165: Mark Shapiro: The Power Of Authenticity: Journeying From Corporate America To Tech Startup, An Entrepreneur’s Mission To Drop LoveBombs Of Possibility
Anyone who has used the LoveBomb app has experienced how it’s making it fun, quick, and easy to stay connected with the people they care about. The product of Mark Shapiro’s genius, this digital expression of kindness helps make you better art keeping in touch with others. Mark has sent over 10,000 personalized appreciation videos to those he cares about and gave a TEDx talk on human connection in the digital age. On today’s show, Thane Marcus Ringler brings him on to talk about the app, being a relational person, the power of acknowledgment and possibility, pivoting careers from corporate to the entrepreneurship world, starting a tech company, and so much more. Stay tuned for this engaging, thoughtful, and fun conversation.
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Mark Shapiro: The Power Of Authenticity: Journeying From Corporate America To Tech Startup, An Entrepreneur’s Mission To Drop LoveBombs Of Possibility
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This is an interview with Mark Shapiro. Former Showtime Networks Executive, Mark Shapiro is the CEO of Digital Humanity, Inc., and the Founder of the LoveBomb app. The first-ever social wellness tool for busy people who want to stay in better touch with those they care about. From sending over 10,000 appreciation videos, giving the premier TEDx Talk on human connection in the digital age and supporting Fortune 500 companies with impact strategy and leadership training, Mark is at the forefront of social innovation. He has been featured on CBS, the School of Greatness Podcasts, Thrive Global, Educate Inspire Change, and his content has been seen by millions across the globe.
Mark is an intentional, vulnerable and honest guy. I loved getting to sit down virtually with him and we talked about a lot of things, including the long path to success, being a relational person ever since he was young. We talk about pivoting careers from corporate to the entrepreneurship world. We talk about the power of acknowledgement, something that often isn’t talked about, social media and how it shapes us, the power of possibility, starting a tech company, being a father and so much more. It was an engaging, thoughtful, fun conversation. I know that you’re going to be blessed and encouraged by Mark’s spirit, heart and the work that he’s doing. Definitely check out the LoveBomb app. Without further ado, please enjoy this interview with Mark Shapiro.
Mark Shapiro, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Thane. I’m honored to be considered an up and comer.
Everyone’s reactions are a little different to that. I had one guy almost slightly offended saying, “I think I’m beyond,” but most people are appreciative of being an up and comer. Honestly, I think it’s a goal that I want to have my entire life because we are always learning and growing. If we’re not, we’re dying and decaying in a lot of ways. When you hear the word up and comer, what does that mean to you?
What it means to me is someone who is on their path, on their mission and has got momentum. To me, that’s a big piece of it. When you look at an up and comer, what comes to mind is there’s no such thing as an overnight sensation. Oftentimes, we are hustling, working, putting in our 10,000 hours, and that’s happening over sometimes years or even decades before maybe we’ll get “discovered” or hit it big times. Up and comer to me is an honor. The opposite of that is down and outer and no one wants to be a down and outer. There’s no limit on being an up and comer unless you’re Tom Cruise or something like that. I have no problem with it.
What you said is poignant that there’s no such thing as an overnight sensation. When did that become something you knew versus an idea? Because we have to learn that through experience a lot of times.
That opens up a whole can of worms because for me, I’ve always been a social person and I’ve always had a lot of relationships, whether it’s close friends, acquaintances or people from my past. Since I’ve always been social and felt like I’ve had good relationships, when I made the leap from Corporate America years ago and entered into the coaching and podcasting world, I thought that I was going to have instant success and be an overnight sensation. I learned quickly and then continuing to learn over time that it is about the repetition, honing your craft, doing your best and doing whatever you can to put yourself out there to create new opportunities.
Open new doors and trust that you are doing your best, following your heart and listening to the feedback of the universe that ultimately, it’ll put you in a position to experience whatever you’re supposed to experience. I know for me, I definitely thought that I had this big idea for this authenticity theme podcast. I’m going to have all of my most influential friends on it. They’ve got big audiences, they’re going to share it out. It’s going to grow fast. I’m going to get sponsors. I’m going to have coaching clients. I’m going to get paid speaking gigs. I’m going to write a book and all these things. From a financial perspective, it wasn’t even close to that in reality.
That is the reality that pretty much all of us experience, even if you hear otherwise. We’re going to dive into all of this. One of the things we can start with is this transition from Corporate America to deciding to go out on your own. You were at Showtime for ten years and had a well built out career path there, and making a leap from a position like that to, “I’m going to start my own thing.” It is a massive leap, regardless of how much security it’s built up. It’s always challenging. It’s always hard and it comes with a lot of obstacles internally and externally. Can you give us a breakdown of what that process was like? How long it was before this idea of, “I want to do my own thing and I’m going to take action on it?” What are the things that helped you overcome a lot of those inner obstacles that we face?
I started my career at Showtime as an intern. That’s where I cut my teeth in the business and marketing world. I loved television when I first got into it and saw myself having a full career in entertainment, starting out in the business side of things. My vision was to grow up the company ultimately, manage it and be responsible for so much revenue in the company that I could have some influence or say on the programming that goes on the air, or migrate over to the programming side of the company. That was my vision for a number of years. I excelled in that team environment and enjoyed working for progressive brand making socially relevant content until I wasn’t.
I was there for a total of twelve years, but after about ten years, things were changing in my life a little bit. I got divorced and I went back to the drawing board about, “What do I want to do with my life?” I’ve been working at this corporate job for ten years and I’m finding myself still having that same level of ambition, that same drive, that same vision to ultimately climb up the corporate ladder as far as I could to have some influence on programming. I was in Corporate America and I felt like I was very much on somebody else’s timeline. Somebody else is like, “What does that even mean? The corporate culture timeline?” I felt like I kept hitting my head on the ceiling.
I was always the type of person that would strive to exceed expectations and do excellent work always. Always in my quarterly and annual reviews, I ask my managers and superiors what do they need to see for me to get promoted and to make it to the next level? Whatever they would layout, I would knock it out. It got to the point where I felt like I was getting lip service from them. At the same time, I was doing a lot of self-development work and realizing the leadership style in Corporate America, I’m not going to say it’s specific to Showtime. I have no hate or no qualms to Showtime. It was a great place to grow my career, but it wasn’t the type of empowering environment where I felt like any amazing idea could come from anywhere in the company.Follow your heart, tap into your creativity, and start making things happen. Click To Tweet
It was very much a top-down type of approach versus my belief that there could be an intern that could have the next multimillion-dollar idea for a company. Ultimately, I was treading my tires wondering what I would do next but at the same time, not having the confidence or knowing what I would do if I were to leave Showtime. At that time, I thought maybe I’d get a job at HBO or on other TV network because I had the experience and I had the reputation, but that felt lateral. It didn’t feel exciting. At the same time, doing all this self-development work made me rethink my values and think a lot bigger in terms of, “If I could do anything with my life, what would I want to do?” Every time I did a self-development workshop, I grew so much. I take action and I ended up doing a six-month facilitation and leadership program.
