Pick 1 thing. This is my biggest challenge. This is really difficult for entrepreneurs, especially. We have so many ideas, and everything around us is an opportunity for success and progress. When we can focus on one goal, what we receive is clarity. When I started my chiropractic business, I wanted to incorporate virtually unknown mechanisms to facilitate healing. I was quickly humbled by the financial burden this would place on me, and I realized that I can impact massive change slowly, building as I grow, always stoking the fire, never becoming shortsighted. I’m still going to do all the things in my head, but I need to stay the course.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jake Hart.
Jake Hart changed his life from high school dropout to a professional doctorate level entrepreneur. He was able to change his life after finding out he was going to be a father. His goal is to help remove neurological obstacles to help people grow and heal.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, 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 and raised in the Bay Area. I always had an innate drive to make money. When I was young, I would walk dogs, babysit, and resell anything I could get people to buy. In elementary school, I had a “handy man” business with my best friend Scott, where we would go door to door in our neighborhood looking for work. During lunch breaks at school, I would play poker (using the 15 dollars a week I got to pay for lunch) and consistently triple my money. But, while I was good at making money, I was terrible at school. I fell behind very early in my education and never caught up — so I chose to focus on making money.
I remember dropping out of high school so vividly because I was required to have all of my teachers sign a form giving me my final grade in their class. The last teacher said “The only job you’ll ever get is bagging groceries” as I was walking down the door. I left high school extremely insecure, but I always found work, and work was my escape from asking myself the tough questions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite quotes is from the TV Show LOST, “Don’t mistake coincidence for fate” said by one of my favorite characters, Mr. Eko. Without context, the quote seems to mean that coincidence, or something coming easily is not to be taken as your fate. Mr. Eko, however, was pointing out that something that was dismissed as a coincidence was fate.
When I look back on my journey toward reinvention, I can’t help but think that I’m on an unknown path. It’s really exciting not knowing what situations are distractions, and which ones propel me forward, but I will never dismiss an opportunity because it seems too easy. Coincidence is the universe projecting clarity from your subconscious to your conscious.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Obsessive. Having the ability to hyper-focus on something that you’re interested in helps with becoming great at the things that matter to you. I definitely carry this trait, and I’ve found a way to use it to my advantage. When I am interested in something, I learn everything I can about it. One of my current interests is in looking at the connection between changes in brainwaves and their prevalence in mental health issues like anxiety, depression and addiction.
Perceptive. Being able to read people’s emotions is a powerful tool. The more you “listen” to nonverbal communication, the louder it becomes. The way people hold themselves tells you how they are feeling more authentically than their words. When you can pick up on these things, you can meet people where they are. I feel like I became more sensitive to these things while I worked in a nightclub. I could sense a fight minutes before it was happening, and I enjoyed watching guys go up to girls that were clearly not interested, and quickly getting shut down.
Authentic. When I started practicing chiropractic, I was told that I needed to act like an expert in my field to gain authority and power. It never felt right, because we are all trying to find out our place in this world. The more you learn, the more you realize we don’t really know much about anything at all. I encourage the people around me to critique me without judgement because I realize that I don’t know everything. I gained so much trust and authority by owning my humanity. People trust you more when they realize that you are human too.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
After dropping out of high school at 16, I got recruited from a trade school by an auto body shop. I was doing most of the grunt work like sanding, prepping, and washing cars. My boss would scream at me daily, tell me I was worthless, and really adding to the existing insecurities that I already had from my experience with school. I always worked hard, but I made a lot of mistakes and I had no guidance from anyone else working in the shop. I was eventually let go. While the experience was very humbling, it taught me a lot about what I didn’t want for myself in my career and in life.
