Stella Bida, in conversation with David Mc Gowan, Publisher, Juliette & Victor Magazine, Together Media
Summarised conversation transcript
This is a summary version of the conversation. More details, stories, and amazing insights are mentioned in the video!
STELLA BIDA: Hi everyone, I'm very excited, we have a very special guest, David Mc Gowan. David is the publisher of two high-class magazines, Juliette & Victor Magazine and the Together Magazine. Beyond that, he is an incredible human being. David, welcome to the Conversations of Excellence!
DAVID Mc GOWAN: Thank you for having me Stella!
STELLA BIDA: Truly honored to have you today. What does David want us to know about him that I've not mentioned?
DAVID MC GOWAN: My mission is to inspire people to reach their dreams. That's my mission in life. We've actually made it the mission of the Together Magazine too. I think that everybody can live the life that they dream of. No dream is too big for anyone. There are certain actions to take, certain things to do, and if we take those actions, we can all live the life that we dream of.
I'm a witness to that because today I'm living the life that I have dreamt of. Sometimes, I say to myself that I wished I had dreamt bigger. Because I think that I would have been bigger. But I've also come to accept the fact that this is my journey.
I climbed Kilimanjaro last month, which was one of my dreams also. As we were getting to the top, the guides kept on telling us to slow down. When I asked them why we needed to slow down, they said that if we don’t go slow, we don’t acclimatise, and then we get sick. This is actually what happened to some of the people who were climbing.
This was a lesson that I took for myself. Even though I wish I had dreamt bigger, wish that I could be more or have more, I had to go at the speed I've gone. That could be slow, but my journey was at the speed it was because I needed to acclimatise to it too.
Climbing Kilimanjaro taught me that my journey is progressing at the speed it is meant to. I'm trying every day to become better. This was a good lesson for me going forward.
STELLA BIDA: What did you learn about yourself through climbing Kilimanjaro, that you would not have known had you not done it?
DAVID Mc GOWAN: I learned about myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. That was a very powerful lesson for me. I knew it on a good day, but didn't know it on a bad one. I had set the goal to climb Kilimanjaro. This had been a dream I'd been talking about for five or six years. I had set myself that objective and then I had started doing everything that I needed to do, to work towards that.
I had to learn the potential problems I was going to get, I had to talk with experts who had done it before, and learn from them. I had to get physically fit. I had to learn how to breathe properly for the oxygen, … Through that experience, I understood that I can do anything. I just have to set a goal and then work towards that goal. One of my keys to success is to get a coach, somebody who has done it before, and this is what has been done for this experience too.
STELLA BIDA: What is the underlying reason for which you take so much time in making sure that others reach their dreams? Why is it so important for you?
DAVID Mc GOWAN: I think there are probably a few reasons to that. First of all, I love life, I love people. I think that the more people are happy, the better life is. If someone is reaching their dreams, they're probably going to be in a happy place.
I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins. Through his definition of happiness, he says it's based on two things. The first one is gratitude. Are you grateful for what you have today? And the second one is progress. Are you progressing in your life? This means asking ourselves every day, whether we are a little bit closer to our dreams than we were the day before. I think that's a powerful definition of happiness.
Another aspect, is that I actually understood that there are certain universal laws in life. One of these laws I believe in is that whatever you want in life, first learn how to give it. If you want love, give love. If you want friendship, give friendship. If you want money, give money. All will come back to you. If you want to live your dreams, help other people live their dreams - this is what I am committed to.
STELLA BIDA: During the Covid pandemic, it seems that people have become more open in sharing themselves. Do you think that we need to be honest and open about our hardships with others? To which extent?
DAVID Mc GOWAN: I think we do. You might know the expression: “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. When people see someone successful, they might say: “He's just lucky!”. Warren Buffett often shares the fact that his luck was that we was born in the USA, an industrial country, with little poverty and that there were lots of opportunities. But from there, he had hardships too.
We all go through hardships. When I see successful people, I’m amazed because I know that things didn't just happen for them easily, they probably had to have hardships too, but they've overcome them.
