Welcome to the Steve Jobs based Join Up Dots Free Podcast Interview with Erik Seversen
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Introducing Erik Seversen
Erik Seversen is my guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is a man that as soon as you hit his website and see “Love the Life you Live! Freedom is taken, not given you know he is good.
By living an Intentional Life, we ordinary people can live extraordinary lives.” you know he is perfect for Join Up Dots.
He is a speaker, writer, educator and adventurer who has travelled to over 80 countries around the world and 49 of the 50 states in the USA.
He’s lived in France, Japan, Thailand, French Guiana, Washington State, Virginia, Alaska, and California.
All the time learning from different people as well as having time to think.
Allowing the brain to disconnect and focus on the present is the greatest way to get everything back in focus and on track.
How The Dots Joined Up For Erik
He has ridden a motorcycle on six continents and crossed the USA on one twice, and he’s summited of the highest mountain of eight countries and five states.
He also has extensive experience teaching at the university level and working in business development, and he still pursues an adventurous lifestyle with his family.
Now let’s reflect back on those first words.
Freedom is taken, not given.
And I’m sure there would have been many times when our guest would have thought “I would love to do this, but nah, I can’t…it’s not for people like me!”
So when did he first start his first adventure, and was it as small journey into the unknown or a huge leap into the unknown?
And where does he see so many people going wrong, who say “Erik, I would love to do what you are doing?”
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Erik Seversen.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Erik Seversen such as:
How so many people fail to realise that there is a world of adventure on their own doorstep. Get in a car at the weekend and see what’s waiting for you nearby.
Erik shares how he started his first business, and the steps that he took to ensure that a steady growth was occuring month by month.
How the power of the work life triangle is the way forward. How many of us add a big dose of “Me Time” into the balancing act?
We discuss how the skill of delegation, and allowing people to do things even if its not the way that you would do it, is a key part of business growth.
How To Connect With Erik Seversen
If you enjoyed this episode with Erik Seversen, then why not listen to some of our favourite podcast episodes such as Jessica Cox, James Barrington, or the amazing Dorie Clark
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full Transcription Of Erik Seversen
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David, Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes. Good morning, chia. Good morning to you everywhere across the world. Thank you so much for being here at Join Up Dots. And thank you so much for today’s guest who’s actually stayed up to 127 in the morning and I said, I do apologise. I do apologise about keeping you up. He’s I know I’ve had cups of coffee. I’ve been doing star jumps. Sounds a bit mental at 127. But I’m sure that that’s how he leads his life, inspiration, motivation and that let’s get going and do the best we possibly can kind of right now. He’s a man but as soon as you hit his website, I went over to his website and you see love the life you live. Freedom is taken not given, you know that he’s perfect for Join Up Dots. By living an intentional life we ordinary people can live extraordinary lives. He’s a speaker, writer, educator and adventure who has travelled to over 80 countries around the world, and 49 of the 50 states in the USA, and he’s lived in France, Japan, Thailand, French Guiana, Washington State, Virginia, Alaska and California. Over time learning from different people as well as having time to think allowing the brain to disconnect and focus on the present is the greatest way to get everything back in focus, and on track. Now, he’s ridden a motorcycle on six continents and cross the USA on one twice. And he’s summited of the highest mountain of eight countries and five states. He’s also got extensive experience teaching at the university level and working in business development, and he still pursues an adventurous lifestyle with his family. Now let’s reflect back on those first words, freedom is taken not given. And I’m sure there would be many times when our guest would have thought I would love to do this, but now I can Not for people like me. So when did he start his first invention? Was it a small journey into the unknown or a huge leap into the unknown? And where does he see so many people going wrong? who say, Eric, I would love to do what you’re doing, but it’s not gonna be possible. Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Erik Seversen. Good morning Erik Seversen. How are you sir?
Erik Seversen [2:24]
David it’s great to be here. Early Los Angeles morning and love to be up early. I like to break my routine a little bit and and yeah, it was kind of exhausting hearing all those things that I’ve done in a period of 90 seconds but I definitely didn’t slow down wanted to see things and kept doing it and just pounded on doors until they opened if and sometimes and, and that’s the way I live my life is chasing things that are interesting to me whether they’re practical sometimes or not. And and that’s kind of what I mean when I when I say freedom is taken, not given nobody’s nobody’s going to tell you exactly how to live the perfect life. You just got to run full speed ahead look at opportunities and and grab them.
David Ralph [3:03]
Now will you like met with the ladies growing up? Eric, what would you go after them? Would you seek them out? Or is this just an adventure kind of vibe that you build as you got older?
Erik Seversen [3:14]
Oh, you know what I actually went after full bore ahead, but the reception wasn’t always perfect. I was actually I was actually pretty shy and awkward as a kid. And it was it was in my 20s that I really felt comfortable talking with people with the opposite sex and things like that. And so yeah, it was it was it was actually a long, long and winding road, but I’m glad the way it ended. If I
David Ralph [3:34]
we’ve got something almost in common, but you’ve just beaten me by a fraction. I’ve done 48 of the 50 states. I haven’t. I haven’t done Hawaii, and I haven’t done Alaska. Which one are you missing out on
Unknown Speaker [3:47]
Vermont. Vermont a
David Ralph [3:50]
nice place is I
Erik Seversen [3:51]
enjoy it. Just like you know Hawaii and Alaska to some of the best Vermont right up there with them. So I’ve got to see Vermont and you’ve got to get to Hawaii and Alaska. Pretty ticularly Alaska I lived up there for two summers. And it’s it’s one of my favourite places on the planet. It really is, you know, one of the last frontiers where you’re out in nature you see the bears and it’s not just like the touristy barrier, walk into the supermarket and you’ll see a moose or a bear walk across the road. It’s kind of nice.
