Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.”

Native American proverb

Our guest today is an NFL legend, but what you’ll find most impactful about him is how committed he is to making our world a better place, while helping those who need it most.

The best part? He leads by example EVERY step of the way.

Nick Lowery is a Hall of Fame athlete who became the all-time leading points scorer for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his entry into the NFL was anything but smooth. After being released or rejected 11 times by eight NFL teams, Nick was finally given a chance by the Chiefs who, as history proves, made a hell of a return on their investment.

Retiring after 18 seasons in the NFL (where he was selected to the Pro Bowl three times), Nick is widely regarded as the most valuable kicker of all time, achieving records for: most field goals in NFL history; most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history – despite kicking, on average, from farther away; and all-time leading point scorer for the Chiefs.

Nick is far from the athlete stereotype you might imagine. He attended Harvard University where he graduated with a Masters degree from the Kennedy School of Government. Among his extraordinary list of accomplishments, Nick has:

Among his philanthropic endeavors, Nick is founder of Champions for the Homeless, the Nick Lowery Youth Foundation, and has run leadership programs for Native American youth for 20+ years. In addition, Nick is the national spokesman for Kannaway, which is one of the foremost CBD companies in the world and is undertaking extensive research on how CBD can improve neuroplasticity for dementia, trauma, and athletes with brain damage.

In recognition of his efforts, Nick has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and on David Letterman (twice!), and in two feature films including Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy.

We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this episode. Nick will share:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nick Lowery.

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Nick Lowery website.

📷 Nick Lowery Instagram.

📙 A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

🚀 Think & Grow Rich: The Legacy by James Whittaker.

🗝️ Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

🧭 The Rassias Method.

🎙️ 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

Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.”

Native American proverb

Our guest today is an NFL legend, but what you’ll find most impactful about him is how committed he is to making our world a better place, while helping those who need it most.

The best part? He leads by example EVERY step of the way.

Nick Lowery is a Hall of Fame athlete who became the all-time leading points scorer for the Kansas City Chiefs, but his entry into the NFL was anything but smooth. After being released or rejected 11 times by eight NFL teams, Nick was finally given a chance by the Chiefs who, as history proves, made a hell of a return on their investment.

Retiring after 18 seasons in the NFL (where he was selected to the Pro Bowl three times), Nick is widely regarded as the most valuable kicker of all time, achieving records for: most field goals in NFL history; most accurate field-goal kicker in NFL history – despite kicking, on average, from farther away; and all-time leading point scorer for the Chiefs.

Nick is far from the athlete stereotype you might imagine. He attended Harvard University where he graduated with a Masters degree from the Kennedy School of Government. Among his extraordinary list of accomplishments, Nick has:

Among his philanthropic endeavors, Nick is founder of Champions for the Homeless, the Nick Lowery Youth Foundation, and has run leadership programs for Native American youth for 20+ years. In addition, Nick is the national spokesman for Kannaway, which is one of the foremost CBD companies in the world and is undertaking extensive research on how CBD can improve neuroplasticity for dementia, trauma, and athletes with brain damage.

In recognition of his efforts, Nick has been featured in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and on David Letterman (twice!), and in two feature films including Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Lowery 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 more 🚀


We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this episode. Nick will share:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Nick Lowery.

James Whittaker:
Great to see you my friend! Thanks for coming on Win the Day show.

Nick Lowery:
Thank you. You know how much I love your accent!

Well to kick things off, no pun intended, I want you to take us right into a moment in your NFL career when everything's on the line, win or lose, it's all on your shoulders. There are tens of thousands of people cheering and screaming at the ground. There's millions of people watching on TV. What's going through your head? And what are you saying internally to give yourself the best opportunity of kicking that game winning goal?

"Oh my god" or "I don't believe this!" I mean, this is not a question of whether there's a voice. There are many voices. There's the voice of fear. There's the voice that this is the single most ridiculously pressured position in sport — maybe with the exception of a goalkeeper, or players in the shootout in soccer — but the kicker has 1.25 seconds and the ball is actually caught after being snapped back 24 feet, eight yards, caught, put down, and the laces are spun (if they have time), and kicked in 1.25 seconds. The ball's not spinning for under two hundredths of a second.

At the same time, you have 11 very large, very talented, highly trained athletes who are paid millions of dollar a year to block your kick. So it's managing all those things.

What it comes down to, which my friend Dr. John Eliot wrote in a book, Overachievement, it's preparation. When you break it down, it's the opposite of what you think nerves are. When you're giving your book report in second grade and Betty Sue's in the front row, and you're nervous and you don't do well, you think it's because of the nerves when it was really because you'd never given a book report before, let alone had something in front of Betty Sue. It's about maturation and polishing of your skills, combined with preparation.

It's about maturation and polishing of your skills, combined with preparation.

When that happens, you can override those voices saying, "Oh my god, I can't believe this is my job." And you trust it, so you have to trust yourself. In the end, it's really a very powerful character-building litmus test for anyone, because you have to in the end, believe in yourself.

You have to believe that you deserve to be that focal point, which is essentially what I call my office: 8 yards x 4 yards. That's my office. If I control that area, which is really only four yards square between me and the holder, in front of 80,000 people, maybe 20-30 million people watching on television, if I can control my thoughts, my emotions, and my focus, I can achieve great things.

That was learned through 11 rejections by eight NFL teams. It was learned by made field goals and it was absolutely improved by making mistakes and missing field goals. As with any skill, it's about learning earning how to manage yourself.

That preparation piece is so important, but our instinct for anything that we suck at or fail at is to say that we're simply not good at that activity, when all it comes back to are those elements you mentioned. It's not just the will to win. It's the will to prepare to win.

Since you've done the work and you're in that intense environment during the game, how jittery are you feeling? Are you actually calm and focusing on just your body and mind doing what it's been prepared to do for so long?

You know, the truth is every single day of our lives and every single game we play has its own unique qualities. The preparation helps it become more consistent, but every day is a little bit different. I'll never forget being "in the flow", one of the great terms that we use today — "in the zone" is another concept — in Joe Montana's first game for us on national TV, a Monday Night game in September 1993, and it's against John Elway on the Broncos, two legends, and in the end, I kicked all our points, we were up 15-0 on a 52 yarder, 45 yarder, 41 yarder, 38 yarder and 25 yarder, something like that.

I'm running back to the sidelines and there is Joe Montana's friend, Huey Lewis the singer, standing next to the net where I'm kicking and as I'm coming back after my fourth field goal, Huey looks at me like, "Man, this is easy for you."

And I love that because that's a performer who has to get on stage and hit his notes. The difference is there's a natural flow because there's a melody, there's a bass line, there's a combination of instruments that sort of bring you into that flow, even if you don't want to, in music. But you have to create your own music as an athlete. So you had to rehearse that music in the cacophony, in the chaos of practice.

You have to create chaos in practice. What I call pressure, but not neurotic pressure. So that when you get to the game, you literally say, "I'm just back at practice. I'm back in James Whittaker's living room having tea." And practicing that so that you can bring it back, so then it comes back to, in essence, being a life actor and in the practice and rehearsal, bringing in all the components and dimensions. Literally, your smell, your sight, your hearing, your touch and using those references to project yourself into those moments when you have to kick the game winning field goal.

You have to create chaos in practice.

And by the way, the game winning field goal might be the 25 yard gimme field goal in the first quarter and you win by three points because you were focused, even though some people might have said, "Of course I'm going to make that." That's what I love is the preparation and if you come to love the preparation, what I noticed today James, when I train, I get the same sort of intensity.

The role of the ego versus the role of the spirit is everything. But in those workouts today, I still get pumped up. I still bring myself into that place of battle, that intensity. So when I try to train others, I have to de-crescendo that because they feel it and it's not their level of commitment yet perhaps. Some of them love it. Some of them are a little bit disconcerted by it, but that's a lifelong skill.

It's about believing that you're here, that God has put you here with unique gifts. [Points to shirt] This stands for GG2G, god given. My friend Todd, who's from Hawaii, is one of the top scouts for the Texas Rangers. When they evaluate a player, they say, "James Whittaker has two G. He's got god given ability to throw the ball, to hit the ball, he's an athlete." But guess what? That's the beginning. Our will takes us to another level of polish and skill.

The next significant piece is to be able to manage your success by divorcing your achievements from your ego and focusing on "What are those things from this stage that are building my soul as well?"

You look at the greatest athletes of all time, they did that internal work. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar evolved deeply into a man of soul. Russell Wilson, whose father was my teammate at Dartmouth College, wonderful human being who founded the African American Sports Hall of Fame; Russell was the NFL Man of the Year this year. Steve Largent, ironically hall of famer also with the Seattle Seahawks, a soulful human being.

That means that I can have a tremendous will, but I also know that I can prevent it from dominating me so much that I think I'm all that. Then I stop being motivated. I stop being consistent. I stop being responsible to others. I stop being empathetic to my teammates.

Yeah, there's so much good stuff there and so many parallels to just every other aspect of life.

One thing I wanted to quickly mention while we're still here on the football side is that football is a great metaphor for life. We all go through failure. The nature of life and the nature of field goals is that you can never get 100%. You can never win 100% every single day, even though you retired as the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, so I feel like you've got that better than most!

Do you have a process to move on from failure without letting it affect the rest of your game?

As we learn psychology, we know that everybody is either enabled by their references to trauma or, more commonly, held back by them. I remember missing a 44 yard field goal that just went over the left upright and they called it no good in a windy Arrowhead Stadium. I was just devastated. I remember waking up 10-20 times that night literally dreaming the ball through: "Please go through, please go through."

It's a little bit like a death, you know? If you care about what you do, if you care about the person you've lost, you're going to feel pain. But the beauty of pain is that it can motivate you to dig deeper, to stimulate that will, to lift up your spirit to say, "I can be even better." And use those unique gifts you've been given.

But the beauty of pain is that it can motivate you to dig deeper, to stimulate that will, to lift up your spirit to say, "I can be even better." And use those unique gifts you've been given.

So there's no process initially. I will say there's a great process Tony Robbins once shared with me, which I'd like to share with you because I know you know him well. I had my worst game against the Cleveland Browns and there's an irony to it because you don't make excuses. But I made a 41 yarder to tie the game and it was the worst field conditions ever, but nobody cares, right? But I made it, it was an ugly kick but it went through and then I missed a 45 yarder at the end of regulation.

They were offside, so that meant I got another shot from 40. It didn't go through again. It was weird, they both hooked left and then in overtime, I had a 48 yarder and that was the worst kick in history. The next day, half page ad in the Kansas City Star with a picture of my head in a clown box spring exploding out of my head.

What a lesson from the most accurate kicker in NFL history to become a laughing stock, at least temporarily. Now that season, I came back and kicked a 41 yard field goal with Joe Namath announcing the game against the Miami Dolphins, which probably kept my job. That probably would have ended my career in Kansas City, if I hadn't made that.

So now in the off season, I'm thinking through all these things and I just dedicated myself to get better. Tony Robbins gave me something I'd like to share, which is how you essentially scratch up the old plastic records. Essentially, you visualize the worst thing that's ever traumatized you: perhaps you've been assaulted, given a bad speech, a time when you were badly hurt. It could be a missed field goal. And Tony said, "Visualize that." So I did.

He said, "Now, get the most ridiculous sound in your head." Because music is always our ally in grounded the cellular memory, or reprogramming it. He said, "Play Looney Tunes music." And play that memory, not forwards, but backwards. So suddenly I had to envision the field goal, not going from my kick, but from missing the goal post, all the way back in slow motion with the music playing, to when I kicked it. And do that over and over again, and what that does and what that did was interrupt my memory.

You see the smile come on my face! It's just impossible to think of it quite the same way. Does it still bother me? Yes. But guess what? The next year, I led the NFL in scoring. I was first team All Pro, I had 24 field goals in a row. I set a team record with the best percentage ever and, the next year after that, I had 21 more field goals in a row. The next year after that, I was All Pro.

I just made the decision that I was never going to allow that feeling to happen ever again. After that, I kicked it 86% the rest of my career. So all of us can take the worst parts of our careers and turn them into something that takes us to a new level.

We never stop making mistakes. We're human. And the more we seek to be great, and I like think, continuing with that theme of will, ego, achievement and then spiritual development, what I call the art of being soulfish, it's not like we stop making mistakes. It's that we are still eager and young in spirit to keep learning and keep growing, and making more and more of a contribution.

You and I surround ourselves with great people because it raises our game and our consciousness. It's essentially the art of mentoring ourselves and taking our game to a new level.

I just made the decision that I was never going to allow that feeling to happen ever again.

I look at you that way my friend. You put out such good energy in the midst of all the insanity we've gone through the past year.

You've worked with and continue to work with a lot of kids and young adults who come from difficult backgrounds. What has American Football, or sports more broadly, given those individuals off the field who may have come from some very difficult backgrounds?

Football has given them structure. It's given them attention. People look at them. They follow them. They give them feedback. It's given them the challenge to manage their success.

Football enables them to deal with loss. To have worked your tail off and still lost. To have done everything you thought you could and still miss the field goal, still made a mistake, still lost. To have done your job and be part of that team and live with the loss, even though you did your job. To still be part of that team and own that loss together.

It's something that's missing today. We have these wars fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and no one knows what sacrifices were made by those soldiers. But in World War II, everybody had to pitch in against the common enemy. Everyone was doing something and it was a clear cause. Maybe today's causes are more difficult, but in the end, everybody knew what sacrifice was.

Going back to football, it's about teaching you to be part of a team, to care about the team and also recognize that you represent a community. Football, perhaps unlike some other individual sports, requires you to represent Kansas City. To represent the National Football League, yes, but also unlike some sports and certainly with actors who I... I love actors and I love musicians, but they don't tend to always be connected with a particular city.

So football teaches you there's a responsibility that comes with being part of a team and it's sacrifice, it's conflict resolution skills. Working with somebody on the team or a coach that you don't like, or that doesn't like you.

It's a reminder to control what you do. That office in our lives all of us have that we can take control of, our emotions, what we perceive and just take care of this, because in the end, all we can do is do our best. That's it.

You've done a lot of work with Native American communities. When did you realize for the first time that you were able to make such a big impact in those communities specifically?

First of all, you're really good at this! Everybody watching or listening, tell people about this Win the Day podcast because James is really good. I've done a lot of these and you are really good.

Life is often not a straight road, so here's the interesting thing. I went to Dartmouth College, originally the Eleazar Wheelock School for Native Americans that was founded with him and the Earl of Dartmouth, very British Native American school. Nothing, I had no real significant role or awareness of what to do, or what I could do to help Native Americans.

The Kansas City Chiefs obviously has Native American symbology, nothing. Then my best friend from college, Steve, became Dr. Steve at Johns Hopkins and a world leading expert on prostate cancer and his wife, Allison Barlow, who had been an athlete of the year 10 years after we'd gone there at Dartmouth had begun as the program director for Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. And at their wedding night, sitting next to them at their wedding table, she said, "Would you start a football camp for Native Americans?"

I remember getting off the bus in Chinle, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and it was definitely... it was a god moment. It was like there are no trees here. It's all sand. It's all red rock and there are these 90 kids from 10 tribes and I got 10 of my NFL friends to join us. I just knew I had to do this. I felt this resonance with being an orphan. Being an orphan, being ripped out of your family and your community.

