Forging A Path Of Extreme Adventure: Creating Success And Fulfillment With Erik Seversen
There is so much more to life that it would be a shame not to go out there and experience it to the fullest of our abilities. When we take steps outside of our self-imposed boundaries, we expand our ability and capacity to experience more. In his personal search for meaning, Erik Seversen has forged a path filled with extreme adventure and success. He joins Tony Martignetti in this episode to share with us these adventures and the lessons he learned along the way. A full-time writer and public speaker, he lets us in on his books, Explore, Ordinary to Extraordinary, and The Successful Mind, to show how he puts himself out there to experience not only the high highs but also the low lows, revealing the true beauty of a life well-lived. Join this conversation as Erik takes you to one adventure after another, inspiring you to go out there and create success and fulfillment.
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Forging A Path Of Extreme Adventure: Creating Success And Fulfillment With Erik Seversen
It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Erik Seversen. He has lived an amazing life, from hiking from London to Central Africa, to living with the remote Indian Tribe in the Amazon, to building and selling businesses. Erik has forged a path filled with extreme adventure and success. Erik has published two best-selling books, Ordinary to Extraordinary and Explore, revealing his personal search for meaning and highlighting how anyone can create a life of purpose and success. He is a full-time writer and public speaker, and he lives by the idea that helping others is the best way to create both success and fulfillment in life. I want to welcome you to the show, Erik.
Thank you, Tony.
Thank you for coming to the show. I’m looking forward to digging into your story and insights. Since reading your book, Explore, I’ve resonated with your message. It fits with who I am as a person. I know that my readers are going to be like, “This is the guy I need to talk to.”
I’m glad you read the book. You’re one of those adventurous spirits as well. I can see how you could relate to a lot of it.
As we do on the show, we always talk about what’s called flashpoints. These are points in people’s stories that have ignited their gifts to the world. We’re going to allow you to tell us some of your flashpoints and share your story. There may be one or many. You can share what you could share. I’m going to give you a space to do that. Along the way, we’ll pause and see what’s shown up.
I’ve read your show many times. I’ve got the format and having done that, I jotted down a few things that are flashpoints in my life. It’s hard to know exactly where to start because they range from twelve years old to recent time. I’m going to start with the one that’s not my happiest moment in life, but it was one of the first critical turns. When I was younger, I wasn’t a very good student. I had a C-minus average. I tried, but I didn’t have a lot of support for the family, even though they were encouraging. I decided in my eleventh grade that I wanted to become a college professor, “College professors don’t get C-minuses, so something has got to change.”
They did. I went from a C-minus to an A-grade point average. Everything changed in my life. I still did a lot of athletics and stuff, but I was reading two books a day sometimes. I poured myself into academics and getting straight A’s for the last two years of high school. In my counseling session to see what we’re going to do with our lives is usually a half-hour block per student. My brother was a few years ahead of me and my sister as well. They were both great students and they both came back with armfuls of brochures about colleges and things to do. My brother ended up going to Stanford for undergrad and Harvard for his MBA. I go into this meeting thinking, “I can’t wait to leave with my pile of brochures and figure out what I want to do.”
This is the same counsel they had. She says, “Erik, what do you want to do with your life?” as she’s scanning my transcript. I said, “I want to go to UCLA.” She said, “You’ll never get into a school like that.” She pushed herself away from the desk and walked away. That was it, Tony. I was left there distraught. I didn’t know if she was going to come back. I had a lump in my throat. I didn’t want to leave the room because I had tears building my eyes. She never came back. I decided, “I’m not going to let her tell me what I can and can’t do.” I didn’t have any brochures, but I knew I wanted to go to UCLA.
Failure makes success so much stronger.
I applied to UCLA and they rejected me. My first reaction was, “She’s right.” I did not have a backup plan, but I ended up going to community college. I continued to work hard and I got into UCLA two years later. That moment though, when she said I couldn’t get into UCLA, I had two choices to make. One was to listen to her, and one was not to. She was right. Where I was, I couldn’t get into UCLA, but she didn’t think, “There’s a path that this guy can find to get to reach this goal if he wanted to.” She didn’t seem to be bothered. That changed a lot of the different things in my life. That’s the first one and the lesson was I am responsible for choosing the outcomes of my goals and no one else. I can take advice from people. I can be told I can and can’t do things from people, but in the end, it’s up to me if I want to find a way or not.
