Lessons From The Road: Are You Open To Being More Open?

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

When I announced my 2019 tour the outpouring of thoughts, encouragement, and support was overwhelming and humbling. It amazed me how much people are paying attention to me and Founders Live, and how they were extending their thoughts and words of encouragement to me.

I was on a call today with one of these people – someone who I didn’t know but had attended an event in Austin, TX and then cold reached out to me in an email.

During the conversation, something clicked as I was talking. A new lesson – if you are open to being open – to new things and new people – they will walk into your life unexpected but with perfect timing to answer a request or a need you have at the time.


I described to this person how amazing it was that as Founders Live grows, we are seeing a larger and larger community forming around the world. And I was struck with how lots of these people have reached out to me and extended their support, offering a roof over my head or a connection to someone they know when I enter a new city.

“We’ve created this community and it’s amazing how people are opening doors to me all over the place”, I said to him. “It’s really cool to see it in action. To see people opening doors to strangers in efforts to help.”

Then I said “This is not about me. I didn’t build Founders Live just for myself. This is available and open to ALL Founders Live members. Anyone should be able to post about their travels or needs and others in our community can be there for assistance and support if needed. I know it’s happening already.”

That’s the truth.

You should be able to tap into the Founders Live community and connect with other like-minded people, possibly in other countries and other corners of the world. You should be able to trust them, or at least know they pass one or two filters even before you discovered them.

A quality check for me (as the founder) is if this continues and actually becomes more prevalent as we grow in many more cities and many more people around the world. That’s when we know we’ve created something very special.

The lesson here is: Be Open To Being More Open. It’s an offshoot of Open The Door Core Value and maybe the distant cousin of it. It’s the reciprocal side of that core value, where as you are more open to new opportunities, new people, new experiences, the more often you will see others Opening The Door to you. You see, the Core Value Open The Door only works when there are 2 people: one person who is opening the door and the other person who is open to the door being opened for them.

Be Open. More than you would otherwise. It’s how we grow as humans. And I am learning it’s how you survive when you are on the road!


Lessons From The Road: Quickly Establishing A Routine Is Key To Progress

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes another lesson from my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

One thing I recently noticed about myself was how much I desire routine. It was apparent when I was living in Seattle where I would wake up in the same place each day and pretty much doing the same things within a morning routine. Boy did I enjoy that damn amazing view of Lake Union from my living room.

But now as I find myself out on the road it has become even more clear that establishing a routine as quickly as possible once I arrive in a new city is key to my productivity and progress.

I don’t know about you but when I feel out of synch in life I am not productive at all. I desire some normality, however I can get it. I need to grow. Each Day. Even the way I start my day points to a routine which covers numerous areas of growth in my life.

My morning routine goes something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Get coffee going
  • Meditation – 10-15 mins
  • Drink coffee and read email newsletters and blog posts of what has happened in last 12-24 hours
  • 30 mins Workout – running or strength (4 days per week hopefully)
  • Shower and get ready
  • Eat something healthy
  • Ready to walk out the door

With that morning routine, I experience growth in the spiritual, intellectual, physical and nutritional areas all within a few hours and before I set out to work for the day. It makes me feel refreshed, energized, intelligent, grounded, and self-aware. It makes me feel like I am taking at least a few steps forward, not backward.

Now that I am on the road and not living a normal life, it’s important for me to be flexible and adapt to my surroundings but at the same time wrap my morning routine into this crazy everchanging life I am now living.

Why? Because letting my health, intelligence, self-awareness and nutrition slip will only hold me back from realizing my potential and will seep into my happiness as a person. I don’t want that at all. I took the leap and left on a world tour to find happiness, not lose it!

So I work at it and embrace the uncomfortableness.


Equally important to my morning routine, I figured out pretty quickly I needed to find a home base workspace where I go and get work done most days.

Here in Boise, I joined the coworking space Trailhead where I spend most of the day getting work done and taking calls.  It’s been exactly what I needed and I’m really enjoying getting to know the Boise startup community. In fact, this is the venue we’ll be using to run the Founders Live Boise event this month and going forward this year.  Learning about their growth initiatives and how Founders Live can help accomplish them was music to my ears and we’re honored they want to support our initiatives as well.

