839. Encore: Extreme Challenges Help Him Overcome His Fears
“Almost every day I had to get over that fear of approaching people I don’t know. And asking them where I can sleep, asking them where I can find food, and building that nervousness up to a point where I realized the more vulnerable I was, the more willing people were to help me. And I still find that today, if I am sometimes in a business negotiation and I realize that we have both dug in deep, I somehow allow a vulnerability to creep in where I need their help somehow.”
Erik Seversen has lived an amazing life, from hitchhiking from London to Central Africa to living with a remote Indian tribe in the Amazon to building and selling businesses. He has forged a path filled with extreme adventure and success. He recently published a book, “Ordinary to Extraordinary,” that reveals his personal search for meaning and highlights how anyone can create a life of purpose and success. His focus is business development and English language training. He lives by the idea that helping others is the best way to create both success and fulfillment in life.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“At first, I was not a great student. But, I remember my parents never insulted or put us down. Something clicked in for me playing sports. I had played football as early as fourth grade, and I decided I wanted to play ice hockey when I was about 15. That changed my life. Most people who play ice hockey start when they are six or eight years old. Starting so late, everybody told me I could never get on a junior league. I had to teach myself how to skate, good enough to get onto a team. I made the team! Two years into it, I was a pretty good player. I learned a lot of life lessons playing ice hockey.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“Not everything in life goes exactly how we want it. My wife and I moved back to Los Angeles because I like the west coast. I had already proven myself at UCLA, and I was teaching English as a second language there and created a hobby company. There I was in 2007, teaching and loving it. I loved my students, loved my colleagues. I had found that my talent is teaching, and life was just great! But then came the hard wake-up call: I could not support a family in Los Angeles on my teaching salary. So, begrudgingly, I had to put my talent aside for a while and go into business. I joined a company called Eagle Rider, a motorcycle rental company that I still work with.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“As I was hitching into Africa, through Morocco, Algeria, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, it gradually became clear to me that the poorest of the poor were not the least happy. Sometimes I would walk into a small village with mud huts, and maybe there would be a very old woman with missing teeth sitting outside with an old cassette tape player that sounded warped because it was so old. People would be smiling and laughing, excited to see me. When I met more middle-class people, I clearly recognized that the least happy people were not the poorest. All they could talk about was what they wanted to get next.”
On His Bookshelf
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
Steps to Success from Erik Seversen
1. If you hit a barrier to using your talents, do not be deterred or discouraged, but find new ways to use them.
2. Find ways to combine your knowledge, skills and talents and create something new. Keep growing and challenging yourself. Make your own niche.
3. Help others. It is the best way to create both success and fulfillment in life.
4. Write down your goals and work on achieving them each day.
Connecting With Erik Seversen
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