James Swanwick is an Australian-American investor, entrepreneur, speaker, former SportsCenter anchor on ESPN, host of The James Swanwick Show podcast and the author of The 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge. Forbes listed James as one of 25 Professional Networking Experts to Watch.
Swanwick Sleep´s products are currently worn by pro athletes and teams including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United. Our blue light blocking glasses are in 470 Sleep Number stores in the US and 400 Sport Chek stores in Canada.
Swanwick Sleep´s products are currently worn by pro athletes and teams including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United. Our blue light blocking glasses are in 470 Sleep Number stores in the US and 400 Sport Chek stores in Canada.
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Kevin Horek: Welcome back to the show.
Today we have James Swanwick.
He's the co-founder of Swanwick
Sleep and Alcohol Free Lifestyle.
James Swanwick: welcome to the show.
Kevin, thank you very much for having me.
Kevin Horek: Uh, oh.
I'm really, really excited
to have you on the show.
I, I think, and I was telling you
earlier, um, I, I think myself, and
I think a lot of people listening
probably want or need more sleep.
I would least say for myself, I've
been trying to cut back on alcohol
quite a bit over the last year or so,
so I'm selfishly, I'm interested to
learn a ton more from you and I'm sure
all the listeners out there as well.
But maybe before we get into all that
stuff, let's get to know you a little
James Swanwick: bit better and
start off with where you grew up.
Well, I'm Australian American.
I'm an Australian citizen
and naturalized US citizen.
And I grew up in a place called
Brisbane on the east coast of Australia.
And, uh, I moved to the US 20 years ago.
And when I grew up in Australia, or
at least after I, uh, turned 17, I was
a socially acceptable drinker in the
sense that I would have, you know, a
drink or two most nights of the week,
um, have a bit more on the weekends.
And when I got into my mid thirties when
I was living over in Austin, Texas, I woke
up one morning and, and kind of realized
that I put on a little bit of weight
and I was a bit tired and lethargic.
And so I made a choice to experiment
with 30 days without alcohol.
And as a result of that,
I lost a lot of weight.
I felt better, I slept better.
And that opened up a whole
cascade of healthy habits.
Including things like meditation
and good nutrition and exercise and
mindfulness and, uh, and then I just
decided to create businesses out of it.
So now I have a sleep company and now
I have a, a stop drinking company.
And both businesses, um, help
entrepreneurs, executives, investors.
Um, yeah, I haven't
drunk alcohol since 2010.
What I would consider
to be almost flawlessly.
And, uh, yeah, my whole entrepreneurial
life really is building companies
that, that serve that demographic.
Kevin Horek: Good for you, man.
So I I, before we dive deeper
into that, you went to university,
what did you take and why?
James Swanwick: I did a Bachelor of Arts
and I've studied government into history.
But candidly, I got a job
right outta high school.
I mean, I, I graduated high school when I
was 17 in Brisbane, and I did a cadetship
or a traineeship at a, uh, Rupert Murdoch
owned newspaper called The Courier Male.
You know, I did a six year traineeship
there and they very happily paid
for my university education and I
just went to university part-time.
So I'd love to say that university
was amazing for me, but I, I, looking
back, it didn't really do much for me,
I don't think, because I already was
in the workforce and earning a salary
and, and learning on the job and.
Studying government and history
was more, um, you know, just out of
interest rather than a necessity for
any future employment opportunities.
Kevin Horek: Okay.
So you've done and are currently
doing a ton of stuff in the sleep
and obviously alcohol's free space.
Do you want to talk through
some of those businesses?
Maybe let's start with sleep and
then, and then go to alcohol.
Does that work?
James Swanwick: or whatever you wanna do.
Yeah, for sure.
And we could talk sleep and.
Kevin Horek: Okay.
So walk us through some of the
companies, because you've, you
obviously do kind of some coaching
and, and stuff around that, but you've
also built some physical products
James Swanwick: related to sleep.
So, About five or six years ago, I was in
Palm Springs, California in a hotel, and
my friend came to dinner rocking a pair
of really ugly orange uve safety goggles,
And I was looking at him going,
you look ridiculous and you're
making me look ridiculous by
association . And he said, nah, man,
I'm trying to block the blue light.
And I said, block the blue light.
What are you talking about?
And he went on to explain
that light at night from.
Microwave light kitchen, light
bathroom lights, speedometer light,
the McDonald's golden arches, lights as
you're driving along the highway lights.
All of those lights at night
is disrupting our sleep.
. And the only problem was you had to look
like a meth chemist in order to block
that blue light with the orange lead.
So, so I went back to my home in West
Hollywood where I was living at the
time, and I pulled out an old pair of
ski goggles that I used to wear each
year when I went to Park City, Utah.
And I started wearing these
goggles while watching reruns
of the A M C TV series Mad Men.
And what I noticed was
that I, I felt sleep.
And when I ultimately removed
the goggles, rolled over and
went to sleep, I, I realized that
I was falling asleep quicker.
And when I was waking up in the
morning, I realized that I was actually
feeling considerably more refreshed.
