In a world where people are famous for doing nothing, we’re here to discover the seemingly ordinary people who take giant leaps to do something extraordinary.

Moving Forward features individuals from all different backgrounds and walks of life with the goal of inspiring you to discovery the extraordinary in yourself.  Everyone from 6 and 7-figure entrepreneurs to actors, musicians, filmmakers; everyone has a story about how they moved beyond the ordinary and excelled to become extraordinary.  Get ready, it’s time to start moving forward!

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[Note: links to books and other media are provided thru our partnership with Amazon for which Be Moving Forward receives a small commission from sales.  If you find a book or media resource that you like, purchasing thru those links does not cost you anything extra and is greatly appreciated.  If you prefer, you are of course welcome to purchase the non-affiliate versions directly from Amazon.]

© Ba-Li Solutions, LLC, 2016. All rights reserved.

MF 139 : David C. Barnett Reveals a Smart Blueprint for Leaving Corporate America

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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David C. Barnett is an entrepreneur and author of three best-selling books. Today, David busts the myth of the easy entrepreneur and shares the two safest (and smartest) ways to leave corporate America and start your own business.

Successes at a glance:

David’s story:

  • David has had the entrepreneurial mindset ever since he was a young boy. Growing up in Canada, David began by shoveling snow in the winter and then mowing those same lawns in the summer. Following high school, David enrolled in business school, thinking it would make him a “businessman” but found that b-school was more focused on creating “Fortune 500 bureaucrats.” Following school, David got a job in sales with a Yellow Pages publisher. Keep in mind, at this time, Google was in its infancy. This meant that David spent a great deal of his time sitting with local business owners, having conversations about what kind of customers they wanted to attract. From this experience, David learned a lot about many different kinds of businesses, eventually starting one of his own. David later sold his first business and went into commercial debt brokerage, helping buyers and sellers of businesses, with financing. David noticed a glaring issue: the buyers and sellers of those businesses had no idea what they were doing. As the financial crises of 2007-08 hit, David pivoted into business brokerage via a national franchise brand; helping other people buy and sell businesses.

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • David was in the business brokerage business for 3 years. While the demand and opportunity were ripe at the time, David ran into a bigger problem: the model didn’t work. The traditional business brokerage model was based on a similar one used for real estate transactions. David illustrates:
    • A business owner would come to him, wanting to sell his or her business
    • David would help evaluate the business and determine an asking price
    • David would then match this business to a buyer
    • Once the business was sold, David would earn a commission
  • Sounds logical right? For real estate, when the process takes weeks or months at the most, a broker can do quite well. However, selling a business can take years which diminishes the value of the commission, time-wise. Case in point, David shares that a deal in which sold a fried chicken restaurant for 5-figures, took over three years to close. Moreover, David identified a structural problem. Since brokers were paid 10-12% commission from the business seller, buyers would inherently assume that the broker was not aligned with him or her. As a result, deals would regularly become delayed, thus creating lots of uncertainty for the broker to make a viable living. While David sold 36 businesses in 3-years, he went thru periods of 9-months with no closings and thus, no revenue or cash flow. With two young children, David could not plan or create a family budget. Things fell apart when David left business brokering, went back to a fulltime job and got a divorce, all at the same time.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • David went back to corporate life, working as a banker. In his role, David did a lot of travel in the car. On one of the many road trips, David got a call from someone, who had been referred to him that was interested in selling his business and needed his help. At first, David declined, referring him to the person who he left his brokerage practice to. Then a week later, David got another call from someone who wanted to a buy a business. This was the start of David’s pivot but he wasn’t quite ready to leave his day job yet. David agreed to help but as a part-time consultant, meaning he would bill for his expertise by the hour. Soon, David began a “side hustle” of helping people buy and sell businesses, using an hourly rate model, to remove the risks inherent with a commission based fee. Within two years, this side gig ballooned and when it no longer made sense for him to keep his day job, he went into this fulltime. Today, David is a private transaction advisor and uses a valuation model for his services that makes sense. He now works with buyers and sellers, all around the world, coaching them thru the process and conducting the specialized tasks that these individuals can’t do on their own.

Knowledge bursts:

  • David’s advice for starting a side gig:
    • It has to be something where you can deliver extreme value while expending little of your time. In David’s case, he had very specific expertise in business valuation, so he could create high impact value for his clients while doing so on an evenings and weekends basis. Put simply “sell something with a big margin.”
  • David’s advice for time management for starting a side gig:
    • Don’t use lists, use blocks to schedule activities, meetings, calls. Blocks prioritize your time. The better you can prioritize your time, the better you will be at managing expectations for your clients.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Cloud-based productivity tools such as Google Sheets, Docs. The ability to share information in real time allows David to cut down on time wasted traveling, which in turns saves his client on billed time.
  • How David recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Go hiking or biking. Get out amongst the trees and getting connected with nature.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • David wouldn’t change a thing (other than telling his 1999 self to sell that Nortel stock!). David has been thru some really painful places but sees every one of them as part of the trials he went thru to get to where he is today. There is one piece of sage advice he would share with his past self: “you are not your business.”

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “The terms are often more important than the price.”

Connect with David:

MF 138 : How Amy Wan is Moving the Legal Profession Forward as a Fintech Entrepreneur

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Amy Wan is an attorney and founder of Bootstrap Legal, a legal fintech startup. Today, Amy will share how she discovered her big why and changed her mindset to move forward as an entrepreneur.

