Create Your Vision with Sean Dollinger [Episode #585]
This week’s topic is: Create Your Vision with Sean Dollinger
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Sean Dollinger, who is anentrepreneur and Founder of PlantX, an online platform offering quality plant based products and services. Listen in as Sean provides insight on how to juggle a family and stay present while still creating your vision.
From baseball to his running a plant-based company, Sean shares his entrepreneurial journey and the effect this has had on his work ethic…
What is PlantX and why now?…
Relationships and how to influence for the better…
Supplements and what to take when plant-based…
Maintaining healthy emotional wellbeing and mental health practices…
How to stay present with your kids and partners…
Core components to manifesting your vision…
About Sean Dollinger
Sean Dollinger is an entrepreneur with a keen ability to take an idea from conception through successful execution. He has an incredibly diverse background in all facets of e-commerce. Sean’s most recent project is PlantX, which is not only an online store for plant-based products, but a full online vegan community, where users can order healthy vegan meals, and learn about the vegan lifestyle through discussions and blogs.
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Kimberly: Hey Beauties. And welcome back to our Monday interview podcast. I am so excited for our very special guest today. His name is Sean Dollinger. He is a serial entrepreneur. He’s taken brands from a couple million dollars to over a billion in a very short amount of time. He’s also the Founder of PlantX, an online platform offering plant-based products and services for a plant-based lifestyle. Sean is incredibly warm, incredibly calm, and also the father of four children. So when I met him, I thought he’d be an amazing podcast guest to share with us how he is able to create so much and shape his vision into reality with a very full life. So very excited for our interview today.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly: Before we get into it, I want to give a little shout out to our fan of the week and her name is Elida R. And she writes, “This is my favorite podcast. I’ve been listening to Kimberly’s podcast since the beginning of this year, and I love it. I listen while I’m at work, home and walks. She offers so much great information that I have been able to apply to my own life.” Well, Elida R., thank you so much for being our fan of the week. I am so honored and so excited to hear that the show has information that you can really use, which of course is my intention with the show to help support you and to walk this path with you. So thank you so much Elida for your review. Thank you so much for being part of our community. It really truly does mean the world to me. Sending you so much love wherever you are.
Leave a Review on iTunes
Kimberly: And Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week, please just take a moment or two out of your day, leave us a review on iTunes, which is free and easy and just a wonderful way to support the show. So I thank you so much in advance, and I also encourage you to hit the subscribe button and that way you’ll get this constant influx of inspiration and positivity and practical tips into your life. And we all know how busy life gets, so by subscribing, you don’t miss out on any of these shows. So thank you so much. Let’s get into our interview today. I am very excited to talk to Sean.
Interview with Sean Dollinger
Kimberly: 00:08 Okay. Hey, Sean, thank you so much for coming here with us today. It’s nice to see you. We did a Zoom a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like you are in the same place and I was in the same place.
Sean : 00:21 Thanks for having me on today, Kimberly.
Kimberly: 00:23 So tell us, Sean, where are you based? You’re a Canadian, right?
Sean : 00:27 Canadian and Vancouver, BC. Sun is shining here, so that’s always a great thing.
Kimberly: 00:33 Yeah, I imagine the winters there are … Winters are amazing for skiing and summers are amazing with summer.
Sean : 00:39 Exactly, yes. You get to go up to Whistler and see some snow. It’s amazing.
Kimberly: 00:44 Are you more of a summer person or winter person?
Sean : 00:48 Just appreciate every single day.
Kimberly: 00:52 Well, I was looking at your impressive bio here. And one of the things I wanted to ask you about, before we start talking about PlantX and all these amazing things that you’ve created, is that you’re on a baseball scholarship. So I didn’t realize that you were a baseball player.
Sean : 01:09 Yeah, one of the few Canadians. I grew up in Montreal and just love baseball. I play even during the winter in gyms. I stay throwing the ball on the garage. Because of the Montreal Expos, it was a really small community in Montreal, so got the lucky opportunity to go down and play some division one ball in New York and made the College World Series. So it was an unbelievable experience.
Kimberly: 01:36 It’s funny because, John, as you know, my hubby is also from Montreal. And he recently told me that hitting a ball like getting a pitch, I’m not a baseball person, but what do you call when you actually make contact with the ball, in professional sports is the hardest thing you can do. Have you heard that?
Sean : 01:58 Yeah, definitely. It’s not easy hitting something 100 miles an hour and could curve, could drop, could do a whole bunch of different things. So it’s pretty … Think about it and what were being successful, 3 out of 10 times, gets you into the Hall of Fame.
Kimberly: 02:14 Isn’t that crazy, 3 out of 10?
Sean : 02:17 Yeah, it’s pretty wild.
From baseball to running a plant-based company, Sean shares his entrepreneurial journey and the effect this has had on his work ethic
Kimberly: 02:19 So I guess I bring it up, because I’m interested in just your life out of work, out of entrepreneurship, but I think maybe it also relates a little bit. You’ve created all these amazing companies and PlantX, which is how we met, which is this incredible whole world for plant-based offerings. How do you think baseball and that commitment to a sport that’s particularly hard? How do you think that might have influenced your work ethic?
Sean : 02:53 I think baseball is a really unique sport, because, yes, it’s team oriented, but then all the pressures on you standing with a bat in your hand with sometimes the game on the line. So it did teach me a ton growing up playing the game. But going away to college and unfortunately, I wasn’t a superstar baseball player. Yes, I got a scholarship, but I wasn’t starting catcher for our team. So there was a lot of pressure to actually do really well in school as well. And my family didn’t have the resources to just send me with unlimited amounts of money.
