Great Escape Podcast episode 21 - Mike was born with Cystic Fibrosis but refuses to let this life limiting disease limit his life.

great escape Aug 17, 2019

- [Stuart] This is the Great Escape Podcast, Episode 21.
- [Recorded Voice] We are go for lift off in T minus 30. All systems are a go.
- [Stuart] And on this episode of the Great Escape Podcast, I'm talking to Mike McDonnell, who runs the Business on the Beach podcast, which is a good listen too. And his podcast is all about, well, working from the beach and building a business. So Mike, welcome to the podcast.
- [Mike] Thanks, Stuart. Thanks for having me on.
- [Stuart] You're very welcome. Now, tell us about your life before you decided to run your business from the beach. And I'm very jealous because Mike's in Lanzarote, and I'm guessing it's sunny.
- [Mike] It is funny. Looking out the window now, I don't think there's a cloud. But we did have a storm yesterday, so it was a bit windy, trees were blowing everywhere. I didn't leave the house because I thought I might not make it back. Because it was pretty furious outside, as we're recording this. But some back story is I wanted to run my business in a particular way. I wanted the life that comes with the business. I wanted the perks, if you will, of being a business owner and being an entrepreneur. I didn't want to confine myself to an office. I do have an office but I'm not confined there. And it never really started that way. Because from a young age, it was always about trying to get by. It was always about trying to survive. And that comes from having health conditions. So I've got cystic fibrosis and diabetes which basically means that things like my health, things like you know trying to keep myself above a particular level in terms of energy or you know, just trying to keep myself going, was always a priority. It was never about thriving as such. It was never about doing better than everybody else. Because I was in a lower starting point. So my entire childhood was based on just getting by. I had no thoughts of, okay well do you want a job? Didn't really cross my mind. Do you want a career, do you want a business? It was never really there. I was going day-to-day, my parents were all like, oh do whatever you want to do, you know, if you're good at it and you enjoy it, then we'll do it. So it was about sport for me when I was younger. It was about keeping fit, it was about keeping healthy. Until really, until I went off on my own, and decided to live by myself, that I realized, oh maybe I've got to actually, you know, support myself financially. It was never about like, oh well I'm doing it just to make money. It was, I did what I enjoyed, I did what I loved. And when I was ooh 15 or 16, I started being a tennis coach as a volunteer.
'Cause I used to play tennis and I thought, okay well I'll try and help people and coach people and do things in that way. And I felt really good when I saw the kids or children that I was helping feel really good about the fact that I helped them. So you saw their little eyes light up and that made feel amazing. And I've been chasing that ever since really. It's the high that you get from helping others, was what's always kept me going and kept drawing me forwards. Because at the time, well, it gave my life a sense of meaning, it gave my life a sense of you know being worth it, to a certain degree. And I got that when I was like 15 or 16 years old. So at a time when, you know, you're trying to fight your hormones and fight the system, right? And hate yourself and hate taking your medication and hate doing the things that you don't really feel much benefit of, but you keep doing it, it's almost like stretching for your body. After a while, you only feel it when you stop doing it. You only feel stiff when you stop stretching, you only feel unwell when you stop doing the things that maintain your condition. So at that point, I thought, well, I felt that I was not struggling but I felt like I was just going through the motions, I felt like I was surviving. I wasn't struggling financially because, you know, I'm not one of those rags to riches whereby I came from nothing, you know Stuart? I was never one of those. But it was always about I want more than just surviving, I want more than just, you know, getting by. And obviously my health condition played a part in my ability to do that or to not do that. And it sort of spurred me on. So tennis coaching was my start. That was also my start in business as well. So that was the first time I thought, well the jobs in tennis coaching are few and far between but I could be a freelancer. I could be a freelance tennis coach working in different tennis clubs and that could be how I make my start, how I can make some money and survive, living with my parents still. So it wasn't a case of I needed thousands of pounds a month to afford my house, it was I needed something to afford a car or a bike or food or the little things that I would need to make my life a little bit more pleasurable than okay well just eating, drink and go back to bed, you know? So it was the thing that funded my ability to actually live the life that I wanted to live. And over time, it went from tennis coaching to personal training. So because I was active all my life, it was that easy for me. And then I listened to a podcast many years ago that was like, are you're an expert in something that's easy for you but hard for somebody else? And you've got curse of knowledge, this curse of ability if you will, so you wanna go out and find out what you're good at, what you're best at, what's easy for you, that all the people are struggling with. And fitness was one of them.
