Connor Griggs

Being an entrepreneur can be completely exhausting. And even more so during this pandemic. Not being able to get that human contact we always long for with our team or clients, having to do EVERYTHING online. These situations can lead us not only to isolation, but to the point of not being able to think about other things...and it can often cause us to miss out regularly on having a good night's sleep.

In today's episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, I am SUPER EXCITED to be coaching Connor Griggs, CEO and Founder of Earth conscious lifestyle brand, Tropical Tundra, offering clothing that protects rainforest ecosystems and indigenous communities.

Connor and I had a very interesting conversation about how a spiritual awakening led him to turn his life around and create a psychedelic clothing line, why balance is not the goal, how to stay present,  and the importance of having a coach in your journey as a business owner.  And...I explain the H.EA.L. principle to him and what the acronym is all about.

Tune in and join us!

Is your business keeping you up at night? Are you having trouble handling isolation? Let’s talk! If there's a challenge you'd like to talk about on the podcast or privately, please reach out to me at:

Episode Transcript

Kim Ades: [00:00:05]
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades. I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.

Today it is my absolute pleasure to invite and introduce you to my guest.

His name is Connor Griggs and he is the President and Founder of a company called Tropical Tundra.

Connor, welcome.

Connor Griggs: [00:00:35]
Hello, thank you for having me today.

Kim Ades: [00:00:38]
So, where are you in the world?

Connor Griggs: [00:00:39]
I'm in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kim Ades: [00:00:41]
Okay. And what is Tropical Tundra?

Connor Griggs: [00:00:44]
Tropical Tundra is an Earth conscious apparel brand dedicated to awakening human consciousness and protecting the rainforests.

Kim Ades: [00:00:52]
Amazing. So what made you start this company? How long have you been running it for? Tell us a little bit about your journey.

Connor Griggs: [00:01:01]
Sure. Yeah. So, I started off in the medical device arena, and I was in Regulatory Affairs and kind of started to climb the corporate ladder, broke off and started doing consulting. And I fell into kind of like a deep, dark  depression when I-- there was like a part of me that just wasn't being fulfilled working in the corporate world.

So I ended up taking a spiritual journey to South America, and having a spiritual awakening. And during that process, my... I kind of experienced something called an ego death. And I realized that the life that I was living wasn't serving me or anybody around me and I had a connection to something greater than myself to protect the rainforests.

And so, that was about three years ago. And I've been doing it ever since. And right now it's my full-time focus.

Kim Ades: [00:01:57]
Okay, so, and I'm kind of just curious. When someone says a spiritual awakening, I want to learn more. So what happened that created a spiritual awakening? Was it a retreat? Did you bump into someone, interesting? Did you kind of take a whole bunch of drugs and kind of wake up and go "wow"?

Connor Griggs: [00:02:16]
Yeah, so, they call it Vine--

Kim Ades: [00:02:19]
An all of the above?

Connor Griggs: [00:02:20]
Yeah. Yeah. You can say all of the above. So they call it the Vine of the Soul, it's called Ayahuasca, it's a concoction of different plants and the active ingredient is DMT, which is called the spirit molecule. And after ingesting it, you connect to something higher than yourself. And you almost have a dialogue with this interdimensional life force.

And through that process, I learned that the life that I was living wasn't serving me, I was kind of like dealing with a bunch of addiction and depression issues. And I was able to kind of... kind of zoom out and be able to look at my life for what it was and make a pivot.

And during that experience, I heard this call to protect the rainforest and have been doing it ever since. So now I have a partnership with Rainforest Trust and every shirt that I sell, protects one acre of rainforest.

Kim Ades: [00:03:16]
And so, that experience seems to have been very profound, but also long lasting. So oftentimes we have an awakening, you know, we have clarity, we march forward and then we resume, we revert. So what was it about this particular experience that kept you on this path?

Connor Griggs: [00:03:37]
It was how profound it was. There was a... So, the way that I was kind of living life was very, like, selfishly for myself, and I was able to break out for the first time of my consciousness and be able to, like, turn around and look at my life for what it was.

A lot of people talk about like a video room when you die. You're able to kind of see your life in a video room and be able to kind of analyze, "okay, these are my screw ups and these are my triumphs".

And I almost had one of those experiences where I was able to kind of look at everything from where I was, look at the path that I was going down and be able to identify, "Hey, that's not the path that I want. That's not the path that's healthiest for me". And so, that was the biggest thing, was being able to really escape the patterns that I was currently invested in and to be able to make those pivots.

