We had the good fortune of connecting with Andreas Kraemer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andreas, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Hello to you too! For me, every decision we make, every move, whether we sit still or move defensively or offensively, is a risk. Every choice has an outcome that supports either our ability to stay exactly as we are, or to move forward, and those outcomes all have pros and cons.
In our survival setting, potential outcomes are colored by the possibility of danger (the cons). There is not one single thing you can do or not do in the course of your life that does not contain the possibility of danger on either a micro or macro level.
In our thriving setting, potential outcomes are colored by opportunity for happiness (the pros). Just like with danger, there is not one single thing you can do or not do in the course of your life that does not carry the opportunity for happiness on either a micro or macro level.
So when I think about risk in my decision making, I do two things: 1) I take an honest look at what I am focused on, and I ask myself: “Am I weighing potential cons (danger, life of survival) more heavily, or am I weighing potential pros (happiness, life of thriving) more heavily?” 2) I make sure that what I am choosing is about the long term, not the short term.
Short term happiness is not worth long term danger, and long term happiness might include some short term feelings of danger. In other words, if it contributes to long term happiness, I do it, no matter what the short term. If it contributes to long term danger, I don’t do it… no matter what the short term. The short term doesn’t matter. I choose this paradigm in my life and my business, with intention. Because I am committed to my happiness.
But… sometimes… when my logical mind just isn’t processing well, I’ve got to do something different! Really different. I have to tap into my subconscious. Our subconscious mind holds the master keys to everything we have been, are, and want to be. And it just so happens that the subconscious thinks in images, not in words. To tap into my subconscious, I have a picture I like to use and to share. It’s what I picture when I think about, and talk about, risk.
Imagine you are sitting in a small boat on one side of a lake. On the other side of the lake is a bright light. You can’t make out what is producing the light, but you know it is something you want in your life, something exciting, something full of possibility!
If you don’t make any movements, one of two things will happen: Either the boat will stay still, or outside forces will cause it to move. Those outside forces could be anything from the wind, to an undercurrent caused by movement in the depths below. Perhaps a creature could pop up, or a storm could rise. Either way, it will be extremely difficult for you to get closer to what you want, much less achieve it. If you do achieve it, it will take the kind of pure luck one needs to win the lottery. Not good odds. So: if you don’t make any movements, there is great risk you will never, ever get what you want. And even worse, you will be completely at the mercy of whatever is around you. At best you might be able to defend yourself and survive, only to wait for another movement from outside of you, hoping it doesn’t set you back farther.
On the other hand… If you DO choose to make movements, put your hand in the water, find a branch and row, do whatever it takes to move towards the light across the lake, no matter what happens, you will always give yourself the chance to get closer to it. In this case, if there are no outside forces working against you (obstacles), you’ve got a clear path. And even better, if obstacles do arise, even when you are defending yourself, you are still doing so in a way that keeps you focused on moving forward. Plus, when an obstacle pops up, you can learn more about the ecosystem of the lake, so that when a future obstacle pops up and it is similar, you can move through it with greater confidence. So: if you make movements, the greatest risk is only that an obstacle will stop you and you allow it to change your mindset back to one of no movement. As long as you choose to keep moving, take in the information the obstacles give you, and pursue the light across the lake, you create the chance to get what you want.
When I see myself in the boat, on that lake, with the light shining bright across from it, I hear my own voice, powerful and clear saying “You want this. You got this. You deserve this. Move!”
What should our readers know about your business?
My company is called Elite Business & Life, and we specialize in helping business and community leaders achieve the power, prosperity and joy they’ve always wanted for their big vision of the world. My ideal client is frustrated AND determined. They feel like everything is going well for them, but they just know that they are meant for more, that they can do more, that they can make more impact. They just can’t get from good to great on their own. (By the way… who can???).
I thought about the word “Elite” for quite some time. I realize it can carry a stigma. But the more work I have done in the world of business and life coaching, the more I have realized that I enjoy working with people who believe they deserve their own top version of their life. You’ve got to have a certain mentality already in place to think of yourself as worth your dream. What makes our model unique is that part of that elite mentality is that everyone wins. So for me, “elite” also means elite compassion, elite kindness, elite stewardship.
