5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO

5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Became a CEO

5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Became a CEO

Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated on social media, invited me to speak as part of his “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO” series on Medium.

Read the entire article in Authority Magazine online.

The article includes answers to question such as:

  1. How I embarked on my career path
  2. What I found interesting about the role once I became CEO
  3. Who’s mentored me to help me in my journey
  4. Why diversity, equality, and inclusion are so important
  5. And a few myths about being a CEO

Then, we got into the heart of the article. I provided 5 things I wish someone told me before I became a CEO.

5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO

Please take a look at the full article in which I expand on the following points. I wish someone would have…

  1. Better educated me on government relations and affairs
  2. Told me that every single member of the senior executive team has value
  3. Better educated me from a financial perspective on publicly traded companies
  4. Better explained the delicate nature of family dynamics in a family-founded business
  5. Told me more about international commerce for a global company

Thank you to Parveen Panwar — Mr. Activated — for inviting me to participate in his series. I enjoyed sharing my thoughts, and I hope my answers provide value to you personally or professionally.

The Cardboard Keyboard Principle: Choose to Use Positive Self-Talk

The Cardboard Keyboard Principle. In the video below, I relay a harrowing story about a young woman in Rwanda. A civil war had erupted, devastating her small village and leaving many fighting for their lives.

All the Right Reasons Book CoverImmaculee Ilibagiza hid in a bathroom as killers lurked outside the window. For days, this woman feared for her life. Yet, her thoughts were hopeful and uplifting. She imagined her life once she was rescued — working at the United Nations.

Immaculee read books and taught herself English, all while violence raged just outside her door. She drew a replica of a computer keyboard on a piece of cardboard and spent hours learning how to type.

Immaculee survived by keeping hope in her heart and telling herself she would be okay. She prepared for her future.

It would have been easy — and understandable — for Immaculee’s thoughts to turn dark. For her to consider the situation hopeless and to give up. She could have let negative self-talk overwhelm her spirit.

But she didn’t. She used her inner voice to think positively about her seemingly dire situation. And it helped her escape. It allowed her to ultimately realize the life she visualized herself living.

View additional videos on my YouTube channel

The Power of Self-Talk

Managing self-talk is a significant personal difficulty for me. I constantly struggle to eliminate the negative voice in my mind.

At my first Grand Ole Opry performance with Collin Raye.

Many have heard me tell the story, which is also included in my book, All the Right Reasons, of standing off stage at the Grand Ole Opry. I’m about to perform with country music superstar Collin Raye—a phenomenal opportunity on one of music’s biggest stages—and my inner voice is filling my mind with doubt.

What are you doing? You’re not a professional musician. You don’t deserve to be here. What if you make a mistake and ruin the whole show?

Fortunately, I’ve developed strategies and techniques to quiet the negativity and amplify the positive self-talk.

I’ve worked hard to learn the music. I’ve trained and practiced for years for this opportunity. It’s going to be an awesome show!

As individuals, we tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else is. But the good news is positive self-talk is even more powerful than negative self-talk. Learning how to channel and elevate the voice in your head can change your life.

I encourage each of you to take note of the chatter happening inside your head. With practice, we can consciously choose positive self-talk (and limit negative self-talk) to help make our lives better.

A version of this article went to email subscribers on April 21, 2021. I invite you to subscribe here. Please consider contributing to the USANA Foundation. Its mission is to ensure that impoverished children and families reach their fullest potential by providing food and nutrition.

Kevin Guest: Seek Mentorship in Pandemic

Kevin Guest, USANA Chairman and CEO and author of All the Right Reasons, is featured in an article about mentorship on the Home Business magazine website on April 13, 2021.

“One of the undisputed secrets to my success has been following advice from mentors,” Guest says. “For over 20 years, Denis Waitley has been one of my mentors and dearest friends. His philosophy on winning and serving others rang true to me, and I have absorbed everything he has produced, which has taught me a tremendous amount about success.”

Read the full article on Home Business magazine’s website.

4 Steps to Finding an Influential Mentor

  1. Identify qualities you want in a mentor — and find someone who has “walked the walk,” so to speak
  2. Seek out a mentor and approach them. The worst thing that can happen is they decline.
  3. Be candid with your mentor on your goals and dreams. Help them understand and make the most of their investment.
  4. Follow the advice of your mentor. Make the most out of your investment.

