Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Michael Stein

Intro Banner of Michael Stein

Michael Stein talks about his journey in Hollywood, the importance of hustle and the main points of awareness that have led to his success.

Michael is an entrepreneur, actor, comedian, film maker and a force for good. He is the founder and CEO of Abadak, a multi million dollar tarp company doing good works by donating thousands of tarps to the homeless, In addition, Michael has starred in the “Dirk Diggler Story” as well as producing and directing documentaries, award winning short films and the movie ‘Love Hollywood Style’. Michael also performs stand up comedy and is the Podcast Host of Long Shot Leaders. All his ventures have an emphasis on environmental well being and charitable causes.

Michael Stein talks about his journey in Hollywood, the importance of hustle and the main points of awareness that have led to his success.

Michael is an entrepreneur, actor, comedian, film maker and a force for good. He is the founder and CEO of Abadak, a multi million dollar tarp company doing good works by donating thousands of tarps to the homeless, In addition, Michael has starred in the “Dirk Diggler Story” as well as producing and directing documentaries, award winning short films and the movie ‘Love Hollywood Style’. Michael also performs stand up comedy and is the Podcast Host of Long Shot Leaders. All his ventures have an emphasis on environmental well being and charitable causes.


Michael Stein – CEO of Abadak, Film Maker, Actor & Comedian

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are speaking with Michael Stein. Michael is an entrepreneur actor, comedian, filmmaker, and force for good. He is the founder and CEO of ABAC, a multi-million dollar tarp company. Doing good works by donating thousands of tarps to the homeless. In addition, Michael has starred in the Dirk Diggler story, as well as producing and directing documentaries.

[00:00:25] Award-winning short films and the movie love. Hollywood style. Michael also performed stand-up comedy and is the podcast host of long shot leaders. All of his ventures have an emphasis on environmental wellbeing and charitable causes. I can't wait to learn more. Michael, please tell me a bit about your story.

[00:00:44] And I'm curious to learn how you went from producing documentaries and short stories to starting a multi-million dollar business within a year.

[00:00:52]Michael Stein: [00:00:52] I started doing documentaries because I was a nightclub promoter. And I had a great business doing that, but I wanted to be a filmmaker and an actor. So this natural segue was, I said, look, I see, I did this documentary to get a big event. I took all the, I saw these DJs and promoters were, becoming popular.

[00:01:11] They were like mini celebrities. I was like a little mini celebrity in LA, in my age bracket for nightclubs. So everybody would put everybody on the invite and you'd have, people would come to the event. So why not do a documentary? And, my, and my friend, my, at the time Paul Thomas Anderson had, he was starting to make headway in his career.

[00:01:28] So I said, I'm going to just start to do documentaries on that. That'll be easy. So I did a documentary on the history of LA clubs and that did well packed like 4,000 people at the park Plaza hotel. And then I started doing I wasn't into the rave scene, but I saw this scene current, forming.

[00:01:43] So I said, I'm going to do a documentary on this rave scene and the history of raves and house music. Went around the country for four months and filming DJs, magazine writers, and promoters, and did a documentary on that. So I said, I'm going to leave my nightclub business and I'm going to start to, to get into film.

[00:02:01] So I worked as a production assistant, which is getting kicked around a little bit emotionally and physically, there's a peon but learned a lot and a commercial film production. And then I did a short film after that. Which won a lot of words that you mentioned. that's the reason why I did documentaries.

[00:02:17] Jolie Downs: [00:02:17] Yeah, no, that's cool. I'm curious, because you went from production assistants. Would you set as a peon and from there then you started creating your own. Where, what, like what happened in there?

[00:02:25]Michael Stein: [00:02:25] I didn't want to pay for film school. Cause I saw That my friend Paul, he dropped out at NYU after two weeks. And he just started making films. I said, I want to learn more about, the beginning, middle and end of a production, real production. Cause after my documentary, I said, I just did this on my own, but I want to see what the pros, the best of the best.

[00:02:41] And I had friends that worked in commercial production and I was like, when you're a PA I was a production assistant, you're a peon. I it was humbling to go from being a, a mini celebrity as an eco promoter, going to being a production assistant, get me my coffee, or, go do this or empty out the cube truck with the equipment and all that stuff. But you learn a lot from the best to some of the best people, you get paid more per day on a commercial shoot than you do feature. So a lot of these, yeah, like these big, John Schwartzman who like shot, like all James Cameron and stuff all these big movies he'll work on commercials as a DP because you're getting paid so much in the per diem and everything so great.

[00:03:17] And the commercials, but when you're a PA, you get to see the beginning, middle and end, like three or four days of pre production. Three or four days, shoot three or four days of post-production and I get to work with different production companies. So I learned a lot, in that.

[00:03:31] three and a half years, doing that over and over again.

[00:03:34] Jolie Downs: [00:03:34] So you knew what to do. You figured out exactly what you need to do and you went and applied that and did it yourself.

[00:03:38] Michael Stein: [00:03:38] Yeah. And then when I was able to, when I did my short film rituals and resolutions, it was a state-of-the-art production because I got, I met all those people and they said we'll help you out. So then they joined in, you could only do that with a short film because a feature takes too many days.

[00:03:51] Jolie Downs: [00:03:51] Yeah.

[00:03:52] Michael Stein: [00:03:52] But I was able to have a really great production for my short film at a low cost because of that.

[00:03:58] Jolie Downs: [00:03:58] that's really smart. Really smart. Now you went from your short film production to starting your company, correct?

[00:04:04]Michael Stein: [00:04:04] No, not necessarily. What happened was is that I did my short film and then I got close to a movie deal in Hollywood. I met with everybody like Joel Silver's office TriMark pictures, like so many big companies. And they wanted to make one of my screenplays this script on underground gambling casino in LA, which really happened when I promote nightclubs.

[00:04:24] I used to do an underground gambling casino. So yeah. Yeah. We'll get into that if you want. So what happened was is I after a year and a half of development? Yeah.

[00:04:33]I was broke. I was in debt for my short film cause it made half its money back, which is amazing because it was an expensive, short film, but it didn't make all its money back.

[00:04:42] So I was. And I couldn't get the production assistant work again. And I was like, I'm just tired because production assistant work, you live in a pit. I check the paycheck and I started off my life as a nightclub promoter that made a lot of money and tired of it. I said, you know what? I'm so tired of these guys.

[00:04:58] Not wanting to make money movies. There's all this red tape as I'm gonna make my own movie, but I was broke. So I said I'm going to be an entrepreneur again. And I'm going to start a business. Figured I will. I had to start something. So they don't bake your noodle a little bit. But when I, before all this, before I was a nightclub promoter, before I did stand up, I knew I wanted to be an actor and a filmmaker and a comedian, and I'll always want to be an entrepreneur.

