On today’s episode of the Achieve Your Goals podcast, Ryland Engelhart is here to inspire and awaken the love and gratitude already in your life!
Ryland is a co-Owner of Café Gratitude, a collection of 100% organic plant-based restaurants that aims to create a menu and environment that supports health and sustainability for all. As the Chief Inspiration Officer (CIO), Ryland is dedicated to culturing community, love, connection and empowerment in the workplace.
He is an activist, inspirational speaker, and life coach who leads workshops on sacred commerce, relationships and communication.
Ryland co-created the award winning transformational Documentary Film, “May I Be Frank” and is also the co-Founder of Kiss The Ground, a non-profit organization that is on a mission to inspire and advocate for the restoration of soil worldwide.
In this conversation, you’ll learn all about how Café Gratitude got it’s start and the guiding principles that have allowed the business to scale from 1 to 6 locations in less than 6 years.
If you want to find out what makes this company so different and how they inspire and awaken love and gratitude in the hearts and minds of every employee and customer that they touch, then you won’t want to miss this interview!
- [06:57] Ryland shares the origin story of Café Gratitude and how the creation of a board game turned into 6 transformational raw food restaurants in the past 6 years.
- [15:58] Ryland shares the family values that provided a foundation for business success.
- [18:30] Learn the 4 guiding principles to “sacred commerce.”
- [21:42] Discover the unusual and powerful process Ryland uses to create a culture of community, love, connection and empowerment among his employees… or as he calls them “Advocates.”
- [31:10] How Ryland’s team creates a one-of-a-kind customer experience.
- [37:08] How a non-profit organization, Kiss The Ground, is feeding the world and putting a stop to climate change.
- [43:00] Jon practices the “clearing process” with Ryland, including the 2 questions that can help anyone immediately feel present and grateful for their life.
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TRANSCRIPTSClick here to Read More
[00:00:32] Jon: Achieve Your Goals podcast listeners or you might be watching us on the live stream, Jon Berghoff here standing in for Hal Elrod and if you’re tuning in for the first time to this podcast and you’re wondering, “Hey! Where’s Hal?” I was hanging out with Hal last week in Austin, he’s doing great and if you’re curious why it is that I’m standing in for him, you can always go back and listen to episode 152 where Hal and I share with everyone and his community that he’s taking a little bit of a break from his podcast to heal. And when I say heal, if you’re hearing it for the first time it might be a surprise but Hal is battling cancer and I was just with him last week and I’m really happy to tell you that his spirits were amazingly high. The support that he has around him could not be better. His wife, Ursula; his Dad, Mark; his kids, Halston and Sophie and the collective community in the Austin area, in really around the country around the world is standing with Hal supporting him. At this moment as we’ve done on several other episodes, I’ll ask all of you before we get into our interview today which is one that I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while.
Take just a moment and send some positive healing energy out to Hal, to his family and also to anybody that you love and care for that you want to send some positive healing energy towards. Thank you for doing that and I’m now going to turn our attention towards our interview today with Ryland Engelhart. I’m here live. We’re streaming in the Facebook community. If you’re watching this on your phone and you just had a minute or two, whatever you have on your calendar next, reschedule it. You don’t have to do that but you’re going to love this conversation. If you’re an entrepreneur, you are going to love this conversation. If you care about achieving your goals in a way that also makes the world a better place, it makes your family, your customers and everybody around you better off because of you achieving your goals, you have got to stay tuned for this conversation. I’m here with Ryland Engelhart, co-owner and chief inspiration officer at Café Gratitude. Ryland, thanks for being here today buddy. I’m really pumped to chat with you.
[00:02:48] Ryland: Thank you, Jon. Really it’s an honour to be here with you and thank you for that beautiful opening. And thank you for bringing our awareness to sending Hal some loving, healing energy and all others in our lives, really glad to be here. I just want to say, when I hang out with you in San Diego and you did your mastermind down there you know there’s been few points in my life where I’ve met people and I go, “That person, I really like that person. I admire that person. I want that person in my life.” I want you know that I… In my mind said that about you when I met you in San Diego. The succession of a couple years but I really admire and appreciate you and who you’ll be and how you show up in the world so thank you.
[00:03:35] Jon: Ryland, thank you. I appreciate that. That’s an honor coming from you. I think it’s fitting that my introduction to you and Café Gratitude actually came through Hal in fact I’ll share this story. I didn’t think of this until literally right now in the present. Hal for years told me about this Café Gratitude and he’s like, “You don’t understand. It’s not like anything else. It’s not just a restaurant. It’s not just a vegan restaurant. It’s this total experience where when you order your food, it’s an affirmation and everyone in this community knows how much how values add and collectively we appreciate affirmations.” So he had been telling me for years about Café Gratitude so I feel like in some ways Hal connected us in spirit long before in person. My first experience of Café Gratitude Ryland was December of 2014 and we had a mastermind group called our Quantum Leap Mastermind.
