Andy Vickers with Keep Going Foundation

Andy Vickers with Keep Going Foundation

This week on The Mobile Alabama Business Podcast, we sit down with Andy Vickers with the Keep Going Foundation. Listen in as we discuss how he started the Keep Going Foundation and what he is up to next!


Andy Vickers: My name's Andy Vickers with the Keep Going Foundation.

Marcus Neto: Awesome. Well, welcome to the podcast, Andy.

Andy Vickers: Thanks, man. Glad to be back.

Marcus Neto: I know. So this is round two with Mr. Vickers, but we figured that it has been such a long time since we had talked before, and screw it, you're a good dude, and we like what you do, so we're going to have you on the podcast.

Andy Vickers: I appreciate that, man.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. And I also just wanted to address, we're just getting started again, but this is your first time joining us. Welcome. We kind of took a little hiatus there for a little bit, but-

Andy Vickers: Yeah. This is actually my first podcast in three years.

Marcus Neto: Oh, really?

Andy Vickers: Two and a half. Somewhere between two and a half, three. First time since I've been back healthy.

Marcus Neto: Podcasting is a little bit weird with a pandemic going on. I prefer in-person-

Andy Vickers: For sure.

Marcus Neto: ... interviews. And doing it over Skype or something was just kind of like... And then everything came back and we just never got started again. So here we are.

Andy Vickers: Yeah. Glad to be here.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Well, refresh us a little bit. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your story? So tell us a little bit about where you're from and a little bit of your education and background and stuff like that, and then we'll get-

Andy Vickers: Yeah. So born in Arlington, Texas, but grew up in Mobile. I'm a Mobilian. I was here since about age three or four, somewhere in there. I always just say, "I'm from Texas," because it's a good conversational piece. "Oh, me too." I'm like, "Well, I'm not really." Went to Murphy High School, graduated from there. Went to South Alabama, graduated with a management degree with a focus in entrepreneurship. I went through the first entrepreneurship program there, which is funny.

Marcus Neto: I think it's amazing. Do they still have that program?

Andy Vickers: They still do. It's come a long way. I'm currently on the board of the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship, so work with them a little bit on how you teach entrepreneurship, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: Because a lot of it's hands-on. And through creative internships and stuff, you can get that, but really hard to learn entrepreneurship through a book.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. You say? Yeah.

Andy Vickers: You get one idea of what entrepreneurship is and then you go, I like to say, just get kicked in the nuts by life and business, and then you realize, like, "Okay."

Marcus Neto: 100%. Yeah.

Andy Vickers: So we try to prepare the kids a little more for that now, what they're signing up for. But did that. The dream was always to be a professional wakeboarder. So went to do that full time right after graduation, had saved up a little bit of money and said, "I'm going to go for this." And three weeks after I walked across the stage, I snapped my foot. So I got what's called a Lisfranc injury. Basically, my toes touched my shin. Rehabbed it again for nine months, didn't walk for like six, boom, another injury, another surgery. And I said, "I'm done with this."

Marcus Neto: That just hurts me thinking about it.

Andy Vickers: "I'm going to go with plan B with the business degree and try to go that path." And from there, built a couple brands in the tourism industry with Gulf Coast Ducks and a restaurant, which was a one-time thing. Never again, ever, for me personally.

Marcus Neto: Which one was that?

Andy Vickers: Sylvia's Biscuits and Poboys. It was in the fort.

Marcus Neto: That's right. I do remember that.

Andy Vickers: It was great food, horrible for you. Tasted great, though.

Marcus Neto: Tasted great.

Andy Vickers: It was some good old Southern cooking.

Marcus Neto: The location was difficult because I don't think-

Andy Vickers: Very.

Marcus Neto: ... people really knew that it was there, but yeah.

Andy Vickers: Yeah. Free rent.

Marcus Neto: I get it. Yeah, I get it. Yeah. There was a reason.

Andy Vickers: Even with the free rent, though, clearly.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Andy Vickers: So I exited that to start some gyms with a private equity group. So I opened some F45 Training Studios, and while I was doing that, also launched a real estate brokerage with some friends called Wellhouse Real Estate. And basically-

Marcus Neto: So that's three things, right? Four?

Andy Vickers: There's more.

Marcus Neto: There's a lot.

Andy Vickers: These are just the ones we're talking about.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Andy Vickers: But was involved very heavily politically with Mayor Stimpson's last reelection campaign, just a bunch of different things, and I burnt out. So just crashed and burned. No motivation. Pretty much locked myself in my condo on the river for about two years and would let my phone be dead for a few months at a time. I think I'm down to 40 something thousand emails now-

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Andy Vickers: ... and only a couple hundred text messages. So I'm chipping away at it a little bit, but I'm back participating in life, and it's been awesome, man. And anybody who doesn't know me that asks where I've been, I just told them, "I've been on Mars meeting with Elon and the aliens and that we have nothing to worry about, dude. They don't want any piece of what we got down here, so we're good."

Marcus Neto: I feel that. Yeah. No, it's interesting how, and we've talked a little bit, but I don't know that I know the full story, it's interesting how the pandemic affected people in different ways, right?

