The “OolaGuys” are co-authors of the international bestselling book series that started with Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World. Dr. Dave Braun and Dr. Troy Amdahl, both originally chiropractors, grew their practices and became renowned experts in work-life balance. Now they travel the world to help their community -- of over one million followers -- find balance and growth in the seven F’s of Oola: Fitness, Finance, Family, Field (career), Faith, Friends and Fun. They can currently be found collecting dreams -- in the form of handwritten goal stickers covering a 1970 VW bus -- all across America. They are committed to changing the world with a word, one dream at a time, one person at a time, one sticker at a time.
How did two solopreneurs, running successful chiropractic practices, start an international movement about life balance? How did they turn an idea around prioritizing into a series of events and books, the lates of which is Oola For Women?
I sat down with them on their tour stop in Oklahoma City to ask just that, and learn how other authors, coaches and speakers can turn their ideas into movements.
Consider finding a partner.
The birth of this movement began early in Braun’s career when he decided it was time for a mentor.
“I was ready to do my residency, and I said, ‘I want to work with a chiropractor that's gonna obviously teach me how to work with patients, teach me about business, but I want to work with someone who's gonna teach me about life,’" he shared. So, as the story goes, Braun became dubbed the “Oola Seeker” and Amdahl, who taught him what is now the Oola philosophy and process, became known as the “Oola Guru.”
However, it was Braun who had the vision to turn Amdahl’s ideas into a movement. If you’re a creative visionary, you may need a tactical, black-and-white type of entrepreneur to partner with you in order to successfully implement ideas and scale the business. On the other hand, if you’re all metrics and no mojo, you may need a big picture thinker by your side. Ask yourself, could this turn into a movement if I stopped trying to do it all myself?
Create a brand around the mission.
Movements are built around manifestos and emotional, relatable battle cries. The duo wants people to “find balance in an unbalanced world.” But, phrases like "set priorities or be intentional in seven areas of your life" are not going to work well on a mug or a tshirt. In a stroke of genius, they bottled up their manifesto into a word, which Braun created based on the phrase “ooh la la.”
I was reminded of past guests whose books turned into movements: Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, Jon Acuff’s Start. I’ve also interviewed influencers whose communities turned into movements like Kimra Luna’s “Freedom Hackers” or Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Vaniacs.”
Clearly communicate your mission and vision, but also find a way to encourage people to rally around it using a memorable word or phrase.
Start where you are.
Braun reached out to Amdahl about Oola after he’d squandered his initial success and his life was falling apart. Even if you’ve failed in all seven areas, you can pick up and start again.
“People need to understand no matter where you are, if you're at a high point, don't get too cocky. But, if you're at low point, understand where you are is simply where you are. It's not who you are. We believe in Oola that everyone here, everyone watching, everyone listening, is designed for greatness, and for a specific purpose,” said Braun.
Look around at what you can currently do, where you are right now, with what you already have.
"We just knew that this process helped people. So, we self-published our first book thinking of 47 names we thought we'd sell to,” he continued. “Some celebrities got behind it and it went international bestseller. We sold 128,000 hard covers off the back of a bus, then the original publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul got wind of that, that's how this turned into a series.”
Realize international-movement-results require a season international-movement-work-ethic.
How do you know if it’s time to let your life go out of balance?
“[Choose] a season out of balance to gain a lifetime in balance. That's the key.”
Usually, they said, the answer is a giant opportunity or giant crisis. Right now, the doctors are experiencing an opportunity they couldn’t pass up, but it requires eight weeks on the road away from their wives and children.
“We talk to our families very extensively before we go on this tour, and we say, ‘Okay, this is gonna be hard. We have to work on this together, but it's also gonna be an off and on eight week thing. We have to get through this eight weeks to do that,’” they explained. During the eight weeks on tour, however, they aren’t completely neglecting calls with family, spiritual practices or physical exercise.
“If you get so laser-focused on one [spinning plate] that you're not even looking at the other ones, they're gonna start to wobble and start crashing and hitting the floor ... a divorce, or a bankruptcy, or a health crisis. [What] we're saying is, don't wait for the crash,” said Amdahl.
So many successful entrepreneurs and celebrities talk about going all-in, “eighteen hours a day,” in order to make your giant vision become a reality -- but for how long? I love their answer to this question.
“I've had three times in my life that I've selectively, by my own choosing, opted my life out of balance,” Amdahl explained. “A season is three years. [More than that, and,] like it or not, that’s your lifestyle now. It can't last longer than three years or other areas are going to suffer.”
“Opportunities come along if you just continue to follow your heart and just hustle, just work your butt off and follow your heart,” Braun added.
Follow the path that hard work reveals.
The phrase “the harder I worked the luckier I got” is something many of my guests explain to be true, though they may not use that exact phrase. The Oola duo focused on spreading their message, and then -- instead of knocking on doors -- walked through the doors that naturally opened.
“A lot of people go publisher to publisher to publisher ... they got a hold of us, and we got a multi-book deal. We didn't have to push that. I go to the path of least resistance,” Amdahl explained. Their annual events began the same way, after more and more readers asked for a chance to go to Vegas and try the notecard exercise themselves. “People wanted it, and now we do five events a year that sell out.”
He went on to talk about their corporate training events and partnerships with brands like Young Living Essential Oils, all of which happened organically.
“I believe that if you add value to the world, just throw value into the world, it may not be an ROI today, but [it comes back around.]”
Be firm on the what and flexible on the how.
As you continue to add value and follow the paths that open up, stay flexible. This was something past guests, like Dave Ramsey, have emphasized again and again on the show.
“Sometimes you don't know all the hows, but you have to be willing to course correct along the way, be really flexible in your planning, in your path, but be super strict in your dreams and your goals in what you want for your life.” said Amdahl.
“Do what your heart tells you do what's right for the world, and the money will come.”
Have consistent, laser focus.
The docs recommend coming back over and over again to these three questions when spreading your movement or growing your business; Where am I, where do I want to go and how am I going to get there? Like almost all of my guests on The Pursuit, they place a huge emphasis on discipline and consistency.
“[It’s] not getting too excited when things are going great, and not getting too down when things are a struggle .... Every night, before you go to bed, look at your top seven goals, and list three actions that you’re going to take every day,” Amdahl explained. That method adds up to 1,000 steps taken each year towards your biggest goals, which all but ensures success.
Braun added, “Embrace accelerators: passion, gratitude, humility. Once you get your plan and you know where your weak spots are you have to hustle and enjoy the ride, it goes so fast.”
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