Today’s guest is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, international speaker and coach. But, most importantly, he’s an advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
Listen as we talk deeply about how things in your past effect your performance and mindset today. Learn what he learned from his own parent cutting off his finger as a child, growing up around drugs and violence, and how he went from being a self-admitted asshole… to compassion and helping others.
Please welcome, Michael “Unbroken.”
- 01.48.21 Michael Anthony’s Background
- 01.58.02 Mission in Life
- 07.20.05 Breakdown Moment
- 26.32.53 Story of Success
- 38.15.44 Website
Learn more about this guest:
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Today’s guest is an entrepreneur best-selling author international speaker and coach. But most importantly, he’s an advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma. Listen, as we talk deeply about how things in your past affect your performance and mindset today and learn what he learned from his own parent, cutting off his finger as a child, growing up around drugs and violence and how he went from being a self-admitted asshole to compassion and helping others.
Please welcome Michael. You’re ready to grow your business. And I love helping entrepreneurs find success. So let’s do this. I’m Damon Burton, Forbes contributor, author of the search engine optimization book, outrank and president of SEO national. I’ve been featured on Forbes, entrepreneur and hundreds of websites and podcasts for helping big businesses grow bigger and make more money by showing up higher on search engines, including shark tank, featured businesses, NBA teams, and Inc 5,000.
I’m bringing my successful network to you firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether success to you means financial freedom, freedom of time or freedom of the soul. We’re in this together. Welcome to the learning from others podcast.
Ready to show up higher on search engines for words that you can monetize, but without paying for ads, download your free copy of my SEO book out. If you visit www.freeseobook.com today, Mr. Michael unbroken, what’s up, man. Good to see you. How you doing? Damn, my friend. I’m amazing, dude. Thank you so much for the time today.
I’m excited. Talk to you. Why don’t we do our thing? The audience knows they usually start with two questions. Question number one is who are you, Michael? Why are we listening to you? Yeah. So I am an a, I’m an entrepreneur by nature. Um, I’ve been an entrepreneur really since I was eight years old. Um, I’m a public speaker, a best-selling author, and I’m an advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
And my, my mission in life and everything that I do is to whatever capacity I am in to help give people the tools to become the hero of their own story. A lot of things we can go down there. Um, but not until I asked question number two is what do you suck at? Um, you know, that’s a really fascinating question and it’s, you know, the hardest part about being mission-driven is always having to say no.
And I suck at saying yes. Um, because if I say yes to everything, Don’t get accomplished anything. And so like my friends, my community, like people know if it’s not on my calendar, you hit me up today. You’re like, you want to go to lunch, man? I’m like, no, I can’t do it. Um, so I wish I could say yes more but being mission-driven and, and I, I live by this very simple phrase, control your calendar and control your life.
So, unfortunately, quite often less it’s incredibly important. I gotta be the no guy. Yeah, I can, I can appreciate that. And, and you know, what makes it hard? Like that’s an important thing. Just in general, right? Being able to confidently say no, but respectfully say no, but what makes it harder than that? I know you’ll relate to, and maybe we can touch on this briefly that I don’t think a lot of the audience will relate to as one year a compassionate person, and you want to help people, you attract the people that you need to help.
And so you attract the people that ask for yeses. And so it’s like this weird balance where, where you, you are the yes guy and you are the helper guy. But then you also have to wit what comes with the territory is you have, there’s a delicate balance of having to politically say no in the same, in the same world, right?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s so much, you know, we live in a society in which if you tell people, no, somehow you’re automatically deemed to be unkind, but. If you’re always extending yourself for the people around you, how do you ever do anything? Right. And, and it’s, and it’s difficult because like, I am a person of service.
I’m a service based business. That’s what I do. It is service, but also Damon, I think this is important. It’s the area people miss on it’s service based on. I have to put me first, the business first priorities first. And so sometimes that means, unfortunately, even though I’d love to extend myself further, you have to say no.
