Rich Roll is a world-renown, plant-based ultra-endurance athlete, in-demand public speaker, wellness advocate, #1 Best-selling Author of Finding Ultra and The Plantpower Way, Host of the wildly popular Rich Roll Podcast, and inspirational hero to a global audience of wellness seekers as a transformative example of courageous and healthy living.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Rich was a Safety Seeker, someone who just wanted to fit into the flow. He never took a moment or gave himself space to think about what HE wanted. Rich was getting swept away in the river of life…
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- A 39-year-old Corporate Lawyer who was 50 pounds overweight, stopping halfway up the stairs for a rest – Rich knew SOMETHING had to change – and fast.
What has you FIRED up?
Small Business Resource
- NutritionFacts.org: The latest in nutrition related research delivered in easy to understand video segments brought to you by Dr. Michael Greger M.D..
Best Business Book
Rich: I am prepared to ignite, the best as I can.
Interviewer: Rich is a world renowned, plant base, ultra-endurance athlete, in demand public speaker, wellness advocate, No. 1 best-selling author of, Finding Ultra and The Plant Power Way, host of the wildly popular Rich Roll podcast, an inspirational hero to a global audience of wellness seekers as a transformer of example of courageous and healthy living. All right Rich take a minute and fill in some gaps from that intro and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Rich: Ah, where to begin, well, I always struggle with this question. I do so many different things and it's always that cocktail thing, like what do you do. Essentially I am a wellness advocate at large, like you said I have a podcast that I am very passionate about. I am an author and have written two books and working on another. I travel extensively and do a lot of public speaking. I am also a dad, I have four kids and I am happily married, so juggling a lot of different things, as is the entrepreneur's life.
Interviewer: Well, it is that cocktail question that seems to always come up, you know, that what do you do question and that is why I kind of want to make it a little simpler with this next part. So, let's just picture you are at a networking party and you were confined to just ten seconds. What would you say if someone walked up to you and said "Rich, what exactly do you do?"
Rich Well, I always try to do a quick read on the person and try to intuitively get a grip on where I think that person is coming from and that will sometimes dictate my answer.
Interviewer: Okay, they see pretty fit, let's just picture that.
Rich Well, then I would probably say that I am an athlete and a wellness advocate.
Interviewer: There you go. So, Rich, you are doing a lot of great things, you have a lot of different ways that you are reaching a lot of people and inspiring the masses in a ton of different industries, but can you break it down for Fire Nation, the different ways that you are currently generating revenue and taking your passions and turning it into a viable business.
Rich Sure, it's pretty diversified; I try to not be overly dependent on any one revenue stream so that way I can make decisions based not on money, but instead where I think I can impact the most number of people. I generate revenue off the podcast, I have written two books and those both generate good revenue for me. We have products on my website at Richroll.com and then a fee for speaking gigs is essentially how it works.
We are also partners in a plant based restaurant out in the West Valley area of Los Angeles and I am also partners in vegan, gluten free bakery and always looking to get involved with new and different businesses and just be as diversified as possible, provided that all of the things that I get involved with are all sorts of consistent with the message that I am trying to put out there.
Interviewer: And I think that is a key word, consistency, Fire Nation, I mean, we can put ourselves out there and diversify and do all of these things, but if we are doing it in a brand focused type of way, it's going to be a win, win. Rich, you have written some amazing books and I am a huge fan specifically of Finding Ultra, that really just opened my eyes to what the human body was capable of doing and really broke through some mental barriers that I had in regards to fitness and health and it really helped me a lot and still does to this day.
But, you are not always going to be a rock star and not always going to be hitting it out of the park with every single thing that you do. That is part of being an entrepreneur; we have all had the tough times. What I would like for you to do, with our listeners, is take us to what you consider the worst entrepreneurial moment that you have experienced thus far and really tell us that story.
Rich: You know, I kind of look back on things in my life, experience has told me, that some of things that I look back on as being the worst things that have ever happened to me, generally turn out to be some of the best things. They are experiences that then inform how I change my life. So, when I look back and I think, I was not bred to be an entrepreneur. I grew up kind of a safety seeker and knew how to play the academic game pretty well.