You can see, I feel it now. I love the work I do because it's been reaffirmed 10,000 times, but I'm so glad I had that reference. So I just knew I had to do that work and went back to Harvard and after four years, because you know this with tribes, there's so many issues with teenage suicide and really, two to three times worse than any of the worst ghettos in America, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and drug abuse, et cetera, gangs and yet, there are answers that are there that they know, but why aren't they finding a way to turn this around?

So at Harvard, I studied the idea of how do we rebuild social capital? Which is the deepest values that go way beyond words. How do we rebuild that in a land and in a culture where it has been raped. When they have had their history torn from them.

Even Abraham Lincoln... I watched the movie Lincoln with Daniel Day Lewis just last week. An incredible man, incredible performance, one of the people kept our union together. Yet that man, who was fighting literally every day he could to keep the union together because of this commitment for equality of all human beings, sent battle-hardened union troops to wipe out the Plains Indians so that our railroad and our westward expansion could continue.

So it's never a clear thing. The heroes out there, guess what? They're human too. I'm human, you're human and... but I just love this work James, because in the end, all of us have had some sense of disability in our lives, whether it's cerebral palsy or whether it's spiritual, inability to see and feel.

This work, Native American kids are the same as any kids. Structure, consistency, love, encouragement and preparation, right? They are the same. If they have those tools and those mentors to surround them and encourage them, they know they're loved and beautiful things happen. It is without question, the most unfinished chapter in American history.

The Navajo AIDS Network is headquartered in Chinle, Ariz., a town where poverty and misinformation contribute to stigma about HIV and AIDS.

Yeah, it gives me chills just listening to you talk about that. There's something I wanted to mention here for people who don't know. The Native American youth living on reservations today suffer the poorest health, socioeconomic, and educational status of any racial or ethnic group in the US — with the highest rates of suicide, obesity, diabetes, high school drop out, substance abuse, and poverty.

So I wanted to just acknowledge you my friend for all the work you do because, as I've mentioned several times already, it's quite extraordinary.

There are people who clearly need a lot of help, and I think it's a reminder for all of us that we all have an opportunity, and I believe an obligation, to be able to help those less fortunate, whether it's awareness or being able to understand the story, or start to make some proactive change to help these people.

Thank you, brother. Well the other point of that is in the work and you see the poverty, and you see the pain and you see the suffering, but you also begin to see people that have found a way out and that appreciate and know. I have people come back 10-20 years later, out of nowhere and they thank me. It's so beautiful.

All the kids who were 16 when we started it in 1996, they're 41 now. They have one, two, three, four, five, six kids. They have their own careers — and maybe, just maybe, one or two of them are more confident, more able to believe in themselves, just like that first question you had when I'm running on the field, the fear. What's going through my head. They've created that new music and conversation going through their head. That they matter, that they can make a difference and that they are making a difference.

So I love this, and I get these tears in my eyes all the time because I just know it's because, back to Think and Grow Rich, I'm doing what I was intended to do. I'm doing what god made me here to do and it's beautiful because my intuition, my skills, my ability to do it, as we'll do on Sunday with our Champions for the Homeless. Our 54th Champions for the Homeless at St. Vincent de Paul on Sunday.

It just gets better and better, and to see somebody who's homeless, another example, who's been told or just ignored for year upon year, day after day and to see it in their eyes that they feel better about themselves. Gosh, that makes Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and we're doing it eight times this year, not our normal five because we want to do more during COVID. It's a beautiful thing, so I'm rewarded all the time and I get to meet great people like you.

What initially drew you to the homeless situation and what can be done to both get people back on their feet and stop the steady rise of homelessness?

Well first of all, there's more than a 22% increase in shelterless homelessness in this country, and so I see it firsthand. In Phoenix, what they've had to do, for instance, just to get specific because the angels are also in the details, not just the devil. When you see at St. Vincent de Paul that there used to be 225 beds and now there are only 75. So they've put tape around a six feet by four feet area and then they've spaced everybody out. So now two-thirds of the people or more, can't be housed. So there are all these tent looking like refugee cities downtown within a couple of blocks of St. Vincent de Paul.

Why do I do it? It all connects. They're all human. We are all human and the interesting thing also is the humanity means you see a real person. So you don't see just a drug addict, because there aren't nearly as many drug addicts as they say there are. They are there, absolutely. Mentally ill, there's a percentage that are mentally ill, but not nearly... you can reach that real person inside the person that's encaged themselves, to protect themselves with some form of mental illness. You see that in there if you look deeply enough.

Now there's some that it takes longer to do that, but for the most part, just the humanity. And once again, it's me learning because we come from such a narcissistic culture and it's getting worse with professional athletes, frankly. That doesn't mean there aren't great professional athletes, I'm just saying the social media climate and all the "You're great, you're great, you're great" it becomes such an enabling culture.

Now you're seeing with one of the most popular players in the NFL, Deshaun Watson being accused by 19 women of sexual abuse of some form. I don't know how much of that, or any of that, is true, but that's the climate that you're in. Where if you're not aware of how you conduct yourselves and you think you're all that and more, the pied piper will come back and he will visit you.

You're doing a lot of work on the CBD side at the moment. More and more research has come out on that CBD side talking about how it improves neuroplasticity. Is CBD really the thing that could help stop brain damage in athletes? And what most excites you about some of this research that's coming out?

Well it just continues. In fact, in your neck of the woods, right there in the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Dr. David Schubert, there's all this research they're doing just by themselves about neuroplasticity and about the ability of neurons to regenerate. We did not know that 25 years ago. Now we're pretty clear that we can do that.

We can also help others work through their traumas, so there are ways to heal that we didn't realize was possible before. The beta amyloids in the brain, which are these clumps of neurons that have collapsed and lost their definition and their robust qualities, and have collapsed into each other, those clumps of cells can be ameliorated with CBD. It's really important to make the distinction: quality, pure CBD with really carefully calibrated volume.

In fact, there's another product now coming out with Kannaway that we open literally tomorrow in Mexico, ironically, and it's called CBG. CBG binds to the neural receptors. Stanford University has done research on where they identified a CB1 and a CB2 receptor in the body. CB1 being neural receptors all the way down the brain stem. CB2 in your gut and CBG binds with those neural receptors more effectively than CBD. So that's a new development as well, but there are more than 30,000 papers out there. We have created echoconnection.org and under 'Education' we list 200+ conditions, from arthritis to dementia to cancer, and on and on.

There are many papers with cancer, there are probably 50 that you can read about. These are the real legitimate white papers, medical white papers. Over the last five years, I've enjoyed being interviewed by journalists who were not negative but healthy in their skepticism for the first 2-3 years. Now, they're just giving more and more. Because you can quote real research, for instance, UCLA Torrance study, 446 traffic accident victims with traumatic brain injuries, of those that had any CBD in their system, they were five times less likely to die of a traumatic brain injury.

So one of my passions is because I've seen with CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy with Dr. Bennett Omalu's work, which is featured by Will Smith in the movie Concussion. We're seeing tremendous impact in the ability to turn these neurons to give them five or even 10 times the ability to be neural plastic. That means that they can withstand impact. That's much more important than any helmet. The helmets can reduce things. They've been proved. They can reduce the chances of a concussion by 10, 20, 30, 40, 50%. But what if you can improve it by 500%?

So that's really important and by the way, for those of you that still don't know this, the US government patent 6630507, by Dr. Julius Axelrod, Nobel Prize winner, and it's called cannabinoids as neural protectants and antioxidants. So yes, CBD absolutely should be part of the daily diet. For people under 40, probably 40 to 50 milligrams, 30 to 50 milligrams or more. And the people over 40, I'd recommend 75 and then if you have a serious condition, somewhere 100 and up.

You've worked with three separate US presidents on drug policy. You've also been in the trenches with people who have got the drug abuse challenges that we mentioned earlier through homelessness work. Now you're the national spokesperson for this company Kannaway.

Can you clear up any misconceptions that there might be around general drug abuse? Or drug abuse versus CBD? What misconceptions need to be cleared up?

Well number one, marijuana's really good for fighting pain, chronic pain, absolutely. And THC is very powerful. But please, there is a distinction between hemp and marijuana. They're two different plants. Hemp is 15 to 20 feet tall and literally 100 days, it will grow 15 to 20 feet. Not a lot of leaves and by law, the most THC that can be a hemp based product is 0.3% or less. That is barely 1% of a marijuana cigarette. Barely 1%, that means barely 100, maybe one sixtieth, one seventieth and it may be raised to 1% THC. That means that the government finally has realized that THC below 1% is not a significant factor.

THC has great benefits. I believe there are some things that need to be looked at, in terms of addiction, in terms of motivation, in terms of all the other potential side effects. But THC, when managed can be very good for you and when you compare it to opioids, it's a joke that we even have this discussion anymore. Opioids kill 100,000 people each of the last two years. 500,000 in the last seven to eight years and with COVID, with all due respect to COVID and it's seriousness, here we've got something we can control and do something about and people go to sleep at night raking in dollars for prescribing opioids, which have killed and maimed thousands and thousands of veterans.

I hosted, James, the first... one of the first two town halls on veteran suicide with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, who was President Trump's director of the PREVENTS task force. Wonderful woman who oversaw this cabinet level task force to reduce suicide among veterans, which most people know now officially it's 22 suicides a day.

Well in September of 2019, we had this event here, the Franciscan Renewal Center, we had so many experts, the Arizona Coalition for Military Families is extraordinary. A lot of the answers are out there, but it's not 22. Back then, it was probably more like 27. Suicide has raised another 20% or more in the country and maybe 30%. This is on I think ABC News about three months ago, among Army veterans. So it's about 30 suicides a day now. 30 suicides a day, not three.

So for those who even think about opioids anymore as the only choice, we are in deep illusion if we're allowing others that are supposedly healers, that have sworn by the Hippocratic Oath, to actually convince us that there aren't other options we should first, second and third try before we go to the opioids.

Lately, a lot of people have lost their jobs, marriages, even loved ones as a result of what's happened in the pandemic. How can people find the inspiration to move forward when they feel like all hope is lost?

Well, I'm very proud to say that my foundation made Phoenix the first city in the country in late April to provide free COVID rapid tests, and we provided free tests for the homeless. I'm very proud of that.

But how to stay positive? Well the ingenuity of the American people. The most important thing is I'm not very positive about network news because none of them ever, ever, ever seem to want to do anything about immunity and do stories about natural and basic and human immunity like D3, elderberry, nitrous oxide, zinc, about 100 milligrams a day of zinc, copper, and moderate exercise, sunlight, fresh air.

So the way to stay positive is that 90% - 95% of all of this is based on a healthy immune system. If you have a healthy immune system, you're not going to need to go to the hospital most of the time. Getting back to Native Americans, diabetes and obesity, I was talking with the head of the fire department and EMTs from Tombstone, Arizona, Wyatt Earp's country and they said 90% of the people that they're getting on ventilators and they're close to death, if they don't die are obese and have diabetes. The Salt River Tribe and Gila River Tribe right here in Arizona, right in the Phoenix area have the two highest rates of diabetes in the world. So those people are vulnerable. Let's be intelligent about who's vulnerable and make sure we provide extra sources for them.

Let's be intelligent about who's vulnerable and make sure we provide extra sources for them.

The elderly, those with lung issues, heart issues, etc., but there are lots of things now. There is information. Unfortunately, you tend to have to look for it because our wonderful friends in the news want to tell us who's dying, how many cases there are, but not so much about immunity.

So when those numbers get thrown at you, we have to, like Think and Grow Rich, take control of our minds, be rational, get more information, and be able to hold two truths: one, it's dangerous and potentially fatal; and two, it's not dangerous and fatal to the great majority of people if we take care of ourselves and don't do stupid things.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Nick Lowery 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 more 🚀


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

Get up, get your butt up and just get moving because every day above ground is a day to make ourselves better. How do we define better? Better is growing in heart, mind, and spirit. So keep filling that up and that's what I call being soulfish. Don't let people guilt you into thinking because I was being devoted to my podcast, to my book, to this or that, somehow that was selfish. If it means you abandoned relationships and commitments to your loved ones and your marriage, et cetera, there's a way to find the balance.

But always expanding your capacity to be soulful, to be able to help others, to be more aware of others, to be more aware of yourself first and to have those values align so clearly. You can get away from those guilt trips that people put you on and love the idea of expanding every day.

Nick Lowery, thanks so much for coming on the show!

Listen, if you haven't noticed it, James Whittaker has a pure soul. He has a great quality about him and it's not normal. he has a rare quality about him and that's why I had to come on this show, because he's a good man and he has balance in his life, and we can learn from him. I'm so honored to be your friend.

I appreciate it my friend, likewise.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Nick Lowery website.

📷 Nick Lowery Instagram.

📙 A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

🚀 Think & Grow Rich: The Legacy by James Whittaker.

🗝️ Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

🧭 The Rassias Method.

🎙️ 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

“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

“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 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.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Dr. Steve Sudell 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 🚀


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!

James Whittaker:
Steve, great to see you and good to have you on the show.

Dr. Steve Sudell:
Great to be here, really excited.

To kick things off, why don’t you share a little bit about what your life was growing up and what career opportunities you felt were available to you at a young age?

I grew up in a pretty humble life. I feel fortunate in that I grew up on some land, so I got to spend a lot of time in my yard, which ignited that creativity and imagination. Growing up, I've always had this need to make things easier and better. Maybe that's my laziness kicking in, but there was always something that I wanted to do, to find different ideas and random solutions. While I did that at a very young age, it was only after I graduated college when I realized that I actually could put my ideas to work. The small town I grew up in was Jupiter, Florida, which isn't so small anymore.

I also played a lot of sports, like football, which would tie into some other products I would create later because I developed neck pain. I was very lucky to grow up as an active kid and I saw at a young age how much better that made me feel very early on. I had a ton of problems with allergies and I was given every single pharmaceutical under the sun. I was on antibiotics ever since at very young age. Now, I am pretty much immune to any allergy medication.

I realized that the solution was actually exercise.

I realized that the solution was actually exercise. Whenever I would exercise, that would completely eliminate all of my allergies. And so, at 15 years old, I realized how much movement is medicine, and that's what got me interested in pursuing things like athletic training, physical therapy, and personal training, because I really believe that by taking care of our bodies, we can have a really big impact on our overall quality of life.

You mentioned football. Were there any other sports that laid the foundation the physical training you do today?

Absolutely. So pre-football, I played a lot of soccer and baseball. So I would do baseball in the fall and soccer in the spring, and I got very lucky doing the two sports because both helped each other. I would develop speed from soccer and I would develop a little bit of hand-eye coordination from baseball. Then, when I got old enough, that's when my parents allowed me to play tackle football, but I was always pretty involved in anything. I was very lucky that my grandfather taught me how to play golf at a young age.

All of my hobbies revolved around recreation. I just remember that whenever I was playing sports, my grades were always better. I was always in obviously much better shape, and it just laid the foundation of how important that is.

Does it feel weird to hear people describe you as an ‘inventor’!? Is it a label you’re comfortable with?

It's a lot more comfortable now. At first, it was a little funky, but I actually had two inventions before Neck Hammock, and I'm very grateful that neither of them worked out, but they got me to start thinking very early on the process of creating a patent and what you actually need to do to sell the product. If I had the idea for Neck Hammock first, I don't think it would have been nearly as successful as it is today, and it may not even be around today.

With the earlier projects, I got to work out some of the kinks. Now, the hard part is limiting my ideas to things that can actually scale, because I have ideas left and right on how to make things better and easier, but you have to focus your attention on one thing at a time.

