Have you ever felt lost, depressed, scared, or unsure of what to do with your life? My guest today, Mike Koenigs, will show you that there is always a way to reimagine and reinvent yourself, no matter how overwhelmed you may feel.
Mike is an extraordinarily successful serial entrepreneur who has earned tens of millions of dollars and worked with clients such as Tony Robbins, Paula Abdul, and Richard Dreyfuss. But in his early 50s, Mike felt purposeless, suicidal, and broke.
In today’s conversation, Mike shares how he came to understand that our beliefs are what prevent us from accessing our power to change our circumstances, and he teaches us how our beliefs determine our happiness and purpose in life. Now, just a few years later, he’s happier and healthier than ever, runs a multimillion-dollar business and helps other entrepreneurs rediscover their purpose and find their next act in life.
- The foundational beliefs and values that will help you overcome any situation, no matter how difficult.
- The importance of working through your childhood trauma and unresolved issues.
- How Dan Sullivan’s advice helped him rediscover his purpose, get out of his massive $2 million debt, and build a thriving business.
- Why being honest and vulnerable isn’t a weakness; it’s your superpower.
- The next time you feel like life’s too much, be kind to yourself instead of judging your emotions.
- How meditating for three days straight helped Mike realize he could reinvent himself and create value for people in the process.
- You’ll also learn Mike’s 6-step framework for personally and professionally reinventing yourself, regardless of age.
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- Mike Koenigs
- Mike Koenigs on LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter
- Your Next Act: The Six Growth Accelerators For Creating The Business You’ll Love for the Rest of Your Life by Mike Koenigs
- The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery: Letting Go of Who You’ve Been for Who You Can Become by Hal Elrod, Joe Polish, Anna David, Honoree Corder, Dr. Drew Pinsky
- The Lifestyle Investor: The 10 Commandments of Cash Flow Investing for Passive Income and Financial Freedom by Justin Donald, Ryan Levesque, Mike Koenigs
- Dan Sullivan
- Strategic Coach
- Hoffman Institute
- Hoffman Process
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Hal Elrod: Hey, welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host Hal Elrod. And today, we’re going to talk about how to reinvent yourself at any age. Often in life, we get to points where we stop and we ask ourselves, “What am I doing? What am I doing with my life? How did I get to this point? And where am I going?” And often life can feel purposeless and it can cause us to feel depressed or anxious or scared.
And so, today, my guest, Mike Koenigs is the perfect person to help talk about how to reinvent yourself at any age. Five years ago, Mike went from being as successful as anybody you’d ever know to wanting to be dead and had to reinvent himself at– I forget the exact age, I’ll ask him, but in his 50s, I believe.
And Mike, in case you don’t know who he is, I’ve him on the podcast a while back and this will be our second conversation on the Achieve Your Goals podcast. Mike is the author of over a dozen books, created multi-million-dollar businesses and sold those businesses. He has coached Joe Polish, a coauthor of the Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery. He’s coached Paula Abdul, actor Richard Dreyfuss, the one and only Tony Robbins, and many more, as well as my good friend Justin Donald, author of The Lifestyle Investor.
And today, Mike is rebuilding his life, and as successful as he’s ever been, as he’s helping others to create the life of their dreams, his new book is called Your Next Act: How to Create a Business You’ll Love for the Rest of Your Life. So, if reinventing yourself, at whatever age you are, is helpful and important for you. Here we go.
Mike Koenigs: All right. How are you doing, my friend?
Hal Elrod: Mike, it’s so good to be in the studio with you, man.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I’m really excited to be here. I know you had a show to do and you happened to be in town for your– it’s your sister-in-law’s birthday?
Hal Elrod: Yeah, 40th birthday.
Mike Koenigs: That’s right?
Hal Elrod: That’s right.
Mike Koenigs: Well, congratulations. Sounds like you’re going to have some fun, but, yeah, it’s great to have you. I miss you. We don’t spend enough time together, but this is a great way to connect again.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, it now worked out. I had a virtual keynote to give and I thought my internet at the Airbnb probably isn’t reliable. So, who right now in San Diego has a studio that I could use in? Man, your studio’s dialed in. In fact, I have studio envy as I’m here going, man, Mike has got everything dialed in.