Sean : 03:29 So it was a whole juggle of making sure my grades were fantastic on the baseball scholarship, pretty much full time job there. And then on the weekends, working at a country club till 2:00, 3:00 in the morning doing weddings and cleaning dishes and doing all of these things to get by. So, that taught me how to function on legit no sleep, whatsoever, but to give your 110% effort. Otherwise, you lose.
Kimberly: 04:00 You lose, and then you took all that energy in that focus and you parlayed it into entrepreneurship. So I’m always interested in the entrepreneur story. I’m an entrepreneur myself, as you know. We have our Solluna brand. And for me, when I started out, Sean and I was backpacking, I came back and I tried to work in an office and it only lasted three months. And I realized I’m not built for this, as far as just the whole thing of being at the very bottom of the totem pole and executing other people’s ideas, which there’s nothing wrong with it. I just think we’re all built very differently.
Kimberly: 04:39 So tell us, did you know right away when you started transitioning from baseball in college into your work, into your career, hey, I think I’m going to try this entrepreneur thing? Or did you go corporate for a while and then transition?
Sean : 04:57 You’ve done a fantastic job and building everything that you’ve built. And as you know, it doesn’t always go smooth from day one. It’s a ton of effort, tons of work. You’d think that you’re going in one direction and then something makes sense out of left field, then you pivot. And I’ve always loved working for myself. One thing that I’ve realized is if you take the chance and you truly believe in something and it starts off pretty well, you should stick with it.
Sean : 05:25 I had the first pickup and meal delivery from restaurants that didn’t have delivery in Montreal, and John probably knows the company, and then we ended up buying a competitor. And fast forward to today, where back then, we didn’t even have smartphones. You have things like DoorDash and Uber Eats and all of these different companies. So there, I was a little ahead of the curve. And I find that as time goes on, you start timing things a little bit better.
What is PlantX and why now?
Kimberly: 05:57 So tell us about now, why PlantX? Well, first of all, if you could explain a little bit what it is, because I think it’s such an interesting idea. Whether one is plant-based or not, anybody listening to this, it’s not about, oh, I have to be vegan to be on this site, or even to really get some valuable information about your process, Sean. But tell us about what it is and why now.
Sean : 06:23 So for the last 20 years, my background’s in specialty e-commerce, from technology to fashion, to agriculture. My last company went from $6 million to $1.4 billion in a year-and-a-half. And again, it was focused around like minded individuals. And when I finished that business or left that business in February of 2019, I started thinking to myself, it’s great. The last 15 years is wonderful, but have I really made an impact on anybody’s life? Sure, a lot of people made a lot of money, but what does that really mean at the end of the day?
Sean : 07:01 And I was on a journey pretty much my whole life, where I struggled with being out of shape. And then I started living a plant-based lifestyle, about 10 years ago, 12 years ago. I started paying attention more to fitness, and I lost 60 pounds. I literally lost …
Kimberly: 07:19 Wow.
Sean : 07:19 … 30% of my body weight. And before that, I suffered from anxiety. I never was sure if I’d live another day, and that was a really huge problem. And a lot of people on the outside didn’t know what I was struggling with. But those really were the things that … I go to the emergency room. I’d always think something’s wrong with me and started saying, hey, maybe I could take what I’ve learned over the last 20 years, 18 years, and put it to great use. And that’s where PlantX started coming from.
Sean : 07:52 And while I was living a plant-based lifestyle for the last 10 years, there were always struggles, right? It’s hard to just give up everything day one. And I always felt like people were questioning me. And who cares, at the end of the day, it’s my own journey. If I decide we’d go fishing and we catch a beautiful fish and we’re all eating together it’s not like I’m allergic to the fish. Why can’t I have a little bit of it? So I kept feeling, during the journey, that I kept being questioned. And I didn’t like that feeling when all I was trying to do was create a better Sean.
Sean : 08:27 So, that’s why we feel with the PlantX lifestyle, we want people to feel welcome. We want people to give plant-based living a try, but it’s okay if they’re not 100% vegan. We still love them and we still want them to come give it a try.
Kimberly: 08:44 Well, so I’ve only said that, too, Sean. I’ve always said it’s not all or nothing. And if the goal is more health, personally and also from that planetary perspective, from the environmental perspective, it’s far better to open the door to more people to come in versus saying, well, if you’re not 100%, you’re not welcome. I also think that’s polarizing. And in my experience, people will come along to different extents. Some people want to come over fully, some people part of the way, some people kind of dabble.
Kimberly: 09:19 And if the goal really is healthier person, a healthier planet, I don’t think these extremes have to be part of it. And I know there’s vegans, there’s plant-based people that are very adamant about that from the beginning, Sean. Now my first book, it was actually 10 years ago …
Sean : 09:35 Wow.
Kimberly: 09:35 … this year that it came out. So from my first book, I’ve always said that and I’ve always worked with clients and people in that regard. And I think it opens up people’s hearts and it opens up their minds more when we don’t say yes or no, but no, eventually.
Sean : 09:52 Very, very, very true. And that’s why we don’t believe that being plant-based or vegan is just about the food you put in yourself. We own the leading plant subscription company in Europe. We believe the way you carry yourself through life being positive, so that’s why we went a step further. Instead of just calling ourselves plant debts, we call it the plant debts lifestyle, and incorporate fitness and health and being aware of everything around you.
Kimberly: 10:21 I love that there’s such a big houseplant component. And actually, at the beginning of the year, we had well and good did their big wellness trends report. And they did research over the past year. And they said, one of the biggest trends in wellness was houseplants. Because of the pandemic, people are home more and people wanted to bring more nature inside. And I’ve always been a big fan of plants. But when I saw that as a big part of the website, I thought, wow, this is actually really making it easy for people.