How did you end up in LA after growing up in Florida?

I spent my first 27 years in Florida, and I just felt like it's Groundhog Day. Every weekend was the same, every week was the same, and Florida is great, but there wasn't much variety like there is in California. My parents actually lived in California when I was born, and they would always talk about how great it was.

My wife is from farm country, Pennsylvania, in a town of 500 people. We both had talked about making the trip to the west coast. Three years into our working world, we took advantage of travel therapy jobs, and we found ourselves in LA. We've been here for nine years now.

I was about the same age. At 28 years old, I left my hometown to move to Boston – on the complete other side of the world, where I didn’t know a single person – and then to LA not long after that. It was the decision to move somewhere completely new, exposing me to so much, that I realized how much of a bubble I had been in. All the people from my hometown were amazing, but it was so comfortable, and there was an itch deep down that needed to be scratched.

How much has the environment of LA, including the people, spring-boarded your idea of what's possible for your life?

100%. For as many flaws as LA has, the one thing that I'd never been exposed to was the creative energy that's in LA, where there's so many people trying to do things. There's so much creativity, and there's just so many go-getters that it’s unlike any place I've ever been. Where I come from, everyone has a 9:00 to 5:00 job, which is fine, but in LA people are always thinking about what's the next best thing that you can do, and I was very lucky that I opened my physical therapy clinic in LA in 2013.

I would work very closely with people and have conversations, develop relationships, and the people that I met at my physical therapy clinic are the people who helped shape me as an entrepreneur and created connections and gave me ideas.

Had I just been a physical therapist in Florida, I don't think I would have accomplished anything close to what I've accomplished now, purely from the environment. So getting out of that bubble and into a new environment, was really, really important for me and crucial to the success that I've had.

Your mission is to find non-invasive solutions to get people back to doing what they love, which is great because it gets people away from using things like surgery as a first resort. After all, that magic bullet rarely (if ever) fixes the underlying issues.

Tell us about that mission and why it's so important to you.

People highly underestimate how intelligent the human body is and when you give it the right tools to succeed, it can absolutely thrive. In modern medicine we think that we're smarter than our bodies. But our bodies are such delicate ecosystems that we don't truly understand the impact of pharmaceuticals, or surgery, or all these things that can have really severe consequences. But if you focus on giving your body things like exercise, proper nutrition, sleep, water, and vitamin D, it absolutely can thrive.

In modern medicine we think that we're smarter than our bodies.

My mission is to basically create things to facilitate non-invasive solutions, because something like the Neck Hammock, for example, all it essentially does is create cervical traction, which takes the pressure off of your neck. The risk-versus-reward of using that, the risk is extremely low and the reward is extremely high, versus if you were to go get a cervical disc operation; you can have permanent consequences from that. Most decisions that I make in my life are doing that balance of risk versus reward, so that also ties into my mission of non-invasive.

We're in a TikTok world now where, if something doesn’t cure you in one-tenth of a second, people bounce to something else. Is it becoming more and more of a problem with people wanting things like surgery and tablets to fix this stuff, rather than seeing the right professionals who can get you thinking and moving so the human body can fix itself?

Totally, it's a really big problem. It's a problem that really concerns me because people just want things done yesterday, and dealing with any sort of pain or dysfunction, they immediately want a pill or a procedure. You really just have to give your body a little bit of patience and, again, give it the right tools to succeed.

All these invasive solutions have consequences.

One of the blessings of me having taken antibiotics at such a young age is that it basically destroyed my gut. So now every day I have to take probiotics and whatnot, but it also helped me learn solutions that I can take. For example, oregano oil, it's fantastic for sinus infections. As a kid, I would have sinus infections all the time, and the more antibiotics I took, I'm dealing with those consequences later on in life. Contrast that with a good holistic solution where you don't need pharmaceuticals to help you (A) get rid of the infection, and (B) keep you really healthy in the long run.

That's what people don't understand. All these invasive solutions have consequences. They have side effects, and we may not even completely understand them now. They may come out 5-10 years down the road, but they all have consequences. And really if people were just a little bit more patient and focused on the basics, a lot of those problems can go away.

You and your wife, Lindsay, have worked with so many different people, of all walks of life, from regular folks to celebrities, entertainers, and athletes. Is there a particular transformation from your work that you're most proud of?

Luckily for me, there's so many cool transformations, but I remember in particular there was a gentleman who came to me, his daughter-in-law actually brought him. He was an old Chinese man. He spoke like 10 words in English, but he couldn't get out of the car and he was having a lot of issues like falling on the ground.

I worked with him twice a week for about six months, and at the end of the six months of working with him, we were doing full depth squats with a barbell on his back with 65 pounds on the bar in chains. He was doing sets of 10 reps. And he was so into it; he would always arrive early. The transformation of not being able to get out of a car to squatting full depth at 86 years old, no one can believe that's actually possible until they see it happen.

That was from seeing him twice a week. He wasn't really doing anything else besides coming in. Just that little bit of work, and focusing on what he really needs and those foundational movements – like a squat – it's extremely transformational. There are so many other stories just like it, but that's one that I'll always cherish.

You’re in a financial position now where you don’t need to continue the clinical side. Why do you continue to do it? Is it because of the satisfaction that comes from transformations like the one you just mentioned?

Yeah, I'm super passionate about my job. I know the ‘passion’ word gets thrown out there a lot, but it is something that every day I look forward to doing my job because every day I'm presented with a new challenge. And it's people like Mr. Chang, they just get you to think outside the box and constantly stay creative to grow.

It’s those growth opportunities that often lead to other opportunities. Things that I see in the clinic gives me ideas to create other things. Every successful project that I've worked on has come from me being an active physical therapist and doing things in the clinic. So, the longer I stay in the clinic doing what I love, the more ideas I’ll breed in the future.

Yeah, it's classic. It's like the CEO of a business who thinks that they can create the entire company strategy without talking to the people who are boots on the ground, right?

Exactly. You need to get your hands dirty and keep doing that grind every day to stay involved with what's going on.

You and I have both launched so many companies and products, and we’ve spoken privately many times about our entrepreneurial frustrations. To me, entrepreneurship is a constant tightrope between impact and burnout. I think about that every single day.

You seem to have more balance than most, but people don't see the frustrations, stress, and the very real costs that occur behind the scenes. What goes through your mind when I describe entrepreneurship as a constant tightrope between and impact? Is that something that you agree with?

That's spot on. And right now I'm much less stressed and I have much more balance because I did sell my other businesses. But when I was in the thick of running those different operations, along with my physical therapy clinic, I mean, I was teetering on the line of burnout all the time. And I probably did burnout a few times, and it takes a really long time to recover. That's part of the reason why I haven't jumped right into another project yet, because I still have a bit of a hangover from those other two things – as exciting and rewarding and as fun as they were.

In order to be really successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be all in with whatever you're doing.

In my opinion, in order to be really successful as an entrepreneur, you have to be all in with whatever you're doing. That requires sacrifice in other areas of your life. But in your head, you need to know that can't last forever. You can't sprint forever. It's more of a marathon, and eventually you have to add balance to the other aspects of your life. Otherwise burnout happens, and then that thing that you're working on becomes unsuccessful anyways.

Yeah, if people aren't looking after themselves in the process, they often begin to resent the very thing that they created in the first place because they were so passionate about it.

You're a super fit dude. You've competed at the CrossFit games, which is about as tough as a physical event can possibly be. You still train five days a week, which is amazing. How do you structure your day so you can make sure you get that training in five times a week?

It really has to do with discipline. I make it a priority to where I put my workouts into my schedule. When I was, again, more in depth in some of these other projects, I would let part of work take over to where it would impact my workouts. And I always found that I was far less productive when I was not working out. That sense of burnout came much faster when I was not focusing on the physical side of things.

For me, exercise is a keystone habit. When you do it, it makes everything else better. It makes your eating better, it makes your sleeping better, it makes your mental focus better. As a result, not doing that makes everything else harder. For me, it's so important to do that very early on in the day because it makes the rest of the day, no matter whatever happens, feel accomplished.

That’s why I train five days a week as an absolute priority, but I also give myself two rest days because you don't want to burn out on the physical side either.

Is there anything you do outside of physical training that's an essential part of your daily routine?

One of my favorite things is to take my dogs for a long walk where I wear a 30-pound weight vest, and I usually listen to audiobooks at the same time. I'm definitely an addict when it comes to that, but on my days off, I don't listen to anything and I just try to take in all of the environment, pay attention to them, and it's a really special moment for me to decompress and just think about my week that just happened, upcoming weeks. I think that moment of reflection, combined with a little bit of light exercise, is very important for me.

Is there anything that you do struggle to get done, even though you know you really need to do it? And, if so, how do you handle it?

I think in the area of sleep, that's really hard because I start at 7:00 – 7:30 AM, and then I don't finish until 7:00 PM.  So when you get home, you'd have dinner and you want to do a certain degree of decompressing which might involve watching TV, and that pushes my sleep time back a little bit. My wife is also a night owl, so she keeps me usually a little bit longer than I want to be, but again, we don't get to spend much time with each other except for those small periods. So I think I have to do that.

But I usually will make up for it with 20-minute naps. I have lunch at midday and then force myself to either go in the bedroom or lie in the Neck Hammock for 20 minutes with an eye mask on. I don't do the typical meditation as most people prescribe, but just complete silence for 20-30 minutes a day really helps to recharge my batteries and get back after it. On the day days that I don't do that, I feel a huge impact to where I just don't think the same way, my head isn't as clear. I don't have as much energy to finish. So that's something that I don't always do well, but I really try to make it a priority.

You've had some amazing wins in the business world, so I'm excited to dig into all of that now. Let's start with Prehab 2 Perform. When you started the business, were you focus on applying what you learned as a physical therapist, or were you always focusing on the bigger picture, as in thinking about some unmet needs that you could possibly bring in as solutions for those people who you were working with?

When I first started my physical therapy career, I started in a physical therapy clinic that was insurance-based. I was seeing three to four people an hour and I burnt out after about a year-and-a-half because I felt so guilty because I loved my patients, but you can't possibly give them quality care when you're running around patient to patient every 15 minutes, like within the hour time. So I just felt really guilty about that and I promised myself that I would never work as a physical therapist unless I'm one-on-one again. So when I started Prehab 2 Perform back in 2013, I decided that I didn't want to deal with insurance and I was only going to see people one-on-one.

It took me a while to build that business up because it's an atypical model, but I wanted to focus on, again, giving people my one-on-one attention, but I also wanted to focus on not just physical therapy, but also athletic performance, because really the two are tied together. Not just getting people to get rid of their shoulder pain that they're coming in for, but also teaching them how to squat, teaching them how to do a deadlift.

I created this niche that I never really expected to where now, most of the people who come in and see me, they don't see me even for physical therapy. They see me for more personal training through the eyes of a physical therapist so that they don't get re-injured, but to keep excelling for the rest of their lives. I mean, I look at exercise, PT, and prehab as basically like brushing your teeth. It's just something you have to do every day for the rest of your life, and your body will be much happier for it.

Two years after you started Prehab 2 Perform, you co-founded StretchLab. Did you feel that that was a particularly big gamble at the time, and when did you know you were onto a winner?

Yeah, at first, I mean, my two partners, we had no idea what the hell we were doing. We just knew that we had this idea that no one had really tapped into before. And stretching is one of those things that people, they know that they need to do it and they always say that they're going to do it after the workout and they never do, which leads to like a lot of injuries and whatnot. So we're like, "Well, why don't we just do this for people?" After they go to the gym, they can just come here. They can just lie down and we do all the stretching for them, and then they're on with their day.

When we first started, I mean, it's comical. We trained people in physical therapy while the actual first location was being worked on. The people who I was training were hairstylists, bartenders, people who had no experience in that field at all. Because anyone who did have experience who was a massage therapist or healthcare practitioner, physical therapist, they didn't want to touch it because they didn't think that this was actually going to be successful. So we had to just take whoever we could.

As a result, when I created the stretching programs, I had to keep that in mind: how can I make these stretches simple enough that anyone can learn them, and do them at a level to where people want to actually pay for that service and continue to pay for the service?

It was a huge learning curve for me, to try and figure out all those intricacies. Were there better stretches that I could do for people? Maybe. But finding the balance of creating that simplicity where both the flexologist can do it really well – and the person who's actually getting the stretch gets a really good experience – so people want to come back. So it was a huge gamble, but we really believe that it could be something really big. I had no idea that it'd be as big as it is today.

What was the price point per hour when you first launched?

We had a few different tiers. I believe we had 30 minutes. We've changed so many times, but a 30-minute stretch was like $25, then a 45-minute stretch was maybe $45. So super low price point, just enough to basically pay the bills. Then as our people got better, we progressively increased the price point, and we increased the time domains because there were some people who wanted a 90-minute stretch. We adapted along the way, but luckily we had a very good baseline to start with.

At StretchLab you had business partners, investors, hundreds of physical locations, thousands of staff to train, and so many moving parts. How challenging was it to manage your stress levels with all of those dynamics in play?

Extremely challenging. Time management just became extremely crucial. I had to put everything into the calendar and check it every single day, and the day before, to make sure that things synced up perfectly. Many times they didn't, and many times I was really stressed out and I overextended myself, but I was lucky to have done this in my 20s and early 30s where I had energy to do that. I think when pursuing these types of things, it’s really important to do it as early as you can so you can bring that energy.

It was certainly a learning experience in figuring out how to balance everything. There's a quote that I like, "If you need something done, give it to the busiest person that you know." When you get in that groove and you get in that cycle, you're basically working all day, but you don't think about it. It's just okay, onto the next, onto the next, onto the next. You're not worried about what you have to do. You just do it.

Yeah. It's so true. You eventually exited StretchLab in a seven-figure deal. How did you know it was time to move on from something that was obviously such a big part of your life and something that you'd put so much work and effort into?

It just got to a point where the partners who basically purchased a large percentage of the business at the time, we just began to have differences of opinions on where we wanted the business to go and how we wanted it to operate. And sales were really good – they were selling franchises like crazy. We just felt it was a good opportunity to exit on top because we didn't know what the market would look like in the next few years. Thank goodness we did because we sold basically a few months before this virus hit and it would have been absolutely catastrophic for us.

Yeah, a physical contact business during a pandemic. Maybe not the most profitable business to run!

Yeah, so to hold all those leases and whatnot, it would have been just really terrible, so we got really lucky. And another quote that I really like, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." When we had a good enough offer to where it certainly could change our lives, why not take it? It also gave me another opportunity to work on my next thing.

In 2017, your life changed again when you invented the Neck Hammock. What was the process of taking that from idea to prototype?

One day I was working out in the gym and I tweaked my neck doing handstand push-ups. I was extremely frustrated because this has happened multiple times before. And the one thing that I learned in physical therapy school was cervical traction. Whenever my neck would hurt, cervical traction would always help me, but the machines were always big and bulky and super expensive. So in my head I was like, "Well, how can I recreate the cervical traction right now that I don't need a machine?"

I just grabbed a thick resistance band, wrapped around a pole, wrapped around the back of my head, and I lay down. Ten minutes later, my neck pain was gone. I knew then that I was onto something, but I had to find an industrial designer – and thank goodness for the internet to let me know that that's what I needed! A guy who I worked with on a project in Florida for other inventions that I started already had a contact, so I basically gave him my general ideas.

