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The Work/Life Balancing Act – Jake Carney

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The Urban Monk – Work/Life Balancing Act with Guest Jake Carney

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Being a Parent and Learning to Balance

Becoming a parent gives the term “work/life balance” a whole new meaning. Jake Carney, the founder of The Alternative Daily, found out that parenting can be glorious and that it can sometimes suck.
The Alternative Daily is a publication that seeks to provide mature, mindful discussions about the news, lifestyle, and wellness. When he became a parent, Jake found it challenging to live the qualities that he was sharing daily with his readers.

Jake discovered that being a parent often meant being present for the experience. He couldn’t do the “hustle and grind” of work and effectively be a part of the family at the same time. He had to lose his FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on new opportunities and business relationships.

Parenting forced Jake to change. He had to learn restraint and humility, and this helped him to grow. He embraced the exhilaration of being a parent and learned to admit that it was sometimes joyless, hard work. He developed a routine to make sure he was more present and at his best.

Meditation and Balance

Jake has a morning routine that begins at 5 a.m. It starts with some hydration followed by a run. When he gets back from his run, he listens to a podcast and then takes his child to school. Then he returns home for five or ten minutes of meditation. He knew this routine was a keeper when he found himself bored by it.

Meditation has been central to Jake’s development as a father, as a business owner, and as a human being. He found meditation through a search to remedy nightmares about death he had had since early childhood. These thoughts invaded his dreams and his waking hours. He sometimes found himself screaming out loud to crowd out the thoughts.

His search indicated that most wisdom and religious traditions always pointed to meditation for dealing with life’s most difficult problems. So he began a meditation practice. His practice is not fancy or complicated. There are no mantras or special breathing techniques. He goes inside for just 5 to 10 minutes at a time. He made sure to do this every day for three months at which point it became routine. His nightmares and depression ended. He found himself more energized and able to focus on the things that mattered.

Meditation also strengthened Jake’s decision to not be a victim of “absent presence.” It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re doing a good job if you check all the boxes of “parenting.” More important than the “doing” of parenting, is the “being” a parent. Parenting allows for distractions and multitasking. Being a parent requires presence and flow.

Authenticity and Balance

Once he saw the benefits that were created by this awareness and by his daily rituals, he also decided that he needed to change his business along with himself. This meant that he would no longer be “day trading in clickbait.” He would move The Alternative Daily back to more mindful content. He wanted to tell stories and share them with everybody, not just preach to a choir of fitness enthusiasts. The tagline of The Alternative Daily is:

Free thinking. Well-being. Inclusive.

He has brought his practice of presence and flow to his work with his employees to help them embody those words.

He advises that to build your dream job, career, or relationship, you have to make small daily changes. Like parenting, moving towards your dreams resembles the pace of a marathon more than a sprint. Jake also reminds us that doing “gratitude resets”, where you remind yourself how thankful you are, for wherever you are, will put our souls on the right track.

Give Yourself Breaks, Your Body Needs It - @Jakesurfs via @pedramshojai

Interview notes from the show:

Pedram:

Welcome back to the Urban Monk, Pedram here with my buddy Jake Carney of the Alternative Daily, he happened to be in town, I said “Get your ass down here into the studio let’s have some fun”.

We’re talking about being a dad, having a work/life balance and looking at all the things that get in the way of that, and finding small steps, incremental steps to getting solutions there. Enjoy Jake Carney.

Jake:

Do you give things away, do you donate, you…

Becoming a New Parent

Pedram:

Yeah, well the entire fabric of what we do is doing content that makes the world a better place, so we’re profitable and helping the world, and that’s the message, so it’s an interesting one. You’ve got a kid, a four year old kid, you got into a new business and…

Jake:

How do you feel about the word kid by the way? Are you cool with the word kid?

Pedram:

I like it. Europeans look at me and be like, “What the hell does that mean is it a baby goat or something.” I use it all the time, I use stupid words all the time. I don’t even try to censor myself because I’m just…

Jake:

I was actually against that word before we had kids, I was like, “Oh, that’s so trashy, kid, it’s a child.” Then I had one, it is a baby goat, because it just eats and shits right there. It’s exactly what they are. She’ll be four in July and the best advice I ever got were two things. Right before I went in, because we actually had to have a C-section because it was really, really bad tragic, placenta previa abrupta, I love the whole natural health movement, I run a natural health site, there was no chance of us getting this child out without killing my wife. I’m actually all for conventional hospitals for that aspect of it.

Pedram:

Totally, totally.

Jake:

If you can do the natural, if you want to do that in a pool at your house, go for it. It’s awesome.

Pedram:

When the dolphins are clapping.

Jake:

That’s right. If you can do it, maybe I’ll show up and film it, but for us we had to go get cut open. My father-in-law as we walked in right before she was going to get cut open. He was like, “I just want to tell you, your life is never going to be the same.” I was like, “Oh my God, I don’t want to hear that right now.” Then I also heard…

Pedram:

Thanks coach.

Jake:

Yeah. Thanks coach. Is that it gets harder and easier at the same time, actually I think they said it the other way. It gets easier and harder at the same time. Those two things are absolutely, phenomenally true. My life changed and then everything gets easier and harder, like I don’t have to worry about her holding up her head and vomiting everywhere, but now it’s like “Okay let’s go leave the house. No, but I want to put my princess dress on.” No, screaming, done.

Pedram:

“But we’re late.”

Jake:

Oh my God, totally. I always like to tell people we have…and I put this on ourselves, and I tell everybody this is that we have a running 15 minute window of either being late or early, so deal with it, but yeah…

Pedram:

Totally, totally, it’s like kid standard time. I don’t even know what happens anymore you know, we–

Jake:

Because you’ve got two now right?

Pedram:

I’ve got two…

Jake:

When is third?

Pedram:

No. No. No, 3rd no, no, no. I’m cutting my shit off, we’re done. We are done because I’m already, I’ll be 41. I want to put a lot of love into these two, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. It just doesn’t make sense for us, if we had started maybe five, six years earlier because my wife definitely wanted a third.

Jake:

Do you have siblings?

Pedram:

I have one sister.

Jake:

What about her?

Pedram:

One brother. Normally that dictates what you want, right? But time and reality also does, right? We just did a trip. I just went to CHS which is a Consumer Health Summit, which you and I hang out at a lot. I was like, “I’ve got to get some work/life balance.” I was like, “You know what? It’s Thursday/Friday, I’m going to fly in my family. We’re going to hang out there for the weekend”.

