We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Markel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam, let’s jump right in. What are you most passionate about? Why?
I’m a resilience guy. I’ve spent most of my career focused on what it takes to be at your best, even in the most challenging conditions, including writing a best-selling book on resilience (“Pivot: The Art & Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life”). Originally, I went to school to become a lawyer. I practiced for 18 years but found myself, midway through my professional career, feeling like something was off. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I knew something wasn’t right. Over time, that feeling grew and developed other symptoms. I had trouble falling asleep at night, or I’d have trouble getting back to sleep if I got up in the middle of the night; I would frequently get up, thinking about work and my responsibilities. Then, at the start of the day, I would feel this sense of anxiety, angst, or even dread sometimes. The moment I put my feet on the floor would just be like, “Yes, something’s definitely not right here.” I continued to work and work and work thinking I’d make it right, make it change — that as long as I could just earn more money, I could find a way out somehow. But I was confronted with the reality that it might not happen, given the fact that I was looking at a lot of other older attorneys in their sixties and seventies, many of whom were quite unhappy, it seemed. And so I had two experiences that were catalysts for my pivot. I ended up in the emergency room with what seemed like a heart attack at the time, but was actually an anxiety attack. And then after I got out of the hospital, I made the usual sort of vows to change things and figure out what to do next. But I couldn’t figure that out and didn’t change what I was doing. Several months later I came home late from work on a typical weekday, walked in the door, and knew immediately that I had not just missed my four kids’ dinner, but I’d also missed their bedtime. So I didn’t get to read them a bedtime story or kiss them goodnight. Around this time, our oldest girls were in their early teens and our youngest kids were between five and seven. Everybody was tucked in and sleeping at that point. I walked up to my wife Randi and said these fateful words: “If I keep doing what I’m doing, you’re going to be a widow.” At that moment, I knew something had to change. And my wife didn’t remind me about all my responsibilities, all the things that I had to do, or all the money that I was responsible for making. She looked at me, we both took a deep breath, and she said, “We’ll figure it out.” Those words were like a relief valve for me at that moment. I was moving quickly toward a midlife crisis, but instead we began creating a midlife calling. Ultimately, I made some small changes, and those small changes are part of what the book is about. When the small changes started working, I could see some light at the end of the tunnel. And that only helped me to take more steps to increase my commitment to those small changes. I began to develop some momentum. I found that I could take slightly bigger and bolder steps in the direction of that midlife calling. So that’s exactly what we did. Over the course of two and a half years, I went from a full-time practicing lawyer to the CEO of a company that ran personal growth and business development training programs all over the globe. I was traveling worldwide and running this company that sprawled across three continents and four countries. The book “Pivot” was written shortly thereafter to look back and chronicle that time when the small steps led to bigger steps and the momentum that we created in the process. It’s very much a foundational book about the process of change. And it’s about the things that are fundamental when you’re going to make a conscious, proactive change — as opposed to how we often deal with change, which is completely reactive. Just like now, with the coronavirus, we’ve got massive change happening and we are reacting to it. There are very few people, I think, that were somehow prepared for this and are simply executing their process or their plan to deal with this change. A conscious process to make a change is like building a house with an architectural drawing. In contrast, an unconscious or change-by-default process is one where you build things on the fly. You can create great things building out of thin air. I’m a huge believer in that, which leads my current work. That is, in order to be able to do both of those things and to do them consistently well over time, you have to be resilient. Resilience is the common denominator in both the pivot-by-design or the pivot-by-default modes. Either case requires resilience. And it’s resilience, along with the tools and the skills and the process of developing resilience before you need it that helps you to maximize or optimize opportunities and to perform at your best in any scenario that involves change. The universal constant is that nothing stays the same. Everything is constantly changing. So to evolve, to adapt, to be able to flex and flow in constant, never-ending change is a set of skills and a state of being that is highly advantageous in your business, your personal life, your health, and every other area.
What should our readers know about your business?
Our “Big Why” at More Love Media is all about inspiring people to love their lives. We are committed to integrity, self leadership, and resilience. And just as important, we model it. This is just one small way we spread these values worldwide. We want to have a massive impact on making the world a more peaceful and joyous place. Our strategy is to have that impact through the ripple effect — by helping powerful and authentic messages reach millions through keynote speaking, workshops, and mentoring. We love what we do and feel blessed to call this our work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
French Corner on the 101 in Leucadia has the most wonderful crepes. My wife and I make it our Sunday brunch spot. Belly Up in Solana Beach and The Observatory in downtown SD are our favorite music venues! Surfing at Grandview Beach in Leucadia. Our staycation spot is The Pendry in the Gaslamp. We dig Lazy Acres for their amazing tuna poke!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shout out to CEO Space International their founders Berny and September Dohrmann for being a great support for me both personally and professionally when I was pivoting in my business.