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Intro: You've survived the worst trauma, loss, rejection. The reality is your pain can be a crutch or it can be the thing that launches you. You're listening to The Purpose Through Pain Podcast. A podcast dedicated to helping you experience true freedom and breakthrough. Tune in each week as guests share their incredible life lessons from their personal stories, and hear from experts who can give you the tools you need to stop surviving and start thriving.
Here to help you find purpose through your pain is your host, Joseph James.e has gone from suffering the:
Michael, thank you so much for joining me today and welcome to the show.
Michael: Thanks, Joseph. It's good to be on here. I'm excited to be here. It's humbling to be on here just ‘cause the fact that this is my brother, this is my younger brother who in his own way has accomplished so many different things, so I'm honored to be on here, I'm honored to share my story, and it's just a neat experience for the two of us as brothers, to see our own growth and the shift in our own mindset over the last 10, 15 years to ultimately understand what it's like to succeed.
Joseph: Yeah, absolutely man. And I'll say this now and we're gonna touch on it some later on in the show, but Michael's the absolute reason why I'm here, where I'm at today, because of his mindset change, we were kind of at different places in our own life in terms of our mindset, I was involved in ministry and him very heavily, involved in business and where we had some, he had some low times, I had some high times, and then when I had low, he had some high times. And it's been able to balance out with each other where we've been able to be open and honest and candid about every situation in our life to when he has been down, I've been able to push him and vice versa, and it's just amazing to have somebody like that in your life. Michael, I want to go straight into what ultimately formed your mindset, and it all goes back to our childhood. Now, a lot of the listeners have heard about the abusiveness from our dad and just thedisciplinarian person that he was, but where it turned into so much more than just discipline and they've heard my version of it and my take, but I want to hear from you, what was it in your life that, how was the childhood, what is your viewpoint of the childhood and how did that really start to mold your mindset?
Michael: Ultimately, Joseph, everything that happens in life, we've heard the cliche of it happens for a reason and all of that stuff, but ultimately it's an evolution of our life and everything we can either take from it and learn or we can take something from it and it just causes us to circle that drain over and over again until we look at that giant face-to-face and go, I'm done playing this game, I'm not going to be a victim, I'm not going to suffer from whatever pain it is, whether it's a divorce, whether it's a loss of a family member, whether it's my dog died, whatever it is, it's still pain and it hurts and it doesn't matter, every one of us have gone through some sort of pain that nobody wants to go through, but it's our choice to look at it and go, I'm going to use this as a stepping stone or not.And I look back at our childhood and yeah, our dad was hard. He was strict on us, we couldn't do anything and there was a lot of emotional baggage that came with that, that has taken me 40 years to work through and understand, but ultimately it's made me who I am, it's made me the success I am. Our dad looking, sitting on the kitchen table, and my older sister and I, Joseph wasn't quite old enough at the time, we started a paper route when I was seven and she was eight. And I hated doing this paper route. But early on my dad was creating this work ethic that continued to follow my life throughout to current. And so as a young kid, he would sit us down and pay us and we're talking dollars, not hundreds.And he would have three stacks and one would be a tithe, that would go to the church and would go to God, and then another would be savings, and then another would be personal. And I used to think of that personal stack, I'm like, man, I hate this, I've done so much work and effort to get such a little stack, I think it was a total $3 and I could never understand that growing up. But what it did do for me was, it helped me understand budgeting priority, and it also helped me, the biggest thing I've gotten from it is my work ethic and going from seven years old to having a paper out with my sister to, at 12 years old, having my own paper out and subcontracting these paper outs out to my buddies so I can make money. And even doing a little bit of stealing and doing things inappropriately to make money, but ultimately it was that drive to how can I make money and at a young age, knowing I'm gonna have my business one day. And yeah, growing up was tough. It was hard growing up in a religious family, very strict, and it seemed every Sunday I was getting a crap beat out of me in some way or another, or seeing my siblings get the crap beat out of him.But that's what my dad knew, it wasn't that he was a bad person or an ignorant person, that's just what he knew. And so I've had to come to the place of understanding that was just him, that was his understanding, that was him doing what he thought was right, even though in today's society it's child abuse.And there was a lot of learning and a lot of growing on my end that I had to do over as an adult to accept, to forgive, to understand, and to ultimately become my dad's best friend his last five years of his life. So that's a little bit Joseph of my belief in what my childhood led into my adult life.
