Chris Pan, Founder of My Intent Project | Finding Success & Happiness | SSP Interview


For More Episodes Visit:

In his 30s, Chris Pan has accomplished a lot for his age. He worked as a Senior Consultant at McKinsey & Co, followed by two years as a marketing director for PepsiCo. He then spent four years working at Facebook. While he was there, Mark Zuckerberg took an interest in learning Chinese and recruited Pan to help.

Chris has a unique and powerful combination of hard skills having consulted for Fortune 100 CEOs at McKinsey and working with Mark Zuckerberg, combined with soft skills to help connect people from their head to their heart, their purpose, their passion, and their intention.

Following a traumatic breakup, he realized money and status do not offer the fulfillment and love he really wanted. He then started deep inner work for the past 7 years including the MyIntent Project, which has helped millions of people have meaningful connections through finding their intention.

Chris Pan is on a mission to bring spiritual and emotional wellness to those who need it the most with his jewelry line, MyIntent. Through high school and college, he led his youth group and was a motivational speaker. After college he was led to pursue financial security and status, studying at Harvard Business School, working at Facebook and retiring at 35.

Show Links

Show Sponsor


Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.








Machine Generated Transcript


people, year, mckinsey, ended, intent, learn, pepsico, left, life, felt, facebook, called, gave, friends, bracelets, canva, idea, china, jewelry, started


Scott D Clary, Chris Pan


Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Thanks again for joining me today I’m sitting down with Chris Pan. Now Chris pan has accomplished an extraordinary amount for his age, he worked as a senior consultant at McKinsey and CO followed by two years as a marketing director for PepsiCo. Then he spent four years working at Facebook and I found this little Knowledge Nugget while he was there, Mark Zuckerberg took an interest in learning Chinese and recruited Chris to help now Chris is the founder of my intent is on a mission to bring spiritual and emotional wellness to those who need it most with his jewelry line, my intent through high school and college, he led his youth group, he was a motivational speaker. After college he was he was led to pursue financial security and status, studying at Harvard Business School. And then eventually working at Facebook for retired from there and started my intent. Very interesting. You know, we’re just chatting about your story, like, dress me Why Why am I here? Why am I on this show is because your story is all over the place in terms of your career, where you went, where you started, and now where you’re at with my intent with a spiritually focused, positivity focused. jewelry line. So tell me, thank you first. Thank you, Chris, for joining. But tell me your story. Tell me how you got to where you are today? And what sort of guy did you hear?


Chris Pan  01:54

I think it’s interesting, I just had a session with my therapist. And he shared the insight that, you know, it’s more about failures are our greatest teachers and failures, it was really our guru. And it’s what builds the Finisar ability to be courageous and take risks and fail, that we don’t celebrate, we don’t talk about. And so that really resonated a lot with me. Because as I looked back, you know, everything you mentioned, were all the things that worked more or less. But there were a lot of things that didn’t work. And there are a lot of hard moments that I had to get up from and just pick myself back up or get along the way. I felt like each, you know, every time there was a mountain peak, there was a valley right after and then there was another mountain peak, but it was a little bit higher than another valley. And, you know, my, my journey has been very up and down. And I think that’s typical of a lot of entrepreneurs entrepreneurial journeys. I think for me, the insights I’ve got about myself is a lot of my drive has come from some pretty deep pain and pretty deep trauma that I experienced as a kid. I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. And then at four years old, my parents left me to go to the US, and left me with my grandmother, my grandfather, and they did that because they couldn’t afford a babysitter. My dad was in grad school, my mom was working to pay the bills, and so they didn’t have enough funds to have a babysitter for me. So from four to seven, I think I repressed all that, you know, that happened to me inside. But as I’ve been working on a lot of getting to know myself, that ended up being very traumatic for me. And then at age seven, I got my green card moved to the US, landed in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I didn’t speak any English. I knew how to say hello. And then on the plane, I think I’ve learned Hello, my name is and I was it. And my grandmother flew me over with me. And then I landed and I’m in the school that was an inner city school. It was not the easiest place to be I remember being picked on I remember not fitting in I mean for probably good two years I couldn’t communicate with most of the kids I did get put into an ESL program English a second language for the first half of the day. And the second half, I would take science and math with everyone else. But I think it’s a really hard time. And it’s pretty lonely. I was pretty isolated. And my parents they were pretty busy. I mean, my dad did his best after work to take me in play soccer with me or get me to be physically more fit to fit in with other kids. But, you know, my mom had just had my brother and she was pretty tied up with him. But I was kind of just left on my own. I think it’s out of that. Just isolation loneliness that has led me to concert this project, which on the surface, it looks like a jewelry line but but it’s really about connecting with people, you know in a meaningful way. Keep away.


Scott D Clary  05:01

Now, can I ask you? Because that makes sense to me, that makes sense that and I think that a lot of the things that you just you said conversation with, with your therapist are coming to light in this conversation. So I appreciate the authenticity and the rawness. But you didn’t jump into my intent right away, right? A lot of these things that you’re mentioning were when you were younger. So you you did the traditional career route.


