Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Spotlight: Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl's OOLA Find Balance in an Unbalanced World

Oola:  Find Balance in an Unbalanced World
by: Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl

Foreword:  Kurt Warner (Super Bowl MVP)
Publisher:  OM Publishing
Pages:  256
Amazon Link 
Book Website

Oola is not your typical self-help book. Oola is a "state of awesomeness," it's when your life is balanced and growing in the 7 key areas of life (Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends, and Fun). Oola reads more like a collection of kick-butt anecdotes and sincere stories that just happen to have meaningful messages. Co-authors Dave Braun (The OolaSeeker) and Troy Amdahl (The OolaGuru) have been there and done that. Kurt Warner, NFL MVP, wrote the foreword. "What I have been seeking, and what I believe everyone is seeking ... is an OolaLife." Mark Victor Hansen (the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" co-author) says, "Oola is happy inspiration!" Oola has received glowing reviews from top authors, pro athletes, musicians, industry leaders, and Olympians. 

Need 7 more reasons to read this book: 
1. Learn the three simple steps to balance and grow your life in an unbalanced world. 
2. Uncover what blocks you from the life of your dreams and what can get you there faster. 3. Find out what you can learn from a drunken Thai monkey, a black Ninja, and zebra-striped underwear. 
4. Why no matter what you have done or have failed to do, you deserve a better life. 
5. Become inspired to take the steps, reach your milestones, and achieve your OolaLife. 
6. Discover the 7 key areas of life you must balance and grow. 
7. Unlock the secrets to taking your life to the next level.


(KEY QUOTE: All I can remember thinking is, “How did I get here?”)

It is hard to believe it was just three years ago I made The Call. The image in my mind is as clear today as it was then. 

Earlier that night, I was sound asleep in my uncomfortable bed at a discount motel. I wasn’t on vacation--this was my home. I didn’t pay by the night--I paid by the month. 

The sound was loud and abrupt. I thought someone was breaking into my room. Startled, I jumped up to see what was happening. I looked out the window and saw the police with a battering ram, breaking into the adjoining room. 

This was surreal and deeply humbling at the same time. All I can remember thinking is, “How did I get here?” Just a few short years ago, I had it all. I was a married man with five beautiful kids. I had seven years of college, a net worth of over $2 million, and a $1.4 million house at the foothills of the mountains. 

How did this happen? How did I end up in this crap motel where most residents pay by the hour? 

At that moment, I knew I needed to reach out to someone. I reflected on all the relationships in my past for just the right resource. I was embarrassed, and wasn’t looking to be judged, but rather nudged in the right direction. As dark as everything felt around me, I always maintained a sense that “things are going to be okay.” In my core, I just knew I needed to get back on the path that I had strayed from some time ago. 

I thought back to my internship 15 years earlier and a guy I knew back then. You probably know a guy like him. In short, I remember one of our mutual friends tossing him a gold horseshoe about the size of a half dollar and telling him to stick it up his ass so he could have a matching set. You know the guy--lucky with 0’s on the end.

Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. He was just lucky ... or so I thought. During my internship, as I spent time talking with him and learning from him, I realized it wasn’t luck. He worked hard at keeping his life in balance. He made a conscious effort to grow in the important areas in his life. This reflection reconnected me to the path, the pursuit of Oola. I knew who I needed to call. 

I walked outside and looked at my neighbor’s door, which was dented from the battering ram. I remember thinking that the door looked like I felt. I walked through the rhythm of the lights from the police car reflecting off the buildings around me and made my way to an alley protected from the wind. I remember it was cold outside, but I was not cold. I was humbled, ashamed, and oddly optimistic all at the same time. 

I had the phone in my hand, hoping to gain the courage to make that call. I knew this was the call I needed to make. I felt it. With vulnerability I called the OolaGuru. 


The call was exactly the call I needed to make at exactly the time I needed to make it. I hadn’t spoken with the OolaGuru in quite a while. Miles and months had come between us, and this one phone call revealed how our paths had diverged. At one time we were almost of one mind. We had similar dreams, goals, and aspirations. But while my life hit rock bottom, the OolaGuru seemed to have it all. 

