The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nada Lena is the founder / CEO of Rise Up For You, a two-time TED speaker, a #1 bestselling author, and a leadership and career confidence coach. Nada’s time as both a college professor and a former top executive for an education corporation gave her an intimate understanding of how education, empowerment, and leadership fuse together for massive transformation. 

She has toured the world as a singer, has a Master’s degree in Administrative Leadership, and has coached and mentored 50,000+ individuals around the world on self-empowerment, career strategy, and soft skills.

Nada has been featured in media all over the world, has spoken on some of the most renowned stages, and her company, Rise Up For You, has been featured in and worked with brands such as CBS, LA Fitness, and Google.

Nada believes that in order to create change within our communities, companies, and households, we must first create change within ourselves because the world needs all of us at our best.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nada Lena does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about her favorite quote, what advice she’d give her 18-year-old self, the one thing on her bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this interview, we’re going to talk about:

And, if we have time, we might even be able to ask Nada about how she found herself performing in the Russian circus. 

Before we get started, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nada Lena!

James Whittaker:
Nada, it's great to see you! Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Nada Lena:
Thank you for having me!

To get started, why don't you take us right back to where it all began? Is there a particular memory from your childhood that's still so vivid for you today?

Wow, that's a huge question. Honestly, my parents and my background has been so amazing, and I would say that all of it really contributes to who I am today. One thing that really stands out that I write in the book is my mom always did affirmations with my brothers and I. So when we would drive to school, she would be in the front saying, "Today, you're going to be amazing."

And my brothers and I would sit in the back, "Today, we're going to be amazing." We would repeat all of these affirmations, which at the time, you don't know, "Why are we doing this, mom?" But as we got older, we recognized that it was really countering the negativity from the outside world.

It's very easy to latch onto something and just believe it. He really encouraged us to go do research, find the answer, figure out what fits for you.

So when a teacher or somebody said to us, "You're not good enough," we already had that affirmation on our mind that we were amazing. We said, "No, that's not true." And we would move that belief out of the way. So that was really, really important for us.

Your father came from a small village in Lebanon, and I know you've had a great relationship with both your parents. Are there any lessons, particularly from your father, that are still so strong and that you still apply today?

Yeah, there was two that I really apply today. The first one is that he always taught my brothers and I that, "No one's better than you and you're not better than anyone." It didn't matter if they were a teacher, it didn't matter who they were. And so he always taught us to love ourselves and put our best foot forward; to always treat everybody kindly, and you should always get kindness back. It doesn't matter who the person is. And that was really, really important.

Then the second is that he always had us question the world. Whenever we asked questions, he never said, "This is the answer." He really encouraged us to navigate, to explore, even when it came to questions about God and religion, like, "Dad, what's heaven?" He always gave us this very philosophical answer that really made us curious and wonder, which I think is very important today, especially with all the consumption. It's very easy to latch onto something and just believe it. He really encouraged us to go do research, find the answer, figure out what fits for you. And that was a game changer.

The power of independent thought.

Absolutely.

And teaching children the ability to solve problems seems to be so much more practical than the simple comprehension of facts.

Yeah. And it created conversation — conscious conversation — and that's something that we had a lot of growing up. If we asked a question, then we ended up having a conversation about it. It was never a, "This is the answer, black and white. Now do." There was always something going back and forth, which was, I think very important.

What did success look like to you when you were young and what career paths did you naturally gravitate toward?

Success for me, even when I was younger, I really resonated towards kindness. I didn't know what that looked like in a career when I was younger, but when I got into high school, I really took to music and I started singing in choir. And so instantly, I was like, "Okay, I to be a singer." That was my first career that I wanted to take. Now, I wanted to be Britney Spears at the time! But that didn't happen. So I went to college, I got my bachelor's in music because I wanted to follow that path. And then that catapulted me into my first career, which was as a performer internationally.

At 19 years old, there you were, ready to tackle the world stage as a performer. What did that career on stage teach you about the power of the mind?

Everything. It taught me everything about emotional intelligence that I talk about today. And people skills came from performing, because there's a discipline to it, a really strong discipline. So what I realized and hopefully the audience and everyone that's listening resonates is, at some point, everyone's technique is the same. You walk into a room, there's 1,000 singers, and I'm like, "Well, they're all really amazing singers, so who's going to get the role? How do you determine who gets casted?"

People skills came from performing, because there's a really strong discipline to it.

And so the art of discipline was really, really honed in at a young age. There would be times where the other performers would be partying and doing all this stuff, and I would be in my practice room till 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM, practicing the songs, memorizing the songs, looking in the mirror and trying to critique myself as if I were the audience member.

I would watch myself sing and then say, "If I was in the audience, I don't know if I would like that or if I would be entertained by it." So discipline was a huge thing that it taught me, but also just that emotional intelligence, because there were so many times where I was performing in an audience that didn't speak English. Therefore, what I was saying out of my mouth or singing didn't necessarily connect because the language wasn't connected. So then how do I make an impact? How do I create any inspiration or change, simply by using my eyes, body movement, tone of my voice, or the emotional connection? That was really critical.

Yeah, the ones in my experience who have the most charisma and confidence come from a background in performing. In an earlier episode, we had Emily Fletcher [founder, Ziva Meditation] who — like you — has this amazing presence. The discipline of doing those reps for many years behind the scenes provides those skills that you can then take to so many other areas.

Yeah, and you have to be on all the time. If I do a show 100 days in a row, it's the same show, but I have to remember that my audience is different every single night, so I can never be on autopilot, because I have a new audience, a new energy, something new that's always going to happen, whether or not I'm singing the same song. And so that was really important to understand like, how to show up.

You're a walking billboard. I learned that as a performer, I was a walking billboard. Especially in Japan and Russia, I would walk and there would be a huge poster of my face on the circus building, which I'm sure we'll talk about later. And I'm like, "Wow, everyone in the city has seen my face for the past month." So you just have to be really conscious of that.

Let's talk about it now! How did you find yourself in Russia performing, and what was the craziest thing that happened?

The performing arts organization was invited to go there and perform. It started with a really small group. There's only about six of us. Typically, we tour with a group of 40, but only six of us were invited to go and perform. And we basically did a two-hour show with six people.

More pressure!

That was the hardest show I've ever done! I was singing and dancing and changing. It was intense. But when we got there, they booked the show in a circus that was a full-time circus, so we were the act. We went in there and we performed. But it was so wild because as we're standing there getting ready, there's tigers and cages right behind us and we're just looking around and I'm like, "What's happening?" All the animals were still there in the cages and we have our microphone getting ready to go out and perform. So it was super interesting.

You started your TED Talk singing a song, which I thought was very cool and certainly unique. That TED Talk is called ‘Commit to Workplace Transformation: People Versus Profits’ — we've included a link to that in the show notes, so everyone reading this should check that out.

Even with your extensive career as a performer, how nervous were you to walk on stage singing a song to begin your TED Talk?

I have never been more nervous, honestly! Doing a TED Talk is like a marathon for runners — you really have to prepare and prepare and prepare because you have to stay on topic. It's being recorded. You get one opportunity to make sure that you're getting that message across. So it was pretty intense.

But I had to really channel my dad and remind myself when I was a performer when I was younger. He taught me that whenever you are nervous, people may or may not disagree with this, that it's actually a selfish quality. And I remember asking him, "Why is that?" And he said, "Well, the second you go out on stage, it's no longer about you, it's about the audience. Otherwise, you can speak and sing by yourself at home. But now when you're making that conscious decision to say, 'I want to step out on stage and deliver my message and impact people,' now it's about people."

The second you go out on stage, it's no longer about you, it's about the audience.

And so I remember doing that TED Talk, I was really, really nervous right before I went on, because they chose me to be first out of the 14 speakers. They were like, "You're going to be number one." I'm like, "Okay."

My legs started shaking, so I started doing squats. Then I just remembered what my dad said. I was like, "You know what? This isn't about going online, this isn't about anything other than the 150 people who are in the room right now. I want them to really understand this message because it's so needed." Instantly, the nerves just calmed me.

I remember when I started speaking years ago — which was after my performing career — I would get nervous to speak. I'm like, "Why am I getting nervous to speak but I never get nervous to sing, never?"

So I thought, "You know what, when I speak, I'm going to start by singing: a) Because it'll be engaging. People are going to wonder what the heck is happening; and b) Because it's an instant nerve reliever for me." So it's like another strategy for me to really get in the flow of speaking.

How interesting! I never would have thought about that. And most people sing in the shower or in the car, everyone is comfortable singing, so that's a really great tip.

Obviously, you do a lot of work on stage, speaking, appearing on podcasts. And when you're approaching a situation where the stakes are very, very high, they could be very influential or significant moment for you or for your career, what is your routine to get in your optimal state for that beforehand?

First, I always remind myself that it's about value. I never want that value to go away, that it's about serving and adding value. So I really try to take away any unnecessary pressure and remind myself that it doesn't matter what the outcome of it is. What matters is that in the moment, I'm going to provide as much education, as much service as possible to give back. That's the thing that's always on the top of my mind.

The second thing is, I do a power mantra, and it's something that I teach my clients. I'll look in the mirror before I walk in. I was in the car before I came in here, I looked in the mirror, I was like, "All right, you got this. Be your best, put your best foot forward, add value." That's it.

And I do that all the time. I talk to myself all the time in the mirror, whatever I need to do. I'm not afraid of that.

Yeah. It's really, really powerful. I'll do something similar where I take a deep breath, think about what success looks like, what energy I want to bring in, and what the optimal result is from the situation.

Obviously, success leaves clues, and there are themes for people to pick up about taking that pressure off you and instead transmuting that into the value and service that you are going to have for the audience. It's just so powerful.

Yeah. Well, at the end of the day, that's what it's about. And I think that when people can really shift that mindset to be an educator, that's how I think about, I'm coming in and providing education, and hopefully it adds value. That really makes a shift on how you deliver. Again, it takes the lens off of you onto, what do you need right now? And whatever you need is what I'm going to do.

So much of your confidence seems to come from your upbringing and your work as a performer. If you were working one on one with someone who had literally zero confidence, what steps would you take them through to get them heading towards creating bulletproof confidence?

That's a great question. The first thing I would do is something called reverse engineering. See, most of us, our thoughts about ourselves and our confidence, it's an accumulation of our life. And we know that. It's our experience as a child, it's the first job that we had, it's the first relationship that we were in, it's the teachers, it's the people that surround us.

What we forget sometimes is that, over time, all of those experiences and people, they've had thoughts about us. And a lot of times, we believe those thoughts and then we carry them as we get older. In order to rebuild confidence, because we're all born with it, we have to peel back all these different layers to understand: where did these thoughts come from that hinder our confidence? What are the different experiences that we've had that have impacted us today?

In order to rebuild confidence, because we're all born with it, we have to peel back all these different layers to understand: where did these thoughts come from that hinder our confidence?

Then we need to break those down. So the first thing we need to do is reverse engineering. It's not easy, but it's really important for us to understand that this journey is evolving and it's not meant to be easy. It's meant, for you to really have that self-awareness and understand, "Why do I have this thought? Where did it come from? Is it still serving me or is it hindering me now?"

And now I get to make that conscious decision of, "I don't want this person, place or thing to keep affecting me," and then break that down.

People from the outside looking in might think you have this amazing confidence and that you never have any bad days. You and I know that every single person on the planet has bad days. How do you handle it when you wake up and you're just feeling off or there's something in life that's knocked you off course? How do you handle those bad days?

You've got to have expectations for yourself that are okay. So I acknowledge it, and I allow it, but I have a standard. I say, "Okay, if I wake up one morning and I don't feel great, fine, I'm going to take the day off," but I'm not going to allow myself to take three weeks off or a month off or a year off of where I'm just constantly waking up that way. So I really acknowledge how I feel, I figure out where it's coming from, then I try to make the shift if I could pinpoint why I feel the way I feel, but I wake up once a month and I'm like, "Oh wow. I just feel really tired. I feel really beat up today." I'm like, "Great, I'm not going to do anything today. I'm just going to relax. I'm going to maybe watch a little bit of Netflix or go get my ice cream," whatever I want to do.

And I think that's so important for people to allow that to happen. I know people that go for years without doing that for themselves, and it's just not realistic. We're all human beings, we're not robots, so we need to have those self-care days and we need to be able to acknowledge them within ourselves, and that's totally fine.

There's a word that you mentioned there: standard. It's about setting that standard and living by that standard. Even if you do have a bad day, as you said, one day does not turn into three weeks because for a lot of people, if you have that bad habit and you don't recognize that higher purpose for you, it's so much easier for that one day to turn into three weeks. But because you're extremely specific and clear on your mission and how many people you want to impact, which for you is 50,000 people through coaching and mentoring.

Yeah, more than that now. That was about three years ago, but we've done so much great work in the past couple of years with the company. But even with my thoughts, I do the same thing. We all have negative thoughts. It would be ridiculous to say that people don't have self-doubt, everybody does — Tony Robbins, Oprah, it doesn't matter who it is — but it's being able to, again, set that standard of, "I'm not going to let that negative thoughts sit in my brain all day long."

Even if I get upset, it's like, "All right, Nada, you got one minute, feel the feeling, get upset, throw a pillow, do whatever you need to do." But then after a minute, it's like, "Move past it. Find a solution. What are the next steps?"

In your book — I'm holding it right here, so you can see it if you're watching this on YouTube. In your book, you mention that the greatest tragedy is wasted human potential. Why is it that so much of our potential goes to waste?

It's really about confidence. So it's that question, how come some people are more successful than other people? Well, again, at the end of the day, at some point, your knowledge and your technique cap. But what makes you push beyond that? It's your ability to take action.

I know so many people, and I'm sure you do too, James, that are super qualified, they have 10 million degrees, a ton of certifications, but they're still stuck, there's resistance when it comes to action. Ask yourself, professionals that are climbing the career ladder, entrepreneurs, people that want to build their own business, so many people that want to do things, but they don't. It's not because they don't have the knowledge, it's not because the strategy is not there.

It's being able to set that standard of, "I'm not going to let that negative thoughts sit in my brain all day long."

Anybody can go on Google right now, there's a ton of books. You can figure out how to take action and do something, but why aren't we taking the action? That's the resistance that we need to find out, and it typically comes from a lack of confidence, self-confidence, or fear.

I know a lot of people will say, "Well, just jump into it and do it. You just have to motivate yourself, or you're lazy." But that's not actually it. When people don't take action, it's because there's something there that's resisting them to move forward, and that's what we have to figure out. And in most cases, that resistance is a thought of, "What if I'm not good enough? What if I fall short? What if I fail? What if someone makes fun of me? What if I don't do a good job?" And those are the things that hinder us from taking action.

When I ask people, "How come you didn't build your business that you wanted to build that you told me three years ago?" They say, "Well, I don't really have time." I'm like, "Yeah, what's the real reason? What's the real reason that you don't have it, because you can always make time?" They say, "Well, what if I don't do well?" It always comes back to that confidence piece — that self-confidence factor — and that's what we have to master so that people can take more risks and really start to take more action.

And what I love about the work that you do is, it's going back to the root cause of all those things, which enables that sustainable change.

Sustainable change, yeah. And I call it macro versus micro confidence. And I talk about this in the TED Talk, and I actually talk about the greatest tragedy is wasted human potential because we don't push ourselves forward: a) Because we have blind spots, so we don't know what we don't know; and b) There's that fear that stops us from taking a step, even though we know it can be such a powerful step in our life, we stop ourselves because of 'what if?'

I always say that many of us live in the past or we live in the future. When we do that — when we have one foot in the past and one foot in the future — we piss on the present. We sabotage the moment to really take action, and it really comes back down to the thoughts that we're feeding ourselves. When I first started building my business, I didn't know anything about business, nothing, zero. I didn't run a business, my degree wasn't in business, but I still took action because of that confidence that I had in the inside that said, "You'll figure it out. You'll figure it out. And if you really want it, it'll happen.

How does someone recognize how much potential they have and what can they do to unlock their full potential?

Yeah. The first thing that I would do is, you know this, is, who you surround yourself by a super, super important. I always talk about having a personal board of directors or a counsel — five people in your life who you can trust that are going to give you honest feedback. So the first thing that I would really recommend is, first figure out your assessment of yourself. Is it accurate or is it not accurate? So there's a lot of people, for example, that think that they have really low confidence or that they're not great at what they do, but then you ask five people that know them well, and it's the complete opposite. So I think the first step is understanding what are your strengths and what are your weaknesses, not necessarily from your perception, but from five to seven people that you really trust, because you're going to be surprised what they tell you.

When we do that — when we have one foot in the past and one foot in the future — we piss on the present.

There's going to be things about yourself that you wouldn't have recognized. And so that's the first step, is understanding, "How do other people view me?" Of course, they have to be people that you trust, otherwise it can go south really fast. And we do this with the leaders too that we work with as an accurate self-assessment. We actually do a 24-point emotional intelligence assessment. They take it on themselves on empathy, confidence, coaching, mentorship, motivation, all these different competencies, and then they pass it on. And you'd be surprised when they get the results back, they think, "Wow, I didn't know I was that great of a coach. I gave myself a four, I got 10s across the board."

And that's really the first step to understanding what are some of those hidden gems that you have that you might not be able to see?

The second thing is really having an honest conversation with yourself and then building that self-awareness. So if I were to ask anybody, "Write down what your ideal day is and what you want in your life," and then what they're actually living, it's quite different for many people. The first step is knowing what you want in your life, and writing that down. Then asking yourself, why do you want it? And then how do we take steps to get there? And what are some of those little comfort zones that we have to break through in order to get you there? And I think that's really important.

That's where that self-awareness comes in is, if I want to build the business, but I'm not, why? Because building that business might be that extra push in your potential, because you don't know how to do it, you've never been there, but why aren't I doing it? And that helps us push our potential.

Awareness, relationships and feedback. You can do incredible things in the world with those three attributes.

The personal development industry is one that's morphed into different variants over the years. Is there anything that personal development industry as a whole should be doing to start creating more sustainable transformations for people?

I love this question. Strategy. It's all about strategy. And I think that's one of the reasons why we've resonated so well with our community and just with our team, is that self-help, we have to make it tangible. It can't just be "Wake up in the morning and be your best, just be motivated" because we know that doesn't work. It doesn't work for the average person, but there really has to be strategies and clear steps and tools. I like to call it a toolbox that you can go into to really change the behaviors, to change the cognitive behaviors. And that's really going to be critical with self-help. So it's, "Okay, great. We have this morning routine one, two, three and four that we do every morning, but then how do we stay accountable to that morning routine?"

For me, I really think of self help and anytime we deliver self help, I also deliver it in the same way I would a business strategy or a marketing strategy is, what are the actual tools and tips that we can use to implement, to make a shift in confidence, to make a shift in emotional intelligence to really move forward? That's how you build sustainability with self help.

And I always do it in threes. Everything that I do, there's always an empowerment part to it, because there's be got to be an emotional connection. There needs to be an educational part to it, because people have to understand the knowledge and the process. And then there has to be a strategy or an action plan attached to it.

So what are we talking about and how does that connect with you on an emotional level? Here's the education around it to you understand it, now, what are your next steps, so that in a week from now, the empowerment doesn't die down, or in a week from now, you don't have all these notes, but you're like, "What do I do with all these notes?" So it's really bridging them together and now having a plan that says, "All right, here's my step one, my step two and my step three."

There's something I wanted to share with you. On the show, in Episode 33, John Assaraf said, "Help the people who want the help, not the people who need the help." And in Episode 51, Yuri Elkaim echoed that. He said, "Often, those who need help the most often want it the least." And that's been a hard thing for me to try and understand over the years where naively, you think that you can go out there and help everyone.

How do you manage people who need help but you can tell through their lack of commitment that they're not willing to do the work or make the sacrifices to truly change?

This is such a great point, and I say this often in a similar way, that it's hard to change when you don't see the change that you need for yourself. Change is the hardest thing when you don't recognize that you need it. It's easy to say, "This person needs to change" and "This person needs to change." And then we can't see that we also need it. And I always say, you can't force anything, and that's the truth. You can't force, but you can always provide resources and hope that one day they meet you halfway. Everybody has their own process, and I think that's really important, especially in this industry with coaches and trainers as well, is that we also have to look with the lens of empathy.