Joseph: Absolutely, absolutely. And it's amazing to hear you say that because even the way I've looked at it sometimes is I've become, in certain aspects of it, I didn't get the work ethic like you have, I became more of a victim to certain things and my work ethic went in a whole another route with the military and things like that, but yet the, even the love for sports and trying to make that connection with dad, we all had our own connection. Everything became work for dad, so he was definitely instilling that work ethic in us. But you were more the entrepreneurial driven as a young age, I was more the, I wanna go outside and play, but baseball, football, no matter what it was, it became work to the point, it's just, I don't even wanna play with dad anymore.You were like, I wanna try to figure out how to become a better business person so I can stop working for somebody mentality. And so it's amazing to sit there and talk about the same family, the same upbringing, we're two years apart, but yet it drove us in different directions in terms of our mentality and where you didn't allow it to become, even though there's things that you're learning now up until your forties and as well as I am, but I became a victim of my own mentality. I allowed, what you were saying earlier is I allowed my pain to really stick me, it became glue and to where now I am going through a lot of things, rejection, abandonment issues, things like that as I've had to move on in life.But there was some things that changed in your life that as you grew up, and of course we still grew up in that, that harsh disciplinary family, you eventually graduated high school, moved to Georgia, started working for different people, you got married, you end up having two kids and then something, you experienced some horrific pain in that.
Talk to me about that timeframe of, okay, you're leaving the house and now you're getting married to up until your divorce.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. I left home at 19. I knew at even way before that age that I was going to have my own business at one point, and started in the construction industry at the age of 18 and moved to Georgia at 19.At that point, my motive to move away from Georgia was to be away from my dad. I couldn't stand the man and there was nothing we had in common, and so I wanted to be out of his household, but that was, again, that start of everything he instilled in me that I was unaware at that time, and so, sure, yeah, I met a beautiful woman at the time, once I moved to North Georgia and a year later we ended up getting married. Started my business a year after we got married, so I started my business at 22. I didn't know what I was doing. I knew how, I knew I was a good carpenter, that's what I knew, and I knew that I had a perfectionist mentality and I knew I could give good quality and I had a good personality to meet the needs of clients.As far as running a business, I didn't know anything about it, but just plugging myself into it and making the mistakes and learning from the mistakes and just figuring it out helped me understand how to run a business. And businesses going on, I spent some time in Peru doing some humanitarian work, learning Spanish, and it ultimately, those things just helped even with the business. I was, became fluent in Spanish, which therefore it was easy for me to hire Hispanic employees that have become part of my family and life is going on. I'm doing the typical, I've got a beautiful family, I build a home with the white picket fence and the nice trees in the front yard, the nice home, and my wife doesn't have to work, she just raises our kids the picture-perfect mindset that we all have for what a family looks like. And then life starts happening and things shift, and our mom passes away, which was a big burden on us as a family and individually, and little by little there's an erosion going on. And a lot of the erosion was on me, a lot of the erosion was on my ex-wife. And although her and I are great friends now, it was a time where we were growing apart and you don't know that you're growing apart until you look, you start really looking at things and going, oh yeah, we don't really click anymore. And so unfortunately, it led to a divorce and when I say unfortunately, it was at the time, it was unfortunate, but it has become something that I'm so glad has happened as well. It has made me a better dad. It has made me a better person, it's made me a better businessman, it's made me a better in so many different ways. But again, it's the mindset, it's taking that and going something terrible has happened.
but I'm not gonna live in that. I'm not gonna become the victim. I had plenty of reason to be the victim, and I was the victim for a couple years and got hung up on by my ex-wife numerous times that as I was treating her disrespectfully and getting the kids in the middle of it and stuff that I should never have done.But ultimately, I remember early on in my divorce looking at my kids and going, my kids when they are 18 and 19 and 20 years old, they're gonna know me. And I'm not talking about knowing me as that guy, as my dad, I'm talking about knowing who I am and knowing the core of who I am, who I represent, who I am to them, and ultimately becoming their hero.And I made that goal when my kids were three and five, when I was going through a divorce, and I remember visually seeing this picture in my head of digging my heels in sand, and not moving until I got the results that I wanted. And I just held on to that, Joseph. I held on to that visual of I know what I want, I know what I deserve and I'm going to push until I get it no matter what happens. And now my kids are 15 and 18, my daughter's about to turn 16, and I can look at our relationship now, and I know that I'm my son's hero. He adores me, he listens to every word that I say about business, his desires to own his own business, and he is like a little sponge when it comes to that, and looking back over the last 10, 13, 14 years of just making those little things count for my kids and trust me, there's been plenty of times where I screwed up.
