Nate and Dayna Checketts: Forever Forward
In 2002, President James E. Faust gave a talk during the priesthood session of general conference. He said, “Your future may not hold fame or fortune, but it can be something far more lasting and fulfilling. Remember that what we do in life echoes in eternity.” Twelve years later in 2014, Nate Checketts co-founded Rhone Apparel, an activewear company for men. He hoped that positive messages on men’s apparel could help shape the future of the little men he and his wife, Dayna, are raising. So he began adding messages on the inside of his company’s clothes, including this quote by President Faust. On today’s episode, we talk with Nate and Dayna about why they are passionate about creating a brand that teaches correct principles.
It is emotionally exhausting to try and decide whether or not you are going to serve in the church, whether or not you're going to read your scriptures that night, whether or not you're going to say a prayer. ...It is so much easier to just be fully committed to the Lord.
See Rhone’s website here: Rhone.com
Gordon B. Hinckley’s book: Standing for Something
Nate on Greg McKeown’s podcast: Nate Checketts on Harnessing Your Uniqueness
All In episode with Greg McKeown: Greg McKeown: Essentialism—A Disciple’s Path
Nate and Dayna’s son’s miracle story: “What a Stranger's Prayer in an Emergency Room Taught One Latter-day Saint Dad About Miracles”
Nate’s blog post about goal-setting: “The Best Goal Setting Article on the Mother-loving Internet”
Medium article about Nate: “How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time To Be Great Parents”, With Nate Checketts CEO of Rhone
Entrepreneur article about Nate: “How Success Happened for Nate Checketts, Co-Founder and CEO of Rhone”
“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it…yet.” L.M. Montgomery “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.” Henry B. Eyring
“It's easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.” Clayton Christensen
“I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves” Joseph Smith (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 3:54.)
1:38- Public Figure Parents
7:02- Public Speaking and Disney Princesses
12:50- Christmas Pajamas
15:40- Messages for Men
19:02- Mental Health
25:22- Standing for Something
27:04- Teaching Correct Principles
32:06- Habits and Self-Care
44:02- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Morgan Jones 0:01
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You likely recognize the name Checketts because of Dave Checketts, the former general manager of the Utah Jazz and later the president and CEO of Madison Square Garden. But Nate and Ben Checketts, Dave's sons, have made noise in the active wear world with a company they co-founded called Rhone. On today's episode we talk with Nate Checketts and his wife Dayna about their desire to use their company to help inspire men to be better husbands, fathers and contributors to society, something they hope will trickle down to the three little men they are trying to raise at home.
Prior to co-founding Rhone, Nate Checketts worked for and consulted with some of the biggest technology and entertainment properties in the world, including Cisco and the NFL. Nate currently serves as chairman of the board to "Beyond Type One," a nonprofit dedicated to the community of those with type one diabetes, which Nate has. Dayna Checketts previously worked for Disney and currently works within special education in the Checketts community in Connecticut. Nate and Dayna are the parents of three sons.
This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones. And I am so thrilled to have Nate and Dayna Checketts on the line with me today. Dayna and Nate, welcome.
Dayna Checketts 2:29
Nate Checketts 2:30
We're excited to be here with you.
Dayna Checketts 2:31
Morgan Jones 2:33
Well, I am so excited. And I wondered if we could kind of start at the beginning. So Nate, when you were recently named to Sports Business Journal's 40 under 40, you said, "I remember learning really early on that the biggest thing I could do is just be extremely grateful for being raised by two amazing parents. And if people want to give them the credit, I will be the first one to tell them you are 100% right." So I wondered, people listening are probably familiar with your parents, how would you say that your parents shaped the person that you are?
Nate Checketts 3:10
Yeah, I mean, in every way. And it's interesting to grow up with parents who are known, you know, not just in the Church community, but outside of that. And I think there's naturally a bit of pressure to, you know, to be someone, or to grow into that kind of perspective. And I remember realizing, at this early age that, you know, it wouldn't matter if I was a success or a failure, it would be linked back to my parents.
And so when people started to say things–you know, both positively or negatively–in that regard, I said, "The only thing that people are missing is they're just not giving my mom nearly enough credit." Because both of my parents are really incredible. And one of the best parts about that is, you know, there is a visibility to what my dad has done in his career, and so, the most proud that I could be is to say they are every bit those people behind the scenes when the doors are closed, when the cameras not on, as when the camera is on.
And, and that's just you know, they're better than people think. They really are. And people think they're pretty amazing. So, I just feel incredibly blessed and it's really the, you know, for me, the foundation that I have learned to go to when I have questions outside of the gospel. The gospel is kind of the center in there, you know, between Dana and my parents, it's like where I'm where I'm always asking my questions, so I'm pretty fortunate to have them.
