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“Get a workout in every single day.” with Vincent Bradley

Get a workout in every single day. Even if it’s a 30-minute circuit or short bike ride — getting a sweat in every single day will keep the chemicals in your brain balanced and ward off depression, stress and anxiety. The science on working out is pretty definitive and it’s a critical piece of my […]

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Get a workout in every single day. Even if it’s a 30-minute circuit or short bike ride — getting a sweat in every single day will keep the chemicals in your brain balanced and ward off depression, stress and anxiety. The science on working out is pretty definitive and it’s a critical piece of my daily routine.

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

Vincent Bradley is a serial entrepreneur, investor and currently the CEO & Co-Founder of Proper Wild — a powerful, plant-based energy shot, that cares about your health!

Vincent was formerly the CEO & Co-Founder of FinTech Global Markets, a tech-enabled investment bank which was acquired by Boustead & Company in 2017.

Vincent holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

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 grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Go Blue!) as the middle brother of three boys to two doctors. My family is as competitive as them come; school, sports, food at the dinner table — everything was a competition to be the best. I think that really helped define who I am today. If you’re going to make it as an entrepreneur you have to be ready to compete. My upbringing prepared me to be smart, hardworking and not backdown from adversity, which you’re going to face a lot of as an entrepreneur.

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

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a builder. Sandcastles, airplane models, and then as I got into my teens: websites. I love design, problem solving and building. I started my first company doing odd jobs around my neighborhood in high school and then ran a couple side businesses through college. I think if you asked my Mom, she’d tell you I was born an entrepreneur — I’m just passionate about building, learning and challenging the status quo!

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 co-founded my last company FinTech Global Markets, with Mark Dyne. Mark is a billionaire tech investor and entrepreneur that helped guide Skype in the early days as well as several other revolutionary companies. I had the privilege to work closely and learn from Mark for over 4 years in my mid 20’s. I joke around that working with Mark was like earning my MBWA (Management by Walking Around). In all seriousness, the mentorship I received from Mark was way more valuable than an MBA from Stanford or Harvard.

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 think the biggest mistake I’ve made in my career is not firing well. The old saying, “hire well, maintain well, and fire well” is really true. I hired a good friend at my previous company, and it was pretty clear it wasn’t a good fit after about a month, but it took me over a year to fire them. I didn’t do this person any service by not firing them sooner because they weren’t succeeding at their job and I wasn’t being a good leader for my company and my team. Firing is hard, especially when loyalty and friendships are involved, but it’s a necessary part of the game…fire well!

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?

Stop looking for the next billion-dollar idea and instead, just start doing. Start moving and don’t stop. I think fear of failure keeps most people on the sidelines, but what I learned early on is that all of the great entrepreneurs embrace failure. Failure is the key to success, and it’s actually fun when you embrace it. Failure means you’re learning and progressing towards your goals. If you fail fast and don’t make the same mistakes over and over again, you’ll fail your way right into success!

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?

I think every high school student should read “The Lean Startup,” by Eric Reis. Whether you become an entrepreneur, teacher, doctor, or something else, you should learn and apply the principles of agile, lean iteration and the importance of failing fast. In life you have to keep moving and keep trying. You’re going to fail a lot, no matter who you are but if you embrace that and learn from your mistakes, you’ll find success!

My bonus read would be “Team of Rivals” by Doris Goodwin. It’s about President Lincoln and how he assembled his cabinet with many of his political rivals. He didn’t want a bunch of “yes men” around him. He realized he needed to be the President for all Americans, and by creating a balanced team around him, he was able to get differing viewpoints and make better decisions. I think this principle is really important for all leaders to follow. Build your leadership team with diversity and differing viewpoints of your own! Make sure your customers are represented by your team members.

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

Fail fast! I’ve failed a lot in life. Basically, I’ve failed at almost everything I’ve ever tried to do at some point in the journey, but I never quit, and that’s the key; because eventually I figure out what I’m doing wrong, fix it, and end up succeeding. The key is to fail fast, because the faster you fail, the faster you learn, and the faster you can move forward and eventually start winning.

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

My current company, Proper Wild, has been really exciting to build, not only because I’m personally obsessed with the product and an avid customer myself, but because we’re literally helping thousands (soon to be millions) of people improve their lives and maximize their day!

Proper Wild is a 100% plant-based energy shot that gives you clean all day energy without the junk! Millions of Americans struggle to be productive, but also care about what they’re putting into their bodies. We created Proper Wild, because we wanted a tiny, on-the-go energy shot that tasted great, actually worked, and was made from only clean, plant-based ingredients. Seems like a no-brainer, but before Proper Wild there was just a bunch of junk on the market that would leave you jittery and sick to your stomach.

