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NL: Hi everyone! My name is Natalie Ledwell and this is the Inspiration Show. Today on the show I actually have two guests with me coming in from different locations. So, first time we’ve actually done this on the show, so this is going to be an interesting experiment. But they are the authors of a new book and if you can see that there, it’s called “Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.” So today my guests are Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl. Now before I start chatting to them and get into the nitty-gritty of how we can have a balanced life, I just want to remind you that after the show is over if you’re watching this live on Facebook or if you’re watching this later the replay on YouTube, don’t forget after the show’s finished to click the link below this video so you can take my 30-second quiz and we can figure out what’s holding you back from success. So Dave, Troy, welcome to the show. How are you guys?
DB: Thank you so much. Great!
TA: Glad to be here.
NL: Awesome. So you guys have really, this is not just a book, this is like a movement that you’ve started and it actually started quite a number of years ago. So can you tell us a little bit about your story and your background and how you got into creating this amazing movement?
DB: To really get involved it actually goes all the way back to 1997, and I met Dr. Troy in 1997, and he talked to me about balancing and growing your life. He talked to me about what you talked about like in affirmations and envisioning your life and you have to have a plan for your life or life will happen to you. So 1997 was the first time I actually sat down on the floor at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas with 3x5 note cards in seven stacks, and he said these are the seven areas of life you have to balance and grow to live a good life. To live what we call an Oola life. And it’s fitness, finance, family, field which is your career, faith, friends and fun. And that process got me successful in my 20s in all seven areas, and Troy found success in all seven areas. But then I drifted from that in my 30s and I went through a bankruptcy, went through divorce, so I moved overseas. We lost touch with each other. And, as he’s moving back and he’s retiring at 42, I’m living in a motel, divorced, bankrupt, lost everything. And he said, get back to the process of Oola. Get back to the process. And I told him at that time, I said if that works for me, we’ve got to share this with the world. And he’s like, cool. But first get your mom’s crappy car and get a job and then we could talk about sharing it with the world. And fast forward to 2013, my life was better and wrote this book. So this process that became a book, “Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World” has become this movement of over a million people, forums on social media, people trying to balance their lives and people trying to find that sweet spot of balancing growth in all seven areas of their life.
NL: Right. So Troy how did you come up with the seven areas?
TA: It was something that just evolved over time. I remember I grew up in Minnesota and with a dad who worked three jobs to provide for four kids in a very middle-class house. And as grateful as I was for food on the table and a roof over our heads, I wanted time with my Dad. And I remember thinking that how we were defining success as a culture, I wanted to define it differently. I want to win in business and money for sure, but I want to stay connected to my kids and I’m gonna have fun in life along the way and I want to have a clear sense of purpose in my life. And find joy on a daily basis. So instead of thinking about this money in business, we thought about life in seven areas. I remember in the 11th grade putting a pen to paper saying because I wanted to spend time with a family someday that I wanted to be debt-free and retired at 40 and I never lost sight of that dream. That took me until 42 but I never lost sight of that dream and what we’re finding with people that we meet as we travel and speak is that we’ve lost sight of who we are and what we really, what our heart wants, what our purpose is, because we’re being punked by a culture that tells us if you have two kids and you travel twice a year and you have a late model car and you live here you’ll be happy. Well, that may make one person happy. But someone else it may be creating jewelry or photography or writing poetry, and someone else may want 12 kids, someone may want 3 puppies. I don’t know what you want. I mean what we’re telling people is you’re designed for something unique and amazing, and I don’t know what that is but whatever that is, boldly pursue that and don’t just look at, like, these two categories money and business. I’ve met tons of people that have tons of money and very successful businesses that are miserable because they’re disconnected from the key people in their life. They have no sense of purpose. They’re on a path over here where their hearts tell them they want to be over here. You know all we’re saying in this movement is, you be you but whatever that is, boldly be that and challenge yourself every day because you’re capable of more. And don’t just look at your life in two areas, look at it in seven.
NL: Yeah. So is it possible to be balanced in all seven areas every day?