Change is the hardest thing when you don't recognize that you need it.

So whenever we have a client or whenever we have somebody that wants to work with us but they don't want to, we know that they need it, but they're like, "Ah, not right now." There's always an empathetic lens of, "Okay, they're not ready yet. That journey isn't ready yet." And we see this with companies too. So we do a lot of work with corporations and we see team members that are like, "Oh, this is so amazing. We can't believe this is happening." And then we see team members that have resistance, "Why do we have to do this training on EQ? Why do we have to do this training on confidence?"

And it's not because they don't like it, it's because they might not be ready to do that deep dive. That's what we have to remember, is everybody has a different journey and sometimes it might just be not the right time to jump into that painful journey, or maybe they're not ready to admit that there's some things that have to be shifted and we have to allow that process to happen.

I think they're really good points. And also leading by example is something that clearly that you have done very well. Plus, if you keep one or two people in your network or in your circle of people who aren't willing to make that change, then rather than you falling down to their level, you can just continue to set that standard. Then when they're ready, they can open up and ask for that help.

Absolutely. When they're ready, and always just continue to provide value, even people that aren't ready, it's like, "When you're ready, let us know. But in the meantime, continue to grow yourself through these free resources or through these platforms?" Hopefully they come back. And most of the time, they do, and they say, "You know what, I wasn't ready a year ago, I am now. Let's do it."

You built your company with only $100 in your bank account. If you were dropped in a random city today with only $100 and a laptop, so we'll give you a laptop and a good internet connection, and you didn't know anybody, how would you spend that $100? And what actions would you take to grow your business as quickly as possible?

Wow. How would I spend that $100? Honestly, I would probably spend it on croissants and coffee!

I was going to say, "I'd probably start with a good coffee!"

Croissants and coffee! And cafés are the best places to build relationships. That's probably where I would start. I would probably bounce around from café to café, connect with people and meet people. I built my company with $100, but with thousands of relationships that I built.

I will never ever forget when I first started building it, I didn't have a name in this industry and I didn't know anything about business. I launched the podcast and I just sent these emails and I said, "I'm new, I don't have any followers. No one's listening to the podcast, it's just launching, but I would love if you can just share your message and add value."

99% of the people, and they were big time people, I wasn't just picking anyone, they said, "Yes!" They said, "You know what? Yeah, we're going to support you." So I would probably spend that $100, again, being in coffee shops and maybe buying a croissant and a coffee for someone here and there and just building relationships.

You've been able to achieve so much personally and professionally, but is there a particularly dark day that stands out for you on the life journey or the entrepreneurial journey that you're open to sharing with us today?

Yeah. The company came from it. When I was a performer and I got tired of performing, I came back and I was an executive as you mentioned earlier. And I was 27 years old when I was an executive. I had 200 people under me, and I did that for many years. Then when I got a little bit older, about four years later, I decided to resign. I resigned from the company, I sold my house on the lake, I had a brand new luxury car, boats, all the things that we think are success, I sold it all and I moved out of the country to get married. After two weeks, my husband decided he wanted a divorce and I lost everything.

So I went from a high functioning executive to $100 in my account and two luggage, is all I had. And I remember coming back on the plane and I was just shocked, embarrassed, crying, not really sure what just happened. All I knew is that I was going back to California. And I didn't tell my mom because sometimes parents, they feel more pain for their child than their child feels for themselves — I'm sure you can probably connect with that.

When I came back, I didn't have anything, I had to start over, but I had to remember, again, going back to that confidence is, "Well, I still have my mind, I still have my health, 10 fingers, 10 toes. I still have my two brothers and my mom. I can do a lot with that."

My father has passed, but he came to me when I was coming back on the plane and I was crying, and he said, "Everything you need is already inside of you, you just have to rise up for you." That is now the name of the company: Rise Up For You. So when I came back to California two weeks later, I started building Rise Up For You. I was like, "All right. I don't know what it is yet, all I know is that I would just want to help make an impact." And I've already been doing it before that with performing as an executive, but I did it in my way. So I started building the company.

After two weeks, my husband decided he wanted a divorce and I lost everything.

But what most people don't know, James, is that three months after building Rise Up For You, three months after coming back, three months after billing the company, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer out of nowhere, and she passed away nine months later. So the first year of building Rise Up For You, I built it in a hospital, and I was taking showers at the 24 Hour Fitness across the street because I didn't want to miss anything. And I literally would sit in the hospital with the laptop up all day and all night sitting next to my mom and just building the website, interviewing people in the podcast.

I would run to the car and just do it there. And that was obviously a really hard and difficult time, but you can push through. If you have a bigger vision and you use your pain as fuel for growth, and you understand that confidence in you, that everything you need is already inside of you, you will survive.

Thank you for sharing that. I know that's obviously been a very difficult journey. Did that phase in your life give you an enormous amount of empathy for other people that you're able to help today?

A ton of empathy, because I'll be honest with you, empathy is something that is not a natural for me. Coming from a Middle Eastern family, my father from a third world country, I grew up with more of a mindset of, "Just do it. What's the problem? Make it happen. Why are we complaining?" But that's not realistic. So, really empathy was a huge component that built with me. But another thing is really understanding what success is. I remember when my mom passed, I'm the only girl in the family, the next day I was cleaning out her closet, and all these Louis Vuitton bags, all this jewelry, all this clothes that was passed down to me.

And it was that moment that I said, "I'm 31 years old, and I just lost my second parent. This means nothing to me. So what is success? What does it mean to build a life that you're proud of?" And that was the biggest shift for me. They say that sometimes when you have a breaking, there's an awakening. That was the biggest thing for me is, what does success mean? Is success the cars, the house, all this stuff that we think that so many of us work towards and then we get there and we're like, "I still don't feel happy. I still don't feel fulfilled"?

It was really understanding what success means on a whole level, a whole level. So career, self-worth, relationships, your community, building a lifestyle that you love, health and fitness, all of these areas, what does that mean? And I think that was really important. So I always ask that question is, what does it mean to live a life that you're proud of? And are you taking steps every single day to live in alignment with that?

Organizational culture is huge for you, can you give us an example of what it looks like when a company gets it wrong from an organizational culture perspective?

That's a big question. Well, the first indicator is employee turnover. When we work with companies that say, "We keep losing people," well, there's a reason why you're losing people, there's a reason why employees are turning over at a fast rate. We once worked with a company and they were losing people left and right, and I said, "Do me a favor, go to HR and ask them how much you spend on employee turnover." And they came back and they said, "HR stopped counting years ago because it was in the millions." I'm like, "Well, that's the problem! There's the problem is that if you have that much employee turnover and it's costing you so much money, you got to get to the core of why they're leaving." That's the first indicator that a culture isn't working the way that it should be working, and it's actually costing companies a lot more money than they realize, millions and millions of dollars every single year.

If you have a bigger vision and you use your pain as fuel for growth, and you understand that confidence in you, that everything you need is already inside of you, you will survive.

The second thing is if they're not developing and mentoring their people, a lack of communication is the biggest thing where you say, "Just do." There's got to be modeling, there's got to be wellbeing. We really have to grow our employees. We're no longer in this time period where the person comes in, they punch in, they clock in, they work and then they leave. The reality is that the professional is the person and the person is the professional.

So every day, whether you're a CEO or entry-level position, the human being is coming to work and human beings have a ton of stuff that they're dealing with, stress, kids, bills, medical things. All of these things come into the workplace, and as a company, if you're not acknowledging it or at least trying to support it, then you're really doing an injustice to the whole entire culture.

There's a Robin Williams quote I read recently, "Everyone that you see is fighting a battle that you know nothing about, so be kind."

What's an example of a company, or anyone that stands out of someone who's really nailed that organizational culture that really gets it right today?

I'm not going to say their name just for disclosure purposes, but there's a technology company that we absolutely adore that we work with. What they've done is they have actually infused it into their culture. It's a non-negotiable. For example, every single month they do an all-team training that has nothing to do with their technical skill. So it's emotional intelligence, confidence for the individual, how to have conscious conversations, stress management, all things that just have to do for the own personal individual to make them better. And all the team, it's mandatory, they come like clockwork.

Then they invest in their team with coaching. So then their individuals get one-to-one coaching. Then the executives also get consultation and coaching. What they're doing, which is the most important thing that we don't see a lot, is every single person in that company is getting developed. It's not just my leaders need coaching, or let's just start with the leadership team. Every single person feels like they matter and they feel like they're being developed in a way that's beneficial, not only to them, but also to the company.

When companies only invest in training that's only beneficial to the bottom line, to that dollar, team members don't do well with that. We have to also let them know, "Hey, we care about sales, but we also care about your mental health, we also care about your wellbeing, we also care about your confidence." And they're really doing it right. Every one of their employees is speaking the same language. They talk about EQ, they talk about confidence. They're able to keep each other accountable. They say, "Hey, let's try to be more empathetic." They're adopting the language and the strategies.

For many years, the prescribed definition of a company was to maximize profits for all its shareholders. How do we align individual interests with corporate interests? And is it possible that by focusing on people first that you can actually increase profit well above what you did previously?

That's the key, and that's the motto of Rise Up For You, is where people come first. Because when you pour into your people, your people pour into you. It's just like when you are a teacher, when I was a professor, when I was an executive, whenever I poured into a student and I was like, "You can do this. What do you need? How do I help you," they wanted to work harder for me. They wanted to get the A. And I didn't want them to do it for me, but they did because they saw that as a teacher, I cared, so they were like, "You know what, I'm going to do my best in this class."

What they're doing, which is the most important thing that we don't see a lot, is every single person in that company is getting developed.

And I had students all the time that said, "You're the only teacher I do all my homework for, or that I'm getting straight A's in." I'm like, "Why is that?" "Well, because you care and you give, and then that makes me want to give." It's the same thing in the corporate environment. When a leader pours into their team beyond just the numbers and the benchmarks, how are you doing? How can I support you? What do you need to grow? That employee is more susceptible to come to work feeling motivated and excited that there's a growth journey for them. People want growth, whether they're in their own company or whether they're in a corporation.

The reality is there's a lot of people that don't want to build their own company. I work with a lot of clients that are like, "I have no interest in building a business. I want to work for somebody. I just want to work for somebody that's kind to me, that grows me. I don't want to feel stagnant." And that's really the key.

How does someone in a massive company find meaning in their work? And is it up to the company to be able to initiate things, or should it be done at an individual level?

I think it's individual. And I talk about this a lot: personal leadership. You don't need a title to be a leader. Every leadership title I've ever gotten was because I was a leader before I got the title. When I became an executive, I didn't start as an executive. I walked into that corporation and I was just a normal team member, but I thought like a leader. I would walk into meetings and raise my hand and say, "Have we ever thought about this? What about this strategy?" Two months later, I was promoted to an executive. Two months. And so it's not about the title, it's just about you making an impact, so how can you make an impact?

Every single person can make that impact even when they're in a big company, you just have to start by raising your hand, and also by understanding your values. One of my values has always been just to contribute and add value. So even if I was a new team member, that was my value. So in a meeting if I wanted to say something, I would raise my hand and say, "Can I ask you a question? Can we talk about this?" And that initially it makes you a leader. It's all about the mindset.

From all the lessons that you've got on confidence, career, and organizational culture, is there anything that's applicable of it can be transferable to success and happiness in the home?

All of it. And that's the biggest thing is that we sometimes live in a world where we separate ourselves. We're like, "This is the workplace, this is my home life." But they're all the same, they're all connected. That is really the key. That's what success is for me. It's building a lifestyle where everything is in alignment. What I do at work, I'm the same Nada when I'm at home, I live the same type of life. And I think that's really important. So the values that you have as an individual, you have to have those same values when you're in the workplace.

You've coached and mentored now more than 50,000 people around the world. What's your process of helping your clients step into their best self and start getting some big wins in business and life?

Clarity first. I always ask these five questions. First, what do you want? And specificity is key. Second, staying power, which comes from knowing why you want to do this. Third, how are you going to get there? Fourth, who do you need to help you get there? So that personal board that I was telling you about, that council. Then, finally, what do you need to say "No, thank you" to in order to get there? So what do we need to remove out of our life to help us stay on track and stay focused?

You've worked with young people who have been in juvenile facilities for committing, in some cases, some very serious crimes. How has your perspective changed since you began that work?

Yeah. I have done a lot of volunteering in juvenile detention centers and working with unfortunately young men and women 13 to about 19 years old that have committed murder, really, really harsh crime. For me, it's always been about humanity, and the one thing that I can really affirm too, is that people will rise to the occasion when they're treated with kindness and like a human being.

That was the biggest thing. We would go in there and work with these kids and there was no hope, and they would act really tough and be like, "Argh!" and try to scare you. But then the second I was like, "How are you doing?" And I just connected on a human level, you'd be surprised, instantly consciously they would be completely different. And I cannot tell you how many times I've left the jail and a young man has stood up and said, "Thank you for treating us like human beings, because we don't feel like animals right now."

Every leadership title I've ever gotten was because I was a leader before I got the title.

When we treat somebody that way, whether they're in a jail or not, they're going to continue to act that way. When you treat somebody with kindness and you show humane kindness to them, they're going to act like a kind human being back. There's going to be hope, and they're going to see that there's more to their life, and they're not just some animal caged up in jail. And I'm pretty resilient when it comes to working with people because of these experience, because I'm like, "Hell if I can help a young kid who committed murder shift, then somebody that is living in a house with a job and a car and has A, B, C and D, I can help them too."

We are in an increasingly digital world, where things are moving faster than ever. What are the top skills required to succeed in today's world? And what is the role of soft skills in this new world we're in?

I would say the number one skill above all is emotional intelligence. And the reason why I say that is because part of emotional intelligence is something called AI, which is adaptability intelligence. And you're right, the technology's moving so fast, but the reality is that in five years from now, technology is going to look very different. And so the thing that's going to keep us moving forward is our ability to adapt, which is a soft skill, it's emotional intelligence. I know so many people right now that have amazing technical skill and they're like, "Oh my gosh, I have to go get this new certification because everything is changing and it's going to continue to change."

That's why I believe that the soft skills are more important than the technical skill, because when you have soft skills, you can learn the technical skill. You have that adaptability quotient or that adaptability intelligence to say, "Growth mindset. All right, I have to pivot, I have to make a shift."


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nada Lena does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about her favorite quote, what advice she’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on her bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


What did you learn about yourself in the last two years, with the world shifting from covid?

That's a great question. What have I learned about myself is that I'm an activator, and I think I always knew that, but I guess I didn't know how fast I can work at making that happen. So when covid hit, for example, we were doing everything in person with so many people, and then everything shut down. And I think he was in the matter of two days where I said, "All right, let's go online." Just remember staying up and creating all these programs and building all this digital stuff within a matter of a week, and then it just took off and it continued to grow and launch. So I think that was one thing that shocked me is how fast I made the switch. Literally, within a matter of week, everything was functioning online.

How do you balance that hunger for future achievements with happiness in the present?

It's all connected for me. I really believe that we are put on this planet to elevate the human condition. And so everything that I do that's work, it's not really work for me, it's part of my lifestyle, and I really, really love it. And again, for me, there's not a number at the end of the outcome. It's not, "I'm going to do this TED Talk because I have to hit a million viewers." It's, "This is a great opportunity to share a message and hopefully somebody can resonate with it and make it impact from it." I'm also like that at home, I'm like that with my brothers, I'm like that with my fiancé, it's all the same.

When I walk into a market, I try to be as kind as possible. And sometimes if I'm not, I'll go back, I'm like, "Sorry. That wasn't my best." No one's watching me, there's no camera on me, but I think for me, happiness is all connected and it's being free here and being free here, and no matter what you do, you're going to have that happiness because of it. And also your values, what do you want in your life? And I've always been really, really clear that I want to live a life where I can explore, I want to live a life where I can help people, and I want to live a life that's in alignment with me.

And I do that every single day. If somebody comes into my life and asked me to do something that's not in alignment. I say, "No, thank you."

Having the courage to say no enables you to have the right energy and focus on the things that you really need to do.

Yeah. Even with corporations and clients, even when we have clients and corporations that aren't in alignment, if it doesn't feel right, say, "You know what, I really wish you the best of luck, but we don't have the same values, and we can't treat our employees the way that you are right now. So when you're ready to make that shift, come back."

Final question, what's one thing you do to win the day?

Every morning, I have a success routine. I wake up, I enjoy a cup of coffee in silence, I don't do anything. Then I write in my journal gratitude for the day and my intention for the day, I sit in silence, meditate and I exercise, and it really helps me jump into the day.


Remember, it doesn’t matter what you know, it matters what you DO with what you know, so get out there, step into your brilliance, and take some purposeful action.

That’s all for this episode! Remember, to get out there and win the day. Until next time…

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Nada Lena website.

✔️ Nada Lena on LinkedIn.

📝 Nada Lena on Facebook.

📷 Nada Lena on Instagram.

🎤 TEDx Talk ‘Commit to Workplace Transformation: People VS. Profits’ by Nada Lena.

📚 ‘Rise Up For You’ by Nada Lena.

📖 ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle.

🚀 Win the Day group on Facebook.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, former professional athlete, and the founder / CEO of Healthpreneur®. As one of the world’s top business strategists, Yuri Elkaim has helped more than half a million people to take ownership of their health.

And his pathway to health and business seemed inevitable. After dealing with a host of health issues as a teenager, Yuri eventually lost all of his hair at 17 years old to an autoimmune condition. This, along with his passion for sports (which led him down the path of playing professional soccer in his early 20s), propelled him into the health and fitness field.

Yuri’s authentic and caring approach allowed him to build a successful online health empire, while providing him the platform to write three bestselling books and share his message on major media outlets such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. In 2018, after 13 years at the helm, Yuri sold this health business to focus on Healthpreneur® full time.

With Healthpreneur®, Yuri and his world-class team help health professionals and coaches leverage the internet to turn their expertise into high 6- and 7-figure virtual practices that create transformative results for more people without the grind.

Healthpreneur®’s mission is to help health entrepreneurs make their dreams happen in the service of others and eventually leave a legacy where every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to become the best version of themselves so that they can wake up each day with purpose, contribute through meaningful work that feels like play, and live freely and abundantly.

In this episode, we’ll go through:

Yuri is a super accomplished guy and there's a ton of value in this one.

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Yuri Elkaim!

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Healthpreneur website.

📙 The Strong60 by Yuri Elkaim.

📝 Healthpreneur on Facebook.

📷 Healthpreneur on Instagram.

🎥 Win the Day with Gabby Reece (Ep 43).

🎢 The Dip by Seth Godin.

📖 The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

Our guest today is a New York Times bestselling author, former professional athlete, and the founder / CEO of Healthpreneur®. As one of the world’s top business strategists, Yuri Elkaim has helped more than half a million people to take ownership of their health.

And his pathway to health and business seemed inevitable. After dealing with a host of health issues as a teenager, Yuri eventually lost all of his hair at 17 years old to an autoimmune condition. This, along with his passion for sports (which led him down the path of playing professional soccer in his early 20s), propelled him into the health and fitness field.

Yuri’s authentic and caring approach allowed him to build a successful online health empire, while providing him the platform to write three bestselling books and share his message on major media outlets such as Dr. Oz and The Doctors. In 2018, after 13 years at the helm, Yuri sold this health business to focus on Healthpreneur® full time.

With Healthpreneur, Yuri and his team help health professionals and coaches leverage the internet to turn their expertise into high 6- and 7-figure virtual practices that create transformative results for more people without the grind.

Healthpreneur’s mission is to help health entrepreneurs make their dreams happen in the service of others and eventually leave a legacy where every man, woman, and child has the opportunity to become the best version of themselves so that they can wake up each day with purpose, contribute through meaningful work that feels like play, and live freely and abundantly.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Yuri Elkaim does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this episode, we’ll go through:

Yuri is a super accomplished guy and I know you’ll get a ton of value out of this one.

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Yuri Elkaim!