Mike Koenigs: Well, the one thing I will tell you is if you can work in an environment that when you have a creative idea and you can just produce really good-looking content and get it out there, I find it very inspiring. I always love walking in here. And you heard me when I came in today and I said, “Studio on” to my Alexa device, and boop, boop, all the lights turn on. But it’s a fun little tech place.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. You’re on the cutting edge of technology, always. So, let’s dive in. You and I, before we started recording, we were talking about five years ago, and really, you hit a real low point, and I’ve experienced similar low points where I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue living, which is about as low as it gets. And so, talk about that time in your life and how you reinvented yourself. And by the way, what age were you at that point since I didn’t know.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, so I’m 56 now. So, I’ll call it like 51, 52. And so, here’s what had happened is, I had been from a background or I grew up in a small town in Eagle Lake, Minnesota. I taught myself to code when I was very young. So, I learned how to program and I really wanted to run away from home and go work for Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak when I was 14 years old. I used to have a backpack packed.
Then I wrote code, I ended up writing video games for a little while, and started an agency. I sold that and then started two software companies, and they were growing, eventually sold those, and then started another business. And one day, I woke up and I just felt trapped. I couldn’t articulate this at the time, but the best way to describe it is, later on, I realized I felt like I had outgrown who I was, what I did, why I did it, who I did it for. And I just didn’t have a compelling future. I just wasn’t getting up feeling excited.
And I learned later on that my hormones were off, also. You start losing your testosterone in your 50s. And it’s kind of like the frog in a pot of water where I wasn’t sleeping well. I was not sleeping at all in many cases. I started having anxiety attacks. And also, a lot of my business was falling apart. And here I am, I’m supposed to be this guru guy, and I’m losing about 150,000 bucks a month. My marketing systems were failing and broken. And I had also contractually, I was on the hook for six hotel contracts, each of which was probably $250,000 each.
Hal Elrod: These were live events that you had committed to put on?
Mike Koenigs: Yup. And so, I think all that’s kind of necessary because I felt a lot of pressure, and suddenly, I just hated my business. And despite the fact that I had had all the success, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I’m like, “What the hell am I going to do?”
And to unravel, my business commitments would have cost $2 million. So, I’m like, that’s a big dent, that’s a big check for anyone to write out. And I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable talking to or turning to because my ego is so big that getting out of my way and asking for help and saying, I am lost, I’m scared, I’m afraid was more than I could bear. And now…
Hal Elrod: But you’re supposed to have all the answers, right? You’re coaching everybody else on how to overcome the stuff you’re now struggling with.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. And so, I just sat and suffered for a couple of months. And eventually, I did get some coaches to work with me, like some energy coaches and health coaches. I got some hormone treatments which made a difference, but I really had to do some deep work and unravel what was a lot of trauma that goes back to my childhood for sure that I’d never really done the work on. And I thought, at the time after dealing with cancer, a lot of stuff got fixed, I think, I felt a lot better, but I clearly hadn’t done the deep work.
So, I got a coach who put me in some very difficult situations just rewiring my brain. And then I also sat down one day with Dan Sullivan and I said, “Dan, I feel really lost and I’m not sure what I should do.” And he gave me some advice. And I took the advice, I did exactly what he said, and suddenly, the answers started to appear. And then over the next couple of years, I started fixing what was broken.
Hal Elrod: So, I got to know what was Dan’s advice.
Mike Koenigs: Okay. So, Dan has a system. He’s got a couple of things.
Hal Elrod: By the way, Dan Sullivan, if anyone doesn’t know, if anybody gives good advice, tested advice, it’s Dan Sullivan. So, you asked the right guy.
Mike Koenigs: So, he’s been one of my coaches for over a decade. He’s also a good friend and I do a podcast with him. So, I have this opportunity to be with a guy who’s 78 years old. He’s the most productive human being I’ve ever known.
Hal Elrod: Wow.
Mike Koenigs: He writes at least five books a year. So, he does four quarterly books and he does an annual book as well that become bestsellers. He does 10 podcasts, and then he leads Strategic Coach, and he teaches and educates at least hundreds of founders and business owners. They have over 3,000 clients. So, they’re known as the 800-pound gorilla in the coaching world.
But here’s what his advice was. So, first of all, there’s something called the Dan Sullivan question. And the question goes like this, if you and I were to meet three years from today, what needs to happen personally and professionally for you to feel happy with your progress?
That’s a deep, deep question. And it’s intended to do a whole bunch of things, but one of them is to imagine a compelling, moving future. So, that’s the core. And then there’s something he calls DOS, which is D for dangers, O for opportunities, S for strengths. And so, what dangers are you facing in your life right now? What are you afraid of? What keeps you up at night? The opportunities are what are the opportunities that stand in front of you that you’d like to take advantage of? And sometimes, maybe you can’t because whatever, there’s something in the way. And then strengths are what are your strengths? What are your capabilities?