Chris Pan  05:26

I did. And that was, I think my that was a lot of because of the experience my parents had. My dad was an engineer for general electric aircraft engines, and he was always under the threat of a layoff, even though he never got laid off over 25 plus years. But there was always that looming threat. And, and that was really drilled into me with economic security, you know, spending way below my means just saving for the future. And when I was, well, they’ve really pushed me to become a doctor. Because they thought that was good for society, helping people prestigious, and lifetime economic security. And I went down that path as a pre med student at Ohio State University. And then I got into med school went there for three weeks. And then I just realized it wasn’t my path. It wasn’t my passion. I liked the idea of helping people. But I didn’t get excited about the day to day work that it entailed. And my heart and my passion at that moment was in marketing, it was in business, it was an ideas and that was the wave. When I saw on the cover of probably like time, these two guys that started the globe, they were just out of Cornell 22 had on paper, hundreds of millions of dollars. That all evaporated actually a year later, but at least it looks amazing. And I said I want to be like that I want to, you know, retire early, so I can go work on whatever it is I want to work on. I didn’t know why. But it planted a seed to seeing that cover that I wanted to have freedom, I set a goal of being free by 30. I didn’t achieve it till 35. But that was a goal I set for myself. I think a lot of the drive I had throughout, you know, college, McKinsey PepsiCo was, to some extent, you know, a need to prove myself to be special, you know, because I felt as a kid, I was pretty, you know, not picked for the soccer team or not picked for the dodgeball team, whatever. And so I figured, well, hey, if I’m excelling at career that people would like me. And, you know, I was very focused and very diligent, and I think I have somewhat of a risk taking personality. And I can be very focused, when I want to be, to some extent in unhealthy point. Because when I get, you know, into something, I really get into it at the cost of maybe, you know, my social life, or my family life or whatnot. But I chased that goal, and tried to start a company multiple, you know, several times throughout the decade and a half before I finally landed at Facebook and, and then ended up having a nice exit and achieving it. But that was the, you know, the journey to McKinsey, I went there because actually I’ll take a step back. McKinsey I went because they had a great track record of sending people to Harvard Business School. And I had always dreamed of going to Harvard Business School since eighth grade, because my dad had brought home a copy of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which I was really curious. Well, I want to be effective. And what are the seven habits looks like you have it on your shelf?


Scott D Clary  08:24

That wasn’t on wasn’t on purpose.


Chris Pan  08:28

Yeah. So you know, when people ask me what’s, you know, the one book, you know, other than maybe the Bible’s had a big influence as well, but, you know, the most important secular book in my life, it’s probably that one. Read it early. And then I noticed in the cover that he, Stephen Covey had gone to Harvard Business School, so it planted a seed, that that’s something I might want to do. So, McKinsey, then, you know, I knew I would get, you know, they kind of it was, in my mind, kind of like the Navy SEAL training of the business world, right, the most elite consultants, and I knew I would get trained there, I would get, then, you know, hopefully recommendations to go to Harvard. I also had turned down McKinsey. So I got the offer from a bunch of places, including McKinsey. And then I had this idea I was going to start my own company, this is back in January of 2000. So then I defer, I turned down my offer. And then six months later, after the market crashed, and I realized I don’t think I have what it takes to start a company. I then call them up and they were very gracious to take me back. So I was very, I’ve been also very fortunate along the way to have there’s been a lot of grace in my life that, you know, I’ve turned things down, and that is still there, even though I’ve turned it down. So that’s really cool. Ended up at McKinsey, you know, a year and a half, two years. And then the Harvard was amazing time learned a ton, you know, the networking, and then it went back to McKinsey for a year. And then I realized I just wasn’t for me. And then at that point, I hadn’t offered to go be probably one of the youngest marketing directors at PepsiCo. For China, which was the second biggest market to run digital marketing they wanted bring in someone fairly young and forward thinking and kind of out of the box, not trained in TV advertising, because that was most of the marketing directors that I was brought in to do digital marketing. I renamed it to interactive marketing. I wanted marketing that was more engaging, but also very influenced by this idea of tell me I forget, show me I remember and involve me I understand. And I think that was probably a covey principle. But it was in the beginning chapters of the seven habits. And that always stuck with me. So I said, you know, most of traditional marketing was one way broadcast marketing, you create a cool ad, you’d stir up some emotions and you get people to buy that was, you know, marketing, you know, p&g, PepsiCo, they kind of invented that style, marketing the future, especially with digital, it was going to be more interactive. And so when I was at PepsiCo, I developed campaigns where we had a big one that invited consumers to submit a story that involved the biggest celebrity, one of the biggest celebrities in Asia, where he would be the main star of it, but you get like, it’d be the equivalent of you writing a script for Justin Timberlake, or for Beyonce, you know, like, we had the star that was gonna be in there, you get to create a story, we put it out there. And then we had the equivalent of like, $100,000 prize, I think that’d be like in renminbi was like $10,000. There’s a lot of money. So we did a very interactive campaign. And then the person entered winning with a school teacher. And because it would involve both a cool idea. And then there was voting, and I guess he somehow mobilized his entire school to vote on it. And so we were trying to create all this buzz. And it was a kilo story, we had him, I think we flew him in, he got to watch the whole filming of it. And then we aired it, it was kind of like a strategic area. It was cool. It was just this whole campaign that we ran for a summer to get the script. And then we kind of involved people in the process. So we kind of gave them a peek under the hood of how we develop a campaign for PepsiCo, that was really cool. The fall of that year, actually winter, my boss did a retreat for all of us, it was meant to inspire us. And there was a lot of Steve Jobs quotes a lot of change the world he sells. And I got really inspired. So much so that I actually over the winter break that year, I came to the realization that as much as you know, my goal to go to PepsiCo was to learn the skill of storytelling, using entertainment to market something. But then I started having guilt about, you know, in the end, we were mostly pushing sugar water that, you know, most of us in the office weren’t even drinking our own products. And that was something that bothered me. And you know, over that winter break, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t feel good about what I was doing. And I wanted to it was it was like a mini awakening, if you will. And so January, I came back and I resigned very boldly, I thought I was like, Oh, I have freedom. And I spent the next three months and bliss, exploring all sorts to change the world and make a difference, etc. And then I hit a rock bottom by May of that year, May of 2007. When I realized none of these ideas were probably going to pan out anytime soon. And you know, I was in China. I’m not really Chinese, you know, even though I look at but I you know, I speak Chinese but I’m not well versed in the culture really in the written parts. And you know, to be an entrepreneur is already difficult, but doesn’t have the language barrier. On top of that was yet another level


Scott D Clary  13:24

raised in the States.