The OolaGuru is a very private guy. He’s far from shy, but his anonymity is based in humility. He listens more than he talks. And, let’s just say that he has what most of the world wants. He has always been the guy in the group we looked to when we wanted to up our game, in any category of life. 

He was completely debt free by the age of 40, he has been married to the same gal (whom he met in kindergarten, by the way) for more than 22 years, he formally retired at 42, and now does what he wants, when he wants. 

I remember when he couldn’t run a mile. He then set his mind to it, and began running marathons, and even completed an Ironman. He spends a ton of time with his kids, and works on his faith, dare I say, faithfully. 

His personal passion is travel, and he has been to 50 countries and counting. Sounds like fiction, but he is the OolaGuru. 

When I called him, he was at his winter home in Arizona. I did most of the talking, and he did most of the listening. I needed to talk, and he was good at listening. After an hour of dumping my problems on him, all I can remember him saying was, “Well, I think you have found the bottom. The good news is it’s only up from here!” 

He then told me a story about how they design a car so you can see both in front of you and behind you. They provide a rearview mirror, which is small, but adequate. The front windshield is large and unobstructed. It’s designed so you can easily see what’s ahead. He pointed out how the views ahead and behind are designed to scale. You do need to look behind you, but only briefly, from time to time. The majority of your energy and focus, however, should be on the windshield in front of you. 

In that moment, I learned that my life is the same way. I do need to look at my past, but only briefly from time to time, and only to learn from it. The majority of my time should be spent looking forward, planning where I am going. 


The purpose of this book is clear. We want to lead you to an OolaLife. We want to show you what Oola looks and feels like, and how to get there.

We will define Oola and share our stories regarding our different paths to Oola. The heart of the book is the 7 F’s of Oola. Here we will clearly define the seven areas of life that deserve balance and growth.

We will identify the seven roadblocks that can get in the way of the life you want, and introduce the seven accelerators that can get you the OolaLife faster. We will close the book with the three simple steps to the OolaLife.

We will provide two perspectives to educate, entertain, and inspire you on your journey. One perspective will be from the OolaSeeker, who once had Oola, lost Oola, and is now committed to getting his Oola back. 

Another perspective is that of the OolaGuru, who is committed to the OolaLife.

By opening up and sharing our true stories, knowledge, and experiences, we hope to inspire you to pursue a life that is balanced and growing. An OolaLife is worth the effort and pursuit. Please hear us, that regardless of where you are in life, and what’s in your rearview mirror, you are worthy of better ... you are worthy of Oola. Congratulations on this noble pursuit.


Oola is simply a life that is balanced and growing in all the key areas of health and well-being. It can be a noun or a verb. It can be a destination or a feeling. It can be as complex as a life growing and balanced in fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun (the 7 F’s of Oola), or as simple as a sunset, a quiet book on the beach, or a special moment with a child. It is that place we all shoot for in life. The feeling we experience as we celebrate our successes along the way. In short, Oola is cool.

In this section, we will dig a bit more in-depth into Oola. To further help you understand Oola, we show, through our own true examples, what a life In Oola looks like, and compare that to one Out of Oola.

We will also explain how two young guys, almost identical in beliefs, passion, goals, and dreams at one point in their lives, met up years later to find they were in much different places. And how this gap helped confirm the need to repeatedly assess where you are in relationship to your goals, prepare a plan, and follow a path.

Chapter 1: What Is Oola?
(KEY PHRASE: Regardless of where you are in life, there is hope.)

oo-la: noun. That state of awesomeness. It is when your life is balanced and growing in the seven key areas of life; the 7 F’s of Oola (fitness, finance, family, field, faith, friends, and fun).

When your life is In Oola, you’re in the zone--everything seems to be going your way. It’s like swimming with the current. You’re covering maximum ground with minimal effort. It’s a sweet spot. If you’ve ever had a sip of it, you want the entire bottle. It’s like finding twenty dollars in the couch, all green lights, Christmas bonus in July, all tweets re-tweeted, skinny jeans fit good!