Unknown Speaker [4:17]
So in LA
David Ralph [4:18]
you live in a life that is well LA is a kind of functional town is an industrial town. The the traffic is bad. I liked it, but I wouldn’t want to stay there forever. unless I’ve got a lot of money and I can sort of separate myself from the from the noise Really? Explain your lifestyle. Does it fit into the vibe that you like to create? Do you like freedom? Do you like expansiveness or do you like that kind of hustle bustle?
Erik Seversen [4:47]
Yep, a lot of people don’t like LA and I have, you know, positives and negatives with it. I absolutely love being here. But there was a time so I grew up in Washington state which is kind of a little bit rural. came down here for school. First, I went to UCLA and then I moved away and I came back and did some things moved away again and came back. So now this is about 1510 years ago, I’m living in LA I’ve got a young family and and I realised You know what, I’m getting kind of claustrophobic I might need to make a change. So I was I told a friend about it and and he said to me, he’d been asking me to go surfing for a long time. And I always said, Yes, but we never did it. So when I mentioned that I needed more space, and I might leave LA, he said, I’m going to come to your house at 6am if you’re not out on your porch waiting for me to go surfing, I’m going to break down your door and drag you out of bed. So I believed him. So I was out. 6am The next morning, he took me four miles away down to the beach, 20 minutes into the water and I realised Wow, I feel like I’m 1000 miles away from any city. Yeah, let alone LA. And it really gave that perspective. And so I found my nature four miles away from the house which is which is perfect and now it created that balance up. I like the business of the city, but I can stop out for 45 minutes or six hours whenever I feel like it.
David Ralph [6:00]
Is this a thing that people miss out on the ability to have adventure on their doorsteps? You know, I sit in my office and I do the shows. And more often than not, I will be thinking of our field. I’ll be thinking of Sedona, Arizona or Nevada and all these great road trips that I’ve done in my time, but not often do I jump in a car and go in my vicinity because it’s kind of you feel like it’s boring when it’s local? Is it possible to have great adventures locally?
Erik Seversen [6:30]
Oh, absolutely. In LA going back to this and I’m going to jump from there again. Yeah, the beach is four miles away the mountains I’ve got 20 miles 2020 minutes till I’m in a nice little hiking mountain an hour till we’re in skiing zone. But I think every will every every towns got something. Whether it’s a flat area like air, like Arizona, for example, you’re going to find beautiful things right at door, London. Something is right there, whether it’s walking along a canal or something like that. There are things available to absolutely everybody who looks for them.
David Ralph [7:03]
We don’t do it. We don’t we don’t see what’s on our doorstep.
Erik Seversen [7:08]
No, no, not at all. Whenever I find somebody who doesn’t like LA, I asked him, How often have they been to the beach? How often have they been to the parks? How often they go to the mountain? And, you know, not? Not very often.
David Ralph [7:19]
There’s a When did you develop this adventurous lifestyle? Because let’s sort of clarify. Are you a working professor that does the adventures are you more and adventure and now how have you sort of constructed your life?
Erik Seversen [7:33]
Wow. So I’m going to use your Join Up Dots. I basically, out of graduate school, I studied anthropology and that was a really kind of exciting thing that studied the world and culture and things went into teaching English as a second language for over 10 years. So I did that in some of the countries you mentioned France, Thailand, Japan and universities in the States. But I always loved travel from from way back. My grandmother bought me a ticket to Norway to meet My relatives when I graduated high school, and that was one of the things that kind of started the the travel bug so to speak. Then I couldn’t support my family in Los Angeles with my teaching salary. So I went into business for 10 years grudgingly, and I absolutely loved it. So then after I did that, for 10 years learned all these great entrepreneurial strategies, I connected the dots of travel, love of people, education, business, entrepreneurship. And then I created a company called language link, which does all of those things. And so I use entrepreneurial strategies to teach English as a second language in the in the field of education. And I started that one year ago and it has quickly evolved more into business coaching for people. My niche now is business coaching for people who have English as a second language.
David Ralph [8:48]
Now, this is fascinating because I had quite a lot of people that come through to me, listeners of Join Up Dots and one of their ideas is that I would like to build a kind of online school to help people to learn English. And their big stumbling block is how do they connect on the other side? So how did you do is how did you bridge this? This language not language barrier, but that ability to connect with people who would see you as an answer to their solution or answer to their problem?
Erik Seversen [9:19]
Well, the first thing I did is I let them know that there are a lot of good schools out there, and they are going to get a great education if they go to one of these schools. However, what a lot of the schools don’t do is teach strategies on how to succeed in a different culture. A student from Japan coming to the United States to study for example, might be super smart. But they might fail they might not they might struggle in their classes. And the English isn’t the hardest part. It’s because they don’t understand that the teacher is accessible to them. In Japan, there might be more of a hierarchy gap between teacher students so they to approach them is to breach some sort of barrier in the States. They’re going to get a low participation. grade because they’re respecting the teacher. So learning that learning how to make friends in English, learning that most of the English that they know is in their unconscious and strategies to bring those to the surface. So what I teach complements classrooms, most students that I teach, actually now it’s evolved to more business people who need English. But for the students that were in school, most of what I teach complements what they’re getting in the classroom, rather than just competing with it.
David Ralph [10:27]
So this gives you the ability to walk away from the business, does it operate on automatic pilot? Or do you have to be involved in it on a day to day basis?