And in Dan’s language, as he calls it, your unique ability. I call it your superpower. Gay Hendricks, for example, calls it your zone of genius. But I like to say, if you could spend 99% of your time in your superpower, what would that be? And that usually is what you’re known for, what you’re great at, what you love to do.
Hal Elrod: People around you say you’re the best at this. And what’s your superpower? What did you define?
Mike Koenigs: So, my superpower is seeing someone’s future potential. I can see their blue ocean. I can see their greatest version of themselves and not only articulate it to them in a way that inspires them to want to create it and live in it, but also to share their message, to share their story, know, Hal, what words to say, what stories to tell, and give that to them so they can communicate it to the world. So, I take and give people a voice and help share their voice.
Hal Elrod: Got it. Yeah, I know, Justin Donald called me a couple of years ago and he said, “Hey, I’m thinking about working with Mike Koenigs to help me figure out what my brand’s going to be and my book and all of that. What do you think?” And I said, “Mike’s been a good friend for years. Highly recommended. He’s as good as anybody to help you do that.” And of course, Justin, now, number one Wall Street Journal bestseller, creator, author of The Lifestyle Investor, creator of Lifestyle Investor brand, the Mastermind. I mean, he is on a rocket ship.
Mike Koenigs: Oh, my God.
Hal Elrod: He credits a lot of that to you. So, I mean, I’m just attesting that that is absolutely your superpower.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah. Well, thank you. And what I will say about Justin, he was the guy that everyone needed but no one knew about. And he knew he’d love to speak. He knew he’d love our products. He knew he’d like to have a book. But it’s like, where do I start? I don’t even know where to begin. And at age 40, I think he’s 41 right now, I believe he’ll be a billionaire before he’s 50. And this isn’t about the money. It’s about the impact he can create, but he’s well on his way.
Hal Elrod: Wow.
Mike Koenigs: He is exceptional. And that’s, again, sometimes you just need one person to believe in you and see your ultimate potential and help you understand what words to say to attract an audience to you. And I think that’s a big part of what I’ve developed into. And for whatever reason, I’ve always been pretty good at that, but I didn’t have the skills or capabilities to make it happen. I knew that was a spark, a possibility.
Hal Elrod: Got it. All right. Let’s go back. So, four years ago, you are depressed, you are overwhelmed. You are in debt. You are bleeding 150 grand a month. That’d be pretty rough for anybody to take. And you reached out to Dan Sullivan. Repeat the Dan Sullivan question again.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah. So, if you and I were to meet here three years from today, what will have happened personally and professionally for you to feel satisfied with your progress?
Hal Elrod: Okay. All right. And so, pick the story up there.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah. So, here’s what happened. And he said, “Here’s your assignment. I want you to go out and talk to 20 business owners, entrepreneurs, and do the DOS on them. And you can’t sell them anything. You can’t solve their problem, you just have to listen.” Now, anyone who knows me knows I love to sell and I like– because I’m really good at going, I know exactly what you need to do and how to solve the problem. And I either know someone who will get you there, I know the steps to take. I can introduce you to those people and help you figure out and build a system. That’s the way I’m wired.
So, it was really hard. But here’s what did happen. After I listened to two, I already had the answer. And after I listened to 15, I really had the answer. And by the time I hit 20, I not only had an idea for what my next act would be, it was a compelling future that motivated me and I realized I know what I want to do potentially for the rest of my life.
Hal Elrod: And what was it?
Mike Koenigs: What it turned into is, I would help founders who are in the exact same place I was, so entrepreneurs, business owners. And I had spent years and years, at least 25 years working with people who had jobs and they wanted to become entrepreneurs or they wanted to find a way to create a business and make money. And a lot of my products were like, how to market with video, how to start your own digital marketing agency, how to write a book, how to speak, how to create your own digital products and create a footprint online. But that was always like kind of a one-too-many. I created digital products and I showed other people how to do the same.
But in this case, I realized that when I got real with a founder and told them what happened to me, someone would just start crying and go, that’s exactly where I am, man. I’ve been suicidal for 10 years and I have no one to talk to you about it, or I’ve made my money. I’m bored and I’m stuck and I’m afraid to change. I’ve got this reason and this reason and this reason why I can’t or I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. But they got stuck in an identity crisis. And what often happens with many, I mean just anyone, but especially I notice it in business owners is we get into a trap of selling the same thing, feeling that we’re worth X.
