Listen: “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” — Epictetus. Listen to people you trust. You don’t know everything and it’s helpful to be open to new ideas and perspectives. If you’re closed minded, you won’t get very far in business, or in life. It took me awhile to learn this one and my ego still tries to “protect” me sometimes, but once you learn to listen, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
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 Taylor Morgan.
In the second chapter of his life, Taylor is now a Holistic Lifestyle Specialist and founder of The Captain’s Lifestyle Program. He coaches entrepreneurs on how to maximize their health, happiness, and productivity so they can optimize their work-life balance while continuing to grow their business.
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 Northern California in the small town of Lodi. I was always active and loved the outdoors. Growing up, my three passions were nature, baseball and the military. I played baseball since I could walk (my dad played professionally), and when I wasn’t exploring outside, I was always playing with army guys, airsoft, or military video games. I always knew I never wanted to have a “regular job” so I didn’t try very hard in high school because I knew I didn’t want to go to college. I would either become a professional baseball player (which was never a real option) or join the military. I was an excellent student up until my junior year of high school. It was then when I had made the decision to join the Marine Corps. Since I wasn’t going to college, I found ways to manipulate the system and almost always did the bare minimum to get by with As, Bs, Cs, and Ds in math.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This is a hard one, as I have many. I’ll give you one I heard personally that really helped me get through a physically and mentally tough challenge. It was during the scout sniper screener in Okinawa, Japan. Five days of minimal sleep and nutrition, and maximal discomfort, physical effort, and cognitive tasks to see if you had what it takes to be accepted into the sniper platoon. It was on the fourth day during a particularly challenging day of training when Sgt. Henson, who was leading us at the time, said, “Everything comes to an end. And nothing lasts forever.” Those were some of the only words of encouragement we had heard that week. It helped me keep pushing forward because I knew that no matter what they put us through next, it would eventually come to an end because nothing lasts forever. That quote continues to serve me to this day. Anytime something challenging comes up where I question my abilities or whether or not I can accomplish something, I think about those words. Similarly, when things are seemingly “perfect,” I remember that “nothing lasts forever.” This keeps me humble and level headed because I know that almost everything can be taken away from me in an instant.
How would your best friend describe you?
Hahaha Kevin would describe me as a goober. We’ve gotten into quite a bit of shenanigans together and we always have fun goofing around. I also think he would describe me as trustworthy. He knows that I am confident and comfortable in any situation and I will always have his back no matter what.
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?
Loving and supportive parents, my mindset, and my girlfriend Brooke.
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?
Before my “Second Chapter,” I was just a young kid with a big ego in the Marine Corps who loved to cause trouble, almost completely disregarding anyone else’s feelings or how my actions might affect them. I thought the world revolved around me and would only think of myself. I would go out drinking every other weekend and often drive back to base drunk, sometimes really drunk. I don’t know how I got away with all of it.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
After my accident, I completely turned my life around. I began learning everything I could about human performance and lifestyle optimization. I started reading (which I always despised), listening to educational podcasts, and took online college courses. I even gave up drinking for nearly two full years. Now I was being recruited to be the head coach at the biggest CrossFit gym in Saudi Arabia.
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?
One night at a party I got “crossfaded” for the first time. As usual, I decided to drive home. As I was walking back to my car, I somehow got the idea to climb up onto the houses. At this point, I thought I was living in a dream, not real life. On one of the houses I climbed on, a window was partly cracked open on the second story. So, naturally, in my altered state, I opened it, and of course… climbed inside. It was their bathroom. I made my way into the hallway where I noticed a dog at the top of a flight of stairs. That was the worst guard dog in history because it looked right at me and didn’t get up or make a sound. So I continued. I ventured into the next room where I noticed a girl was sleeping (it was around 1–2am). Keep in mind, I thought this was all a dream. I was just standing there, watching her sleep (CREEPY!). She must have sensed my presence because she woke up, rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and very hazily asked, “Who, who are you?” Now we both thought we were dreaming! I replied, “We met at a party tonight.” She responded, “I didn’t go to a party tonight.” I said, “Oh, alright. I’ll just leave then.” Obviously very confused, she calmly replied, “But I don’t know you, I’m gonna call the cops.” To which I responded, “No, that’s alright, I’ll just leave.” So that’s what I did. I left the same way I entered: out their second story bathroom window. When my feet (I wasn’t wearing any shoes this whole time) hit the ground I started booking it to my car. I made it maybe a hundred yards before I thought I should go back and apologize. Except I would get there via rooftop, because why not? So I climbed up onto the roof of the closest house and began jumping, rooftop to rooftop, back to her house. I can’t imagine what the people inside these houses were thinking. Nobody wants to be woken up at 2 in the morning to the sound of a loud crash on your roof and shingles shattering and sliding down to the ground. After 8 or so jumps, I came to a bigger gap. And these were 2 story houses so it would be a not so great fall if I missed it. But, because this was, in my head, only a dream and nothing could hurt me, I went for it. I made it to the other side but when I landed I heard a loud POP from my ankle. This kind of sobered me up. I now realized that this was, in fact, not a dream and that I had broken my ankle in real life. So I lowered myself back down to earth (literally and figuratively), and hobbled the rest of the way back to my car where I then passed out. I woke up around 7:30 and then proceeded to drive back to base using only my left foot, which was interesting. Because of my injury, I was no longer of use to my company so I would end up missing our next deployment. This hurt me and I was angry at myself for being so stupid. And now, with everyone gone, I had all this free time to myself. I had two choices, either continue down the path I was on and play video games all day and drink on the weekends, or I could use this time to grow and develop myself. I chose the latter. This was the start of Taylor 2.0.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skill set 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?
