A Conversation With Creator CJ Finley, Founder of ThriveOnLive
We’re on a mission at ibble to provide space for and to amplify meaningful conversations. Last week, we had the pleasure of chatting with CJ Finley, founder of ThriveOnLife — a community that sparks and accelerates positive growth. CJ captivated us with his enthusiasm and commitment to live fully. The stories shared reinforced the importance of innately human qualities like authenticity, passion, ingenuity, and intentionality — personal values CJ built a successful online business around. Those of you particularly skeptical of technology’s role in nurturing these attributes, please read on. CJ candidly speaks to the universal struggle to lead with purpose and how to leverage technology in ways that accentuate the best, instead of the worst, of humanity. He encourages us to follow our energy and to allow ourselves to play. Enjoy.
CG: How would you describe yourself?
CF: I’m an ex-engineer. I got my systems and industrial engineering degree from Rutgers University and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, for a job. I started to realize that going into a desk job every day wasn’t my speed. I’m an athlete.
CG: What inspired you to create your company, ThriveOnLife?
CF: My wife’s father died of a heart attack in a spin class. He was really in shape — it was a shock to everybody. We can go at any moment. Every heartbeat isn’t guaranteed, and you must be conscious of what you’re doing with your time. On top of that, I have Celiac’s Disease. At age 25, I looked in the mirror and realized that even if I do everything right, I can die at 40 of cancer. With every step and every day, I think: Is this what I’m meant to be doing? When I look back on my life, it’s less about money and material items and more about whether I lived a fulfilling life that positively impacted other people. ThriveOnLife was inspired by death, but it lives and breathes to encourage other mission-based people, brands, and businesses to make every heartbeat count — to do more than just survive — to thrive. All we have is each other.
CG: How has COVID impacted you?
CF: I love people. I love giving. I love building. Most of the time I’m trying to serve different projects and different people. It’s easy to get lost in the fulfillment provided by being needed by others. But I started losing sight of my needs. What do I need out of life? COVID pushed me to take a step back and write out: who I want to work with, why, and how I want to spend my time. And not just writing it down, but actually executing on it. In business, you have to do administrative things that aren’t fun, but that’s just the nature of the beast, but I rarely show up to something that I don’t want to give my one-hundred percent to. I think a lot of people give fifty percent to a lot of their lives because they’re not the ones determining whether they want to show up to that thing. Time rules them; they don’t rule their time. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. If I don’t want to be somewhere, I’m not there. I only show up and accept the things that I’m going to give a ton of energy to, which keeps the energy flowing. I rule my time.
CG: How do you authentically leverage technology to achieve your goals?
CF: Some people utilize technology as if it’s this separate thing from reality, but I use it as reality. When someone joins Thrive’s Mighty Network, we immediately send them a video saying “Hey, thank you so much for joining. We would love to set up a call and learn more about you.” That’s reality, just like if I met you in a coffee shop — that’s the energy I give. Most people use technology to put in half effort, sell, sell, sell, and shoot people direct messages. Think about when you’re approaching people; you don’t just shout at them. But how many people are using technology to just yell at you? Figure out what a “virtual coffee” is and then provide that value in exchange for a fifteen-minute conversation. On social media, it’s following their social media and then really following their stories and engaging within their comments. Don’t just write “Cool. (fire emoji).” My phone is my stage. Harnessing technology to enhance your skills will serve you no matter if you end up in the corporate, entrepreneurial, or freelance space. For instance, right now, there are only seven people watching. But if there were seven people in my office right now, I would be so fired up! But most people are like, “Oh, I only have seven. Why don’t I have seven-hundred?” I treat seven and seven-million people the same. That said, the dream is to talk to seven-million. To execute that dream, I focus on serving seven people as best as possible, so those seven people go tell seven more and it keeps compounding. Anybody can dream. You got to focus on execution.
CG: Is there a final message you’d like to share?
CF: There are only two things we can control: our energy and our attitude. There’s a lot of uncertainty with COVID and the election coming up. I want you to choose to wake up and control your thoughts, be happy and grateful, and focus on fulfillment over achievement. Figure out what makes you get into a flow state and forget about the world. Go play.