Erik Seversen [10:36]
Oh, definitely. I’m still it’s only a year old. I started a year ago, January. So what’s that, you know, 13 months old. So now I’m still heavily involved. I’ve got I’ve got a few people who do a lot of the time consuming things. I’ve got teachers who work for me to be in front of the students. And a lot of that is Skype or audio a few somewhere somewhere face to face, and so I’m still nuts and bolts involved in it. And I’ve got I’m still director of international marketing for a company called Eagle wider. And so that’s that’s my main thing for now. And I love that as well. It’s just
David Ralph [11:11]
how do you separate yo up on a mountain? You’re looking around you got your woolly hat on, it’s freezing cold, you’ve got no Wi Fi connection, no 4g, how do you still manage to be involved in the business when adventure is pulling you in different directions?
Erik Seversen [11:26]
Or the good thing is right now it’s still at a point where I can do I can I can disappear for a week and things aren’t going to fall just either have somebody handle things that have to be have to be done and then just prioritise my time, but I’m glad you mentioned the mountains again, I really think that climbing mountains is one of the things that makes me better at business makes me more engaging in the different things I do. And one of the main reasons is it’s a struggle like you said it’s cold you’re up there You can’t even get the hat down enough to to not be freezing the your tire so tired that you want to just stop but you You don’t and I love that struggle on the mountains because it translates into it makes all the other struggles seem seem really really easy. And I’ve now up to 10 countries that I’ve submitted and not all of them are big giant mountain some of them Belgium for example is a bump on the side of the road that happens to be the highest peak in the country. But some of them are pretty pretty big mountains and most of them do take ice axe and helmet and you know, roped up and things like that but I love how the struggles on the mountains translates down into my everyday life.
David Ralph [12:30]
And do you do these on your own or do you go with a team
Erik Seversen [12:34]
for the small ones I’ll do it on my own a lot and for but for anything, the technical ones I’ve got a few guys Glenn low and and Carl Kellogg or two guys up in Washington state that I climb with Carl Kellogg is my probably my main climbing buddy. And we’ve had a few other people on the team but I like to be roped up with with him particularly we know each other well in the mountains we can we know when the other person’s getting tired. We know when the A person needs support and then vice versa he’s gonna help me when I need it.
David Ralph [13:03]
I know what about those times when you fall out because cold will bring you down to your lowest point I remember Randall finds the the Explorer saying to these guys, these TV presenters who are going to get to the North Pole, you will fill out with each other you will get to a point where your moods are just fractious How do you deal with that?
Erik Seversen [13:25]
Oh geez you know what not many people have brought that up and some one of the things where when I’m all cushy now at home I don’t think of I forget about those parts sometimes. Yeah, we do. We altitude sickness kicks in. Sometimes you’re not thinking as clearly we know that we have a hard turnaround time that if we’re literally 200 feet from the top of a mountain at a certain time we’re not getting to the top and so and then the cold sometimes arguing of do we need to do we need to stop for a little bit and and huddling shaking on a ledge next to some guy trying to you know be as close to him as possible for one thing being uncomfortable, but But yeah, the testiness really comes out sometimes. And it’s it’s always a laugh when we get off the mountain. But it’s a reality when you’re up there. And we just we just, again, one of us is usually at a point good enough to kind of keep the mood good enough to continue.
David Ralph [14:21]
Because I did a road trip back in 2010. And we landed in Atlanta, just as this huge storm hit and Washington got closed down. It was like a state of emergency. And we were planning to go from Atlanta, flew to Washington, Philadelphia and New York to about 700 miles. And we ended up doing about three and a half thousand miles trying to get through the house. And it was bitterly cold every single second of the day. And the hotel rooms hadn’t sort of clued themselves up to this so it was basically cold in bed and you’d get a warm shower they need to go again. And one of the people on the trip he was my best man for 25 years, we had such a falling out. But we’ve never really spoken since. And I see him every now and again and we say hello. And we’ve got to the point that we can have a couple of beers in a pub. But that friendship is just gone. And I can put it purely down to the cold. getting us to a point where we we showed our claws and those claws hadn’t been shown before. Yep, yeah,
Erik Seversen [15:22]
I totally agree. If you’re on the mountain with the wrong person, it’s not going to go well. That’s for sure. You knew you nailed it. And road trips are a good second best for that. And you’ve got you found that out.
David Ralph [15:32]
Yeah. Now when you build a business, because it is a good sort of segue from a road trip, a road trip works really well with two people and badly with three people I’ve found at it just doesn’t seem to have this sort of dynamic. You don’t seem to have the tolerance. When there’s one other person that you can buddy up with and slag off the other person. That’s annoying you It seems to be better when there’s two people can just sort of keep it hidden. How do you do that in business? How do you find The white people that is going to complement your strengths and allow you to flourish in certain areas without you getting techy, but they’re not allowing you to do two things or they’re not doing it the way that you would do. How did you find the right people? Eric?
Erik Seversen [16:14]
Okay, I’ve got two quick answers for that. And the first one is one of my one of the things I need to work on most is if I asked if I delegate something to somebody is just letting them to do it. cuz sometimes I feel like I could do it faster and better. And I get frustrated when it’s not done exactly how I think it should be when it’s probably just as good. It’s just different. And so that’s, that’s something I need to work on. But how to how I build relationships and business long term relationships in business is I definitely partner up with people who have a similar vibe to me in one respect, and that is, I’m I want to make money. I like making money. I think it’s an important thing. However, my main goal in business is really to help people it sounds cliche, but I believe in the zig ziglar quote, I think it’s a You can help if you help you can get anything in life you want as long as you help another other people get what they want. Yeah. And if I’m working with people who are on that same path of sincerely trying to help people, even if it’s for profit in the end, there’s a lot less friction the that I found.
David Ralph [17:18]
And then can you wait? Oh, yeah. Ken, can you be a full time adventurer, because I’ve had so many people that have come on the show now. And vice, I’ll give you my response to this. They pretty much all say you can be a full time adventurer, but you will go broke. It’s the it’s the business element around it but allows that to flourish.
