Name: Dave Blum
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
Superpower: Team building adventures


Dave Blum runs Dr. Clue Treasure Hunts, a team building adventure service. Treasure hunts provide a playful way for people to experience collaborative teamwork and give insight into the building blocks of trust.

Dave travels all over the world to give in the flesh team building experiences. In addition, he works with a team of facilitators from all over the United States who also travel to give adventures. All the traveling has filled a suitcase with tips for taking care of himself while on the road, navigating different cultures, as well as how to stay in touch with his moving team.

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Original transcript

Lisette: Great!  We’re live.  Welcome, everybody!  My name is Lisette and I’m interviewing people and companies doing great things remotely.  And I’m very excited today.  We have something a little bit different than usual.  I have Dave Blum on the line.  And Dave, you are Dr. Clue, the president of Dr. Clue Treasure Hunts.

Dave: That’s right.

Lisette: So welcome!  And normally, you are based out of San Francisco or the Bay Area but today you are joining from Puerto Rico.

Dave: Yes.

Lisette: So let’s start with what your virtual office looks like.  And then we can talk a little bit about why you’re in Puerto Rico.

Dave: Well my office, I work out of a home office at where I am most of the time.  And it’s just your basic office.  The main thing about my home office is that I have my MacBook Air which I’m working right now which has its own built-in camera.  And I have right now a—try and hold—see this is the little tiny portable microphone.  I know a lot of people use the Yeti which is a bigger microphone.  I also have a pair of headphones as well.  Yeah, there it is.  That’s the one.  I always need that because I’m doing so much of my work indoors a home office.  I have about ten people work for me and they’re scattered around the country.  I don’t see them very often in person.  There’s only one of my employees who works in the San Francisco Bay Area. The other ones are in North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and so on.  So it’s important to have video capability.  It’s important to have the ability to teleconference and so on.  And then of course the rest of the time when I’m not at my home office, I’m really am virtual.  And so my home office consists of this, my Macbook Air, my microphone, my little a planner, and that’s pretty much it, and my cell phone and that is what I do.  That’s my home office.  Sometimes I set it up in my hotel room, sometimes I’ll set it up in the bar down in the hotel, sometimes if I feel like it, I’ll set it up down by the pool here in San Juan.

Lisette: Nice.  And so you’re in Puerto Rico to do a treasure hunt.

Dave: I am.

Lisette: A team building game.  Tell us about what you do and what these treasure hunts are.

Dave: Well a good twenty years ago when I started this company, 1995, I had this idea that I’d like to start a business that combines my interests, and I had three interests.  So I figured out, right.  One of them was I like working with teams and I like working with groups.  I’ve done a lot of group work.  Secondly, I really like travel.  And third, I really like writing games and puzzles, and just working with puzzles and writing.  So I sort of combined these three interests after I’d seen a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt I went on once, a public one, and said, “I can do that” but I really like to use it to get at team dynamics, have people do something really fun and experiential but then draw out from it and debrief it on how people do teamwork and how people increase their rapport and familiarity, the camaraderie, and so on.  What are the dynamics?  So I started doing these experiential games and in the form of treasure hunts which was an odd thing to end up doing but it ended up being something I started out just for fun and said “I’ll do it for friends and social groups” but then it sort of took off and people said, “Hey, we want to do something outside San Francisco.  We want to do something in Washington DC.”  I think that was one of the first, and Baltimore.  And then someone said, “We want to do something in Geneva, Switzerland,” and somebody said, “We want to do something in Paris.”  And then somebody said, “We want to do something in New York.”  And so I started doing it and doing it and before I knew it, this was my living.  And basically what it consists of is creating these living board games in some of the world’s greatest neighborhoods and museums, inviting clients to come out on kind of a fieldtrip to that area where I have something already set up, and then we play this game.  They’re in small groups, they solve clues that lead to specific mystery locations, and they have to work together as a team leveraging the skills and knowledge of the team.  They have to execute a plan.  And while they’re doing this, they’re interacting with the whole city, interacting with a place which they may not even see.  If you’re flying into Puerto Rico for example, you may never get to Old San Juan.  You’re just in the hotel, but we give them an opportunity to get out of the hotel, accomplish a little bit of sightseeing, and also do a whole lot of great teamwork within the backdrop of an amazing place.  And that’s what we’re doing today.  Actually, I have one coming in about 4, 5 hours time.  We’re going to go out to Old San Juan and solve clues and explore the area, and then debrief the heck out of it.