The final exam was to create and facilitate your own transformational workshop. It had to be two and a half hours long. It needed to have at least 25 people and then that was it. Those were the only rules. I was terrified of that. I didn’t want to do it. That wasn’t why I signed up for this course. I just wanted to do the course because there were some people who I looked up to and was inspired by who were in the course like Lewis Howes, Preston Smiles, Nick Hankins, Jenna Phillips, a whole bunch of badass people who continue to be making a huge impact in the world. If I’m leveling up with them, I know I’m going to grow all that. I got to the end of the course and I had to facilitate this workshop. I decided to do it on authenticity. I created this workshop, 50 people showed up. I only needed 25 and people were making changes in their lives as a result of the exercises that I was putting them through.
At that point, a light bulb went off. I’m like, “I’ve created something. I’ve got something here.” It gave me this insight as to, “I can do something outside of the corporate world because I followed my heart and tapped into my creativity and started making things happen.” This whole new building or world appeared and that’s when I’m like, “Podcast, book, I’m going to be successful.” I set a date in the calendar for four months out. I said to myself, “I’m going to launch my podcast on April 1, 2015 and I’m going to go for it.” I put some money down on a podcast producer to hold myself accountable and I didn’t do much.
About a month and a half, two months before April 1st, 2015, I’m like, “I’m going for it. I’m doing it.” When I was releasing the podcast, I was still planning to stay at Showtime, but Jenna Phillips asked me the question after we recorded the third episode of the podcast. She’s like, “What are you doing at Showtime?” I’m like, “Interesting.” I’m launching a podcast about being authentic. I don’t even watch TV anymore. I realized this promotion that I was going for, which was to run Showtime’s online business because at that time you could only get Showtime through DirecTV, Comcast or Time Warner. You couldn’t get it over the internet. I wanted to run that business, but I wanted it for the title and the experience. I wasn’t excited to have that role. I decided, “This is as good of a time as ever. If I’m going to be authentic and embody my mission, then I got to go for it.” That’s the long-winded answer why I left Showtime.
There’s so much in that that’s worthy of deeper dive, but I want to focus in on the self-development process that began a couple of years before. What were those steps you took? That can entail a lot of things. How did you make that first decision of, “I’m going to take this course or be part of this program or go engage this person?” Who was that or what was that resource like?
The entry point to that question and anyone who’s reading can probably resonate. Have you ever wondered if there’s something more out there? I always thought there’s got to be something out there that can help open things up in our worlds and help accelerate our goals, dreams and empower us. I didn’t know that there were workshops, what those workshops were, or anything beyond that. I had like a seedling of thought, “There’s got to be something out there. There’s got to be something more.” About 4 or 5 months after I got divorced, a friend of mine, we were sitting and watching football on a Sunday.
He was saying that he did this crazy workshop. Some guy from the Army was telling the story about how he shot someone or some kind of crazy story. He was raving about this experience and he was like, “If you guys are open to it, you got to check it out. It’s a weekend. It’s the best $500 I’ve ever spent.” I was like, “That sounds cool,” but he didn’t sell it. The next time I saw him, he brought it up again and he set up a dinner appointment with me and he signed me up on the spot but I was open. I mentioned at the time that my life was in a major transition. It was the perfect time to be presented with the questions about taking a look at your life and changing things up a little bit. I had a compassionate friend who stood for me. He wasn’t making it about him. He wasn’t making it about the program. It was about helping me be who I want it to be.
That’s powerful and encouraging to have someone come alongside you in that. It’s a good encouragement for all of us reading whoever you are to be that friend to others. For you, it was a major upheaval, a big transition in your life. A lot of change sparked a lot more of this openness to more change. A lot of times, we don’t have these major transitions or periods of change or things that cause us to shake up our own box. For people that aren’t in that moment but maybe have that thought or that inkling of thought that there may be something more, how do you encourage those people to take that step when they haven’t had the change already in their life? This is forcing themselves to shake their box. How do you encourage people in that?
Oftentimes, when we have some level of comfort, why would you want to be uncomfortable? No one wants to be uncomfortable. That’s why oftentimes, it takes getting fired from a job, having some health scare, losing someone that’s important to you, a breakup or something like that to feel enough pain where you’re like, “I got to make a change in my life right now.” The reality is if you’ve been suffering for a long-time, if you believe that there’s something that’s better out there for you, you’re already feeling uncomfortable. Maybe it’s not a 10 out of 10, but you’re still feeling the pain on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it’s impacting you the way you wake up in the morning or throughout the day.
It’s giving ourselves permission to know that every moment is a new moment to choose who we want to be. Some of these life shifts, it takes a powerful decision of going on a new path, maybe setting some ground rules, taking some action and saying, “I’m not going to behave in this way. I’m not going to allow myself to do what I’ve been doing.” The nice thing is we have the keys to that at any point at any time. That’s empowering. At the same time, it’s not necessarily easy. It’s usually a lot more challenging to do on our own without some structure, coach, accountability or something like that.
When you think about your own life. If you rewind the clock quite a bit to those earlier years, what was it as a kid that was the vision for what you wanted to do with your life or who you wanted to be?
Every single person would answer that question in a different way. For me, what’s always driven me is to have quality relationships, to be a respected leader and successful person in my community. I’m very much relationship driven, which is probably not a surprise to you, Thane. How that looked is I’ve always wanted to be a family man, have a successful business and leave a positive impact in the world and a legacy so my family and my kids can have the financial means to go on vacations, to have a beautiful home and lifestyle. That was pretty much the vision. It was a little bit more granular versus super specific. How I thought that would probably look as a kid is becoming some entertainment mogul. That’s why I was interested in Showtime. I was always interested in pop culture, but it was never that much more specific than that.
One of the stories I heard in some background calls was about you around five years old and something that you were excited in a friend’s birthday party. Do you remember this story and would you be able to share?
It was something along the lines of, I had a friend who was short at five and my mom or somebody asked me, “It’s Andy’s birthday. What do you wish for him?” I said something along the lines of like, “I wish that he grows. That’s God’s gift to you.” Is that what my mom said?
That is what she said. She said that she loves that you were able to think and voice that even at such a young age. That speaks to a lot of what you shared even at your young age, your heart for those quality relationships and the compassion and care that you had. Where did that come from? Was that something your mom or your dad instilled? Was that exemplified by maybe your older brother? What was that pain point start for you in that sense?
I’ve always been thoughtful and I’ve always cared about other people and wanted other people to have good things that happened to them in their lives. It probably stems from being acknowledged as a kid or feeling part of something that I always like to make other people feel acknowledged or part of something. Specifically, I’m having trouble thinking of any particular memories off the bat. That’s probably what it is. What made me feel good as a young kid is how I then treated others.
I want to touch on this for a minute because this is something that several people mentioned about you. One of your strengths or superpowers is your ability to see people and see the good in people, but not only that, that you acknowledge people. We don’t think about this idea of acknowledgement much. We don’t talk about it much. It’s weird even to do it sometimes, but there’s so much power in it and you mentioned it as being a part of something. Seeing yourself as a part of something bigger than yourself is a lot of what goes into it. How would you further define or describe the power of acknowledgement and what that practically looks like within our daily lives?