Morgan Jones 4:46
Well, I listened to an interview where you talked about how most people they get older and they feel like their parents may be weren't as great as they thought, but you said both your parents were even better than you thought. As a kid, which I think is a huge compliment to them. Dayna, how would you say that Nate's upbringing has impacted the man he is both publicly and privately?
Dayna Checketts 5:11
Well, I–that's a great question because they are fabulous people, and he's not lying. And I'm an outsider, I'm an in-law and I do say that they are quite amazing people. And I am so grateful to call them mom and dad now. And I just have a couple–I was just thinking about that, as you asked that question, and I have a story, if you don't mind.
Morgan Jones 5:30
Dayna Checketts 5:32
Give you a little bit about Nate and his parents. So when we were dating, I had seen them a few times, his parents. I was in Utah, they were in Connecticut. So I wasn't able to see them as often as Nate was able to see my parents. So one of the instances, Dave, my father in law was in Salt Lake, he just purchased the Major League Soccer Team in Salt Lake.
And so they were about to announce the name of the team, which is Real Salt Lake. And so we were there for the press conference for that. And that was one of my first times being able to see Dave in a business setting instead of just in their home or at dinner or something.
And it was amazing how poised how charismatic and how put together he was. And I was like, man, Nate is very much like that. He's very good at public speaking, he's very good at communicating and reaching people, even on a platform when he's not communicating one on one.
And then this is the point that I–that stuck with me is that at the end, he told the name, he did all that, and he said, "I'm missing someone, there's someone that has not been recognized today and that is my wife, Deb." And then he went on for a solid five minutes talking about how she's the soccer mom. And she's the supporter and she's the one who made all this happen. And she doesn't get the recognition that I'm getting, and I want to make sure I take this time to say that, and I'm saying that about Nate is he learned from his dad and his mom, how he does bring me in on all these things. And when he gets these awards, and when he gets this recognition, he always says, "Dayna, this is from you." And even when he doesn't get it, behind the scenes, Nate is just like his parents, where he's like, "We are a team, we do this together." And I just–I'm grateful for his parents for teaching him that because I feel very fortunate to have him as my husband.
Nate Checketts 7:38
Also the added benefit of being completely true. I mean, what she's leaving out is that I'd be, you know, no one without her. So yeah, so it just, it becomes natural, because it's also accurate.
Dayna Checketts 7:55
That's so sweet.
Morgan Jones 7:56
When it's true, it's easier to say for sure. So I'm wondering now, how did the two of you meet?
Dayna Checketts 8:05
You can take this one.
Nate Checketts 8:06
Oh, well . . . well, we met in college. You know, as I think I mentioned, I grew up in the Northeast in Connecticut. And there were not a lot of members of the Church who went to my high school, you know, that were–that I could date. And we both went to BYU Idaho, we got there, the last semester it was Rick's, and then changed to BYU Idaho. So we're there, and the very first class I went to, that I signed up for was public speaking. And I walked in, and I see this beautiful girl across the way. And I remember thinking, I did not know that members of our Church could look like that.
Dayna Checketts 8:46
Eye roll, for those who can only hear and not see me. I'm rolling my eyes right now.
Nate Checketts 8:52
And so I was immediately attracted to her and as I got to know her, but she was, you know, she was not eligible to date and this was pre mission. So our last talk of the semester, you give various speeches. And the last one was a persuasive speech. And we had to come up with something that would be persuasive, something that would convince someone of something.
Dayna Checketts 9:21
I'll let you guess what he talked about.
Nate Checketts 9:22
And then you'd have a panel of classmates that would judge you or you know, based on the context of your speech. During the semester, Dayna and her roommate, Dixie and I and one of our other friends Ben would get together and we would practice with each other. But I said on this last one, "I'm not practicing it with you." So I got up and the persuasive speech was on why I thought a girl should be willing to date me. And lo and behold, the student panel that was selected Dayna was on. Was one of three people selected and she gave me the lowest score I got. I got a high score from the other two students and she gave me the lowest score. But afterwards she agreed to go on a date with me and–
Dayna Checketts 10:09
I couldn't show favoritism. That's why.
Nate Checketts 10:11
Yeah. Apparently. And then I went on my mission I went to–we weren't, we weren't really kind of together, dating, we had gone on a date.
Dayna Checketts 10:20
We would go to the temple with a big group together, we'd practice our speeches together.
Nate Checketts 10:24
That was one of the things that really impressed me the most about Dayna is she said, "A group of us get together Tuesday mornings at 4:30 to go and do baptisms at the temple." And I thought, we have to be the only college students alive waking up at 4:30 in the morning to go to the temple. And we did it every week. And that was part of how our relationship really built. And then I went on my mission. And she did write to me–
Dayna Checketts 10:50
Oh yeah, I did write.
Nate Checketts 10:51
Twice, both while I was at the MTC. And when I came back, I sent out kind of the big mass email and said, you know, "I'm home," and she was the first one to respond to that email. She–I didn't know this at the time, but she was working, she was an office manager. So she was kind of at her computer–
Dayna Checketts 11:11
I'm at my computer all the time, and so I saw this email pop up, I'm like, "Oh, it's Nate! He's back."