Chris Pan  13:26

That’s yeah, pretty Americanized. Most for the most part. And so that was a big moment, when I had to shift from my dreams. Now I started having to go find a job again. And that was a big, big shift. And I ended up going through three months of depression, trying to find a job because it felt really hopeless, it felt you know, I was a marketing director at 2930. And that’s typically someone that’s like 3540 You know, I skipped a system brand manager, Brand Manager, system marketing director, marketing director. And so all the other jobs I was being conservative for was like assistant brand manager brand manager, it was like a least a 50% pay cut three levels demotion because they didn’t necessarily have a digital marketing director role, but they’re like, Oh, if you want to come in as the assistant brand manager, we might consider you for that. I didn’t I consider going back to McKinsey, I looked at consulting gigs, but then I wasn’t excited about that. It was really, really hard. And then I said to myself, you know, what is my heart really want? Like, what’s the place that I’m most excited about? And that’s actually been true. Most of my life is. You know, even with Harvard, if we rewind a little bit, I applied to Harvard, Stanford and Kellogg back then. And I spent probably 80 90% of my effort on the Harvard application and I just copy and pasted for the other two. And of course, like I ended up getting denied by the Kellogg and waitlisted at Stanford, but then I actually got into Harvard right away. And so it’s interesting. It’s like, Whatever my heart was set on, like I actually, it was meant to be I was actually able to push through. And then so at that point, I said, you know, My heart really is that Facebook because I love the product. I had met Mark Zuckerberg. Back when we were both at Harvard, I was in the business school. He was in an undergrad. I had another couple friends that were working there. So I called and I texted all of them. I messaged them and said, Hey, I would love to work for Facebook. I have a bunch of ideas. Maybe I can help you get into China. I can help you this and that. And they all said, right now, thank you. But we don’t know what to do with China yet. We’re not ready for that where we just don’t have something for you. And then I didn’t give up i kept just an eye on what was going on. And I remember one morning I woke up and TechCrunch had a blog post I said, Facebook hires Chamath, Palihapitiya as the VP of Product Marketing in charge of monetization platform, blah, blah. And I said, Oh, let me try him in even though I didn’t know him. So I looked up his email address at his former VC firm where he was leaving, but he still had access to it. So it was Tamasa Mayfield calm by email them there. And I wrote a very sustained email, I still remember I still have it, because that’s the email that really changed my life. It was just three sentences on here’s, you know who I am. And then like three sentences on, here’s how I can help you. And I said, you know, I have a digital marketing background, I consulted for Friendster, I had done a deal at McKenzie, that results in the acquisition of another major social network. And I think I can help you monetize. And within a couple hours, I got a response back. He said, Great. He said, Put your thoughts in a presentation and send it to me. So then I was like, oh, game on, but then the stress was really up. Because I was like, holy cow. I have. Yeah, it was open ended. It was like, yeah, do I take a week? Do I take two weeks? How long do I take like, I really wanted to impress them. And so that was a really stressful time of like, holy cow, like, how can I really wow him with my, you know, my thinking? I think I took two, three to three weeks, I put together a presentation. And finally I had like maybe six ideas that I put in there of how Facebook monetize. And I sent it to him. We did a phone call. And he it was only a 10 minute call, maybe 15 minutes was very brief. And I think that’s the nature of working with a lot of high power people, executives, you just got to know your shit. And they don’t have a lot of time to Dilly dilly dally, but it was him and this guy, Tim Kendall, they were on the call. They both liked it. And they said, Okay, we want to fly you out. And if no, you so then I think a week later I was in Palo Alto did a full day of interviews with the team. And then I got an offer. And I flew back to Shanghai, I packed my bags, I was negotiating my offer. I was negotiating even though I had already packed up my apartment, it was gonna take about still trying to get a little bit more in the package a little bit more equity, which ended up being a huge deal. And then started my journey at Facebook for four and a half years. And that was, to me, the equivalent of being like a part of the Chicago Bulls. When Michael Jordan was there. I mean, it was the greatest rush I can imagine of being an entrepreneur in trading, because Mark always said, you know, most of you will leave. I mean, there’s still a few people that are still there from the beginning, but most people leave but he’s like, you know, different places you go to. And they’re known for different things like you go to p&g if you want to be great marketer, right? And he’s like, I want Facebook to be a place known to train entrepreneurs, you know, because we’re very entrepreneurial. And I remember when I was at PepsiCo, I was the, the more progressive, the rebel, the crazy one, if you will, and all the other folks were more conservative and traditional. When I got to Facebook, I have to unlearn everything I learned at McKinsey and PepsiCo, I was now the conservative one. You know, when I got there, and there were 50 million users. I remember the executive team, they were like, planning for what this face look look like when there’s a billion users. And I was like, Can we just get the 60 million or maybe 100 million on MySpace was at 100 million at that point. And so that was already the next target, but they’re already planning for, you know, half a billion, like, big, big plans. And so that was a learning for me to adapt to that culture. And, you know, at 30 was when I started, I was the, the gray hair in the room, even though you know, I was like the other person in the room. Most of the my peers at the time, were probably mid, early, mid 20s. That was a huge shift, you know, from going to PepsiCo to from McKinsey, PepsiCo to Facebook, and then had a few different chapters there. One was figuring out why growth has slowed at one point. And the truth is in the data, I took it upon myself to learn SQL pulled a bunch of data through data against, like 200 different charts. If that McKenzie, one of the things we learned was looking at the data. Yeah, there’s a lot of assumptions and hypothesis on why things aren’t working. But it was in the data. And it turned out that people that have users had friends stayed and users that didn’t have friends didn’t stay. A lot of the users that we were acquiring that were not in college, a lot of the post college users came on. They didn’t find friends fast enough and then all of a sudden is a really lonely experience and then they left the platform And there was a whole bunch of efforts that then got kicked off based on this one tiny insight, but ended up changing the course of the project. And it was based on analysis I had done. But it was interesting that I didn’t it didn’t even occur to me when I pulled the data, how big of an insight that was, but it was just like, Oh, that was just, but I didn’t, but then I showed it to termasuk. And, and they, like, immediately realize that and so it was just interesting, like I was part of the process, but it wasn’t like I was, you know, genius or whatever. But I did pull the data out, I didn’t know where to look.


