But what is your journey with other men like and how much has that helped you?
Dominick Quartuccio 23:31
Great. I'm so glad you asked the question, man. So my first awakening to going to this inner work journey. And the way I the way I define inner work, there's two, there's two key components to inner work. The first one is, what are the feelings that you want to experience in your inner world? Right? So here's the deal, every action you take every goal you set, every relationship you enter, is because you believe on some level, it's going to provide a certain kind of feeling on the inside. And yet most of us most guys specifically haven't gotten precise around what are those feelings you want to feel. And so in many cases, you take actions, you set goals, you enter relationships that take you really far away from the feelings that you want, right? And many of us can can relate to that if you like you're an entrepreneur, I want to be an entrepreneur because I want freedom. And then all of a sudden, you find you're working like six, seven days a week, 12 hour days and what happened to freedom, the inner work helps you get much more precise around that. The second element is what are the values that you aspire to live by that guide your life. And this is intricately tied to your identity? Right who you believe yourself to be James clear who wrote atomic habits phenomenal book, when he broke down the Latin root of the word identity. It boils down to repeated state of beingness which means if you think about this, if you're repeatedly being a certain way that is the summation that becomes your identity. Your identity is actually an artifact of the past. Think about that, repeatedly being a certain way, has defined who you believe yourself to be. That's, that's an artifact of the past, not a conscious creation of who you want to be in the future. Therefore, you have drifted into this, like who you believe yourself to be. And oftentimes, your value system is nebulous, you've also drifted into your value system. Being in community with other men really helps to expose this. So to go back to a part of my story, like my first entry point to the path of inner work, was back in 2010 had the most successful financial career year of my life, I was working for Prudential financial triple my sales goal that year life changing money for me, and then that, you know, the the trite, old story of I realized it wasn't cracked up there was cracked up to be, I have 3540 more years of work left, if this is as good as it's gonna get, that scares the hell out of me. So now what that put me on this inner work journey where I was reading all the books, listening to the podcasts, you know, I wasn't listening to podcast back then. But reading all the books, consuming all the Guru's and the wisdom. And that got me to this new stage that felt like I had more control of my life. But it was in 2013, where I was right bottomed out, where the first time I'd entered, I ended up in a relationship or I'd fallen in love with a woman, you know, where where a woman can actually penetrate these inner walls that I built up, I had this block around intimacy, and that's a much deeper story we can choose to get into in an hour later.
The first woman who I fell in love with, I betrayed and she caught me and my secret and public lives collapsed. And they became like one I had the secret life that kind of you know, all this behavior was off to the side, my public Dominick, that was like the the forward facing version of me that you know, got me love that got me respected that people liked was now those walls between this other part of myself that wasn't accepted. This other part of me that was told was not not allowed. All that came together. And I went to my first 12 step program meeting, which was for sex Addicts Anonymous. And Curt, here's the fascinating part of that. I walked into that meeting in New York City, at St. Francis of Assisi church, so shamed so shameful, so ashamed and shameful, so afraid that I was going to be discovered by you know, someone like in the workspace or whatever, like, Who's gonna see me walking in here? How am I gonna explain this. And I walked into this room full of men. And the first thing I did, was judged the hell out of every single guy who was in there. And what I didn't see at the time, but I can see so clearly is like, like, looking at the matrix was, as a guy. Whenever I stepped into a room full of men, the very first thing I did is like, advanced calculus was like, Who's the Alpha Dog? Who are the betas? Who are the men that like are my threats, who are the I'm just sizing up everybody. And it happened all like instantaneously, you know, who are the guys that I can get along with who the guys I'm not going to sit next to him. And it was just this, this constant calculus of keeping myself separate from other men. And what I could see now that I can't see I couldn't see back then was all the situations that I entered with men from from my life had always been competitive. sports teams, fraternities, sales environments, it's like how a lot of guys get, you know, acclimated assimilated into male relationships. And make no mistake, man, like, I loved being on sports teams, some of the greatest, you know, experiences of my life fraternity, I have an ambivalent, you know, have an ambivalence with how I look back at that. But still, some of the closest relationships my left came through fraternity. And so I didn't know how to be in a group of men, where we weren't competing, where we weren't always positioning, like we had our shit together always where we weren't always strong. And it took me three months before my sponsor, broke me down, and said, Dude, you got to stop comparing yourself to these other men and competing with these men. They're not here to compete with you. They're trying to relate and connect with you, but you are stiff arming them. And this is where we get to put the Armor down. So it was in the room of 12 steps of sex Addicts Anonymous, where for the first time in my life, Curt, that I realized, like how to start to let the guard down, and to start to share some of these things that I buried. And when I did, and these guys actually moved closer to me through sharing some of the most embarrassing, shameful, insecure stories of my life. They've somehow, you know, elevated me in their mind, like it scrambled my brain, I had to really work through that. But once I found the power in that, because it literally gave me a new lease on life, I wanted that for every man. And that's why I run the podcast that I run. That's why I run the masterminds that I run. That's why the rest of my life. And the My work here is dedicated to helping men discover and live the best version of them in community with other guys.