Jake:

Did you bring them to Arizona?

Pedram:

Yeah, yeah. They flew in, They get to the room and all this stuff, and it’s like, “Daddy!” And it’s like, “Oh this is great.” Now it’s like, “Daddy, where are you going Daddy?” “Daddy’s still at a conference.” That whole balance, but the amount of shit she had to bring for two kids, I totally understand how my people used to have caravans, you know what I mean?

Traveling with Children

Jake:

Absolutely. Like the Oregon Trail. We had to go to, its funny, this is cool story, is about I think it’s two or three weeks ago. Actually a month ago my wife informed me that she was going to her brother’s 40th birthday, and of course I’m just like “What exactly is years and numbers? It doesn’t mean anything. We don’t have to go, whatever. It’s just a day”. She was like, “That’s bullshit. We’ve got to go.” You know what I have a lot going on with work, maybe I should just hang back. She’s like, “Okay, I’ll give you the pass. You don’t have to go that weekend.”

You can probably attest to this, I was at home in my comfort zone, beautiful weather, supposed to be maybe a little surf. One of my favorite bands was going to perform at a concert and I had five days to myself. It was just like the heavens had opened up, it’s supposed to be beautiful weather, complete freedom, something we never have as husbands and fathers, and she’s completely cool with it. I’m like, “This is great.” I didn’t even make any plans, cause I didn’t want to have any plan, I just kinda want to roll, and the night before we go to leave, she’d ordered a car seat to take, she already had her massive bags packed, she wanted to take a car seat because she has to put it into the rental car, she wanted to buy her own to bring with her. I was trying to teach her how to plug it in and plug it out, and she was not budging this thing.

She was like fighting an elephant, she could not just latch it in, cause I’ve done everything in terms of that.

Pedram:

The car seat department.

Jake:

The car seat department is on me.

Pedram:

Yeah, yeah.

Jake:

I actually had to sit on it and jam it on, and her finger was in there, it pinched her finger, and she reared back, was about to punch me in the head, and then I fixed it and I was like “You know what, the best thing is”, so I gave her a $20 bill, “Just give somebody 20 bucks to put it in for you”.

Later that night I go to bed, and I’m thinking, that’s when the guilt started feeling. I was like “Should I stay back, or should I go?”, and that night, my daughter starts singing “I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll see you again”, and when you hear your daughter say “I don’t know when I’ll see you again”, yeah —

Pedram:

Oh man.

Jake:

The next morning I go for a morning run, I wake up, and I’m like “You know what —

Pedram:

“I’m coming”

Jake:

“I’m coming”. I got home from my run and I told her “I’m coming”, and the first thing was “How much did you pay for those tickets?”, cause we were leaving in four hours. I was like “Don’t worry about it, I’m coming”, and she loved it. It was like one of those things where there’s definitely times in life where, I’m here, I came out here for a couple of days to get some stuff done, but that, I didn’t need to be at home. It was the universe telling me I needed to go be with my family and have that time so…

Pedram:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jake:

But, and here’s the cool thing–

Pedram:

You better listen.

Jake:

When you go into situations like that, this is something I’m learning as a father too, is it’s not like salvation, it’s not like “I’m going with them, it’s going to be the greatest time ever”. No, she’s gonna scream in the car because she’s —

Pedram:

It’s gonna suck, yeah.

Jake:

It’s gonna suck. I had my mother in law with me, I love her, she’s great, but I’m still traveling with my mother in law.

Pedram:

Mother in law, five days of privacy in your house at the beach where no one is crying or screaming.

Jake:

I know, I know, so I went into it knowing that there were going to be times that suck, and I knew that if I were to stay back it would be awesome, but I would still miss them, and I would still have some issues there, so it’s just kind of a getting out in front of the game and knowing, just like you went to Arizona, I’m gonna bring them, but they are gonna kinda screw me like “Where are you going, where are you going”, but the cool thing is, they’re there with you.

Personal Success Takes Work - @JakeSurfs via @PedramShojai

Pedram:

Totally, totally.

Jake:

This is something as fathers, and mothers, and parents, we just deal with on a daily basis.

Pedram:

I had this amazing two bedroom suite that I had gotten knowing that my family, cause my parents came too right?

Jake:

Oh man. Oh it truly is Oregon Trail just going down…

Pedram:

Oh yeah, I mean the whole clan descends, but I had this place to myself for two nights prior to their arrival, and then all of a sudden, I show up after my break and they had already moved in, and there’s just shit everywhere.

Jake:

Shit show.

Pedram:

My toothbrush is over there, and I got relegated over there, and I was like “I was the king of this castle, and now it’s like pandemonium” and I was just like “Wow what have I done”.

Jake:

How old is your oldest?

Pedram:

Two.

Jake:

Two. So you kinda started this whole Urban Monk Pedram Shojai stuff a while ago right? How many years ago did you start?

Pedram:

I’ve been teaching this stuff for 15, 20 years, but then the concept of the Urban Monk was just as we were trying to figure out what the kinda shtick was–

Jake:

Right.

Pedram:

for my next book–

Jake:

Yeah.

Pedram:

The title just stuck, in me and the public charade.

Jake:

Origins came out, when was that?

Pedram:

2014, I think 2014.

Jake:

Okay so right around the time, his name is Soul?

Pedram:

Soul, soul.

Jake:

That’s around the time that he was born?

Pedram:

I have this uncanny ability to birth a movie or a book with a child.

Jake:

Perfect.

Pedram:

I’m two for two in the last iterations, and it’s just like one-two punch–

Jake:

Yes

Pedram:

Of just like either wired or tired.

Jake:

How did you, cause that’s a big deal, Origins, if you guys haven’t gotten the video, it’s right there, but, how do you–

Pedram:

It’s right there.

Jake:

It’s right there with, those are real swords too right?

Pedram:

Those are real swords in case my guests actually piss me off enough.

Jake:

What if I were to…

Pedram:

Dude can we just duel?

Jake:

Can I just…

Pedram:

Yep, you know rules though, you know you don’t touch the blade.

Jake:

Okay.

Pedram:

Yep.

Jake:

It won’t come out so I don’t know if I did it right.

Pedram:

Oh then you just don’t have the super power.