Kim Ades: [00:04:29]

Connor Griggs: [00:04:29] Yeah.

Kim Ades: [00:04:30]
So where are you now? Where are you in the process of building your company? Tell us about the shape, the state of your company and tell us what your greatest challenge is.

Connor Griggs: [00:04:41]
Yeah. So right now, the website is being born right now. I have about 50 different products for men, 50 different products for women, all the operations is fully outsourced and the fulfillment. And we're doing this really gorgeous all-over print, nature inspired, psychedelic t-shirts. Premium products--

Kim Ades: [00:05:02]
Like the one you're wearing?

Connor Griggs: [00:05:03]
Yep, yep.

Kim Ades: [00:05:04]

Connor Griggs: [00:05:05]
They're really nice and they're smooth and they breathe and they're just-- they're amazing products and I can stand behind them.

And so, the operations is all taken care of and the website is just now being delivered. I'm doing a big photo shoot for all the women's tees coming up here. And for the first time in my business, I'm finally comfortable. I'm at a point where I'd be willing to invest into marketing.
So outside of organic reach I really haven't done too much.

All of my sales have been through people that I know, have been people that I've, you know, come across in one way, shape or form. But I've never, like, pumped money into a marketing strategy, which is what I'm going to be doing.

And so, my biggest challenge, I would say, is going to be the... For my business is going to be getting traffic. So, you know, there's a quote "if you build, they will come" and that does not apply to online businesses.

You have to get that traffic to your website, and there's a ton of different ways that you can do it. And I'm going through Traffic Secrets by Russell Brunson, and he really identifies all the different traction channels and all that. So I'm devising my strategy right now.

And then on a personal basis, is really balance. I'm having a really hard time balancing everything in my life, as far as, like, work-life balance. How many hours do I put in? Can I stay present in the times that a carve out from when I'm working?

I tend-- my mind always wants to attach to another problem or kind of, like, foresee what's around the corner for me to anticipate, like, a problem to solve.

Kim Ades: [00:06:55]
So are you saying that when you're not working, you're still thinking about work?

Connor Griggs: [00:06:58]

Kim Ades: [00:06:59]
So when you're hanging out with your friends, you're not really actually here.

Connor Griggs: [00:07:04]
Yeah, it's... that's my biggest issue right now.

Kim Ades: [00:07:08]
Okay. And so what's the cost of that? Why is that actually a problem?

Connor Griggs: [00:07:14]
The cost of it is I find myself... it's kind of hard for me to connect with a lot of people. I kind of feel like I'm alone. I have this, like, underlying feeling that, like, people don't understand me and it's almost like... It's almost like an addiction.

And it's like, I need to, like, find ways to just, like, free my mind so that I can be present at my other hobbies. I'm starting music production, and working out helps me. I meditate, I haven't been able to do my yoga classes because of the virus and everything, but...

Kim Ades: [00:08:03]
Okay. So I want to address the issue of balance because I think balance is something that people really crave and don't really understand what they're after truly.

And so what you're describing is not necessarily the desire for balance, but the desire for connection, which are two different things. But let's talk about balance for a moment. I think that balance is fine for a moment or two, but not as a lifetime goal. And I'll explain to you why.
Like, what happens when things are in perfect balance? So imagine you go to a park and you see these two kids on a seesaw and they're in perfect balance. What's happening?

Connor Griggs: [00:08:43]
Nothing's moving, nothing's changing.

Kim Ades: [00:08:45]
Nothing's moving, nothing's happening. And for people who are highly driven, people who are entrepreneurs, people who do have active minds, like, that's the worst place to be.

Right? And so, that's a good place to be when you want to catch your breath. But really what we're after is the ride. The highs and the lows, you know, the bumps along the way were after the ride. And truly if we're living our lives with the greatest intention, we want to be on the ride. We don't want to be living in a state of balance. Right?

So this whole idea of work-life balance, I think is a bit of a trick. Right? It's something that sounds good. It sounds like we should work a certain number of hours and live a certain number of hours, but I always want to say, like, your work is your life. It's part of your life. And so let's not make a distinction.

The question is how are you doing this life? Both work and at home or otherwise. So what I'm really hearing from you is. I feel like I'm in it alone. And by the way, like, it's not a surprise. When I-- I've been coaching leaders for well over 16 years, and I've discovered that leaders tend to struggle in four key areas and I'm going to describe them. And I think that all of them relate to you.

Number one is isolation. They feel misunderstood. They feel like they're in it alone. They can't relate to others and nobody's kind of lifting or sharing the burden of responsibility.

