Hangin’ with Levi Lindsay
Levi Lindsay has a fascinating story because of his vulnerability. By all measure, Levi is a successful entrepreneur. He has founded various businesses, scaled and hired employees, and put a dent in the world. But due to various drama in business, Levi experienced severe burnout. He had panic attacks, an overactive mind, inability to stay present, etc.
After some inner battles, his wife declared that she just wanted her husband back. That hit him like a ton of bricks. He recognized that the worldly success he was chasing just didn’t matter. He openly started discussing his burnout on social media platforms and, truthfully, got flack from other entrepreneurs. But he kept being vulnerable and open. He learned how important mental health was for wellbeing. Levi continues to do business but is very mindful about how much he tries to take on.
He spends much more time with his family, creating awesome memories with them. It was awesome talking to him about these struggles on this podcast. Hope you enjoy!
Get to Know Levi Lindsay
A family man, business owner, and adventurer, Levi Lindsay can be a great source of inspiration for those who have dreams of starting their own business. Having worked on a huge range of different projects, Levi is always looking for new challenges, but he’s managed to do this while always putting his family first.
The Family Man
It’s easy to say that you love spending time with your family, but Levi Lindsay has made this a central part of his life. As a Latter-day Saint, Lindsay follows many principles that ensure that his family is looked after before his businesses. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also plays a heavy role in his life, and it’s easy to see that he is a follower of Jesus. With a wife and a beautiful young baby, Levi has managed to achieve what many want from their lives alongside his career in business.
An Educated Businessperson
Education always plays a heavy role in building a business, and Levi has shown just how big of an impact the right learning can have on your prospects. He earned his associate’s degree in business at Dixie State University in his home state of Utah. Levi then went on to study professional sales and business at Weber State University, also in Utah. Upon finishing his studies in 2017, Levi began work on building a business legacy that even veterans would struggle to achieve.
The Business Man
Alongside his education and family life, Levi paints an impressive picture with his business achievements. His first business project involved building an online store called Wrexil, selling woman’s clothing. Despite this being his first online store, Levi managed to make this company profitable within a few short months, eventually selling it in the same year with a 70% return on his investment. Digital marketing was at the heart of his success with this business.
Following his success with Wrexil, Levi began a second company called Alpha Glass Solutions in 2017. This is an automotive glass business, and it still survives to this day, though Levi himself left the business in 2018.
The next step in Levi’s career involved starting a very popular company known as VidArmy. Offering affordable video production services, Levi was able to develop new skills in this role, improving his marketing portfolio and helping countless businesses to get their message into the world. This company was started in 2018, though Levi stepped down from his role as president of the business in early 2021.
Like many of the businesses Levi has started, the next one on his list was a drastically different turn. We.are.mind is a mental health support company, aiming to break the stigma that surrounds mental health to get people talking about the issue. He is still a member of this business, having founded it in 2020 with the help of a good friend.
Today, Levi is actually working for a business that he didn’t start himself. Kizik is a shoe manufacturer that offers shoes that can be put on and taken off without the use of your hands. While convenient to some, this sort of product makes clothing far more accessible for those with disabilities. Levi has worked as director of content marketing for the company since early 2021, giving him the chance to leave his mark on the company.
Having managed and founded several companies over the course of a decade-long career, Levi has already achieved more than many will in their entire time. Of course, though, despite working hard, he has never forgotten his faith or the family that supports him in everything he does.
Levi Lindsay Podcast Transcription
Charan: Hey, what’s going on guys? This is Charan Prabhakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast, and I’m here with Levi Lindsay, who I’ve had the privilege of meeting just barely, actually, as it turns out, but it’s funny because as I’ve been talking to him a little bit, and I’ve been researching a little bit about you and some of the things that you’ve been involved in. I feel like our lives are kind of parallel to each other.
Charan: You founded VidArmy, is that right? From there, it’s interesting, because I actually, we were talking just earlier about one of the hires that you had, actually came out and helped us with the podcast a couple of times. It’s cool, so he was awesome. And then you hopped over to Kiziks, a shoe company, which man, I love Kiziks. I’m currently wearing a pair of Kiziks right now, but I was also… their very first big marketing video, I was their spokesperson. And so, that was like the-
Levi: I didn’t know you were the spokesperson.
Charan: I was a spokesperson, yeah.
Levi: That’s awesome.
Charan: So, they gave me like a free pair of Kiziks and stuff. This was back in the day. We were talking about this, but I don’t even think Blake was there. I don’t even think Alex McArthur was there. It was, this was the very first “Hey, we’re going to make a big splash into the world.” And they were foolish enough to hire me. I’m just kidding. No, they hired me and I was kind of a Danny Ocean-type of character.
Charan: And so, it was fun. And so, I’ve known about Kiziks for some time. But yeah, anyway, you also mentioned, we’re talking about marketing and you were mentioning that’s your thing. That’s what you love to do. So, I’d love to like dive in and explore that with you, but yeah, thanks, man. Thanks for being on the podcast. Appreciate that.
Levi: Yeah. The honor’s all mine. Thank you, thank you.
Levi Lindsay’s Lemonade Stand Story
Charan: Of course. So, the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast is all about people’s lemonade stand stories, how they got into whatever field they got into. And it could have started off as a lemonade stand. But did you have one when you were a kid, like a lemonade stand or…
Levi: Of course.
Charan: … like a business?
Levi: Of course.
Charan: You did?
Levi: I put my brother who is seven years younger than me on the street. I’d have him get on his knees and act like he was crying.
Charan: It’s perfect.
Levi: It was a car-stopper.
Charan: Dude, I’ll tell you what. That is the best marketing you could ever use, right?
Levi: Hello, marketing. I mean, that was my start.
Charan: That was your start into marketing. It was to make your poor brother… But it stopped people for sure?
Levi: It was a car-stopper, yeah.
Charan: No way. And then you just sell lemonade after that or would you just? Yeah.
Levi: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: Were many of the people upset that you guys did that?
Levi: No, no, no.
Levi: You keep the act going and we were fine.
Charan: Okay. Dude, that’s the best marketing you could have.
Levi: It’s what little brothers are for.
Charan: Of course, of course. Whereas you did that to make a little bit of money, I just basically tricked my little brother into thinking he was playing Nintendo when he wasn’t. He just had like the controller.
Levi: There you go.
Charan: And I was actually the one controlling it, but-
Levi: Yeah, entrepreneurship is to get your brother to run the whole stand. You sit back, play Xbox and just rake in the cash, but I was-
Charan: And then maybe give him like a little bit of a piece, 10%. But you’re the brains behind the operation, right?
Levi: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. So, did you always have a desire to be a marketer in some capacity?
Levi: Yeah, I think so. I wanted to be in stand-up.
Charan: You did?
Levi: Yeah, I did a stand-up gig in elementary and in high school. And then some after high school, actually. My mom was like, you’re basically unemployed if you’re a comedian, so I jumped to entrepreneurship, which is basically also unemployment.
Charan: Yes, exactly. So, you chose the next best thing, right?
Charan: Man, I know it is true, right? Until you make it, it’s like you’re kind of struggling, you’re hustling. What was your first venue or like your first direction into entrepreneurship? Is there anything specific?
Levi: So, yeah. I started doing windshield repair, and if my most successful LinkedIn post is my story into windshield repair. It got 1.6 million views and it blows my mind.
Levi: I had hair down to my shoulders. I was 16 working at a carwash. And there was this guy that would hang out there and fix rock chips and I was like, “I’m sick of spraying cars.” It looks like this guy wears a nice Polo and it looks like he’s raking in the cash. So, I go up to him. I’m like, “I want to be a rock chip salesman.” He’s like, “I’ve never hired anyone in high school.” He basically laughed me, but he just he laughed me away. And then he’s like, “You know, if you cut your hair I’ll hire you.” And he was just kind of, he was kidding. I go to my mom that night, who is a barber.
