#27: Discovering Your True Calling -- Lessons Learned
with Markus Bohunovsky
May 11, 2023 | 50 Minutes
On "Inside-Out Career Design" this week, hosts Nicola Vetter & Peter Axtell speak with Markus Bohunovsky
Have you ever asked yourself what your true calling might be? Markus shares his incredible journey of discovering his true calling and reveals the life lessons he learned in the process. His story takes us from a successful career in the software industry to embracing the healing power of salt caves, demonstrating the importance of authenticity, alignment, and personal growth. Watch this video interview to truly grasp what a salt cave is and listen to the valuable insights on how to overcome obstacles, hear your authentic voice, and create a life that genuinely aligns with your purpose.
In our conversation, we talk about…
- the process of creation: intention, energy, and physical manifestation,
- the difference between encountering obstacles and feeling misaligned,
- the concept of a life well-lived,
- the balance between following a passion and adapting to life's changes,
- the value of trying different paths before finding the right fit,
- exploring unconventional paths and career options,
- why it’s an advantage to approach inner development and meditation like a scientist,
- the importance of checking in with yourself to see how real things feel, and whether they are still making sense,
- and how obstacles are a great source of feedback.
About Markus Bohunovsky
Markus was born and grew up in Vienna Austria. Around age 21, he left his computer science studies to become a modern monk, spending a few hours daily meditating, and eventually moved to San Francisco, helping to run a vegetarian restaurant, while also teaching meditation.
He left the monk-life in his mid-30s and started working in software. Eventually, he founded Modula4, a small international software company, with offices on 2 continents. In 2010 Markus retired from the position as CEO and continues to advise the company as a member of its board and as a consultant.
He decided to follow his true passion and attended and graduated from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, probably the world's first modern school for energy healing. He spent a total of 7 years at the school, as a student and assistant teacher. Around that time, he sold his shares in the software company, and spent the next 4 years helping to organize transformational retreats in the US Virgin Islands as a volunteer.
In 2013, after experiencing a Himalayan Salt Cave treatment in Vienna, Austria, Markus and his wife, Stephanie, decided to create a Salt Cave Spa in Denver, Colorado. The spa opened 2 years later in the Wash Park District. It has now served over 30,000 customers with a focus on high-end complementary treatments for relaxation and stress relief.
Markus also started skydiving at age 50 and has participated in the national skydiving championships in 4-way and 8-way formation skydiving.
- Website: https://5starsaltcaves.com/
- Prior Business: https://www.modula4.com/about-us/our-team/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markus-bohunovsky-202a256/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/5starsaltcaves
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About the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast
This podcast is obsessed with answering a single question: Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career?
Join Nicola Vetter and Peter Axtell, co-founders of the WhatsNext.com Career Insights platform and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment, as they follow their obsession with answering this question by sharing their insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talking with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches -- anyone and everyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of “what’s next for me?” and “what should I do with my life?”
They seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers.
Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are and what you are meant to do with the time you’ve been given.
Markus Bohunovsky 00:00
I always really liked approaching inner development and meditation. Like a scientist, a scientist would always be, you know, looking out for well, you know, is that really true? So you wouldn't believe immediately the first thing there's a little bit of skepticism and, and applying that skepticism to yourself, for me is really helpful.
Peter Axtell 00:22
Welcome to Inside-Out Career Design. In this show, we're obsessed with answering a single question. Is it possible to create an authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life you love while building a successful and rewarding career? My name is Peter Axtell, and I'm here with Nicola Vetter. We're co-founders of the WhatsNext.com CareerInsights platform, and creators of the groundbreaking MotivationFinder assessment. Join us as we seek to transform suffering into joy for millions of people stuck and confused in their lives and careers. We'll share our insights, discoveries, and life lessons and talk with career experts, leaders, spiritual guides, psychologists, data scientists, coaches, anyone who might hold a strategy or answer to the age-old questions of: "What's next for me?" and "What should I do with my life?" Get ready to be inspired, motivated, and above all, to connect deeply with who you are, and what you're meant to do with the time you've been given.
Peter Axtell 01:25
Are you trying to figure out what to do with your life, to figure out what to do with the precious time you've been given on this earth, or to figure out what only you as a remarkable and unique individual can bring into this world? If you are, please join us for one of our live and completely free online workshops, where we cover different topics to help you figure out what to do with your life and career without wasting precious time, taking wild guesses, or risking it all. To save your spot in our next live and free workshop go to WhatsNext.com/workshops. We can't wait to see you there. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/workshops.
