Bart Foster: A Modern Trail Guide to Leading a More Intentional Life

“It’s not just outside in nature, it’s out of your comfort zone and outside of corporate norms, and doing things a little bit differently.” Shortly after moving to Boulder, CO, Bart Foster, founder and CEO of BusinessOutside, took a meeting with a fellow entrepreneur. Instead of meeting for lunch or coffee, they went for a walk. Hiking in nature, Bart found, imbued him with a sense of creativity, vulnerability, renewed energy and wellbeing, and allowed him to open up to his colleague about a recent professional trauma. 

Soon he began rethinking traditional workplace settings and culture, and how we can cut through mindless small talk and ask questions that “go deeper, faster” and generate more genuine and productive business relationships. Motion, he says, causes emotion.

After all, time is precious. He explains how he used the “zip code strategy,” taught by Jim Sharpe of Harvard Business School to move his family from Atlanta to Boulder. Picking out where you want to live first, and figuring out the rest later is part of Bart’s goal to minimize regret. 

Bart’s story is one of personal growth, creativity, and self-discovery in entrepreneurship. He walks listeners through some questions they can ask themselves to determine their personal value set, outside of the values assigned by society, and how to create what he calls “a gratitude loop.” 


  • “I realized when I’m outside, I’m more creative, I’m more authentic, I’m more innovative. I feel happier, I feel more alive, I feel more energetic.” (4:12 | Bart Foster) 
  • “What I learned is if I can go deeper, quicker, it gives other people the permission.”(10:09 | Bart Foster)
  • “It’s lonely. We often feel that we have to put up this mask, this veneer, ‘I’m raising capital,” and all these things. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard to be an entrepreneur and it’s lonely,” (11:50 | Bart Foster)
  • “I got people to be vulnerable. I got them outside, we walked and all of a sudden, you could just feel it, the energy was different. And that just put me on this journey of, ‘Hey, I wonder if there’s a different way to do business?’” (23:40 | Bart Foster) 
  • “It’s not just outside in nature, it’s out of your comfort zone and outside of corporate norms, and doing things a little bit differently.” (24:52 | Bart Foster)
  • “Health, money and time. How do we calibrate to maximize our life energy? That’s what I’m trying to do.” (33:40 | Bart Foster)
  • “Shared experiences, not advice. We say to have empathy, not to judge. You want to have no judgment and just say, ‘Hey, this is what happened to me, here’s how I handled it.’ And then you get to make the decision.” (39:34 | Bart Foster)


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