As I indicated last quarter, I am trying out a new format that respects brevity and is more in line with the way most people consume communication nowadays. Both interviewees this quarter are remarkable in their own right, but also quite special to me personally and have been extremely influential in my personal development. One as a mentor, and the other as a father. I am honored to share their wisdom with you, which is available by way of the links below.
Life Experience This quarter’s life experience was attending Dark Lord Day in Indiana with my brother.
This massive craft beer event is the only day one can buy Three Floyds’ Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. It is a beer festival where a massive amount of brew enthusiasts from around the world bring their best bottles to share with one another for free. If you go you can expect to meet other beer lovers, enjoy good food, listen to great live music and drink way too many awesome craft beers from all over the globe.
Contribution For contribution this quarter, I made a donation to assist Free the Slaves and Lotus Circle International in an effort to complete restoration work needed at a human trafficking shelter in India.
Wishing you all a fantastic summer ahead! In the spirit of Father’s Day my summer is off to a great start, as my wife and I welcomed our second child, Archer, into the world last month.
Also, I am proud to announce I have become the health technology correspondent for About.com. As always, grateful you made it to the end. See you in the fall.
Starting next quarter I am going to fundamentally change the format of this newsletter, but before I do that I wanted to write one last traditional post. I also want to make sure for those that do not have time to read this entire post, I at least have a chance to express my gratitude for sticking with me through these seven plus years. I usually leave life experience for the end of this newsletter, but in the context of this one I feel having it up front is appropriate. This month I made the cover of Club Solutions with the rest of the Active Sports Clubs leadership team.
For those of you that have been with me since the start, you will remember I began Live Life Love back in 2007 to ensure I did not lose sight of my passion for wellness as my career was pulling me in another direction. In 2011, I unabashedly asked for help to stay the course as my position at SBT Group was moved offshore to France. In 2015, through a long road of grinding and hustling, humbling experiences, and late nights, I have now arrived at my proverbial 10,000 hours. I am a sought out expert in the area of workplace wellness and proud of where I sit today.
One thing I have realized along the way is I do not make a good Napolean Hill, Jim Rohn… or even a Matt Foley for that matter. While I have a pretty solid track record as a marketer, in sales I bat about average. As my good friend and past interviewee Jeff Atkinson put it, “you are living an extraordinary life, and you can talk circles around bull$h!t, but I still don’t know what you DO… or WHY?” Funny Jeff, and fair play. I have gotten this far basically mumbling to myself and taking you all along for the ride. It is time to take this project to a different level. Serendipitously the three things I know best are clearly tenets of successful employee wellness programs: strategic communication, foundational physical & psychological well-being, and technology. The “why” is easy for me to answer: I get off on seeing people thrive and flourish and want to spend the rest of my life finding ways to do this that scale. The “do” is still a work in progress but I am heading in the right direction and moving quicker each year — in large part from the opportunity you have given me to check-in with you once every three months.
I committed back in 2007 to seeing this through to the end, and I am a man of my word; however I don’t have much more to share in the line of general anecdotes. In this area you are better served by someone else. Although spirituality is clearly a key part of wellness, it is also sacred and personal so as a practice guideline I shy away from open discourse in this area. However, in developing my own concept of spirituality, one thing that is clear for my personal growth is that the pursuit of maximizing meaningful experience has continued to give me greater context. Similar to an artist broadening their palette to create, I have benefited from having an expanding repertoire of concepts to pull from while innovating new ideas. This quarter is no exception and I was quite fortunate to learn from the following two brilliant individuals.
Contribution this quarter came in the form of a couple random acts of kindness. Someone I do not really know reached out to a general audience asking for support in his effort to Spin4Kids …exercise for a good cause …I obliged; it made his day. I was also moved deeply by the story of Kayla Mueller. I’m not going to go too deep into her story here, you can read about her by using the link I’ve provided. I will simply say the world needs more people like Kayla, and we need to talk more about people like Kayla, and consume less manufactured news. The world already has more Kaylas than most of us believe, yet these exceptional people are only heralded during tragedy, in contrast to hooligans whose actions seem to be promulgated constantly through every media channel confusing eager minds that notoriety is somehow on par with legacy. In honor of Kayla I donated to Kayla’s Hands.