Joseph: I don't mean to, I don't mean to interrupt you, but it's amazing when you were talking about the little things, when you're in a, you're in a relationship with your wife, you're married to your wife, and then all of a sudden things slowly start to erode. Okay, you talked about erosion and you don't realize it's almost done or you're at a point of, I'm no longer telling my wife I love her, I'm no longer connecting with her. It's more like a roommate in the passing. You almost don't realize that until it's happened and then all of a sudden we're in this, I gotta fix it mode, I gotta try to recover things, but it's the same thing just in the flip side, when it comes to creating something new. Everybody wants something new right now we live in this fast food mentality, I gotta have it now mentality of, okay, if I start an Instagram, I want a million likes by next month or two months from now, or whatever the case is or if I start a business now, I wanna be able to make six figures by the end of this year and seven figures by the end of the next year but the same way as the erosion happens a little bit by little bit, so does the mindset in terms of going the direction that you want, it's a little bit by little bit. It's being able to recognize and understand that. If I don't make the choice now when things are going bad to stop the erosion, it's gonna be a full flood and I'm not gonna be able to stop it, you're not gonna be able to build a dam. And, but then also as I can make little choices each and every day in the positive way to build the mindset, the family, the business, the attitude and everything that I want.So it's neat that you say that, just talking about the erosion because it's the same thing.
Michael: Absolutely. It goes both directions and you don't realize something's eroding until you got this big goalie, and what do I do now? When I was in that place, you were the first one I called when I was just on my knees begging for help, not knowing what to do.But that was just the symptom of what had been going on for years.
Joseph: It wasn't the root.
Michael: Yeah, I had already created the problem and I was never doing anything to prevent the erosion from happening. I just kept what, you know, little by little you're just watching this and you're like, it's okay. It's okay.
Joseph: It'll never happen to me.
Michael: Nothing, and then all of a sudden you look back years later and you're like, holy crap, this is happening to me. And so the importance of making it a priority every day to do something and whether it's doing something for your kids, doing something for your business, doing something for your employees, doing something for yourself every day, and that's the building of this evolution of becoming. A successful entrepreneur of becoming an amazing dad, of becoming an amazing partner is because every day you're doing something. When my, when Caleb and Brianna, when my kids were really young, I would send them to school with a Ziploc bag of acorns, it would have a three or four acorns in the bag, and I would tell them the story, we've got this massive oak tree in our front yard, it's like three feet in da diameter, it's huge. And I would tell the kids, I'd show them these acorns, I said, do you know what this, what is in this acorn? And I would take them out to that tree and I'd go, everything that's in this acorn is in this massive tree.The only three ingredients this acorn needed was soil, water, and sunshine. It had to have all three, and it had to have it consistently, every day. Become this massive oak tree. So what we've got in us is there.
Joseph: It's already there.
Michael: We have, we are massive individuals. But are we watering it? Are we giving it sunshine?Are we in proper soil? We all know that if you plant something on rocky soil, the trees turn out weird. They don't grow, they're stunted in growth, but if you've got proper soil, proper irrigation, and proper sunlight. It's the sky is the limit. And so I instilled that in these, in my kids early on where them carrying these acorns in their book bags for months and months, they would carry them around.Sometimes they even forgot about them, but they'll tell that story today. And they remember that big massive oak tree that is still in my front yard today that I used to talk to them about when they were 5, 6, 7 years old. And so it goes back to that eroding thing. You're either eroding or you're growing, it's one other two, but you've gotta make a choice to do something.en of course the economy, the: much time on my bike. And in:
Joseph: I'll remember that.
Michael: And I did. And Joseph, I think you went with me, and out of everybody that raced that race on a national level, I finished 12th in the nation, and I didn't even know I was that good, but then I was like, wow, I've got something, but I knew down deep inside I was still hurting, there was still a pain going on that I didn't really know what to do. And after I came back from nationals, I was still just that void inside of me, and I'm like, I'm gonna ride my bike across the United States just on a whim, I was like, that day I went and bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco to fly out on June 3rd, this was in January. So on a whim, I decided to buy a ticket, hire a coach, create a vision for it, and start making it happen. And so, by putting those things in place, it kept me accountable for the goal, and I had a vision board of the ride across the states, I kept myself bathed in affirmations and things that just kept me in the right mindset, even though I was still hurting inside. There were things I was doing that was slowly transforming me and evolving versus eroding. And so I started training. I would ride, I bought a bicycle trailer, and I would put rocks in this bicycle trailer, and I would ride 50 miles out in the middle of nowhere, turn around and come back.And I would do that every timeI didn't have my kids. I would play dad when I had my kids and when I didn't have my kids, I was riding my bike. And of course I would be working during the day and riding in the evening, riding at night, I just did whatever it took, but that was the start of this transformation in my head.I spent so much time on my bike, I would listen to podcasts, I would listen to audiobooks, I would listen to my own head, and it was the evolution of this personal growth that I started on, and when you put that energy out there and you start seeking whatever you want to call it, whether you want to call it God, whether you want to call it the universe, whether you want to call it energy, whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter.But those things start what you put out there, you attract back to yourself, and so I started putting out there, how can I become a better person? How can I start growing? How can I start being a better dad, a better mate, a better whatever it was? And so things just started coming back in my life, going, oh, I met this person, person whospecializes in personal growth or specializes in meditation or specializes in this or whatever.
