Dec. 21, 2022

Moving From Pain to Purpose with Mike Bagel

Moving From Pain to Purpose with Mike Bagel

We've turned the tables for this season finale. This conversation features a special guest feed drop where friend, colleague, and former live guest, Michael Robert Moore, interviews Bagel on "The Significant Entrepreneur" podcast.

Bagel gets vulnerable and discusses his journey from the early days in my professional career, when he experienced immense depression and anxiety, through his years career counseling college students, all the way through today, sharing his journey into entrepreneurship and business advising.

Through Bagel's story, we cover:

  1. What to do when you've arrived and are faced with overwhelming disappointment
  2. How to turn your pain into purpose
  3. The #1 key to self-discovery
  4. Identifying your non-negotiables
  5. Defining personal freedom and fulfillment
  6. Using the "So, what now?" mantra to design your life

You can read the full show notes, transcription, guest bio, and more for this episode at:

Have a comment or suggestion for the show? Leave us a voice message or email us at

Mentioned in this Episode:

  1. The Significant Entrepreneur Podcast
  2. fyt
  3. Live Your Values Podcast
  4. LYV on Facebook
  5. LYV on Instagram
  6. LYV on Twitter

[00:00:00] Bagel: We made it! The 10th and final episode of the second season of Live Your Values. 

First big shoutouts go to all of our amazing guests, Chris, Jen, Lisa, Becca, Kaplan, and Michael for lending their incredible insights and wisdom to us over the course of this season. You can check out all of their episodes plus the four Bagel bites from season two right here in your podcast feed or at

Another huge shout out to Becca for all of her support in getting this season on the airwaves, there's no way it would've gotten done without her. And special thanks to Joel for his creative contributions to our social media efforts for this season. 

We are celebrating not only the close of the season, but the close of the year.

As we ease into the holiday season, I want to call out one of my own core values: connection. While we're all still figuring out what this new normal looks like, as we keep saying, I'm incredibly grateful for the fact that I was able to see several friends and family members in person this year.

Getting the chance to reconnect with the people that matter the most in person was not lost on me and was truly the thing that got me through some pretty difficult challenges this year. So thank you to all of you out there. You know who you are. 

I hope as this year winds down that you're able to take some time to relax, reflect, recharge, and spend time connecting with people you care about. If the last few years have taught us anything, it's to not take those real life moments for granted. Okay, enough of the sappy stuff. 

Let's talk about our season two finale. So this week's episode is a bit unique in that we've turned the tables. This conversation features a special guest feed drop where my friend, colleague, and former lyv guest, Michael Robert Moore, interviews yours truly for another podcast called The Significant Entrepreneur.

In this conversation, I get vulnerable and talk about my journey from the early days in my professional career, when I experienced immense depression and anxiety. Through my years career counseling college students, all the way through today, discussing my journey into entrepreneurship and business advising. Through my story, we cover what to do when you've arrived and are faced with overwhelming disappointment. How to turn your pain into purpose, the number one key to self-discovery, defining personal freedom and fulfillment and using the "So, what now?" mantra. 

Just some quick notes. You'll notice that the target audience for this guest feed episode is entrepreneurs. Don't let that deter you from taking in the core messages here.

You can replace the words entrepreneur or small business owners with simply person or professional, and it will apply in 99% of cases. You'll hear a bit of background noise in this one as it was recorded before our equipment optimization, so apologies for that. I just have to say though, I feel like virtually every conversation with Michael is earth shattering, and this one is no exception. 

So all I can say now is pour your coffee or your favorite beverage and buckle up. This one's gonna be a fun ride.

[00:03:20] Michael Robert Moore: All right, here we go. Welcome to The Significant Entrepreneur Podcast. Uh, today we're doing things a little bit different, so normally Bagel kicks us off here, but I'm gonna kick us off today because we're gonna be hearing more from Bagel. Last episode, you heard about the Significant Entrepreneur concept and my backstory and how that came about and why it was important, and why you should care, and what that means for you and what you're gonna get out of this podcast and all sorts of other things.

But today we're gonna switch gears and we're gonna hear from Bagel himself. And if you don't, haven't heard that nickname yet, Mike Barugel. I can't even say the name because to me you're Bagel, It's like Coffee with Bagel. I've got my coffee here. Now I've got my Bagel. So, we're gonna hear what Bagel has to say today about why the Significant Entrepreneur concept is important to him, little bit about his backstory and how that plays in. And then what you can take away from this on your journey to becoming the significant entrepreneur as well. So Bagel. I'm just gonna shut my mouth, turn it over to you and let you kick it off with sharing a little bit about why the significant entrepreneur concept in itself really resonates and is important to you.

[00:04:38] Bagel: Yeah. Well thank you for that setup and intro, Michael. I feel like the tides are turning today. It's like, generally speaking, you're a little more of the talker. I'm a little bit more of the facilitator. So this is kinda like flipping, flipping things around. So, I, I'll give it, 

[00:04:53] Michael Robert Moore: I don't have a shot collar on, so there's you if I get going, you can't even, I guess you'll have to mute my mic or something. But I'll do my best to keep my mouth shut, so.

