Dec. 8, 2022

Overcoming Self-Sabotage and Finding Success: A Conversation with Ben Curtis

In this episode, we're joined by Ben Curtis, a personal freedom coach and speaker at the Unbroken Conference. Ben shares his journey from self-sabotage to success and how he's helping others overcome trauma and PTSD. We discuss....
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In this episode, we're joined by Ben Curtis, a personal freedom coach and speaker at the Unbroken Conference. Ben shares his journey from self-sabotage to success and how he's helping others overcome trauma and PTSD. We discuss the importance of self-care, the power of vulnerability, and strategies for healing and personal growth. Tune in for a powerful and inspiring conversation on overcoming self-sabotage and finding success on the other side.

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Michael:Ben Curtis, my man, what is going on today? I'm super excited. You are coming and speaking at Unbroken Con starting this December 13th. For those listening, you can join us at to register for free. Ben, you said a quote that I put on the website that really struck and hit home to me. You said; “the only thing in the way of what you want and what you have is having the courage to ask for help.” What does that mean for you?

Ben: What that means for me is for most of my life I didn't know how to ask for help and I tried to do things alone and I find as a society, we still are trying to do so much on our own, we're taught in order to receive validation, love, or success, that we need to do it by ourselves. And I've really found in asking for help and allowing myself to receive the input from others, the medicine from others, the ideas from others that infinitely my life has grown and it literally, it's taken courage for me to reach out to ask for help and to be willing to receive it because for those of us who are used to helping others, it's not always comfortable or familiar to receive it yourself. But that's actually one of the things that I just believe is so important about our own self-care and being willing to develop ourselves. We can't do it in a bubble, in a cave. And I believe as humans, we're really designed to do it together, co-regulate our nervous systems. And so, I believe reaching out is one of the greatest acts we can do.

Michael: Yeah. And you hit it right on the head. You know, we created Unbroken conference because for me it's like, I want to give the same tools that people like you and I have learned to radically change their lives. I mean, if anyone, Google's Ben Curtis, they're gonna find the ups and downs of your life, your career, what it's like to be the Dell guy, and then what it's like to make this transition into becoming this person who's a healer, who first and foremost healed themselves. And you know, I love the title of your presentation that you're gonna be doing out at Unbroken Con. For those who have not registered, make sure you go to to sign up. It's absolutely free to watch for free. But Ben's gonna go deep and trust me when I say that you're gonna want to keep the recordings of this conversation because his expertise will literally change your life and you're gonna need to hear it more than once and if you grab the VIP, you get keep the recordings for life but if you do not, that's okay. You can come and watch for free. Ben, you're calling this talk how to make a comeback self-sabotage to success. What does self-sabotage actually mean? Cause I think a lot of people hear it, and it's a buzzword right now, but I don't think people really understand what it is.

Ben: That's a great question. First of all, I think it's really important disclaimer, everything I'm saying, you've gotta make it your own. I believe we have to define these things for ourself, and self-sabotage literally is that self-sabotage. So, I can't define it for you who are listening, but for me, when I've sabotaged myself, what that means for me and I related to it, 30, 40 years ago straight outta the womb was those things I did to stop feeling, to numb out, to not be present, to stop myself from growth, the things that held me back, the toxicities, the addictions, the things that really fed the destruction of my purpose, of my will, of my life, and poisoned everyone around me. I really believe we as humans are very much like trees, we have ecosystems and we're connected in ways that we'll never even know, and we're even breathing the same spores as trees and part of that. And so, when we start to kill off parts of ourself or we don't allow parts of ourselves to grow or to die off so that we can grow, I think winter's a great time to see how trees are literally, everything's dying so that they can grow a new life and we don't allow ourselves to do that. I believe really, it's destructive, it reminds me of the great quote that it's our lightness, not our darkness that most frightens us. So, finding spaces to shine our light, I feel is really, really important. And learning to befriend our darkness too, you know not making myself wrong, self-sabotage was an endless cycle of shame for me too, that's why I couldn't get out of it until I stopped making myself wrong for doing it. So, it's one of those things that I really find is we just have to see like what's the behavior that we do over and over again, and it may not even belong to us, it could be pre-programmed, it could be old behaviors that no longer service, but we do just as an instinct to keep ourselves. So, it's creating the awareness of what is actually moving, what are the things in our life or the actions we're taking that are moving us, I wanna say, rather than the right direction in the light direction, the ones that are moving us towards us or away from our light.

