Would you quit your day job for love? Nate Bagley did.
One of the greatest driving forces on earth for humans is love. It’s what we all crave and need. It’s motivated some of the greatest tragedies and victories on Earth. There’s no denying that great love can change you, while sour love can leave eternal scars.
So why am I talking about love? For today’s BRANDMAKERS, I spoke with Nate Bagley, founder of The Loveumentary, an online site & community that spotlights what makes happy, healthy, lasting, and truly loving relationships. I’ve been a fan of Loveumentary for a while now (and at one point, would obsessively listen to podcasts for hours on end.) There’s something about listening to others speak about their passionate love they have for their significant other that will make your heart swell with “possibility.” (Keep reading to why out why.)
Nate’s story is interesting. He always had the idea to launch out and interview couples, but the idea always remained a voice in his head. He was working a “secure” job, until one day he realized that life, to him, meant more. So, he took a risk – quit his job and started on his journey to document and share true love.
In just a few years since his November 2012 launch, he’s interviewed hundreds of couples, been featured on top media platforms, and even ventured out to explore new “love” ventures.
What inspired you to start Loveumentary?
A couple of years ago I was working a desk job at a restaurant company, doing their internet marketing. One day, one of my coworkers said, “Dude, what are you so worried about? At the end of the day, all we are really doing is selling lunch and dinner to people. Stop stressing.” That is so not what I want my life to be about. It was a great job and according to the world’s standards, I should have been really happy and satisfied. Within a week, I turned in my two week’s notice, quit my job, sold my stuff and gave away everything that wouldn’t fit into my car. I got in the car and started driving.
I wanted to know what it was that made the most incredible passionate couples different than everyone else. I wanted to know how to have an amazing relationship and marriage one day. I figured the best way to do that was to go to the source and talk to those couples who had cultivated and created phenomenal lasting love. I had had this idea for a really long time to interview these couples. It was that day that my coworker came to me that I heard that voice that came into my head and said you got to do this project. I hadn’t heard it in so long that it scared me. I didn’t want to go the rest of my life having ignored that voice.
How did you find the couples you spoke to?
Everyone has got at least one great example of love in their life. There’s somebody somewhere in your network that has a relationship that makes you want to have something like that one day. I asked people that I admired for an introduction. Some people would say no. Others said yes. Once people realized I just really want their story and that there are people out there that are hungry to learn from them, they tend to open up really quickly.
Were there any challenges you faced in your early days and how did you get over them?
The biggest challenge was having an idea in my mind of how I wanted everything to look and sound and not being able to produce a product that met that quality. It’s frustrating to be a creator and not be satisfied with your creation. Sometimes I go back to interviews I did a month ago and cringe. This would be so much more popular if I was better at this. Developing my skills as an interviewer, editor, and writer all come into play. Mentally and emotionally that’s the most difficult challenge.
The other challenge is I prefer to interview people in person. The challenge of the distance between me and alot of the people that I like to talk to is something that is present. I find ways to make that work. Every interview on the podcast has been live. Talking about someone’s most intimate relationships, it’s a really vulnerable topic to talk about. Being able to look them in the eyes, makes a difference. It makes people open up a bit more quickly. It’s easier for them to see that I am really interested. Some of the most powerful moments on the podcast have been the moments where I have been able to sit down and cry with some of the guests. They tell these really personal stories. Being in person has a huge payoff where I get to experience the facial cues, body language, and emotion of the moment and conversation.
How have you grown as a man over the years because of these interviews?
So often personal growth is slow. It’s hard to remember yourself being different than the way that you are now. It’s made me a better listener. More than anything, The Loveumentary has given me a lot of hope. I chose a theme for myself this year. The word was “possibility.” Talking to these couples and being able to step into their world for an hour has opened my eyes and heart to what is possible in love and relationships. I thought I knew what love was before I started this project but after talking to hundreds of couples, I realized I had no idea what was possible. Every time I get to talk to a new couple, it’s like a new possibility and something that I can create in my life comes available to me. It’s like, wow people have that kind of connectedness, passion, intimacy and honesty. It blows my mind to see what people have created. I realized they are just people and I can create that, too. I’ve gained a sense of possibility in love.
Do you think that love is something that should be taught within our society?
We’ve constructed a society that has created the lie that love is something that just happens, that you’re pre-programmed to be able to do. In a sense that’s right. Every human being has the capacity to love. Every human being has the capacity to do alot of things, but we don’t do those things unless we learn and practice and master those things. Love is a learned behavior, especially romantic love.
A great example is if you’ve got a young boy who runs up and kisses his dad on the mouth and gives him a big hug and the dad kisses and hugs him back and says, “I love you so much.” Compare that to the boy who runs up and kisses his dad and gives him a hug and the dad says, “Boys don’t kiss or hug each other. Don’t do that. That’s not okay.” Those two children are going to learn to express or create love differently in their lives because they have been exposed to different role models and examples. People learn to speak differently depending on the influences that are around them. Love is very much a language. it’s something we learn from the people and society we have access to.