Scott D Clary  20:29

Well, you don’t always have to do you don’t have the answer to a problem. Like that isn’t always very complex, either. You’re showing that right now. It’s very simple. But you know, you had the insight to look in the right spot is very, very cool. It’s very cool. I like thank you for the story. It’s a very cool story. The very,


Chris Pan  20:46

and I would say, you know, if you’re a business person, I think a lot of times we have all these assumptions. And just make sure you know, officers sometimes have data, I think it’s a mix of both the gut, but also, you know, that the data showed a lot of correlations, and then there was one that seemed more like a causation. And then the causation ended up on lochia. But of course, the Insight alone wouldn’t have done anything. Then Zuck pivoted like crazy, you know, took all the engineers off of ads, which was actually what I was hired to do. And it was frustrating, because we went from a team of 10 down a team of two, but then put all those engineers onto growth, and fixing all the issues that you know, would help people find friends. So that was one really interesting project. And then the other one was obviously, when, when Mark wanted to learn Mandarin, and the the first year he hired a tutor, and worked with her a couple times a week and got himself to a pretty good spot, went to China. And then he realized he couldn’t understand anyone’s actions, other than his tutors, because he only heard one person. So then the next year, he came back, and he said, Hey, can someone help me organize? To have you know, at that point, we probably had 100 engineers that are Chinese, and native speakers, and can someone help me organize and they kind of helped me actually have conversations with different with people, different accents, you know, from northern China, south of China, just like in America, we have different areas in North America, we have different accents. So I did that. And I got to spend a couple hours with him every week, and that was so inspiring to be with someone of that, like talent and focus and discipline and curiosity. And he was very humble with just us, like, just learning. So that, and then kind of the pinnacle of that was, I remember, November of that year, we had a group visiting from China called the China entrepreneur Club, which collectively, it was like the fields of 20 of the biggest companies in China that collectively represent a 4% of China’s GDP. And Zuck did the entire q&a by himself relatively simple, basic questions. I think I helped him on two questions I leaned in and just gave just helped him on two questions. But he did the whole hour by himself. And then I have a photo that someone took where I’m kind of standing behind him. And it was a really cool moment for me to just witness like, holy cow, like, that was quite a progression.


Scott D Clary  23:11

So suddenly, you you had a very, very impactful time on your career and your learnings at Facebook, you not only with with you helping the company, but I’m sure it also had a reciprocal effect on on yourself, and what you chose to do going forward after Facebook. Now, I’m curious. You were very successful there. I’m sure there was a lot of other projects and stories that were like that, but these are these are incredible stories. What What made you at 35 want to leave and do your own thing, because it sounded like you had a really good thing going there. Right you like it’s not like Facebook is slowed down by any means since you left.


Chris Pan  23:51

But to be honest, my current flow down there. I think those those projects all made sense. But I wasn’t getting promoted, I was going to at this level. And I realized that I just wasn’t getting promoted, I wasn’t getting offered the next level, like getting promoted to director when not. And so I was looking around and I was like, Okay, what’s going on, I realized there was something that needed to change inside me like I had sort of maxed out on my own. And I had learned that my boss, Tim Kendall, I really admired his leadership and his ability to be present with people and just who he was as a person. And people loved him. And I said to him, like, what’s your secret? And he had said, you know, I’ve been working with an executive coach, that it made a big difference. So that planted a seed, but independent that I just realized, and also, you know, Facebook, they give you stock in tranches. And I had a big nice initial tranche, that was a four year vesting cycle and then it had vested in, my subsequent tranches weren’t as exciting. It was relatively small relative to the first one. And so that invested in so I was like, well, financially, there wasn’t that much upside. I wasn’t, you know, and then I looked around the company, I think, is there Other parts of the company that hadn’t worked on platform at that point, but there was anything that interesting, I looked around a little bit more. And then I think in my heart, I just knew it’s time for something else. It’s time for another venture. And I was getting pinged by VC firms and other social networks and other just other players that did want to make me like a VP of strategy or, you know, maybe a partner at a VC firm. So, I said, you know, let me pull the ripcord I’d made, I met my financial goals for what my financial freedom look like. So I pulled the ripcord and left and started traveling with my then girlfriend. After two months of being on the road, we ended up fighting a lot. And I think traveling together around the world, being nomadic is a great test for a relationship, either you make it or you break in. And at that point, we’ve been together for four years, it was either we’re gonna get married or go the other way. And actually in Paris was the place where we actually left we were we broke up. And that sent me through a pretty dark time, after that break up my identity, like who I was. And then I was getting recruited for a company called VT. And as part of, they wanted me to be a Philo and eventually probably a CEO. And as part of that, I negotiated a coaching package, an executive coach, that was very expensive package, but they’re very gracious to offer me that package. But then I started working with this coach Janet, who started teaching me some basic things like just you know, how to like, how to work with my own emotions, how to be present, listen. And the certain skills that I didn’t have, the role didn’t work out, the company ended up going under, and I just didn’t fit. But I think, you know, it’s interesting how life Tony Robbins has a quote that says, sometimes what you come for is not why you came, you know, and so many times in my life, I would think I went in for one thing, you know, I thought I went in to be the CEO of this company, that on paper was gonna be worth a lot, and blah, blah, and I was gonna make another fortune. But actually, like, when I went into it, I ended up meeting this executive coach who ended up teaching me the value of inner work. And she herself, went to Naropa, and highly skilled, executive coach, she coaches at Pinterest, Facebook, etc. But she also started telling me stories of you know, these monks who could meditate, you know, in the cold, right, like, on the mountaintop with crazy winds, they could put a blanket on these monks. And the monk by through meditation could generate enough heat to create steam off of the blankets. I don’t know if you ever heard anything like that?