[00:05:24] And the first business I did a week after I graduated high school and it wasn't going to go to college, but start a tool company. Cause that's what my dad did in the sixties.

[00:05:32] Jolie Downs: [00:05:32] okay. This is

[00:05:33]Michael Stein: [00:05:33] And my dad went off. He made it became a multi-millionaire, but lost it all. He was a homeless kid and then it became well a multimillionaire, and then it became homeless again, after he, he was in this calculator business and, but the business he had before the calculator business, they call them the calculator kid.

[00:05:48] But before that business, it was a tool business with a guy named Alan Smith. And Alan Smith, when my dad was off making good money with this calculator business, Alan Smith started a company called Harbor freight. So I don't know if you ever heard of Harbor freight. They had 300 stores across the country.

[00:06:06] They're like the, like the import version of home Depot

[00:06:09] Jolie Downs: [00:06:09] Oh,

[00:06:09] Michael Stein: [00:06:09] or they're like a 3 billion a year, 3 billion a year company.

[00:06:14] Jolie Downs: [00:06:14] I'm clearly not doing a lot of building.

[00:06:16] Michael Stein: [00:06:16] So I was like, I want to do that. This is like a long time ago, but I just, they were still like huge. So I failed miserably, but when I started my own company, I said, look, I know how I grew up around that.

[00:06:29] I seen this ebb and flow of failure and success. I said, I'm going to start my own thing on this new thing called the internet. And I'm going to sell a product. That is like a tool. I don't want to sell tools. My dad's like celebrates of wheels sell drill bits. I'm like that's boring. I don't know.

[00:06:44] There were so one of the items that was tarps, I said, this makes sense to me, it's colorful. It's used for a lot of different things. I could see it's adventurous a little bit, you could do different things with them. I said, I'm going to sell. And I heard like this guy that was on the internet, in the late nineties was selling ceiling fans.

[00:06:59] And he made tons of money off of that off the internet. Her, if you want to make money on the internet, you got to sell a product, sell a widget. I said, I'm going to do that. And that's going to be my movie business. And I, within a six months almost a year, I had made a half a million dollars.

[00:07:15] And that gave me enough money to make the movie that I wanted to make, which was love Hollywood style, which.

[00:07:18] Jolie Downs: [00:07:18] incredible.

[00:07:19] Michael Stein: [00:07:19] With any deck and Coolio and Faye Dunaway. And and that's how I, that's why I started this business that I'm in today.

[00:07:26] Jolie Downs: [00:07:26] Now, what do you think was key to, for you for making that a success? Because let's be real. A lot of people try to do things like this and aren't always successful. So what do you think was for you for making that successful?

[00:07:39] Michael Stein: [00:07:39] Desperation number one. When I first made my first sale, after a couple months, I made it like a first, it was like $17,500. Which when you're trying to pay your rent check and don't worry your food is going to come from. You're like, I remember this here's a good story is a, guy's I need $17,500 worth of tarps.

[00:07:56] It's Friday. I need it by Monday. I'm like, no problem. I'll get it for you. And I saw all online, so they didn't know I had a storefront or whatever. I'm working on my house. I pick up my PA friend, cause I'm still like, just segwayed out of becoming a production assistant, still living paycheck to paycheck.

[00:08:13] I pick them up. I pick up, I go to Calvin Ford cause I couldn't get a trucking company to deliver those product. So I get the DOP and Ford, which is the studio rental truck. And I packed the stuff in a studio truck, cause I had a deal on that. And then I we drove on from LA to New York, no sleep, deliver the tarps.

[00:08:32]And I remember when, after I delivered him, I cried. Cause it was around Christmas time. I said, I know where my rent is going to come from. I know where I'm going to get food now. And I can buy people presents for Christmas. So desperation is one. And when you're, I don't know that's I was just, I've just seen that

[00:08:48]Jolie Downs: [00:08:48] You clearly just did whatever you need to do to make it work. You drove across country to deliver those tarps and make that sale. So you're

[00:08:57] making

[00:08:57] Michael Stein: [00:08:57] what I saw my dad do. My dad, I saw my dad, was successful when I was a young kid. And then he, I wanted to be the calculator kid, too, that was like a thing. So I was always prepared for that, and mentally, and, but then I saw him live in a van and when he was fighting his way back, he would deliver these abrasive wheels and drill bits to body shops in this van that he was living out of the fight his way back after it.

[00:09:18] Cause he got into this crazy lifestyle. Just, made a lot of poor mistakes, but I saw this and I, I said, you know what? I want, you can make something happen. So I knew that no matter how low you can get, I've seen the highs and the lows, from my dad, I guess

[00:09:30]Jolie Downs: [00:09:30] What do you think you've learned from your dad that has served you the most?

[00:09:35] Michael Stein: [00:09:35] the word that I grew up with is hustle. It's almost like a, becomes like a mantra like just internet in your nervous system to where it's a reaction. To where you just you have to hustle when time comes, when everybody panics you hustle. So that's every that's the, people think I can't do a business.

[00:09:52] Everything needs to be perfect. I barely graduated high school and I knew I was going to go to college because I saw my dad. He'd never finished the eighth grade and I just didn't need to make the same mistakes he did and do what Alvin, that guy Alan Smith did from Harbor freight. So I said, I'm going to do that, but I'll be like my dad and And love, love what you do.

[00:10:10]It doesn't have to be your dream, but love what you do and be a happy person.

[00:10:17] Jolie Downs: [00:10:17] I agree. I completely agree. Now you've, we've talked about a lot that you have a lot of successes. You've reached a lot of those goals that you set out to do. So I'm curious, what do you feel has been one or two of your greatest successes and what did you learn from it?

[00:10:31] Michael Stein: [00:10:31] Okay. When you want money, the first success, when you make your, I made a million dollars in a day and I was like, wow. I was like, wow. I said, this is it?

[00:10:42] This is, I'm never gonna know. I have a problem. I have a problem again. You think that you like I know you normally have problems, but this is, and that's not true but that was a success and monetary success.

[00:10:53] And but I think that, when you, it's funny, I'm like Adam Sandler movie, a happy Gilmore, he puts a he puts a hockey guy on top of his golf trophy,

[00:11:03] Jolie Downs: [00:11:03] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:11:04]Michael Stein: [00:11:04] To me, when I am successful at standup comedy and I usually don't get paid that much at all to do that. Then that was That's a success or somebody bet me one time, cause I was a fitness trainer, but then, you have Hills and valleys of fitness and I looked like it was getting heavy, fat.

[00:11:22] So somebody like you, you're going to end up like your dad who'd ended up paying fat, and he's you gotta. You're not going to be able to do this the way you didn't ask that. I'll I bet him $500. I lose like 35 pounds in three months. And I, little things like that when somebody says you can't do something, you end up doing it.