Andy Vickers: Yep.

Marcus Neto: And I don't know that we've really fully sussed all that out.

Andy Vickers: Still. Yeah. We're still seeing the effects of it.

Marcus Neto: I think people are still kind of... And I'm not just talking about the economic effects or the business effects or the job employment effects or anything like that. I'm talking about the mental effects of having been home for a year and a half, oftentimes stuck without any real kind of... We were lucky at the time. We were living in the Highland's apartment complex over off of 65, and so it was easy for people to congregate in some of the common areas. And we were able to keep conversations going and personal interaction and stuff-

Andy Vickers: Same with the river.

Marcus Neto: ... but it's just weird, man.

Andy Vickers: It was, and I didn't think it affected me, right? I thought I basically got a vacation, and luckily the fitness industry tanked, but the real estate industry boomed. So I didn't suffer financially, but I built a lifestyle around all of this free time that I'd never had because I was always in either athlete mode or start-up mode, right? And started partying and got into some things, then tried to, when the world turned back on and all the businesses were running again, keep those same habits. And so I was burning the candle at both ends, right? So I crashed and burned.

But I've been working with some neuroscientists and doing panels and blood work and all this stuff, and we're realizing effects from COVID, like isolation and just false sense of reality, how it affected so many people because a lot of people were also getting government money, and it's like, yo, it has to come from somewhere, right?

Marcus Neto: Right.

Andy Vickers: We've seen some of the effects of that, and we had crazy interest rates. It was just an unprecedented time in history. So that definitely contributed. And then a lot of it was head trauma from water sports injuries.

Marcus Neto: So a concussion?

Andy Vickers: So concussions. Before we knew what-

Marcus Neto: CTE?

Andy Vickers: ... CTE was or any of these things, when we were wakeboarding-

Marcus Neto: Wow, dude.

Andy Vickers: ... there would be weeks where I'd have multiple concussions, knowing now what the symptoms of a concussion are, right?

Marcus Neto: Right.

Andy Vickers: And so doctors believe that I damaged my pituitary gland, which produces testosterone in the male body, right?

Marcus Neto: Right.

Andy Vickers: And so while I was an iron man training three times a day and a serial entrepreneur, all of these things, I was doing it with about half the testosterone that-

Marcus Neto: So you were super low. Yeah.

Andy Vickers: ... most people were walking around at.

Marcus Neto: You were never big. You were always really lean and really fit.

Andy Vickers: Always fit.

Marcus Neto: And it looked like you could run from here to Mars.

Andy Vickers: But always had to work very hard to maintain that and be extremely strict on my diet. Then, dude, when I locked myself in the condo, I didn't even have Uber Eats app on my phone prior to September 2021, and then for two years straight, that's the only way I got food. So I had a weed dealer who delivered and Uber Eats, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Andy Vickers: And with that whole journey, at first I couldn't sleep for 30, 45 days. I was kind of in what we would call a manic state, just frantic pacing, worrying about all these things like my world's crashing. Went down to 145 pounds-

Marcus Neto: Golly, dude.

Andy Vickers: ... from 170. Then over the course of two years, went up to 245.

Marcus Neto: I've seen that way before. That's not a good look.

Andy Vickers: Not a good look.

Marcus Neto: No.

Andy Vickers: Then I started training a little over 90 days ago, and I'm about 55 pounds down now.

Marcus Neto: Nice, dude.

Andy Vickers: So it's been gnarly, and there is such a thing as muscle memory and all that, but all that to say, it can happen to anybody, right? My life was dedicated to fitness and being an endurance athlete, and mental health can literally make you completely rewire who you are.

Marcus Neto: Well, and it's also, I think, and this is a reality check for anyone that's listening, because entrepreneurs are sometimes very self-aware but also at times can be blindsided with things.

Andy Vickers: Absolutely.

Marcus Neto: I would say that you are not only very aware of physical fitness, but you are also very aware of mental states and ways of thinking and just being-

Andy Vickers: I studied it. It was my hobby, right? Neuroscience and all this. It's funny-

Marcus Neto: Exactly.

Andy Vickers: ... I would go sit down with a therapist over the last two years and we'd start talking. I'd tell them, "Yeah, I'm having this issue, and this is the reason and this is the problem." He's like-

Marcus Neto: So you've already figured it... Okay.

Andy Vickers: He's like-

Marcus Neto: "What am I here for?"

Andy Vickers: ... "This is odd." Well, I mean, clearly I couldn't solve it on my own, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: But I knew, and that almost made it more frustrating when you have a chemical imbalance in your brain but you know that it's happening. So I could almost step out like a third person watching a character in a movie and be like, "Oh, well, this is what you're doing, but there's nothing you can do to change it."

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I get that 100% because I am on testosterone and have been for six years or so and have recently been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or whatever the hell it is-

Andy Vickers: I have that as well.

Marcus Neto: ... and taking medicine for that. And so, one of the things that everybody that takes Adderall or any of the amphetamines talks about is when you come off of it, sometimes it makes you very irritable. But one of the things that has been very helpful is Chrissy, my fiance, had told me just, "Hey, stop being an asshole." And so, one, I switched drugs, so I'm now on an extended release, so it lasts longer, and I'm more aware. You know what I mean? Having somebody show you like, "Hey, when you come down off of this thing, you're kind of a jerk at times."

