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Generating Wellth – Jason Wachob

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The Urban Monk – Generating Wellth with Guest Jason Wachob

Choosing Wellth Instead of Wealth

Is your drive for wealth and success leading your life?

Real wealth doesn’t leave us wondering, “What’s next? Is that all there is?” Jason Wachob, the founder, and CEO of mindbodygreen defines it as a balance of mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and environmental well-being.

He also calls it “Wellth.” It’s a different way to measure success. It values purpose, happiness, health, and joy. The plan to achieve “wellth” includes exercise, proper nutrition, laughter, relationships, spirituality, gratitude, and time in nature.

Frat Boy to Wellness Entrepreneur

Jason was an Ivy League graduate and an equities trader. He realized that there were limits to the happiness that money and parties could bring.

At the same time, he was experiencing this existential crisis, he was also suffering from bad back pain. He rejected the advice of two surgeons to have back surgery and did his healing with yoga.

He got the entrepreneurial bug and tried out a couple of businesses before founding mindbodygreen. He approached this endeavor cautiously and had it in beta for two years.

From hard-partying college kid to high-living trader to living with his Mom, to wellness entrepreneur. He wants you to learn from his experience and seek balance and wellth.

Balance

You can pursue happiness and gratitude and still set goals, pursue excellence, and seek financial success. Finding balance is the key. You don’t need always to be in balance. In fact, the advice of Aikido’s founder, O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba, can be useful:

“After observing O Sensei sparring with an accomplished fighter, a young student said to the master, ‘You never lose your balance. What is your secret?’

‘You are wrong,’ O Sensei replied. ‘I am constantly losing my balance. My skill lies in my ability to regain it.’”

Finding balance will involve different paths for each of us.

Too often, we ignore our intuition and put spirituality to the side as we pursue more “concrete” goals. Ironically, moving deeper into our intuition and spirituality can also make us more productive.

You may not be able to live your dream life right away. Jason’s book is not a manual for quitting your job and working on the beach. What you can do is place what he calls “passion points” around your core job. Ideally, whatever, you’re doing, you will seek flow. Jason uses the following quoteto explain the concept:

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
― Lawrence Pearsall Jacks

How should you seek balance?

  • Develop a gratitude practice.
  • Uncover the things that make you come alive.
  • Spend a little time every day in Nature – even if it’s the city’s local park.
  • Learn how to breathe the right way and make the time to do it.
  • Exercise – the right fitness plan is the one that you’ll commit to. If you’re at a loss, start with yoga.
  • Surround yourself with people who support your efforts at balance.
  • Eat a diet that’s right for you.
  • Laugh more – Have you heard of “Laughing Yoga”?

You can find his book here:

“Wellth: How I Learned To Build A Life, Not A Resume”

The Hardest Decision You Can Make Is To Take That First Step - @JasonWachob via @PedramShojai

Interview notes from the show:

 

Pedram:

This is actually cool because I’m just going to get to know you live on the show.

Jason:

I love it.

Jason Wachob’s Background

Pedram:

Yeah, totally. You were a Wall Street dude. You were a trader on Wall Street, and you started a couple of businesses and then moved into the health and wellness space. Give us a little bit of your background.

Jason:

Sure. I went to Columbia. I played basketball there. I graduated in 1998. Back in 1998, and you went to a school like Columbia, you did a couple things. You maybe went to medical school if you had an aptitude for science or wanted to help people, if you had grades and interest in law, you went to law school, or if you just wanted to make money, you probably went to Wall Street. I had no grades, I had no aptitude for science, and I didn’t come from any money so desperately wanted to make money and get rid of that college debt and have freedom, so I became an equities trader. No startups back then. This is early internet, so became an equities trader and was fortunate enough to do really well.

My second year, I made a little over $800,000. A lot of money for a kid who’s 25, a lot of money period. It was probably one of the worst years of my life. I was in a relationship that was falling apart, and the biggest month I made a little over $200,000, and my relationship was ending. It was just such a sharp contrast where I was so miserable, and so my whole life I had been searching for money. I saw money as happiness, and here I am, boom. 200 grand. I could pay off all my debt, buy my mom a car, do all these things, and I’m just miserable. It became very clear to me that money did not buy happiness.