Many people get slapped in the face, not literally but figuratively, and say, “You can’t do that because of who you are.” The idea is that generally, you can’t do these things, and the reality is there’s always a way if you’re willing to have that perseverance to think that through. That spirit is what keeps people going towards their goals.
Seeing what your accomplishments are on LinkedIn, you’ve got certificates in about every aspect of coaching that you can have. I’m sure one of the main things that you’ve seen through multiple of those programs that you’ve been involved in is there is a way. It might not need the same way for everybody, but there’s a way. My number one motto is, “Things work out.” I’ve been in desperate situations that looked horrible, but in the end, when I was able to look back, I always was able to find something positive. Even now we’re in the pandemic, talk about another shift in my life, a flare-up. In January of 2020, I ended up quitting an executive position doing international business development to do public speaking full-time.
In three weeks, I built up a good schedule for 2020. In two days, when the Coronavirus hit, every single one of my public speaking engagements was postponed or canceled. I’m sitting there in my home office/guest bedroom with no money coming in and nothing lined up. It forced me to shift into something different. I remembered the first book I published in 2018, Ordinary to Extraordinary, which got me into public speaking in the first place. I decided, “Speaking is out for now. What am I going to do?” I had a second book, Explore, 90% of it is way done, and I finished it in three weeks. I got that book published in a total of six weeks.
That kept things coming in a little bit and led to a few opportunities. As I was writing the last chapter for that book, I had the third book in mind already, but I decided, “I don’t have two years to get this idea into a 300-page book.” I started reaching out to other experts who were even better than me in many ways. The book title that came to my mind, it’s almost like it was given. It was spoken to me. The book title is The Successful Mind: Tools To Living A Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life. I started reaching out to experts from a yoga instructor from Santa Cruz, a firewalking instructor from India, a pastoral counselor from South Africa and a guy who owns a public speaking school in London.
All of these individuals from around the world contributed. We got nine countries involved in the book and 34 authors, including me, who all answered the question, “What is the number one thing I can do to create more success in my life and my business?” That was a wonderful thing that would not have happened. I wouldn’t have had time to do that. If I was speaking on my circuit, there’s no way I would have had the time to put together this book. This book is going to touch a lot more people than I would have to go to a few stages every month.
It makes me think of this one thing that always comes to mind me. When I work with my clients, it’s about expanding your vision to think bigger than you ever were thinking because sometimes the world throws many things at you like, “This is now the new roadblock.” I say, “Expand your vision and narrow your focus.” Once you start to get out of your box and say, “There’s a bigger way of doing this, there’s a different way,” then you can come back and focus on what you’re meant to be doing.
Another one of the flashpoints, and this is tying into what you said. The company I was working for is called EagleRider. It’s a motorcycle rental company. It’s a phenomenal company. I was with them and I helped build that company from $7 million to $100 million in ten years. At one point, the company took on some big investors. As soon as that happened, my destiny wasn’t in the hands of two owners whom I loved and respected, Jeff Brown and Chris McIntyre, but some bankers don’t know me at all. I decided to guarantee my future, I need to create something for myself on the side.
One of the first things I did is I picked up Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek. It was in reverse order. The book helped inspire me to do this. I knew I needed to create a company. I got that book. He has a few books in reference and one of them is The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. That book revolutionized some of the ways that I was thinking. Part of what I got out of Tim Ferriss’ book is imitating thought leaders and high-level athletes. I injected meditation and some wellness things into my entrepreneurial way of thinking. It did a massive shift in the way I looked at life, and things got way better. It’s amazing how calming myself down allowed me to get more things done.
The paradox is the only way to think about life is to say, “What could I do that would have a different effect than I would think it would?” That is slowing down to speed up elements of life. It’s powerful or even for me, one of the paradoxes that I’m always playing with is in order for me to hear more is I have to get silent. I get to slow down and listen to what’s inside and not think about what’s happening in the world but think what’s happening inside. That’s what you hear the most.