Scott D Clary  27:37

No, no, I haven’t. No, no, that’s incredible, though. And this is a this is a true story as well. This is like, this is like an actual fact. Yeah, these


Chris Pan  27:45

are stories you can look up on YouTube. And also, if you look it up, have you heard of Wim Hof? Yes, yeah, if you look at Wim Hof, right, he will take a group of people train them, and hike a mountain and just shorts and it’s snow everywhere. You know what otherwise people would be bundled up in, you know, down coats, they would do the whole hype, but it’s through the power of the breath and the power of the mind and the power of the body. Like, that’s sort of fascinating me. And it set me off on a whole new path of like, oh, this is my new fascination. Let me go explore what this is all about.


Scott D Clary  28:20

So you left you left Facebook? You you had this? Not not life changing, but I guess, career career defining life defining moment through some of the interactions with this life coach. When I look at when I look at my intent was this one of the first ventures that you that you delved into post Facebook, or were there other things that you had done in your career in your life before my intent really came to fruition?


Chris Pan  28:50

So the serve my intent begins January of 2013. at rock bottom, I signed up for the thing called the Hoffman process. It’s a seven day retreat, where you really go inside and find out who you are, and find out who I am, you know. And I only learned about this thing because of the CEO that recruited me to VT, which ended up we ended up parting ways, but it’s so interesting, right? Because of him. This guy, Brett O’Brien, I ended up learning about the Hoffman and then having an executive coach. So I’m very grateful to him, even though our business relationship ended after three weeks, but that was a pretty big pivot into, you know, into my journey. And at the Hoffman. They teach these very basic concepts like if statements, which is all about a lot of times we speak in you and in general, like we speak on behalf of the world sometimes, or you know that this idea where we don’t talk about sports politics, you don’t talk about what you do. So all the conversations around feelings and what are you feeling in the moment? What’s really going on inside you? What do you really care about what I care about? So, you know, there’s about five statements. They had this idea of no crosstalking But that to me was huge because I grew up in a family where active listening was not really practiced. Culturally, it just wasn’t part of my culture, my family and I felt so heard for the first time where, you know, across talking would be like, let’s say, if I asked you like, What’s your favorite food? Right? You tell me a sushi. And then I often cut in and be like, Oh, well, you know, my best friend loves sushi too. And I don’t let you finish, like, why you like sushi, you know, this idea of cross docking these basic skills. If I learned those skills, and I just felt seen and heard and supported, and the teachers were so loving and caring, I felt like for the first time, they weren’t judging me. And I remember like, the last day of the, of the process, I said, God, I really want to bring this, this magic of being seen and heard to the every day, like how cool it’d be if I didn’t have to go to a seven day retreat. But like this captain, just every Sunday, or you know, and it’s an expensive, expensive process, it’s $5,000 tends to be and then some scholarships, but you know, it’s not accessible to a lot of people. And so I said, How can we bring some more people so that was the intention back in January of 13. I started doing a lot of inner work, a lot of like improv, singing, just different workshops. And at one point, then I started hosting gatherings where I would invite people to come and we would do yoga together, we would, you know, meditate. I on my, on my birthday on my 36th birthday, I hosted a similar gathering. And then I had friends say, if you have a talent or gift you want to share, just tell me what it is. And I’ll put you on the schedule. So one friend said, I want to come and make intention bracelets for people. And that’s how I learned how to make attention bracelets. So very simple idea, you pick one word that you want to set as an intention, something you want to remind yourself of to be your best. And then she would stamp it for you. For the for the guests on this little me back then they were like jewelry washers or tokens, you know. And then there’d be a little letter stamping kit. So just it’s like a typewriter. It’s like a little stencil stencils that like little typesets, like letter stamps, we called Letter stamps, have a hammer, then you just pound in one letter at a time on a little token, and then you take a piece of yarn or twine or string you tight on your wrist. And then the idea then was when it was time to fall off, it would fall off and you’re done with that intention, you move on to the next one. So she made it for me. The first one I chose was word impact because I wanted to make a difference with my life and made it for some other folks at this gathering. And this gathering was beautiful. It was there’s no alcohol is my birthday. And but everyone felt really uplifted. It was my test of can I bring people together with a little bit of a 45 minute program where we sang and moved and danced. But but not your usual, you know, birthday party where you got wasted and then you had a hangover the next day. So the next morning I woke up so energized, everyone’s so happy. Like I was like, wow, that was amazing. And we my friend and good night we met up a week later and she had given me a kid and she’s like, here’s a kid as a gift. If you’re moving to LA if you want make some of these for your friends in life. So I moved to LA I started hosting weekly gatherings. I called a spirit lab, there was a place where we’d come and do things that felt good for the spirit. It was hands on experimental, just there’s like playtime. It was fun for adults. But very intentional in terms of you know, we weren’t drinking, there was no, you know, it was just very like uplifting. Like it was like my Sunday church kind of experience. But there was no preaching. And I thought that was the other thing that I really enjoyed about the Hoffman was they asked a lot of questions, and they did a lot of visuals, like a lot of guided experiences is highly experiential. And it was up to each of us to find our own answers for whatever question was being prompted. And there was no like, you have to believe this, you have to do that. It was really just up to us to find our own path. And so that was the inspiration and model for how I did these weekly gatherings. And then for my intent that started because at my gatherings, we would make each other breakfast. So usually in the living room, or we’d set up a table somewhere like on the coffee table. As soon as you come in, you would hear the hammer, you know, going off and be like what’s going on why someone pounding over there and you walk over and somebody I would get my friends to volunteer at the table. And someone would ask you, oh, what’s your word? And then I just have them sign up and like half hour hour shifts. And and then all of a sudden people would get there first. Like it was almost like you’re part of a member’s club. You know, people around town started having these little little wristbands, maybe a little bracelets, and it’s like, they would meet each other and they’d be like, oh, like, oh, you go to spirit lab to like he was there was this thing, you know? And so it became a thing. It was always for free, you know. And then, in April of 2014 I had a friend who said hey, I have a fundraiser to raise money for orphans with HIV in Africa. We Come and make some bracelets. And we can take donations, I’ll make sure why not got three friends together, the four of us, you know, three hours raised $2,500. And that was a big aha moment I was like, up until then I never even thought about charging for these. And we gave all the money 100% of it back to the, to the foundation, because it was just time and material costs and material costs, I was happy to just absorb. And so that was eye opening. And then that summer ended up, some friends wanted a job wanted to make some money off, they go here, here’s a maker kit, I gave him the materials and I set them off to make it and then one guy is this guy, James, he ended up building a website, you know, he was trying to also it was all in the spirit of helping people by Guy, it was like an accidental business, if you will. But I did, I did love the idea of, you know, bring this to the world. And of course, like, I think for me, it felt good. Because every time I made a breakthrough for someone, there was always a huge amount of appreciation and a big hug, usually, you know, pre COVID Sometimes people would cry, you know, the oftentimes people would have tears and, you know, they felt really moved that that somebody listened to them. You know that?