Earlier this year, Guest wrote about mentorship on his blog. In 2018, Guest wrote All the Right Reasons, a book that includes 12 principles to living a life in harmony. Proceeds from the book benefit the USANA Foundation and its mission to feed hungry children. Each book purchase helps to provide 40 meals. Help us as we strive toward our goal of 2 million meals.

What I’m Reading: The Ride of a Lifetime

The Ride of a Lifetime

It’s been several months since I’ve posted about What I’m Reading. So I wanted to share with you one book that I’ve recently started but that I’m really enjoying. It’s The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company.

My kids know that I like to read, so they’re always trying to find something I might enjoy. My son actually gave me this book.

It’s lessons learned from Robert Iger, who spent more than a decade leading the Walt Disney Company.

I’m always excited to learn from other leaders. This book, in particular, lays out several real-life practical stories.

Iger also offers insight into certain decisions he made — some good, some bad — and the lessons he learned from each.

The Disney Experience

As you may remember, the USANA management team spent some time at The Disney Institute in 2019. We learned from their customer experience model.

Our challenge: Learn as much as we could from the Disney team. And then visit Disneyland the following day to observe their methods in action.

Finally, we regrouped as a management team and talked about how we can apply some of the Disney customer experience strategies in our own business. I believe it’s so important to learn from others, especially from others who have a proven track record in a certain area.

The Walt Disney Company definitely excels in customer experience. I’m learning even more about it as I make my way through The Ride of a Lifetime.

How About You?

What are you currently reading? Please drop a comment to let me know if there’s a book you recommend I pick up next.



Applying New 3Rs Gets Workers through Pandemic

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Applying New 3Rs Gets Workers through Pandemic, Global Author/CEO Says. The following is adapted from a news release published on March 17, 2021. 

Applying the new 3Rs — resilience, recalibration, and relationships — will help today’s workers get through challenges brought by the pandemic, according to a global author and CEO.


Kevin Guest Holding the Hope Diamond 3Rs“The first thing to acknowledge is that every person who has made it this far through the pandemic is resilient, and that is a key strength that is going to carry us through to even greater heights,” said Kevin Guest, author, musician, and CEO of USANA Health Sciences. “Years ago, I met the most famous diamond in the world: the Hope Diamond. As I held this forty-five-and-a-half carat, deep blue diamond in my hands, it made me think of how resilient this rock is to have withstood the highly pressured environment in the earth.

“From about 90 miles deep in the earth, this rock was spewed out in a volcanic eruption, discovered, cleaned, polished, and prepared into a beautiful diamond. In a metaphorical sense, each one of us is a diamond, and through all of the pressures of the pandemic, we have strengthened our character and determination to make us unstoppable.”


The second “R” to recalibrate your life to align with your core values is a repeated theme in Guest’s book, All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony.

“We have never been closer to the end of the pandemic than we are now,” Guest said. “Living in isolation is the perfect time to reconnect with your core values to determine who you really are, what life means to you, and what values will serve as your foundation going forward.

“In reality, most of us have never been given the gift of extended time to assess like we have now. Using this to determine what matters most to you is a huge life bonus. Recalibrating habits, thoughts, and daily duties to define who you are will benefit you and those around you for the rest of your life.”


Drawn from a lifetime of networking and leading a global company, Guest cites the third “R” as valuing relationships.

“Nothing is more important than relationships,” said Guest, chairman and CEO of USANA Health Sciences (NYSE: USNA), a billion-dollar company operating in 24 markets worldwide. “Today I have friends and colleagues in countries and cultures around the world, and each is important to me. I learned long ago that treating others with the utmost respect and kindness is a key to success and makes life more harmonious for everyone.

“The pandemic has reminded us of things that matter most, and relationships with others is at the top of the list as we connect with God, family, friends, coworkers, and so forth. Over the last year, we have felt a loss of connection with others, and because humans are naturally social beings, relationship-building is one of the key factors that will help us emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

The 3Rs

All the Right Reasons Book CoverGuest believes those simple patterns, the 3Rs, of behavior can help us power through the pandemic and lift each other to higher levels of harmony in life in a post-pandemic world.

“I’ve never seen Kevin make a selfish decision,” said country music star Collin Raye, who wrote the forward in All the Right Reasons and frequently invites Guest to play with his band on tour, including multiple times at the Grand Ole Opry. “He thinks of his family, his friends, and his associates at USANA and always tries to put others first.”

All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony is available on Amazon. All proceeds benefit The USANA Foundation and its mission to feed hungry children. Each book purchase provides 40 meals.

Who Are the Mentors in Your Life?