I went to Stanford and then to Cornell Law School and I had my struggles. I was an alcoholic and drug addict and all sorts of crazy stuff that I had to deal with in my twenties and thirties, but somehow I was able to still perform well academically.
My whole life was kind of premised on that American dream of study hard, work hard and get the best job. I found myself on the partnership track at a very prestigious Los Angeles law firm and had I stayed there, I would have been very well compensated and by all accounts a very successful person, but I just couldn’t do it. It was no longer in alignment with who I wanted to be and I remember the day that I just quit. I just walked out. I had zero plans and I did not know what I was going to do.
I didn’t know that that was going to be the first step in becoming an entrepreneur and it took me many, many years. It was sort of an ill-fated plan and I did not know what I was going to do. I can look back on that and say that was my worst entrepreneurial moment, because I just didn’t have any concept of what my next move was going to be. For me, that was necessary and I had to kind of really cut that rope in order to free myself and then contemplate, and really ask myself those hard questions about what it was that I wanted to be doing with myself.
Interviewer: You use the words safety seeker and I think that is so powerful for all of our listeners. Fire Nation is either currently a safety seeker or remembers a time that they were. That is just a period of our lives, we go through and some people live there, as a safety seeker. So, can we just kind of sit here for a second because I kind of want to get your definition of what a safety seeker is, why you were one and then how you ended up breaking out of it?
Rich That is a great question, I think that in the way that I was raised, it was sort of incumbent upon me to perform academically and to kind of fit into the flow of society and I was king of on this habit rail where I never really took a moment to stop and think about what I wanted to do.
I was just a cog in a wheel on a very big system and I was able to figure out how to function well within that construct, but it was never impressed upon me, like hey man, who are you and what is important to you and are you contributing? Does how you spend your time, make you feel good about yourself? I never really asked myself those questions and so, I think for me, a safety seeker is someone who perhaps is, at times, I'm not going to generalize it, kind of out of touch with who they really are.
It's easy to kind of try to figure out how you are going to be a member of society in a way that will be socially approved of and will provide you with a paycheck that allows you to pay your bills and what not and perhaps even prevent you from then asking yourself those questions. Look, for some people it works and not everyone is inherently meant to be an entrepreneur, but think for me, that way of living just became at odds with the plans that I had for what I wanted to do with myself.
Interviewer: Now, you said you a phrase, fit into the flow, and I know that I resonate with that. I thought that was the path that I was supposed to be on and I went into the Army for eight years and I was on a very traditional path and I thought I was in the flow, but then I love how you transition to say, you never took a moment to actually step back and say, what do I Rich Roll want and what is really going to make me happy in life and not just “fit” in.
We, at Fire Nation, just get swept along in this river of life and for far too many, people get to the end of their journey and they look back and say, what just happened and how did I just live that life. I didn’t even make an intentional decision once during it. There is a great book called The Ten Biggest Regrets of the Dying and by far the biggest regret that all of these people had who were interviewed for this book, which was thousands, was that they didn’t live an intentional life for them, but fit into the parameters that other outside forces put upon them.
So, Fire Nation, just do not get caught up in that river and I love that Rich. That is my biggest take away from what you just shared, but what do you want to make sure the Fire Nation gets from that worse moment that you experienced?
Rich: I think that intellectually we all understand the sort of wishes of the dying, but the trick is how, do you then translate that into tangible action and its scary and terrifying. So, I think the first thing is that you have to understand that it is scary, acknowledge the gravity of that situation and then do the interior work to be able to figure out, what it is that is most important for you to express. For, me the first step was, I had to go to rehab for 100 days and that was the first time in my life, I was 31 years old and I took a pause in my life and actually started to reflect on the choices that I had made.
