Average sucks! My guest today, Michael Bernoff, would know. Not only is he above average in terms of goals he has set (and achieved) for himself, he is one of the many who have been labeled with a “disability,” only later to discover it’s a pretty special ability. He was told as a child that he had ADHD. Rather than treat it with medication, Michael accepts that while he may be hyper-alert to his surroundings, he also has the ability to laser-focus on things that have been important to him, like becoming an entrepreneur, and writing a book. Michael wrote a bestselling book called—you guessed it—Average Sucks!
In this episode, we get into the concept of changing the world by first changing ourselves—something I believe in and practice every day. We talk about taking a meta approach to setting goals by first thinking about your thinking and being aware of your awareness. To understand more about what this expert speaker and motivator has to say about breaking through barriers and achieving your dreams, stay tuned for an inspiring episode.
In this Episode
- [00:30] – Stephan introduces Michael Bernoff, the author of the book, Average Sucks! He’s a powerful, seasoned speaker with the ability to tap into virtually anyone’s motivation strategy.
- [05:00] – Michael shares the reason it took 17 years to finish his book, Average Sucks!
- [10:38] – Michael talks about his breakthrough moment and the inspiration behind his book.
- [15:56] – Stephan shares what Robert Allen said about the two types of people; the writer who speaks, and the speaker who writes.
- [21:23] – Michael recalls his journey in dealing with ADHD and how he turned it into an asset.
- [25:05] – Michael points out how it’s our job to repair the world.
- [29:35] – The magic question to ask yourself to find out what you want for your future.
- [34:39] – Michael describes the outcomes of his past interventions to transform people.
- [41:44] – How can communication control everything?
- [45:21] – Visit Michael Bernoff’s website, michaelbernoff.com, to learn more on how to create the change and consistency you desire in life.
It’s great to have you here, Michael, thanks for joining us.
Stephan, I’m excited to be here as well. I was looking forward to this, and I’m excited to see what we can do to share with your world and make this world even better.
Yeah, now I get to share with you, and with our listeners here, how impressed I was with the shock and awe box that you had created. And you presented that at a Genius Network virtual meeting recently. I was just blown away by it. I’ve seen some different shock and awe boxes over the years, but yours just takes the cake. If I were to have received that box, I would have been doing livestreams and videos and all sorts of things to tell my fan base about this amazing box.
Well, I can mail you one now. I need your address, make sure that it happens, right?
It is so cool. It’s not just a book and a t-shirt, it’s an experience. It’s like, if I had an unboxing YouTube channel, I dedicate a video to receiving that box. It’s so cool.
The craziest thing about it was the company that makes the boxes, and they make them for everyone, make boxes for Costco, make them for Walmart, and make them for everything. I reached out to my wife, and I gotta give her full credit for designing the whole thing. She knew the standard we wanted, and she designed it. And the box company said. “Do you mind if we promote your box and show people how you did this?” So the box company that made the box was so impressed by how we used their box with the inside cover to the underneath. So it’s like everywhere you went in that box it was telling a story.
So cool. And I also loved how entrepreneurial you are with it, “Okay, well, this is getting some traction, so people who want the box they can pay for it,” right?
Yeah. And we’ve sold hundreds of boxes. And we don’t make a ton of money on the box because after you ship it and get it and make it and everything, it’s not meant for that. But people wanted it so then people started buying it, it’s like, “Oh, you didn’t get one, you want to buy one?” So like you give it to your rap stars, or you give your athletes or whatever you give them your Air Force Ones with their name on it. “Oh, you want a pair or a pair of two.” So whatever it is, that was our thinking pattern, we wanted to make an experience. But people that are all in I mean, our company, Average Sucks is a brand we have. It’s not just a brand, it’s a statement for living, and we hit it out of the park with that one. So we’re excited.
And I imagine people who are paying for the box are still going to wax-poetic on social media and on their blog about the experience of opening the box.
We’re not a book company, and I wanted to share my book with my clients, people that love us and share a message and get it out to the world. And then we sent that one text and two emails, and we hit what most people can’t do in three years, we did in three days. And we did it by being very strategic and giving it to people we love and care about, who’d been with their vision with us at the beginning, and they would share the box and then literally pent up demand. For 17 years, I have been talking about writing a book, I finally wrote it, and then everybody’s like, “Where do I get a copy?” So it’s really fun. And I appreciate you noticing that as a marketer and as a human who cares about cool stuff, noticing its power. I wish I had the box right here. I would just show everybody, but I’d have to go assemble one to show you but another time. You have to buy it.
Averagesucks.com, really easy, go pick it up there.
Okay, so you said 17 years went by where you didn’t write a book, and you finally wrote one. Why now? What was the impetus?
Yes, this is interesting. So why it took 17 years, I didn’t realize till it was in the process. I recommend everyone to write a book, not even for its sake. It’s like learning a new skill, if you’ve never written one, you have to get out of your way. There’s a lot of stuff you want to do. The reason it took so long, I didn’t recognize was that like a nine-year-old boy was trying to write the book, meaning that somebody within security, someone would want to do it himself, prove a point. There was this young kid inside me who wanted to write the book, not a grown adult who’s traveled all over the world helping people but this little boy who wanted to get this book done. And for years, I wanted to get it done, but here’s the deal, like I’m not an author, and at least I didn’t see myself as one. I’m a speaker, and I’m an influencer, I share with people, I do transformational work, writing doesn’t seem like my thing, right? So I avoided it for years. So one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get it out is the world needed it. Let me ask you this, have you ever had that feeling, Stephan, that you want more, but you ever feel like something’s holding you back, and you’re not sure why you’re not doing all that you can? Like, there’s this invisible barrier. Have you ever had that feeling before when you want to put a post online, like you almost stop yourself from sending it? Have you ever done that?