A couple years later, 9/11 happened and changed my perspective on what I wanted out of life and decided that there was more than trading for me. Eventually left, got involved in a healthcare startup which didn’t work, and then started a mail order cheesecake company in the early, early days of e-commerce, which learned a lot, great experience, but did not work, and then led to an organic chocolate chip cookie company that was in every Whole Foods in the country. A really great business, but I traveled 150,000 miles domestic in a year. I’m 6’7″.

Pedram:

They don’t make planes for guys like you, do they?

Jason:

They do not make planes for guys like me, especially coach seats. Old basketball injury combined with stress and flying, I had 2 extruded discs in my lower back pressing on my sciatic nerve, L4-L5-S1. My right leg was like a lightning rod. Excruciating pain. I could not walk, stressed over money, the whole thing, and went to a doctor. He said, “You need back surgery, non-negotiable.” Sought a second opinion. He said the same thing. It was almost like an afterthought. He said, “You know, some yoga might help, some therapy, but you still need surgery,” and so I started to practice yoga. I started to look at things like sleep, stress, nutrition.

Yoga was a big part of it at the time, and I began to heal just doing 10 to 15 minutes light yoga morning and afternoon. Over the course of weeks started to feel better, course of months, I was fine. I never got surgery. I started digging, and I’m looking at things, like I remember going to a massage therapist in San Francisco at the time where I lived. She was telling me about the chakras and how the root chakra in the back is connected with money worries, and I was like, “Oh, my God! That’s me.”

Pedram:

I got that!

Jason:

I had this awakening where I was like holy cow, everyone’s got health wrong. It’s this blend of mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental wellbeing. That led to me founding mindbodygreen. Saw that there was a disconnect in health. Every print magazine was about weight loss and vanity, and I looked great at the time, but my steak and martini diet was not doing it for me. I saw, it’s just lifestyle. It’s mindbodygreen. It’s more nuance. It’s more holistic. It’s East meets West. No one’s talking about that. That led me on the path to start the company in 2007 in beta and then fully launched in 2009, so I’ve been at this for a while.

Pedram:

I was actually sent a pre-whatever version of your new book. By the way, the title is just so clever. It’s wealth but spelled W-E-L-L-T-H. Your subtitle’s “How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume.” Coming from a Wall Street dude who went and chased the money, right?

Jason:

Yep.

Pedram:

You went down that algorithm. I would say that making 200 grand a month puts you above the 1%, and so you have tasted fortune, and it beat the crap out of you, right?

Jason:

Yep.

What is Wellth?

Pedram:

Then you transformed that into a new idea, a new perception of “wellth.” What’s included? You had some externalities which were your health, your happiness, and your relationships, and all sorts of things that weren’t on the balance sheet of your 200 grand. Now what’s in there? What is wellth?

Jason:

To me, it’s this blend of mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental wellbeing. I do think it’s one of these things that is unique to you as an individual, and I think it changes as you grow. It gets back to this larger idea of what drives me nuts in health and wellness sometimes is there is no one size fits all approach to our lives, to wellness, to happiness. To me, I think there are some major rules that apply to everyone, this idea of taking care of your body, nutrition is paramount, health starts with what’s on your plate. I believe in eating a diet that’s low on processed foods, low on sugar, mostly vegetables if you can.

I believe in the power of relationships. I believe you are a combination of the 5 people you hang out with most. I think that’s proved very true in my life. I believe in the power of movement. I believe in the power of nature. As I’ve grown, I’m such a city dweller, I live in New York, I love New York, I’m a lifelong New Yorker, I found that I yearned for nature every couple months. I yearn for it. I need it. That’s me, and it’s this idea of really building a life, and it comes down to lifestyle and finding what works for you. What’s being demanded of you at work and family and so forth and finding that magic mix. I think generally people just want to be given a magic recipe for that, but I believe in the journey and finding your own path.

Pedram:

There’s this interesting kind of juxtaposition. I don’t know if you went far enough to become independently wealthy, to never have to work again before …

Jason:

No.

Pedram:

… you jumped out of …

Jason:

Not at all.

Pedram:

… Wall Street. Then you still need money, right?

Jason:

Absolutely.

Pedram:

Money is something that we earn, but in our generation, I’m pretty much your same age, it’s like you were taught that you hustle for money and then you get your weekends and your retirement to do what you want for yourself. Obviously that’s what broke you and moved you along. Now you’re in this realm of doing the right thing and supporting other people’s growth in that, which is much more in that conscious capitalist realm. I’d love to tease that out as we go because one of the things that you pointed out in your book was belief in oneself, right?

