“My journey has taken me to where I am now and I'm in a really wonderful place.”
Today’s episode is a very real, raw, and authentic conversation with someone who’s become a total inspiration to me, Eric Hansen. Despite living through unimaginable circumstances, he has figured out how to embody what I’ve been talking about for the past year… Inner Freedom.
Eric is a recovering drug addict who began using at the age of 12, raised by his mother who was also an addict. He has been homeless multiple times, and he’s been in and out of jail and prison. While he was in prison, he discovered this podcast, and it transformed his outlook on life.
Currently out for four months, employed, and living in a halfway house, Eric is still navigating difficult health struggles and various painful consequences of his previous actions. However, his internal quality of life and his ability to experience the inner freedom that we all seek, are truly exceptional. He’s building a following in the Miracle Morning Community Facebook group, where he has posted every single day, for 96 consecutive days.
I’ve been so inspired by him that I knew I needed to talk to him on the very same podcast that changed his life.
In this extraordinary conversation, Eric tells the story of how he fell from success to homelessness, how to recover from hitting rock-bottom, and how to truly take responsibility for–and choose how we experience–our lives.
- How Eric discovered the Achieve Your Goals podcast while in prison, and the immediate impact it had on him.
- What the Miracle Morning has done for Eric that nothing else did.
- How Eric’s career in sales thrived as he fell further and further into cocaine addiction and his family fell apart.
- How Eric stays accountable to himself, even in the toughest times.
- How Eric was able to further his education during his most recent stint in jail–and why episode #338 of this show, “Freedom from Your Emotional Pain,” impacted him like nothing else.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And today you're going to hear a conversation, real, raw, authentic, with no preparation that I had with Eric Hansen. And Eric Hansen is someone who's become a real inspiration to me. I discovered him in the Miracle Morning Community Facebook group through his daily posts, and today was his 96th consecutive daily post. Now, what makes Eric so inspiring is there are a few things. Number one is knowing his background. I didn't know the details, which you're going to hear his incredible story today. But the high points are he was a drug addict, began his drug addiction at age 12 years old, and had a mother that was an addict and went from smoking marijuana every day to smoking or to snorting cocaine every day, to then freebasing cocaine, to then smoking meth. He then became homeless, living on the streets. He's been in and out of jail, prison. He's been to prison ten times. Most recently, he's been out for four months. And while he was in prison, he discovered this podcast. He actually listened to an episode of the podcast, I believe it was 338, he'll talk about it today, and that he said completely transformed his outlook on life. And you know that if you follow him in the Miracle Morning Community, which I would encourage everybody listening, go over to the Facebook group, the Miracle Morning Community. You can actually find it at MiracleMorningCommunity.com. It’ll just redirect you to Facebook, but go search Eric Hansen, E-R-I-C H-A-N-S-E-N.
Go search Eric Hansen and I would read all of his posts. I mean, it's literally like an inspirational book, but his life while, yes, he has turned it around in many aspects, it's still very challenging. He is still his family, his two daughters, who he loves dearly because of how many times he's abandoned them and gone to jail and all of these things, they've kind of cut him out of their life and it breaks his heart. So, he doesn't have a relationship with his children that he wants so badly. He is now employed, which is fantastic but he is living in a halfway house. His health from all the years of drug use is really difficult and really challenging, yet his quality of life internally, what I've talked about for so many months now, inner freedom is exceptional. He is as happy and grateful as, well, more than most people. And you read his Facebook post and you just sense the authenticity. He's got a following. I mean, people, hundreds of members of our community are commenting on his post every day, telling him how helpful he is to them, what an inspiration he is to them. And so, after following Eric in the group and commenting on his post and being inspired by him, I actually reached out. I said, "Hey, I want to interview you on the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. I want to share you. I want to hear your story,” because I didn't know the story that you're about to hear until today.
And especially, Eric tells it in vivid detail. You really get to get a picture of how someone could go from, you know, he was very successful before being in prison, before being homeless. How do you go from being successful to being a drug addict and living on the streets? And then maybe more importantly, how do you go from being at such a rock bottom where you don't have literally a dollar to your name. You don't have a residence. You don't have a vehicle. You're addicted to drugs. How do you go from that to now being an inspiration for thousands of other people and not to mention turning your own life around? So, make sure you listen to the end today. You know, there were certain parts of the story where Eric got in a lot of detail and I thought, well, it's a little more detail than we might need but ultimately this podcast as a whole and the way it concludes today, again, to me, it reminds me that no matter what's going on in our lives, we are both responsible and capable of choosing how we experience life. And even when it's difficult, it can still be a miracle. It can still be amazing. We can still be grateful and joyful and present and happy and so on and so forth. And last week actually as part of last week's podcast, How To Be Present In Every Moment, I read one of Eric's posts from the Miracle Morning Community, just one that particularly stood out and inspired me.
I'm going to take just a minute right now to read that to you, because if you didn't listen last week, I think this is really important to get an idea of what Eric Hansen is like. Usually, you think, "Wow. Drug addict, out of prison ten times,” and I think we're all guilty of making judgment about “somebody like that,” right? I don't know that I would trust somebody like that, but I want you to get a glimpse into who Eric Hansen is. So, this was his post from August 7, 2021. It's his day 85 #TheMiracleMorning.
