Mike Maletich, owner and publisher of Cleveland Real Producers, Las Vegas Real Producers, Inland Empire Real Producers, and Akron/Canton Real Producers, spoke to our entire team of Area Directors to wrap up N2’s Spring 2021 National Conference. We were so inspired by his words we felt more people should hear what he had to say. Here is a shortened version of his amazing speech. Thanks, Mike!
It only takes a brief conversation with pretty much anyone today to discover, because we have been locked down for so long that…
PEOPLE ARE READY FOR MORE.
Maybe they are ready for more opportunities to go to restaurants.
More opportunities to go to sporting events.
Maybe they are ready for more freedom – we are all ready for more freedom.
And we’re certainly ready for more travel.
All of these things have been restricted, so when talking to people you can tell they are ready for more.
An Australian airline, Qantas, knew people were ready for more travel so they came up with a great idea. People in Australia cannot leave the country, but they can move throughout the country, so they offered “Mystery Flights.”
Essentially, for a large sum of money, you go to the airport and arrive at the gate where the plane is chartered, but you have no idea where you are going. You simply get on the plane and only find out where you’re landing once you touch down.
If that’s not enough to let you know people were ready for more adventure, there was a second promotion.
“Flight to Nowhere” followed the same drill. Pay a large sum of money, go to the gate, get on the plane, fly around the country for over eight hours… and you land right back at the same airport you originally departed. The flight sold out in ten minutes when it was officially offered.
People are ready for more.
And it is not just traveling. Maybe you have seen the reports that this year is anticipated to be one of the “most selfish years on record.” People are focused on “me-time” and what they want to do. So sales of boats, luxury vehicles, and RVs are at an all-time high.
People are leaning in – they are ready for something more.
Some people are ready for more family. Some people are ready for LESS family. Some people are quitting jobs and careers to move across the country to get back to their families.
There are certainly people who are ready for more justice and unity, civility, tolerance, and kindness, and ready for more purpose.
Maybe for the first time in their lives, some people have realized how much they have “settled” in the past and they are now committed more than ever to turn the trajectory around.
People are committing to never settle.
But the benefit does not just come by refusing to settle and by finding something more. It’s in finding the right things that provide more. And this is important to talk about because even though we have the desire to go after what is most beneficial, we don’t always do it.
Sometimes we even know what would be most beneficial and we get sidetracked. And when we come to the realization that we’ve been spinning our wheels or not pursuing the things that are most important, we are led back to where we were.
More things that matter and are of value.
The reality is we all experience times and circumstances of weakness – when we are not all that we could be, all that we should be, or we are not firing on all cylinders.
If you don’t believe me, try being a parent. Despite what Facebook would tell you, parents blow it daily… or maybe I’m the only one!
But the good news is that we are not stuck there. So then the question remains, if we are not stuck settling, why do we settle so often?
In the 1700s there was a disease called “Childbed Fever.” Women would give birth and then die within a few days. In some hospitals, the mortality rate was as high as 70%. Some physicians started investigating the cause of these deaths.
A Hungarian doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis, compared two maternity wards. One was run by doctors and one was run by midwives. The wards run by doctors were losing five times as many mothers.
They discovered the only noticeable difference was the same doctors delivering babies were also performing autopsies. In those days, medicine was not specialized. So doctors would perform autopsies in the mornings and deliver babies in the afternoon.
They did all this without washing their hands at all!
In their defense, there was no concept of germs yet. Nevertheless, there seemed to be a connection between the morgue and the delivery room. Semmelweis ordered his staff to wash their hands with chlorine because it got rid of the smell of the autopsy. And just like that the death rate dropped dramatically.
Good news? Not exactly.
Doctors were incensed with the suggestion that they were part of the problem.
But are we any different? What is your reaction to the uncomfortable truth that sometimes you are the problem?
Sometimes I am the problem.
Listen, I am not here to beat you up today. But my gut tells me many are frustrated because they know they should be doing more. They know they are settling for less than they can give. There is a sense of purpose that routinely gets squashed by the busyness of the day. Or the pain and heartache of rejection. Or the frustration of repeated failure.
I am here to tell you that you are not alone. But I am also here to tell you that there is victory over busyness. There is victory over heartache and rejection. There is victory over repeated failure.
I am not just here to tell you that you should never settle. I am also here to show you some practical truths I have learned over the last 10 years with N2 that I utilize all of the time.
So let’s dive in.
As we begin to look at what it means to “Never Settle,” I would like you to be open to the fact that wherever you are right now, whatever the circumstance, whatever past failure, whatever pain or turmoil you are currently experiencing, there is a place you are moving toward that has a greater purpose than you are currently experiencing or can even currently see.
The goal is for you to be prepared to take a step forward today. For some it might be a huge step, and for others it might be a small step. But I hope each of us will move forward and will be receptive to the message and encouragement that I am about to share.
1. Live With No Regrets
What are some things that you regret?
Maybe you have an embarrassing tattoo.
Maybe you regret that you own stock in Blockbuster, or you regret that you don’t own stock in Zoom, or you regret that you didn’t buy Bitcoin early on.