Lisette: Sounds awesome!  It sounds really awesome.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: It sounds in a way like what I call in this work holiday.  I go somewhere and I stay for weeks or a month, and I work from there but I also explore, really get to live in the place so you could see the place that you’re in.  So I want to ask a really big question.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: And I know that this question has a number of answers but what is the basic ingredient for collaborative teamwork?

Dave: A small question.

Lisette: I know, I know.  But I’m really curious.  When these people are getting together, there must be something consistent amongst the puzzles and the games.  There must be sort of common insight, I’m guessing.

Dave: Yeah.  Well of course, the question is also are we talking about collaborative teamwork that is colocated or are we talking about collaborative teamwork which is remote because they’re slightly different, right?

Lisette: Right.

Dave: Now, yeah.  I mean fortunately, when I do my programs, most of them are in one place in real time, people come in together for a meeting.  I do also do some virtual team building and you just have to work extra hard on the communication part of it.  If it’s video, it’s great because you get to see faces.  If it’s a teleclass, you have to do things like making sure that everybody says “This is Jim” and then you talk or “This is Mary,” and so on so that you can keep the voices straight.  For all the programs, I mean it all comes down to building trust, really.  And you can build trust by a lot of different ways.  Just by being together, showing caring for other people is huge.  This is true however you’re doing your teamwork.  Caring is very important.  If people feel like you have their back, you know something about their personal life and you’re respecting that, if someone sees you suffering or working hard or struggling, they’re there to give you a pat on the back and a lift, all of that builds trust, and that is key to teamwork whether it’s virtual or colocated.  And that’s true for leadership as well.  You show true caring for other people, you have their back, and they remember that.

Lisette: I love it.  And actually, I have never had that response before in terms of when I’ve asked how to build trust on your team.  Virtual or not, nobody’s ever said showing caring before.

Dave: Like all of them?

Lisette: I think awesome.

Dave: Yeah.  I mean people sometimes they get into the mechanical part of it.  We need to be more efficient, more productive, have a higher performance, we need to execute our tasks and our strategies and our tactics.  But I think that it comes down to trust and caring more than anything really.

Lisette: Right.  Right.  And the feeling like you said, somebody’s got your back.

Dave: Yeah.  And also you need to be trustworthy meaning you have to do what you say you’re going to do.  If you take on an obligation or a task and you don’t complete it, you’re going to lose trust every time.  But if you actually complete it, so those are really huge.  Now I can give you a couple others if you’re interested.

Lisette: Yeah, please.  It’s a solid gold.

Dave: Yeah.  It’s really important to be transparent in your emotions, not transparent in the sense that you are just courteous, when some people say, “I’m just being real.”  No.  I think you need to be courteous but I do think that you need to be transparent and not keep all of your cards to your vest because nobody can really tell what you’re feeling.  So if you were a manager or a leader and you didn’t share your feelings with people, they would say, “Oh, I can’t read him.  He’s like Spock.”

Lisette: Yeah.

Dave: But if you actually are really saying, “Hey, here’s how I’m feeling,” people will trust you a lot more, right?

Lisette: Okay.

Dave: Similar to that is a sense of being vulnerable as well.  You’re showing your feelings and it could backfire but you’re going to show feelings.  And can’t lie, you need to be absolutely truthful.  And I think the final piece is providing feedback, very important.  Again, if you have a leader or a manager who never did monthly reviews or quarterly reviews, or never gave you feedback on how you’re doing, it’s always guesswork.  “I don’t know if I’m doing well.  He never said anything to me.”