Successes at a glance:

Amy’s big why:

  • Amy is an attorney by training but oddly enough, what led her to law school is far removed from what she is doing today. Amy initially wanted to practice human rights law. As Amy shares, her big why has always been to help people. Along the way, her career took a lot of twists and turns. Amy went from protesting big banks to practicing securities and corporate law; realizing that to make a difference she needed to be involved in an area that crossed borders: money. Eventually, Amy’s career took her into crowdfunding, which she saw as a modern way to democratize access to capital. Interestingly, her initial interest in human rights has come full circle as she is now helping small companies get access to funding and seed capital. Moreover, Amy’s work with Bootstrap Legal is helping startup companies get access to affordable legal representation by streamlining the workflow processes and leveraging technology, thus reducing overall industry costs.

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • For Amy, the hardest part was the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey: going from 0 to 1. Amy not only saw a “huge mountain” but wasn’t sure how to start climbing it. So Amy got a “sherpa,” or more specifically, a business coach to help her as she built her business. However, before they could start the proverbial climb, they had to get the right equipment, so to speak. Amy shares that she had a lot of hangups and mental attitudes that were holding her back. One of these blockages was seeing an insurountable mountain rather than a step-by-step climb.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Amy worked with a business coach to help her overcome her doubts, including ones she had related to the basic question of “can I do this?” Amy shares that when she spoke with a potential investor, she went in thinking “you shouldn’t invest in me.” Amy had to rewrite this bad programming language to get over the 0-1 hump. The lightbulb wasn’t one big revelation but a series of incremental steps. Once Amy was able to reframe her perspective, that’s when she started to see changes that caused her to move forward. Like a physics equation, Amy made the pivots that acted as the fulcrum to unleash the momentum on everything from funding to product delivery.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Amy to move forward:
    • The 2016 Presidential Election. Prior to seeing Hillary Clinton become the Democratic nominee, Amy did not know that women could do whatever they wanted. She had a limiting belief which as you saw earlier, impacted her ability to move forward. The Saturday or Sunday before the election, Amy called her dad and started crying. Growing up as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, there was an understanding that women could only do certain things, so the idea of a woman come that close to becoming president just blew her mind.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Audible: after the election, Amy didn’t want to listen to the news for a while. Also, living in LA, Amy spends a lot of time in her car so she found Audible to be a great outlet and source for self-improvement material.
  • How Amy recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Take a couple days off and do the things you love. For Amy, it’s dancing and food. For Amy, she enjoys going out for a nice dinner with her husband and hitting the local salsa clubs.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • “Just be yourself.”

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “The hardest part of any journey is just getting started and if you just get past that initial inertia, everything is so much easier from then on.”

Connect with Amy:

MF 137 : Moving Forward as a “Running Entrepreneur,” with Nick Symmonds

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Nick Simmonds is a competitive racer (a NCAA Div III champion and two-time Olympian) turned entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Run Gum which produces a caffeine energy gum to help with alertness and focus. Today, Nick will share how an athlete’s perseverance can become the entrepreneur’s greatest asset.

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Nick was a very successful, competitive runner. He was competing as a Division III athlete and made it to the Olympics twice. As Nick reveals, the career of a pro runner can be lucrative with good endorsements, but is short-lived and constantly at risk, should a serious injury occur. Unfortunately, for Nick, that’s what happened. Nick was riding high in his career, having won the Silver medal in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. 2014 was poised to be a big year. Nick was deep in his training regimen when he tore a ligament in his knee, resulting in an avulsion fracture. This injury effectively ended Nick’s season. Nick fell into a deep depression, knowing he would not be able to realize the potential and promise of a great season. Moreover, Nick felt he lost a sense of purpose.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Nick started his athletic career at a Division III school in Oregon. In college, Nick was studying biochemistry as he was going to become a doctor. Nick never imagined he would become a pro runner but upon graduating in 2006, Nick was recruited by Nike and the Oregon Track Club. Since then, he’s been a professional athlete which in turn, played a big part in his transition to entrepreneurship.
  • As Nick shares on this episode, the career of a pro-runner is fairly short, usually 3-4 years. Nick also knew that one injury or twisted ankle could quickly end his career and the revenue stream he was getting from endorsements. At around the same time, Nick and his coach got into a dialogue about diversifying opportunities so that their income wasn’t solely dependent on Nick’s running.
  • In true need-generates-idea fashion, Nick’s entrepreneurial “aha” revelation came from his running. As Nick shares, he needed Run Gum, even though it didn’t exist yet. Energy drinks and hydration are a must for pro athletes and Nick was no exception. Nick loved energy drinks ever since turning pro. While the energy boost was great for his running and focus, the problem was that he would often have adverse reactions to the acidic liquid. Sometimes, the experience was so painful for his stomach, he would often throw up. In his mind, Nick visualized chewing gum as the ideal delivery method for the ingredients found in energy drinks. Chewing gum had long proven a successful delivery system of nicotine to help smokers quit cigarettes. So Nick imagined the model could be transposed to energy supplements.
  • Getting back to 2014. Nick’s injury has put him out of commission and he is in a deep depression. His purpose, which up until then was running and being the best pro athlete he could be, was on hold. Nick realized he needed a new driver, a new purpose. That’s when the idea that had been in the back of his mind all this time, came to fruition. Nick had visualized Run Gum, essentially designing it in his mind for his ideal customer, which he represented. Now that his running career was on hold, Nick could take the next steps with his coach as his business partner.
  • Even though Nick had this clear vision, entrepreneurship was a scary leap to make nonetheless. Because of his injury, Nick was losing out on 5 and 6-figure endorsements. Now, he was turning his attention to a new venture, which would cost significant time, money and energy to get up and running. As Nick shares, to go from making money to spending $1/2 million on a completely new venture was one of the scariest but ultimately, the best thing he’s ever done.
  • The risk paid off. As Nick shares, he never imagined he would become a professional athlete, much less an entrepreneur. But he’s much happier than he would be, had he pursued a career in medicine.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Nick to move forward:
    • Vice: a media network that curates stories from various sources ranging from HBO to YouTube. Nick shares that consuming stories from all over the world, puts his life and his problems in perspective.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • When Nick launched Run Gum, he was living in Seattle, his business partner was in Salem, the COO in Eugene, OR and the head of sales was living in LA. To coordinate and collaborate, Nick and his team utilized a lot of video conference platforms including Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype. For Nick, these were vital to keeping that face-to-face contact with his teammates during the first 18 months of the business.
      • Nick also shares that within 2 years, he made a push to move everyone to Eugene, taking the lead by doing so himself. Since then, the business has run a lot smoother with everyone either based out of Eugene or making regular trips there to meet in person.
  • How Nick recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Nick goes fishing. He loves being on the river and uses it as a way to meditate, stimulate his thinking, and just get away.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • “Chill out!” Nick would visit his college self, who he admits was a “big ball of stress” and tell him not to worry so much. Moreover, the key to success is perseverance, not luck or chance, so don’t worry so much about whether you’ll be successful. Success comes with continuing to work at it.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Exercise every day.”