Balancing a New Business Project with Raising a Family

Jake:

How did you deal with it? Because doing a web video like this we can do really quickly, but launching a DVD like that and having a child, how do you do that?

Pedram:

My first round, my first iteration, the answer’s not well.

Jake:

Yeah.

Pedram:

I told my audience about it, I was like “I got my ass handed to me.” I was like “Wow, I’m not sleeping”, then I get “Welcome to having a kid”, but I’m like “I didn’t plan for this!”

Jake:

Yeah. Cause you think that you’re just gonna have them, and they’re just gonna roll with you and what you do.

Pedram:

You have no idea. It’s like the people before Hurricane Katrina were like “Oh there’s a storm coming”, you’re like “Okay, well I got marshmellows”.

Jake:

Right, exactly, exactly.

Pedram:

Then you’re on the roof of your house wondering what happened.

Jake:

You’re not sleeping, you’re getting up early, doing stuff with the Origins the film and everything, and then coming home and being Dad, and just not sleeping?

Pedram:

That’s it. What I did originally was thinking working from home was going to be the solution, and we were actually transitioning our offices, and so this office that we’re in now was still being built and stuff, so I had three or four of my team working, I had like this upstairs area perch, and it was just pandemonium. My people would be coming and helping, and they’d just look at me, and I’d be like “Help!”.

I haven’t slept, and so the work-life balance, I was the biggest advocate for the home office, until I had a kid. Then I was like “Oh I gotta leave”. If I want to get anything done, especially now, it’s like “Daddy, daddy, daddy!”, you’re like “I can’t”, what do I say no to him?

Jake:

Right, exactly.

Pedram:

You go to work.

Is a Perfect Work Life Balance Possible?

Jake:

There’s a lot of people that talk about now that the work-life balance is a sham, and you just gotta either do the hustle and it’s part of your game and everything, but there’s no hustle when you’re sitting there playing with your kid. This is something I didn’t do at the beginning, which was when I’d have to watch her or something, I’d be on the phone, trying to get some stuff done, and then I just quickly realized that was terrible–

Pedram:

Worst thing ever.

Jake:

I don’t want to say terrible parenting, cause it is, but just from a standpoint of I just wasn’t enjoying her, I wasn’t enjoying the call, it was just me trying to multi-task. There are some multi-tasking you have to do when you have a kid, you don’t want to drop a knife on them so you have to hold them and grab it or whatever, but then there’s also just that same part of being with them. I kinda made a rule early which was, if I’m gonna be with her, if I’m gonna hang out with her, no phone, I’m not looking at it, because I actually would just get, if there was an email that came in that I needed to do something, I would just get anxious and wanted to end our play day, and that was just not the right way to do so, so made the rule not to use that.

Pedram:

I had a time where my wife had to go get a sanity time out, like “I’m gonna go get my nails done”, she’s like “Will you watch the kid”, which was when we only had one kid, I’m like “Yeah I got this”, and he’s doing whatever kids do, and I’m sitting there on the sofa with my laptop, and he’s just getting louder and more obnoxious and more, and I’m just like “Dude, why’re you being such an asshole?”, I’m not saying this obviously, and then finally he comes and grabs my screen and looks at me and he’s like “Daddy”, and I was just like “Oh, I am so sorry–

Jake:

Yes.

Pedram:

“I’m back, I’m sorry, wow”. The absent presence–

Jake:

Yep.

Pedram:

is way more insulting, I’d rather not be there, but then be there 100%–

Jake:

Yes.

Pedram:

Than be that guy, right?

How Your Relationship With Your Children Can Ground You

Jake:

Cause there is that thing, we do have very flexible jobs right, where you can take some work calls, you can do some stuff at home and, and this is the thing I was telling my wife one time, and she said something about like I needed to be there Noah, I was like “I’m here all the time, I eat dinner with you guys”, and she’s like “No, you need to be here with us”, and that’s kind of the same thing, I was like “Oh my God, you’re right”.

I was telling you a story earlier which was, I was on a sales call with somebody, so the Alternative Daily is this news organization, this big news organization, so about four or five years ago, I was kind of in the early stages of building it, I was taking sales calls and Noah’s just born, and we have two awesome dogs, and Noah had just pooped somewhere and it was all over the floor. I was on a sales call, I was trying to do the multi tasking thing, so I pick up Noah, go put her in a little seat so I can clean up, and I’m just talking about these different things on the phone.

I come back, poop’s gone, Lucy my dog had actually eaten the poop, it was smeared everywhere, but now it’s kind of gone, and I just remember going “I have to call you back”. It was a really serious call, I actually remember it. I ended it, and I just stopped for a second and I actually called my dad and I was like “Can you come over, I have no clue what to do, my life is literally shit-show, there’s shit everywhere, can you come over?”.

It was a really kind of turning point for me, cause he came over, and I was like frantic and everything, and he walks in the door, and he was just laughing and he said “go get Noah, I’ll take care of the dogs”, and so I took Noah, started giving her bath, and I just noticed that he was so calm and cool, and again, my family, I love them to death, every family is crazy, my family can be emotional crazy at times, but when it came to that whole parenting thing, I saw it, and I’m sure he did that with me, and I’m sure at times he was frustrated with me when I was little, but I needed that. He didn’t have to say anything, it was just that calm presence of “we got this”.

I used to think prior to that call that having a child, and having Noah, and starting a business, or doing projects, at first I thought that was the worst timing ever. It’s the worst timing. I should be building this, I should be travelling, California, Toronto, New York, should be doing all this stuff.

Pedram:

What have I done.

Jake:

What have I done, oh my God. As of recently in the past couple years, I realised it’s perfect timing. It’s kept me grounded, it’s kept me not, there’s kind of this publishing space that we’re in you can get this massive ego, it can start building, cause as you start, people know your name and your meeting really high level people, you can get this massive head, but something about coming home and your wife saying “take out the trash” and you say “well I was just on this call to, you know what, you’re right, I have to take out the trash”

Pedram:

“But don’t you know who I am?”

Jake:

Now yeah, don’t you…”I just had this call with so-and-so, I just interviewed Arianna Huffington”

Pedram:

“I’m big in Japan”

Jake:

“I’m big in Japan!” It’s something of having, and I’m not saying everybody should have kids, but for me looking back, it was just perfect timing–

Pedram:

Totally.

Jake:

It was perfect timing but I had to go through the shit to get there.