[00:11:36] But as far as my success I've had monetary successes. My short film, winning the two largest short film festivals in the world. That was a success because I really wanted to do that. And And I think, being, I never thought I'd be successful at, cause my dad wasn't successful at marriage.

[00:11:51] So I didn't think I'd be successful marriage, but I think my wife, she was here. She'd tell you I'm a good guy. And I did well at that. So that's important to make it work on a day-to-day basis and get along with somebody and not having been pissed off that's that seems like a win.

[00:12:06] Jolie Downs: [00:12:06] It's a big accomplishment to have a long-term relationship where you still like each other, at least,

[00:12:11] Michael Stein: [00:12:11] yeah.

[00:12:12] And you're like have fun with them and you're not resentful and it's really a nice harmonious relationship. And your kids seem like you have good relationship with them. To me. That's

[00:12:21] Jolie Downs: [00:12:21] That's a big win. It really is. Yeah. Now what about the flip side? What about a time that you failed or big challenge or obstacle and what did you learn from it?

[00:12:29] Michael Stein: [00:12:29] You don't have enough on the time of this pod, all the failures. Cause I have way more, many failures and I've had successes.

[00:12:34]Jolie Downs: [00:12:34] Isn't that true with successful people though?

[00:12:36] Michael Stein: [00:12:36] I'm ready for the embarrassment. So when I was making money I don't know to call it ADHD or whatever, somebody is working for me. I'm like, I'm so busy.

[00:12:43] You get the insurance. I just bought an escalate, get the insurance for me. And so they had six weeks of temporary insurance. When you get a new car and two days after that six week insurance, I never checked with her. She got the insurance. I thought she was, I just spaced on it and the car gets stolen and I lost all of my, the insurance can cover it.

[00:13:03] My, my car that's bad. I've my first that job. But when I started to tool business a day after I graduated high school, I failed miserably. I made two sales And I didn't make anything, do anything after that. I went to city college and that's when I became a nightclub promoter six months later.

[00:13:18] So I guess out of all the, like whenever there's a failure, it always seems like out of desperation, once again, the second access comes, so I became the number one nightclub promoter, my age bracket after six months after I, I failed at that business miserably. A lot more failures though. I I always say this on the podcast or whatever that Glenn close and the movie, the natural says, I believe we have two lives, one that you learn with and one that you live with after that.

[00:13:46] And I definitely feel anybody that's younger, that's, trying to be an entrepreneur that failure and they, a little bit of success. Just remember those successes, you just need to grab onto those, but you're going to make a lot of mistakes and then half the other half of your life, you may be.

[00:14:01] Learn with that. And then you go off from there and you do a lot better.

[00:14:04] Jolie Downs: [00:14:04] And do a lot of living. I like that. It's very true. We are doing a lot of living of the learning that we've done. Have we not, with all of those things, because it's interesting that you said that because you have, you've had a lot of these, you've had a lot of successes and you mentioned how you've had these successes during.

[00:14:17] Great. And then you might have found yourself broke afterwards and then, and then you went and did this and so you've. And I bring this up because you have been successful at a young age. Like you've been, you were successful young agent you've been successful in your twenties and your thirties or forties.

[00:14:29] So what do you think is key to continued success in life?

[00:14:33]Michael Stein: [00:14:33] Real quick, the first, like 10 years of my life, I had learning disabilities. I had, I was physically challenged. I was the premature baby. I grew up in a broken home, my, I grew up with my grandmother telling me the mantra of look, you're lucky to be alive because she escaped the Russian concentration camps at gunpoint.

[00:14:51] So I, and then hearing my dad, I was lucky to be born cause I was oops, baby. And my mom would sit there and say, I love my youngest son, but I drank, I smoked, I ran up and down the stairs, I'm like, mom, they just want to order ranch or blue cheese dressing with Thomas.

[00:15:04] You want to order. She just tell everybody this story. So you hear this over and over again. It's okay. I think that you can only go up and I think sometimes that's a good thing. What have I learned from the successes though?

[00:15:12]Jolie Downs: [00:15:12] W what's key to continued success. What do you think has helped you be successful in your twenties and your thirties and your forties? Is there something that has helped you keep going?

[00:15:20] Michael Stein: [00:15:20] Yeah, I think that it's all head, it's all a head game. I think that anybody can do have success. I think that you it's a muscle. And we need to tell there's almost something like an inner incantation that we need to tell ourselves and an acting it's. There's a great teacher named Eric Morris, who doesn't, it's called the Superman exercise.

[00:15:40] You basically count your blessings because you have so many failures, but you need to start to add up all the wins and you need to tell yourself and build a crescendo of positivity because most people do look at the weeds in their garden, but you got to take the weeds out. It'd be cognitive of what caused them.

[00:15:57]And clean it up and then boom, you build a crescendo of like positivity and momentum to where you're give yourself a mental environment to succeed. And I think that's key every day, nuts and bolts of doing everyday going in that fashion.

[00:16:11] Jolie Downs: [00:16:11] Yeah. I love that. You're right. Obviously we need to pull out the weeds, but I love that you said we need to figure out why they grew there and

[00:16:19] Michael Stein: [00:16:19] sure. You gotta do that. You gotta, you can't just say, oh, positivity, positive. Everything's great. No, if something, I don't care if I could swear on here, but,

[00:16:26] Jolie Downs: [00:16:26] go ahead.

[00:16:27] Michael Stein: [00:16:27] Your life is shit. You're acting like shit. You're, you're you make no sense. When you say that you gotta mind three things when it comes to success, and that is the everything's emotions as the triad of emotions.

[00:16:38] And I talk about this all the time. It's your physiology, your focus and your vocabulary. So if you're sitting there and you're TA and you're focusing on shit and you're talking, things that are enabling that not enabling you for success. And your physiology is droopy and your face is drawn.

[00:16:53] That's a recipe for failure. If you want to succeed on the day-to-day nuts and bolts, because we have thousands of impasses are our Workday and our life is constantly like a plane that is guided by a computer often encores constantly. That's how planes work. They are on a computer and it's con autopilots constantly taken on and off course to it readjust.

[00:17:16] And if you don't use the guiding light as your focus physiology and your vocabulary, your inner vocabulary, you will get whatever, 99% is going to be that product of that. How could you ever be successful focusing on your failures, talking internally and externally about your failures and then putting your body in the position of how you feel about your failures.

[00:17:39] It's just as the recipe for success for disaster. So

[00:17:42] Jolie Downs: [00:17:42] right. I

[00:17:43] Michael Stein: [00:17:43] the opposite every day. You gotta have to enable yourself for success.