“Good morning, everyone. It's so quiet out here this morning. During my meditation, I just close my eyes and try out every one of my senses. I slip between all of them staying fully in the present. The sounds were pretty cool this morning because it was so quiet. Not as much traffic on a Saturday really brought out the birds and the bugs. I really enjoyed this one. I woke up a little crabby, but already I shook that off. I just wanted to take another look at where I am this morning in my life. My life in one way of looking at things is so far from perfect. I'm basically unemployed again due to my health. My health sucks. My family still has pretty much nothing to do with me, and my thoughts drive me crazy on a daily basis. If I choose to look through these lenses of life, I would be depressed all the time and would probably no longer be here posting or, damn, even clean off drugs anymore. I've learned that how I look at my life is my choice. I choose to look at those issues as my challenges in life, the speed bumps, because there are no roadblocks that I need to slow down the car and go over. What is better in my life? That's what I asked myself when I do my self-inventory. This list is way longer than the other one and really brings out my gratitude when I go over this list. Living on the streets, looking for another illegal come up is no way to live. I will find my way through these issues that I need to get past right now. I know I will. Then what? It will be onto the next issues that overcoming needs will bring on. I’ll get past those too. Hal Elrod, without you, none of this awareness would ever have been possible. Thank you. I'm going to make this day great now.”
That is Eric Hansen, ladies and gentlemen. Now, before you get to hear our conversation, I do want to take just a minute to acknowledge and thank the two sponsors of this podcast. The first is Organifi. And I think it's true, most of us could use more energy in our day, but caffeine can only do so much, right? You spike then you crash. And at some point, we need to look at the root causes of our fatigue, not just Band-Aiding it with caffeine. And it turns out two main factors in low energy are chronic stress and a lack of nutrition. And Organifi creates delicious superfood blends that address both of these problems. They use adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms to help balance cortisol levels associated with stress, and they make it easier to add more nutrients into your day. You just mix a scoop of Organifi into water or plant-based milk of your choice and enjoy a natural boost any time of day. I use their products every day. I do their green juice, their red juice, their protein powder, and so much more. Head over to Organifi.com/Hal and use the code, HAL, at checkout if you decide to get something and you'll get 15% off your entire order. And then last but not least, I want to thank Self-Publishing School for sponsoring this podcast because people like me and people like you and people like our guest today, Eric Hansen, that have a story to share of overcoming challenges in your life in a way that can help other people overcome their challenges, Self-Publishing School can help you take your goal, your dream of writing a book and make it a reality. Head to Self-PublishingSchool.com/Hal and you will learn and get access to resources, everything that you need to turn your dream of writing a book into a reality.
And now without further ado, a conversation with one of the newest inspirations in my life and really a mentor. I believe we all can mentor each other through this journey because we're all, as Ram Dass said, we're all just walking each other home. We're all just walking each other home. And today it's my honor to introduce you to someone that's been helping walk me home, so to speak, Mr. Eric Hansen.
Hal Elrod: Eric Hansen, it's great to finally talk to you, man.
Eric Hansen: I am so honored to be here, Hal. Yeah. I've seen this day coming since the first podcast I listened here with you. You know, literally, I'm just going to go right into it, man. You've saved my life. Your community has saved my life. I've tried so many different things in the past to get out of the hole I was in and it was a pretty muddy hole. Nothing ever works. I tried counseling, I would try the step groups, and my mom always pushed the step groups on me because she was 30 years sober through it. So, I think I have a head start from a lot of people who might be in my position because of my mother. I hear her voice more every day than I ever had but I give a lot of the credit. I've done a lot of work and I've taken action to apply a lot of what I learned. You can't apply everything, but I've taken action to apply the things that I feel I need the most. One of them is awareness into my life between your podcast and the group. The group is fantastic. I just love everybody in there. They lift me up every day. I found out through my posting in the Miracle Morning Community that I do the same for them and that is I know why you do this, Hal. It's just the best feeling in the world and it warms my heart every day to read the comments and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I'm not going anywhere, guys.
Hal Elrod: It's incredible, Eric. You've become you could almost say an unlikely leader of the group because you came there seeking support. And just for anybody listening, just for context, we're talking about the Miracle Morning Community Facebook Group. Eric, that's what you're referring to.
Eric Hansen: Yes. That is.
Hal Elrod: You check in there every day. Today was your - where are we? Ninety something.
Eric Hansen: Ninety-six.
Hal Elrod: Today is day 96 of you not only doing the Miracle Morning for 96 days in a row but for you posting in the group every single day.
Eric Hansen: Actually, I think I've posted over like 105 or something, but I was just posting little things, your little quotes and stuff like that and I'd get like maybe 15 likes. Nobody saw me and I just felt myself at that point slipping backwards. My first post was to hold myself accountable because I felt myself slipping back. I just didn't want to go back to where I was. I was willing to do anything not to slip back and go back to prison. I've been to prison ten times. We're not going to make it number 11. That's for sure now. I have my foundations pretty thick, but when I posted that first post and everybody jumped in, I just felt something. It just increased my feeling towards your podcasts and now this group, and all the people that lived the life that you've taught us to live through SAVERS. It's never perfect and it's not going to be but, yeah, that was a big day for me to post that. So, what I posted was basically that my day one would start the next day and I was going to ride my bike five miles to the top of Phoenix because I knew this mountain that I climbed to the top of. There's no trail up there either. That's why I was going to do it every day but there's no trail and on the way down, I was like twisting my ankles. So, I woke up that next morning and my bike had a flat tire after I’ve told everybody what I'm going to do. So, I thought, no excuses. I took an Uber with my last $10. That's all I had to my name was $10 and I took an Uber out there and I climbed that mountain and I took that picture. And that was the beginning of my commitment and it's pretty cool.