Lisette: Right.

Dave: Most managers feel like “Hey, I’m not micromanaging. That’s great.  I’m giving you full freedom.”  And yet, we need some structure and we need feedback.

Lisette: Right.

Dave: And that builds trust.  So you put all those together.  And we do all those in our program to build trust.  I think all of those are important along with having face time.  It’s very difficult to build true trust without time in person because we human beings are wired that way of course.

Lisette: Right, yeah.  I’ve really tried to argue over and over like “No, it’s not absolutely necessary” and it’s true.  It’s not absolutely necessary but in almost every single interview, somebody says really, if you can get together face to face, you’re going to just save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: So yeah, it can’t be ignored.  You’re right, getting together.

Dave: The thing is you can’t pat someone on the back virtually.  I do think that video, the new ability to have video so simply and so easily has gone a long time.  And I think teleconference is the old medium.  I thought they were kind of terrible.  I mean it’s just the standard voice.  Yeah, you can get some work done but just the fact that we’re having some eye contact and right now that you feel like you’re in the room with me, at least we’re getting the gestures and the facial expressions which is really important.

Lisette: Agreed, agreed.  I think it takes it to a whole different level.  I mean you get a sense back.  You set sight which is hugely important.  I mean it’s always different when you see them physically.  There’s more.  You get everything but it’s better than the old spider phones that you have to lean over like “Hey Bob!  It’s Lisette.  Can you hear me?”

Dave: Yeah.  I still do teleconferences occasionally but I don’t like them very much.  And there’s no need to.  It’s so easy now.

Lisette: Right.  That’s the benefit.  So now you said that you have about ten people that are scattered all over the US.

Dave: I do.

Lisette: US or the world?

Dave: At the moment, just in the US.

Lisette: Okay.  And why are those people scattered?  Why not have people just in the Bay Area?  Why did you set up your company remotely?

Dave: Well, I have a business where primarily we’re meeting people not onsite but we’re meeting people offsite near wherever their meeting is.  We’re basically, you can say we’re coming to them, they’re coming to us.  But the point is that we’re having real time meetings with them.  We’re meeting them in Old Town Philadelphia, we’re meeting them in Las Vegas, wherever.  So I want to be able to save the clients some travel expenses more than anything.  If I can have someone close to all the major hubs where we do our work, then they’ll save a lot of travel expense because sometimes, clients just don’t want to pay it, right?  They don’t want to take on extra expense of flight and a speaker or facilitator.

Lisette: Okay.

Dave: So if someone says, “Hey, we’ve got a program in Philadelphia,” it’s nice to be able to say, “Great!  We have someone in Philadelphia.”  If someone says, “We want to do a program in Washington DC,” we can say, “Great!  We got someone there.”  And if we don’t have someone there, we’ve got someone in Philadelphia that can come down by train.   We do a lot of programs in surprisingly, North Carolina because there’s a biotech triangle there.

Lisette: Right.

Dave: And so there’s a lot of work there.  So mostly at the moment, I’m trying to have the West Coast and the East Coast covered.  When programs happen in the middle of the US, Denver or something, then client needs to bring one of us out from the East Coast or the West Coast, but primarily I just want to have people near where we’re doing most of our programs which is either in California or on the Eastern Seaboard.

Lisette: Yeah, I can see it.  It makes sense because the travel is not just about the cost of the travel, it’s the time that it takes.  It’s the preparing and the decompressing and you’re there for who knows how many days.  It’s expensive.  Time is expensive.

Dave: It is indeed.  As my business grows, I fully intend to keep on hiring and hopefully actually opening up offices in each of these locations as well.  Right now, we’re all having our own independent virtual home offices.  But it would be nice to have little hubs as well.  That would be the next stage.

