Al Roker is a weatherman and coanchor of NBC’s Today show, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a television producer, and a New York Times bestselling author.  He has spent over four decades on television and received 14 Emmy Awards. He has written a number of best-selling books, the latest book is titled: You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His father advised him that “you’re going to have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to get half as far as the white kid next to you”.
  • “If you want something badly, keep at it until it’s yours or it’s no longer an option. Don’t stop because you think you’ve tried hard enough and you believe it’s not going to happen. Stop when you receive a flat out no.”
  • He got some sage advice early in his career to just be yourself. He was too busy trying to be someone else to stand out and not allowing his true personality to surface.
  • “If you don’t learn at least one new thing every day, you’re not looking.”
  • If you can learn to roll with the flow, you’ll be much better off than creating a rigid life plan.
  • Al has always woken up at 3:45 a.m.. “Time is the one commodity that you can’t manufacture more of so the only way to make more of it is to start early.”
  • “Excellence is doing your level best every day.”

 

Show Notes:

Al Roker book: You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success

Al Roker Entertainment

Al Roker Today Show Bio

Jim McCloskey is the founder of Centurion Ministries, an organization devoted to exonerating wrongfully convicted prisoners who are serving life or death sentences.  To date, the organization has freed 64 innocent people. His new book is titled: When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for The Wrongly Convicted.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Today there are dozens of innocence organizations but Centurion Ministries was the first one. Jim was the father of the entire innocence movement.
  • He learned first-hand early on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony.
  • He was able to leverage his consulting background piecing together market research to figure out how to solve these wrongful convictions.
  • Building a relationship and rapport with key witnesses was just as vital to proving these cases and Jim had a natural ability in that regard.
  • Not every case would work out. He sometimes had false positives – clients he was trying to help who he later learned were actually guilty.  When that happens, it’s important to just admit the mistake and move on.
  • “This is a story of how I learned what a cruel, mindless, mean machine the justice system can be. How, in trying to combat evil in the world, the system can become just as evil – more so, because it is evil done in the name of all of us.”
  • To date, Centurion Ministries has freed 64 innocent men and women who collectively had spent 1,350 years behind bars.
  • “Excellence is doing what you feel is right for you given your personality and makeup.”

Links

Book: When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted

Organization: Centurion Ministries

Sarah Frey is the founder and CEO of Frey Farms which she founded at the age of 16.  The farm grows thousands of acres worth of fruits and vegetables.  Dubbed “the Pumpkin Queen of America” by the New York Times, she sells more pumpkins than any other producer in the United States.  She is also the owner of Tsamma, a bottled watermelon juice sold in over 1,500 stores all over the country.  Her new book is titled The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life – and Saved an American Farm.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Because she grew up poor and had to spend most of her free time doing chores around the farm, she learned to use her active imagination to escape.
  • Growing up without means was a strong motivator to find the freedom to live a better life and to have more control over her own destiny.
  • Her lack of scale and sophistication early on (no warehouses, distribution centers, extra drivers) became a competitive advantage, as delivering direct to the stores meant fresher and higher quality produce for the customers.
  • A lot of her success was due to her ability to exude confidence, even when she really wasn’t sure what she was doing.
  • Scrappiness is in her company’s DNA. A core philosophy from the beginning and just as relevant today is how to do more with less.
  • Always make sure that the customer’s needs are met. “Take care of the customer today and they will take care of you in the future.”
  • She doesn’t look for the polished, well educated, perfectly buttoned-up kinds of people but rather, the ones that have some imperfections. “Often the most imperfect people are the sweetest on the inside.”
  • “Excellence is loving what you do.”

 

Links:

Book: The Growing Season: How I Built a New Life – and Saved an American Farm

Frey Farms

Tsamma watermellon juice

Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.  He is the founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality.  Deepak is also a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.  He is the author of over 90 books, including numerous New York Times bestsellers, the latest one titled Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life.  TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Western medicine is necessary for acute intervention but for chronic disease, other than when caused from a gene mutation, lifestyle heavily influences the outcome. Sleep, stress management, exercise, breathing, nutrition, and self-regulation have a significant impact on the onset and management of chronic disease.
  • Modern industrially produced food is ruining the body’s ecosystem which is causing inflammation of the microbiome which is causing inflammatory disease including chronic disease.
  • Total meditation is the practice of bringing the mind into a meditative state whenever you want. So when you notice that you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you just simply return to the mind’s natural state of inner peace and quiet.
  • Total consciousness is pure knowing which is beyond perception and thought. You know without knowing.
  • We’re “asleep” when we act unconsciously and we’re “awake” when we act consciously. Examples of being asleep include speaking without thinking, arriving at snap judgments, and acting out of habit. Examples of being awake include thinking before you speak, anticipating consequences of your actions, and not jumping to conclusions.
  • If you had the answers to just three questions whenever you wanted them, you would achieve all your goals and your life would thrive. Those three questions are: What am I doing right? What isn’t working for me? What is my next step?
  • “Excellence is the ability to actualize worthy goals, the ability to love and have compassion, and the ability to always be in touch with your deeper awareness.”

