Happiness Isn’t a Choice

Happiness Isn’t a Choice. Sometimes we need to be more than our work to become who we are.  This is our 50th episode and one of the most powerful ones for me personally and Michael Ian Cedar shares his work with us,  He helps people, top performers, high earners, and world-class talents find who they are beyond their work. 

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This is a hugely powerful episode filled with great stories, real insights, and actionable take aways. Too often we get caught up in what we do rather than who we are. Michael shares feely and openly his own journey as well as his knowledge. It was truly touched and inspired by the conversation and hope you are as well.

Want to Find More from Michael?

The Legacy of You


Be sure to check out his Life On Your Terms Program.


A free Facebook group with daily reminder to discipline yourself to focus on the positive side of life and attitude. Hosted by Michael!

Michael is an executive and leadership coach, skilled facilitator and keynote speaker, with 20 years of experience helping clients bring their professional and personal lives into alignment. Combining high-energy passion with a nonjudgemental approach, Michael helps clients tap into their potential to lead others, by focusing on their emotional intelligence, interpersonal relations, and managerial skills.

Michael helps leaders at all career stages to gain confidence by freeing them from unconscious limiting beliefs and behaviors, so they can get out of the way of their own success. In individually tailored sessions, he asks deep, unexpected questions that get to the core of the matter, so that clients can connect the dots and obtain new levels of clarity. His well-attuned observations of human behavior allow him to offer his clients fresh perspectives, opening doors that no one else yet knew existed.

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Questions From Happiness Isn’t a Choice

What is holding most people back from pursuing work that is meaningful to them?

Why is understanding your emotions so important?

Why do so many people tie their identities to their “work”?

What is getting in the way of feeling fulfillment in life & work?

Can someone’s life’s purpose change?

Why did you create “The Gratitude Slam”?

How can living a life of Gratitude set you up for success?

Show Notes and Transcript

Tim Kubiak 0:06
Welcome to Bowties and business. It’s our 50th episode. And with that we’re very grateful. And that’s the theme of today’s show. We’re gonna have Michael Ian Cedar on to talk about why happiness isn’t a choice. He’s the host of the Gratitude Slam on Facebook. It’s a free Facebook group. It’s a daily reminder to discipline yourself and focus on the positive side of life and have a positive attitude. Michaels, an executive leadership coach, he’s a skilled facilitator and a keynote speaker. He has 20 years experience helping clients bring their professional and personal lives into alignment, combining a high energy passion with non judgmental approach. I’ll tell you, this is one of those conversations that when I was in, it just really clicked. I am super excited for this episode. And the truth is, I moved a bunch of stuff around to pull it up and make it part of our celebration. That’s how grateful I am for having had this conversation. Michael helps his clients tap into their potential and lead others by focusing on their emotional intelligence, interpersonal relations and management skills. He works with people at all stages of their career. He’s got an amazing background in producing events throughout the country. As a traveling show manager with theater productions and dance competitions. He works with some entertainment types and Wall Street people really high powerful high earners and help them find their way and happiness and what they do. Speaking of which, every week, salespeople and their managers and business owners, they all stare at their CRM system, they hope they know what’s going on, and there must win game changing deals, you know, the ones, the ones that keep the lights on. Myself and my partners, David developed the red zone sales opportunity management app, it’s helped me transform several businesses that I’ve run by increasing revenue and driving incremental gross margins, we’d like you to learn about it. So if you take a minute, and go to Tim kubiak.com, slash Red Zone, checkout and get to know Red Zone, and if you are interested in buying it, use the discount code bow ties at checkout for 20% off. With that, we’re back to talking about Michael in the gratitude slime. Again, it’s a Facebook group. He has a live session at 801 every Tuesday morning. And I really enjoy it myself. This is one of those ones that you know, I love all the people I talked to on the show. But this again is one of the people and one of the conversations that made a difference for me.

All right, we’re good to go. So Michael, thanks for being here. Welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Michael Ian Cedar 2:52
Yeah, hey, I’m a leadership and life coach. And I run a group on Facebook called the gratitude slam, which sounds super like Wow, that sounds like not for me, maybe. But what it’s about is being able to help people focus on reality, what is in the present right now because it’s the only place we have to go from prior to that. I mean, I started when I was as a teenager as a bar mitzvah and wedding emcee. And I did that for 13 years. Then I moved into managing Broadway tours around the country bus and truck tours around the country. Then I went into producing dance events in 70 cities around the country every single year hosting 40,000 performers. And it sounds like my resume is all over the place. And it is on paper. But if you actually look at it all, there’s everything has one thing in common. And that’s I really like creating environments for people to be uninhibited to learn about themselves. So as far as I’m concerned, even when I was doing, you know, Bar Mitzvah and wedding emceeing, those were my original days of coaching, it was just coaching by creating an environment where people can, you know, not feel scared to be themselves. And that’s exactly the work I do now.

Tim Kubiak 4:10
So what’s the greatest story about you have pulling somebody onto the dance floor

Michael Ian Cedar 4:15
upon somebody and on the dance floor? The most immediate thing that comes to mind is there was one event it was Princeton, New Jersey. And I there, I knew there was something different about the gig. The parents were a little like, yeah, just just show up. It’ll be fine. And I showed up and I don’t know what it was. And I did hundreds up to that point. There were literally if you can remember the scene from Gremlins, like where they’re like in the movie theater, and they’re hanging from the chandelier and they’re in the like, it was like that, like, there was no controllers like, they didn’t want me to know, whose party was probably going to be like It was my worst possible day is in that field, but the client was happy. Because I think we just kept their, their, their little, you know, their little DNA buddies busy the entire time. House didn’t

Tim Kubiak 5:15
get flattened In other words, well,

Michael Ian Cedar 5:18
or the venue. Well, the next month that venue closed and I go, Wow, we did some damage there. And no, you know what, Tim, I still look back at that and go like to this day. I mean, that was we’re talking 30 years ago, maybe now, maybe 25 years ago, right? I look back at that. And I go, Wow, how could have I facilitated that differently? Right. Still to this day, I look back at that. And I go, and where can I have taken better responsibility for how that went? Even though the client was happy? I was like, I but it wasn’t it wasn’t the outcome I would have desired. Yeah.

Tim Kubiak 5:58
Yeah. The little more punk rock than Bar Mitzvah,

right? Yeah.

