ep. 09 - Patrick Sweeney: Elite Athlete, Adventurer, Tech CEO, Investor, and Cancer Survivor
Patrick Sweeney is the son of a first generation Irish immigrant who paid his way through state college where he took up rowing. With just two years of experience he decided to take on the world and try out for the USA Olympic team. Five years later, he finished second in the Olympic trials and won national and international championships in the process.
After the Olympics, Patrick attended a Top 5 business school where he would earn his MBA and go on to start three technology companies worth millions of dollars, raising over $30 million in the process and successfully selling two of the companies. During the height of his business success he contracted a very rare form of Leukemia. The brush with death launched him on a path to find his genius what he calls the combination of passion and vocation and make friends with fear to discover his adventure within.
Recognized by presidents and rock stars for his contributions to charity and business, Patrick left it all behind to pursue his passion for adventure and find the adventurer within. He is the first person to ever attempt cycling the Seven Summits (the highest peak on each continent) he holds the world record for being the first to cycle to Everest Base Camp, and the Summit of Mt Elbrus. He is also a network TV host with two shows under development. His mission is to inspire millions of people and he has been rated one of the top speakers globally for Young President's Organization (YPO).
ep. 09 - Patrick Sweeney: Elite Athlete, Adventurer, Tech CEO, Investor, and Cancer Survivor
Kyle: Joining us today is Patrick Sweeney. He is an adventurer, Olympic level athlete, a millionaire entrepreneur and a cancer survivor. That is a lot to say. Thanks for joining me, Patrick. How are you?
Thanks, Kyle. It’s great to be here. I’m fantastic and enjoying some fresh milk at my house now so everything is good.
Kyle: Now, just so people are wondering where is your house?
Patrick: I’ve got two houses and I split time between Boston, Massachusetts where I grew up and Chamonix, France which is the most beautiful place in the world if you’ve never been here.
I have never been and I am quiet envious. Thanks to Google and everything else, they let me know that you’re doing this podcast from Chamonix, France and I’m just so envious because the weather here in Dallas is just absolutely horrible.
Patrick: There’s not much skiing in Dallas.
Kyle: Not much skiing at all. I’d like to just start with a story of your background and who you are. I’ll let you just go from there.
Sure, Kyle. I’m happy to and happy to share it with folks who are listening. I started my life in Boston as a blue collar kid and went to our public schools just like everyone else around us, played baseball. My dad was working three jobs. No one in my family went to college. Everyone was either a cop or a priest in Boston, in the Irish section. We were playing baseball. It was all really about not what town you’re from, but what parish. That was always how people define themselves.
It was pretty typical blue collar upbringing. Something you might see from central casting these days, but went to state school and was the first person in my family to go to college. I went to University of New Hampshire. I got into rowing oddly enough. I went for skiing as a cross-country skier but I got into rowing and won a skate championship and that led to try out for the US team right after college.
I spent five years training for the Olympics full-time. I finished second in the 1996 Olympic trials in the single scull which is about the most demanding event in the Olympics and it’s not something you do for fun or for money, it’s all completely something you do for the challenge and the fulfillment and that sort of thing. I raced the World Cup for three years and then after the Olympics, I went back to University of Virginia, top 5 business school at the time and got my MBA.
After UVA, it was right at the peak of the dot com heyday in 1999. I started my first company called Server Vault. We were doing secure manage hosting of websites and we had this great security and this high tech, really James Bond like data center which was just wicked cool to work at because you’d have to go in and get your eye scanned on the way in and doors had moved out of the way. We had all this really high security government SCIF ratings and we all had to get security clearances.
That was a really cool time. That was my first company and I ended up starting three companies total, raising over $30 million in venture capital and sold two of them quite successfully after they got to be pretty big and international companies. That’s the business and collegiate background.
Kyle: Then you’re also a cancer survivor as well, right?
Yeah. That was a big turning point in my life, Kyle because you’ve probably heard some people say cancer was the best thing that ever happened to them. I don't know if I’d go that far, but it equated to a pretty dramatic change in my life. It gave me a perspective I think that a lot of people lacked. That’s part of the reason that I decided to leave the tech world behind and move into the public speaking and the TV world to try and inspire other people to live the kind of life I do without having to go through that experience.
About 12 years ago, I got a really rare form of Leukemia. The local hospital didn’t know what to do and so they sent me to Hopkins and they were doing tests and I had more tubes in me than a space shuttle. It was crazy. We had our first child. My daughter was one year old and my wife was six months pregnant with our second. The doctors asked me if my affairs were in order. Like I was telling you earlier, that’s pretty much doctors speak for, “You’re fucked.” Pardon the French but it was a really-
Kyle: That’s okay.
It was a really tough moment for my wife and I, but I had gone from a kid who was completely afraid of everything when I was growing up. I mean, I got bullied and I got pushed around. My parents thought if I was a local cop that would be a good outcome for me. Throughout the Olympic process, I spent a lot of time at the Olympic training center, a lot of time with sports psychologist on mental training.