Going back to the environment thing, a buddy of mine introduced me to another guy in town who had hookups with suppliers and other industrial designers that he swore by. It was just this slow process over time where we started with an idea and test / retest, test / retest. Again, as a physical therapist, with every single one of my patients, at the end of their session I would say, "Oh, I just created this thing. Why don't you try it out for 10 minutes and let me know what you think?"

So I had hundreds of data of feedback on: "The foam is too uncomfortable” and “The bands are too flexible," that type of thing. I had all this data that was coming in from people who luckily were very honest with me. I just kept making changes based on all those things. And so it was a process that took much, much longer than I ever thought it would, but it ended up working out.

Yeah, the research you did yourself was much better than any focus group that you could pay to go and get it done with a bunch of randoms!

The crowdfunding campaign was obviously instrumental in your success. What were the two or three main things that you did to make sure all those crowdfunding campaigns were so successful?

There's a guy Perry Marshall who became a mentor to me. I went to a conference of his and we sat down for lunch, and I had just had the idea of the Neck Hammock. He told me the most important thing that you can do is create a video where, in 10 seconds, the user completely understands what you've created, how it can bring them value, and why they should buy it – all within 10 seconds. Something that would create an emotional response. Even if you saw it and you didn't exactly know what the product does or why it works, but you knew that you liked it.

So for me, creating a really good video for the Neck Hammock was imperative, and I was a huge stickler on it. I hated the first few iterations of it and it was fairly low quality type video, but the great irony is the video clips that we still use in ads today are the worst quality! Like filmed on this disgusting carpet, but it demonstrated the value of people using it and feeling good. So having a really good video was number one.

Number two was having a really good unique selling proposition. The finally creating a price point to where it was almost an impulse purchase, so people would say, "Yeah, I'll give this thing a try. It's worth it. It's a whole lot cheaper than me going to see my physio, the doctor's office or getting surgery.” Those three things combined is what I think made it a truly a large success.

Is that how you came up with a pricing strategy, by evaluating the alternative solutions that people might pursue for their problem?

That, plus I did a lot of research, which I highly recommend to anyone who launches any product. You need to do months, if not years, of research on other similar products – or even products that aren't necessarily similar, but would be about same price point – because through my research and seeing other products, other neck-type products, posture-type products, I saw what they priced it at and I saw who was the most successful doing it.

Based on that data and research, that's what helped mold our specific price points for what we wanted to sell.

If you didn't have the resources at your disposal right now, all you had was your knowledge, and you were able to invent a new device, would you still go down the crowdfunding route in 2021? And what are the biggest reasons that crowdfunds fail today?

The number one problem that I ran into very early with crowdfunding was, two weeks in, I started seeing videos of my product on other websites knocking me off. The great thing about crowdfunding is it creates a lot of attention. The bad thing about crowdfunding is it creates a lot of attention from bad players.

There's a lot of people now in other countries who have businesses where that's all they do – they wait for the next Kickstarter to blow up, and immediately knock it off and start selling counterfeit products. It's one of those things that if you have a product that's very simple, like mine was, and it's very, very easy for someone to see it and immediately knock it off, then I don't know that crowdfunding is the way to go.

The great thing about crowdfunding is it creates a lot of attention. The bad thing about crowdfunding is it creates a lot of attention from bad players.

However, if you have something that's a little bit more complex that someone would not be able to just look at it and replicate it, then crowdfunding probably is the way to go. Because nowadays, with Instagram advertising, Google, you can bootstrap it and create ads at a very low level and it gives you a great way to test what videos work, don't work, and you can tweak and refine at a very low level and then ramp up when you have that down.

With Kickstarter, you're really taking a gamble. If you don't have the right images, the right creatives, the right video, and you spend all this money to create a good Kickstarter campaign, it may fail. And it may fail not because it's bad product, but because everything else was just not ready yet.

So people have lack a little bit of patience in that they want to have that million-dollar campaign. They want to raise all this money. But the other thing is that you got to have that product ready to ship pretty soon after you're done, because those backers they get pretty impatient. And if you don't actually have a ready product in like three to six months, they're going to start asking for their money back and that's also not a fun process to go through.

Do the crowdfunding campaigns honor that request if they do want to refund?

So it's tricky. Kickstarter will refund them their money if they request it. And luckily, most people who are on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, they're pretty cool about that. They'll give you a little bit leeway, but if you tell them that you're going to ship the product in three to six months, and that product is not shipped in three to six months, they get very antsy and then they start looking elsewhere.

Then again, it goes with the whole counterfeiting issue where if the counterfeiter takes your product, they immediately sell it on Amazon or on their website, the person will cancel the order with you and go buy the knock-off. So it's this delicate balance of needing to have a business ready too, not just the idea.

Was there a specific moment with Neck Hammock where you thought, "Wow, this thing is going to be huge"?

Yeah, on the first day that we launched, we hit all of our backers and we raised, I think, $50,000, and I was like, "Holy crap!" The fact that someone wants to buy my product. It's a really special feeling that you've created something that people want. But then we went a few days where then it dropped down to $3,000 a day in sales and I was like, "Okay, maybe people don't want this."

What happened is that my videos got picked up by news outlets and they went viral. I mean, there was one video that had 20+ million views on it. So our sales just completely skyrocketed where it was like 50,000 a day every day for a few weeks. That's when I knew, "Okay, if this many people see it and they like it, I think I'm on to something."

Especially when you're getting picked up by Dr. Oz, Forbes, Gwyneth Paltrow and everything else!

There was a period that you and I have spoken constantly where I would see in my social media newsfeeds “Neck Hammock, Neck Hammock, Neck Hammock.” And it never occurred to me that these were rip-off companies that had stolen your brand and essentially your business. Then they would put millions of dollars behind social media ads, blatantly copying your exact product, branding – even the name – and entice people to buy their counterfeit equivalent.

Were you aware that would happen? And how did that affect your mindset seeing that happen over and over again?

I thought it was something that could potentially happen months down the road, but I never anticipated that it would happen as fast as it did and then the scale that it did. I mean, it was overwhelming how many people were knocking it off and it's not like you can just call the police and be like, "Hey they're stealing my idea." Who do you call!? Who do you contact?

Again, through the environment thing, I would put messages out on Facebook. I'd reach out to people who were in the tech world on what I could do. I learned about DMCA take down, but for the most part it’s extremely time intensive and inefficient. So then I basically had to find intellectual property police out there who would find these knockoffs and do the take-downs for me. Thank God I had patents, copyrights, and trademarks, because had I not had all that they could just sell away and then Shopify and Facebook wouldn't do anything about it.

There was a podcast that I used to listen to all the time called ‘How I Built This.’ A buddy sent me this very specific episode (because he knew what I was going through) and it was with the TRX guy who dealt with massive knockoff issues. What resonated with me the most is that they're stealing your mojo because you're doing everything in your power to make a really kick-ass product. You've done all the right things, and these counterfeiters just completely steal that mojo from you because you just feel completely helpless. You feel like there's nothing that you can do to resolve the problem.

I knew there was going to be problems. I knew there's going to be competition along the way. I had no idea that it was going to be this type of problem, so that was something I had to adapt with.

Knowing what you know, how can the little guy protect themselves against some of these shady companies when you have things like very expensive legal fees to get rid of these companies, and how can you even be aware of these companies!? You were only aware because your product was such a big hit that it blanketed social media everywhere. There might be companies out there that founders just never even see.

The cheapest way to protect yourself on the internet is getting a trademark and copyrights on all the videos, photos, and things like that. It costs like $25 to copyright an image. To get a patent, you're talking a few thousand dollars and patents are arguable. Unless what they're selling looks identical to the design patent that you have, utility patents only work when it comes to DMC takedowns. So if you're going to do something, it has to be a design patent to use as ammunition against people like Amazon.

You can't be completely ready for the knockoffs, because you have to have a successful product first.

But trademarks and copyrights, those are the easiest first two things that you can do. It's like this delicate balance though, because you got to make sure that you have enough money to put in the product to market it. You can't be completely ready for the knockoffs, because you have to have a successful product first.

Then once you have a successful product, then you need to invest in the IP. Because the other thing about IP is that it doesn't police itself. You have to spend money on litigation to then go after these people. So it's not just the patent itself that's enough. Look at triple, quadruple the costs to get a legal team to then hunt these people down and bring them to court if that's where you decided to go. With anything, start small and then grow it from there, but just always in the back of your head, be prepared for that next level of protection.

Yeah. you don't want to have $20 million in sales and $30 million in legal fees.

So are you saying you had to go and copyright every single video and image that you were posting on social media?

Yeah.

Wow, that's crazy.

Again, getting $25 copyrights for pictures and videos is not nearly as expensive as getting a bunch of design and utility patents. It's a super cheap way that you can really protect yourself.

Manufacturing can be one of the toughest things to set up, since you’ve got minim order quantities, foreign countries, and cashflow dangers. How smooth was your experience on the manufacturing side?

It was tough at first because who the hell do you know that has factories in China!? And how do you know that they're not ripping you off?

Yeah, the whole experience would make you super paranoid about everything.

Exactly. You're just paranoid about everything. It started with word of mouth that brought me one guy who would go over to China and he'd find different factories and figure out who could source it. Once we had the first iterations of the Neck Hammock, it would cost me anywhere between $9 - $10 per unit to manufacture. And then again, through word of mouth, I found someone else who got it down to $7.

Then, one of Lindsay's clients was actually friends with a woman who was on Shark Tank. And I asked if I could be introduced, because I was a huge fan. After speaking with her, she introduced me to a guy who she worked with to help source, and he absolutely was a game changer for Neck Hammock.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Dr. Steve Sudell 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 🚀


There was multiple times where I thought I was going to go bankrupt where I was going to have to close up shop and it wasn't going to work. And he helped me bring the cost of goods down. He had relationships over there so he brought the cost of goods down from $10 to $5 per unit, and that's a big deal.

But he also created these other relationships that I had no idea who to even talk too. He introduced me to my legal team that I use today who are absolute rock stars; they saved me a lot of money and also are great on the enforcement side. Having the right people in your corner is so incredibly important. And you're probably not going to find them in the first or second or even third time. But when you get that right person, you just hang onto them forever.

Was there a particularly dark day along that entrepreneurial journey that stands out to you?

Yeah, I mean, there were a few dark days where I remember sitting on the floor in my bathroom, thinking, "How am I going to tell my wife that I lost all the money with this and we're going to go out of business?"

There were a few times where I had ordered too much inventory because I was expecting a lot of sales and then all of a sudden sales completely plummeted, or Facebook changed their algorithm to where they were making it really hard for health and wellness brands. So we went from getting $500K a month in sales down to like $50K. And so I'm like, "What am I going to do with all this inventory? How am I going to afford to pay these different people?" They're expecting to get paid.

I remember sitting on the floor in my bathroom, thinking, "How am I going to tell my wife that I lost all the money with this and we're going to go out of business?"

Somehow, some way, I found a way to scratch my way out of the bottom and figure it out. But you just have all these different moving pieces going on and you feel like you're in it all alone. That there were so many of those dark days where I just didn't sleep, but you somehow figure it out. Just keep working, just keep moving forward.

I like to think that on our strongest days – when we're at our happiest and our most productive selves – there could be a note, a reminder, that we could observe on our darkest days to keep us moving forward and put things into perspective. Thinking to your strongest day, what message would you write on a flashcard to show yourself on your darkest day?

Keep moving forward. Just keep moving. The second you stop and you start sulking and you start feeling bad about yourself, that's when you're in big trouble. If there's one thing I always did that sometimes got me in trouble with my relationship, it would be using work as my way to get out of things. I could always just get up early, answer emails, answer customer service, and just figure out a way to keep moving.

When you keep moving, it creates momentum. And so I think on the card, I would say, “Just keep moving.”

In January 2021, you exited Neck Hammock, which was your second seven figure exit. How did you know that that was the right time to exit the business?

Covid was a really good year for us, believe it or not, because a lot of people were at home, and a lot of businesses stopped advertising on Instagram and Facebook, which brought the overall costs of advertising way down. We were really able to capitalize on that and we had really strong sales as a result.

Like with the StretchLab exit, it just felt really good to be proud of something and to actually get paid for it. For me, while sales are really good, I would like to exit on top. It’s a buy low / sell high type mentality so that I then could take advantage of any other opportunities that would manifest, whether it's this year or next year, I can be ready for them.

For many years I haven't really had the cash available to take advantage of certain opportunities, but that's what I wanted was to now be ready for the next stage of my life – to go from inventor to investor.

You have had so many different experiences, you've worked with tens of thousands of people now through StretchLab, through Prehab 2 Perform, through the Neck Hammock. Are there any lessons that stand out on consumer behavior that you will take forward with future business endeavors?

People just want to feel good. Ultimately, at the end of the day, people just want to feel good and if you provide that to them, you're always going to have some sort of success. And the way that I make people feel good is actually making them work. With StretchLab that was a bit different. But with what I do now it’s making people feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror. That's what brings people back in. And so if you want to keep it simple, it's just that.

What part of your career are you most proud of? Would it be the transformations that you have in the clinic day-to-day? Would it be the big business success that you've had playing on the world stage?

Honestly, I think that with the Neck Hammock, one thing that really stands out is a lot of the testimonials that I've received, from people who were in debilitating pain, and they wrote me just thanking me from the bottom of their heart on how the Neck Hammock helped get them out of a migraine to where they couldn't eat for two days or they couldn't sleep, or this or that.

And knowing that of the hundreds of thousands of units we've shipped, that we're able to make such an impact on people at a large scale and make their lives better, for me, that's something I'm really proud of. I feel like everyone wants to figure out how they can leave this world a better place. Even something as simple as the Neck Hammock, a simple solution to your neck pain without drugs. That's one of my ways to give back.

It must be surreal reading those messages, but obviously very well deserved for all the effort and work that you've put into it in the first place.

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

Win the morning.


Resources / links mentioned:

⚡ Prehab 2 Perform website.

📷 Prehab 2 Perform on Instagram.

📝 Prehab 2 Perform on Facebook.

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“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”

Carrie Snow

Today, we sit down with the world’s foremost authority on sleep for high performance.

Dr Michael Breus is a three-time bestselling author, clinical psychologist, and sleep educator. He has appeared all over television, including Oprah, The Today Show, and on The Dr Oz show more than 40 times. Dr Breus is also a regular contributor to major publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

When he’s not doing media appearances, Dr Breus works with some of the most successful individuals on the planet who want to perform at their peak with as little sleep as possible.

In this interview, we’ll go through:


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As we get started, remember the right bit of inspiration can completely transform someone’s life, so if there’s someone you know who needs to hear this – and I’m sure there is, since lack of quality sleep is a dangerous side effect of the stressful world we’re in today – share it with them right now.

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr Michael Breus!

James Whittaker:
Great to see you my friend. Thanks so much for being on the Win the Day show.

Dr. Michael Breus:
I am excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

To kick things off, is there a story from your childhood that encapsulates what life was like for you growing up?

That's a good question. So, I had a very interesting upbringing, which – now that you're making me think about it – has a lot to do with how I became the guy that I am. My parents were separated when I was nine, and I'm 53 years old now. Back in those days, very few kids ended up with their fathers, and my father ended up having full-time custody of me. It was just he and I against the world for a very long period of time.