Joseph:What would be one or two actionable steps that you took out of this that you would say, I would still use this to today, to give to today?
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. It's one thing to create a vision board, if I could go and grab a half a dozen magazines and cut out these great sayings and these things, and I can put it in every wall in my house, and that's great, but you have to feel it how you, the thought is put out there and the feeling is how you get it back. And so I would feel that, I would see that, I would, as I was prepping and preparing to ride my bike across the United States, I would visualize and feel what it was like to dip my bicycle in the Atlantic Ocean, I would feel what it was like to grab a handful of sand and go, I did it. And of course I was faced with so many challenges, I can't tell you how many challenges I was faced with coming across the states. It taught me so many things ‘causethat the challenges that I came up, that I came across as I'm coming across the states is just a metaphor of life. There were times where I threw a temper tantrum, I wasn't feeling it, I things broke, flat tire, lost this, lost that. One time I set my tent on fire while I was cooking dinner, another time I crashed and I was knocked out and I had firefighters coming down this ravine to help get me outta this ditch. But Joseph, you may not remember these words, but that day that I crashed coming down into Telluride from Lizard Head Pass, you said, Michael, you've gotta get back on your bike. If you don't get back on your bike, the longer you wait, the harder it's gonna get.And I held onto those words and with bruised ribs or fractured ribs, I don't know what it was. I know it was pain, and I just kept pedaling, and I just kept pedaling. And regardless how I felt, I just kept pedaling.
Joseph: Yeah. And actually remember that where I think one of the things that I had also said,‘cause this is what's always resonated in my mind, I said, you either gotta get back in the saddle or you gotta quit, what are you gonna do?
Michael: Yeah. And again, like what you're saying right now, get back in the saddle or quit, is no different than eroding or evolving, eroding or growing, whatever you're doing, you've gotta be, you're doing one or the other, there's no in between.
Joseph: Because we look at quitting as, okay, I give up right now, I give up in this moment and I'm not gonna ride my bike anymore or I give up on my marriage and I'm done, I file for divorce or I give up on growing a business, and ultimately nobody really wants to quit, nobody wants to make that decision of I'm done a hundred percent at this moment, but what we do, we quit in small stages or in small steps of, you know what I'm just, I'm frustrated at life, this things aren't going my way, so I'll do it again tomorrow and then tomorrow comes and you're like, yeah, today's not a good day either. And ultimately we're quitting in small steps to like what you said, the erosion that we're allowing things to erode away and not grow. And it's funny because since I've hired a body building coach and getting into the lifting aspect and training, a lot of people say, let's go, and I heard him one day says, let's grow. And I'm like, huh, I like that. And for me, it's just, when I heard this, that was that, are you gonna get one more wrap in or are you gonna quit? Are you gonna get this one more in here and you're gonna push yourself or are you gonna stop doing this? And I remember speaking that to you because I think that firefighter had said that you've got some more likely some cracked ribs and I remember you calling me, dude, it freaking hurts, everything hurts. And here's the thing, coming from my medical background in sports medicine, I knew there was only one thing that you can do for cracked ribs, and that's nothing. You can't do a darn thing about them. Yeah, you can put suppress or compression pads around you and things like that, but when you're crunched down and you're riding on a bike, the only thing to do for a cracked rib is to get off the bike and rest. So what are you going to do when you face a challenge and I know that you've heard this before, that the saying that says, if you quit today, you'll quit the rest of the day of your life, you'll quit every day of your life. And I think it's even Tony Robbins that says the quote of how you do anything is how you will do everything. And I remember that moment telling you that as you were riding, and I don't remember if you were crying, you probably were or probably wanted to ‘cause there's no doubt that you were in pain. And Michael, how far into that journey, it was 3,600 miles, okay. How far into that were you when you had that wreck?
Michael: Oh, it was in Colorado, so I would assume probably a thousand miles maybe.
Joseph: So you still had 2,600 miles, roughly, 2,600 miles to go. You weren't even halfway. Very easy at that point to say, you know what, I'm done.
Michael: And not only that, Joseph, but I could have totally said, I'm done, and it would've been an understood reason.
Joseph: A hundred percent. There would never been a person out there.
Michael: Everybody, all my friends, everybody supporting me would've been like, Michael, you deserve it, but if you take that in life, dude, everybody has their days where they've been run off the road into a ravine where their back is laying in a creek, knocked out and wake up not knowing what the hell has just happened. Everybody has had that. In some way or another, whatever it is, whether it's divorce or I lost my wife or I lost my child, whatever, we have all been kicked so hard to the face. But you have to make a choice. And some people choose to live in it and be a victim and they've had that, there's nothing wrong to doing that, there's nothing right, it's your choice.