Pedram:

I had a guy from our universe, so Jason Wachob was on the show just recently, he was the founder of Mind, Body, Green, and he said something that kinda fucked me up actually.

Jake:

Did you go after him or…

Pedram:

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. Get the sword, let’s get that guy, right? He was just, in all honesty I really admire his candor on this, “I was doing this Wall Street thing, and it fucking sucked, and the money I made in my best month was the most miserable I ever was.”

Jake:

Right.

Pedram:

“I quit, and so I started finding yoga, and chakra’s and all this cool stuff, and I found myeslf. Then I started this blog called Mind, Body, Green, and it started building and I went from seven days a week of yoga to five, to three, to two, to none, and now”, and he says this on the show, he’s like “and you know, I’m just more stressed out now than I was at Wall Street”, and so I was like, I just talked to Arianna, who was working so hard she fell over and broke her face, and now I talk to this other guy, and here I am, CEO of Well.Org and we’re doing all this news and media and stuff, and I just had a kid, and I’m like “I’m kinda tired”, but I’m like “What are we doing?”

Jake:

Yeah.

Developing a Good Work-Life Balance By Saying “No”

Pedram:

Right? What are we doing? I mean you run Alternative Daily, and you’ve found some work-life balance, I’ve been working pretty aggressively at saying “no” to actually be the change I want to be in the world, and you see all these health empires in the middle of them are rotting people.

Jake:

We make excuses for ourselves too, of like “Oh we’re helping other people” when we really need to be helping ourselves out–

Pedram:

Totally.

Jake:

And it’s something I’ve actually learned too in the past couple of years that’s really helped me, has just been restraint, right, and you do a lot of travelling and it’s something you need to do, but I could do a lot of travelling and meet with these people, and business meetings and stuff like that, but I’ve actually just started to really enjoy just hanging out with my family–

Pedram:

Totally.

Jake:

And sometimes we get caught up in our mind, I don’t know if Jason or Arianna can agree with this, is you always think that if I’m not going to do this next meeting, if I’m not going to do this somebody else will, and a lot of people were in that hustle and grind game, and that’s fine, but I’m not wired for the hustle and grind game, and a lot of people who are starting wellness companies, they will do it, but they realize they’re not, not to say your not cut out for the hustle and grind game, but it’s just like from wellness companies, it always starts from within, right, and with Jason sharing that it was absolutely awesome, which is he’s more miserable now.

I found that having more restraint, saying no, but also saying, if I don’t do this, you kind of have that voice in the back that says “well someone else is gonna do this”.

Not Everyone Is Wired To Play The Hustle And Grind Game - @Jakesurfs via @pedramshojai

Pedram:

FOMO baby.

Jake:

It’s like “No, fine, nobody’s gonna do that”, and it’s something that I’ve taken with the Alternative Daily cause there’s been times where I’ll push guys, I actually just did this yesterday, we’re having a company retreat next week, there’s three or four main books were about to launch and publish and do all these things, and I was like “I want these done before the retreat, because I want everybody to have a good time doing the retreat, but we need to push, push, push, if we have to go through the weekend I get it, but that’s what we need to do”, and I read some signs of what was going on in terms of internally, and I had a call with a main Director, and I just noticed that things were off cause everyone was working too hard, and I said, “You know what, stop it, I’m sorry”, and he was like “What do you mean? We have these four things?”, I said this is the number one priority is getting this, the other three, let’s wait till after the retreat.

Pedram:

Great.

Jake:

Even just saying that for myself was relaxing, he was relaxed, everybody was relaxed, and I was like “Okay, now this copy should get done”, so I think there’s something about hustling and grinding, and it’s good in a sense, but then also saying “I have a family, I have to look out for myself, look out for my kids”, and if I don’t do that, everybody thinks that somebody else is gonna come in, and somebody might, but you’re focusing back on your company, focusing back on yourself, and that’s admirable what Jason said, but it’s something we all should do more.

Pedram:

Look the goal business–

Jake:

You guys should do that too, at work all the time.

Pedram:

Everyone needs to do that, totally, oh and by the way, I’m looking at our main camera right now, we’re filming this in studio, it’s normal shot, but we are also Facebook living, so Shaun if there’s questions, we’re gonna start taking questions.

Jake:

Oh yeah! I like it!

Pedram:

Yeah, I’m trying to take this show on, so if you’ve got questions, just raise your hand if you’re in the audience, and if you’re watching this live, let us know.

Jake:

They want to know why we’re bald, and why we don’t have any hair on our heads.

Pedram:

Totally, totally. I had–

Jake:

It’s kids!

Pedram:

A full head of hair before I got married. I actually think the reason I lost a lot of my hair was, when I was a monk I used to shave my hair a lot, and I owned a summer camp for kids, and I’d just be out in the sun for the entire summer just keeping pounded on the scalp, and so I finally talked to one of our guys who’s been in the hair loss business, he’s like “Let me do your hair!”, and I’m like “I don’t want it. I don’t care actually, but he’s like “well yeah your scalp just got pounded by the sun because your hair is like a tree canopy covering”, I was like “Oh”.

Jake:

Did you do it? Did you try any of the hair stuff

Pedram:

Nah, nah. He has some natural solution, he said “please let me take the pepsi challenge and do it, and if you grow your hair back”…

Jake:

Did you try it?

Pedram:

He’s getting me the stuff.

Jake:

Okay.

Pedram:

For me it’s more about…

Jake:

Do you want more hair?

Pedram:

I don’t care!

Jake:

Yeah. I actually had long flowing locks, and I used to bleach mine, which I think might have also done it.

Pedram:

Totally.

Jake:

But I had like long flowing locks, it was great, and then I started losing it, and then I noticed it was thinning here, had like this big half moon…and I was like “I’m not fighting it, I’m just shaving it from now on”

Pedram:

Totally, you don’t want to look like Larry from the Three Stooges.

Jake:

I have friends who take, Propecia or whatever it is, I’m like, “You realize you’re paying rent for your hair is what you’re doing”.

Pedram:

Totally, totally. It’s just a lot of work, and to me it’s a zero sum game, eventually you lose it, and I’ve got a good head I don’t care, so do you. We do all right, the bald guys.

Jake:

Yes.

The Gnarly Dad

Pedram:

So you got this thing called the Gnarly Dad, and so your whole kind of shtick has been like being a beach dude and wanting to stay that way, and so we’re talking about work-life balance, you’re church is on that surfboard a lot of times?