That’s a big part of why I got to be one of the best guys in the world at a really demanding sport. That mental training was something that I put to work when I got leukemia. I just remember sitting in that hospital bed in Hopkins and going through these visualization exercises for 12, 15 hours a day just seeing my body fighting back against the cancer, seeing these warrior cells coming out of my body to attack the leukemia cells.
In a large part, I think is what got me healthy again and got me out of there. Going from someone who was probably the case study for Diary of the Wimpy Kid to someone who walked out of Hopkins with a whole new lease on life, it really gave me time for reflection and I said, “So many people, myself included are working to build as big a net worth as possible or working to get as many houses, or cars, or planes, or whatever it might be. There’s so much more to life than that.”
That’s when I decided we were going to go to France and spend some time here and we were going to buy a house out in Colorado and spend some time there. It really changed my life and I decided to change my life because of it.
Kyle: It’s fascinating because what’s interesting for people listening is that what you do now is just the ultimate … It is every adventure show. It is Bear Grylls. It is what I dream about being. I mean, I have a quick line here of some of your accomplishments but you’re the first person to ever attempt cycling the seven summits. That’s the highest peak in each continent which is for me I had a fixed gear bike in San Francisco and I thought that was the worst thing ever. I can’t even imagine trying to cycle up K2 or Everest or something.
Patrick: Everest, Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro. Look at it this way, Kyle. Just think about the downhill part and your hair is going to be on fire for six hours on a screaming descent. You always have to look on the positive side.
I mean, there is the positive side. I think the one benefit is that I probably come away looking like one of those Tour de France guys in those giant quads. I feel pretty good about that. What else? I’m reading off here. You’re the first to cycle to Everest base camp which is, again, just insane. I mean, what was that like? How did that go down? What bike are you on? What gear do you … I mean, and everybody listening, if you go see Patrick’s YouTube videos and what not, you got the coolest gear
I got to tell you. I am all about the gear. From bikes to cars to climbing gear. I am definitely all about the gear.
Kyle: I love gears. Let’s talk about the bike to Everest.
Patrick: It was an interesting story. I picked up mountain biking when I got out of Hopkins. I was looking for something to do. Rowing had gotten to be like a job for me and so I didn’t necessarily want to get back into rowing so plus, logistically it’s a bit tough. I started mountain biking, really enjoying it and then doing a bunch of adventure races.
I was a contractor with the navy for a couple of years and spent a lot of time with Navy Seals and they started getting me to these adventure races and it was a blast. I really enjoyed the cycling part of it. I started looking for adventure races that were really challenging and then cycling races that were really challenging. I finally found this rate in Alaska that was the Iditarod.
On the same trail that the dogs go on, it’s a week before the dogs go. It’s the beginning of February. It’s minus 30, minus 40 degrees and you’re completely self-supported. You get two food drops along the way, but basically it’s just get a new bike, get your tent or bivy sack, and your sleeping bag, and your stove. You better make it to the end of the race or else someone is going to be reading about you a week from now or two weeks from now.
I started doing this really gnarly, gnarly race. When I was getting ready for it, I run into a guy who’d done it three times who lived in Massachusetts. He was really a bit of a mentor for me. I was asking him for advice and everything about equipment and bikes and that sort of thing. And when we were doing it, he did it the same year I did it.
As we were doing it, he said, “You know what, no one has ever really bike to Everest base camp. That would be an awesome bike to do.” I thought, Yeah. You know, I’ve never been to Nepal. It would be really pretty crazy.” We were talking. In the year we did the Iditarod, they had to relocate two towns that where these 300-year-old Inuit towns because the permafrost was melting.
This is the first time ever. These towns have been there for 300 years and because of the global warming, the permafrost was melting and all the ice was going away and I said, “You know. It would be a great way to bring some attention to the fact that there’s global warming and what we look at glaciers, and mountains, and alpine environments are soon going to be, you know, glorified downhill tracks for mountain bikes.”
We came up with the idea of doing it and then tragically, he ended up committing suicide two years ago. He battled with depression for a long time. It was a really sad story. When he did that, I said, “Look, you know, I’m going to make this happen in his honor.” I did spend a lot of time trying to get the permits because they’d never granted a permit before and then the ride was just incredible, Kyle. The people, and the stories, and everything that happened on the ride, but when I started doing it, I had run into people that had never seen a bicycle before.
They didn’t even know what to call it. Some of the kids up in the Himalayas and I remember being at this monetary, the Tengboche Monastery at about 13,000 feet at the base of Everest. There was a monk who was looking at it. He’s in his full robes. His name is Tashi Lama. He said, “I’ve never seen one of these and can I try it?”