Joseph: Nothing wrong, but there is something better.
Michael: Of course there is, but you have to be emotionally at that place to be able to do it, ‘cause you're going to circle the drain regardless, you're gonna keep visiting that area of pain, regardless. Do you wanna hit it head on and go, you know what, I'm tired of being miserable, I'm tired of living hurt or I'm ready to grow, not erode and make a difference in not only my life, but my kid's life and my husband's life, and the people that are around me and make an impact, we're all here to make an impact. How big of an impact do you wanna make? Our, we're our innate, we're built to make a difference, to want to feel like what we do is worth something. That's how we're wired, and so we either live in the world of I'm the victim and nothing good happens to me or we make a shift. And for me it was always like, just keep going, and for that particular, just keep pedalling and just keep pedalling regardless of what pain I feel today, just keep peddling, and I've ridden my bicycle across the United States twice, as you're aware of, and one was from west to east on a road bike, and the other one was from north to south, from Canada to Mexico on a mountain bike. And both events, Joseph, I had to reevaluate every day. It became a new norm every day that my ass hurt, it became a new norm every day that I didn't have fingers in, I didn't have feelings in my fingers, it became a new norm that my back hurt, it became a new norm. So I would look at it and go, that's my new norm. Now, let's start from there.
Joseph: Wow, that's good.
Michael: So the fact that my butt was raw, the fact that I couldn't feel my finger, I had no feeling in my fingers. The fact that I couldn't feel my pinky toes, that was the new norm. So now that was my starting point for the day. So for the listeners out there, their new norm is, yes, I've been divorced, the new norm is, yes, I've lost a child. Yes, I've lost my spouse. Yes, I've lost whatever it is. There's nothing we can do about it, all we can do is go, I'm going to stop the eroding and I'm gonna start growing. There are people that need to hear from you because you can relate, you can understand, you can make a difference, and you can impact their lives through the hurt and the pain and the struggle that you've gone through. Joseph, I can't relate to losing my spouse, I can't relate, I don't know what that feels like, I don't understand it, all I can do is sympathize and be there for you. I can relate to somebody who's lost their spouse through a divorce and other things in life, but every one of that pain is still pain. It's all, it all hurts. But we all can make a choice to go, I'm not gonna erode, I'm gonna grow and how can I grow? And when we start asking ourselves the question of how can I do this? What can I do? How can I make a difference? Those things will start showing up in your lives if you're ready for it, I promise you it will happen. That's how the law of the universe works. What you put out there will come back, if you put the negative out there, it's coming back to you, if you start putting out, how can I make a difference, how can I grow, how can I be better? It will come back to you.
Joseph: Yeah, yeah. One of the things, Michael, that in the process of losing dad and then also losing Lasette all in the same month, and then of course Joshua being hospitalized and the negativity or the comments that came my way about not gonna be able to be a single dad, not gonna make it things like that from people that are close to us, that love us, that love me. One, I kept on getting the question of how are you so happy in the midst of all of it and how are getting through? And one of the things was as of course, creating that actionable step. And to the listeners, what I did, and I want to hear your viewpoint on this is, when you're battling with depression, okay, when you're battling with the fact of, I don't want to get up, I don't want to get out of bed, let's just take it from there, I don't even want to get outta bed. Forget going on and riding the bike for a hundred miles for the day, forget going to work and training dogs or building a house, or whatever the case is, you don't even want get outta bed, all that other stuff seems so farfetched. So for me, I said, but if I don't wanna get outta bed, maybe my first actionable step is to sit up in bed, just sit up, go from laying down to sitting up, you may do that for three or four straight days, okay. The next one is, put your feet on the floor, go from the couch, go from the bed to the, for the chair that's right beside your bed, and then eventually work on those things, how would you say, how would you tell or encourage our listeners to make actionable steps? How have you been able to do it for you to whether it was get back on the saddle or even when in the midst of the divorce, you also were losing everything because the economy. What would you say now to our listeners, how to create actionable steps that are meaningful and that are achievable? Because that's the biggest thing. They gotta have the success of achievement, right?
Michael: Yeah, sure. I think the biggest thing for me was writing things down. I started out with a gratitude journal and I would write down three things every day without repeating something I was thankful for, and it put me in a state of just being thankful for my life, for my kids. And so I would start putting things in there to go, I'm thankful that I had the energy to get up and do something productive. And so you start putting these things in place, the highest level of thing we can, of emotions that we can have is gratitude, and when we're bathing ourself in a place of gratitude, it changes everything about us, changes everything about us. And so that's what it was for me, I started out with, every day I've, I still have my journal, Joseph, and several years of writing down, I'm thankful for fill in the blank, every day, every day. And there was, there may have been a day or two, I missed it, and I would go back. I would, I'd make up for it, and it just, it started shifting my mindset and it started, you can't be grateful and hateful at the same time.
