David Henzel, Aphantasia Super Entrepreneur

David Henzel is the CEO of Upcoach and a veteran entrepreneur who has been building in the saas and e-com space for over 20 years. He had multiple exits, including MaxCDN.

His passion is to help individuals and their organizations reach their full potential.

Aside from Upcoach (Coaching Delivery System), he has a small portfolio of companies including LTVplus, (Outsourcing for e-commerce & saas), TaskDrive (Sales Development), Shortlist.io (Digital Marketing Agency), and his passion project Managing Happiness (Peak Performance Group Coaching for entrepreneurs)

Aphantasia is a Superpower

David credits some of his success to his neurodiversity. He has aphantasia, which allows him to disconnect from the stress that many entrepreneurs feel when riding the entrepreneurial roller coaster. He says it makes him PTSD-proof. 

What is Aphantasia?

David’s aphantasia makes it so that he can’t recreate images, sounds, tastes, smells, or emotions in his head. So, basically, once a stressful moment has passed, the emotion associated with it is gone. It can’t creep back up and make him anxious again. The memory of the event is there, but not the emotion.


He experiences a memory as a logical concept rather than with sensations and emotions. It’s like somebody wrote and filed a report.

Everything in David’s mind is filed in a system, which is why he is so good at systematizing businesses. In fact, he currently has 10 businesses that he’s running simultaneously with business partners and general managers. This ability to systematize and organize all of his memories and knowledge pairs so well with David’s aphantasia that he’s not sure if it’s a side effect or simply a happy accident. With no sensory input to go along with his memories, David doesn’t get lost in the details.


Aphantasia also leaves David with a reduced range of available emotions. He’s never ecstatic, but he’s also never depressed. He jokes that, being German, he has no emotions. The great part about this for him is that he stays basically content all the time.

One of the downsides to this is that he cannot feel true empathy. If someone has a problem, he wants to figure out how he can help, but he can’t really feel on their part. Other people’s problems just don’t affect him the same way they affect others. Also, he doesn’t have the ability to miss people or places. While it doesn’t bother him that he can’t “miss” things, it can confuse other people. 


David’s Aphantasia makes him completely open and unreserved when interacting with other people. Since he has no emotional baggage, there’s nothing to make him hold back when meeting people. 

In my own life, I struggle with the niceties involved with business, such as remembering follow-ups and thank you notes. So, to combat that, I’m perfectly honest with people and they usually say, “Keep your thank you notes, I’ll take the introductions!” I’m also very open and unreserved with people. Since I can’t keep track of what I’ve already told someone, I have to tell the truth because, if I try to tell them anything else, I’ll get my stories mixed up!

In the end, by being open and honest, you repel anyone who wasn’t the right fit for you anyway. Those people who resonate with you get drawn closer.

Love and Fear

David used to be very introverted, but he saw how beneficial networking was, so he decided to start working on it. He attended Toastmasters (a public speaking group) twice per week and used exposure therapy to overcome his reluctance. The real change happened for him when his yoga teacher told him, “ Every decision in life, you either make out of love or out of fear.”

These are the two basic emotions that drive everything you do. If you make a decision out of fear, you’re going in the wrong direction, but if you make your decision out of love, you’re on the right path. This epiphany helped him learn to be comfortable being transparent in his networking and public speaking. 

He now focuses on the value he’s providing in his work, versus wondering what other people are thinking about while he’s speaking. He stopped letting the fear get in his way.


David runs a course called Managing Happiness, which teaches people how to apply business principles to their personal lives. He had a 7% completion rate on the course, which he initially thought was terrible. Turns out that that was actually pretty decent. He decided to try another format to boost his numbers. A cohort-driven process, with a course and Zoom calls and his completion rate went up to 90%. Unfortunately, this method was un-sustainable for him, due to the time and resource burn. 

So David brought the problem to the CTO of one of his businesses and asked him to build a program for him. With continued work it got better and better and it became a great tool to help different cultures run their businesses better. 

David showed his product to Todd Herman (author of The Alter Ego Effect) and Todd told him that his product solved about 80% of the problems he had in his coaching business and he wanted in. They went into business with the product, and UpCoach was born!

UpCoach has accountability tools, flexibility, and can basically help you build an entire coaching program, including delivery of your content, keeping track of progress, and uses positive peer pressure to drive consumers to the desired outcome.

It can be used for group coaching, masterminds, and for cohort-based coaching. UpCoach is flexible enough to be used for building a variety of different programs for different styles of coaching. Professional coaches and coaching organizations can make good use of UpCoach.

Managing Happiness

David still has Managing Happiness as his passion project. Using business processes, he gets people to define their vision, mission, and values for the most important areas of their lives and set goals to improve their quality of life and make progress. He also tackles peoples’ habits with them to optimize their experience in life. 

Managing Happiness is run in a group format because David has found that people make the most progress on personal development when they are working in groups. Like-minded peers help each other to be driven and accomplish stuff.

The Future of Personal Development

David wants to build the “Toastmasters of Personal Development.” He hopes to develop self-organized groups all over the world where people help each other to figure out what they really want out of life, what their missions and visions are, and help each other get what they want out of life by holding each other accountable and helping everybody stay on their A game.

I personally love that concept. In America I see a huge divide, where half the country is doing okay, but the other half is barely not homeless, and that lower half is focusing on survival. But, if they could learn the goal setting, the habits, and the techniques, I believe that would help them make their way up. Support groups, whether online or in person could really help a lot of people. 

David is planning for retreats and local meetups, but for now, online is the way to go, and his program is actually quite affordable for anyone who might be interested in his work. Managing Happiness is not a money-making proposition for him, it’s the work he loves to do for the betterment of people everywhere.

David’s introductory three-day program at www.managinghappiness.com is only 200.

Nonprofits Can’t Drive Themselves

Although David likes doing good, he’s not a fan of nonprofits. He describes them as a car without an engine. Someone always has to push it. Keeping some money in the system is like keeping gasoline in the car; it keeps them running. 

If there’s money in the system, a successful enterprise will succeed even more. A lot of nonprofits collapse under their own weight because, the more they do, the more fundraising they have to do to support their efforts. Then they become more of a fundraising engine and end up doing less of what they were meant to do in the first place.

Even a small amount of money per person who signs up makes a massive difference. You’re no longer wondering where the money to run the program is going to come from. If a million people sign up for $100 each, you now have $100 million to get things going and growing. Nonprofits ask you for $100 and then use it and ask you for another $100 next year because the infrastructure to run the nonprofit uses up all the money in fundraising efforts, whereas a business asks you for $100 this year and next year they’re asking a new person for $100.

David’s Advice

David’s advice for people who have found their difference, but not their niche, is to figure out how they can provide the most value to as many people as possible, because money is a side effect of value. 

He believes that if you know you are providing amazing value, you can be a pushy salesperson, because you know, without the shadow of a doubt, that your product or service is going to change the customer’s life. And, because you are speaking out of love, that will translate to the customer.

David suggests that everyone check out www.lovenotfear.com for a video that explains the concept of making decisions from a place of love. 

He talked about how when his wife asks him to do handy things around the house, he used to have poor outcomes, because, although he hated doing these tasks, he would do them out of fear of conflict. Doing a task out of fear creates a bad outcome, because you’re not putting an appropriate amount of care into the task. When he changed his mindset to doing tasks because he loved his wife and wanted to do things for her, even if he didn’t enjoy the chore, he created better outcomes because he was putting attention to detail and care into the task. 

Reaching Out

David Henzel can be reached on all the social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. He urges people to reference this podcast to make sure they aren’t filtered out. You can also find him on www.henzel.com or www.davidhenzel.com

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