Erik Seversen [17:39]
Yeah, I definitely think that we need to keep ourselves engaged. And I think there has to be a balance. I often am going to bed excited to wake up to go to work the next day that I’m working on a project I’m excited about it and that could be a project at at Eagle rider the the company that I work for, or it could be something for my own company. me but I’m I’m totally excited going to bed just to wake up early so I can get to work I consider that a venture. However the way I continue to lead an adventurous lifestyle is I think everybody balances knows the idea of balancing work and life work and family. I think Tom Reubens in your and he was on your show a little while ago and and he he’s talking about that balance which is awesome. I think that’s beautiful that people are aware of that balance. And some do that balance of work life to a varying degrees. I think that needs to be a triangle though I there’s more than just work and family there has to be an element of the self. So I have an equally weighted triangle of my work, my family and myself. And if I don’t care, take care of myself by doing something selfish. From time to time, going to a mountain reading a book when my family wants to do something else. That selfish element helps balance me to be more healthy and better. The other two,
David Ralph [18:58]
I agree with that. Totally. And I think that’s brilliant. Because I understand that I have to do things on my own every now and again, I can’t just be there. And he annoys my wife a lot when she say, Oh, you’ve been working, and let’s all go off and do this thing together. And I think I don’t actually want to, I know it’s with the kids, but I’ve got to do things myself. I think the work life try and go, I think that’s perfect. I think you’re the first person to ever say that to me.
Erik Seversen [19:24]
You know what, because a lot of people are afraid to look at that part because they feel it’s selfish. And it is selfish, but it’s selfish with a bigger after effect that everybody benefits from it.
David Ralph [19:34]
Now, when do you know that you’re really being overly selfish and it’s out of whack when you’re doing things that are really you’re enjoying it, but sort of nobody else is you’re holding back the business growth because of that work life triangle being pointing towards you?
Erik Seversen [19:51]
Yeah, very, very good. Good point. Um, it just recently, actually, I think it’s cliche to say and I’ve said it many times, I’ve gotten to hell. The point where when I’m in a soccer game watching my kids play, I’ve got 11 and 13 year old, I’m watching the game. I’m not thinking about work when I’m at work, I’m working. And I’m not thinking about the kids. And I just recently I came to a realisation that you know what, my kids are going to be in the house, what five more years or something like that, and I’m not spending quite enough you’re
David Ralph [20:18]
paying on your me.
Erik Seversen [20:22]
kick him out soon as possible. But I just did. I adjusted that a little bit. And I had to spend a little bit more time not doing the selfish thing of going surfing for four hours without the family and spending a little more time with the kids. Luckily, they’re old enough now that the kids can jump in the water with me
David Ralph [20:38]
too. And do they want to did they do I bought into dad’s sort of adventurous spirit, or did I go Oh, no, dad. No, I’m on Netflix at the moment. I’m talking to my mates on FaceTime. Did I buy into your sort of commitment?
Erik Seversen [20:52]
They they absolutely have they love their electronics and things and so they do their their video games in there. Do you know trend coming medications and things. But for Christmas they they got ice axes We made an attempt on on on Mount St. Helens right after Christmas during a storm of snow and 55 mile an hour winds. So that was their their first experience with ice. But they’ve claimed a lot of smaller mountains. There’s a nonprofit called the heroes project that takes amputee veterans up to the highest seventh summit. Two years ago, they just had an amputee veteran summit, Mount Everest, and they’ve climbed all the Seven Summits. And so we do support climbs with them up Mount Baldy, which is 11,064 feet and 11 miles round trip for the kids. So yeah, they’re fully on board and love it, they would do a lot more. They’ll do as much as I let them.
David Ralph [21:42]
But let’s play some words. Now then let’s delve back into the business element and how that’s allowing you to develop the enjoyable elements of your life. He’s Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [21:51]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job. As an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [22:18]
Now, I’m interested that your kids are seeing dad climbing up mountains and sort of having a ballsy life adventure. Do you think that you’re sending out the right message for them? Or maybe the message that your dad gave you about how to operate was the right one.
Erik Seversen [22:35]
You know what, that’s that’s something I do struggle with. I mean, I was pretty heavily involved with bike clubs for a while and riding motorcycles was I still ride all the time, but riding was a really, really big part of my life. My my jack, my oldest one was the ring bearer and bike club wedding when he was eight months old. So they’ve seen that part too. And you know, there there are things that happened in that scene that I don’t feel like I don’t want them to be exposed to. There are certain moments on mountains where I was nervous enough that, you know, I would be nervous if my kid were in this position so, so I definitely want them to be adventurous. But there are things that it’s kind of a double standard that I don’t want them to experience a few of the things I have. That’s, that’s for sure. And so I just try and guide as much as possible hope as much as possible and see if they go the right direction.
David Ralph [23:26]
So you kids come along, and I say, dad, right? I there’s a there’s a new mountain we’ve just discovered it’s very, very dangerous, but we’re going to go up it we’re going to climb it. Would you go? Yeah, go for it. You know, just enjoy yourself. Be careful. Or would you say no, I better come with you. You know, how would you sort of frame it?
Erik Seversen [23:44]
Yeah, for right now at their ages. I definitely keep I let them go further than I think most parents of kids that age would I you know, I’m not gonna let them walk in an edge of death there. There have been times when they had to hold on to our Chain, for example, to get over a small section that if they let go the chain there they die. That’s that’s a bad thing. I trusted them enough for that five foot section to get through it. But yeah, I definitely balance that. And I have thought of death a lot. And I’m really comfortable with it. I hope I’ve had conversations with my kids about death. If I if I died on a mountain, my wife knows that. I it was a choice I made. I mean, there’s there there are times when there’s things out of control, like an avalanche that can happen. And so it’s a choice that I’ve made. I’ve communicated that with my wife, and my kids and I have actually talked about death. We this. We’ve talked about what happens if somebody is in dire need of help. Do you risk your life to save them? And both of my kids say yeah, and I agree with that.