Nate Checketts 11:17
So we started chatting. In the two years I had been gone on my mission, Dayna had had taken down a semester at Disney World for a year. She did the college program at Disney World, and then got invited to stay as a character where she did–she was friends with–
Dayna Checketts 11:38
Nate Checketts 11:39
Friends with Belle and Sleeping Beauty.
Dayna Checketts 11:42
And a few of the fur characters.
Nate Checketts 11:43
And so I get back, and my parents were like, "Hey, your brother's about to go on his mission, we're going to take a family trip to Disney World." And so I'm emailing back and forth with her very casually, I say, "Hey, we're going back to your old stomping grounds." And she said, "You know, I can't believe it. I'm going to be there the same week you are," because apparently they were having a princess shortage.
Dayna Checketts 12:05
They gave me a call the week before saying "Is there any way–we don't have anyone who can play Sleeping Beauty next week, is there any way that you can come next week for 10 days to fill in this hole?" I was like, I have an office job but I was like, "Well, this will be fun so why not."
Nate Checketts 12:22
And if you keep 40 hours a year, you're able to keep your Disney eligibility status. And so she said, "I'm gonna be there the same time you are."
Morgan Jones 12:32
“I'll be Sleeping Beauty.”
Nate Checketts 12:34
Yeah. "And by the way, I'll be a princess." So I was like, I–guys, I'm gonna go meet my friend from college. I haven't seen her in two and a half years, but I'm not standing in a princess line by myself.
Dayna Checketts 12:46
Nate Checketts 12:46
So I took my two year old nephew–who just got back from this mission a couple weeks ago–and I took my two year old nephew stood in line and met up with her and then she came and went with our family all around the park. She showed us the secrets, she took me and my brothers down into the tunnels.
Dayna Checketts 13:05
I hope I don't get into trouble for all this.
Nate Checketts 13:09
But since that time, we've been together and spoken every day since.
Dayna Checketts 13:12
Everyday since then.
Nate Checketts 13:13
Dayna Checketts 13:14
So there we go.
Morgan Jones 13:15
That's amazing. Well, you cannot–not everybody can say that they got together due to a princess shortage. So that is quite the story. That's awesome. I love that so much. Also, Nate, that was a smooth move with the public speaking class.
Nate Checketts 13:33
It's about the only smooth move I have in my repertoire.
Dayna Checketts 13:35
No, he is a romantic. You can't deny. This guy, he puts me to shame on that department.
Morgan Jones 13:43
Amazing. Okay, so your company Rhone was started–I understand, because of family Christmas pajamas. Is that right?
Nate Checketts 13:54
Yeah, that's true. It's a true story.
Dayna Checketts 13:56
Nate Checketts 13:57
Yeah. So there's six kids in our family. Everybody has amazing spouses. But you know, like many families in our faith the holidays are kind of a crazy period, everybody's together. And so my mom always gives the gift of pajamas. It's kind of like her thing.
Dayna Checketts 14:15
Nate Checketts 14:15
And so my brother was . . . was he married to Laura yet or were they just dating?
Dayna Checketts 14:21
They were married.
Nate Checketts 14:23
Yeah, so he had just married his wife and she was from Canada, and Lululemon was starting to get big in the Northeast. It was already big in Canada and on the west, but starting to get big in the Northeast. So he's like, she took my mom into the store and said instead of getting everyone pajamas this year, you should get everyone the sweatpants.
Dayna Checketts 14:41
Nate Checketts 14:42
And so Christmas morning comes around, we open them up and I was like, "Oh, great. Thanks, mom." And I was working at the NFL at the time and had access to all the Nike and Under Armor products there, was like wow, these sweatpants are made out of a different kind of fabric.
And my brother in law was like, "Whoa, whoa, I am not wearing those." And I was like, "What? Wait, why wouldn't you wear–why wouldn't you wear these?" And he said, "Well, that's a women's yoga brand." And then I was like, "Okay, well, you know, I still don't understand why you wouldn't wear them." He's like, "Look at the logo, look at the packaging. You know, it's like, I can't even believe they make men's clothing." So it just started this, like full family debate on whether or not it was appropriate for a guy to wear a brand called Lululemon. And that's really kind of where the idea started.
And then, you know, a couple months later, I'm at the NFL and one of the league sponsors sent a box of branded Lululemon gear for the woman and a box of Nike gear for the men. And a conversation in the office starts. And I said, "I actually got a pair of Lululemon sweatpants." And the guy next to me said, "Do you buy your underwear at Victoria's Secret?" And I remember thinking, "Wow, I had no idea this was such an issue."
Dayna Checketts 16:02
A big deal.