Nicola Vetter 02:19
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Inside-Out Career Design Podcast. Our guest today is Markus Bohunovsky. Markus had several big life changes, moving from Austria to the US to live as a modern monk honing his meditation skills before venturing into the world of IT and founding a thriving software company. But his journey didn't end there.
Peter Axtell 02:52
Right. Markus realized the importance of aligning his life with his core values. He knew that he had to keep checking in with himself to see if he was in alignment with what his scientific mind was telling him and what his meditation world was telling him. He combines scientific skepticism with his internal world through meditation. This has guided him to leave the corporate world to create a one-of-a-kind wellness center with a mesmerizing salt cave at its core. He has embraced change, and followed his passions that lead to a life of purpose and fulfillment.
Nicola Vetter 03:35
That's why we were so excited to talk with Markus. And in this interview, we talk about the process of creation from intention to energy and physical manifestation. The difference between encountering obstacles and feeling misaligned. The concept of a life well lived. The balance between following a passion and adapting to life's changes. The value of trying different paths before finding the right fit. Exploring unconventional paths and career options. And why it's an advantage to approach inner development and meditation, like a scientist. The importance of checking in with yourself to see how real things feel, and whether they are still making sense. And how obstacles are a great source of feedback. And now it's time to listen and learn from Markus. Welcome Markus. We are longtime friends and have spent endless hours together discussing topics from all walks of life. You are an interesting guy with a mindset of a contrarian, and I'm sure we'll come across those contrarian views in our conversation. But first, I'd like to encourage everyone to watch this episode on our YouTube channel, because Markus is sitting in a salt cave in Denver, likely, as I always say, one of the most beautiful and calming and healing places in the city. Therefore, before we dive into your personal story, Markus, what is a salt cave?
Markus Bohunovsky 05:42
Well, thank you, Nicola. I'm glad to be on your podcast. So a salt cave, for those who can see it, it's right here behind me, it's visible. It is really a treatment room. It is a type of treatments that we discovered, we discovered it about 10 or 12 years ago, in Austria. And when I say we, I mean myself and my wife, Stephanie. It is a type of treatment that works through fine salt particles in the air that was discovered in a natural salt mine in Poland back in the late 1800s. And our particular salt cave is man-made, it is made from over 13,000 pounds of Himalayan rock salt, so there's actually a lot of salt in the room. And then for the treatment itself, because you need such a tremendous amount of salt in your environment to get the salt into the air, we actually have a little machine that puts medical grade salt into the air. And people relax in the room, they breathe the salt, it helps with the respiratory system. In Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, that's a recognized treatment. Here, we mostly say come for the relaxation, and you'll get some respiratory benefits, you'll get some benefits for skin tone, some skin conditions as well. And so mostly people come here to relax and to breathe the salt in the air and to enjoy that very special, beautiful environment.
Nicola Vetter 07:17
It is. It's superb. I love it.
Peter Axtell 07:22
So please share with our audience, why you left beautiful Austria, to come to the US.
Markus Bohunovsky 07:30
Probably along this interview you'll notice that my life took a lot of terms a lot of what's next moments, you know, since I'm on a what's next podcast and definitely coming to the US was one of them. It was not a decision that happened in one moment where I said I'm going to move here, it was a I'm going to try this I'm going to you know and I stayed, and I stayed longer. At the time I was very involved with meditation, I my life was that of modern monk in some way, you know, with hours of meditation a day. And I had friends who were also connected to that same type of meditation who opened a restaurant, which was the restaurant that followed the restaurant that Carlos Santana's wife owned in San Francisco. And it was a very special project. I loved being there. San Francisco was a very interesting city at the time. And it helped me to disconnect from some you know, some parts of my life that were old, that were not connected to what I was doing before. And so moving actually helped me start a very new period of my life.
Nicola Vetter 08:46
Yeah, so you went from IT to living in a meditation community experiencing personal transformation. And then to IT again, and now being the founder, the creator, actually of a salt cave together with your lovely wife, Stephanie, what caused you to switch to and fro?