Charan: No way.
Levi: And went from here to here and cut my hair all the way off. Go in the next day. He looks at me and he’s like, “Crap.”
Charan: Yeah. Now hire him.
Levi: He had to hire me. And we ended up being business partners eventually. So, I fixed rock chips all the way up into my mission. Then got back from my mission and then met my wife. This is the abbreviated version. Met my wife. She basically said, “You can come down to Dixie State with me or not get married or wait until I’m graduating.” I was like, “I’ll go down to Dixie.”
Charan: Yeah, I’ll go down to Dixie, yeah, for sure.
Levi: But then I was like, “Well, what would I do for a job?” So, I asked that guy that originally hired me. I was like, “Hey, can I go start a branch for you down in St. George?” So, I started a branch for him, ran it for a year. And then someone one day said, “Why do you need that guy?” And I was like, “Hmm.” So, I called him up and I was like, “Can I buy this from you?” And I bought the branch from him for a couple of grand or something like that. He was easy on me. And then I was like, “Cool. I’m in business.” And so, I had my windshield repair kit, I had a contract with the carwash and I’m there and I’m like, “I’m an entrepreneur.”
Charan: That’s it right there.
Levi: But then I sold my first rock chip, and it was an insurance rock chip, and I was like, “Oh, how do I sell an insurance? How do I charge insurance?” So, I called the insurance company. And I was like, “Hi, I just sold a rock chip.” And luckily, the lady was nice and we figured it out. But that’s the long-abbreviated story.
Charan: But the thing was you kind of, well, you figured it out. Well, how did you get clients to come? Was it just because you were at the car wash or… ?
Levi: Well, you just leech off of a carwash or a dealership. So, after about another year of owning it. I moved back up. We became partners again. We basically just absorbed back into each other and then we had, like, 14 guys. We would have, we had , Larry H. Miller, Nate Wade. We just had a guy on each site. And like I said, they would just leech off of it. Cars would come in, we’d act like we’re employees of that business, and then we’d sell the rock chip.
Charan: Gotcha. But dude, it worked out and you were able to a little bit of money and-
Levi: Yeah. There’s not a lot of upward mobility; it will never be. There’s only so many car washes and dealerships in Utah.
Charan: For sure. Absolutely.
Levi: And I recognized that.
Charan: But the thing was, it gave you a taste, right?
Levi: It did. Yeah.
Charan: It gave you a taste of what could be if you decide to keep going [crosstalk 00:08:19].
Levi: And it’s like a drug, because I remember my first hire ever, because after two months, I hired my first guy. He was at a carwash and he was selling, and I watched my phone just like “ding, ding, ding” sale. I was watching Criminal Minds at my apartment.
Levi: I was like, “Yes.”
Charan: Yeah, it’s like the same thing. Right?
Levi: I was like, “This is easy.” Then I didn’t realize I didn’t have enough pay. I didn’t have enough working capital to pay his first paycheck and so.
Charan: Shoot. Okay.
Levi: You learn hard lessons.
Charan: Yeah, then you’re like, “Oh, wait. Now, I have to pay money.”
Levi: That’s the rough side of entrepreneurship.
Levi: “Oh, this actually isn’t as easy as you thought.”
Charan: Exactly. So, you went from rock chips to what was it? What was the next thing?
Levi: Next thing? I mean, in between there, I did a drop-ship clothing store. I just kind of sat down, figured it out and sold it for about what I didn’t revenue, nothing impressive. And then started VidArmy. I met a dude through church and we just became friends. And I was like, “Hey, I’m looking for a business partner.” And he was full-time somewhere else doing real estate video. And I was like, “Hey, I could just dive in.” And so, I dove in full-time from day one.
Charan: Wow. Did you have any passion with video before?
Levi: No, not at all.
Charan: Not at all.
Levi: Just entrepreneurship, in general. I just-
Charan: That’s so crazy.
Levi: But I mean, now, I love content creation and content in general.
Levi: But I love that side of marketing. And so, it was a happy coincidence, but-
Charan: Yeah, it’s interesting, because, so I got into my own entrepreneurship story as an actor, right? You’re an entrepreneur, you’re selling yourself basically, right?
Levi: Right, right.
Charan: And while I was acting, I started producing, because I just realized, “Well, if I want to keep acting and I want to control my career, I have to produce that kind of a raise my own stuff. I have to produce other people’s stuff.” So yeah, I started, I wouldn’t say it was my own company, but I would just produce for people. If they needed like a gig or something done. I knew I could hire the people.
Charan: But what’s interesting with VidArmy was you just, you guys systemized it in a way that you were able to churn out tons and tons of videos for only 500 bucks. Which is crazy to me, because normally, I mean, I’ve charged, like the low end for me, I’ve charged two or three grand. Yeah, but then high budgets have been 100 grand. Those are what I’m used to, like the bigger budgets, so we can hire the crews and all that stuff. So, how are you able to systemize in a way where you’re able to do so much for so little?
Levi: I mean, really it just came down to limitations and expectation-setting. And look, there’s still a lot to figure out. I’m not there anymore. I can’t really speak to it. But I mean, even when I left, there was still so much to figure out. Because anyone with a camera can charge 500 bucks. But how do you get a company of 17 to charge 500 bucks? And so, we were constantly always having to evolve and change and mold. And so, that was kind of the fun part is like, “How do we make 500 scalable?” Because I said, anyone with a camera, like, really, with an iPhone, you can charge 500 bucks.
Charan: For sure, yeah.
Levi: But it was how do we always make the videos better and better and better? And how do we grow this to 100 employees and still charge 500 bucks? So that, it was a fun challenge.
Charan: It’s a fun challenge. I mean, it’s interesting, because that was one of the things I noticed. A lot of people, a lot of companies couldn’t afford, like the big, big budget things, but they still needed ads done. So, that’s why I was able to get some work. But the one thing for sure, which is what I want to talk to you a little bit about, was they would film these commercials, and they would have no idea what to do with it, because TV cost too much to put it on, and so they’d put it on YouTube, but they don’t have a YouTube channel, so they’re building a YouTube channel, and they just put it on and maybe it gets 10 views or something like that. And a lot of people forgot about marketing the ad.
Charan: And so many of my… I’ve got a client right now, a good friend of mine, who hires me to do stuff, but I say, “How are people going to see this? If people aren’t going to see it, then what’s the point in making it?” Now, he has some relationships with the local theaters and stuff. So, I’m like, “Okay, I get it.” He’s going to put it in theaters. He’s going to put it in places where people go to. But of course, with COVID hitting that kind of dropped a little bit. So, how did you guys market the videos as well?
Levi: I mean, really, our whole idea is, because we were just production. I mean, that was the niche.
Charan: That was it.
Levi: And so, you were really kind of hiring the creative, the film and the post. But the idea is, if we can make this affordable, then you have enough for ad budget and you have enough to push this out there. Because you know, if you spend 10 grand on your video, and then you need to put another 10 or 50, whatever you need to put in, it’s just burning into your ad budget. But we really wanted to niche into that, eventually maybe get to the part where we push it out there. But really we wanted to perfect that like, “Hey, let’s just make the production part of it affordable.” Because, I mean, social media has created this insatiable, bottomless pit of need for content. And videos have a weak shelf-life maybe sometimes.
Charan: It’s insane right now.
Levi: I mean, maybe you can put out a hero video, maybe that can live six months, a year. But you need all this micro content all the time and it needs to be pumping out.
Charan: And that was one thing I noticed that you guys are doing at Kiziks, I feel. And so, I’d love to talk about that. So I only heard about Kiziks a few years ago, because I was in the ad. And then they were telling me a little bit about it. And at that time, hands-free lab wasn’t a thing. None of that stuff existed. It was just the shoe. And Spencer, who I believe you know, Spencer Pratt?