'Cause I'd been doing it for well I was about 18. So we're talking at least four to five years of exercise and training, and weight training and lifting and all those things. So I thought, okay let's give that a go. Passed with flying colors all the qualifications and certifications that I needed. Dove into that. Got good at that. So I was able to afford a higher quality of living with tennis coaching and personal training. But I was doing both at the same time with these health conditions. So as you can imagine, I burned out pretty quickly. I got to a point where 'cause I was keeping my own health. I was playing tennis, because I enjoyed playing tennis, still do. Coaching tennis, my own fitness, teaching classes, and having clients around that they were affording me to live this way, bit of a man of leisure if you will, Stuart. You know, I go to the gym, I train clients, I play tennis on some days. I didn't really do an awful lot with my week, but everything that I did was all based, oh okay well I can afford to do this, I can afford to do that, I can get a couple of things for free, a couple of perks for working at the gyms and things. So it was good, it was all right. But then I got content again. I got settled. I got, oh this isn't too bad, going really well. And then I got to a point where it was like, I'm gonna burn out here, I can't do any more hours. I physically can't. It was affecting my sleep. It was affecting my stress levels,
'cause it was through the roof. You know, if I wasn't exercising, I was eating. And food is a form of stress as well, although people won't tell you that. And it's like, okay I'm never switched off, ever. And so eventually I did burn out. I needed, ooh three months off. I had to leave the gym, I had to stop the tennis;
'cause it was all physical, it was all driving me insane. And that's when Facebook was becoming a big part of everyone's life. Everyone was on Facebook. Everyone was online. So I thought, I know, let's give this a go. And then one of my friends, specifically my best friend now, Jane, she said well what about this public speaking thing? What about this? You know 'cause people started to realize over the years that I had these conditions. So a bit of a back story, I love the fact that people think I'm normal. I love the fact that people think I am the same as everybody else. So when I was in school, I wanted to be as fast as all the other kids. As smart as all the other kids. I didn't want to have to take a week off from exercise because I worked too hard. I didn't want to struggle on the football team or the basketball team. I loved the fact that I could do what everybody else could do, that didn't have my conditions. So I do the sport team, I would exercise every day. When I was at university studying, I would go to the gym twice a day. And people were like, you're a bit of a gym nut Mike? What on earth are you doing? And that's 'cause I love it, I enjoy it. And I love the fact that I was actually fitter than people that didn't have my conditions. I wasn't someone that was just about getting by, I was fitter than a lot of the, you know, air quotes, normal people out there. And it was like, okay well great I love that. But then my clients,
'cause I like being honest with my clients, so they were all like but what was going on? Like you have days where when you're amazing, you're bouncing off the roof. And then you have days when you're struggling and luckily we see you on your good days but sometimes when I see you sometimes you're struggling, you know, you're having a hard time. And I'd tell them I say, well that's just a bad day. It's what happens when you've got a health condition. And their face dropped. Their face absolutely dropped. Like, what? You've got health conditions? Yeah yeah I've got cystic fibrosis and I'm diabetic. And they were like, oh so I haven't got an excuse then. But you're able to do really well. Push yourself, stretch yourself. I mean I know you're a tennis coach as well. And I'm struggling to lose weight. There's nothing wrong with me, so I haven't got an excuse any more. So my story became more inspiring people to do things because I could do things when I was starting off from a worse place. And that's how the online stuff began. That's how the podcast had began. That's how the videos began. And it all sort of steamrolled from there.
- [Stuart] Okay, and I'm fascinated because in some ways you were in a situation that was relatively comfortable. You've got enough money coming in, life didn't seem to be awful, and yet there was something in it that was really dissatisfying you. There was something that you wanted to change. And I'm interested to hear a bit more about what it was that would make you think this has got to be different.
- [Mike] I think a part of it is because I got so used to being uncomfortable, that when I wasn't uncomfortable, it felt awkward. So when I had enough money coming in, I was going to the gym every day, plus tennis, plus teaching classes. I was able to afford a certain level of living that I was happy with. I was still living with my parents at the time, so it wasn't like I had to earn a lot of money. But I was earning more than I needed, much more than I needed. I was able to afford a lot of things that I couldn't have afforded before. And it was based on a couple of things. It was based on being good at something, it was based on my personality, I suppose. Like I'm not a down in the dumps kind of person. I'm a bit of an energetic bunny, if you will. So that kind of come across as well. I mean you're in industries that that's a perk, I suppose. Like that's a personality trait that is actually valued in the industries that I was in. So I sort of used that to benefit people which, again, lift me up.
