Hello, I’m Sean, welcome to my page.
I’m an athlete turned entrepreneur.
Throughout a 25-year career. I was fortunate enough to have 500+ teammates, 25+ coaches, trainers, physical therapists, and doctors passing me down a bit of wisdom. They all had their own tips, tricks, and inspiring stories. I feel fortunate for what the game of hockey has taught me about health, fitness, balance, and mindset.
2nd Brain Studios was founded on the idea that we can always be building a “2nd Brain”. A brain that is happy, running efficiently, and helping you achieve the freedom you desire.
What You Will Find Here
This blog is intended to be a spark notes version of some of the greatest minds in nutrition, self-help, and business. Many of these concepts I’ve collected from podcasts, audiobooks and online courses I’ve listened to over the years.
If I can pass along even ONE golden nugget to you from one of my articles then I will consider it a success.
The Evolution of Sean
I love a good success story but this isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. My story includes success, failures, and a few humbling moments in between. These are some of the moments that shaped me into who I am today.
Athletics & Sitting Still
From a young age, I believe I was blessed with above-average athletic. I felt bad sometimes as I picked up athletics a bit quicker than some of my friends who struggled. We all have our own gifts.
From a young age, sitting still, reading, or focusing on anything but sports were not the gifts I received. I had energy and I needed to get it out, sitting still simply wasn’t an option.
After overcoming those two laps on the pond that day, it became apparent that hockey was going to be my sport.
As I look back, growing up a hockey player in the west suburbs of Minneapolis was a treat. Much of my youth was spent on the ponds, lakes, or flooded fields. You were sure to find a pickup game just about any night of the week.
My mom would drop me off for a 2-4 hour session at the local rink, didn’t matter the temperature or day of the week. The only other alternative was doing my homework, and let’s be honest, that included sitting still, which wasn’t going to happen.
Before the age of 15, I had played in tournaments in places like Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Edmonton, & Quebec to name a few. I didn’t really understand it at the time but I was playing with and against many of the best players in the world.
In the summers, you’d find me mowing lawns, caddying, playing tennis, or lacrosse. Always on the move, hammering mini corn dogs and Barqs root beer like it was my job.
I was a hyperactive kid that fueled himself with candy, soda, fried food, and the occasional energy drink, if mom wasn’t looking. If it wasn’t part of one of those food groups, it probably wasn’t for me.
When you grow and played as many sports as I did, that amount of exercise allows you to eat just about anything you want and never see any negative physical side effects.
What I didn’t realize were the mental side effects I was having to overcome living this way, but we’ll get into that later in the story…
In high school, I truly enjoyed the independence of following my own rules and testing the boundaries of authority. I just felt the need to rid myself of any social conditioning forced upon me. I simply didn’t have time for rule guys.
I played 3 varsity sports, mowed 30 lawns a week in the summer, and jumped at any opportunity I had to get out on the lake with my friends. I went to a school with a graduating class of 68 students, and funny enough I didn’t end up being one of them.
Let The Growing Up Begin
Some people call it growing up, I call it getting humbled. Everyone has those moments where their perception of reality changes dramatically. The matrix in which you see life gets flipped on its head. It tends to be a really uncomfortable reality check, and I can assure you, it wasn’t any different for me.
Below are a few stories that allowed me to grow up, become aware of my ego, and basically start treating myself better:
ESPN & Slowing Down
After a year in Northern Alberta, I got connected with a team down in Texas, two miles from the border of Mexico. They seemed excited to have me, I lucked out with my host family once again. Sure beat the cold on in the north country, life was good, and the Texas sun was even better.
That season was the peak of my hockey career. I got rid of my dependency on Adderall and unhealthy foods. I stopped caring so much about the result. I no longer cared how the coach thought I played. I did all I could to rid myself of nervous energy. I just played and let instinct take over.
I made it on ESPN for the first time in my career! Granted, it was the “Not Top 10” but there I was on the cover of the reel wearing the other team’s jersey because we had forgotten ours… what a moment.
Texas is a big state, our average bus trip was 8 hours that year, we were driving all over the state. I upped my game on diet, self-help, and finance books. I was also knocking out college credits with ease, who was I becoming? Was I growing up? Was it my new host family? Was it the Texas sun? Was it quitting Adderall? Was it healthier eating? … I’ll mark it up to a combination of each
Border Patrol Drug Dogs
On one of our trips, we were pulled over by the border patrol to do our random checkpoint search. I was in the middle of an online quiz and my coach called me to the front of the bus, the border patrol wanted to have a chat… Oh no, what did I leave in my bag…
The dog for whatever reason singled out my bag. I was in the middle of an online quiz but I got off the bus, computer in hand, and confirmed it was my bag. I wasn’t worried, I wasn’t that dumb. The Canadian Mounties already taught me that lesson after randomly searching my entire car on the way up to Alberta the year prior… they didn’t find anything either.
It ended up being an unwashed protein shaker bottle. Apparently, the dog didn’t like the smell of the shaker bottle fermenting in my bag. They let us go, I rolled my eyes at the officer and got back on the bus, rule guys at it again…
My coach made a comment about how the dog must have smelled all the cannabis I was sweating out… I looked at him for a second, calculating my response… gave him the usual smirk and chuckle combo, and finished my quiz.