Curt Storring 30:27
Yeah, that's so powerful. And, and I love that the first step of this was showing up, you know, and a lot of guys don't even get there, the same thing I've seen in men's group guys will come for three to six months. And they'll have their their walls up, they'll be in their shell. And then finally, they're like, actually, I'm not okay, but it takes them months, sometimes to open up, to share to be vulnerable, and then to receive. And so if nothing else, if this project is Dad.Work project does nothing else, but convince a few fathers to find connection and to be vulnerable. Like that's, that would be enough because it is so vital to do this work with other men, other good men who will hold your heart in a safe container. And I'm just so glad that you had that experience in the room to both show up and then open up. And the the final thing I want to touch on with this is just wondering if there was like any one thing that your sponsor said to you, or maybe any internal thought that was like, Okay, now it's safe. What was that switch?
Dominick Quartuccio 31:35
That's really interesting. Actually, what the first thing that popped into my head was what one of the ways that I buffered my 12 step program was going to group therapy. So group therapy with a sex addiction. It's called a C satis, certified sex addiction therapist. And there was about like four or five guys in the group. And there's one exercise we went through was writing down your 10 worst moments, and then sharing them 10 up through one, you know, kind of like this escalation, getting to your worst, most embarrassing and most shameful moment. And that was a real edge for me. And that was a real edge. Like, these stories that I swore I was going to take to my grave, I'm now sitting in a room full of guys, or just a small group of guys, listening them to them tell their stories. And then me feeling all the emotion that came up for me and listening to their stories. And then me sharing mine. And then walking out of there, feeling like wow, I'm closer to these guys. And Whoa, like they can really relate to even even though my stories, the intricate details are different. The themes are so similar. And you know, this, this feeling of like being alone, being the only one, I'm the only you know, I'm the only one who has these perverted thoughts. I'm the only one. You know, a lot of guys in our communities have have challenging issues with food. I'm the only one who eats this way. I'm the only one who's self Lowe's, I'm the only one who's an imposter syndrome. And then like when you finally hear that every guy on some level is experiencing this, like I did you know that that was my wake up call was, wow, I'm not so bad. I'm not so shameful. I'm not such a freak. You know, like in some of the language that started to come up in my mind, I was like, why didn't you realize I talked to myself this way. And when I started to release that, that's where that this new image of myself started to appear. of like, well, who else? Who can I be? And who do I want to become, you know, like, Who is the man that I want to live into? Which is why? You know, like, when I talk about the great man within it's, I believe every guy has a great man inside of him. And it's this fully potential version of who that that man is I aspire to be. And instead of asking, What would Jesus do, I always ask all my great men do. And that kind of came from that awakening of man, I'm not so bad. Therefore, who do I want to be?