TA: No. So that’s the myth. The myth is we’re labeled as life balance experts now. And I think when people hear that they think that you take your day and divide it by seven. And you have three hours and 25 minutes exercising, three hours and 25 minutes working on key relationships, 3 hours and 25 minutes doing personal finance, 3 hours and 25 minutes in your business. It’s not like that at all. We use the analogy of this circus performer spinning plates and think of it like seven plates. And if you’re struggling financially that plate is wobbling so that’s an issue you need to go and focus on. But never lose sight over here that if you’re so focused on the personal finances, then all of a sudden the key people in your life are becoming distant you, need to go tap that plate as well. And that’s really the game we’re playing in life balance. It’s this ongoing pursuit of trying to keep all seven plates spinning without laying them crashing at the floor.
NL: Right. So you guys have come up with a formula to be able to do that?
DB: We talked about three simple steps to the Oola life and that’s really the key to doing this and this is, same thing, is like these seven areas. Troy developed these over time when he taught me these in 1997. The process of the three simple steps to the Oola life came out of that, too, as working it on a day-to-day basis. And what it is, is you have to first understand, step one is where you are today and we call that the Oola wheel. And there’s a test you can take on the oolalife.com but it’s where are you in these seven areas and it’s getting real with where you are because you can’t go anywhere. You can’t have a vision for your life to be if you aren’t real with where you are right now. With your marriage, with your finances, your debt, your income, your saving, giving with how much fun you’re having, your faith walk. Where are you in those seven areas? Step two is called the Oola plan and that’s, where do you want to go? And this really brings up the oola bus, when you held up the Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World book, there’s this bus on front, a 1970’s Beetle Bus. And what that is, is where do you want your life to go? And most people, when you hand them a sharpie and a sticker and write down a dream and put it on the bus, they don’t know where they want to go in their life. They let life happen to them. So many years that they’ve lost vision for what they want. So step two is dreaming again and setting goals on where you want to go in your life. And then step three is how are you gonna get there. It’s called the Oola path. It’s how you’re gonna get to your Oola life and it’s all the steps you need to take on a day to day basis, and there’s a really great formula in the book that teaches you how to do that. And I know if you’ve tried everything out there and just, you couldn’t find that balance, this is the way to do that because it got me on the bottom and it got Troy retired at 42, married twenty some years, houses around the world, it helped him live that Oola life by following step one, step two, step three. Where are you today, where you want to go, and how are you gonna get there.
NL: Yeah. I think we were just briefly talking before the show about how, you know, just getting clear about where it is that you want to go is one of the most important steps and for me it’s all about following the threads of excitement. So you’ve got a couple of choices in front of you, so, but what excites me the most now, and then start going down that road. But it looks like with the seven steps so, that some of them are interrelated, is that right?
TA: Absolutely, if we look statistically, the subtitles of all our books are “Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.” If you look statistically, let’s take fitness. 37% of our culture is clinically obese. Finance – 7 out of 10 families have less than $1000 saved in an emergency fund and debt is out of control. If we look at relationships, 53% of our marriages end in divorce. If we look at career or what we call field, 55% of us hate our jobs and they’re all related. If you’re under financial stress, how do you interact with your spouse when he or she wants to buy something that feels frivolous for the holidays? If you’re under financial stress, how is your health and how do you feel? If you’ve suffered bankruptcy, are you mad at God or whatever, the universe? It’s like it’s all related but that I believe the movement of Oola is because we’re taking this complicated thing called life and we’ve really simplified it. Because it is so interrelated, and say okay here’s the seven areas, where are you and where do you want to go and how are you going to get there?
NL: Yeah, well, I mean you just touched on the fact that we’re in holiday season and this seems to be the time of year where people get exceptionally overwhelmed. We have issues with family, do you have any tips that people can apply that it’s going to help them through this process and do it in this time of year where they can actually feel loved and connected and more balanced?