Markus Bohunovsky 09:14
So I think if I, if I think back on it, that is really two parts of my personality, I do have a very science or engineering type of mind. I really love solving problems. So computer science was something very, very interesting to me. And then there is another part that's more inwardly focused. So meditation, personal development, very important to me and it took the larger part of my life to really bring this together. The salt cave, the whole spa that we created here is a way to bring those two parts together, the problem solving and the more inward focus, meditation focus, wellness focus, and so on. And so each time I switched back and forth, which you could say that was about four times in my life, I discovered, there's always I was doing one thing, and then another part was missing. So in my meditation group, at some point, it was really too much disconnected from proper physical, you know, real life, as most people call it, I would call a meditation life very real as well, but it's a different kind of area. And so I was missing that. And that made it harder and harder to stay, you know, with just a meditation. And eventually I had to come out of that. And when I first came out of that, a lot of the meditation practice disappeared. Because, you know, life takes over if you found your own software company, there's not a whole lot of time for meditation.
Peter Axtell 11:06
Well, this for sure wasn't a traditional career path. What had been the benefits of the approach you took? And how might it be an idea for someone who's looking for what's next?
Markus Bohunovsky 11:20
Yeah, so I really think it might not be an approach that works for everybody, I would say mine was very intuitive, very, in the sense that when something was very strongly pulling me, I had to go and do it. So the meditation certainly was the first start. I, you know, I started, I actually studied first mathematics and physics and philosophy, and eventually computer science. So I could not really find a direction, I could not find something that really drew me to what I wanted to do. And the meditation certainly did that. The unexpected effect that it had, because meditation does require, you know, you may go in kind of with your heart, this is what I really longed for. But eventually, it requires a lot of discipline. And that was probably a part that I was missing, that was something that made it hard for me to stick to one study. And so it was probably necessary to develop that part, with something that I'm really passionate about. So I could then in my next step, use that when I worked for a software company eventually started to found my own software company before the before the wellness center here, that was very helpful. And again then, you know, dealing with very, very practical issues was, again, very important was something that then helped me with the next step again.
Peter Axtell 12:56
And for you, Markus, having a fulfilling career always came first, before you thought about money. How did this show up in your life? And how did you manage the money part?
Markus Bohunovsky 13:10
Yes, so this is why I'm not sure if this works for everybody, but I, I had, yes, it was, it was simply impossible for me to do something, you know, certainly early in my life, that that did not have the sense of it aligns with my passion, and with what I truly want to do in this world. That was kind of a it doesn't work anyway, any other way. And the meditation allowed me for a while, you know, I had support, if other people were doing this, of a group who was very involved with this, that allowed me to not worry about the money part so much, you know, as long as you're willing to live in a small room and not, you know, I didn't own a car, I you know, there was a very simple life. The reality of it is eventually it's also a limiting life. And so, yes, money became much more important later. And there are some very great lessons that you know, that I probably ignored during the meditation life that that the need to make money kind of brings to it so I can see now you know, that that would be another starting point for somebody you can start with that as well. I very much you know, as a businessman I very much on people who come from this, you know, this is certainly a change from when I was a monk and I probably felt myself slightly superior to people who were who were looking for money in life and yet, you know, there are so many great lessons through that too. And so fortunately, I was able to do to also learn those.
Nicola Vetter 15:03
Oh, that's really interesting. And you spoke about something the other day when we talked, and that was how this whole salt cave really was kind of a roller coaster as well also money wise. Can I do it, can't we do it? And then also the aspects of what Stephanie was thinking. I think as a woman, it often always has another further aspect when it comes to a roof over the head and the money part. She didn't go the monk path that you have. Right? So talk a little bit about that.
Markus Bohunovsky 15:53
Yes, she was certainly more practical minded from the beginning. And was aware that, you know, in order to live in this world, you need, you know, the physical failure of things to be there. I, you know, at that point, that was another big risk for us that, you know, I have had a successful software company, I had sold my shares in that it wasn't something that allowed me to stop working forever. But it gave me a few years’ time to find something, and it was a few years of where I did, again, more meditation, more volunteer work. And eventually, we needed a business, or we needed to work for somebody again, and fortunately, the idea came. In myself, I noticed in these periods, there's a lot of trust that somewhat automatically, I seem to have, you know, that I really trusted that. I had for years, and then we really, really needed to start something. And the salt cave idea came, it was it was an idea that came we were very unsure at first, we've never heard of that we just experienced it ourselves. And trust is maybe something that has been there in my life. And fortunately, you know, every now and then you get a little bit afraid. But overall, I was able to, to have that long enough to come up with it. And when we opened a salt cave, we were basically down to nothing again, and, you know, we planned it very, very well, I think. We had a lot of very, you know, we got a lot of data, we found out a lot of things about it, we made a very good business plan. But again, none of that is a guarantee. So you know, with any business or with any job, right? You don't really know what you're getting into until you're there and, and actually practicing it.