Michael Ian Cedar 6:03
anarchist, I’d say yeah, see? Yeah.

Tim Kubiak 6:06
That sounds like my youth actually. So

Michael Ian Cedar 6:09
yeah, cuz you you like metal, right?

Tim Kubiak 6:12
Yeah, I grew up in metal and punk clubs played and I started playing in bands when I was 14 with adults. So literally had my dad would drive me to shows and I play in places No, 14 year old should be. So I love that. Here you are wearing a bow tie. But

Michael Ian Cedar 6:28
knowing you’ve, you’ve come from the underground, you know, metal scene. But do you still like metal?

Tim Kubiak 6:37
I do. I still listen to metal I listen to a lot of European techno and pretty much anything. Anything with an edge. I’m a hardcore Motorhead guy as well. So Oh, Nick. Yeah, when

Michael Ian Cedar 6:47
I when I’m feeling low energy, I will totally put on some European tech now. And it bothers the heck out of me. But man doesn’t make my it my pupils dilate.

Tim Kubiak 7:01
Yeah, you know, what one of my bucket list things pre pandemic was actually the Electric Daisy festival in Vegas. If you know what that is. I don’t know that. No. So it’s basically a three or four day thing at the Las Vegas motor speedway. It’s a 24 hour, essentially, legal rave. And I always live in Vegas about three years ago, and everybody was coming in for it. So I’m like, yep, I gotta do this. I’m too old. I’ll disappear by tag and Pacific, but I’ve got to see it.

Michael Ian Cedar 7:32
So post pandemic, we’re gonna, you know, hey,

I’m going your while Android.

I always like trying things I’ve never done. In fact, one of the things I did was I I’m known for. So I, you know, I’m super fortunate to have an amazing wife. Her name is Lauren. And she’s super supportive of my growth and my business. And instead of being like, Can you just get a normal job, you know, she totally supports us. And so one of the things that she’s that I just love, she’s a part of as I love doing solo retreats. Like at the beginning of the year before the pandemic hit. I took myself on a week long cruise just to be with my thoughts. Just think about like the work I want to be doing and how I want to show up for the world. Right? And are you there? You look frozen?

Tim Kubiak 8:21
Yeah, I don’t know what happened. So but we’re here audio, we’re here audio. So just keep rolling. We’re looking it up.

Michael Ian Cedar 8:27
So one of the things I did is I took myself to you know, here in New York City, and not too far away is bucks, 10 Bucks County, Pennsylvania. And it’s an interesting place. I took myself on a multi day little just thinking retreat there to gather my thoughts. And they had a metal concert that was going on one of the nights I was there. And I’ve never really listened to metal on my own. And I went and I sat and I was like, Oh, I get it. I feel alive right now. Because I just was like, let me do something out of my comfort zone and going there was totally out of my zone like I you know, and and, you know, I was dressed up, it’s like a button down shirt, you know, and I walked in people thought I was the waiter but actually ordered a drink with me. I was like, I’m here to listen to the music like, oh, sorry, you know, but I just sat there and I was like, I feel alive. Right? And so cool. And I would have never done that if I wasn’t like if I was like, that’s not my own idea. You know?

Tim Kubiak 9:36
Yeah, no, and I agree, you got to try new things. And I love the solo retreat idea,

Michael Ian Cedar 9:40
right? Oh, it is. I’d say when I started doing that my business took off. It just did you know I call them man cave retreats. You know, but you don’t have to be a man to take on it could be a wall man, you know, cave or trade or whatever you want to name it but I just I really believe that The work I do is right conscious work, right? It’s very being in the present work and I really in order to connect to that I just need to be alone sometimes. And and it’s funny cuz I’m an extrovert I love people I love talking I love but I’ve got to just be able to sit with my thoughts and just go I have no agenda right now. Just let me be and, and, and let me read some old journals and diaries or let me read some books that are on a topic that’s important to me not about the business itself. And then I then So literally, this is not that I’m saying it out loud, I do have a formula for them. And I’ve done many of them now, over the past probably five or six years. The first half of whatever I do is no agenda of business. Just absorbing and trying to absorb things I normally would absorb, like, metal music. And then the second half is what do I want to give my my energies to over the next year of time? And, and I just found it’s a beautiful formula. I’ve made a lot of positive pivots, that I probably would have been stuck on the wrong goal too long if I didn’t give myself that time. Because otherwise it’s busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. So I just it’s it’s one of my favorite times in them. And again, having a partner life that’s like Yeah, do and guess what she does them too. She does them with a very different she does them to go for the flow of things to to be able to go shopping alone. Like one day I wake up. Literally, this is this is so funny. This is one of my favorite stories of Lauren. One day I wake up and I’m like, going into the shower. She goes hey, great. Yeah, you know, I’m thinking about booking a trip to London. I go, Oh, no, no, that’s not what she said. She wakes up, I wake up, I go, hey, go to the shower. She goes great. Hey, I think I want to go shopping this weekend. Like just no agenda shopping. I said, Okay, come out of the shower. She goes booked it. I go booked watch. She goes booked a ticket to London. I go, you booked a ticket to London for this weekend? Are you going with anyone? It’s like, No, just me. And, and and she and I don’t know if she got that from me. I mean, you know, she I was doing those solar treats first. And she’s like, and she was supposed to do on now in the summertime, but of course the pandemic happened. But she loved it. She loved it. And I love that she did. And we can be supportive of one another doing those kinds of things. And we get to come back to one another, stronger and more connected to ourselves, which allows for a really powerful, interdependent relationship.

Tim Kubiak 12:42
That’s amazing. And I have to ask, What was she shopping for in London?

Michael Ian Cedar 12:47
You know, so many people, that’s generally people’s first question is like, Oh, she must be looking for, you know, beautiful, you know, things that we can import here. I don’t think any she brought back a lot of stuff. I don’t think anything she brought back was over 20 US dollars. She just likes the experience of going to stores that are not here and touching the merchandise and trying it on if it’s clothing, or I say she even brought back more tchotchkes than anything. I mean, we are very big team. So you’re with bow ties. Here’s my cup of tea right here. I even have a thermos of tea over here. I have a hole in my office here. in Midtown. I just had a client come over. And what we do is we make really nice imported teas and sit there and have tea together and talk about these massive business moves to make right and and so London’s known for their tea, right and so she won’t stop buying tea. Um, but she brought back a lot of tea. So I’d say if anything, she brought back a massive amount of English tea.