David Ralph [24:49]
Yeah, because I’m at the age now. I’m 48 coming up soon. I’m not scared of death at all. I am scared of over living. I’m scared of being an old person. sitting in a chair not being able to do anything with the brain still operating, but the body that terrifies me.
Erik Seversen [25:06]
Absolutely. David, I’m 100% with you on that one.
David Ralph [25:10]
So how would you sort of deal with it? Or can you not deal with it? You just have to accept it. And maybe that’s, that’s the problem of business and life generally. But people try to force these things without accepting them. Maybe just allowing things to flow naturally as a way to get what you want. What do you think, Eric?
Erik Seversen [25:29]
Yeah, I think we need to make a decisions. And I I agree with having things flow naturally. However, I’m a massive list taker and I and a goal setter, I think that we need to set goals. I think it was in the E myth revisited when there was a stat where they interviewed people out just graduating college, and they said, Have you written down your life goals? 5% of these people graduating from college had written down their life goals, the other 95% hadn’t, and then they revisit it. I think it was 40 years later and found everybody They could. And then they did an assessment of their lives and one of the measurements was was net worth. And and I think that’s not the measure of success, but it’s a measure of success. And this is what they use that 5%, who had written down their goals had a net worth larger than the 95% combined the other 95% of mine. And that’s one of many things, studies showing how much writing down goals will make them happen. So I I don’t think that we should just kind of willy nilly let it go with the wind. I like the idea of a vagabond traveller. However, I think that’s an escape for a little bit, which might be positive. I think an intentional traveller has some goals, doesn’t know where they’re gonna sleep every night, but they do know where they want to end up and in life in business, I think it’s really important to have those set goals.
David Ralph [26:47]
So that that’s interesting. So you saying that as long as you know, where you’re ending up the journeys an adventure in itself.
Erik Seversen [26:55]
Yeah, and you might not end up at that exact goal, but I think it’s important to have A very strong vision of what that goal is. And then if you decide it needs to change for a reason that that works too, but I like the intentional making things happen rather than kind of drifting and hoping something good is gonna happen.
David Ralph [27:14]
Because I remember distinctly I was in a place called Artesia, and I think it was New Mexico, it may may have been Texas or some place, and it was it was a very sort of oil refinery town. And long story short, we got caught in the sobriety trap. So the police were on this one road. And because we didn’t know the area, we kept getting caught in this and I walked the line about three times. And the first time I thought to myself, Oh, this is fun. This is like being in movies. I’ve been driving. So I jumped out quite happily walking along. And then by the time the show up there was saying, Hey, guys, you know, you keep on coming back and forth what you’re doing, and we said, we’re just trying to find somewhere in the town to do something. And he said, Well, there’s nothing in this town. He said, there is bowling and we went out bowlings good. And he went, I tell you what, we’re going there afterwards. Come along, and we give you a game and we drove into, out into the country was miles away from anywhere, you could have been a serial killer, really. And we ended up playing bowling with the sheriff’s now, for me is a memory but I will never forget, but I couldn’t have forced it to happen. And I find that on road trips and in life the things that I forced to happen, and never as powerful for me in the long term as the things that I just stumbled across the bar that I just happened to go in and have a conversation with somebody I wasn’t expecting the girl that I just happened to meet because I happened to go into this place. I think forcing it is wrong. I liked your thought of having the end goal but not allowing to have the little goals in between.
Erik Seversen [28:42]
David, you nailed it. I totally agree that that’s that’s where the life does happen. That’s where the interesting things happen. And another thing you did is when that police officer said that you didn’t just say oh no, I don’t I don’t know this guy. I’m not going to go and decide No, I’m going to go through the checkpoint 10 more times looking for something Do you engage? Oh, great, okay, that’s a great idea. I’m going to do it. And that’s also a big part of it is the willingness to say yes to sometimes strange and odd requests. But I’ve met some of the best people I know, because I was lost because I needed help, because I asked for directions or because my motorcycle was broken down on the side of the road. It’s great how those do lead to really good outcome sometimes. Number one motto, yeah, if things work out.
David Ralph [29:26]
Yeah, I think so. And I think that 98% of people on this planet are lovely. I really do. And I think 2% of just, you want to keep away from them. But I think every time that I have broken down, every time that something’s occurred, somebody has come out like a fairy or a baby with a wand and they’ve helped you out and I like to do that myself. I like to give it back because I know how powerful is do you think that is something that frightens people that fear of? Yeah, I’d love to do these adventures. But what happens if something goes wrong?
Erik Seversen [30:00]
Absolutely, and I was thinking the word fear even before you brought that up in this sentence. I think that’s a very strong thing. And it’s a very healthy thing. Travelling, if you don’t know where you’re going to sleep at night, sometimes it’s getting late, you’re going into a city or a village if you’re if you’re hiking or whatever, and you don’t if you don’t know where you’re gonna sleep, you don’t know how you’re going to be saved. You don’t know if you’re going to find a motel room or a hotel room necessarily and and that kind of unknown that little fear I think is really healthy for us. I think we’re not often enough put in situations that kind of scare us and and we break through to it. And then once we’re if we’re nervous about a job interview or something at work, I’m a big meeting. Having been slightly scared multiple times makes it a lot easier.
David Ralph [30:47]
And what has been the scariest time that you’ve had Eric that you’ve Oh my God, this this was one step too far.
