Jon Vroman, social entrepreneur, professional speaker and founder of the Front Row Foundation, was a recent guest on EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). Through his organization, he creates "front-row experiences" for those suffering from critical health issues. We asked serial entrepreneur and essentialist Cédric Waldburger, an EO member from Zurich, Switzerland, to review the episode and provide his biggest takeaways. Here's what he had to say:
The entire EO 360° podcast interview with Jon Vroman served as a strong reminder for me to lead a conscious life. Jon's organization, the Front Row Foundation, was built from his mission to provide hope to people facing critical health concerns, which he does by creating "front-row experiences" that bring joy.
According to Jon, living life in the metaphorical front row is all about maximizing the moments that are presented to us. While he acknowledges we can't control everything that's happening, Jon argues that moment-making is about the way we respond and the meaning we attach to a given situation.
One great example he gave was from a Jason Mraz concert. He noticed that people in the front row were having an absolute blast, while the people in the back (where he was seated) seemed detached from the experience and looked like they wanted to be somewhere else. The energy and enthusiasm that fans in the front row brought with them was the key to improving the show that they experienced. The exact same concert yielded entirely different reactions from subsections of the same audience because of one difference: how they showed up.
My takeaway here is that living in the front row is a metaphor for the mindset of making the most out of every moment, which requires self-awareness and a conscious approach to life--a life that you're actively participating in instead of merely spectating on.
During the conversation, the podcast host, Dave Will, raised an interesting point: Do you have to be an extrovert to maximize every moment? After all, many people enjoy themselves without shouting out loud at every opportunity.
Jon explained that living life in the front row is not about being introverted or extroverted. Rather, it's about what most benefits you and how you react when you're living consciously and taking charge of what depends on you. It's about getting closer to the people, things and thoughts that make us feel alive and improving the quality of our lives. That's the goal.
He gave an interesting example of this, in which Derrick Boykins, a recipient of Front Row Foundation aid, was given the opportunity to cheer for his favorite basketball team from front row seats and meet his favorite players on the court.
Days later, when delivering a video compilation and photos taken at the event, Jon noticed Derrick was rather quiet and reserved about the experience. This seriously bothered Jon, who wondered if the foundation's approach was completely wrong--had he not enjoyed it? How had they screwed up this opportunity? Jon later saw a picture Derrick posted on social media: He had enjoyed the experience so deeply that he rushed out to have his whole back tattooed with the following words: "Live Life in the Front Row."
This specific story and the entire interview got me thinking about my own approach to life, and what strategies I can adopt to be more intentional with my time to make every moment count. Ultimately, the biggest idea I took away from this episode was to stay close to the people, things and ideas that light us up.
As Jon points out, you don't have to be diagnosed with a critical health condition to decide what's most important in your life. You can make the changes you want before it's too late. Time waits for no one.