And so I had this idea, why don't I create
a stylish pair of blue light blockers a.
It doesn't make me look like a meth
chemist, a pair that I could wear
out to a Santa Monica Boulevard
bar or restaurant at nighttime and
not have people look at me weird.
And so that's what I did.
I created a pair of stylish
blue light blockers.
They're called Swanee's.
My last name is Swanwick.
And customers have started affectionately
referring to them as swanee's.
And now, um, they are warned
by professional athletes at
Manchester United, uh, the New
York Knicks, Newell and Saints.
Um, professional athletes all over
the world are wearing these glasses
now because they have identified that
blocking artificial light at night with
a pair of blue light blocking glasses
can absolutely improve their sleep, uh,
which ultimately shows up on the, the
field or the court or the field of play.
You know, in the following days.
So yeah, our main product from a
sleep company are, um, our pair of
scientifically proven blue light blocking
glasses that are called swanee's.
And, and the idea is that you
wear these things in the last
hour or so before you wanna sleep.
You keep them on, you remove them only
when the final light has been turned off.
And then you, the idea is that you
fall asleep quicker, you sleep deeper,
and you wake up feeling much more.
Kevin Horek: And you have them in a
number of different styles, right?
Like popular styles.
It's not just like one thing, right?
Do you, do you want to talk about
the different styles and, and why
James Swanwick: you
thought that was important?
Well, look, people, there are
prescription glasses wearers, right?
Um, there's also people with big heads,
thin heads, , small faces, large faces.
So we've got different sizes.
Um, Certainly a lot of people who
already wear prescriptions worry
that they won't be able to wear them.
So we designed a pair of glasses
called fit overs, which go over the
top of the existing prescription
glasses and sit very snugly there.
Um, also we can design a pair of, of.
Uming glasses for you using your scripts.
You just go to the website and put
in your details and we can, we can
create a pair and send them out to you.
Um, and then there's also a
difference between daytime blue
blockers and nighttime blue blockers.
And I think this is important and,
and worth and worth talking about,
if only for, you know, a minute or
so, um, not all blue blockers are
created equal for, for example, A
great night's sleep is your goal.
Then you must wear a pair of orange
lens blue blockers because only an
orange lens is going to block enough
of the blue light responsible for
messing with your melatonin production.
If daytime use on a computer is your goal
to not get headaches and to stay clear
and focused, then a clear lensed pair
of blue blockers are absolutely fine,
but the clear lens blockers will not.
For helping you improve your sleep
just will not In the physical universe
that we occupy, it's just impossible.
So just to summarize that, uh, you want
a clear lens, pair of blue blockers for
daytime computer use, and then when the
sun goes down, you wanna switch to an
orange lens, blue light pair of glasses.
Kevin Horek: Fascinating.
Okay, so walk us through.
Like, how did you come up with that?
Because I, I don't think a lot of
like, maybe people have heard that,
you know, just the blue light stuff
before, but I, I don't think a lot of
people know much about the day stuff.
And, and how did you kind of come
James Swanwick: up with that?
Well, we did a lot of research.
The University of Washington and
the University of Florida actually,
um, got our glasses and gave them
out to about a thousand tests
subjects and did a very comprehensive
six month study on the glasses.
Um, and I consulted with the world's
top sleep doctors, um, during the
process of creating the glasses and.
um, what I learned just as a sleep
enthusiast in, in the beginning, and
now I consider myself to be a sleep
expert, I guess, but in the beginning as
I was just a sleep enthusiast, I came to
learn that we absolutely have to block
up to 540 nanometers of blue light.
If we want to make sure that the release
of our melatonin stays natural and co.
However, we don't really need to
create melatonin during the daytime.
We actually want to be alert.
We want to be, we want to be
energized during the daytime.
We want to have exposure to
blue light during the daytime.
In fact, the biggest emitter
of blue light is the sun.
Which is why it's so important to go out
and get natural sunlight during the day.
So to answer your question, it was
a really, it was really a process
of studying everything to do with
light and sleep and focus and energy.
Like I said, I interviewed.
About a dozen of the world's top
sleep doctors, renowned doctors,
New York Times bestselling authors.
And then ultimately when I produced
our glasses, we put them to the test.
University of Washington and University
of Florida did, like I said, a
comprehensive, um, study on the glasses
and what the result, the results that
came back were that people who wore
the nighttime orange lens glasses.
, um, reported sleeping 11% better.
And they had, yeah, and they had, uh,
they reportedly had a 13% improvement
in cognitive ability and productivity
in their workplace the following day.
So, um, that's not nothing
that's, that's significant.
Well, that's huge.
Kevin Horek: Like, uh, yeah.
I, I think as somebody that you know,
is, doesn't sleep very well and hasn't
for a number of years, like I've been,
you know, you try different things
and some things work and don't work.
And it, it's interesting.
That that many people
found that much difference.
Um, the other thing I think is worth, uh,
mentioning is you also make them for kids.
How are they similar or different,
or are they the exact same
thing, just obviously for smaller
James Swanwick: kid heads.
, they're exact, the exact same thing,
but we just make them colorful for kids.