Tim Kubiak 13:54
You know what, that’s never a bad thing. I’ll drink tea. I’m primarily a coffee guy, but good English tea. Get you a long way in life? Absolutely.

Michael Ian Cedar 14:02
Absolutely. just fun. No, you know what I like about tea. It’s cozy and right my style even my coaching styles. It’s cozy, right? Again, couches and tea. And you know, and it’s in Midtown, New York on 42nd. And fifth you people come in and go oh, not what I was expecting a look wise. It’s like a living room here. Almost.

Tim Kubiak 14:22
That in on 42nd. And fifth, that is a different luck, right? Because

Michael Ian Cedar 14:27
it creates this dichotomy, right? Yeah, it’s these two worlds in one and so and the reason I did that intention because I don’t have to have an office for coaching. Right? Like, I don’t, I might be the only coach in my circle. I know. That has a separate city office space. I know there’s others that have it. But I don’t know many people have it. But it was a choice that I decided to make because I was like, I it’s important that I get people out of their environment. Going back to this idea of these solo treats right? Going to nothing I’ve got In order for me to grow, I’ve got to do something I’m not used to doing. And so people coming into this environment that is 50% office and 50% living room automatically pulls people out of their their norms, because I’m coaching high performing seven figure in high six earners, executives. And so they’re generally used to a different environment. And here I am wearing my, you know, Puma sneakers, and they’re coming in and their company setting them in and like, wearing suit and ties, like, Hey, welcome, man. So automatically, I’m creating this dichotomy for them where there’s just enough comfort and just enough, okay, this is not what I’m used to, but, you know, works for

Tim Kubiak 15:45
their energy differently. Right?

Michael Ian Cedar 15:46
It? It’s, well, yeah, it changes the focus, which changes the energy, which changes the attitude, which changes the openness, right? It’s like all things, all things thrown off, you know, it’s like, equilibrium gets thrown off. And, and I believe that discomfort creates growth and pain creates change. And my promise to my clients is from day number one is no one will make you more uncomfortable than me. But I will never push you to a point of pain. And so I just create, you know, my goal is to create just enough discomfort in the coaching, not necessarily the space, like I’m not having them set like, you know, on a wooden uncomfortable chair. Just enough dichotomy, just enough duality, just enough, I’ve not prodded in this area, that’s like, oh, that hurts. I’m like, Okay, well, let’s go down that road, then. But I will not put them to a place, right? I don’t, I’m not a therapist. I’m not here to develop those healing, you know, old past wounds, right. Therapy is about the past, and healing and coaching is about, I’m here, I want to get somewhere else in the future. I’m just like, Hey, where are we right now? How are we going to get to the future. And, and, and we got to figure out where the discomfort is, in order to move faster.

Tim Kubiak 16:59
So part of what you do is really help people understand how their identities wrapped up in their jobs. Is that a fair statement?

Michael Ian Cedar 17:05
Oh, yeah, that is such a big part of of my work, is, you know, again, here in so I, I grew up in New Jersey, which is basically a foreign suburb of New York. But growing up that close to the city and spending, basically, from my 20s, from, from being 20 years old, up in New York City or traveling on a bus. It’s a very career centric world here. Right. And, and I’ve spent a lot of time in the, in the, in other parts of the country, I mean, I’ve actually worked in 49 of the 50 states. Interesting fact, I just have to work in Hawaii to say I’ve worked in all 50 states. And, and, and I, you know, I was a little blinded by not all parts of our culture are as career driven, as the area I grew up in, right. And that’s not good nor bad, like, hey, rock on, if anything is a little bit on the bad side, like being career driven. And so I’m so used to And generally, obviously, if you’re a high performer, you’ve put a lot of stock and energy and investment into your career and, you know, probably made some sacrifices or compromises in your life, possibly, I’m not saying that’s a definite. And so what I find a lot is, is, and I’m finding this a lot now during the pandemic, right. And so this is during the time of COVID-19, in 2020. And a lot of people lost their jobs, a lot of super powerful people lost their jobs, because they just don’t exist, their industries don’t exist, if they didn’t lose their job. The job doesn’t have the same meaning and depth that it has, at least right now. Right. And, and there’s some industries that might just never come back the same way. Again, I my background is entertainment. As I said, high end, Ettore entertainment, it’s an industry I just don’t know if it’ll ever rebound the same way. Point is, is I’ve just encountered so many people in my personal life, and of course, my professional life who go, well, who am I without my job? And and it’s just really a super sensitive topic right now. Because a lot of people are going well, who am I? How do I add value? When I’m not doing what I do? And and so what a neat question to go when I’m not coaching Who am I? When you’re not doing a podcast? Who am I? When I’m not in your sales coach, right? And so and I’m not coaching sales, if I can’t coach sales, where’s my value, right? If I can’t be a general manager for the world’s largest Broadway show, what power do I have? Do I have power right when I am not You know, doing whatever that is, and I’m so and I dealt with it by the way. I mean, I was I mean the reason I can code right you spot it you got it right it’s very a kind of term right? You spot it. You got it, man. I think what? You know, I don’t I can’t say I’m a good coach or not right. I guess that’s to the people who get the coaching. But I’d like to think I’m a pretty dialed in coach I felt dialed in. And I think the reason I can dial in really quickly is because I used to work 20 little when I’m saying these numbers, these are not false numbers. average of 20 hours a day, seven days a week then at 60 for at least days out of the year. I probably took a day off somewhere would go to the bed go to the bathroom with a you know the portable cell phone portable for an iPhone with the long antennas on it having fun, like I would feel guilty not doing work, you know, and, and then and then like, man, if the if my work was on the line, I would panic because who am I without it? So man, if if anyone can talk to it, it’s man, I was there and I ruined my health. I ruined my relationships. I ruined a first marriage. I ruined our I mean, just name it. I screwed it up. I mean, take the worst metal song you have. That’s probably what I was like, you know, that was me inside.