In almost any social topic, there are nerves and frustration on both sides. There’s a hair-pulling out on both sides. I’ve got good friends, not acquaintances, across all political affiliations. The one thing that makes it easier for me is I say, “In the big picture, I’m not in control.” That helps. You mentioned slowing down to speed up. That’s something people say in the mountains all the time with mountain climbing, “Slow is fast,” because you burn out, you get three-quarters the way up the mountain. That didn’t get you there but if you’re just one short, slow step after the other, at some point, you’re going to be at the top of the mountain. Did you get that from mountain climbing or from somewhere else?
I did get that from someplace else, but I love mountain climbing and it’s something I’m thrilled to get out and do more of once I have some more time to get out there.
What kind of things do you like to climb?
I’m doing mostly in the Northeast, so the Appalachian Trail. I’m going to Peru. It’s more of a controlled mountain climbing, but I was going to Machu Picchu in December 2020. I’m looking forward to that.
I can almost guarantee you’re going to have to use the saying, “Go slow to go fast,” because with the altitude and the stress of that climb, that’s going to be a big deal. I look forward to hearing about that when you’re done.
You need teamwork. You can’t succeed on the mountain alone. You need to prepare, read up on it, and exercise.
I want to know more about the adventures. Before we came into this period where we’ve had to batten down the hatches, tell me about the adventures and what you’ve learned from them. I know that a lot of it is in the books, but tell me about what you’ve learned along these journeys that you’ve taken and how it’s fed into what you’re doing now.
Two things come to mind. One of them was entering new villages in Africa when I was working my way down to Central Africa. That was always a stressful situation, but I learned a lot and it was a positive thing. Sticking with our mountain climbing thing, at the end of July 2019 and the start of August 2019, me and Chris McIntyre, the Owner of EagleRider, were both working in Moscow. We ended up going down to the highest mountain in Europe in Southern Russia, called Mount Elbrus. It’s 18,500 feet tall. It’s a big one. We hired a Russian guide and we tried to summit this mountain. We had to acclimatize, so we were on the mountain for eight days. We’re going up and down.
In the end, we go for a summit attempt. We were fighting through negative 30-degree temperatures. It’s snowing, it’s cold. I ended up getting a bit of frostbite on my cheek. We’re struggling to get up this mountain and loving it. We’re within 200 meters from the summit of this 18,500-foot mountain and lightning strikes. We’re feeling great that the summit is right there. It’s 8:00 in the morning. We’d been climbing through the night and then we stopped. Lightning struck again about 1 minute or 90 seconds later. Our guide said, “We go down now. No negotiation.” There’s nothing for the lightning to strike other than our crampons and ice axes. We had to book down from the mountain. We were dejected. When we got back down to the climber’s hut, we looked online from our guide’s phone and found out that the weather was bad and worse coming up.
We had to make a decision. Do we stay up there or do we go home? We were with five climbers originally and three of them left. It’s down to me and Chris. We decided, “We’re never going to forgive ourselves if we leave this mountain. Let’s stay here. There’s nothing to do with high altitude and not feeling great. We’re going to sit until we have to go and catch our plane in a small town three hours away.” We stayed there for a few days, miserably doing nothing. We have to leave the next no matter what that. All of a sudden, at around 11:00 PM, our guide said, “There’s a break in the weather. Get ready.” We climbed up and it was massive wind, 60-mile an hour commonly. There were gusts of up to 100-mile but no lightning. We ended up summiting.
I’m used to being successful at everything I do. When I was down and sitting in the mountain, I had to come to terms with, “I get to go home and tell all my friends that’s expecting me to climb this mountain that I didn’t make it. I wasted a bunch of money. I flew across the world and I’m going to have to go home with my tail between my legs.” I was angry about that. Within 24 hours, I was starting to become at peace with that. It was almost 48 hours later that the weather broke and it was good again.
