Leaders– our world wouldn’t run without them. They present themselves in many forms. They are our bosses, our government officials, our parents, our spouses, and even our friends. Some we choose, and some choose us. They have the power to raise people or to put them down. The world needs leaders to bring people together and give them direction. That begs the question, where does the desire to lead come from? What qualifies someone to lead? Leadership requires both the vision to create a future environment and the skills to create it. Psychedelics are a unique tool that offers guidance and clarity on both of these facets of leadership.
I sat down to talk with two leaders who have utilized psychedelics to develop their ability to guide others toward a brighter future. The first was Dustin Robinson– a lawyer and CPA who was drawn into the psychedelic space by happenstance just a few years ago. The straight-laced lawyer stepped first into the Cannabis space when clients began approaching him for legal counsel. He became known as Mr. Cannabis Law, which would eventually lead to his pivot into the psychedelic industry where he has become a fervent advocate for this developing field. He has since started a non-profit focused on psychedelic legislation, a psychedelic investment fund (Iter Investments), and runs monthly panels that address the issues that the industry faces.
The second is a long-time international business consultant and executive whom I met deep in the mountains of the Sacred Valley in Peru. During our conversations, I was amazed by his intricate assessment of the structure of business and society. His knowledge and insights into the human mind and social constructs that define our lives are truly unmatched. He was deeply embedded in the corporate world, but his psychedelic experiences set him on a new path in which he utilizes his skill set to help others improve the quality of their life.
These conversations were littered with parallels about the lessons and guidance that psychedelics can provide to those seeking to make tangible changes within their environment. Both Jerry and Dustin opened the conversation by emphasizing the importance of action in the process of manifestation. Manifestation is a word that gets thrown around a lot in spiritual communities but often loses credibility in the business world because of its magical implications. Dustin and Jerry spoke highly of the manifestation process but emphasized the importance of taking tangible steps to reach the goal– something that is often left out of the process.
Jerry spent time in Costa Rica working with the Peruvian plant medicine Ayahuasca. Upon his return, he was no longer the person that he had previously been. The world he returned to, on the other hand, was the same. The psychedelic experience is something that elicits profound changes in the mind. It can change the way a person sees the world, but it holds no power to make tangible changes in the physical world– that responsibility lies with the individual.
The desire to institute change can come about in various ways with psychedelics. For Dustin, his vision for the future of his role as a leader came from a psilocybin trip just over three years ago. He went into the guided experience with the intention of figuring out what was next in his career. He emerged from the experience with a clear vision of the path that he would take to get there.
The use of psychedelics in healthy individuals to foster ‘creative imagination’ dates back to the 60s when two Silicon Valley workers started the International Foundations for Advanced Study (IFAS). Myron Stolaroff, an engineer, and Willis Harman, a Stanford professor, worked with OG psychonaut Al Hubbard exploring LSD as a tool to incite innovation. They studied how LSD could help high-level artists, scientists, and business people solve complex problems and come up with new ideas. Some of the most influential people in our modern society have credited their ideas to psychedelic experiences– Steve Jobs for example. Psychedelics can do this by breaking down old ideas and perceptions that may be holding someone back from creating something new.
Jerry described that he was playing a role based on things he had previously witnessed, and psychedelics helped him see that it was not serving him to hold onto those beliefs. He said: “By the time I showed up and was starting in those roles (father, spouse, worker, and leader), it was more me playing a character than it was my true authentic self showing up.” This is a common result of psychedelic experiences that can help people become more effective in their roles because they begin to shift their work-life to align with their core values and beliefs. Dustin also spoke on the importance of creating a work culture where his employees don’t dread coming to work on Monday. There has long been a culture where work was simply something that had to be done. This has started to change as a new generation challenges the status quo and insists that this large percentage of their lives should not be a requirement, but an opportunity. This shift is precisely what Jerry aims to facilitate with his new coaching business.
After experiencing profound shifts in his own life, due to his psychedelic experiences, Jerry was inspired to help people find more purpose and passion in their lives. During his career as a consultant, working with major companies, he was always focused on getting to the root of their “why.” If he was hired to help increase revenue, or to build new business relationships, he wanted to know why exactly the company desired the outcome. As he continued to pull the layers of the onion back, he realized that at the root of all business problems, people were searching for love. We live in a culture that believes that the actions we take will result in being loved. Jerry challenges this. He believes that love is not something that can be obtained, but is rather something that we as humans naturally embody. At the root of his coaching program, he is working to shift the mindset of companies and their workers to believe that if they feel loved, then the desired business outcomes will come as a result of that– not the other way around.
This shift starts with each and every individual in the workplace. People perform best when they feel supported and when their work is aligned with their desire to affect change in the world. It matters how people in the workplace interact with each other. Company culture can either inspire innovation or kill it. Psychedelics can help leaders improve communication with their employees by understanding their difference and their needs. Through a guided MDMA experience, Dustin experienced an increase in empathy that he has implemented into his business to help his employees feel seen and heard. A business is after all only as strong as its ability to bring people together, and psychedelics are well known for their ability to build feelings of connection and oneness with each other.
Many high-level business leaders have utilized psychedelics to help overcome their limitations and broaden their ability to lead people effectively. There is also an incredible amount of value in doing group psychedelic sessions to help people work together more harmoniously. The IMPowerU coaching program will be utilizing psychedelic ceremonies, among other non-psychedelic self-improvement tools, to help expand creativity and compassion for one another.
Dustin Robinson said that he expects corporate psychedelic retreats to become popular in the coming years. Companies are always looking for ways to increase productivity, innovation, and collaboration– all things that we know psychedelics have the potential to influence. While Dustin’s investment fund is mainly focused on biotech companies developing psychedelic drugs for mental and behavioral health indications, he is passionate and a strong advocate for the tremendous potential of psychedelic medicines to promote growth in healthy individuals. His investment fund recently made its first investment into a psychedelic retreat – Beckley Retreats. Through this investment, Dustin is excited to work closely with Beckley Retreats’ world-class team to build psychedelic programs that foster leadership, creativity, and transformational experiences.
Psychedelics can help businesses grow by aiding in the personal development of leaders and supporting the group environment. Many high-level athletes, artists, and entrepreneurs have credited the depth of their success to their work with psychedelics. In the coming years, we can expect to see more psychedelics in the business world increasing innovation, and positive changes in the quality of the workplace environment.