'Cause I love feeling good when other people feel good, and that draws energy back into me again and fuels me to keep going. So I think when what it boils down to is, you'll always get to a point where you do get comfortable. You do have a sense of, do I keep going at this pace? Do I keep doing what I've always done or do I change it? And I guess with just the experience of the health conditions and going through a couple of, you know, other downturns and spirals and upward moments and downward moments. And when you have portions of time when you don't have that, when you have portions of time when things just are bit more even keel, there's not massive depression, there's not massive like elated situations as well. I just got to a point when I wasn't challenged any more. There was no sense of, okay well where's the next thing gonna come from? What's the next thing that's gonna pull me? And that's a big thing because when you do have health conditions, some people consider you disabled, some people consider you lesser. Like I went through a phase of feeling like I was the worst in the room. That was something that I had to deal with, I had to cope with that.
'Cause when you're competing against people that don't have health conditions, that are outwardly beating you at something, it's very easy to feel like you are the worst in the room. Whether that's because of your ability, which it wasn't, it was based on just the fact that I had health conditions that mean that my breathing isn't good, my digestion isn't so good, my energy levels aren't gonna be as high as often as these people, therefore I'm lesser than them. So when you go through that phase, and you think, right I need something to pull me forward, otherwise I won't get out of bed. I need that motivation in order to keep going, to keep going through the depression moments, to keep going through the, oh my god is it gonna work? So what people don't seem to realize is being an entrepreneur has ups and downs anyway. They have moments when, is it gonna work? Like when we're talking about you know this whole craze at the minute about being enough, believing like you can do something before we started the show. And that gets on my nerves because there are people out there that don't have the motivation to keep going and keep pushing and keep stretching themselves and keep understanding that progress is one of the keys to happiness. And if you don't have that, because you're convincing yourself that everything that you've got is all that you ever need, we're gonna breed people that are settling for whatever it is that they currently have, without wanting to achieve more. That's not how people that make a difference actually think. People that want to achieve big things, they set goals that are scary. They set goals that challenge them. They set goals that push them. They have a direction or a mission or whatever it is that will get them out of bed. And if all your boxes are ticked, if all of your needs are met, and you're content with the way things are going, what's next? Are you just gonna, you know, if everything is automated, and if everything is going really well and you've got staff that work for you, you've got software and systems that do it all for you, you will have days when you may as well not get out of bed. So what would those people do? People that are wanting to do more, they're gonna have to look for the next mountain to climb. They're gonna have to look for the next thing, because that is what actually gets people out of bed. Because if you think about like jobs and things, things like that are given to you. Your responsibilities are given to you, your to-do lists are given to you, your daily tasks are given to you. When you're an entrepreneur, you would have given that to yourself. You've gotta do all those things to yourself. And you have phases when it feels like, you're to telling yourself that you can't achieve this goal that you've set, you're telling yourself that you're struggling. That's the byproduct of setting something that is actually ahead of where you are right now. But after that moment, you can then decide okay, well I can do something about this though. I can influence the way I do things. I can change my current situation to something that I need to learn, to someone that I need to connect with, to something that I need to find out. Maybe I've go and research more, to research this thing first. Then I can actually feel like I can achieve it. But a lot of people, they feel like they're struggling, but they're lacking motivation because they're setting goals that they already know they're gonna achieve. So if you haven't got a reason to change, or a reason to improve or a reason to grow, then you won't because most of the time we operate out of a need, we operate out of a necessity, rather than a nice to have. Because that doesn't drive us, that doesn't give us the energy that we need as much as I need to do this.
- [Stuart] So in a way, just to summarize that, it's actually the necessity to change is just come from your own internal dissatisfaction with, in a way, just being comfortable. You don't want to be comfortable. And I wonder whether that's come from the challenge of growing up with something as, often life limiting, as cystic fibrosis.