I got goosebumps with you asking me that question because it is what I stand for. It’s my life’s mission with the LoveBomb app. One of my favorite mentors, her name is Margo Majdi, she’s no longer with us. She wrote a book called The Art Of Acknowledgement. The first two chapters of the book to me is where the gold is in this book, but I’m going to summarize it. What Margo says is that every single person has some element of a self-worth issue, “Do I matter? Where’s my place in the world?” If you’ve ever felt some imposter syndrome or self-doubt, you know exactly where I’m going and what I’m illustrating here. We all feel that disconnect at times from the greater whole. We feel that disconnect and have that self-doubt.
The medicine for that is to be acknowledged and to be reminded of our lights, who we are, the great value that we add to other people’s lives, and the great gift that we are. That can be unpacked a little bit further. I use an example, one of the greatest relationships building books of all times is How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. He says, “What people want more than anything else is to feel important.” If we feel important or if we’re viewed as important by others, it’s probably going to translate to some business success, a greater amount of friends, greater opportunities and invites types of things. If we’re important to other people, we’re probably going to live a “richer life.” How can we provide value to other people? That can be a tough question.
Do I have to give someone information? Do I have to lend someone a hand? How do I provide value? I find that it’s a very easy thing to do when we remember the importance of how people want to feel remembered, important or valued. Acknowledgement is an unbelievable freeway of doing them. Who doesn’t like a compliment? We can all remember times when someone has maybe pull this aside or stopped us. Maybe it was even a little intense and awkward. It’s like, “I want you to know that one time that you came over to me and said something like that, it changed the trajectory of my life. You are such a kind and caring person.” I’ve had that happen a number of times in my life. I’m sure we all had some experience with a friend who thanked us for always being there or shared some words with us. That lights up my soul. That’s something that’s available to all of us. Sometimes expressing ourselves we’re like, is it going to be a little bit weird? Is it the right time? It’s always worth it.
Every single person has an element of self-worth issues at play. When you were saying that, I remembered I played in a couple of day golf tournament. It used to be my former career. This was the first individual competition since playing professional years ago. I was a professional in small state open tournament. I was in the final group the last day, which was fun and exciting. I was up third place at the time. I was playing with the two leaders and I had a rough stretch in the middle. When I faltered a little bit and when I started getting behind a little bit more, I was out of it.
I wasn’t competing as much anymore with the two leaders. It was funny because part of the fueling of my frustration with my play and that also led to some other bad shots, internally, was this self-worth issue of, “I’m not a part of the cool kids anymore. I’m not in the lead. I’m not up with those guys.” Even within the group dynamics, you have that at play. Since I’m very familiar with the space, I’m aware of those things but it’s interesting to experience that in a weird thing like a golf round. How much more so do we experience that in actual everyday life. How much more devastating is it when that’s our consistent reality and we don’t have these voices of acknowledgement empowering us?
What happened on the golf course when that inner critic was starting to get louder?
It is a lot of preaching. Unfortunately, it took me a few holes to get back onto level field within myself and that’s partly rust and partly mental weakness to be honest. The thing that always held me back in my career was the mental side of things. It’s partly because we beat ourselves up. A great book on that is Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game Of Tennis. He talks about these two selves within yourself that are in competition. Your play benefits from a healthy communication from those two selves. One is the body and one is more of the emotion side is how he breaks it down. When the one is beating the other up, that’s going to hurt your performance in greater ways than any other element. If you’re interested in the mental side, I’d recommend that book.
In the round, I hung in there and I got it back on level playing field. I made a few birdies and was competing. I wasn’t with the leaders as much, but I was still hanging in there. I ended up finishing poorly. I bogey the last two holes. The last hole I three-putted from about 15 feet, which if you know golf is a bad play. That costs me a fourth place on my own. I ended up tying for fourth with about five people because I missed a 3-footer on the last hole. To be honest with you, that made me mad and furious. I was stuck in this fury at myself for that for probably 30 minutes. Even the next night, I woke up in the middle night and my mind was racing about that moment because of how mad I was still. It’s so hard to let these things go especially when we cause them ourselves. That was the story of the round.
I figured there would be some element to the story where it was like, “I had a tough time for a couple of holes. I gave myself a pep talk. I had a good shot and was able to build some momentum.” That’s usually what happens with all of us in life, but sometimes three holes become six holes, becomes a whole round. It becomes a whole season. It becomes a whole year. We get it when that inner critic gets loud. I figured what you’re going to say with some elements of self-acknowledgement, acknowledging yourself to allow that supportive, empowering voice to have the weight over that critical self-sabotaging voice that we all have.
I have that all the time. That’s why I want to read this book right away because I certainly could have a better balance between my self-loving voice and my inner critic. It could be the importance of you got to be able to self soothe. There’s not always going to be someone right there coaching you. At the same time, if you did have a coach on the course with you, you might have had a completely different trajectory if they were like, “Thane, you got this.” Maybe they remind you of a time you were in a similar situation and you rose to the occasion, and reminded you of how talented you are and how mentally strong you are. Acknowledgement can have a powerful impact.
You brought up a good point there about self-sabotage. That’s a large battle for most of us, if not all of us. I like to frame it as I talk about it in golf, there’s a practice and the performance mindset. They’re completely different. In the practice mindset when I’m practicing, I want to expect more out of myself that I’m capable of so that I can try to grow my talent and ability in the practice setting. You want to make drills that you may not be able to complete, but you want to try to.
In the performance mindset, I want to be kinder to myself. I want to show more grace to myself and I always get in trouble when I don’t. That’s the reality. I know golf is beautiful because it gives you immediate feedback of these things. It shows you the results of them immediately and the next shot. Showing yourself grace is important in life, not just in golf and not self-sabotaging. To have someone like a coach or caddy, that I didn’t have either in this tournament, those are helpful tools to get you back on the right track, and to be able to believe in what you have and who you are.
It’s a blessing for you that you’re super ambitious. You have a drive and you hold yourself to such a high standard. Naturally, you have the capability of delivering and creating superior results with that level of drive and high ambition. If you’re constantly holding yourself to that standard and you’re not letting yourself be a beginner or make mistakes, that’s when you can get into trouble.Making assumptions robs us of so much, and it keeps us from being present and taking action. Click To Tweet
I love the idea of the three core needs of every human. I heard this in a sermon once and I wrote a blog about it because I thought it was powerful. It’s being seen, being heard and being connected to something bigger than yourself. That acknowledgement accomplishes all three things in one tool. If we think about how simple and how powerful, there are still many things that get in the way. From being focused and being defined by others as good at this, even for you, what keeps you from acknowledging others, even now?
One of the big things that comes to me is I make a lot of assumptions and then it becomes like a chicken and the egg game. Let’s say there is somebody that I want to reach out to. I’m building my advisory board for the LoveBomb app. It’s in my best interest to have the most successful, impactful, powerful advisors for my app. People who have built other very successful tech products, people who have massive reaches, maybe someone who heads up the board of a kindness nonprofit, something like that. When I’m pitching potential investors, they’re like, “You have this incredible team.” You’re guaranteed to be successful because you’ve got this team behind you that’s already delivered results.
