A Conversation with: Nick McLaughlin, Founder of Stationary Astronaut

Nick McLaughlin is an espresso shot in human form, from the minute he wakes up at 4:30am to when he crunches the numbers and hits the pillow at 11pm.

For the fourth installment of the Reality Check series, we are following Nick around for an entire day as he works at a blistering pace to promote a huge event his company, Stationary Astronaut, is putting on in Rochester Minnesota.

Nick is bringing world-renowned motivational speaker Gary Vaynerchuk to Rochester for the first installment of an event he started called Meeting of the Minds. Nick has dedicated himself completely to this event over the past few months. It is a financial and personal risk, but on August 3, his vision is coming to fruition.

His goal is simple: stimulate and motivate the Rochester community so it becomes a better climate for entrepreneurs, more forward thinking, and capable of retaining millennials.

Take a look at a day in his life:

4:30 – Wake Up

Morning routine – Take the dog for a walk, respond to emails, listen to an informational podcast, attend meetings for professional groups

8:00 – I meet Nick to begin filming him for the day. He makes schedule changes and important calls to plan out the day.

9:00 – We review Nick’s schedule and have a discussion regarding his goals for the day.

9:15 – Nick reviews submissions from his creative teams.

9:45 – We hit the town. Nick stops by local businesses to promote the event.

10:30 – Meeting regarding the event’s catering

Watch my in depth conversation with Nick about the epidemic of depression in the entrepreneurial community, coping with financial risk and loss, and the importance of legacy:

Because Nick has to maintain such a rigorous schedule, he has developed specific habits to effectively manage his time, prioritize tasks, and maintain a healthy lifestyle so he can have the energy needed to excel.

Often, diet and sleep are the first elements to be ignored when schedules get intense for entrepreneurs. However, Nick understands his mental and physical capacity as an entrepreneur are intricately tied to these parts of his lifestyle.

“As an entrepreneur, I have learned to worship my diet.”

He eats as raw of a diet as possible, avoiding carbs during the day so he does not have any energy slumps. He also makes a point to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and take naps when his schedule permits if he has a night of minimal sleep.

With this lifestyle, Nick is able to pack more into his days, enabling him build his already expansive network. Relationships are the currency for entrepreneurs. The more connections they build, the more likely their community endeavors will be supported and their vision realized.

Nick understands that building these relationships takes time and effort, and in spite of the reality that these connections often do not materialize into anything productive immediately, he stresses the importance of consistency.

“It’s the 7 time rule. If you want to get anything out of a business, you have to stop in there 7 times. You have to consistently show your face. In the game of entrepreneurialism, you have to be willing to selflessly give your time. Your time is a currency, so look at it as you’re making an investment.”

Nick is an intensely motivated person. Therefore, it is no surprise that he has no tolerance for those who shy away from hard work: “My bane is excuses. When you don’t make excuses, excuse-makers are asinine to you.”

However, this “no excuses” policy can create the illusion that entrepreneurs are energetic and happy all of the time, when in fact, 1 in 3 entrepreneurs struggle with anxiety or depression. The lack of a steady paycheck, high stress workloads, and inseparability of working and personal life contributes to the mental and psychological struggles entrepreneurs endure.

Nick is seeking to raise awareness about this epidemic in order to fight the stigmas that inhibit so many people from being open about their mental and emotional health.

Even on the difficult days where he is working from 4:30 am to 11pm, Nick is motivated by his desire to create a lasting legacy.

“Legacy is the most important part. You can go make $1m, but if you made that while making $100m for the powers that be, what good are you? I care about legacy. I care about my name being in stone for my family some day.”

Speak to you soon.

-Nora

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