I totally came to peace with the idea of that failure. It makes success so much stronger because I’ve proven to myself that I can accept whatever’s going to happen. It’s not just talking. When I’m doing my public speaking and I talk about accepting things that are out of our control and being happy with them. I wasn’t happy with it until I got into myself and decided, “This is exactly how it’s supposed to be.” Thank God, the weather broke and we made the summit. That was a big high point, but the big lesson on the mountain wasn’t the summit. It was the failure.
This is exactly why it’s not just the mountain and the actual activity, but what it teaches you that is so powerful and how many of these lessons we have to learn for ourselves. It’s to lose attachment to the true outcome of what happened. When you finally let go of that is when you finally were able to get what you wanted.
I like the mountains because, one, I use in business a lot how the parallels between, “You need teamwork. You can’t succeed in the mountain alone. You need to prepare, read up on it and exercise.” You need to do all of these things to be successful. That’s the exact same thing in business, but in the mountain, there’s another thing that I love about it is I don’t think that people put themselves into difficult situations enough. I know a lot who do, but I know a lot who don’t as well. Our lives have become easy generally. We’re not going bump her head on the doorframe. The doorframes are all made for normal height for the most part. We’re not going to be eaten by a tiger. We used to have these things that kept challenging us all the time.
Now, it’s easy to sit behind our computers or do whatever we’re doing without massive challenges in our lives. I liked the mountains because, at least for me, it allows me to put myself into a difficult and exhausting situation. I’m sure you, on some of your hikes as well, what boils to the surface isn’t, “What kind of car I drive? How much money is in my bank account?” It’s usually my wife, my kids and the other goals I have. It’s these beautiful things that affect me to my core, but when I’m going through my days of sitting in front of my computer doing work or having dinner with my family even. I go surfing with my kids three times a week. We do fun things, but when I’m not tested, all of the core level things are in there somewhere, but they’re not in my conscious mind. When I’m on the top of a mountain and I’m feeling lonely and tired, I’m thinking about what’s important to me.
I love this element of life. It makes me think of expanding your range of what you’re capable of. It’s not just the physical range but also your emotional range. Your story speaks to that a lot. When you go through life and willing to put yourself out there to have your heart broken, to have high highs and low lows, it expands your ability and capacity to experience more.
The funny thing is I’m not in a perfect place. I speak all the time about controlling and overcoming our fears. I also speak a lot about handling stress. You can handle any stress you want. I broke a tooth a few weeks ago grinding them because I was stressed. We’re not immune. No matter how much we learn about how to help people with stress, anxiety and other things, I still fall and slip into that trap. There are few overlaps of a few big projects I’m working on. I feel the weight of certain stresses. I wouldn’t want them to go away, but the stress that it made me crack a tooth by grinding my teeth while I was sleeping, that’s unhealthy. That’s too much.
I realized that I preach handling stress and things like that, and I fell into the trap of neglecting all of the things I know were important. I’d be sitting in front of my computer and realized that I hadn’t taken a breath for 30 seconds just because I’m stressed that I’m holding my breath. That was happening 2 or 3 times a day. I had to go back. I wrote a little eBook thing. It’s 21 or 24 pages called The Successful Habits Challenge. I wasn’t doing anything that I wrote about. It’s 21 habits that you can do to feel better and be energized. I was doing 1 or 2 out of the 21. I had myself step back, go back and remember, bring to the conscious mind what these things are that can help us with our stressful lives. It’s funny how we can forget about the things we preach sometimes.
Part of getting out of your habit of day-to-day life like going in and being at the computer or doing things, but when you get out in nature and experience things that are a little bit riskier, that’s when you start to appreciate that there are things that you need to experience. They help you breathe a little deeper and say, “I’m alive.”
The funny thing is I mentioned the book, The Successful Mind, the reason there’s overlap is I’m already working on the next book, The Successful Body, for that exact reason because when you’re in nature, it does something to our mind that is beautiful. It creates a deep level of relaxation and connection, but also when we’re in nature getting a little bit of exercise and things. The Successful Body focuses not on the mental parts that are necessary for nature and other things, but on what happens to the physical body when we’re in nature and when we’re getting exercise. The full title of the book is The Successful Body: Using Fitness, Nutrition, and Mindset to Live Better. It’s fun to continue on with the successful theme now working on fitness, nutrition and mindset.