That’s the scenario. Then, there’s me being like, “Who do I want to have on my board? How am I going to pitch them? How am I going to enroll them? Do I call them up and invite them to be on the board? Do I have to nurture the relationship first? They’ve got a big launch right now. Maybe I should wait a week or two.” Oftentimes, I’ll get in this story about like, “Is it the right time? What’s the best thing to say?” That thought is too much energy. It’s exhausting that I will put it off and not take action. A good metaphor for this is we’ve all experienced this pandemic and we’re all disconnected from people who we maybe normally saw in person. Maybe we’re not seeing some of the level of acquaintances that we used to run into everywhere.
Maybe we’re feeling a little disconnected or a little bit lonelier apart from our communities or people we care about, but we might not be taking quite the action or the proactivity to reach out and be in touch with these people for whatever reason. Maybe, “I’m too busy with my work. I don’t have the energy. I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to be a burden and get rejected.” These are common. I’m sure anyone reading would resonate with at least a handful of those things. That is the friction that gets in the way of creating a connection and creating more love in our lives, more opportunity, everything.
Making assumptions robs us of so much and it keeps us from being present and it keeps us from taking action. That is true. I know for me and everyone reading can relate to that. When it comes to you pursuing acknowledgement, one of the things that’s in your bio that I’ve read is that you made over 10,000 appreciation videos. This was one of the start of your journey. That also stemmed from another transition, change, season or a pivotal moment in your life with your dad passing. Can you take us back to that time and what that experience of your dad passing, and you deciding to embark on this new endeavor entailed?
My dad passed away years ago. He had a young-onset Alzheimer’s disease, something that ran in my family. I never got to meet my grandpa, my dad’s dad. My dad’s brother who was younger than him had passed away a few years earlier also due to young-onset Alzheimer’s. For everyone who’s had a loved one or has known someone who’s had Alzheimer’s, it’s an absolutely brutal disease. It’s totally debilitating. It robs you of all of your cognitive abilities. Sometimes people think, “It’s like you’re a little forgetful.” Ultimately, if you live with Alzheimer’s long enough, you will forget how to breathe. Your body will not able to breathe anymore. My dad was sick for about eighteen years and it was brutally challenging for my family.
I had documented a lot of his journey on social media in order to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s because there’s still no way to slow it down, no treatment, no cure. There are a lot of false articles that come out from pharmaceutical companies who want to get press. They will say, “There’s this new treatment.” There’s nothing at this point that is going to change the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease for someone drastically. When my dad finally passed, I made a Facebook post announcing his death and I got so much love. It was one of those things like social media definitely has a dark side as we’ve seen with the new documentary, The Social Dilemma.
There is some light to it as well. One of those things is being able to celebrate or honor a major life moment. When my dad passed away, I made this post and got over thousands of likes across all my social media platforms, but hundreds of personalized messages that were thoughtful. They showed care and compassion towards my situation. It was tough for me. I didn’t know what it was going to be like when my dad passed. I knew he was going to die but I didn’t know how I was going to feel. Those first few days were awkward. I wanted to feel connected. I was responding to these hundreds of messages that I got. I found it to be very challenging to respond via written out text messages.
I decided, “I want to get back to anyone who’s sent something thoughtful to me.” I started sending voice memos. I realized by pressing record and speaking from my heart for like ten seconds to maybe one minute that it was quicker than typing out a paragraph response. It was therapeutic for me because I got to express myself without judging myself if this good or bad. The other person got to hear me and got to experience me. They got to be there with me. It was such a cathartic, healing and beautifully connected experience that I’m like, “There’s something powerful in this type of self-expression.” I knew that I wanted more of that in my daily life. I was living in this space of possibility. Just because things are the way they are, doesn’t mean that they’re the way that they have to be.
Social media at that time was already a dark gloomy place. I’m like, “There’s got to be a better way to do it.” I was coming right off the heels of my maybe six trips to Burning Man. It was a very loving and caring place. There were a lot of hugs and acknowledgement that I came up with the idea to start sending appreciation videos to every single one of my Facebook friends on their birthdays, which was an ambitious move. To this date, I’ve sent over 10,000 appreciation videos. I do it every single day, no matter how close or how well I know someone that I’m friends with on social media or Facebook. It’s completely transformed my relationships. It’s completely transformed my life. It’s been the gift that’s kept on giving.
One of the things that drew me in reaching out to you is getting that video back from you. I was like, “This guy is putting into practice these ideas in simple ways that stands out because most of us don’t do that.” Most of us don’t take the time to acknowledge in a way that is accessible through the internet and social media but isn’t socially acceptable in the sense that people don’t do it. This is swimming upstream in big ways.
Let’s go there because it would be valuable for people. Thane, you originally reached out to me a few years ago about my podcast. I said, “Check back in with me in a little while.” You hit me up and I’m not doing the podcast. I remember when you had first reached out to me, I went to your website and I’m like, “He’s a golfer and a coach. He’s got a good story and a cool guy.” When you hit me up again, I could have easily sent you a response email but I’m like, “I think I could cultivate a little bit more connection.” It’d probably be quicker and easier for me to send you a quick video than to type out a paragraph. I sent you a little video message and here we are because of that. When you can see a human, they’re speaking to you, and you can hear their voice, it’s closer to a face-to-face experience than shooting someone words on an email.
It changes the game. It’s a whole another step when you’re in person, as we know with COVID and Zoom, it’s not the same as being in person. A video is way more than words. It’s powerful and we do have amazing tools to accomplish that, which is beautiful. Even doing this show and seeing the video of each other is more meaningful than hearing a voice. I want to know a little bit more on your thoughts on this thing called social media. There’s a great quote that I’ve said a couple of times and I think it paints it well. Eric Hoffer said, “Every great cause begins as a movement, turns into a business, and then degenerates into a rocket.” That is the epitome of social media in many ways. How are you thinking about social media and its impact? How have you seen it impact your own life?
Have you seen The Social Dilemma yet on Netflix? You got to check it out and I highly recommend checking out. It’s like a docudrama about the under dark belly of social media. It’s from the team behind the Center of Humane Technology. There’s this guy, Tristan Harris, who used to work at Google in their ethical technology group. He brought up to Google. He wrote this manifesto questioning, “What kind of ethical role do we have for people who utilize Google? As this tech leader, what kind of ethical responsibility do we have?” He realized that platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and all these tech tools, that they didn’t have the same level of responsibility, guidelines and regulations that the telephone companies have in terms of sharing data and stuff.
It’s a fascinating documentary. You got to watch it to get more of it. It exposes how we are living in an attention economy. Attention is the most limited resource that we have because we can only focus on something at the moment. These tools are built to try to get our attention and to keep our attention so they can present us with ads that earn them money. That’s the foundation of a lot of these platforms out there, which brings up your point. It starts out with this great idea of we can keep in touch with our friends in this public forum and it can unite humanity in a way that’s never been possible before through technology. Then it’s got to be a business. Now, we’re manipulating and people are projecting their highlight reels on social media. It’s all about the ego, what’s going to make me look good, and fishing for likes.
