Talent Manager Shep Gordon on Staying Grateful and Recharging His Human Battery

“For me, cooking is where mindfulness, joy and service all intercept.”

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Shep Gordon: The first thing I do in the morning, even before getting out of bed, I say “thank you” many times and try to focus on what a miracle to be able to see and hear and breathe…tell myself how lucky I am!

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

SG: Joseph Campbell: The Power of Myth.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?

SG: No, my phone gets the same amount of sleep that I do. Maybe a bit more because it doesn’t have to go to the bathroom at night!

TG: How do you deal with email?

SG: I try to answer emails as soon as they are sent to me, particularly if they are requesting something. Whether the answer is positive or negative, fast answers avoid the sender getting paranoid or creating their own narrative.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

SG: When home I usually head to the kitchen and play around, looking up recipes, or jump on the elliptical and try to prolong life!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

SG: I wouldn’t say burned out, but right now I’ve been away from home for 5 weeks and my human battery gets low when away this long. For me, home is my charger.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

SG: I don’t really think of my journey as success and failure. For me it’s the journey that counts so in some ways failure and success are the same. They are all part of this miracle.e I asked the Dalai Lama once how he dealt with losing his country on his watch and his response was that he knew the best he could do and that’s all he could do.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

SG: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

SG: Remember that we are all going to run out of minutes when we die, so try and enjoy every one while you are living.

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

SG: At times greed, jealousy, anger enter my body and that sets off the life alarms!

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?

SG: Find a quiet space and say “thank you” 20 times out loud.

TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?

SG: For me cooking is where mindfulness, joy and service all intercept.

TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?

SG: As soon as I recognize it I try to see where and why that entered my space and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. Negative thinking is the fastest path to health and life problems.

TG: What brings you optimism?

SG: Seeing the innocence in children. It still exists, we just have to capture it.

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve the way you connect with others. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

SG: I use a mental trick which is to see the miracle in a person first before seeing the face, and then my connection with every person becomes very special.

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your focus. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

SG: After reading Joseph Campbell, I started to find a quiet space everyday. When home my jacuzzi, where I just keep my mind quiet. Focus cam every fast.

TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?

SG: Finding a mentor. In my case, a chef Roger Verge who showed me a way to be successful and happy. In my business, Hollywood, success seemed to lead to misery. Not what I wanted.

TG: What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep?

SG: I love to cook so I cook dinner, get into bed with Katie my love and Wookie my dog, watch a little TV and indulge in some cannabis. Think through my next day and get a plan of action which calms my mind.

Shep Gordon is known in the entertainment industry as having an eye for talent and an innate understanding of what people find entertaining.  After graduating from SUNY Buffalo, Shep moved to LA and in 1969 co-founded Alive Enterprises.  Over the years, Gordon has been responsible for managing the careers of Alice Cooper, Groucho Marx, Raquel Welch, Luther Vandross, Kenny Loggins, and countless others.  He’s also credited as creating the celebrity chef,  which revolutionized the food industry and turned the culinary arts into the multi-billion dollar industry it is today.  His clients that include culinary legends, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Nobu, Daniel Boulud and many more.  In addition to the impact he’s had on the music, film and food industries, he’s also highly regarded for his philanthropic endeavors.  Shep was named one of the 100 most influential people in Rolling Stone magazine.  He was the subject of Mike Myers 2013 documentary – Supermensch The Legend of Shep Gordon.  Anthony Bourdain ECCO will be releasing his book – They Call Me Supermensch A Backstage Pass To The Amazing World Of Film, Food, and Rock ’N’ Roll in September 2016.

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