And, and like, you have to get comfortable saying no, because if you don’t, that’s how you end up getting to the phrase where you’re like, people treat me like a doormat. Well, that’s because you’re not saying. Totally, you know, I’m I’m for the listeners that are, you know, they can’t see the video. I’m, I’m S I’m smiling and laughing inside because literally the moment before I came down to chat with Michael, as I was talking to my wife, when we’re talking about things like this with our family and friends, and, and we have like all these, these people in our circle, who are the most amazing people in the most giving people that they just fucking get walked all over.
It is literally as simple as what you said, they, they don’t say no. And I think here’s, here’s why, right? Like people think if they say no that they are. Being selfish or unkind. And it’s the total opposite. It is not that you don’t want to help them. It is that you want to protect yourself so that you can help properly.
Yeah. There, you have to change the nomenclature of the understanding of what it means to put yourself first, because if you don’t put yourself first, then who will, and that’s not selfish, as long as you’re doing it in alignment with your values, your mission and your. And so whenever I say, no, I don’t ever feel bad about it because I’m like operating within who I am now.
There’s times where I have to break that things are important. Things happen. Life happens, you have to be able to pivot, but ultimately at the end of the day, putting yourself first is not selfish because that’s actually how you create impact. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Let’s talk about, uh, You had mentioned that you helped people that had survived traumas, like give me a generalized example of like the scope of type of people and the impact that you’re working on.
Yeah. You know, so, so I’m a survivor myself. Um, the, the elevator pitch version of this as when I was four years old, my mother, she cut off my right index. She was a drug addict and alcoholic. My stepfather was super abusive. I spent a lot of my childhood in poverty and homeless. Um, were dude, we were so poor.
The water company turned our water off and I grew up in America. Right? Imagine that at 12, I started doing drugs and 13. I was getting drunk. I was selling drugs, running with guns, breaking the law. My free childhood best friends had been murdered. I didn’t graduate high school on time. I grew up, I went to one of the worst high schools in America and by 2050.
I’ve been working for a fortune 10 company making six figures, no high school. They literally handed my high school diploma. I can get the hell out of here, no college degree. And I landed this job with this fortune 10 company started making six figures and that made my life worse because money only exacerbates things for good or bad.
And I found myself 350 pounds smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, drinking myself to sleep. And I recognize that. That was happening in my life was the impact of the abuse, some of the worst things that people could ever imagine happening to a human being happened to me. And it happened to my siblings and to my community and in my neighborhood.
And as an adult, I hit rock bottom. And I had to do all this work. I had to get serious about therapy and get a coach and read the books and educate myself. I got like 40 certifications and trauma education and it was really about healing myself. Right. And 11 years from this breakdown moment at 25, I’m here talking to you.
And people, statistically, you can go and look, 83% of people haven’t been impacted by adverse childhood experiences. And I would argue it’s probably even higher because the vast majority aren’t reported, I would say 95 plus percent of people had something probably pretty dark happen, you know, between being born in 18 years old or 20 years old.
And, and then we don’t recognize societaly how that impacts us as adults. And for many of us that turns into these, these not only are. Behaviors, but self-soothing behaviors or autonomic behaviors cause they’re survival based. And then we find ourselves being like me. I was, I was morbidly obese. I was chain smoking.
I was drinking. I was cheating on my partners. Like it was a, it was a nightmare. And, and my mission what happened and, and it was really a serendipitous statement because. About six years ago, I just started writing a blog. I was just sharing stuff that I was finding online. I was like, oh, this is interesting.
This is about trauma. This is about the healing journey and I’m in the mid to deep into it. Right. And, um, and slowly that started to transform and people would be like, man, I read that blog. That was amazing. I relate. And then they would be like, I read what you wrote. And that changed my life. And then it turned into, Hey, will you help me?
And at first the answer was no right. Going back to what we’re talking about a moment ago. But then I recognize something really important in my life had vastly shifted, but my communities didn’t my family didn’t and the people I cared about their lives, weren’t shifting after abuse. And I felt this for lack of a better way to phrase it.