Jake:

I was wondering where we were gonna go with that, your church, and I was thinking “Oh God, what are we bringing up here”.

Pedram:

Totally, totally. We’re actually selling God today.

Jake:

Yeah so I have the Alternative Daily, which is running, and this whole kind of Gnarly Dad thing is kind of evolving on Twitter, because I took a picture the other day, my daughter had kinda dressed me up, and I had a tiger on my head, and she was doing…I don’t know if you’re familiar with Doc McStuffins–

Pedram:

Probably be there in a couple of years, yeah totally.

Jake:

You will be, and so I took a picture and was like “Damn you Doc McStuffins”, and a lot of people were liking it and stuff like that, and so it’s stuff like that. I’m showing…here’s the deal, being a parent is not easy, there’s maybe a few people that have said it’s the best thing ever, majority of people don’t necessarily say that, but it’s just like it is business, it’s just like it is life, it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint, and so I’ve just been kind of documenting a few things on Twitter @JakeSurfs is what it is–

Pedram:

@JakeSurfs.

Jake:

@JakeSurfs, documenting stuff on there that a lot of people were finding funny, but also it’s good to also just be able to vent, cause here’s something I was afraid of for the first two years, because it’s hard, it’s really hard, and I know they were kinda vibing and joking a little bit about it, it’s also awesome at the same time, and we’ll get to that in a second, but I was so afraid to tell someone it sucked, I was so afraid to tell somebody that this is hard, I don’t know–

Pedram:

You pussy!

Jake:

Yeah, you pussy. I don’t know if I life doing it, I was so afraid to say it, because I thought that I was going to be a bad dad, a bad parent, I was afraid to bring it up to my parents who were awesome in raising me, and I remember I was talking to one of our doctors at the Alternative Daily, Dr Josh, and we weren’t close friends at that time, so I felt kinda safer where I could say something, he was like “I get it, it’s so hard, you’re worried about this, you’re worried about punching the wall”, and I’m like “Yes!”

Pedram:

Please.

Jake:

I’ve never been able to talk to anybody about that.

Pedram:

Totally.

Jake:

By doing that, it was kinda the same thing with the restraint of telling my staff something, not gonna go round destroying things, but there’s all these hormones, even in dads, all come up, and emotions come up, and just being able to talk about it is therapy in itself, and so I found just being able to talk about it to people was so nice, and there were a few friends I did bring it up to, and were like “God, you know what, she was screaming the other day, and she pooped on the floor, and I just wanted to you know throw something on the ground too”, and they’re like “Oh my God really?” And I was like “Okay, we shouldn’t talk about this then” so–

Pedram:

Did I just scare you?

Jake:

Yeah, did I just scare you? I think it’s important, especially for whether it’s new parents or any type of parents, just talk about it, cause it helps so, so much.

Pedram:

I think that there’s a lot of that right? Like it happens in Church too, it’s like I’m Mr Goody Guy, and I just do all good things, and I’m like the perfect person in Church, or I’m the perfect person at work, and like I’ve never met the perfect person, and I’ve hung with the Dalai Lama. I’m sure his farts stink, it’s just one of these things where we all put so much energy into the façade of who we think we need to be, that we can’t release as parents. Look being a parent is a lot of work, and I’ve had this conversation with my parents a lot, and maybe this is something that will resonate with you or not, it’s also a different age, where my parents would come home, and we would all be together. Our weekends were all together.

There was more time, there was more envelope for the time that we spent together as a family, and now it feels like well the kids gotta go to Kumon, and then this, and then soccer practice, then tennis, it’s like the time compression around it, makes this thing where it’s like there’s no other time for you to catch breath. So as parents, I talk to a lot of parents, it feels like we’re suffocating right? Question?

Developing a Consistent Morning Routine

Shaun:

Yeah, from Steve, Have you guys got any tips for starting a new morning routine at all?

Pedram:

Yeah, well I do a Chi Gong set Steve, every morning before I pee, and it pulls up the energy, it really gets me to concentrate and focus, and it’s quick, I have it on the Urban Monk reboot, you’ll see it in there, it’s called the Cloud Hand set, and it’s just a couple of exercises, that really gets me focused in on my eyes, mind, body, and breath, and then I’ll just organically move into stretching and then from there I roll into my day.

Jake:

Do you do that every morning?

 

Pedram’s Daily Gong

Pedram:

Every single morning, it’s part of my gong, so–

Jake:

What do you say that? You said that before, it’s part of my gong, what does that mean?

Pedram:

So it’s my 100 day discipline. Even when I’m off a gong I do it, I’m so used to it now I’ve been doing it for decades, so basically I have eight items on my gong, and if I don’t do all eight of them every single day, I fail, I start over.

Jake:

So it’s kind of like a checklist of things that you want to do for 100 days straight.

Pedram:

Yes, and then what it does is it creates good habits, and for me, I assemble my life around dedicated acts of self-love, instead of letting this thing, or this thing, or outside kinda paddle me around, and be like “go here monkey”, so I assemble my life around what I need to do.

Jake:

Do you feel comfortable telling us what your eight things are?

Pedram:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I have that Chi Gong, I have another Chi Gong set that I rotate just cause I have so many…it just depends on where I’m at, what I feel. I medidate for a minimum of ten minutes, usually I get more, right now I have a Mala Bead, I do like a chant. My next movie’s called Prosperity, and there’s actually a Prosperity chant, so I’m putting myself in line with that. I read minimum of 30 pages or listen to audible, and I usually listen at three x so if I’m in a bind I can listen for ten minutes to audible–

Jake:

You say thirty minutes, but you’ll actually condense it down.

Pedram:

If I listen at three x, I can do it in ten.

Jake:

Okay, okay, so that one counts as the Gong.

Pedram:

It counts, and I have to pre-negotiate that. I’m doing Jim Quicks speed reading course–

Jake:

Got it, got it.

Pedram:

Then I have six days a week of exercise, like proper exercise, and then I have my hundreds, which is hundred upper body, hundred middle, and hundred lower body, so I’m doing push-ups, pull-ups, curls, something like planks, crunches, something, something for the middle, and then lunges, jumps, squats for the lower, and then five minutes of stretching. So there’s a lot of shit that I’m doing every day.