Technology does have all these amazing capabilities as well. For example, a Kickstarter campaign or a GoFundMe when someone’s got a health issue and everyone comes together and rises to the occasion. It helps fund someone’s liver transplant. That is amazing. The amount of people that sometimes we hear from our birthdays, because Facebook lets us know whose birthday it is. The possibilities with that are endless. It begs the question, what are we utilizing these tools for? Are we using them to serve and to benefit our lives or are we a slave to them? Now more than ever, we need to be asking ourselves that question because otherwise, it’s too easy to be scrolling down our Instagram feeds, and spend 3 to 4 hours of our precious lives a day on Instagram. I’m not saying don’t use Instagram, but would you be getting the same benefits from Instagram if you used it for an hour? Which is still a lot of time, but that’s four times less than four hours a day.
Does it serve us or are we a slave to it? What a great question for reflection. That is something that daily and weekly we need you to sit with. They are tools that are built to get and control our attention, and attention is a very valuable resource. That’s a helpful word. As you said, it’s not all bad. It has amazing elements that we can be using for good. It takes so much discipline and intention that we collectively need to grow and bring in more to these spaces with. Seeing it as, “How can we redeem this space for good? Even if there are bad examples of it, how can we be a good example for other people to follow?”
It also has led to the collective division that we’re facing in our country more than ever before, because now we are almost internally required to make stances and positions known online, which what good did that ever accomplish? Who has ever changed their mind from a Facebook argument? I think zero people. You’re entrenched in your views and beliefs. You get more divided and we’re facing that. The solution is you, me and individuals taking ownership of our role in those spaces.
At the end of the day, it comes down to us individually and the responsibility that we take and how do we want to utilize this technology to amplify our lives? What’s most important to me? What do I want most? Maybe it’s something tied to your career. Maybe it’s tied to relationships or maybe it’s tied to some contribution. There are many tools that exist in the tech space that can help amplify those like building relationships on LinkedIn, whether that’s building social relationships on some of these platforms.
I want to get to what you’re doing. Did you ever see yourself being a tech startup founder? Was that ever in your peripherals or horizons?
It’s definitely not. I’ve got this app called LoveBomb that’s all about helping people build and sustain connection. I can work with that. That makes sense to me, but being this proponent of love, I never would have thought that, “Mark Shapiro is on this mission to spread love.” I would never have thought that I’ll have that kind of moniker
From what I’ve seen online and what I’ve read, you’ve had quite a few things since that pivot out of Showtime. This is the path that we go through. I know I share that too. I know that people reading who are in entrepreneurship, self-employment or going that route, a lot of times you think, “They did this one thing and it worked out,” but it’s always like this then this. How has that journey been to LoveBomb for you since Showtime?
My friend, Jen Gottlieb always brings up this Steve Jobs quote where it’s like, “You can’t connect the dots moving forward. You can only do it moving backwards.” That is always a challenge especially for any entrepreneur who is doing their best to have clarity at the moment but also be five steps ahead. When I launched the podcast, I thought all of these things were going to happen. The reality is that the podcast was growing not as fast as I hoped it would, but it was growing and it attracted some people into my life. I would say that after producing 250 episodes of a podcast, probably the most measurable impact of the podcast was creating relationships with the people I had on the show.
That’s not what I would have expected going in. I would have expected, “The audience would have grown so big and all these people would have been clients and all of these things.” There were some of those things, but the most valuable thing I got out of it was the relationships with the guests. When I launched the podcast, I started a coaching practice and that was a slow build. I’d say moderate success in terms of building a coaching practice despite generating good results for my clients until I launched a group coaching and accountability program called Winning Weeks. When I launched the Winning Weeks program, that instantly had some pizazz. I was able to enroll a number of friends in it and had 20 to 30 people at a time in this eight-week accelerator program where everyone was setting goals, you’re showing up weekly and supporting each other.
It was a cool and great program. At the same time, I burnt out from it. Helping 35 people at a time in a very hands-on program, it wasn’t like the type of thing where it was 35 people on a call and no individual touchpoints. I took on the responsibility of helping each of these people generate these extraordinary results in their lives. As a coach, you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make them drink. That took a little bit of a toll on me. As an entrepreneur, I wasn’t just doing the coaching, I was promoting and enrolling. I was wearing a lot of hats with it and it was exhausting. I ended up deciding that it was time to give that a break. I’ve done a bunch of speaking. Building a speaking business is something that I’m guessing if you’re reading, you thought about that from time to time, and I’m sure you have a very valuable message. It’s not necessarily the easiest business to break through, especially if you’re not already in New York Times bestseller.
It’s tough out there and it’s noisy. I know we’re led to this belief that the more followers we have, the more people’s eyes are on our content, the more likely we’re going to catch this big break. From what I’ve learned, it is about those one-on-one touchpoints, enrolling and connecting with people one person at a time. It’s not just putting up a post about your new coaching business and expecting you’re going to get a bunch of people to sign up. It’s about having conversations with individual people, showing them the possibility and then, inviting them to step in and to work with them.
A lot of things had some great success but ultimately, nothing was sustainable in a way that felt good for me. I’ve looked at that sometimes on one side. The inner critic would be like, “You haven’t found your gravy train, your true purpose or calling.” On the other side, I’m like, “You’ve impacted many people’s lives and maybe there’s a higher purpose for you.” It’s a complex thing. I’ve always believed in the power of possibility. I’ve always wanted to make a great impact on the world. Thane, I know that you’re a very disciplined person. I read that a lot on your work of how disciplined you are. Discipline is something that is vitally important to be successful at anything and to form any kind of new habits. I’m obsessed with accountability, authenticity and habit formation. These are things that would be valuable to people, but at the same time, we also avoid accountability like the plague sometimes.
It’s something that I’ve put my flag down in this like, “I’m going to be this accountability guy. I’m going to help people live more authentically. I’m going to help people accomplish their goals. I’m going to help people be more consistent in building extraordinary relationships through kindness and appreciation.” It’s still accountability and habit formation, which don’t come easy to people. It’s been an ongoing evolution for me as to what’s the best way to communicate this type of stuff? What’s the best way to connect and enroll people? I feel grateful to be where I’m at with the LoveBomb app and to have a fully functioning app that’s in beta mode, and to be bringing it to market. It’s exciting. With that said, there are no guarantees.
If you would self-describe yourself now, what is that tagline like? Who is Mark Shapiro when people ask? I’m guessing, it’s not just your LinkedIn profile bio. How do you answer that question of who Mark Shapiro is?
That’s a hard question for anybody to answer, to have to box yourself into anything. It makes sense from a work perspective, you want to be able to have that little catnip for someone leaning in and they’re like, “I want to hear more. You’re such an amazing pedigree. You’re successful. You’ve partnered with these celebrities.” For me, I strive to be someone that is relatable, real, encouraging, compassionate, loving, and kind. I’ll go with that for now. If you’re asking me in an hour, I’d probably say something different.Our attention is the most limited resource that we have; we can only focus on something at the moment. Click To Tweet
That’s honest and authentic, which I love. Where did the idea of LoveBomb come from and how long has this process been five weeks from launch?