Levi: Yeah, yeah.
Charan: So, we became buddies on that gig and we’re going to talk a little bit about-
Levi: Yeah, he’s a good dude.
Charan: He’s a good dude. And it’s interesting, because since then I’ve seen you guys evolve a ton. And in terms of even marketing. So, I’ve done a couple of little sketches and things here and there for you guys. And I’ve noticed, like a lot of micro content, a lot of micro content. And it was interesting, because I asked, “Hey, how did that hero vid perform?” And they said, “It got a lot of views, but it just didn’t convert as much as they wanted to.” And that’s the problem, right? Because like if you sink a lot of money into a hero vid and it doesn’t convert, then you just lost a lot of money.
Levi: There’s no AB testing. It’s not like, “Hey, hopefully, maybe let’s try his one and then go with this one and then B is dead because A did great.” It’s-
Charan: Yeah. You have one shot, right?
Charan: So, when did you just decide, “Hey, I want to just create a bunch of different content and see how that goes”?
Levi: I mean, I’m so new and it’s funny. Alex McArthur, the CMO.
Charan: Who was on this podcast, by the way.
Levi: Was he?
Charan: Yeah, he was, yeah.
Levi: After my exit, we went to lunch. And I had all sorts of offers, like another CMO offer at another agency. But I was like, “I don’t know if I want to do agency again.” And people were calling me to co-found stuff. And I was like, “I just need a paycheck, man.” At least for a little bit. Just give me some steady benefits, please.
Charan: Yeah, something.
Levi: So, Alex and I met, we had lunch. And he was telling me all about Kizik and I was like, “I’ve seen someone pop their foot in and it’s something that sticks in your mind.” But I had no idea what was really going on and how big it’s about to be. And I was like, “Hey.” And then I was like, “Dude, are we flirting with me coming on?” And he’s like, “I don’t know. Do you want to go see the warehouse?” And we go and check out the warehouse. And before, and then I actually left for California to kind of unwind from all the craziness of leaving a company. Come back and they’d kind of gone silent.
Levi: And then I called Alex. And I was like, “Maybe he’ll just be my mentor.” I call him up. And he’s like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, we got to get you an offer.” And I was like, “Oh, I guess it’s still alive and well.” And he’s like, “We got to make you up-title because,” he’s like, “we’re a pretty small team still.” And so, I was like, “I don’t know. I think I could help you on the content side.” And that’s what I’m doing is helping drive content because there’s that insatiable need.
Charan: Absolutely. Yeah. I love it. And yeah, Alex and I have talked about that before because I guess it’s such an awesome company. It’s such a cool brand. And I mean, I think they’re my favorite shoes.
Levi: Yeah. The overhaul was crazy, like Skip from Nike 30 or Nike that came in and did some awesome designs. Some new designs coming out in the summer that will be even better. Yeah, and the stuff Alex has done is insane.
Charan: He’s insane.
Levi: And Blake and Brett are just powerhouses.
Charan: Yeah, you guys have a great team, and I love your team. They’re really good folks. And it’s awesome to see the future of that company come to fruition, because I was so stoked when I got to try it out the first time. I’m like, this is insane. These shoes, these leather shoes, which I still have the same shoes and it’s funny, because Blake was like, “Yeah, we don’t even make those anymore.” And I’m like, “Well, I got them still.” But you mentioned something that I want to kind of tap into. This is really what I’m kind of excited to talk about.
Levi Lindsay Talks About Experiencing Burnout
Charan: You’re saying the craziness of exiting a company, the craziness of shifting to something else, and we talked a little bit before the podcast about experiencing severe burnout. So, can we walk down that path a little bit?
Levi: Please, yeah, I’d love to.
Charan: So, when was it that you started feeling like just, “I can’t go anymore?”
Levi: Here’s the crazy part. I mean, it’s cliché, but you know the frog in the boiling water?
Levi: You put it in a hot water, it will jump right out. When you put it in cold water and slowly turn the heat up, it won’t even realize it’s dying. That was me. I was just going so hard for so long, sacrificing so much. It really it was like, “If I get to this revenue point, I’ll be happy. If I get to this many employees, I’ll be happy.” And so, what I would do is I’d say like, “I can’t be happy now because I won’t be happy until then.” So I’d missed my wife’s birthday to go close a deal, because it’s like, “I’ll make her happier if I miss her birthday now, but I’m at every birthday since.”
Charan: And in the future or something, yeah.
Levi: “And I don’t have to work anymore because I’ve crushed it in business,” was the thought. And just thing after thing like that. I didn’t really realize I had burnout actually until Nick and I-
Charan: And what’s interesting, real quick, what I want to say is that even that thought, that thought of pushing things off that really matter, that’s also an addictive drug.
Levi: Dude, business, it’s like I said, I got that taste back in the day when I was sitting at home watching Criminal Minds while my employee… It becomes addictive and you get addicted to like, “What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?” It’s like this easily pleased, never-satisfied mentality, which can be good. But all along the way, I thought, man, if I take a week off, my business will crumble.” I was addicted to checking for notifications, because every little touch point-
Charan: Every little ding, every little chime comes in. And it’s like, “Oh, it’s a little bit of a high.” Right?
Levi: Yeah, yeah. And it’s crazy. It gets to the point where you’re playing with your daughter in your living room and you’re not there.
Charan: You’re not present.
Levi: You’re just this glazed-over a robot. And so, Nick and I started talking more and more about mental health. We hired Nick as our CEO eight months ago of VidArmy.
Charan: VidArmy, yeah.
Levi: And he’s no longer there as well, but we started talking more and more about mental health, because it was important to both of us. And I started having panic attacks about a year ago and I’d never had one before.
Levi: That’s its own story, but we were doing a phone call with someone who was just reaching out to say, “Hey, I’d love to keep talking about mental health.” So, it was just me and Nick and her on a Zoom call. And she was describing burnout. And she’s like, “I’d feel numb from the neck down and I’m on autopilot and I don’t have a personality anymore. I’m just kind of cruising and surviving. I’m not thriving and creating.” And-
Charan: She’s not alive.
Levi: As she’s talking, my tears are welling in my eyes. And Nick noticed I was hopping in and out, because I was just like, “Holy crap, I think I have this.” So, I jumped off the call, ran to my car to go stew in the fact that, “Oh, my gosh, I think I have burned out. I’ve never even heard of that.” And then I got a text, a really discouraging text that didn’t even allow me to have a panic attack.
Levi: That’s the thing. It’s like it got to the point where it’s like, “I can’t even heal from my burnout while still being in the business.” That was the breaking point for me. And I told my wife, I was like, When things were really coming to a crux, and I was like, “Okay, I could grind this out for another year, and maybe things will be better.” But I asked my wife, I was like, “I’m thinking about leaving the company.” And she looked at me, and she said, “I just want my husband back.”
Levi: And when she said that, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. Who cares about the business? I’d left everything that was really important on the wayside, diving head-deep into this business. And the fact that she even could summon the words or even thought that thought meant that I had done what I feared that I had done, which was basically had a love affair with the business. I was more into that than I was family. It got to the point where I didn’t even like doing things I liked anymore because it wasn’t business. I was only happy when I was working on the business. It’s just this weird, crazy cycle. Like quicksand.
Charan: Well, it’s interesting. I would describe myself as a workaholic. And because I love to create, right? And I’m not married or anything like that and so, I was like, “Well, I’ve got time. I can create. I can do all these things.” So, I lived in LA for about nine years acting. And you mentioned Criminal Minds. That was my favorite show to be on.
Charan: And I had one episode I got to be on with them. And-
Levi: Maybe I was watching your episode that day.