Michael: It's a mic drop right there, Ben. You know, I think about a lot and I think you're dead on. When I go look at my life, and obviously many people who know me know rock bottom at 26, 350 pounds, two packs a day, drinking myself to sleep, 50 grand in debt, right? That is self-sabotage 101. And so many people listening, and so many people who come to Unbroken Conference are going to be in that place where they're like, man, it's just every single day it's like, I fall down. I can't get up. I'm stuck. Every single time things go well. I get in my own way. And what I'm so excited about, Ben, is that you're gonna teach people how to get out of this. You're gonna teach people the same things and tools that you've learned and discovered to get into your body, to get out of your own way, and ultimately to create this thing called success. Right? And I think that most people are, to your point, more scared of the light than the darkness. I often say people are more scared of success than they are failure. And what is it that people need to hold onto, if you were just give them one gym today, just an idea, just a drop about what success can do in terms of changing your life, what would that be?

Ben: Consider that you can't even see it from this vantage point because you're still trying the same things expecting a different result. So, in order to actually achieve whatever idea of success you may have that you actually need to go create it. And for me, success is about self-care. So, what are the things that are moving you towards your light that feed your light? And are you building the ecosystems around you? People, places, things, what you put in your body, how you talk to yourself, because you know, one of the greatest think parts of success is. I really felt this at the height of the Dell campaign in the early two thousands, as I was pouring drugs and alcohol in my body, but I was rising to the heights of fame. Steven Spielberg was calling my manager. I had six figures in my bank account. I was in my early twenties, I was banned, and I had never been more miserable in my life because none of that could fill the hole that I had inside of me that really needed to be filled with self-love, self-compassion to crush the ideas of self, that I knew how to do it because at some point I didn't some of it to me is about surrender. And I think if I could boil it down, it really is about how free do you wanna be. And that pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. And we can choose our suffering time and time again but that is a cycle. And so, once we can catch ourselves, we can allow ourselves to break the cycle and really move out of this cycle of self-sabotage that's familiar and even more comfortable, as painful as it is, into more cycles of self-care, which lead to success in ways that we can't even fathom because we wouldn't be doing it alone. So as soon as I've created teams in my life and started to ask for and demand what I need and take care of myself, I've attracted greater into my life and people into my life that I just love, everyone I work with is like family, and there's just it's regenerative. I think that's really important to see today, especially with the world we live on, the planet we live on. How can we create more regenerative relationships, and what does success mean to you how do you define it and how are you going to go after it? And what are you gonna put in place to hold you accountable to that?

Michael: I love that, Ben. And there's multiple things that come to mind that we go into and I think the first and most predominant is this idea that you built a team around you. And when I go look at my life, I look at my journey to healing, to transforming my trauma into triumph. Dude, literally, I can trace back every single time I asked for help, every single time I paid for a course, every single time I paid for coaching or mentorship, every single time I invested with myself and got on a plane and went to the place and sat in the room, which is probably freezing cuz you know how these conference rooms are. I would just be like, man, this is what self-love is. This is what self-care is. What power has mentorship and team and guidance played in your life?

Ben: I just got off the call today with a producer, my advisor. She's become a teammate and her name's Becky Shehan, and she's just phenomenal. I think, we were talking about what attracted us to each other. She came into my life right after I'd lost my father, who died a year and a half ago and then right before my wife and I went through a miscarriage. And it was at those times that I realized I was leading a group of men in what's called dude school, the programs that I lead for men and then all of those men were holding me. And some of those men had had miscarriages and some of those people had been through these things and Becky's a mom of five who's homeschooled every single one of her kids and she's successful, and they're successful and she's creative. And my wife and I have a band, we travel the world, but still, I have to remember to that it's about taking care of myself. And one of the greatest for me, the non-negotiables in self-care, is not doing alone and teaching self-care for success and coming outta self-sabotage is allowing others, allowing myself to receive the medicine, the wisdom of others, allowing myself to learn from other people, allowing myself to learn from my mistakes.