I don’t know if you remember this but our Mastermind we had a dinner together and we had that dinner at the San Diego Café Gratitude and it was like the first night it was open. Essentially opened it for us. They’re about 25 of us that came in and it was an incredible experience. So that was my introduction to Café Gratitude was opening of the San Diego restaurant. Anyone who is listening, you live anywhere in the west coast and at some point in this conversation we’ll make sure we tell you where the different locations are. Of course, you could find them on your own. You’ve got to go check out Café Gratitude. Bring your friends or like we do, bring hundreds of your friends every time we come to the area. Ryland, that was my introduction and I’ll never forget where I was seated at the restaurant. I had an amazing dining experience. Everyone that worked there, you could tell their job was to create a transformational experience. I remember looking on the wall and I think I saw three words and I think the words were love, serve and remember.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw those words because I asked one of your team members, “What are those mean?” and they shared with me what it meant to that person and how their job at Café Gratitude was not just to earn a wage or a paycheck but it was to bring love and to bring service to everybody that they touched. And to express gratitude for life and for our food and for each other through every single human interaction and this server is explaining this to me and I’m thinking we could’ve had them standing on stage at this event we just run because they just taught me how every single person should be approaching why they go to work every day whether you’re an entrepreneur or you work for an enterprise. So that was my introduction to Café Gratitude and it was awesome. I don’t know if I ever shared that with you.
[00:06:19] Ryland: No. That’s really beautiful. I’m inspired by that and I’m curious who the staff member was. It’s an inspiring response and I loved it that they take it upon themselves to create their own personal mission and relationship to those words.
[00:06:37] Jon: I’m just going to say, I don’t know if it was Kiera. Is it Kiera? Who’s there now? Is that her name?
[00:06:43] Ryland: Yep, Kiera. She start off as a busser/runner then a bartender. Now, she’s one of our managers.
[00:06:48] Jon: I remember meeting her like her first week on the job and then just a couple months ago seeing her there now as the manager was awesome. Here’s what I loved to do, can you share with our audience here a little bit about the story of Café Gratitude and for everyone who’s listening you know there’s so much value and joy that I find adhering this Café Gratitude story. I’d like to invite everyone just to be inspired by these stories. You think about your own goals whether it’s an entrepreneur or personally. It’s an amazing story. So, share with us in whatever way you would like the story of Café Gratitude and how it became to be.
[00:07:28] Ryland: Beautiful. I’d loved to. So, Café Gratitude was born out of the hearts and minds of my father and stepmother, Matthew and Terces Engelhart and they got married in 2002 or 2003 and they had both lived very dynamic lives, many different careers, both been spiritual seekers, entrepreneurs. They actually met at Landmark Education. My Dad was actually planning to be a Landmark Forum Leader. He got really inspired and then my Mom had gotten a divorce because he really was checked out of his relationship with her and he wasn’t spending enough time honoring the relationship and so he was like, “Well, I’m not going to start a career where it’s going to be three weeks a month. I’m going to be away from my wife who you you just met and married Terces so they said, “Alright, let’s actually spend an entire year listening to our intuition, our inner voice, our inner God, our inner connection to the universe and ask what is the instructions of our life.”
And it just sold us pretty successful clothing business called, “Flax” F-L-A-X which my Mom was the fashion designer for and he run the business that they did for 10 years prior. And so he had a little cushion to sit on and what emerged over that year of sitting and listening was gratitude. Gratitude. Give gratitude away. Share how can your life be a conduit, a offering. How can gratitude infiltrate into our culture as a remembered practice of humanity and that the simplicity of the idea that your life is a picture of your mind and where your attention is in this present moment creates your experience. And while that’s obvious at some level, it’s also completely elusive and we completely forget all day long and so what then became the idea was let’s create a game, a transformational board game that would give people the tools to remember how to be grateful and how to shift their attention from scarcity to abundance.
In every moment there’s an opportunity to shift our attention from something’s wrong, something’s missing, I’m not enough, I’m going to fail to what blessing is right here right now. What can I be so thankful for that already exist in my life. They spent a year actually creating a board game like Monopoly or Life but would have people sit with friends and family and understand and practice shifting their attention from something’s missing to what are the many blessings that are existing in any moment and they actually did it. They hire an artist named, Frank Ricky who lived in D.C. It was in the time of faxing. They would fax images or ideas for images and he created this beautiful illustrated game. So they created this actual game called The Abounding River and at that same time we have a farm in Maui in Kipahulu, Maui and they had a friend neighbour in Maui who is really into raw food, raw plant based vegan food and he said, “You got to try raw food” and as a family we had always been pretty health conscious and into vegetarian cuisine but raw food is almost kind of like an extremist thing.