Love is very much a language. It’s something we learn from the people and society we have access to. (CLICK TO TWEET)
Unfortunately, our society produces overwhelmingly mediocre role models when it comes to love.
What’s the first example that comes to mind when you think about the power of phenomenal love?
One of my favorite interviews was with a man name Jim who has been married for forty years. After a decade of marriage, he found out his wife had a brain tumor. They rushed her into operation and removed the tumor. She was recovering from surgery and Jim started to notice his wife was not the same. During the operation they believed they damaged part of her brain that significantly affected her personality. For the last thirty years, he has been married to a woman that is not the same as the woman that he married. She is now alot more critical, negative, and doesn’t contribute to the relationship as she did during the first ten years. Originally, she was a homemaker and would cook the meals and take care of the house. Over the years, she stopped doing that.
The first thing that popped into my head was why didn’t he just leave her. That shows you how conditioned we are. If there’s any reason to leave someone, that’s pretty valid. Why am I going to spend the rest of my life with someone that is completely different than the person I fell in love with? He looked at me and said, “I made a promise. When I married her, I married her for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” He said, “It’s not her fault she had a brain tumor and the surgery went poorly. I still find joy in loving her. It makes me happy to make her happy. My wife loves to travel. I travel alot for work so I buy an extra ticket and I bring her along with me. My wife loves it when I take care of her.” I learned from this man that it’s not about you. Here’s a man who fell in love with this woman and ten years later, the woman changes completely and yet he still finds joy in loving her. To me, that is one of the most ultimate examples of love. Somebody who loves for the sake of loving because he finds joy in bringing joy to this woman. It’s a sign of his commitment, integrity, and trust he exudes. This story gives me hope that there are people out there who get it. The idea of disposable relationships is really disheartening.
The idea of disposable relationships is really disheartening.
What have been some of the best things you have done that have helped you build The Loveumentary community?
I’m always trying to do this better. Once the first person listens to one of the episodes, the podcast is no longer about me. I try to provide value for and include the community. There have been alot of people who have written guest posts for the blog. There are people who help run the Facebook community. People have submitted quotes and recommended books and couples for us to interview. Anyone who thinks that they control their brand is lying. Your brand is what other people think and experience with your or your product/community.
Anyone who thinks that they control their brand is lying. Your brand is what other people think and experience with your or your product/community. (CLICK TO TWEET)
Building the brand is being willing to listen to what people want. Ask the questions that they want answers to. Admit when you’re wrong.
Has there been a platform that has been of great in marketing your brand?
The gradual day to day growth comes from Facebook. The one that has been the most consistent in the short-term has been Reddit. There’s a specific subreddit called “Ask Me Anything.” People will go on and write a short sentence about who they are and what’s interesting about them and allows you to come on and ask whatever you want. Last year I did an Ask Me Anything post that read, “I’m a 20-something single guy who spent the last two years driving around the country interviewing couples who are in love with each other…” It ended up on the front page of Reddit. For several hours, I was getting hundreds of questions about love and relationships. It was a fun exercise, but it slammed my website. I got lots of new listeners. The community was really supportive. From that Reddit, Business Insider, Good Morning America, GQ, The Reader’s Digest picked it up.
What makes The Loveumentary so unique?
Is it egotistical to say me? There’s not that many communities about love online that are headed by a single dude. I’m a naturally curious person. Alot of the “love” communities are based around dating. I don’t care that much about dating. It’s an important practice for single people to get to know one another and eventually create a relationship but I’m not trying to teach people how to date well. I’m trying to find out how do you create the ultimate connected, passionate, lasting love that you’ve always dreamed of. What does that look like realistically?
Where do you see The Loveumentary going?
I don’t know if I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life, but I’ll be doing it for the foreseeable future. I don’t know what it is going to evolve into. I would love to write some books and do video content. I’m producing a conference called LoveCon in Salt Lake City this year. It’ll be up in the mountains. I want it to be secluded away from distractions and cell phone signals. I want to get people together for three days to focus on themselves and stepping up their game. Loveumentary has already taken on a life of its own.
What makes you shine?
I’m a combination of being curious and genuine. In my interactions with others, I try to be as authentic as I can be and be who I am and ask the questions that I really want answers to. What really makes me shine is that I love sharing the things that I’ve learned and watching how they can transform a life. That’s what keeps me going. Every couple of weeks, I’ll get an email from someone that says, “This episode was really what I needed to hear” or “This blog post completely transformed my way of thinking.” That’s what it’s all about. That’s the best payment I could ever have. If I could just live off of those, I’d be really happy.
COMMENT: Is their nagging voice/idea in your head? What’s stopping you from listening to it?
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