So, if you work for someone right now and you make $100,000 per year, that translates into a certain value per hour. And we believe that that’s what we’re worth, that’s what the market will bear. If you’re selling a product or service, you’re like, oh, my clients would never pay more than X, or I have to do Y because the competition will do something. And that’s all an illusion. It’s all a story that you’re telling yourself about your self-worth.
So, our self-esteem, our internal operating system, is preventing us from believing in something bigger and better. So, the bottom line, to answer your question, is I realized that what I knew how to do and what I had figured out for myself and I was going to prove it for me first, and I knew I could do it for others. Sometimes it’s easier to do for others than it is to do for you.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Mike Koenigs: But that I would help people create a personal brand that would amplify the value of everything else they’re doing, which I always use the example of Elon Musk. Whether you love him or hate him, he right now is, and well, I believe he’ll be the first trillion-dollar brand. There are very few people who are thinking about and actually putting stuff into space and thinking about going to Mars and have the capabilities of doing it and making money while he does it. He did create the first electric car company but the most valuable car company in the world by a long shot. He gives away his patents. Anyone can use his patents. This guy’s a visionary.
Steve Jobs has been dead for over 10 years, and his DNA lives on in Apple. And Apple is the most valuable company in the world. Now, you think about Oprah, but you can go on down the line. Anyone who has a strong personal brand can touch something, and it is immediately worth three to even 100 times more than anyone else. And if I said to you, do you know who the CEO is of General Motors or of your cable company or your phone company? What would you answer, Hal?
Hal Elrod: Who knows?
Mike Koenigs: Right. And he’d be like, not only do I not know, I don’t care.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Mike Koenigs: I don’t care. And if that organization had a character, a founder, a leader, a visionary leader who is a compelling storyteller, that brand would be worth a lot more right now. And that goes for anything you do. If you want to create an impact, you have to think like a movement maker, you have to think like a visionary, and you have to be willing to ask more of yourself and ask more of everyone else around you.
And so, that is what I decided to do, is help founders live inside their superpower, their zone of genius all the time, and create a brand and package their message in such a way that it would create a movement and inspire themselves and other people. And it’s because the truth is, I needed it for me. I felt broke and broken inside and terrified and afraid and lost. And I needed some inspiration in order to survive.
And when I was honest with other people that that’s exactly where I was, they opened up to me and said, “I don’t have anyone else to tell this to. I can’t tell my wife. I don’t feel comfortable. I will lose my business and my employees if someone knows that this is what’s happening to me.”
Hal Elrod: Yeah. That makes sense. So, let’s break this down, for anybody listening because obviously, your superpower of helping businesses and people who create their personal brand is, for somebody listening, that might be completely foreign to what their superpower is. But I want to try to look at what you did to reinvent yourself. What were the steps? What were the principles? What were the ideas?
One of the first ones was it feels like was clarity, like admitting to yourself, something has to change. I can’t go on like this. Then there was a big piece that I see as vulnerability. You got to be willing to ask for help. And I can relate to that. I went through a very similar time in 2020 of suicidal ideation every day. I wasn’t sleeping, just like you, I wasn’t sleeping, real similar, after cancer and chemo. I don’t know if there’s a correlation there, but…
Mike Koenigs: There is, for sure. I’m absolutely 100% certain that that’s the case.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I’ve been on chemo for three years and stopped. I was literally sleeping two to four hours a night and I got really depressed and I was overwhelmed. I had started building a team. And then all of a sudden, now, the weight of me having to lead this group when I couldn’t even lead myself and I was having anxiety attacks every day, I mean, I was a mess. And each day I would ask myself the question, “How could I take my own life and not have my kids be significantly negatively impacted?”
And I was not creative enough, thank God, to figure out an answer. I’m like every time I start to think, ooh, if I just drove off a bridge on accident, but I recorded a bunch of videos for them, telling them all my life lessons I wanted to share, maybe that would, nah, that’s not kind of way. Like it just always came to…
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, you can’t engineer yourself out of that. That’s for sure.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I know, but I tried. But to your point, being the guy that I’m the author, I’m the speaker, I’m the coach, I’m the…
Mike Koenigs: Guru.
Hal Elrod: Guru, right? Like, I’m supposed to, and it almost is like an identity crisis because you’re like, why the hell– I’m supposed to have this figured out. If I can’t, and who am I to now teach other people? That’s the other pieces. Wait. Now, my identity of the guy that can help others, I can’t even help myself. I’m a fraud. Who am I kidding? So, anyway, I’m going off on my tangent here of that experience.