So they're, they feel motivated to wear
them and that it's fun for them to wear.
Because you know, as a parent, if you ever
tried to get your kids to do something
and they don't wanna do it, oh yes.
It's a pretty challenging,
But I'll tell you, if you are a parent
in your listening, then I will say this.
Kids are most susceptible to
the dangers of blue light.
In fact, as we age into adulthood
and, and, and sort of into our
fifties, sixties and seventies, we
actually naturally build up more of
a, in, uh, a natural, um, protection
from blue light, even if we weren't
wearing blue light blocking glasses.
But when we are children, that natural
protection hasn't developed yet.
So if you are a parent and
you are having your kids.
Watch cartoons on a TV screen
or on a tablet, or they've got
a phone and they're staring into
screens all day and all night.
Then, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad
news, but you are, um, you know, possibly,
potentially, probably damaging their eyes.
And they've done studies that
show that kids who wear blue light
blockers during the day and at night
actually get better grades at school.
and there's, there's a ton of
anecdotal evidence as well from,
we've fed about a couple hundred
thousand customers of our glasses.
Um, and customers share stories with us.
So anecdotally, I've heard customers
sharing that when their kids wear
the glasses, it calms them down.
Whereas when they don't wear the
glasses at night, mothers find it
very challenging to get their kids
to, to wind down and get into bed.
But when they're wearing the
glasses, they, they have shared.
They find it increasingly easy or easier
to get their kids to calm down and
get to bed and, and, and get to sleep.
So, you know, if your children are
challenging and they've got some, um, you
know, behavioral challenges, let's say,
um, try a pair of blue light blocking
glasses, that should calm them down.
It should relax them
and it should get them.
You know, preparing for sleep and,
and, and falling asleep, either,
either quicker, easier, or both.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
Okay, so are the lenses interchangeable
or I need to buy two pairs, like a,
James Swanwick: a day and a night?
Is that correct?
The, the orange pair are interchangeable,
so you can wear the orange lens
glasses during the daytime as well
as the nighttime if you'd like.
Um, you, the, the clear lens are
not, you can only wear a clear lens
pair of glasses during the daytime.
If you wear them at nighttime, it's
not gonna help you with your sleep.
. Got it.
Um, so what I would su my, my, what
I would suggest is, um, unless you
particularly like the view through an
orange lens all day on a computer, my
suggestion would be that you invest in a
clear lens, pair of glasses for daytime
use, and then you switch over to the
orange lens glasses for nighttime use.
That's what I do.
Um, that's what, you know, a hundred
thousand or so of our customers do, and.
What, what the results that you should
get is increased and prolonged clarity
and focus throughout the day and, um,
uh, falling asleep, uh, easier sleeping
deeply and waking up more refreshed.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
Okay, so you also built some
light bulbs and, and a night.
how does that compliment and,
and walk us through why you built
those and why those are just
James Swanwick: as important.
So think about your bedroom, your living
room, your TV room, the hallway light.
Like, think about all the, like,
Kevin, let me, let me ask you this.
Think about where you live, okay?
Tell me all the lights
that are in your home.
Where are they?
Kevin Horek: Uh, most of them
are probably on the roof.
Or in lamps, kind of
James Swanwick: around the house.
But you've got, what, what
kind of rooms do you have?
You've got a bedroom, a bathroom, yeah.
What else you got?
Uh, and then
Kevin Horek: garage.
James Swanwick: Basement,
kinda where my office is.
And then, . Got it.
Living room, so, so at nighttime, okay.
As soon as the sun goes down at nighttime,
you turn on all of those lights, right?
Everyone does that.
In the modern world, all of those
lights are destroying your sleep.
All of them, right?
Because all of that light stimulates
your penal and pituitary gland, which
suppresses the release of your Mela.
Now unless you're gonna put on a pair of
blue blockers, the moment the sun goes
down and keep them on until the moment
that you turn off the last light and
go to sleep, anytime after sundown that
your eyes are exposed to those lights
in your garage or basement or lamps or
wherever you are compromising your sleep.
So what we did is we created these anti
blue light bulbs, which has stripped away
99.9% of all that dangerous blue light.
So now you can just switch out
the light bulbs in your home
with these anti blue light bulbs.
It creates this beautiful,
warm, um, relaxing glow.
It starts to help your body
relax, your mind to relax.
It's just a very calming light,
not like these really kind of ugly,
harsh, overhead fluorescent lights
that most households have, and.
Then you can comfortably walk through
your home knowing that you are not
being exposed to artificial blue light.
Now, why would you, sorry.
If you were gonna do that,
why would you also wear a pair
of orange lens blue blockers?
Well, because you've still
got the microwave light, the
refrigerator light, right?
The alarm clock light, the
air conditioning light.
I mean, there's so much light, artificial
light at night just hiding in every
corridor and every, every nook in your.
Plus you're probably gonna
get on your phone, right?
You're probably, yeah.
Let's face it, we're all, we're
all addicts to our phone now.
A lot of people also, I can almost
sense what possibly might be one of
your next questions, Kevin, but other
people ask me this, which is, oh, but
what about that night shift setting on
the phone for iPhones, and what about
the twilight setting on an the Android?