Jason:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

The Journey To Start MindBodyGreen.com

Pedram:

You’re not a health and wellness dude. You’re not a doctor, per se. You’re a Wall Street guy who was unhappy with it, but then you went and found it yourself and you explored that, and so now you run one of the biggest real estate holdings, if you will, on the internet in the health and wellness space. You believed in yourself, but you went through the journey. Unpack that for me a little.

Jason:

Yeah, and the journey takes lots of twists and turns and took a long time. I finally left Wall Street, I had one foot out the door, but finally left in 2004. I ended up, I saved a lot of money, but eventually ran out of it. I moved back home. Here I was, I went backwards where at age 30, I moved back home with my mother and grandmother and had that moment where I’m like I feel like George Costanza from Seinfeld except I’m taller and better looking. Like, “What am I doing? All my friends are still on Wall Street?” I had to tear down the foundation that I had built and build it from scratch, and so it took a long time. Mindbodygreen also started, it was a side project in ’07. We didn’t launch until ’09. I didn’t pay myself a salary until 2012, so I worked for 3 years with no salary, a very understanding wife.

Didn’t really know we had a business until late 2012, so we’re talking 8 year. This was a long journey, and so I think life in general in finding this path, I talk a lot about the middle path. What I mean by that is I believe in working hard. I believe you have to put your head down, you have to set goals, you have to work your ass off. Life is somewhat simple in that way. You have to show up, you have to work hard. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hours Rule, I think there’s actually some truth to that, but at the same time, you also have to have the spiritual awareness to take a step back and say, “Am I doing the right thing? I’m trying to jam down this door over here, but it’s just not opening. Maybe it’s the door to my left or right.”

Having that spiritual awareness, and I think within health and wellness, or just in the world in general, you have people who are just hard charging, like, “I’m going to break down that door. I’m a type A, and I get it done,” and that’s great, but I don’t think that’s the full picture, and I don’t think you realize your full potential. On the other hand, you’ve got people who are very spiritual, connected, and will sit on the couch and just do affirmations or pray and then go eat a ham sandwich. They’re not doing the work, and I think to realize your full potential, it’s find that balance.

It’s a hard path. It’s a path that I still work on, I still struggle with. We’re still growing. We still got problems. We’re not perfect, but it’s really finding that. I think that’s the real journey of life: doing the work and having that spiritual awareness to go deeper and ask the hard questions.

Pedram:

You played basketball.

Jason:

Yes.

Pedram:

It sounds like you had a couple good coaches along the way.

Jason:

Yes, and a lot of bad ones, too.

Pedram:

Sure. That’s how you know the good ones.

Jason:

Yes.

The Importance of Hard Work

 

Pedram:

The literal translation of kung fu is hard work. There’s something you said there that I just want to unpack a little bit because you left a posh job. You had this dark night of the soul where you’re back with mom and grandma and you don’t know how the hell any of this is going to work. A lot of people would be like, “Okay, I’m going to leave my corporate job because I’m miserable, and then I’m going to cross my fingers and maybe get a massage certificate and pray,” but the part that was missing in a lot of them that I’ve talked to and what you’re saying here is that you also hustled. You did everything it took to become successful in the new land and follow your dreams and find yourself in there. That’s important. You put in the work.

Jason:

Yeah, absolutely, and we still do. I work harder than ever. I would argue that I work harder than I did on Wall Street, and the job’s more stressful, but I balance that with other practices like meditation, yoga, which I’ve incorporated in my life. That’s the beaut- … I also think this is the conundrum we have in health and wellness with entrepreneurs. You’re so passionate about what you do that your wellness practice starts to fall. I’ve had moments, for instance, I became super passionate about yoga. Yoga healed my back, and then I started going to classes, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I was going to yoga 5, 6, 7 days a week. Just couldn’t get enough of it. Then mindbodygreen started to grow, and then 7 days a week went to 5, and then to 3, and then to 1, and the next thing you know it’s once a month. I’m like, “What the hell happened to my yoga practice?”

Pedram:

Totally.

Jason:

I’m like, “All this well- … I’m making everyone better, but what about me?”

Pedram:

My back hurts again.

Jason:

Yeah, exactly.

Pedram:

Dammit.

