Building Confident Leaders with Meridith Elliott Powell and The Mind Hack Program with David Bayer

People need to be heard. In our society, nobody feels heard because everybody’s talking at everybody. Award-winning author, keynote speaker, and business strategist Meridith Elliott Powell says what brings out the best in people and allows them to be heard are confident leaders. As a business growth expert, Meridith focuses on helping organizations increase profits and decrease stress through her work in leadership, sales, and personal responsibility. Meridith says a confident leader is that person who is successfully taking it to the next level and believes in what they’re doing enough to take the risks but has a great ability to laugh at themselves and take feedback at any level you need to give it.

The vast majority of the people and society as a whole is spending a considerable amount of time suffering stress, anxiety, and overwhelm, comparing themselves to other people with negative bias of the mind. Speaker, coach, and founder of David Bayer Businesses, David Bayer, says his company is focused on empowering individuals and organizations to live and operate in alignment with their highest vision for themselves. David talks about his Mind Hack program and shares how people can free themselves from that negative bias and from the habitual patterns of thinking.

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We have Meridith Elliott Powell and David Bayer here. Meridith is a global keynote speaker, author and business growth expert. David is a CEO at David Bayer Businesses. He’s also an author and empowerment expert. These two have a lot of interesting ways to succeed in business and they share them and their keynotes in their masterminds and things that they do. I’m very interested in speaking with both of them.

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Building Confident Leaders with Meridith Elliott Powell

I am here with Meridith Elliot Powell, who is a business growth expert and motivational keynote speaker who focuses on helping organizations increased profits and decrease stress. She does this through her work in sales, leadership and personal responsibility. She was voted one of the top fifteen business growth experts to watch by CurrencyFair. She’s been everywhere. She’s listed as a prestigious member of the Forbes Coaching Council. I’m very excited to have you here, Meridith. Welcome. 

Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

You’ve written four books, including Winning in the Trust and Value Economy and Own It: Redefining Responsibility, Stories Of Power, Freedom And Purpose. You write about some of the complicated economy-based stuff. I remember when I had to interview a few people that were the economy gurus. That’s pretty intense stuff or do you have an econ background? What is your background?

My background is a business major with an MBA but the economy is a passion of mine. I so love that you described it as complicated and some heavy stuff because one of my passions is to demystify it for people. What we hear all the so-called experts talk about the economy literally, it puts some form of fear into us. That fear can paralyze us to accomplish and do the things that we want to accomplish. When you get in there certainly in all honesty, nobody can predict the economy but you can predict how to navigate it.

I’m sure that’s a huge area for people that don’t know what to do to predict. You talk about having foresight and being proactive. Having a basis of understanding of how the economy is going to impact business, it’s hard for a lot of companies, at least the leaders I talked to. It seems you have your experts to go to for advice. That’s why it’s great to have consultations with people like you and leaders. To have speakers that do the motivational talks like what you do. You don’t focus on that. I was fascinated by your talk that you give in Secrets to Success. I’m writing a book on curiosity. It’s an interesting topic to me of what makes people successful or motivated or driven. Many people struggle with engagement issues. There are so many corporations that wanted to talk about culture and innovation. Are those some of the top topics that people ask you about? I’m curious what they come to you for help with the most.

The biggest and probably one of the hottest topics is how to engage employees. It cracks me up to hear all the time. I don’t know what’s wrong with this younger generation and how many generations if we’ve been saying that. I do think that we are in an interesting time. The biggest things that I hear is how do you engage this next generation? How do you navigate the incredible pace of change? Technology is changing everything. I feel the challenges that we have had in business are the same as they’ve always been. They’re on steroids because the world is moving so fast.

It is fascinating to see what the options are. I’ve had AI experts on. I’ve had all these different experts. It’s information overload though for so many people. They don’t know where to start. If they have a culture problem, you should start at the top. I would imagine with the CEO. If they don’t buy in sometimes, that’s a challenge. How often do you get into situations where they ask you for help, but then the CEO thinks that they want help if they have a hard time buying into it?

That’s part of the interview process when I go to work with the company even for a speaking engagement where I’m going to go in and go out. Most definitely for a consulting engagement because if the top is not engaged, if a CEO does not understand that the only competitive advantage she or he have left is the engagement level of their employees, then there’s nowhere to go. You can’t tell other people to get engaged if you’re not engaged.

“Do as I say, not as I do.” I see a lot of issues with that. I see so many cultural problems and a lot of it does go throughout the organization. Some people want to make a difference. Say the CEO buys in that there needs to be this change and he or she is willing to make some changes, where do they start? Is there one set of rules for everybody or is it based on every single organization? How do you direct them at that point?

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Confident Leaders: If the top is not engaged, then there’s nowhere to go because you can’t tell other people to get engaged if you’re “Do as I say, not as I do.”

You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, but you need to start simple. You need to make some fundamental shifts and then the rest of it’ll start to flow. The first shift you’ve got to make is to define the purpose. Why should people engage? If you think about politicians over our history or great leaders over our history, people who have inspired movements like Martin Luther King, they’ve done it because there’s a strong purpose that they speak about consistently. I used to think I’m a, “Get it done” type of person. I go in, do the action and move it. I always used to think about the purpose and the why, the mission statement, the vision statement.

When you think about it, you’ve got to give people something to get behind. Then as the leader, you’ve got to talk about it consistently. People have to understand they’re not doing a job, they’re making a difference. When you can make that shift, you give people a reason to get engaged. When I started studying employee engagement, it was fascinating to me that the lowest levels of employee engagement lie with government employees and the highest level of engagement lie with nonprofit employees. Government employees have the best benefits. Nonprofits typically don’t make anything but their engagement levels are there because of the why and the purpose.

There are so much psychologically behind things of what makes people successful or buy into what they do. You talk a lot about a confident mindset and you can help with that. I’m curious what are the secrets to building that?

Confidence is misunderstood because we think people either have it or they don’t. Then we misread it because sometimes we confuse confidence with arrogance. When I’m talking about confidence, I’m talking about a belief in yourself combined with this beautiful humility and desire to learn and to grow. The first piece in developing confidence is understanding that it can be developed. You’ve got to fake it until you make it. If I had to boil confidence down to one thing, it’s about learning and committing and focusing. You are confident because you’re prepared. You’re confident because you know a lot about your subject. You’re confident because you have an open mindset that you’re willing to learn. I think about clients that I’ve had in the past or even with my own confidence is that when I take on a job, I want to study, I want to practice and I want to intimately know it. Then I want to be humble enough to be open to learning and taking feedback from anybody I can get it from.

