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July 24, 2020

062 – From Burning Out as a 7-Figure Company CEO to Becoming Unstoppable with Don McLaughlin

Many people dream of multi-million dollar success and all that comes with it. A small group gets to experience it. Some thrive, some crash and burn, and a rare few thrive… then crash and burn… then rise again better than they were before. Don is one of the rare few. I hope you fully enjoy and soak up his message.

Many people dream of multi-million dollar success and all that comes with it. A small group gets to experience it. Some thrive, some crash and burn, and a rare few thrive… then crash and burn… then rise again better than they were before. Don is one of the rare few. I hope you fully enjoy and soak up his message.



Don is a father of three, author, wellness advocate and ultra endurance athlete.
A former trial lawyer of nearly 20 years, Don’s legal career included service as an Assistant District Attorney, litigator at a prominent Colorado law firm, and in-house corporate lawyer at a Fortune 500. As a corporate lawyer, Don became a nationally recognized expert in the areas of electronic data retrieval, analysis and management. Subsequently
Don founded and served as CEO of Falcon Discovery, a legal consulting and tech services firm serving the Fortune 500.
As CEO of a rapidly growing, multi-million dollar firm that handled some of the highest profile legal cases in the country, he experienced intense pressure and stress 24/7.
Following years of prolonged burnout, Don finally hit the wall in 2012. After what he can only describe as divine intervention and a newfound inspiration to become a better father and leader, Don overhauled his diet and began running ultra endurance trail races in the Colorado Rockies.
He incorporated hemp and other plant extracts into his new health regime, and developed a series of performance practices to advance his recovery, regain balance and sustain high performance. With these changes nearly everything in his life turned around, and Don’s business and personal life flourished.
Within months his running distances doubled and tripled, and he completed his first 36 hour, 100 mile race on the Continental Divide in Colorado in 2016. Likewise his business blossomed like never before, and he subsequently sold Falcon Discovery and stepped down in 2017 to inspire and support others with the lessons that he learned.



6:35       Letting Go of Pursuing More for More’s Sake

8:44       Selling a 7-Figure Business that No Longer Aligned with Him

10:00    “Losing My Identity When I Sold My Business”

10:45    The Reward was in the Work

13:50    What You Can Do When You Hate the Business You Started    

16:45    Becoming More Present to Life & Accepting What Is

20:00    A Former Prosecutor Learns About CBD, Health, Energy & Recovery

23:20    How Neglecting Sleep & Meditation Cost Me $75,000

26:17    Lessons from Dan Sullivan at Strategic Coach (Rugged Individualism vs. Unique Teamwork)

27:03    The Extreme Type A Entrepreneur Hits Bottom

27:57    Turning Point – The Entrepreneur Asks for Help

29:43    FREEDOM - The Team Starts Willingly Taking on More Responsibility

33:46    MYTH ALERT - Overvaluing Creativity and Minimizing Consistency

36:48    The Clients’ Challenges Didn’t Change, The Leader Changed

38:09    Finding Curiosity & Wonder in the Mundane Because I was Recharged     

39:03    Being More Present with Family (Not Perfect… But Progress)

40:40    Kids Have Great B.S. Sensors & Know If You’re Present

43:35    A Practical Understanding of CBD and How It Can Help with Anxiety, Restfulness, Physical Recovery, and Balance



Don is the Co-Founder of PUREPOWER Life



Plants, Performance and the Endocannabinoid System: 21st Century Sports Medicine








I found new curiosity and wonder in the mundane because I was recharged and regenerated in other areas of my life. The team started to take on more responsibility, and I essentially started to work a four day work week because I take time during the week to get out of the mountain bike, to run, to meditate, to do these things that previously I wasn't doing and was the cause, I think, of so much of my discontent.


Hey, everybody. Welcome to this episode of the 40 a Work Week entrepreneur podcast. Today I have a good friend of mine who just amazes me in so many ways. Don McLoughlin is more than an entrepreneur, more than an athlete that does amazing things, more than a guy starting an awesome company. He's really just somebody that I find walks through life in a very bold way, in a very powerful way, and yet a very gentle and delicate and compassionate way. What I wanted to bring him on today is to share with you a little bit about not just what he's up to now, but mainly what's his journey been. Because he's learned a lot of things that a lot of people haven't learned yet. He's experienced a lot of them. He's experienced success. He's experienced failure. He's been tested and fired in a lot of different ways. I think, and a lot of people that I know come out just a remarkable human being. And so it really didn't seem just to give him a standard bio, plus the fact that I forgot to get his bio from him. So you see that works both those ways.


But at the end of the day, just really a great person. And so, Don, I'm so grateful to have you on. Thanks so much for being on the show with me.


It's such a pleasure to be here with you. And I appreciate those kind words. It's been quite a journey, and I'm delighted to share aspects of that with you and your listeners.


Awesome. Thank you. So sometimes whenever I have an episode, I'll think about, Okay, what am I going to title it? And to come up with some clever SEO friendly hook that gets people. And Donno was one of those people that I'd sound like a spammer if I just started putting all the things that he could help with.




