YOP007: Marc Angelo – Sustainable Living & Super Heroes

Bio:

Having founded the Valhalla Movement – Marc Angelo is a character dedicated to having an impact. Defining success in unconventional measures he has earned a living by applying the skills of entrepreneurship and marketing for a cause. With a new upstart called Superhero Academy – an online interactive training for everyday superheroes and social entrepreneurs one thing is clear – his thirst for the pursuit of new ideas and ways to growing the sustainability movement into a mainstream lifestyle is unquenchable.

Show Notes: Coming Shortly!

Transcript:

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Zephan: Hey, everyone. Zephan Blaxberg here from the Year of Purpose podcast, and today I have Marc Angelo. Having founded the Valhalla movement, Marc is a character dedicated to having an impact. Defining successes in unconventional measures, he has earned a living applying the skills of entrepreneurship and marketing for a cause. With a new upstart called Superhero Academy, an online interactive training for everyday Superheroes and social entrepreneurs, one thing is clear. His thirst for the pursuit of new ideas and ways to growing in the sustainability movement into a mainstream lifestyle is unquenchable. Marc, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to be here with us. How you been?

Marc: Thank you so much for that awesome intro. I mean, it always sounds weird when people are talking about me in that way, I always feel like…”Wow, I do do cool stuff in the world, I guess.”

Zephan: Yeah, right? It’s like, you know, you’re a videographer too, so you kind of get this a lot too. We’re always just making art and creating stuff, and to us, we’re like “Yeah, this is pretty cool” but when our friends see it, they’re like “Oh my god that’s amazing!!” Like, I don’t know if you get that a lot, but I definitely get it from time to time. I’m just like “Eh, it wasn’t that hard.”

Marc: Yeah, no, for sure. I definitely feel like when you’re the artist, when you’re the creator, you’re always kind of—you only see the flaws, and then the people who are the people receiving the message, only hear—generally only receive all the positivity of it. And only when I ask them for really good feedback do I get it, but…hearing—it’s just weird. It’s just a weird feeling to kind of always be in this position where no matter what you’re creating, no matter what you’re doing you always know that there’s more that you can give to it, that you could have done a better job. And it’s just endless. It’s just insane how we beat ourselves up sometimes on that kind of stuff.

Zephan: Yeah, but I think it ties really well into, you know, just being an entrepreneur and having started some pretty awesome things. And speaking of awesome things, you know, the Valhalla movement and tell me, A, what it is, and then, B, let’s kind of move into where you were in life and what you were doing kind of like right before that started.

Marc: Absolutely. Yeah, okay, so for me, what it is is a movement to make sustainability mainstream. And I say that in a way that I mean we’re also gonna make it cool and sexy, right. Because at the end of the day, I feel like this is—sustainability movement. When you think sustainability, you think solar panels, gardening, tree huggers, and hippies. And I’m like “wow, that’s awful.” Because, at the end of the day, this should be something that’s a part of all of our lives. We should all be considering sustainability in everything that we do. And even for ourselves, even to empower ourselves.

So I would say the second thing that the Valhalla movement is all about is something called freedom culture. And that’s to empower and encourage all individuals to spread their unique gifts to the world. So whether you’re a videographer, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you are a school teacher, or a swim instructor…whatever it is that you are super passionate about. Then we want you to have the freedom to express that to the world as much as you possibly can. And I think the easiest way to do that—or the best way to do that—is to be as free as possible. If you have more freedom, you have more financial freedom, you have kind of freedom to do whatever you’re most passionate about, then that’s exactly what’s going to empower you to be able to kind of live that life of purpose. Live that life of your dreams. And…the best way to empower yourself is sustainability. I mean, if you want to eat the healthiest food, grow it yourself. If you want to have a mortgage-less home, build a sustainable home of some kind. You want to no pay as many bills? Put some solar panels on your roof. Or wind turbines or whatever.

It’s not just about those things, it’s about the movement, the freedom, and also the cultural shift that we need to have as a collective and as a society towards what sustainability means and how we should share ourselves within that culture, not just the tree huggers and hippies kind of thing.