Maybe you regret the timeshare you purchased because it was “SUCH A GREAT INVESTMENT.”
My daughter experienced great regret a few years back. We were living in PA, and we had just put our home on the market as we were moving back to OH. If you have ever sold a home, you know the work that goes into that process.
You fix everything, declutter, and push everything to the garage, and whatever does not fit in the garage you sell or give away.
You are constantly cleaning because there is no telling when the agent is going to call and tell you there is a showing. Well, we had just finished the fixing, decluttering, and cleaning, and the photos of the home had just been taken. At this point, the house had been on the market for less than 24 hours.
My wife came home to a waterfall in our kitchen.
The bathroom directly above the kitchen was attached to the nursery that my daughter (she was three at the time) used. Well – the way she tells it – “Daddy, I just could not get my bottom clean. So I had to use a lot of toilet paper.”
When the toilet clogged she did what every 3 year old does. She kept flushing, and flushing, and flushing, and flushing…
When the toilet overflowed, she kept flushing.
Again, she then did what every 3 year old does. She closed the door to hide it and walked downstairs like nothing happened. Needless to say, my wife (bless her heart) lost it. And my daughter to this day remembers the regret she felt.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, that was not a huge deal. We pulled the home off the market, insurance covered all the damage, put it back on the market, and it sold in a few weeks.
But there are some things that are a huge deal.
Maybe you regret that you have allowed work to overshadow your family.
Maybe you regret that you did not go on and get that degree that you were thinking about.
Maybe you regret that you didn’t put in the work necessary to fix a relationship or a marriage.
Maybe you regret that you are always too concerned about making someone else happy – or too concerned about what other people think.
You see, the problem is that when these regrets pop up they actually act as “demotivators” to moving forward – we have lost so much ground that even if we get serious about things today we think we’ll never catch up to where we might have been.
They become demotivating, and that leads to just SETTLING.
I’ll tell you my biggest regret.
In 2005 we were living in PA, with no kids, and both my wife and I were working. I had a job where I had to secure a lease on an office, purchase advertising, and buy supplies to recruit a sales team. In theory it is a great opportunity as long as you are a good recruiter and sales trainer.
From 2000-2005 everything went as planned. I made enough money to cover my expenses and create a nice living. No bumps in the road and no issues to speak of.
Then in 2005, my sales team had a terrible summer. And at the end of the summer, I was left holding the bag for approximately $30,000 in expenses on a credit card that had yet to be paid.
So I did what I thought was the smartest thing. I got another $30,000-limit credit card for the expenses I would incur in the fall. I burned through that quickly. I got another credit card for the expenses I would incur in the spring of 2006. Summer was right around the corner and I went from $0 credit card debt to $90K in 12 months.
Heading into summer I approached my bank for a $50K loan. Because I had so much outstanding debt they would not give it to me unless I took it out against my house. Seemed logical to me. The only problem was I was self-employed when we bought our home, so the loan was in my wife’s name.
So I signed her name on the loan and burned through that by the end of the summer of 2006… and then I was stuck. No more room for credit.
I personally torpedoed our financial situation in 16 months like no one could imagine, and it was all done behind her back. She knew nothing of where we were financially because I kept putting money into our account each month – as far as she was concerned, everything was okay.
But I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. And the day of reckoning had come. I had to tell her.
That’s my biggest regret. And I did not start at N2 for four more years. Four years of struggle and pinching pennies, and barely making it. But when I did start with N2, the regrets I had are what fueled me to make it right and NOT SETTLE until it was.
Listen, I know that living with no regrets sounds like an impossible standard. I get it. But living with no regrets does not flow from a perfect life. It flows from a surrendered one.
So here is the question for all of us: “What is the next step of surrender for me?”
Maybe it is time to stop dragging your heels and lean into that relationship that seems broken.
Maybe it is finally time to admit you don’t have all the answers and you need help. (That’s what it was for me!)
Maybe it is to find some place to serve others.
Maybe it is being more consistent with your family or loved ones.
Living a life of no regrets does not mean perfection. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. It is surrender. Surrender brings forth motivation to never settle for anything but the best.
2. View The Bigger Picture
This is really easy to say and expect from the outside looking in. But when you hear “view the bigger picture” and are in the midst of some turmoil, pain, or terrible situation, it seems like a slap in the face.
Many times we are so close to our pain or circumstance, we cannot see the bigger picture of what is going on.
I want to illustrate. Take your right hand and put it in the air. Then move that hand in front of your eyes.
I think this is what pain is like. We can be so close to the pain in our lives that we are unable to see what is happening anywhere else.
We are blinded by the circumstance or the situation of our pain that we simply can’t see past it.
And so we settle. We settle for second best. We settle for the diagnosis given. We settle for the broken relationship. We settle for the ceiling we have reached in our business.
We settle, we settle, we settle.
Faith and doubt can coexist. Many people think this is impossible. Many times the doubt simply comes from being so close to that pain that we can’t see past or around it. But faith is what allows us to step back from the pain to see what is on the other side.
