YOU’VE OBVIOUSLY EXPERIENCED A GREAT DEAL OF SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND WHY?
I’ve come to view “Success” as a kind of relative thing: one man’s dream is another’s nightmare. I’m obviously thrilled by the incredible team that I have helped assemble at TRX and the enormously positive impact that our company makes to the lives of tens of millions of people each year around the world by helping them live healthier, happier, more functional lives. But the successes of which I am truly the most proud are my service to the country as a Navy SEAL; my two sons, Harrison (17) and Hawkins (5)—the greatest joys of my life; and, personally, to have lived a pretty unique and rewarding life so far.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS SMOOTH.CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A SETBACK OR TRAGEDY YOU’VE ENCOUNTERED, HOW YOU DEALT WITH IT, AND THE IMPACT IT HAS HAD ON YOU?
I’ve had my share of tradgedies and setbacks along the way, for sure, just as most everyone has or will. During my sophomore year in college, my little sister, Michelle, died of brain cancer. She was an amazing little girl and she died when she was just 10 years old. That hit me hard, but it also left me with a sense of fatalistic optimism that has colored much of my life. I came to belive that there is only so much that a person can do to control our fate, and that, eventually, we’re all “terminal”; it’s just a matter of degree. For that reason, it’s critical to get busy with the task of living a meaningful life and making hay while the sun shines. Each time that I’ve lost a former teammate over the past decade of war, this philosophy has only been bolstered. As my mom likes to remind me, at the end of the day, we’re only going to die. So we may as well get after the task of living well while we can.
DO YOU SET ASIDE “ME-TIME” IN YOUR CALENDAR, AND WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME TO RELAX?
With a business that is crazy-busy, a hundred-person team, dear friends, and two growing boys—there isn’t a lot of “me time,” to go around. But I try to make what little personal time I get matter (mostly when commuting to work or traveling for business). I fill my commuting/travel time with podcasts and books on Audible to expand my knowledge and gain new perspectives. And I carve out the time to workout at least 4-5 days per week, either in a TRX Class or in a workout at home with UFC matches blaring in the background (I love the technical nature of MMA competition). My workout sessions ARE my meditation—the one time when I can quiet my mind and just BE, as I do something that makes me feel good, mentally and physically.
WHAT’S THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE YOU’VE DISCOVERED WHERE YOU CAN GO TO CHILL OUT?
Surfing with my older son, Harri, in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is my definition of heaven on Earth. Of all the places I’ve been in the world (and I’ve been a lot of places) this is where my “soul” truly lives. One of my great goals in life is to have a house on the beach there and spend at least half the year basking in the salt, sun and surf—and paddling into head-high peelers well into my Eighties.
DOES PHILANTHROPY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR LIFE, TO WHAT EXTENT AND HOW?
Philanthropy definitely plays a role in my life—not in a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet way (I haven’t made nearly enough money yet to make much of a financial impact) but rather in a number of small but meaningful ways. At TRX, we support veteran causes as our main philanthropic focus. There are so many groups out there working hard to care for veterans in need and I am proud to say that TRX supports them all. One relationship of which I am especially proud is our collaboration with the Boulder Crest Retreat and it’s Executive Director, Ken Falke. Ken retired from service after a nearly thirty-year career as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal expert and founded an incredible facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains to care for combat veterans and their families who struggle with a variety of combat related issues, both physical and mental. BCR’s philosophy is to help vets and their families tap into the power of “post-traumatic growth.” It’s a philosophy I love and TRX equips every graduate of the BCR program with gear and training to stay fit and healthy when they return home. I also spend a fair amount of personal time helping veterans make a successful transition from government service to a rewarding next chapter in the civilian sector. As I tell every CEO I meet, if you’re interested in building a rockstar team, start by hiring veterans.
WHO IS ON THE GUEST LIST FOR YOUR IDEAL DINNER PARTY, PRESENT OR PAST?
My fantasy dinner party would be a Knights of the Round Table setting (complete with roasted meats, vegatables and an ample supply of grog) to which I would invite a host of the mentors, idols and dearest friends from the different phases of my life. From High School, I’d invite my wrestling Coach Terry Lorentzen and my history teacher Ken Amman; I’d invite Admirals Bill McRaven and Timothy Szymanski–along with Master Chiefs Tim Zimmerman, Steve Giblin, Aaron Baldwin and a few others–all friends and mentors from my life as a SEAL. From the fitness industry I’d have Chris Frankel, Todd Durkin and Gunnar Peterson (three of the world’s greatest trainers–each of whom helped build the TRX brand), along with a handful of epic athletes from our amazing stable: Drew Brees (NFL), Paul Rabil (PLL), Steph Curry (NBA), Jordan Speith (PGA), Lydia Ko (LPGA), Kim Glass (Olympian), Anthony Joshua (WBA), Keri Walsh (Olympian) and Kari Pearce (Crossfit Games). I’d invite several of my greatest business icons & mentors: Alberto Perlman (Founder & CEO of Zumba), Kevin Plank (Founder & CEO of Under Armour), Richard Branson (Founder & CEO of Virgin) and Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO of Amazon); last but not least, I’d bring my entire wonderful extended family so the people I love most could meet the people who have most shaped my professional life. My two oldest lifelong buddies, Don and Jim, would be there to keep me honest. And I’d invite my assistant and right-hand woman, Georgia, to help keep the whole thing on the rails. Whitney Houston would kick us off with the ‘Star Spangled Banner’; then The Eagles, Lady Gaga, Social Distortion and The Rolling Stones would each play a set of their 4 greatest hits. And Ray Charles would bring us home with his rendition of ‘America the Beautiful’ to close the show. That would be one Hell of a dinner party.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY WORDS OF WISDOM TO YOUR FELLOW THROOMERS?
I’m reluctant to offer advice or “wisdom” to anyone because the more I learn from life, the more I realize how little I really know. But one thing I’m sure of is this: whatever the cards we’ve been dealt and however long we live to play the game, the one thing we’ve got is the here and now. If we don’t shape that moment into something we love, we will have missed our one and only chance at a meaningful life. On every tombstone is a name, a date of birth and a date of death…with a ‘–‘ in between those dates. So, with whatever you’ve got left and whatever it takes, don’t wait another day; get out there and get after that task of making that ‘dash’ matter, to you.