Kimberly: 10:50 Because there’s a section where you can get products and are Solluna products are on there. There’s a section where you can get food. There’s a section you can get houseplants. So it really is more of this holistic, healthy living, I think, than just having to go to so many different vendors for so many different things.
Sean : 11:08 Yeah, exactly. We want people to feel comfort, and some people go through such an effort. They’re like, we’ve got one week. Or it’s the New Year and they’re like, hey, I want to give plant-based living a try. But if you walked into Whole Foods or Erewhon, which have done phenomenal jobs, I think, in the assortment of products, you still got to walk through the aisles and read the ingredients and make sure that they’re plant-based.
Sean : 11:30 Well, for us, and that might be a challenge for some people because, believe it or not, even Los Angeles, which people are so knowledgeable, I go to some of the top restaurants there and I’m like, “Hey, I’m plant-based.” And they’re like, “Okay, does that mean that you could have dairy? Does that mean you can have eggs and all these different things?” Where you would think that it’s a given, especially in that environment, knowing those things are part of it. So somebody giving plant-based living a try, it’s great for them to come.
Sean : 11:58 And I even noticed this, we just opened our first brick and mortar store in Squamish, BC. And when I was walking around the store, it dawned on me. I’m like, I could grab absolutely anything in this store and it’s plant-based. So it created a really fun environment.
Kimberly: 12:15 Yeah, I’ve had that issue before where I’ve looked for gluten free bread or sent my husband out or sometimes just like in a pinch, you’re just like, okay, let me grab it, and then you don’t look at all the ingredients. I’m like, oh, crap, there’s eggs in this gluten free bread. I think the Udi’s brand does that. There’s some brand that incorporate eggs. So it’s nice to have that. And going back to you for a second, Sean, when you talk about your plant-based life, you have kids, I believe. You …
Sean : 12:45 Yeah, I’ve got four little children.
Kimberly: 12:46 You have four?
Sean : 12:47 Four.
Kimberly: 12:48 Oh my goodness, I didn’t you had four of them. Boys and girls, ages …
Sean : 12:52 Yeah, boy, girl, boy, girl, 14 down to 6.
Kimberly: 12:56 Wow. And so, is your wife, are your kids living a plant-based lifestyle as well?
Sean : 13:01 So what’s so interesting about it, we don’t force it by any means. And it’s so cute seeing them adjust. Like my son, for example, and this happens a lot when somebody is feeling under the weather and you got to start thinking about this. They start shifting to a plant-based lifestyle. They start cutting the dairy out of their diet, and they cut the meat products and then go towards that. So last week, my oldest, who’s 14, he was feeling under the weather and he came out of it. And just the other day, he’s like, “Dad, it’s been four days, and I’m living 100% plant-based lifestyle.”
Sean : 13:36 So it’s great. But I find if you’re forced from a young age, then perhaps there’s some resistance down the line. So just educate. And that’s really what PlantX is all about, is education, at the end of the day. How could you live a plant-based lifestyle? How could it be fun? How can you get all the vitamins and everything you need out of the products that you’re consuming? So, that’s the tools that we give our children at the end of the day, is how to get through life, right?
Kimberly: 14:05 Yeah. I think people ask me about that a lot, too, because our kids are plant-based and it’s what they know. They’ve been exposed from the beginning, from conception to the Glowing Green Smoothie® and all these plant foods. And I think kids are also really naturally compassionate. So with Emerson, our oldest now, who’s five, he’ll look at a picture of a cow or he’ll look at animals, and he asked me questions. And I think in his brain, he thinks, oh, and because we don’t have those products as well, he thinks, do people really eat these animals?
Kimberly: 14:40 He’s just starting to put it together and he’s starting to make his way, and I always tell people, when he’s older, of course, he will make his own choice. And there’s no shame and there’s no I’m going to love you less, but I think the education part is important. I’ve heard a lot of kids actually say that they want to be vegetarian or plant-based, but their parents had the misconceptions about protein or missing nutrients. And sometimes that compassion can get squashed.
Sean : 15:07 Yeah. I think I’ll tell you a really quick and cute story. And I think the fast food chains have done a good job in adjusting and introducing different products, and now we’re going to see a whole wave of fast food plant-based places, which is going to be really cool.
Kimberly: 15:23 Totally.
Sean : 15:23 But they had this ingrained from a young age that fast food was like the play gets bad for you. So one time we’re driving, used to live in Jupiter, Florida, driving down to Disney, and there’s not much on the turnpike. And everybody was starving. And a couple of them are sleeping, and I still remember waking them up. And they’re like, “Dad, where are we going?” And they see that we’re in a Wendy’s line for ordering, and it was just going to be a big potato. They literally started crying, running out to the car thinking that I was poisoning them. So it’s amazing what you could ingrain in your children growing up.
Kimberly: 16:04 Wow.
Sean : 16:05 It’s quite interesting.
Relationships and how to influence for the better
Kimberly: 16:07 And your wife is on board with this? Does she do most of the cooking for the family? Or do you?
Sean : 16:13 It’s all inspired by her. I only get to make some gluten free plant-based pancakes on the weekend. That’s my mandate and putting things on the grill. So she’s definitely behind the inspiration of plant-based recipes and the fun things we eat at night.
Kimberly: 16:31 Was she the one that encouraged you to be plant-based to lose the weight in the first place?