Joseph: Ooh, that's good, man, you can't be grateful and hateful at the same time.
Michael: You can't, man, you can't be grateful and in a pissy mood at the same time. You can't be grateful and a terrible dad at the same time. They just don't go hand in hand, and so when you start shifting that mindset, I promise you, you'll start getting motivated, and it may be moving to the chair, it may be moving to the couch. Joseph, obviously you and I have done a lot of workouts, exercise and all of that stuff throughout our lives, I've spent millions of hours, I don't know, maybe not millions, but thousands of hours on a bicycle and it takes a lot of effort and there's times where I'm like, I don't like riding my bicycle. And I would just get out there and I'd start pedaling, but never was there a time that I got done riding that I said I hated riding or that didn't feel good. Have you ever done a workout after it was over ago, that was terrible, you may have felt terrible, but you weren't disappointed for what you did every time. You do something, you get a gratification out of completing it.
Joseph: Yeah, because even if the mindset's not there, ‘cause there's days you're just like, man, I could have put forth so much more effort. Even though if the mindset's not there that you feel like you didn't have something, there's still growth in the process because you can't lift weights without growth, you can't ride a bike without growth. Everything that we're doing revolves around growth, okay. You're either shrinking or in your words eroding, which is still a level of growth, you're just going backwards or you're shrinking or you're growing, you're getting bigger. So yeah, absolutely. I'm with you on that one., that turns into:
Joseph: The other thing about not getting caught up is people think we try to put a time limit on growth. We try to put it in a time span, okay, I've been doing this for x amount of years, or I've been in business for x amount of years, or I've been body building for x amount of years, and you're like, because other people get it in two and it takes you six or they get it in six and it takes you 12, you're like, something must be wrong or I've been doing this for you almost felt entitled that you should be somewhere because you've been doing it for a certain amount of time, when that's not growing, growing is the fact of being able to celebrate that other person beside you, but also figure out, I was like, alright, if they're doing it in two and I hadn't done it in five, instead of complaining about them doing it in two and me in five, I'm like, what are they doing that I'm not, how can I take a little sneak peek of, man, you grew your business to a million dollars and how many years? I'm over here barely making $250,000. I'm like, how in the world, what is it? And it was almost like, go back to us, my time in the Marine Corps, and then I had my combative business, my firearms business and things like that, and you had already been in business for years and I'm struggling and I'm like, Michael, how in the world are you making so much money? Because to me, six figures was a lot. When you're barely making five, and I remember you saying, just like Joseph, you need to go into your combatives place and you need to just start visualizing what it was, you need to start visualizing there's, okay, if it takes 12 clients for you to pay rent, you need to start visualizing 12, and then when you get, you need to start visualizing 13 and 14 and 15 and 16 but we spend so much time bickering and complaining with the attitude of negativity of I should already be here, I should have a million dollars versus, man, I'm so thankful for where I'm at, but man, there's somebody over there that's doing something, I'm not, I need to figure out how to do that. But what we do is we don't shift our mind, we don't go to an, from an attitude of gratitude. We go from an attitude of attitude, we have an attitude of, I should be here. If you should be here and you are doing the right things, guess what? You'd be there versus, you know what, I'm not there and there's a reason why I'm not there and the only reason why I'm not there is because of me.
Michael: Yeah, that's right.
Joseph: If I hit a million dollars, my seven figures, which is our, which will be an astronomical growth from us going from 290,000 to 540,000 to hitting a million this year, it's because of me not necessarily to take away, not to take away from my staff that's training dogs and my and everybody else that's part of the sales team and things like that, it's because of I shifted from having the attitude of attitude to the attitude of gratitude, and putting my, setting those goals, I'm like, okay, man, a million seems like a lot, Joseph, that's only $83,333 and 33 cents a month. Huh? That don't seem that bad. $83,000 is still a lot. Well, it's not that bad, Joseph, when it's only $2,739 a day. Ooh, that's only like a dog sale for me. I can do one dog sale a day at 2,700 or $2,800 at 365 days a year. Man, I got my million dollars, you know, but we, I had to eventually just break that down instead of saying, man, I'm never gonna get this, maybe I should be in a higher plan man if I lived in New York where people are paying three, $4,000 for a dog to be trained, if I was there, there's no guarantee I'd be making a million dollars. No, stop trying to visualize yourself aware you're not where somebody else is, okay, and start visualizing yourself where you're at and where you want to go. And there's absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever with looking at somebody's else's vision until your vision becomes your own. I remember this when I first started out in dog training on my own, I'm watching all these different people, like they're doing these videos and doing this, man, all I did was almost memorize what they would say, and then I would shoot a video and I would say almost identical to what they said, and then what they were doing now became what I was doing, and then what I was doing now came my own swirl or my own twist on things to now it became mine. But I could have sat there and plenty of said, just, he was like, I'm, I'm not doing this any again. I've lost my houses, I've lost my properties, I've lost my wife, man, forget this, but something somewhere says, you know what? There's something better, I've gotta create an action step to go after that better. I've got to, and then I'm not only taking the action step, but even just the mentality of, I'm going to get, this is going to happen for me and it's gonna happen to me and it's gonna happen through me.