We get hundreds of emails and reviews a month thanking us for creating Proper Wild and stories about how we’re helping people, it’s really amazing and truly rewarding!

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?

I really think good process and good habits are a big piece of success in life and business. That’s because when you have good habits in place, it helps reduce the chaos. Chaos is the killer of startups, relationships, and basically everything!

All of my businesses are very process and data driven. We like to measure our “business experiments” and have a definitive result at the end of each one that tells us if what we’re doing is succeeding or failing. To do that you have to have good process, aka: business habits.

Define the experiment you want to run, define what success or failure looks like before you run it, then run it, measure it, and if it works, scale it. If it fails, repeat the previous steps. This type of process will ultimately lead to success, because you’ll reduce the chaos and know what’s working and what’s not working.

If you lack discipline or good business habits, you end up just doing a bunch of sh*t, creating chaos and have no idea what’s working and what’s not working, and you’re destined to fail.

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

I’m a process and organization ninja. As I previously mentioned, I really believe good process reduces chaos, but most importantly it helps to create a culture of repeatable innovation.

We follow the same experiment process and measure the results for everything we do at my companies. This allows us to know what’s working and what’s not working, and ultimately fail fast.

I’ve been successful in business and feel confident that I’ll continue to be successful, because we’re going to continue to fail fast.

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

Repetition, repetition, repetition. I tell everyone that works for me that if you want to succeed you have to commit to the process. I think most people want to be successful but they don’t want to do the little things to be successful because the little things require a lot of work and grinding to maintain. But the little things are key, and to do them well you have to wake up every morning and recommit to the process.

I find that using good project management software and staying very organized helps to reduce the ability for people to drift towards laziness and away from doing the little things. If you build good structure and process into your business or life, either with lists or project management software, it makes following good habits much easier.

When it comes to stopping bad habits, I think people have to look themselves in the mirror and be honest with themselves. If they want to be successful, they have to commit. If they don’t (which is the person’s choice) they just have to acknowledge that they are okay with falling short, and it’s a life choice they’re consciously making. Unfortunately, most people choose to not succeed, and often settle for less. I’m okay with that personally because it means less competition for me!

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.

It’s really important to get enough sleep each night, I wake up around 6am each morning which means I need to go to bed around 10–11pm each night if I’m going to get a full 7–8 hours, which is what I need to stay healthy and have good energy throughout the day. Sleep is probably the most important thing you can do for your body to keep it moving at high efficiency.

Get a workout in every single day. Even if it’s a 30-minute circuit or short bike ride — getting a sweat in every single day will keep the chemicals in your brain balanced and ward off depression, stress and anxiety. The science on working out is pretty definitive and it’s a critical piece of my daily routine.

Plan your calendar out, write it down in Google Calendar or Apple Calendar and stick to it. If you allocate 30 mins to respond to emails, go in and get them done. It’s okay to plan in breaks or an hour lunch, but when it’s time to work, work. When it’s time to play, play. Set your calendar and stick to it. I believe strongly in a work-play balance, but to stay focused and get sh*t done, you have to stick to the plan you set out!

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

As we’ve discussed developing good habits comes down to repetition and commitment. Most people say they’re committed but don’t follow through because they’re lazy. Being good requires waking up every morning and recommitting yourself to doing the little things

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

Same as above

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

Same as above

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

Same as above

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

Same as above

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. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

For me the key to getting into the zone or a “state of Flow” as you stated, is to be all in and passionate about what I’m doing. I’m really lucky because when I wake up every morning I’m excited to get to work. On the weekends I’m thinking about Proper Wild and how we’re going to keep failing fast and making huge improvements. I’m in the zone almost every day because I feel like I have tremendous purpose and I love what I’m doing.

I think most people can relate, when they’re having fun, time flies, and their overall happiness level increases. Find your passion and purpose and getting into the zone becomes easy!

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.

Just keep moving. If you’re feeling like a failure, you’re depressed or lonely, just keep moving. You’re not going to improve your situation if you’re sitting still. I’m very passionate about mental health and I think the key to keeping your mind right is to keep moving. There’s obviously a lot more to it than just that, diet, exercise, purpose, genetics — but if you keep moving you can (and will) improve your situation!

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 🙂

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Follow me @vincentmbradley to keep up to date with my day to day, but more importantly checkout Proper Wild and see if we can help you maximize your day!

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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