Zephan: Right, so sustainability, it’s kind of a big deal to you and I. I’m a huge fan of it as well. How does this come up in your life? Where were you and at what point in life did you decide we gotta start being a little bit nicer to the place that we’re living in, and a little bit more careful about the things that we build, the things that we eat, and what’s going on around us?

Marc: Yeah, I mean, I credit all of this to two kind of things. Number one, my unquenchable thirst for learning. I am constantly, constantly obsessed—literally obsessed—with learning. I will watch every piece of vice news that goes out there. I will watch almost any major documentary that ever gets released. And that’s exactly where all of this learning for me really started. You know, at school, I was studying at the time, finance and accounting…

Zephan: Fun stuff…

Marc: Yeah, I hated! And I was just like “Man, this is so brutal and boring!” and so I started shifting into marketing and entrepreneurship, and at the same time, I just felt I wasn’t learning anything. And went to McGill University which is like the Harvard of Canada—that’s what they like to say anyway. And I didn’t feel that way. I was like “If this is the Harvard of Canada, we are failing. We are just not learning anything.” And so, I took education into my own hands in terms of….number one, I bought a business when I was eighteen. It was an indoor skate park and I ran that for three years, and turned a failing business into a nice blooming business. It had half a million dollars in sales, which at eighteen years old was incredible for me.

Zephan: Yeah, you don’t even know what to do with that.

Marc: I didn’t even know—yeah, in sales. I say sales and revenues, it’s not money in my pocket. But at the end of the day, it’s like wow, we had twenty thousand dollars overhead and stuff. But really, where I started learning was I actually started watching documentaries. And I had this one year where I basically challenged myself to watch a documentary a week for a year. And needless to say, that was a pretty depressing year. Because when you learn about ALL the problems in the world, whether it be you’re watching Forks Over Knives on where the food comes from, or you’re watching…I recently watched something called Blue Mission, which was all about the oceans and how by 2050 we might have no fish in the ocean or something like that. Just crazy, crazy amounts of information. You start to learn that maybe the world has bigger problems than what you’ve been told. Or maybe there is kind of this higher purpose for our planet that we need to start considering.

And—and I started to see the fallacies of the system and of education and all that kind of stuff, and all the holes and the gaps that weren’t really being addressed and covered. And so I was kind of concerned. And the number one documentary that really opened my eyes was Zeitgeist Addendum, which was the second in the Zeitgeist series, where you learn about where money comes from. Now I don’t know if you’re listening and you’ve already seen this, but if you’ve already seen it, you’re gonna hear it again. Money comes from a system of debt, that there is more debt than there is money. And I was like “….wait a second, why is that right? Why is that true?”

Zephan: Cause that makes no sense at all.

Marc: Zero! Zero sense. I was like “Wait a second, we have more debt…” So for every dollar of money that the US government has ever printed or made digitally, we owe back all that money and more to the Federal Reserve, for example. Right, if I’m gonna use the US example. And the Federal Reserve is not an elected official board, it’s a private corporation run by—or appointed with different bankers from all the major banks in the world. And I’m like “Wait a second…” so we’re playing this giant game of musical chairs, and we’re playing a game of scarcity. We have, what I believe to be, an abundant world, and yet we’re playing in a system of scarcity. We’re playing where there’s always gonna be somebody that’s gonna be left out, there’s always somebody that’s gonna go bankrupt, there’s always gonna be the person that’s poor.

And it just created this massive segregation that I just could not understand for the life of me. And…there is no understanding it. That’s the whole point. It doesn’t make sense, it’s not supposed to make sense. In fact, it’s kind of used as a way of kind of enslaving people. And it’s almost better than slavery, because at least with slavery, they paid for your housing and food to some degree. But now we have to pay for it all ourselves and—look, don’t get me wrong. The monetary system and—our system and humanity as a whole has achieved a whole lot of stuff, but one of the things we shouldn’t be proud of, in my opinion, is how we deal with our finances.

