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Jesse Itzler on how to do it all and then do some more

By May 18, 2016 July 30th, 2020 No Comments

In this podcast, Jesse Itzler talks frankly with Commander Divine about his unconventional path and his unique approach to life and work. He has had a musical career as a rapper, is owner of the NBA Atlanta Hawks and is also an endurance athlete, having run 100 mile races. He’s done it all with a sense of adventure and determination. Most recently, he spent a month living with a former SEAL in order to better understand the kind of mental toughness that they have.

He has also written a book about his time living with David Goggins called “Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the toughest man on the planet.”

Listen to all of Mark’s other podcasts by clicking here…

Get your copy of Mark and Catherine’s new book KOKORO YOGA here.

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Transcript & Shownotes

Hey folks this is Commander Mark Divine, thanks again for tuning in this week. If you like what you’re hearing and you like the two like the super-cool guest I got coming up today Jesse Itzler then please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or by going to unbeatable also opt in meaning give us your email address so we can keep you informed of what’s going on so also leave us a review so help us spread the word.



Anyhow, today’s guest is pretty cool he’s got a lot of unique talents, very diverse guy, I think you’re going to really enjoy it. Jesse is a former rapper, an entrepreneur, also an endurance athlete, he runs ultra marathons, he’s a best-selling author and the book he wrote and the shirt he’s wearing, it shows up on Skype, is “Living With a SEAL: 31 days with the toughest man on the planet.” And it’s funny, Jesse, I don’t remember those 31 days. Is there someone else out there?

Okay, so you had a billboard 100 hit song, he founded alphabet city sports records, Marquis jets, and backed one of my favorite beverage companies Zico coconut water and is one of the owners of the NBA Atlanta Hawks. Wow! Jesse your career is interesting to say the least. It certainly isn’t conventional. What the heck, how did you go from writing “Shake It Like a White Girl” to the Atlanta Hawks?

Jesse: Oh man. I don’t know. I think that most of the stuff in my life hasn’t been planned. It wasn’t by design that’s for sure. I’m a 900 on the SAT guy, so I just kinda followed things that I liked and it ended up working out pretty well.



Mark: Yeah. Obviously you must find a passion and then just dive in super, super deep on it. Is that kind of the way you are? I mean, let’s start out with music. How did the music come into your life?

Jesse: Well, you know I got lured into it an early age. I grew up in New York at the time when rap was changing and evolving, coming up fast. And after making a little demo tape and sending it out my senior year of college to probably 100 record executives and getting complete rejection from all 100, I think I think I got more into it just because I think I wanted the challenge more than anything else I wanted to see if I could… It was actually probably less about the music and more about, “Man that is like insane rejection. I really want to see if I can be successful around all this rejection.” So I was very persistent.

Mark: That’s good. My son loves rap, I can’t confess to love it like he does but I am curious to hear at least a part of either “Shake It Like a White Girl” or your favorite. Come on. You said anything goes.

Jesse: Oh man. I know, I know, I know. You know for me that was a great part of my life. And probably one of the best things that ever happened to me was… At the time probably the worst thing but… My record when it came out didn’t do as well as I hoped it would, and I got a tap on the shoulder from the record label that I signed with called Delicious Vinyl, and the owner told me that we weren’t going to make a second album and for me that was like a really big blow, but it ended up being the greatest blessing because it took my life in a completely different direction and I got involved in other things, but the lessons that I learned going through as an artist, I mean everything from… When you are an artist you have to create your own identity, your own brand, you have to deal with the legal aspect, I mean the learning curve is just ginormous. And I’ve never taken a business course, let alone any background in music. So it was like a crash course in what was coming in the future. It was a really great experience for me.

Mark: Yeah.

Jesse: All that being said, Mark, I’m not gonna sing for you.

Mark: Oh man. I’m really disappointed, but you know what, I’m gonna invite you out to Kokoro Camp and we’ll get you to sing it Kokoro camp, how does that sound?

Jesse: That’s a deal.

Mark: Okay good.

Jesse: Like cold water on me.

Mark: No, it’s while you’re in the cold water. It’ll be to warm everyone up.

So, what age were you when you were into rapping? Was this year early teens or…?