Since I was a child, I’ve always been aware of the best in everyone. The highest potential. And since I was a child, it frustrated me when I felt like someone was experiencing unhappiness because they weren’t living in their potential. Over the years, I realized that I myself was the origin of that feeling, that I was experiencing unhappiness because I wasn’t living in my potential. So what I’m most proud of in my business is that I have created a by the numbers system for business and life improvement, and that this system is based wholly on what each person uniquely wants in their life. And it works. I didn’t know it would logically, but I had to risk what I knew I had experienced time and time again.
I’ve always been fascinated with systems, so much so, that when I first saw the movie “The Matrix” my immediate thought was “Of course there is a set of numbers that explains our existence. And of course, once you know those numbers, you can create anything you want to.” I believe we are a gorgeous computer, an organic machine, capable of everything we could ever dream of. My quest is to figure it out, explore it. And share it.
My path, like that of many dreamers, has been… thick. My primary obstacle has been my own desire to be perfect vs to make progress. (I’ve worked hard to flip that paradigm). When I started, I had no formal business or life coaching training. I had to look at my life and realize that by starting and owning businesses, by working on myself with traditional and Eastern therapies… heck by the thousands of hours of conversations with actors I coached, talking with people at parties, all the care I had given to strangers in strange situations… I had to allow myself to be a different kind of expert.
When people ask me what they should do to start life or business coaching, I’ve got a simple statement “Want to do it enough that you start doing it.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Haha! I love this question! And I laugh because my answer is a bit… I’ll call it… Buddhist (which is near and dear to me). I would say, “LA is what you make it. If you want to party hard, there are places for that. Be in nature, there are places for that. Live the downtown life… check. Get super woo-woo… yup. Anything you want, we can do.” And I would build the experience off of that. One of the many things I love about our city is that you can have it all. Superficial, deep, beautiful, grimy, artistic, casual… it’s all here. Aaaaand…. Since this is a shout out article, I’m going to name drop some people and places I love!
I’d say we’d hit up Venice to see the iconic beach spots and the beautiful freaks, grab a craft cocktail at the Roger Room (or wherever my good friend and food & beverage expert Dustin Shaw recommends), head to Koreatown for some all you can eat BBQ, catch an opera show with my friends at the Pacific Opera Project (unbelievably funny, poignant, and chill AF), and maybe hit up a Jiu Jitsu class at Villains with Nathan Drona. So much awesome hiking (no specific call outs here, but Echo Mountain is a good start), for art Moma is always amomazing (not a typo), hit some par three golf at Arroyo Seco (doesn’t matter if you are good or not), gotta tourist it up at Madame Toussads and Grauman’s Chinese… oh! and I can not forget Antonio’s on Melrose! Family owned wonderful Mexican for decades, apparently haunted, and pictures of every celebrity you can think of since 1970. I love them. If you are lucky, you will see Don Antonio himself.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people, moments, places, items and decisions that have contributed to my life. And importantly, there are also so many people, moments, places, items and decisions that I had to overcome that contributed to my fulfillment. I deeply believe that I am exactly where I should be, because of everything that has happened “to” me, and, powerfully, “for” me.
Specifically, I shoutout my mother Carla and father Sven, my brother Mattias and my partner Becky, for loving me and challenging me to show up as a light for those who believe in me in all their different ways. I thank my acting, and in some ways coaching, mentor Arthur Mendoza for demanding that I speak my truth and grab hold of every opportunity in front of me, even when it meant difficult disagreement. He was my frustrating karate master, making me walk pails of water up the stairs of the temple no matter how tired I was. I thank the best therapist I ever had, Wade Davis, for showing me that creating my future required me to fully live in my present and gracefully leave behind the past. I thank my friend Alex for showing me how to find a glimmer of hope in a cellar of darkness. She gave my fledgling faith in the universe the water it needed to bloom. And I thank my first business coach, Melissa McFarlane, for assuming that my greatness is easy for me, and speaking to me like my best, most powerful self from the first time we met. Finally, (and given my love of sports and hip-hop, I find it hysterically true), I thank all of the people, places, and moments that challenged my sense of self worth. Some call them the “haters”. I think of them as dark mirrors. They helped me to choose to love myself. I try to remember it isn’t about being “against” them. I am simply… “for” me.