Scott D Clary  36:11

Sorry, no, I just wanted to say, and I want you to keep going the story makes sense, when you start to bring out Now this makes a lot more sense I was, it’s very hard to understand all this going into the interview. So I appreciate you laying it out like this, because it’s a complex story that’s led to where my intent is today. I think what I want to understand is, and maybe you’ll get to this as well. But the story of how you made how you got to my intent how how you went on a spiritual journey to an extent of self awareness. And that led you to wanting to replicate that for others, because you did have achieve achieve this point in your life where you were comfortable. That’s, that’s, that’s great. And I respect to completely what my question, and I guess I want to understand more of the impact on the people that are part of this program, called for example, how do you as as? Or who is your target customer? Who is your target? Who is your target individual that wants to partake in this that wants to better themselves? Is it? Is it a isn’t it an executive? Is it a student? Is it somebody who has a lot of free time on their hands? What is What are you? What are you trying to help people with? exactly is it inclusivity? Is it impact? Like, I guess, I guess I’m trying to clear the ambiguity as to as to how I understand without speaking to you that this is something that I want to partake in. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I want to understand. Because you know, our world, if you’re not retired, is absolutely nuts. You have kids, you have family of work, you have, you know, bills, you have all these stressors. So I would love to look into things that are relaxing, calming, made me feel good about myself that aren’t just getting drunk out of somebody’s house on the weekend. But how does somebody find you? How does how does somebody find you know, focus on something like this, I just want to take a moment to pause and thank the sponsor of today’s episode Canva very excited when Canva approached me because I’ve been using Canva for all my graphic design needs for years. And they have never sponsored me before. So I’m very excited to champion a brand that I personally believe in support and I use now if you don’t know what Canva is. Canva is the online platform that makes graphic design, designing anything really easy for you and your team. They have pre loaded templates, all professionally made all very high quality. If you have an idea and you do not know how to bring it to life, on your social media on your website and your marketing collateral This is one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do. Canva pro makes this so simple. You do not have to be a designer, you do not have to be an artist or anything like that. It is a tool that allows you to create beautiful pieces of content and work with a drag and drop editor. It’s simple for anybody to use, you can collaborate with teams No experience necessary. This is what you use to make stunning social media posts marketing material, it has video components. Honestly with Canva pro it takes the headache out of creating design Canva Pro includes 75 million premium ingredients, including Premium Stock photos that you usually have to pay hundreds of dollars for illustrations, videos, audio, anything you can need to literally design anything it has in one spot and one app it truly democratizes design. Now why I’m so excited about the sponsorship is that they gave me a unique code for everybody’s listening to us. So if you want to test out Canva if you want to test out all of the incredible features for design. Remember I said images, audio video, they have ability to include team features, brand kits, background removers, resizing different objects with a click of a button. All of it is seamless, super user friendly, extremely intuitive. If you want to start using it today, go to backslash Scott, they’re giving everybody’s listening a special deal. 45 days free, pro Canva, you cannot get this deal by going on their website. So go to backslash Scott, you will get a Canva pro account for 45 days, you can try out as many features as you want, you can make a ton of content backslash Scott, see why design is no longer scary, you will never look at design the same way again, after you try it. Trust me on this one backslash Scott.


