Share on Pinterest

42: Peter Himmelman – Anything But Your Average Rock Star

By January 19, 2016Podcasts
Reading Time: 3 minutes
The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

Peter Himmelman’s musical beginnings were with a band he formed with some friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota called Sussman Lawrence. He split from the band in the mid-1980s, focusing on a solo career as a singer and songwriter.

But here’s what’s interesting about his story – at the same time he launched his solo career as a rock star, he made a choice to live a life in observance of the 3,300-year-old laws of Judaism. This means Peter observed all the traditional daily rituals, the weekly Sabbath (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), and the numerous holidays over the course of a year. As you might expect, this had a profound impact on his music career, but it was a choice he made on faith, and commitment, and has been doing so for the past thirty years. This is something we discuss in-depth in the podcast.

A prolific songwriter and an incredibly fun and engaging entertainer on stage, Peter released many albums over the years. In the mid-‘90s, he shifted gears from rock stardom to writing music for television and movies. He was nominated for an Emmy for his theme song for the CBS show Judging Amy, and was nominated for a Grammy for his children’s album, My Green Kite.

He’s still writing music like crazy, and has shifted gears again – now teaching creativity, mindfulness, and leadership to corporate and executive teams around the world through, believe it or not, songwriting. Peter is incredibly grounded, self-aware, creative, and innovative and has a lot to share during the podcast. Check it out.

itunes-small sticjer-small


Links Mentioned
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
Shotokan Karate
Transcendental Meditation

Show Notes
4:45 – “When you describe to people what you do, what do you say?”
8:45 – His first go at teaching songwriting.
11:45 – How he got his first group of students an incredible breakthrough in creativity.
15:15 – How losing his “regular” job composing music for a TV show lead to a huge breakthrough and the next phase in his life.
20:10 – On taking his first corporate training gig for The Gap.
21:00 – How he got his first gig with a band when still a teenager.
24:15 – Thoughts on creativity and being in the moment.
25:40 – How “Marv” and the fear of failure kills creativity.
28:00 – How fear leads to shame, then abandonment, then death. That’s what keeps us from being creative.
30:20 – Definition of creativity. In the absence of fear, taking action.
37:20 – How any of us can change the world, any time, any day.
48:00 – On keeping the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday for the past thirty years.
51:30 – On the 3,300-year-old Jewish laws and how they still apply today.
55:15 – The freedom in structure.
1:01:15 – The impact of honoring the Sabbath for thirty years of his life.
1:07:00 – Daily rituals and his technique for meditating.
1:15:35 – “Winging it” in a public speaking engagement; how structure, notes, and a plan would have helped.
1:22:00 – Getting his black belt.
1:29:13 – Sleep: on waking up at night regularly, and how he gets back to sleep.
1:32:14 – On being “nice” versus being “cool.”

To learn more about Peter, visit his website,, and check out his corporate creativity and leadership program,

Andy Petranek on FacebookAndy Petranek on InstagramAndy Petranek on Twitter
Andy Petranek
Andy is what you’d call a modern day Renaissance Man: a former professional trumpeter who attended the Eastman School of Music; a snowboarder, mountain biker, surfer, kayaker, outrigger paddler, mountaineer, and former Marine (Gulf War veteran); a professionally sponsored adventure racer; and the oldest participant to qualify for and participate in the CrossFit Games at the age of 43.

Andy is a certified CHEK Practitioner and holistic lifestyle coach. He holds a spectrum of certifications from CrossFit and is also a Vivobarefoot certified running coach. He has trained as a Zen buddhist and graduated with a Master’s degree in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica.

Andy founded CrossFit LA one of the first and most successful CrossFit training centers in the world and the first to be featured in national media. He is the co-founder of the Whole Life Challenge, Inc, currently its president, and is also a consultant and life/business coach. Andy lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julia, and son, Dashel.