Curt Storring 34:10
Yeah, there's so much shame language going on in that story. And I've seen that play out myself is you think that you are broken? Something happened at some point in your life, you are the only one who's like that you're on this island, you separate it from humanity. And it's just not true. Like, like you said, hearing the stories and that's why I want to do this podcast to share the story so that men fathers can be like, oh, maybe there's other people out there who feel this way. And then sharing that story with me or with a close friend or in a men's group or wherever that is it does so much to create a bond of humanity. And I yeah, I'm just so so grateful that there's places to do this work. You know, it's so life changing. And so I'd love to ask you where this came from for you like where did The pain come from where did ending up in sex Addicts Anonymous come from? And the reason I asked is because as we hear these stories for fathers, we have two jobs today when it comes to healing, we have to heal ourselves so that we can help give our children the tools they need to heal the inevitable wounds that we give them. Beautiful. And I call this the father wound I'm sure you've heard this mentioned before, it's this, the wounding that comes from our relationship with the Father, and we all tip we typically all have this, whether it's a perceived or a real threat, or wound, or trauma. We all have a father when well, as a father, I see myself wounding my children and giving them a father wound. And so I think it's important to hear from men who have gone through it like you who have wounds and are aware of them. Where the hell did it come from? Was it something from childhood? Was it something that we as men can learn? Maybe not to do with our children? Could you just walk us through that? If you think it's relevant?
Dominick Quartuccio 36:00
It's totally relevant. Great question, man. And I love the love that you're doing this for your fathers. So as a kid, I was hypersensitive. You know, when things were great, it was like, you know, euphoric, and when things were bad, it was tumultuous it was, you know, DEFCON five, or one, whatever the worst DEF CON is, and, like, I didn't have any tools to navigate my inner emotions. You know, as as a child, I didn't have breathwork and meditation, I didn't, you know, I didn't really know how to express myself and talk about this stuff. So I found myself at in sixth seventh grade, I found myself at this real inflection point, where, from kindergarten to sixth grade, I was in a Catholic school, kind of big fish, small pond, then moved to the public school, in seventh grade, where I was not the biggest fish in the pond, you know, I was no longer the best athlete. I wasn't the smartest kid in class. And the first girl I asked out, said, No, you know, I lost my identity, I was all like, I guess my self, my self concept was shattered. And I felt like I was falling through space, I was in limbo, and, and so that inner world was really, really frightening. And it was around that same time that I completely by accident, discovered masturbation. And in my household and think about this, I went through seven years of Catholic schooling where, you know, I was taught that sex sexuality was wrong, it was a sin, you're going to hell. So there was that. And in my household, my parents are loving, amazing human beings, but also very traditional, didn't know how to talk about sex. So they were the parents that when we were watching a movie, Friday night, which was like, you know, enjoyable, but also terrifying, because if there was like a romantic scene, even like two people kissing my parents would like lunge across the couch, and put their hands over my eyes and be like, don't watch this. You know, like, I'd be sitting there and there'd be something happening in my body. And like, I'd be like, I want to see that. But the collective sphincter of the room had tightened. So you know, like my parents, you could cut the tension with a knife. There was this mixed message of my body wants this, my family says this, my church says this, like these big influences. I don't know how to remedy any of that. And then one day, my parents, like lat like they were they were really great in terms of their supervision around me, but they left a rated R movie at home one day, unsupervised. And it was the movie white men can't jump. And for those of you who have ever seen the movie, God bless her. Rosie Perez has this like very, very light sex scene with Woody Harrelson where she you know, gets her shirt off, they're making out in the city and then in the shower. And for me, I'm sitting there, my parents are gone. I'm sitting on the couch and my blue sweatpants on I got this VCR, remote Sony, and I'm rubbing my bone or through my pants. I'm rewinding I'm playing. I'm rewinding I'm playing. And then Curt, all of a sudden, it's just like, this thunder, this, this force of energy burst through my body, like a fire truck, going barreling down Broadway in New York City. And I just remember these like five or six bursts, kind of like being struck by lightning. And my body felt like euphoric. And when I came to, I had no idea what had just happened. And there was this like, you know, wet spot in my pants. And I was like, I was amazing. And at the same time, I was also terrified because I thought I did have done something wrong. But that day, I discovered that I had like, this access to almost like heroin. In between my legs, this crank that I could pull on any time. I felt anxious. I felt alone, I felt frustrated. And I became this kid who would just pull on it four to five times a day, every day, like truly beat myself up. Because that became the one mechanism I had to navigate my internal turmoil. And at the same time, I was ashamed of it. I knew it was wrong. It was bad. When I say new was wrong, that was just in my mind, I made it wrong. That became the birth of my secret Dominick. And there's a difference between privacy and secrecy. Privacy is I'm intentionally creating boundaries around this, through which I, you know, I share with people who I trust or share with the world in a way that feels good. For me, secrecy is laden with shame. And so I had the secret world of shame, because there was this part of me that didn't seem like it fit into my family, or fit into society, whatever, into my church. And over the course of years, and in the course of decades, that behavior just continued to mount you know, a continue to mount when like, you know, girls enter the picture when women enter the picture when pornography entered the picture when the internet entered the picture. And, you know, do a couple decades of that, it creates like a real bifurcated public and secret life, which eventually collapse.