So what—anyway, I don’t want to go too deep into that. When I learned that, it changed everything for me. I’m like how could I possibly want to just make a lot of money and constantly play this game, when I realize that every time I play the game, what I’m really doing is taking away from somebody else. Because we are in a game of musical chairs. And I’m like “How can I change that? How can I create something out of nothing in the same way that these corporations or banks are creating something out of nothing?” And in my first business, I had this huge problem where I also—I had gotten this loan to kind of upgrade the business, and then they revoked the loan because of the financial crisis. So I was living the consequences of this banking system as well, and all this kind of printing of money and throwing it out there and giving loans to everybody and anybody, and when it was might turn, nothing. They revoked it. It’s—

Zephan: And it’s your turn to try and change the world. It’s not even like…you know, you’re just going and buying a house cause you want to. You’re trying to do something good with it.

Marc: No, I was trying—yeah, at the time, I was trying to build a lounge, which was meant to have the types of conversations. I was gonna have documentary screenings, and I was just—I wanted to build a place where people can congregate and find community. And…long story short, they revoked the loan, and I was like “Wow! This is…this is really serious. I need to do something about this.” So I’m like “How can I make something where no bank can tell me what I can and can’t do? No bank can control how much I create?” And to me the answer was found in the words sustainability. It’s like, if I build an off the grid type home, or an off the grid community center, and if I made this lounge and I built it myself…but in an off the grid type fashion, where we could make things from nothing—so aka plant food in the ground or plant seeds and all of a sudden food comes out—whether we start a non-profit, and maybe give out tax receipts for people who donate time or money or whatever it is to the project…I’m like, this is effectively the reverse engineering of the better world that kind of has been degraded by the world of economics in a weird way. And only because of the scarcity principle.

So, for me, it was kind of like—Valhalla for me start as almost a stick-it-to-the-man kind of movement. But it’s immature, definitely. I mean, I’m not against money in any way, shape, or form. I think we need a medium of exchange. But I just think fractional or reserve banking—some of the problems that go with that are a little bit scary. But I do believe that really, the world, the real currency is authenticity. The real currency is found in community and relationships and connections and speaking to people like you, you know, who…we can exchange. We can have real conversations, we can flow together without having to involve anything other than our own time and energy. And this is something, again, that I feel we are creating out of nothing. And I started using this principle to say “How can we do this bigger and badder and more awesome?” and, uhm…so there came the Valhalla movement.

And the Valhalla movement, you know, is this movement both online and offline—and I’ll explain the offline portion in a second but—to change that culture. To create that shift where we start caring about sustainability. Where we start caring about our world in a deeper way. And not just talking about it online and making pretty videos and good content, which is think is half the game and half the battle, but also doing it in person. You know there was so many documentaries—and one thing I learned from documentaries is that every one of them focused on the problem, but very few did anything to talk about what the solutions. They pointed out the solution to some degree, and some of them never did, but some of them definitely did. But they didn’t live it. And I was like “Well, I’m gonna live it. If I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna try.”

Zephan: Right, like “Here’s the way that we could solve it, but we’re just gonna leave that there and if somebody decides to run with it… We don’t have to but…if someone runs with it, cool.”

Marc: Yeah, and they have done their job. They’ve done the job of the marketing side of it, doing the video, and putting that out. And I think they had done their part, but now it’s kind of up to other people and carry it on. But too many of us are watching the documentary, shutting down the TV or computer screen and then doing nothing. And that drives me insane. I cannot deal with doing nothing. I am obsessed with action. Like I’m obsessed with learning, but I’m obsessed with action. So we took action. We bought a sixty acre piece of land just outside of Montreal, like twenty minutes away from the downtown core of Montreal, which is a sizeable city in Canada. And bordering suburbia. And it’s just GMO corn and soy field, awful soil, just awful, awful, awful when we first got there and we’re transforming it into a permaculture and sustainability learning center.

Zephan: Wow.

Marc: Yeah.

Zephan: That’s really neat. So let me ask you this, because—you know, obviously we have done a lot of damage to the world as a whole up until this point. There’s certain species of animals that are totally extinct, pretty much never coming back. With this concept of sustainability, do you think that we can kind of reverse engineer and pull the world back to a much more sustainable state, so-to-speak? I mean, obviously, not just with animals and wildlife, but with the monetary system and we as humans have more diseases, diabetes, cancer, you name it…do you think that we really can as a people make this difference and turn things back around? Because some stuff they’re saying, you know, like with weather, global warming, whether you believe in it or not, right, but it’s—some of them are basically saying we’re screwed no matter what.