That's right. It's all love the 

[00:05:03] Bagel: controls. Yeah. Very nice. Well, I'm excited to share just a little bit of my backstory and kind of talk about why this concept meant so much to me when you brought it to me, Michael, and it kind of aligned with some of the stuff that I was already thinking about and it kind of provided some labels to things and allowed me to realize why I was so determined to kind of keep moving things in the direction that I feel like I'm constantly trying to push myself. So with all that said, I'll just sort of dive in a little bit here and you could keep the bumpers on for me, make sure I, I stay on track here. So a long, long time ago. No, I'm, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna bore our listeners.

Um, I, I think the most appropriate place for me to sort of drop in my backstory is really to talk about when I was graduating college and thinking about my first career, my first job out of school. And I was really lucky enough to have a lot of professional experiences in college. A lot of people who know me that may listen to these episodes know that I had a lot of reinforcement around like going and getting experience, like find something that you wanna do. I studied computer science initially as an undergrad in school at Delaware and just kind of wanted to get experience and learn what it was like to be a working professional.

So I had a, a few summer internships and kind of halfway through college I realized I, I wasn't quite as nerdy I guess as some of the, the computer science kids are just, was probably not as good at coding and all that kind of stuff that was involved as some of my peers. And so I kind of realized I wanted a little bit of a, a business flare to things and so I found information systems was a nice middle ground for me between business and computer science. 

All of that is basically to say when I graduated college, I was really nicely set up with some internship experience to get a job. And I, I took a job in the accounting world, for a big company whose name will remain nameless.

 And I took a job in Philadelphia, which wasn't too far away from where I went to school. And I was essentially, one of the biggest sort of conflicts I had early on was this was, so I'm dating myself here, but it's, it's worth saying the dates because of the time. So 2008 is when I took this job and everybody knows what happened over those next couple of years.

[00:07:22] Bagel: And so the job that I thought I was taking on as an IT consultant to go in and help our clients with whatever sort of IT, you know, strategy and needs that they had very quickly turned into an auditing job. Because that was, those were the types of jobs we were getting as a company. And so within the first six months of working, this first professional job full time right outta school, I found myself doing work that was very unfulfilling for me, work that I didn't feel really qualified to do, to be completely honest.

I was traveling all of the time. If I wasn't traveling locally in the Philadelphia region, I was on trains and planes to other places in the northeast, all the way down to DC. So I was kind of all over the map. I didn't feel supported by my supervisors, which changed based on the project I was on.

But overall it was the same feeling. And I was going through periods of sort of deep depression and anxiety, which I think I had always struggled with growing up, but not to this extent. It all of a sudden became very, very intense feelings, so much that it was like affecting my physical health, like pretty badly.

 And by the way, this is the quick version. So Michael, you'll tell me if I need to go any deeper, but I'm gonna keep it, to the relevant details here. 

[00:08:37] Bagel: And so, about a year into that job, I really struggled. I had also lost another friend of mine, a second friend who was around my age that was close to me that I had lost in a few years.

And I was kind of going through this like really reflective, uncertain time in my life and was really questioning a lot of things. And one of the things that I realized was.. Actually before I say what I realized, the question that I was asking myself was, "is this it." I think I had such a fun experience in college. Not just like partying, but like I was part of a fraternity that was made up of Jewish guys and like took on leadership positions. I was kind of the social organizer. I enjoyed going to school and taking classes and doing well, but I also just loved the people I was around. And we fast forward to this first job outta school where I'm working like crazy, like 60 plus hours a week on, on average.

 Disconnected from my friends because I was traveling so much, not feeling supported. All those things I mentioned. And I literally remember thinking to myself like, This is the rest of my life? Like I'm 22 years old. Like this is what it's gonna feel like to be a working adult. And that's when things just felt like they were coming crashing down because I truly didn't know that things could be any different.

[00:09:58] Bagel: I thought that was the end of fun. I thought like life was over. Like this is just responsible adulthood. And so maybe that's what sort of led to a lot of those feelings of anxiety and depression. And so kind of fast forwarding back to the, okay, well what was the reflection moment?

What did I start to just think about and reflect on? And that was, I had some really good conversations with people, one of which, a guy on a train that maybe I'll talk about in a future episode that was very interesting. But essentially I realized like, no, there are other paths. There are other things I could do.

I don't have to be stuck in this career that I hate and these people that I don't wanna be around and traveling all the time. There are other options and there are other ways to have a living and to live my life. And so luckily, through a mentor I had kept in touch with in college, I sort of pivoted and found my way into becoming a career counselor.

And that required me going back to school to get a graduate degree in counseling and and working in career centers and things like that. But, I mean, I'm still to this day, so thankful for Darrell who is actually here now in the Charlotte area for kind of letting me know, like, Hey, there's this thing I think you'd be good at, right?

And just having that little nudge to this might be a good use of your skills and based on what you like and that sort of thing. So that was my first, valley and then kind of like working my way back up to what I thought I wanted to do next. And I think the biggest lesson out of that was realizing that I wanted to do something where I was truly helping people. And something maybe more directly working with people one on one.

 And then better utilizing my skills, but also my values. And understanding that it was important for me to feel connected to others. It was important for me to feel like I was supporting others, like I could empathize with other people. And truly figure out how to help others maybe navigate those challenges of getting into the career and working world.