Hal Elrod: It's extraordinary. So, I want to go and talk about integrity, literally, your last $10 because you said you gave your word that you were going to climb this mountain. Here's what I want to do today. I want to get to know you. And as we started to, just for anybody listening, in the beginning, I started to ask Eric just a question or two and then I thought, "You know what, stop. Let's hit record. Let's capture all of this.” So, Eric and I, we don't know each other. We haven't prepared for today. This is going to be as real of a conversation as it can be. And, Eric, I'm really coming from a place of inspiration by you. And what I've seen that you went from homeless, living on the streets, addicted to drugs, in and out of prison, to now being a light for not only transforming your own life using the Miracle Morning is a big part of it, and not only transform your own life but now being a light for so many others. You know, I read your post every day and one of your posts I saw it was like day 10 of your Miracle Morning. And the previous day's post had over 1,400 reactions, 1,400 people plus are being inspired by you. And so, I'm really curious, personally, and I would guess that for my audience that I always wonder, you see homeless individuals on the street and whether somebody I personally tend to try to give whatever I have.
My family, we carry, I forgot what you call them, but like little bags that each bag is prepared with toothbrush and toothpaste and socks and food and just something we can give that adds a little bit of value for folks. But I am always curious, like, "Wow. How did that person…” and sometimes they'll chat but how does one become homeless? I think there are certain stigmas in our society around that. It's almost like we discount and maybe I'm speaking for just myself but sometimes there's unconscious like, "Oh, it's their fault that they're homeless.” It may be. It may not be. So, I'm just trying to get to I really want to hear your story and I want people to understand how you go from whatever your life was like before to being homeless, addicted to drugs, in and out of prison, to now being an inspiration. So, I really just want to capture that journey for people because I think right now people are struggling in a lot of different ways. And I think to hear someone like you that's been in my mind, what you've been through. You've been through things I've never been through. I've never been homeless. I've never been addicted to drugs. I've never been in prison ten times. And so, for someone that's gone through so much adversity, I am very curious and very inspired to hear your story and how you go from what you've been through to where you are now.
So, here's where I'd love to start. Before you became homeless, what was life like? What was your life like? Did you have a career? Where were you living? What was life like?
Eric Hansen: Okay. I won't go way back into my childhood or anything but I started doing drugs when I was 12 years old and it was just a constant battle. When I was 17 was the first time my mom - my mom went through rehab when I was 16. Through the program, she never drank again a day at a time, and at her services, literally for three months, I listened to your number 338, Freedom From Your Emotional Pain. I listened to that one constantly because that's the one that's really helped me the most. I'll get more into that later but I just want to say real quick, I wrote down every single word of that podcast when I was in prison.
Hal Elrod: Oh, you listened to that from prison?
Eric Hansen: That's how I found you on tablets in prison.
Hal Elrod: See, I don't know all this. That's incredible. I don’t know that. Okay.
Eric Hansen: Okay. I'll get into it to let you know where I was at. So, 17 years old, my mom basically forced me into rehab. She sent me from Chicago up to a treatment center in Minnesota that worked with the insurance from her work. She worked for a major airline my whole life. So, I mean, I've done a lot of traveling and my mom was great. She didn't really have a lot of money but she made sure that we had the good things up until a certain age when she started drinking heavily. I just had no consequences when I was a teenager especially. I ran amok. I did whatever I want. I get in trouble, I talk her out of being grounded. I mean, it was really easy for me to manipulate her because she would just go to her room and drink. So, I think that played a big role in me thinking I could get away with the same in society. So, anyways, rehab at 17. I started working when I was 17 with my boss. He's the one who actually took me in after rehab because I spent 44 days in the 28-day program. I fought it tooth and nail. I did not want to be there. I didn't want to be sober. And I got out and I stayed sober for 21 months even though I didn't want to. I hated every minute of it but I knew it was the right thing and I've always known since then it was the right thing. I then started getting into harder drugs, cocaine. When I was 19, I started with cocaine. I blew my nose out, the membrane, everything. I bled with gushing blood for like eight hours. It was all bad. And someone said, "Well, why don't you smoke it?” That today I was like, “Oh, you can smoke it? I didn't even know.” And he's like, “Yeah, you can smoke it.” So, I started freebasing cocaine.
Hal Elrod: That was at what age?
Eric Hansen: That was at 19.
Hal Elrod: Okay, 19.
Eric Hansen: Okay. So, from that day forward, I've had really good stretches in my life because I would destroy everything. I always make decent money for the times. I was in construction at the time. I ended up hurting my back as a kind of reforming labor. I had a chunk of lumber fall on my back from three stories up as I was bent over and knocked my lower disks out and I never had the surgery for that but it seems to have healed up fine now. But anyways, so I got into sales. Sales is such a, you know, it's an up and down emotionally, especially at first business where you'll be on such a high-high because you just sold 10 cars in a week. I get into first it was audio-video sales. My first six months in audio-video sales which my buddy talked me into it. I'm like, "There's no way I would sell. I could talk to the public? No way.” I was a burnout. I was the burnout guy smoking weed all the time and I would smoke cocaine. I just didn't do it. I could go, "So, well, my first six months I won two nationwide camcorder contest. I ended up assistant manager in six months and within eight months I had my own store in a brand new mall. The mall was 50% open and there's a mall store, audio-video and I was running third in the zone, my brand new store with 50% mall open.
So, they love me. Well, I ended up it's just one thing after another in my life. I know a lot of it's self-inflicted. A lot of it wasn't. I had an assistant manager stealing $2 or $3 a day for lunch when I wasn't there, and they let me go because I couldn't keep control of my staff.
Hal Elrod: Wow. So, now and were you freebasing cocaine outside of work during this time?