Yeah, of course.
We all do. So I couldn’t figure out what that was. And in the process of writing the book, I realized it was a little something called “your average.” And it was this feeling of “I’m willing to do this, but I’m not willing to do that.” So the other reason the book took so long to write is there wasn’t a thing out there in the world to reference after. It wasn’t like I was writing, Think and Grow Rich also, or how to market to guys that sell horses and copy it in the Kennedy book, right? This was something that there was nothing in the world that resembled what I was doing. So I had to make it up and create it as I was going along. So it was a process and the book came out in the middle of COVID. That’s an interesting concept. That’s been an interesting one.
So how did you do with the sales?
Sales are great. I don’t know what’s good for book sales or stuff. They were amazed. The publishing company was like, “Okay,” I said, “How are we doing this?” “So considering your pace, you’re doing great,” And sales were tremendous, we sold a lot of digital. I think we sold a few thousand of the digital books that everybody wanted, but everybody wanted the hardbound, and that’s the reason why we designed it that way. It was nice, but most people don’t put the extra touchings on a book. Most people don’t spend the time to not go with what is, so we built in a beautiful cover. We built a few things in the book that most people don’t build. So people started using them almost like a coffee table book for themselves. So people were buying eight or ten at a time to put at the chiropractic office because hey, if you read a book called Average Sucks, then your clients read that they pay more, they get involved, they stay in longer. I have an entire sports team, coaches of high school kids that are buying it for every member of their team. People I don’t even know they’re saying this is such a great book. I wanted this to give to 50 football players. I think this would be great for them. They need to read it in high school. So it’s fascinating what’s going on with the book. So sales have been good, and we’ve just gotten started.
Did you create packages where you could buy 10 or 50 or 100 books at a time?
We were so busy with helping our other programs during COVID that we put zero effort into this, we sent out two emails, sent out some packages to people, and sent out a text. And that was it, and I got onto a podcast, that was it. That’s all we did. So the book has not even begun to surface yet in the world. So it’s exciting.
Okay. Well, I think it’s such a powerful positioning statement for somebody like a chiropractor to have eight or ten copies sitting in their waiting room because that conveys that, “Hey, I’m not average, and you’re not average.”
Yep. And that’s the cool part. So it’s written for two people, they said, “Well, Michael, who’s it written for?” It’s written for the guy with an ego that thinks, “Yeah, I’m better than you. I’m not average.” And it’s also written for people that are saying, “You know what? I’m not average, and I’m doing better than most, but I’m not getting what it is that I want.” So it’s for people that don’t have what they want, and for people with the ego that says, “Hey, I’m better than everyone else.” So it’s written for both calibers of people. So it’s written as a statement for people’s lives. It’s fascinating, and how, I have the shirts and everything that says “Average Sucks,” and people say they’re great marketing tools. Because if you’re wearing an Average Sucks shirt at the gym, people are gonna come up to you, “Man, I like that shirt! What do you do?” “Well, I’m a marketer,” “Really? What do you do?” And the only person that’s ever going to come up to you is an entrepreneur or an athlete, that’s what we realize. That’s who likes Average Sucks. Everyone else avoids it, and they think you’re like the plague, and they’re not our client. So it’s a great prospecting tool.Being above average is being able to design the life you want and focusing on things that bring a bigger impact to your life and to others. Click To Tweet
So it’s a way to create some polarity and conversation. It’s a conversation starter. It’s fine to polarize. If you don’t polarize people, you’re not taking up space in the world. You’re just cowering in a corner.
I totally agree. And a lot of times people don’t take a position because they’re scared. That’s another reason the book was hard to get done. A lot of people aren’t willing to get shot at, get laughed at, or anything. So like when you’re just doing an event you go home, a few people like you write a book, you just put it out there in the world, and you don’t know. And this is the crazy part about the book, I have this in my products, but when 80 people buy it in a bookstore in India because we’re all over the world, we didn’t just do Amazon we did everywhere. Our books are everywhere. I got friends in Denmark that their friends are buying the book. So like my sister’s friends are getting it, my daughter’s figure skating coaches are buying the book. It’s like a vulnerability thing like whoa, I’m out there right now people can access Michael for 20 bucks or 25 bucks. So that I think one of the biggest reasons people don’t do a book is they’re scared of putting themselves out there.
So it took you 17 years, you could’ve done this ten years earlier.
I got serious about it in 2015, and I think that’s an honest answer.
So, what was the thing that made this possible now? Like, did you work with Scribe?
Yes, Scribe did the publishing. I worked with Tucker directly. Tucker and I’ve been friends now for quite a while, and I highly recommend their company overarching. I’ve tried everything because I speak so quickly and I speak so well. I can do 60-hour events. Where they’re five days straight 10-15 hours a day, no other speaker but me, I never had a content issue. The issue was getting it out of my head and organized. So Tucker was tough enough to work with me and make it a reality. But we still weren’t getting it over the finish line. And this was the breakthrough moment, so the book is called Average Sucks, which is all about getting out of your current average in life. It has nothing to do with being better than others. It’s that we all have a way to do things, and that holds our lives up to what we currently do. My average was I was not a writer, my average was I was not an author, my average was a speaker that makes this amount of money doing this thing, this way, and grows at about this much. That was my average. So here’s the big breakthrough I had that wasn’t even in the book. The wrong person was writing the book, meaning that the young boy looking to overcome his insecurity is writing the book. And then one day, I looked in the mirror and asked myself this question, “What does a 41-year-old man that has traveled all over the world helping people, that spoke to millions of people that’s part of some of the greatest networks in the world that have coached hundreds of thousands of people tens and tens of millions of dollars in sales, that has a great wife, great kids, what can that guy do?” It was amazing that guy wasn’t the one writing the book; it was an immature little startup business guy trying to write it inside of me. So I went to my wife, and I said, “Hey, will you help me with this?” and she said, “What do you need?” I said, “Will you just read over this to me? I got it about 90% there, will you help me just shift and organize a few things?” And four days later, the publisher got the book. And the reason why is that I wasn’t willing to ask for help, and I was trying to do it myself. Even though Scribe was helping me, I wasn’t willing to ask for it. So what it did for my relationship with my wife was incredible. It brought us closer together and what a great timing to get it done because it’s the perfect book for people to read during all of this COVID stuff because people are re-evaluating what their life is. And the book is really about designing the life that you want and designing your new automatic for yourself not about playing small. So that was the big takeaway, was asking for help and letting the big boy version of me write the book or big girl whatever it is. I’m not the big girl, but you know what I mean?
