Hard times make us stronger. We will survive this, and the knowledge and experience of going through this will make us stronger the next time. There will always be another monster around the corner, and we should expect it, prepare for it, and be ready to face it head-on.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christian Schauf.
Christian is a serial adventurer, athlete, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Originally from the Midwest, he founded Uncharted Supply Company to help the average person escape extraordinary circumstances. In his downtime, he lends aid to those in need, performs charity work in the world’s most dangerous cities and chases adventure in every sense of the word.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
After growing up on a farm in Wisconsin, my career path included everything from starting a cider company to playing in a rock band, which led me to 40 trips to Iraq providing entertainment for troops serving in war zones. I’ve worked for brands like Harley-Davidson and GoPro, produced documentaries and spend most of my free time adventuring in some of the more extreme environments in the world. After moving to California for a job, I quickly realized that people were unprepared and inexperienced when it came to navigating anything outside of the norm, and I set out to fix that, and thus make the world a safer place for everyone.
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 read a lot of books…. On tape…. On long runs. Shoe dog, Zero to One, Losing my Virginity, Sapiens. I am always interested in finding themes among personal stories, especially those of successful entrepreneurs. What makes Richard Branson, Peter Theil, and Phil Knight similar? What is consistent and what is different? One of my favorite things is watching the struggle and suffering they have all faced. It’s a reminder to me that struggle is a right of passage, and doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to fail. Strong entrepreneurs, and strong people, continue to find paths forward. Weak ones do not.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective, can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Yesterday, I went on a long ski tour through the mountains. It was one of the more beautiful days I’ve ever experienced in my life. I came home, turned the TV on, and the TV wanted to convince me that the world was going to end. My point: While it’s important to be informed and act appropriately, you can also find yourself buying into too much hype, and thus spooling out of control. Yes, I know this will affect many of us, but I can’t help but think of all the kids who get to spend weeks of quality time with their parents that is unprecedented. There is always a positive to focus on.
- We live in the greatest country in the world. We’re lucky something like this hasn’t happened in the past. And we’re lucky this isn’t common. For some, it is. I think it’s a good moment to realize how fortunate we are, and how good life typically is. If we do that, every day starts to feel more like a gift. Just think how different it will feel to meet your friends at a bar after this is all behind us, which it will be.
- We’re being asked to sit on our couches. Think about this. The other day, someone emailed me in a panic that they saw Tanks on trains going through their neighborhood. I had to remind them that those people are on OUR side. They are here to protect us and help work through this. There is no invading army. There is no war on foreign soil we’re being asked to go and fight.
- There is always opportunity in moments like this. As an entrepreneur, I’m in constant conversation with many other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Some find paths forward. Some pivot. Some jump immediately and do what they can to prepare. Others freeze, play the victim. Whether it’s re-defining your business, getting in shape, or getting college credits, there are things you can focus on at a level you may never have again.
- Hard times make us stronger. We will survive this, and the knowledge and experience of going through this will make us stronger the next time. There will always be another monster around the corner, and we should expect it, prepare for it, and be ready to face it head-on.
From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- I think about this as 1. Self 2. Family 3. Community. You must first take care of yourself so you can help others. Doing so can help lift your family and then your family can help the community.
- Exercise, nutrition, rest — all of these things make you more resilient, more focused and more effective. Do this for yourself, and lead by example. Encourage others, like this silly 10 push up challenge going around, to do little things to be stronger.
- Much like the push-up challenge, the ability for things to go viral (sorry the pun) is powerful. We shared the story of a local coffee shop who donates proceeds to the animal shelter. They lost 90% of their business overnight, and a simple Instagram story and email blast sold enough coffee to help them make payroll, keeping people safe and calm, and helping dogs. What’s the story in your neighborhood that we can leverage?
- Community! Take the lead on connecting your community. Put a small survey on each door: phone number, family members, skills and things they can contribute… connect with one another. It’s good practice, but even better practice when tomorrow is a bit uncertain. The way humans get through anything is working together.
- Prepare for yourself and for others. In a situation that is uncertain, focusing on what you can control is not only effective but also great emotionally. My analogy — you’re feeling out of shape so you decide to get a workout in. You may not be immediately in shape the moment you finish your workout, but you’ve made progress, and you feel a whole lot better. Maybe you aren’t fully prepared after one day, but you’ll start working towards it, and that goes a long way to not only not being a victim but being in a position of power that can help others.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
Control what you can. Get some exercise. Turn the news off. Talk to someone you trust who is always level headed and logical. You become who you are around.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. In my 40 trips to Iraq, this was our mantra. We expected that it would ‘suck’ and in return, it was rarely as bad as we had planned. Our culture is very comfortable. Cold? Turn the thermostat up. Hungry? Check the fridge. Humans are amazing, but we have to embrace how much we are capable of enduring and embrace it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would find a way to compensate people based on their contributions to society. 100 million dollars because you can swing a bat is silly when a teacher influencing a couple hundred kids a year makes 35k. Let’s empower people who are changing lives on a daily basis and watch the generational change from having thousands of young people who learned from great leaders.
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