Eric Hansen: Yeah. I mean, I never used it at work. It was my weekend at this point. I would spend my whole paycheck. We moved 13 times in like six years because we got evicted so many times. Our family stepped in and helped and eventually, they stopped helping. So, we have longer stretches of doing well. So, I learned a little bit about management and I ended up losing that job and I went to this – I didn’t go to the streets. I started a company cleaning carpets and I did okay. I paid my bills but that gave me the freedom to really party. I lived two doors down from a bar. I mean, it was all bad. It was a really bad stretch for me. That's when I started crying. I got divorced in 1993.
Hal Elrod: Okay. Eric, I lost you there for a second. You said you got divorced in 1993.
Eric Hansen: ’93 and my ex-wife and I, God bless her, I love her to death still to this day. She's awesome. She's been the kids’ rock. Me, it was flight. She was fight. I was flight. And even though we both had our responsibility and doing the drugs and everything, I give her a lot of credit. She really stuck it out. Never got the kids taken away. We never partied in front of the kids. We weren't like that. You know, we always hid it from them but it's just financially, it's just so easy to spend so much money on cocaine so quickly that you'll spend the rent money the day you get it, you know, the weekend that you get it. Then I got to go back to work. Anyway, so I end up losing that job. I cleaned carpets for about a year and I ended up in car sales. Back in 1995, I had a couple of short stints, businesses. The team of guys there just, I mean, they taught me. I learned about business. I learned about so many different things. Car sales is not easy. I ended up making it look easy. I got really good at that. I spent 22 years in that business. And very frustrating for everybody because as I would start working my way up and the cocaine would drag me right back down again. Six months later, they're looking to make me a manager. You know, I should be at this point running a Honda store making a quarter million a year somewhere as a GM.
I don't regret that. My journey has taken me to where I am now and I'm in a really wonderful place but on and off to prison. I’m just going to kind of motivate through this a little bit. On and off to prison. You know, I've been to prison ten times. I include violations in that because you're out in society again on parole and you violate your parole. You go back to prison. That's another time to prison. I've got 16 felony convictions, all for feeding my drug habit or paying my bills because I fed my drug habit with my money. You know, a lot of hard, hard lessons. I mean, Cook County Jail is no joke. I've been through there five times. Cook County Jail is what really taught me not to be racist. It taught me not to judge people and that's where I learned that we all have the same problems. We all have the same families that miss us. We all miss our families. We have children we love and miss. And everybody has those same feelings when you're in there. So, it changed. The prison has changed a lot for me because I grew up with a dad in the 70s. I was born in ‘66. Things were a lot different than they are now. There was no effort to try to fix this problem that we had in the nation and the world maybe. But, yeah, the first place I walked into the Cook County Jail, there was 144 men on a tier that fit 44 and I was one of three that was white. I was terrified going in. I thought I was going to get beat up every day and some guys do but it all depends on how you carry yourself in there.
It's not easy. I mean, I've seen people get stabbed in the neck. I've seen four guys go into a cell and beat someone for two minutes straight because they stole something. I’ve seen someone get their hands smashed in the inside of a door. I mean, jail and prison is no joke. You have to always be aware of what's going on. You can't rack up bets you can't pay and you don't disrespect people. If you have an issue with somebody, either you strike it out or you show respect without cowering. You know, you can't do that. So, yeah, I mean, there's been a lot of ups and downs there. So, then I get out. Let's just move it up to 2015. I was in prison for attempting to run 82 pounds of marijuana across an international border. I don't know what I was thinking to take on the US government like that but, yeah, they got me and I got three-and-a-half years. So, I spent that in a minimum prison. It really wasn't rough. I called it prissy land compared to what I'm used to. For two years, there were seven of us. This is when I really started taking action to try to better myself with still some failed attempts. However, I'm really proud of myself for this one. Well, I did get my GED in prison. I joke around. I was the valedictorian of my GED class in prison.
Hal Elrod: Is that a real thing? You really were?.
Eric Hansen: No, no, no. Because I got the highest score out of anybody in there but I also scored in the top 95% percent in the country for all the testing for that week or that month or three months or however they ran it. So, I'm not a dummy. I'm not a stupid guy by no means. And seven of us were in class that we started on our own, not sanctioned by the prison. We had textbooks, college textbooks sent in, and we taught ourselves business finance and accounting. I can read a balance sheet. I know I can read an income statement. I saw if a company's in debt or if they're in the black. We got out. We started a company buying and selling companies. This leads to my homelessness right here. Just so you know, I'm not just bragging.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Eric Hansen: And we had a little bit of funding and we actually took that company public. We made a couple of acquisitions. We took it public and traded on the OTC markets for eight days. And because our contract said we had to be compliant and get all our filings up to speed and everything with the SEC. In a year, this is what I was told anyways. It took us 15 months. There was a breach of contract. The company that we bought the public shell from, I took it back. They didn't even let us talk in court. So, everything went with it. I had a bunch of stock issued to me or was about to be issued to me as one of the co-founders of the company. Everything went back, all the stock, the acquisitions we made. We lost everything. So, the CEO that came and got us compliant, Christopher James McKenna, I just love that guy. He’s amazing. What an amazing person. He’s a military wounded in action, didn't make any excuse for that, continued on with an education. He's got a master's in chemistry. Just an amazing man. I love that guy to death. He's mentored me in so many ways. We started another company that he had sitting dormant, selling cable, Internet, phones, data services, cloud services, merchant services. Have built a website. It wasn't the best website but we just needed something to show the client when we went in to sell our services. I wanted to hire 500 people, ten in each country to do this, and I was getting set up to do that.
When he found out that his cancer was back and I was told he had 15 months to live, so we shut that down. After that, I lost my place because I had no money coming in now. And instead of just getting back up on the horse, I started getting high again. That's when I went to the streets. I just gave up. I could have gone back up on the horse and got a job and done all that. I just chose I didn't want to do that. I just wanted to not have any responsibility for a while. And I hated it for the first six months. I hated being on the streets.