[00:11:52] Bagel: Maybe a little bit better than I did, cuz I feel like mine didn't go so well. And so that was kind of my way of, of helping others kind of navigate through that experience. So I'm gonna pause there cuz that's a lot of talking for me before I go into the next piece.

[00:12:08] Michael Robert Moore: Man, that's so powerful in what I'm seeing are so many parallels to, and I know you have an entrepreneurial background as well and I'm sure you're gonna go into some of that.

But, one thing that really stood out to me as you were kind of describing, going from 2008 into this new career that you were probably initially very excited about. And then to get in and be very disappointed. And so you turn into not feeling supported, you feel disconnected and that led to some anxiety and depression or amplification of those things that possibly you experienced before.

But then you ask yourself a question, Is this it? Is this really it? for that question, you found out you don't have to be stuck in a career that you hate. And so let's run the parallel there for a business owner, for an entrepreneur. What we find oftentimes is that your pain turns into your purpose.

And when you take away things, Really the people that you're helping now are probably an earlier version of you. 


and to some degree. And so that's, that's kind of that completing the circle. And why there's so much fulfillment in that is because when you're helping people that are struggling with something that you have or are struggling with, and you're able to see progress in that, there's a healing in that for yourself.

And so from a business owner standpoint, think about, and you know this, we see hundreds and hundreds of clients, right? Every year. And so we see these business owners, these entrepreneurs that come in and they started out with this business that they love, they were really excited about. And then they, as it grows and grows and grows, as we know, the business takes over, you can get strapped to the business.

You can, really feel disconnected because it can be lonely at the top as a leader. You can start to feel like there's not a lot of support there. Like you have to carry all the weight, You have to do everything, which can lead to guess what? Anxiety, depression, some of these other issues that you were talking about. I know business owner struggled with and I have struggled as a business owner with as well.

And it turns into, Is this it? Is this the business that I was really setting out to build? And we talked last episode about the entrepreneurial paradox, right? Where it's like the very things that led you in to do what you're doing are the very things that you're sacrificing because of the business, instead of the business providing those things for you.

And so your journey is so parallel to a business owner, and it doesn't matter where we're talking about corporate life or entrepreneurship or what have you. But the key is even as a business owner, the pain that you've experienced along the way can turn into part of your purpose that you can use to serve and help and impact the lives of other people.

 I get the honor of seeing you do that day in and day out every single day. So, those are just some points I just wanna make sure, the listeners can not just identify with but see the parallels there in what you were saying cuz it's so powerful. 

[00:15:09] Bagel: Yeah, man. That, that's awesome. I'm, I'm having a lot of realizations as you're sharing that back to me. And some 

[00:15:17] Michael Robert Moore: a little bagel breakthrough. 

[00:15:19] Bagel: A little bagel breakthrough, maybe just a little bit. There's so much as usual Michael, so much to unpack there. But the two things that, I wanna just comment on that you, you said are the pain turning into your purpose, I think that's amazing.

 The piece that you talked about there that resonated with me is, you're often.

[00:15:40] Bagel: Turns into your purpose in the sense that you're often trying to solve that problem, maybe for your former self. But also in the same way you're helping solve it for the people you're trying to serve. I think that's huge. That's powerful. Maybe if I had to sum up my life's purpose in one sentence, it might be that, honestly. Because I've, I've had moments over the last 15 years or so where I've actually specifically said out loud to somebody.

Yeah. I really enjoy helping other people kind of navigate the challenges I just experienced recently. It's like every step of the way, like college, I was trying to help people like kind of get their grades up and figure out what their careers were gonna be. And then once I was in my career and realized how miserable I was, I wanted to go back and help people figure out how to make better decisions about their careers and how to prepare for those careers and interviews and resumes and all that kind of stuff.

And then we're gonna get into the, to the next, wave here of how I came to where I am now. But there's a lot of like wanting to give back in that sense to like helping people through their entrepreneurial journey too. And so, yeah. That's really interesting. The pain becoming the purpose.

I like that a lot. And I do wonder how many people listening might be able to relate to that as well. So. 

[00:16:48] Bagel: Let's focus on that notion of your pain becoming your purpose here for just a moment. Can you think of something painful that you experienced in recent years, of course, to the level of your comfort? How did you grow from. , what lessons did it teach you?

What fulfillment might you get from helping others through a similar experience? 

Well then I'll keep us moving through the journey here. The other thing I was gonna mention makes sense for me to just keep going because when I talk about this second wave, it feels like there's a parallel to then what I experience next. To that first experience I just went through, although there was still a lot of learning and there's part of me that's already feeling like, Man, why did I go through that again? But then there's another part of me that's like, But there's differences. And there's, there's a lot that came from that first experience that informed the second one.

So, rather than keeping the listeners on the edge of their seat, I'll just keep it moving. And say after I did career counseling for about four and a half, five years or so. I kind of hit a burnout point, is probably the best way I could describe that. So, I felt fulfilled in parts of doing that job, and I did it on a college campus here in North Carolina, professionally for three and a half years.