Connect with Nick:

MF 136 : Moving Forward as a Freelance Writer, with Pam Rossow

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Pam Rossow is an award-winning freelance writer whose mission is to inspire others to find their voice thru the written word. Today, Pam will share her knowledge bursts for getting your work out there and the mindset for attracting the best clients.

Successes at a glance:

  • Award-winning freelance writer, blogger
  • Featured in Sparkhire, Interview.com, Career Bright

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • As you’ll learn from Pam’s story, she started early in her writing journey. Pam was in the midst of building her career as a fulltime content and copywriter. She had been hired to blog about higher education, a topic that she is dedicated to and passionate about. Then, Pam was hired to do content writing and editing on different subjects, including beauty and legal content. The later is where things took a bad turn. Pam got caught in what she calls the “content mill,” where freelance writers are hired and inundated with writing hundreds of articles. Pam was writing articles on medical devices, defective airbags, and other tort-related topics. Pam hated it. Pam did this for over a year and was burned out. While many writers dream of the opportunity to get paid for their writing, Pam warns that content mills exploit this desire with restrictive contracts; forcing writers to keyword stuff articles and worse, prohibit writers from adding a byline (author credit) to their work. Pam was creating hundreds of articles but not increasing her own ROI as a writer.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Pam’s journey as a writer started when she was 4-years old! Before she could hold a pen to paper, she used a tape recorder to record stories. Pam was a podcaster before there was a such a thing! At that point, Pam knew she was destined to be a writer. Pam cites her grandfather as an inspirational source who encouraged her to be a storyteller and gave her the cassette recorder to begin her journey. Throughout grade school and later high school, Pam continued developing as a writer; writing for the school newspaper and magazine.
  • Now, you would think that Pam’s natural next step would be to become a journalism or English major in college. Well, not quite. Why? As Pam shares, she explored journalism and found that it didn’t jibe with her penchant for creative writing. So Pam became a sociology major instead. Her life took another turn when she got married; putting her education on hold to start a family. At some point, Pam got a divorce and shortly after, she went back to school as a non-traditional student to finish her education. At the same time, Pam decided to get back into writing; penning op-ed pieces for the local paper. As Pam built up a body of work, she got the attention of one of her editors. This editor told her that she should start getting paid for her work. This was Pam’s first big aha moment: when she got a check for her writing and realized this could be a source of income and a true vocation. Moreover, as Pam was finishing up her sociology degree, she started getting into writing classes. This led to a competition that she entered, finishing her entry just before the deadline, and won! The prize was getting to meet the Dalai Lama.
  • Pam finished school and was then hired to write a book. However, there was a learning curve that went far beyond what she learned in college and school. While Pam admits that the finished product “left a lot to be desired” in terms of quality, she reveals that she learned a tremendous amount from the process. Shortly after, Pam became a freelance content and copywriter. She also entered the world of blogging. Pam helped a company build up two blogs on higher ed, a topic she was and is still, very passionate about.
  • Flash forward to when Pam was writing in the content mill, writing on legal topics. Pam was burning out and miserable. Moreover, she was not getting byline credit for the hundreds of articles she was churning out. Pam had had enough.
  • Pam didn’t exactly have a light bulb moment that caused a pivot. Rather, she had a gradual mindset shift. As a hungry freelance writer, Pam had a scarcity mindset. It’s what led her to work for a content mill and yet, it killed her spark. As Pam realized she was losing her passion for writing, she was at the point where she was considering leaving writing behind altogether. Pam decided to make a change. She left the content mill and shifted towards a mindset where she could pick the clients she wanted to work with. Today, Pam loves writing and the clients she works with. She’s not chasing the work or anything. Instead, she’s simply moving forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • One really great tip to start freelance writing and get your written content out there:
    • If you have another job and are thinking about becoming a full-time freelance writer, keep your day job and just start writing.
      • You can start a free blog at WordPress.
      • Test yourself with Pam’s Rule of 5: start with 5 articles on a topic, then see if you can picture yourself writing on that topic for 5 years.
    • Once you start developing a niche, start pitching to other blogs and sites. Don’t accept any offer that doesn’t fit with you and your big why.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack for writing:
    • The Pomodoro method: use your computer as an alarm for 20-25 minutes. Write for those 20-25 minutes with no editing. Take a short 3-5 minute break to post on social media (one post rule) and then start over.
  • How Pam recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Get outside and be with nature.
    • Spend time with family: boardgames and quality time.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • Pam recalls a time she was driving with her father in Florida. They passed thru some road construction. As Pam looked at the literal roadblocks on the road, she thought about the roadblocks she had in her own life and career. At the time, she was stuck in the content mill and very unhappy. She came to the realization that even though she was unhappy, this was an important part of her journey. That was a starting point for her to begin moving forward with a better mindset. From there, Pam started to see success as “a point to be reached.” Her wisdom to her past self is to understand that success is “every single orange cone and every single roadblock” that teaches you to thrive and get onto the road to success.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Thrive, don’t survive.”