After sending thousands of personalized video messages and getting the most unbelievable responses from people, it was transforming my relationships. It was beyond obvious that there was something there.
Were there any stories that were ridiculous or were they all pretty much encouraging or inspiring in that sense?
Out of 10,000-plus video messages, I’ve only gotten two hate messages back. I guarantee there are people who get messages from me and they’re like, “This is authentic.” They know that I’ve given a TEDx Talk on this and I called it a birthday experiment. They’re like, “I don’t want to be part of some experiment.” They don’t say anything to me. To me, it’s been a universally positive experience. The reality is I’m not asking for anything in these appreciation videos. I’m taking 10 to 20 seconds to say, “It’s your birthday. I hope you’re having a beautiful day. I’m chilling at my house in Venice and I wanted to send some good vibes your way on your birthday and for the year ahead. I hope all your birthday wishes come true this year.” I say it genuinely.
Who doesn’t want somebody else wishing them the best genuinely? I hope everyone reading, even a fraction of you are hoping that LoveBomb and make some positive impact in the world and you’re sending some good vibes my way, I will take as many people on my side as possible. That’s the ethos behind it. There have been some pretty profound experiences with it. For example, my four Facebook friends passed away in the past years. In each one of those instances, I got to connect with them through these birthday videos in a way that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for this birthday video thing. In 2 out of those 4 instances, people that passed sent me a video reply. I now have this evergreen forever video of them talking to me. Who’s got that? It keeps a flicker of them and our connection alive even though they’re gone.
We had the honor of having a girl on here, Lizzie Effinger. She was only a few years older than myself at the time and she ended up passing about a year later, but to have an hour and a half-long conversation with her that lived on was a moving emotional experience. To be able to listen to it again after she had passed was remarkable. It made me grateful for mediums of communication like this. I’m sure you felt the same way and that’s just super powerful.
I’m going to take this opportunity to share a quick story here. As I mentioned, my dad passed away from Alzheimer’s at a young age. My dad was a competitor. He was never one to admit to weakness. When he got Alzheimer’s, when his memory and his cognitive abilities were starting to slip, he wouldn’t talk about it openly. He was denying it. We never got to have in that last chapter of his life some of those beautiful conversations where he expressed his hopes and dreams for me or how he feels about me. I’m Jewish and I had a bar mitzvah when I was thirteen. My dad gave a speech at my bar mitzvah where he expressed how he saw me, what my strengths were, what his hopes were for me, and his advice for me.
I still have this video. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have any kind of video of anything like this that I could still watch. It’s still such a huge gift to me. The reason why I share this is now is the best time to let people know that you love them and why you love them because there are no guarantees in life. We’re seeing that more than ever in this pandemic. We don’t know sometimes the next time we’re going to see people if we’re in a different state than them. Who knows what could happen? Why not record something or at least if you don’t even record it, call them up and tell them so that they know. It’s an unbelievable keepsake. It’s great for a rainy day. I still watch the speech that my dad gave me when I was thirteen. All the examples are about baseball and ways. They’re not relevant, but the underlying themes are and the advice they gave me still is relevant. It is powerful to give people those acknowledgements and to say them now because you never know.
I cut you off before you were talking about the origin and how you were making these thousands of videos. When did this idea for LoveBomb come into the picture?
A lot of people would tell me that I inspired them in some way through the video is to be more expressive to the people in their lives. I get a bunch of different answers. Some people are like, “I’m going to give the birthday experiment a try.” They’ll tell me, “I sent a whole bunch, but maybe I didn’t send videos to everyone. I did it for a month but I’m not as good as you.” I got cool stories of how it inspired people in some way, shape or form. There were a number of people that asked me. They’re like, “I wish there was a way for me to tap into this magic but I’m not good at it.”
That led me to the drawing board of, “If I were to create some tool or write a book, what would that look like?” I thought, “I could write a book but a book’s not going to create more connection in your life. The only way to create more connections in your life is by being proactive and taking action.” I thought to myself, “An app is probably a better way to do it.” That opened up a million more questions as to how the app would work? Does the world need another app? Do all my friends have to be on the app in order to get any value from the app? All these kinds of things.
I decided that I was going to reverse engineer sending the birthday videos to everyone I know. I’m like, “What would be the opposite of that, that could meet anyone where they’re at to create more connection and to help them facilitate more kindness, appreciation, and acknowledgement in their lives? What’s the opposite of sending 10,000 personalized video messages?” I thought to myself, “What if we had an app that made it easy to nurture one relationship per day in whatever way feels authentic for you?” It doesn’t have to be a video message. It could be “I’m thinking of you” text. It could be sharing a nostalgic photo. It could be picking up the phone and calling someone. It could be anything or it could be a video as well.
That’s where I came up with this idea for LoveBomb. I came up with hundreds of names and LoveBomb was the one that I zeroed in on. Essentially, the way the app works is you first choose who you care about and who you want to keep in touch with. Once you build that list, which is a very powerful exercise because oftentimes when was the last time you took inventory over your relationships. It’s the opposite of social media where we’re connected to hundreds or thousands of people. We’re seeing these people, but are they the people we want showing up on our feed? Is that who we want to be getting our attention to?
I know for me, sometimes I would forget to call my grandparents who were the most important people in my life. LoveBomb also came from my own need of being like, “I’m casting such a wide net with my relationships. How do I nurture the relationships that are most important to me?” LoveBomb helps you build that list and choose the frequency that you want to interact with these people. It makes it easy to start conversations, and then you can build a daily connection streak and set goals. It gamifies it a little bit.
I love the simplicity, but also the power that comes from making something simple but actionable and fast. Even for myself, as you were talking, I’ve created a list of those people, but then there are often days where I have it on my calendar to reach out to this person and don’t do it. I ended up getting busier, the task seems more important and then I don’t follow through. To have more accountability, to gamify it or even to have a place where it is more accessible is such a great tool. It’s going to do a lot of good in bringing more action to those acknowledgements and those spreading of love and kindness.
I think you’re onto something there. With the timeline of it, building an app and starting a tech company is the trendy thing. If you’re a cool kid, you’re going to be a founder of one of those. Everyone’s like, “I’m competitive. I can get into that. Maybe, that’s what I need to do and I think of the next Uber.” Everything is not as it seems. What would surprise people about this process that you’ve learned from doing it and then how has the process been for you?
It is hard. It’s a lot of steps. One of the things you ask is, how long has it been? It’s been a couple of years since I first came up with the idea. There’s a dating portion of it. It’s not like a dating app but I was like, “Do I want to pursue this? What would it look like for four months or so? I’m going to do this, but how is it going to work? What’s it going to look like? Who do I know that could help me design it?” I got in bed with the wrong designer that costs me money and time. I found the right tech firm and all this stuff costs a lot of money.