Peter Axtell 17:55
I remember when we were talking about this, you said you had this impulse and Stephanie said oh, a salt cave. I mean, this isn't exactly like opening up a McDonald's franchise. A salt cave is a little bit pretty left field, and you talked about how you had this feeling inside that would not let go and you would kind of go back and forth. But you just kept following this feeling.
Markus Bohunovsky 18:22
Yes. And we, we talked a little bit about, you know that that first spark and the intention. So by that time I had studied at the Barbara Brennan School of healing, and there is a little bit of a, a teaching or a philosophy around that. And it really happened the way I did not perceive it like that ever strongly again, but this idea that you know, at first, there is an intention that you aligned with. So there was this idea of the salt if we visited one, it did wonders for the breathing condition I had at the time. And we said, Wow, this is you know, this is something we should bring this to Denver. And it took a lot of research to see if anything like this even existed here, which at the moment, it didn't. There was another salt cave that opened just before ours. But for two years, it took two or two and a half years to make that a reality from the first impulse. And a lot of you know a lot of I remember a lot of forks with Stephanie where it's, well this feels weird. Should we really do this, but it also feels still really that yes, there is a there is an energy around it. There is something that's that could grow from that. And so we kept checking in every step, you know, as we're doing the practical things also checking in, how real does it feel that we can do this?
Peter Axtell 19:51
I remember you saying that, and for the people in our audience listening to this, that this idea of continually checking in with yourself, because I asked you, well, what's the difference between magical thinking, Oh, I think this is a great thing, we'll have a salt cave. But that's not what you did you kept checking in with this idea that would not let go, then you looked and got some data to support that idea. But you kept checking in with yourself, and the idea just didn't let go.
Markus Bohunovsky 20:22
It didn't let go and it kept feeling real. And then when you get some data, right, obviously, if you find out, right, people have tried this before and 90% of them failed, then then just from a, from a practical point of view, we would have probably stopped and you know, but so there was both the actual, you know, physical data of, Okay, this looks doable, here is an actual plan. And then the internal checking in and I thought a little bit about it before this call. And I think, I don't know if I can give any advice, because for me, it was important to have this self-development, meditation, you know, some way your mind I feel can really trick you a lot of the time.
Nicola Vetter 21:09
Markus Bohunovsky 21:10
And so if I say things like, oh, you know, it has to feel right, that can sound very magical thinking. And that means, you know, the moment you hit the first difficulty, well, then it doesn't feel right, this doesn't feel good, I have to actually work for this. And so you give up. That's not what I mean. Right. And so there is a lot of questioning your own thoughts and, and starting to develop I'm, you know, again, to me, it is through internal training, but you can probably do that through coaching. Also, if you yourself don't want to go meditate or go to personal development courses. Believing your own mind is dangerous. There are great ideas, there are great feelings, you know, believing your own emotions is the same. I think it's both, it's neither that you shouldn't listen to them, nor is it that you should listen to all of them. You should a little bit. I always really like approaching inner development and meditation, like a scientist, a scientist would always be, you know, looking out for well, you know, is that really true? So you wouldn't believe immediately the first thing there's a little bit of skepticism and, and applying that skepticism to yourself to for me is really helpful. And then you start to get a feeling like this kind of feeling well, that might just be I don't like what's going on right now. But I need to, you know, work through that. Versus this other feeling is really telling me something's not quite right. Maybe this is not the right thing. So that's, that's what worked for me.
Nicola Vetter 22:44
Yeah, well, you have been trained by a scientist in a way, you studied energy healing for six years at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing that you just mentioned. And she was an amazing woman, who was in 2011, listed by the Watkins review as the 94th most spiritually influential person in the world. And sadly, she passed away this last October. But she was an American author, spiritual healer, businesswoman, and teacher, working in the field of energy healing, but she came from an academic background as a former NSA physicist.