After that, I filled vending machines in Santa Cruz for a few years. I was making more than friends in my age group, but I got complacent after a while because no matter how hard I worked, I got paid the same amount of money each paycheck. I later got a job as a janitor, and I always had the feeling like I was looked at as inferior because of the work that I had to do to make a living. A few years later, I got a job washing dishes at a nightclub, and that was the first time I saw the ability to get promoted, and that really helped my self-esteem.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I think the biggest transformation I went through was learning how to apply my work ethic to school work. Before I went back to school, I had no idea what I wanted to become because I had such low value of myself. After working for so many different people, I started to realize what I wanted to do. I knew that did not want to have a boss who didn’t care about me, that I didn’t want to be looked down upon for the work I was doing, that I wanted to reap the successes and failures of my efforts, and that I wanted to help other people get where they needed to be by finding their own path. I knew that I could never give someone power over myself, and for the first time, I had direction. I wanted to open up my own business, and I wanted to choose a skills-based job congruent with my values. At 21 years old, I decided that getting a professional doctorate in Chiropractic was my path.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
Our brains are not designed to logically decide to make a drastic change. We get caught in stagnancy, our minds start to form patterns around it, and our inner brain structures resist anything other than the ordinary. There needs to be something that causes the start of the cascade. For me, the catalyst to becoming who I am today was something that most people believe is one of the worst things to happen to someone 21 years old: my girlfriend got pregnant.
Finding out that I was going to be a dad gave me all the perspective I needed. For the first time in my life, the fear of going back to school was less than the fear of staying stagnant. I saw my two futures clearly, and I made a choice. My biggest fear was raising my son to go after his dreams without ever going after mine. The stakes became higher for school and work. The things I did had to matter. I started looking at everything differently, because it wasn’t just about me anymore.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
Finding my specific skillset started to happen in graduate school. When people started to learn about my story, I got more respect and attention, rather than the concern I was used to. I was finally in a place where I didn’t feel inferior, and in a way, I felt like going through everything I had so far was an advantage. Having my life experience, coupled with my work ethic, and my wife and son having my back — I started to feel unstoppable. I was able to finish grad school without failing a class.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
I’m honestly just getting started with my business, but it’s going great so far. I think that people are more open to something new right now, considering that many people have had their daily lives disrupted. I wanted to create a place of meaningful change. A lot of people think that chiropractic is only about back and neck pain, but I personally take a neurological perspective. The spinal cord is an extension of the brain, and the brain controls the entire body. I feel like when I work on the thing that controls everything, everything is affected by the work that I do. I’m finding that I’m getting a lot of people with stress management issues, and I’m having to research a lot on my off time to keep up with the issues that my members have.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have benefited from a lot of people that supported me and that pushed me to become who I am today. But, it’s important for me to not have to rely on anyone completely because no one cares about me more than myself. People tend to only support you when you’re doing what they think you should be doing. I found that I got a lot of judgement from people because I’ve lived my life in the complete opposite of what society expects. You’re supposed to finish school, get a good job, meet a girl, start a family. I did all those things, but in a completely random order.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing that happens on a regular basis is the amount of trust I gain in such a short time of meeting with people. A lot of times, people come into my office apprehensive about chiropractic in general. Within a few minutes of being honest and authentic, they are excited to get started, and are usually quick to send more people in my direction. Right now, people desperately want to be part of something that matters. I think they see my passion and it ignites something in them.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
I think that everyone questions their abilities including myself. People have different capabilities and passions. I find that when I’m not passionate about what I’m doing, I start to question my abilities to complete it. Sometimes I’ll to force myself to overcome my limiting beliefs, and it doesn’t always benefit me. I think it’s important to listen to what the universe is trying to tell us, and forcing something that isn’t authentically you isn’t always beneficial. I don’t want to go skydiving, because it’s not me. I could overcome that fear and I’d probably be fine, but I’m not going to because It’s not who I am. When you’re on the right path, it shouldn’t feel like a struggle even if it’s hard work.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
It’s almost ironic that one of my biggest supporters is someone who society said would ruin my life. Becoming a dad was the best thing for me. Having someone that just wants the best for you without judgement helps me treat myself the same way. When I found out I was going to be a dad, I could almost feel my brain changing. When I would usually run away from a situation, for the first time I was ready to fight because it wasn’t just about me anymore. That being said, I think that Individual drive is the only fuel that can be used on a long journey. I had to want it for myself to succeed. Unconditional love is not how I feel about myself. If I am not aiming at a target that I want to accomplish, I’m not satisfied with myself. I think of it like a river. Water that is flowing is more likely to be safe to drink, where stagnant water is likely riddled with disease and dangers. I think a lot of people are in a state of stagnancy, getting a wage no matter the level of work. I think that explains why the majority of people are unhappy with their job.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Realizing that all growth happens outside of your comfort zone is completely true. I’ve had to break out of my comfort zone numerous times in my journey. The biggest thing that took me out of it was going back to school. I didn’t know how to study in a way that worked for my brain because, before I dropped out, I had never really applied myself. At times, it felt like it took me twice the amount of studying my classmates did to get through each test. The only thing I could do was to put in the work. The human body makes a lot of sense once you figure out the patterns.