I've played that role as the sleep doctor: I was the very first sleep blogger on the Huffington Post; I was one of the first clinical psychologists to take and pass the Sleep Medicine Boards; things of that nature. I'm very comfortable being the lone wolf – not to mention that I am a wolf chronotype, which we'll talk about in a moment. But that's a lot of who I am. I'm pretty confident and I feel comfortable in my own skin for sure.

Can you take us into the moment when you realized that you weren't just going to be a regular health professional – that you were going to actually drive the industry forward and change the lives of millions of people in the process?

It was interesting, the very first time I was on television, I walked off and it was like electric. It was one of the first appearances that I made, and I was so in the zone that I didn't even see the audience. I was so focused, I delivered this great information, and I just became so comfortable out there. It was like, "This is exactly where I need to be."

I don't know. Maybe I've got enough ego to pull it off! But I like getting in front of people, I like talking about sleep, I like mixing it up, I like controversial ideas surrounding sleep and sleep science.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Dr Michael Breus 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 🚀


Here's the thing that's cool for me as a topic. My wife says it all the time. She's like, "Honey, you wouldn't be nearly as interesting if you were a cardiologist." No disrespect to the cardio guys, I have one myself, but sleep is such an interesting topic, and it draws people in because one of the things we know is that, when you change your sleep, you change your life, right? So, if you have bad sleep and I'm able to give you some information, or lead you on a path that can help you with your sleep, I feel confident that I've changed your life in a positive way. Honestly, dude, that feels good, I just like doing that.

Early in my career, people would come and they would be so excited to tell me how much I had changed their lives. After a while, every single day, there would be five people, 10 people, 15 people, and I kind of said, " You know? I want to get the message out bigger." Because at the time I was practicing, you could only see about 30 patients in a day. I mean, let's be fair. I was seeing 30 patients a day, five days a week. and I was crushing through 150 people, good care of medicine, making sure that everybody's well treated, but it wasn't where I wanted to be or where I thought the world needed to hear.

When you change somebody's sleep, you literally change their life.

Oddly enough, one of my best friends got a vice-president job at a company that, at the time, was called Medscape. He turned it into this big old company called WebMD. He was like, "Hey Michael, have you checked out WebMD?" So I went on it and they didn't have anything about sleep on there. Being my lone wolf self, I decided to create a document that had all the places on the website where they needed to have more sleep information, and I sent it to my buddy, who apparently sent it to his boss. His boss then said, "Go hire that guy!"

That was how I became the WebMD sleep specialist. I was the WebMD sleep specialist from the time they launched for 15 years. That's a big audience, and it was so much fun. You remember back in the day when they had chat boards? I would answer questions live on chat boards in WebMD about sleep. We counted, I think, over 5,000 questions that I answered at one time. It's like I just feel the need to educate, and people are so receptive because it's just not an area where people get a chance to meet folks like me.

Again, not breaking my arm patting myself on the back, but I will say that I feel like I have a purpose, and I feel like I have a passion. For me, the point where purpose and passion hit was sleep, and that's what drives me in that direction.

It sounds like facilitating these transformations for others actually gives you a lot of energy along the way, too. Now that you've worked with regular folks right through to the celebrities at the highest level, is there a particular transformation that you're most proud of?

Oh, wow. There's a few actually. There's quite a few cases that were really ... there's some sad cases for sure, but there are quite a few cases that were pretty amazing. One of the more famous cases that I've worked on is Carson Daly from The Today Show. I was on The Today Show talking about time change or sleep or something like that, and Carson pulled me over to the side – we weren't on camera – and he was like, "Dude, I'm exhausted." And I was like, "Okay, let's hold tight."

We did the segment and I came back afterwards and we went over to his dressing room and I'm like, "Tell me what's going on?" He said he had gained a little bit of weight over the years but, and people don't know this, he's on The Today Show and he's the executive producer of The Voice at the same time. He flies every single week back and forth across the country.

Not only was he exhausted, but we could potentially have jet lag issues. There's all kinds of stuff that could be going on. So I dug in and it turned out he had sleep apnea. We worked with his doctor, got him sleep testing, the whole thing. Now we've got him on a solution that helps him sleep, and he's losing weight, he has more energy. He was really concerned about what he called his shelf life, as many people who are on television are.

I think now he can be on for quite a bit longer. I'm telling you something, dude, when you change somebody's sleep, you literally change their life.

Amazing, and thank you for sharing that.

In the peak performance realm, we often hear people talk about nutrition and fitness, yet there is so much misinformation out there on those two areas. We also spend one-third of our lives sleeping, so that definitely needs to be in the peak performance equation. Are there just as many misconceptions about sleep as there is for nutrition and fitness? And, if so, what are the biggest myths that need to be busted?

Yes, there are a ton of misconceptions about sleep. Some of the bigger myths, and we can even include nutrition in this, is things like, "Oh, turkey makes me feel sleepy because there's tryptophan in it,” or “Warm milk makes me feel sleepy." So, just to be clear, you'd have to eat a 40-pound turkey to get enough tryptophan to actually make it worth your while. It doesn't work well in the presence of protein anyway. So, I really wouldn't go for that one. And I think it's about a gallon and a half of milk to get enough tryptophan, so we're not even going to go there.

Also, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about melatonin, which a lot of people take. But what most people don't understand is melatonin is not a sleeping pill. Melatonin is a sleep regulator, not a sleep initiator. Melatonin doesn't make you sleepy. What melatonin does is it helps your brain think that it's bedtime from a circadian rhythm perspective.

We talked about Carson Daly already, so I'll give you another great example. If you're familiar with electronic dance music, you’ll know a DJ named Steve Aoki. He does almost 200 shows a year in different countries. His jet lag is unparalleled. But when we're talking about something like this, what we're looking at is scheduling, how to schedule flights, working through some of those different issues, and then trying to understand what to do. Well, melatonin is very, very helpful in that process of getting people adjusted to a new time zone, because it tells your brain it's bedtime when your brain didn't think that it was bedtime before.

That's great when you're Steve Aoki and your jet lag is all over the place, or you’re Carson Daly flying back and forth across the US. But when you're not crossing time zones and you're lying in bed not sleeping, you probably shouldn't be taking melatonin because that's not really what it's there for. So, that's a myth or misunderstanding that we see that can be very harmful to folks.

Then what happens is, if one doesn't work, they take two, and if two don't work, they take four. I mean, we were talking about WebMD, when I was on WebMD answering those questions, once a month, literally once a month, I got the question, "Is it okay to take a box of Benadryl a night?" 20, 10 milligram tabs? The answer is “No, it’s not okay!”

But, people are desperate, man. When you don't sleep, it hits you to your core. You turn into somebody who you don't like, and nobody around you is particularly thrilled with you either, so it's hard to not have sleep. Those who don't suffer from sleep problems, they really don't understand it. They're like, "What are you talking about? Close your eyes, just go to bed, come on. It's easy." Honestly, dude, people are tortured with some of their sleep related issues. Right now, when we're talking about the pandemic and what's going on in the universe, this is arguably the most stressful time any of us have ever had, and it's not stress that we're used to.

This is arguably the most stressful time any of us have ever had, and it's not stress that we're used to.

You and I were talking before we started. We live here in Los Angeles, and a big stress here in Los Angeles is traffic. But traffic doesn't mean crap compared to a pandemic. I'm worried about things like my entire family's health. Like my grandparents, my parents, my kids, my wife, my extended family. I've never had to worry about everybody all at the same time. I've had to worry about certain people here and there of course, as anyone would, but this is a different kind of worry. There’s also financial stress, because so many people are suffering incredibly financially right now.

What kind of weight does that put on your brain before you're getting in bed at night? Does that cause insomnia? You bet it causes insomnia. So, I would say that right now, if people turn to me and say, "Hey, Michael, I'm sleeping great." I'd be like, "What's your trick dude? Because nobody's sleeping great right now." We all have issues. I mean, I'm the sleep doctor, and let me tell you something, when the pandemic first hit, I didn't sleep so great. That's okay. The message here is, is that we're all humans. And sleep is a reaction for us.

Think about it like this. If you notice that your sleep is not so great, it could be a window into your health. It could be giving you clues about something that's going on for your mental health or physical health. But to be clear, if you're healthy, both mentally and physically, you should sleep pretty well, generally speaking.

What are some simple things that anyone watching this or listening to the podcast can do right now to improve the quality of their sleep?

Oh, this is an easy one, and it's not going to cost you anything! I got a five-step program. It's super simple, people are going to love it. Step one is to wake up at the same time every single day, including the weekends. I know that sucks for most people because they're like, "Oh, I want to catch up on my sleep on the weekends, Michael, come on." Here's the deal, if you wake up at the exact same time every single day, what will happen is that the quality of your sleep will improve because your circadian rhythm is consistent. Because remember, when you wake up, that's the reopening of the package. So, the new day comes, sunlight comes in, and then all of your hormones kick off and go into gear.

If you do that at the same time, every single day, your brain knows what's coming, it can prepare for it, and it's much more efficient. Also, by the way, if you wake up at the exact same time, every single day, what you will find is that the amount of sleep that you require begins to shrink. I did this experiment on myself. I'm a night owl, what I call a Wolf chronotype, and I go to bed around midnight every single night. That's just what I do. I really can't get in bed before midnight. That's just me. So, I got in bed at midnight and I woke up around 7:40am, after about a month of it, I was waking up at 7:20am. After another month of it, it was 7:00am.

If you wake up at the exact same time, every single day, what you will find is that the amount of sleep that you require begins to shrink.

I wake up now at 6:13am almost every single day. I'm not sure why it's 6:13am, people will always ask. I always look at the clock and I say, "Oh my God, it's 6:13." But my entire sleep cycle shrank by almost a full 90-minute cycle. I get six hours and 13 minutes of sleep, and I've looked at it on trackers, and my sleep is fantastic. What's happened is, the consolidation has occurred because of the consistency. That’s why step one is to wake up at the same time every single day. You will get higher quality sleep and you will probably need less of it, unless you have an underlying sleep disorder.

Step two has to do with caffeine. We already know that caffeine is a problem because it’s a stimulant. But what we know is, it's got a half-life of about six to eight hours. So, with a half-life like that, what we do is, we say stop caffeine by 2:00pm, and eight hours later it’s 10:00pm which is where most people in North America tend to go to bed. So that's the reasoning behind the recommendation.

Now I guarantee you there's a listener or a watcher out there who is thinking, "Huh! Sleep doctor? He doesn't know what he's talking about! I can have a cup of coffee, an espresso, or a cappuccino minutes before going to sleep and I can fall asleep, no problem."

I think I've said that before!

See, there you go! Let's bust that myth. Here's what's interesting, it turns out that people have different caffeine sensitivities. I had one patient who honestly could drink a pot of coffee and go to sleep, and I had another one who could eat a square piece of a chocolate bar and be up for days. So, that's the first thing. But here's the other thing, for my patient who could drink a pot of coffee and go to sleep, if you stick electrodes on somebody's head, caffeine is a stimulant, you can't stop the fact that it is stimulating, and what it does is it almost completely obliterates stage three/four sleep.

For folks out there who don't know, stage three/four sleep is your physical restoration. That is your wake up and feel great sleep. You do not want anything messing with that. And right now during COVID, I'll tell you why, even more importantly, during stages three/four sleep is where growth hormone is emitted, and this is where your killer T cells are produced. Killer T cells are what fight viral infection. Hello! We want as much stage three/four sleep as we can possibly get right now. So please, please, please slow down your caffeine, and if you could eliminate it altogether, that would be great.

Don't do it cold turkey. I had two patients end up in the ER, believe it or not, going cold turkey off of caffeine. One of them had a seizure and one of them just couldn't stop puking. It was a mess. So, if you're a heavy, heavy caffeine drinker, slow it down over the course of time. But if you can, stop caffeine by 2:00pm.

Step three has to do with alcohol. There's a really big difference, dude, between going to sleep and passing out, okay? People don't seem to understand that sometimes. It takes the average human approximately one hour to digest one alcoholic beverage. The data would suggest that the time between the last sip and when you close your eyes, that gap, is the most important amount of time when looking at alcohol's effects on your sleep.

If you notice that your sleep is not so great, it could be a window into your health.

Remember, alcohol is a depressant, so it will make you feel sleepy up until about two to three drinks. Once you get past the third drink, unfortunately it has a tendency to energize people or make them aggressive, so you really don't want to go over two drinks if you possibly can. That time period is very important. If it takes the average human one hour to digest one alcoholic beverage, here's how I run it: if you're going to have a glass or two of wine with dinner, let's say you finished by 7:00pm and you had two glasses of wine, then you would be able to go to sleep by 9:00pm.

Do me a favor, for every glass of wine, drink one glass of water. If you had two glasses of wine, drink two glasses of water, wait two hours. It's really very simple. It's the one-to-one-to-one rule. I found this to be very, very effective for people.

Also, let's be honest. If you're using alcohol as a sedative, you have a problem. Talk to your doctor. There are much better ways of helping you get a good night’s sleep than drinking yourself there. And you're not alone, since alcohol is the number one sleep aid in the world. More people use alcohol to make themselves fall asleep. Once again, you don't get that deep sleep. Just like with what caffeine does to stage three/four sleep, alcohol does the same thing, but it also screws up your REM sleep as well, which is why your memory is all messed up after a heavy night of drinking. So, if you can, stop alcohol three hours before bed.

Onto the more positive side of things! Exercising daily is incredibly important, and I would argue, especially during the pandemic, this is one of our biggest issues. I'm a huge fan of exercise, but the good news is, you don't have to run a marathon. Remember guys, sleep is recovery. If you do not do anything to recover from, your body is not going to sleep as deeply. It just doesn't work that way. So, get your butt outside. Sunlight is an important and good thing, so is fresh air, and so is exercise.

But if you're going to do your workouts, which I want you to do, you need to be careful, because remember, sleep follows the core body temperature cycle. As you fall asleep, your core body temperature begins to drop. Unfortunately, exercise raises our core body temperature, which is why we sweat. So, step four is to exercise daily, but stop exercise four hours before bed.

Finally, step five, is for waking up. When we wake up in the mornings, what we really want to make sure of is that we can clear the brain fog and get ourselves moving. Do not drink coffee as the first thing that you drink. Most people don't realize it, but sleep in and of itself is a dehydrative event; from the humidity in our breath, we lose almost a full liter of water every night. Sitting by your bedside, you should have about 20 to 30 ounces [600 ml to 900 ml] of room temperature water in a refillable glass or jug. Every single night, you should put one of those there.

When you wake up in the morning, take 5-10 deep breaths just to activate your respiratory system and orient yourself to space. Sit on the side of your bed, grab your water, walk to the window and get 15 minutes of sunlight. "Michael, why sunlight?" So the data would suggest that, blue light hits a particular cell in your eye called a melanopsin cell, which sends a signal to your brain to turn off the melatonin faucet in your head. We want the melatonin off when we wake up. This is why we like blue light in the morning, but why we don't really like blue light at night, because it suppresses melatonin as well.

Do me a favor, if you've gotten out of bed, grabbed your water and walked over to the window to get your sunlight, put on a robe! I'm just saying. I'm just saying, put on a robe.

In summary:

  1. Wake up one time.
  2. Stop caffeine by 2:00pm.
  3. Stop alcohol three hours before bed.
  4. Exercise daily, but stop exercise four hours before bed.
  5. When you wake up, drink 30 ounces [900 ml] of water and give the sun a high five for 15 minutes.