And so, my team is, my best friends, my assistants, my producers, my wife, my partners, and these are all people who, if I'm not doing what I love, they'll bring it up. You know, they'll hold that, they'll hold me accountable. If I'm swimming in my suffering, they'll tell me, you know, we love each other with truth and honesty and compassion, and if I'm beating myself up for something or if I'm comparing myself to someone else, they'll remind me of my greatness in a way that's very uncomfortable sometimes. One of the most challenging things for me to get, cuz I learned early on as an actor that if I got too egoistical that I was gonna lose friends and that I was gonna lose myself if I got too self-absorbed. But the thing was, I could only get more and more self-absorbed and I could only get more and more sad or depressed because you can't build wealth if you don't love yourself. And what was missing was loving myself. So as soon as I started to try that journey of loving myself, as soon as, and these are some of the things we're gonna be teaching. How to actually shift that mindset for ourselves, shift the paradigm to actually start to go from beating ourselves up to receiving the love we need and training those people in the universe around us because every action has a reaction. So now my team holds me up in ways that I could have never ever imagine through the most sad, difficult parts of my life and into some of the greatest triumphs and people are coming out of the woodwork. You know, I think magic's real now I'm really owning that magic's real. But you know, people coming out and like, Hey, I just want to do this with you, and it's like a dream course for me or I just want to have you speak at this event. I've been envisioning speaking at an event like this for years to get to actually be with people all over the world now, forget just a stage. I mean, the virtual stages is combining us in ways we never thought possible. So that's why I say, I haven't even begun to see what's possible with power and where our teams and community not helping me it's endless because even when we're gonna be there live doing this event together, and I'm gonna be teaching all these principles of sabotage to self-care to success, it's all gonna be from community, from you, with you and all from the energy that each of us brings. So, for me, it is constantly sourcing myself, getting grounded, and then going see how I can be of service and what I can receive and learn from the world. And so, I love to be part, I'm part of Mastery Minds and Cohorts and men's groups and whatever I can do running podcasts and interviewing guests just so I can get to know people and really learn from them. And I'm gonna be learning from every single one of you that's stepping in the circle with us at Unbroken Con, just like I learned from every conversation I have with Michael.

Michael: It's gonna be incredible, man. And you know, you're right about the virtual stage. It's worldwide. We have people registered in over 25 countries, man, like we are doing something special, world changing. People who know me know my mission is very simple, end generational trauma in my lifetime through education and information, and ultimately that's what we're doing, that's what Unbroken Con is, you're gonna learn so much from Ben and our other amazing speakers. All you have to do is go to to register. We are live December 13th, it is virtual. You don't have to get in a car, a plane, a trainer automobile, all you have to do is show up. And I teach people this all the time when they come into courses with me, when they come into coaching group coaching one on one, you have to adopt the three C’s “Community Connection and commitment” And so, my friends ask yourself, what are you willing to do to transform your trauma into triumph? Ben my friend, it's been amazing spending the day with you.

Make sure everyone you go and join us at

And Until Then.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

We'll see ya.

Ben CurtisProfile Photo

Ben Curtis


Ben is an award-winning actor, musician, public speaker and personal freedom coach, dedicated to creating more love, compassion and permission to go after your dreams with abandon. You may remember cognize him as "Steve the Dell Dude," but in the last 20 years he's gone on to become internationally recognized and critically acclaimed for his work not only as an actor, but as a speaker and coach. Ben truly lives a life of his dreams, in hopes that he will inspire others to do the same.

His comeback story is remarkable. Ben is a preacher's son from Tennessee, who at the age of 13, became a professional magician, at age 18, gave such a remarkable audition for NYU, that Tisch School of the Arts granted him an acting scholarship at the school of his dreams, in his favorite city in the world.
While studying feverishly in school, Ben became an overnight success as the world's most sought after spokesperson (“Steve, the Dell Dude"). During the height of his campaign, he moved to the financial district, which 2 weeks later, became Ground Zero. Ben was no longer just an overnight success and a full time student, but now add to that a 9/11 survivor with serious PTSD. He went from barely surviving, to transforming his life. Not only did he continue to star in films and tv, but in 2013, he & his partner (now wife), Cassie Fireman, co-founded the international wellness company Soul Fit NYC. It became such a big success that SoulCycle shut them down. But they did not stop. The dynamic duo continued leading retreats and workshops (and still do to this day) as well as forming their award-winning indie folk band, Dirty Mae.
Not only can you can you catch Ben on stage rocking with his wife, but you can watch him on Emmy award-winning TV shows such as "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Orange is the New Black." In his “spare time” Ben travels the globe speaking, coaching and empowering humans everywhere to nourish more love, compassion, courage and confidence, owning their light and pursuing their dreams.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.