Focus on finding the person who’s different from you so that you can complement each other rather than having the same way of thinking.
It’s going to keep us busy, that’s for sure.
I’m writing the introduction in the last chapter, but the good parts are the 33 chapters in between those because these people are all better than me at fitness, nutrition and mindset areas. I’m learning so much more from this book because it’s an area. The Successful Mind, I deal with mindset every day all day long. I overlap with a lot of those experts. With The Successful Body, I overlap less with them. It’s fun for me to be able to learn a lot more from this book we’re creating together.
I love this idea about the collaboration that we have. It’s something I see a lot on the show. People are often talking about the power of collaboration. I’ve been talking to a lot of cofounders who said, “A successful cofounder is 1 plus 1 cannot equal 3. It has to be more than three.” There’s an element of seeing the power of community in collaboration and especially now where oftentimes when you’re working on your own, it’s lonely. It’s also limiting in terms of what you can unlock. When you’re collaborating, you’re also building your own ideas off of their ideas.
There’s a high school friend. I’ve known him since the sixth grade. His name is Kirk Rao. I’m still good friends with them. He’s one of my inner circle friends. Kirk in high school is when we connected intellectually. On a scale of 1 to 100, if I could go to on a topic, a level of highness of 37, and then Kirk would say something that would bring me to a 52. I would say something that brings Kirk to a 61, then Kirk would say something to bring me to a 75. We would keep building back and forth. The two of us, if each one of us together could have created the 50, the two of us together can get almost near a 100 every time. It couldn’t have happened with either one of us alone. The sum was bigger than the multiple of parts.
There are a lot of people who come out of graduate schools feeling as though, “If it is to be, it’s up to me. I have to go out and attack the world.” Slowly but surely, they start to unravel that by their experiences of, “Maybe if I collaborate, I can find ways to win together. Instead of competing, creating.”
You know that test where if you clap your hands together and your left thumb was on top, you are an emotional thinker. If your right thumb is on top, you’re a logical thinker. I often have people do that at the start of my speaking. I say, “Which is better. The answer is neither, but why do you need to know?” The reason is if I’m a leader and I interviewed ten people, I’m inclined to hire the person who’s like me because I think that’s what a good leader is like. What I need to do is focus on finding the person who’s different from me so that we can complement each other rather than having the same way of thinking.
Tell me about the transition of parting ways with the corporate world. You did spend some time in this corporate world and now you’ve cut ties. How does it feel? How did that separation and ripping the Band-Aid off go for you?
It went well. It would have been hard to do if it was my choice. The wild thing is I’m as busy. It wasn’t like all of a sudden, I have all of this free time to do this and that. In many ways, I have less time but at the same time, I do have a lot more flexibility. In the end, I hope it’s sustainable. I’ve been now on my own since January 2020. It’s worked out well. However, we talked about stress. There is a different level of stress.
When I was doing international business development, I knew for sure at the end of the month, there was going to be money in my bank account. Now, at the start of every month, so far it’s been good. It’s worked out every single month, but at the same time, if something weird happened, there isn’t that safety net there. I’m more used to it now. A few months ago, it was a bigger weight, but now that some of the books have done well, it’s proven that there is a pattern that can work. There’s a little bit of different stress and I think all business owners feel and know that.
It’s very powerful to see your productivity in terms of only nine months out is amazing to be able to put that many books. It shows that you’re passionate about what you do and you have a real drive to be successful in this. It’s hard to get out there on your own. Especially with the comfort of the check that’s coming in, what have you, but if you have the passion and the drive, all the other things fall in place.
I did have to go through a learning curve of being a little bit self. I’ve owned a business before. That was my full-time thing. I experienced this then too, but I had to relearn that I have to be accountable for myself. I get up between 6:00 and 6:30. I have to get up at the exact same time I used to get up. I have to start my routines the same way. I have to make more lists because when I’m in an office environment, the tasks I need to do come at me from every angle whether it’s a phone call, an email or somebody walks into my office. There’s always a task right in front of me. When I’m on my own, I have to make sure that I prioritize what I’m working on because it becomes easy to work on the easy things, the small details.