So many amazing things to unpack there. You mentioned marathons. If someone does a marathon, or some other type of unusual event where they’re physically exhausted, should they set an alarm for their usual wake up time so they get up, or is it better to give the body one day off to sleep as long as it wants?

I would give your body one day off to sleep from a marathon because it's such an extended type of thing. When I work with professional athletes, usually the day after the game, contest, or race, we let them sleep in. Also, depending upon the competitive nature of it, they end up doing a lot of damage to their bodies and you know in marathon work, everybody gets hurt by the end of the marathon.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about waking up and having lemon juice first thing. Can a tablespoon or two of lemon juice do anything!? Is that a myth that needs to be busted right here right now?

I've never heard of lemon juice being particularly effective in the morning. I will tell you though, that the vitamin C from lemons in the citrus actually has been shown to be helpful for keeping circadian rhythms in line. People ask me all the time about supplementation and vitamins, minerals, things like that. That's the only thing I could think of from a lemon juice perspective. I tried doing that apple cider vinegar in the mornings, and I almost puked!

You mentioned waking up and getting sunlight as soon as you can. If it's 5:00am in the middle of winter, with no sun to be found, is turning on a light a good substitute?

I've found even having something like a cold shower, which I do every single morning, does a good job of giving me an energy jolt. Plus, I’ve been trying to do what you recommend and wait 90 minutes or longer before having my coffee!

In the absence of sunlight, is there something else that can fill in?

There are commercially available light boxes, believe it or not. So you could go onto Amazon, and Phillips makes one called the GoLite. I think it's 90 bucks. I have one in my suitcase because I use it for jet lag when I travel. Because you can forward your circadian rhythm using light, caffeine, and melatonin, and sleep in particular patterns. That's how we work with people like Steve Aoki and Carson Daly, we mess with all of those things. We have an algorithm, it's actually pretty cool.

But when you look at those things, light is certainly one thing that would be helpful in the morning. The temperature challenge is definitely helpful in the morning. I do a temperature challenge most mornings. I don't do it for my entire shower, I do it for like the last 30 seconds type of thing. I don't have a cold plunge at my house, although I'd like one, it's a cool idea. It's definitely alerting, I can assure you of that.

Sleep is recovery. If you do not do anything to recover from, your body is not going to sleep as deeply.

For healthy ways to wake up in the morning, I also think that breathwork is something that I've personally found to be very helpful. I have a men's group that I meet with every morning on Zoom, and we do Wim Hof breathing together, followed by a small meditation of gratitude, and that's how I start my day. Honestly, I'm awake and alert and present. It's awesome.

Are there really people on this planet who wake up with immediate hits of energy and motivation!?

Based on the chronotype, yeah! So, I mean, we haven't really talked about chronotypes. I came up with this categorization of chronotypes. To be clear, there were chronotypes long before I came up with it. I ended up finding the fourth one. We used chronotypes, so things like early bird, night owl, people in the middle, and that's what we've been bantering back and forth about. About 15% of the population love getting up in the morning.

Honestly, dude, the only thing I hate more than mornings are morning people, right!? They’re so damn chipper. Even though I wake up at 6:13am, I don't want to talk to anybody, that's for sure.

Source: Dr Michael Breus 'The Power of When' | Business Insider.

How true is it that we all need eight hours of sleep a night?

Total horseshit. The math doesn't even work. The average sleep cycle is 90 minutes long, and the average human has five of them. So, five times 90 is 450 minutes, which is only seven and a half hours. The math doesn't even work on average to get you there.

I think the original recommendation came from a study done at Stanford in the 50s, where they put people in these self-contained chambers. What happened was, their sleep amount went up and then eventually came back down and their bodies would no longer allow them to sleep any longer than, I think it was like, eight hours and 13 minutes. So, I think that's where the recommendation of eight hours originally came from.

But to be fair, that's not a smart way of trying to figure that idea out. Number one, I think it was an all-male study. By the way, sleep has changed a lot since the 50s. Even thinking about it philosophically as a concept, remember – well, you’re young – but in the 50s, people slept in separate beds, and it was a whole different universe for sleep back then. Whereas now people have televisions in their bedrooms, they have video games, I mean, it's a whole different universe. Sleep has evolved.

So, as it continues to do so, and with these levels of stress that we're all experiencing, and with some of the environmental insanity that's going. There’s lights here, kids playing video games until 4:00am, and all that kind of stuff, so we’re going to see some sleep consequences for sure.

For a long time, studying peak performance has been a big part of my work. Several years ago, I downloaded a top-rated sleep tracker app on my iPhone, and I woke up the next day and felt pretty good. Then I looked at my phone, and it said that I had shitty sleep, which completely shifted my mood. Then the next day I woke up and I felt miserable, but when I looked at the app it said I had an amazing sleep, so I felt like crap anyway. I haven’t used a sleep tracker since.

Here's the thing about sleep trackers, it’s like the best of the worst. When you look at the history of sleep tracking, here's what we've discovered: people were tracking activity before they were tracking sleep. It's not too hard to measure steps. My daughter, she's 17 years old, she's pretty good at math. If I know the length of your leg and your gait, that's a calculus problem. I can figure out how to track your steps.

But if I'm going to track your sleep, what do I measure? How quickly you fell asleep? Is it how quickly you get to stage three/four? Is it how quickly you get to REM? Is it the number of REM periods? Is it your number of awakenings? Dude, I can go on for 30 or 40 more variables if you want me to. It's a complicated process. Thinking that a wristband, a ring, a pad, is going to do a great job of truly measuring our sleep is probably a fallacy at this point in time.

Will we see it in the future with a high level of accuracy? I think we will. How far is that future? I think it's less than 18-24 months away. I think we will get much, much better at this much, much faster. As machine learning, AI, and algorithms start to get more involved in crunching, some of those big data sets, I think we'll start to learn a whole lot more.

But here's what I tell people, if you've got a sleep tracker, it's still useful, and I'll explain to you how. Don't look at the absolute data, look at the relative data. So, if my sleep tracker says that I have 13 minutes of stage three/four sleep, every single night, I know that's inaccurate, but it's consistently inaccurate. However, if I got 13 minutes, one night and 407, 612, the next I want to know what's happening relatively speaking. Don't get caught up in the what it should be. Compare it to yourself.

You are your best scientist, so when you wake up in the morning, however you perceive you slept, it's probably pretty accurate. Sleep is a perception. There's a physical state of unconsciousness where lots of cool shit happens. But when you wake up in the morning, how you think you slept, I would argue, is probably the best marker of how you actually did sleep.

You are your best scientist.

So, trackers or no trackers, there's lots of things that we can do to improve our sleep and our performance. I would argue that consistency is certainly the biggest one. I have a high-performance sleep coaching practice here in Los Angeles, as you know. One of the things that we do is, we evaluate people right when they walk through the door.

A lot of people come to me, they're like, "Hey, Michael, I know I need eight hours and I only have six. What can you do?" Believe it or not, I can actually fix that problem. Like I was telling you earlier, it's learning what their chronotype is, getting them more consistent, and then I actually run blood work on people. I look at things like iron, magnesium, vitamin D, melatonin. All of those are things that, if you're deficient in them, are going to have a really big effect on your sleep.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Dr Michael Breus 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 🚀


We want to make sure that we're starting out at good levels, and then if everything looks good there, I do a full genetic screen. So, I take their DNA from a 23andme, ancestry.com, something like that. I run it through an algorithm with 74 different sleep markers, and I get a roadmap of what your sleep is going to look like now and what it's going to look like in the future. Then we taper to the future.

As an example, I had one fellow, a prominent CEO here in Los Angeles, and we discovered that he had a genetic propensity for sleep apnea. He's a lean guy, not somebody who you would ever expect to have sleep apnea. So what we do now is, we contacted his physician and at all of his appointments, we measure his neck size, because one of the big markers for sleep apnea is neck size. Anybody who has over a 17-and-a-half-inch neck has something like an 80% chance of having sleep apnea.

If I now monitor his neck and if he goes a bigger collar size, we get on it real quick, and we make sure that things are copacetic because we don't want him to get that sleep apnea. We had another one with somebody with restless legs, same thing, had the propensity, didn't have the symptomatology, make sure that we avoided in the future. That kind of stuff is pretty cool.

If you get someone who comes in who has PTSD, depression, or some type of other severe condition, do you change your approach or is it pretty similar to what you just outlined?

I do change my approach, especially with people who have PTSD. I did a lot of work with patients with PTSD during my residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. I'll be honest with you, I'm going to say something that's a little on the controversial side, so I hope that's okay. One of the only things I was able to find for my veterans to help them sleep after they had been in an active theater of war was cannabis. We live in California, it's legal here, it's recreational here, and it's literally the only thing I've ever found that worked in my PTSD patients in particular.

There's this hypervigilant switch that pops in these folks. If you've been in an active theater of war, your head's on a swivel, you're making sure that you're okay at all times. That just doesn't turn off when you come home. I'm not suggesting everybody goes out and smokes weed to sleep. But what I am saying is, there's something there. There are lots of sleep related products in the dispensaries. Most of them, to be fair, don't work particularly well. I do believe that THC is an important component in reduction of anxiety. I believe that CBN, which is one of the cannabinoids, can be very important in helping with sleep. There's some interesting data to suggest that.

One of the only things I was able to find for my veterans to help them sleep after they had been in an active theater of war was cannabis.

Unfortunately, with CBD, you'd have to have a tremendous amount of it as far as the data is concerned for it to be really effective. But for PTSD, I think we're close. I'm excited to see some of those cannabis studies come out.

Depression is a whole different ball game. In my mind, I think of PTSD as more on the anxiety side of things. Depression in and of itself is very interesting when you look at it. For example, most people, you don't see REM sleep approach until about 80 minutes into the cycle. For people with depression, they're in REM sleep 30 minutes in.

Sometimes when we're in the sleep lab, we can identify somebody with depression before they even know they have it, which is an interesting concept. It's a biomarker, if you will, for depression, which I think is in and of itself, quite interesting as well. Again, there's lots of different ways to approach all of these different things. Obviously, it's all about good medicine and good science.

Is the delivery method of cannabis important?

Yes, great question. I would argue that the preferred administration method would probably be a tincture, like a dropper with a liquid that you could put underneath your tongue. Because for sleep, we have to get it up and into your brain fairly quickly. And so, if it's a gummy, you got to eat it, it's got to go down to your belly, it's got to mix around, it's got to get back up there. You're talking about 90 minutes or so.

I'd love to see a tincture that would work a little bit faster. Things of that nature, I think, would make sense.

For those who work late at night in front of a computer, is it the light of the computer (or whatever device they’re using) that’s keeping them awake? Or is it their brain being an absolute beehive of activity?

Dude, it's both. It's a two-factor thing here. So, I'm the only sleep doctor, I think, in the universe who says it's okay to fall asleep with the television on, because it's passive content. You're lying back, and content is just flowing over you.

You're watching an old episode of Seinfeld, you close your eyes, you're barely listening, and you fall asleep. That's very different than trying to get your high score on Candy Crush or get through as many work things as you can. That's an active engagement that I think we want to say “No thank you” too. It's both the blue light and the active brain.

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

Show up. I show up positive, and that's been a struggle for me for a long time, but that's really what I do every single day. I wear a bracelet and it's got ‘Positivity’ and ‘Patience’ on it. I think about those two things every day. If I can do those two things, I am good to go.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🧭 Find your chronotype.

📙 The Sleep Doctor blog.

📝 The Sleep Doctor Facebook.

😎 Sleep glasses.

📚 The Power of When by Dr Michael Breus.

💡 Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light.

🧘 The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

👟 Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

💚 Have a podcast of your own and want to monetize it? Join us at We Are Podcast.

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.”

Carrie Snow

Today, we sit down with the world’s foremost authority on sleep.

Dr Michael Breus is a three-time bestselling author, clinical psychologist, and sleep educator. He has appeared all over television, including Oprah, The Today Show, and on The Dr Oz show more than 40 times. Dr Breus is also a regular contributor to major publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

When he’s not doing media appearances, Dr Breus works with some of the most successful individuals on the planet who want to perform at their peak with as little sleep as possible.

In this interview, we’ll go through:

Let’s WIN THE DAY with Dr Michael Breus!

🎁 YOUR CHANCE TO WIN:

We have three copies of Dr Breus’ book to giveaway! To enter, either leave a comment on YouTube or on Apple Podcasts with your #1 takeaway from this episode with Dr Breus. Three people will be selected and the book will be mailed to wherever you are in the world.

🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🧭 Find your chronotype.

📙 The Sleep Doctor blog.

📝 The Sleep Doctor Facebook.

😎 Sleep glasses.

📚 The Power of When by Dr Michael Breus.

💡 Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light.

🧘 The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

👟 Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

💚 Have a podcast of your own and want to monetize it? Join us at We Are Podcast.

“No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to victory.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome to Win the Day with James Whittaker! If this is your first time here, we sit down with some of the world’s true legends to help you take ownership of your financial, physical and mental health.

And our guest today is the perfect intersection of those three areas.

Gabby Reece is a volleyball legend, an entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, a mum, a wife, fitness coach, host of The Gabby Reece Show, and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s been featured on Dr Oz, The Today Show,  and the Joe Rogan podcast, and was the first female spokeswoman for Nike.

In September 2020, Gabby and her husband — big wave surfer Laird Hamilton — listed their plant-based food company Laird Superfood on the New York Stock Exchange, just five years after they launched it.

Gabby and Laird are also the founders of Extreme Performance Training (known as XPT), designed to stimulate growth in all aspects of human performance through exposure to a variety of natural elements and environments. Essentially, they kick your ass through breath optimization, functional movement, and recovery techniques like ice baths and hot saunas.

Like all of us, Gabby’s journey has had its ups and downs, which we’ll get into — but what I love most about her is her hunger to gain new perspectives, while keeping it real at the same time.

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

Let’s win the day with Gabby Reece!

James Whittaker:
Gabby, great to see you. Thanks for coming on the show.

Gabby Reece:
Thank you for coming to my house and hanging out with me!

You had situations when you were young that forced you to grow up very fast. When did you feel like you developed a growth mindset for the first time?

I don't know if that's ever a conscious thing. I'm always nervous when people make the conscious effort like, "I'm going to have a growth mindset." I think it's something that some people are born with, and then I think some people realize, "Hey, I'm going along, and this doesn't seem to be working. Maybe I could do that differently. That seems like a good reason."

For me, it was a survival reaction. It was scanning ahead to try to anticipate so that I could not only land someplace that I wanted to but that was going to be essential to my survival too. When you do that long enough, and then combine it with athletics – because the thing about athletics, your goal is to always improve. So why not take that focus of continuous improvement off the court and do that as a human being? Because we spend a lot more time away from athletics living as people.

We always say there's a difference between ‘winners’ and ‘champions’. I was always more interested in trying to continue to develop as a human being. Also, when you have the opportunity to express yourself – or have your life reflect you – you start to recognize, hopefully, that it's a gift. Then you want to participate in not only maintaining it, but then seeing if you can continue to expand that.

What helped you learn effectively when you were young? Was it the athletic pursuits that gave you that structure and a finish line to set your sights on? Or were there any books that helped in your journey, too?

