Realize Life

Positive intention paves the road to new experiences in southern Maine
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Mike Richards

Crystal Nadeau was trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest when a thought entered her mind: “‘I wish more people could have this experience,’” she recalls. “That led to some self-reflection. I knew that if a few years before that, someone had told me I’d be trekking Everest, I would never have believed it.” This stream of consciousness eventually led her to establish Realize Life, a membership-based program targeting aspiring adventurers in southern Maine, geared toward getting people to take the first steps to achieving major bucket list goals.

Encouraging adventurers

Realize Life membership works similarly to other discount programs, except there are no coupons to clip or upfront deals to buy. Membership comes only with a single-signup commitment and discounts can be used throughout the year at the member’s discretion. Focused exclusively on communities in southern Maine, Realize Life supports local companies and drives business their way, without the revenue compromise of half-off deals commonly found in online marketplaces.

“I work with local business owners and create offers in-line with their goals,” explains Nadeau. “Membership deals are focused within Maine, so I’m targeting local people.” While membership is still relatively small, Nadeau hopes to attract a larger clientele by marketing through her website, her partner businesses and by reaching out to unaffiliated local companies seeking to get employees out and active.

As health professionals continually make announcements regarding the lethality of sitting at a desk all day, office-wide Realize Life memberships are an innovative way to encourage employees to pursue a more active lifestyle. “Business leaders can write it off as an expense,” Nadeau notes. “Meanwhile, productivity increases. Happier, healthier employees perform better.”

She adds that active-lifestyle incentives are particularly helpful for workers in high-stress environments. “Think of a law firm full of Type-A personalities,” she proposes. “With competitive people in the same office, you often see people out-working each other — you have people in the office 80 hours a week and that’s not healthy.” Introducing Realize Life into a high-strung workspace can help blow off steam and improve collaboration and communication by improving morale.

Rewarding experiences

Nadeau currently has 20 partner businesses on board and continues to seek out additional service providers to round out Realize Life’s offerings for adventurers. Current members can take advantage of discounted kayaking, scuba diving, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, dog sledding, ballroom dancing, golfing, cycling, personal training and even guitar lessons, among other possibilities.

“The most rewarding part of running this business is seeing someone do something they were always afraid to try,” she explains. “The membership helps people to set those goals and go after them. There are people who think over and over again, ‘I really want to try surfing,’ and as soon as you know it, years have gone by and you never went surfing.” Realize Life helps members give themselves permission to try new things — and the discount is added incentive.

“One of the first members was my roommate,” Nadeau recalls. “He was that person who had always wanted to try surfing and he finally did it. Afterward, he was so full of energy — he was chipper for three days. These experiences really bring people happiness and a higher quality of life.”

Strategic marketing and growth

Over the coming years, Nadeau is positioning her business for growth and continued success. She has implemented strategies that leverage her marketing savvy with the still-growing popularity of social media and other Web platforms. While these avenues help her get the word out about Realize Life, they also serve as informational resources for people involved in or interested in active lifestyles.

Her website features a blog and a podcast, both featuring inspiring adventures and local go-getters. Recent guests include a woman who found herself at risk for heart disease after her breast cancer diagnosis. To keep her blood pressure under control without compromising her treatment and health, she began running a mile every day. In eight weeks, her blood pressure had returned to normal levels and she was able to avoid medications that could complicate her treatment.

Beyond these platforms, Nadeau also relies on personal networking and word-of-mouth. And word spreads fast in small Maine communities. As Realize Life grows, she plans to engage in more community projects, using profits to provide disadvantaged children and adults with life-changing experiences. “I’m really looking forward to partnering with an organization that will allow Realize Life to make a direct impact on people’s lives who may not otherwise be able to go after their goals,” she explains.

At the end of the day, the business is more than a lifestyle brand. Realize Life is out to help people throughout southern Maine change their lives through rewarding experiences.