Christopher Shade is the founder and CEO of Quicksilver Scientific®, a company that specializes in biological, environmental, and analytical chemistry of mercury. He developed mercury speciation testing for the clinical market and currently has the only CLIA-accredited lab offering mercury speciation in human samples. Dr. Shade is a highly sought-after speaker/educator on the topics of mercury, environmental toxicities, neuroinflammation, immune dysregulation, and the human detoxification system for practitioners and patients in the United States and internationally.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I didn’t have the traditional “CEO” upbringing. I grew up in a small steel town in Pennsylvania. The area was blue-collar and very diverse which exposed me to different walks of life very early on. I eventually attended college at Lehigh University, where my father worked as a professor. Many of the students at Lehigh weren’t exposed to the diversity I was at such a young age, and this really gave me an advantage. I found I was much more socially aware and worked well with a diverse mix of people, which would serve me well later in life.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Everything! But if I have to be specific, particularly with getting through college, learning how to balance. Balancing things that seem paradoxical can be complicated, one of the biggest ones for me being procrastination. Research has shown that people who struggle with procrastination are usually also creative. What’s so paradoxical is that this waiting period during procrastination can provide so many new possibilities and thought processes, but it can also hinder self-starting and cause unnecessary stress and pressure. I wish I could have learned earlier the balance of starting the process to open the mind up but giving myself enough time to reflect without feeling stressed.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Most of the bad things I hear are extremism and pendulum flips. Diets are always an extreme fad that will switch quickly from one season to the next. There’s so much unnecessary trendiness in functional medicine, and then it’s forgotten about quickly and on to the next. No matter what anyone ever tells you, it’s always just about a healthy balance.
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?
Early grad school was a difficult period for me and I found myself needing a new direction. After a long stint of not being in school, I went back to get a Master’s degree and didn’t realize how hard that transition would be. The coursework was difficult, and I had to persevere through a lot of changes. This period of time was when I really started to learn the power of balance and getting my habit of procrastination in check. I also learned it’s not always about being perfect, but improving slowly and steadily. This has helped a lot in my career, particularly with product development. I’ve learned to design the initial product, and then work to perfect it over time. If you wait, you won’t get enough shots at perfecting it.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Perseverance through adversity and 360-degree awareness – the ability to see all viewpoints simultaneously. Oftentimes we’re stuck in our own viewpoints and see other viewpoints as threats. When in a conflict, you always need to see the other person’s side as valid. To move things forward, in business and in life, you need to see things that others haven’t while assessing a problem. I try to never be stuck in one viewpoint and always play above the chessboard.
What is your morning routine?
I get up between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and take supplements that support mitochondrial energy, drink coffee, fast and then three times a week I do an infrared sauna. The key to my morning routine is taking free-thinking time to think and organize thoughts around the company, moving things forward. The CEO role has changed to more of a visionary role and that required you to be a bit more removed from the day-to-day. After this free-thinking time, I head into the office around 10 a.m. and engage with the rest of our team.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
I always say that some of my dietary choices have shown the biggest improvement in my life. This includes both intermittent fasting, or not eating breakfast, and intermittent keto, or carb restricting a few days a week. It’s given me much more energy and clarity. And of course, I’m a big fan of supplements and how they can drastically improve lives, notably our Keto Before 6 and NAD products are ones that have made a big impact in my life when it comes to energy and fighting chronic disease.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
A few strategies I always try to live by are, always take time for yourself and put your health first. Be in it when I’m in it, and not when I’m not, that means knowing when to delegate and let others take the reins too.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj. It’s extraordinarily deep and meaningful and has caused me to step back and reflect in ways I could have never imagined.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“You need not push life about. Just flow with it and give yourself completely to the task of the present moment.” – Nisargadatta