Yeah. So the premise of the book isn’t about being better than others. So you sell them what they think they want, and then you give them what they need. And what they need is to understand that their average sucks, their view of themselves and what they’re willing to tolerate sucks, and they need to up their game. It’s kind of like the concept I learned from Tony Robbins, that you got this internal thermostat, if you’re willing to accept plus or minus five degrees in either direction, well, that’s what your life is going to end up like, but if you set a higher standard, you’ll get a better outcome.
Tony says that for like a sentence or two in one of the old audios. This takes that concept, and I don’t even remember hearing that. It’s interesting you bring that up like wow that’s a really good recall right there. This takes the concept and gets you to realize how did you create your average? Like, how did you get this automatic thing you have, and all of us had a moment in our lives, like when did you become an entrepreneur? How old were you?
Okay, what did you do prior?
I was a graduate student studying biochemistry.
Got it. And then so you didn’t do that biochemistry thing, did you?
Well, I dropped out. I was studying for a Ph.D. So no.
Very good. So you got to a point in your life you said this is not what I want to do and never again. I don’t want to go to school, and I want to figure it out. I want to own my own time. I don’t want to do this. Every one of us gets to a point in our lives where we say never again, you and I mentioned Israel a minute ago. Israel’s good at never again. Do you know what I’m saying? They’ve mastered the art, and they build something beautiful. So what happens is, every one of our lives, we say never again, our clients do it, we do it. But then we want to think out what our future is going to be or like, I’ll never do that, again, I’d love to be in charge of my future, I’d love to make a million dollars. And then we spent our whole life saying I don’t want that. I do want that. I don’t want that. I do want that. We don’t get all that we want, and we just move towards it. Or God forbid you get what you want, ten years go by, and you’re wondering why you’re playing small because you’re operating off a 10-year-old program.
Most of us don’t realize we get pissed off one day at our significant other, we get pissed off one day when we’re dating. We say never again, and here we are later in a new relationship. Yeah, we got our never again, we’ll never do that again. But we didn’t get the relationship or our dreams. We did not get economics. We did not get what we needed. I’ll never let my kid treat me that way. So okay, great. You never let him treat you that way, but you didn’t say I want a great relationship with them. So most people are stuck in an old decision that they made a long time ago, which was a definition of their average, which is their old identity. And they’re living an old identity that they don’t even recognize. So when you get in the book, it’s gonna be like, I did that to me. How do I change it? And then the next chapters are, how do you change it? What do you do? And it’s like, as a parent, it is a necessity. I realized where I screwed up with my 19-year-old, and I also know what I’m doing differently from my eight-year-old.
Wow, cool. Now you mentioned that you didn’t see yourself as a writer or author. This is interesting. This reminds me of something I learned from Robert Allen. Bob is a prolific author and a very successful one. He says there are two types of people, the writer who speaks and the speaker who writes and it’s important that you identify which one of them you are and I know that I’m a speaker who writes so if you know that, and you want to still write books, then you need to have a system or a team around you that takes your spoken content and turns it into written content. And that’s what I’ve done, and it’s worked out great because I didn’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. I don’t enjoy writing. Yeah, I’m an author and have three books published with a known publisher, O’Reilly, but it’s not something that I enjoy doing. So if I can kind of hack the process, I’m all for that.
Yeah, I tried that, left and right, my psychology was so wacky. Here’s the thing, I do interventions for a living. I just wasn’t willing to do it myself. I was attacking the wrong thing. And Tucker and I were going after it. It’s like, “Maybe you’re insecure, maybe you’re scared to put yourself out there,” I’m like, “No, it’s not that, it’s not that.” My thing was I was trying to do it myself. That’s why I wouldn’t let a ghostwriter help me in the past. I hired a guy out in New York, one of the best in the world. At one point, they helped me write it. I drove that person nuts. And the reason I drove them nuts is that they couldn’t keep up with my identity. My identity was to not let them help me. So because I was going to do it myself, that was the interesting thing. So I know the second book, and I already came up with the second title, you’re going to love this. Are you ready for this? How to Market to Yourself. And the reason I came up with that is most people are great at marketing to others, but we don’t market well to ourselves. I was marketing to myself. I was an anti author. And most people market well to other people, but we don’t market well to ourselves. So the next book coming out is in May called How To Market to Yourself and how to sell yourself on the life you want. Pretty interesting concept.
That’s cool. I hope you have the domain on how to use it on it.
I already own it.
Okay, good. Excellent, because I was gonna say before this episode airs, you want to make sure you secure it.
I already own it. Yep, and the IP is already in place.
Awesome. Dan Sullivan has a phrase for somebody who tries to do it all themselves, the rugged individualist, I think.