Jesse: Yeah, so sophomore year. I was like 15 or 16. And then all the way through college. I made a demo in college.

Crazy story. I sent my demo out to like a hundred music executives and got all nos and no responses and I was in the studio where I work at one night and there was a cassette—and actually I called the cassette that changed my life—on the music board, the mix board, when I walked in of one of my favorite artists, a guy you might not know, a guy named Dana Dane from Brooklyn who had a second album advance copy of his cassette. I was a big fan and no one had heard this album so I sort of borrowed it. I was going to listen to it and then bring the cassette back.

I was on a plane to LA, and learned that an owner of a record label in LA loved this artist. His favorite artist was this guy Dana Dane, so when I landed, I cold called the owner, said that I had a cassette of this guy. And his secretary got it all mistaken and thought that I was the actual artist, Dana Dane, and said “Dana if you can be here at 2 o’clock, Mike would love to meet you.” And I showed up at the office, I buzz myself in as Dana Dane, and sat down in this guy’s office, he walked in… I don’t know if we can curse on this, but he said “who are you?” Not so politely. And I said that Dana was running late. I put in my cassette and got a record deal.



Mark: No kidding. Well that took some cojones. You mentioned to me earlier that you looked at Colgate University but you ended up going to school down in Washington and I see from Allison’s notes here that you went to American University and studied criminology. Now where the heck did that come from? I could see may be business, cause you’re getting into business, your music, but why criminology?

Jesse: You know, Mark, thanks for telling me. I had no idea. Is that what I majored in? I just checked a box, and they accepted me. Once they accepted me I was like… Whatever they wanted me to take, criminology sounded good. You know, I knew that I was never going to get into… Early on I knew that I never wanted to work for anybody. I always wanted to work for myself. Succeed or fail on my own. And to this day have never had a resume. And for me I only had two goals when I graduated college: I wanted to grow my own fruit trees, so I could pick my own oranges and stuff. I thought that’d be unbelievable if I could grow my own food.

And I wanted to make enough money that I could take two weeks off on vacation. If I could work fifty weeks and then for two weeks I could go to Mexico to a nice hotel…

So I checked criminology, and started the journey.

Mark: But obviously you were working on your music, that was distracting, you had an interest in business and being an entrepreneur, you stayed the course and finished up your degree.

Jesse: I did.

Mark: Interesting.

Jesse: I did. I got my degree and literally signed a record deal about four or five months after I graduated. So I came to an inflection point my senior year: I was either going to go into music which I was incredibly passionate about, or I was going to sell a product named Aunt Frannie’s Brownies. My roommate had an aunt Frannie and she would send brownies to us every month and I was like “Man, these brownies are incredible. What the hell does she put in these brownies?”

And I took a course my senior year in advertising and our final project… We had to create a fictitious product and present it to the class. And I was like, “You know what? I’m going to use this as my litmus test. If the class and the professor react positively, I’m going to be a brownie salesman. If they don’t, I’m gonna go into music.”

And I gave my presentation… You know, the tuition at American was $40,000 a year, so for $160,000 in today’s dollars tuition I can honestly say I learned one lesson and it was in this class. Halfway through my presentation my professor stopped me and said, “Jesse, what’s your point of differentiation?” And I said, “Well I’m home-baked, I have great packaging, I could be gluten-free if you want me to,” and he said “You know, there’s a thousand brownies at there. If you want to be a brownie you better be different.” So I said to myself, “I’m going into music,” because I’m a white guy and in 1989 there was only one of us.

Mark: Yeah, you’re a different brownie there.

Jesse: Yeah, that was my point of differentiation.



Mark: That’s awesome. So how did you go from music into these other businesses that you launched like Marquis Jets. What is Marquis Jets? Is that like a fractional jet thing?

Jesse: Marquis Jet was a private jet card company. We sold time on the Net Jet fleet. We sold like twenty-five hour… almost like a Starbuck card, prepaid flight card were you could have all the privileges of owning your own plane but none the responsibility. So on six hours notice anywhere in the country, a plane could pick you up. You could work it off like a debit card, you buy twenty-five hours, you fly two hours, you have twenty-three hours left.