Nate Checketts 16:03
But I've always been a bit of an entrepreneur and so I called my brother in law up. And I said, "You know, it feels like there's just, there's an opportunity here." And so we–yeah, we started building a company. And now it's seven plus years later and had some good success. And it's been kind of a roller coaster ride but a fun one.
Dayna Checketts 16:25
Yeah, it was fun to see the beginning stages of how it all came together.
Morgan Jones 16:29
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think it's a great idea. And your stuff is so cool. My boyfriend has a pullover from Rhone and he loves it. So I think that's awesome. So you said that you weren't really super excited or energized, though by this idea, until you started thinking about what it could mean for men, you said that you had two sons at the time–now you have three–and you were concerned about raising boys in a time when it can be really confusing to be a man in today's world.
And this is what you said, "I feel like in general, we err on the side of what not to do, but we don't provide the solution of–here's what to do." So I wondered if you both could talk to me about what you two have seen in terms of the messages the world is sending your sons and how you've tried to counter that both in your home and then through your company.
Nate Checketts 17:24
Do you want to take that?
Dayna Checketts 17:26
Oh, the world these days. I sometimes get nervous even to listen to the news. It just scares me so much. So I–it, there's a lot of things we try to tackle in our home to try to combat this at home to see the messages that we're trying to send. So one of them is every night when we read our scriptures, afterwards, we do a family chair. And in the chair, we have a family theme. It's Checka-Flecka-Rock.
So after the scripture Helaman 5:12 and so we say, "Who are we? We are the Checketts!" So every night–whoever says the prayer gets the privilege of–I should have started with that–leading the chair. So it's kind of a coveted thing. It got them motivated to say the prayers now. And so we say, "Who are we? We are the Checketts! Who are we? We are the Checketts!" And then these are the principles that we want to talk about. So they say, "We are faithful, adventurous, charitable, teachable, and self-reliant. Checkett's like a rock."
And then our dog even joins us we say–and then she started to catch on, she started howling after the first few weeks we did this. And so now it's turned into like, "Hawooo!" but it would look really comical if you saw us actually. It's really fun. And that's one way that we try and try to teach every night with the scriptures, the stories, and we try to teach our kids all of these principles, these core principles about faith. Being faithful and what does it mean to be in this world to be faithful? What does it mean to be charitable? What does it mean to be teachable and adventurous and self reliant? And in this world to combat all of this . . . everything that's in the world these days. We try to just keep it back to the simple things and that's one of the things we do.
Nate Checketts 19:13
Yeah, I mean, I think, to your earlier question about what got me excited about the company and the brand is–anybody can make clothing. But a brand is more than just a company that sells a product. A brand is something that there's a relationship with that you feel, you know, there's a feeling between and before starting Rhone, I knew I wanted to get back–I was working at the NFL–I wanted to get back into entrepreneurship.
And I remember in my journal I had written, "I want to build a brand that matters." And selling nice activewear you know, the world doesn't need another activewear company. But what I thought we could do differently is we live–we live in a time where the message is, there's kind of two core messages that I feel like we wanted to combat.
The first is that, you know, everything in the activewear space is run faster, jump higher, lift more. And we felt like that is just one part of health, right? There's a whole other aspect. And so as a company we have really made a statement and a position around mental health and wellness and balance, and that it's not just about getting into the gym and punishing yourself. It's, it's about sweating, it's about movement, but it's also about kind of the other holistic aspect.
And then in terms of men, you know, I think about my boys growing up, and they go to school, they hear messages, like the future is female, they, you know, maybe they don't hear it yet, but there are a lot of active messages and voices of, you know, highlighting some of the evil characters and men who have lived.
And they certainly, you know, these guys deserve to be called out. The Harvey Weinstein's and the Jeffrey Epstein's of the world, but it dominates the news cycle. And what ends up happening is you end up with these young men who start to grow up and they become fearful, or, you know, they might say, "Hey, I believe in equal gender rights," or "I believe, you know, that I'm not better than my female counterpart, but I don't know how to engage. I don't know how to be the kind of person that I want to, because I'm–there's this onslaught of negative media."
And so we felt like we could build a content engine and an arm that says, you know, "Yes, understand the dangers and the evils that exist in the world. But also, let us provide some examples of people who have, who live the right way, and who treat, you know, treat everyone with kindness and inclusivity. And that it doesn't have to be so polarizing." And that's what we've tried to stand for.
And what has been so great is that message has developed a brand resonance with our customer, that if they see our products side by side with, you know, with our competition, they feel more drawn to buy Rhone, because they feel like there is that feeling and that relationship, and they know, you know, we reinvest our profits towards mental health efforts and doing well by the environment, we have a whole responsibility initiative.
So, you know, there's a lot that I could talk about there. But I think just in general, you know, that's something that we care a lot about. And Dan and I talk all the time–
Dayna Checketts 22:37
All the time.
