The founder of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, knows a thing or two about building a globally successful philanthropic brand. He also understands the physical, mental and emotional toll that growing business can take, a struggle he is opening up about as he announces the launch of his latest venture designed to help all of us develop better tools to deal with stress.
While overcoming his own struggles with burnout and depression, Blake came to discover that it was the little things — building positive, daily habits — that set him on the road to recovery. Establishing simple daily habits became so vitally important, it became the inspiration for his latest venture — Madefor.
Blake partnered with former U.S. Navy SEAL, Pat Dossett, to create Madefor — a 10-month program based on neuroscience that cultivates one positive habit per month. This is the mental health subscription box we’ve all been waiting for. The goal? To move people from a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset.”
We could all use more simple, uplifting positive habits in our lives right now. We chatted with Blake and Pat about how the team and vision came together and why cultivating a growth mindset is so vital to our wellbeing….
Blake, you were honest about battling depression due to burn out. It’s refreshing to hear this from a male perspective and from someone who is running an already well-established business rather than a start-up. What did you hear from others when you began opening up on this?
I learned that I wasn’t alone. That everyone has something they are battling, regardless of how they are showing up for others. Whether I was talking to other founders, working moms or stay-at-home dads, the message was the same — people are stressed, exhausted and feeling like there has to be a better way.
What have been the most powerful tools you’ve used so far to bring your own energy to balance?
Let’s just say I’ve tried everything under the sun. Pat laughs sometimes at the seeker in me and where my quest to uncover the secret sauce takes me. But, what I find interesting is that every time I return from a new experience, I’m left more convinced that it isn’t the latest and greatest hacks that makes a difference. Rather, it’s the simple timeless practices I’ve always known about that allow me to bring my best to the world. Moving my body, seeking connection with others, spending time in nature, staying hydrated and fueling my body in a way that makes me feel best — these are just some of the simple tools that keep me in balance and that I lean on daily.
Pat, as a Navy SEAL you’ve learned the value of simple things that can drastically improve your life. Can you explain a bit more?
I view everything these days through the lens of connection. Am I investing in the connections that help me bring my best to the world, that help me build resilience and that help me forge a mindset that brings continued success?
In the teams, we lived and breathed connection — to our teammates, to a mission, to the fundamentals that when done well over time allow you to move with greater efficiency and impact. At Madefor, we focus on the foundational habits of body and mind to achieve a similar response. By engaging in a series of small intentional steps and creating awareness around their effects, our members start to cultivate subtle shifts in their behaviors and mindset that help them move through the world better.
What are the 10 tools included in Madefor?
Our tools are designed to be used in conjunction with our challenges to help members cultivate a connection with a given monthly focus. For example, one month we might focus on the science of hydration and include a customized glass water bottle that enables someone to track consumption. Or, another month might focus on the science of breath work and include a tool to help facilitate an offline practice. The consistent theme across all of our tools is that they enable you to disconnect from your devices and reconnect with your power to make your brain and body better through small actions.
We love that this program is analog! Tell us how this model came to be.
Working alongside our advisors, we quickly realized that if someone needs to look at a device, an app, or anything outside themselves to see how they are performing or feeling, then they’ve missed a critical step. Helping someone look in rather than out helps members establish agency, gain confidence and exert greater control over their life. To really bring your best to the world, you need to be attuned to the small things you do and how they affect your brain and body.
What can people expect to receive in their monthly mailings?
Each month, members will receive a kit focused on a different habit. Every kit includes three items: a publication of the relevant science behind your monthly habit, a 21-day challenge focused on the smallest step you can take each day to see a benefit, and a thoughtfully-crafted physical tool designed to help you form your new habit. Separate from the monthly physical kit, we also have a digital curriculum for all members to help them be accountable and encouraged throughout their journey.
Is this something couples/families can do together?
Absolutely. We offer a Partner Plan for couples, roommates, and any two people living under the same roof who want to go through the program together. We have also seen several families as well as teams benefit from doing the program alongside others.
What is the true goal of the program? To address stress management or just to generally become more intentional about the way we manage our energy?
Madefor’s true goal is to make the world a better place by helping our members bring their best selves to the world. Members don’t graduate from Madefor with a list of ten habits they have to focus on maintaining every day. Instead, they graduate with a better sense of control over their life and an appreciation for how taking small steps delivers lasting change. Individually these habits might not seem like much, but collectively they work together to shift mindsets and behaviors in positive directions.