But they tried to put 30 days, they felt so good that they thought, “Okay. We’re going to start having potlucks at our house and we’ll play the game with people and we’ll do these raw potlucks. It became a total thing in their community and their friends were like, “Alright, when are you guys going to really take this to market? When are you going to really give this game to the world and these raw food recipes are amazing, why don’t you guys do something with this?” So they thought, “Alright, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to create a raw food transformational gaming parlor.” In San Francisco in 2003, 2004 they asked an investor if they wanted to invest in a raw food transformational gaming parlor; sounded like a really bad idea but they had a specific moment where they got committed to. They we’re gonna to approach having the game be the framework for a Café that they would invite people into a Café setting for some juice or coffee or some nourishment and then they would offer this aspect of gratitude to all their guests.
And then the next day after they had a real commitment to making this happen. They were going to yoga and they saw a little corner lot on 20th and Harrison Street and San Francisco and it was the restaurant for lease. They put an offer in and I think a month or two later they were opening a restaurant on 20th and Harrison and San Francisco. We opened March 4th and we had 14 employees. We didn’t have a dishwasher. My dad was the server. No infrastructure. No recipes. I mean the recipes were the recipes that we had created in the dinner parties and the months before that. It became a total hit. It became a cult classic favourite in San Francisco. People were coming to this raw food restaurant that had these games inset on the table and your server wasn’t just taking your order but they were actually facilitating transformational experiences. We did crazy things where we would have one of the places that you land on if you are playing the game you’re going around the board. You land on a particular square and it’s called, Laughing Out Loud.
In the restaurant, you just have tables of five or six erupt in the laughter. For one minute, you’d time yourself to laugh for one minute out loud for no other reason but to practice laughing out loud and to practice the body when it’s laughing. It doesn’t know whether you saw a funny joke or you just kicked it into action for no other reason. The body feels filled up with exhilaration, energy, oxygen, and joy ultimately comes to happen. So that was the first one in six years, we opened six restaurants in the bay area and it wasn’t because we thought that we needed to serve more meals or we were trying to make more money. Really what we were moved by and what the energy that compelled us to the action was that we were witnessing and seeing people’s lives transform. We were seeing children who hadn’t been in communication with their parents. In this environment realizing the importance of their relationship with their parents and apologizing and forgiving and creating those relationships. People who had drug addictions and degenerative behaviours seeing how those where no longer serving them and putting those down.
That was also, in relationship to Hal, we saw people who had pretty dire diagnosis around health challenges coming in and Café Gratitude being their healing centers, being their place that they could come not only for their nourishment but also for the place that they felt connected and that they were known and that they were loved and they were part of something.
So really, it’s developed we’re now 14 years and we had a chapter one of six, seven years in the bay area. In 2010, me and my brother partnered up along with our parents partnered up with another husband and wife couple and we opened the Los Angeles chapter and we’ve opened six restaurants in the last six years here on Los Angeles and we’re soon to open our seventh in Beverly Hills in May of this year.
[00:15:45] Jon: Wow. So Ryland, thank you for sharing this story and there’s a few things I just want to draw attention to for our listeners or peers if they’re watching live. First of all, I loved that what you said earlier that in every moment there’s an opportunity to shift from scarcity to abundance and this is something that we share this perspective with our good friend, Hal. This idea of it’s a choice to focus on what’s right or what’s working or where we could go or what we want to have in our lives versus what’s not working or what we don’t have. I think it’s one of the most important reminders that we could be given so thank you for that.
I also loved that your parents what began as a philosophy and then really a board game and then eventually led to this Café. I don’t know you could tell us if their early vision was to open up 12, 13, 15 restaurants wherever you’re at now. But what it sounds like and I think this is such a great reminder for all of us who believe in our own potential and we know that we can make an impact but we also might not have full certainty as to how it could look. I think this reminder of being open to following where the world wants to bring our ability to create value. It started as a philosophy then it was a board game then it was a potluck then it was a Café and now it’s all these restaurants and the openness and the flexibility to receive signals or ideas from the universe, the world whatever you want to call it of your parents. There’s so much wisdom in that as entrepreneurs we often think to ourselves, “Well, this is the business I’m in” and so let’s just make that work. But really from the beginning, as you said your parents were driven by certain values that have never changed but the expression of those have evolved and become this beautiful thing of all these restaurants. I love that.
