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Filip Keuppens of Pickle Juice: “Plan our work and work our plan”

Sleep, Know Your Goals, and Eliminate the Noise. My productivity increased significantly when I started making “be well rested” a priority. Knowing goals is not too dissimilar from the old adage that we must “plan our work and work our plan.” This will help ensure that we are always concentrating on achieving the end result […]

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Sleep, Know Your Goals, and Eliminate the Noise. My productivity increased significantly when I started making “be well rested” a priority. Knowing goals is not too dissimilar from the old adage that we must “plan our work and work our plan.” This will help ensure that we are always concentrating on achieving the end result and staying on course, which leads to eliminating noise. Essentially, staying on task and ensuring that we don’t get too distracted from our primary objectives by engaging in too many side quests or alternatives.


As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Filip Keuppens.

As the Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Filip Keuppens, acknowledges the name The Pickle Juice Company may be limiting. Having nothing to do with cucumbers, the innovative brand uses a proprietary grain and blend of vinegar that blocks that nerve signal being sent from brain to muscle that initiates cramping. Pickle Juice’s organic, briny beverage is the only scientifically backed solution to prevent muscle cramps.

Pickle Juice is just the kind of no-spin, real deal, game-changing product Keuppens loves to bring to market. Indeed, the beverage has highly research, study-backed benefits. Still, Keuppens knows the brand is delivering on results when (unsponsored) elite athletes are televised chugging Pickle Juice on the sidelines. With a background rooted in sales and operations management along with managing teams in e-commerce, club, specialty and grocery classes, Keuppens’ experience is driven by solution-based products and innovation.

Storytelling is also part of Keuppens’ toolkit. Prior to joining Pickle Juice, Keuppens served as Director of Sales with 20th Century Fox, and Key Account Manager with Warner Home Video, which taught him the value of testimonials and 3D messaging. His approach with Pickle Juice is not just touting product properties, but also offering consumers a visualization exercise in performance achievements and rewards. Keuppens understands the athlete brain as the Coach and Director of Rugby with the Dallas Rugby Football Club, and the 7s Competition Commissioner with the Red River Rugby Conference. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Belgium and moved to the Washington DC area as a young child. I was raised like most suburban DC kids other than the fact that I split time between The States and Belgium and most of my parents’ friends were expats, which gave me a relatively global perspective on life fairly early. I was relatively active in what we’ve recently started calling “lifestyle sports,” skiing, skateboarding, and motocross during my teen years but I was fairly unremarkable in the traditional school sports I participated in like Track and Football.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I became more competitive with sports late in high school and university where I became relatively competitive in Rugby and Mogul Skiing. I was also working in the hospitality industry at the time. After University, I worked for HJ Heinz which was my entry into the CPG Industry. Several years later, my experience in the CPG industry, passion for sports, and background in hospitality all aligned to allow me to work in an organization that was focused on developing functional products and bringing them to market in a real and authentic way.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve always believed that we should be always learning and embrace certain values. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of people, but most of my personal and professional values come from my father. I still look up to him the same way I did when I was a kid.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I’ve lived most of my career, and still do, believing that fundamentally the work, objectives or achievements should supersede the fame of the author. While I feel that the most efficient way for organizations to function is to do so in a way that doesn’t obsess over seeking recognition for success or blame for failure, I’ve found that it requires buy in from all sides and one bad apple can, in fact, spoil the bunch. Building the correct mix of people to achieve a common goal is absolutely critical to success. I’ve seen many projects, teams, organizations and companies fall apart because one or a small collective of persons allow their ego to become more important than the objective.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Embrace the process and don’t expect to be successful overnight. You will eventually wish you didn’t take any of the shortcuts that may have presented themselves along the way. Get to know, learn from and respect those who came before you. They are a lot more relevant than you might think.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Everyone that comes to work with me is asked to read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal, it was introduced to it by a very good friend, ultra-runner Patrick Sweeney. On the surface, it’s about a tribe of Indigenous Mexican people called that are considered to be some of the best ultra-distance runners in the world, but it touches a lot on human psychology, motivation and behavior.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Worse Things Have Happened to Better People.” This is a quote I remind myself whenever things are going rough or I start feeling sorry for myself. We all go through difficult times in life, business, etc. Being able to recover from those moments is what separates the achievers from the dreamers.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

We are working on the development of a few new functional products under the Pickle Juice umbrella that marry our scientifically-backed formula with proven, functional ingredients. It will have a significant impact on recovery and VO2 max. One uses CBD as a base to reduce inflammation and the other uses nitrates found in Beets to increase the oxygenation levels of red blood cells. Both products are 100% natural and contain no banned substances.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