And I felt fulfillment in certain aspects of helping people with their career development. Mostly when it was either helping them decide on a major or a path that they wanted to take. Or specifically helping them, like with their interviewing skills. Some of the other stuff got really old and repetitive, like helping people with their resumes and written cover letters and all that kind of stuff.

That honestly, it's like, same thing, different person. And I hate to say it that way, but like for me, someone who has to do 25 a day, sometimes. It just becomes very monotonous. And so what I took with me through that experience, is I was like, Well, I enjoy working with people and I wanna make some sort of positive difference.

But there was also a part of me that I think was getting this itch towards the end of that season of wanting to create something. Like wanting to create something or put something out in the world that had value. I still enjoyed career counseling. I enjoyed the, the ability to like help other people directly, which was kind of that, that switch that I made after the first corporate career.

 But I also still felt like I had more to offer the world, if that makes sense, Michael. It's like I knew that there was something more and I just couldn't really put my finger on that. And I have a feeling you'll come back to that. So nutshell is I decided to leave that career and leave that job.

[00:19:32] Bagel: And I didn't know if it was gonna be permanently or temporarily, but I decided at 29 years old that I was not gonna put off my real dream any longer. Which was to travel the US in my car. Something that I had been wanting to do since I was 11 years old. When my dad first told me the story of him and his brother and his best friend when they were in their twenties wanting to take a trip from New York to California.

And they did it in like nine days and they saw, just the highlights or whatever. And they had someone pay them to drive their car across country cuz they were moving. And that story just stuck with me. And I just remember being like, One day I'm gonna do that. One day I'm gonna do that. And I basically came to the conclusion that I didn't wanna just take two weeks.

I didn't even wanna take just a month. I wanted to take my time. And explore and see the country and, and travel. So we can maybe save that whole story for another time, but I'll just sum it up by saying it was everything I thought it would be and more. And on that journey is when I started to experiment with entrepreneurship. I went on, which is where a lot of freelancers get started. And now there's Fiver and there's other ones out there. But I started looking around for things that I could do, and I sort of fell into this world of virtual assistance. Where I could offer some technical skills and some operations or organizing skills to people who were running businesses, or groups or whatever it was, and lend those skills to help them take some of the admin work and the operations work off their plate.

And so I did that a little bit while I was on my trip. And then when I finished up my trip and decided to hang it up, after eight months. I sort of decided, hey, why not turn this into a business? And that's kind of what led me to start my business that I still run today called fit, F Y T. And so, I'm gonna pause there again because I wanna sort of collect my thoughts. And Michael, I'll give you an opportunity if there's anything to chime in on. Otherwise I can keep going. 

[00:21:34] Michael Robert Moore: Was I drooling or something? Was that ? 

Um, there was, 

[00:21:37] Bagel: I just saw a light bulb a couple times. 

[00:21:39] Michael Robert Moore: Yeah. There, there's so much to unpack there. I mean it's just, it's crazy. First of all, relating to the road trip, right? Because as you know 

[00:21:49] Bagel: mm-hmm. , 

[00:21:49] Michael Robert Moore: My family and I took almost six months and drove the entire perimeter of the US and what an experie.nce that was. And so I'm picturing you like, I wonder how many of the same places we went. Like even some of the same gas stations maybe. You know what I mean? Like, just so weird how those, how that overlaps.

We need to 

[00:22:08] Bagel: pull out a map sometime, Michael. We really, 

[00:22:10] Michael Robert Moore: I know. So my wife used this app called Road Tripper or something like that, and it literally has everything that I think there were 72 stops or something like that. But anyway, yes. We'll do that. So a couple of things that I heard from you that I really just want to circle back around to.

 You mentioned things getting very monotonous. You mentioned that leading to burnout. Then that led to you really not only being burnt out, but had this itch for something more. That you felt like you had more to offer to the world than what you were currently doing. And that led to you wanting to take this road trip, which to me reflects freedom.

[00:22:53] Michael Robert Moore: You wanted, you were desiring freedom. And I think at the same time, subconsciously, or maybe even consciously, you knew you needed a period of self-discovery. And what I've noticed is not only did you go on this trip, kind of went on it without a hardcore agenda. Or, you know, you probably had it kind of mapped out, but building in some flexibility for just the journey to be the journey and enjoying the journey versus saying, how quick can we get to the end of this thing?

Right. And really enjoying that.  And it made me think that what happened was you got pulled out of the micro and into the macro and that is the key to self-discovery. That is the key to really having breakthroughs. Breakthroughs rarely, if ever, happen in the micro. And so if you're wallering around the weeds of things, you're probably not gonna have a breakthrough there.

You're probably gonna need something to pull you out of that into the macro. And that's what we do with clients, right? Oftentimes they're in this macro, they've got this immediate need. We pull them out, look at their business holistically, look at their life holistically, how the pieces are all working together.

That's where the breakthroughs happen. And that's where it happened for you. Where you said, You know what? I have more to offer to this world. I'm going to help this freedom that I've experienced- create that for other business owners. For fyt, for fyt, Free your time. And so I just love that. And again, the parallels for a business owner who's listening to this right now.

Are things monotonous in your business? Is it leading to burnout? Is it leading to a lack of the initial passion that you had for your business because of that burnout? Are you sacrificing your freedom right now because of your business more and more and more than you thought you would?