James Whittaker:
Yuri, great to see you my friend. Thanks so much for coming on the Win the Day Show.

Yuri Elkaim:
Absolutely James. Thanks for having me buddy. It's good to be here.

You've had some big wins in the holistic health space, and it's also what changed your life. But there's so much misinformation about health, particularly these days with the internet and the rise of influencers who mightn't have the necessary qualifications for the advice they're providing.

To kick things off, are there any myths that need to be busted about exactly what holistic health is?

How much time do you have!? We could be here for a long time. When I got into nutrition, the deeper I went into it, the more I realized I had no clue what was going on. And the thing is there's so many different approaches, and I think every one of them can work for different people. I found an approach that worked for me which was mostly plant-based, and I just felt the best. But I also know that there's a huge population of the earth that is very keto based, animal product based, and that's totally fine.

In my journey of having done that for so long, I came to realize that you need to do what's best for you. And part of that is experimenting with different things to find out what's going to resonate most with you. But I think even beyond our food choices is the energetic intention, or the energy that we feel in that pursuit.

Do what's best for you.

If you're sitting down and having a supposedly healthy meal, and you feel shame or guilt around that food because it's not organic or perfect enough, there's an energy around that's not going to be great for your body. Contrast that with someone who's going to have a beautiful grass fed burger with zero shame and guilt, and enjoying that. In short, it's not just what you eat, but it's how you approach what you eat. That was a big thing that I learned over the years, and that's how I approach a lot of my stuff now. I'm less fanatical about my diet now than I was back in the day, because I've recognized how important that energy and that intention is.

Just before your 17th birthday you noticed significant hair loss, and were subsequently diagnosed with the autoimmune condition alopecia. Can you take us into those circumstances and how it changed your mindset at the time?

Yeah, I think it was the Universe's way of giving me a bit of a kick in the ass to be honest with you! At the time, I was like the jock in a stereotypical high school movie. But I was nice to most people except my brother. I was a bit of a Grinch to my younger brother and I think the universe said, "Dude, we've had enough of this. Here's your payback."

My brother would tease me and he teases me now, "Hey, remember back in the day when you used to spend 30 minutes in the bathroom doing your hair?" And I was like, "Yeah. Good days." Just for context, my dad's Moroccan so there's a lot of hair, bushy eyebrows, hair all over. And in the space of a couple of weeks all of it was gone. And it was weird because I was in my last year of high school, and just seeing how people looked at me was kind of odd. They were like, "What's wrong with this guy? He looks like an alien or is he going through chemo, or whatever?" That really again was awkward, but I think I handled it pretty well. And I think I've always been very mature, even from a young age.

That experience really allowed me to recognize it's only hair man, come on, there's far worse that could be happening. I had friends and family members who were like, "Oh my God, is everything okay? It must be so hard for you." I was like, "Well, I mean, whatever, it's not the end of the world. There could be worse things." I think my perspective was really helpful. But it was also in retrospect a blessing, because that was the impetus that really got me into the health space. Because the solution the medical community had was, "We'll just inject your head with cortisone." I'm like, "Are you for real?" I didn't really get any solid answers medically. And that really prompted me into studying kinesiology, because I had a really big passion for soccer and fitness, and then nutrition to learn more about what was happening in my body.

And those two things really made a huge difference for me. I was able to regrow my hair back when I was 24, because of a lot of the changes I was making from a dietary perspective. I obviously don't have any hair now, that's because a number of years ago, long story short, took my son to the doctor, my doctor's like, "Hey, while you're here, why don't you just get a tetanus shot or a booster?" I was like, "Sure." I didn't even question her and within two weeks my hair fell out again. I simply mention that so everyone knows what's going on, but who cares!? I don't really think about it anymore. And I think it's a blessing to be honest, because it's allowed me to put things into perspective and approach difficult situations with a lot more grace and perspective. That's kind of how it all started.

That attitude to adversity is critical and, in my experience, it's the most important difference between ordinary people and extraordinary achievers. And what I love about your journey is you really had to take the reins yourself. You had to dive deep into the holistic nutrition and health space to start uncovering some answers.

How was that condition not really on the radar of all the previous medical professionals you had seen? Why was it on you as an individual at the end of the day to try and figure out what the hell was going on?

I'm sure there were some tremendous health professionals out there who probably did have a solution, I just didn't know who they were at the time. My mom exposed me to a variety of practitioners, medical doctors, immunologists, traditional Chinese medicine... I actually remember going to a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and I remember having this weird concoction of tree bark, and I made this huge vat. It was a tea and I still remember the smell of it, it wasn't pleasant. And I remember drinking that for months and I don't know if that helped. I don't know. We tried all sorts of different stuff, but I think being relatively young, 16-ish, it's not like I was living on my own, I had my own resources to go to find my own stuff.

I just started really introspectively doing some thinking and research. This is back in the day when Encyclopedia Britannica was still the main thing. Google didn't exist, I don't think. Now it would have been a little bit of a different scenario, but it really inspired me to want to learn more about why was this happening. Because I didn't have any answers. If I went to the doctor and they're like, "Well, there's not much we can do but we can do this." I had really bad eczema growing up as well. And I always remember the solution to eczema was just putting more cortisone cream on, and it was never dealing with the root issue. That never really made sense to me and I really wanted to figure out what was going on.

It was never dealing with the root issue. That never really made sense to me.

And that's kind what eventually prompted me to get into these studies, and doing a lot more reading, research, and experimentation. Then I realized for a lot of medical doctors, they know what they know, and they're very good at diagnosing and prescribing, in a lot of cases, medication. There's others that are a little more holistic and functional based, and they might have an alternative point of view. I traditionally resonated more with that because growing up my body was pretty much a toxic wasteland from just very bad food choices because I didn't know better based on what I was exposed to — antibiotics, vaccines, it was ridiculous. As I started learning a lot of this stuff I was like, "Huh!? Maybe this is starting to make sense."

Then I said, "Well, what if I were to do this, and maybe eat a little bit better, and remove some of these problematic foods." That was the journey. It was just kind of learning, and experimenting, and seeing how my body responded. And I quickly recognized that how I felt was a really important indicator of the overall health of my body. Because I was really tired for a long time, half my life I spent sleeping pretty much.

And that's why I went on to write the book The All-Day Energy Diet, because as I made these changes the most profound difference I noticed instantaneously was my energy level was through the roof. And it just so happened that as that energy went up, my hair started coming back, my health improved and I was like, "Huh!? That's good to know. Energy first, those other outcomes second." That was one of the really big discoveries in my dream for sure.

There are people who have come on the podcast who are very well-regarded professionals. And a big trend that I've noticed them saying is that you are your best scientist. We had Dr. Michael Breus, one of the world's top sleep doctors, on the show. On the benefit of sleep trackers, Dr. Breus said, "I would argue that how you feel when you wake up is much better than any sleep tracker." Being able to experiment firsthand, and see in real-time how you're feeling, made a big difference to you.

You mentioned energy levels. I worry there are people out there who don't know that a healthier life actually awaits because of their information, their lack of energy, and any other symptoms that they might have, or just what they are used to. And as a result of that they don't know any different. I know this seems like a bit of a simple question, but how should a healthy person actually feel?

Good. A funny thing is I never really used to drink coffee. And I was like, "Caffeine is the devil." And I still think it's not that great. I don't know what happened, but along the way I started enjoying coffee. I'm now one of those guys who has a coffee every morning now! But back in the day when I wrote The All-Day Energy Diet and I was going through this whole process, I recognized how does it make sense that people say, "I can't start my day without a cup of coffee?" I don't understand how that's normal, that shouldn't be a thing. You should wake up and you should feel good. And if you want to have a coffee it's not because you have to have one to feel normal, it's because you want to have one.

I think most people don't know how good they can feel because they've never felt that. It's almost like The Truman Show, the movie with Jim Carrey. He's in his own world, and at that one point in the movie he walks up the stairs, and opens the door and there's something on the other side. It's like this whole thing has been a set. That's kind of how most people live. It's like we don't even know what's on the other side of the wall until we've been on the other side of the wall. And then it's like, "Oh, wow! I feel a thousand times better."

That's really important because any one of us can say, "Oh, do this and you'll feel better." But none of us clue into that until we actually experience it. And I think one of the things that I was always really espousing with our clients was do this for two weeks, just see how you feel. And then you can go back to the way you were eating before or not.

And at that point it's your choice. Just like, "Holy cow! Why would I want to go back and do what I was doing before if I feel this good?" At least now you can make a choice from a place of power where you've experienced it, and now you have the choice to go down your old path or the new path.

That's really powerful because it's coming from a place of you owning that, and having been exposed to how good you can feel. And now the responsibility of the choice is up to you based on that. Most people haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can feel. And I don't even think age matters, because we've had clients that have been in their seventies who in five days are feeling like new people, which is amazing.

Most people haven't even scratched the surface of how good they can feel.

At the very minimum, give yourself an opportunity to cut away some of the distractions and vices. And if it's uncomfortable, it's going to be uncomfortable, but just give yourself that opportunity to feel how good you can feel. Do it for a week or two and then be like, "Well, do I want to go back to the way I was before? Or should I continue on this way?" And then you can make a choice from there, but I think it's important to at least experience it once.

There are teenagers out there who might be naturally lean or more active. How do we get teenagers to start to understand that their health decisions have very real consequences and the earlier they can implement strong health rituals the better?

There needs to be some type of technology developed that can fast forward them to where they're 50. Because I was that guy. I was that guy, and I worked as a coach at the University of Toronto with the men's soccer program for seven years, so teenagers 17 to 21. And every year it's the same thing. I was the guy who ate McDonald's to get ready for a game. That was me when I was a teenager, and I was still a really good soccer player.

When I was coaching at the University of Toronto, one of my proudest legacies — if I can call it that — is the fact that instead of guys coming to the stadium with gummy bears and McDonald's, they were coming into the stadium with green juices because there was a vegetarian restaurant not too far away.

And a green juice is $10 so for a student that's not cheap. And it was really cool to see these teachings start to resonate. I was like, "My work here is done." What's the saying? Youth is wasted on the young, something like that. And that's the way it is. We don't realize how good we have it until we don't have it anymore. And I think we're like, "We're invincible when we're young." I've got four boys under 10, they never get tired. I'm thinking they're like dogs I can just wear them out, they just keep going! And that'd be cool if you could do that forever, but I think by the time you're 35, 40, things start to change a bit.

We don't realize how good we have it until we don't have it anymore.

I'm not too sure... I think there's a certain aspect of maturity that comes with it. I think there's certain teenagers who are a little bit more forward thinking, they're a bit more mature. They realize because they're a bit more tuned into themselves in performance that they can't get away with that forever. But I also do think a lot of high level athletes that they look up to can be really good role models. Because if you're growing up in the '70s and '80s, and your role models are John McEnroe's and... I love John McEnroe.

John Daly on the golf course!

Yeah, totally. It's a very different role model than the Novak Djokovic's, or the Roger Federer's, or other role models who are maybe be a bit healthier in the way that they approach the game. Christiano Ronaldo, these are all great examples of guys who are not just great athletes, but they live a very clean life. Those are great examples for teenagers who want to emulate in their footsteps. Again, whether they're athletes or not, I think it's important to have good role models that really espouse that, because we become a reflection of our environments.

My kids are getting into skateboarding and there's a skate park by our place. And I'm very fascinated by the culture of skateboarding. I think it's a really cool sport, I'm terrible at it, but kind of sitting there and observing it, it's like they all dress very similarly. They all have their Monster energy drinks. One guy last week, he's on a skateboard, he's got a cigarette in his mouth as he's going up the halfpipe. I'm like, "This is a very different culture. Or hopefully not role models that my kids will be exposed to." I think it's important to look at who our role models are and what that environment looks like.

Yeah, and helping encourage the discipline that can lead to the goals and outcomes that people want.

We had Gabby Reece on the show earlier this year, and she had some amazing insights, but one of the big ones she shared was that the best way for people if they're truly grateful about something is not to talk about it, but to actually take care of it to the best of your ability. Yet people want that magic bullet to success. People want to be able to lose 10 pounds of fat overnight, or gain 10 pounds of muscle in a week, or whatever it might be.

How do we actually get through to people the importance of sustainable change in such a transactional world when everyone just wants that magic bullet?

The same thing happens in business as well. I think it's what people are seeing. They're seeing the 'after' on Instagram for instance, but they don't see the journey. And I think that's a major issue, and it's something I was actually speaking to my clients this morning with about.

Seth Godin has a really good book on this topic called The Dip. And the whole idea is that there's very few people who are amazing at what they do. And they're more valuable because it's more scarce, there's fewer people that are at that level, like the Gabby Reece's, the Laird Hamilton's, etc. And the difference is that everyone says they want to do that. They want to become that person, but as soon as the dip happens, which is that, "Oh, this is hard" they give up.

The difference is that the select few recognize that either before or during, so they say, "I'm just going to keep going and figure it out until I get through that dip." That journey needs to be highlighted in some way, shape, or form in a way that it's not right now. And to be honest I don't know if that ever will be, because humans want what we want. We're very compelled by things that are new, and shiny, and alluring. Although we're inspired by courage on the journey, that's not the thing that really grabs our attention right away.

And I do think if you look at the example of P90X, which came into the market at a time where infomercials were promoting six-minute abs, and sauna belts, which are these overnight magic pills. And here comes P90X saying, "This will be the hardest thing you do for 90 days, but it's going to transform your body."

They've done pretty well — about $1 billion in sales as a company. And I think that goes to show that there's always going to be a segment of the market that understands that the quick fixes don't work. At some level I think everyone needs to come to that epiphany, because they've done the diets, they've done the pills, they've done all this stuff. They've tried one business model, one tactic, and it hasn't worked out.

At some point, and where that point is in someone's life I don't know — it could be early, it could be later. Everyone will come to a realization: if you want to do something great, it's not going to be easy. And if you're not okay with that you should quit before it even starts, as opposed to quitting halfway through. And if you are okay with the fact that it's going to be challenging and full of ups and downs, then recognize that and find a way to get through that.

If you want to do something great, it's not going to be easy.

Whether that's through coaching, mentorship, being in a surrounding that's going to inspire you, have the right support, I think those are all really important. But it would be like someone who's never worked out before and the trainer's like, "You know what, we're going to help you get an amazing shape. You're going to feel amazing. It's going to be so good." And then the next day the client is so sore they can't even move, because they've never done half the stuff and they're like, "What's this all about?" You say, "Oh, sorry about that, I forgot to mention there's this thing called delayed onset muscle soreness."

I think it'd be a service to the client to be upfront and say, "Listen, here's what it's going to take to lose 20 pounds. It's going to be hard. You're going to have moments where you want to quit. There'll be times you want to cry, there'll be times you will be swearing at me, and there'll be many times where you want to give up. Are you okay with that? Because if you're not, you're not going to achieve the goals that you want."

And I think in today's day and age, hype and hyperbole, people see through all that stuff and it's just overdone. There's a lot of value in just the honest truth. Just being honest with your market, or your clients, or your messaging or whatever it is you do, yourself. I mean it just becomes so much more believable from a business perspective. But also as an individual pursuing a goal it becomes a lot more believable. Be like, "Cool, this is going to be tough. How do I prepare for the challenges and get myself okay with meeting those?" I think that's really important, because otherwise everything is a surprise and you're like, "Oh shit, I didn't think it was going to be so hard." I think that mindset shift is super important.

That's probably the perfect segue now for us to switch gears and focus on the business side more specifically.

Have you ever had any experiences where you thought that you were able to help everyone, but most of the people you were seeing just weren't committed to their goal and that journey? And as a result, you were not only unable to bring them up but they ended up pulling you down, to a degree?

Oh yeah, totally. That was one of my biggest crises as a health expert was that I wanted to help everyone. It took me a long time to swallow the pill that the people who need it the most very often want it the least. And I was like, "That sucks." But it's the reality.

Even now, when we help clients in the business front, we don't even talk about sales. For us it's interviewing. We're only going to hire this client if they fit our criteria, because we don't want someone's money, we want their transformation. And we're very clear with people upfront about how challenging it's going to be. But it's going to be challenging either way — the difference is that you're going to have guidance, coaching, and a proven model, versus doing it by yourself.

But I think it's a major disservice to people with a lot of over the top promises, like "You'll make 100K in a month" or whatever, and they focus on the shiny without the dirt along the way. It's like, "Hey, just go into the mine you'll find gold sitting there." It's really important to have that conversation with people before you even consider engaging with them. Because otherwise you're just taking people down a delusional path, and we want clients who are committed to the transformation.

It took me a long time to swallow the pill that the people who need it the most very often want it the least.

I think that is maybe a bit more applicable to a coaching type of environment. If you're selling widgets it's a little bit easier, a little bit different. But I do think it's honest communication and being transparent about the journey is in your best interest, but it's also in the client's best interest. Because you're going to have better clients who are like, "I understand that and I'm willing to sign up for this." And there's no surprises because you've laid everything out, you've laid the gauntlet in front of them.

And they probably appreciate that transparency. They might not like hearing it immediately in the present, but they also know then that you're focused on the transformation rather than the transaction.

You had seven years working as a trainer and nutritionist, working with people one-on-one but you hit a wall with that career. What was the turning point for you in recognizing that there had to be a better way than seeing people one-on-one? Which is essentially exchanging time for money.

Well, if I hadn't lost my hair when I was 16 I probably would have lost it after doing all that! Working from 7:00 in the morning until at least 7:00 at night, and then I was actually working at the university as one of the coaches with the soccer team, so that was an extra three hours on top every day. And I realized as much as I loved helping my clients transform, and hanging out with them was great. I realized there's a really low ceiling here, that I'm not even going very far in terms of impact, income, etc.

The big turning point for me was 2006 when I went to Europe with my girlfriend (now wife), and we were over there for six weeks. But trading time for dollars for so many years, I had to save up a bunch of money for the trip. And then when we took the trip, every single time we went out to eat or purchase something that money was going down and nothing else was coming in. And I'm like, "I never ever want to experience this again."

I was just committed to finding a better way. The questions I was always asking was, "How do I make more money? How do I help more people even if I'm not present with them?" It was never about how do I make more money without doing any work. That was never the conversation for me. It was how do I make more money in the service of more people, to help them get even better results but without relying on my time because I love helping people. And I remember toward the tail-end of those seven years, I was working with a client and he's huffing and puffing. He's like, "Why don't you put your voice on tape?" And I said, "Hmm, that's interesting!"

This is just when the iPod had come out and I was like, "I don't know what that means, but let me think about it." And what I eventually ended up doing was I thought to myself, "How would I help my clients get results if I were not with them, but kind of still with them?" And what I did is I actually recorded a full 90-day workout program, where my voice was on their headphones guiding them through their workout as if I was with them right there. And we were actually one of the first companies back in the day to even have that type of technology.

It was awesome because essentially what it allowed me to do is it allowed me to productize my service. And without even knowing it, that was my first step into extracting intellectual property, and creating value in transformation for people without me being present every step of the way. Is an audio guide to workout as effective as working with a trainer? No, but it's pretty darn close instead of doing it by themselves.

That was my first step into extracting intellectual property, and creating value in transformation for people without me being present every step of the way.

And that's kind of how things started with the online side of things. Even now with our clients all of our coaching is group-based. And we have hundreds of clients who get amazing results, but I don't want to spend one-on-one time with every single one of them every second of the day. And the reason, really, anyone's able to do that is by stepping back and really assessing how do I do what I do? What's the recipe through which I help people achieve an outcome? And really starting to extract it, articulate it, and then map that out in some type of curriculum that they can follow, but then you come on top with accountability, support, and coaching.

It's just incredible to see the transformation that people get. Because with my health the thing that I realized as I went from the one-on-one, which was just I'm like, "I never want to do coaching ever again." I went the complete opposite to, "I'm going to go online and live the laptop lifestyle! I'm going to sell eBooks, and all that kind of stuff, and kick my feet up." Didn't happen, it's a lot of work.