Jason:

I arrived at this place where I’m like, listen, I love what I do. Wellness is a passion point. This isn’t going to change, and I am so passionate about what I do. I work with my wife also. We’re both passionate, and we don’t have children yet, so together we just love our world. It’s phenomenal, but the wellness practice disappeared. I said, “Okay. I need to build a life around this. How can I incorporate yoga and meditation in my wellness practice into my current life because it’s not going to change?” Then settled on I’m going to do yoga on the weekends, and I’m going to commit to that for 15 to 20 minutes. I’m going to start meditating every day, and I commit to that. Now I never miss. I think it’s finding … Once again, it’s the pushing and having the awareness, and it’s a delicate balance.

A Journey Is Not A Straight Line From A To B - @JasonWachob via @PedramShojai

Pedram:

Certainly is. It’s so easy to become a martyr. Now you have this narrative like, “I’m helping all these people, so I’m out there helping all these people,” and then one day you come home and you’re ragged, and you haven’t smiled at your wife, and the dogs haven’t gone on a proper walk, and you know all of it.

Jason:

All this wellness is making me sick.

Pedram:

Yeah, and that falls out …

Jason:

I-

Pedram:

… of the wellth that you’re talking about, too, right? Because you’ve lost one …

Jason:

Yeah.

Pedram:

… of the criteria.

Jason:

Yes, and I think we also live in a world of social media and Instagram where everything is rainbows and unicorns. Life is bumpy, and there are bruises, and there are imperfections. I think we need to do a better job of sharing that and embracing the journey because the journey is typically not a straight line from A to B.

Pedram:

No, and you didn’t just walk into mindbodygreen. You …

Jason:

No.

Pedram:

… have a whole chapter called “Explore” where you went on a walkabout, right?

Jason:

Yeah.

Finding Your Path

Pedram:

You started looking at what that is, and so help us understand the importance of that exploration in finding one’s path and oneself.

Jason:

Sure. I think the hardest decision that people have to make is making the decision to take that first step. When I first left Wall Street and left for this healthcare startup, I intuitively knew this was something I was not passionate about, but I knew I had to take the first step. I knew if I didn’t take off those “golden handcuffs,” I could just go on and trade and make enough and be comfortable, but I knew I had to let that go and take the first step. The first step is often the scariest.

I think when you go on your journey, just taking that first step and just being committed to the journey where you say to yourself, “Listen, I’m on the journey, I’m taking the first step. I don’t know where the hell it’s going to go, but I know I got to go, and I know it’s right. I’m going to see what happens, and I’m going to try to work my ass off. I’m going to try to be spiritually aware and know where to navigate as I go through the journey.” I think it’s that first step. It is so rare that you say to yourself, I don’t know anyone really who’s done this and succeeded, where you say like, “Okay. I’m going to leave, and I’m going to do this, and it’s going to happen.”

Pedram:

Babe Ruth style, right? Like I’m just going to call my shot.

Jason:

Yep, it doesn’t work that way.

Pedram:

No.

Jason:

You have to take the step, you have to do the work, and you have to be open and aware to what comes your way, and roll with it.

Pedram:

Yeah, and open to living with grandma and having all your Wall Street buddies look at you and be like, “What are you, a moron? What are you doing?”

Jason:

Yeah, and that’s tough. I think it gets harder as you get older, although I do think it’s never too late. I am really happy where I ended up. Look, I’m still on the journey. We still have a long way to go, and I think that’s the beauty of life. It never ends.

Following Your Instincts

Pedram:

You have a chapter called “Feel” in the book, and it’s about following your instincts and that gut and having the kind of wherewithal to do that gut check. This is also drawing on that energy which is what you did and what your experiences were. You were close to the 9/11 thing, so let me know …

Jason:

Yeah, I was a couple blocks away when that happened, and literally would show up every morning, and you’d be watching CNBC. Next thing you know, something was very wrong. The S,P futures, which are an indicator of where the market was going, they were up and then they took a nosedive, so something was up. The next thing you know, we’re watching on TV, the first tower gets hit. You could literally, from our window, even though we were 6 or 7 blocks away, you could see debris floating. Then the second one hit, and then intuitively I was like, “I need to get the hell out of Dodge.”

Pedram:

Right now.