Marc: Yeah, I don’t subscribe to that. I don’t—I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid on that one. I do believe that we—just as much as we fucked shit up, I do believe that we can kind of repair all of this. And we can kind of find a way to adapt. I mean, yes, some things are irreparable, right—like losing species or cutting down a tree that was standing for thousands of years, or whatever it is—we can’t grow back that exact same tree, but we can plant a new one. There is ways that we can find a better balance on our planet to do this kind of stuff and, to be honest, it boils down, to me, four ingredients.

So we need sustainable ideas, first and foremost. We need the best ideas and technologies and minds to jump onto this stuff. We need to think about how we’re gonna feed nine billion people by 2050. We need to think about how we’re going to build more sustainable housing for the growing population. We need to think about how we can make our economy more local and empower more people.

And the second thing we need to consider is also community. So if we’re gonna do this—I said the word “we”—we need to come together as a community and play an active role within that community. We have to play our part as individuals, which is the most important thing you can do for sustainability more than sharing, commenting, liking, and what you should do one this video and podcast, but the…the truth is community is where we find hope. Because when we find people who think like us, that’s when we feel more invigorated and hopeful for being able to create that change. And so, Valhalla isn’t just my project, it’s really a community of people who are coming together. This is not about me anymore, and it never was really. It was always about how can we bring people together? And that’s what community is and that’s what I define it as.

Zephan: Well I was gonna say, it’s gotta become a lifestyle. It’s kind of like, you know, people who diet and lose weight. You have to eat healthy the rest of your life. It’s not just like this one year we’re gonna do this and then we’re done.

Marc: Absolutely, absolutely. And here’s how I feel: when I is replaced with we, even illness becomes wellness.

The third piece to that is knowledge. So once we have sustainable ideas that are existing and the geniuses of the world are coming up with, and we have community—a community of people that are coming together to create this kind of change, what they now need is to transfer that knowledge between the geniuses and the community. And so knowledge, and transferring, and education is the way that we start to embody of this change. So before I knew all the problems of the world, having watching all these documentaries, I didn’t care as much about these kinds of things—not because I didn’t care, but because I didn’t know. So I’ve always been a caring person, but if I don’t know about something, how can I care about it—you know what I mean?

So knowledge is the key, key, key ingredient in creating that change. Because people have to know about global warming before we can start decided to tackle it. People have to know about the problem of overfishing, or the acidifications of the ocean. Or the deforestation due to, you know, planting more and more fields for grazing and for animal feed—there’s so many different problems that I don’t even want to dive into all of them. But the point is that they have to know about them. We have to create a medium where not only people knew about them through online channels, where our attention span is low, but also in person. We have to create physical spaces where people can come and play and try and experiment and that’s the fourth ingredient, which is action.

It’s one thing to know, it’s one thing to have the community, and it’s one thing to have the sustainable ideas, which I believe the internet has combined all three of those, right. They’ve formed communities, it allows us to spread the knowledge very quickly and easily, and we’ve learned about the sustainable ideas, but very few people are tackling the action portion of it and playing a role within it. And action, to me, doesn’t mean everyone has to go out there and plant a tree. I do encourage it—but to me, action means that you play a part. So what you do and what you’re passionate about, what you care about, whatever the problem or issue is, do something about it. And one of the things I do about it is I run a podcast too. I talk about it. I invite people to be a part of the solution and to spread that positivity. And so that’s—those are the key four ingredients I think Valhalla’s pulling together. And I’m seeing more and more people pull together now.

Zephan: So a lot of this, really, can take small steps. You don’t have to just jump out there tomorrow and say “I’m gonna change the entire world.” There are little things we can start doing—

Marc: Absolutely.

