Starved and Crushed

Today we have a special guest post from my buddy, Jason Fonceca… You may remember him from:
– Content Warfare Podcast #4 – with Jason Fonceca on Inspiration, Blogging and Being Awesome Online
– Ignore Your Audience, F*** ‘Em, Be A Leader First
Jason’s having some trouble and needs your support… Please take the time to read his story and learn from his amazing words.
Jason take it away…

I’m gonna tell you my story, because stories rock – and mine more so than most (I’m not even kidding).

Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca Headshot

I’ve told it 100s of times in the past few weeks, and I like to make it a bit different each time.

It’s all true, but it’s such a complex tale, that there are always other details and angles I can focus on.

For example, I wrote about it over at, in a post called Marketing Through The Fear, which is a great companion piece to this.

You’re getting the Ryan Hanley version, because I enjoy being creative. I enjoy taking the time to deliver something fresh and entertaining and enlightening, no matter how ‘shitty’ my life is.

And when you hear the story… you’ll understand just how ‘shitty’.

But before I tell the tale, I want you to keep a question in mind:

Can starvation, isolation, and extreme discomfort crush a business and keep someone down?

Got it in you, playing with it subconsciously?


Let’s begin.


Let the excuses flow.

“I can’t succeed ‘cause I don’t have enough start up capital.”

“I can’t take time to work on my business, I’ll lose my job and end up on the streets!”

“I can’t focus, look at the environment I live in, kids and chaos everywhere, who could work in these conditions?”

Have you ever thought, heard, or said anything like the above?

That’s fine if you have, I have too, but I haven’t for a long, long time.

Even under circumstances that most people would allow to physically, mentally, and emotionally cripple them, I’ve still chosen different views and ideas.

Because the above quotes are limitations, restrictions, and excuses.

They’re bullshit that make you look, act, and feel like a chump. A victim.

When in reality, you’re a hero.

Every entrepreneur society has, every one that’s making that journey, is our generation’s version of a hero.

We don’t have warriors with spears, or generals that lead people to victory (not really), anymore.

But we have business-warriors, heroes who step out into the arena of the marketplace, with nothing but their own wits + inner-resources to carry them through the ups-and-downs of life.

(Parents do this also, when raising a child, but that’s another story.)

Entrepreneurs are heroes.

And that’s a view most entrepreneurs are happy to get behind, right?

Sure, and it’s great to see yourself as a hero.

So why do so many ‘heroes’ moan on and on with excuses about why they haven’t, won’t, or can’t succeed?

It’s because they wanna ignore the dark side of hero-dom.

They wanna ignore the pain, the fear, and the challenges.

But here’s the thing –

A hero is only as good as their villain; their fears.

Small fears? Small hero, small rewards, small results.

And you don’t play small do you.

You want a ‘good life’.

You want more freedom than most people. You want more wealth than most people. Or maybe you’re one of those entrepreneurs who “doesn’t care about money”, but you want to make more IMPACT than most people.

The point is this – you want MORE than MOST.

Which means…

You want bigger results.

Ah, but look above…

Can a hero, who wants bigger results, play small and have “small fears” and “small challenges” to face?


Big fears = big hero, big rewards, big results.


…that brings me to my story, and I’m warning you right now – my story’s not done. There’s no happy ending, there’s just me, raw and ragged, in the trenches, living what every entrepreneur fears.

You see…

I’m writing this while homeless.

In fact, my entire business was built while homeless.

Half a year sleeping on a friends floor, doing nothing but 16=20 hour days.

Another half year literally in the streets, lugging a heavy bag with some clothes and my laptop in it around between parks + 24hr McDonald’s as a house.

That’s what I lived through, in order to build my business.

Many days fasting, with no food. Many more living on ‘junk’ food. When I listened to my body more, I invested in raw organic honey, cacao nibs, and Clif energy bars.

Many sleepless nights, and averaging 2-5 hours a day (and I literally mean sleeping during the day), for months.

That’s what I lived through, in order to develop my brand.

My family stopped asking about me or my life or my business a long time ago, and my ‘old friends’ just used me and took advantage of me, watching me go down in flames while bringing little to the table. I had no support system.

That’s what I lived through, in order to wake up and do what I wanted, helping clients I felt good about, and raking in golden praise and glowing testimonials every day.

Oh… did I say lived?

I meant living.

I’m still living these fears right now.

As I mentioned, I’m wrriting this to you from an internet café in Toronto, that has become my home.

It’s not the greatest “environment” for blogging, holding meetings, and coaching clients,

But it’s the only environment I have, and I’m blessed I even have this – so I use it.

