Charlie Hoehn on The Secret to Better Work and Deeper Relationships – TCE 003

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Charlie Hoehn

Work your tail off, then work harder, and you’ll succeed and be happy!

This is the advice that most of us our fed our entire lives. Hell, I certainly have been and still battle with trying to keep this in check.

Today’s guest Charlie Hoehn has a powerful message that  I think every ambitious person should hear. He is the author of Play It Away and has been a powerhouse behind some of the most influential authors and entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, the guy who got me started on this whole entrepreneur thing in the first place.

This conversation with Charlie might not only help you rethink your approach to success, but also delivers some actionable ideas you can have to improve your work and relationships.

Oh, and you might also love life more too : )

 

Sweet Quote from this Episode: “When you play, play. When you work, work. When you’re with your girlfriend, don’t freaking check your email” -Socrates (tweet this)

What You’ll Learn By Listening

  • A counterintuitive approach to preforming better in the workplace
  • One strategy for bouncing back if you’re feeling overwhelmed by work
  • How to integrate the “play mindset” into your daily life and the activities you’re already doing
  • An empowering mindset that will help you be more aggressive about reaching out to a lot of the people you look up to
  • One method you can use to build better relationships
  • How Charlie gets an edge in his daily life…hint morning routine!

Listen to the episode here:

Subscribe on Itunes for more interviews or Listen on Stitcher

**Thank Charlie for dropping knowledge on us (tweet Charlie here)

Mindshare segment at the end:

The power of celebrating the little wins for your happiness and effectiveness…and how this little tweak made me do better work.

Links & Resources Mentioned:

For more on Charlie check out his Blog, Book: Play It Away, and on Twitter @CharlieHoehn

Other resources and people mentioned:

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*You’ll find a full searchable transcript below

Music Credit: Carousel Games & Stay Awake

Big Thanks to Today’s Show Partner

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Searchable Transcript of This Charlie Hoehn Interview:

Scott:                     All right, today we have Charlie Hoehn who is the author of two books; ‘Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety’ and ‘The Recession Proof Graduate: How to Land The Job You Want by Doing Work For Free’. After graduating from Colorado State University in 2008, he studied under and worked with a number of best-selling authors such as Ramit Sethi, Seth Godin and Tucker Max and he also works alongside Tim Ferriss who is a personal inspiration for myself.

 

And Charlie helped him out with the production and launch of the ’4-Hour Body’ which hit number one on the New York Times best-seller list and sold over a million copies. Since then, Charlie’s work has been featured by the New York Times, NPR, CBS, TEDx, Fast Company and Business Insider; currently he’s 27 year old and living in Austin Texas. Charlie, what is up man?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      What’s up Scott, I’m excited to talk to you my friend. I’m really looking forward to this, thanks for having me on.

 

Scott:                     Likewise man, I’m really looking forward to it as well and I feel humbled reading your bio –

 

Charlie Hoehn:      [Laughter] Trust me I think it sounds really good, there’s also — all the bad stuff has been left out of that. [Laughter]

 

Scott:                     You know what, it’s funny, I’m just going to start this conversation off here, I was talking to a friend yesterday and we were talking about how all these people that we read about and then we see from a distance online, at the end of the day, are just dudes.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Exactly.

 

Scott:                     Is just a dude and I have to tell you, before we connected in Austin at South by Southwest and met at Whole Foods and had a Burman’s, you were one of these guys that I looked up to. I was like wow, he’s worked for Tim Ferriss who wrote the book and did this cool App Empire thing and then we had Whole Foods together. And a little bit afterwards, I was like Charlie is just a great guy and a normal dude. I wanted to just tell you that before we got into things here.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah, thank you, I think this is something — I really appreciate you saying that and the feeling is [Inaudible 0:02:22] this is really something that I have experienced multiple times with all the guys that I have worked with. I experience that same thing when I looked at them. From the outside, you see them on paper and you’re like ‘wow, what an amazing — like they’re a freak of nature’ and then you get around them and then you’re like, okay, they’re just really eccentric in certain parts of their lives and like they’re really good at a handful of things and they are also bad or messed up in a lot of areas, like all of us are.