Charan: Maybe you were watching my episode. No. It was in 2017 I filmed that one. But I remember, when I was on that set, people were so incredibly nice. They were so kind. And I’m like, “Wow, this is interesting.” And I loved that feeling. And the director between takes, and it was an intense scene, but between takes the director was like, “Hey, you’re doing such a great job. You’re doing so awesome.” And they were setting up cameras for the different shot. And he pulled me aside, just to see who I was, which was so awesome that he would even care.
Levi: Which for LA and Hollywood is, I’m sure it’s rare.
Charan: It’s so rare, which is why it was so refreshing. And I said, “So, do you live in LA and everything?” He’s like, “No, I don’t.” I’m like, “Really?” He’s like, “Yeah, I live in Connecticut.” I’m like, “You’re in Connecticut?” He’s like, “Yeah.” He’s like, “Look, I have a family there. My family is there. I have a beautiful home there. And I just come here for a little bit of work. But I cannot leave that, like ;that is life; type of thing.’ ” That struck me.
Charan: And so, when I came back, because I moved back to Utah, because I wanted to produce some stuff. And I was getting into this mode of just wanting to create as much as I possibly can, so TV shows, movies, all that stuff, I was doing that. But then especially last, well, this year, really. It was hitting me very, very hard where I was just getting overly exhausted. And I was also feeling very claustrophobic. I know that sounds like a weird feeling, but it just was a very noisy feeling, like it was like my mind wouldn’t shut up. My mind wouldn’t shut up. It was always going and always saying something.
Charan: And I couldn’t stop looking at my phone at night when I wanted to go to bed. That’s when it’s like my mind is going, “Oh, well, let’s just see what’s going on now.” And it wasn’t like, it was just like, I don’t know, like fun. It wasn’t anything bad. It was just … , but there was just tons of it all the time.
Levi: It’s so hard to switch it on and off. I’m still having trouble, honestly. I mean, I think I’m getting better now that I’ve just… I feel like I’m kind of in a more relaxing environment. My problems are way less. I just, I have different problems. You have problems doing everything. But have you ever read The Subtle Art of Not Giving an F?
Charan: No, but I’ve heard.
Levi: It’s so good. You should-
Charan: It’s so good.
Levi: He says you just, you get to pick your problems. And right now, I’m picking a different set of problems. And it’s giving me because, dude, when I was working on my business all day — it’s not even so much about time spent as it is sometimes with mental capacity — I feel like my mental capacity was always at its brink. It was like, my wife would be like, “I need your help with dishes.” I was like, “I don’t have room to help you with the dishes.” But I could text five people back.
Charan: Isn’t that interesting? It’s like our minds are like computers. And when there’s too many programs running, it slows down. It [crosstalk 00:26:26].
Levi: Yeah. I like that.
Charan: That’s just how I imagine it. I’m like, “Oh, my computer’s freaking out because there’s no more capacity. Well, that’s what’s happening to me. And so, this is what I did. I was feeling so heavy and so claustrophobic and just felt zero joy in the things that I love to do.”
Levi: You stopped feeling nostalgia. You stopped feeling like I was riding my dirt bike in the desert, which I love to do. I stopped and thought, “I’m not even having any fun anymore.” I’m like, “I’m numb.”
Charan: I feel the same way. My sport is tennis. I love playing tennis. And yet there was a time a little bit ago, I was playing with my buddy. Well, I wasn’t having fun playing tennis because I was thinking too much about how to hit the ball, instead of just hitting the ball. And then I’m like, “Why am I thinking so much?” And that’s what it was. It was just, I was thinking. I was living in my mind, thinking and thinking and living in some sort of narrative that I’m creating all the time.
Charan: Well, I know in Buddhist philosophy, they talk about the “monkey” mind. The monkey mind is the mind that just doesn’t stop chattering. Always saying, “Hey, look at this, look at this, look at this.” And if you can’t get to silence that monkey mind, then you will be exhausted and you’ll be tired. So, I made a rule for myself and I’m still… I got to make this better for me. But I said, I like to schedule things, because that way I can stay focused and do stuff. I’m like, I got to schedule time for relaxation. If I don’t schedule time for that, then I will never do it, I’ll always put it away.
Charan: And one of the things I love doing is just driving to open space where there’s just nobody and just being. Just sit there for maybe, I don’t know, half hour, an hour, whatever. So, the last couple of weeks, I went towards the Salt Flats. I went to past Eagle Mountain on the other side. And dude, it is the craziest thing. Just when you get over to that side and you can just take a big deep breath and just relax. And be like, “Oh, my gosh. The pressure is off.” This narrative that I created, it doesn’t have to be there anymore.
Charan: And then you really realize, you realize what’s the most important thing, right? Which is family, which is relationships, which is your daughter, which is your wife.
Levi: Who cares? That’s the thing too. It’s like, “Who cares?” Let’s say I kept going on that path, I don’t know, maybe 10 years more. Like my wife wouldn’t take it and get a divorce. And I’d have to, who knows? Or maybe 10 years go by. I’m still married, but I’m not feeling and then all the money is there. I’ve got money, but I’m not happy. And I was actually filming a podcast with Alex Boyé once, and he was talking about how money is the byproduct. If you’re happy at your core and then you have money, it makes you more happy. But if you’re not happy and you have money, it doesn’t do anything.
Charan: It makes you probably more unhappy.
Levi: It makes you more unhappy, too, because you’re like, “Well, maybe the money will make me happy” and then it doesn’t. And you’re like, “Oh, crap.”
Charan: That’s what… I’ve said this to a bunch of different people before, but I think what’s worse than having none of your dreams come true is to have all of your dreams come true only to realize you’re not happy.
Levi: Yeah. You see that in celebrities.
Charan: Yes. Yeah, absolutely, which is why they get into drugs or whatever, because they’re like, “Why don’t I feel joy? I feel this crazy sense of pain.” I’m actually friends with a couple of celebrities and they’re really well-known. And it’s very interesting because I knew them through family connections. So, it wasn’t the celebrity world. It was just like their family are good friends of mine. So, when I met them, because it was a family setting and it was a personal setting, it was all very comfortable and very relaxed. And they are very family-oriented people, but they can’t go out in public. Isn’t that crazy?
Levi: I’ve thought about that all the time. I’m like, “You sacrificed being able to just go to the store?”
Charan: They can’t do it. Not in America anyway.
Levi: Which I can’t imagine. I think we think like, “Oh, poor you” but also like, “You’ll never really experience what it’s like to just walk into a grocery store.” They had Michael Jackson one time. Did you ever see this?
Charan: No, no. What is this?
Levi: He rented out a whole grocery store once, and they paid actors to walk around the grocery store to act like a regular grocery shopper, so that Michael Jackson could once again experience what it’s like to just go to a grocery store regularly.
Charan: You’ve got to be kidding me.
Levi: Yeah, well, look it up on YouTube. It’s a fancy video.
Charan: Dude, that’s the craziest thing.
Levi: But I think about that, too. The grass is always greener. And like I was saying earlier, you pick your problems.
Charan: You pick your problems. So, at the severity of your burnout, how were you able to come back? How were you able to recognize and come back and find identity again?
Levi: Well, honestly, dude, I’m still coming back. And it’s coming back in glimpses because, dude, I mean, I was dealing with founder drama. What’s crazy is, we were getting these really big contracts, but leadership wasn’t all on the same page. I had made a crap ton of mistakes in that three years. And unfortunately, what sucks about failing in business sometimes is those are mistakes that just haunt you. It’s not like learning from a textbook, like learning from someone else’s lesson.
Levi: And it got to the point where I was like, “Look, I think I’ve made enough mistakes in this and I can’t move on or progress. These aren’t the people I want to move forward with and this isn’t what I want to keep doing and I have to heal.” The biggest thing was recognizing, I will never be able to get my mental health back while still in this.