This idea of faith and doubt coexisting has shown up in my life in really big ways this past year and has really transformed the way that I think, act, react, and view my life.
Seven years ago, at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I knew something was wrong because I had serious joint pain. At that point there were many things that flashed through my mind. I immediately googled “rheumatoid arthritis” (which I should have never done) and saw all the horrible pictures of deformed hands and feet.
I did a little more research and found there were things that I was actually eating that would cause inflammation in my body and lead to erosion of the joints. So the easy answer was that I just needed to cut those things out. Basically, if it tasted good, I could no longer eat it.
And for the past six and half years I have managed my rheumatoid arthritis through a careful diet (most of the time), exercise, and lightweight training.
I had the pain under control and managed things well… until recently.
In December 2020, out of nowhere, my right knee swelled to three times the size of my left. My shoulders started to hurt horribly and both of my elbows felt like someone was hitting them over and over with a hammer. Each and every day the pain would get worse.
Because of the pain, it was impossible to sleep more than 60 minutes at a time. It was impossible to move in bed at all, and getting out of bed or getting up off a chair took all my momentum, the knee pain was so great.
I had been a runner the past seven years and I could no longer run. Weight training was out of the question because I could barely lift my arms over my head to even wash my hair.
Because of the lack of sleep at night, I was always tired and because the shoulder pain was so great my muscles in my back and shoulders started to cramp, making it hard to sit up.
I was miserable and it was not going away – it felt like my body was at war with itself.
And I am going to be honest, I had many questions. I was angry and scared. I did not – and still do not – want to go on medication because of the terrible side effects. You see, I was so close to the pain in that moment that I was unable to see what was happening.
The Moments – In the past six months my wife has shown up in a huge way. Caring, loving, encouraging, praying. Our marriage is better now than it has been in years!
The Moments – I heard a while back that in parenting, more is caught by your kids than is taught. And it’s been amazing to have real conversations with my kids about being dealt a difficult situation and not understanding why, but pursuing still.
The Moments – Sitting all alone in the kitchen each morning and crying out to God to heal me – but being okay if He decides not to. And then relying on His strength to get me through the day because that is the only thing that will help me.
But here is the deal. I did not see these things in the moment because I could not get around the pain I had (and still have). It took time and things are still being revealed.
Flash forward to now. I am not healed but the pain is not as bad. I still can’t run and mornings are still tough. But I am feeling better.
When I saw my doctor he told me many times he sees people that are in my same situation and they shut down. They stay in bed. They give into the pain and gain weight (which makes it much worse).
They are so close to the pain that they settle for the hand they have been dealt and figure that it won’t get better.
It is imperative that when faced with pain, we step back and see the whole picture and not settle where we are.
3. Guard Carefully What You Will Accept and Who You Listen To
The past 16 months have been the most unique of my entire life. It has been tough in so many ways, but for many it has also been massively victorious. To say it has been the hardest year imaginable might be the biggest understatement ever uttered.
When the pandemic started to go down I shared a quote from my financial advisor that really shaped the way my family decided we would approach COVID-19. And it inevitably shaped the way that I personally would approach my work as well.
“During times of extreme uncertainty, it is tempting to listen to those with extreme positions and shrill voices. Our commitment is instead to use prudence and mathematical principles to help build your future. Our response to this crisis is not to shrink away and hope for the best. Instead, we will confront these challenges with discipline and strength. This, we believe, is the only way back.”
Extreme positions and shrill voices
Who are you listening to? What messages are you continuing to feed your mind and your heart? Those things matter more than you know. If you are feeling anxiety about your circumstances, be very aware of the voices that are speaking into your life and what they are saying.
Use Prudence and mathematical principles to build your future
When this all went down we had to pivot immediately and take a very targeted and mathematical approach to “going to work.”
Our response to this crisis is not to shrink away and hope for the best. Instead, we will confront these challenges with discipline and strength. This, we believe, is the only way back.
We will – I will – confront these challenges head-on with discipline and strength!
For some of us, our business is completely different than 16 months ago in a better way. For others, 2020 was just a miserable year. Not only has nothing gone as you expected but you have not responded like you know you should have.
We don’t always have answers, but we have choices to make.
I will choose wisdom and not fear.
I will choose truth and not lies.
I will not be defined by the circumstances and challenges that surround me.
I will define those circumstances. I will overcome. I will win the day.
I WILL STOP SETTLING.
In the end, when this is all over, I will have a story to tell!
Successful people experience the exact same things we all face. They simply respond differently.
Are You Willing To Play The Long Game?
We live in a culture that celebrates 15 minutes of fame. I believe God honors a lifetime of faithfulness. This is exactly how I have approached my N2 career. Long obedience in the same direction and doing ordinary things extraordinarily.
If I keep doing the right thing the right way day after day, look out!
Think about where you could be in December of this year.
I am not here to tell you that it is easy. I know it is very, very, very hard. I am here to tell you it is possible.
Settling is the easiest thing to do most of the time. But I am here to tell you it is possible.
Live with no regrets.
View the big picture.
Be aware of what you accept and what you listen to.