Erik Seversen [30:55]
What one quick one is there was a particular rock I was climbing and I was pretty high. And all the sudden I came to the moment of I don’t know if I can make it to the top, and I don’t think I can make it down. And if I fall, I’m in big, big trouble. And that was just this dead sinking moment of dread of what do I do panic, I made enough to rock that was fine. Another one was and this was a this is the day I came to my life lesson of things work out. I was going from Benning, in Africa to Nigeria, into Legos, and get through the border and we’re going through different checkpoints. And then the taxi cab driver I was in it was a shared taxi me and six people in it didn’t stop. And because they’d searched my pack for about an hour and interrogate me and what drives for me so we’ve been doing this for three or four hours. And one guard ran out and threw a spike board across the road as our taxi drivers trying to speed around the checkpoint and other ones shooting his gun in the air behind us and now it’s no joke and they forced me on the ground stuck the machine gun in my mouth yelling Emma spy and so Having a very angry Nigerian. I’m not sure if it was police or military but say, guard with yelling at me that machine gun in my face is definitely one of the ones that comes to mind as absolute flat out hands down fear.
David Ralph [32:16]
And now you’ve had that is that you sort of benchmark of actually I could deal with most things.
Erik Seversen [32:22]
You know what I it was tested the first time that I saw that practical result of this was only two months later. So now two months. So that was an Africa was 20 years old. Two months later, I’m in Washington State going to Green River College, and it’s a community college up there. And somebody came up to me and said, hey, there’s this job in Japan, it’s perfect for you. I looked at the application and I was so excited. I wanted this job. I think more than anything, I wanted my whole life up to that point. And I filled out the application got an interview and I’m going into the interview and I wore a suit for the very first time in an interview in my life and all the sudden I started to panic before Walking up to the room of the interview, and I started to freeze and I couldn’t hold my thoughts together. And I took a deep, long breath. And I said, You know what, two months ago I had a machine gun stuck in my face. In the big picture. This really isn’t a big deal. Everything came clear. I was wasn’t nervous. I walked in, had a great interview and got the job. And I really think that that settled me.
David Ralph [33:22]
And so would you say that most people need to have that moment of this is the end this could go badly wrong to really cement their focus going forward, because I personally think that too many people are just floating along. And it’s the ones that have a big shock in life are the ones that go bloody hell, I now realise I’m on this planet only once. I’ve got to make the most of it.
Erik Seversen [33:45]
You know what I absolutely agree with you, David. Not enough people have have strikingly fear and it doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can be going into a Starbucks and go seeing somebody in going deciding to go up and ask them Question a stranger, go ask him a question. It’s it’s amazing how much fear we feel just deciding to go talk to a stranger for a minute to ask them what time it is or the direction, a direction for that matter. But we don’t. And I think that we get into our routines that just kind of life goes on. And I see it in people’s faces where they just How’s it going, Oh, another day in the rat race. You know, that’s, that’s not what I want to live. And so I intentionally break my routine. Sometimes I’ll not eat for 24, sometimes 48 hours about once a month. I’ll stay awake all night, once a year. My kids do this with me too. Sometimes. Some if I have an important meeting, for example, a day, that morning, I might take a freezing cold shower and not hot and what happens is, my body unconsciously says I’m shocked by the cold water. Something’s different about this day than every other day. What’s different about it? What do I need to do to prepare and it kind of artificially puts my body into a fight or flight mode a little bit and I I’m a little bit more on my game.
David Ralph [35:02]
I love that. I love that. And I just say now I think to myself, I would do that, and I’m going to do that. But I know like my wife would go that’s mental if you’ve got hot water. Why don’t you just use hot water? She She wouldn’t have that at all. Because people do like their routines don’t buy.
Erik Seversen [35:19]
Yeah, and they love their comfort and I think comforts way overrated.
David Ralph [35:23]
So so with your business, let’s get back to your business again. How, how much is still a struggle getting it going on without telling us how much you earn each month because that’d be rude. But How comfortable are you that the business is going to provide and keep on growing for you to allow you to be more adventurous with your lifestyle.
Erik Seversen [35:43]
So just as a gauge my wife, super smart lady, she’s a Doctor of Pharmacy. So she worked at the West LA LA hospital for quite a while for 18 years. So she decided to walk away from a very good job. This last Last year so I’m right now I’m the only one working in the household my company growth is is as it could be a million times more fast but I love working for ego at are so much that I continue to devote a full time job for Eagle rider and I let my company develop at a much slower pace than then it then it could and I’m really comfortable with that because I like both. And I don’t want to leave that while I’m developing the company I’m in I’m in I’m excited for growth but I’m in no in a huge hurry either.
David Ralph [36:35]
So So as a pure side hustle what you’re doing at the moment.
Erik Seversen [36:39]
Yeah, it is. And I could if I if I did leave Eagle water. I think I could make it then I would have to force of course a full time job doing it. I’d survive. But I’m in I enjoy the company so much. I’ve been with him for a long time. I enjoy the growth it’s had and I mean it’s grown from seven to well over 100 million dollars since I’ve been with him for 11 years and it’s been a blast.
David Ralph [37:00]
I love this because literally every single person that comes on the show, as I was as well go, I was working for the man, I couldn’t take it anymore. So I quit, and then panicked for a couple of years until my thing started to grow. And then yeah, everything’s good, but I could never go back. But you’re quite happily working for somebody and while building your own dream, so who’s whose dream is more important to you then? Or does that never come into the question?
Erik Seversen [37:28]
It’s kind of ironic when I when I joined on with Eagle water, I had my own company which I created. And I was with them for I think two or three years and they basically said, you know, I’ve got to make a choice between my company and them. And I just saw what was happening with both companies. I my company was growing every single year and very growing a lot. But I saw that there was something special happening with the eagle water, so I sold that company. Then many years later, still working with the water having it grow. I did decide that I need my destiny to be in my own hands. So that I do need to own my own company. I don’t need it to be the only thing I’m doing. But I do need to have my own destiny because of a company I own. Yeah.
