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Sports Legends Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece Want to Power You Up With Tastier and Cheaper Superfood Drinks. Who's Thirsty? The fittest couple on land and sea breakdown the incredible growth of their health and wellness brand Laird Superfood.

By Dan Bova

Laird Superfood

It's a pity that this week's episode of Get a Real Job wasn't recorded on video because then you could all see just much better in physical shape I am than my guests.

That is, of course, a big fat lie. In any and every way you can imagine, this episode's guests are in better shape than me —and most other human beings for that matter. I was thrilled to be joined by volleyball superstar Gabby Reece and big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Independently, they both are true pioneers of their sports and collectively they are the husband and wife co-founders of Laird Superfood, Laird Apparel and XPT, an extreme performance training system.

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Gabby and Laird are passionate and busy! Apart from running the aforementioned businesses, they also do tons of philanthropic work, they mentor athletes, they're parents, they're podcasters (check out the great The Gabby Reece Show) and so I was shocked and thankful that they found four seconds to squeeze me into their lives.

Gabby and Laird are very informed, very funny, and if you want to hear some expert advice about risk-taking, your ears have come to the right place. Listen to the interview below, and check out excerpts from our conversation (which have been edited for length and clarity). Thanks as always for listening!

On competitiveness

Gabby: "In terms of setting out to 'crush the competition' as you might think in sports, this is different. It's about looking inward and asking How successful can we be? Can we grow? Can we share this as many with as many people as possible? And actually being thankful for competitors, because they're helping open up everybody to this category. In a business like this, staying focused on what you are doing is always better than focusing on what they're doing."

Superfood origin story

Laird: "The original product of Laird Superfood was based on a recipe that I was making. I called it a concoction, and it was really based on my love for coffee. I wanted to figure out how to make the coffee perform better. This was back 20 or so years ago, and my friend and I were putting ghee with espresso and trying yak butter tea, and then Bulletproof. So we started playing with our own recipe, with the science of it being focused on using what nature creates in the ingredients, and also the experience of using it. You know, I think there's so much science in this space and not enough experience. Meaning, do you like it? Does it taste good? Does it make you feel good? Because we know that if people try it and don't have a positive experience, they won't keep drinking."

Gabby: "In a perfect world, we'd wave a wand and everybody get their nutrients from real food. But we just don't live like that anymore. It's hard. So a product like our Daily Greens is a way to bridge some of the gaps, to get those macro micronutrients that we just aren't getting from our foods. And we make it easy — it's in a little bag that you mix with water and that's it. A lot of greens products have fillers, but ours is completely bioavailable, which means your body goes, 'Oh, I know what this is. I can absorb it. I can use it.' And we definitely consider taste. We always joke that Laird is the kind of guy who will drink mud if it will make him perform better. I am NOT like that, so we concentrated on a great flavor profile and also the cost per serving, which was very important to us. A 15-pack is $35."

From sports to the boardroom

Gabby: "Laird is an individual athlete, but his teacher is Mother Nature, which can be a very brutal teacher. And for me, I'm used to having coaches, someone who understands something better or different than you. If you are willing to listen and try to learn from your teachers, you can really grow. It's not so different in business. Laird and know what our values are. We're committed to this idea of great ingredients, great taste and low cost. After that, we're open to people who certainly have more experience in the CPG space. So you're really always in school. You get dogmatic about the principles and the bumpers that you create for your company, then the rest of the time you are a soldier for the people who understand the way the business moves."

On career paths and backup plans

Gabby: "This is where Laird and I are very different. I played volleyball because I loved it, but simultaneously I was always aware of how small the platform was. That's why I always said I did all these other things to support my habit of wanting to play beach volleyball. It took 90% of my time to prepare to compete, but it was sort of like 10% of my income. So I had backup ideas, but Laird has a genuine calling. He was going to be big wave surfing no matter what."

Laird: "I figured if you follow your heart and you go after the thing you want, the worst that happens is that you got to do the thing that you were called to do. And if you have success doing it? Well, that's just like icing on the cake. If you don't have that sense of purpose, sense of accomplishment, that internal fulfillment, there's nowhere to go."

On pursuing excellence

Laird: "Gabby and I speak with a lot of high performers, and one throughline I've seen and heard is that they're always looking to be better. I think there's a certain empowering humility that comes when you admit that there are things you don't know. When you are able to say 'Hey, I can learn more and be better,' it helps you refine and finely tune your skills."

Gabby: "In athletics, what I've seen a lot in successful people is a tendency to not blame someone else for things not being the way they want it. They take total self-accountability and have the ability to work hard through a problem. And if they're smart, they realize, oh, yes, I'm also very fortunate. You have to realize that there are other people who can do what you do who just didn't get put in the right environment. So I think if you're really aware and smart, you realize, yes, I got some luck over here."

About Get a Real Job

Dan Bova, VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com, has high-energy chats with entrepreneurs who are pursuing careers that their parents, teachers and any sane person in their life can't wait for them to quit and "get a real job." Everyone from comedians to treasure hunters to craft brewers will explain the ups and downs of doing something that is decidedly not normal, that doesn't have a guaranteed future, but damn is it fun in the meantime.

Theme music by Rich Bova

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his latest humor books for kids, including Wendell the Werewolf, Road & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, and The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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