Zephan: And, you know, through—I’m sure some of the people that are listening or watching right now are going to check out some of those documentaries. How can I make sure that they don’t all go and get depressed cause they just watched like fifty different issues that are wrong with the world and they just go “Oh my god, we’re so screwed!” How can they at least start to take a little step, there’s things like podcasts and they can start listening to, but how can they take action and just get moving—get the ball rolling a little bit?

Marc: Absolutely, so once you’re starting to educate yourself, once you’re starting to learn about these sustainable ideas, all this stuff, the next thing comes paralysis. Decision paralysis. The illusion of choice, basically, that having so many problems in front of us, we have this hard time picking any one of them. And we have the illusion that choice is a good thing, but sometimes it’s actually a paralyzing thing. And I think the first and best thing you can do is do anything on the smallest of scale. The smallest of scale. Like “Oh, that lightbulb…yeah I can change it and make it way more energy efficient” and that will probably be good for our planet. Or “Yeah, I’ve been waiting for a while to, like, pull the trigger on getting solar panels on my roof…I’m gonna do that.” Or “Yeah, you know what I’ve really wanted an apple tree in my back yard. I’m definitely gonna plant that.”

By the way, for anybody planting one apple tree, understand that there needs to be another apple tree around for it to pollinate. So always plant two.

Zephan: Interesting.

Marc: Yeah, just so people know. Cause you always need—plants need to cross pollinate. So you need to plant—either you neighbor has to have or someone within a radius has to have a similar tree or—and then they’ll cross pollinate, and if they’re different trees they’ll kind of create slightly different apples or whatever. Or plant two apple trees. So I always say plant two.

But planting a tree, starting compost, going and educating—joining groups and volunteering with groups that are taking action already. Like, you don’t have to start everything yourself. I decided to start because I didn’t know where these groups were and I was kind of fed up and I understood that I had a unique ability of being an entrepreneur and understanding what it would take to start something like this. So I took that on personally, but I don’t think that everyone should, could, and needs to. We actually need to join. It’s more important for us to be followers of different movements and different people than it is to be leaders of them. And I definitely subscribe to that.

But start with the smallest thing, and then build a series of actions you could take that slowly but surely are going to improve your own life, and also consider the earth and the planet as part of that.

Zephan: Mhm. If you had to go and rank—and I know this is more opinion than anything, than fact—let’s just say the top three issues with our planet or our world right now that would be most important for us to tackle, you know, to get us a step towards where we could ideally be in 2050. What are the top three things you think people could at least be looking into, be starting to research, and be paying attention to?

Marc: Absolutely, so I mean—the…the obvious answer to this is global warming. But the—we have to look at what causes global warming to address global warming. Because global warming is one of those…it’s just like a blanket statement. It’s like saying “pollution.” “Oh, okay, thanks.” What am I gonna do about pollution? Well, okay, global warming is happening because of couple of different key things. And a number one contributor to global warming, though, is deforestation. Because that’s the worst thing you could possibly do is cut down a tree. Why? Because a tree is actually absorbing the CO2 and putting it into the ground and actually using that to grow itself into a bigger and bigger tree and/or forest.

And the number one thing we are doing to kill our planet right now is deforestation. We’re deforesting for coffee, to be able to grow more coffee grounds. We’re deforesting for animal feed to eat more and more cow meat, or whatever it is. We’re deforesting to build more homes or build more cities in the forest. And dense, really amazing forests like the Amazon jungle, when we’re deforesting there, it’s way kinda worse than deforesting in a small suburban neighborhood kind of thing. So deforestation is definitely one of the biggest problems out there and the easiest way to combat that is to care more about the trees, eat less meat, and just consume less period. Just try and find a way to just—do you really need to eat to the point where you’re full and passing out? Or can you eat ten percent less? Just ten percent less. Can you turn the thermostat ten percent down? Can we just…bring ourselves down just a little bit?