Andy Vickers: Right. You'll notice that the fuse is shorter.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: Right.

Marcus Neto: But it's that self-awareness. It's almost like you pull yourself outside of yourself and you're like, "Okay, I'm about to do this. Is that going to be a jerk, or can I reword that in a way that it's not going to be a jerky thing to say?"

Andy Vickers: Yeah. Most people don't pass it through that filter.

Marcus Neto: No.

Andy Vickers: It's just reactive.

Marcus Neto: It just comes out. Yeah.

Andy Vickers: I've got to get you in some cold plunges with me. It is curing the ADHD. It is-

Marcus Neto: Really?

Andy Vickers: Absolutely. It's changed my life.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Andy Vickers: First early morning.

Marcus Neto: I'm up for it.

Andy Vickers: It's great. And then you don't have to do this crazy-

Marcus Neto: No.

Andy Vickers: People do it for 15, 20 minutes.

Marcus Neto: I got a pool in the backyard that's 28 degrees right now.

Andy Vickers: Exactly. I'm using my pool at the condo right now.

Marcus Neto: Gosh, I don't know if I'm looking forward to that, though.

Andy Vickers: But literally two or three minutes. You'll get the cognitive enhancement that you need, and it's literally like you could eliminate two cups of coffee out of your day, if you're a crackhead like me.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I'm a coffee drinker.

Andy Vickers: Okay. So I drink half of my normal amount of caffeine.

Marcus Neto: Well, and this is not an endorsement, but it is kind of an endorsement, I used to take Alpha Brain and nootropics have worked for me in the past. I took some literally yesterday, and I have no scientific data on this, it's maybe placebo effect-

Andy Vickers: Even if it is, if it works...

Marcus Neto: ... but man, I got to tell you, even with the Adderall, the Alpha Brain, just the memory, being able to recall things... Because one of the things that I was experiencing after COVID was I'd be sitting here and I'd be like, "Okay, I know his name. I've known him-

Andy Vickers: The fog.

Marcus Neto: ... for 10 years."

Andy Vickers: So they've diagnosed it as long COVID, but people thought that was just the people who were dealing with breathing issues. It's cognitive-

Marcus Neto: Cognitive.

Andy Vickers: ... a ton of things, and we believe that some of that also contributed. I basically had the perfect storm of all of these different... Some lifestyle choices I made, some COVID effects, some brain trauma from water sports.

Marcus Neto: And then just environmental.

Andy Vickers: Some business partners-

Marcus Neto: Your business can't operate.

Andy Vickers: ... did certain things. Personal relationships. All of it at once. That was what led to it.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Well, I'm glad that you're sitting here with me.

Andy Vickers: Yeah. Me too, man. Me too. I didn't think I ever would be again, even up to really September, early September of this year, I mean of last year.

Marcus Neto: I mean, in all honesty, because there are a lot of people that probably wouldn't have made it through something along those lines, but-

Andy Vickers: And I probably wouldn't have if I didn't have hundreds of people constantly reaching out to me. You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: It really showed me how, especially we've always talked about how Mobile... Because we've both been on the West Coast and seen cities with giant amenities and all these things, but how you don't have that close-knit community feel and how you can't make two phone calls and basically connect with anybody in the city, that's huge. And that was definitely pivotal. There were many times where I was planning my exit and somebody just happened to come beat on the door of my condo. You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: I have a gate code to get in, and of course, I wouldn't reply to people who were like, "Hey, I'm here. What's your gate code? I'm not leaving till you tell me." I'd be like, "All right. You're going to be there all day." Right? And I literally had real estate agents looking it up from other listings in my complex on the MLS to see what the gate code is to get in and pull my tax records and know what unit I am.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Andy Vickers: So just people who-

Marcus Neto: Yeah. They wanted to know what was going on.

Andy Vickers: They wanted to check on me. Yeah. And-

Marcus Neto: But you're good.

Andy Vickers: ... I'm very grateful for it. I've never been better.

Marcus Neto: And so what have you found that has helped? Because I'm sure that there are other people that are out there that are experiencing some of the things that we're talking about. What have you found that's helped?

Andy Vickers: The biggest thing for me, dude, was just realizing if it was something I could do on my own, I would have done it the last two and a half years, right? So I believe in God, and I have quit striving to do everything on my own, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah, for sure.

Andy Vickers: That doesn't mean I'm lazy, that I don't do my part, but realizing like, yo, dude, you're a speck of dust in this entire universe, right?

Marcus Neto: 100%.

Andy Vickers: And there's something bigger than me that is in control. So that helped a ton. Then building a career around my life, or sorry, building, no, yeah, yeah, yeah, a career around my life rather than back in the day, it was a life around my career.

Marcus Neto: Around your career. Yeah.