Charan: Because it was a toxic environment [crosstalk 00:32:44].
Levi: Yeah. All it did was killing me inside. And look, I want to make it clear that a lot of it is like I peed in my own bed and I had to sleep in it. There’s lot of mistakes I made. But a lot of other people made a lot of mistakes and it’s new, it’s a startup. So, it’s not like I have my hands clean either, but yeah, lots of craziness. It’s funny, you start business with people and your friends and everything’s fine.
Charan: Of course.
Levi: But then money starts getting involved and things start really changing.
Charan: I’ve heard that money’s like a steroid ,and it’s like whatever direction you’re going in life, personally, money will just get you there faster. And so, if people have greed in their heart or because money is just coming through then, “Wait, what about my contract?” or “What about this? And what about that?” And it’s such a temptation. And it can really pull people in rough, crazy directions.
Charan: I was born in India and I was born into a family that had a bit of money. We had enough money, so we could actually come to the States. But right outside my house were tons and tons of people living in cardboard boxes and they lived with their backs against our fence, or our concrete wall, as part of their home. And even as a kid that humbled me to the core, because I always was like, “What did I do to deserve a home and a nice family, when right outside the wall are tons of families that have nothing? They have nothing.”
Charan: But I’ve gone back to India several times and when I’ve gone back to see how happy people are over there. And I was talking to one of my cousins, and I said, “Hey, listen. If you could live anywhere in the world, anywhere at all, where would you live?” And my cousin was like, “Oh, Pondicherry,” which is the hometown that he was living in. I’m like, “Hang on, hang on. Let me rephrase the question.”
Charan: “Anywhere in the world,” right? “No, no, Pondicherry.”
Charan: And I’m like, “Why? Why would you pick Pondicherry?” And he’s like, “I’m never lonely here.”
Charan: Isn’t that profound?
Levi: It just gave me chills.
Charan: It was so beautiful, because I remember when I was there, everything was a celebration. All these cousins and stuff, they were all living, if they didn’t live in the same house, they all live in proximity to each other. And it’s almost a whole like extended families and stuff, they all live together. And everything was a celebration to them.
Charan: So, this one day, I remember in the evening, they’re like, “Hey, Charan, Charan. Wonderful news, Charan. We have a new restaurant. They’re going to open it and we want you to go to it.” I’m like, “All right. What’s the restaurant?” “It’s very brand new. You’re going to love it. It’s called Pizza Hut.” I’m like, “Oh, I think I know.” “No, Charan, let me explain to you. There’s a thing called pizza. You can put all kinds of toppings in. It will be wonderful.” I’m like, “I can’t wait, guys.” And it was just so much fun to see people telling me.
Levi: Finding that much joy in something so simple.
Charan: So much joy.
Levi: And now, we’re like, “My DoorDash is five minutes late. This is freaking ridiculous. I’m going to leave a horrible review. You’re not getting your tip.” And America is — I had this thought, talking about burnout earlier — we get this insatiable desire to move way fast and to move up as high as we can and that your happiness is on top and it’s above that person next to you. And part of what I think contributes to burnout is that you want to get to where you want to go, and you want to get there really fast.
Charan: Faster than everybody.
Levi: Faster than everybody else and it’s race, race, race. And so, you’re like, “I have to answer this email, I have to answer this text.” And so, you can’t find time to relax. And if you are trying and if you are relaxing, you’re just worrying that the other person is getting ahead of you while you’re relaxing.
Charan: So, let me ask, why that need? Why do you think we have that?
Levi: Golly. Man, it’s comparison. I think it’s culture. I think it’s marketing and there’s so much good about capitalism. But it’s almost like, what’s that town called?
Charan: Where I’m from?
Levi: That you were talking about?
Levi: It’s almost like, I feel like we live in Utah and you look at Silicon Slopes and you see a dude my age, I’m 28. You see a dude my age who started this multi like, it’s like, “Hey, they just IPO’d or they just raised $163 million.” You see that and you’re like, “I’m not happy because I don’t have 163 million in funding.” So, I think seeing things that you want can cause depression in you.
Charan: It’s the weirdest thing. Yeah, I haven’t thought about it this way.
Levi: But then there’s probably people that like… this is going to sound way bad, probably. But I know I had neighbors that would look at my company and be like, “Oh, Levi, he’s an entrepreneur and he has a company of 17 employees and they film for Amazon and iHeart. Oh, my gosh, if I just had that.” And it’s like, “Dude, you don’t even know how burnt out and unhappy I am.” But I wanted to make sure all those people knew I was happy or at least thought I was happy.
Charan: So, you had to [crosstalk 00:38:07].
Levi: So, I’d get on LinkedIn and be like, “Entrepreneurship is so sweet.” [inaudible 00:38:11]. But really I’m dying inside.
Charan: You’re dying inside.
Levi: And so, we all put our ego first on social. And then we all look at that person.
Charan: It’s a highlight reel, right?
Levi: Yeah. And they just have different problems, but they still have problems.
Charan: So, have you heard of that TV show Silicon Valley? Have you heard of that show?
Levi: I’ve heard of it. I haven’t watched it yet.
Charan: No worries. That was like my first big TV show gig. And in it I play a character that’s the young hotshot that made tons and tons of money. So, the very first episode is me on stage. I’ve got Kid Rock next to me.
Levi: And I feel like a jerk, I’m like-
Levi: I’m supposed to… I should know these things.
Charan: Trust me, you don’t need to. If it was… that’s just me acting. But it’s like… but I remember as I was speaking these lines and stuff, I was kind of laughing because it was so ridiculous. But then the director was like, “No, there really are people like this.” And I’m like, “Really?” That are just so… They made hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars because of something, right? But while I was performing it, I remember thinking, “Okay, in real life, I’m here at mansion and all this stuff, but in real life, I have to go back to my apartment and drive for Lyft.” That is reality.
Charan: But what was crazy was two days after I filmed that scene, I went to India. And I went to visit my cousins and stuff. But it was interesting, because we were talking about joy and little things, I was trying to get them to like say, “Hey guys, we’re at home all the time. What can we do that’s like some sort of exercise? Because I feel like we’re just hanging out at home.” They go, “Charan, of course. We take walks in the beach.” I’m like, “Okay, that is nice. It’s very nice.” Anything more physically demanding?” Like, “Charan, TT, Charan.” I’m like, “What is TT?” And they’re like, “Table tennis. We play on.” I’m like, “Okay, yeah, that’s going to be great. It’s going to be great for the forearm.”
Charan: “What about more?” And they’re like, “Oh, swimming, Charan.” And I’m like, “That’s good. Sounds great, right?” So, we went swimming, but they warned me in advance that they’ve never swam before, so I’d have to teach them. But we went and we got into the school and they were just like… they’re adults, that’s what makes this so funny. They’re adults and they’re just like screaming like little children, because they didn’t know what to do in the water. And then I go to the deep end, and they go, “Oh, Charan, Charan, Charan, no, no, no. Let’s stay in the shallow. Not that deep.” The deep end was five feet deep. That was the deepest that it actually… And I’m like, “Guys, I’m touching the bottom and the water is below me.”
Charan: But I remember in that moment, I’m like, “If I die, but after this, I would have been very happy, because this moment was utterly precious.” It was full of so much joy and it didn’t cost any money. It cost nothing. And yet, sometimes, I’ve seen that trap that people get into. And I, myself, have been tempted to get in that trap where it’s like, “We need the bigger the thing, the better thing.” The more of this, the more that, the competition, the idea that like you were saying about capitalism, we have to have this, we have to have that.
