EP. 58 “One of the fun things about life is that it’s literally impossible to do everything. You get to choose what you want to do.
This week’s guest ended up becoming the CEO of a tech company that he first discovered as a user.
Dan Clark was one of Brain.fm’s very first users. If you’re not familiar with Brain.fm, it’s a tool that maximizes productivity through music that boosts focus and gets you into your flow state with ease. It’s a tool I use (and recommend) and something I describe as ‘audio adderall’!
I first went down the rabbit hole with Dan in a bar in New York City. We were supposed to be watching the Texas game, but instead had a four-hour conversation about life, passion, and persistence.
It was so inspiring for me that I couldn’t wait to get Dan on the show so you could get a taste of his wisdom. He’s another incredible example of someone who’s living a passionate life by doing things that convention says shouldn’t be possible.
So take a listen to his episode now and discover the full story behind his journey with Brain.FM, why he started out for free, and the 12 persistent phone calls that kick-started it all. You’ll also discover Dan’s personal take on productivity, giving, and why he loves to travel, cook, and do adventurous things (such as deciding to step foot on all seven continents).
It’s a doozy of an episode to kick-start your 2019 and I know you’re going to take a ton away.
One of the things I love most about this episode is Dan’s commitment to doing work that he loves.
[You have to be pretty passionate to work for someone for free, right?]
But as you’ll discover, this is an empowering and inspiring approach to life. Dan and I share a similar set of beliefs – that you’re here on earth for a limited amount of time and so you’d better make the most of that time.
You better create ‘the biggest splash possible’.
Want to inject some of this philosophy into your New Year plans?
Then tune into this episode of the Stay Grounded Podcast to discover ideas, strategies, and daily practices that will help you be your best self and do more with your time in the months ahead.
Can’t wait to hear your takeaways.
“When you subscribe to the Stay Grounded Podcast, you help new people discover the show. And it means the podcast will automatically show up in your app of choice every time a new episode is released on Mondays.”
Time Stamped Show Notes
[4:53] Before Dan started working at Brain.fm, he was one of its first users. He loved the product so much that he called the company almost 12 times, offering to work for for free. Cut to present day, where he’s now the CEO. Dan spoke about his previous careers – mostly about his time as a martial arts instructor. What he loved most about the work was seeing his students “get it,” the moment where they made the connection to what they’d learned.
He realized that’s what he wanted to do. After spending some time traveling, he used his tech background to start a lead generation business for websites. He was able to sell his company at young age and learned that there was opportunity in tech to both make money and to help people. It also showed him that he had a talent for leveraging tech to build businesses. He eventually made his way to the advertising world and, while successful, he missed connecting with people. Enter, Brain.fm. He felt an immediate connection with the product and noticed it was the best resource for helping him achieve his flow state (an extended period of productivity or focus where you feel that you’re naturally getting things done; you don’t feel as if you have to try, feels as if you’re in a state of flow.)
[11:05] Persistence is that word that came to mind when I asked Dan about his 12 calls to Brain.fm, most people would have definitely given up early on. I wanted to know where that sense of confidence came from. He talks about this sense of knowing that he had, “they’re going to hire me and they just don’t know it yet.” He speaks to martial arts being a large contributor to that and how it instilled confidence, success and perseverance in him. It comes from his having a strong belief in something and then proving to himself that he can do it.
[18:04] Dan talks about his wanting to “make a splash” with the time that he has. He speaks to his spiritual beliefs and how during our time here we can add energy, do nothing or take energy away. He chooses to make his splash by helping people, wants to make the biggest splash possible and wants to do it with integrity! His loving what he does creates a passion within him and he’s made it a life commitment to live a job that is no different than what he would be doing if money wasn’t a factor.
[25:55] I ask Dan how he gets into his “flow states” and where his relentless productivity stems from? He attributes a lot of that to building a habitual process that allows you to train your body and your mind to do it on demand. He walks through his morning routine which includes affirmations, gratitude, mindfulness, iced coffee, Brain.fm and open ended journaling. That allows him to naturally structure his thoughts and moves him into his state of flow, putting him in the zone!
[36:00] Dan talks about his love of cooking and how by doing something and challenging himself, it made the process of simply making meals a very exciting activity. He says to find something that you have the potential to be really good and to just try it. What started as simple mac and cheese recipes lead to him challenging himself to cook everything from beef wellington to Chopped style means! He aligned his passion for cooking with the challenges of making new cuisines, and now that passion has found a new challenge in digital art.
[41:52] I asked Dan, what can be done to evoke that passion for life when you’re feeling stuck or trapped? He says when that occurs, we need to shock our system with a radical change that will change our lives. What’s something crazy that we can do to shake ourselves awake? He was terrified of heights and forced himself to go skydiving; it was a thing that scared him and made him uncomfortable, he pushed through and did it anyway!