Oola is experienced when your life is balanced and growing. That is why we have dedicated ourselves to the pursuit of Oola and are committed to sharing it with the world.

The opposite of a life In Oola is a life Out of Oola. Unfortunately, this represents the majority of society. It can be sneaky. On the surface, those with an Out of Oola life may appear to be okay, may even appear to be “winning.” It’s the guy in the gym with six percent body fat who needs a ride home because he can’t afford a car. It is the millionaire whose only connection with his kids is their occasional text requesting more money.

OolaSeeker: My Pink Bike

Growing up on a small farm in North Dakota presents many opportunities to become a “MAN!” Growing up on a small farm in North Dakota with four sisters (and being on the receiving end of the hand-me-down chain) wasn’t one of those opportunities. 

And as far as hand-me-downs go, how about your older sisters' three-time hand-me-down pink Huffy three-speed bike? Unfortunately, the color wasn’t the only problem. Multiple spokes were missing, the rims were bent and rusty, and the tires were bald and barely holding air.

I am not sure what compelled me to take this bike out on gravel roads, through the pastures, and along the cow trails. What I do know is that the ride wasn’t pleasant. On short trips it wasn’t a big deal. I always made it to where I wanted to go, with only minor difficulty and pain. However, as the bike evolved into my primary means of transportation on the farm, the ride became depressingly difficult. There were times I was barely moving. I felt stuck in low gear. 

My body felt fatigued and tired from all the work. It was painfully rough riding. Many times I felt like just getting off, abandoning the bike, and walking home. And, when I did get home, this misery wasn’t just mine; I wanted everyone to share in it. If I wasn’t happy, there was no reason for my sisters, parents, or even the dog, to be happy.

This pink bike represents a life NOT in Oola. This bike wasn’t growing; it was dying. It was not balanced; it was broken. It was the wrong size; it was damaged and out of tune. It was fine for a few pushes of the pedal, but with repetition it was wearing ... fatiguing ... frustrating.

This was my life three years ago. Depressed, stressed, tired, and going nowhere. At times, I felt like just abandoning my life and starting over ... or worse. My life was out of Oola.

OolaGuru: Spinning Plates 

I have pursued growth and balance in my life for as long as I can remember. I haven’t done this because someone told me to, or because I read a book on the topic. I pursued Oola because I saw it works. Whenever great things were happening in my life, my life was balanced and growing. I also noticed that whenever I felt most fulfilled, my life was balanced and growing. 

I am kind of a quiet guy, but if someone asks, I’m happy to share my opinion regarding the key to life success. On many occasions, people with a lot more experience and letters after their names will challenge whether it is possible to balance your life. I point out that their analysis is a bit too literal. I am not advocating devoting exactly 205.7 minutes each day to each F of Oola. Much like a marriage is not truly 50-50, it is more like 80-20 ... sometimes the wife has the 80 and sometimes the husband has the 80.

My best way of explaining how to reach balance is a story about the guy in the circus who spins the plates. Picture a circus performer entering the center ring with thin poles, each six feet high. For this story, let's say there are seven poles. The performer then grabs shiny white plates. He spins one, much like a basketball player spins a ball on his finger, and balances the spinning plate on the pole. He then does the exact same with the six remaining poles and plates. Usually, by the time he’s moved on to pole four or five, his first plate begins to wobble. He then has a choice: “Should I move on to the next plate, or go back to the first plate and spin it again before it wobbles and hits the floor?” For the remainder of the act, we are intrigued by his efforts. He is running back and forth, from wobbling plate to wobbling plate, to make sure none of them falls and hits the floor.

This is exactly how I pursue life balance each and every day. It is impossible to perfectly balance your life in each key area of life. I just wake up each day and make sure my plates are still spinning. And if I notice one is about to hit the floor, I give it a spin.

Regardless of where you are in life, there is hope. The truth is that Oola is a gift available to anyone and everyone. You are reading these words for a reason--you are worthy of a life in Oola. No matter what you have done, or what you have failed to do, Oola is available to you. Go get it!


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