EP. 13: How Jon Vroman, Founder of the Front Row Foundation, is Managing Happiness

EP. 13: How Jon Vroman, Founder of the Front Row Foundation, is Managing Happiness

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I’m very excited to have Jon Vroman on the show! He inspires others to Live Life In The Front Row™ by teaching the art of moment making. He is an award-winning speaker, #1 bestselling author of The Front Row Factor, fellow podcast host and founder of Front Row Foundation. Jon is a committed husband and father of two. In this episode, he will tell us how amazing it can be to live life in the front row.

About Jon Vroman

Jon Vroman is on a mission to show you how to Live Life In The Front Row™ through the transformative art of moment making. He is a social entrepreneur, committed husband, father of two, and an ultramarathon runner.

Jon is the founder of the Front Row Foundation, a charity established in 2005 that creates unforgettable moments for individuals who are braving life-threatening illnesses. The organization empowers individuals to “live life in the front row™” by providing recipients a front row experience at the live event of their dreams.

As an award-winning speaker, Jon has given more than 750 keynote presentations for many companies, organizations, universities, and associations. Jon brings a refreshingly effective and modern motivational edge that genuinely connects with his audience as he ignites their enthusiasm, and challenges their status-quo.

Host of the popular Front Row Factor Podcast, Jon’s interviews help you strengthen your mindset, relationships, and environment so you can excel in every area of life. Jon is a fierce community builder who hosts live events including The Front Row Dads Retreat, the Speaker Trainer Experience, the Front Row Personal Transformation and Co-Creation Summit, and the Front Row Foundation Celebration.

Vision and mission

Jon believes that the best way to present the vision and mission of the Front Row Foundation is by telling the stories of the people they help.

One of those people is the 4-year-old Sophie who had a brain tumor. Sophie’s dream was to be in the front row at a Kelly Clarkson concert. Thanks to Jon and the people in the Foundation, not only did she listen to Kelly, but she spent 15 minutes in the backstage talking and connecting with her. Little Sophie lost her battle to the disease not long after her dream came true.

Sophie’s family is always going to receive the support of the Front Row Community. As Jon puts it, this is a “forever thing”. Joining the Front Row Foundation, you become part of a family which is always there for you.

This is our family, made of unique DNA, unique people coming together for the common goal of being moment makers.

The people in The Front Row network often say that the mission of the Foundation is to amplify the good in order to silence what’s not. Therefore, by sharing the inspirational stories of people fighting for their lives, the Front Row empowers its entire community to achieve positive transformative change.

Jon admits that he’s constantly surrounded by people with an incredible perspective on life. In the podcast, he tells the amazing story of Nicky who lost her hair due to chemotherapy.

One day, Nicky told Jon that after she had lost her hair often people looked at her with “disgust”. Jon got really angry at all these people and was just about to tell Nicky that she shouldn’t pay attention to them when she suddenly added: “And this makes me very happy”.

Nicky explained that probably these people had never seen anyone suffering from cancer. Thus, they didn’t know what it was like to live with the disease and she was feeling happy for them.

The “Who is in your Front Row” exercise

In the podcast, Jon suggests a great exercise to become more self-aware of your personal relationships and how good of a supporter you are to the people you love.

Step 1: List the top 8 people in your life right now and order them by their importance to you.

Many questions could arise here. For example, shouldn’t my mom and dad share the same position, does this include God, etc. However, the important thing here is to liberate yourself from all the biases in your head and be honest.

Step 2: Ask yourself “What is the number one dream/goal of the people on my top 8 list?”

Most people have no idea how to answer this question, but it is very important. It shows not only how well you know your closest people but also how interested you are in their lives. If you don’t know, just ask.

Step 3: Once you have the answer to Step 2, ask yourself “What am I doing to help them achieve their dream/goal?”

Make sure you are in the Front Row for the people you love. Seeing them achieve their goals, will bring you an immense dose of satisfaction. Plus, as Zig Ziglar says:

If you help enough people get what they want in life, you will get what you want in life.

Want to learn more about Jon Vroman and the Front Row community? Listen to the podcast and share your takeaways in the comments section.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[00:11] – Who’s Jon Vroman?

[00:45] – Jon telling the story of how he started the Front Row Foundation.

  • The Jason Mraz concert
  • The desire to give back to the community
  • The 52-mile marathon
  • The fear of sleepwalking through life

[06:55] – David sharing a similar story about his motivation to start the Managing Happiness course and podcast.