Here we are at 13,000 feet or whatever it was, he’s got his robes all hiked up and I’m giving him cycling lessons. I’m running along like my dad did when I was six years old, holding the back of his seat and pushing him along as he went. I mean the experiences were just so incredible. Then I thought, “Well, you know what, I’ve got Everest. Why don’t I do all seven summits and take the bike up as high as I can. No one has ever done it before and show the power of bicycles and bring some attention to global warming and other charities.” That’s been a project of mine now for two years. In fact, at about three weeks, I’m heading down to Argentina for Aconcagua.
Kyle: Nice. You just did Aconcagua. I think, Kyle Maynard who is another speaker that we work with a lot, I think he just did Aconcagua. He’s an interesting guy. He’s actually going to be on the podcast later so I’ll let him tell a story but I’ve heard interesting things about Aconcagua. I hope I’m pronouncing it correctly but I really doubt it.
Patrick: I look forward to hearing his podcast.
He has a very interesting story but I like to let him tell his story. Let’s start back from the beginning. I know that you talked about your very humble upbringings in Boston. I think one of the things that you mentioned to me in our conversation right before we went to record was that your dad was an Irish immigrant so you’re first generation American. What was that like? I mean is it everything I’m thinking of growing to just this working class neighborhood in Boston and just … Was that life was like growing up?
I think if you saw the movie, Ted, that’s probably pretty spot on.
Kyle: We’ll use Ted as the reference.
Kyle: Go ahead.
I was just going to say it was really Irish-Italian, very blue collar. My dad had a great work ethic. He was working three jobs. I think that work ethic and plus for me I’m not sure I ever had a sense of self-worth growing up and I had a lot of fears and so being successful for me meant a lot of things but I think probably for the wrong reason but I see so many people who continue to work for the weekend or work for another million or something else.
Then by the time they’re 60 or 70 years old, life and some of the amazing opportunities in life and the wonderful things to see have already passed them by. It’s one of the reasons I got into speaking, Kyle was I saw people with so much talent just really wasted away for a lot of reasons that might not have had anything to do with their happiness or most of their gifts that they were given. Hopefully, my mission now is to inspire millions of people to live the most passionate adventurous life they can and that’s a big part of the content I do.
Kyle: That actually is a great segue. I’m looking at your keynotes right now. One of them is tied to dying to get rich and get a life, a story of passion significance and that’s what you’re talking about is everybody is trying to work for this weekend and do all these things but the background of the story that you had. One of those weird things.
I think you mentioned this actually right before we were recording was some people say that getting cancer, some tragic event was like the best thing that ever happened to them because I gives you a new perspective on life. Now, you’re living this just adventure-filled life where you’re being really passionate and your goal is to really help people find that.
Absolutely. One of the things I do these adventures so the seven summit is one. I compete in acrobatics, in airplanes. I’m flying. I’m a commercially rated pilot and I compete in acrobatics. I’m rock climbing two or three times a month in amazing places or scuba diving. The life I lead is just so incredible now, Kyle. It’s an amazing life.
Every time I hear someone say, “Oh god. I wish I could do that,” I think there’s another opportunity for me to convince them on.” Like you said, there’s so many people who define success as a number. I want to have million dollars in the bank. I want to have hundred million dollars in the bank. I want to have a billion dollars in the bank. There’s never an end to it for a lot of people and what I’m hoping that I can do, you know my content is very different than most speakers.
I really want to see people go from an idea of success to significance. There’s a lot of things in the way and it’s fear and their beliefs and that sort of thing. When I speak it’s obviously much more than just giving sales tips or talking about leadership lessons from the football field or something like that. It’s really a content that changes a lot of people’s lives.
One of the most fulfilling things for me and it happens at nearly every event I do is one or two people shoot me an email a month later saying, “Hey, look. You dramatically changed my life.” I did a YPO talk this summer and I just got a note from a guy who left as CEO of a big company to now start his own gig, move his company where he always want to live in California. He was so proud of himself and so happy.
I think having a life changing content, it’s obviously not for everyone. I mean clearly some event planners want to have the guys who are given sales tip and increasing that quota 10% or whatever but for me in my fulfillment, given that message out there that can really create some lasting change and given folks the steps to do that, I think it’s really fulfilling and it’s pretty magical to see it happen in the course of an hour or two.
One of the things you do talk about is also how to unlock superhuman formats and doing it in a short period of time because a lot of people often talk about the 10,000-hour rule that I think was made famous by Malcolm Gladwell’s book a few years ago. I mean I know there was a rule before that but a lot of people caught on with it when that came out. As a lay person listening to this, what are some of your … If I can ask, what are some of the little nuggets to help unlock some minor superhuman performance in a short period of time?
There’s so many, Kyle. The book I’ve got coming out at the end of 2017 has a lot of this stuff. The biggest overarching one is making friends with fear. So many people do their best to avoid fear and especially people who are over 30 years old, they’ve come to grips to understand what their fears are and they go out of their way to avoid them. In fact, if you look at what our human system was designed for when we get one of the fear responses, we get super human capabilities because we need them to survive.