Nate Checketts 22:38
You know, I . . . actually I remember in sacrament meeting, before we came up with the family cheer. We had a sister speak, Sister Heather Barlow, to give her a shout out. And she basically called everyone out, which I love. She said, you know, "Are you giving your best ideas and your best thoughts to your family as much as you're giving them to work?"
And at the time Rhone was started, we had, you know, we basically had a mission statement, we had a three year plan, we have all of these creative, and I came home and I said to Dana, I was like, "We need to have this for our family. We need to put the same level of goal setting and, you know, centering that I've put–and branding, into the family, so that our kids start to self identify." And yeah, it's been a great blessing and kind of a grounding force for us that we know who we are, the gospel is, you know, the Savior is at the center of who we are.
Dayna Checketts 23:47
And he's such a good dad. And we–he does. He brings what he's learned from work. He's bringing all that like mental health that you've learned about at work, and he brings it home to our family. We do these things every night where we talk to our kids when we put them to bed. And we say one thing that we're proud of them. "We're proud of you for this," because again, part of that whole, the mental health is that they need to have that positive environment at home. They need to have that love, feel encouraged, feel safe, feel wanted, and that no matter who they are, they're loved. And so even if there's some days there, something harder to say we're proud of you for something specific, we come up with something every day to make sure that they know specifically one thing they did that day that we were proud of them for.
Nate Checketts 24:33
Boys in particular, really–and men in particular really struggle with shame. And I think, you know, there's the gospel and then there's the Church. I think the Church has really grown in this way of focusing not on negative messaging, but on trying to inspire and it's really what the Savior was about. You know, when you think about what He did, the way He lived, He went after the one. And that is part of what draws me so close to my Savior is realizing just, you know, that he hasn't forgotten me, you know, no matter what.
And I think sometimes men really struggle with shame and things that they've, you know, mistakes that they have made. And when you realize that God loves us no matter what, and that he's there for us, and whether those sins are small, or whether those sins are big, we have the ability to draw closer to Him. And we want our children to know that no matter what, there's nothing they could do that would change the way that we feel about them. There might be things that they do, that we don't agree with, or things that we do that we don't love, but it won't change the way–it won't change our love for them. And that has been–we want them to be able to feel like they can talk to us if they make a mistake, because they're going to. They will make mistakes, and that's okay. So, that's a long answer.
Dayne Checketts 25:57
We kept going!
Morgan Jones 25:59
No, I think that's great. And I think you're right, I think, you know, there's nothing wrong with talking about equal rights and things like that. But I do think the message of men or boys are inherently bad, is dangerous. So I appreciate what you said about that. On Rhone's website, it says, "We deliver on our mission to inspire one another in the pursuit of progress through honest storytelling and cause based initiatives together, we are supporting one another and creating space for all."
I wondered how you've been able–and I just recently interviewed David Smith, who runs Cotopaxi–
Nate Checketts 26:41
He's a very good guy.
Morgan Jones 26:43
And–he's such a good guy. But we talked about like creating a for profit company, but also seeking to make a difference in the world. So I wondered for you how you kind of blend those two things together?
Nate Checketts 26:55
Yeah, I think it is so cool, the day that we live in right now. And we always talk about how negative you know that our environment is, but one of the great positives is you see companies that are standing up for doing things better. Davis was part of–joined an initiative that I started during COVID called "Brands for Better," where we actually united 150 plus digitally native brands to give back during COVID. And we ended up raising $4 million for pandemic relief that went to things like first responders and facemask wiring.
And so Davis was one of the first people I called and said, "Hey, I have this crazy idea, will you do this with me?" He's like, "Yep, I'm in." And so I love that brands can stand for something. I mean, we–this is a generation that was raised by President Hinckley. And, you know, and to be something, to stand for something, we spend a lot of time on kind of what we call our responsibility initiative, which is our sustainable based approach to fabrics, supply chain, you know, kind of all the way through.
Morgan Jones 28:02
So your company's motto is: "Forever Forward." Can you tell me what that means to both of you and how the gospel plays into that use of the word "Forever"?
Nate Checketts 28:15
Yeah, you're on to me. It's funny, my brother is our creative director. And we talk about this all the time. And we believe in eternal progression. And it–one of my favorite things is that we get to tell and teach gospel principles in a way that is disarming to people because they don't associate it with Church or religion.
And unfortunately, the society that we have, you know, and especially in first world countries, I served my mission in Italy, there's just such a stigma around religion. And so there's a natural barrier and wall to, "Don't teach me anything about Church or God or religion." And yet, if you teach people correct principles, eternal principles, it resonates. We know that. And if you can do that without those barriers and walls, you have the ability to impact and maybe soften and fertilize the ground for that, when they are ready to hear the gospel, it will continue to resonate.
And so when we talked about what did we want to stand for, what was our mission, I really loved this idea of eternal progression. How can we say that? How could we talk about eternal progression in a way that is disarmed? So we talked about the pursuit of progress, and we talked about forever forward, but really, it comes back to eternal progression and in our company town halls, in our marketing and videos, and, you know, to our consumers, we are consistently–basically–teaching gospel principles. It's funny because we have a few members of the Church that work for us, and they'll always be like, "I know where that's from."
