Kristabel Meier Of VERSO: Getting An Upgrade; How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
14 min readFeb 1, 2022

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The takeaway is to pursue something you’re heavily passionate about or it may never be worth it in the end.

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristabel Meier.

Kristabel Meier is the co-founder of VERSO, an evidence-backed vitality brand dedicated to translating scientific breakthroughs into powerful, innovative products that increase human longevity. Kristabel is dedicated to leading an honest, transparent brand in hopes of improving peoples’ lives and building a better world along the way.

Kristabel’s personal research interests in longevity and health led her to develop VERSO after feeling skeptical of how existing brands produced and stored their products, and being unable to find trustworthy NMN supplements on the market. Through leaning on industry experts for support and utilizing her own knowledge in longevity, Kristabel is diligently working to get VERSO products in the hands of as many people as possible to positively impact their health and overall livelihood.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in a big family with 3 brothers, growing up with them I learned to be tough to keep up with them athletically and mentally. This was probably a contributing factor to my competitive nature — there was no way I was going to lose to my brothers at anything. Therefore, I trained harder than them, so I could keep up with them when playing games and sports. I also studied harder than them and that reflected in my report cards. I wanted my parents and my brothers to know that even though I was a girl, I was strong and smart enough to keep up with them and excel in everything I did. Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, so I’ve always had a hunger to be successful in everything I did, because for me, failure wasn’t an option — I had nothing to fall back on. This hunger drove my perseverance. As a child, I always knew that I had to make money — that’s a lot to carry on your shoulders as a kid, but it shaped me to be a self-starter. Going back to when I was about 7 years old, I remember setting up a candy shop in my backyard to sell chocolate bars and candies to kids in my neighborhood. Even as a kid, I saw a need in the market and figured out how to supply that demand.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I don’t think there was a single individual that inspired me to pursue being an entrepreneur. It was more so a series of events in my life that shaped my urge to invest in myself and my ideas.

However, if we’re talking about the current company I co-founded, I really owe it to my husband for pushing me to pursue this venture with him. Having always had a passion for health and longevity, I knew I wanted to do something meaningful in this industry. We share the same passion for all things health optimisation and we fuel the flame for our mutual interest. We go far into the rabbit hole about upcoming scientific discoveries and when we came across taking these new promising molecules called NMN & Resveratrol, we sought out to get our hands on it. However, we quickly discovered that the options available and ingredients in them made us uncomfortable. We were largely concerned about the way existing brands sourced, produced, and stored their products. One thing led to another and we started VERSO.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

As previously mentioned, I always had an innate interest to be a self-starter, but my first couple companies, in which I pursued strictly for profit, ended up being discouraging events to continue to pursue subsequent businesses. It was devastating to me that I could make a significant amount of money and be left feeling unfulfilled and no happier than I was before. I then questioned my career path and thought I should pursue a conventional career. In turn, I re-enrolled into a university and completed my education in accounting.

My husband always told me that I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by going to school. Although he wanted to be supportive of my decision, he always encouraged me to go back to doing what I do best — starting and building a company. It took him a couple years of constantly reminding me and encouraging me to get back into business, and thankfully he’s persistent. With his help and support, my current role in our company has been the most meaningful and rewarding project I’ve ever worked on and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I think there are countless mistakes I’ve made throughout my journey, most of them not funny at the time, but looking back now, I can laugh at them and myself. One mistake I have previously touched on and always highlight is starting companies on the sole purpose of making profit. Although it’s smart to exercise a business plan to see feasible profits before investing your life savings, it should not be the primary driver of why one starts a business. My mistakes of starting companies in industries that I had no interest in led to years of internal struggle, multiple identity crises, and years of therapy (that I have yet to complete). The takeaway is to pursue something you’re heavily passionate about or it may never be worth it in the end.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Throughout my journey as a founder for multiple companies, I’ve learned to invest in visions and missions that I truly believe in. Opposed to chasing what seems most lucrative. Before Verso, I’m ashamed to say that I pursued ventures in which I saw huge monetization opportunities, and not necessarily projects I was passionate about. A lesson I had to learn a couple times over was that it didn’t matter how much money I was making; in fact it was how passionate I was over the project and the beneficial impact it brought to others.

