Oura Community | Live Your Passion

September 6, 2018

Work. Life. Work life balance. Work life balance?

The line above represents the tension that many motivated individuals who want to be successful in all their endeavors feel when it comes to setting goals and achieving them.

This month we check in with four driven, highly-effective individuals who are striving for success – all in their own unique way – and still manage to stay focused and grounded to live their best life.

Meet the Members

Whether they are building apps, keeping workers caffeinated or racing across the desert, these four unique individuals are blazing their own trail through the worlds of personal health, education and business.

We’ll let them introduce themselves and a little bit about their recent endeavors.

Riku Uski – Founder of Warrior Coffee

“I make peoples’ day better with coffee, running a company called Warrior Coffee.

We are strongly focused in helping offices and workspaces of all sorts make their environment better with the help of coffee.”

David Bidler – Founder of BRAVE Fitness and Creator of the Distance Project

“The Distance Project offers leading edge coaching to the running and endurance community. We recently launched a sister company called BRAVE Fitness where we are working to extend our training beyond the gym and into other realms of life. We are working to build one of the first training programs to overcome chronic stress, anxiety, and fear. The BRAVE Fitness app launched in January on iOS.”



Catherine Crandall, Founder/Creator of Thriva App

“No other company is providing a tool like Thriva. We’re creating this for people who prefer natural remedies. The Thriva app will allow you to organize your dietary supplement routine, easily communicate details to your doctor, and to take supplements more safely.”

Ray Zahab – Founder of impossible2Possible (i2P) and an Adventurer:

“Impossible2Possible is an organization that aims to inspire and educate youth through adventure learning, inclusion and participation in expeditions.”

More than Profiles in Productivity

This article is more than just profiles in productivity. What drives these four is not just about having endless energy, burning the candle at both ends or amassing stories of endless work sessions.

Many of you won’t be surprised to learn, it’s about a shared perspective in positivity and passion. Read on to learn how these four take on their challenges.

Do you believe you can be a founder and still live a balanced life?

David: Absolutely. Balance is a skill, like anything else. And it needs to be trained like anything else. I have failed miserably here in the past, and I still fail more often than I’d like to admit. But, I am getting better at figuring out how toggle the “off” switch so that I can recharge and be fully “on” when it matters most.

Riku: Absolutely. It’s a lot about one’s own attitude and mindset as the balance is often times a very personal thing. Sometimes one needs to go the extra mile, but I believe it should be a non-permanent thing in order to maintain long term balance.

Catherine: Yes. Highly successful people I’ve come to know along the way have advised me to create the space to unwind, and I attempt to do this. Having a dog who needs walking helps! I find that although I am working a furious pace toward the launch of our product, I am also able to make decisions about taking a walk in Seattle’s Arboretum the middle of the workday, or to take a long weekend out of town.

Ray: Yes. I believe we underestimate ourselves, and that our potential is only limited by how we define ourselves.

How do you avoid overworking?

Riku: During our first years, I admit working many times more than would be ideal. However, my goal was always to reach a healthy business operations and get couple more colleagues to share the workload and ideas with. Now we are about there and it feels great. There’s always something to do more so I’ve figured out the best way to avoid overworking is to basically disconnect and do all other things (like doing nothing).

David: If I can stay one step removed and watch the coaching process somewhat objectively I can be aware of lapses in connection, attention, sensitivity, and quality. With this in mind I have to remind myself that those who I work with deserve my best, and to deliver anything less is unfair to them. This helps me avoid the romantic ideals associated with consistent overworking and reminds me that success in coaching is measured qualitatively, not quantitatively. To show up with my battery consistently half charged just isn’t fair to anyone.

Do you balance the understanding of needing proper sleep with working in a startup?

Catherine: I realize that proper sleep is key to my overall health, both now and in the future. Good sleep influences my ability to avoid colds and flu, enhances my cognitive abilities, influences weight management, stress hormone production, how healthy I appear, and contributes to the integrity of my very DNA.

David: I think that taking some time to understand the restorative processes that occur during the sleep cycle has really helped me to make this a priority for both myself and my clients. We always say that there are some things that you can’t outwork (hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, sleep) no matter how determined you might be. We strongly believe that as coaches and as leaders in any realm of life it is up to us to lead by example and practice what we preach. So showing up exhausted and sleep deprived doesn’t cut it. This view has been doubly advantageous for our training center, as my coaches and I have to model quality sleeping practices in order to ask the same from our athletes.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Riku: I get very motivated by the feedback and happiness we receive from our customers. That drives me forward and keeps us evolving. My team is also a huge motivation to me – we wouldn’t be here without them!

Catherine: In nature. Beginning next month, I’ll be training for a ten-day backpacking trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Although I love a good adventure trip, I find nature on my rooftop patio, where I have planted trees and converse with the hummingbirds that come to visit.

David: First and foremost, from our members, both at The Distance Project and online through BRAVE Fitness. They inspire me endlessly through their commitment to fearless personal development.

Ray: I am inspired by anyone who steps out and takes on a challenge – does something that feels uncomfortable and unpredictable at first, but pursues with passion. Whether in the arts, charity, sport, it doesn’t matter. What matters and inspires me are the people who go for it.

How do you recharge, relax or reflect?

Ray: I love having time with my family, hanging out. The hardest part of my job is when I am away from my family, so I truly feel a time of reflection is when I am at home or on the trails with my daughters, taking it all in.

David: Getting into more advanced breath work and understanding how breath can be a tool to navigate your own physiology and manage arousal states has been really powerful for me. I use various breathing protocols throughout the day to slow things down so that I can tune in and reflect.