 Is that leading to an itch where you feel like you have more to offer to the world where you feel like the world has more to offer to you? If you could just get in it? And how would it benefit you if you got out of the micro and looked at the macro and gave the opportunity for some self-discovery, the opportunity for a breakthrough?

[00:25:08] Michael Robert Moore: I just think that is so like what you just described there is what- it might not be a road trip. Okay. So don't get caught in the details, right? The concept of what you just described. This is why you were such a great career counselor, and this is why you're such a great business advisor, because the concept of what you just described is the perfect way to help someone and lead them to self-discovery.

I just wanted to cover those aspects of it, and make sure that we all captured what you really just said there. 

[00:25:40] Bagel: Yeah. I love that you're facilitating today because not just that I get to share my story, but you're making some fantastic connections to help I think the listener connect to what I'm saying and hopefully apply it to their situation.

 I'm gonna go back and listen to this episode mostly to hear what you say. So I'm excited about that. And it's funny you talk about the freedom, aspect of things, and then you mentioned, the drive to maybe help people with that same thing.

[00:26:07] Bagel: I will say I did not make that connection while I was on the trip. So what you said was completely accurate about the trip. It was a rough plan with absolute freedom to explore. A hundred percent structured, a hundred percent flexible. How about that? 

[00:26:23] Michael Robert Moore: I love it. I love it. Yes, yes. 

 It did allow for self-discovery and that was probably part of the reason, the impetus to do it as well. Although most of it was just, I knew I wanted to do it. But it is interesting, you know, how a lot of this stuff, like you said, has helped me better work with my clients. And better serve the people that I wanna work with.

[00:26:46] Bagel: Because, like you said before, I mean, you take the things that, that you struggle with, You take the things that you go through. You're in the midst of trying to solve those things. Well, it puts you in a better position and gives you more experience and wisdom to try to help others through those same experiences.

And that's definitely been a thread throughout my whole adult working life, but especially in the counseling roles that I've had. Which, I guess I can kind of, tie the loose knot here and, and wrap up to like, how did we get to where I am now. And so, but not without another big struggle that I wanna call out, which is exactly what you just talked about.

So the, the same things that you are, you say it so well, it's the same things that you are working so hard to get, like the freedom and the fulfillment. Are the same things that are like working against you. So what happened for me is that I, I came back from this road trip.

I was, so proud and so happy that I had done it. But then I kind of came to a head of figuring out, well, now what? You know what I mean? And I didn't know if I wanted to go back to career counseling. Like I didn't know what path there was forward for me. I didn't really think ahead on this one.

It was one of the first times in my life where I didn't really have a plan, and then that wave of anxiety came right back. And maybe not as potent as it was the first time, but there was a lot of uncertainty. And so, what essentially happened is I did decide to start a business around the virtual assistant work.

I mentioned I still have that business today. But for about two years I was trying to figure out how to make it sustainable. And I think not only that, like how to make it sustainable in the sense of primarily paying me enough money to live. That was the biggest goal. But also without sacrificing the freedom that I so desperately wanted back that I had on that trip. And I'm still sort of working my way back to not necessarily wanting to be on the road for eight months a year, but I'm still working towards that goal of having that freedom and in the sense that I can be location independent, work on things that bring me fulfillment. But still have that flexibility to travel and to see friends and family where I want to, when I want to, while still maintaining the activities in my work life that I really care about.

So, that's kind of where that all started. That foundation of what I want life to look like now, kind of was birthed there. And for the first couple of years of running the business, I just, I couldn't really make it work. And I could sit here and come up with a thousand reasons why.

The reality is I didn't have a Michael Moore to help mentor me in those first two years, cuz he probably would've said real fast, like, Get your shit together, man, can't, can't be doing this. Um, and I say that only half jokingly, but, um, no, the reality is, like I did, I did seek out some help. I sought out mentorship programs and advising, and I don't know that I was ready to hear a lot of it, you know what I mean?

I I was an early stage entrepreneur. I am a stubborn guy. I think I know what I know. And at the same time, things weren't working in the sense that I was not able to pay myself a living wage. And I did, incur debt. And I let things spiral further than I would've liked them to. 

And so, luckily three years ago, I found a job posting for a job at the SBTDC and immediately was like, this is something I can do.

Business counselor? I'm an entrepreneur now. I have a counseling background. I like helping people. I like advising them. I feel like, there's experiences here both in career and and life that maybe would be useful. And specifically the role was to help people start businesses. And I had just started my own.

And even though I went through my trials and tribulations with it, I still learned a lot. And I felt like I was in a position to be able to help people navigate some of those foundational things. And so, feel incredibly lucky that I found that role and even luckier that I got it. And then over the course of the last three years, I moved from the launch position to general business, and now I've sort of been helping businesses at every stage while I've also been in the background working on tightening up my business and making progress on that as well.

And so I'm living it. You know, in the background. But I'm in the forefront with clients helping advise them and making their businesses better. And it's something I care about. It's something that brings me fulfillment. It's something that I'm passionate about. And at the same time, even though I might not have all of the freedom that I want, I have a lot of it.