Mike Koenigs: All those are real.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, but the point of being vulnerable where you finally got to where you ask for help, let’s just talk on that because I think that can be the biggest hurdle for people, the fear of being vulnerable. But it’s also arguably the single most important first step or next step. And that alone, just asking for help, the one conversation can be like, oh, my gosh, you just shared something with me that I didn’t even think about, and that’s exactly what I needed. So, talk about vulnerability and just the pros and the cons, or at least what people perceive as cons.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, yeah. Well, I think what happened in my case is, first of all, that is a very, very difficult thing to unravel because it’s like, why am I afraid to ask for help? You have to really be honest about that first. And I know for me, it was like, well, if someone finds out how lost and dark I am, and I am supposed to be an X, I’m supposed to be the guru with all the answers, I’m supposed to be this, in my niche anyway, relatively famous, successful guy who’s wealthy, and I’m maintaining my illusion.
I have a character that I have to make other people believe in, or my customers will quit and not follow me because I’m a loser. My employees will get afraid and quit because if I can’t maintain the illusion of stability that they will have jobs, all my systems will fall apart. And then the money disappears, and then that’ll tap into my net worth that I’ve been working my ass off for 30 years. What I’ve accumulated in terms of wealth will disappear. I’ll have to borrow against it. You start going through all these scenarios of how bad things can get.
And then what will happen with my wife and then, like, will she abandon me? My wife and I have been through some really heavy crap together, but still, everyone’s got their breaking point. Everyone, no matter what the illusory agreement appears to be. And when you’re…
Hal Elrod: When you’re in such a bad emotional space, you don’t have a clear– like everything is colored negatively. I mean, you’re like, oh, why would my– well, I can’t even stand being with myself. How is my wife going to want to stay with me?
Mike Koenigs: So, that’s what I call the spiraling. We all spiral when we go through these depressive things combined with no sleep, anxiety attacks, low testosterone, and God knows what other kind of poisons. And I do believe that after chemo, after radiation, after all these treatments, there’s a cumulative toxicity that lives inside of us. It takes years to get rid of unless it’s done intentionally. So, there’s no doubt that that happened.
Plus, at 50 years old, I had a lot of unresolved childhood, not good enough, not being enough, not enough trauma going on that I think just plowed into me. And then, like I say, a lack of a compelling future. One of the things that Tony Robbins talks about, he said to me a couple of times, one of them is, “Why do people become suicidal? Why do they commit suicide? It’s a lack of a compelling future.” And the second one is nothing is as good or bad as it ever appears to be at first.
But again, when you’re spiraling, all these things become accelerated and multiplied. So, emotional wreckage. So, to answer the question, so what did I do? How did I ask for help? I kind of had a couple of angels show up in my life at once. One of them that was helpful is I did something called the Hoffman Process, which is a beautiful act of forgiveness. So, if you’ve ever heard of the Hoffman Process or the Hoffman Institute, it’s been around for decades. I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you’re in transition. It’s a way to really forgive yourself and to forgive where you came from.
So, I think practicing forgiveness is a key step in this. And that, again, is easier said than done. It’s like you didn’t do anything wrong. You’re not bad. And you have to respect the fact that I believe midlife crisis is a chemical. It’s a hormonal shift and a change, like when you’re– here’s something else that happened. I went through a period of time. I think my animal was terrified that it no longer was going to be making babies. And there was a certain animal uselessness that kicks in. And you talk to any woman who’s gone through menopause and her changes go through that. When your body changes, you start gaining weight, all the hormonal stuff, and you wake up depressed. I mean, that’s part of the deal. And that’s why we’ve got hormone replacement therapy.
So, sometimes, chemical is good. The other thing you’re doing is working out like a banshee, but when it came to the angels, okay, so Hoffman was one of them. And then I got a coach who is an energetic, a spiritual coach who isolated me for days at a time. And now, remember, my business is falling apart. I’m terrified everything is going to go away. And I did really, really hard exercises. One of them included, I wasn’t allowed to do anything except meditate for three days. And it happened less than a week before one of my big events that was make or break. And I didn’t know what was going on at the time, but the exercise essentially was to prove to me that you will figure this out.
Creativity loves time, compression, and deadlines. And I literally invented an offer that I made to an audience that I somehow conjured out of thin air to show up at one of my events, but I did get really creative to fill up this thing so I wouldn’t go broke. And that became one of the first dominoes to solve my problem.
Now, how is that related to another business owner or someone who doesn’t have a business? First of all, no, you’re not going to die. Nothing really horrible is going to happen. And this is a story your brain is telling about how bad things could possibly be. That’s not real. And it didn’t happen yet. And we’re all much more resourceful than we think we are and a lot stronger than we think we are.
