Create a scenario in which there are no screens because screens make it easy for you to get distracted and pull you away from the present moment. The world won’t end in an hour or two of not looking at your phone or computer.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Zak Garcia, the CMO of CBDCapitalGroup, an investment and operating company that helps small companies grow by providing them with the capital. Previously, he served as the Chief Marketing Officer of Bulletproof, Inc. as one of the company’s first employees and played a key role in expanding it into the globally recognized brand it is today. Garcia specializes in the use of marketing and leadership to guide fellow entrepreneurs in growing successful businesses. He has sold over $100 million in products, mostly in the nutrition and health industry. Garcia gained valuable experience in leadership and making important decisions in high stress situations while serving in the U.S. Army that he has transferred over to his workplace leadership culture for growth.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
Growing up in a large family with 7 (full/half/step) siblings, there wasn’t a lot of money for things other than the necessities. After witnessing countless arguments and stress over finances and seeing my parents locked into jobs they didn’t enjoy, I decided that entrepreneurship would be the solution for my own life. I must have had 1,000 business ideas as a kid — some of which I actually made work! I was a 17-year-old senior in high when the nation experienced 9/11. The attack left me feeling shocked, angry, and helpless. I channeled those feelings into the one action I could take — enlisting in the U.S. Army right after I graduated.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?
After a successful career at Bulletproof Coffee, I left my position as CMO in early 2017. After taking the company from a startup where I was the 6th employee hired to a 9-figure international brand, I was ready for something new. Consulting was the next logical step and while the money was great, it didn’t fulfill my passion. I could come up with the right strategy, but I didn’t have control over whether the companies I consulted with were successful in implementing those strategies. Looking for something I could really sink my skills into that also aligned with my personal values and passions, I met David Metzler. We both saw a major opportunity in the CBD space, and with our complementary skill sets, we came together to form what is now CBDCapitalGroup.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
In my role as CMO of CBDCapitalGroup, I am responsible for ensuring our brand’s vision and mission are properly conveyed to the world. This includes our branding, overall marketing strategy, and managing public relations. A large portion of the day is typically dedicated to branding and I spend about a quarter of my day managing our portfolio companies and focusing on top-level strategy. In addition, I also participate with our executive team in pitching to potential investors and entrepreneurs. It’s not unusual for the majority of my day to be spent on the phone or video conference meetings after dropping my kids off at school.
Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?
Kids’ brains are developing from day one and love and affection are essential to proper brain development. When you don’t spend time with your kids, they are going to soak up influences from other sources (TV, other kids, whatever is in front of them), and that may not be in their best interest. Your kids need to feel like they are loved and that they matter. By not spending time with them, they may feel like they’re simply not important to you and that can affect their self esteem and as a result, their future relationships with others.
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
Spending quality time is crucial to their sense of self-worth and sets the stage for a lifetime of interpersonal relationships. If your parents (who are the most important examples of a loving relationship in a child’s life) don’t value you enough to spend time with you, it’s natural to feel like maybe you don’t have a lot of worth. It’s not about just telling them how great they are either. They also need to have boundaries set for them and enforced. This allows them to feel safe and secure (even when they don’t appreciate it in the moment). Too many parents are taking the easy way out by putting their kid in front of a screen or constantly giving them anything they ask for, when maybe what they really need is quality time with the people they look up to most in life.
According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?
One of the most important things we do in my family is sharing gratitude at dinner time every day. Studies have shown that young adults that practice gratitude daily are more resilient, more determined, and have a more positive outlook on life.
Parents must actively support their children in what they are passionate about. My stepdaughter enjoys being active so I encourage that by flying kites with her, playing soccer, going to the park, or teaching her rollerblading tricks in the neighborhood.
Experiences together, like family trips or going to see a play, build meaningful memories that will last a lifetime. Create experiences as a family and you’ll treasure those special moments for a lifetime.
Kids also thrive on routine, and it is easier for everybody if you have scheduled family time. That’s why we have family game night every week where we play board games and eat pizza together. It gives us all something to look forward to and an opportunity to reconnect. And honestly, who doesn’t love pizza?
We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?
1. Create a scenario in which there are no screens because screens make it easy for you to get distracted and pull you away from the present moment. The world won’t end in an hour or two of not looking at your phone or computer.
2. Kids need and want a consistent routine. We practice this by having a family movie night every Friday. If things come up, we move it to another day in the week so it’s consistent and everyone has something to look forward to doing together.
3. Planning a trip and providing your kids with experiences they will have forever is extremely important. My family plans a 4th of July trip together every year and it’s a highlight of our summer. Trips can be spontaneous; they don’t necessarily need to be planned. Just make sure to take them.
4. Having one-on-one time with your children and providing them the opportunity to interview you allows them to feel in control and supported while letting them learn about you. They can pretend they are a talk show host or a journalist, which activates their imagination and lets them role play.
5. Make sure to take an interest in their lives. No matter how silly their interests may seem to you, they are important to them. Get to know your children and understand what they like and what lights them up. Let them know that what they have to say and think matters, and challenge them to think bigger (without negating their feelings in the process).
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
The easiest definition of a good parent is someone that loves their kids and gives them their undivided time. Give your kids a hug, kiss them, tell them that you love them. It is one thing to be physically present and another to show them how much you care for them. We all have limited time on this planet and your time with your children is precious.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
I always tell my children that everything is possible. In my home, we say that “can’t” is a bad word. If my daughter came to me and told me that she wanted to be a football player, I wouldn’t tell her that she couldn’t because only men play in the NFL. I would let her know that she could be the very first woman in the NFL, if she works hard. Make sure to use conscious language with your children. Don’t just say to them “you are so smart” instead qualify it by saying “you are smart because you think about how to do things before taking action.”
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
I define success as being compassionate, being loved deeply and loving people fully. Success is also having the freedom to spend time with your family as you choose. Financial success is important to me but it is not about the number in the bank account. It is more about having the freedom to choose what I do with my time and who I spend it with. Some of the wealthiest people in the world are emotionally bankrupt because they value money over everything else.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
Fiction books help me think like a kid again and allow me to relate to my kids and get my creativity flowing. Red Rising is a SciFi fiction book series that I love and it encourages the notion that everything is possible in the future. Business books can also be relevant to parenting. Some of the best business books on leadership will give you strategies that are applicable to both being a good manager of employees and kids. I also love Empoweringparents.com and recommend it to anyone that I can. The site has helped me through some of my most difficult parenting issues and teaches me how to better empower my children. It also reminds me that all parents are going through similar struggles and that I am not alone in my parenting challenges.
Thank you for all for these great insights!