The lesson here for anyone on the road is multifaceted.

First, whatever daily routine you thrive on when you are at home can be worked into your life on the road if you pay close enough attention and work at it. It does take work. But if done correctly it ties you back into yourself and you feel whole no matter where you are in the world. Secondly, quickly finding a home base or a place you can depend on each day to help maintain your effectiveness and work ethic is key to not losing a step in your business. Lastly – newness, fresh faces, and different daily challenges are refreshing and fun to tackle. Embrace the hell out of them.

If you ever choose to take your World Tour (or just a short trip), I hope these lessons help you along your way.

What True Commitment Feels Like

I recently announced my plans for a 12-month Founders Live world tour. This post describes a lesson from the first few weeks of my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date. Follow along here on this blog and here.

We’re just a few weeks into my year-long global journey and I have already connected some very important dots.

First off – and quite a bit less important than the next point – is the fact that I am weirdly comfortable in this new state of being. For those of you who didn’t read the above-linked post, I am currently in Boise, ID for January, city #1 in a 12+ city tour where I plan on living in each area for a month as I work with our local Founders Live leaders and grow the global brand along the way.

I’ve noticed my adaptations to changing and uncomfortable circumstances are becoming quicker and easier as the weeks go on. As I mentioned in a previous post, “Think about your life. You wake up (usually) at the same time. In the same room. Have your same morning routine. You (most likely) go to an office or your same place of work each day. Return to your residence. You (might) have a significant other who you enjoy spending time with. You have a mailing address.”

Not me! Not any more.

And you know what? That’s okay! I am now in a process of digitizing pretty much my entire life and learning to live in much more fluid and changing state. It’s quite freeing and something to be attentive to and improved upon each day. I am committed to adapting to this new life.

downhill-skiing-1The next point is what I want to drive home to you today. It’s about Commitment.

You see, I thought I was committed. In my life. In my relationship. To my company.

I realize now although I was somewhat committed to all those things, I was never fully committed to any of those. I was not 100% committed in anything in my life. And to be honest with you that was a tough sentence to type.

And you may be thinking to yourself, “Wait, what? well, Founders Live is growing and Nick seems successful? How can it be he wasn’t committed?”

Yes, I was definitely working hard and committed to daily efforts of Founders Live. But there was something wrong. Something wasn’t fully locked in and it felt off. I realize now I was a bit complacent in my life. For some reason, I had fallen into a bit of zombie mode.

Now, by making the decision to end my relationship, setting out on the road and leaving the city I have called home for 15+ years, I learned real commitment. I now feel what 100% commitment is really like.

100% commitment requires you to give up something you care deeply about in order to retain the other thing in your life. For me, that was the loss of my relationship and the life I called my reality for 4.5 years. It involved removing the safety net and going all in.

True commitment involves some levels of pain and discomfort. Trust me, my decision and the now new reality have brought me both of those.

To drive this point home, I was recently asked on a podcast about commitment and this topic in general, and I told the following story. Being the creator of Founders Live and running our event in Seattle for almost 5 years I meet and talk with hundreds, if not thousands of startup founders. They tell me about their ideas and their companies. They might even pitch at our events. They seem on a good path. And good for them, I am a very big supporter of entrepreneurs and people creating their own companies.

BUT, my intuitive senses quickly kick in and I can almost feel this person’s level of commitment. It’s in the way they talk, what they say, how they say it, how they prepare (or not) for Founders Live pitch experience, etc.. The truth is most aren’t committed and their companies aren’t going to make it in the end. I can see it in the eyes. It could be for many different reasons, but the main one is – at the current point in time – they aren’t 100% fully committed to their vision and their path. There’s not enough pain and they haven’t given up enough. They are playing it safe. It doesn’t mean that can’t change (and I hope it does) but it does mean at that current point in time, they aren’t there yet.

I can sense it because I was there too, not very long ago in fact.

