On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.
This week, Meet Tyler Gage, a Forbes '30-under-30' entrepreneur, Amazonian explorer and the author of Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life. Tyler has spent the last 12 years studying with indigenous elders in the Amazon rainforest, venturing far from his suburban roots at the age of 20. After graduating from Brown University, Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant to start RUNA, a social enterprise that makes energizing beverages with guayusa, a rare Amazonian leaf, and improves livelihoods for 3,000 indigenous farming families in Ecuador. Since we love his work so much, we asked Tyler to fill us in on where he finds inspiration, where exploring fits into his life, and how serendipity can make a difference in situations big and small.
Your favorite nickname: "Mr CEO" — my friends call me this when I'm being an idiot to (not so) gently remind me that titles often mean little ;)
Where were you born? Berkeley, CA
Where do you live now? Bellingham, WA
What’s your profession or calling? I'm an entrepreneur, author and speaker who uses wisdom from the Amazon and start-up success to bring innovation and inspiration to growing organizations.
What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us?) Riding unicycles: When I was growing up, my dad was also a bit of a clown — literally. His hobby was riding unicycles, juggling, cracking eggs on his head, you know, the usual clown stuff. He taught me to ride his eight-foot-high unicycle, which he called “Gerry the Giraffe,” when I was too young for Mom to be in even mild agreement.
In the business world, my ability to balance different perspectives and balance an exceptionally high degree of variables would the most useful translation of this skill. :)
What’s your go-to local zen spot? The woods behind my house. I made the big move from Brooklyn, NY to Bellingham, Washington to get clean air and be amidst the cedar trees here. 20 steps out my door and I'm there. Something about the majesty of northwest forests speaks to my heart in a beautiful way.
What’s your most beloved travel destination? Kauai. I know I should say Ecuador or Peru given why infatuation with the Amazon, but in terms of sheer relaxation and rejuvenation it doesn't get any better.
Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? In the word of business, I actually love cold calling and reaching out to people I just want to know or talk to. It's mostly rejection but the adventure of not knowing who will respond, and having that 1 person out of 10 get back to me, brings a healthy amount of adventure to my work.
What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? "Thank you." Learning to relate to obstacles as teachers has been at the very core of my study in shamanic traditions in the Amazon.
What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? It depends how stuck I am. It's a mix of boxing or running, followed by meditation. If I'm really stuck, I turn to a special tobacco pipe I have for prayers and connecting to that medicine has gotten me through some major ruts and chaotic situations (internally and externally).
What do you think about adventure potentially being the next meditation? What could the benefits be? I think the two go hand in hand. I'm a huge fan of supporting young people in particular to know other places and cultures in immersive ways — the value of learning to thrive in foreign environments is one of the greatest gifts I think you can give someone.