Finding Your Calling with Your Team with Mike Michalowicz

Mike Michalowicz is an author and entreprenuer. As you’ll hear in the show, he’s an author first and foremost. He’s written six business books and counting. Personally, he’s one of my favorite voices in the world of business. His books are practical and incredibly helpful.

Whether or not you’re an entreprenuer, I think you’ll find this interview really fun. Mike has thought long and deep about calling and purpose in his life. We get to dig into the major transitions he’s made in his career, how he thinks about his calling, and how he leads an organization that is centered on helping his team fulfill their own.


Listen in here:

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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What Mike does
  • Why identifying as an author is a big deal for Mike
  • What lessons Mike has learned from writing his books
  • How he decides what book to write next
  • Has Mike always been an entrepreneur?
  • How did he started as an entrepreneur
  • What he’s learned about being a boss
  • How he thinks about the word “Calling”
  • What mistakes he’s made along the way
  • What he’s learned from his mistakes
  • How Mike measures his calling
  • The 3 formations of an identity crisis
  • How Mike as a leader finds ways to help people build their dreams
  • How Mike is helping his employees find their calling and how it can help your company
  • Why you should not be embarrassed on where you are or what you’re job right now
  • Mike shares about his transition from being an entrepreneur to an author
  • Mike talks about his new book “Fix this Next”
  • Mike shares his words of wisdom for those stuck on what to do next

Resources Mentioned:

Mike’s Website

Mike’s Twitter

Books mentioned:

Fix this Next by Mike MIchalowicz
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike MIchalowicz
The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly
Profit First by Mike MIchalowicz
10 10 10 by Suzy Welch

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan

Mike, thank you so much for joining me today. Welcome to the Meaning Movement podcast. 

Mike

Dan it’s a joy to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Dan

I love it. I love it. I’m a big fan. As I was saying before, I hit the record button. I read a couple of your, and they definitely kicked my butt and I’ll be coming back to them. 

Mike

All right. 

Dan

To finish the rest. But you’re writing books faster than I can really put them.

But so I guess the place we need to start is please, please slow down. Please. Please stop.

Mike

Yeah, I better not. I’m going to my publisher in two weeks for the next book. 

Dan

Awesome. Awesome. Well, can’t wait. Can’t wait. I think the best place I like to start is the question again. How do you begin to talk about what you do in the world?

Mike

I simply say I’m an author and that may not be a big deal for other people, but that was a big deal for me because I’ve been a business owner my entire life. I’ve started multiple businesses and had success with that and challenge and failure. I still operate businesses or own businesses today.

And when I wrote my first book, Way Back, it’s about 11 years ago, I was called the toilet paper entrepreneur. When people ask me what I do or who am I, I say, Oh, I’m an entrepreneur.

And I’ve also written a book and I kept on delegating the book writing to a secondary position. 

Dan

Yeah.

Then it struck me one day as if I’m really serious about this, I better abandon the term I love entrepreneurship and embrace the new identity for me, which is author. And the day I start saying I’m an author. It changed my whole perspective of how I must behave. The work I must do, waking up every morning and starting off with writing. That’s my first exercise of the morning and always pushing ahead to write the best I can and act like an author in getting the word out and promoting the book.

The authorship itself is a business.

And so when people ask me what I do, I say I’m an author. And maybe to other people it doesn’t mean much beyond, oh, it’s a guy who writes books, but to me it means a full all in life commitment.

Dan

Totally. Yeah, well, I think that for a lot of folks, a lot of people write books as a promotional strategy or as a, you know, to get awareness for their brand or whatever. And, you know, I’m sure that’s a part of the puzzle. But to say that you’re an author is more than just a marketing. It’s more than a marketing activity for you 

Mike

For sure. Sure.

Yeah, yeah. I think many people write books. I think much fewer people commit to the journey of authorship. And it is a good strategy writing books. It’s definitely better than a business card, but I don’t know. Those books admittedly are consumed. I think some people kind of skim them and they use it to validate the offering that person has. Sure. But to me, I have reverence for what a book can do. To me, a book must stand on its own that it’s not about the offer.

Behind it or the derivative services that can come out of it. It’s all about can I deliver something within, you know, 200 pages that will be transformative in some way to someone’s life? In a big way.

And I look at it from that perspective and I admit I don’t really deliver.