Lisette: And how do you guys communicate with each other now and how often do you need to communicate with each other?

Dave: Well, we’re small enough that a lot of it is just individual conversations.  We have Skype calls basically.

Lisette: Okay.

Dave: Yeah.  We also have about once a quarter, we actually do a teleconference.  So up until now, we’ve done teleconferences.  And what I’d like to do actually is to start the shift to having video conferences because I think at this point, just about everybody has access  to a webcam so we can start doing that.  So that would be a great new step for my company.

Lisette: Okay.  And what’s hard about the way that you guys work?  Is there anything?

Dave: Well I think the hardest card is that we don’t all get together in physical space very often.  I go out,  I do the most travel of anyone, I’ll go out and I‘ll do programs in the places where my facilitators are in the whole team teach and so I get the chance to meet all people quite often one of one.  But all of us getting together, they haven’t built a lot of familiarity yet from having a lot of real time.  Again, that would be something further in the future.

Lisette: Right.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: And what about things that you guys do really well?  What’s something that your team does really well working remotely?

Dave: Well we have kind of a Facebook group where we can swap ideas which is really helpful.  I love that.

Lisette: Why Facebook?

Dave: It’s the easiest to use.  Again, there’s such an overload of possibilities.  Sometimes, you just go with the one that you’ve heard about that other people are using.  And that’s the one that I know about.  And it’s easy to set up a Facebook group especially if you have a corporate Facebook page already which we do.

Lisette: Right.  And everybody pretty much is on Facebook, my whole family included.

Dave: Exactly.

Lisette: For better, for worse.

Dave: For better, for worse.  So having a place where people even when you’re not having a meeting, they can continue to share ideas and share activities, and share facilitation techniques, share their latest and favorite ice breakers, all that is great.  And so we do that.

Lisette: Oh I’m very curious.  Do you have a favorite icebreaker?

Dave: Well I do.  It’s not that fancy but I do it all the time.  And my favorite icebreaker is the story of your name.  What that means is that all you need to do is each person will share what they know about how they got their name.  What do you know about how you received your first name?  If you have a middle name, what do you know about that?  What do you know about your last name?  Does it have a meaning?  If you’re in one, particularly in the Far East and in India, very often your name means something, right?

Lisette: Right.

Dave: It’s actually a direct translation.  Do you have a nickname?  Did your name change at Ellis Island, if you’re in the US?  Very often it did.  And so you have each person share their names.  So for example my name is David Ross Blum.  David is a biblical name, King David.  Ross comes from my fraternal grandmother, actually great-grandmother whose name was Rose.  My last name is Blum which means to bloom in German.  However, as I always tell people, my name should have been Victor.  They’re like “Why?”

Lisette: Yeah, exactly.

Dave: Well the reason is that my mother’s mother, my grandma, she said that she would take a very nice baby present on behalf of my mom if she named me after my cousin’s diseased father whose name was Victor.  So if I was named Victor to honor this gentleman, we would receive a very nice baby present.  My mom and my grandma took the present and named me David anyway.  True story.  And I always imagine that if they ever came over to visit, we would have to hide everything that said “David.”  We would have to put up “Happy birthday, Victor!”  So when you tell this story, it doesn’t feel “Oh touch feely, oh my goodness, we’re going to be singing Kumbayah.”  It seems very straightforward and yet you end up telling a lot about yourself, a lot about your parents, a lot about your relatives, all these various things.  A lot of times, people will admit something like “I don’t really like telling this that in fact, I was named after a beauty queen” or “I was named after a candy bar,” whatever it is something crazy.

Lisette: Right.

Dave: It ends up being a great exercise.  And of course, it helps me to get to know their names because we’ve connected the story to their name.

Lisette: Brilliant.

Dave: I use that one almost every program.  And if each person just tells one minute and you do it in a team, it takes five minutes, and it breaks down the barriers in a very quick amount of time.