So I got into music. You know I got that tap on the shoulder the guy said they weren’t gonna do a second album. I was living in California and I flew to New York and I got a job, believe it or not as a kiddie pool attendant, because the only time I could get studio time in New York City where I was living was at one in the morning, from 1 to 7. And the kiddie Pool job started at ten. So I would ride my bike 25 miles from Long Island to Corona, Queens. Work at the studio, come back, get cleaned up, and go to the pool. And when the music failed for me and I moved back to New York, I kinda stuck with it in the sense that I started writing theme songs for professional sports teams. And I did a song for the Knicks called “Go, New York, Go,” in 1991. And it kinda like became their anthem. And I got this crazy niche market called sports music. Just writing theme songs for professional sports teams. And I sold that company to a public company called SFX, and the owner of the company took a liking to me and my partner and invited us on a trip, and we flew to the Bahamas on his private jet. And when we walked onto his plane, it was like in the Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black and white to color. The whole world changed. Like, “people fly in private jets? What?” And we got off, but by the time we landed we were like, “We gotta figure out how we can do this more often.” And that was the start of what became Marquis Jet. And, without going too far into the story, we ended up having a really successful company that we sold to Warren Buffett’s Net Jet, Berkshire Hathaway’s private jet company, and that was a start… Kinda my first taste of success.

Mark: Right. So, not to backup too much but would you be willing to sing “Go, New York, Go” for us?

Jesse: When the water hits me in the face. You know if I sing at one of your programs it could be part of the torture part for the other amigos.

Mark: no, no, no.

Jesse: If they listen to me they might want to leave.

Mark: We’ll have the highest quit ratio when you are singing.

Jesse: They’ll ring the bell, right?

Listener Questions


Mark: They’ll ring the bell. All right. Well we’ll get you on that sooner or later. So, that kind of launched you into big leads from there, you made other investments and stuff, but I kinda want to shift focus. I had… There’s a ton of things we could talk about but I want to get to the toughest Navy SEAL who is not me who stayed with you. But before that, our team was able to solicit some questions from the Unbeatable Mind podcast listeners and I thought it’d be kinda fun to ask those, as it’ll get into your passion for running and whatnot. So sticking with business, the first question is from Ryan S. And he’s just asking “What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?”

Jesse: Well, I think I learned more from failures than my successes. And for me I learned two powerful lessons. I got egg on my face from a product I put out a couple of years ago. And the two main takeaways were, everything takes time, and you really have to be patient. You know when I went in to Coca-Cola around Zico coconut water, the president told me it was going to take eight years to build this brand. And I wanted to do it overnight. It doesn’t happen. You can’t will it in, or anything like that.

And the second thing, nothing is more important than product. You can have great idea, with great packaging, with great endorsers, but if the product isn’t right… You know, and endorsers are amazing, you get a guy or a gal or a big athlete or some big celebrity Hollywood person. They can get to buy your product once, and they can get stores to put in their shelves. But if the product isn’t great, they won’t buy it twice, no matter who’s pitching it. So, I made that mistake, rushing to market, not being patient, and not having a great product.

Mark: Yeah, I think that is excellent advice. You’re right, a lot of people think it’s all about the marketing or even the team, and those are all important, but you’re right, you gotta have something that people can get behind, basically, and talk about. You know, Zico, early on when it came out, I think you were pretty much the first coconut water on the market. I kinda found it through the Crossfit world. We’re always looking for more healthy alternatives to put in your body. And it was good. At first I was kinda like, “Why would I wanna drink coconut water?” And the first one was really good and I feel really clean when I drink it. Good product.

Jesse: Just to jump in, I discovered coconut water while I was training for a hundred mile run. And I was doing a lot of research on like, well, if you’re going to run for 22 to 24 hours nonstop what do you eat, what do you drink? And I became my own human guinea pig for coconut water. I tried everything and I realized “Wow, I just ran this whole race…22 hours… and I didn’t cramp, and I was literally powered by the electrolytes and all the goodness of coconut water.” And I just became a fan of the product, and ultimately that led to you know, the Zico…

Mark: I understand you can use coconut water as a plasma replacement. If you have blood loss, coconut water can substitute for actual plasma. Is that true?