And what happened is eventually when that business took off, I got so disillusioned from it because we helped so many people on paper but I didn't know any of them. If someone purchased a workout program, or a book of mine, or a course, the likelihood of them actually doing it and getting the results? I don't know. They're on the other side of the world, are they actually doing it? And I became very disconnected from the people that we were serving, and I wanted a way to come back to really impacting people in a way where I actually knew them, where I could see their transformation. And with Healthpreneur, that's where we come back to. I went from one-on-one, kind of despising it all the way, to the other side which is very product based.

And now coming back to the middle, which is high-touch coaching in a leveraged format with those elements of productizing our service, and bringing the best of both worlds together. Again, everything happens for a reason, but I only if we learn from it and improve our future.

A lot of the stuff that you're talking about here is by going back and questioning the underlying assumptions that people had made; that you can actually have more of an impact and earn more of an income without having to exchange time for money, which I think is a really great lesson for people to think about.

Is it possible for everyone out there to be able to duplicate themselves so that they can scale?

It's both possible and impossible depending on how they choose to see it. We had a client this morning who was a naturopathic doctor. She loves traveling and she was just like, "I love the fact that I can help people when I'm in Hawaii, or Alaska, or wherever else." And she said this several times and I know this to be true. It's like her clients get better results virtually without the one-on-one, so in more of a group setting than they were coming in sort of a clinic. And I was like, "It's amazing. It's so cool."

We help health professionals, so chiros, naturopaths, health coaches, etc. That model is very broken, it is fundamentally broken because it's transactional. Let's say I've got a bummed back, I go see my chiro, he gives me an adjustment, I give him $50, and I leave. And then the next time I have an issue I come back, same thing.

It's very much tit for tat and there's no journey. There's no, "Here's what we should do between sessions, etc." It's not good for the patient, it's not good for the practitioner, and it's not sustainable. The thing is we speak with quite a few people who are like, "Well, I'm a bit different. My situation's a bit different because I do something that no one else can do." And I'm like, "Awesome, that's amazing. You've got two choices: you can let that story shackle you to the situation you're dealing with right now of low-income, no freedom and tell yourself you're a special snowflake. Or you can find a way to extract that magic and figure out a way to help more people."

You have two choices, that's it. Because we help practitioners build their virtual practice, we had a lot of chiropractors, physical therapists, really hands-on practitioners, especially during COVID who came to us who are like, "Hey, my clinic is shutdown. I got to figure out how to go online."

It's both possible and impossible depending on how they choose to see it.

And then they're like, "Well, I don't know how I can do this." And I'm like, "You've got two choices, you go out of business based on your current situation or you figure out a way to do this." And some people are like, "Let's do it." Charlie, one of our physical therapy clients, the most he made in a month in his clinic was $10,000 a month. Since he's been with us online, he's doing $30K - $40K a month regularly. And his clients get better results with sciatica and back pain.

In this fashion you have to change the way you help people, the delivery, which means the client has to show up in a different way. They become more empowered in their own journey as opposed to just kind of showing up, laying on a table, getting a crack and leaving. It really benefits the practitioner or the coach, it benefits the client because the delivery is based on the outcome. Not just, "Hey, I'll see you for half an hour" etc.

Every single person can help people in a virtual manner, but also in a way that's not necessarily one-on-one. Unless you're dealing with deep traumatic stuff, if you're a psychotherapist as an example. However, there are still ways to do that in a group setting because not every single interaction with your clients needs to be with you. If you brought 10 women together who are all dealing with the same issue, they have a community now. They're part of a tribe of other women who are like-minded and they're like, "You're going through this too!? Let's support each other."

Isolation kills, community heals. I think it's in our client's best interest to put them in a supportive environment. And then whatever way that looks like in terms of your support and coaching, there's tremendous ways to help people beyond the one-on-one. There's definitely ways, all it comes down to is being creative and willing to adapt as opposed to being very stuck in ways that may not support you.

What about those who want to serve an audience who don't have the capacity to pay? How do you provide the support that you need for an audience that you might be super passionate about, but you obviously don't want to burnout in the process? I mean if you're spending all of your time servicing clients for a dollar a day, you're going to reach a point where you burnout and you're not able to help anyone.

Who you choose to serve is one of the most important questions that's going to determine the success of your business and your life. Because if you want to help everyone who doesn't have money because you have a connection to that, that's amazing. But you have to understand that if they don't have money they can't pay you.

A lot of the typical marketing or business advice is start people low and then build them up an ascension ladder to a higher point. Our philosophy is the exact opposite. For people to get transformational results it doesn't come from a $7 ebook. It comes from a higher level coaching program where you work with them, they get an amazing result, you fill up your cup financially, they get amazing results. You now have more social proof that can feed back into your marketing and attract more clients like that.

Who you choose to serve is one of the most important questions that's going to determine the success of your business and your life.

If you fill up your cup first, let's just use dollars and cents as an example, then you have more dollars and cents to then give back to the 95% of those other people who would not be able to afford your services in the first place. It's almost like a Robin Hood type of approach. I don't even want to say you take from the rich give to the poor, but you work with people at a higher level who can afford your services, who signup because they see the value in it at least.

First and foremost you have to take care of yourself because, if you don't, you can't take care of anyone else. But then you'll reach a point in your business where you can take a portion and give it to charity, or you set up a foundation. I think so many people get caught up in all these little products, $10 here, $97 here. I was that guy, I had hundreds of products in a previous business.

And with Healthpreneur we have two: we have our coaching program and our mastermind. Pretty much everything else is free because we can give it all away, because we don't need to make sure that everything turns into some funnel or a book sale or whatever. It's like if it helps people we can give it away for free, mostly because we're ticking, we're good because of this stuff. That's my approach. It's worked tremendously well for us, it makes a lot of sense for our clients because a lot of our clients feel like martyrs in the service of others. And that's not a good place to be. I think we're all here because we want to help a lot of people, but you got to help yourself first.

You've worked with so many high achievers all around the world. What's the difference between the top 0.1% of people who might be 7- or 8-figure entrepreneurs, or at the absolute pinnacle of their industry — what do they do differently? Or is there a common trait that they have that other people don't?

Such a good question. I'll give you two very clear examples of this. We have a client who last February as the whole pandemic is just about to start, he's interested in working with us and I told him, "I think you're a little bit early." And he was making about $800 a month at the time as a health coach. And he told me, "I can do this. Watch me." And I was like, "Okay."

Twelve months later he's doing $100K a month, and helping thousands more people than he ever was. That statement says everything, "I can do this. Watch me." Embedded in that statement is a massive amount of self-belief. That is the single most important ingredient anyone can have to achieve success. If I see someone and their answer is, "Well, maybe." You're finished, it's that instantaneous. Versus someone who's like, "I'll figure this out, watch." That's the big thing right there.

Self-belief is the single most important ingredient anyone can have to achieve success.

Second quick example is we had a client who in November 2019 was on the verge of bankruptcy. He was a chiropractor, had six people in his office, five daughters at home. He had to take a $40,000 loan just to survive. He comes across our stuff at the end of November and he's like, "I need to do this, this makes a lot of sense." He starts working with us, and the first post he made inside of our Facebook group was celebrating that he was negative $14,000 in the hole.

I was like, "This guy gets it." He's like, "I'm so excited we spent $14,000. While we haven't seen a single return yet, we have 300 prospective client calls on the books for the next month and a half. I'm like "This guy's going to kill it." By July of 2020 they're doing $1.5 million a month.

And what's the difference? The difference again in his case was a belief in himself that he would do this and he would figure this out. The example of the first client I gave is the same thing. Self-belief is huge, and the second thing is courage. Especially as an entrepreneur there's no guarantee, if you're like, "Hey, what's the guarantee for this? I want to know it's going to work out." The very fact that you asked that question tells me this is not going to work out for you. Because people who have courage and belief in themselves know they're going to make it work, and that's a big thing.

The courage to step into the fear, to step into the unknown, because you believe in yourself enough to make it work with the right type of support around you. I think those two things beyond anything else make the biggest difference at least in my experience.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Yuri Elkaim does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


The courage you mentioned there reminds me very much of faith, which is one of the principles of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, which I'm sure you're aware.

That first one that you mentioned, self-belief, how coachable is that in your experience? Is that one of those things where it's like you have it or you don't?

I'm sure parenting has a piece in this, for sure. If you're brought up at a young age with parents who are like, "I believe in you, you can do this." That probably helps a lot. But I think the thing is if we really think about this, we all have many wins in our life. It's just those I think who have a little bit less on the self-belief side, they tend to focus on the things that didn't work out as well for them. Because self-belief I believe is something that you can dial up or dial down, and it changes based on the situation. I don't have a lot of confidence in dancing, but you put me on a soccer pitch and I'm very confident.

But the reason I'm confident in soccer is because I played it for so long, and I had so many wins and reference points. But I also had many failures. I also got a really good because of those failures and the mistakes. I tell my kids, "Guys, as a goalie, when I was 10 years old, I was playing on teams and we lost 15-0." That's 15 goals against me! That kills your confidence but again it's perspective. It's like, "Hey, I got the benefit of facing 25 shots. 15 of them went in but I saved 10." The other goalie maybe didn't have one.

I don't know. I think perspective is a big thing, it's like how we see a coin, is it this side or this side? I think makes a huge difference now into the future but also in the past.

Confidence is all based on momentum.

For those who are a little bit low on self-confidence or self-belief, try this simple exercise — and you can do this every day. Look back on your life and make a note of three moments that were, let's say, big successes for you. It could be a sporting success, it could be an achievement in school, it could be giving birth to kids — whatever it is. And don't discount those. Really think about, "Man, that's a big deal. That was remarkable."

Understand that if you do that there, that success leaves clues, and success is transferable. Building that success muscle I think is important, because the more you can do that, and then on a daily basis focus on what three wins you had today, it's going to build. Because confidence is all based on momentum. And if we focus on the right things, and we do it more, that's going to build our self belief, and we're more likely to have courage to take on more things in the future. That's what I would recommend for that.

Love that. Great advice.

You and I are both very much focused on continuing to grow. Is there anything that you include in your calendar to make sure that you're getting out of your comfort zone on a regular basis to keep growing?

Yeah. First thing I do every morning at about 4:00 AM is I jump in a cold plunge. Four degrees Celsius and I sit in there for three minutes. And I do that for the health benefits, sure, but for me it's like if I can do the most challenging thing of my day at 4:00 in the morning, everything else will be a little bit easier. That's the first thing.

I like putting myself in situations where I'm sympathetically challenged. In a cold plunge, it unleashes fight or flight, and that's where I try to find my calm. I call it the calm in the eye of the storm. Trying to center with my chaos. I've got four kids under 10. That's 24/7! How do I center myself and stay calm with the chaos? I'm not perfect, I lose my cool sometimes, but I think that's one thing I do. I like to get uncomfortable first thing in the morning.

In a cold plunge, it unleashes fight or flight, and that's where I try to find my calm.

The second thing I would suggest from a growth perspective is that I listen, or I read, a tremendous amount, or listen to a lot of podcasts. Growth is a major value of mine and our company in general, and so always learning and growing has been huge.

I'd say what's even more challenging by an exponential amount than sitting in an ice bath is having hard conversations with other humans. That's always been my Achilles heel and I've never wanted to ruffle feathers or whatever. And that's cost me a lot of time, frustration, and maybe some team members in the past that maybe should have gone a little bit sooner than they did. And I've really been aware of that and started to nip that in the bud to be like, "Hey, if I have to have a conversation with someone it's got to happen now, because I'm not going to tuck away this problem and expect it to go away."

That for me personally is probably more challenging than a tough workout, and more challenging than a cold plunge. Because of that I really have to be intentional about making that maybe not daily but a few times a week type of thing.

Final question, what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

I get my most important work done first thing in the morning.


Resources / links mentioned:

🌱 Want more Yuri Elkaim? Check out the YouTube or podcast version for the full interview, including the Win the Day Rocket Round.

⚡ Healthpreneur website.

📙 The Strong60 by Yuri Elkaim.

📝 Healthpreneur on Facebook.

📷 Healthpreneur on Instagram.

🎥 Win the Day with Gabby Reece (Ep 43).

🎢 The Dip by Seth Godin.

📖 The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

Dr Carol Dweck

Nick Shaw is the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization (RP), a multi-million-dollar health and fitness company that has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of clients around the world. Through its leading programs, technologies, and team of PhDs on staff, RP gives its subscribers an easy to follow nutrition plan that fits neatly into your schedule so you can achieve your health / fitness goals. 

Over the years, the RP team has sold hundreds of thousands of books to help people with their nutrition, training, and recovery, and to help create healthy habits. Nick has also personally coached numerous world-class athletes including CrossFit Games champions, international weightlifters, UFC fighters, Navy SEALs, and Olympians.

Last year, Forbes published a feature story that documented Nick’s journey and RP’s meteoric rise from a small business into an influential tech company with an industry-leading mobile app available on both Apple and Google. 

However, tragedy struck in January 2020 when Nick’s wife, Lori Shaw, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Lori is not just the mother to their two children, but also an instrumental part of the RP business.

Shortly after the diagnosis, the COVID pandemic swept the world, forcing the Shaw family to juggle homeschooling, chemotherapy treatments, and navigating the business landscape in the most uncertain time our generation has faced.

In November 2020, Nick published Fit for Success, a book that outlines the seven foundational habits for achievement to help anyone, irrespective of background, chart their path to success. It also delves into some of his favorite books, most valuable takeaways, and key lessons from his rollercoaster journey, to complement the insights gained from working closely with the most accomplished individuals on the planet.

In this episode, we’ll go through:

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nick Shaw!

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

📙 Fit for Success by Nick Shaw.

📝 Renaissance Periodization on Facebook.

📷 Renaissance Periodization on Instagram.

🧭 Nick Shaw on Instagram.

⚡ Renaissance Periodization website.

📚 The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

🎖️ Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

Dr Carol Dweck

Nick Shaw is the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization (RP), a multi-million-dollar health and fitness company that has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of clients around the world. Through its leading programs, technologies, and team of PhDs on staff, RP gives its subscribers an easy to follow nutrition plan that fits neatly into your schedule so you can achieve your health / fitness goals. 

Over the years, the RP team has sold hundreds of thousands of books to help people with their nutrition, training, and recovery, and to help create healthy habits. Nick has also personally coached numerous world-class athletes including CrossFit Games champions, international weightlifters, UFC fighters, Navy SEALs, and Olympians.

Last year, Forbes published a feature story that documented Nick’s journey and RP’s meteoric rise from a small business into an influential tech company with an industry-leading mobile app available on both Apple and Google. 

However, tragedy struck in January 2020 when Nick’s wife, Lori Shaw, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Lori is not just the mother to their two children, but also an instrumental part of the RP business.

Shortly after the diagnosis, the COVID pandemic swept the world, forcing the Shaw family to juggle homeschooling, chemotherapy treatments, and navigating the business landscape in the most uncertain time our generation has faced.

In November 2020, Nick published Fit for Success, a book that outlines the seven foundational habits for achievement to help anyone, irrespective of background, chart their path to success. It also delves into some of his favorite books, most valuable takeaways, and key lessons from his rollercoaster journey, to complement the insights gained from working closely with the most accomplished individuals on the planet.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Shaw does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


In this episode, we’ll go through:

Before we begin, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend or loved one who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nick Shaw!

James Whittaker:
What was 'success' to you when you were a teenager? And when did the possibility of owning your own business first come on your radar?

Nick Shaw:
I was really into sports and anything fitness-centric. Although, I will say the one thing that I realized pretty early on that has always stuck with me — which is really important in fitness — there's never a place that you arrive at. You're always just doing it because you like it, there's always a little bit more you can strive for, and you can work really hard.

Typically, if you work really hard (like with fitness), results come. So I guess those were two really good things to be drilled in my brain early on. And they've always stuck with me because there are so many similarities between business and fitness, and I love seeing how those they're alike.

You're right, people get way too focused on a quick destination, rather than the journey. If they carry that attitude to multiple areas, their life can quickly become a mess.

Totally. It will. I can give you a great fitness example. A lot of people, they get so stuck on a set number, "Hey, I want to lose 20 pounds." And then they get those 20 pounds off, but then what? Or they don't develop those good habits because they are so focused on the outcome. What they need to focus is on is setting good habits.

They don't develop those good habits because they are so focused on the outcome.

If you focus on setting good habits, you're eventually going to get to a good outcome, but maybe that good outcome is you lose 15 pounds, but you don't have to do anything super crazy at the end. And, for most people, that's probably a better trade-off.

You need to love the process, rather than being so focused on the outcome.

What was the gap in the market that you saw for Renaissance Periodization (RP) and how were you able to assemble this amazing team of 20+ PhDs and eight registered dietitians to help make your vision a reality?

My buddy who started RP with me was always really smart guy. I met him in college. And he went on to get his masters and later he got his PhD in sport physiology, essentially studying how do you make athletes as best as they can be. That research requires you to take a look at a lot of finer details.

And so, we started out working with a lot of athletes. You would see some folks that could just skate by with genetics, but maybe the stuff that they were doing wasn't really the best. But if you have really good genetics, you can do that; you can skate by. But if you take someone with really good genetics, and then on top of that, you combine an evidence-based program that has the best methodology behind it, you get some really crazy outcomes.

Think of someone people like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, who are very genetically gifted, of course, but they are also just tenacious hard workers — probably some of the hardest workers of all time. If you combine genetic gifts with a tenacious work ethic, you get the best athletes of all time. So, that's really what we were just trying to combine. If you have just one or the other, that's okay. But if you combine both of them together, then you really have something. So, that's really what the gap was in the market about a decade ago.

What is an 'evidence-based approach' to nutrition and training for people who don't know?

You can find one study out there that can say pretty much anything, right? And so, if you only go by one study, you could be really led astray if you only go by that. But an evidence-based approach looks at all the combined evidence out there. You take a look at a meta analysis. You take a look at literature reviews, which can combine hundreds and hundreds of studies.

So, when you have hundreds of studies and it starts pointing you in one direction, you know that you're probably on the right track. Yet, if you only rely on one study, you may be heading in the wrong direction. And so, when you pool everything together, it just helps point you in the right direction. That's really what evidence-based is about.

In 2015, your wife Lori quit her successful corporate job to support you at RP. I'm married, you're married, so we know that marriages can be tough without the added complexity of working together at the same time! What did you focus on as a collective to make both your business and your marriage a success?

We were just really struggling in terms of the help we needed. You know how it is as a one-person business early on, where you have to do everything. I didn't know what it looked like, but I knew I needed help. Over time what we did, because as you said it can be tricky working with a spouse, right!? We focused on how we could compartmentalize things where Lori could do the things she wanted to do and is great at.

Because she left a fantastic corporate job and is a super, super smart, incredibly accomplished woman. We said, "You specialize in what you want to specialize because you're fantastic at doing that." And that's what led her into doing all of our cookbooks and recipes, and all that stuff, because she's a phenomenal cook, top-notch, and I'm very thankful for that, of course. Our approach was to give her a couple of areas that were all hers.

Yeah, the importance of having that discipline around each other's lane, so you can each focus on having the impact you want to have without feeling like you're stepping on each other's toes.

That's a real good summary. Because I mean, it is just another normal work setting, where sometimes you have to tell people what to do a little bit here and there. And if you mix that in with a spouse, you can carry over when the "work day" ends. So, it can be a little bit of a slippery slope, and that's why we wanted to segment things as best we could.

Well, it's a testament to both of your characters that you're still able to create such a successful business and have a great family at the same time. So, well done on keeping all of that together.

2020 was a year of enormous transition for the whole world, but in January 2020 your family was facing a lot more than the pandemic. Can you take us into that difficult time for your family, and perhaps what your mindset was like when you first received the news about Lori?

First of all, I'll say she's doing great now, a year and a half later, which is phenomenal news. In January 2020 she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, just five days before my son's eighth birthday. And then she had surgery in February. In March, she started chemo.

And then what happens in March 2020? COVID, the pandemic, and everything hit. And we had to take it incredibly serious because she's gone through chemo and was immune compromised to basically the highest level you can be. So we had to be really, really careful.

We're just not the type of people who are going to sit around and let life dictate what we're going to do. We don't want to sit around and be victims or whatever. So, we were just like, "Well, how do we make the most of this?" And we focused on things that we could control.