I can check off 30 things on my list for the day and feel great, but I didn’t do the two most important things I needed to do. I force myself every Monday to make a list of all of the projects I’m working on. I put a star on three of them and I circle one of them. Those three things, I have to do something towards those that day. I make lists almost every morning, but every Monday is where I have to see everything I’m doing and prioritize what is most important and usually, it’s the thing I feel like doing the least.
It’s great that we got to this subject because it’s key that you’re talking about The Successful Mind and the topic that you’re getting into. The big ones, the eating the frog moments. The three biggest things that you need to tackle are often the ones that you procrastinate the most on. We all know, and I say we because I know this is what I struggle with the most too, is that it’s often the one that needs the most attention and you need to get to it. Eat the frog first and instead, we end up getting into the small little things that we can be like, “Let me get those out of the way.”
We’ve heard other people say before, “One action cures fear, but the things that scare us the most are what we need to do first.”
One action cures fear, but the things that scare us the most are what we need to do first.
We’ve covered a lot of ground. We’ve gone into a lot of interesting stories and a lot of great, amazing lessons. What I want to know is what are the things now that are on your mind around reflecting back and then looking forward to you? What have you learned along your way that you want to make sure people hear as we move forward?
This has turned into one of my life stories. I had a machine gun in my mouth in Nigeria. I’ll give you the short version of it. I was hitchhiking down from England to Zaire, now the Congo, and to get into Nigeria, I had to go in a shared taxi. It’s me and five Africans in this small car. Getting through the border was a nightmare, but then there were these military checkpoints. Every time they’d see me, they’d get me out, go through my pack. Usually, they want to try a small bribe. After 3 or 4 of these, the cab driver decided he is not going to stop at the next checkpoint.
He tried to blow through it. That turned out to be a bad idea because one guy started running behind us shooting his gun in the air and another guy ran up ahead and threw a spike board across in front of the car. Now, it’s not politely, “Mr. The Only Non-African In The Car, get out. Let’s search a pack.” There was a gun to my head. They pulled me out. They put me in a small hut and stuck the end of the machine gun inside my mouth. It was still warm. It’s the same gun that had been fired a few minutes earlier. Before he put the gun in my mouth, he said, “What are you doing here?”
I’d been speaking French in North and West Africa for a month. He asked me in pidgin English because English is the common language in Nigeria. I said, “I’m a tourist,” in French. His eyes went huge and rage. He stuck the gun in my mouth and said, “Why don’t you speak in this with me? I know you speak English. You’re a spy.” He yelled and interrogated me for about an hour. During that moment, I was struck with fear. I finally got away. In the end, he took my tent for a bribe and let me go. The bad day wasn’t quite over, but that was the first day that I use the motto, “Things work out.”
Fast forward a few months, I’m at Green River Community College. I’m studying to try and get into UCLA. Somebody ran up to me with a flyer and said, “Erik, this job is perfect for you.” It was a flyer for a student job in Japan. They were starting a branch campus in Japan and they wanted somebody to go over and be a student program specialist. I wanted this job desperately. I already had the travel bug now that I’d been to Africa and Europe. I desperately wanted to see Asia. I studied for the interview. I got an interview. I wore a suit the day of the interview for the first time in my life. My first job interview.
I learned some Japanese, so I can impress them. As I was driving towards the interview, I started to feel odd. I was locking my door to my car after I parked in the school parking lot, my hands were shaking so bad I could barely lock the door. I’m walking towards the building. I opened the door of the building and I realized my hands are wet with sweat. All of a sudden, I couldn’t remember the Japanese words. Total fear hit when I realized I couldn’t remember anything. I didn’t remember a single thing I had prepared for this interview. A little voice in my head said, “Erik, you want this job, but in the big picture, it’s not that big of a deal. A month and a half ago, you had a gun pointed at your face.”
I felt so calm. I wiped off my hands, walked in, and I ended up getting the job. It wasn’t the gun in my face when I had the big lesson. The big lesson was when I was in that interview and I realized that fear is chemical to make us sharper and stronger, but there are also chemicals that can paralyze us if we let them. I learned to try and channel those energies because when I public speak, I’m still scared every single time. It’s not an overbearing fear that makes me paralyzed, though. It’s a positive energy that gets me engaged and excited.
