about

the founder

ABOUT THE FOUNDER

Dr. Eric Holsapple, Founder Living In The Gap

I was always successful in business and I love to work! At age 5 I worked at our family campground in Maine and eventually ran it while in college. I worked at the local mill during high school and was promoted regularly. I worked at Kmart during college – selling wig’s no less – and was successful and promoted. I took a job writing service at an auto dealership when I was 20, and a promotion to Service Manager a year later delayed my education. It also motivated me to not only finish college but obtain my MBA (as I hated the job). After college I went into real estate and had an immediate knack for it, becoming North American President for an Australian Group within a few years and shortly thereafter started my own company. I was immediately successful, however, fortunately, I was not satisfied or fulfilled with business success. I decided to return to college to get my Ph. D in Economics so I could teach – not knowing exactly why only that a life in business only would burn me up as I was a tough son of a bitch who took no prisoners and who drank too much.

When I entered the Ph. D program at Colorado State University in 1993, I also started yoga and a few years later my oldest brother Bruce introduced me to meditation. I watched Bruce forgive my dad for being a SOB to him growing up through meditation, and my dad didn’t’ change at all: I wanted some of that!

Going back to school, I thought I may be up for a career as a professor, however, my taste for expensive things like snow skiing, exotic travel, summering in Maine, etc., and my distaste for bureaucracy along with entrepreneurial genes, led me back into business post-graduation.

I taught adjunct at the university for 20 years (with the last 2 ½ years “on full-time faculty”) while I learned more about mindfulness which I brought into my classes at the end of my tenure. I learned through mindfulness that I was a natural teacher, and I did not have to be at the university to do it, my business was a perfect opportunity to teach and practice mindfulness. I also learned that I had a Soul and that my purpose in life was to awaken, to be present, and to share this awakening with everyone who is open to their own awakening.

One of the great blessings of the Ph. D program was it caused me to become a voracious reader and I started reading everything I could find on mindfulness, meditation, transformation, etc. I loved and excelled at sport and this too became a laboratory for learning about mindfulness and I attended “Zen Golf”, Extraordinary golf, and took the principals into water and snow skiing. I was getting results and improving at sport even as I was aging.

This led me to transformational workshops like the Landmark Forum, Arbinger Outward Mindset, Atlas, and eventually yoga teacher training and advanced yoga techniques; Nature-based programs, Silent Retreats, Vision Quests, and even to the jungles of Peru to experiment with ayahuasca. All the while doing what came most naturally to me: making money and building a business and portfolio in real estate.

My partner Don Marostica and I endowed a Chair at Colorado State University where I taught, and I help them raise $5 million to also endow the real estate center and grow the program. I became a “giver” and gave over a million dollars to this and other causes like affordable housing etc. The ironic thing (or so I thought) was the more I gave the more that came back to me. For instance, I had fellow board members at nonprofit meetings come to me and ask me to take on projects because they like the way I operated and what I was doing for the community. Also, bankers, city staff, and consultants all wanted to work with us and treated us amazingly.

The most unexpected thing that happened was what the students brought back to me years after graduation. As I was “in the business” my favorite activity was to place students at area firms and I knew all of them. We hired a constant stream of interns at our company, LC Real Estate Group, and several stayed on to eventually become partners in the firm.

And for every intern who moved on to greener pastures, which we always helped them do, now we knew someone at another firm! I constantly had former students bring me buyers, tenants, or loans, or contacts that were a tremendous help – especially during the financial crisis of 2008 when land was literally a four-letter word and getting financing was nearly impossible. We managed to survive a housing crisis, and develop a major shopping center in the face of “the great recession” and I credit it entirely to relationships we had made, mostly with former students. Now, this could be viewed as “inappropriate” or using the students, however, our help to the students was genuine and we never expected or hinted at any payback thus our intentions were noble.

It was KARMA: we sent good actions out to the universe and the universe returned them in spades.

LC Real Estate Group is now run by former students, partners we have grown, and Blaine, Don’s stepson and our first employee. I “help” but primarily focus on developing people through my Living in the Gap programs and enjoying my amazing life.

I learned that delegating and trusting others was the key to their growth and my freedom. We introduced our 25 employees to mediation through Mindful Based Stress Reduction (Jon Kabat Zinn) and the partners have done the work outlined here and we start each internal meeting with a grounding mediation. All are involved in non-profit work.

As I write this on a plane to Hawaii celebrating Tracy and my 30th wedding anniversary; the staff is participating in a Habitat for Humanity Build Day.

My amazing life includes waterskiing summers at my lake house in Maine (where I grew up); or snow skiing at my ski in ski out condo in Steamboat Springs, CO; and traveling the world with my wife Tracy and 3 amazing kids Ryan, Kaity, and Kohlton. Raising a family wasn’t an easy journey which you’ll hear some about in the book, but these teachings taught me how to be a father and husband who supports the family in their dreams (rather than mine). Each of my kids runs their own business which we have supported getting started and they are tremendously hard workers, all with college degrees, and all meditate. Each has worked in the business growing up and none have chosen my path for their life – as it should be – they have chosen their own paths.

I am happy, successful, (often) present, and making a difference in the world.

I created Living In The Gap to share what I have learned with you in hopes you decide to be happy, successful, and present NOW rather than waiting for tomorrow, which may never come.

[Excerpt from Eric’s upcoming book titled The Mindful CEO]

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