Andy Vickers: I didn't have hobbies. I didn't have free time. No wonder a lot of my relationships failed. You got to invest in those just like you have to a business or anything else. So building a life that I'm able to sustain and not simply just saying, "Well, how much of my health and wellbeing am I willing to trade for this certain dollar amount?" Right? I grew up not very financially stable.

Marcus Neto: Same.

Andy Vickers: And so I always had a scarcity mindset, not even realizing it, because as I tasted success and climbed the ranks, you would think that would alleviate the pressure. It's, "Hey, I have this giant cushion."

Marcus Neto: But you have this nagging voice in the head-

Andy Vickers: Only made it worse because it's like-

Marcus Neto: ... that it's always going to go away.

Andy Vickers: ... "I could lose all of this."

Marcus Neto: Yeah, you get a taste of it.

Andy Vickers: It's like, that's so backwards. And so it's very cliche when people say, "Rock bottom's the best gift you could get." I literally have tiptoed around bankruptcy and liquidated assets and getting on a payment plan with the IRS and all of these things, but it's literally been my greatest asset now because I know, dude, rock bottom isn't that bad. You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: Having a couple hundred dollars in an account, but with a healthy brain, I would take that any day over having six figures liquid in an account, so stressed that I have to smoke three joints to go to sleep every night. So it's just put a lot into perspective for me and allowed me to realize like, yo, even if you fail at everything, you can just try again.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. You talked a minute ago about trying to prepare students for entrepreneurship and how do you prepare them for getting kicked in the balls every day? And I really do. We were talking about it beforehand. There was something that happened over the course of the last year, and it's like everybody that I talked to in business just says that the last year was one of the roughest that they've ever experienced.

I've been in business since 2007. So I went through 2008. It was not like last year. Some of that was we were involved in a lawsuit. We had a client that left us with a very large bill. And just like you, I'm having to make a lot of those same decisions of what assets can I liquidate to pay off the debt that was left with me that I didn't ask for? That I did the job that I was asked to do and did it faithfully and all that stuff, but it didn't matter. Also, having to deal with some back tax issue and stuff like that. But I find that those people that have businesses that are bigger and stronger than mine have gone through that.

Andy Vickers: Absolutely. You start to realize the human experience isn't all so different-

Marcus Neto: It's not unique.

Andy Vickers: ... no matter what class you're born into, anything. But then especially the entrepreneurial journey-

Marcus Neto: There are a lot of similarities in our journeys.

Andy Vickers: ... it's a rollercoaster. Nobody's had a linear path. You realize that. And then you add in mental health into the mix, and you start talking about that publicly and all these hands raise and, "Hey, man, I went through that too." And it's like, I would never guess that the guy who I've put on a pedestal my whole life struggles with the same things. That's a big part of what the mission of the Keep Going Foundation is is just to break the stigma of why do we make it so taboo about this sickness above the shoulders that everybody deals with?

Marcus Neto: 100%.

Andy Vickers: I haven't talked to a single person since I've been healthy again about my story and them be like, "Oh, man, I'm glad that you're okay, but I just can't relate." You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: You can't relate.

Andy Vickers: "I don't understand. I've never been through anything like that."

Marcus Neto: "I've never been through it."

Andy Vickers: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: "I've never had anything bad happen to me." I probably won't ask you any of these questions because they don't really apply because I want to hear more about what you're doing with the new foundation. So tell me, actually, I will ask you this, see if this has changed since your last time, if you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's one bit of wisdom that you would tell them?

Andy Vickers: Do you have my answer from the last time?

Marcus Neto: No, but it's on the website-

Andy Vickers: Okay. Got you.

Marcus Neto: ... because we transcribe all the things.

Andy Vickers: Man, I would say make sure that you're very passionate about it, and if you're in it, if you're just thinking about the money, quit, go get a job. If you're just trying to do your own thing because you see somebody on Instagram that looks like they're balling, chances are they're probably full of shit.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, 100%.

Andy Vickers: And also they're probably stressed out of their mind. So if you're doing it just for the financial gain, I'd say go get a job. You can provide value for a company and make tremendous amounts of money, oftentimes more than being an entrepreneur for small local businesses.

Marcus Neto: 100%.

Andy Vickers: But aside from that, I would say make sure that it's also not from a spirit of, "I don't want a boss. I don't want anybody telling me what to do. I want to be my own boss." Because when you become an entrepreneur, you have 1,000 bosses, they're called clients, and they run your life. So I've seen many people, and I've even been guilty in the past of like, "Well, I just want to make my own rules and do what I want, when I want." And it's like, okay, you think you're doing that, and then you step out, then you realize, "Oh, I used to report to one boss-

Marcus Neto: "Now I've got 50."

Andy Vickers: ... who had 1,000 bosses. Now I'm the dude who has 1,000 bosses called clients." So that would be my two cents.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Life isn't an Instagram account, so for sure.

Andy Vickers: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: What motivates you to work hard on your foundation?