Jesse: Yeah, they did it in World War 2. They used to hook up coconut water as IVs right into you. Cause it has a super close makeup to human plasma.



Mark: That’s fascinating. So you mentioned running. I’ve run my entire life, but I’ve never run a hundred miles. It’s not something I’m even remotely interested in. I’ll walk a hundred miles. But why did you get interested in running ultra-endurance racing? Where did that come from?

Jesse: Well, I decided that I wanted to raise money for charity. And I wanted to do something that would get a lot of attention, to raise the most amount of money that I could. And I knew that that wasn’t going to be having a golf event, or honoring a friend at a dinner, and that’s what was going on in my community, so I wanted to do something that would be a little bit more shocking. I decided to run a hundred mile race. I had run relays, you know, twenty-four hour relays as a team. I wanted to just see if I could do this. You know, when I started out as a runner I was running three miles a day. That was my goal. Get to three miles. And then three miles… let me get to forty minutes… let me get to an hour and three minutes. And it just gradually grew up to a marathon distance. And then I said, you know what, I’m gonna give myself 90 days and see if I can run a hundred miles. So I put myself on a crazy training program, convinced myself in my brain that I’d be able to do this, which you know a lot about. And once I believed that I could do it, it was just a function of how much willpower I had. How much pain can I take and how much willpower do I have. It wasn’t a function of what kind of athlete am I. That was the challenge that I wanted.

Mark: I think a lot of people confuse athleticism with achievement. Like, a hundred mile run, you don’t need to be a phenomenal athlete, you just need to be able to put one foot in front of the other for however long that takes. I don’t know. How long does that take to run a hundred miles?

Jesse: Took me 22 hours and change. But what you realize when I completed it, I was like, “Wow man, so many limitations are self-imposed. And if I’m under-indexing by that much in my run category, or my physical category, like, what other areas of my life am I under-indexing?”

Mark: Absolutely.

Jesse: Let me just take personal inventory and feel like “what the hell I can really do?”

Mark: That’s awesome. We call that the 20X factor, and that’s one of the reasons for Kokoro camp. So fifty hours of non-stop training. It’s been likened to running three Ironman triathlons back to back in terms of the output. But the whole point is, you’re developing a whole new sense of what’s possible, like you did in those hundred mile runs. A whole new sense of what the human being, when you’re tapping into all of yourself or your mind all your body, all your spirit, your willpower and you have a firmness about your goal just what’s possible. I mean it really is extraordinary and like you said, you apply got to every area of your life and everything just gets better. That’s cool. So yeah you just answered a question from Charcoal Skyline. That’s an interesting name.

Anyways, about training for these things. So you started small and you work your way up, sounds like. Did you do, did you after your marathon do you like a 50k run and 75K or you just went straight’s from marathon distance to a hundred?

Jesse: I ran several marathons and nothing… I just made a huge jump.

Mark: Like four marathons, practically.

Jesse: I trained up though, I mean, during my training I was running on the weekends. I would run back to back… I did the marathon distance several times during my training. I did fifty milers several times but I never did an official race. You know the biggest part of being in the process was preparing, obviously. Learning as much as I could… Once I knew it was possible and I saw people do it I thought, “Why can’t I do it?” This is a test of will, not physical… This is a test of will. And you know if you look at the guy who broke the… Roger Bannister… He spent most of his time trying to break the four-minute mile convincing himself that he could do it and visualizing so that was a big that was a really great lesson for me.

Mark: I bet.



Mark: What is the hardest thing that you’ve done and was it a run?

Jesse: The hardest thing physically for me probably was I did a standup paddleboard race around Manhattan and I got caught in the current and I was paddling as hard as I could humanly paddle and not going more than 1 inch. I would battle the current and then… and then I would stop because I was exhausted and I would go back 80 yards. It was really, really hard. I ended up crying in the middle of the Hudson. Crying. Drifting towards Brooklyn. That was probably the hardest thing. The hundred miler was super-hard and then you know in business the hardest thing for me has just been not being able to solve problems. Whatever they are, that’s been super frustrating when something comes and I just… Despite all my best intents and efforts I just have to throw in the towel. I’ve had success but I’ve also had plenty of failure. That’s always super-hard to swallow. Nobody wants a DNF on their resume.

