Take A Moment to Breathe: Q&A with Jason Garner

By Gabrielle Fellows

Photo courtesy of Jason Garner.

Jason Garner, former CEO of global music at Live Nation concert company, recently released a book entitled “… And I Breathed.” The book speaks about Garner’s life, his rise to conquer the music industry and the realization of his spirituality and inner self. Garner recently spoke with The Jambar concerning his book and the knowledge he has gained through his experiences in business and life in general.

Q: You had all these businesses and these different ways of life, how do you balance the work aspect of life with the family and life aspect?

A: I think we have forgotten why we are doing business. When you scratch the surface of that question, you find the reason why I’m working so hard at school or at business is because I want to be happy. And we get lost in the fact that the business is the happiness, when in reality it’s just the tool to happiness. It’s like if you were building a house and somebody just gave you a hammer. That’s not all you’re going to need. You’ll need a saw, nails and many other things. You get the analogy. Business is just one of the tools in that bucket. Having money is important … but the issue is that business isn’t every tool. It’s just one of them. Meditation is a tool. Hugging your wife is a tool. Playing with your dog is a tool. And when we put all those tools in the toolbox, we have the ability in the moment to be able to say, “This is the tool I need to use right now.” And then you become really powerful and really successful.

Q: You have to at least acknowledge the fact that your business, Live Nation does bring a lot of happiness to people. When you see everyone laughing and singing and joyful together at a concert, that’s what it feels like to be really, truly happy.

A: I think that is so it, you know when I wrote my book and … a magazine interviewed me, they asked what advice would you give people in the concert business and I said I won’t give anyone advice because often I think advice is just obnoxious you know? Like someone comes around and tells you how to live your life. If I could go back in time, I’d give myself some advice. I’d do exactly what you just said — just tell myself to enjoy the music a little bit more. Just to look around you and find the beauty in everyday, and I think you’re right. Live music is that powerful, powerful force beyond ourselves that brings people together, that puts their heart there, that reminds us of those beautiful moments in our lives and inspires us to scream and sing and dance.

Q: How can college kids looking to get into any kind of business or any kind of long term job progress somewhere in life and plan for the future while still trying to live in the moment?

A: The system tells you that you need to pick a path right now … and I’m sure there is a lot of good that comes from those experiences. But one of the things in my life that I … tell my children is to beware becoming too rigid. You don’t want to wake up and realize, “I haven’t lived.” You want an education and a solid base of education, but I think on top of that foundation … you need a flexible body. Like here in California they build the buildings in a way that they resist earthquakes: with an extremely sound foundation and a movable, flexible body to resist cracking and breaking. Sometimes, you literally feel like the building is going to fall over but it doesn’t, because it’s flexible. That’s how we need to be in life. That’s what my experience has taught me — a strong foundation, but flexibility on top that says, “Hey I have an accounting degree, but that doesn’t mean I have to work for Earnst & Young. I can be a rock and roll accountant on the road. I can become an accountant at a monastery and learn Buddhism.” … Sometimes I think we get stuck in these things — these lanes — and we can’t see outside of these lanes and I think it’s important to take these moments to breathe, to stop and to go “I can be anything that I want in this world and now how am I going to use the skills that I have to go and do that” — and then just go and do it.

More on Garner and his book can be found at www.jasongarner.com/book.