Curt Storring 41:00
Wow, man, thank you for sharing that. That is, if nothing else, such an invitation for other men to get fucking honest with themselves and with other people. To be frank, that's not the level of vulnerability and intimacy you hear every day. So I just want to first of all, honor you for sharing that. And I know you shared it on your podcast in great detail. So I just Yeah, thank you for sharing that with our listeners here. Because I think that can open up some pathways for people who otherwise would feel that shame to not do anything and just wallow in it. Was there anything during that time, so how do I want to work this, the thing that comes up for me is, when I do something for my kids, or when I shame them by accident, they're going to have to do their work much like you've done your work much like I've done my work. I'm hoping that unlike my story, which was I had to uncover the problems, make the tools to deal with the problems, and then use the tools to help heal myself, I'm hoping that I'll give my kids the problems. I can even help them, find them if they want. And I'll give them the tools to do something. So it sounds like in your case, you didn't have the emotional awareness or you didn't have the tools around feeling that could have helped perhaps, and it's hard when you're a kid, obviously. And this is by no means an indictment of any parenting styles. But were there a couple things that you see now that if you were a father, you'd love to teach your children so that they could sidestep the pain that you felt for for decades.
Dominick Quartuccio 42:38
There's a story that's coming up for me that's not my own. It's actually you know, one of the men in our mastermind, his name is Keith. And he's a dear friend of mine. He's also been on my podcast number of times, and he shared the story about his his two younger daughters. And this has a real parallel to like what I would have wanted as a kid. I think he has one daughter, I think her name is Ava. I think it was Ava who he did this with. So Ava, was freaking out at one point, she got really anxious about something. And you know, like, like a good father. He just wants to solve Ava's problem. And, you know, like, nothing that he's saying is calming her down. And I think he got to this point where he just like, you know, put his hands on her shoulders and looked in the eye and he's just like, Eva, you're Okay, calm down. And she stopped and she calmed down. But he realized maybe later that that wasn't what she needed. And so he went back to her. And he was just like, hey, sweetheart. I know that, you know, like, what I said to you earlier, maybe seem to kind of get the tears to stop and some of the anxiety is stopped. But was that what you needed in that moment? You know, was it was there something else you would have wanted? And she kind of looked at him? And she was just like, I don't know, you know, she because she'd never been asked that question from him before. And he's like, okay, honey. So here's what I want you to know is, if there's ever a time where I'm doing something that doesn't feel right for you, or you would want something different, whether it's to comfort you or whatever, I want you to know you have my permission to let me know. And she's like, Okay, thanks. And a couple of weeks go by. And there's this day where he's like, really busy, and he's on the phone. He's working with his big clients, and she's trying to get his attention and you know, he's he's distracted. And then later on that night, she comes to him, and in Ava's nervous, and she's like, Daddy, I need to talk with you. And he's like, of course, what do you need honey? And she's like, today when you were on the phone, and I was trying to get your attention, and you weren't paying attention to me, it hurt my feeling, hurt my feelings. And he just picked her up, and she started to cry. And he didn't have any words for her and he could feel the tension in her body. And instead of trying To fix it, he just held her. And he said there came this point where he could feel her nervous system just relax. And then this big sigh this her body just like eased, and he could feel his body match that. And that's always been such like a beautiful, tear jerking story for me, because I think back to all those times where I was like, really tense as a kid, sometimes not even knowing why. And I didn't want I wouldn't have wanted my parents to fix it, because sometimes they felt like a burden to me, you know, like my parents, this, this is okay, this is a big one, Curt. One of the biggest ways that my parents expressed love was through worry. And worry, was such a burden for me, they do it now, you know, like when they want to know what's going on in my life. And I tell them about some of the struggle, it becomes this, like, they get worried, and it's coming from a loving place, but then, then they call me all the time and asked me about it, the you know, they, they get us and it feels like an albatross. So as a child, if I were to tell them, it would just create more worry and concern for me, so I withheld that from them. And then I carried that burden all on my own. So if if I could offer anything to the fathers who are listening here, take the burden off your shoulders of having to fix and solve problems. This also this also goes with like your partners, whether you're in relationship with a feminine partner, or masculine partner, they don't want their problems fixed all the time. They just want space, space for it to be safe to express it. That is a surefire way to constantly have an open line of communication. Because if you're not going to thrust your worry, you're not going to thrust your advice, you're not going to thrust your judgment onto them. And they're going to bring it more often.