Andy Vickers: Man, the reason why I do what I do is because I don't want anybody to sit on their couch for two years contemplating killing themselves every day. So the day that I felt better, the best way to describe it is I slept on the couch and I woke up and I didn't have a fog around my brain for the first time in two years. And I thought I was getting sick because it felt so foreign to me. So I pull out my phone, I'm like, "Oh, I got to Uber Eats some DayQuil from CVS." And so I'm scrolling, and about halfway through I went, "No, this is the opposite." And I was looking around. I felt crisp. I opened up my MacBook that I hadn't logged into in over a year. I couldn't even remember my password. Type it up. A real estate contract was pulled up from the last time I used it.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Andy Vickers: I had a lot of deals under contract when I crashed and burned that I gave away to other agents because I was like, "I want you to take care of these clients. I can't-

Marcus Neto: And you knew you couldn't.

Andy Vickers: ... read a contract," stuff that I could do with my eyes closed in the past. And I was like-

Marcus Neto: Can you stop there for just one second?

Andy Vickers: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Because I don't think people realize what we're talking about. And that right there is what I'm talking about. For the longest time, I couldn't read a sheet of paper without getting two words in and going, "Okay. Now what do I need to do next?"

Andy Vickers: And it sounds exaggerated.

Marcus Neto: I'm not fucking exaggerating.

Andy Vickers: It sounds exaggerated, but it's not the case.

Marcus Neto: And the word that I just used was for emphasis. I'm not exaggerating. And I was telling you before this that there was something that happened over Christmas break where it just crystallized for me because I'd been, because of what we went through, I'd been spending the last half, not the last half, but the last quarter of the year, just kind of like, "Oh, gosh."

Andy Vickers: Recovering.

Marcus Neto: Because you go through something traumatic like that and you need a minute.

Andy Vickers: Yeah. The chemicals have to balance back out.

Marcus Neto: Well, it's that, but here's the other thing. I was listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger's new book, of all people. I'm a weightlifter. I'm a meathead from far back.

Andy Vickers: Yeah, I love Arnold.

Marcus Neto: I love Arnold. The voice just kind of soothes me. And so I was listening to it. And one of the things that I came to a conclusion about, and I don't know if it was something that he said or not, but that in times of trauma like that, the trauma fills every ounce of your space. So if it was a room like this, there would be no room for anything else. And it's not even a conscious thing. It just fills that space. And in order to run a business, you need to have white space, as we would call it in the design world, because you have to be able to think creatively. You have to be able to think outside of the box. You have to be able to look at things and be able to look two steps ahead. And when you're dealing with a trauma, it is everything.

Andy Vickers: I think the creative flow is completely off, and I think that that's one reason why depression, anxiety will affect an entrepreneur so much more than maybe someone who works a 9:00 to 5:00, because you have to tap into that creativity and long-term planning every single day. Whereas if I was working on, say, an assembly line or something, and I just went to the PING manufacturing facility, that's what's popping in my head, if I was putting together drivers all day, I could do that and still be depressed and anxious because I know I'm getting here at 9:00 and I'm just making drivers all day. Then I'm clocking out. Not that it's a quality life, but when I'm thinking about next year's product line as the owner of PING, there's no room for that.

Marcus Neto: It's a big difference. Yeah.

Andy Vickers: That's a great way to put it. There was zero creative flow.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. And nothing you do can get you past that. So when he's talking about couldn't read contracts that he could recite forward and backward and upside down, I've read these questions interviewing people over 250 times. We've done probably 250 episodes-

Andy Vickers: Wow.

Marcus Neto: ... of this podcast, right? And I'm telling you, a month ago, I would have sat here and been like, "Whew, man. Okay." It would have just-

Andy Vickers: Right. It's crazy.

Marcus Neto: ... really rattled my brain. So anyway, just as an aside. I'm sorry, and I completely interrupted you, but I thought-

Andy Vickers: No. No, you're fine. That's important.

Marcus Neto: Because people, I don't think they get it. And here we go again, I think that the other side of it too is that our temperament with people, because we were locked in cages for a year and a half, that our temperament with people has completely changed and our ability to empathize is gone.

Andy Vickers: Yeah, dude. I show so much more grace and have so much more patience now because I'm like, "Yo, this person's struggling." Because I can see it even when sometimes they might not even know yet, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: And whether that be now having children in my life as well with my girlfriend and things of that nature, it's just like there's such a deeper sense of understanding and realizing what's really important in life.

Marcus Neto: 100%.

Andy Vickers: Right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: But that day when I-

Marcus Neto: Sorry. Go ahead.

Andy Vickers: No, no. When I realized I felt better and looked at my computer, I'm like, "Okay, this is weird." Well, I looked at one of my bicycles that's on a wall mount in my condo. Basically, so it's like parallel with the wall. The tire clips in. Well, it had two flat tires on it, and the entire front spokes, the spokes on the front tire, were spider webbed over that I hadn't noticed in two years, right?

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Andy Vickers: Like Charlotte's Web thick level spider web.

Marcus Neto: Because you used to ride hundreds of miles a week.

Andy Vickers: Yeah.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: And I just felt a little whisper like, "Yo, get your ass on that bike seat and go ride it to raise money to help people not do what happened." And I went, "All right. That sounds cool." Literally, within the next 24 hours, I had a business plan written for the nonprofit, I had about six or seven inbound calls with just... I finally picked up my phone for the first time and word started spreading. I had a sprinter van from Mercedes. I had a box truck from International Truck and all this stuff planning out, and said, "All right. Well, I'm going to get on my bike next year and ride from Virginia Beach to Los Angeles, California in 30 days." And so that'll be November of this next year. I'm going to do it for Movember.