When you mentioned feeling confident, it’s not arrogance. I’ve had a lot of women say that they tend to feel like they can’t show a sense of confidence as much as men because they don’t want to come across as arrogant more than you hear men say that. Have you had that arrogance?

I find as women or the women that I have worked with, a lot of times we don’t understand the definition of confidence as I explained the definition of confidence. Women, in general, are interesting because I see them be confident when it is in defense or support of another individual. It’s not so much with themselves. Did they have it when it comes to their child? Unfortunately, I find more men following more into the arrogance area that I’ve got to walk them back to understanding confidence. I always describe it as my target market is a confident leader and a confident leader to me is that person who is successful, who’s all about taking it to the next level, and believes in what they’re doing enough to take the risks. It has a great ability to laugh at themselves and take feedback at any level you need to give it. Their desire to win and to lead successfully is so strong that if you don’t phrase it right, it’s always okay.

As we’re talking about confident leaders, it made me think how some of these leaders are able through their confidence and their skills that they have. They’re able to bring out the best in people. Some people can be seen as a great leader, but then they don’t bring out the best in other people. It’s an interesting thing to look at to me. I was looking at the things that hold people back in my research about curiosity. I would like to help leaders allow whatever it is that’s in them to bring out the best in people. How do we get people to be more confident in their ability to be curious to be innovative you have to ask questions and you have to be willing to volunteer ideas without fear of looking dumb or having your ideas rejected? How do we get that workplace, a leadership that values that curiosity?

Resilience is falling on your face, picking yourself up, not expecting anybody to clean up the mess or getting positive feedback for it. Click To Tweet

If you can’t bring out the best in people, then you are not a great leader because that is the definition of it. Then again, what you said it is all about questions. I always talk about leading through the power of the question because people need to be heard. Talk about something that’s on steroids in our society. Nobody feels heard because everybody’s talking at everybody. A great leader, the way that you bring out the best in people is you allow them to be heard. The challenge of that is what you said so beautifully is it has to be okay for people to have a dumb idea and they have to feel like it was okay that their idea didn’t come to fruition or didn’t happen. I have a theory that has no scientific basis, but I know I’m right. My theory is that 2008 happened and we went into the recession or whatever we’re allowed to call it. We had a lot of leaders at that point who were getting ready to retire who pulled back because of everything happening with the stock market and their companies. It wasn’t the right time to pull out and retire.

When they stayed, they stayed with such a vengeance and that they micromanage their organizations because screwing up could cost the company money and times were tough. Employees were trying to keep their heads low, so they didn’t get fired. We lost a real gap there of people development and innovation and ideas coming forward because from 2008 to about 2014, 2015, people were trying not to screw up. The stakes were too high and it has cost us in those arenas. It’s why employee engagement is so difficult because I think some of these leaders are leading are leaving or they’re at least relaxing the reigns and they’re standing there going, “Why are people not stepping to the plate?” Stepping to the plate for the last five to seven years could have cost you a job and people didn’t do it. We’re coming out of some challenging times.

It is interesting to see the different generations and how they lead. I had given a talk for Forbes about what happens, when the Boomers are eventually going to retire and we get Millennials taking over. A reason I gave that talk is because I had done so much research and in emotional intelligence and generational different issues. We think of the stuff you’re talking about, it’s a lot to do with empathy and impersonal interpersonal skills, which are big parts of emotional intelligence. I know we’ve given all the EQI tests and we’ve done all the personality skills training and all that. We’re trying to develop all these soft skills out there because people are being hired for their knowledge and fired for their behaviors. Do you think that the training is getting us anywhere? Knowing about emotional intelligence, are we getting any more emotionally intelligent? Are they still struggling with this and the people with to whom you speak?

We’re very much still struggling with it. I make my living I’m all about role models. At the end of the day, you do what is being role-modeled to you and I think you talk about curiosity that fascinates me. My parents could stand there and tell me not to smoke and if they’re smoking a cigarette I’ll grow up smoking a cigarette. How a leader, how you are lead, even if you hate it, it’s most likely how you will lead. I think we’ve got to look at training as part education where you get the information, but it’s got to more hands-on. It’s got to be more of that coaching and support and that feedback so that these things start to take root.

It’s interesting because I’m going to Rice University in Houston to take a look at their program. They have a coach assigned to each individual student there. You would get if you went out in the real world and you paid for it later when you’re in a leadership position. That’s such a great idea to get some of this so foundationally into us, even at the college level. I see so many people graduate without a lot of these soft skills, without a lot of these foundational strategies. A lot of them don’t know how to push through obstacles. You had four proven strategies to build your resilience and push you through any obstacle and wanting to talk. I’m curious, what are those strategies? What would you like to share?

The idea of pushing through obstacles, you are so right. It’s almost evaporated from our society. The reason it came about was because I would have been playing golf with a friend of mine at a very exclusive country club. I had sat down to lunch, her husband had come in and he had three of his friends with them, all of whom were the very definition of the self-made man. They had all come from nothing and reached the status of billionaire and had become incredibly philanthropic. I got to take your word. I got curious and I thought, “Why?” While I listened to all of their stories, what it came down to was failure wasn’t an option, they couldn’t move home with their parents. Nobody was going to give in to unemployment if they lost a job. Nobody was going to raise their kids if they didn’t raise them. The scholarship money wasn’t there to go to college, they had to figure it out. It made me think, “Are we throwing so many nets out there to people that we’re robbing them of what they need to build resilience?”

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Confident Leaders: Screwing up could cost the company money. When times were tough, employees were just trying to keep their heads low so they didn’t get fired.

On top of that, it came down to education and knowledge. This thirst for learning. This passion to be never satisfied and growing and taking as much opportunity to learn as you can, being that person on the job when your boss says, “I need somebody to be that person who raises your hand before you even know what’s coming.” It comes down to building your network. I’m a passionate believer that if you build your network, it will literally your life. What I found from modeling or studying people who can push through obstacles, they have an unbelievable network to reach out and to connect with. In two of those things, we’re coming back to a lot these soft skills, these skills that aren’t taught as much anymore.