If someone wants to start and run a successful and sustainable company, they have to be heavily interested and passionate about what that company’s mission is and not just focus on the bottom line. As cliche as it may sound, finding something that you can’t help but do or learn will bring you the most success. Starting a business is hard and requires a lot of work, but if you love what you’re working on, you won’t be too fussed about spending all that time on it.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Although lots of books have had significant impacts on me, the one book I read over and over again is, “Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To,” by David A. Sinclair, PhD. with Matthew D. LaPlante.

My love for health and longevity was first sparked because my mom had cancer when I was younger and I felt like I needed to be a good example for her to show her that we can take control of our health and our outcomes. That’s when I started reading books, listening to podcasts and talks about optimizing health and human performance. However, this book was revolutionary in the aging field. Not only does David Sinclair discuss and go into detail about what the scientific literature states about proven lifestyle interventions that delay the aging process, but he discusses on-going pre-published studies on emerging discoveries that have reversed the aging process. This new theory of why we age and why it should be regarded as a treatable disease is shifting the scientific narrative to an optimistic future for all of us. There’s a reason why it was a New York Times Bestseller.

In addition, this book is actually the primary driver of why we started VERSO. In 2019, an emerging molecule called NMN was hitting headlines everywhere because of David Sinclair and this book. It showed not only slowing down aging in rodents, but actually reversing aspects of aging. This wasn’t and still isn’t a mainstream supplement, like vitamin d, but back then it was hard to find and with the supplement industry being notorious for overhyping and under-delivering, my husband and I felt skeptical of how existing brands produced and stored their products, which brought to light to an opportunity to create a trustworthy, transparent, and honest brand.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment.” — Nassim Taleb

I think it’s important to value emotions as information, this feedback can help guide priorities in life — and hopefully get to the point where you enjoy the challenges, and struggles in life because it all makes sense.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

At Verso, I get to spend my days researching the latest scientific breakthroughs and talking to experts in the field, from researchers, scientists, doctors, and other experts about topics that have the potential to enhance healthspan and therefore, extend lifespan. Consumers are hungry for solutions, but are largely unaware of interventions that can combat aging and increase healthspan. While science is advancing, the findings are not making their way to market. At Verso, we are actively working on product formulation that bridges the large gap between scientific breakthroughs and consumers. The “whack-a-mole” approach to treating diseases is overrated and largely ineffective. Therefore, when we formulate products, we strategically create formulations that have multiple downstream effects that target more systematic issues, which in turn result in a myriad of benefits. Optimizing health will greatly impact the lives of people. A lot of people invest time and money into their homes, but what most people don’t realize is that our body is our home; it’s our only home for the rest of our lives, so the ultimate investment is investing in your body and health.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Unless you win the lottery, I believe good habits are a necessary precursor to succeed in anything. I don’t believe I would be very effective, or get much done at all if I wasn’t able to develop some healthy habits. One of the overarching benefits to my life with good habits was practising having a positive mindset, and better mental health. Having my habits aligned with my long term, and short term, goals really grounds me and helps foster the behaviors that are the most rewarding to me.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Healthy habits really start a cascade of being able to make better decisions in your life, like an upward spiral (if that’s even a thing). The simple habit of going to bed earlier and waking up earlier really moved the needle for me, and greatly increased productivity. I think it’s due to how I was allocating my time across the day. At night I was more likely to sit on the couch and watch Netflix, and in the morning I was more likely to be active, or work on things that were important to me. It was a really simple shift in time allocation away from bad habits, towards good ones with some serious impact.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Discipline is everything, training yourself in a specific way that over time becomes routine — or a habit. I believe we all know intuitively when we’re heading in the right, or wrong direction when it comes to habits, so I do my best to remain present. Maintaining presence, or mindfulness, allows me to not gloss over good habits, but also bad ones. If I’m aware how unhelpful a bad habit is each time I do it, and not ignore the negative side effects, then I’m far less likely to continue unproduce behavior.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Kill distractions! Freeing up bandwidth by first removing some bad habits was a big unlock for me. I realized digital distractions were eating away at my time, focus, and happiness — so my phone homescreen has almost nothing on it except the essential functions, and any of the time-bandit apps that remain are buried and not as readily accessible. I also needed to break up with social media, I don’t do much other than monitor the Verso account now and I’m definitely better off for it.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

I believe that optimizing for health presents some of the larger gains to performance, and sits at the top of my habit priority list.

