The WHY behind our project.
During the summer of 2013, as the Founder of Best People Business, I traveled to Spain to walk 790 kilometers on the Camino de Santiago.
Everyday I would meet a new person from around the world. I was fascinated by the stories I heard and decided to share them in my virtual journal (Instagram and Facebook).
When I returned home, I realized there were a large number of people who were intrigued with the stories and the pictures. Some of my friends told me they would wake up every morning with excitement and anticipation to see whom I had met that day.
I thought to myself, what would happen if I walked outside my front door in Laguna Beach, CA with my camera in hand, and met ONE Person A Day for 365 days.
Thus, the journey began on January 1, 2014 when I committed to meeting ONE Person A Day. I decided to ask the same four thought provoking questions to every person I met, then I took their photograph and created a movie poster featuring them as the star of their movie.
As I reflect on the people I met and the stories I heard, I am overwhelmed by what I've learned and I feel an enormous responsibility to share this information with the world.
My role in this project was to guide the person in drawing out their personal unique story and make them the "Hero" in their own personalized movie poster.
The Four Questions
Question #1: How would you describe your life today in one word?
The first question opened up as a good icebreaker. Most people chose words that were reflective of where we were standing, whether on the beach, on the rocks overlooking the ocean or on the ocean on our stand up paddle boards.
The follow up question to the One Word was, “Why did you choose this word?”. The obvious answer was because of the beauty of Laguna Beach. Beyond the beauty, there was a sense of gratitude and thankfulness to be fortunate enough to be experiencing life in Laguna be it an hour, a day, on a vacation or as a permanent resident.
Some of the answers spoke to the reality that, no matter how beautiful your surroundings are, there are difficulties and challenges. A few of the words that described these challenges were:
I quickly began to understand this project was less about me and all about the person I was interviewing.
Question #2: If you could change one thing in the world, what would you change?
When I asked this question, it caught people off guard. They were not expecting to answer a question that exposed their personal and worldviews.
I later learned that this question opened the door to some of the most engaging and meaningful conversation people have ever had with a complete stranger.
There were conversations where people were in tears as they shared personal struggles about their family and friends.
People shared with me that they miss face-to-face human interaction, the kind of interaction they were experiencing with me as we engaged in meaningful conversation.
Several people were inspired by our project and have said they would like to follow our example and meet new people in their own communities.
Question #3: What is one goal or dream you would like to accomplish one year from today?
The common thread between questions #2 and #3 intrigued me. People are hoping and dreaming of working a job and finding a career where they are fulfilled and are passionate about the vision and mission of the company.
Over half the people I met said they wanted to have deeper connections in their jobs and in their relationships.
It was interesting to hear from people who are in a successful career or own a successful business. These people shared with me they felt valued in their jobs and they had meaningful relationships with their family, friends and co-workers.
These people are dreaming of traveling around the world to exotic locations to surf epic waves, climb the tallest mountains and swim long distances in the ocean.
Some of their dreams and goals are:
Question #4: If your life were a movie, what would the storyline be and what would the title be?
By the time I asked this question, I had helped to lay the foundation of their life story and it became a creative collaboration in writing an original screenplay about their life.
I had a lot of fun helping to draw out their stories and coming up with an original title for their movie. Some of the titles were very creative:
My hope was always to leave each person better than when I first met him or her and I believe I was able to do that on most occasions.
What Did I Learn?
The main message I learned from meeting and interviewing 365 people this year is, PEOPLE are all about PEOPLE.
I am committed to taking this message to leaders who are in the PEOPLE business and to leaders who have a desire to be in the PEOPLE business. I want to help them create a culture where PEOPLE (team members and customers) are valued.
Our project illuminates what many leadership experts are talking about in their messages to help companies become more successful.
The most popular TED talks of 2014 included:
Our One Person project gained media attention in Laguna Beach Magazine, Coastline Pilot and KX@OneLaguna.
In his book "The Advantage", Patrick Lencioni says, "Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business."
