Vulnerability is the Key to Uniting a Quorum | An Interview with Michael Brody-Waite
At the age of 23, Michael Brody-Waite was a full-blown drug addict. Today, Michael is an acclaimed speaker, Inc. 500 entrepreneur, award-winning, three-time CEO, a leadership coach, and an author. He is on a mission to teach individuals, organizations, and communities how to how to be vulnerable, surrender the mask, and do uncomfortable work. In this podcast, he shares the leadership principles he learned through addiction recovery, which he speaks and details in his book, Great Leaders Live like Drug Addicts: How to Lead like your Life Depends on It.
8:00 Michael has a whole part of his family tree who are Latter-day Saints, and one of his Latter-day Saint cousins turned down the opportunity to date one of his NFL idols on the San Francisco 49ers.
9:00 Michael is originally from California, had a normal growing up experience there, but in college, he remembers “losing his marbles” over his good friend asking a small thing of him. That night he was confronted with the reality that he didn’t feel equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. He said something like “I don’t think I got the instructions on how to deal with life.” It was that night that he first drank alone.
10:28 Michael gives a tip for all parents: If you think your kid might have the genetic proclivity to be an addict, DO NOT sit them down and tell them, “You will probably be an addict, so never do drugs or drink.” That’s going to be the first thing that child wants to do.
11:28 “I can’t be an academic, I can’t be an athlete, but I think I could be a drunk.” It was one thing Michael could control over his life, he was able to make himself numb. Michael believes that addicts have an obsessive-compulsive variant that makes the person want to be able to predict how they are going to feel. He would rather choose a drug I knew would make him feel bad than one that he didn’t know how it would make him feel. It was about having control and knowing how he would feel. Since he couldn’t get that from life, he turned to addiction.
13:15 In the summer of 2002, Michael’s life took a severe downturn. He was a junior in college with only one year’s worth of college credit. He was kicked out of college, kicked out of his house, fired from his job, and his car was repossessed. He was throwing up blood on this twenty-third birthday, and he knew he wouldn’t be alive for his thirtieth birthday, and maybe not even his twenty-fifth, and that didn’t sound too bad to him. His friend let him stay on his couch, but he completely overstayed his welcome, but at that point, if he didn’t stay there, he would have been homeless and Michael didn’t want that. His father would reach out and come take him to breakfast every once in a while, and his father said he just wanted to buy him a meal, but Michael knew it was because he just wanted to see if his son was still alive. He always offered to pay to send Michael to rehab, but Michael denied having a problem.
15:00 Michael’s friend eventually talks him into considering rehab. “I chose to go to rehab to have 28 days of bedding and food.” But Michael hasn’t used drugs or a drop of alcohol since. It was in rehab that he was introduced to the 12-Step program, which he still participates in.
16:00 Michael gives his 3 principles he has learned from living the 12-Step program:
Practice rigorous authenticity
We talk about being authentic, but we don’t really practice it in leadership.
How to take off the “masks” we wear to be strong?
Surrender the outcome
Leaders are not taught to surrender the outcome
In faith, we are taught to surrender the outcome, but not in our career
Do Uncomfortable Work
“Hard work” is physical or mental, “Uncomfortable work” is emotional.
We will do more physical work to avoid uncomfortable emotional work.
20:00 Principle 1 allows you to see how you are hiding your true self. Principle 2 is how do I let go of “What’s going to happen when I...