  1. Sleep Hygiene: I could probably just stop the list after this one because it’s so important and critical for every system in your body. I practise good sleep hygiene every day, that means going to bed and waking up around the same time every day (weekends too!). A good night’s sleep starts first thing in the morning, and that means getting bright light exposure (preferably from the sun) within 30 minutes of waking up. I also stop eating 3–4 hours before bed, and I even wear these dorky blue blocking glasses for the last 2 hours of my day.
  2. Nutrition: I like to keep it simple and do my best to avoid processed foods, if I do want something a little more naughty I will opt for the less bad, less processed variant (shoutout to SmartSweets!). I prefer to stick to a lower-to-moderate carbohydrate diet, and I’ve found that discipline around this really helps control blood sugar, meaning I have steady energy throughout the day and skip the afternoon crash.
  3. Movement: I find that working movement into my daily routine is a great way to ensure it gets done, like a walk after dinner, after enough evening it just becomes automatic. I also believe in more strenuous workouts as it really helps develop focus for the rest of the day, right now I’m loving Lagree and go everyday I can.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I think it’s useful to understand what your reason is for developing healthy habits, and understanding what your ultimate goal is. If you have an end goal in mind that fuels your motivation, it will lead to breaking down the large problem into smaller components, that in turn leads to optimizing to solve those smaller components in the most efficient way possible — which is inevitably developing healthy habits to increase performance.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. A morning routine: I pet my dog and make a cup of coffee (yes, caffeine helps), get some sunlight if I can, and spend some time with my husband. I find this really grounds me and gives me what I need to tackle the day.
  2. Develop distress tolerance skills: I do everything I can to avoid getting overly stressed about work, I’m always reminding myself that things tend to feel like a bigger deal in the moment than they really are. A regular meditation practice really helps me, even just 5 minutes a day can be a game changer.
  3. Organization: I believe that a clean working environment produces clean thinking, so my desktop on my computer is always organized and clean — and my wallpaper is all black with a small reminder centered in white text that reads “focus”, as a gentle reminder.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I’ve found that taking small steps toward a habit works best for me, start small. I keep new habits simple and realistic so they can be done daily — and I can build complexity from there. Having accountability really helps, so sharing your commitment with a friend, or even to yourself (as silly as that might sound). Lastly, new habits usually have a default commitment time of ‘forever’ assigned to them and this can present a large cognitive hurdle. To overcome this I like to try on a new habit for a shorter commitment period of a week, or a month, and if that goes well I can move it into a permanent one.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Achieving a flow state can be a real challenge, and it could probably warrant an entire article on its own. I find that before I can expect to get into a flow state there are a few prerequisites that I need to get right:

  1. Getting decent sleep regularly, eating right, and being well exercised.
  2. Incentive is really important, and if you don’t have any reason to absolutely crush it you’re probably not going to. This can be as simple as creating a self imposed constraint, like promising someone you’ll get a deliverable out by a set deadline.
  3. If the task isn’t challenging enough for me, at least in some way, I’m not going to get into flow and I’ll most likely end up getting bored and seeking distraction.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

There are a lot of worthy movements out there, but for me I really care about people and having them live healthier lives. Western culture, sedentary lifestyle and the Standard American Diet have led to a sharp rise in lifestyle diseases that are often preventable. I would love nothing more than to see more people get curious, learn more, and take charge of their health. Medical burden and costs aside, I think the positive network effects from a culture of less disease and more health would be profound.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

Easy, I’d love to hang out with Dr. Rhonda Patrick, she’s an absolute powerhouse of knowledge in all things health & longevity, and is unbelievably dedicated to sharing science in a way that appeals to a broad community of people with, and without, a background in science.

PS: Thanks for having me here, it’s been an absolute pleasure!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Website: https://ver.so/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/get.verso/

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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