[00:17:54] Ryland: I just want to enhance one thing which mirrors that. The first kind of mantra or affirmation that my Mom ever gave me when I was very young was, “Be open, gentle, flexible and willing.” That has definitely been something that has carried through our family lineage and it is reflected in what you do share and has absolutely been part of the success of our family and our organizations that we built over the last 13 years.
[00:18:25] Jon: That’s awesome. Ryland, I’d love to have you share with our audience a little bit about the day to day execution of what actually happens at a Café Gratitude and what I mean by that is for many of us who are listening to this, I know there’s a lot of us who are entrepreneurs, and we have to deliver a certain value to a customer. And what I love about the way that Café Gratitude operates is well you’re really clear on the value that you deliver to your customers in a traditional sense, and when I say that the folks that walk in the front door to sit down and eat. You also really treat your employees as a customer. You treat your suppliers as a customer and you aim to create transformation with everybody that your business touches and I know there’s a lot of ways you could talk about that. Feel free to pick which everyone’s jump out first, but what could you share with us about some of the day to day games that you still play at Café Gratitude that give us some great examples of how you’ve taken these values and brought them to life at your work.
[00:19:38] Ryland: Great. So first, I’ll say that sacred commerce which is the business model that we’ve built Café Gratitude in and around… There’s four principles that we really are always honing and hearing ourselves up to and that is similar to that triple bottom line that we’ve got on one step further and that’s called, P-A-S-S. To be a sacred commerce, we’ve created this acronym P-A-S-S, Profitability, Awakening, Sustainability and Social Justice. And so I’ll just go through you know we at one time I remember actually sharing this in front of your Mastermind group before Jon was that our first round of Café Gratitude, we focus much more on the awakening, the sustainability and the social justice. We made an A-S-S out of ourselves because we didn’t actually focus on really making the profitability important which I think that was a mistake and now when I look at really a whole picture view.
If I think about an organization as a human body. If we don’t have a really strong immune system and we’re not investing in the strength and the fertility of the body, a rainy day or all these commitments to serving other things will take the whole body down. And our chapter one Café Gratitude in the bay area, I would say got taken down because we are more focused on the awakening, sustainability and social justice and we didn’t really have great business infrastructure to maintain and make sure that we had a really strong profitability model and so I just want to say that’s become really important in the second chapter of Café Gratitude since we’ve come to Southern California. And then I just want to communicate about the awakening and this goes into I think more specifically addresses the question you just asked is how do we at a day to day granular level create an experience of transformation for our guests and for our advocates or employees and that’s the word we actually use.
[00:21:57] Jon: Advocates. I like that.
[00:22:00] Ryland: Because want them beyond just to be punching in, punching out at our place of employment, that they actually are empowered and engaged and inspired in who we are and what we’re doing such that they become advocates of our mission. And just to cap that off, our mission as an organization not our mission statement because we often times know that mission statement is just end up on the wall. Our mission is love and serve. That is the job of each one of our advocates, managers, people we’re working is that love is experienced and transferred as a real experience with our guests, with our vendors, with our employees, our advocates and one of the most kind of basic tenants of how we’ve created a community where this experience of love and connection and empowerment is developed is a process that we’ve created and I would just say, as my Dad would say we’ve “cockroached” many things from many different philosophies to create Sacred Commerce. It’s not a unique new philosophy it’s just borrowed pieces in bits of a borrowed philosophy from many different places.
One of the things that we see is for great service to occur, people need to be present. All people need to be present. And really that in the present moment is where all the goodies exist. That’s where love exists. That’s where gratitude exists. That’s where fulfillment exists. And if we’re not present, that’s not going to show up and so we created a process called, Clearing which we invite our staff to take on and participate in before each shift. And simply it’s the sharing of two questions and the two questions one is a self-inquiry question that often times has us address or look at aspects of our own conscious. Where we’re suffering. Where we’re doubting ourself. Where we’re afraid. Where we’re confused. Where we’re feeling insecure because we often times as human beings pretend like things are all good, all cheery all the time and we feel in an isolated silo based on holding that veneer, that presentation up for the general public. So to create community, we realize we have to create transparency so that we can actually understand and know each other and feel each other’s hearts, feel each other’s experiences so that we may have empathy, compassion, and understanding. And in turn, there becomes a bond of community. So again, I’m going a little bit in the long explanations but it’s two questions. The questions change every day. We’d come in for our employment. We’d sit before we’d start our duties of hosting or baristing or being a cashier. We’d sit for five minutes per person so it’d be a 10-minute combination and we would ask each other. So I’ll just ask you Jon, what’s your biggest distraction right now in life?