- [Mike] Yeah, I'd probably agree with that, because I don't think people have enough reason to do things. Which sounds a little bit harsh, and sounds quite cynical of just you know humans in general but I think that, you know, this is why people that feel entitled to things, people feel that they deserve things even though you've done nothing. And you know I've had things given to me, I've had opportunities given to me, but they've been so few and far between, you'd be surprised at how many of them I've had to actually go out and get. I've had to go out and get a lot because, you know, people don't notice you until you force yourself to be noticed. And that's part of it. It's part of doing the work to get noticed and do that thing and put yourself out there. People don't have that. They haven't got that experience. And I often say that health conditions have actually been a bit of a blessing in disguise, because it's given me the sense of, well, I'm actually bored very very easily. Which comes from the fact that when I'm not bored, I'm doing something. When I'm not bored, I've got my head churning on something. I came with an idea just the other day before recording this, it was like, huh I'm not sure if I can do this, I'm not sure if I can make it happen. But it's either that or be bored. Because everything else is going really well. So you get to the point where you need to find that next mountain, and of course, you're not gonna feel like you can do it yet. The amount of people that set massive goals and achieve them, they're gonna have a phase where they're gonna not be sure if they can do it. That's just the way it works. Because there are people out there that actually don't really do anything unless they have that part. Unless they have that drive, or they have that, okay, you know, aim for the moon, and I could end up amongst the stars. But if you don't aim for the moon, than you could be stuck on earth, right? And not really achieve anything that's really defining.
- [Stuart] Yeah, absolutely. And so you have decided that change was absolutely necessary inside yourself because you wanted to see that change. And you'd understood that it was possible because you'd made other changes in your life. And these two steps kinda happen together in a lot of people and I think that may have happened in your case. How did you decide what it was that needed to be different? What the new life needed to look like? And come to believe that you could actually make that happen?
- [Mike] I think part of it comes from feedback from the outside sometimes. So in my case, people saw that what I had to share was valuable, you know? Needing to change, needing that necessity, is what motivation is. People think, oh I'm not motivated. Yes well, you just need to create a need then. You need to need to do it, otherwise you won't. It's not about motivation, it's about necessity. It's about you do what you need to do within your own self-interest, right? You'll be doing things for your own self-interest secretly. The fact that it help other people as well is great. But it's sort of have a continuum of either you focus on others or do you focus on yourself? Tends to be a continuum versus I'm only self-centered or I'm only selfless. A lot of people are somewhere in the middle. And when people realize that they are essentially turning themselves into that thing that they either want or they don't want, they're turning themselves into the person that they want to be or they don't want to be. And I got feedback from people, from clients, from friends, that were like, you know what? You should probably share your story even more. Like you should be like a fitness person, because, you know, share your story of being healthy, being active, being extremely fit compared to your average person, nevermind someone with your condition, that's inspirational for a lot of people. You should start a fitness channel where you just give talks like that. And I thought well hm mm, that's a little bit off for me. Because it's very very short-lived. I'd share my story, I'd share workouts and videos, but that will be all I do. It doesn't really jive with me. It didn't really light me up. So I thought, well I'll think of another way. I'd do it another way. And one of the quotes or one of the statements that hit home for me was from a fellow coach, he was one of my mentors years ago, can't remember his name, but he said that one of the things that he likes about coaching is that he gets to serve through people. So he helps people that helps people that helps people, and he touches the lives of those people by helping that one person. And that's the thing that sparked in me. And so if I can help people that also help people, I can help more people. So my head started to churn away, right? My head just went wild. It was ah what if I did this and what if I did that? And oh my god if I help these people than this would happen. And what if this would happen as well? And it's just like the snowball starts happening, right? And then you just get to a point where you start to open the doors inside your head to think about things without judging them if they will work or not beforehand. So many people do this. They only tell people the ideas that they themselves think will work. Like that's how they filter, if you will, for the ideas that they come up with. So the ideas that I come up with, I don't judge why I'm coming up with the ideas. So I have the ideas, I can have 10 ideas, and I'm like action five or six of them, one or two of them might work. But if you don't go through the process of not judging yourself or not judging your thought process around coming up with your next steps, then you're always going to be holding yourself back. Because of the filters that you're using to make your decisions from.
- [Stuart] Yeah and I see that all the time with people who have had lots of ideas and then throw all of them away because they can see problems with them. And actually, if they went to one or two of them, three or four, or any number, then you learn along the way, and the idea gets refined. And the original idea might have been a bit stupid, but actually as you push forward with something, you refine it and you learn more, and you develop the skills necessary to make it work.