When I switch to the new format any personal updates will likely be few and far between, so in closing I’d like to vaunt that over the next 12 months Anna and I will be proudly welcoming a new son into this world, and I will also finally finish my PhD. I owe so much to the people that read this: my friends, my family, my colleagues. I am not delusional. I am at where I am today because I asked for and received help. A special thanks to those that have hung around this far but have little personal interest in wellness and/or entrepreneurship. Thanks so much for being a part of the ride up until now. For those of you that stay with me I stay committed to bringing you awesome content from remarkable thought leaders and will continue to keep my blog updated regarding contribution and life experience for those of you who might want to check-in from time to time to see how that is still going (or better yet, who want to join along on an adventure or two).
I hope your 2015 is off to an epic start and that you continue to flourish throughout the year.
Happy New Year’s Eve! I don’t want to take time away from you celebrating with friends and family so I’ll keep this quarterly update brief. I was able to nail down some pretty awesome interviews this quarter, especially if you are interested in building great products or are a fan of elite fitness. So if you are interested in either of these two things when you have a little more time, please come back to this post.
In the meantime, I leave you with this: Always find a way back to your youthful spirit. There was a great New York Times article in October titled What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set? that outlined the work of Dr. Ellen Langer. Langer’s work suggests that when we believe (in our mind) we are younger than we are, our body follows. Dr. Langer’s work has been criticized by some for a lack of rigor, but was just validated by another age related study out of the University College London that suggests those who feel younger live longer than those who do not.
So tonight, as you ring in the New Year, remember to play. Laugh with your partner about something silly; let your child tickle you this time; when you walk your dog, skip instead of walk. Smile. It is clear more than ever that our personalities and experiences shape our destinies. Great experiences generally do not interrupt your life or happen on their own; you have to seek them out. Find them.
Wishing you a joyful and prosperous 2015, and a year full of wonderful new experiences!
Life Experience: This quarter I fed my passion for corporate wellness with a visit to the Nike corporate campus in Beaverton, Oregon. Nike is an impressive organization that really exemplifies the rewards a company can reap when there is meaning behind the company’s mission and vision: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.
Thank you for reading. Again, may your year ahead be full of wonder and joy.
It’s been a great summer for me, and I hope the same is true for you. I was able to connect with a lot of old friends over the past few months, something I had not done for some time because frankly I had not made it a priority. What a mistake.
This month I met up with an old friend from high school, Mike D., whom I had not seen for decades and had a brilliant lunch. We shared our aspirations of leaving the world a better place, and he described that notion in mathematical terms: finding ways to increase the Global X. This idea has stuck with me since. I have always liked the Elizabeth Lesser quote, “Look for a way to lift someone up. If that’s all you do, it’s enough.” However, thinking about global flourishing in terms of increasing the Global X resonates higher with me, since I tend to think of things in quantitative terms.
Solving for some sort of Global X highlights the beauty that no matter what part you are playing in helping others, whether it’s a big or small role, in the end you are a purveyor of good, moving the same Universal needle as everyone who stands with you — those that understand that our purpose here is to learn and help one another. So I dedicate this quarter’s newsletter to friendship and increasing the Global X. This quarter’s interviews covering business and wellness are below.
Life Experience: Continuing with the theme of friendship, I have two life experiences to share this quarter. First, my friend Jill was visiting Vermont and picked me up a Heady Topper so that I could complete the personal challenge of drinking the “best beer in America,” which I discussed a couple of quarter’s ago. That was so thoughtful, and Heady Topper lives up to its reputation.
The other life experience came while visiting my friend Nate in New Jersey, I stopped by New York to see the Statue of Liberty. It was great seeing Nate; even though we only spent a couple hours together reminiscing about our quick visit still makes me smile.
Contribution: There is no harm in being a lemming when it is for a good cause, so of course I got sucked into the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge craze thanks to another long time friend Joe.
I hope your summer is off to an excellent start. With summer here there are better things to do than read email, so I am going to make this quarter’s note short. Someone recently shared with me that most endeavors in life are like making sausage, the quality of something you create is only as good as the ingredients you put in and the methods you use. Moreover, if you want beef sausage, you don’t put in chicken, you use quality beef.