I think it’s becoming increasingly more and more difficult for people because our faces are planted in our phones and we are so distracted and that’s not going anywhere. It becomes more and more incumbent upon us to create healthy boundaries around technology and all of the stimulus that is coming at us to really find time each day to get quite with ourselves and do that personal inventory so that you can develop that connection with yourself, that relationship with yourself so that you can understand what it is that moves you and what it is that makes you get out of bed in the morning and makes your heart beat.
What is it that you are passionate about, because in my experience, and I'm sure you hear this all the time, people say, well, I love what you are doing John, but I don’t know what my passion is. We can't answer that question for you, only you can answer that question for yourself and there is no way to do that, other than to really take the time to connect with yourself. Meditation is a huge part of that for me, as is the endurance training that I do, I’m out by myself, I have a lot of time to connect with who I am and to really ponder that path for myself.
I think we all have to carve out that time, there really is no life pack for that, I think if you are trying to shortcut that, you are doing yourself a disservice. I would say to anybody listening out there, to make that investment in time for yourself and it will pay dramatic dividends over the course of your life.
Interviewer: Rich, instruct me when I was reading Finding Ultra, the amount of ah ha moments that you had throughout that book. I just stopped counting and I am a guy who just loves reading the ah ha moments and really just diving into them and kind of unpacking how it happened and how you turned those moments into success, that is fascinating to me and that is why I make that that ah ha moment an integral part of every entrepreneur On Fire interview.
I think this is going to be tough for you, specifically because you’ve had so many of these throughout your life, but you are kind of getting to know Fire Nation, we are entrepreneurs who are struggling to find our passions and to get out of the flow and take some time for ourselves. Take us to one of your epiphanies, to one of your light bulbs that you had at some point in your journey and really take it down to the ground level and share with us, that story of that ah ha moment.
Rich: Like you’ve said, I've had a couple of them and I think we all have ah ha moments and the trick is really to develop the acuity to be paying attention enough to recognize them when they come because they are very, very powerful. I think maybe the one that is most profound and appropriate for this podcast is, when I was 39 years old and at the time, I was working as a corporate lawyer 80 hours a week and I was subsisting on what I like to call the window diet. If you drive your car up to a fine dining establishment and roll your window down, they hand you food and that is what you eat.
So, I was 50 pounds overweight, I was sluggish; I was your classic couch potato hurdling into middle age and really kind of disaffected somewhat depressed about my life. On the outside looking in, I kind of had it made; I was building a family, we live in a beautiful home and I had a promising career, but on the inside, I was sort of dying.
It all came to a head late one evening after working late I came home and my family was asleep and I just started to make my way up a simple flight of stairs to go to sleep and I had to pause, like I was winded, out of breath, tightness in my chest, sweat on my brow and really fear in my heart, like I thought I was on the precipitate to having a heart attack. It was a very specific moment of time that crystallized everything for me and made me realize that I had a choice.
It was a window of opportunity and willingness where I realized that I needed to take inventory of how I was living and that I needed to make some changes immediately and very specifically. I was able to kind of understand the power of that moment, because it was very similar to the day I woke up and decided to get sober and I realized if you don’t pay attention to that and really respect it and just say, I’ll deal with it tomorrow, that door will shut and you don’t know if it's going to visit you again.
So, I was able to hold on and grab onto that and that was really the first step in making some changes that were small at first in my life, that I had no idea would ultimately translate into me being on a podcast with you talking about these issues, that is the beautiful, miraculous thing about ah ha moments.
Interviewer: It is and how they unfold is fascinating and that is why I love bringing people like you on and talking it through, because for our listeners, Fire Nation, who maybe haven’t found that passion yet. Of course, that is one piece of the puzzle, but once they find that passion, we need to know how to take that idea and that fire that we now have and actually turn it into something that couple potentially be successful down the road. That is why I think that going through that is so key and what do you want to make sure that Fire Nation gets from the ah ha moment that you had back in the day?
Rich: Like, I said, my ah ha moment is, my ah ha moment, and everybody has their version of that. Again, it goes back to really starting to learn to pay attention to your life so that when episode arise, you can recognize them for what they are. I think in terms of translating that into sustainable, tangible change, we like to get caught up in really fancy romantic large goals, but the truth of the matter is, it all boils down to, what is the next action that you are going to take.