TA: You mentioned overwhelmed. And my advice in this season would be to avoid the three overs. And one is overspending. Straight up, like, if you don’t want to have a financial hangover come January just because you’re in the spirit of giving. It’s not what you want to give, it’s what can you afford to give. The second one is overindulging. If your every Christmas get-together, how they get-together and you’re going to the chocolate and then you’re going to this and then you’re going to this, you’ll have that to deal with come January too. And that, probably the biggest one that we feel the most stress or it could throw your life most out of balance this holiday season is overscheduling, saying yes to everything. You have family commitments, work commitments, neighborhood commitments, community commitments. And you don’t have to say yes to it all. And never lose sight of what this season is about. And it’s about relationship and connection and something bigger than yourself.
NL: Yeah, what about you Dave, how do you get through this holiday season?
DB: You know that’s a great topic. And it’s something we covered. We have this two day event called Oola Palooza and in Oola Palooza we take these sections, these seven areas, then we break them down. And there’s always this family one that we talk about with such toxic family relationships and how to deal with that and how to deal with the finances. But how you go into it is with a plan, and that really comes down to if you let life happen to you and you just go into the holiday season so you know there’s gonna be this toxic uncle or toxic mom or toxic sister. Or you know you’ve overspent and you don’t know how you’re gonna pay to get back home or you know you’re gonna overeat. It’s really exactly what Troy said. It’s going in with a plan and that’s what we teach people at Oola Palooza is, you have to go into your life with a plan and you have to go on the holiday season with a plan. So it’s really sticking true to your goals, reading your goals every day and understanding that you have to take each day and you have to control that or it’ll start to control you.
NL: Absolutely. So I know you guys have traveled across the US in like a VW Van, just the two of you, your friendship stood really good after that?
DB: Everybody always asks that, are we along, like way amazing on that bus, it’s so much fun and I was actually talking about Troy being fully retired and he was like, you know, I’m fully retired. When we started writing the book, he goes, he said I’m not gonna come out of retirement and this whole bus thing was his idea. People started reading Oola and loving Oola and reaching out to us and telling us changes they’re having in their life. He’s like, instead of people coming to our events, let’s go to people. And I’m like, how you gonna do that? He’s like, a 1970s beetle bus and I was like, we’re in, let’s do it. He hit kind of “Jerry Maguire had me at hello,” and 50 miles an hour, no air, no heat, we have not fought yet. We do have to wear blankets through mountain paths in Montana, and we have to, like, sweat like crazy through Arizona and Florida in summer, but we’ve had a blast on this road trip. It’s been the best.
TA: Now you’re gonna be super excited because of all the things we do, like, we’ve written books, we speak for companies, we have big events. All that stuff, there’s nothing more exciting than hopping on a bus and I have this, and many of your listeners are on a podcast, you have to check it online. We have a bus that looks like this but now it’s covered, 19 layers in these handwritten stickers. And just to meet people, our real mission is to change the world with a word and to pull up to a beach or a coffee shop or a donut shop and start talking about life and reconnecting people to their dreams. I know you do what you do because you want to make a difference in the world. I spent the first half of my life making money. I want to spend the last half making a difference and we do that by telling people you’re amazing and you’re capable. And what is that one thing that if you put that sticker on the bus and you make that happen and you go home and do the work to make that happen, not only will your life change, you’ll inspire the people around to do the same. That’s how the world is gonna change, it’s not gonna be an outside –in fix, it’s not gonna be a policy being jammed on our throat, it’s gonna be us waking up, putting on our boots and saying “This is what I want to do to empower me and my family in my life” and if I do this one thing, maybe it’s a financial goal, maybe it’s getting in shape. Maybe it’s whatever it is for you, if I do that my life will transform.
NL: Yeah. So I can imagine you guys have met thousands of people on your road trip. Can you tell us any stories of people that really made an indelible impression on you?