I got my pen ready to write that down. Go ahead.
Yeah, the rugged individualist, I think, is his phrase.
I love it. I’m gonna write that down. He is very talented with his thinking patterns. That guy thinks like a genius.A lot of people aren't willing to get shot at, laughed at, or anything like that. But some of the greatest minds were thought of as crazy when they were starting out. Click To Tweet
Well, he is a genius. And so trying to do everything yourself is pretty much a recipe for at a minimum no growth or very little and worst-case scenario, a complete disaster because you can only do so much yourself and then you deny your unique ability because you’re trying to do everything at equal levels. And of course, you’re not wired that way. You’re wired to be world-class at something, not everything.
Yeah, it was interesting, I was at Patrick, and I went out to dinner and did you know Patrick from Genius? Great guy, he’s like the godfather of the chiropractic industry, and I think he gave me a Marianne Williamson quote, he says, “Great people don’t do great things, great people surround themselves in situations where great things get done,” and I’m like, wow, that’s a true point. So it’s one of the biggest things I’m working on is not about doing great things, but being in situations where great things get done around me and through me, which is the benefit of all this.
Yeah. So you worked with Tucker Max?
Highly recommend him.
Yeah. Tucker’s amazing. He’s such a cool guy, and he’s such a funny writer.
I never read the original stuff.
Oh my god, hilarious. You can’t stop reading it. It’s like driving past a train wreck or something. So you got to work with him directly, did he do a lot of the ghostwriting for you?
No, we didn’t do much ghostwriting. I worked with him, and I spoke it out, and he put it together. I gave him ideas. He helped me with organizing a lot of it. And then between that and then my wife knew what I meant by what I said so reversing some of it I would say I got 90% of it out of me and I could have kept going, you know what I’m saying? We had to get to a stopping point. He doesn’t do ghostwriting, you have to give them the ideas, and they take and massage it to make them work because remember, I’m a speaker who writes as you said, I’m not a writer who speaks.
Yeah, so it’s still your tone, your voice is coming through in the book, even though you got some help because it was your concept, it was your words coming out of your mouth and just massage it into something that worked for print.
It’s 100% written anyway nobody would write a book. It is written in Michael Bernoff. It is written with ADD, for an ADD entrepreneur, like I’m sitting next to you as random as this awesome conversation we’re having. It’s choppy, and it’s to the point, it’s a jersey boy, that’s me. It’s written straight to the point of a kid from the 80s middle-class kid that figured out how to get his way out from the 80s. It’s written for anyone who liked watching Goonies when they were a kid. They’ve been on a roller coaster. It’s written for our generation, and they love it. It’s cool.
That’s great. Now you said ADD, did you get diagnosed?
Of course, I’m a kid of the 80s, and they got rid of polio, for the most part, they needed to sell us something. How I got diagnosed is great. So I’m not paying attention in school, and it’s funny as I have a major psychology background, I wanted the best in the world of neuro-linguistic programming and different things now, and I’m like, maybe they should recognize like I have a brain that grew up on the radio and they got a move on to MTV and Nickelodeon, right? So most people recognize. So here’s what happened, I wasn’t paying attention in school, I was bored. It wasn’t my thing. So I went down to a therapist that the school recommended, and they asked three questions. They go, “So Mr. Bernoff, when people walk by, and you’re reading, do you look up?” I’m like, “Yeah,” “Do you ever get distracted?” “Yeah.” They’re like, “Well, you have ADD.” I’m like, “What? What does that mean?” They go, “You have a 10% chance that you’re gonna do well in this world,” and I’m like, “Okay, I’ll take it,” like you don’t get to pick and I’m like, “Too late. I already did.” I’m like, “What does it mean ADD? They didn’t even tell me.” I couldn’t figure out what it was. So now I say if you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have ADD you should go get it because like every wealthy person I know, our whole Genius Network. It’s like a room full of ADD. I’m not saying we can’t turn it off, but this is the part people don’t understand about ADD. ADD clinically speaking is Attention Deficit Disorder, but what I believe is its hyper-focus is just you might be focusing on the wrong thing. I may be hyper-focus on fixing this one thing, so people with ADD have a massive focus, just sometimes on the wrong thing. Do you have it yourself? Do they tell you that you have it?
I never got diagnosed, and I decided not to get diagnosed. I think I have some trouble focusing or trying to focus on too many things at once. But once I’m stuck into something, I can hyper-focus into it as you say. I see the concept of ADD as a label that doesn’t serve me, so I don’t want to have that label.
That’s why I made it A Dynamic Disorder. I renamed it.
Well, another renaming of it that I learned from Amy Africa, a friend of mine, is that it’s your spotter. Because back in the caveman days, there were hunters and they were gatherers, but there were also the third type, the spotters, who would know that the herd is on the move or that there’s a warring tribe that’s on their way. Like, they’d be the first to notice that something is off. So the tribe would need to move to safety. So it kept the tribe alive. Those spotters had a superpower and didn’t take very many of them in the tribe to keep the tribe alive. But having that kind of ability is very useful in entrepreneurship. So I relate to being a spotter not to being ADD or unfocused or anything like that.
I love it, and I joke about it all the time. I mean, I am, and I took medication when I was a kid. I just one day woke up thinking this is wrong. They put me on Ritalin and didn’t work on me, Adderall, since I have dry mouth, they give me something to make my mouth liquefy. And I can’t sleep, and they give me like nine things trying to solve this. And one day, I’m like, “What are the other options?” So don’t do anything, exercise the calcium, magnesium, and I’m not diagnosing anybody here. I haven’t taken anything in 22 years for it. And what’s amazing is I’m very high functioning when I want to work, you can’t get me out of my focus, and when I don’t want to do anything, I don’t do it. And that’s me. I’ve just learned that’s who I am.