Mark: Yeah, no kidding. But like you said they are ripe opportunities to learn and to grow and so… We turn them into victories with the right mindset right framing.

Jesse: Yup.

Living with a SEAL


Mark: That’s cool. So tell me about David now. Now I’ve never met David. Of course I know David Goggins by reputation and we served at different places at the same time together. Where did this come from? This idea that you want to live with David for a month and have them put you through the paces? Tell us about that experience.

Jesse: Well it wasn’t planned. I met David at a race in San Diego. I was running with five guys as a relay. He didn’t have anyone to relay with. He was his own relay team.

Mark: He was tagging himself.

Jesse: Yeah. Passing the baton to himself. And the race was self supported so you had to bring all your own supplies and my team… I was coming off of the sale of my company so we overdid it a little bit. We had a massage table, a truck pulled up with food on it. Goggins had three things for twenty-four hours: he had a fold up chair, he had one bottle of water and he had a box of crackers. And at the time he weighed about 280 pounds. So this was actually the first endurance race he’d ever done and by mile 70 because of a lack of nutrition and because of his weight, he had crushed all of the small bones in both of his feet and he had kidney failure. So we sat down is fold up chair. I looked at him, and I’m like “this guy needs a medic.” I mean immediately. I mean he was peeing blood. His feet were completely jacked up. And what did he do? He got up out of his chair and ran another 30 miles to get to a hundred miles. And I was like “Man, who in the world is this, and how the hell did he get out of that chair?” So I Googled him and I saw that he had an amazing back story, Navy SEAL, blah, blah, crazy history so I just said “you know what I wanna meet a guy like that.” So I cold called him and told him I wanted to meet him and had some ideas and I don’t know maybe I confused him but he said “if you get a plane tomorrow I’ll give you fifteen minutes.” So I flew out there and then just sitting with him for a couple minutes, Mark, I realized that whatever got him out of the chair, whatever that mental toughness was, that drive, that whatever, whatever was making him tick, if any of that could rub off on me, then all the different buckets in my life would improve. So I asked him to come live with me for thirty-one days and he said, you know… I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me… He said, “If you’re crazy enough to have a guy like me come live with you, I’m crazy enough to come.” And a couple days later he was at our breakfast table.

Mark: So what was the first day like with David? What did you guys do?

Jesse: The first thing that we did was he wanted to see where I was at physically so we went down… He wanted to see how many pull-ups I could do and I am not super-strong—not even strong, forget super-strong, and I did maybe eight pull-ups. And then I’d drop down and wait 30 seconds and do it again I did five or something. He said one more time. Thirty seconds and get back up on the bar and I do like maybe three, and I was done and he said, “All right, we’re not leaving here until you do a hundred more.” And I said “That’s cool in SEAL land but where I’m from its physically impossible. I can’t do that.” And he had made one rule with me when he came and that was I had to do everything he said or he was going to leave, so I got back up on the bar and one by one I did do a hundred and that was kind of my first lesson with him. The first of several lessons and that’s why wrote the book living with a SEAL just because I want to share all these sort of life lessons I learned and how I apply them to my life etc. But that goes back to my self-imposed limitations. Like God man I cannot believe how much I am limiting what I’m capable of doing and you know I want to see in all the other areas especially business, personal growth, relationships, my kids… You know, I must have so much more in my reserve tank. And that’s what this whole journey was about. You know, getting out of our comfort zone… When he moved in with me I was in a great place in my life. Like so many of us I had a routine and routines are great, but routines can be a rut. So I was like I thought had a great life. And I did, work outs, go to work, spent time with my family, repeat. But I wasn’t getting better. I was doing… just doing the same shit over and over. So he came in and just kinda completely shook that up. And made me very uncomfortable and pushed my limits every day to rewire my brain.

Mark: Yeah. What were some of the challenges he put you through, besides the hundred pull-ups the first day? By the way, I don’t know if folks know this but David went on to break the Guinness twenty-four hour pull-up record and he did four thousand and thirty pull-ups I think in twenty-four hours.