 

And so, it’s just like everyone on the Internet is just showing the only side of them that is intriguing, I think. I had a conversation with a friend of mine and we were talking about that and we were talking about how unrelatable that can be and how intimidating or even insufferable it can sound sometimes. And so like one of the guys that I really admire is James Altucher who has done a lot of amazing stuff but he talks about all his ugly stuff too and that’s actually what’s made I think him have such a vocal supportive group; like they connect with him on multiple levels and respect him for being open about how shitty his life has been sometimes.

 

Scott:                     Absolutely, and it’s funny because I just have this distinct instance where one of my friends was hanging out with a guy who is very notable for health and fitness and diet stuff amongst other things. And he was so excited to text me in the morning after he happened to be out at the bar with this guy that he wanted to eat drunk pizza. He was so excited; he was like, ‘you wouldn’t believe, he’s a normal guy. He likes to have junk food when he’s drunk as well’. [Laughter]

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah.

 

Scott:                     It’s just so indicative of this feeling that we have that these people are super humans but in reality it’s just not the case.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Right, yeah, I mean no matter who you are thinking of, no matter how perfect and pristine they might seem, they have some serious ugliness to them and that’s great because that’s like what we all can relate to I guess and that’s what connects us.

 

Scott:                     It’s super-empowering realization and honestly, this is kind of a nice segway because after we met, I did read your new book that just came out and I felt a lot of the same feelings that you have mentioned in your book when I look at my own journey. And I think this would be a really great time just to introduce your most recent book that just came out.

 

Charlie Hoehn interview:      Sure. Well, so after — I worked with Tim Ferriss for three years and it was really an amazing experience, it was great and then I had to quit because I had a number of things fall apart in my personal life and I had been working around the clock. So, I went through this — and I say working around the clock in the most honest — I seriously was working around the clock, drinking coffee all day, sitting in cafes staring at screens. My book is about the period after when I went through this intense period of anxiety that was caused by a number of things.

 

But I was debilitated for a long time and on the outside, on the surface, no one could really tell they might be like Charlie is a little sleep-deprived or he’s a little stressed. But on the inside, I felt like I was dying or I felt like I was dead and I felt like every emotion I had hit, every happy emotion I’d never really hit again. I was this feeling that I would truly never be happy again. I tried all these different things to get myself back to normal and get myself back to that old, confident self because I had — I was just terrified of everything and I was just constantly paranoid and suspicious of every one.

 

I was just afraid all the time and it was the worst that I have ever felt in my life. And so the book is about how I got myself out of that without using pharmaceutical drugs and I realized that after I quit working with Tim, I had a number of options presented to me. And I, for a while I worked with that app startup App Empire and we did really well but I walked away from that because it just wasn’t the right fit for me. I didn’t really care about apps and so I could’ve come out first with a book about how to see [Inaudible 0:07:35] like every author does.

 

And I realized that after I was able to get over that really tough period, that the best thing I thought I could do to was share that really painful part of my life to the people who I knew who were suffering. Because when I got out of it, I could see it in other people; for the first time it was like this other sense I had developed where I could see somebody was like working themselves to death, weren’t admitting it because it wasn’t stigmatized or they were dealing with such crippling anxiety and mental chaos and they couldn’t explain it to anybody because they felt like they were going to break down or they just couldn’t admit it. They were trying to tough it out and man up and all this stuff.

 

And so, that’s who I wrote the book for, it’s for people who were suffering and it was amazing because I called it ‘A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety’ which potentially the worst subtitle because no one identifies as a workaholic nor do they identify as having anxiety usually. But it’s funny because I thought entrepreneurs were going to love this book most and a lot of entrepreneurs have said that this is exactly what I’m going through. But the most support I have gotten is from veterans and soldiers and people who were serving because they just get shafted like they — hundreds of thousands are getting laid off and they are getting stripped of their identity.