The lesson here is: You may think you are committed. But you need to ask yourself if you are 100% committed? And what does 100% committed look and feel like to you? What is holding you back and blocking you from reaching your potential? What do you need to remove from your life so that you can make a 100% commitment?

You may not like the answers to those questions but if you want to be successful you need to know them regardless. If you need help uncovering them, feel free to reach out.

Lessons From Stepping Out Into The Abyss

It’s amazing how quickly your life can change.

Thanksgiving 2018 – my longterm girlfriend and I were spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my family.

Christmas 2018 – My belongings were moved out of the apartment of no-longer-my girlfriend into storage, and I was on the road beginning a year-long tour of Founders Live cities, starting in Boise, Idaho.

This is not a woe is me post.

I recently announced I am going on 12-month world tour. This is a post to describe my experience stepping out into the first few weeks of my journey and what I have initially learned from taking the biggest risk of my life to date.


What scares you is usually the most important

I was terrified to lose her, yet in the end, it is exactly what happened. The moment I realized the relationship I had been in for almost five years was coming to an end, things started to shift. For so long I was unwilling to acknowledge the space between us and what had crept in.

What crept in? From what I can gather at this point it was the emergence of (small but growing) success and the reveal of a vastly different potential for my life on a global scale. The past Nick (and some of his baggage) was hindering present and future Nick.

This realization also scared me. It’s easier and somewhat safer to pull the covers over your head and just stay where you are. Closed off. Safe. Warm. Comfortable. (No, I will not change!) It’s tremendously more challenging and scary to look at your potential, evaluate it from all angles, accept it and commit to seeing it through no matter what.

So that’s what I have done these last few weeks, and it’s just starting to take shape for me going into 2019.

[Nick note – I’ve been asked a few times what my biggest fear would be if I died and then was asked immediately in the afterlife what I regretted the most. My answer: not reaching my utmost potential during my time in this world – and then being shown that potential and how much more I could have done, impacted and achieved. That feeling would be devastating.]

Am I worried about how I’ll navigate the world during this next year? Sure, a little. But I can tell you this – I am overcome with intrigue and excitement about tackling the challenges I am now faced with and using different means to get to the end I have been dreaming about.

Embrace uncomfortable until it’s comfortable

Think about your life. You wake up (usually) at the same time. In the same room. Have your same morning routine. You (most likely) go to an office or your same place of work each day. Return to your residence. You (might) have a significant other who you enjoy spending time with. You have a mailing address!

Not me, anymore. This is incredibly unnerving and it’s a shock to the system. None of those things are constant in my life now. I am now moving through the world much more fluid and the only constant is change. This uncomfortableness is something I am now working to get comfortable with.

You know why? The best in the world at their given profession excel usually when they are extremely challenged and are placed in uncomfortable situations. Excelling at this moment is what sets them apart from the crowd. When others break, they bend. When others run, they stand and face it. When others quit, they work harder. This is why they are the best.

That’s what I am doing now. I left a cushy Seattle apartment with a crazy nice view of Lake Union with a great person at my side and a constant and dependable everyday lifestyle to embrace the uncomfortable world of year-long travel and life challenges. I am committing to building a company throughout this experience and place myself in uniquely challenging experiences so that I emerge as one of the best in the business.

Be your own best friend

So here I am, out on the road. New places to live, sometimes on a weekly. New beds. New pillows. New cities. New faces. Short-term friendships. No life partner. No pets.

Just the road and the radio.

In these times you notice little things you normally wouldn’t in your normal expected your day-to-day. Things are quieter when you are alone. Things can be more peaceful. They can sometimes be more lonely. Scary even.

But the biggest thing you notice is how much you need to be your own best friend. You need to learn how to uplift yourself and treat yourself well. It’s pretty much your only option since you are stuck with yourself through this journey. And it is exactly what I needed. I wasn’t my own best friend and it was starting to crack me in my core. I needed a change.

So this is my biggest lesson to date: My 12-month journey is as much about finding my best-friend self than it is about finding more Founders Live users and new cities. Sometimes we have good days. Sometimes we have bad days. But we’re getting along and growing closer each day.