Most leaders will tell you that their people are their greatest asset. This is partly true. We believe when people feel valued, then they will become their greatest asset.
We are on a mission to be the catalyst to help businesses become the Best People Businesses to work for!
Day 365 of 365 "PURE"
Meet Tommy from Laguna Beach, CA.
The one word that best describes Tommy's life today is "Nervous." The reason why Tommy chose this word is because he has a lot of changes going on in his life and is anticipating a great year ahead.
If Tommy could change one thing in the world, he would "Want families to stay together thru thick and thin, good and bad, no matter the circumstances." The way he would go about making this changes is by being honest 100% of the time.
One year from today, Tommy would like to find a female friend who could potentially become a long term relationship.
If Tommy's life were a movie, it would be about leading people who are selfless and outward focused giving back to their communities. The title of Tommy's movie would be called "PURE" and the subtitle would be called "Mind Body Soul."
As we come to the end of the year interviewing and featuring one new person a day, we've been asked many times "who will be your day 365?" Several people have come to mind, some people thought we should interview ourselves but that just wouldn't seem right for the last story of the year.
We wanted to end the year with the one person whom we think embodies and embraces what we've come to learn from the people we've met this past year.
What we heard over and over again this past year was "I want to be part of a connected community", "I want to be part of something bigger than myself", "I want people to be authentic and transparent", "I want to work for a leader who is selfless and who values people."
We asked ourselves "who do we know that has these characteristics?"
The person that came to mind is someone we've seen around Laguna Beach for the last three years but didn't get a chance to know him until this year.
We shared the same street in the Village for several years. We share a love for one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Laguna. We share a love for one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the safety of this sport. We share a love for the ocean and the cleanliness of our coastal community. We share a love for the purity of people and relationships. We share a love for family and friends.
When our passions and purposes came together with Tommy this past year, we could have never imagined how much love and respect we would have for this man who is as PURE as they come.
Tommy has experienced more life than most 80 year old's. He grew up living and surfing at one of the hidden treasured surf sports that only a few know about. His creativity and vision for the future is inspiring and altruistic.
Growing up in a small beach side community has it's benefits and drawbacks. We've been fortunate to meet people who know OF Tommy and people who really KNOW Tommy. He is the kind of person people are drawn to because of his colorful personality and colorful tattoo's.
Underneath it all, Tommy is one of the most PURE, PASSIONATE, AUTHENTIC, CARING, COMPASSIONATE, LOVING human beings you'll ever meet.
Thank you Tommy for your friendship and for allowing us to feature your story on Day 365 of 365. It is with great honor that we have the privilege of sharing our friend Tommy's story with you.
Day 364 of 365 "It's A Wonderful Life"
Meet Pancho and Peggy from Laguna Beach, CA.
The one word that best describes Pancho's life today is "Surprised." The reason Pancho chose this word is because he wasn't expecting us to interview him and take his picture.
The one word that best describes Peggy's life today is "Happy." The reason Peggy chose this word is because she loves her life.
If Pancho could change one thing in the world, he would want there to be more clothe for himself and for others. The way he would go about making this change is to look for clothes wherever he goes.
If Peggy could change one thing in the world, she would "Want lost children to be reunited with their families."
One year from today, Pancho would like for his relationships to be strengthened and remain happy and healthy.
One year from today, Peggy would like for her family to stay connected and less stressed.
If Pancho and Peggy's lives were a movie, it would be about their friends and families appreciating each other and appreciating every day. The title of their movie would be called "It's A Wonderful Life" and the subtitle would be called "Appreciating Every Day."
Pancho and Peggy work at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Laguna Beach "Adolfo's." We eat dinner on Taco Tuesday almost every week and Pancho and Peggy are always so "Happy" and friendly.
The owner "Senor Adolfo" has an amazing family of workers who are all about their amigo's and making sure their customers are enjoying their meals. It's a great place to practice our Spanish as we interact with the staff.