A friend gave me Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged when I was 15, and I was around adults who were not modeling certain things. I was looking for that structure, so I self-inflicted it. By nature, I have a little bit of a rigidity that I was born with. Then it got, I think, accentuated by my environment. Once I became involved in sports, I realized that progress is about systematizing certain things and having a practice. Everything is about practice. If you ask me now at this time of my life, I would say to people, "We have all the information. We just have to practice."

Everything is about practice.

All of those elements really helped me continue to do that, so you're also quick to understand, "What can I participate in, and what am I in control of?” and “I can't control that” or “I have to get up.” It's helped me pull the cord when I needed to and just move on. I think that you learn to do that quickly, too.

As you said, people usually know what they need to do. But it's that discipline, every single day, to just get it done.

Yes, but personal accountability and truthfulness are so important. One thing I did love about sports is I always felt really honest, and you couldn't hide. Let's say, for example, I was having a bad game, but my teammates are playing well. You would learn how to tuck in behind that. You could still come away winning even if you didn't perform well. But within that, you’re being honest with yourself and saying, "Hey, I didn't play my best” or “I didn't participate as much” or what have you.

It’s about always having that honest check in, "Maybe I don't feel like it” or “I want to be angry” or “I want to exercise my ego and let that person know I want to exert force.” It's just being that honest all the time in all the scenarios as much as you can.

That athletic background seems to be such a great foundation for people who are able to use those principles later in life. Obviously, you're still very actively involved in fitness and holistic health. Today, when you’re not training for a gold medal or a finish line, where does that motivation to get up and give it your best every single day come from?

My middle daughter who's 17, we talk about this a lot. In the last few years, I’ve really identified that there's a part of me who’s a very blue-collar person in certain ways. Also, I don't need to lose my health. I've had enough athletic surgeries and things like that. I don't need to lose my health to covet it and to understand – besides my family and my friends – that it is truly the greatest asset that I have. Houses and cars, I don't get distracted in that.

I don't need to lose my health to covet it.

The other thing I'm doing is I'm practicing. When people talk about gratitude, the best way I can show that, "Hey, I'm really grateful for my health," is to take care of it. That's ultimately what I'm doing.

The other side of that is it's a level of sanity. I mean, I am a better functioning organism if I can also take care of the physical avatar to the best of my ability. It's a law of the universe. It's the truth, and so I don't need to keep relearning that lesson. I know what the lesson is, and I'm just ahead with it.

How often do you define and redefine what success is to you personally? Are you always acutely aware of having a definition of what is important to you or what success looks like to you?

Absolutely. Well, there's parts where I'm already clear about what success is, like keeping my family in as much of a loving environment as possible. That's not always... I don't always do that myself. It's just not always practical. And being in a relationship where I'm here to serve the relationship, and hopefully, my husband's on the same page, because I can't make him do anything.

Then there’s my physical health, as well as continuous environments to continue to learn and improve, be it in really small ways. I know at my core if it feels successful to me. Then I enjoy setting new external goals, such as in business. In 2020, for example, like you stated earlier, “We're going to run this over the goal line and take this company public” which, to be clear, was after having many failures. So, I think you've got your foundation that you're always going to stick to, and then you're expanding in your external goals of what success is.

Actually, the big thing for me is figuring out how I can strip everything down and keep simplifying as I get older. Let's say our businesses are growing and expanding, but even within that, how do I simplify and keep simplifying, because the thing I'm really drawn to is that essentialism. It’s not about parties and boats and stuff. Drilling down to simplify, that’s always part of it.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Gabby Reece 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 🚀


You’re at a time of your life now where you’ve got many options and different things to do. It sounds like that focus and simplicity can help you move forward effectively, rather than get distracted and ultimately be ineffective in a whole bunch of different areas.

I’m really happy you brought up the failures you’ve had too, because people from the outside looking in might think, “Gabby Reece has this perfect life,” but of course, we all have these struggles behind the scenes. Your entire life has been about peak performance, physical fitness, and mental health. What have you incorporated into your daily routine today as a result of a lifetime of that pursuit?

First, it's the easy practice of going to bed early. Listen, let's be really clear about something. I have a built-in person in my home who also makes this a lot easier, because he's even more disciplined than I am. It's obnoxious, but he is in a pursuit.

Of course, we all know it, but food is the thing. It's the medicine that can put you in an energetic mood or it can put you in a funk. With exercise, it's about consistency, so I'll do pool training or land training, but there's plenty of days I don't actually have time to train. I just try to support my wellbeing through these other practices – good sleep, good relationships, and clear communication.

A big thing is, I avoid drama. I don't move towards things that I know piss me off. If I see a scenario personally or with friends, and it's not for me to work out, I just stay away. I think it's all of these things. Having a practice also goes back to keeping it simple, where I'm trying to not onload extra crap. I'm trying to figure out how to offload, rather than, "Can you believe they said that?" It's like, "They said it. I didn't like it. Why would I continue to repeat that and keep that story going, versus finding the place within me to work it out?"

I don't move towards things that I know piss me off.

That’s the other great thing. I can say, "Hey, I want to talk about something that really pissed me off and got me going today," even in that bratty way, where I responded with my ego and just totally identify it and then let it go. It’s about having these practices where you know yourself and you can move towards the place that you say you want to be. That all comes from practice.

There’s so much to unpack in all that. I love that it's more a pursuit of simplicity and the lifestyle that you want to live – a lifestyle that gives you energy – rather than it being the summit of some type of mountain or an achievement over the horizon.

Given how focused you are on the health / fitness side, what's an average menu look like in the Gabby Reece household!?

It's just anything with real food. You just heard my daughter complain, "There's no snacks!" Of course, there's weird funky food, because I don't want to make this an issue for my kids. This is our lifestyle. They will make their choices.

However, when we make dinner, it's high-quality animal protein, just a little bit, which usually means humanely killed, and vegetables. It's just real food; it's really not complicated. I try to be careful about what oils we eat, so I stay towards coconut oil, avocado oil and olive oil, and also try to find the good stuff, because even a lot of olive oils have sunflower and safflower oil to make it more affordable. Our health is important to us so we aim for high quality ingredients.

People have to realize a lot of the reason, other than emotional reasons, that we overeat is because we're not getting the nutrients that we need – the macronutrients, the micronutrients, the good fats – so we overeat. If we’re eating food that doesn't have nutritional stuff in it, our body will be like, "Well, I'm not full, so I need to keep eating." What people have to realize too is that if you eat a lot of the good stuff, because it is more costly, and I'm sensitive to that, is you do need less of it.

If you're eating for other reasons besides being hungry, it's also taking a look at why that is. When I have stress in my life, believe me – we were talking earlier about your chocolate that you love [here it is if you’re interested; be warned ... it's addictive!] – I'm looking for it. I'm looking to medicate, right? I think it's always about being aware of those relationships, and then be like, "You know what, I am eating this chip because I hate everyone in my house right now!” But at least I know why I'm eating. I'm not doing it mindlessly, and it’s not all the time.

For me, I usually skip breakfast. I have a very big coffee, with tons of fat. I train. I might eat my biggest meal at lunch, depending on how I'm feeling. If I'm very active, I will eat two decent-sized meals at lunch and dinner. If I'm medium active, lunch usually gets to be the big one, maybe not dinner at all, or maybe something light, and that's it. Again, it's not really complicated, very simple things, very few ingredients.

Have you got the kids to work in the kitchen yet!?

Yes, my older two daughters are great cooks! Laird has other things that are his strong suit, so this one is more in my lane. It's the common joke of, "What's for dinner?" But that's the thing you realize, too, is that you have to model to your kids what they should be eating to be healthy. It's food and fun, and they always come back to it.

As teenagers, they want to eat weird non-food, and you just have to let them. Let them. You don't have to stock it in the house, but if they go and eat whatever, let them, and then they're always going to come back to the real food because also they feel better, and they know it. The funny thing is we don't have a microwave oven in our home, so you have to make the effort.

Yeah, so you probably enjoy it more too.

Yeah, and I think getting away from that convenience. I think we need to cherish ourselves enough, even if it takes a few minutes to notice what we're eating and how to prepare it. I just think that that's an important thing.

You've done so much in your life and are still doing so much. How do you balance that hunger for future achievements with happiness and peace in the present?

One great thing about accomplishment is that you realize it isn’t the answer. Accomplishment is just a marker that you had an instinct about something, or a passion for something, and the accomplishment is a validation. I even look at money that way. It's just an indication like, "Oh, that worked out, right?" You realize that it's unsustainable, so if you don't have a relationship with having a sense of fulfillment and connection with the people in your life, and a real life, you're going to be looking and chasing those external accomplishments forever.

You can be a champion one day, but the next day there’s someone else. For me, it's saying, "Hey, I'm going to pursue things that I believe in; that I'm willing to wake up for when it sucks, and that I feel proud to be connected with, whether it’s a message or a product.” It’s about doing it for real reasons, and, yes, being strategic about it – sometimes to a point that you can’t even see.

It seems disingenuous, but I've gotten good enough at certain things that it's blurred. It's all very genuine and authentic. But believe me, it's very strategic. It doesn't mean I'm lying. It just means I've learned how to put it all together. It's that pursuit for that challenge, because I need to keep myself busy and occupied, but that it's always having a level of feeling about myself, and my value has to be based on me. It can’t be based on this week’s success and opportunity, because next week might suck and there might be no opportunity, and you'll die with that attitude.

What in life gives you the most peace? And what advice do you have for others who feel that life is a bit too hectic?

That's the thing. It's on us, and it's nothing from the external. Anytime I take myself really seriously, I quickly realize I'm a grain of sand. I think when you can always have this perspective, you get a more realistic look at things and your responses to things.

Laird says it all the time that you can't put your happiness in other people's hands. That's why I train. That's why I try to go to bed early, so I feel good. That's why I'm trying to be as kind and loving in my relationships as I can be, because that's all I'm in charge of.

I'm going to pursue things that I believe in; that I'm willing to wake up for when it sucks, and that I feel proud to be connected with.

If there's something that I need to do, or I need an external validation, then I need to take a look at that, because that's my ego. Listen, ego is important. You need it to go, but you can’t let it drive the vehicle. I think if people are feeling restless, you need to survey all the corners of your life, starting with your relationship with yourself and your health, then go from there to those most intimate relationships.

Then, look at your work. If you fricking hate your job, what is the strategy to find the next thing? Don't be an idiot. Don't just be like, "I'm out of here." It's like, "Okay, wait a second. What’s the plan I can create to get me where I want to be?” I have a friend, Neil Strauss, who said it’s like being on parallel trains. It's never going to be easy to make change, but if you're really doing something that you absolutely can't stand, figure it out.

Yeah, and get on the front foot. Any plan is better than a prayer, rather than thinking that a lightning bolt is going to hit you and all of a sudden you’re going to be happy in a role you’ve hated for 40 years.

I am of the belief of always focusing, and I don't always do it. I'm just of the belief, but it's part of my practice. It's not about what I don't want. It's about continuing to focus and look at, "What do I want? What am I interested and working really hard at?" Just the pursuit would be a success, right, because we cannot control outcome. I think that's a really important thing if the energy is about, "Where am I going? What do I want? Who do I want to be with? Who do I want to be?" Rather than, "Well, I don't want to do that. I don't want to fail. I can't stand my..."

Be clear on what you want and put your energy into that. It means also that you have to be a grown up, and everything you do, everything you say, everything you eat, everything that you read, unless it's guilty pleasures, needs to support that thing that you say you want. If they're in conflict, it's never going to happen.

You mentioned people feeling restless. We know that 2020 has been a year of massive transition for the entire world. How did your life change in 2020?

Obviously with the kids being around, and we haven't traveled that much, I'm going to say that we're really on the good end of this as far as we live in a place with space, because we're entrepreneurs. We've always worked from home. Now, we don't fly to meetings; we're on Zoom like everyone else.

I stopped watching the news many, many months ago. Energetically, I feel that there's a weird divisiveness going on. It's stating the obvious, but what I really want to do is keep focusing on participating in the energy of being calm and loving, because I think that there are forces right now that are trying to make us all feel like we don't trust each other and that we don't love each other. We can't come to some mutual agreement, even when we don't agree. See, that's the thing. We're in a democracy, so we have to figure out how to work it out.

Yes, there are certainly a lot of companies and individuals who benefit from division.

I don't want to participate in that game. I recognize that I can't get to the bottom of a lot of things. I won't know what the truth is, and so rather than being all perplexed or stressed out about it, I am going to be like, "Well, what do I want to be?" I just practice that and fortify myself.

Be clear on what you want and put your energy into that.

Going back to COVID, we've been really fortunate. It has made me look at how the world shifted quickly in business and in technology, so that was an interesting thing. You're always adapting and adjusting. Because I am older, these certain things are not intuitive, so if you're talking about business, it's really paying attention to where's the soul heading, and finding the right people to get informed by or who to work with, because you can't possibly adjust as quickly as it's adjusted.

Another thing, if I talk about my business, there are opportunities to think, "Oh, I'm going to evaluate this because there’s an area where I probably need to brush up on and get re-educated."

This year, 2021, continues to be really interesting for the world. There are a lot of people who are having a pity party and feeling sorry for themselves, but if there's one thing I do know about success, it's that how you respond to adversity when it inevitably strikes is what separates ordinary people from extraordinary achievers. What's the biggest adversity that you have faced that you have been able to identify an equivalent benefit from?

Like I said, I've had failed businesses, but nothing really is that apparent. You think, "Oh, I'm going to show up the best way that I can, and I'm going to do the very best I can, and really be alert and try to do all these things." But what happens is inevitably, your children or child – and every kid’s different – will say to you, "Oh, by the way, that thing you were doing for five years, I hated that, and that was the worst for me. I was actually quietly suffering over here, and you didn't even notice."

Business failure, it's only going to come in so deep on me. But my family and especially parenting, what you learn is you can crawl up in a ball. You can say, "Well, this is how I do it, so when you get out in your life, you'll do it your way." There are certain things that are true to that, like how clean you keep your house.

But when you're talking about the emotional stuff, what you actually have to do as a parent is so fricking uncomfortable, because you have to say, "Alright, I'm going to take a look at that, and maybe I need to make a change." That's a change when you're 100% well intended, and it’s really important for people to know that you can be in a relationship, or you can be a parent, and you have the best intentions in the world, and still be wrong. Even within that, you have to take a look at it, because usually, we say, "I'm well intended. I'm here, and that should be enough." But that's sometimes not the case. Those have been the most difficult changes for me, especially when a lot of that stuff worked in my life.

I wanted to bring up parenting with you because one of the things I love about you is that you never romanticize parenting, relationships, or anything like that. You always keep it very real. What is the biggest fear you have for your children as they grow up?

For example, having a 20-month-old daughter, my biggest fear for her is that one day she's going to wake up and realize that the world is a very big, dark, scary place. How I gently usher her in to be resilient enough to handle that is something I think about every day, and will constantly be on my mind as she gets older. What's the biggest fear you have for your children?

My kids are a little more formed because they’re aged 12, 17 and 25, so you get a sense of them. It's hard when they're 20 months old. I have a lot of confidence in who they will be and who they are as people, even though it can be a bumpy ride. It's like having a vehicle where you're on a really radical road, but you're like, "No, the tires are going to stay on. We'll make it."

Technology is really interesting. Before, I'd be like, "Oh, I hope they have a job, and they find someone they love and who loves them back." Now, I just hope that they survive technology. That they have the ability to connect, to focus, to not compare, and also their relationship to the environment.