Dayna Checketts 29:57
"I got that one." No, it's so good. And in our family we do try to help begin the practice of–"Every day's a new day." We can always make mistakes, we can take those lessons and bring it forward. My favorite quote is from Anna of Green Gables, it's "Tomorrow's a new day with no mistakes in it." And I say that all the time, just forever forward, you know. Two steps forward, one step back, whatever we need to do to just progress forward.
I'm actually the special education representative for our elementary school. And this same concept is that I have found that even in my little position in our elementary school, I had a meeting today. We're constantly trying to teach the same principles that we would teach at Church, but I'm bringing that into the special education department because we need to do, love everyone, you know, kindness, and all of those primary answers.
I'm like, teaching these adult women saying, "This is what we need to do. And this is what we need our mission to be." And everyone's like, "Wow, that sounds so great." I'm like, "Well, you should hear my prophet. Because he says it a lot better than I do." But it does, any aspect of any job, company, everything, we can have this eternal progression. And like Nate said, as long as you kind of come at it a little bit differently, you can bring these principles into your everyday life.
Nate Checketts 31:24
And she's so great about this. I mean, she has said that quote to me so many times when I have a hard day, she'll be like, "You know what, it's okay. Just remember, tomorrow's a new day with no mistakes." And even though I will admit I've seen Anne of Green Gables.
Dayna Checketts 31:41
Hey, it's something to be proud of.
Nate Checketts 31:43
Dayna Checketts 31:44
Morgan Jones 31:45
I love Anna Green Gables.
Dayna Checketts 31:47
Thank you! It's the greatest.
Nate Checketts 31:49
But she's just–she's very much that way. And she's, you know, she's a rock that way. So yeah, we do try and teach those principles at home and at work and it resonates with people. People want to progress and they want to get better. And it's not just about physical fitness or meeting a certain aesthetic, it's about trying to grow. We launched something that we call the 12 pursuits. And every month we focus on something else. So we've done hydration, nutrition, movement, self care, meditation, gratitude is the month of November. So you know, it's just kind of trying to teach these correct principles and have it be a part of kind of who we are as a company.
Morgan Jones 32:30
Yeah. Well, I think that's the reason people love Stephen Covey, you know?
Nate Checketts 32:34
Dayna Checketts 32:34
Exactly. So true!
Morgan Jones 32:35
I think, essentially, that's what he did. And then the same thing is true of, I don't know if you're familiar with Greg McKeown and essentialism, he's such a, he's such a good guy, too. But he–I feel like that's what he does is he takes gospel principles and, you know, obviously, there's original thought in it, but he makes it fit for a secular audience. And there's definitely an appeal to it.
I want to come back to something that you just said, you talked about self care. And one thing I noticed as I was preparing for this interview is that you talk a lot about habits. And so one thing that I found is you said, "I find if I don't schedule self care, then it doesn't happen. Of course, the best laid plans never work out perfectly. But the key is that when I get out of sync, I have a plan to go back to." So I wondered with, you know, everything that you both have going on, what does self care look like for you? And how do you support each other in making sure that that happens?
Dayna Checketts 33:38
Self care is very big in our family. We really have tried to emphasize the importance of self care. Nate sometimes has a tendency to burn the candle on both ends.
Nate Checketts 33:50
Dayna Checketts 33:50
And he stays up super late but then he has to wake up early because he has so much to do, and then it just gets garbled and everything is chaos. And so we try to take a step back, do self care. But he has very great habits, and he is a very good worker. And so that is part of the thing about this is that sometimes we need, as a spouse, to help each other do that self care. And he's very good about giving me time to work out. And he is fantastic about that. Do you want to talk about you?
Nate Checketts 34:21
Yeah, I mean, this is–the reason why I focus on this so much is because it's not natural for me. I you know, I struggle with making time for myself. Because I, you know, from times, you know, I'm involved in nonprofit, I'm, you know, in our work bishopric I'm running this company and a father and a husband. Sometimes it doesn't feel like there's any time left for you.
And you know, to Dana's credit she's really good about identifying, you know, before I–before I get down or before I have a hard moment, knowing and anticipating those needs and doing things for me that, you know, I sometimes won't do for myself, but talking about it, for me helps, and scheduling it and making it a priority and remembering you know, a lot of people use the example of when you're on the airplane, and the masks fall. You can't help anyone else until you help yourself.
And, and so there's certainly limits to that. But Dana is a natural, like, she doesn't struggle with this like I do. It's 9:30 every night, she's ready to go to bed.
Dayna Checketts 35:30
Early to bed, early to rise is my goal.
Nate Checketts 35:32
And if you if she sets a goal, she just does it. I kind of have–I have to like really center myself, I have to use tips and tricks and tools. And you know, I'm not good at it because it's natural, I practice and work really, really hard.