Connect with Pam:

MF 135 : Leading By Example to Move Forward, with Danny Leonard

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Danny Leonard is a 19-year-old entrepreneur and founder of an internet marketing and strategy company. Today, Danny will share why he took the entrepreneurial path and what his future self would advise him today.

Successes at a glance:

  • 19-year-old entrepreneur, focusing on internet marketing and strategy

 Danny’s story:

  • Let’s start with the elephant in the room: Danny is 19 years old. Wow! Like Marc Guberti and Deborah Olalere, Danny isn’t content with following the traditional narrative. He has made a choice to embrace uncertainty and entrepreneurship as a career path. Danny bucks the millennial stereotype as an example of ambition, creativity and sheer determination to do something other than simply get a job and collect a paycheck.
  • As Danny shares, he didn’t have the best grades in school and was always a different kind of thinker when compared to the rest of his classmates. What’s also interesting is that Danny does not come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Outside of his mother who ran and sold a company back in the early 2000s, this wasn’t a narrative that was deeply ingrained into him at an early age. Rather, Danny just knew that he was different, turning right when others would turn left. As he describes he was “that kid.” Despite not having the best grades, his teachers recognized a quality in him that would serve him well: adaptability. Danny was always quick to adapt to sudden changes and uncertain circumstances. This was especially evident in sports as being one of the smaller kids, Danny had to adapt to be able to hold his own against the bigger athletes.
  • Danny’s brand of thinking differently and adaptability led him to make the decision to not go to college and dive straight into entrepreneurship. For Danny, it was the challenge of doing something that hadn’t been done before which became his big driver and his big why. Another big driver for Danny is the thrill of closing sales, while knowing that he’s helping his clients achieve more. In particular, Danny is energized when he can help fellow entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
  • Danny is an example of how networking and relationships are built in the 21st century. He reflects how he met one of his now business partners, by commenting on a YouTube video. Social media has become a gateway for Danny to forge new relationships and bridge new connections. It is also how he became a guest on this podcast!

Challenges and Lessons Learned:

  • Danny cites as his biggest challenge, teaching others the art of sales. As you’ll learn, Danny has focused a lot on developing his own skills; starting with door-to-door, “knock on door” sales. Building a team, especially with peers who are 19 and 20, presented a unique challenge to Danny. While many individuals are focused on school or having fun at this stage of life, Danny’s focus (and challenge) has been finding those individuals who are equally committed to his vision of building a company.
  • After hitting some obstacles with simply putting a new hire immediately into sales, Danny now puts new hires into a training program. Having come from a military family, Danny has adapted his leadership style with that of great military leaders he has studied.
  • So what keeps Danny on track and motivated on a daily basis? First, Danny loves the challenge of building a business. Second, Danny was taught at a young age that the decisions he makes now will have an impact in the future. Danny embraces this lesson as part of his compass for making decisions for himself and his business. Third, Danny has built up a team who now looks to him as their compass. In assuming the role of a leader, Danny takes very seriously that he is leading by example. The biggest area where this comes into play is sales. In making the charge to close sales, Danny leads by example, showing his team how it can be done. This is how Danny makes sure that he and his team are constantly moving forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Danny to move forward:
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Hootsuite: a social media management tool to schedule posts ahead of schedule.
    • Crowdfire: a growth hacking app for Twitter. Danny uses it to follow followers of his favorite influencers and for creating automated DMs to welcome new followers and connections.
      • Danny’s hack: in your automated DM invite new followers to follow you on other social media channels (Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube).
  • How Danny recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • For Danny, it’s physical activity and exercise: twice a day!
    • Read a lot.
    • Take a day off.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Who Danny sees in 20 years; visiting his future self and advice he would receive from him:

  • Danny shares what his future self will look like: a successful CEO who has helped thousands of people while growing a business; someone who is now putting his efforts into a great cause such as eradicating diseases or supporting a great humanitarian effort. Finally, Danny sees someone who is eyeing a career transition into politics!
  • Advice from his future self: continue and keep going. Don’t listen to people who don’t have what you want or who don’t get you.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Stay disciplined!”

Connect with Danny:

MF 134 : Sheena Yap Chan on Moving Forward with the Tao of Self Confidence

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Sheen Yap Chan is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach and host of the podcast, The Tao of Self Confidence. Today, Sheena will share what it takes to gain greater self-confidence so you can move forward.