[00:17:47] Jolie Downs: [00:17:47] Yes. And how we hold ourselves, our body language, the way we speak, the words we use. Yes. It all adds up. It's very interesting. You mentioned that you had a lot of struggles when you were younger and not a lot of things that you had to deal with. I'm curious, what has helped you push through your difficult times?

[00:18:04] Michael Stein: [00:18:04] I learned, it's just making people laugh. I think you find some kind of success. I was lucky enough to find some kind of success, so as the youngest, I turned out to be the entertainer. So I was like the comedian, people would make fun of me sometimes. So the only way I can get, I would laugh at myself self-deprecate or whatever, just get people to laugh.

[00:18:24] And that was the reward. So that was the first success. The second success, you like, wow, that's just, you don't feel like you're successful. Still would one success. The second says success is when I saw the movie Rocky, when I was like nine or 10 years old, I saw a guy like me. He was funny.

[00:18:39] He wasn't successful, but he kept on trying, but he wasn't smart. The only differences is that he was fit and I was not. So I started exercising every day. Exercising was a way of my life, so from 10 years old, I, I felt like that's when my life changed, because by the time I was 16, I became a physical fitness trainer and I was, I had really great success with physical fitness.

[00:19:00] So I said, okay, I'm funny. And I'm good at physical fitness. And it only really took two things to really think I think that everything could be like this. As long as you work it out, like a muscle, everything could be like that.

[00:19:12] Jolie Downs: [00:19:12] Yes, we work it out like a muscle and apply it over. And I was just going to say, you started young, you put your mind to it. You did it. Can you

[00:19:20] Michael Stein: [00:19:20] I needed that time though. I was a basket case I needed all the extra time I can get

[00:19:26] Jolie Downs: [00:19:26] I feel when you're a basket case, when you're younger, it it gives you a lot of perspective if you will, for when you're older. If you ask me a little bit of.

[00:19:34] Michael Stein: [00:19:34] I, I guess I think so. I think I don't know why. I guess I think, I feel like I'm an underdog constantly and I like it. I like it because that's an ownership of that, that I've taken. I've chosen to take that ownership of that. And it's okay. As long as you feel like you have, I felt like I'm as an older person, I feel like I have a pathway to success. Feeds me every day, you feel like, I feel like it's my cost, the lab now. And you give yourself purpose behind those things that maybe were disadvantages in the past.

[00:20:03]Jolie Downs: [00:20:03] Did you always have a sense of what your purpose was or is that something that you had to stop and figure out at once

[00:20:09] Michael Stein: [00:20:09] no, when you're young, everything's so much wasted time on the young, but. When I add ADHD, I was put in a special school for special needs kids that like, when, I don't know, second grade. And you feel when my dad was successful, I'm like, maybe he just pays for people to like, be friends with me.

[00:20:27] You don't trust anybody, cause people would make funny all the time. So everybody must feel that way. And then, you start to see, I grew up in a really dysfunctional home, like meaning, like my dad was very crazy lifestyle, speaking of boogie nights I really haven't talked about that, but

[00:20:40] Jolie Downs: [00:20:40] Yeah, no, you're in bigger boogie nights as well okay. Go with that. What was the boogie nights with your dad here?

[00:20:46] Michael Stein: [00:20:46] Like he had there's characters that are loosely based on his personality. It was like he had orgy parties. He had I was surrounded around like sex and drugs at a young age where I never, like it was around me. Like I'd walk into his, he wasn't living with my mom. I'd walk into this greenhouse at green artwork and greet Cadillac out in front and everything was green.

[00:21:03] And. And I see there was like, were there people here last night? I could feel that energy. You feel like the walls are still moving, and it just that I had, you grew up with a crazy Russian grandmother and I had a big family, and You're.

[00:21:16] the youngest and some people got involved in my dad's lifestyle, some people didn't and out of the family.

[00:21:21]It was crazy. Yeah, as far as the boogie nights connection my first acting job was playing Dirk Diggler and the dirt Digger story. I played Dirk Diggler and that eventually became the movie boogie nights, which I appear in as well. So that's the whole boogie nights connection.

[00:21:35] Jolie Downs: [00:21:35] wouldn't experience at that age too. What did you learn from that experience? That's what I want.

[00:21:39] Michael Stein: [00:21:39] Oh, from being in the dirt dealer

[00:21:41] Jolie Downs: [00:21:41] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:21:42]Michael Stein: [00:21:42] I was 20 and I was a nightclub promoter, and I learned, I didn't think anybody was going to, you don't see anybody be successful at film cause you grew up in LA and you're like, ah, everybody wants to be an actor. Everybody wants to be filmed. Or, it's this is so rare.

[00:21:55] And to see a friend of yours that starts from nothing also, and it becomes successful. You're like, holy shit, I could do that too. Because I, at this point, I'm thinking, wow, I've done up, but I'm an I club promoter, I did a good job acting and that thing, I can do make films.

[00:22:11] And that's why I, just when you see other people do it. Yeah.

[00:22:14] I think that's the thing you got to believe in yourself. You believe that there's no difference between some old guy that's been successful and the young people it's just repetition plus time plus effort.

[00:22:25] Jolie Downs: [00:22:25] And you, it really hits home when it's a friend of yours too, when you know the person like, all their ins and outs and all of those new Hey man, if this guy can do it, I can do it.


[00:22:34] That's the beauty, when you embody everything that you've got going on for you and you actually move forward with it, you give other people permission to do the same.

[00:22:43] And that's, what's really cool about that.

[00:22:44] Michael Stein: [00:22:44] Agreed.

[00:22:46] Jolie Downs: [00:22:46] So I'm curious, what is something that you've learned throughout all of your experiences that you feel has brought you the most benefit in your life?

[00:22:56] Michael Stein: [00:22:56] that's a good question. What is brought the most benefit? What have I learned? That gives me the most benefit. for me personally, I can't speak for it, but prepare preparation is 95% success. And when you're an ADHD person like me or whatever they call, I have not given anything. I've been told I have that, but maybe, but he smells self-evident here today.

[00:23:20] But when you prepare that's 95% of the challenge right there. So prepare. But then act, you have to be able to act, some people prepare and then not pull the trigger. You gotta be able to prepare as much as you can, as much as you can stomach. And then you have to have a dead goal, a goal that we're like, I don't care if I'm ready or not.

[00:23:46]This is the goal. I've given myself more than enough time for this. This is something I really want. So set a goal date. A day for that. And then just prepare as much as you can and take massive action. And also when start immediately, when you set that goal, immediate action.

[00:24:05] So those are like three things that are really important there, preparation, you first of all, set your goal date, w find out when you prepare, you find out when can this happen, whatever it is, the success that I want. That's the date that this has to start. The hard date and then what can you do immediately?