The local family atmosphere is warm and inviting. Often times, you'll run into neighbors bellying up to the bar or sitting in one of the few booths or outdoor patio. We knew that we wanted to feature Pancho and Peggy as our one person and we're so glad they agreed to share a little of their story on the second to last day of the year.
Muchos gracias Pancho and Peggy for serving us amazing food and for sharing a small part of your stories with our community.
Day 363 of 365 "Midnight Memories"
Meet Erik from Temecula, CA.
The one word that best describes Erik's life today is "Adventurous." The reason why he chose this word is because he is always looking for something new.
If Erik could change one thing in the world, he would "Want to help people who are homeless." The way he would go about making this change is by paying attention to the needs around him and helping one person at a time.
One year from today, Erik would like to be more well rounded as a person and as a photographer.
If Erik's life were a movie, it would be about his crazy adventures with his friends and all the memories they create getting in and out of trouble. The title of Erik's movie would be called "Midnight Memories."
I met Erik and his friends on the beach while they were having fun taking pictures of each other and the sunset.
I couldn't help to notice Erik and his friends especially Erik with his nice camera. There is a common bond us photographers share, especially us Canon users. We talked about our gear and settings to capture the smooth surface of the ocean.
Erik is just getting started as a photographer and has a nice camera and lens to capture high quality images. I loved hearing Erik share that he wants to become a well rounded photographer and human being.
I laughed when I heard the title of his movie and asked if he is a One Direction fan, he said they are alright. It's not too often you hear of teenage 1D fans. I can appreciate anyone young or old who are fans like me and my family. Who knows, maybe Erik will use his new camera to create the "Story Of His Life."
Meet Royce from Redlands, CA.
The one word that best describes Royce's life today is "Blessed." The reason Royce chose this word is because he has been able to put life into perspective.
If Royce's could change one thing in the world, he would "Make orchestral music more accessible to the masses." The way he would go about making this change is by introducing music to people at a younger age.
One year from today, Royce would like to play at the Ahmanson Theater in L.A.
If Royce's life were a movie, it would be about traveling and playing music on stages around the world. The title of Royce's movie would be called "Hitting The Right Notes" and the subtitle would be called "In Tune."
I met Royce on the rocks at Cress St. while he was standing near the water waiting the waves to splash and crash on him while his sisters were capturing this moment on film.
I politely warned Royce not to stand too close to the waters edge unless he plans on getting drenched. This is one of my favorite photographs because the water splashed on Royce but if you look closely, you will see that his clothes and hair is dry.
Royce is a polite young man who lit up when we talked about music. He is a sophomore in college and is pursuing a degree in music and math. I learned that Royce plays the clarinet and saxophone. I loved hearing his passion for classical music and his desire to break down the barriers that keep people from experiencing this type of music.
Royce shared with me that he eats, drinks and sleeps music! His smile was contagious and his warm personality was pleasant. Our conversation was short and sweet, yet I walked away inspired to listen to my classical music playlist thinking about Royce blowing his horns.
Thanks Royce for spreading the good news about classical music and for sharing a sound bite of your life with our community.
December 31st, 1969
Meet Olando from Laguna Beach, CA.
The one word that best describes Olando's life today is "Peace." The reason Olando chose this word is because he has found peace within which transcends peace in world.
If Olando could change one thing in the world, he would "Want to clean our oceans." The way he would go about making this change is by picking up all the trash in the ocean and recycle it.
One year from today Olando would like to "clock one year working as a chef at "Dizz'sasis restaurant in Laguna Beach."
If Olando's life were a movie, it would be living his life as if he has already made it. The title of Olando's movie would be called "Fake It To Make It" and the subtitle would be called "Everyone Needs A Little Chocolate In Their Life."
I met Olando as he was playing basketball on the Main Beach courts. I noticed Olando when I walked by him earlier in the day and was impressed with his dedication and determination dribbling the ball between his legs with his "Beats" headphones playing music in his ears.