Hal Elrod: So let me ask you, so you gave up your place, and then what is that transition like? Do you literally just go– do you have just the clothes on your back? Do you have a sleeping bag? Do you have a cardboard?
Eric Hansen: I had a backpack full of clothes. I had my hygiene products. And I just went and sat by McDonald’s and thought about my life and what's happening. And I was upset that Chris was sick again. I mean, there's just so much going on. I’m thinking about my kids and how I let them down again because I talked up that whole ordeal. It's possible you never have to worry about anything again. I'm going to take care of you guys. That's something that it still weighs on me, even I'm making progress is– I let my kids down. That's really, really hard for me. I love my girls to death. Not really in their life so much anymore, they don't trust me. They're starting to, again. I finally had a meeting with my youngest daughter after I got out this time because she wouldn't even talk to me. I mean, she was at her wit's end with me because of the last time I went to prison. And we're finally starting to repair that.
Hal Elrod: How old are they now? How old are your girls now?
Eric Hansen: 33 and 32, I have four grandkids.
Hal Elrod: Oh, wow.
Eric Hansen: And my youngest daughter’s side, I've only seen my one granddaughter once, maybe twice. And my grandson, I've never met yet, but she doesn't want to put them in front of me until she sees them stable, so I get it.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Eric Hansen: I'm certainly not mad at her. The day that I left, we moved down to Arizona originally in 2001. That's how long they've been here. My ex-wife was working for a company, making 60 grand a year. She was one step below vice president for her division. And she was doing very well, got down here. And I got out on parole. Down here, I transferred my parole from Illinois and one of the times I went to prison and I started getting high again. So, she took my money because when I was in the county jail, I got beat up by the cops for smiling, and they ruptured my eardrum. It took a year to heal. And I sued them, I got 60 grand for that. So, I had the remainder of that money left, and she took it and wouldn’t give it back to me. So, I got mad and left. And that was the last time I saw my girls for 10 years. So, yeah, there's a lot of guilt involved in that, but I'm getting over it. I realized that if I just keep moving forward, doing the right thing like I'm doing now, that'll heal.
Hal Elrod: That's exactly your…
Eric Hansen: My oldest daughter, she…
Hal Elrod: Yeah, you can't change the past, but you are doing the right things now. Go ahead.
Eric Hansen: My oldest daughter, she's always been there cheering me on. I don't know how sincere she is about it, but she makes it seem sincere. I don't really see them that often either. I'd love to see both of them more and start to rebuild this. This takes some action in that area because I get a little bit of cat’s in the cradle from her. Yeah, let's get together, let's get together, and then it's I’m busy, so. If you guys are listening, I love you and I want to really start repairing everything. And I know it’s going to take some time, but we can start taking a step. Let's take a step. So anyways.
Hal Elrod: So you're on the streets, and this started in 2015?
Eric Hansen: It started in 2015, and I went to prison one time in between there. I borrowed some shorts from somebody because mine were– I just needed a cleaner pair of shorts. And I was getting my clothes by jumping into the recycle bin or donation bins, that's how I shop. I never did laundry. I would just get new clothes out of the donation bins. And so, I actually got really good at being homeless up until I started crying again, I can't really get too much into that because some of that could still get me into trouble.
Hal Elrod: Sure. Where were you sleeping? You mentioned that it started you sitting out by McDonald's thinking about your life and all the pain. And then, I'm actually curious the first night that you slept outside, what was that like? Where did you sleep?
Eric Hansen: Well, at first, I mean, I didn't really sleep outside that much. I had friends, so that would let me crash in their couch.
Hal Elrod: Got it.
Eric Hansen: But I couldn't stay there all the time, I couldn't live there, but I would go over there maybe during the day and hang out. I mean, one time I slept in a folding chair after being up for like six days straight smoking meth. I put cocaine away. And I'm smoking meth now. And I slept in a folding chair for 18 hours straight. They had to keep checking my pulse because I didn't move. I needed sleep that bad. So, my life since 2015, or let’s say the beginning of ’16, has been pretty much three or four days awake with three to six hours of sleep for the most part. Every once in a while, you get proper sleep in and just running amok.
I started stealing again to support my habit or just to get food or whatever, but it's not an easy life out there. So, I don't know, I think about it now. Well, I think about now compared to being homeless. I had a conversation with someone one time. He was like, “Well, I can't work because of my back.” And I said, “Well, you can work.” And he goes, “No, I can't, I know, how dare you say that to me.” And he got, like, mad with me. I still let me put it to this, what, we all have a choice to work. Every one of us out here, there's some with mental illness that maybe can't, but for the most part, the drug addicts could work. We choose not to. And he goes, “That's not true. My doctor says I can't work.” I said, “but you can climb in dumpsters all day and you can recycle shit all day.” Excuse my language. “You recycle stuff all day. And that's hard work, man. If you just focused your attention and channel that in the right direction, you could find a job. So, there's a man with Down syndrome that's been working at McDonald's for five years. If he can hold the job for five years, so could you.” And he looked at me and he goes, “Oh, man, you just messed up my head.”
Hal Elrod: You just woke him up.
Eric Hansen: It's true. I mean, we could, and I think a lot of us when you're addicted to drugs, you don't want to be. There's a lot of guilt. There's a lot of shame. There's a lot of fear. And instead of fighting that and battling forward, which we would give up, we just gave up. We didn’t want the responsibility. I didn't want the rent. I didn't want the phone bill. I didn't want the insurance payment. I just didn't want it, so.
Hal Elrod: So, when did things start to turn around for you? Let's transition the story into when and how you discovered the Miracle Morning and how you got off the streets.