When you talk about failure, that’s changed to me when I look at what people talk about it, the meetings which I attend. In my day being a Boomer, failure was such a horrible thing you didn’t even dare talk about. Then they’re looking at it as learning opportunities much more. Do you think that’s an impact from Millennials or Gen X or younger generations that they tend to look at it as learning more?

It’s in vogue to talk about it as learning. Personally, I look at boomers as going, “Failure was part of it.” You sure didn’t talk about it but you fell on your face a lot and you picked yourself up and you got back on the horse. Failure has become what we want to look at this and we want, and we want to learn from that, we want to all that type of thing and that’s good, but resilience is falling on your face and picking yourself up. It’s not expecting anybody to clean up the mess and not getting positive feedback for it. It is feeling some level of pain and pushing through that. I fear that we’re losing it in our society and if we lose it, there’s nobody, you and me included. You look back on your life and every failure, “That’s when I learned that lesson.”

Your parents trying to give you all this advice and you blow them off and then you go out and you step in that hole by yourself and that’s how you learn it. In fact, I did a speaking engagement where I had a futurist who opened the program and he said something that I thought was interesting. He was talking about the fact of when boomers were growing up, your parents drew you outside. On a beautiful summer morning at 7:00 AM after they gave you a bowl of cornflakes and said, “Don’t come home until the street lights come on.”

Because Boomers were out there playing with their friends, they learned resilience. You didn’t get picked to be on a kickball team, you fell in a hole and your friends laughed. Now kids have a parent with them constantly so when other kids laugh at you, there’s a parent interfering that says, “Don’t laugh. That’s not nice.” When you don’t get picked to be on a team, there’s a coach there that says, “That’s not fair. Every kid has to be on a team.” He was talking about the impact that will have on future generations. I don’t know if it’s true or not. It is interesting that the world is designed for us to learn certain lessons at certain points and we are interfering with that from our protective measures.

AI is not a replacement. It's an addition. Click To Tweet

That brings up something because I had an AI expert on the show who was saying the future of jobs, some of them you don’t need to do as much work because the AI will be doing it for us. The type of skills that we’re going to need, it makes you wonder if we’re going to need resilience and all the things that you need. What do you think of the future? Is it going to be less required of us or more?

It’s going to be more required and the reason it’s going to be more required is because the change that I’m seeing, I’m so excited about AI. The reason I’m so excited about it is because it’s not a replacement, it’s an addition. What I thought on the organizations that I’m consulting with and I’m working with, their biggest challenge is to take these employees from being task-oriented people, they need to be problem solvers. Machines are amazing, but the research is still proving that as an individual, I’m all about doing it via a machine until I have a problem, a question, or I need help. Then I want to interact with an individual and I think we’re a long way from that ever changing. We’re back to having to get people to think and thinking takes resilience. It takes problem solving. It takes confidence to push out of the comfort zone to take a risk. I think we’re back to these all-important skills that resilience is the foundation of and we’ve got to have them in the workplace more than ever.

It takes resilience to get to your level of speaking. I imagined that you would be a great person to teach all this stuff. A year a certified speaking professional, less than 12% of professional speakers have that you’re on all these. You’re on the Forbes Coaching Council. This is a level that takes a lot to get to and what you’ve done is impressive. What you’ve done is interesting and I’ve watched a lot of your talks are thoughtful and interesting and funny. That’s what people look for in their keynote speakers and a lot of people would like to know more about what you offer. I know you do keynotes on sales and different things. How can people reach you and find out more about what you do?

They can reach me. I’m on my website, I love to connect with people, so I would welcome anybody to connect with me. I have written a lot of blogs on there and I’m passionate about helping people not only navigate the changes that are happening in our economy but navigate it well and come out on top.

This has been so much fun. Thank you, Meridith. I enjoyed talking to you.

Thank you. It’s been great.

The Mind Hack Program with David Bayer

I am here with David Bayer, who is the speaker, coach, seminar leader and Founder of David Bayer Businesses, a company focused on empowering individuals and organizations to live and operate in alignment with their highest vision for themselves. He’s the author of Mind Hack: The Four Mental Habits of the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs. It’s nice to have you here, David.

Diane, thanks for having me.

I’m very interested in what you’re doing. You have so much that you do that I didn’t know where to start. I like that you say that there are invisible forces that shape our lives. I’m very interested in going into the background of what that is and what your backstory is that got you to the point that this is what your focus is.

I never thought I’d be doing what I’m doing now, which is helping people live happy, joyful, productive lives. My story started out about a decade ago when I was running. I’d raised millions of dollars from several venture capital companies. I was an early pioneer in search engine optimization. I was running this “successful company” but I was struggling in my life. I had an early midlife crisis. I was in my early 30s and realized my life had become unmanageable. I was having a problem with alcohol, with drug addiction and so I got into a twelve-step program and that was the beginning of my introduction to the idea of self-awareness.

Starting to become aware of how I was showing up in the world of what I was thinking of how I was feeling and that was the doorway into what’s now been a decade’s long obsession around human performance and around what’s possible for each and every one of us. That obsession has spanned through personal development and peak performance and spiritual tradition and an understanding of how the brain works and neuroscience and neurobiology and metaphysics.

A couple of years ago my fiancé said, “You should go out and share this with people because it’s impacted your life. It’s impacted our lives.” I did a little one-day workshop over here in Winter Park, Florida with 22 friends and friends of friends. I saw how what I had to share impacted them. I realized that the vast majority of the people that I knew, many of which were entrepreneurs or successful professionals or executives, we’re spending a considerable amount of time in what we call suffering, stress, anxiety, overwhelm, comparing themselves to other people. The negative bias of the mind. I realized that was the condition of society as a whole.

What we teach is how people can free themselves from that negative bias from the habitual patterns of thinking that those serve as well. The not good enough the not enough time. The never going to get it all done and when we can learn to retrain ourselves in terms of how we think, all kinds of new possibilities open up. We start to show up as the leaders that were capable of showing up as we begin to show up as the fathers and the mothers and the brothers and the sisters and the friends. We start to show up and authentic alignment with the vision we have for ourselves. We begin to create powerfully in our lives and we live a joyful life.

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Confident Leaders: The biggest challenge is to take employees from being task-oriented to being problem solvers.