[00:25:20] Jon: Well, can I answer it? Okay, great. My biggest distraction right now, that’s an easy one for me. It would be commitments that I have made to clients and customers of ours that have put me in a position where I have to and need to tap into a capacity that I’ve never had in order to successfully deliver on all of these commitments. I’m careful not to say I’ve over committed because I believe that it will help me to tap into a capacity, to find a way to meet the commitments but it’s certainly is a distraction for me. So that would be my thought on that.
[00:26:04] Ryland: And when your attention is on, all those commitments and what is going to take for you to deliver upon fulfilling on those commitments and you’re feeling distracted. What’s the emotional experience? What’s the feeling that emerges over there with Jon?
[00:26:22] Jon: Well, it certainly a fear and an anxiety of not delivering on the best possible outcome that I believe I could deliver on. It’s a fear or an anxiety of being unprepared. I think those would be the emotions that come up for sure.
[00:26:38] Ryland: Beautiful. So just so you get a sense that I’m fully hearing you and that you feel listened to. I would then go and I will. So Jon, what I hear you saying is your biggest distraction right now in life is all the commitments that you’ve made to your clients and customers around what you can deliver and how you can serve them and the fear or the concern of the distraction is a fear that you’re not going to be able to deliver in the way that you know you could potentially deliver to them and it leaves you feeling fearful, anxious, and does that feel fully mirrored in what you shared?
[00:27:26] Jon: I do. Thank you. I do.
[00:27:29] Ryland: And can I ask you another question?
[00:27:31] Jon: Yes, please.
[00:27:32] Ryland: Yes. So the question is what do you love about your life?
[00:27:37] Jon: Hmmm. What do I love about my life? Well, I love my family. That’s one of the first things that comes up for me because they don’t care how things go at work. I say that playfully that for my kids. They don’t. They’re so present to just being that I really love being with my kids. That’s an area where I feel I love that about my life and I will also say that professionally I guess there’s an irony to this, right? I love the opportunities in front of me. I love the opportunities that had been given to our business and to me to be able to create value. So the same thing that in some ways is a distraction or creates fear is actually there’s this another side to that coin that I love. So, thanks for asking.
[00:28:34] Ryland: Beautiful. And then the completion of the Clearing is an acknowledgment and an acknowledgment of your being not necessarily what you do but the virtuous qualities of your heart. And I don’t even need to know the person I’m sitting across from to be able to acknowledge and recognize the beautiful virtues and qualities of goodness that I know exist within everyone. So for you Jon, what I would like to acknowledge you for is you have unbelievable capacity to courageously throw yourself out into the skinny branches of life and I just want to acknowledge for your courage, your willingness to continuously look at yourself and do the inner works so that you can be of greater service to others. And knowing that it’s not just some formula that you actually have to always throw yourself into the grinder and test something out before you can actually be a conduit and a delivery system for it to be of value and work for others. So I just want to acknowledge you for the courage and the willingness and the humility that you’ve had to do that so thank you.
[00:29:52] Jon: That’s awesome Ryland. That’s awesome. I appreciate that.
[00:29:56] Ryland: So now we get to work.
[00:29:57] Jon: So now we got to work?
[00:29:55] Ryland: You would do that back to me depending on the timing but that would be the process that would then you’d have an opportunity to communicate openly, honestly and vulnerably. You’d be reflected. You’d be heard. You’d be listened to and then you’d given an opportunity to shift your attention to some aspect of gratitude and then you’d be acknowledged. Then you would start your shift from that place of being filled up with gratitude and then the intention that you could then spill that cup over into all those guests of customers that would come into the doors of our restaurant and in turn that would be bring the vibration of the feeling of “wow” this is truly a place that people feel gratitude is actually being felt and expresses and shared.
[00:30:45] Jon: Yeah. I love that, Ryland. Maybe as a hook to keep people watching or listening they will commit to doing that with you right at the end. How does that sound.
[00:30:56] Ryland: I love it.
[00:30:58] Jon: That’s great. That’s awesome. So let me ask you… You just shared with us a great example of how you helped your advocates as you call your team members or employees. I love that label. You enable your advocates to get present so that they can bring their best self to your customers. I love that. I think that’s a great reminder for all of us. Could you share with us maybe another example of the kinds of games that you play to create that awesome customer experience. Whether its directly with the customer or additional things that you do with your advocates. Anything that jumps out that you love to share.
[00:31:41] Ryland: Yeah. One is just to follow up. There is an experience for a staff with the clearing. But as we know, when we have something, we learn something, what do we wanna do? We wanna give it away, right? So the question of the day becomes the give away that we are actually then inviting our customers or guests into that experience because at a very deep fundamental basic level, our commitment is to deliver gratitude as our product. So not only are we saying, “Here’s your meal”, but we are also saying, “Would you like to hear our question of the day?” and our question of the day is “what do you love about your life?.” Because again, back to the original game, the game was that the goal of life was to give people the practice of how to shift their attention from something’s missing to what exists right now in your life that could actually fill this up.