And when we do this stuff, we actually kind of see major shifts in the problem. So I always use this example of traffic. I hate traffic. Traffic’s like my biggest pet peeve ever. Like sitting in traffic is the worst thing I could possibly ever do with my time. I hate it. But I watched this TED talk and what it was saying was that if we were able to reduce the cars by twenty percent on the road, we would have zero traffic. So I believe that if we’re able to reduce our consumption by even twenty percent, then we will also see some of the same problems start to fix themselves, because some of the businesses that are just thriving on the economics of growing and selling more and more and more will start to kind of debase themselves and more and more of what I called the “For sector” businesses, aka for benefit companies, or for purpose enterprises are going to start thriving. And this is already happening. There’s a group called Game Changers 500, which his like almost making the Forbes 500 list of the most responsible and kind of game changing companies of the world. And you can go check that out at gamechangers.com, I believe.

But…being a part of that, consuming less, is the second thing people can do. So number one, caring about the forest, plant trees, start to go—find a way to eat more sustainably in your home town. If you can do that, if you can buy local, if you can start growing your own food and join a farmer’s market, a CSA style basket, whatever it is. These are actually—that is the number one way you can reduce your carbon footprint. Number one. number two is kind of educate yourself on the companies that are creating change and buy from them more so than buying from the other people. And then try and just consume a little bit less. I’m not saying stop consumption, it’s not gonna happen, but consume less and consume a little bit more responsibly.

And I think the third problem that really is now hitting me home is everything and anything to do with water. So I was just in California, they’re having this massive drought that’s going on and it’s pretty phenomenally—I mean, it’s just bad. It’s really, really, really, really, really scary. And so being able to…possibly consider catch rainwater. Reusing rainwater. Being able to reduce the amount of water that you use—and that’s not just like turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth. That is important, but to be honest we use a lot of energy and water for a lot of many different things. Like agriculture. So again, buying more local food is important, but find ways to catch, store, reuse rainwater. Start thinking about your own water usage and how you can improve it. And I can’t believe that we—in American today, we flush our toilets with clean water. I mean, it should be a crime. It really should be. Two percent of the world’s water is fresh water.

Zephan: Yeah, and that stuff is drinkable, technically, in our toilets. It’s the same water that goes through our sinks.

Marc: It’s more drinkable than most people have access to. And I say this because, by 2050, the UN has studies that by 2050, fifty percent of the world will be in dire water conditions. And that includes anybody—people who are listening to this right now. If you live in California, period, you’re gonna have problems with water. So you need to start thinking about it. So this is not just third world, this is not—you know you’re not part of the three billion people on the planet living less than three dollars a day. That’s one problem—and a huge problem—but I’m talking about right here at home. The person who has the luxury of listening to this on their iPhone or whatever, that is a huge, huge, huge problem. And overfishing is another element within the water and all that kind of stuff. But water itself really, really scares me. And there’s solutions—grey water, black water systems…there’s aquaponics and all kinds of stuff, we can grow our own fish at home…there’s so much out there, and I’m not even claiming to be an expert on it, but personally I’m trying and I’m researching. And that’s what Val is doing and what the whole piece of sixty acre land is dedicated to people who want to come and join in and research and help out and find a way to build this knowledge up and take action with it.

Zephan: That’s awesome. So it really starts with tiny steps. There’s actually a really great place here in Baltimore that does—I think it’s…I forget what it’s called, it might be called Grow Baltimore or something, I know this isn’t a national thing, but I wish it was. But this guy basically goes to the Sunday farmer markets and he takes whatever’s left over after they have sold their share from ten to three or whenever they’re open. He has another person as like nine a.m. handing out lottery tickets at a different location. He then takes in refrigerated trucks all of this produce that he’s picked up after the farmer’s market—cause it’s just gonna go to waste anyway, they don’t have anything to do with it—he brings it to the separate location, people show up with their lottery tickets. And in order, you can get an IKEA sized bag—I mean this is a huge bag, almost the size of my body—and whatever you can fit into that bag is yours for five bucks.

Marc: Wow! That’s amazing.

Zephan: Seventy-five pounds of produce I walked away with one day, for five bucks. And it’s not even about the money, it’s that this is leftover food that was gonna sit there and rot and get thrown out or whatever, and he just fed another two hundred people, whether that means the lower income people in the city that can only afford five bucks just now are able to feed a family of eight for the next two weeks, or it’s anyone who just wants to do something better both for the community and for the food that’s going to waste. So I totally agree with the idea of sustainability and I think that it takes little steps like that and being a part of those things.