Successes at a glance:

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Sheena’s life has been what can be best described as “coloring outside the lines.” In fact, she was failed by one of her teachers for doing exactly that! As you’ll learn from Sheena’s story, she followed a very traditional, “paint by numbers” (and within the lines) path, of go to school, get a degree, a job, house, and car. Then, something occurred 6 years ago that changed everything. Sheena’s aunt passed away, suddenly and due to a freak accident. Sheena had been living her life, as she describes, like the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ on a repeat cycle at an office job. It was predictable, safe, provided a paycheck but didn’t inspire her or motivate her in any way. Sheena was so checked out that at one point she would drive to her office on autopilot and all of a sudden wonder, “how did I get here?” Sheena didn’t hate her life or her job but the idea that she was working to build someone else’s dreams nagged at her. Sheena realized it was time for a change.
  • Going out on her own wasn’t easy. Sheena had a lot of resistance from family and friends with a lot of “why” questions: “why leave your job?” “why didn’t you do it this way?” The why questions were the resistance that many of us face when breaking away from the traditional narrative. From friends, Sheena got “the thing” questions: “Oh, are you still doing that thing?” The transition was difficult as Sheena dabbled in a lot of things and “failed miserably” in a lot of them. Sheena’s attempt to reshape her life had a lot of bumps in the road. Her self-esteem also took a hit as she began to wonder, “why would anyone want to listen to me?” At its worst, Sheena was paralyzed with fear and for a time, that kept her from doing anything. Compounding this, Sheena fell into the trap of seeing others on social media who appeared to be far more successful. But what Sheena only realized later was that the appearance of success on social media wasn’t always the reality. Rather, many of the influencers she saw enjoying early success also made major mistakes that caused them to lose it just as easily. Slowly, Sheena started to see more clearly that her journey and her success was not tied to anyone else; that her journey was simply about discovering the answer to the only important question: what am I here for. That’s when the path started to open for Sheena to make some major pivots and breakthroughs.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Let’s backtrack for a moment and start at the beginning. Sheena’s story is very much a journey towards what she teaches today. Growing up in the Philippines as an Asian woman, Sheena shares that she was instilled with the narrative of go to school, get a degree and follow what your parents and society tells you to do; all without making any noise about it. However, despite this being the prescription for many individuals, Sheena knew this wasn’t for her. At the same time, she felt alone and not able to express this desire for more out of her life. Sheena tried to stay along the traditional path: she got the degree, the job, the house and the car. Sheena doesn’t discount this as a viable path, but she points out, you should only follow it if this is what you want and if it contributes to your happiness. The problem for Sheena was that she would sit in her office and the thought that kept coming into head was that she couldn’t see herself following this tract until retirement. She was restless and unhappy. So what keeps so many of us there? Sheena explains that it’s often a sense of complacency, a comfortability and an avoidance of rejection of venturing into the unknown.
  • However, when Sheena’s aunt passed away, Sheena had a wake-up call. The message was clear: life is too short to play it safe and according to someone else’s prescription. Sheena’s aunt was an example of living life to the fullest: she had a zest for it, doing things such as bungee jumping or zip lining in her 50s, that was outside the norm. Sheen took away from this a question that she asked herself: what kind of life do I want to live? One that is prescribed to me by others or one that is on my terms? Sheena made the bold and difficult choice to do the later.
  • As discussed above, Sheena’s journey away from the traditional career path was not easy. She fell into the trap of comparing herself to others who appeared successful online and chased after instant success. The breakthrough came when she realized that what was on social media wasn’t always a reflection of reality. Sheena decided it was time to share her journey and connect with others who were on a similar path with hers.
  • Sheena launched her podcast, The Tao of Self Confidence, to connect with other women who shared similar struggles and aspirations. But that wasn’t easy either. After recording episode 0, it took Sheena 3 months before she would syndicate her show to iTunes! Fortunately, Sheena had the encouragement of some close friends to push her towards this next big step. And thank goodness she did! Over 300 episodes in, Sheena has been able to document this journey and provide a powerful media outlet to let other women know that they are not alone. Moving Forward listeners, it’s not easy leaving the 9-5 traditional world and it’s not easy documenting your journey, especially on such a public forum as a podcast. But as Sheena proves, getting out of your own way can open up doors you never imagined. Today, Sheena, a once shy girl paralyzed by fear is now coaching other women on self-confidence and has become a beacon for others to move forward. Sheena lives by Gandhi’s powerful statement of “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Knowledge bursts:

  • One important tip or practice for building self-confidence:
    • Love yourself and tell yourself you’re worthy to do what you desire, whether it’s travel, start a business, launch a podcast. Show your true self, including the scars, because that’s true self-confidence.
  • How Sheena recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Sitting down and watching some Netflix, working out, walking. Just step away for a bit and come back.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • “Just do you.”

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Love yourself and your authentic self.”

Connect with Sheena:

MF 133 : Moving Forward as a Social Entrepreneur to Eradicate Childhood Diseases, with Robert Selliah

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Robert Selliah, Ph.D. is the CEO and Founder of American MedChem, a Non-Profit organization dedicated to discovery and development of drug candidates created for children. Today, Robert will share how AMC has become a disruptive force to change a market failure.

Successes at a glance:

  • A pharmaceutical scientist turned social entrepreneur.
  • Founder, American MedChem, a 503c non-profit dedicated to the eradication of rare childhood diseases thru the creation of specialized drugs.
    • The focus is on those population of children afflicted by rare diseases that are not widespread and thus ignored by larger pharma companies and biotechs.