We're just not the type of people who are going to sit around and let life dictate what we're going to do.

We looked at the handful of things that you can do each and every single day that you have control and impact over. And that's what we did. That's what we focused on. And ultimately, that's what led to me writing the book Fit for Success because I was like, "I'm not going anywhere for the next three or four months. Literally, I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to take this time, I think I have some know talking points to put in the book."

I created the Success Pyramid. And everything just came together from there.

There's a mental health pandemic happening behind the scenes right now, and a lot of people are really struggling. On this show, we like to try and keep it as raw as possible from that mental health perspective to give people those insights. And totally feel free not to answer this question, if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Is there a particularly dark day or dark moment that stands out in the last year or two that you can think of?

I think just the day that my wife found out, because really it's one of these things where you just... I mean, my wife is a healthier person than I am — and I run fitness company. So, that just gives you some perspective as to just how luck, genetics, or whatever it is can play a role there. But instantly overnight, it literally just changes everything.

What I like to tell people is, it's entirely different when you're just thinking about these things. And then when you're truly thrust into having to put them into action every single day for months, if not a year on end. That was a big turning point where I was like, "It is really time to put all of these things in the practice more than I've ever done before."

That was even before COVID hit. Then you throw in COVID on top of that, and now it was like this just complete windfall of things.

Perhaps the second day was March 12th, and funny enough where we live here in North Carolina, my kids didn't go to school that day, because there was some weird water boil thing. I was driving my buddy to the airport because he was in town to visit, and that's when everything unraveled that day, and I'm just like, "Holy crap." We have all this stuff going on, of course going through chemo and all of that, that's enough.

Now, you throw in all of this!? It was a recognition that there was no time to mess around and feel sorry for yourself. It was about getting back to, "What can we control? Our kids are going to be homeschooled now, what can we do? What are the things that we can do each and every single day that are going to turn this around, so it's not just this really rough year?" And I think, knock on wood, we were able to make the most of it.

What one or two books have contributed most to the mindset that you've got today?

So, the first one that jumps out at me is called The Slight Edge. And ironically, it did not make it in the book, because I had my draft and everything completed. But this is one of the books that, when I read it, it was life-changing. Nothing in there is new or crazy, but you see that these little incremental things each and every single day — if you are consistent and disciplined with them — add up over time and you just get this snowball effect eventually.

That was when I started writing down a handful of things that I would do every single day, no matter what's going on.

And I love reading. I don't know about you, but I actually get really physically excited. Sometimes I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I got a new book here! I can't wait to read it." I know that's a total nerd thing to say, but do you get that at all?

I do. And literally every single book that I've read has changed my life in some capacity — every single one. If you just get one ideas, insight, or solution, as a result of reading that book, it can change everything for you.

Do you do audio books or hardcover?

I'm a little bit of both. So, actually I have to make a road trip tomorrow, which is a five hour drive. I was actually really excited because I have 10 hours of audio books. I know that that's probably going to cover me all the way there and probably back too, so I'm really excited for that. So, I do audiobooks if I have road trips.

When I'm done with a book, any book, I write down what I believe is the primary concept from the book. It doesn't have to be pages and pages of notes. I ask myself, "What would the author think is probably one of the most important points here in this book?" And I try to just make a list of those. Every now and again, I'll just flip back through it. And so, this is a really long-winded answer, if we circle back to you had mentioned two books.

The other book that has made a big difference for me in terms of my mindset is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. When you think about it, anything that happens is on you. And when you think about it that way, it doesn't matter if someone is five levels below you in an organization, if they mess up, it's on you because you should have taught them better. At the end of the day, all roads lead back to you, the choices you make, and how accountable you are.

At the end of the day, all roads lead back to you, the choices you make, and how accountable you are.

So, if mistakes are made, don't blame other people. This is something that my kids tried doing and I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no. We're not going to blame other people." They're nine and seven years old, so, maybe it'll sink in eventually! Or maybe I repeat it enough that they do get it. Hopefully one day they'll catch themselves and think, "Oh, I'm not going to complain. I'm not going to blame other people. What can I do to fix the issue?"

You touched on the victim mindset, which greatly undermines any ability people have to be able to create whatever circumstances that they want. What do you do from a practical perspective to help get people out of that victim mindset and into more of a success or growth mindset?

This goes back to the second principle in my book, which is the 'internal locus of control.' So, if you have an external locus of control, you tend to be more of that victim mentality where things are happening to you and there's nothing that you can do. I just, I don't agree with that. I mean, I don't care what your circumstances are — and I definitely understand and have lots of empathy for people who are in bad situations — but if you take that external locus of control, it does not lead to good outcomes in terms of your mental health, physical health, and all this stuff. It just doesn't. And this has been proven time and time again in all sorts of studies.

So, you have to look inside and be like, "Okay, whatever's happening, it might be objectively bad, but what can I do about it? There has to be something that I can do." And maybe it's really small, but even those really small things starts to put you back on the right track. If you can do those little things, probably gain a little bit of momentum, probably start to feel a little bit better about yourself, probably become a bit more hopeful, because now you know that what you do really matters, and now you're on the better track. So, that's really, I think just the biggest key, if I had to give one that would be it, hands down.

You've worked with UFC fighters, Navy SEALs, Olympic athletes, a whole bunch of different people. What is the common trait that the top 1% of people have and how coachable is that trait?

They are tenacious hard workers. And I like to think that I'm a hard worker, but being around some of these folks is another level.

Tomorrow my road trip is to visit Rich Froning, who's like the Michael Jordan of CrossFit. The amount of work he puts in puts me to shame. So, we mentioned earlier, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, and it's like that with Rich Froning because he trains literally 4-5 hours a day, pretty much every single day.

They know what it takes to be the best, so they just always put in that work.

And if you really stop and think about it, if you work out an hour a day, you're doing well, multiply that by three or four, and it just, I mean, it's crazy, not to mention just how disciplined they are.

They know what it takes to be the best, so they just always put in that work. And it really doesn't matter how they're feeling, they just do it anyways.

You talk a lot about the importance of self-belief in your book. What role does environment, like where you live, where you work, and the people you hang around, play in that self-belief?

Yeah, it definitely plays a role. And if you're in a bad environment, it's going to be tougher. The odds are stacked against you. Now, we can acknowledge that. But at the same time, there are things that you can do. Again, this goes back to the internal locus of control. I guarantee there's little things that you can do to start to fix that. It may be that the odds feel overwhelming against you, but then it goes back to The Slight Edge principle — just start doing the little things.

It's going to seem like you're probably not getting anywhere, but if you have a long-term time horizon — and you're prepared to just do these little things each and every single day — you're going to be better off. And I'm not guaranteeing success of course, because we can't do that. But if you approach it the right way, your odds of beating those circumstances are going to go up exponentially.

What about your own process for setting goals personally or for your business? Is there a certain system or structure that you use to set those goals?

With your business, we have a roadmap of what we need to get done and the North Star we're aiming towards. We then break that up into chunks of what needs to be done in a given month and quarter to get there. We also implement feedback we can see in real time on the app store for our mobile app based on what our users are telling us.

On the personal side, it's a mix of short and long goals. Usually on the physical side, I'll need something to train for. On Memorial Day, there's a workout called "Murph". That's my couple month thing that I've been training for, just so I have something. After that, it's like, "Hey, how fast can I run a mile?" Just something to guide me on that right track. Because if you don't have any specific goals, it's easy to get lost — a day goes by, a week goes by, a month goes by. So I really think goals are helpful on the business and personal side.

For entrepreneurs, the ability to duplicate themselves seems to be the difference between average entrepreneurs (who are always on the brink of burnout) versus those super high achieving entrepreneurs. What was the biggest step that you took to be able to duplicate your own expertise so the company could grow without hitting a ceiling?

Well, I was definitely guilty of what you said, of not knowing what to do early on, and that's where we got to the point about burning out, because we thought that we had to do everything ourselves. One of the biggest things was realizing that we know a little bit about a couple of things, but there's so much we don't know, so let's bring in some other people — other experts — because that's what they specialize in, that's what they're good at, and that was really the biggest change.

The other thing would be some automation stuff that opened up our world to being able to focus on other things. And it just became this snowball effect that once we had more time, we're able to better focus our efforts elsewhere. And that's a great thing to do all around.

Yeah, to help make you redundant, so you can take some time off if need be.

Absolutely. I would agree with that a hundred percent.

Fitness often talks about a 'recovery phase' but many people people — especially entrepreneurs — very rarely do a good job of incorporating a phase of recharge and recovery in their regular routine. What does recovery look like in a business sense? Have you ever implemented something like a de-load or recharge phase for you as an entrepreneur?

If we go back to 2015 and 2016, our kids were pretty young. And if you have kids, you understand that's a full-time job, having small kids. They take up a lot of time and energy. So, if you factor in that with trying to train and trying to grow your business, and we were teetering definitely on the point of burnout. We needed constant help because it just seemed like we were always so busy. And by 'busy' I don't necessarily mean in a great way, but just busy. Whether it was customer service, or little things here and there, and we had to really fix that.

Once we were able to fix that, I looked back and I thought about where I'd been the last couple of years. And it's like, "I have this." And I think this is the end goal for a lot of entrepreneurs. Not that this is an end goal for me, of course, there's always more to achieve and strive for, but at the same time, I just have a lot more flexibility and freedom over my own time.

Before this podcast, I was picking up my kids from school at 2:00PM. I was sitting in the carpool line for literally 30 minutes. Before that, I was reading. It's like you have that freedom. That's my downtime, I make sure I have that time every day where I can read and do these things. I make sure I workout every single day.

For entrepreneurs, and I understand, it's a really delicate balance — because in the beginning you have to go, go, go, go, go, if you want to be successful. You have to put in that work to create that initial momentum and success. I get it. Been there, done that.

But at the same time, you eventually realize that if you don't take some of that time off and step back a little bit, your output goes down. You're not putting out very high quality work. And if you, instead of just cramming the night before and skipping on sleep and all that stuff, if you maybe just got the sleep and relaxed a little bit, you wake up in the morning and the amount and quality of work that you can now do is better. And it's a hard thing to learn. I did it wrong a million times and probably still do, of course. But once I started to realize that a little bit, I was like, "Wow, this is where I'd probably need to try to trend towards."

Let's now switch gears and focus on the health and the nutrition side. What are the biggest myths about health and nutrition that need to be busted in 2021?

Do you have six hours!? No, it's alright. So, we want to talk about, I guess a couple of main ones. One would be the idea that carbs are bad. They're not really inherently bad. In fact, there are very few foods out there that you could classify as "bad". Trans fats are an example of something that is probably very, very bad for you. Other than that, it's this balance and moderation thing. And if you understand that, everything else is so much simpler.

Because the nutrition industry is crazy. I'm telling you, it's crazy. People love this dogma, and they just get in these camps and they're not willing to change their mind or anything. And it's like, "No, I'm keto. And if you're not keto, you are a bad person." It's like, "Oh, okay."

So, if people ask me, "Hey, what do you think of keto?" we start by talking about the good. We might mention how, because it's low carb, it's probably helpful in that it will make you feel more full, because you're eating more proteins and more fats, and you'd probably be still eating a good amount of veggies. So, these are great things.

It's not that carbs are inherently bad, but guess what? Most things that taste really good have a lot of carbs, have a lot of sugar and salt, and usually have a lot of fat. Think about donuts and pizza, and ice cream. It's not that carbs are necessarily the fault behind them, it's just that they are very calorically dense, which means they're very easy to overeat because they taste delicious. Our brains are wired that way and we want to keep doing it.

The best way to be healthy — and have a normal, healthy body weight — is to eat high quality foods.

And so, that's probably the biggest one, because people like to say that, "Oh, calories don't matter." I mean, calories do matter. At the end of the day, it's probably the biggest chunk of the puzzle. But the best way to be healthy — and have a normal, healthy body weight — is to eat high quality foods. And if you do that, you don't have to get crazy restrictive. You can follow the 80 / 20 rule. And again, if you do that, you eat mostly higher quality foods. I always do air quotes around "good foods" — lean proteins, fruits and veggies, healthy fats, things like nuts, avocados and healthy carbs, rice and sweet potatoes. If you eat mostly those things, it is almost impossible to over eat.

Some of those fad diets that seem to pop up every year, would they be an example of something that would not be as evidenced-based as what you just mentioned there?

Typically, here's how something like that works. You can find some studies on some of these things, or maybe there's some evidence that points towards that they might do something, but people love to extrapolate these things to the nth degree. And they're like, "Oh, well, if it showed this tiny promise of evidence approved then, well, obviously that is the main thing that you must be doing, and you must fast for 24 hours. That is the magic key to everything in the world." And I go, "Okay, maybe."

Here's the good thing about fasting. When do most people tend to overeat? Usually it's later on at night. You're out with friends, family, or you're sitting down and watching Netflix or whatever. And all of a sudden, a bag of chips has gone before you even realize it because you just watched two hours of TV.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Shaw does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more🚀


Again, there's nothing really magical about fasting. It's just, does it help you stay on track? Does it help you stay more compliant? And if the answer is yes, then great, it's an awesome strategy for you.

But again, it goes back to these diet camps that people love to get in and someone's like, "Oh, well, I did fasting and had these awesome results. You must do this now." You're like, "Well, what if I really like eating breakfast?" They're like, "No, no, that's stupid. It doesn't matter." And you're like, "Well, don't we have some wiggle room in there to meet people where they're at?"

The health and fitness space is just crazy at times, man. It's crazy.

In your book you mentioned how beneficial it can be to find a healthy activity that you love. For me, I love nothing more than going surfing or having a hit of tennis. We can burn through a whole ton of cals, and it's actually really fun. You're not forcing me to go and do something that I hate. So, as a result, you can stay fairly fit by doing some of those endeavors.

So, what type of exercise should people be doing when it comes to health goals?

Yeah, you nailed it. This book is more intended for people who are not your hardcore fitness folks. So, if I were to have written in this book, you must lift weights and you must do these things, people are going to say, "Look at that advice from Nick, that's stupid." I don't even like doing that. I don't like being in the gym.

If someone liked doing tennis and surfing, I would say, "Hey, that's awesome." Because you can do those things, and you can be in really good physical shape because they're very active, and that's a fantastic thing. So again, really, it's finding what you like to do. Because if you said, "Hey, Nick, do you want to go play tennis? And then go surfing." I'm going to be like, "I've played tennis one time in my entire life and I've never surfed." So for me, that's going to be a terrible day! "But hey, I'll meet you in the gym and we can go pump some iron." That's my idea of fun. So, we are two different things, right? You like different things. So, it'd be silly for me to say, you must do this.

Now, on the flip side of that, I would say, if you wanted to give some bare bones advice, try to lift weights at least twice a week. It doesn't have to be crazy heavy or anything like that. And then, just try to find some activities that you like, whether it's sports, hiking; all that stuff is great. There's no kind of one thing for every person.

I would suggest the lifting because I just think there's so many benefits around it, but again, you also have to realize not everyone likes it. For example, my sister doesn't really like lifting weights. She prefers to go run. I'm like, "Okay, cool." I have no issues with that. I'm not going to tell someone that it's mandatory to lift weights, but I think there's a lot of benefits that come from lifting weights.

Is there any technology or research that's come out in the last year or two that really excites you in terms of human performance?

There's just, there's a lot of that stuff coming out now. It seems like everyone's focusing on that. There's this rise of home gym stuff, and you have things like the Mirror or the Tonal.

I've been getting hammered by Facebook ads for the Tonal!

You and me both. I don't think I'm their target market, but I'm getting those every single day. Listen, I think something like that would be great for people. And here's the thing, a lot of people are scared to go back to the gym. I have a home gym, so it's totally different. I might be maybe a little skeptical of going back into the gym. I understand that. So, I think that's a really cool trend that Peloton and companies like that have done. You connect and you join these online classes, and it gives you that sense of community.

We work with a lot of CrossFitters. And the cool thing about CrossFit is they just have this really tight knit community behind them. My mom had never worked out for her first 60 years of her life. And I said to her, "Mom, why don't you go try CrossFit? I'll buy you a membership at the gym." It's 20 minutes away. And she loved it, because she could go and she could socialize a little bit. Of course, this was before COVID. It's been a little tricky to get her back in there. But it's one of these things where you're going to get some lifting, and you're going to get a lot of cardio. If you're moderately interested in those things, it might be worth checking out.

What are you focused on as a parent to ensure your kids grow up motivated, happy, healthy, and adaptable?

So, I consider myself extremely, extremely fortunate, because my kids love to read. And I don't know if they got that from me. My son could read at age four. I mean, it was phenomenal. I can't take much credit for that. I wish that I could!

My wife was out of town and I took my kids to Target. I told them, "You can pick out whatever book you want." And I knew they would be excited by that, but also they can have a book, and they'll sit and read it for like an hour or maybe even longer. And I think that's probably the coolest thing that I could possibly hope for. My son almost has never really played video games and he's like nine. So, I'm just super fortunate about some of that stuff that they love to read.

Other than that, I try to just make sure that they're active a little bit.

So, the one thing that actually, so this goes back to the whole control thing, when COVID hit, I had them trained in jujutsu, just because I think it's such a good skill to learn, self-defense for life and it just builds confidence. It helps develop that discipline of just being a good person. If you're going to train jujutsu, chances are, you're probably a pretty good person, because if you're not, you're going to get choked out a lot at your gym or whatever. So, we made it a thing. We tried to train... No, I'm not going to say every single day, but we kept training. And I just want him to be active. And if they read beyond that, I think that's pretty good start.

Final question: what's one thing you do to Win the Day?

Read, every single day.


Resources / links mentioned:

🌱 Want more Nick Shaw? Check out the YouTube or podcast version for the full interview, including the Win the Day Rocket Round.

📙 Fit for Success by Nick Shaw.

📝 Renaissance Periodization on Facebook.

📷 Renaissance Periodization on Instagram.

🧭 Nick Shaw on Instagram.

⚡ Renaissance Periodization website.

📚 The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

🎖️ Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Learn more about We Are Members, the world's #1 community for podcasters who want to generate attention, engagement, and sales for their podcast.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Steve Jobs

Our guest today changed the world by bringing together fun, family, and friendship, in a product that has become a true household name. 

In 1985, Rob Angel was in his mid-twenties and working in Seattle as a waiter, earning $2/hour plus tips. With no business experience, plan, or money, Rob created the phenomenally successful and iconic board game Pictionary®. 

Remember, this was pre-internet, so Rob had to harness his intuition, resourcefulness, and work ethic, because he didn’t even know what steps to take, let alone how to take them. After assembling the first 1,000 games by hand in his tiny apartment, Rob met the existing gaming conglomerates head-on and turned Pictionary into a global powerhouse. 

Within four years, and with only two employees, Pictionary became the biggest selling board game in the world

For the next 15 years, Rob shepherded Pictionary to worldwide sales of more than 38 million games in over 60 countries and 45 languages. It had also appeared in blockbuster films like When Harry Met Sally and TV shows like Friends, not to mention the countless licensing deals with brands such as The Simpsons and Austin Powers

In 2001, Rob said goodbye to his baby, selling the phenomenally successful Pictionary to toy giant Mattel. 

Since then, in addition to spending time with his family, Rob has kept busy as an investor, philanthropist, and mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Recently, Rob released Game Changer, which is a Wall Street Journal bestselling book that reveals the dizzying highs and crushing lows of his Pictionary adventure. And if you want a roadmap to success on your own terms, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

In this interview, we’ll go through:

As we get started, remember that the right bit of inspiration can completely transform someone’s life, so if there’s someone who needs to hear this episode, share it with them right now. 

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Rob Angel.

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

📙 Game Changer by Rob Angel.

📝 Rob Angel on Facebook.

📷 Rob Angel on Instagram.

⚡ Rob Angel website.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to learn how to monetize it? Join us at We Are Podcast, the world's #1 live and interactive event for podcasters. For 35% off ANY ticket, use promo code: WINTHEDAY

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Steve Jobs

Our guest today changed the world by bringing together fun, family, and friendship, in a product that has become a true household name. 