What I'm going to just share with real briefly is what really I think is the is awesome about him that I think you as the audience will find awesome and interesting. And then let him share more about his journey. I'm going to try probably more than ever to get out of the way of him. What really interested me, I met Don at a seminar about telling personal stories and sharing your story with people to help impact their lives positively. And basically, what I saw was a man who has been extremely successful financially, has had a had some successes in life, had some things that didn't quite go according to plan, and has experienced a lot of things that many people think are going to make them happy, and has found that some of those things did, some of those things didn't. And as I've kept in much of them since then, I see a man who's very dedicated to his family. He's dedicated to helping people. He's still an entrepreneur looking to do really cool things. He's walked away from a huge opportunity. And that's one of the things I think most people, when we look at athletes that don't walk away before their game goes down or stuff like that.


Don really walked away on top of something that was rather profitable but wasn't really for him. And so what I really wanted to do is just open up to him and just let him tell you a little bit about what he did and not so much in the sense of an origin story like some Marvel character or something like that, but just talk about what it was after, really. And you and I talked about this, Don. I think the story that's so interesting is what you did after you sold your company for millions and millions of dollars and could have stayed on but chose to go a different direction. So maybe just share a little. And like I said, going to try to stay out of your way on this one.


Great way. I appreciate that intro. And you certainly touched on some of the milestones in my life that really has for so long was marked by just a pursuit of ambition and achievement almost at no cost. I think back to my upbringing, both in my family but also culturally. I grew up in the late '70s and certainly in the '80s, and I was driven to success. That really, I felt like, would define me as a person and establish my value as a person. And so what that looked like was doing anything and everything I could to achieve. And I paid high prices for doing that over years and years. And I'm trained as a lawyer, practice as a lawyer, and then became an entrepreneur through a fascinating set of circumstances. And this journey for me has really been in earnest the last 20 years where my legal career led to a career as an entrepreneur. I founded a firm that serviced legal departments in the Fortune 500, and I just kept going and going and going after more. It ultimately led to the bottom falling out for me and my hitting rock bottom in 2012 in the midst of serving as CEO of this consulting and technology services firm.


There was so much at risk. At that point, it was roughly a six, seven million dollar business a year. I came face to face with the reality that I might lose it all. At that time, three young children, a marriage of 12, 13 years. I experienced a real awakening at that moment when I hit rock bottom that has shifted the course of my life since that time. The most probably significant thing that I can share that I learned in that moment of hitting bottom is that I had to let go of pursuing more for more sake because I saw where it led me and I had lost sight of a vision and purpose that was beyond me in certain respects. I needed to really get aligned with my own integrity. And so I made a commitment in that moment to stop pursuing more for more sake and instead move more in alignment with what was true for me with my own integrity. And for me, it was a realization that that world, the corporate world, the Fortune 500, that I had done what I felt like life really wanted me to do in that arena, and that it was time for me to transition out of that world.


But I knew that wasn't going to be very easy to do because I was the founder of the company. In many respects, I was the face of the company because I was solving a problem that I had known through my own experience as a lawyer when I was a lawyer inside a Fortune 500 company. I was very much the face of the business, but it was just making that commitment to get aligned with my own integrity and regain a very clear vision and purpose for my life and for the business. And that really, again, shifted everything in my life. And it's led to, over the last number of years, a transition out of that corporate world and into a world that I feel like life is now calling me to serve and to dedicate myself to. So I'm very excited to talk about that. I will say, and you alluded to this right at the end of your intro there, that I learned so much as I transitioned out of that world. I successfully sold that consulting firm in late 2014, and I stepped away from it entirely in 2017. And that's a big milestone. Yes, it was a very successful sale of a business that was thriving.


It flourished after I hit bottom in a way that it had never done before. So that's very interesting that we can talk about that I had more success after I hit bottom than I did before. And yet when I achieved this milestone and I stepped down and away from the corporate world, I was surprised to discover that it didn't deliver all of what I expected in terms of... I think we often hear of, Or we have it on our own minds as I did. I did for years. I pursued it. That if I achieve this milestone, then everything will be fantastic and my life will be this dream come true. What I quickly realized was the exact opposite, that while certainly there's gratification from achieving a milestone and financial benefits come with that, it just simply didn't stick. And what I mean by that is that there was just something hollow in the aftermath of achieving that milestone that had me reeling a little bit because all of a sudden my identity was gone as a lawyer and entrepreneur in that Fortune 500 world. And all of a sudden, who was I without all of those things that had previously defined who I was as a person.


And also a very fascinating experience that I had after I stepped down is a realization that the reward actually in hindsight was in the work. It was in the day to day in ways that in the midst of it, I couldn't really see how important it was to work with a team collaboratively to try to solve problems and help clients. And so that was a real eye opening experience for me after achieving this milestone.


Awesome. There's so many things in there. The first thing you said about this more for more sake, and I've just found as I've worked with entrepreneurs over the years that my clients that are the least happy are the ones that when I ask them, how much money do they want to make, they'll say as much as possible. And that answer has almost that addictive component. Like, how many ice creams do you want? How many cookies do you want? Well, as many as possible, like, well, until you get sick. And one of the things that really struck me is really interesting with your journey, and you and I have talked about the spiritual component of your journey, and we might or might not go as deep into that today, but I know there definitely has been and is a strong piece to that. One of the things that really struck me as very interesting, too, though is when you shared with me, we were talking before about the details of how the business was at a certain amount and you sold it. But in order to keep it going, you had to stay on for a few years.


