Hey Ben, thanks for taking the time to chat with us!
The last year has been a rollercoaster filled with some extremely tough times. Hopefully there have been some positive moments as well. How are you doing?
No one could have planned for how this last year would turn out. There were some really difficult and trying moments, but it also was quite the year for growth. I started off the year with a packed schedule. I was supposed to be on tour for four months hosting the Bachelor Live On Stage event that toured across all America. As COVID-19 crept into our world, that opportunity was quickly put on pause - leaving me with an abundance of free time that I hadn’t had in years. I wasn’t traveling, touring, or doing interviews. Instead, I was at my childhood home with my parents in Indiana. Don’t get me wrong, this year was a difficult one. We had to close one of our coffee shops, my tour was cancelled, events were shut down, there were hurricanes in Honduras that hit a nonprofit I am involved with, and so much more.
But, despite all that went wrong, there was also a lot of celebrations and new experiences in my life. I was able to propose to my now fiancé, Jessica Clarke, finish my first book, start a Hope Still Wins show on my Instagram, keep Generous Coffee up and running, still co-host my podcast, and much more. In reality, I am in a great place. Having more down time with friends and family has allowed me to come back to the heart on the things that really matter in my life.
Could you share a little bit about your journey (career & current passions) that got you here today?
Upon graduating from college I started a career in software sales in Denver. It was during this time that one of my coworkers nominated me to be on the show the Bachelorette. With hesitancy, I went on season 11 of the Bachelorette, and then eventually moved on to being the Bachelor for season 20. After the show, I still balanced my software sales job for a little over a year. I knew that I had a deeper purpose to my life than just writing for a software company in a basement. I felt a deep desire to be more invested in purposeful work.
Long story short, prior to all of this, I had gone on a trip to Honduras that changed my life. Something never sat right with me with all the organizations that would go to a place and try and make a ‘quick fix’, and then just abandon these people. In my eyes, it never seemed to help. However, my buddy started a nonprofit, Humanity and Hope United, that actually did sustainable work down in Honduras. Teams would go down and hear the needs from the people in these villages, and then help empower them to meet those needs themselves.
Since I am a board member, during my time on the Bachelor I was able to share about what Humanity and Hope United is doing. Because I was able to share on such a large platform, H&H saw a huge response in aid and help from other people. The response was awesome; however, my friends and I knew that we couldn’t ride out the “Bachelor” card forever. We were on a mission to create some type of for-purpose company whose profits could then eventually sustain Humanity and Hope United. That is how Generous Coffee was born. We wanted to sell the highest quality coffee, and other purposeful products, and then donate those profits back to nonprofits - Humanity and Hope United being our main beneficiary. Today I sit as the President and Co-Founder of Generous Coffee, and we just hit our three year mark. To date we have been able to donate over $70,000 in monetary and product donations to different organizations and nonprofits
What are you working towards in the next few years?
Although my main job is Generous Coffee, I also stay actively involved in many other things. As a storyteller, I love sharing the stories of hope - especially during this time. I started a show on my Instagram every Wednesday called Hope Still Wins. During this show, I bring on a guest who is able to share their story and offer hope and light during this dark time. I also started a clothing company called My Fan Threads that allows different influencers to create retail merchandise.
The big thing I have been working on for the last couple years is the release of my new book, Alone In Plain Sight, which hit shelves on February 2nd! This book is all about my perspective as a fellow sojourner on a journey to find connection and meaning. I examine questions I have wrestled with personally and invite the readers to discover why connection with others and God is essential.
Although I am involved in a multitude of different things, the commonality between them all is connection. I care about people and their stories and want to cultivate opportunities to help deepen that connection.
Can you give us a little insight into your daily routine?
I am a firm believer that there is such an importance to starting your day out on the right note. When I wake up, I take time to read through a devotional while I drink my cup of Generous Coffee. I then like to start off by getting a workout in with my fiancé Jess. We usually do a class through the Obe or F45 in Denver. After I have my mind and body in a good place, I usually spend the rest of my day doing emails, interviews, or podcasts for Generous, Alone in Plain Sight, Humanity and Hope United, or my restaurants. At points throughout the day, I love taking quick walks around my neighborhood while I call friends to check in with them. Once the workday has wrapped up, I love to end the night relaxing with a book, bourbon, or hanging with my buddies.
Growing up, what did your support system look like? As you have become more successful, how has your support system changed over the years? Are the people you lean on now the same people who were in your corner when you started?
Growing up as an only child, my parents have always been supportive of me. Even though I was an only child, things weren’t just handed to me. From the start, they taught me how to have a strong work ethic and figure things out on my own - while graciously supporting me along the way. I have been very fortunate to be close now with my buddies that I grew up with. A lot of them also moved out to Denver, so we are still very involved in each other’s lives. Through the different experiences that life has thrown at me with the Bachelor, podcasts, and events, I have been able to gain an incredible support system through each unique circumstance. In each avenue of my life, I feel surrounded by a team of people who support and encourage me.
Family can come in any form; how would you describe family? Who in your life do you call family?
My family has always been my greatest support system. My mom and dad had always pushed me to pursue my dreams and passions through the gifts I have been given. When I say “my family” I am also including my buddies. My inner circle has been with me through all the ups and downs - and they are always looking out for the best for me. I consider them family because I know that I can come to them with anything, and they will be there to lift me up. I would certainly call anyone who supports and loves me my family.
As a figure in the public eye, how difficult has it been to maintain your inner circle? What have you done to keep your close relationships with friends and family intact while living a busy life?
I have been very blessed to have an inner circle that has stuck by side through every situation and circumstance. Even though my schedule gets packed out fast, friends and family are a priority for me. So, I always make time to hang out and catch up with those who are most important to me - because I want them to know I genuinely care about them. I have been very fortunate to be blessed with an inner circle that has a lot of understanding towards my crazy schedule, and whether it’s a FaceTime or a dinner date - we always make time to stay involved in one another’s lives.
Has the last year, being physically distant from so many loved ones, provided any clarity as to which relationships in your life are truly important? Perhaps you’ve found people you called friends and family to slowly drift away.
I haven’t necessarily found anyone that I have drifted from, but I have learned more about relationships and friendships in general. This year taught me of the importance of slowing down and making time for those relationships. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant - or even in person! I have learned that a simple quick FaceTime to a friend to check in goes a long way, or even a phone call to catch up. I am learning that we over complicate connection with our friends and family. After a year of being socially distant physically, I have learned that we are all blessed with tools and resources that still allow us to connect - just in different ways than we were used to before!
Lastly, we like to say, “keep your family close”, what does this mean to you?
To me “keep your family close” means that no matter where life takes me or what life circumstances are thrown my way, I have a deep innate desire to always keep my family first. My family has been with me through my highest and lowest times, and their encouragement and support stems further than any other external thing this world has to offer.