Moral obligation to step into being the leader of this. And that’s where think unbroken came about because ultimately people who come from traumatic backgrounds are kind of fit outside the norm or whatever it may be. They get titled broken in society. And I never felt that way. That wasn’t how I fought.
And one night I had the shower moment. I was like, I know how to serve people. Now I know what to do. And a little bit over three and a half years ago, I launched think on broken. And it was just about, I’m just going to push stuff out. I didn’t even know what it was at the time. I was just like, I’m gonna just keep writing.
I’m gonna keep writing, keep writing. And then it turned into a best-selling book and then it turned into coaching thousands of people and speaking around the world. And then it turned into, you know, having a huge coaching program and so on and so forth. Um, but ultimately the goal is it’s very simple.
It’s very simple. To give people the tools to live life on their terms without wetting the impact of trauma, be the catalyst for why they’re afraid to tap into their potential. There’s a couple of, I’ve been making little notes over here and a couple of things you said that I want to, I want to revisit on, um, one, one comment.
It’s interesting. I ran into like an old, uh, The parents of one of my best friends when I was a child and, um, her and I have since hit it off and, you know, have this great relationship. When it grabbed copies, you came to this big party. I had the other day invite a stubborn dinner over there. And as, as we’re talking to her, she had like this really interesting comment and talking about, you know, trauma and things like that, because she didn’t know that I grew up with like an alcoholic stepdad and that.
Uh, I was lower middle class and I was always she’s like, where did you live when you were always coming over to our house? And I’m like, oh, like this many miles that way. And she’s like, you walk to our house all the time. And so it’s like all these things that she didn’t know, but one thing that I took away from that conversation that I find interesting, that I think.
Is in alignment with what you’re saying. And she said, we’re all eight year-olds inside. We’re all just these little kids inside that have these unresolved issues. And I thought that that was such a simple, but such a powerful statement. And I don’t know where I’m going with this. I don’t necessarily have a question out of it, but it was just something that I, that aligns with a lot that you’re talking about.
So I don’t know. Is that kinda what you agree with inside? We’re all just like this unaddressed child. Yeah. I mean, to an extent, right? Because if you think about life, In this current moment, we are the sum total of all of our experiences. That means everything that’s ever happened up until this moment has informed and shaped who we are.
And we make meaning of that. And we create memories from that, and that is a part of us. And so it would be dismissive honestly, to not acknowledge that. Now there are people who will leverage that as an excuse. I will raise my hand. That was me for a very long time. I E my childhood was fucked up. So this is how I am.
Don’t tell me how to change. And then you recognize that you have the ability to craft and create life to be whatever you want it to be. And so while yes, there is that part of you that has maybe that hurt, lost abandoned child. Eventually one of the things I’m one of the most difficult things that you have to understand about life is that you’re no longer a child.
And that then gives you the ability to take ownership over your future. And for me, that was one of the most powerful there I say, coming to Jesus style moments of my life, because I knew for the first time that I had to be the person in control of my future. Yeah. It’s uh, you know, a lot of this is like super, um, is hyper-relevant to a lot of the Westerners, but, but myself included.
So, you know, An example that I don’t think I really talked about on the podcast is that I haven’t talked to my mom in about four years. And the last time I talked to her was at Thanksgiving and there’s this whole other, you know, other layers to the story. But the abbreviated version is I called her out for all the, you know, all the shitty things and not being my wife and I have her only grandkids and she never comes and visits them and all this stuff.
And it was, and she’s always just been the victim or whole life. Right. And so the last thing. The, the last words my mom said to me, when I talked to her was fuck you. You don’t get it because what you’re a millionaire and the context of the conversation right before that was me. Saying, you know, you are the matriarch of the family.
And so your role to an extent is to be the glue and to make family moments and this and that, and this, this was all the conversation was birth because there was this big Thanksgiving mess. And so. That that evolved into her, just denying everything which always happens. Right. And so that, that my response to that was look, you need to take responsibility for life and think, you know, I’m trying to get her on the good side of life.