As silly and simplistic as this sounds it has stuck with me. I’m not getting any younger and I’ve still got a dent I’d like to make in the Universe. Not staying focused (filler) and engaging in activities that do not move me forward are getting in the way of worthy pursuits. Letting ill will fester, self-loathing, or reading some negative news story on my phone when I could be paying attention to my daughter creating the most glorious Mega Bloks castle is building terrible sausage. That’s not to say one cannot have fun. They don’t call spontaneity and adventure the “spice of life” for nothing. Anyway, today forward I recommit to making better sausage.
Entrepreneurship: This quarter’s entrepreneurial interview is with Brad Bowery about co-working environments and personal networking. Brad is the former Chief Executive Officer of SRECTrade and has recently become a partner of Founders Den, which is an innovative shared coworking office space helping other entrepreneurs take their companies to the next level. My interview with Brad Bowery about coworking space can be found here.
Life Experience: As I alluded last quarter, this quarter’s life experience was quite exciting as I got to knock off another World Wonder, and I also got to attend a traditional Indian wedding. Although the former is fun with regards to bragging rights, attending the wedding outshined the Taj Mahal.
If you ever have an opportunity to attend a traditional Indian wedding in India don’t pass it up! It was a true privilege and an exceptional experience.
Contribution: This quarter I contributed to Ruby’s effort with Global Glimpse which is a nonprofit organization who each year sponsors over 500 students to learn more about developing countries and culminates in an educational trip to Latin America. Through this program, Global Glimpse strives to create generations of global citizens who are not only aware of the world’s problems, but also deeply invested in solving them.
As promised, keeping it short this time; I hope you get the chance to make great sausage this summer too!
I hope your 2014 is off to a great start. Mine has been a bit of a wild ride (the governor even had to get involved), but wild rides are for the most part fun. Digital health and wellness is about to explode and after years of hard work preparing and getting ready for this trend to takeoff I’m well-positioned to make my mark. This is also true for so many Live Life Love alums in their respective areas. After modest beginnings of getting the start-up WaNeLo off the ground Deena Varshavskaya was just added to the Board of Directors at Wet Seal. After years of waiting for the mass market to accept augmented reality, Matt Szymczyk is now seeing the fruits of his labor through interest from major brands. And although I’ve mentioned Dr. Gervais’ professional progress before, he’s reached new highs now being credited as a significant factor regarding the Seattle Seahawk’s Super Bowl win. I am humbled to have had early access to these thought leaders, to have learned from them as well as all that have participated in this project. Each quarter’s opportunities manifest in unique and magnificent ways. This quarter was no exception.
Entrepreneurship: Neville Medhora (AKA Nev) is the trusted sidekick of Noah Kagan. The two joined forces to create the entrepreneurial marketplace AppSumo. Nev is known for being a bit of a character and shares some interesting ideas about creating a start-up (he believes most people who start businesses tend to be wantrepreneurs) as well as his thoughts on creating good marketing copy. My interview with Neville Medhora about wantrepreneurs and copywriting can be found here.
Life Experience: Playing off the “wild ride” theme, this quarter’s life experience was attending the Land Rover driving school at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley. I took an off-road course in a brand new Land Rover LR4. Hard to put into words how awesome this vehicle is so the best I can do is show you a little clip from the experience.
Next quarter I am determined to knock off another World Wonder, but for the 2014 fall quarter my life experience mission is to try the top four beers in the United States. Number three and number four, Pliny The Younger and Pliny The Elder (respectively), should be easy to come by because their brewery is in my backyard, but Heady Topper (number one) from Vermont is extremely hard to get outside of the state. A six month challenge to complete this mission has been set, and any help achieving this experience is welcomed. I look forward to seeing how I can pull my network together to make this happen (and hopefully enjoy some good beer with a few of you in the process).
Contribution: This quarter I contributed to several charities I’ve previously provided donations to, and also made a donation to March for Babies in the memory of Ryan Ahdan.
Wow! You read the whole thing. Thank you so much for taking the time. I’m a firm believer in reciprocity so if there’s anything I can do for you in return please let me know.