Jason:

Right now. I was on the 15th floor. I’m not taking the elevators. I ran down the stair. I called my mom from the land line because you couldn’t use a cell phone. Cell phones were just done. Everyone was on cell phones. The bandwidth wasn’t there. Call my mom and said, “This is what’s going on. I’m leaving. I’ll see you at home.” I ran out and just hopped in the … I went to the Lower East Side. I said, “Strategically, I’m going to go towards the Lower East Side.” It was a crappy area of New York at the time. “Nothing’s going to happen here.”

Pedram:

No one wants to bomb this.

Jason:

I’m going to stay off the Brooklyn Bridge. I went to the Williamsburg Bridge, and I hopped in a cab, and I just gave the cab driver a couple hundred bucks. I said, “Just go to Long Island. I’m getting off the island.” I went to my mother’s house and heard it over the radio. Intuitively I just knew this is bad. I need to get out of here. Other people are walking around, hanging out. “Let’s walk to the Trade Center.” I was home on Long Island before the towers fell. That’s how fast I was.

Pedram:

Wow.

Jason:

A very clear example of this idea of listening to your gut and also the power of fear when it’s very real. In life, whenever I’ve gone against my gut, it’s been disastrous, whether it’s been relationships or hiring. The gut is really powerful. Your intuition is really powerful. Practices like yoga, meditation, that’s why they’re in my wellness routine. They make my level of intuition so much stronger. To be able to tap into that, to me it’s phenomenal. I think that’s the beauty of those practices, and I think it’s just so important to do whatever you can to be more connected spiritually, to be more connected to your intuition just from a productivity standpoint. You want to be better? You want these tools.

Pedram:

Yeah, and if you want to heal, you need those tools. I had a teacher who used to always say, “You got to feel to heal,” right?

Jason:

Yep.

The Future Of Health Is A Blend Of Eastern And Western Medicine - @JasonWachob via @PedramShojai

Getting Into Eastern Medicine

Pedram:

That’s actually another chapter in your book. You got a chapter called “Heal.” You actually, Wall Street dude, went full bore into Eastern medicine, functional medicine and all these types of things, going after things that were I wouldn’t say fringe but fringe-ish at the time and are now way more mainstream and accepted. Obviously, we know important that work is. Did you use your body as a lab? How did you get into this stuff? Was it blind faith, or was it experimentation?

Jason:

I think it started with my back where I have this moment, and I have a massage therapist talking to me about chakras and the root chakra and worries about money. Then it’s like whoa, this becomes real. I think with a lot of things in life, especially when they tend to be a little more New Agey, a little bit out there, you put it over to the side, and then you see it within yourself, and then it becomes real. Then you go down this rabbit hole. In this process, it was exploration. I think that could also be dangerous, too, but I’ve tried everything. Reiki, colon hydrotherapy, shiatsu, which I still do, energy healing, you name it.

I think it’s really powerful, and it’s powerful when you have those moments. Where I’m getting shiatsu last night, and he’s lighting up my toe, and I’m like, “What’s going on there?” He’d be like, “Oh, that’s kidney. That’s the Energizer Bunny. That’s why you’re burnt out right now.” I’m like, “Absolutely.” One of those things when you feel it, it becomes very real. To me I think the future of health is the blend. I think it’s Eastern and Western. Western is not perfect, but Western saves lives. Western is incredible. Some of the science that’s happening right now is just amazing.

Eastern, heck, I believe in it. I think the mind and body are one. I think it’s one of these things, Eastern and Western need to work together, this idea of functional medicine. Mark Hyman, our friend, this idea you have to treat the patient, not just the symptoms. Everything is connected. The mind and body are one. I think we all talk about this idea that stress kills. Why do you think it kills? I think what’s exciting now is science is catching up to support Eastern. I think that’s when the magic happens, when you have science saying, “This is why meditation works. This is why yoga works. This is why sugar’s killing you,” these things that intuitively know a lot of Eastern more holistic practices. When science supports them, I think that’s really exciting.

I think on the other hand, it can be dangerous when you just solely look at Eastern and don’t follow the Western and become a rabbit hole where all the sudden everything is a sign. Everything is this over here and that over here, and it becomes almost crippling. I’ve seen people experience that where yes, I’ve been to an astrologer, and that’s fun, and it’s cool, and sometimes there are interesting things, but you shouldn’t be relying on this person for advice on whether I should buy a house, or my mortgage, or life decisions. It’s a rabbit hole.

