It’s funny how one thing can lead to another in life. Seemingly insignificant moments and split-second decisions end up having a ripple effect that impacts who we meet and sometimes our entire future. Ryan Duey is a real-world example; a few years ago in Thailand, he experienced what would turn out to be a defining moment in his long-term trajectory.
It didn’t seem good at the time. Ryan was in a serious motorcycle accident that left him in the hospital for weeks. Effectively pushed to the sidelines of life by a concussion and forced to ‘start over’, this veiled opportunity set him down a new path with an entirely new perspective on the world. Both have led him to where he is today as the co-founder and CEO of one of America’s most promising cold water therapy companies.
The trials, tribulations, and lessons learned in between will be the focus of this podcast episode. I’m pleased to have Ryan on the show to discuss his personal journey of self-inquiry, current success, future ambitions, and advice for creators looking to achieve big things in 2024.
The Impact of Near-Death Experiences
Comfort is a deceiving feeling. Reassuring in the moment, sure. But living in it 24/7 doesn’t do us any favors over the long term. Sometimes, an external force – or in Ryan’s case, a terrible accident – is what it takes to start looking at things in a more purpose-driven way. The impact of near-death experiences like his on the mind has been well-documented and can be truly life-changing.
One of the most common effects of a near-death experience is a shift in one’s perspective. Suddenly, things that used to seem important or worth stressing over no longer hold as much weight. The realization of just how fragile and precious life is can completely change one’s priorities and outlook on the world. It can also lead to a deeper appreciation for the little things.
Ryan explains that his accident was a chance to build himself better. It prompted him to reevaluate his natural responses to big dreams and ambitions for the future.
So, you’ve always wanted to own a business. Why wait?
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One Thing Leads to AnotherOn
Ryan started his entrepreneurial journey in the health and wellness space by opening Sacramento-based Capital Floats in 2016. It was the product of years of consideration and planning – ultimately put into motion by a chance friendship with Mike Garrett.
“Mike, we’re very similar in age, very similar in background story. This guy just happened to be starting a float center in San Francisco on the same track that I was starting in Sacramento… He opened his [float center] about nine months to a year before mine… I walked into his and I said, ‘Hey, you’re cool. I already can tell we’re going to be friends.'”
Although they weren’t business partners in the beginning, Ryan credits his relationship with Mike for getting Capital Floats’ doors open. Then, when 2020 happened, the two used misfortune as an opportunity to pursue side projects together. That was the genesis of Plunge.
Mike turned his innovative concept for a cold water immersion tub into a product so promising that Ryan had to get on board. Not long after, the two would find themselves going from building and delivering 20 units from a garage to appearing on Shark Tank.
If Not You, Who? And If Not Now, When?
Childbirth. Record-breaking athletic performance. Recovery from tragedy. Achieving one’s full potential. These are all defining things that don’t happen in life without some degree of emotional or physical pain.
The experiences behind them are tough but ultimately necessary and worthwhile to achieve a great outcome. This is the core concept of cold plunge therapy; shock to the system decreases inflammation, boosts immune function, and improves overall mental and physical well-being.
Both Ryan’s approach to self-development and his company, Plunge, challenge us to take the first uncomfortable step in initiating growth.
“How we show up in the big moments is obvious. It’s defining. But to every morning, whether it’s raining or not, whether it’s dark or not, whether it’s cold outside or it’s not, get in this cold plunge, for me, was a sense of managing the possibility of my life and being willing to do hard, uncomfortable things.”
The Future of Plunge
After dealing with garden variety life challenges like serious motorcycle crashes, Ryan now finds himself taking on new feats – specifically, those that come with running a multi-million dollar business.
Plunge has quickly gone from a two-man, garage-based operation to one of America’s highest-grossing health and wellness companies. They’re about to hire their 200th employee despite only having 75 to 80 this time last year. That kind of success is exactly what any entrepreneur could hope for, but it comes with caveats. Ryan’s focus is now on not only maintaining the innovation that’s gotten his team here but also on growing the right way; not working in the same space anymore doesn’t mean not putting effort into ensuring everyone shares the same ethos and vision.
On the product development front, Ryan tells me about an exciting new sauna project Plunge has been working on. It holds an abundance of promise and takes the foundational concept of Plunge – doing uncomfortable things for one’s health and well-being – to a whole new level.
Looking at things from a broader perspective, life-changing events like Ryan’s aren’t what define someone’s life. Approached the right way, they can act as catalysts for growth and self-discovery. You can learn more about his amazing journey and Plunge by listening to ‘The Journey with Ryan Duey Podcast’ on YouTube.