Yeah. country western. It

was so bad. country western rock metal. Yeah, there is. Yeah, it was bad fusion. And then when expire then the you know, and it was like made in somebody’s garage, pre Steve Jobs, Apple computers. And so. So I empathize really, really deeply with people identify with their who put their value and worth in what they do. Right. And then there’s some people who go, who am I don’t make a million dollars this year. And I mean, man, how many stories? Oh, man, there’s a great story and I can’t think of it’ll swing back around with it. And it comes into my mind. But there’s a lot of stories of people coming in second in their industries. super high craft super high, half a million, I’m sorry, half a billion dollars revenue. And they commit suicide because they weren’t number one. I mean, the amount of stories that are told like that that are real. Not fables, are saddening, you know, and, and, and so I my goal in life is to get to people sooner and faster. And I want to be a look, I love business. I love being high performer. I love achievement. I love all of it. But But I but I, I wanted to tie my value as a human into that. And that broke. And so you want to use so that So anyways, I hope I answered your question on that is my point.

Tim Kubiak 22:48
You did.

So let’s talk about the journey you see with your clients a little bit, right? Yeah. So you’ve been there? I’ve been I’ve been the train wreck, right? tanked like a rock star myself. How do people come from that place where they are their careers? to finding out maybe who they really are beyond that?

Michael Ian Cedar 23:09
Yeah, I’m going to be I’m going to be super academic with this answer, right? Because there’s my Wow, this is a hard one to put into words. And then there’s the, you know, man, I can’t sit in front of a high performing executive and just talk about like, okay, what’s your, what’s your life’s purpose? Right. And so I’ve come to the table of some tangibility. So I’m going to go super academic on this. And, and I just, there’s been yet a time where this model did not create a massive move of the, the needle for them. And so I go from the standpoint of I go, hey, let’s and i and i don’t naturally do this with everyone, right? It depends what individuals are coming to me for but if someone’s coming to me, and they’re just like, lost my job, really having dark thoughts right now or, or about to lose my job, and I don’t, I just don’t think I have what it takes to get it you know, to get back in good standing or whatever it is, if people’s values are attached as their their worth is the touching to something else. And even if they’re not in scared fear of losing something, people who are workaholics I tell this story, and then I’m gonna come back to it. So one of my favorite moments in coaching history in my life, is I had a super great human being come to me or was assigned to me Actually, they were assigned to me by their HR department. They were working around the clock, you know, there if I mentioned the product name, you would know what it is, you know, they’re they’re super high and provider for that brand. And the very first meeting the chemistry meeting, right, the chemistry meetings, it just be like hey, we’re pairing you just make sure that you guys are good that and I just remember we were over video and he looks down at his starts by looking down at the table. Look, body language is slumped in. And he just said, Hi, my name is blank. And this is my job here. It was like I know who you are, I know your job is their most of the world knows your job as well, and who you are, and is not thinking that and he just goes first thing out of his mouth after saying his name and title, right, but immediately, stock is and this is me, this is my job. He looks up at the camera. And he goes, I dropped my 10 year old daughter off at school today. And I drove away. And I realized, I have no idea what color dress she was wearing. Can you help me? Wow, yeah, right. Super, super. Wow. And I mean, I got the chills, and I don’t have children. So I don’t know what that would be like, but I I just said, yeah. Yeah, I’ve been there. I can help. You know, maybe I don’t have the daughter. But I remember not knowing if I talked to my mom that day, you know, so?


let’s do this. Yeah. And he’s like, yeah, I’m like, great. Right. And, and so they’re stories like that, that. I mean, how many of us have that where we forget what it’s like to be present with the people we love, you know, and talk about gratitude, right? The gratitude, being grateful, being grateful, grateful, being grateful, grateful for what you do have now, because as COVID has definitely taught us, you can lose a lot real fast, you know? And I believe there’s only I’m going to answer your question, by the way, Oh, good. We’re coming for coming full circle, right, there’s only one thing we can control. And that’s it. And man, one of my favorite books is Ishmael by Dennis Quinn. But the theme of the book is basically, the only thing you can control control is an illusion, the only thing you can control is your response to everything happening. You could lose your job, you can lose a limb, you could lose a loved one, you could lose a spouse a partner, I love her right? And I can’t control that, you know, I can only control how I show up in that moment. And so let’s go back to your question. Or let’s go back to that academic thing that I do. And people are wrapped up in their jobs so much that they let’s use that analogy, don’t know the color of their daughter’s dress. Right? And they want to be a good dad or a good mom, right? Or good family member, whatever. And so one of the first things I do is go play let’s, let’s talk about what you do. Okay, well, who are you? What do you do? And people generally go out? I’m a designer, I’m an actor, I’m a Broadway star, whatever, you know, and I’ll go, Okay, so what vehicles do you have in your life? How do you deliver yourself? How do you show up and I’ll give the example. So vehicles in my life in the past and current, we’re bringing a full circle Bar Mitzvah and wedding emcee that was a vehicle. Being a company manager for Broadway bus and truck tours. That’s how I worked in 49 of the 50. States. Coach, right, but then I’m also a husband. That’s how I deliver my self that is a vehicle being a husband’s a vehicle, I am here as a vehicle to serve our relationship. Being a son.

Mm hmm.

Right. These are ways I these are titles, they’re labels. That’s all they are. Take away the word husband, what am I to my wife, right? How do you like total? That’s why I said there’s some intangible parts here. But if we actually take the word husband away, who am I to my wife? That’s the first time I’ve actually said it like that. That’s pretty badass. If you ask me,

Tim Kubiak 28:56
that’s pretty good.