Dayna Checketts 35:49
He does work really hard.
Nate Checketts 35:50
I've got bookshelves full of– you know, Essentialism is right there and Effortless is right next to it, both of Greg's books. I read and I, you know, I kind of self identify as a striver, you know, somebody who's just always trying, and so far from perfect and needs a ton of help. So, so yeah, it's something that I work really, really hard on.
Morgan Jones 36:14
Well, another thing that I was impressed with is somebody highlighted you for this habit that you have of writing down the most important thing you need to accomplish the next day, before bed. And then the next morning, you write in the same notebook what you're grateful for. And I just thought that was such a good habit. And I wondered what–like where did that come from? And how have you seen benefits of that?
Nate Checketts 36:44
Yeah, I mean, it's just based on a lot of reading. I have the notebook right here.
Dayna Checketts 36:48
He's fantastic at this. He orders a new notebook every month or two, because he fills it up.
Nate Checketts 36:53
Yeah, I just–again, it just goes back to–I know what happens if I don't do the work. And you can't, you can't fake it. And I wish that habits were just easy for me to stick to, I find that I have to really–I have to work at it. And so, you know, the the idea of practicing gratitude, we know that in prayer, but there's something about writing it down for me that really, that really helps.
And, and so yeah, I'm a big believer in writing down what you're grateful for every single day, ending the day with what went well, or what you're grateful for. And no small degree of changes frame the day in a way that, you know, you just you can focus on what you have. Most people are happy in relativity, meaning I'm happy if I have more than someone else, or I'm sad if I have less than someone else, or I'm happy if I'm better looking than my friend or sad if I'm, you know, in worse shape than my sibling.
And the reality is, is that what the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us is to find center and joy in who we are and who we're striving to be and to catch that vision. And that requires a good deal of effort and work. And so–it's so easy to start comparing yourself to someone else, but comparison really is the thief of joy. And if you can–I find when I'm reading my scriptures, when I'm saying my prayers, when I'm writing down what I am grateful for and what I'm trying to do, and what's the most important thing, what's my priority, I just live a more fulfilled life. I feel better about what I'm doing and the work that I'm doing. And it also helps me to not get too high or too low and when things inevitably will go wrong. So yeah, I don't know. I feel like I'm still an infant in terms of where I'm trying to get to. But yeah, I do work at it.
Morgan Jones 38:58
Okay, so one thing that I wanted to be sure to ask you all about before I let you go is this experience that you shared on–Nate, you shared it on Medium. And I think we actually ended up rerunning it on LDS Living, if I remember correctly, because it was so impactful, and so well written and so good.
You said that a few years ago, at the time, this had just happened, your family had a very scary experience where your son fell, hit his head and had a brain bleed. And you shared the–kind of the experiences that happened and the miracles that you had seen. And you said, "Over the last four weeks, I've thought about the many good people in the world who do not get their miracle. The people who have great faith who also have tremendous support networks and do all they can for the preservation of a loved one, but the cure doesn't come. I do not pretend to know why some lives are spared and others are not. But this I do know, the miracles we experienced were not simply the full recovery Will is making, or the doctor's skill and timing, though both are certainly miraculous. As you can see, many of the miracles we received were not just the recovery, it became this crescendo of prayers, text, emails, social media messages, the power of collective faith and prayer is as tangible as any physical hug. What I've taken from this experience is to do more to help those who suffer trial and loss. So many suffer so often, and more often than not, they suffer in silence."
And then you said, "I've now put a small whiteboard next to my bathroom sink where I write down the names of people I know who are struggling with one thing or another. It helps me to direct my faith and just as importantly, my actions." So I wondered, what is it about these types of experiences that help you see–or help all of us see–God's hand more in our lives and be his hands?
Dayna Checketts 41:05
Anyone who has gone through such a traumatic thing like we did, where we almost lost our son, you tangibly feel the love and the prayers. I've heard it said before, but until you've gone through it, I truly felt it tangibly. I could tell that so many people were praying for us, I could tell.
And we saw it, we saw the outpouring of love between people just not–I didn't even ask them and they somehow found out that we were waiting for our son's surgery, they came to the waiting room, or the presents that we received, or the meals that people gave us, people that I didn't even know or Nate casually knew, sent us these things to represent and to honor us. And that is just the kindness that this world–that just brought so much comfort and joy and peace to us during that traumatic time.
It took off a lot of the burden. I really truly felt like their prayers and their love and their support, carried the weight off our shoulders from this experience. I felt–I really truly felt like had I not felt that, it would have been a crushing week, until we knew he was fully out of the clear.
But with those prayers, it just sustained us. And it was just an outpouring. And so we from that moment on realized we needed to up our game. In terms when we hear other people going through similar experiences or any type of traumatic experience. I feel like that opened our eyes, so that we can be that support to someone else. Because we weren't as good as we could have been up until this moment. We were good here and there when it suited us. But that really made awareness to us how we can help other people.
