847. Internet Guru, Now Introduces People to Themselves
“My world had always been one where I was rewarded for my work and my vocation. I was good at it and I was rewarded for it. I had money and power and capabilities that everybody says is the dream. You know: the house, the cars, the pool, whatever it is, right? The stuff of life. But when it got down to it, when the chips were on the table, and when I was at my lowest after my wife had passed, none of that mattered. Not one bit of it. And it still doesn’t matter. That’s my secret. And it’s not a secret, but the more time that you spend on yourself, the more time that you spend and learn and explore that mind, that heart and that soul, that spirit, the more that you can bring to all of the other parts of your life.”
When Dave Conley worked for AOL, he introduced 32 million people to the internet for the first time. Now, he introduces people to themselves. Dave specializes in coaching, programs and talks for life changing journeys in weight loss, self-care and bereavement. Formerly weighing in at 330 pounds, he now weighs in to help people architect their health, wellness and future.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“In 2011 I lost my wife of 13 years very unexpectedly. Within 40 hours of a cold developing, a series of bad events happened that led to having to turn off life support for her. I now know what it means to die from a broken heart because you are just so flooded with grief that every human dimension of you shuts off. This was such a profound shock to my system that I knew I had to choose whether or not to live or die. I couldn’t eat or sleep or take care of myself that much. Slowly but surely I was able to crawl back to humanity and begin to rebuild.”
“Two lessons emerged from this experience that guide my life today. One: I did not have to suffer this profound tragedy—the loss of my beloved Carol—to change my life. Two: I learned how to love myself as much or maybe more than my wife, which is quite different from how I had lived most of my life to that point.”
“In the course of four years after Carol’s passing I had lost 150 pounds, gotten into shape and decided I wanted to share my time, talents and what I had learned about the mind, body, heart and spirit with my vocation, my community and my legacy.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
- I knew from a very early age that my home environment wasn’t optimal for me for many reasons. In the first grade I made friends with another boy named Joe. My relationship with him and his family had a profound influence on my life and even my career and was a grounding cornerstone for me.
- As luck would have it, Joe’s father was an engineer and ran a technology company. He owned the first versions of the Apple Two and Two Plus home computers. So I got very comfortable with computers at an early age.
- My family setting taught me that I had to rely solely on myself. In college a professor encouraged me to understand that there are safe places for me to actually ask for help.
- When I joined AOL in 1996 as a project manager, it was a growing startup with only a few hundred people. In the course of the next decade the company grew exponentially and blazed many trails in this new world of the internet. I grew my skills at organizing and bringing people together in order to accomplish complex projects.
- While I worked with some amazing people at the USPTO, after a few years I finally hit the breaking point. A friend asked me the simple question: “Why was I so happy in my time at AOL?” I realized that the reason I thrived there was that while I was a key player in this international company, creating innovations on a regular basis, what I was truly motivated by was that I was making a difference in the lives of individual people—one person at a time.
Connecting With David Conley
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