 

They come back from serving and they have post traumatic stress disorder and all these problems and they don’t have good healthcare. So, this book was my attempt to show people like it is absolutely within your power to get back to your normal, happy, healthy self and there are ways you can do it naturally. It just has to be done systematically; like you have to focus on a critical few things that can really help.

 

Scott:                     It’s so good and it’s so true and I think — you mentioned the entrepreneurs who are afraid to tell people that they are not doing well and I just think of the meet-up events and all the different dinners I have been to where you ask guys how their business is doing and secretly they’re like yeah, we’re killing every [Inaudible 0:10:17] and in reality they are just depressed, they’re unhappy, they are struggling even when they are a picture of success; like you were for many people when you were working for Ramit doing a million dollar launch at App Empire.

 

Charlie Hoehn interview:      Yeah.

 

Scott:                     You know what’s interesting is I think that a lot of people think that the recipe to really perform at the highest level, to be more creative, to take their company or whatever it is, to the next level is to work more, is to work harder.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah.

 

Scott:                     And you know, I think that’s a lie that we’re fed and I think your book really touches upon a very counter-intuitive perspective about this that I would love for you to talk a little bit about in terms of performance and building our companies and all these ambitions that we have.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah, it’s really funny, the book was truly like a — it was kind of a reawakening for me on how I got myself into positions of success in the first place. So many people get into entrepreneurship I think for reasons of like, there’s money to be made; we could sell our company to a bigger company and have an amazing exit. And the idea is like I got into positions where I was working with really cool people and cool projects because I was desperate to work on something fun. And when I got out of college, no one was hiring me so — I know we talked about this before, we don’t want to get too much into this but I got to say it, it’s like, I was spending so much time just desperately looking for a paycheck.

 

And when I finally switched and I was like ‘you know what, screw it, no one’s going to hire me anyway, I’m just going to try and reach out to people who are doing cool stuff and say what I can offer to help them so I could get involved.’ And because I approached my work as a game, it was like this is a game I’m creating for myself and then suddenly I found myself in this crazy game that I was playing. And at some point it switched; it was like, whoa, my work is really important, like this is serious stuff, I need to get more done, I need to get more money, I need to have more success. And so it flipped from being this internally rewarding thing to this externally rewarding thing and that was a key thing that happened to me that I think happens to a lot of people.

 

There’s a bunch of startups that get into it and they are like ‘let’s bring something cool into the world that we wish was there’, ‘let’s create, let’s do something interesting and amazing and fun’ and then VCs get involved, serious money gets involved and they lose sight of what was making them great in the first place. And there is this really thin line to walk on; it’s really hard to find that balancing act. But for me when I started viewing the world as serious in about money and success, I started viewing life that way.

 

So, I started viewing friendships as obligations; like work is slavery and my work went from being something I liked doing because it was fun to something I had to do because I needed to make money. And I understand, I totally get that the lateral viewpoint is the viewpoint for most people. I’ve talked to a number of people and they’re like, ‘well you got to pay the rent somehow’ and my point is, there are so many people — like anyone can view their work as a game and it changes how you approach your work. It changes it when you view it as an opportunity to have fun as a canvas to paint on and to be creative and to have fun with.

 

And what I found, the realization I had, was working through this period was the most innovative, successful, prolific, revered entrepreneurs and artists, almost all of them view their work as a means to play. And I actually — if you want to see, I’m talking about Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Steve jobs, JK Rowling, Warren Buffet, Bob Dillon, Plato for god’s sakes, like there’s so many figures around history who have literally shaped our culture and our society into what it is now because they fundamentally viewed their work as a means to play. And that was really what led to a lot of my regaining my mental health. And it was remembering that that’s how I always used to be like when I was growing up.