Michael: Joseph, part of that mindset that I had, and I constantly remind myself even today, is knowing and feeling and believing that it's already done, knowing and feeling and believing that I am a multimillionaire, knowing and feeling and believing that my company is going to be in every state in the United States and seeing it, I visualize my logo in every state in the United States all the time. And I feel it, I sit there and just feel it and just bathe myself in those emotions and not worry about the how, not worry about how I'm gonna get there, I just know I'm already there, it's just steps have gotta get in place, but knowing it and feeling it and believing that you are already this, the whatever it is, the success that you are, you are already the best dog trainer in the United States in the world at that fact, walk into that. Know that. If you really knew that, would you walk a little differently? Would you talk a little differently? So start doing it. You know, why are you holding back acting and believing and feeling that when you really know that, but you allow your circumstances to dictate how you emotionally respond, so your circumstances tell you and show you, oh, I'm only a local dog trainer, so I'm gonna continue to be a local dog trainer, and I'm gonna feel like a local dog trainer, and I'm gonna be a local dog trainer versus going, I'm in every state in the United States. I talk it, I feel it, I know it. No, I don't currently have an office in every state in the United States, it's, I'm just walking into that. Having that confidence and that mindset of like, it's already happened, and then watch things, and when you feel it, like I said before, your thoughts are what you send out, your feelings are how you draw it back to you, start feeling those emotions, and if it's hard to draw up those emotions, think about gratitude, it's easy to start creating emotions through gratitude and start with something that is simple, I'm thankful that I'm alive today. I'm thankful that I'm breathing, I'm thankful for my kids, I'm thankful for my family. And you start rising those emotions up inside of you and then you start building on that. I'm thankful that I have a multi-million dollar company, I'm thankful that I have the best employees, all the time I am stating whether my employees mess up or not, I have the best staff. My staff is the best staff ever and I know confidently that I can go to every one of my staff and they choose to be here because they love it, because they see that they want growth for themselves, not because of a paycheck, not because they have to have a job, it's because they see a bigger picture for themselves, but it started with me. It started me believing and showing and teaching that you have to believe in you first, that you can before anybody else. My staff knows that there's two words that I dislike, can't and won't. It's just doesn't exist in my vocabulary, and it's always okay, redirect. It's not a can't, it's a redirect, redirect. You don't have to know how to get from Georgia to Louisiana where you're at, Joseph or Georgia to the coast of California, you put it in the GPS and the GPS, when you get off track, just redirect, redirect. I read a book, oh, I can't remember the name of it right now, it'll come to me, but it talked about how the first flight to the moon was off track 80 something percent of the time, and all they did was they would just redirect, redirect until they made it to the moon. So you don't have to be on track all the time. You just have to redirect. You have to be aware, but you have to be in that place to be able to listen to your body, listen to your mind, listen to your surroundings of going something doesn't feel right, something's off. Redirect, redirect.
Joseph: Man, and well, you talk about that now and just you think about our lifestyle, you think about our upbringing, your divorce, your business, the death of my wife, and all it's ever been is just, you think you have a course that you're going to be on for a long time and all of a sudden it's just like, okay, I gotta redirect now, and it's just, it makes it seem like that's what life is all about, it's just constant redirecting, constantly making the U-turn sometimes, rerouting as a GPS would say. And realizing that one thing that you said to me after Lisette passed away, and I know she was your favorite sister-in-law, and she was the only one, but is one thing that you kept telling me, I would call you and I'm like, man, I'm not sure what to do about this or I'm not sure, Michael, is this the right decision? And you kept on telling me is Joseph is, there's no right or wrong in any of this. If you feel like the decision you make today is right, then do it, if you feel like it's wrong, then don't do it, but if you feel like it's wrong today, doesn't mean that it's gonna be wrong tomorrow, just make the decision. And then, and I don't know if you use these words, readjust, readjust, but that's ultimately what you were telling me is if it doesn't work good for today, try it again tomorrow or do something different tomorrow. And going from and Lasette, she cooked, she was the typical loving Hispanic woman that enjoyed doing things around the house, washing the clothes, keeping the house clean, cooking, and I went out and cook. I went out and made money of course she did too, but that's what she enjoyed to do, then all of a sudden, my whole life is completely interrupted, where now I'm like, I'm doing all those things, I'm like scared to death to cook, even though we were taught to cook as a young, as young kids, we were 12 and 13 years old when we were learning how to cook, but yet going 16, 17 years without having to do it, it's just, man, I gotta learn how to do this all over again or how do I father kids? How do I be the best father to my three kids right now? I'm learning how to change a diaper all over again, I'm learning that it's more than just, hey, can you hold the baby and I go do something for a while was more than just what I had ever experienced, and it was just constant, readjusting. Readjusting until I'm like, okay, I feel like I've got some sort of pattern down, and of course you chew in my butt at times and motivating me in the process, but all I've felt like I've been doing for the last couple years is just redirecting, redirecting and readjusting to something new that's happened.