TA: I have a great one right in your neighborhood. When this started it was a blue bus in San Diego, just outside of San Diego in Coronado, and the inaugural trip was Dave and I and our teenage sons. We thought, what a dream to take this surf bus up the PCH and meet people and talk to them about life. When we got right about to your neighborhood, just south of Santa Barbara, the kids were getting antsy and we pulled over on the beach at sunset because they wanted to play in the surf, and at this point the bus wasn’t nineteen layers thick in dreams. In face, it looked like it had chicken pox. It just have random dreams from Huntington Beach and from wherever we were in LA and Malibu. We pulled over, there’s a beautiful couple and two girls taking pictures at sunset. It looked like a Pinterest moment. Like the Christmas card or something with a professional photographer. And they came up to us after taking these photos and, they like everyone go, what’s the deal with the bus and we’re like, what’s your dream? We are just going to all 50 states, we’re gonna collect a million dreams and we’re gonna change the world. And this gal grabs an orange sticker, which is family, and she grabs a sharpie and she writes on it and goes to the back of the bus and puts it on and they drive away. Well, at this point Dave and I don’t have that many dreams on our bus, so of course when they leave we’re like, what did she write? And she wrote “I want to be strong enough through my stage 4 cancer to see my girls become women” And I’m like that is so cool. Here’s a woman facing incredible challenges who’s doing it with strength and dignity and doing it in a way that could inspire other people to overcome whatever they’re overcoming. And that’s one story, and right now we figure we have 83,000 stickers on that bus and it’s full of that. It’s full of people saying this is what I need to do in my life in this moment to make my life better and inspire others to do the same.
NL: Yeah. How about you Dave, do you have someone that’s really made an impression on you?
DB: You know there’s so many stories. I mean there’s this five-year-old girl in Batavia, New York who wanted to be potty trained and there’s this little kid in Wisconsin who wants to be Ironman. So there’s really unique dreams. The one that I think inspired me the most was a gal named Heather and she was going through a tough time in her life. She was in a bad relationship, a drug addicted relationship. She got out of that at that moment and she came up to the bus and she just wanted to put something on the bus to get her life back on track and she said she wanted to reconnect to mission work that she used to do when she was a teenager. So she decided she was gonna go to Nicaragua. Well, before she left the bus she grabbed another sticker, a fun sticker, and she said she wanted to collect dreams in Nicaragua, a country obviously we’ve never been to. We’re working through the 50 states and when we were down in Florida at a book signing, [inaudible word] like two three weeks ago they walked in with 8,000 stickers from Nicaragua and she walked up to the bus and she said I want to go to Nicaragua back on mission work and I want to collect dreams and they collected 8,000 handwritten dreams across the country Nicaragua so the whole 18th layer of the bus is dreams from Nicaragua. The whole country of Nicaragua. But the real cool part is it’s really not just one dream, it’s the collective energy of everybody’s dream. You know we tell people when you write your goal, walk out to the bus, read it. And when you find a dream that inspires you, put your dream over their dream, you’re sealing their dream to the bus and 19 layers thick of sealed dreams of collective energy of people saying we deserve greatness in our life, we want something better for our life. So there’s all these little stories all across the country. Stickers I was reading in Nicaragua but really what it comes down to is a collective energy of 19 layers thick and our goal is a million dreams on the bus of people committing to positive change in their life.
NL: Yeah. Well surely that’s gonna help insulate you when you’re going through the cold and the hot things. So guys, this is the book: “Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World.” So where can we send people if they want to connect with you guys and or get their hands on the book?
TA: The book is everywhere. Barnes and Noble, Amazon but the best place to connect is oolalife.com O-O-L-A-L-I-F-E. com. There’s some free tools on there. You can do a test to see if your life is currently balanced or where could use some work. The interesting thing about the book style in here too. We had to work hard with the publisher. The book guides you to one thing. So at the end of it there’s a sticker .You can actually physically mail to us and we’ll put it on the bus for you. Once you’ve read this book and determine if I did this one thing it has the power to transform my life. But oolalife.com is a perfect starting point.
NL: Perfect... Guys thank you so much for joining me today. You are a true inspiration and thank you for all the work that you do. I know that you’re definitely making a difference.
DB: Thank you.
TA: Thank you.
NL: So guys I encourage you to share this video. You can do that by clicking the Facebook and the Twitter share buttons on this page. And if you’re watching this online there’ll be a link underneath here that you can go straight through the guys website or a banner to the side and don’t forget to take that 30-second quiz after this is all over so I can see what’s holding you back from success. So until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We’ll see you soon everyone.