Jake:

Can you pick your Gong? Can you do whatever you want?

Pedram:

Everyone has a different gong, it’s not about me saying “do this”, it’s about saying what do you think you need for your life, and then just do that right?

Jake:

That’s cool.

Pedram:

I have thousands of people that are doing Gongs right now, because it’s like “hey look, I’m not telling you what to do”.

Jake:

Is it just when you remember? Or do you have a specific schedule for that?

Pedram:

Ah, no, it’s just like I gotta do it before I go to bed that night.

Jake:

Got it.

Pedram:

Last night I was here and I had all these people here for a meeting about the Conscious Capital play, and literally I was here till 8.30 at night, and normally I take breaks, but I’m here, so I go home last night and I spent almost two hours doing my Gong, because a deal’s a deal.

Jake:

Interesting.

Pedram:

Normally I space it out throughout my day.

Jake:

So you did complete it yesterday?

Pedram:

100%. Failure is not an option

Jake:

Okay.

Pedram:

However, I have failed.

Jake:

How often have you failed?

Pedram:

Okay when I first started doing Gongs I missed day 12, and I had to start over, and then I missed day 46, and 46 days is a long time to redo to catch up to where you were, and then I went almost 18 years without missing a day, and then just recently last December, day five, I was stretching and I set a timer, and one of the babies started crying, so I got up to help the baby, and in my mind I had already finished my stretch, and then two days later I’m like “Wait a minute”, so then I went to my audience, I was like “Teacher chunked it”.

Jake:

Oh wow!

Pedram:

Start over.

Jake:

Cool.

Pedram:

Absolutely. What difference does it make? I’m trying to build good habit. Start over when you do, right? Did that satisfy, is there anything else for my and Jake, yeah as you say so Jake’s got…

Mindset Is More Important Than A Six Pack - @Jakesurfs via @pedramshojai

Jake’s Morning Routine

Jake:

I’ve experimented with different morning routines, and I find I have most successes when it gets boring. That’s when I know that I’m in the right spot, because I’ll get up in the morning, and I meditate every morning, so I’ve tried to meditate when I get up, for some reason it’s not the best time for me to meditate as soon as I get up. I’ve found that I don’t do well then, so what I’ll do is, here’s Jake’s routine every morning, it’s boring, so that’s why I know I got it. I get up at five now, eastern time, I’ll call you next time–

Pedram:

Please don’t.

Jake:

I get up, go pee, have a few drinks of water, and then I’ll actually have a little bit of coffee cause I’m gonna go for a run. I know maybe running is the worst thing for you, you know the five worst exercises or whatever, but I go for a run because I enjoy it, and I also listen to a podcast, or audio books or if I hit my last run maybe turn on my favorite song or whatever so it’s kind of my whole morning routine, and I do it at the beach, so I end it at the beach at sunrise, so I get to see the sunrise coming over the ocean, and the Alternative Daily we actually live stream all of the sunrises on the weekdays too–

Pedram:

Wow!

Jake:

So it’s pretty cool, so I see my videographer there doing it. I end my morning routine at the beach, then I take Noah to school, and then I come back and do my meditation, so Jake’s morning starts at five, and my morning ends with meditation at about 8.30, and then, I remember last week I was just like “Oh this is boring, I’m getting into a routine”, I was like “I made it, this is it, I’m gonna keep with this”. It’s easy once you get in a routine to kind of want to say, “let’s change it up”. There’s nothing wrong with changing it up, but it’s solid for me now, it’s solid for me now.

Pedram:

You actually had a history before you found meditation.

Jake:

I have an itch on my butt right now.

Fighting Negative Internal Voices With Meditation

Pedram:

See he’s a serial butt scratcher. So before you found meditation, you were actually having a hard time, can I say, I don’t know if you’re willing to share some of this.

Jake:

Yeah, it starts back when I was four years old, which it really did. I used to have these kind of crazy night mares where the nightmares weren’t like being chased by gorillas and stuff, it was more like getting bit by a shark, it was more like contemplating the infinite. At four years old, that’s pretty heavy, and I remember waking up in night-sweats and my parents trying to ask me what was going on, you just can’t explain that, so these nightmares continued my entire life, and then even up until I was engaged, or even married with Gina. I remember being on my honeymoon, and it got to a point, I’m skipping over a lot, it got to a point that I would actually scream to try and silence the thoughts in my head of death. It was all about contemplating the infinity and what happens after death, and “oh my God I don’t want to die”.

I remember being in the shower and I literally starting screaming cause the thoughts came up were so scary, and she’s like “What’s wrong?”, and I was like “Ah, I don’t know”. It got to a point where I actually didn’t know that I was screaming at times which is crazy, it’s insane, and so I looked up…I was like “I gotta fix this, I gotta see what’s going on”. I tried a whole bunch of different things, and especially in college, I had these all in college, and I masked those with sex, drugs, rock and roll right? And that’s what you just mask it with.

Pedram:

Didn’t silence it did it?

Jake:

It didn’t silence it because what you find is, I would go to bed, and if I didn’t drink that day, there were probably like three or four days in college when I didn’t drink, we were heavy partiers, and the main reason was, if I went to bed sober and in a clear mind, that thought would come up, and I was like, “I gotta muzzle it”, and so let me have a few beers, bam, then I would go to bed, what actually happens is off-set of drinking a lot the night before, you’re a little big hungover the next day, tones of anxiety, and so that vicious cycle happened all the way up until being married, and then I was like “This is it”.

I actually lost two very close friends in tragic accidents, and I lost my grandmother all within three or four months and it kind of hit me in the face, and that’s when I decided I was like “I gotta figure this out”, so I google it, panic attacks, scared of death, and it’s so funny cause I actually for the first time realized other people have this, and my big thing was that I wanted to see if there was an answer, what is the answer, and so I started searching “what do Atheists say, what do Hindu’s say, Buddhist’s say, Doctors say, what do old lady’s say that are about to die, and the majority of them all led back to meditation.

They didn’t give an answer, but everyone had said something about meditation, and so I was sitting round the computer, one of my favorite surfers, Taylor Knox, had said something about Kelee Meditation, and I looked it up, and I was like “cool if it worked for him I’m gonna try it”. I started doing that, started meditating every day, and I specifically remember the turn of my life was about three months into doing it, I don’t know if you remember when you first started meditating, but I’ve never meditated before, so being 27 at the time, never meditating before, you sit down, it’s like “I’m never gonna calm this thing down”, it’s just like constant, but it’s the only thing in my life I kept a discipline for. Which is, I did it every morning, and every evening, and I did it every morning and every evening.