Lisette: I love it.  I love that.  That’s a great one actually.  I’m going to add to the icebreakers list in the future.

Dave: I love icebreakers.  In fact I have a newsletter that I send out every two weeks.  It’s called the Friday Icebreaker Newsletter where we feature a different icebreaker every two weeks.  Gosh, I’ve probably been doing it for over ten years, we have a lot of icebreakers in there.

Lisette: That’s a lot of icebreakers, yeah!

Dave: Yeah.  I poach them off of the web.  And eventually, I’m going to put them altogether, get permission from everyone, put together an ebook, or a regular book.  It’s going to be a great resource.

Lisette: Oh yeah, for sure.  You’ve got to do that.  It’s a great idea.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: My virtual icebreakers blogpost was one of my most popular which I thought was weird because there’s only about eight different ideas in there and I pilfered them off from the internet of course.  They were just my favorite ones.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: But it got a lot of attention.

Dave: Yeah.  Most of them are actually not even proprietary.  People put their own spin on them but truths and the lies, pretty common so yeah.

Lisette: Right.  In terms of getting people getting to know each other personally, because this is something that comes up with virtual teams a lot is the team building aspect of getting to know each other and creating that sense of team when we work together virtually.  And one component of that that keeps coming up that I’m really struggling with because it’s not my expertise, but that’s culture on teams.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: Not only your experiences with doing these team building games with culture, and I know that’s a big broad question, but I’ll just ask your take on it.

Dave: Companies have been very intentional about it, haven’t they?  Like I think Google for example, they’ve really cultivated a sense of fun in their culture, right?  There’s a company called Menlow, something or another, the CEO wrote a book called Joy Inc, and they have a culture of joy.  And they’re very, very intentional about it.  They do a lot of things like they do programming, all the work is done in pairs.  So they make sure that people are always working together in a pair and then they change the pairs really often.  So they’re really trying to have people to do work together and create redundancies.  There are companies, if you’re doing adventurous sports that are based on adrenaline, you’re going to go out and you’re going to do adrenaline sports together.  Every company has figured out and the really innovative and effective ones have figured out what their culture is and then they declare it with a manifesto or a mission statement, right?

Lisette: Totally.

Dave: I find the organizations that are really exciting and having interesting culture is when they’re actually changing the status quo in a huge way and they’ve got everyone on the same page that “We are creating a revolution.”  And so the leaders are basically saying, “I’m the head revolutionary.  We are changing the status quo.  Come along with me.  And it will be the status quo within our organization but it’s also going to be the status quo of in the world” right?  Obviously, I think Google is great for that and there are a lot of organizations.  But I think that creates a culture that’s exciting because what people really crave is meaning, right?  I’m sure we crave status, recognition, perks, and so on but you look at the political campaigns and people work long hours for next to nothing because they feel like they’re doing something meaningful that’s going to change the world.  And so I think those are all really important for creating a culture.

Lisette: Okay.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: And when you’re doing your teamwork, your puzzles, how does that play out culture?  I don’t know if it does.

Dave: Well, I think that there are different pieces of it and we try and walk people through it from the beginning.  For example, when we do an icebreaker like the one I demonstrated, story of your name, it’s about creating well this sense of familiarity and a sense of camaraderie just by doing this offsite together.  Familiarity, camaraderie, identity is very important.  We actually have people before they go out on the game, they create what I call a team commitment sheet.  It’s a contract that they sign together.

Lisette: Awesome.

Dave: I think the mistake of a lot of team building companies do is say they think that team building equals recreation or team building is just a distraction.  I think there’s an opportunity to really address culture and community.  And so we actually have that commitment sheet where people figure out what their roles are, they figure out what their ground rules are, they come up with their identity which means a team name, sometimes people even do a team cheer.  They come up with what is their team purpose which I think is very important, right?  What is your team purpose?  One of the questions I often ask people is “What is a win today?” Even whether you win or lose, what is a success today?  And that really speaks to what’s your team purpose.  And we have them do this because we want them to build identity, familiarity, camaraderie, all of these things before they even go out.  And then as they go out there, they’re going to also have opportunities as I said before to demonstrate care, caring, because let’s face it, people want to succeed and when you’re solving a puzzle, if it’s frustrating and you’re confused, you’re mentally struggling, right?