And every time to me it’s like a band, you know, you can write songs. It doesn’t mean everyone’s going to be a hit, but you better try to make every song a hit and then the readership will determine what songs, what books they want to consume.

Dan

Yeah. Yeah. And I think I also hear in that the commitment to a life’s work or a body of work. I mean, that’s a better way of saying it like that you’re not just making one book and then you’re done, but with every book building a legacy that you’re not only delivering, I guess, a piece of that. You know, each book is just like just one and done. And then that’s the thing. But you’re coming back to offer more to readers through multiple books.

Mike

Yeah, it’s interesting. So the first book or two was like, oh, here’s what I’ve learned and I want to share. Then, so I wrote the book three, it’s became oh, here’s what I need to learn, because people, entrepreneurs need to learn this most.

And it’s a real privilege of being an author is that I have this opportunity build rapport, dialogue with entrepreneurs throughout the globe who I’d never known otherwise, who now become the eyes and the ears for what’s happening.

And I guess that I own some businesses, too, but to my opic vantage point is what I see. And so I hear sometimes, you know, from hundreds, if not thousands of people responding to requests like I’ll say, what’s your biggest challenge right now? And people come back and tell me, oh, my gosh, there’s a trend here.

You know, we need to get to, you know, mastering sales or fixing marketing. Something is usually more even more specific than that. But entrepreneurs, they give me the guidance on what I need to write about.

Dan

Yeah. Yeah. Then you get to respond to them by writing it, which is as cool as a symbiotic relationship.

That sounds like. Yeah, that’s so cool.

You know, we started this interview. You said, you know, you were an entrepreneur and then you started writing and then you had the shift into to author as your core identity or one of the main words you used to think about what you do.

But let’s back up just a little bit before that. Were you always an entrepreneur? Is entrepreneurship just kind of like was always a natural? Starting place for you? 

Mike

No, so, you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur ever since I left college, but not by design, I actually had a few too many drinks one night and then I started my business.

I couldn’t get my dream job.

And so I had to come back home and work for a local computer store. One night, I was lamenting the fact that I was hustling dot matrix printers and the owner was sitting in the back smoking cigars, counting the money that I was making for him, at least that was my perception. 

Dan

Yeah.

Mike

And so that night I drink these beers, I think, I’ll start my own computer and liquid courage.

The great courage is pretty powerful. So I left a drunken message saying, I’m going to start my own company and I’m going to destroy you, like an idiot.

In the next morning, when I had some clarity, I was like, oh, ask your job back. And the boss is like, get out of here, kid. You’ll never succeed.

And that’s when I realized, oh, the boss doesn’t sit in the back counting money. The boss sits in the back panicking how to pay payroll.

Yes. You know, and to sustain this business and trying to get clients and thinking of new marketing and the overwhelm of stuff. And that’s when it hit me.

So the entrepreneurial journey for me in the beginning was very fear ridden, but I had to make it succeed.

I had burned my bridge and over time it started working. And that’s when I started to fall in love with the process of entrepreneurship.

Dan

I love that. And I love that you fell in love with the process. And I often talking about calling in my work with people around, you know, finding what’s meaningful, what’s significant for them. You know, the process is one of those kind of indicators and one of the places that we can look to find purpose, to find meaning, satisfaction, an outlet for our calling. And I’ve heard you talk before about your calling and articulated before that.

So I know that’s a word, you know, in your vocabulary. How do you think about that word?

Mike

Yeah, so calling it is a word, my vocabulary. And, you know, I think some people with a religious context, others take it as a personal. I’m agnostic to how it comes about or how people perceive it. But I think I feel I was put on this planet with a specific responsibility.

And that’s what I define as a calling.

To me, a calling is this necessity to be of service in a very specific way.

And I found for myself it came out of a what I now realize was a traumatic event, but I didn’t realize was when it happened and for me was finance side. I sold to companies early on both in tech space and I became a millionaire in my early 30s.

And I got this figured out. I’m a genius.

I bought my own story, which is a real dangerous thing. But I did.

I thought I was God’s gift to this planet and then I lost all my money. I’ll just pure arrogance and ignorance, spending money and on a horrible business venture. Not that the business was a bad idea. I was the bad cog in the wheel.