It’s interesting because I’ve interviewed Tolly Burkan who was the one that taught Tony Robbins and others how to fire walk and he talked about how to control your mind and change your focus. It is interesting because he doesn’t call it mind over matter. He calls it mind in matter. He talks about you have to see certain things for what they are. You were talking about how you’ve done some work with how the brain works. I’m curious what you’ve researched in terms of that and what are some of the things that we should know about how the brain works.

The brain is an extraordinary technology. There’s all this conversation about artificial intelligence and in fact, I think that the brain is the greatest technology in the history of the world because it has the capacity to access all intelligence everywhere. All thoughts or all ideas. In a sense, when you look at artificial intelligence and accessing information that’s stored across, say the Internet, that’s still a limited data set compared to all the information that’s existed in all time. Napoleon Hill talked about the brain as a receiver of information and there are a couple of core qualities of the brain and unfortunately no one ever teaches us how the human being operating system works. We stumbled around throughout our lives to try to figure out how to be happier, how to be more successful or parents do the best teaching us what they knew, but they didn’t actually know how to do it that well. You’ve got this generational dysfunction that’s been passed down. The brain is a goal-achieving machine and it operates off of what you believe.

Where so many of us get stuck, we have a vision for our life where we have a vision for our business or we have a vision for our relationship. We have this idea of what could be possible for ourselves. We immediately become stopped by not knowing the how. There was a study done in 2009 at Harvard where they brought in pianists to play the piano and they studied what parts of their brains lit up as they played the piano. Then they had the pianist to come in and imagine playing the piano and the same parts of the brain lit up. The brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality.

Every great thinker talks about the importance of imagination. The importance of visualization, and at some level, it’s become a little bit woo-woo for many of us. It starts to become white noise. The reality is that one way that the brain functions is it gives you the capacity to imagine something that has not happened yet, but the brain will record what you’re imagining as if it has happened. You’re creating a memory of something that has not happened yet. If you think about it from a practical standpoint, if you’ve had a real memory of something, don’t you know how to do it? What you’re doing is you’re creating a change in the neural networks of the brain. You’re building a memory of something that has not happened yet. When you allow yourself to imagine an extraordinary relationship or when you have a vision for your where your business will be in five years.

The brain is the greatest technology in the history of the world because it has the capacity to access all intelligence everywhere. Click To Tweet

What human beings do is we immediately go, “But I don’t know how.” We stop the building process of the new neural networks. In fact, it is that image that you’ve created in your brain and that change in your brain that starts to give to you the idea is of how to accomplish it. It begins to change your perception of the world so that you see opportunities to accomplish the thing that you’re trying to accomplish. In a lot of the work that we do. We tell people, “Don’t worry about the how. You want to make an extra $10,000 a month. Let’s decide that’s going to happen. You’ve been experiencing a life where you can’t trust people.

Let’s make a new decision that we can attract people into our lives who we can trust and let’s see what that looks like.” Then what the brain will do at conscious and unconscious levels is direct you towards bringing that image into reality. It sounds a little bit hocus pocus, but it’s not. We’re now starting to understand what’s happening. When you allow yourself to imagine something into your future, you build a memory of something that has not happened yet. That’s the change in the brain that’s required for the how to begin to unfold to you.

If we’ve all read, Think and Grow Rich. Then how come some people read that and aren’t able to be particularly rich? How come some of us can do this and some of us can’t?

It comes down to habituation. In a very early age, we developed certain beliefs and if we’re not aware of those beliefs that are conscious level or if we don’t have the tools to shift those beliefs, then we’ll continue to experience that belief over and over and over again and reinforce the evidence for the fact that that belief is true. Think and Grow Rich is a great philosophy. Where we’re at right now in personal development is we’re in a shift to what I would call mindset 2.0. We’ve been in a conversation about transformation, but we’re not transforming. What we’re understanding as a result of emerging science around how the brain works is that we’re starting to understand what we can do to change the neural networks and change the patterns of thinking. This whole movement of self-awareness is wonderful. What we’ve found is we have an entire generation of people who are aware, but they don’t know what to do with what they’re becoming aware of. They’re stuck in self-awareness, purgatory, and it’s a very painful place to be. It’s like you become aware of the fact that you believed that money’s hard to make, but you don’t know how to shift your beliefs around money.

That’s where the framework that we teach comes into place. Understanding some core principles around how the technology, the human being works. Some of the aspects of how we believe intelligence works everywhere. Then the philosophy only does you good if you apply it to the moments of your life. If you begin to experience the moments of your life that you’ve been experiencing the same way over and over again differently. That’s real transformation. The moment of transformation is when you have an interaction.

For example, with your partner or your spouse and they make you angry and you realize that in that moment you’re thinking that they shouldn’t be saying the thing that they’re saying, and you realize that of course they should be saying the thing that they’re saying because that’s what they say. It’s the moment you haven’t experienced different than the way you’ve been experiencing it before, your brain reorganizes around and that’s how you begin to shift your beliefs.

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Confident Leaders: The brain is a goal-achieving machine and it operates off of what you believe.

You mentioned beliefs, and I know you said that you were impacted by Awakening the Buddha Within, a Christian book. The first kingdom principles, do you have to be a person of faith, a religious person to buy in or accept or whatever term you want to use these principles?

You’ve got to believe in something that is in alignment with the way you want life to be for you. If it’s true that the brain is a goal-achieving machine that’s operating off of what you believe. It’s like if you believe dogs are dangerous, that’s all you’re going to notice about your interaction with the dog and your experience of dogs will be that dogs are dangerous for you. That’s how powerful the brain is in terms of controlling our perception. You have to believe something. Einstein said that the most important decision you can make is whether you live in a friendly or hostile universe. Pay attention to what the guy says. We’re talking about the greatest thinkers of all time, who disagreed on many things but agreed on one thing and one thing only, which is the mind is everything what you think you become. Einstein is saying, “How do you want the universe to be for you?” That’s the most important decision you can make.

I’m not so concerned whether you believe in Jesus or whether you believe what Buddha taught or whether you believe in science or the universe or divine intelligence or whatever it is. I do think that the most important decision you can make is that moment by moment you believed that life is working for you. In infinitely intelligent ways for your greatest growth, your greatest prosperity and your greatest evolution that is something that we teach is a foundation of belief around every program that we have and that is faith. We take it, we spend a tremendous amount of time teaching people how the brain works in neurobiology and how your beliefs get wired into the neural networks of your brain and how your reticular activating system will drive you to focus on those things that you believe. Why do we spend all this time doing that it becomes a surrogate for faith? To believe the things that we’ve read in books like Think and Grow Rich or what personal development has been up until now.