This is the 25th edition of the Live Life Love newsletter. It’s hard to believe the overall project has reached the quarter waypoint. I’m grateful for the way it has evolved thus far and the opportunities it’s afforded me to grow. Moreover, I’m extremely grateful that you have allowed me to share with you and keep in touch, in this manner, along the way. My favorite part is when I hear back from someone and/or I’m able to help someone else along their own path.
I began over six years ago with the mild delusion of being able to reach some form of omniscience in the area of health and wellness entrepreneurship. This, of course, is folly. However, my dream of being able to put a dent in the Universe – by somehow contributing to the expansion of human health and flourishing – manifests a little more every time I hit send each quarter. It’s a wonderful gift (to me) that you’re reading this right now. I thank you, sincerely.
Health and Wellness: Mike Leveque has ten years of executive leadership experience in health and wellness innovation. He previously was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Star Trac Fitness and is currently the Chief Operating Officer of MYZONE, a company which makes an innovative activity tracking device. My interview with Mike Leveque about fitness innovation can be found here.
Entrepreneurship: Pat Fellows is a serial entrepreneur who currently runs the restaurant Fresh Junkie in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Pat is an early mentor of mine and I’m proud to call him a friend. In addition to his various entrepreneurial accomplishments Pat is a devoted triathlete, health enthusiast, and a TEDx speaker. My interview with Pat Fellows about entrepreneurship realities can be found here.
Contribution: Halloween this year allowed me to reminisce about my own childhood when my daughter brought home her first UNICEF donation box. When the two of us were through with it, you couldn’t fit another coin in the box.
I also contributed to a friend’s film fundraising effort (Cicada) as well as made a donation to help the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan.
Life Experience: Aside from the awe inspiring and already well-documented experience of seeing downtown San Francisco come alive with Batkid fever;
At these events, what I picked up during my marathon of networking with some of the most prominent thought leaders in the areas of wellness and entrepreneurship is that – by almost every account – 2014 is poised to be an incredible year full of revolutionizing innovation and unbounded opportunity. May good fortune be yours in the coming year and beyond!
Once again the summer has come and gone. I hope that the passing of the autumnal equinox has left you with fond summer memories to relish. A few days ago I had to take my daughter to the pediatrician for her eighteen month check-up. During the visit the doctor coached me and my wife on the importance of establishing early boundaries, an area we both admittedly had been overlooking. I mean, why would we want to stifle the exploration and creative growth of our child, right?
As most know I’m a chronic multitasker, this distinction was even documented through an award bestowed upon me by my cohort in business school. It’s becoming clearer to me as I mature however that even though passion and drive are clearly essential components of success, their effectiveness is exponentially increased when coupled with an equal part of discipline.
So how do these two anecdotes fit together? Steve Jobs is quoted in an old edition of Business Week as saying (about Apple), “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” Bill Cosby famously stated, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” And Olav Sorenson taught us that when planning and designing for success one is probably better served studying and avoiding the failure of others rather than trying to pursue replicating the success of outliers. In short, boundaries, or in professional jargon: practice guidelines, help us channel our energy towards worthy pursuits. It’s a tough lesson for a dreamer like myself but I’m coming around to its merits.
Health and Wellness: Ari Meisel is a wellness and productivity optimization expert who coaches a portfolio of clients on optimizing, automating, and outsourcing. Ari’s Achievement Architecture coaching program is an optimization framework designed to help people improve their effectiveness and reduce the amount of time they spend doing. Ari’s personal website The Art of Doing Less has become a go-to resource for those seeking to improve their well-being and productivity. My interview with Ari Meisel about wellness and productivity tracking and hacking can be found here.
Life Experience: If you are the father of a daughter then you have likely come across the Life to Her Years blog post 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters. Moved by the message in this post I committed to attempting to honor all 50 items. In the spirit of Rule #14 I purchased my first pair of Chuck Taylors (yes, for some reason up until now I have never owned a pair); I also purchased Sloane her first pair of Chucks too.
We broke in our new kicks by visiting the Bay Area Discovery Museum for the first time. Whether you have a young daughter or son I highly recommend this little find right past the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a great day for the kids… and winding down the day with your favorite adult beverage at Farley Bar on your way out is also recommended.