Michael Ian Cedar 28:57
Who am I to my wife? If we don’t call me a husband? Right? What a neat, right? Oh, crap. Taking Who am I without the ring on but my ring back on? All right. So. So those are vehicles and so people challenge while I’m up. I, you know, you know, and that’s, for a lot of people that’s hard to do is to come up with the vehicles is like, well, well, being a being a you know, volunteer for the first day. That’s not a vehicle that’s a purpose, not dude. That’s a way you show up in physical form. in physical form it you have to show up as a vehicle in physical form, and we are in human form, okay. I don’t care what your background is in anyone’s background as a faith we are in physical form if we’re talking, you know, and if we’re not, please tell me because I need to learn from you a lot. So those are vehicles and after we go over the vehicles, I then go great. What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about working. I’m passionate about money. I’m passionate about, you know, being top of my industry being number one, right? And so I hear a lot of that kind of stuff. Okay? I’m not going to take that away from them. Okay, what else are we passionate about? Right? I’m passionate about my family I’m passionate about. And so we just ask them these questions not for any other purpose other than going separating. All right, your passion is not your vehicle. So for me, right, we talked about it, my passions, tea, I don’t make money off of tea, I incorporate it in a way I make money. But I’m also passionate about the TV show westwing I don’t even I’m not even a big political guy I could talk about I’ve got the whole series right here on DVD, I don’t even own a DVD player anymore. But I don’t make any money off of West Wing never will probably if I do cool, that was a neat path. But I’m passionate about or I’m passionate about women’s rights. I’m very passionate. And it doesn’t mean I’m not I don’t care about other rights. But I’m very passionate for different reasons in my upbringing, about women’s rights, right, the charity I donate to is called cheese. The first it gets girls in first world country, a third world countries excuse me to be the first in their entire lineage to be the first ever to go to high school by either supplying the funds to get them out of the country so they can learn or to build a school in their country. Right. And so I’m saying that not to be like, Oh, how altruistic but I’m saying it, I’m super passionate about it, that I find vehicles that I could, that I could use it in. But I don’t always make money or show up when the vehicles here and I guess you could say, the vehicle of being a tea drinker, but you know it, but that is a vehicle I guess, to share tea, you know, hey, how do I how do I show up, I serve tea. So when I have, then all of a sudden, there’s this difference of Okay, what I’m passionate about is not necessarily my job. And what a lot of people learn already at this point is. And I’m just using the acting world as an example, because it’s a perfect example, Oh, you know what? I was passionate about theater. And I turned it into a job. And that’s why I’m not happy anymore. So already a lot of people start going, Oh, I was passionate about making video games now. Oh, wait a second. And now it’s a vehicle. I just liked it when it was a passion. And so already there’s that separation, right? So now we’re starting to sort of move the fascia away from the muscle and the skins right. You know, if we want to go medical terms, so we go passion, and then after passionate ago, I literally say what do you value? What’s important to you and no more than one word at a time, right? And some people like I value carry integrity, okay? I value contact communication, okay, I value trust, I value this. And it’s amazing when people go, have you ever worked for someone that doesn’t value trust? And they’re like, Oh, yeah, like, so not everyone shares your same values here. And then I’ll pull out a list of values as well. And that doesn’t even need to come from the list. And I’ll go, let’s just list them all the things that are super important to you, right? accomplishment is important is a value to me, right? It’s not how I define myself, but it completely now but I used to, but accomplishment is important to me. I want to know at the end of the day, I actually moved the needle that’s important to me, there’s some people could care less about accomplishment, it’s not a value to them. Maybe the value to them is flow right now. Just moving with the flow

of life. Okay, great. Thank

God, there’s multiple people, multiple values, and right and so now people start to go Okay, there’s things that are important to me. And they’re like, I’m it was important to me that I create the next cell phone. No, that’s not a value that’s a vehicle cell phone creators of vehicle. But if we go and we look at the value, the value Why is you want to create a cell phone. Well, I want to be famous, okay, so famous value to you. Okay, sure. I’m not gonna take that away from you. Don’t think it’s a healthy value, but let’s go there, you know. And now we have the banners and now I say, Okay, ready? I’ll say let’s take your Now let’s talk about life’s purpose. And, and just for the sake of simplifying my take on humanity, as human beings, is we all have a life’s purpose. All right, let’s just go with that. There’s other cultures will be like, that’s stupid to talk about whatever. But let’s just go with let’s assume we all have a life’s purpose. Now, a lot of people get tied up and they’ll say, you know, what’s your What do you think your life’s purpose is before we go into the, you know, academic part of the exercise more, and they’ll say, to get right, the next cell phone. Now that’s not a life’s purpose. That’s a vehicle. Well to be a good dad or a mom. And I’ll be like, Nope, that’s a vehicle of a life’s purpose. Well to raise my children. Well, Nope, still still a vehicle, right? You know? And so I got, like, I don’t know. And so then mosey I’ll say, look at that list of values that you listed, and write the ones you would die for. Right? The ones that are non negotiable that if anyone in your life were to breach that value, that relationship would be severely damaged and and the way you know it, and so people start gone. Oh, so like, for me, I say now, and we were going to shift words over time in our lives as we find better words or phrases. This is the academic model, right? We’re, ideally, we’re not designed to know our life’s purpose. But if we can at least know what truenorth is, that’s pretty important. And man, do I do you know, the my bow ties get set on fire, when I realized like, our education system from kindergarten is not teaching this kind of stuff. And I really do want to get into the education system. Because it failed me, the education system did fail me. And that could be a different topic. But so values are one of those non negotiables. And people go like, well, I don’t know freedom, which is mine. Right? And and I don’t mean freedom, like America, freedom, the flag. I mean, if the government said, Michael, stop coaching, because you’re teaching people how to be too autonomous, if you keep coaching that we will kill you, I’ll be like, I better get my workout faster, because they’re going to kill me. Right? So I asked the question for you, Tim, what value what non negotiable in your life? Would you die for? beening? If If, if someone said that I had to go without that, I’d be like, kill it. Call it. call it a day.

Tim Kubiak 36:51
Yeah. And for me, it is the ability to allow people to be unique. Mm

Michael Ian Cedar 36:56
hmm. Which, which is very similar freedom. But you know, by no, by no coincidence. Are we on this podcast together? Are you a coach? Am I a coach? Right? And so there’s a similar theme there and so right what would what do you want it? Let’s give that a word. Let’s give that a word right here. What is that? Is that is that autonomy? Is that unique? individuality? individuality? Right? So I imagine then other things fall like equality, right. And, and all that kind of stuff. And, you know, then there’s, you know, right now gender equality movements, really, they’re, well, that’s individuality. Right? They’re like, Hey, I don’t get the It’s not that I don’t get it. Right. She he they I don’t wait, what do you identify as I am? So gonna show up for you the way you want me to identify you? Because that’s your unique individuality. Okay, right. Right. Rock on. So, so that’s a life’s purpose. And so for, I’d imagine them for you. For me, we’re very similar. Maybe there’s a nuance in the difference of individuality versus, which makes sense for individuality with the bow ties, right and stuff, right? Like, there it is.