Right. And what she said back though, like you used the reason what brings us up is you saying we have to realize we’re not a kid anymore. Is that her being, you know, 60. And her reply to me was I have no room to comment on the things that she’s done as a parent to, you know, I’m the oldest of seven. And so the conversation largely wasn’t about the negative impact of how things, um, were on me because I took those and turn them into a positive, but I have a bunch of siblings that are a lot younger than me, and I can see that negative impact now affecting them as they go into their twenties.
And so we were talking about that and her response was that I have no room to complain about how our family’s childhood was because hers was worse. And it just blew my mind that like that. It has nothing to do with it, but it underscored just the victim mentality and just the complete lack of ownership.
And, and it’s really hard to be in positions like for yourself, I’m assuming where like, you’d know the problem and you know, the solution and it’s, it’s not black and white, but it’s like really clear. Right. And it’s just hard to see people that just like won’t accept reality and. Do something. Yeah. Well, first off, man, I, I feel you I’m sending you love.
And because I, at 14 years old, I put a restraining order on my mother and at 18 I told her I will never talk to you again. And until the day she died, I think I talked to her one time and eventually she died of an overdose that, you know, it was just kind of part of it, um, within a hospital. And she had, you know, all these elements and things of that nature.
And one of the most difficult things that we have to understand. And I tell this to entrepreneurs all the time when I coached them, because I also do business coaching. And what I tell them is it might be your mom who’s in your way right now. And one of the most difficult things that we have to do is acknowledge the power that other people hold over us when they are either gaslighting us or scapegoating.
If they’re narcissistic and it’s so difficult because from a societal standpoint, we’re always told families over everything, but I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe in that. And the reason I don’t believe in that is because I have built an incredible family around me, of people who are not by my blood.
And these are. I for me and I would die for them. And it’s so powerful. And when we’re, when we’re building anything in our life, whether it’s ourselves, our families, our communities, or our business, if there’s always that one person in your way, You’re never going to be able to grow. And, and so I, I have a huge amount of empathy for you for having to make that decision.
And for everyone who has to make that decision, because ultimately the thing that you have to understand about life is your you’re the driver. And so you get to be the driver or you get to be the passenger, but when you’re the passenger, you don’t get a complaint about choices and decisions. You’re not making.
When you’re the driver, you get to have the GPS. And you’re the one in control of where you got. Yeah. I think even, even the, I think why why’s a small part of why people have a hard time, um, like it’s easy for them to dismiss the impact that somebody had, like the, the negative energy that somebody’s holding over them, because it’s just a lot of times I, I assume.
People’s understanding of our relationship with that, that whoever that person is, it’s like, oh, I don’t talk to them a lot or whatever, but it’s the subconscious mental bandwidth of you always thinking about it or it just crossing your mind. That sucks the shit out of your energy, your productivity, your momentum.
I think the smallest. The thing that the smaller that you think the thing is, the bigger, the subconscious impact that has on you? A hundred percent. I mean, it’s the same way. Like you have an employee on your team right now who is toxic to the environment and you’re not replacing them like. Right. And, or you’re not removing them, or you’re not like doing whatever needs to be done to create impact in the business and in your life.
And you know, that little thing eventually think about this, right? Every avalanche, every avalanche starts with like a single snowflake. Right. And next thing, you know, boom, everything is engulfed by it. And when you’re looking at that, you have to understand, you got to get out of the way of it. You have to do something.
You, you have to do it. It’s action. Right. It’s action. Ultimately. Change only happens when you make change happen. And it’s very difficult, especially with people to have these kinds of conversations because we are emotionally and we are emotional, capable people. We have feelings, we have emotions. We don’t want to hurt people’s I don’t think natively anyone’s like, I can’t wait to hurt this person’s feelings.
Right. But that’s, that’s the thing about it. Like who is in control of your life? Is it yours at them? So, you know, It’s never easy. I don’t think there’s an easy way to do this. I, I don’t nor have I ever come to a solution where I sat and I looked at it from an analytical perspective and said, oh, that’s the right way to do this.