I can explain the hardships that I've had to anyone who is interested in knowing more about them. I know that people can identify and say to themselves that if I’ve had these hardships and that I’ve been able to overcome them, then they can do the same.
It is important to share with people that it isn't easy, and that the hardships can be transformed into power.
STELLA BIDA: From my personal experience with you, one of the things that I really appreciated is your presence. Have you always been that present with others? Did you have to learn how to be present for others?
DAVID Mc GOWAN: I like taking the example of networking events. Sometimes there are certain people you talk to, but somehow you can feel that they're looking aside, already thinking about the next person they're going to talk with - and I’m guilty of that too.
But I’ve come to realise that we all have our journeys and paths, but that people are put on our paths for a reason. We don’t necessarily know what that reason is. I love to just think of the fact that I can take time with people, event though some networking books advise to talk 10 minutes with each person and take their business cards.
What I’ve found out is that when I’m talking to somebody and that I spend a bit of time with that person, I can truly get to know that person.
Everybody has something that they can teach us, and it's great to be able to discover what that is.
STELLA BIDA: If you had the David of 10 years old in front of you, what would you tell him?
DAVID Mc GOWAN: If I had the David of 20 y.o., I would tell him something different from the 10 y.o.
To the David of 10 y.o., I would tell him to follow his dreams 100%, to just go for it. That's what I tell my three kids too. We have signs up in the house which remind everyone about that.
To the David of 20 y.o., I would ask him not to worry so much. I spent too much time worrying. I had so much worry that it wasn't necessarily good for me. I think a little bit of worry is good, because that helps us in getting out of bed, but for me, it was too much. I would ask him to relax and enjoy the ride, and at the same time pushing every day towards his dreams.
What I've just shared leads me to my number one phrase, inspired from Winston Churchill: “Never ever , ever, ever, ever give up!”. You don't know when, you don't know how, but you will get there - as long as you keep going.
STELLA BIDA: Has there been a particular moment in your life when you got convinced that giving up is not an option? This is something that we often hear, but when we are in the intensity of the worries, it's sometimes difficult to even believe in it.
DAVID Mc GOWAN: First of all, I would like to start by sharing that I want to give up just about every day.
I’ve decided to turn my GPS on, in order to know where I’m going. This is a 5-10-15 years plan that I’ve created for myself. Stephen Covey wrote about this in his book too, The 7 habits of highly effective people. The principle is to begin with the end goal in mind. The first time I did this exercise, I was 26 y.o., and asked myself where I want to be at 31 y.o., and at 41 y.o. This is to be done as if a fairy came down from the sky and gave you as many wishes as you want. So when you're thinking that you're going completely crazy, know that there's always another level, and that you can go even higher and crazier.
This gives me a clear direction of my life. In life, we come across many opportunities. Having my GPS on allows me to know which ones are aligned with what I really want. As long as I know that I'm heading towards the destination that I have wished for, established and decided on, I know I’m on track.
STELLA BIDA: As a last question David, what have I not asked you about that is important, and that could help people in going towards their dreams?
DAVID Mc GOWAN: Mindfulness is something very important. I love the expression: “I have to stand guard in front of the ideas that come into my mind”. I am very careful of what I feed my mind with. For example, I don't watch the news, am careful about sensational information whenever I'm surfing on the web or am on social media. I need to feed my mind with positive things.
Meditation has helped me a lot. I also do priming every morning, because then I can be aware of the thoughts that are coming into my mind. Then I can decide whether I react on them or not. It is proven that 90% of our thoughts are negative. When we realise that, we can be mindful and be careful of the thoughts that come in into our mind. We understand that it's not because we think the thoughts that we have to act on them.
STELLA BIDA: Thank you very much David for taking the time in sharing yourself, sharing about your life. I personally enjoyed this conversation, and I know that your insights are going to help and inspire the people who are watching in reaching their dreams.
DAVID Mc GOWAN: Thank you Stella, it's been a great pleasure to share the conversation with you! Congratulations!