In this week’s Tribe Talk, I asked Academy member Chris Boehner to share his story.
For me, this story highlights how having many different interests, and a range of skills, can help you turn your passion into a career or a business.
Through Chris’ previous career choices, he created a platform which he followed based on his interests at the time.
Chris is now applying all of the skills that he learnt into developing something very different. His core value in business and life is the concept of learning by doing.
Chris realised that everything that was helping him in his career was not down to the education system, but through the sorts of things the Academy values, such as self-teaching, learning from a mentor and upgrading your peer group.
Through a personal request from Brian, this is a video Chris posted in the Private London Real Academy Facebook Group:
As a featured member on this week’s blog, Chris shares some of the following:
- A revolutionary concept that changes the way we think about foods and brands
- What he did to release his passion
- What it was like to meet Dan Peña at his QLA Castle Seminar
- How his pitch to some of the most highly successful and key influential people, like Dave Asprey and Dan Peña, led to them joining his company as Board Member and Chairman
Featured Member Chris Boehner
I asked Chris what we should do if we’re struggling to find our passion. He said we shouldn’t sit around moaning about how we can’t find our passion, we have to experiment.
Chris started experimenting in a number of industries over 5 years. This is where it all started for him.
When Chris graduated from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, he bought a one way ticket to China.
With only $2,000 and no family or friends in the East, Chris lived in a hostel until he met a group called ‘Ultimate Frisbee’ who helped him find his feet.
After teaching Business English for a year, he described having a “crazy idea” of going on a cycling expedition from Cairo to Cape Town.
He struggled to finance the $20,000 tour, but rather than give up on the idea, Chris sent a “cold email” to an owner of a touring company suggesting they should do trips across China.
When Chris met the owner a week later, he got hired as a tour guide translator because he impressed the owner by purchasing drinks in Mandarin!
Tour d’Afrique was his “dream all along!” Chris used to draw Egyptian pyramids on yellow post-it notes and stick it all across his desk, serving as a reminder of what our high performance guests such as Dan Peña and Peter Sage tell us, pre-visualisation is one of the pillars of success.
When I asked Chris what life experience he was shaped by most, he said learning Mandarin. For him, the process of learning Mandarin “sucked,” but it was vital. It offered job assurance and proved the power of hard work and persistence, which is the lesson he now applies to everything he does.
The Academy is important to Chris because it’s a place he can give value, help others and share insights. Rather than using it as an excuse to not work on achieving our goals, Chris sees it as a “force multiplier, not a time suck.”
Chris told me that when Academy members hit their goals, it creates an inner dialogue in him which raises an emotional level of understanding. “Shit, if they could do that, what the hell is the matter with me?”
By allowing his emotions and feeling them fully, this adds fuel to his fire.
With such strong determination, I asked Chris how he holds himself accountable. Chris sets goals for the week and writes down everything he does everyday.
“It’s really easy for you to work all day and feel like you didn’t get anything accomplished, especially if you have high standards. Writing everything down at the end of the day gives form to your work, and many times when I feel that I didn’t get much done, I look at my list and say Damn, actually that’s not as bad as I thought.”
After watching Dan Peña’s interviews on London Real, Chris knew that Dan was the person to take him to the “next level.”
In applying his “gut feeling”, Chris signed up to the QLA Castle Seminar even though he could not finance it at the time.
He was confident that through hard work and smart thinking, he would be able to come up with a cash plan.
I asked Chris to share his experiences of the QLA. He said that the most powerful part for him was after the QLA, “when your perspective has completely changed and you see his Penaisms coming true all over the place. We are all mired in conventional wisdom and you’ve got to flush it all out.”
These are some of the top lessons that Chris has learnt from the QLA Castle Seminar:
- Raise your game
- Don’t be afraid of reaching high and setting high goals
- Follow your passions and interests, don’t waste time “pissing into the wind”
- A community of like-minded people can add fuel to your fire and set you up for long-term success
When Chris moved back to the US recently, it gave him a fresh perspective on some of the things that were happening to the health of people there. He noticed people were starting to research their food produce and avoiding or boycotting big food brands. From some of these ideas, he’s been working on developing a Benefit Corporation called Western Natural Foods. Its mission is to:
“Bring together a collection of healthy food brands with missions extending beyond the dinner plate. Unlike existing industry players, WNF is a Benefit Corporation, protecting our ability to pursue profit, but not at the expense of the integrity and authenticity of our brands.”
I asked Chris how he made the pitch to Dave Asprey and Dan Peña. The answer was simple but bold: “Enthusiasm and passion – I took action and asked them.”
For Chris, “enthusiasm is the key to a successful pitch to anyone, about anything” because it is “contagious.”
Alongside this, Oren Klaff’s techniques and The Three Market Forces pattern has been an “extremely powerful way to kick off a pitch” for Chris.
Chris offers the following insight into Dan Peña and Dave Asprey’s decision to join his company:
“Dan Peña starts a business relationship with very few of his mentees. As you will have heard in the seminars, he does not want to be your chairman! My best guess is that he’s measuring you up during the seminar to see if you are someone he wants to work with. Dan’s also extremely meticulous about his health, so there is overlap there as well. Dave Asprey’s work has had a massive impact on my life and awakened my passion for nutrition. Not surprisingly, our definition of healthy foods is very much in line with Bulletproof principles, so it was a perfect fit. We’re all on the same mission of keeping people healthy through nutrition and WNF is going at it from another angle.”
As Chris is part of a community of like-minded people, he’s is continually seeking to upgrade his peer group. Let Chris know if you’d like advice about startups and funding in the US or you have an interest or skill in the following and would like to collaborate and exchange:
- Calculated risk-taking
Come over to the comments and add your voice to the discussion!
We’ve been talking about it for weeks and it’s nearly time for The Tribe Meetup in Amsterdam! There’s still time to join us on Friday at 5pm! I think it’s going to be the best one yet!
Below you can see a picture of event host Alex Ball sharing his vlog about the meetup on the London Real Academy. You can watch it here.We’ve announced the Focus Group dates for 2016 – more details here!