I had no idea I was doing and wiped myself out. And I lost everything except for my family. I lost my house, car, all possessions. Right. But I saw my family and I went to depression over that.

But it triggered for me this realization that I didn’t understand the essence of what made entrepreneurship work. I didn’t understand how to manage the finances. I didn’t really know how to sell effectively. I didn’t know how to market.

I didn’t know operations. And what I committed to was resolve that. And when I realized I wasn’t alone, like I call entrepreneurial poverty, there is this perception. The day people start a business, the people around them who have never started a business think that new entrepreneur, that they’re a millionaire.

You start out, you’re rich. Sitting on the beach. You know, my ties in the business is just turning out money. Yeah, well, that perception, of course, is not real.

It’s actually the poor opposite, the entrepreneurs working their tail off and they’re not making money. They’re exhausted. That gap as they call entrepreneurial poverty.

And that’s why I have the clarity that my life’s purpose is to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty.

Dan

Mm. Wow. Wow. I love that. And it’s an amazing story of, you know, going through a dark period. And it sounds like finding, you know, maybe finding a deeper, deeper meaning for your work, you know, through that and work that’s so, so needed. I think as a business owner myself, I have a handful of adventures, which is why, you know, your pumpkin plan book really kicked my butt because my focus is struggle.

 struggle. Yeah, but that aside, as a business owner, I know that the money that’s coming into the business versus the money that I get to keep out of the business are two very, very different numbers. And how that perception we may think, you know, business owners, just because they’re generating income are, you know, wealthy.

When, as you described your boss, the first job you’re describing, he’s actually in the back room sweating over how to pay payroll. And that’s the reality of a lot of the entrepreneur journey. So I guess all of that is to say it’s a much needed endeavor that you’re on here.

Mike

Thank you.

And I think this is true for all of us, you know, being an author, I have such a privilege to speak with so many people and learn about their stories and their experiences, and I think a calling shouldn’t alone be measured on breath, but also on depth.

You know, that guy who see someone drowning and swims on the lake and saves that person’s life like that to me is massive. That’s a massive calling. Yeah, the depth of impact is you’ve changed the trajectory of someone else’s life at the most visceral physiological level you have saved.

So I think we as a population need to put value in the impact we all have and there is no greater or better. You know, it was funny. I was I was interviewing this one gentleman about the power of calling and how it defines a business. A business I believe can become a platform of expression for your calling.

So I was one guy a few years ago. I told him about my mission to eradicate poverty. And he looks at me. He’s tearing up.

He’s like, Mike, I guess I don’t have a purpose or a calling like that because admittedly, my calling, simply put, food on the table.

And he was embarrassed and then he went on to further explain his wife had passed away from a horrible disease and he had three young children. And it was about feeding them.

And my response was that calling, if we have to compare your call, may maybe bigger than mine.

Like that is a big deal to support three other lives.

Well, you have to also navigate this trauma and terror. Like, that’s unbelievable.

Well, I ran into him again. And I can’t believe it came from his name at the moment by random again, and he said this is about a year or two later, he’s like, hey, I want to tell you something.

He goes as a single parent because I realize the importance of dinner time.

Like I said, I was putting food on the table. I had to survive. But then I also started to realize dinner was the connection moment. And he goes, I started an organization for single parents and focusing on meal time in the presence of that.

Dan

Wow.

Mike

I was like, wow, it’s interesting.

And, you know, our calling, I think, well, maybe even manifest or change over time, but it has to root in something.

And so something that we may have discounted that this guy is like, you know, oh, I have to do is put food on table. That’s nothing.

What was the most important seedling for now? Something that’s  it’s a morphed calling’s serving something in a new capacity. 

Dan

Yeah. Yeah, I love that.

What a powerful story. I think that’s t often how it works, right. That it’s, you know, something in your own story that the calling emerges even in your own journey of pursuing entrepreneurship and then finding that, you know, maybe you weren’t doing it for  all  the right reasons or in the right the right way.

And, you know, this gentleman who didn’t feel like he was doing something that was meaningful enough. But when he was able to embrace what he was doing through that found, you know, this other whole other life, which is just, you know, incredible. Yeah.

Mike

Well, to your point in, it’s there’s these kind of defining moments.

So I called a psychologist and I have it somewhere in my notes, I speak to so many people that I try to keep copious notes, but I always have them at the ready, so I’ll find her name again. But I remember a psychologist and we were talking about calling’s.