Now, we talked a little bit about sustainability, but you’re also doing something else really cool called Superhero Academy, so tell me a little about what that is.

Marc: Yeah, okay. So Superhero Academy is, uhm—so basically out of that four ingredient recipe, I decided that I was gonna tackle all of them in a major away. And so the first one, sustainability is through Valhalla. The second one, community is also through Valhalla. In kind of creating this online community, I believe we’re doing that. The third one is education. And the fourth one is action. So I’m like “How can I do more for education and action? How can I inspire more people to learn the exact steps that they need to take to educate themselves on these types of topics or on social entrepreneurialism as a whole?” How can we fulfil our own individual fantasies of being the superhero or heroine of our own lives?

And when I was a kid, my dream was to be like Batman. Or James Bond, or whatever. And I don’t understand why we every abandoned that. I believe the world needs more superheroes and I believe that social entrepreneurs are those superheroes. People who are will to take massive amounts of risks to fight the villains of our world today. That’s what superheroes do in all the comic books and movies or whatever it is? So how can I help and empower more everyday superheroes? And that’s what Superhero Academy is all about. It’s literally a tiered training program—it’s almost the same way you would go through the belts in karate. We’re building, for the moment, a five tier training system for social entrepreneurs at every stages of the game to empower you to do that kind of stuff.

So I’m coaching people one on one. I’m obviously running the Superhero Academy podcast. We’re putting out a whole bunch of free content on superheroacademy.net. A challenge that helps people get clear on their missions and find their higher purpose. An eight step process that I filmed and put out online for free. And then the tiers kind of go up. So the next thing is something called Committing to you Mission…Eight simple steps to living—or Eight Essential Steps to Empowering Yourself as a Social Entrepreneur. So that’s the class that I’m gonna be launching soon. And the idea is that I’m gonna film more and more of these, and hire more and more people. So I’ve already hired like four or five of my friends and people who work with us at Valhalla to just jump onboard, but I can see this growing pretty immensely. And this is something that’s pretty fresh off the boat recently. But it’s definitely coming together, there’s more and more of this playing out and I’ve been working with entrepreneurs one on one and it’s just been—it’s been amazing. I’ve learned so much too.

Zephan: That’s really amazing. So it’s still kind of new. It’s not something that that really bloomed or blossomed yet, so it’s really exciting, I can imagine, and there’s a lot to happen in the near future with that. I can’t help but ask, because obviously you have a pretty serious mission on this earth, right. The whole point in our podcast is really to talk about living a life of purpose, which obviously sustainability can be a huge aspect of that for a lot of people. How do just you alone define purpose? What does it mean to you and how are you most fulfilled?

Marc: So I believe that purpose is found, not within ourselves, but within others, and others we surround ourselves with. And I think my purpose, or my individual purpose, is to empower others, actually. My individual purpose is to encourage all other—empower and encourage all individuals to spread their unique gifts with the world. It’s not for nothing that “Freedom Culture” is the mission statement of Valhalla. It’s something that resonates, I think, with every individual in the world. Because we all…can be selfish in some ways and we live within our own ego and within our own bodies, so obviously we will be to some degree.

To be honest though, we always are doing it for somebody else. And if everyone is doing it for somebody else, that’s this common purpose that we all have. We all are doing it for our kids, our families, our future families. We’re doing it for the world at large, we’re doing for—whatever it is, it’s always to affect other people. And it’s always in service to the world. And so I feel like to me, whatever purpose means, an interchange world to me for purpose is service. How can I service people better? How can I empower them to feel the exact same things and live their dreams? In the same way that I am now doing do.

And…it’s not to say that I’ve figured it all out. It’s not to say that I know all the answers. It’s not to say that we’re the ones that are doing anything awesome. Not at all. I think there are so many smarter, better organizations and people out there, but we’re trying our best. And because of that, I also think we’re amongst those people. And we’re getting more and more amongst those people. I’m finding more and more success in everything that I do personally because of that. To be rich, we have to enrich. So if you want to make a lot of money—even if your goal is to make millions upon millions right now, that’s great. To be rich, you have to enrich. What are you going to do for others to enrich other people’s lives, both financially or in any other way that you might measure that wealth so that they will also return that favor to you? And that, to me, is the power of creating something out of nothing. That, to me, is the exact same power and the same way that the banks have the opportunity to print money. It’s the exact same thing. We all have that opportunity and that’s why I actually feel more hopeful and feel better about this whole scenario now.

Zephan: So for those people listening, and some of them might know exactly what they need to do at this point. Others might have no idea, which is totally where—I’ve been there, we’ve all been there. What do you have, advice wise, for anyone who might feel stuck? Because I know for me, it was that I was asking the wrong questions instead of just going and saying “What is my purpose?” I had to start saying “What can I really do for other people?” I was really asking the wrong questions, so what advice do you have for anyone who’s stuck?

Marc: Absolutely—I mean look, it’s simple and I have a lot of advice for people, but I always say the number one thing people can do is start doing something. Don’t get stuck in the paradox of choice. Do not get paralyzed by the opportunity cost of all the other things you could be doing. Do something because you will have the chance to do a whole lot of stuff. And so, I designed an eight step process—a hundred percent free, I’m not trying to sell anything on anybody. It’s an eight step process, superheroacademy.net/challenge. And if you go to that, there’s literally an eight step video process where you fill out a questionnaire and you’ll get answers at the end and it basically forces you to ask yourself the tough questions. So if you can’t ask them yourself, go there and answer them for yourself. \

And through there, you’re gonna make what I call an impossible list—it’s like a list of things you want to achieve and do. There’s so much there. It literally took me five years to do something like this. But when I did it, I made a five year plan and I accomplished and smashed every single goal on that plan because I had written it down. You are forty-two percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Forty-two percent more likely. Okay, that’s huge, but most people, even if I gave you a pen and paper right now, would not be able to write it down.

Even the people who are leaders of major corporations, when I ask them the question “So why do you do what you do?” man, I have been amaze at how stumped some people get. They have no idea. And then they kind of start to figure it out and as that question—I kind of start to see the lightbulbs going off and the synapses kind of firing in their brain where they’re starting to kind of piece this together. And I’ve ask that question to people and changed their entire career. In one question. It’s only because they just realized they were living outside of an alignment that they wanted themselves to live it. It’s not about sustainability, it’s not about making money. It’s not about any of those things. It’s about doing what you truly want to do and living that higher purpose is the most fulfilling thing you could ever do. I’m sure you are experiencing this, but everyone at home can experience it too. You do have to ask yourself the right questions though, and you definitely should write it down. So I offer you guys to go and check out the challenge.

Zephan: Yeah, so definitely, everyone go ahead and check out the challenge. What we’ll do is we’ll put the website link on our website. So for everyone listening and watching—because we put this out on YouTube, we put this out on iTunes, and it goes to a couple other places—if you go to www.yearofpurpose.com, head on over to the blog, we actually post every podcast in there with a transcription and we take some show notes and put some links up. So all the little things that we talked about today, there will be links on that website for you guys to check out.

Marc, it’s been awesome having you today. What are just some ways people can kind of keep track of you, get in touch with you, and keep track of Valhalla and Superhero Academy?

Marc: If you write to us at Super Academy or Valhalla, info@valhallamovement.com or whatever, Facebook and all that stuff, I answer every single email I get. It’s overwhelming, it’s insane, but I do take the time to try and find a space in my schedule, even if—sometimes it takes me two weeks, but I will answer every single question that you guys send my way. So if you want to connect with me on Facebook, or through our websites, you find a way. If you really want to find me, you’ll definitely find a way to get my attention.

Zephan: Good deal. Well, hey, Marc, thanks for taking some time out of your day. I’m super excited to see what you guys have coming up next, both with Valhalla and with Superhero Academy, and I hope you have an awesome rest of your week, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Marc: Sounds good, man. Thank you! And guys—don’t forget to subscribe, go and help him out. This is amazing. He’s doing such a good job with all of this and the number one thing you guys can do is click that subscribe button, rate this podcast, because I know how powerful that can be for you.

Zephan: Thanks so much, man. We’ll catch you soon.

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