Monday, October 2, 2023

Do CEOs Need Psychedelics?


The Journeymen Collective are helping professionals find their sense of purpose through psychedelic psilocybin experiences.

Fifty years ago, if you were talking with someone about their recent “magic mushroom” trip, they were more than likely a stereotypical hippie: long-haired, free-spirited, and adhering to Timothy Leary‘s turn-on, tune-in, drop-out ethos.

But today, the landscape of psychedelic substance users has drastically changed. A-list celebrities, investors, athletes, and, even, politicians, are all advocating for the decriminalization and legalization of substances including LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA, among others.

There are business owners, like Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, who recently pledged $100 million to psychedelic research after his own battle with depression in 2018 led him to find relief ayahuasca, the psychedelic South American brew rich in DMT. OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman has also advocated for psychedelic use. So has David Bronner, CEO of the popular organic soap company, Dr. Bronner’s. The company has donated millions to support psychedelic legislative efforts and last year, began covering employee ketamine treatments.

Blake Mycoskie
Blake Mycoskie | Courtesy Kendrick Brinson for Toms

According to Rob Grover and Gary Logan, co-founders of the psilocybin-assisted retreat service, The Journeymen Collective, the interest in psychedelic healing is coming largely from white-collar CEOs, entrepreneurs, and high-profile celebrities and athletes.

The Journeymen came to be after the team quit their day jobs (Grover is a geologist by trade and Logan an actor) after Logan’s mother, who had been living with the couple (Grover and Logan are married), passed away.

“What is something that almost every human being does when they get up in the morning? They get up to go to work,” Grover told Ethos over Zoom. “And if we could put one word in front of that, which is ‘conscious’, people can be a little bit more conscious bit by bit every single day,” he says.

Grover says that business owners and leaders often come to the couple’s retreats, held at their home in British Columbia, feeling as if there’s something missing, “something they haven’t connected into within themselves.” Grover says that, typically, it’s some form of making a conscious contribution to other people, to the greater good.

“We believe that business is a great way to really move that creative energy into something that’s actually going to create an impact.”

The couple is onto something. Demand has been high for their journeys and other psychedelic healing offerings across the globe, from MDMA to Iboga. Prospective guests go through a rigorous screening process and preparation period before their stay.

“We believe that there has to be a high degree of personalized support through the actual intensive, immersive journey because when people are with us, they’re with us from the time that they wake up to the time they go to bed every night,” Grover says.

The Journeymen Collective co-founders, Gary Logan  and Rob Grover
The Journeymen Collective co-founders, Gary Logan (left) and Rob Grover | Courtesy

“There’s a high level of intent, a high level of respect, high level of integrity,” Logan says. That’s necessary for people to move through the vulnerable process psychedelic experiences typically bring. Logan says that while the medicine itself is certainly a big part of the experience, it’s really the integration that’s most critical — that window after the journey where processing and rebuilding happens.

“This isn’t just an in-and-out process,” he says. “It’s something whereby if you’re to come and work with us, as an entrepreneur, as an executive, as a professional, then it’s really, really important that you respect the process.” Logan says a lot of people are looking for the quick fix — the silver bullet. “And this can be a silver bullet, but only if you’re willing to take on the work.”

Grover agrees. “It’s not in the world of, ‘oh, what can I get from it?’ It’s not extractive, like ‘I go, I’m going to get the new business idea.’ No, you’re going to work on you,” he says. And that self-work allows the user to be “a clear vessel, a clear conduit,” he says, “so that you can actually discern those new ideas without abusing that relationship with the medicine.”

This idea isn’t unique to The Journeymen. Scores of psychedelic guides, healers, and users attest to its self-healing focus, regardless of the user’s initial intention. And Grover takes it a step further, suggesting that the very nature of psilocybin — a fungus — is to hollow us out. “If you look at mushrooms in a forest, they decompose that which is no longer necessary.” Grover says there are stories, emotions, and feelings that we all hold on to but haven’t been taught how to release them. “Psilocybin is wonderful at helping us dissolve those old aspects of ourselves that are no longer needed for where we’re at,” he says.

“It’s connecting to an innate intelligence that we all have. But we haven’t been shown how to actually connect to it,” Logan says.

best psychedelic retreats
Psilocybin mushrooms Courtesy Mushroom Tao

The demand for “conscious” business leaders has never been higher. The planet has just experienced the hottest July on record as a result of climate change, and the world’s leading climate experts say it’s going to become more common unless businesses, industries, and governments take wholesale action to reduce their impact.

That’s a harder sell to the individual only thinking about the bottom line. And for Logan and Grover, it’s why psilocybin and other psychedelics will play a key role in fostering a healthier future.

“It comes down to commitment to self,” says Logan. “Are you really wanting to explore the inner world of your soul?”

“We believe every human being comes into life to explore their unique genius,” Grover says. “There’s a greater clarity that comes through. And then it’s the acknowledgement, ‘this is a big part of why I am so fit to be the executive, the entrepreneur, the high achiever.’ And there’s a great empowerment that takes place through that process.”

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