With every breath, with all my heart, and passion, I know I want my days to be filled up with tasks that feel good to me. Stuff that feels like me investing in humanity, through Ryze, and I’ve done that, and I’ve never once backed down or settled for less.

And yes, it means I face giant fears, and even all at once.

And it gets ‘shittier’.

Because a few days ago, I had my life’s work stolen.

Even though I’ve been fine living this way for 6 months, life decided now was the time for me to lose my most prized possession, the main tool I touched the world with.

(And no, I didn’t have a backup.)

You try getting your shit together, finding shelter from the elements every day, running your business, coaching clients, posting blogs, creating products ANNNND remembering in all that chaos to back your stuff up.

This isn’t about backups. This isn’t about prevention. This isn’t about avoidance.

I swear, if I read another article on how to Avoid Pain or Prevent Disaster I’m gonna puke.

This is bigger than that.

This is about facing fears and challenges.

This is about surfing the wave of the down times.

This stuff no one wants to talk about.

They’d rather preach to you about how to avoid being hacked, avoid losing work, avoid homelessness, avoid having to skip a meal or two.

Fuck that.

Life isn’t about avoiding pain.

Especially for heroes.

Small stories with small challenges, have small impact and create small heroes.

Basically, I get it.

Many around me are confused and judging my path. They want to prevent or avoid the pain. They think it’s crushing me because I shared an hour of emotional sadness and pain.

But they don’t get it. And they can’t. No one can know what pains of yours are to be sidestepped and avoided, and what pains of yours are to embraced and moved through.

Parents and school don’t teach you this — that some fears and pains are MEANT FOR YOU.

I learned, and now I know.

I know why all this shit happened to me. And I know why I couldn’t avoid it no matter how smart or nice or powerful I was.

It’s because I wanted to play big, I wanted more, and the flipside of more joy + impact, is more intense fears and dark times.

And I know why people want to sit around and criticize me from their cushy 9-to-5s and their only-on-Sunday spirituality, for going down my dark paths .

I’m Dexter, and peeps can hate if they want, the audience knows I’ll be redeemed 😉

Sometimes people hate when I play big, embrace my pain, and live this way… the fact that they wont even admit to something small in their life, is hard to ignore.

They won’t admit that they’re kinda thinking of cheating on their spouse, or they won’t admit they’re not really fulfilled in their job. When I embrace and share my pain, other people’s repressions become very, very obvious.

When they see me embrace my giant, grand scale, entrepreneurial fears of abject failure, homelessness, and extreme discomfort, their repressed, unadmitted “tiny fears” are hard to ignore.

You can’t stand next to a hero and start kicking innocent children. It just doesn’t work. So people start to hate.

Which brings me to another fear.

Being hated, misunderstood, and judged.

Most heroes fear being rejected by society, and by a support-system and family that we’re “comfortable with”.

If you choose to willingly embrace and go through “unpleasant challenges”, people around you will judge you.

Some will do it openly:

“Dude, I have no idea what you’re doing. You’re fucked in the head, don’t talk to me until you get some sense.”

Some will do it in the disguise of love.

“Hey, I love you, and even though you’re doing your own thing, and embracing these pains and challenges, I’m going to give you some unasked for, uninvited, unsolicited advice on how to avoid it and get out of it.”

That’s them trying to get you to play small and comfortable, because you’re doing something badass and they’re too scared to take similar steps in their own life. They want you to be like them. It’s natural.

But when all those people are gone, you’ll find what’s left after all the pain, fear, darkness, and hate… are the pure, true blue supporters and friends.

“Dude, I trust you, I know you’re following your heart and you’re on the right journey. How are you feeling? Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

Eventually you end up with your team, even if it’s scary sometimes.

Sometimes you go down to 1 friend. Or no friends, for a month or two, until someone shows up.

I’m living all the things entrepreneurs are afraid of, and if you met me or spoke to me or felt my energy and presence – you’d know I’m happier than most people.

Even with everything burning down around me, I can write powerful, insightful posts like this, to give you ‘real talk’ and give you fresh perspectives so few speak on.

And I’d love to keep doing it, but it’s not really up to me. Life will claim me whenever it wants, even though I’d love to ryze up.

But you can help.

You have the power.

You’re part of the heroes. The entrepreneurs.

You can spread the word. You can contribute. You can impact. You can donate.

Believe it, you can help.

How can you help?

Thank you so much, I trust you enjoyed my story as much as I’ve enjoyed living it 😉