Jesse: He did it in seventeen. He did four thousand… and he’s done… And he set all kinds of… He’s an amazing guy with amazing accomplishments in the endurance community and predominantly on unbelievable discipline and will. And so he had me do… I lived on the lake at the time. He came in the winters so the lake was frozen, so the kids were playing hockey on it. And after 10 mile blizzard run he walked me down to Lake and took a boulder and cracked a hole in the middle of it and we jumped in so was no physical. And just things like that. Things that just completely at the time made no sense to me. But then I realized that he was basically exercising my mental toughness muscle. And creating a pattern in my head and in my environments that when things get hard I’m not going to quit. I’m gonna keep doing them until they’re finished, which you are a master of and but I wasn’t. I was an amateur, and still learning. And that’s what I wanted to get out of it. You know I wanted to get in great shape, but you go in and out of great shape. It’s the daily challenges and arrows that come at you that I wanted to be able to maneuver and handle more efficiently.



Mark: So did you or have you habituated the routine significant challenges where you go out and continue to do the challenge yourself since David is gone. Since you’re back to your normal life?

Jesse: I do. So I decided that I wanted after so many years I was taught it was great to have a bucket list. You only live once. If it’s on your bucket list do it. But I thought that that was backwards because the bucket list items for me were fine when they happened but they really didn’t make me feel alive. So I created – can I curse on this, Mark?

Mark: Go for it.

Jesse: I’ve created a “fuck it” list, and I started creating things that were challenging, that were hard, that I can fail at. That require preparation, you know, because they made me feel the most alive, and they gave me the most lessons—not me taking picture of Bono. You know like, that’s great but that’s not really going to help me in my personal journey of personal growth. So I just created this fuck it list and I started putting these things on my calendar that’s were all uncomfortable. And some of them were super-hard, some of them were endurance based, some of them were business goals that I think I could do or whatever and some of it is just like “I’m gonna take a freezing cold shower every day,” because it’s going to remind me of a variety of things that will help me when things get tough. You know? So, and that’s what I did. And I started seeing a lot of improvement in the way that I approached things and still have a long way to go. But it was a great first step. Life is hard, man, you know? I don’t care how much money you have or don’t have. But your mind is such a big part. You know, my mental dialogue started to change. And that was the biggest shift for me. My internal mental dialogue changed by doing these non-traditional things that I didn’t understand at first. Like jumping in a frozen lake. Or getting me up at three in the morning to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours. Or sitting in a sauna til I passout.

Mark: All of those sound really fun to me for some reason. And I start my day with a cold shower too, so, it may be that life is hard, but I’ll take that a step further, and I’ll say life is hard but it’s easier if you do hard yourself. If you take yourself to the challenge, then when the challenges come, they will inevitably come, then you’re prepared for them. It all does boil down to how you process those thoughts, and the internal dialogue. Trying to figure out the name of the book, I think it’s “Unbreakable” by another SEAL. Oh shoot, I’m going to kick myself for not remembering the guy’s name, who wrote it. But you would really enjoy that. I’ll look it up. I did a podcast with him a while ago. The whole book is talking about his SEAL experience and how the internal dialogue was the essence of how we… you know, whether you survive or thrive in combat, or have your ass handed to you. Anyway, it’s not coming up. I’ll figure it out. A neat guy though.

Anyway, though, cool. This notion of challenging yourself and this “fuck it” list. What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve got on it right now? The ones that make you a little bit squeamish?

Jesse: Well, you know, they’re not all physical, so I have certain things on my list like I wanna ride my bike cross country, but I also have other things on my list, like, I stink at language. So I’m trying to learn the national anthem for ten different countries right now. And you know I could listen to something ten thousand times and not remember the first line, so it’s really hard for me. But, that’s a challenge that I love. There’s no real reason for it. When am I ever going to have to sing the Chinese national anthem? But the journey through it has been super-challenging and again it’s just a reminder to myself that I embrace this. That this is super-hard for me and I suck at it, but I want to try to get it anyway. There’s no rhyme or reason for me knowing the Portuguese national anthem.

Mark: Right. It’s not so much about the end goal, is it?

Jesse: No. No.

Mark: It’s about the journey.

Jesse: My wife doesn’t get it either. She’s listening to these things, she’s like, “What are you doing?”