Peter Axtell 23:35
No, not NSA. That's national security. It's NASA.
Nicola Vetter 23:43
Not NSA, right, thank you. So she believed in energy healing as a path to happiness, a health and full potential as I understood it, but what are a few of the gold nuggets that you took away from all those years studying with her? And how has it changed the way you view the world?
Markus Bohunovsky 24:13
That's a big question. So yes, yeah, she came from a science background and that really impressed me that you know, she brought the, the more spiritual world together with a science background and, and with some real research as well. You know, in the context of making decisions for work and for direction of life, I did really like her. We talked a little bit about that a while ago as well, the idea of alignment and have you know, she really had a system where she looked at the world in, you know, in different parts that are very much connected like the physic Hello World, the energy world. But even deeper than that, the world of intention. And she had a very different meaning than a lot of particularly kind of New Age philosophy now has a lot of people think of intention as something that you set in your mind, right. So you first have a thought you want, I want to make lots of money, I want to make $5 million, that I set that intention, and then I keep repeating it in my mind, and that will bring that energy in. And that is a way that really starts from your mind. And you don't even know where that started. Maybe that started from a fear of not having enough, right? And so how, how deep how far can that really take you if that's the starting point. intention in the brain and healing method is really, they call it a dimension deeper than even energy and energy, let's say, you know, if you don't believe in booboo energy or something like that, it's simply it's our mental world, it's our emotional world, it's the world of physical energy, what I need to kind of come up with in order to then physically get out of bed in the morning. And intention is more a matter of alignment, it is something that in the case of the salt cave, when we had that idea, when that first spark came in, that we then kept checking in and you can see does this do I feel aligned with my, with my purpose in life, and that is not something where I come up with a mental image of that purpose, it is more like a deeper sense of you know that where there's always a question, it's always a question, you can never completely tell. But there is a little bit of a feeling when you are aligned, and when things are moving. And then the thoughts the emotions build secondarily around that. So it starts with that type of intention. And if you are aligned, then you know, the ideas start flowing, the ideas start coming the, you know, we are on the idea level, a lot of research that we had to do on the emotional level, we purposefully felt that energy done as well, right, we would buy some Himalayan salt lamps, set them up in our room. And when we looked at them, we could feel that excitement and that joy of what that salt cave might be like, right, and so we would feed that feed that energy, and then out of that energy, eventually, you know that the physical actions come out of that.
Peter Axtell 27:33
So I want to just clarify this, because it's very useful for people. So you have this idea that comes in your mind. And then you're, if I get you, right, you're questioning where that idea came from? Did it come from fear? And did I hear an infomercial or a podcast and someone gave me this idea that I'm going to be on the road to riches? Or does it come from, you question that and say, Is this really in alignment with how I feel about this? Is that right?
Markus Bohunovsky 28:08
To some extent, I wouldn't say we, you know, like, you, we don't, I don't immediately doubt that idea. And so I would first go with that. Okay, wonderful. That's an idea, right? And then, as we're working, there's always just a little bit of checking in again, how, you know, how does that is, that really, is that just a fantasy? It very much sounded like a fantasy to be honest, right to, to come and build this Himalayan salt cave and do a business that I've never done. I've, I've created a software business, wherever different world, I did not know, the retail, the spa, business, anything, anything like that. So there was a lot of practical, you know, catch up to do with that. But then also always checking in with, you know, Where's that coming from? Am I just, you know, sometimes you do something out of fear, and it still has good results, you know, that doesn't mean that doesn't mean you but that that constant checking in really helped for me and made it possible to, to switch in my life multiple times from one thing to another, you know, if I if I had one career going on, forever, and I was fine with that, maybe that wouldn't have been necessary so much.
Nicola Vetter 29:18
And besides checking in with yourself, which is just one, or well, me, myself, and I, that would be three, you always have Stephanie, with whom you were able to bounce off your ideas and to check in. And I know the two of you quite well and you are quite different, I would say in certain things. And so how helpful do you find it to bounce off your ideas with other people that really mean well?
