I spoke to Jason Wachob, the founder and CEO of mindbodygreen, about what inspired him to start the company, how people can account for all aspects of wellness, his recommendations to employers about their wellness programs, he we can find meaning and happiness and his best career advice.
Jason Wachob and his team have grown mindbodygreen into the leading independent media company dedicated to health and happiness with 15 million monthly unique visitors. Jason is also the author of Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Résumé, which redefines successful living and offers readers instead a new life currency.
Dan Schawbel: What inspired you to start mindbodygreen and what keeps you motivated to grow the brand?
Jason Wachob: In 2009 I was running another company and trying to raise capital when I discovered I had two extruded discs in my lower back pressing on my sciatic nerve. I could barely walk and almost had back surgery. Looking back, it was probably related to an old college basketball injury combined with stress and the fact that I was flying almost 100k miles a year. Being 6’7″ and scrunched into airline seats didn’t help. One doctor told me that yoga might be a way to avoid surgery. So I started practicing yoga daily, and was very surprised that I loved it. From there, I got interested in a more holistic lifestyle. I ate organic and ditched toxic household products. I began to meditate. I started a gratitude practice. And after just a few months, I completely healed my back (without surgery). It was a real awakening for me. I realized that wellness wasn’t about weight loss or looking good—it was a blend of how we treated our minds, bodies, and the environment. It was also the inspiration for starting mindbodygreen and motivates me every day.
Schawbel: How can people account for all aspects of wellness, including social, physical and mental, in their everyday lives?
Wachob: Listen to their intuition and body! if it feels good, stick with it, if it doesn’t ditch it. this not only goes for exercise but for friends and relationships.
Schawbel: Why do you believe that there’s a trend of corporate wellness programs and what would be your recommendation to employers about what to include in those programs?
Wachob: I think mindfulness and meditation are great ways to start because there are numerous health benefits including better stress management and increased productivity AND employers don’t need any additional space or resources to implement so costs are limited. We have classes on mindbodygreen that some companies license from us to share with employees and we’re seeing a lot more interest there.
Schawbel: We are working more hours than every before and, as a result, are more stressed out and unhappy. How do we look beyond our occupation for meaning and happiness?
Wachob: I think finding meaning and purpose outside of work is important. Focus on people and experiences that bring you joy and always find time for them. I also don’t necessarily think it’s work that is driving stress and unhappiness. I think it’s social media and our relationship to technology. I think big tech is the next tobacco and this was one of our biggest wellness trends for 2018 which you can read about more here.
Schawbel: What are your top three pieces of career advice?
- Always listen to your gut.
- Every once in a while you will be presented with a rare opportunity. When presented with such opportunity, work your tail off and do everything you can to do succeed.
- Find a mentor who has accomplished what you wish to accomplish and try to learn as much as possible from them. On the contrary, don’t take advice from people who haven’t accomplished what you wish to accomplish.