Marcus Neto: Of 2024?

Andy Vickers: Mm-hmm.

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Andy Vickers: And so that started to happen. All the stuff with Blackballed Golf happened. We came up with these Ultimate Men's Health Retreat Weekends where we have a keynote speaker come in on a Friday night with a dinner, and the Saturday is a golf clinic, then Sunday's a tournament. But it's just about guys getting out, relaxing. The game of golf has helped with my mental health so much, just a million and one things, right? And working with some large companies that I can't disclose yet, but a coffee franchise start-up and a large fitness brand and a couple others just that are all going to also move towards the mission of this mental health awareness journey that I'm on.

Marcus Neto: So this was a question that I was having with a friend of mine because I've been getting a lot of inquiries about coaching. I don't know why, but, for whatever reason, people like advice and they feel like I give good advice. I'm old. I've lived a lot, and so whatever.

Andy Vickers: You're not that old.

Marcus Neto: But one of the things that we were talking about was, especially with guys, it is extremely difficult to get guys to a point where they feel comfortable being vulnerable enough to where you can deal with the issues that are at hand. And going and dealing with some of the stuff, I mean, we're having to go back into... I'm not a psychologist, but I'm going back into people's childhoods, like-

Andy Vickers: For sure. It all goes back to childhood.

Marcus Neto: ... "Oh, you didn't know where your next meal came from and you wonder why you overeat."

Andy Vickers: Why you feel guilty if you don't clean the plate off every time, right? You go out to a restaurant.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, because children in Africa are dying, starving of hunger. Or you don't have a relationship with this parent or that parent, and so your relationship with that gender or sex, it's not healthy, or you depend too much on them or something like that. You know what I mean? It is all these things. But man, that requires some trust and some vulnerability, and it's just getting people to that point where you can deal with it.

Andy Vickers: I don't know if I was just so full of pride and ego because I would not display it outwardly, right?

Marcus Neto: Right.

Andy Vickers: People would tell you I was very humble. I was always philanthropy minded, all these things, but I had my own ways of feeding my ego, right? I was never the dude who was going to snap up an Instagram pic on the stairs of the PJ, right? But I was going to make damn sure that you saw the wing of it in the back of a vlog, right? All these things to feed the ego and make me feel successful because I was insecure on the inside, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: And I don't know, and I know guys that have it 100 times worse than I did, and me even thinking that I'm at a lower level, I don't know that I could have ever been broken of it unless I was literally-

Marcus Neto: Broken, broken.

Andy Vickers: ... brought down to zero. You know what I mean? And I hope that people can learn or that we can devise strategies and stuff to let people see like, "Hey, listen, just go ahead and make these adjustments before you hit rock bottom, because I guarantee you, you'll learn the lesson if you hit rock bottom, but I promise you, you don't want to go there to learn it."

Marcus Neto: Tell me about it. You really don't want to go there.

Andy Vickers: And so it's like, I don't know that I could have without that because it used to have to be the Andy V show on anything I'm involved with, right? Like, "All right. Well, I've got to be the quarterback of this deal if I'm going to be involved in it." Now I'm like, "Yo, I want to work towards a mission with other people. I don't care who gets credit for it." You know what I mean? I'm interested in that end result. I'm also interested in raising a family, having a healthy marriage one day, traveling, being involved with my church, all these philanthropies. My picture of success now is such a 360 degree viewpoint rather than I just want to be the hustle and grinding entrepreneur who sprinkles a little bit of philanthropy on the side and maybe has a wife and kids, but they just know this is part of what they signed up for, right?

Marcus Neto: Right.

Andy Vickers: I am not going to name any names, but one guy who I really looked up to who mentored me and all that, I came back on the scene and got on social media and realized he's left his wife and kids and now has an Instagram model that's 30 years younger than him. And I'm like, I used to look at this guy as if he was a God for his genius in one area of his life, but not realizing me mimicking just that one area was also crumbling my other areas that have now crumbled in his life.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah. No, I get it. Well, back to the questions. Are there any books, podcasts, people or organizations that have been helpful in moving you forward?

Andy Vickers: Man, I haven't read really any books yet since I've been back other than the Bible.

Marcus Neto: Because you can't? Yeah. No, I mean-

Andy Vickers: I haven't had time.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I would imagine it was difficult during that. Yeah.

Andy Vickers: Haven't had time. Couple of podcasts.

Marcus Neto: People?

Andy Vickers: People? So my church has a podcast, The Homestead Mobile, a guy named Damon Thompson. So, Damon Thompson Ministries. That's been the most pivotal thing for me.

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Andy Vickers: It's literally like I've come into this community and it's like he's reading the thought... The way that I've always thought and felt about things, it's confirmation on a lot, right? So that's been the main focus over the past three months. But I am going to relaunch my podcast as well. It's just going to be a huge pivot. So it's not just a health and fitness podcast moving forward, it's a mental health focus, and health and fitness is one pillar of that.