Markus Bohunovsky 30:01
Yeah, that's a very great point. I mean, for us that difference really helps. There were parts, I could not do this business without her. She said she couldn't do it without me. So it yes, there is parts that, you know, it's so easy to trick yourself or it's so easy to get lost when things get frustrating when you simply don't know, and so to have somebody else that you can bounce off ideas, that's why I said, you know, even if it's not in a work that somebody is doing, you know, and if you don't have a partner to do that with, again, not many people do business with their, with their intimate partner. For us, it works really well. And the fact that we are different works really well. It's not always ideal, you know, sometimes that brings up conflict, but even that conflict sometimes is a way to, to, to start to incorporate multiple sides of a question.
Nicola Vetter 31:01
Yeah, it keeps you on track. And I can relate.
Peter Axtell 31:09
Markus, how in your view, does intention and getting into alignment, help someone who's trying to figure out what's next?
Markus Bohunovsky 31:24
So, I would think that is, you know, that is the core piece, but again, it I think it is often very misunderstood, you know, intention, if you can see it as an alignment as almost something you are searching for, and you can feel again, in the in the brain and techniques, there are ways to feel that in your body to practice that in your body, I, when I look at, you know, even yoga has this, they don't talk about it that way. But even yoga positions, it's a, you know, you bring your body in alignment, and that can give you a sense of what it feels like to be in alignment in your life. And it is not something that you make up yourself so to me the search for what's my purpose in this life was really almost as if that purpose is out there somewhere it exists, let's say, you know, like, like soaker tears with the, with the cave example have that that world where that already exists, right? And, and you, you, you really try to align yourself with that, rather than you are making something up you are, you know, we were talking about the idealized self-image, I think a lot of people often served from that place where there is an idea that may be born out of a fear that may be born out of what our parents told us what our teachers told us. And, and then we say, well, we have to be this, we have to be this, you know, for me, at some point it was I have to be this great healer or this grade teacher in terms of energy or something like that. And if I only followed that, really that idea that came from here, it probably would have led me astray a bit. There was definitely a following that we all do that, right, we have an idea, we want to follow it. But then I was open to when that didn't completely align. So for example, as I was giving classes on energy healing, there was an aspect that really felt wonderful, I became a bigger person, I there was all this energy. And there was another aspect that I really didn't like or that that didn't, didn't align with me, I don't know a better word than that. And you know, in that case, it was important to listen to that to some extent, right and to see so now I can use some of what I gained, you know, in that world for having this healing Wellness Center. So it took a very different form and it feels more aligned with who I am.
Peter Axtell 34:09
I remember you saying when you owned the software company, you had on the surface, which could have been great, you owned your own company, that's autonomy. You were your own boss, you were making money. And then tell us what happened. Everything looks good on the outside, you're being successful, and then there's something that's not quite right. So you have something that's working and then you have some friction about what's not working and one seems to have overcome the other and you decide to make a change. Tell us about that.
Markus Bohunovsky 34:43
I think for me the software is true there was some autonomy, quite some autonomy owning the business, you know. But for me it was the social environment of the software industry, the world generally the corporate environment. entered eventually, I, I did not feel like myself, it was in spite of having my own business and having a lot of my own choices it felt working with, you know, we worked with big companies, Walt Disney, NASA, Jet Propulsion Labs all of these. And there was, to me again, to some people, I think they take to that environment to me, I did not take to that environment, I felt not myself there, I felt I had to pretend to be somebody else I had to the more, the more our software company was selling into higher, you know, higher ranks where we weren't just talking to the, you know, the lead of a project, we were talking to maybe not the CEO, but somebody, you know, on a higher level, the higher went, which, of course, if you're in the corporate environment, you want to go higher, that that's part of it, right. But the higher we went, the worse it felt, the more you know, things that to me felt like just politics, like pretend like Not, not, they didn't feel real. When I come here to my salt cave. I have to deal with customers, I have to deal with employees. But I feel completely myself, there is no pretension there is no, you know, pretending to be something that I'm not. And that was became so important eventually. So all the other things money, the excitement of solving the software problems, the excitement of working with just really, really amazing companies, you know, these were really what they were doing was amazing. But the environment in which they existed was something eventually that became too important to me, I had to get out of that.
Peter Axtell 36:53
So the lesson here for everybody listening was so clear, you said, I just started to feel less and less like myself. Despite the money, despite the success, despite the prestige, I felt less and less like myself. So, I want everybody to hear that. I think that's a beautiful lesson.
Nicola Vetter 37:18
Yeah, it's very important. And it's also I think important, what I heard is that you felt like you were living a Should Life, how we would call it. And yes, you didn't want to do that anymore, right?