You had to actually grow the business and you ended up growing it by about two and a half times what it was. And your realization that, yeah, it was in the work, it was in the day to day. And I want to make, at least from what I've seen, a very important distinction, at least in my experience, it's not always roses. It's not always exact the way you want it. It's not always, well, if I do exact what I love, the money will follow. Yeah, there's some truth to that. But there's still always the grunt work. There's still always the stuff that we don't anticipate or appreciate or want to do. And yet I find in my business as I keep going back, sometimes I have a software business that sometimes I don't give it as much attention as I could or should. And sometimes there's good reasons and sometimes there's makeup reasons. But sometimes the short answer is, well, it's just not as exciting to me. And that's a very selfish reason. As if the business is supposed to entertain me instead of focus. And that's clearly when I lose my clients a little bit.


And if I'm aware, I'll come back to the center like, oh, yeah, I need to do this. But share a little bit more, if you would, about two things. You shared with me in our pre interview about how the number of hours in your lifestyle changed a little bit when you came back after hitting bottom, and then also a little bit about how your focus changed again on working with your team. I'm going to try to make it a little granular for our listeners too, in the sense of how your time management changed and how your delegation or ability to delegate and willingness to let go of certain things. You mind speaking to that a little bit?


Sure. So you're right that for me, I had this experience of just leading up to hitting bottom. I had grown to hate the business that I'd founded five years earlier. I think in large part because, again, I'd lost sight of a vision and purpose that was beyond just growing the business, which that was really the focus. It was an innovative business ahead of the market, and there was just so much upside that it just became such a focus, a maniacal focus to just grow the business bigger and bigger. And in so doing, again, losing sight of why the business existed in the first place, which was to serve our clients and to work as a team to do so. And so it took that harsh reality of hitting bottom to just wake me up and remind me that the business was about serving and that my role as the head of that business was to serve, was to simply serve my team, my clients to the best of my ability. And in an instant, just to love what I'd grown to hate. And that was remarkable to me because it was such a stark change in before and after that I all of a sudden had this vision and purpose that was renewed around simply doing our best because that's why the business existed.


And so that was a real eye opener again for me because I'd grown to love this business and all of a sudden I was all in, completely all in because I just felt so grateful to life and to my team and to our clients for this opportunity to do this really important work for them. I also knew at the same time that I was not taking care of my body at all, and I had really worn myself down. Essentially, I think my mind and body just gave out, and I knew that I needed to develop a staying power. T hat required changing aspects of my lifestyle and in particular, taking better care of myself through exercise and my diet and becoming more present to my own life. I think in many respects, before I hit bottom, I was frustrated about the things that had happened in the past and fearful about things that would happen in the future, always concerned about would the business succeed or fail? And that was paralyzing me. And instead, I just needed to accept what is and be present to what was real in my life. And so I started to make some changes immediately.


Immediately, I started to care for myself in some specific ways. I started to look at my diet in terms of just how I was fueling myself and also importantly, exercise. I knew exercise was generally a good thing. I grew up as an athlete, but in the press and stress of the business, I had left a lot of exercise by the wayside because I was just too busy all the time. I had been in a program called Strategic Coach that is an entrepreneurial coaching program that had planted the seeds in me about the importance of really setting aside time to take care of myself and also take care of my team and my family. And so what I started to do is just follow that guidance in terms of setting aside time that was just for me to rejuvenate, to recharge. And so what that looked like for me is I started to just a couple of days a week, get some exercise. And for me, I live in the mountains of Colorado, and there are trails everywhere. And so I started to get on my mountain bike a couple of days a week, just for an hour.


An hour, a couple of days a week, really started to make a difference. I just felt rejuvenated. Even over the course of an hour, over a lunch hour. And so really, I started to have more energy and I started to sleep better. And at the same time, I don't want to sugarcoat how bad it was for me before I hit bottom because it was. I was on, essentially hooked on prescription and antidepressants. I was really abusing alcohol to really numb myself. And I had to find different ways of coping with the stress and anxiety that I was under. And at periods, I had some dark depression as well, for which the antidepressants helped. But there were a lot of side effects. And I felt like it was a short term thing that turned into a long term crutch that was really crippling certain areas of my life. And so I read a few articles in the Denver Post. This is roughly late 2012, early 2013, around the time of legalization of cannabis in the state. And the articles I read spoke about medicinal or therapeutic benefits associated with cannabis. And in particular, this variety of cannabis called hemp that was non psychoactive and that it was legal.


And this was shocking to me because I started my legal career as an assistant district attorney, prosecuting drug crimes and never thought that something good could come of cannabis. But when I read that there were these therapeutic medicinal aspects and also that athletes were using this thing called hemp. And in particular, what's widely known now as CPD, Cannabidiol, is this nutrient in hemp. I knew I had to try it because what I read was it helped them deal with stress much more effectively, get better sleep, recover, all the things that I was in the middle of trying to fix in my own life. I started to experiment and started to use hemp derived CVD on a regular basis. And then I started to add other plant extracts, and boy, things really started to accelerate in terms of my recovery. I too then discovered my energy was at all time highs. I was sleeping much more consistently, and I could manage stress and anxiety much more effectively. I became much more present. So those things combined, and I've shared this with you, remarkably, I transitioned from riding the mountain bike a couple of days a week to then reading a book called Born to Run about trail running and running in particular.