Tim Kubiak 38:00
I’m too old for leather pants. Well, if

Michael Ian Cedar 38:04
you want to wear the leather pants, damn rock, the rather wet leather pants. But so the reason this is important, because here, let’s bring this full circle all the way around, is I. For me, if I’m having dinner with Lauren, my wife, or I’m out with a friend, like I was last night with social distance dinner outdoors, and literally the middle of the street of New York, all cars are ruined by interesting times. Or if I’m on a podcast like this, or if I’m talking to a potential new employee, I am going to show up in all of my vehicles, with this theme of uninhibited freedom to be self and I have died for the cause I have left in my early career, I have left jobs that challenged my non negotiables because incongruency is exhausting. And what you risk reveals what you value right? And I would leave a job even though that might have meant having to foreclose on my home, right? Yep. And and a lot of people don’t have the vocabulary yet of the North Star what’s most important to them? And so they’re living in these not always right but a lot of people live in these incongruent environments where the company they work for is dumping you know, chemicals into the ocean, but they’re but their life’s purpose. Is, is equilibrium, right? restoring balance now and so now we go to bed at night and we get depressed right? The opposite I just learned this the other day. The opposite of what’s the opposite of play?

Tim Kubiak 39:52
I would say work

Michael Ian Cedar 39:53
no. When did we right so when did we as a culture say work should be work and play should be played? The opposite plays depression.


Like, like, I

tried pushing back on that hard. And no matter how hard I push back on it, I’m like, that’s, I can’t come up with another answer. Right? And because we’ve, we’ve decided to talk about labels, who am I, as a husband, if I take away the word husband, take away the work, take away the put it where when did work, become work and play become play, right. And that’s a cultural thing. It is, that’s a total cultural thing. And, and so now to just tie this up in a pretty bow tie, they go, I go, I don’t care what you wait tables, you be a hobo, you serve. You know, you know, be a gardener, that that life’s purpose, that thing you’ll die for, apply to anything you do. And all the sudden this this idea of, I’m not my job. I’m my purpose. I’m my North Star. I’m that. Right? And that’s why I say super hard to talk about this topic unless we sort of go through the academic model of it a little bit, because the life’s purpose is just who I am. And I do. Look, Carl Jung believes you’re born with an innate set of preferences in life. I don’t know if you teach Myers Briggs, not much, not much. Right? And so Myers Briggs is based off of the work of Carl Gustaf Gustave Carl Gustaf young, and a Carl Gustaf young. And, and he said you are is the area’s you were born with your left hander your eye and your left, you’re born with certain attributes. But let’s not label ourselves with them, because we can flex. But if we really look at it, like, you look at kids,

Tim Kubiak 41:54
you have kids, right? I do two young adult daughters, 20 and 26.

Unknown Speaker 41:59
But how 26 a month

Unknown Speaker 42:01
21 and 21.

Michael Ian Cedar 42:02
I put you a bet again, I don’t have Lauren and I decided to have a child free life. But I put you a bet there. What’s important to them now showed up probably when they were five or six years old. Absolutely. So if we go with that idea, if we do even if it’s wrong, even if what I’m saying is wrong, at least it’s a direction, right? If we really have this purpose, and the purpose isn’t to make the next cell phone, right, the purpose is to help people with individuality, to help people with, you know, being themselves to help people solve problems so that they can show up as their genius. Where are we forget this, we’re packed animals. We’re social species, we’re here to make the next person better. We’re here to make the next version better. You’re here, I have got I hope your daughters are better than you. Right. And I hope their daughters and sons are better than them. Right? Because that’s what we’re designed to do. It’s how we got here and being able to talk in a microphone is because someone was a better version of the version before them, and they created this technology. So we can now be better versions of us. And so this idea of what if I’m here to serve through my purpose, and if you don’t believe in that, then I’m the wrong guy, right for you. And that’s okay, because that’s not my vehicle, you know. And so it’s really fun during COVID fun might be the wrong word, rewarding during COVID, where people’s identities have been really dark and literally, emotionally dark, and then literally dark and have groups of people because I run this course called through the gratitude of them called life on your terms. And that sounds super selfish. But when you actually look at it, it goes, how do you serve your How do you figure out? Let me rephrase it. You don’t create yourself in life, you uncrate yourself. As we get older, we remove who we’re not. So life on your terms is about, Hey, who am I not? Oh, wow. I’m here for individualism. I can show up as a stranger to somebody in a restaurant, and live my life’s purpose. Money is just an energy. That’s it money’s and energy. And the reason I charge for coaching because I would do it for free, 24 hours a day, is you give me your energy, I’ll give you mine. And so even people like I have some coaches who write in corporate world, it’s most a lot of individuals wouldn’t be able wouldn’t want to pay the money for the coaching. But there are some people who I go, you are very desirous to fight live your life’s purpose and to feel congruency in your life. Hey, let’s do let’s do 25 and I rarely do this but let’s do 25 bucks a session because in their life that $25 is comparable to the amount of money that corporate Executive would pay me. And so to me, All I care about is energy for energy. Boom.

Tim Kubiak 45:06
You talk about that. You in your new program, you’ve made the price point. So just about anybody who wants to be part of it can be part of it. So you might talk a little more.