Sean : 16:36 Yeah. So I think, and in a relationship, you seem to influence each other. So at one point, she was plant-based, I was like, I’m never going plant-based, gave that a try. And then it’s been this teeter-totter where sometimes she’s like, I think that I really need to introduce fish into my diet. And I’ve been really, really strict over the last … I’d say a couple of years now, where I’ve really went 100% plant-based, really enjoying it. And I have this debate a lot on, do you really need extra vitamins if the food that you’re putting in your body is meant to be the food?
Sean : 17:18 And of course, there’s people who speak about environmental changes. Is the soil the same as the soil with … We could all make this for a very long time. But I’m in the gym working really, really hard. My trainer says that I pretty much do the most reps and exercises of any of his clients. I’m the only one who’s 100% …
Kimberly: 17:38 Wow.
Sean : 17:38 … plant-based. I’m there Monday through Friday. I mixed in a hike every afternoon, do phone calls from heights and all that. And I don’t supplement any extra vitamins. I do my blood a once every couple months due to some other things that when I was eating the way I ate 10 plus years ago, put me on a bad track. So it’s interesting how this whole shift has happened.
Supplements and what to take when plant-based
Kimberly: 18:05 Well, there’s the general recommendation for plant-based people to have B12, right? I’ve always recommended that across the board. But when I started getting blood work done, I was having a lot of nutritional yeast. I don’t know if you had consumed that product, which has a lot of B vitamins in it. And I wasn’t doing a lot of other supplements, and my test, my blood, my B12 levels were always really great. So then there’s this whole debate about it.
Kimberly: 18:33 And what’s interesting is that they actually supplemented into cows, so that people that are eating meat say, well, but I don’t need to supplement with B12, but they actually are. It’s just an indirect form of supplementation, because a lot of the animals are getting these injections. What I’m saying is, it’s interesting how, to your point, the soil and all these things have changed. But when you’re eating plant-based, you’re getting such a much more wide variety of micronutrients, as well as the macronutrients.
Kimberly: 19:05 And I just feel all that fiber, of course, is really furnishing your gut. It’s really helping to nourish your gut and the short-chain fatty acids, which in turn, reduce inflammation, so your whole system functions more efficiently. And to your point, you could actually be stronger in your workouts. And also, the point for me was I haven’t worried about supplementing with all these little things as much, although, of course, when you’re pregnant, I always recommend a prenatal across the …
Sean : 19:33 Sure.
Kimberly: 19:33 And B vitamins, I think, if not everybody, is always eating perfectly, but it’s not as complicated as I think some people make it out to be.
Sean : 19:41 Yeah, I think people just get worried about it because it’s different, right? But humans, we adapt as well. Take a look at what the world’s gone through in the last year-and-a-half and the way people have adapted. We start making life normal, even with curveballs thrown at us. And I believe, internally, your body does it as well. I’m not a doctor by any means, and I support, more importantly, what people actually believe in. I think that’s the most powerful thing at the end of the day. So if somebody feels like, hey, I need this supplement for it to be balanced, I think that’s very important for them.
Kimberly: 20:18 Totally.
Sean : 20:19 I have the strong belief. I don’t need this, and it works for me.
Kimberly: 20:23 100%.
Sean : 20:23 And hopefully, I’m making the right decision.
Kimberly: 20:27 The yogis talk about that, Sean. They talk about how this is the recommended diet, and at a certain point that when you transcend that, you could put anything in your body because the power of the mind. And if you eat something, and you’re like, oh my god, I’m going to get so fat from this, I shouldn’t be having this dessert, that does influence your digestion, I believe. I think it influences the way that your body hold on, metabolizes, assimilate. So I think the mind is so powerful.
Sean : 20:53 Exactly.
Sean shares what he eats to lose weight in a healthy way
Kimberly: 20:54 Which we could go back for a second, when you lost the weight on a plant-based diet, sometimes I hear, Sean, people worry. They’re like, if I plant-based, I’m not getting as much protein not to eat all these carbs, I’m going to get fat. And I try to explain, wait, but the fiber helps to keep you full, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Can you explain exactly what you are doing? Or what you are eating help you lose that much weight?
Sean : 21:17 Yeah, so it’s kind of funny, going back to what you just said and I know it sounds a bit crazy. But at the end of the day, I’m always worried that I’m not eating well and it’s going to put on weight. But when I reflect on what I consume in a day, it’s extremely healthy. It’s like, oh, I eat too many pieces of broccoli and Brussels sprouts last night, which is ridiculous if you think about it. So it wasn’t a hard. At the end of the day, I think people get really caught up on exercise.
Sean : 21:50 And it’s vicious at the end of the day, because the harder you work out, I don’t really care who you are, especially when you’re making that shift, your body spikes and needs food. You hit this kind of energy level that you’re like, oh, man, I need to put food in my body. And people don’t realize, just a few handfuls of some things could wash out a one-hour workout or even a two-hour workout. So I think that focusing on what you put in your body, as far as plant-based and finding out that equal balance on how much working out can I do in a day without getting that kind of spike or how do I balance my meals, to me, that’s the hardest equation to work out.
Sean : 22:32 And that’s what I struggled with my whole life is, okay, now I’m going to go for my 20th different diet regime here and I’m going to start working out five days a week. And by day three, you have this crash, and it’s so typical. And that’s what … So for me, it was … and I know people say this, but it’s a lifestyle change. So it was how do you incorporate this balance? And then by just shifting away from what I actually put in my body, even if I didn’t, even 100% healthy eating plant-based, believe me, the net net on energy being put in was night and day. So I think people just got to give it a try.
Kimberly: 23:10 Well, Sean, going back to lifestyle for a moment. At Solluna, as you know, we have our four cornerstones, food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. And we talk about all of this in the context of really nourishing the whole person. And whatever I have talked to you, which is a few times now, you have so much going on. I didn’t even know you had four kids, honestly, wouldn’t you have that talk. But I noticed your wedding ring, I’m looking at you, I’m like, oh, I wonder if he has kids. You have four kids.
