We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Fishman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jay, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
There are billions of unique people on this planet. Every one of them has a story that would fascinate and enthrall all the others. Whatever I would choose to do had to be unique and whatever I did I would do better than anyone else could. Greatness did not lie within the reach of my mind but within the unexplored expanses of my heart. There I would find solace in achievement that only echoed what my soul whispered in the caverns of my heart “Do something none have done and do it while having fun.” This became my defining mantra!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Everything has been haphazard. I chose do nothing but what I did chose me to do it. I never looked at the task as what defined me I looked at me as defining how the task should be done. In essence it didn’t matter what I did because I would always do it as if it was my life’s ordained work. This attitude made me strive to be unique in how I approached building out and operating a business and principled in the way I treated employees, customers and suppliers. My journey began in 1986 with a foray into the fresh herb market in San Francisco. Married two years with a second child on the way my wife gently asked me if I was ever going to work. Within a short time a fellow admirer or Paramahansa Yogananda approached me with a business opportunity with fresh herbs. A rosier path to success was painted than really existed and I began the journey that started with a pick up truck and ended with the largest fresh herb company in North America. The obstacles to greatness were always the same: Intractable People. The fluidity of consciousness and flexibility of mind always leads to impasses of disruption. The more things stay the same the more success goes down the drain. I tirelessly pushed the envelop and broke the standards – convincing a spice rack ridden America that fresh is F-R-E-S-H and America bought it!! This led HerbThyme to become the foremost fresh herb brand in America. But….disruption costs money and when money becomes the foremost goal a company quickly loses it’s soul.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I herald from San Diego County and this oft overlooked sister to Los Angeles has charms galore in her panoramic ocean settings and inland high desert vistas. I chose the later to settle into when I left the Bay Area. It was here that I discovered my true art and love – trees. I’m growing close to two hundred different fruit trees and each one requires a caring love that is unique to it’s disposition. YES – disposition!! Just as dog breeds are all different and have different needs on the physical and emotional levels; so do trees. Therefore my best friend would get a tasting tour of my orchards and I will swoon internally as I hear my favorite words uttered “That was the best ….. I’ve ever had!” After this rather biased share I would take him to the Self-Realization Fellowship gardens in Encinitas to experience a meeting of the heavenly with the earthly as the subtle barriers between to two weaken while basking in the palpable presence left by Yogananda. It’s hard not to feel your knees slightly buckle beneath you as a serene meditation bench beckons you to sit still and know that Spirit resides within you. Upon opening our eyes and gently acknowledging that something special happened we would depart some good Italian food at Bouna Forchetta. After a great pizza or entree a trip to San Diego harbor would cap out the day as we walk, talk and share remembrances of lives well lived. Eventually, the sun would set and one more day would be done that has been lived to the fullest and with gratitude for all those days gone by coupled with a loving childlike expectation for what those that are coming will bring.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without the caring, loving guidance of Paramahansa Yogananda through his universally read Autobiography of a Yogi and the organization he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, my accomplishments would have been nominalized and devoid of heart and soul. I am deeply indebted to this great Master for shedding light where only darkness had roamed so that I could see the way to a fulfilled and grateful life. I’d like to give a massive shout out to my wife of 37 years, Leslie. It is hard to put into words the deep levels of love that our hearts have journeyed to. Through so many seemingly impenetrable walls and immovable obstacles her steady hand on the rudder of our lives has always led us to safe harbors and opportune ports. The tapestry of my life is interwoven with threads of gratitude for her passionate care of my soul.

Image Credits
Tommy Friedman

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