 

Every moment was an opportunity to have fun and I had deprived myself of that for years without even knowing it and I think adults just do that because when we get older, we just — we stop playing, we stop hanging out for god’s sake. I think you and I, Scott, we talked about this when we were down in Austin and it’s like when you were in college, that’s like the last time when you really stop — that’s the last time when you really just getting together to hang out. And when you become an adult and you have a job, it’s like you need an excuse to get together with your friends.

 

You need it to be at this event and I became one of those, ‘sorry, I’m busy’ type of guy like all the time. And it sucked, I think I became like a pretty insufferable person and what was bad about it was that it was encouraged from every side. It was like, I was doing all this cool stuff, so people were like, ‘it’s awesome man, go for it’ like what’s next and so it’s never like ‘dude, you don’t have any balance’. Like ‘this is messed up, you’re destroying yourself’, I think I had one or two people say that to me and then they didn’t listen. So, it’s bad.

 

Scott:                     The thing that hit me in the book and what you just eluded to a little bit is just this mindset that it’s really easy for ambitious, young people and I mean everybody to just view every decision and every action that we take as, is this contribute to my success? Is this advancing me in some way? And when you think like that, yeah, you don’t have the random chill outs and have no agenda or no purpose [Inaudible 0:17:43].

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Right.

 

Scott:                     And for a while like yeah, you’re going to climb the ladder, you’re going to get things done, but I think when I was trying to wrap my head around why some of the most influential people in our times, some of most creative, the people that have shaped the world and this idea that they were all viewing what they did as play and this is in alignment with your experience as well as that type of trajectory and outlook just isn’t sustainable. It’s impossible to live like that for ever. Maybe for some people, they can and –

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Are you talking about it’s impossible to live as play or it’s impossible to just be in the mode of get things done and –

 

Scott:                     It’s impossible to live in the true creative, brilliant spark and be in the ‘is this going to advance me’ mindset forever.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Right. Yeah, because you’re constantly — you’re also just depriving yourself of being in the present. Like because nothing is ever good enough, you’re always looking towards the future and maybe that drives you like a madman and maybe that’s — I don’t know, I just don’t find it fulfilling. There was an amazing article called ‘Why Quit Major League Baseball’ in, I think it was the New Yorker; this fan just describes it perfectly. He was like in a different industry that entrepreneurs are in but he was in professional sports and he just like started, and he got so good because he loved the game so much.

 

But when he got into the majors, everything became about the paycheck and he just always had his head down, like ‘what’s next, bigger paycheck’. And he’s like it just robbed me of what life was actually about why — it destroyed it.

 

Scott:                     Totally. What would be some advice for people that just got hit by a ton of bricks from listening to this conversation, realizing that they might be in the same headspace that both you and me have been in before and decide that I want to start to integrate this ‘play’ mindset into my daily life?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah, so there are a number of things, one is — I guess I should start with this is that your health is everything. I think your health is the number one thing that matters and if you don’t take care of yourself — you can get away with it a little when you’re young but it eventually catches up to you if you are constantly working 80-90 hour work-weeks. That stress, it’s associated with those times is not going to evaporate overnight. It’s going to take at least six months before it leaves, if you do it for an extended period of time, no joke.

 

So, take care of yourself for God’s sakes; that’s the most important thing but if you want to start incorporating play I would suggest scheduling, making it a priority every day at a specific time. Just do something fun that you love, that you voluntarily did as a kid that no one was forcing you to do. Do it for 20 minutes with a friend, somebody that is really positive in your social circle that you feel relaxed and you can feel yourself around and you don’t feel like you have to impress them. And if you don’t have friends like that, honestly, I would suggest either signing up for co-ed sports because none of those people care what you do for a living.