In 1985, Rob Angel was in his mid-twenties and working in Seattle as a waiter, earning $2/hour plus tips. With no business experience, plan, or money, Rob created the phenomenally successful and iconic board game Pictionary®. 

Remember, this was pre-internet, so Rob had to harness his intuition, resourcefulness, and work ethic, because he didn’t even know what steps to take, let alone how to take them. After assembling the first 1,000 games by hand in his tiny apartment, Rob met the existing gaming conglomerates head-on and turned Pictionary into a global powerhouse. 

Within four years, and with only two employees, Pictionary became the biggest selling board game in the world

For the next 15 years, Rob shepherded Pictionary to worldwide sales of more than 38 million games in over 60 countries and 45 languages. It had also appeared in blockbuster films like When Harry Met Sally and TV shows like Friends, not to mention the countless licensing deals with brands such as The Simpsons and Austin Powers

In 2001, Rob said goodbye to his baby, selling the phenomenally successful Pictionary to toy giant Mattel. 

Since then, in addition to spending time with his family, Rob has kept busy as an investor, philanthropist, and mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Recently, Rob released Game Changer, which is a Wall Street Journal bestselling book that reveals the dizzying highs and crushing lows of his Pictionary adventure. And if you want a roadmap to success on your own terms, I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Rob Angel does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more. 🚀


In this interview, we’ll go through:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Rob Angel.

James Whittaker:
Rob, great to see you my friend. For the one person out there who doesn't know what Pictionary is, can you give a quick overview of the game and take us into the aha moment when you first created it?

Rob Angel:
Thanks for having me. Pictionary is a super simple game. It's drawing pictures to your teammates and having them guess the word. That's it. If you do enough words, guess enough words, you win the game. So it's super easy concept to understand, which I think is one of the main benefits and reason it was successful. And it started just as a hobby, just as an idea.

I graduated from college, Western Washington University in Bellingham, and I moved in with three buddies. I was a typical 22 year old, with no real prospects. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, and certainly didn't have a plan. But I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur or do my own thing. And, as a result, I was going to be open, present, and aware. Basically, that just means when the opportunity came to me, I'd be ready for it.

One night my roommate says, "Hey, you want to play this new game I learned in college? It's like Charades on paper." .

Now I didn't know my life was about to change. It was like, okay, let's play. It was a typical night. And we got a dictionary and just started sketching words out of the dictionary. And then we did it the next night, and the next night, and the next night. It was like, "Holy crap." And this is 1982, so there were no distractions. There was no YouTube or video games. And I just thought, "This would make a great board game. I've got to do something with this."

This would make a great board game. I've got to do something with this.

It wasn't an aha moment, but it was an "I've got to share this with the world" moment. And that was just my original intention. It wasn't, "I'm going to make a business and make a million dollars." It wasn't, "I'm going to be rich." It was, how do I share this fun with the world? And that's what kind of got me started thinking about it.

You've had so many amazing memories from playing board games with friends, family, and even with complete strangers, which you detail in your incredible book, Game Changer. What is the inherent power of a board game?

Escape. It's like going to a movie, playing a game, or watching TV. It's escapism. So, for those moments you're playing the game and you're playing Pictionary, really nothing else exists. You're in the moment, you're in the present. When you're watching a movie, it's the same thing. And I think that's one of the super powers of games is that, and I've discovered with Pictionary in the long run is that people just were in that second and were able to communicate and have fun in collaboration.

And I kind of look at like a rock concert, like you're in that moment. You may not remember the words, but you remember the emotion.

What I love about your journey is that you were always so open to whatever the universe was going to throw at you.

So you had this thing that you were passionate about, but people get passionate about a whole bunch of different things. How do you take something from passion to business? And when do you know that it's a good fit?

Generally, you don't. I think following your passion doesn't always work. I think it's misnomer, follow your passion, and whoever they are that tell you to follow your passion, they don't tell you how to find that passion. They just assume you'll stumble into it. But I think you have to ask yourself three questions:

1) Are you in love with this idea? So I loved Pictionary. I wasn't thinking in the future, "Is it going to be a great business? Am I going to make money?" It was like, "I love this idea!" So do you love the idea?

2) Two, do a little research. Nowadays you can see if somebody else has done it. It doesn't mean you can't, but I play-tested the game, and people liked it, so I knew I wasn't the only potential customer for it.

3) Finally, are you willing to do the work? People sometimes forget that there's actual jobs to do and partners to find. So you have to be willing to do the work and make the sacrifices. And if you're willing to do those things and verbalize them, you have something at least to get started.

Yeah, a big part of it is motivating yourself to do the grunt work and doing those reps that others don't want to do.

They don't tell you that in entrepreneurial school. And it's kind of boring sometimes on your own. I didn't have a lot of people saying, "Rob, you can't do it" so there wasn't this motivation for people to show them wrong, but it was like I had to do it. I had to be there by myself many, many days. And that was enough motivation to see it through. But you got to motivate yourself somehow.

Within four years, Pictionary, your creation, had become the biggest selling board game in the world, which probably feels a little bit surreal for you to even hear today! Once you recognized that this fun game of yours had significant commercial appeal, how did you know what to do next?

I had no idea! But I think when I came up with it and I saw the idea, the opportunity, I think I did what a lot of people do. I procrastinated, I did nothing, because I wasn't ready and had all this self-doubt of how I could even get started. Because it was such a freaking mystery on what to do. I was a waiter — I knew nothing about business plans, marketing plans, or anything like that.

So I just bummed around for three years, basically. But I couldn't stop thinking about the idea. It never left my consciousness, and I kind of liken it to when you're in the shower and you have this amazing ideas when you're washing your hair, but by the time you're out of the shower, drying your hair, you forgot. But that wasn't me. I couldn't get rid of it. My brain was just overtaken. So I was waiting for the opportunity or the lightning bolt.

I was a waiter — I knew nothing about business plans, marketing plans, or anything like that.

And I was looking at Trivial Pursuit and I knew that the words, by the way, were the things that people would buy. You have to sell something. So I was selling convenience in a package, but the words, that was the linchpin. And so I see Trivial Pursuit and I look at the card and then I turn it over for the answer and I go, "Holy shit." I put the words on cards. It was literally that the problem I'm solving was how to put words into the game. I literally said F it, then I went in the backyard, opened up a dictionary, and started the word list.

And I wrote down the first word: "Aardvark." That was it. I got started. And that was the beginning of Pictionary.

There's a quote I want to mention to you from your book, where you said: "Working with limited resources fostered our creativity and innovation."

And that stood out to me because I heard Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder, say something similar about what made Apple so successful early on when they were trying to compete with all the big dogs.

I think it's really important for people to understand that that scarcity of resources can foster imagination and innovation and actually be a really good thing. Can you share more about that and what that looked like in a practical sense in your journey?

When you have too much information, you're not creative, so I looked at the not knowing and the unknown as a positive. I love not knowing what was going to happen next! I love not knowing how to market. So I had to figure it out as I went along. Just manufacturing the board game. There's no manufacturers that we knew of that could manufacture the game. So limited resources. We couldn't find somebody or more importantly, we couldn't pay anybody.

So we had to manufacturer the first 1,000 games by hand, nine different companies, in my apartment by hand. When it came to marketing, our marketing budget was zero. Zero. We had no money, so we had to be creative. At some point, you have to trust your instinct. You just got to go for it. And that's what we did day after day. It was a blast.

You had to use some guerrilla marketing strategies to get the word out there when you have a marketing budget of literally zero!

They say, break the rules. Well, I forgot to ask what the rules were! So I just kind of made my own. Every day was an adventure for my partners and I. Literally I was like Prairie dog. Every day, wake up and I go, "Okay, what are we going to do today? What are we going to sell? How are we going to market? I don't know. Let's just try something." I absolutely love those early days when the not knowing. That was the best part.

One big theme I felt from your book Game Changer was that you never left the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket. You hit the pavement, you closed the deals yourself, you ensured quality control, you kept the team tight and committed. How important was doing the reps yourself and the quality control attitude that you maintained for the scale of what Pictionary became?

Without it, we wouldn't have scaled. So, the scaling part is a whole different ball of wax. But in the beginning, having only two partners, the three of us, we had to control everything. The last thing we needed was one of those 1,000 games to go somewhere that we didn't know what was going to happen. Maybe it would go in somebody's warehouse and never see the light of day. We needed those games out in public — it was sampling.

All we were doing was test marketing those games to see how the public would react. My philosophy was, if I couldn't drive the games and deliver them myself, we didn't take the order. That way, we could demonstrate, promote, and market the books. We had to make noise in a small geographic area, because the technology that exists today didn't exist back then.

Today, influencers can blast things out and see what lands. But I literally had to control, physically control, where those went and that's why we made noise. That's why people paid attention. It was easier to go to the Seattle newspaper (which is the city where we launched) and say, "Hey, I'm a local guy. Do you want to do an article?" It wasn't going to happen in Chicago. So keeping it local and keeping tight control over everything was key to our success.

In the digital age, people want a magic bullet to success. They think all of these sales are going to happen automatically, and in doing so they really underestimate that the key is to get out there and do that legwork yourself to put the product in the hands of as many people as possible.

And I think that's one of the big problems, if you will, with Kickstarter, is exactly that reason. People have an idea. And I love the fact that people get their products made. But people don't realize there's work to be done in just making and getting your friends to buy in. And now you've got 1,000 games and you need to market those.

And the other thing that people kind of forget is that it needs to be a good product. This is that passion thing. I play-tested Pictionary because I thought it was fun, but what if it was just because of the beer we were drinking? We drank a lot of beer back there, let's be honest! And so maybe it was just the beer.

You've got to remember there's a business there. And that's that sacrifice part. I hear stories all the time that the manufacturing on Kickstarter took too long or cost too much, then the people couldn't even afford to ship the game. So you got to make sure you're paying attention.

I always ask people, what's your motivation? What's your intention?

For me, my intention of Pictionary was to share it with the world. That was my intention. What is your intention? If it's to make money at a game without knowing your product, I wouldn't do it because there's not a lot of money. If it's to create a job for yourself, which is also fine, maybe, but you got to make sure you market. And if it's just to say you did it, just check to see if it's worth your time. Is your energy really served by doing that?

And it's a hard call, man. This is not like, "Well, Rob, I really like this product." Well, then do it. Really understand why you're doing it and say it out loud. I think this is the one thing that people neglect. Say "This is a good idea!" out loud and see how you feel. See how it resonates. And if it does, go for it.

There's a mantra you repeated along your journey: "We take care of Pictionary and Pictionary will take care of us." Can you take us into what that means specifically and how it aided your decision-making along the way?

It goes back to, again, the same thing is the intention. As long as we are true to that game, our baby, we treated it like a baby. It wasn't a game. The first time I looked at it, it was like, "Oh, you're so sweet." I'm holding it in my arms. And I'm like, seriously, that first game that came off the production line. I'm going to do my best not to get choked up now after 35 years, it was a huge deal, with a huge emotional attachment.

But our mission was to keep the game the way it was because we knew what people enjoyed. We thought of what was best for our consumer. Not what's best for us, not the money. We thought about what was best for our consumer. That game was perfect the way it was. So when people wanted to change the packaging, which becomes a big issue later we can talk about, we said no.

We thought of what was best for our consumer. Not what's best for us, not the money.

But when somebody wanted to change out some of the graphics, somebody wanted to maybe do something else, we've always said no. Or it was a marketing idea that didn't meet the family values of Pictionary. So we never went for the money, so it kept Pictionary or your product or whatever you're trying to sell to what really its core was. And if it's going to be successful, then it will be successful, but don't fuck with it. And that's what we did.

We turned down so many deals and so much money over the years because it didn't serve the product, which in turn served us. It was selfish. Let's be honest — we wanted to make it successful so we'd be successful.

Yeah, you had that long-term success that would be impossible to understand for someone who doesn't know the DNA of the brand or product. You certainly wouldn't want someone to make decisions on the future of the product without properly understanding it.

Yeah, what you just said, long-term versus short-term, that was huge. If we were in it for the money short-term, I wouldn't be sitting here. Pictionary would have died out years ago, but I saw the golden goose. I saw what it could do and I wasn't going to give that up.

People have exits now and they're serial entrepreneurs. I love that by the way, but that's not me. Man, I was selling millions. I've got a golden goose. Why would I give that up?

With Pictionary, I was making money and I was having fun, so for literally 20 years of my life, I nurtured that thing.

Sharon Lechter [5x NY Times bestselling author and co-founder of Rich Dad Poor Dad brand / series] mentioned to me once that her favorite money was royalty / licensing money because it arrives while you sleep. There was a point in your life where some of the biggest companies in the world were knocking down your door and throwing money at you to basically license their products. After earning licensing money for many years, you ended up selling Pictionary for a substantial sum.

So what I wanted to ask you was what's better money — licensing money or selling the company money!?

I've never been asked that question! The answer is, we made a lot more money on the licensing than we did selling. And it was a big number when we sold, it's in the public record. So the money was great and it's mailbox money. However, we worked our asses off for those extra 17 years.

We were at a point where we had done all these things in Seattle, became very successful, sold 8,600 games, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it was huge for an independent company and we couldn't scale. So we had to figure out how to get on a national audience, and we just didn't have the financing. Typical start up. So licensing became our option, which is where basically somebody would do the manufacturing and distribution for us and give us a royalty. It sounded perfect to us!

So we had a meeting with a high profile brand and the deal didn't work out. But I learned a huge lesson. One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was: it's not what you make, it's what you keep. And that was the beauty of licensing. When I started, when we got into it, I was going to have employees. I was going to have offices, be Rob Angel, Mr. Pictionary. No. We decided to license so we could keep more money. We had two employees, Mile and Brat.

Then the biggest game company in the world comes to us with a deal and we're talking it all through. And they promised us all these things, and packaging as we talked about earlier and whatnot. The deal comes, contract comes. I'm 26 years old. I'm making $500 a month and have a 10 year old beat-up car. Contract comes. First thing in the contract was a royalty rate.

One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned was: it's not what you make, it's what you keep.

Now again, money, that was the biggest royalty rate they'd ever given an independent game company ever. Ever. It was about $5 million to me over time. And I'm like, as I go to Costco, I was thinking of buying things I never even knew I needed, as you're going through the isles. I'm buying cars. I've got a second home. I'm in the Bahamas. I'm on a beach. This is awesome. This is going to work out great.

Then the marketing spend was there, but the last thing they didn't put in because we couldn't find it was that they wouldn't touch the surface packaging without our approval. Now on the surface, it's more than just packaging. They weren't men of their word. They told us they would put it in the contract because it was very important to us. So here I am, pen in hand and I'm thinking, "Sign the contract. You're ready."

But integrity is more important to me than the money. It really is. So I knew that if I couldn't trust them, I couldn't do business with them. So we said, "No" and we didn't have a Plan B. I was willing to go back to waiting tables rather than give up my principles. It sounds romantic, but I was dead serious. It was that important to do business with people we trust.

However, because of that everybody now knew we were in play. And a joint venture formed with all the guys who manufactured Trivial Pursuit and they gave us more money as well as all the guarantees we wanted, and we never looked back. It was a much better deal for us and they had integrity. The Universe was speaking and doing its magic.

With your business partners specifically, what did you do to maintain the integrity of that relationship to keep it together over the long term?

Well, I knew they had integrity, but it was never put to the test. In the beginning, we had some manufacturing problems and we were supposed to sort the first 500, assuming 1,000 games had 500 cards each, that's half a million game cards. Long story short, the printer couldn't sort them for us, and we'd already sent out the invitations for the launch. We're under the gun, we've got eight days. And so I threw a tantrum.

Okay. I admit this. It's the only time where I took it personally. I learned in business, don't take things personally. It wasn't like the printer was sitting in his office going, "How can I screw with Rob today? How can I make his day miserable?" No. It just happened. The facts don't change. But this terrible thing happens, so my partners and I did it by hand, and it was a terrible job, but it bonded us.

We got to communicate, we knew we could count on each other, and that set us up for those challenges. If things never go bad, you probably goofed up somewhere because something's going to go wrong. And because it did, it cemented our relationship, our friendship, and our business. So it turned into a very big positive.

Yeah, it's like how you respond to adversity when it inevitably strikes is what separates the real achievers.

And it's going to strike, so it's how you respond to it. I hate to be cliché. Every book you read and every social media post says, "It's how you respond." Well, it's true!

On the road to success, don't take things personal. Instead, think "How do we fix this?"

The mental health aspect of entrepreneurship is something that you and I are both passionate about spreading awareness of. You experienced self-doubt, negative self-talk, imposter syndrome, depression, all of those things and more along the journey. Is there a particularly dark day that stands out on the entrepreneurial journey for you? And if so, what did you do to get back on track mentally?

Yes. I'm glad you brought it up because it's a little secret they don't tell you in entrepreneurial school. They say you've got to push hard and make sure you're working 24/7, and you've got to push, push, push. Well, that's what I wound up doing. And about 5-6 years in, I changed my mission from giving Pictionary to the world and people having fun, to how do I make more money and push this game.

It wasn't burnout. It was complete and total anxiety. I wasn't comfortable with myself. My authentic self had left and I was so off balanced. I was so out of alignment. And back then, we're talking early '90s before. Now we all know I was moody. But I didn't know how to deal with it. So for a couple of years, I was getting in fights with my partners over nothing.

And I wouldn't show up for work periodically and it just became untenable. So I took a leave of absence. That's all I could do. I had to remove myself and recalibrate and took about six months. And I came back to the business and the partners accepted me and took up the slack. But you don't have to do that. You can pre-warn.

Make sure you take an hour for yourself every day.

Make sure you take an hour for yourself every day. Whether it's meditation, watching television, working out, or whatever it might be, but don't think about your business, because guess what? If you're not there for 20 minutes, it's going to be there when you get back. It's not like it'll fail if you take time for yourself.

I do believe in meditation. But if that just sounds so woo-hoo and off the wall, take a walk, anything, but you've got to take care of yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically to be more productive and make more money and be more successful. You have to.

People almost drive themselves crazy trying to figure out what their passion is. Even I get asked that question constantly, almost every week, about "How do I find my passion?" Yet, no one talks about how do you find passion and inner peace at the same time.

When people are starting out, what is the role of passion and how can they harness inner peace so they can have that at the same time? Or is there just no real balance in the short-term if you're doing something like launching a product that could potentially change the world?

That's a long question to answer. I think you'll know. It's following your intuition. If you're off balance, you'll know, try to figure out how to get to center. If an idea that you have for a business, if it's not resonating, don't push it through, just pay attention to your gut, pay attention to what your brain and your heart. More importantly, I take that back, pay attention what your heart is saying, because your brain is going to override.

Human nature, physicality says, "Let me analyze this. Let me figure this out." But if this isn't working and it's not, "Am I in love" and all these things, you have to pay attention to your emotions and your feelings. And it's never going to end by the way, this whole conversation I've been doing it my whole life. With the spiritual journey, you're never done.

With the spiritual journey, you're never done.

You just can make accommodations as you go along, and do whatever works for you. That makes it all worthwhile. One of the things I say is nibble at the edges. For Pictionary, I waited for three years. Unless you try a lot of things, you're not going to know.

So nibble at the edges; you don't have to go all in right away. I play-tested a few times. I still really wasn't sure if I wanted to go all in with Pictionary, but the more I started doing it, the more confident I became. But I was doing other things as well. So nibble at the edges of a lot of different projects and ideas. When one comes to the forefront, then you go all in.

How did you reach the decision to sell Pictionary?

It was time. After 20 years with the product, our international license was becoming available and I'd had a family by then and I was just ready for a new adventure. I was ready to start something new and we'd made a lot of money, but we'd had a lot of fun doing it. It was just time.

How do you feel about digital games? Is that the type of thing that you would have gone down if you were launching Pictionary in 2021?

My guess is because now the culture is video games, I probably would have looked at that. I still am too, by the way, I'm not done creating. I love creating. So I'm not done, but it's a medium of the day. And the board game is what people played in 1985. And that's why it was the top of mind. That's why I went that direction.