Charan: I have a buddy of mine who, he speaks a lot at Silicon Slopes. He’s made tons of money, tons of money. And you know what he did? We did this together. He was extremely unhappy even though he made tons of money. I mean, this guy was like a billionaire and all this stuff, right? And he said, “I still feel not enough. I still feel like I’m not enough.” And he said, “Look, when I was a young kid, I was homeless. I had nothing, but those are some of the best memories I’ve ever had. Even though it sucks not having a home.”
Levi: Isn’t that crazy?
Levi: Because you weren’t worried about anything.
Charan: You weren’t, and he said the people, when he was homeless, took care of him. So, he actually asked me, he said, “Hey, dude, will you be homeless with me for a day?” I’m like, “Sure, let’s do it.” So, we went to Salt Lake and we just spent the night in the park or something. It was really fun.
Levi: That’s awesome.
Charan: But it was very, very present. And I think that’s what was so cool, was the stories that we told ourselves went away. The stories of what we think is going to satisfy us or what is going to make us feel important, it goes away. And I think that’s the key, for me, anyway, to getting out of burnout, is to get more present and get more to the things, things that really matter.
Levi Lindsay Talks About Mental Health
Charan: You were mentioning to me about having panic attacks but now also developing mental health. So, can we talk a little bit about that? What have you done right now to overcome some of those tough things that you went through in the past with panic attacks and whatnot?
Levi: Yeah. My first panic attack came kind of as a surprise. I was just dealing with more drama, more legal battles, more things that were out of my control. And that was really what stressed me out a lot is there’s so much out of my control. And yet I’m working my butt off, and there’s still things that I have to rely on other people for. But I was just in my closet at my house and I just, just fish out of water. I couldn’t breathe. And it felt like an elephant was sitting on me.
Levi: And my wife was like, she’s just a sweetheart. She’s like, “I have no idea what to do. I’ve never seen one of these before.” So, she just kind of patted my back. And I just… what’s cool, though, is around that time, Johnny Hannah from Homie and Kory Stevens from Taft has started really opening up on LinkedIn about mental health. And I mean, I’ve met Johnny Hannah and Kory Stevens. I’m probably just this guy they met once to them, but to me it was in that moment I thought, “Man, if those ballers that have started these huge companies have struggled with this, I’m going to be okay.” And that really helped me through that first one.
Levi: Second one, I was at a waterpark with my wife and two of her friends, and I started having one. I felt it coming and I just ran out of the park into the parking lot and I just stared with a blank stare off into the vast void and tears streaming down my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. That was just like the beginning of the end, man. That was like, because I didn’t take that moment to think, “Okay, I need a week off where I delete Slack. I don’t answer. I tell everyone to not text me.” That’s what I should have done. I should have taken this. I should have like drawn the line right then, but instead I let it keep going and keep going and keep going.
Levi: And I leaned in more, I was like, “Okay, I’m having panic attacks, so I need to work harder to get more revenue and to fix this situation and research this, so that this can become better.” But I should have just switched it off. What’s hard, too, is like, dude, I was at Disney World in September. And I was in line for a ride and getting texts from a lawyer, from my lawyer, because I had to deal with legal stuff and it wouldn’t stop. So, part of it is like, I wish I would have taken times that I could have taken to prepare myself and kind of re-energize my battery.
Levi: But also ultimately, it was like, unless I just cut this cord, I can’t figure out a way out. But yeah, with mental health, it’s cool. We really opened up a conversation on LinkedIn about, through that, just a little thought bubble. We said, “Hey, if you support mental health, add the thought bubble.” And it started catching on like wildfire. And it just like the rainbow or a pink ribbon, it gave people a vehicle to say, “I support something that needs to get talked about more.” And people started coming out and saying, “Yeah, this has to stop.”
Charan: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting, because we are so addicted to things that are toxic sometimes. And they just pull us down. And just weigh us and bring us to this death.
Levi: We can know something is bad for us and then still do it…
Charan: Still do it.
Levi: … consume it or be a part of it. It’s crazy.
Charan: Have you ever heard of float tanks? Have you ever done any of this?
Levi: I have heard of those.
Charan: Have you ever done one?
Charan: You should do one. You really should do one.
Levi: I just remember this Simpsons episode.
Charan: Okay, because they were talking about it? I think I heard about through Fringe. I think I was watching Fringe. And I thought, “Wait, what is that?”
Levi: You were on Fringe? That was your first one.
Charan: I was [crosstalk 00:47:09]. Can you imagine? That was amazing.
Levi: I wouldn’t be surprised.
Charan: I know. I haven’t done Fringe. No. But I did do a float tank. And it’s a very interesting experience. Basically, you go in and the water is like very warm, 90 something degrees and it’s salted water, so you’re not sinking at all.
Levi: Yes, you’re floating.
Charan: Completely floating. But then you shut the door and you lay in this water and it’s pitch black. You can close your eyes as hard as you can, you open your eyes, there’s no difference. And once you lay there and stuff and you suddenly feel your body disappear.
Charan: Even your body doesn’t exist, because it’s just in a weightless environment. And it’s only like a couple of, I don’t know, 8 feet, couple of, how many feet wide. But then you start feeling you’re floating and floating and like you’re not touching anything. It’s like just your consciousness. That’s all there is. And it’s very interesting, the thoughts that come during that time.
Charan: At first, it’s like, “Oh, I got to do this, I got to do that. I got to take care of this, I got to take of that.” And then all of a sudden, once that subsides, and you’re able to relax even more into and surrender even more into it, you find peace, and you find a sense of deep relaxation.
Levi: But is there a fighting for a little-
Charan: Initially, yes.
Levi: Your mind is like, “No, no. I need to be doing this or be doing that.”
Charan: Yeah. And so, one of the things I’ve been practicing a lot is surrendering. Because I’ve learned that control is an illusion and the moment you think that-
Levi: Gosh, dang it. I wish I had it, man.
Charan: Of course, I mean, I think we all do. And I think we wanted it.
Levi: Because that’s what, that’s a big part of our stress, right?
Charan: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Levi: We’re like, “Why was that person a jerk?”
Charan: Totally. And I think we have this desire for control because we fear the unknown. We fear certain things. So, the more we can try controlling, but in all honesty, there are so many things going on inside of you that you have no control over. Your heart’s beating, your lungs are pumping oxygen. You have no control over that. And could you imagine thinking you had to control all of those things? Dude, it would be so exhausting. But yet we take things for granted. Right? So, one of the big things that I’ve been working on is just everyday waking up and surrendering.
Levi: I love that.
Charan: Just surrendering to the present moment. Just surrendering. I have faith and I’m a Latter-day Saint and I have my faith in Jesus. And my thing is like, “I’m going to surrender to Christ.” But whatever your belief is, I believe that if you can surrender yourself to your higher power or to the universe or to whatever it is, just to kind of let yourself relax a little bit, you are filled with power. It’s the most, it’s the weirdest thing.
Levi: I love that.
Charan: Because you’re like, you think, “Wait. No, I don’t want to let go of my power.” But you let go so you can have your power, because what you’re letting go of really is the illusion, is the ego, is the need for control, is the need to control the outcomes.
Levi: Well, and if you think about it, too, if what’s stressing us so much out in America is seeing others and comparing and that’s causing anxiety, the remedy is gratitude. I was watching a video the other day. It’s like, if you were a billionaire and you had all the money in the world, but every time you swallowed, it hurt really bad. He’s like, could you imagine? Every time you swallow, think about how many times a day you swallow. You’d give up all of your money to get rid of the swallowing problem.
Levi: And every day I wake up, I’m like, “Dude, I’ve been worried about business. All along I’ve had my health.” And what’s crazy is, in my pursuits,I gave up a bit of my health, which is my most precious wealth. It’s like, “Dude, I’d give up whatever.” Like if I had cancer right now, I’d be like, “Oh, dude, screw it. Screw all of that. I don’t care about so and so IPOing. I got cancer right now. I need to figure this out.”