Like how it comes about. And it’s inevitably an identity crisis, which she explained. And she said there’s three formations of it. She said there’s the big “T”, little “t” and the “c”. And I’m like, well what are these.

Well, the big “T” is a big trauma of something that in that moment or on reflection upon that moment, we say to ourselves, I will never allow that to happen again to myself or others. So it could be abuse of some sort. For me was financial trauma. It could be violence. But there’s this moment that I’ll never allow that to happen again. The little “t”, she said, were drip trauma. This is like if you’re picked on, you know, throughout grade school or high school, that constant and a certain point is enough.

And we build this resistance. And again, it’s a statement in serving and protecting ourselves and others like us. And she was in the third formation. Often is a childhood dream.

We say, you know, one day I’m going to do this. And then we had the realization that one day has come and we haven’t done it. And now it’s like, oh, there’s a conflict in that identity we need to do it.

Dan

Yeah, I love that. Yeah. And it definitely, definitely rings true of my experience. I think that, you know, some of the way that meaning is formed, you know, this is all very subjective. What you find is meaningful and the kind of work that you find you’re passionate about and find purpose in it is could be very, very different from, you know, the next person over. And that meaning is informed by our stories, by those traumas, by the big, big traumas, the little traumas.

I think of it in terms of what you’ve known of heaven, you know, the goodness that you aspire to, which I think speak to that that childhood dream of, you know, what’s life at its best and then also what are the pain, what’s hell and what’s the hell that you’ve experienced. And out of that comes how we experience meaning and where we then try to bring goodness into the world. And that’s, you know, I think what an expression of a calling looks like.

I love that you’ve already said that entrepreneurship for you is a  an expression of your calling. Right. That calling isn’t it’s not your calling. Like it’s you can’t put all of your calling into one specific thing, but it’s a place that you could do that and you could do that a million different ways. You could do it through books. You can do it through businesses. You can do it through this podcast with me right now. And I think that’s also a really important aspect of this, is that there’s so many different ways that you can do that work.

Mike

Oh, can be served in so many ways. So for me, business is a vehicle, but there are so many vehicles we can drive. 

It’s my preferred vehicle. You know, I know where the gas pedal is.

I know a steering wheel is. But I also had the responsibility to be consistent with it. So what I’ve done is, as this calling has come to me, is that I’ve disseminated among my organization and the organization knows that we are here to eradicate poverty and they know what my interpretation is. And then the people that join us. We’re tiny with 12 people.

But as the people come on to the business, I also acknowledge they have their own individual callings, their own purpose. Is it appropriate? For us to walk this path together, meaning by my commitment to have this business to eradicate poverty, does it also serve the fulfillment of their callings and their missions?

If so, then we’re walking a path together and it’s powerful.

But if it’s not, then we’re not a fit for them. But conversely, I also acknowledge that I don’t expect people here say my life’s purpose to eradicate poverty.

I may be the only person on that mission.

Yeah, that’s totally cool. Yeah, we can still be very successful on this. We just have to acknowledge what every individual is marching toward and then align the path we’re following to complement everyone’s personal mission.

Dan

I love that and I love that. It’s not mutually exclusive like that. You’re building this organization to help serve your calling, but then along the way, finding ways to help people achieve their dreams and build their dream jobs.

I guess you could say I’m curious if you have more thoughts on how do you do that as a leader? How do you do that as a boss with the people that you know?

Mike

I contacted a company called Gencoa. Gencoa is a janitorial company in the Midwest and they have 600 janitorial crew members. And as the owner says, her name’s Mary. She says no one dreams of one day being a janitor.

I don’t know if that’s really true, but it’s kind of funny. We all dream about having a specific life, what we want our life to be. So the work, janitorial work is a pathway to achieve that vision. What she does with our company does now because of such size is every single employee meets with a manager every single week to talk about their personal dreams.

In fact, there was a book written about is called The Dream Manager.

And what it is, is the realization that the company is not responsible for fulfilling the dreams.

It’s not like, you know, we’ve got to make all this money because someone wants to buy a house one day and someone wants to learn how to play guitar like the company’s mission is not to fulfill the dreams.

The company’s responsibility is to keep that awareness in front of them.