Eric Hansen: Okay. The last time I went to prison, I went to help my neighbor. This was in 2019, October of ’19. I went to help my neighbor move some stuff out of storage, and he tried burning through the lock or the latch on one of the units. I didn't know he was going to do this when I went there. He tried to break into one of the storage units while I was standing by the truck talking to his girlfriend and thinking back, I think she was just distracting me. So, when they got it open, I could help them load the stuff without them having to cut me in. It's how it is. People are always trying to scam me one way or another on the street.
So, the whole building burned down. We burned the whole building down, and then they tried to push it on me. Well, once the story all got out, 14 months later, sitting in a county, I didn't even have court for eight months because of COVID. So, I couldn't even tell my side of the story.
Hal Elrod: So, you were in county jail for those eight months?
Eric Hansen: I was in county jail for 14 months, Maricopa County Jail, which just the food alone will make you never want to go back there, but people still do. Anyway, so the whole time I was in there, I knew I had to change something about me. I mean, I really was taking action. I mean, I have written tablets in there, too. And I spent most of mine, either in the law library fighting my case because my attorney wasn't doing anything for me. So I was writing up all my emotions and stuff like that. I’m really good at it. And I was on Khan Academy educating myself, Khan Academy.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I'm familiar. My daughter and son use the Khan Academy for their online education.
Eric Hansen: They put things that are complicated in these such simple terms, I loved it. So, anyways, that's what I was doing in there, pretty much, I was on my tablet all the time, just learning stuff either about the law or whether it be something through almost everything in Khan Academy. So, again, here we are, another attempt in the back of my mind of doing something to not go back to what I did. So, anyways, I got to my settlement conference and I told my side of the story and I didn't have to, as we say in the streets, I didn't have to rat anybody out. I just said I went there with the intention of helping somebody move. I didn't see anybody start a fire. I didn't see anybody try to break into anything. I just know I wasn't there with that intent to do that. So, yeah, I was there, and once I found out what happened, this is where, Your Honor, I have some responsibility in this. I could have said something, but we just don't do that on the streets. We don't rat people out.
And it turns out, they were trying to rat me out and put it all on me, not rat me out, they were trying to push all of their stuff on me the whole time. So, I think the judge believed me and he gave me a chance. The state's attorney came into that conference. He was going to raise my plea from three and a half years because he just got all my felonies back from Illinois. And after hearing me talk, he said, “I have to say, Mr. Hansen, you're very convincing. Whether I believe you or not, that doesn't even matter because I lower your plea today, even though I came to raise it to two and a half years,” but that's as low as he would go. They don't like to let somebody they arrested go because then it looks bad on them.
Hal Elrod: Sure, like they made a mistake.
Eric Hansen: Yeah, exactly. There's a lot of things involved in that. And I get that. And again, this is all part of my responsibility. I have to take for my actions in my past. So, I told the judge, I said, “I take responsibility for where my life is at and putting myself around people like this.” What I'm going to do is I'm going to do everything I can. I had already taken like 14 classes and I brought that with me, like counseling stuff they had on the tablet. And I brought a transcript with me because it keeps track of everything that you do. And I'm going to continue to try to better myself. And I said, “I want to get my bachelor’s.” I was actually signed up. When I got arrested, I signed up with a major community college, I guess, to get my bachelor's in business. And I had an appointment to set up financial with the college when I got arrested on this case, so.
Hal Elrod: So, you're in jail. You're pursuing your bachelor’s then. Did you end up serving the two and a half years?
Eric Hansen: I did, but no, the judge gave me two. I signed for two and a half, and the judge gave me the mitigated sentence. He gave me two and he said, “I know something about you. It was your energy, I believe everything you said to me because I'm going to go ahead and give you the mitigated sentence,” even with all my felony. So, that goes to say, the truth always comes out in court. It usually does anyways, not always, but some people serve a lot of years and they're innocent, but for the most part, the truth always comes out. And I think they saw the truth. I wasn't there to do that that day, not saying I wasn't doing stuff, but I wasn't there that day to do that. So, I told the judge, I said, “I'm going to do everything I can to respect the gift you just gave me, I really appreciate it.”
So, when I got into prison, this is where the transformation starts. I was issued my tablet, like 30 days late. They just didn't have enough around, but when I got it, I started listening to business podcasts because I didn't have a TV. So, pretty much everybody else had a TV. Their family would send the money. How many times can you go and your family will send you money? They’re not going to keep doing it. So, I always have to rough it. I always had to rough it for the last four or five times in prison.
So, I had no TV. I'm listening to business podcasts, Side Hustle's, affiliate marketing, marketing in general. Anything to do with business, I was listening. I listened to over 150 podcasts and I was walking with my tablet after I just finished a podcast and I stopped and I just said it out loud. I said, “None of this is ever going to work, Eric, unless you change you.” And I think that was my mom. I hear my mom's voice more now that she's gone than I ever did when she was alive because it seemed like she was just drilling me as a mom back then, but I hear her voice now more than ever. And I actually stopped and said that out loud.
So, I went into personal development because I remember seeing that. When I first saw it, I was like, “Yeah, personal development, whatever. You're going to business.” So, I went into the personal development section on my tablet and I saw Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod. And I was like, “Achieve Your Goals, okay. Goals, everybody talks about goals and marketing. Everybody talks about goals and business.” It sounds like a winner for me. And I listen to one podcast and just that first podcast, it was like an epiphany for me. I knew right then that my life was going to change. It was that distinct for me. I just knew it. You have a way about you. It just drew me, and I'm sure those thousands of people, too. And your story is just– your struggles are as hard as my struggles just in a different way, and everybody's struggles are as hard as my struggles just in a different way. We all have those same feelings and we all have to learn how to manage those feelings and fears and all the stuff that goes with it.
