Tyler Gage On Why His Unique Reading List Brings Him Energy

The Co-Founder of RUNA and author of Fully Alive discusses his morning routine and his secret life hack.

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

Tyler Gage: Make a 44 oz french press of loose leaf tea – I alternative between herbal blends and caffeinated teas (usually guayusa) depending on the day. Then drink about half of it while stretching on the floor, then meditation for 20 minutes, then drink the other half.

Thrive Global: What gives you energy?

Tyler Gage: This might sound strange, but lately it’s reading about the history of ancient mesoamerican civilizations like the Inca and the Triple Alliance founders of Tenochtitlan. Books like 1491 vividly illustrate the accomplishments in philosophy, mathematics, art and agricultural economics that these civilizations achieved using strategies far different from the western world. Understanding the diversity of historical civilizations gives me energy and inspiration to think about the future of our society in new ways.

Thrive Global: What’s your secret life hack?

Tyler Gage: Abdominal massage / nauli kriya yoga. The easiest way I do this in the morning is to lie face down on my yoga mat with a rolled up towel pressing in to my abdomen for at least 5 minutes – decently painful for sure, but I find that it improves my digestion, opens my breathing and connects me to my core in a swift and focused way. Works especially well to open and align my body after traveling.

Thrive Global: Name a book that changed your life.

Tyler Gage: Thinking Body, Dancing Mind by Chungliang Al Huang changed my life when I encountered it as a high school junior varsity soccer player. Though I loved playing soccer in high school, I wasn’t great at it. After reading this book and working with a trainer named Dr. Michael Ripley, I discovered how I could focus my mind to improve performance. My game improved dramatically and I got recruited to play for Brown University’s nationally ranked Division I soccer program.

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

Tyler Gage: I always turn my phone on airplane mode at least an hour before going to bed, and don’t turn it off airplane mode until an hour after I wake up. I find the most critical piece of the puzzle is not looking at my phone right when I wake up, so that my mind and heart can first get settled in my body and the physical world around me.

Thrive Global: How do you deal with email?

Tyler Gage: I’m quite dogmatic about getting my inbox as close to 0 as possible at the end of each day. I find that the pile up of emails in my inbox can directly parallel internal disorganization in my mind, and making sure that I’m being responsive and on top of my communications is one of the most critical parts of leadership as I see it.

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

Tyler Gage: Go for a walk. Movement and space are often the best medicine for me to help me digest my racing thoughts and find creative solutions to problems that are stumping me.

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

Tyler Gage: In 2016 I took on way too much. My business was growing rapidly, I wrote a book, got married and moved – a great recipe for accelerated growth but also burn out! Impatience is definitely the main dragon that I battle so I’ve had to be more hardcore about creating time to decompress and slow down this year (less caffeine + more boxing and reading has been a helpful counterbalance).

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

Tyler Gage: “White man medicine makes you feel good, then makes you feel bad. Red man medicine makes you feel bad, then makes you feel good,” is a Native American saying that I love. The basic idea is that in western culture we avoid being uncomfortable and often want easy answers that don’t lead to long term health or true success. I’ve found that indigenous cultures more deeply value the growth, strength and understanding that comes through hardship, through relating to our shadows, and from a willingness to be uncomfortable or confused in pursuit of our dreams.

Tyler Gage is the Co-Founder and Chairman of RUNA (www.runa.org) and the author of the forthcoming book Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life that Simon & Schuster is publishing August 1, 2017. Runa is a social enterprise that makes energizing beverages with guayusa (pronounced “gwhy-you-sa”), a rare Amazonian tea. Runa now supports over 3,000 farming families in Ecuador that grow guayusa organically, and Runa products are sold in over 10,000 stores across the US and Canada. After graduating from Brown University, Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant so that he could co-found Runa, for which he was named a Forbes “30 Under 30 Entrepreneur” and the Citizen Leader of the Year Award by the Specialty Food Association. For his work growing RUNA in to one of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the US according to Inc Magazine, Tyler has been featured by ABC Nightline, National Geographic, Fast Company, and in Richard Branson’s book “Screw Business as Usual.” Follow his journey at www.tylergage.com. 

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