 

Or sign up for improv-comedy which sounds like an anxious person’s nightmare. Especially a socially anxious person because you’re just constantly acting stupid and embarrassing yourself but it’s so much fun. You’re forcing yourself to get into true play which is to be in the moment, to just goof off and to not attach anything to it and you’re getting yourself out of the mindset of ‘I have to be perfect, I have to dominate, I have to succeed’ because it’s only about having fun. That’s the only goal and I think playing sports and improv especially has had such a tremendous impact not only on my social life but on my mental health.

 

I just feel so much better about life and how I respond to things is just differently because I have done that. But I played the other day with my friend Tony, we spend half hour just playing with the Aerobie Frisbee outside and we were throwing it as far as we could. And you naturally start sprinting around after this thing and leaping after it and you sweat like it’s a workout. So, I think it’s go play catch — even if you want, just go on a walk with a friend, do it with somebody who is not like a crazy, business, workaholic, serious type of person. Do it with somebody who makes you laugh, who you like being around. I think it’s so important that it’s like you become the average of the people you are surrounded with. If you’re surrounded by a bunch of other serious entrepreneurs, those aren’t your playmates.

 

Scott:                     Right.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      So I think just making a daily practice is like a really easy thing and the other thing I want to say is like this is not just about your — only about your mental health; you come back to your work better and you are able to be more productive, you’re able to sell better. There’s actual statistics that show that if you take care of your happiness through play, you can boost your sales by 37%. There is a study I read that it makes you more productive, it makes you more creative, and it strengthens your relationships. So if you happen to work at that company where they value play and you can actually play guilt-free and not in a bullshit ad agency type way where it’s like ‘hey, we got a ping-pong table to impress our clients’.

 

But if you can actually play at your office, it’ll strengthen your relationships at your office, it’ll reduce turnover and it’ll increase your attention. So, there’s all these professional benefits for executives and employees that can implement this too but the real reason is like it’s good for your mental and physical health especially if you have a play activity where you’re moving around outdoors and getting out in the sun and being in nature and just enjoying life in a way that you used to do very naturally when you were a kid. And just because you’ve been conditioned to sit and stare at a computer screen for eight hours now during the day, I think it’s more important than ever to actually make it a priority. But you have to schedule it otherwise you’re not going to do it.

 

Scott:                     You say this with such conviction and I absolutely love it and I want — if there was someone who could sell play, there’s no doubt in my mind, it would be you, you would be like the play salesman.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah.

 

Scott:                     You should go work for Nerf and just do their weekly sales.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Dude, I would love that, I reached out to Aerobie because I say in the book, Aerobie is the best toy for playing catch because it’s so unpredictable, it’s soft, it’s not going to break any windows, and they sent me 50 free Aerobies and so I was like awesome, [Inaudible 0:25:53].

 

Scott:                     Nice. So, in reality man, you and I both know that people are going to listen to this and are not going to schedule play.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Right.

 

Scott:                     Like I’m busy, I got important stuff to do, I have my email and there’s just more screens. [Laughter] Is there an opportunities to integrate this play for those people who are too busy for their mental and physical health because that’s not important at all? Is there opportunities for these people to integrate play into activities that they are already doing?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Good question, I know there are people who have Legos at work; it’s stuff that’s in their face and when they are feeling kind of stressed out, they just immediately are able to rotate their chair and take a break and do something different. But I feel like you’re talking about how can they start playing in their work when they’ve just been working? Right?

 

Scott:                     Yeah, so there’s been a couple of things that are very present for me right now and basically it really is just joking around and having freedom of words instead of being uptight and holding back. So, when I do email introductions, maybe at the end of the email introduction, you add a funny anecdote like ‘play nice’, like ‘don’t make me look bad or I’ll come after you with my superstoker’ or something goofy like that.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Yeah.

