Family, Love and Wellness Revolution with Israel Smith – Episode 41

Far too often we can get caught up in being doing-machines. Trying to afford a lavish lifestyle we believe our family wants. Getting disconnected from the people who matter most to us because we’ve now become married to our jobs. It’s this endless cycle of “the more we do, the more we get.”

But, what if you don’t like what you’re getting?

Don’t make fun of me, but today’s episode reminds me a lot about the moral of the story in the Adam Sandler movie Click: family first. My friend and fellow Good Misfit Israel Smith takes us through a few of his defining shut up moments when he realized he had to bring things back to the basics. Prioritizing his family, mental health and wellness over a profitable business that was sucking the life out of him.


Watch the show (uncensored & unedited)
Listen to the show

Share Some Shut Up Love –> We didn’t want to go back to someone else’s job. We became addicted to being masters of our own destiny. @israelpsmith #shutupshow (click to tweet)

Fun Facts:

  • Israel left a six-figure salary at an I.T. consulting firm to launch a photography business.
  • Israel had to scale back his $450K photography studio to deal with his depression and put the focus back on family.
  • Israel will be leaving Sydney at the end of 2014 to travel around Australia in a bus with his wife and two kids to explore the country and start a Family, Love and Wellness Revolution.
  • Berni and Israel were both co-members of the Good Misfit Project raising funds to build a windmill in the Kenyan village of Gambella in August of 2013.

Defining Shut Up Moment:

LEAVING I.T. CONSULTING TO START A PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS: I was stuck in a room about 25 sq. feet of space. I had a wall full of computers buzzing around me and no natural light. I was the only person in the room. That’s how I’d spend 8 to 10 hours a day. I realized my life was worth more than this. I was about 8 steps removed from doing anything meaningful. I’m just this tiny little cog in this massive machine. I would much rather make a difference to people on a much bigger scale than helping someone’s share portfolio go up a fraction of a fraction of a cent.

DEALING WITH CLINICAL DEPRESSION: My biggest experience I had with depression was the only time I was diagnosed with it, which is about two years ago. We did the typical business thing. Hired a staff. Scaled the business. My wife was just about to give birth to our son. I had just run a marathon and published a couple of books. We took a summer holiday and I wasn’t able to relax or enjoy the time with my family. I just didn’t care about the business. I didn’t want to take pictures. I was miserable. I couldn’t get started on anything at all. Beyond Blue, which is a depression awareness initiative, assessed me and they said I had the highest reading they’ve ever seen of work stress. It was kind of a gut punch but sort of a relief because at least I knew what was dealing with.

BUILDING A PORTABLE BUSINESS TO TRAVEL AROUND AUSTRALIA IN A BUS: The next big adventure is to make our photography business completely portable. In 2014, we are packing our family in a bus to share this message of depression and lifestyle and we’re going to make a film traveling across Australia. In Australia, we’re working longer hours than most people in the world. So the fear is, am I doing a good job of prioritizing myself and family? And, how the hell am I going to start a new business with my wife and make my own current business portable? Find a bus and find sponsorship. Buy the bus. And what bloody path am I going to take around Australia? How am I going to learn how to shoot film when I take still shots?

Shut Up Tips:

We talk about “follow your passions and you’ll never work another day in your life.” But you’ve got to pay the bills. You have to eat. You have two kids to take care of. – Phil

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby (via Berni)

This business ain’t all that. The business has to change and my lifestyle has to take priority. – Israel

I face fear every day. The fear of “am I kicking enough ass before I die?” and “am I able to give my kids the best side of me every day?” – Israel

When you’re sitting at your death bed, do you want to be saying “Gee, I’m glad I worked my ass off and missed my kid’s graduation and had all that money in the bank”? – Israel

Having a husband and a father for her kids was more important to my wife than the business. In that moment she decided we needed to deal with my depression. Depression is real. It’s a serious illness and it needs to be treated. – Israel

Family is vitally important and we can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. While it shames me to say I don’t remember a lot of the first 6 or 8 months of my son’s life, because of how depressed I was, I remember a bucket load of stuff since then. – Israel

Continue to put first things first. You first. If you don’t have anything to give, they have nothing to receive. – Phil

Israel Recommends:

Beyond Blue – raising awareness and funds to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety

Find Israel:

Israel’s web site is

Tweet with Israel at @israelpsmith