That is more than a job. It’s a means to an outcome. Yeah. And so the company then aligns around it.

Well, we’ve taken one day I will be writing a book in part about this concept.

We call it intentions alignment because I think there’s more than just knowing people’s dreams. And so we started testing it here. I guinea pig, everything that I write about in my own businesses usually for many years. So we started guinea pigging this about six months to a year ago.

And what we do is we have a wall in our office that says intention alignment in everyone’s individual personal dreams, their big life mission. It’s all on these poster boards. And then we ask ourselves, we’ve had a weekly meeting happens to be on Wednesdays when we’re recording this we have this morning. And we talk about what are the dreams you’re looking to fulfill in your life and what can we check off and then what can the business do to move forward? Here was one interesting realization. As we did this, these little dream boards for each person, we found that over half the company wanted to learn to speak Spanish.

We’re all English speakers as we speak.

So, like, wow, that’s something we can fulfill easily. Let’s let’s all start texting each other in Spanish only.

It’s horrible Spanish. And it’s Google Translated. But we’re making little hack’s there. And then what about bringing instructor? Well, you know, right now it’s covids. We can’t do it in person, but we’ll bring that in and start learning collectively. Fitness goals. It was interesting. It just came out of this as many people are trying to achieve certain fitness goals. Well, there is a daily thread now through texting of people doing their fitness routine, and it is sharing.

I’ve completed it. Keep me accountable. So it’s this interesting where when you define individual intentions for everybody and the intention for the corporation, by the way, is the corporations owner or business and I’m the owner. So, you know, to achieve that dollar figure, whatever, that’s my intention. And then we blended them together and say, how do we march this road together?

And you find these little mini missions of learning Spanish and these other elements of exercising together. That marches us very cohesively toward the goals that I’ve set for the organization, which honestly are really my own goals.

Dan

I love it. I love it so much. It sounds like mean it sounds so fun, so makes work so much more than just, you know, just doing your job.

I imagine one of the limiting beliefs people would have around approaching an organization like this is like, well, all you’re doing is inviting people to think about their next job or, you know, where else they would rather be working.

What are your thoughts on that? 

Mike

That’s quite possible and it could happen.

So what’s interesting, so I was speaking with Gencoa. Occasionally they believe they will find their calling. So the guitar example is actually one person there. So there was a janitor. Who said, my dream is to have my own guitar equipment and play guitar and I want to be a performer, and so they offered what they could in flexibility so we can get lessons and do his stuff.

And one of the interesting thing that they shared with me is that when people achieve their dreams, it is much more significant than when people are gifted a dream. So if they hand over a guitar, that’s a really wonderful gift. If someone’s able to buy their own guitar, the value and significance that is far greater.

So that’s what we do. Well, this guy became such a good guitarist.

He left to pursue a music career and they celebrated him on the way out not because he was leaving, but because he may have had a dream and inspired other people that actually elevated the company saying, wow, we can pull this off and you can share openly and you’re not going to be, you know, threatened by the boss because you’re you’re considering leaving. You’re going to be inspired to pursue your passion.

So some people will leave, but should shame on us for trying to keep them to stay. That’s not what they’re calling it, 

Dan

100 percent. 

Mike

But the fact that this company has supported the person, it actually empowered other people to become more excited about the corporation. The end result is Gencoa isn’t a high turnover industry. I think it’s normal to have three to four times turnover a year, meaning for every employee you hire, you got hire for people just to get through one year for one job.

Gencoa, I think, was about a 25 percent turnover, which means they only need to hire one person every four years where other companies need to hire 16 people to cover those four years.

That’s the impact of this. 

Dan

Wow. Wow. So cool.

I love it. I love it. And I think especially for an industry like that where, you know, no one would think by looking at the organization from the outside that that organization is really a meaningful organization. I guess you could say.

I mean, that sounds like such a negative way to say it. 

Mike

As you know, it’s the reality. 

Dan

Yeah. 

Mike

So that’s a form of prejudice and exists in every single human being.

Prejudiced simply means to prejudge. Right?

So from the outside, I saw janitorial company like who would ever want to work there?

I mean, you’re cleaning up basically dirt and filth behind other people as the worst job ever.

And to some of the people who worked there, it isn’t like you don’t get joy and satisfaction saying, oh my gosh, I got clean up after other people’s crap.