Michael Ian Cedar 45:15
Yeah, I’ll rewind the tape on that. And I’ll go to the first time we ever did it. Number one life on your terms, gratitude Slim’s been around for I’d have to look probably eight years now started on Periscope and Periscope got crushed by Facebook. So then I moved it over to Facebook and, and who knows where it’ll go next. That’s just where it gets host right now. And so life on your terms came about, I’ve always wanted to do something like it. And I was like, I’ll do that three to five years from now. But what happened is, as COVID happened, I had super what I would deem super successful friends come to me and say, I think I need to hire you. Because I come from in entertainment. I don’t know what to do next. And I don’t know if when the world wakes back up the same financial compensation will be there on the other side that I’m making now. And I had so many people come to me with this question that I said he loved me was so talk about throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. I just said, Hey, I don’t have enough availability to coach you are all the people coming. So he said, I’m doing this program. And that’s real life on your terms came from was to say, Hey, I, you know, let’s go through the path of what’s life’s purpose? What limiting beliefs Do I have right now about my vehicles about my identity, you know. And so that’s where I came from. And the first time we did it, because I had so many friends and entertainment, some super financially successful and others who were, you know, working their way up and paycheck to paycheck. So we just said, I don’t know, let’s do pay what you can. And, and I said, ticket price, I think it was 200 bucks. Pay what you can, and we had, I’m gonna round it up, let’s say it was 40 people, it was 40 people on the first one, I think six people paid under $10. And the rest paid was set. Now, I don’t know if it was just because of the first time and the rest paid what was comparable to where they were in their life. I mean, I I had probably a quarter people pay the full price, I’d say maybe half paid half of full price and like 100 bucks, and then a variation. And so I was like, that’s cool. And super cool. What a neat little unexpected social experiment. Now I’m now in these new cohorts, we still have now we’ve just teared up. So we want to make it possible we have a low $40 we call it COVID relief experience. And we made 10 tickets for that. And if we need to, we’ll expand it. But you know, we just say hey, there’s 10 tickets available. If you really want this for yourself, please take it which comes out to $10 a session which pretty banging If you ask me, right? And and then we have $100 ticket and we have a $200 ticket and they everyone gets the same service, right? Just the $200 ticket. I now say hey, if you want to do that, you’ll get extra email coaching with me in between the sessions, you know, just to make their that the energy has something but everyone gets the same education. And everyone knows that there’s price points and tears. Pan if you want to do this, it’s on you. It’s that’s your character. If you pay $40 and you are you on a and you know that $200 would be nothing for you. Hey, and I hope by the end, if that’s the case, you go I can this actually happened to him. This actually happened. Someone was halfway through the course and said, Can I pay you more money, I underpaid. And I actually said, That’s super sweet. Whatever experience you had that had you learn that I’d much rather you take that energy, that money that you’re willing to pay me to split the difference and buy a ticket for somebody else. So that you pay it forward.

Tim Kubiak 49:28
That’s amazing on both fronts, right? If they had the recognition, and you saw the value offered to somebody else,

Michael Ian Cedar 49:36
because that’s all I care about. That’s why I say energy for energy pay me $1 if that’s if that’s a lot of money for you at the time, then it’s $1. Right. And so, um, you know, so we decided let’s just simplify this, those three prices there, but you know, and then we have other levels that people can take if they want to take in those we don’t really have a price point on but at that point, if I haven’t demonstrated that, I can add more value to Their life in for 90 minutes sessions, then I’ve not done my job, you know, and, and that’s how I look at it is, is, you know what life’s purpose, if I can leave the world a little bit better health, if I could leave the world a shit ton better than the way I came into it then then great and if that means some people paid me $1 some people paid me $1 as long as they take it, and they do something with it. And I mean, right now the program is fairly new. And I’m not here to talk about the program itself. But it’s this idea of I, I can truly say I’ve never seen I’ve never moved so much distance in such a short period of time. And so I’m super proud of how the participants of the program decided to show up for themselves and take the work. And man I just yeah, how can I How can I I don’t care what I do in elementary school, corporate, you know, home keeper, you know, whatever it is, as long as people can lean into their life’s purpose or understand that there’s a North Star and apply not tie themselves up and not take life so effing seriously, man. And I do it still to this day two, I take things seriously. And when I take things seriously, I’ve given Lauren full permission to go get over yourself. Actually, I didn’t give her the permission. She says it on her own. But I gave her validation that she can continue doing that when I fall there.

Tim Kubiak 51:27
So when you do your retreats, what have you taken from them and worked into your coaching into the into your life on your terms program? Was there any aha moments?

Michael Ian Cedar 51:43
Yeah, I’m gonna go with gotten the answer to things. I and I’m gonna preface one. The reason I do the work I do is because Can I get to a dark place? Can I get sad? Can I get super down and not have any? Any idea why I’m there? Right. Right. I mean, I and I think I think a lot of really good coaches, Coach because they know that feeling to, you know, talking about the metal music makes me feel alive. Right. And, and just, and so I need to preface what I’m about to say with that. So number one is I’d say all their trades taught me one thing. I like to move at a very fast speed. I’d say right now, if we were to have recorded this podcast five years ago, my speed would have been easily doubled, possibly tripled. In the way I speak. This, to me is still uncomfortable talking at this speed. Because it’s not the cadence. I spent the first 40 years 35 years whatever of my life in. So I this takes a lot of conscious energy. And I’d like to think it doesn’t sound slow to you, does it? No, no. But to me, this is super slow. To me this is it’s like double. And I’m not a biggest president. I’m a teacher here, right. But the one time I had a suppression of the world couldn’t move fast enough for me, like me speaking like this, I just might inside just wants to be like, hurry up, just get the point out. But I’ve so so the aha moment of doing the trips was Dude, don’t go any faster than your guardian angel and fly slow the EFF down you will accomplish more by slowing down than trying to speed up. And so I I am speaking at this speed. Now even though it’s out of my natural, it’s more comfortable for me now. Right? Right Way more comfortable. But but the voice in my head is like, dude, you’re not speaking fast enough. Like this would be the speed that I’m probably normally would have spoken at five years ago, I would have been totally here talking like this, and and still totally in my zone. But I’d be moving a little faster than that than the nature allows me to write. And so I would make a lot of mistakes and I wouldn’t be present. I would be thinking about what I’m going to say next. And what’s super fun about talking to you, Tim as a coach is I feel like we’re totally present. You know, during this Yeah. Okay, I’m doing most of the talking but, but I think you’re asking me the question. So Ah, so um, number one was slow down, man. Slow down everyone like we don’t we accomplish more. The slower we go. It’s, it’s, I can’t explain it. I can say I’m doing more work in my life. This is gonna sound like a total conundrum. I’m probably doing accomplishing more in my life in a given day now than I was 10 years ago in a year. And yet I still have more free time, and more bandwidth and margin than I’ve ever had before. And all of that started when I started doing my solo retreats and slowing down. It’s a total conundrum. If I say it to someone who’s a workaholic, they’ll never believe it. Until until they either want the change, or they crash and burn I. And maybe there’s someone in between that doesn’t hear that message, who gets it, or does hear the message that gets it. But I think you either need to have enough pain in your life that you want to hear it, or you have had to crash and burn, which is more pain. I just don’t know how to, you know, I’m not here to teach people who are the workaholic. I’m here to teach people who are the workaholic. And they felt the pain and they want to stop. I’m not here to point out because who am I to say that they’re wrong? Maybe that’s not works for them. So that’s the first thing I got out of it. And the second thing I got out of it was on that January cruise. Because it was the first time I did the retreat in an isolated environment, where I didn’t even have cell service. And what I learned was, because I made a challenge to myself, I’m not gonna think about work until halfway through which I’ve always done. But I’m truly just gonna go see the shows, go eat the food. As I’m eating the food, I’m going to taste it. So it was just a new challenge. The challenge was actually the challenge was to be present. Yeah. And I experienced something that it sounds like I’m exaggerating when I say I’ve never experienced it before. I don’t remember a time ever experiencing it. There was a time I remember the exact moment where I was just walking through the halls.