You know, like, why do I need to wear
blue blockers or buy these light bulbs if
I've got that, that setting on my phone?
Well look, the, those settings are good.
I would say that they probably give
you about a two and a half or a three
outta 10 protection, so it's good.
I, I, I like the idea of it, but
again, it still doesn't do anything
about the TV screen, right?
Light, the kitchen light, the bathroom
light, the shower light, the, like I said,
the air conditioning light, the whatever,
and half the time you are out and.
Out the dinner, you're dropping home.
There's the traffic lights.
I mean, have a look around.
There's so much light at night.
It's, it's just, it's crazy.
So, The, the, the, the perfect situation
is to live your life by candlelight
and just literally sit in the dark
and carry around a kerosene camp.
And because natural flame and fire
and, and, and candlelight does
not disrupt melatonin production,
which is why you can stare into a
fire and, and fall asleep, right?
Because it doesn't mess with
your sure melatonin production.
The next best thing if you're not
gonna sit in the dark and live
your life by counter light, it's
wear parable blockers and put anti
blue light bulbs, uh, in your home.
Kevin Horek: so I, I'm curious,
how does this play into.
What, what you're also doing kind
of on the alcohol free lifestyle,
because you mentioned earlier, and
I know just from experience, it's it
like alcohol can really affect your
James Swanwick: sleep.
You are better off drinking alcohol for
breakfast than having any alcohol in
the last eight hours before you go to.
That's the reality.
And I'll tell you what, say that.
Okay, let's start.
Let's start from the beginning.
Alcohol is poison.
There's no question there's there.
There's, you cannot dispute it.
Alcohol is nothing but poisoned.
It is filled with toxins.
Now, once we accept that, okay,
then we can now go, okay, so
drinking a glass or two of poison.
Is going to be damaging to my sleep, to
my skin, to my, uh, stress and anxiety
levels, to my feelings of calmness.
And when you drink poison, what happens?
The body automatically wants to go
to work to get rid of the poison.
Now, you asked how does
alcohol affect sleep?
Here we go.
So let's just say it's seven o'clock.
You come home from a long hard day.
You finished work.
Oh, I just wanna relax with a glass
of wine or a couple of beers and
ah, most people do this, right?
So what do you do?
You have a glass of wine.
You have your beer, and a few hours
later you decide to go to sleep.
Well, guess what's happened As
soon as you started drinking that
alcohol, your liver is now working.
It's going to work.
You put it to work.
Time to go to work, boys.
Let's go to.
But guess what?
You don't want your body to go
to work when you're sleeping.
You want your body to rest.
You want your body to go into that
deep r e m restorative phase of sleep.
You don't want your body working.
So what happens is people drink
this at attractively packaged
poison that we call alcohol.
Your body goes to work to try and
get rid of the poison and the toxins
cuz it's not supposed to be there.
Yes, you might fall asleep quickly
because you've had the drink, but the
quality of your sleep is gonna be severely
compromised and you can track this.
Don't take my word for it.
Wear an aura ring if you like.
I'm wearing my aura ring right now.
You can have some other kind of wearable.
Don't drink one night.
Track your sleep.
Do drink one night.
Track your sleep.
You'll be shocked to see the
difference in your sleep quality.
So look, I, I didn't make the rules.
Whoever you believe is God or the
Spirit or whatever, the big man or
big woman upstairs made the rules.
I'm just here to share the
consequences of, of, of our actions.
And the reason I jokingly said
at the beginning, you're better
off having a drink with breakfast
is because at least then.
Your body's got 12 to 16 hours
to, to go to work and get the
toxins out of your system.
So by the time it's, it's bedtime,
you can fall asleep and sleep in a
manner that won't be disrupted because
now you can naturally go into that
deep restorative phase of sleep.
This is not an invitation for
you to drink beer with your
cornflakes, by the way, . Fair
Kevin Horek: enough.
Um, so you, you do this 30 day no
alcohol challenge and you help people
through, , what experience it and
findings have you got from that and,
and what have people kind of told
you about how much better they feel?
James Swanwick: Yeah.
So to be clear, um, my company
is called Alcohol-Free Lifestyle.
Um, And we help entrepreneurs,
executives, retirees, investors.
We really help people in that
kind of entrepreneurial executive
high performance demographic.
Sure, yes, we do have a 30 day,
uh, stop drinking program, but,
but really the flagship program
and process we have is 90 days.
Um, and I say that I think it's worth
saying that because look, 30 days is good.
It gives you a glimpse of what
it feels like to be alcohol free,
however, But in my experience of
having coached people since 2015, it
doesn't create long lasting change.
, in my experience, and certainly
various studies have backed this up.
One must get to at least 90 days
alcohol free in order for it to
really be cemented as a habit in
order for all of the benefits to flow.
So I'll tell you the benefits that people
share with me from 30 days, and then I'll
give you the benefits that people share.
From 90 days.
From 30 days, you should expect to
lose some weight, your skin to get
better, for you to sleep considerably
better, for you to feel less stressed,
less anxious, less irritable.