My coach hardly ever got on my case that year. He supported everything I did, and man did that make a difference.! I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from the University of Denver that year. My confidence was back!
Welcome To The Big Leagues Son
The next year I showed up strong and ready to go, I tested in the top 90% of guys on the strength tests. I knew I wasn’t going to be the most skilled guy, but I know I had control over being the strongest.
Within the first two weeks, I realized something in my game was off. Could it have been the altitude, partying, or stress of school? Denver’s altitude definitely played a role, but all of a sudden I found myself being matched with the first line on every drill. A group of players who would all play many games in the NHL.
After only a few weeks it was made very clear to me that, unless there was an injury, I was basically going to watch from the stands for a while. I knew I could play and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t eat at me. However, it was truly an incredible group of players.
This being said, rather than gravitating towards Rudy from Notre Dame, think Alex Moran from Blue Mountain State. As any 21-year-old that’s been isolated in small towns for the last four years, I thought my best outlet would be my newfound social life. I like to think I was everyone’s best friend for a while there. With only 10,000 students, DU had that same small-town feeling I was used to. The staff and students were very friendly and inviting.
My freshman year, we made it to the Frozen Four, my Sophomore year we won the whole thing. We were National Champions, we rode on private jets, we got dressed in the Blackhawks locker room and we celebrated like kings on campus. It was special!
The Ride Down The Mountain
Eventually, I hit a wall, our team had hit the top of the mountain but I was still only contributing in practice. I saw the writing on the wall, I got really into studying, and even started growing gourmet mushrooms in my room. When that got old, I began to escape to the mountains. I found skiing, fly fishing, and hiking to be a much better alternative to partying. I did just about anything I could to keep my mind healthy and at this time that was anything I could do to get my mind off the game.
I was on the best team in the country but my natural human instinct just wanted more. I tried to conceal it by acting like I didn’t care. That backfired, and the guys started to question whether I was bought in or not. Alternatively, I would try really hard and come close to injuring guys in practice. Mentally, there was no middle ground as I spent 40 hours a week at the rink.
Time To Hang Em’ Up
The players on our team were not used to losing, the environment was intense and competitive, and tensions were high. To put it simply, hockey was no longer bringing me peace. Toward the end of my third season at DU, I told my coach I needed to step down.
I continued to travel with the team for the rest of the season but I no longer wanted to fight for a lineup spot. I didn’t expect my teammates to understand but rather than continuing to compete for a lineup spot, I knew they would be better off with me fully supporting them.
Competitiveness is often healthy, but sometimes I’ve found it to lead me down deep dark alleys. Yes, you have control over your health, mind, and physical strength. However, being competitive about your athletic ability or someone’s perception of you is often a lonely road.
Controlling your own destiny is important. The end of my hockey career made me realize the importance of only competing against myself and only being competitive over things that are under my control.
The Independence Epiphany
Once I hung the skates up, I was on a mission. Location, time, and financial freedom.
Creating absolute independence was the only thing on my mind. I went into a two-year isolation period. I got a Master’s Degree, got an internship, and started my own company on the side. I continued to dive deep into self-help, mindset, online business, alternative medicine, and nutrition. I got the “have you lost it” conversation from multiple people in my life.
I could tell my roommates were worried about me. They had a “Where’s Sean” tally on the whiteboard in our house. I was in full isolation mode. I was happier than I had ever been, I finally had 24 hours in the day to focus on nothing but me. Honestly, I missed hockey but it was liberating!
Hockey gave me more than I could have ever asked for. I meet hundreds of great people, and I believe it gave me a great foundation for my diet, exercise, and work ethic.
Post College Energy
These books I was reading were giving me a newfound confidence that I hadn’t felt in years. My confidence was no longer tied to my hockey career.
Guys like Robert Kiyosaki, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Grant Cardone, Richard Branson gave me the motivation to be entrepreneurial and risk it all. I will tell you first hand, this is not the EASY way. It is lonely, it is a lot of hours, and there can be a lot of doubt.
This being said, these guys have influenced me to design the life that I find most rewarding. For me, focusing on projects that are only remote, meaning business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection.
I just know how happy it makes me when I can jump on a flight to meet a family or friend at any point in the year. I don’t have to miss events, birthdays or weddings. I can travel during the cold Minnesota winters.
After three years of putting my head down on only this type of work, I have been able to develop five different income streams while traveling almost full time. I hope to soon help others do the same.
Pillars of Freedom
We are all trying to achieve our own version of freedom. With every big decision, I think about my key pillars of freedom. Is this decision going to bring me closer to location, time, or financial freedom? If the answer is no, the decision is easy.
This blog is inspired by the knowledge passed down from those much smarter and more successful than me. I have been fortunate enough to have had access to world-class coaches, strength trainers, nutritionists, physical therapists, maestros, athletes, and entrepreneurs.
I hope you’re able to find a few gold nuggets in my articles. I also hope that they help you achieve the sort of freedom you desire.
Thank you for reading,