As I walked past him for the second time, I knew I wanted to meet him. While we were talking, Olando didn't miss a beat as he continued bouncing his basketball. He did, take off one of his headphones so that he could half hear my questions.
Olando (not Orlando), shared a nugget of wisdom about peace. When most people talk about peace, they talk about peace and good will to all man kind. Olando made sure that his meaning of peace was about the peace he has found within himself that has carried over in other areas of his life.
I learned about a new restaurant in Laguna Beach where Olando works as a chef. The restaurant pronounced Dizz's-as-is is in South Laguna and is known as "a real Laguna experience." It seemed like Olando was proud to be working here and is passionate about his job. I can't wait to visit the restaurant and hopefully Olando will still be working there one year from now.
Stay the course and keep the beat Olando, it seems like you've got your groove on.
Day 360 of 365 "Finding Me"
Meet my niece Katherine from Yucaipa, CA.
The one word that best describes Katherine's life today is "Exciting." The reason why she chose this word is because everyday there is something new and different.
If Katherine could change one thing in the world, she would "Want there to be no more jealousy so that people would realize how much better their lives would be if they were not jealous of others." The way she would go about making this change is to help people to feel secure about themselves.
One year from today, Katherine would like to have her college plans in place.
If Katherine's life were a movie, it would be about spending time with her friends, having fun doing things girls do and playing competitive sports. And a little bit of family fun too. The title of Katherine's movie would be called "Finding Me" and the subtitle would be called "A New Journey Every Day."
Katherine is another one of my awesome nieces! She is one of six siblings who are all excellent athletes and bright students.
One of the qualities I love most about Katherine is her pursuit of excellence. She gives her best in everything she does. On the soccer field, she plays her heart out and expects to win everytime she steps on the field.
In the classroom, Katherine is a straight A student who aces all of her exams. Her drive and ambition is the fuel to following in her fathers footsteps in the medical field. She is only a Freshman in high school and already has her college and career path planned out.
When Katherine walks into a room, she lights it up with her big smile and bright blue eyes. She is a young lady with confidence and compassion which will serve her well as she cares for others in her profession.
I'm bragging on a few of my family members this week because I feel lucky to be part of a family with so many amazing people and it gives me an opportunity to learn a little more about them and share their stories with our community.
Thanks Katherine for opening the window to your life and allowing me to share you with our community.
Day 359 of 365 "Sojourning Together"
Meet my mother Judy, my step-father Al and my sister Katy from Murrieta, CA.
The one word that best describes Al's life today is "Adventure." The reason why Al chose this word is because it represents every day of his life as it presents a new adventure. No day is the same.
The one word that best describes Judy's life today is "Thankful." The reason Judy chose this word is because she is so thankful that her children turned out so well.
If Al could change one thing in the world, he would "Want to distribute a dusting of humor across the world and for people not to take themselves too serious." The way he would go about making this change is to begin laughing at himself and steer away from anything negative while putting smiles on peoples faces.
If Judy could change one thing in the world, she would "Want people to have more compassion for each other and to be less judgmental." The way she would go about making this change is by showing more compassion and living by the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
One year from today, Al would like for their business "Gardens of Shambala" to be an inspiration for others to look at life as a blooming English Garden.
One year from today, Judy would like for their business to be up and running so that she can create and nurture her talent.
If Al, Judy and Katy's life were a movie, it would be about their 30 year journey and adventure connected to the eternal optimism of Katy who brings an endless amount of humor and smiles. It would be about their willingness to try new things, travel to new places all the while following their passion. The title of their movie would be called "Sojourning Together" and the subtitle would be called "Keep Me Laughing."
Today is Christmas and I wanted to feature Al, Judy, and Katy because they have been a gift to me and my family.
On this special day where gifts are being exchanged around the world, I wanted share with our community these three amazing people who have given me the gift of unconditional love, support, encouragement and perspective.
