EP 011 – The Art of Living, Mentors & Decision Making

  • 3
  • March 3, 2016
Filip Sierpinski

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether is he working or playing. To himself, he appears to be doing both.” 

– Francois Rene August, Vicomte de Chateaubriand
This is the quote Nick Seddon wrapped up the podcast with and is an embodiment of how Nick lives his life. 
Nick comes from a successful soccer pedigree; he played professional soccer for two seasons with the Vancouver White Caps. Nick knew that soccer was not going to be an end point for him and so he attended dental school at University of British Columbia. 
Today he is a cosmetic dentist with two practices, one in North Vancouver the other in downtown Vancouver. 

I met Nick this summer after he finished the Whistler Grand Fondo, which is a grueling 122km bike ride stretching from Vancouver to Whistler through the Rocky Mountains. That wasn’t enough for Nick though. Upon completing the Grand Fondo, Nick joined a group of us to go bungee jumping!
I brought Nick onto the show because he’s an example of someone who has been able to achieve his vision by taking decisive and purposeful action in the direction he wants to live his life.
Though he is a dentist, he considers himself more of an entrepreneur. Nick has discovered that building businesses is something he enjoys. He recently opened his first Freshii location in Kitsilano, diversifying his business ventures away from dentistry.  
There are a couple of things that I think are important to take away from this podcast. When Nick finished dental school at UBC he knew it wasn’t going to be easy starting his own practice. There is a lot of competition in the field of cosmetic dentistry. He knew it was going to be a challenge if he wanted to succeed and excel in the industry. So what did he do? He knew he had to find a way to rise above everyone else.
He started by gaining as much information as he could to get a competitive edge. He created a list of books. He created a list of mentors. He created a list of business coaches. And then he started absorbing as much information as possible from all these sources. 
He didn’t stop there. He traveled to Dubai and Brazil to learn from some of the best cosmetic dentists in the world. He surrounded himself with the best to learn from the best, so he could be the best… this is very familiar to what my previous guest Wayne Benson did as well. 
There is a timeless adage; the five people you surround yourself with are a direct representation of yourself. Nick took this to heart and you can see the impact it had on his life.
During the interview, I asked Nick when he first knew he wanted to be entrepreneur and his answer surprised me a little; he said he didn’t know. All he knew was that he liked management, leadership, and coordinating things and that’s what an entrepreneur is to him. So he gravitated towards that. 
Sometimes we don’t have all the answers in front of us. Sometimes we only have little bits and clues. It’s our job to use those bits and clues to come up with a solution based on all the information we have at hand… and that’s all we can do. We make the best possible decision at that time with the information we have. 
In the podcast we really dive into the mentoring and coaching Nick has received. Nick gave some interesting advice on knowing when your mentoring or coaching time is complete.
“You can only gain so much from one person along your journey. When the learning is done you need to move forward.”
He went on to say that as soon as he is no longer inspired or challenged by the work he’s doing with his coaches or mentors, he takes this as a clear indication that it is time to move forward. 
One of the parts that I found most interesting about our conversation was when Nick and I started talking about what keeps him going. Nick had a pretty simple answer, “fill your schedule with things that excite you.” As soon as they don’t, it’s time to find something else. 
He lets his emotional energy guide him. He lets the things that bring him joy and happiness lead the way to where he wants to go. From the business ventures he undertakes, to the day to day activities that fill his calendar, he uses excitement as his guiding principle.
It’s like we talked about in the last post about finding your passion. Nick has found his passion and lives it every single day. 
Nick’s embodiment of this strategy reminds me of a blog post by Derek Shivers called “Hell Yeah or No.” When Derek is asked to do something, he asks himself whether it’s a “Hell Yeah.” If he’s not “Hell Yeah” excited to do it, his decision is made. It’s a no. You can imagine how many “no’s” this leads to. 
In the post, Derek talks about how the “Hell Yeah” concept has helped to free up a lot of time in his life and cleared him of all the things he felt “he had to do.” His newly found time allowed him to focus on all the things he had wanted to do but never felt like he had the time to do. 
Nick’s decision making is governed by similar motives. He uses his excitement to govern his day to day. That’s the philosophy that governs his life. It’s a leading principle. If something doesn’t bring him excitement, he doesn’t do it. It’s that simple. 
How does he keep up with 14-15 hour days? It’s because he loves what he does. It excites him. It’s that blurry line between what we consider work and what we consider play. For a master in the art, living has no distinction between these two.
You can see why I choose to start this post with the Francois Rene August quote and why Nick chose to end off the podcast with it. The sentiment it conveys and the lesson it teaches is timeless. Live your passion every day and in every way. 
If you want to hear more from Nick, check out the podcast.
Podcast Notes:
Nick’s Contact Info – Nick has been kind enough to share his email for anyone who wants to ask him a question. You can reach him at nseddon@gmail.com or you can also contact him on Facebook. 
Books, Things, People Mentioned in the Podcast worth exploring…
Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin
Dear Life – Amanda Botic (Nick’s Goal Coach) 
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