Curt Storring 46:59
Oh, yeah, that is such a fundamental thing for both, like you said, intimate relationships and children. Dr. Dan Siegel has these four S's for showing up for your kids. And in No, none of those things. I mean, this is like, for me the most wonderful fundamental parenting advice. Your kids want to be safe, physically and emotionally, they want to be seen, which means they want to be validated, they want to have empathy, they want to be soothed so that they can feel like you're showing up for them, or in other words, to feel supported. And so in those four things, I like to keep a sort of my base level, none of them are an F, none of them are fix. And I think like every single man will probably have some experience, or at least most of the men that I have seen and worked with, is they want to fix the problems with their partners, or with the children and then wonder, why didn't that go well, and so hard for us as problem solvers, as go getters, as people who like to fix and have a purpose have a direction, of course, we just need to crush all the problems, and then we'll get to our outcome. And in this soft space of the heart. That's the fucking worst thing to do. Yeah, absolutely unnecessary. And it also is way easier. This is just a little tip, I was talking to a friend about this. And he goes, you know, isn't it funny how being in you might call it in your masculine in the safe container is just way easier than trying to fix it. And it's actually more effective. And so I love that you brought that because it's 100% of our nervous system. It's about the truth of the body, asking his daughter what she felt was right and what she needed. And then to communicate that to him like these lessons, man. This is so much more important than the tactics or tricks for parenting. It's about communication, it's about trusting the body. So that's a beautiful story. And I really appreciate the shared that.
Dominick Quartuccio 48:47
Thanks for opening the space for that man. And the last thing I'll say on this is it like you hit the nail on the head, it is so much easier, as a man who can just hold the space, welcomed the emotion and not have to fix it or solve it. I mean, if you look at like the work that I do, man, I'm leading lots of men with very different lives, with experiences that I can't relate to. I'm not a father, I'm not a man of color. I'm not a gay man. And yet all of these men are represented in my communities. And when they bring situations that I haven't experienced before, there's no way with any credibility that I can, you know, fix or give advice or so. And, and it's actually much more beautiful that I don't have to, because all I need to learn how to do is a certain set of skills, which is to create the environment, hold the space, help them feel seen, safe, soothe supported these kinds of things that I can apply in any context, any context and build rapport and establish connection. So that for me feels like the ultimate super skill.
Curt Storring 49:55
Absolutely. And the last thing I want to touch on is a little Have a little bit of a turn here. But it goes to the idea of resilience. And you know that you know where I'm going here with with porn gate. I want to talk to you about this because this is like such a, for me as a complete outsider, like a gut punch, I feel. And I go, how would I have done that. And this is just an example of a way that life can kick you square in the nuts sometimes. And I wanted to have your experience has a man who has done some of this work a lot of this work, how you navigated this, because I think for a lot of guys, they would have just crumbled. And this doesn't have to mean that you're going through the same thing. It doesn't have to mean that it's a work thing. It could be your kids, it could be you know, your teenager gets into trouble with drugs and you feel your life is over. It could be your your little kid has a temper tantrum for the first time and comes home from school after hitting someone like it could be any number of things that feels like you're a failure in your life is over. So could you please walk us through? What is porn? gaid? And then how the hell did you get so resilient to not only like, deal with it, but then thrive because it's really let you go to this new stage of your life?