As far as games you said, over the years, we’ve done so many different things. Let’s see… We obviously were in the selling food business but we’ve also done games where how many tables can you make laugh and then document how many tables you actually brought laughter to and then if you can bring 10 tables to laughter over your shift as a server we provide you a free meal or a $25 gift card to Café Gratitude.
[00:33:13] Jon: Nice
[00:33:14] Ryland: But the other ways that we do this as far as creating a continuous context is every quarter, every four months we have an all staff meeting and the whole staff meeting is all about how do we remember a purpose and the intention of what this original organization entity started out to do. We actually say, “I know we woke you guys up to get here at 7 in the morning to sit for two hours for all employee meeting” and usually we’re gonna talk about what’s wrong, what’s missing, how people are not giving the soup’s spoon with the soup. We’re not gonna talk about that. What we’re gonna talk about is that what you’re doing is awakening love and gratitude in the general public through the context of a restaurant.
As a host the welcome at Café Gratitude, the intention of the welcome is that people experience like we had them at the welcome. We often times say that we could serve a fried sponge but based on our love and service and our joy that we actually would still have repeat customers on our fried sponge because of how much love and exuberance is coming through in the service. It’s kinda of “what do we make important”, what are we bringing the conversation back to. Before always making sales important, bottom line, cut this… Again, it’s not easy. As we know, a business has to be profitable or all the other things can’t work. The challenge and the opportunity is how do you make the steps of service important. How do you make all the processes and procedures be clear and communicated well but also always bringing people back to what is the purpose here, why did Café Gratitude first exist and why do we continue to exist and what has this continued to be inspired to do what we do and continuously bringing the conversation back to the opportunity to inspire and awaken love and gratitude in the hearts and mind of everyone who comes through our doorway.
[00:35:40] Jon: That’s awesome. I’m gonna read to everybody from page 104 just so after you go buy the book, Sacred Commerce, so you can go right through this page to see this. There’s a section in here, Ryland where it says, “the one game” I think that’s a way of pointing out that, it’s the one mission that you’re talking about and I have underlined in this from the first time I had a copy of this book. This sentence, “The grandest game is to provide such a sacred experience for our customers that they cannot help but be talking about it to everyone they meet. No matter what else happened in their day, their meal and experience at Café Gratitude lives foremost in their hearts and minds that day.”
And that’s what you just shared with us. Of course, you didn’t have to read it off the book like I did and I would love to suggest that everybody listening to this… That when you think about your mission whether it be personal or professional that you think about that sentence, the grandest game is to provide such a sacred experience for our customers that they cannot help but talking about it to everyone that they meet. I think about myself, Ryland and how many days I go to work where I fail to remember to connect my work to something that is so simple but is important as that sentence that you shared and then I got to read.
Ryland, before we finish here. I wanna make sure that you share with everybody a little bit about Kiss the Ground which is a cause and a purpose that you are passionate about and when I first heard about this when you shared it with one of our groups a few years ago, maybe that was last year. I’ve really thought this was a fascinating way that you have found to make a difference in the world. Can you share with our audience a little about Kiss the Ground?
[00:37:31] Ryland: Absolutely. Kiss the Ground is a non-profit 501c3 that we started three years ago and its dedication and mission is to have a global restoration of our soil and that sounds kind of like, “okay?” but what I discovered four years ago in New Zealand sitting in a panel discussion of a bunch of scientist talking about, can human being sustain themselves on planet Earth? I discovered that essentially human beings right now are in a completely destructive relationship to the planet and our best game plan is called, Reducing our Destruction to the Planet.
What I learned was that there’s actually a way to do agriculture, regenerative agriculture and have human beings relate to the Earth in a way where we actually can be a keystone species where our stewardship actually has the planet become more fertile, more fecund, more abundant overtime. I’ve been selling organic food in the food business through Café Gratitude for the last 13 years but when I put together that the way we treat our soil and the way that we do our agriculture could not only feed the world but actually could be the solution to drawing down enough atmosphere carbon to reverse global warming. I thought, wow, that is the most hopeful opportune inspiring idea that I could ever give my life to. I started diving deep into the science and discover it was more and more legitimate and more and more true and that there wasn’t an organization that was communicating this understanding in this idea that we could actually shift our agricultural system to not just be the most destructive system on the planet but actually could be the one that could redeem it and heal our relationship to the Earth.