Markus Bohunovsky 37:36
Yeah. Yeah, very much so. And again, it didn't start out as this. So these, this, maybe the, the advice, again, I would have for anybody is to keep checking in with yourself, because it did not start out. It was very, you know, it was exactly what I wanted to do. When I first started in the software industry. It was, you know, it did feel aligned at first. And a lot of things I did not know, this was my, the first area in which I really worked in the, you know, in the regular work world. So a lot of these things, I only found out after, you know, a few years, so, so things can really change. And I would listen to that. Right. And so that's why I love the title of your company. And you know, what's next? This is always this question, what's next?
Nicola Vetter 38:26
Yeah, absolutely. And, Markus, you said at the beginning, that you studied, also philosophy, among other things, I bet you have an opinion on how we create our experience of reality through our energy body. Please expand on that.
Markus Bohunovsky 38:50
Yeah, so again, I, you know, can approach it, I think that the brain and model is a good model for that, you know, where you where you really look at, at creating to some extent from the inside out. And then another thing that's somewhat unique to their, to their model is then again, you take that in so you, right, you come with, let's say you start with intention, with some kind of alignment with some kind of spark where you where you feel, you know, in brand and healing that scene as if that's a dimension of the world where something happens. And then energetically, you know, again, to simplify it energetically means in your, in your thinking in your feeling in your, you know, in the energy you feel running in your body. That's the next step of that creation, right. So then, you know, we start thinking about creating the salt cave, we start having, you know, the ideas get more and more contract concrete, closer and closer to actually creating something physical, right. And then eventually, in our case, when we found a place where we could have to cave then it was, you know, actually putting all these rocks that are here on the walls and it becomes, you know, the physical reality. And then there is a back wave, right. And so this is why that worked for me with trying different things and getting closer and closer to the alignment of what I'm really about. Right? So because then comes the feedback. So now you've done it physically now. Now I am in the software, half my software company, and now the feedback comes back from the physical world, right? Like how, you know, in the sea suits, when we have to sweet sorry, when we have to sell our software, and we're dealing with all these VPs and all of that, how does that, you know, what is happening there? How does that feel? How do I think about that, and then, you know, all the way back, if I can internalize that, out of that might come the next spark for you know, again, what's next. So I feel this is this is very much the process of creation, right? This waxing and waning of going within find something bringing it out, eventually into the physical world, then getting the feedback from the physical world. And that's an aspect that a lot of spiritual, you know, quote, unquote, spiritual people are so try to ignore, right, so we would like to just think we can just make the world into what, what our fantasy our ideal, you know, it's but but that's not how it works. So then it comes back and it and then you somehow internalize that and, and, you know, learn some lessons, you know, either just mentally or energetically or spiritually, however you say that, and that, that brings out the next, the next creation kind of.
Peter Axtell 41:42
And this is different than you just hit an obstacle and, gosh, this was kind of hard and all that, this is completely different from just hitting an obstacle and say, Oh, this is a sign that I should give up.
Markus Bohunovsky 41:56
Yeah, that's why it's so tricky, right? So you talk about the things and it could be understood that way. Right? So that's No, I mean, if you if you want to bring something into the world, you you will hit obstacles, for sure. And, and again, the obstacles are great, because they are feedback, right? They are that grist for the mill, that, that that helps you, you know, come out with a better idea next time, right, if the obstacle is too big for your idea, and you can't get through it, well, then something is needed to change in in yourself to get to the next step. And we've had that for sure. A lot, particularly before we even ever were able to, you know, to find a place to build that salt cave and all that there were many, many times where, where it was, you know, a matter of, of, of a lot of effort to get back to Okay, we gonna keep trying,
Nicola Vetter 42:53
It's just so beautiful, to give that to a community, to give this opportunity to also be in connection with each other, which for people that are looking at where you're sitting right now, they can see that this is a community space.
Peter Axtell 43:16
As we're getting to the end of this, I have a couple of big questions for you. What is your view of a life well lived?