Pedram:

People do.

Jason:

It is, but it’s a blend. I think it’s a blend. I think there are some people who are amazingly gifted and do have gifts in terms of spiritual guidance, but at the same time, there’s science. Once again, it’s both. It’s this middle path.

Pedram:

There’s a lot to be said there because the old traditions … I’m a kung fu guy, and so it’s pretty evidence-based because if my technique didn’t work, I got punched in the face. I will remember that. Everyone-

Jason:

What’s that great … There’s a great Mike Tyson quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Pedram:

That’s it, that’s it. This is exactly how I was going to roll out this fight. Didn’t work out. Evidence-based I think applies to all of this. Even we’re talking about mindfulness, we’re talking about all these things that have become household terms. Mindfulness is something the Buddha talked about a long time ago, but then there’s a lot of people that ran off with it and got weird. There’s a lot of weird out there, right?

Jason:

Yep.

You Have To Treat The Patient, Not The Symptoms The Future Of Health Is A Blend Of Eastern And Western Medicine - @JasonWachob via @PedramShojai

The Power of Gratitude

Pedram:

It’s not anchored in reality. People take things and make them what they’re not. I think that anchoring things in being evidence-based, whether it’s even for yourself. It’s like, “Well, did that actually make me feel better, or do I just feel like I belong to this thing, and I want to … My new friends make me feel good.” There’s some research I was looking at with prayer and specifically on being grateful. You talked about this, and this is a big part of your gestalt is your ability to feel grateful. It sounds kind of woo-woo, but we know that people who are grateful, who give thanks, actually do better in life, are actually happier in life. I’d love for you to unpack that.

Jason:

Yeah, gratitude was something that was imprinted in me by my mother at a young age. I wake up every morning, and I literally before I meditate, before I get out of bed, I repeat the words, “Thank you,” over and over. “Thank you for my health. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my wife.” I just, mentally I repeat this over and over. I think that got amplified. When I was 19, my father dropped dead of a heart attack. It was sudden. Healthy guy, although he had some heart issues, but like boom. Someone’s here, then they’re gone. One of the major lessons there and growing points was this idea of you don’t want to take anything for granted in life. You don’t want to have to lose something to feel that gratitude. Life is precious.

To me, the only way you can be happy is to have a gratitude practice. Once again, type A like, “I’m setting that goal. I want to accomplish this and that, and when I get to this point, I’m going to be happier. When I have that bigger salary, or home, or car, relationship,” whatever it is we’re pursuing. I believe in pursuing excellence. I believe in goals. I believe in financial success. You got to be happy on the way there, because you’re going to find you’re going to get there, and you’ll feel a little happy, a little happier, but it’s not going to bring you the fulfillment you’re looking for. It’ll just be this endless pursuit of nothingness.

You don’t want to go through life always climbing the ladder and getting to the top and realizing this is the wrong ladder, or this ladder didn’t bring me what I thought it would bring me, which is happiness. It’s this balance. How can I be happy and grateful on a daily basis but at the same time pursue goals, pursue excellence, pursue whatever you’re pursuing? It’s hard. It’s hard.

Pedram:

It’s very hard.

Jason:

We all struggle with it. We all have moments in the day. We all want to strangle our cab driver every once in a while. You’re going to miss the subway. It’s hard. I think it’s something we all struggle with, but just having any sort of daily practice about being thankful, whatever that looks like for you, I think is a huge reminder of who we are, and what we’re here for, and the larger purpose of ourselves in the world and the universe and everything.

The Work-Life Balance of a Conscious Capitalist

Pedram:

One of the things that you are feeling in this, and you and I, I think, have a similar path in this, is that we’re in health and wellness and yet there’s tremendous capital requirements for some of the stuff that we do. You’ve got a lot of staff. You’ve got a huge infrastructure, I’m sure. I’m sure it costs a couple bucks to keep your lights on. We make movies … It’s an expensive endeavor trying to do what we do. You’re in the health and wellness space trying to feel grateful, trying to stay healthy, trying to get your yoga in.

The question of the middle path: how does a conscious entrepreneur live that life and remind themselves to be happy every day in the pursuit of their thing? You’re building this huge Eiffel Tower, and it’s going to take 80 years to build, and so if you’re happy when it’s all finished, your entire life has been done. Your life has gone waiting for this tower to get done. How? How do we do a middle path as business owners, as people who are doing what we do?