Number two is that they have tension with others. They have friction, you know, other people don't have the same sense of urgency. They don't have the same mission. They don't have the same lifestyle. They don't have the same mindset. And so there's this friction sometimes it's at a low level underlying friction, sometimes it's really at the forefront and there's actually aggression and friction.

The third is a sense of chronic dissatisfaction. You're never quite where you want to be. You're always behind the eight ball. You know, you're making progress, but it's not fast enough. And that troubles you, it bothers you. That's what keeps you up at night.

And number four is what I call slippage and what is slippage? It's a term I invented where people let important things slip through the cracks. Things like their sleep, their health, their nutrition, their friendships, their social life, they might get into addictions, etc. So, what do you think all four of those relate?

Connor Griggs: [00:11:06]
Yeah. All four of them. The slippage is maybe... is, like, the output of me not being able to, like, kind of, like, balance my thoughts.

Kim Ades: [00:11:19]
Yeah. So, I love that because it sounds like your head is spinning much faster than your body can keep up. Okay? And so, there are a couple of things that I want to address.

Number one is so when we coach leaders, we ask them to journal in an online journal and we have access to that journal. So if I were to coach you, you would journal on a daily basis and on the other end, if I were your coach, I would be reading and responding to your journal, asking you questions, but getting into your head with you. If that makes any sense.

And going through the battle that exists, that you're having alone. And so, number one, I highly recommend that you journal. Number two is if you could get a partner who could read and respond to your journal and grapple with you intellectually, spiritually, physically, whatever, that's a really great idea. So that would be very, very useful for you.

But the last thing, the second thing I want to say is that, you know, you're trying to make decisions about how do you spend your time. You know, I should be spending more time being present with my friends, but if your head's not there, then what you end up feeling is that was a waste of time. Right? So we don't want to do that.

What we want to do is say, "I want to spend all of my time, the majority of my time in a place where I'm lit up. Until it becomes a burden, until it becomes a drain, until it causes the risk to me".

Connor Griggs: [00:12:48]

Kim Ades: [00:12:49]
And what you're describing is that place where it's a bit risky. Or you're tired, you're overworked, you're a little stressed, you're in your own head, all of that stuff. Right?

So it's not about work-life balance. It's about really living with as much passion as possible. And then saying, "okay. So if there's a toll that it's taking on me, what are my release mechanisms?" And for you, maybe it's journaling, maybe it's working with a coach who can really see what you're thinking and how you're thinking and how some of your thoughts might be working against you.

But then the last piece is how do you make decisions about where to spend your time? I'm going to give you a really brief formula, you might want to write it down, that helps a lot of people make decisions.

I use the acronym HEAL. H.E.A.L. And I'll describe it.

Number one is, is it healthy? So, I think one of the things you're dealing with is you're not sleeping. You're working till five in the morning and then there's... you know, you're up the next day pretty early and right at it. So, is that healthy? It's not in a sustainable way, so that's not a good decision, not a good choice. Right? So is it healthy?

Is it engaging? And for you, engagement is very important. If you're not engaged bad idea. Right? So if hanging out with your friends, if you feel like "I'm going to die in this conversation, it's not engaging". Don't do it.

Number three, is it aligned with my values? So is it consistent with what's important to me?
And number four, does it lead me to an outcome or a goal, a desire that I'm looking for? So if one of your goals or desires is connection, then maybe hanging out with friends is a good idea, but not all the friends. Maybe what you need to do is be part of an entrepreneurial group where you're connected to like-minded people who are also striving towards their own goals, who live a similar kind of lifestyle as you. Now you're more on the same page.

So those are all the things. But by the way, if any one of those things are out of sync, the health, the alignment with your values, the engagement, or if it doesn't lead to a goal or a desire that you have, if only one of them is out of place, it's a poor decision.

You'll have to check off all the boxes when you're making the decisions. And I think for you,it's really about making slightly better decisions and taking a moment to say, "does this check off all the boxes?" If not, new decision.

Connor Griggs: [00:15:31]

Kim Ades: [00:15:32]
Does that make any sense?

Connor Griggs: [00:15:33]
No, it makes a lot of sense. Yeah. And I think the engagement part is interesting to me because I'll be hanging out with a lot of my friends and some of them just don't have any aspirations and it'll drive me nuts and it'll make me feel like I'm not gaining anything out of the whole situation.