Like, that’s not joyous for some of the people, but there’s consistent joy in that this is a means to achieving something where a comparable company, you know, I don’t know.

You could think of any other business. There’s people in there that may be making gobs of money and doing what’s outwardly seems like amazing things, but inwardly they’re not being satisfied.

That’s actually far more horrible. And that they’ve compromised what their life’s desire is to just have a job where these people in Gencoa are not compromising their life’s goals and calling.

They’re satisfying it. So it is a far more noble pursuit, even though the outside packaging looks, you know, not so appealing.

Dan

Totally. I love it. It’s beautiful. And just such a just a fantastic example of how we can’t judge we can’t judge what is meaningful for one person or another. It’s something that people often write, you know, write to me about it like I’m embarrassed about my job or I want to be doing this other thing. But right now I’m working at Starbucks or whatever. And so I hope anyone listening you hear in that at least what I hear in that is that you shouldn’t be embarrassed because it’s where you are right now and it’s part of your journey and it’s taking you where you need to go.

Even if it’s not, you know, you’re not it’s not your end goal. Maybe it’s not where you ultimately want to be, but you’re there for a reason. And, you know, maybe it’s just a season. Maybe it’s just where you need to be to achieve a bigger, you know, your next bigger step.

But I know that there’s a lot of people listening who I think would find that, you know, just a really encouraging example. So thank you for that. 

Mike

Thank you.

Dan

I’m curious as just to kind of go back to your story of, you know, moving from entrepreneur to author.

What was that realization like? Was it a gradual transition? Was it a kind of a sky? You know, the sky opened up and you just had this you know, this voice came down and said, you’re an author, I think where this is coming from, because a lot of people are asking these questions like, I want to be an author, but I don’t know if I am.

I want to be an artist, but I don’t know if I am. I want to, you know, whatever it might be. And so just to hear a little bit more about kind of that kind of phase of your journey, I think would be really, really interesting for people.

Mike

Yeah, for me, it was there was a moment when the term changed, but it was really an accumulation of realizations. So the pinnacle moment happened.

I had launched this first book. I was about to write my second book. And I noticed when I was talking to people, I was saying, what do you do? I’m an entrepreneur that wrote a book and they wouldn’t ask me about the book. They’d asked me about what kind of business do you have. What’s your entrepreneurial endevor and you know, so blindless, I’m like, why are people asking about the book? Like, I really put a lot of work into this, right.

And no one’s asking about it. And I’m like, huh? And that’s when I realized, oh, my gosh. Like, I am devoting my attention because my identity was tied up into that, like I put significance into entrepreneurship.

I didn’t appreciate authorship yet, even though I had written a book.

So I was I’d been doing that for four months, maybe years and just didn’t realize it. And then the moment happened is like, oh my gosh. People constantly says, what if I really step in and say I’m an author and what I devote myself to?

Well, overnight, when I meet people, it’s funny, you know, I travel a lot, not currently, but, you know, yeah, I like travel a lot.

So when you go through Customs or Security, Customs in particular, they say, what’s your profession? I say, I’m an author. And the customs agent always looks up and says, oh, what kind of books do you write? When I say an entrepreneur, like, yep, next.

So what’s funny is once I really owned it, there is this appeal intrigue I’m finding in other people when they say that. Which I didn’t see myself.

It was accumulation over time but a moment of realization and then reflect back on that time. Oh, this is something that’s been happening for a long time.

I just now of awoken to it and from that day forward it was a game changer like my book started to sell more. 

I got publishing deals that were bigger and bigger.  And it’s not because the word author, it’s because I owned the word author and behaved accordingly.

Dan

And all the thousands of micro decisions that you make every day kind of exactly cascade out of that. It makes so much sense that you set that intention, you know, send it out into the to the world, to the universe and the universe responds. And it’s really cool to see.

Mike

Exactly. 

Dan

I know that you have a book that I think just came out, I am right?

Mike

Yesterday. 

Dan

Yesterday. Well, congratulations. I have not gotten my hands on it yet, but I will I promise after I get through profit first, because that one, like I said, kicked my butt and I could see, you know, in your story, you know, profit first, of course, is for everyone listening. It’s a book all about, you know, the finances of your business. And getting them in alignment, I guess, it’s how I would describe it.

