Zander Ford

I met Zander through one of my closest friends Julia Duncan, a leadership coach. What impresses me about Zander is his courage to make big leaps in his life along with his willingness to invest significant time into getting in touch with himself. You can hear sea lions and watch the morning fog in the trees from Zander's home in Carmel. His home base is a peaceful, yet transformative, cocoon where he seems to be consistently cultivating energy in order to go deeper and keep reinventing.

What is your everyday magic?

My every day magic is a morning practice. This ‘me-time’ in the AM really sets me up for an empowered day. Usually I’m up around 5:30/6 naturally. I don’t set an alarm, I just tend to get up then. Around 8:30/9 I’m worked out, clear mind, and ready to flow with whatever the day has for me and I for it. 

My routine is something like: Wake, rub sleep from eyes. Write out dream for about 20 minutes with a wooden pencil, do one hour of cardio/martial training and a hike behind my house, one hour and a half of meditation, one poem, and lastly my ‘Ideal Final Result’ or 'IFR' as I call it. My IFR’s are simple intentions and to-do list for the day. Carnegie said to ‘Keep thoughts and actions to ‘Day-tight Compartments’’. I like it.  IFRs keep me focused on what I actually can impact today. 

I often take 3-4 10-minute re-set breaks during the day. These are just 10 minutes of relaxation, breathing, meditation, and re-checking back with my IFR to see how I’m related to it. 

I’m currently building a 3 good-deeds per day practice. I have found seeking intentionally to do a minimum of 3 good deeds every day turns just about everyone I meet into an opportunity to serve. It turns everyone into friends. Which is a beautiful place to interact with people. 

What strategy and tactics do you utilize to live your best life?

I like routine. I really do. And, I also like choice. I find that in my life its a balance of routine and play/flexibility. I have enjoyed considerable time in both living frameworks of floating and structure. I like my balance of structured mornings, and flexible days.  

For example, every week I ‘sharpen the saw’ its usually on Sundays, lately I’ve shifted to Monday. This is a 4-5 hour highly focused session of reviewing everything on my Goals, Projects, and Tasks lists. For me, I like to think of my life in terms of the whole thing, assuming I’m going to die around 120 years old. So, if I’ve got a good 80 years to go, what would I like to accomplish? I have 3 views: seeing things at 50,000 ft, 10,000 ft, and Earth. I call my views and  review documents MAPS, Goals, and ‘Stuff to Do.’ They’re just notes in my email program. MAPS are the lunar view of my life. What does my life look like across time from the perspective of the moon? Goals are a little more atmospheric. They are my 3 primary focuses. Right now, those are Service to others with podcast, Movement/Medicine/Martial Arts, and Self Reflection/Art ( is my poetry blog and podcast.)

My Goals document is a simple tracking document where I capture anything I want to get done, then review, prioritize and organize it weekly.

I currently track my time using a simple time-tracker. I like to know what I’m doing at a self-reflective way, so I can train to optimize time spent and align it with my MAPS and Goals. Especially when Goals or MAPS shift, its important to re-calibrate how my time is enjoyed. And I’m a data-nerd, so this hourly investment makes sense to me. If I’m my own boss, then what’s my review look like?

The ultimate key, regardless of the structure, is writing down my goals and reviewing them. It can be helpful to assign target dates to accomplish these. Anything that makes these goals more specific really helps to manifest them. Since life, by Nature, is always evolving. So are my goals. They are moving targets. Even my MAPS may change. Weekly review of these documents seems to satisfy and reinforce my feeling of alignment when I’m doing a project, or task. 

I build one habit per month. It takes human short-term memory about 6 weeks to load a new habit. And… it takes the long-term memory about 10 months. So, I try to add one new habit every month. It really enables me to single-task. Trying to add more than one new habit at a time dilutes the process and usually leads me to frustration, so I just take down one at a time. Each of my routine elements was built using the monthly-habit practice. It works. The mechanics of its working are also backed by Neruralplasticity research. 

What are you top 3 tips for success?

  1. Establish practices that cultivate 'self love', including training the ‘voices’ inside to be loving.
  2. Create, review, and achieve goals in a regular, routine, and enjoyable way. 
  3. Be embodied with a daily physical and aerobic practice. Even if its a bike-ride or walk to the office. ;-)

What one book do you want to give to everyone you know because it has the power to change lives?

Mmmm. Such a tough question. So many amazing books! I’m writing my own a compilation of life-phiosopy, photography, and poetry. And, I think there are a bunch of great philosophical teachers out there. I really have enjoyed recently the meta-level analysis done by Brian Johnson. He does a book-review style audio version of many popular life-changing books. Tag line is ‘More Wisdom, in Less Time.’ 

My major influencers would fall into these categories:

“Adulting” David Allen from Getting Things Done, Stephen Covey of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. 

“Emotional Health” Scott Peck, Road Less Traveled. Byron Katie of ‘The Work.’ And the I-Ching, Ancient Chinese Philosophy.

“Art and Healing”, Generally I find Fantasy and SciFi books to be of real value to me. They enter me into a state of reflection and healing. Give my mind an opportunity to expand and imagine. To build worlds from words. Powerful

About Zander:

Zander mentors Founders building Healing-Technology companies. His podcast hosts luminaries commercializing products at the intersection of Neural-plasticity, Virtual Reality, Meditation, and Gaming. His goal is to help Humans more easily achieve greater states of happiness, health, vitality, joy and philanthropy with the aid of Virtual Reality technology. 

Zander is successful software Entrepreneur and Sales Person. He Co-Founded and built a mobile payments company (Swipe - Acquired by Merchant Processors 2009), and helped grow the first Data Management Platform Company (BlueKai - Acquired by Oracle 2013).

Zander publishes his life-musings, photography, and poetry on a podcast and blog called words and light He is an avid student of Chinese Martial Arts and Medicine.