[00:24:19] You have to do something right away to set your nervous system in motion for that. So you have to if you're going to start a podcast, you have to like, do something right now is as soon as this podcast is over, if you want to start a podcast, you need to go to Zencaster or something, and you need you need to purchase it or whatever, learn everything about it yourself, and then set a date.

[00:24:37] I'm going to do it on this day and this day, and you have to do it. That's my

[00:24:40] Jolie Downs: [00:24:40] Great advice. Really great advice. And the setting of the date that is hitting home for me, because I have some things I'm working on and I have not set that date. So I'm actually after this, going to put a date in my calendar, one that's going to have to be done. So that's good stuff.

[00:24:54] Michael Stein: [00:24:54] The date important.

[00:24:56] Jolie Downs: [00:24:56] Now, before I ask any of those other questions, I'm just wondering if you have any stories rather than around in your head that are.

[00:25:04] What you would believe to be one of your more entertaining stories that you think would be worth sharing with the audience,

[00:25:12] Michael Stein: [00:25:12] Oh, God, I got several. Do you want like one that's I don't know, film related. I'll give you. Okay. Here's a

[00:25:17] Jolie Downs: [00:25:17] whatever you think is the funniest one.

[00:25:19] Michael Stein: [00:25:19] I don't know what the funniest one, but it's an interesting one. It's funny, but, so I was doing extra work before I did my first acting role. This was like a year before that.

[00:25:30] And I wanted to be an actor, I'm being an extra on a movie called less than zero. Itwas when I was promoting my first nightclub and I was handing out invitations at to see Andrew McCarthy. And then I'm hanging out with this guy. Blonde haired guy. And he and I were hanging out for three days and he's showing me all around the sets there.

[00:25:50] And I was like, he's an extra also. And he's been working on other days as well, whatever it is you are now I passed around a football on this day and this day we're doing party scenes. He goes, Hey, you want to meet Robert Downey Jr. Yeah,

[00:26:03] that'd be great. The guy from weird science and he's really cool, cause this was, he wasn't a huge star yet, but he was.

[00:26:09] In cool circles and we're shooting nights. So he gets out of his trailer at five 30 at night, just woke up, and he's disheveled as I am, but he got a light, and I was like, wow, this guy's really cool. Not like Andrew McCarthy who tore up my invite. And and then I'm just walking around and I became, I got the guy's number that I hung out with for three days and introduced me to Robert Downey Jr. And he said he was trying to get acting work, and then it took me like three or four of his movies until I figured out I was like, holy crap, that's Brad Pitt. I was like, wow, that was a real wish he had went to my club and we became better friends. And I just thought, here's the sad thing. This is the insecurity. When I was, this is 19. This is when I was promoting, I was still promoting clubs. I was doing a gambling party at Sundance, and I went to Paul Thomas Anderson's.

[00:27:01] He did his first movie called heartache. And in that movie, Gwyneth Paltrow was in the movie and she was dating Brad Pitt at the time. And we're sitting there with her mom, Blythe, Danner, and Guam pouch on Brad Pitt and Paul's girlfriend. A couple of people. I was like, I could easily go up to him right now and just say, you're not hung out for three days, but this is the S this is the insecurity, the imposter syndrome, whatever you want to call it.

[00:27:23] This is the insecurity. I'm still, my twenties is the point. Yeah. And then I was like, I don't want to talk to Brad now. And tell him that I want to wait till I'm up. Cause I was like my own career. I was just gonna say segway out of clubs and get into filmmaking is, was like one of my big filmmaker.

[00:27:37] He'll be in one of my films. And then I'll just talk to them that. And I haven't talked to him since, and I was like, we sat at the table like an hour and a half, lunch, this, blazing it up and and dancing. So that's a little weird story there. As far as my film story.

[00:27:52] Jolie Downs: [00:27:52] which makes me wonder, do you have any regrets in life that

[00:27:54] Michael Stein: [00:27:54] Oh a lot. yeah, everybody's got regretted and I say would you really change anything? yeah.

[00:28:03] sure. I would. If you had a chance, but you wouldn't change anything and not knowing what you, if you're going to go back and not know anything, but if you can know what you know now. Yeah. But yeah.

[00:28:12] Tons of regrets. So many, you burn through so much money in a business. You're making so many mistakes, advertising mistakes, business, choice, mistakes just stupid mistakes buying crap that you don't need, not investing in certain things like, when somebody says, yeah, the Winkle Voss just did, they invested in this Bitcoin thing, and it's you, I'm telling you have to do it.

[00:28:32] Nah, that's stupid. So I, so many mistakes.

[00:28:35] Jolie Downs: [00:28:35] Bitcoin


[00:28:36] Over that one too.

[00:28:37]Michael Stein: [00:28:37] I like my friends, you just do stupid. Some things are good. I wear something like a badge, like my friend who said, look, we're going to be opening up, our band is opening up at the whisky on sunset. It's big, iconic place, the doors.

[00:28:49] And every big band in the world played there. And I'm like this is when I started doing standup. Like it was my second gig. I was like, I'm going to, I'm going to do standup there. They don't know it, but I'm going to do standup, cause I got a free crowd. I don't have to wait in line. So I got booed off stage because they're like, we don't want to hear comedian one of the inner, just introduce the band who could say they got kicked off the stage of the whiskey.

[00:29:07]That was fun. That was good.

[00:29:09] Jolie Downs: [00:29:09] You can put that on your bucket list,

[00:29:10] Michael Stein: [00:29:10] That I didn't get booed. I got kinda escorted by a friend,

[00:29:13] Jolie Downs: [00:29:13] that's cool.

[00:29:15] Michael Stein: [00:29:15] Yeah, I got booed off stage. Once I wasn't doing standup, I got booed off stage. When I was doing that documentary tour that I told you about. We set up, we showed the LA documentary that I did at 12 different cities. And when I went to new Orleans, I said, okay, everybody, we plan out to where there's one movie room, like a documentary room, and then there's a big dance room, because people come in the room and say, oh, we're talking. So they, it was like this whole thing. I get to this big glorious, like beautiful arena. And the guy's yeah, this is a, this is it. I said where's the documentary? And where's the theater room. No, this would be it.

[00:29:47] There's just a stop the music at midnight. And everybody's really excited about is that you're going to get 1,300 people and you're going to stop the music and I'm going to talk to them on some video screen right here. He's yeah, it's gonna be great. Everybody's really excited about it. As you heard anything yet, I said, okay, no problem is your money.

[00:30:03] You let's just do it. I got booed off stage so bad. It was so like and and I walked off and I don't know if you've ever been to New Orleans. go to bourbon street.

[00:30:12] Jolie Downs: [00:30:12] New Orleans. Yes.

[00:30:13] Michael Stein: [00:30:13] And I as first time I've ever been there and I'm walking down the bars, just opening up, cause I got booed off stage and the bars up and laid there.