I just got fascinated by running in a way that before in my life, I hated running. I got kicked off my high school cross country team. I was such a bad disinterested runner. I started running and I really haven't stopped since. I've gone up to the 100 mile distance, high altitude trail races in the Rockies. And I attributed so much to what helped me turn things around in the business, then turn things around in my life in a big way. And it's a variety of things, including obviously the importance of HempDrived, CVD and other plants that really allowed me to recover and again, have a lot more energy.


That's awesome. There's so many things there. First of all, I didn't know you also did Strategic Coach. I did that for a couple of years and I was looking to start the third year and I was flying back and forth from Lima. We had, as a fault, my wife did the work, she just had our second child. And at two months old, I'm thinking, okay, I'm going to get on a plane from Lima, Peru to go all the way up to Chicago, leave my wife for four days with a three year old and a two month old. It just wasn't happening. But there's so much stuff I've learned from Dan Sullivan's work and what he does over the years. He's definitely been a great mentor for me. One of the things that really, as you and I have talked about, that's really impressed me is some of the fundamental things you've come to. It's funny because I remember 20 years ago when people would talk about meditation, that was a voodoo thing, and people would dismiss it. And now it seems like people are just missing basic things like getting enough sleep, eating well, exercise, fundamental stuff that at least you're in my generation, like, no, these are basics.


And I think we've all seen this in the information world or the information industry, a lot of us just discredit fatigue. So if you're an athlete and you hurt your leg and the big game is coming up in three weeks, we wouldn't tell you practice more for three weeks. We'd tell you get rested. But for some reason in the information world, we say, Oh, no, the brain never gets tired. And there's a couple of things you referenced, like things that can become very almost fuzzy or abstract because there's so many people talking about vision and purpose, and being present. But when you look at certain decisions, I can look at certain decisions, I can attribute a very specific bad real estate investment that cost me at least $75,000. And I can tell you right now, were I meditating at the time, I would have never made that investment because the signs kept... When I looked back, the signs kept hitting me in the face. But I was so gung ho when I was going to get this investment. When a friend left the deal, there was four of us in it, the friend left the deal.


Instead of thinking, why is my intelligent, balanced friend leaving the deal? I said, No, great. More for me. Then the buyer tried to back out. No. Just this clinging, which, and again, as somebody who believes that there's some divine force, I use the word God. That's how I was raised on. It's like, Dude, all the messages were there. And I was just like, No, I got this. And it was something that just obviously turned out so catastrophously. And when I look at so many of the things that I've done that have worked, it's been fundamentals. When I get enough sleep, do certain things when I exercise. And I think that's something that there's that egotistical voice that wants to tell us that, No, I don't need that. I'm above that. And I know in the Western culture as males, sometimes we're told, don't be a wuss. And there's other words we're used to tell us that you're just being soft. Instead of just simply realizing, no, there's a certain normal number of hours that are needed. And just the whole hustle and grind mentality that's coming out now. And when you and I grew up, the hustle and the grind, we're both dancers, which we're actually meant to be fun.


And now I'm hustling this. Look, the women in Africa carrying water on their heads five hours each way, or five hours total for the day, that's hustle. That doesn't mean you're necessarily going to make more money. And it's not necessarily something to aspire to. The things like impact and helping people around you. And you and I talked a little bit about how you learned to trust your team. And again, just so much of the stuff that's letting go of the ego. So if you don't mind, to whatever level you feel comfortable, talk a little bit about this whole thing of moving from this ego based, which we've all experienced. I know Dan Sullivan, a strategic coach, always talked about, the intense entrepreneur is I have everything. Everything is independence. I'm this rugged individualist and I can do everything as opposed to, as he would call it unique teamwork and really realizing, being humble enough to say, the people around me have gifts too. I'm not the only special one here. And can I be open to that? And can I trust? And instead of being like, well, I'm so damn confident, everybody's a freaking moron.


And say, Well, no, this person does this well, and that person share a little bit, if you don't mind, about how that specifically helped your business and then how you applied it, perhaps that humility to you learning more about some of the work you're involved in now with getting people understanding the benefits of CPD and that stuff.


Yes. I love that you use the word humbled way because that was my experience hitting bottom. I was humbled by life. Up to that moment, I had been that self reliant, very aggressive in certain ways, type A personality, fueled by and conditioned by a culture that is very much go, go, go. I think here in the US, we're the poster child of that externally oriented, achievement driven, ambition fueled life that there are many positive aspects of. But also it's a very fine line to being very destructive and all consuming, which it was for me. And so after I hit bottom and had this humbling experience, I recognized the value in being part of a team in ways that I hadn't before. And what I mean specifically is that, as you allude to, that everyone had their own contributions and their unique skills to bring to what we were doing to serve clients. And I recognized that in a way that I hadn't before. And I started to ask for help in a real, genuine, sincere way. And it made delegating that much easier because I was being, I think, more open and more honest and more transparent about areas in which I didn't know or I needed help.


And what I found was that my team just responded time and time again when I was more open and transparent. And they wanted to jump in. And so all of a sudden, delegation became an easier thing because it wasn't me saying top down. Instead, it was saying, These are the things that I think are really important for us to move the needle to help this client in this area, but how are we going to do this? The things I had learned in strategic coach about unique ability and really finding that in everyone, all of a sudden became much more natural because I think I had been, as I said, humbled and also stripped down in certain ways and become more transparent and open. And boy, then all of a sudden you know, the team started to just take on greater and greater levels of responsibility that I just was almost speechless that all of a sudden this business that before I felt like I had to be the charge of and drive everything and have my nose into everything, all of a sudden I was letting go and they were taking it over in many ways that also then remarkably allowed me to continue to recharge and make these lifestyle changes where I was working less, I was getting more exercise, I was getting outside, I was meditating.