Cheers Mate – it’s going to be one helluva year together.

I am going on a 2019 World Tour To Discover Talent, Inspiration… and Myself

Confusingly, it is with both tremendous heartache and unbounded excitement to announce I am embarking on a journey of travel for the 2019 year. But before I get to the future plans, the why and the spark of this decision requires a bit of background.

My relationship of 4.5 years has recently come to an end. I literally just moved all my stuff out of our place into storage and it was not fun. This has been one of the most difficult and painful decisions of my life, something I never really considered would happen in this specific relationship and it being so immediate. But here we are, feeling like the central figure in a black mirror episode.

When you lose someone you love many things previously dismissed (or you did not want to address) become much more clear. It’s like a slap in the face – you are awake now, but with immense pain. You desperately search for the reason. For me, I have learned it was the lack of self love and belief in myself/my potential which blocked me from fully living and thriving in the relationship. I realized I still have a lot of internal work ahead of me. (Yes, even Nick Hughes struggles with belief and self confidence sometimes.) Everyone does.

Something felt stuck and it was perplexing. Founders Live was holding back my relationship. And my relationship was holding back Founders Live. A true rock and hard place is where I found myself. I can honestly say – with tears forming in my eyes – that I wasn’t fully living in alignment as a holistic human being, I was not in a healthy state of wellbeing while in this relationship. And in the end, alignment and togetherness is what relationships feed off of. Thus, it really blocked me from fully embracing her+myself and how we desired to be together.

The culprit – my potential. If you have been following the developing Founders Live story here in Seattle for the last few years you might sense something special is unfolding, just as I sense it. It’s been exhilarating and fun, but I honestly feel I have been operating at 20% of my capacity and potential, which if kept at this pace, I and Founders Live would ultimately not reach the level of excellence and impact around the world I imagine and anticipate. The cascading effect of lack of self love and self worth, and then the malalignment in the relationship shocked and scared me, and it ultimately ended our *perfect* life.

So this is where I leave. This is where I break away and set out to discover myself, my potential and find out how big of vision I really hold. Having Vision can be scary. To accept the challenge and attempt to make that vision a reality is even more scary. So I need to let go… and let the pieces fall where they may. In the process I need to heal in areas I have been hurting. I need be a better version of myself first, before I am a better partner to anyone who enters my life.

Since my world is now flipping upside down I have decided to go on the road for 2019 year,  A Founders Live world tour to see the people and document incredible entrepreneurial stories and continue to build Founders Live along the way. The basics – 12 months, 12 cities at least, live in one city each new month, attend the events, and work locally with our leadership teams, spread the Founders Live core values to inspire people and communities around the world. Not to mention create amazing memories along the way. I am also excited to capture amazing stories of talented people in the various corners of the world through our videos and an upcoming podcast. People OUTSIDE of Silicon Valley. People who have been overlooked and underserved but yet are as talented as you or me. Just thinking about who I will meet and what I will see/hear revs my engines.

One thing I have learned while growing Founders Live is there are times in your life where you must Risk. Windows open for brief periods – lucky are the ones who see the window open and are able to act on it. To succeed, you must be willing to take a risk and put everything on the line to project yourself forward. (By the way, this is why most people aren’t entrepreneurs.) So, this is it. This is me stepping into the abyss and emerging into a new realm of leadership.

Ok, so what’s the plan? Where am I going?

As with most things, it’s weird to be attempting to plan so much so quickly when so much is up in the air and undefined. But here’s what I have *penciled* in for the next year. Since Founders Live continues to expand around the world there’s a high percentage chance some of these destinations will change during the course of the year.

Tour Map - 2019 (2)

Month, 2019 Founders Live City
Jan Boise, ID
Feb LA/San Diego (SoCal)
Mar Austin, TX
Apr Dallas, TX
May Denver/Boulder
Jun Bozeman/Minneapolis
Jul Boston
Aug DC
Oct London
Nov Africa (Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria)
Dec S. America

How can you follow along?