[00:30:19]I'm walking down there. I'm like, excuse me who my DJ friends still deejaying. And I'm like alone now. Bombing. I was like, excuse me, do you know where I could find like a place to get some oysters around here. And he walks right up to me and he hocks a lougie and spits it on the floor of his own saloon and says, there's your damn oyster.

[00:30:34] Jolie Downs: [00:30:34] Oh,

[00:30:36] Michael Stein: [00:30:36] I just got booed off stage this guy. I feel like there's no humanity in the world. So I just go to a Brian's where they had the blended drinks and I got one each one of those. And that's a, yeah,

[00:30:47] Jolie Downs: [00:30:47] So that's how you dealt with the booing and you're like, I'm just going to go.

[00:30:50]Michael Stein: [00:30:50] I don't drink either. So that was like fun. Yeah.

[00:30:53] Jolie Downs: [00:30:53] Had a great time in the new Orleans streets that night. Okay. I just want to ask her the question, because you've mentioned this gambling thing. So did you start this gambling? And the backstage is of Hollywood of them.

[00:31:03] Michael Stein: [00:31:03] it's a really great story. So my friend, Eddie Harrah who's, he's supposed to be related to the Harrah's hotels. You can look it up. He was, he wanted to do a club and he wanted to do gambling in it. So I started doing, I was the nightclub promoter and they wanted to do the gambling. And so they didn't cut me out on the gambling, but so I'm bringing in all the people.

[00:31:23] And I have another friend of mine, this guy Larry Pollock. He won't care that I mentioned his name. He actually ended up owning at the time. He was just a, he was a fledgling nightclub promoter. But he owns a saddle ranch restaurants right now, but one of the mechanical bull on sunset.

[00:31:38] Jolie Downs: [00:31:38] Yes. Did that for birthday one year.

[00:31:41] Michael Stein: [00:31:41] Okay, cool.

[00:31:41] So my friend, that's my friend, Larry and Larry comes to me and says, Mike, I want you to do this. These guys do it on Friday nights with me, you could still do the sweet daddy Brown's thing that they called it. It was a very big club in LA. It was huge dancing and then this gambling thing. And I said it's a different night.

[00:31:59] They won't care. All it has to be on Friday. I can't do it on Saturday because I'm doing this. I said, no problem. His Larry's concept and his really good mind Larry's concept was let's just get hotel suites, like the nicest hotel suites on sense out like the Mondrian or shut down, Lamont, whatever w sometimes the joining Swedes and we'll just have the gambling.

[00:32:17] We'll let people in for free. We'll do parimutuel. We'll let them go. One out of five, and one out of $5 just goes to the house. So the fast you are. So we had professional dealers, we, it was free drinks free. It was like a really high end kind of thing with blows up. If it depends like a huge thing.

[00:32:33] And the other guys start to get upset about it because the figure, some people like saying this is the new shit, this is much better, and I'm like, I'm a part of both in they're getting upset. Like you got to quit that and just do this. And I was like you guys didn't cut me on the gambling.

[00:32:48] And this has nothing to do with you. It's on a different night. So there was a, somebody that owned a bar that I got approached that was basically, related to the cost of Llano family. So they wanted to be partners, so to speak, and this is the problem with doing anything that's not legal.

[00:33:04]So lo and behold, we stopped because west Hollywood police department actually found out What we're doing. Cause there was like 300 people waiting to get inside. There are 300 people on sunset. And it just cause it just, we didn't have invites. We just called select people, like a list. It was like, in those days a phone call, you got passwords to get into it.

[00:33:22] It was crazy. So that's how I got the idea to do we, we built the tables ourselves.

[00:33:28] Jolie Downs: [00:33:28] Wow. What are

[00:33:29] Michael Stein: [00:33:29] chips. It was,

[00:33:30]Jolie Downs: [00:33:30] You got something to fall back on,

[00:33:31] Michael Stein: [00:33:31] I wrote a screenplay about it. Somebody said you write a movie. I did write a movie about it and I almost got a movie deal from it, but I had to make hot love Hollywood's style instead because I was pissed off. Yeah.

[00:33:40] Jolie Downs: [00:33:40] so that one's in your back pocket too. We might see that one day. You never know.

[00:33:44] Michael Stein: [00:33:44] Once in a while, somebody, from back then, when I just wrote a screenplay a year and a half ago, which has enough, it's about a dysfunctional family and wine country up in Northern California, which I'm not from, but I just want, liked it up there. So I started shopping that around and then he was like this is not right for us because we want something more action oriented and they see that.

[00:34:01] And then they're like, yeah, we like the script, but. It's a tough business and I, my other business does so well. So oddly enough, what I'm doing now is that crazy film that I told you about that Love Hollywood style. We just found all the footage, the filmmaker, another filmmaker friend of mine, when he was starting out his career, he filmed the whole making of me struggling with.

[00:34:24] My business that almost bottomed out, working out of the house, work out of this rented shack that I lived in Sherman Oaks and, the whole thing with trying to get Faye Dunaway and Andy Dick, and all these crazy actors, to be in this film that just kept on blowing up and me struggling working out of his house, the whole thing, but it was a crazy production and I almost lost my business that I started for the film.

[00:34:45]So we're doing a documentary about it's called burning the boats and it's about. Passion versus opportunity and what people will throw away in their life to try to, reach their dream.

[00:34:55] Jolie Downs: [00:34:55] I love it. I can't wait to watch that. That sounds fascinating. Anything else on your horizon that you're working on?

[00:35:00]Michael Stein: [00:35:00] Burning the boats is that we and my tarp business is, it sounds funny, but I, we're inventing a product. No I, it's weird because people say, what the heck, how are you doing? This kind of conventional business, and you still want to do something in entertainment, it doesn't make sense.

[00:35:15] My, I guess my life doesn't make sense, but we are expanding the business to where we're launching and a little over a year from now, we're launching a branded product of a Very special type of tarp that will hopefully define this industry the same way that like Yeti defined the cooler.

[00:35:31] Jolie Downs: [00:35:31] cool.

[00:35:32] Very

[00:35:32]Michael Stein: [00:35:32] So there's that, there's the documentary burning the boats.

[00:35:36] And before the year I promised my friends out here. I live in Georgetown, Texas. I don't live out in LA. I promise I would start doing standup at the local place out here, barrels and amps in Georgetown,

[00:35:45] Jolie Downs: [00:35:45] great. Great. Getting back to it. And then now tell us a little bit about your podcast, the listeners, because it's

[00:35:50] Michael Stein: [00:35:50] Yeah, there's

[00:35:51] Jolie Downs: [00:35:51] great podcast.

[00:35:52]Michael Stein: [00:35:52] That's why I'm here to Long Shot leaders. It's Monday, Wednesday, Friday, every night we bring out new episode and it's about people that have overcome large obstacles to find success. People that want to talk about miserable, wonderful, glorious failures, and also how they found success and what they did to attain that and share their life.