And just like I said, there’s Freedom from Your Emotional Pain, number 338. I literally wrote down it just I think with the last five minutes, maybe I’d stopped, but I wrote down every single word because I wanted to remember that podcast. I’d listened to it like seven or eight times now since I've been out.
Hal Elrod: And anyone that wants to listen, that's Episode 338. So, you can go back. It's HalElrod.com/338, if you want to listen to the episode that Eric is referring to, and it’s Freedom from Your Emotional Pain. Eric, so the podcast started. So that was why you were in prison. And then I'm fast forward to how did you meet Stephanie Blackbird? Because of my understanding correctly, Stephanie is the one that introduced you to the Miracle Morning, correct? Or just through the podcast?
Eric Hansen: It was just through the podcast, I looked it up, but after that first post, maybe the second one, I don't remember exactly what day, it was back in May, Stephanie approached me on the side and she said, “Eric. We'd like to come out and take you to dinner and get to know you a little better.” I mean, it was like just the huge open arms. Not that she's big and huge, don't take that word. You know what I mean?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I know, but you guys live in the same area, correct?
Eric Hansen: We live in the same area. She lives in Scottsdale. I'm in Phoenix. And they drove often.
Hal Elrod: And real quick, Eric, for anybody listening that's not aware, Stephanie Blackbird is the head admin for the Facebook group, for the Miracle Morning Community Facebook group. So, just to give a little context for anybody listening. So, she drove out to have dinner with you?
Eric Hansen: She drove out to have dinner with me, her and Allen came out, her husband, and they took me out to dinner and we sat and talked. And we hit it off, we became friends. And I looked to Stephanie from time to time when I'm struggling. And she put me in my place a couple of times. Listen to what's coming out of your mouth, it's all negative. I can't. I can't. I can't. I can't. I can't. And that made me more aware of my words, I'll tell you that, just talking with Stephanie. So, she's helped me through a couple of things.
When I first started posting, it was just one long paragraph, and she kind of taught me how to separate that a little. It's a lot easier to read. I mean, I knew how to paragraph, I just wasn't doing it because the post, I didn't realize that it was just my social media skills, say, were minimal at best. And so, yes, she's helped me out quite a bit. And what that did, her taking me out to dinner, I mean, okay, it sounds great and all, she took me out to dinner. It made me feel like normal society will accept me back because even to this day, I still have this guilt and shame where I feel like society looks at me differently. I don't want that. I want to get past that.
And the community's helped me a lot with that because there are just some rock-solid, world-class people in there, and there are people that need my help, too, by just my posts. I've made some friends in the group and I'm always sticking my hand up to help somebody, always. And if I don't have time, I can get back to them or whatever, but I usually have time. I haven't really been doing much. So, anyways, it's just been since I got out, I can say I'm a totally different person than I was when I went in, that's for sure, even from when I got out.
Hal Elrod: And how long have you been out?
Eric Hansen: I've been out since April 23rd.
Hal Elrod: Okay, so May, June, July, August, four months-ish.
Eric Hansen: Four months, yeah. Four months, I get off parole. I have six months of parole almost exactly. And I get off October 21st.
Hal Elrod: And you're Miracle Morning has been something that you've done every single day or almost every single day?
Eric Hansen: Well, since I started that first post, it's been every day. I never miss a day.
Hal Elrod: Every single day, and you're at day 96, consecutive. Wow, it's incredible.
Eric Hansen: 96 today. I just posted this morning before the podcast and got my business stuff done that I need to do, just my Facebook stories and all that. And yeah, I mean things are starting to rock for me.
Hal Elrod: Where are you living now?
Eric Hansen: Hal Elrod’s podcast. I'm in Phoenix, I'm in a halfway house, so.
Hal Elrod: You're in a halfway house, okay.
Eric Hansen: Yep.
Hal Elrod: And you're in sales again, essentially, network marketing you're doing. You've got a job again, got a business?
Eric Hansen: Yeah, I started out working with Christopher James McKenna, and here's the deal with all this. I wasn't making any money. He’s still with us, thank God, and battling his pancreatic cancer. And he offered me a position. Basically, I could set up a sales force wherever I wanted to again and sell fiber optic internet, double someone's speed and lower their bill and cut their bill in half, and I couldn't sell. I didn't sell one, not one.
Hal Elrod: I'm surprised with your sales background.
Eric Hansen: I think, well, I figured it out just recently, showing our model. She's in the group. She told me this not long ago. She said, “Eric, your brain is like a computer. What you programmed into it, it's like a hard drive. If you say you're broke, you're going to be broke. If you say you can't, you won't. If you say you can't get up in the morning, you're not going to get up in the morning. You have to think abundant. You have to think that you can. You have to program that computer, your hard drive, all positive stuff. And it's really not that hard to do. You just have to change your paradigm in which you look at the world.” So, I started doing that. And left Chris because I was offered an opportunity in network marketing to sell gut health products.
Our products are helping– basically, your leaky gut, they're finding out in the last 20 years, 30 years or whatever, more in the last 10, that if you have a leaky gut, which if you eat the standard American diet or take a lot of medication, ibuprofen, Tylenol, psych meds, it's tearing up the lining in your gut, and you’re leaking poison basically into your system, into your bloodstream. And it's affecting your organs. They're finding out it's the underlying cause to a lot of people's health issues. And something about that resonated with me, another way to show an impact on the world and make somebody's life better.