 

Links:

Deepak Chopra website

Total Meditation book

Chopra Meditation and Well-Being iPhone app

The Chopra Foundation

Never Alone mental and emotional health resource

Scott Boras is a sports agent specializing in baseball. He is the Founder and President of Boras Corporation, a sports agency that represents roughly 75 professional baseball clients.  He has negotiated more than $9B in major league baseball contracts, with 11 of them worth more than $100 million—more than any other agent. Scott has been named the “Most Powerful Sports Agent in the World” by Forbes magazine.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He felt it was important to have a backup plan. He earned his Doctor of Pharmacy and law degrees while he was playing baseball so if things didn’t work out, he would have another path to pursue.
  • The hardest part of being an agent isn’t negotiating contracts. It’s figuring out how to optimize a player, both physically and psychologically.
  • To effectively represent a player, you’ve got to not just understand their skill level but to understand them at a personal level as well.
  • You don’t go into a negotiation to win. You go into a negotiation to understand and build a bridge.  And you build that bridge with reasons which benefit the needs and wants of both sides.
  • His firm employs NASA and MIT-trained research scientists and engineers to uncover proprietary player performance data that nobody else uses.
  • His firm also has sports psychologists on staff whose ultimate goal is to increase the durability and hence value of the players.
  • The key to success isn’t comparing yourself to others but just trying to be the best that you can be in what you’re doing.
  • “My measure of excellence is how long can you stay in the game.”

Alain Robert is the world’s leading free climber and is known all over the world as the “French Spiderman” for free climbing skyscrapers. He has climbed 163 buildings in 70 different countries. He has a documentary on Amazon Prime titled My Next Challenge and is the author of a book With Bare Hands: The True Story of Alain Robert, the Real-Life Spiderman.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His insecurity as a child was the early motivation to try something to build confidence and to stand out.
  • He didn’t start climbing because he wasn’t afraid of heights. He climbed in spite of his fear of heights.
  • Alain used to do free solo rock climbing and was considered by many to be the best in the world.
  • As climbing gained in popularity, he lost interest. “Climbing wasn’t about racing or competing but about freedom and self-expression.”
  • Most people aren’t really enjoying their lives. They do what they need to do to make a living but are bored with their work and just live for the weekends.  They are wasting most of their lives away.
  • “It takes a certain amount of energy to climb a building. If you have the energy, you’ll make it to the top.  If you don’t, you’ll die.”
  • “What scares me the most is a boring life.”
  • “Most people are dreaming their life but I was on the other side living my dream.”

Colin Follenweider is one of the top professional stuntmen in Hollywood. He has performed stunts in Spider-Man, Transformers, Iron Man, X-Men, Captain America, Avatar, and Die Hard and has 86 total stunt credits to his name.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He is one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen and has performed stunts in dozens of blockbuster films.
  • It’s good to know the direction you’re heading, even if you’re not sure of the ultimate destination.
  • His motto was “Action, Inspiration”. If you always wait for inspiration to hit, you’re going to keep waiting.  But if you start doing something, you’re going to get inspired how to do it.
  • He wasn’t necessarily the best at every kind of stunt but he could do most stunts well enough and unlike many stunt people, he was really easy going. People enjoyed hanging around him which made them want to work with him again and again.
  • Stunt work is a highly collaborative effort. “Spiralling in” is when you start with lots of ideas around the outside and slowly tweak them on the way toward reaching a compromise that works for everyone.
  • Even if you’re very confident in something, when you lose your nervousness about it and you take it for granted, that’s when accidents are most likely to happen.
  • “The pursuit of excellence is more important than the accomplishment of saying ‘I’m excellent’. Being mildly disappointed helps the pursuit of excellence, as you’re always striving to get better.”

David Fajgenbaum is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the associate director for the Orphan Disease Center.  He is also cofounder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and the cofounder of the National Students of Ailing Mothers and Fathers Support Network. He has received numerous awards including the Forbes “30 Under 30” for healthcare and the RARE Champion of Hope Award for science.  His memoir is titled Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • David has a hyperfocus variant of ADHD which allows him to focus for hours upon hours on a topic which has enabled much of his success.
  • The way he started living life with no regrets was through his new mantra: “Think it, do it”. If he thinks about doing something and it’s really important, he doesn’t over think it like he used to.  He just does it.
  • He was able to see humor even in the most dire of circumstances. “I came to understand that in no situation other than facing death is a sense of humor more necessary. Humor made me look my suffering in the eye and laugh at it. Facing my horrible moments with laughter was just as fundamentally a rejection of Castleman’s dominion over me as anything else I was doing.”
  • We still have a long way to go. 95% of the 7,000 rare diseases that affect 30 million Americans don’t have a single FDA approved therapy.
  • Either you’re hopeful and you wait for that thing you’re hoping for to become reality or you’re very action oriented and you take matters into your own hands. He has learned to turn hope into action.
  • Don’t just sit back and wait for the silver linings to appear but what can you do to create the silver linings. It’s up to you to make some positive out of something terrible.
  • “I consider myself to be very fortunate. My experience has liberated me to follow my passions and has given me peace, knowing that I’m making the most of every day while my clock is ticking.”
  • “Excellence is doing exactly what you feel driven to do to the absolute best of your ability.”

 

Show Notes:

Book: Chasing My Cure

Castleman Disease Collaborative Network

University of Pennsylvania bio page