And I might not have all the fulfillment that I want. But I sure as hell I'm working on it because I've always got my hands in these different pots of things that I'm really interested in doing, like podcasting or whatever else it is. So, to wrap up my story here, there's some peaks and valleys along the way and I'm sure there'll be many more. And I'm sensing, or I'm feeling like I'm kind of reflecting back on each of these stages of life and realizing you gotta go through those tough challenging times and you gotta be in those pits to be able to pull yourself up or to see more clearly, whether it's the road trip or whether it's figuring out that a certain job is not for me or whatever else it is.

But that being able to step away from that, having some moments of clarity, not forcing it. But like being able to step away from that micro, like you said, and understanding like what's most important to you, how do your values hopefully inform what you wanna do with your everyday, and how do you wanna sort of design your life in ways that bring you the things that are most important to you?

And I think for the significant entrepreneur, Michael, just to try to bring all of this full circle, it's all about that freedom and fulfillment. And, I think earlier me, even three, four years ago, thought freedom meant like doing whatever I wanted, any time of the week, and now what I'm realizing is, A, that's not what I want. And B, that's not really realistic. It's more so having the freedom to work on the things that I care about to work on the things that bring me fulfillment. Sure. To maybe have a little more control over my schedule, and to have some flexibility in there to do the things that I want to do throughout the year or whatever.

 But those fulfillment pieces are just as important. So balancing those two has become a big priority. And I feel like I've gotten to that point now where I feel like my cup is, is near full in those both of those areas. And that, that's a very good feeling. 

[00:33:14] Michael Robert Moore: Oh, that's awesome, man. That is so awesome. There's so much to, I don't even know where to start to unpack this because I was taking notes faster than I could really write, so it's really sloppy over here. But, I wanna try to unpack as much as I can and relate this to the listeners' experience and what they can take away from this.

And it's just, everyone has a story. When you unpack their story, there's something for everyone to learn from it in just so many different areas. And, your story is an amazing story and I know there's so much more of it that we haven't heard yet, and I hope we do hear some more of it in future episodes down the road.

 And if you don't tell more of it, I'll force it out of you, but I just want to kind of dissect this a little bit because you said something that was a shift in the beginning of this segment. You said, Now what? You asked yourself now what? And in the last episode, when I shared, that was a big moment for me.

[00:34:14] Michael Robert Moore: I, I made the shift on why me to what now? What if, what if that pain turned into purpose? What if I was able to use, what if I could make an impact doing this? What now do I need to do for all of this to make sense to me and for me to get some meaning and fulfillment and purpose outta my life and through my work?

And I heard you say the same thing, and I'm wondering if listeners are in a point, some of them who have made that shift before in the power of that. Some of them who need to make that shift of why me? Why am I stuck in this? Why, why is this happening to me and my business? And the power of shifting to what now.

What now can I do with this? I'm gonna jump around here just a little bit because I think we can tie these all together. You mentioned valleys. In my opinion, we all have peaks and valleys, all of us. And you, you don't appreciate the peaks without the valleys, Right?

There would be no comparison. Those valleys now, they're not fun. Nobody likes 'em, you know? But you can learn to appreciate 'em, especially looking back, maybe not while you're in it. But the valleys really determine two things. It's a refining process. 

[00:35:28] Bagel: Hmm. 

[00:35:29] Michael Robert Moore: And when you refine a precious metal, you heat it. You burn it. And everything that's not supposed to be there burns off.

And so there, it takes some heat and friction to be able to do that. And pressure. But for us, you find out two things: who you are and who you need to be. And so that's where you really learned those two important lessons in the valley. You were in that valley and you were like, Oh my gosh, is this really, it is this, what now?

Who do I need to become now? Who am I? And also who do I wanna become? And you carry that into your peaks, everybody can see that part. The way that the peaks and valleys should work is that the valley you're in now is still higher than the valley you were in before. Totally. So it's, it's not a flat line peak valley.

It's, it's escalating up. And business reports are often looked at that way. Trends and cycles. It's not a hockey stick, just up and to the right. It's oftentimes up and down, up and down. But overall, even the stock market does that. And so that's how our lives should be as we're discovering who we are and who we need to be through that refining process of the valleys.

 When you started your business, if I could just pay myself enough to live on. You know, I want to challenge you in that. I wanna challenge you in, in the past with, you know, some, you know, pricing and, and things like that. Oftentimes we don't believe in ourselves as much as other people who know us very well, believe in us because 

[00:37:07] Bagel: mm-hmm.

[00:37:07] Michael Robert Moore: We're viewing ourselves through a different lens and oftentimes that lens is not quite as gracious . Yeah. And so, when you're thinking through that and you're thinking through, If I could just make enough to pay myself, what happens is when the reality kicks in. And you realize the gap between that and the struggles between that, your subconscious may even think or know that you're gonna fall short of that.

[00:37:30] Bagel: Mm-hmm. 

[00:37:31] Michael Robert Moore: And that's kind of the power of 10 x thinking is not just to put some lofty thing out there, you know, you'll never achieve. It's that so that if you, even if you fall short because of the unexpected or things that come about, or your mindset or limited beliefs or whatever the case is, at least you're above the point of survival.