And the business flourished in a way that it had not done before, and we were having more fun doing so. I'm grateful for hitting bottom, honestly. As hard as it was, the lessons that I learned in that experience just led to these incredible gains in the business that within 12 months of my hitting bottom, we had multiple parties interested in buying the business. And then one year later had a deal that we closed on. And then after that, as you alluded to earlier, the sale of the business involved based on the size of the business and the circumstances, the party that bought my business set certain targets for us to hit in order for us to receive the full value of the business, the entire compensation, which is often in the business world, entrepreneurs, I think, are well aware of this idea of an earn out where you get a percentage of the business up front and then you earn out the rest based on hitting certain milestones because the buyer wants to be sure that you're not going to take off and instead you're going to help grow and transition the business into their world.


And that's exactly what I had to do with some very high targets, doubling our net revenue in 12 months, and then doing so again in the following 12 months, which seemed impossible. We were at that point roughly $500,000 a year net business in terms of EBITDA or net revenue, and to double that to a million dollars at the time we closed the deal to sell the business seemed, again, almost insurmountable. In year one, we hit that number with $75,000 extra. We hit the million dollars, a million dollars, 75,000. And then in year two, we crushed that number. We ended up delivering, I think, 1.6 or 1.7 million dollars of net revenue, which again was mind blowing. And the business, as you said, grew roughly two and a half times to roughly $15 million over 30 months. And the reason I highlight that is because it was all the result of the changes that I had made. And then we made it as a team to identify unique abilities, put people in the right positions, delegate, and work as a group in ways that I had never experienced before. And it allowed us to really scale the business with very much almost the same staff, which was remarkable.


Yeah. And there's a couple of things you said there that very interesting to me. Well, first, earlier you talked about serving the clients and then serving the business. And a lot of times I think we forget even sometimes the reason most of us start a business because we want some combination of more income. But usually that's the third one on the list, more freedom and more creativity to do what we love. And I think there's definitely this in the Western cultures that we value creativity so much that to have a business that repeatedly does well, I'll use my software business as an example, it's a repeat income business. It's something that my clients pulled from me. I never thought I'd be doing it. It's a residual income model. It's paid my bills for years. And yet there's a part of me that minimizes it because it's repetitive. As if there's something wrong about that. Instead of realizing, you found something that's actually pretty true and so true that it continues to be valued and yet missing that because being so caught up on the myth of the brilliant creative entrepreneur. And I just remind people, look, the things that let you work, whether it's four days a week or whatever it is, are usually the really boring things because you figured something out, you found something was true and you've taken out the unpredictability.


Now, on the flip side, the things that your projects that are joy and need and fun, they become sometimes boring once we figure them out. No different than perhaps romantic relationships or friendships or anything else or stages as kids go through cars and bikes or whatever it might be that they're into. But it's interesting. I'm wondering, I just thought of something and I imagine you've considered this, was it that you really hated the business and then loved the business, or was some of that to you just hating and then loving where you were at, what your life was like, and then perhaps the business reflecting that instead of it being some magic thing that the business... All of a sudden the business changed and now I'm happy as opposed to you making an internal shift that really led to that.


Yes, for sure. It's a great point and distinction, Wade, because I think we hear that we should do what we love and our work should be just this dreamy experience. And I don't want to minimize the importance of being aligned with something that really speaks to you and that you do uniquely well. But the idea that something is going to always be that dreamy experience, it's just unrealistic. Just because you point it out, the brain gets used to something. Our minds, once we figure things out and there's less uncertainty and it's more predictable and it becomes routine and route, there's some boredom that sets in with that. I certainly experienced that because from the mindset that I had at that point, I was helping corporate legal department save millions of dollars of legal expenses, doing very challenging work under stressful conditions involving criminal investigations and dealing with big law firms. And it just became, yes, very repetitive. And here's what I discovered, though, is that even in the midst of that repetition, which that didn't change from before I hit bottom to after I hit bottom, it was the same exact set of circumstances. The same law firms giving us a hard time and our clients having very all of that.


But what was new and different was just working with the team and just the experience of looking at things knew that, again, I had grown so accustomed to believing, I knew everything about. I just developed, in certain respects, a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity. There wasn't some magical beam. It was because other aspects of my life, I started to enrich and rejuvenate myself that allowed me to have that new curiosity and wonder because I was more renewed. Previously, my batteries were so run down that I couldn't even see that. That's why I think it's so important, this idea of staying power that I alluded to before, that no matter how successful you are or how much you're struggling right now, you e're taking time to rejuvenate and recharge does wonders that I could never anticipate. But in hindsight, and now this conversation with you, it dawns on me, yes, I found new curiosity and wonder in the mundane because I was recharged and regenerated in other areas of my life. I love your emphasis on the four hours work week because the four day work week because that's effectively what I ended up doing. I alluded to this, that the team started to take on more responsibility and I essentially started to work a four day work week because I take time during the week to get out of the mountain bike, to run, to meditate, to do these things that previously I wasn't doing and was the cause, I think, of so much of my discontent.