There's an Albert Einstein quote I heard recently, I'd love to get your perspective on it: "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness." How do you feel about that quote in terms of the whole mental health journey?

Yeah. It resonates. Completely. It's the being in lack, the restless of "I need more, I need to compete, I need to do what they're doing." Man, that's just human nature. But the awareness of it, of your triggers, of the problem, of the situation, that's the start. If you just keep going without stopping and reflecting, that's where the trouble starts. At least it did for me.

I just kept going and going and pushing and pushing. The restlessness comes from lack. The restless comes from outside influences and outside sources. For the last seven or eight years, I've gone on a spiritual journey. I hate the term, by the way. I hate the term "spiritual journey." It just conjures up all this, "I'm going to go find myself." No, but for me, it's a journey to self. I needed to be more heart-centered. And so this quote totally resonates because when I am heart-centered and it's a constant battle, if you will, it's a constant pursuit.

If you just keep going without stopping and reflecting, that's where the trouble starts.

I'm never quite there and that's okay. I like the journey. I like the trying. But once you're more happy, confident, secure in even small amounts, you'll be less restless, you'll be more confident, and you'll be more successful. That's the nature of what we're trying to get here to. And whatever success looks like, it doesn't have to be money. It doesn't have to be a game. The success could be joy. It could be a non-profit, giving back. It doesn't matter. It's not my job to tell you, but just articulate success, go inward, and you'll get there faster.

What I love so much about the things you've shared today is that it's looking after yourself first should be the number one priority. It's almost like before you focus on anything else, you need to make sure you're right internally, and have that intent for everything that you want to do, supported by daily practices to look after yourself. With that, you'll be in a lot more alignment for everything else you do.

And I got to say one other thing about that. When you don't do your daily practices, give yourself permission to say it's okay. Because I beat myself up all the time over what I'm not doing. "Oh crap. I missed my meditation today. Oh crap. I missed it for two days. Now, I'm going out." I'm all angst-driven. No, not anymore. It's like, "Okay. I missed it. I'll do it tomorrow."

Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Give yourself permission to say it's okay. And you'll get it tomorrow.

Stop beating yourself up, and that's a lesson I tell myself every day. That's not conjecture, that's not out of a book. That's something I constantly, constantly preach to myself.

Yeah. It's easy for us to be compassionate to other people but it's often very hard for us to have self-compassion.

Yeah. Be compassionate.

This spiritual journey that you've been on for the last seven or eight years, what are some highlights or lessons? I know you've been to Burning Man. Is there any stuff that you want to reveal for the first time today or what things come to mind!?

Wow. Yeah, no. I'm enjoying the journey. I've done some Ayahuasca. That was an interesting experience.

Where did you do it?

I did it in Peru. That was amazing. That was one of those skeptical things, because I'd heard about it but wasn't sure. Finally, I was called, if you will — again with that woo-hoo stuff. I got to tell you, in the eight years before II started this spiritual journey, I had a friend who kept telling me "You've got to surrender, be present, and hold space." And I was like, "Come on. This is ridiculous!" Well, finally I bought it. So, I'm doing that. So yeah, I'm trying to go on all the rides. I'm trying all new things just to see what works and what doesn't. Ayahuasca worked pretty well for me.

For entrepreneurs in particular, it's certainly becoming more and more popular. A lot of people I know are even doing Ayahuasca here in the US without having to go to South America or Central America. For those who don't know anything about it, what does it involve and how was your experience specifically?

Well, first thing I'll say, it's NOT for everybody. Don't try this at home. I am not the expert. I'm looking right into camera when I say this! This is not my job and I'm not promoting anything. That enough disclaimers!?

Oh my goodness.

No, it was a way for me to find out more of my triggers, to find out what made me tick, even though I'm doing all this spiritual work — here we go again with that term — which includes coaches and therapists, all these. So it just was a way to get more clear, if you will. And it's not for everybody, so if you're not called, it's a no-no. I'm going to keep qualifying that. But it was just another tool that I found really resourceful for me.

What about people who are in a negative mindset or brain fog — are there any tools you can share with people to help them shift their energy?

Yeah, so I'm a big fan of touchstones. And for me, that's something physical to remind me of something I'm doing or want to remember. What I do is if I've had a great conversation or I've had a great idea or something magical has happened, I'll pick up a stone or something small and to remember to hold it, and this is what you should do, or this is what I recommend.

If there's something you want to remember, and it could be as simple as something I've said today that's resonated or you've had an idea and you want to remember it, or there's some emotions, usually an emotion, I pick something up, I put it in my hand. So if you're sitting at home right now, do this. Pick something up. I put it in my hand, I hold it. And this is kind of a Joe Dispenza thing that I've kind of alliterated on.

And I hold my hand and I close my eyes. I think about what's in my hand, and I think what it represents, and then I attach this emotion to it. I just don't remember what it is. I remember how I feel. It's how you feel. That's the important thing. And so when I let go, it's right there in the palm of my hand and I put it on my desk and I've got these stones all over my house. I've got hundreds of these things.

I just don't remember what it is. I remember how I feel.

So next time, whatever you just held in your hand and you look at it, remember the emotion you felt with it. And that's the memory, that's the touchstone and do it time and time again if it resonates with you. It's just a remembrance of an emotion. And for me personally, I've found it super, super powerful because I forget visions. I forget things that I see. I forget the specific conversation. But when I've had this amazing heartfelt conversation with somebody, I know how it felt. I know the emotion, I remember the words and these touchstones remind me. And it's something I practice, I preach. I really think if you give it a try, it will work for you too.

So they bring you back into that feeling when you were there experiencing it?

That's exactly what it is. It's all about the feeling. So it's like Pictionary, going back to that. You don't remember the words of Pictionary. You may remember one or two of the sketches, but you remember how you felt, you remember the emotion, you remember who you were playing with. You remember the joy. That's what these touchstones are to me.

I'll just quickly say, it started when my father passed and his favorite color was yellow and I'm going through, and I'm sad, and I'm walking past a junk shop. And there were all these yellow stones, I'm crying. Dad was speaking to me, hello dad. He was there and I bought a bunch of these things and I gave one to everybody at the funeral. Everyone at the funeral. And to this day, I carry them with me in my travel bag. He's always with me. So they're powerful.

I love that. Thank you for sharing. It's really interesting. And I know there's a lot of people struggling right now, particularly with what's happened with COVID the last year and a half. Using something like touchstones seems to be a great way to help shift that energy and focus on the bigger picture when you don't feel like it.

Absolutely.

In Game Changer, you mentioned that your intent with Pictionary was to create a game that was so entertaining, so fun, and so engaging. What experiences in your life today give you those same feelings?

Exploring. Yeah. I'm totally in exploration mode again. Well, the book for a while, writing a book was an interesting process. Oh my gosh. Just remembering everything was crazy to go through it and the stories and calling the people who were involved. They remembered things differently than me. That was interesting as well, but it's my book! So whatever's in there is how I remember it.

So right now, I'm exploring and I'm looking at turning the book into a docu-series, that's kind of keeping my attention these days and just trying new things. I still love travel, meeting new people, new experiences that way. That's really one of my joy is that new experience, new people, new events.

How do you balance the hunger for future achievements with all the amazing things you've done with retaining happiness in the present?

It's hard. It's hard. I'd love to say I'm perfect. And, "Oh my gosh, look at me, my life's perfect." No. I was going to say it's a daily struggle, but it's not a daily struggle. Struggle is not the right word. It's a daily pursuit. It's my daily pursuit. My girlfriend calls it the daily pursuit of not stressing. So the more stressed I am, the less creative I am. So that's my daily pursuit.

If things stress me, I try desperately to not be there, to not go in that direction. And it's a hard balance, but I really like the trying now. This journey that I'm on, the tools I've learned have really given me almost a hope for the future. My future is not so bad. My present is not so bad, but it's a daily pursuit.

It's hard, isn't it? You can feel parts of your brain want you to push, push, push, but if you succumbed to that all the time you'd be massively out of sync with your daily practices. Before you know it, something has happened, and you're saying to yourself, "Wow, how did I get here again?" So being true to those daily practices seems to be incredibly important, I've found.

100%. And for the record, I don't have a lot of daily practices. I know you're supposed to meditate every day and you're supposed to wake up at the same time. I do my best. And when I do it, I feel great. When I don't, it's okay.

A big part of what you're doing now is helping aspiring entrepreneurs find their aardvark and get their business off the ground. Is there a specific blueprint that you'd like to take them through or are there certain questions that you like to ask them to make sure that they're clear on their idea or to help figure out if their idea actually has legs? What do you mainly focus on when you're working with aspiring entrepreneurs?

It goes back to what I said earlier: what is your intention? And it doesn't have to be just a game or anything else. Why do you want to do this? Because to be honest, just because you want to be an entrepreneur doesn't mean you should be an entrepreneur. Some people are just always meant to be working for somebody else and they work well in that environment. And that's okay. I'm not saying one's better than the other. It doesn't matter.

I talked to a CEO of a large corporation recently. I don't want to mention his name, but it was someone whose name you would recognize. And I said, "Are you an entrepreneur or worker bee?" And he goes, without hesitation, "I'm a worker bee. I don't have a creative bone in my body, but I can make things happen. I can hire the right talent."

Just because you want to be an entrepreneur doesn't mean you should be an entrepreneur.

So it's not an either or.

And I ask them, why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Check in with yourself, articulate that. And as I said earlier, are you willing to do the work? And most of the time, the answer is yes. And great. And then we just start diving into it, fleshing out the idea, coming up with different ways to look at their idea and helping them that way.

Yeah, for those who want to be entrepreneurs for the first time, not properly recognizing the complexity that can bring into your life, especially if you're not in a position financially, to be able to have that. It's like imagine having something occupying your mind seven days a week that's taking you away from your kids and your friends, all of those different things. It's tough.

You and I had such a great conversation at dinner the other night, particularly about parenting. What do you do specifically on the parenting side to make sure that you maintain a good relationship with your kids and support them in their journeys?

I make sure they're heard and I make sure they feel loved. And what I was doing without knowing is I was making them a part of the journey because I didn't know what I was doing. They don't give you a manual!

It sounds very much like when you started Pictionary!

Exactly. But parenting is a tough job. And so just keep the lines of communication open. This is another one of those do as I say, not as I do. You've got to be the parent, not their friend. A lot of times I was their friend, and it backfired. But I've an amazing relationship with my kids. And it's really my legacy. Pictionary, the book for me, great. But everything is my relationship with my children.

And when they call and we talk all the time, that's what brings me joy. I just had a conversation with let's say one of my children about something that's been bothering them for years. But I wasn't hearing what was bothering them, and I kept answering the same way. So finally, with my own found knowledge, I thought "What am I missing?" So I went at it a different way and it just opened up the flood gates in a really positive way of conversation.

So just don't be afraid to have a conversation at any age with your kids. And it just pays dividends, I'll tell you.

Really powerful stuff. Was there anything specifically that you learned on your business journey with Pictionary that helped shaped the way that you parent? Obviously you had the freedom to spend with them, which I think is great.

I'm thinking that one through. The first thing that came to mind was being adaptable. So for Pictionary, considering we didn't know what we're doing half the time, which was fun, we had to be profoundly flexible in everything we did. Now they call it adapting and pivoting. You just have to be flexible because we didn't know what we're doing.

And if something didn't work, we'd have to immediately change directions. And that's just true in business all the time. That's not a new concept, but we were willing to make the change. And so with my kids, now that I'm being asked the question, thank you, you had to be profoundly flexible because they're changing every fricking day, hormones kick in and then they get a girlfriend or a boyfriend. All these things are going crazy. So I don't know what I'm doing half the time.

You just have to be flexible with how they're growing and hopefully you're growing at the same time.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Rob Angel does the Win the Day Rocket Round, answering questions about his favorite quote, what advice he’d give his 18-year-old self, the one thing on his bucket list, and a whole lot more. 🚀


Final question: what's one thing you do to win the day?

I give myself grace to not be perfect. When I start going crazy with my inner dialogue, I give myself grace, I take a breath, I chill, and then I can move forward.


Resources / links mentioned:

📙 Game Changer by Rob Angel:

📝 Rob Angel on Facebook.

📷 Rob Angel on Instagram.

⚡ Rob Angel website.

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“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller

As Helen Keller reminds us, looking at life as a daring adventure can create opportunities we otherwise never would have imagined and even help us change the world — and our guest today is doing just that.

Laura Latimer is an international speaker, a leader in healthcare tech, and a pioneer in the no-code / low-code movement of entrepreneurship. Her heart beats for empowering women and improving the lives of travel healthcare workers.

Laura started her company, Nomadicare, without the usual resources people have. She had barely any experience, no training, and certainly no external funding.

But the one thing she did have was a lot of heart. And if you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know that the right attitude makes all the difference.

While working in the healthcare industry, Laura experienced a problem firsthand and said to herself, “You know what? I’m going to be the one to fix this!”

In that pivotal moment, her mission to revolutionize travel healthcare was born.

Today Laura is part of the 2% of women entrepreneurs who generate over USD $1 million of annual revenue but, more importantly, she makes an enormous impact on the world.

In this interview, we’ll go through:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Laura Latimer!

James Whittaker:
To kick things off, can you take us into what your life was like growing up?

Laura Latimer:
Growing up, I had a really amazing family. I was a middle child, so I get teased right now from some of my friends who are like, “Man, did you grow up!?” We were the cliché sweet middle-class family who lived in this beautiful bubble of a life. And I was involved in a ton of stuff and my family was very supportive of me. But I think what is really funny is people will tell parents today, "Hey, don't worry too much, because at the end of it, your kid's going to want therapy for it no matter what you do!"

For me, the part that I didn't get as much of in my childhood that I ended up getting to develop in adulthood was my ability to think for myself. When you’re young, there are often such blessings in adversity that really help you think about the world in a different way. And I grew up in such a beautiful childhood where things were handed to me and I was like, “Oh, this is what life is supposed to be. Cool. Done. Figured it out.” Then later in life, so much else changed. That helped me think about my childhood in a bit of a different way.

As a teenager, what did ‘success’ look like to you? And when did having your own business first come on your radar?

As a teenager, many people in Texas – especially back then – ‘success’ meant one thing to us: getting married and having babies. And I was right in line with that being a success; we were very much along the line of, okay, you go to college, you fall in love, you have your kids, you'll have some kind of career, you might decide to stay at home, or you get a house.

All the way, probably even into undergrad, that was my definition of success. But, looking back, that was my definition of success because that was all of my friends’ definitions of success. And one thing that I know you know, James, and I think anybody who's really into entrepreneurship knows, is you become the people you surround yourself with pretty much inevitably. So we all had the same kind of viewpoints back then, and that is what I defined as success.

You become the people you surround yourself with pretty much inevitably.

Now, looking back, I love the thought that who I am today is completely by luck of me not getting what I thought I wanted. There's been so many things I didn't get that I thought I wanted that I am so grateful for now. By the time I was getting out of school, I wasn't in love, or even in a relationship, so I had to figure out what to do next. And at that point for me, it wasn't entrepreneurship, it was travel.

One thing I realized when I was getting out of occupational therapy school is I could, with my occupational therapy degree, move to Australia and get a job there. To me, that was the wildest thing I could possibly do. And I did it! I booked flight, a one-way ticket to Australia. I sold everything I had. I didn't know anybody there. At the time, that was a crazy decision!

Literally my favorite all-time memory is the day the plane was landing in Australia. I didn't know a single person, everything I owned was on my back, I didn't have a job yet, I had a few thousand dollars, and I had a degree to hopefully find a job. That feeling in my heart that it was just me, solo in this new country, is my favorite feeling I've ever had. From there though, as I’m sure we’ll get in to, my business has a lot to do with traveling. And so travel became a huge part of my life.

In Australia, to my parents’ worst fear, I met a guy. It was nothing romantic; he was a little bit more ambitious and a more seasoned traveler than I was. He told me it was a $45 flight from Australia to Southeast Asia, so I did it. I booked the flight after doing just a few weeks in Australia and meeting other backpackers in Australia, just starting to open my mind to travel as a growth concept. It was travel as a way to learn more things. It was the first thing I ever did in my life that my parents straight up told me not to do. But I did it anyway.

It was the first thing I ever did in my life that my parents straight up told me not to do. But I did it anyway.

I ended up going to Indonesia and all over Southeast Asia. Travelers know Southeast Asia is a well-worn backpackers’ path – you can go to all these different places – but in my dad's head, all he could hear was, “My daughter's going to Vietnam!” All he knew was the Vietnam War. He thought I was going to die, literally. He took out life insurance on me and thought I was going to die. And I did it anyway. And I did most of that trip solo.

That trip was probably the most impactful, impulse decision I ever made because in doing that trip, it was the first time in my life that I had been exposed to other religions, cultures, and poverty levels – as well as other perspectives of what success, happiness, or impact was. Even meeting people in the hostels was huge; meeting people from Sweden, Germany, and New Zealand totally changed the way I saw the world.

But the biggest thing I got out of that trip was that it changed my relationship with truth. From there, I stopped believing in truth as a prescription that there was a right way and a wrong way to do life. In breaking up with that definition, I felt so free to define my own life. It was liberating to see people pick truths based on their location, what felt good, and who they were around. Above all, that you could think for yourself. I was 24 years old, and it was the best thing I’d ever done.

People hear a lot about solo travel, but it sounds so intimidating for those who haven't done it. Was there anything that solo travel specifically did to help you change your perspective either of who you were or the world around you?

Yes, 100%. So solo travel, versus travelling with other people, it gives you 100% control and freedom for everything you do. When you're with someone else, you just go back and forth on, “What should we do today?” and it's also much harder to be approached by others.

I have a distinct memory in college of me and a group of friends saying, "Oh my God, I would never go to the movies by myself!" And me being like, “Oh, I know. Me either!” Now, I can't even imagine me thinking that, but it's so amazing. Being able to trust yourself and realize that you can make decisions based on what makes you happy that day, too. It gives you courage when you realize inside of you that you can approach people, try new things on your own, listen to stories from strangers, and care so much about them … you just gain confidence very quickly when you’re traveling solo.

As far as the stereotypes of dangerous places, once you get there you usually realize that it isn’t really that dangerous. There's common sense to be had, of course, like the same common sense we have at home, but I got to develop the belief that people are, by and large, so good around the world. And it does give you that confidence of safety of the world, and humanity a little bit more too.

So true. I've been in many places that were documented as being among the most dangerous places on Earth, but when you're there, for the most part, you feel totally fine. With solo travel, it sounds like it gave you more than confidence – like a deep sense of inner peace and harmony that had eluded you previously.

On one end of the spectrum, there are people who spend so much of their life gallivanting around the world and seemingly can't sit still. Yet, on the other side, there are people who grow up and they stay in the same town that they're in. Of course, there's no right or wrong, but did you identify any unifying bond or common traits of all those people who were traveling? Was there an itch that they were trying to scratch, or were they trying to find out their purpose or their place in the world?

That's a good question. I think if there was one word that I feel like was unifying about the travelers I met, it would be curiosity. Travelers are craving and seeking something that is different than what they know. They're intentionally staying in hostels, they’re in their young 20s, and in a room of like eight beds, all bunk beds that are super uncomfortable, with the tiny locker. Nothing is comfortable per se about traveling, especially when you have no money. So you're doing it the rugged way, which is my favorite way, but everyone is seeking to experience something that is not what they knew.

Everyone is seeking to experience something that is not what they knew.

There's this craving for experiences and it's a craving to learn. With that comes open-mindedness. If you are in something that you're comfortable in and you've done over and over, you might start feeling like you're an expert. But when you're in a culture where you know nothing, you might not even know the language, you might not know what currency translates to, you are now back in this childlike state of figuring stuff out constantly. The bond comes from two (or more) people who feel like fish out of water. The unifying thing is a sense that we’re here to learn and dive in to these new experiences, rather than judge what we’re seeing.

Aside from international travel, you've also lived in a bunch of different places in the US. What are the pros and cons that has given you?

Well, it’s similar in that it always keeps me humble. It keeps me uncomfortable-ish. I traveled so much inside the US too because for a long time I was a travel occupational therapist. So that's like a healthcare career choice where you can go around to different cities and states, and help places that need healthcare. That is why I was traveling so much mostly.