You can set a big goal for yourself, and I think that is important, but the truth of the matter is, really change starts with your next action. What is the next thing that you are going to do, whether it’s the next meal that you are going to eat, whether you are going to work out in the morning, meditate or journal, what is your next interaction with your boss going to be? What is your next move, and really being conscious and present in the moment that you find yourself in and trying to take, at times when you are trying to transition your life, it's about taking a contrary action.
We all have these instincts and impulses and we are hardwired and creatures of habit to keep doing what we have always done, but it's about developing that awareness to make a different choice. It's by making those different choices consistently over time, I'm a huge believer in consistency, is what will ultimately transition your life and do it in an unsustainable way that you will find yourself in a very different place. It won't be overnight, but a year or two years later, doing things very differently.
Interviewer: Fire Nation that is what I call a rewinder. Rich, what is your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Rich: I think my biggest weakness, as an entrepreneur, is that I probably don’t spend enough time thinking about how I'm going to make money or monetizing what I am putting out into the world and spend too much time focusing on the minutia of what I do. For example, when I do a podcast, I belabor the blog post that goes with each podcast and stay up way too late writing all of this stuff and then I’m like, why did I spend all of that time, I don’t even know if anyone is even reading that. So, I can get distracted by the minutia and, probably, I’m focused on putting out great quality content, but I wouldn’t characterize myself as a business man, per say.
Interviewer: What is your biggest strength?
Rich: My biggest strength, I think, is that I am always trying to be authentic in what I am putting out into the world. I’m not trying to be a superhero, I'm not trying to tell everyone that I have the answers, I'm just trying to share my experience and be as honest and as transparent and authentic as I possibly can be, in that regard and I really care about quality. Everything that I put out, I try to have the utmost quality in doing that. I have the long view in mind and it's less about how much money did I make this week or how many download did I get, but am I consistently putting out great stuff that will stand the test of time and resonate with the most number of people.
Interviewer: In Fire Nation, this is an absolute recipe for success and I love the Albert Einstein quote, “Try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value” and Rich, that is what you are doing, you are just being a person of value and that is huge. You have a lot of things going on right now that you are, rightfully so, excited about, but what is the one thing that you are most fired up about today?
Rich: I think I am most fired up about this explosion of interest in podcasting. You have been doing this for a long time, I'm coming up on almost three years of this, I have been a fan of podcasts for a long time and I wouldn’t consider myself an early adopter, but it's amazing, the impact of shows like Cereal and the great quality content that is coming online now, that is really captivating a much larger mainstream interest from people out there who are dialing up podcast like never before.
As you know, we are seeing tremendous growth in this space and it just feels great to be able to have a voice in this conversation that people are responding to. It's cool because it’s the oldest form of media, we are back to old radios and the fact that that is connecting with so many people in new and exciting ways, I think is really, really cool.
Interviewer: It's fascinating, we talked a little bit about this in the pre interview, but I just got back from keynoting a podcast movement, which was unbelievable 1,100 person event in Fort Worth, Texas and we are going to get you there hopefully next year in July in Chicago. It's going to be in Chicago next year and it's going to be definitely bigger than it was this year and it's just such a great community and so much fun. Rich, you have been doing such great work in podcasting for almost 3 years now, you are in the one thousand review club, by the way, so welcome.
Rich: I don’t know what is.
Interviewer: Well, you have over one thousand reviews in iTunes, that is huge and it puts you in the .1 percent of all iTunes podcasts, which is massive. So, you are definitely doing the right things for your podcasts and for your community and I am honored to be in the same meeting as you, for sure.
Rich. Well, that means a lot coming from you man, because you are killing it and I have nothing but mad respect for everything that you are doing.
Interviewer: Thanks, I appreciate it. So, Fire Nation, we are about to enter the lightning round, but before we do, let's take a minute to thank our sponsors. Rich, are you prepared for the lightening rounds?