Lisette: Right.

Dave: And so if you’re working on something and you’ve promised that you’re going to solve this clue and you want to uphold to be trustworthy, and you can’t solve it, it’s great if other people see you struggling and say, “Hey, let me give you a hand with that” or “Hey, let’s switch puzzles.”  Fantastic.  And then of course when people are actually physically out on a treasure hunt and walking around, there are people at different levels of fitness and different people who are struggling with hills and so on, and you have an opportunity to say, “Hey everybody, we need to slow down because Jim had a foot surgery recently.”  I once had a group where we did it in the rain and they had somebody in a wheelchair.  And they put a tarp over that person and an umbrella and they walked with that person on this rainy day.  And the person said afterwards, “I don’t even care about that activity.  My team cared enough about me to take care of me, and cover me and protect me, and to push me all throughout the activity.  I will never forget that.”  That’s what she said.

Lisette: Awesome.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: And also, I mean the power of what you’re providing people is you’re giving people an experience together which is so powerful for team building.  It’s not like a thing. It’s really a thing that they’ve done together which I can only imagine is really awesome.  And I love the idea of this team commitment statement, I must say, because in my workshop, the first thing I teach people is to create a team agreement together.

Dave: Right.

Lisette: Like to set the ground rules for how you’re going to work together.  Do you need core hours?  How are you going to communicate with each other?  And I haven’t met a single company that has ever put a team agreement in place so far in any of the workshops I’ve been to.  For me, it was like the first step what I was building.  I was like “First, we do this team agreement” but nobody ever does it. So I can imagine that this also plays out really powerfully.

Dave: Now the interesting thing is in our programs, we always have at least one clue that you cannot solve unless you partner up with another team.

Lisette: Oh, interesting.

Dave: Yeah.  You get the material and you say, “We just can’t figure this out.  It doesn’t seem like we have enough information.  Dr. Clue, what do we do about this?” and slowly it dawns on them, “Hey, I got an idea.  I think we have to work together with one of the other teams.”  And of course, someone says, “No, no, no.  They’re the enemy.  We can’t work with the other team.  This is a competition.”  And so again, a light bulb goes off.  “I got it!  I think that we would have an advantage if we partner with another team on this clue and share resources and share information.”  And if there are ten teams, and those two teams figure this out, they have a competitive advantage by partnering.  And I think it plants the idea that even when it seems like a competition and a competitive environment, and we’re talking about departments and divisions, there’s always opportunity for collaboration and cooperation.  And very often, that innovation will propel your forward.  So I think when you’re talking about teamwork, it’s not just individual teams executing a task, it’s also about your ability to cross pollinate and do interdepartmental collaboration.  And I don’t think that that should be neglected when you’re doing a team building, if nothing else, it’s going to create a really rich discussion about this was a competition but it wasn’t a competition.  And then you start saying, “What are the advantages of this?  What would be the advantages of all the teams working together?”  That was an option.  Why didn’t you consider that?  And so all of a sudden, you’re having a full exploration in simulation in microcosm of how organizations work.  Sometimes they work together competitively for incentive and sometimes they come together and work together collaboratively.  And that discussion needs to be had.  Almost every time I do this, the group says afterwards, “The thing I really took away is I would partner with other teams earlier.”

Lisette: Wow!

Dave: Yeah.  Almost always, that’s what they say.  That’s their big takeaway and it’s like “Fantastic.  You learned something today.”

Lisette: Yeah, it’s huge.  I think that’s huge because the world feels very competitive and I think it’s becoming more and more transparent slowly but there’s a lot of fear in organizations.