[00:36:16]I like to talk, tell a story about their life, the origin of life, because I think that we learn by the story of someone not just like about, the, how tos of them.

[00:36:25] Jolie Downs: [00:36:25] Yeah, I agree. I agree. So before we wrap up I love to ask people this is one of my favorite questions. What is it that you are sure of in life?

[00:36:34]Michael Stein: [00:36:34] Death that's one taxes are not so sure, because you can go to Puerto Rico and you really only pay 4%, so barely. But I'll just go with the grant. Death is the only sure thing in life?

[00:36:44] because everything else is pretty much, I would say that if you're five, six, you can't play in the NBA, but Spud Webb denied that, reality. Everything's PR a lot of things are possible. I don't, I can't think of much more other than death is you can't fight that you can't beat that time was the only enemy as Charlie Chaplin used to say.

[00:37:02] Jolie Downs: [00:37:02] Oh, I like that time is the only enemy, of all the things that you've seen. Cause I figure you've probably watched a lot of movies being in Hollywood. It would have you seen a lot of talks? Is there ever been a movie or talk or book or something that had a big impact on your life that you think others would benefit from as well?

[00:37:17]Michael Stein: [00:37:17] Of course, it's Rocky one, when I was a kid, I had to go to a psychologist after the first couple of years of saying that, cause we had a VHS and I would watch it every day. And the kid comes home from school and that's all he does is watch Rocky. As far as that Yeah.

[00:37:28]That's obviously I did, I do a podcast called long-shot leaders, obviously I like I like but I think that looking back on not to be poetic about it or not answer your question, but looking back on your own failures, And trying to find a way to not look at them.

[00:37:46] Like they're so bad. Look at them. Every failure I've ever had, I've been cheated on by girlfriends and fiancee and a lot of people, like just, know, you try to either date your mother or father. I did my dad for a while, if that makes sense. And so you look at all your failures and try to turn it into something that will inspire you.

[00:38:04] So I would, when I did standup comedy course comedy set in the negative, I would look at all your failures to inspire you, look at, and you're always going to get inspired by your wins, but want to be great if you can learn from your failures and then have those inspire you and that make your mission to overcome those. So that's what I would say. I would say if you want to get inspired, look at your own story. And and on that note, if anybody has a long shot story, Contact go to long-shot and contact us. Cause I'm just happy as a clam talking to people like you and talking about long-shot stories, talking about how people overcame their obstacles.

[00:38:40] Jolie Downs: [00:38:40] me too. It's wonderful. Thank you so much, Michael. This has been a great talk. I really appreciate your time.

[00:38:47] Michael Stein: [00:38:47] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Jolie Downs:

I loved Michael’s story – there is so much to learn here.

Michael had struggles when he was younger, he was made fun of, he had learning disabilities and ADD, his parents divorced, his dad lived a wild life (wild enough to have character influence on the movie Boogie Nights) and then his dad lost all his money causing him to go homeless before he was able to work his way back. Michael felt out of place and awkward in his turbulent world until he was inspired by the movie Rocky.

He saw Rocky, a guy like him, not as smart, not as successful but he kept trying, he kept giving it is his all and going after everything with heart. The power of a story, the story of Rocky changed everything for Michael. He was inspired to get himself strong and healthy and got into pique physical fitness, becoming a physical fitness trainer at the age of 16! This was transformative for him, to see that setting a goal and taking those daily steps added up to an incredible metamorphosis and accomplishment. He realized if he could do that with physical fitness, he could do that with anything. What an amazing lesson to learn so early in life.

Every big goal that feels overwhelming, is simply a series of baby steps taken each day. You can learn anything and reach whatever goal you’ve been dreaming about with persistent effort over time. Set your intention and think about, what baby step can I take today? And then do it. Then ask yourself the same question the next day and the next day.

Growing up and watching the ebb and flow of failure and success through his dad taught Michael a lot. He learned early on how to hustle and how to successfully apply that skill to life. As Michael said, When everyone panics, that’s when you hustle. Knowing what he knew about opportunity and ability, knowing that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, Michael skipped college and started a tool company right out of high school.

When he was 20, his friend cast him as the star in the Dirk Diggler story, which later became the film Boogie Nights and Michael watched his good friend go from nothing to extremely successful. There is something powerful that happens when a friend goes after their dreams. We tend to put our heroes on a pedestal because we don’t really know them - Knowing someone closely makes them human, so watching someone you know to be deeply human do amazing things, it makes you realize, hey, if they can do it, I can do it too. You just have to believe in yourself. When you go after your own goals, not only are you doing something wonderful for yourself but you are also silently giving permission to others to do the same. You’ll never know the impact you’ll make by simply trying.

Michael wanted to learn about production so he started in the industry as a low level employee so he could learn everything he could about production. He watched what the pros did, took the best of the best lessons and figured out how to emulate that before going on to create his own documentaries. Brilliant. Think about all the mistakes and heart ache Michael avoided by taking the time to learn the best practices of the thing he wanted to master. This is a brilliant strategy and in this day and age, we now have so many ways to learn best practices from masters. What are you wanting to learn? What projects would you like to accomplish? I would bet there are successful people on youtube ready to fill you in on all best practices for free. There are lots of companies like Master Class that also offer amazing opportunities for learning. Or best of all, like Michael, you can get a job in the industry you want to excel in and get paid to learn all the ins and outs and best practices possible. Not only that, but you’ll make the connections with people also passionate about the same thing and who could eventually be a helpful part of your journey.

Whichever method you choose, as Michael shares, preparation is 95% of success. Once you get all that learning and preparation taken care of you’re 95% there. The last 5% is the crucial part, you must ACT. You’re not looking for perfection here, remember, perfection is the enemy of progress, you’re simply looking for preparation, so prepare yourself as best possible but then MOVE FORWARD. Michael suggests setting a goal date, a date when you will start and a date of when you expect to finish. Once you’ve made the decision and chosen your dates, then do something small right away. Like we talked about earlier, Take that baby step to set yourself in motion.

So I ask you, what do you want to accomplish? Take some time tonight to think about something you’d like to tackle and then pick your dates and make a promise to yourself that you will allow yourself this gift, this gift of time and accomplishment for whatever is most important to you in this moment.

Michael took everything he learned in the industry and went on to create documentaries and short films. He loved the work so much, he decided to move forward with his next personal goal, getting one of his screenplays produced into a full feature film. Michael began the journey to reaching that goal but after years of red tape and frustrations realized if this was going to happen, he was going to have to do it himself. I love this. This is where greatness is made. When you realize you can do it yourself.

Of course, it’s always easier said than done but anything is possible with persistence.