And I think you've realized that more and more over time, Right. And I've seen you grow in that area. And you also mentioned that you still at that time, desired freedom. And freedom requires margin, it requires excess. And so that's where, coming from a place of abundance .

[00:38:11] Bagel: Mm-hmm. 

[00:38:12] Michael Robert Moore: Not, not taking advantage of customers and you know, getting every dollar you can out of them, but offering such great value that you can build premium pricing into what you do so that you can better serve the customers and clients so that you can build more margin for yourself for freedom.

And that margin may come through technology to automate things. It may come from hiring other people to do stuff, but there should be margin in there. And you still have this, this desire for freedom. You still do right? You still have that longing to travel. That to me sounds like something I would call a non-negotiable.

[00:38:48] Bagel: Mm-hmm. 

[00:38:49] Michael Robert Moore: So when you're in these self-discovery mode, times and you have these moments of breakthrough. That's a good time to list out your non-negotiables. Some people who are, you know, a family man may say, I'm at the dinner table every single night by 6:00 PM .That's a non-negotiable. Others will say, I'm gonna travel once a quarter somewhere I've never been. That's a non-negotiable. When you have a non-negotiable, you can't talk yourself outta something or you can't excuse your way out of something. And those are very important to identify those non-negotiables. And I think the more you identify those, your subconscious starts to make decisions to take you down the path to leading that to be true.

That it is a non-negotiable and it will somehow make itself happen. And the the little decisions you make every day will be more in that direction because your subconscious is aligned with that. And so I think that's important for folks to know too, like what are your non-negotiables as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, what should they be?

And are you setting the bar high enough for yourself to build margin in there so that you can experience freedom as an entrepreneur as well? 

[00:40:00] Bagel: I love this conversation around non-negotiables. Michael talks about how when you're going through periods of transition in your life, that's often a great time to identify or maybe revisit your non-negotiables. So I challenge you to think what are the things that you absolutely will not compromise on in your.

What happens when you do compromise on those things? How integrated are these non-negotiables in your life right now? What steps can you take to work towards ensuring that you won't have to sacrifice these things that are most important to you? 

[00:40:45] Michael Robert Moore: And then you, you mentioned the transition into, from, from, uh, career counselor into business counseling, business advisory services. You know, the best way to learn something is to teach it to somebody else.

And so what we do is we come in and we may only be a few steps ahead because of something we've experienced or other clients we've helped or whatever, but the best way to learn something and master it is to go out and help others do it as well. And so that's what I see you doing every day. And then you're taking that and you take your own medicine, you apply it to your own business. And I'm just watching you grow and grow and grow and it's like, you know, there's so much fulfillment.

I get out of seeing what you're doing because I wish that I had been humble enough to ask for help when I was growing my businesses and things in the beginning. I thought I knew it all and you know, or I would, I'll figure it out rather than seeking the wisdom of somebody else that could show me how to save 10 steps and maybe I'd still have hair on my head.

I don't know. But I just wanted to point that out. Last thing I'll mention, and sorry, I'm going on it, man, you just, you gave me so much meat to chew on, man. I just can't help myself. So you mentioned freedom and you. But you mentioned your definition of that. Freedom means something different to every business owner and every entrepreneur.

You said, you know, maybe not, I don't want total freedom and I don't think anyone wants absolute freedom because that means I could do whatever I want, freedom to do whatever I want to, to you right now. You don't want that kind of freedom. We want freedom with boundaries. We want freedom with some limit healthy limitations.

We want freedom that protects us from ourselves, that also keeps a nice balance and alignment in life as well. And how that affects others and that sort of thing. And so the, my question would be for listeners is how do you define freedom as a business owner, as an entrepreneur?

What does freedom look like for you now and what do you want it to look like? And how can you make that a non-negotiable? So, Right. I'm gonna get off my soapbox. So those are just some things I wanted to point out and kind of align to what I heard you saying beneath what you were saying. You know what I mean?

[00:43:00] Bagel: Yeah. I should be taking notes because there's things that you're saying that then I wanna respond to. I will say, first of all, Michael, I sense some worksheets coming. Some of this stuff because: non-negotiables and what does freedom look like to you? I mean, those are two exercises you just named that I think every entrepreneur could benefit from. No matter what stage you're at.

Or even if you're thinking about going into entrepreneurship. Or if you're not in entrepreneurship. I mean, most people probably listen to this are, but I think those are great exercises. There was a concept that was introduced to me when I was in entrepreneurship called the Leading Learner. And it was just this idea that like, you don't have to be miles and miles ahead. You can be a few steps ahead. And it goes back to that thing I said before that I guess if I had to sum up, what I feel like my purpose is in, in just one sentence:

it's helping people navigate the challenges of the thing I just went through. And, that's leading learner. That's what that is. It's knowing that you've got some experience that you can use to help benefit others in, in a similar circumstance or similar field or whatever it is. I think that's a great thing for business advisors to be thinking about.

But I also think it's a great thing for entrepreneurs to be thinking about. Because yes, you might have this big complex business model that has all these different facets and functions and whatnot. But at the core, what are you helping your clients with? What are you helping your customers with that, that you know how to do uniquely?