One of the greatest values of mentors, renowned author and speaker John C. Maxwell says, “is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”

I’ve been fortunate to have had countless mentors in my life to help me navigate my course. I’ve learned and studied from brilliant individuals who have counseled and guided me personally and professionally.

One of my dearest friends and longtime mentors is Dr. Denis Waitley.

Over the past 25-plus years, we’ve spent hours talking about business, life, happiness, sadness, success, failure, and everything in between.

He’s mentored me as I’ve grown up in USANA.

Above all, he’s provided objectivity and honesty when I needed it most. I know I can count on Denis to offer wise counsel and to help me become a better version of myself—to get to where I want to be.

This notion of mentorship is something I’ve been thinking about lately, especially as I focus more on self-care. It’s so important to develop relationships with people who can help you grow.

Who Are Your Mentors?

For USANA Chief Sales Officer David Mulham, who talks about mentorship in some recent social media videos, Dr. Myron Wentz springs to mind (as he does for me, and as I’m sure as he does for many of you).

In a recent video, David asks: Who’s been significant in influencing the decisions in your life?

“It’s really important for people to know there are people out there, either directly or indirectly, that can really have an influence on you if you seek them out,” he says.

So who are the influential individuals in your life who have mentored you along the way? Please reply to this email to let me know.

A version of this article went to email subscribers on March 22, 2021. I invite you to subscribe here.

Catching Up with Kevin: Reflecting & Looking Ahead

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk about a variety of topics that have been on my mind lately. This exercise of reflecting on the past and looking toward the future is something I like to do regularly.

If you subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you likely saw the following video. However, if you haven’t yet seen it, I invite you to watch it.

In it, I share my thoughts on several topics, including…

📌  Takeaways from 2020

Kevin GuestIn reflecting on 2020, I didn’t realize how much I needed to take care of myself. I’ve spent all these years taking care of others and 2020 for me was really a year that I was able to slow down. I was able to focus on myself. I was able to think about things that were causing me stress in my life and trying to manage them more effectively.

📌  A Year of Acceleration

I really see 2020 as a year of acceleration, not disruption. What I mean by that is we were already on the path of being more user-friendly from a technology perspective. When all of a sudden we couldn’t have our in-person meetings, we couldn’t jump on a plane and travel and fly, we were forced to use technology and I’m so grateful that we were well down the path so that we could pivot when we had to.

📌  USANA’s Five-Year Strategy

There are a few things I’m really looking forward to — the launch of some new products we’ve been working on for quite a long time. We’re also working on expanding into a new market. We won’t announce which one it is until we’re ready, but that’s well underway. The thought of expanding USANA’s global footprint is exciting to me in the future.

And then lastly, stay the course. The last several years have been outstanding and we’re going to have, in my opinion, an outstanding future as we continually do what we do best — which is make the best nutritional supplements in the world.

📌  Social Responsibility (and the new Sustainability Committee at the board level)

The whole idea of social responsibility, social governance, sustainability is nothing new to USANA. Our buildings feature solar panels to help us with our carbon footprint. We xeriscape the property at our Home Office in Salt Lake. We’ve implemented recycling programs in other markets where consumers can bring empty supplement bottles in for us to recycle.

The Sustainability Committee on the board is a more formalized approach to many things we’ve already been doing from social governance and social responsibility perspective. We want to make sure USANA is a good global citizen at all levels as it relates to diversity, as it relates to the environment, and as it relates to social responsibility.

📌  How I’m Adapting to the ‘New Normal’

I think part of being around USANA for 30 years and seeing many different changes in the marketplace come and go is you have to be agile. We are a large, global company and so we’re not as agile as I’d like us to be in many areas. But the way I stay grounded and focused is trying to remain agile and trying to do things here at USANA that can help us respond even quicker to changes.

Thank you for following along here, and I appreciate all the kind words and the interaction on my social sites.

Kevin Guest on How Self-Care is Needed During the Pandemic

Below are some thoughts on the importance of self-care during the pandemic. A version of this article originally appeared as part of an article I wrote for On Point Global News.

Kevin Guest, author, CEO, and musician, performs on stage pre-pandemic. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, especially during the pandemic.

Kevin Guest, author, CEO, and musician, performs on stage pre-pandemic. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, especially during the pandemic.

I’m a big believer in learning from past experiences. As I reflect on 2020, I came to the realization that prior to the pandemic I didn’t take care of myself nearly as much as I should have.

Self-care is critical to living a balanced life. But I didn’t do it.