Being an entrepreneur is uncomfortable for people that it’s not meant for. For entrepreneurs, sitting in a cubicle working for someone else, putting up with the fake “we’re like a family” workforce collective, asking permission to go on vacation, and casual Fridays is a lot more uncomfortable than being authentic and persuasive.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Pick 1 thing. This is my biggest challenge. This is really difficult for entrepreneurs, especially. We have so many ideas, and everything around us is an opportunity for success and progress. When we can focus on one goal, what we receive is clarity. When I started my chiropractic business, I wanted to incorporate virtually unknown mechanisms to facilitate healing. I was quickly humbled by the financial burden this would place on me, and I realized that I can impact massive change slowly, building as I grow, always stoking the fire, never becoming shortsighted. I’m still going to do all the things in my head, but I need to stay the course.
- Everyone you meet has something to teach you. Every person you come across has an amazing life, full of experiences, fears, goals, insecurities and trauma. These people may only exist in your life for a second as they walk by, but they are complicated and their lives are just as amazing as your own. A lot of people get so caught up in themselves, they become blind to their environment. I treat every interaction as if it were the most important part of my day. It’s not a financial thing, it’s how I evolve as a human being.
- Always take time for Hansei. Hansei is the Japanese word for the process of reflection. Western Culture usually only reflects when we make a mistake. This is only half of why we should think about the experiences of the day, and it explains why we typically have low self-esteem. Reflecting on good experiences, and doing our best to ask why these situations were successful, can help future encounters meet the same fate. Ask yourself what was the expectation, what happened, and what was the result. If you document your positive and negative encounters, you will grow exponentially as a person. As someone who has a lot of experience with communication in a work setting, I’ve found that the more I’ve participated in hansei without self judgement, but with the goal of growth, the easier it is for me to have successful conversations on a deep level with people. In a way, you can steer a conversation to what really matters.
- Treat yourself like someone you love. If I died today, I would hope that at my funeral, people did not talk about what I did for them, but what I created for myself that left ripples and waves that brought other people up, and gave them the confidence to succeed. When you want something, the only fuel you can use is you. Negative motivation is short lived. If you are doing something to prove to your parents, friends, or acquaintances that you can, your destiny is being driven by a negative. I did all of this because I didn’t want to be on my death bed and look at what I could have been, and been regretful of my choices. When I started to treat myself like the people that I love, it suddenly wasn’t as hard to do the right things.
- Voice your expectations. If you do not have the bravery to tell people what you expect from them, don’t resent them when they let you down. This one is probably my biggest works in progress, but it’s important nevertheless. I’ve found that in order for people to grow and heal, You have to usually tell them what they don’t want to hear. Learning to not just tell people my expectations, but give them the tools to change their patterns has worked really well for me to build trust.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
One of my big ideas is to disrupt the prison industry because it is currently built on reincarceration not rehabilitation. Many people are in prison for crimes relating to their mental health, including addiction. I think that I can help people change the way their brain operates and bring lasting change. I want to create a movement and nonprofit that incorporates protocols that will actually rehabilitate inmates, and help transform them in to high preforming individuals with neurological resilience. My goal is to get people better and stay out of prison.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
The people that I look up to already gave me everything I needed to become whole. I’m massively grateful for those people. Me and Keeanu Reeves will be friends before I die, I don’t want to accelerate that natural process.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram — @jakehartchiro
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!