It brings to mind a friend of mine who went through what you went through the twelve-step program. You write about how you had drug and alcohol abuse problems that sent you into that program. I remember she was telling me she couldn’t buy into it because they made her have to have a higher power and she could not do that. After she had said that, I read something about how faith is genetic according to certain studies and other studies disagreed with that. Do you think it’s a genetic thing that you’re able to have that faith to be able to buy into these principles? 

There’s paternal and maternal influence on our beliefs. That’s where 80% of what we believe is what our parents believed. I did not grow up in a particularly faith-based family. My Mom was Lutheran, my dad was Jewish. We celebrated Easter and Passover and Christmas. We never went to church or temple. It was very confusing as a child. I was not a faith-based person. That’s one of the interesting things. I was thinking about this in anticipation of our conversation because there isn’t clinical research around what we’re talking about. One of the challenges is that people want to apply a clinical approach to something that should not be approached clinically if it stays in the world.

Everything you think, you become. Click To Tweet

At some point, our plan is to build clinical research behind what we’re doing because as people get into our work and they start to live through the philosophy that we’re teaching their lives significantly improved. They begin to think differently. They start to show up in life differently. I believe that we could measure that brain change. If you can do clinical studies around it, it’s important. We don’t do clinical studies around if you work through the challenges in your life, and you’re willing to be fearless, you can create extraordinary outcomes for yourself. We would never go, “Prove it.” That’s not something you prove.

For me, closing the loop on your faith question, then I looked across Buddhism. I looked across Christianity, I looked across Hinduism and I looked across metaphysical philosophies. Then I started looking at peak performance and high performance and what emerging studies were telling us about flow states, and I started to look at my own life. Isn’t it true that life somehow corresponds with what I believe for good or for bad? Don’t I have those moments of synchronicities where I decided that I was going to create something and then life worked with me to create it?

I began evaluating my own life. That’s the thing about Gandhi and what he put in his autobiography. He said, “I’m going to make my life as an experiment and come to conclusions myself, so I don’t need someone else to clinically prove anything to me. I’m going to throw my own observance of my own life and my interaction with life itself come to conclusions about how this whole game works.” Then you start to test those conclusions. Everyone should be doing this. I have developed faith around the understanding that I have come to about how I operate in relationship to life itself.

Your entire life had become a distraction from yourself. I know people who fill their time to not have to face what’s going on in their head. Is that what you mean by that? 

I don’t think I was caught up in needing to create success in a way that I thought society defines success in order to justify my own self-worth, self-love and self-esteem. Yet it was completely inauthentic with what I enjoyed doing and what my natural talents were and what my gifts were, living in that inauthenticity you’re living out of alignment with who you are and the natural expression of yourself. There’s a lot of pain that builds up because what happens is as you have success, you don’t feel any better. Then as you’re creating the success and you don’t feel any better, then you start to think, “God, there’s something wrong with me because here I am creating the success that’s supposed to make me feel better and I still don’t feel better.”

Then that’s when people get into drug addiction, alcohol addiction and depression. Eventually in that pain moved to things like suicide. I’m not an expert on suicide. You look at what’s going on like the loss of Avicii and you had Robin Williams and Kate Spade. What I’ve found, because I’m part of some very high-level groups of performers and thinkers, is that there’s no lesser amount of suffering taking place at that level. In fact, it’s greater because everyone thinks that everyone else isn’t suffering and that they’re the only ones and that because they’ve achieved success and they’re still suffering, they’re fundamentally broken.

It is interesting to see what has happened lately and so many people suffering. Maybe Robin Williams had degenerative something going on. You don’t know the things that go on physically with certain people, but there are so many people that are in a lot of pain and they focus it and think maybe it’s me. I’ve had a lot of happiness experts, I have had a lot of people empowerment experts and you’ve been with a lot of amazing people. Even on your site, I saw you pictures on your site with Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins, Les Brown. You’re taller than Tony, how tall are you?

I’ve got about a half an inch on Tony. I’m under 6’8”.

TTL 228 | Confident Leaders
Confident Leaders: You create coincidences and opportunities in your life that are only in alignment with what you believe.

My brother is almost 6’8”. I was thinking about you because I met Tony at the Genius Network and he’s a big guy. I had somebody, we were talking about being a successful speaker said that the taller you are, the better your chance of being successful speaker. Do you agree that has anything to do with your success?

It might. There are a lot of advantages to height and then there’s the downside of fitting in the sports cars or airplanes or finding fashionable clothes.

My sister is 6’3” and I’m only 5’8” and they think I’m tiny. In 2014, you launched the Powerful Living Experience, which is this program that transforms the lives of individuals and what is entailed in that, if anybody’s interested in that, I’m curious about that.

We had the first powerful learning experiences in a classroom over at Rollins College. The first real Powerful Living Experience and 350 amazing entrepreneurs and leaders showed up for three days of transformation and learning how the technology of the human being works, going deep on their own patterns of thinking that doesn’t serve them well and utilizing the technology to create rapid changes in their brain and to de-habituate themselves from that thinking so they can step more powerfully into their lives. We do that over three days.

We had the second Powerful Living Experience in where we had about 600 amazing entrepreneurs show up and it’s still tentative. We’re for the next Powerful Living Experience. We’ll have about a thousand mission-driven people, showing up to do this important work so that they can be more creative, be more inspired, be more resourceful, be more intelligent in everything that they do. It’s about 50% understanding the philosophy and the technology and then 50% putting it to work.

We’ve been stuck in a conversation about transformation for the last 20, 30, 40 years and that’s why you see a lot of people who become weekend warriors or workshop warriors. It’s like you go to a personal development, you get excited because you change your state for three days but there’s no real radical change in the way that you think that sustains itself and that’s one of the things that at least that’s feedback we get from our community and it’s the way that we designed what we teach is to be that next evolution of transformation so that you can create real radical, permanent change and who you are.

Where are your events?

We’ve done them in Orlando, Florida.

Is that where you are based? 

It is.