And Michael did it.

Now let’s be clear, Michael was thousands of dollars in debt with $13 in his bank account when he made the decision to make a feature film himself. Once again, the ever important lesson of the hustle came to serve Michael in his time of need. He didn’t stop to question if he was worthy, if he was the right person to run a company, if he had the capability and know how – again, he was taught at an early age that hustle is blind to everything but opportunity. Anyone can hustle and so that’s what he did.

He decided he was going to sell a product on the internet, decided on the product of tarps and started moving forward. Within a year he had made the money needed to produce his own feature length film, Love Hollywood Style. He reached the goal he set out to accomplish. Not only that, to date, his company Abadak has made over 100 million dollars and has donated thousands of tarps to the needy. Absolutely incredible.

The power of belief in self is awe inspiring.

I’ve said this before but I’m going to say it again.

Our minds are capable of so much more than we realize. Our brains are our super computers and our self talk and beliefs are the programs that will run it.

Tell yourself you are terrible with directions – you got it, you’ll be terrible with directions. Tell yourself that you never remember names, your brain says, check, never remembering names.

When you argue for your limitations, when you mentally and verbally embrace them, then you get to keep them. Whatever you are telling yourself, those thoughts become unconscious programs for our mind.

So what kind of programming are you giving yourself? What is your self talk doing for you? Pay attention to how you are speaking to yourself, if you are giving yourself poor programming, it’s time to change the messaging. Give yourself the right kind of input and watch how much more smoothly your own operating system will run.

Clearly the right mindset is not all that is needed here, as Michael shared, success is followed by hard work. He didn’t just snap his fingers and have his tarp company become a success overnight. I loved his story of his first sale, this is a perfect example of what it takes to make things happen. He got his first big order for tarps, over $17,000 worth of tarps of which he did not have in his possession – but he didn’t question it, he didn’t balk or say I’ll get back to you – he grabbed the opportunity as soon as it was presented to him – he seized the day - said YES and then figured out how to make it happen. This is a mark of successful people – they do not wait for things to happen. When presented with an opportunity, even if they know nothing, have nothing, have no idea how to accomplish it – they jump and say yes and then figure out how to make it work.

Successful people make things happen.

They do not look for excuses. They look for solutions.

Think about the problem you’ve been dealing with.

Think about every excuse you have used with yourself and others.

Now scrap those excuses.

You are capable.

I suggest Spending time tonight and think of a solution for each of those perceived excuses you’ve allowed to stop you.

It’s time to move forward.

As Michael shared, success is a head game. Anybody can have success. It’s a mind muscle that we have to practice at and keep sharp. We have to stay aware, counting our blessings, adding up all the wins and building that crescendo of positivity to carry us through. I love how Michael put it, too many people are looking at the weeds but what they need to do is take out the weeds, become cognizant of how they were created so they can clean up the garden, plant the right flowers and stay aware of keeping healthy growth in the future. You want to create that fertile mental environment to set you up for success.

Michael suggested staying aware of three things when it comes to your success. Your physiology, your focus and your vocabulary.

If you are focusing on everything negative in your life, If your focus is on all the things you don’t want in your life, your conversations filled with the negatives, your body carrying the weight with drooped shoulders, drawn face, tense forehead – this is a recipe for disaster. Our thoughts, our body language, the way we speak, all of these things have a huge impact on our personal world. Bring awareness to how you are holding yourself and the words you are using. If you are feeling down, trying using a power pose. Studies have shown that standing in the wonder woman pose – legs spread, arms at side, head up, chest out - within Less than two minutes this pose actually changes the chemistry in your brain helping you feel more confident. A power pose not only reflects power but it also creates power inside of you.

Smiling is also incredibly powerful. Smiling when you don’t feel like it will change your mood. Smiling tricks your brain into feeling more positive and therefore more confident.

The bottom line is you can fake it until you make it – by simply acting confident you can trick your brain into being more confident.

Once you’ve hacked your feelings through power posing and smiling, pay close to attention to the words you use – for example, you can take a certain situation and label it an ‘obstacle’ or ‘challenge’ and it will feel frustrating, it will feel heavy, like something you have to overcome, or you can use the word adventure or exploration and those words will make you feel excited, ready, curious. Same situation, completely different experience.

Bring awareness and positive change to your words, your thoughts and your body language and you will find that positive change reflected in your life experiences.

I love that Michael took his disadvantages and turned them into his purpose. He took ownership of his underdog status and used it as a pathway to his success. I fully identify with this as well, there have been a few times when I’ve been told I would fail and that was all the motivation I needed to not give up and succeed – thank you to my previous boss for that, he told everyone in the office I would be out of business within six months (it’s now been over 20 years) – If someone tries to tell you you can’t do something that is exciting and important to you, use that as the fuel and motivation needed to go out and succeed. Do as Michael did, Think of every under dog movies you’ve ever seen and put yourself in the starring role – visualize that successful montage and then go out there and do it.

I’ll leave you with one of Michael’s final thoughts.

It’s important to Reframe the way you look at failure. Successful people have a lot of failures, and I call them perceived failures because the ultimate lesson learned is that there is no failure, there is only learning, which is why so often success is born from the failure.

Look back at your own perceived failures, can you reframe it into something that inspires you?

I had another perceived failure this past weekend, I was given an amazing opportunity by someone I consider a mentor, and it went well for the most part but I made a big mistake at one point, a mistake that was also a rudeness to this person who gave me this opportunity. It was a two second moment, but long enough to erase all the good in my mind from the two hours before. I felt awful. I felt like an ass. I beat myself up over it for a bit and likely would have reamed myself for weeks if it weren’t for everything I’ve learned from doing this podcast. I’ve learned so much through all of these conversations and it is very clear that self- flagellation, wallowing in your own mental pain, helps no one – it does not make any situation better and only makes things worse for everyone involved, especially yourself. What is important is to learn from the experience. So after a few hours of festering negative feelings, I sat quietly and thought deeply about all the things I could learn from the experience, and you know what, there was so much there. I learned why I reacted the way I did, I learned the way it feels when I acted in a way that others often treat me, I learned that I have tolerated being treated a certain way that has now affected me negatively, I can no longer be tolerable and need to make changes. I learned with a certainty in my bones that I will not make that same mistake again, which is an oddly freeing feeling. I learned what immediate grace, kindness and forgiveness feels like when given freely. Which also gave me the opportunity to learn the right way to treat others when I find myself in the opposite position. Then I learned how much better of an experience life is when I go through my mistakes/failures with this mindset rather than ripping into myself, marinating in the negative feelings and letting it color my world and therefore the world of others around me, for much longer than warranted.

So that is my wish for you all, that you can reframe and learn from all your perceived failures, allowing them to motivate you while finding inspiration in your own story.

Until next time

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