If a saber-toothed tiger was going to attack us, the little gland in our head called the amygdala which is shaped like an almond that sits at the base of your brain, that kicks in and it pumps this crazy fear cocktail through your body. You have these great super human performances. The problem is most people are missing out on that because they think when I feel fear that’s a bad thing and I want to do my best to avoid it when in fact you can use that, that fear cocktail and that’s what every top athlete knows every great leader whether it’s Teddy Roosevelt or Neil Armstrong or Rosa Parks.
They all felt tremendous amount of fear but instead of being afraid and trying to avoid it, they figured out how to use it. That’s a really key thing. The point you made Kyle about Gladwell’s 10,000 hour is that’s great for reading and creating a best-selling book but I got to tell you complete BS. The biggest example I give of that is there is one group that is undisputedly the best in the world and the stakes are as high as possible.
It’s life or death situation. These guys are the best in women or the best in the world at what they do. The average time that they’ve spent practicing is usually under a thousand hours. What I’m talking about is the US Air Force and the US Navy and the fighter pilots who go to top gun school. The average amount of total hours is under a thousand hours when they get in to top gun. The US kill ratio against any foe across the world is way more than 30 to one, so 30 kills to one death on our side.
Just looking at that, knowing that they’ve got a thousand hours, there’s so many great things that you can learn from how they get so good and so quickly and adapt them to your life and part of that is dealing with fear and part of that is also dealing with this ability to be reacting quick, analyzing quick and other tricks out there.
It’s totally doable and that’s why you get guys like Tim Ferriss who come up with all these great body hacks and life hacks and everything else. You start all that stuff together and it’s totally comprehensible to be really good at something under a thousand hours.
I was actually just going to mention Tim Ferriss and I was also going to mention Jocko Willink, the guy that he did a really great podcast on the Tim Ferriss podcast, so shout out to that. Jocko has actually his own podcast as well but it’s about coming into going out of our way because we live in a society where everything is just so … I mean it’s safe. I mean we get airbags and cars and seat belts. I mean I know that sounds ridiculous but everything has been made to be safe.
There’s no fear of driving in a car. There’s no fear of walking to the grocery store for most of us. That doesn’t happen. It’s getting in touch with these fear kind of response and I remember there’s one episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast where he was just talking about you got to go do something that just scares the total crap out of you. You just got to go do something because it’s going to show you who you are and you can just play with it. I think that’s a great point that you bring up talking about the top gun pilots as well. I didn’t even think about that.
I spent the past four or five years working some of the top neuroscientists in the country from Harvard and Tufts University. I had a glimpse into some of these guys when I was at the Olympic training center and I first started learning some of the ways that you can mold your mind but I’ve been fascinated by this research.
I like to think that I’ve got a PhD in fear now because I spent so much time studying it. Just sitting down with some of these guys who are on the cutting edge of research, there’s a group that just finished a study in fact where they were able to stimulate a certain neuron within the amygdala for rats or mice. I can’t remember what it was and to turn them into super killers.
It’s really interesting but they wouldn’t kill any of their own species. There’s mice and certain rats that are carnivores. They’ll eat crickets and worms and stuff like that. When they trigger the amygdala, they were able to turn on this super capacity but when they put them in with other mice of their own species, they didn’t attack them and they weren’t overly aggressive.
That’s just a little bit of a window into the power that sits at this particular gland and the ability to use what I call the 3Fs, the fight, flight or freeze response. You’ve got three responses when you get scared. They trigger this reaction. If you can use them … That’s what I tell people all the time, you should scare yourself once a month so you can start to feel what happens in your body and eventually start to recreate it because fear … you know Kyle, I know people talk about fear from some of the stuff I do which is hanging off a cliff or find a plane upside down or jumping out of a plane or whatever it is.
That’s physical fear but nearly every audience I talk to, if I say, “Who’s afraid to open an email or who’s been afraid to open an email? Raise your hand.” 90% of the audience will raise their hand because they get that email from a supplier or their boss or whoever. That’s the same type of fear and learning how to deal with that is often times the difference between becoming Mark Zuckerberg and the guy who’s working for Mark Zuckerberg 10 years after the company started.
When I started my sales career about 10 years ago or so, I was really easy on the phone when it came to talking to people that I knew but once I started having to get out of this little bubble that always happen when you start a new sales job and you now need to start filling people outside your network, I froze. Then my mentor at the time which was like, “Just do it, do it. Call, call, call, call, call.” It was after a day or two of it and just working through that fear, it just became the easiest thing.
It’s learning to love no’s. I don’t want to get into a too salesy type thing but that facing a fear and learning how your body handles it, it raised the level upward. “Man, that’s no longer hard for me and I can just do it.”