And, well, I think it really kicked my butt because I’m not necessarily I don’t necessarily start with the numbers with my business. And but hearing your story, you mentioned, you know, just some of the mistakes you made over the years with money. I can see where that book came out out of your story and your experience. It just makes so much sense to me. And I look forward to completing the process of getting my businesses cleaned up.

But I’d love to hear about the new book, what your intention is behind it, and what readers will get out of it. 

Mike

Yes.

The new book is titled Fix This Next. And the thesis of the book was something I never, never anticipated.

What I do is I email my readers and ask them what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing? And it’s a great resource to figure out what I need to start investigating and learning about. So it takes about five years write a book. So five years ago I write to my readership. What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing this year? Well, I’m not the most technically savvy guy at times.

I must triple click something because the email went out repeatedly that same day.

Fascinating was some of the same people responded with different challenges of the year.

And I was like, oh, my gosh. So this one person says, I have a sales problem in the morning. And at night they said this year, actually, we need to fix our efficiency throughout the organization. And later that day they said, you know what, I just need to focus on our marketing campaign.

That was the realization that, my gosh, the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face is knowing what their biggest challenge is.

Dan

Yes. 

Mike

That’s the key. 

Dan

Yes. You’re resonating with me right now. You’ve got me hooked.

Mike

So my question was, what’s the simple tool to know what to work on? What’s the one thing we need to fix this next is a very simple diagnostic based upon a business hierarchy of needs that allows us to pinpoint immediately the one thing we’ve got to concentrate our efforts on. The most important priority the one thing. 

Dan

Amazing, I seriously cannot wait.

Mike

Oh, thank you. I couldn’t wait to get this out. I would argue the work I’ve done so far, this is the most important book I’ve ever written to this point and perhaps ever will be because it addresses such a core problem. And it’s so easy to fix.

So what happens for most people, business owners or not, is there’s an action, something happens and then there’s a reaction or response middle. We need to put consideration into action consideration and then react. Saying, you know, this thing happened.

But instead of just respond to it was the appropriate way to respond was the healthy way was the way to move my life or business forward. And so this is the contemplation in between. And it’s a really simple. In many businesses, it can be done in minutes or seconds even. 

Dan

Yeah, yeah, it sounds a lot like mindfulness. You know, something happens. You kind of interrupt that loop of stimulus response by paying attention, and then you get to have that choice of whether or not you want to respond to this or that way or in your business, whether or not that’s a priority, even to respond or respond right now and how to go about doing it.

I also just love you know, It feels a little bit meta how you came up with this, the concept, right, that people are telling you, I’ve got the sales problem, I’ve got this marketing problem. I’ve got this, you know, support team problem. Yeah. Yeah. But it’s none of those problems. The problem is that they keep saying there’s a different problem. 

Which is a beautiful insight and fantastic. I love it. I love it. Can’t wait to get my hands on it. I imagine like your other books, it’s very practical and hands on meaning you’re actually going to help me help us solve the problem, right?

Mike

Yeah. Yeah.

Because I’m not big on theory as much as how to. So the thesis is the biggest challenge is knowing what your challenge is.

The question, of course, is how so the book is very applicable. I actually believe within two chapters that people will be able to navigate it. There’s a simple series of questions you go through and it pinpoints what you need to work on.

And that’s why I try to do all my books like Profit First, which is currently the most popular book, that book.

It’s not like, you know, you need to be more profitable. That’s the theory.

But it’s a how to and it’s in the title itself, simply take a profit versus the pay yourself first principle applied to business. Same thing with fixed this next. It’s a simple way to pinpoint there’s five level of needs every business has identified. It’s a simple way to find what level are you currently at. Fix it and then ask the new level you’re at and then fix that. And that’s the sequence we go through.

Dan

Beautiful. I love it. I love it. Well for anyone listening, do you hope you’ll you’ll check out the new book? It’s available everywhere. Everywhere you can get books. I think you’ll be able to find it. And I myself am really, really excited to have it kick my butt yet again. Yeah, I’m in a good way and I hope you hear that in a good way and with a lot of gratitude for your work. You’re one of the authors that every time every time I see your name on something, you know, I know that I’ve got to get my hands on it.

So thank you for that 

Mike

It means a lot. 