That’s a great way to be in the world, right? So I learned in Kabbalah that desire is the engine that fuels or that drives all of your growth and evolution. So if you don’t have the desire to, let’s say, build a business or build a family or a nonprofit or whatever, you’re not going to do it, or you’re at least not going to do it. Well. So work on the desire, you can pray for more desire.
Yep. I love it. That’s from Kabbalah?
Yeah, that’s from Kabbalah.
I love it. I studied that stuff. You got a lot of great stuff in the old school stuff. It’s funny I was quoting Tom Wood the other day. I said to someone, “You know, our job is to repair the world, and we got to start with ourselves.” It’s my grandparents that pushed that down my throat as a kid, and I didn’t recognize as soon as the whole Corona thing. I’m like, this is nuts. Talk about a message that we get in this world. My daughter, do you have the American Girl doll phase? Did you ever go through that in your house? You’ve been through it, right?
Yes. I think they still have some in storage.
We have like 19 of them because we have older and younger, and she gets a little doll, and the doll says right around February 28. It’s the doll’s birthday. And I said to my daughter, it’s her birthday, and then they have this big old party at the house, she models my wife and has this big old party for the doll, whatever it is. And she said her grandparents are from Belarus, that’s where our families are from as well. And said, one of the things that her grandparents taught her was we have to repair the world. And what most people don’t recognize we do it by repairing ourselves. So if we have something that’s often a side of ourselves, and we fix a piece of us, we make the world better. So as entrepreneurs, as we make ourselves better by listening to this podcast to become better marketers, we can serve and help other people. So one of the greatest gifts like, I’m going to tell you you’re doing a great gift by doing this podcast because entrepreneurs are learning how to get over their fears, insecurities, doubts, frustrations, and get better. And as they get better, we make the world better. And that’s what I’m excited about. So I’m gonna dig deep and cut a lot after this as well because that’s exciting for me.
Yeah. Reminds me of this quote, of course, I’m sure you’ve heard from, from Gandhi, “Be the change that you want to see in the world,” right?
So that’s very apropos. But also, I learned this concept that you change the field around you when you change yourself. I learned this from Donny Epstein, who’s good friends with Tony Robbins and a healer. He was on my other podcast on Get Yourself Optimized. So if you try to change somebody else, you’re not going to succeed. But if you try to just change the field around you because you’ve changed yourself, you can’t help but change others. Everybody who’s in the field around you. It’s like the pebble that is dropped into the pond. The whole pond is affected. So that’s something that I bear in mind every day like, “How can I be that change agent for others, or that inspiration or the model, whether it be for my kids, or my friends or family or whoever, or just people who follow me on social media?”
Exactly. And that’s the part that we got to figure out how to do. And that’s what this is all about. So it’s like, here’s what, when I talk about this whole Average Sucks thing and rewind it to what you just said, which is interesting is that most people don’t recognize that we’re okay with who we are unless you’re not. So if you’re thrilled with where you’re at in your life, and everything’s great, that’s fantastic. But we’ve got to have a conversation with our future self. It’s like, are we going to be okay with who we are now in five years because you’re destined to be who you are in the next five years unless we do things differently. We don’t have to drastically do things differently, but we have to do things more effectively than we are. So the question is evaluating where you’re really at, and does that work for you? And is this going to serve the people around you in the biggest way? So when you asked me, this is where the ADD kicks in, when you asked me about 30 minutes ago, like what made me do this now, it became necessary. I got to a point where I looked at my kids, and like if I don’t do this, what kind of example am I? I’m just basically telling them to talk about doing things that you’re gonna do and avoid them.It has nothing to do with being better than others. It's that we all have a way to do things, and sometimes that holds us up on what we’re trying to achieve. Click To Tweet
So I was hiding behind my successes. And I’ve been very successful. I’m sitting in a couple of million-dollar building I own. We bought what used to be a temple, and we own the building, an event space that we own, which is awesome to do events out of. And we hide behind our successes. And that’s one of the things as entrepreneurs we do, and we don’t get the life we want, because people can’t help us. After all, we act like we’re doing better than we are. So I’m doing well, but I’m not doing as well as I can. And that is the hardest thing to accept that you’re not as far along as you think you can be. So that ego has got to go down and go, you know what I’m not doing as well as I could be. What else do I need to grow or who else can help me, and that’s a big part of the book is getting you to realize that it’s okay that you’re not where you’re supposed to be yet. It’s okay that you’re not good enough yet, but you are good enough inside and imagine how good you could be if you lived your full life. You wouldn’t have to look up to Michael Jordan, and you wouldn’t have to look up to Wayne Gretzky. You’d be looking up to yourself if you played the full version of you.
Yeah, so speaking of that future self version of you, the potential you, do you have conversations with this future version of you? Do you do visualization exercises? Like how do you get in touch with future Michael so that you can be fair and magnanimous and thoughtful and so forth to that future you?
Yep. I don’t have to do any crazy exercise. I mean, I do all kinds of really cool Voodoo stuff like I do crazy adventures. I do crazy intervention work where I help people with major tragedies and issues, reframing and deframing them. This is simpler than that. This is literally; we all have a gut feeling of we know who we are. And you’ve got to ask yourself this magic question, “Are you where you want to be in your life?” If you’re not, ask yourself where you want to be? And what is it you’re capable of doing? And also, the real question is, what cost? Are you willing to pay? And are you willing to pay the cost? Because a lot of people are not willing to pay the cost of a great marriage because there is going to be carnage, there’s going to be destruction, and there’s going to be tough conversations you need to get ahead, old identities are gonna have to die, things are gonna have to happen. And all people go like, “Oh, that’s violent, Michael. Can’t we just all have love?” You can, but to become the person you want to be, you have to kill off an old version of yourself. We all have to recognize that you can’t let both lives; it’s impossible.