- [Mike] Yeah, of course. And you know it was a bit of a journey for me as well. Like it was, okay well it's never gonna be right first time. So I started, I found a local event that actually took speakers. So I signed up for that. First time on stage was abysmal. It was shocking. I don't really remember it
'cause I was on edge the entire time. Fear was stirring up all kinds of stories at me, I just couldn't think straight. I can't even remember what I spoke about. Didn't really enjoy the whole thing. But afterwards, I thought okay well next time will be better. So it can't be much worse, right? (chuckling) So I went and I tried to do it again and I remember more of it because you know like when you first start driving, you're too busy focusing on the act of driving to worry about some of the signs that are on the road? And the different markings? And that's why you make more mistakes. So you're too busy worrying about the act of driving. And when I was speaking, I was worrying about what I was saying, like the words, and would people like me or oh my god is my hair in the right place, even though I haven't got a lot of it left. And like there was so much worrying, my head was churning so fast that I don't really remember what I said. But when that churn rate goes down, the anxiety goes down and your heart rate slows down, you're able to focus on the actual act while you're driving. People that are good drivers, they do everything, like multi-tasking becomes easier when half of what you do, you do automatically. It's the same when I first started speaking. When I first started speaking, I was too busy worrying about everything aside from talking itself. No matter how much presentation I did, how much preparation I did, how much pre-organizing I did, it was never ever ever gonna work because the nerves would take over. The nerves would do their thing and I just couldn't cope. Well then the second time, and then the third time, and then the fourth time, and you realize that ha, I can do this now. Talking is not so bad once you get over it. And I gradually started reducing my notes. And then Facebook brought out Facebook Live, so I thought, oh easier life in terms of getting practice in. Between my talks I could do videos. So that's where videos came about. And then the speaking on stage was there wasn't a lot in my local area, that was the only one. So after three or four I was like, okay I need to find something else. Because it's not a massive stage, I think it maxed out at 100 people, right? It was like a local sort of club versus an actual seminar type deal. It was more of an open mike event for speakers. It wasn't a massive event. I thought, right, aside from traveling to these different places, and because I'm not getting a lot out of it aside from practice, I needed to figure something else out. I need to figure out a way of speaking, getting my message out there, everyone seems to like it, right, what can I do? What's the avenues that I can take? So videos started. Facebook Live started. The podcasts started. And it all sort of snowballed from there. So sometimes how you want it to look in the first instance isn't how it's gonna look. Or it might change. In about two or three years time or five years time or 10 years time, I could be on the speakers' circuit and I could be doing the motivational thing and the mindset thing and the business thing. I could be doing all that in about five or 10 years' time. But if I wanted to do that straightaway, that probably would have stopped me from doing the work now. So sometimes we've got to think big. We've gotta think, okay what can I actually do now? Because I've got no intention of stopping, no amount of, you know, bouts of depression or wanting it all to end or should I just get a job or it's never gonna work; no amount of any of that is actually gonna stop me
'cause I'll get to the other side of that and I'll go, well there's nothing else you wanna do, Mike. There's nothing else that you're good at.
'Cause all I know is sport. So I'm only ever gonna go back and be a tennis coach or a personal trainer. I'm never gonna go back and go, oh I'll be a manager for this company. I'd fail all the exams of being a manger of a company. But I can own a company, right? It's like as Gary Vee says, he failed his exams being like an employee or an employer of his company, but he runs the whole thing. So I can't work for someone because I'm not like, I don't fit the mold. I don't draw between the lines. I'm not what people want. So it's like, right, I've got nothing else to do. This is what I'm good at, it's what I'm best at. I connect the dots in a different way from a lot of different people. That's part of why I became a coach. And then from tennis coaching and personal training, it became more like coaching or therapy with some of my clients. And then it sort of spurred on from there. So it's something that you've got to figure out. Not just the grand vision of what you wanna do. The mission that pulls you forwards. But you wanna realize, okay how can I start it? How can it look now? What can it do now? And if you don't have that, if you don't really go through the practical step as well, then you're all gonna be in this like, I dunno, mind mode where you just think about it, you stay in your head rather than think, okay I'm gonna make something of this real now. You've got to actually put it in place. You've got to actually do some of it. And it might not be the full thing straightaway. That's one of the beauties of sometimes setting the big goal, gives you the plan to get there. Because you might not be able to do all of it straightaway. You might just be able to do a little piece of it. And you know, when I decided to change things, when I really decided to, right, I've got to live a certain way. I've got to focus on myself, I've got to make sure I'm in a good place so that other people can benefit from me.