So Kiss the Ground is about telling stories and creating awareness and changing policy and really about transforming our agricultural system to become a regenerative system where our intervention and our interaction with nature has nature become more abundant overtime.
[00:40:16] Jon: In my understanding last time you and I were together you were pretty passionate about a film, a documentary that was either underway or going to be underway. I’d love for you to speak to that if you can and also just so we don’t forget where can our listeners go to find out more about Kiss the Ground?
[00:40:33] Ryland: Yeah. We have a really amazing Instagram feed KissTheGround.ca as well as our website is really beautiful KissTheGround.com and our first piece of media that we produced was called, The Soil Story and that’s being used all over the world as an educational piece of media communicating the connection between soil health and global atmospheric health. The feature length film that you’re mentioning it’s about 80% complete. It’s a feature length documentary film that will be hopefully an inconvenient truth meets Food Inc, really sharing the best case scenarios around the country in the world of regenerative agriculture happening at scale that could really draw down significant amounts of atmospheric carbon well-producing amazing amounts of food for the communities in which those farms and those projects exists within.
[00:41:07] Jon: That’s awesome.
[00:41:09] Ryland: And there’s also a book coming out that will be available in December before Christmas called “Kiss the Ground” that Jon Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods is writing the foreword for and our goal is that the film will be for it to premiere at Sundance Film Festival January of 2018.
[00:41:28] Jon: Awesome. Well, whatever we can do to support you with that through this community and our collective communities please let us know and if I remember when I saw the first short educational film, I don’t know if it was narrated by but I at least saw an appearance from Jason Mraz, does he have a passion for this cause?
[00:41:46] Ryland: Yes. He is a total champion of Café Gratitude as well as an investor owner of Café Gratitude but he also is an advisor to “Kiss the Ground” our non-profit. He’s posted many times and we’ve done a couple shows together with him in relationship to agriculture and agriculture’s potential and being humanity’s greatest pathway for moving forward and…
[00:42:12] Jon: That’s awesome.
[00:42:13] Ryland: And healing our relationship with the Earth.
[00:42:16] Jon: That’s awesome. That’s really cool. I know personally I’m a big fan of his music, my kids are and a lot of folks in this community who I know are all fans of his music so it’s fun to see that there’s this cause that connects us as well. That’s awesome. Ryland, before we go here, couple questions and then we’ll may be finish… actually I’m going to blend the questions into your own clearing, how does that sound?
[00:42:39] Ryland: Okay, good. Perfect.
[00:42:40] Jon: Alright, great. So what you’ll have to do is you gotta give me like a crash course training on the clearing again. So two questions…
[00:42:48] Ryland: Yes, two questions and the first question is the one that’s having me reflect on where my unconsciousness is taking me out of the present moment often times some distractions and concerns and then the second question is a question of gratitude and your role in the first question is you just ask the question and then you repeat back to me what you heard me say.
[00:43:06] Jon: Okay. Alright. I think I could do that. So Ryland, are you ready for our clearing?
[00:43:15]: Ryland: Yes.
[00:43:16] Jon: I just added that to the process.
[00:43:17] Ryland: No, that’s actually something we do.
[00:43:19] Jon: Alright. Great.
[00:43:19] Ryland: Are you committed and ready to be here and be clear, is what we say.
[00:43:21] Jon: Alright. Are you committed and ready to be here and be clear?
[00:43:24] Ryland: I am.
[00:43:25] Jon: Wonderful. So Ryland, I would like to know is there any area in your life right now where you are feeling any sense of uncertainty or doubt?
[00:43:38] Ryland: Yes. So where I’m feeling uncertainty and doubt is I’ve been working within Café Gratitude the last 14 years and now I’m building this new organization Kiss the Ground and the uncertainty and doubt is that while I’m very good at creating inspiration, hence my title, and enthusiasm for ideas I have a concern that my ability to create structures and systems to have that enthusiasm and that passion and that wisdom to be passed on again and again. I doubt my ability to develop those systems and that architecture so that, that can continue to proliferate in other people’s lives as the intention of when you have an experience or something, I in turn want to give it away and sometimes I doubt that I’m very skilled at being able to give it away in spoonful doses so that people could actually utilize my inspiration and my gifts. And so I sometimes doubt myself and doubt my abilities to do that and that leaves me feeling concerned and doubtful and insecure.
[00:45:07] Jon: Alright. So I’m going to repeat back to you what I heard, is that right?
[00:45:11] Ryland: Yep.
[00:45:12] Jon: Great. So Ryland, what I hear is that you have an uncertainty or a doubt, an insecurity around when you look forward at the potential for Café Gratitude to continue to create more transformation in the world. You have doubt around your ability to create the structure, the systems that will enable the values and the wisdom that you and Café Gratitude have today to be passed on to others. Your uncertainty or your doubt is around whether or not you have the skill to enable others to be able to create transformation at an even larger and larger scale at the level that you believed there could be potential for Café Gratitude to make an impact.