David Ralph [38:12]
Because I’m focused on your lifestyle, basically, for quite a first three years of Join Up Dots. It was building the business. Right now I’m 100% focused on having a lifestyle, being able to go away with my family go away for weekends go away, which I couldn’t do before. Is it about systems or is it about employees? How do people get that kind of violence web I can do that.
Erik Seversen [38:39]
I put a lot of it is really becoming efficient. I’m finding that balance of against self family work. And yeah, I work I do many, many, many long hours between what I do with my my standard job and what I do with a new company. If you added it up, it’s easy eight hours, 80 hours a week and I absolutely love it. And I’m with my family for a lot of that so I’m not just distract I’m not avoiding my family either but but no it’s it’s just making decisions being efficient and you know it is sacrifices though too.
David Ralph [39:13]
And so what sacrifices were who misses out man who’s getting the sacrifice your family yourself? I’m still
Erik Seversen [39:20]
like you said I don’t have the ability to their ego was quite flexible with me but I don’t have the ability to just disappear for a week if I wanted to, like I’m sure you would be able to. So that that’s that’s the biggest sacrifice is not having 100% control over my my time throughout the year. Yeah, I
David Ralph [39:38]
think I can disappear for four weeks and just leave right totally on automatic pilot. I might have to have a mate or someone to just have a look into make sure things are going live and stuff which would take about two minutes a day. But away from that I can pretty much just walk away or a monk but we have a podcast. I then will need to work quite hard to get up. That level of being able to do it again, because you’ve got to get the shows recorded. You’ve got to get them uploaded, you’ve got to, you know, visit, there’s a certain amount of background work, but gives me that comfort to be able to do that. It wasn’t something that I could have done overnight.
Erik Seversen [40:15]
Yeah, yeah, I was just at a social media conference last week and talking with a lot of people who are on podcasts, and I am stunned what you guys do. It’s just it’s really amazing how you put how you pull it off with all of the balls in the air and all of the logistics and timing and equipment. It’s, it’s pretty amazing.
David Ralph [40:35]
Yeah, but you realise that you have all the balls in the air and then some balls are more important. And then a bull’s eye hold on to Eric. I’m sure as a man you can understand this. But I put absolutely I protect my balls and the other ones I will just kick away and let him go and I’ve realised through growing base, where my important balls up.
Erik Seversen [40:56]
You know, I recently read the one thing and it talks about finding The one thing to focus on of course, we all try and multitask a little bit. But that has helped too, because I try to juggle less. And I’ll focus on one ball at a time.
David Ralph [41:10]
And what is your ball?
Erik Seversen [41:13]
Right now? It is the growth of the business.
David Ralph [41:17]
Simple as that. Yeah. And within that that’s allowing that business to grow, you must know
Erik Seversen [41:25]
not also. So right now you’re right. Yeah. So it’s my book. So I’ve actually I’ve got a book that I wrote called ordinary to extraordinary. It was supposed to come out in February that was supposed to come out in March, and now it’s July so I’ve decided to absolutely put everything off if I have a giant awesome opportunity in front of me. I’m not even going to look at it until July when when it’s actually done printed and, and in people’s hands. So so that’s that’s my one. focus right now is getting that book completed. It’s been written now for over a year. And I’ve been in editing phase since November and
David Ralph [42:03]
all your own words
Erik Seversen [42:05]
David Ralph [42:06]
Yep. All your own grammar
Erik Seversen [42:09]
Oh Jews into the funny thing is I teach grammar and their grammar mistakes all the way through it because it seemed it’s invisible to me it’s really funny I’ve had colleagues of mine that I used to teach with read it. And they laugh. Because it’s really wild because I write with I want to be relaxed when I write and I don’t think about that. But once I write it, it’s somehow I’ve got a map in my head and the map goes onto the page, and grammatically incorrect and everything. It’s right there and it’s really odd to me how it’s invisible. I’ve heard other writers have say the same thing that their own writing it’s it’s invisible. So yeah, all the incorrect grammar mistakes are mine. That’s why I’m hiring. I have hired editors,
David Ralph [42:47]
because I’m actually a very good writer and I used to write not for a living but close for a living. And since I’ve been doing a podcast, I have found that my writing has changed into a kind of more conversational style. I write like I talk. So to have like, connection words and and stuff at the beginning of sentence, that’s a big No, no. But I found that that slipping into my writing, and it’s become a hybrid of my personality, I write in my own voice now, which isn’t good in writing.
Erik Seversen [43:18]
It’s really wild. And it is crazy how writing is influenced by what we read what we do. And if you are using your voice all the time, I can totally see that seeping in. And so I’m sure that there are some advantages to that in certain arenas, too, which is good to see how to find out what those are. But But like you said, starting a sentence with and you know what’s wrong, but that’s your map as you’re putting it down on page and it seems perfect.
David Ralph [43:42]
Yeah, it does. And I will keep on doing it until somebody tells me off for doing it. So just before we play the words of Steve Jobs that leads us to the end of the show. People in America, I’m focused on that because a lot of my audience out there, where’s a good adventure place? Where’s a good place for them to get into a car Dr of what is a state that you’d say you’ve really got to visit
Erik Seversen [44:05]
I’m going to say Vermont because the one I haven’t mentioned yet, but if I had to go one place, it would probably be Oregon. There’s it’s kind of the undiscovered a little bit. I love Yosemite. I love Yellowstone. I can’t say enough good things about those places. But Oregon is like that without you know quite as many animals and things. It’s like every turn that you take when you’re on these just country highways is is just another beautiful road. So and it’s a lot less discovered, pull over on the side of the road and throw your 10 top type thing which is great.