'Cause if I don't look after myself, I end up bedridden and no one benefits from what I'm saying. So I've got to look after me before I can really help other people. It's the same with everyone by the way. But with someone that works at the rate that I want to work at, for someone that performs at the rate that I want to perform at, you've gotta do more, not less. So I've got to focus on me. I wanna focus on my own health so I can perform at the best rate that I can. And things like, you know, changing countries is a big step
'cause the heat works wonders, by the way. So heat was really good for my condition. So that was a step that I know I could benefit from long-term. And if I can run my business in the same way from a different country, then that's a benefit as well. So it was a bit of a mindset shift because I didn't want to do it. I felt that I wasn't capable of doing it, I thought it wasn't possible. And you know sometimes that can stop you from taking action at all. But then when I went, I asked a different question. I went from, can it happen? To, how can it happen? How can it look? What other steps could it take? Because the journey's gonna be different for you than it is for me. And I'm someone that, that journey's been different compared to a lot of different people. Like you'd be surprised at the amount of people that go, oh you went from that to that, did you? I said, yeah I did, yeah yeah. It would be different for you, it would be different for the people listening. So until you really figure out like not just how but how can it work for you? Because you can, you know, follow my path if you want, you can go to all the mentors in the world and say, well this is what worked for them; but what people are realizing that I started to talk to is, the how is actually different for everybody. And there are common themes. One of the main theme is they did what worked for them. They did what path they could actually take, rather than trying to bend themselves to fit another person's path, which is harder, by the way, but if you find your own and do things the way you can do them, it's sort of the children's game, you know the block with all the different pieces and you only fit in certain holes? You could be trying to force a circle into a square hole, but if you just find the circle, you could put it in straightaway. So I think that's one of the key takeaways for me. As soon as I let go of the mentors, let go of a coach that was like, okay you've gotta do it this way, I thought, right, I need to find my way. Because my way is the way I'll be able to go faster, smoother, more effective, and easier. You'd be surprised at how easy it feels, how effortless it feels to let things go a little bit, and to do things your way.
'Cause when I didn't, that was when I burned out. When I didn't, that was when I was struggling and I hated pretty much everything. But as soon as I let go of all that, it was, okay find my way. And you're surprised at how much easier things get.
- [Stuart] I think one of the things, one of your Instagram posts recently,
"the bravest people have the most bruises", which is a quote I quite love, and my wife will look at with a wry smile
'cause she knows how much I enjoy crashing light aircraft. That's not actually true. I do try not to embed things in the ground. But actually yeah, you've gotta stand up and try something. You've got find your way. There'll never be another Brandon Burchard, there'll never be another Gary Vaynerchuk, or Tony Robbins or any of those people. You've gotta find the way of doing it, that is your way of doing it.
- [Mike] Yeah, and I think that's what sets people apart. You'd be surprised at how many experts there are out there. You know, as an expert, you can grow whatever it is that you want to grow using video or podcast or blogging. Blogging is still a thing, by the way. I don't know if you're aware of this 2019 but blogging, it's still a thing. You can sell courses, you can be an author now, you can still do all that but you know you can be really really bad at trying to do these things, because you're trying to force it, you've gonna have to force yourself to do something that you don't really want to do. And I'm a big believer in you've got to work hard but that doesn't mean it has to be difficult. You can do a lot of stuff and it could still feel quite easy, you know? I'd have days when I'd get up, I do all my sort of, you know, my morning routine. Which includes my treatments and my medication and I get to go to the gym. And then when I was working at the gym, I would also eat food at the gym and I would train clients and then, you know, sometimes when I first started to be online, when I post on the social media places and then I thought okay I need something to eat, otherwise I won't make it to the evening. So I'd have something to eat, checking Facebook, any messages, and then I was working at the tennis club that evening, I'd have to travel. So I had a car so I had to drive to the other place. And then I'd do all that. I'd have clients there. Then I'd go back and then I'd finish, I'd feel amazing, but it would just drain me at the same time. So you've got to be very very self-aware. Not just around the journey that you wanna go on. Don't force it. But you've also got to be aware of, like does it sap your energy or doesn't it? Like if I was just doing one thing, if I was just doing tennis coaching, then it probably would have worked. But I wanted to do more. So there's that pull there that I had to listen to, otherwise I would slowly have hated the tennis coaching. Which I didn't hate the tennis coaching, but I got to a point where it was like, because of travel and everything else, like two hours. Because of travel, turned into like four hours. Which means that's like your evening gone. So by the time I got back, and then I would be tired and I'd have something to eat. I wouldn't get a lot of sleep because I was still buzzing from the positive feeling that you get from helping people. This is the thing. It's a high that's better than caffeine, right? But if you do that at say