Contribution: This quarter my contribution came in the form of donating my Cannondale to Cycles of Change. Cycles of Change is a great local charity that provides a host of Bay Area community services, in part providing reliable transportation and job training to underprivileged youths and adults.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end. I wish you a tremendous fall season and I will catch back up with you in December if our paths do not happen to cross before then.
P.S. For my entrepreneurial friends trying to fund their business a very important part of the JOBS Act went into effect today. You can read the story here featuring Live Life Love alum Todd Dipaola. Tim Ferriss has also posted about the importance of this event on his blog here.
Instead of my usual preamble, I thought this quarter I would try to solicit some assistance. Between juggling my day job, doctoral studies, my entrepreneurial project, being a good father, and the pursuit of Boston in 2016 I’m feeling a bit stretched. I’m not complaining, quite the contrary, operating under load has forced me to really focus my efforts. One of the potential downsides of the hobby of habitual learning is sometimes you can amass so many ideas that it doesn’t leave enough bandwidth for action and execution. I’ve been locking down my focus on these five pursuits, and doing my best to put on blinders regarding other distractions until I’m satisfied I am succeeding in these five areas. To maximize output I’ve been mastering “life hacks”. My current favorite hack is pairing Parkinson’s law with the Pomodoro Technique by which I batch significant tasks in a finite amount of time, satisfied that I can get something “good enough” and that further effort would likely only satisfy pride but result in no further benefit as well as no further consequence to me or others. This is a delicate dance but effective as long as it is approached critically. So my solicitation is this: do you have any favorite “life hacks” that might help me and others? Please share it in the comment section below and I will randomly select one of the comments and send the comment’s author a copy of Dr. Jacobson’s new book Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition.
I am grateful that I was able to fit in a lot of life experience this quarter. Anna and I traveled to Oklahoma for a family wedding the week after that region had suffered incredible damage at the hands of multiple tornadoes. I wanted to do something to help there, so along with sponsoring a friend on his Tour de Cure bicycle ride I also made a modest donation to Habitat for Humanity to support their effort in building new homes for Oklahoma tornado victims. This quarter I also had the chance to visit Washington, D.C.
In the spirit of Lincoln’s wisdom I leave you with one of my favorite Lincoln quotes, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Wishing you a fruitful, prosperous and fun filled summer of hustle.
It’s amazing and a bit scary how fast time flies by. We just celebrated my daughter’s first birthday last weekend but it seems like just yesterday that I was telling you about her birth. Honoring that time is precious, especially yours, I will keep this quarter’s newsletter brief. I’d just like to share one quick lesson my daughter has taught me over the past year that has been tremendously helpful in my life. She has incredible resilience. Unlike my experience with other young children, her ability to shake things off is incredible… it’s as if she knows that any extended form of discord or tantrum would simply take time away from her preferred states of curiosity and elation. Impressed by this skill I’ve recently implemented reducing the amount of time I let unpleasant events bother me. Since I do not possess this skill innately in the way my daughter appears to it has taken me a bit of practice, but none-the-less I can attest putting it into practice has freed up a lot more time to enjoy better things. In a reciprocal way it has even changed my personal vernacular. Before when something would go wrong I would normally burst out an expletive, or say, “this sucks!” Now I often simply emulate my daughter and say, “uh oh!” when an unwanted inconvenience arises. Hard to stay upset for very long when you say ‘uh oh’ in a silly voice. It’s as if the words I attach to an experience actually help shape the reality of that experience.
This quarter’s health and wellness interview is with Matthew Heineman, the director of the documentary “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare,” a film that examines the deficits and challenges in today’s healthcare system. Escape Fire has recently been airing on CNN and has amassed an impressive amount of critical acclaim. My interview with Matt Heineman about healthcare in America is available here.
Both speaking opportunities were centered on my growing expertise in the use of technology with regards to activity tracking and behavior change. It was a very memorable and rewarding experience. On one panel I sat with four heavy hitters from my industry including Dave Mortensen the co-founder of Anytime Fitness and Russell Benaroya, CEO of EveryMove. It was humbling to have a seat at the table with such esteemed colleagues, but also extremely motivating to push harder and continue to grow.