And the reason I’m saying it’s not a violent thing is that you gotta feed the right version of yourself. So what I asked myself is not a difficult one: “What do you want for your life? And is what you’re doing now enough? Long term, if it’s not, what would you like to be doing?” And it’s not a complicated thing. If you listen to the answers, you know what it is. And a lot of times, it’s minor. It’s like I want to make a bigger difference. Fantastic, that’s it. I don’t know what that means, but we’re going to put that out there, and that’s gonna go in the cards. That’s gonna go into the programming. I want to make more of a difference. And you’d be amazed what shows up for you in days, weeks, and months ahead. But most of us have the wrong programming, and they want to want one day to do that versus setting it out there for themselves.
So sometimes a marketer is like, I just want to get 100,000 bucks a year, fantastic. I wanna get 100 grand a month. I want to make a million dollars a year, you and I have all said that. You and I both have said, “I want to make six figures, then a quarter of a million than a million blah, blah, blah.” We’ve all said that, right? But then the real question is, is that going to be enough when you get there? Once you get there, then what? And that’s the question. Once you get it, then what? Once you get there, then what? That’s a very important question, then what? Once you get there, then what? It’s thinking past the wall. One of the concepts I talked about in the book is called we have a box, and I did a talk on this Genius Network. And the box is what your average is contained in, it’s what you don’t want, what you do want, your identity and your relationships in your life. We’ve all formulated a way that we live. And here’s the question, are you willing to adjust a few of those things? Are the people you have in your life, the ones you need to get where you want to go? Is your current identity, the belief system you have? Is the thing you want, really what you want? So this is how I play with this with people, and it’s very easy to understand that 15-year-olds are reading the book as well as 75-year-olds, and they’re getting the same results.
Yeah, it was very meta, like you’re thinking about your thinking or aware of your awareness. You’re saying to yourself, like, “What happens if I achieve this big, hairy, audacious goal, then where do I go from there as if you’ve already achieved it?” So you can see past it and realize that actually, that wasn’t a very good goal in the first place because I’m chasing after something that’s not very substantial.
Yeah, I mean, it’s a reverse future pacing and seeing it backwards as though you already did it by seeing it in advance. And this is the part most people don’t recognize, and it’s a sales technique on yourself. This is where how to market yourself is so important because it’s a sales technique on you. After you use our product, what happens next? This is the thing, you take it a step deeper, take a step deeper, and keep on taking things a step deeper, that’s where we find the real golden life.
Yeah. Now one thing that you said, I didn’t kind of resonate with, but there’s a variation that I do resonate with. You said to kill off an old version of yourself, but then I thought, Okay, well, what if you’re exchanging versions because I learned that concept, again, from Donny Epstein, that in the multiverse, there are different versions of ourselves. And there’s a version that is more kind and helpful or successful or whatever, and we could just exchange versions with that version. We’re not killing somebody off, we’re just swapping versions with another version of ourselves in the multiverse, and I’m really like that.
The multiverse is good. I saw the Man in the High Castle, have you seen it?
I haven’t seen it. But I know the premise.
The fourth series is really into the multiverse. And what’s interesting about it is the reason I use that it’s very definitive, and people can understand very quickly killing something off. And which means that not allowing it to live at the level that it currently does. We’re feeding it, and you got to ask your question, “Is that what you want to feed?” It’s not a negative thing, you’ve just got to ask yourself, “What do you want to do with it?” It’s a little more marketing term to put it that way.
Yeah. That makes sense. Now, you said you have a lot of experience doing interventions and getting people to break through transform. So, could you give us a couple of examples of these kinds of interventions?
Pick an area of life. I talked about this one a lot. I’m speaking at Glen Ledwell this weekend, and if you know Glen from Mind Movies, he had a massive fear of public speaking for 40 something years of his life. Thirty-five minutes later, no problem and he’s speaking it underground. I help people that have had major abuse issues. I’ve probably helped about 2000 people get off narcotics, get off alcohol drugs, Adderall, Ritalin, different types of things. People come to me periodically, where they raped, abuse, problems, pro-golfers getting in their way, where they just can’t get out of a space they’re in. I work with UFC fighters 15 minutes before they go in the ring, I’m the last voice they hear. So I’ve got a lot of really, really cool stuff we work with. And the majority of it comes down to how we store information inside of our heads. This is my NLP background. I invented something called Human Interaction Technology, and really what it is how we code and hold information, memories, thoughts, or feelings inside of our head. And the majority of us something will happen, you get raped, you get abused, you get beat up, you get picked on one time or ten times, and you do it to yourself 10,000 times a day for the rest of your life.
So what I have found is that if you can change the association inside of the brain, everything changes Immediately. So by changing the label, by changing the meaning, by changing the psychology, by changing the ability to see what happened is very interesting. Like I have people that come to my event, and if I say to them like they had a tragedy, that awful thing happened to them may be abuse or something, and you’ll hear the name of the person. I remember this one lady, Butchy was this man that harmed her. And she said it she cringed within about 10 minutes of working with her. I said “Butchy,” and I started calling her Butchy, I even changed her name badge to Butchy and thought it was hilarious the rest of the weekend. So I changed the perception of what happened so it couldn’t bother anymore. And it’s the extreme stuff, but it’s also a little stuff too. A lot of times, we need an intervention with our food. I talked about it at Genius, and I said one of the things people can do is they can change the label on their food instead of calling it food, which is one term for all things.
