Season 3 – Episode 06

The Art of Life Design

with Marc & Angel Chernoff

Photography by Gregory Berg

What happens when the personal and professional life we have planned comes unraveled with a series of setbacks?

Is there a way to reframe the most stressful period of our lives as an opportunity?

Marc and Angel Chernoff contend that the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives, and when they came up against back-to-back tragedy, the couple ruthlessly examined their everyday habits.

And one by one, they started to incorporate new daily rituals. Little things that got them closer to where they wanted to be. So, how can we work through our own tornado moments and use the experience to grow? How can we learn to excel—even as our world is falling apart?

Today, Jeffrey examines the art of life design with Marc and Angel, the creators of the Marc & Angel Hack Life Blog and bestselling authors of Getting Back to Happy and 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently. Marc and Angel share the series of personal tragedies that led to their work in the personal development space and the challenge they faced in shifting their own daily habits. The couple discusses what they had to unlearn to build a collective personal brand and speaks to their ability to translate complex theory into actionable insight. Listen in as Marc and Angel challenge us to ask what’s worth suffering for and learn why rituals are essential in shaping our days along the journey to an excellent life.

Our Guests

Marc & Angel Chernoff

Marc and Angel Chernoff are New York Times bestselling authors, professional life coaches, and their blog (Marc and Angel Hack Life) has been recognized by Forbes as “one of the most popular personal development blogs.” Marc and Angel began writing in 2006, when their lives seemed to fall apart in the face of loss, family-related betrayal, unemployment, and financial instability. They wrote to share what they were going through with the hope of giving people the tools to identify and transform the limiting beliefs that keep us stuck. The couple has spent the past decade writing about and teaching proven strategies for finding lasting happiness, success, love, and peace.

Marc and Angel’s latest books explore how to harness the power of daily rituals, mindfulness, and self-care to shift our perspective—and our actions—in order to become our happiest and most effective selves.

» Marc and Angel Hack Life Blog

Key Takeaways

[0:02] How to turn tornado moments into opportunities

  • Ruthlessly examine every part of daily habits
  • Muster courage to shape life of excellence

[5:51] How Marc & Angel’s young genius informs their current work

  • Marc given freedom to explore spirituality at young age
  • Angel always driven + competitive, desire to be #1

[10:22] What Marc & Angel’s life was like before their tornado moment

  • Pursuing careers in computer engineering + business
  • Unrestricted, relatively carefree young adult life

[12:31] The series of tragedies that led Marc & Angel to personal development

  • Mutual best friend passed away and Angel’s brother committed suicide
  • Angel lost job (primary source of income for couple)
  • Turn to distraction to numb pain, avoid real conversation

[17:32] The challenge Marc & Angel faced in shifting their daily habits

  • Difficult to acknowledge that daily habits not serving them
  • Do one thing to break cycle (started with 45-minute walk)
  • Add daily rituals like reading + blogging for accountability

[22:50] When Marc & Angel realized their blog could be a business

  • Audience resonated with story, asked for one-on-one help
  • Several articles went viral and fueled traffic to site

[27:14] What Marc & Angel had to unlearn to build a collective personal brand

  • Define specific roles, afford each other autonomy and respect
  • Embrace mantra ‘this is not my job’

[31:48] How Marc & Angel developed the discipline to turn theory into actionable insights

  • Identify principles to take us from where we are to where we want to be
  • Make ideas simple to digest, help remind us of our better judgement

[35:56] The three critical actions Marc & Angel took to excel in the wake of upheaval

  • Get outdoors every day
  • Habitual, honest self-reflection
  • Recognize business opportunity

[39:13] Why rituals are essential in shaping our days to help us be our best

  • Daily practices help us reach goals, get us closer to/farther from target
  • Changing one ritual slowly changes entire trajectory

[45:42] Marc & Angel’s take on the adage to ‘follow your passion’

  • Start by asking what current job allows you to do
  • Appreciating where we are puts us in position to make better decisions

[52:31] Marc & Angel’s insight around what’s worth suffering for

  • Progress leads to happiness
  • Not growing until hit discomfort zone, push self to achieve

[57:06] How to see the beauty in intense moments with other people

  • Ask if person has ever walked same path
  • Take deep breath and remember they have own pain

[1:04:32] The advice Marc & Angel have revised over time

  • Used to be hyper-focused on being positive
  • Shifted to relentless acceptance + presence

[1:11:48] The art of turning hardships into opportunities

  • Use setback to take step back, decide what matters
  • Pursue excellent life as expert of own experience with desire to serve
| VIRTUAL ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE

Season 3: Gregory Berg

Gregory Berg is a veteran photographer, multimedia storyteller, and the host & producer of Life on Purpose, a podcast that explores how to lead a more intentional life. Since he began his career as a professional photographer in 2004, Gregory has traveled the world seeking to capture the light and beauty that connects us all.

Gregory’s quest has led him to visit breathtaking destinations and photograph amazing humans, including world champion skateboarder Tony Hawk and distinguished entrepreneurs at Camp GoodLifeProject, a summer camp for adults where he has served as a photographer for the past five years.

After realizing the power of mindfulness and intention to infuse creative expression with transformational power, Gregory has developed projects (coming soon) to share this revelation with others. In the meantime, he posts stunning iPhone photography with his reflections on the world around him each day on Instagram.

For a brief primer on mindful photography, see his post written for Digital Photo Mentor. To see more of Greg’s photography, visit his website: ensophotography.com.

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