And that's why I chose this product and that's why I chose this company. And everybody's jumped right in to help me out. I mean, they've held my hand through some of it. And step by step, this is how you do this. It's a lot different than car sales, I'll tell you, but I'm getting some world-class training through this company and I'm getting it in other places, too. I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, well, Eric here’s– I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Eric Hansen: No, my friend Cindy Lee is just fantastic. She's helped me set up all my systems and is really just going above and beyond to help me. She loved my story, too. And she's put a lot of time and effort into helping me. So, thank you, Cindy Lee, for that. And I'm well on my way. I feel great. I think I'm past the whole abundance thing and I'm ready to rock and roll. So, I couldn't even imagine my life being where I'm at right now, even though I still don't have a bank account. It's my attitude. It's the way you've trained my brain, Hal, and your podcast, and your people to look at life. You just can't change it, I say it all the time, can’t change it. If something happens, is it really bad? And it's not even that bad things happen to us, it's just things we don't want to happen to us happen to us.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And you can either choose how you respond, you choose how you interpret it. And Eric…
Eric Hansen: My awareness really is the key to all this because I'm very aware on a daily basis of what's going on. I'm constantly evaluating where I'm at. So, what is key for me is my awareness.
Hal Elrod: Well, Eric, you, to me, are the epitome of everything that I try to teach and try to help people become aware of, which is that life is life. And sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down. Sometimes it's harder than you could ever imagine, and sometimes it's great. And at the end of the day, the one commonality in your life is you. It's how are you showing up and how are you choosing to experience your life. And Eric, to me, you are the epitome of inner freedom, which is you decide every day through your awareness and through your intention and using your Miracle Morning practice, in simple terms, to see the bright side of life, to focus on all that you have to be grateful for, instead of allowing all of what could be overwhelming, negativity and mistakes in the past and even your current circumstances not being where they could have been, should have been, you wanted them to be, you could let that become your reality and depressed you and discourage you. And I am so inspired by you because you choose the life that you're living.
And everyone listening to this has that power. And if you're listening, I want to invite you to realize that, look at Eric's life, look at the challenges that Eric has faced. And Eric, by the way, what I see in you is just a freakin’ amazing human being who went through a set of circumstances and was put in an environment with an addicted mom and were introduced to drugs, I'd imagine, by your peers at 12 years old, where at 12 years old, your ability to make intelligent, rational decisions with the thought of how it's going to impact the rest of your life, it's not really developed at that point.
And so, what I see in you is just you found a way to persevere through the challenges. And the real Eric to me is who I'm talking to right now. And the real Eric is who people are seeing, reading, and inspired by your posts every day in the community, is you're an exceptional human being. You have high integrity that's been tested and challenged and wavered maybe throughout, but to me, that's who you are. You have integrity, right? You're the guy. Who Eric Hansen is you're the guy who told the Miracle Morning Community in the Facebook group that you were going to go hike a mountain, woke up to a flat tire, and you have such integrity that you spent your last $10 to take an Uber to get to that mountain and hike it by foot so that you could follow through with what you said you were going to do.
So, Eric, I honor you, I admire you, I applaud you, and I thank you for your leadership in the Miracle Morning Community and your contribution to humanity as a whole, just by how you're choosing to show up and how you're choosing to show up for not only yourself but for other people as well.
Eric Hansen: Thank you, Hal, I really appreciate it and I appreciate everything. I'm going to continue doing this. I feel like– at this point, I look back at my past and I feel like that that was all just training for what I'm really meant to do. The last thing my mom said to me before she passed away, I had to fly back to Arizona, I was on parole back in 2011. She passed away in 2011. And the day before she died, I had to fly back, so. She said to me, she said, “Eric, I have always had your back for all your problems.” She had lung cancer and she could barely talk. She was like, “Eric,” she had to whisper it. And I said, “Why, mom?” And we were both crying. And she had it on her chest and she said, “because you have a good heart.” Yeah, it's still tough. I miss my mom, but you know what? If she lives here, she'd be so proud. I know she sees me so I know she's proud and I know she's probably pushing me in the right direction here and there. So, God bless her soul.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Amen, brother. And Eric, yeah, I believe you do have a good heart. And that's in one simple sentence that is encapsulating everything that I was trying to say, which is you're living from your heart, man. So, thank you.
Eric Hansen: Thank you, Hal. Thank you for having me on the show. Really, this has been my dream since I first listened to your podcast. And I didn't realize it was visualization at the time, but every day, I'm like, I have to say, I was like, “Where's Hal? Why does he comment on my stuff? I never said anything.” Somebody said to me, “He's just watching you. He wants to make sure that you're real because there's a lot of people that come and go in here, but Hal's coming.” And he said that. And after he said that to me, he said, “Hal’s watching you. He's coming. Trust me when I say, Hal is coming.” And here we are right now. I'm thrilled to death. I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm here.
Hal Elrod: You can and you can. And I know what that’s like.
Eric Hansen: Yeah. So, thank you. I really appreciate this opportunity. Hopefully, somebody can get out of bed today because of this podcast that couldn't before.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. You got it, brother.
Eric Hansen: Thank you.
Hal Elrod: Well, you are welcome. It is a mutual pleasure. And yeah, we'll keep doing what you're doing, and I'll keep doing what I'm doing. We'll keep making a difference in any way that we can.
Eric Hansen: My next visualization is to shake your hand.
Hal Elrod: Alright. I'm sure your manifesto…
Eric Hansen: Alright, we’ll make that happen.
Hal Elrod: Alright, brother. Well, hey…
Eric Hansen: If I have to take an Uber to you, I will.
Hal Elrod: Much love, Eric. I appreciate you, man. And we'll talk soon.
Eric Hansen: Alright, take care.
Hal Elrod: Bye-bye.
Eric Hansen: Thank you. Bye-bye.
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