Dan

Yeah. Yeah, it’s it’s sincere. I know a lot of people listening are in a phase of life where they need a fix. They need to fix something. And not that it’s, you know, maybe a one for one correlation. But I’m just curious if there’s if there if you have any thoughts for someone who’s really stuck place where life isn’t working their work, especially, I think we have a lot of listeners who are in a place where work isn’t working for them, considering a career change or just they need to fix something.

I’m curious if whether it aligns with the book or not, even just from your own experience, if you have any, whether it’s words of wisdom, encouragement.

Mike

I do. I have found to be the ultimate solution. It does align with the book, too. It’s a method. But it was not a method not developed by me.

It was documented in a book called Ten, Ten, Ten by other name, Suzy Welch. And here’s what’s so fascinating is what many people do is we reflect decisions on their immediate impact, what Susie called the first ten, the first next ten minutes.

But we don’t consider the long term impacts, say, you know, I think about exercising, for example.

Well, if I reflect on the next ten minutes, like, oh, it’s a lot of effort, it’s painful.

I really don’t like it. So in the next ten minutes, this is going to be the least enjoyable thing I could do. But then she says we really need to consider not just the immediate term.

We also need to reflect on the mid and long term and give them equal value. So now the next ten is ten months. 

And so I say ten months from today, if I exercise right now, ten months from today, how I feel, well, I’ll feel proud of myself that I got it done.

And maybe you actually have started a habit if I keep on doing this. So maybe ten months of exercising under my belt. Well that may be life transforming in the last ten is ten years. If I sustain this behavior or reflect back in ten years of doing this right now, what will be the impact? Well, ten years now I have a life of fitness and health. Maybe I have inspired family to follow the same or whatever. So the ten, ten, ten method is a great, great way to reflect on decision making for someone whose stock were often reflecting the next ten minutes, like it is easier to stay in this uncomfortable position than the discomfort of making change.

But ask yourself that second question. How I feel about this. If I look back ten months from today and I decide to continue how it’s going, how am I going to feel in ten months and then ask yourself ten years? You know, leaving a job today is risky. What if I don’t get a job? It’s uncomfortable. I’m going to stay.

But ten months from now, likely you’ll find a new job or maybe find a true calling in some other capacity.

He maybe was never a job you needed if it was to start your own business or something. But you’ll probably have strong clarity in 10 months and 10 years from today. You’ll be so grateful for that hard decision you made and then you may make the decision. So don’t just look at the immediate term. Use the ten, 10, ten to look at the immediate mid and long term consequences of choice.

Dan

I love it. I love it so much. And anyone listening, rewind that last, you know, couple of minutes, because I think that that is such a great framework to to look at as your. Yeah. In that those kind of stuck, stuck places. I love it. Mike, thank you so much for just the time for your work, for your book. It’s just been super fun to connect today. And I know listeners are really just going to enjoy enjoy our conversation here.

If people who want to dig in deeper to your work, follow along, you know, with what you’re up to. Are there any specific action steps you’d like to invite people to?

Mike

Sure. Yeah, there is. So if you want to have more, I’m doing go to. Well, I’ll give you two choices, www.mikemiklowitzm.com. That’s a bad choice because no one can spell the Cowboys.

So I’ll give you a better choice. It’s www.mikemotorbike.com

So www.mikemotorbike.com, my nickname in high school was my motorbike, not because I’ve ever driven one, but that rhymes.

Dan

I love it. 

Mike

And people like that. So thank God I got the domain mike motorbike because no one else had it. And if you go to that domain like www.mikemotorbike.com, you’ll get all my books are listed there with free chopper download so you can explore fixes next and see if it applies to a professional career for you or for a business that you may own. Plus, I have six books cumulatively so you can check them out if I have my own podcast.

There is called Entrepreneurship Elevated and I’m also a blogger and I just write for The Wall Street Journal too, so you can get those articles. So that’s www.mikemotorbike.com.

Dan

Awesome. And I’ll make sure to link up to that in the show notes as well. 

Mike

Thanks. 

Dan

Mike, thank you so much. This has been so much fun.

Really appreciate it. 

Mike

Yeah, this has been awesome. What a great interview. Thanks for doing this.

Dan

Thank you.

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  1. Pingback: Finding Your Calling with Your Team with Mike Michalowicz – thesocietyofleadership

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