Markus Bohunovsky 43:30
Well you know I mean there's some basics right if you if you are on your deathbed and you feel that it's a life well lived and I think it is a life well lived. That might not be the same as you know what you think in your 20s and your 30s and your 40s but I think if you keep key keep checking in with that, you know, this feels like you know, like we came to that but this doesn't feel like myself I think then then something is off and if you keep checking in you feel this is something that I can stand for this is something that I do you know, it doesn't have to always be fun. It doesn't always have to be easy, but it is something that again aligns with me then I think that's a life well lived and it can have so many forms right? So I would I can only really only say that for myself like I couldn't even even for my wife I cannot say is she living a life that's well lived. It's I think it's really not something you can judge from the outside.
Nicola Vetter 44:43
Now because it it does have a lot to do with your purpose and with what you are really meant to bring into the world, what you want to bring into the world, and not just for yourself but for for others as well.
Markus Bohunovsky 45:00
Peter Axtell 45:01
Is there anything that we didn't touch on that you really want our audience to know?
Markus Bohunovsky 45:07
No, I think, you know, I think if I have anything to say on that, on that level, it's that that life path can look very, very different than that maybe what I see a lot and what happened with my wife, when she was looking for her next step, you know, and it was really more of a, well, here are the different jobs and the different things that you can do and pick one of those. And she could have never picked to own a salt cave in Denver, you know, back when we were living in San Francisco and didn't know what a salt cave was. So, so I would say that openness, you know, really works, at least for some people, for people who are willing to, to look here, you know, try something, but, but then also the ability to take something from it, you know, not to say, well, just because this job, or this experience that I have had wasn't my final destination, you know, what's our final, there is only one final destination. And that's not one that most of us really like to think about. So, you know, that that you that you take that as a, maybe I'll say that quickly, because I experienced it with, you know, definitely with my first spiritual awakening that was connected to a type of meditation and the group where I know some people who had been in there, and who later changed their mind just like me, and said, No, I want you know, I want a different world out in the world. And then they went, and really thought that what they did before was a mistake was a waste of, you know, say I did it for about 10 years of 10 of my years, because I didn't make any money I didn't. And I think that's really, you're missing something, you know, every experience, bring something that that you wouldn't have without that, even if that, again, is not your final destination. And again, I think, for me, I like the idea that, that there's always a next, and there's always something you bring that you integrate, right? So yes, I'm not somebody like I thought I thought I would be a meditator all my life. And eventually, maybe I'd be in a place like this, but in an actual mountain in a cave, and I will not speak to anybody, and gain enlightenment, or whatever one would call it right. And then I realized that that's not, you know, not that that's not a possibility for somebody, but that's not for me. And yet, I did not waste my I really do not feel I wasted my time. You know, studying that and practicing that very intensely. And that probably I couldn't have studied it as intensely. If I wouldn't have thought that that may be my, my actual destination. So it was necessary, then it changed in you know, I took something from there. And now what's next?
Nicola Vetter 48:08
Shall we leave with that?
Peter Axtell 48:10
Beautiful place to end.
Nicola Vetter 48:13
I'm just glad you took this this path, because otherwise, who knows whether we would have found you up in the mountain somewhere, you know.
Markus Bohunovsky 48:21
That might have been difficult.
Nicola Vetter 48:24
Now, again, everybody who is listening to this, please tune into our YouTube channel and watch this to see this beautiful spot. I'm doing some commercial for you, again, Markus. And make sure when you come to visit Denver, that you search for the five-star salt cave, and it will be in the show notes. Thank you, Markus.
Peter Axtell 48:47
Thanks you, Markus.
Markus Bohunovsky 48:49
Thank you, Peter. Thank you, Nicola.
Peter Axtell 48:52
We hope you enjoyed this interview. My biggest takeaway was how useful it is to approach decisions and ideas from scientific skepticism combined with inner contemplation and see if the feedback is in alignment with who we are.
Nicola Vetter 49:11
Yes, and living in alignment, not just with your thoughts, but with your energy body. It seems we always come back to this lesson that what we feel in our body usually doesn't lie.
Peter Axtell 49:29
Exactly. To learn more about Markus, head to WhatsNext.com/27, where we share the transcript links and more. Again, that's WhatsNext.com/27.
Nicola Vetter 49:48
And if you like what you've heard, share it with someone you care about. And subscribe, rate, and review our Inside-Out Career Design podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you'll never miss an episode. Or watch it on our YouTube channel whatsnext.com and subscribe so you'll never miss an episode. That’s where you can also leave your questions about this week’s episode or a topic, you’d like us to cover in a future episode. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for joining us today. We'll see you next week for another episode. Same time, same place.