It’s difficult. What was the tipping point? I think you said it was like around 25 and then kind of an extension of that question. Have you always been this nice or, or, or, or did this calm and nature come through the evolution of the tipping point? No, dude, I was a total hassle for so long, man. I was the worst person you could imagine, dude.
I was so mean to pee. I was fighting all the time, getting him. Hurting people stealing stuff like breaking law, competent handcuffs, like three times, like luckily never been arrested, but my charm has gotten me out of some situation. Um, no, I was a monster for a long time dude, as a teenager, especially, um, my twenties was just this really tremendous.
Amount of negative energy. I was putting into the world. Um, I was so money-driven like just thinking, cause my thought Damon was money was the solution. I was like, man, if I just get money, all of that bad stuff goes away. But then I just started being my brothers at one point were like, don’t ever talk to me again.
And now our relationships are mended. They are men being they’re becoming better. Um, but my, my best friends, they like, they were just like, Michael’s just an asshole. He’s just the party guy. That’s just who he is. We’re just going to let him be. I wish somebody would have like smacked me in the face and be like, stop being a Dick.
I got in my family, but you need to smack them. And so it really started with me recognizing I’m going to, I’m going to give you something practical. What you think becomes what you speak, what you speak becomes your action and your action become your reality. And the only thing that I ever said to myself is that you’re a piece of shit, dude.
I was so mean to myself. I said things to myself that if I said to someone I would literally get arrested for, for real. And when I understood the power of self-talk and people talk about this all the time, right? You hear this, it’s kind of like a social norm to be like, be nice to yourself in a practical capacity, the way you talk to yourself as more important than anything else in your life, period, period, because it all starts with you.
And, and if, and I look at it as a very binary. It’s very yes or no, there space for gray area in life, all across the board, but in the way you talk to yourself, it must be binary. And so I started telling myself, I’m the kind of person that is kind to myself. And then eventually Dammann all long enough timeline.
That started to become my, my reality because of the actions I would notice when I was being mean to myself. I would notice when I was, you know, I’d spill something like you fucking idiot, right. Those things, because that’s what was ingrained. My, my mother and my stepfather were so cruel that I was in a, it was literally embedded with this software that told me I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, capable enough.
And I had to reframe that I had to re-install that software and do it in a kind way. So it’s very, I love that you recognize that first off. Let me say, I appreciate that because most people never call attention to it. And it’s an alignment with my values. My values Damon are honestly. Kindness leadership and self-actualization so the funnel through how I exist in the world is all predicated on those values and kindness.
So high on the hierarchy for me that it’s it’s, it’s a non-negotiable. Um, and I apologize. I definitely forgot the first part of your question. Well shit now I did too.
That’s all good. Have you been into any of your old, you know, you know, how you talked about how you used to be this asshole? Have you ran into any old contacts and they’re just like, who the hell are you like? What happened? Like in a good way, right? Yeah, well, in a good way, in a bad way, right? Because one of the things that’ll happen as you grow the people around you as you Jay-Z has my favorite.
One of my favorite quotes of all time on a paraphrase, because I always mess it up. Um, I didn’t do all this people saying that you changed, well, I didn’t do all this work to stay the same. And, and that hit me really hard. And one of the things that happened as I grew, I noticed people be like, you’re. You don’t want to get drunk all the time.
You don’t party all the time. My best friend, who I was best friends with for almost a decade, I haven’t talked to him in like six years. Right. And, and my brothers go, dude, you’re you’re, you’re a good guy. Now you’re a leader. You’re, you’re showing up. We see you that matters. And, and on the occasion, somebody will reach out out of the blue and they’ll go, Hey, man, I just wanted to say that you’re doing amazing and that’s meaningful to me.
I’m burned a lot. Damon. I burned all the bridges. I’m burned them all. And so to have people reach out or for me to reach out to people and apologize and just like fully mean it or, or to have them see me as been so impactful because here’s the reality, the truth about it. Your life can change that fast.