Nate Checketts 43:08
For me, it just puts the Savior into perspective, right? Because you understand that for him to be compassionate and empathetic, he needed pure and true understanding of what we go through. And going through hard times, going through difficult experiences gives you a sense of empathy for others.
And, you know, there's that saying that if you assume that somebody, the people you come into contact with are going through a difficult time, you'll be right about 80% of the time–everybody's going through something. Everybody's struggling with something. And some of its obvious, you might see someone in a wheelchair, you might see–I'm type one diabetic, sometimes people can see the you know, the devices or sensors that I wear, but we don't see the inner struggle that people have or you know, the non obvious challenges.
And when we ask–when we pray, and we asked to be guided, and when we look for those opportunities, we will find them. And to me one of the greatest miracles of that whole experience was this lasting impression of those being there for us when we needed them most. And I just don't–you can't go through that and not be changed. You can't have that experience and not want to do more yourself. And so we certainly you know that that left a lasting impact for us.
Morgan Jones 44:37
First of all, thank you so much for sharing that experience. And like I said, we could spend an entire episode talking about that experience. So I just will put that in our show notes and encourage people to go and read. Nate, you did a beautiful job writing that and sharing that experience.
Dayna Checketts 44:56
He did such a great job on that.
Morgan Jones 44:58
It was beautiful My last question for you is, what does it mean to you to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Nate Checketts 45:06
I would say, you know, all in is a decision. And it's the best decision that you can make, because Clayton Christensen was fond of saying, it's easier to do something 100% of the time than it is to do something 95% of the time, because if you do something 95% of the time, every time you come into contact with that decision, you'll be wondering, is this the time for an exception?
And I remember, you know, and I have through my entire life had challenges where, you know, I've wondered or had doubts or things that I've come into contact with. But I remember very distinctly, making the decision–I am in this. This is the path that I'm choosing.
And now it's not a question for me. It is emotionally exhausting to try and decide whether or not you are going to serve in the church, whether or not you're going to read your scriptures that night, whether or not you're going to say a prayer. But if you make the decision, "No, I am a son of God. I believe that we have a prophet today, I believe that the Church has been restored." It's either true or it's not true. And if it's true, it requires a tremendous and full commitment, and there is not room for the in between, you know, certainly all of us are doing the best we can, but I promise it is so much easier to just be fully committed to the Lord.
Because we get back in blessings tenfold what we put in. And there are a lot of different ways that I try and remind myself of this commitment. I've actually started wearing a cross that I had made after I heard a podcast about, you know how, as a faith we do not respect the cross with the same level that we should, but on it, there's a Book of Mormon scripture, Moroni 10:32, which is "Come unto Christ and be perfected Him."
And, and that is what we have to try and do every day. We have to be ready to help others with that. And sometimes that's big acts like, you know, sharing the gospel and inviting people to come to Church, and sometimes that's small acts of trying to lift somebody's day or, you know, do what Christ would do if you were in that circumstance, but it is just really–I don't know, a lot of people say, "How can you give that much time or that" it is, it is not even a question in my mind it is, you just make that decision. And you will be rewarded, and not even just in the tangible blessings, those too, but yeah, it is absolutely worth every time, effort, commitment we can make.
Morgan Jones 47:52
Thank you, Nate. Dayna?
Dayna Checketts 47:55
I love what he said about Elder Christensen is this–you do need to be all in, 100%. Because those, think about when you're on a diet and you're trying it to say, "Ooh, is this my cheat day, is this not?" Or anything. You need, it's so much harder. You need to be committed. And I truly feel like in order to be centered in the gospel–we do make mistakes, and that's what repentance is for.
But we also need to have that commitment to the Lord. And we need to show our children that we have that commitment to the Lord. And we need to have that mindset so that we make the decisions based on what we feel. And whether that works for someone else or not, we know as a family, at least that we are committed and we have our goals and we have our values. And we have what we know is right for our family and we do it to the fullest extent. And I'm just so grateful for this gospel for that chance that we have to prove ourselves and to show and try to mold and be perfected like he said in that scripture we're just constantly and continuously shaping ourselves and molding ourselves to be like Him.
Morgan Jones 49:07
Thank you both so much. I so appreciate your time. It's been so good to talk to you. So thank you.
Dayna Checketts 49:12
Thank you for having us.
Nate Checketts 49:13
Of course! Thanks Morgan.
Morgan Jones 49:17
We are so grateful to Nate and Dayna Checketts for joining us on today's episode. Big thanks to Derek Campbell from Mix at Six studios for his help with this episode and thank you for listening.
Just a reminder that the All In book is currently in Deseret bookstores and online at Desertbook.com and is a great gift for your neighbors or your friends this Christmas. If you haven't gotten it for yourself. I hope you'll give it a shot and we will look forward to being with you again next week.