They have given of themselves sacrificially and have taught me what it means to live by the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. They have taught me to not take myself too serious and to laugh at myself. They have taught me to be less judgmental and be compassionate towards all people.
We've traveled many roads together where there have been many twists and turns, highs and lows. Through them all, we've learned to love, laugh and live life with passion and purpose. Our hopes and dreams intersected on many occasions one of which led us to launching a company that created educational products for Hawaii.
I admire them for being courageous to follow their dreams and never ever give up. They have persevered through much adversity and have weathered many storms. Through it all, their family "Unit" has become rock solid and their faith and hope is unlike anyone I've ever met.
They have inspired me to be the best human being I could be. They have set a good example by serving unconditionally and accepting others just as they are. Above all, the most important part of their life is their love for people.
Just as they have cheered me on in my wild adventures, I am their biggest fans and believe they will fulfill all their dreams and goals! Thanks Judy (mom), Al and Katy for believing in me and for allowing me to share your story with our community.
Day 358 of 365 "My Wonderful Life"
Meet my niece Brooklyn from Yucaipa, CA.
The one word that best describes Brooklyn's life today is "Wonderful." The reason Brooklyn chose this word is because she has a wonderful family.
If Brooklyn could change one thing in the world, she would "Put an end to texting and driving." The way she would go about making this change is by talking to people about how dangerous it is to text while driving. She will not text when she starts driving.
One year from today, Brooklyn would like for her grandpa Terry to be alive.
If Brooklyn's life were a movie, it would be about the journey with her wonderful family showing how much she loves them and is thankful for them. The title of her movie would be called "My Wonderful Life" and the subtitle would be called "I Love My Family."
Brooklyn is one of my many nieces in our very big blended family. She is the most outgoing and lovable person you'll meet! Every time I see Brooklyn, I can expect her to give me a big, genuine, long lasting, heartfelt hug!
Today, we gathered for our traditional Makela Christmas party where we joined together for a fun time of a white elephant gift exchange. It's so fun to watch the younger generation of nieces and nephews engaging with their cousins while putting aside their smart phones.
Brooklyn has a "bubbly" personality and can hold her own when it comes to wrestling with her brothers who like to push her buttons. She knows when to act like a little lady and when to stand up against the teasing her brothers bring upon her.
Among many things, I love Brooklyn's sensitive heart towards her family. She has a deep appreciation for her family and is grateful to have so many wonderful people in her life. Brooklyn doesn't only talk about how much she loves her family, but she shows them by her actions.
Brooklyn's brothers and sisters are competitive athletes and she is very competitive herself. But more than anything, I see in Brooklyn a young lady who places a high value on relationships and has an extraordinary amount of love for people.
I am so lucky to be the uncle to this wonderful girl who brings so much joy into our family and to the world!
Day 357 of 365 "Why Not"
Meet Rob from Toronto, Canada.
The one word that best describes Rob's life today is "Fantastic." The reason why Rob chose this word is because it was the first word that came to him.
If Rob could change one thing in the world, he would "Want the world to know what it's like to live on the coast." The way he would go about making this change is by promoting and the lifestyle of the coastal communities around the world.
One year from today Rob would like to have gone on multiple ski and surf trips with his bro's.
If Rob's life were a movie, it would be about traveling the world with friends in search of fresh powder and epic surf living life doing what he should be doing. The title of his movie would be called "Why Not" an the subtitle would be called "Living Life."
I met Rob at Oak St. while he was taking videos in the surf with his Go Pro.
Rob is in Laguna hanging out with his friend who lives here. They both share a passion for film making and capture footage of surfing and snowboarding. Rob was like a kid in a candy store as he was playing in the ocean and appreciating the small uncrowded waves.
I loved hearing Rob's enthusiasm as he talked about how cool it is to live in a coastal community, especially Laguna Beach. Sometimes we take for granted how fortunate we are to live in such an amazing place with so much diversity.
Thanks Rob for reminding me of how lucky we are to live and experience life on the coast!