My name is Charlie Lucas and I am a therapist and owner of Lucas Counseling Group. My wife Nicole and I have been married for 13 years and we have a 5-year-old daughter named Gretchen. As indicated in her picture above, I am not biased in any way whatsoever on what Gretchen will eventually do for a living.
Why I became a therapist
Growing up, I was the walking definition of mediocrity. I did not value school or learning. I would spend much of my time and energy portraying myself as having it all together instead of using that energy actually to live a fulfilling and purposeful life. I was consumed by my insecurities and had a very fixed mindset.
But then, in 2005 I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes. What followed were very aggressive and relentless chemotherapy treatments, multiple surgeries, hospital admissions from treatment complications, and the subsequent battle with opiate addiction that lasted multiple years.
The reason these two experiences changed the trajectory of my life was due to the realization that I had when I was first diagnosed. Like many people who are given life-threatening news, all of the insecurities, grudges, anger, and irrational stress and anxiety disappears for a moment. Once I felt that instant relief of all of the issues that I had been letting consume my life, for the first time, I felt a sense of hope.
I knew that cancer and addiction were likely going to be the worst situations that I was going to have to face for the rest of my life. You will often hear me talk about turning pain into purpose. These two experiences showed me that adversity is a gift that should not be squandered and I made it my life’s mission to help others overcome their internal battles and become the best damn versions of themselves.
Now The Super Serious Questions
If you had a boat, what would you name it?
Answer: “For Sale”
What completely safe animal are you inexplicably afraid of?
Answer: Mice!! Don’t ask why. I know it’s irrational.
What’s something about you that people would be surprised to know?
Answer: I love doing standup comedy at comedy clubs and I have acted in an independent film.
What is your favorite comedy movie?
Liar Liar has to be at the top of the list. I think that was Jim Carrey in his prime. So much energy and just ridiculousness.
What do you look for in a best friend?
Answer: Someone who is light-hearted and doesn’t take life too seriously. Someone who can laugh at themselves when they screw up. Someone who will be brutally honest with me. I want someone who will care about me enough to tell me how it is.
What’s one superpower you would NOT want?
Answer: Is Elsa’s ice creating considered a superpower? If it is, I would not want that one. I don’t want to be the guy people blame for accidentally making winter last longer than it should.
What is one of your biggest professional goals?
Answer: To completely obliterate the mental health stigma. Also, we aim to destroy the stigma about therapists too.
What is your favorite sport to watch or play?
Answer: Basketball: when I’m playing by myself, I am typically the best player on the court…unless our outdoor cat comes out to the driveway.
What motivates you to work hard?
Answer: I spent the first half of my life believing that I wouldn’t amount to anything and that I did not have what it took to be successful. After cancer and addiction battles, I swore to myself that I would never go back to that life. I finally realized that the pain and adversity was the gift that I desperately needed. When there is an actual threat to your life or livelihood, your insecurities tend to get put on the back burner and you get to reevaluate your values and who you want to be. One of the most exhilarating experiences for me is when I get to help someone truly see what they are made of and conquer obstacles in their lives that they once thought were impossible.
Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? And why?
Answer: Perfect job. I think the worst thing that could happen to someone is them get handed a reward that they know they didn’t earn. It might make you feel like you are valuable, but you will always know that you didn’t do anything valuable to earn it.
Is your glass half-full or half-empty?
Answer: Some say the glass is half empty. Some say it’s half full. I say “are you going to drink that?”
On a scale of 0-10 how funny would you say you are?
Answer: The question should be “on a scale of 99-100, how funny would you say you are? My answer? Somewhere between those numbers.
What’s your favorite thing about your current job?
Answer: I have the best team anyone could ask for. There is no substitute for waking up and getting excited to go see the people you work with.
What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
Answer: Opening Lucas Counseling Group
How do you motivate yourself in your career?
Answer: It doesn’t take much. I get to witness the transition from people not believing in themselves to where they now wake up and approach life as if there isn’t a damn thing that can stop them. It is one of the greatest experiences to see.
How do you pick yourself back up after making a mistake at work?
Answer: Making a single mistake doesn’t knock me down; therefore there is no need to pick myself up. My team will tell you that I want them to make mistakes. Only when we embrace making mistakes do we truly learn and grow.
What is your definition of success?
Answer: Having an understanding that success is not a destination. Success is a continuous exploration of growth followed by deliberate action.
What makes you feel most accomplished?
Answer: There is nothing like facing a huge challenge and figuring it out. I get super excited when something doesn’t go according to plan because I know that I get to dig my way out of it. Perseverance and growth do not exist without some adversity and discomfort.
Do you believe in second chances?
Answer: I would still be a miserable person if I only got one chance at getting it right. I would be miserable if I wasn’t given 50 chances to get it right so yes I believe in second chances.
What would be the title of your memoir?
Answer: Pain into Purpose