I just started trying to improve myself in any way I could, mentally and physically. I was done not living up to my full potential. I’ve always had a strong mindset and this incident just made it even stronger. For example, I thought, “If I can’t walk on my feet (because of the cast), I’m gonna learn to walk on my hands.” So I taught myself how to handstand walk. The doctors also told me I wouldn’t be able to walk on my foot again for about 3 months. 5 months later, I ran two back to back Spartan Races, a “Beast” and a “Sprint,” and placed 84th/4,595 and 21st/2,623.
How are things going with this new initiative?
I’ve never been happier. The Captain’s Lifestyle Program is changing people’s lives more than I had ever anticipated and I have continued to grow tremendously since I made the switch. Things are going swimmingly. There are always new obstacles and challenges, but I’m confident in my abilities to overcome them and learn from the experience.
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?
There are many. But I would be remiss not to mention my girlfriend Brooke. Although we weren’t together at the time of my accident, The Captain’s Lifestyle would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for her. She has helped me grow both personally and professionally and I don’t thank her enough. So thank you asking this question and reminding me to let her know.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Probably my move to and from Saudi Arabia. While in the Marine Corps, I was also working as a CrossFit coach. Once I was out, I continued coaching part time while I was going to school for kinesiology. I then got recruited to be the head coach at a brand new gym opening in Saudi Arabia. I turned down another coaching position in the beautiful Cayman Islands because Saudi Arabia paid more. I figured I could put up with being less happy because I would be making good money. Turns out that is not the case. Money truly doesn’t buy happiness. I did not like it there. But I’m so thankful I went because that’s what prompted me to create my own holistic lifestyle coaching program.
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?
Believing in myself? No. I will succeed no matter what. And that’s not cockiness, that’s confidence. Confidence is knowing that you giving your best effort is enough. I believe that you only “fail” if you give up or stop trying. I mean of course when things get tough the occasional thought pops in my head like “this is hard” or, “do I really have what it takes to run a business?” But I quickly tell ‘myself’ to shut up. Things being “hard” is the point. That’s how you grow. Challenge is one of my core values and I know that I can do anything I set my mind to. Something that helps me in particularly challenging times is thinking of who needs me to show up. Yes I’m in business for myself, but my clients are the ones who truly benefit from my work. If I were to give it up or not give my best effort, they would be the ones who suffer. And I won’t let that happen.
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?
I invested in two separate online coaching and mentorship programs and continue to work with a business coach to this day. Probably the two greatest investments I’ve ever made. Even coaches need coaches.
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?
After being in the Marine Corps, not much in the civilian world makes me uncomfortable. I’ve learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
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.
- Delegate: Delegate tasks and hire people BEFORE you need them. This will save you a lot of time, energy, and stress in the future. I learned this the hard way. If you wear all the hats for too long, they start wearing you.
- It’s not always fun: The phrase “Enjoy what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” is false. I absolutely love what I do. But there are times when I get to do work that I don’t enjoy, but doing it allows me to spend more time doing the stuff that I love. Notice I said “get to do” and not “have to do.” You don’t “have to” do any of it. You’re “choosing to” because the alternative is worse.
- Get mentors: Build your “Tribe of Mentors” as Tim Ferriss calls it. These are ideally people who are one, to many multiple steps ahead of you. People who have been in your shoes and can offer valuable advice and support when things get tough. Because things will get tough, often. But that’s the point of leadership. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
- Build systems: Create structure and systems as soon as possible. Do not wait! I waited too long to create systems which made hiring and training employees much more difficult and time consuming. Write down your process for doing everything. Make it consistent and repeatable. That’s a crucial step in scaling.
- Listen: “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” — Epictetus. Listen to people you trust. You don’t know everything and it’s helpful to be open to new ideas and perspectives. If you’re closed minded, you won’t get very far in business, or in life. It took me awhile to learn this one and my ego still tries to “protect” me sometimes, but once you learn to listen, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
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?
I’m currently doing it. It’s called Living The Captain’s Lifestyle. Living The Captain’s Lifestyle means that you are in control of every aspect of your life and are constantly striving to improve yourself. You accept nothing shy of excellence. You control what you put into your body. You control the amount of time you spend working towards your goals. You realize that success doesn’t happen overnight. You stick to the process day in and day out no matter how hard it gets. No matter how much you don’t want to get up out of bed, you do, and you put in the work. You live for the challenge. You realize what you have control over and don’t stress about the things you do not. You take control of your mind and don’t let it control you. You don’t react to a situation, you respond. You don’t let your emotions or impulses control the situation. You are a leader and an inspiration to those around you. You have a dominating presence when you enter a room because you know that you can handle any situation. You are confident and assertive. You don’t let people push you around and you know to ask for help when you need it. You don’t have all the answers and are always willing to learn. You are aware of the person you want to become and don’t stray from the path to success, no matter how difficult it seems, no matter how others may try to influence you in another direction. You are obsessed with growth. You are The Captain of Your Own Life.
What do you want to be remembered for the most?
Helping people care. About themselves, their community, and the planet. I believe that if people cared about those three things, the world would be a much better place, and that’s ultimately what I’m after.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
LinkedIn: Taylor Morgan
Podcast: The Captain’s Lifestyle Podcast
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!