Mark: By the way, here’s one for you I think this is the first time I’ve stated this publicly, because we haven’t announced it yet, but we’re going to take a group of people on the same march that King Leonidas took with his 300 Spartans from Sparta to Thermopylae and we’re going to train every day. So it’s basically 30 miles of rucking a day and we’re going to do some Sealfit WADs during that time frame. And it’ll be a Navy SEAL, Sealfit coach paired up with four or five civilians who want to go on this challenge. We’re not going to re-enact the fight, but we are going to go out there and pay our respects to our brother warriors.

Jesse: That’s fantastic.

Mark: Consider adding that to your bucket list, or your…

Jesse: Okay, that’s cool, that’s great.

New Challenges


Mark: All right, so we’re kinda running a little long in the tooth here. What’s next for you, like, what are you working on right now? What’s your primary focus? What’s your one thing that’s in your life right now?

Jesse: Well, I got four kids under the age of seven, so that’s probably my biggest challenge. I wish I had a manual on how to handle this thing.

Mark: Don’t we all?

Jesse: I know, so that takes a lot of my time. And I’m just, I have a new… I spend a lot of time on the Atlanta Hawks. I’m super-passionate about it. I live in Atlanta. I’m enjoying it. I’m a basketball fan. I’m just trying to build my life resume. I’m always looking for challenges. On a daily basis, I love meeting interesting people. I love reading about your journey, and learning about you and the business that you’ve created and everything. So I’m just enjoying the whole process. This book journey has been a lot of fun for me. Because I had no agenda with it. And it’s led to meeting so many interesting people. And so much interesting dialogue. And I’m learning so much about myself. So, I’m gonna do another… You know, it’s one thing to read about inspiration, and it’s another to live with it. So I lived with Goggins, a Navy SEAL, we’re from completely different worlds. A series of living with interesting people. So maybe Mark I’ll shack up with you for a little bit.

Mark: Hey, come on out.

Jesse: I’m going to live with a monk, and a couple really interesting people and write about my experiences.

Mark: That’s very cool. Good luck with that.

Jesse: You know, we’ll share this, though. You’ll dig this. A friend of mine told me this. A good friend of mine is a rower. The way that they give scholarships are at one time during the year… the times on the water aren’t as important as your time on an erg. On a 2000 meter event. If you can row under 6:20, you’re going on a full ride to Harvard if your grades are there. And he told me that the average crew member is like 6’2″, 185. That’s me! I’m 6’2″, 185. And I found out I have one year of eligibility left. Like a division 2, 3 or row friendly club team, so I’m going to give myself 90 days and see if I can make the Harvard crew team.

Mark: That’s awesome. I rowed in college at Colgate, and that erg… that 2000 meter sprint is brutal, so enjoy buddy.

Jesse: At this pace, I’m going to make a high school team.

Mark: So if you make it, are you actually going to go? You gotta…

Jesse: I’ll ask my wife. See how she likes Boston.

Mark: Oh, she’d love it. Say you went to Harvard. That’s a great resume builder. That’s awesome.

All right, Jesse, this has been a blast. Super-cool to meet you. I’m serious about coming out to KoKoro camp and I do want to hear you sing. And since we talked about them both, I wanna hear them both, I wanna hear “Go New York, Go” and I wanna hear “Shake it Like a White Girl.”

Jesse: It’s a deal.

Mark: I’ll hold you up on that. I’ll make sure Allison follows up with you on that. And it’s as my guest. We do it five times a year, and we’ll figure out what works for your schedule. And get you out here.

Jesse: Would be incredible.

Mark: That’d be awesome. All right Jesse. good luck with everything. Good luck with the parenting. Give my best to your wife, tell her thanks for supporting you, from me.

Jesse: Well I appreciate you having me and reaching out to me.

Mark: Been a real pleasure. All right folks, that’s it. Jesse Itzler, what a cool guy. We had a blast. Keep your eye on him. Check out his book “Living with a SEAL,” where he lived with David Goggins. Look out for his next one, “living with an astronaut on the moon” or whatever it is that he comes up with. And as usual, train hard, stay focused, have fun, and go rate the podcast, especially if you liked this one. All right, folks. Coach Divine out.