Jason:

Listen, I think it’s really hard. I think every conscious entrepreneur struggles with this. I think it’s a big problem. I think we’re all doing our best. I think the people who are finding that balance for them are finding some sort of practice, something, some ritual that they won’t lose when things get nuts, when you’re working 18 hours, when capital’s tight, or hiring sucks, or you had to let someone go, or the growth isn’t there, or whatever it may be. I think the people that get through it, the people that don’t lose themselves find some ritual, some practice. For me, that’s been meditation. Like I alluded, my yoga practice has dwindled to just a weekend practice for 15 or 20 minutes. I meditate daily.

I do the 20 minutes in the morning and then afternoon. I don’t always get 2 times a day, but I never miss a day. Repeat a mantra over and over, Vedic, TM, whatever you want to call it. That works for me, and I go in there and I do that. I feel better. I feel energized. I feel the fog lifts. When I’m stressed out of my mind, I can still sleep. To me, I found that practice. I think other people have different forms of that, but I think if you don’t have some sort of practice, whether you’re into health and wellness or not, you’re an entrepreneur, you are going to burn out so fast and just it will take a toll on you, mentally, physically, spiritually, across the board. I think within health and wellness, I think a lot of people struggle with that. I really do.

You Don't Have To Lose Something To Feel Gratitude - @JasonWachob via @PedramShojai

Pedram:

Yeah, which is such an ironic twist, right?

Jason:

Yeah.

Pedram:

It’s like here you are, a guy who left Wall Street because it was breaking you, now having to face the same type of energy.

Jason:

It’s so funny. It’s like when I was trader, I would hold big positions overnight. You wake up, you’re holding stock. In the morning, you could wake up. That’s up or it’s down, …things never bothered me. It was amazing. The big lesson I learned from being a trader is I really learned how to take good calculated risks and be very comfortable with ambiguity. I work harder now. I’m arguably more stressed, although I have better tools to manage it, than I was back then. Wall Street, you were in and out, and you left. When you were out, you were out. Here I’m never out. This is something I do 24 hours a day.

Pedram:

It’s your baby.

Working Hard At Your Passions

Jason:

Yeah, and passion. I think that’s the secret to life, too. When I was on my journey, there was this great quote from Lawrence Pearsall Jacks essentially saying, “The master of the art of living, you can never tell when he’s at work or play. They’re one.” I remember reading that and saying like, “I want that. I don’t know what that looks like,” but when I was done the day on Wall Street, I was done. I checked out, and I desperately wanted like, “What is that? I want to be one of those people who’s so passionate about what they’re doing, you can’t stop. That’s what I want. I don’t want to be checking out and thinking about happy hour or where I’m going to go.” I crave that. I think a lot of people want that.

Pedram:

It feels a lot more like work when you are not in it mind, body, and soul, right?

Jason:

Yes.

Pedram:

You are there, you’re putting in your hours, you’re making your money. That’s how you make your bread, and then you have your other life. You’re somehow supposed to balance it. I think most people live there, though, right?

Jason:

Absolutely.

Pedram:

The majority of people who clock in and clock out and then go do their hobby. How does someone like that factor these things in and look maybe towards a brighter future of doing something that’s a passion project but not constantly looking to the future for fulfillment and happiness down the line, but having it through the journey?

Jason:

A lot of people fall into that boat. I think there is a path for them. I think it’s this idea of building your life around that. I’ll use my father-in-law, for example. Guy’s 70 years old. He owns coin-operated car washes in L.A. He served 2 tours in Vietnam, helicopter pilot, great guy, great provider. He’s really sharp. He’s not really passionate about car washes, but having this business, what he is passionate about is climbing, great food, and red wine, and working out. He’s created a life where he still enjoys those things. On his free time, he climbs, he eats great Italian food, collects red wine, does CrossFit.

He’s really happy and fulfilled. Yes, I believe when you marry passion and work, it’s something really powerful, but I think for a lot of people that’s just not in the cards, and that’s okay. You can have a really great fulfilling life by asking yourself those questions like, “What am I passionate about? Am I passionate about restaurants, or working out, or traveling?” Build that around your work life. I think it’s very doable. I think it’s just taking that inventory. What are the things I want a passion about? How can I plant them around my life? You can do that.