Pedram:

How long?

Jake:

Five to ten minutes. Not 30, not 45, for what I do there’s no mantra’s, no chant’s or concentration of breath, it’s all getting inward. I did that and I remember the specific time that it happened, I sat down, I had all my surfboards right here, I did my meditation, and for the first time, and you can probably understand this, you get that nothingness, that stillness, which I can kinda feel right now which is really cool, and for the first time in my life, all the thoughts of all that stuff just dissolved away.

Pedram:

You didn’t have some like “aha! I get it this is what happens after I die”, but the anxiety of it went away.

Jake:

The anxiety of it went away, and it was that feeling I got when I was like four years old, that feeling of infinite stuff, I felt that, but it was no answer like “This is the answer”, It’s almost like a deeper thing that could bring up more questions, but on a deeper sense it felt “Okay, this is good” This is what I was afraid of, and I’m no longer afraid of that anymore.

Pedram:

Panic attacks?

Jake:

Gone.

Pedram:

Anxiety?

Jake:

Gone. I was depressed too. All of that gone. Drinking definitely slowed down too, didn’t need to do that much anymore.

Pedram:

Well there’s no point, if you don’t have something to sedate, then it’s…

Jake:

Right, and so that’s how we led into the Alternative Daily was, if I could do that and help myself out by doing something completely natural, because again, a lot of people were saying “Take drugs, do this, do that” and sure, some people need to do whatever they need to do, but I just knew that wasn’t necessarily gonna fix it, it was just gonna mask it for me. I did the inner work that changed my entire life.

Pedram:

Fantastic. I love that. To me that’s the quintessential kinda meditation story, which is A, the shit worked, and B, it was the discipline that got it to work. Most people would be like “I tried meditating, you know, I took two pills, and Doctor, give me something stronger”. How long before you had that kind of epiphany, that event?

Jake:

Yeah, cause it’s funny I talk to a lot of people now cause a lot of people have heard about my story and they’ll say “I sat down and my mind was racing” and I say “Yeah that’s gonna happen”–

Pedram:

I meditate my whole life and that still happens.

Jake:

Yeah it still happens to me now, but for me to come to that first feeling, that first experience, for me personally it took about three months. I did it every day, and because I started to notice thoughts slowing down as I was doing it, I was calming down as a person, so I was getting benefits earlier, but to have that experience it came within three months.

Pedram:

Just to be clear, not everyone has that kind of “correct, 100%”, that’s just for you that’s how it came.

Jake:

That’s what I tell everybody, it’s your own journey, I’m just telling a story of how it worked for me, but you’re on your own journey and however it happens for you, the big thing is doing the work, I get questions about this on the site, “when did it happen, and this, I’m so excited about trying this out”, and I’m like “You have to do the work” cause you’re not going to fix yourself by not doing the work.

We Are All On Our Own Journeys - @Jakesurfs via @Pedramshojai

Pedram:

See that to me, okay so you run a news media health organization, a big one and a very nice prominent one–

Jake:

Thank you.

Fighting the Urge To Succeed With Clickbait

Pedram:

Yeah, and you guys do great work, I’m a big fan, our enemy is click bait. Our enemy is the tabloids. When I was doing my book launch, I was running around talking to all these media people, who were like “Give me the three things that will give me the boner of a lifetime” and you’re like “What? That’s not even interesting”, that’s not what I want to share with the world, but that’s what they want to hear, and so then there’s that tendency to really want to help people kinda cut corners, and what you’re speaking to right now, the literal translation of that is Kung Fu, hardwork right? You put in the work, and you have life long benefits, and now you have an awesome life, and then you get to live a balanced life with it, but it took three months of sitting on your ass and doing it.

Jake:

Yeah and it’s funny that you brought that up because when we first started, and I’ll be honest, we were very click baited when we first started, I had to make a splash on the scene. I remember people saying “You wrote an article about five foods that give you cancer, why are you doing that for?”–

Pedram:

Cause that’s what people click on.

Jake:

I was like, “That’s what people click on”, then after a year of that, I took a step back and I was like “It doesn’t feel right”. I was able to make the transformation for myself by doing the right thing–

Pedram:

But my business is still in the old model.

Jake:

My business is still in the old model. Let’s fuckin’ change this thing up, and just go in there and lift up the tables and throw them away, and so we changed the quality of it to not click baiting, to what can you get out of this thing and I’m not trying to scam you at all.

Pedram:

Totally, totally, that’s the challenge of our industry though–

Jake:

It is, it is.

Pedram:

We’re having an authentic conversation about real stuff, people want to see puppies and kittens on Facebook, and so people who are trying to do the right work are often competing with douchebags that are just gaming the system to get clicks and try and sell boner pills. That’s some of the ninja tactics that we have to go up against trying to be honest in the world, but the truth prevails.

Jake:

It does, it does prevail, and what I was doing in that first year, it was more of day trading, just like different things of saying “Five things that do this, do that”, and then we just flipped it around and we started doing more mindful content, just call it that, and whether it is news or politics, whether we’re talking about Donald Trump, or whether we’re talking about lemon water, it’s be more quality about it, and let’s talk about it, let’s tell a story about it as opposed to “Just do this”. My business changed immediately when I started really being mindful about the stuff we were putting out.

Pedram:

Yeah, and that to me is a mark of the new economy, it’s the mark of how we can live work-life balance, just to kind of come back so Jason of Mind, Body, Green, he’s actually going to be in my next movie, and he’s gonna admit to this and kinda make some changes as we go, because “Who the hell wants to be more stressed out? Who the hell wants to be more tired?” So here we are, health and wellness guys, running health and wellness companies, and World.Org does a lot of things, as does Alternative Daily, my commitment to my family, myself, primary, and then to our audience and our listeners is to practice what we preach.

Jake:

Yep.

Pedram:

Right? How do we do that, and produce a ton of content? How do we do that and scale it? In some senses this is Wild Wild West, we’re trying to find a new kind of conscious business model where work-life balance is there, and authenticity is there, right?

Jake:

Yes, absolutely.

Pedram:

You’re not cooked up sitting here, you’re just a naturally energetic dude, I mean sure we could have a cup of tea here and there, but you’re healthy, and that’s the kind of fundamental backbone of what builds your business.