After years spent taking care of others, 2020 became the year that I finally slowed down. I took time to focus on myself. I thought about things that caused me stress and I learned how to manage them more effectively.

Even more, I really dove into my own mental health, which is such a vital part to truly be healthy.

4 Practices for Better Self-Care

In a recent article for On Point Global News, I identified four self-care practices that I believe will greatly boost balance and energy.

1. Step Into Nature

I learned as a kid that spending time in nature rejuvenates a person. We are natural beings, and when we’re surrounded by nature, we feel ourselves uniting with nature. Time spent there will enrich our souls and help bring back balance and harmony.

2. Breathe and Notice

Close your eyes and name out loud the things you hear, whether it’s near or in the distance. As you continue for one minute, breathe in deeply, slowly and naturally. Realize how this simple practice brings you into the current moment. Breathing clears your mind of concerns in the past or future.

3. Slow the Roll

One benefit of adjusting to the pandemic is slowing down our schedules. Slowing down might even allow us to sleep a little longer. Make time for this important self-care practice and allow yourself to sleep fully each night. Set up a regular schedule for sleeping and stick to it.

4. Value Relationships

I say it often (because I believe it’s true!): Nothing is more important than relationships. I challenge you to reach out to others just to see how they’re doing. Listen to them. Ask questions. Show genuine interest in them. I learned that this value not only sets your day in order, but it also attracts team members who are ready to do the same.

When it comes to self-care, working from a place of harmony allows us to benefit all around us.

All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony is available on Amazon. All proceeds feed hungry children, with each book purchase providing 40 meals. A version of this article originally appeared on the On Point Global News website.

Stretch Beyond Perceived Limitations to Reach New Heights

Just a few months ago, we had the blessing to have a new grandson adopted into our family. It’s been interesting for me to watch him grow. He’s now on his stomach and recently he was trying to crawl. There was a dog sitting a few feet away and he so badly wanted to touch that dog. So, on his belly, he started moving a little bit at a time. Finally, he figured out that he could stretch his way to touch the dog.

It’s been interesting to watch him as he struggles. Sometimes he gets getting frustrated because he can’t get the things he knows he wants. But he’s learning how to find a way to scoot on his belly and move to get what he needs, even though it’s really hard.

So many times, for all of us, we see things we want — things we might even need — and they could be really difficult for us to reach.

Sometimes, we have to get outside our normal selves. We have to understand what we’re capable of accomplishing. But it’s oftentimes not easy. It requires effort, it requires energy.

And as I watched this little baby learning how to crawl, it reminded me: It wasn’t easy to learn how to walk. It’s not easy to learn things in life that we take for granted right now.

That’s the way it will be for other things in our lives. We need to make the effort to stretch, to get outside of ourselves. If we can push ourselves beyond our perceived limitations, it will help us learn and accomplish things we never thought we could have learned or accomplished before.


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Help The USANA Foundation Reach its Goal

We are nearing an important deadline. The USANA Foundation, which strives to provide immediate and long-term food relief for those in need, is seeking to raise enough money by Sunday (Feb. 28) to provide 250,000 meals globally.

The initiative began at the start of 2021 and is an ambitious one. Yet, it’s a target we know we must hit.

Already, the campaign’s raised a significant portion of its goal amount. But we’re not there quite yet.

Every donation, no matter the size, helps to provide potentially life-saving food and nutrition to families around the world.

Thank you to everyone who’s contributed to this important cause. If you’ve yet to donate, or if you’re able to donate additional funds, I encourage you to do so.

Click to Donate

An Important Goal

As Chairman and CEO of USANA, I believe strongly in our vision of creating The Healthiest Family on Earth.

The USANA Family stretches globally — far beyond the markets we serve and those who benefit from our nutritional supplements. It includes the individuals and families whose lives have been helped thanks to your donations to The USANA Foundation.

Since 2012, The USANA Foundation has provided more than 57 million meals and over $23 million in aid. We couldn’t do it without your generosity and ongoing support.

“I am so grateful for everything the USANA Family does to make an impact in the lives of families around the world,” says Brian Paul, president of The USANA Foundation. “It’s so awesome to see the generosity. We have a big goal, one that will make a significant difference for families who have been struggling. I know we can reach this goal if we really come together.”

Please join me in supporting The USANA Foundation’s 250,000 Global Meals initiative by making a donation before Feb. 28, 2021. And please share this article with friends, family, and professional colleagues who would like to make a difference.

Note: A version of this article went to email subscribers on Feb. 24, 2021. Are you on the list?