I felt something I’m experiencing and now reliving it. This is fun. It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced it again. So thank you for giving me that platform, or that opportunity in that space. I started to well up my I start to well up and I realized I’m happy. Yeah, that’s

Tim Kubiak 57:18
Yeah, you have to give yourself the space.

Unknown Speaker 57:20

Michael Ian Cedar 57:22
You can’t feel happiness in the future. And you can’t feel happiness in the past. And I had to get on an airplane and get on a cruise. And say my challenge to myself is just to feel the wind for a week and to taste the mediocre buffet food for a week, you know, and right. And just to that was it. I said my purpose right now how can I teach it if I can’t be present? And I had several moments during the cruise where I was like, I feel happy. And, and, and man and since then. And that was just January, by the way. Right? Right. And and since then, I can emulate that. Even when I’m sad, I can emulate it. Because I sit in the present. I feel the sadness. And out of the sadness, the clouds clear. And if I’m just present with the sadness, and not try to move past it faster, whatever. Yeah, that’s that. This was super fun.

Tim Kubiak 58:27
This was fun. So last question. What did I ask you that I should have?

Michael Ian Cedar 58:34
You ask some great questions. What did you ask me that you should have? Sit on this one for one second. I know this sounds crazy. And I’m in reverse engineering. Because we went through this really fun little rabbit hole. My question because you know what it comes back to this is me not deflecting. This is me living in alignment with who I am. My question for you is what do you need now?

Tim Kubiak 59:24
You know, I went on the journey myself. Yeah, I made the joke earlier about tanking like a rock star, right. I took a job. Did 10 years of work and 16 months, burnout gave up everything right? And ironically, the metal head does meditation and yoga. And my yoga practice is actually five years old. Five years in two days ago, my meditation practice is about two years old. Right? And the truth is, is when I looked at what I was doing, right and that individuality Yeah. I will I will use academic term as well. I grew up with an outsider’s view, right? I was the kid whose dad had a college degree and had a white collar job when all the steel mills were shutting down in Pittsburgh, PA. Right. My parents took the trip to New York every year to go to the theater. Right? I grew up going to the touring productions to the symphony, and then going to college football game. So I had a very bizarre I thought everybody went to Shakespeare Festival fall. Right? I just thought that was normal. So I always had an outsider’s view. And so part of what drove me to do what I’m doing today was I looked at people and when you say sales coach, everybody thinks glad handing type A overachievers super driven. And I look, I’m analytical. I’m not, I’m not an introvert. But to use musician terms, I was the lead guitarist, I never wanted to be the lead singer, right. I wanted to be able to hide behind six strings and some noise. kind of guy and I was I’m a good number two guy in a corporate environment. I am not a good number one guy, because I’m not that character. And I looked at it. And I said, there’s a lot of sales people in the world that aren’t being successful, and a lot of business people in the world that aren’t being successful, because they’re trying to force themselves into a mold. So when you talk about what I need, what I need is, I find joy, right? And I have those dark spaces to I find joy when I find that person that has all the talent and has all the ability in the world and just doesn’t know it. And that’s what feeds me.

Michael Ian Cedar 1:01:31
Well, that’s like write Yoda to Luke Skywalker. You like to be Yoda. Yeah, I love being I’m not even a Star Wars guy. But I love the idea of, I don’t want to be that here. And I’m using such right I got to give credit where credit’s due. I learned that analogy from Donald Miller, who wrote the book story brand, I believe it’s called. But he says, like, you know, our jobs is, you know, for basically, but but but for me, it’s it’s not what he says, Now, it’s me interpreting his work. But it’s like, I don’t want to be the hero, I want to be Yoda. And I, and now Now, I want to be Yoda to as many people as I can. Because I want to make a lot of Luke Skywalkers. And I’ve always I’ve just been lucky that from an early age, I can say, I just want to help people be extraordinary in their lives. I’ve always known that. And so it sounds like you’re there too, right? You like being the guide for the hero. So I love that. So So you said so the question is, What do you need? So you said you need to be the guide? That’s what you need. That’s what feeds me. Yeah. Well, in a way, not in a way, as the podcast host asking me the questions. You’re being the guide, you’re saying, here’s the question, How do I get this answer out of you, it’s already in you, Luke Skywalker, you know, and and I bring it out. So even though I want to be a guide, you’re giving me the space to be my own hero and talk about, you know, hero for myself. And I get to take them, wrap it back in a bowl and go be a guide for somebody else. You know, but but I love that your need is to be the guide.

Tim Kubiak 1:03:12
Well, thank you. This has been a lot of fun. Thanks for spending the time.

Michael Ian Cedar 1:03:16
Thank you, my friend.

Tim Kubiak 1:03:24
Again, a sincere thank you to Michael, for being here today for sharing his time sharing his positivity with us and really helping us make a difference. It’s amazing what he’s done. Creating programs that allows people at every price point, participate and benefit from as well as free. And I love his faith in humanity on the pay what you can and the story about folks coming back with that. Be sure if you haven’t already done so go check him out on Facebook. In the gratitude slam, you can find him at the legacy of u.com. Of course, all the links are in the show notes. If you’re not a subscriber to our show, please hit subscribe when you favorite podcast service. You can always find me at Tim Kubiak com.

And like always,

right at the top. I’m willing to give anyone an hour of my time for that initial conversation. If you’re having sales or transition or leadership problems. It’s not a pitch call. It really is just a conversation and the more detail you give me when you go in and book it, the better the call will be. And at the end, we figure out whether we should continue to work together. But if not, that’s okay. I’m happy to help you for an hour. So thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you all again next week. Enjoy running your business. Enjoy living your life and thanks for being here.

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