Then sometimes it was because I just wanted to. As a traveler, I was constantly still in a new culture, like Berkeley, California, and Manhattan, New York are not similar. They're so different. And then to go straight into the hub of San Francisco and dive into the tech world when I was learning technology for Nomadicare, or when I was in San Diego with the beaches. It just keeps me curious, which is my favorite value, for me personally. Anytime I kept moving around, you can't really get too sure of yourself, which I think can be a really good thing.

Plus it gives you access to so many different relationships too.

Absolutely.

Well, let's switch gears and delve into the Nomadicare side. Can you give us a quick overview of your business, Nomadicare, for those who don't know anything about it?

Nomadicare is in healthcare and is a very mission-based business. First, for anyone who's listening / reading, there's travel healthcare where nurses and therapists, radiologists and sonographers, we can travel to places that are underserved or to hospitals that need help. That's the backbone of my industry.

Now, what happened, was one day when I was a travel OT, I excitedly walked into a job on the first day and met the other person who was starting the same day as me. We had the exact same profession in the exact same company, and she was getting paid $400 more a week than I was. That’s almost $2,000 more per month in the same company for the same job. And we just had different recruiters.

It was literally the first time in my whole career that it even crossed my mind that I was supposed to negotiate pay, or that this was a business, or that the people I was talking to maybe were not my friends – maybe they were salespeople pitching me a job, and their role was to make their company more profits.

And I can't stress enough why this is an even bigger deal in this industry. In this industry, it's 80% women who are caregivers and they go to school to learn how to serve, how to have relationships, and heal. But in school we do not learn our worth, how to negotiate, or anything to do with the business side of having a career as a provider of healthcare.

Now, on the other side, there are salespeople who are hired to be salespeople. They literally went to school or had experiences that taught them how to use persuasion and amazing skill sets, but in order to, in this case, underpay a healthcare worker to make their company more profits. And to me, that was extremely unfair. I also didn't like that it was mostly impacting women who were such relationship-based women, but of course, I really didn't like it when it happened to me.

That night, I went out with my best girlfriend and I was frustrated and venting, but I didn't know what to do. Of course, some of the best ideas are made over margaritas, and we were having some margaritas that night! We started talking and we came up with this idea of Nomadicare. We didn't have a pen or paper, so the waitress came over and gave us a pen and napkins. We wrote out an entire business model on these napkins. I wish so much I still had those napkins!

We wrote out an entire business model on these napkins.

And for me, the idea latched on. It stuck. I have this belief that ideas sometimes choose people because there's a million things my heart cares about, but this one chose me, where it didn't let go of my heart or my head. I was like, "I'm going to solve this. This one's mine to do."

So it was born from this unfairness. What it's become has been a really big movement in the industry, a huge community behind Nomadicare that are called the Empowered Travelers, a huge movement in the healthcare staffing agencies that are also moving in that same direction, bringing them together. We've built a ton of technologies. And technology can always increase the quality because it's data. Since that day five years ago, we’ve done a lot to transform the industry, but it started with seeing a problem and choosing to do something about it – even when I knew nothing about business.

What were the biggest things that you have done that have made your business Nomadicare as successful as it is today?

So anyone who is listening to this who does have an idea and is where I was (i.e. no connections or any skills at all in business), then you might realize it's really hard sometimes to know what's that very next step to take. For me, what ended up being so impactful was that I surrounded myself with a community of entrepreneurs right away. And life can be serendipitous, but I think it's serendipitous for everyone, if you open your eyes to it, you always see the opportunities.

For me, what ended up being so impactful was that I surrounded myself with a community of entrepreneurs right away.

At the time, I was living in Boston and there was this really cool thing called CrashPad, and I moved into it just a few months after wanting to do Nomadicare. It was 18 entrepreneurs living together in a three-story house, and we all co-worked together on the second floor. If you lived there, you weren't allowed to have another job. You were supposed to be 100% dedicated to your startup and 100% dedicated to giving and being in service to each other to grow.

I went in having the least amount of skillset out of anybody there, but I did have a camera and I was a professional photographer then too. So I was like, "Look, I'll take pictures of all your products. I'll do every headshot. That is what I can contribute." But then someone else over here could contribute web design, someone else over here knew marketing. And it was like an introduction that I needed to just learn some basic first steps.

The other thing I had was I think the superpower of not knowing anything yet. And what I mean by that is everything I launched that year was objectively terrible. The website was horrible and the pictures I had up were sized all wrong and nothing was mobile-friendly. Everything I did was bad, but I didn't know anything. So I didn't know that anything was bad.

I think that's cool because I put everything out with so much pride and excitement. I think also the community latched on to that mission and that excitement that I was putting out because I was constantly putting stuff out. And in my head, it was the best. Looking back, I'm like, "Oh my God, Laura!" So don't be afraid of not knowing stuff, don't be afraid of it being so imperfect at first because it is for everybody. At first, it's crucial to go through that.

You took action, and over time you were able to refine and make improvements. So many people who have that perfectionist mentality at the start, or who are so captive over their own idea, fail to recognize that your idea means nothing. It’s how well you execute. You were so good at consistently taking that action.

Thank you. I'm more of a perfectionist now than I was back then, because I see things different. The first year is cool when you don't have that because exciting. So don't be afraid of that stage when launching your business.

I love that mastermind community you were in. Literally, living together with a whole bunch of people who are all in on what they loved.

Is there a day that stands out as particularly satisfying on your entrepreneurial journey?

The journey has been so fun. There is a moment that stands out to me, and it speaks a lot to where the biggest joys usually come from – which is usually after a hell lot of hard work leading up to it. The moment I’m referring to was extra satisfying because I was fresh out of a breakup that hit me harder than other breakups for whatever reason. Therefore, all my life plans just stopped, not necessarily with Nomadicare, but with my life. I was like, "Okay, I need to make a decision." It was around year three, where I didn’t have much money. The business didn’t become very profitable until the year after that.

I was back in New England, and my amazing brother let me move into his basement because I didn't really have money for both rent and an office. I really wanted to hire people because I was at a point where we could grow and it was more than I could do on my own. So I got to live with my brother and his wife for free for a year in their basement, which gave me money to pay for this office. Now I couldn’t afford much. It was about $600 a month and walking distance from my brother's house. It was so old and the wallpaper's falling off of it. The landlord was like, "Okay, you can get it and you can renovate it if you want."

In the weeks leading up to that, I was there till 4:00 AM scraping wallpaper, learning DIY paintings. I printed every office decoration myself. I found donations for desks and tried to refurbish them to make them decent. I hired my first few people. So I put everything into the business again in year three. On day one, it was my first day being a boss, so I had little gifts for them!

That day, I remember them coming to work for the first time and walking into the office and me just getting to be in that role. When they left at the end of the day, I just remember sitting down on the floor of that office and I was like, "Oh my God. Oh my God, I'm a boss! What has happened?" And it felt so hard and so exciting.

And I mean, that's what it takes sometimes – living in the basement, scraping the wallpaper, and realizing the dream. It felt amazing.

You're driven by a bigger mission, and you touched on a few of the dark moments already. I like to chat with entrepreneurs about the really dark side of entrepreneurship. People see the glamor, they see the wins, but they never see the struggles and the pains that goes on behind the scenes. Can you take us into a particularly dark day or moment along your entrepreneurial journey?

When I was first coming up, it felt like the whole industry was on board and excited. It got to a point where Nomadicare was developing a name in the industry, and it was the first time I started getting personally attacked online. And it's so crazy how much that can hurt, especially the first time it's happening. The personal attacks were complete lies because my service is free to the travelers.

There were all these false implications of why it's unethical and why you shouldn’t use it. None of what they said was true. I felt helpless and didn’t know how to defend it without looking defensive and them attacking me. That was really hard. And I think that lasted a few months that I literally struggled emotionally with getting attacked because you grow that emotional resilience over time, but when it first happens, it kicks you.

Also, the first time I had to fire someone; I lost many nights of sleep over that. It's very hard firing someone. They say, “Hire slow and fire fast” but it’s so hard in reality, even when it's the right decision to do.

Then the last one – and you know how hard of a decision this one was for me – but I left Nomadicare for six months to go to a job that I thought was this incredible opportunity because it was in San Francisco. It was a tech company that had raised multiple, multiple millions of dollars. And the founders with the best intentions talked me into believing that I really needed this experience to learn and how great it would be for me. But when I got there and I left Nomadicare, which was not that long ago so Nomadicare was doing well, it really was the hardest thing ever to go back to, I think, a corporate job and realize it's because I thought I wasn't ready for the next step, but I was. I had talked myself into thinking I needed this and I didn't. So coming back to Nomadicare was amazing, but that was super hard as well.

Thank you so much for sharing those moments. I often talk to my wife about this, but I have no idea how people with 5 million or 50 million followers can possibly handle online trolls. I really appreciate you sharing that because, at the end of the day, if we don't have our mindset right, we’re in big trouble.

In Episode 45, we had Dr Steve Sudell on the show who was a renowned inventor that had big success on Kickstarter. But he had a big problem with counterfeiters who saw his online success and would manufacture his product quicker than he could even bring it to market. He said the most damaging aspect was not the financial side, but that it damaged his mojo, so it was much harder to motivate yourself.

When that starts to chip away at you and things begin to fall apart, that’s when I believe entrepreneurs can develop a degree of PTSD from what they go through.

Yeah, 100% it is. I don't know how it's so unexpected when it first starts happening, but it feels so personal. Over time, you do develop emotional strength, but the first few months you're like, "What's wrong with me? How could they say this about me?" And then after a while, you're like, "Oh, they don't know and they don't care about you. They don't know anything about you. It's just online." But you don't think that the first day.

And when you’ve got enough good people around you, that can make a big difference too.

On your best day, what's an affirmation that you would write on a flashcard that you would be able to show yourself on your worst day?

Oh, wow. What an interesting one. On my worst days, I think the thoughts that come up are that you can’t do it or it’s not worth it, or the imposter syndrome creeps in where you feel that you’ve only made it out of a fluke.

So I think the affirmation would be like, “Girl, you were made for this! You are a creator, you are worthy, and you are doing so much good. I love you and I got you.”

That grace and compassion from myself helps me a lot too. I have this relationship with myself where sometimes I'm outside myself, like I have talks with future Laura sometimes, or even younger Laura sometimes. So a lot of the times it is like a future me being like, girl, I got your back. It's okay. It's okay. You're having a bad day. And I think that helps me a lot to relieve the pressure, just knowing it's all okay, good days, bad days, but then circling back to the bigger mission. I like that I'm up to something that helps people, and that helps me want to keep going.

In Episode 29, I interviewed Emily Fletcher who's the founder of Ziva Meditation. In one of her meditations, she talks about what if everything that you are going through at the moment (and that you’ve been through) is preparing you for this moment of greatness that you're going to have in the future. If we can constantly keep that in mind, and view adversity through a proactive and productive lens, it frees us up to trust the process.

I like that so much.

What do you do as part of your daily routine to manage self-care and bring the energy you need for all the high-level things you’re doing?

I figured myself out a little bit. One, I am highly motivated by not letting other people down and that's going to be part of my personality. So I love getting up early and I love having a morning movement to move my body, shake the energy off from the night before and get into the right mindset.

I have a really good friend, and every morning, Monday through Friday, we get up really early together and we start our days on Zoom where we do a workout together. We also do gratitude and affirmations together. Once upon a time, I read Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and it super inspired me.

On a side note, once I had a job where I had to get up at 5:00 AM to get stuff done before work. Well, again, since I don't like letting people down, I would set an alarm clock in my room for 4:58 AM. I'd set a second alarm clock by my roommate's bedroom door upstairs for a few minutes later. So I had to get up and go upstairs to get the alarm clock to not wake her up because I knew I would get up if it was going to wake her up and then I would stay up and do my morning thing! So, getting up early is big for me, plus mindset and exercise in the morning too.

The other thing is eating. One of the things that's hard for me is eating throughout the day when my mind is focused in it. So learning how to meal prep and making myself eat throughout the day has been huge for my energy and my mood throughout the day and getting outside at least once a day. I mean now, I'm really big on that one too. You got to get some sunshine in your life as you can. It helps a lot.

The last year and a half has involved massive transition for the world. There's a lot of companies that have gone under, but also a lot of companies and individuals who have found a great deal of opportunity in what has transpired. What was your mindset when the pandemic first hit? And how has your life changed in the last year and a half?

Massively. So one of the interesting things that not everyone knows, because COVID was a healthcare issue, obviously, that it seems like the healthcare industry would have just grown through that, but in reality, it only grew if you were an ICU nurse or a respiratory therapist for my industry. We lost 80% of our job orders almost overnight and for four months. And job orders is the way, not just my company runs, but every staffing agency, every partner I have too. And so in our industry as a whole, it was really hard, the travelers now had no jobs. The travel nurses, even the ICU nurses now, all of a sudden were super in demand.

And there were many news stories at the beginning that New York was really bad at the beginning of COVID, so they would fly all these travel nurses there to help at these huge bill rates, which means high pay packages. They would arrive, only to realize they didn't need them all, so they just get canceled and had to go back home. And so even though it sounded like it was good for them, most of them lost their jobs. It was really hard for a few months.

Where Nomadicare was very lucky is we were lean, as in we didn't have many overhead costs at that time. We were in a stage of technology development, so we got to take that time, but it was slower to put our heads down to build the stuff that we knew we needed for the coming months. A lot of my friends in the industry lost their jobs. A lot of staffing agencies shut down. It was hard. But now it's come back and now we're probably at like 70%.

But one interesting thing at Nomadicare is we've never done strike work before. And with all of the stuff that went on with the nurses not having appropriate masks and PPE, there's going to be an increase in strikes. It was also a crash course in helping staff strikes. And that was one of the craziest whirlwind things I've ever done in my whole life. So there was some of that kind of energy of “pivot and pivot” and find things you can help with that you would have in any year that your industry is the one that's drastically impacted.

It was a whirlwind, but we came out with amazing technology built that we hadn't had yet. And I learnt a lot about a whole new industry and now job orders are back, so we're moving forward in a good way.

You’re part of the 2% of women entrepreneurs who generate more than $1 million dollars in revenue from your business. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who thinking about launching a business for the first time, or even more specifically for women entrepreneurs who are thinking about giving it a shot?

Well, for sure, if you're thinking about doing it, do it. It's so worth doing, for the people you'll meet. Your circles of people elevates, who you become elevates, and your self-awareness elevates. For someone who is growth minded, I think it’s great, so freaking do it. Don't think twice, get in there and do it, take the next step. Let's be friends – I’m here to help! Entrepreneurship is very worthy if your heart feels called to it.

In addition, in the first few years for me – which was a huge part of my success – is that it wasn’t about the money. I literally was doing it to change an industry. I was out to do something. And then it almost came by surprise when money started coming in and that it could be full-time, then I could hire some people and all of that, but really I have always stayed focused on what I'm up to in the industry. And it really means a lot to me.

So I would say, if you're wanting to get into something, find a problem you're excited to solve, a problem that you are excited to do grunt work for. It’s often not very glamorous, but you want that problem to be solved and you want to be the one to be a part of solving it. Make sure there is a group of people who want you to solve it (i.e. market fit).

Do something because it means something to you because there's many ways in this world that you can ultimately make an income or find financial freedom, but the first thing is to find the right fit for your heart and your life because it's hard work, no matter what you pick. And there's no such thing as get rich schemes. So ignore anybody that says you can make great money in a few months. At least for me, I haven't seen it. It's just hard work.

Focus on the mission, not the money. I think that’s a wonderful message.

What's the biggest highlight of your career if you think about all the cool things that you've done and the change you've been able to make?

The highlights of my career literally come consistently; there's not a moment that I'm like that one thing happened and that was the pinnacle. That's why I know I'm doing the right thing for me because the highlights came last week when I get a thoughtful message of how Nomadicare impacted someone positively, or that without it they couldn’t have done what they really wanted to do. Those things still spark so much inside of me.

I've had moments on stage that I just want to pinch myself, which really fill me up. I've had such cool experiences, but there's no pinnacle for me. I still get goosebumps from thank you notes. I just know I'm up to the right thing because I still love the impact as we get to the big impact. Now the big impact to the industry is that it’s going to be transformed, and we're going to use a lot of technology to help do that. The industry will look very different. On the other side, we still have big things we're up to, but I get little pieces of my pinnacle in my why I think at least once a week, and it's very fulfilling for me.

Final question. What's one thing you do to win the day?

Stay alive. Some days I'm not perfect with my morning routine, and other days I am. Some days, I crushed it and I'm like, "Yo, I rocked it today." And some days, I'm like, "Did I just run in circles?" But the thing is, on the days I remember that being alive is winning the day and how incredible it is to still be alive, that is winning the day for me. So I guess it's probably more like gratitude.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

Helen Keller

Laura Latimer is an international speaker, a leader in healthcare tech, and a pioneer in the no-code / low-code movement of entrepreneurship. Her heart beats for empowering women and improving the lives of travel healthcare workers.

Laura started her company, Nomadicare, without the usual resources people have. She had barely any experience, no training, and certainly no external funding. But the one thing she did have was a lot of heart. And if you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know that the right attitude makes all the difference.

While working in the healthcare industry, Laura experienced a problem firsthand and said to herself, “You know what? I’m going to be the one to fix this!” In that pivotal moment, her mission to revolutionize travel healthcare was born.

Today Laura is part of the 2% of women entrepreneurs who generate over USD $1 million of annual revenue but, more importantly, she makes an enormous impact on the world.

In this interview, we’ll go through:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Laura Latimer!

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

📝 Nomadicare on Facebook.

📷 Nomadicare on Instagram.

Nomadicare website.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to monetize it? Join podcasters from all over the world at We Are Podcast. For 35% off ANY ticket, use promo code: WINTHEDAY

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Benjamin Franklin

We've got an entrepreneurial superstar joining us on the show today! Our guest will reveal his secrets to:

That's right, he's done a LOT, despite still only being in his 30s.

Dr. Steve Sudell received his doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2009, and in an accomplished career he’s made it his mission to find non-invasive solutions to get people back to doing what they love.

In 2013, he opened Prehab2Perform, a sports clinic that bridges the gap between physical therapy and performance training. Since then, he’s helped (and continues to help) thousands of athletes, entertainers, and active adults get out of pain and get back in the game.

Just two years later, in 2015, he co-founded StretchLab, a revolutionary, assisted-stretching facility that helps individuals improve their overall flexibility and well-being through stretching. Steve created the full range of stretching protocols that are still in use today, and also trained hundreds of practitioners – known as “flexologists” – in the process.

With Steve’s expertise, StretchLab went from one location to more than 200 in less than four years. In 2019, Steve exited the company in a seven-figure deal.

Despite these wins, Steve wasn’t done. After watching his younger sister battle leukemia and suffer from extreme pain, he knew there were a lot more people who needed help.

In 2017, to help the millions of people who suffer from chronic neck pain, he created the Neck Hammock. It arrived as the most affordable, portable, and effective ‘at home’ neck pain solution on the market.

To fund the project, he launched two crowdfunding campaigns simultaneously that raised USD $1.6 million from 20,000+ backers, and landed in the top 1% of all Kickstarter campaigns. Since then, the Neck Hammock has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, Forbes, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.

After grossing more than USD $20 million in sales, Steve had another seven-figure exit in January 2021.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode! In addition to some extraordinary business lessons, you'll learn how to make your health a priority (no matter how hectic your schedule is), when it's time to exit your passion project, and exactly what it takes to run a successful business in 2021.

And remember, a little inspiration at the right time can completely change the trajectory of someone’s life, so if there’s a friend who needs to check out this interview, share it with them now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr. Steve Sudell!

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Prehab 2 Perform website.

📷 Prehab 2 Perform on Instagram.

📝 Prehab 2 Perform on Facebook.

🎙️ Have a podcast of your own and want to monetize it? Join podcasters from all over the world at We Are Podcast. For 35% off ANY ticket, use promo code: WINTHEDAY

Ready to win the day™, every day? 

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