Welcome back to the Destiny Discoverers Interview Series.
These are people that I have personally invited to play because I sense their big heart, open mind, and ability to succeed on their path of Purpose…today we are talking with Cliff Michaels. Cliff brings in a new and grounded perspective with his entrepreneurial vision, and “4 essentials” that help people to become a success in life and business. One of my passions is real estate. That is one of the many reasons I am so pleased to share Cliff’s wisdom with you, because I truly believe being grounded and “real to life” leads to success with ease.
What were the stepping-stones that allowed you to step into your True Purpose/Destiny?
Passion, Purpose, Patience, Practice : Love what you do, give back, and make it meaningful. Do that and you’ll jump out of bed each day saying, “What’s next?” I have a love for learning and a passion for helping others.The secret to any success I’ve had however was combining those abilities with hyper-focus.
I’m dyslexic but was undiagnosed growing up so I never understood why reading and math were difficult. As a home
alone kid with divorced parents, I focused on reading a ton to occupy time (albeit slowly). To compensate for the reading
challenge, I learned to speed read (forcing my eyes to catch keywords), and I wrote a lot of short stories. Writing ignited a
passion for words, creative thinking, and problem solving. As a result, I learned to condense ideas or capture the essence
of written material rather quickly. The core of my book, The 4 Essentials of Entrepreneurial Thinking was built in part on
those early challenges as a kid.
I also dreamed of playing professional soccer, but injuries ended my athletic career before it started. That forced
me to think differently about life and career goals. I had a foundation for practice and teamwork. That served me well.
But as a semi-dyslexic insomniac, I was unemployable in my mind and opted for entrepreneurial pursuits, primarily real
Penniless when I left home at 18, I managed to get through a year at USC as a gopher for real estate mentors. That
enabled me to build strong investor relations at a young age and enabled me to leverage partners to buy properties.
I just kept asking what if, why not, how can I help? Those simple entrepreneurial questions helped me build a powerful business network and a ton of referral business at a young age.
What did you have to let go of in order to truly follow your path?
I always felt like a misfit. I was too naive to know what I couldn’t do so most of the time I just did it. I let go of (or
perhaps never bought into) a popular notion that says innate talent, a degree, socio-economic advantage, or higher
intelligence are proxies for success. I also dropped my ego after many years of trying to do it all on my own. I like to
say “have the humility to know what you don’t know, don’t like, don’t want to do, or don’t have time for. Then you can focus on what you do best, delegate, collaborate, or eliminate the rest.”
I’m also a minimalist. The more I get rid of, the more abundance I attract in my personal and professional life
because there’s less noise and clutter.
Entrepreneurs are more concerned with doing than data. I never had a need for information overload or paralysis by analysis. I believe in learning from everyone and taking immediate action. While many friends were busy writing business plans, I was seeking investment partners, prospecting for deals, and buying real estate with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. I let go of believing you needed cash to start. I learned early in my business career that venture capital doesn’t drive entrepreneurship; entrepreneurial thinking (being of service and hardcore action lead to success and happiness), attracts clients, capital, and revenue. I even negotiated my first office space for free in the luxury Fox Plaza of century city (Nakatomi Plaza from the movie Die Hard). I simply bartered my services in exchange for free rent, phones, and furniture. IT was like a jackpot for a start up in my early 20s.
What did you say yes to?
EVERYTHING & EVERYONE. If you start with no, you have no opportunity. But not every opportunity is good… it may
even be a threat to your central focus. You need balance. Threats (like competitors) can also be great opportunities for
learning or partnerships. So I always start with YES, then analyze whether or not the short or long-term opportunity is
worth the time, money, effort, relationship, or experience.
What were the key actions you took to start creating the destiny you wanted to experience for yourself?
Show up early & work hard. Find your unique ability and leap! My mantra again — Focus on what you do best,
delegate, collaborate then eliminate the rest. But most importantly, care the most and show extreme gratitude.
You can’t take friends or clients for grated. I started writing 5 handwritten thank-you notes per day at 18 and never
stopped. I’ve never advertised. But I’ve build a lifetime referral business of the highest quality. Quantity never matters when you have quality.
I also believe in personal & professional growth going hand in hand. Complacency is the enemy of entrepreneurial
thinking. By the same time, you have to know when to chill out. That humility comes with some experience. The sooner
we surround ourselves with complimentary talent, teams, and values, the sooner we find our niche. Not everyone is
willing to do the work however and that’s where they fall short.
What is one key nugget of wisdom you wish to share from your journey?
Be yourself. Everyone else is taken (that’s my favorite Oscar Wilde quote). Be humble. No you limits and unique ability so
you can FOCUS. But it’s not enough to write goals, follow your passion, or even focus your intention. You can run east
looking for sunsets all day long and never find what you’re after because your sprinting in the wrong direction.
About Destiny Discoverer Cliff Michaels
“When in doubt, go with your gut, follow your heart, but take your brain with you!”
Cliff Michaels is an author, speaker, and social entrepreneur. He’s also a life coach and strategic consultant. His real estate firm, Cliff Michaels & Associates, has closed over $500 million dollars in sales since 1992. Among his achievements, Cliff was the Founder of Knowledge Cafe (1996), an online learning center for personal and business growth. He was also Co-Founder of FirstUse.com (1999), the world’s first online registry for digital-notary services.
In his New York Times Bestseller, The 4 Essentials of Entrepreneurial Thinking, Cliff proposes a paradigm shift in global education and dispels the myth of born entrepreneurs. He then takes readers on an inspirational personal journey to explore entrepreneurial minds from da Vinci & Edison to Jobs, Oprah, Branson, and many others. Critically acclaimed by academic and business leaders worldwide, the book launched #1 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in 2012.
***Michelle L. Casto is The Destiny Diva, Success Catalyst and Prolific Author. Read her latest book upon which the series was created The Destiny Discovery: Find Your Soul’s Path to Success.