Riku: I reflect almost daily and couple times a year I take more time for that. Usually the bigger reflection times are during summer and Christmas holidays. I tend to travel to change the environment completely as it takes some time to loosen up and see the famous big picture.

Success. But Not Constant Perfection.

Although these go-getters have each found their own levels of success, their stories are not all of constant perfection. Here, the four each share some of the challenges that they face.

Catherine: I strive to make healthy choices, but I’m working at full-tilt, so struggle with things like sleep because of so much screen time.

David: Balancing my own passion for coaching with some basic parameters around how many sessions or classes per day allows me to be most focused and affective. I remember going home after back- to-back-to-back coaching sessions and just passing out in my jeans. The ability to scale back from a scheduling perspective and incorporate some downtime into the day has allowed me to become a better coach.

Ray: For our nonprofit i2P, we hope to grow our programs, with needed funding, to a point where we are able to conduct multiple i2P Youth Expeditions on a yearly basis.

Riku: There have been quite interesting challenges with international trademarks as well as realizing that no matter how small or large is the demand, we need certain size of team all the time in place.

A Passion For Helping Others

It wasn’t a surprise that a common theme between these four was their passion for helping people, giving back and seeing their work through the lens of what they can do for others.

David: I am now surrounded by clients who have become my greatest mentors, sources of inspiration, and some of my best friends. I am beyond grateful to share my knowledge with them as they share their knowledge and wisdom with me in return. It is a wonderful growth environment based on mutuality and respect.

Riku: We want to keep on making peoples’ days better with our products. Warrior Coffee exists to make each day a little better, no matter how good or bad it turned out to be. We keep working with office & café customers strongly while finding all the time more room for our products internationally. That hopefully ensures us a healthy growth while bringing happiness to many people’s lives and also making Warrior Coffee a great place to work at.

Ray: All of my expeditions are connected to classrooms and to a broader audience on social media. My goal is to essentially bring my expeditions into classrooms and living rooms around the world, and in turn, bring those classrooms and living rooms back onto my expeditions.

Catherine: Consumers want to take charge of their health. Traditional healthcare costs are skyrocketing, and prescribed medications can have undesirable side effects when a more natural approach might be a better fit.

How do you measure success?

Catherine: If I’m energized by what I am doing, I feel I’m on the right track. I set measurable goals and objectives and write them down. It’s interesting to look back and see how my ideas and goals have evolved.

David: In both business and life I have one reference point for success and it is based on the following question: What is your mission? You can make a million dollars and be a “failure” and you can live on pennies and “succeed.” It all comes back to the core question of what you are actually trying to accomplish. I ask the question “What is my mission?” regularly. As I grow, learn, and evolve my thinking this answer matures. I gauge success by ability to accomplish things that are in-line with my mission.

Ray: I measure success not by how much money I have or how many projects I have completed, but rather by how ‘happy’ or fulfilled I feel. We have one chance at life, and I spent the first 30 years of my life unsure, unhappy at times and directionless. Now, I have come to realize that true happiness is true wealth, and I remind myself constantly there is nothing else I’d rather do then what I am doing in life now.

Riku: Professionally and personally I want to see some learning happening all the time. It doesn’t always mean financial figures growing. If we learn something new piece by piece it shows up in the bottom line too.

The Warrior Coffee team.

So, what’s the secret?

Riku: I don’t know if these are really secrets, but I’d recommend ditching some social media apps from your phone and keeping your mobile phone outside bedroom at all times. There are regular, old school alarm clocks that work just fine. That’s a million-dollar question. I believe in finding something that you really love to do and then putting all your heart into that. The success will follow.

Ray: I also spent a huge amount of (my first) 30 years ‘talking myself out’ of doing things for fear of what others would think, of the potential negative outcomes of taking a chance on something. Now, I talk myself ‘into’ taking chances. Assessing and then taking calculated risks, and going after my passion, not encumbered by how others may define me – but how I define myself. That’s what I truly believe is the first step in success. Taking a chance.

Catherine: Be fearless about reaching out respectfully to people who you don’t know for guidance. I was advised to try this when I was in my 20’s and just getting started professionally – I’d call up people that I didn’t know and ask to meet for a few minutes around a specific question that I had. Conversations like this are what led me to begin a career in technology.

David: To do work (either professionally, personally, or both) that makes you jump out of bed filled with passion and inspiration each day. And to eliminate any excuses as to why you can’t accomplish this. A few years ago I was on the verge on homelessness and living in a tent. I didn’t have twenty dollars to my name. I mention this because now, as I run two companies that I am proud of and have very high aspirations for, I am grateful for this vantage point which allows me to say with confidence that you can build your business from scratch.

Any final words?

Catherine: If you aren’t present for your family and your health, no amount of business successes will matter in the end.

David: Finally, the importance of gratitude as a consistent daily practice has been invaluable to me. Each morning I work to devote the very first thoughts of the day to gratitude, if only for a few seconds. Viewing the events of the day to come through the lens of gratitude has had a greater impact on my life and my business than I can possibly express.

Riku: As the requirements towards individuals’ success grows all the time, it requires more work from us as individuals to choose what to in our lives, realistically. Not every day or week is going to be perfect and accepting that makes one’s life easier. Good things will follow. We are not meant to take care of all things appearing in our lives as we don’t get to choose all those things. Many times one might forget all the great things done while reaching towards the next goal.

Ray: Go with your gut and sometimes you need to just jump all in.

Our thanks to these brave Oura Community members for sharing their stories. Follow what RikuRayCatherine and Dave are creating.

Until next time!

Want to share your story with the Oura Community? Reach out and let us know.

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