Charan: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting, because my friend and I went visit to another friend of ours who had some pretty intense cancer. She has since passed away. But when we were there, and she was dying, just being in that room was so sacred.
Levi: I can imagine.
Charan: It was so sacred, because everything became crystal clear. It became crystal clear and-
Levi: It puts that everything in perspective.
Charan: Everything in perspective.
Levi: You forget about all the noise.
Charan: Yes. And this is the craziest thing. We were sitting there with her, and she took some phone calls from her kids. And everything was just this deep profound love. And she just was professing her love to her kids over and over. She’s like, “Do you know how loved you are by me?” And she was just so sweet and just all smiles. And after we left, I remember leaving the hospital room, shut the door and all of a sudden, it was like this heaviness, as I looked at everyone, like back on their phones and like, “Oh my gosh, do you worry about this and stuff?” And I looked at my friend, I’m like, “Dude, this feels so weird.”
Levi: “Why are we talking?” And then you open up social media and it’s like, “Look at my breakfast.” And you’re like, “Dude, you have no idea.”
Levi Lindsay Talks About His Greatest Source of Joy
Charan: Yeah. I just spent the most beautiful time with my friend that’s dying, and this is so meaningless and so trivial, and yet we spend so much energy focusing on that. So, I’d love to ask. I have just a couple of questions more. With all the stuff that you’ve gone through, what is your greatest source of joy right now?
Levi: I’m probably going to cry. When I was going through probably the toughest day that I’d gone through yet… Sorry.
Charan: It’s totally fine.
Levi: I do this thing with my daughter. She loves Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She puts on this yellow, this crappy yellow dress that is just old. But she calls it her “Belle” dress, and I take her to the top of the stairs. I turn on Disney+ to Beauty and the Beast, 57 minutes in. It’s when the song starts and the Beast takes Belle down the stairs.
Charan: I love that.
Levi: And I start at that moment and I take my daughter down the stairs. And we just dance all the Beast and Belle dances.
Charan: My gosh, that’s amazing.
Levi: Dude, that’s what it’s about. And the look that my two-year-old daughter… I can’t buy the feeling that she feels when she looks at me and she smiles or when I say, “Hey, let’s do Belle and the Beast. Let’s go on the stairs.” And she can’t even hold in her excitement. I get joy in seeing my daughter happy. But it’s stressful being a dad, because she’s having way more fun in life than I am. And yogurt just magically appears on her, in a bowl. But being able to see her happy and provide for her, that’s everything, man.
Charan: It’s everything, right? It’s so great. I don’t have any kids myself, but I have a nephew and he isn’t quite two yet. But I remember the first day he had the courage and the strength to climb up a bunch of stairs. And it’s just like stairs that I’ve gone down so many times. But to do it from his perspective and to crawl up the stairs with him.
Levi: Well, and you go up a flight of stairs and you’re just like, “Oh, dat, dat, da, da.”
Charan: Yeah, yeah. [inaudible 00:55:03].
Levi: But he’s like, “Oh.”
Charan: Yeah. And he’s just like full of awe and he’s looking up and he sees his world. And when I can see the life that he’s living and see the world through his eyes, full of awe and full of wonder, it’s like, “How did I forget this? How?”
Levi: Yeah. That’s why you go to the Salt Flats.
Charan: That’s why I go to Salt Flats.
Levi: That’s when you’re like, “Ah.”
Charan: Yeah, like this is it.
Levi: We have to force ourselves to feel those moments as adults, unfortunately.
Charan: And one of the things that I love is on a day of 70 or 80 degrees to drive and have the windows down and just to feel the wind on my face as I’m driving, especially in nature. Dude, it doesn’t get better. It’s like so magical and it’s so beautiful. And it’s so full of awe. And what you describe with your daughter is an incredible awe, just full of awe type of moment where she’s just so captivated, and you’re so excited to see her and dance with her and have this precious moment. It’s so profound, man, and it’s amazing. And I’m glad that you have that. I’m glad that you can keep repeating that with her.
Levi: Hopefully, yeah. And hopefully, I can be more present and more intentional.
Charan: Yeah. Yeah. Well, the thing is, even as we’re discussing these things in the podcast, I feel like you’ve kind of through this pain that you’ve gone through, have born into somebody new. Like that old person is kind of, like in a sense, like panicked away and died and the new person has been born. One that lives life more intentionally, more hopeful.
Levi: It’s sucks that those lessons have to come through hardship. But that’s why we came here, right?
Charan: That’s why we came here. Exactly. And so-
Levi: Gosh, dang it.
Charan: I know.
Levi: The whole thing is like, “Do I come out of this different?”
Levi Lindsay Talks About His Greatest Fear
Charan: Yeah. And it’s very interesting when you’re able to learn what you can and come out and be like, “Wow, that was painful, but my goodness, the lessons that I learned were incredible.” So, last two questions. What would you say is your greatest fear? Now knowing all the stuff that you know now?
Levi: Man, that’s a loaded question. I think my greatest fear is, I’m still trying to find this balance of how do I serve in church? How do I be a good dad? How do I be a great husband? And as much as I would like to say I don’t, I still have pretty high goals, career-wise and in business. So, I’m like, “Okay, how do I not repeat the same mistakes?” And what’s crazy is, I’m already seeing myself repeat them, but I think the difference now is admitting them quicker than I did in the past.
Charan: There’s something to be said about finding your center. And keeping your center in God or family or whatever is meant for you. But I was having a conversation with my buddy just today about this, because I said, “Dude, I don’t know if I’ve got the same passion as I used to for certain things that I love to do.”
Charan: And he said, “Well, you’re evolving, Charan. And as you evolve, certain things won’t be as passionate,” right? But he says, “But even though you are evolving, you can look at things as like, ‘Hey, how do I in the field that I’m doing of acting or podcasting or whatever, how do I lift other people up?’ And what if that’s your perspective? And podcasting and acting, and all that stuff are just means for you to lift people up, but you’re not so attached to the outcome of a specific thing.” I think that was the one-
Levi: I love that.
Charan: I think that was the big thing that helped me to let go, because so many times I was attached to outcomes. And that’s what was going to lead to the happiness, right? We talked about this a little bit.
Levi: Yeah, so “If it does this, I will be happy. I can then be happy. If this podcast with Levi goes well today, I’ll be happy.”
Charan: I’ll be happy.
Levi: Dude, I’m still struggling with that so bad.
Charan: But you know what? I think that’s okay. I think that’s okay because you recognize that you’re struggling with it. One of the things I got to, because man, being in LA, I’ve auditioned so many times. Maybe even 1000 times, maybe more, and I’ve failed a lot of those auditions. They just didn’t go well. And during those times, I learned like, “Wait a minute if I keep attaching my value to the outcome of the audition, then nine times out of 10, okay, maybe even 99 out of 100, I’ll be unhappy.”
Charan: That’s a lot of time for me to be unhappy, but if I can find ways to find joy right now, and like Alex Boyé was saying, where the byproduct of your joy is, the money that follows or whatnot, then that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing, right? And like anything, I think it just requires practice. I think you spending time in nature or with your family, or whatever you guys end up doing and making that more of your focus and finding that present joy right now, everything, like, work begets work, right? The more you work, the more work opportunities come.
Charan: So, it’s kind of like an energy, right? Whatever you put out into the world, you get more of that. So, if you put more time and energy and focus into being joyful right now, you’re going to get more joy. It just is what happens, right? Yeah.
Levi: And I think part of it, too, is “what’s your why?” I think I lost my why throughout all that. Because I was building a business to have a great life with my family, but while building my business. I wasn’t having a great life with my family. I mean, that’s the reason why they call it work-life. I mean, we work to live. But what’s cool is we get to find joy in what we do. Like, I come home some days and I’m like, I can’t believe they paid me to help create some fun content for this shoe company to sell more shoes.
