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A Terrible Tragedy

Brief Overview

I went silent for more than two months. What happened? I explain the behind the scenes of a terrible tragedy that caused us to press pause.


There have been so many amazing things, ideas and insights that I’ve wanted to share with you over the past couple of months, but I just could not get it out. And it’s because we received some terrible news. Here’s the backstory…

Two years ago, I was introduced to two guys who were full of life. They had a brand called ‘High on Life’. They traveled around the world and they got paid to stay at these big five star locations and resorts. They were living the dream life. They were traveling around with their buddies, staying at these amazing places, while documenting the experience, and because of that, big brands wanted to work with them. They had a massive following on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. And when I say a massive following, I’m talking about reaching 25 million plus people through their various channels.

And so, we were introduced to them by a mutual friend – our videographer Dan Usher. Dan knew that we were the best at helping people monetize their knowledge and expertise, and that’s what these guys really needed help with.

So, we started working with them. We started mentoring them and in exchange they were also showing us how to grow our audiences, because that’s what they were experts at. So, we had this really great relationship where we were working with these guys. Their names were Alexey and Ryker. It was like a mentor/mentee relationship and I was incredibly grateful for the chance to work with them.

Fast forward to a few months ago… I am leaving on a weekend getaway with my wife to disconnect, and I get rushed with a bunch of text messages from my brother in-law and business partner, Andrew. So I decide to pick up the phone and call him.

Andrew asked if I saw the news. As it turns out, 3 hikers went missing out in BC. Those 3 hikers happened to be Alexey, Ryker and Mindy. Mindy was Alexey’s girlfriend – while I didn’t know her quite as well, she was a very special human being.

I said, “What’s going on man?”. He said “Did you see the news?” And I said, ‘What news?’ And he’s like, “Three hikers went missing out in BC. They’ve just changed the status from ‘search and rescue’ to ‘search and recover’. I’m really sorry to tell you this Stu, but they’ve been killed.

I was shocked. Tears just started streaming down my face. It was heartbreaking on every level. There was a part of me that kept saying to myself, “This can’t be true.

A big reason I wanted to share this story with you, is because as entrepreneurs, there are going to be those moments that we have no idea are coming for us. Those moments where quite frankly, we don’t want to do any business. We just want to sit in stillness. We just want to be with our thoughts and emotions because we’re too fragile to be on the front line. Even now, a couple of months after the whole thing has happened, I’m still emotional. I still get triggered by it. And I don’t think that’s ever going to go away. But it’s one of those things where you have to find your new normal. There’s no way that you and I can have a strategy in place to be able to account for stuff like this when it happens.

I knew that I needed space. I knew that my team needed space. And to be able to protect that and to guard that was really important for me. And through it all, I started reflecting on a lot of things. I started reflecting on life and business. I think any time you have a tragedy like this, you start to put life in perspective. It starts to put time in perspective. It started to remind me why we do what we do and how special that is.

The other thing that I started reflecting on was the lessons that I learned from Alexey, Ryker and Mindy – and today, I’d like to share those lessons with you.

Lessons Learned

Lesson #1 – Never Be Afraid to Blaze Your Own Trail [13:32]

So often we get so focused on doing what works. But sometimes that prevents us from experimenting. Sometimes that prevents us from trying new things. Sometimes that prevents us from doing what has never been done before. And Alexey and Ryker, they did something that had never really been done before. And it inspired others to do the same. They were blazing a new trail for online influencers where they were building their audiences and they were working with companies big and small, travelling around the world and getting paid for it! So, never be afraid to blaze your own trail because if you’re passionate about it, keep moving forward and you will find a way. That’s exactly what they did. They kept moving forward and they blazed their own trail.

Lesson #2 – Really Experience Life [16:09]

These guys experienced more in their 30 years than the vast majority of people experience in a lifetime. They had traveled to so many different countries. And they didnèt just travel there, but they experienced the county, the people, and the culture – and they had the time of their life. And it was amazing when you watch their videos. You’ll see whether it’s in Bali or Thailand or Vietnam or anywhere around the world that they traveled. All throughout Europe these guys experienced life fully. And I gained so much inspiration from them.

Listen, when we are running a business it’s easy to fall in to a rut of doing the same thing over and over again. But why are we doing this? Why do we work so hard? It’s not just to accumulate money. What does that money give us the ability to do? Surely we’re doing it for a reason. I love to use it to give to others – to give to people we love, causes we love, projects we love and other things that we’re passionate about. But also, using it to experience life, to live life. Don’t put it off!

Lesson #3 – Have Fun & Do It With Others [18:55]

When I think of Alexey and Ryker, I think about how they would walk into a room and instantly the energy would come up. They would make a point of turning the most mundane activity into something super fun and silly. They would laugh and everybody always enjoyed being around them. This reminds me that there’s no reason why we can’t have fun with everything that we do. I want to be intentional about being that person that others love to be around. Being that person that brings joy. Being that person that brings laughter and smiles. Being that person that brings fun to every situation. So, think about how you can show up and have fun with others – just like Alexey, Ryker and Mindy!

Memorable Quote

As entrepreneurs, there are going to be those moments that we have no idea are coming for us. Those moments where quite frankly, we don’t want to do any business. We just want to sit in stillness. We just want to be with our thoughts and our emotions because we’re too fragile to be on the front line.” – Stu McLaren


Watch Here In The Now: For Ryker, Alexey and Mindy to see how they experienced life and lived every day to the fullest!

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