Kimberly: 23:38 And you’re this insane entrepreneur, insanely successful entrepreneur. And at the same time, there’s this equanimity, which is I keep going back to yoga, which is the philosophy that I live by. There’s this calmness about you, and you’re handling a lot of things. And although I would see you, I wouldn’t necessarily know that. And it’s just an interesting, this emotional wellbeing cornerstone has to do with stress, it has to do with mental health, it has to do with staying grounded, so we can be clear and make the best decisions going forward.
Maintaining healthy emotional wellbeing and mental health practices
Kimberly: 24:13 So, yes, you’re plant-based, yes, you’re working out. But I’d love for you to share a little bit about your … You may not think of it this way, but your emotional wellbeing/mental health practices. And when we say spiritual growth, Sean, this is not religion, it’s about connecting in. So, could be meditation, could be stillness, could be going in nature, could be driving in your car without the music on, whatever it is. But let’s go back to the emotional part first, because I do think, of course, some people’s temperament is a little bit more even keeled.
Kimberly: 24:45 But with all the things you have going on in your life, and when I tell you something, like an idea or when we were talking about Solluna, you’re like, okay, great, we’ll have this done tomorrow. So not only is it your comp, but the level of production is so high. And at the same time, you’re like this Zen. So what are some of your practices? Or what is your perspective? How do you maintain that in the midst of a very full life?
Sean : 25:15 So that’s a great question. And as far as what I’ve put together up to this point, it’s not just following one person’s philosophy. At the end of the day, I’m inspired by a lot of different individuals and different concepts people have. Like for example, people who just go gluten-free or these different things, at the end of the day, if you look at the ingredients in some of these products, you might actually not be doing yourself justice at the end of the day. So it goes back like if you think about your children, what makes your children happy and it’s routine, right?
Sean : 25:45 We’re all born routine knowing what’s coming next and it allows your mind, I believe, to go more free. I’m a better parent when I have a routine of, hey, go to the park, do this, do that with the children. Rather than, hey, do whatever you want, I’m not great at that. So that’s kind of the way my life works. It’s like open my eyes, immediately on. Some people need time to wake up. I’m just … I’m also not somebody who gets stuck on, hey, you need eight hours of sleep a day. Sometimes my body don’t like … Sometimes I’m very good for a few months on four hours of sleep.
Sean : 26:28 Other times, I do need to sleep. So I wake up, spend some time with the children, because I find that’s the only time of day that you can where there’s no distractions at all. Try to get them, when I’m in town, I love to drive them to school, love to hear the stories while we’re driving.
Kimberly: 26:47 All four of them.
Sean : 26:47 Yeah, all four of them.
Kimberly: 26:49 Do they go to the same school?
Sean : 26:50 Two campuses, same school, so it’s fantastic.
Kimberly: 26:53 Wow.
Sean : 26:53 And I get that 30 minutes, it’s a lot of fun. They even look forward to it. When I head out of town, that’s one of the things they miss. And then right after that, it’s coffee, gym. Because for me, the gym is so important. Whether it’s the gym or some type of exercise, just sweating at the end of the day, that’s what I love to tell people, is just sweat. And then after that, it’s things like this, meet and greet people like yourself, working on fantastic partnerships, letting the ideas flow, and putting together a great team. I’m sure you know this. The more successful that you are, you need a team to be able to accomplish what you do at the end of the day. And then …
Kimberly: 27:34 Well, but at the … Sorry, Sean, keep going, keep going.
Sean : 27:36 No. And then it’s one thing that I grew up in a very interesting household that we could discuss it another time. But one thing that I believe made our family strong, at the end of the day, was always eating around the dinner table together. And when I meet different individuals from different cultures and different backgrounds, and when I see how they are with their family, the one consistent, they’re always busy this that, that they take time to eat around a table together. There’s something special about that. So every night at dinner, no cell phones, nothing. Whether it’s a 20-minute meal or an hour meal, just be present.
Kimberly: 28:16 I love that. Family dinner is really important to us, too, Sean. We gather, and we all go around the table what we’re grateful for, so becomes this ritual. And the other day, something happened and we started to talk. And then Emerson said, “Mama, we didn’t say what we were grateful for.” So back to that idea where kids love routine and they love these practices, it becomes these traditions that I think create a nice structure for kids and adults as well. But I’m interested, why is your family so interesting? In some broad strokes, do you have like a hippie mom?
Sean : 28:55 My parents had me at an extremely young age. My father was 19, my mother was 20. But he was my birth father, my father called … That’s where it gets really complicated. He came in my life when I was just one, two years old. And he always was my father figure. I don’t believe somebody could just puts you in the world gets that dead title. Maybe technically they get the father title, but dad, there’s something unique to a dad. And Bobby was mine, and he passed from COVID a few months back, which was very difficult.
Sean : 29:31 I spoke to him literally every single day, sometimes multiple times. And he just was a really special individual and I didn’t get my work ethic from him, but he was always there as a dad. And there was something really, really special to that at the end of the day, where when he passed, he didn’t have much like as far as physical assets in the world. But the amount of people that wrote in saying how much they would miss him, how he was the one at the baseball field every night still, like encouraging strangers, and he was like … Anyways, it’s hard to explain. But sometimes it makes you scratch your head being like, hey, what is really important every single day? And what can you do for your children for them to remember you?
Kimberly: 30:28 Well, it sounds like he really influenced you as a father.
