His Opening Riff
Kevin’s life has always been in motion. Growing up in Kalispell, his family owned a lumber mill. He learned from his father the value of hard work, dedication, and serving others. His was an idyllic childhood, filled with music and adventures throughout Montana. Kevin studied hard at school, worked at his father’s mill, and practiced music ceaselessly. These experiences became the foundation for his life.
Early garage bands became touring groups. Kevin began to master the bass as well as the necessary interpersonal skills needed to be on the road. Throughout his book, he describes the importance of working with others and supporting them. But even more powerful, Kevin discusses how a life involved in music has transformed his life.
“When music comes from the heart, the connection between musician and audience is exhilarating and stunningly honest,” Kevin writes. “Music speaks to the soul like nothing else can. This love of music, this awe I have for the process, has been with me as long as I can remember.”
From music, the rest of his life unfolded. It brought him to a career in video production and eventually as CEO of USANA. The story is incredible simply because who would have thought learning Beatles songs in the family basement so long ago would shape Kevin into the man he is today.
When in Doubt, Act
Throughout the book, Kevin shares jewels of wisdom with the reader. He writes about the people who influenced him and offers examples of decisions made to chart the course of his life. His grandfather taught him to “fake it until you make it” and “go, baby, go!” But the best stories are when Kevin pulls himself up by the bootstraps, or in this case his ski boots, and trusts himself to make the right decision.
Filming a video for ESPN, Kevin and his team were at some of the most treacherous slopes in the Wasatch Mountains. His company had been hired to film a complex, multi-camera ski video. A competent, but not an expert, skier, Kevin realized very quickly he was over his head.
Directing the camera operators over the perilous mountain, Kevin found himself in hip-high powder on some of the steepest slopes. While he needed this job, it quickly became apparent the risk outweighed the reward. He handed the project over to someone else. While it cost him money, he learned the importance of finding balance between brashness and being overly cautious.
“For most of us, overconfidence is not the problem,” Kevin writes. “More often, being timid and overly cautious is what holds us back from reaching our full potential. [After that ski shoot], I turned down projects I knew I didn’t have the ability to pull off. It was a lesson in wisdom and restraint I’ll never forget.”