You hit it spot on, Kyle. Psychologists would call what you described as exposure therapy. You get adjusted to it more and more. Probably half the talks that I did last year were for sales organizations. One of the things you find is there is this fear plateau with good sales guys. If you take someone from my background, maybe take one of the kids I grew up with, Robbie Doyle who lived next door and came from another blue collar Irish family who all of a sudden has this job with CISCO and he’s figured out how to sell some of the stuff.
Now, he’s making 150 grand a year, maybe 200 grand a year and he’s joined the country club. He’s got this lifestyle. It’s way above anything his family has ever had but he has the capability and the skill to be doing either his own company or making a million dollars a year with the same stuff and they’ve become imprisoned with the fear of loss like what happens if I screwed up and I lose all this stuff or fear of failure. Now, people think I’m successful and when I go back to family reunions, I’m the rich kid in the family.
They have all these fears, good sales guys especially have all these fears that once they figure out how to deal with those fears, they just crush it. They go out there and they’d kill it and they start having much more fun and they start working a lot less too. I see that a lot with people when I say, “Look, you should be spending time with your kids. You should be going out and getting in shape to do that marathon or that 10K or whatever it is and you should take your wife out on the long weekend instead of spending it at the office. You can do all that and do twice as well as you’re doing right now in business and here’s how. A lot of that just revolves around fear as people harbor.
I will back that up 100%. The best sales people that I’ve ever worked with and I worked with some pretty hard core sales organizations. The best people shut up when they want, left when they want and they were doubling everybody else’s performance and it’s because they embodied, I mean they had no fear. It’s just going, going, going. It was the easiest thing in the world and it’s like the matrix and they’re just dodging bullets. It’s just slowmo. Everything is slowmo form and they can just go on and do their own thing.
Patrick: You know what, instead of fear and avoidance, when they feel that, it’s excitement. When they get the same butterflies in their stomach, instead of feeling throwing up and getting nauseous because you have butterflies in your stomach and you think you’re going to be sick, it’s a trigger to super high performers like you’re describing that it’s time to get it on.
That’s the fuel, that’s the stuff we have to use and that’s really going to help me. It’s going to focus my mental acuity. It’s going to make me sharper. I’m going to listen better. I’m going to see things better. It’s amazing just to see the difference when someone can turn that on and turn it off and use fear as a fuel.
I almost equate it to working out. A lot of people they just don’t like the idea of working out, they don’t like the idea of lifting weights or going on that first one mile run just to do it because maybe they’re scared or just it hurts or something like that and you’re scared of jumping on the phone or someone telling you, “No.” I’m just using sales talk because I have a sales background. One you start doing it and you get into it just like you just said, you get excited by it. Now I set my new PR for my mile time which is I did last week and I’m pretty stoked about that.
Patrick: Awesome. How fast did you go? I got to ask because I know everyone is, “How fast was it?”
Kyle: I did a 6:56 which is good for a guy who weighs 250 pounds so I feel pretty good about it.
Kyle: Thank you.
Patrick: Boy, that’s awesome.
Kyle: I’m running a half marathon in February so I’ve lost 75 pounds. Thank you, world.
Patrick: Holy cow. That’s awesome.
Kyle: Thank you.
I tell you, Kyle. You bring that up and you talk about the fear. There is another point that a lot of people miss out on. There’s only one difference between human beings and every other species of animal and that’s that we have our own sense of self and because of that, we can plan, think, and project into the future. No other animal, no matter how smart they are can think, “Okay. Well, tomorrow I’m going to be here,” or they can think, “We’ll, I’ve been in this spot and something bad happens so I’m going to remember that, but we’re the only ones who can project into the future.”
90% of the time, it’s a negative projection. People think either, “I’m going to go to the gym and I’m going to get hurt. Someone is going to make fun of me. I’m going to get bullied. I’ll end up, you know, being late for work.” They come up with all these negative things.
I can give you a great example. I played college football. I still am, six-foot-three but I was 275 pounds of just jacked awesomeness. Then I get sick and I had to stop playing football. Years of just bad choices and living in this awesome tech startup lifestyle where I get every meal for free, I get as much beer as I want after 5 pm. Next thing you know, I’m 325 pounds and going, “What did I do?”
Patrick: How did that happen?
It’s not like I still have muscle under there. There’s no muscle. Then when you start working out, you’re like, “Gosh, this is embarrassing. I’m not my old self.” That was my thing. That was my initial fear trigger like, “I don’t want to do this. I’m embarrassing myself.” I knew what I was capable of in the past but now that I’m back in, now I’m just … Man, I’ve set a new deadlift … Not a new deadlift record but I did a new deadlift that I’m pretty proud of and just keep going. I love working out.
That’s one of the big distinctions is now you’re projecting positively into the future. You just ran the fastest mile you’ve run ever. Now, you’re thinking, “Okay. I can drop that by 10 seconds. I know I can if I, you know, if I start doing some more, uh, some more speed workout and, and I know if I can drop a couple more pounds then I can beat that.”