8:00 o'clock at night,
9:00 o'clock at night, which was some nights when I was finishing. And then I'd try and sleep and wake up and do it all over again. There's no getting over the fact that no amount of positive feeling, no amount of, you know, me being as selfless as I can, is gonna take away from the fact that you've got to look after yourself, you've got to think of yourself as well. Because, you know, one of the things that I'm starting to realize is I am more selfless than I am selfish. And that comes a lot from, you know, some of it could probably be self-worth issues, some of it could probably be self-worthiness issues, like I'd feel like I'm better when I'm helping others, I feel like I'm worth it when I'm helping others, which, you know, isn't a bad thing. It's probably a bit of both, you know, good and bad. But then it's like well I've got to balance that out with the fact that I've got to get back. You know, that the money side of things came into it later. It was about helping people first because that's all I knew, that's all I was good at. I did coaching, sports coaching, in terms of you know, people talk about qualifications all the time, but I did coaching at college, which is like high school in the US. I did a coaching degree. Coaching's all I know. It's all I've ever done. I don't do anything else. I've never done anything else since I was like 15. I had an interview once, it was like, you're very old for your years in terms of your coaching experience because of how young you started. And you hear debates about, oh well coaches need to be successful first. And business coaches need to have a successful business. But people like me stand out. Because coaching is all I've ever done. So there's no line there. There's no like, okay well how far does it go? I've helped people for as long as I can remember. For as long as it's mattered to me, I have always gone about it from how can I impact people in the best way? That's my filter, that's my way of feeling like I'm doing something worthwhile. Which makes me feel worth it,
'cause it's the only way I know that really works. Because you can only convince yourself that you're good at what you do or that you're good enough or that you're capable, that you're worthwhile, that you're worthy of the success that you've had, if you actually have some proof behind it.
'Cause we can't really convince ourselves all that well,
'cause there's always that voice in the back of our head that says, well you're lying aren't you Mike? It's not true. Come on, tell the truth, right? You can't lie to yourself. But you've got enough proof there. You've enough proof built up over time because I've been chasing, helping people now for a while. Makes life easier. It is worth it. You know, the reason why I was here, I feel like it was making everyone better, making the world a better place, however that looks like, it doesn't matter. Because it doesn't matter. And I think that because I don't know any other way, it's very very easy for me to say that and feel okay about that. But people that have a different upbringing, people that have a different way of doing things, people that have been told different stories, they can convince themselves of another narrative to justify why they do what they do. So I'm not Mother Theresa, although I probably started off that way, by doing things for free, helping people out for free, getting new voluntary experience in, right? Which was the big T when I was growing up, was you've gotta get your hours in. So that's how I've gone about it. I've not gone about it from how can I make the most money. I've always been about it from how can I help the most people? And thanks to technology, I'm able to do that in the 100s of 100,000s as opposed to like one person at a time.
- [Stuart] Right, that's a really fascinating story. And I think your fortitude, your bravery, your refusal to give up and just keep going until you've worked out how to do it, but do that not in a dogged way, you've done it allowing the world to flex, or your views of the world to flex, as you've learned new things. And that's perhaps what I've taken away most from the conversation. Is actually that you've allowed, you've kind of set off in a direction but if something meant that you needed to change that a little bit, then you've changed it. You've not been so fixed on the one way of doing things. Mike, thanks so much for your time and for contributing to the podcast. The contribution continues. We'll make sure that people can get hold of you with contact details in the show notes. And yeah, I've listened to Mike's podcast, and do go over and have a listen too. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Great Escape Podcast. You can find other episodes at all the usual places, on Itune, Stitcher and Spotify, or at the website, And if you'd like to contact me to talk about any element of this episode or others I've covered, please do go, and you can find all the ways of getting hold of me there. And if you're stuck in a situation and you can't find the way out, please go there, send me a message, and let's see how we can work together to get you unstuck and moving forward with your life again. Please do share this podcast with your friends and family, other people you think might appreciate it. And comment on episodes or send me a message. I'd love to keep the conversation going.
♪ Do that again. ♪

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