Worrying about it probably doesn't do any good, so I just continue to have those conversations with them. I apologize when I blow it. If I don't understand, I tell them, "I don't really understand." That's another thing. When I said to my parents, "You don't understand," my parents better understood what I was going through than what I understand about what my kids are going through, because they're growing up with devices. I don't understand, and so I've really said, "Okay, I'm going to look at it." I don't use the metrics of how I grew up in the '80s to what they're going through today.

By the way, yeah, we work hard at it. The Gordon Gekko type style, that attitude doesn't work. It's also having some malleability. In certain ways, I feel like, "Oh, they're all soft and a bunch of complainers," but the way we did it didn't work, so let's see what happens.

Sure. This generation cops a bad rap for not being as tough as the previous generations. In many ways, I feel like it would be extremely tough to grow up today, where every single thing that you write or every picture that you send is out there in the public domain, and you never know when something like that is going to come back to haunt you.

Think about their ability, their emotional awareness. Sometimes for me, it goes too far. For example, when people say, "Oh, the way you're talking offends me." It's like, "Stop it. Figure out how to protect yourself." However, within that middle, somewhere in there, there's an opportunity to really have better conversations, so I think we can learn from them, of course.

I worry about technology. I worry that our humanity and technology and biology is not how we can find that harmony, because technology also is such a valuable industry, and what they monetize on is often not what supports humanity and our biology. How then do we figure that out?

Where do you interject between that freedom of letting your children experience life – which is, probably, the best teacher, if they can go through these experiences themselves – versus having that feeling deep down that they are going down a wrong route, whether it's spending too much money that they don't have on a credit card, or hanging around people who might not have their best interests at heart?

Well, the people thing is, it's their journey. I mean, obviously, if it's really radical, you'd step in. I would send Laird, quite frankly. My kids are pretty tough, so it's more about trying to get them to self-regulate.  Somebody corrected me once. I said it’s about getting them to self-control themselves, and I had a woman named Dr. Sarah Sarkis go, "A better expression is self-regulate, because control has a whole other set of things, right?"

For me, it's just about, "Here's the world, and these are some things you have to look out for. And trust your instincts. Don't lose those."

Get your kids to do all the weird stuff when they're living at home.

One of my daughters was really interested in being with a bunch of popular girls. Well, let me tell you, when she made a mistake, they were gone. That's an uncomfortable lesson, but it was also like, "That's a reflection of who you were being."

And without using, "I told you so," because you can't do that. I don't think you can protect them too much; I don't think that's a good idea. Also, I would say to people, get your kids to do all the weird stuff when they're living at home. Hopefully, don't send them into the world unprepared and then you're not really there to help them out. At least if they fall in their face, which we all do, you can be around.

You and Laird do such a great job of being supportive of each other's individual dreams. How do you retain that shared bond as a couple, while giving yourself the freedom to be yourself and do what you got to do in the world?

Well, Laird certainly more than I am, but Laird is really not to be contained as a person. Laird's here because he chooses to be here. When I met Laird, he was obviously surfing. That is a part of who Laird is, so if you want to be with Laird, it be a good idea to support that.

Also, I benefit so greatly from who Laird is because of that pursuit – his rawness, his presence, his capacity, all the things that he's quite talented at – I reap the benefits of that pursuit. And it's a pursuit I admire, "Oh, you want to go into nature and challenge yourself? I can support that." It's not like, "Hey, I want to smash this company and take this one over." It's pretty pure. Both of us came into it as individual people, so what we've decided is that there's parts in here that we would like to be together.

Couples make a huge mistake where all of a sudden they start trying to change the other person. I think it's more natural for women to do this, because we're mothers, so we mother everybody. It's really important, I believe, for us to all adapt and change. Let's say I'm in a conversation with Laird, and I make a reasonable point about wanting maybe something, and it seems reasonable to him, then make the change. But I'm not there to be Laird’s mom. I'm Laird's partner. When I understood that really clearly, that was made very clear by Laird, it liberated me from having that approach.

Also, if I don't defend my real estate as a wife and a mother, I'm going to be really pissed when this is all over, and they don't talk to you about that, but I knew that going in. I would always encourage, especially women who are pursuing business, you have to find a way to defend your real estate because your kids aren't going to say, "Mom, I'm going to take less of your time. Mom, you know what, you look tired. I'll tell you what, I'll unload the dishwasher." They're just not going to do that. That's not their job, and your partner isn't typically going to make it really clear, right?

Couples make a huge mistake where all of a sudden they start trying to change the other person.

Women have a tendency, not all, there's always exceptions, to anticipate everybody. Like, "Oh, he needs to go on a little adventure. Look at him. He's so domesticated and restless. Oh, the kids look like they haven't gone outside enough," but really, as a female, I think that's important to defend that for yourself. That sounds selfish and harsh, but I think it's realistic. I've been doing this for 25 years, and it seems to be what I see over and over.

The idea would be join the relationship to enhance. Come with the objective to enhance the situation and enhance your partner's life. Hopefully, your partner is on the same page. If after a while, they're not, that's on them, and that's on you to decide what you want to do. Then it is your responsibility to care for your own personal voice.

It changes when you have a little baby. I used to say you blow on the fire. Just try to keep the fire alive a little. As they get older and they're more independent, you can let the flame blaze up again. Again, it's assessing, checking in, noticing, and seeing when things start getting out of whack.


Check out the YouTube or podcast version where Gabby Reece 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 🚀


Yeah, and staying true to yourself. If your partner is about to have some freedom individually but you're pissed off at each other, they can’t enjoy their time away, and when they come back you still hate each other. Therefore, the time away never accomplished what it needed to.

Laird jokes that we’re in the Cold War, him and I, because we have a very peaceful relationship. There’s a lot we don’t do. We don't do fighting or bickering or whatever. Really, it's probably because we're both too mean, so we don't even know.

Also, let's say he's in a bad mood, I am way more effective. I don't go, "Why are you in a bad mood?" I elevate my behavior, and sure enough, it pulls him up. Same with me. If I'm down and out and funky, and I watch Laird, and he's staying in his best self, I'm reminded like, "Oh, that's the standard. That's what we're doing.” We're not going to make anybody do anything. The idea of being in relationship where you don't want to try to make it better for your partner, at some point, it's like, "Why bother?"

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

I show up every day to do my best and create value. If it requires 20, I'll always do 22.

And I try really hard to not allow my ego to be in charge. I save myself a lot of hassle when I can just look at things reasonably, process them, and make decisions from that attitude — be it in business or personal. It seems to be more effective in the long run.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🎧 The Gabby Reece Show.

😋 Laird Superfood (I start every morning with an espresso shot and a tablespoon of Laird Superfood Creamer).

💪 XPT Extreme Performance Training.

📝 Gabrielle Reece on Facebook.

📷 Gabby Reece on Instagram.

⚡ Gabrielle Reece website.

📙 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

“No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to victory.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Welcome to Win the Day with James Whittaker! If this is your first time here, we sit down with some of the world’s true legends to help you take ownership of your financial, physical and mental health.

And our guest today is the perfect intersection of those three areas.

Gabby Reece is a volleyball legend, an entrepreneur, a keynote speaker, a mum, a wife, fitness coach, host of The Gabby Reece Show, and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s been featured on Dr Oz, The Today Show,  and the Joe Rogan podcast, and was the first female spokeswoman for Nike.

In September 2020, Gabby and her husband — big wave surfer Laird Hamilton — listed their plant-based food company Laird Superfood on the New York Stock Exchange, just five years after they launched it.

Gabby and Laird are also the founders of Extreme Performance Training (known as XPT), designed to stimulate growth in all aspects of human performance through exposure to a variety of natural elements and environments. Essentially, they kick your ass through breath optimization, functional movement, and recovery techniques like ice baths and hot saunas.

Like all of us, Gabby’s journey has had its ups and downs, which we’ll get into — but what I love most about her is her hunger to gain new perspectives, while keeping it real at the same time.

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

Let’s win the day with Gabby Reece!

 🎞️ For the video interview, click here.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🎧 The Gabby Reece Show.

😋 Laird Superfood (I start every morning with an espresso shot and a tablespoon of Laird Superfood Creamer).

💪 XPT Extreme Performance Training.

📝 Gabrielle Reece on Facebook.

📷 Gabby Reece on Instagram.

⚡ Gabrielle Reece website.

📙 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

💚 Have a podcast of your own and want to monetize it? Join us at We Are Podcast.

“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

Benjamin E. Mays

Do you know why most people fail each year, despite the best of intentions? 🤔

In this episode, we talk about the #1 cause of failure. I'll also reveal the exact goal-setting method I use so you can join the thousands of people in 20+ countries who use it to start each year full of confidence and make big things happen.

We'll also go through:

If you find this episode valuable, share it with a friend; then, go to Apple Podcasts and leave a rating with your favorite takeaway from this episode.

🎞️ For the video episode, click here.


Resources / Links Mentioned:

🗝️ Learn more about The Day Won Mastermind.

⚡ Download your FREE success plan.

🧭 Order your hundred board for goal accountability.

🎙️ Register for We Are Podcast and learn how to make money from your podcast. For 35% off ANY ticket, use code: WINTHEDAY

“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

Benjamin E. Mays

I always start each year supremely confident, and 2021 is no exception. In fact, despite everything going on in the world, I am more confident this year than ever before. That’s because I’ve spent years (what feels like a lifetime) learning, applying and refining what I believe is the most effective goal-setting system available.

But most people fail because they don't even know where to start.

Last week, for the first time ever, I ran two 90-minute goal-setting workshops so I could walk people through the exact process I use to set goals that work, so they could also start the year full of confidence and know exactly what they needed to do to realize their big dreams in 2021.

The response was huge – people from 10+ countries registered – and we had people in the hot-seat so they could action things in real time and implement the system that all but guarantees their success. Which, if done correctly, is something that can be replicated year after year.

For those of you who missed the workshop, unfortunately there isn’t a replay, but you can download your free Success Plan here:

🚀 Success Plan Template (Updated for 2021)

When you download it, you’ll find two tabs:

  1. The first tab is for you to map out everything you want in your life. And I mean everything. It should be exhilarating to fill this out because it’s your literal wish-list for the universe.
  2. Then, on the second tab, you’ll see a comprehensive summary of how all the pieces of the puzzle fit in.

It’s simple to complete your Success Plan – I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. The hard part is having the discipline to sit down and actually do it, and that’s the one thing I can’t help you with.

The reason most people fail in life is because they don’t know what they want. Over time, that reactive personality means they’re exposed to distraction and procrastination and forced to accept whatever fate hands them.

And the reason most people don’t know what they want is because they don’t know who they are.

With all my clients, the first thing we do is find out exactly who you are – and then create a bulletproof plan to make sure you can be proactive about your life. This ensure you're clear on: your mission, what values determine your daily actions, and what you need to do TODAY to get you where you need to be.

That's how you create freedom, in every sense of the word.

So, now we know that most people don’t even set goals. In fact, most people spend more time planning their social lives than they do their actual life. And when you add in that most people don’t know who they are, that’s mistake 1 and 2 – both of which are fatal mistakes.

There’s a statistic I share at every speech I do and that’s by the second week of February, out of everyone who has set goals (or new years resolutions) for the year, 80% of people have already give up on the year. That’s right, only 1 in 5 of those people who actually set goals in the first place – which is a minority percentage to begin with – is still focused on achieving those goals, just SIX weeks after they were set.

Right now, I want you to stop reading, go to whatever calendar you use (e.g. Google Calendar), and create a new entry for Monday, 8th February at 7am. In capital letters, write “WIN THE DAY” followed by some emojis that will make it stand out.

When that calendar notification goes off, I want you to go extra hard that day. Let it be your motivation that on the one day when almost everyone else has quit, you’re the exception to the rule – you’re setting the example of what an inspired life looks like.

And if you want to know how to do that, just imagine there’s a film crew following you around and creating a movie about your life – and on that day, Monday, 8th February, they’re with you from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep on that day. Show them how deserving you are of everything that will come into your life with this plan you’ve created.

Now, there's one goal that always eluded me and that's meditating consistently. We're all aware of the benefits of meditation, but I’ve never been able to stick with meditation for long enough to experience those benefits.

So I bought what’s called a ‘hundred board’ – less than $10 on Amazon for a whole bunch of them. Basically, each row has 10 numbers, so the whole board is numbered 1 to 100. Each day, when I do a meditation, I draw a big red "X" over the number. And guess what? I haven’t missed a single meditation since I started it over a month ago.

It’s a simple idea: no one wants to break the chain once it’s started, so I just leave the hundred board on my keyboard so I can’t start week each day until I’ve done the meditation. It’s quite satisfying to draw the red "X" each morning, and it’s also broken down the more challenging goal of 100 daily meditations in a row into one simple task each day.

There’s nothing that can happen in my day that would stop my from getting this done – it unlocks that competitive fire within.

It doesn’t matter what your goal is. If there’s something you struggle with, get a hundred board and get moving with your red crosses. I’m looking forward to having a hundred board for other areas very soon, too.

This is the exact process that Jerry Seinfeld used to write better jokes when he was an aspiring comedian. Seinfeld knew that the best way to become a renowned comedian was to tell better jokes, and the best way to tell better jokes was to write every day. He used this red "X" system to ensure that every day he was getting words on a page that became the foundation of the comedy career he built, which led to shows like Seinfeld – regarded as one of the best shows of all time (and one of my personal favorites) – that made Jerry Seinfeld a billionaire.

On this goal setting process, Seinfeld said: "After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain. Don't break the chain."

Very wise words from a true legend.

While there’s no replay of our goal-setting workshop, I’ve got a big announcement to make! On the 22nd of February I’ll be running The Day Won Mastermind for 12 lucky people who are going to get access to experiences you can’t get anywhere else. For three months, I’ll be working closely with you to get crystal clear on what you want in life and then give you a bulletproof plan to achieve it.

Who is The Day Won Mastermind for? It’s for you if you want to significantly boost your income, establish relationships at the highest level, and position yourself as an authority in your industry. Because that’s what I do best.

In the last 12 months alone, I've worked with people in more than a dozen countries to achieve massive results. In that time, my clients have:

And that's just what they achieved with their business.

The truth is that the right blueprint will transform literally EVERY part of your life.

But it’s not just me, and the other participants, who will be helping you on The Day Won Mastermind. I'll also be bringing in some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet LIVE to help you action things in real time and give you all the answers and support you need.

How would your life change if you had:

They’re just some of the people who will be available live to help YOU blast through your obstacles, map out your path to financial freedom, and grow your business.

So if you have your own business or you’re in professional services (e.g. perhaps you’re a consultant, real estate agent, financial planner, podcaster, speaker), The Day Won Mastermind will transform your life like nothing you’ve seen before. And it even comes with a 100% moneyback guarantee, so there’s literally zero risk.

💡 Learn more about The Day Won Mastermind

The people who join The Day Won Mastermind become part of my inner circle and friends for life. It’s that simple. If you’ve ever wanted me to help you personally, there’s not better option than this.

AND there's $2,000+ in exclusive bonuses.

But, to make sure I can allocate enough time to each of you, there are only 12 spots available and, like last year, all of them will be taken. So if you’re interested click here and together (along with the special guests I’ll be bringing along) we’ll make 2021 your best year yet, guaranteed.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

Ready to win the day™, every day? 

Actionable tips from James and exclusive interviews with the world's leading experts to help you win the day. Delivered to your inbox every two weeks 🔥
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