I feel very fortunate that I’m at where I’m at with it, but it’s not easy. Everyone thinks they’re going to be an overnight sensation. Everyone thinks that they’re going to have the next Uber. It is hard to get anyone’s attention, let alone to get anyone to do anything. It’s a big undertaking. I know that when I first started, I was like, “I don’t know if I should share this idea with anyone. I think I’m onto something. If I tell somebody else this idea and maybe they’ll run with it.” At this point, I don’t even know if I even care to share my coding with a tech firm. I’m like, “You’re not going to take the time and effort to completely rebuild this thing from scratch.” That would take months and months of your time. Everyone’s got their own things going on. It’s fascinating. It’s a huge undertaking. To be honest with you, unless someone’s building the exact same thing as me, they’re not even a competitor.
It’s funny how we get ideas about something that we have no idea what entails. For people that do have an idea, do have this thought or have been mulling on it, if you could give them a rough estimate on average of time and money that it takes to get something off the ground in this space, what would that framework or guesstimate be from your experience?
In the tech space, I was talking to my friend, Michael Dubin from Dollar Shave Club. He was explaining to me like, “Anytime you have a big idea, be prepared to spend ten years on it at least.” I’m like, “I’m two years in.” He’s like, “You’re just getting started.” It’s a long time. The easy thing to do is to give up and move on. There is something to be said about going all out and listening to the feedback of the universe and trusted people that you care about, giving something your all and seeing what kind of traction you have. If it generates the traction, run with it. If your passion starts to wane, move on. I know for me, this is something that is been a desire that’s burned in my heart for two years.
If I didn’t go through with this, I would regret this for the rest of my life. I’d always wonder what if. If you’re reading and you have that level of desire, you got to go for it. The time is now, working, hustling and taking risks. There are things where I’m at now, several weeks before the launch where I’m starting to re-nurture relationships. I wish that I was planting these seeds months ago or years ago, not weeks before the launch. Relationships are like the plants. You had to water them before you expect people to all of a sudden want to invest money in your project. You got to be aggressive but also tactful in the way that you work with other people and enroll them on your vision, or at least take their temperature.
As someone who is pursuing this and has been for a couple of years and had been on this journey for a while now, what is it that inspires you on a daily basis or where do you gain motivation from?
Sending the birthday videos every day reconnects me to my vision every single day. It doesn’t matter if I’m having a bad day and I don’t even want to send the birthday videos. The second that I send them, I feel better. It’s not like, “That’s unique to you, Mark.” It’s scientifically proven that kind acts and showing gratitude naturally make you happier. You’re focusing on a positive and you’re being appreciative. They lower stress and anxiety when we do kind acts. It deepens connections with other people when we are creating these opportunities that wouldn’t have existed if I hadn’t reached out to people. I’m opening up a door of possibility and more goodness into my life as a result. Naturally, it makes the world a brighter place. Someone who gets one of these videos, they might be having a bad day and then it gives them a little hop in their step and maybe they’ll smile at somebody else and create some positive ripple effect. That reminds me, when people send me messages, they sent a LoveBomb to someone else. That’s the stuff that lights me up probably more than anything because it’s not about me. I love to see that it has some legs and that it’s making a positive impact.
Do you know Houston Kraft? I got to speak a little bit with him at Character Strong and learn from him. This idea of kindness as he brings forth and you’re iterative of that authenticity, which they’re complementary in many ways, by love how it’s fulfilling the same outward or external purpose, and a result through ways that will hit different people in different stages of life, but also in different words or language that can reach. I see you guys both in very similar spaces. I think more and more, we see the need for this type of work and this type of influence within our lives and the world around us. Now that you’re a father and have a baby girl named Willow, how was that experience of now being a dad and having a family? How has that changed your view of the world and what you see ahead and what you want for her world ahead?
There are two things. The first part, naturally, I’m thinking more long-term than I was thinking before. I certainly want Willow to grow up in a world where there is more love, more connection and less cyberbullying and selfishness. I hope that she doesn’t grow up in a world where social media looks like what it looks like now. I hope she doesn’t live in a world where all the kids her age are absolutely addicted to their phones and never leave their homes. I definitely strive to teach her that and to embody that and to do my part to create it. The other part about being a dad is stepping up myself. I’m not just responsible for myself, I’m responsible for another human being.
You mentioned before the three core drives. The third one you said was tied to being a part of something bigger than yourself or having some deeper why that’s above and beyond you. That’s something that trickling in. I feel it more than I did before Willow was born, but I know that the volume on that is going to get continued to get cranked up. Frankly, I’m excited for that because only I can stand in my own way. I do play tennis. That’s why I got to read that book that you recommended. I think the more that I’m focused out, focused on giving, focused on others and not on my own challenges and the things that hold me back, the more impactful, successful, and happier I’ll be.
When you think about all that you’ve accomplished, all that you’ve done and all that you’re striving to do in your career and in your life thus far, what stands out as something that you’re most proud of?
The TEDx Talk that I gave initially comes to mind. It was a great honor to have that opportunity. I can’t say it was like a dream of mine my whole life. I didn’t know what TED was when I was a kid, but when I first heard of it, I thought, “It was cool.” The fact that I was able to do that was a cool experience. That probably is the top of my list of things that I’m most proud of, aside from becoming a dad I supposed.
Do you plan on having more kids? What do you see as the future for your family?
I’m shortsighted. I’ve got a baby who needs so much love and care and attention. Launching LoveBomb is so much love, time, care, and attention. Also living in a pandemic, I’m not thinking long-term in terms of how big of a family I want to have. I’m taking it one step at a time. I feel like I have a full plate. I’m not entertaining the thoughts of more at this moment, but ask me again in six months and a year, I’ll probably have a different answer.The only way to create more connections in your life is by being proactive and taking action. Click To Tweet
There’s been so much that we’ve gone through and there’s more that we could. We could talk for hours on end. I typically end with a handful of one-offs here. Before we get there, you did mention a couple of times and it’s come up in a couple of the background calls, I’m curious to know a little bit more of your perspective on Burning Man. I know that it’s been many years of going if not more. From the different people I’ve talked to, that made an impact on their lives. What is it about Burning Man for you? Everyone, especially people that have not gone, including myself, there’s a wide range of perspectives, opinions and thoughts on good, bad and everything in between about the whole experience. How would you describe Burning Man and the role or impact it can play?
Have you ever been to Disneyland or Disney World? What do you like about it?
I like six flags more because of the roller coasters.
It makes you feel alive and it’s fun.
I’m an adrenaline junkie. That’s why I like playing golf. It’s an adrenaline rush. I like the adrenaline of those places.
Burning Man is like that on steroids, acid or whatever you could say. It’s a magical wonderland like a playground for adults. It is a summer camp for adults. It’s different than the day-to-day monotony of life. It’s cool how anything is possible there. The levels of creativity, spontaneity and adventure. It’s challenging. There’s nothing for sale there. You got to bring everything you need for a week. It’s super-hot and dusty during the day. It’s super cold at night. There is bumping base 24 hours a day. You go through a year’s worth of emotions in a week.
