Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Hanover NH with my father and sister. My mother works for NCIS so she was bouncing all over the world for her job which means I didn’t see her much growing up. I had a great childhood and remember many things from it but one thing that sticks out the most was driving from WY to NH with my dad and sister. We were trying to start a new life on the east coast and had very little to our name at the time. While we were getting close to the end of our 5-day road trip we stopped for gas and realized we had only enough money to fuel up but not to eat. My dad looked at my sister and I and said, “this time may be a bit rough but as long as we’re together and have God on our side we will be just fine.” We said a prayer together that we find a way to eat dinner that night and when we stepped out of the rusted down old truck, we noticed a $20 bill under the front tire. It was a moment I will remember till the day I die. Needless to say, we ate well that last night of our road trip.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I knew how easy it is to waste your life away by worrying about things that never happen. I can look back on so many events in my life and see the hours, days, and even years I spent making up “what if’s” in my head. In the long run, almost all these made-up scenarios never came to fruition and that time spent stressing over them was for not.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Practice makes perfect and you shouldn’t take the stage if you’re not 100% ready. I think the idea that anything can be perfect is just setting you up for failure and disappointment. Do your best, then get your work out there and share it with the world. Great and done is far better than perfect and in progress.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I’ve had a handful of dark times in life but that last and hardest one was getting divorced from my children’s mother. Breaking up a family with children is not a pretty thing even when it’s the right choice. This hit me harder than anything and put me into a state of depression I’ve never experienced before. I tried everything I could think of to get out of the funk but anyone who’s battled depression knows it’s simply not that easy and sometimes it has to run its course.
A few things that started to turn things around for me were daily walking, my light therapy lamp, reading my book The Power of Now and cutting out all processed foods, and taking good multi-vitamins. I also started online therapy, which helped me a bit but the main thing was to keep moving and remind myself every day that this will pass. Remembering that this is not the new normal for me but rather a short period that will fade away over time just like an ocean wave that crashes the shore with incredible force but then slowly subsides back to the sea.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I realized very early on that I can do literally anything I want. In my line of work, we simply don’t have the word impossible in our minds as we deal with bringing the impossible to fruition on a daily. If the dream feels too big then you’re exactly where you need to be!
What is your morning routine?
I wake up at 8am. Take my kids to school, grab a healthy breakfast and coffee then meditate for 10 mins, stretch for 10 more, and then hit my daily walk. If I have the time, I’ll try to journal a bit and then end my routine by jotting down 25 ideas. These can be anything from new product ideas to problems I want to solve for people. Getting into a habit of writing down 25 ideas a day is one I can’t recommend highly enough.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
100% meditation. It’s the starting point and ending point of every day now and I don’t think I could stay focused and level-headed without it.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Focus Matrix App paired with a software called WorkFlowy. To keep in close and easily searchable contact with my team I use Slack. I need these tools to keep things organized and on track and once I found them my productivity skyrocketed.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has been one of the most influential books in my life because it found me at the time, I needed it most. I was at a point in life where it felt like there was no hope, no desire, and no passion. Reading this book allowed me to stop for long enough to realize my anxiety and fear were steaming from trying to control the future instead of just being present in the here and now. I read it at least twice a year as a refresher and still find bits of wisdom throughout.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it, they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain, you’re doing a good thing”. – Stan Lee
“Don’t complicate it. Keep it simple. Just work hard and be nice to people” – Michael Franti