The Profound Gifts of Heartbreak & Illness w/ Adam Piandes (035)

What are your addictions helping you avoid?

Can illness – and heartbreak – be the best gift for you?

Do you (ever) make an intimate partner responsible for your pain?

Adam Piandes is a dear friend of mine.

He and I first met back in 2014 on a 3-hour road trip up the pacific coast to a weekend men’s retreat in an evergreen forest near Santa Barbara. 

There were 4 guys in our car that day. One guy, I’ll never forget because I immediately felt uncomfortable around the moment we shook hands. There was just something about his presence that triggered me into distrust. Another guy, I completely do not remember at all.

Then there was Adam. He and I clicked immediately. 

Both of us from the East Coast, he from Boston, me from Maryland, both having made the big leap to west coast living. Both big basketball fans – not just watching but playing. But what struck me most about Adam, that I would come to most admire about him in just those first few days, was that he was going through an inner hell – an excruciating breakup with a woman, AND a recent cancer diagnosis – and he wasn’t pretending everything was alright. 

In fact, the opposite. 

I’d rarely seen a man – especially one from Boston – really allow himself to grieve the way I saw him grieving that weekend. 

Adam’s a wise dude. He’s a talented and successful leadership coach, working with executives, business leaders, and corporate teams, teaching the art of masterful communication among other essential leadership skills.

Over the last few years, Adam and I have continued to meet every few months with a small group of brilliant, visionary men, where we drop in to celebrate our victories together, share our deep struggles with each other, and challenge each other respectfully, lovingly, firmly, to confront and overcome the struggles that don’t actually serve us.

Adam and I cover profound ground in this conversation, around the distractions of addiction, the depths of heartbreak, the gifts of illness, and more.

Definitely stay tuned for Adam’s 5 Key Takeaway’s at the end of this episode of Men, This Way …

Alright …

Let’s dive …


11:18 ~ Significant experiences in Adam’s life
15:13 ~ Breakups and the core issues they bring up
20:53 ~ Looking at symptoms instead of root causes
27:26 ~ The wisdom gained from a thyroid cancer diagnosis
35:33 ~ Entering a journey of healing
39:04 ~ “Going to war” against illness
41:55 ~ Biggest lessons taken from illness and breakup
44:03 ~ Self-compassion and love
46:34 ~ The biggest challenge facing men in the world today


49:05 ~ KEY INSIGHT: Be willing to explore the connection between the physical, emotional, and spiritual
50:17 ~ KEY MENTOR TO LEARN FROM: Dave Thomson
52:19 ~ KEY RESOURCE (most impactful, inspiring book, movie, podcast): Resources that connect to the element of play and joy in his life. For example, the Bill Simmons Podcast (Sports Podcast)
54:49 ~ KEY INVESTMENT (the best thing you spent money on, under $10,000): Purchasing a surfboard
56:08 ~ KEY PRACTICE (7-day challenge to the men listening): Completely dedicating himself to doing work he loves to do


Find Adam @

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