I think that exists very much in the world today that we just ignore the very things that can support us in doing important work that we've discounted because we think it's so mundane.


How did that impact your relationship with your kids and your family and all that?


I just started to be more present with them while I was with them. I'm not going to say it was 100 % because I had a lot of demands on my attention. But increasingly, when I was with them, I was with them. I wasn't on the phone. I wasn't trying to do emails. And again, I'm not going to say this was 100 %. And even today, we live in a culture that there's so many demands externally, so much external stimuli that we can get hijacked by it. But by taking care of myself, the exercise, the meditation, it allowed me to just be there with them and my relationships deepened with them in ways that I'm so grateful for because as they get older, those moments, they go quickly. I had missed many of them before I had the experience of increasing my presence and really enjoying the moments with them and being more disciplined, not letting work constantly interfere with things that should have been focused entirely on my kids. So for me, practically what it looked like was, Wade, I started to be at their events and be there. Actually be there and not have the phone be a source of distraction.


Yeah. That's the thing. Kids, gosh, they've got such good BS sensors because you can show up at the game and be even half present. I've done it a couple of times. Oh, yeah, I'm watching. No, you're not. And again, you almost are better off not even going than doing that. And one of the things, sometimes people ask me, wait, are you dogmatic on four days? Now, for me I am because I'm clever with myself. I'll just do this for five minutes. I'll just do this. I'll just do that. And again, funnily enough, going back to Dan Sullivan, he would always talk about his definition of a free day, 24 hours period, no work stuff, and just to give yourself that chance to do this. So what I want to do is tell maybe, and I'm trying to pull this, you and I know could talk for hours and I definitely want to have you on again. Maybe when I always try to look for what specifically can I give the audience to take from this, and as you and I are talking, like I said, I know there's so many dimensions to what you do. You mentioned meditation, you mentioned exercise.


Right now, I've told you, I still know about this much about CPD. Again, I grew up watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Spicoli. Got these understands of what it can and can't do. And I hear all the conspiracy theories about how it could replace paper and all these different things. But to put it into a practical sense, because when I look back at my marriage with my wife and our kids, the times I've made my worst business decisions have been when I've been working 60 plus hours a week, I've been unfocused, not sleeping, totally fixated on something so I can't even sleep through the night. And sometimes even, I don't know if you experience this, when you're trying to meditate, you can't even. You're just like, just all this stuff just keeps coming in. For the person that doesn't fully understand, that nods and says, Yeah, exercise. Maybe, and I think maybe, and then tie it into specifically what you're doing with the CPD oil and what you're doing with pure power wellness. Maybe if you could explain now what it is that it's meant to you specifically and what that looks like and how maybe with some of the people you've worked with, what it makes a difference for.


Because again, I think you and I have talked about this. Right now, CPD oil is the latest thing. So I know a friend of mine says, yeah, well, you can buy it for this and flip it for this. I'm like, okay, no, I don't need that anymore than I need the cheesy insurance sales guy in my field of insurance coaching. But it's there as somebody that I've experienced... Again, I've never smoked weed. My parents scared the crap out of me. So I'm like, I still might try this stuff and I trust them, but it's still weed. Share a little bit. And again, I'm all ears too. How has it helped, and maybe a little bit mechanically, practically, what does that look like for people and how it impacts them and even their business as well as family life?


Yeah. Hemp drives, CPD, and then other plant extracts and botanicals. When I allude to other botanicals, what I'm referring to are things like Ashwagandha, which is a root nutrition in many respects that comes out of India, or tumoric. Many people know of tumoric. These things together really made such a difference for me over several years. Again, at 46 years old doing 100 Mile Ultra trail race, I was just obsessed to figure out what was it doing? Why did it make such a difference for me? And the ways it showed up for me, my anxiety. My anxiety, I could just manage it much more effectively. And so I weaned myself off of years of antidepressants by taking HempD heriveCBD. And I learned so much over the course of five or six years by trying lots of different derived CPD products, many of which really didn't work as I expected them to. And so I dove deep. And at the end of 2018, I spent a number of months in 2018 writing a book that I published at the end of 2018 called Plants Performance and the Endocannabinoid System, 21st Century Sports Medicine. I published it on Amazon. And I'm proud to say it hit Kindle number one best seller in sports medicine and a couple of other categories.


And really it's a layman's description of what is going on with this whole CPD hype. And really what it boils down to, Wade, is something that was only discovered in the early 90s in connection with the study of the medicinal impacts. What is cannabis doing physiologically inside the body? Most people think of cannabis and they think fast times at Ridgemont High because marijuana is what it's known as. But again, just like tomatoes have different varieties. Cannabis has different varieties. You have marijuana and you have hemp. Marijuana has high THC, which is the psychoactive compounds within the plant in the flower that deliver that high. Hemp doesn't have that. It has minuscule amounts of THC. What it has high in hemp is cannabinoids. What are cannabinoids? Well, they feed this system called the endocannabinoid system that was discovered in the early 90s, what is the endocannabinoid system? It is receptors at the cellular level that really help the body work toward balance. These receptors, these endocannabinoid receptors are all over the brain and the body. And again, what they help the body do in the brain is getting the balance. They're basically communication means at the cellular level that when you take cannabinoids from the hemp and you feed them into the body, the body can balance itself much more easily.