Marcus Neto: Right. Nice. What's the most important... Well, we've already talked about that. All right. So I've got 12 rapid fire questions.

Andy Vickers: All right.

Marcus Neto: This is new to the podcast. So this is just real quick. All right? So favorite type of music?

Andy Vickers: Ooh.

Marcus Neto: Come on, now.

Andy Vickers: I'm all over the place. Can I just do a favorite artist right now?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: Zach Bryan.

Marcus Neto: Okay. What's your favorite type of food?

Andy Vickers: Fish, seafood.

Marcus Neto: Favorite restaurant in Lower Alabama? Going to make some enemies now.

Andy Vickers: You're going to get me in trouble, dude.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I am. It doesn't mean that he doesn't like the other ones, but there's always one that just is shinier than-

Andy Vickers: If we want to laugh and be a horrible example of supporting local, who gets the most of my dollars is Taziki's in Legacy Village. I'm just got to be honest. And the funny thing is, when I'm traveling on the road so much now, I go to Taziki's too-

Marcus Neto: It's home.

Andy Vickers: ... and I always put on my Instagram story, I'm like, "Be sure to support local."

Marcus Neto: That's too funny.

Andy Vickers: No matter where I go, I'm eating Taziki's.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, but the favorite, is that your answer?

Andy Vickers: Yep, I'm sticking with it.

Marcus Neto: All right. Favorite city outside of Mobile?

Andy Vickers: Nashville, Tennessee.

Marcus Neto: All right. City you want to travel to but have yet to visit?

Andy Vickers: Park City, Utah.

Marcus Neto: What comes to mind when I say guilty pleasure?

Andy Vickers: Now versus back in the day? Back in the day, I would say a fat joint. Now I would say ice cream.

Marcus Neto: Okay. Favorite flavor?

Andy Vickers: Mint chocolate chip.

Marcus Neto: That's 12 and a half, I guess, questions.

Andy Vickers: Mint chocolate chip.

Marcus Neto: Mint chocolate chip?

Andy Vickers: And it's slept on. It's so underrated. I get judged for it. I'm like, "Have you ever had it?"

Marcus Neto: Which one?

Andy Vickers: Mint chocolate chip.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, I've had it before.

Andy Vickers: There's a lot of haters.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I'm not a big fan.

Andy Vickers: See? Another hater.

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: Hey, I don't complain because it's never not on the shelves.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. No, I get it. But-

Andy Vickers: What's your favorite?

Marcus Neto: Recently, Michelle Parvinrouh, who runs the gymnastics school here, introduced us to the brand Tillamook.

Andy Vickers: I've never heard of it.

Marcus Neto: I don't know how to pronounce it. I think it's out of the northwest. They don't carry that many flavors in the stores around here, but they have a strawberry that is just like... The vanilla that it's based-

Andy Vickers: I do like a good strawberry ice cream. Does it have pieces of strawberry in it?

Marcus Neto: It doesn't.

Andy Vickers: I love strawberry ice cream that has that.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I know. I get you. Breyers does a good job of that, I think. But this one, the vanilla is so good that it's based on and the strawberry is so faint that it tastes like homemade.

Andy Vickers: Got you.

Marcus Neto: So it's good stuff.

Andy Vickers: I'll give it try. Hey, I'm a connoisseur, man.

Marcus Neto: Ice cream is ice cream.

Andy Vickers: I'm willing to try, yeah, anything.

Marcus Neto: Dogs, cats or none of the above?

Andy Vickers: Dogs.

Marcus Neto: Summer or winter?

Andy Vickers: Summer.

Marcus Neto: Favorite movie or TV show?

Andy Vickers: The Greatest Showman.

Marcus Neto: I like that answer. Not expected. Favorite holiday?

Andy Vickers: Christmas.

Marcus Neto: Favorite color?

Andy Vickers: Black.

Marcus Neto: Black. Yeah. Favorite cereal?

Andy Vickers: Ooh, the Special K with the chunks of strawberry in it.

Marcus Neto: What is it with you and strawberry chunks?

Andy Vickers: Dude, I like it chunky, man.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, I know. And that was 12 and a half. And so I'll add this about strawberries. Chrissy was giving me a hard time because I love strawberries, and if you take them and you smell the pint, that's how if they don't smell anything like strawberries, they will never smell like strawberries and they will never taste like strawberries. So they'll be too tart or bitter or whatever. But if you get them and you can smell them and you get that kind of strawberry scent from them, then you know that even if they're not ripe at that moment, that they'll be sweet and eat. But man, for the longest time, even for months after they stopped smelling good, I was still buying them because it was just kind like, man, I just miss them, strawberries.

Andy Vickers: I sat down with Skip Platt. I don't know if y'all have ever crossed paths?

Marcus Neto: Mm-mm.

Andy Vickers: He's a guy in Saraland. He's been on Ninja Warrior-

Marcus Neto: Yeah, wow.

Andy Vickers: ... and stuff, but he's just a very holistic, wellness... He's an expert on red light, diet, everything.

Marcus Neto: Wow.