Sean : 30:32 Yeah, definitely. He had his unique way. But anytime I need a lift anywhere, and he was my biggest fan in baseball. And it’s funny, he always pushed me in a weird way. Even if I had a day where I did three or four homeruns in a game. It’d be like, why didn’t you hit it the last bit batter? Oh, that was a terrible throw down to second. It was just a very unique way because he never played a day of baseball in his life. So it’s really funny hearing him criticize everybody on the baseball field. But that was Bobby. It was such a unique individual.
Kimberly: 31:05 So did you end up having any siblings?
Sean : 31:08 Yes. So I actually have, that I know of, six siblings that … I grew up with three, then I knew my birth father had two. And then I was introduced to a third one on his 13th birthday. We landed in Chicago. And he’s like, “By the way, Sean, you have a brother named Eddie and he’s turning 13 tonight and I’d like you to meet him.” So that’s been the journey. And it’s been one that’s always kept me on my toes.
How to stay present with your kids and partners
Kimberly: 31:38 Yeah. Wow. So now I love this idea of family dinner and tradition. You bring the children around. And then after that, I’m always interested in the morning routine, the evening routine. You’ve had a busy day, there may be things on your mind, maybe things you didn’t scratch off the to-do list, projects, calls, maybe some stressful times, as we talked about as an entrepreneur, it’s not a smooth road. How do you turn down the mind? How do you be really present with your kids, with your wife, with yourself? How do you let yourself relax, the shoulders go down, so to speak?
Sean : 32:16 I won’t lie on your podcast, that is a hard one. On the weekends, I struggle big time with it. For me, it’s almost like we’re in a full time game, from 6:30 a.m. till midnight. And when I hit the pillow at night, I know some people struggle falling asleep. If I’m up after 45 seconds of lying down, that’s a miracle. I’m fully on the brains always working. So on the weekend, where I’m not getting like 200, 300 emails, I’m not getting those 20, 30 phone calls. I’m not doing things like this, it’s very hard for me to let go. It goes back to what I said on a routine during the week.
Sean : 32:53 It’s very structured. And then sometimes on the weekend, it’s like, what are we doing? And I struggle with that. So even at night, even my 14-year-old, I still sing his three songs that I sang to him since he was two and he loves it.
Kimberly: 33:12 Really?
Sean : 33:12 Yeah.
Kimberly: 33:12 At 14, oh my god. That gives me so much hope that my sons will still be these cuddly little creatures when they’re 14.
Sean : 33:20 Yeah, so it’s great. So I just don’t make sure to do that all the time, and we just catch up for a couple minutes. And I keep trying to tell myself and again, I don’t want to keep repeating it but routine, where, okay, I know the dinner, I know the songs. And then after that, I could get back on my work. And I think we learned this in school. I was very guilty of this where we had one week to do a book report, and I didn’t even read the book up till the night before. And then I’m running over to Coles.
Sean : 33:53 I don’t know if you remember these Coles notes, or John, for sure, would know Coles. And I’d be reading that, then doing a book report till 3:00 in the morning and getting props two days later by the teacher saying, wow, see guys, Sean … And I’m thinking to myself. But that taught me hard work, even from 13, 14, knowing how to pull things off. It goes to this. If I finished putting the kids to bed at 9:30 or 10:00. Well, who says you need to be sleeping by midnight or 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning if, unfortunately, there’s that much work, or fortunately, there’s that much work? Then you stay up and you do it and rinse and repeat the next day.
Kimberly: 34:33 Well, that’s the story of my life, too, Sean, having a new … Not a newborn anymore, but he’s one, and then a five-year-old and running the company and I just wrote my sixth book.
Sean : 34:44 Wow.
Kimberly: 34:44 It is the after bedtimes that, to be honest, it may not sound like the right thing to say, but I do stay up late as well, and I’m up and I’m working during nap time. And when you’re passionate about something, you make it happen. So again, what’s impressed me so much about PlantX, I’ve never seen this before, the ease with which things get executed and it’s like calm space. So you’re like, yeah, we’re going to do this and we’re going to open 90 of these plant-based delis, and all these stuffs happening. So for anybody listening to this, a lot of people have big dreams, Sean.
Core components to manifesting your vision
Kimberly: 35:20 And you’ve been someone, of course, beauties in the show notes. I’m going to post Sean’s full bio, but there’s been a lot of things that you have a vision for, and you’ve created them. So you’ve already listed having a great team. Besides that, what do you think are some of the core components to really manifesting your vision?
Sean : 35:43 Well, you hit it a second ago by saying passion. And I don’t even like referring to things as work. I know it sounds funny. And even when Alex and I, so we speak about team, Alex co-founded PlantX with me and she works countless hours as well. So there’s all of this, I believe, 1 plus 1, equals 11. And at the end of the day, that’s what you get when people work really well together. Exponentially, you could achieve goals that you never thought were possible. So passion at the end of the day, then you don’t count how many hours you put in.
Sean : 36:19 And when we’re hiring people, and Alex and I do a lot of the hiring together in the company, we speak about that. A lot of our team is out in Squamish, BC, absolutely beautiful spot of the world. And we encourage it. You wake up one morning and the sky is blue and you’ve got the Chief, which is an amazing hike over there, it’s like, go do it. Get out there. You live life once as far as we believe, or as far as I believe, and you should make the most of your life. And if that’s what you want to incorporate in it.
Sean : 36:53 Like if we’re preaching the whole plant-based lifestyle and what that means, then how could we not follow through with what we’re building? It’s the lifestyle that I live. It doesn’t mean because I go shut off my phone for the hour and go to the gym, that I’m turning things off, that I don’t care about the business, I definitely care about it.