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Unlike most of the guests on Moving Forward, Robert wasn’t affected by a personal setback or failure in his career. On the contrary, Robert had a very successful and satisfying career as a pharmaceutical scientist. Rather, Robert experienced and discovered a market failure that adversely affected the lives of children all over the world. After 18 years in the industry, Robert faced a glaring discrepancy that caused him to ask himself a big why question. Why didn’t he ever see or work on any projects for pediatric medicine? This question led Robert to ask more questions and investigate further. What he discovered was that for common diseases such as asthma, allergies, the practice was to take adult medicines and reformulate them for children. However, and shockingly, Robert reveals that when it comes to more serious diseases such as cancer, there’s little research and drug development that’s being done specifically for children. Moreover, the practice of applying adult remedies such as chemotherapy to children afflicted with these diseases often had damaging effects. Robert’s question ultimately led to a revelation: the drug discovery industry has largely failed the child population. The reason for this? As Robert shares, it’s the lack of market drivers and incentives to focus efforts on children. To illustrate, since the costs are significant to develop treatments for adult diseases, pharma companies focus their efforts on diseases that are widespread. When it comes to childhood diseases, the afflicted population is much smaller. Thus those same companies don’t have the incentive to research and develop specialized treatments. What makes this situation all the more tragic is that the technology and the need are both there. What is missing are the market drivers and thus, the incentive for the private sector to develop treatments for childhood diseases.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Robert is trained as a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry, which is impressive on its own and was the basis for a long 18-19 year career in the pharma industry. Robert reached the pinnacle of career success; having worked for 7 major pharma companies, researching and contributing to treatments for 6 diseases. Robert was the very definition of success, having started out in the trenches and rising to a management position where he was in charge of over 200 chemists. Unlike many of the guests we’ve profiled on this show, Robert wasn’t unhappy with his job. Rather, he had a different kind of “aha” moment that led him to leave his comfortable job behind and become a social entrepreneur.
  • As detailed above, Robert had a big why question which identified an entire market failure, resulting in the underserving of children afflicted with diseases. To answer this need, Robert made it his mission to develop a solution; one that would not be market driven but philanthropy driven. This became the founding premise for American MedChem, the first non-profit biotech company.
  • Getting there wasn’t easy. Robert had a very comfortable career with a steady paycheck. Exchanging that for the unknown was a new experience for him. Many around Robert, questioned his decision, believing that he had a personal stake in this venture. As Robert reveals, he doesn’t have children! Yet, he was moved by the market problem to take action. At the heart of it, Robert found his big why: providing optimal and viable solutions for sick children. Robert knows that one of the greatest tragedies and hardest moments that any parent would ever have to face is to carry a sick child to a doctor only to be told that there are no medicines that can help. With this in mind, Robert started in 2010, working hard to stitch together and create a new organization: the non-profit biotech. Today, in 2017, American MedChem has launched out of the gate and is making waves in social enterprise; based on a wholly collaborative model that is sustainable. Robert is a great example of how a question can lead to a calling. He is moving forward to ensure that everyone has a chance to do the same.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Robert to move forward:
    • Infinite Vision by Pavithra K. Mehta and Suchitra Shenoy: tells the story of how Dr. Venkataswamy (“Dr. V”) bucked the traditional model of eye care to create Aravind, a self-sustaining, social enterprise, service model which is now the largest eye-care provider on the planet.
    • Gabriella Miller: a brave young girl whose message was that others should continue the fight to find a cure for cancer. Robert was inspired by this video and dedicates his work to Gabriella and those like her.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Twitter!
      • Follow American MedChem and Robert Selliah.
      • Robert’s best practice: use lists and categorize connections based on topic or interest. For Robert, this is useful in organizing groups of scientists, helpers, etc. so the messages can be targeted and specific. An old fashioned approach within a modern communication medium.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • “Be fearless! That’s it.” It will force you to become more resourceful.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Cultivate a sense of inclusivity.”

Connect with Robert:

Moving Forward with Extraordinary Individuals in the World of Music

We celebrate these extraordinary individuals for bringing us the gift of music and for being examples of what it means to find your purpose and your passion, to pivot and move forward.

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 132 : A Musician’s Heart for Moving Forward, with Damien Horne

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 123 : Alain Mayrand on How to Score Your Career with Perseverance and a USP

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 111 : Bree Noble’s Career Composition as a Music Entrepreneur

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 110 : How Jordan Goodman Has Moved Forward Since Episode 044

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 072 : Vera Volchansky Shares a Huge Setback on the Road to Superstardom That Opened the Door to an Amazing Career

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 071 : Jordan Smith on How Becoming a Maestro at the Pivot Led to a Great Career as a Conductor

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

MF 070 : Matt Thomas and Ryan Keaton: From Playing in Bands to a Business that Connects Artists to the Biggest Brands in the World

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Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above. Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

 

MF 044 : Finding the Rhythm to Freedom, Passion and Being, with Beatwell’s Jordan Goodman

MF 132 : A Musician’s Heart for Moving Forward, with Damien Horne

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Damien Horne (damienhorne.com | encourageinspiremotivate.com) is an acclaimed musician who has shared the stage with some of country music’s biggest stars. A minister, philanthropist and TEDx speaker, Damien will share the musician’s heart for moving forward.