Like, whether they want to talk about, like, a sports game or... but they just want to go and get fucked up or whatever. And it's like my values have totally changed from when I was in my early twenties to now and I'm not interested in the party scene and I'm not--

Kim Ades: [00:16:12]

Connor Griggs: [00:16:12]
I'm not interested in kind of like small talk and shallow conversations. I want, like, intellectual connection. And I haven't been getting that with my core group of friends.

Kim Ades: [00:16:24]
And it sounds like one of the things that might be of benefit to you is to join like a mastermind-- a peer mastermind group, like EO or something like that, or TEC, or in your case Vistage.

So something like that, that has you connecting with other entrepreneurs who are at the same growth stage as you. So I would encourage that.

Connor Griggs: [00:16:46]
What was it called?

Kim Ades: [00:16:47]
So one is called EO, Entrepreneurs' Organization, and the other one is called Vistage and they have different groups for different size companies at different stages of their growth, but you meet, you know, once a month and you're having these conversations, like how do we deal with marketing? What's the best strategy? You know, how do you spend your money, the best way? I hired someone and they're horrible, what do I do now?

All those questions that you're grappling with all the time. What's the best outsourcing company? What are you spending on that? All those questions that you're probably trying to work out on your own.

And again, the other piece is, like, work with someone one-on-one because you have a lot in your head and you need to put it down. Right? And so, that putting it down piece will enable you to get a little rest and be present in the places that aren't work-related.

Connor Griggs: [00:17:39]

Kim Ades: [00:17:40]

Connor Griggs: [00:17:40]
Have you ever heard of EOS?

Kim Ades: [00:17:42]
Of course.

Connor Griggs: [00:17:43]
Traction? Okay. So I use to manage my business processes, which has been helping me tremendously from rather than me walking around as this, like, to-do list to, like, putting it out into the physical realm.

Kim Ades: [00:17:58]

Connor Griggs: [00:17:58]
And I've noticed significant differences when I get it out. And when I put it on a white board or if I write it down. But that has been a game changer for me, for sure.

Kim Ades: [00:18:12]
Yeah. And you know what? If you join a group like EO, or even Vistage, they're very familiar with EOS, Gino Wickman, the Traction book, all of that stuff. And so you're connecting with like-minded people. They're all working on these processes individually in their own companies. And so you have a great point of discussion and connection. And you know, when you're stuck with something, they could help you out.

Connor Griggs: [00:18:39]
And so, with Coronavirus, like, I'm a very... I'm very outgoing. And I haven't been able to, like, really connect and network with people and it's been driving me nuts and...

Kim Ades: [00:18:49]

Connor Griggs: [00:18:50]
Part of me was like, I don't... Like, if it's going to be online, I have this mental block, like I don't want to do it because I feel like I'm not getting that human element. But do you think that it's still worth it just to--

Kim Ades: [00:19:02]
I definitely think it's worth it. And I think in the States things are starting to open up a little more than in Canada. And I think, like, I know that even in Canada, some of these groups are starting to meet in person. I imagine that in your area is even more so. So even if you start off for a few months virtually, it doesn't really matter. Take that will lead you to a more of an in-person kind of connection.

Connor Griggs: [00:19:27]

Kim Ades: [00:19:28]

Connor Griggs: [00:19:29]
How about... have you ever heard of entrepreneurs looking for therapists? Like, would you recommend that they get a therapist too? Because, I know that there's a big mental health movement that's going on.

Kim Ades: [00:19:38]
Yeah. I... This is where you talk to me. So, we're not therapists, but we provide coaching and look at how people think and how they're thinking and impacts their outcomes. So, you know, do you have a mental health issue? Are you, you know, dramatically impaired or something like that? I would say not necessarily.

But you need a partner in your journey, and very often a better partner than a therapist is a coach who can look at what's going on in your thinking, in your belief system, and walk that journey with you. And that's where we stepped in. So, happy to talk to you after the podcast is over.

Connor Griggs: [00:20:18]

Kim Ades: [00:20:19]
Okay? I want to say, thank you for joining me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. For those of you who are listening, you may have some of the same challenges. You have a big goal you want to reach, it's keeping you up at night and you're finding yourself struggling in one of those four areas that I described above.

If you have a challenge that you want to share with me on the podcast, please reach out to me.
My email address is

If there is a challenge that you are struggling with, that you want some help with, that you want to talk about, but perhaps not so much on the podcast, please reach out to me as well.

My email address is

Connor, thank you so much for being on the podcast with me, for sharing your story with our listeners. I really appreciate that.

Connor Griggs: [00:21:08]
Yeah, happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

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