Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Khajak Keledjian: Generally during the week, the first thing I do when I wake up is stay in bed for a few minutes and start inhaling and exhaling to get more energized while I daydream so I ease into the day. Then I hug and kiss my wife before going to my yoga mat and stretching. Next I do breathing exercises and my morning meditation. That is of course if my kids don’t come surprise us early in the morning.
TG: What gives you energy?
KK: Breathwork gives me energy. I inhale, hold it in, and exhale for as long as I can, which can easily be 30 seconds in each part. I also do inversions like a downward dog, a headstand, or any pose where I hang my head to get the blood circulating.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
KK: With all the traveling I’ve done – over 40 countries and too many states across the US to count – I created a system to prepare for new time zones. Jet lag can be debilitating. If you only have a short time in a new place, why lose a day sleeping it off. I use a sleep plan that starts a few days before my departure. I take the time difference, cut it in half, and each night I go to bed incrementally earlier so that I’m closer to the time zone to where I’m headed. My meditation practice changed the way I sleep – I generally get a deeper, more restful sleep.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
KK: I read a lot and so many books have influenced my life. If i had to choose one I would choose the monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
KK: I have a great relationship with my phone when I use it mindfully. It’s extremely helpful to organize my life and I’m very cognizant of when I need to shut down. Usually I keep it on silent after 10pm until 8am. I also use an app called Voxer with my immediate family members and my senior team at work. When it buzzes, I know something urgent is happening, this way I can quickly glance to see there anything that requires immediate attention without getting distracted sorting through emails.
TG: How do you deal with email?
KK: My emails are endless and can be very distracting. We do the best we can. My assistant and I prioritize and start with the important ones. For the rest, we try not to feel guilty for not getting around to all of them right away…sometimes it’s just not possible.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
KK: There hasn’t been that many. If I have a few spare minutes, I call my wife, mother, and Facetime with my daughters. If it’s a hectic day, I do a meditation or breathwork to reset myself. If I’m current on all of those, there are always emails waiting…
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
KK: The last time I felt burnt out was in 2008 during the financial crisis while I was still CEO of Intermix. There was a lot of uncertainty, confusion, and fear that came with the financial pressure. I didn’t know how to balance myself or how to take care of myself physically and mentally.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
KK: The end of my engagement I felt like a failure. I took some time off with my father, which was helpful. I overcame it surrounding myself with nurturing people and new experiences that incorporated a wider approach to wellbeing – healers, massage therapist, acupuncture and focusing on my meditation practice.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
KK: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
Khajak Keledjian, founder and former CEO of Intermix, launched INSCAPE in 2016 as a result of his impactful and formative decade-long meditation journey. Khajak’s entrepreneurial focus is a reflection of his lifestyle: a balance of modern wellness and modern luxury. When he’s not meditating, Khajak balances mindful and thrill-seeking experiences ranging from Kundalini yoga to kitesurfing.