 And it should be a balance. That thing should hopefully also give you, as the owner some sense of fulfillment. Even if you're not the one directly providing the service or the product hopefully at the end of the day, you have some sense of pride and fulfillment that you were accomplishing that thing, right?

[00:44:41] Michael Robert Moore: Yeah. The leading learner to me, I once heard, I can't take credit for this. I heard somebody else say it. They said, you gotta learn to take, to turn your mess into a message. And so when you look back, 

[00:44:55] Bagel: You're full of mantras. By the way. I love it. 

[00:44:57] Michael Robert Moore: I didn't, I didn't come up with it. I don't even remember who did. Or I would give credit to them. But the moment you turn your messiness into a message, you are being a leading learner. Because somebody else is at a different stage or phase. And if you're a business owner, this could be your team, your employees, or even your colleagues or your customers, and letting them know why it's important to you that some of these aspects are part of your business and some of these things are the reason why you're being a leading learner in this area.

Context is king when it comes to that because it creates understanding and there's a lot of power and connection that can happen in that. I just wanted to call out that, if you have messiness in your business or in your life, turn that mess into a message. In a way that can resonate with others and in that, in yourself, that that will reflect back on you to lead to some self-discovery and some breakthroughs, for yourself as well.

So anyway, sorry for the cheesiness of the alliteration. 

[00:45:58] Bagel: No. I love it. I love it. I think that's really cool. It reminds me of content marketing strategies too. And what you see people doing with Instagram and on social. Not to go down that rabbit hole, but I see that concept being brought to life in a lot of ways for lots of different types of small businesses. Where you take that thing that's personal to you, but you make sense of it and you share that wisdom. Or even if you don't have the wisdom yet, you share that journey sometimes. You be authentic and share that with that journey and that challenge has been like for you. And if you hopefully are tapped into the right audience, they might be very receptive to that and can still learn a lot from it.


Well, I appreciate you walking me through sharing my story here, Michael. This was fun and I will admit, sometimes I, I'm not always super comfortable just talking about myself. But I feel like, I definitely appreciate the opportunity to share a little bit of my story with our audience. My goal is always to hopefully find ways to connect with other people.

 And I just love that you were able to, take some of those stopping points and reflect back and ask some questions for our audience to think about. And figure out, what pieces of this might they relate to or connect with, or what are some things that they could learn from both of our experiences that we've shared over the last couple of weeks.

[00:47:16] Bagel: So thanks for, for doing that. 

[00:47:17] Michael Robert Moore: Yeah, no problem. And, thank you for sharing your story, and I think one of the things that we can, charge the listeners with right now to walk away from this is: the power of understanding your backstory that led to where you are now. Understanding the turning points, understanding the major parts of your story that brought you to where you are. And if you were to take some time, and again, this is tough for business owners and entrepreneurs to do. And I get that, but there should be daily reflection time. Where you pull yourself out of the micro, so you can think about the macro. And I just challenge someone this week to, you know, everyone this week actually to sit back.

Maybe you're out on a deck or a porch with a cup of coffee, or maybe it's late at night with a glass of wine. Or whenever your kind of relaxed flow state is and think through your hero's journey. And think through the backstory of what got you started, what were your desires? what was the conflict that you experienced in that?

What did that lead to in self discovery? What did you achieve? What have you achieved so far? And what's the transformation that you experienced from that? And if you're not finished, if you're still in that journey, like if you still feel like you might be in the middle of something... perhaps you could write the rest of it and live it intentionally. Through your business, through your life.

I just think that living with intention is one of the most powerful things that you can do to really live the life that you wanna live on your terms, with your values. That's what I, I kind of heard from you is that you took away from this whole journey is that, you know what? I wanna live my life with intention and I wanna do that in my business, and I wanna do that in my business to where I have freedom to do also do that in my life. And that is the Significant Entrepreneur. 

[00:49:17] Bagel: Mm-hmm. 

[00:49:18] Michael Robert Moore: Right, is how do you harness the power of your purpose, your passion, and your profits so that you can live a life of freedom. You can build a business of significance, you can build a life of significance around that you can positively impact people, leave a legacy, all of those things. But live your definition of freedom and what that you want that to look like and make it a non-negotiable. So those are just some key points for folks to take away and reflect this time. I know some of our other episodes are gonna be more like, here's, here's literally some steps that you can take to solve this business problem or whatever it is.

But today, I think is a reflection episode. It's a good time for business owners to step away and ourselves too. You know, we need to, we need to do it also Bagel is to step away and reflect on some of these things that we talked about today. 

[00:50:04] Bagel: Totally. Yeah. Love it. Always leaving us with a few nuggets and a few homework exercises.

So, thank you Michael, and we look forward to chatting with our audience next week. 

[00:50:17] Michael Robert Moore: Yes. Thanks for joining everybody, and we will see you in the next episode. 

[00:50:21] Bagel: Thanks again for listening to this episode of the live your values podcast, we really value feedback. So please rate and review us on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite podcast listening app. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss all new episodes of LYV. Special thanks to Emma Peck and Joel Lindenfeld for branding design, Danielle Gelber for marketing strategy and Rebecca Kittel with fyt for operations support.

Until next time, get out there and LYV.