Kimberly: 37:12 Of course.
Sean : 37:13 And while I’m walking around, it’s the only time I’m really fully bossed around for an hour, which is a great feeling where I don’t even need to think about what I need to do. But I am thinking about the business and other things during that hour. It’s not like the mind turns off. And I think that’s what allows me to come up with even more creative ideas. I think it’s the passion, like you said.
Kimberly: 37:34 Well, I think it’s interesting hearing about your life. On one side, there’s this structure and this routine, and I drive the kids to school and I work out. And on the other hand, being an entrepreneur is the opposite of being predictable, because we don’t know what’s happening and we don’t have this long road before us, even though that’s obviously crumbling now in today’s changing world, although these long established corporations. So there’s this structural part, though, and then there’s this unpredictable part. But the structure, it sounds like grounds you, so that you can really dive into this part and still feel supported through that, still feel leveled, still feel balanced.
Sean : 38:14 That’s interesting, you point that out. I never thought of it that way. And maybe that’s why I like so much routine in my life to allow me to focus on the creative part of building the business. But one thing that has happened in 20 years, is I’ve incorporated more structure in the actual business itself now, even up to my prior business, which was started in March of 2016. I was still going in a million different directions. Any person in the company, we didn’t have any type of structure in the company, kind of everybody reported to me, and we all work together.
Sean : 38:51 And I even read every email that came into the company, and I drove myself nuts. And yes, startups are extremely hard, like PlantX was a figment of the imagination in December of 2019. And with Alex’s help, it launched in April of 2020. The company is just a little over a year old, and we raised $35 million. There’s no debt in the company. We’ve made three acquisitions. We already have over $20 million in revenue. We have over 150 staff. So there’s so much, but in order to have gotten to that point so quickly, I believe it’s the structure within the corporation that has now allowed that, but to give people free rein and we encourage people to be entrepreneurs in their own division in our company. So that’s how we’ve built so quickly to where we are now.
Kimberly: 39:41 Sometimes you hear these things tossed around like Steve Jobs said the most powerful thing was saying no, and you would discern. And then there’s the great power and saying yes, yes to an idea, yes to this project. As the chief over there for PlantX, of course, it goes both ways, but do you think you’re more of a no person, let’s rein it in? Or do you think you’re more of a yes person, let’s just try?
Sean : 40:10 Yeah, I think I would say I follow the same mentality of the company. Where we’re very much yes, we give people a couple of weeks. One thing I’ve realized is if somebody doesn’t get it in a couple of weeks, if you don’t see what you were expecting from someone in a couple weeks, you’re not going to see it a few months down the line. It’s just, and maybe I’m making this very general where we need to because we’re doing so much hiring, and we don’t really let people go. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed in the company.
Sean : 40:37 Because a lot of times, when you go into a company, there is a lot of structure, hey, this is what you’re doing at 9:00 tomorrow morning, here’s your routine for the day. Well, for us, it’s like Kelly would be a great example. She used to be head of education at Vega, you remember that? Well, the powder, the protein powder at Vega?
Kimberly: 40:54 Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sean : 40:55 She was in their education department and she lives over in Squamish and she heard about us, and she has done an amazing job where she came in on an education role, but then we needed her to be head of customer service because it overlapped. And she now has videos once a week on educating people on how to live a plant-based lifestyle. And that’s a lot. For somebody who thought they were just coming in from an education perspective, but the reason why things progressed like that in our company is because we do give people free rein. We think that they’re being brought in for one thing, but maybe they shine in a different area.
Kimberly: 41:32 Wow.
Sean : 41:32 It’s been pretty, pretty unique and fun, but it’s definitely a different environment to PlantX.
Kimberly: 41:38 It is. It’s a different energy and I love that yes, energy that I feel so strongly. As you could tell, I’m a yes person too. And sometimes I say yes to a lot of things and I rein it in, but I get it. I get the power of no, but I also see the power of yes. So last thing here, Sean, I could pick your mind forever. So many interesting things to talk about. But going back to the cornerstones for a moment, I’d love if you would share one concrete tip or thing that you love in each of them, something that really works for you. So again, food, body, emotional wellbeing, spiritual growth. And the spiritual one could be being present with my kids or being in nature. Let’s start it off, food.
Sean : 42:25 Food, wow.
Kimberly: 42:25 What’s one food or one practice or one recipe that you think, oh, man, this is it. This works. This makes you feel great. It’s something should be in everyone’s fridge all the time.
Sean : 42:38 Oh, man. That’s a tough question. You didn’t give me any heads up on anything that was coming.
Kimberly: 42:43 Oh no.
Sean : 42:43 Wow.
Kimberly: 42:45 Put you’re on the spot. Don’t overthink it. It doesn’t have to be the one end all be all are, but one thing that’s in the Sean Dollinger routine.
Sean : 42:54 Oh, man. So I’m a big, big believer on eating meals through a day. So at the end of the day, I’m a breakfast, lunch, and dinner guy, so if I skip one of them, I get a little bit cranky. And I find that my functionality and everything that goes into my day from routine, et cetera, gets all thrown off. So I think that it’s important because I’ve met people who don’t need three meals. So I think it’d be great to pay attention to what your body needs and asks for and make sure to follow it and respect it. Don’t just do something because somebody tells you.
Kimberly: 43:34 I love that. The Sanskrit word, dinacharya daily routine, Ayurveda believes eating regularly helps you sleep regularly and improves your digestion, all of that. The body does like that, just like in nature. Okay, body cornerstone, which is everything from working out, sleep, supplements, which we covered a little bit, not too much going out there, which I love as well. What’s a tip or what’s one thing that you recommend or one thing that really works for you?