 

Scott:                     Or the cashier, you start flirting with the cashier and you are already doing these things but there’s something magical when you stop taking yourself so seriously and start just injecting this goofiness into life’s mundane activities.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Right, and so much of that is just giving yourself permission to do it again. Because all of us just like when we were kids, we all goofed around and joked around and for the most part, unless you grew up in like an intense family, we were all like goofballs when we were growing up. And it’s just a matter of like giving yourself permission and occasionally being around personality types that are like that too. Like I think the reason comedians have a really rough life when you think about it and it’s a rough gig being a standup comedian but I think they stay in it because the people that they surround themselves with are hilarious.

 

Like they don’t take anything seriously and so it’s like just — it’s fun having conversations with a bunch of goofballs who make jokes of everything. And so, I think it’s really important to do external play outside of work because it trickles back into your life. Like, viewing life as a series of opportunities to have fun and viewing every interaction you have as an opportunity to have fun with this person. And realizing like they’re scared, they’re holding back just like you and you can be the one who breaks that. And Scott, you’re really good, you and Ben are really good at this. It’s just like goofing around with people and getting them to break out of their shell I guess, it’s like making them relaxed and it’s really easy to do.

 

It just takes practice, it takes the realization that everyone around you is socially anxious and they are having that weird kind of scared, tentative look on their face and you can be the one who’s like ‘hey man, relax’ [Laughter] and just joking around with them. And it’s not hard to do, it’s something very easy when you give yourself permission to and the more you do it, the more it actually opens up the world to you and you can — suddenly you are spontaneously forming relationships [Inaudible 0:30:10]. You’re able to go on dates more easily; you’re able to setup these weird random business encounters that wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t that guy who made that joke.

 

Scott:                     Yeah.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      But I think it is really critical to do some type of play that’s outside of work and if you have to, I think it really helps to like pay for it, because then you are actually committed to doing it.

 

Scott:                     Totally, that’s really great. It’s so funny, you just mentioned kind of the social benefits of play and I have football practice on Friday nights down here in Brazil and it’s at 8:00 at night until 11:00 pm. So, I end up coming off of this football practice, showering up and then going out with my roommates. And what I have noticed is more so than when I drink Red Bull or all this other stuff that’s supposed to make you fun, I actually am more on socially after the football practice and just have that freedom of words really leaning in to life and conversations instead of approaching them timidly than any other time in my life.

 

It’s really amazing and I talked about this little with you before and you get in that flow state where you have the physicality of play in your life.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      And there’s actually another reason why you probably have that confidence in you, why do you think that is after spending multiple hours around your teammates you are playing with.

 

Scott:                     Well, truthfully it because I’m the only Gringo out there who grew up playing football but outside of that I think that it’s probably because maybe because I have the camaraderie of a bunch of individuals that makes me feel really good.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Exactly. Yeah, so this is the other element that is so critical for play that so many people who are anxious don’t even recognize that this is why they are anxious. They are isolated. They don’t feel understood or connected to other people and nothing bonds you faster with other people than play. It’s the social lubricant you need to form actual real friendships like my best friends still to this day were people I played with sports with growing up. And if there’s something that ties you together permanently like — my best friends in Austin are the people I have been doing improv with for several months now and you need fun to connect to other human beings.

 

You can’t just be because we’re on this mission together that is super-serious and we’re going to conquer the world. You need people that you associate fun with and you feel, when you play football with your friends, you have — you’re in a group, you belong and you are not on your own. You know that like no matter what, the group is there to back you up and when you go out to a club or something, you still have those feelings of like you belong, you’re in a group, you’re safe.

 

And humans are social animals, we cannot exist or function in isolation we can’t do it on our own and that’s the real tragedy about living in America is I think families live in little homes where they are isolated from their neighbors versus like a commune which has dozens of families living together; which might sound like a nightmare to some people but it actually — all the data shows that happiness is much higher in these communes because they belong and things are actually easier for them because they take care of each other. And I think the real tragedy of what we are going through right now is that we are kind of connected to each other through screens but we are living in aquariums where we are just looking at the outside world; this tech world through our screens and tapping on glass and we are not actually connected.

