This episode is part of our special webinar series on Using Your Platform For Good In Crisis.

Success is often driven by pain. 

The pain of feeling like we could never measure up to someone’s expectations. The pain of a difficult childhood. The pain of the loss of a loved one. Any of these circumstances or many others may have caused you to bury your pain in performance. 

Success can become a drug of choice to cope with the hurt.

If you find yourself in a season of exploring what’s next, and looking back you see that you were often driven by success, this conversation will help you explore how the pain of your past might be driving you, and how that can be transformed into purpose.

Jon Sundt, Board Chair, Founder, and Chief Visionary Officer of Natural High, is a Halftime Alum who experienced deep pain through childhood, then built a large, successful investment firm only to discover that his core passion is helping millions of students across America avoid the drugs that took his two brothers’ lives.

 In this 30-minute webinar Jon shared with us:

  • How to identify what is driving your success.
  • How to acknowledge the pain of your past as a path to freedom.
  • How to turn that pain into purpose.

CLICK HERE to watch or listen to the recording of our conversation.

Jon recently joined Lloyd Reeb and Doug Piper to discuss how to move from burying pain in performance, to leveraging pain for a greater purpose. Here’s what he shared:

1. Identify what is driving your success:

When both of Jon’s younger brothers lost their lives to drugs, it was a tremendously painful season. The aftermath of addiction left a tragic hole in his family. As a result, Jon took all of his focus and drive and buried himself in work. He was great at doing what he did, but underneath the success, there was pain and a bigger story. This story has been the key factor to the impact he is making today. 

2. Acknowledge the pain of your past as a path to freedom:

At first, Jon was angry and upset with God. The spiritual and emotional wounds had to be dealt with. Wounds that are buried will eventually come out in relationships, communication styles, and unhealthy behaviors. Just like indigenous warriors, who would sit around the fire and show each other their wounds, talking about the scars, pain, and suffering of battles, Jon found healing in sharing his scars with others. He found that the biggest bonds and greatest learnings came from conversations with those who knew his scars. Wisdom is usually displayed in battle scars. Part of Jon’s healing was to understand his scars and approach them with an eternal perspective. Through his experiences, he had become an expert on addiction which led to the creation of Natural High, a preventative platform where he could share this expertise with others. 

3. Turn pain into purpose:

Through hardships, you realize quickly that you’re not in control. Jon explains that he had to surrender the bitterness, resentment, and anger, turning to God for guidance and grace. With the pain, God brought healing and multiple platforms for families facing addiction and mental health challenges. Jon’s pain uniquely qualified him to step in to the hurt of a broken world. Today, over 8 million kids have been shown a new norm by stories shared from popular cultural icons through the work of Natural High. Similarly, Care Solace works with school systems to plug students into outside community support for help that is often difficult to come by. Jon reminded us that addiction is not a moral issue and chemistry does not signify character. There is power and healing in bringing these topics to the light. 

“The hard things that you’ve been through in life have qualified you for greater work in the kingdom.”

Jon encouraged listeners to intentionally infuse their lives with activities that recharge their battery/soul.

Jon also took the time to get clear on his strengths and passions as well as the difference he most wants to make in life. 

If you’re not sure exactly what your strengths or passions are, or how to maximize them for leveraged impact, we’d love to help you explore that with a Halftime CertifiedTM Coach. Learn how One on One Coaching can help equip you for impact.


Jon Sundt is a serial entrepreneur and experienced businessman. Jon brings this real world business experience into Natural High every day.

In 2002, he founded Altegris and served as President and CEO of Altegris Investments, Altegris Advisors, and Altegris Funds. In 2010, Jon led the sale of Altegris to Genworth, a Fortune 500 Company. He served as President of Altegris under Genworth. Three years later, Jon helped coordinate the sale of Altegris to Private Equity firms, Aquiline and Genstar. Jon became a principal/owner again and served as CEO /Chairman of Altegris until 2016. Jon began his career as an options trader in 1986. Prior to founding Altegris, Jon served six years as Director of Managed Accounts and Senior Vice President of Man Financial, a subsidiary of the Man Group — the world’s largest hedge fund provider.

An expert in managed futures and alternative investment strategies, Jon was widely quoted by leading financial media (CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal) and a frequent guest on CNBC. Jon was a recipient of the Institutional Investor Mutual Fund Rising Star award, as well as the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year San Diego award. In his leadership role for the Altegris group of companies, Jon grew Altegris to a multibillion-dollar asset manager with over 130 employees.
In 1994, he founded Natural High in response to the loss of his two younger brothers to drug addiction.

Jon is serving as the Chapter Chair of Young Presidents Organization Gold in Rancho Santa Fe. He serves on the Board of Friends of Bethany and Addiction Pros, as well as many other Board and business interests.

Jon lives in La Jolla, California. He is married to Kathliene and they have two children. His Natural Highs are his Faith, his Family, Surfing and Leadership.

Rhonda Kehlbeck
Rhonda spent her first half in education; her own (a Bachelors and Masters from Baylor and a PhD from Fordham University) and helping others with theirs as speaker, lecturer, teacher, and Professor at Dallas Baptist University. She is also an author of a book for parents that encourages reading and writing with children.

The Pittsburg, Texas native met her husband at church where he drew her name from a pool of 500 women to become her secret Valentine. More than 2 decades later, she and Keith have two daughters who are currently attending Oklahoma University.

As our Vice President of Admissions, many find their Halftime journey begins by interacting with Rhonda. Her nurturing and caring spirit helps people get enrolled into the Halftime Institute.

She is a 2013 Halftime Institute alumna and considers Psalm 86:11 her favorite verse: “Lord, tell me where you want me to go and I will go there. With all my heart, I will praise you.”

"I first read Bob Buford's book several years ago, but my Halftime really began when my youngest left for college. I knew then I didn't just want another job, but wanted to give back to God by making a significant impact for His kingdom.”

Read Rhonda’s Biz Journals article co-written with Bob Buford