I do better when I have those chemicals pumping through me and making me feel excited. That was a big lesson. I’ve used that over and over again in multiple situations where I’ll have to stop whatever I’m doing. Whatever thing I want, if it’s a business meeting that I want a particular outcome with, whatever it is, I have to stop, take a deep breath and say, “This feeling I have is making me better and more prepared for this moment.”
That point that you made is amazing because many people can relate to that element of how being scared is a natural thing. It can be very powerful if you embrace it. The person walking into an interview and they’re afraid of stumbling on the words, but in reality, if you take a pause at some point in that and say, “I’ve been through a lot worse. This is here for me to recognize that I’m alive, I’m here and this is what I meant to be doing.”
It can work out from something as important as a job interview for a person who does not have a job at the moment, and desperately needs the money to somebody who’s going to pick up the phone and call somebody for a date. We feel fear in both situations, but that deep breath and putting things into perspective in both instances can help a lot.
We have stories among stories, which is why the books are fabulous too. We’re looking forward to reading more of them. What is one book that made a big impact on your life?
I already mentioned Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. I like a lot of what Tim Ferriss does. I already mentioned The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. I’m going to go with one called The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith. She shows that there are pillars of meaning all around us, but we often don’t see them. These pillars that she talks about are belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. She explains them in there, but when we have these things in our lives, we have an overwhelming sense of positive meaning. When we forget about those things or try and live alone, or we try to live without a purpose bigger than ourselves, we don’t go so far.
The reason why I love asking that question is every person who brings a book, it’s always something different. If it is the same thing, the reason why is always something different in every book. That’s powerful how we can all read a book and get something different out of it.
I wrote my first book, Ordinary to Extraordinary, and it was all these first-person narratives from my life. A guy said to me, “Erik, you and all your friends are going to love this.” I said, “That’s not a compliment, is it?” He said, “No. You need to make this reader-centric, not you-centric.” He didn’t recommend it for this purpose, but he recommended the book, The Power Of Meaning, for me. I read the book and realized, “That’s exactly what I need.” I designed Ordinary To Extraordinary with four sections called Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling and Transcendence based on her book. I wove all those stories with how did I feel a sense of meaning, purpose or belonging from these situations. It made my book infinitely stronger. It took a year to do that. I’m glad I did because it made the book something that more than me and my friends could enjoy.
I’m glad that he did that because it’s going to be amazing to share that with people and make sure people read that book. Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your stories and insights. I want to make sure people know where to find you.
Thank you for having me. This show is a great place to be. I love being on your show. You’ve got a lot of amazing things going on. I appreciate being here. How can people reach me? The easiest springboard for everything is ErikSeversen.com. I’m also on LinkedIn and other platforms. That’s a springboard for my books, ideas and it’s an easy way to get ahold of me.
You’re going to keep us busy with the books. Thank you again and to the readers for coming on the journey. This has been amazing. I can’t wait to go out on an adventure again because I feel like I’m inspired to go out and climb some mountains.
Tony, I look forward to hearing about some of them. Thanks for having me on the show.
- Erik Seversen
- Ordinary to Extraordinary
- The Successful Mind: Tools To Living A Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- The Magic of Thinking Big
- The Successful Mind
- The Successful Body
- The Power of Meaning
- LinkedIn – Erik Seversen
About Erik Seversen
Erik has traveled to over 80 countries around the world and all 50 states in the USA, and he’s lived in France, Japan, Thailand, French Guiana, Washington State, Virginia, Alaska, and California.
Learning from different people as well as having time to think are the driving forces for Erik’s desire to travel.
Erik forged a life filled with extraordinary feats. He went from flunking the second grade to graduating high school with a below-average GPA to flourishing at Green River College to graduating with highest honors at UCLA and attaining his Masters from the University of Virginia.
Erik has ridden a motorcycle on six continents and crossed the USA on one twice, and he’s summited of the highest mountain of eleven countries and nine 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.