Now you’re projecting positively into the future and you can use that fear. It’s like when you step up and you’d put the stop watch on. You think, “Okay. I can do my mile test.” Instead of being nervous about it or anxious or scared, now you’re excited and it’s just that shift in mindset and the more you do that, the more you scare yourself and the more you start to use some of these tools and there’s a lot of it that has to do with breathing.
There’s a lot of the neuro triggers. One of the simplest things you can do when you’re scared or when you’ve got anxiety is to smile. Just the act of flexing the muscles in your face is enough to change the relationship between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nerve system to unlock that grip, that anxiety or fear it might have on you. It’s really funny that it’s a chicken and egg type of thing but it’s little habits like that that you can take up that can completely change your life.
What I think that’s so great, having a person like you tell the story and I mean this with all sincerity. I mean, I grew up in, I don’t want to say a privileged lifestyle but I came up upper middle class or maybe upper class, depending on how you want to look at it. I didn’t have a lot of the challenges that a lot of other people have so it’s hard for me to kind of when someone says, “Rah, rah, rah.” For you it’s not a rah, rah, rah talk. It’s like, “Look, growing up, it was this blue collar lifestyle. I fought my way through school. I rode.” Then it’s just this ascent. It’s this ascent up and you’re just showing people the tools and the ways of doing it.
That’s one of the things that I’m most excited about Kyle and that’s why I love doing the speaking stuff. I started out working on the TV shows and documentaries and that sort of thing then YPO ask me to do a couple of speaking gigs and I really enjoy them for two reasons. One to share my story and my message and all the things that I’ve learned over the past five or 10 years around dealing with fear and peak performance and changing your life and living the most exciting adventures like you can.
Then the second thing is and this is no slide on you or any other speakers out there but this industry is 500 years old and there’s been no innovation in the speaker’s industry. One of the things I’m really key on is I look at what happened in the tech world and the attention span of everyone. When I go to a conference, I know the attention span of everyone there is one minute.
If something exciting isn’t happening in every one minute, if there’s not a high moment, if there’s not a bit of entertainment, if there’s not some audience involvement then I won’t have engagement. I’ve tried to innovate in my talks as well to keep the audience really engaged and interested in learning as much as they can instead of just being someone who’s up there, telling a story for an hour and then walking off the stage.
I think I’m really blessed and I’m really fortunate to be able to share the story but more importantly, I think that if I can reach people and help them change their life and do it innovatively and entertainingly and everything else then there’s great engagement and it really makes for a fun event and something that really has a dramatic impact.
Kyle: I couldn’t agree more. Just to wrap up, I know you have some things going on in the future. Let’s wrap with that.
I’ve got so many things going on. It’s tough to circle. From an adventure perspective, like I said, I’m heading to Argentina to do another seven summit in Aconcagua. In June, I’ll be in Alaska doing Denali. That’s a big one too. Then potentially depending on some sponsor and filming requirements and capabilities might be going to the Antarctic in December. Three big expeditions later this year. A lot of stuff interspersed in there as well from acrobatic competitions to go into some cool places to rock climb.
That’s the adventure front. On the business front, I’ve got out of the CEO role after 12 years but I’m invested in about 30 startups and still advising some young CEOs and helping with them. Some of those things are super cool. Everything from an electric skateboard company to a company that’s revolutionizing loans, micro loans to third world countries.
Kyle: Out of pure curiosity, what electric skateboard company?
Patrick: Boosted. Boosted boards.
Kyle: I love Boosted boards. Those are the coolest.
Patrick: They’re awesome, aren’t they?
Kyle: You could thank the best sales person ever, his name is Casey Neistat and his wonderful YouTube videos. Boosted boards are awesome. I love Boosted boards.
Patrick: They really are. They’re cool. It’s a good company. They’re like the Tesla of skateboards is how I describe them.
They really are. Look, go buy yourself a Boosted board and now what the new V2 version is out now, right?
It’s badass. It goes up like a 25% grade and tops out at 25 miles an hour. Actually over here in Chamonix, I’ve got a couple ski manufacturers who are now making custom longboards to work with the Boosted technology. Some cool stuff going on in that side. Then some TV, some network TV stuff going. The YouTube stuff and then the book at the end of the year.
Kyle: Look, that’s just a bunch of awesomeness. Still, I love Boosted board. It’s great. I love the Boosted board. I’ll say from an efficiency standpoint in New York city, Boosted board makes so much more sense than getting in a cab.
Everywhere. Anywhere there’s a bike lane but especially any kind of density like San Francisco and New York, Boston, Chicago, absolutely.
Kyle: You see them all over the place. At least in New York and San Francisco. That’s awesome. I know you said you had a book coming out. What’s the, again, brief synopsis of what the book is going to cover or do you have any idea?
