Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan, Idea Lemon

Founders: Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan
Company Description: Platform of tools to ‘discover your inner awesome.’
Interview Date: August 2015

Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan, Idea Lemon

Martin McGovern and Rajiv Nathan, Idea Lemon
Art by Francesco DiBattista

Martin and Rajiv are the co-founders of Idea Lemon, a platform of tools to help you ‘discover your inner awesome’. They are optimistic about the lifestyle you are empowered to create by pivoting your inner dialogue, pinpointing your mission and purpose, and turning your ideas into actions.  

On turning an idea into action:
Martin and Rajiv were co-founders of the DePaul marketing club in college. After graduation, they both realized how dissatisfying and ineffective the average networking event was and decided to “create our own platform where we can learn what we want to learn and connect with the people we want to connect with.”

At the beginning, they only focused on small ‘knowledge working events’ where they chose a dedicated topic for each event to guide conversation and interactions. They observed how the format successfully guided people to explore themselves and connect with others at a deeper level, which ended up evolving into a study in personal branding. They launched their first personal branding workshop via Dabble and called it, ‘Discover Your Inner Awesome.’ Since then, they have also launched an Idea Lemon Podcast, been VIPs at Tech Week, and are launching a new online course soon.

On personal branding through mission and purpose:
“It’s really about figuring out the core of what you believe in as a person and using that to structure how you think about yourself, talk about yourself, and the lifestyle you want to live. What is your definition of success? How do you know when you’ve made it? The pursuit of answering those big questions is what leads to the development of everything that we’re doing. We want to help other people answer those questions and use those questions to explore who they are, what their brand is, and figure out what they want to accomplish in their life.” (Martin)

“Everything that you do and care about comes down to two driving forces – A mission and a purpose. We teach people how to find that, and once you find it you realize that, instead of being a pawn in the chess game, you can become the chess master.” (Rajiv)

On telling your story:
Both Martin and Rajiv brand themselves as ‘storytellers’. How does that tie back to helping others find and action what they want?

“Look at everything that people gravitate towards – it is the story. People want a hero, a villain, and a plot. That’s basically how life is constructed as well. You make yourself out to be the heroes of your own life. There are villains along the way, climaxes, and valleys. We’re telling you to architect your story. You’re playing a character in your own life – where do you want to take the story?” (Rajiv)

“There are two sides of storytelling. There’s the external one you tell other people and there is the internal one you tell yourself. I love the internal story because changing your internal monologue really does change your life. Whatever it is you’re telling yourself that you can’t do – if you can change that mindset then you can actually change your life and you can bring it to your external voice as well. We try to help people change their inner stories so that when they tell their stories it is actually something they believe, and they are telling an authentic story that connects them to people and opportunities.”(Martin)

On the power of projects:
One of the tools to achieving your ‘inner awesome’ is to execute projects with intention, purpose, and pride.

“You either need to be totally cool with the life you’re living, or you need to start creating something. Side projects aren’t necessarily about financial needs. It’s about all the intangibles that come with it. It’s the benefit of getting up and going out there and doing something.” (Rajiv)

“It is defeating that you can’t be confident in the things you enjoy. Usually when you’re talking to someone, the thing that they’re doing 20% of the time is the thing they look forward to doing the most – so why not get the most out of it? Why not use it to fuel and architect the lifestyle you want or the career you want?” (Rajiv)

“Once you switch your mindset from, ‘This is something I do on the side that I can’t talk to you about’, to, ‘This is something that I love, and I want you to know about it, and I want to meet other people who love it,’ then everything changes. You’re no longer someone who is embarrassed about the things you enjoy in your life. It’s sad that at some point in your life you’re taught that you’re not really allowed to enjoy that thing because it’s not your full time job.” (Martin)

“Create the opportunity that you want for yourself. Don’t wait for permission, don’t wait for someone else to hand it to you. Side projects allow you to create your own opportunities. That’s why we’re launching an online course  –  to help people launch side projects so they can create and capture that opportunity.” (Rajiv)

What mission and purpose does the duo seek for themselves through all this?

“My mission is to shape my life to find the most authentic version of myself in my surroundings. My purpose is to take what I learn and tell stories with it. That’s my way of finding that most authentic version.” (Rajiv)

“My mission and purpose is that I want to understand ideas that are different than my own. The way that I do that is through experimentation and testing. I like to take ideas and turn them into real things for people.” (Martin)

You can find Martin and Rajiv finishing their epic summer road trip with Under 30 Experiences. Read and listen to what they’re uncovering and experiencing on their journey via their blog and podcast.

You can also follow Be Like Peter. updates on Instagram,  Facebook and Twitter; or subscribe to our monthly mailing list.