Jordan Karcher: “It will end and you will bounce back”

Help someone else. One of the easiest ways to forget about your own problems is to help others overcome their problems. Call a family member, coworker, or friend who may be going through a difficult stretch and offer support, or simply let them know how important they are to you. I had the pleasure to interview […]

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Help someone else. One of the easiest ways to forget about your own problems is to help others overcome their problems. Call a family member, coworker, or friend who may be going through a difficult stretch and offer support, or simply let them know how important they are to you.

I had the pleasure to interview Jordan Karcher, Founder of Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. Jordan is an experienced CEO with a background in the packaged goods and beverage industries making coffee a natural choice. Jordan holds a bachelors from Florida International University and an MBA from Notre Dame. Jordan adopted Molly in 2012 and after being inspired by his second-chance pup, he founded Grounds and Hounds 2013. Grounds & Hounds began in Chicago but in 2019 re-located to a new HQ office in Los Angeles.

Than you for joining us Jordan. 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?

I don’t know if there’s any career path that leads to dogs and coffee, but somehow my past led me here! I grew up loving three things; dogs, baseball, and beverages. The first two are somewhat standard but the third was more circumstantial. I spent the majority of my life surrounded by beverages due to my father’s career within the wine and spirits industry. I can recall paging through each month’s issue of Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate a decade before I could actually buy a bottle in a store. At the age of 12, I vividly remember attempting to grow my own agave plant in my bedroom after watching a tequila promotional video. Unsurprisingly, a Pittsburgh bedroom is not conducive for growing large desert cacti and the experiment failed.

After a couple elbow injuries ended my collegiate baseball career, I somewhat predictably began my professional career working in wine country for Korbel Cellars and Heck Estates, handling a wide range of tasks and odd jobs (everything from retail analytics to weekend tasting room duty). After four years working in business development and management for Heck Estates and subsequently William Grant & Sons, I decided to head back to grad school for my MBA. It was around this time that a spotted rescue pup came into my life and served as the catalyst to what would become my first company, Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co. While attending Notre Dame, with little money, but the unwavering certainty only found in a 25 year old (I like to joke that I knew a whole lot more when I was 25 than I do now), I blended my love for brands, beverages, pups, and problem solving to launch the social impact venture that would become Grounds & Hounds Coffee Co..

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?

A book that has had a significant impact on my personal views and approach to life/business is “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. We live in a world of distractions, noise, and external pressures that cause many of us to simply “fit the mold” and follow the path created by others (usually to the benefit of someone elses best interest). “Meditations” presents stoic principles and life lessons from the last great Roman emperor. Many of the excerpts and virtues presented in ancient Rome apply perfectly to the modern entrepreneur. We are inundated with images and stories of success, failure, wealth, poverty, etc. and many of us spend sleepless nights worrying or wishing for events that are beyond our control. Meditations, and prior records from Seneca and Epictetus, perfectly distil down the virtue in understanding what you can control, and equally important, what you can withstand under even the harshest of conditions.

A quick excerpt that may be particularly appropriate at the moment, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

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.

  1. It will end and you will bounce back. The beauty of humans is our adaptability under even the most extreme circumstances. While life may never be the same as it was in 2019, we will find a way to restore relative normalcy and thrive within whatever constraints the future holds. Whether it be undertaking a new career, adjusting to a virtual work environment, or simply changing your daily commute, we will overcome the growing pains and create a new normal.
  2. You have an opportunity to reflect on and change habits to shape your future. For the first time in many of our adult lives, we have been forced to slow down and spend time with our thoughts. The daily errands, commitments, and activities that fill in the gaps of our daily planner are suddenly obsolete. This is the perfect opportunity to review the habits and routines that propelled our lives prior to the quarantine and decide what actually matters to your happiness, health, and personal growth moving forward.
  3. We will place increased value on friendships and freedom. We have all been guilty of unnecessarily canceling dinner plans with friends and family to crash on the couch with our pup for a night of movie watching. When the quarantine finally ends and social distancing mandates subside, we will (and should) go out of our way to reconnect with our community and loves ones and, hopefully, we will place increased value on the time we can spend together.
  4. You will be more resilient than ever before. You will have survived the most sudden economic and societal shock in decades (possibly ever) and you’re still standing. Life will always present challenges, but take comfort in knowing you have survived one of the most difficult and unusual circumstances in modern history.
  5. You can help put the world back together. No one knows what the world will look like when this situation passes. But we do know that there will be countless families and communities (and economies) across the globe in need of support and rebuilding. Unlike previous wars and recessions, no nation has been insulated and humanity as a whole has felt the impact of this virus. We can and should use this as an opportunity to band together across all borders to lift up those people and nations impacted most.

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?

  • Take a Walk. During periods of high stress and anxiety, moving your body can work wonders. Simply taking your pup on a walk around the neighborhood or heading out for a short jog can help clear your mind and normalize stress levels.
  • Turn off the news. While it is certainly important to remain up-to-date with government restrictions and health advice, the 24/7 headline generating, click enticing, speculative news cycles can wreak havoc on your psyche.
  • Help someone else. One of the easiest ways to forget about your own problems is to help others overcome their problems. Call a family member, coworker, or friend who may be going through a difficult stretch and offer support, or simply let them know how important they are to you.
  • Write your thoughts in a journal. A classic technique that always works wonders. Simply extracting the thoughts from your mind and jotting them onto paper often provides immediate relief and helps to truly contextualize you worries.
  • Deep breathing. Deep breathing exercises have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and normalize your heart rate during those sudden shocks of bad news. Deep inhales through the nose with exhales taking twice out of the mouth will settle nerves in no time.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

If you or a friend are feeling particularly anxious, there are countless great resources, hotlines, and apps to help you persevere during the most difficult periods. From apps such as Headspace, Sphere, and Talkspace to 24/7 mental health hotlines, you can help others find support during tumultuous times. As always, if you know someone struggling throughout this quarantine, be proactive and offer your open ears and support at all times.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“The years teach much that the days will never know.” -R.W Emerson

Concise and impactful, this quote helps me put daily ups and downs into perspective. We can too easily get lost in how we feel right now, but in five years we find that the rough edges of each day are far smoother. The important thing is to work toward your overarching goal and let the volatility of each day fade away.

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. 🙂

For better or worse, we live in a world that tracks, documents, and stores everything. Between social media platforms, search engines, general databases, and more, we have turned much of life into a tightrope walking act where single events can define the remainder of someone’s existence. Great leaders are hesitant to run for office, potential entrepreneurs avoid taking risks that could change the world, mistakes made by teenagers that could detour or derail their future. I would love to see society as a whole evolve to adjust our expectations and become more encouraging of people to explore, take risks, and carve his or her own path. Many of the most world-altering, life-changing, awe-inspiring people from our history books would never even make it to the starting line in the Google generation.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can keep up with me on Instagram @Jordanzkarcher, LinkedIn, and twitter @KarcherJordan

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