 

It’s really sad because you see people all the time like being connected to the outside world even when they are around their friends. This is why I say in the book it is so critical to disconnect, turn off your phone, like disconnect from social media when you are playing because your job is not to impress all these people who aren’t there, it’s to be present with the people who did show up.

 

Scott:                     Yeah, absolutely. I love the quote, when you play, play; when you work, work; when you’re with your girlfriend, don’t freaking check email.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      [Laughter] the classing saying, I think it was soccer –

 

Scott:                     Yeah, that had to be [Inaudible 0:35:27] came up with that because he was playing. So, this is so present with me, this is such a powerful message and I think it’s really interesting too because a lot of people, they have been fed their whole lives; work harder, work more efficient, instead of asking how can I make this more fun, they’re asking how can I make this more efficient? How can I optimize? And we were both that dude once in our lives and still I fight it off. I try to fight that as much as I can and just maintain balance.

 

I think just to switch gears here a little bit, probably people that read this book or maybe they listen to this and they go okay, play, like — are you still ambitious, do you still work a lot; like it can’t all be fun and games all the time to achieve the changes and the things in the world that we want to see? What would you say to these people?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Everyone goes through phases like everyone goes through personal phases of life, they evolve and if I was talking to a 20-year old who was like just getting into the startup stuff, and was like this is where it’s at and he might read my book and be like ‘this isn’t for me’. So my — where I am currently, I understand that with some people I’m far behind and some people I’m going to be far ahead. And where I am currently, is like health is the number one priority. I recognize that if I don’t take care of myself, none of this stuff matters.

 

And falling into other people’s traps of ‘we have to succeed’, we have to do all this stuff that I was either doing out of guilt or just feeling that I had to be more prestigious and successful; I can’t keep falling into that trap. So I really do carefully think through, is this something that is going to be fun for me, is something where I can actually serve other people and make their life better and more fun and more fulfilling to the best of my knowledge? And is this something that’s aligned with me getting into the grove with nature and not actually going against it? Because for so many years, I went against what my body was telling me all the time.

 

I abused my body, I abused it really hard and I’m paying the consequences now, I’m actually feeling like I think I’ve done a huge mess to my back, I think I’ve damaged my liver from the drugs and the drinking that I have done. And it might be surprising for some people to hear about like a lot of these really high performers don’t just do this stuff through sheer will power.

 

Scott:                     Yeah.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      We use performance enhancers to do what we need to do or to get to that level and I certainly did that in secret and I’ll say it now, but it was something I wasn’t telling anybody. So, just taking care of myself, I’ve realized that there is nothing in this world, there is no level of success that is worth destroying myself over because I think I’ve learnt that — one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt is like nature’s wheels grind slow but steady. You don’t notice it right away but one day you’re like when the hell did I get so old? Why do I have dark circles under my eyes? This is a product of abuse.

 

Scott:                     Yeah.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Self-inflicted abuse.

 

Scott:                     How do you define success for yourself now that you have this understanding?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      I think now that the [Inaudible 0:39:56] now honestly, my biggest thing is nurturing friendships, like having quality relationships. There has been a lot of — and that is one thing that I realized that I fundamentally ignored or atrophied over the years it’s just ignored my friendships. I wasn’t a very good friend and I think I’m still getting back into that rhythm but like what I had read was this guy that did tons of research on what the world’s happiest people had in common. And there is only one thing that the very happiest people in the top two percent of all these people who were surveyed, was the quality of the relationships and it goes back again to like people aren’t individuals, like they are social animals. And play is — again, it’s the common ground that you can found those quality relationships and let them grow.

