‘Tappening’ into your life’s purpose with Eric Yaverbaum
April 7, 2009
Sometimes life takes you on a circuitous path. As a new author and PR professional, I meandered the aisles at Book Expo America in Chicago a few years ago, landing somewhere near the Wiley & Sons booth. The cheerful For Dummies® collection stared at me from the faux mahogany shelves, encouraging me to ask the publisher bold questions. I even pitched her a For Dummies® idea on book promotion. She smiled, then pressed a copy of Eric Yaverbaum’s Public Relations Kit for Dummies in my hand.
Several years wiser, I found myself chatting with Eric via Skype about mindful living, plastic water bottles, and working from home.
Around the same time I was snooping the aisles of BEA trying to get a handle on my new existence, Eric was undergoing a transformation himself. His then fourteen year old daughter encouraged him to ditch his SUV, exchange energy-gobbling light bulbs for more efficient ones around the house, and start drinking tap water. Little did he know, a new business idea was born.
Tappening.com, a Web site dedicated to educating the public about the potential hazards of drinking from disposable plastic water bottles, is yet another brilliant business idea that Eric, and his adman friend Mark DiMassimo, had (alongside his PR agency, Ericho Communications, Eric runs a college Web site called CollegeClickTV.com). Leaning on the public conscience, Eric and Mark developed an idea to do some good in the world. They went about developing a reusable (safe) plastic water bottle. Cameron Diaz was spotted carrying one. The rest is history.
That their business idea made an unexpected $6 million not only surprised Eric and Mark. It also had a humbling effect.
You can make money while making a difference.
“I don’t mind making money,” Eric admitted to me as he showed me his best-selling book, Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOs. After all, as a spokesman for leadership, Eric definitely walks his talk. In fact, in 2008 while working from his home office three days a week and commuting once into New York City and once to Tampa, Eric had his most financially successful year ever. Caring for his chronically ill wife and watching his two children grow, Eric says, are more fulfilling than running a rat race to the finish. With his new life design, he is able to accomplish more with less.
Operating several offices doesn’t sound like a slow lifestyle at all. But consider this. He used to commute into the city from his Westchester home every day, entering what he considers ‘the cattle call’ every morning while commuting 2.5 hours. “I hated it,” he says.
He rightly suggests that “slow is a state of mind”. While pace has something to do with it, I would argue slow has more to do with your relationships – with time, with your family, and with your surroundings.
Are you treating the Earth well or do you stamp your Wookiee-size carbon footprint on its surface every day?
Do you ever see your kids before they go to bed or does your commute eat up all of your free time?
Are you burned out or turned on by your life?
“If you’re not really passionate about what you do, stop doing it. Don’t just punch a clock,” Eric advises.
The Power of Slow is not about punching anything. It’s about getting a kick out of your life and the days that shape it. Serial entrepreneur Eric Yaverbaum has turned his life into a passion project.
You can, too.