Pedram:

I love that. In business, one of the big problems we have with capitalism is this word called externalities, which is I have my little coal company, and we do great over here. We’re super profitable, and our stock is doing well, but the externalities are the air, the water, human suffering, da, da, da, da, da. Those aren’t really factored in. What I really like about what you’ve done with your book on wellth is you’ve brought the lifestyle externalities, the human pain and suffering, the spiritual balance and all this, back into the definition of wealth or prosperity in a way that is supportive of a whole human being.

I think that that’s a very, very important conversation. You’re really throwing a haymaker with this. I think it’s timely, and it’s also very well done. It’s a great book. I highly recommend reading it. You’ve obviously lived this stuff, and you’re still living it. Look, you’re not some dude who’s like, “Hey, look at me levitate.” You’re like, “Hey, my life is stressful, but this is what I’ve done to balance it,” which makes you real.

Jason:

Yep. As I say, with the exception of being 6’7″, I am just like everyone else.

Pedram:

I just can’t fit in a damn airplane.

Jason:

I just use those miles to upgrade to business class every time I get.

Pedram:

Yeah, totally. Totally. Even then it still sucks.

Jason:

That’s like a normal seat for me. If you’re 5’10” or 5’9″ in a regular seat, that’s like me in business.

Pedram:

I was on a Southwest flight next to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once. I was just like, “You poor man. Wow. I had no idea how hard it is being you living in a world built for people my size or smaller.”

Jason:

He’s got me by 7″.

Pedram:

Yeah, he’s a big, big dude.

Jason:

7’2″, yeah.

Pedram:

Yeah, so I feel for you. How can people find the book? I’m assuming everywhere books are sold, but just give us a website and all that.

How To Find Jason’s Book

Jason:

Yeah, everywhere books are sold, “Wellth,” W-E-L-L-T-H on Amazon, Barnes , Noble. You can go to wellth.mindbodygreen.com as well. Yeah, it’s everywhere, and I hope people pick it up. I think in a lot of ways this is the book I wish I had when I began my journey. I think no matter where you’re at in life, you’re going to walk away with a valuable takeaway that hopefully leaves you inspired to live your best life.

Pedram:

I love it. “This is the book I wish I had when I started my journey.” Those are the books worth writing, and those are the books worth reading. Yeah, I highly recommend the book. He’s awesome. He’s doing great work out in the world. He’s honest. Basically this is who he is, and this is what you want. I think there’s a lot of false gurus out there talking a lot of shit, and not all of it is actually anchored in reality. He’s got stress. He’s got a real life, and he’s living it, and he’s bringing balance.

That’s part of the message, is we can’t escape life’s stressors unless we give it all up. Giving it all up isn’t worth it because then we wouldn’t have mindbodygreen, right? We wouldn’t have these resources that you’ve provided for the world, so I’m glad you didn’t run off to go to the mountains.

Jason:

Me, too. Amen to that.

Pedram:

Amen. Hey, thanks for being on the show.

Jason:

Thanks for having me.

Pedram:

Jason laid it out there, and he’s like, ‘Hey, I’m stressed out, running a health and wellness empire.” For me, I’m like I’m really busy and oftentimes stressed out running a health and wellness empire. I don’t want that. We’re in a very interesting dialogue around that. Jason is going to be featured in our next movie, “Prosperity.” He’s an awesome guy who’s just like, “Let’s do this. Let’s figure this out,” which we have to keep our balance in this. It’s going to be a very interesting ongoing thread that you’re going to see going through The Urban Monk, well.org., mindbodygreen, and all the places that this information’s going to go.

I encourage you to take it to heart and also start living your life in a way where you don’t get out ahead of yourself. It’s an ongoing thing. It’s an ongoing thing. Life is always trying to pull us out of balance, and it’s on us to come back and be whole here. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week, I got Dr. Daymon Bayles, who is incredible at speaking about boundaries. It’s been something that’s really come up a lot in questions in The Urban Monk community. I said, “Listen, I got to pull in an expert to talk about this because most people are just terrible with boundaries.”

Next week we’re going to talk about it. We’re going to dissect it. It’s again another powerful conversation. If you enjoyed this one, if you enjoy all of the things that you’re listening to, share this thing. Get it out there. People aren’t having real talk out there, and it’s all superficial. I’m trying to keep it real, and I’m trying to raise the bar. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll see you next week.

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