Dave: [Inaudible—28:36]

Lisette: Right.  A lot.  And I’m starting to see it also more and more.  I mean a lot of the organizations that I go into, they’re not allowed to use the tools, they’re not allowed to use the apps because there’s so much security in place like they’re not allowed to talk to people.  You can’t even talk to your colleagues really.  And I realize like, wow, this is a huge problem actually for teams who are wanting to collaborate together.

Dave: Yeah.  And I mean there has to be mechanisms for it.  And there’s a lot of ways you can do it.  I think it’s a great idea to have people from different departments sit in on your meetings and you do the same.  I think it’s great to swap someone to another team for a while.  It’s like if you were doing international diplomacy, you say, “We’re going to send an ambassador to that country.”  I think there are a lot of ways you can do it structurally.  And then I think by experimenting on it on programs like my own, it plants the idea that this was an option.  And then you do a program where you get to know people, you get to see them in action, you get to feel what they’re feeling and get to know their name and put a face to the name, you’re going to be more likely to be on the phone and call somebody.  And you’re not going to do that if you never have any type of interaction with them.

Lisette: Right.  Right.  Wow, totally awesome.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: So we’re nearing the top but I have a couple more questions I want to ask you and one is, because I read on your website that you’ve traveled a lot.

Dave: Yes.

Lisette: And when I was in Vietnam, you’ve even got to Vietnam and gave me some tips on where to go in Vietnam which is great.

Dave: Yeah, sure.

Lisette: So I want to ask you in terms because you’re also working while you’re on the road a lot.

Dave: Yes.

Lisette: And so do you travel tips for people who are also working on the road a lot like tips for how to avoid burnout and exhaustion, and being efficient and productive?  I know it’s a little bit out of the blue.

Dave: Well I do think that there’s a lot of talk about engagement and employee engagement, right?  Everybody’s sort of saying it has to come from the top from an organization.  But I think that employee engagement also needs to come from you.  It’s like you’re a vessel and you have to take care of your own engagement. In other words, taking care of your own health, your own energy, all these things especially if you’re a solopreneur who does a lot of travel, you have to bring your best game.  And that means doing what you came to overcome jetlag, to overcome all these things, bring your best most energetic game every day because you don’t have somebody from the top mandating it down and saying, “We have a five-step wellness program at this company.”  So I do think that you need to take care of it.  And on the road, that means being very disciplined.  I think that I advocate some form of grounding particularly meditation.  A lot of people like yoga which is something you can do on the road.  I personally meditate 30 minutes every morning.  It’s the first thing I do and it makes a huge difference.  If you can, you should try and work in some exercise.  Again, it’s going to up your energy, enhance your engagement.  And there are lots of websites about things you can do in your room to get some exercise.  I happen to like going to gyms and doing treadmill or something like that, taking a long walk.  Of course you got to eat right.  And I’m actually a little bit of a health nut that I have a whole plant based diet that I eat particularly on the road which can be challenging because here I am in Puerto Rico, and there’s not a lot of vegetarian food but I do find that we could talk a lot about the virtues of this diet or that diet but I think that the whole thing is what kind of diet helps you sleep the best because sleep is the key thing when you’re on the road, and what kind of diet has the least inflammation.  And there are some diets that are extremely inflammatory, and you can do lots of research.  I found for me, the more vegetables I eat, the less inflammation I have.  So if you wake up and you don’t have sore knees or sore back or sore neck because you’re not eating that kind of diet, it’s going to help your performance.

Lisette: Yeah, I love that.  In fact on Tim Ferris’s podcast which I’m sort of a slavish fan girl for, but he interviews entrepreneurs of all different sorts and they all recommend meditation.  And I was really surprised because these are all venture capitalists.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: And exercise fanatics.  People I wouldn’t have expected.  But he also swears by meditation and having that big grounding force.