That’s good because there’s so much offered centers around. That’s a good place if you’re going to have an event. You also serve as the CEO of still?

I do. I have been in digital marketing and digital media for twenty years. I built my first business on the Internet when I graduated from Columbia University back in 1998. At one point in time, I had the opportunity to acquire the domain and it was a twelve-page website. We turned it into a massive business directory of every business in the United States. We provide tools, information and resources to business owners in particular local businesses to help them grow their business both online and offline. We’ve got about 60,000 members on That’s what I saw was that so many business owners wanted to find the strategy that was going to help them grow their business. Should I run Facebook ads? Do I do direct marketing or telemarketing or a social media marketing?

Living in inauthenticity is living out of alignment with who you are and the natural expression of yourself. Click To Tweet

The fact of the matter is that’s 20% of the game. Any percent of it is developing an invincible mindset and aligning everything that you believe with what you want to create in your business. It doesn’t matter what strategy we give someone. If they believe the money’s hard to make, as a nature of how the technology works, money will be hard to make. We have to de-habituate them from that pattern of thinking. We have to help them build new neural networks that represent patterns of thinking of a great relationship with money. If they’re going to be successful in their business, then they can utilize the strategies that we teach them. We teach great strategies for growing businesses, but in all of our programs, everyone goes through what we teach on mindset before we even move into how to grow your business.

What do you tell the person who says it takes money to make money then?

It’s a belief. I would say the same thing that Einstein would say. Then that’s true for you. If you believe that it takes money to make money and you don’t have any money, then you’re not going to be able to make money. What you do when you believe that as you cut yourself off from all ideas related to making money without money, because it basically enrolls the brain, the brain goes, “Fine takes money to make money. Then you don’t need any of this information about how to make money without money.” The way that you started experiencing life is based on your belief when you decide something, and we prefer decisions versus beliefs, because beliefs make it sound so serious but all of it is a decision.

Somewhere along the way you decided it takes money to make money. It’s fine. What we teach in the power of decision is that whatever you’ve decided that will determine what thoughts do you have access to. You only have access to thoughts that are in alignment with it takes money to make money. If we could open up your brain, we’d see your neural networks are wired to represent your decision somewhere. We wouldn’t be able to find it takes money to make money inside of you. What we’re trying to do is deactivate those neural networks and build new neural networks that it doesn’t take any money to make money or whatever other empowering aligned belief we could come up with.

The second thing that decisions dictate how you perceive the world. You know this. There’s a part of the brain called the reticular activating system. It knows you’re filtering out about 90% of all your sensory experience in every moment. You’re only ingesting about 10% of what’s going on. That’s the part of the brain that when you buy the new car, you buy the new outfit all of a sudden everyone’s driving the car wearing the outfit. Because that is what you placed in your conscious awareness is important to you. If you believe it takes money to make money, you will only notice opportunities in your life where it takes money to make money. All of the opportunities to make money without money you won’t notice.

Then the third part of it, which gets into a larger conversation around quantum theory and the quantum reality in this conversation around law of attraction, is that you create coincidences and opportunities in your life that are only in alignment with what you believe. The only situations and circumstances and people and resources that you all start to interact with will be in alignment with it takes money to make money. If we can help someone switch that around, it starts to open up a whole new level of possibility in their life. What we believe is your capacity to make money or capacity to make impact your capacity to be fulfilled, your capacity to be a great mom or a great partner, or to show up in your life powerfully depends on what type of spectrum of possibility you give yourself access to. Most people were living in a very narrow band with a possibility because of their limiting beliefs.

TTL 228 | Confident Leaders
Confident Leaders: The most important decision you can make in your life is not whether you live in a hostile or a friendly universe, but that you will live in a beautiful state of being.

That’s fascinating and I’m sure that your book probably addresses some of the habits that they probably need to address in addition to it. If they don’t have a chance to attend your webinar, they can read your books and get a lot information on your site. Can you share with everybody how they can learn more about everything that you’re doing?

Everything that we’re doing is on my personal website. It’s You can download the Mind Hack book for free. That’s where we talk about the power of decision, the power of clarity and the power of gratitude and how to overcome fear. There’s information about the Powerful Living Experience. Anybody who understands that mindset is the foundation for everything you are creating in your life who wants to go, not into the philosophy but into how to change your thinking. The Mind Hack book is a great place to start.

Thank you so much, David. This is a very interesting stuff that a lot of people need help with a lot of these principles. Thank you for being on the show.

Thanks for having me. It’s been awesome.

We’ve got a little extra bonus because usually when I get off the air with guests, we chat and David had a little bit more that he wanted to add.

One of the things you mentioned when we were talking before was how powerful the brain or the mind is, how people get caught up in it. Our approach to personal transformation or what we like to call personal evolution is there are two sides of the coin. On one side of the coin you have what we call suffering. I’m going to share with you what I mean by suffering. You have to eliminate your personal suffering before you can create powerfully in your life. The other side of the coin is creating powerfully.

When I’m working with high level entrepreneurs, influencers, executives, CEOs, and they want to actually create more powerfully in their business with their teams in their lives, the first place we go is, “Where is their suffering and how can we help you eliminate that?” I speak on stages all over the country and I asked the same question, which is, “How many hours a day are you spending in some form of suffering?” Suffering for us is we normally don’t refer to this as suffering, but it’s what it is when we’re stressed or we’re anxious. We’re overwhelmed or we’re comparing ourselves to other people or work or we’re debating whether or not we should have done the thing that we did. We’re worrying about something in the future or were waking up in the morning and doing it our own anxiety.

We get in front of the mirror and we’re judging the way that we look. It happens for five minutes here, twenty minutes there, an hour there. Sometimes it’s going on in the background the whole time while we’re preparing dinner for our kids. Even when we’re sitting in a team meeting or we’re on a sales call, it’s the operating system running in the background. The average answer I get, which is significantly understated, is four hours a day. The average and again, the audience I speak to is entrepreneurs, successful professionals.

Some will say eight hours a day, some will say all of their waking hours. Every once in a while, someone raises their hand and says, “I’m stressed out while I sleep.” Even if it’s three hours a day, you’re talking about over a thousand hours a year that we’re disconnected from creativity, inspiration, intuition, resource and everything that we need in order to create powerfully. If you want to create more in your life, the first thing we look at is how do we eliminate the suffering?