Chris Pan  40:59

So in terms of who is our customer, my original customer, was my original person, I wanted help with someone who maybe doesn’t have time to do inner work. And it’s busy. And this is sort of a quick little pause, a quick invitation to just take a moment and just have like a mini retreat. And I often lead one hour workshops, where I consider it like a micro retreat. You know, most people don’t have seven days to go away and go really deep. And you mentioned that. Yeah, yeah. But can I you know, can I give someone a five minute, like a little mini back massages like that I think of is like the back and sides you get at the mall, you know, guys, like maybe I’ve had to go to a spa for a full hour and a half, you know, treatment, but like a 15 minute back rub. But I think of it as like a little emotional spiritual support. And I’ve had so many stories of people where, you know, in a moment of crisis and a moment of despair, they look down on their wrist and that word is there, whatever it is that they had set, and that ended up supporting them through that tough time. So so that’s one that was who I wanted to serve, because I realized there’s a lot of, and I being one of them being a busy executive, who just never made time for inner work until then I had a lot of time. Yeah. During my time at PepsiCo, during my time at, you know, Facebook, it was just work. And then I had a couple of distractions or hobbies, you know, but I never really meditated. I never just prioritized it. So I was hoping this would be a way to serve folks like that in a fun way. Because this is something that can totally be done at a brunch, or at a picnic, or, you know, at a fundraiser where, you know, you went in, for one thing you went in for a fundraiser, and then you ended up having a connection with like, what’s most important to you? Yeah, yeah, so it’s like the unexpected, but it’s, it’s there to to help you. We have over 50,000 people that have bought maker kits that we offer. So we offer the tools for people to make their own for their friends and family. Because I didn’t want me to say like, it doesn’t scale with just me having the tools. In the same way. My friend gave me a set of tools. I was like, Well, I can’t give away 50,000 sets, but I’ll make it really nicely designed. My dad is an aircraft engineer, and he ended up designing some of the pieces. So they fit into like, we have seven year olds making these. So it’s super easy. And then most of these 50,000 folks, a lot of them are most of them are women who, you know, they want to make a difference in their communities. But we actually we have, we have men, women like their folks who somehow you know, some people they get it to do with their kids. Yeah, activity. To do it a fundraisers. We’ve had a boy make it for the first lady, actually. So we have that happen. It’s a child who’s at a hospital and the hospital purchased that maker kit to do as an activity for the kids. And that was one of the most moving interviews I did. We had no idea. All of a sudden, we saw pictures of the First Lady receiving a bracelet from a kid from Africa. He was at the NIH National Institute of Health with a disease that you know, it’s very rare. So he’s there seeing the children, and so they make bracelets for the kids that are there to kind of give them something to do and give them some hope. And she says the reason I like to do these races is it makes the intangible tangible. So a concept like hope or faith or strength or courage, you know, when someone’s going through a really hard time you know, how do you remind them that they have their faith and there’s hope that they can anchor on you know, and I think about our world today, I think about how much turbulence there is you know this is an anchor to who you are as a as a strong spiritual being to weather the storm. You know, I think of it as an anchor. I think of this as, like a lighthouse. You know, this is also guiding us to our path, it’s like, you know, I set my intention to be kind or to be compassionate, or to be, you know, resilient, you know, and in moments when I don’t feel resilient, it’s a reminder of that decision I made of who I am.


Scott D Clary  45:17

And,and I think that no one will ever debate the efficacy, like the effectiveness of self development, but like you mentioned, that seven day courses a lot, you know, it’s a lot of time invested, a lot of people don’t go that far. So I love that you’ve really broken it down to these these micro moments micro session, like just this small, regardless of whether or not there’s an actual meeting, or if it’s just even, like given as a gift. It’s, it’s, it’s a small commitment, a micro commitment, that is, is hopefully for that person impactful. But I’m curious as to your experience, and when people take part in my intent, they they you know, you there’s there’s these physical, little bracelets, these little, these little items that carry this word, but there’s also there’s also sessions that you host that are the smaller sessions. Do you notice I people’s lives improve substantially when they start to focus on self development,


Chris Pan  46:15

we’ve had breakthroughs that come after an hour, we’ve had people say, you know, we’ve had people that have been doing, we’ve been running basically a summer camp for the last seven weeks. And we’re taking a pause for August. But we have 10 hours of programming, 10 hours of sessions every day, all different sessions. Some of it is coaching, some of it is dancing, cooking, like you know, intentional cooking all different curriculum on there. And we’ve gotten the most beautiful stories back about how it’s especially right now uplifted, of out of despair and loneliness, and giving them real tools to go forward. And to make a difference. Yeah, I mean, and we’re reconfiguring a lot of it to be, will still have some live ones in the future. But we’re gonna also do a lot more evergreen content and for people to enjoy. So people, you know, check out my and it’s always changing. But you know, there’s many ways to participate. One is you know, find it find your word, you know, our website, we have a word finder, so it helps you find your word, order a bracelet, order maker kit, just have we also these question cards, we curated 30 questions that we think are the easiest or most powerful to help someone find their intention. And


Scott D Clary  47:32

sorry, no, I was gonna say that was gonna be my next question. It was this business almost this this business almost happened accidentally? Where do you want to take it you know, you’re retired and now and now you’re building out you building a live courses, you have bracelets, your your, your, you know, you’re giving, you’re giving 50,000 kits out? Now you have a program, you’re making evergreen content. So what is the what is the end goal for you,