Rich: I'm ready to go, man, let's do it.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Rich: I think it goes back to being that safety seeker, that security seeker. I stayed in a safe corporate environment way too long, until I was in enough pain where I just didn’t even have a choice anymore and I had to leave. So, I think if I was more connected to who I was earlier on, I would have entered the entrepreneurial space much younger.
Interviewer: What is the best advice that you have ever received?
Rich: Other than, hey dude, you are an alcoholic and need to get sober?
Interviewer: That is good advice.
Rich: Probably mood follows action, right, mood follows action and by that I mean, if you wait around until you feel like doing something, you are either not going to do it or you are going to be waiting too long. So, taking action, irrespective of your emotional state around that action has been kind of a manshera for me that has been very helpful.
Interviewer: What is a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Rich: Transparency and authenticity, I think are absolutely essential and key to everything that I do.
Interviewer: Do you have an internet resource, like Evernote, that you can share without listeners?
Rich: I don’t know that I have a certain productivity hack, in terms of nutrition, because that is what I speak to a lot, I like nutritionfacts.org, it's an amazing resource for researching specific issues around nutrition and I love going to that.
Interviewer: Nutritionfacts.org and if you could recommend just one book for our listeners, Rich to join Finding Ultra and The Plant Power Way, on the show notes page, what would that book be and why?
Rich: I think The War of Art; by Steven Pressfield is an amazing resource for anyone who is interested in expressing their ideas, any kind of creative person or entrepreneurial person. It is a great primer on, how did a combatant overcome the sort of daily obstacles that present themselves that impede our progress in moving towards our goals.
Interviewer: Have you read any of his fiction work?
Rich: I haven’t, I know he has written extensively and the gold book and all of that, but I’m reading Turning Pro right now, which is a nice primer to The War of Art.
Interviewer: Big time, and Do the Work is a good one. He is the author, that when I read War of Art, which was my introduction to him, I just said, okay, I'm going to read all of his nonfiction and then I didn’t have enough and I went into all of the fiction. I’m telling you the fiction is awesome. He has one about Alexander the Great, he has one about the six day war in Israel and I mean, unbelievable across the board.
Rich: I will check it out.
Interviewer: Fire Nation, I know you love audio, so I teamed up with Audio Books and if you haven’t already, you can get an amassing audio book for free at eofirebook.com. Rich this is the last question of the lightening round, but it is a doozy; imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth, but you know no one. You still have all of the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter are taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00, what would you do in the next seven days?
Rich: Oh wow, I would probably put out a podcast, what else is there to do right? All I need is a laptop.
Interviewer: That’s it, you’ve got the microphone right there and your voice is to the world and what do think you are going to podcast about?
Rich: I would just share my experience authentically about what it's like to wake up in a world where I don’t know anyone.
Interviewer: I love it. Rich let's end today on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you and then we will say goodbye.
Rich: Parting piece of guidance would be, if you are going to do anything, wake up in the morning and mediate first, don’t check your email. Take that time, even if it's just five minutes or one minute, to connect with yourself is super, super powerful. In terms of connecting with me, everything that I do is on my website, Richroll.com and I'm pretty easy to find on the internet, I'm @richroll on Instagram and Twitter.
You already mentioned the books; Finding Ultra and The Plant Power Way, I've got a couple of online courses on Mindbodygreen.com that you can check out. One the called The Art of Living With Purpose, which is all about goal setting and kind of relevant to the entrepreneurial audience that you have.
Interviewer: Awesome, we will link all of that up in the show notes page, because Fire Nation, you know that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. We have been hanging out with Rich Roll and J.L.D today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com and just type Rich in the search bar, his shows page will pop right up with everything that we have been talking about today.
Check him out on social media, he’s Rich Roll Twitter, you name it, richroll.com, and mindbodygreen.com for those courses and of course, like I said Fire Nation, we will be linking all of this on the show notes page. Rich, I just want to say, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today and for that we solute you brother and we will catch you on the flip side.
Rich: Thanks so much man, it's been great talking to you.
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