The book is going to be really helpful. It’s all about finding your fear frontier and how to deal with it. It’s a lot of talk about what fear can do for you and then how to use it and walk into every one from someone like Teddy Roosevelt to Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson, and how they’ve used fear. It’s a little bit of the science behind fear but we’re not overwhelming with the science.
A lot of how you can use it, what you can do and then how it can change your life if you tame fear because at the end of the day, Kyle, you got two choices. You can tame fear or fear can tame you. That’s what it boils down to. I’m trying to show people in the book how to tame fear and dramatically change their life forever.
Kyle: I think that’s a good place to stop because that’s what you do. With that, thanks Patrick.
Patrick: Kyle, thanks a million and thank you to everyone who listened out there. It was great being on the podcast and I look forward into listening to some of the futures ones you mentioned too.
Kyle: Yeah. That would be great. Thanks, man. Have a good one.
Patrick: You too. See you.
I know we just said we’re going to end this but I’m going to bring Patrick back because we were just getting to talking on something and he wanted to mention it. Go ahead, Patrick.
Sure, Kyle. One of the things that I thought of that I should have mentioned to you before and I think some of your listeners who are more the adventure side might know that I’ve been in Outside Magazine 13 to 14 times this year either on the print version or online. We were talking about Tim Ferriss and your goals so Tim Ferriss was on the cover of the October issue and inside that issue, they interviewed me and then they featured my diet for a day. If you get that issue or you just look it up online, one of the things that I’ve been a big proponent of and I went down to South Africa to meet the founder of this ketogenic diet is the ketogenic diet.
Kyle: I do the ketogenic diet.
Patrick: Do you really?
Kyle: No. I am hard core keto.
Kyle: [00:43:00] We did not plan this anybody. I’m going to go on my keto diet like what I eat on the daily. This will change your life because I think it’s easy … I’ve always ate this way in general but I start everyday with two to three eggs just depending on it. Two slices of bacon, a whole avocado and a drizzle avocado oil on it with pink Himalaya salt. That’s breakfast.
Then I go to lunch and it’s typically I buy olive oil packed tuna in a can, half an avocado with that, pink Himalaya salt, ground pepper, typically with lunch. Then I’ll d a butter steak and it’s … You can break it down. Essentially, it’s a high fat, high protein diet, little to no carbs.
High fat, medium protein. You don’t want to get into high protein because if you get too much on mean side, your body will convert it to glucose. You’ll lose at that. The key is and if you get that October issue of Outsider, if you look online, they’ll show my day. There’s two keys to it and it’s one eating as good high fat but the other thing from a health perspective and a lot of people miss out on this if they’re doing the paleo is having really dense nutrient foods. You mentioned avocados which are killer. Almonds are a killer. I eat a ton of spinach broccoli, anything green.
Kyle: Lots of kale.
Lots of kale. Anything green and raw is your best friend and most people don’t believe it but when I did the Everest base camp, I had to give the Sherpas who were carrying the camera gear and other stuff, a two hour head start everyday and then would meet our defined meeting point at the end of the day and I’d get there two hours before them so I usually pass them about half way.
Kyle: Did you do the whole thing in ketosis?
I did the whole thing in ketosis, averaging anywhere between two and four millimoles per liter of blood of ketosis. I was testing my blood at the same time to understand it. There’s a doctor at the University of Southern Florida, Dom D’Agostino who I’ve been working with for a couple of years.
Kyle: Was he on the Joe Rogan podcast talking about ketosis? I think he was.
Patrick: No. He was on Ferriss’ podcast.
Kyle: He was on Tim Ferriss’.
He’s been working on Navy Seals. I’ve been one of his guinea pigs for a couple of years as well. I’ve been measuring this and I’ve been trying ketone salts and esters and that sort of thing. I tell you. I went eight hours a day burning roughly 5, 600 calories an hour, going up and down through the Himalayas and all I did was drink water. I didn’t eat any food during the day.
Kyle: You were doing an intermittent fasting during the day?
It was more convenience and timing. I just didn’t want to stop. When I finally stopped, I’d eat half a dozen eggs, a bunch of cheese and some of this butter. I don’t eat beef just because of environmental concerns because I love beef. I love a good steak. Don’t get me wrong, but it just takes so much water and then eat so much and easts so much of the areas. Just philosophically I don’t like beef. Ton of fish and salmon. I eat salmon all the time.
I’d see them all the time now too. The ketogenic diet like literally, what changed your life? Once you get through with the short little keto fluid first, The first week.
Patrick: The first month or so, yeah.
Kyle: I would say for me it was like once you get passed day four of eating like this and you’re coming about, you don’t want to eat sugar. You don’t want to eat carb. You don’t want to divvy anything that’ll knock you out of ketosis.