[12:05] – Jon launched Front Row Dads in an attempt to make his world more harmonious, integrate work into his personal life and spend more time with his family.

“I think a question all entrepreneurs need to be asking is: How can I lay out all the things I want to do; things I feel called to do; the ways I can make money as an entrepreneur and take care of my family? How do I want to contribute to the world? Lay all of them out and ask: How are all of them connected?”

[14:10] – The moment when Jon realized he was putting more time and energy in his business than in his family.

“Where is my Family Folder?”

[14:46] – “I’m a dad, I’m a husband. That’s what I actually do in life. When I’m not doing that I happen to speak and write and run this charity .”

[15:05] – Jon got his priorities right.

“I wasn’t a speaker and an author who had a family. I was a family man who had a speaking and writing side thing.”

[15:29] – Many people say that family comes first but it’s not true until their way of life reflects that.

[15:58] – Jon is looking for success at all levels, but if he had to choose between being successful in business or being the best dad, he’d always pick the latter.

[16:52] – Jon and David talking about The Four Agreements book.

[17:26] – David realized that during his weekly planning he’d always give 100% in business and expect that family would magically run itself.

[19:22] – Life is an ecosystem where everything should function together.

[20:05] – David talking about being a yes-man and how he changed that by adopting a clear mission and vision.

[21:40] – Jon presents the mission and vision of the Foundation through the stories of the people they help.

[22:35] – The story of the 4-year-old Sophie who was suffering from a brain tumor and whose dream was to meet Kelly Clarkson. With the help of the Foundation, she met Kelly before she lost her battle to the disease.

[23:44] – One of the missions of The Front Row is to serve as a family to every person who joins the network and keep the memory of all its members forever alive.

[24:18] – “This is our family, made of unique DNA, unique people coming together for the common goal of being moment makers.”

[24:34] – “Tomorrow is guaranteed to nobody. We don’t know how many moments we have. So, let’s make the most of the ones we’ve got.”

[25:00] – The people in The Front Row network say that the mission of the Foundation is to amplify the good to silence what’s not.

[25:23] – There are things in life that you can’t change, that you need to accept and move forward. Jon gives an example with the amazing story of Nicky.

[26:50] – Jon shares that he’s constantly surrounded by people with an incredible perspective on life. The Front Row is a metaphor for supporting the people around you.

[32:00] – Jon talking about introverts and extroverts.

[34:17] – Reading inspirational stories helps you choose and adopt a new and better way of being.

[34:58] – There are 3 forces which help people achieve positive transformative change:

  • The power of hoping for the future – having hope vs. wishful thinking
  • The power of celebrating the past
  • The power of managing the moment – using the future and the past to bring power to the present

[39:59] – Not everybody accepts your gifts.

“Giving is actually a little bit of work. Giving comes with challenges just like everything else.”

[42:22] – The “Who is in your Front Row” philosophy:

  • Define the top 8 people in your life right now
  • Ask yourself “What is the number one dream/goal of the people on my top 8 list?”
  • Ask yourself “What am I doing to help them achieve their dream/goal?”

[46:57] – “If you help enough people get what they want in life, you will get what you want in life.” – a quote by Zig Zigler

[46:20] – Which are the 3 books that have influenced you the most in your life and which was the last book that you read?

[48:50] – “Forget what you are supposed to do. Be your own Chief Marketing Officer. The world is trying to market to you, and advertise to you, and tell you how you are supposed to be. You be your own CMO.”

3 Key Points

1. Life isn’t guaranteed so you better make the most of every moment you are given.

2. Reading inspirational stories leads to a positive transformative change. They help us bring power from the future and the past to the present moment.

3. The act of giving can be challenging and people should be prepared for that. Not everybody accepts your gifts and giving itself requires a little bit of work.

Resources Mentioned

The Front Row Foundation – a charity creating front row experiences for individuals who brave life-threatening illnesses

The Front Row Dads – a brotherhood of like-hearted dads

The Front Row Factor – a book with inspiring stories, compelling science, and life strategies that teaches you about the power of hope for the future and celebrating your past to bring power to the present moment

The Four Agreements – a book based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – a book by Susan Cain

Ultramarathon Man – a book by Dean Karnazes about the human potential

The Miracle Morning – a book by Hal Elrod

Essentialism – a book by Greg McKeown about the things you say yes and no to

How to Raise an Adult – a book by Julie Lythcott-Haims

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I’m a serial entrepreneur and I write about things I have learned along the way. I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and executives to find success and harmony in business and in life.

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