Be more productive.
That certainly does.
Um, in 90 days.
, all of that that I just
mentioned should happen.
Plus improved relationships, um,
generating significantly more revenue in
your business or your, or your career.
Maybe you say, I love you.
Maybe you say no, no more.
Maybe you ask for a divorce.
Maybe you ask someone to marry you.
Maybe you join the gym.
Maybe you take up an instrument.
Maybe you, uh, scratch off one or two
things from your lifelong bucket list.
Significant changes occur.
When you are 90 days alcohol free
because now you have the clarity and
the focus and the energy to both take
care of the shit, excuse my French, that
you've been procrastinating on taking
care of, in some case, years and years.
In some case, decades.
You take care of that stuff, which
gives you a breakthrough or you
finally have breakthroughs and all the
stuff that you've just always wanted
to do, but have just been putting.
. So profound changes in someone's life can
happen when you're 90 days alcohol free.
Nice little changes happen from 30 days,
but the chances are you'll go back to
your same level of drinking on day 31.
You'll, in fact, most people celebrate
sober October or dry January with
a drink or with drinks, right?
And I think to myself, what,
what's the damn point of that?
You did 30 days well done, but you did
the 30 days as if you were in a prison
and all prisoners wanna break outta.
My invitation to you is go for
90 days because then you don't
feel like you're in a prison.
After a while you start
to go, this is damn good.
I like this feeling, especially
when people start complimenting
on you, on, on how good you look.
Just a warning.
You do get better looking
when you stop drinking
Kevin Horek: No, you know what's al also
interesting that I found like even after
two weeks, uh, like I used to really
suffer from like brain fog or like head
fog or whatever, and I noticed even after.
A week or two, just like how much that
cleared up just by like not doing that and
making some changes to my diet as well.
But, uh, I, I like, so I, I think
just feeling better and getting rid
of some of that stuff that's maybe
even lingering for a while, right?
Like brain fog or whatever
people are going through, I
think is also really helpful
James Swanwick: to me when I,
you know, obviously done that
brain fog gets exterminated when
you're alcohol free consistently.
Which I think a lot of
Kevin Horek: people struggle with, right?
At least in my experience.
I don't know, like I have no science
to back that up, but just people
I talk to in the entrepreneurial
space seems like that's a
James Swanwick: common thing,
I mean, we're thinking all day, we're
working all day, we're calling all day,
we're on staring at screens all day.
We've got a 50 million different problems
we've gotta solve every single day.
And then you get brain fog, right?
And then here's what, here's what
happens are the traditional entrepreneur,
I know many of your listeners are
entrepreneurs, um, Works all day.
Has a drink or two at
night to take the edge off.
Goes to sleep.
Doesn't sleep that great.
Wakes up feeling tired, lethargic,
irritable, has breakfast, try and
give themselves a little, pick me up.
Um, drags their ass outta bed.
Um, you know, little bit slow.
Has some lunch.
Works a little bit, crashes towards the
afternoon, and so you, most entrepreneurs
are operating at, what I would suggest
is about a six out of 10, five or a
six out of 10, maybe a seven, right?
Here's the difference.
You go alcohol free.
You learn how to do it,
you learn how to love it.
You learn how to embrace it.
All of a sudden, at the end of
the day, you don't have the drink.
You go to sleep, you sleep well,
you wake up, you've got energy.
You make one more call that
you ordinarily wouldn't.
you do that over five days.
That means you've made five more calls.
If you, if one call equals one
new, one new set of business, you
make, you get one more client each.
, you know, if it's, if it's a
client business, of course, sure.
And I know businesses where one
client equals $20,000, so now you
make $20,000 more per week, which
is $80,000 more per month, which is
almost a million dollars per year just
because you stop drinking alcohol.
See, most people, most entrepreneurs
think, oh, I don't spend that much
money on alcohol thinking that they
might spend 10 grand a year on alcohol.
But here's the thing, it doesn't
matter what you spend on alcohol,
it's what you're not generating
because you're drinking alcohol.
Kevin Horek: So, and you probably get
this question a lot is, and I think
everybody, like I've known a bunch
of people that have permanently quit.
I know a bunch of people that have quit
for a year or longer or months at a time.
And the one reoccurring thing that seems
to happen with people is, and we all, you
know, when you go to like a networking
event or some sort of event, especially
in tech, you're almost expected to drink.
Or if you go to a bar with your friends
or you go out for dinner with your.
It's almost like expected
that you have at least one.
How do you, or what advice do you
give to people at those events where
everybody's like, let's go get a
drink or you, you know what I mean?
You know what
James Swanwick: I'm getting at?
Go with them and order soda, water, ice,
and a piece of lime and let them drink
their attractively packaged poison.
Just choose not to drink.
Think through the drink, go with them.
But don't be like, oh, this sucks.
I'm the only one not having fun.
Oh, I'm outta place.
Go there and embrace it.
I'm having a soda, water,
ice, and a piece of lime.
And let your friends say, oh, go on.
Just have wine.
And you say, ah, I'm too strong in mind.