Levi: What a cool thing. I’m so grateful. But then I still find myself getting wrapped up in it. And then I have to sit back and be like, “No, this is just so that the paycheck comes so that on the weekend, we can go to Lagoon and then I can buy that T-shirt that has Minnie Mouse on it for Rosie.” I think what’s hard, too, is so much of our life is work that it’s hard to forget what we’re working for.
Charan: We get drowned in it, right?
Charan: That’s the thing. It’s like whatever you put your attention to grows. And if you’re putting your attention so much to things that are just… you forget the whole purpose behind the whole thing at all.
Levi: You forget why you were at work.
Charan: Yeah, you forget why you were at work.
Levi: So that you could come home at the end of the day and be intentional and be with your daughter or have a good time or pay for the hobbies that you wanted to pay for.
Charan: Yeah, it’s interesting, right? My friend’s dad was telling me, he’s like, “Look, with your life and your career and everything, don’t do what I did. Go live your dreams.” Because he chose to have a career that was going to pay him some good money so he can take care of his family and stuff. But he said, “Look, I spend 40 hours a week doing something I hate.”
Levi: Oh, man.
Charan: I’m like, “Oh my gosh, dude. That sounds horrible.” And so the same thing-
Levi: That probably burned in your brain, man.
Charan: Totally. I was like, “I will never do that.” But I remember thinking, “Okay, then let’s find ways to have joy right now. Let’s find ways to make good memories right now.” And then-
Levi: He probably savored every moment outside of that 40 hours.
Charan: Yeah. Well, he tried to. He certainly tried to, but I think the problem is, is when you have that much time, that weight carries with it when you even come home, right? So it was one of those situations where I think, not that I’m saying you got to be selfish, but it’s more like, hey, you’ve got to find that peace and that centeredness and that joy within yourself.
Charan: And as you do, you will naturally share it with other people. But if you’re not happy with yourself, then that’s what you’re going to share. I always say that… Imagine that in your heart there’s a well and whatever’s inside that well, you’re going to share it with the world. So it’s up to us to inspect that well from time to time and see what’s inside. If it’s full of burnout, if it’s full of darkness, if it’s full of heaviness and sadness, that is what you will be sharing with the world.
Levi: Yeah. And you don’t have any, like I was talking about, I haven’t been able to give at church, but that’s been that my happiest… I was just talking to my buddy. The happiest time of our lives, both of us, were reminiscing, it was on our missions. Those because we were waking up every morning, and we weren’t living for us. We’re just having a good time. We weren’t worried about revenue. We’re on our missions.
Charan: You’re on your mission.
Levi: It’s like, we get our money each month from our parents, and we just keep going and just living for other people, man. The why was dialed in. We knew what we were doing. We were living so intentional.
Charan: It’s so interesting. Where did you serve your mission?
Levi: In LA.
Charan: In LA?
Charan: That’s awesome. So I was in Australia.
Levi: Oh nice.
Charan: It was the same thing, man. It was just so much fun. And I think it was like what you were saying. Because it was like, we were living in the present moment. And we were going and doing good.
Levi: One’s not, “Hey, get 10 baptisms because we need to hit this revenue point or we don’t meet operating expenses.” It’s, “Hey, get 10 baptisms because guess what, that’s 10 people that could really use some help and some hope.”
Charan: And see what a beautiful way to… and if we could conduct our lives almost like the way we conducted on our missions, it’s a game-changer. It’s a game-changer.
Levi: Quit worrying about the… It’s all just a byproduct. Like what you’re saying earlier is, if we can find the happiness first, then usually the results come, but we’re always so worried about the results. It’s like those old Shakespearean plays where you meet your destiny on the road to avoid it.
Charan: Sure, yeah.
Levi: You know what I mean?
Charan: For sure.
Levi: That’s actually Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda.
Charan: From Kung Fu Panda? Oh, dude, good analogy right there.
Levi: You know what I mean?
Levi: We’re so wrapped up in results and control that we end up losing control and not getting the results. So ironic.
Charan: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. It’s like, if you are truly happy now, who cares about the results?
Levi: Yeah. And if you don’t get the results, guess what? You’re already happy.
Charan: You’re already happy.
Levi: And you were working on the happiness so, “Oh, shoot! The result didn’t come, but internally I’m still happy.”
Charan: Yeah, and I think that’s a beautiful thing. I remember there was this one day I went to BYU, when I was at BYU, I mean, where everything went wrong. I don’t know what it was, like a test didn’t go well. All these things just kind of failed. And yet that whole day, I was so happy. I didn’t know why. And I remember even the evening I’m like, “Nothing makes sense about today. Everything went wrong. But I’m smiling from ear to ear and I don’t know why.”
Charan: And it taught me like, “Hey, we can actually separate ourselves out from the outcome.” And if we can separate ourselves out from the outcome and have joy right now, dude, it’s the best way to live, I feel.
Levi Lindsay’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: So. Okay, last question for you. What would you, Levi, tell your younger self, the one that is barely getting into entrepreneurship?
Levi: Oh man.
Charan: Now that you know all the stuff that you know now.
Levi: I wrote out my manifesto, the things I learned from startup. Because I’m that creative, like I’m not one to sit down and make an org chart, say like, “Hey, we need to have an agreement. We need to have a structure.” Have you read Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights?
Charan: I just heard about this, but I haven’t read it.
Levi: You should.
Charan: I’ve heard it’s good.
Levi: He says something cool right from the get-go. He’s like, “When you’re able to plan and do things on the front end, you create green lights down the road.” Like I would have gotten agreements in place, I would have stood up for myself more. I would say, “Do the things that aren’t within your nature because they’re worth it.” There’s a reason why people plan. Just because it’s not within your nature, you still should do it. I have a long list, but the biggest, biggest, biggest thing is, is to just learn to be happy now.
Levi: I think that’s the manifesto of this whole podcast is just learn to be happy now. What’s so funny is, I couldn’t enjoy Disney World with my daughter because I was worried. I was getting messages from lawyers about a company that I’m not even in anymore. So who cares?
Charan: Who cares, right?
Levi: I’m not in the company anymore.
Charan: Yeah. And it’s so interesting that the thing that should bring us joy at the very, very present moment isn’t bringing us joy, because we can’t be present with it. I feel like our narratives and those stories rob us. They’re the thief of our joy because our joy comes in the present moment. I mean, think about all of the most amazing memories and most incredible times you’ve ever had in your life. When you relive those memories, what were you thinking about?
Levi: That moment.
Charan: You were just there. You weren’t thinking; you were just there.
Levi: I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, tomorrow, I got to send that email,” which I do all the time. I’m with my wife and I’m like, “Oh, I just came up with an idea and I got to share it right now.” And now all of a sudden, I’m not present anymore. The train gets off the tracks.
Charan: But the most happiest moments in your life, you were always present.
Levi: That’s a good point.
Charan: And so I think about that, because it’s like, dang, I need to remember those things. Because then if I create more memories in the future, I know that in order for these to be memories that I will remember, I have to be present.
Charan: So awesome, man. Well, I certainly appreciate you taking the time and coming out from Bountiful to be on this podcast. It’s been awesome.
Levi: Thanks for having me.
Charan: Yeah, any last words or anything like that?
Levi: Learn from my mistakes. Please, please.
Charan: Dude, learn from my mistakes. No, I appreciate you being vulnerable, man. And seriously, that means a lot because I feel these podcasts are therapeutic for me, just doing them. I’m like, “Man, I get so much out of them.” So I appreciate you taking the time. Okay?
Levi: Yeah, likewise.
Charan: Awesome. Thanks again.
Charan: Thank you so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcast. And we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and reviews, and if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much, and have a great day.