Andy Vickers: And we were talking about seasonal eating and fasting basically while the sun's down and changing your eating windows different seasons. And he basically broke the news of like, "Yo, dude, you shouldn't be eating fruit right now that isn't naturally growing." And I went-

Marcus Neto: Yeah, out of our own season. Yeah. Yeah, there's no-

Andy Vickers: Because I told him when I sat down, I was like, "Hey, dude, you tell me what to do, I'm going to do it because-

Marcus Neto: Yeah. There's not much in season right now.

Andy Vickers: ... you're the expert." Exactly.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. So it's like really-

Andy Vickers: I'm like, "Dude." That's why ice creams came back in the picture. Because normally it'd be like watermelon, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: I'm like, "Okay. Well, this is my treat. Well-

Marcus Neto: Or some grapes or [inaudible 00:36:16]-

Andy Vickers: ... I'll try not to eat it now," which I know ice cream isn't the answer for that. But when you said that, I'm like, I mean, I get it because I literally am learning that. And if you taste watermelon this time of year-

Marcus Neto: It's trash.

Andy Vickers: ... it's not even the same fruit.

Marcus Neto: No.

Andy Vickers: Yeah. It's-

Marcus Neto: You say that, but we got one from Publix two weeks ago and it was-

Andy Vickers: Was it good?

Marcus Neto: ... the best watermelon I've ever had.

Andy Vickers: Don't tell me that, dude, because now I'm going to break my protocol. Sorry, Skip.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. Sorry, Skip. All right. And then another question, so what are you most thankful for?

Andy Vickers: Family, Christ, and this community. Without those three, I would not be here. And I still almost wasn't multiple times with that, but thank God that they are here.

Marcus Neto: I'm glad they were too. So tell people where they can find you.

Andy Vickers: Man, I almost told my old Instagram handle, which is hilarious because it goes right into this whole thing, right?

Marcus Neto: Yeah.

Andy Vickers: I didn't get back on social media for a month after I felt better because I couldn't find a name that wasn't already taken that wasn't my old name, theandyvickers. I'm like, "Okay."

Marcus Neto: It was a limitation. I know. I don't know that it was necessarily an ego thing.

Andy Vickers: I never did that intentionally. And it didn't start out as that. It started out because I was late to the social media game, so every version was... Nobody called me Andy growing up. My name's Andrew. No version of Andrew Vickers was there that didn't have 20 numbers at the end. That was tacky. So I started it as Andy. Then it became this thing where people who met me on the internet before real life, I just became Andy.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. I've only ever known you-

Andy Vickers: My mom hates it, actually. Exactly.

Marcus Neto: So should we call you Andrew?

Andy Vickers: No, I like Andy.

Marcus Neto: Okay.

Andy Vickers: My mom would prefer everybody call me Andrew.

Marcus Neto: I'm sorry, Mom.

Andy Vickers: It's easier to sign too. But anyway, it's all that to say, I was like even little subtle things like the. I don't want to be theandyvickers. I ain't shit. You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Andy Vickers: So it's keep.going.andy on socials.

Marcus Neto: Very cool. Man, I want to say I am really glad that I started with you.

Andy Vickers: Thanks.

Marcus Neto: It's been-

Andy Vickers: I didn't even realize I was the first.

Marcus Neto: Yeah, you're the first.

Andy Vickers: Oh, man.

Marcus Neto: Yeah. No pressure.

Andy Vickers: Man, this is my first podcast in like three years-

Marcus Neto: I know.

Andy Vickers: ... so it's just magical.

Marcus Neto: I know. So I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?

Andy Vickers: Man, just if anybody that's listening to this episode is struggling with their mental health or anything, reach out to me. Message me. My number's public for these reasons. Don't send me a text if you're some shawty because I'm taken. And don't fake a mental health issue just to talk to me. You'd be surprised. But all that to say that's my life mission. Keep Going Foundation is going to raise money for mental health services, whether that be for working-class people who don't have access to health insurance through Victory Health. We do that. Another organization, One More Moment, that is equipping parents with the resources for adolescents and children who are dealing with it because we got to remove that taboo of like, "Oh, I just have the problem kid." It's like, why are they the problem kid? You know what I mean?

Marcus Neto: Yeah, yeah.

Andy Vickers: And also, how do you approach it to let a kid know the same thing they're feeling when their iPad dies and their world is falling down, it's the same emotional response to when their boss calls them into their office one day and says, "Hey, man, sorry, but we got to let you go," then he has to go home and tell his wife that they're not going to be able to put food on the table next week? It's all the same thing. So how do we teach kids to start dealing with this with healthy-

Marcus Neto: In a healthy way.

Andy Vickers: ... practices before adulthood really kicks them? Then a ton with working with athletes with past head traumas and things of that nature as well as veterans.

Marcus Neto: Nice.

Andy Vickers: So anything across the spectrum that pertains to mental health, if we can help or if you just need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out.

Marcus Neto: Nice. Well, Andy, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey, man. It has been an absolute blast talking to you, and I'm just thankful that you're here.

Andy Vickers: Thanks for having me, man. Keep going.

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