[00:46:06] Ryland: Yes.
[00:46:08] Jon: Does that sound clear?
[00:46:08] Ryland: Yep.
[00:46:09] Jon: Great. Now I ask you one more question…
[00:46:11] Ryland: And you say that leaves me feeling doubtful, insecure and fearful.
[00:46:17] Jon: Got it. Okay so I would say that leaves you feeling doubtful, insecure, and uncertain?
[00:46:47] Jon: Okay, great. I’m gonna ask you one more question if you’re ready.
[00:46:49] Ryland: Yes.
[00:46:50] Jon: Okay, great. So Ryland, what I would love to know is, if when you look ahead into the future you can pick any timeframe that you choose one year, three, five, ten a hundred, whatever you feel compelled to think about. When you look ahead into the future and you imagine Café Gratitude having made an impact that you ultimately feel tremendous pride and joy and fulfillment when you reflect on that impact and you think about the kinds of images that you see, ways that you have successfully been able to spread the values and the culture and the wisdom so that you’re not needed anymore. You might be wanted but you’re not needed. When you see that future what are some of the types of images that come to mind? The kind of future that causes you to fully come alive.
Maybe its images of customer experiences happening in whole new places, maybe its images of your advocates being given this whole new opportunity to be a part of your culture where their lives are transformed. Maybe it’s images of the future where all of that are happening and it’s at a scale where the world has been educated about regenerative agricultures so much so that Café Gratitude has saved the world so there you go, there’s all your thought joggers. What are some of the images that you see that cause you to most fully and quickly and naturally come alive?
[00:48:28] Ryland: What I see is the experience of love expressed in everything that we do and if we feel the presence of love and we know love’s qualities of generosity, kindness, service and that’s the only thing that really has meaning and I feel the collective consciousness… I feel a collective let’s say community of business leaders who understand that and that there just is no other pathway because nothing else makes sense. We actually realize that to do something that destroys another thing is completely counterproductive and it’s just…
it’s almost like to not design business in the way that’s guided from our hearts is like just throwing garbage out of the window and just thinking that’s okay like it’s a thing of the past and I know in certain places it’s not a thing of the past but there’s just an understanding that love in action and love in service of not just ourselves but the whole sphere of what we touch with our business is the only thing to be designing before and after. And I can just feel the collective fulfillment and heart and activity that’s happening from business leaders all around the world that really get that and there’s no “Oh, we don’t have time to do that” all we have is time to do that, it’s the only thing that’s important is time to develop and design business that is in service to of and in service to the whole sphere of our impact and our interaction with individuals and the resources of the planet and that we actually are relating to as we take things and harvest from the resources of the Earth, we’re also able to improve systems simultaneously.
There’s a beautiful video called “How wolves change rivers” and it’s about how wolves introduced to the Yellowstone National Park impacted the total environment and they started off by eating some of the elk and the deer. It starts off, “Oh, they are gonna degrade it” but it’s actually their role in the system creates this optimum continuous regenerative system that gets better and better overtime. I believe that humanity and human beings that is our role on the planet and that as business leaders that is the design thinking that we get to start to develop ourselves and our organization towards and that’s what lights me up.
[00:51:35] Jon: Wow, Ryland. That’s beautifully expressed and certainly awe-inspiring for me, I’m sure for many of our listeners. Can you remind me how I close out our clearing?
[00:51:48] Ryland: You would acknowledge me for some quality of being that exists within your heart and also in my heart. It’s like the term “namaste” like the love in me sees the love in you. But if there’s any word or any description of how you wanna acknowledge the quality of my heart, your heart, one heart.
[00:52:07] Jon: Wonderful. So what I would like to acknowledge is that I can see, I can hear and I can feel in what you just shared and I would say in our conversation and in our relationship that you’re motivated by values and motivations that are sincerely and authentically about elevating the world and the future beyond our own lifetime. I can see, feel and hear that you appreciate the role of business and of entrepreneurship in solving some of the world’s most important challenges and I wanna honor you for that for both teaching it but more importantly setting the example through who you are being so thank you for that.
[00:53:00] Ryland: Thank you. This has been a total joy and I’m needing to hop off but I really love and honor you and I’m grateful that we have a friendship. I’m grateful to continue to be interfacing and learning from each other and I look forward to our next conversation.
[00:53:18] Jon: Ryland, thank you brother. Great talking to you today and will talk to you real soon. Thanks
[00:53:22] Ryland: Right. Wonderful. Thank you.
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