Dave: And there are different pieces of meditation as well.  Of course there’s a piece of focusing on whatever it is that you’re focused on but it also, I find, it’s helpful to take a few minutes to go through your mind what you’re grateful for every day, so a period of gratefulness and gratitude is very helpful.  I like to do a little bit of envisioning like “This is my day today.  Today, I wake up and I eat a great breakfast, I meditate.”  You actually are envisioning as if it’s already happened.  I got up and I did this, and then I did this, and throughout the day, I was connected everyone I met.  I saw opportunity wherever I went, I celebrated my successes.  And you sort of envision I had abundant energy.  If you say to yourself in the morning “I had abundant energy all day long to do everything I needed to do and there was no stopping me,” you end up feeling pretty good and pretty empowered.  So you do this sort of gratitude envisioning and it really, really helps.

Lisette: Yeah, I can imagine it’s very powerful.  So many people talk about this.  I mean there’s the morning pages and all these different things that people have used for gratitude practices.

Dave: Yeah.

Lisette: So I love this information.  It’s true.  I just hear a lot that people get worn out on the road and the productivity goes down, and working with virtual teams, these things matter because some people are not just working from one place but really traveling a lot.  So it seems on the far off but I just wanted to get into it.

Dave: Yeah.  I really think that when you’re on the road, even more so than at home, you need to watch what you eat.  You can’t just have cheeseburgers and cheesecake every single day and expect to be at your best, right?  I don’t believe it.  You have to work in the fruits and vegetables whatever it is.  And I think that as much fun as it is to go out and party and do late night, I think if you’re trying to work, you should go to bed at nine honestly.  And if you have a good night’s sleep, it will set up the whole next day, things like that.  You have to be a little bit disciplined even though you’re out in Puerto Rico, there are opportunities to party everywhere.  I’m here to celebrate but I’m here to work.

Lisette: Right.  It’s the combination of work and pleasure which the work life fusion I think which is sort of the paradise of remote working as sort of the be all and end all of what people are trying to do.

Dave: Yeah.  Last that I’ll say on the topic is if you are coming from position of “I’m here to give and to be of service to my client, to all my clients,” if I’m here to be of service, how can I create my vehicle, myself so that I can be the most 100% highly functioning shining service to others?  And then that’s what you’re here for.

Lisette: Right.

Dave: Service to others, yeah.

Lisette: And as a solopreneur, that is super important.  That’s what you want to show, your very best.  I mean you want people to hire you because that’s where your genius is.

Dave: That’s your reputation.  That’s how you get known and that’s how you stand out.

Lisette: Indeed.

Dave: That’s what keeps you going as well of course.

Lisette: Right.  Very inspiring.  I love that.  Right.  Reputation is of course huge in the freelancer, solopreneur world.

Dave: Indeed.

Lisette: So last question which is “If people want to get in touch with you and they want to learn more about your treasure hunts and what you do, what’s the best way to get in contact with you or to learn more?”

Dave: Well, we have a website of course.  My website is, and that’s just, www of course.  And you can go there.  We also have a Facebook page.  And you can of course email me.  Phone number’s on the website.  So that’s the best way to reach us and you can learn about our treasure hunt programs in 140 different locations.  We also have corporate social responsibility and charity programs.  And one of the things that I’ll be doing as we move forward is I’m going to be doing webinars and online classes as well so it’d be an opportunity to learn more about teamwork and community in a virtual fashion.

Lisette: Awesome!  And your website is very informative so I highly encourage people to go there because there are videos and great descriptions and it’s very energetic reading it.  I must say the language you’ve used is really great.

Dave: Thank you.

Lisette: Well thank you so much for your time today.  I really appreciate it.

Dave: Thank you, Lisette.

Lisette: I think it’s been some amazing information.  I took lots of notes.

Dave: My pleasure.  It’s a great thing what you’re doing.  Thank you for the time and opportunity.

Lisette: Alright.  Well thanks, everybody!  I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  Until next time, be powerful!

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