Dominick Quartuccio 51:12
Totally. Okay, so, porn gate, this is one of my favorite things to talk about. So thanks for bringing this in. Quick context setting. I spent the first 15 years of my career in financial services, these last five as an entrepreneur. And so the majority of my work and my income up until last year was through doing keynote, speaking gigs, and workshops for corporate organizations, like 90% of my income, and my business came through that and only, like, you know, 10% came through men's work. So when the pandemic hit, and, you know, took me off of a lot of stages, a lot of you know, workshops, I'd already taken a big financial hit. But there were these two worlds that I was running completely separate, right, I had this email list for all my corporate clients. And then I had this email list for all my inner work men's clients, and the podcast, great man within. Now, never the two should meet, right? It's like church and state, you know, used to have two cell phones, these kinds of things. And so there was always this friction, I knew that at some point, I wanted to make the transition to doing 100% of my work and men's work. But, you know, I like the money was still kind of keeping the lights on. So I was kind of straddling that fence for a while. The universe has a way of sorting these things out for you, right? So and by the way, I never would have said something like that, like three or four years ago, I was spiritually homeless for many years of my life, and now I'm converted. And if that doesn't resonate with you, I'm sorry. But for me, like I've seen enough evidence in my own life. So there's this day, where I'm at the gym, and I'm working out and I get an email. And then I get a text message. And then I get phone calls my phones blowing up. And there's a bunch of women who were asking me if my email got hacked, and they're like, I just got an email from you about porn, what the hell's going on? And I looked at my emails, and it turns out that the podcast episode that we had just released on the great man within, which was feel good porn alternatives, right? And it's a conversation about like, no, the porn that you're watching. You know, a lot of the porn that you're watching is perpetuating a system of abuse against women. Here are some alternatives that you can watch porn in a healthy way. That email ended up going out to 300 of my corporate clients, and a majority 50% of those corporate clients. Were the largest women's run organization in the financial services Arena in which I would speak. I was actually like the one math that they didn't like hired to bring in and I'm talking like a cross section of 50 businesses more than that. The fidelity's, the T Rowe Price is the Morgan Stanley's the UBS is you're talking the creme de la creme, all of the head, women in that industry got this porn email. And the short of the story is, by the end of that week, Curt, pretty much the rest of my business had evaporated. All my clients, you know, I became kind of, I became untouchable. And it was I was a PR nightmare. And so by the end of that week, that email went on a Monday, I did damage control that entire Friday, wrapped up most of my relationships. And now I no longer have I'm no longer welcome in this arena that up until a few months earlier was 90% of my lifeblood. So I roll into that weekend and I'm just kind of like, Why the fuck did that happen? You know, like, because because that email wasn't something that I'd sent out there's a person on my team who had scheduled that she'd fell tell her terrible and I ended up doing a big part of my inner work journey has led me to do to working with certain psychedelics and mushrooms is something that I you know, I will look for deeper wisdom on and so I set the space for myself. I did a mushroom journey on it, and I had a chance to see
that it was Time, it's time for me to stop mucking around with something that's paying my bills, but is actually keeping me from doing my purpose driven work in this world. And we talked about, you know, the tap on the shoulder, the two by four and the Mack truck. This is my Mack truck moment. And I could see it, and I could smile out and I could say, you know, what I had been, I had been ignoring the signs. And even I who am this, who is this, you know, this teacher, this proselytizer of anti drift, sometimes can miss it, too. And so I was allowing myself to feel the pain of losing the money to feel the insecurity and the discomfort with I don't know what my path forward is, how am I going to replace this? How much time is it going to take? But that weekend, when I could see it for what it was, I was like, I'm ready to step up for the challenge. So what that all this adversity that gone through with like, you know, sex addicts, anonymous, I'd been at the bottom before. And I'd built myself back up, and any man who's listening to the show, and like, you know, I know, you know, from your own personal experience, when you have been down, and you've built yourself backup, it's the most empowering experience, because then you can start to look at what could like, what, what could actually keep me down for good. Very little, if anything, and I'm convinced that no matter what life throws at me, I'm going to get back up, and maybe harder in the path maybe longer, I may have to suffer in different ways. But I always know that that path is going to bring me to a new level of depth and resiliency, and, and allows me to actually explore new creative paths, new parts of my power that I haven't felt before. And my goodness, man, like within within a few months, I had launched new mastermind, started up a Facebook group, you know, like, things got into motion and all that income has been replaced. My life is more exciting. I don't have to bifurcate my worlds. I've wanted to live a more aligned life. If you think about it, you know, I live most of my life with a public and a secret Dominick, my business was almost like, well, there's the part I really want to do. But here's the part that pays the bill. I wanted that collapsed. And that ended up happening. So all of that came together. And I could see it very quickly, just because of the level of work that I've been doing. And and I think I actually think the person who works for me for catalyzing porn gate.