I want to share with you the step by step framework that we teach because I think that’s what’s differentiated here and you’re going to see it in the understanding of that. The first distinction that we teach, which is not my distinction, it’s a distinction from one of my mentors, a man that I studied with, an Indian named Krishna Jiaches that there are only two states of being. There are beautiful states of being and suffering states of being. Beautiful states of being or states of being like calm, joy, curiosity, excitement, love, connection. Suffering states of being are states of being stress, anxiety, boredom, frustration, jealousy.

It doesn't matter what strategy we give someone, if they believe that money's hard to make, money will be hard to make. Click To Tweet

When we make that distinction, you and I both see it clearly. There are beautiful states of being in their suffering states at bay, but we didn’t have this distinction until this conversation. It helps to draw a line of demarcation between when you’re in your personal power and when you’re not in your personal power. What’s true about this is that you’re always in one state of being or the other, always. You’re never in a stateless state. You are never in both at the same time. What we teach is the name of the game of creating everything you want to create in your life is to learn how to be in a beautiful state of being. We make it simple. That’s the name of this game. The most important decision you can make in your life. I would disagree on this one with Einstein, although maybe we could go head to head with them, is not whether you live in a hostile or a friendly universe, but that you will live in a beautiful state of being.

If we want to live in a beautiful state of being then we’ve got to go, “What’s causing suffering?” When we look at it, what we found was that suffering is separate from every experience we have. We think the experience of our partner yelling at us is causing us suffering. We think that our team not doing what we think they should be doing is causing our suffering. We think that not having the amount of money in our bank account that we would like to have is causing our suffering. In fact, those are experiences. There’s no suffering inherent in the experience. There is no suffering in the natural world.

It’s not in the mathematics in this reality. You don’t see a squirrel that stressed out that it’s not going to find a nut. You don’t see birds overwhelmed that they’re flying in the wrong direction with our temperament climate. The flowers are not comparing themselves to the grass. Man has this incredible capacity to be able to introduce suffering into his experiences that have innately know suffering in that. The way that we do that is through the meaning that we give the experience. All suffering, which is the only problem, it’s the only thing that’s in the way of you being joyful and creating everything you want in your life.

All suffering is caused by one thing and one thing only, which is your own thinking. When we realized that if you get clear on it, you can take a deep breath and go, that’s amazing. There’s no suffering out there. The only one creating your suffering is you. Through your own thinking. The breakthrough distinction that’s been transformational for me. It’s changed the way I live who I am, and everyone who gets into our work says this is the most powerful distinction they’ve ever been introduced to is what we’ve also found. I want to put it out there for you and the audience to try on. Is that another quality of the thinking, which is the only cause of your suffering is that you’re thinking something that’s not true?

What if I’m thinking, “I’m bored?” That’s negative thinking, right?

The “I’m bored,” is not the thinking that’s causing your suffering. It’s what you think behind you being bored which is, “I’m wasting my time.”

TTL 228 | Confident Leaders
Confident Leaders: The fastest way to create radical transformation in the way that you think and to rewire your brain is to actually see that unintelligent thinking is the only cause of your suffering.

This is an interesting one to me because I’ve talked to people. I go, “What do you do when you get bored?” They’ll say, “I’ve never been bored,” and I’m like, “You’ve never been bored?” I can’t relate to that very well and because I get bored easily, I liked being bored. 

Being bored is an experience.

They are happy doing nothing.

You may have people like that but what I’m suggesting is you said, “Dave, let me test this theory that you’re putting out there.” The quality of the thinking is the only cause of your suffering and the only problem in your life and the only thing that’s preventing you from creating everything you want. I’m saying that that thinking is always 100% of the time not true. You’re saying, “What about this thinking, which is I’m bored.” and I’m saying, “I’m bored is an experience.” While you’re sitting there being bored, you’re thinking something about it. “I should be having more fun. Jane is over there. I saw on my Facebook feed. She’s having an amazing time when we’re at the Disney Food Festival. I should be over.” No, you shouldn’t. You should be right where you are because that’s where you are.

That’s not that I need to be doing more things is that I need to consider how I feel when I’m not doing more things.

In this situation, every circumstance is specific to the experience. Someone will say to me, “I grieved the loss of my mom and I’ve moved into suffering. Are you saying that somehow it’s not true that I missed my mom?” I go, “No, but the “I miss my mom” is not what’s causing you your suffering. If we were to do a deeper inquiry, you would start to share with me things like, “She left too early. I should have told her things that I didn’t tell her.””

It’s almost like the features, benefits thing. You’ve got to get down to the next level.

You got to get down to the next level, and when you do, what you’ll find is that there is a thinking taking place that we call unintelligent thinking. When you entangle yourself with this thinking, that is not in alignment with what’s true. You move in the suffering. That’s the body’s response to aligning yourself with thoughts that are not true.

That’s the old stinking thinking that they used to say.

Except when we go, “You’ve got that stinking thinking,” Susan goes, “Thanks for telling me but that doesn’t help me get out of my stinking thinking.” What we’re saying is the fastest way to create radical transformation in the way that you think and to rewire your brain is to see that the unintelligent thinking that is the only cause of your suffering is unintelligent. The moment you can actually see that it doesn’t make any sense, your brain reorganizes around it. There’s an immediate change in the neural networks of your brain and that is real transformation. It’s seeing the thinking that isn’t true, that’s causing your suffering as untrue, and the moment you do that, you can’t un-see it.

Every circumstance is specific to the experience. Click To Tweet

Let’s go to the boredom. Once I realize that, “I’m thinking that I should be doing something else. It can’t be that.” Is boring doing nothing?

You might be sitting on the sofa with a bunch of people at a party watching a football game. You don’t like football and you go, “I’m bored.” That’s an experience that that’s true. You’re bored. I’m not saying that’s not true. Then what happens is the mind begins to create a thought train. You’ll start to think something about you sitting there being bored and you’ll go like, “I never should have come here. This is a huge waste of my time. I have so many other things to do. I could be getting the other things done. I might not be able to get the other things done. If I don’t get the other things done, then I’m not going to be able to achieve what I wanted to achieve. If I’m not able to achieve what I wanted to achieve, I’m never going to be happy in my life. I’m never going to have the money.” That’s what the mind does.

