I was first introduced to Shel Horowitz’ work over a decade ago when I was living in Western Massachusetts and had recently self published my first book. My friend pointed me to Shel’s book, Guerilla Marketing, which I read numerous times. This was before I had a Facebook account.
Thinking back on the advice in that book, I remember more how inspired I felt reading it than the suggestions themselves, since, of course the world of marketing has changed worlds since then. I remember the feeling that anything was possible, that I, or anyone, could get their words out to the masses with the right tools and enough effort.
I chose to interview Shel because he has that spirit of, “Anything’s possible” and thinking big that will be necessary in shifting the cultural narrative around “mental health” and “mental illness”.
Here are Shel’s responses to the 4 questions in this interview series.
Chaya: Was there ever a time in your life when psychiatry was a consideration?
Shel: I think every true visionary has been called crazy sometimes. I am fortunate that the people who called *me* crazy were not people with the power to lock dissidents up. I was also exposed as a teenager to the work of people like Thomas Szasz, so I was fairly skeptical of the psychiatric establishment.
Chaya: How did you choose your path instead?
Shel: In my 20s, I made a conscious choice to have a happy life. I always refer to that as my best decision ever. I found that it helped me channel my anger at what was wrong with the world into joy at what’s right, opened me up to learn from people who are very different from me–and at the same time not only didn’t interfere with but actually enhanced my work as an agent of social change.
Chaya: Why are you glad you did?
Shel: I live my life with passion and gladness, see and appreciate the good that others do in the world and the good I’ve been able to do, and don’t have to worry about the stigma that burdens people I know who have been “processed” by the psychiatric system.
Chaya: Bonus question: do you consider yourself a resource for people who want an alternative to the medical model of mental health?
Shel: Only in a very loose sense. Though my writing, speaking, and consulting, I am a resource to people who want to use the business world to turn hunger and poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance. For those whose encounters with the mental health system had to do with frustration at the state of the world, that could be seen as a resource.
About my work:
I’m a green/social change business profitability consultant, and also work with people on the journey from unpublished writer to well-published, well-marketed author. My 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, comes out in April, with endorsements by Jack Canfield, Seth Godin, the founders of BNI and GreenBiz.com, the author of The New Rules of Green Marketing (among others), and essays from the authors of Unstoppable/Unstoppable Women and Diet for a Small Planet. My many websites include http://goingbeyondsustainability.com for the corporate world, http://impactwithprofit.com for entrepreneurs, and http://www.business-for-a-better-world.com to promote the overall concept of business profiting by working for deep social change.
For more info on the cross disciplinary interview series and to participate, please visit the previous blog.