And I don’t think that that exercise can come from something internal. You’ve got to get external help. You’ve got to find a coach who can see you and help create that compelling future and help you live into it and put you into extremely uncomfortable spots that you can’t weasel your way out of. You can’t negotiate your way out of, you have to do your way through them.
Hal Elrod: And that you’re not going to put yourself in on your own.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, there’s no way.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, in terms of reinventing yourself, so you got clarity, the business shifted in that direction. If somebody is listening to this and their challenge is mental and emotional, which at the end of the day, it always falls back to that anyway, right?
Mike Koenigs: Totally.
Hal Elrod: Like even your financial challenges, it’s really a mental and emotional challenge that you’re dealing with because of these external stimuli that are the finances. You mentioned that you meditated for three days. What’s an internal shift for somebody to make that feeling that’s really struggling right now, that feels either they don’t know what their life’s about? They’re struggling with their finances, they’re struggling with their marriage, they’re struggling. What are some foundational beliefs, paradigm shifts, mindsets? I know, in your new book, that’s number one.
The first growth accelerator that you teach in your book is develop the right mindset of non-negotiable values to reimagine your business. So, whether it’s applying to their business, what is the internal mental, emotional shift that somebody can make that can really help you go, hey, look, it’s not as bad as you think, you are more capable, you are more resourceful? Yeah, let’s speak on that.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah. And know that we can replace the word business with cause or impact because at the end of the day, again, this is very Tony Robbins ask, when you live in service, selfless service for others, that’s what gives us purpose. We are creatures of service. I believe that’s one of the gifts of parenthood. When you have a child, it’s not about you, it’s not about you, it’s not about you.
And I happen to find the concept of gratitude by itself very shallow. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because it’s an easy word to say and it’s an easy thing to tell people to have, but it’s really, really hard when you are lost and frustrated and sad and upset and depressed and anxious. And it’s like grateful for what? Great words. F-U follows that. It’s like aha, aha, aha. So, I think gratitude is cultivated and it doesn’t come just from within. It’s gratitude for the we. And that could be you and your creator. It could be you and your spouse, you and your children, or you and your cause.
So, having said that, to me, I do think starting with your values, your non-negotiables are really important. These are the things I’m willing to live with and absolutely not. And there’s a little phrase I use often. And it’s about when you create your community, the people you surround yourself with. And if there’s a turd in a punchbowl, everyone gets sick. I don’t know if you’ve heard that before.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Mike Koenigs: Okay, so the whole idea is who you let into your world, including your values, are what are sickening you. And what makes us sick is when we compromise, when we allow ourselves to be overpowered by either a sick environment or sick people or sick decisions. And the mindset needs to come from like, for example, I’ve got a bunch of core mindsets. I’ll give you one, for example, that I know has been the cause of almost all the pain and agony I had in my life, which is I now say if this person, place, or thing that I am deciding to do something with or for, whatever create more than 5% aggravation, the answer is no.
Now, how do I determine that? What I do is I do what Gay Hendricks talks about. You take a big, deep breath and you go, and you just test that out on your body, ahhh, ahhh. Will this person, place, or thing ever create more than 5% aggravation in my life? Yep. It’s a hell, no. Just like that. I know it. And it’s a hard no, no matter what.
Hal Elrod: It’s protecting your mental and emotional well-being, yeah.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, your field. And then I also do the same thing with antagonism. Will this person, place, or thing ever create antagonism? I don’t like feeling antagonized at all. It’s bullying, right? And bullying is the cause of a lot of trauma. So, the short answer is sometimes to get out of a deeply emotional, challenging place, you’ve got to use logic first and then feel into it. It creates a framework.
Hal Elrod: Live with logic, yeah.
Mike Koenigs: Yep. So, that’s basically I start with the mindsets, the non-negotiable values. And what I must live with and what I must not. Here’s another one for me, it’s my physical environment. I live in San Diego on purpose. I grew up in Minnesota. I hate being cold. I hate it. And I don’t want– this is non-negotiable. I don’t want to fix it. There’s nothing wrong. And now that I had chemo, I get chills easily, like it hurts my bones. So, being in any kind of physical pain, hard no, I’m not going to do it. So, that’s another one of those. So, I don’t know if that answered your question, but it’s important.
Hal Elrod: No, it does. I want to also talk about you mentioning adding value for other people.
Mike Koenigs: Yes.