It goes on an endless circle of ideas. For me, it would be more like there’s not enough things to do. I want more things to do and I can’t think of things. Everybody’s got their own thing that makes them bored. I find it fascinating in my book on curiosity was why people are happy not doing anything. To me, it’s almost like they’ve convinced themselves as that it’s good to do nothing in life and sometimes and maybe they’re right, maybe I’m trying to fix something that is not a problem. 

In our perspective of reality, we would say those people, unlike most people, are not thinking unintelligently about their experience of boredom. When you’re not thinking unintelligently you’re happy. The only cause of unhappiness is unintelligent thinking. It’s thinking something that’s not true. They’re sitting there being with what in the east they would call the what is.

Is “Ignorance is bliss” ever true?

The ignorant people are the people that are thinking unintelligently about being bored. That’s the crazy paradox of all of it. Those are the unintelligent, those aren’t the ignorant people, and those are the people living in intelligence.

Is it wrong to want people to have more experiences in their lives? If you see them sitting there, maybe they’re not unhappy, but maybe they could be more engaged at work or maybe they could be more productive? Is it bad to open up their mind to the possibilities if they’re fine, staring at the faucet dripping?

It’s not a question of right or wrong. I’m going to slightly refer frame the question, but I’m going to use wrong. The wrong thing is for someone to want people who are perfectly happy doing nothing to do something. That’s the wrong thing.

What if it didn’t work and they’re supposed to be doing more?

Then you may not have the right team member. That’s a cultural question. That’s the values question. That’s a hiring question.

Could it be that they haven’t had it been exposed to knowing what else they could be doing that would make them prepare?

Could be or they’re not doing things because they themselves are in suffering because they’re in fear over something.

There are four things that I had a determined were factors that help people back from being curious, which are fear, assumptions that they’re not interested or that they know whatever, technology and environment, family, friends and peers, teachers. There are all these factors but from a leadership perspective, if you’re trying to have more engaged, productive, innovative people, shouldn’t we work on those four things that hold people back or should we say, “You’re happy?”

That’s a great list of four things. What I would say is you should teach your employees how to live in a beautiful state of being because from there everything naturally unfolds. They will be naturally motivated. They will be naturally created. They will be naturally inspired. For some of your employees, you may see that they’re naturally not a fit, but in our organization, the number one priority is that people live in a beautiful state. Because everything we want is there. The connection, the presence, the creativity, the inspiration, the resource, the intelligence. It’s all over here in a beautiful state of being. Sometimes we have employees where we’ve got them in the wrong lane.

TTL 228 | Confident Leaders
Confident Leaders: Teach your employees how to live in a beautiful state of being because from there everything naturally unfolds.

Their skill sets don’t match up with what we thought they were they were going to match up with. We have to make a change in personnel, but the number one thing we’re looking for, and this is how we’ve gone from zero to $5 million dollars in our business in less than two years. We’re going to be a $15 million business over the next twelve months because we have a team of people that are living powerfully in the business because they’re operating from a beautiful state of being.

This is fascinating because it’s coming at it from a completely unique perspective in terms of the stuff I’m looking at as for innovation. It is a yes and, which is first, the chicken or the egg? You have to work on your thinking first and then you determine. Let’s say somebody held back by fear and that’s why they don’t want to be more curious to learn something. What’s first step?

That’s all inner game work. It’s to look at the fear. In our framework, it would be to look at the fear which is some thinking. That’s what fear is, it’s a pattern of thinking and to help the person see that the thinking is unintelligent. The moment they do it, the brain reorganizes around it and the fear evaporates almost instantaneously. From there, then you can teach them how to more effectively interact with technology and environment and all these other things, but we’re a big believer that you’ve got to start with the inner game because it’s Intel inside.

If you’ve had years of thinking a certain way, how does it happen so quickly then?

I had a client, very high-level performer, who was out with vice president of professional basketball team. He is the number one DJ in this major market area. A bunch of influencers was invited to hang out with them. He called me, and he said, “I was in suffering. I knew that the suffering was caused by my own thinking, not the experience. I knew because I’m in your work that the thinking was unintelligent.” Meaning the thinking wasn’t true, and he said, “I couldn’t get out of suffering. I couldn’t see the thinking is unintelligent.”

I said, “What was the thinking?” He said, “The thinking was that I shouldn’t be there. There are all these impressive people, why am I here? I shouldn’t be here. They’re so impressive, I’m not as impressive as they are. I shouldn’t be here.” I had some leverage with him. He’s a powerful young man. He’s Muslim. I said, “You believe in God, don’t you?” He goes, “Yes.” I said, “All powerful, all knowing, one of those omnipotent, omniscient God.” He goes, “Yes, that’s my God.” “Then how did he put you in the wrong place?” He goes, “What do you mean?” I go, “How did he put you in a place where you shouldn’t have been?” In that moment he looked at me and goes, “I belong everywhere I am because I am there.” I said, “Yes, that’s intelligence.”

“Why do I have cancer?” Don’t you run into that thing?

Cancer is an experience, so we want to look at what you think about the experience of having cancer, “I’m going to die.”

In that position, if he was wanting me to be there is my point.

We’re moving into spiritual philosophy. How has every experience a gift or a blessing? Why do we have tragedies? Why are we seeing the atrocities were seeing in the world? That’s going to take longer than an hour.

You can’t solve that in one sentence?

No, you come to the three-day event we’ll talk about.

David, this has been so interesting. Thank you again. I appreciate the addendum. People could get a lot out of this and this is helpful for my book as well. 

Thank you so much to Meridith and to David. There’s some great information from both of them. I hope you check out both their sites and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take the Lead radio.

About Meridith Elliott Powell

TTL 228 | Confident LeadersVoted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, Meridith Elliott Powell is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and business strategist. With a background in corporate sales and leadership, her career expands over several industries including banking, healthcare, and finance. Meridith worked her way up from an entry-level position to earn her seat at the C-Suite table. Meridith is a Certified Speaking Professional ©, a designation held by less than twelve percent of professional speakers, and a member of the prestigious Forbes Coaching Council.

About David Bayer

TTL 228 | Confident LeadersDavid Bayer is a speaker, coach, seminar leader and founder of David Bayer Businesses, a company focused on empowering individuals and organizations to live and operate in alignment with their highest vision for themselves. He is the author of Mind Hack: The 4 Mental Habits of the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs.

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