And it’s all based on the decisions on the choices that you make. And so the deeper that I got into the healing journey and recognizing the impact that I was having and starting to remove the nomenclature of quote unquote, this is who I am. So don’t try to change me. I started to create real change, not only in my life and by proxy that impacted the world.
Now I will say this. There are people who, who have reached out to me who have been like, I don’t care what you’re doing. Go fuck yourself. You’re still an ass. And I’m like, respect. Fine. I can’t change your opinion of me, but that, what does that have to do with. What is your opinion of me have to do with me and my mission, nothing.
And, and if one day that you turn that corner and you see the impact and you want to connect with me, I will be there for you, you know, but I I’ve said my apologies. I’m, I’m, I’m trying to make my action be louder than my words. And ultimately at the end of the day, I recognize that I hurt some people in ways that I’m never going to be able to come back from.
I can’t change the past statement. I can only change my future. Yeah. Yeah. That’s admirable of you to, to own it and reach out. Um, and then, and then like the, on, on the, your best friend that you haven’t talked to in awhile, one thing that I’ve noticed, and I’m curious if you kind of see the same thing is the people that either like yourself that change and become a better person or.
That maybe, maybe they were never in a dramatic, you know, asshole scenario and they, but they found success and they stayed nice throughout it and stayed grounded throughout that growth. What I’ve noticed a lot of times is that success changes the people around you more than. You yourself, just like you saying money is an amplifier.
It’s like the same thing. Success. If you’re an asshole, you’re going to be a bigger asshole. If, if you’re grounded than for the most part, you’re going to stay grounded. And so for me, I’ve always been a pretty grounded, humble person. I’ve never had, um, you know, despite my childhood, I never. Went down the wrong paths and things like that.
And so I’ve always been like pretty level-headed, but as I’ve found more and more success, I’ve had like the most bizarre comments from the people that know how hard I’ve worked to get out of, you know, the, the lower middle class childhood, and the, the things that come with that, like one example, and this person is.
I think this person that made the comment about to say is, has realized now and on it and indirectly apologized, but like we bought this, you know, the house that we’re in now, we’ve been in for 10 years. And when we bought it, it’s a, it’s this big house. It’s got six bedrooms. We only had one kid at the time.
So it was my wife and one kid, but we bought a house bigger than we needed so we could grow into it because I moved a ton. When I was younger. I didn’t want to put my kids through that. I wanted them to have roots and a place that they could always, you know, just one place, their whole life. And so now, now the whole house is filled out, right?
Because now I have three kids and one room is a guest room and one room is my office. All six rooms are filled now. But when we first moved into this house and it was just one kid, someone in the family was helping us move. And the first thing they said, when we backed the moving truck up to the house, literally word for word was I hate rich people and it just blew my mind that somebody would use, I don’t, I don’t think rich has to be a bad thing.
Right. But further than that is, this is a, this is somebody’s. His family to begin with, but I think the bigger point is they had seen what the fuck I’d done. They had seen the 15, 20 hour days for the, at the time, the six or seven years before that. And so now I think now they, now that it’s 15, 16 years later, and now that they have kids and now they’re going through adulting and they’re, they’re super kind now.
And they actually go out of their way to. Give me grant, you know, say things of gratitude. And so I think they’ve changed, but that happens a lot, right? At least, at least for me personally, and that I’ve witnessed in others is that success changes other people around you. And as you change, you have to, you have to be ready to take some of that shit.
That’s coming your way. Yeah. Yeah, man. You do. And what I think, I think often people will. How do I want to phrase this in a constructive way? Very often people will say things as a reflection of their internal doubt. Yeah. They’ll look at you and they’ll go. Who the fuck do you think you are? Think you’re better than me.
Oh, you got a nice car. You got a house, you got to whatever. Oh, you’re going to do this. You’re going to do that. And I’m and I go, well, Or a woman or whomever at the end of the day, you can control your life. Everything here is possible. What’s so incredible about life that I don’t think people fully understand is you can do literally anything.