So what that translated to me is, again, I was able to manage my anxiety much more effectively. And there's much more scientific and medical descriptions for that, in particular with respect to stress and anxiety. What cannabinoids do is they downregulate the stress response. So we all know, right, we get stressed fight or flight, right? Cortisol spikes. Physiologically, that's a charge in the system, which is great when you're under threat, but not if it's persistent and chronic. And what cannabinoids do is help downregulate that system so that you're not in a persistent state of fight or flight. So that helps with anxiety, which then ties into sleep. Because if you're anxious, it's often very hard to sleep or to sleep through the night. And then energetically, the cannabinoids have also been identified as supporting mitochondria. Mitochondria, what are they? They're the horsepower inside our cells. That's what generates energy. Mitochondria do. And cannabinoids help support mitochondrial function. As we lose energy, as we age, the reason is because our mitochondria simply aren't working as effectively as they were when we were younger. Cannabinoids help support that mitochondrial function inside the cell to generate energy. Those are some of the key ways in which it helps me and it helps our customers at pure power Botanicals, a company that I launched with my cousin who had a traumatic brain injury, and I turned him on to CPD about three and a half years ago.


And it's really helped him recover from this near fatal brain injury that he had to the point that he's back playing competitive ice hockey. And the last thing I'll mention, Wade, is recovery. We've alluded to it through this conversation. If you can't recover on a consistent basis, you're just going to burn out. I can speak from personal experience. There's so much literature out there about the damage that can happen over time if you don't recover. Cannabinoids have a unique ability to allow us to recover more quickly. How? By reducing inflammation. Inflammation is tied to many of the most severe chronic diseases that plague society. And cannabinoids just have a very effective way of reducing inflammation internally, which then helps us to recover more quickly. So those are the highlights. Again, pure power Botanicals is the company that I founded with my cousin. And we've been in business about seven months. We have customers from around the world, and we've combined HempD rive, CPD, the highest quality hemp that we could find with other botanicals to address the very things that I just spoke about. Stress and anxiety, deep, restful sleep, long term energy, and then faster recoveries.


And that's really what our product line is made up of.


That's awesome. And the last thing I'd say, because I know this, I think I already know the answer to this question before, but one of the things that I'm hearing you say and from talking with you is, relates to something that I've learned. I happen to have a master's degree in psychology. I say happened to because I don't really actively use it. I do sometimes. But one of the conversations we'd always get into is the role of whether it be antidepressants, medication, whatever you want to do, some intervention of a physical substance. And the conversation was pretty much usually the short version of the conversation is, if in the short run it helps the person to calm down enough, mentally, psychologically, to do the work they need to do to heal, awesome. If it is perceived as a replacement to doing the work, not so awesome. And is that pretty much accurate to where you're saying? As you mentioned, you did exercise, you did meditation. You didn't just say, I'm going to take this pill and it's done. You did the work as well.


And that's what's happening right now with this CVD craze that's only eight, 10 months in the making. If you'd ask people 12 or 18 months ago what's CVD, most people would have no idea. Why? Because it's all in the press, right? The last eight or so months. And culturally, what have we been conditioned by big pharmaceutical companies over the last few decades? Take my pill, take my pill. And so that's how CVD is starting to be viewed as a cure all. And our view is it's not a cure all. What it is, it's a catalyst. It helps the body get back into balance to allow you to make lifestyle changes that deliver the long lasting changes. But if you're just taking CPD, and I had this experience for years, if you just take CPD, guess what? If you rely 100 % on that, you have to take more of it. You have to take more of it. And you see in the CPD industry, the dosages keep going up. Greater and greater milligrams. Why? Because people are just taking CPD and their expectation is, This will do everything for me. And that's bullshit. That just is.


And you have to make the lifestyle changes. And again, so we view it as a catalyst. And so we're as much about supporting people in making those lifestyle changes as we are in saying, listen, hemp and these other plants that we've combined it with are very incredibly supportive of the body, but they're not the end all be all.


Thank you. And yeah, it just reminds me of a joke that a community I used to listen to said is, he asked somebody, why do you do drugs? He says it intensifies your personality. He says, what if you're an a hole? Not necessarily a good thing.


Exactly. There's such opportunity, though. And also there's a stigma, right? Because everything related to cannabis for the last 40 or 50, 60 years has been grouped together, hemp with marijuana. And that was purposeful by, we don't need to go down that rabbit hole. But hemp is wholly different. It is incredibly beneficial. It's been used for thousands of years, both in useful ways, not just in health. Textiles, paper, all these things. And we're going to see him explode in this country for good reason because it's one of Mother Nature's gifts to us. Why wouldn't we use it for our own benefits?


Absolutely. Thank you so much, Don. What we're going to do, obviously, is share the links to your work in the show notes. I really have enjoyed this. Really, thank you so much for delivering what I knew was going to be an awesome interview. You and I talked, but I don't have every note down, and I still even see some things we didn't get to quote unquote, but I just really wanted people to not only experience what you're doing, but for people to just to get a sense. I mean, there is a certain sense at times I get of it's not humility. I think it's a genuine confidence of, we've done thing a couple of years. I think sometimes I'll look as an entrepreneur and I'll see some new dude or new gal that they're killing it, quote unquote. They're making a million this, that, and I'm not yet killing it. I said, Well, hold on, wait. But you've been doing something for 20 years. You've gone against the odds and do things. And so there's certain wisdom that comes from doing things that long. And that's really why I wanted to bring you on. And I feel you so delivered on that because so many young entrepreneurs, especially, or new entrepreneurs, regardless of age or whatever you consider young, really are still looking for magic pills or magic solutions or magic bullets or a course for this and that.