Sean : 44:02 I just love to move every single day. I know some people don’t believe in working out and it doesn’t mean you need to be intense, but even just the nice hike outside, taking fresh air, I think is great. And for me, the majority of the week, breaking a sweat. It doesn’t mean you need to go workout for an hour, two hours. And I get it, some people don’t have a full hour. That’s one thing that I loved about Peloton when I got really into it, was a 20-minute workout. You push yourself hard and you break the sweat. That’s the place I could give another thing …
Kimberly: 44:35 Love it.
Sean : 44:36 … that’s important to me.
Kimberly: 44:38 Okay, emotional wellbeing, which we talked a little bit about. You could think of this as mental health, stress management, just feeling good mentally.
Sean : 44:49 It’s not easy to always feel emotionally energized.
Kimberly: 44:53 Of course.
Sean : 44:53 Especially when you have so many things going on, but my son actually turned to me today and said it as a little bit of a joke, but I hope there was …
Kimberly: 45:03 The 14-year-old, the older …
Sean : 45:04 No, this was my 10-year-old actually. So I have a big thing. I’ve legitimately never missed a day of work in my life, no matter how bad I felt. I suffer from gout. Even when I can’t walk, I take my computer and I still work. I got my teeth removed and I still work. So sometimes, like everybody, the kids don’t wake up going 100%. But I’m a big believer in pushing still. And as long as they’re not contagious, because I’m very respectful to that, but if they’re just feeling … So today, I’m like, oh, man, I’m a little tired and today is my day. He turns to me, he’s like, “Dad, these are the days where you need to push yourself a little bit harder. Because then on the days when you feel good, you’ll really push through it and be that much stronger.”
Kimberly: 45:54 Oh, come on.
Sean : 45:56 I looked at him and I’m like, “Wow, you actually do listen to me.”
Kimberly: 46:00 Wow.
Sean : 46:01 That’s the best advice I could give, push a little bit harder on those days that aren’t going 100%.
Kimberly: 46:05 I love that. Stay the course, stay focused, dig into yourself.
Sean : 46:10 Yeah, we’ve all got it within us, so just go for it.
Kimberly: 46:13 Very inspiring. Okay, so last one, spiritual growth, which again, for me is just about connecting in. Because we have so much of our senses going out into the news and social media. So connecting into that true self, to Sean.
Sean : 46:31 I just turned 41, and I struggled with that a lot, at one point. It was like always traveling around the world. What’s the best thing out there? Oh my god, what am I missing out on and all these things? I still have that kind of drive at the end of the day, but there’s something so nice just taking half an hour to yourself, even in the woods, listening to the sounds around you. And you’ve spoken about a bunch of times as being present, that’s probably the biggest thing I struggle with at the end of the day, is really taking the time and listening to myself instead of just being distracted by the noise all around.
Sean : 47:10 That’s something that I definitely could work on. And I think a lot of people will have better … If you really think about it at the end of the day, how many people actually take time for themselves in a day and listen to themselves and connect?
Kimberly: 47:25 It’s true. And I think that a lot of the confusion and anxiety would certainly be ameliorated by the potential of just connecting in, so it’s one of the things I’m really passionate about sharing as well.
Sean : 47:38 Awesome. Your energy is fantastic. Everything that you speak about is definitely very interesting and aligned with our beliefs.
Kimberly: 47:47 Well, Sean, thank you so much for being here with us. I’m so excited and honored and happy to partner with PlantX. And this was my idea, you guys. I really wanted to have Sean on. This isn’t like a paid podcast or anything like that. But when I met Sean, I was struck by this calmness, and I was just baffled … Like it was so much going on, and I was looking at their plans and what they were rolling out. And I thought, who is this guy who can be calm and so productive at the same time? So I thought you’d be really interesting guest, and you are. You have just this amazing energy around you. So thank you so much for sharing. We appreciate it so much.
Sean : 48:30 Thank you very much for having us on, and we love to wrap up our broadcasts with stay curious, stay planted, stay healthy. I just love what it stands for if you really think about those words and just very thankful for sharing with you today and having this great opportunity to meet you.
Kimberly: 48:50 Real quick, Sean, where can we find out more information about PlantX and you as well?
Sean : 48:58 Seandollinger.com, S-E-A-N, Dollinger, D-O-L-L-I-N-G-E-R.com, and then PlantX. Everything is on plantx.com. Anything that we’re doing, anything that you want to learn a little bit more about, everything could be found on that domain. And from there, you could start the journey.
Kimberly: 49:18 Amazing. And beauties, we will link to these websites as well, so you can check it out in the show notes as well. Thank you, again, so much, Sean. Forward to connecting soon.
Sean : 49:33 Thanks. Have a great rest of your day. Same here. Cheers.
Kimberly: All right, Beauties. Well, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Sean as much as I enjoyed the interview myself. I love when we get to spend time with really interesting people, really successful people and really also get to learn about their life and Sean being a father. And so, again, for more information, please head to plantx.com. We’ll have more links in the show notes over at mysolluna.com, including to other podcasts that I think you would enjoy and you would benefit from. Also, lots of information on there as well, besides other podcasts, recipes, tips, lots of articles and meditations.
Kimberly: And please also check out, if you haven’t yet already our free Solluna app, it’s in the App Store under the Solluna by Kimberly Snyder app, of course, very easy to find. And there’s a membership section where you can also learn more about our Solluna circle, which is something I’m really passionate about. It’s a community space to share and to be supported in an even deeper way. So I will be back here Thursday for our next Q&A podcast. Till then, take great care. Sending you so much love and see you back here in just a few days.