It’s just going to take a long time. You’re going to have to put in the work you’re going to have to put in the effort and every single time that you that’s a self measurement tactic, right. People go, oh, you’re better than me. So then therefore I am less than, whereas I look at people who are ahead of me.
I go, oh, they’re just a step ahead of me. That’s a marker. Great. And so it’s, it’s about mindset, right? Carol Dweck wrote mindset, which is one of the. Probably incredible books ever written in the history of the world. And you know, that’s being in a fixed mindset when you’ve already made your mind up about the potential and the possibility that you have in your life as opposed to a growth mindset, which means that the possibilities are ever expansive.
And, and that’s a huge shift that one has to make in order to step into potential, because I used to be that same way, dude. No doubt, for sure. Like even, so I’m working for this fortune 10 company, I’m driving a brand new Cadillac. CTS. I paid cash for it. I’m a kid from the hood. Well, poverty, homeless, didn’t graduate.
And I’m like in this position where I’m finding success and dude, I would still be like, fuck that rich guy. Right. And I’m like, and what I came to recognize and understand about that. I was limiting myself every time I said something like that. And now I look at rich people and I go, dude, money. Doesn’t make the man and like, oh my God, I love that quote so much because it’s so true.
You can be rich and be a piece of shit. I’m not going to measure you for possibility, or you can be rich and rich should be self-defined. What is rich? Isn’t money. Rich isn’t money like Richard. Fulfillment. Rich’s love riches, happiness, riches, like family and community and impact. And so I look at people as that measurement because monetarily dude, I blew up almost a million dollars in my twenties.
Like for real, like blew it like $3,000 strip club nights in Vegas, like dumb shit like that. People would measure me, my little brothers. I love this conversation, dude. My little brothers would be like, you’re a rich asshole now. They will. One of my little brothers, I swear to God, literally told me that. No, no, I’m just an asshole.
I would say, Hey, I remembered what I remembered the question earlier. It was, um, what was the tipping point? Like, was there a clear defined moment or was this just an evolution? And it was a slow transition. It was a series of rock bottoms, man. It was a series of me laying in bed at night and being consumed by for lack of better term wicked thoughts, being consumed by all the negativity that I, not anyone else that I had created in my life being consumed with this idea that I wasn’t living into my potential.
And so on my 25th birthday, this is dark, but, uh, you need to know this interest. A question on my 25th birthday, I put my gun in my. I was done. And my girlfriend at the time was banging on the bathroom door. Please talk to me, please talk to me, please talk to me. And I was just, I was done, man. So it wasn’t that day that the change happened.
But the next day I’m laying in bed. It’s 11 o’clock in the morning. I’m smoking a joint, watching the CrossFit games and eating chocolate cake. You got to remember I’m 350 pounds. If that’s not the definition of rock bottom, dude, I don’t know what is. And it still wasn’t that moment. It still wasn’t that it was the next day.
I’m in the bathroom. I’m getting ready to go out. Um, I’m putting on a size four XL shirt, size 47 pants. And I just don’t recognize the face in the mirror. I’m like, I don’t know who this person is. And I remembered being eight years old and taking this little blue bucket across the street to the neighbor’s house to still walk.
And in that moment, promising myself, Michael, when you’re a grownup, this won’t be your life. And sure. From a, from an outside looking in perspective, my life was great. I had all the money. I had a beautiful girlfriend. I had an awesome car. I lived in the best condo in town. And I was miserable because I wasn’t living into my potential.
And I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, Michael, what are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have? And the words, no excuses just results just started reverberating in my brain and it just fucking consumed me, man. And I was like, dude, I’m going to do whatever it is. I’m so tired of this life.
I’m so tired of being a liar. I’m so tired of getting drunk every night. I’m so tired. Cause I never thought I was an alcoholic dude. Like to be honest with you and I never was a stoner, I was just hiding from the pain because the moment I got sober due to all the feelings and emotions, all of the stuff I’d been hiding for years came up and, and it was like, oh my God, this is the dark.