Successes at a glance:

 

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • Damien shares that growing up, he had never been outside of his small hometown in Hickory, NC. So when he moved to Los Angeles, following high school, he had no idea how expensive or how difficult making a living as an artist in would be. Within a few short weeks, Damien was broke and with nowhere to stay and knowing no one out there, he ended up homeless. For the next two years, Damien moved around; sleeping in squats, abandoned buildings, and homeless shelters. Throughout it all, Damien never lost his vision for pursuing a better life. While this was one of the toughest periods in his life, he also reveals that it was one of the most pivotal as it helped sculpt who he is today. The perspective Damien demonstrates is a reflection of his character and his life’s mantra of being true to yourself. A powerful statement that he shares on this episode of Moving Forward that listeners should take to heart: “when the valleys come … you really find out what your character is about.”

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Damien has an amazing story that complements his extraordinary talent and achievements as an artist. Damien grew up in what he calls a “blended family” in Hickory, NC that included 12 children, all raised by his mom. As he describes, his childhood was all about survival, having witnessed a lot of death and destruction in the projects. Tragically, Damien lost one of his older brothers when he was 19 and later, lost another. On top of that, two of his younger brothers ended up incarcerated. Damien reflects that growing up in that kind of environment often leads to a narrow view of options for one’s future and life. Damien attributes to his faith and the support he had from his mom, herself one of 16 children, as the main reasons why he was able to persevere and survive.
  • Despite the difficult times, Damien graduated from high school, the first in his family to do so. He also made a decision to pursue something much bigger than most thought possible; sing himself in the entertainment industry. Part of Damien’s inspiration came from creating and writing music, something that was a source of strength and encouragement. Hickory, NC was a far cry from Los Angeles, CA but Damien, having grown up watching artists perform on TV, saw his future there. So, right after graduation, Damien packed up everything he had and moved west. To say the move was a culture shock is an understatement.
  • However, as noted above, the road was not easy. Damien ended up broke and homeless for two years, in pursuing his dream. Did Damien think about giving up and packing up? Absolutely, many times. But what kept Damien going and surviving, day-to-day was his faith in God. You can hear it in his voice, that unwavering drive towards his calling, a vocation that would one day take him to heights unimagined and inspire countless people through his voice. Despite those difficult times, Damien notes that every time he felt like giving up, someone would come into his life who would provide an opportunity to hang on a little longer; sometimes it was simply a word of encouragement to continue pursuing the dream.
  • Then, when all seemed its darkest, Damien, who had barely eeked out a living, managed to save enough to move back to NC. Coming home was a crossroads. He began to wonder if he should change his trajectory, perhaps take another route in music. He tried college for a semester and when that didn’t pan out, he took another leap and decided to move to Nashville, TN. This is when things really started to shift and align for him, though not at first. Damien shares how Nashville is filled with musicians lining the sides of the road, sharing their artistry and gifts with the public. Damien started doing the same, sitting on the street, performing for hours a day. He would perform as best he could and through the dollars and coins people would give him, he would save for a meal or a hotel room. Though his situation was better than in LA, it was still touch-and-go, a daily struggle to survive. But that all changed, a few weeks after arriving in Nashville.
  • One fateful night, a guy walked by, sporting a big black cowboy hat and a handlebar mustache. He stopped where Damien was performing and threw a hundred dollar bill into his collection case. A fellow musician, he also started performing with Damien. Damien had no idea that the man whose attention he caught was John Rich. Afterwards, Damien’s life changed with an invitation from John to perform with the Muzik Mafia, group of highly talented musicians who had been burned by the industry and had banded together to do what they love the most: perform the music they are most passionate about. As Damien played with them, the movement started to grow and gain recognition with many of its performers receiving record and publishing deals. Soon after, the group went on tour. Damien went from homeless to performing on stage, opening for Hank Williams, and that was the beginning of Damien’s meteoric rise which continues to this day.
  • Listeners, Damien has the heart of moving forward. He hit rock bottom, having faced the tragic loss of family members, homelessness, destitution and more. Yet, throughout it all, he kept true to his vision and looking back, he does not hold any resentment at the valleys or dips he had to go thru to get to where he is. Rather, he sees those experiences as part of the journey towards pursuing his dream, his goal, his mission. A truly remarkable story of perseverance, faith, and moving forward.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Damien to move forward:
    • No Weapon:’ a gospel song by Fred Hammond; based on a Bible scripture that states “no weapon against me can prosper.” Damien listened to this song a lot while he was homeless and to him, it represents the strength and courage to keep moving forward. No matter what “knocks you down,” they will never “knock you out.”
    • Damien’s music on Amazon.
  • Damien’s advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in music:
    • First, write down what your goals are and put them in a place where you can see them every day.
    • Second, list out the tangible steps to reach each goal. Example: Damien didn’t play guitar when he moved to Nashville so that became one of his goals. The steps were practicing every day. Damien reminds us, it’s about “putting in the work” to achieve your goals.
  • How Damien recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • Damien recently got into meditation and it’s become an important part of his daily life; taking 10-15 minutes every day, to sit down and allow his mind to relax and breathe. Part of this is envisioning what he wants to see in life and where he wants his life to go. Damien shares that having a balance of work and rest will make you a better performer.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Damien would tell his past self to stay focused on God. Damien didn’t have an easy life and it was a long, difficult road to get to where he is today. As he shares, the difficult times were made even more so when he moved away from God, so staying focus and faithful is the biggest piece of advice he would share with his past self.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “Encourage, inspire, and motivate others and when you do that, others will shine!”

Connect with Damien:

MF 131 : Nitin Chhoda’s EPSSI Principle for Moving Forward

Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above.  Moving Forward is also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, Google Play and iHeartRadio.