Jake:

It is, it is, and it’s something we do news, and we do health and stuff, but I also want to be careful to, cause I’ve seen a lot of this too which is for the unhealthy folks, it’s okay to be unhealthy. Meaning, it’s okay, cause once you realize and say “I’m unhealthy”, I’m not pointing the finger at unhealthy people, I want everybody, so if you are overweight, fine, you first have to just say, “Okay”, feel the presence, and then say “let me get better et cetera”, and so I do see a lot of stuff in the health industry, just kind of like talking about fat people or overweight people, or people with diabetes and all these things and it’s their fault and blah blah blah, we need to be careful about that, I need to do that better within my business, being careful pointing the finger, so that’s why we changed our tag line at the Alternative Daily at the beginning of the year, we’re kind of turning over one more new page which is “Free thinking, well being, and inclusive”.

Meaning we want everybody, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, we’re gonna talk about politics, we’re gonna do it in a mindful way, we want healthy people and “unhealthy” people, because everybody can get something good out of what we’re doing. There’s a lot of finger pointing too, whether it’s right or left, or it’s an overweight person, or a too skinny person, stuff like that, and that’s not good.

Pedram:

You know what’s funny is you talk about who’s in the gym, it’s usually the healthy people, so there’s a lot of preaching to the choir. It’s like this whole Paleo movement, they’re all arguing about turkey bacon versus chicken bacon, that’s not where our healthcare crisis is, that’s not where the most of the work needs to happen, this is about humanity.

Starting a Health Journey with Small Steps

Jake:

We did something just to wrap that up, we did some things about how you always eat organic et cetera, for people that live in a place where you don’t have access to whole foods, or even local farms, you can start eating fruits and vegetables. If you can’t get organic, that’s the next step. Just ease into it. We just need to be careful as an industry to kinda say, cause there’s a lot of articles and information about only eat organic, but there are some families that just can’t get to that point yet, just take that first step. If you could just take your first step, maybe then tomorrow make another step. You’ll eventually get there.

Pedram:

Well and that’s really it. You look at behavioral models, it all starts with small steps, and those small steps actually lead to life changing stuff. Most people think that “I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing, and now I’m gonna start bootcamp, and then that bootcamp is going to fundamentally change my life and I’m gonna have a six pack in three weeks, watch. This is not reality.

Jake:

I was thinking about this before as I was going for a walk this morning, a bigger change, more so than a physical, like if you just had six pack abs and stuff like that, that’s great, but the mindset is more important than the actual physical side of it too. If you can have that shift in months like I did, like you did, like a lot of people have had in your life, then that’s when the more value, what you’re gonna get out of it is much better than just getting six pack abs, awesome, but you have to have that mental shift, which is a way better shift.

How To Stay Healthy and Active with a Desk Job

Pedram:

Totally. How do people do this just to kind of come back to work-life balance for a second, I know we’re running out of time. Going to work, I’ve got a standing desks, I’ve got all kinds of weights and shit around here so we’re kind of a dynamic company, and a lot of people don’t work in those, so what’s your advice to people who are at a job-job who are trying to get more active during the day.

Jake:

Sure, smoke breaks, 100% people should take smoke breaks, my last job I noticed that all of the cigarette smokers, they would get three or four ten minute breaks, and I was like “I’m gonna go kick it with them, I’m gonna go outside”, and so granted, I probably wasn’t breathing in the best thing, but I got out of that toxic cubicle space, I was just kicking it with them, talking with them. I was like “I like this, I’m gonna start taking smoke breaks”. I wasn’t smoking, but I was like “I’m gonna go outside with them”, that was the first thing I did. But the now, you gotta think, as we go back to even the parenting, long-term, marathon, I’m all about living in the moment, but you also be responsible about it. Where do you want to be in 30, 40 years right? Do you still want to be in that same cubicle? No? Okay well what can you do to build, whether it’s your dream job, your dream career, or the dream girl or whatever, and start making little daily changes each day to get towards that goal.

Then from my aspect of it too, I try to put this, especially with the people who work with us, just be grateful for what we have too, and I’ve done this a lot, and this has really saved me from going overboard which is literally stopping each day, and I’m not trying to be Voodoo and crystals and stuff like that, which are fine if–

Pedram:

You dissing my crystals dude?

Jake:

Do you have crystals?

Pedram:

No I don’t.

Jake:

Okay, samurai swords.

Pedram:

Samurai swords.

I'm Proud of The Mistakes I've Made Because I've Learned From Them - @Jakesurfs via @Pedramshojai

Jake:

But it’s just being grateful for where you’re at, and so regardless of your life situation, you’re alive. I’ve done that a lot with the Alternative Daily, I’m proud of what we’ve built, but also proud of being a dad. I’m proud of being a husband. I’m proud of the mistakes I’ve made cause I’ve learned from them, and it’s taking that and sometimes for me these kind of little moments of gratitude last five minutes, sometimes it’s 30 seconds, but it’s a great reset for me just kinda literally stop and look at everything from a very high level view of “Here’s where I’m at with my life, here’s where I started, here’s where I aim to want to be, I’m here, I’m on a good path to get there”. There is moments of gratitude each day, more so than anything, are what keep me sane, and my employees sane, keep a lot of people sane.

Pedram:

Well and all the people you serve. The Alternative Daily, daily wisdom nuggets, health advice, all sorts of cool stuff, I love it, I love the concept because we need a little reminder every day, right, and that’s kind of where you’re coming from.

Jake:

It’s mindful politics, mindful news, mindful news about the plant, mindful health stuff, it’s just having a mature conversation about what is going on.

Pedram:

Amen brother. Man great to have you here, I know you’re from out of town and got the luxury of getting to spend some face time together and that doesn’t happen very often so one of these days these dads will go surfing together.

Jake:

Let’s do it!

Pedram:

Yeah, awesome. Thanks for being here.

Jake:

Thank you.

Pedram:

Hey hope you enjoyed it, let me know what you think, I love just having my buddies come into town and just riffing with them, let me know if any of this impacted you, and what you thought, also, more stuff over here if you’re not caught up on the Urban Monk wisdom, there’s all sorts of awesome people I’ve had on the show, check it out, share it, let me know, and if you’re not subscribed already, do so right here under this video. I’ll see you next week.

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