Or you say, ah, yeah, I'll tell you what.
Let's, uh, let's have a drinking contest.
Let's do some shots.
You do your shots of, of alcohol.
I'll do my shots of soda water.
I will go toe to toe, head to
head with you in a shot contest.
Ha ha, ha ha.
And just joke around about it.
People, this is where
people get stuck, right?
They think, oh, if I'm not drinking,
people will think I'm a Debbie Downer.
Oh, if I'm not drinking, then people
will think that I've got a problem.
Oh, if I'm not drinking,
then I'll be the odd one out.
This is what I say.
Wake up and just go out there
and be the life of the party.
Have fun, and just don't drink alcohol.
I've been doing it since 2010.
Not one person would
accuse me of being dull.
In fact, just to Ram home this
point, I used to live in Hollywood.
I went to the Playboy Mansion
three times over the years.
I interviewed Hugh Hefner.
On one occasion, I was there,
went to three hedonistic parties.
The first time I went to the
Playboy mansion was before 2010
when I stopped drinking and I,
there was an open bar and I drank.
I drank beer and I had wine, had some gin.
Um, some celebrities were there, including
Pamela Anderson, the Hollywood actor,
Owen Wilson, stone Cold, Steve Austin,
the wrestler, one of the Backstreet
Boys, a few other random people.
Had a wonderful time.
Woke up the next morning, hungover.
Fast forward a few years, I went back to
the Playboy Mansion, very similar party,
open bar, uh, ordered soda, water, ice
at a piece of lime, drank that all night.
Hung out with celebrities, had an
even better time than the first time.
A few years earlier, BEC I was dancing
on tables with attractive women.
I was going in the grotto, I was doing
all these kind of stuff, and I had
energy and clarity and focus, and I
really appreciated it so much more.
And the next day when I
woke up, I was smiling.
You know, ear to ear because I
had such a wonderful time and
I was completely alcohol free.
And then I did that again a couple
years later when I went a third time.
So I would just say to people,
especially entrepreneurs or anyone
who worries about the social aspect
of not drinking, wake the F up.
Nobody cares that you don't drink.
You just think that they care.
And if you take an energy of you don't
care and you're gonna have fun anyway,
then you can have the most fun You can
have other people admire and respect
you, and you can very easily hang out
with a whole bunch of people who are
drinking while you are not, and enjoy
yourself and have them enjoy your company.
Kevin Horek: I think
that's really good device.
I, I think the other thing too is
majority of people, unless they really
hear what you order, which you can't,
and a lot of times don't, assu, probably
assume you're just drinking anyway.
And the reality is, is you, you might
have to end up driving home anyway,
so you're not, it's not like you're
gonna have 10, it's like you might have
like one or whatever, couple over the
night, but majority of people probably
just think you're drinking some.
Is that fair to say?
James Swanwick: It is.
Which is fine and you can, if you
like, you can pretend to be drinking
alcohol even though you're not.
But I would say why even
pretend, just own it.
Just own it.
Just own it.
No, I don't drink.
No I don't drink.
No, I haven't drunk in years.
And then people will be like in
awe and go, wow, it's amazing.
And a lot of people go,
ah, did you have a problem?
You go, no, no, I didn't have a problem.
I just don't drink.
I just love the feeling of feeling clear.
But let's, let's have a good time.
Kevin Horek: No, I think that's,
that's really good advice.
So I, I'm curious what other advice
you give to people, because I like,
I, I've known a bunch of people
that have really kinda struggled
James Swanwick: with this.
Well look, first things first, ongoing.
Listen to my podcast, which is called
the Alcohol Free Lifestyle Podcast.
It's in Apple podcasts and on Spotify.
There's all kinds of tips there that
I, that I, that I give on how to handle
social situations around alcohol.
But look, h here, here's the thing.
I've had a life with alcohol and a life
without and a life without is way better.
I've made probably, and I don't
usually like to talk numbers, but
let's just say I've made tens of
millions of dollars in revenue.
From being alcohol free, as opposed
to if I had still been drinking,
there's no way I would've made
tens of millions of dollars of it.
Maybe I would've made millions of
dollars, maybe hundreds of thousands.
I don't know.
But no question.
My entrepreneurial life has been
catapulted forward because I've
been consistently alcohol free.
So that's the first thing.
Second thing is to understand
that nobody really gives a
damn that you are not drinking.
You just have a belief that they.
So I invite you to get over
this idea that, oh, people
will think I'm an alcoholic.
People will think I've got a problem.
No, just get over that.
Be alcohol free, and you'll be shocked
at how little people care, right?
In fact, not only, you'll be
shocked at how little people care.
The people who do care will be asking you
a hundred questions in admiration because
they secretly or, or not secretly want to
either cut back their drinking or stop.
Third thing you need to understand is.
Alcohol is going through a real brand
problem right now, and that is that
there is a wave of people coming through
who are rejecting alcohol completely.
The the, the latest generation
has never drunk less.
There, there has been an
explosion of alcohol free.