I’ll be documenting this experience for sure! We’ll be creating interesting, fun and inspiring content that can be found on the following spaces:

Founders Live – https://www.founderslive.com

Instagram Nick – https://www.instagram.com/jnickhughes/

Instagram Founders Live – https://www.instagram.com/founderslive/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/founderslive/

Linkedin Nick – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jnickhughes/

Twitter Nick – https://twitter.com/jnickhughes

Twitter Founders Live – https://twitter.com/founders_live

YouTube Channel – (coming soon)

Where’s Nick?

This map shows where I will be currently in the world and the journey path up to this point. Feel free to check it often when you want to know what city I am in. https://nickhughes.travelmap.net/

I leave for Boise, ID on Dec 23rd.

How can you help?

Take another look at that anticipated tour schedule. I could use help in the following:

  • Do you know a trusted, fun, interesting and cool person in one of the cities I should meet? As you know, I like meeting new people! Plz open the door.
  • Do you think they might even have a spare room and would be open to hosting me for a short few weeks?
  • Know of any companies or brands who want to be part of a global search for inspiration and talent? This journey will welcome corporate partners if it makes sense.
  • Are there key players in our industry or executives at companies I should talk with in these cities?
  • Share this story! Spread the word about Founders Live and the 2019 world tour and share with media if you think they might be interested.
  • Know of a videographer or creative team who wants to join me and document the whole thing? I see a documentary forming.
  • Anyone want to go on tour with me? Or meet up in one of the cities for an extended trip? Let me know.

What about Founders Live Seattle event and leadership?

I plan on being back in Seattle briefly and attending the January (1/31) and then most likely back for February (2/28) Seattle events. But yes, in the end we are now looking to bring someone on as our Founders Live Seattle city leader – similar to what we do in all our other cities. Although big shoes need to be filled I believe the next leader is out there and ready to step up. Let me know if you or someone you know would be a good fit.

What does all this mean? Is this the end?

No way, this changes little your life. If you are reading this in Seattle it might mean you we don’t see each other as often. But you can stay connected and follow on the various accounts above. I do plan on returning to Seattle and settling back down whenever this journey feels complete. And Seattle, I just need to say it – thanks for your continued support and love, you are my extended family.

If you are reading this in one of the cities mentioned above, please reach out and say hi and connect with me so we can coordinate activities when I get there. Can’t wait to see you.

If you are reading this in a city that is not on the list, just know it’s not personal! The city choices are based on various data and situational things. Please still follow along and if you really think I should come to your city, please email and make your best pitch to me!

So there you have it.

Holy ______, A Founders Live World Tour. I have no idea what is ahead of me, no idea what a year on the road is like, or even how to balance heartache with an unparalleled vagabond worldwide journey in search of human potential, truth and inspiration. All I do know is I have never felt a stronger pull in a direction than this that I feel right now, and I’m excited to meet the man out there on the horizon. I hope this journey can be a glimmer of inspiration and hope for you too! Feel free to email me at nick@founderslive if you need anything or have suggestions of where to go.

See you on the trails.

COURSE NOW OPEN: Founders Five – Master the 5 Essentials Required To Survive And Thrive As A Founder. SAVE $200 This Week Only

Back by popular demand, I am excited to announce the return of an online course, and it might be just what you needed to jump into fall and end the year on a high note.

What is Founders Five?

I have grown Founders Live from a small simple event in Seattle to a thriving global movement currently spreading across multiple continents in a short 2-year period. Through this process, I’ve learned a thing or two about starting and growing a brand and want to help others launch their dream companies as well.

Founders Five is a 5-week course to help develop your founder mentality and startup philosophy. The goal is less about launching something by the end of 5 weeks, but more about diving deep and learning what it takes to thrive in the world of entrepreneurship. My goal is to equip you with the tools and thought processes to better navigate your path, so you leave the course with more confidence and conviction. To make sure we all get the most out of it, this course is open to a limited amount of people and offered for a limited time. We hope you join in and use this summer as a launch pad for your entrepreneurial journey.