Hal Elrod: Right? I think that that’s arguably one of the most important underrated, under-focused aspects of a fulfilling life. And especially when you’re going through a really difficult mental and emotional time in your life, I’ve found that one of my mentors used to say, get off self and get on purpose. You are almost narcissistic for an interesting use of the word. In terms, like, dude, you’re focusing all over yourself and you’re freaking out, get off yourself. Stop worrying yourself.
And when you focus your energy on, hey, how can I go make my wife’s life better? How can I go make my kid’s life better? How can I serve clients? I’m going to go for a walk outside and I’m going to smile and say hello to every person that I come in contact with and just light up their life. All of a sudden, your problems, at least your perceived problems, fade into the distance, fade into the background. And they’re replaced by feelings of love and joy and connection. Yeah, so to me, that’s one of the most important things. If you’re struggling internally, get off yourself and get on a purpose of adding value to the lives of the people you speak on that.
Mike Koenigs: Yep. So, step one was mindset, non-negotiable value. Step two is the market you wish to serve. So, this is simply put, the first person you have to help is you. You’re no good if you’re broke and broken. And the way to heal oneself is to be in service and to create impact. So, if you want to create massive impact, be in service, create a movement. But that begins with the movement of one, help one person and then help another and then develop a framework. Start looking at, examine your thinking and how you solve the problem, how you created solutions and fixes.
And the framework is a fill-in-the-blanks toolkit that you’re allowed to modify change, break at any time. So, I often say, I ask this question, do you know what rules are? If I said, do you know what rules are, Hal?
Hal Elrod: Yes.
Mike Koenigs: What’s the answer?
Hal Elrod: Guidelines of how to behave, what to do and what not to do.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah. Rules are for other people. I don’t believe in rules. I break them all the time. I don’t believe in them. Now, I say that not because I’m better then, it’s just like what keeps us stuck. Now, having a civilized society does require rules and laws.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Mike Koenigs: I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about our constructs. So, the point of this is, you create a framework that you allow yourself to evolve and break at any time.
Hal Elrod: So, like the SAVERS, would you say, would that fit a framework?
Mike Koenigs: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: Okay.
Mike Koenigs: Yep. So, my framework for creating a next act is mindset. Those are the values, the market, who do you want to serve? Who do you love? Who would you love to spend all your time with? What are they like? How do they think? What do they believe?
And then the model, which is what’s your promise? What’s your brand promise? As a character? As a brand? You wish to deliver value. What is the highest promise that you could fulfill and deliver to someone? So, this becomes, this character that you live in, that you develop this hero, I believe you can change who you are by creating a character that you can live into. It’s like a vision board for yourself. You’re not born anyway. You’re not a static thing. You are a dynamic, pliable being that is capable of anything. And if you don’t believe that, then create a character you can believe in and act like.
Hal Elrod: An avatar.
Mike Koenigs: Right, yeah, it is an avatar. And then the next is the message. In other words, what’s the story one must tell in order to get there? So, as an example, the way I train my brain, I don’t watch movies. I pay attention to the stories and the characters. I say, how can I use this character, the story to elevate someone else? I don’t watch it for entertainment anymore. I consume content to apply an inspirational, aspirational character we can create together that someone can live into. So, who do you admire?
And then the media, which that’s the fifth step, is how do you want to reach people? Hal Elrod reaches his audience with a message of a Miracle Morning. And there’s a lot to unravel and unwind there, through podcasts, through his book, through his blog, through social media, through guesting, through speaking.
And then finally, the multipliers. What ways can make the biggest difference, the most impact with the least amount of effort? So, if I said, Hal Elrod, how have you found right now the most effective way to reach the most people? What’s the strategy or tactic you use to do that?
Hal Elrod: Podcast interviews.
Mike Koenigs: Great. And if you see an increase in book sales, sales of your products, people reaching out, saying, oh my God, Hal Elrod, you changed my life. You had a massive impact. I just do a lot more of the thing that works best.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Mike Koenigs: That’s the multiplier mindset. And as human beings, we get bored easily. We get distracted easily. We think that, oh, we get to one side and we’re like, oop, the grass on the other side of the fence looks greener. Let me try something else. Let me get distracted with a shiny object or a new guru who I like what they sound like today instead of paying attention to multiplying the multipliers.
So, that framework I found, I can literally solve any identity challenge by applying this. It hasn’t broken once, and I’ve also used it to create multi-million-dollar businesses that way. So, with Justin, we created a Lifestyle Investor character, and Justin lived into that because we also created the rules. In this case, we called it The 10 Commandments of Lifestyle Investing. So, they already existed. They had never been articulated or structured before. And now, he teaches his methodology within that framework.