Beers, alcohol free wines that have hit
the market, they're just exploding this
whole concept of, oh, you gotta drink
and drink, helps you relax and it's so
archaic, and I promise you this, mark
my word, you can play this interview
back in 20, 30 years at some point,
whether it's in 20 years or 30 years
or 40 years, we are gonna look back on
this time and look upon alcohol, the
alcohol, the same way that we now look
upon cigarettes with absolute disdain and.
And we're gonna go, what
the hell were we thinking?
And our kids and grandkids are gonna
go, what the hell were they thinking?
So this tidal wave, this cultural
shift, it started, it's gathering pace.
And if you are an entrepreneur and you're
listening to this and you want to excel
and you want to propel forward, and
you wanna be successful either for your
ego or to take care of your family and
your kids, and for generations, , it's
gonna be a lot quicker and a lot easier
if you're consistently alcohol free.
Kevin Horek: interesting.
I No, I agree with you.
So I, I'm curious, you mentioned a couple
other things to do, uh, like meditation
and what other advice do you give to
people to maybe, you know, To reduce
some of that stress and maybe get their
mind off of, you know, that coming home
to say, I'm just gonna have a beer.
Well, I think a lot of people wanna
replace that with something like a
meditation or something that, how
do you get them to change that habit
and what advice do you give to them?
Maybe, you know, try meditation
or working out or, or whatever
James Swanwick: that is.
Well, here's the thing.
People think that the only way to
reduce stress and anxiety is by having
a glass of attractively packaged poison.
But the truth is, is that you
don't really want to drink
alcohol to relieve your stress.
You just wanna relieve your stress, right?
And you can relieve your stress 1 million
in one different ways than drinking a
glass of attractively packaged poison.
I think everyone
understands and knows that.
So, um, I mentioned meditation.
Look, I have a, I wouldn't say it's a
love-hate relationship with meditation.
I have an on off
relationship with meditation.
I mean, I do it sometimes.
I don't do it consistently.
I do it sometimes.
It's very beneficial when I do it,
but I don't really do it that much.
I'll tell you what works for me.
What works for me is when I wake up in the
morning before I put my hand on my phone,
I write down 20 things that I'm grateful.
20 things takes about
seven minutes, right?
Seven every day.
I call it the daily 20.
And what happens is, is that what it
does is that it activates something
in my brain called the r a s, which
is the reticular activating system.
And when I quote, unquote, force
myself to write down 20 things I'm
grateful for, for the remainder
of the day, my mind and brain.
Naturally finds evidence that there's
even more things to be grateful for.
Now when I'm in that mood and
I'm kind of walking down the
street going, life is good.
Wow, isn't this amazing?
Everything's going great, and
I'm focusing on all the good
that's happening in my life.
My stress and anxiety collapses.
I don't feel the need at the end of
the day to seek refuge in a glass
of attractively packaged poison.
So it's not quite as simple as
saying, well, what do I drink?
. I mean, the answer is
anything else, right?
I, I, I tend to drink, uh, iced
water with, um, with some lime, lime
juice or some squeezed lime in it.
I love that drink, but, but really it
starts at, in, in, it starts in, in the
morning, which is be in a grateful mood.
Be and train your mind to seek
evidence on an unconscious level that
there's lots of things to be grateful.
and you don't need to be seeking
refuge in food or alcohol or drugs
or shopping or love or whatever.
Um, and then practically, Most people
don't really want alcohol to relieve
their stress at the end of the day.
They're just like the ritual of it.
So you can create a new ritual, and the
new ritual can be going to the fridge,
pulling out a bottle of Pellegrino or
Perrier, cutting up a piece of lime,
squeezing it into the glass, putting
some ice cubes in, and then sitting
down on the sofa and sipping on on that.
And then you can create a very nice
ritual of doing that as opposed
to the ritual of coming home and
opening a bottle of wine and pour.
The wine into the wine glass.
So a lot of times you can, you can
keep the ritual of pouring yourself
a drink at the end of the day, but
just make it an alcohol-free drink.
No, I, I think that's,
Kevin Horek: that's
actually really good advice.
I, I'm curious, the, the meditation
thing is fascinating to me because
I would say I have the exact same
relationship with meditation.
How like, but you always read that, you
know, if you don't meditate, like you
need to do that, you need to do this.
And I always find like, uh, if
it's not working for you, like
why you force yourself to do these
things, just cuz it's, you know,
that's what successful people do.
And it seems like you would,
you're just more of the mindset.
You need to figure out what works
for you and what makes you happy
as long as you stay basically
James Swanwick: sober.
A hundred percent.
Because if you, if you go scrolling on, I.
For half an hour, you will find dozens
and dozens of gurus who say, well, when
you wake up, you've gotta go and do your
30 minutes of pow whim, Hoff breath work.
Then you've gotta do
the OLS ice cold plunge.
Then you've gotta write
down your gratitude stuff.
Then you've got to, you know, get the
sun, then you've gotta do all this
kind of stuff, blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, right now that works.
All that stuff is great.
It is great and it works,
but is it necessary for.
Maybe not right?
So I have tried all of
those things over the years.
I've done ayahuasca and plant medicine.
I've done landmark forum, I've
done experiential training.