Look, I teach coaching courses. I've taken coaching courses. Anything that tells you you're going to get from zero to a million dollars in three months or two months, it's either illegal or it's nonsense. There's still the work. There's always the work. And realistically, a shift I made maybe about 6 to 12 months ago was, Thank God, because I'm willing to put in the work. And so it becomes almost inevitable. And so when I look at your journey and a lot of your focus on what's most important to you, I really do feel, and again, we really didn't at all go down as much of the spiritual conversation. You and I have had some of these things, but I found most entrepreneurs, if their heart's in the right place, they're trying to do good thing and not good in by some definition of some organization or religion, but literally they're trying to do right by others. They have higher aspirations. They want to help others. They want to do more than just help themselves. Things usually find a way of working themselves out. So much of the gratitude, the humility of realizing, just even you and I both of being in the United States of America and the abundance we already have already in the world scene are so wealthy compared to the rest of the world.


And one of the things I try to remind people is look, if you're thinking that next dollar, that next whatever it is is going to do it, I'm sorry, dude. Again, if you're in the US, it already doesn't get too much better financially than most of us, maybe not all of us, but a lot of us have. And of course, there's people in other countries that don't have as much and are still happy. And so keeping that at the center and knowing that work can be an awesome vocation, but there's so much more out there. Gosh, even summarizing our talk today is getting difficult to get it all in. But thank you for bringing that and definitely for you all. I try not to vouch for people because I don't know everything about every person, but everything I've seen about Dawn is the real deal, willing to do the work and just the wisdom you hear. It's true stuff. It's basic stuff. It almost sounds, again, boring after a while because do the work, do the exercise, meditate. But there are certainly harder ways to do things. And as I remind people in the marketplace to bring it really back to the business side of this, nobody cares if you cut their grass with a pair of scissors or a lawn mower.


They're not going to pay you more for an effort that you slaved over. Look at how hard I work. Nobody cares. And so a lot of this is about saying, how can I do this more gracefully? How can I do this more graciously? Not just for myself, but also so I can be a better human being, father, mother, parent, child, whatever it might be. I think if you look into Don, his work and what he's doing, you're going to find a whole lot of that. Thank you again so much for coming out, Don. I really appreciate your time and I'm looking forward to hearing the feedback from our listeners on your work. Thanks so much, my friend.


That's great, Wade, and love to come back on. Happy to do so. As I've mentioned to you, I'm working on my memoir that really describes this journey that I've touched on during our interview. And for your listeners, I just say two things. One is, as cliched as it is, the joy is in the journey. And as you touched on there, being part of a team, whatever that team is, friends, family, employees, partners, that's where so much of the juice really is from somebody that, again, has had this perspective. And the second thing is to the extent people want to connect with us and find us, there'll be links in the show notes, I encourage you to do so. Livepurepower. Com is the best place for pure power botanicals. And then for me personally, Don McElligland Jr. On Facebook and Instagram.


Awesome. Thank you so much. So again, another person. It sounds like I'm collecting people to prove a point, but I didn't even know before I taught that you had gotten to a four day work week. It's funny because I guess that's how I've branded a lot of what I'm doing and what I'm doing that you mentioned that. But I just keep finding people on a similar path. So thank you all so much for listening. And as always, I encourage you to continue to grow, to share your feedback. Help me know how I can help you better, do better and live better and be more present with your family. And it's always looking forward to helping you make more money and less time. Do what you do best so you can create the lifestyle you most desire and enjoy your friends, your family, and your life. Thanks, everyone, for listening.

Don McLaughlinProfile Photo

Don McLaughlin


Don is a father of three, author, wellness advocate and ultra endurance athlete.
A former trial lawyer of nearly 20 years, Don’s legal career included service as an Assistant District Attorney, litigator at a prominent Colorado law firm, and in-house corporate lawyer at a Fortune 500. As a corporate lawyer, Don became a nationally recognized expert in the areas of electronic data retrieval, analysis and management. Subsequently
Don founded and served as CEO of Falcon Discovery, a legal consulting and tech services firm serving the Fortune 500.
As CEO of a rapidly growing, multi-million dollar firm that handled some of the highest profile legal cases in the country, he experienced intense pressure and stress 24/7.
Following years of prolonged burnout, Don finally hit the wall in 2012. After what he can only describe as divine intervention and a newfound inspiration to become a better father and leader, Don overhauled his diet and began running ultra endurance trail races in the Colorado Rockies.
He incorporated hemp and other plant extracts into his new health regime, and developed a series of performance practices to advance his recovery, regain balance and sustain high performance. With these changes nearly everything in his life turned around, and Don’s business and personal life flourished.
Within months his running distances doubled and tripled, and he completed his first 36 hour, 100 mile race on the Continental Divide in Colorado in 2016. Likewise his business blossomed like never before, and he subsequently sold Falcon Discovery and stepped down in 2017 to inspire and support others with the lessons that he learned.