I love it so much. It brings out the kid in me, the playfulness, so much fun, expansive and it kept me going back every single year. I love it. I don’t think that Burning Man could replace everyday life, but I certainly do believe that there are many takeaways from Burning Man that can be applied in our daily lives in regards to creativity. When you bike around Burning Man and you see these art cars. There’s literally a 747 rolling around Burning Man. There’s a dance party. The human mind and achievement is unbelievable there. It gets me thinking big, but also in terms of how a community can show up for each other, how you can have gifting, giving economy. When I come back from Burning Man, it impacts the way that I show up in my daily life. It fuels me for maybe not the whole year but for several months. I would highly recommend it to anyone adventurous, who has an open mind, and has some cojones to go there.
I’ve heard of the challenges for sure. That’s no easy thing. You spoke of several times on this conversation of the power of possibility and what happens when we lean into that. Usually, we don’t know what’s possible until we see what’s other people are doing as possible. The creativity that is within us as humans is immense. Usually, we’re only tapping into a piece of that and a place like that can help unlock it, which is a beautiful thing. The version that I’ve been interested in is this thing called Kokoro Camp, which is like a Navy SEAL hell week for civilians. It’s meant to beat the next level of possibility out of you. That’s a little different version, but it’s a similar effect. We’ll see what happens. A few one-offs here, what do you believe to be true that you wish everyone else believed?
There is much more love to go around, and it’s worth your time, energy and attention every single day to make it happen.
If you could study one person for an entire year, who would it be and why?
You might not agree with that. I’ll tell you a reason why I’m going to pick him, but Scooter Braun is the name that comes up for me. Part of the reason why I’m picking Scooter is I know him personally. I went to college with him. He was an acquaintance. I’ve seen him probably twice in many years, but the reason why I bring up Scooter is because of how big of a game he plays. He’s not necessarily beloved by all. I know that Taylor Swift wouldn’t probably have the nicest things to say about him. He’s able to enroll people in these huge visions. He literally started out as a club promoter, discovered Asher Roth and then Justin Bieber. He hyped up and built Justin Bieber to what he is now. He has expanded into film and has created the ability that people gravitate to him for opportunity and exposure. To study the way that he operates in terms of making stuff happens that has such an impact in the cultural zeitgeist are probably the skills that I could learn a lot from. That’s why I pick him. It’s more of a business choice than anything else.
What question do you ask yourself the most?
It’s some extension of, “Do I matter? Am I connected? Do I have my finger on the pulse of what’s going to allow me to connect and make my greatest possible impact? Am I connected with all this stuff or am I completely off base?” It’s that self-worth imposter syndrome. That’s probably the question I asked myself more than asking myself, what do I want? That’s been something that’s in my daily practice that I’ve been doing a better job of asking myself. Ultimately, if we want to live an epic authentic life, we got to be asking ourselves, “What would make authentic life?” Asking myself the question of, “What do I want?” is certainly the question that I’m most committed to more than a self-sabotage and critical question.
This is one of the harder questions I think I’ve heard, which of your current views or beliefs are most likely to be wrong?
This is something that I get from feedback from my girlfriend and from other people where they will say, “If only you got out of your own way, you could change the world or have anything you want.” To some extent, we all have that ability. I’m not putting myself on a pedestal. I’m one of Earth’s seven billion people. I’m like everybody else. The thing where I probably have wrong is the self-doubt and all the stuff that stands between me and being in my life. I believe that that’s probably in a way of what most of us get wrong. We get lost in our darkness and our separateness. We’re not living in our light and our connectedness, which ironically is what I believe we all want. At the same time, we find ourselves living in the disconnect more than we have to.
What book or books have had the biggest impact on you?
I got to say I’m much more of an experiential learner. Doing a self-development workshop or thrown in and there’s people in my face and things like that. I tend to transform more than by reading a book. With that said, I’m a big reader. I’ve read so many books. I’ve enjoyed The Science of Getting Rich. It’s an old classic book. Eckhart Tolle’s work comes up for me. I’m a big fan of A New Earth, The Power of Now and The Four Agreements. I was already thinking of that earlier in this conversation when we were talking about assumptions, don’t make assumptions. Those are the few.
What would you say is the learning experience you’ve gained the most from?
Through losing my dad and the divorce, up until my entrepreneurial journey, those were probably the biggest lessons that I had. That transformational course at MITT that I took many years ago changed my life as much as anything ever.
If you had to put one takeaway to each of those experiences of losing your dad and going through a divorce, what was that big takeaway from each of those?
It’s a great question because I think we can all derive some wisdom from asking ourselves those questions about whatever adversity we’ve been in our life. From my dad passing away, it was the importance of relationships and cherishing people while they’re right here right now. LoveBomb and the birthday videos was a direct derivative of that. I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to many people that the loss of a parent created more gratitude or something like that. That was that one in terms of the divorce, which was something that I never thought was in the cards for me. I thought like I’d get married and we’d be together forever.
The challenge and the struggle that came after that, and then rebuilding myself and realigning to a new purpose was that I’m resilient. I know I can get through everything and this too shall pass. There’s always another season and life is a roller coaster. There’s ups and downs. Now we’re in a pandemic and at some point, we’re not going to be in a pandemic anymore. If you’re going through the worst time of your life, congratulations, I feel for you. There’s going to be a new chapter. Hopefully, we can only go up from here.
The final question that we ask every guest is if you could send a morning text reminder to every up and comer out there or maybe in your case a video reminder, what would you say and why? It could be a short message from you that they get every single morning.
I’m feeling uncomfortable in giving staged things. I’m going to explain what I would say. It would be something along the lines of like, “Good morning, no matter how you’re feeling right now, take a second to honor yourself, to celebrate yourself, to have this opportunity, and today it can be however you want it to be. You know that you’re beautiful, amazing and worthy. Give it your best today. You’ve been through a lot. Today’s going to be another day and do your best to forward your goals, dreams and connect with the people you care about. Do your best. If you find yourself in a little rut, that’s okay, put on your favorite song, go for a walk and allow yourself to feel, but move on and keep rocking.”
Thank you for taking some time. I’m glad you were able to come on and share your story, and the work that you’re up to. For people reading where can they find more about LoveBomb, your work and even your prior work on the podcast?
www.LoveBomb.app is the place to go. You can check out our beta if you’re reading now. If you’re reading in a couple of months, you can perhaps download the app on the Apple app store. In terms of me, Instagram is a good place @AreYouBeingReal and AreYouBeingReal.com is the place to go for the podcast.
Mark, thanks again. This has been a blast. I love your energy and what you’re bringing into the world and know that it’s going to impact a lot for good.
Thane, you’re the man. I’m inspired by who you be. This was a beautifully, thoughtful, natural conversation. It was an honor to be a part of it and it speaks volumes to who you are. I know that anyone who’s had the opportunity to work with you has gotten to experience this magic. I would say that if you’ve been following this show for a while and if you’ve been curious, have an opportunity to connect with Thane like I have and in any way. He’s someone who you definitely want to have on your side. Thank you.
Thank you for those kind words. For everyone reading, we hope you have an up and coming week because we are out.
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