I've done self Tony Robbins
I've done written down gratitude.
I've learned how to meditate.
I did a 10 day silent meditation
called VER passionate.
Um, I've done all that stuff, right?
What works for me is
writing down 20 things.
I'm grateful for going to the gym and
lifting weights and exercising, going
for a walk in the sun, eating good food.
, um, uh, focusing on health and nutrition,
getting my work done, uh, making sure that
I've got lots of friends and acquaintances
and I'm fe I'm in a good community.
Cause being in a community is
really, really, um, great for
reducing stress and anxiety.
And I wear a pair of blue light
blocking glasses at nighttime.
Um, to block the blue light and I focus on
my sleep, make sure that my sleep's great,
and I live a pretty damn happy life.
It doesn't mean that I don't get
sad or depressed on occasion or
angry or pissed off and say the
F word sometimes, of course I do.
I'm human, but generally speaking, I
would probably put my overall wellbeing
and happiness at about an eight and
a half outta 10 most of the time.
and I'm not doing meditation every day.
I'm not doing cold plunges every day.
I'm not doing, you know, whim
Hoff breath work every day.
I do it sometimes, you know, I do.
I do that sometimes.
What I do do every day is be in gratitude
and eat well, and g exercise six days.
I do that every day and that really
controls my stress and anxiety enough
to the point where I'm happy I'm.
. But one thing I do do every day is wear
a pair of my blue light blocking glasses.
That is a non-negotiable because
if I stare into a screen at
nighttime without blocking that
blue light, my sleep is a mess.
And the other thing I don't do,
I should say I'm sorry, is drink.
I don't drink alcohol, you know, so I
haven't drunk alcohol since 2010 and I
blocked blue light at night with a pair
of blue blockers every night since 2015.
And then I write down my, my daily 20.
, that's it.
That's what I, they,
they're my non-negotiables.
That works for me.
And then on occasion I'll do some
meditation and cold plunges and
breath work and all that other stuff.
Kevin Horek: Interesting.
So on your daily 20 though, is it
some of the same, none of the same?
Give us your
James Swanwick: advice for that.
Often it's the same.
Often it's, it's different and I don't.
I'm like, if I gotta tell, if I, if
I get to tell myself 365 days of the
year that I, that I'm happy with,
that I love my family, or that I got
to wake up in a, in a bed and I had
a roof over my head and it's the same
thing every day, I'm fine with that
cuz it makes me feel good every day.
But I'll tell you this, I do
challenge myself to come up with
new things every day because the
more I can challenge myself to come
up with new things, the more that I
activate the reticular activating.
because it be, it wants to always be
seeking evidence that life is good, right?
So it's like, to use the analogy,
you go into the gym, right?
What do you do with your muscle?
You destroy the muscle so it gets bigger.
Like you're doing a bicep curl,
you're lifting heavy weights, it
breaks down the muscle, and then
over the next two days, the muscle
repairs and it comes back bigger.
Same concept when you're
doing your daily 20 gratitude.
It's like if you force yourself to think
of new things to be grateful for, and
you're like, what else can I be grateful?
, then you're putting the body, you're
putting the mind to work, which means E,
everything becomes easier and stronger
and simpler as a result of that.
So don't feel like you're doing it wrong.
If it feels challenging to come up with
20 new things every day, then great.
You're putting the RAs to work, which is
gonna make you feel a heck of a lot better
Kevin Horek: interest.
So I, you covered it already and we're
kind of coming to the end of the show,
but I definitely want to cover it again.
You mentioned the podcast.
Do you wanna repeat what it's called and
the other topics that you cover on that?
James Swanwick: Yeah, the podcast
is called Alcohol Free Lifestyle,
uh, and we give, um, coaching
on how to stop drinking, how to
socialize, um, how to do business
deals and networking without alcohol.
Uh, how to reduce stress and
anxiety at the end of the day
so you don't need alcohol.
What to say when people are challenging,
challenging you about alcohol.
Um, we have a program that's called
Project 90, which is specifically for.
Entrepreneurs, executives and
investors, which helps people
to stop drinking for 90 days.
And then we have a one
year long process as well.
365 day program where we'll help you
and hold you accountable and give you
some coaching and make it all fun, um,
to completely change your relationship
to alcohol over the course of the year.
Um, most people who go through those,
those programs make more money,
get better looking, improve their
relationships, and feel remarkably better.
Uh, and the website is
alcohol free lifestyle.com.
Um, likewise with this, with the Sleep,
the Sleep Company is called Swanwick
Sleep, and uh, we're on Amazon as well.
Whether it's light bulbs or glasses
or sleeping masks or sleep teas, we
do a whole lot of sleep products.
So if sleep is your goal, um, you
can check us out there and, and
you can find some more information.
I'm also on Instagram at at James
Swanick and if you send me a DM,
I'd be happy to message you back.
Kevin Horek: Perfect, James.
Well, I really appreciate you
taking the time under your day to
be on the show, and I look forward
to keeping in touch with you now.
A good rest of your day, man.
James Swanwick: Thank
you very much, Kevin.
Thank you for having me.