One of the things you’ll find is the neurons in your brain get rewired. When you start eating, they get rewired so instead of craving sweets or bread or anything like that, you start to crave salad. You start to crave whole foods and you think, God I wish I had a handful of almonds and something like that. In Ireland, my grandmother used to call salmon, salmon of knowledge because they believed it made you smart.
It hasn’t exactly worked for me yet but the fact of the matter is because of the omega 3 and because of the really good fats and the good protein in there, eating salmon, I mean that’s just salmon, tuna, all those really high water fish are so good for you.
I mean I had some blood work done a few months ago and the doctor just looked at me and she goes, “You’re 28 and your vitamin D level is this.” I forgot what it was but it was just stupid low. I mean it was not good and my triglycerides were not good either. We made some minor adjustments and short term medication but she’s like eat as much fish you possibly could. It was salmon, tuna, salmon, tuna, maybe steak ones a week, chicken.
I switched to keto diet up a little bit but it made it better. The weird thing about the ketogenic diet that I really like is aside from being just like a thermogenic, you were shredding fat when you’re on this diet.
Your testosterone levels go through the roof if you’re a guy. Your focus just becomes just insane and it makes you … It’s like eating for Limitless. Like the movie, the limitless pill.
Patrick: Yeah. Absolutely.
Kyle: That’s awesome. Do you do the bulletproof coffee too?
I do the adventure coffee. This is one of the things I picked up in the Himalayas was they’d do tea with yak butter in it and there were times when I couldn’t cook so I started just cracking a raw egg in it. What I do now in the mornings, and sometimes this is all I do for breakfast depending on my workout for the day and my schedule but I’ll take coconut oil, a teaspoon of coconut oil. I’ll take a teaspoon of unsalted butter. I’ll crack a raw egg, melt that up and then put coffee and heavy cream.
I like the taste of heavy cream as well, throw it all in the blender. I mean that’s a killer breakfast right there. Just a caution on that, Kyle, if you’re going to eat raw eggs like that, just for those of us who saw Rocky growing up and love what he did, you just got to make sure that they’re free-range and they’re organic eggs because the ones that come out of egg factories, they’re basically … Those things are … They don’t have the protective coating on the exterior of the shell that you need. If you’re going to do it, just make sure use free-range organic eggs and that’s a killer way to start your day if you like coffee.
Kyle: I love the bulletproof coffee. I’d do the bulletproof version but I will try this one and the one thing that I add to it that I really like and this … I don't know why I’m getting into this but I love it. I love adding cinnamon to it. There’s just something about-
Kyle: Yeah. I add some cinnamon to it and no sugar, nothing. Just cinnamon. I add a lot of it too and then I’ll hit just a little bit of cayenne.
There’s something about it. To me, it tastes like a Mexican hot chocolate. I don't know what it is. It’s like this spicy kind of mole-esk thing and it’ll get you sweating just in a little hot second but after that once that goes past and your body gets the flush, then you’re just like you are zone in. You are in the zone for … At least that’s how it was for me but now I’m going to throw in a raw eggs, some heavy cream and-
Patrick: They love it.
Kyle: Stick with that Irish unsalted butter. I forgot what the brand is. I think it’s like Kerrigton or something like that.
Patrick: No. It’s Kerrygold.
Kyle: Kerrygold. Thank you.
Patrick: Kerrygold. The Irish butter from fresh Irish grass-fed cows.
Kyle: Yes, that Kerrygold. This is a great commercial for the ketogenic diet but for people not listening really look it up go do it, do yourself a favor.
It’s definitely life changing for a lot of people especially kids in the US where we’ve got so many health problems. I think it’s a great anecdote to a lot that goes on in the US, in the diet world.
I mean, it’s just really what it is. It’s getting back to the way that probably people ate a thousand, 1,500 years ago and getting rid of all that process crap. Not really eating a lot more all of the carbs and just really focusing on just good stuff. The good stuff that just makes you function. It’s hard to explain, but before I switch I had no idea that I was in this mental fog that was just going on.
Then when I made the switch to the diet, it’s like bringing your head out of the clouds and you’re just like, ”Whoa. This is the clearest I’ve ever felt.” Every single time whenever I have a pasta dish where it knocks me out of ketosis and I have a few days. There’s a day there. I’m just like, “What’s going on? I just don’t feel it.“ It’s just not even worth it anymore.
I totally get that. I’ll tell you. If you go to my website on the adventure hub which is where we have all sorts of cool content, I’ve got four, five articles on ketosis. One, the recipe for the adventure hub. Another from the guy who produced the movies serial killers on his top eight ketogenic foods and then a couple on how to adopt the diet, anything else. Go check out the adventure hub and you can get some more information in there.
Kyle: Cool. I’ll add those to the show notes for those people listening. Thanks again, Patrick and keep it keto.
Patrick: All right, Kyle. Take care. Eat fat.
Kyle: Eat fat. Have a good one.
Patrick: See you.