Curt Storring 57:31
Oh, man, that is one hell of a story. Thank you for sharing that. And I'm so glad you did all the work up to that point to be able to just be like, Okay, I'm gonna go for mushroom journey, or we're gonna just sit with this, we're gonna figure it all Kumbaya, and we'll integrate and figure it out. Because, like, who, and it's so interesting how there was I was going to say, and you picked up on it, obviously, is there's this two sides of Dominick. And now it seems like everything's just about coming home to yourself. And that must feel good, right? Like, do you feel better now?
Dominick Quartuccio 58:01
So good, so good, man, I feel so much better. There are sacrifices that have to be made, you know, like that, like, there are times where I want to put something together, and I want to get corporate sponsorships, but like, they shy away from me because they see some of the topics I talked about. And I'm like, Okay, if not, then then someone's out there. Like there is my tribe that's out there, there is going to be a company, you know, progressive one that can see that we're talking to men about the things that go buried that cause the problems that create the HR nightmares in your business. And if you have the guts to be able to like step to that, then I'm your guy. And And when that happens, and I'm sure there, there are businesses out there that are ready and looking for guys like that, then I can bring that self into that space. But for now, I'm not looking. I like I know what it's like to bury a part of myself, to dim my light to play nice. And that shit is exhausting. You know, that is that is exhausting. It's not liberating, and it's certainly not empowering. So I may have to deal with some inconveniences in the moment and deal with some small term losses to actually get the long term benefit of living an authentic life.
Curt Storring 59:14
Amazing. That is where we're gonna wrap it up. That was a hell of a conversation. I really appreciate it. Dominick, where can people find you? Quickly? What do you do? And we'll leave it there.
Dominick Quartuccio 59:24
Yeah, I mean, listen, if you if you dug this conversation, come over to the great man within podcast, subscribe to it. We've got over 250 episodes. I've got a lot of listening for you. And I've even created some lists of like, where to start and you name it. So the great man within podcast, and also we have a Facebook group for men, called the great man within Facebook group. I don't love Facebook, but it's a great place for you to meet other men. I tell guys, stop lone wolf in your life. Stop just listening to the podcasts and reading the books. Doing it all on your own. Find a group of other guys who actually doing this work, our Facebook community is a place to do that, which will keep you in touch with whenever we're running challenges. Whenever our mastermind groups which are paid groups become open for you to actually like make a commitment to doing inner work. That's where all those announcements take place. So if you start in those two spots, the podcast great man within the Facebook group, the gray man within Facebook group, then you will be dialed into our communities.
Curt Storring 1:00:23
Perfect. And I like you said I'm a longtime listener of the podcast. I'm part of the Facebook group, it's excellent. So highly recommend checking out everything that Dominick does, following him on the podcast, on Facebook, and hopefully one day working with him. So thank you again, brother. I really appreciate this. It's been awesome.
Dominick Quartuccio 1:00:40
Appreciate you too Curt.
Curt Storring 1:00:49
That's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including show notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad dot work slash pod. That's dad.work/pod/. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, Dad dot work slash pod. You'll find everything there. You need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.
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