Chris Pan  47:56

um, the end goal is actually my own happiness and peace, and my own growth. And I’ve learned so much in building this. And I’ve made, you know, like, I sort of started the thing with, I’ve made a lot of critical mistakes, or there’s been failures, there’s been, you know, it hasn’t been a smooth ride, it’s been up and down, and up and down. And I’ve learned a lot, I think the future is in transitioning it to really, really focus more or less on the jewelry to continue being because it was never about the jewelry. And I even from day one, I put in the mission statement that this is not a jewelry company. It’s a service project, because people can confuse us with a Oh, you started a jewelry company? How cute. Exactly. People would be like the last guy. I’m sorry. Yeah, like, I don’t even wear jewelry. Like you’re the last guy to start a jewelry thing. And I’m like, but it’s really not. It’s a it’s an educational. It’s an educational initiative on inner work. It’s about you know, how to listen, how to be president how to care for other people. And then I think, you know, maybe we’ll end with This is Marianne Williamson often talks about a book called A Course of Miracles, if you’re following that one, and I’m, I don’t know that book, I’ve only read really page so I have a lot of books that I have maybe only read the bits and pieces of the very first page and of course miracle says this is a required course. The only option is when you choose to take it and I think about you know us as human beings on this planet, you know, like what are we really here for you know, like yeah, we’re here to make money we have to make money we got to pay the bills and you know, once you once you get past the basic necessities, it’s like wild over here. And I think my answer to that is you know, we’re we have an opportunity to learn compassion and learn phase and learn trust and learn hope. These are the more these are the spiritual concepts that we’re here to learn, that aren’t taught in schools per se, but maybe they are taught in churches or synagogues or temples. You know, if we go to those, but in general, I think as humanity, you know, like a constantly forgiveness, you know, compassion, like how, how desperately needed that in our world right now there are various happening right and empathy listening each other. And so if this is the curriculum, you know, somebody actually it wasn’t me that said it, but we made a video back when the project first started, and we interviewed the people, the people that were making the briefest, we could, what is this about? What does this project mean to you? And somebody said, you know, life is just a series of intentions. And that really stuck with me. And I was like, Yeah, you know, if you think about the spiritual curriculum that we’re all here to learn, it’s a series of concepts like empathy, like trust, and faith and hope. And, and as we think about our current environment today, I think about, it’s really hard to learn faith and trust, when times are certain. You know, but it’s only when you go through the, the waves are crazy, that’s when, you know, these muscles get built. It’s only in our external challenges that we build strength and purpose, you know, resilience. So so, you know, I know it’s hard for a lot of people going through COVID. Right now, there’s this global pandemic and all that, but, and for myself, I’ve had quite a roller coaster, and I just encourage all of us to take a moment to think about, you know, what’s, what can we learn from this, despite the challenges and the hard, you know, the hard times,


Scott D Clary  51:30

I appreciate that, I think that that’s a lesson that we should definitely all consider and sort of focus on, focus on taking time away from the negativity that you see on the news and on social media, and focus on on if you please fuck with us before the we started recording, but just like betterment of humanity, and it starts with it starts with learning all those traits you just mentioned, to the finding ways sort of exemplify those and to and to lead with intent in those types of actions. And I think that that’s something that, you know, just be mindful of, and maybe use tools, like my intent to to optimize the way you can be all of those things purposefully. And I think if everybody did that, and we, you know, we’d be in a better world than we are right now. But I really, that’s a it’s a beautiful story. I had, I had no idea. That’s how my intent, not the jewelry line, but my intent, the concept came to be so thank you very much. I appreciate that. Can I if you have a hard stop, I’ll get your information. But if you don’t, can I ask a couple rapid fire questions from or do you have to go?


Chris Pan  52:44

I qualms? I haven’t had a call for like, how fast is it? Like two minutes? I can be couple minutes late because I call?


Scott D Clary  52:50

It’s not long? It’s really it’s really, really not long. Okay. All right. Because you’ve got you’ve gone through a lot. And I want to just get like your experience your insight. So first, first one, where do you go to learn could be a book a resource, a person that you’d recommend to somebody else?


Chris Pan  53:08

I mean, the quote that comes to mind is when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And the second quote that appears is we teach what we need to learn. So just pay attention to what’s coming up in that sense. Online. YouTube is beautiful. I mean, and just friends, and I think, yeah, I think being curious, I think it’s the attitude of curiosity, and just asking questions is asking, having good conversations, I think, well, you know, we’ll guide people there. Great question, though.


Scott D Clary  53:40

Good answer. A lesson you would tell your younger self.


Chris Pan  53:45

A lesson. I mean, we I, you know, I guess if there was one thing I wish I would have maybe started my inner work earlier. You know, I kind of paused on all of that. You know, when I started my corporate career, so I was just focused on corporate success. And I think it could have entirely been possible to also do this curriculum that I’m speaking of inner work along the way. It is what it is, but I certainly could have and I think I my life would be quite different. But who knows? I mean, it is what it is. Right? And so yeah,


Scott D Clary  54:26

good, and and what does success mean to you? You’ve alluded to it, but I’m just to summarize.


Chris Pan  54:35

I think success is ultimately just happiness and fulfillment and inner peace. And I think success is an inside job. I think the word intent has the word in an intent. It’s not how, you know, and it’s like, really connecting with our true intention. And, you know, there’s things that we’re motivated by because, you know, maybe we want success because we have insecurities. You know, there’s a joke that when I worked at McKinsey, The joke was because he’s literally the full of the most insecure people, because that’s what gives you the drive. There’s that. I mean, I think drive comes from different places. But that tends to come from a lot of insecurity. And I certainly had plenty of insecurity growing up. I’m not saying this is the case, but that often comes in, and I think, you know, successes going secure, you know, yeah.


Scott D Clary  55:25

And no, in the last question, you mentioned the website before, but where can listeners go to connect with you online, your website, my,


Chris Pan  55:32

my And then, if you want to drop me a note, personally, I’m Chris at my or Instagram, Chris, ch, RI F and then Pa n Crispin. We’d love to get feedback. You know, if enjoyed thoughts at all, it always was very helpful to hear what resonated for you based on our conversation.


Scott D Clary  55:51

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott Clary from the success story podcast, signing off

New podcasts & articles to your inbox.

No Spam. Promise.

Pin It on Pinterest

Skip to content