This is, what’s been in me. This is why I use, you know, I punched my brother in the face on 4th of July when we were like 26 years old and I would do all these horrendous things to people and since apologized and, you know, we have bridged that gap. But it, it came down, it was just a series of just man, how much worse could I make my life?
It was like, I was challenging myself. How much worse can you make this? And then I recognize that life is about what you choose to do with it. And I had to kick my own ass. And I had to put myself in a position to be successful. And there’s somebody listening right now that needs, you need to kick yourself in the ass, get the fuck over yourself and start doing the work because the truth is you can sit here and blame the fucking world all day long, but at the end of the day, nobody lives for you.
Nobody breathes for you, nobody acts for you. And so if you’re sitting here blaming the world while you can’t have success in life and your relationship is failing and you’re over. And you’re fucking destroying everything around you. It’s your fault. I’m sorry. That bad things happen to you. You are not culpable for the bad things that happen.
That is not on you, but from this moment forward, you have to make a decision because you can blame the world all fucking day long. And then on your death bed, you’re going to go, man. I wish I would’ve gotten my shit together and, and Daymond. That’s what hits. I recognize that I wasn’t going to die and never accomplish anything more shit.
Because when I was a little kid, I was invisible. And the only thing I ever wanted to do was be Tommy Lee or Jay Z. That’s it. That’s all I ever wanted to be a fucking box because I wanted to be seen. And in some aspect I am cause I’m on stages all the time and I’m on podcasts. And like, so I get a live that out, but it’s impactful in a way that I get to create change in the world because when I die, man, I ain’t dying with no fucking regrets.
It ain’t happening. I suffered too much for that shit. And so many people have, so you got to make a declaration yourself and ask yourself, what are you willing to do? We’re not getting any better than that. So I think this is where I would call it a day. Um, yeah, these are these. I agree with everything.
And, um, I agree with them in general and I relate to a lot of these stories. Um, personally, a, uh, I have. People friends and family that are in those same scenarios. And I think one of the hard parts for, for people in like our position is like, like I touched on earlier, we know that these people just need to take ownership.
Right. But it’s so hard to get them the fucking take ownership sometimes. And it’s like, how do you can’t make them? Yeah, I think that’s the hardest part of being in a position to help somebody knowing the general answers that will help them get out of that hole they’re in and they’re not even willing to help them see.
Yeah. I mean, what, I think one of the really impactful things you can do is call people out in a, in a, in a way that’s about empowering them. But after that, like it’s on them. You know, my, my, I won’t get into details because it’s his story to share, but I called my brother out my little brother a few months ago and his life is completely different.
And you know, at the end of the day, sometimes that’s all you can do. And, and that’s all you can. Yeah, well, Michael, um, I know, I appreciate you, um, sharing these personal stories. I want to give you the opportunity though, to talk more about thinking broken in and maybe the business side of it and how you impact people and, and what it’s like to work with you, or what’s the process to work with you or, or, you know, where do people begin?
Yeah. So among social, everywhere at Michael unbroken, um, think I’m broken as a movement. It’s a community it’s connection and it’s commitment. It’s about giving people the tools to heal. Um, and, and the, the business side of things started and there’s a website thinkunbrokenbusiness.com thing on broken business started because I recognize that there’s a lot of liars in business coaching who have never built anything in their life.
And I said, you know what? I’m not going to stand for this. I’m going to. Be the change I want to see in the world. And so that’s a new venture. That’s a new endeavor. I’ve consulted with some pretty major companies in my career. Um, and I just want to give people tools. That’s all. This is at the same thing.
Whether you’re building an unbroken life or an unbroken business, I want to be the catalyst to help people do that. I love it, dude. Uh, we are, we are spirit animals, Michael unbroken. Thanks so much. Um, anything else you want to add? You threw out the website, but I’ll give you the formal. No, I just, I want to say thank you for the time and the opportunity.
And you know, I, I reply to everyone who messages me. So if you’re in this place in your life and you’re like, I just need some help, some support something, message me. I will reply. There you go. Like on broken, thanks to everybody Damon Burton here. And thank you so much for listening to the learning from others podcast.
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