 

Scott:                     That’s so powerful. So, I guess, one question that I always like to finish with and I feel like truthfully there is — we’ve just been hovering around this concept of really play and I think it’s like a transit of property right now like play equals better relationships and happier equals better work, better work equals better everything. So, we might have already touched upon this but just one question I would like to finish with the name in this podcast is that if you were to tell people, give one piece of advice that people could use to get an edge in business, in life, what would you say this to be a ritual, this could be a mindset –

 

Charlie Hoehn:      I would say, I mean there are number of really good answers and obviously I am leaning toward play but I think people have recognized the importance of that. I think an easy way there — to give you an edge, I would say, if you start your day with one of the two following things and just make it a routine of either getting exercise and I’m not talking about jumping on a treadmill and running for 30 minutes, because that’s miserable; but doing some form of exercise that is fun for you and puts you in that state early in the day or meditation. It’s just sitting or standing or focusing on your breathing.

 

Both of those things have compounding effect that not only make you happier over the long run, they make you healthier over the long run and they increase your fulfillment and quality of life dramatically. Countless studies showing this and from personal experience what I found to be the two most powerful things that you can create as your morning routine like — I forget who it is, I think it’s Eben Pagan who’s like the success ritual, the morning success ritual was like you should start your day with most important things to you. Not jumping on email but start your day with exercise or meditation or both.

 

Five minutes of meditation and 20 minutes of exercise and people are always saying like ‘I don’t have enough time in the day’, yes, you do. Everyone does, like days are long. If you don’t have enough time in the day, you’re not — you don’t know how to manage your time. You’re not doing a good job. So either wake up early or make time, you can do it. And you have to understand, this is not a one done thing, it is got to be — this is everyday that I am doing this, that I’m making a priority, if I miss the day now and then, get back into it and it has this long-term, lasting effect on the quality of your life if you make it a priority every morning. And when you do it in the morning, it sets the tone for the rest of you day.

 

Scott:                     Totally, my buddy Andy Drish, who I am literally about to get on call with after this interview with him, calls it — before he stars his day, he grounds himself and I really like that metaphor because it eludes this idea of setting the stage for the entire day. Is there a particular meditation program or style that you recommend for people that may have never dipped their feet in those waters before?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Meditation is intimidating to the average person, or people just hate the idea because it’s tough initially and I was at a point for a while where I was doing an hour of meditation a day which sounds probably crazy but I had a very crazy routine. I would suggest, do five minutes sitting with your back against the wall and just pretending that your thoughts are clouds. If they interrupt you or if there is a thought that says something super-inappropriate or outlandish in your mind, don’t try and change it, don’t try and perfect it, just let it drift, just observe it and be okay with it, be cool with it, recognize that everything is cool, everything is acceptable and just return to watching your breathing.

 

And when I say, watching your breathing, I’m saying like okay, if people really need help with meditation, just do this, do 20 of these reps where you breathe in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds and release it for four seconds. So that’s 12 times 20? I can’t do it off the top of my head, okay five of these per minute, 25 of them, not 20. Do 25 of those reps and you’ll be done in five minutes and that’s an easy way to do it.

 

Scott:                     Yeah, and if you say you don’t have five minutes a day in your time, just realize that’s a ridiculous statement.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      It’s a dirty lie or it’s you finding an excuse.

 

Scott:                     Totally. Charlie, this has been so much fun man, I enjoyed this, I have a big smile on my face right now but if people want to find out more about your book, about future projects, what are the best places for them to get that information?

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Sure, you can find my book on Amazon, just search for ‘Play it Away’ and if you want my other book, ‘Recession Proof Graduate’, just go to Charlie Hoehn dot com and it’s on there. You can download it for free and my website is really ugly and immature, right now it’s getting redesigned but it’ll eventually be much easier to keep track of what I’m doing.

 

Scott:                     Love it man, well, thank you so much for coming on. It’s been a pleasure and really appreciate you sharing all of your amazing knowledge and perspective today with everyone listening.

 

Charlie Hoehn:      Of course, it’s my pleasure, it’s always — it’s been fun getting [Inaudible 0:48:34] Scott, and I thank you for having me.

 

[End of interview 0:48:37]

 

What did you think of this interview with Charlie? Have you ever noticed that adding play into your life actually makes your more effective? 

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