Like marketing is one word for 80 million functions, right? It’s not all marketing, marketing as a label for texting, for email, for connection, there are a million things that marketing is. When you break it down, you can work with it differently. So how I’ve helped thousands of people lose weight is talking to their food and realizing food is a relationship. And if they change the relationship and stop instead of calling all things food, nutrition, entertainment, and addiction, and recognize breaking into categories, getting to know it, what’s your name, where you’re from, what are your intentions with me, as silly as that is for three seconds prior, you get an awareness of your food. And then awareness, you intervene instead of just shoveling things in your mouth, and that is responsible. I would save hundreds of thousands of pounds falling off our clients over the years, and it’s that simple. They don’t even change their diet, and they just change their awareness and their association with food.As entrepreneurs, let’s keep making ourselves better so we can keep serving and helping other people. Click To Tweet
That’s a lot of stuff at once. I do cool stuff, and you have to see it one day. It’s fascinating. I saw Richard Bandler years ago. I’m like, “How long does it take you to do phobia cure?” “It takes 20 minutes.” “I’ll do it in five.” I got obsessed, and I like to do these things very quickly. So I take people that have major trauma, and five minutes later, if they’re willing, it’s gone.
Really? Okay. So somebody in my family has a fear of flying. And she will not go on trips, like, and I invited her to come on an amazing trip to Egypt, it’s one of my daughters. So two of my daughters came to Egypt, and one didn’t. We had an incredible time seeing the tombs and the pyramids and all this sort of stuff, and she missed out because she was too scared to be on an airplane.
Has she been on an airplane before?
Did she have a bad experience?
Yeah. She did have a bad experience.
Okay, so when anytime you’ve had a bad experience before, what happens is when you associate it with the next time you’re going to do it. Did the plane almost crash?
No, but it was scary for her.
So she lost control, correct?
Well, she felt like she was gonna die or something, but it wasn’t a real emergency.
Okay, so she was being fine. She associated it with someone else. She changed her average that day and said, “I’ll never fly again,” correct? And built it in her head. Remember the thing I talked about changing your average? Her average is a person that doesn’t fly. She didn’t even think it through. She didn’t realize that you were going to want to go to Egypt. When she originally said no flying anymore, did she? She didn’t know you were gonna offer that down the road, did she? How old was she when this challenge happened?
Five years ago, six, something like that.
Okay, so six years ago, she had a challenge. She said never again, and she meant it. So if she wanted to get over it, if she wanted to change, it sounds like she’s dealing with a logical, irrational emotional phobia. I’d call it, no reason to have it, she’s never really been involved with a plane crash. And odds are in her head, she pictures in the first person, her having this happen. So I’ve asked her to explain it to me, the first thing I would do is do what’s called a disassociation, and I would have her see the perspective from somewhere else on the plane or look at it differently. And by changing the association of what happened, you change the memory. So anytime you pull a file, it’s like going to my bookshelf and pulling a file out or pulling something out of a file cabinet. You dent it, you touch it, you change it, you taint it. So anytime I pull a file, she has one file that’s attached to a few other things. I would pull it out and have a conversation with her about it. She would tell me what happened, I’d create confusion, I would then take that same thing that happened, I’d rearrange it a little bit, have her see it differently. By diluting the emotional attachment you increase the possibility to change so, I’ve done that a lot physically, unfortunately, I’ve had to sit next to that person before on the plane, God always sends me people to sit next to that I got to heal and help them with that stuff. So I’ve dealt with that one probably about 500 times and probably 100 times I’ve sat next to that person at one point in a plane having a phobia, the issue. I don’t know why it happens, they sit next to me, but I fly a lot. And also people come to me all the time for that. So if they want to change, that’s a 30 minute to an hour thing. They will not like flying afterward, they’ll just be able to do it.
I’m sold. I want to have you help her.
Where does she live?
In Southern California.
If she’s serious about it, there’s something I can do. And I’ve done it multitudes of times and for someone in Genius as well, in the lobby downstairs, I got him over that whole thing, somebody we both know.
Okay, amazing. Okay. So it was a little bit of a digression.
Maybe not, it gives you a backstory of Michael.
Yeah, I think it’s important, though, for folks to realize that they can shift their identity, their view of the world, and themselves, and it’s all malleable, it’s all opportunity.
Yep, every bit of it, you have the ability, everything is controlled by communication. One of the beliefs we have is that communication is the most underdeveloped and underutilized asset that we have as human beings. And most people don’t own their communication, you don’t realize the first place I look is communication. Before you pull a gun, we need to communicate. Everything in the world is a form of communication, everything, anything. Making money is a form of communication, running a business for making money, or talking to somebody. Sleeping is a form of communication, everything we do is communication, but most people are not educated in that area. So if you have a phobia, a phobia is a form of communication. It’s fascinating.
Yeah, interesting. We only have a few minutes left here. What are some of your favorite books, tools, resources, online courses, whatever you want to share that are incredible?
