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Entrepreneur Maya French on the Power of Unplugging

Being outside in nature is where Maya French, the co-founder of protein drink company Koia, does her most inspired thinking

Not long ago, Maya French had a moment of clarity. “I was out hiking and thinking about how there are two types of people: those who are self-involved and those who think about the greater good,” says Maya, the co-founder of L.A.-based protein drink company Koia. “I had this epiphany, like I just want to connect myself and my company with that second group of people.” That insight has guided her business at Koia, the plant-based brand the 28-year-old co-founded with Dustin Baker in 2014, which is named after a town in Costa Rica known for the health and longevity of its residents.

Fast-forward to today and business is booming. Koia now has 20 employees and 11 drink flavors, Koia bottles are sold in more than 5,000 stores, and Maya, who is now an adidas TERREX ambassador, was recently named one of the 30 Under 30 rising-star entrepreneurs in the food-and-drink category by Forbes. As the business has grown, so has Maya’s love of trails and her need to disconnect every day.

Here’s how she does it.

1. Write down your goals. That’s how you’ll make them more tangible. Once you figure out what you want to achieve, start working backward until you get there. If you want to climb a big peak, start with a small one and work your way up.

2. Take a break to get outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Go for a short walk or climb a set of stairs. It’ll restore you and help you think more clearly.

3. Make room in your schedule for self-care. Whether it’s waking up earlier to work out, squeezing in a weekend hike, or 20 minutes of yoga, moving your body is what will help keep your head clear of the clutter.

4. Find a trail. Nearly every city has some kind of hiking or walking trail in close access. 

5. Get creative. I like to bring my camera and sketchpad when I’m out hiking. I’ll take photos of the landscapes and draw pictures of what I see. It’s a nice way to jump-start my creativity in a new and peaceful environment.

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