It’s a matter of time management. There are a lot of distractions in the modern world that can quickly take up time and make one compromise efficiency or cause us to focus on activities that don’t contribute to our overall goals and objectives. Creating good habits allows us to remain focused, allocate our energy efficiently and yield positive results.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

I’ve learned about creating good habits through allowing bad habits to enter my process. For me, if I don’t take a bit of time for myself to regroup and recover at least once a week, my ability to function at my best becomes compromised. I’ve found the same to be true with sleep, exercise and dietary routines.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

I operate best in a forced discipline / reward hybrid model. If I want to stop doing something, I’ll create a plan that prevents the habit I’m trying from entering the plan and make it a conscious focal point until alternative repetition has eliminated that behavior from my overall behavioral routine. Once that behavioral pattern has been adjusted, I can introduce another one. The same thing applies to developing good habits. The only difference is knowing what to identify as good and bad. We often reward and recognize tasks rather than results and struggle to identify what differentiates good and bad habits. I try to be results motivated and results oriented, particularly in staff management. 40 hours of productive input is much more valuable than 60 hours of unproductive input.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each. — lifestyle decisions are very critical.

Nutrition, Fitness and Sleep are probably the three areas in our lives that we have the most control over that can have the greatest impact on our overall health, energy levels and focus. For wellness — I reserve Sundays as “recharge and reset” days. This is where I focus on regaining my balance to prepare for the following week. If I’m tired, I sleep in; drained, I’ll go for a bike ride with some friends or play touch rugby. Reducing daily decisions is part of this process too. Meals, attire, unscheduled activities for the week are all prepared for on this day as well.

I find that the habit I have that most impacts performance is maintaining a “servant leader attitude.” That is to say that I consciously focus on the results rather than the author. It’s often difficult to have the humility to allow ideas to come from areas where they wouldn’t be expected, but the desire to be “correct” should always override the desire to be “right.”

Focus is the one I struggle with the most, as I have a tendency to take on too much and will often have to be reeled back in by staff or task lists. I’ve developed the habit of literally walking away from my desk and taking a 5 minute break to refocus on the task that I’m trying to focus on.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I feel that incorporating my habits into an overall schedule helps. Want to eat healthier? Try meal prepping healthy foods so they become convenient foods later. Want to exercise more? Make exercise based plans (calendar entries to go for a run, ride a bike, etc).

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

It comes back to fitness, sleep and humility. We can’t focus on improving if we are distracted by being fatigued. Proper sleep is essential for mental preparation. Fitness, both mental and physical, allows us to execute easier and react quicker and more effectively. Humility is critical because if one is not focused on the overall objective of the team or organization and sacrifices those objectives to achieve their own, they will almost always fall short on both accounts. It’s being in this space and helping others find these pillars that allows me to develop and work with products at the Pickle Juice Company. I’ve been able to turn one of my primary ideals into a job that allows me to provide solutions to others who aim to improve nutrition, eliminate distractions and achieve their objectives.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I touched on it a bit earlier. For me, making the good habits easier to participate in than the alternative, bad habits (ie. meal prepping, scheduling fitness, etc) works best.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Sleep, Know Your Goals, and Eliminate the Noise. My productivity increased significantly when I started making “be well rested” a priority. Knowing goals is not too dissimilar from the old adage that we must “plan our work and work our plan.” This will help ensure that we are always concentrating on achieving the end result and staying on course, which leads to eliminating noise. Essentially, staying on task and ensuring that we don’t get too distracted from our primary objectives by engaging in too many side quests or alternatives.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I started improving my sleep by scheduling my days and sometimes setting alarms to go to bed as well as waking up, enough repetition led to re-adjusting my internal clock and setting the routine. Knowing the goal was as simple as writing down what my end objectives are/were, reading them daily and asking myself if I was doing everything to achieve those goals. I eliminated the noise through a similar exercise, that is placing a value on time and making conscious decisions to participate or not participate in certain activities. Fundamentally, it comes down to valuing one’s time and allocating it in such a way that it helps drive one towards their goals and objectives.

Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives? As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful.

I tell employees that they should always be working on a project that they would consider a resume builder, something they are personally passionate about that falls in line with the company goals and objectives and is “big” enough to add to a resume. We have daily tasks that are essential for our roles in any organization, but if we have one or two projects that we are passionate about, it’s easier and more likely that we will remain in our flow.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Success and humility are not mutually exclusive, you can make a huge impact without being a jerk.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Anyone who is passionate about experiential marketing, developing better for you consumables, and bridging the gap between CPG success and mission based values.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Picklepower.com or find me on social media, there are only two people in the world that I know of that spell their first and last name the way I do. I’m pretty easy to track down and have previously joked that I’m only transparent because I’m so easy to find.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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