Yeah, I’d say if you’re talking about our material, I went over, I’m obsessive, I own about 5000 books. So I found the best of the best, and I built my stuff out of stuff that I learned over the years. So definitely get Average Sucks, everybody will love it, you’ll thank me for it. Easy read, you’ll get it done in three hours, easiest reading in your life. And it’s a real physical book, and it’s not like a toilet paper book that people make. That’s a real physical book that people are going to love. Number two is if you want to take a peek at yourself and see what you’re capable of nobody’s too good for this, for years, we’ve been doing this thing called Call to Action. I came at a digital retirement during COVID, because what else am I going to do with myself? I said to my wife, “We could either not work for ten years because I built a life that I literally wouldn’t have to change my lifestyle for the next ten years.” When 08 and 09 hit, I said never again, and built a life that I don’t have to do anything for a decade if I don’t want to.It's okay that you're not where you're supposed to be yet. It's okay that you're not good enough yet, but make sure you keep working until you feel you’re good enough. Click To Tweet
So we said, “Hey, why don’t we help some people.” So we built a program that anybody here listening to take it is not on zoom is on the phone, it’s old school, it’s audio because autographic is the fastest one to change. If you could change the voices in your head, everything starts to change. So Zoom is great, I love Zoom, I do stuff in Zoom, but this program is designed to change the auto programs you have inside of your brain. It’s five days kicking your butt holding your hand and seeing what you’re capable of, and my guarantee is simple you’ll get more done in five days, you haven’t in five months. And I promise that to everybody. That’s a big promise. So you already do, or you make things happen. So if you’re interested, I put together a website calltoactiontime.com. So it’s one of the things I recommend to people, I’m giving away for free right now. If anybody wants it, you could take it, and it’s calltoactiontime.com, there’s nothing else to buy or do, there’s nothing attached. Yes, you can take another one of my programs if you want to, but it’s all-inclusive. And if you just did that, it would be a huge step in the right direction, but you’ll get hooked, and you’ll want to do other things. So a calltoactiontime.com is awesome.
I like that.
If that’s what you asked me to tell you, if not, I can recommend other people’s stuff too.
No, this is great. I’m gonna sign up for that.
You’ll enjoy it. And as a marketer, watch how I do what I do if you can get out of your way and not think, Oh, I’m too cool for this. I have people on it that run companies do $500 million a year to a billion dollars a year. And then I got a broke person trying to figure out business all on the same call. Here’s the beauty as a marketer, we’ve got to learn what makes that person that’s financially challenged think and as a marketer, what does that billionaire think. So I’m giving you access to all the people that you need to understand how to be a better marketer. You get to see how I work with them. You’ll become a marketing genius watching me do my thing. I’d love you to take it.
That’s super cool. Now, if folks wanted to follow you on social media, work with you, do you do private coaching or anything like that?
I do very selectively. I work with people that mean it. Like you could do one day with me in the building or do it over the phone. I do some of that, very selective, I recommend people take that class for free first calltoactiontime.com. You can also reach out to me, Michael Bernoff, if you can’t find me, you can’t hire me. Does that make sense? So I say if you can’t spell it, figure it out, it should be in the show notes, right? If you want to reach out, I’d love to work with you. I work with people. I rewrite their entire pitches sometimes in six hours and turn it into millions of dollars for them. I do that all the time if that’s what they want. But more importantly, I love people to go through our programs and make a difference in their lives.
And you have michaelbernoff.com?
You could check out michaelbernoff.com, go to calltoactiontime.com, go to Average Sucks. Get the book, check out michaelbernoff.com, do whatever you like, catch me online, see what we’re up to, and then try to prove me wrong that I can help you get what you want. I always take that as a strategy you show up, you’ll get the transformation, I can guarantee you that.
Yeah, that’s a great call to action because people who are high D, Dominance in the DISC profile should probably be a lot of our listeners. They don’t like to be told what to do, but they’d love to be challenged.
I’m reading a book right now by the guy that started a park I went to when I was a kid called Action Park. If you’re from Jersey, you know what it is. Most dangerous place you could ever go to the world. And the guy said I want people to be in charge of their violence on themselves and whether they want to get hurt or not. Most people you go to ride to put a strap on. It was the busiest waterpark in the world for 20 years now. It had a lot of nicknames as a class action park, but the point is the reason it was so great is people were in charge of their destiny. So here’s the deal, I’ll help you get whatever you want, you just got to decide where you’re going to show up and be there. If you’re not, it won’t work for you. That’s what I say.
It’s a great call to action. Thank you, Michael, this was fabulous. And listener, please take some action now go sign up for calltoactiontime.com and take Michael up on his amazing offer. Thank you again, Michael.
I appreciate it, Stephan. Awesome, everybody. Thank you very much for having me on.
- Michael Bernoff
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- Call to Action – free 5-day coaching program
- Average Sucks – Website
- Average Sucks
- Think and Grow Rich
- Robert Allen – previous episode
- Donny Epstein – GYO previous episode
- Get Yourself Optimized
- Genius Network
Your Checklist of Actions to Take
Establish a shock and awe approach in the way I present myself and my business. It’s beneficial if there’s something remarkable in what I say or do for people to easily remember me.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. Like failure, it’s also part of my growth and on your journey to success.
Seek discomfort. Nothing great comes out of my comfort zone. I should continue to seek new heights and test my limits until I get where I want to be.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help. No man is an island and every successful entrepreneur is backed up by supportive loved ones and loyal employees.
Master the art of visualization. Believe I have the power to design the life I want and that I’ll do everything I can to reach that goal.
Learn how to unlearn. It’s part of my growth to disregard old, limiting beliefs that don’t benefit me or serve a purpose anymore.
Market myself to others. I shouldn’t be a best-kept secret if I want something bigger in life.
Build a website and buy a catchy, keyword domain name for SEO purposes.
Never stop learning. Keep updating my knowledge and improving my skills by listening to podcasts, reading books, taking courses, joining mastermind groups, etc.
Check out Michael Bernoff’s website, Average Sucks, to learn more about how to never be average.
About Michael Bernoff
Michael Bernoff is a powerful, seasoned speaker with the powerful ability to tap into virtually anyone’s motivation strategy; unlocking the mysteries to build charisma, influence, persuasion and connection with others.
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