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Nitin Chhoda is the founder of Total Activation, a company that specializes in personal wellness products. Today, Nitin will share his EPSSI principle that will keep you moving forward in mind, body and spirit.

Successes at a glance:

  • Founder, Total Activation, a company specializing in personal health and beauty products
  • Author of several books on physical therapy, fitness and more

Setback failure or time when things fell apart:

  • For Nitin, his life has been filled with challenges. Nitin lives by the adage “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” and on this episode, he candidly shares two moments that had an impact on his life, one personal and one business:
    • In 2004, while waiting for his immigration papers to be processed, Nitin’s dad passed away in India. While Nitin wanted nothing more than to be able to fly back for the funeral, due to his immigration status, he couldn’t. This was one of the most difficult and painful decisions Nitin ever had to make. At the time, he felt that he had failed in his duty as a son, as the high price for cementing a better future in the United States. At the time, Nitin was struggling financially, doing everything from delivering pizza to working in a restaurant just so he could have a source of food.
    • Around 4-5 years ago, Nitin was at the height of success with his businesses. Then, the thing that almost every entrepreneur fears at one point or another occurred: one of his businesses got sued. Nitin shares the side of entrepreneurship that is often not talked about: the unexpected pitfalls that sometimes come with reaching success.

The “aha” moment that sparked a pivot:

  • Nitin moved to the U.S. in 2002 from India. He started out as a fitness trainer out of New Jersey, at age 24, with nothing more than a few personal belongings and the belief that America is the greatest country in the world. Originally, Nitin intended to come to the states to build up his education and credentials and return to India so he could make a better life for himself. Little did he know at the time that coming from Mumbai to Englewood, NJ, he would end up staying and build up several highly successful businesses. Part of Nitin’s success, he attributes to those who has he has surrounded himself with along the way. For Nitin, relationship building is how he learned and was able to go from living paycheck-to-paycheck to living the American dream. Nitin’s love for America and what it represents comes through as he shares that he would be happy driving a bus if he lost everything, so long as he could do so here.
  • As a personal trainer, Nitin wrote hundreds of articles on health and fitness back in India and today, has written several books on the subject. As his practice grew in the states, Nitin expanded his learning by getting his physical therapy license. From there, Nitin expanded to marketing strategy, teaching other practitioners the art of marketing their practices.
  • This eventually led to one of Nitin’s first big “aha moments.” As he started learning more about his craft, he came to the realization that health and fitness aren’t simply what you put in your body but on it. This is the spark that led Nitin to become a product entrepreneur with the creation of the Total Activation product line. Surrounding this is a 5 point principle of EPSSI that Nitin developed and shares with Moving Forward listeners today:
    • Emotional health: being happy with who you are, what you do;
    • Physical health: taking care of the body;
    • Social: who you surround yourself with;
    • Spiritual: your beliefs about the world and your place in it;
    • Intellectual: challenging your brain and learning;
  • This brings us to the two challenges that Nitin faced that he shared above.
    • Losing Nitin’s dad was extremely difficult. What got him thru that period was having people around him who could provide the much-needed emotional support. Nitin also shares this: events in your life carry different meanings at different times. At age 24, Nitin lost his father and he felt that things couldn’t get any worse or better. However, having had the strength and the support to persevere, Nitin reveals that by age 37, his son was born and that became a moment when all of his past concerns seemed to wash away. Becoming a parent forced Nitin to reassess life and his priorities. Moreover, Nitin sees in his son, glimpses of his father and himself; a “version 2.0” so to speak within the next generation.
    • With respect to the business challenge, Nitin persevered by staying committed and seeing it thru. Nitin also shares an important take away for all entrepreneurs and business owners: have systems, including insurance, in place to protect your business and yourself. Nitin warns that it’s easy to be on “cloud 9” when things are going well and sales are booming but it’s a sobering moment when all of that is at risk of crashing and burning, once you get served. Moreover, Nitin shares that regardless of the legitimacy of the claim, it’s costly, expensive and time-consuming to defend a lawsuit; to the point where it can severely undermine a business’ financial position.

Knowledge bursts:

  • Resource or cultural experience that inspired Nitin to move forward:
    • The movie, Any Given Sunday: in particular, Al Pacino’s speech to his team. Nitin plays that scene at workshops and events he hosts.
    • The movie, Glengarry Glen Ross: specifically, the scene with Alec Baldwin’s famous “ABC” speech.
    • The Walking Dead: Nitin is a big fan of horror shows and likes to relax by taking a 10-15 minute break, watching the popular series.
  • Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
    • Canva: provides high-quality stock images with editing capabilities for marketing.
    • Snappa: another great source for creating visuals for social media marketing.
  • How Nitin recharges when facing a roadblock or challenge:
    • As Nitin works from home, one of the challenges he faces is separating work and family. During those moments when he feels overwhelmed, Nitin likes to take a break by watching 10-15 minutes of shows like The Walking Dead with a cup of coffee.
    • Sometime between 6 pm – 7 pm, Nitin finishes work for the day and watches Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with his son.

Start Moving Forward with Audible and two free audio books:

Advice to past self while going thru a difficult time:

  • Nitin would tell his past self, two things: 1) things can only get better, 2) don’t complain or moan; instead ask yourself what is the one thing you can do in this situation to make it better. That may be something as simple as making a phone call to someone or as significant as a change in the way you run your business.

Parting wisdom (in a few words):

  • “The right people matter the most.”

Connect with Nitin: