Aloha! My name is Katie and I am honored to chime in as a guest writer for Jeremy’s blog. While I enjoy working out, more of my interest in Lift N Brews is on the beer side. Jeremy and I have had many brews together when he was living in Hawaii which is where I still reside. You may recall that Hawaii was Jeremy’s final state on his 50 state journal and I was happy to be part of the last section of his epic adventure. I was delighted to join him to interview his final two breweries on island.
I remember his exuberance when we walked out of Aloha Brewery. He had finally completed the very last interview. He hooted and hollered saying “At last, it is done!” and there was a surge of energy that came out from him as if he had drank 5 Red Bulls. We all know Jeremy to be a happy and positive person but this was a whole different level.
I felt so proud of my friend for accomplishing something so epic and amazing. We chatted often during this journey so I knew of the highs and lows along the way. To see this chapter at its closing was truly special. I said to him, “What do we do now?” and he responded with, “Let’s go have a beer!” Classic.
It has been a year since Jeremy started his cross-country trek to interview two brewery owners and two gym owners in every state. While there has been some time since the completion of this saga, I wanted to have a chance for Jeremy to reflect on this time in his life so I asked him a few questions.
What were some of the themes that came from all of your interviews? Any patterns for success? Any notable takeaways?
There were a few, but I’ll talk in a general perspective as I’m still working on writing them up and getting the approval from owners to share in more depth. Here are three main takeaways:
- Starting can take longer and cost more than you planned for, even if you allocated extra time and funding. This was shared multiple times and they would say they had heard the advice and yet it got to them too. It is something that I have experienced with LIFT N BREWS as well. Seemingly simple tasks sometimes take far longer than I anticipated, even with extra grace periods. The key here is having patience but also being comfortable pressing the issue.
- Many brewery owners take pride in the quality of their beer. Something that resonated with me is how they could prove they have high quality. Some places use lab testing, some ask patrons, and some have tasting panels. I think if everyone says they have quality, then there need to be purposeful means of objectively testing it.
- In a similar train of thought was the topic of customer service. Owners describing the pride they take in customer service. What stuck out to was, we all know its importance, yet we don’t always experience good customer service. Perhaps a way to verify if you have good customer service is to answer the question: How did you deliberately provide good customer service today? By providing proof of good customer service you can avoid the illusion of good customer service without providing it.
There were a lot of struggles during this voyage, can you highlight a few and which was toughest to overcome and why. How did you push through them?
One is my car breaking down in Milwaukee, WI. I took it in and it would be $10,000 to fix it. I decided to opt for the cash for the VW Diesel emission scandal and get another car. It took a few days for me to make this decision. In that time I reached out to my family to get their perspectives. I learned that this became a theme for how I make decisions. I like to gain input and perspectives from others, then consider them and make a call. I know that regardless of how things play out in the future, I will have made the best decision possible at the moment.
Other tough moments involved finding a place to sleep and finding an owner to meet with on such short notices. The key was being flexible, kind, and persistent. Those characteristics can lead to overcoming many issues.
On the other hand, there were many moments of joy, can you highlight some of the great times and what that did for you? How did you use that to help you along the way?
An unpredictable, truly in the moment experience was joy. This happened in many different ways along my journey. In one case, I met someone that connected me to an owner and ended up with a 6 hour hang out session as if we had been friends for 10 years. It meant taking a turn to appreciate the Mississippi River. It meant appreciating the landscape and environment.
I would think about these great things and talk with friends and family through tough times. When I would chat with people, I shared stories of my journey which felt nice to have others experience events through me. Another big benefit was simply talking with someone I’ve known for years and didn’t need to worry about making a good impression. It was a great source of comfort as I navigated new lands and met new people.
Would you do it again?
Yes but with certain conditions.. mostly money. If I had more money to truly eat wherever I wanted or more money to stay in a hotel, or gas with a vehicle I could sleep in. Also, ideally, I’d be in a relationship too because there were so many times I wanted to share the experience with someone. It wasn’t that I was lonely but at times I felt a sense of guilt that I got to experience it, but someone else didn’t.
What question did I not ask you that I should have? (This is one of the questions from his interviews!)
Depends on if there is anything I could provide that would be of value to you. There are entertaining stories and lessons learned that may be of interest. I suppose, what is an epiphany you had on the trip, something that truly altered you?
I know things, but experiencing those things makes me know them on a deeper level. One example is my belief that being kind to people is good. I know important it is to be kind, and I have always tried to act with kindness in my life. I know that having lived like that and currently living like that enabled the journey to be what it was. I was able to meet new people who provided lodging, reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in over ten years, spend time with close friends, and, of course, meet and build rapport with owners. So many good things came due to kindness from my history, in the moment, and, of course, from others.
Jeremy, you are a true inspiration by taking on such an amazing and unique goal. I’m so glad I got to be part of it along the way and to be there for your final interview. I appreciate all the lessons and insights you’ve shared.
Cheers to you!