Hal Elrod: And that’s a great example of him using your framework where the Lifestyle Investor before that was his brand and what he was known as, he was a division manager for Cutco Cutlery.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: Right? That’s how I knew him. But he knew he could be more. He wanted to be more in terms of he just saw a bigger opportunity to impact and reach more people. And so, yeah, it’s a beautiful way of– that’s a professional example of reinventing himself from a division manager working for a company to having his own company with a completely different objective to help other people create financial freedom for themselves and their families. Yeah, so I think whether you want to reinvent yourself personally or professionally, all of these principles apply and you’ve got to be vulnerable. You’ve got to adopt an identity of what you’re capable of being, your potential, not your past. And then ultimately, you’ve got to serve other people. And the more people you serve, the more impact you make, the more fulfilled you are, and the more everybody wins.
Mike Koenigs: And the more momentum you create and you hone your system, which is this is I think the other one is during that really difficult tipping point, when you’ve lost all courage, all confidence, you’re uncommitted, and you have no clarity, you can’t imagine a bigger, brighter life for yourself. And it’s like, how am I going to get this flywheel spinning up? How am I going to create any momentum when I can’t even fix myself?
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Mike Koenigs: And the answer is, you have to put yourself into a position where you put so much skin in the game that the loss of that will really, really hurt. So, if you want a miracle, you’ve got to invest in a miracle and show up expecting a miracle. So, I have a rule that I live by now, which is like working with me is really expensive. And if someone doesn’t show up 100% all in, there are no refunds and there’s no guarantee.
Now, I’m not going to work with someone who I know I can’t help. But the point is, if they show up and they’re not 100% all in, they’re going to lose. Here’s what I know. I’m the best in the world at what I do, and I can confidently say that now. I don’t just believe it, I know it. And everyone I’ve worked with recently has succeeded. So, it took me a long time to have the confidence to say that.
And secondly, I have a system that flat-out works that I’m always making better, have a great team. And just to get to the place where you know that to be true, which in that belief in yourself permeates and genders trust, I call it a transfer of certainty. That is a contagious, beautiful, high-quality, positive virus.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Mike Koenigs: Transfer of certainty. But the point being, when you engage with a coach, you’ve got to invest so much it will hurt if you don’t show up and you’re not all in. And that was for me, the investment that I had to make to fix and repair myself, it was massive. It was a multiple six-figure investment and it was a lot more cash than I had access to at the time too.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. I mean, you were in a bad financial position when you invested in it.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah. And that’s what I tell anyone is when you start doing something for someone else, you have to be willing. This is a Gay Hendricks-ism that has changed my life. He said, the number one reason most people never reinvent themselves and never grow and continue to fail if they are not willing to receive.
So, a manifestation, a little exercise I do with everyone I work with now, I do it for myself. I have this place across the street from the ocean, so I get to look at the ocean, which represents a metaphor for God’s abundance and love. And God, I believe, wants you to have anything you desire, and everything that you could possibly ever want or desire or manifest or create already exists. It belongs to you, and you belong to it. And the only thing preventing you from experiencing that is your willingness to receive it.
So, what I visualize is imagine your heart has a door and you have to be willing to open the door and allow God to pour the entire ocean inside of you. So, are you willing to receive all the abundance and all the love and all the possibility and potential that God wants you to have that already belongs to you, that is yours? And there is no scarcity. You’re not taking anything away from anyone else by allowing that to be inside you. You become a multiplying vessel, only creating more. That’s what I believe.
Hal Elrod: Beautiful. I really don’t want to add anything to that because that was such a beautiful, eloquent way to wrap this episode up. I’ll just say that for everybody listening, wherever you are in your life right now, it’s exactly where you need to be to learn what you need to learn to become the person that you need to be, to create everything you want for your life. And just know that. You’re not starting at zero. You have all the experience and knowledge and wisdom you’ve gained in your life up until this point. And so, you are further along than you have ever been even it feels like you’re further back than you’ve ever been. So, start where you are, but look at what’s possible for you and live in alignment with that potentiality.
And go relisten to this episode and write down what Mike said and add your affirmations. Goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, I love you. Mike, I love you, brother. So, great to talk to you today, buddy.
Mike Koenigs: Yeah, thank you. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And I’m looking forward to spending some more time with you, my friend.
Hal Elrod: You too, man. Until next time.
Mike Koenigs: All right.
475: The Most Important Goals to Set
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474: Wake Up and Read the Labels with Jen Smiley
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473: Experience Hal’s Signature Keynote Speech
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