David Ralph [44:39]
I have to say that despite that I love more than any East California but for the reasons that you said at the beginning. It’s just got so much it’s got mountains, it’s got beaches, it’s got cities, it’s got a it’s a whole vacation in itself where I’ve done you know New Mexico and Arizona and stuff and a lot of it you lose yourself in in nothingness and California seems to have something on every turn.
Erik Seversen [45:03]
I love it. And you know what? There’s some crazy people here. I think you’d fit right in. And I don’t feel
David Ralph [45:09]
well, a compliment and insult that became a compliment. I know what you mean, totally compliment total compliment.
Steve Jobs said these words back in 2005. And let’s hear them again, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [45:20]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [45:54]
Now you’re following your heart, but can really can you pinpoint when you Your heart became your compass.
Erik Seversen [46:04]
It was pretty early on, I rode my bicycle from LA satin from Tacoma, Washington down to California when I was 17 years old 17 or 18 years old. And that was one of the times when I just realised the idea of seeing towns at the speed of a pedal bike meeting people that I didn’t know being nervous where I’m going to sleep that night because I would didn’t know and that’s kind of set off a trajectory of of, of the travel bug the on the road feeling that that never stopped.
David Ralph [46:35]
And that just connect you when you were doing it. Did you realise that actually, I have found my thing or was it till later you thought I’d really love doing that. Why don’t I do it again?
Erik Seversen [46:46]
You know what it was that was teaching and in graduate school. in graduate school, I taught English as a second language as part of my I had to have some relation but I had to support myself so they gave me a job. teaching ESL for the University of Virginia. And so I really loved teaching from the very start. And I thought it was my calling my passion, everything. And like I said, when I was in Los Angeles about 15 years later from that moment, teaching, life was perfect love my students loved my colleagues loved my my family, but I couldn’t sadly support myself doing it. So I had to go into business for for 10 years. And that was the first practical decision I ever had to make. But luckily, it created a new dot for me. I connected the love of people, the love of travel, the love of teaching, and then with the business element, it kind of wrapped up full circle into an entrepreneurial projects that I’m really happy about.
David Ralph [47:41]
Oh, I love this. And of course, you brought in the magic triangle as well. The work life balance triangle.
Erik Seversen [47:47]
I live by it. Yeah. Yeah.
David Ralph [47:49]
It’s the way forward I really think is the way forward. Well, this is the end of the show now and this is the bit that we’ve been building up to the we call the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger yourself. And if you could go back and speak to the young Eric, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give him? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m gonna play the theme. And when it fades you up, this is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [48:19]
with the best bit
Unknown Speaker [48:20]
of the show.
Erik Seversen [48:36]
Okay, so Eric, I need to talk to you a little bit. So this is your older self speaking. And did you remember when you did that thing? That was that was really stupid. That was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? Yeah, that was that was pretty fun humour. And the other thing with Kirk Rao that you did that was really stupid wasn’t it was kind of fun, wasn’t it? So? So with all these stupid things that you’ve done in your life,
do you know what You don’t,
that doesn’t have to change. stupid things are still fun when you’re older. So just know that the stupidness isn’t going to go away. And Ralph, revel in it. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest advice I can give you. And, you know, of course, we’re going to live a path that we want to go towards certain things that are healthy and good for other people and helping people and things like that. But the stupid really never goes away.
David Ralph [49:26]
Right advice, and I love that I live my whole life by stupid. And it’s actually part of my branding, really, I’m trying to bring that element more into it, but you can actually have a business that is fun. And the fun is the business and the business of the fun. I think it works hand in hand.
Erik Seversen [49:43]
You know, I really learned I’m 40 years old and I turned 40 I’m 48 now when I turned 40 It wasn’t a big deal at all. When I turned 42 just because I love the book, Douglas Adams I had a 42 themed birthday party with him, you know the life and the meaning of life, the universe and everything. In 42 I realised something I realised two things. One, I realised somebody who’s 60 knows a lot more than I do. So I want to listen to him as much as I can to. I’m always going to feel like a kid.
David Ralph [50:10]
Brilliant. Stay young, stay foolish, as Steve Jobs said. And that brings us perfectly to the end of the show. So what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, Eric?
Erik Seversen [50:21]
So easiest way is Eric seavers. And calm. If you Google me, I’ll come up quite often in different places, but Eric searson, calm and if you check out just for your listeners, David, Eric searson.com, slash Join Up Dots. There are a few things for your listeners, if anybody internationally, I do language coaching, and business coaching specifically, again, for a lot of people who English is a second language. The books going to be up there half price for your listeners. So a few few, few things. So Eric searson, calm.
David Ralph [50:51]
We will have links on the show notes. Eric, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining those dots and please come back again when you got more dots to join up because I do believe But joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Eric Stephenson, thank you so much.
Erik Seversen [51:07]
Thank you, David very much. I can’t wait to make more dots. We’ll see you later.
David Ralph [51:12]
Eric, see the sun sudden magic triangle. But you know, for your family, be there for your work, but be there for yourself as well. And as you can see, he’s got a side hustle going on. He’s got his adventure trips, he’s got his writing, you can do all these things. But you don’t have to do them all at one time. You can juggle balls, but certain balls are going to be more important hold of those precious to yourself and and see what occurs elsewhere. But I thought Eric was great. I think he’s definitely going to be a guest. That’s going to come back on the show again. And of course, if you’re interested in how he’s building his business, and how he’s managing to fit in his travel and his adventure, then drop him a line and I’m sure he will respond to you. But until next time, thank you so much for listening to this episode of Join Up Dots. If anyone would be kind enough to jump onto iTunes and leave a rating and review You don’t ask very often, but it really does make a big difference to us. But until next time, thank you so much. Cheers. Bye bye.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.