Like many of us this year, in an effort to focus on what I can control instead of what I can’t, I’ve turned inward to reflect and work on myself. As a result, I frankly haven’t done much external outreach or business development for Ample.
So you can imagine my confusion to see an envelope from the White House come in the mail early this November. “Shit, is there an issue with my taxes or something?”
Instead, I found this—a hand-written message from Joe Biden.
“Connor - thanks for the shakes, they really work—keep my energy up! Hope to meet you! - Joe Biden 10-22-20”
I immediately texted my friend Kelly Starrett to share the news. Kelly is a doctor of physical therapy, the founder of MobilityWOD and San Francisco CrossFit, best-selling author, and performance advisor to the White House. Since Joe was physically taxed with a brutal schedule throughout the campaign with no time between meetings and events to eat well, Kelly suggested Ample to keep his strength up. We sent a few samples back in March. Though I had assumed we were just tossing samples into the wind, Joe had been using Ample ever since. Kelly mentioned that “Ample has been a crucial part of getting Joe through the finish line.”
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, getting a hand-written note from a future president, written on the same day of his last presidential debate, is pretty fucking cool.
Now, you might assume that I am well aware how much Ample helps people. But deep in the weeds of day-to-day business and as a recovering perfectionist, it's very easy to forget that we already provide a valuable tool for thousands of people. However, here I was with convincing evidence that we do a pretty good job enabling greatness in others.
But wait a second. Sure, Ample was able to help Joe with achieve his version of greatness. But not everyone defines greatness as becoming President of the United States.
Then it dawned on me: if Ample’s purpose is to fuel greatness in others, we must first understand what “greatness” means to our community. After all, clearly defining a goal is the first step to accomplishing it.
So I asked a few I respect in our community how they might define greatness:
Elyse Cohen - greatness is winning the small victories
When I think greatness, Elyse Cohen is one of the first people who pops into my mind. Elyse is a single mom of a cool kid named Skyler who works full time at a real estate company while finishing up her associates degree (this month!), while supporting the rest of her family financially.
She’d still crush it if Ample weren’t around of course, but been using Ample everyday to have a no-brainer lunch to get her through the go-go-go life of supporting everyone else in her life first. To Elyse, greatness is “being able to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Being able to overcome those small obstacles that lead to little victories that make me feel great, and make the big picture worth it.”
Mark Divine - greatness is integrating all aspects of our being
Former Navy SEAL commander Mark Divine, founder of SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind, who drinks an Ample daily to help him run two businesses, and who has it on hand for people to recover from his brutal 72 hour Kokoro training camps that emulate SEAL “hell week”. He defines greatness as “integrating all 5 aspects of our being—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, intuitional—to achieve greater levels of consciousness, and move toward self-mastery.”
Martin Green - greatness is relative, and validated from within
An investor and friend, husband and father, and founder of a fintech startup, Martin is a humble student of others’ greatness, which is one reason why I respect him so much.
“It’s easy to fall into a trap that greatness must be recognized by lots of people. Greatness is relative, and validated from within. Are you effectively spending the time on the right things for you? And are you efficient with the focus of your attention? If you do both of those things, you’ll accomplish greatness over time.”
Three very different, though very real versions of greatness.
What does greatness mean for you?
Before we can even attempt to determine how to be great, we really need to know what we’re aiming for, and why.
Beyond the pressures from society, your family, your boss, and advertisers, have you considered what greatness means for you? Is it crushing your fitness or business goals? Or is it having time to spend time with your kids? Or pursuing hobbies and travel, or spiritual development?
Are there certain principles or values that can always be considered great, such as trying your best, following your heart, or operating in gratitude?
I think it would be a fun exercise to attempt to define greatness for our community. At the very least, the thought experiment itself will help clarify the direction of where we each authentically want to take our lives.