Michael: But Joseph, the difference between you and probably a lot of people is just like the GPS where it says redirect, you didn't stop, you didn't stay put, you didn't waller in whatever thought or feelings. You may had a day or two or even a week of just working through those thoughts or figuring it out, but never did you get to a point where you stopped and became stagnant and you started to erode, you always were like, okay, I'm gonna keep going and the pace may have been slower then than it is right now, doesn't matter. You kept moving forward, and so that's my encouragement to the listeners is when I was riding my bicycle across the states, there were days I did 30 miles, there was a day I did almost 300, and there was a difference in how I felt on the 30 mile than how I felt on the 300, and the 300 was like, I'm almost there, I'm encouraged, I'm ready. I've built up strength, I've built up stamina. The 30 mile day was in the very beginning when the sun was hitting me hard and I didn't feel good and things weren't going right, and it's okay, give yourself a break, don't feel like you have to do a hundred miles every day, but just keep pedaling, just keep moving forward in your day knowing that you at least got out of bed, that you at least made one step towards where you know you are headed. I know I'm headed here and this is my first step, don't allow a day to go by where you can't lay your head down at night without knowing that you didn't make one action step towards your goal.
Joseph: Yeah, that's good, man. That's good stuff. Michael, what does the words purpose through pain mean to you?
Michael: I love that statement, because again, what we've talked about, there's pain is just inevitable, we live a life that those things happen, but there's just, there's a bigger picture. There's just a bigger picture to our personal experience, our personal situation, there are so many people that need you. You, Joseph, you the listener, myself, they need to hear our words, and there is a reason why you're going through pain. It's to be taught something, it's to be, it's to learn something, it's to help teach somebody else. And so there's a purpose for it, and I love it, I love, for me, it's a reminder of when I have a hard time or a hard situation or a hard day or whatever it is, there's a bigger picture, there's a purpose for this, it's growth, it's an evolution, it's not eroding. So that's what that means to me, Joseph.
Joseph: That's good, man, that's good. You've been my hero for so many years, man.
Michael: I'm glad we made it through without crying. A couple times I was starting to get little teary-eyed.
Joseph: Yeah, without a doubt. Michael, what is the best way people can get in touch with you? You're more than just somebody that can build a house. You do some astronomical work, and of course, you're growing your business to not only outside of the North Georgia area, but to other, to other states. You said you wanted your brand, your work, to be able to carry it on through. So what is the best way that people can reach out to you, let's say, even for advice on how to do something within their home, a do-it-yourselfer kind of thing, or even hey, a project.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. You could just reach out to me on my website, MichaelJamesremodeling.com. I've got plenty of information and ways to reach out to me through that, through my website, would love to connect, would love to chat, whatever it is, even if it's just a, hey Michael, how do I do this? I'm not looking for anything from it other than my goal is to transform the lives of every person we meet through residential remodeling, and that's just one vehicle that I'm in right now, my goal is to have so many different vehicles to impact the lives of every person I come in contact with, that's what I'm here for, that's what I love to do, I love to make a difference.
Joseph: Man, that's awesome, man. Michael, thanks so much for being on the show and for all you listeners out there, please go on our podcast, your favorites app of it, okay. Apple, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, okay, Google. And take a listen, take a listen to this episode of course, and listen to all the other other episodes, let us know how we can help you guys, you can reach me @meetjosephjames that's on Instagram at @meetjosephjames. Love to be able to hear from you guys on how you guys are struggling, whether it's with trauma or grief or pain, and one thing, the big testimony that Michael and I both have when it comes to our dad is our dad, even though we hated him growing up and we didn't have a relationship with him, we wished he would have died when my mom, instead of my mom dying, our dad died our best friend, and that's the power of being able to reconcile, that's the power of being able to forgive, that's the power of the mindset of changing. What we felt could have been a victim mentality of growing up a certain way to now of achieving our best selves. So guys, thank you so much, I love you guys, stay tuned for more episodes on purpose through Pain. Love you guys, and thanks so much.
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