The New Fascination with Ayahuasca

Apr 14, 2021

Here’s a question you may not have asked yourself, but should:

How do your past wounds impact your leadership today?

Most leaders, if they haven’t done the work to heal them, are carrying core wounds from childhood into their professional life and not realizing their impact. Think about your colleague Bob. We all know Bob… He seems to fly off the handle anytime he feels someone is “keeping him out of the loop” at work. You may be working with Bob and not intentionally trying to keep information from him – I mean you can’t tell him about your every move. But Bob has a wound around being excluded in the background, so he’s more likely to see your actions through the lens of that pattern.

There are many ways to address those wounds.


Lately, I’ve been hearing about an intense curiosity from many executives regarding Ayahuasca, and whether it might help them achieve a breakthrough.

According to our guest, Ayahuasca enables executives to step outside themselves and develop empathy for those who’ve hurt them. Not only might Ayahuasca help with breakthroughs in one’s personal life, it might also help transform the ways in which they deal with workplace conflict and interpersonal relationships.

Given the curiosity, I decided to do an episode on Ayahuasca, and bring on a special guest who’ll remain anonymous (but we’ll refer to him as Dave).


Dave is a venture capitalist who’s been in Silicon Valley for 20+ years and holds an MBA from Stanford. He’ll describe his Ayahuasca experience and how it transformed both his personal relationships and also how he shows up as a leader. He’ll recount his fascinating journey, detail how it impacted him, and provide some “watch outs” for people considering going on their own retreat.


What is Ayahuasca exactly?


As Dave shares with us “Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew prepared from two vines found in the rainforest. A shaman who is experienced in working with this psychedelic guides you through your ‘journey,’ which lasts around 10–12 hours.”


Why might someone consider an Ayahuasca journey?


Dave was interested in developing a deeper level of self-awareness and breaking down self-created boundaries that created an upper-limit on his overall happiness. As he discovered, these boundaries were intertwined with past trauma, negative experience, and fear. Dave describes the Ayahuasca experience as “10 years of talk therapy in 10 hours.”

Dave walks us through the process of Ayahuasca: we learn how it’s made, details about his retreat with a shaman, and what to watch out for if you are considering this path for yourself.


Curious to learn more about Ayahuascaand the connection to development?

For plant medicine specifically in the U.S., Chacruna: Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines at is a great place to the history of psychedelics.

Susan Drumm, executive podcast host
Susan is a CEO Advisor and Leadership Coach with over 20 years of experience leading teams and senior executives to achieve their potential.

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